Some of the dialogue in this story is taken directly from the episode "Something Wicked."
Dean was ten years old, which was basically an adult, he shouldn't have to be stuck in a motel room for a whole weekend with his little brother, who was clueless about everything and ate all the Lucky Charms without even trying to share. This whole weekend sucked. On that third night of being in close quarters with his little brother, not being able to breathe without Sam asking why he was doing it that way. Dean needed to get out of that room. He was climbing the walls.
"Dean," Sammy whined grabbing the back of the chair Dean was sitting in and pulling as hard as he could. "I'm bored, you should play with me."
"I gotta finish this homework," Dean sighed. "Just watch TV, I'm almost done."
"Can I help you?" Sam asked excitedly, climbing into the chair next to his brother and kneeling so he could see what Dean was doing.
"No," Dean said shortly. "You're a first grader. You can't do fourth grade homework."
"I can try," Sam suggested. "It'll make me super smart! You said that I'm gonna be real smart cuz you teached me to read and do adding and you were right. So I can help. I'll be a big help."
"Just go watch TV, Sammy," Dean snapped. "I don't need your help."
After having been held back to repeat fourth grade earlier that year, Dean had begun to think that he was incredibly stupid. His dad would tell he that he needed to be smarter all the time; about school work, about watching after Sammy, about everything. The last thing Dean needed was help on this homework that he was struggling with from his six year old brother.
"When's Dad getting back?" Sam huffed as he sat on his feet. "Dad's not mean to me like you are."
"Not 'til tomorrow," Dean replied. "Just stop bothering me, okay."
"Are we gonna go back to the old school?" Sam asked. "Where we lived before? Cuz I gots a lotta friends and my teacher is really nice."
"Yeah," Dean sighed. "Dad said we were, he just didn't want to leave us in Michigan by ourselves for a long weekend. Now go away."
"I'm too bored to watch TV," Sam said. "I want you to read to me."
"I'm doing my homework," Dean repeated. "You can read yourself."
"But it's better when you read it," Sam said. "It's boring when I read it to myself. You do better voices."
"Go away," Dean shouted trying his best to sound like their dad. Sam always listened to their dad. "I'll hang out with you when I'm done. You know how to read. I know you do. Go over there and read your own book."
He immediately regretted yelling. Sam's bottom lip stuck out and started to quiver like he was going to cry.
"I'm sorry," Dean said softly. "Just go in the other room and play with your cars or the army men something. I'll play with you when I'm done."
"Can I play with your fire truck?" Sam asked hopefully.
"No," Dean stated. His fire truck was his most prized possession, a gift for his fifth birthday from his father. Sam was not allowed to touch it. Sam broke too many of his own toys for Dean to even think about letting Sam get close to his fire truck.
"Fine," Sam pouted as he slid off the chair and sulked into the adjoining room.
Dean waited until he heard the sound of Sam forming a very large tactical assault on a group of army men from across the queen bed before he bend his head back over his English worksheet. He'd read the stupid paragraph five times and he could figure out the answers to any of the questions. His teacher thought he was lazy and just didn't like doing homework, and his dad thought Dean was an idiot because he couldn't figure out how to answer simple questions. He was caught in a vicious cycle when it came to his school work. He wished that he could have Sam's confidence, knowing he was the smartest kid in the room. Dean would never be the smartest kid in the room. That was one thing he was very sure about.
It wasn't that Dean didn't want to watch out for his little brother, it was just that he was ten, and an adult and Sam was still a baby. Dad still treated Dean like he was a little kid, but Uncle Bobby and Pastor Jim, and everyone else that John had dumped them with, treated Dean like he was big kid now. Bobby even gave him an allowance. Sam didn't get an allowance, because he was still a baby. Bobby would give Dean a quarter every day that he helped Bobby out around the house. Dean helped wash dishes and clean the kitchen and pick up after Sam so Bobby would place the coin in his palm at the end of the day. He had almost five dollars in a zip lock bag in his duffle. Quarters were meant to be spent on video games.
When they checked into this weird bowling themed motel, Dean noticed a little game room off the front desk with a foosball table and arcade style video games. He decided that after he put Sam to bed, that he would sneak out for some air. It wouldn't hurt anything if he went out for a little bit if Sam was sleeping. No one would know, no harm, he figured.
He tucked Sam in, reading him a short story from a magazine about King Arthur. Sam didn't care that Dean read slowly or struggled with some of the words. He just liked to hear his brother's voice as he fell asleep.
"I like how you read, Dean," Sam yawned as Dean finished the story. "It's the best."
"Go to sleep, Sammy," Dean kissed the top of his head. "Dad'll be back in the morning and we'll head back to the apartment in Michigan."
"Okay, Dean," Sam smiled closing his eyes. "Good night."
Sam fell asleep pretty quickly, but Dean was wide awake. It was only eight o'clock, and Bobby told him that if it wasn't a school night he could stay up until ten if he didn't tell his dad. Dean took it to heart, if his dad didn't know; it was like it never really happened.
Dean dug around in his duffle of his bag of quarters and shoved it in his pocket before triple checking on Sam to make sure he was asleep. He grabbed the key from the counter and stepped out the door, making sure it was locked before he crossed the parking lot.
He spent a dollar fifty of his quarters on the two different video game consoles in the main office of the motel in the hour and a half before they closed. He nodded at the night manager and headed back across the parking lot. He was thinking about how that was exactly what he needed to feel normal again. He wasn't stir crazy anymore; he could very easily spent the rest of the time until Dad got back with Sammy, even if he didn't get back for until late the next day.
When he came into the room, something seemed really off. The door between the main room and the sleeping area was definitely opened when he left, but Sammy could have closed it if he got up to get a drink of water, but if Sam had gotten up, he'd be freaking out. Sam didn't sleep when he could see Dean. He through a fit if they got separate rooms. For whatever reason, Dean was Sam's safety blanket. Sam would be sitting by the door crying if he got up to get water while Dean was playing video games. Dean probably would have been able to hear his little brother crying for the office if he'd woken up. He noticed a strange light coming from the other room, he stepped closer grabbing the shotgun his dad left for him in case of emergencies and pushed the door open.
Sam way laying across the bed over the covers with a dark cloaked figure standing over him, seemingly sucking the life out of him. Dean panicked. He was frozen finger on the trigger. The thing must have heard Dean when he pushed the door open because it turned and hissed at him. Dean felt his heart pounding in his chest. He was terrified.
Out of nowhere the door behind him slammed open and his dad was standing next to him. He yelled for Dean to get down and pushed him out of the way as he fired at the cloaked figure until it fell out the window. John rushed to Sam cradling him on his lap demanding to know what happened.
"I… I went out," Dean stammered.
"What?" John asked pure anger across his face. Dean had really screwed up this time.
"It was just for a second," Dean defended
"I told you not to leave this room!" John yelled. "I told you not to let him out of your sight!"
John held Sam close to his chest, rocking him back and forth like baby.
"Start packing up," John demanded. "We're getting out of here as soon as possible."
"Yes sir," Dean nodded. He grabbed his duffle bag and started to pack all of his and Sammy's clothes inside, then their army men and toy cars, his fire truck, and lastly the picture of his mom he took with him everywhere.
"Bring it out to the car," John said picking up the younger boy and carrying him around. "Then get back in here and clean up the rest of it. Pack the food up and dishes."
Dean nodded, holding back tears. John was going to scream and yell at him the whole way back to Michigan. He did what he was told, packing up everything they'd brought with them from the little apartment they'd left from into the box that it had come out of and brought that out to the car as well. He doubled checked the room, making sure that he didn't forget anything before looking up at his dad.
"Wipe those crocodile tears, Dean," John growled. "I ain't got time for you being a baby because you can't follow simple frickin' instructions."
He nodded, wiping his eyes with the sleeve of his shirt.
"I packed up everything, sir," Dean whispered. "Everything's in the car like you said."
"Then let's go," John grabbed Dean by the back of the neck and pushed him out in front of him.
Dean opened the back door so his dad could lay Sam in the back seat before climbing into the passenger's side as his dad got behind the wheel. He just waited for the yelling to start.
They'd been driving for a while before John said anything, almost like he was making sure Sammy was sound asleep before he let into Dean.
"What were you thinking?" John said softly, but there was no mistaking the anger in his voice.
"I… I… Sam was being real annoying all weekend," Dean answered. "He wouldn't listen to me, and he had me cook spaghetti-o's but then changed his mind at the last minute and ate whole box of Lucky Charms and I didn't get any, and he kept bothering me while I was doing my homework and I just needed some air."
"So," John nodded not looking at Dean, just staring out the windshield. "Instead of following orders, instead of listening you decided to wander off and do what? What was so important that you left a six year old alone in motel room?"
"He was asleep!" Dean cried. "I wouldn't have left if he was awake."
"I don't care," John stated. "You can't listen. What was so important that you took off and almost got your little brother killed?"
"I was playin' video games in the office," Dean mumbled.
"Video games are more important than your kid brother," John nodded. "Nice, Dean, real nice. How could you be this stupid? I swear to God, Dean, I can put up with a lot, but you not following orders, that's something I can't put up with. Sam could have died, Dean. What's it going to take for you to understand how important it is for you to listen to me when I tell you to do something? It's not that hard to just sit tight and do as I say. You could have played games tomorrow morning."
"Everything was fine when I left," Dean defended. "He was sound asleep. I was only gone for a little bit."
"If I didn't get there when I did," John said, teeth tightly clinched. "You wouldn't have a little brother anymore. Is that what you want, Dean? You want Sammy to get killed?"
"No!" Dean shook his head violently. "I don't want that. Never. I didn't think nothing would happen it was only for few minutes! I just had to get some air."
"Stop yelling," John said calmly. "Don't wake up Sammy."
"I'm sorry," Dean sighed. "But I really didn't mean for anything to happen. I swear."
"Well it did, Dean," John shook his head, still not looking over at his son. "And I'm very disappointed in you. I expect better. A lot better. How can I ever trust to leave you to watch Sam ever again? How am I supposed to go out and do my job if I can't trust you to do yours? How do I know that you won't do the same thing again? What if a monster actually kills your little brother because you just need some air?"
"I'll never do it again," Dean said, taking deep breaths to keep from crying. "Never ever. I learned my lesson."
"Know what happens in the Marines when you disobey a direct order?" John asked. "Especially one that almost gets someone killed?"
Dean shook his head, but then remembered his dad wasn't looking at him and said no.
"They kick you out," John stated.
"You're gonna kick me out of the family?" Dean asked softly, heartbroken. "Where and I gonna go? Am I gonna hafta live with Uncle Bobby forever? I'm not big enough to get a job. How and I gonna eat? But Sam will miss me too much! You can't kick me out, Dad. You can't. I'm sorry."
Dean couldn't help but start crying then. He didn't care that his dad would think he was being a baby. He didn't want to be left on the side of the road somewhere. He'd really screwed up; he knew he'd screwed up the moment he walked back into the motel room. But he didn't think his dad would kick him out of the family.
"Don't be a drama queen," John spat. "I'm just telling you how it is in the real world. You mess up like that again, well, son, the world ain't full of second chances. Wipe your tears."
"I'm really sorry," Dean repeated wiping his face. "I didn't mean for it to happen. I really didn't. I'm really sorry that Sammy got hurt. I didn't want it to happen. I swear."
"I know," John nodded. "But that don't mean I'm gonna forgive you. You're in big trouble. You need to learn how to listen. It doesn't matter if you don't like the orders, you do exactly what I say, exactly how I say it. Do you understand me?"
"Yes sir," Dean nodded. "I will. I promise. I'll never mess up again."
"Good," John nodded. "I hope not. Now go to sleep. We got a long drive ahead of us still."
"Yes sir," Dean replied pressing his head against his window and closing his eyes.
Dean thought about how he could have fixed this situation. Everything he'd managed to do wrong in such a short period of time. He just wanted a little bit of personal time, but maybe people like him didn't get to have time by himself. That was what school was for, maybe. That was his only time away from Sam. He knew he would never forgive himself if something happened to his little brother. He would never be able to live with himself. He knew how important his dad's job was, how he was saving people from bad things. Dean's only job was to take care of Sam, and he could barely do that. He was surprised that his dad hadn't dropped him off on the side of the road between Wisconsin and Michigan as they drove. Dean knew that he really deserved a lot worse than the scolding that his dad had given him. All Dean wanted was to make his dad proud of him. He knew deep down that he never could. Not the way he acted today, being so selfish like that.
Dean slumped down further in the seat, pressing his head onto the arm rest trying to find a half comfortable way to sleep. He knew that from that moment forward he was going to follow everything his dad said without a second thought. He was going to do better than his dad could ever imagine. He just had to be a better listener. His dad was giving him a second chance to prove he wasn't stupid and worthless, he wouldn't let his dad regret it.