It's Not Working
The sound of crumbling buildings, explodingnuclear plants, and firing of high tech military weaponry rang through the small motel room. Dean Winchester sat on the edge of his seat, his eight year old eyes drinking in the sight of mass destruction and devastation with utter glee.
The world famous forty foot lizard's unique growl echoed around him followed by the whoosh of its radioactive breath weapon.
"It's Godzilla! Run for your lives!"
He chuckled as panic ensued then the movie went into commercials.
Dean threw a furtive glance at his quiet four year old brother as the latter sat on the floor coloring animals in his coloring book seemingly totally unaware of what was going on in the TV. Dean wasn't sure how his brother could concentrate so hard on something so simple as using his crayons, but he could. His little brother's brows were drawn together into a simple v, the weight of the coloring world on his tiny shoulders.
He seriously thought of going over there and doing an unannounced tickle attack, but decided not to. It was best if his little brother didn't pay attention. Though Dean knew Godzilla was only a man in a rubber suit, his little brother didn't and might get nightmares. There were real monsters out there to really have nightmares about, but Sammy wouldn't ever find out about those if Dean could help it. His little bother had enough bad dreams now as it was.
He'd grown so big too. He remembered when Sammy had been but a small bundle of tiny arms and legs. And the smells he'd made. Wooo! But he was changing. Changing every day. He had things he liked, things he didn't like, and he was so smart. He could just look at you sometimes wanting something and those eyes, what he could do with them. But when he was happy, Sammy was a sight to see. Like all the awful things they never talked about had never happened.
And now, now his little brother was getting big enough to have fun with too. Real fun, like running, and hide and go seek. Soon they'd be able to have even more fun and do all kinds of things together.
"…give you the ability to swim and ride a bike whenever you want…"
Dean's attention snapped back to the TV. Give you the ability? That meant like learning how to do something, right? His eyes grew big as he stared at the rest of the commercial. Slowly he turned to look down at his brother again. "Hey, Sammy."
Big eyes looked up from a half colored rhino to turn in Dean's direction.
"How'd you like to learn how to ride a bike and swim so we could play together more? Wouldn't that be fun?"
The furrowed brow returned as the four year old gave Dean's words some heavy pondering. A moment later, Sam gave him a wholehearted nod.
"Awesome!" Dean leapt out of his seat. "Put your stuff away. We're going out."
John Winchester pushed himself out from under the body of the Impala, dragging a filled oil pan after him. As he sat up, he grabbed the rag next to the wheeled board stinking of old oil and grease, and wiped his hands. Using the end of his rolled up sleeve, he brushed at the sweat clinging to his forehead. First thing he noticed as he moved the arm away was a pair of small scuffed sneakers waiting for his attention just at the edge of his vision.
If something had been wrong, his son would have alerted him to his presence vocally rather than patiently wait to be acknowledged, so seemingly all was well. "Yeah, Dean? What is it?"
"We're low on milk and cereal, Dad, and Sammy's wanting a snack. Is it okay for us to go to the corner market?"
That's when John noticed that his youngest was standing just as straight as his older brother a foot or so behind him, almost a perfectly mimicked copy. A ragged blue baby blanket was clutched tightly in one little fist to the side. He'd never seen Sam go anywhere without the blasted thing. A last remnant of things that were no longer theirs. It'd be best if he got the boy to let go of the crutch as soon as possible, but he'd not been able to bring himself to do it -- at least not yet.
"Sure. But follow the rules. No talking to strangers, no getting near any cars of people you don't know, and absolutely no candy from anyone. Understand?"
"Yes, sir." The answer was quick and curt, just like John liked it.
"And Sam," he turned his stare over to his youngest. "You're not to leave your brother's side for any reason. Any reason, got it?"
The blanket rose to the boy's chest as if to shield him, but his son's gaze met his straight on. "Yes, sir."
John nodded. "Good. If the two of you are not back in fifteen minutes, I will know the reason why."
Dean took his brother's small hand in his and the two headed off. John stood up and watched them go, pride and trepidation ringing hand in hand inside him, as they left the relative safety of the motel parking lot and merged with the unknown dangers of the outside world.
George Denton glanced up as the telltale bell over the door rang as a new customer entered the five and dime. Frowning when he didn't see a head of any kind over the racks, he stepped over to the right to look down the isle. It was that kid and his younger brother again.
He'd noticed them in here before, the first time with a grizzled looking man he wouldn't want to ever have to mess with. As it was, he wouldn't likely soon forget that first visit, as it had been rather a weird scene.
The man, whom he'd assumed to be the father, had paid almost no attention to the wares, but had instead stared hard at George as if sizing him up for child molester tendencies or something. It had made George's usual automatic welcome smile crumble at the edges. Once he'd been through raking him over, the man had stared at the rest of the store as if looking for traps, or people hiding behind the racks as if the place were some kind of war zone rather than just a corner store. He wondered if the guy was a war veteran or something.
The older boy, on the other hand, had done what he'd expected of the father, and was actually looking at what the place had to offer and picked up an item here or there, compared prices, and put daily necessities into one of the store's plastic baskets. The littlest one walked behind him, holding on to his shirttail with one hand and to an old ragged baby blanket with the other, looking as serious as a heart attack.
Since that day the older boy alone or with the younger one tagging along had come in once or twice and not caused any trouble. He kept an eye on them as they navigated the isles, pretty sure they weren't one of those he sometimes got who liked to filch things, but not wanting to take a chance anyway.
After a few minutes, the two boys came on over to be checked out. The older one placed the plastic basket on the counter.
Milk, Lucky Charms, a chocolate bar, nothing unusual except for the last item. This one made George's brow rise. "Hey, kid, you sure your mom shouldn't be the one picking this up?"
That was another odd thing about this family… The kids were pretty polite.
The boy's face grew blank for a moment then cleared. "We don't have one. And anyways these are for my brother."
George choked and had to struggle before he could speak again. "And just what exactly is your brother going to do with these?"
"He's going to learn to learn to swim and ride a bike!" A bright smile lit up the kid's face making his whole appearance shine, freckles and all. "Then we can do more stuff together. Right, Sammy?"
The serious four year old nodded his head solemnly.
George couldn't say a word. Actually had to put a hand to his mouth after he told the kid the total, barely able to hold it in. Tears sprang to his eyes from the effort and it gained him an odd look as the boy placed exact change on the counter.
George hurriedly put everything in a plastic bag and handed it over, not too sure how long he could hold back.
As they opened the front door he couldn't help himself. "Good luck with that, kid. Let me know how it works out." He could just imagine their father when those two explained that particular purchase.
As soon as the door closed, he folded over the counter laughing so hard it hurt.
"Dad, we're back!"
John glanced to the right from where he was tightening a loose sparkplug under the Impala's hood. He checked his watch and saw the boys had made it back well within the time limit. "Everything went okay?"
He stared harder at his kids, noticing a heavy dose of excitement lacing his son's response. Even Sammy's eyes were shinning. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary though. Both looked exactly the same as when they left. He'd have to ask for more details once he was done here. A good quiz on what Dean had observed while out and about to test his observation skills and retention would be good for him. "Good. I'll see you in a bit."
"Sure, Dad." The two hustled inside.
John went on about his business after making sure they closed the door.
A short while later, he trudged up to the motel room door using his shirt to turn the knob as he tried to keep the grease he hadn't been able to get off his hands with the cloth off the metallic surface. As he headed toward the bathroom and the bar of Lava soap he set out before he started, he noticed the light in there was on and a lot of squealing and splashing coming from that direction.
"Sammy, no! You have to keep your head up."
Chocking sounds gurgled for a moment, making John leap toward the bathroom a spike of fear piercing through his gut.
"Dammit, it's not working!"
John stopped at the open door, his gaze taking in everything at once.
The tub was filled three quarters of the way full. Dean was kneeling beside the tub, half soaked from head to toe, hair plastered to his face. Sammy was in the tub, kicking and waving his arms around, his brother trying to keep him from sinking to the bottom. Water was flying everywhere.
But what made John's eye twitch was what his youngest was wearing. Weird puffed up pink tubes and white cylindrical material were sticking out of his ears, were shoved up his nose, and to his rising horror were also plugged into his ass.
"Dean Winchester! What the hell is going on here?"
His son snapped around as if hit, tears immediately springing to his eyes. Sammy sank then sat up in the tub, eyes gone totally round staring from one to the other of them.
"D-Dad! We were, I was…" He frantically looked around him and spotted something behind the toilet. He grabbed for it and held it up for his father to see. "I was trying to help Sammy, Dad. The TV said this would let him be able to swim."
John stared in startled shock at his son, then at the box. "Let him be able…to…swim?"
Dean nodded rapidly, tears now coursing freely down his face. "But it's not working, Dad. Not working at all. I don't think it's going to let him ride a bike either. They lied." His face contorted with the pain of the betrayal.
John couldn't help himself, he just couldn't. He burst laughing out loud. His eyes lost focus as tears of humor skewed his view, both of his sons staring at him as if he'd turned into someone else. As the laughter continued to boom in the small room, inside he was also crying. The ache that was always with him for his lost wife stabbed him now harder than ever.
Oh, Mary, how in heaven was he supposed to explain this to them and not crush their little souls? She was so much better armed to handle this than he was. How was he, as their father, expected to describe that tampons weren't for learning how to swim or ride a bike but to hold back a woman's menstrual flow?
He wondered if he should call Bobby…