Summary: Sam wonders what Dean really thinks.
Disclaimer: Not mine. The pretty, snarky, angsty brothers belong to the WB.
Sam glared at Dean's back from where he was walking, trailing a few steps behind. The air was cold, biting his face and their breath hung in clouds behind them. He shoved his hands deeper into his coat pockets.
"What?" his brother replied, tossing the question over his shoulder without truly looking back.
"We've been out here for hours, man. There's nothing here."
Dean shook his head and Sam suspected he was merely disguising an attempt to figure out just where in the hell they were.
When Dean remained silent, yet plodding onward, Sam rolled his eyes and hurried to catch up to his brother. "Come on, let's find the car and get out of here. It's gonna be dawn soon."
"What? I thought being awake when it was dark out was your thing, Sammy." Dean made a disbelieving noise. "You're not worried about missing a little beauty sleep, are you? Oh wait, you never sleep anymore."
Sam fought the urge to sigh. "Dean, we've been out here all night. I swear we've walked past that same tree four times now. There's nothing here but us."
"That's what they want you to think," Dean said with a self-satisfied smirk.
"I swear, Sammy. What is it?" Dean stopped, turning to face Sam. "You don't want to be here? Okay, I get it. I got it when I came to find you and I've gotten it every damned day since." He threw up his arms, a mixture of annoyance and defeat, before resting them on his hips. "Fine. We'll go back. I'm sure you've got better things to do."
Confused, Sam could only stare at Dean. "What...?"
Dean pushed past him, bumping their shoulders together roughly. "Come on, Sam. Let's get you back."
"Back where? Where do you think I have to go back to?" Sam asked, turning but not following his brother.
Still walking away from him, Sam saw Dean shrug. "Wherever. Come on."
"This makes no sense," Sam said under his breath
He heard Dean laugh, the sound echoing oddly through the forest. "Talking to yourself now, college boy?" he asked, but the words were bitter.
Taking a long look at where Dean was disappearing into the trees, Sam shook himself as if it might help clear his head. Jogging, he caught up to Dean before he could lose track of him entirely.
"What's up with you, man? Why the attitude?"
"Attitude?" Dean shook his head, looking almost bewildered. "No attitude. Just tired of hauling your ass around when you so obviously don't want to be here. When I don't want you here, either."
Before Sam could think of a reply, Dean cut him off, adding, "Talk about making me wish we knew where Dad was." He shook his head, as if in defeat. "You're worthless."
Stung, Sam stared at him as Dean angrily swiped a branch away from his face. Anger warring with the hurt, he asked, "Then why bother finding me at all?"
"Yeah, I've been wondering that myself." Dean's voice drifted back but he was gone from sight.
"For crying out loud, Sammy..."
"Sam! Wake up!"
Sam startled, jumping upward in the seat. He wincing as he slammed his elbow into the passenger car door. Rubbing his hands over his face, Sam let out a long breath. For the moment, he refused to look at his brother.
"Want to tell me what that was about?" Dean asked, glancing away from the road for a second before looking forward again.
Dropping his hands into his lap, Sam leaned his head back against the headrest. Playing dumb, he asked, "What?"
"Since when do you start yelling my name during these dreams?"
Sam shivered, the full memory of his dream flooding over him. "What did I say?" he asked, his voice rough, quiet.
Risking a glance at Dean, Sam saw him shake his head although his eyes never left the road. "Nothing, really. Just my name a couple of times. But that doesn't answer my question. Why was I in your dream, Sammy?"
Ignoring the name, Sam shook his head. "It was nothing."
Dean smirked, an eerily familiar sound coming from his throat. "Yeah, right. Should've known better than to ask."
Sam shivered, the cold of the dream returning. Closing his eyes he could see Dean's face in front of him, taunting him with angry words. If he focused, he could feel the pull of ropes against his throat, his chest. Without thinking about it, he reached up and touched his fingers to his throat. No, the ropes had been gone for some time.
Opening his eyes to watch the fields passing by the window, Sam couldn't help remembering. In the days since they'd faced the shape shifter with a fondness for Dean, Sam had done his best to push it to the back of his mind. He knew it wasn't really Dean, even if some small voice inside wondered how much was true. The small voice that still doubted what his place in this family really was.
He might have never quite fit in at Stanford but neither did he ever quite fit the mold in his own family. He was always the one that wanted out of one world and into another. It seemed he was destined forever to be not quite what he wanted - or what others wanted of him.
Sam was shook from his thoughts, unsure how long he had been distracted, when Dean spoke quietly. "I came to find you because you were needed, Sammy."
Turning to look at his brother and finding his gaze met, Sam felt his jaw drop. "What?"
Dean shrugged, again looking at the road. "So I heard a bit more than I let on."
Seeing his chance to change the subject, Sam let out a shaky laugh. "What else is new?"
Dean grinned. He was more than willing, Sam imagined, to take the bait. "Hey, it's the only way to keep you on your toes. Can't let you think you can get one up on me, you know."
"No," Sam said, shaking his head, managing a small smile. He felt warmer, as if he was shaking away the cold from his dream. "We couldn't have that."