A/N: "I guess in the end you start thinking about the beginning". Yes, this is set before the series even really started, but it wouldn't leave me alone so here it is. All mistakes are my own.

Disclaimer: Just for fun


Safe Without Me

I watch from a distance.

Just like always.

I watch as he makes his way towards the building with the sculpted pillars and the broad, swinging doors.

The library. Where else would he be going on a Saturday afternoon?

Damn nerd.

I see the bouncing blonde who meets him near the door and I smile at their embrace.

My smile mirrors that of my brother's as he sweeps her in for a quick kiss.

It's a love I'll never know, but I smile anyway because my brother has found it.

They're moving now, making their way slowly inside.

I'm moving too, straining for a better look, still concealed in the cavernous leaves of the biggest tree I could find. Trying to prolong this one, perfect moment. Trying to remember every detail exactly as it is. I know I can't stay much longer. I know I don't belong. But I'm inching closer anyway, unable to resist. I'm not ready to let him slip through those doors. Not ready to get back to a lonely road and an empty car.

It's a stupid mistake.

One slip from my precarious position and I'm falling from the tree, my second favorite jacket tearing against a broken branch. I bite back the string of curses that threaten to spout from my mouth as I continue to tumble. Down, down.

There's no way my brother will ignore the noticeable rustle of leaves behind him. There's no way the hunter in him will ever completely die out, and I know he's probably already whipped his head around to identify the possibility of a threat. Please no, he can't see me.

I'm twisting before I've even hit the ground, desperately trying to get out of his line of sight. Shitshitshit. I'm breathing hard, still reeling, but I've managed to maneuver myself to the opposite side of the tree in a matter of seconds, away from the library doors. My back is pressed against the cool bark and I push off against it, getting back to my feet in a matter of seconds. I've attracted a fair number of stares, but that's fine with me. As long as he isn't the one staring.

As long as I haven't completely blown everything.

I can practically feel his slightly wary gaze burning a hole through the trunk of the tree, through the back of my skull, and I don't dare make the slightest movement. He's trying to find the source of the commotion, trying to eliminate the possibility of being caught off guard by one of the terrifying creatures that he knows stalk this world.

I don't have to look to know when those initial instincts retract. I can feel it when his attention shifts back to the girl on his arm. I can hear her laugh, probably making fun of him for being so jumpy. And I can feel it when his eyes shift from where I hide and land back on her, when the initial tension leaves him and he slips back into an easy stride, back turned to me once more. I peer around the tree just in time to see him disappear inside the library, his broad shoulders relaxed, his too long hair flopping against his back.

I can't help the strangled noise that escapes my lips. It's meant to be a sigh of relief. It's meant to be a "Thank god he didn't see me" exhale, but instead, it's a choked kind of sob. It's a sad, broken moan that slips out and is carried away by the wind, heard by no one.

Still, I'm embarrassed by the lapse of control. Scared of it.

I brush the dirt off my jeans and try to shake off the whole ridiculous display. One last look at the closed doors of the library and I'm heading for the car, knowing I've got to get as far away from here as possible. Right now. I really shouldn't even be here in the first place. The last job I worked had been all the way in Lancaster- a good 5 1/2 hours from Palo Alto. But after dislocating a shoulder while taking down what turned out to be two Black dogs instead of one, I knew I would need a little time to recuperate. The original plan was that there was no plan. I was just gonna pick a direction and start driving, see where I ended up; the usual. And so that's what I did. I just drove.

Straight to Stanford.

It was an almost unconscious decision, and it was a stupid one. Stupidstupidstupid. I know Sam is happy and safe and that he's finally found the normal life he'd always wanted. I know because he hasn't called once since the day he left. Hasn't answered any calls either. He'd finally gotten out, and the silence he left in his wake is deafening.

And I'm so goddamn proud of him for it. Really, I am. And I know I should just let him be, just let myself fade from his life completely, a distant memory left over from nothing more than a nightmare. I know I can never be a part of this new life of his, no matter how hard I try.

But it's just so damn hard to let go completely.

I finally reach the Impala and fold myself into the driver's seat, running a hand across the length of the dash and over the steering wheel. Home sweet home.

One more deep breath. One last, long look around at a world I'll never know or understand, a world where monsters and demons are replaced with textbooks and calculators. I close my eyes and twist the key in the ignition. I smile as my baby rumbles to life beneath me, Metallica already blaring through the speakers.

Saving people. Hunting things.

It's what I do. What I've always done. And I guess sometimes it's hard to accept that the one person I care most about saving has already managed to save himself. Has already moved on. I shift the car into drive and pull out of the parking lot, narrowly missing some idiot bounding after a wild football. I honk my horn in frustration and finally manage to maneuver past. A few minutes later and I'm cruising down the open road, sunlight streaming in through the windows and making the dust motes shimmer on the empty seat next to me. I glance over unconsciously and blink at the strange patterns they make. And then I turn my eyes back to the asphalt. It seems like that's all there really is in front of me anymore; just one, long, endless highway. And I have no idea where I'm going this time. My foot slams the accelerator.

Maybe that's not such a bad thing after all.


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