Samuel, Sammy, Sam

I don't own anything – damn!

I was four years old and a dog, which I insisted on petting, had just bitten me good and hard. I remember clearly, crying and screaming, running to my brother and throwing myself into his arms.

"Shhh Sammy" Dean's voice was calm, far calmer than eight year olds should be "Calm down – it was just a dog dude"

That was the first time my brother called me Sammy and I liked it. Winchesters didn't do hugs or kisses or big displays of affection but being called Sammy was Dean's way of letting me know just how much he cared and it made me feel all warm inside, like a four year old should feel.

I was always bullied a lot at school and, despite all my 'training' I wasn't particularly good at defending myself against human foes. I was a little fatter then and hadn't grown into my body and the fact that we always moved around meant I didn't make any real friends; there was just my brother and me. Dean, however, didn't have any problems with the bullies, he was sixteen then and my hero. "Come on Sammy" he would say, pulling on that old leather jacket he still insists on wearing "Point the little fuckers out to me and I'll make sure they eat dirt for what they've done to you" and somehow, the bullies wouldn't bother me again and I knew better than to ask just what Dean had done.

"Samuel" I knew that I was in trouble, felt it down to my bones, hearing my father's voice, so rough, so harsh, he was holding a big brown envelope in his hands and I could see by his eyes that he was taking no prisoners but it was the use of my full name "Samuel" that really made me go cold and I stood before him, chin out, pulling myself up to my full height I had four inches on Dean now and even more on my dad

"Yeah" I didn't sound like me, my voice all hard and determined

"When were you going to tell us son?" my dad's voice cracked like a whip "When?"

"I was planning to tell you…" he heard the hesitation in my voice and he turned on me, his hand slapping hard against my cheekbone

"If you go son" he hissed "You stay gone – do you understand?"

"Yeah" I didn't let him see the tears and I pulled my hand across my face, dragging them away "Yeah I understand" I snatched the envelope from his hand and thrust it into my pocket, most families would be proud of a son who had won a full ride to Stanford – but my family was not like most families I knew.

"Sammy – don't go" the hardest part of all was hearing that name, that one sign of love and affection, the reminder of my childhood and my hero and I tried to blot it out. Dean wouldn't cry or beg or even say 'I love you – stay" but his hand on my arm and his voice in my ear "Sammy" was the bitterest pill of all to swallow

"I have to Dean" I said and that was all it took to break him.

Jess never called me anything but Sam, we had no pet names for each other, hell, I was hardly the 'snookems' type. In bed, between the sheets, in moments of utter passion it was always "Sam – yeah – Sam" and I loved it. I was me at last, no ones soldier, no one's hunter, I was just Sam and I liked Sam because Sam meant normal, a new life and one that I cherished.

Dean's first words to me in four years were 'Easy tiger". The sight of him in my dorm room made my head spin and I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. We had been so close as boys and now we were so far away from each other it hurt. It was only when I got back into the passenger seat of the Impala and heard him whisper "Sammy" that I knew that he still cared, but Sammy was a twelve year old boy who had a hero brother, a dumb four year old that liked to pet strange dogs, I was Sam now, Sam Jess's boyfriend, Sam, lawyer to be, I wasn't that chubby child of so long ago and I didn't want to be Sammy again.

When Jess died it hurt so badly I felt I might die from it too. How was I to know the dreams would come true? How was I to even realise that this was just the start of something that would become more and more unexplainable. Dean was there and I both loved and loathed him, loving him because he was there and loathing him because he had taken me away from my 'normal' life and plunged me back into this life again, a life I had so wanted to leave behind.

On we went, weeks turning into months, months passing without us really noticing and then, one day in Chicago, dad turns up and I realise that I'm Sammy again, the youngest son, the rebel, the strange one. We hug and make up – as much as we could bearing in mind the circumstances – and we go into battle, so sure in our own ability that nothing could stop us.

Dean is quiet now and I hate seeing him this way, he is a pale shadow of my hero brother and his anger burns but there is something else in his eyes, something secret, something hidden and I know that he his hiding something. I'm not coping too well myself, always tearful, always needy. One death makes you think of others and I want to break out of this cycle, to get away from this dark place and make it alright again.

When Gordon bellows my name in a bar, something snaps

"Lighten up Sammy" he flings his hand in my direction and I want to take it and snap the wrist, unprepared for my own anger, I look at Dean and will him to see me, I know what I want now and it is no good hiding or fighting against it...I am that four year old who needs his brother's arms around him; I am that chubby twelve year old who wants his hero to back him up

"Only he gets to call me that" I say and my brother's eyes flicker towards me and, just for a moment, I see the love there.