AN: This story is for Jen. Hope everyone enjoys.
Missing Sam wasn't something new to Dean Winchester and being alone had long ago lost its newness, but none of the sting. Ever since Sam went to Stanford almost two years ago, their father had done more hunts alone than with Dean, and Dean paid the price, in wounds both physical and mental. The physical wounds he always healed from, granted the scarring left behind sometimes was a constant reminder, but they never opened up and bled like the ones on his heart. Abandoned by his brother, the boy he had raised and protected all of his life, and then abandoned by his father, the man he had spent his entire life trying to please, Dean was unable to cope alone.
This last hunt reminded him of the people who were nearest and dearest to his heart. Thad, a young man of 16, an older brother like Dean, had needed his help and Dean had saved his life and returned him to his family, the younger brother being so excited to see him safe and sound running to him and wrapping his little arms around his big brother's waist. The father patting Thad on the shoulder pleased that he was okay and the mother clucking over her son, none of them even noticed Dean slipping into his car and away from their little family. Dean, however, felt the scars on his heart open up and start to bleed. Trying his best to burry the feelings deep inside, Dean pushed on, tried to keep moving, tried not to think of the brother at Stanford, the father in a state a couple hundred miles away, and a mother buried.
Dean was a trained care giver. He had tended his father's wounds when he had returned from a hunt, he had tended to his brother's every need, taught him, raised him, loved him more than anything else in the world, sacrificed his ever want for his little brother and father. But the people he loved and cared for most weren't inclined to return the favor. When they wanted something, they went for it with no heed to Dean. Sam had packed his bags, had left for Stanford without a second thought. Said, "Don't hold me back Dean. Let me go." And Dean did just that, because it was in his brother's best interest to let him go. Sam needed those strings to be cut and Dean allowed them to be cut, despite how badly it had hurt him. Dean wondered if Sam even missed him. Dean pushed the tears that were strolling down his face away with a rough sleeve and sniffed trying to keep the tears out of his eyes and nose.
Dean suddenly felt the need to see his brother, to be in his presence, even if only for an hour. Maybe that would take care of this ach in his heart. If he could just see Sam, talk to him, have a beer with him, just make sure he was all right, just for a couple of hours, then maybe he wouldn't feel like this anymore. Maybe he would finally be able to move on and do his job and not feel so, so, dark. Resolved, and determined, Dean took a detour from his next job and headed to California.
Arriving at 6 in the morning gave him a minimum of two hours before he could go and see his brother, Sam wasn't a late sleeper, and for that, for the first time in his life, Dean was grateful. He found a diner not far from campus and sat, bought a newspaper, told himself that he wouldn't read the obits, he would read the sports page like a normal twenty something year old man, and ordered a cup of coffee. He waited until the sun came up over the horizon, looked at his watch, realized that he could make it to Sam's dorm in less than a half an hour, ordered two cups of coffee, and a cheese Danish for Sam, to go, and headed out of that diner, with a lighter heart than he had had in ages.
He parked in front of his brother's dorm and was just about to get out when he saw Sam, a much bigger, version of the Sam he remembered emerge from the dorm with a crowd of other that looked just like him, he was smiling and happy, and they all piled into a large SUV and drove away. Dean swallowed. Hard. He had expected Sam to be alone, expected him to be in his dorm room getting ready for a test, and a small part of him hoped that Sam was missing him as much as he was missing Sam, but if the smile on his brother's face was any indication, sad was not an emotion that Sam Winchester was feeling at the moment. Dean looked down at the cup of coffee and the Danish and realized just how stupid it all was. His brother didn't want or need him anymore. He had friends, and a life, and normal. Everything he ever needed or wanted. Dean simply drove off in the direction of the nearest and cheapest motel room.
Sam sat at the diner, the diner his brother had been in, sitting at the same booth his brother had vacated less than an hour ago, eating pancakes and coffee with his friends laughing and talking when his stomach suddenly soured. He put his fork down and looked around at his friends.
"You okay Sam?" John asked.
"I don't know. I just don't feel so good all of the sudden."
"You need to go back to the dorm?"
"Yeah, I need to go back to the dorm." They paid their bills and Sam's friends drove him back to his room and then took off for their day in the sun without him. He lay down on his bed and rubbed a hand up and down his stomach trying to ease the knot out of it. He closed his eyes for a moment when he heard his cell phone beep, indicating that he had a voice mail. He picked up the phone and accessed his mail.
"Sammy, it's me. Dean. Ummm just wanted to tell you good bye and that I love you." The phone clicked and Sam sat straight up. He frantically called Dean's cell and couldn't' get an answer. He hung up and did it again. Again, voice mail. Sam, ignoring his protesting stomach ran out of the dorm, "borrowed" a car, and looked for the Impala at any of the seedier motel locations. Finally spotting it he threw the car into the parking lot and ran to the room most likely held by his elder brother. Picking the lock seemed to take forever; he had grown rusty in his years away at Stanford. He wasn't prepared for what he found when he finally got the room open. Dean was sprawled out on the bed. He wasn't breathing. He wasn't moving.
"No." Sam whispered. He ran to the bed and felt for a pulse. There was none. His skin was cooling and beginning to gray. "Oh my god. No!!!" he screamed.
"AHHH!" Sam sat bolt right in bed. He swallowed and looked around the room. His head pounded and he felt sick to his stomach.
"It was just a nightmare Winchester." He said shakily and ran a hand through his damp hair. He looked over at his nightstand at the phone. He picked it up without any thought.
"Hello?" came his brother's groggy voice.
"Thank God." Sam relaxed and slouched against the headboard. What he would never know, was that he had just stopped his brother from committing suicide. That one phone call saved Dean's life and had Sam known that all Dean needed was to hear his voice, that he wanted to hear Sam's voice, he would have called that much sooner.