Usual disclaimers apply!
I started this way back but after a little bit of gentle prompting from Gemini for my Freckles story decided to dust it off and finish it. Its really nothing much, more whimsical than anything else, but still has managed to spread itself into two chapters. Hope you enjoy it.
A.N. The timeline jumps back from a 13 year old Dean and 9 year old Sam back to a younger 7 year old Dean and a very Wee-3 year old Sammy.
Reaching for the impossible
Chapter 1. Stubborn is his middle name
Sammy was a scrappy fighter when the mood took him especially when he would explode at one taunt too many from his older brother. So this time Dean merely smiled at the ripples of tension that shook his younger brother's nine year old slighter built frame sensing his frustration with a knowing smirk.
Oh yeah, he was now an easy kill in the making he realised, and like a cat waiting to pounce he instinctively took advantage of Sam's loss of focus and slipped effortlessly between his defences to quickly and decisively pin his younger sibling like a mouse with a thud to the ground.
Laughing at the ease of it all he sent out a hand to pull his younger brother from the grass only for Sam to bat it away angrily.
"Don't be such a bad loser," he scoffed lightly, and reached out and tussled his little brother's mop of loose curls, adding bitingly. "You've got to learn to loosen up you little freakoid."
Sam faced darkened even more his lips thinning further in anger and he went to turn away but his brother snagged his arm smirking a fat grin at him. "Seriously dude how do you expect to measure up to me? I understand why your jealous, but you're just not ready for the glory that is 'me'."
Shaking out of his brother's teasing touch Sam spat angrily back hiding behind his angry retort as the tears readied to explode down his face. "Oh yeah because at what level would you ever think that I would want to measure up to a major asshole like you?"
Sometimes for Dean the teasing was just too easy, watching his brother take the bait, and then fight back. Sam had always given back as good as he got, which normally ended in a mock fight, a little bit of huffing and puffing before winding down to gentle teasing and the usual bitching, but this time Sam was reacting differently.
His little brother was livid, truly scary frighteningly livid. At him!
He watched as his little face puckered up in true rage as he pushed himself out of his reach walking backwards away from him venting loudly. "You're full of hot air Dean and nothing else. Why on earth would I want to be like you? If anything I'd really hate to be you! You're such a stupid jerk. So no I don't have to be you."
There was a momentary pause as he sucked in a deeper breath and screamed so loudly that Dean's ears vibrated. " I don't want to be you."
There was so much more that he wanted to say but his mouth snapped shut at seeing the bemused and somewhat hurt expression on his older brother's face.
Instantly the rage boiling inside him evaporated and his small shoulders sagged. "I…. I'm sorry," he whispered, then he turned on his heals and sprinted up the hill his little legs eating the ground up at an unnatural rate of knots.
Dean watched mystified at seeing the sudden deflation in his brother, as if something had taken literally the wind out of his sails.
'What did I say?' he asked himself with small shrug of his shoulders of disbelief as he watched Sam turn tail, chin pointed in a sharp angle down to his chest, fighting back unshed tears, looking suddenly way too young to be holding in such pain.
He called anxiously after him, trying to put right any wrongs but not sure exactly how or when they occurred. "Sam I was only yanking your chain. Hold up dude," he called out puzzled as he took off after him in long loping strides eating up the distance between them. "Come on wait up. Sammy?"
Sam lengthened his stride as he brother called out behind, storming his way silently up the hill to their crummy apartment. 'Don't you dare cry', he scolded himself, keeping back the warmth and release of tears. 'Don't you dare! '
Inside his too fragile barriers he knew Dean's taunting had hit too near the mark. It was just damn hard to hear it all day long, all week long, that he would never measure up. It was bad enough having his dad's voice echoing those same thoughts all the time, every frigging day, every frigging waking hour. He just couldn't deal with it today coming from Dean.
As he rushed up the steps that led to their tiny dingy apartment, two at a time, he wanted to escape. To get as far away as he could to his brother's reach, his perfect touch. Because, seriously, yes, he got it now and understood why he didn't measure up. Not ever.
He flung himself onto his bed his breath hard and ragged as he knew the truth behind his anger. At that moment of recognition the first tear fell and he fisted it angrily away appalled that Dean might see it and turned onto his stomach and buried his face into his pillow.
'No, no, no.' he hissed frustrated at his body's weakness reminding him too easily why he didn't measure up. 'God, Dean would never dare cry like some freaking girl. Not like me. Stop the fuck crying now you stupid freak.'
Dean had stopped in the bedroom doorway and watched his brother's nine year old frame shudder with small broken sobs. Blinking back his own threat of tears at seeing his brother so distressed he slowly walked in and sat on the edge of his bed. Tentatively he reached out a hand and placed it on his Sam's shoulder and the tremors fighting themselves within his brother's taut frame vibrated in his fingers.
"I'm sorry Sammy. It was only a bit of teasing. I didn't mean anything by it. Honest." He rubbed a hand over his face, lost to find the correct words of support. Instead he reached out and smoothed his fingers over the back of his younger brother's head. "Sam whatever it is that I've done tell me and I'll never do it again. I promise."
There was a half strangled sob that escaped the confines of the pillow and Sam turned his head around to meet his brother eye to eye. His voice sounded tinny and small as he whispered. "It's not you Dean. You can't stop being you. You just can't."
"Then why are you so angry? Do you really hate me?" demanded Dean, the sting of those words were still fresh wounds that needed to be healed.
"No, I… I don't hate you. I just got mad that's all and things got blurted out. I didn't want to say those things to you," confessed Sam, turning his head back down on to his pillow not willing to add any more, knowing that it would only either hurt his brother more or just make him plain mad again at him.
"If you didn't want to say them to me then who?" asked Dean softly, aware of the internal battle going inside his brother.
A thought crossed his mind and his faced tightened in temper. "Are you getting bothered at school again? Is that fat ass Abbot kid still causing you grief, cos if he is I can get it sorted. Believe me."
Sam shook his head in denial and Dean blew out an exasperated sigh. "Okay, then just tell me what's going on in your screwed up head of yours little brother. Please."
"I just can't be you Dean," confessed Sam, letting out a tired sigh escape. "But he can't deal with it. He wants me to be perfect just like you."
"He? Dad?" Dean almost laughed out loud at relief at hearing his little brother's confession and the need to bash in Abbots face evaporated as quickly as his need to shake some sense into his brother as he heard the utter defeat in his little brothers voice.
Now the outburst from before made sense, his taunts that afternoon had just added more fuel to the fire raging inside his brother's projected slights. 'You moron' he chided himself. 'Say something right for once."
"Hey Sam, turn around. Look at me. Now!"
"Is that an order?" snapped back Sam, his shoulders tensing at his brother's suddenly sharper tone but he turned around nonetheless. Dean had sat back on the edge of the bed and he sat up in return, rubbing quickly and consciously away the dampness around his eyes and cheeks.
Dean wanted to hug him tightly, but such touchy-feely moments were no longer possible but he had to make Sam understand. "Dad knows your not ever going to be me. He doesn't want you to be."
"But he does," argued Sam back quickly. "He keeps telling me to do the things the way you do them. That every time I do something wrong its because I'm not you. He wants me to be you every single waking moment of my day. God if he could have cloned you as his second son and slipped in him instead of me he would have."
Seeing where this was leading thirteen year old Dean shook his head. "Your wrong Sam. Remember when you were little? Remember when you wanted to be like me so badly that you were like my permanent shadow?"
Sam shook his head in denial but Dean continued. "Course you do. You'd follow me around for days copying everything I did. It drove me freaking nuts!"
"I was only a baby them. I didn't know any better!" retorted Sam with a small flicker of a smile ghosting across his face.
"Remember the day you realised that you couldn't me be exactly? Remember what you did?" asked Dean softly.
Sam screwed up his face trying to recall that moment but shook his head again. "No."
"You screamed blue murder that's what you did, like a godawful banshee. Do you remember now?"
Self consciously Sam sniggered as a small memory resurfaced. "I was a real brat about it, wasn't I?
"Yep. Worse still is that we thought it had all blown over you. I should have guessed really, because you were into everything the moment you could crawl, but dad sure as hell was prepared for the living whirlwind called Sammy was he? You almost gave a dad a full blown heart attack.
6 years earlier
"Daddy why does Dean have those spots on his face?" asked the three year old of the older man still desperately trying to struggle through the morning onslaught of Sam and still read his newspaper.
"Freckles, little man, not spots," answered Dean for his dad noticing the paper tighten in his dad's grip at having to face a barrage of 'Why daddy' questions since his brother had woken up that morning.
There were limits that even his dad could reach when it came to his brother's ongoing ability to question everything.
Peering in closer at his brother's face Sam raised an eyebrow at his answer. "Freckles? Hmmm."
He trotted away from the kitchen table and next Dean could hear him pulling up the step in the bathroom. "I'll help you brush those teeth Sammy." he advised, knowing that his little brothers ability to get toothpaste everywhere accept his mouth could really piss his dad off at times.
By the time he had reached the bathroom Sam was already on his way out pouting. "I looked Dean and I don't have my freckles yet. When do I get mine?"
"You don't," answered Dean with a small shrug. Personally he hated his freckles and the way the girls would tease him about them. It was not 'cute' to have them no matter how many times Pam Debrunsky swooned over them.
"But I have to. We have to look the same," countered Sam with a tight feeling in his throat.
It was the only thing that mattered to him right now. Ever since Tommy Patton, the childminder's son had teased him about not looking like his brother he had done everything he could to act like Dean, talk like Dean and now he had to look like him too. If he didn't how could people know they were brothers?
"Look dude just be grateful you don't have them. The chicks go all loopy over them." muttered Dean in confession mode.
John looked over the top of his newspaper his attention caught by the sudden tension in the room. Jesus it was only eight in the morning and already Sam had worn down his defences. Thank god he had Dean to act as a buffer between the two of them.
He had half listened to the conversation going on with the boys and had held in the odd chuckle but now something was wrong.
Sammy looked about to throw a major wobbler, his eyes threatening full blown waterworks and his little hands bunching into fists. It happened rarely, the point where his over bright but normally placid three year old son couldn't comprehend the reason behind the word 'No' and be able to deal with the answer.
Sucking in a small breath Sam looked beseechingly at his brother. "But I want to get them Dean. I want my freckles."
"But you can't," responded Dean throwing his dad a quick 'come help me out here' look.
Putting his paper down John beckoned for his youngest to come over. He watched how his little feet dragged on the floor and his head bowed under his look. Putting a warning hand on his son's shoulder he said softly but firmly. "You have to stop bugging your brother like this. It's time to put an end to all this freckles nonsense."
He didn't get the expected 'Yes daddy' and when he looked into his youngest eyes they glared back at him in open defiance. God the child was so wilful at times that they should have put 'stubborn' down as his middle name. "Sammy" he lifted his voice in a warning but it was too late.
Screaming loudly in frustration the little boy vented. "I want my freckles. Dean's got them and I want them too."
He could hear Dean snigger behind him and John threw his oldest a warning look before he turned his attention back to his youngest and snapped a little bit more harshly than he intended. "Sam Winchester stop it just this minute, or I'll…"
Dean instinctively pulled his brother back, but was not prepared for how strong his little brother was or how indignant he was as he wriggled out of his grip and stomped his foot in anger. "No Dean, daddy's wrong."
"Sammy please, you really don't want freckles. I hate them."
"But you can't have them when I don't," cried Sam at his brother, before turning back to his dad. "You're a mean daddy. You let him have them but won't get me mine."
John's face fell open struggling to understand why his little boy was so demanding and how bloody-minded he was being. "What do you want me do here Sam? Do you want me to run down to the nearest Walmart and buy you a jar of freaking freckles?"
He grimaced when Sam nodded expectantly, hope suddenly making his eyes bright. "For godsake Sammy I can't buy freckles for you."
Sam didn't like the answer and the tears fell easily now in frustration as he looked in disbelief at his father. "But you can do anything daddy."
He twisted his head round to his brother for affirmation. "I'm right Dean, daddy can do anything. He can get me freckles…"
His patience worn too thin John Winchester waded back in before his brother could respond. "Oh for heavens sake listen up for the final time here. Your brother has freckles because he was born with them. You didn't get freckles. Just like me."
"But I don't want to be you." sniffed the small child staring up at his father with open dismay. He had to look like his brother. "I want to be like Dean."
John couldn't quite understand the little boy's dismay and openly shrugged his shoulders and so dismissing his out burst as being just a mere tantrum. "Well that's just the luck of the draw kiddo. Now stop being naughty and let Dean get ready for school and you need to get ready to go to Mrs Patton's."
Sam pouted, his face scrunching up in annoyance as his dad picked up his newspaper once more dismissing him with a quick warning stare. Daddy was just being a mean daddy again but that wouldn't stop him from getting his freckles like Dean.
In his pocket his little fingers rolled over the treasure that he had found yesterday in the sand pit and he knew how to get his freckles. Then Tommy would see that they were really brothers.
For a small child he walked with a natural confidence down the sidewalk, getting only the odd concerned look from a passing adult. With so many other children running around at the end of the school day it was easy for the passing adults to think he could not be walking alone, unescorted.
Sam Winchester was a little boy with a mission as he walked the few short blocks to the centre of town. He walked it most days with Dean and Tommy so it wasn't anything new to him. It had been way to easy to slip away from the small play area as Mrs Patton had stood talking with the other mothers at the school gates as she waited for Dean and Tommy to come out.
As he approached the final obstacle he paused, looked up at the signal and sighed patiently, waiting for the green man to blink it safe to cross. Dean said always to wait for the green man and he always did what his big brother told him. It wouldn't be safe not to. Fingering the penny in his pocket he grinned happily. He was going to get his freckles.
John Winchester picked up his phone with a long sigh on noting who the caller was. Mrs Patton was not the brightest of women but she was cheap childcare and seemed genuinely to like his boys. Especially his youngest who it seemed could run rings around her with just a smile or a frown.
God he just loved that kid way too much, what with his way to expressive eyes and dimples, and knew how easily it was for others to fall under his charms.
It had thrown him this morning when the boy had his tantrum and then sulked all the while over to Mrs Patton's house but he knew that nothing kept his normally cheerful three year old boy down for long and the nonsense of this morning would be soon forgotten.
"Hi Mrs Patton, is it time for me to get my boys," he asked with a frown checking his watch. He was sure he had another hour to go.
"Oh Mr Winchester, you have to come quickly. It's Sammy, he's wandered off …" cried Mrs Patton down the line, her voice nasally and congested with panic and tears.
John's throat squeezed shut and he couldn't breathe. Sammy gone? Finally he drew in a sharp breath as he asked through gritted teeth. "What do you mean you've lost him. For Christ sake he's only three years old. Just how the fuck can you lose him?"
"Oh god I know, but he just wandered off about fifteen minutes ago. Please come to the school. Dean is going crazy…"
"Put him on the line," demanded John, already heading for the front door his mouth dry with fear.
"Dad?" screamed Dean down the line. "Sammy's not here and that stupid woman is just sitting here crying. I've got to go find him."
"Listen up son, you wait till I come get you. We'll find him. Okay?"
"But he could be anywhere by now," his young voice hushed low as he whispered his fear down the line, "Anything could have taken him dad."
"Stay there. I'll be with you in five minutes. I don't want to have to look for both of you. You understand me Dean?"
"Yes sir," answered Dean, knowing that he had to follow orders here, but couldn't stop the hitch in his voice and the tears of panic started to fall, "Daddy he's too little to be on his own."
"I know son, I know," confessed his father his heart seizing in panic. He may have been hunting for only a few years but he knew already just what dark things were out there. Terrible things that could threaten his children. Mary's baby boy.
Sam walked down the long aisles utterly perplexed. He had followed a large woman and her gaggle of children into the huge store and for a while simply shadowed behind them. Now he was on his own and the store seemed to go on forever.
Some of the stuff was up so high he knew that unless he grew to be a giant he would never find what he was searching for. He had looked in the fresh produce frozen sections, the tinned food aisle and now he wandered around the household section. Those freckles just didn't want to be found. Not yet anyway.
Down one long aisle he drew to a halt. Looking up to the left of him he scanned the heavily stocked shelves. He smiled a huge sigh of relief. On the top shelf, fifteen feet up, was a stack of jars all with a smiling gap-toothed face of a boy with freckles plastered over his face.
"See daddy', he murmured to himself. "You can buy them."
The impala squealed to halt by the school gates. A throng of people loitered there, teachers, a few well meaning parents and two police officers. As he jumped out of the car John Winchester heart lurched painfully in his chest. Had they found his boy? Was he safe? Hope flared briefly till he saw Mrs Patton sitting on the steps still sobbing.
"Daddy," called out a familiar voice and his oldest boy was racing to his side. Grabbing him in a quick hug of relief he looked him over briefly and saw his seven year old boy struggling to hold back fresh tears from his red rimmed eyes.
Taking his hand, determined not to let him slip out of his reach like Sammy had done, he walked briskly over at the cops and asked. "Have you found him yet?"
"Mr Winchester?" asked Officer Reilly, waiting for the affirming nod. He could see the fear written across the man's face as he held his oldest boy to him. "We have teams on alert across the district. It would help if you could give us a recent picture of your son."
Fishing quickly through his wallet John pulled out a photo he had tucked away. A photo of Sam and Dean grinning brightly as they sat on the trunk of the car, happy innocent smiles that made the reason for hunting so important.
Fingering the photo with a shaking hand he stared at it briefly, afraid that this might be his last abiding memory of his youngest boy before turning it over to the police officer.
Officer Reilly took the photo from and handed it over to his colleague. Being a father of three young girls himself he could emphasise with what the man was going through all too well. "We'll do everything we can to find him Mr Winchester."
He watched as John Winchester gave him a brief appraising nod, then he asked them both, "Did Sam seem troubled at all today. Had anything unusual happen to him recently? Any reason for him to just run off?"
Dean scowled up at the cop, "My brother did not run away Mister. He may be small but he's not stupid."
Looking down at the seven year old Reilly nodded. "Its Dean, isn't it?" and he waited for the young boy to nod before continuing. "It may not seem important but if you could think of anything your little brother might have said or done recently which was out of the norm, it might be important."
Dean frowned up at the cop, before turning his face up to his dad, his fingers dusting over the bridge of his nose subconsciously, "He wanted freckles."
John's mouth twitched at the memory. "Oh God, those bloody freckles."
Damn it, the kid had gone too quiet, too quickly, after his little tantrum earlier. He should have noticed, should have been more clued up into how his little boy's mind ticked over. Stubborn, mule headed and persistent the little guy had not given in, just kept himself in check. Now he had gone off to get his freckles
Dean tugged on his dad's jacket sleeve, hope sudden lighting up his face. He knew his little brother better than anyone and he instinctively knew why and where he was going. "Walmart, dad. He's gone there, I bet you anything."
John Winchester understanding fully the implications of what his son had said, tore back to the car with Dean in tow not waiting for the cops reaction. In a squeal of burning tyres and smoke he had violated at least four traffic laws by the time he had made it to the end of the street. Nothing, not even the local enforcement officers watching him take off were going to stop him from finding his little boy.
Reilly scowled fingering his radio as he called it in. A three old making the four blocks in the late afternoon traffic on his own was a frightening prospect.TBC
One more chapter to go. Hopefully by Monday! Damn fast for me, I can tell you. Rozzy. Let me know what you think.