Title: Could Have Been Love

Rating: Light R (just to be safe) for language and mild sexual content

Category: Semi romantic angst

Disclaimer: The following characters and situations are used without permission of the creators, owners, and further affiliates of the Warner Bros television show, Supernatural, to whom they rightly belong. I claim only what is mine, and I make no money off what is theirs.

"Dean," Sam asks me, "have you ever been in love?" His voice is distant. He's a little bit disorientated from the lack of sleep and a long day of hunting. As the car jostles over some bumps in the road, his head rolls loosely like a new baby's. If I didn't know better, I would have thought he was drunk. But Sammy doesn't drink like I do. He drinks for fun, to socialize, not to numb him to the world.

I don't answer him at first. Against the steering wheel, my knuckles go white, and my mind begins to race. I think of all women I've ever known, most only for a day or so. I think about how when I enter them, steel muscles against smooth curves, they pull me closer and tell me that they love me. I think too about how, pressing my face against their breasts, I say the same thing.

I try to remember if I've ever liked a woman for more than my selfish sexual attraction. Maybe years ago, when I was much younger and more naïve. When Sammy was away for the summer at an educational camp, and when Dad and I were hunting at a vacation resort. I don't think it was love, but she was sweet. She made me smile when moments with Dad and memories of Mom made me cry. She was the first girl I ever kissed. That precious moment where she giggled and looked away after our lips connected, then turned back to me and asked if we could try it again could have been love.

She was the first person who knew that my mom was dead, and she hugged me when I wept as I told her. She didn't ask questions, just hugged me like nobody had in years. She was funny and smart, and the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen. We made love—more than sex—and held each other afterwards. It was the first time for both of us. We were both so nervous and eager, but the warm glow we swam in later could have been love.

When Dad told me we had to go, had to leave for another city, I wanted to tell her that I would come back for her, but I couldn't. Dad wouldn't hear of such a ridiculous thing anyway. I couldn't tell her why I was leaving. She knew more of my secrets than anyone, but not enough to know all of me. She was too good for my life, and I didn't want to hurt her. She kissed me on the forehead when we spoke last and placed her necklace on me, as a reminder that could have been love.

I called her from the first hotel while Dad was in the shower, and I only got her answering machine. She was struck by a car the next day while crossing the street to use a payphone to return my call so her parents wouldn't listen in. I read her obituary two months too late.

"Dean?" It's Sam, bringing me back to reality. He doesn't repeat the question; he doesn't need to. We both know I haven't forgotten it.

I think of her, and how she always smelled of something sweeter than her smiles. I think of the women I fuck just to have something to hold when the nights get cold. "No," I answer calmly.

"No?" Sam is incredulous. He sighs a bit, letting his head rest on the back of the seat. "I guess that explains a lot about you. Maybe if you'd ever loved somebody, you'd see things a bit differently."

I think of my pretty girl, and I wonder if she cried like I did when we separated at the end of that summer. I wonder if what we had, those moments that could have been love, really were love. I accelerate a little harder, and I sigh a little heavier before speaking. "Maybe."