Chapter One

Dear, Dean

I hope you had a good first day of school. Sammy is chattering all the time now and he always asks about his big brother Dean. I've told him all about what a great brother you are, Dean, and how much you love him. We love you and we miss you. I wish things had turned out differently and we could all be together - you, Daddy, me, and Sammy -
a normal, happy family, but that's not the way things are. I want you to be happy, Dean. Stay safe.

Love Always,


22 years After The Fire...

It was a black, moonless night so dark a person could barely see their hand in front of their face. A match flared brightly, pooling light over the dark pit of an open grave and playing over the handsome,
angular features of the man holding it. The man's lips curled in a smirk as he dropped the match into the hole. "Adios, bitch." The flames burned hot and bright as the man watched, his smug expression slowly turning sad and melancholy. "Another one down. This is for you, Sammy, and Mom and Dad."

"Sam!" a loud female voice exclaimed near his ear and Sam Winchester woke up from a light doze with a start. The dark graveyard from his dream fell away and he was back laying on the couch in his apartment. "Sam, get up and get dressed. We're going to be late for the Halloween party." His girlfriend's face hovered above his as she bent over the back of the couch. Her teeth gleamed whitely in a bright red lipsticked smile and her long blonde curls hung down to brush against his cheek.

"Jess," Sam groaned. "You know I hate Halloween." And she did know, he had made his feelings about this particular 'holiday' clear last year and the year before, he had just never elaborated on his reasons why.

"Come on, Sam, it's a party!" Jessica straightened and walked over to a mirror by the door to fluff her hair. "We have to celebrate your LSAT victory. Did you call your Mom and tell her?"

"Yeah, but I got her voicemail." Sam sat up. He yawned and scratched his fingers through his unruly, longish brown hair. "She said something about looking up some old friends now that we've been settled for awhile." Sam had told Jessica how he and his Mom had moved around a lot when he was growing up, but again he hadn't explained why and he had failed to mention that in each new town they had changed their names. Sam hadn't been Sam Winchester since he was a baby and the reason why was because his mother thought that they were being stalked by a demon. A demon that had tried to take him from his nursery, but instead ended up killing his father and older brother in a mysterious house fire. He couldn't tell Jess that - she would think his mother was crazy. He couldn't have the woman he loved thinking his mother was crazy.

"Did you tell Dean?" Jessica asked gently. She bit her bottom lip. "You were dreaming about him just now, right?"

Sam nodded. "I should get dressed if we're going to that party." He stood up and walked into the bedroom, pretending not to see the hurt look on Jessica's face as he passed by her. She had accepted his reluctance to talk about his transient childhood and hadn't taken his hatred of Halloween seriously, but for some reason she wanted to know everything about Sam's dreams of Dean. A part of Sam really couldn't blame her for her curiosity - it wasn't everyday you met someone whose imaginary friend was their dead big brother. A larger part of him wished that his dreams of Dean had remained private, but he had to tell Jess the truth when she had overheard him mumbling and he had to explain to his girlfriend why he was murmuring a guy's name in his sleep.

It was unfair of him, but Sam resented Jessica a bit because she knew of his dreams. The dreams of Dean were his - he had never even told his mother. They were the one constant in his life that he could rely on, he knew that no matter how many towns or cities he lived in or how many times his name was changed, the dreams would follow him. Sam couldn't remember a time when his big brother didn't visit him in his dreams. Dean had always taken care of him. When they were both young, the dreams had been more interactive with Dean speaking directly to Sam. Sometimes Dean would tell him stories about their life before the fire when they were a family with Mommy and Daddy. Sometimes he would comfort Sam when he was feeling lonely and afraid and sometimes he would warn Sam about demons and ghosts and other bad things. As they got older, Dean participated less and less until the dreams were just of Sam watching Dean doing things - mostly fighting various supernatural baddies and protecting people. It hadn't occurred to Sam until he had taken an introductory psychology class that it was odd that Dean had grown up with him and not stayed the perpetual mop-topped four-year-old Sam knew from the faded pictures his mom had shown him.

"Sam!" Jessica knocked on the closed bedroom door. Hopefully, she would forgot the dreams for tonight. The pressure she was putting on him to tell her the details of his dreams and his feelings about Dean were starting to get to him. When he wasn't dreaming of Dean, he was having horrible dreams about Jessica. But they were about stress, not about his family or some phantom demon that his mom invented to blame for his father's and brother's deaths. They weren't real anymore than the dreams of his brother were.

"I'll be out in a minute," Sam called back. He pulled his t-shirt over his head. Maybe if he let go of the dreams and relegated his big brother to his memory then the dreams about Jess and fire would stop.
Maybe it was time he started living that normal life he had told his mother he wanted when he had gotten accepted to Stanford.


Malevolent spirits were the worst. Between digging up the grave and then reburying the charred remains and dealing with the spirit's unfinished emo-crap in between, Dean was exhausted. He would much rather blast the shit out of a Black Dog or resist the temptations of a succubus any day. The amber light from the interior of the trunk glinted dully off of Dean's teeth as he grinned, remembering one hot demon specimen that tried to seduce him in Texas. If she hadn't reeked of sulphur and tried to pull that 'I'll take care of you, you lost little boy' shit on him, he might have fallen for it. His cell phone vibrated in his back pocket, interrupting Dean's trip down memory lane. He tossed his shovel and shotgun into the trunk and shut it. He glanced at the caller id and leaned against the car.

"Hey, Beautiful, miss me already?" Dean smirked at the phone. "I'm in California, but you know I'll be home as soon as I can."

The person on the other end of the line gave an inelegant, but feminine snort. "Now why would I miss a sassy thing like you, Dean Winchester? Especially since you haven't bothered to come home in over a month. A poor woman would waste away pining after you."

Dean winced at the pointed rebuke. "Sorry, Missy, I got caught up in the last couple of hunts and just didn't get a chance to swing by."

"Well, you better make time, boy, and you haven't had that adorable lisp for twenty years so I think you can manage my name."

"What's wrong, Missouri?" Dean frowned. Sometimes he thought that Missouri Mosley lived to read him the riot act, but something was off - something distracted in her voice. She was worried about him and not about his life or limbs. She needed to tell him something and she was worried about how he would take it. Dean knew this because when he was younger, she would have the same tone to her voice for days before she handed over a letter from his mother.

"Your Momma called."

"Called?" Dean sat down on the trunk of the Impala. " talked to her?"

"Yes, baby, I talked to her. She wanted to know if I knew where you were. She wants to see you. Are you okay, Dean?"

"Fine. I'm fine. How's Sammy? Is Sammy okay?" Mom wanted to see him. After all this time, why did she suddenly want to see him? "Has something happened?"

"Calm down, Dean, I know this is a lot and I wish we didn't have to do this over the phone." Dean almost smiled as he pictured Missouri fretting miles away, her hand pressed to her brow and her lips pursed in a worried frown, but an overwhelming fear that he hadn't felt since the night his father had died stopped him. "As far as I know Sam and your mother are just fine. Sam is a student at Stanford and they haven't seen hide nor hair of that nasty demon that attacked your family so your momma thought it was safe to contact you. I gave her your cell phone number, but she obviously hasn't called you yet. I was hoping I would talk to you first. How you doing, Dean?"

"I don't know. Sammy's okay, that's good." His baby brother was a college boy. Dean felt his heart swell. "My phone was off for a while earlier when I was tracking this ghost. I just switched to vibrate once I found the grave. I should check my voicemail."

"You do that, baby, and then head on back home."

"Yeah, yeah, I will." Dean took a deep breath and swallowed hard. "Missy," he said so softly it was barely a whisper. "I'm going to see my Mom and Sammy again."

"Yes, sweetie, yes you are." Missouri's voice was gentle and Dean could feel the soothing psychic waves she sent along with it. "Now you check your voicemail. Bye, baby."

"Bye, Missy." Dean clicked off the phone and took a few moments to compose himself before accessing his voicemail. "You have one new message," the tinny robotic voice informed him. Mommy had called him.

"Dean, I, oh, you sound so grown up on your message. I guess you are grown up...of course you are, and I'm just rambling. You probably don't even know who I am. Dean, this is your mother, although I know I have no right to call myself that since I abandoned you. I'm so sorry, Dean, I just didn't know what to do after your father...and I had to keep you safe and Sam safe...and that thing was after Sam." At this point, Dean could hear his mother break down and cry softly. He gripped the phone tightly and blinked back his own tears. "I'm in Jericho right now visiting a friend and I would like to come and see you, Dean. I'll understand if that's not what you want - what I did to you was unforgivable. What I've done to Sam is unforgivable too - telling him his big brother had died in the fire with your father." A flash of anger that Dean rarely let himself feel toward his mother blazed through him and he just barely stopped himself from ending the message and not meeting his mother again, but that would mean that he probably wouldn't get to meet Sammy either. The fact that his mother had told Sammy he was dead wasn't news to him - she had confessed that sin in one of her letters. He didn't understand why she had told that particular lie, actually he didn't understand why she had done a lot of things. "Dean," his mother's voice caught his attention again. "If you do want to see me, you can contact me at 555-2427. I love you, Dean."

"End of message," his voicemail informed him and Dean sighed heavily. He hit save automatically and sat looking out at the night sky. Jericho was a lot closer to where he was right now than Lawrence, but Lawrence would have the familiar comfort of Missouri and Pastor Jim, because Dean was sure that the psychic would have called their old friend for his support. Stanford was closer than both Lawrence and Jericho. In a few hours he could see his brother again - the brother who thought he was dead. "Maybe it's about time I corrected that." Dean pushed off the trunk and moved to the drivers' side and got in.
He roared off in a spray of gravel, the red taillights of the Impala rapidly disappearing down the dark road.


It was late, actually it was really early - four in the morning to be exact - and Sam wasn't dreaming. Sam wasn't sleeping. He lay on his back and listened to Jess snore softly beside him. They had gotten back from the party around two-thirty and Jess had went to bed and fell asleep almost immediately. She was pissed at him for not having fun at the party. Nevertheless, Sam had laid down beside her, but he couldn't join her in peaceful slumber. Sam was afraid. He was afraid that because of his earlier decision to let go of his dream big brother that he would never dream about Dean again. He was afraid that he would dream of Jess pinned to the ceiling instead - her hair fanned out around her like a halo and fire licking and caressing her body as it consumed her flesh. Sam shivered and started to turn over, but the creak of a soft footfall on the linoleum in the kitchen had him sitting up instead. Jess grumbled and batted at him agitatedly for disturbing her, but she didn't wake up.

Sam quietly got out of bed and moved to the bedroom door. A shadowed figure moved from the kitchen to the living room. Sam narrowed his eyes and crept down the hall. He was pretty sure he was bigger than the intruder and he had the added element of surprise on his side. He would knock the guy on his ass and then call the police. It was probably just a drunken frat guy who had stumbled into the wrong apartment.

Outside the living room, Sam could hear the guy moving around. He was a stealthy bastard, so not a drunk then. That meant his intentions were more dangerous. A surge of anger burst through Sam as he thought about this stranger hurting Jessica and he attacked. The intruder deftly deflected his blows with a graceful expertise that had Sam worried. His worry turned to fear as the man knocked him down and pinned him to the floor.

"Not bad, baby brother, but you're still a bit soft." The intruder grinned down at Sam. Sam took advantage of the relaxed grip and flipped him over so that he had the other guy pinned. The man just grinned wider, not worried or afraid at all. "Or not."

"Dean," Sam gasped in disbelief. It was him - the brother he had seen in his dreams his whole life. "'re real." Sam frowned as another possibility occurred to him. "Am I dreaming?"

"Now, see, that's usually the response I get from chicks when they pin me to the floor." Dean shoved at Sam's shoulders. "How about getting off of me and I'll explain?"

"Yeah, okay." Sam slowly stood up and then reached out to pull Dean to his feet. He knew without a doubt that this was his brother. As impossible as it seemed, he looked exactly like he did in Sam's dreams and he even had the same attitude and exuded the same confidence and feelings of security. "You're alive."

"And you are tall." Dean looked his little brother up and down and shook his head. "Damn, Sammy, what the fuck did Mom feed you growing up? Trees and roasted giraffe?"

Sam laughed. Dean was here in his living room and he was real. He wasn't a dream and he wasn't a figment of Sam's imagination. He had a brother. A real, live brother. Sam grabbed Dean and hugged him tight. "You're not dead. You're here."

Dean cleared his throat and awkwardly thumped Sam's back. "Yeah, Sammy, I'm here."