Runaway – A WeeChester sn ficlet.
And I'm gonna need this… he tucked the flashlight into his backpack after a quick check to make sure it worked then patted down his pockets. A hard bulge in the left front jeans pocket was what he was checking for. A spring loaded knife that really belonged to Dean but Sam knew he'd need. He won't mind. He wouldn't want me to not have SOMETHING. And… and maybe… he ran his sleeve under his dripping nose then wiped the tears off his cheeks too, and maybe it'll kinda be like he's with me… and then I won't be alone for real. Oooh! he looked up through the bedroom door to the kitchenette. I'm gonna need some food! Don't wanna eat just stinky old wild veg-ables and berries, well those aren't so bad…
He dashed to the cupboard and picked the full box of pop-tarts, leaving Dean the box that had the two packets left, then grabbed the box of Cap'n Crunch With Crunchberries and ran back into the bedroom.
The poptarts fit into the backpack but the cereal wouldn't, not with his other most comfortable jeans, two t-shirts, two pair of socks, and two under pants, but he only packed one pair of sweat pants, figuring that since they were for sleeping they wouldn't get that dirty.
Hmmm, he looked from the backpack to the two boxes, Ah ha! He carefully opened the box of pop tarts, slipping all three silver sleeves out and placing them carefully between his packed clothes, then filled up that box with Cap'n Crunch, closed it up and set it into the backpack, the dimples he'd inherited from his father deepening with satisfaction at his cleverness.
Dashing back to the kitchen he climbed onto the counter, replacing the almost empty cereal box where it belonged.
Fridge! He stood before the nearly empty appliance, Oooh! Cheese! He grabbed the block of individually wrapped slices and wished they were the kind that had the cow on it. She was cute and made him smile, and her cheese was better. But we only get Lizzie when she's on sale. His eyes fell on the bag that held the last of the bread, two heels. Ick… Dean can have that.
On the wall the black cat meowed its sickly electronic sound, Creepy thing, almost as bad as clowns! He shuddered as it sounded three more times. Ooh! Dean'll be back soon I gotta go! He's gonna be so mad! Wonder if I should take the gun he sleeps with? Nah, that'd make him madder.
Back in the bedroom he dropped the cheese into the pack, zipped it up and once his jacket was on, shrugged it onto his shoulders, glad he remembered to roll and tie the 'throw' blanket from the couch to the bottom strings first.
At the kitchen table he took the pad of paper and pen they kept for notes to dad and each other and thought hard, chewing on the end of the pen like his big brother did. After a moment he started to carefully print,
"bye Dean, sorry I got you in truble. I won't make truble for you enny more. luv you. Sammy".
He knew not everything was spelled right, but being all of five he was still way ahead of the rest of his peers. Most of them may have learned their ABC's already, but they were just starting to try printing it. He'd been printing for almost half a year now. Dean made sure he could read most stuff and write enough just in case. He never asked exactly what, "Just in case" meant, but he had an idea that it was something like this.
Miss Franklin held tight control over the smile that wanted to burst out. The top half of the whiteboard held several very large repetitions of the sentence, "I will not hit my classmates." that grew smaller and more tightly packed toward the bottom of the board.
"Are you done Dean?" she asked gently smoothing his hair, glad that this time he didn't flinch. He was usually great with the other kids, funny, lively, sometimes almost more than she could handle, but he was smart and knew when to clown around and when not to, though he did seem to enjoy pushing the envelope. With the right teachers and the right education, Dean Robertson could grow to shine quite a light on the world, she was certain.
"Yes ma'am," he nodded smiling rakishly, wiping his hand across his brow as if he'd worked up quite a sweat, "I didn't mean to cause trouble Miss Franklin… but you should know, Jimmy knocked down and hit my little brother. He was just trying to keep Jimmy from hittin' Susie. You're gonna wanna watch him he's trouble," he explained.
"I'll make you a deal Dean," she half frowned, all she'd seen was Dean sitting on Jimmy Bond's tummy punching him, this little bit of news was something that although it didn't surprise her to hear, made her very sad nonetheless. "I'll keep my eyes on Jimmy, if you promise me you won't take matters into your own hands again."
The young boy seemed to actually consider the proposal before frowning and shaking his head, "I can't promise that Miss Franklin," he looked up into her eyes, "I can try. But anyone EVER touches my little brother there will be HELL to pay ma'am. And ain't many reasons for hittin' a girl 'less she whup's a fella first, then it's self defense, but Susie was just sittin' talkin' with Sammy, no reason for him to have hit either one of 'em," he stood firm by his actions and his reasons for them, and Terry Franklin wanted to glow with pride and hope that one day the baby in her belly would be just as righteous as this little boy in front of her.
"You're a good boy Dean Robertson," she swept her hand over his head again and could've sworn there was part of him that seemed to sigh at the touch now that he was familiar with it anyway, "You honor your word to try and get a grown up if there's trouble and I and the other teachers will try to be extra vigilant okay?"
"Yes ma'am," he nodded smiling brightly, "Thank you ma'am."
He grabbed his jacket, bouncing on the balls of his feet in front of her just as the four o'clock, bell rang.
"Can I go now?" he asked, "Sammy's all alone at home…" he explained, "today's dad's late day."
"Of course," she nodded, "See you tomorrow," she called cheerfully as he tore down the hall racing for the detention bus.
Don't be pouting Sam, just don't be pouting, it's not your fault… I know that look that was on your face runt. Ahhh! What'm I worried about? He smiled to himself shaking away the silly thought that his little brother actually HAD an attention span, He's probably watching GI Joe and stuffing his face with the last of the Cap'n Crunch. Dang man! That was MY pick… he's gonna pick Lucky Charms again this weekend, Maaan. That's okay I'll just pull the old disappearing pop-tarts trick on him. Yeah. Put aside a couple packs for Saturday morning cartoons. He dug into his jeans pocket coming out with a dollar and fifty three cents. Cool, I'll run to the hostess store and get some bread, then we can have toasty cheese sandwiches for dinner.
The Hostess store was halfway between the school and his stop. So at the corner closest to it he approached the driver, "Jay? Can you let me off at the next stop? I gotta hit the store and get us some bread."
"Sure thing Dean-o," he pulled gently over to the curb and let the young Winchester off the bus almost right outside the store with a smile and wave. John's eldest waved back and jogged easily up the sidewalk.
With the evening meal planned, and half of it swinging from a plastic bag in his fist (along with one twin pack of Ho-Ho's and one twin pack of Twinkies) he strolled toward the Marina Motel wondering just how bruised up Jimmy Bond was gonna be tomorrow.
Sam turned the corner and stopped in the shade of a large maple tree, I'm not supposed to cross the street without Dean or Daddy or well SOME grown up. Not s'posed to run away either, but I'm not running, he thought feeling a hot weight in the center of his chest, not s'posed to get Dean in trouble EITHER either… stupid old Jimmy had t'go pickin' on Susie. Dean got him good though, he don't like t'see anyone getting' picked on for nothing. Hmm. Well…He looked up and down the quiet sun streaked street, I'll cross over there… I think there's some woods…mmmm maybe woods aren't so good an idea. Hmm Oooh I got it! He snapped his fingers and started up the street. He wanted to smile after thinking of just the right place to set up 'base-camp' for his first night on his own, but the thought of being anywhere his big brother wasn't just wouldn't let him. Daddy not being around wasn't such a big deal. He wasn't hardly around most of the time anyway even when he WAS with them, he really wasn't, unless they were drilling like last summer at Uncle Bobbys. But being without Dean… that was different. He'd never known a minute of his life without Dean in it, and being without his big brother was gonna take some getting used to.
I just gotta suck it up like daddy says to do. "Get used to it boy, it's a rough life at its best so y'better get used to the idea… the sooner the better," he mimicked his dad's deep voice as best as he could.
Dean raced to the bedroom plowing onto the floor to look under the beds, "Sam? Damn!" then turned to the closet, whipping the doors open, "Sammy! C'mon out runt this isn't funny!" he called pulling the light string and stepping back to see if he could have climbed up onto the shelf, though just how he might have done that Dean couldn't say. Kid gets himself into fixes all the time anyway, getting up on a closet shelf would be a piece of cake… mmm cake… hey wait a sec… he looked at the floor of the closet where their suitcases were. Dad's big one, my big one, he shook them each in turn just to make sure Sam hadn't gone and stuffed himself inside one of them, Dork would suffocate! then looked around the room and finally back out into the front room. Where's his backpack? Son of a BITCH! Do NOT tell me he left the room!
To be sure his little brother wasn't hiding in plain sight Dean tore through the motel room, checking everything from behind the couch to the kitchen cabinets and even inside the refrigerator, and finally behind the shower curtain in the bathroom. All without a sign of his baby brother, except a missing box of pop tarts and all the cheese in the fridge being gone.
"Son of a bitch!" he cursed grabbing his jacket, flashlight and the lock back knife Uncle Bobby gave him at the end of the summer. Wish I'd had this thing a few months ago, woulda stuck it right in Miss McKetridge's evil old heart… he scowled with the memory of the woman and the beatings she'd laid out on him. It had literally taken months before he let anyone other than Sammy touch him. Even a hug or a pat on the shoulder from Dad or Uncle Bobby'd made him cringe. Just the sight of a hand, any hand raised higher than his head set his heart pounding. But it started getting better when dad started teaching him and Sam some basic ways to defend themselves.
"What would make him think he should run away?" He wondered glancing at the shakily written note again, "Trouble… jeez Sammy it's a few lines on the whiteboard it's not like… real trouble…alright I just gotta think… you are SO lucky dad's not here this week!" He sighed shaking his head and making sure the door was locked behind him as he exited the motel room and set out in search of his boy.
Runt sure as heck better not have crossed the street or so help me I'll… I'll… well he just better not! Dean thought angrily. He wanted to say he'd spank the little guy if he crossed the street, but he knew better. Only time he'd hit his little brother was when they were wrestling or sparring and even then he kept it soft, just enough to let Sam know. He knew that some folks did spank their kids, and he could see that that's why kids had bottoms, but having been on the receiving end so recently he could still remember how bad it hurt to move for so long, he'd never been more grateful that it wasn't Dad's way. If anything happens to Sammy though it could GET to be his way… Which got his tummy twisting for the mistake that almost got Sammy snacked on by that creepy hooded thing a couple months back in Fort Douglas, I can't make another mistake like that… what… what'd dad call it? Shrieka…Streaker…mmm Shtriga, yeah that's it…
"Sammy!" he called catching sight of a grandma type woman peeking out of her living room window, "Olly Olly Oxen Free Sammy! I give up C'mon out now!" What does that mean anyway? C'mon old lady, go back to your soap operas, nothing to see here… looks like I'm gonna have to do this real quiet like then.
At the end of the street he stopped gazing across the road into the woods, He's a good climber, but two things, he'd have to cross the street and he knows he better never do that without me or dad… man I shoulda just had him wait for me at the playground… stupid Dean! And second, he'd be scared to spend the night in the woods on his own. C'mon Sammy where are you runt? Don't do this to me… please?
There was something that was familiar about most of the towns they stayed in, for some reason, lots of them didn't seem to have fences, but more had barriers of bushes, shrubs and other plant life. This served nine year old Dean VERY well as he sidled into a back yard and began scanning porches, patios, trees, and bushes for signs of his little brother.
Sam looked up and sighed, Mmm s'getting dark. good thing I'm here. He was also very glad the people that lived here were too old to come after him, if they saw him that is.
He looked at the tree and the rungs nailed to it. The wood was cracking and certainly full of rough spots, but whoever had put them up, had done a good job. I'll go take a look.
He shrugged out of the backpack, surprised at how heavy it had gotten through the course of the afternoon, and sighed choosing his finger and footholds carefully. He didn't want to get any splinters after all. Then he'd have to go back and get Dean to pull 'em out and that would defeat the whole purpose of going away and making things easier for his big brother.
Just as one would expect, his little feet and fingers pulled him up the tree and into the trap door entrance to the rickety old tree house. He'd remembered seeing it through the kitchen window a few nights ago, standing on the chair washing dishes and thought how much fun it must've been to have a secret place to play high up in the trees. And since he knew Dean would be really mad if he crossed the street it was the perfect place for him to be.
Inside the long ago abandoned tree house he marveled. There was an old crate that had several comic books in it, though they looked faded and warped by time and the elements. There was a big candle that was almost halfway burned down and was sitting kinda lopsided in a saucer, like it had maybe gotten hot in the summer months and had to fight to keep standing up.
He jumped, his fingers clutching at the wood as squirrels hollered angrily at him before dashing out the window. He noticed there were also lots of little pellets on the floor and he was pretty sure they weren't hamster food pellets like in the kindergarten classroom. His eyes traveled up to the ceiling and his breath caught in his throat with a surprise.
Bats! REAL bats… not like the storybook kind, I wonder if they're vampire bats? As the trap door fell out of his hand to slap hard on the wood flooring, startling the flying mammals out into the early evening he huffed, Well I guess that takes care of that… they're prolly the 'more scared of me than I am of them' kind of bats. NEAT! He smiled to himself, leaving the door open and returning down the trunk of the tree to gather his pack, content to have his base camp for the night.
As soon as the fluttering in his chest started to settle down and his head stopped spinning with relief he wondered what he should do. Obviously Sammy was upset enough over Dean's detention that he thought he was a burden, Good thing he doesn't remember about the shtriga otherwise he'd probably blame himself for that too… dumbass little runt, he smirked shaking his head watching the little guy wrestle his backpack up the ladder and into the tree house. Well this blows chunks… what'm I supposed to do? I can't leave him there… just thank God I found him. And thank God you didn't cross the street! Otherwise I'da been really mad!
The elder brother climbed into the center of a multi branched tree base that formed a bit of a nest and leaned back drawing his jacket tightly around himself knowing full well that even with that throw blanket Sam tied to his backpack, Good thing he took that ratty old thing else I might've missed him going up the tree… he thought, that it was going to get cold tonight, IF Sam managed to actually stay away. Knowing that stubborn mule he just might. How do I convince him to come home? I gotta make him think its his idea.
As time continued its interminable path, sending the sun to bed Dean began to shiver and wondered how Sam was doing. Oddly enough he could see not only the white from his little brother's flashlight but also kind of a warm yellow glow too behind that. He was just about to get out of the cradle of the tree when the trapdoor opened and Sam started climbing nervously down with his flashlight on the string around his neck.
It took everything he had not to burst out laughing as his boy hit the ground dancing and grabbing at his pants. I know that dance, he's gotta go bad! Waited a bit too long eh Sammy? He thought doing everything he could not to make a sound.
Sam whimpered looking around the yard and finally found a break in the bushes that he felt was cover enough.
The eldest Winchester pressed his hand over his mouth listening as Sam whimpered a few times before his thin voice softly sang The Itsy Bitsy Spider. He really held it too long if he's gotta sing… By the time the little one was able to start it was all he could do to keep breathing without giving away his position.
He pressed his arm against his teeth, biting down through his jacket as Sam finally finished and started back up the tree.
Dean watched the lights go out in the tree house as the moon rose over the motel roof and he pushed himself from the tree he'd been resting in. He was shaking with cold and wondered how Sam was faring up there, wondering if he was warm enough or was he shivering too?
Carefully Dean grabbed the first rung over his head and began his climb. About halfway up, with his hand on the trap door he whispered, "Sammy? You in here?"
There was no reply and he actually wondered if his little brother was already asleep or faking it. He could rarely resist the urge to answer a direct question, but for all his waiting and watching, Dean didn't want to take the chance his brother would get scared and smack him over the head either.
He pushed open the door and shined his light around, immediately spotting Sammy rolled tightly in the throw blanket, on his side, his eyes squinted hard shut against the light.
"Hey Sammy," he climbed the rest of the way up, glad that it was plenty warmer inside than outside.
"Mmm," Sam rolled over, giving his back to Dean.
"Runt what're you doing up here huh?" he asked stretching out behind the boy, laying on his side.
"I'm running 'way… you're not s'posed t'find me, you're s'posed t'be at the room all nice and safe and warm… and you're definitely not s'posed to be out past dark!" Sam charged rolling over so they were face to face.
"Well neither are you."
"But I'm runnin' away… I'm s'posed t'be doin things we're not s'posed t'do," he shook his head and held up a finger, "But I didn't cross the street! I was gonna but it was getting late and I didn't want you to be mad at me."
"That's good Sammy," Dean nodded and shrugged, "but if you're running away well then so am I."
"You can't Dean that's not how it works!"
"Really? How's it work then?" He asked fighting an itch deep in his nose.
"I'm s'posed t'run away, you're s'posed t'stay. We can't BOTH run away… it doesn't work like that 'cause then dad won't have anyone t'move around with."
Dean's body gave a quick shake as a daddy-sized sneeze ripped out of him making Sam turn on his flashlight and shine it in his big brothers' face, "God bless you."
"Thanks," he nodded swiping Sam's mop good naturedly, "Look Sam, it may not be the way it's supposed to be but the fact is… You can't run away, who's gonna keep me company when dad's gone on his trips huh? Who's gonna trade off getting cereal or pop tarts with me? Cause you know me… I'll just live on cap'n crunch and blueberry pop tarts, and pizza…" he started.
"What's wrong with that?" Sam asked not understanding.
"Well maybe I could learn to like the chocolate pop tarts but I'll never try if you're not there to pick 'em and make me try 'em y'know?... and how am I ever supposed to get the hang of pepperoni if you're not there to toss it at me? Cause dad won't buy it if you're not there y'know?"
"I don't know…" Sam shrugged.
"And who am I supposed to watch Friday night movies with? or walk home from school with? Or make Saturday morning living room forts with? I mean come on Sam… without you around I'd be bored out of my skull."
"That would be bad," the young Winchester sighed watching his big brother nod, "but I got you in trouble Dean… you had to do tention, and make lines, and Miss Franklin yelled at you and made you squeal when she grabbed your ear and everything…" he sniffed as his eyes grew glassy with tears, "…and she hurt you and she wouldn't have hurt you if I hadn't got pushed down… I don't want anyone t'ever hurt you again, not like Miss Ketchup Dean… and NEVER on account of me!"
Dean's belly rolled over inside while his own eyes got misty, he knew how scared Sam had been when he'd seen the blood and broken skin and huge black bruises on that day last spring, "Aww Sammy I'm sorry," he reached out to ruff the boys' hair, "Listen Miss Franklin only made me do lines on the whiteboard… not everyone is mean like Ketchup y'know? She was sick in the head Sammy… and outside uh-oh's heal up, they go away, but if you run away then that's gonna be a bigger uh-oh than I think I can stand and the ones on the inside don't go away so easy."
Sam felt his eyes grow big with a vague sense of understanding, he could feel the truth in his brothers' words and it made his eyes cry, "So you're not mad?"
"Not mad just cold as hell, come home with me Sammy, I'll make us some toasty cheese sandwiches… and I got us Ho-Ho's and Twinkies too."
"Really?" Sam's eyes popped with delight.
"Mmm hmm," Dean nodded.
"Is it late?"
Dean checked his watch, "8:25, not too late."
"Good then we can watch tv for a while too…" Sam grinned unrolling himself from the blanket.
"…ammy?" Dean muttered in his sleep, his voice high and scared. Sleeping was the only time Sam ever saw Dean afraid.
Sam's eyes popped open in the night, immediately drawn to the slow moan that came from the bed across from his. He'd be all alone if I ran away, daddy's not here to make him feel safe, daddy's never here to make him feel safe. Another sound, a little like a whimper drew him out of his bed. He crawled up behind Dean and slid beneath the covers feeling the older boy sigh deeply as his arm came around his shoulder and he settled his head behind his big brothers' breathing warmth onto the older boys' neck.
"S'okay Dean," he whispered petting the older boys' hair, "I won't run away any more."
if you've got thoughts I'd love to hear 'em.
Please and Thank you. :D