Disclaimer: Winchester universe not mine, but I spend enough time there, you know?
Author's Note: I, obviously, have attention span problems. I can't really believe I'm starting another story when I still haven't finished the first four. Sigh. Oh well.
Dad Said No
Dean: "So, what are you saying, Dad was disappointed in you?"
Sam: "Was? (scoffs) Is. Always has been." - Bugs
Chapter 1, No Puppy
It was Bobby's fault really. That's what started the whole thing. If he hadn't placed the squirmy little retriever into Sam's hands, hadn't let the little pink tongue lick away the five-year-old's tears, the little boy wouldn't have gotten attached. It's just that the old hunter never claimed to have a heart of stone, not like some fathers he knew. And neither did he have much expertise with pups of the human variety.
Dean and John had left Sam at Bobby's for the weekend, doing some introductory hunting that was beyond the kindergartener's capabilities. After being given the dreadful news, Sam had pouted and stomped around until John had made him stand in the corner to think about what a pest he was being.
Tears were shed, but John was inexorable. Only the threat of a swat on the behind kept Sam from throwing an all out tantrum. John gave the sobbing five year old a pat on the head and an order to be good, before he picked up his bag and went out to the car. No trace of his inner turmoil showed on the man's impassive face. Sam was five years old, for crissake. He shouldn't be carrying on like this. John Winchester wouldn't be manipulated by those pitiful, tear filled eyes, even if it made him feel like a monster.
Dean tried next, though he was a little rushed because he knew Dad would not be pleased if he dawdled on the porch. He gave Sam a sympathetic smile and promised that they would be back soon. Sam let himself be pulled into an awkward kind of hug, though his tears didn't stop. He couldn't believe his dad and brother were just abandoning him like this!
"It's not fair!" He wailed into his brother's shoulder.
"Yeah, I know. You get to stay here and have fun while I have to go train with Dad all weekend!" Dean tried. At nine he was an expert in reverse psychology.
Sam was sharper than the average five year old and wasn't at all fooled. He knew that Dean was really excited to go and loved spending time training with John.
"I want to go with you," Sam hiccupped pitifully.
"I know, Sammy. But you're too little; you could get hurt."
"I WANT to go with you!" Sam shouted, unreasonably.
"Well, you can't, Sam," Dean said, hurt that Sam was refusing to listen to him and losing his patience. "Now, stop pouting or I won't let you play with my monster trucks while I'm gone." It was a bribe, they all knew it. Bobby and Dean waited as Sam considered taking the bait. Unfortunately the little boy's pride would not allow it.
"I'M NOT POUTING!" Sam screamed and Dean looked warily at the car, knowing John would have made good on his threat if he heard Sam's bitter outburst. "I DON'T WANT TO PLAY WITH YOUR STUPID TRUCKS!"
"Sam." Bobby stepped in, unwilling to see Dean take that kind of abuse. He put a firm hand on the boy's shoulder. "Unless you want to park your behind in that corner again, I suggest you apologize right now and say good bye." Perhaps threats would work better than bribes.
The naughty five-year-old seemed to realize that this was more than fair and muttered an adorable, if begrudging, "Sorry, Dean."
"Bye, Sammy." Dean said, knowing he would miss the annoying little runt.
Dean's patience was rewarded as Sam threw his arms around his big brother in a good bye hug. "Bye, Dean," he said through the tears.
John honked the horn impatiently, summoning his eldest. Dean quickly detached himself and ran to the car.
Bobby watched as Sam swallowed his desolation, though the sentiment was still more than obvious in the boy's large, despondent eyes.
"Do you want to play with your trucks, now?" Bobby asked, uncertainly.
Sam's look of distain would have made Bobby mad if it had been coming from any other than the five year old storm cloud. Yes, this was definitely John Winchester's kid. Before the boy had a chance to mouth off, Bobby raised his eyebrows and did his best to loom. Sammy got the idea, dropping his gaze and saying meekly "No thank you, Bobby."
Bobby's heart melted as the little boy drew in a big breath and sat down on the porch swing, shoving off with his feet before curling up in the corner as the rhythmic creaking began. One hand was wiping away the now silent tears. Bobby had seen pups like this, whimpering and abandoned right after they were taken from their mum. A clock wrapped in a blanket, mimicking the sound of a fellow heartbeat usually helped… though Bobby didn't think that would work with the Winchester's runt. Nope, there was just one way to bring a smile to those desolate eyes. He went out to the garage and scooped up the squirmy little fluff ball that came bounding out to greet him. "Easy there, pup," Bobby soothed.
Sam hadn't moved when Bobby came back to the porch, where the winter sun was quickly receding. Bobby imagined the boy was feeling the chill. Well, he had just the thing to warm him up. Sam's moody eyes lit with interest at the scuffling sound the pup made as the retriever too perked up with curiosity. Bobby sat down beside the little Winchester and plopped the puppy down into Sam's waiting hands. Sam's eyes shone with wonder as he cradled the squirming puppy.
"He's so little," Sam commented, voice tired from crying but seeming delighted. The youngest Winchester wasn't used to there being anyone littler than he was around. The pup set to work washing Sam's face with his warm, rough tongue. Sammy giggled and let him. "What's his name, Bobby?"
Bobby didn't name the pups unless he was sure he was going to keep 'um. Made the separation easier. This one was not destined to stick around forever. His disposition was too gentle for a watch dog and Bob thought he belonged with a family. He scratched the dog's ears. "He doesn't have a name, yet, Sammy."
The pup wriggled with delight at being the center of attention and barked happily when Bobby gave him a playful scratch. He was hardly bigger than Bobby's hand. Sam cradled him carefully in two arms. Seemed that the baby of the Winchester family had a hidden talent; Bobby's little retriever was on the receiving end of Sam's tender, protective touch. The little boy had never had the chance to try out before.
He'll make a good father someday, thought Bobby. He hoped the boy would have that chance, though with John Winchester as a father and hunting as a career, that might make things difficult.
When there was no more trace of tears in eyes or voice, Bobby took Sam out to see the puppy's house. Sam was delighted and gently put the puppy to bed, though the mischievous little guy was hardly being cooperative when Sam tried to tuck him in.
The sun was going down, so Bobby whistled for Sam and the little guy obediently came trotting over. Bobby overrode any suggestions that the puppy sleep with Sam tonight. Dogs didn't belong in the house. A little whimpering from both pups was firmly ignored and with a promise to be here tomorrow, Sam said good night and followed Bobby inside.
He washed up like Dean had showed him, chatting the whole while to Bobby about something he had learned in school.
"Plants don't gotta eat, ´cause they can make their own food. From sun and water ´n... carbon dioxide. ´n they make oxygen too, so that we can breathe. Otherwise we'd all die. Like this..." Sam demonstrated by dramatically clutching his throat and faking asphyxiation.
Bobby nodded noncommittally while he scooped out a bowl of mac and cheese, self consciously adding a couple carrot sticks and an apple and pouring a glass of milk. Sam avoided the carrots, eating the apple first and later shoveling in spoonfuls of mac and cheese between the rolling commentaries.
"I have a loose tooth!" he announced. "Dad says that if I eat lots of apples than if might fall out sooner. My teacher at my old school told me about the tooth fairy, but Dad says that's not real but he'll give me a quarter for every tooth anyway, like he does with Dean."
Yep, Bobby didn't have anything to say to that either. He tried to be encouraging, but realized he had failed miserably when Sam let out a disappointed sigh. "When's Dad coming back?" He asked.
"Oh… how many days is that?"
Bobby cracked a smile. "One and a half."
Sam absorbed the information, falling silent and moving the mac and cheese around his plate with a spoon.
"Eat it, Sam, don't play with it," Bobby ordered.
Sam looked at him with a hint of rebellion. "I'm finished," he tried.
"No you're not," Bobby grunted, not at all intimidated by the five-year-old. Sam sulked for about half a minute, but conceded to eat most of the rest of his dinner.
"May I be excused?" Sam asked, looking to Bobby for permission. Bobby gave the untouched carrots a critical look, but let the kid escape. Sam knew that they didn´t go outside after dark, so he flopped down on the hard wood floor, carefully coloring in his Peter Pan coloring book. He wished Dean were there, ´cause even though Dean usually ruined his attempts to color between the lines, adding things and using weird colors, (AND he made fun of Peter Pan, Sammy thought indignatly) Dean always made things more interesting.
An hour later, the phone rang. Sam perked up, expressing interest, as Bobby answered.
"Hey, Bobby, it's John," said Winchester.
"Howdy, how's it going, Johnny?"
"Pretty well, pretty well. Dean's a natural at this stuff." Bobby could here the father's voice swell with pride.
"Yeah, I know. The kid's got great aim." Watching Dean shoot targets was something to behold.
"And you guys? Sammy's not giving you too much trouble, I hope?"
"Not at all, not at all." Bobby paused to call Sam over. "Sam, your daddy's on the phone. Come on over and say hello."
Sammy quickly trotted over to accept the phone. "Hey Dad!" he breathed.
"Hey kiddo. How's it going?"
"It's good, Dad."
"Yeah, Dad." He paused. "Dad? Can we get a dog?"
John barely paused, hoping to nip this idea in the bud. "No, Sam. We can't get a dog." He was glad he wasn't there to see Sam's persuasive pout.
"Why not?" Sam all but wailed.
John saved the because I said so snap because he actual did have a reason this time. "Sam, we move around too much and dogs don't like to ride in the car so much."
"Neither to I!" Sam protested, making John inhale sharply. Well, there you have it. Apparently I am kinder to dogs than to my own children. But John didn't really believe that. It just hurt when Sammy implied it.
"Sammy, I said no." John said, hoping to put an end to the discussion. Seriously, he was just calling to check up on the kid, not get into anything with him.
"Did you hear me, young man?" He demanded when Sam lapsed into sullen silence. The dad knew that the threat in his voice would be effective despite the fact he was a state away.
"Yes, sir," Sam complied.
"Good boy. Now, don't give Bobby any trouble, ya hear?"
"Good night, Sammy."
"Good night, Dad."
Bobby said his good byes and then told Sam to get washed up for bed.
"I have to take a bath?" Sam asked, horrified. This was turning out to be a horrible day.
"Yes," said Bobby.
"But I took a bath last night."
"Kid, you're completely filthy," Bobby said. "Hop to."
"Fine," Sam said, stomping away with more attitude than he would have dared with John.
Sammy had technically never poured his own bath before, though he wasn't about to tell Bobby that. Looking critically at the knobs, he tried to remember how Dean knew how much hot and how much cold. He usually tested it with his hand. Sam turned the first knob, ice cold water spraying satisfyingly fast. Sam shivered at the very thought of it. He tried turning the other knob and soon the water warmed. Then it steamed. Sam put his hand under the faucet and the water was so hot it scalded. He snatched the stinging hand back and decided this was more complicated than he had anticipated.
"Bobby?" came the drawn out plea.
"Yeah." Bobby replied, looking up from his work.
"The water´z too hot."
Bobby gave him a puzzled expression, but in a couple strides he was at the door. He immediately adjusted the water and put in the plug that the five year old had neglected. Somehow, this didn't seem to fill Sam with enthusiasm. The two stood irresolutely in the doorway.
"Sam, go get your jammies." Bobby ordered, taking charge. He dug a clean towel from the chest in the hall. Sam, showing his training, obeyed immediately. He soon reappeared, carrying his dad´s old t-shirt, the one he used as a night shirt. Shedding his filthy jeans and equally dirt covered upper layers, Sam soon climbed into the bath, reaching out for Bobby's hand to steady him. Bobby was surprised at how trusting Sam was, not seeming embarrassed at all. The grizzled old hunter watched Sam as he splashed around a bit and, after a moment, insisted on soap and the like.
Once Sam was tucked in and assured that the windows and closet were warded against evil and prayers were said (Bobby suspected that was something Jim Murphy had taught the boy), Sammy settled into bed quickly enough. He was exhausted from the trying day and it was already late.
"Do you think Dad will ever let me have a dog?" Sam asked as Bobby went to the door.
"Well, what did he say when you asked?" Bobby said, knowing the answer.
"He said no," Sam repeated.
"Then it's not very likely, is it?"
"No," Sam agreed, but he was already scheeming. There had to be some way to change dad's mind.