( Presenting a never before seen flashback all the way from the first week after Dean discovering Sam in Brothers Apart! )
There is a flash of boots coming straight at him, and Sam dives out of the way.
It is an instinctive, unthinking reaction to the sight of those massive leather structures that move under the control of the humans that share the world with people his size. “Borrowers,” Dean calls them, no matter how many times Sam argues against it.
He has only been traveling with his brother for two days and so is not adjusted to having a person so large around.
Sam hits the ground and rolls under the bed. It is an area that gives him more safety than the wide open area of the rest of the motel room. Dean doesn’t understand this yet, because he can’t see things the way Sam does.
He can’t see the way he towers over the entire room. He doesn’t understand the fear lurking in Sam that one of those massive hands will shoot towards the smaller hunter-in-training and trap him against his will.
It is these thoughts that Sam always has in mind. They plague him every day. After all, within the week Dean has grabbed him against his will not once, but twice.
The first time was no one’s fault. Dean hadn’t known it was Sam he was stalking in his motel room any more than Sam had known Dean was the human stalking him.
The second time was on purpose for Dean, but unexpected once more for Sam. It was a demonstration of why Sam couldn’t let his guard down, even with Dean.
It saddens him to think how dangerous his own older brother could be, just because of a curse that struck when they were children. They were so close back then.
Sometimes Sam wonders what would have happened to them if Dean had been struck by the curse as well. Or if the witch had chosen to strike at the older Winchester in the moment before their dad busted down the door.
The boots hesitate where they’d stopped. The weight on them shifts, and Sam sees a huge knee drop down from above to press into the ground.
Dean is kneeling.
It awes Sam to consider just how much power his older brother has grown into as an adult. And not just in comparison to Sam. The older Winchester goes head to head with monsters on a regular basis and always comes out on top. There are scars from these fights, scars that Sam can see better than anyone else, but still Dean lives to fight on.
Sam scrambles to his feet as kind green eyes dip down into view and Dean peers under the bed to look for him. Guilt covers the hunter’s face at the way his little brother has run from him.
Sam’s chest continues to heave from the brief scare when the green eyes land on him at last, and this makes Dean’s face soften even more. There aren’t many things that can break the stern facade that Dean Winchester keeps around him, but his little brother so afraid is one of them.
“Sammy,” he says, his voice a soft thunder of concern. “You know…” He has to pause and clear his throat. “I didn’t mean to scare you,” he switches track smoothly. “You know I can see you on the ground, right? I’m not about to step on my baby brother.”
The desperate apology in those eyes surprises Sam. He never means to make Dean feel that way. It was simply a reaction, one that was instinctive when dealing with people that towered over his head and he was small enough to get pinned to the ground by a single finger.
Compared to a human, he is small and weak.
Sam wishes he can make Dean understand it isn’t his fault. It never will be. And so he tries.
First, he steps out from under cover. The safety of the bed is deceptive, anyway. The mattress can be lifted by a human like Dean without a problem. One of those hands can shoot out to grab him where he hides. More vulnerability for Sam.
Dean’s eyes track Sam’s movements, but he doesn’t make a move. It doesn’t help that whenever Dean moves, Sam flinches. Because of this, the hunter is already learning to restrain unnecessary movements.
The necessity saddens Sam.
His brother shouldn’t have to change who he is if he wants to be around his little brother without getting flinches or fear in return.
“I-I know you’re not,” Sam manages to get out as he stares up at Dean. The older hunter has flattened himself against the dusty rug so they can talk and his eyes are still above Sam’s head. Dean could put his chin against the ground and it would be the same.
Sam was too small.
“It’s just…” Sam waves his hand at the open area between the beds, trying to ignore how small it looks in comparison to his surroundings. For so long, he lived in the walls and with people his own size. Now, he is with Dean constantly, and reminded of his curse every single moment.
“You’re really big,” Sam finishes lamely, wishing he had the words.
Dean’s lips thin to a line, and Sam feels tension start to wind up his back. The sight of a giant with an intense glare like that on his face is not easy to take in at four inches in height. Dean doesn’t mean it, but his size gets in the way of an innocent look.
“Sam,” Dean said, “I know you have to be careful. I just want you to know… I won’t forget you’re here. You deserve to be able to live without being afraid all the time. I… I want to help.”
This time, it is Sam’s face that softens. He takes another step out into the open, this time completely away from the cover of the bed. “I know you do.”
He rests his small arm on one of Dean’s massive hands and uses it to lean on. That huge hand could spring up at any time and coil completely around his body.
But it doesn’t, and it won’t, and Sam knows this.
“Just watch where you toss your dirty socks,” Sam snarks up at his brother, feeling the last of the tension sloughing off at the return of their normal banter. Moments like this were when he barely even felt the size difference, and it was good. “I don’t need the nightstand smelling like dirty feet all night.” He wrinkles his nose and is rewarded with a chuckle from Dean.
No matter how different, they will always be brothers.
Which is probably why Sam finds a dirty sock lurking outside of the nightstand the next morning.