It started out harmless, regular things that stir crazy teenage brothers do to each other. Sam had just turned eleven, starting to fight back when Dean pushed at him a little too hard, and Dean was enjoying every moment of it. It wasn’t fun when Sam would just cry and run to Dad. Dean considered his “torturing” -- as Sam called it-- as character development. He couldn’t let his kid brother grow up with his nose in a book and never learn anything about how it was in the real world. Hunters were action people, not book people, he was teaching his brother to stay on his toes; or at least that’s what he would tell his dad if Sam started crying.
“Want some orange juice?” Dean asked one morning before school passing Sam a cup, along with his regular bowl of Lucky Charms.
“I didn’t know we had orange juice,” Sam smiled excitedly. “I’d love some thanks!”
“No problem,” Dean smirked, doing his best not to let on that anything was amiss. “I know how much you like being healthy or whatever, I grabbed some on the way home yesterday.”
“Awesome,” Sam smiled taking a sip, then immediately spitting it all over the kitchen. “What the hell Dean!?” He rushed to the sink, turning on the tap and sticking his head under to try to wash the taste of whatever that was out of his mouth.
Dean was bent in half laughing. “Priceless.” He said between heaves. “You had no idea!”
“What the heck is that?”
Dean started to control his breathing enough to pull out an opened box of Mac and Cheese from the nearly bare cabinets of the trailer they were staying in. “Mixed it with water.”
“You’re disgusting,” Sam whined.
“I’m hilarious,” Dean corrected.
“You’re cleaning up the kitchen before you leave for school,” John said from behind them as he entered the kitchen. “What the hell were the two of you doing? Why is there juice everywhere?”
Dean started laughing again, too hard to explain his genius.
“Dean’s a jerk,” Sam explained.
“Yeah,” John shrugged shaking his head as he walked over to the coffee pot and poured himself a cup. “That’s not an answer.”
“Dean put mac and cheese cheese in a cup and told me it was orange juice and made me drink it.”
“I didn’t make you,” Dean said wiping a tear that had escaped his eye. “You drank it willingly. It’s not funny if I make you do it.”
“Clean up the mess, Dean,” John sighed turning to leave the room. “Stop being an asshole to your brother.”
“But it’s so easy,” Dean laughed.
“So is watching you doing push ups,” John called. “Stop picking on your brother or that’s how I’ll be spending my day.”
“Yes, sir,” Dean mumbled as he grabbed the dish towel off the side of the sink and started to wipe down Sam’s cheese spit from the kitchen’s surfaces.
Sam got home from school about twenty minutes before Dean everyday. He usually took that time to get as much homework done as he could before their dad started making them run PT drills or research whatever stupid monster he was hunting. But on this particular day, Sam had better idea about how to use his short amount of free time.
Dean always ate oreo cookies--or the store brand equivalent-- when he got home from school. While Sam requested vegetables and regular food on grocery trips, Dean always made sure there were chocolate and cream filled cookies waiting for him. Sam figured the best way to get Dean back for the orange juice that morning was to mess with his cookies. So he took the package out of the cabinet, ran to the bathroom to get the toothpaste and set to work. He only did it to three cookies, there was no point in ruining a whole pack, and their dad would skin him if he knew Sam was wasting expensive food. He removed the cream from the middle and very carefully, so Dean would never notice that anything was off, replaced it with toothpaste. Sam smiled to himself as he put the package back and rushed to get his books out so he could pretend to be doing his homework.
“What’s up Short Stack?” Dean asked as he walked through the door, ruffling Sam’s hair.
“Long division,” Sam sighed looking up from his math book to watch Dean eat his cookies, trying his hardest not to crack a smile.
“I’m actually kind of good at that if you want help,” Dean offered.
“No I got it,” Sam replied. “I can work it out. It’s just kind of hard.”
“Alright, let me know if you change your mind.”
Dean grabbed the cookie package out of the cabinet and pushed himself up onto the counter. Sam let a small smirk spread across his face as Dean grabbed four cookies, stacking them up next to him. The first one appeared to be normal, but the second one was definitely a toothpaste one.
“There’s something wrong with these cookies,” Dean said spitting it out as Sam erupted into giggles. Dean hopped off the countered and tried his best to the flavor out of his mouth with faucet.
“What did you do?” Dean said, seriously.
“Toothpaste,” Sam smiled. “Payback for the cheese you made me drink.”
“Well played,” Dean nodded. “I’m proud of you little brother.”
“You’re not supposed to be proud of me,” Sam sighed.
“I proud that you fought back,” Dean smirked. “Did you do it to all of them?”
“No,” Sam sighed pushing his chair back as he stood up. “Only three of them.”
“Good work,” Dean said pulling Sam into a headlock when he got close enough. “My evil genius is rubbing off on you.”
“That’s not what…Let me go jerk,” Sam sighed deeply.
Dean did, smiling.
“I was trying to get you good,” Sam shrugged
“You did,” Dean smirked. “For your first prank, 10 out of 10.”
“Don’t patronize me,” Sam said rolling his eyes.
“No seriously,” Dean repeated. “I wasn’t expecting it, and those were incredibly gross. But I wouldn’t take your thinking cap off just yet, little brother, cuz this is war.”
An almost scary looked crossed Dean’s eyes before he left the room laughing. “Stay on your toes Sammy, you’ll never know when the next one is coming.”
Later that night, while the boys hung out in their room-- Sam getting work done on a big project he had for his history class, and Dean reading the latest issue of Car and Driver that he pilfered from a gas station up the road-- they listened as their father came home. John took his boots off, leaving them by the door with a loud thump, then headed to the kitchen to grab something to eat.
“Hey,” Dean said dropping his magazine to his chest. “Did you take the rest of the toothpaste cookies out of the container?”
Sam looked up from his shoebox diorama of Custer's Last Stand with wide eyes as John’s deep booming voice answered that question for them.
“Boys!” John yelled. “Get in here now.”
“Son of a bitch,” Dean said jumping up. “Follow my lead, I got this.”
“Dean,” Sam whined following Dean to the door. “I can take care of myself.”
Dean turned to Sam and looked him dead in the eye. “Listen, I got this.”
“Fine,” Sam sighed falling in line as the two of them left the room and headed to the kitchen.
They stood at attention next to the kitchen table where their father sat waiting to be spoken to.
“Which one of you two idiots put toothpaste in the Oreos?” John demanded.
Both boys stared at their shoes, neither saying anything.
“You both go deaf while I was gone?” John said a little bit louder. “Which one of you decided it was good to put toothpaste in the cookies?”
“I did,” Dean mumbled looking up. “It was my idea. I was messing with Sammy.”
“Right,” John nodded. “I’m sure. Why don’t you both start doing push ups until I tell you to stop.”
“But Sam didn’t do anything!” Dean said quickly, subconsciously stepping in front of Sam as he talked.
“First of all, don’t talk back to me,” John said standing up. “Second of all, don’t look at me and lie to my face, because we both know you didn’t do this. Sam hasn’t eaten a freakin’ cookie since he was baby. Oreo’s are you thing. I know Sam’s starting to fight back when you think you’re getting the best of him. I’m not stupid, Dean now both of you go do what I said.”
“Yes, sir,” the boys said in unison as they turned.
“You boys need to stop messing around with food,” John said following them into the living room. “It’s not okay. You’re both old enough to know better.”
“You didn’t have to do that,” Sam whispered as they got into position.
“Yeah, I did,” Dean said smirking over at him. “That’s what older brothers are supposed to do. Now lets get this over with please.”
“Less talking more pushing,” John scolded.
“How many do you want?” Dean asked.
“Go til I say stop,” John replied. “Not a hard task. You’re going until you get it through your heads not to mess around with food. I get it, you’re teenage boys, you’re going to mess around with each other. Just be smarter about it.”
“Yes, sir,” the boys grunted as they worked.
John put his feet up in the coffee table and turned on the TV while eating as sandwich.When he was half way through his sandwich, he looked over to his sons. “You boys learn anything yet?”
“Yes, sir,” Sam panted. “I won’t do anything like that again.”
“Good boy,” John nodded. “Ten more. What about you Dean?”
“I learned my lesson sir,” Dean mumbled.
“Right then,” John replied. “Finish up. You boys done your homework?”
“Yeah,” Sam answered as he lay on the floor arms exhausted. “Everything that’s due tomorrow. I was working on a project but it’s not due til next week.”
“Good, go to bed,” John instructed.
“It’s not even nine o’clock,” Dean whined.
“I don’t really care,” John replied. “I’m pretty sure I told you to do something. When I give and order you follow it. Now go to bed. If I see the light on in there I’ll come take it away. And don’t think I can’t hear you two talking through the wall. Go to bed.”
“Fine,” Dean said rolling his eyes. He followed Sam into their room and quickly changed into their sleep clothes and turned off the light.
“So no more prank stuff, I guess,” Sam said pulling his bed covers back. “Dad seemed pretty pissed.”
“Ya think?” Dean chuckled. “Yeah I guess we’ll call a truce for now, but I’m gonna get you back. The moment you stop looking for it, I’m gonna pounce.”
“Yeah right,” Sam giggled back.
“Go to bed!” John yelled from the other room. “I wasn’t kidding.”
“Yes, sir,” Dean replied back. “Night Sammy.”
“Good night, Dean.”