Supernatural

Brothers

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

A/N: Just a small series of vignettes from Dean's POV. I'd love any constructive reviews.

Summary: A series of snapshots throughout the Winchester boys' lives- Dean's thinks he knows who the real monsters are.

"Dean, I think…I think there's a monster in my closet."

Dean still remembers the day Sammy couldn't reach the counter, when his small fingers couldn't hold up the weight of a handgun, and when he still crept into his bed in the middle of night to ward away demons, ogres and other nasty things that wormed into a young boy's heart when the sun set. Dean still remembers hugging his younger brother close and praying…for those who fight monsters need to take not to become the monsters themselves.

At ten, Sammy started hunting. He had just killed a werewolf who had been bearing down on him, blowing a hole into its stomach just before it bit down on his throat. Blood had splattered everywhere, concealing Sammy with a thick coat of copious red gunk mixed in with small bits of intestine and other bodily fluids. The red flew through the air, spraying everything in the grimy alley with a thin sheen of red and then, almost anticlimactically, the figures in the center of the crudely drawn pentangle slumped down.

Dean couldn't tell. He couldn't tell whether Sammy had been quicker than one of the fastest monsters alive. He couldn't tell if his father, standing so calmly next to him, was undergoing the same panic attack Dean was having. He couldn't even tell who was alive until the smaller figure groaned and moved slightly under the werewolf's enormous weight. Almost immediately, Dean's father's face twisted into a rough smile.

"That's my boy."

As it turned out, Sammy got away from the entire ordeal with nothing more than a few shallow cuts and a couple cracked ribs, but for Dean, the experience cut much deeper than a werewolf's fangs. He had ever felt true fear before. No matter the challenge presented, Dean always faced it with a cocky smile and a surefire attitude. But this…this was different and instead of running to Sammy and hugging him hard to make sure he was real, to make sure he was still there, like he should have, he just shrugged it off, the stench of his fear still lingering in the air.

At eleven, Sammy started bringing home hundreds' on his tests and quizzes. Dean wasn't sure what he was expecting. A pat on the back, maybe? Or perhaps, a refrigerator filled with all of his papers like the old one at their first home was filled with Dean's old drawings? He didn't get any of that. Sure, Dean tried to be proud. He nodded and smiled when Sammy, eyes glowing with enthusiasm, tried explaining something particularly intellectual to him. He even joked with his father about having a bookworm in the family, but in the end, when that light when out, Dean had never been happier.

At twelve, Sammy wanted to be Sam. It was older, more mature, he said in a petulant voice. You have to stop treating me like a baby, he complained, standing as tall as he could, reaching everything from his toes to his hair up to Dean's height. Dean had laughed at him at the time and teased him unmercifully about his shortness, but privately, Dean promised himself that he'd never call his brother Sam. Sam signified growing up; Sam signified being able to care of yourself…Sam signified everything Dean never wanted to happen.

At thirteen, Dean forgot his younger brother existed. It was unforgivable, but his younger brother was always there, like a shadow, and Dean couldn't imagine him ever not following him around, trailing behind him like a loyal dog. Dean, himself, was seventeen, ready to let loose, have a few beers, and get laid. In short, he wanted to have some fun that year. He was seventeen and he was tired of fighting and running and chasing. He wanted to stop and breath. He wanted to stop and live. He wanted to stop, period.

At fourteen, Sammy grew up and Dean started paying more attention to his younger, studious little brother. Sammy…really wasn't quite so little anymore. Now he was only a few inches shorter than Dean. He was still thin; he was still wiry, but Dean couldn't look down at him anymore, couldn't ruffle his hair, couldn't even call him squirt. Sammy could shoot, kill, and do bodily harm with the best of them. He wasn't getting there, as his father used to say, he was there. It was as if, overnight, Sammy had become a hunter, on par with Dad and himself. Dean didn't like the ugly, twisted, jealous, feeling that arose in him when he thought that. The thing was…was that it seemed as if it were a sign, like he wasn't needed anymore. Dean hoped, he prayed he would always be needed.

At fifteen, Sammy fell in love. It wasn't the best thing to happen, considering they moved around a lot, but Sammy was dead set on taking her out for movies, pizza, and the prom. He was trying so hard to be the prefect normal boyfriend, so Dean stopped trying to talk him out of it and instead dutifully sat him down and gave him the big brother speech, included the wonders of condoms and the basics of how to get back into the house after five am.

At sixteen, something terrible happened. She died. Dean wanted to blame her; really it was her fault…what kind of idiot follows their boyfriend after they say no? But she did…and when she died, only a couple of feet away from both Dean and Sammy, so close that they felt the wind on the swipe that slashed her jugular, Dean could almost feel the darkness…the coldness creep into his brother's heart. He could almost feel something pivotal wither and die.

And then, of course, he cried.

That was the real problem with her. Not that she was stupid, or not fast enough to dodge a vampire's blow- it was that she made his little brother cry. Dean had wanted to hold him close; he even tried hugging him and soothing his fears like he did when he was younger, but the action was too foreign and alien and Sammy pushed him away, pushed his brother away, and Dean let him go, too cold himself, to offer any true comfort.

At seventeen, Sammy was even more secretive and stoic than usual. He hid in his room, as surly as any adolescent, except Sammy wasn't just any teenager and moodiness from Sammy could mean anything from being on the verge of suicide to just going through normal I-really-like-this-girl angst. Dean teased him about it, asking if he was going to be an uncle sometime soon or perhaps, if they needed to leave town in the middle of the night.

But…in the silence of the dining room when only the clinking of silverware was heard, both Dean and his father were left with their thoughts…of what they had turned into, of what they had turned Sammy into, of Sammy, himself, pacing restlessly upstairs. Dean still laughed and joked, but inside, Dean watched, he watched and he worried.

At eighteen, Dean found an acceptance letter from Stanford placed carelessly on the counter stating that his little brother had won a full scholarship to one of the best colleges around, and Dean knew that no matter how hard he tried, he had lost his younger brother forever.

The End