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It Isn´t Rocket Science

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It Isn´t Rocket Science

 

Dean pushed the curtains aside and stared out into the dark night. Below him he could make out the silhouette of the Impala, reflecting the porch light in her shining black hood. He wasn´t really sure whether he welcomed the sight. Sadness filled him, which he really wasn´t used to. After all, he loved the hunting life! His dad was a hero, and so was he. Dean saved people. It was their family business. And he was proud of it. But in the last two months, he had experienced a completely different life. He had experienced normalcy. There weren´t any dangers around. He only had to worry about making it into the wrestling team. And that really wasn´t much of a challenge. Instead of working very hard on living up to his dad’s standards, he only had to impress the ladies. Okay, only one lady. Robin. God, she was so beautiful. And she could kiss! Dean really longed to go with her to the prom tonight. Dance with her, hold her in his arms. Breathe in her sweet scent and kiss her soft lips. But even more so he wanted to spend time with her in the future. He wanted to go to school and help out on the farm. Sit on the dinner table with Sonny and the other kids every night at six, laughing and talking, free of the crushing feeling of responsibility that usually weighed him down.

And Dean could have that. Sonny stood behind him, a comforting presence. He would fight for him, stick his neck out for him, if he just gave the word. Dean could stay. The temptation was big. Dean felt like he´d never wanted anything more.

But then a movement caught his eyes. Sammy was leaning out of the backseat window, the space shuttle in his hands. And in the blink of an eye, Dean knew what he had to do. All doubt vanished. He felt sad, leaving all this behind, sure. But he knew where his heart belonged. He might feel sad leaving Sonny and this life, but he would feel devastated if he would ever leave Sammy behind. It really wasn´t rocket science. There was only one place for him in this life. And that was right beside his brother.

***

Two months earlier

Dean

“And did you know that Jupiter is the biggest planet of our solar system? It´s diameter is about eleven times as big as earth´s. Which gives him 318 times the mass of earth. Of course he´s farther away from the sun, but not farthest. Anyway, it takes Jupiter about twelve years to circle the sun once! I know that sounds like a lot of time, but Jupiter is not only the biggest, but also the fastest planet!”

Sammy clearly was in his element. He rambled the facts off in an excited voice, and Dean had no doubt whatsoever that they were all correct. If he was honest with himself, planets were quite interesting. Just imagine that: A planet 318 times the size of the earth! He tried to picture it and failed miserably.

They were walking side by side, back home from school, on their way to the bungalow they stayed in currently. Sam was still spilling more facts about planets, while Dean tried to picture a gigantic Jupiter and look cool and casually uninterested at the same time (he had to maintain a reputation, after all), when Sam all of a sudden stopped talking. As well as walking. It took Dean two more steps to realize that his little nerdy squirt was no longer next to him, and another one till he himself came to a halt and turn around.

Sam stood in front of a shop window, nose almost touching the glass. Even though he only saw his brother’s profile, Dean could tell Sammy´s eyes were wide with excitement.

“Look at that, Dean!”

Dean stepped to his side and was about to ask what Sam got so jazzed up about, when he saw the space shuttle displayed among other toys in the shop window. There really was no need to ask WHAT his brother was staring at.

“That´s so cool, Dean!”, Sam exclaimed excitedly.

“Yeah, squirt. It sure is. And it costs 36 Dollars. So forget it!”

“I know.”

Sam´s answer was barely audible, yet he kept staring at the damn shuttle with longing eyes. Dean suddenly had a lump in his throat. Not only because he couldn´t stand seeing his brother sad and resigned like that. But also because all of a sudden he felt life was really unfair. Why could they never have anything nice, just like everybody else? Not only did they not have the money for any extra stuff (he briefly thought about that Atari Jaguar he´d secretly wanted, ever since the console was released two years ago) but the even bigger problem was, that they did not exactly have the space for toys, video games or a pair of cool shoes that where not for school or for hunts. All of their possessions always had to fit into the Impala, and Dad sure as hell didn´t give up valuable space, he used for ammunition and weapons, for such nonsense.

As much to get out of his own reverie as to distract Sam from his mournful stare, he tucked at his brother’s sleeve, pulling him away from the window, while he asked: “So, has a space shuttle ever landed on Jupiter?”

The question did the trick. Sam rolled his eyes with quite a dramatic sigh and picked up his lecture again.

“No, Dean! Of course not. In fact, no man has ever set foot on a planet.”

“But they have been on the moon.”

“Come on, don´t play dumb! You know full well that the moon is not a planet!”

Okay, maybe that was a tad too much pretended ignorance to lead his brother’s thoughts in a different direction. Dean gave Sam a sheepish grin, and Sam brought out his full dimpled smile. And just like that, the moment of melancholy was over for both of them.

They continued their way home, while Sam informed Dean that he was currently pondering the question of whether or not he should aim for a career as an astronaut as an adult.

Over the next two weeks Sam did a lot of research on the requirements of becoming a rocket scientist or going on a space mission. He was buried nose deep in library books about solar systems, satellites and space shuttles. And he even did his daily training without complaint, because apparently you needed to be in top shape to become an actual astronaut. Even though Dean soon started to tune Sam´s voice out a bit, when he went into another one of his endless lectures about space crafts, he still took the win. He didn´t have to make Sammy do his physical exercises and he had his peace and quiet, while Sam was out in the library doing his research.

One thing Dean had noticed though, where the longing looks Sammy cast onto that space shuttle in that damn toy store, every time they walked past it. The fact that Sam never had mentioned it again made Dean´s heart ache even more.

That´s why he came up with a plan. Dad already had been gone for three weeks, but he had called this afternoon to let Dean know that he would be home in two days. He expected the boys to be ready, he planned on meeting some other hunters over in Ohio. He´d just pick his boys up on the way. If Dean wanted to get Sam that space shuttle, it was now or never. He still had ten bucks left. That wasn´t enough, of course. But if he took that money and gambled with it, he could easily make enough for the space shuttle plus a bit extra for food. Dad would never know. They had to come up with an explanation on how Sam got that space shuttle, of course, but first things first.

There were a few guys in his class that came from very wealthy houses. Always wore branded clothes and those shoes Dean really would have loved, even though he never would admit to that. Of course Dean couldn´t really stand those guys, but since the notion seemed to be mutual, he didn´t have any difficulties to bait them into a round of poker, right after school. The timing was perfect since Sammy wanted to spend some more time in the library anyway.

They met up behind the swimming hall on the school ground. Dean made sure, these jocks had money with them. Of course they were just playing for peanuts, really. But Dean only had a little over ten Dollars left and he only needed to win thirty or forty Dollars. So if everybody threw ten in the pot, he was fine.

Except, he wasn´t. He could have sworn that asshole was bluffing when he went all in, and so Dean followed. And just like that, his money was gone. Bad enough that those losers were laughing about him, he now was left with 28 cents for another two days. He could go without food no problem, but Sammy?

Well, Sammy would have to live off the bread and the cheese they had still left.

As soon as Dean came home, he dove into their mini fridge to do some inventory. There was only one tiny piece of cheese. Sam would be really happy about having to eat the last six slices of bread without anything on it. But Dean couldn´t help it right now. For tonight, Sam could have the leftover pizza from yesterday.

And so, when Sam came home a little while later, with a new stack of books, Dean pretended he had already eaten while his brother warmed the Pizza up in the microwave.

It wasn´t the first time, that Dean had to go hungry, yet he hated the feeling. And it wasn´t easy to hide his growling stomach from Sam, who would have insisted he ate some bread, if he found out. So Dean drank a lot of water and went to bed early. He fell asleep while Sam was still buried with his nose in his books, soaking up every word in the soft light of his torch, like a sponge.

The next morning Dean was busy thinking of an excuse why he would not have breakfast, when he heard Sam exclaim: “Crab! The bread is all rotten!”

Sure enough, there was blue-ish green mold all over it. Great, just great!

“Sorry, Sammy, you´ll have to go to school hungry. There´s not enough time to go shopping before school. You can have that slice of cheese for breakfast, though.”

Sam didn´t look exactly happy, but he knew there was nothing to be done, so he didn´t complain. Didn´t even shoot him a bitch face. He just broke the cheese and handed one half to Dean.

Dean knew it was hopeless, but he had to try nevertheless. “No, you have it, dude. That giant brain of yours needs all the energy it can get, to hold all those facts in.”

“Dean, either you eat your half of that cheese or I won´t eat mine.” Now Sammy was shooting him his best bitchface #7.

Why fighting already lost battles? With an annoyed growl Dean swallowed the offered cheese. It wasn´t more than a mouthful, really.

“You know you have to return your books today, right? Dad will probably be here by tonight and he wants us to be ready.”

“Yeah, I know. I´m gonna bring them to the library right after school. You wanna come along?”

“To the library? Nah. Tell you what, I´ll go get us some food while you give your books back and we meet up at the library entrance and can walk home together.”

They left the bungalow, Sam, with an extra bag full of books, and made their way to school together. Junior and senior high were right next to each other. When they parted, Sam smiled at Dean.

“Bye, Dean. See you at the library.”

“See ya, Sammy.”

It was the last time they saw each other for a long time.

 

 

tbc

Chapter Text

Sammy

As soon as the school bell rang, Sam grabbed his two bags and made his way over to the nearby library as fast as he could. He was excited. More excited than he should be over a toy, really. He was no little child anymore. Dean was probably gonna make fun of him without end. However Sam knew that Dean himself would buy him that space shuttle, if he only had the money, that´s why Sam had never brought it up again. He hadn´t wanted to make Dean feel bad for not being able to buy something so useless.

That is also why Sam hadn´t told Dean about Mrs. Bricks. He had met her on his first day in town, while he was checking out the library. Mrs. Bricks was an old lady with a love for books. He had seen her walking through the aisles slowly, supported by her walking stick. While Sam had catalogued all the supernatural books available, she had carried each book she chose over to the counter, one by one, until there was a small stack.

Sam had been about to leave, when he had heard her ask the librarian: “Where´s Susan? I could really need her help with these books.”

“Oh, I´m sorry, Mrs. Bricks. Susan is ill today. I´d help you carry your books, but I´m all alone. I´m really sorry, but I have to stay here.”

Mrs. Bricks had sighed and nodded. “Well, then I´ll just have to leave those treasures here, won´t I? You can put them back. I´m terribly sorry for causing you extra work.”

That was when Sam had acted on instinct. He knew Dean and his Dad would have been so mad at him for going with this stranger. But he had also known, just known, that Mrs. Bricks was not a monster or anything. Mrs. Bricks was just an old lady with a love for books. And so he had offered her to carry them for her.

“You would do that, young man? That would be awfully kind of you!”

Her happy smile had seemed genuine and so Sam had put her stack of books in the empty bag she´d brought and had slowly walked her to her home two blocks over. They had had a nice conversation about both their personal favourite books and when Sam had dropped the bag at her apartment, she had offered him some money for his efforts, but Sam had refused. (Again something Dean would shake his head about, if he knew.)

But then Sam had seen that space shuttle and an idea had been born. He had gone over to Mrs. Bricks´ and had explained to her that he needed some pocket money, and for what. He´d asked her if she could need some help. He suggested he could do the grocery shopping or help in the house, or anything she needed help with, really. Mrs. Bricks had been delighted. She´d written a shopping list right away and she had paid him well. That was how, two weeks and a few jobs for Mrs. Bricks later, Sam had enough money in his pocket to buy that space shuttle - and maybe a slice of pie or something for Dean on top.

He hadn´t told Dean, because he really wasn´t sure whether his brother would have let him continue to go to a stranger's place, even though said stranger was the sweetest old lady. So he had made Dean believe he had spent all this time in the library. And that wasn´t exactly far from the truth either, because on several occasions Mrs. Bricks had actually paid him for fetching or returning books. But now that he had earned enough money and their Dad was about to come back, it was about time he went and spent that money on the object of his dreams.

Sam didn´t feel like doing so alone. He wanted Dean there with him. For some reason, he was really emotional about that space shuttle. Maybe because it symbolized his Dreams of a future away from the hunting life. And if he pictured that future, Sam didn´t want to picture it without Dean. That´s why he was so glad that Dean had offered to meet him at the library. On their way home, they could go and get it together, just like they would spend their future together.

Sam quickly dropped his books at the front desk and then went outside to wait for his brother. He lost himself in a rather stupid daydream of him and Dean riding side by side in a space shuttle. They´d be the first humans ever to land on Mars. They´d explore the red planet and Dean would say: “That´s really cool Sammy, but Mars is for amateurs. I wanna go visit the biggest and fastest planet! You comin´?” And Sam would answer: “Let me just tell Houston.”

But where the hell was Dean? Sam shot an annoyed glance at his watch. How long could it take to buy some bread? Not like he had lots of shopping to do with their Dad on his way. They probably didn´t have a lot of money left anyway.

Sam got up from where he was sitting on the stairs and went down to the pavement, staring in the direction he expected Dean to come from. His brother probably was busy saying goodbye to that hot blond chick from his class. That was just like him. Forgetting everything over a girl.

After another fifteen minutes, Sam seriously debated to go on alone, but he really wanted to buy that space shuttle with Dean. Then again maybe Dean had forgotten that they wanted to meet up at the library and was long since sitting in their temporary home, starting to worry about Sam? Sam decided to give him another twenty minutes. If he wouldn´t get going by then, the toy shop would close, and Sam was not going to lose his chance to buy that shuttle, just because Dean was taking his sweet time with some chick!

Half an hour later Sam entered the toy shop with some clearly dampened enthusiasm. He bought the space shuttle and debated whether or not to spend the last three dollars on some pie for his brother. But then again, as annoying as Dean could be sometimes, if Sam had his space shuttle, Dean at least deserved some pie! So he went into the Diner that was on his way home and bought some cherry pie to take away.

By the time he entered their bungalow, the full-on flashing grin on his face was back in place, dimples and all. It fell quickly though, when he realized the room was empty.

Sam was starting to get nervous. To distract himself, he got the space shuttle out of the cardboard box it came in. But then he didn´t feel like playing with it at all. Playing. He was twelve, for heaven’s sake. He was getting too old for playing with toys anyway. Or so Dean would say. Where the hell was Dean?

Time went by agonizingly slow and far too fast at once. The silence in the little bungalow was only broken by Sam´s growling stomach. But that painful pit of hunger soon turned into a painful knot of worry. What was Sam supposed to do? Go back to school, ask around, try to find Dean? Or call their Dad? But Dad was on his way back anyway, wasn´t he? He wouldn´t be here any faster if Sam called. And maybe Dean was just hooking up with some girl after all. If Sam called Dad, he could get his brother into some serious trouble.

But what if Dean already was in serious trouble?

Sam felt like he could cry.

No, stop that, Sam Winchester. You are twelve years old! You are too old for crying like a baby, just as you are too old for toys! Man up!

Sam gave the space shuttle, which was sitting on the floor next to the couch, a good kick with his foot, sending it on a mission across the room. He tried hard to pull himself together. It would help no one if he was freaking out now.

Just when he came to the decision that he would go back to school and see if he could find any trace of Dean, the front door opened. A very brief moment of utter relief was replaced with a feeling of dread, when not Dean but their father entered.

“Hello Sam, get your stuff together, we´re leaving”, Dad said in way of greeting.

Sam swallowed down the lump in his throat, mentally preparing for the outburst that would sure as hell follow his words, before he informed his dad quietly:

“Dean´s not home yet.”

“Yes, I know. I´ve sent him on a hunt!”

“Y- You´ve … what?” Sam couldn´t believe his ears.

“A ghost hunt, one town over. Your brother needs to learn to stand on his own two feet. It´s about time for his first solo hunt. And this one is perfect. Simple salt and burn. Fetched him from school, drove him over. Now get your things ready, we´re going to Bobby´s.”

Sam´s already simmering anxiety went up in an explosion of fear and fury. He took a step towards his father, hands balled to fists at his sides, and didn´t even try to hide his furiousness. He shouted right into his Dad´s face.

“YOU CAN´T DO THAT! DEAN´S ONLY SIXTEEN! YOU CAN´T SENT HIM ON A HUNT ALONE! WE´VE GOT TO GET OVER THERE AND HELP HIM!”

“SHUT UP,” John shouted back, taking a menacing step towards his son. “DEAN HAS TO LEARN HIS LESSONS, AND SO DO YOU! HE´S PAMPERING YOU FAR TOO MUCH.  SO HERE´S WHAT´S GONNA HAPPEN: YOU´RE GONNA GET READY TO BE ON THE ROAD IN TWO MINUTES! THEN I´M GONNA DROP YOU OFF AT BOBBY´S. AND THEN I´M GONNA GO GET YOUR BROTHER. SO THE LONGER YOU´RE TAKING THE LONGER YOUR BROTHER IS ALONE.”

Sam hated it. Hated it so much! But he knew he was powerless to do anything. He turned around and scrambled to get all his belongings in his duffle. For a brief moment he debated on leaving that stupid space shuttle right where it was on the floor in the corner of the room, but then he stuffed it in his bag anyway. After all, he wanted to show it to Dean, once he was back home safe and sound.

And he´ll be. He´ll be back safe and sound, soon!

Sam had to repeat that thought like a mantra in his head. He went to the bathroom to collect his toothbrush when he stopped dead in his tracks.

“Dad, Dean´s duffle is still here!”

It was sitting right there, already packed, on the bathroom counter.

“He´s got the weapons he needs. He will survive a day without his duffle. Now, the longer you drag this out, the longer he has to go without his friggin` toothbrush!”

Sam finished up in record time and briefly considered running with both his and Dean´s duffle. Maybe he could make it over to the next town and find Dean? But with what money? He didn´t even have the money for a bus ticket. And he´d never be able to outrun his dad anyway.

So he walked out to the Impala one step behind his Dad, threw the two duffels in the trunk and climbed in the backseat, all while trying to bring his fear and rage under control.

Chapter Text

Dean

Dean could have kicked himself. He was so fu..ing stupid! First, he´d lost the food money to those idiots in a friggin´ poker game and now he´d managed to get arrested for stealing some bread and peanut butter. Really, if he could, he´d kick himself in the ass. Instead, he resorted to punching that patronizing idiot of an officer. Which made his demeanor change from patronizing to abrasive as quickly as the shiner on his eye formed, and let to Dean being cuffed to the table in the interview room. Great. He just hoped his dad would be here soon. That phone call he´d had to make to inform his dad where he was, was another one of Dean´s highlights so far today. Of course, Dean hadn´t told him yet why he was at the police station. But John would want to know. And from there on out things only could get even more cheery. He just hoped his dad would at least let him eat something before he tore him a new one.

Dean´s stomach growled in agreement, but before he could torment himself with dreams of burgers and chips, the growl was drowned by a thundering voice echoing through the police station.

“He did WHAT?”

Oh great, Dad had found out. Dean shifted uncomfortably on the chair he was sitting in. For the next few minutes he couldn´t make out the words of the conversation going on between his dad and Officer Abrasive outside the interview room, but from the sound of it, it was clear that neither of them was very happy with him.

Then the voices cut off and Mr. Abrasive entered the room, a rather self-righteous look on his bruised face, followed by a clearly pissed off John Winchester.

Dean didn´t dare to say anything, but even if he did, he wouldn´t have had the chance to do so, before his dad started in a barely restrained, clearly angry voice:

“Dean Winchester! I thought I taught you better, son!”

Dean nodded, eyes cast downwards. His dad had taught him better. Better than to get caught when stealing or doing credit card scam. But Officer Now-Smug didn´t need to know that.

“Officer Millner says he knows just the place for delinquent boys like you. I could take you home with me until your court hearing, but frankly, I don´t want to.”

At this, Dean looked up. His dad was joking, right? They could be out of here within half an hour, he just had to fill in some forms. And then Officer Shiner or any judge would never see a glimpse of him again. But his dad looked him in the eye with a dead serious, pissed off expression.

“There is a correctional home for boys where you can think about what you´ve done and learn your lesson while doing farm work. I´ll be back for your court hearing, but that could take a few months.”

Dean´s heart dropped. A correctional home for boys? He couldn´t be serious, could he?

“No, dad. Please. I´m really sorry. I just wanted to get some foo-“

“Shut up. You will not contradict me.”

He took a menacing step towards Dean who dropped his eyes and answered with a quiet:

“Yes, Sir.”

“Now hand me your phone.”

“But dad, how am I supposed to contact you or Sam?”

“You won´t. Consider this your time out for your transgressions. Now Hand. Me. Your. Phone.”

Dean almost laughed at the absurdity of the situation while he rattled the chains of his handcuffs. And the same time Officer Black Eye spoke up.

“I´ve got his phone and other belongings at my desk. If you´ll please follow me, Mr. Winchester. You can sign the required paperwork.”

His dad turned around and followed the now almost cheery Officer out the door without even casting Dean another glance, let alone offer another word.

Dean was left alone with his rumbling stomach for he-didn´t-know-how-long. Then Officer Mill-ass came back, un-cuffed him, led him to a cell and informed him that he would spend the night here and would be transferred to that boot camp farm tomorrow.

At least he was left with a sandwich and a bottle of water. It wasn´t much, but given the fact that he hadn´t had anything other to eat than a bite of cheese in the last 24 hours, he tried to chew slowly and savor it.

Then he dropped down on the very thin mattress and stared at the ceiling. He was mad at his dad. He was mad at himself. But his thoughts kept going back to Sammy. He imagined him waiting for Dean at the library. He must have been worried big time.

Well, at least Sammy was safe with their dad now. He just wished he could call him.

 

Chapter Text

Sammy

Dad had dropped Sam off at Bobby´s. He had just taken enough time to inform a rather grumpy Bobby that he needed him to watch Sam while he would go and observe Dean doing his first solo hunt. For once, though, Sam was glad that Dad didn´t stay for lunch or to exchange any niceties. His Dad couldn´t be with Dean fast enough, if you asked him. Not that anyone did. Ask him, that is.

Sam knew that Bobby tried hard not to show how angry he was about the whole situation. He had just mumbled a few words that sounded like: “…not that I have nothing to do…Idjit…damn it, John Winchester…” but then he´d smiled and told Sam he could make himself comfy with a book on the couch if he wanted, and if Sam would like some orange juice?

Sam himself had not been in a much better mood, but just like Bobby he had pulled himself together and had tried not to show his anxiety for his brother or his madness at his dad.

That had been two days ago.

Sam was sitting in the kitchen, cutting some carrots and onions to help Bobby in preparing dinner. He hadn´t heard from either Dean or dad since the latter had left three days ago. Whenever the phone rang, Sam´s whole body tensed up. Just like now.

Bobby answered after the third ring.

“Hello John, about damn time you´re calling!”

Sam let out a shaky breath, eyes glued to Bobby´s face. When he saw the hunters eyes grow wide before he turned to face the wall, Sam felt his stomach turn into a painful knot as a hot spike of fear shot through his whole body.

“You … what? How could that happen? Damn it, John Winchester!”, Bobby´s voice thundered through the kitchen, then he seemed to remember that Sam was sitting right behind him. He turned back to his fosterling while asking into the phone: “You wanna talk to Sam?”

Sam knew he should move over to the phone, but he hardly could breathe, let alone stand up. Crippling fear was completely overwhelming him.

“Damn, no, you listen to me, Jo-…. now listen-... JOHN WINCHESTER, don´t you dare to hang up on me! JOHN! John? …. DAMN IT!” Bobby smashed the phone back on the receiver, then moved his hand over his face while he took a shaking breath.

Sam watched him with big eyes, his heart racing in his chest, and all he could think, was ´Oh god, oh god, don´t say it, don’t say it, no, please!´

Bobby sat down on the table opposite Sam and visibly tried to pull himself together. Before he could open his mouth, Sam whispered:

“Is Dean… is he… “

He Couldn´t bring himself to speak out loud, what he feared the most.

But Bobby shook his head.

“No, Sam. Dean´s not dead. He´s missing”, he said in an earnest voice.

“Missing? What do you mean, missing?” Sam almost stumbled over the words.

“I don´t know, Sam. Your dad just told me that Dean had been missing when he got there. Apparently, your dad has ganked the ghost, and now he´s looking for Dean.” Sam could tell that Bobby tried to sound reassuring, but he failed miserably. He felt his eyes water up and it was not due to the onion he hadn´t even started cutting yet.

“But if he´s missing that could also mean his body is lying somewhere…”, Sam´s voice broke. He only realized he was still holding the knife, when Bobby carefully pried his fingers open and took it from him. Sam´s hands were shaking badly. Bobby stood and went around the table. Then he went down on one knee and turned Sam around to face him.

“Now listen to me, Sam Winchester”, he spoke with a soft but strong voice. “I know that you and your brother are close as Siamese twins. Don´t you think you would know if your brother was dead? Feel it? Even if no one had told you yet? Sure, you´ve been worried these last two days, but don´t you think you´d have known if he was dead?”

Sam sniffed.

“Maybe?” It was weak, unsure.

“You have to believe, Sam. You have to keep the faith. For your brother! Dean needs you to be strong! Whatever trouble he´s in. And your dad is going to find him. He might be a thick-headed bastard at times, but he sure as hell is going to do everything he can to find Dean.”

Sam nodded. Bobby was right. He needed to pull himself together. Yet he felt his eyes water up even more. Every minute now he was going to bawl his eyes out like a kindergartener. He couldn´t let that happen in front of Bobby. Dean would be so embarrassed by him.

“Excuse me, Bobby. I´m gonna go upstairs”, Sam managed to say in a somewhat even tone. He slid from his chair and ran into his room, not waiting for an answer. He slammed the door behind him and threw himself on the bed. And then the tears started to flow freely. His chest constricted painfully and it was hard to breathe. Please, Dean, be ok. Please be ok. Please, Dean, please!

Sam didn´t know how much time went by with this mantra playing in his head, his tears wetting his pillow and his breath coming in hitching sobs. But eventually he calmed down a bit. He found himself staring at the space shuttle he had placed on his nightstand when unpacking his duffel and hadn´t touched since.

He thought back at how excited he had been at the prospect of buying it with Dean. Had that really only been three days ago?

A knock at the door drew him out of his gloomy thoughts.

“Come in.”

Bobby entered his room and sat on the side of his mattress.

“Sammy, there´s food downstairs, if you want something.”

Sam just shook his head.

“Yeah, I get that. I´ll just put some in the fridge, if you change your mind. You can heat it up in the microwave.”

“Thanks.” Sam´s voice still sounded a bit shaky, but he sat up and took a deep breath. There was a minute of silence before Bobby pointed at the shuttle and asked:

“What´s that?”

“It´s nothing. Just a stupid toy”, Sam answered. He didn´t want to sound like a whiny little brat, but he really couldn´t bring himself to like the shuttle while Dean was missing. Or worse.

“If you are interested in space shuttles, I´ve got a book about them somewhere downstairs”, Bobby offered, obviously in an attempt to take his mind off his worries. Sam appreciated the effort, but he really couldn´t bring himself to care about space or shuttles or anything else. Not as long as Dean was missing.

“No thanks, Bobby”, he said and tried not to sound too gloomy.

When he saw Bobby sigh, he knew he had to act his part for Bobby´s sake. That´s why he asked:

“Can I watch some TV?”

“Shure thing, Sam. Off course you can.”

And with that, they both went downstairs. Sam chose a programme at random and sat there, staring at the TV, without even realizing what he was watching. He went to bed without having dinner an hour later.

Over the next few weeks, the space shuttle sat untouched on Sam´s nightstand. Whenever he looked at it, it felt like needles were piercing his heart. He just longed so much to show it to Dean.

Bobby had laid the book about space shuttles on top of his desk. The title said, it contained color prints of different shuttles and satellites. But Sam couldn´t bring himself to touch that one either. He just wasn´t interested in space and planets anymore.

Whenever the phone rang, Sam stormed down to the kitchen and watched Bobby with fearful eyes. Mostly it had been calls from other hunters, but once or twice it had been his dad informing John that he still hadn´t found Dean, but that he had a lead and that Dean probably was alive. And no, Bobby could not come and help with the search. He had to look after Sam. John would not tell him, where he was.

Bobby got angrier and angrier at John but tried not to show it to Sam. He said, that if John thought Dean was alive, then Sam shouldn´t worry so much. As if Sam could switch that off. He didn´t even think Bobby believed his own words.

But for Bobby´s sake, Sam tried not to sit in his room all day, worrying about Dean. He watched some TV, went outside a bit to play with Rumsfeld or studied some maths in another book of Bobby´s. It didn´t do him much good, though. His studies had never gone slower. Because no matter what he did, he couldn´t stop worrying. And that constant painful pit in his stomach never eased up.

Those were the longest eight weeks in Sam´s life.

 

Chapter Text

Dean

Dean was listening carefully to the soft and even breathing around him. Seemed like even Dave had finally fallen asleep. He had heard Sonny climb the stairs and then lock the door to his room a while ago. It should be safe now. Still, he decided to wait five more minutes, just to be sure.

Staring into the dark room he could barely make out the boy in the bed next to his. It was easy to imagine that Sammy was laying under those covers. Dean let out a sigh. Miss you, Sammy! He tried to picture the motel room Sam was currently sharing with their dad. He would wear his worn, black sweatpants that doubled as pyjamas for him. And probably that grey T-shirt he preferred for the night. If his dad hadn´t objected, Sam might still be awake, reading some book about asteroids or galaxies or space shuttles in the soft light of his nightstand lamp.

Dean hoped that Sam was still awake.

Time to go! Dean suddenly couldn´t wait any longer. He should have done this an hour ago. He probably could have just asked Sonny, but Dean didn´t want him involved in the Winchester family affairs.

And so he got up now, as quietly as he could, and made his way down to the kitchen, being mindful of that squeaking step at the top of the staircase.

Dean Winchester was a trained hunter and he could be stealth if he wanted to. He made his way through the dark and found the telephone with ease. He didn´t need to see the phone to dial the only number he knew off by heart. His heart beat a bit faster and he took a deep breath in order to calm himself down. He didn´t want to sound nervous.

After the third ring, a ruff voice said: “Hello?”

“Hi Dad, it´s me.” Dean made sure to keep his voice down.

“Dean. Is there an emergency?”

“No, dad, I´m fine. I just wanted to check in with you.”

“Did I tell you to check in?”

“No, sir.”

“I will come get you, when I see fit”, John snapped and Dean could tell that he was about to hang up.

He quickly interjected: “Please, Sir, can I talk to Sammy? Just for a minute?”

The moment he said it, Dean already knew it was in vain. His dad wouldn´t let him talk to his brother.

“No, you can´t. Now stop whining. This is your punishment, Dean. I expect you to take it like a man. You will not call me and Sammy again. You will do your time, till I come and get you. AM I CLEAR?”

Dean swallowed down the lump in his throat.

“Yes, Sir.”

Klick. His dad had hung up. Dean just stood there and stared into the dark kitchen. A whole bunch of emotions romped inside him and for a moment he had trouble to keep his composure. He felt ashamed for getting caught, like a kid stealing a candy bar. There was this longing, to be with his family, that actually ached. And at the same time, even if he didn´t want to admit it, he felt so mad at his dad he could have punched the wall. This wasn´t fair!

Dean turned around and made his way back through the dark house, into his bed. He slipped under the covers and stared at the ceiling. There was one emotion, that was more prominent than all the others, he realized. One he had never felt before. Not in this intensity, at least. Dean Winchester blinked back the tears. He felt so very, very lonely, there, in a room full of strangers and far away from Dad and Sam.

A sob escaped him and he pressed a hand in front of his mouth. Listening carefully, Dean made sure, that nobody had heard him.

Pull yourself together, Winchester!

It wouldn´t do him any good if he wallowed in self-pity. As things were, he would spend quite some time here. He might as well make the best out of it. And after all, it WAS his fault that he gambled the food money, lost the game, stole the bread and got caught. He should own up to it.

Besides, this Sonny character didn´t seem to be too bad of a person. This farm wasn´t as bad as he had expected. At least from what he had experienced over the last three days.

If his dad knew how good the food was and how nice the people were, he probably wouldn´t leave him here for punishment.

Dean turned onto his side and pulled his blanket up to his chin. He made a conscious effort to stuff all those disturbing feelings in a dark corner of his mind and leave them there untouched. The shame and guilt was hardest to lock away, but somehow he managed. Instead of thinking of Sammy – he could never distance himself from his emotions, if he thought about Sammy – he made a mental list of the chores he would have to fulfill tomorrow. There was some weed in the vegetable patch, that needed to be taken care of. And Sonny told him he had enlisted him at school. He would start next Monday, so he had to get pens and notebooks. Mrs. Bannon certainly would have a lot of work for him, too. And in the evening the guitar teacher would come, to give Dave his lessons. Maybe her daughter would accompany her again? Dean pictured the girl: black, long hair, beautiful face, a soft yet stunning smile. Robin was her name, right? If she came by tomorrow, Dean would introduce himself. While thinking about the best opening line for a conversation, he slowly drifted off to sleep.

Chapter Text

Sam

Sam forced the last bite of Mac ´n Cheese down his throat. He just wasn´t hungry, lately. It had been two months, since Dean went missing! The worry about his brother sat heavy in his stomach and didn´t leave any room for food. Bobby was worried about him, Sam knew. That´s why he tried to eat, no matter how he felt. They compromised on rather small portions.

Most of the meals went by silently. Usually, he could chat away with Bobby, no problem. Bobby new so much and Sam always longed to learn something new. But lately he could hardly concentrate on what Bobby was saying. His thoughts constantly circled around Dean. Bobby seemed to know that and only asked him the occasional question, about what he planned on doing this afternoon, or if he would like to help him in the garage a bit.

Today Bobby had just asked him if he could do the dishes, since he needed to look something up for a friend quickly, when they heard the familiar roar of the Impala driving up to the house. Sam felt his heart skip a beat. He jumped up from his chair and ran for the door, pulling it open as fast as he could. Sam was vaguely aware that Bobby came up behind him, as he stepped out onto the porch, his eyes fixed on the black, slender car that just came to a halt at the end of the driveway. No Dean. His heart sank. But maybe he is laying in the backseat? Maybe he´s hurt?, he thought with a sputter of hope and fear at the same time. Then his Dad left the car and walked towards them, and Sam knew Dean wasn´t anywhere in the car.

He didn´t have time to dwell on his disappointment, though, because when John had reached the porch and nodded to Bobby, he turned to Sam.

“Go get your things, I´ve found Dean. We´re going to get him.”

Sam forgot how to breathe for a second.

“Where is he? Is he ok?“ His eyes were big as saucers, as he stared at his dad, anxious for his answer.

“Dean is a-ok. Now go get your stuff, or do you want to make Dean wait any longer than necessary?”

No, Sam definitely didn´t want to do that. He spun on his heels and raced back into the house. He sprinted upstairs with a pounding heart. Dean was alive! Dean was ok! He would see Dean shortly! In the guest room, Sam threw all his belongings into his duffel bag without bothering to fold the clothes up.

Sam was about to leave the room when his eyes landed on the space shuttle. He would finally be able to show Dean! Sam couldn´t help the smile that spread on his face.

With shaking hands he picked it up carefully and placed the toy almost tenderly in his bag. Then Sam ran downstairs as fast as he could. Bobby and his dad were still on the porch. Sam heard Bobby talk in an angry voice but, couldn’t make out the words until he opened the door.

“… about your parenting.”

“My parenting is none of your business, Singer!”

“Well, it is, if you leave your sons in my custody on a regular basis!”

Bobby drew a shaking breath, then turned to Sam. “Say hello to your brother from me, will ya?”

“Of course, Bobby. And – thank you!”

“Anytime, boy, anytime. You´re always welcome here, you know that, right?”, Bobby’s features softened.

Sam nodded. Yes, he knew that.

John turned and made his way down the porch. Over his shoulder, he said: “See you, Singer. Come on Sam, let´s go get your brother.” But Sam was already following his dad, not wanting to delay the reunion with Dean for only one second.

 

Chapter Text

Dean

 

Dean pushed the curtains aside and stared out into the dark night. Below him he could make out the silhouette of the Impala, reflecting the porch light in her shining black hood. He wasn´t really sure whether he welcomed the sight. Sadness filled him, which he really wasn´t used to. After all, he loved the hunting life! His dad was a hero, and so was he! Dean saved people. It was their family business. And he was proud of it. But in the last two months, he had experienced a completely different life. He had experienced normalcy. There weren´t any dangers around. He only had to worry about making it into the wrestling team. And that really wasn´t much of a challenge. Instead of working very hard on living up to his dad’s standards, he only had to impress the ladies. Okay, only one lady. Robin. God, she was so beautiful. And she could kiss! Dean really longed to go with her to the prom tonight. Dance with her, hold her in his arms. Breathe in her sweet scent and kiss her soft lips. But even more so he wanted to spend time with her in the future. He wanted to go to school and help out on the farm. Sit on the dinner table with Sonny and the other kids every night at six, laughing and talking, free of the crushing feeling of responsibility that usually weighed him down.

And Dean could have that. Sonny stood behind him, a comforting presence. He would fight for him, stick his neck out for him, if he just gave the word. Dean could stay. The temptation was big. Dean felt like he´d never wanted anything more.

But then a movement caught his eyes. Sammy was leaning out of the backseat window, the space shuttle in his hands. And in the blink of an eye, Dean knew what he had to do. All doubt vanished. He felt sad, leaving all this behind, sure. But he knew where his heart belonged. He might feel sad leaving Sonny and this life, but he would feel devastated if he would ever leave Sammy behind. It really wasn´t rocket science. There was only one place for him in this life. And that was right beside his brother.

Dean turned around, a look of new resolution on his face.

“Thank you for everything, Sonny!” He tried to let his gratefulness pour into his voice.

“You sure, son?”, Sonny asked.

Dean began to loosen the tie around his neck. He had borrowed it from Sonny.

“My brother is waiting for me”, he said, handing the tie over to him. And from the look on his face, Sonny understood.

“Then I´ll go and let your father know you´re coming.”

Dean nodded. As Sonny left, he changed into his well-worn T-shirt. He put the button-down shirt on Steve´s bad, who he had borrowed it from. Then he stood in the silent room, and for a moment, he felt a little lost. This had been his home for two months, yet nothing in here really belonged to him. He had come with nothing than the clothes he had worn. Everything else, his school bag, his extra sets of clothes, hell, even his comb, were hand-me-downs from other boys, or gifts from Sonny. Dean decided to leave it all here. There were plenty of young men who could use it. Besides, if he left this life now, he´d leave it for good. He didn´t want to drag reminders along.

With a new resolution, Dean squared his shoulders and made his way down to the front door. He was grateful that he met no one on his way out. He wasn´t one for soppy goodbyes.

Outside on the porch, his dad and Sonny were in the middle of a staring contest, Sonny standing in front of the door, arms crossed, legs in a firm shoulder-width stance. Dean had to make his way around him, and only then did the leader of the boys home abandon his defensive position and turn around to him.

“You take care of you, Dean. You hear me?”, he said in a soft, gruff voice. Dean could hear his dad snort, yet he nodded and offered Sonny his hand.

“Goodbye, Sonny.”

Sonny took the hand and gave Dean a solid squeeze, maybe a tad longer than necessary.

“Goodbye, Dean.”

And with that Sonny went inside and closed the door behind him.

Dean turned towards his Dad. He could hardly make out his features in the dark. When only silence greeted him, he took the initiative.

“Hi Dad”, he greeted, taking a step towards the stairs. His eyes glanced over to the Impala. Why didn´t Sammy come over to meet him?

“Have you learned your lessons, Dean?”, his father said in way of a greeting. Dean almost automatically switched into soldier mode.

“Yes, sir!”, he said, standing tall in front of his dad.

“Which are?”

“I will take better care of the food money you provide us with, sir. I will make it last till you return. I will not steal until it is an absolute emergency, which this wasn´t. And if I have to do something illegal in order to survive or make sure Sammy does, I will not get caught and thus endanger both myself and the whole family. Sir.” He really had had a lot of time to think about it all.

His dad seemed satisfied. He nodded.

“Good! Now, Dean, there´s one more thing. As far as your brother is concerned, you got lost on a hunt. He doesn´t know about any of this, and you are going to keep it that way. I´ve sent you on your first solo hunt, and when I got there, you were gone and I went looking for you. That´s it. It´s probably best if you don´t talk about “the hunt”, or what happened to you, much at all. Are we clear?”

So that´s why Sammy was still in the car. His dad had ordered him to, so he could instruct Dean on what to say. It was probably best, if Sam didn´t know about his failed career as a shoplifter, anyway. Dean realized a bit belated that his dad was still staring at him, waiting for an answer.

“Yes, Sir!”, he hurried to say.

“Good. Then come on, son. Your brother has been a real pain in the ass on the whole drive here. Only shut up about you, after I threatened to leave him in the next best motel, and go get you alone.”

That was all the encouragement Dean needed, to close the distance to the car in a few long, hurried strides. He went directly for the right backseat door where he could see Sam sticking his head out, with eyes that were clearly visible in the darkness, and white teeth that betrayed a smile that seemed to stretch from ear to ear. The shuttle was momentarily gone. Before Dean had reached the car, Sam threw the door open and jumped out. The boy ran towards his big brother and threw himself into Dean’s arms with such force, that Dean was almost knocked to the ground. But he found his balance quickly and hugged Sam with as much intensity, as he received from his little squirt. Sam´s face was pressed against Dean´s chest and he could as much feel as hear him say:

“Thank god you´re ok, Dean. I was so worried about you!”

Dean´s heart constricted painfully. For a moment, he felt anger at his dad bubble up anew. Punishing him was one thing, he got that. He deserved that. But making Sammy believe Dean was lost on a hunt … that must have been so hard on his little brother. Dean imagined not knowing for two whole months where Sam was, or if he even was alive. A shudder ran through Dean´s body, that was still tightly wrapped by a now slightly sobbing Sammy.

Dean opened his mouth, and he wasn´t sure what would come out. Maybe he should tell Sam the truth? But at that moment he caught a stern look from his father, who was standing on the other side of the car. Dean closed his mouth again. His dad would make them both pay, if he ever spilled the truth. Just like he had punished them both for his misconduct, even though Sam didn´t even know. Besides, what difference would it make, if Sam learned about it now? The only good it would do him would be, that he would feel like shit all over again, and that he would get absolutely furious with their dad, which would lead to fights and more punishment for him. No, it was best if Dean kept his mouth shut.

Carefully, Dean loosened Sammy´s death grip around his waist and pushed him back a few inches so he could look him in the eye.

“Hey, it´s ok, squirt. I´m here, now. You´re not gonna get rid of me that easy, I promise!”

Sam visibly pulled himself together and managed a shaking, yet genuine smile.

“It´s good to have you back, Dean!”

Dean ruffled Sam´s hear affectionately, which Sammy quit with bitchface #2, no less affectionately.

Then he turned to his dad who was still closely watching them.

“Dad, can I sit with Sammy in the back?”

The hunter let out a sigh, then said in a defeated voice:

“Yes, ok, go on you two.”

Sam beamed both at their dad and at Dean and hurried to get into the car. When Dean followed, Sam was already sitting on the far side, the space shuttle in his hands, beaming from ear to ear. Dean barely had time to get in and close the door, before Sam shoved it almost in his face.

“Look, Dean, what I won at a science contest at school”, he exclaimed with a short side glance at their dad. Dean went with Sam´s cover story to explain the toy, without batting an eye. He figured, if he lied in the name of his dad about something as sinister as him ´being lost on a hunt´, he could as well cover up for his brother. He made a mental note, though, to ask Sammy later how he really came to the shuttle. For now, he took it carefully from Sam´s hand to inspect it with appropriate appreciation (and damn, that thing was really cool), as their dad started the motor and pulled onto the road.

Sam´s grin was contagious, and soon he found himself listening to Sam´s excited voice, telling him about some Russian guy who was holding the record for the longest space flight, being up there one year. The shuttle was clutched in Sam´s hands and his brother was leaning onto him, while he rattled of facts excitedly. There was some classic rock coming from one of dad’s tapes, and the road stretched ahead into the night.

Dean sighed contentedly. He had made the right decision.