Dean sighed as he pulled up at another red light; he couldn't quite believe that he was sitting in traffic on his way home from work. He couldn't help resenting himself for pretending that this was how he wanted to spend the rest of his life. Working 9 to 5, doing the same old boring job over and over and over again. But he guessed that this was the price he had to pay for letting his brother sacrifice himself in order to save the world. Dean wished he could take back every bad thought he'd had about his brother since that day but he couldn't. He didn't even have the guts to face Bobby, the reminder of hunting too painful and too raw for him to be confronted with.
"Lisa! I'm home," he called as he opened the front door, shaking his head as he wiped his feet on the mat by the door. He felt a hint of sadness as he pulled off his boots. Sam had been the one that had wanted the normal life and even though he'd said otherwise in the last conversation they'd had about it, Dean could tell how disgruntled Sam had been about the fact that he'd never have the life he'd craved for most of his life. It all made sense when Sam made him promise to never bring him back, told him to go to Lisa and live this apple pie life.
They were halfway through dinner when Dean's phone rang. He gave Lisa an apologetic smile as he stood up to answer it, assuming that it was one of his work buddies inviting him for a beer.
"Hello?" he said without checking the caller ID.
"Hello sir, I'm calling from Mayfield Hospital in Nebraska, we have a young man here who was admitted yesterday and he gave us this number." A woman said and Dean gripped the phone tightly in his hand. It couldn't be…
"What's his name?" he asked in a shaky voice.
"We don't know, we were hoping that you could maybe come on down to hospital see if you recognise him? I can't give you any details over the phone but…things aren't looking good…"
"And you say he just gave you this number?" Dean asked his voice steadier this time around, "It must be a wrong number".
"Sir, please w-"before she could say anymore he hung up. His heart was beating rapidly as he clung to his cell phone. It wasn't Sam, Sam was gone he told himself as he went back over to the table.
"What year is it?"
"Do you know who the President is?"
"Uhm….George Bush right?" The doctor sighed and wrote down some notes before leaving the room with a frown on his face.
"Sam?" a new voice called from the doorway and Sam looked up. Bobby. He frowned, he hadn't called Bobby, and the thought hadn't even crossed his mind. He'd remembered an old number of his Dad's and he'd left a message on his voicemail. He'd given up on calling Dean weeks ago when it became apparent that Dean wanted nothing to do with him. Sam hated being in this hospital, he wanted Dean and he wanted his Dad but neither of them had come. He couldn't shake the fog from his mind, his eyes were constantly hazy and it hurt whenever he tried to remember how he'd ended up here. He'd been having nightmares since he'd woken up and somehow he knew that Jess wasn't alive….he just didn't know. That wasn't the worst part though. Every morning he woke up screaming, the smell and sound of burnt flesh fresh in his mind but he couldn't explain it, he didn't understand what was happening to him. But he'd convinced himself that it wasn't true, he was seeing things that couldn't have happened. After one look in Bobby's eyes and his façade had come crushing down. His eyes slip shut and everything fell away.
When he woke up again, Bobby was still in the room but now he's with a strange man that makes Sam feel uneasy. He has dark brown hair and he's wearing a tan trench coat that Sam found rather ridiculous. He tried to say something but his throat was hoarse and Bobby appeared to be deep in conversation with the strange man.
"As far as I can tell Sam's memory hasn't been wiped clean by any angel or demon. It appears that the memories are still there…it's just been locked in his mind somehow," the stranger said.
"So how are we supposed to know how much he remembers?" Bobby whispered and the strange man turned to look at Sam, his piercing blue eyes assessing him slowly.
"Ask him," he replied simply. The strange man then vanished suddenly as Sam blinked sluggishly. As he blinked he saw flames, heard a mutter of a scream and felt a twinge of pain. All of a sudden he felt like he was eight years old again, wanted his brother to hug him and tell him that everything was okay. But Dean wasn't here. He wasn't here.
"What happened Sam?" Bobby asked after a while and Sam motioned to the jug of water on the stand by his bed and smiled gratefully once Bobby had handed him a glass of water.
"I don't remember anything," He said in a frustrated voice and Bobby's eyes filled with sadness, "The last thing I remember is Dean…he broke in…said that Dad was missing…I had…I'm supposed to have an interview…Bobby what's going on?"
Dean was sitting on the front porch when he heard a fluttering sound and suddenly Castiel appeared in front of him. Dean frowned; he hadn't seen Cas in months.
"What are you doing here?" he asked bluntly.
"Well, it's nice to see you too Dean," Cas replied. "It's time for you to go to your brother now"
"It's not Sam…and even if it is…I have a family now, I can't just leave them," Dean argued stubbornly. Cas sighed.
"Okay, you leave me no choice but to do this forcefully," he said. "Just talk to him and then if you wish I'll bring you back." Before Dean could protest, Cas touched his shoulder and he found himself in a hospital corridor. He trembled slightly as he just stood there, frozen with fear. None of this made any sense. How could Sam be back after all this time? It didn't make any sense! All of sudden he could hear raised voices coming from the room.
"Where's Jess? I know something happened. That much I know! Just tell me Bobby!" Sam yelled and Dean could hear Bobby telling him to calm down. There was a loud smash and Sam screamed, "Dammit, just tell me Bobby!"
"She's dead!" Bobby yelled back and Dean flinched. So…Sam didn't remember anything? He didn't remember hell, Dean going to hell…Dad dying. Maybe there was a God after all. It would be cruel of him to not tell Sam what had happened but maybe…just maybe he'd get his Sammy back. He'd get this kid brother back. He made a decision and he walked into the room. Sam looked up from where he was glaring at Bobby in shock; the same expression now trained on Dean, time just seemed to freeze. Then there was a split second before it came back to life again. Sam broke out into huge sobs that seemed to shake his whole body and Bobby murmured several apologies before escaping the room. And Dean? Dean rushed over to Sam and embraced his brother.
"It's okay Sam, I'm here. I'm not going to leave you." The exact same words he's said whilst Sam had still been trapped in his own body. Dean wondered if he'd honour it this time.