Challenge issued by the evil genius: Platinum Rose Lady

Awesome Beta: LivingForTV
Disclaimer:
Me? Own them? You've got to be kidding.

A/N: so some of you said this wasn't scary. oh well. i hope it was still fun.

Also, the chapter tittle is a obscure. But not to bad if you know what book I've been talking about.

Smile Like You Mean It

Chapter Four: Of Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax and Cabbages and Kings

Farewell false love, the oracle of lies,
A mortal foe and enemy to rest,
An envious boy, from whom all cares arise,
A bastard vile, a beast with rage possessed,
A way of error, a temple full of treason,
In all effects contrary unto reason.

'Farewell to False Love,' Sir Walter Raleigh

Sam eventually gave up on the book altogether, and started to pace mindlessly. He pulled out his cell phone but realized he didn't have the number he wanted. Or at least, he didn't have the current number. With a worried glance at Dean, Sam began to search through his brother's coat. Finally he found the cell phone in the breast pocket of Dean's leather jacket. Sam scrolled through the contacts until he found what he wanted. Taking a deep breath, he dialed.

Not surprisingly, it went to voice mail.

"Hey, Dad," Sam said as causally into the phone as he could, "It's Sam. Dean's not doing so well, and I wanted to know if you remembered anything about a hunt back in Illinois involving the tickle monster. 'Cause, uh, we killed it but not before it got a good hold of Dean." Sam pressed a hand against his temple, as he fought to keep his voice steady. "So if you think of anything, give us a call. Talk to you later." Sam finished hopefully.

Sam shut the phone down and set it on the nightstand, precisely on the wooden edge. He rested his head on his hands and sighed. It'd been so long since he'd talked to Dad. All his childhood memories had been boiled away through out the years and condensed into muddled image of fairy tales and lies. Not fairy tales of prancing moronic anorexic princesses, but the bloody tales of the brothers Grimm. John had told him stories as a child, and promised him they were only stories.

It was like his whole life was a dream until he'd read the journal and Dean told him otherwise. He'd kept living in a dream after he'd learned the truth- but it was more of a waking nightmare. Sam raised his head slowly and looked up at the cell phone in between him and his brother. Isn't that just how it's always been, he thought humorlessly, Dad in the middle of us.

Sam glared at the phone, willing for some form of motion. The phone didn't rattle with John's strong timbre. "C'mon Dad," he hissed, silently adding, Pick up the damn phone.

Dean stirred from his bed at the sound of the familiar name. He tossed and his head lolled to face Sam as he murmured. "Dad?"

Sam got up from his chair and stood next to Dean. "Dean? Can you hear me?"

"Dad's here?" Dean repeated, hardly awake.

"Yeah." Sam frowned. Dean looked so small and childlike. Sam could only do what any other parent would do: He lied. "He's here Dean, but you just got to wake up."

"M'kay." Dean said with his eyes still closed. "Tell me a story Dad…"

Sam fell back into his chair, tiredly. Reluctantly, he picked up the tattered book he'd been glancing at. Opening it up to the first page, he read softly, "'Alice was getting very tired of waiting for her sister by the bank.'"

Dean's face relaxed, and so did Sam. Dean's grin faded until his face was blank and serene. He was asleep without the thought of nightmares. Sam touched his forehead and felt the fever receding. Sam finished reading nearly the entire book out loud before Dean spoke again.

"…used…to read that to Sam." Dean smirked as he blinked himself awake.

Sam smiled and set down the book. Dean struggled to sit up. Sam was patiently at his side, helping his brother into a more comfortable position. Dean cocked his head to the side as he regarded Sam wearily. "I had the strangest dream…"

Sam nodded. "Why don't you tell me about it while I get you some soup to eat?" Sam stood up, watching Dean for any sign of relapse.

Dean continued to stay awake, chattering to Sam about cards and croquet. They didn't stay in the town much longer after Dean was feeling fine again. Dean's arm was sore and his movements were stiff. He protested against any more pampering though, and refused to admit that he had ever wanted to hear a story read out loud.

For days afterward, Dean would smile at inconsequential things and laugh lightly whenever the mood struck him. The mood struck him often. As much as Sam liked to hear his brother's laugh, it wasn't the same. Dean's laugh was devoid of any real humor; it was cold and done out of habit. As he laughed, his green eyes were empty of mirth.

It was a side effect of the Tickle Monster's poisonous hold. As Sam and Dean drove off into another painted sunset, Sam wondered if they would ever find a chance laugh again. Real, heart felt, laughter. He looked down at the cell phone in his hand, checking again that there were no new messages.

He frowned and looked back at Dean in the driver seat. His brother was smiling idiotically and belting some rock and roll tune. Dean saw Sam's glance and looked at him. "What Sam? If you keep leering at me like that people will think we just broke up."

"I ..." Sam hesitated to tell Dean at the phone call. "I just was thinking about Dad."

Dean frowned momentarily. "Yeah. Me, too."

"Really?" Sam said sitting straighter.

"Yeah, I think he could've taught the Jabberwock some decent jokes." Dean smirked drumming his fingers on the wheel. His hollow laugh was loud and grating on Sam's nerves.

"Oh." Sam slumped in his chair. "Probably."

"You know Sam," Dean said earnestly, "You should cheer up a little."

"Why's that?" Sam said sullenly.

"Because, all in all it could be worse." Dean turned to look at Sam. "We've got each other and no one fell down a rabbit hole."

Sam smiled reluctantly. He could tell Dean meant it. "I guess that's true."

Dean nodded as he pressed down on the gas pedal. "I can't wait to see Dad again and tell him we actually defeated the Tickle Monster."

Sam looked out the window at the long road ahead. "Yes," he agreed, "Can't wait."

Dean reached out to turn up the music louder but Sam held out his hand. "Dean," he said slowly, "do you think Dad should have told me earlier?"

Dean looked at him puzzled. Sam shook his head. He ran his hand through his hair as he mused on the right words. "Like, Alice was only nine when she saw Wonderland and she managed all that weird stuff just fine. Do you think Dad should have told me about what's really out there sooner instead of playing games?"

Dean stayed silent. His mind raced back to when he had been five. Most of that year he had been numb and silent. His remember faintly all the fantastical reasons he had conjured as to why he didn't have a mother, none of them involving the burning smell of flesh that haunted his memories. On his sixth birthday, John had made it painfully clear that his nightmares were real and his imagination was nothing compared to what was out there.

Sam watched his brother's brow crease. Dean perused his lips and his green eyes stared ahead, not at the road, but somewhere into the corners of his mind.

"Well?" Sam prompted. "Do you think parents should just be more honest with their kids?" Sam slumped in his seat. "Fat lot of good it does anyway, protecting them. I'm sure Alice died because of something gruesome. And you know for a fact how many kids we've never saved."

Dean's words were torn as he opened his mouth to speak.

.:the end:.