AN: So, okay. No, I'm not starting a new story. Not really, anyway. See, let me explain.

This story - which is not really a story, but a collection of fifteen to twenty out of order drabbles in a specific 'verse about an alternate season three and four - was in my plans way back in July (or was it August?) and this first drabble/oneshot has been completed since August. I haven't posted it yet because I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to actually follow through on my plan to turn this into a series of mini-stories. But I stumbled across it today and... I write a lot of angst and it might be nice to have an outlet to come back to whenever I need to write something fluffy to cheer myself up. (Also, my therapist has told me that writing happy things every now and then might help with my anxiety and depression, so that's another reason.)

I'm just going to put the full summary and the full character list below, even though only two characters appear in this first one. Like I said, it's entirely possible I might pop fics in this 'verse out every once and awhile. Um...yeah, so...

Don't mind my ramblings and enjoy!


Title: Snakes and Ladders
Summary: To get Dean out of his deal, Sam made a deal of his own with an extremely powerful fae. She would save his brother's life, she said. But in return he would have to give up something of his own that he held dear. Sam, figuring she would take his soul or his life, agreed. None of it mattered if Dean was alive. Instead of trading his life for his brother's, she gave Dean life and she gave Sam something he never thought he would ever get the chance to have. A fresh start. A series of drabbles/oneshots.
Characters/Pairing(s): Mainly Gen - focus is on Dean and Sammy - but there is some pretty heavy undertones of Dean/Ruby, as per usual with me. Also featuring Bobby, Ellen, Jo, possibly a little Castiel (I don't know about that, because Dean never goes to Hell in this 'verse, but...you know...I miss Cas, so...), and maybe even some Missouri.
Genre: Family/Drama
Rating: K+ (PG-13-ish)
Timeline: Some sort of wild alternate timeline where Dean never went to Hell.
Spoilers: Vague spoilers for probably the entire series.
Warnings: None really, unless fluff and schmoop count.

Disclaimer: I do not own anything.


Snakes and Ladders

Written by Becks Rylynn


/1/

The Boy Who Lived

.

.

.

Well.

Dean Winchester certainly never thought he'd be here again.

''Dean. Deeean.''

The keening whine drew him roughly from his sleep and the feel of a clammy little hand tugging on his own had his eyes snapping open. He blinked bleary eyes and tried to focus on the small figure standing beside his bed. He huffed out a sigh and pushed himself onto one elbow, squinting tired eyes. ''Sammy?''

''Dean, are you awake?''

''Course m'awake, kid. M'talkin' to you, aren't I?'' He mumbled roughly, rubbing at his eyes.

Sammy, eyes wide and fearful, clutched his stuffed dog closer to his chest and then pulled it up to cover every part of his face except for his huge eyes, which were just like...they were like freaking anime eyes.

Dean sighed and caved under the pressure of the eyes, sitting up slowly. ''Sorry,'' he yawned. ''Didn't mean to snap at you, Sammy.'' Easily, he looped his hands under Sammy's arms and lifted the four year old into the bed with him. ''What's up, buddy?'' He asked, keeping his voice gentle this time. ''Bad dream? Clowns again?''

Sammy flinched and toyed with his dog's ears. He licked his lips, seemed to hesitate a moment, and then blew out a breath, peering up at Dean through his unruly bangs. ''There's something under my bed. I think it's a monster.''

Dean stiffened, pressing his lips together and leaning back against the headboard. ''Daddy,'' he remembered nine year old Sam whispering, tugging at John's jacket. ''There's something under my bed. Will you come check?'' In response, John had grunted impatiently, handed the small boy a .45 to make him feel ''safer'' and sent him back to bed.

Dean rubbed at his eyes again and then looked at Sammy and his doe eyes. He sighed.

.

.

.

''Nope.''

Dean's eyes scanned the small gap between the bed and the floor, waved away some of the dust, and threw a grin over his shoulder towards Sammy. ''Nothin' under here, dude.'' He dragged himself to his feet and ruffled his brother's hair affectionately. ''You're all good. Just a coupla dust bunnies and I'm guessin' they're not gonna be doin' anything spooky.''

Sam nodded and bit his lower lip, seemingly unsatisfied with the answer. He stood there staring at the ground for about a minute and a half with Dean waiting patiently, and then he jerked his thumb at the closet. ''What about the closet?'' He asked shakily. ''Clowns can hide in the closet.''

With a very serious nod, Dean strode towards the closet and threw open the door, confident that no clown was going to jump out at him. He poked his head in the darkened space, looked left, looked right, and then backed out, shutting the door with a soft click. ''We're all clear,'' he told Sammy gently. ''Do you think you're going to be able to get to sleep now?''

Sam licked his lips slowly and looked around the dark bedroom. Finally, after a moment of deliberation, he gave a brave nod and looked up at his big brother (now in every sense of the word). ''I-I think so.''

''Good. Now, come on,'' Dean lifted Sammy into his arms and all but tossed him onto the bed, earning himself an approving giggle from the boy. ''Okay,'' he slid into the bed next to Sammy, plucking a book off the nightstand. ''Here's the deal, kiddo. I'll read you half of the next chapter and then I'm goin' back to bed. Deal?''

Eyes gleaming with excitement, Sammy nodded in agreement, holding his stuffed dog closer to his heart. ''Deal.''

At the sight of the innocent expression on his Sammy's face, Dean couldn't help but smile softly. It had been a long time since he had seen his brother so genuinely excited for something as simple as a book. Then again, Sammy wasn't Sam, was he? Clearing his throat, Dean turned his head and focused on the book in his hands, flipping through the pages until he got to where they last left off. Idly, he thought about how much he ought to invest in a bookmark. ''Ready?''

''Ready.'' Sammy made a strange, excited noise in the back of his throat and clapped his hands together. Dean swung his gaze to the boy, arching an eyebrow. Sam let out a giggle and then waved his hand for Dean to continue. ''Read.''

Dean swallows a laugh, shook his head and began to read. ''Harry woke early the next morning. Although he could tell it was daylight, he kept his eyes shut tight. 'It was a dream,' he told himself firmly. 'I dreamed a giant called Hagrid came to tell me I was going to a school for wizards. When I open my eyes I'll be at home in my cupboard.' There was suddenly a loud tapping noise.''

.

.

.

57 Minutes Later:

''Ouch,'' Dean hissed out through gritted teeth. ''Fucking hell.'' Half asleep and powering through malfunctioning motor skills, he bit back a stream of profanities after stubbing his toe, and focused all of his remaining energy on remembering where his bedroom was. Naturally, because Sammy was Sammy and Sammy was a hell of a negotiator, Dean had wound up reading the entire chapter and half of the next one instead of the half they had agreed on, which of course led to Dean falling asleep in Sammy's criminally tiny bed with a kink in his neck and one of Sammy's tiny hands thrown over his face. (The kid was a serial bed hogger.)

All of which led to this: Dean stumbling blindly down the hallway, bashing against walls until he finally managed to stagger inside his own room. Practically dead on his feet, he collapsed onto the bed and closed his eyes.

However, because he was Dean Winchester and because Fate had a hell of a hate on for Dean Winchester, this was not where his night ended.

.

.

.

20 Minutes Later:

''Dean.''

Someone was shaking him. That was the only thought that entered his half asleep brain as he forced heavy eyelids open. There were two small hands on his body and they were shaking him. And it was annoying. He groaned and tried to bury his face in his pillow, but the tiny hands and the accompanying squeaky voice wouldn't leave him alone. ''Sam?'' He mumbled. No. Those hands were way too small to be Sam's. They belonged to a child.

''Dean,'' the voice tried again desperately.

''Sam?'' A child? A child...Oh! Right! Dean rolled over, suddenly wide awake as he stared at the distressed little boy beside his bed. ''Sammy,'' he breathed. ''What's wrong?'' He took in the sight of the child's tear streaked face and big eyes, and he sat up, letting his hands fall to Sammy's shoulders. ''What happened?''

''I-I had a bad dream,'' Sammy stammered out through sniffles, voice muffled due to the fact that he had his face buried in his stuffed dog's fur. ''There was th-this man a-and h-he had yellow eyes and he was trying to take me away from you, but I didn't want to go and...and he...he kept pulling on my arm and he wouldn't let go and I don't want to go with the man with the yellow eyes!'' Sammy's terrified ramble ended when he let out a choked sounding sob and launched himself at Dean. ''Don't let him take me,'' he blubbered into Dean's shoulder. ''I want to stay with you!''

''Sshh, it's okay, Sammy.'' Dean tightened his hold on his little brother and swallowed hard. ''No one's gonna take you.''

''B-But the man with the yellow eyes!''

''...It was just a dream,'' Dean soothed. ''It's not...It's not real. It was just a nightmare.'' And it was. He told himself it was. Yellow Eyes was dead and he wasn't coming back. He was never going to take Sammy away from him. It was just a dream.

Once poor Sammy had cried himself out, Dean rose to his feet, swung the boy onto his hip, and offered him another deal. ''Okay,'' he murmured, smoothing sweaty hair out of Sammy's flushed and damp face. ''Come on, buddy. Let's get you back to bed and I'll - ''

''Will you stay with me until I fall asleep?'' Sammy pleaded, arms tight around Dean's neck.

''You bet, dude,'' Dean promised.

And it wasn't a hard promise to keep considering Sammy fell asleep not even five minutes after Dean had laid him down in his own bed.

.

.

.

15 Minutes Later:

''Dean.''

''Wha - Sammy?''

''I'm thirsty. Can I have a glass of water?''

Dean sighed.

.

.

.

8 Minutes Later:

''Dean.''

Dean sighed for about the millionth time that night and blinked open his eyes, staring at the ceiling with distaste. Slowly and reluctantly, he turned his head to the sheepish boy standing next to the bed.

''I, uh...'' Sammy scuffed at the carpet. ''I can't sleep.'' He looked up at Dean with hopeful eyes. ''Can I - ''

Dean threw back the covers and beckoned Sammy closer. Grinning happily, Sammy clambered onto the bed like the excited child that he was and burrowed under the covers. Dean tapped his fingers on the comforter and continued to stare at the ceiling. Well, it was official. His opinion of faes was that they were sick, sick fucks. You can be sure of that.

But then - because this was the way it worked now - Sammy leaned over, kissed Dean on the cheek and said cheerfully, ''Night, Dean. Love you.''

And the slate was, once again, wiped clean.

Story of his life.

.

.

.

The Next Morning:

In previous years, when Bobby would plainly tell Dean, ''You look like shit, boy,'' Dean would respond in one of these ways.

''Yeah,'' he'd chuckle, putting his feet up on one of Bobby's desks. ''But there was this chick. She was...awesome, man.'' And then he'd waggle his eyebrows suggestively, smirk, and say, ''You jealous?''

Or.

''I know, but I killed at poker last night. I made, like, three hundred bucks. What'd you do?''

Or.

''It was a bitch of a hunt, Bobby. Be glad you weren't there.''

Or.

''What can I say? That bottle of Jack was calling my name. You get that, right?''

But now...

Well, now Dean had the best excuse in the book. The morning after the Winchester brothers little night time adventure, while Dean was trying to get Sammy to eat his breakfast instead of babble nonstop, Bobby looked Dean over critically and said, ''You look like death warmed over, boy.''

''Hey,'' Dean leaned back in his chair. ''I've got a four year old. What's your excuse?''

''Watch it,'' Bobby fired back.

Sammy's response was a withering glare directed towards Dean and a sharp, ''I'm four and a half.''

''Sorry.'' Dean nodded seriously and stuck a fork in a piece of pancake, holding it out to the boy. ''Four and a half.''

''It's going to be a long fourteen years for you, ain't it?'' Bobby asked over the rim of his coffee cup.

In response, Dean looked over at Sammy, who had in the span of about five seconds, managed to get syrup all over his hands, and he sighed.

end


AN: So, what'd you think? By the way, I am taking requests. If there's anything you want to see with de-aged!Sammy and awesome!Dean, just let me know.