By Ridley C. James & Tidia

Disclaimer: Nothing Supernatural belongs to us.


Chapter 8 - Between Brothers

“There’s 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 worst.”

“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 thinking?”

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 nothing about.”

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 doctor, Dean.”

“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 soon.”

“I take it you shared your theory about me knowing about Adam with my son, then?”

“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 understand.”

“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 have expected.”

“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 sucks.”

"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 anything.



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