John crossed his arms, staring down at the brothers. “Mind explaining what the hell you were thinking?” he demanded of Dean. 

Dean stiffened, annoyance flashing in his eyes. Sam was surprised. Even after everything, he was so used to Dean doing whatever their dad said like a good little soldier. But now, the older brother was in clear disagreement with the hunter.

Dean clenched a fist. “He’s not going to learn anything if we just lock him up all day. And I was watching out for him. No one ever saw him in my hood.”

John scowled. Sam shrank a little closer to Dean, intimidated by the angry glare. No matter how much he understood intellectually that he wasn’t going to be hurt, it was hard to see someone bigger than a building so angry.

Dean’s hand scooped Sam off the table when he wasn’t looking, too distracted by their father. He was cupped protectively by Dean’s chest while the boy continued arguing. “Dad, if we just keep him locked up like that, he’s going to get bored and he needs to stay sharp if he’s going to be this size, at least until we find a cure. You can’t watch him all day. At least if he’s with me, he’s safe.”

John didn’t move for a minute, sizing both his sons up with his arms crossed. “If anything happens to him, you’re responsible,” he snapped at Dean before stalking away.

Sam could feel the tension leak out of Dean the moment he was turned away. He didn’t say a word, holding his tongue as gratitude filled him. He wouldn’t be stuck in a massive room all day with nowhere to go. 

Thanks to Dean, who’d stood up to their father for the first time.

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