Summary: A countdown of comfort
Disclaimer: Supernatural and its characters do not belong to me
Originally published in Chinook #7
Six Times Sam Wore Dean's Jacket
by Carole Seegraves
Curled up on the back seat of the Impala, three-year-old Sammy was dozing, his thumb in his mouth. Blinking his eyes sleepily, he listened to the muffled voices of his dad and brother, coming from the front seat.
The words were indecipherable, but the familiar tones washed over him in a soothing wave. It had been a long, scary day for the youngster. Assigned to wait in the car until his dad and Dean had taken care of the poltergeist troubling a small town library, he'd started to cry when his brother had to be carried back to the Impala, dripping blood from a wound on his arm. He'd watched, his bottom lip trembling, as his dad had cleaned and stitched up the cut, then picked out a large bandaid for Dean to wear over the injury.
His brother had given him a hug, which had gone a long way towards convincing the small boy that Dean would be okay, but even several hours later, he still wasn't relaxed enough to sleep.
His eyes at half-mast, he heard the two voices grow silent just before Dean leaned over the seat. The older boy studied Sammy for a moment, then carefully placed something warm over his body.
As Dean gave his arm a pat and moved back into the front, Sammy smiled around his thumb before using his free hand to pull his brother's jacket closer.
Hefting a load of recently washed clothes, Dean paused in the doorway of the small bedroom he shared with his brother.
Inside the room, a salt container held tightly in both hands, Sammy was busily pouring crystals on the floor in what was probably as close to a circle as the five-year-old could manage.
Inside the misshapen space were positioned several items. There was a bedraggled teddy bear, with one ear missing and most of its fur "loved" away, a slightly dented hot wheel car that the youngster had inherited from Dean, a Golden Book without a cover, and Sammy's favorite blanket. The same blanket he'd been wrapped in when Dean had carried him out of their burning house a few years before.
Dean almost laughed at the younger boy. Tongue sticking out in concentration, Sammy was wearing one of Dean's jackets, despite the fact that the sleeves reached to the ends of his fingertips and the hem hung almost to his knees.
But he didn't. And he didn't need to ask what Sammy was doing. It was obvious. Sammy was pretending to be the most important person in his life: his big brother.
Sam paused, watching the black Impala squeal its way out of the parking lot, before entering the high school and heading for his first class. Carrying his backpack by its strap, he nodded at a few friends as he made his way down the hall.
He couldn't help but smile as he fingered the jacket he was wearing. It wasn't his usual jacket. Actually, it wasn't his jacket at all. He hadn't planned to wear a jacket today, with the temperatures forecast to be in the seventies, but as he'd headed up the sidewalk to the front entrance of the school, Dean had suddenly pulled the car to a halt, rolled down his window, and tossed his jacket at Sam.
Dean had started to say something, but with several other students close enough to hear any conversation the brothers might have, he simply gestured toward Sam's arm.
Sam had followed his gaze, giving a nod of understanding when he spotted the marks. While bruises were usually easy enough to explain away, teeth marks would be a bit harder to pass off as an accident, especially when they were obviously not made by any normal-sized animal.
Their Dad had always reminded them to cover up any injuries received on one of their hunting trips, not wanting them to receive any undue attention, especially attention that could lead to someone calling the local Child Protective Services.
In his hurry to get to school, Sam had simply forgotten about them.
But Dean hadn't.
Sam hadn't packed much, just enough to fill a small brown duffle bag, but that was all he really owned anyway. Toiletries went into the bathroom, his extra pair of shoes ended up under the edge of his bed, and his clothes were headed for the small dresser that sat next to the bed, in the room he and his roommate would be sharing.
It didn't take long to unpack. Underwear went into the top drawer, along with socks. T-shirts were refolded and placed in the middle drawer. Jeans were tucked into the bottom drawer. Miscellaneous items were added wherever they fit. And he was done. Except for one more thing, something that Sam hadn't expected to find.
Dean's denim jacket. Well-worn, but clean, it had been neatly folded and set in the bottom of his bag. At first he didn't know how it had got there. He was pretty sure he hadn't packed it by mistake, and the last time he'd seen that jacket, it'd been hung over the back of a chair in their bedroom.
And then he remembered. Dean had been the one to take the old duffle out of the closet, the one to set the bag on Sam's bed, and the one who'd reminded him to retrieve his things from the bathroom. And while he'd been doing that, Dean must have been the one that placed his own jacket into the bag.
He hadn't said anything, of course, that was Dean's way. But the action spoke volumes.
He gave a sigh, looking around the room. It held his things, but it really wasn't his room. Wasn't really his home. And he wasn't sure it ever would be.
With a sad smile, he slid into Dean's jacket, and headed for the door.
Dean glanced across the seat at his brother, worry etched on his face. Sam was slumped against the door, his eyes closed and his arms wrapped around his middle, holding a towel in place under his shirt.
Seeing the faint pain lines around Sam's eyes, Dean took his eyes off the road just long enough to carefully peel back the edge of the towel, checking the wound. He was relieved to find that the bleeding had stopped. It would definitely need stitches, he knew that, but that was something he could take care of back at the hotel.
For now, he just wanted to keep Sam as comfortable as possible. Noting the way his brother was shivering, despite the heat of the day, he let the Impala slow to almost a stop. Then, he quickly shrugged out of his jacket, and reached across to drape it over Sam's limp form, before hitting the gas again.
Sam didn't acknowledge his actions, at least with words, but his eyes opened slightly, and the corners of his mouth lifted just barely. That was enough thanks for Dean.
Dean stared at his brother.
Sam stared back.
It just wasn't how they usually did things. It was true that the jobs of interviewing and researching were usually shared by both of the brothers. In fact, that's how they worked most of their gigs. But when there was a need to divide the chores up, it was usually Sam who would take care of the library research, and Dean who would employ his social skills in chatting up witnesses to whatever supernatural event they were investigating.
After all, Sam enjoyed doing research, and Dean, he enjoyed meeting people. Especially girls.
But this time around, Sam had decided that he wanted to interview the waitress who'd almost been the most recent victim of a Gwyllgi. And he wanted Dean to handle the research.
Dean wasn't sure why. Maybe Sam wanted to do things differently for a change. Or more likely, his brother was just in a "pain-in-the-ass" mood. Either way, it didn't really matter, so Dean shrugged and agreed. He turned back toward the car, intending to leave Sam at the bar while he headed for the library, but came to a sudden halt. Calling Sam's name, he grinned, then removed his leather jacket. As Sam watched in surprise, Dean passed the jacket over to him, motioning for him to put it on.
Sam hesitated for only a moment, before laughing and donning the coat. He'd just pulled it around himself when Dean tossed him a pair of sunglasses. The sunglasses Dean always wore.
Shaking his head in amusement, Sam put the sunglasses on, affecting a smug expression.
Dean nodded in satisfaction. If Sam was going to be playing "Dean" tonight, he might as well look the part.