Rating: PG - Gen
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: "Sam had often wondered what it would be like to see his brother as a stranger. What was it exactly that he appeared to be to people who had no idea who or what he was?"
Sam wasn't exactly sure why he came along every time as often as he did.
He didn't quite buy the implied suggestion that Dean just really wanted his company as they were never out of each other's sight for the better part of every day. But he could be wrong. Throughout all the years, his brother had never actually expressed any need to require any time exclusively for himself.
It made Sam wonder what it had been like for Dean during those few years when Dad had often sent them in opposite directions with nothing but a cell phone. But if Sam was completely honest with himself, he had to admit that his first few days at school were pretty strange. When he opened that empty dorm room with the bare mattress he finally felt what it meant to be alone.
Say what he would about his childhood and maybe even the isolation of doing and being what they were, however, until he had been apart from his brother and father, he hadn't realized just how crowded and close they had actually been. Pleasant or horrible, it had been what it was.
The laptop beeped as he flipped it open, booting up and looking for an area connection.
He smiled when he found one almost right away.
"Only you are that happy to get onto the intraweb." Dean observed offhandedly over his glass as he examined the bustle of the room.
Sam ignored him while he pulled up several local police sites. If he was lucky he'd get some passworded scanned archives and if he wasn't well ... there was always yahoo games and CNN Sports. Dean had already wandered away, commonly using him like some kind of intermittent home base while he hit the bar, the pool tables, the table of girls in the corner...
It was nice in a way. Instead of some quiet motel room with nothing but the TV and an old air conditioner buzzing for noise, there was something comforting sitting in the middle of a dozens of strangers and hearing them talking and laughing. It felt good to be lost among them as special or unspectacular as the next guy. Unnoticed. Just like anyone else out on a Friday night. He just happened to have a computer at his table and two open books. But it was close enough to the end of work whistle that he might have just come off as some kind of over achiever. Some office guy taking his spreadsheets home with him. Some college kid working when he should be playing. Whatever.
Dean had paused in his orbit of the place, leaning easily against the bar with his attention up on a TV monitor that was broadcasting a football game. Behind him, three barstools down, was a pretty good looking girl that Sam noticed had begun to look over at his older brother repeatedly.
Sam had often wondered what it would be like to see his brother as a stranger. What was it exactly that he appeared to be to people who had no idea who or what he was? Did this girl know that Dean's jeans weren't the kind you paid hundreds for just so they looked carelessly worn out and scuffed up? In fact, Sam knew for sure that the small rip at the knee was from scrambling through in a narrow crawl space looking for stashed bones in an attic. Maybe she thought his vintage leather was found on ebay and not the genuine 1960s hand me down from Dad who couldn't see the logic in allowing Dean to buy a new one. And the steel toe biker boots frat boys wore to look tough were considered 'sensible' in this family. Never knew when you had to kick in the drywall or other unyielding stubborn things.
Did this girl know Dean didn't have an apartment with a closet full of expensive factory treated denim and a shelf in his bathroom just for odd shaped bottles of cologne? An overdue cable bill. Maybe a dog.
When Dean would eventually show her the car would she even get that he didn't buy it with some rich Daddy's money just to get laid? She would not even suspect that it had been brought back from a junker long before they were even born by a man she would never meet. A man that had lovingly brought it back from its static demise, outraged at the loss of something beautiful within his own understanding of art. She'd sit in it admiring the leather seats and not really ever understand that Dean couldn't just drive it, he could own it. Take it apart and put it back together in the dark.
Dean's unintentionally assembled picture brought her gaze to him once again as he asked the bartender for another bottle of beer. His voice practical and curt. The sound always carried some ownership of self authority that Sam knew his brother wasn't quite aware he had.
Maybe there was something there that lay in the entirety of it that revealed his brother as the real deal. A person everyone else had to pay money to carefully copy and pretend to be.
It made Sam laugh to himself that as much and as often as Dean pretended to be anything but himself, that he was more exactly himself than anyone in the room. Maybe the entire town.
Dean finally caught the pretty girl looking at him. He smiled back.
Sam shook his head and went back to hacking into the police website. Even that particular smile wasn't bought.
And like the rest of his brother, the intention behind it was about as real as it got.