Author's Notes: This episode takes place prior to the show when Dean is 16, and Sam is 12 and still going by Sammy.

Out of Hand

Dean could tell it was going to be a problem for Sammy, before John even got done explaining his new job. Dean and Sammy were in the living room of their current rental house, and John was pacing around in front of them. Before Sammy could start in with complaints and whining, Dean said, "Could we go with you Dad?"

John shook his head. "Sorry Dean not this time. You've already missed too much school this year. I'd like to take you with me, I could use a second pair of eyes, but I don't want you to get held back a year because of our hunting."

Dean nodded expecting this answer. He had already been on three hunting trips this school year. His guidance counselor at the high school had called not that long ago and told John that if Dean missed three more days of school he would have to repeat his Sophomore year no matter how good his grades were. Dean didn't really care that much about graduating. He already knew what he was doing with his life, and he didn't see how Algebra or Chemistry was going to help.

Sammy already had his arms crossed and said with hurt, "You just got back. You were gone all weekend, and now you're leaving again tomorrow?"

John sighed, "I'm sorry Sammy, but I have a fresh lead, and I have to follow up on it tomorrow morning at the latest. I'll be gone less then a week, and you'll be in school most of the time. Pastor Jim is ten minutes away by car. If you two have a serious problem, just call him, and he'll come running."

Sammy just looked away from John and refused to comment. John tried to placate him. "Look Sammy, in two months school will be out for the summer, and then the two of you can come with me like always."

Sammy lost it. He stood up and yelled, "You think that's what we want?! Maybe we want to stay in the same house for more then one year! Maybe we don't want to spend every summer in crappy hotels cleaning your guns and researching your demons. Maybe we want to do normal stuff like play in the park with our friends!"

Dean was looking wide eyed at Sammy. John grabbed Sammy's wrist with one hand and held it up in the air to keep Sammy in place while he used his other hand to swat Sammy's butt ten times. Sammy was up on the balls of his feet because John was practically holding him off the ground while swatting him. Sammy yelped and tried to get his wrist out of John's grip as he also tried to twist his body away from the swatting hand. By the time John got to ten Sammy had tears on his face.

John let him go and barked out, "Stand at attention."

Sammy sniffed and wiped at his face, and then took the correct stance with his eyes facing forward. John said, "You don't yell at me. You know as well as I do that what we do is important. We save lives every day, and if you think playing in the park is more important, then I'm ashamed of you. Do you think playing in the park is more important?"

Sammy barked back, "No Sir!"

"Do you want me to leave you with Pastor Jim for the summer while Dean and I go hunting?"

Sammy paled. "No Sir!"

"Apologize."

"I'm sorry for my outburst Sir."

John nodded and said, "At ease."

Sammy stood normally and looked at John with hurt and tears while he rubbed at his butt. John knelt down on one knee and pulled Sammy into a hug. He said, "We've been over this before Sammy. I'm tired of arguing with you about it."

Sammy said, "I… I just don't want you to go Dad." and broke down into more tears.

John patted his back and said, "I don't like to be away from you boys, but the alternative is not going to school at all, and spending all your time traveling with me. I can't not hunt, and I don't want the two of you growing up without any kind of regular education."

John waited a few seconds for Sammy to calm down, and then put his hands on Sammy's shoulders and pushed him away so they could look at each other. John wiped some tears off Sammy's face and said, "If you have enough energy to fight with me, then I think you need to work some of it off. Ten laps around the block."

Sammy looked very unhappy about this but mumbled, "Yes sir."

John looked at Dean who was looking fairly unhappy himself. John could tell Dean thought he was being too hard on Sammy. John said, "Pace him."

Dean groaned, not wanting to spend his Sunday afternoon jogging the block with his little brother. John said, "What was that?"

Dean barked out, "Yes Sir!"

John stood and watched his boys go out the front door. Dean took the lead and started them at a slow pace so they could keep it for the whole time. Once they were out of site John sat down and rubbed his temples with his fingers to try and calm his head ache down. A few minutes later he went into the kitchen to decide on dinner, and to see what supplies he would need to buy for the kids before he left.

Monday:

John was up, packed, and ready to go when both Dean and Sammy came into the kitchen to find something to eat for breakfast. He said, "Sit down boys."

They did and he went over his usual list, which both boys had heard enough times to know it by heart. "I'm headed to Texas this time. I'll have my cell phone with me, but I may not have it on every minute. I'll check it for messages often, so leave one if you don't reach me. Pastor Jim knows where I'm going, and is ready to help you boys with anything you may need. There's enough food in the cupboards to last you more then a week. There is some emergency cash in the flour jar. I expect you both to go to school, and keep up with your training while I'm gone. The shotgun is loaded and in the hall closet. Both pistols are loaded in my room. Be sure to keep them in your room at night when I'm gone. The crossbow is in the garage, along with the other weapons. No going out after dark for any reason. The windows and doors are salted. The truck is full of gas and is to be used for emergencies only. Dean's in command while I'm gone. Is this clear?"

Dean and Sammy said in unison, "Yes Sir!"

John nodded and said, "Good."

He walked over and kissed Sammy on the head, and then squeezed Dean's shoulder before slinging his bag over his shoulder and heading out the door. They heard the Impala start up, and Dean turned to Sammy. "Cereal?"

Sammy shrugged, "Don't care."

Sammy crossed his arms on the kitchen table, and lay his head down on them. Dean felt bad for Sammy, because he could tell he was still unhappy that John had gone. Dean sighed, not knowing how to make it better. He got up and looked through the cupboards. He found a couple different kinds of cereal. He got out the Cheerios and opened the box. He got out bowls and spoons, and poured some cereal in each bowl. He reached for the sugar that was on the counter without really looking, but accidentally got the salt in his hand. He put it down and reached for the sugar, but before he picked it up he had a thought. He looked back at Sammy who still had his head down, and smiled.

A few minutes later Dean put a bowl of Cheerios with milk in front of Sammy and said, "Eat up."

Dean put the sugar bowl in front of Sammy as well, and then sat down to eat his own cereal. Sammy put his head up and put about five large spoonfuls of sugar on his cereal. He took a large bite, and when some of the milk was halfway down his throat he gagged and choked on it. He spit it back into his bowl, while coughing.

Dean was laughing so hard he had to put his bowl down. Sammy spit a few times and glared over at Dean. He coughed out, "Jerk." on his way to the sink. He leaned his head into the sink and gulped down some water straight from the tap. Once he had gotten the taste of salt mixed with milk out of his mouth he turned around to Dean. Dean was still laughing. Sammy said with anger, "It's not funny."

Dean got his laughing under control and said, "Aw, come on Sammy, don't be like that. It's a little bit funny. Instead of moping around all day like a girl, why don't you try to think of a way to get me back."

Sammy looked away with a pout, but his mind was actively trying to come up with something. Dean got up and put a hand on Sammy's shoulder as he said, "How about I make you some of those frozen waffles to make up for it?"

Sammy looked up at Dean trying to decide if he should forgive him or not. "I guess."

Dean smiled and ruffled Sammy's hair. Sammy pushed his hand away and said, "Knock it off."

When Sammy got to school, he asked all his friends to give him ideas for pranks. By the time he was ready to go home, he had quite a few ideas he planned to try out. Sammy always got home before Dean, because the middle school was close enough to walk to, but Dean had to ride the bus to the High School. As soon as Sammy got home, he got to work.

He went to the bathroom, got out the Vaseline, and used a paper towel to get a blob of it out. He went to the front door, and smeared it all over the door knob. He put that away, and got out Dean's toothbrush. He went to the kitchen, got out some salt, and put it in a bowl. He put some water in the bowl along with the salt, and stirred it with Dean's toothbrush. After about three minutes of that, he took the toothbrush out, and shook it once to get the excess water off. He washed out the bowl, and then put Dean's toothbrush back in its place to dry. Finally he got out his dad's Ben Gay, and used a paper towel again to get some of it out. He took the lid off Dean's deodorant, and smeared some of the Ben Gay on the top of it. He put the lid back on, and put everything away with a smile on his face.

Dean got off the bus and walked a couple of blocks to his house thinking about how good Gina, the tiny blond haired cheerleader, looked during the rally that afternoon. His happy thoughts were disrupted as soon as he put his hand on the doorknob to his front door. He jerked his hand away, and looked at the goopy substance that was sticking to his hand. His heart rate went up, as he tried to come up with which kind of spirit or demon would leave that kind of slime, and would it be able to get into the house with the doors salted. His mind raced, but he couldn't think of a single one. He was about to get a weapon out of the garage and search the house for Sammy, when he heard a giggle. He darted his eyes over to the living room window and saw Sammy looking back at him with a grin on his face.

Dean looked back at his hand for a second and then brought it up to his nose and smelled it. He realized what it was and sighed with relief. He looked over at Sammy who looked quite pleased with himself. He called out with affection, "Little creep."

Sammy laughed again pleased with himself, and soon was laughing so hard his stomach hurt as he watched Dean try to get the door open without getting any Vaseline on his clothes.

Dean was actually pleased to see Sammy so happy, and to see that he had gotten over their father being gone. Dean rolled his eyes and called out, "Alright you little chuckle head, come open the door for me."

Sammy was laughing too hard to talk and just shook his head no. Dean said with false annoyance, "You know I'm gonna get you back for this, but if you don't come open the door, it's gonna be worse."

Sammy didn't move towards the door. Dean used his shirt to wipe the Vaseline off the doorknob so he could turn in. As soon as he got the door open, Sammy decided it would be a good time to run. He ran into the room they shared and slammed the door behind him. Dean smiled at Sammy's antics and called out, "Yeah, you better run!"

Dean put his backpack on the floor and took off his shirt. He went to the kitchen sink and tried to wash the Vaseline out of it. His mind was trying to come up with some way to get back at Sammy. He used the sprayer to try and power wash some of the globs of Vaseline off before putting soap on the shirt, and that gave him an idea.

Once the shirt was washed and hanging over the edge of the sink, Dean got out some clear scotch tape. He turned the water off, and taped down the handle of the sprayer, so that whoever turned on the water next would actually be turning on the sprayer instead. Then he made sure the sprayer was pointing towards the front of the sink.

He hummed to himself as he went to his room to find a new shirt. He looked over to Sammy's bed and saw that he was pretending to do his homework. Dean got out a shirt and put it on. He said, "That was pretty funny. Where did you get the idea?"

"Jeff at school."

"I'll be sure to thank him. Stop looking at your book upside down and do your homework for real. We're gonna practice some hand to hand in an hour."

Sammy groaned, "Dad's gone, can't we skip it?"

"You need the practice dude, and if you give me crap about it, I'm gonna make you clean the guns after dinner."

Sammy made a sour face, but turned his book right side up and started in on his homework. Dean went to the living room and did his own.

After they had both done their homework, and had done some hand to hand combat practice, Dean made them both a frozen dinner. He pulled them out of the oven and put them both on the kitchen table. He sat down and called Sammy. Sammy came in and started to sit down when Dean said, "Get us both some water would you?"

Sammy nodded amicably and went to get a couple of cups. He held the first one under the faucet and turned it on. But instead of getting water in the cup, he got water all over his face and upper chest from the sprayer. Sammy was startled and dropped the glass into the sink. He held his hands up to block the spray and quickly turned the water off. He could hear Dean laughing hysterically behind him at the table. Sammy grabbed the dishtowel and wiped at his face and hair. He glared at Dean, but after a few seconds of seeing Dean laughing, Sammy broke into laughter too. When they had both calmed down Sammy said, "Okay, I'll admit that was a good one."

Dean smiled at him and walked over to take the tape off the sprayer. "I'm glad you're being a good sport about it."

Sammy thought to himself that it was easy to be a good sport, when you already had more pranks set.

Later that night Dean found it a little suspicious when Sammy didn't whine or argue when Dean told him to get ready for bed. But when Sammy was in bed reading a book and nothing bad had happened, Dean shrugged it off and went to get ready himself. About three seconds into brushing his teeth his hand stilled, and his eyes got wider as he looked at himself in the mirror. He gagged slightly and spit into the sink repeatedly while scooping up handfuls of water to rinse his mouth out with. He heard Sammy laughing, and in mid rinse, looked over to see Sammy holding his stomach in the hallway watching him. Dean glared and went back to rinsing. Once the taste was mostly out of his mouth he turned and looked at Sammy.

Sammy was still snickering and said in between laughs, "You looked like that 'werewolf' we went to hunt that turned out to be a rabid dog…. foaming at the mouth with your tongue hanging out."

Dean didn't think it was nearly as funny as Sammy, but at seeing Sammy's smile he found himself smiling back. He reached out and grabbed Sammy in a headlock before Sammy realized what was about to happen. Sammy squeaked out, "Noooooo!"

Dean gave Sammy some noogies that were probably a little less playful, and a little more painful then usual, and then let him go. Sammy rubbed the spot on the top of his head and said sarcastically, "Glad to see you're being a good sport too."

Dean laughed and said, "Don't be such a girl. I'll admit it was a good prank, but you'd better watch your back tomorrow little brother, 'cause revenge is a bitch."

Sammy smiled at that, knowing Dean would never do anything to actually hurt him and said, "I'm shaking already."

Dean gave Sammy a light smack to the side of his head and said, "Go to bed ya little troublemaker."

Sammy smiled even more and headed into their shared bedroom. He lay down on his side facing away from Dean's bed, and kept his eyes wide open.

Dean finished getting ready for bed, and was planning new pranks for the next day as he turned the light off in the bedroom. Sammy waited and bided his time, hoping that Dean would go to sleep quickly. He didn't have to wait long before he heard regular breathing coming from the other side of the room. He sat up and looked at the clock. He took out a pocket flashlight and kept himself awake by reading a book for the next half an hour while he waited for Dean to get into a deeper sleep.

When a half an hour was up he crept out of bed and headed for the door. He opened it, and it made a loud creak. He stopped and grimaced, hoping Dean hadn't woken up. He looked back and saw Dean was still asleep. Sammy opened the door the rest of the way, and went into the kitchen. He got out a Tupperware bowl and turned the water on. He waited for the water to get warm, and then filled the bowl half way. He carefully walked back into the bedroom, hoping Dean would still be asleep. He grinned at Dean's sleeping form, and thought how convenient it was that Dean's hand was hanging out over the side of the bed.

Sammy walked over, and slipped the bowl under Dean's hand so that his hand rested in the water. Sammy had heard from his friends at school that this was sure to make his brother wet the bed. He didn't know if it would work or not, but he was hopeful. He was truly looking forward to holding the event over his brother's head for years to come. One of his friends at school, who had seen Dean before, asked Sammy if he had a death wish. But Sammy wasn't worried. He knew Dean would rather cut off his own hand that hurt him. Dean loved him and protected him from every terror out there. Even when Dean was beyond angry, Sammy wasn't afraid of him. Sammy wasn't exactly afraid of his father either, but he was wary of him.

Sammy was starting to think it wasn't going to work when Dean's eyes suddenly popped open. Dean jerked his hand out of the water, threw back the covers, and ran for the bathroom as he yelled, "Shit!"

Even in the dark Sammy could see a wet spot on Dean's sheets. He started laughing, and had to set the bowl down on Dean's desk before he spilled it because he was laughing so hard. Sammy could hear Dean cussing and for some reason that made the whole thing funnier to him. A few seconds later Dean stormed back in still wearing his tee-shirt, but he had exchanged his wet pajama bottoms for a towel around his waist. He walked right up to Sammy and yelled, "What the fuck Sammy?!!"

Sammy was laughing to hard to respond, and just shook his head while holding his sides. Dean pointed at him and yelled, "This is not fucking funny!"

Sammy sat on his bed and between his laughter he got out, "Yes…. It…. Is!"

Dean looked at his bed and then his eyes fell on the bowl of water. He picked it up and dumped it on Sammy's head. Sammy suddenly stopped laughing and said, "Hey!"

"Yeah, it's not so funny now that you're wet is it? Get in the bathroom and dry your hair while I strip our beds!"

Sammy knew an order when he heard one, and if John heard that Sammy didn't follow orders while he was away, he knew he'd be in for a spanking. But he also knew Dean wasn't very likely to tell on him, unless John asked a direct question about it. He got up and walked towards the door and said over his shoulder, "Talk about a bad sense of humor!"

Dean said, "I swear to God if you don't get out of my sight….."

Dean left the empty threat hanging, and watched Sammy leave the room. Dean rubbed his face with both his hands to try and wake himself up, and to settle down. He walked over to the wall and turned on the light. Once his eyes adjusted he checked out the damage to his bed. The comforter was dry, but both bottom and top sheets were wet. He stripped them off the bed and checked out the mattress. It was a little wet too. Dean took his sheets to the garage where the washer and dryer were, and put them in the washer. Then he got a clean towel and took it to his room. He tried to soak up as much pee out of the mattress as he could, but by the time he was done it was still damp. He flipped the mattress over so the wet side was down, and muttered, "Good thing it's a rental and not mine. I'd make Sammy trade me beds."

Dean thought about that for a second and then went over to Sammy's bed. He saw that the comforter was wet from the bowl of water he had poured on Sammy's head. He took the comforter off, and was pleased to see the rest of the bed was dry. Dean used the comforter to wipe up some water that had ended up on the floor. He took the comforter and the towel into the garage and stuffed them both into the washing machine along with the sheets. He put in some soap and stared it.

Back in their room Dean took the mattress off his bed and put it on the floor. Then he took Sammy's mattress with the sheets still on it, and put it on his bed. He put his mattress wet side down on Sammy's bed. He got out some new pajama bottoms for himself, and then went to see Sammy in the bathroom. Sammy turned the hairdryer off when he saw Dean. Sammy glared at him, but didn't say anything. Dean said, "Put on new pajamas, remake your new bed, and then get your ass in it and go to sleep."

Sammy opened his mouth to reply but Dean beat him to it with a loud, "Now!"

Sammy headed out to do what Dean had told him, but on the way he yelled, "You're a jerk!"

Dean slammed the bathroom door behind Sammy, and tossed his new pajamas on the floor while wondering what could have possibly gotten into Sammy's head to make him think that would be a funny prank. Dean took a quick shower, dried off, and got dressed. He went into their room and saw Sammy sitting on his old mattress, which wasn't made, with a mutinous look on his face. Dean went back out to get some sheets and blankets from the hall closet. He tossed them in Sammy's direction, and they hit Sammy in the side of the head. Sammy turned to Dean and said, "Hey!"

Dean got into his new bed, lay down and said, "Make your bed and go to sleep, or no TV tomorrow night."

Sammy glared at Dean and said, "This was all your idea! Now you're getting mad at me for something that was supposed to be funny."

Dean sighed and propped his head up on his hand with an elbow on his pillow and said, "There are some pranks that are funny, and some that aren't. This one wasn't."

Sammy's voice turned slightly whiny, "Well how was I supposed to know?"

Dean gave Sammy a look and said, "Common sense?"

Sammy huffed and looked away from Dean. Dean lay back down and said, "Go to sleep Sammy. I'm not telling you again."

Sammy stood up and did make his bed with a lot of extra noise to let Dean know he wasn't happy, and as soon as he was done he turned out the lights and got in bed thinking the whole time about how unfair Dean was being. The only thing that gave him a little consolation was remembering what he had done to Dean's deodorant.

Tuesday

The next morning after a silent breakfast of cold cereal, Dean got in the shower. Sammy rolled his eyes thinking Dean was way too worried about his appearance if he was taking another shower after he just had one last night. Then Sammy thought about Dean's reaction to the prank the night before, and decided maybe he didn't want to be around for the next one. He quickly got dressed, and got his backpack ready. Then he opened the bathroom door a crack and yelled in, "I'm going to school early. See you tonight."

Dean poked his head out from around the shower curtain and said, "What? Why are you going to school early?"

Sammy yelled, "See ya!" and shut the bathroom door.

Dean thought that was odd, but figured it must be because Sammy was still upset about the night before. He finished up his shower, got out and dried off. He got dressed and brushed his teeth and hair. He put some deodorant on his left armpit, and as he was about to put some on his right armpit he got a whiff of a familiar scent. He paused trying to figure out what it was. It smelled vaguely like his father, and he turned around to see if maybe his dad was standing in the doorway, but no one was there. Then he noticed his left armpit was kind of feeling warm.

He realized in an instant what it was, as he had helped his father put Ben Gay on his back more then once. He looked down at the deodorant in his hand and muttered, "Tell me he didn't."

Dean sniffed the deodorant. "Shit!"

He tossed the deodorant in the garbage, ripped his shirt off, and grabbed a towel off the rack on the wall. He put some water on the towel and scrubbed at his armpit to get the deodorant mixed with Ben Gay off his skin. He did this a few times, but he could already feel it heating up more and more, and he knew some of it had soaked into his skin before he had a chance to get it off. He said quite a few choice words while holding the towel with cold water up to his armpit.

A few seconds later he dried off and put his shirt back on. He held his left arm out to the side as he walked around the house being pissed and thinking about doing bodily harm to his brother. Five minutes later he looked at the clock and knew he had to get going if he was going to make the bus. But he also knew he kind of smelled. Not only did the Ben Gay have a distinct smell to it, but he was sweating a lot from the heat and pain in his armpit with no deodorant to cover the smell.

Dean said, "Damn it!"

He got his backpack, put a clean shirt and a dry washcloth in it, and grabbed the keys to the truck on his way out the door. He doubted his father would consider this an 'emergency', but he also knew his dad would give him the benefit of the doubt and accept that it was an emergency for him. He went to the local drug store first in search of some new extra strength deodorant. As he was in the isle picking it out, he was also thinking revenge and took a look at the other things on the shelves. His eyes fell on a bottle of Nair and the corners of his mouth turned up in an almost smile as he said, "Yahtzee."

Dean bought a bottle of shampoo as well, and then went back home. He put the new shampoo in the cupboard for later, and then got the shampoo they were currently using out of the shower. He looked in and saw that it was about half full. He poured most of that out into the bathroom sink, opened up the bottle of Nair, and poured the entire thing into the shampoo bottle. He shook it up and then put it back in the shower. He buried the empty Nair bottle under some Kleenex in the bathroom garbage, and then headed off to school slightly less angry then he had been a little while ago.

That afternoon Sammy got home first as usual. He had been wondering what kind of reaction he would get once Dean got home, and found he was a little nervous about it. He thought Dean might be angry, but that he could deal with. He was nervous that Dean might think less of him. All day Sammy had thought about what Dean had said last night about the prank not being funny, and how he should have known that without having to be told. He didn't want to imagine Dean with the same look of disappointment that John often had for him when he missed a shot, or talked about how he wanted to go to college some day.

Sammy didn't have long to wait, and was surprised to hear the truck in the driveway. Dean got out, opened the garage, and parked the truck in its usual spot. Sammy went outside and said, "You drove the truck? What's wrong?"

Dean hadn't had a great day, but his armpit was back to normal, and his change of shirt and new deodorant had saved his self esteem in school, so he wasn't overly angry with Sammy anymore. He said, "Nothin'. I just felt like driving it."

Sammy looked confused for a second, and Dean walked past him into the house. He followed and said, "No way. I don't buy it."

"Yeah? Well I don't really care if you buy it or not. Go do your homework."

Sammy stood there for a second wanting to ask about that morning, but not wanting to make Dean angry either, because he already seemed annoyed. Dean said, "Hurry up, I want to do some extra hand to hand today."

Sammy sighed and went to his room to do his homework. Dean did his as well. Dean had more homework then Sammy, but Sammy always tried to do his very best, and Dean just tried to get it done with the least amount of work possible, so they were done about the same time.

Dean took Sammy out to the backyard to practice some hand to hand fighting. A few minutes into it, Sammy knew Dean was upset, because he was being more rough then usual, and not letting Sammy get in any punches or get him in a hold. By the time they were done Sammy was worn out. Dean could tell Sammy was beat and said, "Okay, we're done. You did good. Go take a shower."

Sammy was a little surprised at the praise. Dean didn't just give it out any old time, so Sammy knew he meant it. He was glad he hadn't whined for Dean to stop the session, even though he had thought about it a few times. He gave Dean a little grin and nodded. Dean went into the house as well thinking that Sammy really had done a good job with their training session. He was about to go in and tell Sammy not to use the shampoo when he passed by the washing machine. He looked in and saw the bedding from the night before, and put it all in the dryer and started it. He decided Sammy needed a taste of his own medicine and sat at the kitchen table to wait.

Sammy got in the shower and put some shampoo in his hair. He thought it smelled funny, as he was lathering it up. Once it was all in his hair, he rinsed his hands and picked up the shampoo bottle to look it over. It looked the same as usual. He opened it and smelled inside. It was definitely an odd smell. He poured a little more on his hand and looked at it carefully. When he saw nothing out of the ordinary, he shrugged and rinsed his hands again. He closed his eyes, and put his head under the water to rinse. He put his hands up to rub his hair and make sure all the shampoo was out, and as he rubbed his hands from the front of his head to the back, he found his hands full of hair.

Sammy was startled and stepped out from under the spray of water immediately. He rubbed his eyes with the backs of his hands and opened them. There in his hands were clumps of his hair, and as he looked down at his feet he could see more. He screamed in shock, and dropped the hair in his hands. He reached up to his head and felt around. There was still some hair there, but there were patches where his scalp felt smooth. He put his head under the water again and rubbed his hands over his head a few times to make sure all the shampoo was gone, and then turned the water off.

Sammy grabbed a towel from the rack and dried his face and head. He got out of the shower wet, and wiped the steam off the bathroom mirror. He looked at his image with horror. His hair was completely gone in some areas, thin in other areas, and there were three clumps that were still fairly solid. He looked like something from a horror movie to his own eyes. He heard a knock on the bathroom door and Dean's voice called out, "Sammy?"

Sammy reached his hand up to feel his scalp with disbelief. Dean's voice said, "Sammy, are you okay?"

Sammy said, "No…."

Dean had been ready to laugh at Sam, but now he was starting to get the feeling in the pit of his stomach that something was really wrong. He said, "I'm coming in."

Sammy wrapped the towel around his waist and looked at the door as Dean opened it. Dean's eyes opened wider at the site that greeted him. Sammy looked up at Dean with fear and said, "It just fell out in chunks. Something's wrong with me."

Dean could tell Sammy was upset, but seeing the earnest look on Sammy's face with his hair half gone was more then Dean could take. He started to laugh. And the more he tried to stop himself, the harder he laughed. Sammy's look of worry quickly changed to one of anger. He screamed, "You?! You did this to me?!"

Dean nodded through his laughter and was barely able to get out, "Dude, you are fuuuuugly."

Sammy stood there for a few seconds watching his brother laugh at his expense, and then looked at himself in the mirror again. He felt his eyes burning and knew he was going to cry. He shoved past Dean and ran to their room slamming the door behind him. He ran to his bed and hid himself under the covers before he broke down into sobs. He couldn't believe his older brother who had always looked out for him could have betrayed him.

When Dean was finally able to get his laughter under control he went to find Sammy. He went into their room and saw the Sammy shaped lump under the covers, and heard the crying. Suddenly it didn't seem so funny anymore. He felt a flash of guilt, and then tried to get over it by telling himself that Sammy had deserved it because of the pranks he had pulled on him first. He went over and sat on the end of Sammy's bed and said, "Hey Sammy, don't take it so hard."

Between his tears Sammy yelled out, "Fuck you Dean! Get off my bed! I hate you!"

Dean found it harder to justify what he had done now, and put a hand on what he thought was Sammy's shoulder. "Hey now, it's not that bad."

Sammy shrugged the hand off his shoulder and said, "It is that bad! Get off my bed!!!!"

Dean started feeling pretty ashamed of himself. He got up and said quietly, "Aww Sammy, don't cry. Come on in the bathroom with me, and I'll make it look better."

"Just go away!"

Dean put a hand to the back of his neck and tried to think of some way to make it better. "I'm sorry Sammy. Really I am. Please come out of there and let me help."

Sammy threw back the covers and pointed to his head. "How can you help?! Look at me!! All the kids are gonna laugh at me for the rest of the year!"

Dean winced at that, knowing it was true and said, "If anyone laughs, you tell me who it is, and they won't be laughing after I'm done with them."

"I can stand up for myself! That's not the point!"

Dean looked down and felt like a complete ass. He said, "Come in the bathroom, and let's make it look better."

Sammy stood up and adjusted the towel around his waist. He walked past Dean into the bathroom and looked into the mirror again. He had stopped crying, but upon seeing himself again more tears slid down his cheeks and he wiped them away angrily. Dean got out John's clippers. He set it to the lowest setting, and plugged it in. He shaved off the clumps of Sammy's hair that hadn't come off in the shower. When Sammy's head was basically bald with a few spots of stubble here and there Dean turned the clippers off. He said, "There see? Much better."

Sammy burst into loud sobs. He thought he looked like a complete freak. Dean was very uncomfortable with this, and patted Sammy's shoulder a little as he said, "It's gonna be okay. No one is gonna laugh."

Sammy shoved Dean's hand off and ran back into their room crying. Dean looked at himself in the mirror for a second, but then had to look away. He heard his father's voice in his head saying, 'Look after Sammy while I'm gone.' Dean felt awful knowing he had let both John and Sammy down and muttered, "Shit."

He put the clippers away and started cleaning the hair off the bathroom floor, and out of the tub. He threw away the shampoo with the Nair and got out the new shampoo to put in the shower. Once that was done, he went out to the kitchen and stood there trying to come up with a plan to make things better. Nothing came to him.

An hour later Sammy was sitting on his bed moping when he heard a knock on the bedroom door. Dean waited a second, but when he got no response he opened the door and peaked in. He knew things were very wrong when he saw that Sammy had gotten dressed in his pajamas instead of clothes, and he was just sitting on the bed doing nothing. Dean said, "Hey, I ordered us some pizza for dinner. It just got here."

Sammy looked up with surprise. "Really?"

Dean was glad he had decided to do it, even if John wouldn't approve. He kind of felt like he deserved punishment now anyway, so if John came home and decided Dean should be grounded for a while, Dean would happily agree.

"Yeah really. Come eat while it's still hot."

Sammy got up and followed Dean into the kitchen. They ate in silence and when Sammy got up to leave Dean said, "I'm sorry. I know I said it already, but I really mean it Sammy."

Sammy didn't look at him and said, "I'm gonna watch TV."

Dean nodded, "Okay."

Dean watched Sammy go into the living room and flip on the TV. Dean shook his head not knowing what else to do to make it better and cleaned up the kitchen.

Later that night Sammy headed for bed before being told, and Dean couldn't take it anymore. He turned off the TV and said, "Sammy."

Sammy stopped walking, but didn't turn around to face Dean. Dean said, "I already told you I was sorry twice, and I am. These pranks got way out of hand, and that is my fault. We're done with the pranks. No more, I promise, but you've got to snap out of this. You don't look that bad now that your hair is all off, in fact it looks kind of good once you get used to it."

Sammy kept his head looking away from Dean as he asked, "Are you done?"

Dean's anger made an appearance at that. "I don't know, are you?"

Sammy nodded once. Dean sighed and said, "Okay then, go to bed."

Sammy went to the bathroom, brushed his teeth without looking at himself in the mirror, and then went to bed thinking of revenge.

Wednesday:

The next morning Sammy was obviously still pissed. He answered Dean only when asked a direct question, and even then he wouldn't look at Dean. Dean still felt really guilty, but he was starting to get angry about it too. He hoped Sammy would be over it by the time school was out. Sammy left early again and Dean assumed he was headed for school. Dean sighed and went to the bus stop to wait for the school bus.

Sammy watched from a spot behind some bushes until his brother was on the bus and headed for school. Then he went back into the house and got out some of the 'emergency' money that John had left them. He got on his bike and road it for about half an hour to get to a more populated area of the town. He had to ask a few different people, but soon he was able to pay a homeless man to call his school and pretend to be John saying he would be out sick for the day. Then he went to a few different stores and bought some things he needed for his revenge.

As he was riding his bike home, he imagined what Dean's face would look like when he realized what Sammy had done. He imagined Dean's angry response, and he imagined himself telling Dean he deserved it for what he had done to his hair. He imagined himself telling Dean that now they were even and could stop with the pranks. He felt justified, especially since Dean had laughed at him when he saw his hair gone. Sammy spent the early afternoon setting things up, and waited for Dean to get home.

On his way home from school, Dean was thinking about telling Sammy he could skip training that day, and maybe they would go out for some ice cream before it got dark out. He hoped that Sammy hadn't gotten too much crap at school, and that he was in a better mood.

Dean put his key in the lock and turned it, but it didn't make the familiar sound of unlocking. Sammy hadn't forgotten to lock the door behind him since he was six. Dean was immediately on edge and looking for danger. He took his key out, and opened the door slowly without going in right away. He looked around, but saw nothing amiss in the living room. He looked down as he was about to step inside, but his foot hovered above the threshold instead. He put his foot back down on the outside stair and squatted down to get a close look at the rug just inside the door. There was no salt. He couldn't even find one grain of it, and there had been a clearly visible line of salt an inch wide when he left for school.

Dean's pulse went up. He put his backpack down on the grass beside the house, and got out his pocket knife, even though it was flimsy protection. He called out, "Sammy?!"

He heard a high pitched scream coming from the direction of the bedroom he shared with Sammy. His heart skipped a beat and he yelled, "Sammy, I'm coming!"

Dean ran into the house, trying to be as quick as possible while also watching for other dangers lurking around the house. He got to the hall closet and got out the shotgun which was loaded with rock salt, and pointed it in front of him as he headed for the bedroom. Dean heard the scream again and knew it was Sammy. He ran to their room and kicked in the door.

The room was darker then usual because something was covering the windows, but that fact didn't register with Dean. Dean was focused on Sammy's bed. He could see Sammy's legs kicking and squirming as the screaming kept coming, but Sammy's upper half was obscured by something the size of a man in a black tattered robe. Dean could only see the back of the figure and there was a hood on its head, so Dean couldn't tell what kind of creature it was. The only light in the room seemed to be coming from the front of the figure, which Dean knew could mean the figure was sucking out Sammy's life force.

Dean was well trained. He didn't think twice, he raised the shotgun to his shoulder, took aim, and fired. The figure jerked at the impact, but stayed upright. Sammy's screaming stopped, and Dean fired again. The figure toppled over to the side. Dean saw Sammy, and was more then relieved to see Sammy was awake and conscious. Dean held his shotgun at the ready, still aimed at the figure on the floor, and quickly walked over to Sammy who was lying on his back on his bed. Dean glanced at Sammy, but mostly kept his eyes on the figure. He thought Sammy looked dazed, but there was no obvious blood. Dean said, "You okay Sammy?"

Dean's eyes darted back over to Sammy who just stared at him with awe. Dean snapped out, "Sammy! Are you okay?"

Sammy nodded once. Dean grabbed Sammy's upper arm to help him up as he said, "Get behind me."

Sammy stood and got behind Dean. Dean put both hands back on the gun, and used his foot to kick the figure on the ground. It didn't budge. Dean kicked it a little harder and it flipped over onto its back. Dean held the shotgun up ready to shoot, and took a good look at the figure. Dean stared at the figure for a few seconds and then took the shotgun off his shoulder. The figure had a basketball for a head, and as Dean looked down he realized the figure was wearing his father's cloths under the robe.

Dean whipped around to confront Sammy who wasn't directly behind him anymore. Sammy was in the door way of their room looking close to tears and shaking his head no. Dean could tell with that look that there was nothing supernatural going on. He looked at Sammy's bed and saw a flashlight there. He looked at the windows of their room and saw black sheets nailed up over the windows. He knelt down and saw that the figure was composed of his father's shirt and pants stuffed with even more clothes to make it somewhat solid. He saw the fishing line that had been holding it up too.

Dean set the shotgun down on the floor next to the figure and stood up. He turned back to Sammy and yelled, "What the hell Sammy!?"

Sammy had been shocked at the shotgun blast. When he had pictured this scene in his head, he had imagined Dean trying to attack the figure with his fists, or at the most with a knife. It hadn't occurred to him that Dean would take the time to get the shotgun after hearing Sammy scream. Both Dean and Sammy had been taught from an early age that guns were important tools and not to be taken lightly. At the sound of the first shot Sammy had known this was now way more serious then he had intended it to be. Now Dean was staring at him expecting answers that Sammy knew wouldn't measure up. Sammy shook his head again. Dean walked over to Sammy grabbed his upper arm and shook him once. He said, "This was a joke?! Some kind of prank?!"

Sammy swallowed hard, nodded, and whispered, "I'm sorry. I…. It was a mistake." as a tear slid down his cheek.

Dean's mind was racing, but the one thought that kept getting pushed to the forefront was that Sammy could have been shot. Dean pulled Sammy with him over to his bed. Dean sat down and pulled Sammy across his lap. Sammy yelled out, "No! Dean, No! I'm sorry!"

Dean didn't hesitate and brought his hand down on Sammy's bottom with a solid slap. Dean had never spanked his brother before. John had started leaving Dean alone in charge of Sammy when Dean was eight, and at that time John had been very clear with Dean that he wasn't allowed to hit Sammy for any reason. The rule had always been that if Sammy was disobedient when John was gone, then John would deal with it when he got home, and that had always worked out until today.

Sammy felt the swat and more tears spilled out of his eyes as he yelled out a loud "Ow!"

Dean brought down his hand again and again and yelled, "I could have shot you!"

Sammy was suddenly in a panic and fought hard to get off Dean's lap. His brother was hurting him, and while getting spanked wasn't exactly a novelty for Sammy, getting spanked by Dean was.

Dean didn't have any trouble holding Sammy in place, and kept spanking hard as he said, "This is not a joke Sammy! I could have shot you!"

Sammy was especially unsettled because Dean seemed really angry. When Sammy made John truly angry, John would yell, and then sent Sammy to his room or to the car for a few minutes while John took the time to calm down before spanking him.

Sammy yelled out, "I'm sooooooorry! Dean please! I'm sorry!"

Dean shook his head as he spanked and said, "You're sorry? Sorry isn't gonna cut it Sammy! You set up this elaborate and dangerous prank just to get back at me for your hair? Hair grows back! Our lives are dangerous enough already, you don't get to add to it by pulling dumb ass stunts like this!"

Sammy was able to apologize a couple more times before he was crying too hard to talk. Dean heard the full blown, loud and broken crying, and gave Sammy eight more swats before he stopped.

Dean took a shaky breath and looked down at the back of Sammy's head. Dean had been riding an adrenaline rush, but now that he took a second to really look and listen to Sammy, his stomach twisted at what he had just done. Dean gently turned Sammy over and picked up his upper half into a hug while his lower half sat in Dean's lap.

Sammy grabbed Dean's shirt in both his fists and rested the side of his face on Dean's chest. Dean kept his arms around Sammy and held him while he cried. Dean realized a few seconds later that he had tears on his face too, and he was unconsciously rocking Sammy. Dean whispered over and over again, "I'm sorry."

After a few minutes Sammy's crying tapered off, and so did Dean's whispered apologies. Soon the only sounds in the room were Sammy sniffing and wiping his face on Dean's shirt. Dean kept rocking and holding Sammy close, unwilling to let go. He was afraid to look and see the hurt and betrayal in his brother's eyes. Afraid it would cement his failure as his brother's protector.

Fifteen minutes later, Sammy was asleep, and ten minutes after that Dean stood up and carried Sammy over to his bed. Dean put him down on his side, and covered Sammy up. He stood over Sammy's bed watching him for a few minutes, and thinking about how badly he had screwed up. He didn't think he could face Sammy ever again, let alone his father. He wondered what he could possibly say to either one of them to make this okay.

Dean couldn't look at Sammy's tear streaked face anymore, and looked towards the windows. He went on autopilot, and started cleaning things up. He took down the sheets and put them away. He took apart the figure Sammy had made, and put everything away. He re-loaded the shotgun and put it back in the hall closet. He re-salted the doorway, and shut and locked the front door.

Once Dean had done everything he could think of, he sat down at the kitchen table with his head in his hands and tried to think of what to do next. After about half an hour of reflection he decided that when Sammy woke up they would call Pastor Jim. Once that thought was in his head, he felt marginally better, but still pretty awful.

Just when he was about to try and do some of his homework, he heard the unmistakable sound of his father's Impala pulling up in the driveway. Dean always felt joy mixed with relief when his father came home, but today the sense of relief was overpowering. Dean expected John to be angry and disappointed in him, but his apprehension about that was dulled by the relief of not having to be the adult anymore.

Dean stood up and paced while he waited. John unlocked the front door and called out, "Boys? I'm home."

Dean said, "In the kitchen Dad."

John set his overnight bag down on the couch, and went into the kitchen. He could tell with one look at Dean that something was wrong. He scanned the kitchen and said, "Where's Sammy?"

Dean looked at the floor and said, "He's asleep."

John looked at the kitchen clock. "It's four o'clock."

Dean gave a broken, "Yes Sir." as a tear slid down his face.

John got a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach. Dean didn't cry. John was terrified that something had happened to Sammy. He barked out, "Report!"

Dean automatically stood at attention with his face forward and said, "Yes Sir! While you were gone Sammy and I were pulling pranks on each other for fun, but it got out of control. Yesterday I put Nair in Sammy's shampoo and most of his hair came out. Then to get back at me today, Sammy set up a scene to make me believe he was being attacked by something supernatural. I… I got out the shotgun and shot the dummy Sammy had set up. And… Then when I realized what he had done…. That I could have shot him… I… I spanked him."

Before John had time to respond or even get over the shock of what he had just learned, Dean took off his own belt and held it out for John. He stumbled over his own words as he said, "I spanked him really hard…. And I was angry when I did it…. And I hurt him."

John could tell Dean was being eaten alive with guilt over what he had done. John had never spanked either of his kids with a belt, and was a little surprised that Dean thought he would. John needed to check on Sammy and think about things for a few minutes. He didn't take the offered belt, and instead pointed to the kitchen table and said, "Sit down and wait for me."

Dean sat down and put the belt on the table in front of him. He kept his head down and tried hard not to break into sobs. John walked away, and went to the bedroom that his boys shared. The door was open, and he went in. He saw Sammy asleep on his bed. For a few minutes he couldn't get over the bald head, but once he had his fill of looking at that, he took a close look at Sammy's face. He could tell Sammy had been crying, but other then that he looked normal. John sat down on the side of the bed and touched Sammy's shoulder. Sammy didn't wake up, and John shook him gently as he said, "Hey buddy, it's time to wake up."

Sammy curled up into a tighter ball, and held onto his covers. John said, "Sammy boy, wake up and talk to me."

Sammy opened his eyes and looked at John. He was confused for just a second, and sat up while he said, "Dad?"

As he sat up he winced a little and remembered. Then gave John his puppy dog eyes and said, "Dean hit me."

John was instantly relieved. Sammy wasn't scared, or looking to John for protection. Sammy was pouting and looking for sympathy. John pulled Sammy into a comforting hug and said, "Tell me what happened."

Sammy started out sure of himself, but as soon as he got the first few words out, he realized who he was talking to, and what he had done. "I set up….Er…. I mean… Dean was…. Um… Well…. Dean hit me really hard and it hurt."

John let go of Sammy but kept his hands on Sammy's shoulders. John said gently, "Report Sammy."

Sammy's face got red and he looked down at the blankets as he said, "Never mind. Let's just forget I said anything."

John gave Sammy a warning tone, "Sammy, you know how to report, now do it."

Sammy fiddled with his comforter as he said, "When you left Dean played a joke on me, and then he told me I should play one on him too, because it would be funny. And it kind of was, but then I…. I did this prank I had heard about at school that… well it made him wet the bed, and he got really pissed. He was the one who told me to do the pranks, and then when I did he was all upset. Then after that, he did this to my head."

Sammy pointed at his head for emphasis. "And I… I got really pissed too. I… I…"

John knew it was hard for both his boys to be honest with him, especially if it meant there could be punishment for what they had done, but he had instilled in them long ago the very worst thing they could ever do was lie to him. John said, "Go on Sammy, tell the truth."

"I skipped school and set up a prank for Dean. I made it look like I was being attacked to scare him."

Sammy looked at John for the first time during his confession and said, "I didn't think he would get out the shotgun, honest. I just thought he would try to punch it. If I had known, I wouldn't have done it."

John gave him a reassuring nod and said, "I believe you."

Sammy took a deep breath and looked down again, "When Dean found out it was a prank… He… he s….spanked me."

John pulled Sammy into another hug and said, "Good boy. Thank you for being honest."

Sammy hugged John hard and whispered, "Are you mad?"

John sighed and said, "I'm not happy with you."

Sammy's voice broke when he pleaded, "Please don't spank me Dad. It already hurts."

John squeezed him tighter and said, "I'm not going to spank you again. But you are grounded for the next week, and we'll see about some other punishments to go along with that."

Sammy was very relieved and said, "Yes sir."

John held him for a few more seconds, and then let go. He put a hand on the side of Sammy's face and said, "I'm sorry Sammy, because I know it's kind of embarrassing, but I need to take a look at your butt, so I can see for myself exactly what kind of damage Dean did."

Sammy shook his head with wide eyes pleading. John squeezed Sammy's shoulder and said, "It'll be over quick, and it's not like I haven't seen it before. Roll over on your stomach, and take your pants down for just a second so I can see."

Sammy could tell John wasn't going to give up on this, and did as he was asked. John took a quick look and was very relieved to see no bruising. It was a light red all over, but that was all. John said, "Okay buddy, thanks."

Sammy pulled up his pants and rolled back onto his side. John got more serious and said, "Sammy."

Sammy looked at John with apprehension at the tone. John said, "The spanking Dean gave you is exactly what I would have done, and I can tell that Dean wasn't overly hard on you. You know that when I'm gone you are supposed to obey Dean, and if you don't, bad things are gonna happen when I get home. Skipping school and setting up the prank were wrong. Nothing like this had better ever happen again. Have I made myself clear?"

Sammy gave him a subdued, "Yes sir."

"Okay, we'll talk more about this later, but for now I want you to stay in your room. Dean is probably going to be loud in a few minutes, but you're not to come out of your room until I come to get you. Understood?"

Sammy looked a little shell shocked and said, "Loud? You're gonna spank Dean?..... Really?…. Dean?"

John could tell this was a hard concept for Sammy to grasp. It had been a couple of years since he had spanked Dean, and he had kind of hoped to never have to do it again. John nodded, and Sammy asked, "Why? Because he spanked me?"

John sighed and looked out the window for a second. "No. Because he shouldn't have let the pranks go so far, and because he feels bad about all of it."

John got up and put a kiss on the top of Sammy's head. "Stay here."

"Yes sir."

John went out and shut the door behind him. He walked back to the kitchen table to see Dean sitting there in the same spot, and looking just as miserable. Dean looked up and said, "Is he okay?"

John sat down in the chair closest to Dean and put a hand on his shoulder. "Sammy is just fine Dean. You didn't spank him all that hard, it was an appropriate response for what he had done. You probably should have waited until you calmed down to spank him, but in all honesty I don't know if I could have after a scare like that."

Dean shook his head. "He… he was crying so hard, he couldn't even talk by the time I was done. It was too much."

John squeezed Dean's shoulder and said, "Dean, you listen to me now. I took a look at Sammy's butt. It wasn't too much. You weren't too hard on him. If Sammy was crying that much, it probably had more to do with being startled at the situation then it had to do with the pain."

Dean shook his head again. "You told me to look after him. You told me never to hit him. I let you down Dad."

John said with affection, "You haven't let me down."

Dean looked in John's eyes, "How can you say that?"

"Because it's true."

They looked at each other in silence for a few seconds. Then John said, "I know that I told you never to hit Sammy, but that was a rule I set up a long time ago because I was worried about you being able to control your emotions when you were little. But for the most part you're an adult now. You made your first kill months ago, and in a lot of cultures that makes you a man. I give you permission to spank him again if the situation calls for it."

"No way! I don't want to do it. Not ever again."

"I know. Trust me, I know how hard it is to spank someone you love, but if you need to do it, then I'm trusting you to do the right thing, even if you don't want to."

"You're trusting me to do the right thing? I'm thinking your trust is misplaced Dad. I took the truck to school yesterday. I made Sammy lose his hair and then laughed at him. I ordered pizza for dinner last night. And then to top it off, I almost shot Sammy before beating his ass today."

John glared and said, "You ordered pizza?"

Dean swallowed hard and nodded once.

"After that folder I showed you with the correlation between missing children and pizza deliveries, you still ordered one?" John asked.

"Yes sir."

"Why?"

"Because I felt bad about what I had done to Sammy's hair, and I wanted to make him feel better."

"That's not a good enough reason."

"Yes sir."

John took his hand off Dean's shoulder and stood up. He paced around the room and lectured. "You know that when I leave Sammy in your care I have to be able to depend on you to make the right choices. I need to know that you're going to be reasonable and keep a level head. I need to know that you're going to follow my orders, and make sure Sammy follows them too."

"Yes sir."

"Pulling a couple of little pranks might be okay, but the minute one of those pranks made you angry, you needed to put an end to them. Getting revenge on your brother is completely unacceptable. You don't have the luxury of being that kind of older brother Dean. Making Sammy lose his hair was mean and irresponsible. I don't care what Sammy does to you; you don't get to retaliate. That's one."

Dean's eyebrows raised at that, and he felt his face heat up. He had basically asked his father to spank him when he tried to hand over his belt, but hearing John's 'That's one.' made it very clear that John did in fact intend to spank him. "Yes sir."

"You ordered pizza. That's two."

Dean looked down at the table in shame. "Yes sir."

"You spanked Sammy without permission, and when you were still angry. That in itself isn't nearly as bad as you seem to think it is, but because I know you're feeling really bad about it right now, I'm counting it as three."

Dean swallowed hard. He hadn't been in this situation for a long time, and had hoped he was too old for it now. Apparently John had other ideas though. Dean's voice wasn't very steady as he gave a last, "Yes sir."

John pulled a chair away from the table and sat down in it. He said, "Any one of those things alone probably wouldn't be enough to get you spanked. But all three together in the span of three days, says to me that you need a reminder to follow orders, and a reminder on how to treat your brother. Come here."

Dean picked up his belt and stood, but before he could take a step John said, "No. No belt. Not now, not ever."

Dean put it back on the table and walked to his father's side. He started to lean over John's lap, but John stopped him with a hand on his arm and the word, "Jeans."

Dean's face got even redder, but he made no protest as he unbuttoned and unzipped his jeans. He pushed them down to his knees before leaning himself over John's lap. John pulled Dean up against his stomach, and left one hand on the side of Dean's lower back, while he used his other hand to start swatting side to side over Dean's briefs. Dean jumped slightly at the first swat and then remained still and silent. John knew Dean would fight it for as long as possible. He made sure his swats were hard and delivered at a quick tempo, so that the whole ordeal wouldn't last very long.

Dean hadn't remembered exactly how painful it was, and he had to bite the inside of his cheek and dig his fingernails into his palms to keep his noises of discomfort from coming out. John could feel the tension in Dean's body as he strained to be still. John kept spanking, knowing that Dean would give in long before there was any real damage to his rear. Dean was a tough kid, and he could take a lot of physical pain, but spankings weren't just about physical pain, they were about emotional pain, and Dean didn't deal with emotions very well.

A minute later, Dean knew he couldn't take it anymore without crying. He called out, "I'm sorry! Please Dad, I'm sorry."

John pushed Dean forward slightly so that his feet came up off the ground and continued spanking. "I know you are. You're always sorry when you hurt Sammy, intentionally or not."

At those words Dean let out his first broken sob. Very quickly Dean's crying turned into loud yelping while tears came down his face, because the shift in position gave John better access to Dean's bare upper thighs which hadn't been smacked until then. Dean found it impossible to be still, and jerked with every swat. He didn't want to humiliate himself further by reaching back to cover his thighs, but the pain was getting pretty bad, and he wasn't sure he'd be able to endure much more without attempting it. John hated doing it, but he wanted to make sure Dean would be able to let go of his guilt, so when Dean put a hand back to try and cover his thighs, John grabbed the hand and held it in the middle of Dean's lower back. John gave him ten more extra hard swats on the crease between his butt and thighs before he stopped.

John let Dean slide back a little so his feet touched the ground again, and rubbed his upper back and shoulders. A few seconds later, even though he was still crying, Dean pushed to get up. John let him, and put a hand on Dean's upper arm to help him balance. Dean pulled his jeans back up and fastened them as soon as he was upright. John stood up as well and pulled Dean into a hug. Dean hugged him back and got out between his tears, "I'm sorry."

"I know, and I also know you're gonna be more careful with Sammy next time."

Dean nodded into John's shirt, "Yes sir, I will."

John held Dean, and was surprised when Dean didn't push away for a long time. John held tight and enjoyed the moment, waiting for Dean to be the first to break the hold. When Dean finally did push away, John thought to himself that Dean hadn't wanted that much comfort since he was thirteen. John tilted Dean's face up to look him in the eye and said, "I know I don't say it much, but I appreciate everything you do while I'm away. I wouldn't be half as good at hunting if I had to worry about you boys every second. I always trust you to take care of Sammy and do the right thing for the both of you. That hasn't changed."

Dean's eyes filled up again and he didn't trust himself to speak. He nodded once to let John know he had heard him. John patted Dean's shoulder and said, "Go sit down on the couch. I'm gonna go get Sammy and the two of you are going to talk and make up."

Dean headed over to the couch wondering what kind of reception he would get from his little brother.

Sammy had lay back down on his bed after his father left and wondered if John was really going to do it. John always did what he said he was going to do, but Sammy still found the concept of Dean getting spanked at his age and size hard to accept. He didn't have to wait long for the sounds to start. At first Sammy was almost pleased, thinking that Dean had hurt him, so Dean deserved what he was getting. But then when he heard Dean yelling out in pain, Sammy was more distressed then anything else. He put his pillow over his head and held it to his ears to block the sound out.

He couldn't block it out completely, and once it was over he took the pillow off his head and thought about what had happened over the past few days. He expected his father to come and get him now, but no one came for a while and Sammy got antsy. He paced around his room for a few minutes and wondered what was taking so long. He opened his door a crack to see what was going on, but couldn't see anything from his viewpoint. He closed the door again and thought about maybe trying to start his homework. A few minutes later he heard a knock on his door, and John appeared in the doorway before he had a chance to say 'come in'.

John could tell Sammy was a bundle of nerves. He said, "Come on out to the couch and talk to Dean."

Sammy nodded and walked out. He saw Dean standing by the couch with his head down looking pretty miserable. Sammy stood beside the other end of the couch, not knowing what to say or how to start. John walked in and saw them both standing there not looking at each other. He barked out, "Sit. Talk. Make up. If you don't, I'll do it for you, and you won't be happy if it comes to that."

Both boys had sat immediately before he got his sentence finished, and when he was done they said, "Yes sir!" in unison.

John went into the kitchen and called Pastor Jim to let him know he was home, fully trusting Dean to make sure things got back to normal between him and Sammy.

Dean looked at Sammy who was looking in his lap. Dean said, "How are ya doing Sammy?"

Sammy shrugged, "Okay I guess."

Dean shifted around trying to get comfortable but couldn't. He said, "Hey Sammy?"

Sammy finally looked over at Dean. "I'm sorry I was so abrupt with you, but when I saw that dark figure standing over you…."

Sammy blushed and said in a very quiet voice, "I know. I'm really sorry Dean."

Dean could tell Sammy really meant it, and any traces of anger he might have been harboring over the issue disappeared. He scooted over so he was sitting right next to Sammy and put an arm over his shoulders. "It's okay Sammy. I believe you, and I'm not upset about it anymore. Apology accepted. Can you forgive me for… you know… beating your ass?"

Sammy gave Dean a hurt look. "I don't know. Maybe if you promise never to do it again."

Dean squirmed and looked away. He said out the window, "I can't make that promise to you."

Sammy stood to get away from Dean's arm, and crossed his arms in anger. "Why not?!"

The thought of spanking Sammy again made Dean's stomach turn, but John had made it clear that it was a responsibility he was going to take on, like it or not. Dean stood as well and put a hand on Sammy's shoulder. He used his 'You'd better listen up' voice and said, "Because no matter how much I hated it, and I did hate it, you deserved it for what you did. I'm not going to be like Dad and swat you for every little thing, but yeah I will do it again if you do something dangerous."

Sammy looked up at Dean with tears and said, "I don't want you to."

Dean pulled Sammy into a hug and said, "I know, and I'm sorry it has to be this way for you, but I have to know that you're gonna listen to me when Dad's not around."

Sammy hugged Dean back. He didn't like the answers he was getting, but he knew that Dean loved him, and he knew deep down that Dean wouldn't do it again unless pushed to the extreme. Sammy whispered, "Okay."

Dean let Sammy go and said, "But a lot of this was my fault, and I'm really sorry that I let our pranks get so far. I never should have put that Nair in your shampoo, and I shouldn't have gotten so angry at your prank that made me pee. It won't happen again."

"Okay."

"So, are you ready to tell Dad we worked it out, or do you have something else to say?"

"I'm done."

Dean nodded once and went into the kitchen to find John. Sammy trailed him. John was standing at the counter looking at the emergency money with a glare. Dean said, "Dad?"

John turned to look at his children and said, "Did you two work it out?"

They both said, "Yes sir."

John held up the money and said, "How much did the pizza cost?"

Dean said, "Fifteen dollars."

"Then where is the rest of the money?"

Sammy said, "I used some today to set up my prank."

"How much?"

"Forty dollars."

Dean looked over at Sammy like he was a bit crazy. Sammy said, "I paid a guy thirty to call the school and tell them I was sick."

"You skipped school?!" Dean exclaimed.

Sammy looked down. "I didn't want everyone to laugh at me."

John looked at Dean and said, "He's grounded for a week, and we are going to be creative in coming up with some extra punishments for him."

Dean nodded solemnly. John said, "For now, both of you go do your homework, and then during dinner, you can both give me all the details of what happened while I was gone."

The next morning John slept in. He hadn't gotten much sleep during his hunt, so Dean got up and got breakfast ready for him and Sammy. As soon as Sammy took a bite of the cereal Dean had put in front of him, his eyes got wide and he ran to the sink to spit it out. He rinsed his mouth with water while Dean laughed. Sammy turned around and looked close to tears when he said, "What the hell Dean?!"

Dean smiled and said, "Come on Sammy, before it got out of control you were having fun with the pranks right?"

Sammy reluctantly agreed with a nod. Dean said, "Well I wanted to make sure you knew it could be fun still, as long as we don't let it go to far."

Sammy thought about it for a few seconds and then the corners of his mouth turned up. He said, "I did have a few more ideas that I didn't get to try."

Dean smiled with approval and said, "Yeah? Good luck playing them on me Baldie."

Sammy frowned and protested, "Hey, that's not funny."

Dean felt a sharp whack to the back of his head, and he ducked a little and put his hand up to rub in response. John said in a dangerous voice, "Did I just hear you teasing your brother about the prank you pulled?"

Dean scoffed and said, "Oh yeah, like he's not going to tease me for years about wetting the bed. Not to mention getting my ass beat at sixteen. I'm calling him Baldie until the hair grows back."

John lifted Dean out of his chair with one hand and swatted him with the other. Dean tried to cover his butt and yelled, "Hey! I was just kidding. You need to get a sense of humor Dad."

John let him go and pointed a finger at each of them in turn and said, "I don't want to hear any teasing from either one of you. Is that clear?"

"Yes sir."

"Good. What's for breakfast?"

Dean was a little pissed at having his fun stopped. He pointed to Sammy's bowl and said, "I just poured some cereal for you."

Sammy's eyes looked like they were going to pop out of his head, and he shook his head no, but John had already sat down to eat. John put a bite in his mouth and after a second of chewing, paused for a full second before continuing to chew and swallow. He turned to Dean who looked confused and said in a calm voice, "Dean."

Dean's confusion turned to a slight panic at John's tone. "Yes sir?"

"I think it would be best for you to go to school now son."

Dean backed away carefully as he said, "Yes sir."

Dean was already dressed, so he grabbed his backpack and practically flew out of the house. As soon as the front door shut, Sammy sat down next to John and said, "Dad?"

John looked at Sammy and started to laugh. Sammy was slightly wary at first, but once he saw his father really did think it was funny he smiled too. Once John was able to talk again he put a hand on Sammy's shoulder and said, "Sammy, promise me you won't grow up to be as much of a smart ass trouble maker as Dean. I don't think I could deal with two of him."

Sammy gave his dad a genuine smile, "Don't worry Dad, that's just never gonna happen."