Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. They belong to Eric Kripke and I wouldn't have it any other way!
"Sam, come on. You need the practice, dude."
"No, Dean, I don't cause I'm not gonna be a hunter."
"Oh, right… I almost forgot cause you haven't mentioned that since FIVE FREAKIN' MINUTES AGO!"
Sam kept the gun pointed at the ground as he had been taught. NEVER point the gun at anyone or anything unless you intend to kill it.
"As soon as I'm old enough, I'm getting away from this life. I'm actually going to spend more than one month at a particular school, and I'm gonna get a good education so I can…"
"Live a normal, apple pie life?" Dean leaned against the back fence, exhausted by the repetitive conversations with his little brother. "Sammy, when are you gonna get it through your head?! We don't get that option, okay? I don't understand why you would want to crack open a book rather than save a life."
"It's not like that, man. Dad only became a hunter out of revenge. This is his fight, not ours. We don't have to go down the same road just cause he…"
"Sam, stop. You know why we do what we do. Just shoot the god-damned target already."
Sam huffed in annoyance, then took a deep breath and raised the double-barreled sawed-off shotgun to aim at the soda can set up a few yards away. He kept one hand on the trigger and the other he used to balance the weight. He was careful to keep both eyes open, just as his dad and brother had taught him. He could hear their voices echoing in his head; Don't pull the trigger, just squeeze it…
He began squeezing as he exhaled.
Dean dropped his head into his hands. "The safety is still on, genius. Boy do we have a lot of work to do…"
Sam spun around, pissed and embarrassed that he had forgotten to check the safety when his brother handed him the gun. "You think you're so perfect? Let's see you hit the damn thing!"
Dean strode over to his brother who flinched slightly as he approached. He took the gun from Sam's hands, flicked off the safety, and using only one hand, shot the can dead center without the slightest hesitation. "Any questions?"
"Nah, just a statement. You're a jerk."
"Bitch." Dean held the gun out for Sam to take back.
Sam glanced down at the gun, but didn't take it. "I've got homework to do, Dean."
"Jeez, man, trying to teach you somethin' is like pullin' teeth these days. Fine, go do your homework, but we're getting in some target practice early tomorrow. Got it?"
"Get your ass inside and clean up first. I'll get supper started."
Sam began making his way towards the back door. He paused in the doorway and turned back. "When's dad comin' home?"
"Not till tomorrow night." Dean emptied the second round into the palm of his hand, then snapped the barrel back into place.
"So you'll be making breakfast too?"
Dean quirked an eyebrow. "Why? You got a problem with that?"
"God no. Dad can't cook pancakes to save his life!"
"Well he never planned on becoming a chef, dude."
"Maybe I will. Or a teacher. I think I'd have more fun in law though."
"Law? Ha! Don't make me laugh! With all the laws we break on a daily basis… Is it your dream in life to become the black sheep of the family?"
"Whatever it takes."
With that, Sam strode into the house leaving an exasperated Dean to fetch the can, bullet, and spent shell. He had been taught at a very young age to never leave any evidence behind. As far as anyone else was concerned, the Winchesters had never been there.
The boys followed their normal nightly routine; Sam did his homework while Dean put supper together, then they ate in front of the TV watching Porky's II: The Next Day.
"Really, Dean? Do we seriously have to watch this again?"
"It's a classic, Sammy."
"You know this came out the year I was born?"
"Huh. Well I guess that makes you a classic too."
"Ha ha. You're hilarious."
"Comes with the package, kiddo."
Once they finished, Sam flipped the channel to a documentary on H.H. Holmes while Dean began washing the dishes. It was rare they ever had dishes to clean. Normally they survived off of take-out or ate on plastic plates, but their father was attempting to give them some semblance of normality.
They had been staying at this particular motel for three weeks now. The surrounding towns seemed to attract a lot of supernatural trouble-makers which kept John plenty busy and allowed for the boys to attend the same school for a while. With any luck, they might actually finish out the rest of the year here. They only had two weeks to go until summer break.
Though Dean couldn't see Sam from in front of the kitchen sink, he could still hear him in the other room.
"This Holmes guy was totally twisted."
Dean smirked as he dried off a plate. It was an unspoken agreement that the brothers had started years ago. When they were left alone in some ratty motel room and they were out of each other's sight for longer than a few minutes, they would keep up a running commentary so they would know the other was alright.
It never felt forced. It was just an automatic sense of safety and reassurance.
"Careful, Sammy, he might hear you. You never know with our luck."
"Yeah, right. He's ancient, Dean. I'm sure another hunter must have taken care of him by now if he became a violent spirit."
It didn't take long for Sam to get so involved with the show that instead of talking through it, he resorted to gasps of horror and groans of disgust.
Not wanting to disturb his brother's visual education, Dean started whistling "Ramble On" by Led Zeppelin. He was so caught up in what he was doing, he didn't realize Sam's show had ended, or that he was standing in the doorway a few feet to his right.
Dean jumped and almost dropped the dish he was drying. "Shit, Sammy! Don't do that!"
"Wow, sorry. I thought it was impossible for someone to sneak up on you." Dean didn't miss the underlying sarcasm and taunting.
"Oh it's possible, it's just usually the last thing they do. What happened? Run out of interesting documentaries? Talk about an oxymoron…"
"I'm sick of watching TV. Can we go out for ice cream? There's a stand about two blocks down the street."
Dean sighed, placing the last pile of dishes into the cupboard.
"Sam, you know the cash dad leaves us is for necessities only." He rolled his eyes when Sam's hopeful face fell. "Lucky for you, I kept an extra twenty from the dude I hustled two days ago. Get your coat."
Dean chuckled as his little brother lit up with renewed excitement and dashed into the bedroom to find his jacket. "And don't forget your gun!" he called after him.
"We're only going a few blocks, Dean. How much trouble can we possibly get into?"
"I don't care. Safety first, dude. Have you not heard anything dad and I have said to you?"
"Alright, alright! I got it. Can we go now?"
Dean tucked his own favorite gun into the waistband of his jeans and used his jacket to conceal it. "Lead the way, Short Stack."
"You know, I'm gonna be taller than you someday and you're gonna regret all those stupid nicknames."
"First of all, you're dreamin', and secondly, what makes you think I won't call you names if you're taller than me?"
"You're impossible to live with."
"I try. Get your ass in gear. We're burning daylight."
"The sun is going to set in like ten minutes, man."
"I can see that, Boy Genius. Don't leave my side, got it?"
Now it was Sam's turn to roll his eyes. "I'm not a baby anymore, Dean."
"Then quit actin' like one."
It didn't take them long to reach the ice cream stand set up at the entrance to the local park, and to Dean's relief, the trip was uneventful.
He told Sam to take a seat on the bench just inside the park grounds and he got in the short line to order them two Klondike bars.
Sam made sure that every minute or so he would make a noise, whether it be a cough or abnormally loud sigh that anyone passing would assume was a sigh of annoyance when in fact it was just to let his brother know he was still right where Dean had left him.
Five minutes later, there was only one other customer in front of Dean. He was suddenly hit with an overwhelming sense that something wasn't right.
It was too quiet. Too much time had gone by since the last sound Sam had made.
He casually turned his head but the view of the bench was obstructed by the trees surrounding the park. He didn't want to lose his spot in line for a gut feeling, but he knew he was rarely wrong about these things.
Clenching his teeth in frustration, he stepped out of line and made his way towards the bench. Once he cleared the trees the frustration quickly turned to gut-wrenching fear. The bench was empty.