Title: But Somewhere Here In Between
not mine never was mine never will be mine.
720 words. For the prompt "Wrench" for team angst in spn_heraea. Title from The Wallflowers. Originally posted in June 07.

But Somewhere Here In Between

When the Impala starts making a weird sound, Sam pulls off into the next town with a garage. The guy who runs it, John, agrees to rent him the space he needs when he calls from the motel across the street. When he shows up the next morning, settling the Impala into the stall at the very end, John and three other guys are watching him.

He brushes off John's offer of tools and help for the moment, telling him he'll ask if he needs anything. He's not the best mechanic – never really had a drive for it like Dean did, and it never really came to him easy. But Dean had spent his last year making sure Sam knew how to take care of the Impala, no matter how hard Sam resisted.

He figures out what's wrong, something loose there and something else worn here. It's not surprising, not for a car her age with as many miles as they put on her. Sam has to stop and consult the composition book of notes that Dean had, the notes he kept every time he had to do something on her since he was sixteen and their father had tossed him the keys for good. But he figures it out, and now the only thing left to do is fix it.

Dean had collected a myriad of different tools over the years, none of them a set but all of them useful. Sam's got a wrench in his hand and he's bent over the engine block, muttering to himself, when John come up behind him and asks if he needs any help again.

Sam knows it's just these guys wanting a chance to work on a car like this. There's not much of a chance of someone else stumbling in off the highway with a car like this, at least not in the same amazing condition Dean had kept her in. Part of him understands, the same part of him that had understood when Dean would brag to someone about her, that shit eating grin on his face.

Sam just shakes his head at the offer though, because unless Sam really had no clue what to do, he wasn't going to let anyone else touch the car. She had been Dean's pride and joy, and Sam had promised to take care of her, promised it would be him who did it.

John nods, but doesn't go far, just watching. Sam hunches his shoulders and gets back to work, trying to remember everything Dean told him, using the book when he can't. It's slow going, but there's progress.

He's just about forgot the other people in the garage when someone calls out for John. It makes Sam freeze. He listens to the older man wander over to where one of the guys is working on a little t-top, something cold coiling hard in his gut.

This is what their father would be doing if none of this had happened. This is what his life would be like. The man under the hood of the t-top, the one that John was clapping on the back and calling son, that would be Dean.

If the demon hadn't come. If they hadn't sold their souls.

If it hadn't been for him.

Sam finishes his work on the Impala as fast as he can. The man that had been working on the t-top wanders over, asking questions Sam can't answer but he knows he had heard Dean answer before. Eventually the man wanders off, shaking his head, and Sam knows he's got to be wondering how someone who doesn't know much about her can have such a car, and keep it in the condition she's in.

He can't bring himself to tell the man about his brother, the one who's only been gone for a few months, the one who had rebuilt this car from a twisted frame, the one who should have been doing exactly what he was doing, except in a little shop in Kansas. As he pulls out of town, the Impala facing the sunset and running with a purr that would have done Dean proud, Sam has to swipe at his face so he can see.

Driving off into the sunset just isn't the same from the driver's seat.