Sam (Broken Bow, Nebraska)
Sammy is four years old. He loves fruit loops, loves driving his tricycle round and round in circles, and Doctor Seuss. He is pretty sure he loves his brother too. He knows this because every morning when Dean drops him off at pre-school he feels his chest tighten like he wants to cry. And it doesn’t go away until Dean picks him up few hours later. He is not so sure about his dad though, the man’s not around so much.
Sometimes Sammy dreams of a woman with hair as bright as sunshine and wonders who she is. Mrs Stewart at his play school is a woman too, but her hair isn’t yellow. Its not all black either, has spots of white here and there. Sammy wonders what that color is called.
One day in September, Dean doesn’t come to pick him up. He waits with Mrs Stewart for an hour, that’s how long it takes for the big hand to come back to twelve again. And still no Dean. His throat is aching now and his lower lip quivers. Biting it doesn’t help, only makes his jaw hurt more. But he is not going to cry, dad won't be happy if he did.
“Do you want to be a big boy Sammy?”
Sammy isn’t quite sure what that means, so he says the one thing he knows his dad likes to hear.
The little face brightens up, Dean he understands.“Yes sir, I do!”
And wins a smile from John Winchester in return.
“Well, big boys don’t cry Sammy. You ever see Dean cry?”
That he could honestly shake his head to. He sometimes wonders why his eyes often get teary but Dean’s never do. And Sammy wants to be big and strong like Dean, he really does.
So he sits, quietly, without fidgeting besides Mrs Stewart. And watches the big hand ever so slowly move back down to six. What could possibly be wrong?
Did… did Dean forget him?
Uh-oh, that didn’t help. His lip is quivering painfully again.
Footsteps to his right. Heavy, like hiking boots and he knows who it is. He slides down his seat and before Mrs Stewart can say “Sam wait!” he is already running towards the two approaching grownups.
Sammy wraps himself around the nearest leg and a firm hand lands on his little head.
“Daddy, Dean forgot to take me home.”
Sammy is pouting, not happy at his brother’s horrible betrayal but nobody is listening to him. They go on rattling in loud, fast-too-fast words about eight year olds (“Hey, I’m four!”) and too much responsibility (“Re-pon-si what?”) and social services.
Sammy’s mouth opens in an o-shape but no sound is made. Social services. He’s heard that one before.
Guess it was time to move again huh?
By the time they get home, Sammy’s chest is hurting more than he ever thought possible. John didn’t say a word all the way, his lips pressed together like when he’s just about starting to get sick of Sammy playing his new drum set. And he obviously doesn’t care that Dean forgot to pick him up.
When they drive up, Dean is standing at the doorway, his elbows straight and his hands gripping each other tightly. He comes to the truck to open Sammy’s door and Sammy is prepared with his bestest glare, ‘How dare you?’, it says. Lip sticking out just the way he knows will make Dean do whatever he asks for.
Dean reaches in, grips Sammy under his arms, pulls him out of the truck… and sets him down on the ground! Turns back to close the truck door and all this while, doesn’t even look at him!
“What happened Dad?”
And now Dean follows their father back inside, not even bothering to see if Sammy is trailing after him or not. Which of course he is, as he always does, but that’s not the point. Hello to you too, brother.
Sammy wonders if he turned invisible like the Whos and that’s why maybe his family doesn’t know he is right here. Why else would they keep saying Sammy this and Sammy that without actually talking to him?
After awhile its pretty obvious, even to a four year old, that he wasn’t needed. Sammy quietly slips into the bedroom he and Dean share and sits on his bed, dangling his feet. That’s when he notices them… the bags and the boxes.
So they are moving again.
A snivel escapes but he stops the next, and the one after that. His chest hurts, but he wasn’t going to cry because daddy won't like it. He knows the truth now.
His family is planning to leave him behind when they move this time.
Last time they moved, they left his play tent and tunnel back in Michigan. And before that his racing car bed in Ohio. Maybe he got too big to fit in the truck too.
Sammy has his head between his hands and lowered to his knees when Dean finds him.
He hears his big brother do that thing when he breathes in so deep it comes out in a big gush, like a baby wind.
“Sammy I’m sorry. The principal called dad and wouldn’t let me leave to come get you.”
Sammy doesn’t reply. Just raises his head to look at his brother. Dean always gets this look in his eyes when he’s fooling around. But its not there now.
Dean sits beside him, his feet don’t dangle though, and he looks straight ahead.
“I’m not doing so well in class. Am not smart like you kiddo.”
That’s… that’s impossible. Dean is the smartest person Sammy knows. He always has answers to all his questions, even when dad doesn’t have any.
“Don’t make ess... ex... don't lie.”
Dean frowns. He hardly ever frowns. “What?”
Sammy gulps. “You didn’t come because, you didn’t want to.”
“Sammy no, that’s not true.”
And this time Sammy can't hold the sobs, he needs to let go or his chest might just burst.
“Why can't you take me along?”
Dean gets up and kneels before him.
“I saw the boxes, you’ve already packed everything. You and dad were going to go and leave me with Mrs. Stewart!”
And the tears start in earnest. He doesn’t care anymore if he’s being a little boy. He doesn’t care snot is running down his nose.
“I will be good! And I won't take too much space. Please take me along Dean, please??”
Through the water in his eyes he can't see the look of devastation on his big brother’s face.
“Sammy! How could you even think that we’ll leave you behind?”
He snivels, wipes at his nose and lips.
“So… you’re not?”
Dean is so loud he wants to cover his ears. “NO dufus! Never ever ever!!”
That should make him feel better, right? Why does he just want to cry some more? His voice is reduced to a whisper, so low Sammy can barely hear himself speak.
“Then, why didn’t you come for me?”
Dean (Broken Bow, Nebraska)
Dean is eight years old, and has the weight of the world on his little shoulders. Okay, maybe not the whole world. Sammy is his world. And he bears the burden more than happily because while the kid can be a pain in the ass sometimes, he still is his baby brother. Ever since… since mom, he’s felt responsible. And its not like anyone ever specifically told him to. He just knew in his heart that this is what he’s meant to do.
He dreams of her often you know. That’s more than one night a month, he’s been counting. And in his dream she kisses his forehead, brushes his longish hair back from his forehead. Watch out for Sammy, she says.
His dad is his world also. And while John Winchester is a proud, strong man and a doting father to his sons, he isn’t the most dependable man when it comes buying milk or doing laundry or cleaning up like mom used to. So, Dean does it. Helps out in every way possible. If only to get that one benign look that softens his dad’s face. Makes the shadows go away, if only for a little while.
“My boy, what would I do without you?”
Dean lives for those words. And for those smiles. On his dad’s and his brother’s faces.
“Then, why didn’t you come for me?”
Sammy isn’t smiling right now. God, he’s miserable. How the hell does a four year old assume his family would just up and abandon him?
It's all about patterns, his dad says. Of course Dean knows that’s in a completely different context. But it sorta applies doesn’t it? A pattern was broken today, Dean’s always there and today he wasn’t. And given the level of paranoia that practically bleeds out of their father and into them every single day…
Dean knows what to do. Its what mom used to do. Or dad sometimes does even now when Sammy gets fussy.
He stands up and gathers the four year old into his arms. Pulls him up from the bed until Sammy remembers the drill and wraps his little legs around Dean’s waist and little arms around his neck. Buries his face in the shoulder and quietly cries his heart out.
“Shh… I’m sorry I couldn’t make it. Never again okay?”
He rubs the trembling back through the thick green jacket. Something pricks behind his eyes so he squeezes them shut for awhile, just long enough to make it go away.
“I’m never going to leave you, you hear me Sammy?”
The sobbing is muffled but still there. Dean rocks from side to side.
“I promise. Pinkie swear.”
Sammy just grips him tighter, like he still doesn’t believe.
“Hush Sammy. Don’t cry. Don’t cry.”
Sammy tries, he really does.
“Come on kiddo, don’t make me sing please?”
At that, a scrunched up face looks up. Hazel eyes as wide and woeful as… oh, Dean doesn’t know… a lost puppy?
Dean knows that look. Dean dreads that look.
Rolls his eyes and pushes the little head back into his shoulder.
“Okay okay… which one?”
Sammy looks up again. Suspiciously.“You don’t sing so good.”
“I do too!”
Sammy just shrugs. Dean can see he’s giving it a serious thought.
“Row your boat?”
Aargh. No way. Dean shakes his head apologetically.
“Umm, spider song?”
“Okay. Spider man, spider man, does whatever a spider can…”
“Not that spider song! The itsy bitsy one.”
Oh. Hell no.
Dean may be eight, but he’s got taste. He’s got a boombox and cassette tapes his parents were once massively into back when… when mom wouldn’t do the dishes unless there was music playing, and Dean often caught his parents dancing and kissing (gross!) in the kitchen. Of course, dad doesn’t go near those tapes anymore.
Sammy is fidgeting again. Rests his head back on the larger shoulder in resignation.
“It's okay if you don’t want to.”
Dean rolls his eyes up towards heaven and lets out a big sigh.
“Hey, how about Lucifer Sam?”
The wet face brightens up big time. “Cool!”
Dean has to smile at that. Gently wipes away the tear tracks and keeps rocking.
Starts humming a catchy little ditty, one he found on one of Mary's old tapes and has his little brother enthralled for weeks now. Sammy loves this quirky Pink Floyd number almost as much as Dean does. Something about a cat called Sam.
“Tada dum! tum tum tum tum…”
Something that makes absolutely no sense.
Lucifer Sam, siam cat.
Always sitting by your side
Always by your side.
That cat's something I can't explain…
The snivels are history, Sammy is relaxed and a complete deadweight in his brother’s arms. But Dean needs him animated, smiling… the smile he lives for. A purely selfish need really.
“Dude help me out with the guitar here.”
“Tada dum! Tum tum tum tum…”
“Tada dum! Tum tum tum tum…”
Sammy smiles, Dean rocks.
Ginger, ginger, Jennifer Gentle you're a witch.
You're the left side
He's the right side.
Sammy loves the ‘Oh, no!’ He puts his hands on each cheek for it every time. And Dean laughs every time.
His chest is unclenched at last. His restless mind finally at peace. So what if they’re moving again. As long as he and Sammy are together, they are going to be just fine.
That cat's something I can't explain...
**Next chapter >>
A/N: Lucifer Sam is a psychedelic rock masterpiece by Pink Floyd, released 1967. You can find it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDXZv6bWmNk