"Chapter Four: Kid Gloves"
Sammy was released from the hospital in two days with specific instructions on what he could and couldn't eat, when he should start to try to talk again, and how to be supportive. John never felt more nervous in his life that he was somehow going to screw up the care of Sammy. Never before had either of the boys been so hurt. The most drastic thing to happen to the boys before was when Dean sliced his palm open on broke glass. Blood had been everywhere and he needed several stitches. Surgery on one of his boys, however, made John sick to his stomach.
Jim insisted that the small nomadic family stay in Blue Earth until Sammy could eat solids and talk again. John, on the other hand, really didn't feel like paying his due by going to mass every Sunday just to have homemade food and a warm house. He'd rather camp out in a secluded backwoods cabin where they'd survive off ice cream and soup for a couple weeks.
When John declined the offer, Jim then made another one. He would stay with them in their cabin - or wherever they were planning on staying. Jim's reasoning was the fact that John could burn water like no one else in the world. It was a fair argument. He had never learned to cook and never really felt like trying. The very prospect of a toaster confused him. Somehow, the bread always came out black despite what setting the damn thing was on.
John didn't feel like just waiting in any old state with his boys. Instead, he packed them up and moved them to Lincoln, Nebraska where they crashed at Caleb Lyons' house. They weren't really supposed to be there, but John wanted to meet with Caleb as soon as he returned from Mesa with news on the nursery fire.
It was a small house, one that John had only visited once before. John settled the boys in the master bedroom and offered Jim the cramped guest room. He took the couch. John didn't know Caleb all that well. They had only spoken a handful of times before. Jim knew him though, knew him longer than he had known John.
The kid was ten years younger than John was and a damn good hunter to boot. Apparently, when he was just a teenager, his brother was killed by something supernatural. Then, in a hunting fervor, Caleb's old man sent him off to a military boarding school to learn to defend himself… or something to that effect. John never really cared to ask. After graduating, the kid broke into the hunting world and started an underground arms dealership.
They stayed at Caleb's for two days living off a liquid diet. On the third day, Caleb entered his house looking less than thrilled at having two small children sprawled across his couch watching cartoons. Dropping his bag on the floor, he walked towards the Winchester children with a frown on his face.
"So help me, if you've broken anything, I will freakin' end you," he said sternly as he leaned over the back of the couch.
"Didn't break anything," Dean replied with a smirk. "We did find some magazines under your bed though with naked girls in them."
"I'm an adult, Dude. I'm allowed to have naked chick magazines."
"Can I score a couple?"
John watched the exchange between the boys and waited for Caleb's answer. The kid got a grin on his face as he climbed over the back of the couch to sit down next to Sam and Dean.
"You're like six, Kid."
"I'm nine," he replied in annoyance.
"Whatever. I don't see anything wrong with you wanting to explore your manly self. I'll give you April's issue of last year. Jesus Christ, that was one of the best issues."
"Caleb!" snapped John.
The younger hunter glanced towards the doorway that led to the kitchen to see John Winchester in a state of disbelief. The older man ambled into the living room and sank down into the nearest armchair.
"You will not give my nine year old porn."
"Uh, Johnny, he's already looked at it. Why not indulge him a bit? It's not like you don't do it, you know," reasoned Caleb as he glanced down at the boys and took in the white bandage across Sam's neck. "What the hell happened to you, Little Fella?"
"Sammy had surgery," Dean supplied. "He can't talk."
John leaned forward suddenly realizing that the boys had only met Caleb on two occasions before. Instead of being withdrawn like usual, Dean seemed more than willing to be animated. Perhaps the joy of Sammy being all right was still coursing through his veins. Or, perhaps, Sam not being able to be his talkative self had Dean feeling the need to emulate him. It was weird whatever it was
"Dean and Sammy," John supplied the names, "this is Caleb Lyons. You remember him?"
"Right, I vaguely remember their names. How old is the squirt? Three?"
"He's five," snapped Dean. "Don't you know anything?"
"Po-tay-to. Po-tah-to." Caleb turned his attention to John. "Since when did I give you permission to use my house as a freakin' hotel?"
"It's more like a cheap motel if I do say so myself," replied John with a shit-eating smirk.
Before Caleb had a time to reply with a smartass remark, Jim Murphy walked into the living room. He took his position of standing next to the chair where John was seated. He greeted the younger hunter politely and gave his sincerest apologies for intruding.
"What did you find in Mesa?" questioned John as both boys focused their attention back on the television.
"Well, going in completely blind with no Intel whatsoever, I found residue of sulfur at the burn site. Other than that, some seriously freaked out kids."
John sighed as he turned his attention onto Jim. They shared a knowing look - a demon was at play. The pastor had suggested the notion since their first meeting five years previous. It had made the most sense considering the situation. Caleb didn't miss the looks the older hunters shot at each other.
"Care to let me in on your secret discussion?" snapped Caleb.
"No," replied John coolly, "you're twenty, Dude. You work for us and not the other way around."
"I'm twenty-four, jackass, and I don't work for nobody. I did Jim a favor, and I would like to be let in on the know-how if I'm risking my life on a hunt for you two."
"You didn't risk your life," retorted John, "you did some simple investigating. Don't be a drama queen about it."
"I think we should take this in the kitchen," Jim suggested.
John and Caleb followed the pastor's eyes to the two boys sitting on the couch. Dean watched the interaction with a mixture of confusion and interest. Sammy had snuggled up into his brother's side as he cautiously watched the adults bicker back and forth.
With a nod, John pushed his weight out of the chair and made to the kitchen with Jim and Caleb in tow. Once in the kitchen, John took a seat at the small rickety table. He laced his fingers together and propped his elbows up on the table. Caleb sat down across from John while Jim took the head of the table.
"You two are stubborn and bullheaded," Jim confessed. "John, Caleb, you both only seem to put your trust in me in a rather unwavering sense. I think it's time that you two share your stories with one another and trust each other."
"No," John replied simply.
"Jonathan, listen to me for a moment, will you? I cannot help you track down this demon on my own. Out of everyone I know, Caleb is the only one next to you and Missouri that I trust completely. You both can benefit from one another. You both say you trust me with your lives, your secrets, so trust me now. Trust each other."
Jim had a way of making even the most trying experiences sound not so bad. They could be in the middle of a war, being bombarded by bombs from all sides, and John was convinced that Jim could make the situation not seem as bad as it is. Jim had a way with words that made even the most bullheaded person spill out the secrets they've longed kept from everyone. John hated Jim sometimes.
"Fine," John said through clenched teeth.
"Whatever," Caleb said flippantly.
"Caleb, why don't you go first?" pressed the pastor. "Then John will go."
"My brother was possessed by a demon. He nearly killed my family. Bobby Singer was hunting the demon and busted down the door in the knick of time." Caleb paused as he glanced up at John. "My family just about lost it because Dominic was the golden boy of the family. My dad pulled a few strings and sent my ass off to Valley Forge to learn to protect myself. He divorced my mom and left to spend a life hunting for demons. I attended Valley Forge for a little over a year before I dropped out and started hunting. End of my sob story."
"John," the pastor spoke quietly.
"We think a demon killed my wife. I heard her scream in Sammy's nursery. She was…" John trailed off to collect his thoughts. "She died. A fire burst to life. The boys and I just barely got out alive. I met Missouri who sent me to Jim and I started hunting."
"Whoa wait," Caleb held up a hand, "what the fuck?"
"Caleb, there are small children just in the next room," Jim hissed.
The younger hunter snorted and shot a pointed look in John's direction. John sneered back at the kid before turning his attention onto the pastor.
"So this demon gets its jollies off trying to kill infants?"
"We don't know," replied Jim carefully. "John and I haven't figured this out quite yet."
Leaning back until the chair was resting on only its back legs, Caleb let out a deep sigh. He ran a hand through his short strawberry-blonde hair and focused his attention onto John.
"What do you think, Johnny?"
"I think this demon is one sick sonofabitch and I want to kill it."
"I thought you couldn't kill demons. I thought you could only exorcise them back to Hell."
The younger hunters' eyes snapped towards Jim as though he held all the answers in the world. The pastor looked slightly taken aback by the sudden amount of faith shot his way.
"There are legends of a gun and a knife that can kill demons. Certain occult objects can trap a demon's essence. I don't know where to find any of these things," Jim spoke slowly.
"The Colt? Not that again," John said with a chuckle. "Elkins is a crazy bastard."
"Whoa, Elkins never told me any story about a Colt," interrupted Caleb. "Is it real? Does it exist?"
"It's said that Samuel Colt made a special gun that could kill anything supernatural. It is rumored the Colt is out there somewhere with only six bullets remaining. It's a legend as great as King Arthur or the Trojan War," explained Jim. "Samuel Colt was a known hunter. His journal was discovered, copied, handed out as though it were an instruction guide."
"You have a copy of this?" questioned John.
"Daniel was able to scrounge up a copy for me. It's in the basement of the church with my arsenal."
"Did he say he made a demon killing gun?" John asked.
"There was no mention of the gun. There were multiple references to churches he built, iron railways, things such as that. Never once did he mention the Colt."
"There's your answer, Kid," John addressed Caleb.
Resting his hands on the wooden table, John pushed himself out of the kitchen chair and made his way towards the living room. Sammy was curled up in a ball. He was leaning against Dean, half of his face buried into the older boy's side. Dean lounged on the couch, his arm wrapped protectively around the small body next to him.
John walked across the room and plopped down onto the couch next to Sammy. Reaching out, he carefully brushed the boy's long hair out of his face. The small boy looked over at his father, a weak smile crossing his features.
"What are you boys watching?"
"'Magnum, P.I.'," replied Dean. "Hey, Dad, will you grow a mustache like that?"
A chuckle escaped John's lips as his hand rested comfortable on Sam's thigh. Currently, he was clean-shaven. It felt so nice to get rid of the beard and mustache he grew while staying in the hospital with Sammy.
"You think that'll look good on me?"
"Very badass, Dad."
John could feel Sammy shaking next to him, strangled giggling noises escaping through his lips. Dean, on the other hand, shot his father a shit-eating grin.
"If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were trying to pull a fast one over on me," John replied as sternly as he could but failed miserably since a goofy grin was situated on his face.
"Me? Never. I hear this is what all the hunters are gettin' lately."
"You don't think it'll make me look like a Tom Selleck wannabe?"
"Who doesn't want to look like Tom Selleck?" questioned Dean. "My last teacher basically drooled over him. She and this other chick teacher would just gossip about him and Mangum whenever we were takin' tests or in the morning before the bell or when we'd come back from lunch and recess."
"Why, Sammy, I think Dean's jealous of a TV star," joked John. "I can picture it now, you'll be sixteen and donning a Tom Selleck trademark 'stache. Oh, I'll need to make sure I have a camera then."
Sammy jerked up from Dean's side to look at his father. His hazel eyes were dancing with mirth at the very prospect of the whole situation. A wide grin covered his face, dimples showing brightly in his cheeks. It was the first time since Sam had been admitted into the hospital that he looked so damn happy.
"You're a jerk," Dean protested as he crossed his arms over his chest. "You're not 'posed to turn this back on me. I was makin' fun of you."
"Well, Dean, I'm too smart to fall for your smartass suggestions. You actually thought I'd crave and grow a mustache like that?"
Dean shrugged, a small smirk working its way onto his face. He glanced down at Sammy before locking eyes with his father.
"I'm sure it would make Sammy's throat heal faster if you did," reasoned Dean.
Groaning, John gazed down at his youngest who was practically bouncing on the couch beside him. His head was slowly nodding up and down. His hands reached out and gripped the fabric of John's shirt as though pleading for him to do so.
"I hate you both," jested John lightheartedly.
"I think Sammy's trying to ask if you will," supplied Dean.
John saw Sammy giving a thumbs up out of the corner of his eye. His kids were brats. They knew exactly how to play him, how to make him cave.
"Fine, I'll grow a Tom Selleck mustache," he said in defeat. "It's not staying for long though!"
He pointed a finger at Dean before lowering his hand down to Sammy. The boys were both smiling, looking rather proud of themselves. Freakin' brats - both of them. And yet, John loved both of them more than anything else in the world. If he could, he would give them anything they asked of him. He would give them the moon and the stars just to see them smile. So, yeah, he'd be embarrassed for a couple days, but it was worth it to see the boys finally happy again.
Author's Notes - 'Kid Gloves' is officially complete. I really hope you enjoyed the ending. Much thanks to Shannon for editing. Also, don't forget to leave a review. They really feed my muse and never cease to put a smile on my face.
'The Dark Horse' chapter one will be up shortly (as soon as I finish posting this story). So don't forget to check it out. Also, new chapter of 'The Gift Horse' will be up hopefully this weekend or early next week.