Chapter 9

"Hey, Sammy! You think you can give me a hand here?"

Dean pushed through the door to the motel room, his hands laden with a plastic bag of food and coffee from Moe's Diner. Kicking the door closed, he frowned when there was no answer from his brother. "Come on, Sam, I could really use some help."

Still there was no answer—no smart ass comments, no arguments, nothing.


Seeing the bathroom door closed, Dean set down the food and beverages on the small table, and pounded on the door. "Sammy, you better be glued to that toilet seat or unconscious." Dean thought about that. "You know what—scratch that last part. I don't wanna see your naked ass."

Dean listened, but still heard nothing from his younger brother. Twisting the knob, he found it turned easily in his hand. He pushed it open and saw that there was no sign of his little brother. Eyes narrowing, he turned back towards the room and noticed their small weapons bag lying on his bed, but their other bags appeared to be gone.

"What the hell…?"

Dean went back to the door and opened it. "Now, how the hell did I miss that?"

Seriously, how did he miss the fact his large black car was missing? What made it worse was the fact that his freakishly tall little brother was also missing. Maybe he ran to the store for something...Maybe he got worried about me…but why didn't he call me? I had my phone with me the entire time.

Dean couldn't stop the fear coursing through his body. He knew he was probably overreacting, but after Sam's disappearing act back in Texas, the hunter couldn't help but let his thoughts drift to the worst possibilities, especially when it came to Sam. It was his job to protect Sam, but how could he do that when he was constantly managing to lose the kid?

But who the hell would want Sam? Who even knew where they were for that matter? Dean made it a point not to let anyone know where they were, even Bobby. They stayed safer that way and after the bank heist fiasco in Milwaukee, Dean couldn't help but take every single precaution to make sure he and Sam stayed under the radar. If that meant alienation from the people that cared about them, then so be it. As far as Dean Winchester was concerned, he only had one person in the world he needed to keep in contact with, and right now that person was nowhere to be seen.

Yanking his cell phone from his jacket pocket, Dean hit the speed-dial number for Sam. Bringing it up to his ear, he frowned further when the phone went to voice mail. "Hey, this is Sam…Leave me a message."

"Come on, Sammy. Quit screwing around with me and answer your damn phone."

As soon as Dean hung up the phone, he dialed the number again and was met with the same result. "Hey, this is Sam…Leave me a message."

"Dammit, Sammy!" Dean growled in frustration and shoved the phone back into his pocket. Why in the world was Sam not answering his phone? He was completely anal with his cell phone and Dean knew his brother would answer it unless he had a very good reason not to. A reason that Dean didn't even want to begin to fathom.

Grabbing the key to their room, Dean shoved it into his pocket and left the room. Maybe Robbie or someone in the office had seen Sam leave. It wasn't like the Impala was a vehicle that could be easily missed, especially with its deep rumbling V8 engine.

As Dean pushed the office door open, a small bell announced his presence to the small woman sitting behind the counter. Brenda, Dean remembered.

"Can I help you, sugar?"

"Uh, yeah…is Robbie around here?" Dean asked, looking behind the woman for any sign of the mousy clerk.

"No, he went home not too long ago. Said something about waiting for a package." Brenda shook her head. "Still don't know why the boy didn't have it delivered here. He stays here more than he does at his own place."

Yeah, lady, that's real fascinating, but I really don't have the time to sit here and make small talk with you. "Listen, I was wondering if you noticed my brother leaving. He's a little taller than me, needs a hair cut…he would have driven off in a '67 Chevy Impala…black…"

"No, I don't think so…" Brenda shook her head slowly, but then her eyes flashed in recognition. "Oh, wait! I did see him leave! Couldn't have been no more than an hour ago."

"Did you see which way he headed?"

Brenda smiled teasingly at him. "Don't tell me your brother left without you."

I only hope that's the case and if so, I am so kicking his ass. "Nah, Sammy wouldn't do that."

Brenda nodded her head towards the door. "I thought I saw him heading north."

Dean smiled gratefully at the woman. "Thanks."

"Is everything okay, sugar?" Brenda looked at him, concern lining her face.

"It will be." Dean pushed out the door and nearly bumped into someone. "Oh, sorry," he apologized lamely.

"Dean! I was just coming to look for you!"

Dean arched a brow at the young mousy clerk. "Robbie, I thought you were at home."

"Oh, I was waiting for a package in the mail, but it didn't come." Robbie shrugged. "Oh, well…maybe tomorrow."

"Listen, I'd like to talk, but I'm kind of in the middle of something." Dean pushed past Robbie and headed back towards his room.

"What is it?" Robbie hurried to catch up with him. "Maybe I can help you with it."

"I'm trying to find Sam."

"What do you mean? Is he missing?"

"I don't know. I can't find him anywhere...the Impala is missing…" Dean unlocked the door to the room and walked inside, Robbie at his heels.

"Maybe he had to go do something and forgot to leave a note."

Dean shook his head as he pulled the small weapons bag off his bed and slung it over his shoulder. "That's not Sammy. He doesn't go anywhere without letting me know."

"Where would he go?"

"I don't know. I just talked to Brenda and she said she thought she saw him heading north about an hour ago." Dean pulled out his cell phone and dialed Sam's number once again. When the voice mail picked up, he angrily jabbed the END button.

"He's not answering his phone?"

Dean shook his head. "No, it keeps going to his voice mail."

"Maybe he just can't hear it ringing," Robbie offered helpfully.

"Sam would answer it unless he absolutely couldn't."

"Did you guys have a fight?"

"No, at least I don't remember us having one. Besides, if Sam's pissed at me, he'll take a walk. He wouldn't take the Impala."

"Maybe he just decided to ditch you," Robbie muttered.

"Do what?"

"No—nothing…" Robbie stammered. "Did you need me to give you a lift?"

"Could you?"

Robbie nodded. "Sure. My car's right outside."

"Great." Dean opened the door and followed Robbie out to his small car. Throwing his weapons bag onto the backseat, amid all the trash Robbie had back there, he climbed into the passenger seat, his thoughts completely on his missing brother.

There's no way Sam would ditch him, especially not right now. Sure, Sam got pissed at him from time to time, but that was nothing new between the brothers. After spending as much time as they did together, there was bound to be tension between the two Winchesters. And while Sam did like his space every now and then, he would never abandon Dean…at least, Dean hoped Sam would never abandon him.

Maybe the stress of everything finally got to his young brother. Maybe Sam's frayed nerves finally got the better of him and he just needed to get away from it all. But the hunt was over now, and Sam knew they'd be hitting the road within a couple of hours. So why would he decide to leave Dean now?

"Dean, is that…" Robbie's voice trailed off as he pointed at the road ahead.

Dean tore himself away from his troubled thoughts, but immediately wished his thoughts had been right. There was no way now. There was no way Sam had ditched him and the proof was in the fact the Impala was pulled over to the side of the road, the driver's door wide open. Sam wouldn't be stupid enough to leave the car in the middle of nowhere since he knew what Dean would do to him if something happened to it. Dean was momentarily surprised the door hadn't been hit by passing traffic, or worse yet, the Impala hadn't been stolen. But the abandoned car left him in even deeper panic for Sam than when he'd found the hotel room empty.

"Crap…" the hunter muttered. He jumped out of Robbie's car before the clerk could bring the small car to a stop. Rushing over to his classic, Dean frowned when he saw the keys were still in the ignition. There didn't appear to be any blood anywhere in the car, and that relieved Dean's fears a fraction of a millimeter.

Stepping away from the door, Dean walked a little ahead as he noticed a second set of tire tracks in the dirt. Frowning, he leaned down and saw something that made his heart jump into his throat. There was blood on the surface of the asphalt. Dipping his finger into it, Dean saw that it was fresh. No, no, no, no, no, no!

"Is that…is that blood?" Robbie asked from behind him.

"Yeah," Dean said softly. Sam's blood.

"Oh, my God…"

Standing up, Dean hunted wildly for any sign of his little brother, hoping against hope he was lying somewhere injured. Maybe he was robbed…maybe someone knocked him out and just left him in the ditch or something...Even as the thoughts for a plausible explanation raced through his head, Dean didn't believe them for a second. Sam had been taken—it was just as simple as that.

Still, it didn't stop Dean from walking up and down the roadside, seeking out his sibling.

"Sammy! Sam, answer me!"

"You don't think he's—"

"No!" Dean whirled on Robbie and the clerk jumped back in surprise. "Don't say that! Sam's not dead!"

"But, the blood—"

"It doesn't mean anything! Sam's not dead! He's out there somewhere and I'm going to find him, you hear me?"

Robbie nodded and swallowed hard. Dean knew he was scaring the kid, but it didn't bother him as bad as it should have. Sam was missing—that was all that mattered right now. Sam was out there somewhere, injured, and Dean had to find him. It was Dean's all consuming thought.

"Do you think you should call the police?" Robbie asked carefully.

"No, no police. I'll find Sam myself." Storming back to Robbie's car, he grabbed his weapons bag out of the backseat. Throwing it over his shoulder, he walked to the Impala and climbed in.

"Do you want me to help you?" Robbie asked, leaning down in the window.

"No, Robbie. Just go home." Dean started up the car.


"Go, Robbie." Dean barely let the clerk move out of the way before he sped away. Looking back in the rearview mirror, he saw the young man staring after him, clearly hurt. Yes, Dean Winchester could be called an ass—was quite frequently actually, but when it came to Sam, one could call him by any name in the book and he wouldn't give a shit. He had only one drive at that moment, and that was Sam alive, safe…home.


Robbie could feel his blood boiling as he watched Dean drive off. This wasn't how everything was supposed to play out. Dean wasn't supposed to be racing off, searching for his brother. Why couldn't Dean just believe Sam just up and left? Why in the world did Robbie have to offer to help? And why didn't he do a better job of cleaning up after himself?

He made a rookie move—there was no doubt about it. Robbie should have hidden the Impala and done something about the blood, but no. He'd been anxious to get Sam out of the way and get back to Dean. Now his mistake was costing him what he'd been working for. He was going to lose Dean—he was going to lose his brother all over again.

No—no, that couldn't happen again. He couldn't go through that pain again. He had to do something and he had to do it now. He saw the determination in Dean's eyes when he saw the blood on the road—he was going to stop at nothing to find Sam.

Robbie couldn't have that—he couldn't let Dean find Sam. He also knew he couldn't let Sam get away. It was as simple as that…Sam Winchester would have to die.

There just was no other way around it.

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