Hiding in Plain Sight

Disclaimer: I only wish I owned them. Everything recognizable in this story belongs to Kripke and the CW. Making no money here either folks.

Author's Note: This story takes place right after ELAC and is dedicated to Hotshow who provided the awesome plot bunny. Hope you enjoy it my friend!

Author's Note 2: I am very excited to tell you about a new project that I have been invited to join. Dark Supernatural has asked me to join a group of wonderful writers on a new project. Each writer is asked to write a scene and pass it on to another who will build a WINCHESTER ONE SHOT story around the scene. It promises to be fun. More news later as the project unfolds.

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As Sam sat on the sofa in Bobby's living room pretending to do research, he felt a deep, gnawing pain in his abdomen between his breastbone and his navel. He had been experiencing some slight discomfort for a few months now, but over the past two weeks since his dad had died, the pain had become worse. He had put it off to indigestion since he hadn't been eating right, but now he was beginning to wonder. He knew he should probably mention it to Dean, but his brother wasn't in the best of moods lately, especially where he was concerned. He shuddered as he thought about the argument he and Dean had had while chasing that killer clown. The words Dean had shouted out at him in anger had hurt him more than Dean's fists ever could have. But he had to agree that Dean had hit the nail on the head when he said that what he was doing was too little, too late. He couldn't blame Dean for being so pissed off with him now.

Bringing his mind back to the present time, Sam glanced over at the sandwich sitting on the coffee table that Bobby had made for him. He became nauseous at the thought of even trying to eat it since his appetite had dropped off a lot lately. He knew he had been dropping weight since his pants were becoming looser now, but he put it off to the stress over losing their dad so unexpectedly. Dean wouldn't admit it, but Sam knew his brother blamed him for their dad's death. He had been the one driving the car when the accident occurred and he was the one who brought that damn demon into their lives in the first place.

He had tried to talk to Dean once about his pain earlier in the week, but Dean had blown his stack before he had even gotten three words out of his mouth. In no uncertain terms, Dean had informed him that he needed to deal with his stupid little problems instead of burdening him with them all the damned time. A lone tear slipped from his eyes as he replayed the conversation in his mind.

"Dean I need…"

"I'm not surprised Sam, cause you're always needing something. I can't have one damned minute to myself without you trying to lay something on me.

"That's not what I'm trying to do Dean. I just wanted…"

"You just wanted to be a pain in my ass Sam. Can't you see that I just want to be left alone damn it. Can't you ever freaking deal with one thing by yourself. You're driving me nuts with trying to be the perfect son now Sammy. I hate to inform ya dude, but it's too damn late now."

"Please Dean. I need you to listen to me."

"I'm tired of listening to you Sam. Just go handle whatever the hell is bothering you this time on your own. I'm sick of carrying your burdens on my shoulders."

At this point, Dean had turned away from him effectively ending the conversation. Sam sighed as he reached a hand up to brush the tear away before Dean came in and got pissed with him all over again. They were barely speaking as it was and he just didn't want to make things worse. Pushing himself to his feet, he picked up the plate the sandwich was on and dumped it in the trash making sure to cover it so that Bobby thought he had eaten. He didn't need Bobby on his back too. He had no sooner hidden the evidence that he had not eaten when Dean came walking into the kitchen. He looked up at his brother and smiled but Dean just walked past him like he wasn't even there. Sam's shoulders drooped as he sighed and decided to go upstairs and lay down for a while. Maybe he wouldn't bother anyone there.

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Bobby had just walked into the house after working on an old blue 1969 Dodge Charger for the better part of five hours to find the place deathly quiet. He had hoped to walk in and find Dean and Sammy talking with each other or at least arguing. For the past few days they couldn't have said more than ten words to each other and it was beginning to concern Bobby. Dean and Sam had always been so close that people swore they had an unbreakable bond, but he began to wonder about that lately.

Both boys seemed to be depressed and honestly he could understand that. After all, they had lost their dad only a few short weeks ago and Dean was taking it pretty hard. Don't get him wrong, he knew Sammy was hurting too, but John was Dean's hero and the kid totally worshipped him. Dean had lost more than just his dad when John had died, he lost the one person he looked up too most in the world. Dean had taken on a hard edge and seemed to be totally unaware of what it was doing to Sammy which was something Bobby never thought he would see in his life time since Dean's world used to revolve around the kid when they were growing up.

The usually outgoing Sam had suddenly became withdrawn and quiet lately. The only time the kid spoke was when asked a question and then his answer was always brief and to the point. He had tried to encourage Sam to run into town with him and get away from things for a little while, but he had turned him down flat. He couldn't help but notice how sullen the kid looked lately. It was obvious the kid was having trouble sleeping by the looks of his bloodshot eyes and the dark smudges under them. Add that to the fact that he had to force Sam to eat lately and it made for a very unhappy and worried Bobby. Walking into the kitchen, Bobby saw Dean sitting in a chair with a sandwich in one hand a Budweiser in the other.

"Where's your brother?" Bobby asked to break the silence as he walked over to the refrigerator and pulled out a beer of his own along with some lettuce, chopped ham, and mayonnaise to make a sandwich with.

"How the hell would I know. I'm not his keeper." Dean stated before taking a huge bite out of his sandwich.

"What's with the attitude Dean? You've had your head in your ass for a while now and its getting old boy." Bobby grumbled as he sat down in a chair and twisted off the top to his own beer.

"Sorry Bobby, I didn't mean to snap at you just now. It's been a rough day. Sammy probably went upstairs to brood as usual. He's been doing a lot of that lately." Dean said by way of apology.

"S'okay kid, I'm just worried about Sammy. He hasn't been looking to well and I'm concerned about the boy. I don't think he's been sleeping much lately. I think you need to talk to your brother, just to make sure he's okay Dean."

"I will later Bobby, I've got to get back out there and get some more work done on the Impala before it gets dark." Dean said before eating the last of his sandwich and swallowing down the rest of his beer.

"Just make sure you do Dean." Bobby intoned as he finished his own meal and carried the dish over to the sink to be washed. He had a nagging feeling in his gut that something was going on with Sammy that the kid wasn't admitting too.

"Yeah okay." Dean replied without thought as he walked back outside to work on his beloved Impala. It was going to take him months and a ton of money to restore the old girl, but Bobby was willing to help if he was needed and Dean knew he could win enough money to buy the parts by playing pool since there was always some sucker to be found in a bar who thought he could out play anybody.

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Later that evening as dusk descended and it became too dark to see, Dean packed away his tools and decided to call it a night. He would go in and take a shower and try to relax a little before talking to Sammy. He wasn't looking forward to having the conversation but he had promised Bobby that he would. Climbing the stairs, he walked into the bathroom and turned on the water before he stripped off his clothing. He couldn't believe how filthy he had gotten. He stood under the steaming hot water and let is cascade over his aching back as it helped to relieve the tension in his muscles. It only took him a few minutes to bathe and wash his hair and then he climbed out of the shower and dried himself off before wrapping a towel around his waist.

Opening the door to the room that he and Sammy had been sharing, well to be honest, the room that Sammy was using since he himself had been sleeping on the couch lately, Dean walked over to his duffle bag and pulled out a clean pair of boxers and a t-shirt and quickly slipped them on. He glanced over towards the bed that Sammy was laying on and saw that his brother was sleeping…or should he say was pretending to be sleeping. He could tell that Sammy was consciously controlling his breathing. Well if that's the way he wanted things then that was fine by him, they could talk another day. Without saying a word, Dean walked out of the bedroom and went back downstairs to sleep on the couch again.

Sam was lying in his bed thinking when he heard the shower shut off and footsteps coming down the hall. He quickly closed his eyes and pretended to sleep not wanting to get into another argument with Dean if he was in a bad mood. He tried to take deep, even breaths as he heard the door open and heard Dean ruffling through his duffle bag. A moment later he could feel Dean's eyes burning into his back and knew his brother was watching him. Feeling a little tension in the air, he tried to lay still to keep from giving himself away, He heard his brother huff and then the closing of the door shortly thereafter as the sound of footsteps quickly faded away.

Opening his eyes once again, Sam rolled onto his back and stared up at the ceiling once again. "Will things ever been the same between us again?" he wondered as he placed a hand on his aching abdomen. He knew deep within his heart that the answer was no. Too much had happened lately and it was all his fault. He should have stayed at Stanford when Dean came to get him. If he had, their dad would still be alive and Dean would be happy. He couldn't help but wonder after everything he had cost him if his big brother wished at times he had never been born.

Feeling exhausted, Sam wished he could just close his eyes and sleep for a solid twenty four hours straight, but he knew that was beyond the realm of possibility since night terrors were assaulting his dreams on a nightly basis. He had to relive the accident and his dad's death in vivid technicolor each and every night. But lately, the dreams were getting worse causing him to wake up in a cold sweat unable to go back to sleep.

Running his fingers through his hair, Sam sighed in frustration and whispered, "I need you Dean, more than I ever have before." as he rolled on his side and curled up into a fetal position to spend another night in pain and feeling more lonely than he had ever felt before.

TBC Well, should I keep going or trash it???