Sam had never liked getting his hair cut. Even as a little kid, long before he deliberately went out of his way to piss off his father, getting a haircut was a trauma. Between them, Dad and Dean had many theories – it was the buzz of the razor; it was the sound of the scissor; it was being confined to a chair. Whatever it was, going to the barber was never worth the trip.

When Dad decided it was time for a hair cut, Dean was always involved. When Sam was small enough, he'd sit on Dean's lap with Dean holding his hands or playing games with their fingers to keep Sam distracted. When they got bigger, Dean would stand in front of the chair where Sam was seated, doing anything and everything to keep Sam occupied so he'd sit long enough for Dad to take care of business. And when Dad stalked away, angry at Sam and frustrated with himself, Dean would wipe away Sam's tears, grasp Sam's head gently in his hands, lean over and kiss the crown of his head and say, "That wasn't so bad, Sammy."

As soon as Dean was adept enough at handling the tools, John happily gave over barbering duties to him. Getting Sam to sit still for a haircut was trickier with Dean behind the scissors. As they got older there were contests involved – if Dean could pin Sam in less than a minute, Sam would owe him five fidget-free minuets; if Sam could out pace Dean in the twelve minute run, Dean would take off a little less hair than Dad "suggested". But invariably, whenever the cut was complete, Dean would end with a kiss on the head and "That wasn't so bad, Sammy."

It had been a pretty long time since Sam had gotten a haircut. With everything that had happened - in the cabin, in the hospital, losing Dad – it hardly seemed like hair was something that needed to be addressed. Sam felt like he was falling apart, but watching Dean was so much worse. Listening to Dean pound on the Impala was more than Sam could take and he fled for the safety of Bobby's house.

Sam was so busy trying not to encroach on Dean's space that it didn't register when Dean invaded his. Tossing a towel and a pair of scissors on the kitchen table by Sam's elbow, Dean ran a calloused hand through Sam's too long hair. It had been so long since Dean had touched him Sam couldn't help but close his eyes and lean into Dean's caress. Dean's voice was cracked and rough when he whispered, "Your hair's getting' long, Sammy. I'll take care of it."

That was all the discussion they had. Dean gathered a comb and a glass of water while Sam arranged the towel around his shoulders. Before pulling the wet comb through the tangles of Sam's hair, Dean gently probed his scalp with his fingertips seeking out tender areas from bruises that had yet to completely heal. Sam was overwhelmed with the memory of their father so closely tied to Dean's caring touch, and he bowed his head and wept silent tears at the loss.

Dean continued to work in silence, moving around Sam with a familiar grace. No jokes or jests about Mohawks or buzz cuts, just deft handling of the tools of the job. He didn't comment on Sam's tears; a warm hand on the nape of Sam's neck while the worst of his grief caused him to shake with repressed sobs said all Dean needed to say. And when the tide had passed, leaving Sam worn and shaky, Dean moved to stand in front of him. He wiped the tears from Sam's cheeks with the pads of his thumbs, grasped Sam's face in his hands and pressed a kiss to the crown of Sam's head. "That's wasn't so bad, Sammy."