It's been a while since I've written anything, so this is being offered with a bit of trepdation. Um, I can't think of anything else to write, other than the usual "I don't own anything" discalimer. That being said...Enjoy!

A Mother's Love

Dean Winchester let out his breath in a controlled exhale. He'd just been ready to execute his final attack when suspicious dark eyes darted his way. Dean quickly averted his own gaze, once again pretending to read the newspaper before him. After a sufficient amount of time passed, he risked a quick peek. His stomach quivered anxiously as he assessed the situation. Convinced that his target had dropped his guard, Dean inched his hand towards the yellow bag. The bag rustled noisily as he reached inside. Dean's hand stilled instantly, but the other man seemed not have heard the telltale sound. Dean resumed his movement, giving a loud cough as he grabbed the last tiny orb. If he didn't connect with this shot, he didn't know if he'd ever get another. Dean took careful aim, mentally crossing his fingers as he sent the final soldier of his colorful army into the air.

Dean's aim had never been truer. The M&M managed to find the one part of Sam's forehead not covered by his long hair. Dean grinned victoriously as the little blue candy penetrated Sam's thick dark bangs, bouncing off his forehead and hitting the table before rolling onto the floor to join it's fallen comrades.

Dean gave a victory cry, tossing the newspaper to the side and pumping his fist in the air. "Damn, did you see that? Bullseye!"

Sam gritted his teeth. He looked over at Dean, who sat gloating on the edge of the bed. He resisted the urge to yell at him, knowing the immense pleasure Dean would receive from the extreme reaction. He forced his face to relax.

"Does that mean you're done now?" Sam wasn't able to completely filter all of the aggravation out of his voice.

Dean's grin got even wider as he devoured Sam's irritation. He crumpled up the empty bag and tossed it across the tiny motel room. It fell slightly short of Sam's jeanclad leg, landing amongst the dozens of peanut M&Ms scattered on the floor.

"Hell, no! Fill 'er up, Sammy boy. It's time for round two!" Dean's green eyes twinkled. While his one-sided M&M war had provided a welcome distraction from the mind-numbing search for a new supernatural hunt, it had also given him the added bonus of ticking off his little brother.

Sam absentmindedly scratched his left bicep. The wound inflicted from Jacob Carn's hook was healing nicely, if the constant itching was any indication. Dean had done his best not to fret over the deep gash, giving the younger man the space he needed to deal with the physical and emotional wounds sustained during the hunt. Now it appeared the grace period was up. If anything, Dean seemed more ampped up than usual. He was practically jumping up and down like a little puppy. Sam fixed a stern stare on his face in an attempt to bring his brother back to business.

"No, it's time for you to get your nose back in the papers and find us another gig." Sam firmly admonished the gleeful man.

"No, it's time to get the hell out of this god-awful motel room. If I have to spend one more second looking at these orange walls I swear I'll go postal." Dean ran his hand through his hair, giving it an agitated tug. "It's Friday night, Sammy! Come on, let's get out of here!"

Sam waved his hand dismissively at Dean. "Go ahead. No one's stopping you. I've got some calls to make, plus there are still a few more sites I want to check out." He turned the laptop away from the center of the room and shifted in his chair, turning his back on Dean and their discussion.

Dean got up and made his way past the two twin beds. He sidestepped the fallen M&MS, as well as his brother's attempt to end the conversation. Dean closed the laptop, eliciting an angry, "Dude!" from Sam.

"Sam, we've been searching for a new lead for hours and we haven't found anything. No weird happenings and no news on Dad. A couple hours away'll do you good…clear your head. Maybe even put some color back in those pasty cheeks of yours." Dean playfully slapped Sam's cheek.

Sam lashed out, narrowly missing his brother's hand. "Look, I'm not in the mood to watch you prance around hitting on every girl in a tight t-shirt. Go do your thing and I'll hang here."

"Whoa. First of all, I do not prance." Dean shot back quickly. "Second of all, I'm appalled you think I'm that shallow! It takes more than a hot body to get Dean Winchester's seal of approval." After a pause he continued. "Of course, if the ladies decide to show off their assets, what kind of gentleman would I be if I didn't offer my appreciation of their, uh...talents?"

Dean waited to see which of Sam's patented reactions he'd receive; the loud sigh, the rolling of the eyes, the half-amused half-ticked off glare, or the homerun combination of all three. But Sam threw him a curveball by staring sullenly over Dean's shoulder.

And here we go again, Dean thought to himself as he moved into Sam's eyeline. "Sam, this doom and gloom attitude is really getting old."

Sam licked his lips but remained silent.

Dean worked to soften his tone. "Look, I know the last few months have been hell, not to mention this past week, but you've gotta lighten up a little." Dean flashed a grin. "I've waited years to use my little brother as my wing man. Give the brooding a rest for the night and put those magic dimples to work!" Dean's hand headed towards Sam's face again, this time giving his cheeks a painful tweak.

Sam sat back in his chair. "You're right. You are absolutely right. Here I am wasting my time researching leads that could actually save someone's life, when I could be helping to get you laid! I guess I was a little distracted, you know, trying to find our missing father. So excuse me for not being more sensitive to your needs, because it's obvious you don't give a damn about anyone except yourself."

The hurtful words tumbled past Sam's lips before he could stop them. His hazel eyes widened as he tried to take back what he'd just said, but his traitorous mouth clamped up, denying him the apology he owed his brother.

Dean's eyes narrowed to mere slits. He chewed the inside of his cheek as he tried to keep his feelings in check. Although it was good for Sam to release some of his pent-up emotions, his harsh words hurt more than any physical wound ever could. Normally he'd answer remarks like that with a strong right hook. However, their lives the last few months had been anything but normal, even for them.

Dean put his balled-up fists on his waist to hide the furious tremors. "Anything else you want to say?" Dean didn't wait for a response as he pushed away the hurt feelings, letting his anger come to the surface. "He's my dad, too, dammit."

Sam sighed, looking almost as weary and defeated as he had the night Jessica died. "Dean, man, I'm sorry. You know I didn't mean….I mean, I'd never—" he broke off, resting his forehead on the heel of his hand.

Dean's emotions flip-flopped, sorrow and pity taking the forefront. The old saying was true; we always hurt the ones we love. Give the kid a gun or a knife and Sam turned into a fierce warrior, but by far his words were his deadliest weapons. Sam's words cut deep, but Dean knew the dark place they came from. Dean harbored his own fears and doubts surrounding their dad's disappearance and Jessica's death, but where Sam kept his near the surface, Dean chose to bury them.

Sam pulled his head up. He tried to continue the apology, but was cut off.

"It's fine, Sam. Whatever." Dean said flippantly as he walked stiffly towards the other side of the room. He picked up a newspaper and eased himself onto the bed.

Sam closed his eyes, a string of expletives filling the tense silence. Way to go, jackass. He rubbed his hands roughly over his face. Dropping his hands, he looked over at his brother.


The stone-faced man raised the newspaper, creating a handy barrier between the two brothers. Sam sighed. Dean wasn't going to make this easy. The corner of his mouth turned up slightly as he caught a glimpse of the sea of M&Ms.

"Fine. We'll play it your way." Sam murmured as he gathered up the candies. His right arm upraised, he gave a sincere apology one more shot.

"Come on, Dean. I'm trying to apologize here."

Sam received a warning cough from behind the newspaper, indicating that Dean was in no mood to make amends. Well, if you can't beat 'em…

Sam fired a red M&M straight at the center of the paper. A playful smile flashed across his face as the candy made a dent in the paper. Dean straightened it back out with a swift shake and remained silent. The next two volleys elicited the same reaction.

Sam was done messing around. He jiggled the M&Ms in his right hand. "Fine. Have it your way."

"Sam." The urgency in Dean's voice halted Sam's hand. Dean lowered the newspaper. "I think I found something."

Sam sat forward in his chair, the fight forgotten as the brothers got back to business. "What've you got?"

"Trinity, Pennsylvania. Some woman was arrested for trying to kill her son." Dean said, his eyes still scanning the rest of the article.

Sam winced. "What happened?"

"Elaine Donovan. Typical American soccer mom. Til one day she decides to attack her four year old son with a shard of broken mirror. Stabbed him three times before her daughter managed to get her off of him."

"Oh my god." Sam breathed. "How is he?"

"Lucky. He spent four nights in the hospital and ended up with more stitches than Frankenstein, but he'll be ok." Dean answered.

"What makes it our deal? I hate to say it, but it's not the first time a parent has tried to hurt a child." Sam asked.

Dean nodded. "You're more right than you know." He cleared his throat as he read from the article. "'It was only two months ago that this tiny community was rocked by the brutal murder of eight year old Becky Lanigan. The child's mother, Wendy Lanigan, was arrested after confessing to the murder.'" Dean shook his head sadly. "It goes on to say she waited until the kid fell asleep, then choked her to death."

Sam shuddered at the unwanted image his overactive imagination provided him. Parents were supposed to be a refuge from the dangers in the world, not a cause of them.

"You thinking possession?" Sam asked.

"Maybe." Dean paused for dramatic effect. "Or it could have something to do with the ghost Wendy claims she saw."

"Hmmm." Sam thoughtfully jiggled the M&Ms. "Vengeful spirit? Using the mothers to extract some sort of revenge?"

Dean ripped the article out of the paper. He tossed the remainder on the floor as he stood up. "Only one way to find out."

Sam shifted the M&Ms from one hand to the other, a faraway look on his face. After a moment's consideration he nodded.

Dean moved over to the dresser and pulled his clothes from the drawer. The restlessness was gone, replaced with a sense of purpose. This new hunt would get them back on the road again. It also distracted Sam from his most recent guilt trip, however temporary that reprieve may be. There was just one more matter that needed addressing.

"Oh, and Sam?"


Dean folded a blue t-shirt and stuffed it inside his bag. He continued to pack as he said, "You don't drop those M&Ms, I'll stuff them the one place they will melt."

The good-natured threat hung in the air as Dean continued to casually pack his clothes. With his back towards Sam, Dean couldn't see his brother's reaction. It wasn't until he heard the telltale crash of the candies hitting the bottom of the tiny plastic garbage can that he looked over his shoulder. He met Sam's sullen glare with an easy smile as he slung his bag over his shoulder.

Dean bent down and tossed Sam's empty bag at his brother. "Get a move on, Sammy. We've got a ghost to catch."