Summary/Prompt: Sammy knows his father's secret identity.
Disclaimer: The Winchesters, the car, and the concept belong to Kripke et al. The love belongs to us.
Beta'd: By Carocali and Muffy! Thanks ladies for your wonderful suggestions, clarifying, and proof-reading skills. As always, your feedback was invaluable!
Special thanks to Phx for catching those gawd-awful sandwiches, and most of all making sure the boys stayed five and nine.
Time Line: May 1988. Dean is nine, Sam recently turned five.
AN: This story was written for Nemoed as part of a Live Journal fic exchange. More stories in the exchange are available at: fic exchange at community [dot] livejournal [dot] com [slash] summer_sam_love. Hope you enjoy!
"Okay, the first thing you have to understand is that we have the coolest dad in the whole world. He's like a superhero."
~Dean Winchester, A Very Supernatural Christmas
Sammy Winchester smoothed out the wrinkles in his brother's comic book taking extra care not to bend the pages. Dean was in the shower and as long as he was quick and quiet, he'd get away with his crime. The older boy didn't like him reading his books unless he was right there to watch make sure nothing was ripped or wrinkled. Why his older brother was so picky about it defied all logic. He'd seen Dean shove them into his duffel, jamming them into any available space when Dad said it was time to go.
He looked up, glancing down the narrow hallway to the bathroom. He could still hear the shower running, so he was safe for the moment. Sammy ran his hand across the comic, holding it flat while he peered at the glossy pages. He couldn't read all the words, but he could most of them and the pictures helped with the rest.
An intense battle waged for several panels between the superhero and the bad guy. The robber had a gun and when he fired it, nearly hitting the hero, Sammy gasped. The hero quickly turned the tables with a gadget from his belt. The projectile lodged inside the barrel of the gun, rendering it useless.
"Who are you?" the robber asked, a fearful expression on his face.
"I'm Batman," the costumed hero replied.
Soon, all of Gotham will know of the caped crusader and evil-doers will cower in fear. Next edition: The Joker!
Down the hall, the water turned off and Sammy scrambled to put the comic back exactly where he'd found it. He turned on the television and jumped on his bed. A few minutes later Dean joined him. "What're you watching?"
"I dunno," Sammy answered, with a shoulder shrug. "It looked interesting."
Dean scowled at the screen for several minutes, then ripped the remote away from his brother's hands. "Dude, it's a show about algae."
"It was interesting," Sammy protested, making a grab for the remote. He wasn't quite sure why he was complaining, he hadn't really been watching it.
"Which is why you don't get to pick the shows we watch," Dean said. "It's your turn for the shower."
"Ah, do I have to?" Sam hugged his knees to his chest, looking up at his brother with his best sad face. "Really?"
"Not working, Sammy," Dean said, pointing towards the bathroom. "Go, I left the water running for you."
"Okay." He ran to the bathroom and, after quickly stripping down, he got into the shower. "Dean! Hey, Dean!"
Sammy heard the door squeak open. "What?"
"What time is Daddy getting home?" He squeezed his eyes shut tight against the shampoo running down his face.
Even over the noise of the shower he heard his brother sigh. "I don't know, Sammy. Late."
"He's late a lot," the younger boy said matter-of-factly.
"You know it's because of his job," Dean said. "Don't forget to brush your teeth."
"I won't." The door squeaked shut and his brother's footfalls faded down the hall. There had to be a reason his dad worked so many hours. He bet Bruce Wayne worked a lot of hours between his regular job and being Batman. Sammy called to his brother again. "Dean!"
The pounding footsteps were much louder this time. "What?"
"Are you mad?" Sammy shivered under the lukewarm spray. Maybe Dean had found the comic books.
Another sigh. "No."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, Sammy, I'm sure. Why'd you call me back here?"
"I…" He ran a hand through his wet hair. Oh, no. "I don't remember."
The toilet seat clattered against the basin. "I'll wait."
Sammy wracked his brain trying to remember why he'd called for his brother. He shivered again, the water was getting cold. Dean must have used most of the hot. "I'm cold."
"Then turn off the water and get out, genius," Dean said with a chuckle. "It's not rocket science."
"But, I forgot my pjs," Sam said. He slapped his forehead. "That's what I wanted to tell you. I forgot pajamas!"
"I'll get 'em."
He shivered under the cooling spray wishing his brother would hurry. He didn't want to stand naked in the shower without the water running; that was just wrong. The door squeaked open. "Sammy, turn off the water before you turn into a popsicle," Dean admonished.
"O-okay," Sammy stuttered, twisting the dials until the water stopped. Shaking hands reached out, fingers finding the scratchy, waiting towel. "Dean?"
"Will you read to me tonight?" Sammy asked, teeth chattering. He pulled pajamas over water sticky skin. "Please?"
"Sure. Now, finish getting dressed. I'll pour us some cereal and we can watch Nick at Night." The floorboards creaked as Dean walked back to the other end of the small apartment.
Sammy stepped out of the shower scrubbing the towel over his head and then sat on the toilet drying between his toes. Dean had brought socks, too. The little boy smiled, slipping his feet into the warm cotton. His big brother always complained Sammy's toes were cold when they shared a bed. Dean must have already been planning to read to him.
He ran a toothbrush over his teeth until minty foam bubbled out and dribbled down his chin. He spit into the sink and rinsed out the brush. Sammy was pretty sure you were supposed to brush your teeth after you ate, not before, but he wasn't going to argue with Dean about it. By the time he made it out to the living room, his cereal was waiting for him.
He climbed onto the ratty sofa beside his brother. Sitting cross-legged on one end, he ate quickly. Soggy cereal made him gag and he hated how the marshmallows got slimy the longer they sat in milk. Although he started after Dean, Sammy finished drinking the last of the sugary milk from the bowl as Dean started drinking his. "You were hungry tonight," his brother said.
"I like Lucky Charms."
"I know you do." Dean held out his hand for Sammy's bowl and dumped the bowls into the kitchen sink. He called from the other room. "Get to bed, Sammy. I'll be there in a minute."
He hurried to obey. He knew Dean was sprinkling salt in front of the door, just like the salt that lined their first storey windows. He'd asked his brother about it once, but the ferocity of Dean's 'drop it, Sammy!' bore no room for argument. In fact, it had been said with enough force that the younger boy hadn't dared bring it up again - yet.
Moments later, Dean crawled into bed with him and Sammy snuggled down into the blankets. The older boy reached under the bed, pulling out his book bag. A weathered copy of The Tale of Despereaux appeared causing Sammy to smile wide. He loved this book and Dean often did voices for the different the characters under threat of death if Sammy told anyone.
They'd just made it to the point when Roscuro fell into the Queen's soup when the unmistakable sound of the Impala's growling engine pulled into the lot, headlights shined through the window, then were gone along with the roar of the motor. Dean slipped out of bed. "You stay here, Sammy."
"But I want to see Daddy." He pulled the covers up to his chin, gripping the blankets tightly in frustration.
Sammy huffed but stayed in bed, listening to the front door click closed and the hushed whispers of his dad and brother. He didn't know what the big secret was, but he desperately wanted to find out. The more he tried to figure it out, the more frustrated he became that he wasn't included. The longer he stewed the hotter Sammy became until he kicked off his covers and peeled off his socks tossing them over the side of the bed.
Finally, the bedroom door slowly opened. "You still awake, kiddo?"
"Daddy!" Sammy exclaimed. He was out from under the blankets and into his father's arms in mere seconds. His Dad's face tightened in pain momentarily and then disappeared as if it had never been. The boy placed his hands on his father's face, the prickly beard poking into his palms. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, just a rough day at work, Sammy." His dad gently set him back on the bed, sitting down on the edge.
"Catching bad guys?" Sammy blurted out.
John looked at Dean and his brother shook his head. "I dunno, Dad," Dean said.
"Why would you think I was catching bad guys, Sammy?" John asked. "You know what my job is."
"I know," Sammy said. "Sometimes you help people with their cars, right?"
"That's right," John said. "Speaking of my job, we're going to head out in the morning. I got a call and they're sending me to Wyoming for a week. I've already talked to Bobby and you'll be staying with him."
"I thought Uncle Bobby was in Maine," Dean said, taking a seat next to his brother.
"He was, but he's back now," John said. "We'll be coming back, son. There's only a month left of school and it's easiest for you to finish here." He stood up and pulled back the blankets on the bed. "Go to sleep, you two, there's a big day of traveling tomorrow."
"Yes, sir," the brothers chorused, snuggling into the blankets.
John left, switching off the light and shutting the door as he went. Sammy jammed cold toes under his brother's legs, ignoring the soft protests from the mound of blankets next to him. He closed his eyes, dreaming of superheroes.
Dean woke up early when his dad first started the process of getting ready to leave. It didn't take long to quietly pack his and his brother's things before heading to the kitchen for breakfast. He found his dad sitting at the table drinking coffee and reading the paper. "There're eggs on the stove."
"Thanks, Dad," Dean said. He scooped up a plateful and joined his father. "What's in Wyoming?" He salted his eggs, digging in with gusto.
"Possible chupacabra," John said, looking up from his paper. "So, what weapons would I need?"
"Uh," Dean closed his eyes, concentrating, "silver bullets and an iron blade?"
"Good," John said, taking a sip of aromatic coffee. He tilted his cup in Dean's direction. "Also, goat urine, if you can manage it."
"Goat urine?" Dean's voice rose in pitch along with his horror. "Why?"
His dad chuckled low and deep. "Chupacabras drink goat blood, Dean. It's the perfect bait. You can draw it away from farms, reducing the risk to people, less chance of being discovered, less chance of anyone getting hurt. The trick is in getting the urine in the first place."
The corners of his father's lips twitched inside his beard. "Trust me, son. You're not old enough to know yet."
Sammy walked into the bright kitchen rubbing his eyes. "What's Dean not old enough to know?"
Dean smirked. "If I'm not old enough to know, you're not even old enough to know what I'm not old enough to know."
"Huh?" The younger boy's forehead curled in confusion.
"Dean, let your brother wake up before you start tormenting him," John said. "Are you ready for breakfast yet, kiddo?"
"Not this morning, Sammy," Dean said, standing to dish eggs. "We ate it all last night. Do you want toast with your eggs?"
"Yes, please." Wood scraped linoleum and his brother climbed into the chair at the table. "Do we have ketchup?"
Mentally Dean cringed at the thought of ketchup on eggs. He'd dared his little brother to do it because he'd seen a grizzled trucker do it once. He never thought Sammy would like it. "I'll check." He found two ketchup packets from Hardee's in the butter compartment of the fridge. After pouring them both a glass of milk, he set the food on the table.
"Don't forget, we're leaving this morning, so no playing around," John said. "You can each take one bag, but that's it. If you can't fit it in your gear, it isn't going."
"Yes sir," Dean said, grimacing as Sammy wiped the eggs off the table he'd sprayed while trying to answer. "When are we leaving?"
"Twenty minutes," John said with a nod. "I'm going to shower. Get ready." His dad folded the paper and tucked it under his arm. He downed the rest of his coffee as he walked out of the kitchen.
"I already packed our stuff," Dean said. "All you have to do is figure out what you want for a book, or a toy, or something. You know Uncle Bobby doesn't really have anything for kids."
"Inside," Sammy corrected. "Outside Uncle Bobby's house is awesome."
"Yeah, well, take something with you anyway," Dean said.
"Okay," Sammy said. "Hey, Dean, what's Dad doing in Wyoming?"
"He's got a job there," Dean said. "You know that. Now get ready, we gotta go."
"I am ready," Sammy protested. "I just need to pack Desperaux."
"You need to do more than that." Dean took the plates to the sink and rinsed them off.
"Like what?" Sammy asked.
"Unless you plan to wear pajamas all day, you should probably put some clothes on." Dean turned around, smirking. The younger boy let out a giggle and Dean suppressed an eye roll. Some days the kid was just too easy. "Shower's stopped, you better hurry."
His brother ran from the room, little footsteps pattering down the hall before the bedroom door slammed shut. Five minutes later, their dad called them front and center and the Winchesters headed out the door.
"Hey, Wesson!" Tony called from behind them.
"What seems to the trouble, Tony?" John asked, squaring his shoulders. He stepped neatly between the boys and the superintendent.
"Nuthin' other than you're two days past due and it looks like you're cutting out of here." Tony said with a sneer.
Little fingers slipped into Dean's hand and he squeezed them gently in reassurance. He didn't like the potbelly superintendent and he certainly didn't like him talking to his dad that way. There was just something about the greasy man that told Dean he wasn't nice and no one to be trusted. He didn't want Sammy to be scared though, so he simply stood stiffly keeping his little brother between him and their dad. "It's okay, Dad's got it," he whispered into brown curls. The younger boy nodded, not moving.
"I put the check in the slot this morning, Tony," John said tightly, "and we're not going to be gone long."
The shorter man bellied up to John and pointed a finger in his face. "It better be there."
Not one to be intimidated, John moved closer, causing Tony to back up a step, then two. "It's there. Now if you don't mind, we're on a deadline here."
"Yeah, okay," Tony stammered. "I'll, uh, see you later."
John nodded, sheep-herding the boys out the door with a hand on each of their backs. He stopped at the outside door, turning around. "Oh, and Tony? If you ever take a step inside our apartment like you did Steve's last Tuesday, I'm going to be very unhappy."
Dean twisted to get a look at the superintendent. Tony's face had paled considerably and he swallowed hard. "I don't know…"
"Save your breath, I know," John said with a growl.
As he urged the brothers forward, Sammy whispered to Dean, "Why'd he call Dad, Mr. Wesson?"
"It's his secret identity," Dean answered in hushed voice. He climbed into the backseat of the Impala with his brother. "So, you can't tell anybody his real name."
"Got it," Sammy said, nodding knowingly. "I know how to keep a secret."
Their dad started the car moments later and they left Nebraska with barely a backwards glance.
John tightened his grip on the steering wheel. The boys were bickering again. It had been a long six hours cooped up inside what used to be a spacious car, but now felt like metal and glass penning him in. They all needed a break and they needed it soon. He pulled off the highway into a deserted wayside area. It was more of a wide spot in the road than anything else, but it boasted pit toilets, a picnic area, and plenty of room to run in a grassy area shaded by leafy elm and crabapple trees.
"Time for a break, boys," he announced as the car ground to a halt. "Go run away for awhile."
"But, Dad, we're only about an hour and a half from Uncle Bobby's aren't we?" Dean asked.
"Closer to two hours, that gravel road is rough in the spring until it's been graded." He exited the car, opening the back door for his youngest to scramble out. "I'll make sandwiches and we'll eat before we head out there. Bobby's expecting you two, but he may not have had time to shop today."
"Ugh, last time that happened we had Miracle Whip sandwiches for supper," Dean said.
"I didn't," Sammy piped in. "I gave mine to Marshall." The dimpled grin fell off his son's face as he seemed to remember his transgression. "I'm sorry."
"Just don't give your food to the dog again," John said, gruffly. It was important his sons learn not to waste food, but it hardly seemed like something to harp on them for. Not when there were so many bigger lessons out there for them to learn. He mentally shuddered at the thought of Miracle Whip sandwiches. "Now go. I want to see some hustle."
He watched the two of them run off noting that while Dean did run ahead it wasn't so far ahead that Sammy couldn't shout to him. "Dean, wait up!" Sammy's far-off voice called. John couldn't hear Dean's answering laughter, but he could see his oldest was smiling wide. He was glad he'd stopped. They all needed a break it seemed.
The sandwiches were plain bologna served with apples and juice bottles, but it was a veritable feast compared to the ketchup and chopped spam he'd passed off as Sloppy Joe's two weeks ago. He had a sneaky suspicion Dean understood what the makeshift meal had meant in the big scheme of things, but the boy hadn't pushed for answers and John was grateful. He hoped it meant that Dean trusted him to take care of them, but he didn't want to examine it too closely. He sighed, slamming the trunk lid closed. He worried that he was making his boys grow up too quickly.
Laughter pealed through the trees and John looked up, searching for his sons. They were busy chasing after each other in a modified version of tag, all smiles. Then again, he was obviously doing something right. He'd let them run around awhile longer.
John was hip-deep into a crossword puzzle when he heard Sammy calling for him. He tucked the paper under the juice bottles to keep it from blowing away and strode off towards the trees. His sharp eyes spotted the younger boy in the notch of a tall elm tree. A scratchy growl came from the leafy branches above Sammy and he twisted, looking up into the treetop. The small child's yelp of surprise was all the warning John received before his son tumbled out of the tree.
"Sammy!" he shouted, Dean's cry right behind him. He ran, only taking his eyes off the bundle of denim and cotton when loud cracking noises came from the tree. That's when he saw the flash of yellow-brown fur in the upper branches and the heavy limb that was breaking free above Sammy. His oldest son reached the unmoving five-year-old moments before John and he scooped them both into his arms, barely pausing, and rolled with them as the enormous branch landed in the spot Sammy had been laying only seconds before.
"Son, are you okay?" John asked over the heartbeat echoing in his ears. He shook Dean's shoulder gently. "Dean?" His oldest son's eyes were saucer-wide and filled with unshed tears.
He nodded jerkily. "Yeah," Dean said.
John turned his attention to his youngest. The boy was breathing, but his face was pale and he was unconscious. "Car," he barked, picking Sammy up in his arms. The three Winchesters raced for the Impala, picnic forgotten. John retrieved the first aid kit and a blanket from the trunk. Handing the blanket to Dean who had climbed into the backseat, John carefully laid Sammy down next to his brother. "Take care of your brother and don't get out of this car no matter what."
"No matter what, Dean," John said sternly. He waited for Dean's nod of understanding before slamming the door closed, locking his sons in the relative safety of the steel vehicle. Grabbing his Colt from the trunk, he quickly loaded it with silver bullets and ran back to the tree.
Whatever had hurt his son, be it supernatural or ordinary animal, it wasn't living another day.
Dean carded his fingers through his brother's curly mop, partly to comfort his still unconscious brother, partly to comfort himself. Right now, he wanted Sammy awake and his dad back in the car. Dad was out there in the lengthening shadows fighting whatever evil had hurt his baby brother, but he was old enough to know that came with risks. A tiny wriggle and a low moan were the only indicators before Sammy's hazels opened, then scrunched tight with pain.
"Where's it hurt, Sammy?" he asked, twisting until he was sitting on the hump in the middle of the floor.
"M'head," the younger boy said, "and my side." Sammy grimaced, clutching weakly at his left side. "Ow."
"Let me see," Dean said, gently swatting his brother's hand away and lifting his shirt. A red spot about the size of his father's hand marred the skin on Sammy's side. "It looks like you fell on a rock or something."
"I fell?" Sammy asked, his face puckering, eyebrows drawing together. "I don't remember."
"You were in the tree," Dean explained, "and you fell. I guess you hit your head 'cause it knocked you out. Dad barely got you out of the way before part of the tree landed on you."
Sammy's eyes opened wide and he scooted until he was half-way sitting up propped against the door. "Daddy really is a superhero," he said with a hint of wonderment in his tone. He pinched the bridge of his nose. "Where is he?"
"Outside making sure there was nothing in that tree with you," Dean said. It was true from a certain point of view. "He'll be back in a few minutes." He leaned forward gripping one of his little brother's shoulders when Sammy listed to the side. "Hey, stay awake, okay?"
"But I'm tired and my head hurts," the younger boy replied with a hint of a whine. "Please, Dean?"
"Not a chance," he said. Sammy reached for his head, and Dean slapped his hand down. "Quit touching it. I'm sure the lump is big enough."
Dean frowned, that wasn't something he expected. He motioned for Sammy to turn in the seat and moved to sit beside him. Gently moving chestnut strands out of the way, Dean tried to look closer at his brother's head in the dark. His fingers came away sticky, smelling of copper. His heart thumped madly, as he casually took off his outer shirt, leaving him in only an undershirt.
"What're you doing?" Sammy asked, face scrunching.
"You're bleeding a little," Dean said, keeping his tone light. He didn't want to freak out his brother, especially because he was freaking out just a little himself. He pressed the shirt to Sammy's head.
"Ow," Sammy complained. "Dean, ow, stop it."
"Sorry, kiddo," Dean apologized. He continued to apply steady pressure to his brother's head. Little fingers scrabbled at his hand. It was time for a distraction. "Who do you think would win in a fight between Superman and The Incredible Hulk?"
"Easy, Superman," Sammy said, grunting at the end and dropping his fingers away from Dean's hand. "Wonder Woman or Cat Woman?"
"Wonder Woman," Dean said, "not a contest." He peered out the window searching for a sign of his father. "If you could have any super powers what would they be?"
"Uh," Sammy said, thinking aloud. "maybe…" A gunshot rang out causing both boys to jump in the seat. Tears immediately filled the younger boy's hazel eyes. "What was that?"
"Dad," Dean said, his voice confident. "We're okay and Dad will be back soon, Sammy."
"Are you sure?" Sammy asked, tears in his voice.
"Positive," he said. He checked his brother's head again and the bleeding seemed to have stopped. The front driver's door opened and a breeze followed, chilling Dean. The spring night air was not warm. Sammy shivered next to him.
"Are you boys okay?" Their father's brown eyes raked over them, assessing. Shallow scratches marred the left side of his face.
"We're okay, Dad," Dean replied. "But you should look at Sammy's head and side. He got banged up when he fell." John's eyes fell to the bloody shirt in Dean's hand. "His head was bleeding, but it's stopped now."
John nodded. "Hop in the front seat, Dean. I'll be around to check on you in just a minute, Sammy."
Dean climbed into the front passenger seat and seconds later the door opened behind him, letting his father into the back. John picked the first aid kit off the floor and opened it, casting an amused smile at Dean. "There're gauze pads in here, son. You didn't need to use your shirt."
"I, uh, kind of forgot it was down there," Dean said, embarrassed. He'd been too worried to remember. "Sorry."
"You took care of your brother and stayed in the car like I told you to do, you have nothing to apologize for," his dad said. Brown eyes turned their attention on the mop-haired boy in the backseat. "Does it hurt anywhere, Sammy?"
The younger boy nodded, but his eyes focused on the scratches on his father's face. "You're bleeding, Daddy. Do you want Dean's shirt?"
"I'm okay," John replied with a small laugh. He switched on a flashlight, shining the beam at Sammy's head. "It's not bleeding anymore. Good work, Dean." He opened an antiseptic swab and Dean cringed. Those things were cold and stung. Sammy wasn't going to like it at all. "Hey, kiddo, need to do a little test of your marbles since they were all shaken up. Can you recite the alphabet?"
Sammy tossed his father an appropriately offended glare at the suggestion that he couldn't remember and perfectly recited all twenty-six letters. Before his brother finished reciting, his Dad had finished cleaning the cut on Sammy's head. Dean smiled, storing the distraction technique away for future use. Making the younger boy think had worked even better than playing a game with him. "All done," John said. "Now, let's take a look at your side."
Dean couldn't see what his dad was doing because John's head was in the way, but a sharp intake of breath from his brother had Dean leaning over the seat ready to jump to Sammy's rescue. "Is he okay?"
"He's fine," John said, dropping the shirt back into place. "But he's going to be sore for several days." He snapped the first aid kit closed. "You can have your spot back now. We need to get going."
"Yes, sir," Dean replied. He wanted to ask his dad what had pushed Sammy from the tree, but that would have to wait. If Dad had wanted to talk about it in front of his little brother, he would have done so already. That meant he'd have to corner him sometime when Sammy was sleeping or preoccupied which could take weeks. He resisted the urge to sigh as he crawled into the back with his brother. Waiting wasn't something he enjoyed doing.
When his dad sat down in the driver's seat, he twisted around to hand Dean the sandwiches and juice boxes. "The grape one is Sammy's," John said.
"I'm not really hungry," Sammy said, holding his stomach. "My tummy's upset."
"It's because of the bump on your head," John said. "Drink the juice anyway."
"Okay," Sammy said, his voice quiet. Dean could tell his brother wanted to say no, but knew better than to argue with their father.
"Just drink the juice," Dean reiterated. "It's your favorite."
Sammy tossed him a sleepy and pain-filled, small smile. "Thank you."
The car started and their dad pulled it out onto the highway. The music was on low and the tires on the pavement provided a steady white noise accompaniment. Dean wasn't terribly surprised when Sammy's mop of curls bobbed lower and lower until it was obvious the younger boy had fallen asleep. Dean folded his now dry, but bloody shirt so that a clean section was on the outside, tucking it between the window and his drooling brother's head. "Sammy's asleep."
"That's good," his dad replied, turning the review mirror to glance at Dean. "I crushed some children's Tylenol in his juice."
"Sneaky, Dad," Dean said, his tone half admiration and half-scolding. Sammy didn't like to take medicine.
His dad chuckled. "I suppose it was, but it worked."
Dean looked over at his brother. The tight lines of pain on his face were gone and he rested peacefully. If it helped, it was okay he supposed. "Yeah, it worked."
Sammy sighed when he felt himself slowly lowered onto a comfortable mattress. He was vaguely aware of his dad removing his shoes and jeans before the covers were pulled up. He tried to say thank you, but the words got stuck in his head and never made it out his mouth.
The next time he awoke was when Dean crawled into bed next to him. He knew time had passed because he felt less like his brain was wrapped in cotton than he had before. "D'n?"
"Go back to sleep, Sammy," Dean whispered.
Sammy rolled onto his good side to face his brother and opened his eyes. "Dean?"
"You can tell me the truth," Sammy said, "I'm old enough to know."
Silence was the only response and he would have thought Dean was asleep except he could see light reflecting off his brother's green eyes. "What are you talking about?"
"About Dad." More silence followed. Sammy squirmed on the bed, trying to get a better look at Dean's face. "Dean?"
"What about Dad?"
Sammy drew in a deep breath and spit out his question. "Is he a superhero?"
Dean let out a long exhale. "He's a hero," his brother said with conviction, "but more like Batman than Superman or anything. He's a regular guy, doing the right thing to help people when he can."
Sammy nodded thoughtfully. "Okay, thanks," he said.
"Now go to sleep," Dean said, turning on his side so his back was to Sammy. A clear indication the conversation was over.
The younger boy lay awake, thinking. As far as he was concerned, doing the right thing to help people did make his dad a superhero, and it made his brother one, too. No one was cooler than Dean and being a superhero meant helping people – with or without the superpowers.
Besides, his dad did have the cool superhero car.
AN: Nemoed asked for a story in which Sammy thought his dad was a superhero. I hope this is close to what you were looking for, girl!