A/N: This is me at my sappiest, and it is all my sister's fault, so lodge your complaints with VesperRegina, please. :P She wanted me to write this because, scary as it sounds, it's actually based on a true story (which made her think of the Winchester boys). She heard it at church, of all places, and, no, I had no intention of perverting it with my frighteningly wicked imagination, but she wouldn't write it herself, so there ya go. My top reason for not wanting to write it was my failed career in the AF, which died as soon as I figured out how tough it is to put on a pair of boots and make a bed military style. So, I not only dedicate it to my sis, but to all those AF dropouts out there. Much love. Lyl.

"Making Beds"

Of all the conversations Dean didn't want to have at 2:00 in the morning, the "remember when..." one was definitely in the top ten. Because Sam seemed to only remember the bad stuff, and it was usually left up to him to try and fix it... even if he had to embellish a little.

He hated lying about Dad. John Winchester hadn't been a bad guy, and he'd had his faults. Sam should just be content to know that and still love him anyway. He did, really, but sometimes Dean felt like he needed to defend the man.

So when Sam playfully wrapped an arm around his shoulders and squeezed a little too hard and said, "Remember when Dad came home and found our room a giant mess?" Dean was pretty relieved.

Finally, a happy ending he didn't have to make up.

- - -

Fifteen years ago, 1991:

Star Wars. Why was Sammy so obsessed with Star Wars? "I'll be Luke Skywalker!" eight-year-old Sam Winchester had yelled about a half-hour ago, and "attacked" his twelve-year-old brother Dean with a fake saber (an old brown-paper tube he'd picked up outside on their way back from school).

Dean should've told him to do his homework instead, especially because afterward they'd promised Dad they'd clean their room before he got back from hunting. But instead, he got a pillow and used it as a shield and weapon at the same time. And by the time they were tired of play-fighting, the room was a wreck of old toys, books, and blankets.

"Aw, man... Sam, we need to clean up," Dean said, after catching a glimpse of the digital display on his raggedy wrist watch. "Dad'll be home any second and he wanted our room clean before he got back."

"Dean!" Sam whined, and Dean gave him the look. The one that said, "I'm the big brother--what I say goes."

Sam gave in, and they started to tidy up, starting with the bed. So they had it made before John tapped on the door and entered, shoulders drooping, tired glance at the still cluttered room. Dean thought it would make a difference, but as soon as Dad got a good look, he straightened up and demanded, "I thought I told you to clean this up before I got back?"

Dean gulped. "Yes, s-sir."

"Then why isn't it clean?" John questioned, and stepped over one of Sam's ratty, old stuffed animals to get closer.

Sam was too young still to figure out that didn't require an answer. "We were playing, sir."

"Sam," Dean hissed, under his breath, but it was too late.

"You were playing?" their father questioned, his voice rising in pitch and volume. "I was out, trying to make a living, trying to keep you two safe, and you were here, playing? I gave you a simple task, and I get home to this!" He turned, suddenly, and Dean jumped, but maneuvered himself in front of Sam.

But all John did was lean over and start yanking the covers from the bed. He toppled the mattress off then, and Dean pushed Sam back a little farther just in case something accidentally flew toward them. "Clean this up before I come back in again. I'm giving you five minutes! I think that's a little more than you deserve, don't you?"

Dean swallowed, but chorused along with Sammy, "Yes, sir."

As soon as John stormed out and slammed the door behind him, Dean turned to look at Sam. His little brother just stood there, looking shocked for a moment, and then burst into tears.

"Aw, Sammy, you know he didn't mean it," Dean murmured, and pulled his brother into a quick hug.

Sam wasn't about to calm down anytime soon, so he gently extricated himself and began trying to get the mattress back up on the bed. "We can do it..." he said, grunting around shoves, but he was a little worried they wouldn't, and that John was going to resort to spankings. Well, he wasn't going to let him spank Sam, and that was that.

"It's m-m-my fault, Dean!" Sam sobbed, and Dean left the stupid bed to go and try to soothe him again.

"No, it's not," he said, laying his hand on Sam's head. "I shouldn't have let you play around, when I knew we were supposed to be cleaning. Come on, help me get the bed up the rest of the way, all right?"

There was a knock on the door, and both Sammy and Dean froze. Dean glanced at his watch... It hadn't been five minutes yet, had it?!

"D-Dad, wait!" he called, trying to frantically pick up toys--Sam joined in, but the door opened slowly, and John stepped inside.

Sam and Dean dropped whatever it was they were holding and paired up like a couple of recruits.

"Boys..." John said, and wouldn't quite meet their eyes. He stepped forward, and reached out, eliciting a pair of flinches. But a moment later, Dean realized what he was doing, when he knelt down and pulled them into a big hug.

"I'm sorry."

- - -

Present:

"And then he said that he was just tired, it wasn't our fault, we were just bein' boys, and that was it," Dean finished, a fond tone in his voice.

"Man, I was so scared," Sam said and squeezed Dean a little tighter.

"Man, get off me!" Dean retorted, and scooted away in the motel bed. Whose idea was it for Sam to come over to his bed anyway? It wasn't like he couldn't hear the dude's booming voice from the other bed!

Sam snickered, then calmed down a little, kept his hands to himself but scooted close enough so that their shoulders were touching. "Were you scared?"

"I thought he was gonna beat the crap outta m-- us."

"Don't think I didn't notice that slip, Dean," Sam said, after a quiet pause.

Dean ignored him. "The thing is, Dad wasn't perfect, but he tried."

"I know," Sam murmured.

"I mean, he did the best he could."

"I know..."

"So do I..."

There was a long silence, then Sam finally spoke, emotion making his voice husky, "I know."

- end -