Sam insisted you find a bar a long way from town. He seems to think there might be repercussions but the only repercussion you can think of is that phone call he insisted on making as you left Mrs Harrison's trailer. Apparently it's unseemly to leave a dead woman on her bathroom floor when there's no good reason for it. He asked how you would feel if she was your mother. Which was pushing it a bit, even for Sam.
So here you are, your complete life in the trunk of the Impala, again, on the road. You're looking for the first bar you can find. Sam wants to keep going. He doesn't say as much but you've been travelling with him for long enough to know the signs. The way he's slumped in the seat, gazing out of the window. The way there's no conversation, not even the odd passing comment. You've given up trying to talk and your music is on loud enough to wake the dead, excuse the expression.
You're pretty sure he's going over things in his head and this whole business with Charlie? You think it's brought up memories he thought he'd left behind in Stanford. You know there's going to be a conversation about the whole who left who business that Charlie picked up on, or thought he picked up on, anyway. You know, deep down, there are still issues left over here. You can't remember if you mentioned Callum to your brother or not but you think now isn't the time to bring him up. You're reluctant to admit it, even to yourself, but Callum needs to be sorted out. Okay, so he wasn't hurting anyone but the guy deserves a bit of peace now he's dead.
You spot a bikers' bar up ahead and pull in, ignoring the look Sam's giving you. You want a beer and Sam needs to chill a bit here. You don't know what's got into him since you said goodbye to Charlie. You thought the case was pretty well wrapped up. So there are a few loose ends but considering other things you've walked away from, this is a clean case.
"C'mon Sam," you pull him from his thoughts with a gentle slap on the shoulder. He glares at you, but there's no malice there. Sighing exaggeratedly, he climbs out of the car and follows you into the bar.
You do your normal safety checks, entrances, exits, clientele, and it's all good. You're not expecting trouble but it never hurts to be prepared. You reckon you could hustle a couple of hundred dollars here but one look at Sam and that idea flies out of the window. You push him in the direction of a corner table and, once you're happy he's settled, you head to the bar.
By the time you get to the table with the beer Sam is playing with a sticky beer mat, flipping it over and over and over. When you put the bottles on the table in front of him he looks up, almost surprised to see you there. You settle yourself opposite him and study him for a few seconds.
"What's up with you?"
"Nothing," he sighs and you know it's not 'nothing'. 'Nothing' doesn't sit there flipping beer mats. You just raise your eyebrows at him, sceptically.
"Nothing?" and then you stop. You can play the waiting game and Sam's the talker anyway. Sure enough, it takes about two minutes for him to take a deep breath and start talking, albeit he's off to a shaky start.
"It's just that…Charlie and Callum and Martin…they all thought they had the perfect relationship. But they didn't. And they didn't know." He stops and looks at you so intently you have to resist the urge to squirm. "What if there's no such thing, Dean? What if …" and he trails off.
You're his big brother. It's your job to know what's going on inside that head of his. You know he's thinking of Jessica. He's doubting whether that was the real thing now and, although you only met her once, you know she was the one for him. This job has just shaken his faith in human relationships and you can understand that. You didn't really have any faith in them to start with but Sam? He needs to know there's a point to all this.
"Sam," you start, hesitatingly putting a hand over his, stilling that damned beer mat's trajectory. "What you had, with Jessica, you can't compare that to this." You force him to meet your eye and you wonder if he believes you.
"Charlie probably thought that," he tells you but he's wavering now.
"Alice was a cold hearted bitch. And who knows what Melinda and Christine were up to behind closed doors. I'll tell you something though, that Christine? I bet she had them queuing up at the door." You shake your head as you recall the lovely Christine, although now she's not looking so good in the cold light of day. "Jessica was 100% yours. She would never, ever have cheated on you. Why would she?" You hate these heart to heart talks but, in for a penny, in for a pound. "Look at you, Sam. You're the perfect catch…or were, until I came along again." And there's that little bit of guilt again. You've been trying to ignore it for months now but every so often it raises its little head and digs you in the ribs.
Sam is smiling now anyway, so you've accomplished something with this little chat. He's also miles away, lost in his own memories. You pull your hand away, belatedly realising it's still resting on Sam's, and take a long swig of your beer. It's cold and refreshing and just what the doctor ordered. You sit back and, tilting your head to one side, regard Sam for a few more minutes before downing the rest of your beer. You're still puzzled by Charlie's decision to rescue you. You both said it, Sam's not a cheater. That's your job, love 'em and leave 'em, but Charlie saw something in your relationship that made him think otherwise. You could sit here till judgement day and still not understand Charlie's reasoning.
But Sam's obviously been thinking about it too. You can almost pinpoint the exact moment he snaps out of his reverie and comes back to you. It's his eyes. You can always tell more about how Sammy's feeling and what he's thinking by his eyes than by what he says. It's a family thing, he does it to you too. More, probably.
"Hey, Dean? Do you think Charlie … related … to you?" Sam picks up his beer and takes a long pull on it, looking at you over the bottle.
"I don't know what Charlie related to, dude, but he's gone and that's all I care about," you tell him, ordering another round of beers off the waitress hovering in the background.
"I think he did," Sam refuses to drop this. "He thought he was saving people…"
"Hey!" you interrupt, "I don't think I'm saving people. I am saving people."
"That's not what I meant. I think he saw himself in you and then when he thought we were together … he didn't want you to go through what he did. I don't think it was about me at all. It was about his misguided logic." He pauses, and you wonder if he's giving his brain time to catch up with his mouth. "Although…" and he trails off again.
You wonder if you've lost him again but give him the benefit of the doubt while the waitress delivers your fresh beers. You flash her one of your trademark smiles and watch the blush rise on her face with satisfaction. Maybe, if Sam's not in too much of a rush, you might follow up on that later. She scurries back to the bar but you notice she throws a backward glance in your direction. You catch her eye and wink at her. Yep – later, she's yours.
But for now, your main concern is Sam's continuing silence. This calls for a bit of prompting because he's clearly got something on his mind.
"Although what, Sam?"
"I did leave you."
"What? When?" Okay, that's got you. You weren't expecting that.
"Stanford," he says, as if that explains everything. Which to him it obviously does.
"Sam." You take a swig of beer, hoping that didn't come out as much a whine as it did in your head. You've had this argument over and over again. You really thought you'd seen the back of it last time out.
"No, think about it, Dean." Sam's not going to let you get a word in so you may as well strap in for the ride. "We were together, a family unit. We depended on each other, you depended on me to be there to look out for you. And I left. I went away and abandoned you. And Dad. And that's all the criteria Charlie needed to justify his actions. As far as he was concerned, you were the spurned party in all of that. I didn't cheat but I did leave you. And I did hurt you."
You can't deny the logic in what he's saying and, for once, he's not trying to apologise or validate what he did. And yes, it did hurt when he left. You'll always remember that last fight with Dad, how you thought they were going to come to blows, how empty the place felt for days afterwards, how empty you felt. But that's all history now and, much as you hate to dredge up the past, you think Sam's right.
"Well, whatever his reasons, he's gone now and we're both here still. One to the Winchesters." You grin at Sam, signifying that this conversation is over. He smiles back at you and looks to the waitress you had your eye on earlier.
"So, you want me to lay low for a while?" he asks you with a smirk. You think about it seriously but then a thought strikes you.
"Callum?" Sam's confused and it strikes you that he doesn't know that Charlie wasn't the only one hanging around.
"He was in the jewellery store when I went looking for you."
"Who knows, Sam? But we can't leave him there. God knows what he'll do." You don't think he'll do anything but you hate to leave a job undone. "Should be a simple salt and burn though. Right?" You look hopefully at your brother. He's the one who stores all this useless information in his head and you can almost see him mentally flicking through the files in his brain. You're relieved when he nods, slowly.
"Yeah. Christine said he was buried in the town cemetery. We can take care of him tonight."
"Good. Well, maybe later I'll come back here. Just for, y'know…" and judging by the look on Sammy's face?
Yep - he knows.