Title: Boy Scouts and Blankets
Summary: Sammy wanted to join the Boy scouts. John wouldn't let him. Dean came up with a solution. But things are never that simple, are they?
Disclaimer: Neither of the Winchester three belong to me nor do I make any money out of this fic. However if I could bottle the buzz from feedback, I'd be a millionaire by now (hint hint).
Author notes: Currently working on a long fic which won't get posted until it's finished due to ravenous plot bunny twists that tend to sideswipe me and throw the whole story off kilter. However it is inspiring lots of one-shot plot bunnies and this is one of them! Please, please review and let me know what you like, what you don't like and what your favourite colour is.
Also note that I've no idea how cub scouts work in America, this is all based upon my memories of scouts as a kid in England. My dad was a scout leader and both my older brothers went. Unfortunately I grew up in the misguided age that said girls could only go to guides and guides was a bit crap! I did get to go on a couple of scout camps with my Dad though! So please note: John and Dean's opinion of scouts is theirs, not mine!
Also, this is un-beta'd. Any spelling/grammar/continuity mistakes are my own and I hope they don't disrupt the flow of the story.
"I want to join the cub scouts."
Dean wasn't quite sure why Sammy persisted in asking questions where the answers would quite blatantly be no. As it was, their father didn't even bother looking up from writing in his journal as he said, "No!"
"But Dad," Sammy protested, "Scouts will teach me useful hunting skills like rope-tying and starting fires."
"You want to start a fire? Use a lighter!"
"But what if you dropped your lighter? Or it's out of fuel?"
His Dad lifted his face then to fix Sammy with a dark gaze, "And why would either of those things happen if you listened to what I instructed you?"
"Because sometimes things just happen. What if the monster ripped the pocket of your trousers?"
"Two lighters. Separate pockets." Dad answered, "And a box of matches."
"See, Be Prepared. That's the boy scout motto too."
Dad's eyes drilled into Sammy, "You think you need some extra help figuring that out, do you? Because I can think of several training exercises to help you keep that in mind."
Dean knew it was coming. Any minute now Sammy would turn that puppy-eyed gaze onto Dean, silently begging him to come to his aid and even though Dean knew his father wasn't about to change his mind and even though he knew that the only thing it would do would be make Dad mad at Dean too, the minute Sammy turned towards his brother, Dean found himself saying, "Come on, Dad. What can it hurt for Sammy to do this?"
"What can it hurt?" His Dad span to face Dean, "What can it hurt for your brother to go into the woods with a bunch of kids and some pasty-faced adults who wouldn't know a werewolf from a wendigo? What can it hurt for your brother to spend one evening a week learning a load of rubbish from people who'd flinch and hide in a pile of leaves if it ever came to a real life or death situation?" His Dad snorted and put down the journal, "I'm going out to get some beer. Look after your brother 'til I'm back." With that, his Dad stomped out, every footstep making the floor reverberate.
Sammy immediately stomped up to his room, his own footsteps making far less of an impact that the boots of their father. Dean just sat down at the table with a sigh. He picked up the leaflet that Sam had got from school, the one that started this whole mess, the one with cheerful, podgy children in stupid uniforms and rows of badges.
It was then that the idea struck Dean like a bolt from above. Sure, Sammy couldn't go to cub scouts. Personally Dean agreed with his father's assessment of the skinny and somewhat slimy looking 'cub scout leaders' depicted in the leaflet. There was nothing to say that Sammy couldn't join the Demon Scouts though.
Putting Dean's plan into action took a lot of work and over a month. First he got a cheap grey blanket from one of the charity shops and cut a hole in it large enough to accommodate Sam's head and plenty of room for the badges to be sewn onto. Coming up with fabric for the badges was far more tricky. Dean popped into every fabric shop in every town they visited, getting offcuts of fabric and cheap thread. He used the needle from their father's medical kit to sew together the badges every time he had a spare moment. He stole one of the exercise books from school in order to make Sam's Demon Scout handbook.
Finally it was all ready and one night when their father was out on a hunt, Dean presented the finished product to his brother and got the biggest grin he'd ever seen on Sam's face as a reward.
Fire Making Badge
"Now, if you'd gone to regular scouts, they would've taught you to make a fire by rubbing two sticks together. That's all well and good if you are somewhere nice and safe but when a ghost is strangling your brother, as ghosts tend to do, and you need to burn that bastard quickly, this is your friend." Dean opened his hand to reveal a shiny lighter.
"The operation of a lighter is simple. First flick," Dean used a thumb to flick open the top, "Then roll," Dean rolled his thumb over the grinding wheel, watching the tiny spark, "Then quickly press." Dean rolled his thumb over the grinding wheel again and then pressed on the button causing a small flame to light up. "Ta-da!" Dean then closed the lighter and held it out to Sam, "Your turn."
Sam's hand trembled a little as he took the lighter, knowing just how zealously his brother guarded his possessions. It was only when Sam glanced down at the lighter that he noticed something odd, "This isn't your lighter."
"Of course not, dumb-ass. You think I'm gonna let a shrimp like you play with my lighter? Nah, that's your lighter. See, it's got a book on it 'cos you are a nerd. Got the Winchester rifle on the other side like mine and it's got your name engraved on the bottom so you don't forget who you are."
Sam turned the lighter over reverentially, fingers tracing the Winchester rifle. He knew despite his brother's teasing that it must have cost him a pretty penny, "Thanks Dean," Sam said and then flipped open the lighter top as he'd seen his brother do and tried to spin the wheel. It resisted more than Sam had expected and the metal teeth dug uncomfortably into the pad of his thumb, "Ow." He protested, sticking the thumb into his mouth to suck on it.
Dean caught his hand and tugged it out, inspecting the thumb, "No blood, tough it out. You just got to build up a thicker layer of skin on it. Just flick, like this." Dean dug his own lighter out of his pocket and span the wheel, striking a spark with casual ease.
Sam watched carefully once more and then repeated his brother's actions, managing to raise a tiny spark which died before Sam could get his finger onto the gas button. "Almost did it, Dean."
Dean grinned at him, "That you did. Come on, try again."
Sam nodded and bit his lip, staring at the lighter like it was a particularly difficult algebra test that he was determined to get an A on. His thumb dug into the wheel, turning it and immediately slipping down onto the gas button. To Sam's pleasure, a small yellow flame appeared on the lighter nozzle, "Look, Dean." He swung the lighter towards his brother.
Dean ducked out of range, "Careful, Sammy." He chided, no real heat in his words, "That's good though. Now for part two of the lesson." Dean opened up his lighter again, a flame sparking up almost before Sam had a chance to watch the movements, "See. Most of the time, you aren't going to be right by the grave. It'll be you, angry spirit trying to kill you, grave which means you have to throw the lighter. You've seen me and Dad do that, right?" At Sam's nod, Dean continued, "But see, as soon as you take your finger off this button, the flame will die. You could secure it down with a rubber band but that takes time and time ain't something you'll have a lot of. The best thing to do is crank the flame up to its highest," Dean demonstrated and his small, yellow flame leapt up to become much larger, violet and blue licking at its bottom up to a virulent yellow, "And with a flick of his wrist, throw it fast."
In hindsight, Dean should have included the words 'Let's go somewhere safe to practice'. Unfortunately he didn't and Sam, ever eager to make his brother proud, cranked the flame on his lighter up to the top and flicked his wrist. Hunting skills had never quite come as naturally to Sammy as to Dean but as the lighter arced through the air towards a pile of dry leaves, Dean mused that Sammy would have to pick this moment to get something right first time. The dry leaves immediately burst into flame. Fortunately the leaves were a scraped up pile on their own, surrounded by damp grass so it didn't set the whole campsite on fire.
"Crap," Dean exclaimed and ducked into the tent to grab one of the blankets to damp the fire down with.
Sam took one look at his brother's panicked expression and grabbed the bucket of holy water that their Dad had been preparing earlier and tossed it over the flaming patch of leaves, "Dean, I exorcised the fire. Do I get my badge now?"
"Grrrrrrr," Dean snarled.
"Bwhu-ak, buck, buck, buck. Bwhu-ak, buck, buck."
"I've never heard of that demon."
"Deeean, That's cheating."
"It's not cheating. It's expecting the unexpected. Imagine you are creeping through a farm hunting a chupacabra and you hear that noise behind you and you ignore it because it's just a chicken. bam Pecked to death by demon chicken!"
"I thought it was a possessed chicken."
"It's possessed by a demon therefore a demon chicken."
"But there might be a non-evil chicken still inside. We can't kill it, we have to exercise it."
"Exorcise, Sammy, not exercise," Dean corrected, "And chickens can't recover from possession like humans. You have to kill them to put them out of their misery."
"Oh," Sammy said, his wide eyed gaze obviously taking in everything his brother says as absolute truth.
"Snrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, kawak, kawak."
"Dean, you are cheating again!" Sammy complained.
Worried hazel eyes met Sammy's brown, "I didn't make that noise. Get in the tent, quick." Dean scrabbled from the campfire to grab a bag of salt and made a hasty ring around the tent before tumbling inside himself, finding an armful of scared Sammy as soon as he was inside.
"What makes that noise?" Sammy trembled, wrapping himself tighter into his brother's protective arms.
"I don't know, Sammy, but I promise you tomorrow I'll ask Dad and find out."
"I don't want to play the guess the monster game anymore," Sammy whispered, "Can I just have the badge now?"
Outside the tent, a dark figure stared at the two shadowy figures clinging to each other inside the tent. Finally John Winchester chuckled to himself and headed back into the forest to make the last patrolling round.
"Now this badge is very important," Dean told his little brother as he grabbed a pair of scissors in his hand, "To be a proper Demon Scout, you have to have a haircut like me and Dad so it doesn't flop in your eyes all the time."
"Noooooo," Sam squealed and before Dean could grab him, he slid backwards out of range and dived under the legs of one of the battered old chairs in their rented apartment.
Dean knew he needed a better plan. For all Sam's youth, he could be as slippery as an eel and as agile as a monkey. Infact, Dean sometimes wondered if his little brother was some bizarre zoological experiment brought home by accident. He'd tried asking Dad if they'd ever been to the zoo before Mom died but his Dad had just given him a strange look and told him he wasn't getting a puppy. Sometimes Dad could be a bit strange!
It didn't take Dean long to come up with a suitable plan and after a brief stop in the kitchen, he was ready. Sam might be a master of escape but he was utterly useless at hide and seek as Dean spotted feet poking out from underneath the chair. Dean skidded towards the chair but Sam darted out before Dean could crook an arm in and the chase was on once more.
Sam vaulted the sofa and made for the stairs. Dean leapt forward and managed to snag his little brother's foot, tugging him backwards. As predicted, Sam kicked towards him unmindful of his brother's handsome face and Dean let himself topple backwards, letting out a painful groan as soon as he hit the floor.
Sam froze and turned slowly, letting out a shriek as he saw the red blood coated around where a pair of scissors jutted from Dean's side. His little brother hopped down the stairs to Dean and knelt down by him, dark brown eyes already stinging with tears. "Oh god, Dean, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. Dean, talk to me."
Dean reached up with the scissors and snipped a chunk of hair from Sam's fringe, grinning up in triumph at his little brother.
Sam slammed a hand down onto the red mess at Dean's side, "Dean, you aren't supposed to take the knife out or the scissors out, it makes it bleed more. Hold on, don't move, I'll call an amby-lance but I'm not supposed to leave the patient and you'll bleed if I take my hand away."
Dean's guilty conscience began to overwhelm, "Sammy, Sam, it's okay. It's just ketchup. See," He pressed a hand to his side and then brought it up to his mouth.
"You're bleeding ketchup?!" Sam shrieked, unsure of exactly what that meant in medicinal terms but entirely sure that it wasn't good.
Dean was fairly sure he could have sorted out the mess except that at that moment, his father walked in the door. Dean was also fairly sure he would never forget the look on his father's face when he returned from a normal shopping trip to find one son bent over the other whose entire side looked caked in blood.
"Damnit," His father crossed the floor in three mighty bounds and dropped to his knees at his eldest's side, "Dean, where does it hurt? No, don't try to speak." His father corrected himself, "Samuel, how did this happen?"
Sam was already beginning to blubber, thick tears dribbling down his cheeks, "D-Dean was g-gonna give me a hair cut and I d-d-didn't want one even if I got a badge and I was running and Dean grabbed me and I just kicked backwards and he fell." Sam's chest was hitching up and down like an out of control yo-yo.
"Dad," Dean said in a quiet, guilty voice, "It's ketchup."
Their Dad abruptly shifted back to lean on his haunches, "Ketchup."
"Ketchup," Sammy agreed in a similar wail, "Dean's bleeding ketchup and I don't know what that means but I don't think it's good. People aren't supposed to bleed ketchup. There's lots of blood in the body so you can afford to lose some blood but there's only a little ketchup."
John ignored his youngest for a moment, unable to deal with Sam and the drumming traces of adrenalin running through him, "Explain." John said in his most clipped military voice.
"Sammy wouldn't stay still for a haircut," Dean explained, "So I thought if he thought I was hurt, he'd stay still long enough."
"So you pretended you'd stabbed yourself?" His Dad's voice registered exactly what he thought of that plan, "You will clean up this mess then you will clean up the living room, the kitchen, the bathroom, both bedrooms. You will clean the hallway, you will knock on Old Mrs Knighton's door and ask to clean her place, including the cats' litter trays, all of them. You will clean the guns, the knives, the holy water bottles, the car, the car boot, the wheels of the car, the hood of the car, you will go nowhere near the engine and next time we got on a hunt, you will be lucky if I don't make you pick up every damn leaf off the forest floor. Do you understand me?"
"Yes, sir." Dean said in his smallest voice.
Sammy frowned at Dean with still watery eyes clearly visible with the missing frond of fringe, "Does this mean I get my badge now?"
"Cheetos!" Sammy yelled at the black-eyed figure looming in front of the brothers, trying to keep his small body between it and the unconscious form of his older brother.
The figure paused and cocked its head to one side, staring down at the figure in front of it, "What?"
"Cheetos!" Sammy yelled again, backing up a little and using his heel to try and nudge his brother awake, "You are supposed to flinch."
The demon searched the memory of the shell it inhabited but couldn't find any particular fear of crunchy snack food, "Why would I flinch?" It asked, secure in its ability to take out these bite-sized snacks that it could afford to play with its prey.
"They always flinch when Daddy says it." Sammy said, nudging his brother a little more frantically now.
"Perhaps your father simply has bad breath," The demon taunted, "I will enjoy sucking the marrow from his bones."
Sammy made a disgusted face, "Ewwww, Why would you want to do that?"
The demon looked rather annoyed that his taunt didn't have the effect he desired, "What?"
"Why'd you want to suck the marrow from bones? I don't think it'd taste that good. Dean made me eat dog food once with marrow in and it was horrible and one of the dinner ladies at school made me have marrowfat peas once and they were even worse!"
The demon found itself on the verge of explaining the purpose of a generic threat to the small child but found the fearless brown eyes blinking up at him rather disconcerting so it just fell silent for a moment and pondered its next move. Demon sense told it that ripping the children to shreds and feasting on their remains was a good idea.
Just as the demon was about to extend razor sharp claws through the thin skin of its current shell, the small boy broke out into a grin that nearly sent a shiver down the demon's borrowed spine, "I know." He said and reached into a small bag with a yellow teddybear lovingly embroidered on it, pulling out a clear plastic bottle of water. The child uncapped the bottle and then flung the contents at the demon.
The demon screeched as every droplet seemed to burn into him, smoke billowing away from him in clouds, "You little..." It screeched.
"That's holy water," The boy informed him, "Dad says we should always carry a bottle with us in case we get attacked by a demon or in case we just get thirsty though Dad says it's a bad idea to drink it in case we get thirsty and then get attacked by a demon. Dad says it's better to be thirsty than to be demon food. Dean says if he got thirsty, he could just drink my water and then the demon'd eat me but he'd be fine." Sam paused in the middle of the babble to glance down at the still unconscious brother, "Luckily Dean wasn't thirsty earlier."
The demon let out a yowl that would have terrified at least eighty percent of sentient life on Earth.
The small boy just blinked up at him, "O-gay ack-Bay oh-Tay ell-Hay. O-gay ack-Bay oh-Tay ell-Hay. O-gay ack-Bay oh-Tay ell-Hay."
The demon paused, barely believing what he was hearing. He was an ancient demon, he had clawed his way out of hell, he had terrorised this whole area, bringing torture and horror to countless people and now, an eight year old was trying to exorcise him with pig fucking Latin, "Look," The demon said between gritted teeth, "Stop that!"
"You are supposed to go back to hell now," The boy said with a stomp of his foot, "I exerc... Exorcised you."
"You can't exorcise a powerful, evil demon with pig Latin!"
"But I don't know real Latin," The boy pouted, "I'm learning it off Pastor Jim and he says I'm a real good learner but the exorcism rite is really long and it's hard to memorise it all."
"Now, look!" The demon protested and then paused, hearing a soft mumbling voice. He glanced down to the unconscious brother, only to find him not so unconscious anymore, his mouth whispering the ancient Latin rite. The demon barely had time to mutter, "Should've known this'd be a bad day," before he felt himself being yanked out of the body and dragged back down to the depths of hell.
Sammy knelt down by his brother, "Dean, you're awake! Did you see? I exorcised the demon with cheetos and water and pig-Latin. Can I get my badge now?"
Dean groaned and then he heard the thundering footsteps that meant his father was making his way rapidly back towards the boys so Dean did the most sensible thing he could and passed out once again.
"Aw shit, Sammy, did you have to pick the bluntest needle in the entire kit?" Dean tried to breathe through the pain, one red-slicked hand pressing together the sides of a long gash running down his ribs together while Sam shakily put in the first stitch.
"Sorry," Sam said, a tremor evident in his voice as he tugged the sides of the stitch together and tied them, just like Dean had taught him.
"It's alright," Dean said after he managed to catch his breath back, realising that taking this out on his little brother was not the right thing to do, especially not when said little brother is the one trying to keep you alive, "You are doing great."
"Can't we wait for Dad to get here?" Sammy asked, the needle quivering in his fingers.
Dean shook his head, ignoring the wave of dizziness that simple movement provoked, "Dad won't be back for an hour or so. He's trying to track the werewolf down."
"Why didn't you tell him how badly you were hurt?" Sam protested, even as he eyed up the gash for where to place the next stitch.
"Because," Dean started then had to pause for a hiss of pain as his brother dug the needle in again, "Because Dad needs to track that bitch down and I knew you could handle it. You want your first-aid badge, right?"
"I'd rather not have had to get it," Sam said, not turning his gaze from the gash as he pushed the needle through the other flap of skin and cautiously drew the sides of skin together once more.
"Tsk, Sammy, I got to all the effort of getting you a real test and you don't even appreciate it. It's a hard life being a big brother." Dean wished for the relief that the painkillers in the medkit would bring him but knew he didn't dare. Blood loss was already making him a little fuzzy and he needed to keep an eye on his brother in case the werewolf doubled back.
"Two more stitches." Sammy said, his voice growing incrementally more confident as the sewn edges of his brother's wound made it look that little bit less horrendous. The needle still twitched and Sam had to wipe down his fingers before the sweat caused him to drop the needle.
"Doing great, Sammy." Dean risked a peek down the wound, suppressing his own gag reaction at the tear in his flesh, "Very neat. Maybe I should talk to Dad 'bout dropping you off at a seamstress' place. You could sew yourself the loveliest dresses."
Sam didn't have the heart to object to his brother's teasing. At least while Dean was teasing, he was conscious and while he was conscious, Sam didn't have to worry so much, "Just because you want me to sew you one. Always thought you'd be pretty in pink." Sam took a deep breath before pushing the needle into his brother's skin once more.
"Really? I thought I looked a damn sight better in red." Dean jested, biting his lip at the jab of the needle once more.
"No, you look like hell in red." Sam's voice sounded even younger than his eight years in that moment and Dean felt a flinch of remorse that his little brother was the one having to patch him up but then Dean had half-learnt to sew by patching up his father's wounds so it was par for the course.
Silence reigned for the third and fourth stitches. When it was finally done, Dean allowed himself a moment to lean his head back and give in to the pain, a shudder running the length of his body. Only a moment and then he snapped his eyes open again and turned himself onto his side, awkwardly pulling himself back up to his feet, "Come on, Sammy. We should tidy up the campsite. Dad'll want to go as soon as he's back from getting that bitch."
Sammy looked like he wanted to protest but instead he just grasped his brother's arm and slung it over his own shorter shoulders, supporting him, "Got to get that badge first."
A/N: Did you like it? Or not? Please let me know either way.