Jess doesn't find out Dean's back in town until she comes home from her classes to find that he's kicked everyone out of the kitchen and taken over. Rebecca's got a wine glass full of beer—it's her week to do the dishes—and Liz is on the other side of the table from her while they both watch the goings on in the kitchen.
"Dean," Jess greets him. She sets her messenger bag on the couch before she goes to the kitchen. "Sam didn't tell me you were stopping by." The daggers she glares at Sam are wasted, as his back is to her while he cuts something up.
"That's because I knew the little bitch would've snitched me out if I told him," Dean says. He's got that same cocky grin stuck on his face, and she's sure he knows exactly what that look gets him. "Hey, you think you can hook me up with your mom's number? Bobby just laughed when I asked him, but I really think I got a shot."
"There is not enough alcohol in this college for me to do that," she says. "What are you doing?"
"Come on, I think I've got a shot. I could totally be Sammy's father-in-law," he says, throwing a very, very disturbing look over his shoulder at Sam.
"Stop hitting on my girlfriend's mom. She isn't even here to smack you."
"Oh, I'll smack him for her," Jess offers.
"You smack me, and you're not getting dinner."
"I think Dean should always be here," Rebecca says. "This is so much more fun than watching you and Sam study."
"You watch them study?" Dean asks. "Kinky. I like it."
"That's awkward," Liz says. "I like the food talk a lot better; let's go back to that."
"Dean was in the neighborhood," Sam says. It's a lie. Sam's family has never been in the neighborhood until two weeks ago. "He decided to stop by and treat everyone to dinner—"
"That I bought," Dean interrupts. "Because Sam's a mooching cheapskate. I'm kidnapping his ugly mug, too. Got a room to put him up in and everything. Unlimited hot water and free local calls except to cell phones."
"Ooh, upscale," Sam remarks sarcastically. His shoulders are tense, which is a dead give-away that he's embarrassed. "Dean...."
"Oh, don't worry. I'm just fucking with you," Dean elbows him. Sam backhands him across his chest, harder, from what it looks like, and then wordlessly hands him a chunk of tomato. "I sharked some pocket protectors down the road. Got Her Royal Highness a suite with turn-down service and everything."
"What fucking language was that?" Liz asks. Jess hates living with them sometimes; it's like they have a specific sense just for trainwrecks and gossip.
"Dean, you can't—"
"I'm sorry, anyone who bets five hundred bucks on their first game of pool deserves for me to take all their money. Punks're just lucky I let them keep their stupid little loafers."
"Would you let him finish a sentence?" Jess asks. It's probably more pissed off than she intended, if Rebecca and Liz's faces are anything to go by. She hates how Dean's just steamrolling over Sam, though.
"Why? I already know what he's gonna say."
Sam shrugs, the traitor, and says, "It's true."
"Anyone here not like garlic?" Dean asks.
"What the fuck are you making?" Rebecca asks, snatching her wine glass back from Liz. "Hamburgers do not go in pots."
"You're the classiest lady ever, Becky," Liz tells her.
"Don't call me that."
"You two sisters, or something?" Dean asks.
"I'm Navajo and Mexican," Liz says. "And she's the whitest thing on the planet."
"Is that a no?"
"I'd still like to know what we're eating," says Rebecca.
Jess feels a murder coming on, and heads to her room, not at all trying to figure out what the hell hamburger soup is.
"I am really not happy about this," Jess says once Sam is out of the room and in the shower.
"Well, then you probably shouldn't've eaten two bowls," Dean says, sprawling out on the couch.
"I meant this." She waves a hand back and forth between the two of them. "Sam and I fight about hunting, and then a week later, you just happen to 'be in the neighborhood'? You cannot possibly believe that I'm stupid enough to believe that."
Dean leans forward on the couch, and lets the grin leave his face for the first time that night. "Okay, sweetheart, listen close because I'm only going to say this once: I have no idea what the fuck you're talking about. And, newsflash; the whole wide world does not fucking revolve around you."
"It's awfully convenient that you show up now after being AWOL for Sam's first two years here," she says. Like there's anything fucking convenient about not being able to see or talk to his little brother.
"Your face is awfully convenient," Dean tells her, lamely.
"Do you have a concussion?" Jess asks him.
"Listen, I'm sure you're Jess the vampire slayer when it comes to hunting, but I'm so completely not here for you. I'm here because I didn't think I was ever gonna get to see Sammy again, okay? And I will glue myself to your motherfucking doorstep until he gets sick of my face. You should probably just deal with that."
Jess stares at him for a moment, and it reminds Dean of Dad when Dean's just told the actual, honest truth about some deputy who gave him a ride home from the bar and tried to talk him out of his life of crime. It's a little bit disbelieving and a little bit of something else Dean doesn't know her well enough to name. "Sam really didn't ask you?"
"Really?" Dean laughs mirthlessly. "He doesn't want anything to do with our family anymore. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't ask me for a favor if he was on fire and I was the only person on the planet with a bucket of water."
It makes him a little sick to his stomach how honest he's being, but he's always been better at honesty with strangers, and this is probably going to be the only time Sam lets him within a hundred miles of Stanford, so there's no reason to bother lying.
One side of her mouth lifts up in a small smile. "If he were on fire, he'd probably try to put it out himself."
"Yeah, that actually sounds more like him."
"I'm sorry I went all... whatever on you," Jess says, shrugging one of her shoulders and rolling her eyes. "Sam's just been weird lately. About me hunting. He doesn't want me to do it alone, so... yeah. Then you showed up, and I assumed."
"Hey," Dean says, putting a hand up. "I'm gonna stop you right there because I'll agree with Sam on this and pretty much anything else. Even if he's wrong beyond wrong—and I'm talking 'Nirvana is better than Zeppelin' wrong—I'm gonna pick him over you because I don't know you, and Sammy pouts like a pretty little princess who just got told she can't have a pony."
"I'm not trying to get you to pick sides," Jess tells him. "I just don't want you to think I'm crazy or anything."
"You're dating Sam," Dean says. "If you weren't bugfuck insane, you wouldn't've lasted a week. I saw him eat tonight; that kid still won't eat anything off his plate if two of his foods are touching."
She stares at him a moment, and it makes Dean think of the way Sammy used to stare at the lizards on the walls of motels in Arizona. Finally, she asks, "Are all brothers like this, or just you two?"
"Fuck if I know," Dean admits. "I mean, don't get me wrong, the kid is awesome, but he will drive you up the motherfucking wall."
"Oh, you don't have to tell me that," Jess says. "Once, when he couldn't sleep, he organized all three hundred of my DVDs alphabetically. And then stacked them against the wall."
Dean grunts in response and wishes he had a beer to distract him. "So, how'd you two meet?" He finally asks, when the silence starts to get really awkward.
"Do you really care?" Jess asks.
Dean wants to be offended by that, but he really doesn't care, except for incidentally. He wants to know about Sam and everything he's missed. He's got the broad strokes about what Sam's been up to, but he wants to know details. If Sam has friends, if he likes his classes, what about Jess is so special that Sam didn't break up with her as soon as he found out that she hunted? Just the really small things like that.
Jess laughs a little before she starts. It's a pretty good laugh, not too high pitched or annoying. "The very first time we met, I cold-cocked him coming out of class. I wasn't paying attention while I was walking and talking, and I broke his nose and got blood all over a three hundred dollar textbook."
"You broke his nose?" Dean asks. He knows she just said it, but his brain won't fully accept that Sam is dating someone who broke his face.
"It's—wow—" She breaks off again with another laugh that ends in a small hitch of breath. If she weren't Sam's girl, it would be really hot. "It—it was funny before, but it's even funnier now. Because all of my friends were freaking out and screeching, and all of his friends were freaking out and screeching, and the two of us were totally calm. We pinched his nose, tried to keep more blood from ruining his shirt, checked to see how badly I had broken it... "
"And?" Dean asks.
"Exactly," she said, smiling and gesturing to him. "I didn't think anything about it then because, you know. I grew up hunting. A broken nose isn't really life threatening. It's more annoying than anything. But of course he didn't freak out. He's a hunter. He's a Winchester."
"Are we, like, famous or something?" Dean asks. They—him and Sam—haven't really met a lot of hunters. They've known Bobby, Pastor Jim, and Caleb since before Sam knew what hunters were, but aside from them, there weren't a ton of others they'd ever met. John Winchester could write a book on overprotection—in fact, he might have already, but no one would ever know because he wouldn't share the fucking book.
"Your dad is pretty well known," she hedges.
Dean knows that kind of dancing. "Your mom tried to shoot him, didn't she?"
"Not shoot him, per se. She just—" Jess draws the word out, hands wavering back and forth. Dean can suddenly see how she managed to clock Sam by accident. "I don't know. I think she hunted with him once a long time ago, and it ended... less than awesomely."
"How do you think she's gonna take it when you tell her you're dating his kid?" Dean tries to smother the glee in his voice. He doesn't want to seem happy that this could possibly blow up for Sam soon. Because he isn't. But there is a small part of him that might be doing a touchdown dance at the thought that he might be able to be there for Sam if it does.
"Oh. Oh. I'm going to have to tell her, aren't I?" It really does look like the thought hadn't occurred to her before that. And Dean doesn't hate her—in fact, he thinks she's pretty cool—so he tries to lighten the mood.
"The really important question is: do you think she'll say yes to me if I tell her I'm John Winchester's kid?"
Jess puts off talking to Sam until after Dean's gone again. It's not that she wants to avoid talking, but Sam around Dean is a completely different Sam than she's ever seen before. They have this whole world that is just them in a way that reminds her of the way Zach and Becca get when they're in their weird twin space.
Hunting isn't really the kind of thing Jess wants to have a conversation about, though. She just wants to do it. She wants to kill bad things and help keep her friends safe and not have to try and convince anyone to let her do it.
Eventually, though, Jess has to. She finds what she thinks is a hunt. It turns out not to be one, but it almost was, and three days of tense silence is bad enough when you aren't almost living with the person you're giving mutual silent treatment to.
As is their usual lately, the conversation happens when they're in bed. Sam's watching TV—though how much attention he's paying to it is questionable—when Jess finally gives up the shower to Liz.
Jess climbs into Sam's lap, knees on either side of his hips and far enough back so that it doesn't look like a come-on. Sam's hands immediately come up and lock behind her back, like a chair made just for her. She leans forward until she's forehead to forehead with him, her fingers playing with the bottom hem of his ratty old t-shirt.
"I'm going to keep hunting," she says. It's easier to talk to him—to tell him this—when she doesn't have to look at him. When it takes a concentrated effort and crossing her eyes to see the look in his. "And you're probably going to keep worrying. Because I wouldn't be the same person if I stopped, and you definitely would not be the same person if you stopped freaking out over every little thing."
"I don't freak out about everything," Sam says. The little frown he gets between his eyebrows when he's completely wrong about something is adorable.
"You color-code your notes and check your books five times before you leave, in case you grabbed the wrong ones for class," Jess says. "That's who you are. And it's okay. I love your weird, quirky bits."
"My bits aren't weird," Sam says, dead serious. The occasional flashes of teenage boy humor from him make so much more sense after meeting Dean.
"Your bits are incredibly weird in the best way possible, baby."
The face Sam makes is hilarious and reminds Jess how much she loves him, even with all of his obsessive and sometimes very, very stupid thoughts.
"I call my mom when I leave for every hunt. And every time I come back," Jess murmurs, pushing a stray piece of hair back by Sam's ear. It falls back into the edge of her sight, not quite long enough to tuck behind his ear yet. "She does the same thing, too. I never really thought about it as a way to keep tabs on each other. It's just something we always did."
"She called you when she was safe?" Sam asks. Jess closes her eyes because she doesn't want to see even a hint of his face. Her heart breaks for him. She can't even describe how he sounds. He may as well be talking about chem lab for all of the emotion in his voice, and Jess knows that he doesn't shove himself away like that for just anything.
Jess just nods against him. "I can call you right after her. I will find you a beeper and page you like a doctor the second I'm done with whatever I'm hunting."
Sam's hands cup her face, and he pulls back and stays silent until she opens her eyes to look at him. "You don't have to do that," he says. "I don't want to suffocate you. Or smother you, or whatever. I don't own you."
"It's not about that," she tells him.
"If I left the motel room without calling Dad and telling him first, it caused a war."
"You're not your dad," Jess says. "And unless you have a time machine you haven't told me about, I'm pretty sure you aren't mine, either. I'm going to keep hunting. This isn't about you allowing me to do it; it's about you feeling better when I do."
Sam sighs and tilts his head back against the wall, his hands dropping from her face. "Why can't you just hunt with someone else?"
"Because people are stupid."
Sam laughs. "Oh, that's mature."
Jess can't help but smile back. She loves it when he laughs; it's one of her favorite sounds. "You're wearing hot pink tighty-whities."
"They're called briefs." He laughs again. "And you picked them out."
"I did. But you didn't buy them until Brady dared you to."
"So?" Sam asks.
"So, people in hot pink boy panties—that they only have because of a dare—don't get to make fun of my maturity. Butthead."
Dean doesn't really have any fucking clue what to do when Sam starts calling him. He isn't complaining about Jess and hunting or trying to make Dean come play babysitter for his girlfriend. He's just... calling. And talking to him. About random shit. And Dean likes it. He likes it so much it makes him sick.
He likes hearing about the professor of Sam's who's so boring that Sam spends every lecture trying to stay awake. He likes hearing about how Sam and Liz bond over being complete fucking neat freaks, and how they spent an entire day reorganizing the kitchen together while their girlfriends mocked them.
The conversations are mostly one-sided because Dean fucking hates phones to begin with, at least when it comes to Sam—it's like trying to speak Swahili when he can't see the way that the kid is fidgeting or bouncing his knee—and he's kind of forgotten how to talk to Sam.
Sam doesn't seem to mind, though.
For instance, right now, Dean's waiting for the kindergarten class to let out so that he can stalk whatever thing is picking them off and snacking on them on their ways home from school. And then, as if that's not enough to ruin food for him for the next week, his phone rings, and the first thing he hears is Sam saying, "I mean, I don't get it. It's peanut butter, which is awesome, and banana, which is like little slices of soft, fruity love."
"You're disgusting," Dean tells him.
"The only way it would be better would be if I could dip it in milk without the bread falling apart."
"I think I just threw up in my mouth."
Sam mumbles something through the mess of nasty food in his mouth, and Dean makes heaving noises into the phone and hangs up on him.
The bell rings, and even though he knows it just cements the fact that he's a fucking reprehensible human being, he's got a smile on his face that he can't seem to wipe off.
Dean doesn't call Sam. He can't do that. The moment he does, he's admitting that he wants to talk to Sam, and Dean knows the universe: when there is something that he wants, whenever he tries to take something for himself, however small, the universe immediately fucking backhands him like a puppy trying to steal steak off the dinner table.
So Dean does not call Sam.
He doesn't call him when Dad comes home stoned on painkillers after cracking his head open, even though it's Dean's fault. It seems like all he does anymore is slow Dad down.
He doesn't call Sam the next day when Dad is still stoned off his ass—because while their old man can down an entire bottle of Johnny Walker and still appear sober as a priest to anyone who doesn't know him, he has absolutely zero tolerance at all to whatever it was the docs in the ER pumped into him. Dean does, however, take a picture. And then he gets the hot librarian to show him how to get the picture from his phone to Sam's email because John Winchester asleep in the shower, fully clothed and half-shaved with soap rubbed onto his shirt, is a sight no son should ever miss.
Sam knows that his first response upon waking up from a dream featuring his girlfriend, his brother, and very little clothing should not be to call his brother and tell him about it.
Unfortunately, Sam does not realize that that's what he's doing until Dean's Wide Awake and Panicked voice echoes his name across the phone line for the third time.
"You know, if you were here already, I wouldn't have to wake you up in the middle of the night just to piss you off," Sam says.
"You did not just call me at..." Dean trails off for a moment, and Sam can imagine him fumbling with his phone to check the time through his adrenaline rush. "Four-thirteen in the fucking morning just to fuck with me."
"No, I just called you at two-thirteen in the morning," Sam says.
Dean hangs up on Sam in the middle of cursing to himself, and Sam can feel himself grinning at his phone as he fumbles it back onto the bedside table.
"You okay, baby?" Jess asks blearily. Her eyes don't look like they're open, and the way her hand pets randomly at the bed until it finds his hip tells Sam that they are definitely still closed.
"'M fine, Jess," Sam says. "Just a dream. Go back to sleep."
Jess makes a sleepy sort of noise at him and pulls at his hip until he rolls on his side to face her. She slides her hand up Sam's spine and pulls again and rearranges until she's asleep on her back, arm around Sam's shoulders and his face tucked into her neck, just the way she comforts him after a nightmare.
Sam falls asleep with Dean's voice in his head and Jess's hand in his hair.
Sam tells him about this show he watched a few nights ago, where these two dudes strapped rockets to a '67 Impala and tried to make it fly.
Dean berates Sam for not knowing the name of the show so Dean can find it, and then they spend the next two and a half hours arguing over whether or not Dean could make it fly if he really wanted to.
Flying is absolutely unnatural in every single way, like people who eat nothing but salad and techno music, but Dean is convinced that if he really wanted to, he could totally get his baby airborne.
Sam scoffs—and probably rolls his eyes because he's an overgrown fourteen-year-old—and says that the guys who tried were, like, engineers or something.
"So fucking what, dude?" Dean asks him. "I don't need a piece of paper to tell me I know my girl better than them."
"It's creepy when you call it a girl, Dean."
"Besides," Dean continues, absolutely ignoring Sam's stupidity, "they're limited to things that are legal and shit that they know about."
Dean was alone in the room when the conversation started. He knows this. However, his father is a motherfucking ninja. Dean jumps so hard that he almost drops his phone when Dad says behind him, "If you even think about putting any kind of rocket or spell or plane on that car, you will be walking to every hunt you ever go on again."
Dean hangs up on the sound of Sam's laughter.
About a week later, Dean spends a good two and a half hours listening to Sam rant about how much he hates one of his teachers. He's got no idea what the hell Sam is talking about, but he offers to slash the dude's tires anyway, and it makes Sam laugh and tell him that campus security would probably think it was Sam.
"So... that's a no?"
"That's a no, Dean."
Sam tells him to come make him meatloaf because Jess uses barbecue sauce and a box of breadcrumbs and it's just not the same.
"Of course it isn't the same, dude," Dean scoffs at him as he browses the chips at the QT. "She's using real stuff. I used ketchup packets and crackers."
"Yours was better," Sam insists, like a whiny little three-year-old.
"Then tell her you hate barbecue sauce, dude."
"I don't hate barbecue sauce."
"Then man up and eat the meatloaf." Dean grabs a bag of Sour Cream and Cheddar Ruffles and curses convenience stores that don't have Cool Ranch Doritos. It's blasphemy, is what it is.
"But I don't want to," Sam whines. Dean has no idea how Sam got parts in so many plays as a kid while being such an overacting ham.
"You're a fucking toddler," Dean says, motioning for the clerk to give him two scratch-off cards.
"Come make me food, Dean," Dean's pretty sure this time that he was sounding like a baby on purpose. "I might starve to death if you don't."
"I'm not driving all the way to California just to make you some fucking meatloaf, you overgrown... thing."
"Shut up," Dean tells him.
"You don't have to cook, you know," Sam says. "You could just come over here and be here."
"Well, if I were there, I wouldn't be somewhere else, would I?" Dean replies, holding the door open for a couple of cops on his way out.
"You should come back, Dean," Sam says, sounding less like a whiny child and more like the brother Dean's missed for way too long. "You and Jess don't have to hunt or anything like that. I just... miss you. You can mock me and call me names or do whatever, but I wanna see you again."
That's way too honest and chick-flick emotional for Dean. He makes some kind of garbled noise into the phone and tells Sam that he needs both hands to drive—which they both know is a total lie—and hangs up on him.
Jess doesn't know the number flashing across the front of her phone, but she answers it anyway, because sometimes hunters pass numbers along. "Hello?"
"Did you tell Sam to call me?"
"Who is this?" Jess asks.
"Dean," Dean growls from the other end. "Did you tell Sam to call me?"
"Why would I do that?" Jess asks him. Not that she doesn't care or anything, but if Sam wants to call his brother—or doesn't want to—that's his business. She kinda figured Dean would be less pissed if he did, though, after their last conversation.
"Swear on your life," he demands.
"Are you high?"
"Why would he call me if you didn't make him?" Dean asks her.
"Gee, I don't know," she starts sarcastically. "Maybe because he's your brother and for some weird reason, he seems to like you? Personally, I don't get it; you're pretty bossy, and you keep trying to get me to hit on my mom for you."
"Your mom is smokin' hot."
"Is that the only reason you called? To ask if I held a gun to your brother and be creepy about my mom?"
"No, I also wanted to know what color you were painting your nails today. I was thinking of going with a nice light pink, but I didn't wanna clash."
"Oh, I don't paint my nails," she tells him. "I make Sam do that for me when he loses bets."
"Really?" Dean asks.
"Oh, yeah," she says. "He's really good at it, too. Not good at learning not to bet against me, though."
"Clearly," Dean agrees. Jess is sure Dean has no idea where Sam got his quasi-gambling problem from.
"I think when he gets back from class, I'm going to have him do my nails in houndstooth. Hot pink on white, maybe." Which probably means nothing to him.
"I have no idea what you just said, so I'm gonna go... do something else," Dean says.
"You know, you can call Sam," Jess gets in before Dean can hang up. "I promise he'll like you calling him first."
Stanford was never about leaving. Not the way Dean took it, and sure as hell not the way Dad saw it.
Sam had a plan. He would go to school, get some independence, not have to hunt for a while, and still get to help people. Dad and Dean could swing by once or twice a month, and he could go with them on Christmas and spring breaks and spend the entire summer with them before coming back and doing it all again the next year.
But then Dad told him not to come back. He gave Sam a choice, and if Sam had stayed, he probably wouldn't be alive right now. Sam had never really figured out how to turn off that overwhelming fear for your life that kept you alive in the middle of a hunt. And while that's good when you have a ghost trying to rip your lungs out of your chest with its icy fingers, it's pretty shitty and not really healthy at all to feel that twenty-four seven.
His original plan was, admittedly, crap. It was stupid to think that he could have his cake and eat it, too. But never let it be said that Sam Winchester does not adapt well.
Now that Sam knows that Dean doesn't want Sam completely out of his life like Dad does, and now that he knows he can handle hunting a lot better when it isn't the main focus in his life to the exclusion of everything else, he can work on trying to convince Dean that Stanford isn't going to steal his soul.
Subtlety is going to be key here.
"You can go to college—or not, if you don't want to. You can keep hunting or give it up or something."
"Sammy..." Dean trails off. He knew it wouldn't last, Sam calling him just to talk. Every call lately has had some variation of this in it. It isn't even a conversation; it's just Sam begging and whining in a way that is so over the top that Dean can tell Sam's doing it on purpose, even through the phone.
"It's so hard to sleep when I can't hear you, Dean. Please? Just for a little bit?"
"You've been sleeping pretty good for the last two years." The kicker of it is that Dean was trying to psych himself up to go swing by Stanford again soon until Sam started with this bullshit and got it in his head to try and manipulate Dean into fucking settling down over there.
"I didn't say it was impossible, Dean," Sam snapped back. He never did like getting called out on his bluffs. "Just hard."
"Why do you always do that?" Dean asks, pinching the bridge of his nose.
"Beg until you say yes and I get what I want?" Sam asks over the line. "I kinda figured the part where I get what I want explains it."
"No." Dean sighs, pressing his forehead to the cool Formica table. "Why is it that you take every single fucking opportunity there is to show everyone what a giant girl you are?"
Sam ignores him, which, given, Dean pretty much figured he would. "Dean." He's using that voice. That voice is almost as bad as when Sam gives him—used to give him—the kicked puppy look.
Dean fights with himself for about five seconds. It basically amounts to I don't want to. You wanted to go see him again anyway. Not anymore. You know you're going to do it anyway. I fucking hate myself.
"I'm not putting down roots." He can practically see Sam pumping his fist in the air and trying not to cheer like the loser that he is. "It's just for a little bit. And I'm only doing it because you're fucking pathetic, and if you keep staying over at Jess's place all the time, I'm pretty sure Liz is gonna spike your food with Ex-Lax."
"It's not that bad," Sam lies through his stupid teeth.
"You walked in on her in the shower three times in two days, dude. How do you even manage that?"
"Some people shower more than once a week, Dean."
"Like you would know. You look like a fucking hippie with your hair all greasy and nasty."
"It's called hair wax, and it's better than that stupid gel you use. I almost needed stitches the last time I touched your hair."
"Dude, you cry more than anyone I've ever met."
"I do not."
"You cried over the Coke commercial with the polar bears."
"Hey, that was a sad commercial," Dean says. "Why don't you go dry-hump some trees, you pinko commie."
The line is silent for a moment, and when Sam talks again, he sounds just like he used to when he was little and had a nightmare. Sam is etched into his DNA, his brain, everything, and no matter how strong Sam is trying to sound, Dean can hear the wobble when he asks, "You're gonna come out here, right?"
"Not forever," Dean says. He's always hated being in one place, and he doesn't want Sam to get his stupid suburban hopes up. "But, yeah. For a little bit."
"Soon?" Sam asks. It's so fucking easy to forget that Sam is a grown man when he talks like that.
"Yeah, Sammy. I just gotta let Dad know. Don't want him to worry or anything," Dean says.
"He's gonna say no, Dean. Why can't you just come out here?"
Dean wants to ask Sam why he always has to pick a fucking fight about everything. He doesn't, though. Instead he lies, and tells Sam, "I'm fucking twenty-four, dude. I don't have to ask him anything."
"It would only be for a little while," Dean says. "Just so Sammy can get a place on his own without falling on his face or anything. And I'd still be hunting. I'm totally not gonna stop! It would just be, you know. Near Sammy. If that's okay with you? Sir?"
"You sound like you're trying to ask someone to the junior prom," Bobby comments from whatever shadow he was hiding in. Dude's like fucking Batman, if Batman only swooped out of the night to catch Dean when he was making an ass of himself.
"You know, one of these days you're gonna be lurking around, and instead of making an ass out of myself, I'll be jerking off or something," Dean says.
"If you jack off in my house with the door wide open, you better make sure it's good because it will be the last time anyone ever touches your dick again," Bobby tells him. "Not that I was listening, but—"
Dean tries to make his way out of the room. "Dad told me to check the oil on his truck. I should do that before he finds another job."
He doesn't get far, though, because Bobby stops him with a tight grip on his arm. "You know your daddy better than anyone," he says. "Don't beat around the bush, and don't lie to him."
"And don't try to make some big speech, you damn idjit," he says, letting Dean go.
Dean fucking missed Sammy, okay? Like, a truly ridiculous amount. It's fucking embarrassing how much he missed that kid. He missed waking up next to him and complaining about having to share a bed with a fucking yeti and the way Sam always used too much shampoo and had to shower after his shower to get it all out of his hair.
And even though it was only a few minutes, it made Dean sick to his fucking stomach, right in the pit of it, that Sam might have left them because they're them, and not because of hunting. But he didn't. Only Sam could quit hunting, go to a motherfucking respectable college, and fall for another hunter there. That's the kind of shit that just shouldn't happen to people but happens to Sammy all the fucking time.
And what a hunter he fell for. Legs like Wonder Woman and enough brains that she could probably give a hunter who wasn't raised by John Winchester a run for his money.
But she's not why he keeps stopping by. Sure, it's a perk, but Sam is always the number one reason for everything. And the fact that he practically lives with Jess and her roommates, whether they like it or not, means that when Dean visits he usually swings by Jess's first.
The problem with swinging by Jess's, though, is that Sam does not actually live there. Which means sometimes it's just Jess or Liz or Rebecca or some combination therein. And Jess loves Sam. A lot. It's disgusting, really, how much. And she is hot and brainy and leggy, and she has amazing curves, and she loves Sam the way he deserves to be loved, without reservation or shame or any fucking common sense.
So, basically, Sam is Dean's favorite person in the fucking universe. And Jess is now his second favorite.
Which means that when Dean shows up and Sam is out, Dean lets Jess talk him into really bad ideas. Like apartment hunting. Apparently, landlords don't give much of a fuck what your renter's history looks like when you give them first, last, and their deposit in cash.
All Dean was supposed to be doing was looking for a place for Sam so that Liz didn't take a butcher's knife to him in the shower. That's it. But when he told Sam he found an apartment, Sam's face just... it didn't just light up. Dean honestly can't remember ever seeing Sam that happy about anything, much less something Dean did.
And he tried to tell Sam he wasn't staying, he did. He even said the words and everything, but Sam actually fucking hugged him, and it was the girliest moment of his life, but Sam's arms felt so good around him, and his hair still smelled like that fucking weird shampoo Dean used to fucking scour Walmart for.
But then Sam said he fucking missed Dean. Dean. Like he was something to be missed.
And then Dean, like, blacked out or something because the next thing he knew, he was fucking looking at apartments, and he and Sam were bitching over whether to get one bedroom or two. Dean insists he can sleep in the same house as Sam and not have to hear him breathe, which might be a lie, and Sam is a fucking cheapskate who doesn't want to pay three hundred bucks more when he knows he and Dean can split a room without stabbing each other in the face.
"I'm not quitting," Dean says in the middle of their fifth apartment viewing. The walls are baby pink with puke green ceilings, and if they end up here, the very first thing he's doing is painting everything.
"I don't care," Sam says. He's grinning huge and wide and has not fucking stopped since Dean told him he was taking Sam apartment hunting. "You and Jess can hunt together! Then you can both hunt, and I don't have to worry that either of you are gonna die because you're alone. How much was the deposit on this one?"
"About half the money I'll spend painting over everything," Dean tells him, sneering at the back of the neon orange door. "It smells like someone rubbed their shit into the walls here. How do you not smell that?"
"It does not!"
"It really does. If you get this place, I'm staying at Jess's. I think Liz likes me."
"Liz is gay, Dean. She's not going to sleep with you."
"You don't know that. Some lesbians dig the strap-on action."
"On you, or her?"
"I'm not picky."
"The word you're looking for is 'sex addict.'"
"Shut up," Dean says. "Come on, let's go. I'm not kidding; we're not getting this one."
"Why not?" Sam whines.
Dean just stares at Sam before turning and walking out.
It takes three days before they find a decent apartment because Sam is picky about weird shit like recycling and working locks on the gates of pools. It's not campus housing, but it is? Dean doesn't fucking get it, but Sam says it's important. Stanford kids gravitate to it, but the school doesn't own it or some shit like that. There's no elevator, and it's on the fucking second floor, but Sam just tells Dean to think of it as motivation not to get hurt while he's hunting.
"Should've just gone pre-med then, Sammy. Don't know why you wanna be a lawyer anyway."
"Because I can already sew your pathetic ass up, but I need a degree to bail you out of jail when someone doesn't buy your Federal Body Inspector ID."
That stops Dean in his tracks for a number of reasons. "Dude, if I get arrested, I'm not letting some tax lawyer save my ass. Let me bust myself out."
"I'm not gonna be a tax lawyer, Dean."
"You said you were gonna be like Eliot Ness."
"No, you said I was gonna be like Eliot Ness. I called you a dumbass and told you I wanted to be a defense attorney."
"So, wait, you're gonna defend baby rapers?"
Sam heaves a sigh so big that there's probably a hurricane somewhere he should be blamed for, and the look on his face is one Dean is very familiar with. It's his "how the fuck are you so damn stupid?" look that Dean has missed more than he's comfortable admitting.
"No, Dean," Sam says. "Defense attorneys can pick their clients. Like, say, only picking hunters who are in trouble because werewolves look human or grave desecration is actually really illegal?"
"Oh," Dean says. "But... you hate hunting, Sammy."
"But I don't hate hunters." Sam's voice gets that low, serious tone to it that he uses whenever he's about to be sappy and ruin Dean's fucking image. "I didn't leave completely because of Dad, and I didn't leave because of you. If I messed up on a hunt, and, and you died because of that? I wouldn't be able to live with myself, Dean."
Dean hears the words, sure. But Sammy's stronger than he thinks, and if Stanford proved anything, it's that he doesn't need Dean even a fraction as much as Dean needs him. This is the part of the conversation where Dean's supposed to tell Sam all about how he was terrified all the time of hurting Sam or fucking him up or getting him killed.
"Do you need a tampon, Sammy?" he asks instead. "Is it that time of the month for you? It's okay. I'll make you a bubble bath and find a shitty chick flick for you to curl up and watch."
"You're such a jerk."
The apartment they end up getting—on the second floor, in the almost-student housing—has white walls, one giant-sized bedroom that the landlord thinks is small, a bathroom that doesn't make him vaguely claustrophobic, and a kitchen with a stove and an actual real-sized refrigerator. An actual stove. With an oven that works. Not a hot plate next to an old toaster oven or a stove that worked once, way back before his Baby was made.
The windows are painted shut, the door creaks worse than Dean's knees, and the floor is cold tile and colder wood, but Dean loves it—and his covered parking spot—more than he thought was ever possible, considering everything it stands for.
The apartment is fully furnished—which cost a fucking arm and a leg extra on top of the batshit two thousand a month rent they agreed to—but Dean kills a credit card at Walmart anyway. They get buckets of paint, brushes, a second TV—mostly because they can—and food.
Dean makes Sam leave on the way to the checkout because security has been following them, and if the cashier calls the cops, Dean can run out of there faster if he doesn't have to worry about making sure no one catches Sam.
The cops don't get called, but the manager comes over to "make sure everything's okay," and Dean plays Frat Boy With His First Credit Card as hard as he can. It isn't as believable when it's responsible shit he's buying and not junk food and beer, but Dean still makes it out in one piece.
Sam spends the whole ride back—in the uHaul Sam made Dean rent mostly-legally like a little bitch—yelling at Dean and saying "I told you so," and Dean doesn't bother even trying to hide the smile on his face because this is music to his ears. After so long without Sam's whining and bitching and complaining, it might even sound better than ACDC or Metallica.
Dean ditches Sam and lets him unload everything by himself. It is completely within his right to do so, though, because Sam told Jess she could paint shit all over their walls, and he has to go pick her up so she can do it. If Dean's gotta live somewhere that will probably be covered in pink flowers and teddy bears or whatever shit, then he gets to skip out on the tedious crap like organizing cabinets. Besides, Sam practically came in his pants just talking about having different places to put cans of food and stuff.
The fucking loser.
Jess does not understand his pain.
"You look like you just gave Hugh Hefner a blowjob," she says when she climbs into the car.
"How would you know what that looks like?" he shoots back.
"Because I watch porn and have seen Becca the night after a frat party."
"Lot of old guys at frat parties?" he asks, pulling away from the curb.
"Lots of really gross guys and total assholes," Jess says. "You should ask Sam about Brady sometime. College brings out the douchebag in just about everyone."
"Lucky for you, Sam was already at his douchebaggiest when he got here."
"I really don't like it when you put Sam down like that," she says.
"Oh, great," Dean groans. "This is gonna be one of those fucking awkward conversations about how you think I'm a shitty brother, right?"
"Are you a shitty brother?" Jess asks. Like that isn't the sixty-four thousand dollar question right there.
"Well, he's alive," Dean starts, ignoring the majority of his brain. "So I must not be completely shitty. And for all of his fucking endless douchebaggery—which, let me tell you, is fucking endless—he's a fucking amazing kid, so... I don't know. I guess I wasn't a complete waste."
Dean refuses to take his eyes off the road, but that doesn't mean he can't tell Jess is staring holes into the side of his head. "I still don't like it when you say things like that about him."
"Well, that's how we talk, so I guess you're just gonna have to learn how to fucking deal with it."
Thankfully, Jess doesn't try to talk again for the rest of the relatively short ride.
Sam and Dean split a ridiculously expensive bed that Sam can actually fit in comfortably, even with all the tossing, turning, and kicking he knows he does at night. It's not until after they've spent a week bitching back and forth about Sam's bruised shins or the eardrums Dean keeps claiming are busted from the snoring Sam totally does not do that Sam realizes sharing a room with his brother is going to make sex with Jess problematic.
"What a fucking dumbass," Dean tells him. "Do you think I tried to get us a fucking two bedroom because I was being nice?"
"It was almost three thousand dollars, Dean!" The money seems like a lot less now that he realizes it's going to impact his sex life.
"I can't wait to see you tell your girlfriend that you didn't think sex with her was worth an extra thousand bucks a month."
"...You should tell her for me." Dean refuses to look up from the Cosmo magazine he swiped—"It's the principle of the thing, Sammy!"—probably because he knows if he does, he's gonna get hit by the puppy eyes. Never let it be said that Sam doesn't know exactly what weapons he has in his arsenal.
"No way." Dean grins, kicking his feet up on their brand new coffee table that they actually own. "I wanna see you explain why you got your own apartment and still want to make the beast with two backs at her place."
"Dean, she might actually cut my dick off," Sam pleads.
"Yeah." Dean laughs. "It's gonna be fucking awesome."
Jess takes it better than they thought she would.
Of course, they really did think that cutting off Sam's dick was something that might happen, so it doesn't say much that it went better than that.
They compromise, though.
"Compromise," in this situation means that Dean will leave the apartment when they want to have sex—because apparently having sex with her boyfriend on the bed he shares platonically with his brother while said brother is on the other side of the wall watching TV is a line for Jess—and Jess won't shove her finger down her throat and forcibly vomit all over the inside of the Impala every time she's in it.
"You know that if you actually did that, you and Sam wouldn't be dating anymore, right?" Dean asks her.
"You know that if you actually refused to let us use the room, we'd probably just do it in your car, right?" Jess asks back.
"It's really worrying me how much you two get along," Sam tells them.
Dean lifts his beer to her. "Mazel tov." Jess cracks one for herself while smothering a smile.
Dean has no idea what the fuck to do with himself while Sam's in class. At first, he doesn't even really think about it, but after a few days, he starts to get bored out of his fucking skull. Sam tells him there's no reason to be bored while they have the internet, and Dean valiantly resist the urge to give Sam the fucking atomic wedgie he so clearly deserves.
It's not like Dean hasn't been alone before. But there's a difference between a free day between hunts and trying not to lose his mind every single day while Sam gets his head filled with stupid laws and shit no one in their right mind cares about.
He loves TV, but Dean knows that he's not the kind of guy who can sit on a couch without moving all day. No matter how fucking awesome the couch is.
Sam suggests he enroll at the community college because he can't get it through the helmet he calls hair that Dean fucking hated school. Sure, he was good at it when he tried, but it was even more boring than a stakeout. Dean still thinks one of the best things Dad did for him was let him take his GED and drop out after only a month of begging.
There are job hunt magazines—actual little stapled books for the sole purpose of finding a job, who knew?—littering the coffee table when Dean comes back from his run one day, and he doesn't know if it's a hint from Sam or if Sam's delusional enough to think Dean's gonna let him have to work to make money.
A job might keep him busy, though, at least for a couple of days. But it's only to keep him busy; Dean's not gonna stop hustling suckers out of their money or taking advantage of free credit cards just because Sam wants to be a starving college student like the rest of the world.
Fast food is out. Dean loves it too much to let any job try to ruin it for him. Sam suggests Starbucks, and Dean almost dumps a pot of noodles on him—mostly because the second he gets anywhere near a kitchen, Sam has all the motor control of Kermit the Frog, but also because he's a fucking dumbass. It's bad enough that Dean's already gotta order Sam's froofy drinks; he's not about to deal with some high-strung fuckhead who wants a half-caf, no foam, double-pump soy vanilla money waster for fucking shits and giggles.
Besides, the dude who interviewed him got all granola on Dean about his gas mileage, and nobody insults Baby.
He spends a few hours doing construction work, but apparently, you can't just walk onto a job site and get a job anymore. Which, by the way, is fucking bullshit because Dean knows what he's doing with a hammer and some power tools. He managed to keep shoes on the fucking jet skis Sam calls feet by doing random under-the-table construction work for years until the little bitch ran away.
He manages to get away before the cops get there, though, so bonus for him and his "gas guzzling monster." Fucking hippies. And who calls the cops on someone trying to work?
Dean fucking hates California.
With all due respect to Jess, Sam can't remember the last time he was this happy.
It's not like he was miserable or even particularly unhappy before Dean finally gave in. And he does love Jess. Sam loves sleeping next to her, holding her hand, and the way she laughs. He loves that she calls her mom every day and that every single time they buy a family size lasagna, she eats half of it in one sitting and then spends the next two hours complaining that her stomach hurts and swearing that she'll never do it again.
For better or worse, Dean has been the center of Sam's world since literally before he could remember. Most of his life has been spent within a foot and a half of his big brother, and for all that he lied and bullshitted and bluffed about not being able to sleep, his body does relax easier when it's near Dean.
Dad has this story that he used to tell when he was drunk and sad and particularly missing Mom—which was basically the middle of October through about the end of February—about how Dean didn't talk for a long time After. And how, when he finally did, the only thing he said for months and months was "Sammy" in a hundred different ways. And how when Sam finally started talking, the first word out of his mouth wasn't "Dada" or even "Dean," but "Sammy," just the way Dean used to whisper it when he said goodnight.
So Sam's never really had a chance. And he used to resent that and hate himself for it because that really is the appropriate response when you're thirteen and realize you want to kiss your brother more than the head cheerleader or the captain of the football team. But he's older now and wiser, and he knows now that just because he loves his big brother in the unhealthiest way possible, it doesn't mean he can't love someone else in a mostly healthy way.
Right now, it's a Wednesday, and Jess is having an I Hate My Major study group in her suite while Sam is at home with Dean, watching The Last Boy Scout on the TV they bought while sitting on the couch they own. Sam makes gagging noises every time Dean eats a piece of licorice, and Dean keeps trying to contaminate Sam's Raisinets by throwing his nasty dirt-snacks in them.
Sam has a class at ass o'clock in the morning that he should really be sleeping for, but he's relaxed and having fun, and he only hates himself about half as much as he usually does for how badly he wants to lean over and kiss Dean.
Dean tries a local garage, but the fucking idiots there called his baby a Pinto. A fucking Pinto. He wouldn't work there for all the money in the world.
After two weeks, Dean has basically exhausted all attempts at jobs in the area. He's also fixed everything in their apartment, everything in their neighbor's apartment, everything at Jess's place, everything at Jess's friend's brother's place, and everything at Liz's girlfriend's place.
Once he runs out of shit to fix, he gets bored. And Dean will be the first person to tell you that a bored Dean Winchester is a really fucking dangerous thing. Still, it takes another few days before Sam loses his fucking shit at Dean.
But really? Sam should fucking know better than to leave shit just lying around when Dean doesn't have anything to do.
"That was a brand new iPod, Dean! It cost me three hundred dollars. Do you have any idea how much tutoring I had to do to get three hundred dollars?"
"You needed your own EMF detector!" Dean yells back. "And, dude, you got ripped the fuck off. It doesn't even have a cassette player; that was not worth three hundred bucks."
Sam laughs, but it's not one of his good laughs. It's that vaguely homicidal, somewhat hysterical laugh he gets sometimes before Dean wakes up with his zipper super glued together or something.
"You're going to buy me another iPod," Sam tells him. "Like, right now. And then you need to go sign up for a fucking cooking class—"
"Hey!" Dean protests. "I am a fucking awesome cook!"
Sam continues on like Dean didn't say anything. "Or a knitting class, or, or, underwater aerobics or something. Because if you fuck with any more of my stuff, I'm going to have to physically harm you until the hospital has to keep you away from my things while I'm at class, okay?"
"You are such a whiny little bitch," Dean says, picking up his keys. "And you're coming with; I don't know where to find that pad thing."
"Pod, Dean. It's an iPod."
Dean needs a hunt. He's been trying to not actively look for them because Sam gets that stupid look in his eye like Dean doesn't like him anymore, but he is losing his fucking mind trying to not to get bored.
It's surprisingly hard to find a hunt. The rash of accidents on campus turn out to be a combination of hazing gone wrong and students burning the fuck out and losing their shit. The wild animal attack in the park nearby results in Dean almost getting his face torn off by a giant dog that happens to be black, not the Black Dog that Dean thought it was.
There are a few students that have gone missing, but they seem to be the human kind of missing as opposed to the supernatural kind.
Dean's almost sure that he's reads that some big profiling unit from the FBI is in town because the FBI loves shoving their noses in where they don't belong and fucking up perfectly good hunts. But skimming the rest of the article proved him wrong. No one central place, not particularly gruesome—as not gruesome as slit throats and near beheadings can get—and no bite marks or unexplained shit.
If Dean's honest with himself, it's starting to freak him out. He's never heard of a place that was completely and utterly devoid of anything out of the ordinary. Even Blue Earth, which Pastor Jim basically turned into a gigantic hunters' compound, still got hit with a stray ghost or hungry thing wandering in every once in a while.
Everywhere has something. People die shitty deaths, and they kill themselves and murder each other, and they bring superstitions and monsters with them from The Old Country and a million other things.
Just because there isn't anything in the paper, though, it doesn't mean there isn't a hunt. If Sammy could find enough to have a fucking panic attack when he realized Jess was hunting the shit he found, then there's gotta be something.
"I don't know, Dean. There just aren't a lot of hunts here," Sam says.
"There are enough for you to find hunts," Dean says.
"Yeah, but not right here." Sam rolls his eyes. "California's a big place, Dean. Most of the hunts are in San Mateo or Mountain View or Redwood City, not Palo Alto."
"Do you honestly not think it's weird that your college is the only college we've ever heard of that isn't infested with ghosts and monsters?" Dean asks him.
Sam slurps at his bowl of cereal, probably for no other reason than that he knows Dean fucking hates that. He wipes his mouth on the back of his hand—doesn't even bother to use his sleeve—and then his stupid fucking Condescending Voice comes out. "Dean, if there were half as many ghosts out there as you think there are, no one would be able to think they didn't exist."
"You're in a college where people have killed themselves and drunk themselves to death, and no one's haunting it. There aren't any chupacabras around here or Black Dogs or anything. For fuck's sake, Sammy, you've got a genuine Mystery Spot right down the road and nothing weird here!"
"An hour away is not right down the road."
"Since always, Dean. You know, I think you're making a big deal out of this because you're just too stubborn to admit that maybe you don't need to hunt here."
"And I think you're so fucking hard up for your 'normal' that you're willing to ignore the fact that something around here is seriously fucked up because it would mean you might have to feel bad about not doing shit about it."
"I never wanted normal!" Sam screams. "I just fucking wanted to be safe, Dean! Why is that so bad? Huh? Can you tell me?"
"Because you were safe, Sammy, and it still wasn't fucking enough for you!"
"I was never safe!"
"Bullshit," Dean spits out. "You're alive, aren't you?"
"I wasn't safe; I was smothered! I had to skip dances and homework because I absolutely had to go hunt with you guys, but I was the only eighteen-year-old who wasn't allowed to walk home from school by himself!"
"Really? You're really complaining because you got free rides home from school? Are you fucking kidding me?"
"Are you being stupid on purpose, or can you just not help it?" Sam asks.
"That depends, are you being an ungrateful little bitch on purpose, or can you just not help it?" Dean asks him back. It's taking everything in Dean's power to keep from hauling off and socking Sam right in his spoiled face.
Sam isn't big and puffed up like you'd normally expect from a giant. He was a shrimpy little kid for long time, and when he gets mad, he still roots himself in place and just verbally jabs at the soft tissue. It was why his fights with Dad were so bad: he would just zero in on whatever was bugging Dad most and kick at it until Dad finally snapped.
"You know what? You should just go running back to Dad," Sam says. "Hunting seems to be the only fucking thing that matters to you anyway."
Dean just stops. He nods his head a little to himself and sucks on his teeth before he says something he might regret. "Hunting's the only thing that matters to me? Is that right?"
"Yeah," Sam says. "That's right."
"Okay." Dean nods calmly. "You remember that," he says. And then Dean has his jacket and his keys and is out the door before Sam can even try to stop him.
Jess doesn't hate Dean most of the time. But there's something about getting drunk dialed at two in the morning and then having to take a cab out to a bar that makes the hate flow strong. It isn't really the names he keeps calling Sam as he slurs out insults that she thinks might be in another language or the way he keeps trying to shove her away.
She gets it. Dean's an angry drunk. Sam's a horny drunk; if he gets enough alcohol in him, he will go as far as possible with basically anyone within reach of him. She doesn't take it personally.
Part of it might be that she has class in the morning and so does Sam, and Dean has nothing better to do with his life than to go out and get fucking plastered and steal their sleep.
And yet, there is a small, tiny, insignificant part of her that is happy that she's the one Dean called. Not just that Dean called rather than try to drive—though that makes her happy, too, in a general kind of way—but that he called her. It means that Jess might be more to him than just the girl his brother is dating.
Or the daughter of his one true love. That part probably won't be getting less creepy any time soon.
"Don't worry," Dean slurs as she mostly drags him out of the bar. "Won' make you call me 'Daddy.'"
When Sam wakes up in the morning, he can hear the shower running. The relief he feels pretty much cannot be put into words. Once Sam's anger had bled off the night before, he was left with a stomach twisted into knots and the fear that Dean wasn't going to come back.
He almost doesn't want to get out of bed, just in case it's Jess stealing the hot water, but somehow, he makes himself do it anyway.
The bathroom door is open, and Sam's entire mood picks up because Jess is weird about closing the bathroom door all the time, so he knows it's Dean in there.
For once, Sam is thankful for Dean's hard-on for hot water. Even though it means that Sam has an ice cold shower in his future, it also means that the mirror is fogged up enough for Sam to be able to apologize without having to actually say anything.
Sam somewhat carefully writes out I'm sorry that I'm an asshole on the mirror. And then, because Sam is a fucking amazing brother, he draws a little frowny face below it so that Dean can mock him instead of them having to actually have a real conversation about it.
And then he goes to make pancake batter but not the actual pancakes, because they are fucking hard to make and taste nasty when burnt.