Author's Note: This is my first fanfic story and was prompted by the sudden increase in brother feels lately. No beta. I just went through again and caught some typos, but I apologize for any that I missed
Disclaimer: I do not own supernatural or its characters and I will not profit from this work
With a sigh she sat down at her desk and closed her eyes, it had been a long day. When she opened them again, she nearly jumped out 0of her chair; a young boy stood right in front of her desk barely making a sound. She stared blankly at him for a moment before recognition hit. He had just started in her class a few days ago.
"Hello, Sam. Do you need anything?"
The mop headed little boy just stared at her for a second, then burst into tears.
She was so taken aback she froze for a second before the heart wrenching sobs triggered a comforting instinct developed by nearly a decade as a teacher and a mother. Before her brain processed her actions she was hugging the seven year old.
After a few minutes of silence punctuated by decreasing sobs, she decided Sam was calm enough for her to ask
"Honey, what's wrong?"
"Dean's late." Sam said like that explained everything.
"So, Dean is your…."
"Brother, yes." Sam answered her fishing question
"Ok honey. Is Dean supposed to pick you up?" She guessed. At his nod and hopeful look, she felt more confident. Late pick ups she had dealt with many times before. She looked at the clock to determine how serious it was; much to her surprise it was only ten past pick up.
"I'm sure he's just running a little bit late" she placated.
Sam face transformed from hopeful to annoyance.
"Mrs. Lodes, Dean is never late." He said with complete assurance
"Honey, I'm sure he doesn't mean to be late..."
"Dean IS NEVER LATE." While Sam's voice did not get louder, its precise clip conveyed his anger more clearly than a shout.
"Ok, ok. Where is he coming from?" she floundered
"Truman Jr. High" he said with an implicit duh. Like everyone knew who Dean was and where he would be coming from. Inwardly she was a little amazed how quickly he had changed from inconsolable to exasperated.
After mentally rolling her eyes at his exasperated tone, she asked "Does he have a phone?"
She knew it was a long shot, but she knew some teenagers had them. While she usually viewed them as overindulgence, it would be a stroke of luck now.
Sam just stared at her as if she had grown horns and a tail…..and on looking at the secondhand clothes he was wearing she couldn't blame him. She let out another sigh before she struck on possible gold.
"How about your parents, do you have a way of getting a hold of them?"
A parade of emotions streamed swiftly across the child' face almost too fast to discern, but she thought she saw both confusion and sadness there.
"No" was his simple reply, but said with such conviction that left no room for doubt or questions. His suddenly shuttered expression firmly shut the door on the follow up questions on her lips
She was a little bit lost. She just stared at the worried little boy, whose faith in her seemed to be crumbling right before her eyes as she struggled to understand the severity of the situation. Sam let out a sigh and started to leave and she could almost see him put a mental note of useless in his mental file of her. For some reason she didn't want that to be her defining attribute in Sam's mind so she blurted desperately
"Why don't I call the Truman and see if they know where Dean is?"
That got Sam's attention and his exasperation lessened if only slightly as he turned back around. His eyes were still reserved judgment unsure if she had just gotten lucky. She continued to stare surprisingly flustered by this child's maturity and how much his approval seemed to mean to her. The shift from cautious hope to annoyance in those hazel eyes shocked her into action once more and before she knew it the phone was ringing in her ear.
"Hello, Truman Jr. High, Nancy speaking, how may I help you today" was said in a professionally friendly voice of secretaries everywhere.
"Umm…Hello, I'm calling to ask the whereabouts of a Dean." She paused trying to remember the name
"Winchester" a little voice supplied at her hesitation
"A Dean Winchester, I have his little brother at Lincoln Elementary waiting to get picked up".
"Well….I shouldn't tell you this, but we never could get a hold of his family. He was in a fight and had to be taken to the hospital." There was shuffling of papers" Its Arborville Hospital. Thats all I can say." Nancy whispered before hanging up.
"Arborville" Mrs. Lodes whispered
Sam's head shot up. "He's in the hospital" His exasperation transformed into full blown panic.
"Why? How bad?"
"He was in a fight. They didn't say anything else." She stammered.
"How far is it from here?" Sam asks with an obviously effort to calm himself down.
"It's about a 10 minute drive from here."
"So that's about a 5 mile walk"
"Yes, but you can't walk there" she hurriedly added seeing the determined glint in the young boys eyes.
"Thank you for all your help" Sam neatly sidestepped the question as he turned to leave. She couldn't let him go as she did not doubt he was headed directly to the hospital and his brother.
"I'll give you a ride" she impulsively offered, scared of what might happen to an 8 year old wandering the busy streets alone.
Sam looked at her in surprise and in suspicion. He cocked his head as if he was trying to divine some hidden motive.
"I would feel better if I knew you weren't wandering alone. And I kind of want to meet this Dean" she added to lighten the mood. The bright smile with dimples that broke out rewarded her small attempt at levity. Taking that as a yes, she began gathering her stuff and they were both out the door in 5 minutes, which was still not soon enough if she read Sam's fidgeting correctly.
The ride to the hospital was silent, Sam intently staring out the front window as if he could will the hospital closer. Mrs. Lodes, on the other hand kept staring at the boy who had aged ten years since entering her classroom.
Sam entered the hospital in front of her and she could tell he was barely keeping himself from running on his way to the nurses' station. She was taken aback by his beeline as it demonstrated alarming familiarity with the hospital. His immediate recognition of the hospital's name came to mind, leading her to conclude this was not his first visit here. The fact that he obviously came here as a visitor rather than a patient was only partly reassuring.
Before she had reached the nurses station Sam was already signing in. The nurse recognized him and gave him a sympathetic glance before telling him a room. She sent him off with "he's been asking about you hon." Which prompted Sam to race off, no longer attempting not to run, presumably in search of his brother. Mrs. Lodes hung back to give the siblings a few minutes and also seeing a chance to satisfy her growing curiosity.
The nurse, who had been watching Sam disappear, turned to her
"Hello, thank you for bringing him. His brother was going crazy and we couldn't get into contact with anyone. Are you family?"
"I'm actually his teacher. Dean was late and Sam just knew. He knew something was wrong."
"Well thank you again. Those boys deserved a break"
"What do you mean?"
"I shouldn't be telling you this, but you did say you were a relative didn't you?" she asked with a conspiratorial twinkle. Mrs. Lodes nodded in quick comprehension of the nurse's gambit. "Well then it's perfectly ok to tell you then that this isn't their first visit there. Their daddy got hurt a couple months back and those boys were constantly underfoot. They never caused problem or made a fuss, perfectly content to sit by their dad or next to each other. In fact, they acted better than most grown children, which was a bit eerie at times. Truth be told, I kind of missed them when their daddy got better. Not that I wanted Dean to come back." She finished with a sigh.
"How serious is it?
"Just a broken leg, but since he hit his head when he fell we have to keep him for observation. You should be ok to go back now." She said with a smile.
"Oh, yes what room again?"
After getting the room number and consulting the directory, another thing she realized Sam did not have to do, she wandered into the famous Dean's room.
She stopped stunned at the sight that greeted her. Lying in bed was a freckled faced boy no older than 11 with one arm around his younger brother who had tucked his head in his brother's neck almost lying on the bed himself. She was surprised when bright green eyes met hers and turned almost feral. She saw his hand tighten around Sam as if to shield him from her. That tightening must have alerted Sam to her intrusion because he lifted his head.
While his brother's eyes aged with suspicion, Sam's hazel eyes were younger than she had ever seen almost shimmering with relief and love as if his whole world was right again.
"Who are you?" Dean demanded. She was so shocked by his tone that she was once again speechless at the hand of a child. A state that was becoming alarmingly frequent with these two boys.
"She's my teacher. She gave me a ride here." Sam piped up rescuing her. Dean's suspicion only slightly lessened and his hold on his brother seemed to tighten. This tightening alerted Sam to the growing tension.
"She's good. I went to her when you were late. I was going to walk but she insisted" Sam explained. Dean's eyes softened as they turned to his brother, showing the same devotion that Sam's had, but tinged with an almost parental protectiveness that seemed at odds on an 11 year old's face.
"Sorry about that bud. I told them I was fine and I needed to pick you up but they didn't listen" the last was said with a glare at her as if she was part of a grand adult conspiracy responsible for keeping him away from his brother.
Sam gave him a look that was half puppy dog and half annoyance as he gestured at her prompting his brother to be nice. Dean rolled his eyes.
Even after watching this interplay, Mrs. Lodes was surprised when she heard Dean's grudging "Thank you for taking him. He has no sense of direction." The last point was directed at Sam if the boy's indignant huff was anything to go by. She found herself smiling at the easy banter between these two, but her status as intruder was quickly reafffirmed by Dean's pointed " Sam's good now. Our Dad should be here soon. Don't you have someplace else to be?"
In truth her husband and kids probably were wondering where she had been, but being told that by a middle-schooler made her reply. "No, the safety and well-being of my students comes first."
Dean rolled his eyes knowing a line when he heard it, while Sam just looked perplexed.
"I'm with Dean now, I'm fine." Sam declared confused looking absolutely bewildered at her.
She knew she should say something about an 11 year old being too young or waiting for a parent or some adult, but Dean's hard eyes and defensive posture combined with Sam's absolute faith in his brother dissuaded her.
"On second thought, you're right Sam. You're fine. I will see you in class tomorrow. Dean," she hesitated, "it was very nice to meet you. Get better."
For once today she left a Winchester shocked speechless as she took her leave. There was something special about those boys that soothed any doubt she had with leaving a 7 year old in the hands of an 11 yr old. It could be the absolute faith and determination of Sam to get to his brother or how Dean's eyes gentled when they looked at his brother as he refused to let go, but it all came down to Sam's, "I'm with Dean now, I'm fine.", and the promise in Dean's eyes to uphold his brother's faith at any and all costs.
They never came back to school, but she knew that wherever they ended up she knew they were fine because they were together. Over 20 years later, she saw on the evening news that Sam and Dean Winchester died while in police custody, and while their criminal turn surprised her, that they died as they lived, together, almost brought a tear to her eye.