A/N: If you read Nightmares and Names, there's a kid by the name of Richard mentioned. A bully Dean really had to deal with because he'd hurt Sam. Well...for those of you who wanted to read what happened...
Dean sprawled out in the chair, making a happy sigh as he did so. So close to thirteen now, he could almost taste it. A teenager! Only another week to go. As soon as he was thirteen, he was certain Dad was going to let him use the rifle. He'd used a handgun and a shotgun, but the rifle had been beyond him. At least, until now.
And now that he was going to be a teenager, he might even be able to get a place of his own to sleep, instead of in the same bed as Sam. His brother, for someone so tiny, was like a frickin' spider or something, legs and arms everywhere. It was annoying. He wouldn't even mind sleeping on a cot and letting Sam have the bed if it just meant that the cot was his.
At least the place they were staying was his for another half hour or so. Dad would pick Sam up from school, and then bring him home. They'd do something for dinner, and Sam would bug him about something he'd done at school.
He shouldn't really complain. After all, he'd had the entire place to himself for the day. Inservice day for the teachers, whatever that meant. Lucky for him, unlucky for Sam, whose school didn't have an inservice day. Actually, Sam would probably be upset if he didn't have school. Freak.
The door slammed open, startling Dean, and Sam flew into the room, head ducked low. "What's the matter?" Dean asked, bewildered, hurrying to his feet. He nearly sat back down again as Sam all but tackled him, burying his face in Dean's shirt. "Whoa, what the heck, dude?" Dean asked, trying to peer down to see Sam's face. "Sam, what's wrong?"
Sam's shoulders shook, and Dean could hear Sam's breath hitching. Dean pulled away and held Sam at arm's length to see him. His shirt was torn, and he could see dirt and scratches on the bare skin beneath it. He lifted Sam's chin with a single finger, and found red rimmed eyes and a tear stained face.
He also found a bruise on the side of his jaw. Not very big at all; it'd be gone in a couple of days.
But the fact that it was there was what bothered Dean. He gritted his teeth and moved Sam to sit in the chair he'd just been in. "Tell me everything," he ordered. He knew he should've gotten Dad to train Sam sooner. Yeah, okay, the kid had had less than a month to process that monsters were real, but he could've defended himself against this. He crouched down, then looked up at Sam's hanging head. "Sammy, you need to tell me what happened."
Sam gulped in air and let out a shaky breath. "Richard, he...he found me waiting outside. Started laughing at me, 'cause..." His lower lip quivered. "'Cause I didn't have a mom to pick me up."
Dean froze. "I-I told him Dad was coming, and I didn't want to talk about Mom, I swear," Sam continued, as if pleading with Dean to believe him. "But he wouldn't...wouldn't leave me alone. He kept saying that Mom had left when...when she'd seen me, said I was too ugly and horrible to be hers."
Dean's knuckles were as white as the rage that was beginning to burn inside of him.
"A-And then Tommy said that he'd heard the teachers talking about...about me, that my mom was d-dead," and he choked back a sob and waited a little until he could talk again. "And Richard, he..."
Fresh tears rolled down his face, and Dean simply stared at him. He could feel his nails digging into his skin and cutting, and he didn't care.
"He said that Mom had probably died 'cause she hated me so much," Sam whispered. "Wanted to die more than she wanted me to be her son." Sam looked up at Dean for a second, then down at his hands, looking even more miserable. "Then he hit me and laughed some more."
And that was it.
"You listen to me," Dean said, his voice low and as calm as he could manage. He knelt and sat up on his knees to look Sam straight in the eyes. The worst part of it was, Sam almost sounded like he believed it.
He knew they didn't talk about Mom much. It hurt Dad to talk about her, and Dean had kept his memories tight inside of him, and hadn't really shared, almost afraid that talking about her would cause the memories to slip out. Sam had never asked, but Dean wondered now if he'd been afraid to ask, afraid that he'd upset Dean or Dad somehow, with the way he'd defended himself as he'd explained about Richard. And somehow, that was worse.
"Mom loved you more than anything. You hear me?" Dean said. "She used to sing you to sleep at night, when you were little. Carried you around when you were cranky and never stopped smiling because she was just...just holding you. She called us her beautiful boys," he admitted softly. Sometimes, if he closed his eyes hard enough and thought even harder, he could still hear and see her saying it.
Sam was staring at him now, sniffling every few moments. A single tear fell from his eye, but he didn't seem to notice.
"And she didn't die because she hated you," Dean continued, swallowing. "I think...I think Mom went in there that night and saved you. Dad said he heard her scream, and then he came up and saw the fire." Never mind her being pinned to the ceiling; Sam didn't need to hear that yet. Not when Dad was still trying to figure out how that had happened.
"That was when Dad got you out," he said softly. "And I really think he got you out because Mom helped him get you out. She saved you, Sammy. She loved you that much."
Sam's lower lip quivered, but for a completely different reason this time. "Wish I could remember her," he whispered sadly. "Just even what she looked like. I know...I know you don't like thinking about her, because you do remember her."
"Sammy, even if it does hurt to think about her, it doesn't mean you can't ask questions," Dean said, before adding, "She was your mom too, you know."
And funnily enough, the memories weren't gone after he'd talked to Sam. If anything, he could see her more vividly now, from her smile to the way she washed dishes and danced with Dean, soapsuds and all.
Sam sniffled, before he leaned forward slightly. Dean reached out and pulled his brother into a hug, feeling Sam relax even more at that. He'd give Sam one of the pictures he had of Mom. The one with her and Dad in front of their old house. That one would be perfect.
For now, he held onto Sam as tightly as Sam held onto him. Sam's fingers clutched at his shirt, and Dean could feel hot tears running down the front of his shirt. He didn't care.
He turned to glance at the front door that was still open from Sam's entrance. The white hot rage he'd felt before returned with a vengeance, and Dean glared daggers at the world beyond it. It was bad enough that Sam had never known Mom, but to throw him around because of it?
There weren't enough words to describe how wrong that was.
But there were enough actions to correct it.
Dean probed his lower lip with his tongue and winced when it ran over the cut he'd figured was there. Richard had managed one decent punch in the beginning.
Of course, that had been before Dean had pulled out the baseball bat.
Sam had wound up taking a nap shortly after their talk. If Dean was going to be honest, he was pretty sure Sam had just cried himself to sleep. He'd made sure the salt was lined up properly, rested a gun next to Sam's bed just in case, and then had swung the baseball bat up on his shoulder and headed for Sam's school.
Sure enough, Richard and his group of three friends had still been there. Guess their own moms hadn't come for them yet.
Considering what fantastic boys they were, Dean was really surprised they hadn't been picked up yet.
Richard had scoffed at Dean when he'd gotten close enough. "You're Sammy's big brother, huh?" he'd said, rolling his eyes. "Is the baby still crying for his mommy?"
"No," Dean had said, grinning. "But you're gonna be crying for yours in a minute."
Richard had, to be fair, thrown the first punch.
Dean had taken the first and last swings, though.
He was pretty sure he'd bruised all three boys; one of them had run away at the first sight of the bat. He'd avoided the head, had aimed for softer tissue, and hadn't hit them that hard. There'd been no external bleeding, just enough to remind them of who they were dealing with.
Richard, however, had taken home more than a bruise. With his right arm probably now being put in a cast, Dean didn't think he'd be hitting anyone again for awhile, and by the time his arm healed, they'd be long gone anyways.
Dean didn't realize he'd been grinning until he saw an all too familiar black car headed his way. His smile dropped instantly, and he watched as his dad pulled up alongside him.
Dad rolled down the window and glanced out at Dean, raising his eyebrow. "I left your brother back at the house," he explained. "School called me, said Sam had taken off. He's still out for the count."
Dean simply stood, the baseball bat at his side. He knew what he looked like; his hair was probably sticking up in various directions, and there was dirt all over. Plus, the split lip was a little hard to not notice.
And then there was the bat, and Dad wasn't going to ignore that.
"So tell me, Dean," Dad said, resting his arm on the top edge of the car door. "What happened?"
Dean gazed at his dad for a moment, before he said quietly, "I was protecting family, sir."
Dad was silent for a moment, before he jerked his head towards the passenger seat. "Good to hear it. Get in here."
Dean didn't need to be told twice. Once he was in the car, Dad pulled away from the curb, taking them back to the house. "You gonna tell Sam?" Dean finally asked.
Dad glanced at him before turning back to the road. "You want me to?" he asked in return.
Dean shook his head. "Not really. I don't want him to think about the jerk at all."
"Then I won't," Dad said, and Dean sighed in relief before his dad continued. "Only if you tell me exactly what happened today."
Dean nodded. He'd tell Dad later, when Sam wasn't listening.
And then he'd tell Sam tons of things about their mom.