Disclaimer: I don't own or profit from Supernatural
Sam slouched against the hood of the Impala, his hands shoved into his pants pockets. Across the street he watched a young woman water her flowers that were nestled brightly against her white veranda. Her little boy had somehow managed to shed his clothes down to his diaper and was running circles in the soft grass, his laughter cutting through the late afternoon heat.
"Get me, Mommy. Get me!"
His mother laughed, and sprayed his legs with the hose as he darted by. The boy's giggles were infectious, and Sam couldn't help but to smile. The scene was postcard perfect. Normal right down to the roots of the old oak tree that stood tall in the corner of the yard, towering over the family's white and blue colonial home.
It was a reenactment of the life that he had wanted since he was eight and little Jenny James called him weird for living out of a hotel room with his brother and dad. It was what he had been striving for since he was fourteen and he realized that a 4.0 was his ticket out of a string of bad schools and worse apartments. It was what he had dreamed of when he came face to face with the prettiest girl he had ever seen at the Stanford school library, and he made it his life's work to see her smile.
He shoved his hands deeper into his pockets, his shoulders hunching over as he waited for Dean. He was saying his goodbyes to a shy thirteen year-old girl whose teenage angst had given a dormant poltergeist enough power to wreck considerable damage to her suburban home. A few well placed words from Dean would give her enough self-confidence to have her sailing through the next school year with ease, and hopefully keep the paranormal activity in her house down to a minimum. Especially now that they had warded the home.
Sam knew that Dean would never admit it, but this was his favorite part of the job. He loved kicking down doors and looking cool when he cocked his .45, but the cowboy in Dean saw the romance in riding off in the sunset. The hugs that he got from grateful women, and the handshakes he received from thankful men, all worked together to give Dean a since of pride in his work that he had never received from his family.
Before Sam went off to college he had taken Dean for granted, much like a child does a parent. He always expected Dean to be there for him, cooking dinner, giving him the last bowl of cereal, saving him from a werewolf attack. Sam never saw how undervalued Dean was, by himself and by their father. Sam never saw how alone Dean was.
It took a year for Sam to see it, and another year to accept it. There was no one in Dean's life whose mission was to see him happy. No one who even seemed to care. Their father hadn't. He had given Dean a standing order, take care of Sammy, and Dean had obeyed even if it meant sacrificing his own life to do so.
In his own mad pursuit for happiness Sam had run away from home and never looked back. He had mourned the loss of his brother during his years in Stanford, and a couple times he wanted to tuck his tail and run. To stay strong, to stay on task, Sam had cut all ties to his brother so he wouldn't be tempted to toss his hands in the air when it got too rough and return to what was familiar, return to Dean. Sam's stubborn bull-headedness had the same effect on his big brother that stabbing a knife through his heart would. Sam regretted that more than anything else in his life. Dean didn't deserve that kind of agony.
It wasn't that Sam was anymore selfish than the next kid who was trying to become a man. Except he wasn't like the next kid. He had been trained as a warrior. He was vigilant, he was fierce, and he knew what he wanted in life. Sam had been taught to brawl fast and dirty since he was old enough to stand on his own two feet. No one, especially his family could fault him for taking those skills and applying them.
The words that he hurled at his father as he walked out the door were more effective than a one two punch, severing the ties that were strangling him daily. His coldness towards Dean while leaving was an afterthought, an elbow to the teeth while he drew down on their father.
The only person who could fight for Sam's dreams was Sam himself. Not even Dean could help him with the thing that he had needed the most. Sam pushed, shoved, and punched with all his strength to escape a life that was killing the very essence of who he was.
Now he was immersed in that life so fully that he could never extricate himself, and as he watched the picture perfect family across the street, he realized that he didn't want to. Now, when he looked at 'normal' he saw that it was yellowed and frayed at the edges, a picture that had been taken so long ago that the reality of it no longer existed.
He told himself for years that all he wanted was normal, but what he really wanted was a family. He thought a wife and some kids would help him to achieve what he had been missing all his life---love and acceptance for who he was. What he had failed to realize until it was too late was that although John Winchester had never understood his younger son, he had most certainly loved him. Sam knew that now and he could live with that. It gave him a certain sense of peace.
Sam's biggest mistake was not realizing that Dean had always given him the love and acceptance that he craved all of his life. He had always been right there, next to him, handing him the last bowl of Lucky Charms.
Sam was old enough now to realize that part of being an adult meant sacrifice; to give up a part of yourself in the name of love. And Sam loved his brother. God forbid he actually say that out loud to Dean--- Sam didn't think his eardrums would survive the sheer volume of heavy rock Dean would crank up to drown out his little brother's chick flick emo moment.
Except for Sam, Dean was alone in the world. A string of one night stands strewn across the country attested to that. Dean had given his entire childhood to Sam, and in return, Sam would sacrifice his dream of 'normal' for his brother.
Sam watched as a blue hatchback rolled up into the neighbor's drive way. A man in a business suit unfolded himself from the driver seat and was greeted by a stumbling, giggly two year-old who wrapped his chubby arms around his leg. The man smiled and picked up the grinning toddler, wrapping his big arms around the small boy in a hug. It was all so very white-collar, bland suburbia, normal.
"Ready to go, Sam?"
Sam turned, dragging his hands out of his pockets to pick up a folded map off the hood of the Impala.
"Yep." He smiled at his brother, both dimples appearing at the corners of his mouth. Dean smiled back at him with genuine pleasure.
"Got us a gig?"
Sam held up the map, so his brother could see and walked around to the passenger door. They stood, smiling at each other across the liquid black expanse of the Impala.
"Sure do. In New Mexico."
Dean rolled his eyes, and stepped back to open his door.
"Jesus, Sam. You know how much I hate the desert."
Sam laughed at his brother, already anticipating the next hundred miles of Dean bitching about the red desert rock getting into his hub cabs and messing up his undercarriage. They slid into the front seat, and Dean pulled away from the curb.
"Yah, bro. I know. That's why I picked it."
Dean scowled at him, and smacked him in the back of the head. Sam tried to dodge, but the cab was too small and he was too big. He lightly thumped his brother's chest with the back of his hand, and Dean grunted in response.
Dean decided to ignore his little brother's antics and flipped on the stereo, blaring Highway to Hell through the speakers as they drove out of suburbia and into falling dusk.
Sam glanced at his brother from the corner of his eye who was singing happily along to the song. He watched for a few minutes as Dean drummed on the steering wheel, laughing at his brother's almost childish glee at being on the road once again. Not once did Sam think to look back at what he was leaving behind, and instead he faced forward towards the ever darkening night and the unseen road ahead.
Sam would stay with his brother, because that was where his place was. It was what made Sam happy. More importantly, it was what made Dean happy. They would live together, fight together, and maybe if the fates were kind, they would die together.