The Petting Zoo
Summary: Season Two. A close encounter with a cow and a Mt. Dew can leave Sam concussed and Dean with his hands full. Written for Sendintheclowns who won a story from me at the Kazcon 2009 Auction. She wanted a story where Sam is hurt by a projectile during a crash in the Impala.
Oklahoma was a boring drive. Pastures and nothingness everywhere, so of course Dean needed stimulation to keep from falling asleep.
"Sammy grab me another Mountain Dew from the back, will ya?" Dean handed Sam the empty can he had between his legs and waited for him to grab another from the small cooler in the back seat.
"Dean, you've had three, you're gonna piss bright yellow for days and forget about sleep tonight." Sam grumbled as he put the empty in a trash bag in the back and grabbed his brother a new one.
"Yeah well thanks for the concern Grandma, but I'm doing this to keep from falling asleep while driving and crashing." Dean smirked at Sam's bitch face as the kid handed him his new Dew.
Dean carefully placed the can between his legs and decided that new music was in order to go with the new drink. "Sammy, grab the box of tapes I think it's time for some Metallica."
Sam huffed and reached under the car seat grabbing the box full of tapes. "Which one?"
Dean scrunched up his face in thought. "Uh, how about I let you choose which one?"
Sam quirked an eyebrow. "Then how bout no Metallica?"
Dean rolled his eyes. "Dude, you have no taste and you know the rules. Or should I repeat them?"
Sam's bitch face returned. "No, don't repeat them. I'll just grab one of the stupid Metallica tapes, they all sound alike to me anyway."
Dean ignored his pissy brother's comments and smiled big when he was handed Metallica's Ride The Lightning tape. "Ah, good choice, Sammy, good choice."
Pressing the eject button, Dean carefully pulled out his AC/DC's Highway To Hell tape and handed it to Sam to place back in it's case and in the shoebox that held all the tapes. As he watched Sam he placed the Metallica tape in his player.
"Dean, you need to keep your eyes on the road, not on me." Sam whined as he searched for the case that belonged to the AC/DC tape.
"Sammy, I could drive this road with my eyes closed. Straight road with nothing but pastures and..."
Before he could finish his statement an agitated Sam finished it. "Cow!"
Dean chuckled. "Yeah pastures and cows."
Sam glared and pointed out the front windshield. "No, Dean cow!"
Dean turned his full attention to the road and to his surprise a large black and white bovine was planted in the middle of the road. A road that had been deserted moments before and that Dean was traveling along at a great rate of speed.
In what seemed liked slow motion, Dean could hear his brother gasping as the first few strands of Metallica's song Fight Fire With Fire played. Pulling the move that he learned from Seinfeld, Dean moved to put his right hand over Sam's chest to keep him in place as he used his left hand to swerve to the left around the large unmoving animal in the middle of the road.
All would have gone pretty well if there hadn't been a shallow drainage ditch on the side of the road. It threw the car around as they hit and Dean felt like he was inside a wind tunnel with lots of objects moving around the inside of the car.
When they finally came to a full stop, the car had made it a few feet down the road from the cow and was definitely resting in the drainage ditch. The inside of the car was a mess with tapes and their containers scattered everywhere.
Stupid cow, better not have ruined my baby and my music. Crap, or Sam!
Dean was not hurt just jostled a bit and Sam seemed to be in the same predicament, well he seemed to be fine until he moaned and started to rub his left temple.
"Sammy, you okay?" Dean moved closer to examine his brother. He moved his brother's right hand out of the way to look at the spot he was rubbing. A definite goose egg was making its appearance. Shit.
"M-My head hurts a bit." Sam mumbled as Dean examined him.
"I don't doubt that Sam, you've got a big bump. Turn around and let me look at your eyes." Dean waited as Sam slowly complied seeming confused by the order.
"W-Why do you wanna see my eyes? T-They're still there and don't hurt." Sam replied in a confused voice.
Dean sighed. "Yeah but if your pupils are dilated or uneven you might have a concussion."
Sam did finally turn around for Dean to get a look and his worse fears were confirmed. Sam's left eye was dilated, that with the kid's confusion and slurred speech definitely pointed to a concussion. Dean just hoped it wasn't going to be a serious one, because they were far away from any big city hospital and po-dunk towns were not a great option for head injuries, stitches yes, but anything complicated not so much.
"I-I'm fine really Dean, but is the c-cow okay? You know h-he looked familiar." Sam's face was scrunched up in concern and at that moment he reminded Dean of a seven-year-old Sammy and not his adult brother.
"I think the cow is fine for now but if I get my hands on it...." Dean's tirade was stopped by an upset brother.
"N-No you can't hurt him. H-He's a good cow just got confused. I-I like him he reminds me of a cow that we saw at the petting zoo in Tulsa. Maybe it's the same cow?" Sam's eyes were searching the area for the cow.
Dean realized that Sam was talking about the time they were in Tulsa for a job and as a treat their dad took them to the Tulsa Zoo. A seven-year-old Sam was ecstatic to pet his first cow in the petting zoo there. This was not good, his brother was definitely concussed and his mind was scrambled. The best thing would be to get his brother's mind off the cow and then to get them back on the road so that they could hole up in a motel and let Sam rest and heal.
"So Sammy, what hit you in the head? That goose egg is too big to be caused by a cassette." Dean watched as Sam's face scrunched up in thought.
"I-It was green..." Sam reached down and picked up something between his feet and then held it up proudly in front of himself. "It was the Dew that hit me."
"Crap Sam, that had to hurt. So we should see if we can get the car out of the ditch and then get us to a motel room so you can recoup, okay?"
Sam nodded and then looked at the can. "B-But first..."
Dean once again felt he was in slow motion, just as it dawned on him what his brother was about to do, it was too late. Sam was already in motion to open the can. The shaken can then erupted all over a very confused looking Sam.
"Damn it Sam, why'd you do that?" Dean did a quick visual sweep of the inside of the car looking for the sticky damage. He calmed down as he realized that most of it had hit his brother with full force. The sticky concoction was in the kid's lap all over his chest and even in his face and hair. Sam was a sticky mess while the car was only slightly dotted with the drink.
"I-I was thirsty." Came the wobbly voice of his brother. Dean started to laugh until he realized that his confused brother was near tears.
"It's okay Sammy, the car is good and you're just sticky. I'll just grab some clothes from the bags in the trunk and you can change, okay?" Dean gave the kid a reassuring smile as Sam handed him the offending can with a pout on his face.
Dean took the sticky item and slowly opened the driver door, tossing it in the grass.
"D-Don't litter." Sam sputtered out at him.
"I won't I'm just putting it there for now." A frustrated Dean replied. "Here, use these to dry off."
Dean reached under his seat before exiting and handed Sam a wad of take out napkins from McDonald's. Sam took them and started wiping his face.
Dean was happy to see as he walked around the Impala that his car was not stuck. There were some ruts in the ditch but not to deep to pull out of. Relieved he moved to open the trunk where they're clothes bags had been tossed along with the rest of the car. He didn't even want to check the fake bottom of the trunk, he knew it would be a total mess. The sound of his brother exiting the car brought Dean from his thoughts.
"Hey Sammy, you wanna put on some sweats or jeans?" Dean asked as he grabbed his little brother's bag from the right far corner of the trunk it had wedged itself in.
He wasn't met by an answer which really didn't surprise him, the kid's brain had been scrambled. So rather than asking again he grabbed a set of sweats and moved to close the trunk.
"Got you some sweats Sam. Stupid cow really screwed our day." Dean grunted out as he shut the trunk.
Once again he was met with silence. Looking up and expecting to find Sam leaning against the car, Dean was shocked to find the passenger side door open but no Sam in sight. Dean moved to the passenger door to make sure his little brother wasn't laying across the seat but once again he came up empty, no Sam.
Frustrated he dropped the kid's sweats in the seat and closed the car door. He peered around, and was happy that Sam wasn't playing in the road. That left the pastures on both sides of the car. Peering to the left there was no Sam but peering to the right he made out his tall lanky brother moving quickly across the field.
"Sam! Where are you going?" Dean moved to catch up with his brother.
Sam paused and turned to look back at Dean. He had a big silly grin on his face and motioned for Dean to follow and then pointed at a cow.
Well not that Dean was an expert on cows, and they're were a few in the field but it appeared that Sam was pointing at their cow. The one that had started the whole mess.
Just friggin' great, my brother is in love with a stupid cow!
Dean motioned to Sam to come to him. His little brother frowned and shook his head before he turned to continue his trek after his new bovine friend.
"Sam, I mean it, come back here right now." Dean yelled as he took after his surprisingly agile concussed brother.
Sam ignored the pleas and continued to chase the cow who appeared to at least be disturbed by his new fan. Every time Sam got closer the cow took of at a trot, at this rate it his confused brother would never catch the cow but Dean wouldn't be able to catch Sam either. Kid had too big of a head-start.
At least Dean hoped the Sam wouldn't be able to catch the cow. That was a troubling thought. A concussed Sam getting the crap kicked out of him by a rogue cow. Crap, gotta catch Sam.
Dean continued to follow Sam trying to miss every cow patty he could. He started a mantra as he trailed Sam. Stupid cow, stupid little brother, stupid cow, stupid little brother....
Finally after a good two minutes of chase, Sam seemed to slow and then he just stopped dead in his tracks. The cow seemed pleased, stopped, and began to graze. Not that Dean cared about the stupid cow, no it was his little brother that was his concern. The kid looked lost and pale.
He slowly approached his confused brother with his hands out in a placating manner. "Sammy, I just want..."
Before he could say anything else Sam began to spew. Dean took a few quick steps back as the projectile vomit began to explode from his very confused brother. Bits of egg, toast and other non-recognizable bits hit the ground and some planted itself on his sticky and now vomit clad brother.
Once the literally sick display stopped, Dean reluctantly approached. "You done Sammy?"
Sam nodded looking miserable as he wiped away the yuck from his face with his sticky sleeve. "I-I don't feel sooo good, D-Dean."
"Yeah, got that Sammy. Can we head back to the car now?" Dean held his breath as he moved to put an arm around his brother to steady him.
"B-But I wanted to p-pet the cow." Sam whined as Dean put his arm around his brother's waist.
"Yeah, but the cow wasn't having any of that Sammy. Tell you what, we can always go to that petting zoo in Tulsa so you can pet a cow there once your feel better. Sound like a plan?" Dean hated the fact he had to take a quick breath to speak and then unfortunately caught the smell his putrid brother but you gotta do what you gotta do.
"Okay, promise?" Sam asked as he finally started to move with Dean towards the car.
"Promise." Dean replied quickly trying to move Sam to the car before his brother got anymore ideas.
"Ducks Dean!" The high pitch of Sam's voice totally caught Dean by surprise as did the break Sam made from his grasp. Before he could process what was happening his little brother was once again moving quickly this time towards a pond full of ducks.
Crap, just freaking great as if this stupid day could get any worse!
"Sam, leave the ducks alone." Dean yelled as he made a beeline after Sam.
Sam wasn't listening and seemed to be on a mission. What mission that was Dean wasn't sure of but it involved ducks, which was just so …
Dean was pulled from his thoughts as Sam reached the pond well ahead of him and bent down reaching in the water towards what appeared to be a mother duck and her five ducklings. The mother duck quacked her disapproval at Sam and then swam away with her young following right behind her.
Dean sighed, hopefully this would be the end of it but then he noticed Sam moving closer to the edge as if trying to reach the ducks or get in the pond.
"Sammy, don't get in the pond!" Dean yelled as he moved faster towards his brother.
"G-Gonna p-pet the ducks Dean and then we can leave." Sam replied, and then he was in the pond and boy was he in the pond. One step and it was up to Sam's shoulders. Evidently Sam had picked a man made pond and so there was no gradual slope into the water. Figures!
Dean approached the pond and found a very miserable looking little brother staring back at him.
"D-Ducks didn't like me." Sam sputtered out.
Dean had to chuckle. "Yeah well they don't really like to be petted like a dog so don't feel bad. Do you think you can pull yourself out or do you need a hand?"
Sam moved to the edge and slowly pulled himself out of the pond and then shook the extra moisture off in a way that reminded Dean of a dog. Then the smell hit Dean.
Sam now not only smelled of puke but of a damp pond. Not a good mix. He looked Sam up and down and could see slime now coated his brother right on top of the coating of puke.
Dean very reluctantly moved closer to Sam fighting the urge to puke himself and once again placed an arm around his brother's waist and began guiding him away from the pond. He was relieved when Sam didn't put up a fight.
"D-Dean, I'm cold." Sam's teeth were chattering a bit.
"Sorry kiddo that's what happens when you take a dip in a pond in late September. I'm just glad you didn't have your coat on, that would be hard to clean." Dean paused and then cussed.
"W-What Dean?" Sam stammered out as they moved at a snail's pace towards the Impala.
"You're wallet and cell phone are in your jean pockets right?" Dean huffed out.
"Oh, yeah I-I didn't think. I didn't know the pond would be so d-deep. S-Sorry." Sam was stammering as his addled brain tried to put reason to his actions.
"No worry, it is all replaceable and the money will dry." Dean tried to keep the frustration out of his voice.
"W-We need some r-rice." Sam spoke in a soft voice.
Dean rolled his eyes, kid was really confused. "Why do we need rice Sam?"
"I-I read that if you put a wet phone in raw rice it will draw the m-moisture out. M-might save the phone."
Dean had to chuckle at that. "Sammy, you're one giant puzzle. Your brain's fried by a concussion but you are still able to pull facts out of that geeky head of yours. Wish it was working better before you took a dip."
"S-Sorry, I'm wet and stink. G-Gonna make me walk to the motel?" Sam's voice was tired and Dean knew he needed to get the kid in the car soon before he passed out on him.
"I should make you walk but no you can just strip and put on sweats before getting in my baby. For once those silly Wet Wipes you buy will come in handy. You can clean up your face and hands with them."
Sam became quiet the last bit of their walk to the car but he was still shivering. Dean was very thankful when they reached his baby. Dean parked Sam next to the passenger door the most stable area of the car and opened it so that he could retrieve his brother's sweats and the Wet Wipes. He was very happy that Sam seemed content to not move.
"Alright strip Sam." Dean set the supplies on top of the car and motioned for Sam to start taking his clothes off.
Sam's eyes went wide. "B-But Dean t-there's nowhere to strip …."
Sam was motioning his arms around as if to make a point.
Dean shook his head. "Sam we are in the middle of freakin' nowhere. There hasn't been another car for hours and I don't think the cows or ducks care if they see you naked. I promise not to look so just get to pulling the gross clothes off now."
"C-Can I c-change behind the c-car?" Sam sputtered out.
"Sorry bro, with you wobbling like a weeble you need to be on stable ground and the rest of the car is resting in a ditch thanks to your cow friend. It's fine, the road is deserted."
Before Sam could reply Dean moved to the trunk and opened it. He heard Sam moving around and was happy that Sam was finally listening.
"D-Dean, what are you doing?"
"Getting you a trash bag to put clothes in and grabbing you a clean pair of boxers." Dean sniffed his outer shirt and wrinkled his nose. He quickly pulled the over shirt off and placed it in the trash bag he had grabbed and then he shut the trunk. He felt a bit chilly in his thin gray t-shirt but at least he didn't smell anymore.
He move towards Sam and noticed that his brother was free of all of his clothes well all but his boxers.
Sam had his arms crossed over his chest and his teeth were chattering.
"What's the hold up Sammy?" Dean asked as he approached his miserable looking brother. He put the clean boxers on top of the car with the sweats and then moved to put the stinky clothes in the trash bag with his shirt.
"I-I'm dizzy and I almost passed out pulling my socks and shoes off. C-Can I just leave the wet underwear on?" Sam looked at Dean with puppy dog eyes.
"No, you need dry boxers so tell you what, take those off , just shimmy out of them and once you have them off, I'll help you with your pants and boxers." Dean turned his back so his brother had some privacy.
"Deeean." Sam whined.
"Just do it Sam. I won't look, promise." Dean replied.
Dean waited and was relieved to hear his brother moving behind him.
"D-Done, they're off D-Dean."
Dean nodded and the turned to do the task at hand. Without giving his brother but a passing glance, he grabbed the boxers and pants off the top of the car and knelt at his brother's feet. This took him back many years when he had to help a toddler Sam put on his big boy pants.
"Okay, right foot and then left Sam, I'll pull them up to your knees and then do you think you can pull them up the rest of the way?" Dean started to nudge Sam's right foot so that he would raise it.
"I-I think I c-can do that." Sam replied as he put his feet in the boxers. Dean kept his eyes averted as pulled the boxers up to the kid's knees and was relieved when Sam was able to pull them the rest of the way up.
"Alright now for the pants." Dean started to position the pants when he heard his brother gasp.
Dean stood to see what was the problem when a red convertible pulled up.
Sam was blushing bright red as he hid behind Dean. "D-Dean you s-said no one would see me."
"Well I was wrong little brother so just chill." Dean took a protective stance in front of Sam until he took in the occupants of the red mustang. A very hot blond with rust colored highlights and a brunette beauty.
"Hello boys, thanks for the eye candy." The blond purred.
Sam whimpered and Dean chuckled. "Yeah well I can't even begin to explain our day and why..."
The blond laughed. "Oh no need, you just proved to us that the adage is true. All the good ones are taken or gay."
Before Dean could respond, the engine revved and the two girls were gone.
Stupid damn cow!
Dean was relieved that the rest of the day passed without incident. He got a mortified Sam cleaned up with Wet Wipes and tucked in the car and then gently maneuvered his baby out of the ditch. Luckily it seemed the Impala hadn't suffered any real damage during the wild ride. A bit of dirt stuck in the under carriage and a slightly sticky dashboard but nothing that couldn't be easily fixed.
A quick flipping of the bird gesture towards the cow, and they were off to a motel which wasn't to far down the road. Twenty minutes later, Dean had fast food a room and Sam in the shower.
He made the kid keep the door cracked so that he could make sure the weeble didn't fall down. Sam was able to shower without incident and after eating just a bit he was tucked into bed.
It was then that Dean finally had time to ponder over the day's events. The cow and the plowing of the ditch were just your weird freak accident. Sam's concussion was a natural consequence of the accident. His little brother's actions, well while weird were definitely Dean's pay back for the last time Sam had to deal with him concussed to the point of a brain scramble.
The troubling thing to Dean was Sam's obsession with the cow. It's normal for a concussed person to be confused and delusional but why fixate on a cow? For Dean the last time he had ended up in la la land, it had all been about strippers which made sense but cows? His little brother mind was definitely a mystery to him sometimes.
The cow still dominated the night as Sam question Dean of its safety every time he woke his younger sibling to check on him and to ply him with water and Advil. As the early morning approached, Dean was relieved that each time he woke Sam, his brother seemed to have a clearer head.
Mid-morning Dean woke from a doze and was happy to see Sam awake and moving around.
"How ya feeling Sammy?" Dean asked as he scrubbed the sleep from his eyes and sat up in bed.
Sam smiled and finished pouring a cup of coffee out of the room's coffee maker. "Pretty good. Head hurts a bit but not to bad. Want some coffee?"
"God yes. Thanks. So I'm glad to hear you're feeling better, but uh ..." Dean stopped not sure how to broach the subject of the cow.
Sam filled another cup of joe and moved to Dean's bed where he handed the coffee to his brother before taking a seat on his own bed. "You want to know what I remember from yesterday? The day is pretty fuzzy but I remember enough to be … well let's just say... I'm sorry Dean."
The kid was flushing red and looked very guilty. Dean really didn't want that. Sam wasn't in control so he shouldn't be beating himself up over it so Dean changed tactics on the kid.
"No need to be sorry Sam. The way I look at it, yesterday was payback." Dean plastered a smirk on his face.
Sam looked at him questioningly. "Uh, I don't follow Dean."
Dean chuckled. "Well let's see you were what seventeen? And I really got beamed in the head by the ghost of that farmer, it was supposed to be a simple salt and burn but was anything but...."
Sam face lit up. "How could I forget? You were concussed and Dad left you with me while he finished the hunt. I was suppose to make sure you rested but you wouldn't hear of it."
Dean raised an eyebrow. "Of course not, how could I rest when there was a new strip club in town. Had to check it out."
Sam rolled his eyes. "I was seventeen, Dean and you made me take you using a fake ID. And then we get there and there was like a three drink minimum."
"It was time to corrupt Sammy!" Dean smiled big at the memory.
"You mean it was time to make Sam sick. You couldn't drink your beer so you made me. My head was spinning worse than yours by the time the night was over." Sam looked a little green at the memory.
"Stop thinking about puking when you have a head injury. Don't want to clean you up again." Dean shot back.
"Sam! I'm just kidding. That night was so much fun, well other than the puking. Watching you take in your first strippers was so cool, but I concede that making your drink six beers in an hour wasn't my finest moment. And that brings me to the point I was making. You shouldn't feel bad about yesterday, just chalk it up to payback for putting up with me in a concussed mixed up state all those years ago." Dean could see Sam was relaxing and he was glad his little plan worked.
"Okay, just doesn't seem fair that I'm the one that puked both times." Sam whined.
"Yeah, well it's over. But can I ask you a question about yesterday?" Dean knew he should let it go but the cow issue was still bothering him.
"Uh, I can try and answer you but to be honest it's all a bit fuzzy." Sam answered as he rubbed his thighs in a nervous fashion.
"The cow. You were very focused on the damn thing and I was just wondering if you knew why?" Dean blurted it out before he changed his mind.
Sam studied his hands for a moment before speaking. "It gonna sound really stupid."
"Dude, spill." Dean replied impatiently.
"Well, for some reason that cow reminded me of the time at the Tulsa Petting Zoo." Sam replied quietly.
"Yeah, you mentioned that yesterday. You thought in your scrambled state it was the same damn cow. But why did you chase it?" Dean studied his brother and noticed that Sam wouldn't give him eye contact. His brother looked around the room but not at him.
"Well, I kept remembering that day all those years ago. It was such a rare treat to have a day with dad. The zoo was cool and we ended it feeding animals at the petting zoo. I was what? Seven? And I had never touched a cow so Dad told me to pet the cow that was there. You were giving me a hard time and I just remember how happy we were. I remember looking at Dad and seeing him so relaxed, content and happy. That was such a rare sight that I wished at that time that I could bottle that moment to keep. I knew it was special." Sam sniffed a bit and finally looked at Dean.
Dean gave him a smile. "So I get why you liked the cow but why chase it?"
Sam wiped at his face. "This is the stupid part. In my concussed state I thought that if I could touch that cow, that maybe I could recapture that moment in time."
Dean swallowed hard and it was his turn to look away. "Not stupid Sam. Scrambled and delusional, but not stupid."
Sam chuckled. "Yeah, well like I said the day is fuzzy but I do remember you ranting about the cow all the way to the motel. In fact I think you had plans of revenge. Are we still going cow tipping tonight?"
Dean looked at his brother, giving him a big smile. "Nah, some how I'm not as mad at the stupid cow anymore. In fact I can think of better ways to spend my night."
Sam gave him a concerned look. "And what is that? Please don't say strippers."
"Oh no worries there Sammy, you're still recovering. No, I was thinking more a long the lines of a play by play of yesterdays events. You do remember the ducks, don't you?" Dean smirked as his brother looked startled.
"Ducks?" Sam swallowed hard. "I don't think I'm gonna like this."
"Nope, but I am Sammy, I am." Dean replied. And it was true, spending a night with Sam relieving a day filled with memories of ducks, cows and the past, didn't seem so bad, not at all.
A/N: Thanks for reading! I would love to hear what you thought of it.
I hope it is everything Sendintheclowns wanted, because she is so awesome! Kazcon was awesome!
A big thanks to Bayre and BlueEyedDemonLiz for their input and beta work. I also very much appreciate the input Floralia and Princess_schez gave me. Princess_schez made me a wonderful banner to go with this story and you should be able to see it in a few days when I post at Live Journal. She captured the cow, boys and Mountain Dew can perfectly!
May I add, that this story was inspired by real life events. I found myself in Dean's situation years ago, but I was dealing with a friend who had tequila shots not a concussion! And yes she did try to pet the ducks. :0)