This is just nothing but schmoop.

Sam Winchester wandered the aisles of the store, a large chain store. They were the same no matter if in Idaho or Florida. It was pitiful he knew his way around them all. Dean wanted socks, and general first aid supplies and some car part Sam didn't even want to know what its purpose was.

Dean was a shopper. He'd compare prices and amounts and who knew what else. He also swore Sam to secrecy, if that fact about Dean Winchester slipped out, well suffice to say Sam would be a dead man, tortured dead man. Dead would be a step up.

So bored, Sam wandered the store looking at nothing and everything. It was late, nearly midnight. A very harassed looking woman with three small children in tow caught his attention. He tried avoiding them, but no matter what aisles he turned down there they were. He wondered if there wasn't some law that stated small children shouldn't be out in public, especially in stores after eight pm. If not there should be.

His first avoidance route took him through the small appliances section. The harried woman and her brood headed at him from the other end, too late he was trapped. Turning, pretending to look at blenders their words hit into him, "Maybe dad would like this?" The smallest child, maybe five, chimed in, "He'd like a new coffee mug."

Sam smiled and side-stepped, giving them room to examine the coffee makers and found himself in front of the waffle irons.

"Hey Sammy, come on little buddy, these'll be cold."

"You actually cooked on that thing, Dean that's gross." Sam rested his chin on Dean's shoulder, looking over. "And stop calling me little buddy." Dean reached around with his free hand, and pinged Sam's forehead with his finger.

"You betcha Sammy." Dean grinned ear to ear. Holding up a plate of waffles, some actually not burnt. He'd dug the waffle maker out of someone's garbage two days ago, taken it apart, and put it back together again, working this time. Dean then spent an afternoon scrubbing it with steel wool. Dad was gone hunting…again…and Dean told him waffles were cheap and filling. Sam was fourteen and still seemed to believe everything his big brother said. "Come on, try?"

The waffles weren't so bad. Dean even figured out how to mix jelly with cheap imitation maple syrup to make flavored syrup. Waffles at three minutes after midnight that your brother made you weren't such a bad snack.

These waffle irons, new and shiny and on sale for father's day probably didn't make nearly as good waffles as that old one he and Dean had for one summer.

Father's Day. Sam never felt the urge to give his father a gift, not that the day was ever observed anyway. Not really. The book department caught Sam's eye. He doubted there was anything interesting, but he'd take a look, maybe he could escape his pursuers. Picking up a few books, replacing them, there was nothing in the selection he wanted to be seen even pretending to look at. On his way through to the electronics department one small section grabbed his attention, made him stop and take a look.

"Read it again, Deeeaan, please?" Sam snuggled against Dean's side, poking Dean's ribs with small fingers. "Please Dean, please."

"Sam, it's midnight," Dean made a big show out of looking at his watch. "Three minutes after midnight, I'm tired. Can't we read about the Bear in the Big Blue House tomorrow?"

Sam huffed against Dean's side. Dean was ten and got to stay up as late as he wanted, Dad never made him go to bed. Never made Sam either, Dean was the one who insisted on bed times for Sam. Dean shifted, pulling up farther against the headboard so he was somewhat sitting up, dragging Sam along with him.

"Ok, how about the first three pages, and we finish tomorrow?"

"Thank you!" Sam wound his arm around Dean's waist, squeezing as tightly as he could. Dean didn't squirm away, instead rested his hand on the top of Sam's head. Sam only remembered hearing the first few sentences before he was asleep.

Putting the book back in its space Sam glanced around the store. The coast was clear, he made a dash for the electronics department. Three steps into it he was surrounded. Two out of the three small children were chasing each other up and down the game section, pointing to this and that. Wheeling around Sam came face to face with computer parts.

"Dude, hit my head again and you'd better be armed and fast if I get up." Sam cracked open one eye, it was 12:03 AM, and Dean was pinging his head.

"It's early, Sammy, get up!"

Sam rolled over and pulled the pillow over his head. Dean yanked the blankets off. Sam flipped over, sitting up, shouting, "What? Dean what?!"

Dean shoved a box at him, a carry bag on top of the box. "Happy birthday Sammy!"


Dean's chin dropped almost to his chest. "It's after midnight, officially your birthday, I couldn't wait." The box and bag poked into Sam's chest.

Taking the items, Sam propped them on his knees, opened the box.

"I figured what good is my geekboy, pain in the ass little brother without a computer. I got the one with the alien head on it, thought it was cool, but if you want some other kind…"

"No." Sam said quickly, not able to look up cause his vision was swimming. "This one is great."

Sam had no idea how Dean managed that laptop, there were a lot more affordable ones, gotten much easier. Dean never told him, Sam never asked.

He decided it was time to find Dean, if he didn't soon he'd hear his name as a lost child over the loud speakers, not that that had ever happened before. Hell, it happened last month. On his way to the men's department, he'd start there, Sam passed girl's department.

"Jesus Sam, what the hell you doing out here? It's nearly midnight."

A sweatshirt dropped over Sam's shoulders. He ignored it, throwing more stones viciously at the small creek. He ducked his head away when Dean swatted at him.

"Sam, come on, what's up?" Dean settled next to him, nudging his shoulder. "Did you have enough money for your date, it was all I had."

Sam threw more stones, avoided looking at his brother. "Was plenty." Digging in his jeans pocket Sam pulled a twenty dollar bill free, holding it out for Dean, along with the Impala's keys.

Dean's hand stayed resting on his knees. "What happened Sam?" His voice was soft and understanding. Sam wished he wasn't sixteen and taller than his big brother because all he wanted to do right now was cry into his brother's chest. But he was sixteen, and old enough to take condoms on dates and Dean would make fun of him.

"Guess I wasn't good enough."

Dean snorted, "You mean you were too good." Reaching up, Dean gently pinged the back of Sam's head. "She blow you off?"

Shaking his head, "Not exactly. We went, turns out she just wanted a cool ride to meet up with some other guy."

"She sullied my car. The bitch." Dean tapped the back of Sam's hand still holding the twenty. "Well, the way I see it, here we are, two nice guys on a warm summer night." He glanced at his watch. "Just a few minutes after midnight and we've got an extra twenty and the coolest car in the state. Whatya say we go find an all night bookstore?"

Sam looked over at Dean, met his gaze, then laughed. "That's lame."

"Dad's gone for a few more days, how about we try out that I.D. you have that says you're old enough to get in a bar?"

"They have bars in bookstores now?" Sam grinned. Dean pinged his head again.

Sam was nearly trapped by the three small children and their rattled mother picking out shirts, on sale for Father's Day. He ducked down another aisles, this one full of greeting cards. Stopping when he got to the Father's Day cards Sam fingered a few, reading them. One, for stepfathers, made him stop cold suck in his breath. 'You may not be my father, but you were always my Dad.' It announced amid some football cartoon.

There was a time in his life he'd bemoaned the fact he didn't have a dad like other kids did. He replaced the card carefully. Now he felt sorry for the rest of the human population who didn't have the dad he'd had.

Darting around the children, again, there must be at least eight carbon copies of each, he headed for customer service. "Can you help me find something?" He asked, a bit breathless from his close escape.

"Sure." The man, middle aged, and obviously gay looked Sam up and down. "Anything you want."

Sam turned on his most sparkling, dimpled smile. "I need peanut M&M's all I can get for…" Digging in his pockets he produced forty-eight dollars and change. "For forty-eight twelve."

The man laughed. "Must be someone special."

"Yeah." Sam cast a nervous glance over one shoulder.

"Be right back."

The man disappeared, leaving Sam to lean against the counter, surveying the store. No sign of Dean yet, and no mention of Sam's name on the loud speakers. His fingers tapped impatiently against the countertop.

"Here ya go." The man reappeared, turned out M&M's were on sale for Father's Day too.

Boxes tucked under one arm Sam sprinted out the door, the air was warm, not too humid, the sky slightly hazy. It was mid-June, they were in Ohio. A warm breeze ruffled his hair as he pulled his car keys free, dumping the contents of the boxes onto the driver's seat. There must be nearly a hundred of the little bags of peanut M&M's. Brushing his hands over his thighs, dumping the boxes the bags had come in into a near-by trash can Sam headed back into the store. They already had the A/C running and the change in temperature made him shiver slightly.

As long strides took him by the refreshment section Dean's voice startled him. "Hey. There you are." Dean shoved a frozen coke and warm cookie at him. "I've been looking for you. You shouldn't wander off like that Sammy." The sound of young, small voices floated around from the jewelry department, making Dean turn and smile. His chin jerked toward the family currently dogging Sam's trail. "Cute kids."

"Uh huh." Sam pulled frozen coke through his straw and watched his brother over the rim of his cup. "Thanks." He said softly.

Dean eyed him curiously, handed his own drink and snack off to Sam. "Hang on to these for me while I pay. You want anything?"

"Naa, I'm good."

Trailing behind Dean through the checkout, getting an odd look from Dean when he smiled and nodded at the customer service man, then flushing when he got a thumbs up back Sam shrugged at Dean's unspoken question. "He's here at three minutes after midnight, who knows?" Sam offered, using his most innocent voice.

"Hummppfff." Dean wasn't the chatty type. Retrieving keys from his pocket Dean turned a suspicious gaze on Sam when he reached for the car door. "Sam."


"There's like a million bite-sized packs of M&M's on the front seat."

Sam sipped his frozen coke, it made the roof of his mouth tingle. "Hmmm." Standing on his toes he looked over Dean's shoulder. "Yep."

Dean quirked an eyebrow, leveled a seriously curious stare at him.

"What?" Sam tossed one hand in the air, striding around to his side of the car. "There was a Father's Day sale, it would be foolish not to take advantage of it."

Dean nodded, putting a wise expression on his face, opened the car door, reached over and unlocked Sam's side, and carefully cleared the seat before sliding in. As Sam pulled his door closed Dean's finger pinged the side of his head, he heard the soft, almost inaudible, "Thanks Sammy."