Friday. Sam decided he liked Fridays the best. Friday was before Tuesday, or after it, depending on how you looked at it. Didn't like Tuesdays, in fact Sam hated Tuesdays. Dean died on a Tuesday. Wednesday wasn't high up on his list either. It was right down there with Tuesday. They'd both died on a Wednesday.
They'd both also lived on Wednesday. As Sam wrapped his arms around his brother, held him tight, never wanted to let go for fear he'd vanish, Dean asked, "How many Tuesdays did you have?"
Sam hadn't answered, Dean let it ride.
The question would come up again, be asked until it was answered. Sam knew this to be undisputable fact. His brother was clever, knew all things Sam. Dean would get the answer, even if Sam didn't want to offer it.
How many Tuesdays? Far too many, six months of them, one hundred eighty-six. Sam remembered every detail of every single one. On the first Thursday after that Tuesday, Sam woke to Dean gargling. He nearly broke a toe getting out of bed, racing across the room and into the bathroom. Dean's eyes twinkled. Head tilted back he smiled while he gargled. Somehow Dean even managed to find fun in dental hygiene. Sam held his breath, watching, waiting.
Dean died one Tuesday, gargling. A minty-fresh breath was Dean's last that particular Tuesday. He'd choked. A wetly burbled up Sam-mmhe Dean's final word. He'd used his final breath for his brother's name. Dean did that on a lot of those Tuesdays. Sam always sobbed a plea for Dean as each Tuesday ended.
Spitting mouthwash into the sink, wiping his face with the washcloth, his eyes resolutely on Sam's face, Dean sighed. "How many Tuesdays Sammy?"
Sam stared at the spit in the sink, watched it wash down the drain, green swirling through clear water. His knees went away. Sam sat on the edge of the bathtub and cried. He sobbed out a number, but there was no way Dean could have understood him. Sam couldn't understand himself. How was he to tell Dean, the Tuesdays didn't matter, it was the Wednesdays…the Wednesday. One day, one Wednesday leading to endless days alone.
Dean simply stood quietly beside him, fingers curled around the back of Sam's neck, handed him a washcloth to wipe his face with when he'd calmed enough to breathe without crying.
Six months of Tuesdays. Six months after the Wednesday. A year. A year that never happened to anyone but Sam. That wasn't true; it'd happened to Dean too. He relived it now, through Sam. Through Sam's tears, through constantly being watched, through panic attacks over electric razors, slippery sidewalks, kids throwing baseballs, take-out food, too long phone cords, and misplaced tricycles.
Three more weeks went by before Dean woke Sam up one Friday morning by jumping on his bed, doing his best Tarzan-does-air-guitar impression. On one particular Tuesday, Dean died when the ceiling of their motel came crashing down. Sam threw plaster and building bits to the side, cradling Dean in time to hear his name rasped one final time from Dean's lips.
This Friday, Sam smiled when Dean jumped high enough his head bumped the ceiling. One final bounce and Dean landed next to him, slapped Sam's thigh, grinning from ear to ear. "You smiled Sam. You haven't done that in nearly a month." His voice softened, his fingers pressed firmly to Sam's knee. "How many Tuesdays Sammy?"
"Six months worth."
When Dean's jaw dropped, Sam stared at his hands resting in his lap. How was he to tell Dean, it took only one Wednesday? He'd held Dean, bleeding out in a parking lot, scrunched his eyes shut and begged his brother to wake up. He'd wished for Tuesday back. Tuesday Dean died, but he was reborn each replayed morning. Sam would take Tuesday forever instead of the Wednesday.
Dean nodded. Sam knew his brother's satisfaction wouldn't last long. Dean was the expert in all things Sam, knew there was more, knew when to take what he got and save getting more for another time.
A few more Fridays went by, and Sam laughed after Dean popped out from behind a headstone to make faces at him. Successful zombie hunting always made Dean act goofy. Strutting to the car, chest puffed out like a peacock, smug look all over his face, Dean poked Sam's side. "Made ya laugh."
Sam smiled, then laughed, both on a Friday. Fridays weren't so bad. Then Sam remembered the Tuesday Dean died when the bird flew into his head, knocked him through a plate glass store front window. Fridays, they were all right. Birds, Sam could do without.
As Dean unlocked the car door for Sam his free hand landed on Sam's shoulder, gave a soft squeeze. "So what else was there besides six months of Tuesdays?"
To Dean it must have been obvious, since he'd had to throw dirty socks at Sam to get him out of bed every Tuesday since the Wednesday.
It was a Sunday, a few weeks later, when Sam saw Dean's patience begin to wear thin. Dean, being the expert in all things Sam, knowing Sam better than anyone, including Sam himself, knew there was more. Sam knew, there was Wednesday, the Wednesday. It took two more Sundays before Sam broke, literally. Hanging his head, his voice small, tight, afraid. "You died. Dean you died."
"One hundred eighty-six Tuesdays. I died. I know."
Sam shook his head. "There was Wednesday." The Wednesday. "So did Sammy."
Dean's sucked in breath made Sam look up. "You died?"
Shrugging, words stuttered out of Sam's mouth, probably not making much sense. "I ate, I breathed. I—" How was he supposed to tell Dean?
"You what?" Dean's voice was soft, sure, a warm, comforting blanket wrapping over him.
Sam could barely look up at Dean's face, into his vibrant green eyes. His words were grabbed and caught by his chest, barely managing to stammer loose. "I was cold, dark. Nothing but anger and hate." Fists balling against his thighs, "I can't, won't—" His voice trailed away. "He, Sam, he was a monster. An empty monster." Body finally betraying him, Sam had nothing but sobs, and a silent plea for Dean to forgive him someday. "The Trickster sent me back. He sent me, us, back to Wednesday."
"Sammy," Dean's hand came to rest on Sam's chest, over his heart. "Sam, I want you to look at me."
Sam looked up. Dean swam in front of him in watery waves.
"You listen to me. Never, never ever is that going to be you."
"I was...it happened."
"No. It didn't. It won't. Doesn't matter when I die, it won't. You're my little brother, I'm always with you." He patted Sam's chest a few times. "In here. I'll never be gone, because everyday when you wake up, you'll think of me. When you don't know what to do, or what plan to follow, just think of me, I'll tell you. You know what I'd do. You will too."
Sam let his own hand settle over Dean's heart. One nod, it was all he was capable of just then.
"And after you do all that thinking, take your teeth out of a cup and put them back in your mouth. 'Cause Sam, you'll be pushing a hundred when that day comes. I'm not dying, I'm not ready. You sure as hell aren't. So suck it up, get over it and get me out of that deal."
Something tight and thorny knotted around Sam's chest loosened a fraction. He could take a deep breath again.
The next Sunday Sam told Dean how he'd become driven, obsessed, John Winchester times ten, and far scarier. Sam turned into someone cold, heartless and with a perfectly organized trunk. Dean shoved him down on a chair hard enough to make Sam's butt hurt. "You're done with this Sam. I'm done with it. It's over. It never happened. I didn't die. You are still you." To prove his point Dean stormed outside to the Impala. Emptied the entire contents of the trunk on the ground and stood over it, arms crossed over his chest. "You want to believe that's you? Go ahead."
Sam wiped a few tears running along his nose away as he haphazardly piled their weapons, belongings back into the trunk. Maybe he'd never become that person. Maybe. He laid his hand over Dean's heart, "It goes both ways."
"See? I told you you'd never be that person." Dean Winchester said it was so, therefore it must be gospel truth. Therapy Dean Winchester style was bizarre, but the price was right.
Monday came along, Sam wasn't excited about Mondays, they were right before Tuesday. "I killed Bobby." He blurted out during breakfast, able to look at nothing but the table top. "I needed fresh blood to bring you back. That's what he said. But it wasn't Bobby. It was the Trickster. I didn't care what I had to do."
Dean stopped eating, straightened in his seat, drew a deep breath. He blinked for a few seconds at Sam, tilted his head to one side, swallowed and sighed. "Huh." Without missing another beat Dean's cell phone was against his ear, fingers drumming the table. They stopped when Sam heard a voice on the phone. "Yeah, Bobby, it's me. Dean. Gotta question for you. Um…you dead? Missing any blood?" Dean nodded again. "Thought as much. Thanks." Snapping the phone shut, tossing money onto the table he slid to his feet. Dean's fingers snared Sam's jacket as he strode by.
Yanked out of the booth, Sam had no choice but to follow.
Dean hauled him straight to the car, shoved him inside. Then drove eleven hours straight through to South Dakota without saying another word. It was almost Tuesday when they pulled up Bobby's drive. Dean dragged him up the steps, through the front door, pointed at Bobby. "See, Sam. Not dead. Didn't happen."
"Uh, evening boys." Bobby pulled his hat off, scratched his head.
"Can I see your hat a second?"
Bobby shrugged, laid his cap in Dean's extended palm. "Eleven hours straight driving makes a man's ass hurt!" Dean shouted, bringing Bobby's hat down to slap against Sam's head with every word. "Not going to happen." Rolling his shoulders, Dean turned back to Bobby, gently laying the hat in Bobby's hand. "Thanks."
"Anytime." Bobby pushed the hat back into its place on his head.
Dean Winchester, poster child for tough love and expert in all things Sam. The thorny, knotting thing encompassing Sam's chest thinned out, loosened more, lost its thorns.
Two Thursdays later they found Bela, got back their Colt revolver. Thursdays were decent.
Saturdays ranked right down there with Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Dean's last day would come on a Saturday. It was marked on a calendar Sam kept hidden. Saturday was just another Wednesday. Dean would die. Sam's body might live, but his soul, his light, it would die, too. What Sam wouldn't give for endless Tuesdays, Dean would die at the end of the day to be reborn when Sam awoke each replayed Tuesday morning. Tuesday wasn't forever. The Wednesday was. So was that Saturday.
Sam was running out of days. So was Dean.
When that Saturday came, Sam knew what he needed to do. The Wednesday was long ago, never to happen again, not even on that Saturday. Saturday rolled into Sunday. Dean was still there, not dead, not in Hell. Sam hugged him, holding on tight. This time Dean didn't ask why.
On Monday, Bobby tapped Dean's arm, pointed to Sam's hand holding on firmly to Dean's shirt. "I don't think that boy is every going to let you go."
"That's okay." Was all Dean said. Sam never let go, and Dean never died.
It was Tuesday when they sat on Bobby's porch, the three of them having a beer. Sam leaned back in his chair, barely had time to process the evil twinkle glinting Dean's eyes before Dean's foot snagged the chair leg and pushed Sam over. Crashing to the porch, Sam laughed, for the second time he laughed on a Tuesday since the Wednesday.
Dean had died, over and over one Tuesday. It was Tuesday that gave Sam the key, when he'd told Bobby is plan. The deal came due on a Saturday, but Tuesday was when they knew, Dean wouldn't die. Dean was saved on a Tuesday.
Sam picked himself off the porch floor, brushed off his jeans and took a fresh beer Dean offered.
Tuesdays were freaking awesome.