"Go fish."

"You go fish."

Dean sighed and rolled his eyes. "No, doofus, that's how you play the game. I say 'go fish', you pick from the deck, and then I ask you if you've got any of the cards I want. Get it?"

"Yes," Sammy said. Then he shook his head.

Dean put his hand down against the floor and scooted closer. Sammy pulled his hands and cards back against his chest, scowling at Dean. "You're not s'posed to cheat," he declared with all the determination of a five year old. "An' you're cheating, Dean."

"What? I am not!"

"Are too!"

"Am not."

"Are-"

"Look, I'm trying to help you, you dingbat," Dean said, glaring at Sammy. Sammy glared right back at him. Right; name calling wasn't nice.

And it sure as hell wasn't going to get him anywhere with Sammy.

"Just let me see your cards, and I'll show you how to play," Dean coaxed, giving the sweet smile he saved for Colleen who sat next to him. She had the cutest grin and the prettiest hair-

Focusing.

Sammy still clutched his cards tight, giving Dean pursed lips. "You jus' wanna see my cards," Sammy insisted. "An' that's not fair."

Dean sighed and hung his head. "I swear to you on the Thundercats that I am not trying to cheat. I want you to learn how to play. Okay?" He glanced up at Sammy and added, "Do you trust me?"

The next thing Dean knew, the cards were being pushed in his directions. Sammy was gazing intently at him now, a small smile on his face. "Duh," he said, and Dean shook his head with a grin.

"Okay, now listen up, squirt. You've got a good hand, but just remember..."

Even as he explained, the grin stayed on his face over the silly little thing that meant so much more. Instant trust. Brother trust. No hesitating, nothing. He'd just given the cards over.

It was definitely a reason to smile.


Dean wasn't smiling now, even while the brief memory flashed through his head. Five little cards, handed over with the eagerest of smiles.

Too bad the gun now wasn't being handed over just as easily.

"-don't understand. You never did."

"Sam, I understand you better than you do, dude," Dean said, keeping his hands up in a non-threatening position. Sam had the gun pointed at Dean's heart, lips curled back in a snarl, eyes focused on Dean.

Dammit but Sam had been right. This hunt hadn't been a good idea. Not with Sam still recovering from being so sick. Not with Sam, who was so open to everything psychic these days, walking headfirst into the spell-trap laid by the sorceress.

The sorceress was dead, but Sam was still caught in her spell, making him dangerous and delusional. The gun was wavering now, though, and Sam's face was flushed. All good signs; the damn thing was wearing off. "C'mon, man, let me help you," Dean said in his softest tone. He moved his foot forward a fraction, and when Sam didn't pick up on it, Dean let himself smile a little. "You don't want to do this."

"I don't want to do any of this," Sam spat. "I'm floundering and you're more lost than I am and I...I..."

"You're tired, I know," Dean said soothingly. Another step forward. "I know you are; hand the gun over and we'll get some sleep, man."

The gun swayed alarmingly, but Sam was already squinting at him, flummoxed. "Dean?" he whispered. Dean stepped forward again, encouraged, and the gun swung right back up to aim right between his eyes. "Don't...I mean it..." Sam managed. His hand was shaking on the trigger, and his eyes were wide and wild.

Dean swallowed and reached out the last way he knew how to. "Sammy, it's me," he said quietly. "M'not gonna hurt you, I promise. I just want to take the gun and get you to bed." He slowly extended his right hand for the gun. "Do you trust me?" he asked.

A hesitation, and then the gun tumbled from Sam's fingers to Dean's palm. Dean pocketed Sam's handgun fast and turned instead to catching Sam as he swayed forward. "Easy, I got you," Dean whispered. "You're gonna be okay." Hell of a comedown from whatever herbs and drugs she'd put into making the spell, and Dean knew the psychic letdown was going to be just as bad as the physical one, but Sam would get through. Dean'd make sure of it.

"I know," Sam whispered, and Dean smiled.

Screw a mind-control spell: brother trust trumped everything. Dean slowly shuffled Sam out the door, Sam leaning against him all the way out.

END