Heir of the dog
Rating: Gen, Teen, pre-series, John, young Dean and baby Sam
Notes: Written for the From Ashes..." Supernatural fic-a-thon, in which I got the song-prompt of Nazareth – Hair of the Dog.
Summary: He'd only been gone a few moments, but everything was about to change
Thanks to Shannon for the beta.
He swore he'd only been gone for a few moments.
"Dean," Sammy burbled, stroking the black puppy in delight. The dog was at that stage where it was all lanky limbs, sleek puppy fur and big doleful green eyes. John didn't know much about dogs, but this one looked like some sort of Labrador cross-breed, and it was sitting in their motel room chewing calmly on one of Sammy's discarded socks.
"Sammy, where's Dean?" John tried again.
"Dean," Sam insisted, one hand smacking the dog's nose, pudgy baby fingers coming precariously close to sharp doggy teeth and making John wince. The dog sat patiently through the mistreatment though, licking the baby hands, seemingly un-phased by the toddler's attentions.
John paced the last few steps to his son's side, leaning down to grab him under the arm pits and then swing him up above his head like Superman. Sammy squealed in delight, hands reaching out to smack his Dad in the face as John blew raspberries against the little palms, before swinging him down to settle against his side.
Sam immediately set about fussing, twisting about in his Dad's arms, arms reaching out toward the puppy that was still sitting on the floor. "Dea, Dea, Dea, Dea," he squealed.
Large green puppy eyes stared up at them, puppy tail wagging, puppy head tilting to one side in a gesture that seemed to be cautiously hopeful.
"Shoo. Go on. Go home, boy!" John ordered the dog, making a definite pointing gesture toward the door.
The little dog backed up outside the door a little way and then stretched back, front legs splayed out in front in a display of flexibility as he yipped excitedly at what he thought was a new game.
John followed the dog outside, still gripping Sammy in his arms as he called out: "Dean? Dean, where are you, son?"
His voice faltered a little, and he had to clear his throat, before he continued to call out, walking the length of the motel and its rooms, before returning to their room again to search the small bathroom and glance under the beds. Sammy was getting more agitated as he stormed from one place to the next, annoyed at being held so tightly in his father's arms, and the stupid dog was still following them.
John didn't even want to think about the suspicion building in the back of his mind but when he finally stopped - sitting down hard on the motel bed and releasing the squirming Sam to crawl around on the floor, trying to think out his next move through the panic that was ready to overwhelm him – the dog was still there.
"Dean?" he asked, wincing as he said it. The dog looked up at the name, gave a small yip and bounded on awkward puppy legs to sit at John's feet.
"Dean, is that you? We'll figure this out. It'll be alright." The puppy - Dean - tilted his head and stared up out of big eyes – green like Dean's. He reached down and scratched the pup behind the neck, sadly. "We'll figure this out."
"Dad. Hey, Dad. Do you like him? The man said we could keep him, but I told him you wouldn't let us and he said we could play with him anyway. He likes Sammy, Dad. See?
"Hey, Dad? Is something wrong? Are you okay? I only left him for a minute, Dad. Sammy was hungry."
John was frozen, staring at his boy, at Dean, standing there silhouetted in the light of the open door. He took in Dean's innocent face, framed by mussed hair and in definite need of a cut. His hand-me-down clothes were rumpled from boyish activities, and he clutched a packet of BBQ chips tightly in one hand.
Dean's head tilted to one side, expression turning to worry as his Dad just sat there, unmoving. "Dad?"
Then John was moving, swift strides bringing him to Dean's side as he knelt down, wrapping his arms around his son, clutching him too tightly.
"Dad?" John could hear the surprise in Dean's young voice, though he didn't complain. One small hand came up to pat John gently just below the shoulder. "It's okay, Dad. It's okay," he whispered.
"Just don't do that again, alright. Don't leave your brother. I didn't know where you were and I thought…"
John knew he was mumbling, caught himself before he voiced his fears, I thought you'd been turned into a dog and then laughed at the realisation of how crazy it sounded. He laughed his relief as he thought of how much this life had already changed him – that he'd believe his own son had been cursed into dog form, before checking to see if he was at the garage buying BBQ chips to share with his brother.
"You just scared me, Dean. Don't leave like that without telling me. Don't you ever leave your brother alone, alright?"
John let go, as Dean squirmed a little in his still too-tight grasp. "Do you like the puppy, Dad? The man said his name is Dean, just like mine, Dad."
"Yeah, son. You don't say."
John watched, as his son beamed happily, whistling to the dog and playing with it and his baby brother both – innocently unaware of the many dangers around them – and John decided he needed to prepare Dean more than that, starting now. He needed to be tougher if he was ever to protect his family, keep them safe.
It was a relief to knock on the door, hand the puppy back to his owner a few rooms down from theirs, then pack up the car to leave. John turned to his oldest son, all of seven years young, small legs dangled, swinging limply over the edge of the passenger seat.
"I want you to listen to me closely, Dean. There are going to have to be some new rules, to protect you and your little brother, and I want you to follow them exactly."
"You say, Yes, Sir."
The Impala's engine roared along the freeway, black road stretching before them same as always, but things were about to change.