Little child, little child,
Little child, won't you dance with me?
I'm so sad and lonely,
Baby take a chance with me.

"Little Child" - The Beatles

Away from Bobby's for two weeks, the vampire nest well behind them, and Sam still couldn't see his big brother in the person next to him. He'd gotten Dean back briefly, for that one day. He'd seen him in the instant it had taken for him to pull out his gun when Gordon had threatened Sam. His brother was buried under there, somewhere.

Sam just wasn't sure Dean was ever going to let him pull that brother out.

He missed Dean. He missed Dean when there wasn't any music in the car. He missed Dean when his brother's shoulder never bumped near his. He missed Dean when, instead of laughing, bright eyes, he only saw cold, distant ones glaring at him.

And he was trying, so hard, to be the brother Dean had been for him when Jess had died. Always there, ready to lend an ear, ready to even be the shoulder to cry on, or at least lean on for a little bit when the memories became too vivid. Dean, though, didn't want any of that, and worse yet, pushed Sam away whenever he tried.

Sometimes Sam had to wonder if his presence was hurting Dean more than it was helping. If Dean even cared that he was still around. If Dean even lov-

He wasn't going down that road, because he was wrong. Dean still loved and cared about him. He'd proven that much, when push had come to shove back at Lenore's. Dean just had a different way of dealing with things, with grief. That was all.

There was a time, though, when proving how much he loved Sam hadn't been a push or shove deal.

The car was stopped, Sam realized, and he glanced around at the little hotel they were now parked in front of. "Call Bobby, let him know that wizard wannabe is taken care of."

Sam frowned as Dean slid out of the driver's seat. "We don't know that," he argued quietly. "I was going to suggest to Bobby that he keep an eye on the town for a little while, make sure no one else goes missing or-"

The door shut before he could finish, and Dean headed off for the front desk. "Never mind," Sam said miserably.

The job hadn't been all that difficult; a few people had turned up missing in a small town, and a grave had been desecrated before they'd gotten there. They'd found a guy who'd been attempting to do some dark magics with all the wrong but powerful tools and a set of very unwilling sacrifices lined up. They'd handed him over to the authorities for kidnapping charges and the desecration, but something still Sam couldn't quite put his finger on it.

Dean's dismissal, though, had sort of been expected. Dean thought the case was finished: Dean didn't want to talk about it.

Dean didn't want to talk about anything these days. Talk about anything, least of all, with Sam.

The car door opened, and Dean slid back in, only to relocate the car to the far end of the motel. He tossed a key in Sam's general direction, then slid right back out again.

With a sigh Sam followed after him. There wasn't anything else he could really do, though. Nothing but pray and hope that his big brother would come back to him.

Dean awoke to the sound of sniffling, and immediately wished he could fall asleep again. He didn't want to hear Sam's quiet grief. If he did, he'd only feel his own, and then he'd turn it into anger just to keep from crying, and that wasn't going to get them anywhere.

He wasn't ignoring his brother. He just...couldn't deal with it. He wasn't dealing on his own. All he could see was his dad in the hospital, the doctor calling the time on the man Dean had once thought immortal.

His eyes burned, and he narrowed his gaze until he could feel the anger burning within him. Finally he sat up in bed, intent on going out to get coffee and ignoring Sam, until he realized that Sam wasn't in bed. The urge to leave fell, and Dean frowned as he scanned the room. His brother wasn't tiny by any means; wasn't all that hard to find in a crowd. So where the hell could he have gotten to in the space they were renting?

Another sniffle drew him back to the bed. Dean's frown only deepened, and he wondered how on earth Sam had managed to draw himself into that tiny of a ball. He could see the covers gathered together, a small nest in the center of the bed, but Dean would barely be able to sit in it, it was so small. So how had Sam managed to fit in there?

"Sam?" he called, and the sniffling abruptly stopped. Then, two tiny eyes peered out from underneath the blankets, wide and afraid. Eyes and head that looked way too young for a twenty-three year old.

But he knew that face anywhere. That was his brother, all right, the one staring at him in trepidation and fear.

It was just Sam at five years old.