Title: Even When the Memories Fade
Author: alakewood
Rating: NC-17
Pairings/Characters: Sam/Dean, John Winchester, Bobby Singer, Jim Murphy, Ellen Harvelle, Jo Harvelle, Missouri Moseley, Ash, Azazel, Jess, a few OCs.
Warnings: AU. Light Sam/Jess. Canonical deaths.
Summary: Dean's the one gone missing and it's John that arrives on Sam's doorstep in the middle of the night. Sam joins his father on the road, but they're doing more hunting than looking for Dean - then Sam ends up on his own. Meanwhile, Dean's trying to figure out what's wrong with him as he starts forgetting some of the most important things. Can Sam find Dean before it's too late, before whatever has altered Dean's mind becomes irreversible?
A/N: Written for the 2012 SPN/J2 Big Bang on LJ.

TEASER

He wakes before dawn, pale light from the full moon filtering through his chintzy, second-hand curtains to paint his small room in silver-blue and shadows. He's not certain, but he doesn't think he wakes like this often, on his own without help from the ancient clock-radio on the uneven nightstand to the left of his bed. A twist of the switch on the lamp behind the alarm clock fills the room with soft yellow light that he knows should seem warm, but it doesn't manage to chase away the chill that tingles up his spine, raising the fine hairs on the back of his neck. It's not a pleasant feeling.

The sudden uneasiness in his stomach increases tenfold when his gaze falls upon the wall across from his bed, the dozens of hand-drawn portraits taped to the faux-wood paneling. Some of the sketches are vaguely familiar, others aren't. The lone unfinished drawing off to the side draws his attention enough to pull him out of bed. There's a dark mop of hair, part of a nose, and a vague suggestion of a jawline that looks like it's been drawn, erased, and redrawn many times. But underneath the fall of dark hair and above the slight slope of the bridge of the nose are the most familiar set of eyes he can ever remember seeing.

Something in his gut tells him that's not exactly true – he's never actually seen those eyes outside of the jumbled confines of his dreams. Dreams that are hazy and unclear at best which fade within the first few moments of waking, unlike the frequent nightmares he can never seem to shake – horrible, detailed memories that linger in his mind like fog does over the fields before the sun rises to burn it away.

He shakes his head and pushes out of the room, moving down the short hallway to the tiny closet of a bathroom where he flips the light on and stares at his own face in the mirror. Beside his reflection is a yellow sticky note with his name printed on it in black marker. His face and his name are the only two things that he really recognizes – he doesn't know them, but they're familiar, the same as those haunting eyes and a few of the faces drawn on curling pages of paper taped to his bedroom wall.

The note is a reminder to not forget, to keep that little bit of recognition present. He reads the note, speaks his name aloud. "Dean Winchester. My name is Dean Winchester."