Summary : set while Sam is at stanford. Dean finally gives in and goes to find his brother, but nothing will ever go as planned for a winchester.

not sure what I think of this one, so please review with what you think, just a sentence is good!

Not been beta'd, so any spelling mistakes or general stupidity is my fault.

No spoilers, and no pairings in this one.

It had been nearly two years since Sam had left for Stanford, and both had felt like hell to Dean. Going from constantly being near his brother to no contact what so ever was more brutal than he could have imagined.

What made it worse was that Dean was pretty sure this was a one sided experience. Sam would no doubt have put any thoughts of him to the back of his mind, busy with his new life. The one he left his family for. The one Dean knew Sam deserved.

Of course, Dean couldn't be sure of how Sam felt. But two years of replaying the months before his brother left, all the things he did and didn't do that pushed Sam to leave, it made Dean wonder why it took Sam so long to leave in the first place.

He had always tried to be a good brother, but Dean knew he had made some mistakes. Sure, him and Sam got through. They survived.

But there were some things Sam needed that Dean just couldn't give him. He loved his brother, would die for him. But there was no way any amount of care and attention from Dean would make up for their mother being gone, or that way John had treated Sam.

Dean wouldn't necessarily call John a bad father. He did a pretty good Job of teaching them how to protect themselves from all the hell spawn they hunted. But on the emotional side, John was about as useful as a chocolate teapot. Sam wasn't like Dean, at least not in this respect. Dean knew when John was in hunter mode, he was a different person.

Sam on the other hand, I guess you could say he was more complicated. Roughly twenty years with the guy had taught him that. His little brother needed more than that, needed to know where he stood. Not only the next step, he needed to know the next five.

All of that, a combination of so many different failures and inadequacies, meant that Dean was now sitting alone in the impala, thinking about how his life had gone downhill so quickly since Sam left. He'd just finished one of his solo hunts, at least three hours drive away from where his dad had been based for the last week, working on a big hunt just inside of Oregon. Just a simple salt and burn, Dean barely had to think about it - the negative being that there was way to much time to think about other things. And by other things, he always meant Sam.

That was all his life was made of now. Hunt, think about Sam, hunt, wonder how Sam's doing, hunt, think about calling Sam. He was definitely not a weak man by any means, but he didn't know how much more of this he could take. It was freaking exhausting.

Being in the California only made it worse. It was always there, the thought that he was within easy driving distance of Sam. He knew the last few years had changed him, and no doubt they had changed Sammy too. He just wanted to know He was okay. Hell, Dean hadn't even got a chance to say goodbye to his little brother for gods sake. He felt that all to familiar stab of ice in his heart remembering how Sam had left, how little he had been able to do to prevent it.

As Dean sat, letting it all wash over him, he knew that he had to do it. His father wasn't expecting him back for at least another week, he had plenty of time. No matter how pissed he was at his brother for leaving him, the need he felt to see him was worse. Just a look, Dean told himself, just to check he's doing good. Even though he was pretty sure he was lying to himself, he put the keys in the ignition, the impala rumbling to life. He turned out of the lay by, heading for the highway. For the first time in those two years, Dean felt something close to happiness.

He had been in the parking lot for close to an hour now, to afraid to get out. Right from the start, Dean knew he didn't belong here. All these students carrying books, coffee cups, walking with a purpose. He felt out of place.

It wasn't just that stopping him from going in to the main office and asking for Sams housing Winchester - bar fighting, Fugly ganking, Gun swinging Dean Winchester - was actually scared. During the drive, he had already decided what he would tell any receptionist that caused any difficulty. He was a close cousins of Sams, and there had been a family crisis and he needed to see him right away. Dean Winchester was actually scared.

No one ever argued with family crisis'. But thinking about seeing Sam and actually getting his ass out the car were apparently two very different things. Just thinking that Sam could be walking right by the car, be so close made his breathing speed up. He would never admit how much he had missed his brother, how he'd thought about doing this almost everyday.

Then stop hiding out in the car and get on with it! Dean thought to himself. Stepping out of the car, he walked towards the big building that said ' Main Office' above the doorway. Coming in through the automatic doors, he spotted an official looking middle aged woman behind a large grey desk. Walking up to her confidently, he put on his best smile and tried to look casual.

" hello, how can I help you?"

" well, I came in wondering if you could help me find someone, But I just got distracted by how gorgeous your eyes are."

The secretary giggled, and Dean was pretty sure there wouldn't be an issue now. He always had a way with older women.

" well, who exactly are you looking for?"

" well, a cousin of mine. Names Sam Winchester."

There was a slight pause before the receptionist shrugged lightly and started typing. In moments, she stopped and Dean could see she had found something. He didn't like the unhappy look on her face, and he could feel his stomach hit his boots.

" I'm afraid he's no longer enrolled here honey. Hasn't been for a while."

" What! - no, check again."

" But sir-"

" I said, check again!"

The woman flinched lightly, but knew not to refuse again. She took back to the keyboard, yet again frowning afterwards.

" No, he's definitely not here. Looks like he was only here a few months after starting his course."

Dean was having trouble breathing. That was over a year and a half ago. His baby brother had been gone for that long… he could be anywhere.

" Why - why did he leave?"

The receptionist looked at him, and saw the obvious distress. She really shouldn't be giving out this information, but she could see the young man in front of her was only worried about his supposed cousin.

" Let me see. Well, it says here that he fell behind in a class, then failed a few units. He didn't have a high enough grade to continue the course."

He hadn't expected that. Sam had always had his head in a book, been the geek boy of their little family. Failing, that hadn't been an option for his brother. It would have taken something pretty bad to get him that low.

A spike of ice ran up Deans spine. If something had happened to Sam, God knows where he is now. Dean quickly thanked the woman, ran back out the doors and quickly lost his breakfast behind a large tree. Holding It for support, he needed to get a hold on himself.

During his brothers absense, his over protectiveness had grown, if possible. For the last couple months, Deans emotions had been overflowing, and he'd even been starting to baby John. Which did him no favours with his father.

He felt that familiar hollow in his stomach, near panicked thoughts rushing through his head.

He had to find Sam.

But Dean wouldn't be prepared for what he found.


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