Sam couldn't understand why he was afraid of clowns; why the very thought of their overly made-up faces sent such a chill down his spine and made him tremble like a five year old.
He'd plundered his memories, but he just couldn't remember any specific event that could have set it off.
It seemed as if he'd been born with it, similar to those persons who were cursed with the more common phobias such as fear of animals, open and closed spaces etc, who had probably never even experienced anything bad concerning them in their life-time.
Dean was a classic example.
The only time Sam could remember his brother having set foot on a plane was when they both had to exorcise a demon on board a flight.
His cocky, fearless big brother had been terrified, he remembered fondly.
However, Sam could partially understand those fears.
They were atavistic in way; wild animals could rip you to shreds and kill you, and finding yourself trapped in a small space or alone in a vast open area could be scary, as could leaving the safety of the solid earth to fly like a bird.
There was a kind of logic to them, but his own baffled him.
Were clowns atavistic too?
He'd come up against so much in his twenty-nine years on Earth, ghosts, ghouls, wendigos (he was starting to feel a strange affection for the stick-like monsters, memory of a less complicated time ) demons, angels, so-called tricksters, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, treachery, sacrifice, love...especially love!
Through all the bad, that was what stood out like a spotlight, his love for his big brother, although if he came right out and told Dean he loved him, he wasn't sure how his brother would react, so Sam never had, even if he'd been tempted to many times.
In any case Dean didn't have to hear the words to know that his little brother loved him and Sam was well aware that Dean's reciprocal love for him was all-encompassing.
You just didn't put it into words but you channelled that love into glances, looks, touches, jerks, bitches and phrases such as "don't get killed, man."
It was simply the Winchester way.
Sam had always found time fascinating.
All this meditation and musing that had occupied his mind about phobias and love had seemed to take forever, but he knew that only a second had passed since the clown had turned the corner and was about to bump right into him.
He braced himself for the feeling of illogical terror that was about to overwhelm him, magnified a thousand-fold by the imminent impact of the garish figure with his own body, when he felt Dean slip physically between him and the clown, taking the collision on himself, while contemporarily pushing Sam bodily backwards with his ass, as he smiled apologetically at the startled man.
Completely in control of the situation, Dean flipped Sam around until he was facing away from his nemesis and prodded him on around a corner in the opposite direction to the clown.
"Come on, Sammy. It's embarrassing to see a Sasquatch gigantor like yourself tremble in front of a guy dressed in a weirdo costume with a ton of make-up on his face.
It's…..un-Winchester-ly!" he continued as he checked back to the street to see where the clown was going.
Fortunately the clown's collision with Dean must have made him change direction as he crossed the road away from the still trembling Sam.
"It's okay, Sammy. He's gone!"
Dean saw Sam looking at him gratefully, working up to who-knows-what chick-flick moment, and he wondered if today was going to be the day that Sam was going to come out with it.
He could see his sibling's puppy-eyes considering it, but all he said was "Thanks Dean. You're the best big brother in the world" and Dean knew that for today he was safe, but when Sam did eventually get round to it, Dean knew exactly what his reply would be. "I love you, too, Sammy!