Sammy wasn't sure where Dean had gone. Dad said his brother was very sick. So sick that Dad couldn't take care of him. Sammy thought that didn't make any sense. How could Dean get sick and he not get sick? They'd been in the same room for days on end – Sam couldn't remember being sick without Dean being sick as well. It should work both ways, shouldn't it? Couldn't Dad have taken them to Pastor Jim's and then in a few days, Dean would be all better?
Being only five his grasp on time isn't that great. Days were measured in meals, weeks measured in TV shows and months in holidays and weather. When he last saw Dean, Sam could remember there being candy that Dad had brought home after one of his trips. Since then, there had been the holiday with the big meal – and then Christmas. Even a five year old knew what Christmas was. Dean should have been better by Christmas. No one was sick for that long.
It's in the middle of a heavy snowstorm that Sam realizes that, alone in a twin bed in a motel room, listening to his father snore that Dean must not be coming back. He huddled up under the covers, trying to forget the very, very bad dream he'd just had. He was alone in a crowd, crying – crying and no one was paying any attention to him. He was scared, lost and no one seemed to notice him. It was like no one could hear him screaming for help.
Then he had woken up. Woken up and not had his big brother there to soothe away his tears and comfort him.
Dad wasn't big into the comfort thing. Not the way Dean was. Dean always knew how to make the bad dreams stop and while his brother couldn't hear anything – he was great at keeping him safe.
Sammy missed his brother being in the bed with him. It wasn't just the fact that Dean kept the bad dreams away – the bed was warmer and since Dean couldn't talk with his voice, they used to talk with their fingers, his big brother calmly taught him out to write letters on his palms with his fingers, so they could talk in the middle of the night without Dad knowing, or in the backseat of the car. There were other ways to speak with your hands, Dean had shown him – and Dad knew a few phrases as well. But he didn't seem to like to do it.
Sam isn't sure, but he thinks Dad might have hit Dean. It must have been an accident – because Dad's not that mean. Dad's nice to him – why wouldn't he be nice to Dean?
He wants his brother back – he misses his best friend in the whole world.
Sam turns six and Dean's not there. Dad's all smiles and proud, happy and there's cake and ice cream and presents. It's better than Christmas.
When he goes to school for the first time at the end of summer, Dad tells him not to talk about Dean. That's nothing new – Dad never wants him to talk about Dean.
Sam's a little upset because he can't remember all the words his brother taught him to speak with his hands. He remembers just a few – his hand out on his temple – Dad – the same gesture at his mouth – Mom – a fist with his thumb under his index finger, swirled through the air – Sammy – and then, his right hand making a 'D' and then sweeping it down his face, looking down at the same time – Dean.
Dad told him not to talk about Dean – but it doesn't stop him from thinking about him. It's on a sunny day in October, when he's hanging upside down from a monkey bar, holding on tight with his hands because he's not tall enough to reach the ground if he stretched out – that it occurs to him that Dean isn't sick anymore.
Sam decides in that moment that he doesn't want any Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures or more green army men for Christmas. He's going to ask Santa for his big brother.
If anyone could bring Dean back to him it was Santa.
Dean Winchester learned that there was no Santa Claus at the age of four.
Sam Winchester learned that there was no Santa Claus at age six.
Adam Winchester wouldn't learn the truth about Santa until he was nine – and his big brother got in trouble for telling him.
Sam felt his brother should thank him for it – no self respecting ten year old believed in Santa any more than they believed in angels.
Dean would never believe in something as stupid as angels.
Little did Sam know that Dean was currently the only Winchester who did.
But then, Dean wasn't really a Winchester anymore.