Chapter 2

"Winchester! What do you think you're doing?"

"Going to lunch, boss," Sam answered, sounding like he was on the receiving end of an interrogation.

"Not now, you're not. We have a killer to catch. No one is going to lunch until I say so, you got that, Winchester?"

Gibbs had watched the newest member of his team for some time now before calling attention to the fact that he was doing so. The young man jumped a foot higher than he already was, and from the desk next to his, Tony snickered.

"What are you laughing at, DiNozzo?" Gibbs countered, smacking Tony on the back of the head, before adding a curt, "get back to work."

"On it, Boss!" Tony snapped quickly to attention, but Gibbs barley acknowledged it as he breezed past Tony's desk and grabbed Sam by the arm.

"My office, Winchester, now!" he barked, leading Sam to the elevator. Once inside, he hit the emergency stop button as hard as he could. The elevator stopped and he simply stood there, waiting, while Sam shuffled his feet awkwardly. Finally, Gibbs broke the silence with a softly spoken, "if there's anything you'd like to tell me, Winchester, now would be the time."

"There's nothing, Gibbs. Boss, sir," Sam answered just as nervously as he had in the bullpen a few moments before.

"Uhuh," Gibbs said with a nod of his head. "Then why don't I believe you?"

Sam looked away, focusing his attention on the crack between the doors. It was then that his cell phone rang. At first, he let it ring and ring until it went to voice mail. It stopped, and then began to ring again.

"Aren't you going to answer that? Might be important," Gibbs prompted, and watched amused, as Sam scowled and did as he was told.

"Dean... yeah, no... look, I'm sorry, but I couldn't ... I told you I had to work, Dean. What more do you want from me?" Sam sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "I can't do that. You KNOW WHY, Dean. No... I'm out. I can't help you, I'm sorry. Fuck."

While Sam spoke, Gibbs observed him quietly. He was tense - beyond tense and more like rigid - like he was holding in a great deal of anger and rage. Dean, that was the kid's older brother. Gibbs had never met Dean Winchester, but over the years, he'd heard enough from his old Marine Corps buddy, John, that he knew what the boys were like. 'Sam isn't like Dean or I, Jethro,' John and written once. 'He's smart and sensitive and just not cut out for the life. Sometimes I worry about him.'

"That your brother?" he asked quietly. Sam didn't know that Gibbs knew his father, had served with him in the Corps years before. He didn't know that when Gibbs had approached him for a job, it had been because he'd recognized the name and had known that John Winchester's boy could use a decent break.

"Yeah," Sam said, tucking the cell phone back into his coat pocket. He ran his hand through his hair again, looking both frustrated and embarrassed. "He came into town unexpectedly last night and expected me to drop everything for him. I told him I had to work, but... " he sighed. "Dean just doesn't get it. Not everything revolves around him."

"I see," Gibbs said, calmly. "Family troubles, then?"

Sam shook his head. "Nothing Dean can't handle on his own."

Gibbs raised an eyebrow. "You sure about that, Sam? Once this case is over, you can request some time off, if you need it."

Again, Sam shook his head. "If I requested time off every time my family messed something up, I'd never hold down a job," he told Gibbs.

"I see," Gibbs said again. He could see a whole lot of tension between Sam and his brother, even through that one phone call. The trouble was, he didn't know the source of that tension. A few months ago, he'd left a message for John on his voice mail, letting him know that he'd hired the kid and so far, he'd heard nothing back from John. Which wasn't that unusual for John Winchester. After his wife died, he'd gone a little off the deep end. Like most people do. "Well, if you change your mind, just say something." Gibbs clasped Sam's shoulder amicably and released. He had no delusions - the kid wasn't going to open up to him. At least not yet.


"Damn it, Sammy, damn it, damn it, damn it. Fuck!" Dean continued swearing as he threw clothes into his duffle bag, on top of his father's old notebook and a couple of guns. He'd honestly expected his brother to show up. Why, he wasn't so sure now, but he had all the same. Sam was his brother, his own flesh and blood. With Dad missing - and maybe even dead by now - they were all each other had left in the whole world.

Dean and Sam Winchester.

Didn't Sammy see that? Didn't he get it? They needed each other. Dean needed his brother. Why else would he drive all the way across country, in the opposite direction as Dad's slowly-growing-cold trail, just to see Sam? It sure as Hell wasn't because he missed the whining from the back seat about missing school or having a normal life.

No, it was because Sam had been his last hope in finding Dad. The two of them together, on the road like it was meant to be.

Instead, Sammy blows him off because he's a cop now and he has more important things to do than worry about where their father went off to, chasing which monsters, or if he was ever going to come back at all. How fuckin' selfish could a guy get, anyway?

Dean scowled as he zipped the bag shut, then slung it over his shoulder.

"Whatever," he told the empty room. "I tried to talk to him, but he just... couldn't be bothered to care about his old man. Or his brother. I tried."

He closed the motel room door with a slam behind him, dropped off the key card at the front desk, and that was it. He had wasted enough precious time on the idea that his brother might actually give a shit. Whatever. He was out of here, just as fast as the Impala could take him. He had a lot of ground to cover while he still could.