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The thought always catches him by surprise. Hunting usually brings only misery; even once the bad things are gone, lives and beliefs are too often destroyed. But there are times when Sam thinks maybe this job isn’t so bad.

Before Stanford, he was too young—not too young to hunt, but too young to see anything other than black and white, good and evil and hatred and Dad’s broken bones and Dean’s bruises.

But times like these—like meeting Lenore and seeing, really understanding that not all supernatural beings had to be evil, like helping Mary to move on—they make it… and here Sam hesitates to say worthwhile, because that seems not only inadequate but just wrong… they make it something he’d consider doing even after the thing that killed his mother is gone.

It was Stanford that prepared Sam for the possibility of something being both supernatural and good; late-night talks with the kids from his philosophy class about Spider-Man and Remus Lupin and what it means to be a hero. Of course Sam wonders sometimes what Dean would’ve been like if Mom hadn’t died. Sam thinks he would’ve gone to college, and not just ‘cause Mom would’ve wanted him to, from what Dean and even sometimes Dad have told him about her.

Dean isn’t stupid, not by any means, but school for him always came second to whatever Dad needed. But why would he have pushed Sam so hard if he honestly thought it was a waste? Intro Psych had only confirmed Sam’s suspicions that Dean was defense mechanism layered over defense mechanism. Sam could’ve sworn, when Dean found out about Stanford, that there was envy between the fear and the sadness and the pride in Dean’s eyes.

“Pre-Law, Sammy? A lawyer?” Dean’d asked, about a month after Jess died. “I mean, I’m sure the secretaries are hot, but seriously? The suit and tie? You think that’s you?”

“I like setting things right,” he’d mumbled, and turned to face the window, pretending to sleep. Dean could only ever see the differences between things—human and supernatural, law and hunting, Sam and Dean—even when they were mostly the same.
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