Always my Shadow
Dean Winchester eyes took in the scenery as he drove along the empty roadway. The wind blew through the open driver's window of the Impala. The breeze warm on Dean's face, his eye's noticing the Spanish moss laden cypress trees, muddy grass, and vines going by in a blur. They were on their way to their next hunt in Southeast Louisiana. The sun was sitting hazily in the early evening sky causing a smoky hue across the marshland. Dean glanced over to the other side of the front seat, looking at his brother.
Sam was fast asleep, head leaning against the passenger window, dark red lump on his forehead, arms hanging limply at his sides. It had been a rough couple of days, their latest hunt had taken its toll, and Sam had taken the brunt of it. Dean recalled how the nasty poltergeist had gotten the jump on them at Rock Creek Graveyard, just outside of Tolar, Texas. Dean had been digging up the body of one, Silas Martin, ghost from hell, Sam was keeping watch, salt gun at the ready, unfortunately, the screaming ghost had snuck up behind Sam, surprising him, and flinging him into a headstone. Dean had watched in shock, from his position by the grave, as his brother slumped to the ground. Dean had reacted quickly, his heart racing. He salted and burned Silas' bones faster than he thought possible, wanting to be done with it, wanting to help his brother. The ghost had vanished in a gray mist as the flames burned high above the dirt that surrounded them.
"I'm okay, just a little bump on the head". Sam had slurred, once Dean had roused him from his meeting with the head stone. Dean had helped Sam to the passenger seat, bent down in the car door, checking him over. Dean unconsciously took his hand and smoothed it over Sam's long bangs, pushing them out of his eyes and off the knot rising on his brow.
"Slight concussion, but you'll live", Dean grunted as he realized his own 'chick flick' action and dropped his hand to his side.
"A concussion, you think so?" Sam stared up at his brother, his eyes wide, questioning.
Dean walked around to the trunk, stowing away their gear; he slid into the driver's seat, smiling to himself, he remembered that look, it was one Sam gave him when he was little, the one that made him go into full big brother mode. He started up the engine, glancing over at Sam; he pulled the Impala out on the road.
Dean had been driving all day while Sam dozed in and out of sleep, a large bruise now decorating his forehead. He thought about stopping, but every time he brought it up, Sam objected, saying he was fine. Dean kept a close tab on his brother as he drove, watching as he slept. Ever so often, he would rest his hand on his face to check for a fever, so far, so good. Dean smiled to himself, he knew how to do this, take care of his brother. It was what he did. It gave Dean a purpose, made him who he was, gave him focus. The one thing Dean remembered, for as long as he could remember, was his little brother, his Sammy. He was practically an extension of Dean himself, a part of him, his shadow. He glanced over at Sam again, and then stared out through the front windshield, one of his first memories from his childhood coming to his mind, his lips curling up into a small smile.
When Dean was four years old, he remembered going to stay with their next door neighbor, Mrs. Bea for two days. He remembered because his Dad and Mom had gone to get his baby brother.
"I don't want a baby brother", the small, blond boy stammered out as he stomped his foot on the floor.
"Oh, you will like having a brother", Mrs. Bea had said, as she patted the small boy on the top of his head.
"You will have to take care of him, he will be younger, and he will need a big brother to take care of him", Mrs. Bea smiled down at Dean as she scooped him up and sat him beside her on the faded old couch, pulling him in close.
"I don't think so…" Dean smirked up at her as he squirmed to get out of her grasps. "I don't want a little brother; I like me, mommy, and daddy".
Dean laughed to himself; this had to be his oldest memory. He could still see the shock on old Mrs. Bea's face when he had told her he did not want a little brother, her scolding eyes, still embedded in his brain.
Sam stirred in the seat next to him; Dean reached over and ran his hand over his brother's forehead, his skin was a little warm to the touch. Dean decided it was time to stop, with or without Sam's approval. He stared out into the darkness, hoping he would come up on a motel sign in the near future.
When Dean's mother died, he remembered that his Dad had withdrawn into himself. He was only a child, but he knew that his Daddy was different after that. He used to read to Dean, tell him stories, play with him, now, when he wasn't feeding or changing Sammy, he just sat in the chair in the living room.
"Daddy, the baby's crying", Dean stood in his superman pajama's staring at his daddy.
"What…" his Daddy slurred out into Dean's face, his breath thick. Boy, Daddy needs to brush his teeth, Dean thought.
"Sammy, he's crying", Dean's little hand rested on his Daddy's big one, pulling it. "Common Daddy, Sammy's crying".
"Well take care of him, he's your brother". John Winchester slurred out through his alcohol induced brain. He slumped in the chair, as the Jack Daniels bottle fell empty to the carpet below.
Dean looked from his Daddy to his baby brother's bed, and back to his Daddy. Daddy was asleep; he guessed he would have to do something. He padded across the floor to his brothers bed and peered through the rails.
"It's okay Sammy", the baby still screamed and thrashed around in the bed, big tears rolling down his cheeks.
Dean grabbed hold of the railing of the baby bed and clamored his short legs over the top, landing on the mattress with a thud. Baby Sammy stopped crying and looked over at his big brother. Dean smiled at his baby. Sammy's small hand flailed around in the air toward Dean, as if grabbing for him.
"It's okay Sammy, I'm right here", Dean reached his little hand over and grabbed hold of his brothers tiny fingers. Sammy clasped his fingers around his brother's hand, and held on tightly.
Sammy cooed and smiled at his brother, his wide eyes blinking. Slowly Sammy closed his eyes, Dean snuggled in closer, pulling his little brothers baby blanket over them both.
As Dean pulled into the motel, he gently placed a hand on Sam's shoulder.
"Sam, I'm getting us a room", he gave Sam a shake.
"Kay…" Sam opened his sleep filled eyes to look over at Dean, as he stretched his long arms over his head, muscles popping.
"Just stay here" Dean stepped out of the car and quickly entered the motel lobby, looking back at the car, he saw Sam's eyes drooping shut.