Title: Take Care of Your Brother, Dean

Author: FraidyCat

Disclaimer: All things "Supernatural" originated elsewhere, and still belong there.

Summary: Wee!Chester Oneshot.

A/N: This story is dragged from "real life". I read a news story today about a 5-year-old in North Carolina who actually did this, for the reason stated, and it just screamed "DEAN!"

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John had only left them on the lawn for an instant.

He was sure it would be all right. Hands shaking as he inspected the animal bite on Dean's little leg, he couldn't believe even now that it had happened.

They were having such a good time. A rare, family afternoon that had nothing to do with the demon who had taken Mary, or any of the other creatures John was just beginning to understand were out there hurting people. It was Sammy's first birthday, and it fell on a Saturday. Since Sammy wasn't exactly old enough to make his own suggestions, John had asked Dean what they should do to celebrate, and Dean had wanted a picnic on the lawn. They had been renting a small, ramshackle place on the edge of the woods for a while. The house had seen better days, but it had a nice big yard -- which was why John took it in the first place -- so he agreed with his boy.

He still missed Mary with every breath he took, and John knew he would never survive his baby's first birthday without her, unless there was some form of distraction. He knew what a fuss she would make, if she was here, and he was determined to do this one thing right, at least. It felt as if he had done nothing else right in the six months she had been gone.

He let Dean set the menu, and together they carted bologna sandwiches, tortilla chips and a bag of peanut M&Ms into the yard. John ceremoniously spread out an old blanket, and plopped a giggling Sammy on top, pausing to ruffle his hair. He should probably get that cut, he mused, straightening up again. "Dean, come stand on the blanket, son." His order was gentle. Dean was a stubborn little boy, but he was daddy's little soldier. He rarely gave John any trouble, for which he was extremely grateful. His infant son took an enormous amount of time. He had been an easy-enough baby when Mary was still alive, but now he was understandably given to night terrors. He seldom slept more than three or four consecutive hours. Since he was teething, he had become fussy and cranky during the daylight hours as well. The fact that he was giggling now was due in no small part to having his brother nearby -- and having just woken up from a nap.

John snapped himself out of his reverie and clapped Dean on the shoulder with one hand while he reached into the front pocket of his jeans for the baggie of salt with the other. Painstakingly, he outlined the blanket in the grass, as another hunter had shown him a few months ago, while Dean watched seriously. "Take care of your brother, Dean," he said when he was finished. "Daddy's going to get the lemonade for us big boys, and a bottle for Sammy."

Dean grinned and puffed out his chest, making John hide his own smile. "Yes, sir," he assured his father, and John trotted back to the small kitchen.

It had only been a moment -- no longer than a minute -- when John heard a wail from Sammy, and something else. Snarling? Instantly stricken with terror, he dropped the pitcher of lemonade, hardly noticing when it shattered on the floor. He careened out the open back door, mentally wondering what manner of being had found them. What entity had come from the unknown and attacked his precious boys?

He froze in confused uncertainty at the tableau before him on the lawn. A fox? Something recognizable, from this reality; something salt lines did nothing to deter; and something his 5-year-old son was wrestling just a few feet away from Sammy. The baby wailed again, and the high-pitched sound spurred John's feet. "DEAN!", he shouted, sprinting for his boys. "DEAN!"

It seemed to take forever to cross the few feet and wrench his boy off the animal. John kicked at it, trying to get to Sammy, but the fox seemed to have the same destination. He could sense Dean standing enraged beside him, and John pushed at him without looking. "Get the hoe! The garden, Dean!" He cursed himself for being without a weapon. He had not yet been a hunter for long, and arming himself was not the second-nature it would become. Dean took off in a small blur, John noting with surprise and undeniable pride that the boy veered onto the blanket and yanked up his howling brother, half-carrying and half-dragging him to the tiny garden at the side of the house.

The fox snapped, and John sidestepped, then landed a solid kick to its ribs. It yelped in pain but sprang up again. It was impossible to count how many times this sequence of events repeated itself before Dean was back, pressing the hoe into his hands. "I'mgoinbacktoSammyinthegarden," the little boy panted out in one breath, and he was off like a shot again. Armed with the hoe, his fear and his anger, it was only moments more before John dispatched the fox. He beat the soft body long after it was dead, screaming in rage.

When he was sure it would not move again, John stood over the carcass for a moment, wheezing as his own lungs tried to catch up with him. Then he dropped the hoe and sprinted for the garden, where he had found Dean tickling Sammy in the ribs. The baby was giggling in happiness again and rubbing chubby fists into his eyes to clear the tears. At first John had been relieved, but his heart had thudded in terror again when he saw the blood running down Dean's little shin.

Picking up a son in each arm, John had carried them both inside. He deposited Sammy in his crib, which started him shrieking again, but John had managed to remember the glass in the kitchen, so he let him shriek. He had taken Dean into the bathroom and carefully cleaned the bite with shaking hands. He knew he had to get the boy to the doctor, and the fox needed to be taken somewhere, someplace where they could test it for rabies. The bite itself was not bad, but that fox... That animal did not act like a healthy animal.

John found one of Dean's favorite Batman bandages and tore into the package. "Deanie, son, what were you thinking?", he asked as he stuck it onto his little leg.

Dean jutted out his chin. "I wanted to protect my brother," he announced, and John thought that his heart would burst out of his chest. Dean had not hesitated to sacrifice himself for Sammy. He had not shed a tear.

John leaned his head into his son's chest. "My Big Boy," he murmured. "You did good, Dean. Daddy's very proud."

Dean smiled happily and John stood, knees creaking. He lifted the boy off the counter and took his hand. "Let's go get Sammy, son. We need to go into town and let a doctor look at your leg."

For the first time, Dean's lower lip quivered. "It's okay," he protested. "I don't wanna. Will there be needles?"

"I sincerely hope not," John answered truthfully, "but if there are, I don't know a braver little boy anywhere. What's a needle for someone as brave as you? After, we can stop for ice cream."

Dean brightened a little. "That would be good. Sammy missed his party."

John leaned over and kissed his oldest son on the head, even though Dean tried to squirm away. "We'll have Sammy's party tomorrow. Today is special Big Brother ice cream, just for you."

He was a little surprised when Dean shook his head and frowned. "No, Daddy. Sammy always gets some of my ice cream. I take care of him."

John blinked back tears and steered Dean toward his still-screaming brother. "That's right Dean," he whispered. "You do."

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Add'l A/N: The poor little boy in N.C. is actually receiving rabies treatments, but I did not want this to be a big medical free-for-all, but a simple exploration of a big brother's motive.