Promise of a New Year

Disclaimer: Sadly, not mine.

Beta'd: By Muffy Morrigan. Thank you for rushing this through the pass!

Time Line: January 1st, 1984


Christmas came and went. His dad had tried, replenishing a few of the presents that had been under their tree before. Before the fire that had claimed his mommy, before his daddy had turned into a quiet stranger who often smelled like whisky and rarely smiled. The presents only hurt, reminding Dean how much his life had changed in one scary, random, fiery moment.

It was 1984, whatever that was supposed to mean. Dean was sitting on the couch watching as hundreds of people filled the screen on their small television waiting for the ball to drop. It was a colorful ball and all the people seemed so happy. Kissing and hugging, and he wondered if someday their family would be happy again.

A big bang came from outside causing Dean to jump. Then the wailing began from the back room. Sammy rarely cried, but when he did he meant business. It was loud and insistent, frequently involving tears, snot, and drool. Sammy leaked everywhere when he cried.

His dad was asleep, an open bottle of alcohol sitting beside him in the chair. Dean ran over to his father, shaking him in an attempt to wake him up. Sammy missed Mommy just like he did, and Dean could tell his little brother was afraid by the strident cry. Daddy, please wake up.

His dad snorted and snored, rolling onto his side in the recliner. He mumbled something about the baby and said Dean's mother's name. Dean sniffed, wiping a hand under his nose. He needed his Daddy and Sammy needed Mommy, and it looked like neither one of them was getting what they needed tonight.

Dean padded down the hall into the bedroom he shared with his brother. Their new apartment was much smaller than their old house, but there was less love to fill it so somehow that seemed okay to him. He tiptoed up to the crib, climbing onto the rail to peek over the edge at his brother. The night light cast a soft yellow glow onto the baby's face. Just as he'd thought, Sammy was a red mass of crying, wet brother.

He tried, he really did. Dean made funny faces, made Sammy's plush bear dance, did all the things he normally did to entertain his brother and make him laugh, but Sammy wasn't having any of it. Dean was nearly in tears himself; he just wanted his brother to feel safe, to know that he loved him.

Dean hooked a leg over the rail and pulled himself up. He carefully dropped into the crib next to his brother which finally, thankfully, got Sammy's attention. The baby hiccupped, breath stuttering, then reached up with chubby fists to tangle in Dean's shirt, pulling him down. "Dee."

Dean settled down next to his brother, pulling the quilted crib blanket over them both. Sammy's head was cradled in the nook of Dean's neck, his thumb stuck in his mouth, his other hand still fisted in his big brother's pajama shirt. The baby sniffled, not quite able to stop crying completely without winding down.

He rested his forehead on Sammy's brown curls, draping one arm over his brother's shoulders. In a whisper rusty from disuse Dean reassured the baby, "Shshshsh, Sammy, it's okay." Sammy pulled his head back and gazed at him with large hazel eyes before settling back into the cradle of Dean's neck. "Nothing bad is gonna happen to you. Big brother's here."

Warm, tiny fingers patted the side of his face, and Dean closed his eyes. Maybe there was enough love to fill their new house after all.



AN: The blame for this ficlet lies solely with Phx who sent me the most adorable picture of two little boys sleeping all snuggled up together about the right age gap for our brothers. This may not have been what she had in mind, but this is what came out when my poor, neglected Pollyanna muse came out to play tonight.