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I Promised I'd Protect You

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Summary: A bit of a different take on the 'What if the boys had Max's childhood?' scenario. Set during the pilot, but most definitely AU. ONESHOT. COMPLETED.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Supernatural > Non-BtVS/AtS StoriesAlcharmaFR1314,1830258127 Jun 0827 Jun 08Yes
Disclaimer: Not mine. The boys belong to Kripke and co. If they were mine, there would be more brotherly hugs, and Ash would have been in the series way more!

Spoilers: Very tiny spoilers for the Pilot. But not really. I'm sort of switching it up, since it's definitely AU. The boys are going to be a bit OOC, but they have to be with where I'm going with this fic... Episode transcript taken from to be safe with Papa Winchester's dirty mouth and heavy fist. Oh, also, Dean swears a bit in this. I don't believe for one second that Dean Winchester would really go around saying things like “frigging” and “holy pauses and doesn't finish the sentence.” He only does that to keep the rating kid friendly. --

It was pretty hard for me to write this, as I love John to death, but hopefully it came out alright.

Oh, and the italics indicate flashbacks (i.e. the past, obviously) and the normal text is the present. I know it's a bit rushed, but trying to fit 23 years of memories into one day is a bit difficult.

Enough of my little ramblings, on with the story!

--

November 2, 2005

Knock knock

The door opened to reveal a beautiful young woman with long blond hair, dressed in a white tank top and jeans. When she realized who was at the door, she smiled widely, throwing her arms around him in a quick hug before ushering him into the entrance hall of her apartment.

“Hey, Dean!” she said, closing the door behind her. “Sam's in the shower at the moment. He should be our any second.” She started walking toward the small kitchen with Dean following after her.

“Nice to see you again, Jess,” he replied, cracking a charming smile of his own. “Mmm...” he added, the smells from the kitchen assaulting his nose, “Cookies? What's the occasion?”

--

September 15, 1983

Four-year old Dean Winchester bounded down the stairs, following the smell of freshly baked cookies to the kitchen. His mother is taking a tray out of the oven holding a blue towel so that she doesn't burn her hand, her hair pulled up into a loose bun and an apron tied around her waist. His dad is sitting at the kitchen table, struggling to hold onto his four-month old son while reading the newspaper.

“Mommy,” Dean pleaded, eyes wide and lower lip sticking out slightly. The perfect picture of innocence. “Can I have a cookie?”

“Sure, sweetheart,” she replied, smiling at the expression on his face, kicking the oven door closed with her foot. “Just one, though. Don't want to spoil your dinner. Oh! And be careful! They're still hot!” Dean grabbed two chocolate chip cookie off of the cooling rack before climbing onto the chair next to his father and plunking one of the cookies down in front of him.

“Thanks, champ,” said John, setting Sam on his lap before ruffling his eldest's hair and picking up the cookie. Dean nibbled on his cookie, enjoying his father's affection and hoping nothing would ever happen to change it.

--

“No occasion,” she replied, giving him a smile and handing him an oatmeal raisin cookie which he promptly bit into. “Just felt like being a bit domestic. Wait here, I'll go get Sam, see what's taking him so long,” she added, heading out the kitchen door and down the hallway. Dean nodded and snatching another cookie off of the cooling rack, he sat down at the kitchen table, starting to ruffle through the papers littering the surface with the cookie hanging out of his mouth. A second later, Sam came walking through the door, Jessica on his heels, and Dean quickly shoved what remained of his cookie in his mouth before standing up to greet his little brother.

“Hey, Dean,” Sam greeted, giving his brother a little wave.

“Sammy,” he responded, pulling him into a one-armed hug and patting him on the back. “Well, we'd better be going. Thanks for the snack, Jess.” The three of them exited the kitchen, headed down the hallway, and stopped in the entrance hall to say their goodbyes. “I'll have your boyfriend back at a reasonable hour,” he added, giving Jessica a playful smile which she easily returned.

“I'll be back tonight,” said Sam, stooping to brush his lips against his girlfriend's cheek.

“I'll be waiting,” she responded, giving him a coy smile. “Bye, Dean!” she called, as he was already half way down the stairs to the sidewalk. At his wave, Sam stepped out the door, sending one last glance over his shoulder before making his way down the steps. The door gave a slight creak as he slid into his brothers '67 Impala, closing the door after him and buckling his seatbelt. Dean had already gotten into the car, and he was currently rifling through a cardboard box filled with tapes. Extracting the tape that he wanted with a flourish, he popped it into the tape player, filling the car with the sounds of Blue Oyster Cult.

“So where to?” he asked loudly over the music, turning his head toward Sam while he taped his hands on the steering wheel in time with the music. “The usual?” At a nod from his little brother, Dean pulled out of the spot and down the road. After driving for about five minutes in comfortable silence, the Impala turned right into the parking lot of a small diner, screeching to a halt in a space next to the front door. Sam and Dean got out of the car, the doors closing with a loud creak, and entered the restaurant.

It was pretty empty, having already catered to the dinner rush, and the two boys quickly slid into an empty booth by the door, not even bothering to pick up their menus, as they already knew what they wanted. Dean signaled to the waitress, a woman in her late twenties with long brown hair tied up in a sloppy pony tail, and she walked over to their table, pen and pad of paper in her hand, ready to take their order.

“Hey there...” Dean paused to glance at her name tag, “Shelly. What a beautiful name.” He gave her one of his thousand-watt smiles, and she blushed slightly, lowering her head and muttering a thanks. “Well, sweetheart, I'll take a burger and fries with everything and a beer. Oh, and extra onions.” He gave her another grin as she jotted his order down on her pad of paper, giving him a shy smile of her own. Sam started to roll his eyes at his brother, but was cut off mid roll when the waitress turned toward him, ready to take his order.

“I'll, uh, have the same thing. No extra onions, though,” he said, watching her write his order before before disappearing from their table and into the kitchen, only to reappear a second later with two beers.

“So, Sammy. How are things? What're your plans now?” asked Dean, popping off the cap of his beer with the edge of the table and following the waitress with his eyes as she once again disappeared around the counter.

“Actually, I have an interview for law school here at Stanford tomorrow. If it goes ok, I think I got a shot at a full ride next year,” he responded, taking a swig of his beer, sending his brother a quick glance as to see what he made of the news.

“Aha! That's my boy!” exclaimed Dean with a laugh, clinking Sam's bottle with his and making the few patrons of the restaurant turn their way. He payed them no attention, but Sam ducked his head slightly, a bit embarrassed at all the attention they were receiving. “Hot damn, Sammy! It'll go great. You were always the smart one in the family.”

--

January 29, 1989

“Dean!” called Sam, stumbling through the front door of their small apartment. Stomping the snow off of his boots and shaking it out of his hair, he hastened to remove his winter clothes so that he didn't track snow all through the house. “Dean!” he called again, stopping immediately when he saw that his father was asleep, sprawled on the couch with the TV blaring. Tiptoeing past the door as quietly as he could, he darted through the apartment, finding his brother in their shared bedroom, laying on his back on the bed and reading a magazine. Dean looked up as the six-year-old entered the room and motioned for him to shut the door, hastily stuffing a pile of bloody tissues under his pillow while Sam's back was turned.

“Hey, Sammy. What's up?” he asked, placing the magazine down on the bed and sitting up slowly, wincing and putting a hand to his ribs. Sam stopped, concern showing on his face at his brother's slowed movements. “It's ok. I'm fine. Hey, what's that in your hand?” Sam snapped out of his daze, hopping up on the bed with a huge grin and shoving the envelope into Dean's hand.

“Look! Open it! It's from Mrs. Kinley!” he said excitedly, settling himself next to Dean. He bounced slightly, quickly stopping when he noticed Dean's pained expression. Dean ignored his brother's concerned look and tore open the envelope to reveal a slip of paper with Sam's grades on them.

“Wow!” Dean exclaimed, reading down the list. His little brother had gotten nearly perfect marks in all of the subjects. “Good job, Sammy! This is great!” Sam beamed at the praise, glad that he had made Dean proud.

--

Sam opened his mouth to argue, but before he could say anything, the waitress reappeared with their food. He muttered a thanks, while Dean continued to eye her up and down before nearly emptying the bottle of ketchup onto his plate and digging into his pile of fries. Sam rolled his eyes at his brother once again, and tipping a bit of ketchup onto his own plate, began eating his food as well.

“So, how's the shop doing?” asked Sam after swallowing a mouthful of fries. When Sam had moved out to California to attend Stanford, Dean had also moved to keep an eye on his little brother, and had found a job as a mechanic because of his love of cars.

“Mffff,” replied Dean, mouth stuffed with hamburger. Noting Sam's look of disgust, he swallowed and tried again. “Fine. Nothing really new or exciting about my line of work, you know. How about you?”

“I think I uh...” Pause.

“What?” questioned Dean, eyes widening slightly in fear. “What's wrong?”

“No, no, it's nothing like that,” reassured Sam, at which Dean went back to his fries. “I'm think... I'm going to ask Jess to marry me.” The fry that Dean was holding slipped out of his fingers, but he didn't seem to notice. He just stared at Sam in shock. “What?” Quickly recovering, he gave Sam a grin and clapped him on the back as best as he could from across the table.

“Dude!” he said, making Sam grin at his enthusiasm. “Congratulations! About time one of us was tied down, huh? Just glad dad didn't fuck you up as much as I had worried...” The mood turned sombre, but Dean quickly snapped out of it, calling over the waitress for the check once he was done shoveling fries into his mouth.

“No really, though. Congrats, Sammy,” he added, pulling out a twenty from his wallet and setting it on the table, ignoring Sam's protests at never paying for their dinners. “C'mon, let's grab another round on me to celebrate.” He flashed the waitress, who looked sad to see him go, another of his charming smiles and exited the small diner, Sam on his heels. Passing by the Impala, they walked about a block down the street, coming to a stop outside a rundown looking bar. “Ladies first.” He gestured for Sam to enter, earning a glare and a smack on the back of the head in response.

Walking over to the counter, Sam ordered a couple of beers while Dean went about finding them an empty pool table. Racking the balls, he grabbed a couple of cues from a rack mounted on the wall. Accepting the beer that Sam offered him, Dean took a swig before breaking, sending the balls skidding across the table. They continued to play pool for another half and hour without incident until Sam felt the back of his his cue accidentally connect with something soft.

“Oh sorry-...” he trailed off, seeing a large biker-looking man looking at him, obviously drunk and pissed about being jabbed with Sam's cue.

“What the hell do you think you're doing?” he yelled, drawing attention from most of the patrons at the bar. “You better watch where you're pointing that thing, kid!”

“I'm sorry, I wasn't...” before he could finish his apology, the man's fist connected with his stomach, sending him skidding across the dirty floor.

--

June 4, 1987

Dean felt himself sliding across the floor, coming to a stop when he ran into the wall with a loud thunk. John towered over him, fists raised and the smell of liquor coming off him in waves. He grabbed the collar of Dean's t-shirt and lifted him off the floor, slamming him against the wall. Dean let out a gasp, feeling the air leave his lungs as his father let him go, and he slid down the wall in a heap.

“What the fuck do you think you were doing?” bellowed John, slurring his words slightly as a result of the alcohol he had recently consumed. Dean opened his mouth to respond, but before he had a chance, John sent a quick kick to his eldest's abdomen, making him wheeze slightly and clutch his stomach in pain. “How dare you go to the principal! You ungrateful little piece of shit!”

“No, Dad, I didn't-...” he was cut off by another kick to the stomach, feeling one of his ribs crack under the impact. Wincing in pain, he tried to stand, bracing himself against the wall. Seeing the head of his four-year-old brother peeking out from the door to their room, his eyes widened in panic barely registering his father's yelling. “SAM!” he said, gesturing for his little brother to close the door. “Sam get back! Close the door and lock-...” he was once again interrupted from completing his sentence, this time by a fist to the jaw. He fell to the floor in shock, bringing his hand to his mouth before spitting a bit of blood onto the tile. “Dad! I didn't go to the principal! I don't know how she found out...”

“That's ENOUGH!” John yelled, grabbing Dean by the neck and throwing him into the door to the boy's room, making it vibrate with the impact. “Go to your room. Because of your little... stunt, no dinner for you or your brother!” He gave Dean one last glare before stalking off into the living room and turning on the T.V. Satisfied that his father was about to pass out on the living room couch once again, he pushed himself to a sitting position and knocked weakly on the door, calling for Sam to open it.

“Sammy,” he called in a soft voice. “Open the door... he's gone.” After a slight hesitation, the door opened a crack and Sam poked his head through the opening he had made. Seeing that Dean was alone and his father was nowhere to be found, he flung open the door, rushing to his brother's side. “It's alright, Sammy... I'll be fine... Just help me get inside, will ya?” Flinging Dean's arm over his shoulder, Sam struggled as best as he could to help his brother cross the room and sink down on the bed. Once he was situated, Sam clambered up onto the bed, trying to cause Dean as little pain as possible and curled up at his brother's side.

“Don't worry, Sammy,” said Dean comfortingly as he felt his little brother's tears soak through his thin t-shirt. “I'll protect you from Dad if it's the last thing I do.”

--

Dean saw red as he watched Sam hit the floor, a wave protectiveness for his brother forcing him to drop his own cue and stalk over to where the man who hit his brother stood. Before he knew it, he felt his fist connect with the man's face, sending him rocketing back into a pool table before landing in a heap on the floor, unconscious. A couple of the guy's friends looked up from their own game of pool, only to see him sprawled on the ground, and moved toward Dean, intending to make him pay for what he did.

Eyes widening slightly as he noticed them, but not one to turn and run from a fight, he stood his ground, ducking the first punch and thanking whatever higher power that he didn't have to fight these men when they were sober. However, he was not as lucky with the second punch, distracted by Sam pushing himself off of the ground and moving to join the fight, and it hit him square in the jaw. Reeling slightly from the force of it, he staggered back slightly but recovered quickly, dodging a third blow and grabbing the offending limb, using it to flip the man flat onto his back.

Engaged in his own battle with one of the men, Sam was holding his own, using his height and the man's drunkenness to his advantage; he had managed to trip the man to the floor and managed to knock him out with a strategically placed blow to the back of his head with a pool cue. Seeing Dean get his legs swept out from under him and land on the floor with a loud crash, Sam charged the man that was now on his feet, tackling him to the ground and receiving an elbow to the face for his efforts.

Scrambling to his feet and noticing a large, beefy bartender heading their way, Dean grabbed his brother's arm and pulling him to his feet, practically dragging him out of the bar and down the street toward his car. Limping slightly, he rounded the corner into the parking lot, Sam in tow, before unlocking the Impala and slipping into the driver's seat. Bringing his hand up to his face to wipe the blood off of his lip, his eyes narrowed as he took in Sam's appearance. There was a cut above his eye, a large bruise forming at his jawline, and he was hunched over, prodding gently at what appeared to be a broken rib.

Ignoring his own injuries for a second, he twisted around in his seat, wincing from the movement, and grabbed a t-shirt from the back seat, using it to wipe the blood that was nearly trickling into his little brother's eyes. Satisfied that he had cleaned up the blood, he pressed it firmly against the wound in attempt to stop the flow, instructing Sam to hold it in place.

--

March 15, 1995

“Did he do this?” asked Dean, a tinge of anger lacing his voice. He had come home to find his father gone and Sam all alone, curled up on his bed, pressing a damp cloth to a cut along his jawline. After having noticed the blood spattering his little brother's t-shirt, he had begun digging through his closet without a word, emerging minutes later with a first aid kit clutched in his hand. Removing the cloth from Sam's grip, he cleaned the wound with antiseptic before sealing it shut with butterfly band aids, eyes narrowing when he took in his brother's black eye and the bruises littering his arms and throat.

Seeing Sam nod slightly through his wince of pain as he rubbed a spot on his shoulder, Dean felt a wave of anger sweep through him and closed his eyes, counting to ten to try to calm his temper. There was no point in freaking the kid out any further after he had just been beaten by his father. Dean had tried his hardest to protect his little brother, willingly taking beatings so that he didn't have to, but this time he had failed. This was the first time that Sam had endured a beating from their father, and if Dean had anything to do with it, it would be the last.

Quickly making the decision that John would never set hand on his brother again, Dean stood up suddenly, causing Sam to look at him quizzically, and grabbed two duffel bags out of the closet, haphazardly stuffing his clothes into one and Sam's into another. Disappearing for a second and returning with their toiletries, he threw Sam's arm over his shoulder, half-dragging him out the door of the small apartment and toward the parking lot. Depositing him into the passenger's seat and ignoring his questions, Dean entered the house, making his way to the bedroom to grab their two duffel bags before entering the kitchen and snatching the keys to the Impala off of the small table.

Emerging from the apartment, he dumped the bags into the trunk before opening the driver's door with a creak and getting in. Shotting Sam a reassuring smile, he slid the key into the ignition, starting the car and backing out of the parking lot onto the main road. Shifting the car into drive, he speed away, feeling Sam's eyes on the side of his head.

“Dean, where are we going?” he asked, causing Dean to look his way. He was giving him those wide puppy-dog eyes that made Dean want to give him a hug and say tell him that everything was going to be alright.

“Away from this shit hole,” replied Dean, his voice think with unexpressed rage toward his father.

“Are you... mad at me?” questioned Sam, misinterpreting the gruffness of his brother's voice as anger towards him.

“What? No, Sammy, I'm not mad at you,” replied Dean, reaching over to ruffle his brother's hair affectionately. “I'm sorry,” his expression changing instantly into one of guilt. “I promised I'd protect you, and...” he trailed off, voice cracking slightly with emotion.

“You've done all you could, Dean,” said Sam, eyes wary with having seen things that no twelve-year-old should have to. “You've kept me safe for twelve years... And the second that Dad laid a hand on me, you got me out of there. You couldn't have done anything more.”

“Yeah well,” answered Dean, shooting Sam a small smile before turning his eyes back to the road, “I'll see to it that that that bastard never touches you again. That's a promise.”

--

“C'mon lets get you home so that I can patch you up,” said Dean, eyes staring out into the darkness, gripping the steering wheel so tightly that his knuckles were white; a result of the adrenaline and the residual anger at seeing Sam attacked. At his brother's nod, he pulled out of the parking lot and down the street toward Sam's apartment, casting periodic glances at the passenger's seat and turning up the music until it was blasting to mask his worry. Sam fidgeted a bit at Dean's scrutiny, but tried to ignore it, knowing that his brother wanted to make sure he was ok. He kept adjusting the pressure of the t-shirt on his wound, and in the five minutes it took to get back to Sam's apartment, it had mostly stopped bleeding.

Exiting the car and unlocking the front door to his apartment, Sam chose to keep the lights off, assuming that Jessica was already sleeping. Gesturing for Dean to take a seat at the kitchen table, he walked through the rooms, stopping in the bathroom to grab the first aid kit before making his way into the bedroom to say hi to his girlfriend.

Finding the bed neatly made and Jessica nowhere in sight, he looked around the room in confusion, before noticing a few beads of red liquid hit the white comforter. Walking toward the bed and sticking his finger in the substance, he jerks back slightly as another drop falls from above and onto his hand. Lifting his gaze up, he lets out a strangled yell as he sees Jessica on the ceiling, face frozen in horror and blood pooling from her stomach.

Hearing Sam's cry, Dean rushes out of the kitchen into the bedroom, eyes wild in fear that Sam had been hurt. The second he entered the room, Jessica burst into flames, causing him to step back a stride from the heat.

“Sam!” Spotting Sam on the bed with his hands over his face for protection from the flames, he rushes toward his side, grabbing his arm and trying to force him out of the room. In shock, Sam stays put, looking at the ceiling with wide eyes and shouting his girlfriend's name. “Sam! We gotta get out of here!”

“Jess! No!” Sam shouted as Dean practically lifted him off the bed and pushed him toward the bedroom door. Struggling with all his might to get back to Jessica, he was easily overpowered as Dean grabbed him by the collar of his jacket and forced him down the hallway and down the hall as the entire apartment erupted in flames. Feeling the cold air hit his face as he was pushed out of the front door and down the stairs, he disentangled himself from his brother, walking a small ways down the street before sitting down on the curb, burying his face in his hands.

Knowing that his brother needed some space, Dean sat down on the hood of his Impala, casting worried glances at Sam and wishing, more than anything, that he could have protected him from this.

The End

You have reached the end of "I Promised I'd Protect You". This story is complete.

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