"Yeah, can I help you?" he asks after opening the door. Obviously, this moron can't read that they're closed- or listen for that matter.
If Nate wasn't Nate, (meaning if he hadn't dealt with the most harrowing of psychopaths) he would have a strong case of apprehension when gazing upon a tall, lanky man who is dressed in a navy jean jacket, and seems to be shuffling papers at an ungodly hour that are clearly none of his business. Fortunately, Nate is Nate.
"Yeah, I'm uh... I'm looking for my little brother." The strange man turns around and-
He swears, by God, he swears he's lost his mind or he's experiencing some PTSD shit all over again because...because-
"He's about your height..." he-shit, this ghost takes a step closer, and there must have been something in that water he dove earlier today because he has to be hallucinating. "...a little leaner." He stops and the corner of his mouth lifts into a smirk. "Definitely less grey in the temples."
He doesn't want to say it. It's a name that hasn't left his mouth and was forbidden to mention to anyone or himself since that godawful day, but he can't help himself. Nate takes in his hazel eyes, some age lines, and shit- even his hair is the same! It felt so strange seeing his brother aged. His brother had always remained youthful in his memory. He can feel his eyes begin to water.
"It's good to see you again, Nathan."
Nathan. Not Nate. Not Drake. Nathan.
"Oh my Go- Sam!"
He lunges for his older brother and tightly wraps his arms around his upper body, burying his face in the crook of Sam's neck. He inhales his vanillic, smokey scent-he never quit- and the warmth radiating from his lean frame proves just how real all of this is.
"Woah! Alright, take it easy, take it easy," Sam says fondly, and gives his back two gentle pats.
He laughs, but then does something that shocks them both. A sob, unwelcomed and raw, tears through his throat and he can feel Sam go completely rigid under his touch. All those years of shoving this godforsaken memory into the abyss of his mind, and for it to come back and literally knock on his door... he breaks down. The stupid, dim, cold office is filled with the sound of his own sobs. His throat feels clogged when he tries to speak.
"H-how?" he demands, still not letting go even though he can tell Sam wants to. It's so stupid, but it feels like if he lets Sam go now then he'll just wake up. He'll wake up and ironically continue to live a nightmare. The image of his brother coughing up blood and dangling with one hand comes into his mind, and he screws his eyes shut. Nate had let go then, he's not gonna let go now. Fuck that.
"I-I saw you get shot!"
He feels Sam put a hand between them and Nate loosens his hold to see why opting to rest his hands on top of his older brother's shoulders.
"Yes, you did." Sam lifts the left side of his shirt only to reveal three pale bullet scars forming an acute triangle on his toned, tan abdomen. Holy shit.
He swallows thickly and freezes for a second time that night.
"The doctors they-," he snorts," "doctors"- they patched me up and they tossed me right back into the cell."
"Jesus," he breathes. How the hell did they exactly "patch" him up? His imagination runs wild and wonders how much pain Sam must have gone through. How painful the healing process must have been without proper food and drugs. How unsanitary the whole damn operation must have been. Again, how much pain did Sam have to endure? His heart pangs because of that final thought. His head's spinning and he's finding such a hard time wrapping his mind around all of this. He must have lost his balance or some shit because Sam's iron hands are suddenly holding him firmly.
"Woah Nathan! Hey, you alright?"
The concern in his voice doesn't help his self control, or lack thereof. Tears are streaming down his face and when he tries to speak, he becomes a blubbering mess. It's embarrassing. He's a grown man, but he's crying like an infant.
"I-I m-made calls. I-I checked everywhere." He shakes his head as if to convince himself of the facts. "Ev-everything i heard- everything i found all confirmed you were gone!" He thinks he chokes on the last word, and his body suddenly feels extremely weak, and he can't stop fucking balling like a two-year old.
"Hey, hey, hey," Sam whispers, and wraps his arms around him placing a hand on the back of his head, leading Nate's face back into his neck. He inhales his tobacco scented smell and fists the back of his jacket. He feels Sam tighten his arms around his shaking frame, and Nate realizes how hysterical he must be. He practically melts into the embrace, thinking about how long it had been since he last felt these protective arms around him.
"Shhh." Sam hushes his soft cries whilst combing a hand through his soft brown strands repeatedly. "You're okay now."
Except he's not. Sam was all he had and Nate lost him. He lost everything in that one moment. The only reason he stopped looking for the treasure is because it meant nothing once he thought Sam was gone. He couldn't buy his brother's life back, so what the hell was the point? It hurt. It had hurt so fucking much. His "death" left a gaping whole in his chest that he tried to fill with Sully and Elena, but no matter how much he loved them or vice versa, there was-and always would be a little space left.
"Shhhh," Sam hushes him, pressing a warm kiss into his temple. "I gotcha little brother." he whispers, rubbing circles into his back, and it almost makes him cry harder.