A/N: One week...We survived for one week after the hiatus! Come on guys! Keep faith! March 20th is not far off! :) I'm currently studying for exams and watching previous episodes of SPN. Forgot how many favourites I had. :O

Anyway, after "Winchester Faith" I was blank at what to write next. I loved writing it! I'm working on another chapter fic. *grins like a sly fox and ducks for cover*

BUT...this is not it. This is just a one-shot that popped up in my head. Hope you all likey!


Being hunters isn't always easy for the Winchesters. Being hunters caused their family to be torn apart. But even after all the crap they went through, they still dedicated their lives to helping others. Their motto – saving people, hunting things, the family business.

They get ripped apart, torn to shreds, literally. But somehow, they live through it. They don't believe in luck as the name 'Winchester' somehow cancels it out anyway. Sure, they do get sidetracked by their life sometimes, mainly when they almost lose each other. But the reel their heads back in the game knowing that there is no escape from this life. The events come to bite them back anyhow.

But this is not about the hardships, the betrayals, the constant worrying, the research, the pain. This is about their time-off.

Rarely, but even so, sometimes the boys manage to get a day off, and in really good circumstances, maybe a week off of hunting. This is the time that they treasure. This is the time they completely open up to each other. This is the time where nothing needs to be said and only a simple look into the other one's eyes is enough. This is the only time they let go of everything and just sit back and relive the best and sometimes worst memories of their lives. But always look to each other for comfort, for assurance.

The only things the boys care about after a hunt is one another, the Impala and the road ahead.

"Dude, have you even counted the number of times we actually got a week off? No cases, nothing?" asked Sam.

"Yes actually I have. This is the second time this year. Totally? Well, I'd say 7 times till now."

"Wow. You actually know that. That's kind of creepy."

"You know what's creepy Sam? That hair of yours. I swear man, if you don't cut it, I might just mistake you for a abnormally tall chick. Might just hit on you before realizing you're just my geeky little brother." Smirked Dean.

Sam ignored the jibe, staring out at the lake they had parked by. Both the brothers were leaning onto the hood of the Impala, sipping beer and cherishing the fact that they had not hunted for a week now. And the good news was, nothing was hunting them too for the time being.

The sun was setting and an eerie glow was cast over the lake. It looked mesmerizing. The boys sat in silence for sometime, just looking out at the lake, lost in their thoughts.

Suddenly Sam started sniggering.

"What?" asked Dean, highly amused.

"Nothing. Just remembered something." Said Sam, starting to laugh uncontrollably.

"Remembered what? Come on, tell me."

"You won't like it."

"Whatever Sasquatch. Just tell me."

"I remembered the pranks we used to pull on each other. Right now, I'm laughing at your expression when I managed to glue your hand to the beer bottle back in Texas." Said Sam, still trying to stifle his laughter.

"Really Sam? I was just glad my skin didn't peel off while trying to get the bottle off." Retorted Dean.

"Whatever dude." Smirked Sam.

Dean looked over at Sam. He was happy to see the kid finally letting go of the stress. The trials were starting to take a toll on his baby brother. He was silently (and guiltily) kind of glad that Kevin hadn't managed to find out about the second task yet. And hearing Sam laugh so freely after a long time really opened up Dean's heart. Dean knew though, he would be inviting a massive chick-flick moment if he mentioned this.

"Dude, you going to kiss me now?" asked Sam teasingly. Dean had been staring at Sam for the past couple of minutes.

"What? No! Shut up. I was just thinking."

"You can think?" asked Sam in a mock display of awe.

"Ha-Ha. Very funny Sammy."

Sam noticed the use of his nickname. A name Dean used only when he was teasing, or he was worried about Sam. And try as he might, Dean had failed to hide the worry in his voice. But Sam didn't want to spoil this for Dean. And he knew Dean wouldn't say anything even if he asked him. So, he sat back in silence.

"You may have glued my hand to a bottle, but I managed to put itching powder in your-" Dean couldn't say anymore. He was doubling up in laughter. He remembered Sam's discomfort and confusion. And then his reaction on finding out Dean had done it.

"That was just plain mean alright. Dude! Stop laughing." Said Sam. But even so, watching Dean wheezing with laughter, he couldn't help but join in.

For a couple of minutes, the boys bantered over the different pranks they had pulled over the years, but like always, their life got in the way.

Sam was doubled over, trying to get his breathing back to normal. He hadn't laughed like this in a long time. And that's when, their lives caught up with them.

Suddenly, Sam was overcome by a racking cough fit.

Oh no. Not now! Not here!

Sam doubled over in pain. He was gasping for breath. He got onto his knees trying to shield himself from Dean's gaze. He tried to take deep breaths but it only aggravated the situation.

"Sam? Sammy! Hey!"

"D-De'n...Go...away..it's okay..." managed Sam.

"The hell it is. Let me get some water." Dean made his way to the back seat of the Impala and rummaged through their groceries managing to find a bottle of water. He hurried towards Sam and froze at the sight before him.

Sam was trying desperately to breathe but his efforts were vain. His vision was starting to go black from the lack of oxygen, and he could taste the blood in his mouth. The blood he had been coughing up ever since he took on the task of the trials. Slowly, he faded.

Sam was lying on his side, limp, with blood dripping out of his mouth. Dean ran towards Sam, the bottle of water forgotten at his side.

"Sam? Sammy! Come on man don't do this." Said Dean desperately. He knew working with a panicked mind wasn't going to help matters. He took a few deep breaths and let his instincts take over. He was relieved to find a strong pulse. He was trying to think about the last time Sam had got injured. As far as he could remember, nothing had happened that could have caused this. He was brought back to reality by a groan of pain from Sam.

"Sam? Hey buddy. You okay? You scared me to death." Said Dean, relieved.

He helped Sam position himself so that he was using the Impala as a support to sit.

"Shit." Muttered Sam, massaging his chest.

"You want to tell me what all that was about?"

"Not really."

"Sammy. Please. Not now. What the hell was that? You've been acting weird for a couple days. And I know you better than anyone. You're hiding something."

"I didn't want you to find out like this. I didn't want you to find out at all. You already have a lot on your shoulders including me. And Cas going AWOL being the least of them. And this is the first time I've coughed for so long that I passed out."

"What do you mean? This has happened before?" asked Dean, horrified. How had he not known this?

Sam didn't answer.


"Yeah. It's been happening ever since I said the spell after the first trial."

"So you think this is because of the trials?"


"Dammit Sam! How could you not have told me this? That's it. We'll find another hell hound. I'm doing these trials."

"No you're not Dean. And you think I like this happening to me? The hell to it, if I let it happen to you! I know I can do this alright! Just...please. Trust me for once will you?"

"I do trust you Sam. I-I just..."

"You what Dean?"

"I can't lose you again. Alright?"

"I know Dean. I know." Sam looked at Dean. Dean saw the look in Sam's eyes and knew his baby brother felt the same.

"Why is it always us Sam? Why do we have to go through this crap?"

"Trust me Dean. I've been asking myself that question for the past eight years."

The sun had set. Dean helped Sam stand up, and when he was sure Sam wouldn't topple over, he let him go. Sam leaned back onto the hood of the Impala.

"You sure you've got this thing under control Sammy?"

"Honestly. No. But I'm working on it. And Dean, its God's trials. There was bound to be some sort of catch."

"You call this a catch?" asked Dean incredulously.

"Well. Kind of."

"Promise me something Sam."


"If this gets out of hand, if you can't handle it, you tell me."


"Please Sam. Like you said. I have a lot of crap that I'm trying to deal with. I don't need to wake up to you..." Dean didn't finish. He didn't need to. Sam understood.

"I promise Dean. And for the record, I'm just as scared as you are." Said Sam, giving Dean a small smile.

Dean smiled back.

They both looked up at the sky, watching the stars twinkle. It had been hours since they had stopped by the lake. Sam looked at his watch after a couple of minutes.

12:00 am

He walked over to the trunk of the Impala. He opened the trunk and started rummaging in his duffle.


"I'm fine Dean. Just wait will you? And no, you don't need to come over here."

After a few minutes, Sam extricated the clumsily wrapped package.

He went back to Dean, and held out the package.

"I know it looks like crap. It's hard trying to wrap a present when your good arm hurts like hell because of a goddamn enochian spell. But here it is anyway. Happy Birthday Dean."

"Wow Sam. Thanks." Said Dean in awe, taking the present.

He ripped apart the newspaper and found a square box. He opened the box and stared in shock at the contents.

He gripped the amulet by its leather cord and dangled it in front of himself.

"Thought it was time you had it back. If you still want it."

"Sam...this...how..." stammered Dean.

"The day you threw it out, I nicked it. As simple as that. It felt like you threw a part of me away, so I couldn't bear to leave it behind."

"Oh God. I'm so sorry Sam. I.."

"Don't apologize man. I kind of saw you go back to the motel the next day, and stomp out yelling out curses. I kind of figured you wanted it back. But truthfully, I felt I needed it more than you did. I had to jam Lucifer in the cage didn't I?"

"Thanks Sam." Managed Dean. He was still flabbergasted.

"Wait, have you been wearing this?"

"Um...yeah. The day you went to Purgatory, something must have cracked in my head. I'd-I'd lost you so many times...But, I was driving. It had been two months since you'd gone. And I glanced in the rearview mirror and saw..."

"Saw what Sam?"

"I saw...Lucifer. He was in the back seat."


"I nearly crashed the car. I got out, trying to clear my head. Remember you told me to make it stone number one and build on it?"


"Well, you were my stone number one. The fact that you were with me, that gave me something to build on. But you were gone. I remembered the amulet and got it out and put it on. I have to say, the amulet must have some kind of power. As soon as I put it on, Lucifer sort of..."


Dean stared back at Sam.

"I know it sounds stupid. But when I put on the amulet, I could sort of hear you talking to me back at the warehouse where I officially lost my head. I could hear you telling me about the difference between hell and the pain that I was feeling. And I held on to that."

"Wow Sam. And you decide to tell me all this now? That's why you ran didn't you? That's why you stopped looking right? You were...scared." Dean was glad he finally understood.


Dean put on the amulet. He felt a rush of familiarity, of completeness on feeling the weight of the amulet against his chest again.

"Okay...Enough of the chick-flick." Said Dean.

"Dude, you started it."

"Whatever. Where you want to go now?"

"Let's see if there's any case for us or if Kevin has made progress." Said Sam.

"And if there is nothing for us then?"

"Well, we could go to the Grand Canyon. You've always wanted to go right? Another birthday present."

"Awesome. The Grand Canyon it is then." Replied Dean, looking smug.

And like that, the boys were gone. Caring only about one another, the Impala and the road ahead.


This ended up way too different than I had planned. But I'm glad with the way it turned out. :D Please review! It's kind of different than what I usually write. Any grammatical errors are mine. I apologize.

Like I said, I'm working on another chapter fic. ;) I promise it'll be up soon too.

Again, REVIEW!

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