Disclaimer: I do not own "Supernatural."
Author's Note: Just a quick attempt at a missing scene from "Bad Day at Black Rock." 'Cause Sam has both shoes on when they get to the motel. ;) Big thanks to Lembas7 for the speedy beta! Any remaining errors are all mine. I hope you enjoy.
Dean blinked at him, "You what?"
Sam looked up quickly, then back down, mumbling, "Lostmyshoe."
Dean frowned. "You wha -" he shook his head, his gaze dropping to Sam's sock-clad foot. "How?"
"Fell?" he echoed, and continued to stare at his brother's foot.
"Down there . . . " Sam made a motion with his hand, drawing Dean's gaze to his arm.
Dean followed the direction Sam was pointing in, focusing on the grate. "How could it fall down there?" he asked, his mind refusing to put together the pieces that his brother, his 24 year old, 6-foot 4-inch tall brother, had somehow dropped his shoe into a sewer system.
Sam heaved a sigh. It was a put-upon sound that carried a tinge of embarrassment. "There was gum and I was trying to get it off and then it just, slipped off my foot and . . . fell." He waved his hand emphatically at the grate and then lost his balance, hopping and shifting around and almost falling backwards.
Dean crossed the space between them in two strides and reached out to steady him. "Whoa. Careful."
Sam nodded, leaning into him to regain his balance, and Dean realized that Sam was holding his shoeless foot in the air. "Dude. Both feet on the ground helps with the standing thing."
Sam shook his head. "Don't wanna touch it . . . in my sock, you know?" He said it softly, though not nearly as embarrassed about it as Dean would have him be.
"Are you kidding?" he asked, still gripping Sam's arm.
They stared at each for a long moment, before Sam arched his eyebrows. "Well?"
Dean arched his own right back. "Well what?"
Sam released a puff of air, "Can you get it?"
It took a moment for the request to click, then he scowled. "Dude."
"Please, Dean. I love these sneakers."
He almost pulled his hand away and started back to the car, but remembered that Sammy was cursed and it wouldn't be the best idea to turn his back on him. Instead Dean shook his head vigorously. "No way! How the hell do you even want me to -"
"Just reach in -"
"LIKE HELL! I'm not sticking my arm down there! I don't know what's down there."
"I don't have any other sneakers that are this comfortable. These are my favorite, Dean. Please. It's not like it's my fault. It's the stupid curse."
Which was true, but still. "Sam -"
"I could fall in if I try to get it myself."
Dean grimaced, "The hole is this big!" He made a motion with his free hand. "I don't even know how your humongous shoe fit through it!"
It was the pull of the letters and duck of his head – and suddenly Sam shrank to waist-height, with bangs covering his eyes, untied shoelaces, and bottom lip pouting out to here. Dean almost smirked; really only the height thing had changed. A moment later he realized what that meant.
"Dammit, Sam!" he growled.
His brother said nothing, just watched him.
"How do you even -" Dean cut himself off with an aggravated sigh. "You're a pain in the ass, you know that," he said instead, and then started leading Sam towards the car.
"I'm gonna get you your damn shoe, just hold on a minute."
He maneuvered Sam over to the Impala, which was a fiasco in and of itself since Sam seriously didn't want to touch the ground in his sock – until Dean stopped humoring him and started dragging him instead.
"Dean!" Sam yelled again.
"Suck it up, princess."
When they got to the car, Dean opened the passenger side door and shoved Sam into the seat. "Sit here and don't move."
"Stop being mad, I didn't do it on pur-"
"You can't blame me -"
"Sure I can. Sit here and don't touch anything until I get back. If you touch something I'm going to staple all of your boxers together again. Understand?"
Sam scowled at him and Dean felt his irritation fade a little bit.
"That wasn't funny," his little brother stated.
The image of Sam red-faced and holding up a train of boxer shorts flashed in his mind and he chuckled. "Was to." Then he pointed at Sam and ordered, "Stay."
Dean said it just because he could and it felt awesome to.
Approaching the grate, he sighed. This wasn't the first time he had to do something ludicrous because Sammy needed it. He needed Dean to get the baby bird back in the tree – tree climbing while carrying a live animal. He needed Dean to pick him that apple right there – tree climbing up high. He needed Dean to make the video work without the lines – take VCR apart. He needed Dean to get him a purple gumball – re-wiring the coin mechanism because no way in hell was he spending more than two quarters on a gumball.
He needed Dean to get him his favorite sneaker – remove entire grate in order to assess the situation. He dropped the grate a few feet away and then got down on the ground near the hole. He used to his key-chain flashlight to get a good look down there and sure enough there was Sam's sneaker. It had landed face up so the inside was likely still dry. Good, because Princess Sammy might not want to wear it otherwise.
He released a long sigh that he was sure would carry over to the Impala. Then he stood and stomped over to the car.
"Did you get it?" Sam asked.
Dean scowled at him, "Does my arm like a 10 foot pole?"
"So how are you -"
"Shut up, Sam," he growled again as he rounded the car and opened the trunk. It took him a few minutes to find what he was looking for. Sam was leaning forward, head stuck out watching him. Dean straightened and watched as Sam cracked his head against the frame while getting back inside.
Sam hissed, breathing a muttered curse.
"Could you try not to kill yourself while you sit?" Dean asked, heading back towards the grate with flash light and crow bar in hand.
"Be careful!" Sam called out, ignoring Dean's warning, as he stuck his head out of the car again.
Dean did some ignoring of his own, instead yelling back a quick, "Stop moving!"
Then he got down on the ground – the same ground that Sammy wouldn't put his foot on – in front of the grate opening and stuck the flashlight between his neck and the hole, holding it with his chin. Once it was he steady and lighting up the sneaker, he stretched and balanced until he could maneuver the crow bar into the opening of the shoe. Once he had it hooked it was a piece of cake to bring it up – way easier than replacing the plastic tab inside seven-year-old Sammy's LA Lights sneakers so the light would flash again.
Mission accomplished, Dean stood, gathering up everything up as he went.
He walked right past Sam, who sitting completely in the car, very still. Dean opened the trunk of the Impala and carefully tucked the crow bar in its place, packing the flashlight securely in one of the duffels before he shut the trunk firmly.
Sam shifted towards him the moment Dean slid into the driver's seat.
"Let me see? Is it salvageable?" he said anxiously.
Dean shot him a quick glare as he tossed the sneaker over. "Your shoe's fine," he muttered as he started pulling out onto the street.
"Ow!" Sam hissed. Dean almost gave himself whiplash looking over in time to see Sam laying his hand over his cheek. Somehow Dean's soft, low throw heading for Sam's lap had landed against the kid's cheek.
"Christ, this sucks," he offered dryly, because sometimes stating the obvious was necessary.
Sam nodded, saying quietly, "You're telling me." Then a moment later proclaiming, "It's not wet!" as he examined the sneaker, sounding actually delighted.
A smirk tugged at Dean's lips. "So put it on already, Cinderella," he said, signaling for a turn.
Sam laughed, light and surprising given the current situation . . . given the current year. The laugh was followed by a teasing voice, "I knew you were a closet Fairy Tale fanatic."
Dean cut his brother a narrow look, thankful the street was mostly deserted. "Bite me," he offered dryly.
Sam's smile widened into a grin and he bent forward, fidgeting until the sneaker was on. Dean turned his attention back to the road, looking for signs leading to a motel. "We're gonna stick around till Bobby gives us a call back – see where we go from there," he offered.
He looked over quickly when Sam made no response and found his little brother studying him, smiling at him.
Sam's words were as sincere and earnest as they always were when Dean delivered the flashing sneaker lights, the purple gumball, the clear video picture, the wanted apple, the safe bird – and now the dry sneaker; carrying the unspoken, for everything, heavily in each syllable.
He swallowed back the lump that rose suddenly to his throat and looked away, giving the still quiet street more attention than it needed. "Yeah, yeah, whatever," he said slowly, knowing that his words carried hints of anytime.
They drove on in companionable silence for awhile.
Sam settled back into the seat and Dean turned the music on, both inexplicably comforted by the incident; by this unexpected throw-back to their childhood. Bobby would call soon and they would be off again on a time-sensitive mission where lives were at stake, even as the sand on their own hourglass fell much too quickly; but for the moment both were content to be still and let the rest of the world stay outside the windows, let it slip by unnoticed and unmarked while they reveled in the simplicity of being brothers, while they indulged in pretending that whatever Sam needed, Dean could deliver.