Title: Either Way

Author: Stacee Phelps

Disclaimer: 'Supernatural' does not belong to me and I am not getting paid for writing this. Any and all privileges go to the CW and Eric Kripke. Damn they're lucky!

Author's Notes: Man, was 'Mystery Spot' a GREAT episode or WHAT?!!!!! I loved how funny it was and yet held the PERFECT amount of angst! Go 'Supernatural' and can't wait for next week's!

Timeline: Post 'Mystery Spot'

SN

He knew something bad had happened. That it was more than some dream. No dream would shake Sam up as much as this one had. And yet, three days after the whole business with the Trickster, Sam Winchester still wasn't talking about it. And things were different, changed somehow. The younger man was undoubtedly quieter and barely smiled at any of Dean's jokes. He nodded at anything Dean said, and sometimes, the older brother could feel Sam's eyes on him throughout the day. Things had definitely happened.

They were still on the road after the fiasco with the demi-god and Dean was uneasy behind the wheel despite his music. Glancing over at his brother many times and watching him, Dean couldn't stand Sam's silent demeanor any longer.

Not even thinking about whether or not the road was empty (which it was, thankfully), Dean quickly turned the wheel and pulled off into a small dirt path made by previous farmers. Sam looked up from the window he had been staring out of, but did not react any other way.

Dean pulled the keys roughly out of the ignition and turned to his brother. Seeing the way that Sam's eyes held no emotion and that the younger man's face was completely withdrawn, Dean about snapped in anger right there.

"What the hell is going on, Sam? Huh? Why so dismal and gloomy all of a sudden?" his harsh tone invoked no reaction and he nearly blinked in surprise. "Sammy, what's going on? What aren't you telling me?"

Sam's eyes quickly flitted to look through the windshield and then just as fast moved back to lock gazes with his big brother.

"I told you, nothing else. I guess everything with the Trickster just messed me up more than we thought."

Dean stared at Sam and then slowly nodded his head. "Yeah, I guess watching me die over and over again would do that to you. Reasonable enough. But, I know something else happened, Sam, I'm not an idiot. Remember the thing with Gordon? How you told me you know me better than anyone else in the entire world? Well, that's a two way street, pal, and I know that you're hiding something from me. Now I want to know what."

Sam's jaw tightened imperceptibly and his lips moved up. Other than that, there was no reaction from the younger Winchester. About fed up and hitting the steering wheel, Dean tightened his voice and his resolve as he continued his questioning.

"I don't remember everything that happened, Sam, so that obviously means that I missed something that you're not telling me. And I will be damned if I won't get you to tell me what it is…"

"You're damned anyway, if you haven't forgotten!" Sam's suddenly angry voice cut him off and Dean sat back in his seat, surprised at the other's outburst. But, it seemed as if that was it. Sam's jaw screwed back shut and he continued looking past Dean's shoulder.

"What else happened, Sammy? Did the Trickster do something, say anything that would set you off? Cause he doesn't know anything about what's going on. Whatever he told you, you know you can't believe him. Right?"

Sam still did not respond. Dean shook his head and sat right in the driver seat.

"I know that it's tough seeing your brother die, Sam. I unfortunately know that better than anyone else, but you can't let…"

"No, Dean, this is worse than what happened at Cold Oak! You didn't have to watch me die again, and again, and again, and AGAIN! You didn't feel as if everything you did was in vain! You didn't burn things down, tear them apart, and then watch everything happen anyway! And you know what, Dean, I was only dead for twenty-four hours, not…"

But Sam's outburst again drifted off, and he looked through the windshield. Dean stared at him and could feel the slow agony burning at him as it obviously was at Sam.

Gentling his voice and softening his features, Dean asked again. "What happened, Sammy?"

Sam, it seemed, had also had enough of the asking. Tears began to prick at his eyes and he slowly lifted a hand to his face in amazement. Clearing his throat against the sudden lump that was there, Sam continued to look out the front window as tears started to stream down his face.

"It was Wednesday and we were getting ready to leave. You were down at the Impala getting things packed. I don't really know who shot you, but I came running down the stairs and you were laying on the ground and you were bleeding. You died before I even got there, Dean. And, then…" he had to stop and clear his throat again, moving his face against the emotions he had suppressed, for him, for three months.

"You died, and I couldn't wake up. I couldn't wake up, Dean. It was all so real! And they took you away and… for three months I was alone. I didn't call Bobby, I wouldn't answer his calls, I hunted everything by myself. If I got injured, I would just get a motel room and handle it myself. I hunted things on the side but really I was hunting for the Trickster. And I couldn't find him.

"Finally, Bobby called me and told me he knew where it was. It was all something planned by the Trickster and Dean… God, I…" Sam's voice broke off and he suddenly folded up on himself. Dean, alarmed, immediately surged forward to wrap his arms around his baby brother.

"Sam…"

"You were dead for three months, Dean, and I fell apart." Sobs started to shake Sam's tall frame and he turned to lay his head on his brother's shoulder. "I was a robot. I was finally everything Dad had tried to train us to be. I made my bed every morning, I ate automatically, I hunted on auto-pilot, and I didn't talk or grieve. I was a complete robot, Dean."

Dean tightened his arms around his brother and shook his head. Resting his chin on his baby brother's shaggy hair, he just sat there a moment.

"That's why you hugged me."

Sam gave a wet chuckle. "You did the same thing to me when I came back. It doesn't count as a chick-flick moment when you did it first."

Dean smiled. "I guess we can let this one slide."

Sam's faint smile slipped away and he tried to stop himself from tightly clinging to his big brother. "The Trickster said he did it because he was trying to show me how useless our sacrificing ourselves for each other was. Dean, now that I've seen what happens when you die, I don't think I could stop looking for a way out of the deal. I…I can't lose you, Dean, I just can't."

Closing his eyes in shared grief, Dean cleared his throat and squeezed Sam tightly to him one last time before letting go.

"Sam, we both know that there might not be a way out of the deal. But, I guess I'm not so against you trying to find a way. Either way, Sam, I think…"

Sam pulled back and brushed at his eyes. "I know, Dean, either way."

The two brothers smiled at each other and turned away to recover themselves. Their unspoken agreement hung between them just as easily as the ever present deal and one's heartbroken plea to just have his brother back.

'Either way, we go together.'

The End

Okay, this was seriously some poorly written venting after 'Mystery Spot'. That episode was AMAZING and I seriously can't wait to see what happens now. I swear that the writers (or whoever) got the idea for Sam after Dean's death from fan fic. Else, everyone thinks alike on how emotionally dead the youngest Winchester is going to be after Dean dies. But, wow. That was ONE GREAT episode! Definitely worth the wait!

Stacee Phelps