Originally published in the "Every Possible Way" zine 5/2008. Mystery Spot scene...writers were asked to come up with more "Dean dying" scenarios. So I killed him. And polished it in the process, this version differs ever so slightly.
"I'm telling you, Sam, this is a piece of cake. We've done this how many times now?"
"That's the point, Dean! We're not succeeding."
"Come on, man! We know what's going on. We got this."
Sam barked a laugh. Was he serious? He didn't look it, jamming food into his mouth like it was about to run off his plate. "Oh, sure! As long as we can keep you away from falling objects, cars, dogs, showers, food, anything electrical. . ."
"I could sit in a church," Dean replied around a mouthful. "Lay in a pew for a day. What could happen in a church?"
It was a thought. Maybe not the best one, because their experience showed that plenty of things happened in churches. But he was running out of options.
Sam looked outside. The people passed by the window of the diner as they'd done for, god, it felt like years. The same people, wearing the same clothes, doing the same things. It was so strange knowing them so intimately, yet only for a day. Or was it a day's worth of knowledge? Was he really living the exact same day, or was he shifting from timeline to timeline? How many versions of Dean were burning in various hells? Were there various hells? One for each timeline? Did each timeline go to the same hell? Would Dean go down there to find over a hundred burning Deans staring back at him?
That would definitely be hell.
"Yo!" Dean snapped his fingers in Sam's face, making him jump. "I said, where's the nearest church?"
"Uh, I think there's one on Rush Street," Sam said quickly.
"Rush Street. Well, I guess we should just rush on over there, huh? Huh?" Dean grinned around his eggs.
Sam winced and used two fingers to flick a rumpled napkin at him. "Clean your grill."
"Thanks." Dean mumbled, and rubbed at his mouth. He crumpled it and tossed it at Sam. "You think holy water would help?"
Sam batted it back across the table. "I think the napkin does just fine."
"Bitch. I mean about all this." He waved his fork in a circle.
"I don't know. You ever know holy water to cure death?"
"No, but if something nasty comes at me it might could cure that."
"Yeah? Something nasty coming at you. Like a car?"
Dean gave a one-shoulder shrug and stabbed at his eggs.
Sam sat back with a frustrated huff. It wasn't that Dean wasn't taking it seriously. Okay, it was a little of that. Not remembering dying, well, sure this whole scenario was hard to swallow. And no one ever wakes up thinking they'd kick the bucket that day, not unless they were suicidal and actually mapped out how to it. So – Dean was in denial. Again. Starting to believe Sam, sure, but hey, this was the Invincible Dean Winchester. Death trembled at the sight of him, right? Death probably would, if it was Terry Pratchett's version. But then Dean sometimes seemed like a character from Discworld. Not that Sam would ever tell him, because Dean would revel in the comparison.
Dammit. Dammit! When they left that diner, he'd have to lose his brother again. He couldn't do that. He couldn't. His chest tightened, and he angled himself to face the window as the waitress refilled their coffee mugs. He caught his brother's reflection in the glass.
No, he couldn't loose Dean. He wouldn't. "Here's a thought. What if we stay here?"
Eyebrows arched over a bite of sausage. "Excuse me?"
"You heard me. Let's stay here."
Dean's startled glance darted around. "Didn't you say I choked on something in here?"
Sam narrowed his eyes at Dean's nearly clean plate. "Yeah, you seem real concerned about that now."
Dean stared at Sam and pointedly washed down his mouthful with a cup of coffee.
"So? What do you think?"
He set down the mug and stared. "What are we supposed to do in here all day, Sam?"
Well, Sam had no idea. Absolutely no clue. It was early morning, how were they supposed to stay in the diner until dark? Or worse, through dark, until midnight? "Got any cards?"
It was a glib question, but Dean sat back. "Cards? Cause I keep a deck with me at all times, right?" He sighed and glanced out of the window while pulling at his jeans. Sam thought he was making an adjustment, but instead he pulled out a small cardboard pack and waved it at Sam before setting it on the table with a near soundless thump.
Sam just blinked. Opened his mouth, then shut it again.
"Before you ask.," Dean leaned his elbow and pointed, "apparently at some point I've had the same thought. Cause these ended up in my jeans, and I don't carry cards unless we're hustling."
"And you didn't tell me?"
"Yeah, Sam. That was first and foremost on my mind. 'Oh, by the way, this pack of cards mysteriously ended up in my pocket, isn't that creepy?'" He waved his hands in an exaggerated manner then pushed aside his empty plate. "Need to work on that poker face of yours, anyway."
"Dean, are you saying you bought those cards and put them in your pocket, anticipating this?"
"I could'a used them in the church pew. But whatever."
"You knew you'd be camped out somewhere. So you're remembering more."
Dean thought about it. "More like. . .no." He opened the box and pulled the stack of cards out. Tossed the box aside. Shuffled loudly.
Several patrons looked up. Sam gave a sheepish smile and wondered which was truly worse, seeing his brother killed before his eyes, or playing cards with him in a diner for a full day. One would inevitably lead to the other.
They played Texas Hold'Em for the first hour. And the second. By this time Sam was wishing the diner served beer. Poker just wasn't meant to be played in the daytime, and definitely not while sober. And especially not while Dean Winchester was sober.
"So I'm up what, about two thou?" Dean shuffled the cards with a smirk.
Sam was glad he didn't have to worry about paying up. He caught the cards as they slid across the table.
They played for another hour. Before long the cards drifted into a game of Rummy, then Go Fish. Dean was still winning. Sam started on a miniature card house.
One card slid to the floor. Dean leaned over to pick it up.
Right as the waitress bumped the table.
The coffee she carried spilled over Dean, who jumped up with a yelp, upsetting her tray. Plates flew into the air. Food splattered. Dean slipped, falling forwards, landing flat on his face. There was a quick gurgling sound. He didn't move.
Sam pushed out of the booth. No. Oh, nononono. . .NO! He fell to his knees and rolled Dean over. Green eyes settled on his, then faded. A large serving fork stuck out of his chest, over his heart, only the handle to be seen.
"Rise and shiine, Sammy!"
Sam bolted upright. Dean was there, pointing at him, bobbing his head like a loon, like nothing was wrong, like nothing was going to happen. Like Sam wasn't living through hell.
But he was there.
And he'd had enough. "Get your finger outta my face!"
"Damn! Bitchy! Come on, get up!"
Sam snapped, still raw from his waking emotion. "Fuck you!" He snatched his pillow and flung it to the floor in a rage. "Just – fork you!"
"What'd you say?"
"I said. . ."
"Did I?" Sam blinked, and felt hysteria sink in. "Oh God, I did, didn't I?" He started to laugh, even as his eyes stung.
Dean just shook his head. "It's gonna be one of those days, isn't it?"