A/N: The fic that this is based on is NOT MINE! I would ask the author for permission, but I can't remember who it was. If anyone recognizes the story, and knows where to find the original, please say so! I can't go to them pleading my case if I don't know who they are. If anyone knows for a fact that this person wants this fic taken down, I would like to know that too. Again, THIS IS BASED ON ANOTHER PERSON'S STORY! If you're interested, I hope you'll try to find it. The original was much better than my version anyway.
John watched the smile slide off Dean's face, watched the grin that lit up his eyes go dark, and wanted to kick his own ass.
Dean had just given the girl he was crushing on a meaningful gift, and had gotten one in return. He'd come home smiling so hard John thought his face would probably stay stretched out forever, only for John to have to give him the news. By the end of January, not long after school started up again, They'd be gone.
And you know what killed him? What ripped John's heart right out of his chest and squeezed? Dean didn't argue. He frowned. He looked sad. He swallowed what had to be the lump to go with the tears in his little-boy eyes that he wasn't going to let fall. He nodded. Then he took a deep breath and asked when they should start packing.
John crouched down, eye-to-eye with his little boy who was just about to hit his growth spurt, and ran a hand through his hair. "I'm sorry, buddy." Dean shrugged, one shoulder at a time, just the way John did when he was down after a hunt and Dean asked how it went. "I am. I know you liked her." John slid his hand down to rest on Dean's cheek. He couldn't get away with that much anymore, but he knew when his boy needed it.
Dean nodded and leaned his head into the contact. Needing to be a little kid with his daddy for just a minute, instead of an older brother with his task master. "She draws dragons cause she can't draw anything else yet." For some reason that little tidd-bit made john's heart ache just that much more. He pulled Dean into a hug, and Dean let him.
"I'm real sorry, kiddo. I wish we could stay a little longer." John felt a tug on his shirttail. Sam was standing beside the pair, curious eyes wide and looking a little concerned. "What's up, baby?"
"Why's Dean sad?" Sam yanked a little on John's shirt, not giving him time to not answer before repeating himself. "Daddy, why's my Dean sad?" John smiled a little. Sam had taken to calling Dean 'his' when one of the little boys in one of the neighborhoods had pretended Dean was their brother. Sam had not appreciated it.
Dean pulled out of John's hug and smiled down at Sammy, his expression looking genuinely happy the way it always did when Sam called him 'his'. "I'm not, Sammy. I'm just getting a hug."
Sam's face scrunched up. "Hugs are mushy." He was clearly stating a fact. Probably one dictated by his brother.
"Only part of the time. Everybody needs hugs sometimes, though. Even mushy ones if they really are sad."
Sam got that expression that said he was filing the information away under G, for either God's Honest Truth or Gospel According to Dean. "So hugs aren't mushy right now?"
"What, Sammy?" Dean was grinning now, knowing what was coming.
"Can I have a hug, since right now they aren't mushy?"
Dean pretended to think about it. Sam squirmed. "I dunno…"
"DE-an!" The whine came with a pout.
"OK," Dean finally agreed with a cheeky grin, throwing his arms wide to practically swallow his little brother in a huge bear hug.
As Sam squeaked and Dean laughed, John allowed himself a small smile. Then he took a moment to thank a God he wasn't usually on speaking terms with for giving him a little boy who could heal his brother when John cut him down, and another that loved him even when he did exactly that.