This is a consolation piece I wrote myself after watching 'Dream a little Dream'. I needed some closure on Dean's deal so they can go back to doing what they do best - kicking Supernatural A S S! Thanks Alaina for the beta - you are a gem!!!

Spoilers for the Third Season!

Breach of Contract

The large black car slowly rumbled down the dirt road towards the intersection. Dean Winchester kept his eyes firmly fixed out the front windshield, his knuckles white from their grip on the steeling wheel. Beside him, his younger brother stared out the side window, his gaze unblinking, his face blank. This was the end. Twelve months was up.

Behind them a beat up old Dodge charger kept a respectful distance. If they thought he was going to let them do this alone, they had another thing coming.

Dean appreciated Bobby's vigilance, uncertain what the next few hours held for either of them, but still determined that at least one of them would be okay. The older man would make sure his brother didn't do anything too stupid and that was something; cold comfort kicked in the face of blazing heat. Oh God, he didn't want to do this...

Casting a glance at Sam, Dean sighed. He didn't regret the deal but still –

Sam turned towards him.

Dean looked away.

But still he wished there was a way out. For both of them.

"Dean…" his younger brother's voice was thick with emotion and it was almost his undoing.

"Sam," How could he walk away when his brother sounded like that? "Don't." There was nothing the younger hunter needed to say that Dean didn't already know. Love ya too, bro…

Slowly he eased his foot off the gas trying not to think that this would be the last time he drove his baby, or that the next time someone's foot hit the gas, it would be Sam's.

Behind them, the Charger pulled over and stopped. Dean didn't have to look to feel Bobby's intense gaze on them.

The Impala stopped.

For a few minutes neither young man moved. Sam shifted but didn't open his door yet. Dean now regretted not taking off in the middle of the night. He was no good at good-byes, and especially not saying good-bye to Sam. He didn't know how.

"Lisa. That was her name wasn't it?" the young hunter kept his eyes out the side window and Dean wondered what he saw. "Ben's mother. She was in your dream."

He tried to shrug it off but his brother didn't let him. "It's okay to want normal, Dean. It isn't the dirty word you and Dad wanted me to think it was…" There was no anger in the younger man's voice, just resignation and sadness. So much sadness.

Dean swallowed hard, suddenly finding it painful to breathe. He was about to die.

Sam exhaled loudly, offered him a wobbly smile and then pushed open the door. "Just for the record," his brother's hazel eyes burned with conviction, "I'll never stop trying." Then Sam stepped out of the car, straightened up to his full height, squared his shoulders and cast his shadow across the crossroads. And Dean had never felt more proud of the kid.

That's my little bro…

A single tear betrayed him. He was going to miss Sam.

Patting the dashboard fondly, Dean picked the music for the last time and wished he could see the look on his brother's face when Sam started the Impala and Johnny Cash blasted out of the stereo. John Winchester would be smiling.

"Take good care of him," he whispered to the old car and then got out. It was time to go.

Bobby had wondered if they were ever going to leave the car. Not that he could blame them if they didn't. He certainly hadn't wanted this day to come any more than either of those boys and his heart broke for them. And for himself.

They were his boys now, but before the day was out, he'd have lost one and would have to fight to keep the other.

As he watched the Winchesters finally leave the car, Sam first, oddly enough, he sniffed loudly and absently wiped his nose with his coat sleeve. Bobby had already said his good-bye. But even as he watched, his mind desperately searched for some last minute way to save Dean.

There had to be a way. There had to be something they were missing. But between himself and Sam – and more recently Dean himself – they'd tried everything, coming up with nothing that would save Dean without risking Sam. And that was still something the protective older brother wouldn't chance, regardless of how desperate he had become to get out of the deal.

So here they were mere months later, saying good-bye.

Bobby watched as the two brothers stood side by side on the dirt road, their shoulders barely brushing and his chest burned. This just wasn't fair. It wasn't right! They didn't deserve this. And neither did he.

The demon materialized in the middle of the crossroads and Bobby immediately tensed having no idea how this was going to go down. Instinctively he reached for his gun and cursed Bela. Damn bitch. They should have still had the Colt. It wouldn't get Dean out of his deal but it would sure as hell make sure the demon didn't try for a twofer. Sam wasn't protected. And then Dean stepped between the two and Bobby smiled. Yeah, actually, the kid was.

"Sam," Dean growled low in his throat when the demon was suddenly in front of them. He didn't want his brother doing something stupid.

"Dean," Sam hissed back. The older hunter rolled his eyes and stepped forward. This was about him.

"I'm ready."

The demon, a beautiful blond this time, smiled at him. Her voice was smooth as silk and just about as sexy when she spoke; Dean wanted to gag. "Oh tut, tut, Deanie, what's the big hurry?" her stolen blue eyes roved over his shoulder and she smirked at Sam. "I can see why'd you want him back…" Her smile turned predatory. "He's quite a treat."

Dean blocked her view. His eyes were as hard as his face. "This isn't about him, bitch-"

"Of course it is, honey," the demon laughed. "It's always about Sam, isn't it?"

Behind him, Dean heard his brother suck in a quick breath but before he could say anything else, Sam suddenly laughed out loud, "Son of a bitch! That's it! That's it!"

"What's it?" the pretty demon didn't sound so happy anymore. In fact, she sounded wary. As if –

Dean whirled around to face his brother. As if, Sam had found a way to break the deal. A loophole.

"You can't have him," Sam gloated, pressing himself forward past his brother. "You guys broke the contract. You never held up your end of the bargain!"

"What are you talking about?" little miss demon demanded.

Was that a trace of uncertainty in her voice?

Dean's heart started to pound. Was it possible? Was there a way out?

Sam continued, his face shining in gloating triumph, "Breach of contract, bitch. You were supposed to give Dean back his little brother. You were supposed to bring 'Sam' back from the dead – but that's not exactly what you did was it?" Cold fear leeched all the warmth from Dean's body. What was Sam saying?

"You're crazy," the demon scoffed but the older Winchester ignored her; he was totally fixed on his brother. The yellow eyed demon's words came back to haunt –

'How sure are you that what you brought back was 100 Sammy?'

"Yes you brought me back, but it's not pure me, is it?" Something dark flickered behind Sam's expressive gaze, "You brought me back wrong and because of that, you can't have him! The deal is null and void."

If Dean's knees hadn't locked, he'd have been sitting on his ass.

"C'mon, bro," Sam grasped his arm, "let's go."

The demon opened her mouth to say something but then just clamped it shut. "This isn't over yet, boys!" she hissed. "When we're done with you, you'll wish you'd only have gone to hell!" And then she was just gone.

Dean resisted. He yanked his arm free. "What the fuck?" his eyes narrowed, "You aren't my brother?"

Sam sighed, his shoulders sagging with sudden exhaustion. He gave Dean a weak smile. "Of course it's me but-" he shrugged his shoulders. "It's hard to explain." He started to leave. It was Dean's turn to grab his arm.

"Try." He left no room for argument as his insides churned sickly. Not his Sammy? Although, he had to admit it helped explain some things.

"I'm not possessed," Sam felt the need to clear up immediately, "but it's not all me either. It's like I have a – I dunno – a something inside me that wasn't there before… like a presence or something, or maybe an influence?"

"But you're not possessed?" Dean let go of his brother's arm. He shook his head and frowned. "I'm not sure I understand."

The fond look the younger man gave him made it impossible to believe that this wasn't his brother. "Told you it was hard to explain."

"Sam," Dean was too tired and emotionally drained for this conversation.

"Dean, I don't know how else to explain it!" the exasperation in the kid's voice almost made the older hunter smirk. Oh yeah, this was his Sammy. "All I know is there's something different – I feel different. It's like there's something that they," he tipped his head towards where the demon had disappeared, "put here…" He lowered his gaze and admitted quietly, "and I don't like it." When Sam raised his head again, the amount of anguish on his face was Dean's undoing. "I just want to be me again… Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester's pain in the ass little brother. That's all."

Dean glanced away for a moment. He chewed his lip and stared past his own car towards where Bobby was waiting, no doubt confused over what he was seeing. He absently wondered how long the older man would wait before his curiosity got the better of him. Turning back to Sam, Dean cocked an eyebrow, "Don't you mean Sammy Winchester? And don't worry, dude, you most definitely are a pain in my ass, little brother." A brief but powerful dimpled smile was his reward and somehow that made things all right again. Nudging him to move, Dean added, "C'mon, let's go talk to Bobby. Maybe he'll have some ideas about this 'influence' of yours…" he grinned suddenly feeling lighter then he had in a year. "Of course if we say it's a bad influence he might try exorcising me!"

Bobby had no idea what happened. Only that words were exchanged and then an unhappy looking demon had left. He grinned, wide and relieved, Sam had done it. Somehow in the eleventh hour the kid had pulled a Dean-sized rabbit out of a hat. It must have been a loophole of some sort. A hell of a loophole.

The aging demon hunter just wished the kid had shared it with him before now - it could have spared a couple of years on his life! Didn't that boy realize he wasn't getting any younger?

Sam's laughter as the brothers strode towards him made Bobby smile. It was a sound he hadn't heard in a while and as infectious now as it had been when Sam was a child. His heart swelled with pride. "Good boy," he whispered as he slapped his baseball hat on his head and got out of the car to meet them.

"So?" he grunted, anxious for details.

"So," Dean drawled out, "turns out my little bro was a bit warped on the return trip and it was enough to get me out of the deal. Breach of contract or some other mumble jumble like that." He beamed. Somehow Bobby knew the younger hunter was oversimplifying but it was enough to make him re-appraise Sam. "So now that I'm off the hook, we got a new job-"

"What? Fighting a war wasn't enough for you?" the old man grumbled but there was no heat behind his words.

"Ahhh, don't be like that," Dean cajoled as he swung an arm around the older man's shoulder, "wait'll you hear – we get to exorcise Sammy again!"

Both Sam and Bobby's mouths fell open. "What?" "What?"

Dean's grin ate his face. "Just kidding." He swung his free arm around his brother, "We'll need to research first!"

Bobby stole another glance at the youngest Winchester but Sam wasn't looking at him; he was looking at his brother – drinking him in like water in the desert and the grizzled older hunter couldn't help but chuckle.

Yeah, these were his boys.

Now if only he could slap some sense into them… but first they needed to right whatever was 'wrong' with Sam.

There'd be no evil boys on his watch.

The End