Disclaimer: I own nothing…

Summary:Sam overhears a conversation he knows he was never supposed to.

Rating: PG

Author's Note: Very short. Came to me while watching my Season 3 DVDs. Enjoy.

First chance I get. Promise.

He's stepping through the door when he hears Dean laugh… But it's different. Genuine. He's not flirting or trying to charm his way into something, it's -- it's a laugh Sam's only ever heard directed at him in the past.

So he stays there, just out of sight. He knows he shouldn't; knows it's wrong to eavesdrop on his brother, but -- well, he's curious. Sometimes things like this just can't be helped.

So he stands there and he listens as Dean's voice drifts to him, and it confuses him more and more by the second.

Oh yeah? How'd that go?

He laughs again, honest and hearty, and Sam can almost see the way his smile must be beaming. There's a hint of pride in Dean's voice and Sam's not sure what to make of that, because it's -- strange. He's never heard Dean sound so open and caring with anyone else…

How's your mom? Oh, is that right?

He sounds a little joke-y, but it's weird because it sounds almost like he's talking to a kid.

No, kiddo, I don't think so.

Sam can hear the soft drop in his voice. The hint of regret and maybe a little disappointment.

I'd love to see you, too, but, you know, I got a lot of work to do. Not really gonna be around that way anytime soon, I don't think.

There's a pause and then a chuckle, and Sam's still trying to figure out who the hell his brother's talking to.

Gonna find me a case, huh? I don't know, kid, after the last time, I think you might just be able to handle it all by yourself.

There's a long pause as Dean listens and Sam's getting a little bit restless, because he can't figure out what the hell is going on.

Yeah. Yeah, that sounds like fun… Picnic, huh?… Yeah, I love the park. We can bring your glove, play a little catch…

An extended pause before Sam hears another laugh from his brother.

Hey, now, I do know how to toss a ball, you know.

Another pause. Long and silent, and he can almost feel the tension that sings itself across his brother's next words.

Hey, I promise, next time we're passing through Indiana, I'll stop in.

Sam's heart breaks when he hears it. Ben. And it breaks a little more when he glances around the corner in time to catch Dean biting his lip, regret written across those strong features as his eyes drop -- eyes shimmering with what Sam assumes can only be tears. Because Dean knows as well as Sam does that they won't be stopping…

Yeah, kiddo. I miss you, too. Be good for your mom, okay? Don't cause too much trouble?

Sam steps in just as Dean is ending the call. Dean's eyes remain locked on the phone in his hands for a moment too long before he finally looks up, cocky smile back in place as he acknowledges Sam.

"You okay?" He knows there's probably just a little too much concern there, but he can't quite manage to cover it.

Dean smiles, just a little bit goofy, as he stands, grabbing his jacket on the way. "Good as gold."

There's a hint of sadness in his words, his smile. Sam watches as his brother walks out the door...

Wonders how many times he's missed those hints as Dean's final words to Ben echo in his mind.

First chance I get. Promise.