Title: Written in Dreams
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating: Gen, all audiences
Spoilers: None really, but vaguely covers material from Woman in White to Bugs.
Summary: Sometimes you really should stop and ask for directions.

Written in Dreams
by Maygra

"You need to get some sleep, Sam."

"I know." He did know. He let his eyes slide from Dean's face, not willing to see the concern there, but not willing to argue either. Dean was right, but Sam didn't quite know what to do about it.

Not like he hadn't gotten any sleep but it came in fits and starts, catnaps and dozes. Left him feeling fuzzy-headed and tired more than anything. Which was okay for right now, when all they were doing was moving from town to town, driving as far as they could in a day, following the ever diminishing trail of breadcrumbs their father had left.

Sam actually got most of his sleep in the car. It left him stiff and sore and ibuprofen had become his new best friend. Probably just as well that Dean wouldn't let him drive except rarely because even driving, the hum of the road and movement of the car tended to make Sam sleepy. He'd come close a couple of times to running them right off the road. Even Dean's vast collection of rock and heavy metal no longer irritated him. Like the movement of the car, it had become familiar and comforting. Not that he'd tell Dean that. He was tempted to buy something like Yanni just to watch Dean freak out.

"I'll get us some dinner," Dean offered and Sam only nodded, dropping his bag on the end of the motel bed.

He knew Dean hesitated, could feel his brother's eyes on his back. He continued to unpack his bag until he heard the door close.

He flopped face down on the bed, closing his eyes against the truly head-ache inducing pattern on the polyester bedspread.

He wanted to sleep, really he did. Could feel exhaustion creeping into every joint and muscle. It wasn't even that he was afraid to go to sleep, even knowing what waited for him there.

Going to sleep wasn't the problem. Staying asleep, now that was the problem.

He rolled over, staring upward at water-stained acoustical tiles which were probably about the same age as Dean's music collection.

He closed his eyes, tried to get his body to relax. It wasn't that hard. Sleep nudged and tugged at him and he let it. He could feel himself falling into it, thought Dean would be pleased when he came back and found Sam sacked out and snoring. Especially this early because if Sam could catch an hour here and now, later, when sleep fled from him again and he stayed up all night, maybe Dean could get a good night's sleep without Sam waking him up with his yelling.

And he did rest, which wasn't the same thing. He struggled toward consciousness a little when he heard Dean come back, quiet and cautious. He could smell the food, hear the soft rustle of paper and Dean trying to be so quiet. So careful.

"I'm awake," he said without opening his eyes.

Dean didn't say anything but Sam could almost feel him sigh. Sam rolled to his side and pushed himself upward, rubbing his eyes. They burned, they were so tired and strained. Dean was sitting at the narrow table that served as a desk, straddling the single chair backwards.

"Maybe I should get you drunk."

Sam gave him a quick smile and got up, poking through the bags until he found his plain burger and onion rings. "Doesn't take much," he admitted, taking his food back to the end of the bed.

"No? No tolerance?"

"Not much," Sam said and bit into the burger. He didn't miss Dean's speculative look, nor the faint air of disdain. No doubt his brother could drink bigger men than himself under the table.

"And here I thought college was all about building up a tolerance for alcohol to last the rest of your life."

"For some people it is." For Dean it would have been if he'd ever gone and for a moment, between a bite of burger and sip of soda, Sam can see his brother there. He'd be a jock, because Dean is even if he's never been one for team sports. He'd be a total frat boy, get luckier than most of the guys on campus, charm his professors and maybe, maybe even spike a test with an "A" once in awhile to keep those same professors guessing. Dean was smarter than he let on and not in just a smart-ass, study-enough-to-pass, way. It wasn't their father that had helped Sam with Math and Science and even English essays all through school, it was Dean. He teased Sam about wanting to hit the library of every town they stop in on a hunt, but Dean knew what to look for and how to find it.

But learning was all about the practical for Dean, not the theoretical. Pouring over decades-old law briefs would not be his idea of a good way to spend a Saturday night. He'd have hated the routine of college life; the day-in, day-out sameness of classes and studying, of writing papers and taking lecture notes. Of studying and hanging out with the same people day after day, year after year.

Of not having to drive hundreds of miles once a month to check the post office box in Topeka.

The first, non-school-related mail Sam had gotten in college had been from Dean. A post card from someplace in Arkansas. It had been missing Sam's PO Box number but the campus post office had found Sam anyway. It wasn't wordy or informative but Sam had still stared at it long and hard, feeling the air trapped in his chest, guilt and gratitude vying for dominance in his head. Sam had stuck the post card in the back of his desk drawer and forgotten it.

A couple of months later there was another one, from some town in Missouri. The name of the town wasn't on the card itself -- it had a picture of St. Louis. It had joined the other in the drawer.

They never came regularly, but often enough that Sam would feel the twitch in his fingers, between his shoulders, if it went too long between them. Wondering if it meant the last one had been the last. Fearing there would never be another. Scared that that tattered remnants of his family could disappear and he would never know if they were gone or if they'd just given up on him.

He'd never answered any of them. Not that they had a return address but there was a P.O. Box in Topeka that Sam knew the address of as well as his social security number. And he knew Dean and his father checked it periodically; once a month if they could manage it.

And Sam wanted to answer them. Wanted Dean to know how he was doing -- he owed him that much. But if he sent them to Dean, his father would know too, and not ever expecting his father's approval was different than courting more of his disapproval and disappointment. That had been his rationale. Right now, though, it seemed flimsy and weak and petty. Dean had deserved better. He still did.

Somewhere along his second year of college Sam had realized that he actually didn't care what his father thought and probably never would have again. John Winchester hadn't been much of a father to either of them in the conventional sense. And Dean was as ill-suited for the job at twenty-one as he had been at ten. He had a loyalty to their father that wasn't dissimilar to his loyalty to Sam, but Sam didn't share it and never would.

His mother's death had defined both his father and Dean in ways Sam thought he'd never understand. He'd tried to tell them both that over the years, not unwilling to help but not as driven as they were to find an answer or, failing an answer, to at least keep fighting back the darkness.

For Sam it had always been dark. It had always been about fear and fighting and hunting and killing. It wasn't that he didn't understand the why of what they did. He'd seen too much in his life to deny that the evil and unrest were out there and needed to be dealt with. But it wasn't enough for him, and doing it wasn't ever going to make his father look at him differently no matter how good Sam was, how well he fought, or how many demons he killed or ghosts he laid to rest.

Nothing any of them did would ever bring Mary Winchester back, and nothing Sam did would ever wipe away the look in his father's eyes that Sam thought hid the truth of what John thought: that better Sam had died that night than Mary. Better the infant son he didn't know than the wife he'd loved.

He'd told Dean that once. He'd been about eight, old enough to understand nuances of emotion, to recognize barely checked anger and disgust.

Old enough to recognize guilt in his father's face.

The guilt had less to do with Sam than Dean. Sometimes Sam was sure his father couldn't stand the sight of him, but Sam was still his son, was still Mary's son, and if he couldn’t look after him, then someone would have to and that someone was Dean. And without even blinking Dean had taken up that burden, become the balance and anchor between Sam and his father, the pivot point around which both John and Sam countered each other. Dean had been, at times, father, mother, brother and later in life a necessary adversary. Someone to push against who would care that he was pushing in a way John Winchester didn't.

Dean had been perfectly serious when he'd told Sam it wasn't true, that their father loved them both, that Sam was the most important thing and came first. Dean believed every word of it. Sam had been old enough to realize then, that he and his brother, as close as they were, were as different as any two people could be and would never, ever, see the world exactly the same. And he knew then that Dean wasn't always right and he didn't have all the answers.

He understood better now, what drove his father. He understood better now the loss Dean felt, the gaping hole losing someone you loved could leave in your soul. He understood a lot of things now that he hadn't before.

And he walked the fine edge between wanting answers and vengeance and letting the hunt for them consume his entire life as it had his father's. And once more, Dean was the key, the reminder that allowed Sam to see what he still had instead of everything he'd lost.

"Sam…" Dean's voice was quiet, the concern on his face real but quickly masked. "Million miles away, bro'."

The burger was cold and the greasy taste lingered in Sam's mouth. He took another bite anyway, chewed and swallowed and Dean gave him the eye then went back to wolfing down his own food.

"You'd like college," Sam said as Dean was cleaning away the remnants of his meal. Sam watched him as he pulled a few things from his bag; charms and wards, the salt they'd lay across the doors and windows.

"I'd like college girls," Dean said with a wink.

"They're smart," Sam warned him and slid the rest of his food back into the bag and tossed it when Dean's back was turned.

"Are you saying I'm not smart, Sam? I'm wounded," Dean said. He wasn't wounded, not mortally.

"You're fucking brilliant," Sam said and watched Dean preen a little. He rolled his eyes. "You're also a goof ball. They'd see right through you."

"I love a challenge. Besides, they might like what they see."

They probably would. "You need to update your taste in music."

Dean looked affronted. "There is nothing wrong with my music. It's great music."

"Most of it was made before I was born."

"Most of civilization was built before you were born. You don't chuck it just because it's old."

"I fail to see the connection."

"You’re the one with the degree," Dean said, tossing down a gauntlet that Sam was reluctant to pick up.

"I don't have a degree."

"Close enough," Dean said like that settled it for him as he stretched out on the bed and flicked on the TV. The room only had one bed but it was big enough for both of them.

Pulling his shoes off, Sam climbed up and dropped face first on the mattress and closed his eyes again. The bed spread really was scary. If it had been a demon, they'd have burned it. Maybe they should anyway.

The drone of the TV was like the hum of the car wheels on the road. Dean shifted a little and settled again, the TV was still on, but now there was an under note of paper, pages sliding and turning. Dean read a lot more than Sam had expected. He took notes too. Sometimes added to their father's journal, sometimes in a journal of his own. Sam had yet to start recording his own impressions. Like to do so would mean that this would never end, that he'd need to write things down because time and experience would overload his memory.

In his dreams his own hand wrote down page after page of things he couldn't read. He'd write faster and faster. If he didn't get it down, if he didn't finish, something terrible would happen. The first spatter of blood on the page sent a chill down his spine but he wouldn't look up. He just wrote faster, his handwriting becoming more illegible, the tip of the pencil tearing the paper. Two more splats of blood and the edges of the page began to brown, darken, curl as heat seared them. He could feel the heat on the back of his neck, singeing the hair on his arms.

Don't look up. Don't look up. But, of course, he always did.

"Sam," Dean's face was above his own, one hand pressed to his chest, the other curved around the back of his neck. Holding tight and warm until Sam shed the last of the nightmare and relaxed. The room was not entirely dark; there was enough light to see Dean's face, watch the mask slip back in place as he eased the comforting grip he had on Sam's flesh.

Sam caught the hand that still rested on his chest and squeezed it. Dean didn't pull away until Sam let go.

"You think you can go back to sleep?" Dean asked, voice low as he eased down beside Sam.

What's the point? Sam almost said it but bit it back. "Yeah, sure," he said and closed his eyes. Going to sleep was never the problem. Staying asleep was.

A few minutes later, when Dean's breathing was slow and even and shallow, Sam opened his eyes again. The ceiling was all in shadow; there was no light there, no fire, no blood. It was a ceiling.

Stiffness from holding himself so still finally forced him to move. He tried to keep it to a minimum, too aware of Dean sleeping beside him. He failed, of course, and Dean's eyes flashed open briefly only to close again when Sam eased off the bed.

He used the bathroom in the dark then came back out and stood near the window, listening to a few cars pass on the road. Dean shifted on the bed again but stayed asleep. At least Sam thought he was asleep. Next to the bed was their father's journal and a couple of cheap, spiral bound notebooks. Sam picked them up and moved to the window again and the upholstered chair there. There was barely enough light to see by and he'd probably end up with eye strain. It was something to do.

Not really enough to read by though and Sam flipped quietly through the journals, then the notebooks. They were small with hard cardboard on the outside. He'd used ones like them in school at first until he realized the lectures of law professors needed far larger notebooks.

The second one was empty, blank, and Sam fingered it, feeling the thrill of a blank page, something significant about it, something magical, like it almost whispered at him to fill the blankness.

Dean had a pen tucked into the notebook he'd been using and Sam pulled it out. For a moment his dream flashed back into his memory and his hand shook. He didn't know what to write. Starting at the beginning was too much, too far away.

Start at the end, then, and he wrote that much. Started at the end of his dream when Dean woke him up. Started at the end when his nightmares overwhelmed him and Dean pulled him free.

The words were easier and he wrote them down. They'd make no sense to anyone but him, maybe to Dean a little, but they were words, phrases, parts of memories. Every good thing he could think of, like the words themselves would become charms to guard his sleep.

It was dark enough that he couldn't see what he was writing very well. And he was writing so fast, it would probably be illegible in the light of day. His hand started to cramp. But once he got started he couldn't stop. Until he did.

In his dreams Sam wrote faster, it wasn't easy, and his hand hurt, but there was no blood to fall, no fire to burn his words. He'd made a spell, created an incantation, and he slept.

It was the increased traffic on the road that woke Dean up. That and a pressure in his bladder that wouldn't be denied. Waking for him wasn't a matter of degrees; it was sharp and fierce and sudden.

Sam wasn't beside him and Dean rolled over, vaguely remembering Sam getting up in the middle of the night.

Sam had managed to tuck his long body into a not-so-large chair. One knee was drawn up, the other leg bracing him against the floor. He'd twisted to the side with a hand under his cheek and the other hand curved loosely around the chair's arm. It didn't look comfortable at all but there was no denying that Sam was truly, deeply asleep.

That could only be a good thing.

Quietly, Dean got up, wondering if Sam was cold, if he should toss a blanket over him, but he was almost afraid to do anything that might wake his brother.

His eyes fell on the journals; his father's, his own, and saw the one tucked against Sam's knee. It was just resting there and Dean moved to Sam's side and looked at it. The writing on the open pages looked like so much chicken scratch, but there was also a dozen or more pages before the one he could see.

He stared harder and despite the slanted, cramped writing, he saw his name. Beside it was "Eloise, Tx."

It didn't register for a moment but then he remembered. Eloise, Texas. Population -- about the size of a good-sized family. There had been a traveling carnival. They hadn't been hunting, just passing through, staying at the town's one motor lodge. Sam had been nine.

At the grand age of thirteen, Dean had thought himself too big and too old for the baby-sized and not very exciting rides. But Sam had wanted to go and it was right across the parking lot of the motel. Their father hadn't objected, had pressed money into Dean's hand and told him to take his brother.

It hadn't been all that bad. It was small, but what the rides lacked in speed and size, they made up for it spine-wrenching roughness and the threat that their rickety frames would collapse. Dean had been an adrenaline junky even then.

Sam had ridden the Tilt-a-Whirl and the Octopus until he couldn’t stand up straight. He had laughed at his own dizziness, fallen down and gotten up ready to do it all over again. They'd startled the guy at the target shooting booth with their skill -- good enough to overcome the off center sights. Sam had eschewed the stuffed animals for a cheap plastic watch that had a compass and glowed in the dark.

Dean had nearly forgotten it. Had forgotten it until now.

There was more, pages more, and while he couldn't read them all, he got the gist. More sentiment in Sam than he expected. A better memory, maybe, than Dean possessed.

He wanted to read the rest of it, to see what other memories Sam had held onto, what else was so important he needed to write it down. From what he could see, there was not a single mention of demons or ghosts, wraiths or monsters. No curses or accusations.

He moved away, as much to quell his twitching fingers as because he needed the bathroom.

He was quiet and he didn't flush, ran the water at a trickle in the sink. Sam was awake anyway when he came back; stretching and working the kinks out of his back. He caught Dean's eye and a smile tugged at his lips.

Dean didn't say anything, afraid that if he acknowledged the rested look on his brother's face, it would vanish. "You want coffee? Breakfast?"

"Yeah," Sam said around a yawn. "Shower first, though."

Dean got out of his way despite the fact that he was standing right there. When the water started up he went back to the chair and picked up the small notebook, flipping through the pages.

It was flattering in a way. Confusing in others. Starting at the front of the notebook, the earlier entries were the most recent in time, and far more legible, some that Dean could make no sense of. "Jess -- Carol's new car", "Jess - fall midterm."

They weren't whole memories; they were catch phrases, triggers. There was an echo of Dean's style of note taking in Sam's writing. The older the entries got, the less legible they became. Places, names, things -- Dean's name showed up a lot and even "Dad" more often than he expected.

He was looking at a chronicle of his brother's life, he realized. A partial, fractured, and fragmented chronicle, but that's what it was. It was a little scary, holding it, looking at the scant words that meant something to Sam. There were thousands of them. It must have taken him hours.

His eyes fell on his father's journal. He didn't need to open it. Early on, their Dad had kept more of a diary. Dean had read the entries of the days following their mother's death over and over. Sam had as well. But those entries, personal and painful, hadn't gone on for long…a few months, maybe a year and increasingly, between John's own narrative, notes and newspaper clippings had crept in, references and research, what kind of rites and spells worked against different kinds of evil. Classification of ghosts, random names and addresses of people they'd encountered that they could go back to.

Their father's journal was a perfect metaphor for the man he'd become, someone searching for something, desperately, almost blindly. The journal, save for the beginning, wasn't linear. John had stuck notes in all through it, added pages. There was a huge amount of information there, some of it vital to what they did -- but the sheer randomness of it could be frustrating.

Dean wondered if his own journal said the same thing about him. Mostly it was names and contact numbers, people he'd met, a few descriptions of random facts and trivia. Decent hotels in not so great areas, cities and towns he probably should avoid for the foreseeable future -- a map of his journeys.

And Sam's…he flipped through it again then set it down when he heard the water shut off. Quickly he changed clothes. He'd shower before they left. "Sam, I'm gonna go get us a table!" he called and heard Sam acknowledge that he'd heard. Before he could think twice about it, he scooped up all three journals and carried them with him.

Most of the time Dean tried to keep his mind in the present, on the job, on the next one. Move forward and keep doing it. His thumb rubbed across the coiled metal spine of the notebook Sam had written in. So much more linear, structured, ordered, even if it was almost indecipherable. Yeah, that said a lot about Sam too.

The diner across from the motel wasn't that busy, truckers mostly, and Dean found a table by a window so he could look across and see Sam coming. He had the waitress bring coffee for both of them and put in an order for whatever breakfast special was on tap. He didn't order for Sam. He didn't know if Sam had always been so iffy about his meals or if this was new but there was no point in spending money they didn't have enough of if all Sam wanted was toast.

He opened the notebook again. It still didn't make a lot of sense…and only went back to the time when Sam was about nine or ten. But toward the front…not surprising to see the last few weeks, then Jess...scarce and mysterious, a whole part of Sam's life that Dean hadn't been a part of.

Acceptance to Stanford, that was all it said. There was no reference to the fight with their father. Nothing of the tension that had escalated for at least a year before Sam dropped his bombshell.

Movement caught his eye and he tucked the two notebooks under their father's journal. His food arrived at the same time Sam sat down.

"What can I get for you, sugar?" the waitress asked him, giving Sam a far more motherly smile than she'd given Dean.

"Uh, one egg, over easy and toast, please?" Sam said, asking as if that would be okay with her.

"Be right out," she said and smiled. She did top off Dean's coffee cup, though, and gave him a similar smile when he thanked her.

"You are so polite," Dean observed.

"What?" Sam said, totally oblivious.

"Never mind, " Dean said and then watched Sam's eyes track to the notebooks. "Thought I'd go over Dad's notes."

Sam eyed him and shook his head. He pulled out the one he'd used and dropped it on the table. "You can read it."

"Read what?'

Sam rolled his eyes and fixed his coffee.

"I glanced."

"I don't care. It's just stuff I remember, good stuff," Sam said.

"Selective memory?" Dean teased.

Sam smiled. "Maybe. I don't seem to need help remembering the bad," he said and leaned forward, pushing a hand through his hair and stared out the window until the waitress brought his food.

Sam ate deliberately, which Dean supposed was good. He hadn't missed the half eaten burger Sam had discarded the night before. Little sleep, little food…his brother was running on fumes, or should be. Then again, Dean supposed it was almost a cliché how college kids were supposed to eat: fast food and snacks, too much coffee, power bars. Amphetamines.

"You're staring," Sam said around a mouthful of toast.

I'm worried. "Sorry. Thinking," Dean said and dropped his gaze. Being worried about Sam wasn't new. Okay, until recently it had been a distant worry. More like curiosity. A few glimpses here and there…

Sometimes anger took the place of worry.

"So, we got a destination?"

"Not so much. Thought we’d pick up some papers on the way out of town. "

Sam nodded and worked his way through the rest of his breakfast slowly. Dean's plate had been twice as full and he finished it off in half the time. The notebook lay between them still.

He felt ridiculous and still he wanted there to be something more. He'd forgotten how being around Sam kind of pinpointed and brought into sharp focus all the things about their family that were different. Usually he could ignore it -- had. Sam tended to point them out.

He tugged at the corner of his own notebook and dropped it on top of Sam's.

Sam looked at him, finished off the last of his egg and picked it up.

"Might be stuff you should know," Dean said with a shrug when Sam glanced back at him, obviously puzzled.

"Okay," Sam said and flipped it open.

"You don't have to read it now," Dean said feeling oddly vulnerable and stupid. He tossed a few dollars on the table, enough to cover their breakfast and decent tip. "I'm going to grab a shower, load up the car."

He didn't wait for Sam to say anything and fiercely wished he hadn't made such a big deal out of it.

He glanced back only once to see Sam still drinking coffee, his head bent down, reading.

By the time Dean had finished his shower, Sam actually had the car mostly loaded. Only Dean's bag remained in the room. He'd picked up the newspapers too.

He handed Dean back his notebook. "It's all people," Sam said. "Mostly."

Dean toweled his hair dry. "Yeah, so? Having good contacts is a good idea."

Sam gave him a look and smile that almost, almost made Dean want to blush. Christ, when had Sam's approval -- his obvious approval -- become so important?

Always has been, a quiet voice whispered.

"I just think it's interesting," Sam said

"Don't make more of it than it is, Sammy," Dean said a little more sharply than he really meant to, or maybe not.

Sam's smile froze and he tucked the notebook in Dean's bag and headed back out.

Dean swore silently. He'd given Sam the damn notebook, for just this reason, and then shut him down. He glanced outside and saw Sam leaning against the front bumper of the car, watching the sparse traffic on the road.

God, he looked exhausted. He had his hands tucked in his pockets, shoulders hunched forward.

When he'd come to Sam all those months ago, needing his help, he'd been surprised a little. Sam looked good. He still looked scarily young, not all that different from when he'd been eighteen and mad at the world. But he was solid and substantial and still cocky and sure of himself. And he had kept up his skills more or less, if their tussle in the living room was anything to go by.

He'd been happy, and if the looks Jessica had given Sam had been any indication, there was no reason he shouldn't have been.

Sam didn't look eighteen anymore. He wasn't a kid, and he'd made a life for himself for four years that Dean would never share. Maybe that was fair. Dean had four years on him that Sam could never know; the love of two parents, a childhood that didn't start with nightmares.

Maybe Dean's childhood had ended with death and loss and fire and fear and anger. Sam's had started that way.

Dean couldn't give it back to him. There was no do-over, no matter how badly Sam wanted one and Dean thought maybe, just maybe, he understood his brother better than he thought.

He fingered the notebook. It was full of people. Names, descriptions, contact information… nothing all that interesting or personal.

He finished dressing and grabbed his bag. Made a visual sweep of the room before heading outside. He stowed his bag in the back seat.

Sam didn't look at him but Dean stopped him before he could go around the car and with a hand on his arm. "Sam…"

Sam regarded him with no expression, cheeks hollowed with fatigue, his hair ridiculously long and all Dean wanted to do was push it out of his face so he could see Sam's eyes better. I write their names down so I don't forget, because I've met so many they all blur together…and I'm afraid if I forget it won't matter any more. He wanted to tell Sam that, for it to matter to Sam as well. But like their mother, maybe it never could. "I never forget people, Sam," he said.

Sam met his gaze, then, and pushed his own hair out of his eyes. The corner of his mouth tilted up and he nodded. "Okay. I'll remember that," he said and dropped his hand to pat Dean's stomach before slipping past him.

They were on the road and angling north before Dean realized Sam had the notebook out again and was writing. Sam caught him looking and raised an eyebrow.

"This going to be a regular thing?" Dean asked.

"Maybe. Bother you?"

Dean shook his head. "Naw. Whatever helps you sleep at night, bro'."

Sam went still, still enough for Dean to glance over at him and see his hand hovering above the paper. "What?"

Sam shrugged, then folded the notebook in half and passed it over. "Coincidence," he said but didn't sound sure.

The list of good things had grown by three or four but the last Dean only glanced at before handing it over.

Dean helping me sleep at night.

"That's what good big brothers do, Sam," Dean said casually.

Sam smiled and settled back, the closed notebook on his lap. "And what do good little brothers do?"

Give me a reason to get up in the morning, Dean thought. "Uhm…laundry. Food runs. Don't question their elders. Be targets for endless teasing."

"Guess I've got it nailed, then," Sam said, still smiling.

Yeah, you do, Sam. "You could use a little practice on the 'not questioning your elders part'," Dean said.

"Well, when you grow up, I'll work on it," Sam shot back and Dean just grinned.

"Get some sleep," Dean said, reaching over to slap lightly at Sam's shoulder.

Sam didn't question him. He slept.

In his head, Dean started a list of his own, starting with, getting my brother back.



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