Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or its characters

A/N - This is a tag to the episode Skin. Dean finds out a little more about Sams time at Stanford. I would like to say a BIG THANK YOU to my wonderful Beta buttercupgalaxy for all her help and support.

SN

Apparently some people say that it's supposed to mean something if you watch yourself killing yourself in a dream, so Dean Winchester was contemplating what they would say if you had just killed yourself in reality?

Ok so he hadn't really killed himself, he had just taken out one bad ass, extremely handsome upon time of death, shape shifter who had spent its last moments trying to choke the life out of his little brother. But still he had to admit it was kinda freaky standing over a mirror image of himself, knowing that he had caused the fatal shot. Of course he would never forget the look on Sam's face either and wondered what conversations they were having before the choking had ensued. But in true Dean Winchester style he decided that that was a conversation for another day and so here they were sitting on Rebecca's sofa, drinking beers and laughing at how truly geeky his little brother was.

It was good to hear Sam laugh, not the half-hearted laugh that he had become accustomed to, but truly laugh and relax. He wasn't surprised to see Sam was almost ready to start singing karaoke while only half way through his third beer. But never fear sensible Sam soon took charge once more and he decided that he had reached his limit and it was time to retire to bed, leaving Dean and Rebecca alone.

Feeling slightly uncomfortable, but realising he had an opportunity that he may never get again, Dean decided to take a chance.

"So Rebecca, you and Sammy, how long have you been friends?" He asked, trying his best not to be too transparent but today obviously was not his lucky day. Starting to laugh, Rebecca stood up and began picking up the empty beer bottles.

"I had a feeling this was coming. Well if we are going to do this, we are going to need something a bit stronger!"

Dean, let out a sigh as she left the room. He had to admit he was surprised that she seemed prepared for this, knew that there would be questions that he needed answered. He began to speculate just what Sam had told her but was shaken from his thoughts as he looked up to see Rebecca come back into the room carrying two glasses and a bottle of Jack. Dean began to wonder if he was going to regret this.

"Ok, if we are going to do this then I have something that I want to ask you first, if that's ok?" Rebecca asked as she sat back down and set about filling the glasses, handing one to Dean as she waited his response.

Looking at her, Dean saw a strong woman who wasn't going to take anything less than the truth. Taking a deep breath he nodded his head and took a mouthful of the familiar whiskey.

"What really happened between Sam and your Dad?"

Well Dean couldn't say that he was surprised at the question, in fact having watched her and Sam interact over the last few days; he could see she cared for his brother. It wasn't a shock, after all Sam did seem to have that affect on people.

"What did Sam tell you?" Dean asked cautiously, he had always wondered how his little brother had explained the visible absence of his family in his life. His biggest fear, though he would never admit it, was that Sam had told his friends that he had no family, that they had died or worse yet abandoned him and Dean wasn't sure that he was prepared to hear the truth, but deep down he knew that he had to know once and for all.

"To be honest he never really spoke about your Dad much, he said that they had a big blow out when he told your Dad that he had got into Stanford, that he wanted him to stay home to help out with the family business." At this Rebecca began to laugh. Seeing the confusion on Dean's face, she raised her hand to her mouth.

"Sorry, it's just, I now realise what he meant by the family business – God I must be mad. Anyway, he said that his Dad didn't want him back, that he had made his choice and that he had to live with it. To be honest with you Dean, he seemed really sad about it, you know really hurt. We asked him about you, where you were. He said that you were working with your Dad, that he couldn't put you between him and your Dad anymore, that it wasn't fair and it was better that he was out of your life. I know you're probably wondering if he missed you and I can tell you for a fact Dean that he did, he really did. Jess told me that he spoke about you all the time, how you had always looked out for him and took care of him." Rebecca smiled as she looked at him.

Dean felt the weight of her stare and found the need to look away, embarrassed by the lump that had made its way into his throat. Finally clearing it with a cough, he decided that it was time for him to answer Rebecca's question.

"To be honest, that's pretty much what happened. Dad blew a fuse when Sam told him that he got a place in Stanford and it just spiralled out of control from there. Sam was telling Dad that he'd meet up with us during the holidays, that things wouldn't change that much, he would still hunt with us. Dad just wouldn't hear it though, no matter what Sam tried or said it done no good.

Sam wouldn't budge, told Dad that no matter what happened he was going and then it happened, Dad told him that if he walked out the door that he needn't bother coming back. But he didn't mean it; I swear he didn't but him and Sam they are just so stubborn that once it was said I knew that neither of them would back down.

The crazy thing is that Dad was just worried that something would happen to him you know, that he would be on his own with no one to watch out for him. Sam doesn't know this but we used to swing by Stanford as often as we could to check up on him."

Dean watched as Rebecca digested this information, then picked up Jack and proceeded to refill both glasses.

"Ok so what do you want to know?" She asked as she sat back on the couch. Dean was surprised that she seemed to accept without question what he had told her. He quickly pushed the feeling aside as he realised that she had given him an opening that he had been waiting over two years for.

"Everything." He replied simply.

"What don't honestly mean everything?" Rebecca said as she began to laugh.

"You bet I do. I know everything thing that has ever happened to my little brother in his whole life, everything except for what happened while he was at Stanford, and I need those blanks filled."

"You're serious, aren't you?" Rebecca said as the smile disappeared from her face.

"Yep." Dean replied, nodding his head, his trademark shit eating grin appearing on his face.

"Well I met Sam a month or two after he started at Stanford. He and Zack were roommates, and one night Zack had finally persuaded Sam to put the books down and head out with us. We had a great night and from then on we were formed our on own little group. We asked him to come to ours for Thanksgiving but he told us that he was going to stay with some relations of his."

"What the hell, we don't have any relations?" Dean said, suddenly worried.

"Oh we found that out when we came back up early and found that he had stayed in the Dorm on his own over the holidays. Let's just say we made him come home with us for Christmas, and that's the way we spent holidays until it got serious between him and Jess."

"I have to say, I was a little surprised when I met her. Don't get me wrong, she seemed like a lovely girl and I can tell that Sam was in love with her but I just can't imagine him having the guts to ask her out." Dean said, hoping that Rebecca had understood what he was saying.

"Well you'd be right cause he didn't, she asked him." Rebecca said as she began to laugh.

"I remember the day they met, it was so funny, I wish you could have been there. He was walking through the quad, head in a book as usual, not minding where he was going and he walked right into her. Unfortunately she was holding a coffee, which ended up over both of them. She was really mad, but you know Sam, he got all worked up, couldn't stop apologising, kept asking her if she was ok and brought out the puppy dog eyes. Next thing you know she is asking him out. Finally, after opening and closing his mouth like a fish a few times, he manages to say yes."

Dean had started to laugh as he listened to Rebecca.

"Yeah that sounds like Sammy. How long were they going out?"

"Just over a year and a half. Sam told Zach when they were going out a few months that he knew she was the one. They were a really good couple. In a way they were so different but they complimented each other, you know. Like Jess definitely enjoyed going out and socialising. Now don't get me wrong the girl couldn't hold her drink but she loved going out so she brought Sam out of himself, stopped him from spending every night with the books."

"She must have been one hell of a woman to get Sam to sacrifice studying. I have to say I was worried that Sam would put his head in the books and never surface for air. When he was younger he would get lost in his books, wouldn't even remember to stop to eat when he was studying, wouldn't do it on purpose or anything. Just get so engrossed that he wouldn't realise how long he had been at it."

"Yeah, I think we all know that Sam!" Rebecca laughed.

"So anything else I should know about my little brother. I mean all you have told me so far is that my brother's a geek and trust me, I already knew that!!"

Dean watched as a Rebecca stopped laughing and put the glass that she had been nursing the whole way through this trip down memory lane back down on the table. He began to get nervous, as she seemed to become uncomfortable and unable to look him in the eyes.

"What, what is it your not telling me?" he asked, while leaning forward, moving towards Rebecca.

"I don't know if it's my place to tell you, I mean at the time Sam made us promise not to call you."

Dean felt his stomach flip and was pretty sure that his heart had decided that now was as good a time as any to go on strike. His mind was being overwhelmed by Rebecca's words "Sam made us promise not to call you." He couldn't really understand how a few words could cause him to feel emotions at different ends of the spectrum at the same time. Part of him was upset with Sam, that he could he intentionally keep something from him, while another part of him was scared, scared that something had happened to his brother, something that Sam didn't want Dean to know.

"Rebecca, I think you need to tell me what the hell happened right now." Dean said sitting up so he was closer to her.

At that moment Rebecca was a little scared, she had promised Sam that she wouldn't tell Dean, but then again that was over two years ago, when Dean wasn't in Sam's life.

"Dean, maybe you should talk to Sam….."

"Tell me what the hell happened Rebecca, you can't just start this and then tell me to ask Sam, I'm asking you and I want some answers." Dean said trying to keep his voice down. He knew that there would be no point in asking Sam – he would feign ignorance saying that he had no idea what either of them were talking about and that would be the end of it, cause Sam would shut down. Dean knew that Rebecca was unsure whether to tell her or not but he wasn't going to let it go, he couldn't. The thought that Sam had gone through something that was big enough that he didn't want Dean to know scared him, but he needed to know.

"He made me promise Dean, if he knew I told you…"

"In case you haven't noticed Rebecca, Sam isn't here; it's just you and me, so you better answer my question."

Taking a deep breath, Rebecca bowed her head and closed her eyes. After a moment she raised her head and opened her eyes, meeting Dean's gaze. He noticed that she never wavered and could see that she had made her decision.

"Fine, but if Sam finds out I am going to deny telling you." As she spoke she picked up her glass, lifted it to her lips and drained the glass. If Dean had been in a better mood he might have appreciate the fact that she never flinched as she swallowed the alcohol.

"One night we were out, it was just a regular night out for us and we were getting ready to leave, but Zach was chatting up some girl so we had told him we were going and he said that he would see us the next day. On our way out Jess said that she needed to go to the bathroom so I went with her. Sam told us that he would wait for us outside."

"Anyway we come out a few minutes later and there is no sign of Sam. We were looking around for about fifteen minutes when Jess thought to try and call him. The first four times that she called him it rang through to his voice mail. We were panicking when we saw Zach come out with the girl he was talking to earlier, we asked him if he had seen Sam inside but he said that he had seen him leave when we left him to go to the bathroom."

Rebecca had begun racing through the story and Dean knew that that wasn't a good sign. He could imagine that they must have been worried when they couldn't find Sam, and if Dean knew anything about his brother he knew that Sam would never intentionally let people worry about him. Knowing this, his stomach began to feel sick as he watched Rebecca refill both their glasses before again lifting hers and downing it in one.

"We were getting really scared. Jess was crying and I was trying to calm her down, you know, telling her that maybe he got talking to someone or maybe he got tired of waiting and headed back to the apartment. But I knew, I knew that none of it was true cause that wasn't Sam, he wouldn't just go off without telling someone and if he was just talking to someone he would have answered his phone. Jess tried to call him again, but this time we could hear it ringing before it went through to voice mail again. She dialled again and we followed the sound." Rebecca stopped again and closed her eyes.

When she opened them again and looked at Dean, a single tear rolled down her cheek.

"We found Sam, lying on the ground down an alley near the bar – I'll never forget how he looked. God Dean, there was so much blood, I was sure he was dead, I couldn't move, it felt like I was frozen. Then I heard Jess scream and saw her run to him, I looked at Zach and he was pulling out his phone to call 911 – his hands were shaking so bad that he was hardly able to dial. Jess was with Sam, taking off her jacket and putting it under his head."

The single tear had turned into several and Rebecca was now sobbing uncontrollably. This time it was Dean that refilled her glass with whiskey.

"It's ok Rebecca – whatever happened, he's fine now."

"I know, it's just I was so scared, he looked so bad. We got to the hospital and they had rushed him away for emergency surgery. Four hours with no word, I honestly thought that I was going to go out of my mind and all the while Jess was sitting beside me asking why we had left him to go to the bathroom. The cops came looking to get a statement from Sam. Jess went mad, I never seen her like that, she demanded they tell her what happened and finally got it out of them that there had been CCTV footage of what happened."

"They told us it looked like a group of guys were harassing this girl, Sam must of heard her scream cause he showed up, got the girl and pushed her to run. The guys set about beating him up – there were five of them. The cops said he put up a good fight but eventually the numbers caught up with him. It was a savage beating Dean. You could barely recognise him, his face was swollen and bruised, he had a couple of broken ribs – one of them had stood on his chest and the rib had punctured his lung. He had some internal bleeding and had to have his spleen removed, a broken wrist and apparently they kicked him in the head a couple of times causing him to suffer head trauma."

As he listened to Rebecca describe the severity of his brother's beating Dean could literally feel his blood beginning to boil. He was mad as hell that somebody could hurt his brother like that, and what was worse was that he knew nothing about it. How could he not have known? But when Rebecca had mentioned the words head trauma, his head snapped up so fast he was sure that he had given himself whiplash.

"What?"

"The doctors told us that Sam had suffered head trauma, they said that it wasn't surprising considering the beating he took, saying that he was lucky that he didn't fracture his skull but he did suffer from severe headaches for a couple of months. His speech was slurred and his vision was blurry for a few weeks."

As she looked at Dean she began to second guess whether or not it was a good idea to tell him, but there was no going back now.

"You are telling me that a group of thugs beat my brother to hell and I didn't know this why?" Dean was standing now, pacing in front of Rebecca, who was reaching forward to pour herself more whiskey in an attempt to buy herself more time, when suddenly that bottle was snatched out of her hand.

"Answer the question Rebecca, why didn't I know that Sam was attacked?" Looking at Dean, Rebecca saw a man who looked lost, and she could see the hurt in his eyes.

"Sam made us promise not to call you."

All colour draining from his face and as she watched him slump back down onto the couch, Rebecca moved to undo some of the damage that her words had caused.

"It's not what you think Dean….." Rebecca began, but before she had a chance to explain Dean cut her off.

"Not what I think, not what I think? You tell me that me brother was savagely beaten by a group of thugs, that he suffered serious injuries and he asked you not to tell me, made you promise not me and you are telling me that it's not what I think?" Rebecca had expected him to shout, but instead he just sounded broken.

"That's exactly what I'm saying Dean." Getting up from her seat she moved in to hunch in front of him.

"You need to listen to me, when Sam was coming around, he asked for you. We didn't have a contact number for you, we checked his emergency contact with college but he only had Jess listed. When he was finally making sense we asked him for your number but he was adamant that you weren't to know. To be honest Dean I didn't understand it, I mean the way he was calling for you when he was coming around I was sure he would have wanted to see you, and so I asked Jess if she knew why." She took a deep breath as she prepared to continue.

"She told me that Sam didn't want to know because he didn't want to cause trouble for you. He knew that you would come to Stanford and he didn't want to put you in the position of either lying to your Dad about what you were doing or that telling your Dad and you having an argument. Sam told her that if you knew what had happened nothing would stop you from getting to Palo Alto."

"How could he think that? How could he possibly think Dad would try to stop me from coming here or he wouldn't want to come with me? He had no right to take that decision away from us." Dean moved off the couch and Rebecca watched as he bounded up the stairs to where his brother slept.

Opening the door with more force than he had intended, Dean stopped short at the sight in front of him. There was his six foot four little brother, curled in a position that no one would have thought possible for someone of his height, out for the count. As hurt as he was at his brother he didn't have it in his heart to wake him. He knew that Sam had been having trouble sleeping and no matter how he felt Sam's well-being always came first.

Going back downstairs, he was greeted with the smell of coffee and found Rebecca pouring two large cups of coffee. He raised his eyebrow questioningly as she put one down in front of him.

"I knew you wouldn't wake him." She replied to the unspoken question and for the next few minutes they sat in silence.

"Dean, don't ever think that he didn't miss you. For a smart guy he just got a really stupid idea into his head that he was doing the right thing by not telling you, he thought that he was protecting you."

"It my job to protect him, not the other way round." Dean said.

"Do you honestly think Sam feels that way? Can't you see how he looks up to you?"

Dean didn't answer the question; deep down he already knew the answer.

"So, I have photos, you want to know about what Sam got up to while at Stanford, I can show you. I even still have the photos that he gave me money to destroy, wanna see?" Dean looked up and saw a mischievous grin on Rebecca's face.

SN

Sam woke the next morning, a small headache making itself known as the light shone into the room. Looking up he watched as Dean bounded into the room.

"Morning princess, thought you were gonna sleep all day?" Dean smirked.

"Funny Dean." Sam had hoped for a snappy comeback but his brain had decided that it was taking the morning off.

"Seriously dude, you getting up for something to eat?"

"Yeah, sounds good." Sam said as he sat up. "I'll be down in a minute."

"Hey Dean, what did you and Rebecca get up to last night?" Sam asked, as his brain seemed to decide that maybe taking time off wasn't such a good idea. Dean turned, his hand on the door.

"Nothing much, we just talked for a while and looked at some photos. Although, I'm really looking forward to your explanation as to why you are dressed in a toga costume while holding a traffic cone on your head." Dean couldn't help but smirk as he saw the horrified look on his brother's face.

Laughing to himself as he left the room, he knew that he would have to talk to Sammy about what had happened, and especially the fact that Sam hadn't told them. But for the moment Dean was going to enjoy reliving Sam's time at Stanford. He knew it wouldn't make up for the two years that he missed out on but it was better than nothing and for now Dean was happy with that.

The End

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