-1Sam Winchester's jaw dropped open as Dean slid one of his game pieces three spaces forward to sit on the same space that Sam's pawn was currently occupying. "Dean, that's not fair!" he cried. John could only assume that had Sam been standing instead of sitting at the table, he would have stomped his foot for emphasis.
"Sammy, life's not fair," Dean replied with mock sympathy as he deposited his brother's game piece back into the starting space. Then he moved the other pawn he had in play four spaces forward, completing his turn. He locked eyes with his brother, a smug and satisfied grin on his face.
"I did not cheat!" Dean exclaimed, instantly becoming angry.
"Sam, Dean didn't cheat," John interrupted. He held one hand up to his older son, stopping the impending argument before it could even take shape. "What he did was a little mean, but it's not against the rules. Take your turn and let's go."
It was a rare night that all three Winchesters could sit around and do nothing but play board games and for some foolish reason, John had assumed that playing games with his sons would be a pleasant way to spend the evening. He should have remembered that it was next to impossible to have a completely pleasant experience playing a board game with an eight-year-old and a twelve-year-old.
It had been Sam's idea to play Sorry. Dean had wanted to play Monopoly, but John had vetoed that idea almost as soon as it was suggested; the boys fought like cats and dogs when they played Monopoly. Not that they were any less argumentative with Sorry, but at least Sorry was a faster-paced game.
Tonight Sam, who usually did quite well at the game, had been having a run of horrible luck. The deck of cards had been run through almost three times before Sam drew a card that allowed him to put one of his pieces into play. He had been patient at first, but on the third time through the deck, he patience had worn thin. Sam hadn't even gotten his piece onto the other side of the board when he was faced with the same fate, seeing as Dean had just knocked the only pawn he had on the board back to the starting position.
The boys had gotten more vicious at Sorry than they had been the last time John played with them. Though they had always taken great joy in knocking each other off the board, John couldn't recall a time when either of them had split the seven for the sole purpose of taking the other one out of play. He idly wondered which of his friends he could blame for putting that strategy into his boys' heads.
Sam turned over the top card on the deck and let his breath out in relief; he was able to pull one of his pieces out of Start. He smiled smugly at Dean. Dean, in turn, raised an eyebrow at him, silently daring him to issue the challenge. Sam fell for it, hook, line, and sink "Bet you I'm going to win."
Dean just smirked; his brother had indeed walked right into his trap. "Yeah, right, Sammy. You couldn't even win if I let you."
"I could, too!" Sam exclaimed indignantly.
"Boys," John interrupted wearily. "Can we just play the game, please?"
"Yes, sir," the boys answered in unison.
Over the next half-hour, the Winchesters continued the game with Sam and Dean taking every single opportunity that arose to knock each other's pieces out of play. John wasn't quite sure just when the tension had gone from the boys' demeanors, but the teasing they were giving each other now was good-natured. Somewhere along the line, the constant see-saw battle between the brothers had become funny to them.
The sound John treasured the most was his boys' laughter. He didn't hear it very often, so he had learned to absolutely cherish it when he did hear it. As always, he was afraid to say anything to them about it, afraid of shattering the illusion that they were happy. His sons were happy, he was happy. The emotion was almost foreign to him now, but every once in a while, moments like this made him remember how good it felt.
"Aw, Sam!" Dean cried as Sam split a seven to land on a slide that kicked two of Dean's pieces out of play. "They were almost Home!"
"S'why I had to get rid of 'em," Sam grinned.
That was another strategy John had never seen them pull before. He smirked at his sons and took his own turn.
As soon as Dean pulled a card on his turn, a mischievous smile curled onto his lips. He took one of his pawns out of the starting position and switched it with one of Sam's that was eight spaces away from its Home. "Dean!" Sam whined.
"And that's why the name of the game is Sorry," Dean replied, almost in singsong.
Sam took his turn, which unfortunately didn't provide him with a way to get Dean back for his most recent attack on Sam's pieces. John pulled a card and grinned, moving his final pawn into Home. "No, this is why the name of the game is Sorry."
He had to laugh when he saw the identical looks of surprise on his sons' faces. The two of them had been so concerned with revenge and getting each other back that they hadn't noticed that John had moved all four of his pieces around the board and into the Home space. "Whoa, wait a minute," Dean said, shaking his head. "The entire time Sam and I were going into Start and out of Start, you just went around the board four times and quietly won the game?"
"Yeah," John said with a shrug. He leaned back in his chair at the table and smiled innocently as his boys. "Sorry."