A/N: A little drabble picking up on the featured fact that Sam's cell-phone dial list labels Dean as just 'D' (which I do happen to find oddly endearing, among all the convoluted mess that the Winchester Brotherdom of Woe still is).
Set presumably sometime fairly soon after 6.16 And Then There Were None. Mentions of earlier seasons and some minor glimpses into the wee-chester era.
Disclaimer: None of the characters, plot-points, inherent to the show, belong to me.
Diddle diddle dumpling*
It's a good thing Dean's not in the habit of snooping around in his phone. Or else the older Winchester's sure to have a fit over his brother's nominative liberties of choice. The idea pops up off-handedly as a single capital letter glares at Sam from the dimly lit screen. Sam steals a sideways glance at Dean's hands, clutching the steering wheel, before taking back to the task of sorting through his dial list. His own way of going about the clean slate. Helps fill out longer stretches of pensive silence too.
In all honesty, Sam doesn't remember how far back the little cryptic gig dates. Maybe as early as his two-year-old self, plopped on his two-year-old butt in the middle of Bobby's living room, bawling his eyes out, calling after his big brother amidst a fit of his two-year-old world shattering realization that Dean was out and away for target practice with Dad, hence unavailable for play and otherwise not there. Only it didn't quite come out as 'Dean', the closing sound of his brother's short name lost among the mayhem of squealy and sniffly, and gaspy 'Deeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhh!', permeated by rather unmanly hiccups and his two-year-old fists clenching and unclenching in helpless desperation. Sam's aware to be still into it at times, twenty five odd years later, whence one of his pet hellhound-rips-Dean-to-bloody-shards nightmares crawls too close to the surface. Well, his fists alongside his lung capacity got larger ever since, he can at least give 'em that.
Or it could be that one time he had to draw a picture of his family in kindergarten. Under Dean's watchful guidance Sam knew how to spell 'd-a-d' by then (piece of cake, Sammy! just draw a tall-point 'a' on two sides and then a short one in the middle - it felt good to think of the short little 'a' as his own self, flanked snugly by two tall 'd's', back in the day). But the spelling of his brother's name caught him at an unexpected loss. Sammy realized he's never seen it written out before. To scribble anything as high profile as 'b-i-g b-r-o-t-h-e-r' was a no go just yet, but to leave Dean's crayon portrait nameless was no good either. So he ended up recreating one of the sure-deal 'd's' above Dean's head and drawing a fat arrow to avoid confusion. Dad laughed his head off later that day at the impromptu moniker, avowing he wouldn't fathom Dean's name could get any shorter. Dean took the ensuing fun in stride but saw to it soon enough that Sammy knew how to transcribe his brother's name. And his own name too. And when Dean deemed Sammy apt and old enough – though some consistent nagging and whining might've been involved as an incentive – he taught Sam the utter blast of spelling w-i-n-c-h-e-s-t-e-r.
Through one of his woefully many a prouder-than-thou phases Sam remembers being secretly smug he had a longer, grown up given name to show for the generally used contraction, let alone the embarrassing tacky endearment. He could be Samuel whenever Sam or Sammy wouldn't cover it. Whereas Dean was just Dean. Plain and simple. Predictable. Exhaustive. To get his brother fuming and possibly swinging Sam would throw in the one-letter excuse of Dean's name every now and then, just 'cause he could.
In between the demon blood in his veins, Lucifer within his body, a wall in his mind and over a year long tenure without his soul Sam believes he's past wishing there was anything more to him, nowadays, beyond the brief monosyllable he's used to answer to. Wishes like burning, though, he were still up to filling out the world of meaning behind that precious tacky endearment Dean won't let go of no matter what (it's okay, Sammy, I won't leave you).
It's ironic Sam wonders, brushing his thumb absently over the still active slot on his phone screen, that he should be on the first letter basis with many a namesake thing, he'd rather never came across: danger, delirium, devastation, depression, demon, Devil, death, doom… Still none of the stuff he allows himself to crave most dearly - love, forgiveness, salvation, home- harbors the hapless sound. Yet Sam is certain to have a name for it all. It starts with a 'D'.
*Cf. Nursery Rhymes