Title: Toys Made From Dreams
Summary: An AU story about 9-year-old Dean: Staying out of the way. That's Dean's business. With his Dad working extra shifts at the mechanic's shop and his Mom looking after the Novak's house while Castiel is in hospital with pneumonia, Dean starts to wonder if he hasn't been well and truly forgotten.
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural, nor am I affiliated. I own none of the characters, just the plot for this.
Author's Notes: Thanks for reading guys, if you liked this story, please consider leaving a review.
TOYS MADE FROM DREAMS:
It was a Saturday afternoon in a sleepy town sometime in late April, when a small voice could be heard ringing throughout the empty toy store.
"Daaaaad, why can't I have that one?" Dean pointed towards the small fluffy squirrel toy.
The exasperated John Winchester huffed noisily and spun around to meet the pleading eyes of his eldest son for what seemed like the millionth time since they'd entered the store.
"Because Dean, it isn't your birthday!" He snapped angrily, temporarily silencing the young nine-year-old. "Besides, you're too old for a stuffed toy anyway."
Dean lapsed back into silence as his father carefully picked out two very distinct toys―one large brown moose with round, brown eyes and a smaller sized bee with lacy wings. The moose was clearly for Dean's brother, Sammy and the young boy could only believe the bee to be for his best friend, Castiel, who had half a week ago been discharged from the hospital having had pneumonia.
John headed off to the counter to pay for the toys but Dean remained where he was, standing in solidarity with the unmovable shelf filled to the brim with plushies of various styles, sizes and makes. With a sad little whimper he looked back to the toys, his eyes lingering on several before dropping his gaze to the floor.
He should've expected as much. He never should've agreed to go to the toy store at all, but his mother had seemed so frazzled and Sammy had been crying and his dad was looking so mad… Dean didn't really want to be in anyone's way.
He had only agreed in the end because he hadn't spent any time with his father in days, plus there was the added lure of getting out of the house. Dean hadn't even thought about the fact that there would be toys until they actually stepped inside the shop. Because of his dad's work, Dean hadn't seen his father in almost a week. The mechanic's he worked at had been so busy that he'd been working overtime. Dean's mother, Mary, had also been completely strained, running between taking care of Sam and reassuring Mrs. Novak that Castiel was going to be okay, plus taking care of her house whilst she stayed in the hospital with Cas.
Dean had barely said two words to his parents over the week. His mother had even forgotten to take him to school one morning. He'd been sitting at the kitchen table watching the clock tick by, waiting and waiting for his mother to come downstairs and walk with him to school, but it had hit eight-thirty and she still hadn't been anywhere in sight. Worrying that he was going to be late, Dean had dashed up to his parents room and slammed open the door expecting to see his mother still fast asleep, what he was met with however, was a made bed and no sign of either of his parents. Panicking and his heart racing a little, he had rushed into Sam's room, hoping to god that he was there, but again Dean had been met with nothing but silence.
It had hit him then.
Sam and his mother had obviously gone over to Mrs. Novak's the previous night and his dad had left for work hours ago because of his early shift, probably assuming that Dean had gone over there with them. He had thought nothing of it when he'd been awoken by his alarm, or clambering all over the cupboards looking for cereal, or when he'd had to pack his lunch, or when he'd put all his school books and things in his bag―he did these things on a regular basis so he'd never thought that his parents would've completely forgotten he was even there.
Looking away from the shelf once more, Dean frowned and made sure his gaze stayed fixed to the floor as he slowly followed in the wake of his father. You're too old for a stuffed toy. You're too old for a stuffed toy. You're too old for a stuffed toy. He chanted like a mantra in his mind, ingraining his father's words into his brain and memory. While John paid for the toys, Dean did one final scan of the toy store, reminding himself he was too old for a stuffed toy. For… for any toy.
"Come on, Dean." His father called, already making his way out the store with the bag containing one moose toy and one bee toy. Quickly following behind, Dean looked at all the toys as he passed.
'Goodbye shiny car… goodbye super cool basketball… goodbye Amazing Man action figures―'
"Dean!" John yelled, already out in the parking lot.
"Coming!" the young boy answered back, pushing his way out the door and into the empty car park where a few spots of ambitious rain fell onto his cheeks.
"Get in the car, hurry up." John continued snappishly, sticking the keys in and turning the engine on as Dean hurried over, climbed into the passenger seat and strapped himself in.
John soon pulled out of the empty parking lot and then onto the main road which was also devoid of cars or traffic of any kind. The two of them hadn't gone very far before Dean popped the question that had truly been bugging him since John had picked out the moose and the bee.
"Dad?" He questioned softly, hoping his dad wasn't going to snap at him again.
"Hm?" John grunted, keeping his hand set at two and ten and his eyes fixed on the road ahead.
"… am I really too old for a stuffed toy?" Dean asked, waiting on baited breath as he prayed for the answer he wanted.
"Yeah, you're a big boy now Dean. Stuffed toys are for little children." John replied, completely missing the way Dean deflated next to him, the hope and happiness suddenly being sucked away.
"Oh..." Dean almost inaudibly murmured back.
The rest of the ten minute car ride was completed in silence, but John was just happy for the peace and quiet and Dean used the time to think. If he was too old for stuffed toys, what else was he too old for? Was he too old to play games with Sammy? His mother was constantly harping on about him being too rough so… perhaps he was? What about watching cartoons in the morning? Well, his dad was always telling him to 'turn that rubbish off' but… he let Sammy watch them in the afternoons… it seemed like that was another thing he would have to change.
When the two of them pulled into the driveway, Dean exited the car in a much more depressed mood and trundled up the porch steps behind his father before they were greeted by the sound of Mary's voice and the incredibly overwhelming smell of glorious raspberry pie.
"Hey there my boys, you're back. What did you buy?" Dean watched his mother and father greet each other warmly and for some bizarre reason he felt a sudden pang in his chest.
"Where's Sam?" John asked in a subdued voice.
"In the other room watching cartoons, why?" Mary replied wiping her hands on her apron, curious and confused.
"We bought his birthday present, plus a little something to commemorate Castiel getting out of hospital." John grinned, still keeping his voice a little softer than usual.
"Oh how nice!" Mary adjusted her voice to her husbands level as she pulled out the two toys, gave them both a good look and then put them back. "How thoughtful, I know Cas will appreciate it."
Dean couldn't help but let a little smile flit across his face imagining Cas' reaction and Sam joy at their new presents. It still stung a little that he couldn't have nice new toys like that, but he pushed those thoughts from his mind and decided to sit down at the kitchen table. His dad wandered over to the fridge and cracked open a can of beer while his mother returned to her previous position at the stove top where she seemed to be doing the preparation for dinner.
"Is there anything I can help with?" Dean chimed in, feeling slightly happier over the whole stuffed toys situation now that he was finally able to spend some time with both his parents. He didn't really need the toy, he just needed the company.
"No sweetie, I think I'm all set." Mary twittered, casting a smile over her shoulder to her oldest son. "You could go into the other room and watch television with Sam if you'd like. Dinner's going to be a way off yet."
"No thank you," Dean answered, resolving to stay put even if he couldn't help in any way. "I'll stay here with you."
"Dean," John pipped up, "I think what your mother means to say is that we'd like some time together… just the two of us, okay?"
Dean couldn't believe what he was hearing―he wanted to cry. No, he couldn't cry. He was too old and too big to cry. "You want me to go?"
"Yes please sweetie, if you would. Thank you." Mary threw another careless smile over her shoulder.
"Your mother and I just haven't seen each other all week." John added as Dean hopped off his chair and listlessly walked out.
"But… you haven't seen me all week..." Dean uttered under his breath, rounding the corner as the tears started to leak from his eyes. Knowing there was no way he was going to be able to stop them this time, Dean hurried as fast as he could up the stairs and just managed to close his door behind him before the real sobs broke out.
Thousands of thoughts ran through his mind as he sat on the edge of his bed, trying in vain to stop the flow of tears, but at the forefront was the magnificent idea of staying over at Castiel's that night. If he ran away, would his parents even notice? Judging from his mother's lapse in memory earlier that week, his childish mind presumed they would not. So, without a second thought, Dean grabbed his little duffle bag and stuffed it full of clothes before zipping it shut, opening his window and cautiously climbing through the small-person-sized hole.
After throwing his duffle-bag onto the grassy lawn below, he very carefully he stepped on the black roof tiles until he reached the corner of the house, precariously using the horizontal planks that ran across the house as handholds. Reaching out, Dean quickly changed from the planks to the drainpipe and gripping it tightly, he started to climb down his mother's metal garden trellis, using the holes in the latticework as footholds and then eventually handholds.
Soon enough, the Winchester boy made it safely to the ground and was hurrying across the grass and then crossing the road to his best friends house. Dean's tears remained unabashed, even as he jogged up the porch steps and rang the doorbell. After a number of heavy steps, Mrs. Novak appeared at the door and greeted with a 'hello' before she even knew to whom she was talking.
"Hi Mrs. Novak," Dean sniffed, wiping away one side of his tear streaked face as he looked hopefully up at her. "Is it okay if I see Castiel?"
"Ah―Dean? Sure honey, what's wrong, why're you crying?" She ushered him inside the house, glancing worriedly over to the Winchester house before closing the door behind them.
"It's really nothing Mrs. Novak, I'm sorry to intrude." He apologised politely, already halfway up the stair case and hoping she wouldn't press him for answers too much more. It took less than thirty seconds for Dean to make it from the stairs to Cas' room and shut the door behind him.
"Dean?" He heard a startled cry from somewhere behind him and the Winchester spun around to be greeted by a familiar and friendly (albeit slightly confused) face.
"Hi Cas..." he greeted sombrely, dumping his duffle bag by the wall and sitting down on the end of the bed that Cas sat in, still dressed in his blue-checked pyjamas. Castiel had been laid up in bed for several days since coming home from the hospital and he was incredibly glad to have company―he just hadn't expected that company to come with tear marks streaked down the sides of his face.
"Dean, what's wrong?" Cas inquired, sorely confused and slightly worried about his best friend. Dean was a tough guy, something Cas had always aspired to be, so to see Dean cry in such a way was almost frightening to him. For Dean to shed even the smallest tear there had to be something really wrong.
"I'm coming to live with you, Cas." Dean announced plainly, as he thought about how his afternoon had gone from bad to worse. "I don't think my family wants me." His whole week had been one massive mess of hurt and he didn't think it an unreasonable conclusion to draw, especially since less than fifteen minutes ago he'd asked both his parents if they wanted him to go and they'd answered with nothing less than a pretty 'yes'.
"You don't mean that, Dean." Cas shook his head, reaching over to rest a friendly hand on Dean's shoulder. "Your family loves you, I know it."
Dean didn't declare loudly from the rooftops that they didn't, however instead, he shook his head sadly and smothered his face with his hands as overwhelming emotion overtook him again, which Cas found even more distressing. He felt like he had missed so much whilst he'd been in hospital, it seemed like so much had happened.
"What's happened with your family, Dean?"
After better collecting himself and finally removing his hands from his face, that Dean started to recount his last week to his best friend whilst Cas listened quietly. Dean started with his mother and father forgetting about him and his first walk to school alone and ended with them practically saying they wanted him to go.
"Perhaps you could just… talk to them, Dean?" Cas proffered, knowing his advice wasn't all that useful. "Surely if you just explain how you feel then things will sort themselves out."
"Have you met my father?" Dean asked rhetorically, his voice thick and heavy with sarcasm. "Talking about… stuff like this isn't exactly his strong point."
"What about your mother?" Cas pushed, growing more and more worried that Dean was going to do something completely irrational like never go home.
Whatever Dean had been about to reply with was brusquely cut short when the pair heard the front door close and several loud pairs of footsteps climb the stairs. Cas saw Dean immediately pale as he suddenly realised how much trouble he'd be in for running over to Cas' house without telling anyone.
The bedroom door swung open with a bang and, as expected, Dean was suddenly confronted with his parents, both of whom were looking obviously furious, plus Sammy who was sitting in Mary's arms looking slightly worried by the whole situation.
"DEAN!" John roared, the sound clearly reverberating the rage he was feeling. Dean seemed to go even paler, if that was possible, and he curled in on himself at the noise as though he'd been physically slapped. "You will APOLOGISE to Mrs. Novak and then you will be coming with us Mr."
John marched over and gripped Dean by the arm, yanking him up rather brutishly. Tears started in Dean's eyes for the second time that day, even though it felt like the first lot had only just dried. Dean nearly couldn't wrap his nine-year-old mind around the whole situation. He'd only gone to Cas' house―it was much closer than school! Why was he apologising to Mrs. Novak? Had he done something to offend her? Did either of them know he'd been his own parent for the entire week? His head whirled with questions and quite suddenly he could take no more.
"NO!" Dean screamed, Cas and Mrs. Novak also there to watch the scene unfolding. Dean roughly yanked his arm out of his father's tight grip and, spying no opening by the door, the Winchester ran in the opposite direction, towards the open window where the soft summer breeze that held the promising smell of a storm wafted in.
With fluid movement, it took Dean only a few seconds to crawl out onto the Novak's roof. Cas' roof was a lot steeper than his own however, and Dean found that he had to tread far more cautiously.
"Dean!" He heard his father yell from the inside, the tone somehow changed from the furious rage he'd heard earlier. "Come back in here this instant!"
"No," Dean yelled back, a tearful sniff tacked on the end. "I'm not coming home!" He sat down on the roof tiles, clinging to the side of the house as tightly as he could. Down below, the young Winchester saw two adult heads appear―Mrs. Novak and his mother, both wearing awfully anxious expressions on their faces.
"Dean, please go back inside!" His mother yelled from the ground, wringing her hands as Sam clung to her leg looking up towards his older brother, evidently scared about all that was going on.
However, Dean didn't get his chance to reply this time because Mrs. Novak's shrill voice suddenly pierced through all other commotion. "Castiel! What are you doing out of bed!? Go back inside immediately!"
In Dean's effort to better see what was going on below he inched forwards slightly, his grip on the side of the house slackening, but it was at that exact moment that Dean knew he'd made a fatal calculation. In one split second, the Winchester felt himself lose his balance, toppling forwards gracelessly and then from every angle and in every timbre he heard his name screamed out into the air. He barely registered the fall, but his mind didn't have any time to process it because a millisecond later his head hit the ground and everything was quickly shut out.
The first thing Dean discerned was a loud bang that seemed to be from the door closing behind the person who had just left the room. He opened his eyes and sat up slowly, taking in his unfamiliar surroundings and noting that he appeared to be in a hospital bed.
"Mrs. Novak!" He unexpectedly heard a voice echo on the other side of the door, accompanied by the click-clack of short heels. "Oh, thank you so much for looking after Sam."
"It's fine, really. How's he doing?" Mrs. Novak replied tensely, Dean imagining the scene playing out. For a moment there was silence and he strained to make out any noise at all, but another voice quickly chimed in and Dean immediately recognised the familiar bass sound to be his father.
"The doctor says he's fine… he's supposed to wake up soon…" though John didn't sound so sure and continued with: "This is all my fault; I shouldn't have yelled at him like that."
The young Winchester ignored the harsh, pounding throb in his head―likely from his death-defying fall―and listened harder to the conversation. He almost wondered if he wasn't hallucinating or possibly dreaming, because his dad never admitted his mistakes or apologised for anything he did. He was just that type of man and unknowingly, Dean was following in those well-walked footsteps.
"I just wish I knew why he suddenly disappeared on us like that―or why he ran over to your house, Mrs. Novak. It is so unlike Dean. I'm quite worried that something happened." His mother fretted, her shoes continuing to make soft clacks on the mezzanine floor as she shuffled from one foot to the other.
"Ah," Mrs. Novak interjected softly, "I think I know someone who may be able to help answer that. Isn't that right, Castiel?"
At once, Dean felt the blood rush out of his cheeks and his gut twist horrendously, like someone had dug a knife into his stomach and was proceeding to slowly turn it like one would rev a motorcycle. What would happen if Cas told his parents what Dean had told him? He truly couldn't answer that question and it was the unknown answer that really scared him.
"Castiel?" Dean heard his father parrot questioningly, "Did Dean say something to you?"
Dean didn't hear an immediate response but he knew Cas so well that in his minds eye he could see his best friend nodding, partially hiding behind his mother as all eyes trained onto him and waited for an explanation to Dean's 'mysterious' behaviour. Castiel hesitated, clearly ambivalent about sharing the things Dean had confided to him, but in the end after a lot of prompting from his mother, Cas forced out the reluctant words.
"...Dean said you… you didn't want him any more." Cas tentatively muttered, his eyes probably flicking between each of the parents so he could gauge their reactions.
The adults remained silent until Mrs. Novak prompted Cas again. "Go on Cas, tell the Winchesters what you told me."
After what sounded like another moment of wavering, Dean heard Cas speak once more, but this time his voice got faster and faster until it was an uncontrollable ramble, each word spilling out into the open where all could hear. "...Dean told me that you forgot to take him to school one morning and that he'd walked there and back by himself, and that you said you wanted him to leave, and for some reason he kept going on about how he wasn't allowed to play with toys anymore―? I don't quite know what he was saying but he was really upset about it…"
Again there was only silence and Dean waited with held breath. When Cas put it like that it sounded like he was overreacting. He was being a bother again.
"You forgot to take Dean to school?" Mary suddenly hissed as Dean heard a small whimper that he presumed to be Sam.
"What do you mean I forgot to take Dean to school," John fired back defensively, "I thought you'd taken him with you and Sam to the Novaks' house."
The crowd fell into silence again but this time, in Dean's efforts to hear hear better, he accidentally misplaced his hand, causing the loose metal railing on the side of his bed to clang down onto the side. The sound didn't go unheard and within seconds the group that had been standing outside quickly bustled in, practically tripping over themselves in order to get to Dean.
"Dean, my baby!" His mother exclaimed upon seeing him as she rushed over to his side and gripped his hand tightly. "Oh, sweetie thank goodness you're awake―"
"―how're you feeling, buddy?" his father interjected clapping a hand onto his shoulder, making Dean swivel his head to the other side.
"I'm… okay…" Dean breathed, suddenly struggling to find his voice in all the commotion.
Sam and Cas were suddenly climbing all over the end of his bed, the pair of them sitting at the very end where Dean's feet did not yet stretch and Mrs. Novak stood at the back of the room with a little crease in her forehead but also a pursed smile on her lips.
"You're very lucky, Dean. You fell from the roof and ended up with only a broken arm." His mother continued, rubbing Dean's little hand between her own.
"And Dean, ignore what I said earlier about the stuffed toys, okay?" His father said gently, cutting off anything thing else that Mary might have said.
"...But… I'm too old though…" Dean muttered in confusion, the haze of waking still clouding his mind.
"No, Dean," John continued, trying to reassure his son that he hadn't truly meant those words. "I'm sorry I said that―"
"We love you Dean and so sorry we haven't taken the time to tell you that recently," Mary interjected this time. "You're so well-behaved and kind-hearted and we took that for granted. We've made you grow up so fast… we never realised we weren't letting you be a kid." John and Mary exchanged glances and tiny smiles.
"When you get out of here," John picked up as Mary wrapped her arms around her son, pulling him into a light embrace and kissing him on the forehead, "we'll go out for ice-creams and you can get that stuffed squirrel you wanted."
Dean looked up at his father with honest hope and excitement in his eyes. "You really promise?"
"I promise―pinky-swear." John vowed, reaching across and linking pinkies with Dean before shaking on it.
Sam, obviously feeling somewhat left out crawled up to his brother and wrapped his arms around Dean's waist. "I'm gwad you're okay big brovver..." he gurgled in his four-year-old voice, keeping Dean trapped in his tiny powerless arms whilst the older Winchester brother smiled and returned the hug. "I was scwared..."
"Cas," Mrs. Novak murmured quietly, beckoning her son. "We should leave the Winchesters' alone, okay?"
Cas nodded but kept his eyes fixed on Dean, who looked from Sam to Castiel.
"I'm really happy you're okay, Dean. I guess I'll see you at school on Monday." Cas issued with a small smile after climbing off the hospital bed.
Dean nodded, returning Cas' smile with an even bigger grin. "Yeah, I'll see you Monday."
Cas and Mrs. Novak said goodbye to the Winchester family and headed out the door.
"Cas!" Dean yelled as though remembering something, just as Cas was about to walk out. Startled, Castiel turned and stopped, looking back at his friend with an expression of surprise. "Thanks Cas. I mean it." Cas nodded in acknowledgement and then the two Novak's left, Mrs. Novak ushering Cas out the door as Dean looked back at the three members of his family that were gathered around his bed.
"I'm sorry," Dean instantly apologised, looking towards his mother and then his father. "I didn't mean for this to happen…"
"Oh Dean," his mother sighed, her worried smile lessening. "This wasn't your fault. We love you, never forget that. We would never want you gone."
For the first time in ages, Dean really did feel loved. His family was surrounding him, all of them focusing all their attention solely on him. They really did love him. He didn't need some toy in which to put his dreams to remind him of that.