Happy 2021! :) Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Years holiday. As it is a new year...I've been considering goals and making plans which I shall no doubt completely fail to accomplish, but hey, it's the thought that counts, right? :) One of my goals/plans is to try to post at least 2 fics per month. I think it's reachable and def gives me something to look forward to. :)

New Years Eve I finished the rough draft of my original novel YAY. So I am committed to working on it and getting a nice polished "first" draft done as soon as I can, so I have to balance my time as well as I can.

Here's my first posted fic for January (look at me just accomplishing goals so efficiently lol!). I know the last chapter was Weechester and I usually try to spice things up with variety, but this was the next little scene up for grabs, so here it is. This one is when they're older, 15 and 19.

Hope you enjoy!


Chapter 20: Walking the Dog

Pre-series


"You're not old enough."

"Dean." Sam crossed his arms over his chest, stubbornness at full strength.

"Don't Dean me."

"But Dean-"

"I said no." Dean studied himself in the bathroom mirror and adjusted the collar of his shirt as Sam huffed and fumed in the doorway. "Standing there whining is not going to change my mind."

"I'm not whining."

Running a hand through his hair, Dean took one last look in the mirror. Satisfied that neither Leanna nor Judy would be able to resist him, he grinned.

"Dean!"

"Sam." He rolled his eyes and flipped the bathroom light off. Shoving past the obstacle in his way, he headed for the closet for his jacket. "The answer is no."

"I won't bug you."

"You're bugging me now."

"But I won't. If you let me come."

"No."

"But why?"

Dean took a deep breath, beginning to get annoyed at the unexpected resistance he was being met with. He pulled his jacket on and said, "Why? Because I have plans with my friends and you're too young to come along."

"I am not!"

"Yeah. You are." Dean sat on the edge of the bed to lace up his boots. "Besides, don't you have a history book or something to read?"

Sam heaved a gigantic sigh like Dean was as dumb as a post and said, "I finished my homework. I told you that."

Dean yanked on the laces, irritation growing.

This was supposed to be a night out for him. A night when he had actual plans that involved friends and two of the hottest girls in town. It was a night off from work. A night off from hunting. Dad had just returned from a hunt he'd handled on his own and was already sleeping like a log. Heading out for an evening of fun shouldn't have been this complicated.

But he had a little brother.

"Dean, I don't have any more homework and it's Friday night and I want to go with you."

A whiny, annoying little brother.

Dean groaned as he finished tying his boots. He straightened and found Sam standing in front of him, arms across his chest, expression somewhere between angry and hurt. Usually all Sam wanted was to have time to bury his nose in his schoolwork or a hefty novel written a thousand years ago before pictures had been invented. Tonight, though? For whatever reason, he wanted to come along.

"Look, you don't even have to hang out with me," Sam said, switching tactics to bargaining mode. "I'll stay out of your way and you can do...whatever. I promise I won't bug you."

"Sam-"

"Please?"

"Why do you want to go so bad?" Dean asked, still sitting on the edge of the bed. "You don't know any of these people. You don't even like parties."

"We never do anything anymore."

"What are you talking about?"

"Since you quit school." Sam looked down at the dirty carpet. "You're never around."

If he hadn't been able to plainly hear the dejection in his brother's voice, Dean would have assumed he was being played. Sam had an uncanny ability to emotionally manipulate people whether he realized it or not. Sometimes he did realize it and used it to his advantage. There were even times when it still worked on their dad. But right now, Dean knew there was a difference.

Sam was right.

They didn't do much anymore. They didn't run into each other in the halls between classes. Didn't occasionally have lunch at the same time. Didn't walk to and from school together because Dean had to be at work early and, if he wasn't working a hunt with their dad, he was out with a girl in the evenings. Things had changed when he'd dropped out.

"I just don't want to stay here alone again," Sam muttered, dropping heavily onto his own bed.

"You're not alone. Dad's-"

"Sleeping. He's sleeping and it's not like he'd want me around even if he was awake."

Dean mentally envisioned himself waving a white flag of surrender.

Because what could he say to that? Things had been getting more and more tense between Sam and their dad the last couple of years. The truth was that, even though he'd never not want Sam around, their dad would probably put any time spent together to good use. Training or researching. Not spending what Sam would consider quality time together. Which was why Dean waved the white flag of surrender.

"Fine," he said, watching shock chase away the downtrodden expression on his brother's face. Before Sam could say anything, Dean held up a finger. "You're on probation, Sammy. You do what I say and you don't argue with me or I'm gonna dump your butt right back here and-"

"I got it." Sam nodded, rushing across the room for his jacket.

Dean rolled his eyes and pushed himself to his feet. Won-der-ful. So not the way he'd envisioned this evening going. He had to admit, though, it felt pretty good seeing how excited his brother was. He could always find Sam a nice bunch of nerds to hang out with so he could get busy with Leanna. Or Judy. Or both.

"Alright, come on." Dean tugged on Sam's sleeve. "Let's get outta here or the party will be over before we get there."

Sam followed him like an overeager puppy.

They tiptoed through the apartment even though it was unlikely their dad would wake up for anything short of an earthquake considering how exhausted he was after the hunt. Which was just fine in Dean's opinion because he doubted an excursion like this with his fifteen-year old brother in tow would go over very well with Dad.

Once they were outside, there was no more silence.

It was as if Sam hadn't had anyone to talk to in months. As they walked the deserted sidewalk and Sam talked a mile a minute, Dean realized he'd missed a lot of what had been going on in his brother's life.

Had he really been that oblivious? How had he not noticed how lonely his brother was? When they'd both been in school, it had been easy to keep track of Sam. To know who his buddies were - if he'd managed to make any buddies. To know who was bullying him this time - because he always managed to attract bullies. But Dean had left school - and his brother - behind.

Dropping out had seemed like such a great plan at the time. No more stupid tests, boring classes, or dull homework. Just time to make a little cash, hang out with pretty girls, and go on more hunts with Dad. It had seemed like a great trade. Like he was getting everything he'd ever wanted.

Right now, though, he was beginning to understand everything he'd given up.

By the time they made it to the party, Dean knew everything he'd never wanted to know about life in the ninth grade. He'd also decided maybe the hot girls weren't that important after all tonight. So, instead of looking for Leanna or Judy, he introduced his brother to the guys he worked with, helped him pile a paper plate high with junk food and gave him a cup of punch that - so far - hadn't been spiked.

The music was loud, the lights were dim, people were drinking and dancing and hooking up in every corner and Dean was sitting on a couch laughing with his brother about the way some kid named Vic had set his chemistry textbook on fire in chem lab. Dean didn't know Vic, but he'd hated chem lab (except for the part with fire and explosions) so he could appreciate Vic's decision to "accidentally" burn his book.

It must have been the highlight of the school year so far, judging by Sam's amusement. And boy was it good to hear him laughing. Another thing Dean hadn't been paying a lot of attention to lately. He'd chalked it up to Sam being distracted with school work or research for a hunt, but now he had to admit he couldn't even remember the last time he'd seen the kid smile.

Regret and worry began to bubble up, but then Sam was on to another story and then back to the buffet table. Maybe the second cup of punch had been spiked with Mountain Dew or something because Sam's boundless energy seemed to quadruple. He devoured his food then started wandering while Dean was still shoveling pizza rolls into his mouth.

When Sam disappeared from view in the noisy crowd, Dean left the plate on the coffee table and went into hunter mode. It was one thing to be dumb enough to bring his very underage brother to a party like this.

It would be criminal negligence to lose him.

Maybe the punch had been spiked with Mountain Dew and Red Bull. Because there was no way Sam could have completely vanished so quickly. Dean was rapidly approaching full panic mode when he heard his name called. Spinning around, he didn't see Sam, but knew he'd heard him. And then his brother appeared at the top of a staircase, motioning excitedly.

"Dean! Come on!"

Dean opened his mouth, but Sam was already disappearing back downstairs. How he'd managed to get downstairs, find something of interest, then get back upstairs again was a mystery Dean wasn't up to solving at the moment. He just didn't want to lose his little brother. Dodging a girl dancing enthusiastically and spilling her beer everywhere, he hurried down the stairs.

"Dean! Check it out," Sam called, already across the spacious game room.

Raising an eyebrow in appreciation, Dean decided he really shouldn't have waited so long to accept his coworker's invite to come to his place.

"Nice," he said, taking in the crowded bar to the right and the video game center on the left. There was also a big screen tv playing Mission Impossible and enough DVDs on the surrounding shelves to play for a hundred years.

It was the pool table, though, that had attracted Sam's attention. No one else seemed interested and he was already setting the table up for a game. Dean crossed the room, finding it impossible not to return Sam's bright smile.

"This is so cool!"

Dean took the pool cue that Sam offered him.

Over the next five hours, he taught Sam every trick he knew and watched with pride as his nerdy kid brother finally started beating him. They took a few breaks to refill their plates, to watch a movie, try their hand at a couple video games and partake of more beer than either of them should have been drinking.

The party began wrapping up around quarter after three and Dean really should have been paying more attention to the time...and how much beer his brother was drinking.

The realization drove a spike of fear through his chest. Dad was going to wring his neck. He sat up from where he'd been chilling on the ridiculously comfortable couch. Sam was half-asleep next to him and it took a few tries to rouse him. He was in a good mood and easy to direct which was a relief because Dean was too drunk and too tired to deal with a cranky, overtired brother.

That was the easy part. What wasn't so easy was trying to figure out what he was going to say to their father if he happened to catch them sneaking back into the apartment. They had a long walk home so he did manage to concoct what he thought was a pretty good story. One Dad might even buy if he happened to be up when they got back to the apartment.

Dean was quite proud of himself for thinking of it while stumbling drunk.

He rehearsed the story with Sam several times as they dragged themselves up the three flights of stairs to the apartment.

"Got it?" he asked, hauling his wavering brother up the last few stairs.

"Got it." Sam gave him a thumbs up. He was smiling, eyes bleary, face edging toward green.

Dean needed to get him flat on his bed before Dad caught sight of him. There was no way he wouldn't be able to smell the beer on both of them. Despite the story he'd developed, he knew that Dad would see right through it if he couldn't at least get Sam horizontal before he threw up or passed out.

They just need to get to their bedroom without Dad…

Dad was standing right inside the door when Dean opened it.

Well, crap.

Panic flashed through his mind, but it would all be fine if he could professionally lay out the story.

"Where have you two been?" Dad asked, his tone making it clear he was not pleased at all.

He glanced between them, hands on his hips. Dean's mouth went dry as he opened it to tell the story he'd made up. He spared one quick look at his brother and immediately knew Sam had already broken under the pressure of that one glance from Dad. And then Dean could do nothing but stand there and listen in horror as Sam answered Dad's question.

"We were walking the dog, sir," Sam blurted out.

Dean wanted to sink through the floor.

Walking the dog? The dog we don't own?

It was the dumbest thing Sam could have said at almost four in the morning as he stood there, inebriated, wide-eyed, and melting under Dad's laser glare. Dean stared at him, completely speechless. And then he looked back at their dad, preparing for the worst.

Dad glanced from Sam to him and back again, then snorted and said, "Dog goes out middle of the night again, I'm gonna shoot him. Understood?"

"Yes, sir," they both said at the same time.

Dean grabbed Sam by the arm and they rushed toward their bedroom before Dad could shoot either of them on the spot. As soon as he'd closed the door behind them, Sam dissolved into a fit of giggles. Dean couldn't help but smile.

"That's right. Laugh it up, you idiot," he said, pushing Sam toward his bed. "I can't believe you said that."

"Worked."

"Yeah it worked."

Sam sat down heavily on the edge of his bed and looked up with a grin. "That was fun."

"Lying to Dad about Fido?" Dean raised an eyebrow. "Get your shoes off."

"Fido?" Sam tilted his head, truly puzzled.

"Never mind. Get your shoes off."

"It was fun. Tonight."

"It was fun." Dean pulled his jacket off and threw it over the back of the chair. He smiled as he turned around. "You're gonna be hustling our gas money in no time."

Sam grinned back, his eyes unfocused.

"Get your shoes off," Dean said for the third time as he sat down in the chair to pull his own boots off.

"Thanks for taking me."

"You're welcome."

Dean set his boots aside, thinking about the night. He hadn't wanted to take his brother along, but now was really glad he had. Because it had been fun and with his job and the hunting and not being in school anymore, he did miss spending time with him.

He shook his head, watching Sam wavering on the side of the bed, both hands planted on the bedspread to hold him up. He was still smiling but Dean knew he wouldn't be smiling later. Even though he'd somewhat monitored how much beer his brother had consumed, he'd been a little drunk himself so he hadn't paid as much attention as he should have.

They were both going to be miserable in a few hours.

Pushing himself to his feet, he went to the bathroom. He found the aspirin and took a couple, then filled a cup with water and tapped out a couple more pills.

Returning to the bedroom, he found Sam trying ineffectively to get his coat off. He still hadn't removed his shoes. Dean set the glass of water on the nightstand and caught Sam's arm before he could fall off the bed. Once he was more or less steady, Dean gave him the pills and made sure he didn't spill the water all over himself.

He finished pulling Sam's coat off, then tilted him toward the pillow. Sam flopped back without any resistance, out cold as soon as he was horizontal. Dean shook his head and tugged his tennis shoes off before pulling the covers up over him. He was about to fall into his own bed when he heard a soft knock and the bedroom door slid open.

"Dad?"

"You shouldn't have taken him with you."

"He wanted to go and I wasn't going to leave him behind." Dean was a little more defensive than he'd meant to be. There was a flicker of understanding in his dad's eyes and Dean added, "We haven't really done very much...lately."

"Since you dropped out."

Dean still wasn't sure what his dad really thought about that topic. He hadn't issued a formal statement, so there was no way to know if he was disappointed or didn't care. The apparent indifference continued to sting like a slapped cheek. It might easily fester into something resembling bitterness if Dean thought about it too much. So he didn't.

He shrugged and sat down on his bed. Why they were having a conversation right now, he didn't know. His head was swimming and he wanted to be asleep. Rubbing a hand over his face, he asked, "Anything else, sir?"

"You boys have fun?" Dad asked quietly, glancing over at Sam.

"Yeah."

Dad nodded, something close to a smile on his face. He leaned against the doorframe and said, "Good."

Dean's eyebrows rose, but he kept his mouth shut.

"I'm thinking we go out for a big, greasy breakfast."

It was too soon to even think about food. The liquor and junk food he'd eaten at the party were shifting uneasily in the pit of his stomach and Dean mumbled, "Could we do brunch instead?"

"Brunch it is." Dad laughed softly. He shook his head. "Get some sleep, son. I hope you're gonna think this was all worth it in a few hours when you're cleaning up Sammy's puke."

Dean groaned and his dad just kept laughing even as he left the room. Once the door was closed, Dean settled on his side on his bed and watched his brother sleep as the first soft rays of light bloomed around the edges of the curtains.

"It was worth it," Dean whispered, already half-asleep.

He hadn't hung out with any of his friends - or what counted for friends in his transient life. He hadn't scored with either Leanna or Judy - hadn't even noticed if they'd been there. He hadn't done any of the things he'd been looking forward to doing.

What he had done was spend some quality time with his little brother. The person he knew best and who knew him best. The person he seemed to be growing apart from now as they got older. The person he hadn't even realized was missing him.

He smiled and closed his eyes.

It was worth it.


In case this scenario seemed at all familiar, the "walking the dog" story was mentioned in "The Christmas Spirit" that I had posted several years ago. I had always wanted to expand that little mention into a story, and here it finally is!

imawoomie - hope you enjoyed! I know you had enjoyed that little flashback in "The Christmas Spirit". :)

Thanks for reading, have a great monday!