Watching the other kids with their parents was always difficult for seven year old Dean Winchester. He had been at this school for months now, and like the last one, they had a bring your parent to school day. Last year he felt so alone sitting at the end of the long cafeteria table eating his free lunch, while the rest of the kids sat with their parents and laughed and had a good time.
It was even harder to watch them receive hugs and kisses, watch their parents help them put on their big heavy winter coats, take their book bags and laugh with them all of the way to the cars. Dean had walked home, his coat not exactly the best, and his book bag almost two times the size of him and didn't feature any of the cool cartoon characters, like Thundercats or anything.
Dean, same as last year, kept his head down while he ate his lunch and tried to pretend that he couldn't' hear the other kids having fun with their mommies and daddies. He just slowly ate his sandwich and drank his milk.
Laura Anderson sat with her husband and her daughter a little ways away from the little boy at the end of the table.
"Lilly, who is that little boy over there?" she asked gently.
"Where's his mom and dad?"
"Don't know. Guess he don't gots any. He don't talk to people." She said and started explaining to her father how exactly the rest of the school day went and something about music class. Laura smiled at her child and kept a small watchful eye on the young boy in the old clothes. Her heart hurt for him. He looked so lonely sitting there .
When her daughter finally took a rest from her constant chatter, she asked. "Lilly, do you mind if I go over there for a few minutes and sit with Dean." The girl's eyebrows drew together and she looked at Dean, then looked at the rest of the table. She seemed to be thinking about something.
"Just a minute?" the little girl asked.
"Yes. Just a minute." She looked back at Dean and then nodded at her mom. Laura got up and went to the end of the table and sat next to the small child.
"Where's your mom?" she asked softly. Dean looked up at her, and she saw for the first time why the kid had his head bowed. He was crying softly Big green eyes, that were too large for his face watered and tear tracks ran down and tears dripped off of his chin.
"My mom is dead." He said and his bottom lip quivered, and he wiped at his face and the tears still came down.
"Oh." She said with an exhaled breath. "You're dad is working?" Dean nodded and rubbed little fists into the wide eyes. He sniffed once and looked back up at the woman.
"Are you Lilly's mom?" he asked.
"Yeah." He nodded and then looked back down in his lap. She watched as tears dripped from his little quivering chin. She didn't know what to do, didn't know how to make him feel any better until she watched him hug himself. The boy needed affection. He needed someone to hold him just for a minute and hug him tight.
On impulse she gathered him in her arms and for a moment he stiffend and then he relaxed into her embrace and he started to sob. The teacher, who had been busy talking to each parent and checking on everyone, saw the commotion and hurried down. Laura waved her away and mouthed "I've got him." And the teacher nodded and slowly walked back to the rest of the children, doing her best to keep them from noticing that the newest addition to their class was sobbing in Lilly's mom's arms.
"It's okay to cry Dean. I bet you miss your mommy." She felt the little boy nod against her chest, and she rocked and hugged him until the sobbing stopped. He pulled away from her, sniffed, and rubbed at his huge eyes and she pushed a stray lock of hair out of his face and he started to break away. She let him go, and he went back to sitting next to her and starring at his half eaten meal. She touched the top of his head, and she resisted the urge to kiss his hair as she would her daughter.
"I'll be here all day Dean." She said and he nodded.
"Dean okay?" Lilly asked when her mom returned to her seat next to her daughter.
"Dean is okay." Laura said and sighed and smiled at her daughter who had managed to get cherry pie down the front of her shirt.
The rest of the day Laura watched Dean, and he didn't make a sound, he didn't participate in the day, was allowed to sit in the back of the room and color, and at one point she noted that his eyes spilled over with more tears as he laid his head down and colored.
When the day ended, Laura and her husband helped their daughter into her coat, hat and mittens, and Laura watched as Dean struggled to get his zipper zipped. She patted her daughter's coat once it was zipped and went to the struggling boy. "Here let me help." She said and knelt down in front of him. He wiped at his nose and watched her as she zipped his coat.
"You all set?" she asked. "Got your homework?" He nodded. "That's a good boy." He gave a small hint of a smile, and he was first out of the door when the bell rang, and Laura's heart broke for the small child.
When Dean got home, he put his bag down next to the couch and went into the room that pastor Jim allowed them to stay in, and he found Sammy on the floor playing with some toy cars that Pastor Jim kept. Dean went straight to his brother and gave him a tight hug. Sam didn't deserve to be so alone. Sam was never going to be alone. He would get as many hugs as he could get, as many as would make him happy. Sammy would never have to rely on someone else's mommy to give him hugs and zip his coat. That is what he was there for.