Title: The Heart of a Child

Summary: At four, Sam doesn't understand much except that his big brother would do anything for him and that he's ready to return the favor, no matter what happens.

Disclaimer: THIS STORY IS FICTION! Sam is too young to give blood and I know this but please LOOK PAST THAT! I'm sorry for false information but fiction doesn't have to be true, obviously.

A/N: This little story idea was stolen from an excerpt in Chicken Soup. I have no medical experience so I apologize if some things don't make sense, especially the way a blood transfusion is conducted. It's fiction. As always huge thanks to GidgetGal9 and sendintheclowns for their support and quick beta. I hope Santa brings you girls all you asked for!

Sorry to everyone who tried to read this last night. The site wasn't showing my story on my page so I assumed something went wrong and deleted it.

I didn't think anyone would receive alerts in their inboxes since I hadn't, but apparently that part of the site was on the ball.

Hope everyone will still give this a try. Thanks a bunch!

~*~*~

Another hospital, another town but John would never get used to watching either of his sons being whisked away by doctors and nurses. He thought it was just a stomach ache. Dean was a human garbage disposal so he figured the boy had just eaten too much, no big deal.

When Dean's pain only got worse, so bad that Dean was curled on the bed with Sam trying his hardest to comfort the older boy, John knew he had made a mistake. It definitely wasn't just any stomach ache.

Without another thought John had picked Dean up into his arms and rushed out to the car, Sammy stumbling to keep up with him. He knew after this was over his oldest would be irritated that John had let him ride in the front seat and he wasn't even able to enjoy it. Irony of it was in just a few more weeks Dean would be nine and John was finally going to give him the front seat privilege.

John was going to make sure his son was feeling better by then.

That had been about an hour ago, leaving John and Sam nervously waiting for news on Dean. The waiting room was unusually quiet which surprisingly did not ease John nerves. At least when it was filled with chaotic noises he knew something was going on, he knew the doctors were doing their jobs.

"Daddy?" He looked down at the boy in his lap, trying to hide his concern. "Is this why you tell us not to eat so fast?"

The honest fear in Sam's eyes made John chuckle despite the seriousness of the situation. Sam stared at him in confusion and he hugged the small boy closer, tucking Sam's head under his chin. He felt Sam sigh and relax into his hold, tiny puffs of hot breath against his neck.

"I don't think that's what caused it, Sammy." He looked up as the swinging doors pushed opened. "But the doctors are going to figure it out and Dean's going to be just fine."

Sam nodded against his chest and John knew that the boy was seconds away from sleep but John was counting that as a blessing. He tightened his arms around Sam and quietly greeted the doctor who had moved to stand in front of the two Winchesters.

The doctor extended his hand with a small smile, "I'm Dr. Wise."

"How's my son?" He watched as the doctor's smile fell slightly and the man looked over his clipboard.

"He's fine, Mr. Winchester." The smile returned. "Dean's suffering from appendicitis as I'm sure you realize is very common. Maybe not in someone as young as Dean, but it's still not a life threatening illness."

"So he needs an appendectomy?"

"As long as we have your permission we will go ahead and perform the procedure," The doctor handed the clipboard over to John along with the pen from his pocket. "There are two forms on there because we'd like to see if either you or Sam is a match for Dean's blood type. It's common for patients to need a blood transfusion and we much prefer having a family member transfer."

"I know I'm not a match," John glanced down at the sleeping boy in his arms. "But I know Sam and Dean have the same blood type. You can still test Sam if you must."

"Dean had a blood transfusion before?" The doctor asked, taking the offered clipboard back from John.

"Sam has," He explained, hand unconsciously rubbing softly at Sam's arm. "There were complications and he and his mother had lost too much blood. I wasn't a match for either but Dean was able to help as much as he could."

"Do you want to bring Sam back now?" The doctor nodded his head toward the sleeping child. "We have to test him since we don't have records but it won't take long. We can do it while he's sleeping?"

"You can do it now," John ran his hand through Sam's long hair and whispered quietly into the boy's ear. "But I'd like him to be awake. You have my consent but only if you have Sam's first."

John saw the doctor nod and he was almost certain the man was a father himself by the way he easily understood John's decision. Both John and the doctor watched as Sam slowly woke up, his wide eyes glancing around the room and John knew exactly what, or rather who, the boy was looking for.

"Hey buddy," He said softly, waiting till Sam's mind caught up with his waking body. "The doctor has a question for you."

"About Dean?" The little boy looked from his father to the doctor, sitting up straight in John's lap as the doctor nodded.

"Sam, we're going to help your brother feel better but in order to do that we have to do surgery." The doctor paused and looked at John as if waiting for approval to continue. John nodded. "Do you know what surgery is?"

"You're going to cut him open?"

John snorted and squeezed Sam's shoulder gently as the doctor continued with a slightly brighter smile.

"We are but it's not going to hurt."

"Will he have a scar?"

"I suspect he will have a small one."

"Good. Dean likes scars." Sam nodded with a smile. "He says the chicks dig them."

The doctor turned away for a second and John could see his shoulders rising and falling, well aware that the man was trying to cover his laughter. John made a mental note to have two slightly awkward conversations with his boys once they were out of the hospital.

"The doctor wants to know if you'd help him, Sammy." He cupped the back of Sam's head, gently forcing the boy to maintain eye contact with him.

"I can help?" Sam bounced in John's lap, trying to break away from the light grip. "I want to help!"

"Dean's going to need some more blood after the surgery."

"Where's his going to go?"

"Well he'll lose it during the surgery."

"But he'll be okay?"

"As long as he gets it back."

"I can give him mine?"

"That's what the doctor wants to ask you." John turned to the doctor and then back down at Sam. "Will you give Dean your blood so he can feel better?"

"Sure," Sam nodded but his eyes drifted downward.

"You don't have to, Sammy." John lifted Sam's chin gently and smiled at his son. "There are other ways for us to help Dean."

"No," The boy shook his head with a slight frown. "Dean would save me and I want to save Dean."

John hugged Sam close, so proud of his little boy who was already showing bravery and strong loyalty toward his family. Sam shook in his arms but John assumed it was simply nerves and whispered calming words in attempt to ease the young boy's worries. He pushed himself and Sam up from the chair and followed the doctor, whispering quietly the entire time.

The doctor stepped outside one room and turned toward John who could easily make out Dean through the room's open blinds. John shook his head and the doctor nodded, moving on to a different room. As much as John wanted his boys together, he knew, if Dean woke up, his oldest would not be pleased with Sam's decision. They didn't need the argument that would definitely arise.

Once in the empty room, John placed Sam onto the bed but the boy refused to let go of him, clinging to John's shirt and forcing him to stay by the bedside. It wasn't that John minded but he was slightly concerned as Sam seemed to becoming more and more frightened by the moment.

"I'm just going to take a tiny bit of blood for now so we can test it," The doctor smiled kindly as he held out the needle toward Sam and gave the boy a second to study it.

John was pleased when Sam easily extended his arm for the doctor even if he did hide his head into John's side the whole time. The doctor seemed just as pleased as he praised Sam for being so brave before he headed out of the room, leaving John and Sam alone.

"I love you, Daddy."

John stared at the boy for a few seconds, touched by the words but confused at the same time. The Winchesters weren't exactly big on saying the L word.

He leaned over and kissed Sam on the top of the head, hand rubbing soothingly at Sam's arm. "This'll all be over soon and Dean will be right back and tormenting his little brother."

Sam just nodded with what John swore was a sad, watery smile.

~*~*~

John had been right about Sam being a match and the nurses moved quickly and carefully as they prepped the little boy, doting on Sam as every woman did. They explained to Sam as easily as they could what they were going to be doing and John watch as his son nodded, never once looking the women in their eyes. Instead, Sam kept his head lowered, chin resting on his tiny chest.

He assumed Sam was just exhausted, he knew he was, but John needed to stop assuming.

As the nurses wheeled Sam down the hall and into Dean's room, John followed closely and kept an eye on Sam's posture. At first he'd thought Sam had fallen asleep but when the bed was situated and John got a close look, he noticed the hitch in Sam's shoulders and the small tears leaving wet trails down the boy's cheeks.

The nurses excused themselves with a promise to be back shortly but John barely acknowledged them as he moved forward and sat down beside his son. Sam turned his head away from John but the small body seemed to involuntarily shift closer as if seeking comfort Sam didn't even realize he needed.

"What's wrong, Sammy?" He reached his hand out and brushed the shaggy bangs out of Sam's face, not for the first time wishing Sam would allow him to cut it.

"I'm scared." Sam turned his head toward John but kept his eyes closed, curling up into a ball against John's back.

He shifted slightly so that he was parallel with Sam, rubbing his hand gently over the boy's back as he let Sam cry for a few short minutes. Neither of his boys was much for crying and John blamed that on the fact that he had made them see it as a weakness. Sometimes he regretted that, especially as he watched his four year old son break down, trying to hide it as his big brother and father always did. He wanted Sam to understand that he didn't expect the boy to handle all of this as though he were made of steel but all he could do was let the boy cry into his shirt.

"Everything will be okay, Sammy," He heard the knock at the door and took that as his cue to stand up as Dean's bed was wheeled back into the room. "Dean's here now and he's going to feel all better soon, thanks to you."

"Okay," Sam whispered as he moved back up the bed, wiping quickly and roughly at his tiny eyes.

The doctor explained everything to John and Sam once again, assuring them that Dean was just fine beside being a little weak and sore from the surgery. John looked over Dean quickly, pleased to see his son was free of pain for the time being but when he looked back at Sam, his happiness quickly disappeared.

Sam held his arm out to the doctor, head turned away once again as his other hand was fisted tightly in the white sheets. The little boy was no longer crying but instead his face was blank, lips held tightly together, looking much older than four.

"Okay, Sam, you're going to feel a light stick." The doctor glanced at John, questioning Sam's behavior, but John shrugged and nodded for the man to continue.

Sam nodded but made no further attempt to answer the doctor, eyes already closed as he seemed to be preparing for the needle. As the doctor slipped the needle into his Son's arm John couldn't help but wince though he noticed his little boy remained completely still and unaffected by the doctor's actions.

John tried to pay attention as the doctor and nurses worked to set everything up but his attention was focused on Sam, waiting for any sign that his son may need him. He wasn't used to seeing Sam so compliant and silent. His little boy always had something to say, something to question and it made him nervous now that the chatter was missing.

"Alright, Sam, this may feel a little weird," The doctor attached the piece to the needle in Sam's arm and John grimaced as the bright red filled the tube.

Finally Sam opened his eyes and turned to look at the tube and then up toward John and the doctor. Sam sat up slightly and looked over towards the other bed, the boy's eyes dwelled on his older brother for a few moments before he turned away and laid back against the pillows. When he glanced back up at John, with a small smile on his face, there was resignation in those hazel eyes. John never expected, or wanted, to see such an emotion from such a young child.

"Will I start to die right away?" Sam asked and John felt his chest tighten as he stared at his son in shock.

"You're not going to die." He quickly moved over to the bed and sat down once again, wrapping his arm across the little boy's shoulders. "Goodness, Sammy, I wouldn't let that happen."

"You said Dean needed blood cause he lost his." Huge, bright eyes stared up and John and he squeezed Sam tighter.

"Dean just needed a bit more to help his body get better." John explained, running his hand through Sam's thick hair. "When you fall down and cut your knee you lose some blood but Dean's cut was a bit too big and he lost a little too much blood. The doctor just wanted to give him a little extra so that his cut could heal."

"So they're not taking all my blood?"

"Of course not, buddy." He thanked the nurse quietly as she carefully removed the needle from Sam's arm. "Dean wouldn't be too happy if he woke up and didn't have a little brother to tease would he?"

Sam shook his head with a smile as John pulled him closer so that Sam's head was resting on John's chest. He slid further down the bed and rested his cheek atop Sam's head with a relieved sigh.

"I'm so proud of you, Sammy." He felt Sam relax into his touch and as the little boy drifted off to a much needed sleep, John whispered quietly, "I love you too, kiddo."

Before you comment, please read my author notes. I appreciate all comments but it's frustrating when I take the time to point out that things clearly are the result of my creative license or that the plot has been taken from another source yet people still want to point this out to me. I write for fun and it's all fiction. I'm honored that those who have mentioned such things have still enjoyed my story but please understand that everything you're saying has been addressed. Thank you.

~*~DontKnowMyName~*~

I hope you all enjoyed this story because I definitely enjoyed writing it.

I'm currently studying to be a Pre-K teacher so I absolutely love how little children think.

I also love interaction between John and Sam, especially when John is being a cute father.

Hope none of the medical stuff bothered anyone but please remember its fiction!

I'm learning to be a teacher, not a doctor.

Thanks again!

Happy Holidays to all!