Title: Unforgettable

Warning: Spoiler alert! for and up to ep. 4.20, The Rapture.

Rating: K+

Disclaimer: What's theirs is theirs, what's mine is mine - it's as simple as that.

Summary: Sam's had twenty-five birthdays, all ranging from good to bad to ugly. All have been unforgettable. But none have come close to his twenty-sixth.

A/N: Sam Winchester's birthdays over the years. I'm still numb from the last episode. Poor Dean. Poor Sam. Boys, I love you, but seriously – holy crap!

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Samuel Isaac Winchester was born at 4:15 pm on May 2, 1983, in Our Lady of Grace Hospital in Lawrence, Kansas. His mother, Mary, proclaimed that he was the moon to match her shining star, his big brother, Dean. John smiled down on his happy family and promised his second son that he would live a happy life.

Sam's first birthday was almost forgotten, spent at Pastor Jim's.

He grinned up at the pastor, gnawing on a teething ring, babbling in the endearing way that most babies have. He could already say Dean's name, kind of. "Duh-duh-duh-duh," he would squeal, pudgy baby fingers reaching out whenever his brother came into the room. Dean would beam, five years old and already desperately wanted by at least one human being. He sat behind Sam, tucking the baby securely into his lap, and proudly point out the pictures in Sam's two birthday books from Pastor Jim. Jim looked up from where he was writing in his journal and smiled sadly.

John was on a hunt, one of his first. He wasn't there that year.

Sam's seventh birthday involved a water fight.

It was early May in Arizona, and hot. The boys were almost done with school and John decided to wash the Impala, for no better reason than it was a nice day. He had just finished soaping her down in front of the tiny house they were renting when Sam and Dean's bus pulled up at the corner and a riotous group of children came pouring out. There was Dean, eleven years old and all smiles, and Sam, quietly following in his big brother's shadow, clutching Dean's backpack strap in one chubby fist.

John decided right then and there that his youngest looked far too serious for such a nice day. When Dean got close enough, John held out his hands for the boys' backpacks and tucked them safely inside the car. Then he turned the nozzle of the hose on his boys and let loose. They both shrieked as the cold water hit them, but Dean started whooping first, doing his best to get the makeshift weapon from his father. Sam watched, apprehensive, until Dean turned and smiled widely at him.

"C'mon, Sammy! Help me!"

If there was ever anyone that could get Sam involved, it was Dean. He rushed into the fray as fast as his seven-year-old legs would take him, yelping and giggling with his brother. Passing neighbors smiled and muttered to each other, what a perfect father that man was, and what adorable little boys! John roared with laughter and allowed himself to be taken over by his sons, secretly impressed that they remembered the few defense moves he had taught them. Night rolled around and the boys grew tired, shivering and soaking in their t-shirts and jeans. John just smiled and bundled them inside, getting them into warm clothes and soft beds in their shared room.

"Happy birthday, Sammy," Dean mumbled before succumbing to the sandman.

It was one of the happiest birthdays Sam could remember.

Sam's twelfth birthday, he dislocated his shoulder trying to fire Dad's shotgun.

They had skipped out of school early; "Family emergency," Dad had told the principal while Sam sulked in the back of the Impala. The young woman, barely old enough to be taking care of an entire school, was charmed immediately by John Winchester and offered to say a prayer for the family. Dean rolled his eyes and scoffed in the front seat.

Sam was so angry about not being able to finish the sixth grade that he wouldn't speak to his father for three days, until they reached the cabin in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. He soundlessly brought supplies and bags into the cabin then disappeared for an hour to blow off steam. John ordered Dean – who apologetically pulled Sam out of his pout-fest – to take his brother out and practice shooting. Sam, in his frustration, grabbed Dad's twelve gauge, as opposed to his twenty, and ended up screaming in pain as the recoil from the shotgun knocked him flat on his back and knocked his shoulder from the socket.

He spent the eve of his birthday in the emergency room, trying hard not to cry while Dad talked his way out of legal documentation and Dean flirted with the nurses.

On Sam's sixteenth birthday, Dad wasn't there.

But Dean was. He came home from the garage he was working at, grinning, holding out a brand-new driver's license, something John had never let Sam have before. Then he let Sam have a few beers, which did weird things to his stomach and he threw up all over the front yard of the house they were squatting in.

Dean laughed and put him into bed. "Happy birthday, Sammy," he whispered.

"It's Sam," Sam whispered back, smiling crookedly when Dean shook his head.

Sam's eighteenth birthday was spent in nervous anticipation.

His acceptance to Stanford was weighing on his mind like a headache that wouldn't go away – it didn't help that he hadn't told Dean yet, and that Dean knew that Sam hadn't told him something important. Sam told him everything, and the thought that there was something hanging between them, a huge elephant in their relationship, was killing Dean, Sam knew. He would tell him, in due time. It was Dad's reaction Sam was fearing most.

The more important thing was that Sam was going to lose his virginity. Like now. Like right now. And she was perfect and good and kind and hurt – by Dean, who else? – and Sam wanted to be there for her. He would be there for her. She looked up at him with those big brown eyes and smiled, tears streaking down her face, and he reached out to her as gently as possible. His stomach was flipping the entire time, but he was glad it was with her – as he held her afterwards he knew that he loved her, and that he would never stop loving her.

He doubted he would share this one with Dean.

Sam's nineteenth birthday was spent in tears.

Dean had called him on a rickety payphone somewhere in Connecticut, wishing him a broken happy birthday. They both sounded pitiful, and Sam told him not to call again, more for their sanity than anything else. He slumped against the wall his dorm room and begged his older brother to stop calling him. Dean's voice cracked with pain as he promised he would. Sam prayed that his roommate would not walk in and find him like this.

The sunny California day did nothing to help his mood.

Sam's twenty-first birthday was with Jessica, the first one he ever spent with her.

She jumped him with a surprise party – her favorite kind – and he was impressed with himself when he didn't go into combat mode when a numerous amount of people jumped out at him. The hunter training must have been wearing off, he thought to himself as he laughed and joked with the friends he had gathered in this life, in this normal life.

His heart hurt as he thought of Dean and Dad, wherever they were.

Sam's twenty-second birthday was with Jessica and her parents.

It was also his last special event with her. Her birthday was in December. She died in November. He didn't want to think about it.

Sam's twenty-third birthday, he was hunting Meg with Dad and Dean, the happy family together again.

He was also painfully drunk, moaning Jessica's name into the bottle.

Sam's twenty-fourth birthday was spent hiding from the Feds, laughing with Dean about what Hendrickson would do if he caught them.

Sam's twenty-fifth birthday, Dean had less than two weeks left.

Sam spent his birthday trying not to think of life after Dean and searching frantically for a miracle that could save his big brother. Coming up short wasn't an option.

Sam's twenty-sixth birthday was spent in Bobby's ironclad panic room, with his tail between his legs and a guilty conscience to boot.

He could still see Dean's disappointment, practically taste the tension in the air. Tears ran down his face as he thought of birthdays past.

Outside the iron door, Dean cried silent tears, trying so hard to reach out to his baby brother inside.

Happy Birthday, Sammy.