Title: Ditch

Characters: Dean, Sam, John and OCs

Genre: Gen PG 13 for language

Summary: Dean just wants to hang with his friends but little brothers come with the territory.

XXX

"Take your brother with you."

It wasn't negotiable. Those kind of orders never were.

But that didn't mean that Dean couldn't try.

"Dad, I don't wanna have Sammy taggin' alone. He's pretty little and we are plannin' to go swimming."

"So, swim. Your brother can swim."

"Daad." It sounded a little whiny even to Dean.

Dad didn't even bother to lift his head from the book he was reading.

"Two choices son, take him and go - or stay."

Dean sighed.

"Well, when you put it that way."

Dad smiled, a quick curl to the lip. "It's that way."

"C'mon, squirt." Dean gestured vaguely in Sam's direction.

Sammy bounced up as if he had not even heard Dean try to leave without him. It amazed Dean how easily Sammy forgave him. Dean figured that Sam would be pissed but Sam just grinned. Dean guessed it was because Sammy was just a little kid and little kids were kind of like goldfish, they couldn't remember past three seconds. Maybe Sam couldn't remember to be pissed.

There were holes in his logic though, Sammy could remember just about everything else so why he couldn't remember to hold a grudge, Dean couldn't tell.

The heat blasted like a furnace in Dean's face as they headed out the front door. Down the rickety steps and out to the weed choked sidewalk.

"So, we're goin' swimmin', Dean?" Sam asked, head tilted in Dean's general direction like a questioning beagle.

"I dunno, maybe." Dean groused. He wanted to ignore Sam but knowing Sam like he did, it was not likely that was going to happen.

"I don't have trunks, Dean. How am I gonna swim without trunks?" Sam trotted obediently a half step behind Dean. He needed to, Dean was walking fast and Sam was little. Dean didn't even glance backwards. If Sam wanted to go swimming, he better damn well keep up.

"Wear your cut offs, you already got 'em on for chrisakes."

"But then I'll get 'em all wet."

"So go naked, I don't care."

Sammy laughed bright as the blazing sun. "That sounds like fun."

"Perv." Dean remarked.

Either Sammy wouldn't rise to the bait, didn't understand the ramifications of being a pervert, or just didn't care.

That was part of Sam too. It was like he wore blinders or something when it came to Dean.

Sammy had managed to find a can on the sidewalk and started his own version of soccer. The sound of Sam kicking the can irritated Dean more than it should have. It skittered across the pavement and reminded Dean vaguely of the sound of scratching claws.

"Are the other kids gonna have swim suits?"

"I dunno. Maybe. Probly."

"You don't have a suit either, Dean. Are you gonna swim naked? 'Cause this isn't a swimming pool right? It's a swimming hole. What if there are fishes that bite or something? " Suddenly Sam offered a pained expression. "Or a snapping turtle! That could be horrible if you are not wearing swimming trunks." He might be little but Dean could tell that Sam figured he wanted all of his Sammy parts to stay attached.

"Don't be such a dweeb, Sam."

Sam shook his head, a slight movement that swung his hair into his eyes.

"What? It could happen. Right? Huh?"

"Whatever, Sam. I doubt there is a dick grabbing turtle in the pond."

Sam snorted but then in typical Sammy fashion he decided to believe Dean. Sam always believed Dean. Dean knew this like he knew the smell of gun oil. Sam's belief in Dean was as strong as Dean's belief in Dad. It would have been blasphemy to think otherwise.

Dean made sure that he kept that particular trend front and center at all times.

"Is it very far away, Dean? Are we almost there? " Another kick and the can skated across the blacktop. How could the kid continue to talk and kick like that? Dean wiped his hand briefly over his forehead, a quick flip and the sweat dripped onto the blacktop. He could feel sweat dripping down his neck and back.

God, it was hot.

Sam had managed to kick the can ahead of Dean. It tumbled across the blacktopped street. Sam trotted up to it and kicked it again. Dean shook his head. It was 100 damn degrees and Sam was running around kicking a can. Sam turned and grinned, sweat dripping down the side of his face, his longish hair plastered in damp curls around his face and neck.

"Sam, knock it off with the damn can okay?"

Sam stopped all forward momentum and turned away from the can his face all puppy dog and big hazel eyes. "Sorry, Dean." A moment of contrition while Sam waited for Dean to catch up and then Sam was following Dean again, his step light and easy, a direct contrast to Dean who shrugged his shoulders and scuffed his feet against the pavement.

Dean tried to take a deep breath. Sam was gonna make him crazy before they even met up with the guys.

They crossed the blacktopped parking lot and headed into the field. Grasshoppers jumped ahead of them, marking their passage with an explosion of green and brown.

Dean didn't hate Sammy. Not really. But the kid could sure be a buzz kill. Whether Sammy did it on purpose or not was up for debate. You would think that a little kid wouldn't try to irritate his big brother but Sammy was not an ordinary little kid.

Dean never really had that many friends. He never much cared. But something changed recently. Suddenly he did want to hang with the guys. He wasn't quite sure why. True, they were kind of the cool guys in school but that had never been a reason for Dean to want to hang with anyone. As much as he didn't want Sammy there was as much as he wanted to swim with the guys. Alone.

Dean slipped through a break in a fence, low enough that even Sam had to crawl under.

Dean stopped, listening for the far off sound of boys laughing. Then a strangled yelp and the curse of someone getting clobbered. It was probably Tony. Tony liked to make himself heard and typically it was with his fists. Dean wasn't concerned. Tony had a good right hook but Dean's was way better. Somebody said that Tony's old man was in the Mafia. Dean doubted it was true, but you could never tell. It didn't bother Dean too much either. He heard there was a code in the Mafia – like no one could rat on anyone else. There was a Winchester code too and Winchesters were tougher than Mafia any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Dean stopped again and then moved out into the small cut away of trees that lead to the pond. It was at the break in the tree line that he met Tony and his boys.

Tony smiled and Dean returned it. Dean watched as Tony cut his eyes to Sam.

"Dude, we don't babysit." Tony took a long drag on his cigarette and then carelessly flicked it out into the dirt trail.

"So don't. Sammy ain't a baby. He can probably out swim any of you." Dean had no idea why he felt the need to defend Sam. He didn't even want Sam with him.

"Whatever Winchester, just keep the little shit out of the way."

Dean shrugged and looked at Sam. Sam was glaring at Tony like he would like to clobber him one, it turned out that Sam had no problem taking shit from Dean but apparently Mafioso's named Tony were something else.

The boys shucked shirts and yeah, some of them had swim trunks but a few had old shorts too. It didn't seem to matter. Dean was thankful no one decided to go skinny dipping. Despite his assurances to Sammy about snapping turtles, he had no inclination to find out if they were attracted to dicks.

They rough housed for a bit. Swam. Floated. Sam was content to stay away from the other kids playing in the shallow water and sometimes diving around the cattails and rushes that grew near the pond.

Dean glanced over to see Sammy gesturing for him, urgent but with a smile on his face.

Dean looked at Tony and his buddies splashing in the deeper water and then, just 'cause Sammy was his responsibility, he headed over to rushes, feeling to mud squish in his toes.

"Look, Dean. Look." Sam parted the slender reeds and there was a young turtle, obviously just hatched and paddling frantically in the water. It looked kind of comical, snout above the water and little legs struggling against an almost non-existent current.

"So do you think it's a baby snapping turtle?"

"I dunno. Maybe. But Momma's got to be somewhere huh?"

"I don't think so Dean. Turtles are on their own from the time they are born. I don't think it's a snapping turtle anyway….see the red. I think it's called a red eared slider or something like that."

Dean offered Sam a quizzical expression, part exasperation and part impressed. "Where the hell do you come up with this stuff, geek boy?"

Dean heard a splash behind him as Tony and the group decided to see what caught the Winchester boys' attention.

"Shhh, you'll scare him." Sam growled low, or as low a growl as a seven year old could make.

"Who cares? It's a fucking turtle." And with that Tony reached for the turtle and snatched it out of the water, he gave it a nasty look and then flung it out into the middle of the pond.

He never knew what hit him. Not the turtle nor Tony. Sam dove at the older boy, fists pummeling in rapid-fire succession against the older boy's ribs, then a brief whirlwind of punches to his face. Which took some effort because Sam was little and Tony was big but apparently a pissed off Winchester was no match for the Mafia king because in no time at all, Tony was dripping blood from a nasty gash over his eye and his lip was split.

From there it became a free for all. Tony's buddies jumped on Sam and Dean. Dean's first impulse was to save Sammy, grab him and run. But they were in the water and running wasn't easy. So he opted to back Sammy into the marshy reeds and face the group of boys fist up and bouncing in the mud.

Apparently, Sammy didn't get the message to stay back because he danced out of the cat-tails with his back to Dean's and together they made quite an impressive fighting force. Dean's reach was longer, but Sammy was quick and they fought their way back-to-back heading toward the shore. They gave as good as they got, despite the overwhelming odds and when the melee finally ended both Winchesters were bloody but the other boys were worse.

Tony's eye was swollen shut and when the other boys realized they were actually losing to two little kids, well they backed off and headed back out to the pond.

There were cat-calls and yells but Dean and Sammy were safely on the grassy edge of the pond while the other boys were nursing their wounds in the water.

"I hope a giant snapping turtle smells that blood and bites your dicks off!" Sammy yelled and flipped them all the finger, then wiped it under his nose, dripping blood onto the grass.

Dean turned to Sammy. "What the hell is your problem?" He grabbed Sam by the shoulders and reached down for both of their shirts. "Here, wipe of the blood, dickhead."

"Did you see what he did? Did you?" Sammy bristled smearing blood across his shirt.

"Yeah, he threw a damn turtle in the water. It's an aquatic turtle shithead. It lives in the water." Dean wiped a smudge of blood off of his face and then critically eyed up Sammy's battered face and mottled ribs. His little brother was going to be one big bruise, compliments of kids at least five years older than him.

"You are a dickhead!" Sam yelled. Loudly. He stomped off, shoving his bare feet in untied sneakers and headed off toward home. Striding with a purpose very seldom seen in seven-year-old.

Now it was Dean following Sam.

"What do you mean, I'm a dickhead! And if Dad hears you say that your butt will be as red as that damn red eared slider turtles face. I just saved your ass back there. Six to one ain't good odds when the one is seven and the others are almost fifteen."

Sam ignored him.

Dean grabbed him by the shoulders as they hit the grass field. "Do you hear me talkin' to you?" He turned Sam around harshly, knowing his fingers were probably bruising previously bruised flesh.

He was surprised to see Sam's tears rolling down his face.

"Sammy? You okay? Are you really hurt?" Dean wiped a mixture of drying blood and tears from Sam's face, his voice suddenly cracking. "If they fucking hurt you I will kill them. Fucking. Kill. Them."

Sam lifted his head to Dean and it was then Dean noticed Sam's lack of a front tooth.

"Dad would beat your ass for saying that too." Sam offered with that slightly skewed smile sans tooth.

"Jesus, Sam, you got a tooth knocked out of your head."

Sam scuffed his feet in the drying grass. "Was loose anyway."

"So?" The word meaning more than just a loose tooth. Dean cradled his arm around Sam's head for just a moment, pulled the younger boy in.

"It was a baby red eared slider turtle." Sam really cried now, pushing his bloody tear stained face into Dean's damp shirt.

Dean stroked Sam's damp hair. "Dude. A turtle. In the water. It's okay."

Sam shook his head furiously. "No, Dean, it's not. He doesn't need his mom or his dad but he needed the reeds and the marsh. He was safe there. Camouflaged and hidden. Out in that pond? He's nothing but baby turtle sushi."

"Awe, Sammy, I never thought of that." Dean pulled Sammy in harder, ran a hand down his brother's thin, shaking shoulders. Sammy wouldn't cry when beat up on by a gang of kids or even getting his tooth knocked out, but the possible demise of one baby turtle turned on the water works.

Dean sighed and allowed Sammy to cry. It's what big brothers did, even when little brothers got on their nerves.

"I'm sure he's fine, Sammy. He was a scrappy little turtle. Besides, Tony threw like a girl. I'm sure the little guy found his way back to the marsh in no time at all."

Sam sniffled hard. "Yeah, he did throw like a girl. Not even a big girl."

Dean ruffled Sam's hair with his hand and pushed his brother away from his shoulder to look at his face, gap tooth grin, still a little bloody and hair hanging damply against his forehead.

"Besides. Maybe he thought it was a fun…you know like turtle Disney World! His own version of Space Mountain!"

Sam laughed then as Dean threw an arm around his neck and they walked off toward the house.

"We sure showed 'em huh, Dean?"

"Yeah, little brother. We showed 'em."

end