Title: Bugs and the Happy Box

Authors: PlatinumRoseLady and Kadysn

Characters: (canon) Dean/Jamie, (OC) their children Ethan and Seth, family friend Doc McCoy, student nurse Heather O'Reilly, and the family dog, Ozzy.

Summary: AU curtain!fic set within our verse about domesticated Sam and Dean; just a slice of life from the life of ex-hunter Dean Winchester.

Daddy's sick. He's got nasty bugs in him, and Ethan and Seth are determined to get rid of them for him.

Word count: this part, 2903 (final total will be given when the last part is posted.)

A/N: this is unbetaed, so any mistakes, especially concerning how a thick Irish lilt is written, is all on us. Enjoy! (Oh, and we started this fic several days ago, before the con in San Francisco and before learning that Jensen's been sick. Merely coincidence. PRL and I send our love and healing thoughts to him. ~Kady)

Bugs and the Happy Box

It all started with sneezes and sniffles. Nothing major. Just enough to piss him off and keep him irritated, which for Dean Winchester, didn't take much.

Within a couple days, though, the coughing started, then the congestion that moved from his head down into his chest. Not willing to admit to being sick, and insisting to himself he could tough it out, he didn't let the ague slow him down, even though it was obvious to everyone around him he wasn't in his normal top form. When anyone would comment to him that he needed to take it easy and maybe go home and get medicated, he'd just growl and get pissy, and keep on going.

Not even waking up with an obvious fever convinced him he needed to just stay at home and rest. He pushed aside Jamie's suggestion to stay in bed and get the sleep he'd missed the night before due to his cough and congestion, and instead headed to work anyway.

It wasn't until he nearly passed out at work, in front of his co-workers no less, that Dean was convinced (along with a direct order from his boss) to go home. He refused to let anyone drive him. He was Dean-fucking-Winchester and he could do it himself, damn it. He managed to make it home but as soon as he stumbled in the door, Jamie was on him like Ozzy on a bone.

"Dean—" she glared at him, "you get your butt in bed right this minute. I don't want to see you up and around until you've gotten Doc's ok."

"Ja," he tried to croak out, but managed no more than a raspy cough.

Jamie shook her head at him and, grasping him by the arm, led him upstairs and assisted him (while receiving mumbled protests) out of his clothes and into his sleep shirt and pajama bottoms. She could feel the heat radiating off him. She got the thermometer out of the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, and thrust it into his mouth. When it beeped, she pulled it out then read what it said. "Honey," she sighed, "it's 103º." She leaned down and ran her hand over his heated forehead. "I'm going to get you some Tylenol and some water, then I'll be back."

In just the few minutes it took her to get the medicine and water, Dean dropped off to sleep. Jamie found him curled into a fetal position, the blankets tugged up to his chin. She sat on the side of the bed, next to his hip, and looked down at him. "Oh, baby," she whispered. "Why do you fight it so hard?"

Soft voices outside the bedroom door woke Dean up. Still fuzzy from sleep, he halfway listened as Jamie reasoned with the boys.

"Daddy's sick, honey. You can look in on him here at the doorway, but don't go any further. We don't want you getting sick too." Her voice was soft and soothing, yet Dean recognized the firm mother's voice within. Apparently both Ethan and Seth did as well.

"Mama, DaDa be 'kay?" Seth asked, his voice filled with concern. "He come p'ay wif us?"

Ethan spoke up before their mama could. "He can't, bubba. Daddy's sick. He needs 'ta sleep."

Dean stirred, turning over under the covers and faced the doorway. His voice thick and husky, he called out, "Ja, I'm awake."

Opening the door a bit wider, Jamie slipped her head inside the room. "How're you feeling, baby?"

"Like I was run over by a semi," Dean responded, only to be hit with a coughing attack. Wrapping his arms around his waist, he clutched himself tightly, and moaned as the coughing subsided.

Jamie watched from the doorway. She wanted with everything inside her to be able to take care of him, but she didn't want to chance getting sick too, or passing it on to the boys. "I'm calling Doc. You need to be looked at, and I shouldn't—"

Dean croaked out a reply. "Take care of the boys. I'll be fine." He closed his eyes and started drifting back to sleep, only managing to catch Jamie's words as she led the boys away.

"C'mon, guys...let's go call Doc—"

The next time Dean woke up, he found Doc sitting next to him on the edge of the bed. He tried to speak, but all that came out was a croak.

Doc smiled. "Not havin' a good day, are we, son?" He opened his medical bag and pulled out the stethoscope. "Let's give a listen, ok?" He placed the scope over Dean's chest and said, "Take a deep breath…" and as Dean did so, Doc listened, and moved the scope around. "Ok, let's sit you up. I need to listen to your back."

Dean struggled to sit up. Doing so brought on another coughing fit.

Doc waited until it was over before he continued. Once he was done, he helped Dean lay back down. He sighed. "You, young man, have pneumonia. How long has this been going on?"

Dean shrugged. When he tried to speak, nothing came out.

He had laryngitis.

Doc looked over at the door where Jamie stood. "He's been neglecting this, hasn't he?"

Jamie nodded. "You know Dean. He's stubborn."

Dean frowned at them. He gestured at himself as if to say, "I'm right here, you know!"

Doc glared at his patient. "Yeah, I do. Listen, son, your stubbornness has made you very sick. If you don't do as I say and take care of yourself, this'll put you in the hospital. You don't want that, do ya?"

Dean shook his head.

"Good. Then you stay put. You take the meds I give ya and give yourself time to get over this crud. Don't be tryin' to push yourself and get back to work before I tell ya it's ok. Got that?"

Dean nodded, albeit reluctantly, again.

"Good." Doc nodded back. "Since your lovely wife shouldn't be takin' care of you, I'll check in on you every day." He directed his next words to Jamie even as he kept his eyes on Dean. "Make sure he minds, missy."

Jamie chuckled. "Will do, Doc. Thanks."

Doc pulled some pill bottles out of his bag and held them up. "This is an antibiotic. Take one pill, three times a day." He held up another bottle, this one dark brown and filled with liquid. "This is cough syrup. It has codeine in it so only take it when you need it, no more than a tablespoon a couple times a day. It'll help you sleep."

He set the bottles on the night table then stood. "I'm serious here, Dean. Take the meds. Don't make me get Sam here to sit on you."

Dean huffed and mouthed as if! but nodded.

Doc crossed to the doorway. "Get some sleep. I'll be back tomorrow." He gave Dean a salute then stepped out the door. He met Jamie just outside. "I don't want you taking care of him, young lady. Don't take chances, what with the young'un still inside ya."

Jamie nodded. "Ok. I don't want the boys getting sick either. What do we do? Can I get someone in to help out?"

Doc considered it. "He'll probably fuss about it, but let 'im. I'll get one of my nurse's aids to drop in. She's savin' money for college, so I'm sure she wouldn't mind helpin' out for a few days."

Jamie nodded. "Thanks, Doc. We'll work something out with her. I appreciate you coming over. You know my husband as well as I do. He would have dragged his heels even more and fought going in to see you."

Doc chuckled. "Yeah. Stubborn cuss. Let me go say hey to the boys then I'll take off. Call me if you need anything, or if he seems to get worse. I'll drop in tomorrow."

Doc left the bedroom, and found Ozzy waiting in the hall just outside the door. The dog looked alert, but a little confused, stretched out on the floor, his head resting on his front paws. Something was wrong with Alpha Dean, and he wasn't sure what to do about it. Maybe Doc would know. Doc was very smart; Ozzy knew Alpha Dean and Jamie respected Doc very much. He approached the man, inching along on his belly, tail wagging a little.

Doc grinned and knelt down, giving the dog a gentle pat. He was a loyal creature, and Doc didn't need to be a veterinarian to see that the canine needed a little guidance. "Dean's not feelin' so well right now, Ozzy," he rumbled good-naturedly to him, "and that means you've got your own duties to perform 'round here. Think you're up to it?"

Ozzy woofed once, but not too loud, and his tail wagged a jot faster. A task? Something to help Alpha Dean and the pack? He could do that!

Doc chuckled, and stroked the dog's fur some more. "Good boy. What you need to do is keep Dean company, and keep him in bed. Other than trips to the bathroom, he tries to get out of bed – and knowing Dean, he will – you just herd his butt right back."

Ozzy yipped and jumped around the Doc's legs. He knew that he could do that – he'd help take good care of Alpha Dean. Doc opened the bedroom door and Ozzy marched in, head held high, his tail whipping back and forth like a flag. He walked up and took a look at Dean's flushed, sleeping face then made his way back down to the foot of the bed. He curled up in a ball, and gave Doc a doggy smile that said, You can count on me!

Doc washed his hands and made his way downstairs. He walked out to the kitchen, where the boys were sitting at the table, a coloring book in front of each of them, and crayons everywhere. Doc accepted a cup of tea from Jamie with a smile, and each of the adults pulled up chairs and sat down.

"How is he?" Jamie asked, unable to keep the worry from her voice.

"Sleepin' as comfortably as he can right now," Doc replied. "The cough medicine'll help him get the rest he needs. It might also make him a little loopy – codeine does that with some folks."

Jamie nodded; she knew that everything Doc prescribed would help.

Ethan looked over at Doc. "Daddy 'ick?" he asked, green eyes full of worry, a look mirrored by little Seth.

Doc nodded, and reached out and patted the child on the head. He'd never been on to sugarcoat things, and he knew the Winchester children were all smart as whips. "Yep, right now your Daddy's sick, Ethan."

Ethan pondered something, and his mouth dropped open. "Mommy was 'ick, when Sissy came to live in her tummy! Does Daddy 'ave a baby in his tummy?" Seth looked from his mother to Doc, his eyes just as wide as he thought that Daddy might be having a baby, too!

Jamie clapped her hand over her mouth to stem the tide of laughter, but Doc tossed his head back and roared. The things kids said never failed to astound him. Wiping away a tear from his eyes, he shook his head. "No, Ethan you and Seth don't need to worry – yer Pa's not growin' a baby in him right now."

Seth piped up "So how comez Da-Da zick?"

Doc explained, "Right now, boys, there's some bugs in your Daddy's body. An' his body doesn't like havin' those bugs there, so that's why he's sick. The bugs don't belong there, an' your Daddy's body is puttin' up a great big fight to get 'em out."

Ethan and Seth looked at each other, then back at Doc McCoy. "Daddy gots bugs inside him?" Ethan said incredulously. "What kinda bugs? Wike bees? Or spiders?"

"Wike the vewy 'ungry cattypiwwa?" Seth questioned, remembering the book Gramma Sharon had given them. Seth wasn't very happy with the idea of a bug in Daddy – and a cattypiwwa had lots of legs – that'd tickle something awful!

Doc shook his head. "Not bugs like bees or spiders, or even caterpillars. Nope, these are special bugs – they're so small that you can't see them. Someone around yer Daddy was sick with 'em, and they jumped from that person to yer Daddy."

Ethan started to frown and Seth quickly joined him. "I don't wike those bugs, Mommy. Make them leave Daddy 'lone!"

Jamie patted his hand. "Oh, sweetheart, it's not that easy. Daddy needs to rest and stay in bed and take the medicine that Doctor McCoy left for him."

Ethan turned and looked at the medico with pleading, tear-filled emerald eyes. "I wanna 'elp Daddy gets bedder!"

Seth nodded and looked on the verge of crying as well. "Me too! Me too!" he squeaked.

"Now then, there's no need to turn on the waterworks, you two!" Doc reached out and picked Seth up and placed him on one knee. Ethan scrambled off his chair and sat on his other knee, and Doc placed a firm but kind hand on each child's shoulders. "Yer Daddy's a strong, brave man – one of the bravest I've ever known. Gonna take more than some little bugs to keep him down for long. Yer Mamma's right – he needs rest and quiet, so the best way for you to help is to play kinda quietly for the next few days. I'm gonna stop by and check in on him and yer Mamma, and when I can't be here I'm going to have a friend of mine come by. Her name is Nurse Heather and she's very smart and nice. You mind what she tells you and make sure your Mama minds her, too. Yer Daddy will be right as rain soon, enough, I promise."

"Then no more bugs?" Ethan said hopefully.

Doc nodded. "No more bugs."

Dean awoke to the sound of whispering just outside the bedroom door. He turned over and, still huddled under the blankets, looked down the bed and to the opened door where he saw two sets of eyes peeking past the door frame.

Before he had the chance to say anything – assuming he could – he heard Jamie come up the stairs. Her voice was soft and gentle as she spoke to the boys.

"Hey guys. What are you up to? Daddy's sleeping."

Ethan replied, his attempt to whisper not all that successful. "We's just peekin' in on Daddy. We didn't go in. Pwomise."

"Yeah. Pwomise," Seth agreed.

"Well, keep your voices low. You'll disturb Daddy if you talk in your normal voices." Jamie softened her tone until Dean could barely hear her. "Talk like this. Very soft, ok?"

Even as rotten as he felt, Dean couldn't hold back a soft grin as he heard how his sons practiced speaking quietly so they didn't disturb him. He struggled to pull himself up to sit on the edge of the bed. Just as managed to do so, he saw Jamie step just inside the door.

"Honey! You're awake. How're you feeling?"

He tried to speak, and all he managed was a coarse croak. He cleared his throat then tried again. "Need to pee."

"Can you manage on your own? I can—" Jamie offered.

Dean waved her back. "I c'n do it." He sat on the edge of the bed, and feeling woozy, took a minute to find his balance. He knew she waited at the door, watching him, but he was determined to do this on his own. He managed to get to his feet, and again gave himself a moment before he took slow steps toward the en suite bathroom.

It took several minutes but he got business taken care of. He trudged slowly back to the bed, and wasn't surprised to see Jamie still standing there, apparently waiting to see that he got back to bed.

"Can I get you anything? Water? Juice? Can you eat anything?"

"Not 'ungry. Cold, though. Thirsty," he wheezed before beginning to cough. Once he caught his breath once more, he slipped back under the blankets and pulled them up to his chin. He watched as Jamie moved around the room, fetching a couple thick blankets that she spread out over him then went into the bathroom for a glass of water.

"How about some more Tylenol?" she asked as she stepped out of the bathroom, water in one hand and pills in the other.

Dean nodded and accepted the glass and a couple pills.

Jamie pressed her hand over his forehead. "You're still running a fever. I'm in here now. I'm going to check your temp again before I get the boys back downstairs."

By the time she returned to the bedside, Dean had closed his eyes and, finally getting warmer, was on his way back to sleep. He was aware of Jamie taking his temp, and felt the thermometer be pulled from his mouth. "What izzit?"

Jamie's soft voice flowed over him, soothing him. "It's still high, though not as high as earlier. 102°. Sleep, honey. I'm going to fix some soup. Maybe you'll feel like sipping on some later."

The caress of her hand over his forehead and down his face felt good, and Dean drifted off to sleep with her touch soothing him.