***A/N I added some more weeDean/Baby Sammy/Fatherly John to the end of this one. Hope you Enjoy! ~Kelcor

Chapter 1: Where It All Began

NOVEMBER 2nd, 1983

Four-year-old Dean Winchester woke with a start. He glanced fearfully around the room, wondering what had woken him, the feeling of dread difficult to comprehend in the mind of someone so young. He gripped the blankets in his tiny fists, pulling them up close to his chin. He knew something was wrong, he just didn't know what that something was, nor how he knew.

Movement caught his eye from beneath his closed bedroom door - the hall light was flickering. A moment later, he saw a shadow rush past his door. Curiosity getting the better of him, Dean pushed back the covers and placed his bare feet on the cold floor, padding cautiously across the room. Just as he reached for the doorknob, he heard his mother's pained cry… and froze. He desperately wanted to move, needed to move, but couldn't. His arm hung in mid-air, his hand mere inches from the knob. Inexplicably, a tear rolled down his cheek, as if deep down he already knew what had transpired.

Relief flooded him when he heard his father's unmistakeable footfalls on the steps, the older man's desperate call of his wife's name. "Daddy will fix it," Dean thought with confidence.

The terror came back quickly though, when he heard his father's own cry of anguish, then smelled the smoke coming from beneath his door. This time, the terror had the opposite effect as Dean lunged for the door and tore it open, darting into the hallway in search of his family. Blinded by the smoke, he jumped slightly when his father suddenly appeared in front of him, holding little Sammy in his arms - funny, the baby looked even smaller wrapped up in all those blankets - and handing him over to Dean.

"Take your brother outside. Now, Dean, Go!"

Turning off all other thoughts, concentrating on following his daddy's orders and keeping Sammy safe, Dean wrapped his small arms around the baby and ran down the stairs as fast as his little legs would carry him.

Outside, he stopped, stared up at the window to what used to be Sammy's room. No longer in motion, the fear finally had a chance to seep into his bones once again and he froze, feet seemingly rooted to the ground. The heat was unbearable against his young skin. He had the presence of mind, instinct really, to pull Sammy closer to his chest, ensuring the baby's face was turned away from the fire, but was unable to do anything more than that - all he could do was stare up at the angry flames eating away at his home, wondering where his mommy and daddy were.

As if on cue, his daddy came running out of the house and, without even slowing his pace, swept both Dean and Sammy into his arms - "I gotcha!" - carrying them away from the house, shielding them with his own body as the nursery exploded into the night.

SNSNSNSN

John lay awake in bed, doing his best to hold the tears at bay. He missed Mary so much, the loss was worse than any physical pain he had ever experienced. The shame made things even harder. He knew he was a terrible father, knew even stronger that Mary would be disappointed in him. It had been 3 weeks since her… since she went away, and he still could barely coax Dean to eat. The kid wouldn't even talk to him. He'd even tried taking him to Missouri but all she could tell him was that the grief inside Dean was so extraordinarily profound, the boy didn't know what to do with it, how to express it, so he just shut himself down. Huh. Well, like father like son. John wanted nothing more than to just crawl inside himself, wither away and die but he couldn't do that - his boys needed him. He had to find some way to fight this grief off, some way that didn't involve him shutting himself down and, worse, shutting his boys out.

He was jarred from his musings by Sammy's wail in the next room. With a sigh, John got out of bed, knowing that he probably wouldn't be able to do much other than hold the kid, which didn't really help much since Sammy seemed able to sense his father's inner torment. John knew baby's always knew when people were stressed out or upset. Mary had always believed that humankind had an innate empathic sense that just wore off for most people as they grew older, jaded even. Something in the back of John's mind told him that Sammy would be one of the few who kept that empathy well into adulthood. A humourless chuckle escaped him at that thought. Like he would know anything about his boys this early in life.

John found himself outside the impromptu nursery and was about to enter when he saw movement at the other side of the room, near the crib. His heart leapt into his throat, fearing the worst, everything had started in Sammy's nursery! He was just about to burst into the room when his eyes adjusted to the darkness and he realized the movement was a tiny form climbing up over the railing of the crib. John watched in amazement and wonder as Dean landed on the mattress next to Sammy, careful not to step on the small hands and feet as he manoeuvred himself into a position where he is laying next to the baby. He gently pulled Sammy into his arms and rocked him back and forth, back and forth. John's smile and wonderment grew as the baby stopped crying and snuggled in closer to his big brother, seeking the comfort that he knew only Dean could provide.

SNSNSNSN

The next morning, sitting at the kitchen table, watching Dean stare at his untouched breakfast, John had an epiphany…

"Dean, buddy, you need to eat so that you can become big and strong… otherwise, how are you going to take care of Sammy?"

John's heart broke as the four-year-old whipped his head up to face him, making perhaps the first eye contact since Mary… died.

TBC