Disclaimer- I don't own Supernatural that privilege belongs to the CW, Kripke and Co. I'm simply borrowing them for a while but I promise I'll give them back when I'm finished but all the rest is mine. Also I'm making no profit, it's just for fun and all standard disclaimers apply.

Summary - Set early season one. Dean thought he knew most of them by now. The little things he shouldn't say, subjects he shouldn't bring up and places they shouldn't go. He was wrong.

Thank you - To the fabulous amyblair, for her time, her guidance and her invaluable wise words. Without her help and encouragement I would never have posted this.

A/N - I've played, I've tinkered and I've tweaked so there's probably a mistake or two but they're all mine. This is something a little different for me and I guess that's why I'm so nervous about it. And it doesn't help that this is my first post in a really long time. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy, here we go…

Blonde Curls and Cookies

It was a small, dead end town. One road in, same road out.

The one motel they did have was decidedly dodgy looking even for Winchester standards. But gas was expensive and Dean had needed a break from the monotony of the open road. Well that and Sam needed to rest. In a real bed, where he could stretch his gangly limbs to his hearts content.

It took Dean fifteen minutes to walk the main drag. A total waste of his time when he realised there wasn't a single brand named junk food or coffee chain in sight. The one diner he had passed was packed to bursting and he didn't do mile long queues, especially when he was jonesing for a hit of caffeine.

He wasn't sure how he spotted the place. It was well hidden, at the bottom of a dimly-lit side street. But as the heavenly aroma of roasted coffee beans teased his nostrils, Dean decided not to question it. Good old fashioned luck? Godly intervention? He really didn't give a damn.

Steering himself down the narrow street, Dean followed his nose like a blood hound.

It was a nice place. Small and cosy, filled with old mismatched furniture. The walls were painted with muted shades and housed large chalk boards with neat hand written menus. The bell above the door chimed cheerily as he entered, the flames of the open fire crackling under the general hum of chatter and instantly Dean knew he liked it here.

Strolling casually up to the counter, Dean stared at the ridiculously long menu. So maybe he'd been too hasty with his initial liking of the place. How many coffee variations could there possibly be?

"Can I help you?"

"God, I sure hope so," Dean said eyes still fixed on the menu. "I just want a coffee. A black one."

"No problem," a feminine voice said. "Anything else?"

"A latte," and right now he could kill his brother for what he was about to say. "Do you have flavoured syrups?"

"Yes we do."

"Vanilla?" Dean asked feeling his cheeks warm.

"Vanilla it is," she said as she scribbled the orders down. "Small or large?"

"Large," Dean replied. "And a couple of whatever that is that I can smell."

"Sure thing," she said, as she tapped the prices into the till. "Anything else I can tempt you with?" Her long eyelashes sweeping up as she chewed suggestively on her bottom lip.

There was. And plenty of it as he eyed her slender but shapely figure, her rosy cheeks and full lips. But that was before he caught a glimpse of her blue eyes and long blonde curls. All that was missing was the Smurf.

"No. That'll be everything."

Blindly fishing out a note from his wallet and shoving the loose change into the charity box on the counter, Dean waited for his order.

She wasn't a dead-ringer. There was no need to check for a glare or flash from her eyes, no need to reach for his .45 and empty a clip of silver into her chest. But there was something about her and Dean was more than grateful that he'd persuaded Sam to rest up back in the motel room. The kid was hardly sleeping as it was. Damn nightmares. And combine that with the search for their Dad, the research and the endless phone calls to contacts, it was getting ridiculous and Dean was more than a little worried.

She waved when he left. But with the coffees stacked in his hands and a mouth full of brown paper take out bag, he couldn't wave back. Which was lucky because he didn't want to.

It had been a nice day, early February sun with a bite of freshness. But now that darkness was setting in the cold air was a shock to his system as he stepped out of the toasty coffee shop and onto the street. Walking at an almost jog, it didn't take Dean long to get back to the motel room. He struggled with the door, too many things to hold and not enough hands. Freaking key cards. But he managed, clumsily entering before closing and locking the door, double checking the salt lines as he passed.

Sam was sat hunched over the dining table, the glare from the open laptop lit up the lavender smudges under his eyes as his fingers nimbly flew across the keyboard. "You took your time," he said, eyes staying glued to the screen.

Striding across the room Dean dumped the coffees, take out bag and key card onto the table before reaching over and slapping the computer closed with the palm of his hand. "Yeah? Got bored did you? I told you no research."

"C'mon Dean, you can't be serious?"

"Deadly," Dean said, tone flat and face stern as he snatched the laptop and stuffed it in his duffle bag. "Just take a break okay. Maybe try to get some sleep?"

"I sleep."

"Sure you do," Dean said eyeing Sam and biting back a comment about being woken up at unimaginable hours every night by strangled cries for a lost lover. Last thing he wanted was Sam to feel guilty about it. Or worse, hide it from him completely. "Just…rest your eyes for an hour or so."

"Rest me eyes?" Sam said his eyebrows peaking in amusement.

"Look, you want your frilly girly latte or not, Francis?"

"Oh, come on."

"I'm serious, Sam. I'm sure the drain is just dying was a hit of caffeine."

Sam looked up at him, a retort clearly sitting on the tip of his tongue but instead he clipped his mouth closed, allowing the bitch face to say it all. Jaw set, his frown in place Sam stood up and walked over to the bed, muttering under his breath as he lowered himself down onto the floral comforter.

"You're such a drama queen," Dean said as reached for the Styrofoam cups on the table.

"I learn from the best," Sam said as he let his body weight sink back into the cushions at the head of the bed. "Did you get the syrup?"

"Are you doubting my coffee buying ability?"

Sam smiled. "That depends. Did you get it?"

"Yeah, I got it," Dean said as he handed Sam the cup. "But for the record you're officially a girl for drinking this crap. Coffee's supposed to put hairs on your chest, not make you want to increase your cup size."

"Yeah well, I like it," Sam said, popping off the plastic lid and closing his eyes as he took a whiff. "It was Jess's favourite."

And there it was. Because of course it was. Sam had been a black coffee drinker before Stanford. But still, Dean really had thought he knew most of them by now. The little things he shouldn't say, subjects he shouldn't bring up and places they shouldn't go.

He couldn't do much about happy couples holding hands, whispering secrets and stealing kisses. Or leggy blondes with loose curls and bright blue eyes. But he could avoid College campuses and he'd made sure that they'd stayed as far away from the state of California as possible. Once he'd even hastily flipped the channel when a blue Smurf appeared.

But it was all a learning curve. He didn't know all that much about Jessica. Nothing really in the grand scheme of things. And he knew even less about Sam's relationship with her, what they were like as a couple, their little in-jokes and nick names.

The silence between them was growing awkward as the seconds passed and right now Dean didn't know what to say. It wasn't the time to crack a joke. And he didn't want to pry or push Sam into talking, he usually clammed up after slips like this anyway.

So Dean chose door number three. Change the subject. "I got you this too," Dean said reaching in and retrieving his own treat before throwing the brown take out bag at Sam who snatched it mid air.

Taking a seat, Dean took a bite of his own still warm cookie, the chocolate chips melting on his tongue as he groaned in satisfaction. "Heaven. Pure Heaven."

He was so distracted by his taste buds it took a good few seconds for him to notice the pain that flashed across Sam's face. His skin ashen as he swallowed deeply, his adam's apple bobbing like a boat on stormy waters.

"Sam? You okay?"

"Yeah, I just…" Sam set the cup on the nightstand, coffee sloshing over the sides as he sat up abruptly, his back facing Dean as he pulled a hand through his hair.

Dean's stomach dropped, hitting his feet with a dull thud. He'd done it again. Put his size eleven's right in it. "God, Sam. I'm sorry, I…"

"It's not your fault," Sam said, taking a deep but shaky breath. "You didn't know."

No, he didn't. And now more than ever Dean realised that there was a whole part of his brother that he didn't know anything about.

"There's just so much stuff and it's the little things that I forget. And then out of nowhere they hit and I just…"

Yeah, Dean knew all about the power of the little things. "So tell me," Dean said. "Maybe between the two of us we'll remember them."

Dean watched the muscles in Sam's back stiffen, the silence thick and heavy. Then Sam turned his head, eyes locking with Dean's before he shifted on the bed, turning to face his brother.

He was nervous. Dean could sense it, see it in Sam's bouncing leg and the way he stared at his hands. "Look, if you don't want to…"

"No, I do."

The last thing Dean wanted was to push. But if encouraging a girly touchy feely moment would help his brother, then he'd do it. Hell, he'd wear pink lip gloss, buy a box of tissues and say things like 'Just let it all out' as he dabbed away tears if Sam needed him to.

"She baked a lot when she got stressed or worried," Sam said, his words feather soft. "Finals, deadlines that sort of thing. She said it calmed her nerves, distracted her, y'know?"

Then it went quiet. So quiet that Dean could hear Sam control his breathing.

Dean watched as Sam dropped his head, eyes tracing the pattern of the carpet as he took a deep breath. "That night, when I got home there was a plate of cookies waiting on the table. She was worried about something. What if she knew?"

"Knew what?"

"That something was after her?"

"She didn't."

"You can't be sure."

"Yes, I can," Dean said leaning forward on the chair, elbows resting on his knees. "She was worried about you, man. You weren't answering your phone. She didn't know where you were, if you were okay. That's what you do when you care about someone. You worry about them."

Sam fell silent, studying his hands. "I don't know, Dean."

Standing up, Dean moved to sit next to his brother on the bed, their shoulders touching as the mattress dipped with his weight. "Yeah, well, I do. She didn't know," Dean said, the back of his hand resting against the worn denim on Sam's knee. "She didn't. And since I'm older, I'm right."

Sam released a deep breath, snorting a shaky laugh as his shoulders slumped.

"She any good?" Dean asked, his eyebrows lifting.

"Huh?"

"At baking."

A hint of a smile ghosted Sam's lips. "It took some practice, but yeah. When we first moved in together she tried to make a batch of cookies. It took her hours, she weighed everything so carefully. Practically babysat them while they were in the oven. I have no idea what she did, but they were awful."

"Oh yeah. What did you say?"

"I told her they were the best I'd ever tasted. She made them everyday for a week and I swear they got worse each time. After the tenth batch I told her and she couldn't stop laughing. She said she knew, she was just wondering how long she could make me sweat it out."

"Sounds like my kind of girl," Dean said, slapping a hand on his brother's shoulder as he stood.

A smile curled Sam's lips as he blinked heavily before settling himself back onto the overly soft mattress. "No, mine."

Crossing the room Dean pulled the laptop out of his bag, powering it up with a push of a button.

"Thanks," Sam said sleepily.

"Any time."

Sam slept for five straight hours. A record.

And Dean couldn't help but think that maybe this wasn't too hard after all. The whole chick flick, listening and encouraging to talk thing. And maybe next time he flicked passed a blue Smurf he wouldn't be quite so hasty.