World's Best Brother
by Deanie McQueen
It was insignificant, at the time. A joke. Sam was waiting for Dean to finish filling up the Impala, which is when he saw the sign across the street: Grandpappy's Gifts and Gadgets. A quick look confirmed that Dean was now eyeing the cute newcomer with the Mustang and fuck-me boots, so Sam made his way over the shop.
The selection was pretty piss-poor, but he'd been expecting that. The aisles were nearly empty, filled with all the traditional off-the-highway tourist crap he'd seen a million times before: name-engraved pencils, state keychains, shotglasses with neon colors. What was truly impressive, however, was the mug selection. Row after row of generic white mugs with black print and seemingly hundreds of sayings.
"'World's Best Second Cousin!'" Sam read aloud, "'World's Best Gardener!'" He admired them all for a bit longer before he saw it:
'World's Best Brother!'
Sam quirked a small grin, picking up the mug to check the price. $3.50. He thought about it, then headed for the register. Grandpappy could use the funds.
"Where you been, dude?" Dean called to him as Sam walked across the parking lot, plastic bag in hand. Dean was munching on something that looked suspiciously like cotton candy. Sam eyed it, frowning.
"There a carnival nearby I should know about?"
Dean smiled, revealing teeth stained blue. "Nah, man. Found it inside." And then, with a nastier grin, asked, "You want some?"
"Ugh." Sam ignored his brother's laughter as he slipped into the passenger seat, leather warm from the sunshine. "I don't know how you can eat that shit."
Dean pretended to consider another puff of the candy in his fingers before stuffing it in his mouth. "S'pretty easy," he said, muffled. "Open, insert, and enjoy. Something tells me you could manage."
Sam let his look answer for him before he sighed and remembered what he had in his hand. "Bought you something, bitch," he said, hoping to cut off Dean's inevitable teasing. He rattled the box the mug had come in to get Dean's attention. True to form, Dean looked over, instantly curious.
Dean looked a bit like a five year old: eyes suddenly bigger and brighter with excitement. He flashed a quick grin before smothering it to say, "Hand it over, asshole."
Sam tossed it over, bag and all. Dean's fingers immediately flew at the plastic, pushing it aside to pull out the cheapy cardboard box. He rattled it experimentally, just like he did with every other gift he'd ever gotten, valuable or otherwise, before opening the flap and pulling out the mug. "Ha!" Sam appreciated the grin on his brother's face. "'World's Best Brother!'" Dean read. "Damn straight."
"Mmm," Sam hummed, "A title that will inevitably be revoked at a future time and dating of my choosing, dependant on both behavior and attitude."
"Blah, blah," Dean said, but he didn't stop looking at the mug. He put it back in the box a little more roughly than Sam would have liked, but ten minutes after they'd pulled onto the road, Dean ejected Zeppelin and didn't pick out anything new. Sam kept waiting, until Dean said, "You gonna pick the next one, or what?"
That's when Sam knew he'd done good.