Dean's POV:

New Year's Eve. It's been awhile since I've looked forward to one of those. I can honestly say that the last time I did I was probably twenty-two and that because it was the last one that Sam and I spent together before he left for college.

Ever since we got back together when I went to Stanford for him, it's been one bad thing after another that usually takes the thrill out of the whole dropping a giant ball and wiping the slate clean. The New Year's Eve before I went to Hell (yeah, I know he still broods about that) I spent it sobering Sammy up after he went out to a bar by himself, got into one hell of a brawl and got drunker than I have ever seen. Not so much fun watching the big ball in Times Square when you're holding your plastered kid brother as he pukes and cries at the same time. I've made sure all of Bobby's liquor is locked away…just in case.

Last year with Lisa I was the one plastered. I didn't want to ring in another year without Sam and I thought that's how it would be from then on…or until I got him outta the Cage. I still kick myself that I didn't know he was out…I suppose I should at least thank Gabriel for that, but then our so-called family sold him out to a damn 'shifter. Yeah, I'm still bitter about the whole damn shapeshifter using my kid brother's form thing, so sue me.

I got Sammy back and spent months getting him over the rough spots…mostly over them since he still had a hard time emotionally with stuff. Now, I guess I know why. Not only was he tortured physically and pumped full of drugs but he was also tortured emotionally and mentally too. Making him see the bad crap in our lives wasn't enough, they showed him the life I could have had if he wasn't around…yeah, like that was such a good life.

Garden gnomes, working 9-to-5 at a crap job, driving a pickup and doing soccer games and barbecues on the weekends. God, I'm still not sure why I didn't blow my own damn brains out after a month…ignoring the salt and burning of the gnome and the couple little incidents where I tried to take out the neighbors dog…never let anyone say that Yorkies aren't hellhounds in disguise.

Sammy was doing good even if he still had issues with me being out of his sight for longer periods than normal. I figured after Christmas, assuming Bobby hadn't killed me for the decorations, we'd hit the road again. I'd scoped a couple simple cases since I have no intention of throwing him back into the deep end of the pool. Then I did the stupid thing of going to Indiana to grab the rest of my stuff from Lisa and all hell broke loose.

I still don't know who, besides my Mom's sociopathic Father to blame for that mess. I mean, I know Cas's arch rival in Heaven had a hand in it but for all know so could've Crowley. All I know is that I nearly lost my little brother…again. I knew he's gone through hell mentally since I figured he'd see some crap but I wasn't expecting him to have seen all that he did. I thank whatever the hell was helping us that Sammy had Mom when he needed her. He's told me some of the stuff but I'm not stupid enough to think that he's told me everything from then or now. Sam doesn't open up like that without a fight even if he is still the most emotionally open chick-flick loving person I know.

I know he's still having problems this time from what the Campbells did to him while we were out of it. The beatings or burns weren't bad enough, I know other things happened. I just don't know if he knows it. I know he's curious about the wound on the back of his head but I won't ever tell him about that wire. The brand on his chest still breaks my heart to see his eyes over.

Bobby gripes because he won't let anyone but me touch him but hey, I can understand it. Sammy's not back to fully trusting people. I mean, he knows that Bobby would cut off a limb for us but after having our own so-called grandfather torture him twice…trust ain't coming easy to my little brother.

He hasn't taken to fully clinging to me again like he had after Lawrence but he will after a nightmare and those he still has nightly. Bobby's tossing hints about me not sleeping again but I do sleep…just after I know that Sam will be down for the night and then it's usually sleeping sitting up beside him. The only time he'll sleep through the night fully is if he's tired from doing too much that day, which I yell at him for, or if I can get him to hold my jacket before he sleeps. That still calms him down…like it used to when he was a baby and Dad would hold him while wearing it…but he's gotten it into his head that he doesn't deserve to be near the jacket or have it. I really need to figure that one out.

Bobby's been great with having his life and house turned upside down with us there. I know I laid on the whole Christmas thing a bit thick for Sam's sake but he's not going to tell me that the Sheriff just happened to drop off the very tree that I was looking at…uh-huh, yeah, pull the other one, old man. Christmas wasn't like I'd planned since Sam and I were both still hurt but I'll never forget his face the first time he sat in the Impala on Christmas Day, after I'd bundled him up like a huge geeky Sasquatch sized Eskimo, and turned that I-Pod thing on. It'll irk me to no end having that thing in my baby but hey, it made Sammy smile a real, full smile with dimples so I'll deal with it.

New Year's Eve. I often watched Dad make the same resolution every year. To find the thing that killed Mom. It never worked. Nothing ever changed for us. I used to make 'em in my head. Thing like, I'd make sure Sammy stayed in one school for more than a few weeks, or I'd make sure Sammy had a real home with a yard and a dog or I'd make Dad show Sam some kind of true attention that didn't involve yelling at him.

I stopped making 'em after awhile because I figured out that I could never give my brother those things. Hell, I couldn't even get him and Dad to stop fighting. The best resolution I could make that I knew I could keep, or I thought I could, was that I'd keep Sam safe from Dad's temper. Found out now that Sammy was keeping stuff from me and if I'd known that when I saw Dad or Dad's spirit or whatever the hell it was, I'd have taken at least one shot. Hell, I still wanna know what he and Caleb did with Stanton's body so I can dig it up, put a few rounds into it before I salt and burn the bastard.

Resolutions. I've been considering them this year since I have Sammy back and we have a chance at a fresh start. The first thing however is making this a New Year's Eve that my baby brother won't forget. Christmas was a dud but why not bring in 2011 with a bang, literally.

Bobby had needed stuff from the store today so I'd left him to babysit Sam with a list of do's and don't's that should've driven 'em both nuts but if I don't write it down he'll let Sam do anything he wants and there are still limits to what I'm willing to let the kid do. So, while I was gathering supplies for the dinner that Bobby swears will go off without a hitch…I used an EMF, holy water, silver, and said Cristo on the loin of pork to be sure before I bought it, I'm not planning on eating in that diner on New Years Day.

While I was out, I went to find some things for tonight that'll make Times Square look tame…and Bobby probably want to kill me but it's for Sam so he ought to know by know the lengths I'll go to for that kid and that goes for protecting him too.

Protect Sam. My mantra since I was four years old and never once have I regretted it. Sam thinks I blame him for Flagstaff, for the other crap in my life but I can't get him to understand that it's what I accepted a long time ago. Protecting him is what I do…not always what I'm good at but that's going to change. Hell, it has to since I'm not fool enough to think that Gwen and the others won't be coming after us again. Not only did I kill Christian but we're also responsible for Samuel's death. Neither an issue in my book since I ganked the asshole because he was going to kill my brother and Samuel…I wish I'd been the one to kill him so that didn't get laid on Sam but I can understand that it might've been better that he was the one who did it. Samuel hurt my brother in ways that I don't even think that bastard Stanton could.

Sammy had wanted to believe in family so much that he allowed himself to briefly trust Samuel and the others. They preyed on that trust and hurt him. Samuel died way too quickly if you ask me but then nobody did and all I can do is watch Sam's back. The next sonuvabitch who comes close to my brother dies since I'm back in shoot first, protect Sammy, and ask stupid questions last mode.

Looking at the box beside me, I think of another night. Sure, Dad was pissed when he came home but I'd made Sam happy and that's what I want for tonight. Driving up to Bobby's place, I think of Dad. There was so much I wanted to say to him…to Mom the other night but in the end, I couldn't. In the end I realized that what happened with Dad was done. It was in the past and while I'll never be able to fully put it aside, it was time to put him aside. Dad raised us as soldiers, not as sons but we grew up as brothers and that's what Sam and I'll always be…brothers. That's something that no one can break.

Parking the car, I'm trying to get out of the Impala with the store bags and the box when suddenly I feel little teeth in my jeans followed by the muffled yipping of an overly hyper but fierce, if you ask my geek brother, puppy and without looking I know where Sam's at…and I'm instantly not happy.

"Sam, get this fierce mutt you swear is a guard dog offa me and get your ass back inside until you get a jacket!" rolling my eyes, I swear it's like dealing with a five year old again when it was a struggle to get my brother into a winter coat.

With a whistle, the pup goes back to Sam and I put the box on the porch so I can keep brother, mentor, and pup out of it until I can set it up as I go inside to dump the groceries.

I see a war with a pie had started while I was gone and was glad I'd picked up a couple from the diner since if Bobby was anything, he wasn't a baker and I get out of there when he starts asking questions because I'm still too tired to work up the energy to lie to him.

Knowing he probably didn't buy a single word I'd said, I was muttering under my breath when I was just in time to catch Sam before he got out the door. Sammy always was a nosy brat, especially when he knew I was hiding something from him.

"Where were you and what's in the box, Dean?" he asks all in one breath, hand still on the knob when I aim him back toward the library and hopefully some rest since I can see he's getting tired. He's holding that hand too close to his body which means it's hurting him and his hair, God I still won't bitch about that, looks like he's been running his fingers through it…yep, sure signs that little brother is tired and fighting it.

"Never mind what's in the box," I tell him, nudging him onto the sofa seat before I sit next to him to broach something else. A new year should be about change and that's what I need to talk to him about. I tell him that if he's strong enough, after tomorrow, we might be hitting the road again. Then I wait to see his reaction.

Sam, since he came back, has slipped back into the way he always was with me and that means I can read him just by watching his face. After I tell him that we should consider leaving Bobby's, I wait. If he makes even the slightest bitch-face or frown or looks like he's not too comfortable with the idea yet then I put it on the back burner because the last thing I want to do is push him back out there.

Sam's eyes, yeah, he's tired because he's doing puppy dog eyes without even knowing it, looks at me and after a minute he shrugs and says fine but I should salt and burn the decorations before we leave. "Smart ass," I toss back, not really surprised since I'd been getting the feeling that Sammy was just about ready to hit the road again as I was…even though I still wasn't letting up on the over protective streak I was on since he was still hurt. "Get some sleep while I do something outside," I tell him, smirking at his offer to help and making a crack about changing the oil in the car.

I wait until I see he and the pup…that had damn well better not be one of my new boots or Sam dies, are drifting off before I grab the box off the porch but barely made it ten yards before Bobby's on my butt. Putting Sam off is one thing, but getting Bobby off of something is like pulling a Hellhound or a Yorkie off a victim so I'm not shocked at his reaction…

"There ain't no way in hell you're doing that, ya flamin' idjit!" he shouts at me and I restrain from shushing him since I sure as hell didn't want my brother out here yet.

"Bobby, trust me," I tell him, using every ounce of charm I have and throwing in the very puppy eyes that I taught Sam to use. "It'll be great tonight…unless you shoot dinner again."

I smirk as he stomps back to the house muttering about idjits, angels, and possessed loins of pork and I think I should tell him that I'd already tested that meat for demonic issues. It takes me the better part of the afternoon and evening to get things the way I want them and to figure out the timing for the fuses to go off correctly without setting the whole yard on fire.

Sammy slept most of the time and since he was sleeping peacefully I didn't wake him. I let Bobby gripe and worry that we were leaving too soon. I knew he'd be worried about that but that's also because he knows like I do that eventually someone's coming for us. This time, I'm ready for them. Angel, demon or hunter, I'll be ready. John Winchester didn't raise his sons to be fools and his oldest sure as hell ain't one.

While Bobby's getting a hose and a fire extinguisher ready, he honestly has very little faith in me, I go to wake Sam up when I notice the paper on the desk. Sammy's been doing the resolution bit while I was gone today. It would've been cute if I hadn't read what he wrote and fought the urge to crumple it.

Be a better brother? He damn well better not be talking about being one to me since he's always been the best brother I could've asked for. Sure, he's a geek, a nerd, a pain in my ass, but he's still my little brother and I…love him…there I said it. I know he's still blaming himself for crap he had no control over but to think that he has to be a better brother, God, I'm not sure if I should shake him for thinking it or slap myself for ever giving him the idea.

Earn the right to wear the jacket? Is that what he thinks? That to wear my jacket he has to earn that right? That he has to do something to prove that he deserves it? Damn, I so blame Dad for putting that crap in his head. Dad made Sammy feel so worthless most of the time that he still feels like that. The kid feels that with everything that's happened in his life, the stuff he's done that he has to prove to me that he deserves to wear Dad's jacket. He wants to make me proud? Hell, the kid's been making me proud since we were kids. I was proud of him the night he stood up to Dad and left for college…not happy about it, but proud of him.

So these are Sam's resolutions, huh? Well, that's fine because I now have a couple of my own. For starters, it's to make damn sure that no one touches my brother again. Then, it's to get my dorky brother to understand that he doesn't need to be a better anything. That he's Sammy and that's all I want from him. Finally, I'll have him in this jacket by this time next year if it kills me because I'll be damned if he'll feel he doesn't deserve it when I didn't do anything to deserve it from Dad.

Leaving the paper on the desk, I kneel down to eye level before I wake him. Waking Sammy up too quickly is a sure fire way to get slugged or have a knife at your throat…learned that the hard way when he was sixteen.

"Wake up, sunshine!" I called loudly, watching as hazel eyes open slowly to stare at me and I'm relieved to see they're clear, no shadows or leftover dreams attached. "C'mon, it's almost midnight so grab a jacket before I make you Eskimo Sammy again and get outside."

"Huh?" he mumbles sleepily but follows me out to the door where I'm shoving a heavy winter jacket onto him since I wasn't letting him out the door in just a hoodie. "Ball drops on TV, De'n," he muttered, using his good hand to rub sleep from his eyes.

"That mirrored ball is boring compared to what I have planned, little brother," I tell him, nudging him onto the porch where Bobby's waiting with that damn fire extinguisher. "Ye of little faith."

Bobby rolls his eyes at me, latches onto the puppy who was determined to tear into something and just glares at me. "You burn down my house and you're dying, Dean," he growled.

"Dean, what're you doing?" Sam asked, more awake now and more curious than ever.

Looking at my watch, I walked out to where I'd set up my surprise to pull out my lighter. "Remember Fourth of July 1996, Sammy?" I ask, seeing his eyebrows shoot up a second before Bobby yells something about not lighting them all at once which was too late since I'd lit the fuse and took off running. "Fire in the hole!" I yell on instinct.

I make it back to the porch an instant before the first roman candle shoots off, followed by the rest of the multiple types of fireworks that I'd bought and set up until the night air was nothing but bright multi-colored lights, shrilling whistles and explosions that make that night in the field in '96 look tame.

What makes it the best for me is when I hear my brother laugh the first time. Looking over, I see Sam stepping off the porch for a closer look to the sky and I see his full Sammy smile, eyes bright like I've haven't seem them in a long while.

As the second round of fireworks shoot off, I see that Bobby's taken the pup back inside, leaving just me and Sammy outside to watch the lighted sky even though I heard him muttering about the Sheriff probably going to be showing up.

"Dean?" I look over to see Sam looking at me and I don't miss the smile or the moisture in his eyes as he glances back up as another rocket shoots off. "Thank you…this is…well," he hesitated and I know the word he's looking for because I'm also thinking back to that night I bought fireworks for him.

"Yeah, it's awesome ain't it?" I look up then grin as I shift, already expecting the armful of little brother I soon had. "Happy New Year, Sammy," I murmur, holding on tight for a moment longer before turning so that I could keep an arm around his shoulders as we stood to watch the fireworks finale took off.

"Bobby's gonna kill us," he spoke a second later, laughing at the plume of bright lights just like he had as a kid. "Sheriff Mills won't be happy to come here this late."

Shifting my arm so I could get him in a mock chokehold and tustle his hair the way I knew would make him complain, I wait until he quit struggling to hold something out to him and see his eyes widen. "He'll forgive us…in the meantime…"

Waiting, I ease my grip so he could straighten and I drop the Impala's keys into his shaking hand. "…I'm driving," he finished, snapping his fingers closed around the keys just as Bobby opened the door to shout at us to get our asses inside before we both get sick and he's stuck with us for another six months. "Dean?"

"Yeah, Sam?" my hand's on the door to open it when I look to see my brother's eyes sparkling and I can tell what he's thinking so I offer a smirk. "You know, I made those rules, little brother, so I can break 'em."

"Yeah, but you won't," Sam grinned back and I know that I won't even if it means putting up with his music for the next few hundred miles.

Lightly pushing him inside, I squeeze his neck reassuringly before I see the puppy running out of the kitchen yipping and…

"Dean, I thought you said you exorcised that pork loin," Sam blinked as we heard the shotgun go off and Bobby screaming my name at the top of his lungs.

"I did. I forgot to salt the damn whole pig he wanted for tomorrow," I growled, shoving him toward the steps. "Get up there and pack. After I put a devil's trap in the kitchen and kill a pig we are so outta here, Sammy."

"Happy New Year, Dean," my brother's laughing as he scoops the puppy up and I reach for my .45 figuring that not everything can change at once…or Bobby's house would be boring to visit.

The End

A/N: I hope everyone enjoyed this. Turned out longer than I expected but then what do I write that doesn't? I wanted to give Sam and Dean a fresh start going into 2011 so who knows what might come in this series in the coming year? Thanks for reading and have a wonderful 2011!