Title: The Love for a Teddy Bear
Characters: Dean & Sam, with a little bit of John, Mike and Kate
POV: Dean
Pairings: None
Warnings: None... well... maybe slight out-of-characterness for Dean...
Notes: None
Disclaimer: As much as I hate to admit it, I do not own The Winchesters, although I so dearly wish I did. They are the products of Kripke and his writing team...sigh I do, however, own any and all original characters grins

The Love for a Teddy Bear

I sit on the floor of the motel room, the open box in front of me. I am surrounded by old photographs from when my parents were married; me just after I was born; when Sam was a baby; my first, second, third and fourth birthdays; when Sam was a few months old… In one picture, I am sitting in the chair, a two week old Sam in my arms. The widest grin is spread on my face – I am so proud and happy to be holding my baby brother. In another picture, I am in a pile of presents. Sam has made his way into one of the fallen over boxes and is playing with the tissue paper. Mike, Kate and Pastor Jim are sitting behind me, bright smiles on their faces. Dad must have been on a hunt, and Caleb must have taken the picture because they're not in it.

I gather up the photos, placing them back into the box. I slide it away and bring another over to me. DEAN'S TOYS is written on the box in big adult letters. I have no clue who wrote it. It looks like Dad's handwriting, but it could be Mike's too.

I tear through the tape and open up the box. The first thing I pull out is Mr. Snuggles – an old stuffed white bunny. Isn't this Sam's? How did I get a hold of it? Shouldn't it be with Sam's stuff? Maybe Sam's toy boxes were too full when Mike and Kate were packing our stuff. I make a point of giving this to Sam when he comes back with lunch.

-0o0o0-

Dinky cars, Tonka trucks, Smurf figurines and an array of various other childhood things surround me – and I still haven't gotten to the second box of toys. I put everything back into the box, with the exception of Mr. Snuggles, and pull the second box of toys over to me. I open it and slip my hand into it. My hand grips the soft fur of what feels like an old teddy bear. It feels so familiar – it can't be can it?

I pull my hand out of the box, the arm of an old brown, rugged teddy bear clutched in it. The right eye is missing, the fur is gone from around the neck, the nose has long been replaced by a bright blue button. The fur is tattered and thin from years of being loved by a small child. That small child was – and in some cases, still is – me. It was given to me on my fourth birthday from Mom. Me, and my four year old intellect, had immediately named it Teddy.

"That's a handsome name for a bear," Mom had said, and I had proudly agreed with her.

Teddy went everywhere with me. The mall, Grandma's house, Pastor Jim's, Church… It even went with me when Dad and I went to the hospital to see Mom just after Sam was born. I remember placing the bear on my shoulders just so he could see little baby Sammy. To me, Teddy was just as alive as Mom, Dad and Sam…

So on the day four month old Sam managed to rip Teddy's nose off, I had a fit.

"Mom!" I'd screamed; I ran to Mom for anything and everything. "Sammy hurt Teddy!"

"What happened, sweetie?" Mom had asked.

"Sammy ripped Teddy's nose off!" I'd replied, not understanding the reason behind the smile on her face. Much to my chagrin, she didn't punish Sam like I thought she should have, but instead replaced Teddy's hard but fuzzy nose with a bright blue button! Buttons were not made to be teddy bear noses! I'd tried to tell her that, but she persisted that the button just made Teddy look even cuter than he already was. And nobody argued with Mom. I'd given up that fight when I had realized I wouldn't win it. And when Mom took us all out for ice cream. Ice cream always seemed to make everything all better… And a big chocolate mess of Sam. His face and hands were covered in chocolate ice cream, leaving Dad to clean him up while Mom cleaned up my ice cream laden fingers. I forgave Sam for ripping Teddy's nose off before Mom put him to bed that night.

Teddy was like a part of my family. He was also one of my only reminders of Mom… I remember the night she died so clearly…

Flashback:

I awoke hearing Mom scream and Dad call for her. It sounded like she was in Sammy's room. I got up, and with Teddy in my arms, ran to Sammy's room; something had happened to my brother. The next thing I knew, the room was on fire, and Dad was shoving Sam into my arms. I gave Teddy to Sam to hold onto; he did, and didn't let go, while I followed Dad's orders, and ran out of the house, Sam in my arms. Dad followed me outside, just as Sam's nursery completely burst into flames. I looked at Sam, who was in Dad's arms when the firemen got to the house, then to Teddy who was in my arms. Sam and Teddy were all I had to remind me of Mom. I knew none of the photographs had survived, except the ones Dad kept in his wallet.

-0o0o-

While we were staying with Mike and Kate after Mom died, I let Sammy keep Teddy with him; he needed it more than I did. Dad didn't seem like Dad anymore though. He started going out more and more and wouldn't come home until late at night. Mike and Kate didn't seem to know what it was he was doing, and although they were family friends, I never did feel comfortable with them; they weren't family. Sam and Dad were my family, and the only people I would ever feel comfortable with. Although, Dad was slowly slipping away from that. I rarely saw him. Teddy became my best friend then. I told him everything; my thoughts, feelings, how I felt about Dad. I even swore to Teddy that I would always keep Sam safe from anything and everything.

-0o0o0-

It wasn't too long after that when Dad told me that ghosts were real, and that's what had killed Mom. I didn't want to believe that. How could that be? Ghosts didn't exist. I went running to Teddy to rant to him about what Dad had told me. It angered me though, to know that teddy bears didn't talk. I wished Teddy did. But it was better than ranting to Sammy; he was too young to understand. That was the time I would never leave Sam's side. I even slept with him to make sure nothing could get him. If anything wanted to get my little brother, it would have to go through me first. I told Teddy this too. Teddy understood everything, even though he couldn't talk. I knew Teddy would go with me everywhere, no matter where we ended up going after staying with Mike and Kate; I knew we weren't going to stay with them forever.

-0o0o0-

But the day we did leave Mike and Kate's was the worst day of my life. I couldn't find Teddy! I was crying to Dad that I couldn't find him, and I wouldn't leave without him. Dad was telling me to get in the car, and that he didn't have time to wait for me to find him. He also said we couldn't afford to have worthless things with us. That angered me even more. Teddy was not worthless – he was the only thing to remind me of Mom, besides Sam. I couldn't look for Teddy, and yet Sammy was allowed to take Mr. Snuggles, the bunny I gave him for his first birthday, with him. It wasn't fair. Teddy was my best friend, and I had to leave him. It wasn't fair!

Mike and Kate promised us that if they found Teddy that they'd call us, and we could go and pick him up. I was reluctant to agree, but had no choice when Dad had picked me up and was carrying me out to the car.

"Sit down and stop your crying. We don't have time to look for Teddy," he told me, strapping me into the booster seat; Sammy was already in his car seat. "And if Mike and Kate find him, we'll come back and get him." His face softened, as did his voice. "I'm sorry, Dean, but we have to leave Teddy for now. We have to go." He shut the back door, and after saying goodbye to Mike and Kate, he got behind the wheel, and we left.

-0o0o0-

The years past, and I gradually forgot all about Teddy. Sam, Dad and I were too busy hunting for me to worry about the bear. And Sam had forgotten all about Mr. Snuggles… Well, after he'd left him at Mike and Kate's after Thanksgiving Weekend when he was six. Sam had a fit when he couldn't find the stuffed bunny. I had made a point of searching the house for Teddy and Mr. Snuggles, but didn't find them. Granted, I wasn't as sad as Sam was about not finding our stuffed animals, but it still frustrated me that I still didn't have my best friend.

-0o0o0-

And then Sam left to go to College. Despite the fact I was twenty-two, I suddenly wished I had Teddy to rant to, and even hug. I'd never admit it to Sam –and definitely not Dad – but that's how I felt. I did not want Sam to leave the hunt. I was proud of him, though, for chasing a dream I'd had for years, but I had never thought that he would ever leave us behind. I felt alone. Dad didn't offer me any kind of comfort; he never did anymore, and I never looked at him the same way after he told Sam to never come back. I found myself with a light hatred for him for saying that. What kind of father would say that to his son? Just for living a dream? It just wasn't fair…

End Flashback:

These boxes have been sitting in his room for a week now. Why didn't Mike and Kate call Dad and tell him he'd found Teddy and Mr. Snuggles? Maybe they'd figured Sam and I were too old for them.

I sit and stare at Teddy for a long moment, a wide smile on my face. After twenty-one years of wondering off and on, I've finally found the only best friend I ever had since before Sam was born. Slowly, I wrap my arms around him, squishing him against my chest. I may be twenty-six now, but my love for Teddy will never die. It's amazing how the love for a teddy bear can last an entire life time. Or in Sam's case, a small white bunny named, Mr. Snuggles.

-0o0o0-

I don't know how long I've been sitting here on the floor, but the opening door startles me from my reverie.

"What are you doing?" Sam looks at me with an amused look on his face.

Don't ask me why, but I'm not embarrassed about holding the worn, rugged teddy bear in my arms. I hold the bear out, turning him so Teddy faces Sam.

"Sam," I smile, "meet Teddy."

Sam's face turns to utter confusion. "What?"

The smile doesn't leave my face. "Yeah. You were too young to remember him. Mom gave him to me on my fourth birthday." My smile fades. "Actually, you held onto him when I carried you out of the house when Mom died."

Sam's face turns serious, and he sits on the floor across from me. "Really?"

I nod. "Yeah." I shake the memory away, and smile again. "Do you remember when we had Thanksgiving at Mike and Kate's and I practically tore their house apart looking for a bear? You were six at the time."

Sam's eyes take on a faraway look as he tries to remember. He smiles a moment later. "And if I remember correctly, that was the weekend I lost Mr. Snuggles."

I chuckle. "Yes it was." I reach behind me to where I'd put Mr. Snuggles when I'd set him aside. "And actually… I found Mr. Snuggles." I pull him out, and hold the small white rabbit out to Sam.

Sam's eyes widen, and the biggest grin I've ever seen grows on his face. "You found Mr. Snuggles?" He takes him from my hand. "Where was he? I thought I'd never see him again."

I laugh. "He was in with some of my toys." I smile. "I knew you'd want him back."

"Wow… How long has it been since we've seen these two?"

I calculate it in my head. "Twenty-one years for me, and eighteen years for you."

Sam shakes his head slowly, still trying to grasp the fact that he's holding Mr. Snuggles for the first time in many years. "Wow…" He looks up at me. "These bring back a lot of memories."

I nod, looking down at Teddy. "That they do."

There's a little bit of silence, before an idea hits me. "Hey, what do you say about taking Mr. Snuggles and Teddy along with us for the rest of the hunt? Dad's not here to tell us otherwise."

Sam snorts. "Are you serious?"

I look at Sam, the smile disappearing from my face but not my spirits. "Yeah; why wouldn't I be?"

Sam bursts out laughing a second later. He looks up at me. "This is the most childish thing we've ever done," he raises his hands in happy surrender, "but sure, why not. Maybe they'll help us sleep better at night."

I hadn't thought about that. I look at Teddy, then to my brother and Mr. Snuggles, a light smile on my face. "You know, I think you're right; I think they will."

FIN