Jim opened his eyes after his small prayer to God for help regarding the sobbing boy on his shoulder when he saw the other Winchester child standing in the doorway, trying to hide, but failing miserably. Sam was watching his brother like if he took his eyes away for a second Dean would disappear and never return, and large alligator tears were falling from his wide hazel eyes.

Sam must have made a noise that was imperceptible to anyone other than his big brother, and Dean turned around, wiped his eyes and looked at his little brother.

"Don't' cry D! Don't cy!" Sam shouted. His eyes were so worried and so full of tears that he couldn't see as he ran towards his brother, but his whole life had been built around his big brother, it didn't matter if he could see him or not, he'd be able to find him, and he did, as soon as little Sammy made contact with his big brother, the tears that had been flowing only seconds ago stopped, and Dean did his best to suppress the hiccups and the sniffs. He pulled Sammy off of him, slid off of Pastor Jim's lap and hugged his little brother tightly.

"I'm not crying anymore Sammy." Dean said doing what most nine year olds were incapable of doing—controlling his voice.

Sam buried himself deeper into Dean's stomach, and it took all Pastor Jim had to control the wave of tears that were burning at his eyes. God spent a lot of time teaching Dean lessons about life, about being hurt, and being alone, but it was just like God to give Dean something in return, to give him something so precious that it could balance out the bad with the good. God had given Dean Winchester Sam, and a bond with his brother that was unlike any seen before. Pastor Jim hoped that the bond that the brother's shared, and each other, would be able to get them through the times ahead.


The next day Dean pretended like everything was okay, he was learning as he got older to pretend things were okay, because, as illustrated the night before, when he let his guard down, he ended up hurting his little brother. Sam had been sick with worry the rest of that night. He had slept in Dean's bed, with his favorite stuffed bear, because Dean would need it, because Dean never cried, because Sam wanted to make sure his big brother was okay. And between the bear that had been thrust into his arms when they got into bed with the express command for Dean to "Hold Teddy. He will make the bad dreams go away." And his little brother tucked up against his back, Dean had been able to keep the sadness at bay.

However, in the morning, he wasn't able to keep the brave face. He wasn't able to just pretend that not being invited didn't matter to him. It bothered him all morning and when the clock struck noon and he knew that every kid in his class was at Emily's house right then eating cake, pizza, and ice cream, and playing games, and they were all doing it without him, and no one cared that they were doing it without him, he couldn't stand it anymore. Dean was going to go to that house, he had to see what was going on, he had to see for his own two eyes what he was missing. With the knowledge that Pastor Jim was down in the church basement busy with the clothes closet for the needy, and wouldn't notice if he and Sam disappeared for an hour or two he decided to take action.

Sam was sitting nearby playing with his green army men, and Dean called to him, Sam turned, "Come on buddy, let's get shoes and socks on and we'll go down and play on the swings." The swings had become Sammy's most favorite thing in the world. And he eagerly got up and went to the room they were sharing, Dean not far behind. Dean helped Sam put his socks on, his shoes on, and he showed Sam again how to tie his own shoes, because that was something Dean was determined to teach his little brother before he went to Kindergarten next year.

Once they were all suited up and ready to go, Dean held his little brother's hand and went down the street, across a yard or two, and they were in front of Emily's house. It was the house with the pink and purple balloons hanging from the mailbox. Dean could hear everyone in the back yard having fun, playing, and laughing.

This course of action hadn't been the smartest thing he had ever done. He thought this would make him feel better, that maybe if he saw with his own two eyes just how lame and stupid this was, he wouldn't be so hurt, that maybe he wouldn't be so angry. But instead of finding everyone there not having a good time, and being miserable, just like he was, they were all so happy, they were all having fun, and none of them cared that he was standing across the street, uninvited and unwelcome to join in their fun. Just as his anger was about to bubble Sam began jumping up and down and Dean finally turned and paid attention to what his little brother was saying.

"Dean! Look!" Sam shouted again and pointed to the balloons swinging around in the breeze.

"Yeah Sammy."

"They put balloons on the mailbox!"

"I see that."

"Why do they do that? Balloons don't go on the mailbox."

"They put them there because they are having a birthday party. Emily Adam's is having a birthday party today. I wasn't invited." Dean said without thinking.

"What's invited?"

"It's when someone asks you to come play with them or come to their party."

"Why weren't you invited?" Dean shrugged.

"I don't know Sammy. She must not like me."

"Why not?"

"I don't know."

"I like you." Sam said with conviction. "I'll always invite you to my birthday Dean." Dean looked down at his little brother, even though Sam was only four he was already smart, already understood things kids his age shouldn't understand. And his words were sincere, his words weren't something that little kids just say. There was truth behind them. Dean felt tears sting the back of his eyes, he willed them to not come.

He cleared his throat and said, "Thanks Sammy." Dean turned away from the house and the two began their journey to the park again.

"Stupid dumb girl." Sam mumbled.

A smile tugged at Dean's lips and asked, "Hey Sammy, you want a balloon?"