Swerving from the dirt connecting road to the tree-lined highway, the Impala fishtailed as it hit a patch of ice. The back end started on a sickening swing, sending cassette tapes sliding across the floorboard and signaling the start of a really gnarly crash. Dean jammed the steering wheel one way then the other, his heart seizing up, as he fought to keep from tumbling his baby end over end into a ditch. He corrected his course a moment later, but not until he had skidded back and forth, leaving at least 12 pounds of rubber on the asphalt.

Instead of sparing a moment for relief, his eyes darted to the rear view mirror. Dust plumed from the side road, slowly clearing in the light breeze.

No one was following him.

"Yes!" He cried, jubilant. Road raging little brothers be damned. He was the man when it came to car chases.

An instant later he caught a flash of motion out of the corner of his eye.

Aw, shit.

"Damnit, Sammy!" Sure enough, the rear view mirror revealed Dad's truck barreling down the otherwise deserted Ohio freeway after him, Sam a shaggy-haired dark silhouette at the wheel.

Dean jammed his foot into the accelerator. The Impala responded almost immediately, lurching faster as the carburetor opened up and fuel rushed in. The neatly manicured lawns of the little bungalow houses lining the freeway blurred as he raced past them. But Sam, despite the fact that he'd peddled his way around Palo Alto on a pansy-ass bicycle when he was at Stanford, knew how to race. After all, he'd learned from the best. Dean had taught the kid himself, on the theory that you never knew when some possessed son-of-a-bitch is going to try to run you down.

Dean had never figured that said possessed son-of-a-bitch would be Sam himself. Or that he would be the one running Dean down. Fuckin' irony.

Dad's truck roared as Sam punched the accelerator. Dean cursed, knowing that he couldn't outrun the truck's blown 454 engine for long.

Then the Impala's engine sputtered and shut off.

"What the fuck?" Dean cried, twisting the ignition. Nothing.

His stomach plunged. The alternator had been going for a while now. He'd been meaning to replace it just as soon as the hunting let up enough for he and Sam to have a few days off. In hindsight, a bad plan.

Well, hell.

Time for drastic measures. Dean stamped on the brakes with both feet and flipped the steering wheel at the same time. Even though he barely missed being rear-ended by Sam, the Impala reversed course nicely, just as he'd intended.

Then he spotted the boat in the front yard of one of the little bungalow houses, a nice big speedboat with a battery the size of a small country. That would do just fine. Dean skidded the Impala to a stop in the front yard right next to the boat, accidentally running down three ornamental pink flamingos in the process. What kind of person sticks those stupid things in their yard anyhow?

He leaped out of the car, thrust the key in the trunk's keyhole and snatched up the jumper cables. Running around to the front of the Impala, he jerked the hood up and snapped the cables on both battery posts. If he was lucky, it would take a few minutes for Sam to get the truck turned around and back here. And if he was really really lucky, the juice in the boat's big-ass battery would jolt the Impala into starting again, allowing him time enough to get the hell out of there. Mui pronto-like.

Turns out he wasn't all that lucky. He'd just tossed the other end of the cables atop the boat when Dad's truck ground to a stop behind the Impala. Sam piled out of the truck and advanced, swaggering threateningly.

God, but his baby brother could look pretty frickin' intimidating when he wanted to!

Dean looked around for a weapon. He was too far from the Impala's trunk to grab anything from it and he'd left his knife hidden beneath the front seat like usual. So he did the next best thing: he improvised. Those damn pink flamingo yard-things were stuck in the ground with some pretty wicked-looking metal spikes. He grabbed one and wielded it like a sword, the sharp metal end pointed at Sam.

Sam halted, staring at his brother with a hard expression. They stood like that for a breathless moment. Dean couldn't stop himself. He searched Sam's eyes for the telltale black cloudiness that signaled demon possession.

Then, Sam glanced down momentarily, the corner of his mouth quirking upward. When he looked up his eyes were twinkling. "A plastic flamingo?" He guffawed. "Dude, that's the weakest thing ever."

Dean took a breath. The flood of oxygen made him lightheaded. "Not bad, Sammy. Thought I lost you back there at the crossroads, but you managed to keep up with me. I didn't think you had it in you."

"Yeah, well, I've got a surprise or two up my sleeve still."

That's what Dean was afraid of. Not that he'd ever admit to it.

"So, you gonna stop bitchin' at me about how we need more training exercises, big brother?" Sam asked mildly.

Dean cleared his throat, and shrugged. "Maybe." Then he grinned. "For a day or two."

Sam clapped him on the shoulder. "Come on, let's get going. We've got an alternator to change."

Yeah, well. A few more minutes of Sam's road-raging-demon impersonation and Dean would have needed to change his shorts, too.