His brother was a ten year old. It had been true figuratively since Dean was, well, ten. Maybe even a few years before that. Sam seemed to remember Dean being a mature seven, eight, and nine year old. But his brother's social development seemed to flatten at the age of ten. And now his body matched his psyche. Well, wasn't this just fanfuckingtastic.
"I'm still older than you, dumbass." Dean's big green eyes glared up at Sam from somewhere near the ground. He had jerry rigged some old sweat pants and a worn shirt into clothing that stayed on, but looked gigantic on him. God, had his brother really been this small. Sam put his hands over his eyes inwardly screaming.
"Sam. Sam. Sam. Sammy..." Sam glanced down. Dean hopped back and forth on his feet, waving his little hands up towards Sam's face for attention. He stopped as Sam caught his eye, forcing a smile about as cocky as a ten year old could manage. "Sam, you still have to do what I say." Sam put his hands back over his eyes.
Three hours. Normal Dean had been kid Dean for three hours. Two hours and twenty minutes since Bobby had called Sam back and agreed that the effects of the cursed spring were temporary and would wear off in a week. There was nothing to do but wait it out. That left what -165 hours until his brother returned to normal. Sam felt Dean tugging at the side of his shirt. Maybe he should call Bobby again. He swatted Dean away and reached for his cell.
"Sam?" The old hunter sounded cautious. "Everything still alright with you boys? Dean still ok. Cause the body thing; it should wear off in a week." His tone was weary like he was waiting for the bad news that one of them had dropped dead again. Dean danced around, pulling at Sam's shirt with pure annoyance across his smooth face.
"Sam, gimme the phone." He said in his small, authoritative voice. Sam smirked down at him, holding the phone out of reach. Dean humphed and slunk into the corner of the motel room.
"We're ok, Bobby. It's just..." Sam paused. How could he explain this and get Bobby to come help him baby-sit. "It's just I think it's more than just the body. I mean he remembers everything, angels and seals and Lilith and all, but...like he's acting like a ten year old. I think he's really ten."
"Dude," Dean yelled from the corner, "I'm thirty." Sam waved at him to shut up. There was a pause on the other end of the phone.
"You sure?" Bobby said.
"Yeah." The differences in normal Dean and kid Dean were subtle and even as a kid Dean was good at hiding things, but Sam knew his brother. He wasn't acting ten, he was ten. "Maybe I could drop him off with you for a few days." There was a pause.
Sam, Dean, and Bobby had seen some shit curses in their days. This one, it was annoying, but like a buzzing gnat compared to the 'two day flesh eating curse' or 'the die from bleeding out your orifices' curse. Sam heard a snort at the other end of the line. Bobby must have been thinking similar thoughts. With Dean smart-assing in the background in a high-pitched obnoxious voice, the older hunter fell into chuckles over the phone. Then Bobby all out guffawed at Sam, told him to have fun with the mini-idjit, and hung up.
"What. Dean." Sam was trying for calm. And understanding. And patience. He would not strangle his little big brother.
"Dude. Give me back my gun." Dean looked at him, holding out his hand like he expected his weapon. Sam strode over, grabbed him by the scruff of the over-sized shirt he was swimming in, and dragged him towards the door.
"No. We're going to Walmart to get you some clothes." Dean squirmed.
"What? Just go to the Salvation Army. There's one two blocks back."
"Dean, we're going to Walmart. It's cheap enough." Sam opened the passenger's side door ushering his brother inside. Dean was going to be ten for one week. He was annoying and obnoxious and he could live with having new clothes for that week. God knew everything else his brother owned had once been someone elses.
"Walmart's a dangerous place. I thought you read the papers. Bad things happen at the Walmart." Dean looked at Sam and shrugged.
"Walmart." Sam said in a tone that mimicked their Dad's old military way. He fought a grin when a 'yes sir' expression fluttered across his brother's face and he shut up.
Two hours later, 163 hours until Dean came of age, Sam sped out of the Walmart parking lot chasing the gray, demon carrying, minivan that had swiped his brother as they left the store.
Damn, Sam hated Walmart. He pushed down on the pedal, accelerating. He was going to salt and burn every store between Nebraska and the Atlantic. First, though, he was getting his brother back. And if he saw so much as a bruise on his brother, those bastards would be lucky if all Sam did was send them back to hell.
Demons were tricky and manipulative. Evil. The demons that nabbed Dean, though. Stupid. Stupid because they didn't seem to notice he was following them. Stupid because from where he was parked a block down, he saw them manhandle his brother into a rickety old row house. They really shouldn't be touching his brother. And even if this was some type of trap, they were stupid because Sam was going to take them out.
He waited less than a minute after they disappeared inside to get moving. His gut told him the demons didn't realize he had trailed them – which probably meant they were the demon equivalent of greenhorns. Sam was unsure whether it was Winchester luck or some secondary effect of the curse that lead demons to his de-aged brother, but he didn't care. It was those monsters last mistake. Grabbing his gear, he rushed down the street, moving lightly to the house and around the outside. If he did have the element of surprise as he suspected, he intended to use it.
Peaking through the back window, he saw them push Dean towards a door that lead to a basement. His brother's eyes were big and, dammit, it looked like he was crying. Sam didn't really remember Dean crying much when he was ten. But he never remembered him getting kidnapped by hell spawn from a discount chain store either. So really, this was new territory. The demons, occupying three huge men and one petite redhead, followed his brother, whooping and taunting and shutting the door behind them.
Sam made quick work of the back door lock. He slinked inside. The door leading down was unlocked and he silently turned the knob and peaked inside. The brother-nappers had their backs to the stairs and were shoving Dean into the corner of the cellar. Sam opened the door and slid inside closing it behind him. He padded into the stairwell eyes locked towards the others. The room was well insulated. Not much sound would pass from here outside. The largest man shoved Dean into the corner of a room causing him to hit hard and yelp in pain.
"Dean Winchester," it leered, "they've been missing you down below. On the rack or off, you're pure entertainment in hell." Dean paled, but glared at the creature.
"My brother, he's so gonna kick your ass." Dean bit out. The corners of Sam's mouth twitched up. Yeah, Dean had that right.
"Ah sweetie," the redhead said cupping his brothers chin with her hand, "Sammy was better off without you. You know all he does is put up with you out of some sort of misplaced loyalty. He doesn't even like you." She pulled her hand away, but then snapped it back, backhanding Dean and knocking him to the floor. Sam stiffened, but continued moving, almost to the bottom on the stairs.
"Besides," the big one said, "All those years, the carvings and the floggings, you know you deserved it, right? More so now, after all those things you did." Dean's eyes went wide as he slid back against the wall. Sam pulled out Ruby's knife and stepped towards the group.
Sam inched forward shutting out the taunting the foursome continued hurling at his brother. He needed to check his emotions and concentrate his attention towards the targets. Dad had always said that in a group fight take the most threatening individual out first. Judging that with demons was difficult, but Sam zeroed in on the biggest guy, a good bet, and moved into striking distance.
Just as he raised the blade, his eyes glimpsed his brother. Dean was shaking and sobbing. His kid limbs were tangled in a heap and he was huddled in the corner looking like a broken marionette while the second biggest demon sneered at him, fist raised.
Sam's control snapped. He had been in a bad mood before Dean was turned into a kid. As the events of the day unfolded, he'd moved from pissed, to angry, to the hot fury that now beat through him. This must be what wrath felt like.
"Hey." And he was tired of this damn sneaking around. They turned towards him. Glaring, he tossed the knife aside. Sam had better weapons. "I'm going to kick your sorry asses."
He raised his hand towards the bastards, feeling rage seethe through his veins. He let his power lose, unchecked, and the world went red.
Timeless moments later, he found himself coming back to rational thought with his back on the cold floor of the cellar. The memory of the fight blurred into a mosaic of death, screams, and elation. It turned his stomach. He couldn't afford to keep losing himself in the high of it. Sam shifted his eyes around. Four dead, dead not exorcised, demon shells surrounded him. Ruby's knife lay flung and unused to the side, and his brother sat trembling beside him. Shit. Of course, Dean had seen it all.
"Sammy…" Dean reached a shaky hand towards him. His eye was puffy and his jaw had begun to purple.
"Dean." Sam sat up, snapping to attention. "You alright?"
Dean didn't answer just sat shaking and staring at him. Sam reached over, performing a cursory health check on the small form. His brother was banged up, but otherwise unharmed. Relief washed over him.
"You're alright." Sam said, patting him on the shoulder. He got up and grabbed the knife. "Come on Dean, we gotta go."
Sam patted him again, waiting for the snide you should have given me my gun, Sam or see, Sam, Walmart, modern day lion's den, but Dean remained silent.
"Dean. We need to go. We don't want to be here when anyone else, human or other shows up."
Dean didn't get up, but he turned his eyes towards Sam and began trembling so hard it looked like convulsions. Worry inched into Sam's stomach that seeing his powers manifest might have only compounded his brother's fears.
"Shit." Sam murmured. He bent down and picked his brother up cradling to his chest. "You're safe now, Dean. I'm gonna take care of you, but we gotta go." He still half expected a smartass remark at his statements, thought Dean might complain about being too old for this type of treatment when he actually was ten, but Dean just put his arms around Sam's neck and buried his face into his shoulder.
Sam managed to get them back to the motel, packed, and transported 250 miles to a new one. No one gawked at him for too much, and thank you for small favors, as he carried around his banged up ten year old brother like he was a preschooler. Once checked in, he sat down on the bed resting against the headboard and settled his brother next to him.
"Dean, you should get some rest." Dean shuffled closer to him and shook his head no. Sam tried again. "You need to sleep. I'll keep watch, okay?"
"N' tired, Sammy." Jeez, he sounded exhausted.
"Come on. Just take a nap." Dean shook his head no again, this time with increased vigor. Sam still felt guilty, but frustration was also beginning to surface. "Okay…why don't you want to sleep?"
Dean leaned back, shooting Sam an 'it's obvious' look.
"Because, not sleepy." He snuggled back to Sam's side. Dammit, Dean was mostly okay, but he needed to rest to get back to good. Sam hated to do it, but it was for his brother's own health.
"Dean." Sam put on his best drill sergeant voice. "Why won't you go to sleep? Tell me, and that's an order."
Dean moved to look at him again. It was hard for him to refuse a direct order from an older family member, especially in his current state. Sam could see emotions play over his face. Fear. Anger. Defiance. Then he saw annoyance spill across which meant he was going to talk.
"Just bad dreams…bout hell and stuff."
Huh. Sam probably should have figured that out by himself. He took a steadying breath.
"Look, you're not there anymore. You'll never be there again. Rest now and if you start to have a nightmare, I'll wake you up, ok?" Dean shrugged and turned away from Sam's gaze. He mumbled something into Sam's shoulder.
"What?" Sam pulled Dean up.
"Until I die again, then I'll go back, right?" Dean looked away again, shame reddening his cheeks. "That's what all the demons say."
"Dean, demons lie."
"Unless the truth is worse." He said in a quiet tone, stifling something between a yawn and a sob. "And, anyway, not sleepy."
Well, shit. What was Sam supposed to say to that? Don't worry, you really are safe. He wasn't sure anyone was safe at this point. Nothing bad will happen. Their entire life kinda disproved that one. But, he had to respond.
"Dude, you're not going downstairs again, think man, you got angels watching your back." Sam winced. Maybe that wasn't the best response. Dean's relationship with angels wasn't much better than his. Dean shrugged.
"Well, I like Cas." He said in a small voice.
"Yeah." Sam smiled. "He's alright. And I'm not letting anyone take you again either." He felt Dean relax beside him. Sam checked his watch. Ten hours since normal Dean got shrunk. The next 158 hours of little big brother were going to be a helluva lot better than the first ones – he'd make sure of it. But first…
"Hey, Dean." Sam felt his throat constrict. "I'm sorry…you know about the psychic thing. But I had to protect you. So I'm not really sorry, but…um…I'm sorry if I scared you today." Sam sighed, feeling frustrated tears well up in his eyes. Dammit, when did he lose his ability to articulate? Dean shot him an odd look.
"Sammy, I could never be scared of an emo bitch like you." Dean snuggled down into the bed. "Shut up already, 'm sleepy." Sam brushed his hand through his brother's hair. He'd keep his brother safe and close as long as he could.