Summary: Pre-series – Little Brother Sam (16), Big Brother Dean (20), & Awesome Bobby – Sam was soaked and freezing. Changing a tire in the rain would do that...
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Warnings: Minor language but otherwise nothing. This is fun and fluffy with a capital "F"
And I wonder...still I wonder...who'll stop the rain? – Creedence Clearwater Revival
The rain was pelting him in the face as tires hissed on the wet asphalt behind him, spraying him with their mist as they passed.
Some idiot actually blared a horn.
Like that was helping.
He grunted, squinting against the rain. His legs cramping from his crouched position. His arms burning from the struggle of battling the stubborn lug nuts refusing to budge.
But then suddenly they did budge and he tipped forward with momentum, catching himself before he faceplanted into the side of the black Chevy.
He sighed, steadying himself – and his nerves – while leaning against the familiar comfort of the Impala.
You can do it, Sammy. Just remember what I taught you.
Sam blinked at the echo of his brother's words and then nodded, energized with fresh determination to finish his task – because the Impala had a flat...and it was his job to fix it.
The 16-year old nodded again, bracing himself and lifting the tire that had to weigh more than he did.
"After the tire is off, the rest is a breeze," Dean had assured a few months ago when he had been talking Sam through the steps of changing a flat in the safety of a motel's parking lot.
But today, it was test time.
Or more like a pop quiz – the Impala suffering a blowout just as they had reached their destination.
Sam had sighed as Dean had steered his girl to a stop.
"Well, at least we made it here."
"Yeah," Dean had agreed but had still growled his frustration...and then had brightened as he had realized the opportunity literally staring him in the face.
Sam had realized, too. "Ugh. Dean..."
"Do you believe in teaching moments, Sammy?"
Sam had snorted at Dean's tone of wonderment, like his brother was asking if he believed he could fly if given enough pixie dust.
"I know you believe in teaching moments," Sam had answered.
"Damn right. And guess what? Looks like Baby needs changing."
Dean had smiled at his clever wording – not that his brother had seemed to notice.
Instead, Sam had wrinkled his nose as he had peered out the windshield, then back to his brother.
A sudden freak downpour.
Sam had continued to stare, as if not quite understanding what he was seeing.
Dean had nodded. "Yep. So it is." He had shrugged. "Life's a bitch."
Sam had scowled, realizing what Dean was up to. "You're a bitch."
"No. You are."
Sam had twitched a smile at that, at the familiar exchange. "Fine. Jerk." He had paused, holding his fisted hand against his palm. "Shoot for it?"
Dean had pulled a face at Sam's last-ditch effort to avoid changing a tire in the rain. "Yeah, right," he had answered, not falling for that trick. "Rock, Paper, Scissors is a stupid game, Sam."
"Only if you lose."
Dean had felt the intended jab and had cut his eyes at his smartass little brother.
Sam had grinned, then had sighed as he had stared out the windshield again.
Dean had chuckled. "You won't melt, princess. But hurry up. Dad's expecting us."
Sam had rolled his eyes. This whole scenario was so ridiculous.
"Dad's always expecting us," he had grumbled as he had pulled the hood of his sweatshirt over his head and had ducked out into the rain.
"You can do it, Sammy. Just remember what I taught you," Dean had called after his brother. "And be careful..."
"Yeah, yeah..." Sam had responded before closing the passenger door and crossing to the trunk for what he would need to complete the job.
That had been almost half an hour ago.
And now, finally – finally – the damn tire was changed.
Sam smiled even as the rain continued to pour. The 16-year old cold and drenched but proud of himself for succeeding at yet another Winchester rite of passage.
"Atta boy, Sammy," Dean cheered, his voice muffled from behind the driver's side window.
Sam's smile grew wider, knowing Dean had been watching him the entire time – encouraging and instructing him, even if Sam couldn't hear the words.
Dean nodded his approval and gave a thumbs-up as Sam met his gaze in the side mirror.
It was cheesy as hell but still made Sam beam like the little brother he was, basking beneath his big brother's praise.
"Are we done here?"
Sam glanced over his shoulder at the question, squinting in the cascade of water still pouring over him, and then looked back at Dean.
Dean nodded again, making a slicing motion across his neck – the classic "cut it out" gesture needing no words.
And just like that, the rain stopped.
"Finally. Thank you," Sam muttered and pushed the hood off his head, his dripping bangs out of his eyes.
The Impala's door creaked, then slammed as Dean got out of the car to inspect Sam's work, squatting beside his brother.
A few seconds passed.
Lug nuts checked. Tire thumped.
"Looks good, Sammy," Dean concluded, giving an affectionate squeeze to the back of his brother's neck. "Nice job. Even in the rain..."
Sam snorted and leaned forward, wiping his wet forehead across Dean's shoulder.
"Dude," Dean scoffed and pulled away, standing as he rubbed at the dampness on his leather jacket.
Sam laughed and stood as well, shaking his head like a dog to further saturate his brother.
Dean made a sound of annoyance and shoved Sam backwards. "Don't make me hurt you, man."
Sam laughed louder at the warning – like Dean would ever hurt him – and stumbled in the direction Dean had pushed him.
"Idjits..." Bobby grumbled, gruff but smiling, and steadied Sam before patting his back in silent praise – just as proud as Dean.
Sam felt shy and awkward but nodded his thanks.
Bobby returned the nod and stood there with his arm around one of the two kids he had always considered his own.
Sam's hoodie squelched under Bobby's touch, completely soaked.
Bobby's other kid chuckled, still amused by the life lesson he had just taught his little brother.
"Shut up," Sam snapped, more sass than actual heat in his tone and glare.
Dean smiled. "Well, hey...at least we know you can change a tire in the rain."
Sam rolled his eyes. "Yeah. Rain," he repeated, wiggling his fingers to indicate air quotes as he looked at Bobby. "I can't believe you went along with that."
Bobby shrugged, offering no excuse.
Sam huffed at the lack of explanation. "How long have you two been planning this?"
"A while," Bobby answered like he was glad it was over and done.
Sam nodded, wondering how he had missed the conversation leading up to these coordinated shenanigans.
"When little Sammy was sleeping," Dean teased and smiled as he side-stepped Sam's half-hearted punch. "Aw, come on, Sam. It was good practice. You think the sun is always going to be shining when bad shit happens?"
Sam shook his head, having lived long enough to know when it rained...it poured.
Both figuratively and literally.
He glanced at the two water hoses abandoned on the ground behind them. Water leaking lazy and slow from the nozzles.
"The mist from the passing cars was a nice touch," Sam remarked with a smirk. "And the hissing sound tires make on wet pavement. I liked that."
Bobby chuckled. "What can I say? I'm a multitasking sonuvabitch."
The brothers laughed, remembering how Bobby had maneuvered both water hoses – one angled high on full blast for the downpour, the other held lower and less tightly for the mist – while also adding random vocalizations to mimic street noise.
"You've got talent."
Bobby nodded, accepting Dean's compliment. "Thanks. But don't sell yourself short. That horn – "
" – was obnoxious," Sam finished, tilting his head with a meaningful stare at his brother.
"I think the word you're searching for is realistic," Dean corrected, clearly proud of himself for adding his own little touch to the charade. "Along with the comment about Dad..."
Sam smiled – because that part was definitely realistic – and then scrunched his nose as a fuzzy feeling washed over him. He blinked, rapid and fluttery.
Dean narrowed his eyes at the sudden change. "What's wrong?"
Sam sneezed in response, hard and loud.
The kind of sneeze that makes other people cringe in sympathy.
Dean frowned. "Sam..."
Sam glanced at his brother before sneezing again...and again.
"Okay. That's it. Inside," Dean ordered, instantly done with playing games and teasing his little brother at the prospect of the kid getting sick. "You've gotta be freezing standing out here soaking wet."
Sam looked startled as Dean stepped forward and lifted the sopping hoodie over his head, handing it to Bobby before taking off his own jacket and draping it around Sam's bare shoulders.
Sam sniffled and pulled the jacket tighter, surrounding himself with his brother's warmth.
"You're shaking, Sam," Dean commented, his tone sharp with worry. "Why didn't you tell me you were that cold? Jesus. Come on. Let's get you changed."
Sam groaned at the motherhenning but didn't resist as his big brother steered him toward the house.
Bobby followed behind them with a dripping sweatshirt and a fond smile – Dean's arm around Sam as he continued to fuss over his little brother.
"You boys hungry? I've got supper on the stove."
"After Sam is warm and dry," Dean answered, rubbing his brother's shoulders as they walked.
Bobby nodded at the expected reply.
"Then after we eat, you're sitting under the electric blanket for a little while before bed," Dean told his brother as they climbed the porch steps.
Sam pulled a face. "Dean..."
"I mean it, Sammy."
And that was that.
Bobby nodded in agreement with Dean's decision.
Teaching Sam to change a tire in the "rain" was a good lesson to learn in Bobby's yard before the kid was faced with that challenge in the real world...but it wasn't worth the kid getting sick from standing around in wet clothes in the brisk South Dakota autumn air.
And if Sam was going to spend the rest of the evening under a blanket and his big brother's watchful gaze, then...
"I guess Act Two is postponed?"
Sam arched an eyebrow at Bobby's question and glanced at Dean as they entered the house. "Act Two?"
Dean shook his head, leading Sam toward the stairs. "It doesn't matter now. We'll do it later."
"We'll do what later?" Sam pressed, gripping the banister and refusing to budge until he had a direct answer.
Dean gave a sheepish smile and shrugged. "Sammy changes a tire in the dark..."
"...without a flashlight," Bobby added and then shrugged as well. "Damn batteries."
Sam snorted, his attention flickering between Dean and Bobby before settling on Dean.
Dean held his gaze. "Just looking out for you, Sammy."
Sam swallowed his snarky comment at the impact of that truth.
Because he knew Dean was right – his big brother was just looking out for him.
Dean would rehearse every scenario he could think of just to make sure Sam was ready to handle the real situation when it occurred.
And that...that was...
Sam sighed, feeling protected and so damn loved.
It still took him by surprise sometimes, like he expected to grow out of it.
But no...not even close.
If anything, Dean seemed to protect him more, to love him more as they got older.
It was just expressed differently now.
Sam quirked a smile, needing that reminder, and started to speak but sneezed instead – three back-to-back just like before.
"Okay. Chick flick over," Dean announced and nudged Sam forward. "We'll hug later," he promised in that dry, blunt tone he used when he recognized the signs of a sappy little brother. "Right now, I want you in some dry clothes."
Bobby nodded, on the same page as Dean. "I'll warm up supper."
"Yeah, okay. Thanks...Rainmaker."
"Oh my god..." Sam moaned at Dean's lame joke but laughed anyway between sniffles and another sneeze.
Dean laughed as well, his arm once again slung over Sam's shoulders as they topped the stairs.
Bobby smiled as he watched them disappear around the corner.
It was good to have his boys home.
A/N: For those interested, I'm also posting J2 stories on AO3 now as "Marianna_Morgan".