Author's Note: This story is a what should have happened for the episode 'Hunted'.


Taking Care of Sam


"Dude you ever take off like that again…"

"What…you'll kill me?"

Dean sat behind the wheel of the Impala and turned to look at his younger brother almost unable to believe what he had just said. After all of this could he really have said that? And the smirky way that he had said it just made Dean's blood boil. So many things flashed in the older hunters mind at hearing those words. Like the first time that Sam had disappeared the terror that he had felt searching for him and not finding him easily at all.

And then when he did find him in he was in a cage being held to be hunted like an animal. Dean would never forget that after it was all over he had told Sam that if he ever got lost again that he wouldn't come looking for him and even at the time they had both known that was a lie. A lie which he just proven beyond doubt with his reaction to this latest disappearing act of little brothers.

But the thing that resonated the loudest in Dean's head was the fact that Sam had promised him that he would let Dean think this out. He knew that Sam was mad that he hadn't confided what their father had told him before his death. But that was secondary in Dean's mind as Sam had made him a damn promise. And right after that promise he had waited until Dean was asleep, dressed, hot wired and stolen a car and driven away. And it particularly rankled that he had gone to Ellen's. Someone who at this time last year had been a complete stranger to them both. But he turned to her and not his own flesh and blood. And he had left Dean not really caring what it did to him.

And then there was Gordon. The man was definitely one twisted son of a bitch. But he had made one point that stuck with Dean. He had said that if John were alive that he would have had the "stones" to take Sammy out. Regardless of what their father had said to Dean otherwise he just didn't believe that. But the one thing that he knew without doubt was that dad would not have tolerated any of this bullshit from Sam. He never did and that's why they used to go at each other all the time.

And there would come a time in almost all of dads attempting to reason with Sam when they all knew Sam had stepped one foot over the line. And dad would end up busting Sam's ass good for his trouble. It was usually the only real punishment that ever worked with his stubborn hard headed younger brother. And the line had been jumped over with both shoeless feet this time around. And then Dean had another thought and while it was unpleasant he thought hard about it.

The last time Sammy had ended up over his knee had been years ago. He had disobeyed Dean's order to stay in the house while Dean went out in search of a particularly vicious demon that had been targeting kids. What Dean hadn't known was that the thing had trailed him back home the night before. Right after Dean had left, Sam had snuck out the window to go to a friend's house.

Unfortunately the thing grabbed Sammy as soon as he got across the yard and if Dean hadn't forgotten one of the weapons and come back, Sammy would have been dead for sure. Dad had been out of town and Dean was furious with Sam. After killing the thing, he had blistered Sam's behind and good. And dad had done the same thing when he came home. But that had been a lot of years ago. But he would never forget how Sam had confided in him later that he had known exactly what would happen if he had been caught. And Dean then had wondered if that had been a test. And now he wondered if this too was something Sam had done wondering if Dean still felt the same way about him. Wondering if Dean would still protect him at all costs.

Dean made a quick decision and pulled down the next dirt road that he saw. "Where are you going dude? I thought that we were going to go check out Ava."

Dean came up with the best thing that he could. "Well there was something over here that I wanted to check out first."

Sam looked at him as if he were crazy but shrugged and said, "Okay."

Dean knew that the spot was important so as soon as he had gone about a mile and it looked as if there were no houses or anything else around he pulled the Impala to the side of the road.

"Grab you tennis shoes out of your pack we need to take a walk."

Sam looked at him as if he were insane. "A walk Dean?"

Now Dean opened the door and got out leaning in and growling. "Just do it Sam."

Apparently thinking there was no threat in a walk, Sam did as he was asked and finally walked around to where Dean stood. "Okay a little late in the day for a nature hike but whatever dude."

They walked for a little while with nothing but trees and rocks to be found. Dean was glad that it was a warm night as that would just make it easier. Finally he found exactly what he had been looking for and it was far enough from the dirt road where the car was parked.

He dusted off the surface of the flat rock and sat down and crossed his arms. He put the same look on his face that dad always had in these discussions. It was the "oh buddy you are gonna get it now" look. Sam seemed a bit rattled already but was trying not to show it. Dean imagined that his younger brother was going to have quite a surprise in store in just a few minutes. "So let's talk about Sam's latest adventure okay?"

He could tell that Sammy wasn't sure what he had in mind and he used that to his advantage. "What the hell Dean, why are we out in the forest having a little chat anyway? We need to be on our way to Ava's."

Dean didn't reply for a few minutes and just let Sam stew. While Dean knew that he would have no problem overpowering his brother and making him submit to whatever Dean decided was necessary he also wanted him to understand the situation. "We are here Sam to discuss the entire run away, hot wire a car, and hide from Dean thing that you just did."

Now he could see Sam getting his back up about it. "You have no right to keep me from finding out about who and what I am."

He said it in an indignant voice and it just made Dean all the madder and still he continued. "And it wasn't like you were much help bound and gagged anyway."

Dean found himself counting in his head trying to calm down and thought about how often his father had done that particular thing. "True but Gordon would have blown your pretty face off if it hadn't been for me so lets not be to hasty in the Dean didn't help line of thinking Junior."

Sam clearly hadn't known that part of the story and so he kept quiet. "Now I was just thinking about dad for some reason. Maybe because we had just been talking about him before. And you know it occurred to me that he asked me to take care of you before he died."

Sam was still staring at him like he was crazy. "So what it wasn't the first time."

Dean just paused for a moment and continued. "And I didn't think much beyond making sure that you didn't go all dark side. But now I'm thinking that also meant keeping you from getting your dumb ass killed. And dad, now he wouldn't have been at all impressed with your disappearing act. And come to think of it neither am I. And add to that the lying and stealing of the car and going to Ellen instead of coming to me and do you know what I think?"

Dean noticed that suddenly Sam didn't look so sure of himself. "No."

"Well I think that we both know what dad would have done about all this crap Sammy."

Sam managed to look just horrified enough to let Dean know that he also knew the answer. "Look Dean, all of this doesn't matter 'cause Dad isn't here. Let's just forget it and move on."

Dean chuckled, only it sounded anything but friendly. "Oh and I'm sure that you would love that Sammy but unfortunately for you not gonna happen."

Sam drew himself up to his full and in Dean's opinion ridiculous height and crossed his own arms. "So what do you think you are gonna do about it all Dean?"

For a second Dean thought that he might have a fight on his hands and then he remembered what always scared the crap out of him when dad was doing the punishing. He reached down and unbuckled and stripped off his belt and folded it in his hand. And then he saw it. The shadow of fear that crossed Sam's lean features and he knew that it would work.

But it was more than that; he knew that he needed to do it. For both he and Sam sakes. He couldn't be chasing after Sam trying to keep him alive and figure out second hand what was going on in his head. He needed to trust that Sam both knew and obeyed the rules and he was pretty sure that this was where they needed to start. But even with the reaction he had just gotten, his younger brother was still standing shaking his head no. He looked into his face and got tough. "This can go two ways buddy boy. Either you just accept that you have earned this and take it or we can go to door number two."

He could see that Sammy was breathing heavily already and hoping that the other option was something that he could live with that didn't involve the humiliation of getting his ass blistered. "What is the other option Dean?"

Dean paused wanting Sam to feel both trapped and scared. Thinking of how he himself had felt tied to that chair and gagged thinking he was listening to Sam being blown to death. If nothing else that made Dean's mind up that this was gonna happen and in a big way. "Well Sammy boy you can fight me about this. And then you are gonna find out that while you may be taller than I am, I am still a lot bigger and badder. I am then going to just light your ass on fire and that event is going to be repeated frequently for a while until I think that you learned the lesson. So which one is it gonna be?"

He thought that Sam's eyes couldn't get much wider and he waited for an answer praying that Sam made the right choice because he was not exaggerating. He would do exactly what he had just told Sam that he would. "C'mon Dean I'm not some little kid. You can't think that you're gonna punish me like one either."

Dean just held his ground. "I am well aware of the fact that you are no longer a little kid. And I have no intention of punishing like a little kid either. The ass beating you are about to get is totally in line with both your age and the offence. And I don't think it's gonna happen I damn well *know* that it is. So the only thing left to decide is how its gonna go. Balls in your court Sammy."

"No Dean, please." Sam suddenly sounded like the little boy that he swore that he wasn't and Dean needed to just get this done.

"You get to five and then I decide. One…"

He could see Sam weighing his options to run as he checked the area around him. Dean just remained calm but prepared to grab the boy if necessary. "Two…"

He could see the panic on Sam's face. "Dude please……"

"Three, and if I get to five and have to decide, you get extra bonus points little brother. Although they aren't gonna be nearly as much fun as they sound."

Sam stood still like a deer in headlights and still managed to convey his horror at this situation and Dean tried to sound as harsh as he could. "Four and your last chance pal is just going down the tubes."

He saw Sam take one last look around the terrain as if he was considering making a break for it and then he dropped his head and stepped forward. "Fine then just do it jerk and get it over with, it's not like your gonna hurt me anyway."

Dean fought sighing as he hadn't wanted Sam to know how much he hadn't wanted to go with the second option. Dean motioned for Sam to come closer even though Sam still looked like he was contemplating running. He got within Dean's reach and looked at his brother as if waiting for him to make the next move. "Take them down."

Now Sam's eyes widened in horror. "Here?"

Dean chuckled and made a motion with his hand to indicate the wooded area all around them. "Yeah because clearly what with all the people and buildings and cars and crap that would be embarrassing. Now get them down."

Sam did as told but looked extremely unhappy which for some reason suited Dean just fine. He put a harsh hand on Sam's bicep and yanked him across his knee happy when Sam almost landed on his head. Dean hadn't spanked Sam in a very long time and much like John he spanked furiously and fast hardly giving Sam a chance to catch a breath. Then in between blistering bursts he stopped for just long enough to lecture Sam about the inadvisability of his recent choices. By the third set of swats Sam was vocalizing distress and Dean just kept on spanking.

His hand was aching and he could only imagine what Sam's butt felt like but damn it this kid was gonna learn that ditching both Dean and his help was not an option. He applied another set of lightening fast and hard swats and stopped again. "So do you think there are any more disappearing acts in your future?"

He was glad to hear Sam give in and wail after he answered no. Dean relaxed a bit knowing the end was in sight. This was the part of the activities that he really didn't want to do. Doing a little exercise of the his hand to Sam's butt variety after all the crap the kid had put him through lately had been somewhat therapeutic for Dean. While he knew that it had hurt his brother, he also knew that it was necessary to teach the lesson. This next part would make damn sure that Sam didn't forget it and while he knew that he needed to do it, he really wished that he didn't have to.

"The next time that you blow me off and sneak out and commit a crime and hide from me, you're gonna end up right back here again. Only the next time the whole thing will be like this."

Having said it in as tough a voice as he could, he then brought the belt down ten times hard and felt sick at Sam's cries. Dean stopped and just threw the belt as far as he could, not ever wanting to see it again. Putting a gentle hand on his brothers back he tried to do the comfort thing, which had always been their dad's specialty. He wished for the millionth damn time that he was here dealing with Sam and doing this shit.

"It's all gonna turn out all right Sammy."

Finally Sam settled down, stood and readjusted his clothing. Dean stood too knowing what his brother needed next and hating that almost as much as he had hated using the belt. He just held out open arms and Sammy hit his chest with such force that he almost knocked him over. He held on tight and felt a few tears slide down his own face at the tender embrace but he never would ever have admitted that. Finally he knew that he needed to put some closure to the whole thing and pulled back to fix Sam with a serious look. "So we're clear here about why this happened and what would cause it to happen again?"

Sam just nodded and wiped his face on the sleeve of his jacket. "Good cause otherwise I am gonna hook you up with one of those kid sized leashes that mother's use for their unruly toddlers. I don't know where I'll find one big enough but they must make them in giant size."

Looking to Sam he saw not even the flicker of a smile. "Hey dude that was supposed to be a joke. What happened to your sense of humor?"

Sam reached back to try and extinguish the fire that Dean had set back there. "You roasted it man along with my ass."

Now Dean couldn't help the laugh that escaped. "Hey you do still have a sense of humor. You know what else is funny little bro?"

Sam looked like he wasn't sure that he wanted to know. "Ava's place is about an hours drive or even more from here."

Dean saw the very moment it dawned on Sam that he would spend the next hour in the passenger seat of the Impala and the groan was icing on the cake for Dean. "Can I at least drive?"

Dean shook his head. "Nope Sammy boy you may not. I want you to spend that time thinking about how you are gonna keep your ass out of harm's way in the future. Like trusting me and not running off and…."

Dean's speech was cut short by Sam's walking fast and getting into the car just so that he didn't have to hear it. Dean opened his door and leaned in watching with no small amount of amusement as Sam squirmed trying to get comfortable. "Now Sammy that was just rude. Rudeness won't be tolerated either."

Dean climbed into the car and actually chuckled when Sam said, "Bite me Dean."

He started the car and for some reason felt better than he had in a long time about both Sam and their future as they drove off into the dark night.

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