Title: Locked Out
Summary: "Dean, this is not funny!" Sam shouted over the roar of the rain.
Spoilers: None. Pre-series.
Rating/Warning: K , Gen. Minor swearing.
Disclaimer: Sam, Dean, and John Winchester belong to Eric Kripke. Lucky bastard.
Author's Note: This particular idea came to me last night and I just had to indulge it. Dean is 13, Sam is 9. Feedback is a happy! Enjoy. :)

The rain pouring down from the thick, black clouds was so heavy that Dean Winchester could barely see his brother through the sheet of water, and he could not stop laughing.

"Dean, this is not funny!" Sam shouted over the roar of the rain. He stamped his foot on the ground for emphasis and a spray of muddy water shot out from beneath his sneaker in all directions. Yep, little Sammy had just petulantly stomped in a puddle. As Sam looked down at his mud-streaked pants in disgust, Dean started laughing harder.

"Seriously, Dean!" Sam cried as he tried to shake the mud off his sneaker. "Not! Funny!"

"Oh, but it is!" Dean managed to squeak out between gasping breaths. He swiped at the tears in his eyes before wrapping his arms around his stomach. "This is great!"

"Great? Great?!" Sam's voice was rising in annoyance. "We are stuck outside in a torrential downpour!"

Only Sam could make his complaints about the rain sound like he was reading from the dictionary. His clinical description just set Dean off again. He was laughing so hard now that he couldn't even breathe. God, his stomach was killing him! Screw sit-ups and crunches. Extreme laughter therapy was totally going to be the next big ab workout.

Sam loudly groaned in frustration and kicked some mud at his brother.

Dean collapsed in the mud, no longer able to stand up straight. He sat down with his knees propped up in the air and put his head in his hands. Seriously, he needed to stop laughing. It was beginning to hurt.

Sam plopped down in the mud next to his brother. "This sucks."

Dean snorted, trying to choke back a fresh fit of laughter. Slowly, he began to calm down. "I'm sorry, Sammy," he said once he had regained control.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Sam grumbled. He stared straight ahead, refusing to meet his brother's eye. "Dad is going to kill you, you know."

"You mean he's not going to find this as ridiculously funny as I do?" Dean asked in mock surprise. Then he coughed. No. He couldn't start laughing again. His stomach wouldn't be able to handle it.

Sam sighed and gave Dean a weary glare. "Probably not."

It wasn't as if Dean meant to lock them out of the motel room. He could have sworn he put the key in his pocket before he and Sam had ventured to the vending machines in the pouring rain. Or, wait. Not the rain. The "torrential downpour."

To top everything off, Sam hadn't even wanted to go out in the rain. Dean had begged and pleaded and wheedled, but it wasn't until he adamantly refused to buy Sam a candy bar unless Sam went with him that Sam finally agreed to go. But he made it well known that he was not happy about it.

And then Dean had to go get them locked out.

Once the boys were back at the door, soaking wet and candy bars in hand, Dean had dug first into his right pocket and then into his left. Then he snickered when he remembered that he had left the room key on top of the television.

"Oh, no," Sam had moaned warily when Dean had come up empty-handed.

Dean had started laughing. "'Fraid so." When Sam pressed his lips together in frustrated anger, Dean lost it completely.

An ominous groan of thunder rumbled low in the sky, startling Dean back to the present. Sam cowered slightly, raising his eyes to the clouds. "Great. Just great," he grumbled. "Now we're stuck outside in a thunderstorm, Dean!"

Dean regarded his brother through amused eyes. No, it couldn't be. Sam wasn't really scared. Was he? "But you like thunderstorms."

"Yeah, when we're inside and I can watch it out the window."

"Aww, little Sammy's afraid of a tiny bit of thunder," Dean teased. He clucked his tongue. "So, so innocent."

"Okay, one? I'm not afraid. And two, it's not the thunder that's bothering me. It's the lightning. Millions and millions of volts of electricity are shooting through the sky in streaks right now and they could land anywhere."

Dean rolled his eyes. So it wasn't just complaining about rain that Sam could make sound like he was reading from the dictionary. "I'm well aware of what lightning is, Sam. You know the odds of being struck by lightning?"

"Not exactly, no, but I know they're much more in my favor if I'm inside."

Dean smirked and then nodded. Touché, he thought.

A tense silence settled between the two boys, the only sound from either of them being Sam counting in a whisper from flash of lightning to roar of thunder. The first time he had gotten to six-one-thousand, but now he was down to three-one-thousand. Sam met Dean's eyes and furrowed his brow with a whimper. The storm was approaching them.

Sam began inching closer to Dean when the thunder roared louder. Soon the lightning was forking through the sky above them. "Dean," Sam muttered, drawing out his brother's name as his voice quivered with fear.

"It's okay, Sammy," Dean said.

"It's not okay!" Sam cried. A loud clap of thunder rolled in the sky and Sam slapped his hands over his ears, startled. "I am so going to kill you." He was shivering and he was soaking wet and he wanted nothing more than to back into the motel room, change into dry pajamas, and hide under the covers until the storm blew over.

Dean sighed. Sometimes he forgot his brother was still just a nine-year-old little squirt. Feeling sudden pangs of guilt, he scooted close enough to Sam that their legs were touching and wrapped his arm protectively around Sam's little shoulders. "I won't let anything happen to you, Sam, I promise."

Sam looked up into his big brother's eyes and frowned. "If the lightning strikes, there's not much you can do about it, Dean."

Crap. Why did Sam feel the need to use logic on him? "But the lightning's not going to strike, Sammy. You know how I know?"

Sam sadly shook his head.

Dean paused. Now he needed to come up with something on the fly. "Because Bobby gave me a charm last time we were there. He called it the No Lightning charm. It won't let lightning strike anyone who's carrying it. And if it won't strike me, it can't strike you."

Sam held an incredulous gaze on his brother for a long moment before snorting and breaking down in laughter. "That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard!"

Dean had to admit that yeah, it really kind of was. He was usually much better at making up stories than that. "Got you to laugh, though, didn't I?" he said, elbowing his brother in the ribs. Sam gave Dean a small shove back. "Seriously, Sammy. What's a better way to get over your fear of thunderstorms than to be stuck outside in one?"

"I wouldn't call it a fear, exactly," Sam argued. "It's more of … an intense dislike."

"If you say so." With a heavy sigh Dean lay down in the mud, placing his hands behind his head. At Sam's shocked gasp, Dean just shrugged. "What's the big deal? I'm soaked and muddy anyway."

Sam considered that for a moment before deciding to join his brother. Though he had to blink against the pouring rain, he had to admit to Dean had had the right idea by lying down. His neck had been straining from having to look up at the clouds but now he was actually quite comfortable. As he watched the lightning brighten the dark gray sky with a startling amount of light, he found with surprise that he wasn't afraid anymore. If anything, he was actually kind of impressed.

The boys were still lying down in the mud when John drove up in the Impala. They were both startled when he began shouting at them before he had even climbed completely from the car. "What the hell do you two think you're doing?! Get up right now!"

Dean and Sam scrambled to their feet. Sam cringed at the disbelief on his father's face, but neither one of them said a word.

John darted his eyes from one son to the other, boggling at their silence. "You two are soaked to the bone! Don't you know enough to get in out of the rain? What the hell is wrong with you?!"

Sam and Dean exchanged an amused glance. When Dean raised a single eyebrow and grinned, Sam could think of only one appropriate reaction: he started laughing hysterically.