Summary: Five sleeps with the Winchesters, from Teenchesters to Weechesters. No spoilers. Some limp angst, tasty bits I can't help but want to include.
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or the Winchesters but they sure as hell fire own me.
A/N: Many thanks to TammiTam for casting her expert author eye over this for me. Hugs
While You Were Sleeping
-Sam aged 17, Dean aged 21-
Sam hasn't opened his eyes or moved one of those freakish long limbs of his, not moped or bitched or yelled at their dad in a teenaged temper tantrum. Nothing, nada, nil. For four days now he's been laid on his bed in their shitty motel room, as still as death, as quiet as the grave.
But Sam's not dead, Sammy's sleeping. This witch's hex is a bitch with a capital B. Dean thinks back, struggling to remember the exact words she had rasped out—strange wicked words which drifted like a melody from pale thin lips set in an old wrinkled face—her bitter promise to Dean that she would rip his life away. He hadn't known then that she had been looking straight at Sam as her promise had been made.
How she'd known they were brothers—only her creepy ass witchy powers could say but the crone, her body as bowed and twisted as a bough from an ancient oak tree, had it figured the second she saw them together. Right then, she knew Dean's greatest weakness. That Sam was his life.
"Come on Sam, fight it." Dean clutches Sam's hand and prays for salvation once more.
When Sam had first fallen under the effects of the curse, Dean had felt uncomfortable with such unguarded displays of his emotions but as his brother's level of consciousness began to slip away until Sam was completely unresponsive, Dean had reached for Sam's hand and took hold of it tightly, squeezing it between both his own hands.
Sam is laid on his side, a row of pillows propped behind his back. The change in position necessary to prevent pressure sores and Dean has taken to regularly lifting each of Sam's legs in turn, bending them at the knee and rubbing the calf muscles to prevent them from seizing up. There's a half-empty glass of protein shake on the nightstand. Most of which had ended up being wasted, dribbling over Sam's chin before soaking into the bed linen but some of it had made it down Sam's throat and that had helped Dean breathe a little easier.
He'd breathe a hell of a lot easier when the witch was dead.
"Dude, this whole Snow White act is getting boring." Dean mutters though he wouldn't be anywhere else right now.
Dean's cell rings and it takes him a moment to disentangle his fingers from Sam's before he reaches into his pocket and retrieves the phone. He swallows down a sob when he sees that it's his dad.
He presses a button and Dad's speaking even before Dean gets the chance to get a greeting out. "She's gone, left town. I've burned her altar, her books, her house. The fire damn near burned down the entire street." There's a rumbling low chuckle, which sounds like Dad is one small step away from losing control. "Has Sammy woken up?"
Dean glances over at his brother who, for all intents and purposes, looks like he's merely sound asleep but the saline drip IV which Dad stole from a small town hospital and inserted into the back of Sam's hand, says differently. It says that this is an artificial sleep, one that Sam has been forced into taking and one he can't wake up from.
Sam's eyes haven't opened; his long dark lashes aren't moving and Dean feels the thin thread of hope he had been hanging on to break away. "No. He's not awake." Dean chokes out. "Dad, what-?" He adds softly; asking for answers, absolution, anything...he's not sure what, just fix this Dad please.
Dean might be twenty-one but his dad is still his hero and Dad won't let them loose Sammy. Not like this.
"There are no clues as to where she's gone, son. No way to track her, I—I don't know."
And that can't be right, Dean thinks, because Dad always has answers.
Dean runs a hand through Sam's hair and puts his mouth close to the shell of Sam's ear. "We'll find her, Sammy." But Dean can't be certain his dad will consent to them blindly criss-crossing the country, hunting down a missing witch with a comatose Sam packed in the car like an item of luggage.
Dean's head snaps up as he catches a glimpse of something out of the corner of his eye and for a split second he doesn't quite believe what he's seeing. A small white orb of light shimmering in the centre of the room and as Dean tries to rub away the fatigue stinging his eyes, suddenly the witch is right there, standing at Sam's bedside.
A shrivelled hand, skin parchment white and transparent enough for Dean to be able to see the blue veins pulsing underneath, mimics Dean's action of stroking Sam's brown tresses.
Dean recoils away from her; falls backward off of his chair and scrambles across the floor until his back is pressed against the wall hard enough to send a stab of pain shooting down his spine.
He pulls out his Glock and aims it at her head. "Get away from him, bitch." Dean hasn't tangled with a witch before, but he's not stupid, he can calculate the risks and they are risks worth taking to protect Sam.
A bony finger waves back and forth at him disapprovingly and Dean supposes even wicked old witches don't like to be insulted. Huh, go figure!
"Why are you here? You weren't satisfied with fucking up my brother's life so you thought you'd stop by to catch the floor show?"
"I came to give him back."
"Really?" Dean snorts. His hold on the gun doesn't slacken.
"Seems like others have big plans for him and they were...lets just say, they were very persuasive." Dean notices then the dark purple bruises ringing both her wrists like bracelets. The same hand that has been toying with Sam's hair moves until it is hovering above his brother's forehead. "He's very weak, but he'll live."
In the end, it's that simple. A few mumbled words which Dean can't hear and Sam's head rolls feebly on his pillow. It's the first time Sam has moved a muscle in days.
She smiles but it's a gesture lost on Dean who has hurried over to crouch by his brother's side, whispering stern encouragements as Sam slowly begins to rouse.
She doesn't vanish in a puff of smoke or in a flash of blinding light; instead she watches them for a short time and then walks slowly towards the door. Dean's tender words to his brother trail behind her as she withdraws into the cool night.
-Sam aged 15, Dean aged 19-
The Impala isn't the worst place in the world to spend the night, even though Sam's not alone in the rear of the car. Weapon storage has always taken precedence over comfort and so Sam is sharing the cramped confines of the Impala's backseat with a couple of artillery filled duffel bags, numerous books and several family-sized packets of peanut M&Ms, courtesy of one Dean Winchester.
Sam likes the gentle motion of the car, rocking him until he falls asleep. Dad's preference for taking the back roads means that it's usually as black as tar inside the Impala, no streetlights around to illuminate the interior. Sometimes they'll pass through a remote no name burg—a handful of quaint chocolate box houses and a couple of shops which have probably been run by the same families for decades—Sam will crank his eyes open to watch the washed-out glow from the building windows flicker weird and wonderful shapes across the Impala's upholstery.
Sam's slept in more unpleasant places. Face-down in a huge clump of poison ivy being the worst he can remember, except that he hadn't exactly been asleep – more knocked unconscious after being flung there by a mightily pissed off rampaging (and clearly hormonal) Harpy. And Dean had been finding the whole Sam getting his ass kicked by a girl thing highly amusing until Sam ended up flying through the air (not with the greatest of ease) landing with a bone-breaking crash in a heap of Eastern poison ivy.
Then big brother had decided it was time to kill the bitch, and later, he'd even managed to look a tad apologetic while dabbing copious amounts of calamine on Sam's itchy blotch covered arms and on the patch of skin left exposed above the white plaster cast on Sam's leg.
Since his growth spurt kicked in, there's entirely too much of Sam to stretch out fully on the backseat of the Impala. Most of the time he only manages to fall asleep when he winds down the window and sticks his huge size thirteen feet out. Which used to really piss his dad off but John caved after having Sam's knee shove into the back of his seat for the hundredth time while Sam wiggled around trying, and failing, to get comfy.
But it's winter and the Montana air is ruthlessly frigid. Sam's shivering as he pulls his knees in tight against his chest and wraps his long arms around them. The Impala's heater is on the blink, again, and it wouldn't come as a complete surprise to Sam if he touched his face and found icicles hanging from the end of his nose.
In the darkness Sam can only just make out the shapes of his father and brother's heads. He probably knows the back of their heads as well as the palm of his own hand. Over the years, he's watched the first strands of grey appear in his dad's hair and the familiar way Dean massages the back of his neck when he's tired or getting frustrated, until the skin there has been rubbed a raw shade of angry red. Dean doesn't vocalise his feelings much, but Sam can still usually tell what mood his brother is in. He's got it down to a fine art, reading Dean. Minute gestures that no one else but Sam seems to notice.
Dad is silent, only speaking to utter a string of curse words when a tailored-suit-wearing dick in a BMW cuts him up on the freeway. For a change, they're taking the main roads, a direct route across country owing to Dad's fierce determination to reach their destination before the next lunar cycle means the Redwood Falls Police Chief is sprouting fur and eating his colleagues instead of cream filled donuts.
When the sun comes up and Sam is somewhere on the cusp of waking, he cracks his eyes open to find his skinny frame has been draped with Dean's leather jacket. The jacket used to belong to their dad. It smells of Dad and Dean. An earthy smell; musk aftershave, dried sweat, engine oil, home.
He snuggles down further under the warm folds with every intention of going back to sleep but Dean must have noticed him moving because the next thing Sam hears is, "You drool on that jacket and you're a dead man." But Dean doesn't take his jacket back...and Sam only drools on it a little.
-Sam aged 13, Dean aged 17-
"Dad! I think Dean's dead."
It's Sam's voice that wakes Dean. A high-pitched holler pitched directly into Dean's ear, which means that Sam is deliberately ignoring the fact Dean is suffering from the undisputed heavy-weight champion of all hangovers and his head feels as though it's going to implode—wait for it—any second now.
Dad, from the sound of things, is clattering his way round the kitchen. It's Saturday morning and Dad isn't usually home at the weekends but on the rare occasion that he is, he always seems to have a strange irrepressible urge to impose 'family time' on his sons. Which means they must all eat a decent breakfast together at the table like a proper family, not sitting in front of the TV munching on slices of cold leftover pizza or handfuls of dry cereal straight from the box.
Their civilised breakfast is, more often than not, followed up with an hour of Latin lessons and two hours of sparring...like a proper family, yeah, right. Because nothing says 'The Waltons' more than practising a choke-hold on your kid brother until he passes out.
Dad is definitely in the kitchen because Dean can smell something burning and if Dad does anything else with style apart from hunting, it certainly isn't cooking.
Dean tries to bury his head deeper into his thin pillow as he feels a booted foot prod repeatedly at the top of his thigh. He rolls onto his side and squints up at his brother, lifting a hand to shield his bloodshot eyes against an attack of blinding shafts of sunlight.
"Can you see a buzzard?" Dean drawls out each word. His tongue feels heavy, thick with fur and moonshine whisky made by Crazy Joe who lives alone on the outskirts of town, officially becomes something Dean doesn't want to experience again, ever. Dean has renewed appreciation for just why Joe is known by the local townsfolk as 'Crazy' Joe.
"Well, unless there's a buzzard perched on my hip gnawing on my ass, I ain't dead."
"Boy Dean, you never heard of a toothbrush? Your breath smells like you're dead."
Dean sits up and grabs Sam in a headlock. His brother's protest is little more than a muffled squeak and something which sounds like, "Gaaa, deodorant."
Dean releases Sam, giving him a helpful shove in the direction of the door. "Shut the blinds on your way out, twerp."
A rolled up pair of socks fly towards Dean's head but miss their goal by a mile. Dean smirks and flops back down onto his mattress. "Better get some target practice in Sammy, if Dad sees how slapdash you're getting he's going to throw a fit."
"I practice all the time. All we do is practice, practice, prac-" Sam's petulant huffed reply is abruptly cut short as Dean kicks out a foot and the bedroom door slams closed. The kid has only just turned thirteen and already he's got that whole teenaged whine down to a fine art. But then he does like to practice it; practice, practice, practice.
Dean lets his eyes sink closed. Determined to allow himself another ten minutes of peace before letting himself in for the taste sensation which is Dad's burnt pancake surprise – the surprise being, nobody did the grocery shopping yesterday so there's no pancake filling, unless gritty chunks of charcoal count.
-Sam aged 5, Dean aged 9-
"Go back to your own bed; you're too big to be sleeping with me."
"But there's a monster under my bed, Dean." Wide pitiful eyes blink rapidly and, even at only five-years-old, he is well aware of the power they have over his big brother.
Sam's lower lip is pushed right out but he's trying not to cry. Sam's old enough to know that Winchesters don't cry—it makes Daddy angry— but too young to understand why.
Dean's eyes shoot open, coming to a state of full alert in a heartbeat. Such is his haste that he almost forgets to reassure his brother. "There's no monster under your bed Sammy, only your stinky socks." But Dean's fingers still curl around the hilt of the knife under his pillow and he slips out of his own bed to go double-check, just in case.
When the crumpled sweater monster has been efficiently disposed of, Dean crawls back into his bed and snuggles against Sammy, who is as warm as toast and fast asleep. He reminds himself of how Dad always says he shouldn't mollycoddle Sammy, how it'll do him no favours for him to grow up overly dependent but Sammy's five-years-old and Dean decides he can't be sure the crumpled sweater monster won't come back.
-Sam aged 6 months, Dean aged 4 years-
Bedtimes are special. John sees to bath time, Mary reads the stories. John's always there for his hug though. Scooping up his first born in his arms, truly stunned every time he sees Dean at just how big he's getting and it makes John feel like he has everything. Everything he's ever wanted out of life and then some.
He never tells Mary this, but sometimes he listens at the door when she puts Sammy to bed. From time to time she'll sing to him; old nursery rhymes, a hymn her mother taught her, a theme tune from a daytime soap opera and it's still beautiful and John wants to listen to her sing to their babies forever. "More children?" He asks God and prays they'll be blessed again.
Tonight, he hugs Dean as always and—as always— the moment Dean sees him and cries out "Daddy" is still as wonderful as the first time John heard it. Sammy's still awake and gurgling happily, all wide-eyed innocence wrapped in a soft baby blanket. Dean kisses Sammy's forehead as they whisper their 'goodnights' and close the door.
Mary goes to bed first, she'll read for awhile and John settles in his chair to watch some old 'Mash' rerun. One he's seen countless times before but that Klinger guy never fails to make him laugh.
His eyes are heavy, he's comfortable, his wife and children safe in their beds. The sound from the television becomes an incomprehensible drone; John can't keep his eyes open any longer, his head lolls and he drifts into a peaceful sleep.
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