A/N: This is my reaction to rewatching 6x01 and 6x02. No spoilers for 6x03, and definitely not something we'd see on the show (fortunately or unfortunately).


Sam pushed open the door to the bar, letting a shaft of dying sunlight briefly illuminate the dim interior. He used it to quickly scan the room, noting exit points, general population, presence of weapons . . . and Dean sitting at the bar.

Nodding genially at the bartender, Sam sidled over to the empty stool next to Dean and slid onto it, facing him. "Hey."

Dean glanced sideways at him, then returned to the contemplation of the beer bottle in his hand. "Hey."

"Saw the Impala out front." Sam waited, but when Dean wasn't forthcoming with anything else, he prompted, "So, I heard you were hunting again."

"Yeah. Where'd you hear that?"

"Bobby told me." Sam watched as Dean took a sip of his beer. "He sounded kinda pissed."

Dean chuckled softly. "Old guy's always pissed these days. It's mutual." He shook his head. "Him and me, we'll get over it. Eventually."

Sam frowned. "You really are back? What about Lisa and Ben?"

Dean made a noise low in his throat. "Lisa . . . she told me to hit the road."

"She kicked you out? What'd you do?"

Dean threw him a dirty look. "Nothing. And she did not kick me out. She told me to hit the road, get back to hunting. Like I wanted."

"What?" Sam shook his head in disbelief. "But . . ." He shut down that train of thought and switched to another. "How long?"

"Couple months. It's been good. Smoked a couple poltergeists, then went back for Ben's birthday before I went after a chupacabra in Texas."

"You've been hunting alone? Why didn't you call me? Samuel and I could've used your help on a black dog."

Dean shrugged, fiddling with the label on the bottle. "Wasn't all that interested in joining the family reunion tour, thanks."

"Why not?" Sam leaned in, trying to see his face better. "Dean, they're family. They've been hunting a long time, and Samuel's the best."

"Family." Dean's lip curled as he said the word, almost like a curse. "You and I have very different concepts of family, Sam."

"Dean," Sam sighed, "they're blood."

"Are they? Really?" Dean turned to look him straight in the eye. "Did you actually prove that, or are you taking Samuel's word for it?"

Sam shrugged. "He's our grandfather."

"Who I saw die nearly 40 years ago after being possessed by Yellow Eyes. Who can't explain how he was resurrected. Who's given me absolutely no reason to trust him, or any of them. So why do you?" Dean shook his head. "Wait, I forgot who I was talking to."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Sam demanded.

"Oh, nothing. Just you sort of have a history of trusting the wrong people."

Sam flashed back to what Lucifer had shown him, about all the people possessed and put in his path on purpose. Friends, dates, teachers – but Dean couldn't know about that.

"Like Ruby. That ring a bell? Or Meg. How about Madison, Adam, Brady, you want me to continue?" Abruptly all the anger drained out of Dean, and he slowly shook his head, turning back to his beer. "Doesn't matter."

"Doesn't matter? Dean,c'mon, I know I've made mistakes, but we can trust them. They're family, and they're hunters. I know I can't explain how I got out of hell, and Samuel doesn't know why or how he came back either. We're trying to figure it out. We could use your help."

"Really? 'Cause I got the real strong impression that the cousins think I'm some know-nothing civilian. I didn't hear you trying to back me up there."

"Well, you have – had – been out of the game for a while. They just need a chance to get to know you. I've known them for a year now. They're good people."

"And I'm just supposed to take your word on that."

"Why not?" Sam asked, baffled, studying the man next to him. Dean wasn't angry or sarcastic or hurting. If anything, he just seemed a little sad.

Dean closed his eyes for a second, exhaling slowly. "Why do you hate me so much, Sam?"

"What? I don't hate you."

"Really?" Dean arched an eyebrow. "Remember when I sold my soul for you? Said I couldn't live with you dead? I went to hell for you, because you dead hurt worse than anything I could've imagined. You know what that feels like. And yet you let me believe you were dead, in a hellhole with Lucifer for a year. You let me suffer that, and you would've continued to let me think you were dead if it hadn't been for those djinn. In what world is that okay?"

"I just thought you were better off not knowing," Sam said. "You had a family. You were out of the life."

"Because you asked me to, hell, you made me promise you. Of course, if I'd been hunting while thinking you were dead, I probably would've gotten careless hoping something would kill me. Put me out of my misery."

"See? It was for the best."

"For who? You think I've been anything close to happy this last year? You think Lisa was happy with me drinking, with the nightmares, with the researching how to get you out of hell? You think Ben was happy with me vetting all his friends and teachers to make sure they weren't possessed or evil?"

"You didn't have to do that."

"Yes, I did. You don't get me, Sam. I'm a hunter. That's what I do, what I love doing, what I want to do. I make a difference by saving people and hunting things. And you took that away from me. Because you thought it was the best for me."

"But you're back now. So why didn't you call me, or come find us?"

"You just don't get it. I gave up everything for you. Not just for Dad, for you. All I wanted was the best for you, and I did my goddamn best to give you everything I could, so you didn't have to be like me. I loved you more than anything. You were my family, Sam. I was willing to forgive a lot, but this . . . well, I guess everyone has their breaking point." Dean gave a twisted little half-smile. "You'll chose practically anyone,strangers, even a demon, over me. You've spent half your life trying to get away from me. Well, now you've got your wish."

"What d'you mean? Dean, I want you to come with me," Sam told him.

"But I don't want to go with you." Dean looked him straight in the eye, dead serious. "There's just too much in between us to ever be what we were again. You're not the brother I raised, the one I died for, the one I loved. I don't know who you are anymore. And I sure as hell don't trust you."

Sam stared back at him for a long moment, then nodded, once. Without a word, he rose and strode out the door. Dean watched him leave, listening as the car engine rumbled at the start then faded away down the road.