This was my very first story. It was inspired by Dean's phone call to Dad in Home and his reaction to Dad's phone call in Scarecrow. I simply had to figure out what would make this bold, confident hunter react so strongly to his dad's orders.

Dean is simply the most intriguing character I have ever seen, and JA perfectly reflects all the conflicting emotions and facets of his complex personality. Jensen is my muse; he inspires me to write and what inspiration it has turned out to be! So thanks to him, Kripke and his amazing creative team, and all the Winchesters and the actors who so expertly bring them to life for giving me this new passion of writing. What a ride it has been!


This story is dedicated to the most amazing brothers I know, my nephews, Zachary and Logan.

Chapter One - Superbro

Dean was cooking scrambled eggs for breakfast, one of his specialties. He rarely burned them and with a little grated cheese on top, they usually came out better than some of the diners they ate at. Dad had been gone for four days on a hunt, and he was left in charge of the house and his little brother, Sammy, like he often was. It had been this way since he was eight or so, Dad would get a lead on an evil being and take off on a hunt. It had caused some problems in the past, and they actually had to move once when Child Protective Services started nosing around, but other than that inconvenience it had worked out well.

After the CPS incident Dad learned to appear more normal, make sure his sons were enrolled in school and wave to the neighbors when they were outside. He told everyone that asked he had a traveling job as a salesman; truth was hunting was his job.

Things were better now. Dean was fifteen, but he had a fake I. D. stating he was eighteen. He had a young face but he was tall and well built, and his I.D. was good enough to fool a cop, not that they would ever risk it. Dad had been training him in martial arts since he was ten, and he worked out every day in their makeshift weight room to get even stronger, better prepared for the job he was being groomed for. He'd been raised by his military father as a soldier and he carried his body with authority, tall and proud. He had the aura and confidence of a much older man, experience belying his age.

He'd not had time to be a child since his mother was tragically and mysteriously murdered when he was just four years old. The pain from seeing what happened to her, and how it affected his dad and little brother still lingered, forever reminding him of the dangers in his life. Shortly after her death he'd sworn he would do anything to protect his family, particularly his little brother Sammy. No one had to tell him, he simply knew and took on the responsibility. It was his purpose in life, his job.

His entire life was tainted with the knowledge his dad made clear, that evil lurked everywhere and they were fighting a war. Dad was the officer, and Dean and Sam were his soldiers. The Chain of Command would keep them safe. If Dad gave an order, they needed to follow it completely; any hesitation could result in disaster. A soldier doesn't question his superior, he follows orders. Dean had always been a good soldier.

Dean started weapons training as soon as he could hold a gun and he had a natural talent with weapons. He was six the first time he fired a gun and he bulls-eyed the target with all six shots. Granted the target wasn't that far away, but he'd seen how impressed his dad was with his abilities and it made him proud.

He knew his dad at times felt overwhelmed with grief from losing his wife and the responsibility of caring for two young sons while carrying on his war with all things evil, and Dean only wanted to help ease that burden. He was determined to prove he was able and willing to help, doing whatever was required as second in command.

While other kids wanted to play sports or video games, Dean knew he needed to be athletic and quick-witted, but the game he was being groomed for had much higher stakes than who would be state champs or what level of play he would reach in a stupid video game.

He attended school sporadically when he could, when it didn't conflict with his other responsibilities; not like his little brother who rarely missed a day. Sam loved school and got excellent grades, a regular Einstein much to big brother's delight as he relentlessly teased him. Dean was plenty smart himself; he had to be to pass his classes when he missed so often, but he had more important things to do with his time. Any time Dad wanted Dean to join him on a hunt he was more than willing to skip school. Sam was four years younger, so Dad didn't want him on his hunts yet, still too dangerous for the kid.

Ever since he picked up a pool cue and sunk his first ball, John had tutored Dean in how to earn money the Winchester way. After all, hunting would never be a pro-ball career and ammo didn't come cheap. Under his dad's tutelage he learned how to measure a man and anticipate his actions so he could hustle pool like a pro and rake in his winning at poker without causing a scene. His life lessons continued with how to forge an I.D. and fraudulently obtain a credit card. Dean was good at it all, quickly learning how to make a buck and survive. He most enjoyed the pool hustling and the poker. He looked like an easy mark himself because of his youth, but he'd spent more time in sleazy pool halls and dark poker rooms than most of the marks he ended up fleecing.

As far as hunting and the lifestyle to sustain it, Sam did what he had to do to appease Dad, but his heart was never in it. Truth was, between Dad and Dean, they got enough money from their scams to live on and continue their hunts and Sam being younger wasn't really needed. He was exposed to the lifestyle, but he never had to fully participate, always on the outside looking in at the strange life his family led, still able to go to school and be a normal kid. Dean saw to it.

"Sam, get your butt out of bed. Get movin' and eat your eggs or you'll be late for school."

Sam bounded down the stairs, the noise thundering through the small rental house.

"I'm ready. You gonna come watch my soccer game after school?" he asked as he grabbed a plate and scooped some eggs up before plopping down on the chair at the counter and starting to eat.

Dean offered him a quirk of his brows and his patented smirk. "I dunno, professor. You gonna win?"

"Dunno. Just hope I get to play. The coach doesn't like it that I don't make all the practices and games."

Dean's voice was weary, resigned and casual, "Look, Sammy, that's just the way it is. I get you to as many as I can. You know Dad don't approve and we have to fly under the radar on this."

"Yeah, I know." Between mouthfuls Sam looked up and questioned, "You know when Dad's coming home?"

Dean was eating his eggs straight out of the skillet as he stood with his long legs crossed and his back against the counter. "He'll be back when the job's done. Don't worry, he can take care of himself and I got the home front covered."

"I know you do." Sam offered a huge grin. "The best big bro anyone could ask for."

"Damn straight. Superbro! And don't you forget it!"

"So you going to school today? You keep missing and you may not graduate. They have a set number of days you need to attend."

Dean finished picking at the remains of the eggs in the pan before setting it in the sink. "No need for you to worry about me. I don't need book learning anyway. Dad's taught me everything I need to know to survive in the world."

Sam looked up with serious eyes, his mouth twisted in a half-frown as he earnestly asked, "Dean, don't you ever dream of living a normal life?"

"No," he quickly responded with a twinge of barely concealed anger, no need to think, still tensing every time his kid brother brought it up, which seemed to be more and more often lately. "This is my life." His smile then reappeared as he grabbed his truck keys and stood by the door. "Finish your eggs. Don't want the professor to be late for school." With another huge grin he kidded, "You taught your teachers anything new this week?"