Author's Note:

First of all, muchas gracias to Glittergoddess for being so damn awesome and helping me make this ficcy postable. Ok, so from the second that I read the episode summary for Mystery Spot...I had a theory(And still do) So here it is in a brief little oneshot of it, with a few extra goodies on the side. Enjoy; )

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Dean was hardly able to keep on a smile for Sam after they left Broward County. The look on Sam's face when he woke up that Wednesday continued on into Thursday and Friday and Dean expected that it would stick around for awhile. He didn't know how much more he could take of it. Dean only had a small amount of information about the supposed time-loop that Sam claimed to have been in, but it was enough for him to figure out who was behind it all...and he knew damn well it wasn't just the Trickster. Dean had smiled, acted oblivious and pretended that he had forgotten all about the going ons of the Tuesday just a few days before. He was waiting until the right opportunity presented itself, and that moment came on Friday. Dean had planned to go out to "get some dinner." It was believable, unsuspecting and totally innocent; the perfect cover. Dean had almost gotten away with it and was heading for the door before Sam urgently dismissed the idea and said that he'd get them dinner himself. Dean would have insisted, but realized that Sam going instead of him did not mess with anything he had planned to do; it still gave him the time away from Sam.

The moment Sam disappeared out the door, Dean's face darkened and he ripped his cell phone from his back pocket. He punched the desired number in and paced until the ringing ceased and a voice answered. A short conversation later, filled only with a single harsh, question from Dean and a few other monosyllabic words in response to the voice on the other end, Dean yanked on his jacket, scribbled a concise yet believable note for Sam and went out the door. A short cab ride later brought Dean to the hotel specified in the phone call he had just made.

He walked quickly down the second-floor hallway, barely containing the angry emotions that boiled through his veins. His eyes took in the room numbers as he rushed past them. 3, 5, 7. He stopped at the door he was looking for and went in without knocking.

"What did you do?!"

The door slammed behind him and he advanced towards the woman who sat at the far side of the table provided by the hotel. The woman frowned and regarded Dean with a bored air mixed with a mock innocence that was not at all believable.

"You know, when you said 'We need to talk' I wasn't aware that that meant you throwing a bitch fit."

Dean's eyes flashed at the woman. His hands clenched at his sides and he repeated his question.

"What.did.you.do?"

The woman sighed loudly and looked down. She brushed some non-existent dust off her jean-clad thigh before lifting her gaze again.

"You already caught the culprit red-handed. What makes you think I had anything to do with it?"

Dean stopped the pacing he had taken up and glared at the young blond.

"And the Trickster just happened to know we were in town, right? No one tipped him off, offered him the chance for a few revenge pranks? The way he talked, he made it sound like he was trying to teach Sam a lesson. The Trickster couldn't give half a rat's ass about Sam. Come on! You think I'm stupid?"

A smirk turned up the corner of the woman's lips and she let the silence serve as her response. Dean rolled his eyes and rubbed a hand over his face.

"I don't buy it. Not for a second. You were behind all of this, admit it."

The woman paused a moment and raised her chin, surveying Dean carefully.

"I told you Sam needed to be prepared. You said you'd help me. Something here not making a whole lot of sense to you, princess?" Ruby said finally.

Dean snorted out the type of laugh that holds no amusement at all. He walked slowly over to where the demon was sitting and put his hands firmly on the table, resting forward against the heel of his palms to lean closer.

"What'd you do, huh? Bribe the Trickster? A little..." Dean made a rocking motion with his hand. "...special reward to get him to do what you wanted?"

Ruby chuckled out of the side of her mouth. "Oh please. Not all of us use the same-" She made quotation marks with her fingers "-'strategy' to get what we want, Dean."

Dean laughed shallowly and straightened back up. He swept his hands under his jacket and perched them on his hips, turning away from the possessed as he did so.

"Sam said that he was stuck in a time-loop..." He said to the wall opposite of him.

"That's right." Ruby offered when Dean paused.

"The Trickster said he killed me."

Ruby nodded slowly and spoke as if trying to coax the correct answer from a fourth grader at a spelling bee.

"Uh huh..."

Ruby's condescension and levity towards a subject that Dean regarded as very serious fanned the angry fire within him and he turned back to face her.

"That's your idea of preparing him? Slow torture? Wearing him down little by little?"

Ruby crossed her arms and shrugged. Her eyebrows raised to add to her overall nonchalant way of holding herself.

"He needed a taste of what life is going to be like without you...I gave him a whole feast."

Dean moved to stand before Ruby again, using his advantage in height as some possible threat.

"You wanna run something like that by me first, before forcing my brother to watch me die over and over again?"

"It needed to be as realistic as possible. If you knew you were going to die, where's the element of surprise in that?"

"Sam was terrified!-"

"And you wonder why I didn't tell you."

Dean gave her a questioning look. Ruby laughed and shook her head.

"If I had told you what was going to happen, how Sam was going to react, and how it was going to tear that sweet little soul of his to pieces, you wouldn't have let me do it. With your stubborn ass you probably would have exorcised me on the spot."

"Don't be so sure that I won't! You can't help me, I don't like your idea of what's help to Sam, I'm running out of reasons not to send your scrawny ass back to hell."

Ruby pushed out of her chair and stalked the few paces around the table towards Dean.

"Don't you threaten me. I've saved you and your brother's pathetic lives a few times now, but I guess I'll just stop if I'm such a pain in your ass. I am trying to help Sam..."

Ruby scanned his face for a moment as if searching for the perfect last remark to land the final hit below the belt.

"...that's a hell of a lot more than you can say."

Dean's jaw clenched as pure hatred darkened his features. When he spoke again, his voice was low and even; the typical "You've pushed me too far" Dean Winchester tone.

"You know what? I am sick.and.tired of you telling me how bad of a brother I am. Last time I checked you weren't the one who's been there for Sam for that past twenty-four years, I am. You can't even begin to get it, so stop acting like you understand, that you've got us pegged, thinking that you have any kind of grasp on our situation."

Dean paused, mostly to let his point sink in, but also to take a breath and get his emotions under control.

"If you bring up how you think I'm not helping Sam one more time, I swear to God it'll be the last thing you ever say."

Dean waited for a response, but when Ruby just continued to gaze at him in her patented look of bored condescension, he took a step closer and continued.

"What are you playing at, huh? This whole black sheep of the underworld thing. It's not very believable. Why are you even here?"

Ruby opened her mouth to speak but Dean shook his head and put a hand up to stop her.

"Yeah yeah, the whole 'I'm different from them' sob story, you're breakin' my heart. There's another reason why you're hanging around."

He stared heavily at Ruby, as if an explanation was hidden somewhere in her eyes. But he found nothing, and Ruby said equally as much. Dean was done. He had said what he wanted and hopefully gotten his message across and now he was ready to get back to the motel before Sam got freaked out or became too suspicious of his "Went for a walk" note. He just needed to drive his final point home.

"I'm not gonna sugar-coat it for ya. I don't like or trust demons, and even with this supposed conscience of yours, you're no exception. You screw up once, and you'd better be damn sure I'm gonna be there."

Dean turned abruptly and stalked towards the door.

"If you think I'm such a pest, then why'd you stop Tammy from sending me back downstairs?" Ruby called, finally deciding to contribute to the conversation.

Dean turned with his hand on the door knob. He looked over the possessed girl with a look of disgust.

"I killed a demon that tried to kill Sam. That's it. Don't go flattering yourself, sweetheart. Thinking that I give a damn about what happens to you."

Dean paused for a beat. The corner of his mouth curved up in a very slight smirk. "That's how it is. How it's always been. Anyone or thing messes with Sam..." He looked at Ruby pointedly "...I kill it."

Ruby set her jaw and glared at him from under her eyebrows. Without another word, Dean turned away from the black eyes that stared at him and left the room. The door slammed behind him as he stomped down the hall. Dean thought he'd feel better after getting that all out of his system, but the anger within him remained. The only change was that fear, sorrow and regret had joined to form an emotional chasm deep inside him. He would do anything for Sam, it was true, but when he said he would help Sam prepare for the life awaiting him, hundreds of tragedy-laced Tuesdays wasn't exactly what Dean had in mind. It was cruel what Sam must have gone through. Dean couldn't imagine what it must have been like. Well, actually he could. Dean had gone through it himself, but only for one night. Sam had gone through it...well, who knows how many times. It wasn't right. Sam had already had to watch Dean nearly slip away twice previously to that Tuesday; that was more than any person should have to endure already. But Sam had actually watched Dean die. No almosts, no last minute solutions, Sam had had to live it over and over again thanks to the Trickster and Ruby. And without some kind of miracle, he'd have to watch it happen one more time in a couple of months.

Frustration blurred Dean's vision as he descended the stairs. Or at least that was what he was pretending it was. Yep, frustration was distorting his vision, that was it. He clutched at the knob on the railing at the bottom of the stairwell and stopped. He drew in deep breaths to try and calm himself, but soon found that the desperate need to sit down could not be shaken. Dean dropped down on the last step and dug the heel of his right palm into his eye. Perhaps if he couldn't see the tears, then that would mean that they weren't there and if he pressed hard enough he could squeeze away the thoughts rushing through his head. Dean suddenly found himself doubting how any of this could be real. Really, how could it be? How had it come to this? For many nights now, Dean found himself waking up and wondering if he had dreamed it all. That he'd look over and see Sam, not sitting at his computer, the light glowing off of it accentuating the dark circles under his eyes, but sleeping peacefully in the next bed or genuinely smiling and holding two cups of coffee. Dean often had those thoughts, because reality just seemed too crazy to be true. Crazy. Even for him.

Dean realized that he had brought most of it on himself, but he still found the mantra "It's not fair" floating through his mind. Because it wasn't fair. He didn't deserve what he had coming, and Sam definitely didn't deserve it either. Sam didn't deserve any of the bad things that had happened to him. He deserved to have the life that Dean had seen him in whilst under the Djinn's spell. He deserved to be happy. Dean suddenly realized that no matter how hard he pressed his palm into his eye that the tears still found their way around his hand and down his face. "Crying. In public. In the stairwell of a crap hotel. This is an all new low for you." Vibration and classic rock sprung to life in the pocket of his leather jacket. Dean startled a bit and quickly wiped at his face, as if the caller could see him through the phone.

"Yeah." Dean said shortly into the phone.

"Umm, hey..."

Even with the slightly worried edge and the obvious effort to not sound too clingy, Sam's voice managed to soothe Dean. He stood and wiped the back of his sleeve over his eyes.

"Hey, what's up?"

Dean enquired lamely.

"Nothing. Uh...I'm back. Got your note. A walk, huh?"

Dean could hear the incredulity in the question. He chuckled sheepishly.

"Yeah. Yeah, needed a little fresh air."

"Oh...ok."

Dean could hear the question coming, so he steered away the conversation before it could be asked.

"Yeah, but I think fresh air is over-rated. Could you come pick me up?"

"Yeah, sure."

The jingle of the Impala's keys came faintly through the phone followed by a door being opened and closed.

"Where are you at?"

Dean pushed open the door to the right of the flight of stairs and looked for the nearest building that wasn't the hotel.

"Uhh, on Tripton street uh..." Dean grimaced as he realized the name of the building he was about to indicate, knowing it was too late to back out and any place was better than the building in which Ruby resided.

"...at Granny's Antique Corner."

Silence.

"...Umm...ok then."

"Shut up, there was a hot chick inside."

The sound of the Impala starting up.

"Didn't know you worked the geriatric angle, Dean."

"Shut up."

"Just warning ya ahead of time, from personal experience, it's a sketchy department."

Dean laughed, feeling some of the tightness in his chest lifting. They both remained on the line. Even when a silence stretched over a long period of time, neither hung up. Dean got the feeling that Sam needed the connection just as much as he did. It may have been silly that other than the initial conversation almost no words were exchanged during the phone call, but that fact seemed to bother neither of the brothers. It was only when Sam confirmed that he saw the little shop outside which Dean stood and pulled up the Impala that the call was ended; an extra eight minutes charge on the monthly cell phone bill is a small price to pay for comfort.

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A Few More Notes:

Ok, so I'd like to just clarify that I don't hate Ruby and this is not an attack on her. I think she has great "Love To Hate" potential, and I really think that she was behind the whole Mystery Spot thing.

And for anyone reading my fic Reminiscence I am sooooooo sorry for lack of UDs. I know I said I'd write on my trip, but I had too much fun and I got home and forgot what I had planned for the next chapter. Writer's Block is the queen Constance...I hope ya'll will continue to be patient and not delete the story from your subscriptions list: ) I have not forgotten it and I'll try really hard this week to write one or more updates.

Thanks for reading! Hope ya'll liked my little EMO ramblings. Let me know.

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