Hi guys! So, here's the last chapter but I promise there will be a sequel. I think it's going to be called Into the Real World but I'm not positive so keep on the lookout for it. I REALLY want to thank all of you for reading my story and reviewing and everything! It really does mean a lot to hear your opinions! You guys have been truly awesome and I hope you enjoy this chapter. Please let me know what you think and hopefully I'll see you all when I post the sequel. Enjoy! :)

"Hey Sammy, you hungry?" Dean asked.

"Sure, what do you feel like cooking?" Sam replied setting the picture down and walking into the living room.

"I'm not cooking. We're going out." Dean smiled shrugging his jacket on.

"Oh, okay, where are we going?" Sam asked.

"Sean gave me a gift card to that new place down the street as a late birthday gift." He answered double checking to make sure he had his wallet and car keys.

"Oh." Sam didn't sound too happy.

Dean turned around concerned. "Why the sudden change in mood?" He asked.

"Just… just isn't that place normally crowded?" Sam asked.

Dean sighed. He had been really happy when he saw where the gift card was to knowing that it could be a subtle way to get Sam to be around kids his own age. "It'll be okay. I mean, it's not like we're going to be hanging out with the other people or anything."

Sam didn't look reassured.

"Sammy, don't pay attention to the other people who are going to be there. All this is is you and me going out for a late birthday dinner." Dean tried. "Just you and me."

After a moment Sam nodded hesitantly.

"Alright then, let's go." He smiled.

Dean pulled up to the new BJ's Bar and Grill and found a parking spot after circling a few times. "Remember kid, just you and me." He reassured.

Sam nodded, took a breath and got out of the car.

"How many?" The hostess asked.

"Just two…" Dean answered glancing at her name tag. "Amanda."

"Follow me please." She said grabbing two menu's from the podium and leading them to the back.

"Here you are. Your waiter will be here in a moment." She smiled before walking away.

Sam stared intently at his menu trying to block out everything and everybody else. Dean sighed from where he sat across from Sam and was about to ask if he was okay when their waiter walked up to the table. "Have you decided yet?" He asked.

He knew Sam would more than likely need an extra minute to gather his voice so he ordered first. "I'll have the bacon burger, medium rare, corn on the side and a coke." He said handing his menu back.

"Alright," The waiter said writing it down on his notepad before turning his attention to Sam. "And what can I get for you?"

"I'll… um… I'll have a cheeseburger with a coke." He said quietly.

"And how do you want your burger?" Sam looked at Dean for help.

"Medium rare." Dean answered flashing Sam a smile.

"And do you want fries with that?" The waiter asked.

"Yes… yes please." He replied.

"I'll bring your drinks right over." He said walking back towards the kitchen. Dean hid his smile behind a cough. Sure Sam had stuttered and spoken in a quiet tone but that was just it, he had spoken to someone other than him, Mike or Sean without having to be prompted.

"I know why you chose this place." Sam said pushing his half eaten burger away.

"Sean gave me a gift card." Dean answered.

"Yeah, that's how you're going to pay but look around Dean. Whose here?" He asked.

"Other diners." Dean replied.

"Who are my age." Sam clarified.

"And…?" Dean asked confused.

"Dean… I, I heard you talking with Mike." Sam whispered.

"About school?" Dean asked.

"Yeah." He answered.

Dean nodded and pushed his plate away. "Sammy…" Dean started before Sam cut him off.

"I can't do it Dean… I just can't." Sam sighed. "Not yet at least."

"Can't do what?" Dean asked very concerned.

"Start now, it'd be awkward starting in the middle of the year. Can't we wait?" Sam asked.

"What makes you think it'd be awkward?" Dean asked glad Sam had brought the subject up.

"It's the middle of the year, everybody already has their friends and with… with the trial not too long ago…" Sam's voice drifted off at the end.

"You mean you think kids would recognize you?" Dean asked.

Sam nodded.

Dean knew there was a chance that at least a few would but he hoped even if they did recognize Sam, they'd ignore that little fact. "We'll wait kiddo, if it's what you want, we'll do it." Dean concluded.

"Thanks." Sam smiled a little popping a French fry into his mouth.

"But Sammy," He said a few minutes later.

Sam looked up expectantly.

"I don't want you to be overly nervous because you think the other kids are better than you or something." Sam looked shocked. "I know you and I know the way you think Sam." Dean said, answering Sam's unspoken question. "There's not one person I'd rather have as my kid brother Sam, they've got nothing on you."

Sam looked a little surprised.

"Now, where's our waiter, I'm ready for my cake." Dean said looking around the busy restaurant.

"It's not your birthday anymore." Sam smiled.

"They don't know that." Dean smirked.


Sam had been sitting in Dean's office not really concentrating on his work as his mind wandered thinking about how much his life had changed in just a few short months though it felt like a life time. Pinned to the wall was a picture of himself with Ace, Dean and Mike up at the lake. They were sitting on the bed of Mike's truck enjoying a barbeque. I'm so lucky he thought as he remembered that afternoon.

He no longer feared or expected to be woken up in the middle of the night by unwanted hands or to have to 'perform' as Frank called it just to get day old scraps. No one forced him to do anything he wasn't comfortable with and for the first time in almost sixteen years, he felt like he was actually in control of his own life. Glancing at the picture again, he noticed that it was missing someone.

Even though they didn't really see much of him outside of the shop, Sean had become a close friend to both him and Dean. He was on the short list of people Sam trusted and he knew Dean did as well. Thinking about the way he'd reacted when he first met Sean, he began to feel bad. He had jumped to conclusions and almost instantly picked Sean out as someone who was going to hurt him without ever giving him a fair chance. Regretting the way he had originally treated him, Sam gathered up his courage and walked out of the office. "Hey Sean," Sam said standing nervously by the tool cart.

"Oh hey Sam," Sean smiled a little. "I think Dean's in the back."

"Um… actually, can I talk to you for a sec?" He asked.

"Ah, sure." He said walking over to Sam. "What's up?"

Sam stood there for a moment, staring intently at his shoe.

"What did you want to talk to me about?" Sean prompted taking a seat on one of the work benches.

"I… I wanted to say sorry." Sam said quietly.

"Sorry, for what?" He asked confused.

"I kind of jumped the gun on you." Sam said thinking back to the day when he overheard Dean telling him about Frank. "I didn't know you and I was scared you'd take advantage of me and I just lashed out."

"It's okay Sam, I never blamed you or held it against you." He smiled a little.

Sam smiled back, surprised at Sean's revelation. He'd expected Sean to be upset or at the very least, a little cold. "I'm glad you're my friend."

"Me too." He replied just as Dean walked back in. Dean smiled when he saw Sean and Sam together. It had been Sean's idea for the two of them to go to BJ's, knowing that it would force Sam to be around other teenagers without requiring him to strike up conversations left and right. Little did Dean know, Sean had another trick up his sleeve.


Sam and Dean were on a walk with Ace, taking their time wandering through the town. It was later in the afternoon and a little chilly but still pleasant. They stopped so Ace could go to the bathroom and Dean was slightly surprised when Sam spoke. "Did you mean it?" He asked.

"Mean what?" Dean asked confused.

"What you said at the restaurant a few days ago… about the other kids not having anything on me?" Sam asked.

"Of course I did." Dean replied.

Sam nodded.

Dean sighed and ran a hand over his jaw. "Why wouldn't I mean it?" He asked.

Sam shrugged.

"Sam, what is it?" Dean asked concerned. He could see the wheels turning in Sam's head and he wasn't so sure they were turning in a positive direction. Taking a guess at what was going through his kid brother's mind, Dean started. "Sam, listen to me and listen good. It might take some time for you to meet someone who you want to hang out with but it's like that for everybody when they start a new school. Nobody walks in the door and is instantly Mr. Popular, life doesn't work that way." He argued. "You've got to go in there and hold your head up high and show them what you've got."

"But Dean that's just it, what if they don't give me the chance? What if everybody just sees me as the kid who was raped and is nice to me out of pity? I don't want that, I don't want people to feel like they have to be nice to me or I might break or something." He argued back.

"Sammy, just like you want those kids to see you for you, give them a chance too." Dean answered. "They might surprise you and if they've got any brains at all, they'll see you and want to be your friend because of what's in here." He said placing his hand over Sam's heart. "Don't doubt yourself Sam, you've got a lot to offer and anybody worth knowing is going to see that."

Sam nodded, a small smile playing on his lips as he tugged on Ace's leash.


"So what exactly is this meeting for?" Dean asked as he, Sam and Mike stood inside a conference room of the district office.

"It's to see if he's ready and that kind of stuff." Mike explained giving Dean a look.

"What if we've already made our decision?" Dean asked glancing at Sam.

"You have?" Mike asked surprised.

Dean nodded.

"Well, what is it?" He prodded.

"We've decided we're going to wait, till September, just be easier for him to start then instead of in the middle of the school year when everybody already knows each other." Dean explained.

Mike smiled, giving Dean the feeling that he'd done the right thing in waiting.

"Let's go." Mike said leading the way into the room.

"So, I heard you made a decision, is that correct?" The super intendant asked.

Dean nodded. "We've decided to wait until the start of the next school year."

"Very well then." He replied writing it down on his clipboard. "We just have a few other things to discuss then."

"Like what?" Dean asked.

The man smiled and nodded. "Mr. McNearny after working with Sam for the past several months, what grade would you propose Sam to start in?"

"He's smart, that's for sure." He said causing Dean to send a smile Sam's way. "I honestly don't see any reason why he couldn't start as a sophomore in the fall."

"Sam, is that okay with you?" He asked.

"Y… yeah, that's fine but I just… have one thing I want to say." Sam said surprising both Dean and Mike.

"Go ahead." The man nodded for Sam to continue.

"If… if it's okay with Mike, I'd really like for him to be my teacher." Sam glanced at Mike before continuing. "I know him and feel comfortable around him and I think it would be helpful to me if I had someone there who I already knew."

"Is that alright with you?" He asked turning to Mike.

"Yeah, I'd love to have Sam in one of my classes." He smiled.


"What?" Dean asked when he noticed Mike staring at him. They were currently at the park and Dean was enjoying watching Sam throw a ball for Ace. He smiled as Sam rolled around play fighting with the dog. He couldn't believe how far Sam had come granted he was still shy and weary of strangers but everyday was getting a little easier. He had been shocked when Sam had stood up and on his own accord asked for something in a room full of strangers. He knew that there was no way Sam would have or could have done that just a few months ago.

"Nothing." He replied shaking his head.

"No seriously dude, what is it?" Dean asked.

"Just… I'm just glad you listened to the kid. I mean I knew you would but still…" He drifted off.

"Listened to him about what?" Dean questioned.

"School, it's obvious he's not ready for it. The social part and who knows maybe that's something he'll always struggle with but I think the extra couple months will do him good." Mike answered.

Dean nodded. "Yeah, he asked me if we could wait and I swear, there is no way I am ever going to be able to deny that kid anything."

Mike smirked. "Who would have ever thought of you Winchester as a family man?"

"I'm full of surprises, I know." Dean grinned as Ace ran up to him. Dean tugged the tennis ball out of his mouth and threw it.

"Here boy, here." Sam called and Ace came charging towards him. Ace dropped the ball at Sam's feet and then looked up at his owner expectantly. "Again?" Sam asked a smile on his face.

"Cute dog, is he yours?" A blonde haired girl asked coming and standing next to Sam.

Mutely Sam nodded.

Dean saw the girl walk up to Sam and not wanting the kid to embarrass himself he started to get up when Mike pulled on his sleeve. "Wait, give him a chance. He knows you're here if he needs you." Dean nodded and sat back down watching carefully, ready to jump in at a seconds notice.

"What's his name?" The girl asked.

"A… Ace." Sam said in a shaky voice.

"Cool name, he's adorable. I'm Taylor by the way." She said smiling.

"Sam." He whispered.

"Do you live around here?" Taylor asked.

"Yeah, my… my brother and I… we live up the street." Sam answered glancing back at Dean.

"Taylor, let's go!" A curly haired boy called from a little ways away.

"One sec!" She called back. "Well, I've got to go but it was nice meeting you Sam. Maybe I'll see you around." She sent him one last friendly smile and was on her way.

"Bye…" Sam whispered. "Come on boy, let's go home." He said clipping Ace's leash back on and walking over to Dean and Mike.

"You ready to go?" Dean asked standing up.

Sam nodded.

"Alright, let's go." Dean hid his smile behind a cough as they walked up the street.


Sean checked to make sure Sam was out of hearing range before approaching Dean. "How'd it go?" He asked.

"You mean the dinner?" Dean asked.

"Yeah, was he okay?" Sean asked.

"He was a little nervous but it all worked out. You know, he actually got up and asked a technical stranger for something the other day." Dean said, pride in his voice.

"Sam, our Sam?" Sean asked, disbelief in his voice.

"Yeah, I know I was shocked too." Dean agreed.

"Wow, good for him. Listen, I've got an idea about how we can help him before the school year starts." He said.

"What do you mean?" Dean asked.

"My sister Kathy, her husband Mark has a younger brother who is about Sam's age. Somehow we could set up a party or something and I could bring James to it." He explained. "Give Sam a little social experience."

"Hmm… that could work. We'd just have to do it so that he didn't think it was for him or anything. That would make him really self-conscious." Dean replied.

"I'm sure we could work something out." Sean smiled.

"Yeah, I'll think about it." Dean said thoughtfully before remembering that he had something for Sean as well. "Wait one sec." He ran back to his office and grabbed the envelope out of his jacket pocket.

"What's this?" Sean asked.

"Open it and you'll find out." Dean replied.

Sean opened the envelope and his eyes widened in shock. "You serious?" He asked.

"Yeah, you've been a huge help around here and I know I can trust you so what do you say?" Dean asked.

"I say sure thing… partner." He smiled.

Dean smiled back and the two shook on it.


Sam had been working out on his punching bag while Dean took care of the Impala when a song playing on the radio caught his attention.

It's a long trip alone

Over sand and stone

That lye along the road that we all must travel down

So maybe you could walk with me a while

And maybe I could rest beneath your smile

Everybody stumbles sometimes and needs a hand to hold

Cause it's a long trip alone

It's a short piece of time

But just enough to find a little piece of mind under the sun somewhere

So maybe you could walk with me a while

And maybe I could rest beneath your smile

You know we can't afford to let one moment pass us by

Cause it's a short piece of time

And I don't know where I'd be without ya here

Cause I'm not really me without ya there

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

So maybe you could walk with me a while

And maybe I could rest beneath your smile

Everybody stumbles sometimes and needs a hand to hold

So maybe you could walk with me a while

And maybe I could rest beneath your smile

Maybe I could feel you right beside me 'til I'm home

Cause it's a long trip alone

A long trip alone

Sam looked up and saw Dean waxing the hood of the Impala and the songs words played through his head. It might still be a long trip but one thing was for sure, he wasn't alone anymore.

Dean noticed that Sam had stopped and turned around concerned. He was about to ask Sam if he was okay when he heard the words he'd been waiting for.

"It's not my fault." Sam said giving the bag a powerful punch. "It's not my fault."

Dean stopped and stayed silent watching as Sam beat the hell out of the bag.

"It's not my fault." Sam repeated a little louder this time before giving the bag a final punch and sliding to the cement floor.

Dean walked over to him and took Sam's tear-stained face in his calloused hand. "Glad we're on the same page now kiddo." He smiled and put an arm around Sam's shoulders. He felt his shirt grow wet as Sam cried tears of acceptance.

Sam knew that he'd never forget what he went through before he met Dean, it would always be a part of him. He'd experienced too much abuse and neglect to ever be ignorant about the dangers of society but because of his older brother, he also knew that there was a good side to life. Sam knew without even having to think about it that the people in his life now truly did care about him and that he wasn't expected to do anything or be anybody except Sam.


So there it is, the last chapter. I hope you enjoyed it and please let me know. Once again THANK YOU for everything! See ya soon! :)