Another road song
by Te
February 26, 2006

Disclaimers: Absolutely nothing here is mine.

Spoilers: Up through "Nightmare."

Summary: You don't give a loaded gun to the crazy, sort-of-
possessed person, and you don't let the not-crazy,
not-possessed, but totally and completely *not in control*
person *drive your car*.

Ratings Note: Mostly harmless.

Author's Note: Yeah, so the visions thing was nagging
me, a bit.

Acknowledgments: To Betty, Zee, and Livia for audiencing
and encouragement.


"You have to let me drive again sometime."

It's impressive that he can say it all reasonably like that. As
if it was a fact, like "people who don't at least pause when
you rack a shotgun are probably not people, so you should
go ahead and shoot" or "I, Sam, will never be as fine as
you, Dean."

"I mean, you can just do the math. Between hunting,
research, and acts of fraud, you've only got a few hours a
day to actually get sleep. It's entirely possible you could
do the math on your hands, even."

See, the thing is, though -- it's not reasonable. It's not even
close to reasonable.

"I'm just saying."

It is, in fact, pretty much *entirely* unreasonable, because --

"Look, if I have a... a vision or whatever, I'll just pull over."

And see that, that's officially weak enough that it can be
acknowledged. In style, even. Dean pushes his sunglasses
down his nose -- just a little -- and looks at Sam from
over the frames.

For a second, it looks like Sam might try to pull it out. He
can do it. He can do this thing where he doesn't nod so
much as drop his head, letting his -- and there's just
something wrong with men over the age of six who let
themselves wear bangs -- hair fall down over his eyes
and his mouth pull down into the purest skepticism ever
distilled from a college boy.

However, all he does is sigh.

Dean one, Sam zero.


"Uh, huh."


"You scratched -- I can't believe you scratched your car."

Then again, it's not as if he didn't have a point.

"I mean. *You*. Scratched your car."

A very sharp, pointy, finish-scratching --

"I feel like I should be dousing you with holy water or
something, man."

"Just -- you can shut up any time. Any time at all."

"Oh, I know," Sam says, with that kind of careless, soul-
shriveling bounciness which should only ever be applied to
some damned book Sam read and enjoyed, as opposed to
applied to the fact that Dean had --

Well. There'll be a body shop in the next town. He'll keep
driving until he finds a town *with* a body shop, if he has

"It's just that you *scratched* your *car*. I mean, did you
check to make sure you didn't knock the sign all the way
down? Because that's --"

"Yes! I checked." He had, actually, set the damned thing
upright again, which had taken the better part of forty-five
minutes, which Sam had spent blissfully asleep in the
passenger seat.

"Well, okay."

He could've at least been having a nightmare.

"Just. Wow."

That wouldn't have been so much to ask for. It wouldn't
have even had to be a *prophetic* nightmare.

"So... how long do you think you were asleep at the

"Long enough and can we just drop this?"

It's not that Sam is grinning or anything. That would
actually be better. *Much* better, even. The smile -- the
small, desperately-amused-but-still-keeping-cool smile --
is going to kill him.

Or Sam. It could probably kill Sam, if the universe decides
that he's suffered enough for the day.

"I'd just like to point out that I haven't said 'I told you so,'

Dean's gripping the steering wheel too hard. He really
shouldn't be taking this out --

"Aw, don't be like that. Don't you think the car's suffered
enough today?"


He hasn't fucked up on a job, and there's no need to put a
'yet' there. He won't.

It would just be --

It would be *stupid* to let someone who practically has a
damned seizure every time his goddamned fucking psychic
*powers* kick in drive, much less to let him drive *his*

You don't give a loaded gun to the crazy, sort-of-possessed
person, and you don't let the not-crazy, not-possessed, but
totally and completely *not in control* person *drive your

It's just that you don't let the person who isn't sleeping
enough drive your car, either.

In the other bed, Sam is having a nightmare, and it sounds
like --

He's not psychic. He doesn't know what the fuck it sounds
like, other than bad. Sam hasn't come down with a case of
the visions in a few days, though, and he also hasn't had
anything but regular nightmares.

And really, as fucked up as that is... maybe it's also the
answer. Maybe the visions are just the fucked-up,
otherworldly version of a smack to the back of the head
when they aren't working fast enough, or thinking hard

They aren't working *anything* right now, so...

So maybe when they aren't, it's okay for Sam to take the


"This isn't going to work if you don't --"

"I'm *resting*."

"I think you'll find --"

"I'm sitting here, and I'm not driving, and I am listening to
music which is very fucking soothing --"

"I'm pretty sure Dave Mustaine would beat the crap out of
you for that --"

"-- to *me*, and I am *resting*."

"So what, exactly, are you going to do from the passenger
seat if the vision makes me slam my foot down on the

Which -- shit. The least -- the very least -- he can do is
to turn his head *enough* to keep Sam from seeing the look
on his face --

"I can see you in the side-mirror, you know."

"*Christ*, Sam! I don't know! I'll punch you out and --"

"Assuming it doesn't make the telekinesis flare up and, say,
slam *you* against the passenger door --"

"Then we'll both *die*, but dammit, Sam --"


"-- I'm just not seeing your *point* here, because --"


"Fucking *what*, Sam?"

The look lasts too long, though at least they're on an
*empty* stretch of road. Back roads, only, as much as they
can, and... and Sam's giving him another smile, only it's not
the one which makes Dean to hit him, as opposed to the
one which makes Dean need to hit *something*.

It's too fucking... old, or something.

"I'm just saying, Dean," he says, and puts those wrong eyes
back on the road, "there *isn't* a point. You might as well
sack out. I'll -- I'll do my best to call your name if I start
getting... vision-y, and --"

"Sam --"

"We'll make it, or we won't. That's all."

"That's all?"

"Yeah, Dean, that's *all*."

"That's not fucking *good* enough --"

"It's what we *have*. Christ, I know you used to hunt alone
sometimes, but..."

Fucking *ice* water. "Are you thinking of quitting?"

"What? No!"

"Well, okay. Okay."

"Okay," Sam says back, and drums a little rhythm on the
wheel. Nothing Dean recognizes.

If he closes his eyes, he's going to be asleep embarrassingly
fast. If he keeps staring at the *road* he's going to be
asleep embarrassingly fast. If he keeps *breathing* --

"It's just... I *know* you were doing this on your own, but
I think... I think it's worse now. Isn't it?"


The laugh is the kind of low and cynical that makes Dean
wonder if either of them are going to live long enough to
realize they're young idiots *now*. It's something Dad said
once, so it stuck.

"Yeah, fine, so that *was* an answer. I need you, Sam. Is
that what you wanted to hear?"


"Then --"

"Then *nothing*. Look, I just meant that we have to do this
together, and that means sometimes I have to drive the
*car*, even though it's stupid and crazy and might get us
killed faster than a damned demon. That's it."

Dean sucks in a breath and knocks his head back against
the headrest, a little. "So you're saying we just have to


"Well... okay."


"Yes, *okay*, now are you gonna let me sleep or not?"


"It's not like I totalled it."

Dean's always hated the term 'totalled.' It's too glib,
somehow. It's not like some old cavalry guy from the
eighteen hundreds would say he'd 'totalled' his horse. It
was a *horse*, which had been alive and healthy and full
of... *horse power*, and then it hadn't been, probably
because he'd let his little psychic brother ride it into the side
of a -- blessedly deserted -- bus station. Depot.

"I mean, come on, I've *seen* you replace headlights
yourself, and the chrome... maybe if you waxed it?"

And then the horse just had to lay there, gasping, maybe
whinnying a little in pain. And betrayal.

"I managed to slow down, you know. We could've gone in
at fifty."

Because the cavalry just had to get back *on* the horse,
and *make* it ride to the job, or the base, or whatever,
because the asshole little brother was having a *vision*.

"We could -- I'm pointing this out only for contrast -- be

"You're about to tell me that you still have to keep driving

"Yes, Dean, I am. Because --"

"Because nothing's changed."

"*Exactly*, and also the car isn't going to cry if you take it
up to seventy before that nice little old lady gets...
smushed. By the... the thing."

"Smushed. By the thing. Right." Still, he takes it up to

"Look, it was big and hairy and not human and the sudden
onset of osteoporosis *wouldn't* account for how much
shorter she was when it was finished, so yes, smushed by
the *thing*."

Dean nods, and keeps nodding, because it's pretty much
either that or attempt to drive most of the bones in his nose
up through his brain.

"Also, if you'd just woken up when I was *calling* you --"

"I know."

"I mean, I said I would call you, and I *did* --"

"I *know*."

"I mean, you totally *could've* taken the wheel --"

"Did I say I know? Because I *know*, Sam."



"Shut up."

Dean hadn't, in fact, said a word. Still, it's true that Sam
could reasonably expect him *to* say something, so, really,
it's fair.

"I didn't know the old lady would turn out to be a witch
who'd turned her neighbor into a... well, whatever it was."

"And taking it prisoner. Yeah, I picked that up."

"I didn't know that we'd wind up breaking the poor guy's
leg --"

"And collarbone."

"I didn't *know*."

Dean nods slowly, and sucks his teeth a little. "What about
the part where she tried to slit my throat with a cute little
silver letter opener she'd been using as an athame? Did
you get that part?"

"No, I did not get that part."

"Or how she made you -- literally -- squeal like a pig for
two hours. How about that part, Sammy? Because I thought
the curly little tail was kind of original."


Dean nods again. "So that's a 'no,' then?"

Most of the time, when Sam crosses his arms over his chest
he *is* doing a creditable impression of their Dad. Now,
though, it's more of a creditable impression of the six year
old he used to be.

And honestly, except for the car damage, that image kind
of makes up for a lot. Dean nods one more time. "Right.
Two lives saved, the dude in the hospital is way happier
about the fact that he's a dude again than he's pissed about
the broken bones, and the little old lady won't make any
more trouble at least until she finds another garage sale
with a book of grimoires. Miller time?"

Sam doesn't say anything.

"I *said* --"

"I heard you."

Dean cracks his neck. "Okay, you heard me. This is where
you say, "yes, my long-suffering big brother, it is, indeed,
Miller time."

"Why didn't you wake up?"

It would be completely reasonable for it to take a minute for
Dean to realize what Sam's talking about. It doesn't, but he
still has an excuse for not answering right away.

"I mean it. I mean, I think that's *kind of* important, Dean,"
Sam says, arms still crossed over his chest like a kid, and

His eyes aren't like that kid, at all. "Yeah. Okay. I was

"What? What the hell were you dreaming *about* that you
couldn't --"

"I was dreaming about you, you were calling my name in
the dream, too, I thought it was *still* the dream, it
happens, okay?"

And Dean gets to see another one of those nasty contrasts.
This time, it's the fact that Sam's expression is this
fucked-up *twist* of a thing, while his eyes are wide open
and staring at Dean like *he's* the one who's constantly
coming up with new and strange shit to do and be.


And the twist goes like it was never there, or maybe it's just
that Sam's eyes are still --

"Seriously, *what*?"

"Nothing," Sam says, and it's much too fast to be true.

Just not fast enough to justify the fact that Dean doesn't
want to leave it there.

"I mean..."

Of course, since it's Sam, he pretty much never has to put
an effort into *continuing* a conversation. He swallows,
and waits for it.

"What was the dream?"

"You were dreaming."

The twist is back, but it's just a frown this time. "You were
dreaming about me... dreaming about you?"

"Having a nightmare about me. Look, it *happens* --"

"What kind of nightmare?"

"Fuck, I don't know, Sam, it was *your* dream."

"But it was your dream. With my dream. That we -- you --
damn," and the laugh starts out like one of the not-so-good
new ones Sam's come up with, but then it just keeps

Until it's one of the ones that make him laugh a little, too.
"So. Miller time?"

"Miller time."


"I don't think -- do I really have all that many nightmares
about you? I mean, I'd remember those, I think."

The thing is, there's no way Sam is one hundred percent
sure he's asleep.

"I mean, other than the ones I have after you nearly get
killed, and those..." Sam laughs, quietly enough to be
ignored. "I'm pretty sure you'd say those don't count."

And what does he mean *would* say? He could say it right
*now*, because --

"And you'd tell me if I was keeping you up calling your
name somewhere *other* than in your own head, because
you'd fuck with me about it the entire next day."

Because he's awake, and this is getting -- it's not -- "Sam."

"I figured I had about a seventy percent chance of you
really being asleep."

"Uh... probably? What is it?"

Sam doesn't say anything, and it's too dark to see anything
but the fact that the t-shirt he's sleeping in is white, but
that little fabric-crumpling noise is probably the pillow, so
Sam's probably just shaking his head or something, which
would be the perfect excuse to go back to sleep, and work
on his brilliant plan where Sam never drives anything ever
again ever.

Really just perfect. "Sam...?"

"I think I'm going to *have* that nightmare now, man."

"Christ --"

"I mean, it was bad enough seeing Max shoot you in the
fucking head. I just --"

"Listen, I mean -- don't you think it's almost kind of
inevitable? You get visions now of people in trouble. We're
*always* in trouble. I dunno, it's not -- it wasn't a bad
dream. Considering."

"What were you doing in the dream?"

He can't read Sam's voice at all. Shit. "Look, I was just -- I
was there, and I was trying to wake you up, and you
wouldn't, but it didn't last all that long before you ran us
into the damned building and woke me up, so it's no big

"Would it have been? If you hadn't woken up?"

Dean doesn't bang his head against the headboard, because
if he did, the thing is cheap enough that it would probably
crack. "Christ, what kind of question is that? A dream
where I couldn't pull you out of some horrible nightmare,
and it would be my fucking *fault* you were having it in
the first place, and, of course, the fact that you'd probably
be seeing my imminent *death* -- of course it would've
been a fucked-up dream."

"Yeah. You're right. Good night."

"Good night?"


"I -- I hope your mattress has fleas, Sammy. I really do."

"Sam. And, well, considering the fact that you'd get them
the next time you stole one of my t-shirts... yeah, I'm okay
with that."


"You can barely even see the scratch. Scratches. Um."

He's driving again.

"You're blaming me for this, too, aren't you?"

"*You* were driving, Sam." He's driving again now, though,
and that's the most important thing.

"I don't see how this was my fault."

"You don't."

"No, Dean, I *don't*."

"You called my name."

"All I said was 'Dean, wake up, there's a diner here that
doesn't look too bad.' *You're* the one who woke up,
punched me in the *face*, yanked the wheel out of my
hands, and drove us off the road."

"All I heard was 'Dean, wake up.'"

"What? What was that?"

It's possible he'd been muttering a little. Maybe slurring. "I
*said* -- all I heard was, 'Dean, wake up.'"

"I see."

*He's* driving again. Dammit.

"Good reflexes. In a way. I guess."

"Shut up."

"I mean, if I *had* been having a vision --"

"Really, shut up."

"Okay. I will."

He is never letting Sam drive again. "I meant five minutes

"Oh, that's right, time travel. I forgot to mention."

Dean's heart doesn't actually stop beating. That's something.
"What... you forgot to mention what, exactly?"

"Oh, I mean. It's probably nothing."


"It's just... I mean, sometimes it almost feels like time is
this solid thing. Like... in my mind."

His heart is definitely still beating. He can tell, because if it
wasn't he'd be dead, and not in horrible pain right now.
"Are you saying you can manipulate *time* now?"

"No, no. Well. Probably not."

"Jesus fucking --"

Sam's laughing. Sam is --

"You're fucking with me. Right now. You are fucking with

"Man, bro. When did you get *easy*?"

'Snickering' is probably a better word for it.

"Time travel. Heh. But no. You're not freaked out at *all*."

"I'm *not*."


"Yet. I'm not freaked out *yet*. Asshole."


The thing is, when you're freaked out, you can't be other
things. You can't *do* other things.

You're pretty much just stuck in the motel room or the
backseat of Dad's car or wherever, being real fucking busy
freaking out. You're not sleeping, you're not working, if
you try to eat you'll *puke*, and if you try to pick up a girl
she'll think you're a serial killer and bolt.

If you're lucky. If you're *not*, she'll call the damned cops.

So no, he's *not* freaking out, thank you *very* fucking
much, because that shit requires the kind of leisure time
that he really doesn't have, also thank you very fucking

"You know, I haven't had a vision in almost a week now,

"I noticed."

"And we also haven't found anything in the papers or on
the net."

Dean grunts something which he hopes sounds like 'I
noticed, and you're an asshole' and keeps running through
Google news.

It's entirely possible that Sam was able to translate the
grunt perfectly, considering the fact the balled-up straw
wrapper that just bounced off his forehead.

"Yes, Sam?"

"God, you're such a..."

Dean closes the laptop, meaning to meet -- and possibly
glare into -- Sam's eyes. "Feel like finishing that sentence?"

"Even Dad took time off sometimes, Dean. And also you're
a prick."

Time off. Time... it's not even close to a horrible idea. They
could get jobs, lay in some emergency cash, have an
address long enough to get a few more credit cards, let
people die of things they didn't even know the names of
all over the country.

"You're gonna shoot me down."

"Sam --"

"Look, forget it. It's just that I'm supposed to be the
freaking squirrelly one, okay?"

""Squirrelly?' Did you seriously --"

"Or maybe you could just own the fact that you're scared
shitless as much as I am instead of trying -- and *failing* --
to play it off. That could be a plan."

"I'm not -- I'm not trying to play anything *off*."

"Jesus. Dad isn't here. The car will forgive you someday.
You don't have anything to *prove*."

The sheer number of times he hasn't brained his little
brother with the laptop are proof of something deep,
important, and also special.

"Just -- come the fuck *on*, Dean. You know --"

"I'm not trying to play anything off. I swear to fucking God,
I'm not --"

"So why can't you say it?"

Sometimes, motel rooms were smaller than the trunk of the
car. Granted, they could fit a body -- Sam's body, even -- in
the trunk of the Impala, but still. "Say what. Exactly."

"That you're scared." And Sam's actually *pacing* now.
"That everything -- that all of this isn't even the same as
the life *you're* used to --"

"Jesus, you were only out of the game for a couple of
*years*. Just a fraction of your life --"

"That's not the *point*, Dean --"

"Then what *is*? What the hell do you want from me? I'm
scared a *lot*. Nearly everything we fight is bigger,
stronger, faster, and some of the bastards are *smarter*.
I don't -- "

"That isn't what I *mean*. It's not about the monsters.
It's about --"


It stops Sam, just like that, and he'd known it would, known
the motel room would go right back to being the right size,
that he'd start feeling the draft from the cheaply-insulated
windows again, that Sam would *stop*.

It's just that he hadn't actually wanted to do it. "Sam --"

"Yeah," he says, to the carpet. "Me."

And he's pretty much reached the limit of things he knows
for the day, because he's got nothing.

"Me," Sam says again, and someone next door picks now
to shoot his television or something, and it's cold.

It's *really* cold --

And that's when he notices the curtains being sucked out
of the *broken* window by the wind.

Not the television. Not next door. "Shit."


"Sam -- Sammy, *shit* --"

"I was just... trying to open it."

"It was painted *shut*!"

"I know. Now. Uh."

"I -- *shit*."


"The next time you do that --"

"I'm not going to do it again, Dean."

"I'm just saying. Just in *case* it *happens* again --"

"Dean --"

"Please -- *please* try to pick a motel where the night
manager isn't packing."

Sam doesn't say anything, which either means that he's
thinking about arguing the point or... something.

He doesn't know. He really, seriously, profoundly --

"I -- I'm sorry she shot your car."

"Thank you."



"How come you aren't scared?"

Dean frowns at the road. "I already told you, I'm scared out
of my fucking *mind*, Sam --"

"How come you aren't scared *of* me?"

As opposed to *for* you? There's a part of Dean's mind that
wants to point out that it's a really good question, but it's
a small part, and kind of a weak part, too. It's the part that
wants him to take time out to rock back and forth in a
corner somewhere, no matter how many bars there are in
any given town, and no matter how many women are in
those bars.

It's the part that would've left Sam alone in that damned
apartment to be killed by the thing that had murdered their
mom, and Jessica, and thus the part which would've gotten
*him* killed at least a dozen different ways in the past few

It's not a good question at all.

"I kind of... need an answer, here. I mean, am I reading
this wrong? *Are* you scared --"


"No? Because it's not like I wouldn't under --"

"*No*. Look, I just..." He just needs to breathe, and he
does it.

"Dean --"

"Look. If I'd been stupid enough to give you a loaded gun
back in Rockford, I'd be dead right now, okay?"

And when Sam was fourteen or so, he'd looked more like
some kind of freakishly tall insect than a teenager, all bones
and angles and Dean not being able to dance out of range
of a punch as fast as he was used to. And it was never
more freakish than when something had upset him, and
he'd fold himself up in a corner of the back seat of Dad's
car just like he *wasn't* suddenly ridiculously tall.

He shouldn't be surprised that Sam can still do it, even if it
would be better if it still came off as kind of buggy, as
opposed to...

As opposed to what it does.

"Sam, come on, I'm not..." He doesn't know. "It's just that I
already know the worst you can do to me, okay? I already

"God, Dean."

"It's not -- it's not a bad thing to know, okay? Because --"

"Because there's nothing else to be afraid of?"

"Well... yeah. That's pretty much it. I'm not --"

"Are you sure about that?"

"Sam --"

"Forget it."

Which -- not *fucking* likely, but... but Sam is back to
taking up all the space he should. No-way-they-can-drive-
anything-but-American space, even.

It loosens up something in his chest, enough.


He wakes up to find Sam dragging him not especially gently
from the car, and that's when he remembers that they
hadn't found anywhere to sleep other than their car.

He does his best to blink himself back to something like
consciousness, managing to avoid tripping over the curb at
the pull-off on the way around the car and failing to
manage to avoid stepping in gum.

He hopes it's gum.

Whatever it is scrapes off on the curb on the *other* side
of the car, and, by the time he closes the car door behind
himself he's almost awake.

"Wait, I wasn't letting you drive today."

"Uh, huh," Sam says, and starts the car.

"No, I'm serious --"

"Even you don't drive at five in the morning if you don't
have to, Dean."

"Christ, it's *five*?"

Sam reaches out, slow and lazy in that way only people who
are *actually* awake can manage, and taps on the
dashboard clock.

"I -- Christ."

"Go back to sleep."

"Sam --"

"Go back to sleep. I promise not to get us horribly killed if I
can possibly avoid it."

"Which is the best we can manage."

"Yep," Sam says, and turns on the heater.

"That's not fair."


"Oh, c'mon, it isn't even really *cold* --"

"Lullaby... and good niiiight..."

"And you can't sing. At all."

"Go to sleep little Dean-ie..."

"Jesus, I hate you."

"Ditto," Sam says, and smiles, slow and easy.

It's not the worst thing he's closed his eyes on by a long