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Walking In the Shadows

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“Walking in the Shadows”

By C.K. Blake

 

It’s been nearly seventeen years since the last time he saw his baby brother. A little baby pushed in his arms by his father while their mother burned to death on the ceiling. He remembers making it outside and someone taking little Sammy from him. He remembers his father gathering him up, crying over the loss of their mother and little Sammy.

 

Dean Winchester has lived with the guilt of losing Sammy all this time. Sammy was his responsibility and someone took him away and his father has never looked at him the same since. No matter what Dean does…it’s never good enough. He lost Sammy, never mind the fact that he was just four years old. He still lost Sammy.

 

He is twenty-one now, sitting in a bar nursing down a bottle of beer. His face is bruised, his cheek cut open from a nasty fight with a thing he doesn’t even have a name for. All he knows is that it had claws, teeth, and a serious anger management problem. It’s not a problem anymore, but that doesn’t stop the stinging in his cheek.

 

He finishes the beer and raises his arm for another, when he picks up on the shouting coming from the area where a couple of pool tables are set up. He usually ignores bar fights unless he’s in the middle of one, but he still lifts his gaze out of curiosity, and he sits up and stares at the young man who’s around six foot five, dressed in tight fitting clothes, wearing eyeliner, his shaggy hair all over the place, and he’s looking pissed.

 

There is something so familiar about the kid. Then Dean sees it. The kid looks up and he sees the kid’s eyes and he knows without a doubt, because that kid has John Winchester’s eyes. Holy hell, in a seedy bar in Chicago, Dean has found Sammy.

 

He slips down from the barstool, walks across the bar, and gets between the kid, Sammy, and the man hassling him. The man is about Dean’s height, but Dean’s got years of fighting and surviving on this guy, and while the guy has a few years on Dean, Dean knows he can take him.

 

“What’s the problem?” Dean asks, his voice sharp as he narrows his gaze on the man hassling his kid brother.

 

“That little whore lifted my wallet in the men’s room. I want it back,” the man hisses.

 

Dean lifts a brow, spares a glance back at Sam who is glaring at the man, and looking all kinds pissed off. Dean files away the whore comment for later, and turns his attention back to the man when he hears the sound of a pocketknife snicking open.

 

Dean smirks at the man as the man holds the knife out. A crowd has started to gather around them, and Dean can feel those familiar eyes, his father’s eyes in the kid’s head, watching him.

 

“Sure you wanna do this? Cause I’m guessin' mine’s bigger than yours,” Dean replies, and the man lunges and makes a swipe.

 

Dean jumps back, pulls his favorite hunting knife from the sheath at the back of his jeans, and holds it in a defensive grip. His thumb is curled around the butt of the hilt, the serrated edge of the knife is pointed towards him, and the narrow sharp curve of the blade is pointed outward, ready for action.

 

“Still wanna give it a go?” Dean asks, his tone cocky.

 

The man swallows and pulls back. Dean looks the man up and down and then snarls, “Don’t ever mess with my kid brother again. And next time bring a real knife to a knife fight.”

 

The man gives a shaky nod, puts his knife away, turns tail, and runs. Dean slips his own knife into the sheath in the back of his pants, and readjusts his jacket to cover it again.

 

He turns to the kid, and the kid does not look pleased. Dean also notices the bartender coming out from around the bar and knows it’s time to go. He puts an arm around the kid’s shoulders, and while the kid looks like he wants to jerk away, he notices the bartender with a bat in his hand, and decides he’ll go with Dean for now.

 

Dean leads him out of the bar, and around to the alley where he’s parked his baby, a ’67 Chevy Impala, that he and his dad fixed up at an old friend’s place.

 

The kid looks the car over, a little impressed and Dean can’t help the smile of pride on his face, then the kid looks over the top of the car at him and that sulky look is back in place.

 

“Hey, I just saved your ass back there, so you gonna get in and let me buy you something to eat. Looks like you could use a meal. I know a diner a few blocks away. It’s a real shit hole, but the food’s decent,” Dean says, and he really wants the kid to say yes, because everything about the kid’s eyes is screaming Samuel Winchester.

 

“Cut the shit. If you want me to blow you for free, fine. I guess I owe you, but I could have taken that asshole myself. It’s not like I need you doin’ me any favors,” the kid snaps, and Dean winces. So the whore comment was true.

 

Dean holds his hands up and says, “Woah. Look, I can get my dick sucked for free whenever I want. I just wanted to buy you a meal and talk, okay kid? God, there something wrong with that? Look if there’s somewhere you need to be, then I’ll give you a ride, but I’m offering free food. In my neck of the woods you don’t turn that down.”

 

The kid pulls the car door open, slips into the car, his long legs taking up most of the space afforded in the front passenger’s seat. Dean taps the top of the car lovingly and then slips in behind the wheel. He turns the engine over and spares the kid a glance before he pulls out and starts to head toward that diner he mentioned.

 

“So, you got a name, kid?” Dean asks.

 

The kid slips him a bored, sidelong glance and shrugs. “It’s what you want it to be.”

 

“I’m not in the market for a whore, now quit being a smart ass and tell me your God damned name,” Dean growls, and the kid shivers, turns wide-eyed to Dean, and Dean sees something real in the kid.

 

He nods and then, almost like he’s getting teeth pulled, he says, “Sam. My name’s Sam.”

 

Dean feels his gut clench, and he knows for a fact that this is Sammy. He’s finally found the brother he lost so long ago.

 

“Any family, Sam?”

 

“How’s that any of your business?” Sam snaps, getting all defensive and then he raises a brow and looks at Dean. “And if you know my name, how ‘bout you give me yours.”

 

“I’m Dean, and I had a kid brother once. You’re ‘bout what, seventeen or so? He would have been about your age.”

 

“Yeah, ‘bout seventeen or so. And what, he die or somethin’?”

 

“Or somethin’,” Dean replies with a sigh, his fingers tapping along the steering wheel as he pulls into the diner and cuts off the engine.

 

Dean sits behind the wheel for a moment, feels Sam’s eyes on him. He swallows thickly, knowing that he’s got to tread carefully with this if he wants to get Sam to come with him. And Sam is going to come with him. There is no losing Sammy a second time. No way in hell.

 

“We goin’ in?” Sam asks pointedly.

 

Dean gives his head a shake and then nods. “Yeah.”

 

About fifteen minutes later Dean is picking over his fries while Sam wolfs down a second hamburger and reaches across the table to snatch one of Dean’s fries.

 

Dean stares at him and pushes his plate toward Sam. He’s never seen anyone eat like this. Sam looks up at him through hooded eyes and shrugs.

 

“Ain’t often a good, free meal comes along. Usually there’s strings. Still not sure about you. It’s not right that a guy comes out of nowhere, bein’ so generous without getting some kind of turn around.”

 

“And what if I do want something from you?” Dean asks, leaning across the table, and Sam looks up.

 

“Like what? The only thing you get for that stunt you pulled back at the bar is a free blowjob, that’s generous. If you’re into hands though, it’ll save me some grief. You want a good fuck I’ll knock a hundred off the going rate. That’s fair.”

 

Dean pulls back, runs a hand through his short, cropped hair, and sighs loudly. The waitress comes back with a couple of refills, and Dean shakes his head as he looks at the kid sitting across from him, and he wonders what could have possibly led Sammy to this kind of life.

 

He runs his tongue across his upper lip and then he leans forward across the table again, his knee knocking into Sam’s beneath the table. “Look, I don’t want to fuck you. What if I told you that you’d never have to fuck someone you didn’t want to ever again?”

 

Sam swallows, takes a long sip from his Coke, and runs his tongue along the inside of his right cheek considering before he finally replies, “I’d ask what the hell kinda scam you’re running.”

 

“No scam. Just come with me. You’ll never have to turn another trick. I’ll keep you fed, clothed, a roof over your head. All you gotta do is come with me, and maybe do the laundry every once and a while. That’s it,” Dean says, putting everything out for the kid to consider.

 

“Bullshit. There’s got to be something you want from me if you want me to come with you. Hell, you’re offering to be my sugar daddy. I’ve turned down rich men. I say when, I say who, I say how much,” the kid snaps.

 

Dean rolls his eyes. “Sure thing, Pretty Woman, but I’m not gonna just take off and leave you not knowing if you’re alive, or hungry, or hurt. Look, I lost my kid brother, and you kinda remind me of him. No tricks and I’ll keep you fed and clothed, come on. You don’t even have to do a damn thing and I’ll take care of you. That simple. You can leave any time you want to if it doesn’t work out. But don’t you think that’s a good deal?”

 

“Still don’t see what’s in it for you,” Sam says, and narrows his eyes.

 

Dean shrugs. “Call it the big brother program. Hell, I don’t know. All I know is that my mom died when I was a kid, my dad’s off doing God knows what for a job, and I lost my kid brother when I was four. If I don’t have someone to look after other than my own sorry ass I’ll go crazy. I’m sick of being left behind. This is more about me needing company than anything else.”

 

Sam pulls back and cocks his head to the side, considering the offer. “Fine, I’ll go with you, but I get a say in when I leave if shit gets heavy. And you don’t fucking touch me unless I say it’s okay. We need to stop by my place to get my shit, and then I’m good to go. And you can do your own laundry. I catch enough hell keeping my own clothes clean.”

 

“It’s a deal. You done here? I’d like to get out on the road as soon as possible.”

 

Sam grabs the last fry off the plate, stuffs it in his mouth, drinks down the rest of his Coke, stands up, and says, “Yeah, I’m good.”

 

About ten minutes later Dean is parked in front of what looks to be an abandoned building, tapping his steering wheel with Metallica playing softly in the tape deck. He shakes his head, hardly believing that he’s found Sam again. This is almost like some kind of dream. He still doesn’t like the idea that his brother’s been turning tricks to survive, but surviving is surviving any way you cut it.

 

Dean can understand why Sam would choose taking off with a complete stranger if this is the kind of life the kid’s been leading. Can’t really blame him. Dean let’s his head fall back at the thought of what’s kept his brother alive for so long, and he’ll be damned if Sammy ever has to return to that life again.

 

He knows Sam doesn’t trust him, but he’s going to do right by him. There are too many shadows in the kid’s eyes, like he’s not even a kid, never was one. One day they will be brothers again.

 

Dean jolts and shifts a little as the back passenger door is pulled open. A couple of black trash bags are tossed in the back, and then the door slams shut, making Dean wince. He gently pets the steering wheel of his car in apology and then Sam is filling up the space in the passenger’s seat. Dean takes in a deep breath and blows it out in a huff before he puts the car in gear and starts to put Chicago as far behind them as possible.

 

They’re a couple hundred miles down the road when Sam flips the volume dial on the tape deck, shifts so that he’s facing Dean, and then cocks his head, a sultry pout to his lips and a suspicious gleam in his eye. “So, where exactly are we going?”

 

“Got a job out in Tacoma, Washington. Supposed to meet my Dad out there by Friday,” Dean answers.

 

Sam’s eyes widen. “Wait, we’re driving to Washington State? What the hell? Where in the hell do you live?” Sam asks, his voice taking on an edgy tone.

 

Dean let’s his head roll to the side and he looks at Sam with a smile. “This is home. My baby’s more than just a car. And once we cross the state line I’ll see about getting us a room with a couple of beds. God, I could use a shower, and you gotta lose that make-up. Jesus.”

 

“So you’re a fucking drifter?” Sam bites out.

 

Dean shrugs. “Something like that, but I’m a drifter with a heart of gold, a kick ass soundtrack, and good comp’ny. Don’t need much else. And maybe we should set some ground rules for this little arrangement of ours.”

 

Sam snorts and shakes his head. “I fucking knew this was too good an offer to be true. So what, got some kinky ass road trip fantasy, cause I charge by the hour, man.”

 

Dean bites down on his tongue, counts to ten, pulls the car over and shuts the engine off. He turns in the seat, and glares at the kid.

 

“Okay, here’s the thing. I’m twenty-one years old, dude, I’m into chicks, and I’m taking you under my wing cause you need somebody to look after your stubborn ass before you get yourself killed turning tricks for the wrong perv some night. Rules are as follows. No more turning tricks. Separate beds, if we have to bunk in the car one of us gets the front seat and the other gets the back. When we stop in a place long enough your ass is getting tested for everything there is to get tested for. You can do what you want during the day, but at night you come back to wherever we’re staying at the time and you either keep your ass within my sight or shut up tight in the motel room or this car. Got it? I do some pretty dangerous jobs, and I won’t see you get hurt. And when you meet my dad, keep the smart ass attitude to yourself, no make-up, and Christ we should stop and get you some clothes that don’t make it look like I just picked your ass up off the corner. Sound fair?”

 

“Whatever,” Sam snarls, and then he slouches down in the front seat, which is an accomplishment considering his size, and crosses his arms over his chest.

 

Dean turns the engine over and gets back on the road; his thoughts turn to enduring the sulking that is obviously a constant with Sam.

 

It’s a long five hours later that Dean finally pulls into a cheap motel. Sam is sprawled out in the passenger seat, his head laid back over the seat at what looks like a painful angle, snoring. Dean rubs his eyes, and then goes to the office where he gets a room courtesy of one Jonas Popovich, whoever the hell that might be.

 

He pulls the car up to the room, gets his duffels out of the back, and then rolls his eyes before he smacks Sam in the arm. Sam jerks awake and looks around in a slight panic until he recognizes Dean, scowls, gets out of the car, grabs one of the garbage bags from the back and follows Dean into the room.

 

Dean tosses his bags on the bed nearest the door, and Sam takes the bed closer to the bathroom. Sam drops his bag to the floor and flops back on the cheap motel mattress, clasping his fingers together and bringing his entwined hands behind his head. He shifts so that he can see what Dean’s doing, and lifts a brow as he watches Dean pour salt lines along the windows and doorway.

 

“Man, you’re seriously tweaked,” Sam says.

 

Dean snorts. “When you’ve seen the shit I’ve seen you don’t take chances. Now if I were you I’d take a shower now, because if I end up in there first there won’t be any hot water left.”

 

Sam scrambles up from the bed, and heads into the bathroom. A few minutes later Dean hears the shower going and he sits down on his bed, his elbows on his knees and his fingers threading through his short hair, wondering what he’s gotten himself into. He wasn’t thinking when he made the offer to Sam, but he knows that he couldn’t have left him behind either. This is a huge mess in the making, he can just tell.

 

He pulls out a few weapons from his second duffel bag, a couple of guns, a nine-millimeter and a revolver, and he pulls out his set of throwing knives, and his favorite hunting knife. He lays them out on the rickety hotel table, and then he pulls out the cloth he uses to clean them, a couple of barrel cleaners, the gun oil and his whetstone.

 

He starts with the revolver first, taking it apart, cleaning the barrel and the compartment for the bullets, and then he polishes the metal to a gleaming shine. Next is the nine-millimeter, which he treats to the same care. He makes quick work of sharpening and cleaning the throwing knives, and by the time the shower shuts off, he’s running the blade of the hunting knife lovingly down the whetstone.

 

At the sound of the bathroom door opening Dean looks up and lifts a brow. Sammy walks out in a cloud of steam, a threadbare towel wound around his tapered waist, and a towel in his hands drying his hair. Dean sets the knife aside, and stands up. He shakes his head, and notices a few of the scars and old bruises along Sam’s chest, and when Sam heads toward his bed, Dean can also see the scars and bruises on his back.

 

Dean feels something strange pooling in his gut, and he swallows thickly. He strides over to his duffel, pulls out some clean clothes and heads to the bathroom. When he passes Sam he says in a strangled voice, “New rule. Clothes are a necessity. You better be wearing pants when I come out.”

 

Sam snorts as the bathroom door closes behind Dean, and he hears a stream of cursing coming from the bathroom as the shower is turned on. Maybe he should have left a little hot water, but no one has ever accused Samuel Winchester Montgomery of ever being nice.

 

While Dean is in the shower, Sam has an opportunity to explore. He finds a pair of decent blue jeans in his bag, puts them on, and then he crosses the room and looks down at the collection of weapons on the table. He doesn’t know how to put the guns back together, but a knife is easy enough to handle. He picks up the knife that Dean had pulled on that guy back at the bar.

 

His eyes following the gleam along the blade, and his thumb runs carefully along the sharp blade. It’s an amazing knife, and as Sam looks at the assortment of weapons and his eyes are turned once again to the salt lines he wonders just what this guy is into. He gets up and rifles through the duffel bag on Dean’s bed and finds clothes and Dean’s wallet.

 

There’s some cash, and a quite a few credit cards. None of the cards have the same name on them. So the guy obviously runs scams. Not that surprising. He thumbs through the cards until he comes across a couple of driver’s licenses. One is from Kansas, another from Texas, and the third from California, and all three have one thing in common, the name on them is the same. Dean Winchester.

 

Sam hears the water shut off. He folds the wallet and puts it back in the duffel. He’s about to head over to his bed when ringing sounds from the duffel. Sam stops. He knows he shouldn’t answer the phone, because who knows who could be on the other end of the line, but curiosity has always gotten the better of him.

 

He pulls the phone out of the bag, flips it open and brings it to his ear. There’s a gruff voice on the line, and Sam swears that it sounds so familiar.

 

“Dean, I need you to haul ass up here as soon as you can. This skin walker’s a tricky sonofabitch. You know the location. I’ll be waiting at the motel near the reservation. See ya when you get here, son.”

 

The man doesn’t even wait to hear a reply, just hangs up like that. Sam freezes at the sound of the bathroom door opening behind him and then spins around to face Dean. His mouth falls open at having been caught, and he holds the phone limply in his hand.

 

Dean lifts a brow and then says, “What did he say?”

 

“Something about a skin walker and you knew his location. Also said something about a motel near a reservation, whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean, and what’s a skin walker?” Sam asks.

 

Dean bites his lip and turns his gaze to the ceiling. “Just another job. You might want to think about turning in. We gotta make a break early tomorrow if I’m gonna make it there in time. Dad hates it when I’m late.”

 

“You mean that was your dad?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Sounded more like a drill sergeant.”

 

Dean shrugs. “He’s a retired marine. Never says more than he has to about a job. Now turn in,” Dean says.

 

“I don’t know what kind of work you do, but I saw the cards. You’re a scam artist right? Dean Winchester, is that even your real name?” Sam asks.

 

Dean narrows his eyes on the kid. “Nosy little bastard, huh? Yeah, Dean Winchester’s my name. My dad is John Winchester. And please tell me you didn’t swipe my cash, because it took me awhile to build up that stash, and I’d hate to have to kick your ass so early on.”

 

“I only take what I’m owed. That’s why I swiped that guy’s wallet back at the bar. If I get down on my knees I’m damn well gonna get paid for it,” Sam snaps.

 

“And that, my friend, is far too much information for me. Go to bed. We’ll catch some breakfast in the mornin’, and then we’re bookin’ it the hell outta here. The sooner we reach my dad the better.”

 

Sam rolls his eyes. “Yeah, I’m sure he’d just love to find out that his son picked up a whore in Chicago and has decided to keep him like a fucking stray.”

 

That’s the last straw. Dean crosses the room and shoves Sam up against the wall, his arm pressed firm against Sam’s throat. Sam’s eyes flash darkly and he looks down at Dean with a smirk.

 

“I was wondering when you’d come out to play. Knew there had to be something you wanted,” Sam says, his tone low, as he thrusts his hips forward and grinds against Dean’s crotch.

 

Dean fights back the groan in his throat at the contact, and wonders what’s gotten into him. His breathing is ragged as he gets up into Sam’s face.

 

“Look, I’m trying to help you out here. You’re better than some two-bit whore turning tricks for food and living in that shit hole. You’re too good to get down on your knees for a few bucks from some fucking sleaze. Grow the fuck up and see me as someone trying to help you, be your friend. I realize you’ve probably had a shitty life, but mine hasn’t been all fucking roses either. I’m not gonna fuck you, I’ve already told you that! Now stay outta my shit and get some sleep!”

 

Sam snorts and laughs. “Come on, your dick says you want me, and I gotta pay you back somehow right?”

 

Dean pulls back like Sam’s hit him. He faces the door, trying to gain control of his breathing and will away his hard on. Christ, Sam is his brother, why in the hell can’t his dick accept this?

 

“Go the fuck to sleep. We eat and then head out in the morning,” Dean grinds out, then he goes to the table, puts the guns back together and puts the weapons back into the duffel on the floor.

 

He drops the duffel on his bed to the floor, yanks the covers back on the bed, pulls them over him and settles in. He spares a glance at the other bed, and sees that Sam is on his back, sheets pulled halfway up his bare chest, Sam’s head turned toward him. Their eyes meet, and Dean swallows thickly, because there are things swimming around in Sam’s eyes that have no business lurking there, and below it all is desperation, long wilted hope, and something bordering on what Dean is afraid to call lust. He’s determined not to go there.

 

He checks the knife beneath his pillow, makes sure it’s in its sheath, and he settles down. Sam shuts the lamp off and Dean lies there for the longest time wondering what kind of life his little brother survived to end up as a whore in Chicago. Life is funny sometimes, but no matter how hard it would prove to be, having Sammy back was a relief, because there is no more wondering what happened to him all those years ago. Not when he’s here now, and Dean can protect him again.

 

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Dean sighs, his grip letting up on the steering wheel. They’ve finally reached Tacoma, though this past week has been a real trial on his patience. He shifts his gaze to Sam, who is finally wearing decent clothes as opposed to the ripped up, skintight rags he’d worn before. The loose look fits the kid, baggy jeans, a hoodie, new sneakers that Dean had to spring forty bucks on, but Sam’s worth it. The kid hadn’t liked shopping at thrift stores, but they managed after a couple of fights and Dean being accused of sucking ass as a Sugar Daddy.

 

Dean takes in a deep breath and lets it out slowly, bracing himself as he pulls into the motel near the reservation. He sees his father’s truck, and pulls the Impala into the space next to it. He cuts the engine, turns to Sam, and says, “Well, we’re here.”

 

“Bout damn time. Getting tired of being in this damn car all day. She’s a sweet ride, but I need to take a piss, and I’d love to stretch my legs,” Sam replies crankily.

 

Sam is the first out of the car, and he walks around for a few minutes. Dean slips out of the car, locks her behind him, and heads toward room 13. He takes in a deep breath, and feels the looming presence of Sam at his back as he knocks on the door. A moment later the door is pulled open to the extent that the chain lock allows, and John is peering through.

 

He looks from Dean to the tall kid standing behind him, before he closes the door and opens it. He cocks his head at Dean, a brow raised, and then lifts his gaze pointedly to Sam.

 

“Who the hell is this, Dean?” John asks, his voice gruff.

 

Sam squirms a little under the scrutiny, not sure how to take John Winchester, as Dean sighs. “Dad, this is Sam Montgomery, Sam, my dad, John Winchester. I had some trouble in Chicago, took care of it, and kinda got stuck with him. He’s not so bad.”

 

“So he knows what we’re hunting?”

 

“Not exactly,” Dean grinds out, and then Sam cuts in, “Hey, mind if I take a piss?”

 

John steps back and the kid crosses the salt line and heads straight for the bathroom. Dean steps into his father’s room, and the door shuts behind him. Dean notices the news clippings and old food wrappers scattered around the room, and then returns his attention back to John. “So how bad we talkin’ with this skin walker?”

 

“Do you really think we should be having this conversation with some strange kid in the bathroom listening in? Dean, what were you thinking? He’s a kid, probably has parents worried sick about him, and you drag him halfway across the country, like this? That’s kidnapping!” John snaps.

 

“Actually, it’s not. My parents died when I was seven and I went into a few foster homes. The last one was a real bitch, so I took off. Ended up in Chicago when the money ran out, and found myself in some trouble. Dean got me out of jam, and decided he’d be my Daddy Warbucks, but he really does suck at this whole Sugar Daddy thing,” Sam says as he steps out of the bathroom, and Dean glares at him, while John looks at the kid with narrow eyes, trying to get a read off of him. There’s something familiar about this kid that he just can’t put his finger on.

 

“So, you’re a hustler?” John asks, and it’s a loaded question and Dean wants to melt into the floor.

 

Sam pulls at the dark green hoodie, and shrugs. “I’ve been called worse, a whore, slut, prostitute, all boils down to the same thing. I don’t get why your precious Dean has taken me in. I’m not used to charity. Usually someone does me a favor they expect a little payback. Can’t say I’ve made much headway with him. But I’ll figure him out soon.”

 

John’s eyes widen and then he shifts his gaze to his son, and says, “Dean, mind telling me why you’d pick up a prostitute? A male prostitute?”

 

“Sammy,” Dean says, and John feels the wind knocked out of him as he returns his gaze back to Sam, and there’s that sense of recognition again, but it can’t be.

 

Sammy is gone, has been gone since the night Mary died. No, this kid sees an opportunity at steady meals, clothes, and security in Dean. That has to be it. There is no way his youngest son, his Sammy, would be reduced to this.

 

“I highly doubt that, but fine. He can stay,” John replies.

 

“So how about some take out and then we can talk more about this job. I’m guessin’ it’s not anyone on the reservation?” Dean suggests.

 

“I can have pizza delivered. I’ll get anchovies on mine, you still into that beef, pepperoni, and ham?” John asks.

 

Dean nods and then looks at Sam. “I’ll share with Dean, but if you could add pineapples to half of his, I’d blow you.”

 

John sputters, and Dean sends a glare in Sam’s direction. Sam just shrugs and smirks back and Dean. He likes this edge on Dean, makes him fun, and he’s going to figure out the limits and boundaries that Dean has working for him. John looks like he has a short temper, so he’ll have to watch himself with the old man, but a little fun won’t hurt anyone. Besides he’s pretty sure that Dean could and would take on the old man to keep him safe.

 

John places the order for the pizza, and Dean looks around the room, notices the two beds.

 

“Dad, think you can hold off on filling me in while I got get a room for me and Sam?” Dean asks, and gets up to head to the door.

 

“Why? Are you fucking him?” John asks point blank.

 

Dean’s eyes widen and Sam pipes up from his place on the bed, “Not yet, but I wouldn’t mind.”

 

“There are two beds in this room. I’m in the one closest to the door. You and your whatever the hell he is, can have that bed. No funny business, Dean. I don’t think I can take it. Christ, I… don’t even know where to begin, but we have a job to do, and I’m sure you know all about safe sex with all the woman you’ve left along the way. The same, I assume, goes for…”

 

“Dad, I’m not… That’s just NOT happening. Fine we’ll stay here with you. Now please tell me you have beer.”

 

John waves to the mini fridge and Dean grabs a bottle, then tosses one to Sam, and brings one back for his father. John looks disapprovingly as Sam pops the cap on the beer and takes a long pull from the bottle, but it’s not really his place to say anything. It’s not like he’s the kid’s father.

 

There’s awkward silence between father and son as Sam channel surfs on the television and finally settles on a game show. At the sound of a knock on the door, John gets up, answers the door, pays with two twenties and tells the delivery kid to keep the change.

 

John sets the pizzas down on the table, and Dean comes over, takes the one that’s his and Sam’s and goes over to the bed, he sits down next to Sam, and opens the box and Sam snatches a piece covered in meat and pineapples and takes a bite, a string of cheese hanging between his mouth and the pizza.

 

Sam moans and Dean swallows thickly before elbowing him in the side and taking a meat covered slice for himself. Sam gives Dean an annoyed look, but finishes the slice in silence.

 

Once they’ve eaten their fill, John and Dean start to talk shop. They’re looking for a skin walker; John has narrowed down the suspects, the woman that runs the infirmary on the reservation and the chief’s daughter. They need silver for this job, silver and a lot of luck.

 

By the time John and Dean are done talking about the case and how they’re going in to find the skin walker, Sam is curled up on his stomach, asleep. Dean gets up and crosses the room to the bed, runs an affectionate hand through Sam’s hair and looks up at his father.

 

“It’s him Dad. It really is. You’re crazy if you don’t see it,” Dean says.

 

John shakes his head. “He’s gone. There’s no getting him back. I thought we dropped this years ago. You’re setting yourself up to get hurt. Hell, he’s a prostitute. What are you thinking?”

 

“I’m thinking I have my brother back. That’s enough for me. Why is not enough for you?” Dean asks.

 

“Because Sammy is gone, hell, he could be dead for all we know,” John hisses, but as he turns his gaze to the kid curled up on the bed, he sees something that could almost pass for innocence on his face, and the kid is young. He’s had a hell of a life, that much is obvious, but John won’t give into Dean’s crazy hope. Sammy is gone, just like Mary. He’s accepted that and moved on. There is no going back.

 

“Just get some sleep, son. And don’t let him feel you up, and if my wallet’s short tomorrow you’re paying me back,” John says softly.

 

Dean snorts. “He’s not a thief.”

 

John shakes his head, but doesn’t say anything as he strips down to his t-shirt and boxers and slips into bed. He checks for the knife beneath his pillow, and then he begins to drift off as Dean gets the light and slips into the other bed, with the kid.

 

----------

 

At the sound of a crash and someone crying out, John reaches under his pillow for his knife, slips out of bed and flicks on the light in the room. He’s surprised to see Dean on top of the kid, straddling him and holding his arms down.

 

He sets the knife down, gets his arms around Dean, and jerks him off of the boy.

 

“I’ll be good, I promise. Please. Be good. Won’t do it no more. Please. I’m good,” the boy chokes out.

 

He struggles with some unseen force and then he pulls back, slips over on his side and curls into himself. He’s shaking and whimpering and John honestly feels bad for the kid.

 

John exchanges a look with an equally stunned Dean, and then he bends down and gives the kid’s shoulder a good shake. The kid jolts, stretches out and then turns over. He blinks against the light, raising his arm to shade his eyes from the light. “What’s with the lights? Not time to go already, is it?”

 

John shakes his head and says, “No, you just had a nightmare.”

 

The boy flushes red, and bites at his bottom lip before squeezing his eyes shut and taking a couple of deep breaths. When he opens his eyes again he looks straight up into John’s gaze and says, “Yeah. I’ll probably have another one too. Happens all the time. Used to have night terrors when I was a kid.”

 

John nods, gives the boy an awkward pat on the shoulder then looks at Dean with an expression that says, ‘He’s all yours, son.’

 

Sam lifts his head and watches as Dean draws up to the bed, and cautiously slips beneath the covers. Sam’s pleased to note that Dean’s only wearing a pair of boxers and sweat pants. Sam curls up against Dean, resting his head on Dean’s chest, just over Dean’s heart.

 

Dean allows it, and is surprised that it feels so right when he was expecting it to feel awkward. Dean lets his arm wrap around Sam’s back, and his fingers play with the too long hair at the nape of Sam’s neck, and John watches as his son and the boy fall asleep.

 

Unease gnaws at his gut at how attached Dean is to the kid, how they just settled back into bed like it was natural for them to be together, like they’d known and trusted each other their whole lives.

 

John flicks off the light, at the sound of the kid’s light snoring, and his heart skips a beat as he hears Dean’s voice, soft and soothing.

 

“I won’t let anyone hurt you anymore, Sammy. Never again.”