A/N: I'm currently watching through Supernatural for the first time, starting with season one (and I'm loving it!), and was inspired to write this little fic after watching 1x18 "Something Wicked". Little Dean and Sammy, yeah! Anyway, this morphed a little from what I intended it to be, but I hope you like it anyway!

"Dean, I'm sorry."

"For what?"

"I've really given you a lot of crap for always following Dad's orders and I know why now."

Dean lay in bed, staring at the ceiling. Sammy was asleep beside him, hair curling around his sweaty face. He was too little to really understand what had just happened. He only knew something had made Dad sad. The memory of his words just after hurt Dean's heart.

"Dad? What happened? Where's Dean?"

Sammy'd been worried about him. He'd the been the idiot big brother who had let this happen and Sam had been worried about him.

Dean curled up his fists. This was all his fault. He had only been gone for a little bit...a so very little bit. And that was all it had taken.

Never, never again, he promised himself fiercely.

He would never again disobey Dad's orders. The cost was too high.

Sixteen Years Later...

Dean lay in bed, starting at the ceiling. Light was beginning to stream in and Dean hadn't been able to sleep since they had tumbled, exhausted, into bed several hours before. He turned to his side in bed and turned to look over at Sam. Sam was sprawled on the opposite bed, a peaceful expression on his face, hair curling slightly on a sweaty forehead. Some things never change...

He had learned something valuable that night so many years ago—Dad was always right—even when he wasn't. Contrary to how it appeared to society, at home, Dean was the good kid and Sam was the rebel. But Dean knew something Sam didn't—disobey Dad, even when you wanted to, even when it felt ok—and bad things happened. Horrible things. And they had nearly cost Sam's life.

And, never since, had he really disobeyed an order of Dad's. Especially not one that had involved Sam. He had redoubled—even tripled—his vigilance. It was months before he could sleep normally again. Months before he stopped waking up to check on Sammy; months before he stopped quadruple-checking that the window was shut. Months before even the slightest sound in the night woke him up in a cold sweat.

With a shudder, Dean ran a hand through his hair and glanced over again at Sam.

Never, never—the ten-year-old inside promised once more, fiercely. He was never letting anything get as close as it had that night to his little brother again.

-finis-