Summary: John Winchester psychically and mentally abused his oldest son. The hunter was a drunk, lived from hunt to hunt and was barley at the motels the makeshift family called home. Dean can't handle the pressure and ultimately makes the decision to end his life. Can Sammy and their Uncle Bobby save the teenager in time? Completely AU.

Warnings: Child abuse, cursing, asthma, poverty, depression, untreated childhood PTSD, anxiety disorder, suicide attempts and actions that could be perceived as an eating disorder.

Author's Note: Thanks for reading this far! Okay, so I did some serious research into the character that Dean Winchester is. Most of everything is cannon, but there are a lot of add-ons. I took several direct lines from different Tumblr meta, which includes jay kateel with her Dean Winchester and His Fucked-Up Childhood: A Summary and Nekosmuse's Dean Winchester and Childhood PTSD: An Examination of Personality Traits Common to Adult Survivors of Untreated Childhood PTSD (full article found here - . #cutid1). I also used The Sheila Variations website for the meta of Breaking Down the Schtick: Jensen Ackles, Physical Comedy, Objectification, Consent, and Other Supernatural Topics Inspired By Three Seconds of Footage. Full thanks and props for them; without their meta, this fanfiction would not be a good read.

Dean Winchester was seventeen the day he decided he wanted it all to end. The green eyed, freckled faced teen with long, nearly hallowed cheeks, a rounded chin and tan skin was a skinny boy. He wore used shirts from thrift stores and layered large, bulky jackets to give others the impression he was bigger than he truly was. He was tall, but not nearly as tall as his younger brother would soon be. Sam was at a soccer game; giving Dean his much needed alone time. It would be the first of anything his brother did that he had missed. Their father was somewhere. Not at the motel, which was the only thing the teen actually cared about.

No, he was seventeen, alone and tired. He just wanted to be done. Done with caring for his younger brother, with protecting his brother, with the abuse, with the orders, with the poverty – everything. His stomach twisted in hunger, but he knew he wouldn't eat tonight. Their dad had only left enough money for two weeks– that had been over a month. Dean worked as a mechanic, which kept food on the table and clothes on his brother's back. Sometimes he wished the four dollars an hour job could get them farther.

He had dropped out of high school the day he turned sixteen well over a year ago for financial reasons. Every now and then, he found himself playing poker at the local bars, wining hundreds a night, but there were only so many people in the assbutt middle of nowhere of Minnesota who would fall for his tricks twice.

The family had been in the motel for over eight months. If Dean added all of the consecutive hours his father had been in the home, it would be about nineteen hours – enough time for the man to recuperate from a hunt and start all over again.

Dean didn't really know where his father went. He didn't care, either. When his father was home, the young man was beaten at night – always when Sam was asleep. The boy knew what was happening within the family, to a certain extent. He knew about his brother's scars and bruises. He pushed his brother into eating breakfast and forced him to eat dinner. He practically threw money away when he made Dean eat.

Dean was tired. He wished he could sleep. Every time he did, he would awake within hours after being plagued with nightmares and memories that should have stayed forgotten. His nightmares were different every time. Sometimes, he saw his mom with wide green eyes, looking fearful and yelling. She screamed, blaming him for her death. He saw himself dropping Sam that night, losing his brother at different parts of his life. Other times, he dreamed of his father killing him and moving on to Sam as a punching bag.

He had to keep his brother safe. It was the first instinct he was taught. Take care of your brother, Dean. He heard those words every day, whether from his absent father or himself. He took extra hours at the shop to keep food and clothes a constant for the ever growing and always hungry Sam.

The first and last thought of the day for Dean Winchester was; where is Sam and is Sam safe? That was his only duty in life; to protect and serve. Many years ago, his father had made him a soldier. He was not a son to John, just a pond in his Supernatural quest. Somewhere over the years, Dean became nothing. He had neither a childhood nor a future. In the game his father played, no hunter was safe.

Dean had learned months into his dad's new career that hunting the supernatural was not safe. It had no benefits or pay, just helping people and lots of overtime. The only future for the Winchester family was danger and death – something the oldest sibling did not want for his brother. Dean had never wanted the hunting life. He wanted to go to school, to do well and make friends. He wanted a lifetime girlfriend that he would eventually marry and he once had a dream to go to college.

He wished he could get straight A's and get on the Dean's List just for the pun. He wanted a house to call his own and a normal family. He wanted to be a teenager and play football and be so popular that it was painful. On some days he wanted to work as a firefighter and on others, he wanted to help the world as a psychologist or an ER doctor. Heck, he'd be an amazing doctor (just ask his dad…or not. Yeah, please don't ask his dad).

His dreams were something he could not have, though. He felt guilty for his thoughts. He was selfish. If his father heard him speak about getting good grades in school – about standing out – Dean would be beaten. He was just a soldier. He could not have feelings. His future was that of nightmares.

Take care of Sammy, Dean.

He couldn't take it anymore. In the small, two twin beds motel suite with an old vintage look (and smell to go with it), Dean took out his gun from his duffel bag hidden in the closet, quickly sitting back in his and Sam's shared bed. The mattress groaned, shifting with his weight. He tried not to think about how his entire life fit inside the small bag. A couple of shirts, some jeans, a few socks and boxers were all inside the old, used black material that was covered in dirt. His leather jacket – a hand me down from his father, hung on the back of the dining room chair.

The metal in his left hand was cold. He felt a knot in his chest when he smelled the slick gun oil, his head spinning when his stomach begged for food. Dean sighed, his ribs moving with the effort, his one hand on old revolver. He had the other hand supporting his head. He hadn't washed up in a few days, he thought when he breathed in the ripeness of his body. His hair was greasy, making the rugged style easier to obtain. Dean wasn't in the mood for showering, though. He really didn't ever feel like doing a lot of things anymore.

He lived on a schedule; cook Sammy breakfast, pack the kid's lunch, force something down his own throat, listen to his brother's little bitchy gripes about the morning hour, go to work, cook dinner, make the younger brother eat, maybe eat himself if he was hungry, sleep, and repeat. Sometimes, he could add, get beat by dad before supper or sleep. His father would probably be home within the next week.

Dean had no interest of doing anything else. He didn't wonder why his father was an ass on a mission anymore. He just accepted it. He did what he had to, with an exception of night time activities. He liked his women brunette or red heads, any race and any religion – though he tried to avoid blonds. They made him think of his mother, which in turn made him feel disgusted and completely out of the mood. Dean would become out of breath, his mouth going dry, his palms sweaty; he looked like a virgin every time he was with a blond.

Not that he wouldn't flirt with them. He was a flirtatious individual with a funny, smart assed sense of humor.

The revolver in his hand became a heavy weight. Dean didn't want to leave Sammy, but he was tired. He just wanted it all to end – to be done with the mess that he called a life. His younger brother made a point of never leaving him in the same room as their father. Sam had saw what was happening a year back and now made him eat breakfast and dinner every day (he couldn't make the oldest Winchester eat lunch no matter how hard he tried. Dean needed to safe that money for Sam. Sam would need new clothes or Sam needs the food more than me were always his thought when he skipped a meal).

The young, overprotective assed brother Sam had begun on his rampage the first time he saw their father beat Dean. He had never trusted the man again, often trying to make Dean runaway or tell someone. What Sam didn't know was that Dean didn't need help. He needed an escape, an end to his torture. Needless to say, Sam now hated their father. The father and son fought whenever they could (usually causing unseen consequences for the oldest sibling).

Dean…Dean loved their father in a detached, let's have a cold one together sort of way. He was a good man who was under so many hidden stresses that started with the death of his wife. He saved people, hunted things. When he came home drunk and beat his oldest, it just reminded Dean of the things his father must have seen. He had reasons to be drunk. Sam just didn't understand. Not that Dean understood. The seventeen year old had trouble remembering most of his early childhood. He remembered feeling hot and sad and protective the night of the fire, but not much before or afterwards. He remembers the betrayal he felt the first time he was beaten. He had deserved it though. Dean should watched Sam better. It was his own fault. He now knew his father had a reason for all of his actions.

Take Sam and run.

Protect your brother.

Do you want people to die?!

Those were things Dean had heard all his life. The words echoed in his head at night. He would dream of another world at times, one where his father loved him and Dean hadn't raised his younger brother like a single mother would have from age four. He would see his mother smile, singing Hey, Jude as she baked an apple pie from their old Kansas kitchen. He'd play baseball and have friends. Sammy would have been the definition of the annoying younger rather than a son.

Since childhood, Dean was trained not to want anything from life. He was not supposed to question things. His father had, once upon a time, threatened to abandon his oldest son. As a result, Dean was different from other children. Despite loving to socialize – to be with people – he found himself feeling immense helplessness near others. He became self-loathing and developed trust issues. He decided a long time ago to purge himself of emotions, to ride himself of hope and happiness. If he did that, if he saved enough people, if he protected Sammy with his life, John might someday become proud of him.

When he saved people, Dean was granted the knowledge that no one else would ever know his pain. Other children wouldn't go through the agony and fear of losing a parent. They wouldn't have to watch a parent die in front of them. Families wouldn't be torn apart at the hands of the supernatural.

His mouth felt dry, the hands he once used to teach Sammy how to write were sweaty in nervousness. The gun he held became a burden almost too heavy. His dreams were – were just plain dumb. He could never have another life. He was doomed to be a hunter. Dean Winchester was a worthless teenager and everyone who he ever loved will eventually leave him. His brother would one day leave the life of endless poverty and chain motels and Dean. Sam Winchester was going places and surely, one day he would leave the damned Supernatural world they called home.

Dean was positive that – with time – his father would become the death of him. That thought gave him great uneasiness.

With an inability to be calm, Dean stood with the pistol in his hands. He walked quickly in a small circle before falling to his knees, gripping at his hair. He was a mess. He was too dirty to be with others. The girls who hit on him at libraries had no idea of the danger he held. He broke things, sullies anything he touched. People who get close to him die.

He got anxious when he spent more than a day away from his youngest Winchester. Sam was his security blanket to life, one Dean was dependent on. Someday, Sam would get tired of asking his brother to run away with him. Dean knew he wouldn't be able to live alone. He was a trained soldier, taught from a young age to care for his brother.

Take your brother outside as fast as you can and don't look back!

Deano, protect your brother.

Watch Sammy, Dean.

Don't leave Sam.

Protect Sam.

The revolver in his hand was him taking care of Sam. Dean was going to take care of the problem before it started. His head once again spun and he allowed his body to stand. His philosophical desire to die wasn't sudden. Dean had thought for months on how to better his and Sam's life. Ending this would resolve everything. He walked into the bathroom and closed the door, not bothering to look at the cluttered motel. In a few minutes, everything was going to be okay. He entered the porcelain tub, closing the curtains as he did so. He didn't want Sam to see the upcoming event. This was it, he thought, sitting before his shaky knees gave out. Pulling the large, heavy revolver to his head, he dropped the gun, a large crash following the movements, the object sliding towards the dirty drainer. He had forgotten to say goodbye.

Dean leapt out of the bathroom with haste, trying to hurry. He stole one of Sam's forgotten school notebooks and ripped out a piece of paper to scribble a little note of;

Hey, baby brother.

Hope you had a good day at school. I'm in the bathroom. Don't open up the door – you won't like what you see. There's a dinner in the fridge. Do yourself a favor and get away from dad. He isn't safe. This is my last wish, kid. Take my duffel bag and run. There's about $650 hidden in the false bottom trunk of the impala. It's where you used to hide your toys. Live a normal life, Sammy. You deserve it. Love you.

He ignored the need to apologize. He hoped his brother understood. He needed it to end. Dean was doing the final act for Sam. The oldest Winchester would never be able to run away. He was a soldier for his father. He needed to act, not think. To follow orders. That's what he had been trained to do since he was a young child. His brother, though…his brother would not leave without him.

For Sam, Dean was just going to cut the only emotional ties the youngest Winchester had with the family. He was going to give Sam the chance to get what he always wanted; a normal life. He ignored the thought in the back of his mind that told him that he wanted the same thing.

He was going to do one last thing for Sam. He walked to the room's landline, dialing the all so familiar number. It rang twice before the man on the other end of the line answered in a gruff voice.

"Uncle Bobby," Dean questioned, his voice shaky, his skin paling. It was becoming real.

"What's the matter," the man questioned, not bothering with pleasantries. He sounded as he just finished something, probably working around his own shop. He could hear the near fearful sound in his voice. "Is that father of yer's hurt?"

"No, Uncle Bobby. I need to….I need to ask you a favor."

"Speak it, kid," Bobby said, probably brushing his hand through his short brown hair.

"Find Sam. Find him and take care of Sammy, will ya?"

"What're you talking about? What's happening, Dean?"

"Keep my dad away from Sam, Uncle Bobby. Please."

"Deano, kid, answer me. What's happening," Bobby panicked, voice rising. "Answer me, dammit!"

"Just take care of Sam," Dean whispered, hanging up the phone. He sunk to the floor, heart speeding, hands pulling his hair. Was he actually ready for it all to end? To just stop? The sudden realization of saying and doing hit him like a bucket of cold water. The phone rang a few seconds later and he threw it away. It stopped before starting once again, ringing off and on for several minutes.

A voice spoke to him. He looked around; on one was in the room. "The truth is they don't need you," the cold voice said, laced with hatred and anger. "Not like you need them." Dean stood, confused as it continued to talk. He began throwing things around the room while he searched for the voice.

"No," he whimpered.

"Oh, you know it's true."

"Stop," Dean yelled, sinking to the floor. He was nauseous. His hands were pulling at his hair, his back to the bulky dresser that held the television. The voice persisted, cold and vile as it spoke. The gun was too far away, it the bathroom tub now. He must have threw it. There was a knife in the dresser – it could make it all end. He was ready. The pain in his heart was back. The voice hurt Dean, made his head hurt and his heart burn. His skin was cold and sweating and his breath was panicked as he stood, only to trip. He collapsed downwards, his hands spreading out to protect himself.

He saved his fall, jumping into an almost fail of a run into the bathroom. The knife was left forgotten, the door slammed behind him. His actions felt more impulsive than it had before. His head was achy, his heart racing. He was sure his eyes were red. There were tears leaking from his eyes, somehow escaping no matter how hard he tried to make it stop. His nose was dripping with snot.

He sank into the bathtub for the second time that day, once again closing the shower curtain. The voice was still talking and Dean was sweating, swearing and shaking as he grabbed the metal gun. He raised the heavy metal gun to his head, closing his empty green eyes. He would escape this.

It almost didn't feel real. He felt an almost disconnect from his body as he worked hard at normalizing his breathing. Dean had never realized how heavy his gun was in his clammy hands, never felt how his soul was getting dragged down every time he pulled the trigger. If he pulled the trigger again, his soul would be gone, along with the rest of him, of course.

He would be dead instantly, his heart still beating for a few moments as he bled out, all the way until there was no more blood left. It sounded nice, to never bleed again. His father would never hit him again, never hurt him.

The gun was against his temple. His finger was pressed into the trigger. He just had to add a tad more pressure before he was gone. The phone was still ringing, the voice disappearing after getting ignored. Dean just wanted it to end. He wanted to be in control. He wanted to be dead. Taking one last, deep breath, he closed his green eyes before pressing the trigger.

About fourteen minutes earlier, Sam Winchester frowned towards the bleachers on the soccer field. Dean wasn't there. The young Winchester's stomach twisted uncomfortably, the disappointed part of his mind telling him something was wrong. His brother wouldn't skip a game for no reason. The older boy was always at his soccer games – always; since before he even knew he wanted to play the sport. Dean had took him to watch practices and smiled as Sam stood mesmerized. He was just about seven, an age where he began to learn consequences that came with every action. He remembers worrying their father catching them watching the soccer game, the brothers smiling and joking.

Sam hated his godforsaken father, he thought, his frown deepening. He knew it hadn't always been that way. Just last year he had never ending and continuous love for the man. Heck, when he was a small child, he had even thought the road trip their family lived on was fun. It was, in fact, the only thing Samuel Winchester could remember. It was like an endless summer, always moving and seeing new things. Now though, it was different. He was almost in high school and in despite need of normalcy. He wanted friends and sleep overs and trust. He wished for his family to settle down. Sam wanted more sports and less monsters.

His brother seemed eager to provide just that. Sam knew his father would beat the hell out of Dean if the man knew his oldest had signed him up for the soccer team. It had cost $235 a season – not even including the gear and ball he had to buy. Sam didn't know how his brother had did it, but he did it. Sam was almost living as normally as he wanted to, living on the open road with his abusive father and parental brother.

Sam felt a shiver at the thought. Dean had known about monsters under the bed since he was four years old and their house burned down. Their mother had died that night, he knew. The official cause of death was asphyxiation, her dead body burned in the fire that ended Dean's childhood. The true reason was – Sam shivered again, goose bumps appearing on his pale skin – the Yellow Eyed Demon. It killed her, and now their father was like a bat out of hell trying to achieve revenge.

Until last year, Sam would have gave it his all to help his father. To get attention and apparition from the always absent parent was something he often wished for. After he had walked in on his father, a belt in his hand, beating on Dean, however, Sam has been on edge. Ever since then, Sam had been trying to get his brother to leave the Winchester family – to start anew. It angered both siblings, neither ever agreeing on an outcome. He loved the open road, and once his father, but it took so much from Dean. There was no trust, no stability or room for opinions. Life was do as John Winchester said. Their relationships were like a military under a dictator. Dean was the ever serving soldier, listening to any and every order their father gave.

Sam was…not as good. He did research, sure, but he wanted – needed more. His teenaged body requiring more space and a stationary social life. As much as he loved the freedom, he needed something he couldn't get from the relationship with his family. Sam wanted an education – a real, honest to god, going to school every day, studying periodically and graduating valedictorian – education.

He planned on getting that education. To leave his father behind and bring his brainwashed brother with him. They might get found someday and they might not, but it was worth it to Sam. To finally have personal freedom with friends and time to read and be himself – it was all his biggest dream. His brother would be the only snag in his plan, he realized.

Dean; the soldier, who readily pleased their father.

Dean; the hero, who had saved more than a dozen lives.

Dean; the older brother, who's only real goal was to protect Sam.

The teen, who was only four years older than his younger brother, was the only thing Sam knew. He had been there for him since he was born. He was a constant. Sam hoped that he could convince his brother to leave with him someday soon, he thought, leaving his game. No one on the team noticed.

With the thoughts of his father fresh in his mind, he took off into a run, not stopping until he reached the motel. He hoped as he jiggled along that the man he called dad hadn't finally come home (not that he wasn't a month late or anything). He was sweating heavily, panting as he slowed to a jog. His chubby teenage body felt heavy as he moved. It took nine long minutes to reach the motel. Sam allowed a relieved smile as he noted that his father's truck was not in the motel parking lot. The knot in his stomach tightened as he approached the door of the family's room.

The phone in the motel was ringing when Sam stepped into the room. It was mostly quiet and his heart was beating out of his chest as he looked around. His skin was pale, his breath speeding like a racecar, panting heavily as he moved. Dean didn't seem to be home, even though the impala was where it was always parked. He felt sick as he thought of the possible locations of his brother.

"Dean," he called out hesitantly. Something was off. His chest ached as he took the small pocket knife he carried for protection from his back pocket and rounded the doorway, entering the small motel. The first thing he saw was a note on his bed, quickly scribbled. He ignored it as he cleared the room, noting Dean's beloved jacket on the back of the kitchen table. Papers were scattered around the room, the whole place a total mess. His breathing hitched when he saw the condition of the room.

No one was in the room. He grabbed the note from the bed as he answered the landline. Bobby was on the other end, hollering as he spoke. It took Sam a few moments to decipher what he was saying.

"No, no, I'm fine, Uncle Bobby. I haven't seen Dean since this morning. He left a note on the bed," he said, the knot in his stomach worsening. He gave Bobby the address to the motel when asked, reading the note as his heart sank, fingers shaking. He looked up in betrayal towards the closed white door of the bathroom, his eyes wide and confused. He felt anger and spite all mixed together with total and utter moment of denial. Uncle Bobby began to yell again.

He dropped the phone before he stumbled into a run for the bathroom, more than ready to vomit. Sam couldn't feel. Tears fell freely from his eyes as he slammed open the door. Every muscle in his body screamed in agony as he ripped the curtain off of the pole, plastic shattering everywhere. He began praying to a god he didn't believe in.

He then fell to his knees in relief.

Dean sat expressionless in the bathtub, knees to his chest as he bawled, rocking back and forth in the tight space he sat it. The tub was dirty and Sam hated using it, but he cried heavily as he hugged his brother, taking the gun from his hands. The safety was on, he saw, pocketing it with practiced ease in the back of his shorts.

"I wanted to do it, Sammy." His voice was rough, shaking as hard as both boys were. Dean pressed into Sam, holding him like a lifeline, his lanky arms pressed around his younger brother's back. "I pulled the trigger. I did. I did it."

"You're going to be fine," Sam whispered. "I'm going to get you help." His eyes were closed and angry. He blamed his father. He breathed in rage. "We're gonna leave, Dean. Uncle Bobby is coming. I think he'll be here in a couple of hours."

"Called him."

"You called him?"

Dean nodded into his shoulder, his lower half still in the tub.

"No wonder he was so frantic."

"M'not sorry. I want to die, Sammy."

"Why," he asked in a breath. "Why would you say that?" His chest hurt, tears still falling from his eyes. He blamed his father, but he was just at fault. He should had seen it. He should have helped Dean sooner. He should have –

"It's not your fault," his older brother muttered, as if reading his mind. "It's no one's fault. I just – I just can't do it. I can't live anymore."

"Will you? Please, D-Dean," his voice was shaky, tears still falling. He was basically whimpering. "Will you try? I need you. You're m-my big b-brother." Sam felt like a baby crying as he sat there, his brother held tightly in his arms. He wished for Uncle Bobby to rush from his home.

"I don't think I can. It's so hard. 'm weak."

"No y-you're not! You-ou're t-t-the strongest person I know," the youngest Winchester said through tears. His jaw shook as he tried to stop the dam that had burst.

"Dad's gonna kill me." Dean's skin was paler than Sam had ever seen it. He looked ready to be ill, sweating and shaking more than even when he was sick.

"Dad's not gonna know," he sniffed. Tears fell freely as he huffed for breath. After several moments he spoke again, now under more control of his sentences. "We're leaving with Uncle Bobby. He's gonna help us. He won't let dad hurt you again."

"Uncle Bobby is dad's best friend. Why would he help us, Sammy? He only watched us a month that one time dad sent us away."

"He loves us! Why else would he give you a hundred dollars and say call me if you ever need help with anything."

"He was just being nice." Dean's voice was near a whisper, coughing every few minutes while snot clogged his nose. Sam was in the same boat.

"He calls us on our birthdays! We've visited him every Christmas since I was five! He punched dad when he was drunk and going at you!"

Dean didn't answer, instead breaking down again. "Let's get you to the bed," Sam said, pulling his all too skinny, lanky brother up from what was almost his grave. He didn't object, not speaking as he stared blankly ahead of him. Untangling him from the tub was difficult for the thirteen year old, with Dean dragging his feet as the two made their way towards the bedroom. They were both still crying, Sam hiccupping when his brother collapsed onto the second queen sized bed of the room.

The oldest Winchester laid on his stomach, face against the pillow and his head facing the wall. Sam shook his own head, whipping at his face with his arm. He was still in his soccer gear. He sat on the bed, going under the pillow and again disarming his brother, dragging the small SIG Dean had bought with a fake ID. "You're gonna be fine," Sam said, mostly to himself.

Standing, he placed both guns into an empty duffle bag. He took four knifes out of each drawer of the dresser and grabbed the three hidden glocks their dad left throughout the room. He was sure to take the gun from under his father's pillow, too, placing all the weapons in the duffle bag, zipping it up and throwing the thing into the closet. He slammed the door closed before he went back to Dean, crawling into the bed.

He felt so young and so old, all at the same time. Sam breathed heavily, holding Dean's shirt with his life, big spooning his brother. Sam felt so heavy. The older teen had tried to end his life. He wanted to die. To leave Sam. The very idea of life without Dean forced a shiver down his spine. He wouldn't be able to handle it.

"I'm gonna try again, Sammy. Take away as many weapons as you want to, I'm gonna do it. The minute you're not around, I'm gone."

"Then I'll never leave. I'll watch you for the rest of my life."

Dean's breathing fastened. He sat up, the scars on his back tightening, paining the teen. "What the fuck," he bitched out, his voice both slurred and strained. He was dizzy, leaving his bruised, battered back against the bed frame, his body leaning on his brother for support. He was cold, shaking.

"What the fuck is right, you asshole," Sam growled, his finders white against Dean's oversized black shirt. His long, wild brown hair was in his face and glued to his forehead, sweating fastly through the heat of the room. He glared ahead, watching the unplugged television. He sighed as his brother's body tensed around his own. "Just go to sleep, Dean."

"No."

"Dammit, Dean, just go to sleep." His voice was sharp.

"Jeezus, Sammy. What the hell is your problem," Dean asked in surprise, the voice from before coming back to the edge of his mind.

"YOU'RE MY PROBLEM, ASSHAT!" The call was filled with anger and spite as Sam's eyes went back to the motionless television. He felt red hot for the first time since he saw their father hit his beloved older brother. He needed Dean – why couldn't he understand that?

Dean was quiet, placing his head back on his brother's shoulder, staring blankly ahead. He felt sick, limps shaking and skin sweaty. He wished he had forgot about the note all together – safety trigger be damned. His eyes burned as he avoided Sam's sorrowful gaze, his own chest heaving in an oppressed asthma attack.

He should be dead. Sam should be driving to Uncle Bobby's house, leaving the Supernatural life altogether. Dean had fucked up again. He couldn't even get suicide right. He would; for Sam. He'd make it so Sam wouldn't spend the rest of his life surrounded by the supernatural. He would protect his younger brother until the very last moment he offted himself, ending the ever expanding hole in his heart. His chest was, as per usual, pained. Dean felt close to the brim of an anxiety attack.

He wanted to control something in his life. He needed to – to end it all. His father would never tell him what to do again; never hit him or threaten Sam. Sam, the cleaver kid he was, could make it on his own. He felt overwhelming panic, his body pulsating heat as it shook. His baby brother held him tightly, both the siblings in the midst of a chick flick. Sam was whispering to him, calming the voice in the edge of his mind.

He fell asleep in his brother's arms.

He awoke to pounding on the door. His face, buried into the pillow, jumped into action, his hands grabbing for the gun under his pillow. Then he realized there were no weapons. Fucking Sam.

The younger boy had answered the door as Dean rolled to a sitting position, his head spinning. Uncle Bobby pranced into the room, wearing a well-used red plaid shirt and blue jeans. Sam handed him the note as Dean looked around the room, noting the sibling's possessions (all three bags) were packed and near the door. The fourth bag that was now full of weapons were still in the closet.

The older man pocketed the note before he brought his hands against his forehead, rubbing what was no doubt a killer headache. He shook it, walking to Dean as Sam began carrying the things out into Bobby's car.

"You should answer the phone next time someone calls, Dean."

"Sorry, sir."

"Don't call me sir; makes me feel old, kid." He took Dean's arms and forced him up, grabbing him into a fierce bear hug. "You scared me. I didn't know the motel address and I didn't want to call that father of yer's with that message you left. Thought it was too late." He shook his head again. "Shouldn't do that to old men. Gonna give me'a heart attack soon."

"Sorry, Uncle Bobby."

"Yer fine," he said, hugging Dean tighter. "Yer jus' fine." He let go of the boy, placing his hands on his shoulders. "Sam and me – we're gonna get you help. Gonna make you feel like your old self."

"I've always been like this," the oldest Winchester said, crossing his arms defensively. His green eyes glared towards his uncle. "I'm just doing something about it now. I want it to end."

"I'll do ya one better. Get you a new beginning; a new life. Away from that John Winchester and his drunken hand. I knew he was good fer nothin' when he was comin' at ya. Only wish I did something more than punch 'im now."

"No, did all you could, Uncle Bobby."

"Alright. You ready to get a move on? Long ride ahead of us. I'm gonna get Pastor Jim to come get the impala with me tomorrow."

"I need to drive, Uncle Bobby," he said, breathing deeply. He felt better than before, breathing normal and not actually shaking. "Take my mind off some things."

The older man didn't like the idea, not at all, it his posture and crossed arms had anything to say about it. He looked ready to yell, his face angry and relieved at the same time. Sam walked back into the room again, standing close to Dean. "Take Sam. Don't do anything stupid," he said, bringing both boys into his arms. It wasn't hard to do, considering Sam's hands were already tightened around his brother's shirt.

"Let's roll," Dean said, feeling relieved. He needed to clear his mind, think about things. He loved driving his baby, the impala. It would be good to drive her one last time.

He did everything for Sam; it was simply why he was alive.

At age four, Dean watched his mother burn from the ceiling of his younger brother's bedroom. He had stood frozen in place, mesmerized by the angry orange flames and panicked at the horror of what was happening. It was hot in the room – too hot – and the smell of what he later leaned was sulfur and a heavy, gut curtailing burning smell plagued his nose. His ear-length blond hair was glued to his forehead and the beginning of his neck. His stomach hurt as he listened to his mom scream in agony before she stopped moving. Sammy was crying. He was crying now, too. Mommy was in pain. Dean wanted to help her. Why did she stop moving?

Seconds later, his father appeared in his vision, handing his oldest son a bundle of blankets that contained Dean's six month old brother. Take your brother outside as fast as you can and don't look back! Now, Dean, go!

He almost dropped Sammy twice on the way out, his little brother proving to be heavy for the young child. He could feel his heart trying to escape his chest like a bird in a cage. It took five long minutes for his father to come running out of the house, out of breath and coughing. The man was covered it sot from the fire and crying, but he was alive.

His mother was dead. Dead meant not coming back; his daddy had said so himself.

It was like the cat they had last year. Sugar was a very old cat and it was just his time. Don't cry, Dean – Heaven gained another angel. We should celebrate! He cried now. His mom was not that old, and though Heaven gained another angel from the Winchester family, he could not feel the slightest bit of pride. To make matters worse, he did not remember saying goodnight, mommy, before he fell asleep in his father's arms hours before. His stomach and chest hurt equally at the thought at no longer hearing the small lullaby of Hey, Jude in his mother's soft toned, kind voice. Dean was scared and wanted the one thing he could not have. Huddled by his dad's side, Sammy now in the man's arms, the already small family – even smaller after tonight - sat on the hood muscle car called the impala. It was like the Winchester bat mobile, but better. His mother had said that once, last Halloween. Sam's first and only Halloween with his mother was something he won't even remember; the thought made him break inside. Sam would not remember the nicest woman ever to walk the planet. Shaking, Dean moved closer to his father, crying hard. Despite the flames of the large house fire, he felt cold both inside and out. His thin, ivory colored checkered pajamas did nothing to block the cold of the night.

He wanted his mommy.

Six weeks after the fire, Dean still had not spoken. Not for the doctors, his daddy, or brother. His father yelled, red faced, but Dean could not find a voice. His eyes were dark and sleep was tough to get in the Winchester motel room. Even if he could sleep, he would wake with nightmares and other flashbacks. He would get unbearably hot, sweating and silent crying by the time he jumped awake. There was always a distant smell of sulfur when he awoke.

Sammy could cry for hours. Dean knew that for a fact. He would cry until the older sibling would get out of the shared bed and change his brother's diaper at least once during the night, as well as feed and burp him until he fell asleep in his Dean's arms. His father watched television from the arm chair, an adult drink in his right hand. He would sit in a sleepless daze until sunlight hit his face, startling the man back into awareness. Dean smiled knowingly, loving when his father patted his long, tangled hair.

"Thanks, buddy," he said after every night, seeing his oldest son's tired green eyes. Dean would nod, and the two would repeat the process the next night. Sometimes, they would all take a family nap in the afternoon, both boys on either side of their father. Other times Dean would play with Sammy as their father read strange books and called people in hushed voices through the telephone.

A week later was the first time his father hit him. Sammy was crying and neither knew what to do. The crying lasted for four entire hours. Dean tugged on his dad's arm sleeve while the man drank, trying to get his attention. Sam would not stop, and he had tried everything. Going to the older man was a last resort. His father was good at ignoring things. It's what he was doing at that moment, so the child reached over the large, burgundy armchair and pulled the man's ear – just to get his attention. He had punched Dean square in the chest, jumping in surprise. He knocked the wind out of the child, who landed flat on his back. He quickly sat up, his hands against the cold, carpeted floors of the motel.

His green eyes watched the only man he could actually trust in betrayal.

"Dean, I'm so sorry."

Both of the Winchester boys cried that night. Dean, with large green eyes and Sammy, cradled in the middle of the twin sized bed near the far wall. "M'm s-s-so-rry d-d-dad," he stuttered in pain and confusion, his voice rough from lack of use.

Dean never called his father "daddy" again. He told himself it was because it reminded the man of the before the fire life, back when they lived in a real house with mommy. Where he could trust people and have friends and his only problems were trying to make the only woman in his life happy after the daily fights between his parents. The child knew it was because of different reasons. The word no longer felt right on his tongue. When he went to say the word, his chest would hurt where the man had punched him.

Later that night, his father left on his first hunt. "I'm going to get the thing that killed your mother, Dean. I might be gone for weeks at a time until I get it, but I need you to watch your brother. You need to protect him. You need to be strong. Trust no one," he said, walking out of the motel room with another speech on the importance of salt lines and not opening the door.

Dean sung Hey, Jude in a whisper to the crying baby. The room was dark, with no television on, and the young child wouldn't have it any other way. He, like his brother, eventually fell asleep. Neither woke until well into the afternoon. His father returned around dinner time the next day.

A year after the fire, there was a new rule for Dean in the motel room the three member family resided in; everything had to be earned. Love was included in that deal. The whole incident leading to the rule was entirely accidental, and mostly the young five year old child's fault. Almost anything that went wrong was anymore.

"Do you remember how daddy used to be a soldier?"

"Yes, sir."

"You still want to be like me?"

Dean nodded. His dad was his hero, he saved people both in the past and the now. He helped people through rough, supernatural times. "'Course I do, dad."

"Then you are now my soldier. I want to train you to help people, like me. I want you to get into the family business."

Dean, already fearful of losing another parent, just nodded, a shiver traveling up his arms before spreading through his entire body.

By age six, Dean no longer remembered the fire. He had a habit of looking to the ceiling of any room he entered; no matter how many times he had entered it in the past. He hated any open flames, flinching whenever near a match or candle. Naturally, the time the school science teacher thought it was a good idea to turn off all of the lights and set a red gummy bear on fire – which, before that moment, were his favorite flavor – he freaked. He had stood in the front of the room with his entire class surrounding the experiment with wide, curious eyes. He was close enough to the match to feel the flames against his skin. The smell of sulfur filled his nostrils and suddenly, he could remember. He saw images of a larger fire in flashes.

He saw his mother. Her wide green eyes gazing at Sam fearfully, wincing in agony from the ceiling. She breathed heavily like Dean did when having an asthma attack, painting. Her normally tan skin was pale and sweaty. Blood was everywhere, covering her stomach and rounding the sides of her waist. It dripped to the floor. Then she was on fire, the flames starting from her back and then erupting around the entire room. He felt so hot. He was screaming, running.

His father was there suddenly with a sleepy two year old Sammy in his arms. Dean was hiding in the bathroom, huddled in the back stall between the toilet and wall, crying heavily. He had no idea how much time had passed since science class. There were three teachers coddling him to come out, to talk about what happened, but he shook his head. He wanted his mommy. The principle was speaking angrily to his dad, with broad, crossed arm and furrowed brows.

"His mother died in a house fire," the man said, grabbing Dean before the boy could blink. Then he also remembered, his mom is gone and his father wasn't. He was in for it, he knew. Yet, when they made it home, the ride in the impala short and quiet, with Dean's heart racing the entire time, Dad took the family of three to the woods.

That afternoon was the first time Dean touched a gun, and he shot with it minutes later. Never touch this when I'm not around, Dean. Do you understand? This is for safety, not play. This can kill someone. Never go near one of these when your brother is around. I asked if you understand, boy.

Dean understood. Kill was a word very similar to dead, both meaning never coming back; like his mom. That couldn't happen to Sam. He took care of his brother, just like his dad had asked – and said every time he left the motel. Take care of your brother, Dean, the words echoed in his head.

"Damn it," his father yelled after several minutes. "Are you even aiming? People's lives are on the line here!"

Dean didn't want anyone else to die. He wanted to save people. So, with a blink, he took a deep breath. When he opened his green eyes, he was a different person. He was a soldier, like his dad was. His mission was now to not only keep his brother safe, but to help people. He took the shot.

He was eight the first time he had to starve himself. His stomach was growling angrily and he was so hungry, but the family was out of money and food was getting scares. For both of the Winchester boys to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, the food would last about two days.

There were three apples, two boxes of mac and cheese, a can of S'Gettii Rings, half of loaf of bread and eight almost spoiled pieces of bologna. If Dean were to opt out of breakfast and dinner, using excuses to cover with his brother when asked for the hundredth time why aren't you eating, Dean, the food lasted about five days.

"I'm really hungry," Sam had said at the end of the fifth day.

Dean's head spun in dizziness; he hadn't eaten in two days. He felt sick despite his hunger, his limbs quaking with every moment. He was fine, though. His skin was pale because it was cold outside, nothing else. He was all good, honestly. Sam was okay and really, that's all that mattered.

"We'll find something in the morning to eat. Dad will be home by then," he told him, feeling tears in his eyes. He hoped he wasn't lying. His father may had let him down time and time again, but the man was also his hero.

When he was nine, his father had beaten him for the first time. It was usually just a push or a shove, but his dad was really drunk and really angry. Sam was asleep.

"Don't make a noise, or you'll wake up your brother," the man said, taking off his belt. Hit after hit, his dad sneered. "You look just like your mother, Dean," he had whispered at one point. "Did you know that? You look just like her."

His father fell onto the couch, unconscious, nearly ten minutes later, but the damage had already been done. His back stung more than anything in his whole life and tears ran down his face. Sam, the boy who could sleep through Armageddon, did not hear the tip of the whip breaking the sound barrier when it his older brother's skin. He did not hear the muffled cries, or drunken slurs of their father. The boy did not see Dean's tears, or his anger or the betrayal in his eyes.

From his spot on the floor, Dean laid on his stomach, willing his breakdown to end. He felt broken and unloved. That's when he saw it; a half-filled can of beer on the kitchen counter. He slowly flipped himself, wincing heavily in pain, and walked in a mesmerized trance to the object. It was because of that drink that his father hated him. The man knew where the alcohol was more than where his sons were at any given point of the day. It was that – that damned drink's fault.

That night was the first time he swore. It just so happed that it was also the first time he ever drank beer. Dean cringed at the taste, hating the revolting flavor and the bubbles that hit his tongue, but by the third sip, he was numb. The pain was finally gone.

By the time he was eleven, Dean was an expert at redirecting his father's angry attention onto himself. The two would usually leave the seven year old in the motel – why are you leaving, Dean – and John would take him to his training grounds. The pre-teen rarely ever called the man dad anymore. It was always yes, sir or no, sir. When they arrived to the large, wooded area, the man made Dean run two miles in under a half an hour. His asthma would cause a wheeze in his throat within the first ten minutes of sprinting, and within the first mile, his lungs burned.

It was hard to breathe by the end of the second mile, wheezing with each greedy breath. His throat felt swollen, but that just told him that he needed to work harder. After that warm-up, Dean was left in the woods to hike with a backpack at least sixty pounds too heavy, a map and compass, his father saying nothing more but meet me at the training grounds in an hour.

He wondered around, lost for the better part of forty minutes, wheezing as he tripped over large rocks and fallen branches. His legs felt like Jello-O and his arms shook. The trees seemed to grow into the sky to the young child, with birds chirping and flying around the blue sky.

The third and final part of the training was the thing Dean hated about his weekly training. He and his father would spar. Dean always lost within the first four minutes, but his father would make him try again, and again, and again. By the end, he was bruised on his chest, stomach and back. The man he once called daddy made sure to never leave marks on his face, neck or lower arms. Legs were up for grabs, because if ever asked if anything was wrong at home or if he was ever hit by his father, the answer was programed into his mind; no, I like to play outside, but sometimes it was I fell when I forget to tie my shoes. His father had made him repeat the mantra nearly six years ago, when the survival training had first begun.

Since he was six, his father had added working with rifles and other weapons into the schedule. He worked with them bi-weekly, under stick supervision.

When his father would hit him over the head outside of training, it was now out of drunken anger. It was him or Sam, and Dean made sure it was himself who got the blunt of the anger. His father had his own mantra for training his oldest son; I'm doing this for your own good or Stop crying or I'll get Sam next. That's what he would say when Dean withered on the forest ground in pulsating pain, clutching his stomach or crying on the motel floor after another beating. The young Winchester would see flashes of his mother from ceiling, her stomach slashed and red with blood. Her green eyes were wide with fear and pain and unknowingness. Yet, unlike his mother, Dean always stood back up, no matter how much he wanted to stay down.

His instinct and gut told him to run away, to take Sam and run out of his life as fast as he could, but he was eleven. No person in their right mind would hire a child, or rent a motel to a child or allow a child to register himself and a younger child for school. It's just how the world was. So he sighed and accepted the abuse.

Dean was sixteen the night Sam saw what was happening. Dean was cold and felt dirty, already thinking of excuses to tell the younger sibling about his appearance, blood dripping from his nose and mouth and from several scratches around his body. He father had just lynched him, his back swollen and damp with blood. His right eye wouldn't open and he had half a dozen bruises on his arm alone. His father still stood over him, black belt in hand.

Then Sam opened the motel door. He had just come back from the library, covered in sweat from the walk home. Their father had been late picking him up. His young, innocent green eyes were wide in surprise, anger taking over in seconds.

"What the hell?"

"Run, Sam," Dean yelled. "I'll pick you up in funky town!"

Sam understood the secret message. Just as John began to walk towards his youngest son, dreaded belt in hand, Sam blinked, watching his brother crawl in a beaten mess on the floor in fear as his father approached him stumbling.

"I said go, dammit!"

He bolted seconds later, the door left wide open. Dean was beaten more for swearing, his father fracturing his wrist for yelling at his brother. It was hours later that he picked Sam up from the library's top floor, secluded for children only. Dean had changed clothes, of course, but his wrist was swollen and in continuous pain. The youngest Winchester was crying with a book on his lap, turned to the corner to make it seem as if he was reading.

It made Dean smile. His brother was a smart kid; they'd be okay for another year or so.

Entering the Singer household, Dean Winchester rolled his eyes, looking up to the ceiling. It was recently cleaned; the entire house spotless. Bobby was throwing their bags upstairs. Dean didn't protest, didn't care; he'd would probably be gone before the end of the week. He wanted his life to be normal and at the same time he just didn't want anything at all. He just wanted the pain in his chest to end.

That's, of course, when Uncle Bobby and Sam cornered him in the Winchester's shared bed room. He sat on his own twin sized bed, the only parental figure in his life slightly to his right while Sam plopped down on his own matching bed across from his brother.

The whole room was more than Dean had ever needed or deserved. He was happy Sammy could now have a semi-normal life, though. What they had going for them, it seemed good. He knew Uncle Bobby was as nice as he acted.

"I'm sure your wondering what's goin' on."

"Think I have it all figured out, sir."

"Stop calling me sir, kid," Bobby told him as Sam rolled his eyes. "Yer brother told me some stuff. Stuff about yer dad, about what he did to you." The oldest Winchester looked ill, paling by several shades. He usually avoided speaking about his father, keeping secrets about certain aspects of his life. "I can't say I understand why you were doing what Sam caught ya doin', but I do know that it won't happen again."

"I don't think you under-"

"I understand perfectly well, Dean, so does Sam. You tried to commit suicide. You wanted to die."

"It wasn't like that, Bobby," he said, glancing to his angered brother.

"I scheduled you with a therapist, Dean; to help you. Before you ask, you are not doing anything alone. Sam or I are gonna be with you 24/7, Deano. We love you too much for you to leave."

"But my dad-"

"Dad isn't going to be a problem anymore," Sam stated. He stared calmly into his brother's eyes. "Uncle Bobby made sure he isn't coming here anytime soon. You should'a heard them on the phone."

The three sat in a tense, awkward silence for another four minutes before Bobby quietly made his getaway, leaving Sam to take the first watch over Dean.

"Please don't try again, Dean," Sammy muttered into his side as the two squished together on the oldest Winchester's twin sized bed.

Dean did not answer.

He was irritable in the morning, snapping more than once when his brother made him get up at ass crack of dawn. He refused breakfast and watched television until noon, staring blankly at the screen. He easily frowned as Sam paced around him.

Bobby actually made him see a specialist. "Dean Winchester is a textbook case of abuse," the woman said to his uncle when the adults thought he was out of hearing range. "I believe he has lived through hell and back. He's been abused long into the past. He has symptoms of nihilism and is also showing signs of untreated post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD."

"Ni-a what?"

"The basic definition is the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often the belief that life is meaningless."

"I think you have my boy mixed up with someone else, ma'am. He has better morals than me or that good for nothin' SOB father he had."

"Be that as it may, he's rather depressed. He spoke more than once about his lack of future. He made it seem as if his own life was meaningless."

"So how the hell do we help the kid?"

"The main thing Dean needs is stability. He needs more representations of home besides that impala and his younger brother. He needs to know that everything isn't black or white."

"What are ya yappin' about doc?"

"Dean and I talked about his reasons of suicide – and about the note."

"Well what did he say?"

The doctor shifted in her seat, crossing her legs as she moved. She fixed her glasses before organizing her paperwork. "He believes it was for the good of young Samuel. His father has trained him better than some soldiers we have in the military. Dean truly believed he would both help Sam and end his own pain by shooting himself."

Bobby sat uncomfortably. His button down blue shirt was tight around his stomach, his jeans pressing into his abdomen. He had his head supported by his hands, elbows on his knees. He allowed a small sigh.

"He briefly hinted that he is Sam's only parental figure. From the way he spoke, I am left to speculate that he has lost his childhood the day his mother died at four years old. I think he was the one to raise Sam, rather than his father."

"How do we…help him see that he's just a seventeen year old boy?"

"Dean needs to feel love of a parental figure, away from the…the supernatural life he lives," she whispered the last part of the sentence.

The old Singer felt no surprise as she said the 'S' word. He was the one who helped her with her own ghost problems not too long ago. It was one of the reasons he choose her to become Dean's therapist.

"I would suggest you take the case to the courts – to get full custody of the boys. I know the local judge and I'd put in a good word for you. Dean needs this, to know that he's wanted. It would be a major stepping stone in his life."

"I'll think about it," he said with a nod.

"You need to be serious, Mr. Singer. Dean had been severely traumatized several times over in his early childhood alone. The environment he has come from was not conductive to heal his psyche. He needs serious counseling."

"I am quite serious, ma'am."

"Good. I want Dean to make connections with others; to have friends. It's going to be tough with his case. He could truly flourish in a healthy environment. Perhaps take place in a group therapy. I could see him entering university if he tried hard enough. Dean mentioned a couple of inventions he had created while on the road. By the description he gave, he has potential to become so much more than the depressed teen he is."

Bobby stayed quiet before snorting loudly. "Had a hell of a time draggin' 'im her today. Hate to see what he'd do if I said the words 'group therapy.' Would rather take that boy to a dentist with the way he would react."

"They are just ideas at this point, Mr. Singer."

"Yeah, doc. I truthfully don't see many of them happening."

The doctor tisked, quieting for several seconds. When she spoke, she started on a new thought. "Mr. Singer, did you know that there is a direct correlation between children who have lost their mothers at a young ago to self-esteem issues, lack of security and heightened anxiety. This almost perfectly describes Dean. He needs to know there are others like him. He needs to brighten his smile. If it means forcing him to do a couple of things he doesn't like, it might be worth it in the end."

"I'll talk to him."

"Good," she said with relief. "You should know that, above all else, Dean should be considered a survivor. We just need to make him see this. Talk to Sam as well, allow him to care for his brother."

"That'll be a site to see. That boy would insist he was fine if he was bleeding out on the ground in the middle of December."

"Which is why I thank you for being so prompt in bringing him in so soon. Many parents would have put this off. I truly believe we can put him on track to becoming the healthy adult he was meant to become."

"Thanks, doc. Is there, uh, anything else I should know?"

"Under no circumstances are you to raise your voice or fist at that child. He needs love at this point – and food. Lots of food, Mr. Singer. Do not forget the TLC, perhaps getting him on a schedule. Can you bring Dean back in tomorrow?"

"Sure, doc," he told her, mentally taking notes as he stood up. "I'll be sure to bring him."

"You're gonna start work on Saturday at the hospital. Report to Daniel Smith before 8 am," Bobby told him a week after moving into the home. They were sitting at the dinner table, Dean not eating because damn it, I'm just not hungry, though a plate of chicken and rice was sitting in front of him, pushed arm's length away. Sam eyed unhappily at him from across the table of the normal dinner feast Uncle Bobby cooked.

Nothing was said at the dinner table, Dean pushing up from his seat angrily minutes after his brother finished his meal before storming to his bedroom. He was sure to slam the door as he smashed himself against his bed, screaming into his pillow.

Hormones were raging though his body, feeling lost for the first time in many years. He wished he had did it. He was beginning to feel that innocent, childish hope he had ignored for so many years. He was beginning to question whether it was necessary to leave Sam. He hated the feeling of the curiosity. He hated that his younger brother felt the need to crawl into his side every night, night after night. That Sam stood behind the bathroom waiting for him, already skipping school to help Bobby watch him throughout the day.

He sighed deeply when he heard the faithful pitter patter of his brother's feet following him upstairs. The kid was beginning to act like the god damned dog the family never had.

Later that night, resting with Sam curled up next to him, Dean Winchester had a dream. He and Sam were adults – Sammy looking like a mix of big foot and a moose, himself dressed in a damned blue button up with the sleeves rolled up and in actual dress pants. The shirt showed his large pecks that had grown since he was a young adult. He had a small man bun, the part below his ears buzzed off. Dean wore a wedding ring –stop the presses – and had a sleeve of colorful tattoos running down both arms. He had thick black glasses on and his teeth were freshly cleaned by a dentist white. He looked healthy; skin tan and cheeks not at all hallow compared to his teenage self. Dean shivered at the dramatic change in his appearance (though he kinda liked the look). Sammy was in an undressed form of a suit, the jacket and vest thrown behind him. The kid was wearing a vest with a suit. The two sat next to a strange man dressed in a white button up and khakis (fucking khakis!), a trench coat on the floor below him. Dean had never met the man, his hair short black hair wavy.

Their actual leather shoes were off, thrown into the corner of the room, large white socks over their feet. They were on a couch of what looked to be an actual home, Dean's legs sprawled out in front of him, resting on the table. The floors were a dark hard wood, the heavily decorated walls painted orange. The whole room spoke the very essence of zen, lit candles and natural sunlight lighting the room.

The group of three were drinking beer around reruns of an 80s sitcom, laughing freely at something the stranger had said. They were honest to god laughing, Dean's head thrown back and griping his stomach with a free hand.

He only did that when he found something really funny. He hadn't laughed like that in years current time, not since he and Sammy snuck out to play with fireworks. Dream Sam heard something in the other room, but instead of jumping up, he quickly used a long leg to kick Dean's legs off the wooden table.

A beautiful young pregnant woman entered the room, smile large as four children played around her feet. Her blond hair was tied in a messy bun, wearing a yellow sundress. The kids were all about the same age, none seeming older than six. The woman walked to Sam, sitting sideways on his lap before passionately kissing him. One of the children cringed, a little boy with messy, dirty blond hair and blue eyes gagged. He ran up the stairs with twirling metal handles that ran along both sides, pictures framing the far wall. There were pictures of people he had yet to meet or of those who had yet to be born.

The children were standing in the doorway, whispering and giggling to each other. The tallest of the small group of children was a girl, her hair down, free and wavy. A boy who matched her in looks stood next to her, both with green eyes and brunette hair. He was definitely the shortest, almost nearing the height of the boy with blue eyes. The final kid was a little girl with a dark black pigtails. She looked very similar to the mystery man.

The two girls were talking before both started to cry, each running away from each other with loud calls of DADDY. The only thing that killed the teenager was, the girl with long hair and green eyes ran to his future self, wrapping her small arms around his legs. She looked at him with so much trust and innocence that Dean almost died right there. Then, the real kicker, he picked her up into a large hug, opening his arms wide as the boy with green eyes came following his sister. He was smiling in the dream, kissing the children lovingly on their heads as Sam and the woman laughed at him. His dream counterpart did the mature thing and stuck his tongue out at his brother.

He could feel the affection and love radiate off his future self, wrapped around his children's fingers. The teenager felt his chest tighten with want and aspiration as he begun to chase three of the children, the one who ran upstairs coming down with a squeal of Uncle Deany.

That made Dean's heart skip a beat. He felt loved in the dream. His father wasn't in the dream, nor was Uncle Bobby and the dogs; just him, Sam, the two strangers and four children. The love alone in his future eyes made his stomach twist. There was no depression, no hate, no anger – no, he could only see happiness and so much attachment in his own eyes that Dean felt hope. It seemed nice.

When he awoke the next day, he smiled. He was alive and almost…happy. His chest wasn't tight and there didn't seem to be a need to bite the inside of his cheek. Sammy gaped at him, the younger boy dressed in a new outfit their Uncle had recently bought the boys.

"I'm hungry," Dean said, internally laughing bewilderment permanently sketched on the younger teen's face. He felt like a new man, the ache in his stomach actually bothering him. He was hungry. He was quick to get dressed, wearing a new black AC/DC shirt and blue jeans he had never before worn. The feeling of new clothes took him by surprise ever morning. Dean actually felt clean in his own clothes – never before worn by another human being. He took a deep breath, pleased that air easily moved through his lungs. He was sure to take his morning happy pills before he sat at the table with his small family.

He ate the pancakes as fast as he could, Bobby keeping a steady supply of food near him with wide, astonished brown eyes. He ate a total of two and a half, his stomach swelling afterwards. The man shared glances at Sam, their eyes both silently questioning each other. Dean felt pride in his chest as he watched his baby brother smile for the first time in weeks. His stomach flip-flopped with the sudden fullness for the first time in months, leaving him slightly nauseous. It went away after four long minutes.

Neither asked the oldest Winchester the entire day, though he kept the surprises coming. He ate all three meals, asked for an extra scoop of potatoes at dinner, had pie for dessert, and even allowed Bobby to catch him raiding the fridge at midnight. Three days later and Dean still hadn't quit smiling. The feeling of childish glee was back with the steps he took. He was actually excited to see what the next adventure held. He wanted the future he had dreamed of. He wanted the friends, a healthy relationship with other humans, he wanted happiness and to laugh with his head thrown back. He wanted his own life. He now wanted to live.

Dean could now breathe freely, finally realizing that his dad wasn't coming for him. That alone took several tons off his chest. His mind was quiet, allowing him to think clearly. There was no fog, his eyes seeing colors brighter than they had seemed weeks before. He actually laughed when playing catch with the dogs outside. He sat on the steps, the sky clear and blue, throwing the tennis ball into the grass filled yard. Before he knew what was happening and why he was running, he and Sammy were doing laps around the salvage lot. The run became a race he eventually won, ending it back on the porch with both boys giggling on their backs, their legs resting on the steps.

Whether his life was with a wife and a white, picket fence with two kids or hunting animals with an occasional girlfriend – he wanted a life. He wanted the normalcy. He wanted to play football with other guys, like he used to as a small child. He wanted to be the teenager he was with friends, maybe get a GED and head over to the community college a three mile drive east of the new home. He had grown up too quickly. Since he was four, Dean had taken care of his brother.

Sammy had Bobby now. Uncle Bobby, who always took care of the brothers and would never raise a hand to either boy. He fully believed in the older man – saw him as a father figure, even. Dean had seen the pride in his uncle's eyes when he began to eat. He was always kind, as loving as a real parent in his own hunter ways. He smiled and encouraged Sammy in school and on the soccer field. He opened a new part in his personal library for the boys – mostly for the youngest Winchester. Sam had taken full advantage of the book shelve – my own book shelve?! – and already had the entire wooden framed filled.

Later that night at dinner, Dean decided to speak his thoughts. Not all of it, because that would cause Sam to cry again, and Dean was so over all of the chick flicks in his life.

"Sam, Uncle Bobby," he spoke, through eating a mouthful of meatloaf. God, he loved how amazing the food tasted on his tongue. The food never seemed to end in the Singer home. Dean would finish something and Sammy or Bobby would add more. He ate it despite his full, shrunken stomach. His family looked up at him, all chewing through the dinner, Bobby at the head of the table, Dean and Sam sitting opposite at the long ends of the wooden table. "I – uh – I want to get my GED." To which, Bobby replied by chocking his food. His brother stared at him with wide, happy eyes. The small, future big foot looked seconds away from hugging him.

Dean shivered at the thought.

"Oh, yeah?"

Dean nodded his head, looking to the man. "Yeah. I've been thinking about it for a while now." Which, in his mind, translated into I thought it over yesterday and decided it was a good idea. Bobby was tense, like he was holding himself back from doing the damn happy dance, and smiled. He took another casual bite of the loaf.

"That's good. I'll drive you down to the college on Monday after Sam goes to school so you can sign up for the class."

"Oh, okay," Dean said with a blink. That was fast. He excused himself to use the bathroom a minute later. He washed his tired face with warm water and smiled into the mirror, showing teeth. Today was a good day. He had a good week, with almost no bad thoughts. They were not completely gone, but the doc had been helping him with medications for anxiety and his apparent depression. It took a few weeks to take a lasting effect and he saw the difference. Everything was just so much brighter. No one was out to harm him or Sam. He didn't need to protect anyone. Dean was free, and it was a good feeling.

Sam had transferred into the local high school (skipping a grade) and had actually stopped following him around the Singer home. The two boys were (finally) in separate beds again and Bobby was giving him more space now that Dean had proved to go against his own words. His small family and the damned witch of a therapist who proved to be a nice woman seemed to believe he no longer wanted to die, which was fine for him because he didn't.

He took his medication in the morning, leveling out his mood throughout the day. He was pretty mellow now, happy even. Uncle Bobby kept weapons hidden from him and Sam, not once speaking of a hunt. He moved everything Supernatural to the garage out back, keeping the stuff under lock and key.

It made Dean feel tingly inside, knowing that two people cared so deeply for him. He actually felt okay. He almost felt like he could take on the world and he knew – he just god damned knew that he could live. With no John around, and Bobby caring for both boys, Dean knew that he had a chance now. The dream told him that much. He no longer needed to sacrifice himself for the sake of his brother, not now that they were both safe.

Sam studied next to Dean at the dining room table every night, the two brothers usually going for a run shortly after dinner. Sam had actually brought home a girlfriend just two weeks before, kissing her on the tire swing out back when he thought Uncle Bobby and Dean were in the living room and not spying on him. The two were sure to hold it over the youngest Winchester's head. Sam got his revenge on Dean the day he brought home a girl from work. They went out for dinner, rather than stay with his family of movie spies.

Dean was having fun, still sleeping on his stomach in the room that was pained a light green. Sam had posters of rock bands and movie stars around his wood framed bed. Dean decorated his side of the room with a picture a girl painted from the kids ward last month. It was a fall tree, full of color and life. It made him smile when he awoke to the sight every morning. Around that there were also Metallica, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Genesis and KISS posters lining his side of the room, a dart board on the door. The darts and a steak knife were the sharpest thing Bobby would let him hold.

Though, there was a knife hidden under his pillow that neither Sam nor Bobby knew about. He told himself it was so he could feel safe, yet he knew that was a lie. It was his backup plan. Dean also knew he wouldn't use it. His therapist was helping him through his rougher thoughts. With the doc and his medications, the voice in the back of his head was nonexistent now.

It was well into the fourth month he had lived in the new house, and so far, he was truly enjoying it. He had a job, working as a chauffeur at the local hospital, wheeling and delivering patients around the different rooms and wings of the large medical facility. He didn't need to gamble for money or nit-pick to buy small things. Bobby's friend and his therapist had got together and pulled some stings to get him the really well-paying job. Sam was helping him with a bank account where he could safely save his money.

He was set to start night classes for his GED within the next month or so, working during the day. Dean had friend's there, the team of nine men and four females working and joking for eight hours a day, five days a week.

Downstairs, Sam and Bobby were arguing about a television show. Their voices were slightly raised, laughing as they tried to out-speak the other. Dean rolled his eyes, standing to close his door. He walked to his radio and allowed the sweet tunes of The Master of Puppets play through his ears, slightly louder than it should be to cancel out the sounds of his uncle and brother. He smiled when he realized he was starting to sound like a teenager.

Epilogue to be posted next week. Leave a review on your way out, telling me what yinz thought. Was the story any good? Please inform me of any mistakes! Thanks for reading, guys!