no other love like the love for a brother. There’s no other love like
the love from a brother.” --Astrid Alauda
Dean strode past Naomi’s desk, offering Mackland’s assistant a brief
wave, a half smile, but not stopping to give her the chance to announce
his arrival. Surprises were the theme as of late. He took some perverse
pleasure in withholding a heads-up to The Scholar.
Dean rapped on the door and entered. Mac was on the phone, files and
books spread across his desk. He glanced over the rim of the reading
glasses perched precariously on his face obviously expecting Naomi. The
slight look of irritation at the unexpected disturbance was quickly
replaced with one of panic that leached the color from Mac’s face. Dean
felt slightly remorseful for his tactic. There would only be a handful
of reasons for him to come to New York, unannounced, by himself. None
of them good.
“I need to call you back, Eric,” Mac said. The doctor slowly returned
the receiver to its cradle and stood. “Dean?”
“Caleb and Sam are fine.”
“Thank God. For a second…” Mac pulled his glasses off, rubbing his
eyes. He leaned against the desk. “These days I’m prepared for the
“I know.” Dean crossed the room. “I’m sorry.”
Mac looked up. “It's always good to see you, but what the hell were you
Dean took a seat in one of the leather chairs. “I was thinking I should
come tell you about Adam in person.”
“Adam?” Mac’s frown deepened. “Joshua’s friend from the coven?”
“No.” Dean pulled the snapshot he’d pocketed from his coat, tossing it
on Mac’s desk as if it were damning evidence. “Our long lost brother,
Adam. He’s dead, by the way.”
Mac picked up the picture, his face losing what little color it had
gained. “No.” He slumped wearily in his chair. “That can’t be.”
Dean had been almost certain if anyone knew about Dad’s secret it would
be Mac. Now he knew for sure. “Sam and I torched his corpse yesterday.
Kate’s dead, too.”
Mac met his gaze. “How…I don’t understand.”
“Join the club. There are a hell of a lot of things I don’t understand,
starting with the fact my father had a whole other life going on I knew
Mac sighed, putting down the photograph. “Dean…”
“But you knew. Didn’t you?”
“John came to me after he met the boy.”
“And you decided to keep it to yourself, even after Dad died.”
“Your father made it clear Adam was to be kept out of the loop up until
at some point in time when the demon issue was cleared up, and the
threat to your family was no longer prevalent.”
Dean rolled his eyes. “So pretty much never.”
“He didn’t want him contacted if the worst happened. He only wanted him
cared for in his absence.”
That gave Dean his answer. Dad never meant for them to be a family.
“You footed the bill.”
“For his education.”
“He was pre-med.”
Mac swallowed hard. “I always thought you would have made a fine
“Would have been hard for me to handle medical school with being a
full-time parent and hunter.”
Mac looked chagrined. “I’m sorry.”
“Did Jim know?”
“No. I was the only one John told.”
“Bobby would have kicked his ass.”
“Johnathan was my best friend, Son. A brother.” Mac leaned across the
desk. “Surely you understand that.”
“I understand that the people I thought I knew keep changing into
things I don’t even recognize anymore.”
“I know this must be hard…”
“Hard?” Dean laughed. “He took him to ballgames, fishing, camping, made
it a point to make a big deal of his birthday. He taught him how to
drive for fucks sake, bought him his first beer. I remember how you and
Dad used to argue about those very things, and why he should make the
time for them with me and Sammy.” Even more so Dean knew for a fact
Caleb used to beg for the boys to live with them. He wanted Dean to go
to college on a baseball scholarship to LSU, with Mac picking up the
rest of the tab.
“I would have given anything for your father to have done all those
things with you and Samuel- to have understood the importance of
letting you both be normal children.”
“But he didn’t.” Dean hadn’t come to Mac’s to vent his mounting
frustration. He’d come for answers. But his momentum had built on the
way to New York and he couldn’t help getting a few things off his chest.
“Dad taught me how to drive when I was ten and it was in case we needed
to escape from whatever hell beast we were hunting and he was injured.
Damien bought me my first beer and took me to my first ballgame at
Yankee Stadium, and stood in for about another dozen firsts that a
father should have done. Pastor Jim made a big deal out of the
birthdays we were around for, but there were a few years I was lucky to
get Sammy a fucking cupcake. Normal was a four-letter word in our lives
and you sure as hell knew it.” It was low because a part of Dean
realized Mac had done the best he could by them. He remembered the hunt
when his father disappeared. Mac was the one to come to the rundown
motel after a week on their own.
Mac ran a hand through his hair. “John wanted to right the wrongs he
had played out with you and Samuel. You boys were older by then. Sam
was in college.”
“But he still had time to right the wrongs with us.” Dad could have
gone to see Sam at Stanford. He could have told Dean he was proud of
him, created some stability in their lives. It wasn’t too late but
their father had given up on them and moved on with Adam.
“I couldn’t deny him a second chance, not after as you pointed out I’d
given him so many lectures on how better to raise his sons.” Mac looked
down at the picture. “A part of me was proud of him, even if it made me
more aware of what you and Samuel had been denied.”
“The woman…Adam’s mom.” Dean licked his lips. “Did he love her?”
Mac cleared his throat. “I think your father cared for Kate, but John
Winchester only loved one woman. Your mother.”
Dean didn’t know why it made a difference, but it did. “You know I get
that he didn’t have a choice with me and Sammy. That he tried to offer
us the best he could with Pastor Jim and The Brotherhood. He tried to
keep us safe and I don’t blame him for protecting Adam from this life."
“Then that makes you a better man than most, me included.” Mac looked
up at him.
"No, I just remember the Dad I had before," Dean stated. Adam's father
is what his dad was supposed to be.
“Did you tell Caleb?”
“Yeah.” Dean snorted. “You should be expecting a call from him very
“I take it you shared your theory about me knowing about Adam with my
“Yep.” Dean called Caleb as soon as he left Sam and Adam at the motel
that first night. “That whole best friend, brother thing. You
“Touché.” Mac took a deep breath, let it out slowly. “Caleb will
not be quite as understanding of John’s discretion, nor my deception.”
Dean couldn’t disagree. “Damien is a little biased.”
“When it comes to you and brother, most definitely.” Mac sat back in
his chair. “How is Sam taking this?”
Dean pushed himself straighter in the chair. “Not exactly as I would
“He reminds me more of your father every day.”
All Dean could do was nod in agreement. He was scared of his brother's
transformation. It was one thing to internalize that he knew they were
similar; it was another to have his brother say his father's words. He
could no longer deny Sam was obsessed. Sam was willing to use Adam as
bait. Was his brother jealous, did he go so far as to get revenge on
their father by training Adam? Dean pushed the thought away.
“You want to tell me exactly what happened?”
“The Winchester curse happened.” Dean didn’t want to think about how
Adam died, why he died. He was so tired of losing battles. “The gig dad
was working when he hooked up with Kate came back to haunt him. Revenge
"I'm sorry." Mac picked up the photograph and offered it back to Dean.
"I know what family means to you."
Dean shrugged, slipping the picture back into his pocket. "You had no
way of knowing what was going to happen." He felt bad for Adam, for his
mother and couldn't stop the nagging sensation that he had somehow
failed them. Dean didn't know if he could call what he was experiencing
grief. His brother was dead, but in this case brother had no where near
the meaning Dean typically associated with the word.
Brother was how he felt for Sam...the depth of connection he had with
Caleb. Adam was an opportunity lost, like so many other opportunities
Dean felt robbed of.
Mac nodded. “Still I feel like I’ve failed John on so many levels. Sam,
you, and now Adam. Nothing is safe.”
Dean shook his head. “Adam’s in a better place.” A place that was not
under imminent threat of an apocalypse only he could stop. "Maybe he
and Dad are together."
"Maybe." Mac cleared his throat. "Do you have time for," he glanced
down at his watch, "lunch?"
Dean smiled. He recognized the white flag tactic and was in need of a
cease fire. "How guilty do you feel, Doc?"
"Enough for a steak at Ben Benson's."
"As long as I don't have to wear a jacket, I'm in." Mac was respecting
his father's wishes, which is what Dean had been trying to do, too. And
Dean did understand what went on between brothers, between best
friends. More importantly Mac was family, and family could be forgiven
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