A/N: Wow-this is the longest thing I've written in quite a while. Thank you to my muse. I never imagined that I'd write a tag (sort of) to 7x09 "How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters". This is kind of like a bridge between 7x09 and 7x10 but will likely be A/U after the fact.

Honestly, I'm not completely sure about this because I don't like to think that this truly could be where Dean's head is at—yet there are enough clues to say otherwise. And quite frankly, this story just would NOT leave me alone. So I had to write it. I hope I did justice to my beloved Sam and Dean.

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

By: Vanessa Sgroi

Sam Winchester threw himself into a corner seat in the hospital waiting room. Leaning forward with a sigh, he rested his elbows on his knees and pressed the tips of his fingers into his eyes. God, this can't—this can't be happening. Not Bobby.

A few moments later he heard his older brother settle into the seat next to him. Blinking the blurriness from his vision, Sam glanced over. Dean's expression was closed tight—shellshock and worry battling for dominance and inviting no conversation whatsoever. Sam tried anyway.



"He's gonna be okay…"

"Uh huh."

"He just…" Sam swallowed, "has to be, right?"

When Dean didn't answer, the younger Winchester slumped. He shifted in his chair, rested his head against the wall. "This is nuts. I can't believe…I mean…how the hell did this happen…"

Dean's voice was low and awash with bitterness. "Let's not rehash all the ways I fucked this one up…"

Sam looked at his older brother in shock. "That's not—Dean, I wasn't going to do anything like that."

The older man merely shrugged, lowering his gaze to stare at the toes of his boots.

After a few minutes of tense silence, Dean abruptly stood and started walking away, startling Sam from his inane contemplation of a brown water spot on the ceiling. "Where are you going?"

"I need some air."

Sam watched his brother practically bolt from the room, a troubled frown marring his forehead. Deciding to give Dean a little space even if it was to hit the bottle, he went back to studying the ceiling then allowed his eyes to drift shut while he waited.

(SN) (SN) (SN)

Dean walked down the hallway at a fast clip, drab white walls and insipid paintings blurring together while he searched for the nearest exit. Finally finding one, he pushed through the door, stopping just beyond the threshold to pull in a lungful of air. He let it out slowly while reaching for his flask, and quickly swallowed what remained inside as he strode briskly toward the parking lot. He stopped dead near the vehicle they were currently using, just then realizing he'd been subconsciously seeking out the Impala—his safe place, his home. His source of solace in troubling times.

The hunter suddenly laughed bitterly and brought his fist down on the piece of junk in front of him. There would be no solace here.

Dean wiped at his cheeks, finding them wet. His tormented gaze roamed the parking lot in wistful longing. Yanking open the driver's side door, he stripped off his jacket, shivering as cold wind whipped around his body. Dropping the jacket on the seat, he tossed the flask and keys on top and slammed the door, missing the old, familiar creak. Spinning on his heel, Dean fingered the gun tucked into the back of his jeans and walked away.

(SN) (SN) (SN)

Sam came awake with a start, realizing to his chagrin that he'd fallen into a light doze. He rubbed a hand down his face and turned to say something to Dean, only to frown when the seat next to him proved empty. Sam glanced at his watch, noting it had been 40 minutes since Dean had left to get some air. Standing and stretching, he decided to give his brother another five minutes in case he'd merely made a coffee run. When five became ten, an uneasy knot formed in the pit of Sam's stomach. He headed for the exit.

Half expecting to find Dean drinking alone in the car, Sam was surprised to see the empty vehicle as he approached. When he drew near enough to look in the windows and spied Dean's coat, his flask, and the car keys, the knot in Sam's stomach grew.

Pulling out his cell phone, he dialed Dean's number, grumbling when it went to voice mail. He waited a few seconds and tried again with the same result.

Instinct alone assured him something was seriously wrong. Unsure of what to do, Sam grabbed his brother's jacket and the keys then he too started to walk, dialing Dean's phone about every ten steps.

(SN) (SN) (SN)

"Dean?" Sam slowly approached the dark figure tucked partially between two giant rocks situated near the water.

"Sammy. How'd you find me?"

"Oh, I dunno. Super ninja sight and hearing. Or luck. Or maybe pure instinct."

Dean held up his open phone, its screen emanating a soft blue glow. He waggled it back and forth. "This, huh? Yeah. I was going to turn it off, but…you know…"

"Dean, what are you doing out here?"

"Weighing my options."

"What options?"

"Whether to use this," Dean held up his gun which glinted in the grudging, muddy moonlight, "or whether to just take a nice long walk into the water."

Sam's blood ran cold. He licked his lips. "Dean? What—"

"I can't do it anymore, Sam. Can't fight. Too much collateral damage. First Dad. Then Ellen and Jo. Cas. Now Bobby. No—it's too much."

"Bobby's not dead."

"Quit blowing smoke up my ass, Sam. He's as good as dead and you fucking know it. I've managed to lose everyone, and everything, I care about."

"You haven't lost me, Dean."

"Still blowing smoke, huh? You said it yourself, you don't need me anymore—you can take care of yourself."

"You're taking what I said the wrong way. Of course, I need you. You're my big brother."

"Uh huh. 'Cause that means so much."


"Regardless, the fact is—everyone around me dies. Hell, you'll probably be next. Again."

"So you're just going to leave me here—to face everything alone?"

Dean held up his gun. "This probably is too messy, huh?" Without warning, he emptied his prize gun of its bullets and tossed it in a small stand of trees in the opposite direction from where Sam was crouched. Dean rose. "You can grab it later. Maybe keep it as a momento, you know? So you remember you once had a big brother."

Hearing both resignation and determination in his brother's voice, Sam sprung from his crouched position, reaching and tackling Dean before he'd taken more than three steps toward the water.

"Let me go! DAMMIT! Lemme go!" Winded, Dean bucked ineffectually beneath the greater weight of his younger sibling.


"Fuckin' sonuvabitch! Asshole. You've no right…" Dean freed an arm and brought it up in an attempt to cuff Sam upside the head.

Pinning Dean's flailing arm, Sam growled, "I think I have every right! You're my brother. I need you—whether you fucking believe that or not! Remember—stone number one? Right? Remember that? How can you be that for me if you're not here, huh? If you bail on me? Or were you just blowing smoke up MY ass when you told me that?"

Dean abruptly stopped struggling. "No. Never about that."

"Good. I'm glad to hear it. Look, Dean, Bobby's still alive; he's fighting for all he's worth. And he's gonna need us, man. Both of us. After all he's done for us, after all of this—WE might need to be his stone one, Dean. We owe him that."

After a few seconds, Dean replied, "You're right. Hey, Sam?"


"Can you get your knee out of my diaphragm now so I can breathe?"

"You're good?"

"Yeah, I'm good."

Sam stood then helped Dean to his feet. Retrieving the jacket from the ground, he tossed it to his brother. "Put this on before you freeze to death anyway."

While Dean complied, Sam pocketed the discarded bullets then located his Colt 1911, snugging it at the small of his back instead of handing it over. "Let's go back and get an update on the old man. Maybe there's some good news."

As they started back to the hospital, Dean bumped against Sam's shoulder. "Hey, Sam—don't stop, okay?"

"Don't stop what?"

"Blowing smoke up my ass occasionally."

"Never, man. Never."