Disclaimer: You think that finale would have happened if I owned the show? I promise that wasn't me. I don't Supernatural or any related characters.
Sammy was six, nearly seven when he started to realize we weren't normal. I was pretty sure it came from school. In kindergarten no one cares if you come in late and only stay a few weeks or if your big brother drops you off every morning with a reminder to stay safe. No one cares about your idiosyncrasies so long as you're fun to play with. By first grade though, they start to notice when something's different about you, even just a little, and they start to comment. They notice if you're a little older than everyone else and they certainly notice when you come to their class in late March. The thing about first graders is that they're rarely intentionally mean- they were still working out that everyone had feelings just like they did. At least that's how I tried to see it.
I didn't care so much about the psychology of six year olds as I did about the psychology of my brother. I had known for a long time, almost as long as I could remember, that there are things that go bump in the night, that it wasn't just people's houses settling quite as often as it should be. Sam had started asking questions about two years ago, mostly about why the kids in the stories we read had moms when we didn't. Those questions, when they started, were easy enough to answer. I had been able to tell him some families were just different. I knew that tactic wasn't going to work much longer, now that he was in school, andaround kids his own age.
Sammy was smart, even as a kid, picking up on patterns no one else saw. I was just delaying the inevitable as long as I could. I begged him not to ask so many questions; questions I suspected deep down he already knew the answers to. He never asked Dad anything I noticed. Part of me wondered, sometimes if he even noticed Sam was asking me the questions he should be answering. Dad didn't want Sam to know the truth, not yet. Thought he was too young; I thought differently. I had known since I was four, but I didn't argue.
When I finally did tell him I probably did in the worst way possible. I knew that as soon as the words came out of my mouth. I was eleven. This wasn't supposed to be my job, but as per usual Dad wasn't around. I was sick of hedging Sam's questions. He deserved to know the truth; I could give him that. Maybe it was harsh, but I had to give the kid credit. He took it pretty well, at least comparatively. I hadn't talked for a month when I found out. Then again all I had known then was that Mom was on the ceiling when Dad handed me Sam, a thing that I knew wasn't supposed to happen.
Six months later Sam was still full of questions- now they were just about what Dad was hunting. Dad had been less than amused when he found out what I had done, but his anger faded quickly. Even he had to admit it was just a matter of time.
"Dean, why don't we stay in one place? I know Dad has to travel but couldn't we stay?" I thought about it for a moment. It wasn't something I had ever really considered. Constantly being on the road was my normal.
"Because hunters don't stay in one place. They have to save people form losing their homes like theydid." It was a weak answer and I knew it.
"Uncle Bobby has a home"
"No, Uncle Bobby has a house."
"What's the difference?"
"Home's a place where you're happy. Uncle Bobby isn't happy, Sammy. He hasn't been for a long time"
"Maybe he should find a place where he can be happy." Sometimes the kid really blew my mind. He managed to be so innocent and cut to the nitty gritty details of life in the same conversation.
"Sometimes you can't be happy no matter where you are so you be unhappy where it's familiar."
"Why doesn't Dad find a place to be unhappy then?"
"Because he hunts all the time. There are a lot of monsters out there. They aren't all in one place. Bobby helps hunters out."
"Are you happy, Sammy?" I turned the tables on him, needing to make sure. To be absolutely certain the resignation in his voice wasn't him thinking he could never be happy- just him being sad that the ones who had been in the business for a while, like Bobby, like Dad, could only be sad.
"I have you." He shrugged. It was such a nonchalant, weighty answer coming from such a small body I nearly cringed. Sammy wasn't supposed to be like this. He was supposed to be a normal little kid; I was, I needed to make sure he stayed one as long as possible, despite what he knew. I took a deep breath and pulled myself together, wishing for the thousandth time that Dad was around to answer these questions.
"Sam, do you want a home?"
"If home is where you're happy, then I'm home as long as I get to be with you. I just want to stay in one place, I think." I tried not to be flattered- it was just little brother hero worship.
"You're lucky then. Most hunters don't have a home, Sammy."
"Do you have a home, Dean?"
"When I'm with you and Dad? Yeah, yeah I do. I was glad when Sam left it there. My dozen years had only provided so much wisdom.