AN: Here's another shorty-short story. Oh, and yes, in case anyone was wondering, all of my story titles have "sewing" titles. It's kind of my other passion, so I figured why not put the two together?
Anyway, please enjoy!
Dean ran toward the crowd in the alley, his sixteen-year-old legs pumping as fast as they could. When he finally reached the group of teenagers, he shoved his shoulder between two of them, snarling at the one who shouted "Hey!" at him. Reaching down, he plucked Sam up off the ground, yanking him out of the semi-circle of boys. As he moved, his eyes took in the other kid's face, and Dean was secretly glad for the black eye. It meant that Sam, as young as he was, could fight pretty well.
The kid scrambled to his feet, then spat out a mouthful of blood, pointing at the brothers.
"You're gonna pay, you little bastard!" he shouted, glancing down at his shirt, which now hung in tatters around his torso.
Pushing Sam behind him, Dean swung to face the crowd, putting on his most intimidating glare.
"You leave my brother alone, or I'll kick your asses into next month!" He threatened them, taking an extra moment to scowl at the kid with the black eye. The one Sam had been fighting.
As they quickly slipped away, he rounded on his brother once more. "And you! What the hell did you think you were doing?"
Sam, at 12 already almost as tall as his brother, curled his lip defiantly and spat, "He started it."
"I don't care who started it!" Dean shouted at him. "Do you have any idea what Dad's gonna say when he sees that fat lip of yours? You think he'll care who started it? No fighting; that's Dad's number one top rule, Sam!"
"He's not gonna say shit," Sam replied, his voice soft at first, but quickly growing in volume as he went on, "because he's not here. He left for Chicago this morning, and if you had been at the motel instead of screwing some chick in the back of her car all night, you'd know that!"
Dean opened his mouth to scold Sam for swearing, but shut it in surprise as he took in what he'd said. Dad was gone? "He left?"
Sam scoffed, wiping his split lip on the cuff of his shirt. It left a wide smear of blood behind, but Sam didn't seem to notice. "Yeah. Said he'd be back Thursday."
That figured. Their dad was in the hunting business, and right now, business was good. He looked at Sam and noticed how mad the younger boy was, saw the familiar shine of frustrated tears in his hazel eyes.
Gruffly, maybe a little too much so, Dean just said, "Get in the car, and let's go home."
On the short ride back to the motel, Dean tried a dozen different times to start a conversation, but Sam was definitely not in the mood to cooperate. He just sat in the passenger's seat, his wiry arms folded over his chest, staring blankly out the window. Dean gave up and concentrated on the pavement whizzing by under the black Impala, seeing the white and yellow lines but not comprehending them. After being in this town for six months – their longest stint yet – he'd driven the route from school to the motel so many times that he could've driven it in his sleep.
It wasn't until later that night, after a dinner of Spaghetti-O's – which Sam complained about, of course – when they were laying in bed with the lights off, that Sam finally revealed the reason he'd been fighting a teenager three full years older than he was.
"He said our family was full of freaks," Sam murmured, his voice thick with unshed tears. "That Dad was a no-good loser, and you were a...a dickhead. Then he pushed me and called me a wimp." He put up a good fight against the tears, but the pain he felt inside won out and they trickled down his face, falling on his pillow.
Dean's heart squeezed hard in his chest, and at that moment he really felt that he deserved being called a dickhead. He pushed his covers back and slipped out of bed, climbing in beside Sam instead. His hands gathered his brother against his chest, and Sam's big wide eyes looked up at him in the dark. Even in such dim light, Dean could see the tear-stains on Sam's face. He might be as tall as Dean, but Sam was definitely still a kid inside.
"You're not a freak, or a wimp, Sam," Dean assured him. "That guy doesn't know you. He don't know any of us, so just forget what he said, okay?"
"I hate them," Sam whispered, boldly staring Dean straight in the eye, daring him to say something, anything to the contrary. "They think that 'cause I'm skinny, I'm weak."
"I don't wanna go to school any more. Can't I just stay here?"
Dean shook his head. "No, Sammy. You gotta go."
Sam pressed his forehead against Dean's chest, a sob hitching his body. "Please, Dean!"
He wanted to say yes. He would say anything right now if it stopped Sam from crying. God, how he wished their Dad was there right then. He would know how to handle this, and even if he didn't, he could just order Sam to stop his foolishness and go to sleep, and the boy would listen. Listening to Sam cry, knowing how scared he must feel, Dean felt like his heart was breaking, or that it was swelling so big that it would burst at the seams. He wasn't sure how much longer he could do this on his own.
Running his hand over Sam's hair, Dean murmured, "I'm sorry. But I promise, I'll be there for you whenever I can."
Sam made a skeptical noise. "You can't promise that. You have to go to class, too."
"I know. But I can make sure you're safe, that no one picks on you again."
Sam looked up at him again. Wiping tears from his cheeks, he asked, "How?"
"You let me worry about that, okay?" Dean replied, squeezing his arms around Sam and then reluctantly pressing his lips to the top of the boy's head. "Just get some sleep now."
"Okay." Sam settled down into his covers, and once he was tucked in, Dean got back into his own bed.
"Dean?" Sam said after a long pause, during which Dean had been going through his list of friends, wondering which of them he could get to pull guard duty on Sam while Dean was stuck in class. He would skip out and protect Sam himself, but Dad would be majorly pissed if he found out Dean was cutting class, even if he had a good reason. And Dad would find out; he always did.
"I'm sorry I swore. But I'm not sorry I was fighting."
Dean smiled in the darkness. "You know what, Sammy?"
He heard Sam utter a sigh, and then his voice, which had yet to drop into the register he would have as an adult, said, "Thanks, Dean. I love you."
Dean started to make a sarcastic reply, but something stopped him and made his hand stretch out in the black space between their beds. His fingers brushed Sam's, and he gripped them, squeezing them lightly.
"Love you, too, little brother."
Next story to follow...