By Carol M.
Summary: Sometimes John just wants to be a dad. Especially when his son is hurt. Unfortunately, Dean won't let him.
Disclaimer: Don't own them, only love them
Spoilers: None, Pre-Series
Author's Note: Wanted a little John/Dean hurt/comfort and this is what happened. Hope you enjoy!
On most days, John Winchester had to actively remind himself that Dean was actually his son. It wasn't that he didn't love him or absolutely relish his role as a father. It was simply that Dean played so many roles in John's life, especially since Sam had left, that son became just another title that he held. Dean was his partner, his coworker, his roommate, his passenger, his confidante, his friend. But when John heard Dean's ragged yelp of pure agony after being tossed gut first into a tree stump by a forest god, he became only his son.
He felt the paternal papa bear protect the cub instinct surge through him. He aimed his gun, which was loaded with gold tipped bullets that had taken three weeks to track down and two more weeks to pay for, at the green Big Bird looking creature and fired at the heart, adrenaline focusing his senses to give him perfect aim. John knew the creature was dead before it hit the ground, but he kept firing anyway, round after round, watching with some kind of satisfaction as purple blood and green feathers sputtered up out of the creature. He continued firing until the clip was dead and then fired three more times for good measure. Shakily, he lowered the gun and hesitated before looking over at his fallen son, knowing that if watching his wife die had turned him into this raging wacko, watching his son die would actually kill him.
Dean clearly wasn't dead, but seeing him curled up in a ball on the ground with his arm wrapped taut against his ribs and belly, his eyes clenched shut and his face scrunched tight in pain as he struggled to take in air, definitely took a few years off of John's life. He clamored anxiously towards his son. "Dean!"
Dean visibly flinched at his name being called in that tone. He weakly raised his hand and gave the give me a second gesture. "M'okay. M'fine," he panted.
John knelt down next to his son and put a supporting hand on Dean's quaking back, rubbing it slightly in comfort, both for Dean and for himself. He realized that for as much time he and his son shared, they very rarely touched. Maybe a pat on the back or a quick one armed man hug on a special occasion, but that was about it. He could feel Dean fighting to stand up and just be okay, but John suspected this little bout was going to end up in a curtained off triage room in the E.R.
"M'good," gasped Dean, trying unsuccessfully to open his eyes.
"Yeah I can tell hotshot," said John. "Let me see."
Dean finally managed to get his eyes open and straightened slightly. "Ohhh."
The groan tore at John's parental heartstrings. "Damn it, son."
John shook his head as he carefully shifted Dean's arm out of the way. "No sorries. You drew that thing out just like you were supposed to. We got the little son of a bitch." He lifted Dean's shirt to reveal a rapidly swelling welt on the right side of Dean's stomach and three purplish swollen areas over his ribs on the same side. John lightly set his hand over the area, doing the best he could to ignore the feeling of his son's trembling gasps bouncing off his palm. The skin was hot and he could feel muscles and nerves throbbing underneath in time to Dean's rapid heartbeat. This looked to be more than he could handle on his own. He didn't want to risk Dean's belly filling up with blood with a motel room patch up. Hospital it was. Thank god he'd just gotten new insurance cards. He replaced Dean's shirt and tucked his son's arm back against his injured side.
"Gimme me a sec…be up," murmured Dean. He unsteadily rolled into a sitting position, swallowing back a groan in his throat that hurt John probably more than it hurt Dean.
John kept his hand on Dean's back. "You good to stand up?"
Dean flashed wide green eyes and determinedly cleared his throat. "No problem."
"This is gonna hurt like hell, champ."
Dean closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "I can handle it."
Dean opened his eyes and nodded. He wrapped his arm even tighter around his midsection.
"On three," said John. He grasped Dean's shoulder and wrapped his arm supportively around his back. "One…two…three." He hefted Dean up and his boy screamed. Dean folded over on himself, his arm tight across his stomach as he struggled to get his equilibrium. John held up him steady, ready to take all of Dean's weight if need be. Hell, he'd carry him to the car if he had to.
But Dean was bound and determined to stay upright on his own. John could tell by the clench in his son's jaw, his carefully drawn breaths and the furrowed line of concentration at his brow. Dean slowly unfolded himself bit by bit as if even the slightest movement triggered a chain reaction of pain throughout his whole body. Judging by the crinkles of pain at the corners of Dean's eyes, it probably did. He straightened out anyway and pointedly stepped out of John's supportive grip. He swayed slightly, but held his own. For the moment.
Dean's glassy green eyes met his and then darted to the ground where the forest god had fallen. The space was barren of a body. "What happened to it?" asked Dean.
"The gold acts as an acid. Disintegrates it."
"Nice," said Dean. "No messy clean up." He stumbled.
John nodded and stepped closer to his son, shadowing him but not touching him. "We should pack it in. Gonna be dark soon."
Dean nodded and glanced around into the surrounding forest, confused. "Which way is the car again?"
John pointed due north.
"Right." Dean took a step and looked like he was about to go down. His face went white and he sucked in a breath.
"Son," said John, reaching his arm out.
Dean soldiered on, ignoring the hand. "Shouldn't have used all the bullets, dad." He stumbled, but didn't go down.
"I'll just put you to work if we need more of 'em."
"Life ain't fair, kid."
Dean was turning green. His hand drifted down lower over his gut, holding it not in pain, but in nausea. Still, he kept walking.
"Need to stop?"
Dean gagged and then swallowed, taking in air through his nose. "No." He gagged again, paused for a moment and then heaved hard and violent onto the forest lawn. Dean's eyes clasped shut in agony as the vomiting tore through his body.
John latched his arm through Dean's to hold him upright and set his hand on the back of his neck, rubbing the soft skin there gently. After a few moments, Dean stopped the spewing, but remained toppled over. John could tell his son was fighting the urge to puke more as he felt several violent spasms sail through Dean's body, causing his son to moan in pain. "Dean, just get it out of you. You'll feel better." He actually saw Dean flush in embarrassment, his neck turning crimson. Then Dean took his father's advice and retched his guts out, bringing up what seemed like three weeks worth of meals. . When he was finally done, he sagged in exhaustion and fell weakly against his father, his body shaking with pain.
"Wanna lie down a second, kiddo?"
Dean shook his head against him. "Let's just get to the car," he slurred. "Be fine." He drunkenly patted his hand reassuringly against John's arm.
"Dean," said John, not convinced.
"I'm good." Dean groaned and uncurled himself away from his father. John grabbed Dean's right arm and slung it around his own shoulders. Dean made no move to push him away. Instead, he wrapped his left arm around his broken middle and let John lead him forward.
"I don't think I've ever seen anybody puke so much," said John a few seconds later. He tried nonchalantly to take more of his son's weight.
"It's a gift."
"Hope you can hold your booze better than that. Can't be puking in front of the ladies."
"Ahhh," gasped Dean as his foot collided with a rock. "Don't worry…ow…about…ah…me and the ladies. Do just fine."
"It's a gift."
John could see the car in the distance and breathed a sigh of relief. Dean was about on his last leg, even if his son was too stubborn to admit it. He took even more of his son's weight, his heart tearing a little when Dean grimaced and let out a whimper of agony. "Dean?"
"It's okay, dad," said Dean. "I'll be okay. Be back…ohh…in action in no time."
"I know you will," said John, rubbing Dean's arm gently.
Dean cleared his throat painfully. "So you think we sent Sammy off to college still a virgin?"
John couldn't help but chuckle. "You'd probably know better than me."
"No…he…ow…he gets all embarrassed. I tried to give him condoms once...ohhh…and he freaked out. Such a wuss."
"Girls can be intimidating."
"No they're not. Just gotta know…ahhh…how to handle them."
They were about twenty feet from the car now. Dean's legs suddenly gave out from under him. "Whoa, whoa," said John, hefting him up. "I gotcha. We're almost there."
"I can make it…owww…god."
John grasped the back of Dean's pants and used his to take all of his weight and lift him off the ground.
Dean looked dizzily at him. "Sorry, dad. Don't wanna be any trouble."
"You're not any trouble, Dean."
They finally made it to the car. John leaned Dean against the side for a moment and opened the passenger's side door, shoving the front passenger seat up and out of the way.
"I can ride shotgun," said Dean, his eyes fluttering.
"You can, but you're not gonna." John carefully gathered Dean in his arms and gently stretched him out across the back seat. Once he had him settled, he took off the button down shirt he'd been wearing and bunched it up. He lifted Dean's head and put it underneath for a pillow.
Dean looked up blurrily at him. "Thanks dad." Then Dean's eyes rolled back in his head and he relaxed into unconsciousness, seemingly out of pain, at least for the moment.
John reached down and tousled Dean's hair tenderly with his fingers. His son. "You did good Dean. You always do."
That's All Folks!