Summary: Halloween Pre-series – Hurt Sam, Big Brother Dean – Dean blinked at the wall covered with photos of Sam; the snapshots displayed in a way that implied obsession...and careful study. Dean swallowed at the implication as he turned a slow, deliberate circle in the middle of the room; his eyes now scanning every object he had previously dismissed.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Warnings: None that I can think of, except usual language.
A/N: Happy Halloween, y'all! Even though poor Sammy doesn't like that holiday...and who can blame him after this AU romp?
Monday's child is fair of face... ~ A.E. Bray
Dean vaguely remembered a time when Halloween was fun; remembered that last night of trick-or-treating before everything had changed.
That crisp autumn evening when he had dressed up as Batman and Sam had been Robin.
When his only concerns had been whether or not a baby Sammy would be warm enough in the thin material of his costume...and whether or not his own haul of candy would fit in his orange bucket shaped like a pumpkin.
Life had been so simplistically perfect that night when he had walked between John and Mary, holding their hands while Mary had balanced a bundled Sam on her hip as they had crisscrossed the street to knock on their neighbors' doors; laughing and smiling and enjoying the safety of their normal.
Having no idea what would happen two days later.
How everything would end in fire and smoke.
How nothing would ever be safe or normal again.
How Mary would be gone from their lives and every day would become like Halloween as John bounced from town to town in pursuit of the supernatural; hunting real monsters with his kids in tow.
How the spooky holiday itself would become just another workday.
Dean sighed as his happy memory was abruptly dispersed by reality and blinked his attention back to the man who was sitting across from him and John.
"When did you last see Evan?" John was asking; leaning slightly forward on the sofa in the cramped, cluttered living room of the apartment to accept a photograph of the man's missing son.
"Last Monday," the man responded, readjusting his glasses as his gaze lingered on the picture of Evan he had handed to John; the cushion of the oversized chair groaning as he shifted nervously before continuing. "He got on the bus to go to school but..." He paused, staring at the picture; the image upside down from where he was sitting. "He never made it home."
It was a parent's worst nightmare – to lose a child.
John knew that fear...and so did Dean.
It was why Sam was still so fiercely protected, even though the 14-year old often insisted he could take care of himself.
Evan probably thought he could take care of himself, too.
"He never made it home," the man repeated, as if he still couldn't believe it even after a week had passed with no sign of his son.
John nodded his understanding, having heard similar stories from other distraught parents all over town.
Because it seemed the children always went missing on Mondays.
And it was always boys, never girls.
But that was where the similarities ended.
Although both Dean and John had agreed the case warranted their attention when they had seen the recurring headlines over a month ago, their interviews were turning up nothing.
There were no patterns or clues that suggested the recent increase in missing children in this small Ohio town had a supernatural cause.
The children were just gone, with no leads as to who had taken them...or why...or where they were being kept – even though they were clearly being kept somewhere.
Because while none of the children had been returned, there had also been no grisly discovery of bodies.
Which meant there was hope the kids were still alive.
Even if that hope was slowly fading.
Because the longer a child was missing, the more likely it became that he would never be found.
And the father sitting across from them knew it.
"He's not coming back, is he?" the man asked about his son, nodding at the picture of Evan that John still held.
John shrugged. "It's hard to say," he answered honestly and glanced at Dean as he passed the photo to his oldest.
Dean accepted the picture, staring at the boy smiling up at him from the snapshot and swallowing against the unease that swelled in his chest.
Because just like all the other boys whose photos they had seen throughout the day, Evan resembled Sam; same size, same features, probably same age.
And suddenly Dean didn't care so much about finding the missing kids as he did about making sure his own kid was safe.
Because he hadn't seen Sam since he had dropped the kid at school earlier that morning, and he was eager to check on his brother...especially now.
Dean sighed – sometimes regretting his decision to drop out of school simply because he missed seeing Sam throughout the day – and stared at the photo he held for a few seconds longer; tilting his head as he noticed that while Evan was smiling, he wasn't smiling at the camera...almost like the kid had no idea he was being photographed. Like the kid had just happened to be smiling when he was caught on film...
"Huh..." Dean mused aloud, attracting his father's attention.
"What?" John asked, glancing again at the photo.
Dean shook his head, indicating it was probably nothing and he would tell John later.
John narrowed his eyes but nodded his understanding before refocusing on the father of the missing boy. "Any reason Evan might run away from home?"
"No," the man replied, seeming surprised that John would even suggest that. "He was happy." He paused and smiled sadly. "Was excited about Halloween..."
"Most kids are," Dean commented – speaking from his brief experience – and felt a twinge of sadness that Sam didn't like Halloween; his brother having no memory of what the holiday used to mean for their family...dressing up and trick-or-treating and being an actual kid.
To Sam, Halloween wasn't fun. It was just a blatant reminder of what their life was – a constant hunt for the supernatural; for things most people didn't know were real as they donned their scary costumes.
"I really don't like Halloween," Sam had commented earlier that morning as Dean had dropped him off at school.
Dean had chuckled; having heard that statement at least half a dozen times since Sam had woke up that morning. "I know," he had replied as he had watched other kids compare costumes on the sidewalk; excited about being allowed to dress up at school.
But not Sam.
Sam had worn his usual clothes; not interested in participating in this slice of normal fun since it wasn't fun to him at all.
It was real.
Sam had sighed.
Dean had glanced at his brother and then had nudged the kid's shoulder good-naturedly. "Hey. Snap out of it. The day's gonna be fine."
Sam had looked at him from across the bench seat. "Yeah," he had agreed, though his expression hadn't changed.
Dean had shaken his head at his moody little brother as the kid had opened the Impala's passenger door and had climbed out. "Well, at least try to have a good day, sunshine," he had told Sam, smiling when the kid had glared. "That's the spirit."
Sam had said nothing but had reached in the backseat to retrieve his backpack.
"Got everything?" Dean had checked, making sure his brother had remembered his duffel bag with his cleats and change of clothes for soccer practice.
"Yeah," Sam had confirmed and had lingered at the Impala's door.
Dean had smiled encouragingly, hating it when his brother was unhappy...even if that unhappiness was caused by a stupid holiday. "See you later this afternoon."
Sam had nodded. "Okay."
"If you need me, call me..." Dean had reminded, like he did every morning...or any other time he was leaving Sam by himself.
Sam had quirked a smile and had nodded again before disappearing into the school.
Dean blinked, once again returning to his present surroundings, and sighed as he refocused on the photo he still held; sliding Evan's picture onto the coffee table that separated the sofa and chair before checking his watch; ignoring John's disapproving glare as he did so.
Knowing it was important to complete their interview with the man sitting across from them...but also knowing Sam's soccer practice was over in less than half an hour.
Which meant they needed to wrap this up, especially since evidence suggested it wasn't even their kind of case.
Because out of the eight families Dean and John had interviewed under the guise of a seasoned detective and his young rookie partner – which wasn't far from the truth – none of the family members had been involved in anything to suggest they would be a target for the supernatural.
The Winchesters had done their research, and none of the families had a history of dealing with the occult nor were they hiding a violent, shady past that had returned to haunt them.
Their kids, for whatever reason, were just gone.
And while Dean sympathized with how horrible that type of loss must be to endure, he knew this was not a case for them.
They dealt with the supernatural; not with sick bastards who got their kicks from snatching children for their own twisted purposes.
Such cases were best left to legit law enforcement, which meant it was time for them to offer their condolences and get the hell out.
After all, Dean had a little brother to pick up from soccer practice.
Dean sighed and checked his watch again, shifting restlessly on the worn and dingy plaid fabric stretched across the cushions of the sofa.
John cut his eyes at his son in silent reprimand.
Because while he agreed it was time for them to leave – not only this house, but this town – they still had one last item of business; one last thing to check before they could move on to the next hunt.
John stared meaningfully at his oldest until realization lit in Dean's eyes and the 18-year old nodded ever-so-slightly at the nonverbal order.
There was a beat of silence to camouflage the potential obviousness of Dean's next move.
"May I use your bathroom?" Dean asked politely, standing and glancing around the small living room as he waited for direction.
The man hesitated at the request.
John arched an eyebrow before exchanging glances with his son; both hunters recognizing vaguely suspicious behavior when they saw it.
"Please?" Dean added, shifting his stance and offering a small smile as if he was embarrassed by how badly he had to go.
John inwardly praised his son's ability to play the situation and glanced at the man still sitting in the chair opposite him.
The man swallowed. "Of course," he finally responded and offered a smile of his own in apology for his rudeness. "It's down the hall on your right."
Dean glanced in the direction the man had pointed across the small apartment and nodded. "Thanks," he replied, his gaze flickering to John before he disappeared around the corner.
John watched his son go and then refocused on the man who was also watching Dean's every move; feeling his hunter's instinct flare.
Because something was definitely off.
"So..." John began pleasantly, smiling to put the man at ease as they heard the bathroom door close; knowing the sound was only for show.
Because this was part of their plan – Dean hiding in the hallway while he waited for John to distract the man so he could complete his search of the apartment.
It worked every time.
John sighed, usually hating this part of his job – having to make nice with strangers – but deciding to use the extra time to further investigate. "You said you recently moved here?"
Dean listened as his dad began to ramble and took his cue; easing away from the closed bathroom door and moving further down the hall.
Dean kept his steps quick but light as he ducked into the first room on his left and then blinked as he realized it was a kid's room.
Evan's room, he guessed, which was perfect.
Dean nodded his approval of his luck and slipped his EMF detector from his suit pocket; not surprised when the lights indicated nothing.
It had been the same at the other houses, too.
Dean sighed as he moved around the room; the EMF detector still remaining silent and there being no signs of sulfur residue on the windowsill, either.
"Big surprise..." Dean muttered and shook his head; bored with this case – because it wasn't their kind of case – and tucked the EMF detector back in his pocket before checking his watch.
Dean scowled at the time.
Because Sam's soccer practice would be over in ten minutes, and there was no way Dean was going to leave the kid stranded.
Too much could happen if Sam was left alone, and just the idea made Dean nervous.
"That's it..." Dean announced quietly, officially done with this investigation, and turned back toward the bedroom door; preparing to return to the living room so he could leave and pick up his brother from school.
But that's when he saw it – a small red pocketknife.
Dean narrowed his eyes, crossing to the dresser and grasping the familiar object; knowing even before he saw the initials that it belonged to Sam.
Because Dean had given it to his brother several years ago and even now always made sure the kid had it for the small protection it offered when Dean wasn't around.
And sure enough, there on the side of the knife was S.W. scratched into its surface.
Dean felt sick; his grip tightening around the pocketknife as he turned a slow, deliberate circle in the middle of the room; his eyes now scanning every object he had previously dismissed.
Wondering how the hell his brother's knife had ended up here.
Wondering if this was really Evan's room.
If Evan even existed...
If the man even had a son at all...
Dean swallowed at the thought; remembering how the boy in the photo the man had shown him and John had not been looking at the camera...like the kid hadn't even known he was being photographed.
Dean shook his head, not sure what to think as his gaze crawled over every object; suddenly sensing this room was some kind of museum of souvenirs taken from kidnapped children – souvenirs that apparently included Sam's pocketknife...which meant what?
Was Sam missing and Dean didn't even know?
Dean glanced at the knife he cradled in his palm and shook his head again; refusing to believe his brother was gone.
But all signs indicated it was true.
"No," Dean growled and crossed to the closet; snatching open its doors in a last attempt to find proof that a kid named Evan really did live here; that maybe he knew Sam and had somehow gotten the knife.
It could happen.
They lived in the same apartment building, so maybe the kids went to the same school...even though Sam had never mentioned an Evan.
There was a beat of silence as Dean stared inside the empty closet.
Because while he didn't know what he had expected to see when he had opened its doors, this sure as hell wasn't it.
Dean blinked at the wall covered with photos of children – but more importantly...covered with photos of Sam.
Sam on the sidewalk outside the apartment; Sam getting into the Impala; Sam walking into school; Sam crossing the field at the park; Sam kicking a soccer ball toward the goal...
Pictures of Sam doing everything the kid did throughout the day; his entire routine captured on film and displayed in a way that implied obsession...and careful study.
Dean felt his heart hammer in his chest at the realization that the man in the living room had snatched his brother without him or John even knowing; that the smug sonuvabitch had been playing them this entire time.
But the jig was up.
With a growl of rage, Dean ripped the photos from the wall and turned sharply; still holding Sam's pocketknife as he stomped out of the room and down the hall; fully prepared to do whatever it took to find his brother.
Back in the living room, John continued questioning the man sitting across from him.
"You said you recently moved here?" the oldest Winchester repeated, having not received a clear answer the first time he had asked.
The man's gaze lingered on the hallway before focusing on John. "Yes," he confirmed, wondering if the younger man had found what he was looking for yet. "About eight weeks ago."
John nodded thoughtfully, wondering if it was a coincidence that kids had started disappearing eight weeks ago.
It probably wasn't.
"How long have you lived here?" the man asked in return, seeming to relax.
John shrugged. "Long enough," he vaguely replied, not intending to tell this man that he and his boys had arrived in town around eight weeks ago as well, having come to investigate whether or not the unusually large number of disappearances had a supernatural link.
The man nodded. "Do you have kids?"
John smiled but didn't respond; never putting himself or his boys in danger by admitting that weakness.
But the man sitting across from him seemed to already know.
John could tell by his expression.
There was an awkward beat of silence.
"You live in this apartment building, right?" the man pressed. "A few floors up," he added and nodded his agreement with his own statement. "I've seen you."
John said nothing, wondering where the hell this conversation was going and what the hell was taking Dean so long down the hall.
"That's why I called you," the man continued. "Because I knew you could help me."
John arched an eyebrow, remembering the man's call earlier that day saying he had talked to other parents and had wanted them to stop by in case they could help him find his missing son.
"I knew you would understand about Evan," the man commented and then paused before smiling. "And Sam..."
John narrowed his eyes at the mention of his youngest's name, leaning forward threateningly. "What about Sam?"
The man's smile widened. "You'll see."
John began to stand but then halted as Dean burst into the room; his arms crossed over his chest as he held whatever he had found down the hall.
"Where is he?" Dean demanded heatedly, dropping the photos in a messy pile on the coffee table.
John glanced down at the slick snapshots scattered across the wooden surface, instantly recognizing Sam's image in every single one.
"Where the hell is he?" Dean yelled, crossing to the man but stopping when John reached him first.
The man smiled even as John snatched him from the chair. "Where is who?" he asked.
"I think you fucking know," John growled and bodily shook the man as he held him by the collar of his shirt.
The man chuckled, glancing at the photos on the coffee table. "He's a beautiful child," he commented fondly. "A Monday child." He smiled as if that meant something. "That soft hair...those big eyes...that amazing bone structure in his face...such sharp features and – "
" – shut the fuck up!" John barked, not tolerating this man describing his youngest son like a piece of meat. "Where. Is. He?"
The man smiled. "With Evan."
Dean swallowed; not liking the sound of that since he was pretty sure Evan was dead.
John narrowed his eyes at the vague answer. "Fine. Then where is Evan?"
There was silence.
"Answer me!" John ordered, once again shaking the man he continued to hold within inches of his own face.
The man glanced at Dean over John's shoulder. "Evan wasn't mine," he confessed. "Not really. But I made him mine. He was my first."
Dean arched an eyebrow, wondering what that meant.
His first abduction? His first kill? His first...
Dean swallowed once more and shook his head; refusing to think about anything else this sicko could've done to Evan...or to Sam.
"Where is my brother?" Dean demanded, slipping the kid's knife into his pocket and feeling his body hum with adrenaline.
The man sighed as if he was bored with the repeated question. "In the freezer," he finally answered. "That's where they all are."
John and Dean exchanged frantic glances at the implication.
"What freezer?" John growled.
"The walk-in freezer next door," the man replied simply and smiled. "One of the perks of entrepreneurship..."
Whatever that meant.
Neither Winchester had time to think about it as Dean lunged for the door; yanking it open and practically falling down the stairs in his race to get out of the apartment building; recklessly clearing three steps at a time until he was standing on the sidewalk and frantically scanning the area for somewhere that would have a walk-in freezer.
Like the small pizzeria on the corner...
Dean ran in that direction, roughly pushing people on the sidewalk out of his way as he approached the restaurant; busting through the doors and heading straight back to the kitchen.
"Hey!" one of the cooks yelled in surprise. "What the hell, man?"
"Where's your freezer?" Dean asked, his gaze roaming the kitchen.
The cook frowned at the unusual question. "The what?"
"Freezer," Dean repeated breathlessly and then saw it tucked in the far corner. "Never mind," he dismissed and crossed to its doors; swearing when he saw the padlock. "Who the fuck locks a freezer?"
"The owner," the cook informed coolly. "He's always doing crazy, paranoid shit."
"Who's the owner?" Dean asked, giving a final useless pull on the lock.
"Hell if I know," the cook responded. "I was hired over the phone."
Dean scowled. "You've never seen him?"
The cook shook his head. "We open at four. He comes in before we get here and then again after we leave."
Dean snorted. "Yeah, that's not weird..." he muttered and then turned to the cook.
"I don't have a key," the cook answered before Dean could ask. "So get the fuck outta here before I call the cops!"
"I am the cops," Dean sharply returned, briefly flashing his fake badge.
The cook arched a skeptical eyebrow. "I don't know, man. You look kinda young to be a – "
But the rest of his statement was lost as Dean pulled his gun from the waist of his pants and fired a single shot at the one thing keeping him from his brother.
The lock snapped in a flash of sparks as the bullet effortlessly tore through the metal.
"Jesus..." the cook swore and shook his head in stunned amazement. "Dude, who are you?"
Dean didn't respond; instead snatching the handle of the freezer's door and pulling it back; blinking at the frigid blast of air that struck him in the face. "Sam!" he yelled before the door was fully opened. "Sammy!"
The cook frowned at the implication that there was someone who had been trapped in the freezer all this time. "Who?"
"Sam!" Dean yelled again and entered the freezer; his heart hammering in his chest with dread and panic and then instantly calming when he saw his kid brother huddled on the floor in the corner.
Because thank god Sam wasn't dead...but Sam didn't look well, either.
Dean swallowed, immediately crossing to his brother and crouching in front of him; noticing a white folded cloth near the kid's feet and a vague whiff of chloroform in the air...which would explain a lot – Sam taken, most likely from behind, before the kid even knew what hit him and then deposited here to be dealt with later after business hours.
Dean exhaled slowly – because this had been too fucking close – and tried to calm himself so he could deal with his brother. "Sammy..." he called, gently rubbing the kid's back.
Sam lethargically raised his head from where he had it bowed against his knees drawn up to his chest; his hands pulled into the sleeves of his hoodie while his arms wrapped around his legs, trying to keep warm the only way he could.
"Who the hell would lock a kid in a freezer?" the cook asked, lingering at the door as his gaze traveled the interior. "Oh my god..." he gasped, staring in horror at what was clearly a severed foot wrapped tightly in plastic and stored on one of the shelves lining the wall.
And there was more.
The severed body parts of children neatly placed on the shelves, almost completely filling one entire wall of the freezer.
The cook swallowed, speechless at the gory secret that had been locked in the freezer for months. "Oh my god..." he finally gasped again, unable to say anything else in his shock.
Dean ignored him; having seen the packaged limbs – as he was sure Sam had – but keeping his attention solely on his brother. "Sam..." he called again, concerned that the kid just blinked at him. "Hey. You hear me, kiddo?"
Sam swallowed and nodded jerkily; looking dazed and confused and too cold to manage the effort of talking.
Dean nodded in return. "It's okay," he soothed, not knowing how long his brother had been in the freezer but recognizing the signs of hypothermia when he saw them. "It's okay now. I'm here."
Sam blinked, tears sluggishly brimming as he watched Dean shrug out of his suit coat and drape it over his thin narrow shoulders.
"It's okay," Dean repeated, desperately wanting to make it so, and reached for his brother. "C'mon. Let's get you outta here, huh?"
Sam nodded once more and slowly uncurled himself; his grasp weak as he reached for Dean to pull himself up.
Dean smiled encouragingly. "Atta boy, Sammy," he praised and carefully eased the kid to his feet; catching Sam when he predictably stumbled; his limbs too cold to fully bear his weight.
Sam gasped softly but clung to Dean, wordlessly conveying his fear and trauma.
Dean held his brother against his side, allowing the kid to gain his bearings. "Easy..." he soothed, even as he clenched his jaw in barely contained rage; wondering how the fuck that sick bastard got his hands on his brother...and what the fuck he had done to Sam beyond just locking him in a freezer for god knows how many hours.
"Um..." the cook began hesitantly, still lingering in the freezer's doorway with a few other kitchen staff now standing behind him watching the scene within. "Should we call an ambulance or something?"
"No," Dean replied and shook his head. "I've got him," he assured and gently rubbed Sam's shoulder. "Right, kiddo?"
Sam nodded and glanced up at Dean through his fringe of bangs.
"We'll take it slow," Dean promised, knowing better than to unnecessarily jar his hypothermic brother.
"'Kay," Sam hoarsely agreed, and Dean wondered how long his brother had yelled for help...and why no one had heard him.
"That's my boy," Dean praised and winked at Sam; shuffling alongside the kid as they made their way to the freezer's door.
The cook watched along with the kitchen staff. "Are you sure we can't – "
" – I'm sure," Dean interrupted as he helped Sam step over the threshold of the freezer; steadying the kid when he once again stumbled before resuming their slow exit; desperately wanting to get out of the restaurant and away from prying eyes so he could fully assess his brother's condition.
Several minutes later, they were finally on the sidewalk; Sam weak and breathless as he leaned heavily against Dean.
"Alright, Sammy..." Dean warned. "That's it, kiddo," he announced, carefully lifting the 14-year old into his arms; proud of his little brother for bravely walking out on his own but not planning to let the kid further exhaust himself.
Sam didn't protest; instead turning into the solid warmth of Dean's chest and sighing; a silent testament to his level of fatigue and trauma.
Dean swallowed, tightening his hold around his brother and ignoring the stares of strangers on the sidewalk as they made their way to the Impala parked outside of their apartment building; desperately wanting to ask Sam questions about what had happened but deciding those could wait until later.
Because Sam came first.
Dean sighed as he carried his brother and approached the Impala; years of practice allowing him to retrieve the Chevy's keys from his pocket and open the door without jarring Sam.
"Alright, kiddo..." Dean told the 14-year old, carefully situating Sam in the passenger seat. "Hang on a sec..."
Sam nodded and pulled the coat Dean had given him tighter around himself; feeling the lingering warmth of his brother in the fabric and smelling the familiar scent of safety.
Sam ghosted a smile and closed his eyes as he listened to Dean at the rear of the Impala; knowing his brother was gathering blankets from the trunk to pile on top of him.
As if on cue, Dean suddenly appeared at the passenger door; crouching to tuck three military surplus blankets around Sam's small body.
"You good for now?" Dean asked, his eyes scanning every inch of his brother.
Sam nodded tiredly. "Thank you."
Dean shook his head as a stab of guilt pierced his heart. Because Sam shouldn't be thanking him; not after he had let the kid down; not after he had let Sam get snatched.
"Not your fault," Sam whispered, his eyes dipping closed.
Dean quirked a smile at his brave little brother trying to comfort him, when Sam was the one who had been kidnapped and locked in a freezer with severed body parts of other kids...and had endured god knows what else.
"We'll talk about it later," Dean told his brother. "But first..." He paused, brushing the kid's bangs from his eyes. "Sammy. Did he hurt you?"
Sam blinked, knowing what his brother was asking. "No," he assured quietly.
Dean nodded, releasing a breath he didn't realize he had been holding. "Good," he replied. "Good."
Sam smiled; feeling loved and protected at Dean's obvious relief.
Dean returned the smile. "We'll talk about the rest later. But what d'ya say we get the hell outta here?"
"Yes," Sam agreed heartily, huddling inside the blankets as he shivered.
Dean affectionately patted Sam's leg and closed the passenger door; crossing to the driver's side and sliding in behind the steering wheel.
"Where's Dad?" Sam asked, staring at John's truck across the parking lot and seeming to just realize that John was absent from his rescue.
Dean cranked the Impala, taking comfort in the familiar rumble of her engine, and glanced up through the windshield at the apartment building towering overhead.
"Dean..." Sam prompted, looking at his brother expectantly; his blinks getting longer as fatigue pulled at him.
"He's taking care of something," Dean vaguely responded, not knowing exactly what John was doing to the man who had taken Sam...but confident their dad was making him sorry.
Sam narrowed his eyes but didn't comment; too tired to figure it out and deciding he would worry about it later.
"That's a good idea," Dean remarked, reading his brother's thoughts as he readjusted the Impala's vents to blow more directly on the freezing kid. "We'll just drive for now and meet up with Dad later," he assured, knowing John would call after his business was done and everything was cleaned up and handled without a trace.
"'Kay," Sam replied sleepily – used to that explanation about their dad – and scooted across the bench seat; resting his head on Dean's shoulder as he leaned against his brother.
Dean quirked a smile. "Dude. Get off of me," he grumbled even as he wrapped his arm around Sam, lending his warmth and support to the traumatized, clingy kid.
Sam said nothing.
Dean remained quiet as well; shifting the Impala's gears and easing out of the apartment building's parking lot; listening to the slowly deepening breaths of his brother mingle with the hum of the Chevy's tires on the highway.
"Hey, Dean..." Sam called drowsily.
"Yeah, Sammy..." Dean answered, checking his rearview before glancing down at his brother.
"I really don't like Halloween."
Dean chuckled at the unexpected comment, having completely forgotten it was Halloween. "Yeah," he agreed as he continued to drive, feeling Sam lean more heavily against him as the kid finally dozed off. "Me neither, kiddo."