By the time he reached the motel, Dean was so far beyond controlling his anger that he nearly kicked the door in and stalked into the motel room, actually expecting to find his brother dead drunk.

Sam, however, was lying on his bed, watching television, and he pushed himself up on his elbows when Dean barged in. "Where the hell were you?" he asked. "You've been gone for a little over two hours, man."

Dean had come to a full stop only two steps inside the door and stared at Sam for a moment. Then he slammed the door shut hard enough to rattle it in its frame, which in turn made Sam sit up with a worried look in his eyes. To keep from yelling his head off right now, Dean kept his mouth shut, shrugged out of his jacket and tossed it onto the bed. Then he opened the mini bar, eyed the contents, pulled a miniature bottle of scotch out and opened it. He downed the contents in one go and tossed the bottle into the trash can.

"Dean?" Sam sounded worried now and Dean knew without the shadow of a doubt that things were going to get nasty before Sam started talking.

He turned back to face his brother. "Guess who I met," he said.

Sam eyed him. "Kate?" he asked almost timidly.

"No," Dean countered. "Jodie. We had a nice little talk. I'm assuming you can guess about what." Even though it wasn't Sam he was angry with, he couldn't keep the anger out of his voice and it obviously gave Sam the wrong impression.

The expression on his brother's face changed and the look in his eyes became nearly bruised. "She ... told you?" he pressed out and rose. His hands clenched into fists.

"Yeah, reluctantly, but she told me," Dean confirmed.

"She promised me she wouldn't," Sam pressed out. Dean couldn't really decide if he was angry or scared right now, though.

"Yeah, well, she did. Because I asked her and she wants to help you," Dean countered. "So do I. But, as I keep telling you, man, I can't if you don't confide in me."

The knowledge of what Dean had learned did things to Sam he couldn't understand at first, because Sam just stood there, his expression so tense Dean was afraid he'd split a seam if he didn't relax soon. Then he slowly sank back down on the bed, his hands clenched so tightly his knuckles had gone white and he started to shiver lightly. "How much did she tell you?" he nearly whispered without looking at Dean.

Dean narrowed his eyes a little. "Everything she knew," he said. His own raging anger had been put on hold for now by Sam's reaction. "But there are things she doesn't know, things I have the feeling you need to get out."

Sam shook his head. "No," he said tightly, still not looking at Dean.

For a moment all Dean did was stand there and eye him. Then he opened the mini bar again, retrieved all the bottles that had an alcohol percentage and dumped them on the bed next to Sam. "Have a drink," he suggested.

Sam glanced down at the bottles, then up at Dean, his eyes a little too wide, his pupils expanded. "I don't want a drink," he pressed out.

"Yeah, you do. Dig in. We're going to hash this out right now and we're not going anywhere until it's done," Dean said, grabbed a chair and set it down at the foot of his own bed, the back of it turned towards Sam. He straddled it, rested his arms on top of the back and just watched Sam.

For a long moment all Sam did was sit there and stare back at him. Then his features tightened even further before he grabbed any odd bottle, unscrewed the top and downed the contents. Then he threw it aside, opened the next bottle and emptied that too.

Dean watched him while he systematically plowed his way through the bottles until all ten of them were empty and lying on the floor. Obviously the alcohol was doing something for him, because he seemed to relax a little along the way. Once he was done, Dean grabbed his jacket and hauled the bottle of Jack's out of it, which he had bought on the way back, grabbed the two complimentary glasses and filled both before handing Sam one glass.

He took it and stared at it for a moment, then downed it in one go. There was no doubt in Dean's mind that he needed this more than anything and that he would be horribly sick tomorrow. But for once Dean would not be inclined to make fun of him for it, because this was Dean's doing, not Sam's. It was also the only way of making him talk about things he didn't want to talk about. He was just too uptight about the bad things in life when he was sober.

A second glass went the same way as the first and by that time, Dean figured that Sam was buzzed enough to let his guard down. His expression had relaxed enough for Dean not to worry about the potential for a sprained muscle any more.

"So, start talking," he suggested.

Sam stared into the empty glass for a moment, then raised his head and eyed Dean thoughtfully for a second. "Do you have any idea," he slurred and pursed his lips, "what it's like ... to be forced to do something you don't wanna do?"

"I can imagine," Dean claimed, but Sam shook his head a little unsteadily.

"No. No you can't. Not this," he countered.

"So tell me," Dean pushed. "Tell me what happened. Tell me everything." In general he didn't want to know. He had a vague idea of what Kate might have done to Sam, based on what Jodie had told him and how Sam had responded ever since getting that first text message from Kate, but he didn't know for sure and he needed to know, no matter how little he might want to.

"Kate's a bitch," Sam said and held out the glass, beckoning for more.

Dean filled the glass halfway and watched Sam drink it down in one go. "Yeah, you've said so already and I got that impression off her too. So ... what'd she do that was so bad? Jodie said she drugged you, that she turned you into a drug addict."

Sam smirked, a nearly painful expression at this point, and reached up to rub his neck, undoubtedly where the needles had gone in five years ago. "Do you know what Crystal Meth does to you?" he asked and focused somewhat unsteadily on Dean.

"I know it's highly addictive," Dean countered.

"It can cause euphoria, increased energy and attentiveness, nausea, excessive sweating, loss of appetite, insomnia, tremor, jaw-clenching, agitation, compulsive fascination with repetitive tasks, talkativeness, irritability, panic attacks and last, but not least, increased libido," Sam rattled off and scratched the back of his head pensively, then focused on the floor. "Do you know how tough it is to get off it again?"

Dean just stared at him. "No," he admitted reluctantly.

Sam smirked painfully. "It's not tough. If you know how," he said and looked up to meet Dean's eyes. "But I didn't."

"But you got off it. Jodie helped you," Dean said.

Sam stared at him for a moment, then nodded unsteadily. "Yeah," he agreed. "She reminded me of you, you know. Totally dependable. That's why I told her, you know. About what we do. It was like having you around." He snorted helplessly and briefly closed his eyes.

"What did Kate do?" Dean pushed, diverting Sam's attention back to what was no doubt an extremely painful memory.

Sam opened his eyes again and sighed. He clasped his hands together between his knees, hunched over, and just stared down at the floor. "It all started when Jodie went on vacation," he began.

***

Five years earlier

Charlie's was over-populated. Sam just sat on the bench in one of the back booths, bothered by this immense hangover that just didn't want to go away, when Greg turned up.

"Dude, you look like a hanged cat, man," he said and dropped down on the bench across from Sam.

"Hangover," Sam muttered and made a face. "And a big case of the blackouts too. Man, I shouldn't drink."

Greg chuckled. "Best way to cure that ... is more beer," he said.

"No," Sam groaned.

"Yeah," Greg countered and got up to get them some beers. He shoved one bottle over to Sam when he got back. "Did you really drink that much last night?"

Sam smirked and made a face at the beer bottle. "I'm depressed, okay? Jodie's gone and all I have left is you," he countered.

"Screw you too, buddy," Greg said, saluted him with the bottle and took a swig.

"What was up with that Kate-chick last night anyway? She hasn't looked at me once since I got here, even stuck up her nose when I asked her for directions once, and then she's all over me?" Sam made a face. "I'm glad Jodie was there, really."

"Yeah, just like having your big macho bro around, huh?" Greg countered and smirked viciously.

"Hey, don't you go dissing Jodie. She's cool," Sam said and pushed the beer away. "I don't want any. I'm sick."

"Yeah, sick as a dog. I can tell by the bleary, bloodshot eyes and the way you just hang in your seat like there's no tomorrow," Greg scoffed and pushed the bottle back to him. "Drink up, man. You'll feel better if you keep the buzz going."

"Where's your girlfriend?"

Sam looked up and squinted at the girl standing next to the table all of a sudden. He was still marginally affected by last night's binge-drinking and most certainly wasn't in the mood to be civil. "My what?" he asked and eyed Kate Mayor with slight confusion.

She rolled her eyes and folded her arms over her chest, pursing her lips in that prim manner she had. "Your girlfriend. Jo? Whatever her name is?"

Sam glanced at Greg, who snorted with repressed laughter, then he glanced back up at Kate. "You mean Jodie?" he asked.

"Yes, Jodie," Kate confirmed, definitely annoyed now.

"She went home on Easter vacation. Why?" Sam countered and slumped back in his seat.

"Because I have something to tell her," Kate said, suddenly smug.

"Really?" Greg inserted. "And what might that be then, huh, sugar?"

"I suggest you keep your trap shut, Gregory. This is none of your business," Kate snapped, then returned her attention to Sam, all smug again. "I think I owe it to her to tell her about ... us."

Sam stared at her for a moment and tried to make sense of her words. Then he grimaced. "What?" he asked.

"About last night," Kate said, straining each word to the breaking point.

"Look, Kate, no offense here, but I was pretty hammered last night. I don't remember squat," Sam said, grabbed the beer bottle after all and took a swig. It tasted like used dish washing water and upset his stomach slightly.

"I assumed so," Kate said and threw something onto the table top in front of him. "That's why I brought proof."

Sam arched an eyebrow, then glanced down at the Polaroid. It took a second before the somewhat blurry image came into focus. He turned it in a circle a few times, trying to get a better angle, then glanced up at Kate. "So?" he asked. "What does that prove? That I made out of with you while heavily influenced by booze?"

Kate's expression made it almost impossible for him to not smile. "I doubt your girlfriend will be too happy about that. And don't think I won't remember in a week's time."

Sam blinked, briefly focused on Greg who was about to bust a seam while trying not to laugh out loud, and then focused back on the Polaroid. "My girlfriend," he said, then looked up at Kate again. "And ... who might that be?" he asked.

Kate's expression tightened dangerously. "Jodie," she said.

Sam just stared at her for a moment. "Jodie?" he asked and glanced over at Greg, who could no longer control himself and started laughing almost hysterically. Sam grinned, then chuckled. "Kate, no offense here, but Jodie's gay. She's one of the guys," he said.

Kate's eyes narrowed, then she ripped the Polaroid away from him, hissed like an angry snake and stalked out of the bar while Sam, despite feeling borderline nauseous, joined Greg in laughing his head off.

"What the hell was all that about?" Greg finally managed, wiping tears away from the corners of his eyes from laughing so hard.

Sam briefly closed his eyes and groaned, grabbing his head. "Man, I shouldn't drink so much," he repeated and took another swig of the beer. "Dean would kill me for this," he added and made a face.

"Which part?" Greg asked with a grin. "The drinking or the getting it on with the ladies while plastered?"

Sam smirked. "Shut up," he countered. He knew very well that Dean wouldn't have a problem with either since his brother did exactly the same thing whenever he could. Thinking of Dean took the fun out of the situation, though, and Sam emptied the bottle in one go and made a face. It did make him feel a little better to get the buzz going again, though, and he figured since it was Easter vacation and he wasn't going anywhere, he might as well tie one on and have fun while doing it.

Greg eyed him for a moment. "Thinking of home again?" he asked.

Sam made a face. "Well ... it's the first Easter I've spent away from them," he muttered and started picking at the label on the bottle.

"Why don't you just call your brother, ask how he's doing?" Greg suggested.

Sam shook his head lightly. "Nah, I risk getting hold of my dad and ..." He shrugged and sighed. "Go get us another round, man. I'm dehydrating here," he added and slapped a flat hand onto the table top.

Greg grinned and left to do just that.

The second his back was turned, Sam pulled his cell phone out, flipped it open and briefly contemplated calling Dean. Then he pressed his lips together into a thin line and closed the phone again with a light shake of the head.

"Here you go, dude," Greg said upon returning with not two but four bottles of beer.

Sam sighed, already regretting the increased hangover he was going to have the following morning, and stuffed his phone back into his pocket. "Here's to Jodie, where ever she may be," he said and raised his bottle.

"To Jodie. The sweetest piece of ass we'll never get to shag," Greg agreed with a laugh.

They clanged their bottles together. "Personally, I don't want to shag her, Greg. She's too good a friend for that," Sam proclaimed a little unsteadily.

"Yeah, right. Unless you profess your undying love for me, man, I don't buy that even for a second," Greg countered with a leer.

"Greg," Sam said, managing to keep a straight face and look serious at that, "I love you, man." He slapped his right hand onto his heart. "Really, truly. I mean, I really love you, man."

Greg burst out laughing, spraying Sam with beer in the process.

"Gross, dude," Sam exclaimed, then started laughing too.

"You're such a goofball, Sam," Greg proclaimed and downed the rest of his beer, then grabbed the second bottle and raised it in greeting. "To normal and how damned good we're gonna be when we're finally lawyers," he said.

"Hear, hear," Sam agreed, raised his own bottle and emptied it in one go.

***