Sam noted that his brother hadn't looked him in the eye since their father left, since they had stitched each other's faces, since the whole disaster with the demon Meg. And now, here they both were, sitting in a diner, in the middle of nowhere, eating something that he was sure once was a chicken breast, but now it was so smothered in spices and a thick sauce that he wasn't even positive that a whole chicken breast was on his plate, but he diligently picked at it, continued pushing it around on his plate, picked at the salad, took a drink of the water that had a slightly odd taste to it, and went back to pushing the meat into the potatoes.
Dean sighed and put his fork down, he had been inhaling a meatloaf dinner, and Sam looked up briefly to watch his brother wipe his mouth, something very uncharacteristic of him.
"So, uh." Sam focused, noted that his brother looked nervous about something. Dean wasn't focusing on anything, he cleared his throat, and looked at Sam. "So, I called Stanford."
"I called them. Told them that your crazy ass brother kidnapped you and now we got you back safe and sound and we wanted to make sure that you could go back. You know. Pick up where you left off. They were excited to hear that you wanted to come back. They said you had such promise before you left." Dean took a sip of the water he had ordered and looked back down at his plate.
Sam's mouth hung open. Dean never mentioned Stanford if he didn't have to, it was a taboo subject, so for Dean to actually call the school, locate the right people, and see what was what said a lot. "Why would you do that Dean?" Sam asked quietly.
"So you could be a person again." Sam's face tingled with recognition of the words. He said that to Dean a week ago when they were preparing to face The Demon.
"You gonna keep hunting?" he asked delicately.
"Yeah. I'll drop you off. They said that the semester starts soon, the summer thing…I didn't understand exactly." He swallowed hated showing his ignorance. "But they said that you would have your full ride back and everything."
"Dean." Sam started but Dean plowed ahead.
"I even called the law school, asked them about you getting an interview there, said that it was my fault you missed it, that we lost our dad, and that I pulled you away, and that it was all taken care of now, and that you were ready to come back and they said that they would, all you needed to do was make an appointment when you got there." He pushed the plate out of his way and the waitress, who had flirted with his brother as all pretty girls do, came by picked up the plate, tried to get his brother's attention, offered pie, Dean turned it down, and just asked for the check. She huffed off without another word.
"Your welcome. Sorry for keeping you against your will for so long, for dragging your ass all over the country."
"That's what you told Meg isn't it? I mean, you said as much when we were at the asylum. You told me that I was pathetic. That I didn't have a mind of my own. And I thought about it. You're probably right." The waitress came back with the check and she put it down and Dean paid it, got up, expected Sam to follow and he did, flabbergasted at his brother, sad that he had said such nasty things to him, and worried that Dean didn't want him around any longer. He got into the passenger's side of the car and they started west.
"Dean. I don't want to go back."
"Yeah you do. I'll call you when we find the demon. I'll make sure you can get there in enough time to help us waste it. I promise. But I won't call before then." Dean fell silent.
"I don't want to go." Sam said more forcefully.
"You said you did."
"Look. Even if I did go. I don't want to not talk to you again."
"Why would you want to spend time with me….? I mean. I obviously piss you off, make your life miserable, why…..you spent almost four years not talking to me before why would this time be any different?"
Sam closed his eyes and tried to figure out how to articulate what he was thinking. "Because….when I left the first time, I was mad. Mad at you, mad at Dad, mad at the world. I didn't think. I just didn't. I got to Stanford and then was like 'shit.' I was terrified. I didn't have anyone watching my back. No one to talk to and I was too full of pride to call you Dean. And I lived with it. But this time. I don't want to do that."
"But what you said."
"I was being an ass. I don't think that stuff….haven't for a long time. My big brother taught me better." Dean just took in the words. "The hunt is east." He tried. Dean nodded and did a U-turn and started east. "You really called Stanford?"
"Yeah. I did."
"Awww. Thanks." Sam said with a laugh.
"Shut up Sam." Sam laughed. Dean's lips quirked up in a smile, and he turned on the stereo and AC/DC played "Back in Black."