Disclaimer: Supernatural and its characters are the property of Eric Kripke. Sadly, I do not own any of these guys.
A/N: This short little fic was born from a prompt by Unattainable Dreams. The prompt was: "Turn those dust bunnies into plot bunnies! Or have your characters partake in some spring cleaning. Bonus points if someone finds a dead rodent."
Enjoy some less-than-manly Dean Winchester moments as my springtime present to you.
"Alright, Sammy, this settles it. You're a pig," Dean muttered to himself as he tossed yet another empty Chinese takeout box from under Sam's bed into a large trash bag. He had been at this spring cleaning thing for the greater part of the afternoon, and it was exhausting. He'd cleaned every commonly-used room in the bunker so far, from the kitchen to the bathrooms to the library and bedrooms, dusting and polishing and scrubbing until everything was as pristine as it had been fifty years before they arrived.
The only problem he had encountered so far was that no matter how much searching he did in the now nearly-spotless bunker, he still hadn't been able to find his favorite black AC/DC T-shirt. All of his other clothes were exactly where they should have been, now freshly cleaned, folded, and put in their places like everything else he owned. He could think of no other explanation except that he had accidentally left it at the motel where they stayed during the Thin Man incident three days before, although he couldn't remember taking it along then. Either way, the worn-out old shirt was nowhere to be found, and he had eventually given up the search.
By the time the sun dropped low in the sky that day, Dean had been cleaning for nearly ten hours straight and was ready crawl into bed and never crawl out again. So when he had come into his brother's room a few minutes ago only to find it littered with garbage and dirty laundry when they had a fully-functional washing machine and multiple trashcans, he was more than a little irritated. The Winchesters might not have been the cleanest motel-goers in the past, but Sam was supposed to be the neat freak of the two of them, not Pigpen. Dean liked to think that maybe it was just because Sammy was too busy researching to remember his cleaning. The alternative would mean that despite the talk they had had with Harry and Ed, Sam was still so angry at Dean that he refused to leave his room even to throw out trash if it meant he might run into his older brother in the hallway.
That option hurt too much to think about.
The chance to go into Sam's room was very rare these days though, so Dean didn't want to waste any time. Sam had really become even more of a homebody since Gadreel had been banished from his body, and getting him to go anywhere that didn't involve a hunt was almost impossible. So, with no other options left short of knocking him out and hog-tying him in the closet, Dean had convinced him that there was a possible Black Dog sighting a few towns over, and he had agreed to go investigate while Dean stayed home to "do some solo research." It was more than a little surprising that Sam had actually believed him, but with any luck he would stay away from the bunker until the next morning and leave the older Winchester to finish his cleaning in peace. They might both be living in the bunker, but there was no question about who really ran the household. This place was Dean's domain, and any untidiness in his kingdom would not be tolerated. So Sam usually just stayed out of the way and let him work.
Once the space under the bed was mostly clear of old takeout cartons and one mismatched pair of shoes – both left-footed – Dean moved on to the crumpled pile of clothes in the corner of the closet. He lifted a pair of socks from the top, nearly gagging at the smell even while he held them two feet from his face. It took him a while to decide whether they were salvageable by washing or whether he'd have to burn the toxic things, but eventually he just sighed and deposited them in the laundry basket with a huff, trying to get the offensive smell out of his nose. The things he did for that boy… What was he, some kind of soccer mom?
"Jeez, Sam. You've got more clothes on the floor than hanging up. When did you revert back to twelve?" He picked out every pair of Sam's socks and underwear first, putting them in a separate bag and tying it off to keep as much of the sweaty foot smell contained as he could. He finally finished with that disgusting task and reached out for the pile again, just about to pick up a pair of the longest jeans he'd probably ever seen in his life, when he thought he heard a tiny squeaking sound. He froze immediately, the hair on the back of his neck standing straight up, and carefully reached for the jeans again. As soon as he touched them, they shifted on their own, and there came another squeak, louder this time.
"Oh, please, no…" Dean whispered, praying to whoever could hear him that it wasn't what he thought it was. He carefully peeled back the fabric, muscles tensed and ready to strike, and instantly recoiled with a gasp when his worst fears were confirmed. Under the folds of denim, munching greedily on a half-finished package of miniature Oreos in the back pocket, were three gray rats. A fourth lay off to the side, unmoving, and Dean could tell by the chunks of flesh missing from its sides that its friends hadn't wasted any time making use of its body. He froze, too afraid of scattering them to do anything but breathe and blink.
Rats. Why did it always have to be rats? Manly pride be damned, those things were absolutely terrifying. Beady little eyes that shone in the dark, scratchy claws and teeth, and those awful wrinkly tails that looked too much like worms to be attached to something with that much fur, disgusting fur though it might be. He could practically feel them crawling all over him every time he heard them in a basement or hall. He could deal with spiders, snakes, and hell, even swarms of furious bees summoned by Native American curses. Rats, though, were another story entirely.
"Okay. Okay," he muttered to himself, eyes wide and heart racing as he searched for something to kill the vermin with. "I can do this. They're only six inches long. I'm six foot two. They cannot. Hurt… me?"
As he finished his self-motivational speech, he noticed that one of the rats had separated from the group, slowly making its way over toward him until its tiny paws were almost resting on his leg. He froze, holding his breath and staring wide-eyed at the tiny black-eyed creature. Eyes the same color as a demon's, now that he thought about it.
"Oh-oh-okay," he whispered, eyes closed and head bent upward as if in prayer. "I can do this. Really. I can." He turned his eyes back to the rat, now just millimeters away from sitting on top of his knee. "I know I can do…"
Dean didn't even notice how many octaves his voice had risen, too busy scrambling away from the tiny gray creature to care if he sounded like a frightened little girl. He reached for the closest thing to strike it with, which in this case happened to be the extension piece for the vacuum cleaner hose, and began whacking it with wild abandon, all of his hunter's instincts leaving him as he swung wildly around him.
"Die! Die! Diediedie, you little bastard!" he shouted, pounding the thing into paste with the plastic piece and stopping only when his weapon cracked in two in his hand. He dropped the pieces onto the floor, shaking as the adrenaline in his system began to recede and trying to find something to pick up the carcass with. After all that, he sure as hell wasn't using his hands to do it. For once Sam's pile of dirty clothes was coming in handy. There was a balled-up black shirt within arm's reach, and Dean snatched it up without a second thought.
"Oh, ech," he groaned, picking up the limp carcasses of the two dead rats – one thanks to his minor freak-out – and deposited them in the garbage bag with the rest of the trash from the room. The other two rats had run away, and he frankly didn't care where to at the moment. At least the most recently killed one hadn't bled too much; those stains would be easy enough to get out. He dumped the last body into the trash bag, letting the dirty shirt fall open so he could move it to the laundry basket, and froze in surprise.
"Well, son of a bitch."
Lo and behold, there was his missing AC/DC shirt, hidden in Sam's laundry pile. Now that he thought back, the shirt had actually been folded when he had found it, placed neatly atop the dirty clothes without truly joining the rest of the mess. He smirked and shook his head, placing the shirt beside him so he could remember to wash the rats' blood off before he returned it to Sam's room. Something inside him suddenly felt light, much lighter than he had felt in quite some time. It seemed his little brother still needed him for comfort after all, whether he said it aloud or not. And if that was the case, Dean would wait for him to admit it on his own. This was all the confirmation he needed for the time being.
It didn't take long to finish picking up the trash and dirty laundry, and soon Sam's room looked almost as clean as Dean's. The bed was made, the shelves dusted, the bloodstains removed from the floor, and everything that hung crooked on the walls was straightened. Dean took one last look, satisfied with his work, and went off to start washing another load of laundry before heading to bed. Tired as he was, he knew it would be worth it to get to live in a clean bunker for a long time to come.
And what he'd learned about his brother… that was the best reward yet.