Set between Slice Girls and Plucky.

As arguments go, Winchester arguments, Sam knew it wasn't that bad. No punches thrown. No words that couldn't be taken back. Hardly even any raised voices. Just frustration, tired frustration, too much alcohol, and not enough hope.

Sam watched Dean sip from Bobby's flask off and on as the afternoon dragged into evening. They were at another decrepit motel, trying to wind down from the exhausting reality of Levs and Amazons, hallucinations and losing Bobby, and the exhausting routine of trying not to think about it all.

Now they were four hundred miles in no particular direction, with nothing particular to do but research, watch static TV, and drink.

And drink some more.

"Dean – " Sam started, knowing how it would probably end, but starting anyway. "Whyn't you eat something? You hardly touched dinner."

"Neither did you." Dean pointed out. He was stretched out on his bed, remote in one hand, flask in the other. Sam was at the table, on his computer.

"Yeah, but I haven't been drinking ever since."

Dean glared at Sam a minute then flicked the TV to another static channel.

"I'm fine."

"Yeah, sure you are."

Dean huffed. Loudly.

"Do we have to do this right now? I just want to watch some TV and forget these past three days ever happened."

Sam turned back to his laptop but didn't resist a parting shot, "Alcohol's a preservative."

"And just what the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"It's not going to make you forget. You know it's not. It never has."

"Can you just freakin' leave it alone, Sam? Please?"

But no, he couldn't. Sam couldn't leave it alone because he was just as tired and pissed and grieving as Dean was and he wanted to lash out at something. Someone.

"I have left it alone. I've left it alone and watched you drink your weight in whiskey and it's just – "

"Just what?" Dean snarked at him.

Just scary that everything is spiraling down the drain and it's like we're not even trying to stay above water.

"It's just not healthy." Sam finished but he knew the argument was as weak as his voice was when he said it.

Dean blew out a breath that was pretty close to a raspberry and though Sam wasn't looking at him, he could practically feel Dean rolling his eyes.

"I'm going for a refill." Dean said, and in a few movements he was off the bed and slamming the door and no doubt crossing the road to the bar half a block diagonally away from the motel.

Sam pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes and didn't bother stifling a groan. Great, just freaking great. He was going to get more tired and more frustrated. Dean would get more whiskey and more pissed. Then tomorrow there'd be silence when there weren't caustic remarks tossed back and forth, and the day would drag past slower than time in hell.

Just freaking great.

The sound of his phone ringing rang Sam right out of sleep. The motel room was dark, the TV was rolling static, and he was still in his clothes. He'd fallen asleep on his bed, watching the crappy TV, waiting for Dean to come back from the bar across the street.

Speaking of which…

"Dean?" He answered his phone.

"Hey, Sam. Do me a favor, will you?" Dean sounded a little drunk or a lot tired. "See if I left my motel key in my jacket pocket. I don't know if I have to look around for it."

"Uh – all right…" Sam switched on the lamp and looked around. "Where's your jacket?"

"In the car."

"Dean – really? I was sleeping."

"C'mon, Sammy. Do me this one favor. Please."

Please. Dean was serious.

"Okay, hang on."

Sam kept his phone open in his hand and creaked his weary bones to the motel door. There outside the door was the car. There in the front seat was Dean's jacket.

There in the jacket – was Dean.

Sam clicked his phone off and tucked it into his jeans pocket, then got into the passenger seat of the car and shut the door. He didn't say anything, he reached over and patted Dean's jacket and pulled the motel key out.

"Found it."

"Thanks." Dean took it and put it right back into the exact same pocket. He played his fingers awkwardly over the steering wheel. "You okay?"

He asked it like he didn't know if maybe he should be asking it, but Sam wasn't sure what he was asking and gave him a puzzled look until Dean held his own left palm up and out as a silent clue.

"I'm okay." Sam shrugged. "It's quiet for now. You?"

Dean just shrugged, too.

"It's not quiet, but at least it's what I'm used to."

"Yeah." Sam agreed.

Then they sat and didn't talk, and because it wasn't the Impala, it didn't feel comfortable or even familiar.

Then, "Here." Dean reached over the seat and dropped a large take-out bag between them. "Burritos. Since neither of us had much for dinner."

"Got beer inside." Sam offered, and Dean nodded, and they headed back inside.

As apologies go, Winchester apologies, Sam thought it was pretty darn good.

The End