Title - John's Remedy
Summary - When Dean comes down with the chicken pox, John tries to remember a remedy that will help his son.
John Winchester was a light sleeper. So when he heard the soft pitter-patter of small feet running down the carpet hallway, he knew that his youngest was no doubt playing some silly game or following a suggestion that his older brother made. He could tell it was Sammy by the fact that the steps had an uneven sound about them, and the fact that it was unmistakable that the feet were clothed. John tried to ignore whatever his youngest was doing. It was two in the morning, and he just didn't want to deal with it. Let the boys kill each other.
The next second, the door to John's room swung open, making an ominous crack as it flung against the wall. Jumping, John was about ready to yell at his son for making such a loud noise but stopped himself when he saw the four-year old's tearstained face. He was completely white with a bright red nose. He padded over towards his father's bed and attempted to climb up on it. It wasn't like Sammy to ever disturb John in the middle of the night. Whenever he had a bad dream or needed something, he always went to Dean.
"Sammy?" John's voice was soft as he helped the boy onto the bed, cradling him in his arms. "What's wrong?"
"Dean dead," the small voice cracked.
In a second, Sam was scooped up on John's hip as he raced out of the bedroom and down the hall to the boys' room. Very reminiscent to Sammy, John shoved the door open and let it smack loudly against the wall. Dean jumped up in bed, groaning as he did so. Flipping on the nearest light, John looked at his oldest to see him covered in spots. With a groan, John set Sammy down on the floor and went towards Dean.
"You gotta be kidding me," he muttered.
Dean was covered in red spots. He was absentmindedly scratching his left arm with a passion, then working his way up to his neck. Looking miserably up at his father, he bit back his complaints. John stood there in a trance. What the hell do you do for chicken pox? Wasn't there something about a mayonnaise bath?
"Dean's not dead," John announced to his youngest while Dean narrowed his eyes at his brother. "He's just… sick."
"Whys he gots polka dots?" asked Sammy as he took a cautious step forward.
"Sam, get back!"
John reached down and scooped up Sammy into his arms to keep him from touching his brother. He didn't need two kids with chicken pox. Adjusting Sam comfortably on his hip, he reached out a hand for Dean who took it. Trying to think about if Oprah ever had a show on the dreaded childhood disease to find out what to do, his mind went blank. There was some sort of bath remedy to it.
Once in the kitchen, John instructed Dean to sit down and not to scratch himself. He then opened the refrigerator looking for something that might work in a bath. He took out the mayonnaise, two sticks of butter, and some grape juice. Setting them briefly on the table, he walked to the cabinet and took out some corn flakes just for good measure. Handing the box to Sammy, John told Dean to take what he could from the table and then proceeded to take the rest.
"Okay, Dude, you gotta take a bath with this stuff."
Dean looked up at his father with as much uncertainty as John had about the situation. He could have sworn the remedy had something to do with corn flakes and grape juice. Perhaps the butter and mayonnaise were just delusions of his. Watching as Dean hesitantly took off his shirt, John walked over and started drawing the water. Dean sat down in the bath and stared at his father, doubt clouding his features. Knowing that he had to do something, John poured the grape juice and the corn flakes into the bath.
"Uh… rub them on you."
"You said not to scratch."
"Yeah, but not rub. You can rub all you want," John replied, his brain trying to think of something else to put in the bath.
"Sammy, go find me some more juice."
John sat the child down, and immediately he scampered off towards the kitchen. Wearily, John rubbed his chin as he stared at the butter and mayonnaise. Perhaps the trick was melting the butter? Two solid sticks surely wouldn't do anything. Turning his attention on his son, John watched as Dean rubbed the concoction on his body in disgust. Soon enough, small footfalls could be heard coming back down the hallway. Sammy appeared in the doorway, sliding thanks to his bunny pajamas.
John reached down and grabbed the juice. It was apple juice. Something about an apple a day and keeping the doctors away rang in his head. Shrugging, he poured the apple juice directly on Dean, who let out a grumble. Setting the jug on the sink, John didn't notice Sammy waddling towards the bath, grabbing a handful of soggy cereal, and shoving it in his mouth.
"Ugh, gross, Sammy," Dean commented.
John rushed forward and plucked the boy up off the ground. Taking the boy to the sink, he ordered the boy to spit out the contents. Instead of listening, the boy shook his head before swallowing. Groaning, John adjusted Sam on his hip once more determined not to let the boy down until he was fast asleep.
After a good twenty minutes, Sammy was asleep in John's arms and Dean was beginning to complain about the bath. Motioning for his son to get out of the tub, he awkwardly tried to wrap a towel around his son with one hand. Dean dried off before pulling on his pajamas. Wrapping an arm around his eldest, John led the boys towards his bedroom. Settling Sammy down under the sheets, John left the room to retrieve gloves and duct tape. In his absence, Dean climbed on the bed and adjusted the covers on his kid brother since his father didn't cover him up fully.
When John came back in the room, he shoved a pair of oversized gloves on Dean's small hand and proceeded to wrap duct tape around his wrists to keep the darn things on. Climbing over Dean, John settled himself in the middle of the bed and opened the covers for his eldest. Sammy instinctively turned into his father, wrapping a small arm around his chest. Dean cuddled close to his father, resting his head in the crook of his shoulder.
The next thing John knew was that something was tugging on his earlobe. Quirking an eye open, Sammy was sitting up with bright red spots covering his face. He didn't have enough corn flakes and juice for this. Glancing over at Dean, he noticed the boy was still fast asleep. Hoisting Sammy up by the armpits, John swung the boy into his arms as he got out of bed and made his way towards the kitchen.
"Ice creeeeem bath?" Sammy pleaded as John rummaged through the cupboards.
"No, Sammy, we need something that will actually help you."
Opening the cabinet that held the cereal, John looked at his choices. Actually, there was only one choice: Lucky Charms. Maybe if he took out the marshmallows it would work. Grabbing the box, John shoved it in Sammy's hands before going to the fridge. Opening it up, he looked at his less than favorable choices: beer and milk. He needed juice. Why'd he use all the juice on Dean? Shaking his head, John turned towards the small freezer to see he had frozen fruit popsicles. Grabbing the box, he opened the popsicles and placed them in a bowl before putting them in the microwave. Satisfied when they were completely melted, he picked out the sticks before grabbing the bowl and making his way to the bathroom.
Settling Sammy down on the edge of the tub, John instructed his son to pick out all the marshmallows from the box. Meanwhile, John drew the water and glanced at Sammy who was shoving fistfuls of cereal in his mouth.
"Sammy! I said only the marshmallows!"
"Hungry," he replied as another handful of cereal was stuffed in his mouth, several pieces falling on the floor.
Taking the box from his son, he helped Sammy get undressed before plopping him down into the water. He poured the bowl of melted popsicles on his son before running out of the bathroom to the kitchen to grab a loaf of bread. Relieved to see Sammy managed not to drown himself, John started to throw the slices of bread into the water. Once the bread was soggy, John grabbed a couple pieces and rubbed them on Sam's spotted skin. The boy flinched and made noises of protest.
"Dad," a small voice said from behind him, "what are you doing to Sammy?"
"Improvising," John muttered as he scratched his arm.
Eyes growing slightly wide, John noticed he had spots of his own on his skin. He turned around to Dean who smirked when he saw his father's face. He certainly didn't have enough bread or any juice to give himself a bath. What the hell was he supposed to do?
"Dean, call Pastor Jim and tell him I need corn flakes, bread, and juice."
Obediently Dean went towards the living room. Turning his attention back to Sammy, John continued to rub the soggy bread soaked with water and popsicles on his son. Before long, Dean reappeared in the bathroom complaining that he couldn't dial the phone with the gloves on. Grabbing the phone, John dialed the all too familiar number of his pastor friend.
"Jim, it's John… yeah, nice to hear you too… look, I need a favor… no, no, not that kind of favor…. it's the boys, I need some stuff… no, I can't I got it too… just some corn flakes, bread, and juice… specific juice? No any kind will do… well, maybe grape and apple… thanks…. you know where we're staying?... good… thanks again."
John clicked off the phone and handed it back to Dean, telling him to wait in the living room for him. Taking Sam out of the bath five minutes later, he dried him off and helped him back into his bunny pajamas. He carried the squirming toddler out into the living room and plopped him down on the couch with his brother who found some cartoon with superhero cats.
"Dean, make sure he doesn't scratch himself," John ordered as he walked back to the bedroom to retrieve the duct tape.
Finding a pair of mittens of Sammy's, John took them and went into the living room. Placing the mittens on his son, he taped bands to secure the fabric from coming off. He picked up Sammy, took his spot next to Dean, and plopped the smaller boy onto his lap. John snaked his free arm around his older son who immediately leaned his body into his father's side.
An hour later, a knock sounded at the front door to the duplex. Knowing it was the pastor, John called for him to come in. Pastor Jim walked into the small home and looked at the three Winchesters sitting on the couch. His brows furrowed as he noted the duct tape and gloves on the boys. John turned around at that moment, and everything became clear. Well, not everything.
"John, why did you need this stuff?" he asked as he slowly approached the couch.
"I gave Dean his bath last night and Sammy's this morning, but I had to improvise with Sammy. I mean, I melted popsicles but they have the fruit in them."
"John, what in God's name are you talking about?"
"You know, the chicken pox remedy. It took me awhile to think about it. I saw it on Oprah or something. Anyways, you put the kids in some form of grain and fruit mixture bath."
"You bathed Dean and Sammy in juice and cereal?"
"Look, I need to take that bath, so can I have the stuff? Thanks by the way."
John transferred Sammy over to Dean before getting up off the couch and walking towards the pastor with his arms stretched out for the bag. The pastor, however, stepped back and stared at the younger man in front of him.
"John, you don't help chicken pox with cereal and juice baths," he started slowly.
"Don't tell me it's mayonnaise and butter… dammit, that was my first thought but it didn't seem right to mix those with water."
"Oatmeal, John. It's an oatmeal bath."
"Are you sure?"
John ran a weary hand over his stubbly face, pausing to rub his chin. He glanced towards his sons briefly before turning back to the pastor whose expression was nothing but concern.
"Dean, grab Sammy and go to the bathroom. You two need to take another bath."
"Dad, the cereal and juice was just gross," Dean whined as he stood up with Sammy in his arms.
"Forget that. You need oatmeal. I got it wrong."
"Oatmeal?" Dean's face scrunched up in disgust. "That's even worse."
"Oatmeal? Seriously, Jim?" asked John once more while Dean slowly walked towards the bathroom as though he was being put to death.
"Why would it be cereal and juice?"
"Oatmeal is a grain, right? So at least I got part of it right."
Author's Notes - I hope you enjoyed that one-shot. Don't forget to review and tell me what you think.