Okay so I found this when trying to rescue files from my PC. It is a tag to Dark Side of The Moon and my own story, A Happy Remembrance. It's a what happened before, during and after Flagstaff. I was going to make it another chapter to AHR but I like that as it is on it's own. So, this is the lead up to and the disappearance of, Sam.

Should go up in one or two parts. Mary x

Memories of Flagstaff.

Sam slammed out of the school, Evan Burke and his pack close on his heels. "Oh look Sam, there's your big brother waiting to take you home. Can't have you walking home on your own now can we?"

There was a little burst of laughter.

"Awfully close for brothers there Sam? Sure there ain't something that you want to tell us?"

Another burst of laughter and Sam prayed that Dean's music was loud enough to cover the next remark. "He's real pretty for guy."

Dean's head turned towards them. Sam cursed and lengthened his stride. Snorts and giggles followed him this time. Someone pushed him but he kept his balance. "For a brother he sure doesn't look like you, sure he's not your sugar daddy? You been giving it up there Sammy?"

That and the use of his hated nickname did it. Sam stopped short and Evan ran into his back. Turning the younger Winchester screamed in his tormentor's face. "What's your problem Burke? You jealous 'cos your family don't give a rat's ass about you?"

"Fuck you Winchester." Evan pushed him hard and Sam stumbled back.

Dean was out of the car. Sam could hear the protest from the doors and he turned, protest of his own ready to defuse his brother's involvement which was probably only going to make matters worse.

"What's up Sam?" Dean stepped up and slightly in front of his brother.

"Nothing." He grabbed Dean's sleeve and turned, tried to pull his brother away.

"Doesn't look like nothing." Dean's voice was quiet and calm and it raised every hair on Sam's neck.

"Come on. They're just assholes."

Sam tried again to budge the solid mass that was his seventeen year old brother and failed.

Dean swiped his hand off and stepped forward, Sam taking a moment of joy from the worried look that now sat on Evan's face.

The left side of Dean's face was covered in bruises. It added a mean edge to his brother's usually delicate, good looks. Those and his bandaged right hand were courteousy of two guys in a bar. His hand they had closed in a door after they'd taken exception to him hustling them at pool.

"You touch my brother again and we're going to have a problem. Do you hear me?," the elder Winchester growled right in the face of his brother's tormentor.

Evan nodded.

"Didn't hear you."


Dean leant in closer. "Yes what?"

Evan looked at him blankly for a second and then got it. "Yes, sir," he spat out.

"Dean." Sam tried to call his brother off, this time glad that Dean turned towards him. "Come on. Just leave it. Please."

The please did the trick, Dean turning away and putting a guiding hand on the back of Sam's jacket.

Until Evan's mouth decided that it had a death wish. "Might have well have come up and pee'd on him."

Dean swivelled back, hand snaking out Cobra like and catching the boy's shirt. Blood oozed through the bandages at the tightness of the grip. "What did you say?" His voice was a hiss and Sam was torn between letting Dean knock the crap out of the boy or pulling him off.

"Dean," he begged. "Leave it."

His brother though dragged Evan into him. "You really need to watch that mouth or I'm gonna slap the smart ass right out of it, you hear me?"

Sam was looking at his brother but the words and the tone of voice were pure John Winchester. The words Sam had heard spoken to Dean himself in that tone on the few occasions when his mouth had gotten the better of his senses during a rare and usually ugly John and Dean argument. Only difference was John would never raise his hands to them in anger, whereas Dean was almost certain to carry through on his threat to Evan.

"Boys?" The teacher's voice cut open the crowd that had gathered. "Is there a problem here?"

Dean look up at her, opened his hand and smoothed down the front of Evan's shirt just a little too roughly causing the boy to step back.

"Not if you do your job and keep him the hell away from my brother."

The teacher looked startled at the venom in the tone and Sam latched onto Dean's sleeve and pulled. "Come on. Don't start anything, not with Dad not here."

Dean tensed at that, reason seeping into his eyes as he looked at Sam. "Get in the car." He pushed Sam in front of him and rounded the car as the teacher recovered. "Where do you think you are going?," she directed at Dean.

He shot her his most dangerous smile, a loose easy grin that had her and Evan stepping back. "Home." He pointed at Evan. "Remember, you stay away from him."

With that he got in the car and peeled her away from the kerb, dust and small stones rising from the road in her wake and showering the watching crowd. Sam turned back round in his seat and sighed, not sure if he was thrilled at the moment that Dean was his brother or just really, really annoyed by it.

By the time they hit the highway he'd settled on annoyed. He turned his anger and embarrassment at Dean's rescue back on him. "I don't need anyone to watch me, I can take care of myself," he griped as he flung his school bag over the seat back and onto the back seat. "I don't need you to baby sit me to and from school."

Dean sighed and turned to him with a long suffering look on his face. "Looked that way."

Sam huffed loudly.

"Dad said that I have to get you from school Sam. It'll be my ass if something happens to you on the way home and I'm sitting cooling my heels."

"Dad said," Sam mimicked in a whiney voice. "I'm thirteen for Christ's sake. At that age you were looking after both of us on your own."

"Lucky me and watch your mouth, or I might just slap the smart ass outta you instead."

Sam snorted. "Like to see you try," he muttered low so that Dean wouldn't catch it. "I can look after myself," he informed his brother more loudly.

Dean's knuckles gripped the steering wheel so tight that they were white. "Well you ain't getting to cause I got orders which say no, you can't."

"Forgot, you're the good little soldier son."

Dean punched him on the arm for that. "One of us has to be."

Sam rubbed at his arm but didn't hit Dean back, not in the mood that Sam was putting him in. He was angry not suicidal. "Want me to prove it to you?," Sam challenged him.

"No, what I want is you to shut the hell up, let me get us home and then let me see if I can find something for us to eat in the shithole that laughing passes as our apartment."

Sam knew that Dean was close to loosing it with him but still he pushed on. "I mean, take tonight. My friends are all going to the cinema but I can't."

"God, Sam. We have been over this already. You're not going, so drop it."

"Says who?"

"ME!" Dean threw the car into the space outside the apartment. "Now get in the damn house." He didn't wait for Sam just got out of the car. Sam fetched his bag and got out, slamming his own door for good measure. Dean's face was enough to get him heading for the door without another word.

Once inside though he resumed his badgering of his brother. "I can take care of myself Dean. I don't need a guard dog." Sam threw his school bag down onto the little kitchen table and scowled at his big brother.

Dean sighed and slammed the door hard as he walked in behind him. "Well Dad says different and you're not going. So stop whining like a little bitch and get your homework done." He didn't want to tell his brother that they had no money left whatsoever and he couldn't afford to let Sam go. Better his brother hated him for not letting him go than realise that their position was worse than it usually was. He turned and sighed heading for the fridge and hoping that something to eat other than the milk, cheese and eggs that had been there earlier had miraculously materialised. It hadn't.

Behind him Sam continued to grouse. "Shithead," he mumbled lowly under his breath but loud enough so Dean would still hear. Raising his voice he looked at his brother. "It's only the pictures. What the hell is going to happen there, especially when there'll be eight of us?"

"No Sam. There'll be seven of you, because you aren't going. Full stop. End of discussion." He held up the eggs in his good hand. "Cheese omelette?"

Sam's huffed so hard that his hair shifted. "Again?"

Dean's patience was almost gone. His hand, face and his back, that he'd hurt in a bar fight over a pool hustle the weekend before, were aching like a bitch. Sam's bitching and the fact that the last of the painkillers were long gone had almost pushed him to the edge. "Dad'll be home in a couple of days. Can't you cut me some slack until then? Just do as your damn well told for once?"

Sam looked at his brother, knew that he should give him the requested and well deserved slack that Dean had asked him for. Dean looked stressed and tired and he was still favouring his injuries. The younger brother debated his answer, knowing that things were tight and Dean was worrying about feeding them, paying the rent and the fact that Dad was already three days late. Still, he was angry at the world in general and, at this moment, his brother in particular. "No!" he finally shouted and stormed off, slamming the bedroom door so hard that the walls of the cheap apartment shook.

Dean turned and rested against the counter, wanting to throw the food in his hands at the wall and vent some of his own frustration. Instead he took a deep breath, juggled the pan onto the heat and started dinner.

Dean sighed as he heard his brother getting up in the next room. He'd tried to be quiet, tried to avoid having Sam ask him questions that he just couldn't answer and hit him with that look when he found out that he was getting left on his own. Dean hated leaving his brother; more so in this crappy apartment, but needs must and even this place was preferable to the streets or sleeping in the car in early March. With his hand bust like it was there was only one way that Dean knew of to make some quick money even though the very thought of it turned his stomach. Still, needs must.

The bedroom door opened and his younger brother stepped out into the living area, blinking in the harsh light from the bare overhead bulb. The scowl appeared the instant that he saw that Dean was dressed and wearing his jacket. "You're shitting me right? I can't go out but you can? Where are you going?," he demanded.

"Out, I got some things to take care of."

"I'll come with you." Sam turned to go back into the bedroom but Dean moved forward and stopped him with a hand to his arm.

"No, you can't," he replied a little too sharply causing Sam to prickle further.

"Why not?," the younger brother huffed.

"Because I said so." Dean cut off his brother's reply with a hand. "You just can't Sam, okay? Listen, I'll be an hour tops. Just stay here, lock the door and get to sleep." Sam's eyes flashed angrily at him and Dean sighed and rubbed at his forehead with his good hand. It did nothing to dispel his lingering headache or the furious look on his younger brother face. "Please?"

"So I can't go to the pictures with my friends in the afternoon because it's too dangerous, but you can sneak out at," Sam glanced at his watch, "…eleven at night and it's okay for me to be left here on my own?" Sam looked round the small apartment with disgust. "Talk about double standards."

"Sam, it's not like that," Dean started but his brother interrupted him.

"It's a girl isn't it? You're going out to bang some random chick and leaving me here on my own when you're supposed to be watching me." He watched as the dig hit home with his brother.

"Sam….," Dean tried again.

"Fine, you're right. I am big enough to look after myself. I don't need you or anyone else to do it. Just go!" Sam stomped off back to the bedroom. "And I'm telling Dad!" The door got slammed hard enough this time for the sole picture that passed as the dingy hovel's only decoration fell and smashed on the floor.

Dean stood there, torn between going to make his peace with his brother or going to make sure that they would both still have a roof over their heads in the morning. He could hear the conversation in his head. Sam, want to come see if I can sell myself on the streets for an hour to see if I can make enough money to pay the rent and feed us until dad decides to show his face? If he shows his face? Yeah maybe better just to leave that conversation unsaid and just go, let his brother simmer down on his own.

With one last look at the closed bedroom door he headed out.

Dean got home at one in the morning, frozen to the core and riding a wave of sickness that had been threatening to explode since he'd got the knees of his jeans wet for the first time that night. He took a quick check on Sam; the covers bundled up over his brother's head, and then grabbed his sweats and a clean t-shirt and headed for the bathroom. He put his hard earned two hundred dollars on the shelf and dropped to his knees for the final time that night. Hunching over the toilet bowl he used his fingers to make himself sick, needing to get what wanted to come up, up. Then, he thought, he'd get washed, brush his teeth and crash for a few hours before having to get up early and go get them something decent to eat and himself some painkillers.

After that? He'd go and stick old man Greave's weekly rent in his face.

Though he wanted to he didn't stay in the shower long, not wanting to wake his brother with the pipes that he knew would rattle if he was in there longer than ten minutes. He'd clean up properly in the morning. Slipping out of the bathroom he dropped himself onto his bed and tried to will himself to sleep. Closing his eyes and sighing deeply he rolled over onto his good side and curled himself into a ball.

The silence that fell on the room after he stopped moving made him sit up again and stare over at his brother's bed. He listened carefully; sure that he had just missed it the first time but still the silence taunted him.

Standing, Dean slowly walked over to Sam's bed and eased the covers back, realising then why he couldn't hear his brother breathing. Dad's pillows where tucked up in Sam's bed but Sam wasn't. On top of the pillows was a note that when he picked it up and read it made Dean's blood chill in his veins.

Sam's scrawl boldly stated – You're wrong Dean. I can look after myself. Watch me prove it.

"Stupid, pigheaded, sonuvabitch!" Dean screamed the curse at the empty room, fighting down the panic that was rising in him. Marching over to the cupboard in the room that passed as their wardrobe he flung open the door to find only his duffle and his clothes on the shelf. He snatched a pair of jeans and quickly changed into them, shoved his bare feet into his boots and grabbed his gun and his jacket from the kitchen.

He paused by the phone, not sure if he wanted to make this call just now or wait to see if his brother was just screwing around with him. Sam's safety though was what mattered and that thought had him reaching for the phone. He was almost glad when it went straight to voicemail.

"Dad?," he started. "It's me, Dean." Yeah like he ain't gonna know that. Spit it out Winchester! "Sam's booked on me. I'm going out to look for him so can you just get back here, please? I need your help. I'm going out now to see if I can track him down so you won't be able to get me." He paused. "I got this dad, I promise. I'll find him okay?" He put the phone down and then he started the most important hunt he knew that he would ever go on.

The one for his brother.