‘Dean?’ Sam said in a small voice as he entered the bathroom.
Damnit. Dean quickly removed his hand from where it had been. It definitely should not be there as his 15-year-old brother’s voice entered his mind and filled his head with dirty images. Every time Sammy walked into the bathroom while Dean had his hand around himself his mind quickly replaced the very innocent images of women with ones of his brother. And that was not how he was supposed to think of his baby brother.
He had thought about shutting the door while he was in the shower. It had been a long time since it was necessary to keep an eye on Sammy in the motel rooms or to remove any barriers for him when he was still just a baby. But even still, he enjoyed it when his little brother would come into the bathroom to talk. They did their most serious discussions while Dean was in the shower; like the time Sammy had asked what happened to their mother, or any time Dad left Sam would come in and ask where he’d gone, stuff like that. Closing the door felt like he was shutting his brother out of a part of his life. And it wasn’t as if Sammy always interrupted Dean’s “alone” time.
Dean definitely did not anticipate this serious a talk. ‘What is it Sammy?’ he asked as he heard his little brother slam the toilet seat down so he could sit.
‘Do you think Dad would let me go to college?’ Sam asked, hesitantly.
Dean whipped his head out from behind the curtain, careful not to let any of the shampoo suds fall into his eyes. ‘What are you talking about Sammy?’
‘I want to go to college,’ Sam said. ‘When I’m older, after high school. It’s just, we move around a lot. Do you think Dad would let me stay on my own?’
‘Sammy you don’t want to be on your own,’ Dean said, but quickly regretting saying that at the look of loss on his brother’s face. ‘I can’t protect you if you’re off to college.’
‘I don’t need you to protect me all the time. I’ll be an adult. I’m sure I can manage collage on my own,’ Sam said.
‘That’s my job Sammy. To protect my pain in the ass little brother. It doesn’t matter how old you get,’ Dean said. He returned to his shower and rinsed the shampoo out of his hair. ‘Besides, you know Dad.’
‘Can’t you talk to him?’ Sam asked. ‘He leaves us here with only you to protect us. You’re the same age I’ll be when I go off to college. If you can protect the both of us, I can protect just myself, can’t I?’
‘Doesn’t work that way, kiddo,’ Dean said. He had always known Sammy was more interested in school than hunting and it was only a matter of time before he brought up the idea of going to college. Dean knew his Dad would never go for it, though. And, truth be told, he wasn’t itching to let Sam go, either.
‘This isn’t fair,’ Sam said, slamming his hand down on the counter for emphasis.
‘Life’s not fair Sammy. Come on. You know that,’ Dean said.
‘Dean,’ he said, and Dean heard the plea in his voice. ‘Can’t you just lie to me for a little bit? Tell me everything is going to be all right and I can do anything I want when I grow up? Isn’t that apart of protecting me?’
Dean turned the shower off. ‘I’m supposed to protect you from monsters and demons, not feelings,’ Dean said. ‘Pass me a towel.’
After a few moments and the distinct sounds of his brother’s footsteps, a hand reached past the curtain holding a fluffy blue towel.
Dean quickly grabbed it and dried off a bit before opening the curtain. Sammy quickly turned around at the site of his brother wrapped in the towel.
‘It would just be nice, Dean. For once not to have to worry about all this supernatural crap,’ Sam said.
‘Preaching to the choir, kid,’ Dean said, walking past and ruffling up his brother’s hair.
‘But it’s easier for you. You enjoy this stuff,’ Sam said following his brother out of the bathroom and sitting on one of the beds.
‘You think I enjoy having to sleep with one eye open? Worrying sick that Dad’s not gunna come home. That you’re going to be ok? I don’t. All I want is for us to be together. For you to be safe. I can’t do that if you’re not here for me to look out for you!’
‘You don’t have to do that Dean, is what I’m saying,’ Sam shouted back. ‘Besides, lots of people go off to college and they’re all fine.’
‘Yeah, and lots of people die Sammy. Horrible deaths that we have to clean up after,’ Dean yelled. ‘I’m sorry Sammy, but no. And why are you bringing this up even? You’re fifteen goddamn years old. You shouldn’t be worrying about this crap, yet. Just keep your geeky little nose in those books and shut up.’
‘I’m sorry I don’t want to end up like you when I’m nineteen,’ Sam shouted, flopping down on the bed. Dean took that opportunity to throw some clothes on without his brother looking.
That hurt, though. This wasn’t the life that Dean would have chosen. He probably would have done the same thing as his dad and just got married, have a couple kids, work on cars. But he was raised a military life, a hunter’s life. Since he was four years old, that’s all he knew. Sammy at least had the luxury of being spared the reality most of his childhood. It would have been a lot longer if Dean was better able to keep a secret from his little brother.
Dean had accepted that he was a hunter when he was sixteen. This was what he was good at. And he enjoyed helping people, that he couldn’t lie about. But how Sammy said it: end up. That hurt. He hadn’t ended up anywhere he didn’t want to be. Or, at least, that’s what he kept telling himself.
‘Just … You have lots of time to not worry about crap like that, Sammy,’ Dean said. ‘Be a kid, okay?’
‘Like you were a kid?’ Sam accused.
‘Ouch, Sammy,’ Dean said as he sat on the other bed and flicked on the T.V. ‘Wanna watch some porn?’