A/N: set vaguely later season 8. Will be a few or more chapters long, following one day in the life of Dean observing Sam.

Drunk Sammy was usually exasperating.

Dean found Sam where he'd least expected to find him at three o'clock in the afternoon – the bar. But when searching the bookstore, library, coffee shop, pet shop, computer shop and bakery turned up nothing, Dean headed to the bar.

There he was, his morose little brother, at the far end of the bar, hunched on the bar stool, completely alone but for the whiskey glass in his hand and the bartender at the other end of the bar.

"How many's he had?" Dean asked Wendell, the bartender. Dean knew him from his own couple of evenings here. Sam didn't notice or just didn't acknowledge that Dean was there.

"That's his third whiskey," Wendell said. Which wasn't so bad, Dean thought. Until Wendell added, "On top of his two Tequilas…"

'Oh, Sammy, Sammy, Sammy…' Dean thought to himself. To Wendell he said, "Send down a coffee, will you?"

"Sure thing."

Dean nodded his thanks and walked down to Sam, who still only held the half-full shot glass, and wasn't drinking it. Dean took the bar stool next to him.

"Bad day?"

"How come we never get normal?" Sam asked, almost instantly, like he'd only been waiting his chance. "Never both together at the same time. How come, hunh?"

He set the shot glass down but his voice was thick and heavy and Dean recognized that he was already seven-eighths totally blitzed.

"Because we don't, Sammy." Dean said. It was the only answer he had.

"But – why not? You know? I mean – what the hell?" He tossed back the shot then, and Dean let him. Wendell delivered the coffee, in a green ceramic coffee cup large enough to not look dwarfed next to Sam's hand. "What's that?" Sam asked.


"Little early for coffee, isn't it?" Sam tried for humor, but the smile he tried with it was only a twist of pain.

"Drink it down, and I'll take you back to the room."

For a few seconds, Sam seemed like he was going to do just that. He pushed the shot glass out of the way and started to wrap his hand around the coffee cup. But then he stopped and pulled back. He put his hand around the empty shot glass again.

"No. You know what? No. Just – go. Go find Cas. Go – go – go back to – to – " Sam made a dismissive gesture, like he couldn't remember Benny's name, or he just didn't want to say it. "He never let you down. I let you down; I let you down all the time. I let everybody down."

He tilted the shot glass and looked at it like he was considering a refill, but he set it back and pushed it away from himself. He pulled the coffee closer.

"So – just go."

Dean counted out a breath and then counted it back in.

"I've let everybody down, too. Maybe that's our normal."

Sam turned a fast look on him, and Dean thought he was going to contend that Dean had never let him down.

Sure enough, Sam shook his head.

"You never let me down." He raised the coffee for a healthy swallow. "You only told me the truth and I thought you let me down."

"No, Sam. I've let you've down. You know I have. We hurt each other, all the time. That's what we do." Dean pulled out his wallet and paid for Sam's overindulgence. "Now, finish the coffee and we'll go find you something to eat."

Sam nodded and drank the coffee, then he pushed himself from the barstool and followed Dean to the door.

"Hey, Dean?"


"Our normal sucks."

"Yes, it does, Sammy. Yes, it does."

to be continued...

UP NEXT: Hung-over Sam is usually sick.