It was the heat of the moment—
"Dude, come on. Wake up."
Dean woke up in his dingy motel bedroom for the hundredth time, sitting up with tired eyes. Every day there was a sliver of hope, that maybe the radio had just played Asia two mornings in a row, but then Dean would open his eyes and see his brother.
"What, I thought you liked Asia?"
The elder Winchester clenched his jaw as he shut his eyes. It was taking all of his strength to not lash out at his brother. It wasn't Sam's fault for not knowing about the time loop. It wasn't Sam's fault for being oblivious every single day. It wasn't even really Sam's fault for dying in every single way possible for the last hundred days as Dean stood there, not able to save him or do anything at all to change his fate, not able to do his one job and protect his little brother—
Dean grabbed the radio that was blaring the retched song and threw it across the room, filled with rage. The cord ripped out of the wall as the device hit the ground and fell into pieces. Sam stared at his brother, his mouth open and his brows furrowed in concern. Dean returned the look, glaring at Sammy and clenching his jaw so hard it hurt.
"So you're stuck in some sort of time loop?"
The Winchesters were back at the diner, just having walked in and sat down (Dean had given up on the 'not-going-outside-' plan about twenty fives Tuesdays ago). The elder stared off at nothing in particular; he didn't really want to go through the explanation again.
"Yes, okay! I'm stuck in some freaking time loop!" Dean blurted out angrily.
Sam frowned. "Hey, calm down, it's okay. We can figure this out."
"No, we can't. We really can't, Sam," Dean replied. "This is the hundredth Tuesday I've lived through. I have tried everything; I have lived through every possible Tuesday imaginable."
"Okay, okay, I believe you. But there has to be something—"
Dean took a deep breath. "That family by the door?" His brother looked over his shoulder to see, but Dean's eyes never left Sam's face; after all, he knew every inch of this diner, there wasn't really a need to look. "The woman just recently got divorced. The older son has ADHD and the younger has autism. She's a real bad kisser, too."
"Wha—never mind. How do you know all this stuff?" Sammy questioned.
"I told you—every single possible Tuesday has happened. The guy in the suit works for the local law firm, but he's been burying evidence, so so much for the justice system there. The kid in the PJs is skipping because he doesn't want to take his AP Psych exam, and that leather-studded sweetheart over there is still hungover from last night."
The brothers were interrupted by Doris, who was just as plump and falsely chipper as the 99 previous Tuesdays. Dean didn't bother to look up at her as she asked to take their order. As Sam asked for the shortstack and two black coffees once again, his brother couldn't hold his annoyance in any longer.
"You know, Doris, what I would like is for you to put in some more hours at the archery range," he said as his eyebrow twitched. "Your shot is a piece of crap."
"H-how did you know…?"'
Dori looked at Sam, confused. He gave her an apologetic smile in return, and she walked away to place the order.
"Okay, so you know a lot," Sam frowned.
"I know everything."
"I wouldn't go that far."
The Winchesters looked at each other for a moment, both with blank expressions. They then leaned forward at the same time, and opened their mouths.
"Newton's third law represents action and reaction. Force times mass equals acceleration. …Dean Winchester is in love with his car and when no one is looking he—"
"Okay!" Sam stopped. "Look, there has to be something we can do."
"Coffee," Dean desponded, his eyes still distant.
A few seconds later, their waitress was back with their beverages. She proceeded to set one in front of Sam and one in front of Dean. As Doris walked away, she made the same mistake for the hundredth time and bumped into the table. The elder Winchester's hand snapped across the table and grabbed the cup.
"Ooh crap—oh, thanks!" Doris replied, her reactions changing in a second.
Sam gave the waitress another smile before she turned away, and then he looked at his brother once again. Dean was glaring into space, his grip tightening on the mug with each passing second.
There was a crash, and everyone in the diner turned to look at the hunters. Sam's coffee cup was in pieces on the table and Dean's fist was clenched tight. Blood oozed from his palm, and yet he continued to look into the distance, his brow twitching.
"Dean," Sammy said, this time not as a question and with a bit of force.
After a few seconds, Dean's eyes slowly shifted to his brother's face and his fist unclenched at the same speed. As Sam opened his mouth to speak, the elder Winchester gave a snarl and snatched a few paper napkins from their dispenser, gripping them in his injured hand. He then reached into his pocket with his left and dished out a few dollar bills. Dean threw them down on the table before standing up and making his way out the front door, with his brother following a few seconds behind him.
"What was that?"
Dean continued walking, not bothering to answer his brother's question. Sammy had already caught up with him, with his long legs and big strides, and was looking down at Dean with an expression that mixed confusion, concern, and irritation. He put a hand on Dean's shoulder and turned him around, looking at him sternly.
"You can't just go around ruining people's stuff."
Dean scowled at his little brother and raised his voice. "What am I supposed to do, Sam? I'm done with this time loop, and I don't care who knows it! I've seen you die a hundred times. Do you know what that does to a person?"
The Winchesters turned around to see a police woman sitting on the hood of her car, sipping a cup of coffee with a chilled expression.
"I'm a little busy here, lady," Dean growled, and Sam's hand gripped tighter on his shoulder as a warning.
"No, I think you've got time to talk to me," the law enforcer responded, sliding off of her car and stepping towards the two. "Are you drunk?"
"What? Listen lady, you really don't want to be messing with me right now, alright?"
"Dean, I think we should just talk to her," Sammy said quietly.
"Naaah," the woman said, drawing out the word as if to show how calm she was, but at the same time reached a hand closer to her metal cuffs. "Why don't you come down to the station with me? Just to chat."
"You have no reason to arrest me," Dean grumbled, his fists scrunched along with his jaw.
"Your crazy yelling and bleeding hand reek of probably cause," the authority said sternly, but then smiled once again. "Besides, who said anything about an arrest?"
The older Winchester stared at her for a moment, drilling holes into her skull with his eyes. Then he began to chuckle. It was a low chuckle, one that didn't last very long and one that made Sam gulp—he knew nothing good could possibly come of it.
"Probable cause?" Dean said lowly, making the woman lean in a little to hear him. "Do you want probable cause?"
The cop stood there for a second, confused. Her mouth hung open slightly as she looked for the correct way to approach this crazy guy. No possible scenario in her head could have prepared her for this, though.
Dean spun around on his heels, his fist balled up, and swung at the shop window with his already injured hand. The glass shattered with a crash as Sam and the police woman stared, dumbfounded.
"There's your freakin' probably cause, lady."
"What the heck was that, Dean?" Sam interrogated as the two were shoved into an empty holding call at the police station. His brother stood beside him silently, staring at his newly bandaged hand. After a few moments, he sat down on a cold bench and Sam followed suite.
"I'm done with this, Sam," he muttered after almost five minutes of silence. "Who cares what happens today? You're going to die and I'm going to wake up again, and we'll just relive Tuesday for the hundred and first time as you go back to being a clueless sack of nothing-but-tall and I fail to find the solution again. I'm done."
Sam frowned. His brother really had given up, and he couldn't even being to understand what he was going through. If he really was going to die today (that was a weird thought, but apparently it had happened ninety nine times already. Sam shuttered slightly at the idea) and have no recollection of it when he woke up, he had to be helpful today when he did know what was going on.
The younger Winchester focused his attention at the law enforcement outside of the cell. There was a guard standing outside with his back to them, but at the same time, other officers scurried this way and that with files and cups of java. A radio sat on a table in the corner of the room, shouting out newborn crimes. There had to be valuable information somewhere; after all, they were in a police station.
As Sam's eyes and ears wandered, two policemen approached the watercooler that sat not far from the barred room.
"So how about the disappearance of that professor guy?" one of them said, clearly just as a conversation starter.
The other one grabbed a paper cup and started to fill it up. "Eh, I dunno… we never were able to find much about it."
"That's crazy. Did he really go missing in that Mystery Spot? I mean… you don't believe in all that stuff, do you?"
The second man let out a bellowing laugh. "Have you seen that place? It's like something you would see at the fair! Something that second graders put together, no less. Ha!"
The two men laughed, though the first had an edge to his as if he didn't quite believe his friend's testimony.
Sam turned back to Dean, who was staring at the ground with distance in his eyes. "What about the Mystery Spot? The guy who went missing there could have something to do with it."
Dean chuckled coldly. "I gave up on that place after the fifth Tuesday. It's just a bunch of bullcrap."
Sammy turned his attention back to the cops. They were talking about another case now, it seemed, and the younger Winchester almost lost hope that they would provide any useful information.
"Back to the Mystery Spot case for a second…" the first policeman said.
"Ha! Come on Mike, there's nothing more to say. It was a bust."
Mike frowned. "Well, the guy was an established journalist. I mean, I don't know how he would just up and disappear."
"Did you see the crap he was publishing? Ha! He ripped on tourist attractions like the Mystery Spot for a living! I wouldn't be surprised if an owner of one of those places got angry and tried off 'em." The second cop sipped his water once again. "It's only a hunch, though I guess it's a start. Come on, don't you have paperwork to be doing?"
The two law enforcers scampered off and disappeared into the hubbub of other cops as Sam returned his gaze to his brother. "That sounds like motive right there."
Dean's eyebrows rose slightly. "Okay, that's a place to start I guess. But now we have the problem of how to get out of here safely."
As he emphasized the last word, the door to the holding cell opened. The brothers looked up to see a policewoman holding a huge, obviously drunk man by the arm. When she let him go, he nearly stumbled into the wall, but he managed to hold his balance by gripping one of the bars. The woman left and the cell became almost silent, the only noise being the huffing and puffing of their new cellmate. As Dean glanced around the room for any way to escape, his brother stared at the man in front of them. The two made eye contact for just a second before Sam looked back at the ground, but it was just long enough.
"Hey buddy, ju got a problem?" the man slurred.
Sam gulped. "Uh, no, nope."
Their new friend stepped towards them. "Ju sure? I fink ju were lookin' a' me a bi' funny."
Dean clenched his jaw. This couldn't be a coincidence—he knew what was getting ready to happen. And hey, it would be a way to get out of jail. He couldn't just let Sammy die, though, even if he would just wake up again. He couldn't be that cold-hearted, and he had to be a good brother. Dean stood up.
"Leave up alone, alright bud?"
The man squinted. "Wha-? Did I 'ear you correctly?" He reached a massive hand around Sam's collar. "I don' fink so, pal."
"Hey, guard!" Dean called. "Come get this psycho!"
The drunk reached inside his coat and clawed around as if he was looking for something. He grinned as there was a rip, and his hand reemerged with a long switchblade. When the guard opened the door, gun drawn, Sam was already on the floor with a new coat of red covering his shirt.
It was the heat of the moment—
"So what makes this professor so important?"'
The Winchesters were back at the diner, back to Sam not knowing about the time loop, and back to Doris tipping over his cup of coffee. Dean didn't care, though. As he waited on his pig n'a poke to arrive, he clacked away on the keyboard of his brother's laptop. He turned it around to face Sammy after he had gotten to the right website.
"Dexter Hasselback is a professor, but he's also a journalist apparently. The guy makes a living debunking tourist attractions like the Mystery Spot," Dean said. "I think that's what he was trying to do to the Mystery Spot, too."
"And disappearing in it? That sounds like just desserts."
Dean chuckled and sipped on his coffee, his thoughts wandering. A few seconds later, an idea popped into his head and he nearly choked on his coffee. "Wait, what did you just say?"
"It just sounds like just desserts, you know? It's kind of ironic to disappear in a bad tourist attraction when you rip on them for your job—Oh no."
"Yeah, and who else do we know that specializes in giving people their just desserts?"
"The Trickster. This must be another demi god, or something like it."
Dean immediately stood up, throwing a 20 dollar bill on the table as he did so. Sam followed his brother's actions. To their surprise, they were both met with a shove. The leather-clad teenage girl who was in the diner every day pushed past them as she took another drag on his cigarette, her long black ponytail flowing behind her.
Sam frowned for a moment, but then started heading towards the door. He was surprised to find that his brother wasn't following him.
"Dean? What's wrong?"
"That girl," Dean stammered. "Her hair!"
"What about it?"
"She was wearing it up in a ponytail!"
Dean's eyes were wide and his brows were pulled up in a mix of emotions. "Every single day, her hair has been down. Nothing in this diner has changed, nothing except for me, and now this."
It was the heeeeat of the moment—
Dean jolted upright with a shock and, to his horror, found himself back in their dingy motel room. Sammy stood over him with a confused expression.
"But you didn't die!" Dean blurted out as he threw his pillow across the room.
Sam's brother glowered for a moment, unsure of what to do. Finally, he said, "One question—where are the stakes?"
The elder Winchester drummed his fingers on the diner's table as he ignored his pig n'a poke. His eyes wandered around the establishment, watching and waiting. His eyes were glued to the back of the leather covered girl, who had her long black hair up once again.
"So you're stuck in some kind of what, exactly?" Sam questioned as he set his coffee down.
"Shut up and eat your breakfast," Dean replied sharply. Sam gave him a hurt expression for a moment before picking up a fork and a knife and cutting into his pancakes.
It had hardly even been two minutes before Dean's plan was put into effect. As soon as the teenager moved away from her normal spot at the bar, he stood up, clutching a brown paper bag in his hand. He made no attempt to tell his brother of his plan as he followed her out the door. Sammy called after him, but after hearing no reply, stood up and threw a few bucks on their table before hurriedly chasing after Dean.
The elder Winchester made sure to stay a few feet behind his target as they exited the restaurant, watching her as she took one last drag on her cigarette and threw it to the ground. When they reached the end of the sidewalk, he tapped her on the shoulder as Sam came up with a frown next to them.
"Excuse me, miss," Dean said with a smile as the girl turned around. "I was wondering, do you have anyway to stay tonight? I mean, my brother and I have some extra room back at the motel."
Sammy looked at Dean with wide eyes as the girl chuckled softly.
"I think you're a little too old for me, mister," she responded, squinting her eyes.
Dean laughed too, reaching into his paper bag as he did so. "You know, I'm really not sure if that's the case."
To Sam's horror, his brother pulled out a wooden stake and brought it to the girl's neck. She had the same reaction.
"Whoa, hey! Get away from me, you freak!"
"Shut up!" Dean yelled back. "I know who you are!"
"H-hey man, I don't think you do," she replied, quivering. "I'm Stephanie Trix, I'm 17, and I just dropped out of high school. I have nothing to give you, so please, let me go!"
"Dean, what are you doing?" Sammy asked with his brows furrowed. "She's got nothing to do with—"
"Yes she does," the elder Winchester said, tightening his grip on the stake and digging it further into her neck. "Giving people what they deserve, giving them their just desserts? I know exactly what you are, and you're not just some teenager with a leather obsession. We've killed one of your kind before!"
Stephanie looked up at Dean with horror in her eyes as tears started to form around their edges. Suddenly, she started to laugh. Dean glowered in confusion and his eyes widened as he saw what was happening in front of him. The girl's face started to morph and fade, and a few seconds later, it was replaced with an all too familiar face. A face that belonged to someone who was supposed to be dead.
"Actually bucko, you didn't," the Trickster grinned.
Dean breathed heavily, knitting his eyebrows and glaring at the monster in front of him. "Why are you doing this?"
The Trickster scoffed. "Are you serious? You chuckleheads tried to kill me—why wouldn't I be doing this?"
"What about the professor, Dexter Hasselback?" Sam asked with an edge in his voice. "What did he do to become worthy of your little pranks?"
"Well, he said that he didn't believe in wormholes, so I dropped him in one. Ha!" the demi god laughed with a grin. "Then you guys hit down and I just couldn't resist."
Dean's knuckles turned white as he grasped the stake in his hand. "You think this is funny, you jerk? Killing my brother over and over again?"
The Trickster smiled. "First of all, yes, it is fun. And two—this is so not about killing Sam. This joke is on you, Dean." The elder Winchester's eyebrows furrowed deeper. "Watching him die, over and over, forever…"
Dean's jaw clenched, his lip twitching in frustration. In a flash, he raised his unoccupied hand and punched the demi god in the face, who groaned for a moment before beaming once again.
"How long will it take you to realize?" he said impishly. "You won't be able to save your brother, no matter what. Even after selling your soul for him, you're going to die and he's going to go down with you."
Dean glared at him for a moment before digging the stake into the Trickster's throat again. "Oh yeah? If I kill you now, this will all be over, and you won't have to worry your ugly face about that."
"Whoa, whoa! Okay, okay. Look, this was all just a little prank. You guys can't handle it? Fine, you're out of it. When you wake up tomorrow, it will be Wednesday. I swear."
"You're lying," Dean shot back.
"Oh yeah? Well, if I am, you know where to find me—smoking a cig in the diner."
Sam looked at his brother for a moment, his face blank. Dean returned the look, thinking for a moment, before turning back to the Trickster.
"Nah, it'd just be easier to kill you now."
"Sorry kiddo," the Trickster replied, raising his hands, "can't have that."
But you better promise me I'll be back in time…