I know I haven't posted anything in a few days, and it may be another couple of days or so before I get a complete new chapter of anything else up, what with school now, but I had to get this story for the Summer of Sam Love fic exchange done. :) I finished it Sunday afternoon and posted it there, and then there was school and homework yesterday, but now I've got time to start posting it here. I hope ya'll will like it, too. :) Please let me know what you do think, and enjoy the first part! Thanks! And just in case you wanted to know, I'll post the prompt I wrote for here.

Prompt: Sam gets a nasty hit on the head and forgets the past four years and still thinks he's at Stanford and Jessica and John are still alive. No angels please.

Flashbacks

Ever since they'd wrapped up the case at that old high school of theirs, Sam had been more brooding than usual. Something was on his mind that he wouldn't share—as if that was new these days—and Dean was just glad to find another case to jump right into. It took the edge off the frustration, being able to do something beyond driving or sitting in a motel room, wondering if anything would ever be normal again.

Coming back was supposed to be a good thing. Now it was all even more screwed to hell than ever before.

The lead took them to Little Rock, Arkansas, on the report of two or three strange murders. It didn't take long to figure out they had a shapeshifter on their hands, and almost even less time to track the thing down.

It was almost a disappointment. Dean had been hoping for something a little more involved; barely two days, and this thing was nearly in the bag. They found the shifter holed up a dirty apartment in downtown Little Rock, and it bolted before either of them could get off a shot. They chased it out a window onto the fire escape, but it hadn't gone down.

It was waiting. It jumped Sam, and they both tumbled down the grated metal steps to the alley floor. It was Sam's head that hit the pavement at the bottom, but with his brother unconscious there was no-one else to get in the way when Dean squeezed off two shots from the platform as the shapeshifter tried to run. The thing went down a few yards beyond Sam, and Dean was free to all but trip down the steps to get to his brother.

"Sam?" Dean shook him, but there was no answer. "Sammy?" He rolled him onto his side to get a better look at the back of his head, and grimaced when he saw the blood. "Damnit." He'd just shot something that looked like a man. He couldn't call an ambulance to come for his brother here, and they had to get out of the alley before someone reported the gunshots.

With no other choice left to him, Dean hoisted Sam over his shoulder and staggered to his feet under the weight of his annoyingly tall little brother. "Yeah, you better believe you'll be paying for this," he huffed, and headed through the cold for the car as quickly as he could go.

Back at the motel, he laid Sam out on one of the beds and cleaned and bandaged the wound as best he could without cooperation from his patient. He couldn't be sure a hospital run wouldn't be needed later, but he was hoping to avoid it if they could. Maybe they were both legally dead now, but that didn't mean he liked hospitals any more than he ever had.

Still, Dean wouldn't know anything until Sam woke up—unless, of course, he didn't do that any time soon, which would also be cause for concern.

It took most of the night, and he drifted off sprawled atop the comforter on the other bed, but as dawn pushed light under the edges of the drawn curtains he blinked awake and saw that Sam was stirring as well.

Dean got up groggily and padded back to the bed where he'd put his brother, dropping onto the edge of it and smirking a little. "Welcome back."

Sam brought a hand up his forehead and held it there for a moment before opening his eyes. When he did, he squinted up at his brother in confusion. "Dean?"

"The one and only," he answered, clapping a hand on his brother's leg.

Sam jerked a little. "Yeah…I got that," he said, and pushed himself up on his elbows, still not quite awake. "But what are you doing…here…" He scowled and glanced around at the same room they'd been in for the past two nights. "Where the hell is here?"

"Uh, the motel room, dude," Dean frowned.

"Motel?" he asked uncomprehendingly.

"Yeah, the one I dragged your ass back to after that shapeshifter sent you down a flight of stairs in the alley."

"Shapeshifter?"

Dean let out a breath. "Look, you hit your head. The details'll probably be a little fuzzy for a while."

"Dean, what the hell are you talking about? What details?"

"About the hunt we just finished—or I just finished," he answered in frustration.

Sam sat up all the way now, pushing back against the headboard. "Is this some kind of joke? Some kind of stupid Halloween game for you?" he spouted angrily. "I don't see you for two years and then you show up and highjack me? What is that?"

Dean blinked. "Excuse me?" When he didn't move Sam did, all but climbing over him to get quickly off the bed and to his feet, backing away.

"This isn't funny, Dean."

"What's not funny?"

"Where are we!" Sam demanded.

Dean stood slowly, brow furrowing. "Little Rock, Arkansas?" He wasn't sure why he formed it almost as a question, but Sam was scaring him. Halloween? Two years…?

Oh god.

Sam's arms flung out to his sides as he huffed. "Great. That's just great. You couldn't just highjack me; you had to take me halfway across the country. Did Dad put you up to this? Some kind of half-assed plan to get me back into the family business?" he spat. "It won't work. I have a life."

Dean swallowed and licked his lips once nervously. "Sammy…"

"It's Sam."

He held up his hands placatingly. "Whatever, but look, just listen to me for a second, okay? You hit your head."

"Yeah, maybe on the headboard of the bed I was asleep in with my girlfriend when you dragged me out of my apartment! Seriously, Dean, did you think this would get you anywhere? What the hell is wrong with you!"

"Nothing's wrong with me, but something is sure as hell wrong with you!" Dean shouted back, lurching forward to grab his brother's arms and shake. "That was almost four years ago, Sam. Snap out of it!"

Sam shoved him away. "Get off me! What are you talking about?"

"Think, Sammy. This is not Stanford. It's Arkansas. It's February 2009, not October 2005." He hoped that would do it. He hoped it was only a dream Sam had been having, that he was disoriented, that he would snap out of it in a minute and remember where he was. That was all it was. That had to be all it was. They were screwed if that wasn't all it was.

Sam just stared in angered confusion. "What?"

"You hit your head," Dean repeated.

Sam looked like he wanted to object, but his hand went to the back of his head and hit the bandage there. He yelped quietly, and grimaced as he followed the gauze around—the strip wrapped around his head to hold the bandages on at the back. His eyes widened in shock. "So you dropped me," he protested, with a lot less conviction.

"Sam, I did not drop you. That's crazy. A shapeshifter dropped you—down the stairs on a fire escape."
"That's not possible…"

"You don't remember anything?"

"There's nothing to remember!" he shouted suddenly. "This is some kind of elaborate prank! I'm not falling for it! It's October 30th. It's October 30th…" His head dropped as he pulled in air heavily, and he saw his shirt—a dark plaid typical of his wardrobe, but apparently not one he'd had back at Stanford. "What the hell is this?" he questioned, picking at it. "This isn't mine."

Dean swallowed again and tried once more to get closer, holding his hands up again. "Yes it is. You bought it a few weeks ago when we were running dangerously low on clean clothes."

"No, I—"

"Sam!" He grabbed his brother's arms again, but instead of shaking forced Sam to look at him. "It's your shirt. It's yours, okay? I'm not joking. Why would I joke around about something like this?"

Sam stared back at him, clutching Dean's arms in return as he tried to stay upright. "Oh god you're not kidding…" He swayed, and Dean made sure he landed on the edge of the other bed.

"Whoa, easy…"

Sam said nothing for a long moment. "Four years?" he asked weakly.

Dean slowly lowered himself to the edge of the bed beside him. "Not quite, but…"

Sam shook his head. "N-no. It's not possible. I just fell asleep!"

Oh god. Oh god oh god oh god. "Sammy…" he began unsteadily. "You don't remember anything? Anything at all?"

His brother looked at him, wide-eyed and scared and not at all the changed Sam he'd known since returning from hell six months ago. "Nothing. I swear. I swear to god I just fell asleep beside Jessica."


"Dean, calm down. You're overreacting."

"Overreacting? Bobby, my brother can't remember the last four years of our lives. Of all of it, those four years are probably the most important to have. He has no clue what's going on!" Dean hissed into the phone.

"And I doubt it'll last more than a few days, at most. He'll be fine."

He nervously paced the sidewalk outside the motel room. "And what if he isn't? What do we do then? Sometimes, you know, people hit their heads and they lose stuff that never comes back."

"It shouldn't come to that, but we'll cross that bridge if we get to it. I'm telling you; just give it a few days," Bobby answered calmly.

"Well what the hell am I supposed to do with him right now! I have no idea how to handle this. I don't know what to tell him, or not to tell him, or—"

"I don't think I know any more than you do."

"Yeah, but—"

"Look, if you're that worried then bring him here. We can figure this out together, and maybe you won't lose your head."

Dean let out a breath. "Yeah. That sounds a lot better."

He heard Bobby sigh on the other end of the slightly-crackling line. "Fine. I'll be here."

"Great. Good. We'll be there tonight." He snapped the phone shut and pushed back into the room. Sam was sitting on the bed, going through his bag and scowling.

"Come on; pack that thing back up. We're going to Bobby's."

Sam blinked and looked up. "Bobby's? You mean Uncle Bobby? I thought he and Dad weren't on speaking terms."

Dean started in on packing his own bag, back to his brother. "Dad won't be there," he answered brusquely.

"Why not? Where the hell is Dad? You're always with Dad."

His jaw clenched. "Well I'm not right now."

He felt Sam's eyes in his back. "What? He let you hunt on your own?"

"Four years, Sam. I'm thirty." Not that he enjoyed the fact, but it was true. Maybe it had only been true for two or three weeks, but it was definitely true.

Sam stood up behind him, huffing loudly—uncomfortably. "This is crazy. You can't be thirty. I-I'm not—"

"Twenty-five, dude."

Dean turned just as his brother sat down again. "This is crazy…"

"You're telling me." He picked his packed bag up and hefted it over his shoulder. Sam stood again as he headed for the door, and a new urgency broached his voice when he spoke next.

"What about Jessica? Where is she? Does she know where I am?"

"Not now, Sam." He glanced back to see his brother holding both hands to the sides of his head.

"Oh god. I-I was going to propose soon. I must have done it…am I married? Oh god please don't tell me I have kids I can't remember…"

Dean was glad he was at the door and Sam couldn't see his face, because the sob he swallowed back pulled a rather obvious grimace over his expression.

There it was—what Sam would have had if Jessica hadn't died, if they hadn't had to find Dad and hunt the demon and save the whole damn world and weren't still at it even now.

He wouldn't have changed so much…or at least not in the ways he had. He would happy. He might have been married and he might have at least one of those kids by now.

Sam was about to hyperventilate behind him, and Dean finally managed to swallow and shut him up. "Sam! Not now," he said more forcefully. He shifted his bag on his shoulder and opened the door. "Let's go."


The ride to Bobby's was uncomfortable and mostly silent. Under normal circumstances Sam might not have minded, but it was maddening now.

Dean wouldn't tell him anything. Part of him wanted to let himself believe that meant it was all just a joke, and part of him worried unceasingly over it.

God…what if he really was missing four years of his life? Where were Jessica and Dad? Surely he'd graduated law school by now…didn't he have a job? Why had he and Dean been on a hunt together?

He hadn't seen Bobby in years—at least as far as he could remember—but even under the circumstances it was still good to see him when he opened the door and let them in, and hugged him briefly.

Still, he wasn't so sure he wanted this insane idea of a situation to be confirmed.

"Let's have a look at that head of yours," Bobby said after a moment. Sam shrugged and reluctantly allowed him to lead into the kitchen, with Dean trailing anxiously behind. He sat in the chair Bobby indicated and waited uneasily while the older hunter carefully pulled the bandaging back to look at the wound.

"Ow."

"Sorry."

"So what do you think?" Dean asked.

After another moment or so Bobby shrugged, and gently tugged the bandage wrap back into place. "I think it's not as bad as it could be. You really should be fine, Sam, and I'm sure everything will come back in time."

Then it was true. Somehow he doubted Bobby would be in on some stupid plot just to scare him.

Oh god.

Sam swallowed. "Right…thanks." He glanced down at himself, and really noticed now the smudges of dirt on his arms and across his clothes. He stood quickly, grimacing when he realized that hadn't been such a bright idea. Bobby gripped his arm for a moment to keep him steady as he held a hand to his head.

"Sam? You okay?" Dean asked.

"Yeah….uh…I think I'm just gonna go take a shower before I hit the hay."They'd been driving for sixteen hours. They could have stopped for the night, but Dean had refused to do it. Sam supposed his brother wasn't any more comfortable dealing with this alone than he was himself.

"You might not want to take those bandages off your head yet," Bobby countered.

"Fine; I'll take a bath."

He couldn't get out of the room fast enough.


"What do you really think?" Dean asked, once Sam was safely in the shower.

Bobby sighed. "I don't know, Dean. You can never know with things like this. Either it'll come back, or it won't. If it does, it may take time and it might not."

"Damnit. So what are we supposed to do now?"

"Get some sleep," Bobby grumbled. "It's two in the morning."

"Bobby."

"Keep him calm, for one thing. And this isn't a bad place for him to be. He has memories here from the past few years. The familiarity may help."

Dean growled under his breath in frustration. "So what…we just sit here and wait? I don't know if we can afford to take the time to do that."

Bobby dropped into the chair Sam had been in. "Well…you could go. I know there's a lot to do out there these days."

"And leave Sam with you when most of his memories of you right now are from when we were kids? He doesn't really know you right now; I can't do that either. I don't think we need to freak him out even more," he sighed.

"Your choice."

He shook his head. "No it's not. I have to stay."

Bobby nodded. "Okay."

Dean knew his friend was giving him that look, but what he didn't know was why. "What?"

"Dean…look, I think we should give him time to remember some things on his own, but…I also think that he should be told a few things up front—about your dad and his girlfriend, for starters. He should be warned."

He grimaced. "Why?"

"Either he'll remember eventually, or you'll have to tell him later anyway."

"But—"

"I know it won't be easy, but if we don't tell him he'll go on assuming they're still alive, and it'll hurt him more when he realizes they aren't. We should tell him now."

Dean groaned. "God, you have no idea how much I don't want to do that."

Bobby crossed his arms uneasily. "I could do it, if you can't," he offered quietly.

He shook his head slowly. "No…you're right. He needs to know, and…I should do it. He should hear it from me, and I should probably do it by myself."

"You sure you want to do it alone?"

"No. But it's better for him that way."

"All right," Bobby sighed uncertainly. "If you think so."

"Yeah…"