A/N: I've started to think that whenever I get stuck, and can't think of anything to write, I just need to go to FeathersMcStrange's The Road So Far fic and reread everything that she's written. Then my inspiration comes back and I'm chock full of ideas!
She has also oh-so-graciously allowed me to expand on some of her ideas, once more showing how very awesome she is!
This one came from 'List': "Until he started school, Sam called Dean 'daddy'."
The first time he hears the word, six-and-a-half-year-old Dean is strapping a just-barely-two-year-old Sam into a high chair he 'borrowed' from a fast food joint he had visited earlier in the day to 'use the bathroom'. It freezes him in his tracks and it's a good thing that he has one arm around his little brother or Sammy's face would have had a rather uncomfortable meeting with the floor...
"Whoa!" Dean finished strapping his brother into the chair and stood so that they were eye to eye, making the younger of the two giggle and throw his hands in the air, screeching louder than the banshee their father was hunting. Trying not to grin at Sammy's antics, Dean clicked the table portion of the chair into place and grumbled, "You better get more food in your stomach than on me this time, squirt, or you're going to have to learn how to feed yourself!"
"De-de!" This time the word came with a swinging hand that connected with the right side of his brother's head, almost as if the toddler was demanding that he pay closer attention to what it was that was being said. "DE-DE"
Distractedly rubbing at his temple, Dean gave Sammy a wide, goofy grin while crossing his eyes that has the just-barely-a-two-year-old screeching in delight again as the older Winchester muttered, "Got a good right hook on ya, squirt. You're going to be one hell of a fighter when you grow up...(This earns him another happy screech, along with another flying hand that Dean has to avoid.) "You trying to say 'Daddy', little buddy? Daddy's working right now, so how about you try saying 'Dean'? Can you do that, Sammy? Can you say 'Dean'?"
"No, not 'Deedee'," Dean corrected, trying not to frown; Sammy always got upset whenever he saw either Dean or John frowning and Dean did not want his brother to think he was upset with him. "'Deedee' makes me sound like a frickin' girl; say 'Dean', little brother. Deeeeeeaaaaaaaan."
Dean couldn't help it; seeing his little brother trying so hard to say his name, with his little brow scrunched up in concentration, had him laughing out loud. A moment later, Sammy started laughing and screeching as well, little arms failing as he did some sort of happy dance his highchair. "Deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"
"Okay, okay, little brother, I got it!" Dean winced, rubbing the side of his head on his shoulder as he tried to get the ringing in it to stop. "Leave me with at least one working ear, okay?"
Little Sammy was obviously having too much fun with this new game to pay his brother any mind, if the happy-but still earsplitting-"Deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" that followed meant anything; yet, Dean wasn't one to try to take away anything that made his brother happy, so he just shouldered through trying to feed Sammy in between screams of his name, wincing on the few times that Sammy hit a particularly high note that seemed to even make the windows rattle.
The next time it happens, Dean is eight and Sammy is a few months away from turning four.
It's not like the kid can't talk; find something that interests him, and just try to get him to shut up! It's more of that Sammy just doesn't really have a reason to talk, other than things that strike his interest or to ask questions about things that confuse him. Dean doesn't worry because he knows that whenever Sammy has a question or needs anything, he'll ask. Their Father has other things on his mind, so he never notices if his sons are talking or not...
No, what throws Dean is what happens when he and Sammy are left on their own again: They're playing with some old toy soldiers in the Impala, gun noises, brave last stand speeches, shouted orders and everything, with Sammy working on wedging one of them into the ashtray with a focus rarely seen out of the books he reads.
"What are you doing that for, Sammy?" Dean asks, just finishing a rather bloody battle between his toy soldiers and a zombie horde that consisted of two zombie toys and a lot of gray Legos, most of which ended up falling into the radiator "If that thing gets stuck, you know somebody's going to be pissed at you-"
"It's so we have someone watching over us," The soft reply cuts off what Dean was about to say, making him look over at his brother, who had scooted over to where they had carved their initials into the backboard a few weeks ago, his finger tracing the 'D' of Dean's insignia. "I wanna make sure that you have somebody watching your back when we're here by ourselves..."
It seemed like Sammy was in that stage where he believed that everything and its shadow had some sort of 'life' in it, and if Dean lived in any other way than what his current lifestyle was, he probably would've laughed at Sammy's reply. As it was, he just gave a short huff of breath and tried to figure out a way to make sure that their Father didn't get too mad about the Legos in the radiator or the army man that was most definitely wedged into the right door's ashtray...
The night passed as most nights they spent in the Impala did; quietly and with barely anything verbal passed between the two, but they still managed to make the time fun. It was only after the fifth time that Sammy lost himself into a yawn that Dean declared that it was bedtime.
Ticking the toys that they were playing with in the box that lived under the back seat, Dean and Sammy nestled themselves into the seat; Dean with one arm slug around his little brother's shoulders, the other wielding a sawed-off shotgun at the ready, as Sammy used his older brother as both bed and pillow.
"'Night, Daddy Dean."
Dean started, looking down at his brother, but the boy had already fallen asleep; his face was in a relaxed smile, his body heavily slumped against Dean's chest. It was the picture of someone completely and utterly content, something that Sammy rarely was these days, so Dean swallowed down the desire to wake him back up and make him explain.
It wasn't that Dean really minded Sammy calling him that-he did practically raise Sammy 'cause their Father had things he needed to hunt-but this wasn't something that he had expected... What would their Father do if Sammy said something like that in front of him...?
The thought kept Dean up for most of the remaining night.
It turned out that Dean didn't have to worry; Sammy never said anything incriminating in front of their Father, rare that they saw him nowadays... It was always when the two of them were curled up together in the Impala, or sharing a bed at Bobby's house, that Sammy would let out this happy little sigh and call him 'Daddy Dean'.
Sure, he called their Father by that name, as well as the more-oft-used 'Sir', but Dean was always the one he called 'Daddy'. It was something that Dean never told anyone, not even Bobby, but he never made Sammy stop either...
He would never admit it to anyone, would deny that he even thought of it, but the feeling he got whenever Sammy said that made him feel like he was the best brother in the world and that he could take on any monster that came their way. It was something he grew to look forward to on the nights where it was just the two of them...
Dean also knew that their would be a day when Sammy would outgrow it, when he would no longer add the loving 'Daddy' in front of Dean's name-the kid was already demanding to be called 'Sam' instead of 'Sammy'-but he figured he would enjoy it while he could...
After all, that was his job, wasn't it?