Author's note: What happens when you can't decide how to end Dean's deal? You write 2 versions of it. This is Version one and the 2nd one is up too. Step Forward is what happens when Dean takes his fate into his own hands and Step Back will be what happens when Sam takes Dean's fate in his hands. 2 different stories on how Dean's deal will end. Each will be independent of each other so you can read both or either and still follow. Enjoy.

Step Forward

The racing hands of time ticked away on the cat clock as each eye movement reminded Dean that time was slipping away. That damned thing might as well be taunting him. Look at me take away your last day of life, it mocked. TICK TICK TICK. "Bobby! Could you find a creepier room? That clock is driving me bonkers!"

"Do I criticize your taste in decor? You can pick the motel the next time." Bobby placed a hand on Dean's shoulder, reassuring him. Dean breathed deeply and the breath was so emotionally charged a blind man could have read it from a state away. Yet, being with Sam and Bobby's did bring him a small sense of comfort. But, Bobby was wrong there would be no next time for him.

"Sam?" Dean questioned, watching his brother dash about looking thorough books and spouting theories every second or so.

"Hold on...here there's a legend of the Holy Grail..."

"No more, Sammy. This is it." Dean asked blankly.

"You can't give up."

"I'm not, but I learned when to be a realist from you. I don't want my last day to be like this." He crackled, but held onto his feelings. "I just...I just want to stop for a minute, share a beer with you and Bobby...then, hell, I don't know. Never thought about it ending like this. Just promise me you'll be safe."

"And what about you?"

"I made my choice and no matter how much it pains me... no matter how much I want to fight on... it was worth it."

"It wasn't!"

"Sam..." He cracked harder and his eyes felt glassy, but Dean refused to cry. He didn't know how to say goodbye now, when he never wanted to say it at all.

"Kid, we're not going to give up on you. EVER!"

"I know...and I... I." His voice lost its volume. Glancing at Bobby, he frowned. "Just have a beer with me... JUST one, then back to it...I swear."

Bobby nodded and Dean walked over to the fridge. When Dean had turned from them, Bobby nudged Sam and whispered. "Stop for a second. He needs it. Boys about to jump out of his skin."

"I..."

"We'll fix this I swear."

Dean strutted back with three open beers in his hand. "Here we go...Damn, I wish I had something profound to say, but...to family."

Bobby nodded. "Sounds pretty profound to me."

"Yeah, it does." Sam offered.

Then it was quiet. Three men stared down into beer; all refusing to admit time was running out in less than 24 hours. It was strange that most people wish for one more moment to say things to love ones after they pass, but today with that chance before them all, none of them could make the words seem right.

Dean didn't need them to comfort him. There was no comfort where he was going. But, having them here was the best thing he could ask for. He watched as they sucked down half of the beer. Part of him wanted to stop them and tell them anything. "Bobby? Sam? No matter what...I want you to know what I do today is meant to...show you..."

"We know." Sam smiled cautiously while Bobby tapped Dean's shoulder.

But, they didn't know. Dean was trying to say goodbye, but he was also trying to apologize for the thought rolling in his head and the actions he was about to take. He wasn't sure when it sneaked into his mind. Perhaps it had always been there. Perhaps it was his nature to not go quietly. Perhaps it was his final run in with Bela when he got the colt back. Perhaps it was just blind stupidity. Yet, here it was and it was the best choice he had.

He smiled as Sam finished his beer first. Bobby still nursed his, watching Dean more than the bottle in his hand. "What are you up to, boy? You got this look in your eyes."

"Sorry... just thinking..." That was the truth. He was thinking of how Sam reacted after the damn trickster made his brother watch him die again and again. The look in Sam's eyes haunted him for days on end. The damn demon might as well have destroyed his brother's soul. Dean wondered if that was when he thought of this scheme.

Bobby wobbled. "Whoa, damn, thought I could hold liquor better than this. Guess we do need some breakfast after all. You boys in?" Bobby stood and fell flat on his face, out cold.

"Bobby!" Sam slurred, feeling strangely. He moved his legs to get to his friend, but failed when he slumped to his knees. "Dean, what did you do? Ww...What..." Sam toppled over, landing on his side, his eyes closed tightly.

"Sorry, Sam. Sorry, Bobby. I can't let you watch me die." He knew they wouldn't suspect a roofie in the beer, just as he knew no demon or hunter would ever consider this crazy plan. If hell wanted him, they were about to get him. But, he wasn't waiting like a coward.

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Dean jumped in the Impala driving without thought. Countless hours ticked by with each mile, just as annoying as the clock was earlier. The long miles racked up, but he finally reached his destination with some time to spare. He stopped just before the first gravestone, and parked, listening to the engine hum like a forgotten lullaby. He sunk into the seat, thinking of the way the leather fit his body. Finally, he turned off the engine and exited the car. When he went to the trunk to retrieve a can of paint and the colt, he stopped briefly. Digging into his pocket, he found his cell and called Sam.

"Hey, the car… it's…it's at the Devils Gate…Sam…..well, Sam….I…..I love ya… that's all…. Hope it is enough….. DAMN, I'll miss you. Hey, don't let me become… " He stopped, choking up. He couldn't bring himself to say, kill me if I come back a demon. Instead, he hung up and threw the phone in the trunk, gathering the other items and walking towards what looked like an ordinary crypt, but was far more.

He felt a strange pride fill him as he spied the devil's gate for the second time in his life. At least he had righted one wrong in this place and watched that yellow eyed bastard die. He hoped it he could make it two. Pressing the neon orange spray paint to life, he fashioned a devil's trap outside of the gate. Nothing was getting out, only in…. namely him. If hell wanted him so bad, he was marching in fighting. He looked down at the colt once before he went to open his portal into hell.