Um I hope you cry-err, I mean, I hope you enjoy it.

"I've waited to go on this field trip since we moved here!"

"Shut up, Sam."

"But Dad, it's only thirty dollars and I'll pay you back, I swear!"

"Shut the fuck up, Sam."

Dean was laying on his unmade bed, just a stumble and a fall from the living room where his father and brother were arguing. He couldn't see through walls and his eyes were shut but Dean could still picture perfectly the scene that was playing out on the other side.

He knew his father was leaning in the corner of the thinning couch, strong legs laying useless with the alcohol coursing through his veins. Piles of research would be scattered around him but they were long forgotten. They were there for show. Because it was November. And that puts John in a bad, a really bad, place.

Then there would be eleven-year-old Sam, stranded in the middle of the sparse room. He'd be nervously blocking the television, biting his trembling lip; his hands would be balled into defensive fists and in one would be the backpack containing the permission slip. John would say everything that would make Sam angry, anything to make him hurt because when John was this drunk he didn't just fight, he fought to win. Sam's face would be turning pink and tears that he despised would be gathering in those big, blue-green eyes, making him feeling more worthless by the minute.

The stuttering gray glow of the television, much like the flash of lightning from a castle window in an old horror movie, would make Sam look so small and John look so cruel.

Yes, Dean could picture it exactly. It made him burn with rage, shake with the urge to go throttle John. But that wouldn't help Sam. It wouldn't help Dean tomorrow, when John had sobered. Because this wasn't John talking; this was November.

So instead Dean breathed deeply, attempting to quiet the rage.

"- don't you care, Dad? Everyone else's Dads care. But I'm stuck with an idiot dad who is obsessed with monsters and doesn't think I should be smart and spends all his money on beer and I hateyouhateyouhate!" Sam's voice cracked with tears and Dean would be damned if the kid didn't sound five.

"And I've got an insubordinate, lazy cretin for a son who would never make it as a soldier and who doesn't respect his dead mother. Only a little gay boy would-"

Slam! With shaking hand, Sam hurled his book bag at John, only missing him by inches when it crashed into the mold stained wall by his head. Dropping the bottle of amber Jim he screamed, "You little fucker!" That burly frame snapped off the couch deadly quick, hands the size of anvils charging towards Sam.

"Don't you dare touch him," Dean hissed, running to block his trembling brother, ready to defend him with every fiber of his 5'5" frame. "You have no right!"

John fell on the couch and scratched at his two days growth of beard. Keeping a hand there, he rolled his eyes at his eldest son.

"You think you're some kind of parent, don't you, Dean?" He shrugged, knowing this was a reasonable suggestion. "You think I can't take care of my own kids."

Dean held his ground and stared at the top of John's head.

"You do," he said, again reasonably enough.

Dean was a strong, stoic fighter. He had hunted things, killed things since he was a kid. He was sure that nothing John could throw at him, the man who taught him to hurl knives at the youthful age of seven like he was a Spartan warrior, could throw him.

He was wrong.

"So," John began. Once again he spoke with that amiable tone, as if he was just proposing a topic for friendly debate, such as Hershey syrup versus Nesquick powder. "You think you're more of a father to Sam than I am."

Dean didn't move a muscle except … something happened when John spoke those words. Dean had never realized it, but that's what he considered himself to Sam. He lived for Sam's well-being, his happiness, his safety. He was the one who hugged him after nightmares and helped him with homework and made him supper and played nursemaid, not only for the weeks that John had been gone but when John was around. Busy. Researching.

"Well, as his father, you gotta make sure he behaves. Ain't no soldier getting far with that attitude."

And in his head Dean screamed, He's not a soldier! He's a kid! A stubborn, pain-in-the-ass, the smartest, sweetest kid in the world! Not that you've ever taken the time to notice anything other than how close he is to the target and how quick he obeys! He immediately regretted it, because an ever-so-slight smile flickered across John's face. Sam must have seen it too because he inched closer to Dean, his quivering fingers ghosting over his brother's back.

That was when John dropped the smile and said, in that deadly voice, "So teach him a lesson."

It is then that something shakes within Dean, making him involuntarily utter, "W-what?"

"Teach him a lesson; you know exactly what I mean."

"I don't."

"Sam can't be screaming at people, demanding money like some spoiled brat, throwing things at them. A parent doesn't let a kid get away with that. If you're such a parent, teach him a lesson." He paused, the smirked. "Belt him."

"No," Dean said, his incredulity evident.

"Do it, Dean. It's an order." The fire of power flicked in John's eyes. Dean could feel the heat and backed up towards his brother to shield him from the flames.

"No," he said again, but it was like fanning the flames.

"Do it" "No!" "DO IT, DO IT, FUCKING DO IT, DEAN, BEAT HIM, TEACH THE LITTLE FUCKER A LESSON!" John screamed, acting like he never had before when drunk. The something snapped in Dean, like it had John, something burning and untamed. He turned around to Sam, grabbed him by his skinny biceps and began to drag him drag him for the room. Sam's tears, which had stopped for some time due to his brother's solid presence, suddenly burst forth again in his panic and confusion.

"W-wait, Dean. No, Dean, no!" Sam writhed in Dean's hands, kicked him the shins, terrified and confused as to why his brother would agree to such a thing. Dean had beaten him up before, sure, but only when Sam wanted to beat him up just as bad. Dean would never … Sam tried to elbow Dean in the face but it seemed to do nothing. He was eleven, eleven years old, eleven was supposed to mean something, but Sam had never felt weaker in his life. This sent fresh attempts at an escape Dean's way.

"Stop it, Sammy."

"No, no, no," Sam sobbed. For a moment he jerked out of Dean's grip, only to stumble immediately. Face impassive, Dean stopped to pull the squirming kid into his arms. Sam couldn't have weighed any more than eighty, if even seventy, pounds and while the bony elbows hurt, it was more than easy for Dean to simply tighten his grip and just think of what would happen if he didn't.

When Dean kicked his bedroom door shut and managed the deadbolt, Sam really began to bawl.

"P-please, Dean, don't. I d-didn't mean to, p-please." Sam's sobs seemed to reach into Dean's veins and pull, rip, and tear. They were terrible, heart-wrenching, soul-killing sobs and they were shredding Dean to pieces. But he didn't let go of Sam, though it was no doubt scaring the eleven year old. But Dean was scared that if he let go, his little brother would never come back to him. Instead he held him tighter and whispered hoarsely, "I won't hurt you, I swear to God, I won't hurt you, Sammy."

Dean awkwardly dragged himself into the corner of his bed, his brother still clutched to his body. He didn't know it, but he rubbing gentle circles between his brother's thin shoulders.

"Shh," he mumbled as hot tears soaked him to the skin. "I'm not gonna hit you, I promise. I swear."

He didn't know it, but his own tears were falling into Sam's curls.

"I'm sorry," Sam whispered, hiccupping, scrambling to get closer to his brother. His knees were jabbing Dean's stomach hard, but neither seemed to notice. "I'm sorry,Dean, I'm sorry."

""Don't be sorry, you don't got nothing to be sorry for." Vaguely, Dean remembered how this all began. He said, "I'll get the money for your trip."

Sam's fingers dug into Dean's arm as he cried, "I don't wanna go no more."

"Yes you do, buddy, I know you do, Sammy."

"No, no, no," Sam whimpered.

Dean slid down the wall, still clutching Sam to his chest. Both boys had their eyes screwed shut and it was hard for even them to know where one boys arms began and the other ended.

Dean could never hate their father.

"No, no, no."

But he hated this.