A/N: This is a little one-shot I wrote some time ago during a boring medicine-lesson. I know many of you are waiting anxiously for an update on A Storm Is Going To Come, but my muse was kind of on vacation (without me). I have plenty of ideas for the story but couldn't figure out how to phrase them. This little one-shot here should help get my muse back on track. :) And so far I think it worked. I really hope you'll bear with me a little longer.
This one's more or less plot-less fluff. But I had this one scene in mind and couldn't just get rid of it. :)
A/N: For the timeline – Dean's 9, Sammy's 5. Plays before Ridley's story Growing Pains.
A/N: My hugest thanks to Enkidu07 for beta'ing this and all my other stories despite her own busy RL. Honey, you rock! Also many thanks to Ridley C. James for letting me play with her amazing AU and for her awesome support and encouraging words. You don't know how much that means to me. And last but not least – thank you The Kritty for being such a sweetheart! :)
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Everything belongs to Eric Kripke and the CW. If it was the other way around there would be way more H/C in the show. *evil grins* The Brotherhood and its characters belong to Ridley C. James. If you haven't read her stories I really suggest you should try it! ;)
Okay, enough of my ramblings. Have fun reading! ;)
A Place Called Home
Wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees
Find a way to lie
About a home I'll never see
It may sound absurd...but don't be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed...but won't you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream
It's not easy to be me
Superman – Five For Fighting
A small hand tugged at his shirt sleeve.
Groaning Caleb buried his face deeper into his pillow.
Just five more minutes…
"Caleb. Wake up."
It was the fear in Sammy's small, sleepy voice that finally set the psychic in action.
"Sammy?" Caleb blinked slowly. The room was drenched in silvery moonlight which seeped through the window. The red numbers from the clock on the nightstand showed 2am.
Caleb fumbled for the light-switch and seconds later the room was illuminated by warm light.
Sammy's eyes were huge and tear-filled. Woobee-bear was clutched in his hands.
"Hey Runt, what's up? Bad dream?" Caleb yawned, rubbing a hand over his face, hoping to erase the last cobwebs of sleep.
The five-year-old shook his head. "No. Somethin's wrong with Dean." New tears threatened to fall.
The boy's words stopped him mid-motion, his eyes landing on Sam again. "What do you mean? What's wrong with Deuce?" A bad feeling slowly grew inside him.
"I – I think he's having a bad dream. I tried to wake him, but he wouldn't wake up. And he's all hot and sweaty and he's making these funny noises and…" The boy rambled breathlessly, a fat tear running down his cheek.
Concern blossomed in the bottom of Caleb's stomach. He could feel Dean's distress in the other room. Something was definitely wrong. For a moment he was tempted to just reach out and read the boy but decided against it.
Only one other way to find out.
"Well, then we have to wake Deuce from his beauty-sleep, don't you think?" He joked lightly, hoping to calm the youngest Winchester. He hoisted Sammy up in his arms and went into the boy's bedroom next to his own.
The moment he entered the room, he could hear the small whimpers coming from the pile of blankets on the bed.
He put Sammy down on his side of the mattress, before sitting down next to Dean on the edge of the bed.
The boy was curled into a tight ball, the covers drawn up high around him.
In the light of the bedside lamp the older hunter could see the fast, shallow breathing and the restless movements. Dean's face was pale, his freckles and the two red spots high on his cheeks standing in a stark contrast to his almost ghostly white skin. Sweat glued strands of hair to his forehead.
Caleb placed a hand on the boy's shoulder and shook him slightly, shocked at the heat he felt pouring off of him.
"Hey, sleeping ugly, wake up."
Dean moaned softly and tried to bury deeper into the bedding. Minute-shivers were running through him.
Caleb shook him again.
"Dean, wake up. You're scaring me," Sammy shook his brother's arm, his eyes brimming with tears.
Dean moaned again, eyes blinking slowly open, squinting against the bright light of the nightstand lamp.
"Dad?" Dean croaked, his gaze confused and glassy.
"Last time I checked I was still me," Caleb smirked slightly, ignoring the slowly growing knot of worry inside his stomach. He needed to stay calm. "You with me now? " He brushed sweat-soaked strands away from the boy's forehead. The kid was burning up.
"Where's Dad?" Dean still seemed confused and not entirely awake yet, his eyes drifting through the room without really seeing anything. A wet cough escaped from deep in his lungs.
Caleb didn't like the wheezing sound that accompanied each breath. Actually he didn't like any of this situation. Deuce had been fine a few hours ago. Maybe a little quieter than usual but he had blamed the quietness on Dean still pouting about not being allowed to go on the hunt with the others.
Caleb threw a quick glance to Sammy who had himself practically glued to his brother's side before focusing back on his best friend.
The fever was clearly playing with the boy's mind, otherwise he would remember the Rugaru -hunt John and Bobby had left for three days ago.
"He and Bobby are on a hunt, remember? They'll be back in a couple of days." He kept his voice light, placing a calming hand on Dean's head.
"oh… 'kay…." Dean's breathing hitched and to Caleb's ears it sounded suspiciously close to a sob.
Helplessly Reaves watched the boy curl more into himself, burying his face into the bedding.
The sobs were almost soundless, the shaking shoulders and the occasional ragged gulps of air the only indication that the boy was crying. The kid was practically radiating confusion and discomfort.
Alarm bells screamed inside the psychic's head. The uncharacteristic behavior worried Caleb. Even at nine Dean wasn't normally the crying-type. Especially not with Sammy around.
"Hey, Deuce, it's okay," he soothed, swallowing past the lump in his throat.
"Caleb?" Sammy's small voice quivered.
Caleb's gaze wandered from Dean to Sam. He winced at the pleading look in the boy's eyes. It was the unconditional trust he could see there, that he, Caleb, could fix everything. Broken toys, scraped knees and apparently sick big brothers too. Sometimes the trust the five-year-old had in him surprised him.
Sammy inched even closer to Dean, his eyes shimmering threateningly.
Oh please no! He could barely deal with one crying Winchester but two at the same time were definitely one too many.
"It's okay, Runt. Deuce's going to be fine," The psychic reassured confidently. "Can you get Pastor Jim for me?"
Sammy nodded. Throwing one last glance to Dean, he crawled from the bed, Woobee-bear still in tow.
Caleb waited until Sammy had left the room before re-focusing on Dean.
"Deuce, hey, talk to me," Reaves rested a hand on the boy's head. "You know, you're freaking me out here a little, Sammy too," He shifted, trying to find a more comfortable position. Finally his back rested against the headboard, one foot still on the floor. Dean's shivering form a small furnace next to him.
Caleb felt Dean inching closer, his face pressed into the psychic's side, one hand tightly fisted in the fabric of Reaves's shirt.
"Easy. It's okay." Caleb wrapped one arm around Dean, rubbing small circles on his back. The uncharacteristic behavior worried him. Dean wasn't normally the clingy-type, not like Sammy. Though right now the psychic could easily picture the mute five-year-old boy he had met almost five years ago.
Dean sniffled miserably. "Don' feel good."
Caleb laughed humorlessly. "Yeah, I bet, kiddo." He briefly glanced at Dean before going back to tracing patterns on the ceiling. "You know, if I catch this bug from you, you'll be doing my chores for the next three weeks."
He waited for a smart-ass remark or a snort but neither of them came.
Reaves sighed, running a hand through his disheveled hair. He wasn't prepared for the sudden wave of panic that assaulted his mind. It took him a few seconds to realize that this feeling was coming from Dean. The boy struggled to get up, eyes unfocused and panicked.
"Dean, hey!" Caleb used his hand on the kid's back to gently push him down again, not liking the heat he felt radiating off of him.
"Where's Sammy? We've lost him." Dean's husky voice broke at the last words.
"Easy, Deuce. The runt's fine. He's getting Jim for me."
As if to give his words more strength, they heard a knock on the door, then Pastor Jim entered, followed by Sammy and his one-eyed stuffed-teddy.
"Caleb? Dean? What is wrong?" Jim asked worriedly, his blue eyes shifting from one boy to the other.
In the meantime Sammy had climbed back onto the bed, somehow knowing that his brother needed him. He ran a hand through Dean's hair in a comforting manner. "It's okay, Dean. Pastor Jim and Caleb'll make you better," the five-year-old said matter-of-factly and without a shadow of doubt in his voice. "And the medicine isn't so bad. It tastes like cherry."
Despite the knot inside his stomach, Caleb fought hard to bite back a grin. Looking up to Pastor Jim he saw that the older man was also trying to hide his smile.
"He's sick. The flu probably. He's running a fever. A good one by the feel of it," The psychic explained, watching the Pastor crouching down next to the bed, placing a hand on Dean's flushed cheek.
The worried look deepened on Jim's face. "Dean, my boy, have you felt sick all day?"
The older Winchester only shrugged, his hand still fisted in Reaves's shirt. Dean's breath calmed slowly, now that Sammy was with him.
"Dean was coughing the whole day. And he didn't want to play with me outside. He said it hurts his eyes," Sammy picked up.
"Sam," Dean groaned, shooting a weak glare over his shoulder.
Caleb grinned slightly, relieved to see the kid acting a little more like himself again.
"Why didn't you say something?" Jim brushed a loose strand away from Dean's clammy forehead.
The nine-year-old shrugged again, wiping his running nose on his shirt-sleeve.
"That's gross, Deuce." Caleb groaned, his eyes searching the room for some kind of tissues.
"Didn't want you worrying 'bout me." Dean mumbled softly, not meeting anyone's eyes.
Jim sighed and stood. "Dean, my boy, there is nothing bad about people worrying about you. That's what people who care about you do. Especially when you are not feeling well," he said gently, his eyes shifting from Dean to Caleb. "I'm going to get some things from the bathroom."
It didn't take long for the Pastor to get all the things he needed. With children Tylenol, a thermometer, a glass of water and a cool washcloth he made his way back into the room.
Meanwhile Sammy had snuggled closer to Dean, already half asleep under the covers. His little fingers sluggishly playing with a loose thread on Dean's shirt.
Dean's death grip on Caleb's shirt lessened until it was completely gone, as the boy slowly relaxed into sleep, the children Tylenol slowly kicking in.
"I'm a little worried about his fever," Jim said, his knees popping as he got up. "If it is not better in the morning, we should go see a doctor. But for now sleep is the best medicine."
Caleb nodded in agreement, his gaze shifting from Dean to The Guardian. He didn't have to read the man to know what he was thinking.
"Leave them together," the psychic said quietly. "It'll spare us all a headache. You know Sammy," He added.
It would be the wiser move to separate the boys until Dean was feeling better, but then, Sammy had been with him until now so there was a good chance that he would catch this bug anyway. No need to send the five-year-old into a temper tantrum.
Jim rubbed a hand over his forehead. "Maybe you are right. I remember the last time when Mackland tried to separate them." A smile played around the Pastor's lips.
"That's what I mean." Caleb shifted and carefully made his way into a more upright position, attempting to stand up, his back killing him. He was torn between staying here with the boys, or giving in to the pull of sleep and his own bed. Though his protective streak was clearly getting the upper hand.
"Can you stay, please?" Dean's voice soft and slightly slurred so that Caleb almost missed the words. Too bright green eyes blinked up to him.
Caleb sighed and lightly ruffled the kid's hair. "Sure, kiddo." He leaned back against the headboard of the bed, shifting until he found a more comfortable position. He didn't miss the smile on Pastor Jim's face as the preacher quietly exited the room.
On the bright side, all this cuddling was great ammo he could use against Deuce as soon as the boy was feeling better.
Caleb's eyes traveled back to the window, the silvery moonlight now the only light that was illuminating the room. The dark night sky had lightened a bit though it still would take a few hours until a silver lining would appear on the horizon.
His gaze moved back to Dean's unmoving form. He could tell that the boy wasn't asleep yet, stubbornly fighting the strong pull of sleep. It was hard to shield himself against all the strong emotions he sensed from Dean.
Waiting a few heartbeats longer Caleb decided the silence had been long enough.
"I know you're not asleep. Deuce, what's wrong?" He said quietly, not wanting to wake up Sammy. For a second he was tempted to read his best friend, but he dismissed the thought a moment later.
Dean was quiet for a moment. When he spoke his voice was muffled and scratchy. "I dreamed about mom. The night she died." The nine-year-old coughed wetly. Then quieter, "It was so real. It felt like it happened all over again. T-the fire and the heat and Sammy in my arms."
Caleb swallowed hard past the sudden lump in his throat. He wished he could tell Dean that it would be okay, that everything would be alright and time would heal all wounds, but that was crap. It wasn't okay. He knew the feeling, the pain. Even after so many years it hurt to think about his parents.
"It was just a dream, Deuce. Sleep. I'll take this watch. No bad dreams, I promise," Caleb reassured, briefly brushing his fingers over Dean's forehead.
"You won't leave." The lingering question behind the boy's statement was obvious.
Caleb smirked. "Sorry to break it to you, kid, but you're stuck with me. I'm not going anywhere." It was true. He wouldn't let anything happen to John's boys. "And now sleep. Nurse Sammy will be up soon and then I'm not sure how much sleep either of us will get." He rearranged the covers, feeling Dean shivering next to him.
Dean snorted softly, sliding deeper under the blankets. "Thanks." It was sleepy and muffled but Caleb heard it nonetheless.
Thank you so much for reading! And reviews always feed my muse! ;)
A/N: I borrowed the "Sammy-temper-tantrum-memory" from Sensue's awesome Story A Suitcase Of Memories. Hope you don't mind, hon! ;)
A/N: I've never read imagine2202's story Where Does It Hurt? before, so any similarities are pure coincidence.