Mind Games

(This story is the third and final part of my Burden Series. The first story in the series is Burden and the second is Bring Me to Life. As with the other stories, it takes place in my version of season three, following where the show left off after the Season Two finale. Please read the other stories first. I own nothing related to CW or Supernatural and write for enjoyment only.)

Then (excerpt from the end of Bring Me to Life)…

"Thank you for not giving up on my daughter," Ellen said again.

"I should tell you that I don't have much of a plan," Sam confessed with a small smile.

"Hey, people like us don't need much of a plan to get the job done," Ellen said, smiling now too. "Tell me what you got."

"We head for the Atlantic City boardwalk, about a nineteen hour drive from here. We stop as little as we can along the way. Look to find the psychic Gypsy. I think she'll be able to tell us about my mother. Hopefully, it will give us a lead on Jo. I do know one thing, Ellen. This has to end with me. My mom's spirit told me so, but I knew it already. When we find Jo, you get her out without looking back, you hear me?" Sam said.

Ellen, smile gone now, nodded. She turned on the ignition, but did not yet put it in drive. She had one more thing to say to Sam.

"Dean didn't mean what he said, Sam," Ellen said quietly...

After he felt at least calm enough to talk without yelling or hitting something, Dean sped back into Missouri's driveway and screeched the Impala to a halt. He refused to dwell on the fact that Ellen's truck was gone from the curb. Dean strode into the house and was surprised to see Bobby and Missouri waiting for him in the living room. Bobby stood and held out Dean's packed green duffle bag. Dean looked at it, confused.

"Go. I can handle the exorcism," Bobby said as he continued to hold out the bag to him...


Chapter One: In My Arms

"Before all of this happened, he would have stopped my punch! You're weak now, Sam! You're NOT physically OR mentally ready for ANY of this! If you're not my problem anymore, then you DO have a problem. You continue to go down this road, and we're done. You hear me? DONE! I can't watch you die again. I just can't!" Dean yelled, tears glistening in his eyes.

"What the hell?" Ellen's weary voice mumbled, piercing Sam's thoughts. Suddenly aware of loud honking coming from somewhere behind them, Sam looked into the mirror.

"It's my brother!" Sam exclaimed in disbelief, recognizing the Impala's headlights. He was ecstatic until the nauseating anxiety set in a moment later. It was unlikely that Dean had followed them to apologize or to offer his assistance. Dean might just try to kidnap him back to Missouri's or worse, make good on his threat to kill Ellen. Sam didn't intend on letting Dean do either.

"I'll pull over," Ellen said as she too glanced into the mirror before her eyes darted back to the road.

"No, don't. He's made his choice and I've made mine," Sam replied. Sam was glad that his voice did not betray the real reasons he didn't want her to stop.

"Honey, I gotta pull over. We both know your brother and he is going to make us to stop one way or the other and I can't afford another truck," she said as she pulled over to the side of the road and turned off the ignition. Sam didn't turn around, but heard the Impala rumble to a stop behind them.

"Well, time to face the music," Ellen said with a hint of trepidation before she turned and put her hand on the door handle.

"I'll go. You wait here," Sam instructed. "And if it gets bad, you take off, okay?"

"Whatever you say. This is your show," Ellen said as she took her hand off of the handle and settled back into her seat. "Good luck."

Sam nodded and climbed out of the truck. He shut the door behind him and began to walk slowly toward the Impala. He felt like throwing up. Something he never thought he would feel in anticipation of talking to his brother. But then again, nothing had been normal lately. Sam stopped walking a safe distance away from his brother's black car and readied himself for whatever was going to happen next. The area around Sam was bright from the Impala's headlights, allowing him to see Dean charging toward him. A moment later Dean stopped suddenly about ten feet away, his expression switching from one of determination to one of confusion.

"Sam," Dean said quietly. "You look…you look scared of me or something. You know I wouldn't-."

"Wouldn't what, Dean? Threaten to kill Ellen? Punch me? Say that you're DONE with me? I don't know WHAT to think about you right now!" Sam shouted.

When Dean took two steps closer, Sam immediately took two steps back and shot out his right hand, palm out.

"Sammy," Dean said. "What are you-?"

"BACK OFF!" Sam yelled, a mix of emotions surging through his body now. "You aren't going to touch me or Ellen!"

"Okay, okay. Backing off," Dean said as held up his hands and took a few steps back. "I didn't come to hurt anybody! I just want you listen to me for a minute!"

"NO! I've heard you say ENOUGH tonight!" Sam yelled. "Just get out of here and leave us alone! Nothing you have to say will change my mind!"

"Look, I didn't mean for any of this to happen! Things have just gotten so out of hand lately!" Dean explained in frustration. "I'm sorry for hitting you and I'm sorry about what I said before! I DIDN'T mean it! Just hear me out!"

"No. NO! You're just wasting my time and I have to stay focused on the goal!" Sam exclaimed.

"What goal? To save the world? Don't you need a cheerleader for that?" Dean yelled back. "I mean Ellen's pretty for an older chick, but-."

"You shut up! You don't get to say your sarcastic jokes or give your opinion anymore, Dean, because I'm done with you!" Sam declared.

"Why can't you understand that I'm just trying to protect you?" Dean said finally.

"I could ask you the same question, Dean. Now, please just go away. I can't... take...anymore of this," Sam said with tears in his eyes, the whole conversation only adding to already physically and emotionally drained state. He turned to make the short walk back to Ellen's truck.

Dean was quiet for a moment as he watched his brother's retreating back, recognizing that he had to choose his next words to Sam wisely or they could be his last for a very long time. Maybe forever.

"Ask me again," Dean said quietly.

"Ask you what?" Sam asked angrily, his hand paused over the door handle.

"To help you," Dean answered.

"What?" Sam asked in disbelief as he turned back around to face his brother.

"Sammy, I don't want you to fear me and I certainly don't want you to hate me. I really am sorry for what I said and did tonight to you and everybody else, but I was desperate! I..I already held you in my arms twice...twice as you died. Do you know what that's like?" Dean asked as a single tear rolled down his cheek.

Sam studied his brother's face and saw the genuine emotion in it and shook his head no.

"I just wanted to keep you safe. The same thing that I have wanted for as long as I can remember. It's an instinct that I can't shut off, don't want to shut off. So, if you really are going through with this plan of yours, then I guess I have no choice. Please...ask me again," Dean said.

"Will you help us?" Sam asked a moment later.

"Yes," Dean answered quickly.

Sam nodded his head and after taking the remaining steps toward his big brother, held out his hand to shake Dean's. Dean pulled him into a hug instead. It was a rare gesture for the older Winchester, and Sam recognized that. Cherished it. He had his brother back.

"I hope that I never find out what that's like," Sam said. "Glad to have you in my corner again."

"What you should be glad about is my salvaging your rep by saving you from being seen driving around in that scrap heap Ellen calls a truck, unless that's more your style," Dean said with a smile as they pulled apart.

Sam laughed and shook his head no.

"I'll go tell Ellen that everything's okay and that we'll follow her. You're lucky you finally saw the light, 'cause Ellen and I so could have taken you," Sam joked.

Dean smiled again too, but it quickly left his face when Sam turned away from him and back to the truck. Dean hoped that they all weren't making a horrible mistake. Oh well, Dean resigned, at least they'd be making it together. And maybe, just maybe, they would save the human race after all.

"Guess we're off to see the wizard," Dean muttered as he got back into the Impala.

Sorry that this chapter was short. Thanks for reading and reviewing and I hope you check back later for the next chapter! Up next: Gypsy.