Apples and Oranges

Author's Note: Please do drop a note; good, bad or ugly.

Summary: You were kinda like the blonde chick on the "The Munsters." Sam's reflection.

You were kinda like the blonde chick on "The Munsters."

It was a bit of an odd comment; said at an inappropriate time; but not untrue. Ever since I was a teenager I knew I didn't exactly 'belong' in my family.

They would bow hunt; I wanted to play soccer.

They would practice with the shotgun; I wanted to go swimming.

They would hunt very real monsters; I wanted to go to school.

Two apples and an orange.

And, really, it was Dean's fault.

Dad changed after the fire – not that I remember him from before, but I know he did. And he changed Dean right along with him; Dean had no other option but to change along with him.

If Dean hadn't molded in the ways Dad coaxed him to, none of us would have survived.

A five year old can't prepare a baby's bottle, but Dean could. A nine year old isn't capable of covering his father's back with a loaded pistol against true danger, but Dean was. A twelve year old can't be left alone to care for himself and a little brother for weeks on end, but Dean was… often. And he never failed.

Dad made my brother into an adult but a few months past his fifth birthday. Any other course would have prevented Dad becoming engrossed in his crusade. And, at five, Dean couldn't know his childhood had been stolen.

My brother grew under Dad's wing, greedily taking all of the little our father offered in the times it was offered.

Weapons training was their bonding time and Dean took to it with a particular relish. Wise words and gentle guidance were replaced by harsh lessons. Kind kisses on scraped knees were substituted with a steady hand washing peroxide over claw wounds.

And Dean absorbed Dad's determination and drive for vengeance; for he remembered our mother, loved her, missed her. He agreed with Dad; believed him in the right.

Under Dad's wing, my brother became a soldier, a nearly perfect hunter, a warrior.

And Dad wanted the same for me; and would have had, except that Dad fucked up. The night of the fire, he put me in Dean's arms… and made the biggest mistake he could have ever made.

My brother is a protective son of a bitch; more so than Dad could have ever guessed. And while Dean was left with only the meager shelter of Dad's wing, I had more than ample cover under my brother's own.

When Dean fell he had to pick himself up, for a soldier didn't need someone to lift them back up from the ground. When I fell, Dean caught me long before I came close to striking the floor.

When he had nightmares in the dark, all my brother had was remembrance of a stern lecture that nightmares couldn't hurt you and that it was foolish to fear them. When I had so much as an unpleasant dream, I was safe within small, but strong, arms within moments.

Dean kissed away my scraped knees, tied my shoes and offered all those wise words he never heard himself – at least, offered the best a boy could for wisdom.

Dad took our childhoods away. He stole Dean's, never realizing Dean was allowing me to steal mine back.

My brother was a buffer between me and Dad. He allowed me to see beyond the soldier's life Dad dictated; the soldier's life that Dean seems so suited to, that he seems to love; the soldier's life I despise, that could never be mine.

Dean was – is – my brother, my guardian, my protector, my hero. He was the source of my sanity and the only reason I can lay claim to what little innocence I need to believe I still possess.

And, I think, in exchange, I was his humanity. Four years and the walls around his heart – his soul? – are thicker, higher. Dad would have only encouraged him to build them up. But the brother that saved me in more ways than I can imagine is still here, still blindingly obvious.

I'm only alive because of my brother; was only ever happy, safe, secure because of my brother.

And, because of my brother, I'm an orange in a house of apples.

The blonde chick from "The Munsters."