Prestidigitation

Disclaimer: The brothers belong to Kripke et al. The love belongs to us.

Beta'd: By Phx. Thank you!

Dedicated: To Caroline who claims I never write anything she suggests. Ha! Proved you wrong. /grins

Timeline: Dean is twelve (barely) and Sammy is seven.

Warning: Pure bro!fluff. I mean it. There's really no plot here to speak of.

Author's Note: After writing my little Ha-Ha moment above, I almost didn't get it finished. Oops.

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"Dean, when's Dad going to be home?"

Dean rolled his eyes. If he had a nickel…"Late. You'll be asleep before he's home."

Sammy sighed, sounding more like a disgruntled teenager than his seven-year-old self, but then again, Sammy sometimes acted like he was thirty so maybe this was an improvement.

"I'm bored."

Dean blinked owlishly at his younger brother. The sudden conversation topic change left him momentarily speechless. "What about your homework?" Dean cringed, hating how parental he sounded.

Sammy tilted his head to the side and gave him a look of pure exasperation, brow furrowed and lips pursed. "I finished on Friday."

Right, and today was Sunday. What had he been thinking? Unlike Dean's homework which still sat in his backpack untouched, but he had literally hours to work on it yet. "You could read."

Another sigh. "I finished my book this morning."

Really? Okay, that one surprised him because The Tale of Despereaux wasn't exactly a short book, and Sammy had only checked it out of the library yesterday when they'd walked the six blocks down the road in the slush and wind. Dean was sure their father wouldn't have approved and both their sneakers were still soaked, but then Dad wasn't the one trying to keep Sammy out of his hair now was he?

"I don't know, Sammy," Dean said, not bothering to keep the agitation out of his voice. "Find something."

Sammy picked at the hem of his too-big t-shirt as his toe worried at something on the carpet. "I want to play with you," he said, finally.

It was Dean's turn to sigh. He loved his little brother, he really did, but sometimes a guy just wanted five minutes to himself. "I'm not playing." The words came out crosser than he intended, but Dean wasn't about to apologize. "Find something else."

"Well, what are you doing?" Sammy asked.

Ever the rat terrier—that was his brother.

Dean scrubbed a hand down his face in exasperation and then flopped his arms in defeat. His eyes darted around the room as he tried to think of something cool and not as lame as what he'd actually been doing which was counting ceiling tiles. "Magic," he said in a hushed voice.

Sammy's cat-like hazels widened and he stopped fidgeting. "Magic? Really?"

"Yep," Dean said with a nod. "Lucky for you, every magician needs a lovely assistant."

"I can be a lovely assistant," Sammy said, bouncing on his toes. He smiled wide and dimples sank into his cheeks. "Please?"

Dean chuckled knowing his dig at Sammy being a girl was completely lost on his brother. The enthusiasm was catching, though, and Dean quickly plotted out a trick. "Sure thing, Sammy. I need you to stand beside me and, uh, take the tablecloth from me."

Sammy frowned. "What tablecloth?"

Dean pulled a flat sheet off his bed. "This one."

Sammy's frown was matched by the creases in his forehead. "That's a sheet."

"Now it's a tablecloth."

Sammy didn't look convinced, but he nodded and followed Dean over to the table.

Dean smoothed the sheet over the table and then put a couple of glasses, the coffee carafe, and the alarm clock on top of it. "I'm going to pull the tablecloth off and everything else will stay on."

"How?" Sammy bit his bottom lip and stared at the table. "How're you gonna get the sheet, um, tablecloth off without pulling everything else off the table, too? Huh? How, Dean?"

"Jeez, take a breath," Dean admonished. He grabbed Sammy by the shoulders and moved him into position—out of the way. "I already told you. Magic."

"But," Sammy started to protest.

"No, buts." Dean placed a hand over his heart. "Have a little faith." He turned back to the table and waved his arms over it. "Abraca…"

"I want to see," Sammy all but whined. He moved slightly to the side. "Okay, now, Dean!"

"You sure?" Dean teased, looking at his brother over his shoulder. "Because I can wait."

"Do it now!" Sammy squealed followed by a giggle of anticipation.

"Okay." Dean faced the table again and made an even grander arm motion over the top. "Abra—" he paused, waiting until he was sure he had Sammy's rapt attention. "Cadabra!"

He quickly yanked the tablecloth, momentarily stunned at his own success as one of the cups wavered, but never fell. Dean's astonishment quickly turned into elation until his mind finally registered his elbow had hit something in his flourished gesture and that something was now making a loud crashing noise behind him.

Dean turned around and took in the scene as horror slowly seeped into the pit of his stomach. Somehow he'd knocked over the twenty-five inch television and with it, the heavy stand it was on. All of which was now on the floor exactly where his brother had been standing.

"Sammy!"

Dean crashed to the floor, knees hitting the ground hard enough to rattle his teeth. The wooden entertainment stand completely covered his brother, a small tuft of brown hair and a splash of Sammy's green shirt were the only things visible. "Sammy, talk to me!"

He gripped the top edge of the shelving and heaved. The stand was lighter than Dean had supposed and while a few things fell off as he shoved it to an upright position, it moved without too much effort. The huge box television, however, well, he knew it was heavy.

"Sammy?"

"D-Dean," Sammy panted turning his name into two syllables.

"Thank God." Dean wrapped himself around the television. "Sammy, I'm going to get you out."

"D-Dean," Sammy said again. "C-can't breathe."

"Just hold on," Dean said, his voice sounding oddly calm to his panicked ears. "When I lift it, you crawl out, okay?"

"K," Sammy said, his voice barely over a whisper.

Dean bunched his muscles and lifted, his biceps screamed from the effort. If it was a half an inch off his brother it would be a miracle. "Now, bro," Dean grunted.

Sammy started to wiggle, inching out from under the television. The muscles in Dean's arms shook, but there was no way he was letting the box o' doom fall on his little brother again. "Hu-hurry, Sammy."

Sammy's head, chest, and thighs had cleared the TV when Dean felt the box slipping from his sweaty grasp. No! "Sammy, get clear, now!"

The television crashed to the ground with a thud that stopped Dean's heart. "Sammy?"

The only response was shallow hitched sobs from the huddled lump of little brother on the floor.

Dean moved closer and gently placed a hand on his brother's back. "Sammy?"

The bundle of Sammy moved, relocating to Dean's lap. Small fingers twined in his shirt and Dean rested a hand on the top of his brother's head. "Hey, hey, kiddo. It's okay."

Sammy shook his head, but when he looked up his eyes were dry even though his nose was red. "Nu-uh," he sniffed as he dropped his gaze.

"Does it hurt bad?" Dean asked. He gently pushed Sammy far enough away to duck down and peek under the kid's bangs.

Sammy sniffed and tried to burrow back into Dean's t-shirt.

"Come on, Sammy, I have to know." Dean managed to wriggle free of his brother's grip enough to place his hands on the smaller boy's shoulders. "If it's bad, I need to call Pastor Jim."

"No!"

If Sammy were a superhero his special power would involve tentacles and squeezing the life out of the bad guys. Dean definitely felt like a bad guy right about now and Sammy's arms were wrapped around him so tightly that it pinched a little, not that he was complaining.

Dean gave in, hugging his younger brother until Sammy pulled away and Dean's heart stopped beating through his chest. Green-blue hazels scanned the room before they settled on Dean. Sammy's bottom lip came out and his chin trembled minutely.

"Are you hurt?" Dean asked for the third time.

"I guess," Sammy confessed. "A little on my back."

Dean grabbed his brother by the nape of his neck and pulled his head down. At the same time he lifted Sammy's shirt to look at his back. A dark red mark crossed Sammy's narrow frame at the shoulders, probably where the television had landed.

"Ow, Dean, stop it!" Sammy protested, his hands scrabbling at Dean's fingers on his neck.

Dean immediately let go and his brother sat up with a mixture of frustration and the same sad-eyed look from before. "I'm sorry, Sammy." God, now he wanted to cry.

"It doesn't hurt that much," Sammy reassured him, patting Dean on the leg.

"Right." Sarcasm leaked through Dean's fear. "That's why you look like I kicked your puppy."

"We don't have a puppy," Sammy corrected him, wrinkling his nose.

Dean rolled his eyes. Sammy could be so literal. "Why's your face all screwed up like that?" Dean asked, twirling a finger in front of his brother's face. "If you're not upset."

"I, uh…" Sammy's voice trailed off and he bowed his head.

"It's okay if you were scared," Dean offered. He placed two fingers under Sammy's chin and tilted his head up. "I was."

"You were?" The shock in Sammy's voice almost made Dean chuckle. Almost.

"Yeah." Dean stood and pulled his younger brother to his feet. "Is that what's wrong?"

Sammy shook his head and knotted his fingers in his t-shirt. "I missed the trick," he mumbled, dejectedly. "I didn't get to see any of it."

"That's what's wrong?" Dean asked. He took it all back. He was going to kill his brother for making him worry and for making Dean admit he was scared. So not cool.

Sammy flinched at Dean's tone, but nodded his head. "I wanted to see."

Dean crouched down to look his brother in the eyes. "Bro, you got to experience it first-hand."

"I did?"

"Yeah, you were the perfect lovely assistant," Dean said with a smirk.

"Can we do it again?" Sammy asked. His eyes sparkled with hope. "I'll be even better this time."

"No way," Dean said. He stood and waved his arms at the mess in front of them. "Dad's going to be pi—mad enough at me as it is."

"We don't have to tell him," Sammy whispered, conspiratorially.

"Yeah, we do," Dean said, wrapping an arm around his brother's shoulders. "He needs to know you got hurt." Sammy shook his head, but Dean interjected before he could protest. "We have to tell him, kiddo. I promise, you won't get in trouble."

"But," Sammy sniffed and hooked his fingers in the hem of Dean's shirt. "I don't want you to get in trouble either."

"Don't worry about it," Dean said, plastering on a fake smile. "I can handle Dad." Sammy's forehead wrinkled and he frowned. Clearly he didn't believe Dean's words any more than Dean did himself. If lying didn't work, he'd go for distraction. "Hey, why don't you grab Despereaux?"

"I told you," Sammy said, his forehead uncurling a little. "I finished it."

"Yeah, but this time I'll read it to you."

Sammy took off running, but quickly slowed down to a walk. Even so, Dean barely had time to make it to the bed before his brother joined him. Sammy carefully eased onto the bed and crawled up by him. "Will you do the voices?"

"Don't I always?" Dean asked with mock offense.

Sammy just giggled and tucked himself in impossibly closer. There was a tiny hiss of pain at the end and Dean winced in sympathy. It was obvious Sammy was hurt more than he was letting on. The truth was Dad was going to be more than a little mad, and Dean didn't even want to think about what his punishment was going to be, but at least Sammy was fine.

Dean turned to the first page and started in his best falsetto. "The world is dark and light is precious. Come closer, dear reader. You must trust me. I am telling you a story." He glanced down at his brother whose wide eyes and dimpled smile spoke volumes. Sammy might be a clingy monkey, but he was definitely okay, and that's all that really mattered in the long run.

Fin

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AN: This story was inspired by a video of an older brother performing the same magic trick as Dean and he, too, knocked his younger brother into a shelving unit and brought it crashing down. It may have been staged (hopefully). The kids didn't speak English, but I'm assuming the younger boy was okay or the video wouldn't have been posted out on YouTube.

AN2: The ending lines are from The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo.