Originally published in 'Blood Brothers 2'.
The Color Pink
"Dean!" Fourteen-year-old Sam Winchester's voice screeched out the name like a curse. "I'm going to kill you!!"
Glancing up from his third bowl of Lucky Charms, Dean grinned, not taking his younger brother's threat seriously and knowing exactly what had set the kid off. At eighteen, the older hunter had filled out and packed on enough muscle that he could easily overpower his much lankier sibling. Not that he ever did, of course… What Sam made up for in height, he seriously lacked in mass, something Dean took great joy in tormenting him about at every chance. Like now.
"Yeah, like I'm worried, Stringbean Boy. Now get your ass in gear or we're going to be late!"
"Are you freakin' nuts?" Sam's squawk was absolutely priceless. "I can't go like this!"
"Like what?" Oh, it took great talent to nudge innocence into those two words. After all, he was the one who'd sabotaged his brother's laundry in the first place.
"Everything is pink!!"
"Not everything, Sam," Dean said ever so reasonably, "only the white stuff." Of course, when one considered that ninety-nine percent of Sam's clothing was white, with the exception of his jeans and jacket, well then, yeah, the kid might have had a point…
What could Dean say? It had just been too tempting.
Sam's whites: the washer anally set to hot, Gotta keep whites white, Dean.
Dean's red t-shirt: oops, how'd that get in there?? Like I give a damn, Sam.
It was probably a good thing Dad wasn't going to be back for a week.
"You're such a jerk!"
Dean smirked as he heard stomping from the back room. Their father had actually gotten them a decent place to stay this time. It had a washing machine, a back room and everything.
"The world's biggest, meanest, stupidest jerk!"
The bathroom door slammed.
"A jerk?" Dean yelled towards the hall. "That the best you can do?" He shook his head as he drained the milk from his cereal bowl, then addressed the empty room. "How in the hell can the kid be raised by me and Dad, and that be the best he can come up with? Geez, I'm embarrassed!"
As if Sam heard him, the next round of angrily spat words were enough to curl the wallpaper. And Dean was proud.
"I hate you," a very pissed off fourteen-year-old grumbled as Dean pulled the Impala into an empty parking space outside the school. "You have no idea how much I hate you."
Dean grinned. This was going better than he could have hoped. Tormenting his Sammy… Ah, the joys of being the older brother. "Oh…I think I have some idea."
"No, Dean," Sam denied as he pushed open the door, barely waiting for the car to stop. "I don't think you do!" Then he stormed away from the car, pausing once to throw a withering look back at Dean before he pulled dramatically at his jacket collar to hide his shirt, and raced into the school.
Dean, at least, had enough self-control to wait until his brother was out of earshot before he doubled over, holding his stomach as he burst out laughing. Oh, this was good. Poor Sam. Everything he had was pink.
Freakin' little girl, nursery powder pink!
From Sam's once-white socks and underwear to the now roseblush t-shirt he was wearing. Pink.
Courtesy of Dean.
"Not my fault the kid only had white shirts," Dean consoled himself once he could actually breathe well enough to move out of the driver's seat. "Little anal retentive ass should have diversified his interests." He paused in consideration. "Diversified? Huh…good word." Then he slammed the car door and followed his brother at a much more leisurely pace.
This was going to be fun.
At the end of the day, Sam was still furious with his brother. In fact, he couldn't remember a time in all his life—including the dreaded NAIR incident of last fall—when he'd ever been so angry with Dean. But this time he'd crossed the line.
Hair grew back. Red dye was permanent and now the bulk of Sam's clothing was ruined. Well, technically not ruined. Pink. But that was just as bad. And the inconsiderate ass wouldn't even let him borrow anything to wear today!
Could this get any worse?
Of course it could if the looks he was getting from a couple of the school jocks were anything to go by. Great. Freakin' great.
"Hey, queer-boy." One of the older kids was leering at him. "Don't you just look so sweet in your gay homosexual pink shirt…"
Sam's mouth was moving before he even thought about it—yup, he was related to Dean. "Technically color is sexless…kinda like you, moron." What the hell? Did he just say that?
Oh, no, Sam Winchester was not asking for an ass-kicking at all. Not that he couldn't handle himself in a fight. But there were three of them. Three very obviously homophobic Neanderthals, and those odds would suck even for Dean.
Great. He was wearing a pink t-shirt, pink socks and if it got that far, pink boxers. Still, Sam's mouth—obviously on a suicide mission—blabbered on. "So if you jerks don't mind—"
Huh. Apparently they did, because Sam never got a chance to finish the thought.
Dean hated waiting. Leaning against the side of the Impala, his legs crossed at the ankles and his arms folded across his chest, he wondered what in hell could be keeping his brother. Sam was never late.
A couple of guys he knew straggled out of the school and Dean called over to them, "Hey, fellas, see my kid brother on the way out?"
"Who? Sam? Not today," one of them said.
Another of them grinned and added, "Mind you, if he's still pissed about that stunt you pulled with his shirt, he might have just gone out another door and walked home. I know I would have. Hell, then again if you were my brother, I'd have probably slit my wrists by now!"
Dean flipped him off good-naturedly, and the guys laughed and walked away, reminding him about a chemistry test in the morning as they left.
Once the young men were gone, Dean frowned and pushed away from the car. No matter how angry Sam probably still was about the prank, he'd never leave the school without letting Dean know. Safety wasn't something they took lightly. So if Sam wasn't here and hadn't called him, then he was still in the school.
Muttering under his breath about irritable little brothers, Dean strode back towards the building.
"Sam?" he shouted, his voice an empty echo against the mostly vacant halls. "Sammy!" A teacher stuck her head out of a classroom and frowned. Dean shrugged, lowered his voice a notch and called again. "Sam!"
Starting at his brother's locker, Dean methodically checked the classrooms and closets for his errant little brother. Each unanswered call, every Sam-less corridor lanced him with increasing fear. This wasn't funny anymore… Okay, this was never funny.
His movements almost frenzied now, Dean ripped open the bathroom door and almost missed the sound in his hurry to check out the next room. Almost.
But the soft, distressed noise pinged, and he froze, his heart pounding painfully in his chest. "Sammy?" he pretty much whispered. Yes, he wanted to find his brother, but now he was afraid of what he might find. "You in here?"
Another noise, this one more affirmative, and Dean mentally sagged in relief as he stepped into the room and let the door close behind him. Sam was here.
"Jesus, Sam," he growled, now angry the kid had made him worry. "What the hell? You couldn't have waited until we got home?"
Dean stopped short. If he hadn't clued in that something might be wrong before, it slammed into him now. Sam never spoke like that.
"Sammy?" Dean stood quietly in front of the closed stall door.
"J-just-just go away!" The slight hitch in his brother's voice burned like acid in Dean's stomach. He swallowed down bile.
"Can't do that, little brother," he admitted, though it was more like "wouldn't do that" because no matter how much he tormented and teased the kid, Sam was his little brother, his family, and that meant more to Dean than it probably should have. "What's wrong with you?" When no answer came, he took a stab in the dark. "Is this about your shirt?"
A breathy snort, and the eighteen-year-old raised his eyebrows in surprise. "It is, isn't it?" He rolled his eyes. "Geez, Sam, get over it already and let's go." He couldn't believe his brother. And here he was all worried it was something important.
Okay, that wasn't the reply he was expecting, but before he could respond, Sam added. "I…I can't." Again the hitch, and Dean realized his brother wasn't just pissed, he was really upset.
"Crap," he muttered under his breath as he scrubbed his hand over his face. He just wanted to go home, get something to eat and maybe even open his Chemistry book. Sighing, he tried to sound halfway contrite as his hand dropped and curled into a half-fist. "Look, dude, it was just a stupid prank, okay? I didn't mean to—" Dean almost choked on the word. God he hated these moments. "—hurt you… There I said it, can we just go home now?"
Sam's voice sounded so young and unsure it curdled Dean's normal desire to protect Sam into something positively lethal. There was something wrong here. Something very wrong.
He pressed his hand against the stall door, needing to see his brother. "Sammy? Let me in." Of course, Dean could pick the lock but it was more important to see if Sam would let him in first. His "please" was unspoken but hung heavily between them nonetheless.
After a long moment, the lock slowly turned. Sam didn't push the door open, but Dean didn't need any further invitation. Slowly, he pressed against the stall, then stared in shock at his little brother.
His jaw worked for a few moments before the words came. "Uh, Sam," his brow crinkled in confusion, "where are your pants?"
Standing in front of him looking very miserable and exposed was Sam, wearing only a pink t-shirt, pink boxers and a pair of pink socks. Dean grappled with the image for a moment before he added, "And your sneakers?"
And then he saw the angry marks on his brother's arms, the bruised jaw, the wetness on Sam's cheek, and instead of seeing pink…he was seeing red.
Someone had hurt his brother.
Sam had never felt so humiliated before in his life. Bad enough the three goons had managed to manhandle him into the bathroom, but then they'd gotten his shoes and jeans off, leaving him cursing, kicking and—although he'd never admit this on pain of death to his older brother—crying as he tried to fight them off, terrified they wanted something more than his embarrassment.
He hadn't made it easy for them, and knew they'd be hurting in the morning, but it changed nothing. He'd still been stuck in the boy's bathroom with only the barest of his dignity left, waiting, both with dread and expectation for the inevitable. His brother.
Sam didn't doubt Dean would come for him. Dean always did, and he wasn't disappointed some thirty minutes later when the older hunter finally tracked him down. But now, as he saw murder light his brother's eyes, all Sam wanted was to go home and hide out in his bedroom until their father decided it was time to move. Education was overrated anyway…
"Who did this?"
Dean's voice was hard, and Sam fought not to flinch, knowing the anger wasn't directed at him. "Just some idiots." He loved his brother too much to see him in jail. "It's not important."
"Like hell it's not," Dean growled, his eyes locked onto the bruises. "Who, Sam?"
"Dean, please." Sam was too emotionally drained for this and he wrapped his arms gingerly around his body and shivered as he leaned against the wall. "I just want to go home."
"Did they…" Dean stalled, his eyes darting between Sam and some place to the side. "Did they…shit!"
Sam felt compassion flood him at his brother's anger for him. He knew what Dean was trying to ask, and smiled wanly. "No." He shivered again. "They just took my jeans."
"And your sneakers," Dean muttered as he slid out of his jacket and hung it over his brother's slighter frame. "And your jacket."
"Hadn't gotten my jacket yet," Sam admitted, stupidly giddy with gratitude and relief for the offering as his trembling fingers gripped the edges of the jacket and pulled it tight around him. It smelled of smoke and gun oil, the scent of his family, and it lulled his ragged emotions.
Okay. This was better.
Dean considered him for a few long moments and then asked simply, "Why?"
Sam swallowed hard and looked away. This was the question he'd been dreading. He didn't want to tell Dean why, knowing his brother would feel guilty. While he was still angry with his sibling for pulling this on him, Sam knew Dean would never intentionally do anything to hurt him and that meant a lot to him. In fact, it meant everything.
But Dean was smart, so Sam never had to answer.
"Was it the shirt?" the older Winchester blurted out, all the blood draining from his face, and then just as quickly refilling. "That's it, isn't it? They crapped on you because of a pink shirt." He snorted bitterly. "I did this to you." His voice filled with disgust as he repeated, "I did this to you. No, I didn't stuff you in a stall and take your clothes but I might as well have. Son of a bitch!"
Dean twisted away angrily, but Sam reached out and grabbed his arm, stopping him only because Dean let himself be stopped. There were no delusions here.
"Sammy." The pain in that one word was no match for the guilty remorse in turbulent green eyes.
"Don't." It was so many things. A plea. A command. A need. Sam just wanted to go home and he wanted his big brother to take him there. "Please…"
Bunched shoulders dropped, a breath exploded from tightly pressed lips, and then Dean nodded. "Okay." His voice was thick with emotion. He took another deep breath, and Sam watched in rapt awe as his brother reset himself, then repeated, sounding much more stalwart and composed this time, "Okay."
Grateful beyond words, Sam wrapped his brother's jacket around his waist and then followed Dean out of the bathroom and towards the car, stopping only long enough at his locker to grab his jacket and gym shoes. No one dared look for very long or comment on Sam's state of attire, not when the look on Dean's face could have cut granite.
Sam's older brother was pissed…and Sam had never felt so loved.
Second chapter will be up on Monday... I refuse to compete with all the E/O drabble posting on Sundays.