Disclaimer: I don't own the Winchesters or anything on Supernatural... Although every night when I go to bed, I pray that when I open my eyes the next morning, they'll be standing at the foot of my bed. Or that Santa will give them to me for Christmas if I'm a real good girl. Oh well. A girl can dream.
Spoilers: um.. pilot, skin.. i'm not sure what others..

please review! hope you guys like it... enjoy!

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He was staring into someone's eyes, that was for sure. He just didn't know who. The person's face was blurry and shadowed so he couldn't see who it was. All he could see was the person's eyes. They were hollow and lifeless, the ones that saw you and didn't at the same time. Then the eyes changed and emotions began to fill it.

Pain.

Grief,

Anger.

Guilt.

Sadness.

All of a sudden, the facial features sharpened, and he recognized who it was.

Sammy.

Dean sat straight up in his bed gasping for air. Drenched in a cold sweat, hazel eyes wide open in fear frantically looking around, searching for something in the darkness. Those eyes he had seen... they weren't the bright, intelligent, hazel eyes that he always come to associate with his brother. Hell, they hadn't been his brother's. They had been something else entirely.

"Dean?"

The older Winchester spun his head so fast he was sure he had heard his neck crack. Now that his eyes had slowly adjusted in the darkness, he could see his brother's tall and slim build sitiing up and facing him in the darkness. Even though he couldn't see his brother's face clearly, he was sure it was full of concern and worry.

"Are you okay?" Concern laced the younger Winchester's voice.

His eyes slowly settling on his younger brother, Dean slowly pushed the panic and worry down until there wasn't a single trace of any of those emotions on his face.

"I'm fine. Go back to sleep Sammy. It was just a nightmare."

"Are you sure you're okay? What was the nightmare about?"

You Sammy. You.

"It was nothing. Absolutely nothing to worry about. Now go back to sleep. God knows you seriously need a lot of beauty sleep" he said, cracking a small grin reassuredly, more to reassure himself more than his brother.

Even though he sure that he wouldn't be able to sleep anymore, Dean lied back down on his bed and made a silent promise to himself: He would never ever allow his brother to become the person he had seen in his nightmare.

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Sam looked at his older brother uncertainly but decided that it would be better to do as he said and lie down. He knew something was off.

It wasn't the fact that Dean didn't want to share his nightmare with Sam; that was perfectly natural, him being the self-confessed'
chick-flick phobic that he was. It was the fact that he couldn't think of a better excuse to give Sammy. If it had been the normal Dean, he would have probably said something witty, that his nightmare had been about all the hot young women of the world had shunned for eternity, or his Impala had been trampled by rampaging revolutionist monkeys in Zimbabwe.

Instead, he had just passed it off as nothing. It wasn't like him. But Sammy loved puzzles, and he was positive he would solve this one no matter what. He had always had a determination to solve whatever he came up against, even if it had had nothing to do with him or his brother. How much more if the puzzle itself was lying in an old motel bed right next to him?

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Dean gave a quiet sigh of relief as he lied back down on the crappy motel bed. His heart was still pounding but it wasn't as bad as it had been just seconds before.

It had been around a year since Jess had died...Dean could still remember everything that fateful night.

The searing heat of the flames.

The anguished screams and sobs coming from his brother's bedroom.

The wailing of the police cars and ambulances.

The worried and concerned faces of those who lived in the neighborhood who were gathering around the front lawn.

The sound of Sam's voice as he cocked the rifle and slammed the Impala's trunk shut.

In a couple of weeks, it would be her first death anniversary.

Amazing, how quickly a year went by.

And still, they hadn't found Dad yet. Dean supposed this was to be expected. He knew that if his old man wanted to stay hidden, he would stay invisible. After al, he was a Winchester. That didn't really matter much in Dean book, seeing as he and Sam were Winchesters too. They'd find him, eventually.

And as much as he tried, his mind couldn't help but stray back to his baby brother. Sam was slowly, but surely, healing from all the grief and the pain caused by Jessica's death. He smiled, laughed, teased Dean, whined about his music and insulted the Impala and his older brother's driving skills more nowadays than he had in the last few months.

True, the pain would never go away completely but he knew that after sometime, that sense of loss would be reduced to a dull, throbbing ache that would refuse to go away (which in Dean's opinion was hell of a lot better than the sharp, searing pain that engulfs a person when he or she has realized that they have lost someone they love). It would always leave a scar; such was the nature of pain, grief and heartache. Heaven knew the pain of his mother's death hadn't disappeared, even after 22 years.

Or maybe he just thought that Sam was healing... Maybe his brother was just fooling him. Dean and John could con anybody into anything, sure. But Sam could hide secrets from the world's prying eyes better than anyone in the Winchester family.

A part of Dean wanted to believe that the eyes he had seen in his nightmare weren't Sammy's, Every fiber of his being protested that Sammy was healing and he would never ever have a reason to look like that ever again if Dean had something to say about it. He wanted to desperately hang on to that belief and let it go.

And yet, something in him, be it his conscience or his instinct, told him otherwise. Told him that Sam was still grieving. Told him that he was foolish to believe that everything was going to be sunshine and roses from now on. Normal. At least, as normal as the Winchesters could be. Heck, he was hoping that maybe, just maybe, it could be like before. Before Sam had gone to Stanford. Before Sam had witnessed Jessica burning on the ceiling of his apartment. And then maybe they would find Dad, and they'd be one happy family again. If there was something Dean wanted more than anything else in the world, it was his family to come back together, to be one again.

Stupid. Foolish, Dean thought now, as he shifted his position on the crappy motel bed. We may come back together, but things aren't going to be the same again. Sam, Dad. They had changed. And as first as he could tell, so had he.

With that thought in his head, Dean silently kept watch on his baby brother, who had attempted, and in the end, had failed to fall asleep, resort to watching reruns of House on the 6-channel TV.

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The bright morning sunlight assaulted his eyes and he was forced to close them again before opening them.

The sunlight usually wasn't this bright early in the morning. He suddenly hoped that his brother as still asleep. Sam had been teasing his brother about how late he would get up in the morning and how much trouble it was to wake him up. Dean only woke up on his own. It was impossible for anyone else to wake him up. Freezing water, yelling, direct sunlight and shaking wouldn't awake him. Sam was still trying, after 22 years, to figure it out. Dean had then made a bet that if he woke before Sam in the following month, Sam would pay him fifty dollars. If Dean didn't,he would pay Sam fifty dollars. So far in the last two weeks, Dean had not succeeded.

So hoping against hope, Sam slowly opened his eyes.

To see Dean bouncing on the bed and grinning idiotically at him.

"Good morning sunshine! You owe me fifty dollars!"

Sam swore internally, and then remembering last night's episode, scrutinized his brother's face. There were eyebags beneath his eyes but aside than that, he looked alright.

Dean ignored Sam's scrutinizations and continued to tease him. "You owe me fifty dollars! You owe me fifty dollars! You owe me fifty dollars!"

"Oh shut up," he grumbled, "You are such a kid." True, he was grumbling on the outside, but he was glad some semblance of normality had returned to his brother, or at least as normal as their lives could get. But then again, he was sure that his brother was just making jokes and quips to convince him that he was alright. After all, his brother had more layers than anyone else in the world.

Sam threw the covers of his bed and walked over to the flickering screen of his laptop, scanning through the different websites that could give them a possible gig as Dean sat down on the edge of the bed.

"You find anything?"

"Nope."

"Nothing? Nothing at all?"

Dean chuckled. "Amazingly? Yeah. That means we're free to do what we want for the next few days, or at least until we find another gig."

"So what do you wanna do?"

"Well what do you wanna do?"

At this, Sam fell silent, eyes downcast as he tried to find the words that would express what he wanted, no, needed to say.

"What is it?"

Sam looked up. "Stop being such a chicken. You're just talking to Dean. This is your brother we're talking about." he berated himself internally.

"I got a call yesterday. Well actually it went to voicemail. Whatever. Anyways, it was from Becca. Remember, my friend from--"

"The hot blonde chick who's brother went to jail because of that shapeshifter. I remember. Go on."

"Yeah that's her. Well, you know that it's Jess's.."

Sam looked down again and swallowed. They're just 2 freaking words. Just say it Sam. Say it you coward.

"Jess's death anniversary."

Sam nodded, eyes still downcast.

"You want to go to Palo Alto don't you?"

Again Sam nodded his head. Inside, he was grateful to Dean for saying those dreaded words aloud. He didn't think that he would ever work up the guts to say it aloud. Saying it meant that Jess was just... gone. It wasn't that he hadn't accepted it.
I have, believe you me. It was just that he didn't like to be reminded of that fact.

"What exactly did Rebecca say?" Dean asked, bringing Sam out of his 10 second brood and back into the conversation.

"She said that a couple of Jess's friends are gonna meet up in her apartment the day after tomorrow. She said that she knew that I was pretty... busy but she wanted me to come and that it was fine if I couldn't make it."

Dean stood up from the bed and began throwing his things into his duffel bag haphazardly.

"Start packing. We're going."

Sam's face jerked upwards. "Seriously?" asked Sam incredelously. This was just so... un-Dean. It wasn't that Dean was unkind, insensitive and selfish. Absolutely not. Sam knew that even though he may act like it on the outside, the truth was he was the farthest thing from those descriptions on the inside. Most especially when it came to his baby brother. He knew how much it hurt Dean when he had walked away from his family in order to go to Stanford, in order to have a normal life. When Dean had told him that before, Dad had used to swing by Stanford just to keep an eye on him, he had asked if Dean had ever accompanied him, his answer was never. Sam didn't bother asking why. He already knew.

Which was why it came as a surprise that Dean wanted to go to Palo Alto in his own free will. At the very least, the normal Dean would complain and whine and make a big fuss about it but would eventually go. On one hand, Sam was grateful for what his brother was doing for him. On the other hand, he wasn't sure if he had heard correctly or maybe he just had to check his brother for demon possession, just to be on the safe side. "Now where did I put that flask of holy water," he mused... "I think I might have left it at the trunk of the Impala..."

"Seriously." Dean confirmed, breaking into Sam's thoughts. Sam noticed that his brpther was concentrating on seperating his dirty clothes from his clean ones and was making sure that he didn't meet Sammy's surprised, hopeful and slightly wary eyes. He chuckled softly. No matter when, where, or what the situation was, you could always tell that Dean was Dean by his irrational fear of what he liked to call, 'chick-flick' moments. Well, at least I know that he's not possessed.

"Now get packing or I am going to leave your ass out here."

There were a lot of things Sam wanted to say at that moment but only two words expressed all his emotions, particularly his gratitude to his brother.

"Hey Dean?"

"Yeah?" Dean looked up from his clothes.

"Thanks jerk."

"Anytime bitch."

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Two hundred miles and what seemed like a million Metallica songs later, the Winchesters arrived at Palo Alto, California. A few minutes after they had exited, Sam had left a messgae on Becca's machine telling her that he was on his way.

A couple more minutes later, they found themselves in front of a two-storey apartment with a huge front lawn which had the sprinklers on.

"This is it?" Dean asked, lowering his sunglasses a bit to survey the house. His eyes rapidly marked all the entrances and exits.
It might not have been necessary but Dean was a hunter, and he knew that those little things made the difference between life and death.

"Yeah this is the place." Sam replied, taking in the view as well. It just looked so perfect. So normal. It could have been him and Jess. His heart ached at the loss, at the pain that thought brought to him.

"You ready?"

"Always."

Dean removed the key to the ignition and they exited the Impala, slamming the doors shut. Sam stretched his lanky form, getting rid of all the kinks he had accumulated on the way. Dean came around to his side and bent down to the door of the passenger seat.

"Dude, is that a scratch mark?" he asked suspiciously.

"I have... no idea what you're talking about." Sam said innocently, trying to ignore the memory that had resurfaced in his mind of him kicking the door shut because he was busy carrying all the things he had bought when he had gone to the grocery a few days before. Dean didn't need to know that.

Dean looked at him, scrutinizing every square inch of his face as they crossed the immaculate green lawn. "Don't think you're fooling me with that look. You hurt my baby, I just know it." he said finally, glaring at Sam.

"Think what you want man. If you ask me, you're just paranoid." Sam shrugged.

Dean scowled at him. "You're going to pay for that. No one hurts my baby."

Sam chuckled. He would never understand the overprotectiveness Dean had over his Impala. He supposed it was one of the greatest mysteries of the twentieth century. Attachment to an inanimate object.

"Let's just going, shall we?" Sam suggested, hoping to defuse the childish bickering that he knew was imminent. Hopefully,
his brother would just let it go. Fortunately, it was his lucky day.

"Fine." he said gruffly. "Just don't blame me if you're taking a shower one day and you find Nair in your shampoo."

Sam smirked and opened the door for him. "Jerk."

Dean looked right back at him as he entered. "Bitch."

With that, the two proceeded to climb the stairs to Becca's apartment.

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Chapter One's done! Please review... I'll try to update as soon as possible but I'm pretty busy with school right now so please don't expect frequent updates...

Again, please review! Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed...