Just a one-shot that I originally wrote for on of my story but this part somehow didn't make it in and seemed better off standing alone.

I know I suck at summaries but it's really just a short fic so please read and find out for yourself!

Still don't own them or much of anything, let alone any part of SN. Yeah, I know, it's a pity. If that ever changes, you'll be the first to know!

See him smile

Sam had always loved to watch his brother play pool.

As a kid, when Sam hadn't been allowed in bars yet, he'd still go with his brother sometimes, let Dean smuggle them into a place to then spend his time hidden in a dark corner, watching his brother play. He had tried to memorize Dean's every move, watched him talk, walk, play…watched him simply BE. Because this was a big part of what made up his brother, made him who he was, in the end.

Sam had envied his brother, had envied his grace and charm and humour, had wanted to be just like him one day.

Only that lately he wasn't so sure anymore. Because he knew that most of that act that was Dean was just that…an act. The guilt and burden his brother was laying on his own shoulders had to weigh tons, at the least, close to a freaking mountain which simply had to be wearing him down. The way he was wearing himself down, punishing himself for things that had never been his fault to start with… Dean was losing himself so fast, it almost made Sam's head spin.

Sam wouldn't want this for himself…he sure didn't want this for Dean.

Sam was still looking up to his brother more than he ever did to anybody else. Even his father. And wasn't that hilarious, really. He wondered if Dean ever had anyone to look up to. Because with all the blind devotion and love he displayed for their father, Sam still didn't think it possible that anyone, even Dean, could be this blind and oblivious to the obvious.

If anything, their dad should have been bad example, not a hero to look up to.

Sure, John could have been a much worse father than he turned out to be, but he could have been a hell of a lot better one, too. Only Dean, as smart and sharp witted as he was, never really seemed to have figured that out.

Maybe he simply was as good at deceiving himself as he was at fooling everybody around him, in the end. What he didn't want to believe, he simply didn't…it was as easy as that, at least to Dean. He'd always been good at creating his own reality, his own little world where whatever their dad did and said was right, where it was completely normal to be responsible for his little brother's well being when he was little more than a kid himself.

Maybe that alternate reality thing was the only thing that had gotten him through it all, so it might have been a good thing after all.

Sam now again sat in a darkened corner, on a stool next to the bar, watching his brother play pool in some all night bar in a small town in southern Montana. Only that now, Sam was no little kid anymore who got all giddy and jumpy over the excitement of doing something forbidden, something wrong. Now he was six feet four and well over twenty one, nursing his third beer this evening, waiting for his brother to finish up the hustle to get them some dollars to pay for their motel for the next couple of nights, maybe a couple of meals, to top it off.

Still watching Dean, still envying him. Some things would never change…

Dean moved with such ease and grace and Sam knew it was always hardest for his brother to pretend, at the beginning of a game, a hustle, that he didn't actually play all that well. He knew that it was far harder for Dean to pretend he'd just missed a shot than actually cleaning off the whole table in one sweep. All his life he'd been trained to be agile, focused and in shape, mistakes inacceptable. Any mistake a possible cause for disaster.

Pretending that he was nothing but a mere beginner, even if it was just at the pool table, pretending that his shots were nothing but pure luck, that he hadn't got all of it planned out carefully in his head, was probably the most frustrating part of it all.

Only that sometimes, he enjoyed it. Way too much, as a matter of fact. It had gotten him in trouble more than once so far, unfortunately.

But today Dean hadn't been in the mood for games. He hadn't wanted to play pretend but had instantly ambled over to a group of guys playing at one of the tables, slapping a bill on the table underneath his flat hand and had asked them straight out for a challenge.

Not that it didn't fit…didn't speak for his state of mind at late, fit his latest pattern of seeking danger, of self-destruction. At least, those guys knew what they were getting themselves into. At least it might help prevent a fight from breaking out when the found out that Dean indeed was every bit as good as he had told them.

Sam took another sip of his beer, watched in silent amazement as Dean picked up his cue, twirling it in one hand a couple of times while circling the table with an easy, slightly swaggering gait, eyes intently focused on the balls on the table, calculating his next move. His mouth is turned into an easy, capturing grin that still wasn't quite meeting his eyes. But nobody but Sam would be able to know that. Dean was a master of disguise. Only that he could never quite pull it off with his little brother.

Sam could practically feel Dean zooming in on a possible shot, his expression not changing in the slightest though as he leaned over the table, the cue light in his hand as he aimed it, muscles in his upper arm playing underneath the skin, as he took a slow, deep breath, another one, then took his shot.

He buried two balls in one go, took a second after they went down before straightening up again, moving towards the white ball once more, his movements more swift, more focused now. Not playing around anymore. He had a job to do and he was going to finish it, guns blazing. It almost seemed as if he'd known exactly where the balls were going to be after taking that first shot, as if he'd got it all planned out from the very beginning. Knowing his brother, Sam didn't doubt that this had been the case, too.

Now he was all business.

It reminded Sam a lot of Dean hunting, actually. However giddy and jumpy and annoyingly unfocused he could be at times, when hunting, he was always, absolutely and completely zoned in on the topic at hand. He'd always been able to switch it on and off in the fraction of a second, could go from light bantering and joking to serious hunting-mode, to being completely and entirely on the job within the blink of an eye.

Only lately, he seemed to have a much harder time winding back down after a hunt, couldn't slip into "normal" as easily anymore.

Sam tore his eyes away from his brother for a second, acutely aware of what people might think if they caught him staring like that. But he just couldn't help being mesmerized, pulled into his brother's being, his aura. And god, did it hurt to see him like this. Because seeing him so…alive, so himself, Sam just couldn't help but think that, in a few months time, he'd be gone…

Forever.

In hell.

Sam gripped his beer hard, almost smashing the thick green glass with his bare hands, downing the rest of the bottle in one giant swig before turning around towards the bar to order another one. He caught sight of the female bartender and two pretty brunettes sitting a couple of stools down, who were watching Dean as intently as he had just done.

Yep, his brother certainly knew how to draw attention, especially of the female kind.

Sam had always been the one who was able to blend in much better than Dean, had been the one who'd had a much easier time in school, because of it, too. Dean simply never had learned to do normal, not ever. And people certainly felt that, too. They felt the pull of him at the same time that they felt the push, as well. And that always made people wonder, made them want to find out what it was about this guy that they couldn't quite place. Made them love and reject him in equal numbers, made him feel that he was different.

And Dean had learned to adjust, like he always had. He had learned to never show people when he felt so utterly out of place that he just wanted to run away and hide from it all. He had learned to put on a self assured and cocky attitude like a second skin so nobody could ever get underneath it all, could ever get to know him for who he really was.

That was the reason why Dean never really had any true friends. While Sam had whined and wailed and raged any time they'd again left a place, a school, a bunch of friends behind, Dean had just accepted it quietly because there was no one he was actually ever leaving behind. His little brother his only friend and as long as he was staying close, there was nothing else Dean would ever allow himself to need, to want.

Sam finally managed to get the bartenders attention and ordered another beer, watching the girls watching his brother some more.

Now that was another thing he'd done all his life – watching other people's reaction to his brother. Men usually either envied or hated him, depending.

Women, apparently, reacted…well… Most just stared at him, taken by his looks, of course, his charm, the way he carried himself with this ease and alleged carelessness. His capturing smile always enough to make them feel special, no matter what.

With a pang of sadness Sam realized that, lately, Dan hadn't been smiling as much anymore, not truly, from the bottom of his heart truly. The reasons for that were more than apparent, but still…it hurt to see Dean like this, all serious and on the move, always in motion, even when he wasn't. Like, even when they were just watching a movie, having a beer…there was always some kind of tension there, some kind of alertness, like he was waiting for something or someone to jump him at any moment now.

As if already, he could feel the hellhounds stalking him, preying upon him behind the next corner.

Which was ridiculous, because they still had some months to go. Still a long time…plenty of time to find a way out of this… Only that the past months had gone by like nothing, really, like a wisp of air, a whisper of a breath, a fraction of a second only. And Sam had a feeling that the next ones wouldn't slow down even a little bit.

He though he was going to be sick, and even though he's had a couple of beers he knew it wasn't because of that.

He swallowed hard, fighting down the nausea and dizziness, turning around to keep watch over his brother some more. Because he felt like when letting him out of his sight for a mere minute, he was going to loose him, might find him gone when turning back to look for him.

Apparently Dean had finished off the table in one sweep. The guys he'd been playing didn't look too happy, but they seemed to be Ok with it as they took out their wallets to count out some bills, slapping them into Dean's outstretched hand.

Dean smiled at them, took the money and shook some hands, slapped a couple of shoulders, then nodded to one of the waitresses to order a round of beers for the players. This seemed to lighten the mood considerably, the laughter getting louder, looser, there was some back-slapping and a couple of dirty jokes being exchanged and Sam saw Dean laughing along with them.

He seemed to be genuinely relaxed, for once, seemed to enjoy himself. Dean finally shot a look over to where Sam was sitting and Sam couldn't help himself but smile along with his brother's infectious grin, teeth flashing openly as they cheered on each other through the room with their beers before each taking a big gulp, eyes still on each other.

The girls next to Sam started talking in hushed tones and he instantly knew what they were talking about, who they were talking about.

Because if Dean playing pool was a sight for sore eyes, watching him smile was like medicine.

They'd find a way out of this, Sam was dead set on it, and all Dean's grumpiness and aloofness were not going to stop Sam from working on it. Nothing would stop him from making it all better for them.

Because there was no way, no way he was never going to see that smile ever again.

The end

AN:

I don't blame you if you don't like it, it probably doesn't make much sense at all but I needed to get it off my chest so I can stop brooding over it. (Sorry, but it won't get much betetr than this...)

I'm sure if I read through this a couple of more times I'd be able to dig myself in deeper and deeper, or simply delete it off my computer, so I'll just post this as it is, taking the chance that it's complete gibberish and doesn't make any sense at all.

So, as always, please review if you liked it any and just forgive me if you don't!

Take care.