A/N: Written for an evil!Dean ficathon with the prompt: "In an effort to keep his family together like he wants, Dean goes too far."
It was a hot, muggy day and the mosquitoes were out in full force. Far too hot to be doing the shopping at any rate, but they'd run out of food and someone had needed to go. So Dean had gone, virtuous and altruistic soul that he was.
John glanced up at him as he kicked the door closed, hands full of those shopping bags with handles that slice right through your skin. Dean put them down on the floor, very happy to be done with them and John returned his attention to the various newspapers and books spread out on the table in front of him. Dean flexed his hands to get circulation back into his fingers before unpacking everything.
"How's Sam been?" Dean asked, putting a six-pack in the fridge.
"Asleep since you left," John replied. Dean looked over to the furthest bed and smiled fondly at the lump under the covers that hadn't moved since he was last in the room. He shook his head slightly, marvelling that Sam could even consider sleeping under covers in this heat.
"Think he'll be up soon?" John sighed.
"Dean, leave your brother be."
"All right, I was just asking." Dean paused in putting away some cans and examined the can of soup in his hand. "Think he'll be up for chicken soup?"
"I don't know," said John tiredly, "Why don't you ask him when he wakes up?" Dean hummed an agreement and put the soup to one side.
"Are you up for chicken soup?"
"I'll have whatever you're making." Dean nodded and shut the now full cabinet.
"Oh, here," he threw a copy of the local newspaper he'd picked up to his dad, who caught it and unfolded it to get a look at the front page.
"I don't know why you bother," said John, tossing the paper aside the moment he saw the main story was about the local spelling bee. "We've been here too long. There's nothing left to hunt."
"You never know." Dean shrugged. There was silence while Dean kicked off his boots and wandered over to Sam's bed to see how he was. He looked a little hot, so Dean rolled his covers down for him. Dean watched Sam sleep for a few moments before he realised he was uncomfortably warm himself and could really do with a shower.
"Hey, I'm gonna take a shower. We got coffee now, if you want to make some." John turned in his chair and just looked at his son. Dean smiled ruefully.
"Oh right, yeah. I'll make it." he said as he slipped into the bathroom. He took a quick, cool shower, which really brightened his mood. Not that he was really in a bad mood, he didn't get in bad moods so much any more. Everything was pretty good, what with the easy hunting and his family by his side. He couldn't really ask for much more.
He came out of the bathroom feeling very much refreshed and with a small smile on his face that he couldn't get rid of, even if he'd wanted to. He hummed a little as he brewed himself and his dad some coffee, deciding that it'd probably be cold by the time Sam woke up.
Dean poured the coffee into their only two mugs, old things with faded patterns from too many washes. He put one down on the only clear part of table in front of his dad, a little mug-sized hole in the mess of John's research. Dean sat down opposite, resting his drink on his knee.
"Found anything?" John shut the book he'd been pouring over and making notes in and stretched his back out; sitting still all day didn't exactly come naturally to him.
"Like I said, Dean, we've been here too long."
"There's always something." Dean leaned over and pulled out a newspaper that was half-buried under a pile of paper. "See? What's this?" He pointed to an article that had been circled. John's eyes passed over it before staring back at Dean.
"Some dogs have gone missing." Dean grinned and his eyes glinted at the prospect of something to hunt.
"Yeah, so, that could be a--"
"It's a bust, Dean." John threw down the pen he'd been fiddling with and sat back in his chair.
"You don't know that."
"The dogs are all pedigree and just happen to be worth a lot of money. Unless it's a chupacabra with expensive tastes, there's nothing supernatural going on here." Dean's face fell and he dropped the paper onto the table.
"We can't just up and leave; Sam only just got settled." John snorted humourlessly.
"If that's what you want to call it." Dean shot John a sharp look but said nothing. They were silent after that. Dean looked over the notes John had been making and ignored the way his dad stared at him like he could see into Dean's head.
The silence was broken by a soft groan, both Dean and John looked over to Sam. John made no move other than that, but Dean was up and across the room in the blink of an eye. He sat on the bed next to Sam and stroked his hair; Sam was always a little disorientated when waking up.
"Dean?" Sam croaked.
"Yeah, Sammy, I'm here." Dean smiled fondly down at his brother.
"Dean, don't..." Sam's voice cracked and faded into nothing, he swallowed and tried again. "Get off me. Dean, please..." Dean hushed Sam.
"Don't worry, nothing can get you here, they're just nightmares." Sam locked eyes with Dean and he relaxed, going completely limp when he realised where he was. "So, Sammy, what do you want for dinner? Will chicken soup do?" Sam's eyes flicked over to where John was sitting and then back up to Dean and he nodded. Dean grinned.
"Good! We'll all have soup, then!" No one else seemed particularly excited by the prospect. Ah well, Dean was just doomed to live with a moody family. They never saw the joy in the small things.
Dean set to cooking dinner. That was a downside to staying here; Dean had to do all the chores. What with Sam sleeping so much and John so intent on researching, there was no one else to cook or wash the dishes. It was a bit of a bummer, but you had to take the highs with the lows.
Dean served the soup into bowls, set one in front of John and carried another over to Sam. He put it on the floor while he helped Sam up into a sitting position against the headboard. Sam groaned and grumbled, but he always did when he was sleepy. Dean smiled at him, picked up the bowl and spoon, and settled himself next to Sam.
He held the bowl under Sam's chin to catch drips – he'd got pretty good at this recently – and pushed the spoon towards Sam's mouth. But Sam wasn't cooperating.
"Come on, Sam, you must be thirsty." Sam was staring blankly into his eyes. Dean frowned; Sam looked almost hostile. But that was ridiculous. "You need to keep your strength up, Sammy." Sam looked towards their father again and Dean followed his gaze, but John had his back to them and he was hunched over his own dinner.
Still, next spoonful that Dean offered, Sam opened his mouth for. Sam gave no more trouble and finished the soup relatively quickly. Quickly enough that Dean's soup was still lukewarm (see the sacrifices he made for his family?).
Dean decided that he needed to do some training; he'd been skimping on it recently and he really needed to get back on track with it. He left Sam with a glass of water on the bedside table and orders for John to watch out for him (not that John needed telling, but Dean felt better for saying it). Then he disappeared into the surrounding forest to tone up his muscles.
He returned after dark. Sam was asleep again, unsurprisingly. John looked bored, but then, he had been left alone in the dark; it's gotta be pretty boring. Dean apologised as he turned the light on, he hadn't expected to stay out so long.
"Time for bed, you think?" John gazed at him wearily and sighed.
"It's not like it makes much difference." Dean nodded, then snapped a handcuff around John's wrist and attached the other cuff around his own wrist. Carefully, he bent down and released John's ankle from the manacle that attached it firmly to the bolted-down table. Dean then walked John to the bathroom so John could take care of his business.
Once John was as ready for bed as it was possible to get while still chained to Dean, Dean walked him back to his bed. He closed another manacle – the bed-manacle – around John's ankle before releasing them both from the handcuffs.
Dean tucked Sammy in and silently wished him sweet dreams. It was a pity that Sam mostly had nightmares nowadays, especially as he spent most of his time sleeping. He used to sleep so peacefully when he was little. Dean's last chore before he rolled out his sleeping mat was to empty the drainage bag of Sam's catheter. If that wasn't proof that Dean would do anything for his family, he didn't know what was.
Finally, Dean laid down on his bed and stretched out, letting the ache of a long, hard day settle and fade away.
"Dean," said John. Dean rubbed his forehead; he knew what was coming.
"You can't keep doing this." Dean didn't say anything in return. "You're going to kill him, Dean." Dean turned over so he was facing away from John. "He's getting weaker and weaker. He's going to die and it'll be all your fault. Do you even know what the side effects of the drugs are?"
"There aren't any drugs!" Dean bit back automatically.
"I'm not a blind idiot, Dean. You're drugging him. You've got to stop it."
"No. No, no, no, no. If I stop, Sam leaves. Sam leaves, you leave. You can't leave. You're not allowed to leave, I won't let you. We're a family and families stay together. We're a family so we have to stay together. You can't leave me. You can't, you can't, you can't, it's not allowed!"
"Okay, Dean, just breathe, calm down, no one's going anywhere." That was why Dean hated John's night time conversations; they always got him worked up. He gulped the air down and curled into a ball, not wanting to think or feel anything about what his dad was saying. "But one day Sammy's not going to wake up." Dean physically flinched at John's raw words.
"I know," he said in a small voice. John left it there, let Dean's own admission sink in. "Dad," said Dean after too long spent watching shadows on the wall. John grunted in reply. "If I let you go would you stay with me?"
"Yes, of course," said John without hesitation. Dean couldn't make himself believe John, no matter how hard he tried, but he couldn't blame his dad for lying, either.
"If I let Sam go, would he stay?" There was a pause.
"Goodnight, Dean." It was the most truthful answer John had.
Hope you enjoyed!