Dream Big, Stay Small.
Dean sat by the window ledge, arms wrapped around his knees as he watched the snowflakes flutter onto the already white ground outside. John had gone on a hunt yesterday. He wouldn't be back for a week, maybe two.
Dean had been left in charge as usual, his father's strict instructions swimming around his occupied mind. His head snapped up when he heard hacking coughs from the bedroom he shared with his little brother.
Sammy was sick again. Damn, that kid's immune system sucked.
In the last year or so he'd caught ever cold going, and as always, Dean was the one there to look after him.
Grabbing the bottle of cherry cough syrup from the counter, Dean pushed open the door to the bedroom, scanning the lump under the blanket with exhausted eyes.
"How're you feeling, squirt?" He asked, perching on the edge of the bed and peeling back the blanket to reveal 5-year-old Sammy staring up at him with wide red-rimmed eyes.
Sam tugged at the blankets to free his arms, his head bobbing as he sneezed twice in response to Dean's question.
"That good, huh?" Dean continued, brushing Sam's too-long hair from his eyes.
He'd been in need of a haircut for a while now, but point blank refused everytime either John or Dean suggested it. Sammy wouldn't let John cut his hair ever since the haircut disaster of '87 which had left him with two visibly uneven chunks missing.
Getting the cough syrup into Sam was easy work. Getting the kid to go back to sleep was the hard part.
"Cad I watch cartoods?" Sammy asked, his voice thick with congestion that made Dean wince.
"Not yet, just go back to sleep", came the reply as Dean wrestled with the blankets to try and tuck Sam back into bed.
"'Cause you're sick, and Dad won't be happy with me if you don't get better."
A grin broke out on the younger Winchester's face as he grabbed Dean's hand with pudgy fingers, fighting to stand up.
"Look Deand! I'b better dow!" The determined attempt at persuasion, punctuated with a sniffle, made Dean's lips curl up in amusement.
Sammy was 100% John's kid.
"Right, listen up. I'll make you a deal, okay?" Dean tried, wrapping an arm around Sam's small frame as he cuddled into his older brother's side.
"We'll go watch cartoons in little while, if you promise me you'll try and go back to sleep now."
Sam looked disheartened and almost pulled away from his brother. He would have succeeded if Dean didn't have his arm still wrapped around him.
Dean watched Sam nod, giving his younger brother a squeeze before tucking him back into the bed. Sammy blinked up at him with drooping eyes, fighting back a yawn.
"Close your eyes, Sammy."
"Now go to sleep."
Sam shifted, freeing his arms. His eyebrows knitted together before he let out three shuddering sneezes. His glazed eyes opened as he scrubbed at his already red nose.
"And cover your mouth when you do that", Dean added, pulling the blankets up to Sam's shoulders again.
"How cad I cover by bouth if I'b asleep?" Sam asked, sniffing.
Fast-forward fifteen minutes, and Sammy had worn Dean down enough for them both to be watching cartoons on the lumpy sofa of the hotel room. Sam cuddled into Dean's side, wrapped in the faded red blanket.
Dean listened to his brother's steady breathing, wondering if Sammy had finally fallen asleep.
That was until he felt Sam shift under his arm and scramble across his lap in such a hurry that you'd think a clown had just walked in the door.
Clowns, yet another thing Dean didn't, and would never, understand about his brother.
Sam collapsed across Dean with a contented sigh, his eyes intently watching something other than the cartoons he'd previously begged Dean to watch.
Dean stared down in confusion at the 5-year-old that was sprawled across his lap. Sam had done some pretty odd stuff but that took the biscuit.
"Erm...Sammy..." Dean began, eyeing the germy child before him, the red blanket slipping down onto the floor. "What're you doing?"
Sam glanced up at his brother as though it were obvious what he was doing. He pointed at the window and grinned, the gap in his teeth showing.
"Sdow-" Dean started, confusion on his face until he looked up at the window. "Oh, snowing! Yeah, it is."
"Cad we go outside and play?"
Sam was now hauling himself upright onto Dean's lap with energy Dean didn't know little Sammy had in him.
"Sammy, Dad'd kill me if I let you go outside with a cold like that", he shook his head, squeezing Sam's nose.
That moody look returned on Sam's face and he gazed up at his brother with his best lost puppy dog look.
"No deal, kiddo. Sorry." Dean chuckled, watching Sammy sulkily crawl back under his arm, pressing his warm face into Dean's side.
Chewing the inside of his lip, Dean wondered as he looked at the now heavily falling snow. It would still be there tomorrow. Maybe even the day after.
"It'll be there for a few days. I promise, we'll go out then."
He felt a heated cough against his ribs, and wrapped an arm around Sam even tighter, rubbing his brother's back in a gentle circular motion. Wincing at the sound as it developed into a fit. The cough syrup his father had bought was officially useless.
It took a minute or two for Sammy to recover, breathing heavily through his mouth and scrubbing at his watering eyes with small fists.
One look at Sam and Dean very nearly picked up the phone to call John. His face was pale, all except his red nose and the dark rings beneath his hazel eyes.
"Deand..." Came the hoarse, congested whimper. Puffs of warm breath against Dean's overshirt.
"Whed's Dad cobing hobe?"
The snow outside was forgotten now.
"Soon" Dean lied, grabbing his brother around his middle and scooping him up into his arms.
"Deand-" Sam started, his voice cracking as he shrieked with giggles when Dean threw him into a fireman's lift, tickling the bare skin on Sam's stomach where his sleep shirt had ridden up.
Dean felt small fists hammer against his back and smiled, listening to his brother's hysterical laughter. It was a nice sound.
Don't grow up, Sammy. Never, ever grow up.He carried Sam into their bedroom and threw him down onto the bed, waiting for the bursts of giggles to subside. Once they did, he re-tucked his brother into the bed, waiting for the complaints that never came.
Sammy rolled onto his side, blinking up at Dean with wide eyes, tugging on his brother's sleeve with fat fingers, a shadow of a smile lingering on his innocent features. "Deed you here to sleep."
Dean contemplated an excuse, but instead rolled his green eyes and pulled back the blanket, crawling in next to his brother. A warm body resumed it's place curled into his side, a small arm stretching over Dean's stomach; not long enough to wrap all the way around the older boy.
"Story?" Sam asked through a wide yawn.
"Once upon a time, there was a boy called Sammy. And he wouldn't go to sleep when his brother told him to", Dean attempted to hide the smile that was breaking out on his freckled face when Sam shifted under his arm.
"And because he wouldn't go to sleep, this...erm...this clown came-"
Dean ineffectively held back a chuckle at the shocked expression on Sam's face. He looked crushed. The expression was only brief as when Dean laughed, the saddened look turned to a bitch-face that 5-year-old Sam had recently perfected.
"Tell it right!" He whined, dragging the back of his arm across his forehead as he stretched. A motion that didn't go unnoticed by Dean, who reached out and ghosted a hand across Sam's forehead and cheeks. He didn't feel too warm. Not emergency warm.
Dean pushed out a sigh of relief and hugged his arm back around the curled up Sammy.
"Okay, okay. Right. Once upon a time, there was a boy called Sammy. And he had a big brother who-"
"-was the bestest!" Sammy butted in, shouting his opinion and squirming to sit up. Dean's hand spread across Sam's chest, pushing him back down.
"Are you gonna let me tell it or what?"
Sam fell silent and nodded, listening intently.
"Right. He had a big brother - who was the bestest - called Dean. This one time, Sammy got lost and Dean couldn't find him anywhere."
The sound of gasping echoed and Dean bit back a smirk.
"And there was this...this clown."
A small yet strong hand gripped his shirt, the other thundering lightly on his chest, frustration thick in Sammy's voice.
"No! Deand, you're ruiding it!"
Dean squeezed his brother tightly, ignoring Sam's protests and continuing with his story.
"Listen. There was this clown, ok? And he wanted Sammy to go with him. And...and Sam got real scared, 'cause he was all on his own and stuff. But Dean knew what to do and - "
" - stopped the - " Sam cut him off, Dean following suit as they attempted to finish the story in alternate lines.
"Yeah, stopped the clown. And took Sammy - "
"Let me finish!" A laugh resonated through Dean's voice. "He took Sammy back home."
"I don't like this story..."
The older child sucked in a long breath, pushing in out in a sigh, scratching his head with his free hand. The kid had the concentration span of a goldfish.
"What story do youwant?"
The answer came in a spluttering cough that echoed the delicate body of the younger child.
When Sam quietened, Dean felt him curl closer; felt his hand clutching the one Dean had wrapped protectively around his brother's shoulder.
The sound of breathing was soothing for the both of them.
No Mom. Hell, no Dad at the minute. Just Dean and Sam.
It wasn't normal and it wasn't fair but Dean wouldn't switch it for the world.
Dean listened to Sam's steady breaths.
In. Out. In. Out. In. Out. In. Out. In. Out.
"You sleepy, Sammy?"
A slow steady nod.
Dean couldn't help but smile in agreement, eyes closing.
Sick Sammy plus Dad on a hunt, equals an exhausted Dean.
Dean teetered on the edge of sleep, secure in the knowledge that Sammy was curled next to him, safe. He sighed contently; it seemed as though he was finally going to get a few hours decent sleep.
Congested snores near Dean's ear made him jump slightly, eyes snapping open to focus on the murky ceiling. Dean bit down hard on his bottom lip.
The idea of a peaceful hour's nap - or even a half hour's nap - quickly fleeting as the reverberating noise grew from soft snuffling, to a rumble that would rival a low flying jet.
Samuel Winchester. Quiet as a mouse. Snores like an elephant.
I needed some Winchester loving after the new seasons.
Let me know what you think.
And for those who read 'Nothing Short of Invincible', seeing as so many were so lovely and also asked for a sequel or an epilogue, I'll write one!
Not sure when it'll be posted but it shouldn't be too long! :)