Disclaimer: Not mine.
I drew a quick pic of Sam from this fic and put it as my profile picture. But since I just now changed my profile picture, it may not show up for 24 hours. Give it a look if you want.
The pads of Dean's fingers ran an impatient rhythm against the Impala's paint as he watched the sun move further and further to the west. With each passing second, the day moved on, and as the day moved on, the distance grew between them and the sly woman who had conned the rabbit's foot from his brother. His currently clumsy brother, to be exact. Dean could hear the car keys haphazardly jingle in Sam's giant, fumbling hands, and the unceremonious clank of the keys hitting the pavement pulled Dean's eyes in Sam's direction. Sam stood there, dejected, behind the Impala's trunk.
"Oh, for—it's the trunk, Sam. Even with a bad case of the jinks, it can't be that hard to open."
The Bitch Face predictably surfaced as Sam stooped down to snatch the keys from the Big Gerson's parking lot. Dean noted Sam's lips twitching, the flinch no doubt the product of his jeans rubbing against his shredded, raw knees.
"You know what, Dean? Bite me. You're not the one cursed."
"Yeah, well, you're the one eatin' up our time, klutz. That chick's gone. Gettin' more gone by the minute."
"I hear you, I hear you."
"Hurry up and get yourself cleaned up, then. We gotta get back to dumb and dumber's place. Squeeze the name of that hot thief outta those knuckle heads, take that foot back. I don't wanna see how bad your luck's gonna get."
"Yeah. Tell me about it."
Dean's brows drew together, but not at the patented Winchester sarcasm covering Sam's utterance. Sam's breath had hitched, causing Dean's Sammy-dar to hone in on the worry hidden within the man's prosody. Eyebrow cocked, Dean craned his neck, tilting his head towards his brother. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Huh?" Sam looked up from his failing ministrations to unlock the trunk, only to glance away quickly, his brow furrowed. "Nothing. I mean, I don't want to figure out how bad it's gonna get, either, Dean."
"What? Yeah." Metal clinked against metal as Sam finally popped open the trunk, putting up a convenient barrier between himself and his brother. "I really don't."
Dean's fingers stopped tapping the Impala and stilled at Sam's covert display of avoidance, his mind rewinding to earlier that afternoon. Sam had not been on the phone long with Bobby, but the conversation had lasted longer than needed to communicate the basic—rabbit's foot equals cursed—information. "Hey. Bobby tell you anything else, 'sides that piece a' rabbit puzzle's cursed, that he's looking for a way to break it?"
The sound of his brother rummaging around the duffle bags irritated Dean's ear, his brother leaving him ignored and without a response.
A stifled sigh floated from behind the trunk, signaling to the older brother that his kid brother had no intention of answering.
But lucky enough for Dean, Sam's silence and his tight, rigid body language exposed him to what Sam wanted kept to himself. Little brother intended to protect big brother from something. Big brother did not approve.
"Dude." Pushing up from the Impala, Dean appeared at his brother's side. Hand landing hard on Sam's shoulder, Dean shoved, turning his brother toward him. "What else did Bobby tell you?"
Sam's hold tightened on a duffle. "Look, Dean, just let me clean up my knees so we can go. I'll tell you in the car. We're wasting time here."
Dean felt Sam's shoulder dip in an attempt to dislodge him, prompting him to root his fingers deeper into his kid brother's muscles. "Uh-huh. We are wasting time. And the longer you stall, the more time we're gonna waste. I wanna know now, not in the car." Another impatient shake tunneled through Dean's arm and jostled Sam's frame. "So you might as well spill before I beat whatever it is you're keeping from me outta ya. What else did Bobby tell ya?"
Pressure from Sam's palm sunk into Dean's wrist, trapping the appendage. Fingers yanked from his kid brother's shoulder and then tossed aside, Dean found himself staring at his brother's hunched back as the kid tossed their duffles aside and propped open the weapon's stash in search of the first aid kit.
"Hey." Dean rapped his knuckles against Sam's biceps. "Would you stop tryin' to hide in the trunk and look at me, huh? I can't handle talking to your brooding shoulders. The angst from that alone's gonna kill me."
Sam rolled his eyes at his brother's prodding, but turned from the Impala to face Dean nevertheless. The older man felt a small streak of big brotherly satisfaction at having annoyed Sam into submission, but the victory melted once his eyes fell on Sam's face. Sam stood before him, having chameleoned himself into looking all of twelve, not a man in his twenties.
"Bobby say's I got a week."
Dean blinked at the seemingly random statement. "A week? A week for what?"
"Dean." Sam paused, massaging his temple and taking a weary breath before adding, "I didn't want to worry you."
"Sam, quit beatin' 'round the bush."
Sam nodded, more to himself than to Dean, and after letting out a huff, finally said, "Whoever loses the foot, their luck goes south—"
"Oh, well, thank you, Captain Obvious. You're practically a walking billboard for sucky luck right now."
"— and they're dead inside a week."
"Yeah. That's what Bobby told me."
"What the hell, Sam! Why didn't you tell me that right after you got off the phone with Bobby?" Dean asked, jabbing his hand in the direction of the jean pocket Sam kept his cell.
Sam's arms fell to his sides, palms open. "Dean, I was just trying to figure out a better way to tell you."
"Sam, shut up."
Dean immediately stepped away from his brother, adrenaline pumping. Sam had already died once, and the thought of losing his brother a second time—not by a knife or a gun, but by a fluffy, tiny rabbit's foot—made his stomach roll in alternating waves of being dumbfounded by the ridiculousness of the threat, to being hounded by hot, sharp fear and foreboding despair. Even if he had another soul to sell for Sam's life, no demon would deal. Any crossroads bitch would be too busy laughing to do anything else, let alone bring Sam back from the dead. Again.
A couple of dull thumps echoed from the depths of the Impala's trunk as Sam moved their weapons around. Dean stilled momentarily, his heart choking and skipping a few beats. Springing from his stupor and lunging at his kid brother, Dean fisted one hand in the back of Sam's shirt, the other welding onto his wrists. Sam's muscles jerked as Dean yanked him away from the Impala, throwing the younger man's hands clear from the trunk and the deadly items inside.
"Dean!" Sam stumbled, feet tangled beneath him. "Wha—what was that?"
"Are you kidding me!" Dean spit, quickly steadying his brother's balance. "You're caught in some freaky, bad luck version of the Ring and you decide that it's fine to stick your hands in a bunch of knives and guns? C'mon!"
"Dean, I was just looking for the first aid."
"Yeah, looking for 'em in a pit full a' weapons. Clumsy dolt—Hey!" Dean slouched back, dodging his brother's failed attempt at a shove. "Hands off, dude, I don't wanna be contaminated by your piss poor luck. Someone's gotta be around to keep ya alive."
"Dude. Not funny."
"Know what else isn't funny? You keelin' over 'cause of a bunny. Not even an intact, alive one—"
"—just a friggan foot."
"My knees hurt."
Dean's face scrunched at Sam's blatant deadpan before his eyes flickered to the torn, red flesh peeking out from his equally torn jeans. Dean wondered how many infections Sam's luck could contaminate him with and how many of them could off him in a week or shorter. He sure as hell did not want to find out.
"Okay. Okay. Sam. Go get in the car."
"Go get in the car."
"Yeah, dude. I know. I'm gonna get the kit for you. Get in the car, leave the door open."
"Dean, I can get the kit myself."
"Well, I'm getting it for you. There's no way you're blowing your head off with one of our guns. So, go."
The scuff of Sam's sneakers and a few muttered grumbles keyed Sam's retreat.
"Alright," Dean called out, snatching the kit and shutting the trunk, "Pull up your jeans."
Dean tapped the hem of Sam's pant leg with his boot. "The legs of your jeans, genius. M'not gonna try to fix those knees through the holes you got goin' on in those pants."
"You're joking. Right?"
"Does this look like the face of someone who's joking?"
"Dude, I can bandage my own knees. I'm not a kid. I don't need you to do it for me anymore."
"You may not be a kid, but that's not gonna stop the peroxide from hittin' your face and burnin' out your corneas. With the luck you got goin' on now, for all we know, the medical tape could jump out and choke your ass. Anything could happen, and I'm not gonna let it."
Sam looked out at his brother from his seat, his mouth slacked and eyebrows quirked in disbelief.
"C'mon, Sam. Before people inside start staring."
"You're unbelievable, Dean." Swinging his legs from under the dash, Sam planted his feet on the blacktop and gently hiked up his tattered pant legs. "We're wasting time."
"Heard ya the first time. Ouch." Dean grimaced at the sight of Sam's knees. "Looks like how your knees got that time you fell off that tire swing in Oswego."
Sam's lip jutted slightly, head tilted. "Oswego? I don't remember that."
"Well, it was way back in the day when you were actually tiny." Dean knelt down, placing the kit in his lap. "'Sides, I'm not surprised you don't remember. You were too busy cryin' to do anything else. I had to carry you back to the motel. M'glad you're more composed now."
"Whatever, Dean. I was probably not much more than a baby."
"Pretty much, yeah." The corner of Dean's lip twitched upward at the memory of an itty-bitty Sammy whose small arms had wrapped tight around his neck as he had lugged the blubbering bundle gently off the playground. Dean's smile faded knowing that Sam's tears had been shed not because of pain, but because he was afraid their dad would be upset with Dean for taking him out of the motel room. Sighing, Dean twisted the cap off the peroxide.
"I don't understand why we can't do this in the car, Dean," Sam said, glancing around the parking lot for curious onlookers, but finding none.
"Loved to. But I can't get at your knees when they're crushed up against the dash. Now would you lay off and let me do this? If your luck's gonna turn deadly, we gotta get back to those idiots who stole the foot in the first place. The dude who touched it could be dead or gettin' close to it."
Sam sighed, but said nothing, allowing Dean to deal with his knees.
"Alright, here we go."
Sam's legs reflexively jumped as white foam bubbled up from the red, angry flesh on his knees. Dean wrapped a hand around one of Sam's calves, steadying him. "Easy, there, Tiger. I'm almost done."
Sam bounced the leg caught in Dean's hand. "Don't call me that."
"Geez. If one thing hasn't changed since you were a tyke, it's you turning into a little bitch as soon as the peroxide hits ya."
"Yeah, because that's such an uncommon reaction."
"Not for you, that's for damn sure."
"Bite me, Dean."
"No, thanks. I don't swing that way." Carefully patting down the bandages on his brother's knees, he added, "There. All set."
Sam eyebrows disappeared behind his bangs. "What? You're done?"
"That's what I said," Dean remarked with a smirk. Distracting Sam with conversation had always been the best method when it came to patching him up, and even though the little exchanges had evolved from promises of treats to good natured banter, each had the desired effect of comforting the kid and calming him down. A contentedness settled over Dean. No matter how old Sam got, the capableness he possessed to handle Sam would never be touched or distorted by time.
Satisfied, Dean began to rise, but he halted halfway up from his knelt position, a frown appearing on his face. "Dude—how'd you manage to scrape up your chin? Oh, wait, right. Walking billboard for sucky luck." Dean dabbed a little peroxide on a piece of sterilized gauze. "Here."
"Dude!" Sam jerked back from the approaching gauze, head bumping against the door frame, the impact harder than it would have been under normal luck.
"Seriously, Sam? Chill out." Dean grasped Sam just below his neck, his thumb resting on the younger man's collar bone. "I'm not taking any chances. Speaking of, close your eyes. Not gonna risk that, either." Before Sam could respond, Dean swiped the pad under Sam's chin and pressed. Dean suppressed a chuckle as Sam's eyes squinted shut, cheeks ballooning out.
"Damn it, Dean. That crap stings. Stop!" Sam smacked Dean's hand away and then clamped on again before Dean could reach into the kit. "Dean, if you put a bandage on my chin, I will kick your ass."
"Oh, come on, Sammy. With your eyes and shaggy hair plus a bandage, that chick's heart would swell and burst so fast, she'd hand the foot over on a platter."
Sam stared at Dean. "I said no."
"Kill joy," Dean said, feigning disappointment and shoving the first aid in his brother's lap. "Hold this. Knowing you, right now, we may need it again. Soon."
"Hilarious. Just get in the car, Dean."
Slamming the passenger-side door closed, Dean trekked over to the driver's side and slid in. Luck may have it out for Sam, but shut inside the Impala, Sam was in the safest place possible.
Next to big brother.
Constructive reviews are welcome.
I actually had to go on the internet to see if it was okay to put peroxide on a person's face.
This turned into something I did not really plan on.
Also, this scenario has been done before, I'm sure, but that did not stop me from wanting to write my own version after I watched the episode (after seeing Sam's knees, I thought, "Dean should fix that!") :/ I wish I had got into Supernatural earlier, that way this fic would have been written at the same time as everyone else's. Oh well.