10 May 2009 @ 10:12 pm
Title: Marching Two by Two
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating: PG-13 (for language)
Word Count: 1,474
Summary: Two times Dean is betrayed by his immune system and needs some looking after.
Disclaimer: Everything belongs to Kripke & Co. I'm just having fun. ;-)
Notes: Shameless schmoop for Mother's Day. Zero spoilers beyond the pilot, and it's not beta'ed, so all mistakes are mine.



May 1983

It's the fat drops steadily tapping plunk-plunk-plunk against Dean's window that wake him early from his nap. When Mommy calls out his name from the back porch twenty minutes later, panicked, he's squatting beside an anthill in the rain, squinting to see if the tiny pinpricks of black are lining up in pairs and trios as they scurry into their mound of soggy earth.

Like the song, he explains with a great wet sniffle as Mommy scoops him up, tucking his little body against her own while she squishes barefoot through the mud back to the house.

"'The ants go marchin' one by one" -- ah-choo -- "hurrah.'"

Mommy sighs, shifting him from one hip to the other and gently chiding him for sneaking out and giving her such an awful scare. He mumbles a small sorry, running a soaked pajama sleeve under his drippy nostrils.

"Besides," she says, touching her forehead to his so their noses bump, "the ants get all shy when you stare at them like that. They won't march if you're watching."

.:.

Dean pads down the stairs when it's dark, cowboy-print blanket clutched in one arm and trailing behind him as he grips one rail after another to keep himself steady. The soft blue glow of the television flickers on the wall at the bottom, beckoning. Planting his bottom on a step as soon as the back of the couch and his parents' heads come into view, he presses his hot face between the bars and calls hoarsely for his mother. Daddy dryly tells Mommy that her son wants her, and she gives Daddy's head a small, affectionate shove as she stands, asking why he's her son when he's sick and his son when he throws perfect spirals.

"Hey, Monkey." She bends, and Dean immediately latches his arms behind her neck, dropping his head onto her shoulder as she picks him up. "I thought I'd already tucked you in for the night."

"Couldn't sleep 'cause my throat hurts," he says into the crook of her neck.

A kiss pressed to his hair, then he's being carried into the living room and settled on his father's lap. "Hold him, John, while I go get him something."

"Aren't you a needy little man," Daddy teases.

Dean tugs his blanket up under his chin, wriggles into a more comfortable position with his side against his father's stomach. He grabs a fistful of his father's robe as a large hand comes up to rest behind his back. It's too hot and too cold all at the same time, and the glare from the television hurts his eyes, but the prickling needles in his throat keep him quiet. Somewhere upstairs, Sammy is sleeping and Dean sniffles, thinking miserably about how he isn't allowed to hold him until he's all better.

Mommy comes back holding a plate with a sliver of monkey bread, a half-hour warm out of the oven, and a steaming cup of honey tea. Dean eyes the small puff of white bobbing in the middle of the amber liquid and instantly stretches his arms toward the treats.

Daddy tilts his face down to look him in the eye. "Now, you need to drink this up, Dean -- not just the whipped cream. Understand?"

"Yes," he croaks, waggling his fingers impatiently.

"Both hands," Mommy adds. Dean obediently curls both hands around the cup and sucks down a sip noisily, slightly scalding his tongue in his eagerness to reach the cream. The hot tea burns down the scratch in his throat, though, and the piece of pastry popped into his mouth afterward follows behind without much trouble.

By the time a faint wail crackles through the baby monitor sitting on top of the entertainment unit, both the plate and cup have been polished clean. Half asleep, Dean feels his mother grip him under the armpits and settle him against herself, brushing his sweat-slicked bangs back as she anchors him in place with a forearm draped across his full belly.

A few minutes later he sees Sammy flailing a tiny fist at him from his father's chest, and he smiles drowsily. Daddy sits down next to them, leaning back into the cushions and making the entire couch dip down.

There's a plunk-plunk-plunk at the living room window as Dean steals one more look at his brother and lets his eyes drift closed, thinking contentedly, two by two.




March 2006

"You look like hell."

"You look like you want to get your ass kicked." Dean runs his jacket sleeve under his runny nose, rolling his eyes when the motion earns him a disgusted look. "What? You're the one who took so freaking long to get your ass back here."

Sam makes an incredulous noise, raising his eyebrows. "It's a stake-out. I thought the point of it was to, you know, be as inconspicuous as possible. And you're the one who didn't layer up more."

"Well, excuse me for not remembering to bring my spare pashmina while I waited in the bushes in some guy's backyard," Dean snaps. "The imp was hiding in the fat baby angel statue, by the way, not the toad."

"Great. Did you trap it in the vial?"

Eyes half-closed and mouth slightly open, Dean answers by lifting a hand and letting a sneeze explode into his cupped palm.

.:.

There's cotton in his mouth and a pound of mucus in his nasal passage when Dean wakes up in his motel bed, drool slicking his cheek and pooled on his pillow. A glance at his watch tells him it's just after ten o'clock. Reaching for the box of tissues sitting on the bedside table, he snatches up several sheets and blows his nose loudly into all of them at once, then groans and falls back against the headboard, his head thunking against the wood paneling.

He's half-heartedly channel surfing when a key grates in the lock and Sam swings the door open, several plastic grocery bags in hand.

"Hey, look who's back in the land of the living."

Dean plunks the remote down on the bed. "You bring back cough drops?"

"Yeah, right." Sam snorts. "The way you burned through the last bag? Between those and the probably-expired Nyquil you chugged, I'm pretty sure you'd end up overdosing. I got you something better."

"An electric blanket, a stripper, and apple pie?"

Ignoring him, Sam lets the door fall shut and ambles over to the bathroom counter, setting the bags down next to the basket of hand towels and free toiletries. "Anything good on TV?"

"I think this chick on Fear Factor's about to barf her guts out," Dean croaks, wiping a dribble of snot away with the pad of his thumb.

"...Nice."

Outside, a rough snarl of wind throws a stray assortment of leaves and twigs against the windowpanes and Dean flicks over to the weather channel in time to see a blob of green swirl over a grey map of the county they're currently staying in.

"Dude, you see this storm coming?"

The coffee maker chugs sluggishly as it's switched on, and Sam steps out of the bathroom alcove to get a better look at the screen.

"Yeah, it was still a little ways off while I was driving back. Looks like a real bitch."

"Hey," Dean says with a wet sniff and a smirk, "maybe it'll freeze over and lock that little bastard in its ugly-ass statue."

"Yeah, maybe." Sam laughs, then turns back to the sink.

Yanking another tissue out of the box and blowing his nose again, Dean resumes flipping through the channels. He's breezed past Wheel of Fortune, Everybody Loves Raymond, and the return of Men in Black II from a commercial break when he finally asks, "So what are you working on back there, Betty Crocker?"

"Just gimme a minute, will you?"

Dean's stopped on a rerun of I Dream of Jeannie when Sam comes out, an enamel mug in either hand. A dollop of white floats on top of each. Reaching up and taking the one Sam offers him with a white-knuckled grip, Dean swallows hard, asks, "How did you — what—"

"It's, uh, tea. With whipped cream." Sam suddenly ducks his gaze, staring down into his mug. "I just, um... when I was sick, Jess used to make it for me."

"Oh. Right."

I Dream of Jeannie ends and rolls smoothly into the next show.

"Well then, to" — Dean pauses and catches a glimpse of the title card flashing on the television — "to MacGyver."

"To MacGyver," Sam says, smiling and clinking their mugs together. He sits back on his own bed, stretching his long legs in front of him as he takes a long sip. To his right, a distinct tattoo of drops starts rattling against the window.
 
 
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