Title: The Brothers Winchester Code (01/19)
Series: The Brothers Winchester Code
Rating: Adult
Pairing/Characters: Eventual Dean/Sam
Notes/Disclaimers/Summary: Spoilers through 02x10, "Hunted." I don't own the characters of Sam and Dean Winchester; this is strictly a fan piece. Summary: After the events of Hunted, Sam finally figures out what to tell Dean. But maybe he should have kept his mouth shut, since what he says puts the brothers on a road they never contemplated.

Chapter One

"Dean! I got it!"

Dean shot up and determined there was no danger before he blinked groggily and fell back onto his pillow.

"You got what? An STD? That might be too much information, especially before coffee," he retorted, rubbing at his eyes with the back of his hand.

"Ha ha, out of the two of us I think I'd place my money on the man-whore to come down with a ravaging case of syphilis, bro," Sam retorted with a grin which faded as he looked away.

"So whatcha got, Sam?" Dean asked, figuring his brother was waiting for Dean to demonstrate complete awareness. When Sam didn't answer right away Dean cocked his head and when he saw the rigid nature of Sam's posture he sat up. "Sam, what is it?"

"It's just; I know what to say now. I had something I wanted to say right then but I thought you wouldn't hear me. You'd just think I was giving you a knee-jerk response."

Maybe he wasn't as awake as he thought, Dean wondered as he let Sam's words tumble in his brain.

"What? Say when?"

Dean watched Sam steel himself and he became even more concerned.

"When you asked me what I could say that would make it all right," Sam's voice was quiet but firm. His words served to practically catapult Dean out of bed.

"No. Hell no. We are not talking about this," Dean growled as he stalked over to his bag and began rummaging for clean clothes.

"Yes we are, Dean. We need to, I need to," Sam stated, his voice having risen only slightly.

"Well tough," Dean announced as he pulled his shirt on. Sam flopped back on the bed and slammed his fists down.

"I'm sick of having this stuff in my head! If I don't get it out, it's going to kill me or worse, you. And then where will I be?"

Dean's face softened marginally.

"Refraining from going all touchy-feely on me will not get you killed, Sam," Dean told him, but Sam was already shaking his head.

"It already has almost gotten you killed, Dean," he responded, "Or have you conveniently forgotten Dr. Ellicott?"

Dean tensed as he always did whenever he heard the name. Not that it was often, because he had expressly forbidden Sam from ever bringing up that situation again. Which Sam had protested against but had fallen into line on…until now. Dean should have known that Sam was just biding his time until he could hit him with it again.

"And I want to invoke The Brothers Winchester Code," Sam added, his features schooled into a steely mask.

Dean whipped around in shock.

The Brothers Winchester Code. God, how long had it been since they'd used it? Dean thought for only a moment before he realized the last time they had was when Sam started talking about Stanford.

His mouth twitched slightly as he recalled how The Code came into existence. Even though the subject matter was a bit painful, the memory itself was a good one.

Sam waddled into their bedroom and sat on the side of the bed, absently picking at the covers. Dean looked up from the trigonometry book he was reading and frowned slightly. Whenever Sammy was acting like this, this patient waiting-for-Dean's-attention thing he sometimes did, it usually meant he had something he wanted to say that he was afraid was going to make Dean mad. However, it was a rare thing that Sammy was willing to sit quietly without something besides his brain to occupy him so Dean took advantage of the fact and got through the required reading before setting the book aside.

"What's up, Sammy?" he asked, and Sam shrugged a shoulder.

This must be a doozy, Dean thought to himself. He rarely had to pry with Sam. Usually he was more than happy to talk to Dean. In truth most of the prying came from Sammy's end when he wanted Dean to talk to him.

"Something bothering you, kiddo?"

Again with the shrug. Dean decided to cut to the chase.

"Do you have something you want to talk to me about?"

Sam nodded but refused to meet Dean's eyes.

"So why aren't you talking?" Dean asked, careful to keep any annoyance out of his voice.

"You're gonna be mad at me, or make fun of me," Sam confessed.

"No, I won't," Dean replied automatically and was rewarded with Sammy finally looking at him. Of course it was to roll his eyes but he would still consider it a step forward.

"Right. 'Cause you never make fun of me for what I say, or the words I use, or the sound of my voice, or…" Sam trailed off and looked at Dean, a glance that said 'Need I go on?' as eloquently as words.

And really, Sam did have a point.

"Well…what if I promise not to make fun of you?" Dean asked and Sam considered it for a moment.

"Will you promise not to get mad, either?" he requested and Dean nodded and grinned at Sam.

"Any more rules you want to make up before you tell me whatever it is you need to say?" he teased and Sam looked thoughtful before he blushed and gave Dean a shy smile.

"Can we?" he questioned and Dean smiled.

"Make more rules up? What for?"

Sam shrugged and looked away.

"I dunno. I just thought it could be, I don't know, like a thing between us," he murmured and Dean laughed.

"What kind of thing? Like a secret?"

Sam shook his head.

"No, but that's a good rule. More like a set of rules or something that we could use when we want to talk about something really important with the other person," he finished and then lifted his shoulders again. Dean pondered it for a moment.

"Okay, we can do that."

Sam's face lit up.

"Really?"

"Sure, Sammy. And we'll call it…" he trailed off and thought about a good name. He smiled at Sam when it hit him. "We'll call it The Brothers Winchester Code."

Sam nodded frantically, almost bouncing on the bed.

"That's a good name, Dean."

"Alright so I guess rule one of the code is that no one gets made fun of for what they say, right?"

"And rule two is that no one gets mad at the other person," Sam continued.

"Rule three is that whatever is said stays a secret between us, unless it is something that could hurt you," Dean said and held up a hand when Sam protested. "Sorry Sammy but that's a given. If you tell me something that will hurt you if I keep it a secret then I'm not going to follow that rule."

Sam frowned but nodded.

"Okay but if you break one of the rules you have to be punished," Sam said and he thought for a minute, ignoring the teasing smile on Dean's face. "Rule four is that when you take the oath you have to say what your punishment will be right away, so that you can't say later that you didn't know what would happen."

"Take the oath?" Dean teased. Sam nodded seriously.

"Of course, Dean. We have to take an oath before we begin to use The Code or else it's not serious."

"All right, Sammy. What else?"

Sam concentrated for a good minute before looking up at Dean hesitatingly. Dean quirked a brow.

"What is it, Sammy?"

"It's just, I want to make a rule about no interruptions but it sounds mean."

Dean smiled at his brother's attempt to spare his feelings.

"Maybe we can make a rule that limits how much the other person can say or something."

Sam looked up at his brother as if Dean were the smartest person in the world.

"How about the interruptions can only be five words or less?"

"Only five words?" Dean asked and Sam grinned.

"You don't talk as much as I do, Dean, so I figure you won't really need a lot of words."

Dean shook his head and then a sobering thought hit him. They were talking about this, making up these rules, because Sam wanted to talk about something serious. And he was afraid Dean would get mad at him or make fun of him. He decided they needed another rule to make sure that Dean didn't inadvertently do either one.

"I've got a rule, Sammy, and it's important. Rule—what number is it?"

"Six," Sam provided.

"Rule six is that once the discussion is done no one can talk about it for 48 hours."

Sam frowned at him.

"Why do we need that rule?"

"If it's something really serious, something that might upset the other person, then I think it's important that person be given time to think about what was said, so they don't get angry."

Sam nodded.

"Okay, I think that's enough rules, Sammy. What about you?"

"I'm ready, Dean."

"So how do you want to take the oath?"

Sam considered it. Then he stood up and faced Dean.

"I, Samuel Winchester, do solemnly swear to abide by The Brothers Winchester Code, and I promise to give Dean first shower for a month should I fail to live up to the terms."

Dean grinned.

"Is it wrong that I want you to break The Code?"

Sam rolled his eyes but smiled. Dean stood up and faced him.

"I, Dean Winchester, do solemnly swear to abide by The Brothers Winchester Code, and I promise to give Sam the last cookie for a month should I fail to live up to the terms."

Sam smiled at him and stuck out his right hand, which Dean grasped. Then he stuck out his left hand and Dean laughed.

"A simple handshake not enough for you, Sammy?"

Sam merely shook his head and Dean grasped the proffered hand. Then Sam shook their joined hands three times before he let go and sat down. Dean sat next to him and waited.

"I want you to tell me what happened to Mom during the fire," Sam whispered and Dean's heart clenched.

End of Chapter One