A/N: Just want to thank everybody who has reviewed my past stories. I really appreciate it and I'll try to get better at thanking everyone properly : )

The Velvet Box

Sam and Dean Winchester were not exactly sure which town they were in. It's not like it really mattered. They were only passing through on their way to somewhere else entirely. Sometimes the days and towns all seemed to run together in an endless haze.

Dean parked the Impala in front of a copy store. The brothers were in desperate need of new fake Ids for the job the working on. Their previous fake Ids and credit cards had been discarded in an attempt to keep themselves out of prison. That meant the Winchesters were in desperate need of some cash as well.

"I've got forty bucks," Dean said grimly as he counted the bills for a third time, as if hoping more would magically appear.

"Great," Sam huffed. "That's about enough money to feed you one meal." Sam remembered plenty of times growing up when money was tight, but it had been a while since things had gotten quite this bad.

"Maybe I can find a poker game tonight," Dean said hopefully. "Because if we don't find something, we'll be sleeping in the Impala tonight."

Sam didn't even answer. His mind seemed to be completely elsewhere.

"I'm sorry," Dean said loudly, interrupting Sam's thoughts. "I don't mean to bother you with this little problem of us not having a place to sleep."

"I don't know what to do, Dean."

"Why am I the only one bringing in the money, by the way? We need to find you some way to help me out more. Maybe I'll have start making you work it off on street corners."

"Hilarious," Sam commented flatly.

"Dude, what is with you?" Dean asked impatiently. "You're even more pissy than usual."

"It's nothing," Sam lied. "Just get the Ids made so we get out of here."

"Fine," said Dean as he got out of the car. He slammed the door behind him with more force than usual and walked into the copy store.

Once Sam was sure Dean was definitely inside, he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small, blue velvet box. He opened it slowly and tucked inside was a diamond ring.

Sam snapped the ring box shut. He had been debating with himself for months about finally selling Jessica's ring. He and Dean desperately needed the cash considering Agent Hendrickson was carefully trailing their every move. Sam felt he was being selfish and stupid for keeping it as long as he had when they could use the money. It wasn't like he had any use for the ring anymore. He didn't even know why he had kept it for so long in the first place.

Sam got out of the car and walked across the street to the pawnshop. He stood outside the doors for a while, mentally willing himself to go inside. But as he gazed into the window of the tiny shop, Sam couldn't help but recall the very day he had bought the small diamond ring that he was now about to sell.

Two years earlier, the sun was just rising as Sam arrived at the jewelry store. He knew he was ridiculously early, but he was so nervous that he had hardly gotten any sleep. He had been looking for the perfect ring for weeks, and now he knew for sure that the ring in this store was the one. He could only pray that someone had not bought it yet.

He just couldn't believe that he was actually going to do it. He was actually going to ask Jessica to marry him. The idea scared the hell out of him, but at the same time it just felt . . . right. It was the normal life he always wanted. Hunting the supernatural wasn't in his future anymore. He was actually going to have a home for once in his life, and that thought overrode any feelings of trepidation.

Sam had been in luck. Nobody had bought the ring. It was tucked safely away in its little velvet box. Yes, it was a small diamond, but there was only so much a guy about to start law school could afford. He knew she would love it though. Sam smiled as he pulled the box out of his shirt pocket to look at it again. He decided he would ask her the very next day. But no, the next day was Halloween and Sam had hated that holiday ever since he was a kid. Sam thought that maybe it was a good thing. He could use the extra days to get the proposal just right.

But Sam never got the chance. On Halloween night, Dean had broken into Sam's apartment. He was looking for their Dad, and he needed Sam's help to find him. Sam packed the ring into his bag so Jessica wouldn't stumble across it while he was gone. He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek, as if he would do it forever, and left with Dean to find John.

Two months after Jessica had been killed Sam finally found the box. It was hidden at the very bottom of his bag so he had completely forgotten it was even there. Sam never had the heart to sell it, so the ring box stayed in the same exact place for two years. Sometimes while he searched desperately for a clean shirt, his fingers would brush across the smooth velvet. Those moments made him wish he had gotten rid of the ring. But then on the days when he missed her, which were slowly becoming fewer and far between, Sam took a small bit of comfort knowing it was still there.

Sam sighed heavily as he finally opened the door to the pawnshop. He felt it was time for him to stop pining for a life that wasn't going to happen. Hunting with his brother was his life now, for better or for worse.

It was terribly cluttered in the small shop. Sam didn't give a single glance to any of the secondhand junk, and instead made a beeline for the counter and slammed the box onto the counter without a word.

The thin, white-haired man behind the counter picked up the box and opened it. He took out the ring and gave it a thorough look.

"Wow, this is a nice little diamond you've got here! Great cut, amazing clarity . . . why are you selling it? Did the pretty young lady change her mind or somethin'?" he chuckled.

"Sure," Sam said. It was better than the truth, and it really wasn't any of the man's business anyway.

"That's a shame," the old man said sympathetically. He then turned swiftly into bargaining mode and stated, "I'll give you eight hundred for it."

Sam scoffed. "That's less than half what I paid for it. Come on, it's never even been worn."

The old man's gaze quickly scanned the state of the very tall young man standing in front of him. He looked disheveled and travel-worn, like he hadn't had a good nights sleep in a long time. There was also a hint of sadness in his eyes that he hadn't noticed before as well.

"Alright, I'll give you a thousand for it, kid. Take it or leave it."

"I'll take it."

The man handed Sam the money. "You know, you've got sixty days to get it back in case the little lady changes her mind."

"Trust me," Sam said morosely. "I won't be needing it."

Sam gave the velvet box one last look before walking out the door. It was too bad he hadn't gotten more money for it, but it wasn't about the money really. It was about finally moving on and not relying on a ring to remind him of all the good memories he had made with Jess.

Dean was waiting for him by the car as he walked up. "I call the backseat tonight."

Sam smiled and handed Dean the wad of bills. "We won't be sleeping in the car, Dean."

"This is a thousand dollars," Dean said after counting it. He was genuinely shocked. "You know, I was just joking about you working on street corners – "

Sam chuckled softly. "You saw me come out of that pawn shop."

"Yeah, but what could you possibly have that's worth a thousand dollars? You only own like three shirts! What did you sell?"

Sam's face immediately turned impassive. "You don't have to worry about it."

"Don't have to worry about it?!" Dean repeated incredulously. "You're gone for ten minutes and come back with a thousand dollars and expect me just to let that go?"

"Yeah, I do." Sam's eyes pleaded with Dean not to ask him again. Sam opened the car door and settled into the passenger seat.

Dean knew Sam wasn't going to talk if he didn't want to. Sam was good at keeping secrets, and if he didn't want Dean to know what was going on, then Dean wasn't going to know. Dean sat behind the wheel, and with one more worried glance at his little brother he started the engine and turned up the music.

Sam watched the pawnshop disappear in the rearview mirror as they drove away. Soon, the dusty little town disappeared as well. It was then that Sam was glad he never learned the town's name. It would be easier that way.

A/N: I actually wrote this about three weeks ago but I never put it up. I just couldn't get it quite how I wanted, STILL haven't actually, haha. Anyway, I've always had this idea that Sam wasn't just looking for rings, but that he had actually bought one and still carried it with him. Hope you enjoyed!