There was a niggling in the back of his mind, that he'd forgotten something important and was going to regret forgetting it.
Dean figured it'd wind up being a meeting that he'd missed. Three weeks in a new job, he was bound to forget something.
But so far, he hadn't. Not really. He'd worked hard, eight to well past five, and the beautiful office with a view was still his. He was keeping customers happy, his boss was pleased, and his lattes even came out right for the first time since he'd gotten the damn machine. Everything was good, except for the niggling little feeling.
And the guy who'd asked him about ghosts. The hell? Company hired some wackos. Have we met before? he'd asked. You look familiar.
Leg bouncing under the desk, Dean frowned and tried to think. He'd never bumped into the guy, never even seen him in the elevator until that day.
But the more he thought about it, the more the guy did seem familiar. Like someone he'd known really well.
A flurry in the hallway made Dean turn his thoughts to the present. A guy caught himself on Dean's open door and leaned in, eyes wide. "They found a guy downstairs, head in the microwave. Killed himself."
Dean hurried down with him, joining the group of employees who were watching the cops take the body away. He stared at it as it passed him by, then glanced back towards the police like everyone else was doing.
He met hazel eyes staring at him, and Dean couldn't help but stare back. The guy was taller than he was, brown hair completely all over the place, bright yellow shirt that didn't seem right, and the sad, deep eyes looked hauntingly familiar.
"You're not gonna let me die in peace, are you?"
The words were said in a half-hearted joking tone, weak and exhausted. Then bright, shining eyes and a smile full of watery hope caught his eye.
"I'm not gonna let you die at all."
Dean blinked, finding himself still staring at the stranger. Older stranger than the one in...whatever the hell that had been.
The rest of the employees moved back upstairs, and Dean found himself almost reluctant to pull his gaze away to join them.
"This is sort of stupid," Dean said. He found himself digging out the salt anyways, and the glee with which he did it sort of surprised him.
But dude, it kinda really was fun.
"If those Ghostfacer guys are telling the truth, then yeah, it sounds stupid, but I think it'll work," Sam said. Dean glanced up and saw Sam's face scrunch up in a frown. "And this'll sound weird, but...I know they're right. I know it. Deep down inside, there's this, I dunno, this niggling feeling like I'm missing something, you know? And this is it. This feels right."
Dean pulled the salt out from the cupboard and shut it slowly behind him. "You too, huh?"
Sam blinked. "Me, too?"
"That feeling. Like you've forgotten something, and you don't know what it is. Something big."
Sam slowly began to nod. "Yeah. That's it. I don't know what it is." His eyebrows knit together. "Maybe it has something to do with my dreams. Maybe...maybe we used to do this."
Dean snorted. "I think I'd remember that." Even as he scoffed and moved to find his matches, though, he found himself agreeing with Sam. Maybe...maybe they had done this before. It felt...familiar. Like when he'd grabbed the wrench and swung. Or when he'd grabbed the other side of the shelf, knowing how much he had to lift and how to brace himself to lift with Sam on the other side. They worked...really well together. Like maybe they had done it before.
But the niggling feeling was still there, so that couldn't be it. If it was, then it would've gone away.
"Got 'em," Dean said, pulling the matches out triumphantly. "Now we can line ghosts up in a first come, first killed basis." He turned back to Sam, grinning. "Let's see if the Ghostfacers are worth their salt, huh?"
Sam rolled his eyes with a grin, and both felt right, both felt like they'd happened before, that Dean had seen them before.
The earnest eyes and a solid, firm smile of determination made something inside of him ease at last. He reached out, calm and serious, and touched his cheek. "Hold me, Sammy; that was beautiful."
The roll of the eyes and the tiny grin put him even more at rest than anything else. "You should be kissing my ass," Sam said, grin wider now over the hood of the car.
The howls of frustration made them run a little harder, sliding into the seats and grinning at each other. Electromagnet had worked like a charm; now they had to get out of here. "The world's just not ready for the Ghostfacers," Sam said. The engine was revved and they quickly pulled out of the driveway. Sam was still smiling in the passenger seat when he glanced over. A little bruised, a little banged up, but Sam was alive, and that was what he was going to hold onto when he left in a few months.
Dean blinked and caught the duffel bag on reflex. "I packed it, you carry," Sam said, and Dean rolled his eyes. Sam headed out the door, and Dean followed after him.
Maybe they'd split up. Maybe Dean had left, like he'd thought in...whatever it was. Speculation? No. Memory?
Oh well. They had a ghost to get rid of. If they could actually find anything left behind, like a lock of hair or a toenail in the dust.
Dean grimaced as he closed the door behind him. "This job starting to sound gross to you?" he asked.
"No, I passed gross awhile back," Sam replied immediately. They shared a grin and headed down the hall together, steps even and together like they'd always been that way.
Maybe they had.
Meant to be a hunter. It wasn't just something he told himself when he doubted what the hell he was in the world. No, apparently he was really, truly meant to be a hunter.
Which was why the angel had decided to dress him in freakin' suspenders.
Dean glared back at where the angel had been and began tugging the damn things off. They were bright red stripes against his blue shirt, and if he'd ever needed proof that God had a sense of humor...
He was meant to be a hunter. This was what he was supposed to do. He was good at it, sure, and the pay sucked, but he helped people.
And Heaven had obviously thought he was worth it to pull him out. Even though he'd been-
Dean shut his eyes tight. He wasn't going there. He wasn't. He'd cleansed his demons, put them to rest, was letting it go. He couldn't damn well do anything about it now; it had happened. Couldn't go back, could only go forward. He'd be fine.
And damn if that stupid niggling feeling hadn't left yet. The hell was its problem? Something still felt wrong, out of place, like he was forgetting something crucial.
Footsteps pounding in the hall made him whip his gaze around to where someone in a bright yellow shirt was sliding into his office, panting for breath. Hazel eyes locked with his, floppy brown hair flying everywhere, and the yellow shirt looked ridiculous on Dean's tall-
"Whoa, whoa, take it easy, kiddo."
"Found somethin', bro."
And the niggling feeling finally, finally faded away into nothing as the most crucial, unforgettable part of Dean's life appeared. The one who'd told him everything he'd been repeating to himself since Alastair had told him the truth. The reason he was moving forward, the reason he was doing fine, the reason he hadn't gotten killed last night, the reason-
The reason he was getting dragged to the door. "Uh, Sammy?" Dean asked.
"I remembered everything halfway up the stairs," Sam said, still pulling him towards the door. "And the pause was enough for the security guards to almost catch up to me."
Dean caught Sam's arm, ducked outside to scan the hallways, then pulled him towards the elevators. "What'd you do?" he asked.
In half a second Sam had him steered back towards the stairs. "Dude, you said they were in the stairwell-"
"Just trust me on this one, no elevators," Sam said fervently, and Dean let him lead them, footsteps even and together, back to the stairs. Walking side by side, hurrying out of trouble and away from the cops...yeah, this felt right. And speaking of...
"And again I ask, what did you do?"
"I, uh, smashed the phone," Sam said, giving a quick, sheepish grin. "With the poker from last night."
Dean paused them both near the stairs, tugging at Sam's arm until Sam turned back towards him. "Dude," Dean said, before he began to grin. "That's my boy."
Sam rolled his eyes, a small grin on his face. "Figured you'd approve," he said. "But, uh, security?"
"We need to get out of here," Dean said immediately, and together the two slid into the stairwell, side by side. They made it out without incident, and Sam thank god had the Impala, because Dean wasn't even going to look at the Prius.
They shut the doors together, taking a few moments to breathe. "Dean, what the hell happened for three weeks?" Sam finally asked.
"I'll tell you in a little bit," Dean said, holding his hand out for the keys. "First, I want out of these ugly-ass clothes. Second, you need out of your ugly-ass clothes, Mr. Sunshine. And third? There's Ghostfacers we need to talk with."
He'd remember to tell Sam about Zachariah later. The only things that were important to remember at that point were the hunting skills that he was damn good at, the car purring underneath him, and the little brother next to him. The most important one, though, the one thing that even an angel's memory-wipe hadn't been able to erase, was gazing back at him with a small smile, brown hair flopping every which way, holding the keys out for Dean to take.
Dean grinned at Sam and started the car. "Ready, Sammy?"
"Lead on," Sam said, and Dean gunned the engine before pulling away.