Summary: AU Tag to 9x07 – 10-year old Hurt Sam, 14-year old Big Brother Dean, Awesome Sonny – He was familiar with the type of kid who was currently handcuffed and sitting on his couch. But the one thing throwing Sonny for a loop was this other kid. This scrawny little guy in an oversized hoodie who was clearly several years younger than the thief he was sitting beside.
Disclaimer: Sam, Dean and Sonny aren't mine...but this version of the boys' past is. As with my other tag to this episode, the boys are 10 and 14 here, per Adam Glass's original script.
Warnings: Spoilers for 9x07 and minor language.
A/N: Although we've only seen him in one episode, I adore Sonny. For me, he's right up there with Bobby on the scale of awesome. But I didn't adore Sam and Dean being separated in the flashbacks of 9x07. So I put them together and wrote a story that could easily become another 'verse. (Like I need another 'verse...) But there's certainly lots of potential here, and it makes me excited. We'll see...
Everybody knows brothers always stick together. ~ Logan Paul
In the years he had been running the boys' home, Sonny had encountered numerous teenagers with the exact indifferent expression and cocky attitude as the kid currently handcuffed and sitting on his couch, avoiding eye contact.
That wasn't unusual.
After all, boys didn't come to Sonny's farm unless they were involved in some kind of delinquent behavior.
And according to the deputy standing in his living room, this kid had been caught red-handed helping himself to a five-finger discount at a local store.
That wasn't unusual, either.
In fact, stealing was the top offense for landing boys in Sonny's care.
A close second was public fighting.
Anything rougher than that typically went straight to county lockup, especially these days since the system had adopted its "zero tolerance policy" on weapons charges regardless of the offender's age.
But lucky for this kid, he'd been smart enough not to use a weapon. He had just swiped peanut butter and bread from old man Hewlett's store, undoubtedly trying to get an easy meal but instead earning himself a trip to Sonny's.
A trip that would likely become an extended stay since it seemed the kid's dad was a dick, a man who was content to let his son "rot in jail".
Although even that wasn't unusual.
Most of Sonny's boys were products of broken homes with absent fathers. Or as with this case, fathers who were present but just didn't give a damn.
It was hard to tell which was worse.
But all of this was familiar to Sonny – this type of kid, this type of offense, this type of home life.
The only thing throwing him for a loop was this other kid.
This other kid who wasn't cuffed and apparently hadn't done anything wrong since the deputy hadn't mentioned him in his brief report.
But yet here this kid was.
This scrawny little guy in an oversized hoodie who was clearly several years younger than the thief he was sitting beside.
This kid with floppy hair and huge eyes staring up at Sonny beneath a fringe of bangs, obviously terrified and on the verge of tears.
This kid fisting the denim hem of the older kid's jean jacket and sitting so close to the older kid that he was practically in the older kid's lap.
And strangely enough, the older kid didn't seem to mind.
If anything, the older kid appeared to welcome the contact.
Nudging the younger kid's shoulder, bumping their knees together, offering a small smile meant to reassure.
Sonny watched their subtle interaction, recognizing brothers when he saw them.
And suddenly this picture was coming into focus.
Bread and peanut butter stolen because there was no dad around and no money...but there was still a hungry little brother that a big brother had to feed and take care of, even if that meant doing something illegal and risking arrest in the process.
Sonny nodded, realizing this older kid wasn't stealing for the thrill of it or because he was a bad kid. He was doing it out of necessity, out of responsibility.
And Sonny couldn't fault him for that.
He would've done the same.
"Appreciate it, Sonny," the deputy was saying, thanking Sonny for allowing the kids to stay at his place until the judge was back in town and an arraignment could be scheduled.
Sonny blinked his attention back to the man in uniform and then blinked again when he noticed the black eye that had been hidden behind the deputy's sunglasses until now.
"Where'd you get the shiner?"
Though Sonny knew exactly where the injury had come from even before the older kid chuckled.
The deputy was not so amused.
"You think that's funny?" he challenged and stepped forward, looming over the kids still sitting on Sonny's couch.
The younger kid shrunk back against his brother, but the older kid appeared unfazed.
"I think you're slow," he drawled in response to the deputy's question.
The deputy glared at the description of his fighting skills. "You sucker punched me!"
"You wish," the older kid scoffed, returning the glare as if he would figure out how to punch the deputy again – even with his hands cuffed – if the man didn't back off and stop scaring the younger kid.
...which made Sonny suspect that was how the deputy had ended up getting punched the first time.
If the deputy had made a grab for the younger kid or had threatened him in any way during the arrest, the older kid would've come out swinging.
Sonny had no doubts about that.
And he had no doubt about what would happen in his living room in the next few seconds if the deputy didn't give the kids their space.
"Come on now!" Sonny called, extending his hand like a referee trying to encourage two boxers back to their corners. "Billy, I got this, buddy," he told the deputy. "It's alright."
There was a beat of silence as Billy regained his composure, nodding at Sonny and then glancing at the kids before leaving the house.
The older kid waved at the deputy's back – sticking to his sarcastic, smartass image – while the younger kid just continued to cling to the older kid's jacket.
Sonny waited for the front door to close. "You shouldn't do that, kid."
The older kid rolled his eyes as he focused on Sonny. "Yeah? Why? Because he's a cop?"
Well, that was certainly one reason.
But not the reason Sonny was thinking.
"Because when you make him mad," Sonny explained. "He leaves with the key."
The kid's cocky expression faltered as he glanced at the handcuffs still encircling his wrists and then shook his head.
It seemed his luck just kept getting better.
Sonny shrugged. "Eh. Don't sweat it," he told the kid and reached for a paperclip from the ashtray on the coffee table, prepared to perform a little trick he had learned years ago.
After all, he was an ex-con.
But the brothers were already a step ahead of him – the older kid nodding at the younger kid, who then proceeded to pull a paperclip from the older kid's jacket pocket.
Sonny arched an eyebrow, wondering just who the hell these kids were as he watched the older kid accept the paperclip with a wink and then quickly pick the lock of one cuff, then the other.
"Don't need a key," the older kid commented, tossing the handcuffs on the coffee table with a clank and smiling at Sonny as he stashed the paperclip back in his jacket pocket. "But it looks like you already knew that," he added, nodding at the paperclip in Sonny's hand.
Sonny snorted, unsure how to respond.
The older kid continued to smile – quite pleased with himself – and rubbed his wrists.
Sonny frowned as he noticed the bruises on the older kid's forearms.
"Deputy do that?"
Though Sonny couldn't imagine Billy leaving those marks no matter how pissed the deputy had been over that black eye.
The younger kid shifted uncomfortably at the question.
The older kid followed Sonny's gaze to the black, blue, and purple smudges covering his skin and shook his head.
Sonny nodded even as he felt a mixture of dread and anger twist his stomach.
"What..." He paused. "Your old man?"
Because it certainly wouldn't be the first time one of his boys had been abused at home prior to coming to his farm.
The younger kid's eyes widened at the implication their dad would physically hurt one of them.
But the older kid just shook his head again and looked away.
It was classic avoidance.
Sonny narrowed his eyes, trying to decide how to decipher the combination of those two different responses...and figuring maybe their old man only roughed up the older kid without the younger kid knowing.
Just another way the big brother protected the little brother.
It was possible.
Sonny sighed. "Well, then, how'd you get it?" he pressed, gesturing at one of the larger bruises covering the older kid's arm.
The younger kid seemed to hold his breath, staring at his brother.
The older kid met Sonny's gaze. "Werewolf," he finally replied, his tone and expression strangely challenging...as if he dared Sonny to dispute his answer.
But Sonny said nothing, continuing to stare at the older kid while noticing the younger kid's eyes had grown impossibly wider at his brother's response, as if he couldn't believe the older kid had said that.
Neither could Sonny.
Sonny nodded. "Okay," he allowed, refusing to push the issue since there would be time later to find out the real answer.
He dropped the paperclip back into the ashtray on the coffee table and turned toward the kitchen, confident the kids would follow and smiling when he heard the busted springs in the couch squeak as the older one stood first, then his little brother expectedly did the same.
"How do you know I won't just run away?"
A cocky question from a cocky kid.
Sonny would expect no less.
"'Cause you're hungry," he replied over his shoulder.
It wasn't hard to figure out.
Hungry kids stole food.
"No, I'm not," the older kid denied, causing Sonny to stop and turn.
"Well, then, why'd you steal bread and peanut butter?"
The older kid shrugged, saying nothing but wrapping his arm around his little brother as the younger kid leaned against him; the smaller child still seeking that contact, that reassurance.
And for the second time that day, the picture came into clearer focus as Sonny was reminded that the older kid didn't steal the food because he was hungry. He stole it because his little brother was hungry.
That was the reality of their world.
No dad. No money. No food.
Just each other.
...which was why this younger kid was at Sonny's even though he had done nothing wrong.
Because these brothers obviously stuck together.
It was them against a shitty world, and Sonny respected that kind of grit.
He sighed and turned back toward the kitchen, barely taking two steps before the older kid asked another question.
"So, what is this place anyway?"
Sonny stopped once more, encouraged that the kid's tone sounded less defensive this time. "It's for boys like you," he replied. "You work the land. Teaches you some discipline and responsibility."
Though Sonny suspected this kid already knew about both, especially the latter.
Lacking responsibility wasn't the reason he was here; taking responsibility was.
This kid had taken responsibility for his little brother and was now facing the consequences with a cocky attitude to disguise his fear.
Meanwhile, the younger kid was obviously scared and nervous but trusting his big brother to take care of him, to handle everything.
Sonny's gaze flickered between the brothers, acknowledging there was a lot of baggage here and knowing he had his work cut out for him if he wanted these two to let down their guard.
That battle to break in would be especially hard with the older kid whose walls were high and thick.
Sonny sighed. "Keep you out of trouble," he added about the reason behind his home, completing the speech he usually gave to all the boys their first time on the farm.
The older kid pulled a face, making a sound somewhere between a snort and a laugh. "That's lame."
And just like that, that smartass mask was back in place.
Sonny nodded, understanding the defense mechanisms of wounded kids and having learned long ago not to take any of this personally.
"Beats jail," he quipped.
After all, he would know.
There was a beat of silence before Sonny turned, determined to get these kids to the kitchen so he could feed them. "Come on. I'll fix you something to eat."
Because it had been a couple hours since lunch had been served at the house, but it was also still several hours before dinner...and Sonny wasn't going to let the restrictions of mealtimes dictate whether or not these kids continued to starve.
As if on cue, the younger kid's stomach growled loud enough for Sonny to hear as he entered the next room, confirming his theory that it was the little brother who was most hungry.
"Can we?" the younger kid whispered, asking his brother's permission to accept Sonny's offer of food. "Please?"
Sonny smiled as the quiet voice floated from the living room to the kitchen, realizing this was the first time the little guy had spoken since the brothers had arrived.
The older kid sighed. "Yeah," he agreed; his reluctance to accept handouts overruled by his eagerness to feed his little brother. "But first..."
Sonny tilted his head.
"Did he hurt you?"
Sonny narrowed his eyes, again suspecting the deputy had grabbed the younger kid at some point...or maybe their old man had done something before they had left home.
Either way, the older kid was clearly checking on his little brother.
Sonny blinked at the name and smiled.
That was perfect for the little guy.
Sonny nodded as the second name was revealed.
That was equally perfect for the older kid.
"Are you sure?" Dean pressed, his tone promising trouble if he discovered his little brother had been hurt.
"M'sure," Sammy replied, and Sonny frowned as he heard the kid's voice hitch with the threat of tears.
Dean must have noticed it, too.
"Hey..." he called, and Sonny was surprised to hear the difference in Dean's tone.
The smartass was gone and instead replaced with an unexpected tenderness.
"Don't, Sammy. It's okay."
"No," Sammy countered miserably, finally giving into those tears he had held at bay while Sonny had been in the living room. "It's n-not o-okay. This is m-my fault, and m'sorry."
Sonny frowned, his heart breaking.
Dean sighed, and Sonny knew from the silence that Dean was hugging his little brother, offering comfort as he waited for the kid to calm down.
Several seconds passed.
"Now, you listen to me..." Dean began as Sammy's tears grew quieter, and Sonny pictured him easing his little brother away so he could look the kid in the face as he made his point. "This is not your fault."
"It is," Sammy insisted. "I was h-hungry."
"Yeah," Dean agreed. "But that doesn't make this your fault. It was my decision to lose the money Dad left. And it was my decision to take that bread and peanut butter. Not yours."
"But you...you did it f-for me."
Sonny swallowed against the emotion rising in his throat.
He barely knew these kids, and they had already captured his heart.
"Yeah," Dean agreed once again, acknowledging that he did indeed steal for Sammy. "And you know what, kiddo? I'd do it again."
Sonny smiled at the statement of love and loyalty, even though this conversation was killing him.
"But Dad...Dad's mad," Sammy cried, his words tripping over his tears. "He said w-we could rot here." He sniffled, sounding hurt and confused. "Why would he s-say that?"
"Because Dad's an ass," Dean replied, his tone sharp.
Sonny nodded – damn right the guy was an ass – and wondered why a mom hadn't been mentioned...neither by the deputy or these two kids.
"But Dean – "
" – shut up," Dean interrupted his little brother, though there was no heat behind his words. "We're not talking about this anymore, Sammy, because none of this is your fault. Not Dad being mad, not us being here. None of it."
Sammy must have opened his mouth to dispute, to once again insist their current situation was his fault...but he was cut off by a warning sound from Dean.
"Sammy. I mean it. It's not your fault. And if you say it again, I'll cut your hair. You hear me?"
Sammy gave a soft, wet laugh at the threat. "Nuh-uh."
"Uh-huh," Dean echoed, and Sonny knew that Dean was smiling in return.
There was a beat of silence between the brothers, maybe another hug.
From where he stood in the kitchen, Sonny absorbed the moment, smiling as he felt an unexpected warmth spread through his chest; appreciating this opportunity to listen to their conversation, to hear this other side of them.
They were good kids.
And Sonny would gladly take them in and keep them for as long as they needed somewhere to stay.
"Now..." Dean sighed in the living room, talking to his brother and undoubtedly wiping tears from the kid's cheeks. "What d'ya say we go get some food?"
Sonny nodded in agreement with Dean's plan and opened one of the cabinets, making sure he would look busy and not like he had been eavesdropping when the brothers rounded the corner.