Chapter 3 – look, up in the sky

Three hours later Sam feels the beginning of a massive tension headache settle down behind his eyes. Surfing the net doesn't reveal anything about dryad pollen, much less the effect of dryad pollen on tricksters.

Bobby's out in the yard helping a customer of his, a local artist who uses scrap metal to create metal horses. Sam gets that sudden twinkle in Bobby's eyes as he shows her around the yard, makes suggestions, shows her what's available. She's an older woman, with light brown hair, dressed in faded jeans and a white big shirt. Bobby's got a spring in his step, and it's obvious she likes him too. They accidentally bump shoulders and Sam hears her laugh, light and amused.

Another hour, and the house is still quiet. A little too quiet. Sam gets up from his chair, cursing and groaning as the muscles of his back and shoulder bitch at him for not moving sooner. He walks into the kitchen, stiff-legged, awkward, snags a bottle of water from the refrigerator and drinks it down.

John walks in, heads for the refrigerator. "Hey, Sam."

Sam takes one look at him and nearly drops the bottle.

John scowls at him. "What?"

"Uh, Dad?"

"What?"

Sam snorts. "Nice cape."

John looks down at himself. "Oh. Hell."

Sam's fingers twitch, and he actually wants to reach out.

But...

You don't tug on Superman's cape.

And you sure in the hell don't tug on John Winchester's, either.

It's like a really bad manip (and Sam's seen enough of them online). John Winchester's head on Superman's body.

Big Red S? Check.

Red underwear on the outside of those blue tights? Double check.

And that big damn red cape.

"Damn. Sam, what the hell is this?"

"I think…I think it's Dean, Dad."

"What?" John pulls at the neckline of the costume. It won't budge. It's molded to his body and Sam's mind fearlessly goes into forbidden territory, like if the costume doesn't come off, what's gonna happen if Dad has to take a leak?

Sam tries to turn away, clamps his lips shut and tries not to bust out laughing. Well, hell, he doesn't try very hard.

Superman. Figures.

Dean always has thought of John as a big damn hero, larger than life.

"Not one word," John growls dangerously. "I mean it, Sam."

Broken Bow, Nebraska, Christmas Eve. 1991.

"Well, the first thing you have to know is we have the coolest dad in the world," Dean told Sam that night. "He's a superhero."

Dean believed it then, just like he believes it now.

John looks uncomfortable. "These trunks. Or whatever the hell they are. Damn thing's riding up into the unknown. Way up into the unknown."

Sam has to really, really settle himself before he looks John in the face. "Dean and the Old Man still asleep?"

"Yep." John scowls as he pulls at his costume from behind.

"We could wake them up, ask them to ah, change this." Sam's surprised at how calm he sounds.

"What? No. No, let 'em sleep. It's no big deal." John looks suddenly preoccupied. He's staring at the far wall of Bobby's kitchen. Looks like he's staring through it, actually.

"Uh…Dad?"

John straightens up, squares his shoulders, and Sam sees it now, can see the way ten year old Dean saw John back then. "Sammy, could you go upstairs and sit with your brothers for a while?"

"What? Why?"

That big red cape billows behind John. He looks damned heroic. "This looks like a job for ---"

And just like that, John's gone in a blur of motion.

Sam gets his laptop, takes it with him into the sickroom. Dean's still asleep, still curled up on his side. He looks years younger, and Sam can understand why Coyote sometimes refers to him as his 'pup'. The Old Man is looking all young and puppyish himself, lying on his side, mumbling in his sleep, his legs trembling and twitching as he runs down God only knows what in his dreams.

In the next two hours Sam gets breaking news from Yahoo, MSN, and MSNBC, among others.

Forty five people saved when the bridge they were crossing collapsed.

The bridge is thirty miles away from Bobby's place.

Another one hundred twenty saved when their plane makes a miraculous landing at Sioux Falls Regional Airport, eighty seven miles away.

Sam knows. It's Dad. Saving people.

Superhero, huh? Sam grins to himself. When he looks over both Dean and Coyote are smirking in their sleep.

Sam surfs the net some more, gets more news alerts about unexplained miracles that happened in the last two hours. When John comes back Bobby will probably bust a gut laughing.

Thing is, at the very end, Dad really seemed a little too comfortable with that costume.

Especially the cape.

Still nothing about dryad pollen, and nothing else that would help in their current situation.

Seven days. Well. That's doable. No problem. They can ride it out.

Sam drifts off, falls asleep slumped back in that big old easy chair, dimly aware of the laptop balanced on his lap. He dreams of dancing man-sized rabbits and a huge black bear dressed in a tuxedo accepting the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Something wet and warm slides down the side of his face, and Sam wakes up with a jerk. He sees green and grey, pink, and teeth.

Lots of teeth, sharp and white.

Sam does the only thing he can.

He screams like a girl.


TBC next week.