Author: Brassband777
Prompt: Rat
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating: PG-13
Warning: Parental spanking of a teenager.
Author's Website: Brassband777's LJ
Author's Notes: Summary: Sam rebels against John's rules and Dean is forced to rat on his brother. Sam is 16 and Dean is 20. Disclaimer: don't own, just borrowing.



Dean paced up and down the apartment, agitation and worry clearly evident in every single cell of his body. Sam wasn't going to live to see his seventeenth birthday! This was the third night in a row that the kid had deliberately broken curfew. Even though Dean knew that this was just a bratty teenage act of defiance, he couldn't relax until his brother was back safe and sound. Dean halted in his pacing and punched the wall in frustration. He felt so helpless! His little brother was out in the dark goodness knows where, doing goodness knows what – and anything could happen to him.

Three days earlier:

John Winchester strode into the apartment. "Right, boys, I need you to start packing up. When I get back from the hunt with Caleb, we're moving."

Truth be told, John was glad to be moving – this was a rough neighbourhood, probably the worst they'd ever lived in and he didn't like leaving his boys alone here. As it was, he had insisted on Dean driving his brother to and from school every day, ignoring Sam's complaints that he could walk.

"Yes, sir," Dean walked over to his father and took the heavy weapon's duffle from him so that he could help check and reload the weapons. "When do we need to be ready by?"

"The hunt should only take five or six days at most, so if you're ready for then? I'll call in every day though and let you know how it's going and when I'll be back."

Dean didn't ask to go on the hunt even though there was nothing he would have liked more. No, Sam was more important and there was no way he would leave the kid here alone, despite his younger brother's continual protestations that he wasn't a baby and could look after himself. Dean was in total agreement with his father that this area was not safe – every day there were reports of gang violence, murder and rape. Yeah, Sam was outstanding at hand-to-hand combat, but it'd just take sheer numbers or a stray bullet to take him out. Dean shuddered at the thought. Nothing would happen to Sammy, he wouldn't let it!

Sam, who had been sitting at the table doing his homework, stood up with a frown. "But it's the history field trip to the museum next week. You said I could go."

John turned to his youngest with a sigh. "I know, Sammy, and I'm sorry, but I've already got another hunt lined up in the next state." He readied himself for the inevitable explosion from his youngest and wasn't disappointed.

"Come on, Dad, can't we wait just a couple more days and then go? It's not fair!"

John spoke calmly, determined to keep his temper in check. "Life isn't fair Sam. There'll be other field trips in your next school."

"But I really wanted to go on this one!" Sam had been looking forward to visiting the Museum of Natural History two towns over for weeks now. In fact, he had already begun an extra credits assignment on it. The disappointment he felt, quickly morphed to anger. "But then you don't care what I want do you? Unless it's about your precious hunting it doesn't matter!" he flung out angrily.

John took a deep breath before replying. His youngest sure knew how to push his buttons. "That's not true, Sam. Of course I care about what you want, but saving people is more important than personal pleasure."

Sam snorted. "Yeah, right. What difference is a few extra days gonna make?!"

"You'd better watch your tone, young man!" John's voice was now stern, unyielding. He was trying to be patient and understanding, but he wouldn't tolerate disrespect from either of his sons under any circumstances. "We're going when I say and that's final!"

"I hate you!" Sam seethed, turning on his heel and entering the bedroom he shared with Dean, slamming the door behind him.

Dean glanced up from cleaning the guns – he tried to stay out of the arguments between his father and brother as much as possible, because getting involved made him feel he was being torn in two.

"Maybe I was just lucky the first time," muttered John, sitting down to help Dean check the weapons.

"What, Dad?" queried Dean looking puzzled.

John passed a weary hand over his face. "I was thinking maybe I was just really lucky with you… were never like that. But maybe all teenagers are supposed to behave like that?"

"Like brats you mean?" asked Dean with a grin.

John paused before replying, thinking about his youngest. Growing up, Sam had been the sweetest kid. He'd been affectionate, well-behaved and had always worn his heart on his sleeve. Granted, it was no secret that Sam disliked hunting and moving around so much, but he had mostly accepted it. That is, until partway through his fourteenth year when he'd suddenly started to openly argue and rebel. John had been hoping that he'd outgrow this phase, but Sam had turned 16 two weeks ago and it was still showing no signs of abating. The only time he got a glimpse of that sweet kid now was whenever things had come to a head and said kid had taken a trip over his father's knee for a sound spanking. For a week or two after being disciplined, Sam would be clingy and biddable, seeking his father's approval and reassurance.

John sighed. "You know, Dean, I do really wish I could give your brother what he wants, but I can't, not while the thing that killed your mother is still out there!"

"I understand, Dad, and don't worry about Sammy, he'll come around. You'll see." Dean's voice was quiet, he didn't want to think about his Mom – it hurt too much. He quickly changed the subject. "Only Geek-Boy would get upset over missing a trip to the museum." Dean rolled his eyes. "I know he was really excited about it though, he's been going on about it nonstop."

"He has, has he?" The wheels in John's head started turning. Maybe, just maybe…..

The next morning, John had set off to meet Caleb and when Dean had arrived home late in the evening from the local mechanics where he was working a couple of hours a day in order to pull in some extra cash, Sam was nowhere to be found.

Dean had brought him home from school earlier in the day, so Dean knew that his brother had been alive and kicking then, but as he looked around the empty apartment, panic began to set in. There was no note, not that Dean expected to find one, because Sam was expressly forbidden from going out alone after dark without permission, but if there had been some kind of emergency, Sam may have ventured out to get help.

"Okay, get a grip, Winchester," muttered Dean to himself, running an agitated hand through his short hair. He took a deep breath to calm himself, before approaching the problem as he would a hunt.

Dean cast an analytical eye around the apartment. Salt lines still intact, no signs of a struggle, doors and windows secure. A quick search indicated that the emergency weapons hidden around the apartment were all still accounted for and intact. He then moved on to Sam's personal belongings. On finding Sam's jacket and backpack gone, Dean came to the conclusion that his brother had left the apartment willingly. For a moment, Dean's heart was in his mouth as he checked to see if Sam had taken anything else with him. Surely the kid hadn't run away again? Sam had run away to Flagstaff six months previously, but after getting spanked before bed for three days in a row as a result, Dean had been pretty sure that his baby brother had learned his lesson and wouldn't run off again. He was relieved to see that the rest of Sam's belongings were still present.

So where had Sam gone and why? Dean scribbled a quick note to his absentee sibling, telling him to stay put if he came back to the apartment before he did. Dean then grabbed the Impala's keys and set off to search for the kid.

Two hours later, a frantic Dean returned to the apartment after having unsuccessfully checked all the possible places he could think of. He found Sam sprawled on the sofa lazily channel-surfing.

"Where the hell have you been!" Dean yelled, his anxiety instantaneously changing to fury.

"Out," replied Sam, keeping his eyes glued to the TV screen, unwilling to meet his brother's furious gaze. It was his Dad he was mad at, not Dean.

"Out? OUT? That's all you've got?!" Dean's anger bled into his words. "I was worried sick! Anything could have happened to you!"

Sam finally looked at his brother. "I'm sorry you were worried, Dean, but you didn't need to be. I'm not a little kid anymore, I can take care of myself."

Dean clenched his fists unconsciously, trying to get a grip on his temper. Sam was and always would be his responsibility.

"Where. Were. You?" he managed to grit out, forcing himself to lower the volume, but the steely determination remained.

"Sheesh! Calm down will you? Nowhere special…I just went to the library, then for a walk and then I went to a diner for a bit, oh, and I hung out in the park for a bit too."

Dean paled visibly – his baby brother hadn't been safe inside a building all that time, he'd been wandering the darn gang-infested streets.

"So you're telling me you didn't actually have a reason to break curfew like a party or something?" Dean was actively resisting the urge to throttle his brother.

"Yeah, Dad can't tell me what to do!" the defiant tone in Sam's voice was unmistakable.

Dean's eyes narrowed dangerously. "So you're telling me you pulled this little stunt just because you're mad at Dad? Then why break curfew now? He's not here."

Sam snorted. "'Cause I value my life! Or my ass to be more precise."

It was Dean's turn to snort. "Let me get this straight. So you're trying to prove you can do what you want? Oh, but wait, how can that be if you can only do it when he's not here? Have you any idea how childish and immature that is, Sam?"

"Duh, Dean, childish and immature mean the same thing. And anyway, it's not childish! I'm proving that I can do what I want and part of that is choosing when I do it!"

Even though Sam knew that Dean was technically right, he refused to admit it. He was totally fed-up with their way of life – all he ever wanted was to be normal. Instead, his whole life was a wreck and he blamed all of it on John Winchester. Even though John was unaware of his son's present rebellion, it still made Sam feel good inside to know that he was getting one over on his father.

"Whatever, Sam," Dean flung himself down on the other sofa, casting a last glare at his brother, "just make sure it doesn't happen again!"

Sam however had gone on to do a disappearing act the following evening too. Dean had again gone looking for him unsuccessfully and yet again found his wayward brother back at the apartment by the time he returned. This time, he'd ripped Sam a new one and painstakingly listed all of the dangers in the neighbourhood. Sam had merely shrugged it off, reiterating that he could take care of himself and had retired to bed. Dean had been left wondering if his Dad would mind awfully if he committed fratricide…..


After two nights of searching for his brother fruitlessly, this time Dean had opted to remain in the apartment and wait, but the inactivity was giving his brain more opportunities to imagine a variety of heart-stopping scenarios where Sam ended up maimed or dead. He had deliberated long and hard about what to do and had only been able to come up with one solution, a solution that unfortunately went completely against the unwritten brothers' code of conduct.

At last, Dean heard a key in the apartment door – complete relief washed over him as his thankfully unharmed brother entered.

This time, Dean didn't yell, he didn't threaten. When he spoke, his voice was deceptively calm. "Last chance, Sammy-Boy. You break curfew again and I'm gonna tell Dad."

Sam snorted in disbelief. "Whatever, Dean." Sam didn't believe for a second that his older brother would rat him out. Over the years, they'd covered for each other numerous times to protect themselves from John Winchester's wrath.

"Try me." If Sam had been looking at Dean, he might have recognised the steely resignation in his troubled green eyes, but his attention was on his backpack as he pulled out his homework.

The following evening when Dean made his way home from the mechanics, he prayed that his brat of a brother had finally come to his senses and would be safe and sound at home. After opening the apartment door, it only took ten seconds for Dean to realise that Sam had pulled his Houdini act once more.

The next morning:

Sam was just finishing up his cereal when the phone rang once and stopped before ringing again half a minute later. He glowered into his bowl, knowing that it was his father.

Dean picked it up. "Hi, Dad, how's the hunt going?"

Sam listened to the one-sided conversation, trying to fill in the blanks.

"That's good, Dad, I'm glad."

"Caleb did that? Wow, I didn't think that was humanly possible."

"No, sir, actually everything's not okay here."

Sam pricked up his ears. No, Dean wouldn't!

"It's Sam, he's deliberately breaking curfew."

Sam choked on his cereal. Dean cast a worried glance at his coughing, spluttering sibling, but after one look at the utter betrayal and hurt shining in Sam's eyes, he turned away, feeling a knife twist in his own heart. He knew Sam would hate him for this, but if it was necessary for Sam to hate him in order to keep him safe, then so be it.

"Actually, Dad, I think he's doing it just to get back at you."

"Four times, sir."

Sam had finally managed to get his coughing under control. He couldn't believe Dean had done that to him! His Dad was gonna kill him!

Sam realised that his brother was holding the phone out to him.

"Dad wants to talk to you." Dean avoided looking his brother in the eye, not wanting to see the condemnation there.

Sam hesitantly took the phone. "It's me, Dad."

John Winchester's voice was shaking with controlled fury. "You're grounded until further notice. I'll deal with you when I get home. And in the meantime, if you take one more step out of that apartment without mine or Dean's permission, I guarantee that you'll get a bedtime spanking every day for a week and sitting will become a distant memory for you! Do I make myself clear, Samuel?"

Sam had to swallow down a nervous lump in his throat before he could answer. "Yes, sir." He knew his father never made idle threats.

Dean took the phone back, but Sam tuned out their conversation. He was so dead!

Eventually, Dean hung up the phone and turned to look at his brother. Sam was slumped in his seat at the table, head down, staring at the tablecloth. He hesitatingly placed a hand on the teen's shoulder.

"I'm really sorry, Sammy…." he began.

Sam immediately jerked away from his touch and stood up.

"Get the hell off me, Dean! You ratted me out….brothers don't do that!"

"Listen, you gave me no choice. I couldn't…"

Sam angrily cut him off. "You know what….just shut the hell up! You're not my brother anymore!" With that, the sixteen year old stormed into the bathroom to get ready for school and slammed the door.

Dean stood shocked in the middle of the kitchen. Sam had just basically disowned him. Dean felt as if his brother had physically stabbed him. Maybe with time Sam would forgive him? Somehow, Dean seriously doubted it. Dean didn't feel good at all about tattling on his brother, but he'd been backed into a corner and could see no other way out.

The next afternoon (Saturday):

Sam waited with trepidation for his father to arrive home. He revelled in the fact that he could lie on his back on his bed to read his book, knowing that when his Dad did eventually turn up, it would be a position that he wouldn't want to adopt for quite some time.

He hadn't spoken a single word to Dean since breakfast the day before. Dean had tried to talk to him several times and apologise, but Sam had studiously ignored every attempt at reconciliation.

When Sam heard his father's truck pull up a few minutes later, his whole body tensed and his heart rate picked up in nervous anticipation. He heard his father and brother's muffled voices, but couldn't make out what was being said. A moment later there was a quiet knock on the bedroom door. Sam was surprised to see that it was Dean. Usually his older brother just barged in and never gave him the courtesy of knocking.

"Dad wants you in the sitting room." Dean's voice was quiet, subdued. "Look Sammy, I'm sorry you're being punished, but…"

"It's your fault I'm being punished! So don't give me that sympathy crap!"

Dean was taken aback at the venom in his little brother's voice and he felt like he'd been physically punched. In a way, Sam was right – Dean knew that if he hadn't ratted on him, his brother wouldn't be about to get the butt-warming of the century.

John Winchester was sitting on the sofa when his youngest entered. "Front and centre, Samuel!" he barked.

Sam shuffled over reluctantly to stand in front of his father. Physical resistance now would only land him in more trouble and he was already in deep enough as it was. Nonetheless, he met his father's stern gaze defiantly.

John took one look at his youngest's rebellious stance and realised the boy would be much more receptive to what he had to say when some of the teenaged-brattiness and attitude had been spanked out of him.

With that in mind, he gave a single command. "Jeans down."

As Sam fumbled reluctantly with his button and zipper, John watched as his eldest crossed the room and entered the kitchen. Dean had no desire to witness his brother's spanking, but as there was no door, merely a doorway separating the two rooms, he wouldn't be able to escape from hearing it.

Once Sam had pushed his jeans down to his knees, John wasted no time in pulling the lanky teen across his lap and securing him in place. He immediately began swatting the boxer-clad backside in front of him.

Sam was usually very vocal during a spanking, unlike his older brother, but this time, Sam was determined not to give his father the satisfaction of knowing that he was hurting him. He clenched his fists and bit his lip to prevent himself from making a sound.

John pondered this new development. Was Sam trying to be stoic like Dean now? Somehow, he suspected it was just Sam being pig-headed.

After spanking for a couple of minutes, John paused, resting his hand on his youngest's very warm bottom. "Why am I spanking you, Sam?"

Sam stubbornly didn't respond. John sighed, before administering a flurry of harder spanks directly to Sam's sensitive undercurve. Sam yelped in response and the first tears began to swim in his eyes, but he refused to let them fall.

"Because I broke curfew."

John paused in his spanking again. "How many times did you break curfew?"

"Four," sniffled Sam.

"Anything else?"

Sam frantically wracked his brains – he couldn't think of anything else, but there must be or his Dad wouldn't have asked. Sam evidently wasn't thinking quickly enough, as his father brought his hand down twice more, extra hard.

"Oww! Dad, I'm Oww thinking!"

John decided to take pity on his youngest and help him out. He paused yet again in his spanking. "Who are you supposed to listen to when I'm not here?" he prompted.

"Dean…..I didn't listen to Dean."

"That's right you didn't. Now there's a chain of command in this household – you follow my orders and then Dean's and if you don't, there are consequences!"

"It sucks being the youngest," mumbled Sam under his breath, not realising that his father could still hear him.

John had to physically bite back a grin at that. Sam had no idea of the privileged position of being the baby of the family.

John pretended that he hadn't heard Sam's comment. "Now I don't just give orders for the fun of it. I have a specific reason for every single order I give and I can guarantee you they're good ones! Why do you think you have a curfew, Sam?"

Because you want to control me! thought Sam, but he had more sense than to say it.

John knew that his boy was still angry, it was evident in every line of his taught body. He wasn't yet accepting the spanking – of course, he was accepting it physically, but only because he had no choice in the matter, but psychologically he was fighting it every step of the way. Sam was refusing to admit that he was in the wrong and was still pushing all the blame for his present painful predicament onto his father and older brother.

John sighed, knowing this particular spanking was far from over. He reached for Sam's boxers and was unsurprised that his youngest tried to stop him. John wondered idly why neither of his sons had ceased doing that – hadn't they realised yet that their attempt to keep either their last vestiges of dignity or the thin layer of protection was futile? He simply caught hold of Sam's wrist and trapped it in the small of his back, before whipping the underwear down, revealing an already beet-red bottom.

John began spanking again in earnest, his swats harder and faster than they had been before. Sam couldn't keep quiet now, despite his best efforts. He had no idea how Dean did it. Every single swat now elicited an 'oww', grunt or yelp from the teen. He also couldn't hold back his tears.

In the kitchen, Dean buried his face in his hands. This was the vocal Sam that he was familiar with during a punishment. He just wanted the smacking sounds to stop. He could tell that his baby brother was crying from the intonation of his cries, but knew that for serious misbehaviour, John wouldn't stop until they were properly sobbing. And breaking curfew deliberately was considered very serious, never mind breaking it four times.

At last, John felt the fight go out of his son and the sixteen-year-old went limp across his lap, as the first sobs escaped him. He immediately slowed and lessoned the force behind his swats, although Sam was too far gone to appreciate it.

"Okay, Sammy, shall I tell you why you have a curfew? To keep you safe! I love you more than anything and I couldn't bear it if anything happened to you."

Sam's gut clenched – after all the horrible things he had said to his father lately, here was John telling him how much he loved him instead of berating him as he deserved. He had known full-well the consequence for breaking curfew, he just hadn't banked on getting caught!

John continued, "And I know you're blaming Dean, but that's not fair, Sam. Dean didn't break the rules, you did. Dean only told on you, because he couldn't bear for you to get hurt either. You're good at empathy, Sam, so put yourself in his shoes…what would you have done? And you think we treat you like a baby? That's not true. I won't let Dean out on the streets after dark either. You know that, and he's twenty. I only let him out if I know exactly where he's going and if he's in the Impala."

Sam's anger and resentment had indeed been spanked out of him and the truth of his Dad's words hit home. He finally admitted his responsibility to himself and his heart broke when he thought of how he'd treated Dean.

"I-I'm so-horry," he sobbed.

Sam realised with relief that his father's hard hand was no longer falling, but instead of being allowed to lie there and cry it all out, Sam suddenly found himself lifted into a standing position in front of his Dad. The teen didn't just crave comfort after a spanking, he needed it. At the loss of physical contact he felt unexplainably abandoned and bereft. He looked up into his father's stern gaze, tears flowing freely down his cheeks.

"I'm sorry, Sam, but your spanking's not over yet. I'm going to fetch the paddle. That spanking was for breaking curfew once. You're going to get two whacks each for the other three nights you broke it and a further four whacks for disobeying Dean."

Sam shook his head. He couldn't bear the thought of the paddle – the burn in his backside was already unbearable. The most he'd ever gotten with the paddle before after already being given a hand spanking was five when he'd disobeyed a direct order on a hunt, but now, he was apparently going to get ten.

"Pl-please, Dad, n-no more. I'm s-sorry."

Dean stepped through the kitchen doorway and entered the sitting room, having heard every word of the conversation. He resolutely refused to look at his baby brother, unwilling to see the condemnation and hurt that would rightfully be there and focussed instead solely on his father.

"Come on, Dad, can't you let him off the rest? I mean, I'm sure he's learned his lesson."

John wasn't at all surprised that his eldest was pleading for leniency on his brother's behalf, it was a common occurrence. "No, Dean. All actions and choices have consequences. He made his bed and now he has to lie in it."

"Okay, fine. But what about the four swats for not listening to me? I mean, I'm the one he disobeyed, so surely I can waive that part of his punishment if I want?"

"Nice try, Dean. No, your brother's getting what he's earned, the full ten."

Sam was watching his big brother, sobs still shaking his narrow frame. He didn't deserve to have Dean defend him after how he'd treated him.

John retired to his bedroom to find the dreaded paddle. Dean wanted nothing more than to comfort his little brother, but knowing that his advances would be rejected, he returned to the kitchen and threw himself down on the chair. He'd tried, but changing John Winchester's mind was like trying to move a mountain.

Sam was left standing alone in the sitting room. He felt totally lost. His logical mind told him that he'd be comforted when the spanking was over, but he needed it now! He was also desperate to make it up to Dean.

"Dean…." The word came out as a broken sob. Sam was not aware that he'd spoken it aloud.

In the kitchen, ever attuned to his baby brother's needs and wants, Dean straightened in his chair. Sam was calling him. He hesitantly entered the sitting room, expecting Sam to ream him out for this being all his fault. Sam was standing, shoulders shaking, hugging himself protectively, underwear and jeans around his ankles. Dean cringed inwardly at the crimson hue of his brother's derriere.


Sam spun at hearing Dean's voice and automatically took a step towards him. His feet caught in the clothes tangled round his ankles and he would have face-planted on the sickly green carpet if Dean hadn't made it to his side in a split second and caught him.

"Whoa, steady there, Tiger."

Sam wrapped his arms around his older brother and buried his face in his shoulder. He was only a couple of inches shorter than Dean now.

"I'm so s-sorry, D-dean. Can you f-forgive me for the awful way I've treated y-you?" he sobbed.

Dean automatically tightened his arms around Sam's quivering frame. He felt an enormous weight lift from him. Sam wasn't mad at him anymore!

"Shhh, Sammy," he soothed, "there's nothing to forgive. I'm not surprised you were mad. You understand why I did it now though?"

Dean was relieved to feel Sam nod against his shoulder. He began to rub soothing circles on his back with one hand, desperate to get his brother to calm down a little.

John stood quietly in the hallway, the long wooden paddle in his hands. He leaned against the wall and waited, recognising that his sons needed this opportunity to kiss and make up so to speak.

Sam soaked up his brother's comfort, dreading the moment when his Dad would return with the paddle. He suddenly realised that he was standing, hugging his brother while basically naked from the waist down. He blushed with embarrassment, though it wasn't noticeable as his face was already flushed from crying. Dean worried for a moment when Sam suddenly pushed out of his embrace, until he realised what the teen was doing.

Sam kicked off his jeans, knowing that there was no way he would want them back on for the foreseeable future. Then figuring there was no painless way to do this, he gritted his teeth and yanked his underwear back up with one quick motion. He couldn't prevent the resultant hiss that escaped him or the fresh tears that fell. He then returned to his brother's waiting arms.

"You know, Sammy, you probably should have left them down." Dean was thinking that if his Dad wanted to paddle his brother on the bare then that's exactly what would happen. He was glad that his brother's shaking was gradually lessening.

"I don't want him to paddle me, Dean. It hurts so much already."

"I know, Kiddo, but it'll be over soon. You'll be okay."

Sam gave a half-laugh, half-sob. "Tell that to my backside, it begs to differ."

Not wanting to prolong Sam's punishment any longer, John stepped back into the room. Dean felt Sam stiffen and as he pulled back, he gave the teen's shoulder a reassuring squeeze. "You'll be fine," he murmured, before returning to the kitchen to give his little brother some privacy.

John guided Sam over his lap once more, this time pinning Sam's legs down with his own, knowing the physical reaction that the paddle would produce. He contemplated pulling down Sam's boxers again, but decided he could spare his son that discomfort at least. It wasn't as if the thin material would offer any protection from the wicked sting of the paddle.

Sam was still crying, but he was no longer sobbing. John sighed, knowing that his child would be reverted to that state very shortly.

He raised the paddle and snapped it down four times across the crest of Sam's bottom. The teen bucked violently and cried out brokenly with each swat. He then quickly applied two swats to the back of Sam's thighs, which had previously been untouched.

John paused for a moment to rub a gentle hand up the sobbing teenager's back.

"Nearly done, Sammy. You're doing brilliantly. Those were for breaking curfew and these last few are for disobeying your brother."

John applied the final four strokes direct to Sam's sit-spots and then threw the paddle down next to him.

Sam sobbed brokenly over his father's lap, unable at first to focus on anything other than the pain. Slowly, he became aware of his father's soothing voice and the gentle hand running up and down his spine.

When Sam's sobs finally began to ebb, John pulled his youngest up until he was sitting on his lap and wrapped him in a tight embrace. Sam sniffled into his father's shirt, savouring the comfort and security he provided. John continued to whisper reassurances into his son's floppy chocolate-brown hair, which was nestled just under his chin.

At last, Sam raised his head. "I'm probably too big to be sitting on your knee, your legs must be dead by now," he murmured sheepishly.

John chuckled. "You'll never be too big, kiddo, my lap's available any time you need it." He pressed a kiss to Sam's sweaty, damp temple. "You okay now, buddy?"

Sam nodded as he slowly extricated himself from his father's embrace. "Yeah, I'm just kinda tired. Is it okay if I go lie down for a bit?"

John smiled. Sam always needed a nap after a spanking. "Sure thing, I'll get you up when we're gonna eat."

After watching Sam disappear into the bedroom, he joined his eldest in the kitchen.

"He okay?" Dean sought out his father's gaze immediately.

"Yeah, Dean. He's fine. He'll find sitting down uncomfortable for a few days, but that's all. But he's still grounded until further notice."

Dean nodded, expecting nothing less from his father. He watched curiously as John pulled something out of his jacket pocket and put them on the table.

A grin lit up his features as he realised what they were. "You're a big, old softie, you know that, Dad?"

Lying on the table were three entrance tickets for the Museum of Natural History.

"Well you said he really wanted to go." John grinned, looking forward to pleasantly surprising the baby of the family. "I'll give them to him when he wakes up. He may not be able to go with his class, but I thought we could go as a family on the morning we move out."

Dean groaned. "You mean I'm gonna get dragged round a friggin museum? Can't I wait in the car or something?"

"No you can't, Dean. We're doing this for your brother, so suck it up. You think I like museums?"

On second thoughts, Dean figured it wouldn't be so bad – the exhibits would bore the hell out of him, but watching his geek brother doing something that would make him happy would be worth it.


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