Just over a year ago, Agent With Style Publishing requested stories based on the episode Mystery Spot for a special zine they planned to publish. Since Mystery Spot had such a wealth of possibilities, I wrote two stories, one more humorous and one more tragic.

They received so many stories they published two volumes of MS stories. This is the humor story and was in their collection, You'll Thank Me When It's Wednesday! published in May 2008.

The tragic story, Time Moves On, But I'm Still Here was in the collection, Every Possible Way and will be posted online in a few weeks. I hope you find the time to read and enjoy them. I certainly loved writing them. It was an honor to further explore Jeremy Carver's intriguing premise with our boys.

Thanks for stopping by, B.J.

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Somethin' to Talk About

"Tell me again. Why can't I go outside?"

"I already told you…like a hundred times."

"Well, yeah, but if I don't remember, then it don't count." Dean looked up with curious eyes, his brows arched and his mouth quirked just slightly askew. Just like a hundred times before. "So why?"

"Just 'cause." Sam's voice was soft, barely there.

"Well, if what you say is true…and I still think it's crazy, but if it is true, then all we gotta do is keep me alive 'til Wednesday and then just figure this bitch out. Simple."

"Yeah, right! Simple," Sam huffed.

Sam was standing by the window, looking out through the curtains like he was spying on the neighbors…like some evil nasty was out there lurking in the shadows. As Dean lived longer into this day he'd decided the safest bet was to hole up at the motel and hope the next two hours would pass by uneventful. Maybe…just maybe if they made it until midnight, then it would all be over. Hell, at least this time Dean had made it back to the motel, no Chinese takeout, no desk falling from the sky, so maybe this was the Tuesday to end all Tuesdays.

Maybe… Hell of a maybe, but it's worth a shot.

"Well, if I'm not goin' anywhere, guess I'll take a shower."

"No! No showers."

"What? You think I'm gonna freakin' slip in the shower?"

"Number twenty-four."

"Huh. Really?"

"No, Dean, I'm makin' this stuff up."

"I just mean, I am kinda steady on my feet, like a cat. I just don't think I'd…"

"Dean, no!"

"All right, sourpuss."

Scratching at the stubble on his chin and shaking out his shoulders, Dean moved towards the motel bathroom. He barely took a step when the nagging continued.

"Where ya goin'?"

"What? It's a bathroom, Sam. You gonna follow me in to take a leak? You wanna hold my hand or something?" Dean quirked his brow on the something and smirked.

Sam grimaced, answering with a noticeable huff and a roll of his eyes. "You're just going to take a leak?"

"Maybe."

"Deeeeaaannn…."

"Saaaammmmmmmmyyyyyy…give it a rest."

"Leave the door open."

"God, you're a freak!"

The silence was soon breached by the sound of tinkling followed by a toilet flushing.

A small voice hesitantly asked, "Dean?"

The water in the sink turned on, running for a few minutes. "Still here. Annoyed as hell, but still here."

"Good. Get out here."

"Just a sec." Dean looked in the mirror, his stubble was getting a little long, even for the Crockett look. He reached for the electric trimmer sitting on the counter, the plug in hand, when suddenly his arm was jerked back and he followed it, falling into his brother's arms.

"What the hell?" He pushed back from Sam's chest, regaining his footing.

"Number twenty-eight."

"Really?"

"Yeah, really."

"Did I glow?"

"Yeah, Dean, and you peed yourself…again."

Dean looked toward the toilet and gave a small shirk of his head, remembering the tale Sam had told of the car accident. "Hey, at least this time I emptied my bladder."

Sam wasn't even offering the vague notion of a smile, not even the weird, pinched look he got on his face when his insides desperately wanted to break out in a huge, freakin' grin but his outside forbade it, locked down like he wouldn't give his brother the satisfaction of pulling a reaction from him. Now it was simply a solemn, fixed grimace, no light in his eyes, no glimmer of joy, nothing but anxiety.

"Lighten up, dude. Remember, I always pop back up. Just call me Wile E.."

"It's not funny, Dean. You don't have to…."

Dean furrowed his brows and his eyes locked on his kid brother. Softly, he mumbled, "What?"

Sam's voice broke, the strain clearly wearing him down as he spoke with deliberation, "You don't have to watch your only brother die over and over and over again."

Dean's eyes suddenly changed, turning soft and tender, compassionate and caring, one small step away from the dreaded chick-flick moment. "All right, Sammy. Look, it's almost ten. Two hours, dude. I can do two hours standing on my head."

Sam blinked back tears and looked away.

Dean leaned in, insistently asking, "What?"

"Number thirty-seven."

"You gotta be kidding? I died from standing on my head? How's that even possible?"

"Broken neck."

"Wow!" He waited as long as he possibly could before he quietly asked, "So like…how?"

Sam looked angry, at what it wasn't entirely clear, maybe his persistent, annoying brother or perhaps the strange circumstances they found themselves immersed in, more likely simply the pressure of staring down number ninety-eight and waiting for the inevitable.

"You wanna know how, Dean?" Sam was in his face now, so close Dean could feel his breath ghosting across his cheek. "You tipped over and crack!"

"Crack?"

"Yeah, just crack…and then I woke up in my bed again, listening to Heat of the Moment and watching you lace up your goddamn boots." The agitation in Sam's voice rose as the volume cranked up to high. "You ever think about sneakers, Dean? I mean, have you ever considered how much time you spend every morning lacing up? What do they have, like two dozen grommets?"

"Don't pick on my boots just 'cause you're pissed off."

Sam ran his hand across his face, trying to calm himself down. He then quietly asked, "Dean, please…just sit on the bed and don't move."

"But…."

"Dean, please."

Dean sat down, inching back against the headboard, watching his brother as he steadily came unhinged.

Sam sat down on the other bed, sinking his head into his open hands, his palms covering his face as his fingers stretched out into his hair.

"So why was I standing on my head?"

Slowly Sam drew his hands down until his fingers covered his eyes. He splayed them open, peering between them before releasing his ashen face and staring with a prune-juice grimace before his mouth fell open in a silent gasp. "Dean, why do you do anything? I don't know! You just did and then…."

"Yeah, I know…crack." Dean sat silent for a second, his eyes searching his brother's face while he quietly started to rock on the bed, nervous energy finally burbling to the surface. As if he couldn't contain himself any longer he finally blurted out, "Was my neck like totally…."

"DEAN!"

"All right already!"

Sam was drumming his fingers on the bed, fussing with the sheets, sitting back against the headboard and stretching his long legs out straight on the bed, and then in the next instant pulling them off and sitting in the aisle, bent over with his arms crossed over his knees, wringing his hands together.

"Would you settle down?"

"Dean, you don't know what it's like. I can't keep doing this. I can't."

"Look on the bright side…you're not getting rid of me…at least not yet. I'm like a bad penny, just keep turning up again and again." Dean offered his most comforting smirk, the one that normally got his brother grinning and playing along, normally.

All Sam could do was grunt. "So far."

"What's that s'posed to mean? You honestly think one of these times you won't wake up?"

"Maybe… I don't know. I can't risk it."

"Well, there's gotta be a reason here. You're geek boy, do your research."

"I've been researching. What do you think I've been doing the last ninety-seven days?"

"Honestly? Seems like you've been harping on me and following me around like a lost puppy."

"Lot of good it did," Sam dejectedly muttered.

"Which means you need to change your tactics." He growled out his response, "Research, my boy. Research!" Dean leaned back and smiled, steady and sure, just like he had almost a hundred times before. Oozing confidence like he had all the answers and for once Sam wished he could believe he did. Believe like he had when he was still a kid and big brother could do no wrong.

Sam rose and pulled out the laptop again, sitting down at the small table and powering it up.

"Can I at least watch TV?"

"No."

Dean sat for a moment before he couldn't stand the suspense any longer. "What? Electrical fire?"

Sam snapped, "No."

"Jerry Springer or some equally lame reality show and I just couldn't take it any more and jumped out the window?" Dean smirked. I mean, this has got to be funny on some level, doesn't it?

"No."

"Y'know, if we watched somethin' funny then maybe you wouldn't be so tense. Maybe you could lighten up and get that corncob outta your ass."

Sam's eyes flashed in anger, tinged in frustration, a deadly combination. "You wanna laugh? Huh, Dean? Falling over, stupid, laughing with tears rolling down your cheeks? Is that what you want? 'Cause been there, done that."

"And?"

"And what?"

"Well, obviously somethin' went wrong." Dean sat up, looking intently upon his brother, his eyes searching for enlightenment. "So, what? I bust a gut laughing so hard, or how about a brain aneurism, huh? A blood vessel burst? Is that it? C'mon, Sammy, just spit it out."

"Nothing so normal, Dean."

"Oh, so you're saying I'm abnormal? That's not very nice."

"I don't have to be nice, Dean. I just have to keep you alive." Sam locked his intense gaze on him, the familiar grit and determination evident in his solemn eyes, with just a tinge of fear present, all wrapped up in the bitter grip of resignation that he was desperately fighting against.

"Bang up job you're doin' there."

"Thanks, Dean…thanks a lot."

"Sammy, I'm just trying to get you to relax a little. Let's watch some nice, fun sitcom or something. Somethin' to make you smile again."

Sam absently nodded his head up and down, just a subtle movement that signaled his frustration with Dean and this whole inane conversation. When it became apparent Dean wasn't going to shut up he gave in.

"Lucy."

"What?" Dean gasped, eyes wide in shock, like he'd just witnessed Jimmy Hoffa doing the tango with Elvis at the local mini-mart.

"I Love Lucy."

"No."

"Oh, yes."

"No way! I do not do Lucy. Uh-huh, never gonna happen."

"Well, it did."

"No, it didn't. I don't care what kinda freakin' deathtrap you got me in here. I wouldn't be caught dead watching Lucy."

"Wrong again, Dean."

Dean crossed his arms against his chest and glared at his brother. He's just yanking my chain…gotta be.

Dean frowned, his boots tapping out his frustration into thin air as he laid there stretched out on the bed. He finally turned toward his brother again, his voice low and solemn. "So…what episode?"

"I thought you didn't believe me?"

"I don't."

"Then why do you want to know what episode?"

"Just seeing how elaborate this joke is."

"Joke?"

"Well…y'know, whatever."

"Stomping the grapes."

"What?"

"She's stomping the grapes to make wine."

Dean quirked his head and half-smiled, his eyes squinting as he waited for his brother's answer. "Red or white?"

"What?"

Exasperated Dean spoke clearly and succinctly, "Wine…red or white? Which was it?"

"What difference?"

"Just checking the facts."

"I don't know, and guess what, Dean? I don't care!"

"Details, Sammy. You're a hunter; you're supposed to pay attention to details."

"Well, sue me."

Dean smirked…again. "I'd hafta find a lawyer, and according to you, I ain't got time."

"Guess you're stuck, then, huh?"

Dean pouted for a second before a mystical light went off and he raised his brows and nodded. Slowly the lips pursed and his dimples flashed as he pondered the strange situation his brother had thrust him into. Trying to make sense of a Seussical moment, abstract and unbelievable, he continued, "So did we have wine, y'know, for atmosphere?" He looked on hopefully, considering all possible options, basically grasping at straws to explain this uncharacteristic behavior. "To, like, maybe get in the mood to watch Lucy?"

"No wine."

"So I wasn't drunk and outta my mind?"

"Nope, clear as a bell."

"Sonuvabitch!" he exclaimed. "I bet you picked the show, right? And I was just being a nice guy."

"Nope, you picked it."

Dean sat contemplating that insane information. He shifted slightly on the bed, intently watching his brother as he softly questioned, "Any idea why?"

"No clue."

"Huh. So how'd I die?"

"You really wanna know?"

"Might as well, How much worse can it get?"

"Pretzels."

"Pretzels?"

"Yeah, pretzels. You were laughing so hard, you inhaled a pretzel and choked to death."

Dean's face twisted as if to say that couldn't possibly be true. "Didn't you say I already choked to death on sausage?"

"Yeah, kind of repetitive, but then again, how many ways are there to actually die?"

"Oh, I don't know. Sausage is soft and round, probably filled up my esophagus, and pretzels are hard and pointy. Maybe it pierced something?" Dean quirked his brows and looked on expectantly. "Maybe it just looked like I was choking?"

Sam nodded. "Actually I think you inhaled it into your lungs and punctured a lung or something. But, Dean, really, what difference?"

"Oh, I dunno. Just don't want to repeat myself. Don't wanna be boring."

"Trust me. You're good."

Dean contentedly smiled, leaning back against the headboard and sighing.

"So, pretzels, huh?"

"Yeah, Dean…pretzels."

Dean sat meditating on that information, rolling the thought around in his head before finally speaking, "Strange thing, pretzels."

Sam opened his mouth to respond and thought better of it. He sat staring at his brother, Dean looking characteristically smug…waiting.

Silence was his only answer.

Dean waited as long as Dean-possible before he queried, "Aren'tcha gonna ask?"

Sam offered his own Dean-response, raised brows and questioning eyes. "Ask what?"

"About the pretzels."

"Ask what about the pretzels?"

Dean quirked his lips, twisting them into a cockeyed grin. "Why they're strange."

"Figured you'd tell me eventually."

Dean scowled. "That's not very nice. You coulda asked."

"All right, Dean. Why are pretzels strange? You happy?"

Dean beamed, the fine lines around his eyes crinkling showing his immense joy, like he was answering the question right for the teacher and was due his gold star, not that Dean Winchester ever wanted to excel in a classroom. With a flourish in his voice and a theatrical wave of his arms he announced, "They give life and they taketh away." Then he smiled, wide and radiant.

"What?"

Dean quirked his eyebrows and smirked. "Ellen…y'know, the roadhouse?"

"Yeah, right."

Dean deflated as Sam refused to join in the fun. He sat silent on the bed for a mere nine seconds before he continued, "So, no Lucy and no pretzels. If I promise to be good, can I watch?"

"No."

Dean was anxiously bouncing up and down, subtle, but constant. "Now what?"

"Number seventy-three."

"The pretzels?"

"No, that was number fifty-eight."

"So, what's number seventy-three?"

"The TV."

"Not a show? Not a pretzel? The actual TV?" Dean asked in wonder.

"It exploded, satisfied?"

"Wow!"

Sam leaned back and closed his eyes, trying to push away all the possible ways Dean could still die while hoping to forget all the strange ways he already had. They had made it this far. Less than two hours to go. That is, if he survived Dean's endless prattle.

Dean sat observing him, humming softly to himself until he couldn't stand it any longer. "So, Sammy, about the electrical fire…"

"What?"

He arched his brows expectantly. "Well?"

With an exasperated sigh, Sam replied, "Yes, Dean, you died in an electrical fire, number sixty-two. Wouldn't wanna miss that one, would ya?"

"Well, no. I figured…had to happen. It is kinda obvious. But not the TV, huh?"

"Nope. Just a short in the wiring."

"Big blaze?"

Sam huffed. "Big enough."

"I didn't end up on the ceiling, did I?"

Sam struggled to push down the wad of hurt in his throat, his eyes filling with tears as all the memories flashed over him. He looked at his brother, ready to snap back with a nasty retort, when he saw Dean also had tears welling up. They locked eyes for a second before Dean broke the connection as he shirked it off with a nervous smirk and a quick blink and the moment thankfully passed.

Sam cleared his throat. "No, thank God, you weren't on the ceiling."

"Good. That's good."

The silence resumed as Sam focused his attention on the laptop and Dean stared at the ceiling, quietly counting the tiles. He tried to stay silent and let his brother work, he truly did.

"So, Sammy, outta 'em all, what's your favorite?"

"What? Dean, you die!"

"Yeah, I got that, but considering all the ways, you gotta have a favorite. Me, I'm still kinda partial to getting hit by the car. I wish I could've seen it. We really need to get another camcorder, y'know?"

"God, Dean, you're sick."

"Hmmm, right. Interesting point. So, any deadly diseases? Or are they all accidents?"

Sam paused, considering if he was willing to continue on with this warped conversation, and what the odds were that Dean would simply shut up if he refused to answer. Knowing his brother like he did, it was clear that Dean shutting up and remaining quiet was about as likely as him running off to join a monastery and that was certainly not gonna be happening in this lifetime, so he relented, giving his brother what he was asking for whether he truly wanted to hear it or not.

"Let's see, there was pneumonia, West Nile, and syphilis…fastest cases in history, according to the doctors. Numbers 44, 67, and 90."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Wait a minute here, syphilis? I always use a condom. Don't go telling me this crap."

"I'm just the messenger, Dean. Glad to see you're on board that this stuff isn't so funny."

"Well, that isn't." Dean shuddered. "Did ya ever consider that maybe it was supernatural, y'know, like that Oprah case…bugs chowing down on the brain? That it just looked like…" Dean wildly waved his hands about in response, as though he couldn't even bear to say the word.

"Dean, as far as I'm concerned, they're all supernatural. I mean, you die, but you don't. Well, at least not for long. None of them are what you'd call a standard death."

"Yeah, I guess."

Sam returned his concentration to the screen he was reading on the laptop.

The silence again built up until Dean couldn't stand it. "So, Sammy, you thought of it yet?"

"Thought of what?"

"Your favorite."

"You really expect me to pick one? I can't believe…"

"Sammy, look, it's just an exercise to take you mind off of everything. Kinda like doing yoga or somethin'. C'mon, give it a shot."

"Yoga, Dean?"

Dean squirmed and shifted on the bed, his face contorting into an embarrassed grimace, his dimples valiantly trying to take back control. "What? I just heard it was relaxing is all."

Sam twisted his mouth as he commented, "Where? On Oprah?"

Dean nervously grinned. "Funny. Good one, dude. Not bad for a freaked-out whack job."

"Yeah. I'm a barrel of laughs."

"So, Sammy…" Dean raised his eyebrows, studying his brother. "Still waiting."

"No, Dean…just no."

"Grouch."

Dean scowled at him.

Sam moaned, blinking rapidly like he had something in his glistening eyes, nervously flipping his long bangs back as he reluctantly gave in; knowing Dean wouldn't shut up about it until he did. "If I had to pick, I'd say at least West Nile was different."

"Different? How?"

Sam shifted in his seat. "I dunno…it was peaceful. You just went to sleep."

Dean scoffed, "Well, I guess if that's what floats your boat, but kinda boring, don'tcha think? I think the quick and deadly are more interesting…you know, just bam!" Dean smacked his fist into his palm. "And you're gone. Yeah, definitely more bang for your buck."

"But you're not the one watching, are you?" Sam quietly responded.

"Maybe not, but I am the one paying the bill." Then he waggled his brows and smirked.

Sam grimaced and again fell silent.

Dean sat studying his brother, that tender look he most often hid briefly showing before he buried it under a breezy attitude. "So, Sammy, c'mon…tell me more about my stint at the hospital. Any pretty nurses? Y'know, ain't gonna die in a hospital where the nurses aren't hot."

"Don't know about the nurses, but you had a hot doctor."

Dean suspiciously eyed him, twisting his face into a nervous pretzel. "Girl or guy?"

That comment finally garnered the first almost-smile from his brother.

"Girl, Dean…real pretty and classy." Sam offered up one further consolation. "And, yes. She cried when you…" His voice stopped short of saying it.

"Damn! Really? Man, I don't know why I don't remember this stuff. It's not fair."

"Well, you enjoyed it while it lasted. That is, until you, y'know…died."

"Yeah, talk about spoiling the mood," Dean groaned before he quickly snapped back out of it. Just like Dean. "So, what would you say was the most bizarro?

"So many to pick from, Dean. You truly have been inventive."

Dean smiled, wide and broad…proud, like it was a major accomplishment. "Well, thanks, Sammy. I try." He waited a moment and then pressed onward. "But there has to be the one big one. So, what would you say was the Ripley's Believe It or Not moment?"

Sam didn't really need to think about it, the memory still crystal clear in his mind.

"Meteor."

"Wow! Really? A big one?"

Sam scowled and the brothers locked eyes as they jointly spoke, "Big enough."

Dean grinned and Sam looked away.

"So, did it get me here at the motel? 'Cause I'm tellin' ya, staying in one place too long just makes it easier to getcha. Sometimes you're better off on the move."

"No, Dean, we were walking down the street…Elm Street, if that helps."

"No, not really, never heard of it, but it is kinda interesting."

Sam raised his eyebrows and studied his brother, his interest piqued. "Interesting how?"

"Isn't it strange that it didn't hit you? I mean, if we were walking down the street, weren't we like right there next to each other? And it hits me and misses you? Why do you think that is?"

Sam squinted his eyes and he seemed to be concentrating on that thought. Ultimately, with no answers to all these questions, he shrugged his shoulders and sloughed it off. "I don't know."

"Somethin' weird's going on, that's for sure."

"Ya think?"

"I'm just saying…. You're pretty damn lucky, dude."

"Yeah, Dean, real lucky."

Dean arched his brows and quietly acknowledged that maybe his brother wasn't quite so very lucky.

"So?"

Sam peered over the top of the laptop. "So, what?"

"What number?"

"What number?" he repeated incredulously.

"Yeah, you always tell me the number, so…?" Dean quirked his brows and waited.

Sam grunted, his eyes blinking rapidly and he almost laughed, not really, but close. "Huh, I dunno, like seventy-something?"

"Seventy-something? What? You don't know?"

"Guess not." Sam shook out his shoulders. "I don't remember."

"You forgot?"

"Yeah…I guess."

"Your only brother dies, struck dead from a meteor dropping out of the sky and splatting him into the sidewalk and you don't remember? Unbelievable!"

"Dean, I was kinda in shock, y'know?"

"Apparently."

"Look, I don't know why you're getting all upset about this. I coulda just told you a number. You'da never known the difference."

"Oh, so that's how it is?"

"What, Dean?"

"You feel comfortable lying to your only brother…your dying, only brother?"

"God, Dean, it's not like that."

"Then what? What's it like?"

"Can we just drop this? I'm sorry, okay? I don't remember the exact number, but maybe seventy-five, that good enough for ya?"

Dean casually licked his lips and nodded. "Yeah, I guess. S'okay." Dean got a wicked grin on his face then. "Sammy, I forgive ya."

Sam looked up, shocked, his eyes wide in wonder. "Thanks, Dean. Appreciate it."

"No sweat."

Dean chuckled under his breath, looking up from under hooded eyes. "Y'know, Sammy, this remembering all the numbers, it is kinda…"

Sam stared at his brother, his mouth twisted as his eyes squinted, waiting. "What?"

"I dunno…it's kinda anal, don'tcha think?"

"You're kidding me? You wanted to know all the numbers and now you're…"

"Hey, fergetaboutit. It's just kinda OCD, but whatever."

Defensively, Sam responded, "I'm just good with numbers, and y'know, this stuff kinda, well, it's all I think about, okay?"

"Yeah, sure, Sammy, don't worry about it. I'm sure it's perfectly normal."

Sam gave his brother one last annoyed-as-hell looks before he started reading the computer screen again, lost in deep concentration so he didn't even hear Dean at first. Dean cleared his throat and repeated himself.

"So, Sammy, I've been wondering, what was number forty?"

"Huh?"

Dean was gazing at him with wide-open eyes expectantly waiting for his response. Sam shifted and repeated the number. "Forty?"

"Yeah, y'know, numerology, biblical prophecies, means death, all that 'evil' stuff…so I was wondering what was number forty?" Dean's mouth twisted up into that cocky smirk. "Bet it's a good one."

"And you expect me to remember?"

"It's forty, dude. You said you were good with numbers, If you're gonna remember any of 'em, I'd think you'd remember forty. I'd sure as hell remember that one."

Sam sighed and softly answered, "Sinkhole."

"Big one?"

Dean barely got the comment out before they both again answered in unison, "Big enough."

Dean smiled, enjoying the brotherly moment before continuing, "Just me, then? I mean, it didn't get my baby, did it?"

"No, Dean. The car was fine. Just you."

"Good. That one's kinda nasty, almost like going down into the pit, know what I mean?"

"Yeah." Sam sat there with those stubborn tears again lingering, making his eyes swim from the building emotions. "That was a hard one. Didn't even have a body, y'know? Just a hole."

"Sorry, man."

Sam looked up and Dean was watching him with that tender gaze he always got when little Sammy skinned his knees and came crying to his big brother for comfort. Sam took what comfort he could from the familiar look. He offered a sad, resigned smile as his eyes again blinked back the tears.

Soon the silence was stifling, the soft click-clack of the keyboard the only noise beyond their steady breathing.

Dean wasn't the sort to just casually sit still; too many years on the road working too many jobs with too many responsibilities. He was nervously fidgeting, bored out of his gourd.

"Can I at least do something productive?"

"How about you stay alive?"

"I know that! Not an idiot. I mean, can I maybe clean and oil my guns or knives or…"

Sam was showing real anger as he cut his brother off. "You really think now is the time to put a gun or knife in your hands?"

Dean shook his head and blinked. "I'm a hunter, Sam. I know how to handle a weapon."

"Yeah? Then why did your brains end up on the wall, looking like a Rorschach ink blot?"

"What? No way!" Dean leaned in with that quizzical look on his face, brows quirked and eyes narrowed. "Really?"

"Yes, really. Now would you please, just sit there and shut-up?"

Dean reluctantly nodded, leaning back against the hard headboard. He pulled out a pillow from beneath the bedspread and stuffed it behind his back, scrunching into it, trying to get comfortable.

Sam was pecking away at the keyboard on the computer, scrolling through screens, searching for that needle in the proverbial haystack.

"So, was it my silver Colt?"

Sam couldn't help the irritation in his voice. "Dean, what difference?"

"Well, my gun wouldn't just fire accidentally and I certainly wouldn't be careless. I'm just trying to understand how it happened."

"You left a bullet in the chamber and pulled the trigger."

Dean confidently shook his head in the negative. "Nah, wouldn't do that."

"Well, ya did."

"And you were there? You see the whole thing? 'Cause I'm thinking homicide."

"Dean, this isn't CSI. You were careless and you shot yourself."

"I just don't think…"

"Dean, don't."

"Don't what?"

"Think!"

"Dude, chill out, would ya?"

"Dean, will you just stop it?"

"Stop what?"

"Talking. Please…just stop talking."

Dean rolled his eyes and offered a small smirk, his eyes glimmering and darting about the room. "I can't go outside. You won't let me watch TV. Hell, I can't even go to the bathroom without you nagging on me. What the hell am I s'posed to do? Just sit on this freakin' bed and do nothing?"

"Precisely. Nothing, Dean. I want you to do nothing."

Dean shifted and fell silent. His eyes closed for a second like he might take a nap before they flew open and again stared at his brother pecking away at the keyboard. "You got anything?"

"Dean!"

"You can't expect me to be a statue. It's not in my make-up. No can do, Sammy."

"Why don't you read?"

Dean quirked his brows at that and his dimples deepened. "You really trust me not to paper-cut? I bet my blood doesn't clot now. I bet I'd bleed out before you got 911 dialed."

"Quit being so dramatic."

"So, have I?"

"Have you what?"

"Bled to death? I'd think if we're all the way up to ninety-eight, I musta bled to death at least once. Talk about obvious."

"Yes. Happy now?"

"Well, not exactly happy. Won't know that until I get the details."

Sam simply grunted.

"What was I wearing? Did I, like, bleed out a whole gallon or, y'know, just enough? Hey, have I been rushed to the emergency room at all? Sirens, all that commotion…. Ooh, any more pretty girls crying over my gorgeous corpse?"

"Dean, just stop it, will ya?"

"C'mon, Sammy, inquiring minds wanna know."

Sam loudly sighed. "Your leather jacket, more than a gallon, yes, yes and yes…. Now…can we drop it?"

"Did you take care of the leather, 'cause all that blood would ruin it."

"Didn't have time, Dean. Remember, waking up, music, lacing up your damn boots, another day to watch you die. A little busy reliving all those damn Tuesdays to worry about your leather jacket."

"So it looked okay the next day? No damage?"

"Nope, no damage. Just like you."

"Oh, well, that's good."

"Glad to see you have your priorities straight, Dean."

"Well, it's hard to find a good leather coat. Then it takes years to break it in."

"Yeah, kinda like a brother, except you can train a leather coat."

"Ouch, that hurt. Little touchy there, bro?"

"Yeah, I am. Too much death will do that to you."

Dean shifted his legs off the side of the bed so he was sitting on the edge.

"Dean, just lean back, would ya?"

"What? Like I'm gonna fall off?"

"Number eighty-six."

Dean looked up and nodded, smiling contentedly. "Hey, you remembered the number. Nice."

"Yeah, Dean. Real nice!"

"So I just fell off and that did me in?"

"No."

Sam turned his attention back to the computer screen.

"Well?"

Sam ignored him, entering another site and quietly reading.

"You might as well just tell me." Dean's chest puffed out as he squared off his shoulders. "I have the right to know."

Sam looked up, his eyes dark and his lips set in a firm, thin line. "You were holding a pencil."

"A pencil?"

"Yes, Dean, a pencil."

"What? Lead poisoning?"

"No, more like a piece of wood through your aorta."

Dean scoffed, "A pencil wouldn't puncture this chest. It'd break first."

"Well, it didn't."

"Huh." Dean quirked his head to the side. "Bet there was blood."

"Yeah, Dean, there was blood."

"Bet I wasn't wearing my leather jacket in the room."

"Right again. Your leather jacket survived the pencil."

"Well, see, there is good news here!"

"Yeah? Let's break out the champagne and celebrate, huh, Dean?"

Dean smirked broad and joyful. "Nah, reminds me of Lucy." When his brother failed to see the humor of the situation Dean started moving again, antsy and unsettled. "Y'know, Sammy, I am feeling kinda grungy. How about a bath? I promise I won't drown."

"No showers, no baths. You may think you're steady as a cat, but number twenty-two proved different."

"I thought you said it was number twenty-four?"

"What?"

"You said shower slip was number twenty-four."

"No, I didn't."

Dean smugly shook his head up and down. "Yeah, dude, you did."

"Now you're remembering the numbers?" Sam asked incredulously.

"Hey, it was the first number you told me. Besides, it's my birthday."

Sam grunted, his eyes wide in frustration. "What difference? Twenty-two or twenty-four….either way, you die."

"Just trying to keep up here."

"You die, Dean… You die."

"Yeah, yeah, I get it. I die."

Sam closed his eyes and paused. Damn, this is getting us nowhere.

Dean got a wicked glint in his eyes and a perverted smirk on his lips. "Hey, Sammy?"

"What now?"

"Just wondering, what was number sixty-nine?"

Sam looked up and Dean waggled his brows, his dancing eyes telegraphing his lascivious thoughts.

Sam opened his mouth to speak and the double-meaning hit him and he stopped cold and rolled his eyes. He flipped closed the laptop and sat nervously tapping his fingers on the tabletop, staring at his brother. He closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath before he stood.

"C'mon."

Dean eagerly jumped off the bed but then hesitated. "Y'sure, Sammy?" His eyes wide and hopeful, desperate to escape this drab, motel prison he'd been locked up in for the last hour and a half.

"Yeah, you've died enough times in this room. It's not safe. Nothing is."

Dean grinned. "That's more like it!"

Sam shook his head in wonder. "You're happy 'cause you're not safe anywhere? That's twisted, Dean, real twisted."

"Sammy, that's life." And when Dean said it, it sounded so reasonable and true, so basic. "Ain't no guarantees and if I'm gonna bite it, I'd rather go down swinging than sittin' around on a bed waiting for it to come 'n get me."

Sam stopped and watched his brother, the life and joy Dean found in everyday actions so clear and vibrant. His energy almost infusing Sam with the hope that this day was going to pass and tomorrow would finally come. "Okay, then."

"Okay! Where to?"

Sam allowed himself to smile; his brother was acting like a freakin' dog whose owner had just pulled out the leash. Dean was definitely a lab in a previous life…in more ways than one!

"I found another possible hot spot here in town. Thought we might as well check it out."

"Good."

Dean grabbed his jacket from the chair and followed his brother out the door. As the door swung closed, they heard a huge crash from inside. Their eyes connected and Dean was muttering under his breath as Sam quickly unlocked the door and the brothers stood shoulder to shoulder in the doorway, staring at the rubble inside. The roof had collapsed over the bed Dean had been sitting on mere seconds before. A large, old-fashioned, footed tub now occupied the bed, the faucet right where Dean's head had rested.

"Sonuvabitch!" Dean slapped his brother across the chest and grinned. "Wow! That was close, huh, Sammy?"

Sam had to admit to feeling a huge sense of relief after the initial sinking feeling vacated. He'd already had so many instances of terror at witnessing Dean's feet sticking out from under the desk, the meteor, the out of control bus that randomly smashed him against a brick wall, and he wasn't sure how he'd react to another. They'd dodged the tub…thank God! Maybe Dean was actually going to live. Maybe this time it was going to happen, maybe this time they were close enough to make it happen.

Sam felt a glimmer of hope in his heart, rising up from the ruins of the devastation that had consumed him for the last three months of Tuesdays.

It lasted another three minutes and twenty-seven seconds until they stepped out into the cool night air. The time was 11:49. Eleven minutes before midnight.

They never saw the steamroller as they left the relative safety of the motel stairs. Didn't know the street was blocked off for late-night resurfacing. Dean was chattering away, exuberant at being outside in the fresh air again, alive and well, slapping his brother on the back and walking confidently beside him as they headed off on their quest.

Wrapped up in the excitement of the moment, they never noticed the operator having a seizure at the precise moment Dean's feet hit the pavement. Never realized a grown man could be reduced to an inch of bloody tar in a single swipe as surgical precision separated the brothers and left Sam on the sidelines looking on in horror.

Judge Doom had nothin' on Dean Winchester.

Sam only had time to gasp out one desperate groan as the terror shuddered through his body and he closed his eyes to the horrific sight…

---

…and then the radio clicked on, playing that familiar tune and his eyes snapped open to another Tuesday.

Dean was sitting on the next bed, grinning as he laced up his boots…all two dozen grommets.

"Rise and shine, Sammy!"

The End

bjxmas April 2008

All standard disclaimers apply.

Thanks for reading…reviews would be lovely. Take care, B.J.