Dean jumped. His heart raced. His fight or flight response sounded. And all because his cell phone, clipped to his belt, vibrated. It wasn't often that his phone went off while he was on the job, and the startle gave way to worry. Lisa never called unless it was an emergency, and Ben was supposed to have his phone turned off at school, and it wasn't like it was Sam calling him to tell him to come and get him. Dean licked his lips and shook the last thought out of his head. He put the tool he was using down and pulled the phone from his belt. It was a number that he didn't recognize. Back in the days when he was hunting that wouldn't have meant jack to him. It would have simply meant that it was one of his contacts who had had to switch phones or it was a former "client" that knew someone who knew someone who had an issue, his kind of issue, but now….a number he didn't know worried him.
He answered the phone just before the last ring. "Hello?" he said as he walked away from the noise with one hand pressed up to the unoccupied ear.
"Mr. Dean Singer?" The pleasant sounding woman on the other end responded. In light of coming to live with Ben and Lisa, Dean had acquired, as his last act as an outlaw and a hunter, a fake ID, social security number, and all other important materials that made him a "legit" citizen of the United States, and he decided that if he couldn't be a Winchester any longer he could be the next best thing…a Singer.
"Yes this is he?" he responded.
"This is Emily Hunt at Common Middle School." A surge of panic raced through Dean's stomach.
"Ben is in the clinic throwing up, and we couldn't reach his mother,"
"She's at a conference," he sated. In the time since he had "been" with Lisa she had given up Yoga instructing for a more practical, more common job, a bank teller…working towards manager, a lot had changed for both of them since they had first met.
"You are next on his emergency contact list, could you please come and get him?"
"I'll be right there."
"Thank you." Dean responded and put his phone back on its clip and rushed to clean up his small area.
"Ron, I'm headed out," Dean yelled to the foreman of the site. "My kid is sick and he needs to be picked up."
Ron smiled and waved him off. He hurried to the truck, hurried to the elementary school, and hurried to the main office. The pleasant secretary that had called him was at her desk and she smiled. "Mr. Singer?" Dean nodded. "Right this way," She stood and indicated for him to come to one of the little rooms off of the main office. Once inside he saw Ben, looking a little green around the gills and the smell of sick wafted off of him.
"Hey Buddy, you ready to go home?" Dean asked as he knelt into a crouch beside the sick child.
"Yeah." He mumbled and nodded. Dean helped the kid off of the bed, signed the necessary paperwork to release the kid, and took him to the truck, and got him settled in, Dean's jacket draped over Ben's lap, to keep him warm on the chilly November day.
"We'll get you home and put some 7Up into your stomach."
Ben warily turned to Dean and did his best to give him a confused expression. "7Up?" he asked.
"What? What does your mom use?"
"Eh that's for sissies." Dean smiled. "7Up is what takes care of a man's stomach. It's what I always gave Sam growing up. He'd get sick like this, and that always calmed his stomach." Ben gave a small smile. He always liked hearing stories about Sam. He liked learning about Dean's past and he very rarely shared any stories from the past with Ben, so it was a small treat to get that little piece of information. But the satisfaction of getting to know Dean a little better was overshadowed by the bile that was creeping up his throat and threatening to spill whatever was left in his stomach all over Dean's truck.
Dean sensed what was about to happen and pulled over. Sam had thrown up so much in the last couple of years that Dean could spot the signs of pre-vomit a mile ahead of time. And true to form, Ben opened the door of the truck and threw up whatever was left on his stomach onto the side of the road. Dean rubbed circles on the kids back until the vomiting stopped.
"You okay there buddy?" Ben nodded and wiped a hand across the back of his mouth as he pulled the door shut.
They drove along, Dean driving as slowly as he was able, went through a drive through and got a 2 liter of 7Up and went back to the house.
"Go change your clothes, those are smelly." Dean said as he put his keys on the counter. "When you're done come back here and we'll get you settled on the couch, with a movie and something to drink." Ben nodded and did as instructed. Dean kicked off his boots and prepared the couch for the day, and just as Ben was coming back down Dean was pouring a glass of the fuzzy liquid. "Go get settled." Dean said and followed Ben to the couch, helped Ben into the nest of covers and blankets that Dean had prepared for him, and then hit play on the DVD player and joined the child on the other end of the couch.
"Feelin' any better?" Dean asked. Ben shook his head, and settled deeper into the pillows and blankets. Dean watched the boy struggle to get comfortable. It was just like Sam when he was that age. Trying desperately to get into a position where his stomach would settle, and quit protesting, so he could get some sleep. Then Dean remembered what helped Sam get the much needed sleep, Dean would sit just as he was right now, and he would rub Sam's stomach in small soothing circles. Dean tentatively reached out and put his hand on Ben's stomach and when the child didn't protest the touch, he began to make the same soothing circles on the child's abdomen that had soothed Sam all of those years ago. He heard Ben sigh, and Dean knew it would only be a matter of time before the child was asleep.
Dean heard the garage door go up, and knew that Lisa was finally home. She came in through the garage door and he put a finger to his lips and she looked down and saw Ben curled up on his side sleeping.
"What happened?" she asked softly.
"He has the stomach bug. He's been home since a little after 10."
"Why didn't they call me?" she demanded in a whisper.
"They tried, but they couldn't get a hold of you."
"Why didn't YOU call me?" she asked kicking off her heels and going straight to her son and touching his forehead searching for a fever.
"I did call, and text…I guess you never got them." He said.
"I am so buying a new phone tomorrow." She sighed, and began petting the top of her son's brown hair.
"It's all good. I took care of it." He said and slowly got up from the position he had been occupying for the last several hours. "Sammy, had lots of stomach aches growing up, and then when the visions…" He stopped and licked his lips. "I've just dealt with it a lot. He's handled some soup, not much, but a little, and a cracker. I didn't want to push more than that. I didn't think it would be good to push too hard and then have to clean up the mess." Dean smiled. Lisa looked up from the top of her son's head and gave Dean a smile.
"Thank you so much for this." Dean shrugged it off, touched her shoulder and headed away from the two. It was like he could sense they needed time alone together.
She leaned down and kissed Ben's head and his eyes slowly opened and he saw his mother.
"Hey there kiddo, how are you feeling?"
"Okay. Not great, but better than this morning."
"Well I'm glad."
"Dean came and got me." He said as if she needed a play by play.
"I know he did sweetie."
"He gave me 7Up instead of soda water." Lisa worked her way underneath her son's head and allowed him to rest, pillow and head, on her lap, while she brushed his hair with her fingers.
"Why would he do that? That seems silly." She said.
"Said it worked for Sammy. It did work, for a little bit, then I threw up again. But then he gave me the soda water, and that calmed my stomach."
"Well I guess 7Up only works for Sammy." She said with a small smile.
"Guess so…" Ben said and drifted off to sleep. Lisa looked towards the hallway in which Dean had disappeared and her heart ached a little. He was a man who had lost his son, and was grieving in more ways than she would ever understand, ways that she hoped to God she would never have to understand. She leaned forward and kissed her son and held him close, selfishly hoping to keep the death that haunted Dean away from her own son.