Disclaimer: Kripke owns all… just borrowing the characters for a bit.

Language: One VERY bad word this chapter

Spoiler: Set a few days after "Heaven and Hell"

Chapter the First

The road stretched out in front of them, but it held no promises. They just seemed to be driving for the sake of driving.

It wasn't really driving, anyway, it was more like running. Running from guilt, from shame, from having to talk about what had happened. What could happen next. How they could go on. If they could go on.

It had been two days. Two days since Dean had to Sam about what had happened to him in Hell. Of the tortures he'd suffered… and the tortures he'd inflicted. When he told Sam he wished he couldn't feel anything any longer, it was because right up until that point he didn't think he could feel any worse.

He'd been wrong; now that Sam knew, he was convinced his brother hated him. Was ashamed of him… as ashamed as he was of himself. He had barely spoken to Sam since, could hardly bear to look his brother in eyes, afraid of what he would see.

Sam, for his part, WAS having a hard time meeting Dean's gaze, but not for the reasons Dean thought. The younger Winchester was torn up with his own feelings of guilt. The way he looked at it, it was his fault Dean had made that damn deal in the first place. His fault Dean had gone to Hell, had suffered the torments he had then. Was STILL suffering.

All his fault.

But since neither of them seemed to be able to find the words, silence hung over the interior of the Impala like thick smoke.

Silence and sadness.

It was while they were waiting at a red light (which seemed to be taking forever to turn green) that Sam began to get the feeling they were being watched. He turned a looked out his window at the playground on the other side of the street. It was deserted, which made sense since it was the middle of the afternoon.

Make that almost deserted. Sam saw the figure of a man walking by the swings, which began to sway back and forth as he passed. He walked by the merry-go-round, and it began to spin slowly, even though no hand had touched it.

Sam's hazel eyes widened as the person walked over to the chain-link fence and leaned on it. He stifled a groan as the man with longish blonde hair raised his hand in a cocky wave.

"Dean" he said softly. "Pull over to that playground."

"What?" The sound of Sam's voice seemed to awaken Dean from a trance. "Why do you want to…?"

"Look over at the fence", Sam replied through gritted teeth "and tell me that's not who I think it is."

Dean looked, shook his head, and looked again. He sighed, "Well, that's probably why the light's still red. He wanted us to notice him." He flipped the turn signal and headed towards the park.

Dean's eyes were suddenly full of anger. "We don't NEED this right now… we don't need HIM or his fucking pranks right now."

Sam just nodded grimly. Dean parked the car near the fence, then he and Sam both checked their guns (a useless gesture and they both knew it, but old habits die hard). They exited the Impala and walked, stiff-legged and soul-weary over towards the fence.

Where the Trickster was waiting. With a great big smile on his face.