Summary: Pre-series – Hurt Sam / Big Brother Dean – It wasn't a big deal; just a small splinter embedded in the tip of a pudgy finger. But to a five-year old, it was a big deal; a deal worth crying over.

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Warnings: None

Wanted to cry but you can't when you're laughing. ~ The National

It wasn't a big deal; just a small splinter embedded in the tip of a pudgy finger.

But to a five-year old, it was a big deal; a deal worth crying over.

"It's okay," Dean soothed as he sat on the edge of the motel bed and held his brother's finger close to his face; squinting to see the tiny sliver of wood peeking out from Sam's skin; concentrating with the focus of a surgeon as the tweezers he held hovered over the sensitive area.

Sam shook his head. "N-no, it's not..." he answered pitifully; his bottom lip quivering while tears welled in his huge eyes as he stared at Dean. "It hurts."

"I know, Sammy," Dean agreed and glanced up at his brother; hating when the kid got this upset over something so simple.

Sam stared back; anxiously shifting from one foot to the other as he dutifully stood in front of Dean; his left hand resting on Dean's leg while his right hand was held in Dean's grasp.

Sam took a shuddering breath. "D-Dean..."

"Almost got it..." Dean promised, carefully pinching the splinter with the tweezers and giving it a gentle tug.

"Ow!" Sam yelped and snatched his hand away, holding it protectively against his chest and glaring at Dean. "That hurt!"

Dean rolled his eyes. "Drama Queen much?"

Sam held his glare. "It did," he insisted about the pain Dean had caused to flare in his finger and blinked as tears once again returned to his eyes.

Dean sighed; wishing this incident with the splinter had happened after Sam's nap and not before. Because maybe the kid wouldn't be so whiney and emotional if he wasn't also tired...

"Listen..." Dean began reasonably and held his hand out toward his brother. "I'm sorry, okay? I'll be more careful this time..." – even though he was being careful the last time. "Just give me your hand, so I can get out the splinter and you can take a nap."

Sam scowled at the suggestion. "Naps are for babies."

"Well, that's what you're acting like right now," Dean snapped and grabbed Sam's hand; pulling the kid toward him and ignoring his brother's grunt of protest.

"You're mean," Sam informed with a pout, watching as his brother refocused on his sore finger.

"Yep, that's me," Dean agreed dryly, tilting his head for a better angle to see the splinter. "Your mean big brother who drops everything to take care of you when you get hurt...or when you're scared...or when you're hungry...or when – "

" – or when Daddy's gone," Sam interrupted quietly and ducked his head when Dean looked up at him. "Daddy's always gone," he added, still not meeting Dean's gaze.

Dean swallowed against the unexpected emotion that lodged in his throat and nodded. "Yeah," he replied; hating how Sam seemed bothered by that more than usual lately; having no doubt that the kid loved him and preferred him over John but knowing that Sam needed a father, too.

But John was rarely there.

Dean sighed.

Because while he tried to fulfill all the roles Sam needed – mother, father, big brother – doing so was sometimes hard when you were just nine-years old yourself.

There was a beat of silence in the motel room.

"I'm sorry," Sam whispered and glanced up at Dean through his thick, tear-damp lashes and fringe of bangs. "You're not mean. You're never mean. Not to me. I'm sorry."

Dean quirked a smile; hoping the kid in front of him never changed and would always keep his sweet nature; quick to apologize and quick to forgive. "It's okay, Sammy," he assured, affectionately ruffling his brother's floppy hair. "You're just tired."

Sam was always moody and mouthy when he was tired.

Sam nodded in agreement with Dean's description. "And my finger hurts," he reminded, holding his finger within inches of Dean's face.

Dean chuckled, blinking to prevent his eyes from crossing at the proximity of Sam's finger to his nose, and grasped Sam's hand once again.

"Sing me a song," Dean told his brother as he focused on the kid's finger; Sam's skin inflamed from the irritation of the sliver of wood lodged within.

Stupid railing by the steps outside their room...

Sam tilted his head at the request. "What song?"

Dean shrugged. "Any song," he responded, not caring what Sam chose as long as the task kept his brother occupied; wanting the kid to concentrate more on singing and less on his injured finger.

"Hmm..." Sam mused and then hummed a few different tunes, clearly trying to decide which he wanted to sing.

"I'm waiting..." Dean called, gently pressing on the puffy pad of Sam's finger to coax the splinter out of its hiding spot...and smiling when the kid didn't flinch in pain.

This plan was working already.

Just like it always did.


"He said to her, 'I'd like a cheeseburger...'" Sam suddenly began to sing; his five-year old voice adorably high-pitched and trying to imitate the accent the cartoon character always used when he sang it on TV. "'...and I might like a milkshake as well.'"

Dean chuckled; because he knew this song. It was one of his favorites and was the first kid song he had made sure his brother had learned.

"She said to him, 'I can't give you either...'" Sam continued, bobbing his head in rhythm to the imaginary beat. "And he said, 'Isn't this Burger Bell?'"

Dean smiled – because Sam was just too damn cute singing this song – and carefully squeezed the kid's finger; gripping the pointy end of the splinter with the tweezers and gently pulling it from his brother's skin.

Sam didn't seem to notice. "She said, 'Yes, it is but we're closed now...'" he sang. "'But we open tomorrow at 10.' He said, 'I am extremely hungry...but I guess I can wait until then.'"

Sam held the high note – his voice squeaking – and then paused; smiling at Dean as he tapped his brother's leg in silent invitation for Dean to join in on the chorus.

Dean returned the smile and nodded; because even though nine-year old didn't sing such silly kid songs anymore, they did if their little brothers wanted them to.

"'Cause you're his cheeseburger...his yummy cheeseburger..." the brothers sang in unison.

Dean took the beat of silence between the next lyric to drop the tweezers back into the open first aid kit lying beside him on the bed and grabbed one of the alcohol wipes.

"He'll wait for you-u, yeah. He'll wait for you-u, oh..." they sang, with Sam wiggling back and forth as they made "you" two syllables.

Dean shook his head good-naturedly at his brother's antics and ripped open the packaging of the disinfectant wipe; showing it to Sam in silent warning of what he was about to do with it.

Sam wrinkled his nose but nodded in understanding and closed his eyes in anticipation of pain.

"Keep singing," Dean encouraged.

Sam swallowed. "You are his cheeseburger..." he began again, his voice quieter. "...his tasty cheeseburger. He'll wait for you-u...ow! Ow, ow, ow!"

"Hey. Chill," Dean lightly admonished and kept a firm grip on Sam's squirming hand. "I have to get it clean, Sammy. You know that. We don't want it infected, do we?"

Sam shook his head, bravely biting his lower lip and blinking against fresh tears.

"You're okay," Dean soothed and blew on his brother's finger to ease the sting of the alcohol as it seeped into the tiny puncture wound.

Several seconds passed.

"Better?" Dean asked, already knowing the answer since the kid had stopped struggling in his grasp.

Sam nodded.

"Good," Dean praised and then tossed the used alcohol wipe onto the bedside table to dispose of later. "Let me see..." he called and closely examined his brother's finger once again. "Can't even tell it was there, Sammy. Does it still hurt?"

"Kinda," Sam responded. "But not like it did," he added and brought his face closer to Dean's, also inspecting his minor injury. "Thanks, Dean," he said genuinely, smiling at his brother like Dean was his hero.

Dean smiled in return, lightly bumping Sam's shoulder with his own as the kid continued to stand in front of him. "Hey...that's what big brothers are for, right? To make things all better?"

Sam nodded seriously in agreement. "You always make things better, Dean."

Dean felt his smile fade. "I try," he told his little brother and hoped that Sam knew that; would always know that – that whatever happened, he would try to make it better.

"You do good," Sam praised and then launched himself at Dean in a surprise hug.

Dean chuckled as he suddenly had an armful of Sam. "Thanks, kiddo," he replied and patted his brother's small back; scrunching his face in mild discomfort when Sam squeezed him tightly around his neck. "Dude...can't breathe."

Sam laughed – the genuine laugh of a five-year old – and pushed himself back; yawning as he stared at Dean.

Dean quirked a knowing smile. "Naptime."

Because the kid needed to sleep...and honestly, Dean needed a break.

Sam shook his head. "But I'm not sleepy," he whined inside another yawn.

Dean rolled his eyes. "Sure," he drawled and pushed his brother back until the kid sat on the edge of the opposite bed.

Sam sighed but didn't resist; dutifully taking off his shoes and then scooting further back on the mattress; settling into the pillow as Dean covered him with one of the extra blankets.

"What are you gonna do?" Sam asked drowsily.

"Just sit around and be awesome," Dean replied smoothly, though he had plenty to do while Sam slept.

After all, a big brother's work was never done.

Dean smiled at the truth of that statement and then patted Sam's leg. "Go to sleep," he told his brother and then pointed a warning finger at Sam. "And if I catch you watching me instead of sleeping, there's gonna be trouble. You hear me?"

Because Sam's curiosity often got the best of him and there were many times the kid wouldn't sleep in favor of spying to see what Dean was doing.

Sam nodded that he understood and then closed his eyes; sighing as he did so.

Several seconds later, Sam was asleep.

"Not sleepy..." Dean scoffed, repeating what Sam had said earlier and rolling his eyes in response; because he had known differently all along.

Not even Sam knew himself better than Dean knew him.

"Okay..." Dean commented quietly and glanced around the room, deciding he would sort clothes before doing everything else on his long list of chores.

Dean nodded at his decision, briefly checking on Sam over his shoulder and then crossing to their duffels; beginning the process of smelling their clothes to determine what needed washing...and smiling to himself as he started softly humming that stupid cheeseburger song.


A/N: I realize this Veggie Tales song wasn't around during this time period, but it was too cute and appropriate not to use. Also, if you have no idea what song this is, I encourage you to look it up on YouTube...and then you, too, will be humming it the rest of the day. :)