Title: Soft Spot

Rating: T for a swear word and one almost swear word. Is there such a thing as an almost swear word?

Spoilers: Pilot, Home, The Benders, Something Wicked

Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural or the brothers Winchester. I also don't own Pastor Jim, the Shtriga, the lamp cord in the episode Home (though I own my own spiffy lamp cord) or Papa and Mama Winchester. They are the property of Eric Kripke and the CW. Good for them. No really, I'm happy for them. Really. I swear.

-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-

Dean loved Sammy the moment he was born.

Loved him.

He hated to let him out of his sight.

His mom called Dean "Sammy's personal bodyguard".

His dad laughed.

Dean didn't see what was so funny.

He was sure something bad would hurt little Sammy if he wasn't watching.

Then something tried.

It got Dean's mom.

It tried to take Sammy.

It didn't get him.

Dean's dad was too fast. Dean held him too tightly.

The thing didn't get Sammy.

But it got their mom.

Dean's dad told him that night that Sammy was his responsibility.

He had to protect him.

He didn't need to tell Dean that.

Didn't dad know Sammy was already his responsibility?

That he would always protect him?

Dean had always loved Sammy.

Would always love Sammy.

He was this utterly helpless, tiny human being.

Then Sammy got a little older.

Just a little.

And suddenly it seemed like he would be okay alone for a few minutes.

Only he wasn't.

He nearly died.

Dean hadn't counted on that. Hadn't counted on being wrong.

Only he was.

It wasn't the first time. It wouldn't be the last.

But this time it hurt.

No, more than hurt. His heart screamed in agony.

Sammy- sweet, trusting little Sammy- had nearly had his soul sucked out.

Dean had stopped breathing.

He was sure he had.

Only he kept living.

That didn't seem right.

Sammy had nearly died, and Dean got to keep breathing.

Something was wrong with this picture.

Dean never let Sammy out of his sight again.

Not even when he became Sam.

Only he did.

Sam was now much older.

They had to split up.

Split up in a house Dean never wanted to be in again.

The house that had tried to take Sammy.

It wanted Sam this time.

Dean hated that lamp cord.

Dean hated that house.

It was irrational to hate inanimate objects.

Dean didn't care.

Sam had nearly choked to death.

Dean got to be irrational.

Dean held Sam's head.

Held Sam.

He was Sammy again.

Just for a second.

Just for a moment.

It was enough for Dean.

Dean was glad to leave Lawrence.

Glad to leave the lamp cord behind.

Glad to leave the house behind.

The house he hated.

Then they were in Minnesota.

In a bar.

Drinking.

Throwing darts.

Dean liked bars.

People were dishonest with each other.

It was honest.

Sam didn't like bars.

He wanted to leave.

Dean let him have his way.

Dean would always let him have his way.

Sam didn't know that.

Sam didn't need to know that.

Dean told Sam he'd meet him at the car.

Dean thought Sam would be okay for 2 minutes.

He had to go to the bathroom.

Sometimes you just have to go.

Sam would be fine.

He was wrong again.

Dean hated being wrong.

It wasn't a lamp cord this time.

It wasn't a house.

It wasn't a witch.

It wasn't anything supernatural.

It was other human beings.

No, not human beings.

People.

Crazy, psycho, backwoods people who hunted human beings.

It was like a friggin' scene from Deliverance.

They tied Dean to a chair.

They asked him to choose.

Sam or Kathleen.

He had to choose.

He chose Sam.

Dean heard a gunshot.

Dean stopped breathing.

Then Sam came in the room.

Sam was okay.

Dean started breathing again.

Sam was okay.

Everything was okay.

They were okay.

Then they weren't.

The witch came back.

The witch that had nearly broken Dean's heart.

The witch that had nearly taken Dean's soft spot away.

Sam was lying on the floor.

The Shtriga was trying to take his baby brother's soul again.

Was trying to take Sammy away from Dean.

Dean didn't pause this time.

No way was that fucker going to take Sammy from him.

Or Sam.

Dean couldn't live without his soft spot.

He heard his father's voice. Winchesters aren't weak.

Dean didn't care.

Dean was proud of his soft spot.

Dean was proud of Sammy.

And Sam.

-:-:-:-

Dean sleeps in the bed near the door.

Dean always sleeps near the door.

Sam knows why.

Dean doesn't care.

Sam is having a nightmare again.

Dean isn't really sleeping.

Sam screams in his sleep.

Dean jumps out of his bed and makes it to Sam's in an instant.

Pastor Jim calls it his fight or flight response.

He says that the day Sammy was born, so was Dean the Fighter.

He says Sam's lucky.

Dean thinks Pastor Jim has it wrong.

Dean's the lucky one.

Dean is waking Sam up.

Sam reaches for Dean.

No, Sammy reaches for Dean.

Just for a minute.

Sammy clutches his fists in Dean's shirt.

He's breathing heavy.

Dean runs his fingers through Sammy's bed hair.

Dean rubs Sammy's back.

I've got you Sammy. You're okay. It was just a nightmare.

The fog clears from Sammy's head.

He's Sam again.

He lets go of Dean's shirt.

Lets go of Dean.

Dean hates the loss.

Sorry, Dean. I didn't mean to wake you up.

Dean waves him off.

He doesn't mind.

Sam needed him.

No, Sammy needed him.

Sam is apologizing.

Dean makes Sam go back to bed.

Sam doesn't want to.

He doesn't want to see Jess burn on the ceiling.

Dean wishes he could have the nightmares instead.

He can't.

He hates that.

Dean hates anything that makes Sam lose sleep.

Or Sammy.

Dean?

Sam is falling asleep again.

Yeah?

Sam sighs.

His eyes are closing.

He's almost asleep now.

Sam speaks.

It's so quiet Dean can barely hear him.

But he does.

You going to be here when I wake up?

It's not Sam.

It's Sammy.

I'm not going anywhere, Sammy.

Sammy's asleep.

So is Sam.

Neither of them hears Dean.

That doesn't matter.

Dean finally falls asleep again.

But not really.

I'm not going anywhere, Sammy.

Personal bodyguards don't sleep on the job.