Two Roads Diverged

(Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Supernatural or the CW and write for enjoyment only)

"Bull's Eye!" Dean yelled in triumph over the loud music as he high-fived Sam with one hand and thrust his beer bottle into the air with the other.

Dean gulped down the remaining alcohol before adding the bottle to the top of the pyramid that he had been building against the wall under the dart board over the past few hours. Pyramid building (either bottles or cans could be used, depending on what was available) was a tradition that he and Sam had started years ago. When it toppled over, you knew it was time to stop drinking, or to at least slow down. Sam's pyramid fell about two and a half beers ago. Tonight, a luxury funded by a forgotten winning lottery ticket in Dean's back pocket, had turned out to be just what they both needed to take their minds off of everything, if only just for a little while.

"Lucky shot," Sam said with a smile as he walked over and pulled the dart from the center of the red and green board.

"I'm winning, you know," Dean said with a big smile of his own before he took a swig from his new beer.

"Yeah, right! Your imagination seems to be as big as your ego," Sam said with a laugh as he raised his arm to take aim.

"I don't have to imagine something that is re-al-ity, little bro!" Dean responded as he plopped down on a nearby stool at the bar to reach a nearby basket of peanuts. "Your turn, Sammy. If you try hard enough, and with enough practice, maybe you'll be as good as me someday."

Sam's arm froze as Dean's good natured teasing triggered a childhood memory that he had almost forgotten.

"Your turn, Sammy. If you try hard enough, and with enough practice, maybe you'll be as good as me someday." Dean said as he kicked the old, grass stained soccer ball over to his seven year old brother.

"I can't! I tried to kick it in gym class and I missed. Everyone laughed at me," Sam explained as he stepped away from the ball as if it was a decapitated head.

"Oh come on. If your big, dumb brother can do it, so can you," Dean said as he pushed Sam back over to the soccer ball.

"You're not dumb!" Sam exclaimed, never allowing anyone to make fun of Dean, even if the words were coming out of Dean's own mouth.

"And neither are you. I'll show you. You'll be a pro in no time. Sorry Dad couldn't be here to show you himself, but maybe we can all play together when he gets back. If the old man can keep up with us," Dean said with a smile.

After another hour of instruction, Dean kicked the ball over to Sammy again.

"Now kick it it's a black dog coming at you or something,"

"If it was a black dog, why would I be kicking it?" Sam asked. "Wouldn't I be-,"

"For the love of God, just kick the damn ball Sammy!" Dean said as he threw up his hands in frustration.

Sam looked from his brother down to the ball and then over to the goal. He chewed on his lip for a moment until Dean spoke again.

"I'm not getting any younger here, dude," Dean prompted.

"Okay, okay!" Sam said before kicking it with all his might.

The brothers anxiously watched as it soared toward the goal. It didn't go in, but it was pretty close. Sam's eyebrows rose in surprise as he turned to his brother.

"All right!" Dean yelled as he slapped Sam on the back in congratulations.

Sam smiled and shook his head in agreement before running to get the ball to try again.

"I said it's your turn, Sammy!" Dean repeated, his mouth full of peanuts.

Sam looked at his brother for a moment before turning back to the dart board. He threw it with a shaking arm, and missed the board entirely.

"Fore!" Dean yelled with a laugh as he slammed his beer bottle down on the bar.

"I can't do this," Sam said as he grabbed his coat off of the floor and turned to leave.

"What? Wait! We're having fun here, aren't we?" Dean asked, confused. "Can't you take a joke? I mean that was a pretty bad shot, you got to at least admit that!" Dean continued before reaching for another large handful of peanuts.

"I'm going back to the motel," Sam said without turning back around.

Sam rushed out of the dive bar and across the street to their latest motel, the cold air like a sobering slap to his face. He fumbled with the keys, tears blurring his vision and alcohol shaking his hands. He finally succeeded in unlocking the door. After throwing it open, he rushed to the open closet. He grabbed a small box out of one of the duffle bags and stumbled over to the closest queen bed. Kneeling onto the floor, he spread the contents of the box across the obnoxious, flower patterned bedspread. He scanned the precious photos of the smiling faces of his mom, dad, and Jessica until he spotted one with a young Dean. He picked it up to study it more closely. In less that a year, Dean too would join his other loved ones in death, relegated to becoming a memory and a two dimensional face in a photo. Tonight would be one of those memories. He didn't want it to be one of their last. He didn't want Dean to die. He didn't want to be alone.

"Why do you torture yourself, Sammy?" Dean asked quietly from the doorway before shutting the door behind him.

Sam quickly brushed the tears away as Dean swept the photos back into their box with one swift motion.

" can you just pretend that this isn't happening?" Sam asked as he stood and turned around.

"This again?" Dean asked with a sigh as he shoved the box back into the duffle bag. "God, I almost forgot how depressed you get when you're drunk."

"You can't just expect me to play along with this...with this fantasy of yours?" Sam asked, tears coming to his eyes again.

"Fantasy, Sam? Where did this all come from? It was just a game of darts! What, we're not allowed to have any fun anymore?" Dean asked.

"You're going to die in less than a year, Dean!" Sam yelled.

"Thanks for the news flash!" Dean yelled back as he made a dramatic motion of slapping his palm on his forehead. "So you really want me to stop living life until then? Curl up in the corner and cry about it? I'm not going to do that! I'm going to enjoy every last minute of it!"

"Well, I can't do it! I'm not just going to sit back and do nothing!" Sam argued.

"I told you a million times, Sammy! If we try to do anything to undo the crossroads deal, you'll drop dead! That's something that I can't do! What's done is done! Just let it be!" Dean insisted.

"No! What's done is NOT done! Ruby said-!" Sam began to explain.

"Not again with this demon chic!" Dean exclaimed.

"Is it so hard to believe that she may have a way to save you and maybe even to end the war? She has a knife that can kill demons! Something that even Bobby has never seen! Who knows what else she can show us!" Sam reminded him.

"Demons will say anything to get what they want. You know that! I'm not letting you drink so much anymore, little brother. You never could hold your liquor." Dean said.

"I just want to talk to her, Dean. Can't we just talk to her? Please!" Sam begged.

"You're drunk. Everything will be better in the morning," Dean said as he walked over to his brother and took his arm to pull him over to the bed.

"I AM NOT DRUNK!" Sam yelled as he violently pulled away.

"Only people who ARE drunk yell that they are NOT drunk!" Dean yelled back.

Sam angrily stared at Dean for a moment before grabbing his duffle bag off of the table and then stomping over to the dresser.

"What the hell do you think you are doing?" Dean asked as Sam yanked his clothes out of one of the drawers and shoved them inside.

He continued speaking when Sam didn't answer.

"Come on, Sam. You're mad, I get it. But let's just go to bed and-,"

"I'm leaving," Sam said after his zipped up his bag.

"What?" Dean asked, shock preventing him from uttering any further sentences.

"I'm going to find Ruby to get some answers," Sam explained defiantly as he walked toward the door with his bag in hand.

"Forget it! We don't need her and besides, we really have to be careful now! You can't just go strolling around wherever and whenever you want! Those two goons of Gordon's, uh, what are their names? Creedy and Cooper? They want you dead! Or did you forget that?" Dean asked..

Sam paused after he opened the motel door, and turned back around

"Then I'll see you in hell," Sam said with finality.

"For crying out loud! STOP with these dramatics, will you?" Dean yelled as he grabbed the bag out of Sam's hand.

"Give it back!" Sam yelled as he lunged for it.

Dean pulled it out of his reach just in time to send Sam stumbling to the floor.

"You okay?" Dean asked, remembering Sam's shoulder wound, as he watched him get back onto his feet, looking a bit more green with the effort.

"I'm FINE! But this conversation is NOT OVER!" Sam yelled as he stormed into the bathroom and slammed the door.

Dean sat down on the bed, exhausted. Cripes, it was just a game of darts, Dean thought again as he listened to Sam praying to the porcelain god. He agreed that they would have to have one hell of a conversation in the morning when they were both a hell of a lot more sober.

Ruby turned away from the small opening in the drapes of the Winchesters' motel room window and smiled as the muffled yelling ceased. It was finally happening. It was only a matter of time before Sam and Dean understood what she already knew. When Sam died and Dean brought him back to life, the brothers' lives diverged from each other onto very different roads. She and Sam were the two that shared a path now. Her eyes flashed black as she turned to leave. She had no doubt that she would be seeing Sam again very, very soon.

Thanks for reading this chapter while I procrastinate writing for my other stories. Season three opens the door to so many interesting stories for Sam and Dean, doesn't it? (I may do more chapters if there is interest.)