A/N: So here's another tag to my story Fade. Took longer than I thought to type up because of computer dramas, but here it is. There'll be at least one more after this. Hope you enjoy.


"Stop going easy on me," Sam growled as he easily dodged his brother's next two swings, countering with a kick that glanced off Dean's right hip.

"I'm not going easy on you," Dean said, throwing another punch that Sam blocked with as much ease as the last two, or three. Hell, all of them.

"Yes, you are!" Sam argued, out of breath as he swung at Dean again.

Dean ducked. "Sam-"

"I'm not sick anymore. Stop treating me like I am."

Something glinted in Dean's eyes. "Fine."

And that was all the warning Sam got before he found himself flat on his back on the grass, Dean on top of him, arms pinned each side of his head.

Dean raised his eyebrows and Sam couldn't bring himself to feel grateful for the lack of his usual gloating smirk.

"See, you're still recovering," Dean said reasonably, not panting at all. He hadn't even broken a sweat yet. "Cut yourself some slack. We're not going to get anywhere if you keep insisting you can do things you can't."

Sam scowled and tried to twist, jerking upwards in the hopes of throwing Dean off balance, but his brother just tightened his grip.

"Seriously, Sam, you need to go easy on yourself."

"Get off me," Sam demanded, shoving at Dean again.

Dean relaxed his hands, rolling to the side and climbing to his feet. Sam pointedly ignored the hand held out to him and pushed himself up, turning his back on Dean and stomping across the field towards their motel room.

"Aw, man." Dean cursed behind him. "Don't be like that, Sam, c'mon-"

"Leave me alone."

"I'm sorry, okay? I shouldn't've-"

"Just leave me alone, Dean!"

He heard Dean huff an exasperated sigh but there was, thankfully, no further attempt at conversation and Dean's advancing footsteps trailed off, too.

Sam reached the room and banged the door open, heading straight for the bathroom and locking himself in. Heaving his own sigh, he leant over the sink, eyeing himself critically in the cloudy mirror.

He still looked sick. He could see it, Dean could see it, but, damn it, he didn't need to be reminded of it every freaking day.

His hair was still too short for his liking, two months after leaving Bobby's, and too thin. It didn't curl properly the way it used to, and his face looked kind of hollow, despite Dean's attempts at feeding him up. He was wearing one of Dean's t-shirts and it managed to look baggy, collarbones and shoulders sharp underneath.

If he was honest, which he didn't want to be, he kind of had to concede that Dean had a point. He was out of breath as it was and they hadn't even been sparring for that long, and Dean had been going easy on him, but he was so over this whole training kick Dean was on. It was like being a teenager again, with John Winchester determined to transform him into a monster-fighting machine, no slacking off, try harder, always harder, and didn't Dean remember how much he'd hated those lessons the first time round?

He never thought he'd find himself thinking it but what he wanted was a hunt. Something to emerse himself in, something to strive towards, something normal.

So maybe he wasn't at the top of his game but they'd worked injured or sick before. The bad things didn't go away just because they weren't feeling great.

Of course, he knew that it would be useless to point that out to Dean. His brother would simply spout something about how he wasn't ready and block his access to the laptop, as if Sam might find a hunt and run off on his own to solve it.

Honestly, he'd been tempted to do just that, but it totally wasn't worth the smack down Dean would give him for it and really, if he was completely truthful with himself, he knew that he wasn't ready to hunt without Dean there to back him up.

"Sam?" Knocking on the door. "You gonna spend all day in there?"

Sam scowled at his reflection. It was embarrassing that Dean could pin him that easily. Okay, so Dean hadn't done it to humiliate him, he'd done it to prove a point, but that didn't make him feel much better.

"Sam?" Dean's tone changed to worried, always one silence too long away these days. "You okay?"

Sam thought briefly about not answering, giving Dean the silent treatment, childish as it was, but he had no doubt that Dean would just kick the door down (because he already had once, when the shower had drowned out Dean's voice and yeah, that had been awkward for both of them).

"I'm fine, Dean. Piss off."


He could sense Dean hovering beyond the door. Sam clenched his teeth. "I get it, okay? You're just trying to help, it's for my own good..." He paused, trying to think of other half-apologies Dean had thrown at him lately.

"No, um, I was gonna say... I found us a hunt."

Sam froze. His reflection looking back at him, completely stunned. He turned and yanked the door open. "You serious?"

Dean shifted awkwardly. "Yeah, uh, looks like a poltergiest in the next town over. Thought we could go check it out."

Well, that was one hell of a peace offering. Dean was looking anxious enough so Sam just nodded and said, "Okay, cool." Which he knew Dean would interpret as forgiveness, and went to pack his duffle.