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Part III
blue moon
kaylennz

 

 

For the next few days, Sam kept his distance. His talk with John hadn’t weakened his resolve or determination to work his way into Dean’s life, but it did put into perspective just how carefully he would have to tread. A damaged psyche was not to be taken lightly, especially one as near and dear to him as his brother’s. Sam also had to reluctantly admit that John had driven home the very real possibility that Dean’s memory loss may be permanent. He wasn’t in the least bit ready to give up hope, but he had begun to think about what place, if any, he would have in Dean and Isabella’s life. He would have to make sure that his actions now did not adversely affect any place he may have in their lives down the road. 

After tailing Dean to work the next day, Sam had made his way to the local library and quickly found the article about the accident that had killed Jenna. The twenty-one year old intoxicated driver from Millidge had also been killed on impact. The accident had made front page news - not unusual for a small town. Sam winced in sympathy when he saw the black and white photo of twisted wreckage. The two vehicles hit at such force that the metal had fused together in spots. It was plain to see why there had been no survivors. 

The following week's newspaper held Jenna's obituary. He'd hoped it would have an accompanying photo. It did. Sam tried not to let any of his conflicting feelings for the woman color his initial impression of her and was not entirely sure he succeeded. 

She had been pretty in a plain sort of way.   And she’d had a nice smile - he'd give her that. Okay, so maybe he wasn't doing that great a job of being impartial. Based on looks alone, Sam guessed he could see what Dean may have found attractive. She wasn't his brother’s usual busty, long-legged fare, but there was a spirited challenge in her gaze that Sam begrudgingly likened to Dean. 

Listed in the obituary as surviving family along with Dean and Isabella was Jenna's mother - Olivia Walker. Sam recognized Olivia as the woman Dean had been so comfortable with his first day in town. A prominent member of the community and her church, Olivia was mentioned in several fundraising and charity articles. Sam skimmed through most of those, looking for more personal information. He found two articles of interest.

The first one caught him completely off-guard: Dean and Jenna's wedding announcement. He ignored the ache in his chest and swallowed hard as the picture filled his screen. Dean stood behind Jenna, arms wrapped around her as she turned slightly in his embrace. They were gazing at each other with such intimacy that Sam almost felt intrusive. It was obvious that for that frozen moment in time, the world beyond each other had ceased to exist. It was a glimpse of something special - something Sam had never expected to see. Dean. In love.

With someone else. 

The pain that particular acknowledgement inspired was irrational, he knew. Not that it mattered. The fact that Dean didn't remember him, that he too had for a time moved on and found what he thought was love with Jess, made no difference. To see the love in those eyes given so freely to another, someone not him, just plain hurt.  

Sam's gaze drifted to Jenna. He couldn't help but wonder what it was about this woman that had captured Dean's heart. It saddened him to know that he would never get the chance to find out. Anyone who could put a smile like that on his brother’s face was definitely worth getting to know. With that thought, Sam did his best to let go of the lingering thread of jealousy and resentment he felt toward the woman. It didn’t make the hurt go away, but it somehow made it more bearable.

The next article of interest was another obituary. This one for Ramsey T. Walker survived by his wife Olivia and daughter Jenna. Nearly twelve years ago Ramsey died suddenly of a heart attack. Walker’s Auto was briefly mentioned as his life’s work, jointly owned and managed by the husband and wife team. Sam found it somewhat surprising that Olivia continued the day-to-day running of the business after her husband’s death. 

He’d also discovered over the last few days just how firmly ensconced Olivia was in nearly all aspects of Dean's life. They worked together, she showed up for sudden unexpected visits, picked Isabella up from Miss Chloe's on Tuesdays and Thursdays and cooked them dinner at her place on Sundays. Sam had viewed her as an obstacle at first, but her obvious fondness for Dean soon won him over. He genuinely looked forward to meeting her face to face. While connecting with Dean was his ultimate goal, he very much recognized the importance of making a good impression with the two women in his life. 

Once Sam had Dean's general routine down, he'd set himself to the task of figuring out exactly how to ease into his brother's life. His objective was not to force his way in, but to have Dean invite him in. Taking into consideration the possibility that his brother’s memory loss could be permanent, Sam decided that slow integration would be the best way to go for everyone involved.

He started with a membership at Dean's gym. He made a point of showing early for a light workout and leaving just as Dean arrived. The first few times they passed was at a distance and Sam didn't even make eye contact. He did the same at the grocery store, finding himself checking out just as Dean and Isabella arrived on Saturday mornings. He tried very deliberately to been seen without taking any obvious notice of Dean's presence.  

The following Sunday, he decided to attend the 9:30 worship service he'd followed them to the previous week. Yeah - so that had been a bit of a shocker – but it had turned out to be totally worth the trip for the slightly startled smile of recognition with which Dean graced him as their eyes met on the way out. The genuine pleasure in his brother's gaze was a ray of sunshine to his soul – banishing clouds of loneliness and doubt with a single glance.

Despite the desire to do otherwise, Sam left with the departing crowd as parents made their way downstairs to the Sunday school classes. The opportunity to speak never arose. 

On Tuesday, Sam followed Dean to Millidge, and like the previous week while doing the same, lost the Impala in the heavier traffic of the city. At a loss for anything better to do, Sam decided he would check out the University. 

The campus was smaller than he was used to and the lack of private funding was obvious. He took an abbreviated tour while evening classes were in session and then settled himself on a patch of grass in the quad with his laptop, close enough to the library to pick up a wireless connection. While it powered up, he removed his jacket and pulled out a bottle of water and some snacks from his bag.   Barely removed from student status himself, he blended well. 

A half hour later he was still researching the curriculum, but overall was impressed with what the University offered. While it was unlikely he would find a position at this point in the summer  semester, Sam decided he would come back during business hours and leave his resume anyway. His limited savings and the money that John gave him for graduation wouldn't hold out much longer. A teaching position would be ideal, but he wasn't above taking any job at this point. His only criterion was that it not interfere with his plans to reconnect with Dean.

An increased trickle of foot traffic through the quad and the darkening sky had him shutting down his laptop. He wanted to take one final tour of the campus before dark. He rose to one knee, gathering his things. 

“Sam?” 

The familiar voice in such an unexpected setting caught him completely off- guard. Legitimately startled, Sam floundered as he looked up into beautiful moss-colored eyes. “Ah…” He had nothing. For the life of him he couldn’t think of a thing to say. Damnit! Say something!

His brother apparently took the ensuing silence as a lack of recognition and politely reintroduced himself. “Dean.”

“Yeah.” Sam’s lips quirked into a soft indulgent smile. “I remember.”

Pointing with his chin at Sam’s impromptu picnic, Dean asked, “You need a hand?”

“Oh.” Sam immediately started shoving things in his messenger bag. “Ah…” God, Sam – could you be any more inarticulate? It didn’t matter. Dean had already crouched next to him, handing him his jacket and what remained of his gummy bears. His ears pinked a little at that. 

“Thanks,” he said graciously as they both stood and started walking towards the parking lot. 

"So,” Sam took in the backpack Dean had slung over his shoulder with surprise that he tried not to let color his voice, “you're taking classes?"

Dean gave a little shrug, didn't turn his head to meet Sam's gaze. "Just one." 

Sam nodded, taking the hint not to push when Dean didn't offer any further information. He managed to feel a little guilty about his plans to hack into the school's system later to find out. 

"How about you?" Dean asked, meeting his gaze. "How goes the job hunt?"

"Still working on it." Sam replied. "I'm likely looking at a fall position if there's an opening. Guess I'll have to find something else for the summer."

Dean seemed to consider that, lips pursed. Sam wondered what he was thinking. He missed knowing what went on in Dean's head - missed the quicksilver comebacks and glib commentary. 

"Know anything about cars?" Dean asked finally.

Okay, that was so not what he was expecting. "Some," he said, and then admitted with a smile as Dean glanced at him, "Not much."  

"Know how to do an oil change? Check fluids?" Sam paused, realizing that Dean was serious - realized just what his brother was potentially offering.

"Ah." Sam's mild surprise was evident. "It's been awhile, but yeah." 

Dean nodded to himself and they walked a bit further. "I could use some help at the garage. It's not the most glamorous work, but we offer a decent wage and could work around any interviews that may come your way." Dean finished with, "If you're interested."

If he was interested? Hell, he'd clean sewers at this point if it meant being close to Dean. He was grateful for the offer, made sure Dean could see it in his eyes. Still, he made a show of thinking about it. 

"Can I get back to you on that?" He asked, already planning to ask Dean for his cell phone number. "I've got a few leads that I want to follow up on first."  

"Sure." Dean said in a tone that indicated he was perfectly fine with that. "No problem." 

When they reached the Impala, Sam couldn't resist his comment of, "Sweet ride." 

Dean practically beamed, but didn’t comment.

"What year is she, sixty-six?" he tested.

"'Sixty-seven," Dean corrected.

Sam looked her over appreciatively, peeking inside at the interior. He'd never held the attachment to the Impala that Dean had, but he still felt that familiar sense of home in her presence. 

"How long've you had her?" Sam pretended to still be checking out the car. 

"Long as I can remember." Dean barely paused, though he did look away.

Sam quirked both brows at the understated, yet accurate deflection. When Dean physically withdrew, Sam dropped it. "She's a beauty." 

As they exchanged cell phone numbers, Sam noticed Dean glancing at his watch and wondered if his brother was anxious to get home to Isabella. He was just getting ready to make his farewell when Dean asked him, "So, Sam, I've been meaning to ask you, what exactly do you teach?" 

There was a little too much curiosity there for the question to be strictly polite. Sam was prepared for the question, had his answer planned out for the sole purpose of gauging Dean's reaction. 

"I'm qualified to teach a variety of subjects,” he started, easing his way. "But my specialty is paranormal studies." God, he hated lying to Dean, no matter how necessary he deemed it. 

Now that got him an undisguised look of surprise. Twin brows of inverted v's rose nearly to Dean's hairline.

"What?" Sam asked with a small smile that said he was used to the response. "You don't believe in the supernatural?"

Dean pursed those perfect lips again, carefully monitoring his response. "Not as a rule," he stated thoughtfully. "I believe there are things that happen in this world that can't be explained - but as far as things that go bump in the night..." Lifting a shoulder and letting it fall Dean trailed off, letting silence convey his skepticism. Then as an afterthought he added, "No offense."

Sam glanced at the amulet around Dean's neck, a small smile of what should have been shared secrets teasing the corners of his mouth. "None taken."

Dean frowned suddenly, brows furrowing. Sam held his breath. Come on, bro, I know you're in there. Dean tipped his head to the side, studying him intently for a long moment before asking, "Are you sure we've never met?"

Sam shrugged and fell into his role, "It's possible, I guess. I grew up in the area. Did you go to Lake Region High School?" He asked, watching Dean's expression closely. 

His brother's face went carefully blank, and his eyes dropped to the ground. Instead of answering Dean glanced at his watch again and changed the subject. “Whoa, hey, I didn’t realize it was so late. I’ve gotta hit the road, man.” The door to the Impala opened with a groan and Dean dropped his pack into the backseat. "Gonna be late for my date."

Sam blinked, his stomach doing a lazy little flip flop. "Date?" He asked, trying to sound causal.

"Yeah,” Sam felt his heart sink as Dean went on to elaborate for him. "Beautiful, blonde...about three feet high"

Relieved, it was easy to return Dean's playful grin. "Ah, an evening with the lovely Isabella." Sam surmised.   

"Bedtime stories with Izzy B," Dean confirmed. "One of my favorite times of the day."

Dean glanced at his watch again, and despite his claim of being pressed for time, rested his arms on the roof of the Impala. “See, the deal is,” he leaned forward a little, towards Sam, voice lowered- “If I’m late getting back, I get stuck reading ‘If You Give a Moose a Muffin.’”

Sam bit his lip to keep from laughing. Those words - out of Dean’s mouth? Too friggin’ much. And he didn’t stop there. “Not that that’s bad, mind you, it’s just, you know, her favorite story right now and she could listen to it over and over and over again. I mean, have you read that story?”

Apparently the question was rhetorical as Dean continued, “Ole Mr. Moose seems nice enough to begin with but, dude, let me tell you; by the thirty-sixth read-through - he’s a presumptuous bastard.” 

Sam couldn't help it, he laughed out loud and Dean seemed to realize that he'd gone off on a little tangent. There was another subtle head tilt at Sam's chuckle, but it lacked the intense scrutiny of before. 

"Well," Sam said, still smiling, “I could think of worse ways to spend an evening." 

His voice must have hinted at loneliness, his feeling of exclusion from his brother's life. Dean's smile dimmed a bit and he watched Sam's face closely. Curious, but obviously too polite to probe, Dean simply nodded in agreement.

"Hey,” Sam said, letting Dean off the hook. "I've got to take off myself. I'll call you…about the job?" 

"Sure." Dean answered. "Anytime." The sincerity in his brother's voice buoyed him as he walked away. 

 

                                                                                                -wWw-

 

Sam didn't go to the gym the next day or follow Dean back to the university for his Thursday evening class. He'd made a real issue of having other employment leads to follow up when Dean had offered him the job that he figured it would be better to just seem...busy. Besides, he really felt that he'd made some progress in that first step of reconnecting with Dean and didn't want to push it with too many coincidental meetings.

That lasted until about Friday when he could stand it no longer. He went to the gym hoping to run into Dean at the usual time, but was disappointed when Dean didn't show up at all. Sam had lost track of how many times he'd flipped his cell open and scrolled down to Dean's number. It took every ounce of self-control he had not to hit the call button just to hear the sound of Dean's voice. Maybe once things got more casual that would be an option, but right now, he feared it would be too awkward. To Dean, he was still a stranger. Soon, though, that would be changing. 

Sam just had to keep taking it slow. 

On those days when direct contact with Dean just wasn’t possible, Sam drove by Dean’s house and Walker's so many times he lost track. He even made a point of checking in on Olivia's place when he knew Isabella was there. 

Saturday brought a slight variation to Dean's schedule. Instead of finding the Impala in the driveway at home, Sam discovered Dean working at Walker's for a few hours. He wondered if there was an actual need in what he had assumed was a charitable offer of employment. The rest of Dean's day had been spent doing errands and capped off with an hour long visit to the park with Izzy. 

Feeling a little disheartened at the pace in which things were progressing, no matter how appropriate he deemed it - Sam almost skipped the Sunday morning worship service the following week. In his head Sam knew he was doing the right thing by slowly integrating his way into Dean and Isabella's life, but the last few days with no contact at all had been long. And lonely. Just being in Dean's presence offered a familiar comfort that had been denied him these last five years. And that, of course, was the deciding factor that got him up and moving. 

He arrived early this time, before Dean and Isabella. Spotting Olivia, Sam took a seat a few rows directly behind her, noticing that she was saving two seats next to her. More than once Sam saw her turn an expectant gaze to the entrance. 

The pre-service crowd was exceptionally social and Sam found himself the center of bubbling curiosity in the form of handshakes and sincere smiles in an effort to make him feel welcome. It was a definite drawback in that he didn't want to draw attention to himself. 

When it was obvious that the service was going to begin soon, everyone found their seats. It was at this time that Dean and Isabella made their fashionably late entrance. Sam followed Olivia's gaze as she turned and smiled at them. Dean looked a little tired, but dashing in a pale blue button down shirt and tan khaki’s. He was dressed nice, but casual, with his customary spikes tamed. Isabella held his hand in a simple cut royal blue dress and matching head scarf.

Both were striking in their own way and drew many a gaze. Sam noticed more than one appreciative glance slide over his brother's features and then trail speculatively down to the gold wedding band he still wore. His jaw tightened in response. He wasn’t possessive by nature, but he could feel it slowly coiling in the pit of his stomach, had always felt that way where Dean was concerned. And if he wasn't mistaken, some of the young ladies subtly ogling his brother were actually sitting right next to their respective husbands or boyfriends. The nerve.

The little old ladies, of course, had eyes only for Isabella. They watched delightedly as she spotted Olivia and looked up at Dean questioningly. He let her hand go with a smile and she sprinted enthusiastically to her grandmother as if it had been a week instead of the previous day since they'd last seen each other. Sam, too, had to smile when Isabella threw herself into Olivia's arms. 

Sam was still watching Olivia when Dean joined them. He saw clearly the sudden concern that colored her expression, unaware that it was now mirrored in his. Dean took his seat, exposing his profile to Sam as he turned. Her hand settled lightly on the side of Dean's face and she asked him a question too softly for Sam to hear. After a moment she nodded at his equally soft response, but continued to study him. Her thumb smoothed over his skin once before she released him, turning her attention to the morning's hymns. 

Like last week, Sam never got close enough to actually speak to Dean. The post-service welcoming committee kept him pinned inside the vestibule while his brother made his way to Isabella’s Sunday school class. He did however get a commiserating quirk of a smile at his predicament and a friendly nod as Dean passed. By the time he made it out of the church and back to his car, Dean was gone. 

“See you next week, Samuel,” the very elderly Ms. Boley said as one of the church elders escorted her to her vehicle. Sam didn’t know which was scarier: the fact that the woman was about to get behind the wheel or that she had convinced herself, in the twenty minutes or so since they'd met, that Sam was the perfect companion for her granddaughter, who just so happened to be an unwed mother…of three. Sam waved and smiled politely and then took off in the opposite direction.

Pretty sure of Dean’s schedule for the remainder of the day, and aware that he played no part in it, Sam decided to head to the supermarket. His supplies were down to an almost empty jar of peanut butter and two apples. Time to restock.

Pulling into the lot of the only market in town, Sam was surprised to see the Impala parked at the far end. It was another slight variation in Dean’s schedule.  For the last two weeks his brother had gone shopping on Saturday. Sam hesitated. He hadn’t planned this potential meeting.   Encouraged by the results of the accidental meeting at the university earlier in the week, Sam parked the car and took a deep breath. 

The number of cars in the parking lot should have been a dead giveaway to the mob scene inside. Sam was momentarily stunned by the mayhem that greeted him. The only thing that kept him from turning around and walking right back out was the knowledge that somewhere within the morass were Dean and Isabella. He took a deep breath and bravely entered the fray. 

Quickly discovering that it was useless to actually look for Dean in the ebb and flow of chaotic shoppers, Sam focused on his mental grocery list, hoping to run into his brother somewhere along the way. He did cross paths with a few familiar faces from the morning’s service. Thankfully, they merely smiled at him and went about their shopping. Sam had just dropped a jar of grape jelly into his basket when he heard Isabella’s voice.

“Sam!” She cried, recognizing him from a distance. 

Dean turned and looked at him in surprise. From her spot secured in the front of the cart, Isabella waved and spoke excitedly as he approached. “Hi Sam.”

“Hey there.” He included both of them in his response, trying to gauge Dean’s reaction to his presence. 

“Hey.” Dean’s voice was friendly. “Can you believe this mad house? I knew there was a reason we avoided this place on Sundays.”

“Yeah,” Sam agreed wholeheartedly. “It’s pretty crazy.”

“You got that right. Crazy,” Dean repeated, looking to Isabella, with a twinkle in his eyes. “You about ready to bust out of this loony bin darlin’?”

She giggled at him, clutching a pink box of Barbie Fruit Snacks to her chest as if Dean might decide to take them away at any moment.

“We’re making a break for it.” Dean had turned back to him. “You in?”

Sam gave a lopsided smile and reined in his affection. He’d always loved a playful Dean. “You bet.” 

He followed Dean to the front of the store to check out, ignoring the fact that he hadn’t even gotten half of his items. The backlog of shoppers waiting in line was staggering. He heard Dean’s resigned, “Oh, man,” and couldn’t agree more. Sam was tempted to leave once again. Just drop his basket and walk away. He could tell by the look on Dean’s face that his brother would very much like to do the same. The sigh that followed indicated, however, that it was not an option.

There were three registers open and approximately twelve people waiting in line – with more trickling in from various aisles. One of the open lines was an express lane, but Sam bypassed it and stood in line behind Dean. He took note of the next line over. 

“This one looks to be moving a little faster,” he observed.

Dean took a look and then said, “I think we’ll stick with this one.” He gave a head nod to the sign above the register that read No Candy.

Not having any kids of his own and never really having been around them much it took Sam a long minute to understand the significance. 

Dean watched as understanding dawned and Sam’s eyes flicked to Isabella. He smiled wryly and said, “Izzy B and I learned through trial and error that it's best not to flirt with temptation.” 

“Good idea,” Sam agreed with his new level of understanding. 

“Besides,” Dean added, looking at Isabella, “we have an arrangement now, don’t we darlin’?”

Isabella hadn’t really been paying attention. There was entirely too much going on around her. With Dean’s prompting she proudly held up her pink box of gummy fruits. 

”She gets to pick out one thing,” Dean went on to explain, then added with emphasis, “within reason.” 

 

Dean tucked his chin to his chest and looked at Sam through a fringe of too long lashes, as if sharing a secret. “Made the mistake of leaving that offer open-ended when I first put it on the table. I didn’t realize how stupid that was until we passed through the bakery.”

The bakery was positioned near the front of the store Sam recalled. You pretty much had to pass through it to get anywhere else. It was filled with cakes and cookies and every possible sugary confection one could imagine. 

“Man,” Sam said in commiseration.

“Yeah,” Dean agreed.

“What did she pick?” Sam asked with a smile, legitimately curious.

“A cake.” Dean held his hands out wide in front of him in what had to be an exaggeration of size. “A big one. With Elmo on it.” Then as if he were certain Sam would have no idea of the conspiracy involved, he added, “They do that on purpose, you know.”

Sam laughed, and without thinking said, “Dude – you know who Elmo is?” 

Dean pulled his head back a little and looked at him. “Dude,” he responded in kind, apparently not the least bit offended by Sam’s over familiarity, “who doesn’t?” 

The banter, mild as it was, was a balm to Sam's soul. There were so many things he'd taken for granted when it came to Dean - and exchanges like this brought them all home. Strange as it was, with Dean standing right next to him, Sam really missed his brother at that moment - missed the shared history that connected them on a more intimate level. 

The lines continued to move slowly, though they did even out a bit when another register was opened. Sam thought Isabella was exceptionally well behaved considering the wait.

"So,” Sam asked carefully, broaching Dean's previous offer of employment. "Does that job offer still stand?"

Dean glanced up at him. "No luck, huh?" He asked, knowing Sam would prefer a teaching position.

"Actually,” Sam explained. "I did have a little." Turns out the professor teaching the condensed summer intro to psych course had to take an early medical leave due to pregnancy complications. "It's only two days a week for the remainder of the summer. But a full-time position for the fall looks promising if all goes well. Thing is, I could really use something to keep me busy in the meantime and bring in a little extra cash." 

Dean nodded, seemed a little surprised that Sam was really interested. "Sure. I can use the help. You don't mind working the occasional Saturday do you?"

Sam shook his head once. "Not a problem." 

"Well all right then," Dean held his hand out to Sam and they shook on it. "When can you start?" And with that, the matter was settled. They worked out the details as the line continued to inch forward.   

When only one other person remained in line in front of them, Dean spun his cart around with practiced ease so that he stood behind it and Isabella preceded him through the check out. Isabella made a long reach for the divider and placed it behind the last remaining items already on the conveyer belt. She began an immediate conversation with the clerk who was still trying to finish up with his current customer. The kid looked about seventeen and positively overwhelmed. Sam felt a moment's sympathy at the 'Thank you for your patience, I'm new.' ribbon stuck to the young man's nametag. His name was Chuck. Poor Chuck.

Dean had already started unloading and Sam was mildly surprised at the amount of fruit and green leafy vegetables that comprised his brother's order. There was more nutrition in that one cart than Dean had ever consumed in his entire life. 

The clerk began scanning Dean's order as Isabella continued her attempt to lure him into a conversation. In his frazzled state he focused only on what he was doing, oblivious to her chatter. It didn't seem to bother her first, but Sam soon caught the frustration in her tone. 

Dean continued to transfer items from the cart. Sam noticed he had a couple of things on the rack underneath. He set his basket down and retrieved the cat food and kitty litter and handed them to Dean. 

"Thanks, man." Dean said, grateful, but clearly distracted. 

Isabella waved her hand at the clerk and said, "Hello? I'm talking to you." She clearly had plans for the item she was holding and was becoming upset that he was not paying attention to her. It was starting to get to Sam. Apparently Dean had had enough also.

"Hey!" Dean said, slamming down a can of French-cut green beans in front of Chuck and turning more than a few heads, "she's talking to you." 

The clerk froze, eyes wide, as they flickered back and forth between Dean and Isabella. When he made eye-contact with her, Isabella held up her box, glad to finally have his attention. "This is mine,” she happily informed him.

Not sure what to do with that information, the clerk remained frozen, looking to Dean for guidance.

"We'd like a separate bag for that, please,” Dean said without rancor and returned to his task. Sam watched as Chuck scanned the item, dropped it into a small plastic bag and handed it to a pleased Isabella. He responded with a surprisingly sincere, “Your welcome,” to her well mannered, “Thank you.” 

Sam watched the scene play out with a raised brow, but wisely remained silent. The whole exchange was just so...Dean. 

Sam realized at that moment that even if his brother never got his memory back, he needed to be a part of Dean's life. At that moment, it didn’t matter if they ever become lovers - he'd always love Dean as a brother. Had, over the past few years, realized his feelings for Dean as a potential lover. But was just now beginning to realize how much he cared for Dean as a friend.

Dean paid in cash and, while he didn't apologize to Chuck for the previous outburst, he did go out of his way to be amiable to the young man during the transaction. Sam half-expected Dean to bail with a quick farewell when he was finished. Instead, he waited while Sam made his purchase, surreptitiously surveying the few items Sam had been able to locate. 

They walked out of the store together, Sam thankful he'd decided to park in the general direction of the Impala. 

"Hey, Sam?" Dean asked voice tentative. "You, ah, you got plans for dinner tonight?"

Sam hoped the surprise he felt did not show on his face. He tried to sound casual and curious at the same time. "No, not really. Hang out, maybe catch the game." 

Sam watched out of the corner of his eye as Dean nodded thoughtfully, and then seemed to come to some decision. 

"Why don't you join us?" Dean asked.

“Are you sure?” Sam asked, doing his best to sound uncertain rather than hopeful, “I’d hate to impose.” 

He so wanted to impose.

"Nonsense," Dean declared. "How long has it been since you've had a decent home cooked meal with all the fixin's? You look like you’re still eating dorm food, college boy." He said with a grin indicating the single bag of food Sam was carrying.

Sam was momentarily startled by the familiarity and remained speechless.

"See,” Dean said, hitting him lightly in the chest with the back of his hand, “you can't even remember the last time. Five o' clock sound good?" 

"Ah..." 

"I'll pick you up,” Dean continued, and then added, "Oh, I probably should mention that I'm not doing the cooking." He smiled, content to keep any other details to himself. "Not that I can't cook," he added as an after thought.

The issue appeared to be settled as far as Dean was concerned, so maybe it was out of politeness that he asked, "You're coming, right?"

Sam quirked a curious brow at Dean's grin, reminding himself that Dean had no idea that he already knew that the two joined Olivia on Sunday evenings for dinner. Sam decided he'd stalled long enough. There really was only one answer to Dean's question.

 

"I'd love to." 




Part IV

 

 

 

 



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Mmmm... Still loving this. More, even! More, and more, and more, with each word. Lovely.

mj

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