Summary: Dean gets more than he bargained for when a wish is granted.

Faith and Begorrah

Dean stomped by the playground on his way to the bar down the road, trying to work out some of his aggressions. A little beer, pool and a shapely blond—or brunette—or redhead—ought to help. He needed something to help him forget the argument he'd just had with Sam.

On the surface they'd been fighting about a hunt but the subtext was more subtle. It all boiled down to trust. Sam didn't think Dean trusted him now that he had these new shiny 'gifts' and Sam didn't completely trust Dean because of what their dad had said right before he died. It didn't seem to matter to Sam that Dean had withheld the information because he'd been trying to protect Sam.

Maybe it was wrong but that was what Dean did—protected Sam.

When things became too heated, Dean had stomped out of the motel room before he could say or do something that he'd regret. He'd hung around the parking lot for a while, watching the door. At least Sam hadn't struck out on his own again. Because that had worked out so fantastically last time…not.

Dean concentrated on the swish of his jeans as he made his way down the sidewalk. He stopped in his tracks as a piercing cry filled the air, clapping his hands over his ears in distress. His eyes sought the cause of the noise. Two kids, maybe in their early teens, were kicking another kid who was laid out on the ground underneath the monkey bars. Too bad the kids weren't bigger…otherwise he could've taken his aggressions out on them. Still, Dean figured he needed to intervene.

"Hey, what the hell do you think you're doing?" Dean barked at the blond and red haired pipsqueaks who stopped what they were doing, namely planting their shoes in the black haired kid's ribs.

The two upright teens abandoned their prey and Dean was left with the victim who slowly climbed to his feet, brushing dust and debris from his obnoxious red satin jacket. His jeans were about three inches too short which exposed the flashy red high tops nicely but also screamed head for higher ground, the floods are coming. No wonder the other kids had been pounding the hell out of him, he was dressed like a total moron. The only thing missing was a sign that said 'kick me.'

The kid picked up a red baseball cap and slapped it against his thigh before setting it on top of the wavy black hair. He grabbed the bill of the cap and set it askew. Dean considered the cap, cocked at an angle, the 'kick me' sign. Shaking his head, he could only stare.

Meeting his stare, the kid smiled, blue eyes twinkling. "Thanks for your help, kind sir."

There was an accent, slight yet lilting. And his speech was weird. Maybe the other kids had picked on him because he was a foreigner. Kids could mean. They didn't like anyone who was different. He knew that first hand from when he and Sammy had been young. Hand-me-downs and outgrown clothing were more prevalent than Dean liked to remember. He'd had to work really hard to cultivate his cool.

Sam never had. Cultivated his cool, that is. Which had meant Sam getting picked on and Dean coming to his rescue, at least when Sam was young enough to let him.

Surprising, Dean considered that the good old times. Taking care of Sam.

Dean shook his head, visibly trying to scrub those memories away. He jerked his attention back to the freaky kid who had a goofy smile on his face, blindingly white teeth sparkling. He'd taken quite a pounding; maybe he'd been knocked silly. "You okay?"

The smile that greeted his question was sly, almost Mona Lisa-like. "That I am, thanks to you."

Dean nodded, taking the words as a dismissal. He was happy to be on his way. He'd done his duty. The bar awaited him.

"Sir? Before you leave, canna ask you a question? Why were you smiling just now?" The voice was soft, melodious.

Dean should've ignored it. He didn't know why he answered. The kid wasn't hurt and he was still mad at Sam and the bar was down the street—

Something tugged at his brain, a tickle deep inside, and he had to answer. "I was just thinking about when I was a kid. Me and my little brother. He used to get into scrapes just like you. Sometimes…" Dean paused, swallowing hard, "I wish Sam hadn't grown up."

Dean bit the inside of his cheek. That was weird. He was talking to some random teen, one who had no dress sense, about his private thoughts. A pitcher of beer was looking better and better, beckoning to him.

Touching a finger to the bill of the red cap, the kid laughed. "Never let it be said that me kind don't repay their debts. Your wish is my command. Two more to go."

A sparkle of light glimmered in the air and the kid disappeared.

Something was wrong. Kids, even freaky ones, didn't vanish into thin air. And Dean didn't spill his guts to runty strangers.

Instincts flaring, Dean was sprinting back to the motel, his feet moving before his brain could even issue the command.

Fumbling with the keycard, Dean finally swung the door open. "Sam, something really weird just happened to me."

Sam apparently hadn't let their earlier tiff bother him as he was stretched out on the double bed farthest from the door, sleeping soundly. Except the body on the bed was about a foot shorter than Sam—

"Who are you?" Dean's voice boomed into the silence as he advanced toward the bed. He ignored the way the slight body, a mere boy, sat up and blinked sleepily at him. Dean had just about had it with kids. At least this one didn't have black hair and wear a red baseball cap.

The boy, all floppy chestnut hair and big hazel eyes, rolled off the bed, his too large jeans slipping past his hips. "You first."

The voice was familiar. So was the face. Especially the birthmark on the cheek. What the fu--

"Sammy?"

No freakin' way. Dean was staring at a miniaturized version of Sam, circa the mid to late 1990's. He slapped the middle of his forehead. Hard. Dean was pretty sure he'd just committed the most colossal mistake possible.

Dean had expressed a wish out loud, a wish that Sam hadn't grown up. Here he was, staring at a young Sam. Coincidence? Not likely. And he'd made his wish to a kid who didn't act like a kid. Funny dress, funny accent, funny way about him.

Dean's mind seemed clearer now that he was away from the playground. He was thinking he'd come away from a face to face with a fey creature. One who had zapped Sam back into his childhood.

Because Dean had wished it.

There was a time, about ten years ago, when Sam didn't argue every little point. He actually listened to Dean, pretty much hung on his every word. He looked up to Dean.

His brother had always had a questioning mind but after his short time at Truman High Sam had never accepted anything John or Dean said without argument. His dad had said it was just Sam growing up but Dean had always figured some teacher had put a bee in Sam's bonnet and Sam had never treated his family the same after that.

None of that meant anything at the moment. Sammy was staring at him, eyes huge, feet inching toward the door. "Just relax, Sammy. It's me, Dean. And I can explain."

Sammy didn't look impressed. "Listen, Mister. I don't know how you got in here but my brother is going to be right back."

Dean took another step toward Sammy, his hand outstretched. "I'm not going to hurt you. Let's sit down and I'll tell you what happened." When Sam ignored him, sidling toward the exit, Dean tried again. "Look at me. It's really me. Dean. I'm just a little older than you remember."

Sammy's posture relaxed, his hands dropping to his side as his jeans continued to threaten a slow, steady slide to the floor. He nodded warily at Dean to continue.

Licking his lips, Dean planted his feet. He didn't want to startle his little brother. His really little brother. He'd forgotten what a short-fry Sammy had been in his early teens. The kid had always been small for his age which made Dean want to protect him all the more. Not that Sammy would allow it. His brother had always been the independent type. He forced his mind out of the past and concentrated on the smaller person in front of him. "There's a reason that I'm older. Or I should say that you're younger. There was a—"

Dean had to admit he was impressed. He'd forgotten what a good little con artist Sammy had been. And how quick he was, too. He'd lulled Dean into thinking he was going to listen and then he'd sprinted for the door.

Too bad the over-sized jeans tripped him up. The stumble gave Dean just enough time to latch on to his brother's hoodie. Sammy kicked a foot straight back. Right into Dean's knee. It was enough to make Dean loose his hold but it also had another side effect; it propelled Sam forward.

Sammy's momentum carried him head first into the door.

Staggering back a few paces, Sam reeled around to face Dean, eyes wide and dazed. Then those short legs folded and his brother collapsed on the carpet in a heap.

"Sammy!"

Dean darted forward and knelt down next to the prone boy, hands checking for broken bones. When he didn't find any fractures, he gently turned his brother over on to his back. Just as he'd suspected, the only damage seemed to be to Sammy's forehead; when Dean pushed the messy bangs aside he found a quarter sized flaming red smudge marring the skin where his brother's head had collided with the door.

Scooping up the light body, Dean carried Sam over to the closest bed, carefully arranging his limbs on the soft surface. Dean grabbed a maglite from his bag and returned to his brother's side, peeling first one heavy eyelid up and then the other to check the pupils; both were equal and reacted equally to the light. The kid most likely had a concussion but at least he didn't seem to have a more severe brain injury like a hemorrhage or something.

Sammy. It had been about this age that his brother had asked that they call him Sam instead of Sammy.

Perching on the side of the bed, Dean cupped the kid's cheek. "Hey, Sammy, time to wake up."

His brother's nose crinkled a little but he didn't open his eyes.

Dean patiently waited one minute. When there was no further activity, he decided to try a sternal rub. Either Sam had a more serious injury than he had thought or the kid was playing 'possum.

Tugging the multiple layers of t-shirt and hoodie up to expose Sam's breastbone, Dean's body violently bent over as the air whooshed out of his lungs; the brat had punched him in the breadbox. "Pervert."

Great, Sam not only didn't believe him when he said he was Dean but he thought he'd been trying to feel him up or something.

There was a flurry of activity as the kid scrambled to roll off the bed but Dean wrapped his hand around Sammy's upper arm and halted his flight. Mindful of the possible head injury, Dean folded his arms around the slight boy's torso, blanketing him, immobilizing thin arms at his side.

"Stop it, Sammy." The kid struggled on for a while, managing to break away for a moment but Dean quickly subdued him.

Sam tried head butting him in the chin but he was too short to reach. His words, however, were more effective as a weapon. "You're not my brother. Dean would never hurt me."

Dean winced, loosening his hold. It was true. Before Sam went off to Stanford, Dean would never have laid a finger on him in anger. But a lot had changed since then. Including Dean punching Sam after they met Gordon Walker while they were on the trail of the animal bloodsucking vampire nest.

His little brother had always known what buttons to push when it came to Dean. Guilt was always effective. But Sam was going to hurt himself if he kept struggling. "Knock it off and listen. You're not going to get away from me and it not's because you can't defend yourself. You're good. Better than good. But don't forget I'm the one who taught you all of your moves."

The body in his arms stilled. Dean relaxed his grip but he remained vigilant for any sudden moves. Sam slowly turned in the circle of his arms, staring up at Dean. His lips pulled down in a frown. Then his nose twitched. "Dean?"

"Yeah, Sammy, it's me. Why don't you sit down and I'll tell you what happened?" Dean suggested, not liking the pasty color of Sam's skin and wanting to get him off his feet before he passed out again.

Sam allowed himself to be steered over to the bed, perching cautiously on the edge. "It's Sam."

A smile threatened to crack Dean's face. This was vintage Sam. And his brother believed him. Finally. Dean cleared his throat. "We holed up here so you could do some research. While I was out, I ran into something. I think it granted me a wish."

Raising an eyebrow at Dean, Sam crossed his arms. "A wish to shrink me? Great." The lower lip jutted out and Sam's teeth gnawed thoughtfully. "Am I usually as big as you are? I mean I'm swimming in these clothes."

Sam had always amazed him. It was his ability to take things in stride. Like what their dad did for a living and how they killed supernatural creatures. And now, like how Dean had made a wish and it had changed Sam into Sammy.

Yet Sam was focused on his diminutive size which was exactly one of the things he'd worried about when he was hitting high school. Would he ever grow? Did he ever, and how. "Actually, you end up being about four inches taller than me."

Big hazel eyes glistened up at him. His voice held a note of reverence. "No way."

Dean's whole face was crinkling up in amusement at Sam's response. He nodded sagely. "Way. You end up ginormous."

Bounding to his feet, Sam wavered in place. The color drained from his face, a hand rubbing the side of his face. "Easy, Sam."

Sam shook off the dizziness. "Change me back. Please?"

The eyes, the voice…Dean had always had a problem saying no to Sam when he'd been a kid. That had all changed when Sam broke his heart, striking out on his own, leaving him for school.

The creature, probably a fairy of some type had granted him a wish. Dean hadn't thought much of it at the time, but the black-haired kid had said something about paying his debt and two more to go. Dean suspected he could make another wish and turn back Sam. But did he want to? "I don't know if I can."

"You said you ran into something and it granted you a wish. What did it look like?" Sam sat down at the creaky table and opened the laptop. Sam had always been in his element when he was looking into a new case, digging for facts. But this laptop was a far cry from what Sam had used in the 1990's. It took Sam a minute to figure out how to power it up but then he was navigating around it like a poor.

Dean didn't see the harm in telling Sam about the kid. Fairy. Whatever. "It looked like a kid, shorter even than you." Sam shot him an annoyed before clicking the mouse. "Black hair, blue eyes. Red satin jacket, red high tops, too short jeans and a red baseball cap."

Sam turned around to stare at Dean, his face flashing with pain. Dean walked over so he was standing next to him, a hand on his shoulder. "What's wrong?"

"Busty Asian Beauties? Dad's gonna kill you for putting porn on his portable pc. I mean that is porn, right?" Sam's voice was hesitant.

Sam never liked it when Dean got in trouble. In fact for a while he'd taken to claiming responsibility for some of the things Dean had done, or not done, around the house. Leaving the milk out on the counter. Getting into Dad's liquor.

This Sam didn't know their dad was dead. Dean couldn't deal with telling him. It was hard enough being around a grieving adult Sam; Dean couldn't imagine what being around a pint sized one would do to him. "It's okay. Don't worry about it."

Sam took Dean at his word, returning his attention to the laptop. The kid was smiling as he pointed, typed and clicked. Awe filled his voice. "The internet sure is fast on this thing."

Dean watched as Sam zipped through some of the websites. "Hey, Sammy, can I ask you a question? "What made you finally decide to listen to me about me being your brother? I know I look and sound different so how did you know it was me?"

Without pausing in his pursuit of knowledge, Sam shrugged his thin shoulders. "You've said those same words to me before." Adopting a deeper voice, Sam continued, "You're good. Better than good. But don't forget I'm the one who taught you all of your moves." Sam always had been a good little mimic.

Alighting on one website for more than thirty seconds, Sam pointed to the screen. "Here, listen to this. He's about three feet high, dressed in a little red jacket or roundabout, with red breeches buckled at the knee, gray or black stockings, and a hat, cocked in the style of a century ago." Sam stopped talking but his eyes kept scanning the screen. "Oh."

Nudging Sam in the arm, Dean asked, "Oh, what? What did you find?"

Dean easily could've read the screen himself but he knew better than that. Sam always enjoyed revealing what he'd found and if you guessed it or scooped him, he could get pretty pissy. "There's a bunch of stuff about ruffs and frills and lace but I thought this was interesting; unless on the lookout for the cocked hat, you might not know what you've passed."

Pausing, Sam seemed to enjoy his little moment of dramatic silence. Dean didn't like silence so he waited as long as he could and then jumped in. "You might not know what you've passed. What's the what?"

"Who's on first?" Sam replied, grinning impishly at Dean.

Cuffing Sam lightly on the shoulder, Dean grinned back. "Smartass. I'm not falling for that routine. Tell me what you wouldn't know you'd passed if you weren't looking for the cocked hat?"

"A leprechaun." Sam let his answer sink in before turning in the chair to stare up at Dean.

Dean shook his head no. "I don't think it fits. The kid—creature—whatever—wasn't wearing red pants or gray or black stockings."

Sam crinkled his face up before turning back to the laptop. "Hang on. What about this? The fear dearg, meaning Red Man, is said to wear a red coat and cap. It's classified as a solitary fairy along with the leprechaun and the clurichaun. Its claim to fame is that it busies itself with practical joking, especially with gruesome joking."

Mind buzzing, Dean forced himself to joke. "Show me where it says claim to fame on that website. Is that scientific speak?"

Noise burst from Sam's lips and Dean realized his brother was giggling. Through the spurts of amusement, Sam replied. "It's called paraphrasing, doofus. And this description is ancient. It makes sense that the creature would try to change its look, adapt to the times."

When was the last time Dean had seen Sam so relaxed and carefree? Probably when Sam was fourteen years old. Since then he'd left his family, found and lost the love of his life, learned some yellow eyed demon freak was trying to manipulate him and his dad had died.

Maybe it would just be best all around if Sam didn't grow up.

Sammy pitched out of the chair, landing in a kneel at Dean's feet, his head bowed forward on his neck until it touched his thighs.

"Dean, hurts. Make it stop!"

Leaning over Dean put his hand under Sam's chin and raised his head up. Sam squinted up at him, eyes dull with pain. Dean recognized what was going on in an instant…a vision.

For the second time in a less than an hour, Dean scooped Sam up into his arms and carried him to the bed. "It'll be over in a minute, Sam. Just hang in there."

As soon as Dean set Sam on the bed, his little brother wrapped his arms around Dean's neck and clung tight. Dean sat down next to him, sheltering Sam in his arms as best he could. Sam shimmied and shook through the vision, moaning and whimpering, and if Dean thought watching an adult Sam endure the precognitive jolts was hard, it was nothing compared to this.

The trembling tapered off and if Dean felt moisture on his neck from where Sam's face pressed into it, he wouldn't acknowledge it. But the vision, that was another thing. That couldn't be ignored. Especially if it was about a threat to Sam. "Sammy, what did you see?"

When his brother remained silent, Dean eased him away from his chest. Smoothing the hair back from Sam's forehead, he was confronted with the red mark from where Sam had smacked into the door. While trying to get away from Dean.

Maybe entrusting Dean with the safety of this younger version of Sam wasn't in Sam's best interest after all. Then words started spill from Sam's mouth and the worry gathering in the pit of Dean's stomach threatened to heave up.

"Yellow eyes…coming for me…took you out and I couldn't stop him. He's…Dean…no…gotta save you. How do I save you?" Each syllable dragged at the back of Sam's throat and it hurt listening to him.

It hurt knowing Sam was so vulnerable right now. Because of Dean.

Dean slid his hand around the back of Sam's neck and massaged his nape. "This is important, Sammy. Do you remember where you were when Yellow Eyes showed up?"

Sam's head wobbled forward as he pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes. "I saw it. It was right here, in this motel room. The clock said 3:30."

Tugging Sam into his chest again, Dean stroked a hand up and down his back. Just like he used to do when Sammy was a baby and had a nightmare. And this was a nightmare if ever there was one.

"Were you big like me when the demon showed up?" Dean didn't know how else to ask the question. Sam was still addled from the vision otherwise he'd be demanding to know what had just happened and why Dean cared.

Head shaking, Sam whispered, "No, I wasn't big."

Crap.

Dean's head cranked to look at the alarm clock on the table between the beds. It was 3:28. If Dean was interpreting the vision right that meant the demon was going to show up in two minutes. Not nearly enough time to get out of here.

"I have another wish…I need you to appear in this room right now!" Dean shouted at the ceiling and Sam jumped in his arms.

A certain black haired boy, still in the tacky satin red jacket and cocked baseball hat, appeared. "That would be wish number two. I almost wish you had kept on a-walking, boyo, when those young punks had been beating on me. This wish granting is exhausting business."

Dean shifted Sam into the crook of his arm. "I need to know, does your fey magic work on other supernatural beings? Like a demon?"

The boy—fear dearg—dropped to its knee and genuflected. "Faith and begorrah, deamhans? I wouldn't want to be matching me powers up against anything stronger than a hobgoblin. Deamhans are not to be trifled with."

Shit.

It had been a long shot but Dean had hoped the fear dearg could take care of Sam's demonic stalker.

The alarm clock turned over to 3:29 with an audible click.

"Fine, can you beam us—"

A tug on his sleeve stopped Dean in mid sentence. "Can he make me big again? Like you? I have to save you."

The sharp tang of sulphur filled the air. The red clad fairy yelled, "Choose!"

Dean had wanted them to already be gone when Azazel showed up but his eyes were watering from the strong smell in the air announcing the arrival of the demon. Too late. At least with a full grown Sam they had a fighting chance.

"Reverse the spell on Sam."

The fairy creature tugged his right earlobe and the sudden weight in Dean's arms almost put his back out. Glancing down, he assured himself that Sammy was gone. Sam's face was parchment white, his dark eyebrows slashing over closed eyes, thick eyelashes resting on sharp cheekbones, the only color on his face. But his chest was moving up and down.

With a flash of light, a nondescript man stood in front of them. Nondescript until his eyes glowed yellow. Dean patted Sam's cheek harshly. "Come on, Sam, show time."

Sam's eyes flew open and he bolted upright, almost clipping Dean on the chin with his head. Both brothers rolled from the bed, facing the new arrival.

The fear dearg shot a look at the demon, a look that could only be described as an evil eye. "Go n-ithe an cat thú is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat. Imeacht gan teacht ort. "

Amidst a shower of sparks and a loud groan, the demon disappeared.

Flummoxed, Dean gaped at the fairy. "How did you get rid of the demon?"

The fear dearg shrugged his shoulders before adjusting his red cap at a jauntier angle. "Just a quick little curse. May the cat eat you and the devil eat the cat. Oh, and I threw in an extra—may you leave without returning. Deamhan be gone! But leave that to the professionals wouldya me darlings?"

Sam sank down on to the bed, cradling his head in his hands. Dean moved around the bed, eager to reach his side.

The fairy in red moved aside. "Is fear rith maith ná drochsheasamh. Slán agat."

With a sprightly wave of his fingers, the fear dearg disappeared.

Dean hadn't even had a chance to thank the fey creature for his help. Although they wouldn't have been in this predicament if it weren't for the fear dearg to begin with so on second thought, Dean was just happy that the only beings left in the room were him and Sam.

Sam looked more than rough around the edges. His eyes were glassy and his skin, just a moment ago so pale, was now a bright pink. "You okay, Sammy?"

His little brother, little no longer in stature but still in age, groaned.

Pressing a hand to Sam's shoulder, he pushed lightly. Sam let himself be guided to the soft mattress. "I'm going to get you something for your head. Why don't you close your eyes."

Dean made the last more of a suggestion than a question. Without argument, Sam complied.

Dean went to his bag and rustled around, withdrawing the prized Tylenol after a short hunt. By the time he got a glass of water and returned to Sam's side, his brother appeared to be deeply sleeping. Dean set the water on the nightstand along with two tablets.

For a moment, Dean stood there, watching Sam's chest move up and down in an easy rhythm. Watching over Sam. Even though Sam was no longer half his size, he still managed to look vulnerable in his sleep.

Vulnerable. That word still applied to Sam even though his little brother didn't want to believe it. Dean couldn't stop trying to protect him. It was ingrained in him. But his little stroll down memory lane had reminded Dean that although an adult Sam might be hard to handle—opinionated, stubborn and too damn independent—he wasn't the liability that fragile little Sammy— a kid who hung on Dean's every word and followed his directions without argument—had ended up being. Sammy had been innocent and carefree and made Dean feel needed, even wanted, but that young Sam couldn't stand up to the rigors of their lifestyle.

He hated that adult Sam had to, but there were a lot of things Dean couldn't control, no matter how much he pretended like he could. He needed Sam as his equal, his partner, after all.

Scrubbing a hand over his face, Dean startled when Sam's hand latched on to his. Sam's sleepy voice rumbled. "Thanks for looking out for me, Dean."

The earlier argument and the ensuing acid trip-worthy episode at the hands of a creature that should've only existed in Irish folklore slid away in the face of Sam's thanks.

He didn't do any of this—the hunting, the nomadic lifestyle, the loneliness—because it made him feel good or brought him joy or saved people's lives.

Dean did it for Sam.

The End

A/N: This is my submission for the March Sam Love contest being sponsored at The Summer of Sam Love LJ which was organized by dontknowmyname. The prompt: March is a time to celebrate the Irish and coming spring so what fun or terror is in store for the Winchesters, especially Sam? I have a link for the site on my profile page; please stop by to read the other submissions—voting starts tomorrow (March 29, 2010). Thanks for reading! And thank you Faye Dartmouth for the lovely beta.