Okie dokie!! This is a pre-series story, but with a twist into an AU.

What if instead of Dean staying with John, though we know after Sam left, John did too, sending Dean out on solo hunts and barely talking to him for weeks except to issue him orders. What if, instead, Dean went with Sam? What if he tried living a more stable life too? Well, here's what I think could have been….

Not meant as Wincest, just brotherly love and affection, but hey, whatever floats your boat.


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Chapter 1:

Gauntlet's Thrown

"You walk out that door, don't you ever come back!!!" John spat out in a growl, his low, gravely voice resounding menacingly in the empty air of the motel room they were in. "You leave, and you stay gone, 'cause I'm done with you. This family is done with you. You wanna be a selfish bastard and leave your family behind so you can go be Joe College and have that delusion of a "normal life", even though you know damn well there's no such thing...Fine, but don't be thinkin' I come to your rescue when you go and get yourself killed by trying to ignore what the world is really like." John said, staring menacingly at his youngest son as he stalked to the door, ripping it open, causing it to quake in its cheap frame. He stared at his teary-eyed son, his fury burning hotly. "If you're going, be gone when I come back…you won't be my son anymore." John bit out as he slammed the door behind him. Sam jumped involuntarily at the noise. Silence rained for what seemed like an eternity before they heard the familiar growling rumble of their dad's pickup roar to life in the parking lot. They heard it growl-grind as he shifted the gears and then they whip-spit of flying gravel as he tore out of the lot and down the road, the rumble of the engine growing ever more faint until it died away completely.

Sam, his own fury like a barely contained hurricane, began flying around the room, gathering his meager belongings in his knapsack. He grabbed up his favorite knife, a curved hand scythe, and a few small things that he wanted to keep, the only remnants of a life he never wanted. He brutally shoved all of the things into his bag before wrenching the drawstring tight and securing the flap down. He cast his gaze around the room finally, looking for anything he might have left behind when suddenly, his wandering eyes found his brother. Dean was sitting silently on their bed, his eyes downcast, looking so small and fragile that Sam almost couldn't recognize him as his brother. It was then he realized that this was the real Dean. The Dean that his big brother kept reigned in, locked away inside, so afraid of getting hurt. He had good reason, though. Everyone hurt him. Sam knew it was he himself that was hurting him the worst. He was the one that was shredding what little hope and faith his brother had left. He couldn't abide that, not for Dean. He deserved better than that. Even if Dean couldn't see that for himself, Sam knew better.

"Dean?" Sam asked softly. Dean didn't even stir. Sam swallowed hard. He walked the few steps to Dean's side and slid down onto the bed next to him. "Dean?" he asked, giving his brother a gentle squeeze on the shoulder. "Hey, come on man, look at me." Dean slowly lifted his head, his eyes meeting his brother's at last. Sam could see he was on the verge of tears, though he'd be loath to admit it. He always had to be the tough- talking, ballsy, bold-as-brass older brother who never said die and who never showed the world how he felt. It just wasn't done. He was a Winchester and Winchester's didn't show their emotions. Sam had never held to that belief. He never subscribed to that militant, bitter way of thinking, which was one of the reasons he fought so much with their father. His father tried his damnedest to push that "weakness" out of him, but he was never able to. Sam was just as stubborn as the old man and he gave as hard as he took. The terrible thing of the situation was that Dean was always the one to suffer the most. It was always Dean with the cool head and the prevailing charm that could coax the two tigers back into their cages, if only for a short while at least. It was Dean that always managed to settle a ragged peace between them. It was Dean, who only wanted his family to be together, Dean who needed them to be a family and not just the general and his two soldiers. Dean was always stuck in the middle, the war of wills waged around him was brutal and he did everything he could to hold back the coming Apocalypse that was steadily building on the horizon. Tonight, it had come and laid waste to all of them, laying them bare and hurting and unwilling to give ground until they stood on opposite sides of a chasm to wide to cross or bind back together again.

"Hey big brother, you ok?" Sam asked quietly, know the answer full well, but respecting his brother enough to let him have the chance to answer in his own way.

Dean desperately wanted to slam his walls back in place, not let Sam see exactly how broken he was, but he couldn't this time. Before he could even register what he was going to say, the words came tumbling out. "Don't go…" he whispered. He wrenched his eyes away from Sam. Looking at his baby brother was too much to bear right then.

Sam studied Dean for a moment, knowing exactly how much it took for him to say those two simple words. He swallowed hard again, his throat feeling like sandpaper. "I have to. I don't belong here. I can't do this anymore. I have a chance, this one chance, to be the person I want to be and not just the person dad thinks I should be…and I'm taking it."

Dean nodded. He fought to control the tangle of emotions raging in him, fought to steady his voice, though how much he actually succeeded he wasn't so sure. "I know Sammy…I know. You don't deserve to be here. You never belonged here…" he said, trailing off for a moment when the words got to hard to speak. Sam sat quietly, silently encouraging Dean on. "You remember that night, when you were eight…and you read Dad's journal for the first time? That night when you found out monsters were real…I'd give anything to take that night back. I give anything to give you back your innocence and to have never have let you been raised like you were. Anything. You were never supposed to have this life Sammy." Dean said sadly, his eyes closing to hide his tears, so determined he was not to breakdown completely.

Sam smiled a sad, tight little smile. Dean never, ever thought of himself. His brother was the most selfless, incredible person he knew and it always amazed him how he could put every one, especially his family, before himself without a second thought or hesitation. He could never see his own worth and that made Sam truly sad for his brother. If anyone deserved a better life, it was him. "Come with me, Dean." he said quietly, his eyes watching intently for his brother's reaction.

Dean's eyes shot open. "What?" he said, breathlessly, as if Sam had just punched him in the gut.

"Come with me. Come with me to California. I really want you to come. Please, Dean…?" Sam said, his voice baring a pleading tone that he knew could reach his brother.

"I can't Sammy…what about Dad? I can't just leave him…" Dean whispered, his voice edged with shock and fear.

"Dammit, Dean. Dad is a big boy, he can take care of himself. He's never been around before and he won't be around when I'm gone, either. You know that. Do you know how much time he spent with us when we were growing up? Do you Dean? Cause I did the math…" Sam said, a hint of exasperation bleeding out in his words.

Dean quirked a tiny smile at that statement. "Somehow that doesn't surprise me, geekboy…" he said quietly.

Sam rolled his eyes. "Jerk…" he said in the old, familiar banter.

"Bitch" Dean replied, as per usual.

"Out of the 17 and half years we've been on the road after Mom…um…after the fire that night, dad has spent a total of 4 and half years with us. That's less then a fourth of the time, Dean. Dad has never been there." Sam said quietly.

Dean pondered over the number. That can't be right, can it? Thinking back, he remembered the long periods of time his father was gone, sometimes a few days at a time, sometimes weeks…a few memorable times, it had been well over a month… Dean knew Sam. If that was the number Sam came up with, then that would be the correct amount. His brother was way too intelligent for his own good sometimes. "He's still our Dad though…" he replied weakly.

"No, Dean. He's never been my Dad, not really. It was you Dean. You have been more of a father to me then he ever was. You raised me, kept me safe, kept me fed, kept me sane when I thought I couldn't take it anymore. You could always bring me back. You. You're my father, my brother, my best friend in the whole world. Come with me. I don't want to have to live my life without my big brother in it…" Sam let the quiet take over again to give Dean time to consider his words. Dean remained silent for a long time. Sam knew his brother better then even he did. He knew what thoughts were swirling around his mind about their father.

"Dean, he's never gonna be the man you need him to be. He's never going to be the father you need him to be. Let him go. The part of him that was a father died the night mom did. Come with me. We can start a new life together. We don't have to follow in his footsteps. I don't ever want to see you that broken. Not ever." Sam said softly, knowing he had to be careful not to push Dean too hard when it came to their father. He knew how much Dean loved the man, how much blind faith he put in him. It tore him up inside knowing how hard Dean pushed himself to be perfect, just on the off chance that his father would notice, let alone care. Silently, he begged God to let his brother see the truth. To let him be free of the terrible hold John held on him. He wanted his brother to live his own life, a life of his choosing, not the life he was forced into.

Dean thought over everything his brother said. He knew it was true. Deep down, he knew it was true and it hurt like Hell to have to admit that to himself. He knew he had to make a decision. He could blindly follow his father, whom he loved deeply but who had never returned his love and, quite frankly, never would, or he could go with his brother. He could keep him safe, make sure he had the chance to have his normal life, the life Dean had always wished he could give the kid. He knew what he would do. It was never really a choice. Hell, his father had drilled it into his head from the very night that had jump-started this whole thing…"Take care of your brother!!! Go Dean!!..." his father had yelled to him as he pressed the wriggled bundle that was his little brother into his arms. He knew exactly what he had to do, but he was still afraid.

"Sammy, I don't know what I'll do with myself out there…I don't know anything besides hunting…" Dean said quietly, finally able to look at Sam again.

"Dean, you can be anything. Be a mechanic…I've seen you with cars, especially your baby, and you could do the work blindfolded. Or you could be a construction engineer, or an electrician or a Jack-of-all-trades. You are amazing when it comes to thinking on your feet and you are brilliant when we need something built or rewired… Hell, you could even go back to school and don't you dare say you are smart enough, 'cause I will kick the shit out of you…you can play the Dumb-and-Pretty card with anyone else, but not me. I know how smart you really are. You could even be a fireman. You told me that once, that you wanted to be a fireman when you grew up. Now is your chance too, Dean. You can be anything you want to be and I know you'll do great at it. You don't know how to fail. Let's do this the way we've always done things: together." Sam said, his confidence beaming through. His brother was so much more then he ever let himself be and Sam was bound and determined to drag that part of him out, kicking and screaming if need be. Dean deserved to be everything was capable of and Sam would be damned if he was going to let him slave away under the notion that he couldn't be.

Dean thought about. He was pretty handy, if he did say so himself…maybe he could make this work after all. With a shy hope that he had never felt before, he turned to Sam. With Sam was where he needed to be. Sam was right, their father could take care of himself, it was, after all, the thing he was best at. "Ok. I'll go. I gotta take care of my pain-in-the-ass little brother, after all. Can't leave you to your own devices, or you'll end up some monster's plaything…" he grinned lightly, though he knew Sam knew exactly how scared he was. He had to, he was the older brother, it was his job to put his little brother at ease.

Sam rolled his eyes at Dean's attempt at humor, but smiled none the less. He stood, reaching out his hand to his big brother. Dean grabbed it without hesitation and pulled himself up. Sam began gathering Dean's things, tucking them with precision into the knapsack and adding the things Dean brought over. Dean strolled into the bathroom, surreptitiously grabbing a pen and pad on the way in. He closed the door and sat on the closed toilet lid. He hesitated a moment then started to scrawl a note to his father.


Dad-

I'm going with Sammy. I can't let him be all alone out there in California. I mean I know he can handle himself pretty well, but I just couldn't take it if something happened to him and I could have done something about it. Don't worry, I'll take care of him, just like you always told me to. Be safe dad. Please don't hate Sammy. You know, deep down, that he was never meant for this life. He's always been meant for so much more and this is his chance to have that.

Dean

Love you, dad. Please don't hate me.


Dean considered the last line carefully. Part of him wanted to scratch it out and forget about it, but the rest of him, the part that still clung to the hope that his father did love him, told him to leave it there unmarred. He closed his eyes, a single tear rolled down his cheek and splashed on the paper, blurring the ink slightly. He violently swiped at his face, folding the paper in half and scribbling John Winchester on the front. He took a moment, steadying himself before turning and flushing the toilet and turning on the taps, a rouse to assure Sammy didn't know what he'd actually been doing in the bathroom. He put the note in his pocket and slipped his hands under the water, scooping the mildly cold water up and splashing it over his face. He breathed in deep and turned off the taps. Time to go, he thought as he grabbed the toiletry kit off the cabinet and opened the door to the room.

Sam was standing next to the bed, waiting. Something flashed briefly over his little brother's eyes for a moment before it was gone without a trace. "Ready?" he asked, knowing full well what a loaded question it was.

Dean sighed deeply. "As I'll ever be, I guess…" he said, trying to put as much confidence into the statement as he could. "Here…" he said, chucking his kit to Sam, who caught it deftly. "Shove that in there for me and head out to the car. I'm gonna do a quick once over to see if we left anything and then we can hit the road."

"Alright, big brother, you got it." Sam said as he stuffed the kit into the bag and secured the drawstring and flap down tight. He hefted the heavy canvas bag over his shoulder and headed out of the room, snatching the keys to the Impala as he went by and making a bee-line for the trunk of Dean's baby.

Dean watched him go, then turned and looked over the room on last time. 'So…this is it…' he thought. He felt the guilt rise in him as he strolled over to the remaining bag, placing the note carefully on top where his father could see it. 'Goodbye, dad…take care of yourself old man.' he thought as he looked one last time at the room before walking out the door for good. He closed it tight behind him and strolled with false confidence to the driver's side of his baby. He opened the door and slid in, turning the key his brother had placed in the ignition in preparedness for his arrival. Baby roared to life, growling out deep tones that were music to his ears before settling into her usual steady purr. He turned to look at his little brother, who he swears at that moment looked like a scared-stiff child rather then a strapping man of 18, and with as much actual confidence as he could muster, which was overlaid with a sizeable amount of false confidence as well, he said "Let's do this, Sammy!". He slammed his foot down on the gas, shifting the gear rapidly as he peeled out in a fishtail of flying gravel and smoke. He burned rubber out of the lot, swinging the mechanized beast out onto the night-dark road, his baby picking up speed as she ate up the asphalt in the tumbling distance that lead toward their new, uncertain life.

…….tbc…….


A/N: On a side note, please check out my profile!!! I have included links and a list of the line of Supernatural jewelry I am currently making and selling. Please, let me know if you have questions or ideas!!! Truly, I appreciate the feedback!!! Thanks!!!

Oh! And I'd be much obliged if you'd be so kind as to read and review…..