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With the Mark Comes a Great Burden

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The kids in preschool have worn Dean out today, buzzing with energy like bees on speed, giddy with all the excitement leading up to the end of the year program. But they were good, remembered the songs and the dance moves and the rhymes, made their parents proud, made Dean proud.

“Beer?” Sam asks, stepping out to the porch to stand beside Dean’s deckchair.

“God, yes,” Dean accepts the bottle, takes a long swallow. “I swear, Sammy, you're a mind-reader.”

Sam grins, folding into the chair next to Dean, long legs stretched out and crossed at the ankles.

“I’m glad you and Jess could make it,” Dean says after a while. “I know you guys have a lot on your plate right now, starting your own practice and all.”

“You kidding?” Jessica settles on Sam’s lap, the chair protesting a little under their weight. “We wouldn’t miss this for the world, you always come up with the most hilarious routines for your kids.”

That is most definitely true, and a fact Dean takes great pride in. “Yep, that’s me.”

“Guys, dinner’s ready!” Carmen calls out from inside the house, her invitation accompanied by the mouth-watering smell of her legendary pork roast. Not having to be told twice, Dean, Sam and Jess hurry into the dining room. Mom and Dad are already sitting at the table, whispering something and giggling as if they were sixteen and not nearing sixty.

The dinner is delicious, and when Carmen brings out Dean’s favorite pie as dessert, Dean feels like he's in Heaven.

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In the real world, Sam has just administered another dose of the djinn venom into Dean’s vein, just above the Mark on his arm. Dean looks relaxed in his supernaturally induced sleep, smiling softly.

Sam gently brushes Dean's slightly outgrown hair out of his forehead. “Sleep well, big brother.”