I love you. But, I love SandyDee84, AngryCupcake, cold kagome, nison99, and AndThenTheBigBangHappened more.
BECAUSE THEY'RE MADE OF SUNSHINE AND RAINBOWS AND EVERYTHING GOOD AND RIGHT IN THIS WORLD.
If you have a clear mind, you don't get to think.
-Murphy's Miscellaneous Laws
John Winchester had never been the sort of man to question 'Why?' After the Fire 'Why' had ceased to exist. Why didn't matter. Thing where they way that they were and to question it was pointless. All that was left in the entire world was Newton's Law. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. You take John Winchester's wife? John Winchester hunts you down for twenty three years, and not even death stops him from making sure you end too.
Not even death made John Winchester stop and think 'Why?'
Dean had always assumed that he and Sam had inherited this trait from him, but two hours and a hundred and twenty miles after Sam fell asleep on his shoulder he found out how wrong he was.
Two hours and one hundred twenty miles away from Mallory Redwood and her psychotically righteous mission to save Sam Winchester, Dean couldn't stop thinking 'Why?' Why did these things keeping happening to them? To Sam?
Did he really think Dean got the happy ending?
Dean ran a hand down his face tiredly, eyes darting over to the small bundle of curled up sweatshirts that was Sam.
He didn't even know how to think about that.
Did he really thing Dean got the happy ending?
Hell, everyone had gotten a 'happy' ending (in the sense that they were all alive and had a soul). Bobby. Cas. The world. Everyone but Sam.
He continued mulling that 'Why' over and over again in his head as he flagged down a motel on the side of a fairly barren stretch of road. He let that 'Why' gnaw at the edges of his already questionable sanity as he bundled up Sam and carried him simply in one arm across the parking lot. He felt the 'Why' ware away at his insides until they were raw and welted as he laid out his little (little) brother on the motel bed and dragged a chair over next to it with the understanding that sleep wasn't a conquest he was going to be able to undertake that night.
Dean would have killed a puppy with a baseball bat for a good, stiff drink right then.
Sam's breath hitched in his sleep and he fidgeted uncomfortably, fighting monsters and demons that Dean couldn't save him from.
But, then again, Dean had never acknowledge the words 'couldn't save him' in that particular order when it came to Sam before. He sure as hell wasn't about to start now.
"Scoot over, shortstuff." Dean huffed as he crawled under the covers of the paisley motel down, boots and all, and used his hips to nudge Sam just enough so that they both fit comfortably. Sam grumbled something in his sleep lightly before curling into Dean's side. Dean threaded his arm underneath Sam's head and pressed his palm flat against the steady rise and fall of his chest, feeling the easy, if not somewhat quick, pace of his heart. And he didn't question that. Not for one second did he allow himself to wonder why.
"You listen to me, you little brat," He whispered into his younger brother's hair. "You're not dying. You're not going crazy. You're not suffocating. I'm here. I won't let you."
Mallory Redwood was going to have to take a goddamn ticket, because Dean had first dibs of protecting Sam. And as soon as he was done with that he was going back to make sure she could never interfere with that hard earned right ever again.
Sam's first semi-coherent thought when he woke the next morning was 'Feet'. The complete thought there was 'I miss the feeling of my feet hanging off the end of the bed in morning'. The second semi-coherent thought he had was 'Waffles'. The complete thought being 'I could really go for some chocolate chip waffles and strawberries right now with some whipped cream'. Which was weird because he hadn't had waffles since he was, like, nine. The air of Waffle Houses had lost their majesty a long time ago for Sam, and even the smell of waffles had made him sick for a few years, probably due to the fact that between the ages of four and ten Sam's diet had consisted of Lucky Charms, diner food, and red meat. To the point where he literally made himself physically ill of them and hardly touched them since.
However, today, some waffles and Lucky Charms sounded… pretty damn good.
Sam worked his eyes opened as best he could under the intense weight of sickness and stress to find Dean's arm wrapped around his shoulders and Dean's sleeping face inches from his own.
"Dean," Sam gritted out from his sore throat, sounding a little bit like he had been gargling glass instead of gasping for air like an asthmatic ninety-year-old for almost a half an hour the night before.
"G' b'ck t' sl'p." Dean mumbled drowsily, burrowing his face deeper into the pillow.
"Dean," Sam rasped again, swallowing thickly around the pain in his throat. "I'm hungry."
Dean cracked open a lazy eye.
Sam puckered his brow and frowned, eyes widening for the irresistible 'Puppy Dog' effect.
"Mm-kay, I'm up, I'm up." Dean grunted as he rolled out of bed, shifting heavily onto his feet. "How are you feeling?" He asked over his shoulder as he stretched out the numbness in his legs.
"Fine." Sam lied, kneading at his eyes.
Dean rolled his eyes and batted Sam's hands away from his face so he could press his palm against his forehead and feel the fever. They both sighed heavily.
"Bath time," Dean wedged a hand behind Sam's back and used it to lever him forcefully out of the bed, nudging him towards the bathroom door.
"But I don't wanna," Sam's voice kicked up to a whine as Dean continued to press him forwards.
"Too bad." Dean snipped, shutting and locking the door behind himself to cut off the escape route. "Strip." He commanded, stooping down to coax the faucet in the tub into submission.
"This is embarrassing!" Sam protested, crossing his arms indignantly over his chest. The effect was ruined by the half a yard of extra fabric hanging over each of his hands.
"Please," Dean scoffed. "I've seen four-year-old you naked before."
"So, I'm just supposed to be okay with it?" Sam demanded indignantly, voice cracking.
"Come on," Dean rolled his eyes. "Unfortunately, there is literally no part of you I haven't seen before." Sam simply glared at him for another long few moments and Dean could only sigh. "Come on, man," Dean begged. "Don't make this hard."
Sam sent one lost scathing look at Dean before putting his arms straight up in the air.
Dean had to blink a few times and Sam started waving his hands around a little impatiently before he finally got what was being asked of him.
"Really?" Dean huffed as he grabbed the back of Sam's sweatshirt and dragged it over his head. "Just because you look like a child doesn't mean you need to start acting like one."
Sam's hair came out on the other end of the sweatshirt sloppy and mussed, and his smile wide and cheeky. But his face was still flushed with fever and swallowing took more than a little effort, so Dean simply helped him scale the side of the bathtub.
"We need to get you some clothes." Dean commented as he fingered the twenty-billion-sizes-too-big sweatshirt still in his hands.
Sam nodded, teeth too busy chattering out a staccato beat with the sudden chill introduced to his overheated system to respond in complete sentences.
"I'll figure something out." Dean shrugged, tossing the sweatshirt away and shutting off the tap just in time to hear the thrumming guitar riffs that signaled his phone ringing. Bobby flashed across the screen.
"Got a lead on what that hair might 'a been about," Bobby said without preamble as soon as Dean put the phone to his ear. "Best I can figure it's some sorta regression spell."
"Yeah," Dean scratched at the back of his head, glancing at the wet Sam-child over his shoulder. "Yeah, we sorta figured that too."
Bobby paused long enough to digest that sentence and presumably drain whatever glass was sitting in front of him. "Do I want to know what you two idjits did?"
. Dean looked at Sam. Sam looked at Dean
Bobby sighed a weary, longsuffering sigh. "Why don't you go ahead and tell me anyway."
"Alright," Dean drawled. "Well… Sam-"
"Nevermind, I've heard enough." Bobby sighed again hard enough that Dean was concerned he might have broken something. "How old?"
"Four-ish, I think." Dean made shooing motions with his hand towards Sam, motioning him towards the soap with a gesture that informed him he stank. Sam rolled his eyes and ducked his head under the water long enough to wet his hair. "It's hard to tell, though. He still acts like Sam." He reached above his head to grab the complimentary bottle of shampoo that barely took up space in the palm of his hand before passing it over his shoulder to Sam, where the bottle took up the entirety of both palms.
"What do you mean?" Bobby asked slowly, a cautious tone edging in around the corners of his voice.
"I mean," Dean clarified loudly. "Toddler body, normal Sam. Sam's big, big brain inside of a little, little, short body, Bobby."
"Dean, I want you to answer me very clearly now;" Bobby's voice had taken on a new tone of serious. "Did the witch finish the spell? Was it interrupted at all?"
Dean paused to replay the exact moment where he had tipped the entire alter over onto Mallory's living room floor.
"You could say that…"
"I am sayin' that." Bobby snapped. "Did she or didn't she?"
"No." Dean was back to scrubbing the back of his neck. "No, I tipped the bowl of soul food before she could finish."
There was silence for a moment on the line before: "Balls."
"What's wrong, Bobby?" Dean could hear the tint of panic start to creep into his tone and he felt Sam's eyes on the back of his head.
"These spells are complicated," Dean could almost see Bobby running a hand over his face on the other side of the phone, breathing heavily as he was plopped right in the middle of another Winchester problem. "Chances are, now that she's started it, she's going to want to finish it,"
"Oh," Dean's eyes darkened. "You don't know the half of it."
"The point here being," Bobby plowed on. "If she gets her hands on Sam again, she can finish the spell- put 'im in mindset of a four-year-old, and then lock it."
"Lock it?" Dean repeated.
"That sounds exactly as bad as it is." Bobby confirmed. "Lock the spell and Sam's gone forever."
Dean rubbed his eyes tiredly. Whywhywhywhywhy… "How do I undo it, Bobby?" He demanded.
"I got most of the things you'll need up here," Bobby sounded like he was shuffling through papers. "The rest of it I can get before next Monday. Where are you?"
"Louisiana." A two day's drive for anyone who wasn't toting around a four-year-old and didn't need food or restroom breaks. "We'll be there by Friday." Dean promised, silently hoping that he was right.
"Dean…" Bobby seemed to hesitate.
"'Til that spell is gone or sealed, Sam might be a little… off."
Dean resisted the intense urge to beat his head against the toilet bowl until he was unconscious, mostly because the toilet bowl was dirty. "Off how, Bobby?"
"Depends on how far she got in the spell." He could feel Bobby shrug on the other line. "You can pretty much expect him to be all over the place emotionally, he might be a little slower than normal, but aside from that I don't know what to tell you."
Well, on second thought, the toilet bowl wasn't that dirty. "Thanks, Bobby."
"Look out for your brother," Bobby instructed. Dean just nodded before the call was disconnected.
The sound of water shifting and splashing from behind him and Dean turned to find exactly what he had expected: Sam's big eyes gazing at him intently, asking him without words to tell him what was wrong.
However, all Sam said was; "I want waffles for breakfast." before nodding once resolutely like he had just shared a grand piece of wisdom and returning to creating a mohawk out of the suds in his hair.
"You got it?" Dean peered in through the passenger's window at Sam struggling to tie the shoes Dean had run ahead and grabbed for him.
"I got it," Sam huffed, fumbling with the shoe laces again in his chubby fingers. "I can do it." He repeated for the sixth time since Dean had passed the bag of clothes through the window. It was an interesting change in ensemble to say the least. Considering that the 'Lumberjack Plaid' fad hadn't caught on with toddlers yet Sam was looking very un-Sammy wearing a Captain America t-shirt and a pair of tan shorts. The little red sneakers, if they ever became tied, would complete the look.
Sam growled deep in his throat as he messed up the laces again, yanking at the tangled mess with the obvious intent of starting all over again.
A grin touched Dean's lips as he opened the passenger's side door and stooped to his haunches.
"No," Sam tried to swat away his hands as Dean tied the shoe in record time. "Stop it! I can do it!"
"I know you can, Sammy," Dean soothed. "But we need to get you a couple more outfits before we can go get waffles for breakfast, so we need to hurry up. You can untie and re-tie 'em later all you want." Sam seemed to begrudgingly accept this compromise, crossing his arms snippily over his chest as he watched Dean finish tying the other shoe. "Come on," Dean helped Sam hop out of the car, holding has hand as they walked across the parking lot and into the Target.
"This is friggin' embarrassing." Sam complained as Dean threw a pack of little Spider-man tighty whiteys into their basket. "And why do you keep grabbing me superhero stuff?" He demanded, picking through the Wolverine, Batman, and Green Lantern shirts that Dean had already tossed into the basket.
"Because, if I'm hanging out with a kid, he's sure as hell going to look cool." Dean reasoned, scoring a basket in their cart with a bundle of Superman socks.
Sam rolled his eyes and turned his back to Dean in favor of a quest for normal shirt. That's how he came face-to-face with the most beautiful toy car he had ever seen. Black '69 Chevy Chevelle SS 1/32 scale with working doors, trunk, and hood, that ran forward if you ground the back wheels into the floor and dragged backwards.
Sam felt a very nearly physical want for the toy care settle in in the center of his chest. If he didn't get that toy car right this second he was going to break something. Or throw a fit. Maybe both. He wanted that toy car so bad. He started to fidget where he stood, the intense urge to just rip the dam car out of its plastic confines and sprinting away with it appealing to him on a level that should have disturbed him slightly.
"Sammy?" Dean glanced over at his immobile little brother. "You okay?" He walked over cautiously. It only took him a few seconds to connect the dots and then a grin split his face.
"Dean," Sam looked up from his place around Dean's knee, eyes dewy. "Can I have the Chevelle?" He squirmed around impatiently.
Dean's first instinct was to say no. No, you can't have the car, you're only going to use it for a week. No, you're not a child, you can't have a toy. But then Sam did that thing with his eyes that turned Dean's inside into marshmallows and kittens and he found himself checking out a toy car along with the bundles of superhero shirts, Sam giddily making race car sounds as he waved the toy car around in the air wildly.
"Waffles?" Sam demanded the very second Dean had settled into the driver's seat of the Impala.
Dean glanced over warily at his short passenger. "Are you sure, dude? You haven't eaten waffles in, like, twenty years."
Sam looked at Dean very seriously. "Waffles. Chocolate chips. Whipped cream." He said in a voice that Dean had really only heard when Sam had been a Demon-interrogating/exorcising badass, which seemed so ridiculously out of place now that he was clutching a toy car to his Captain America chest.
Dean couldn't help but chuckle as he turned the key in the ignition. "Yeah, yeah, alright, waffles."
Neither of them noticed a put upon looking black cat settled gingerly on the roof of the car next to them, listening in on every word the Winchesters exchanged and pondering the many ways he could screw things up for them again.
The waffle house sounded like a good place to start.
Stretching leisurely, Hoodoo picked himself up and easily slunk down the windshield of the SUV, considering his debt to Mallory Redwood and plotting the ways he could pay her back. All he had to do was split up two brothers.
And, really, how hard could that be?
Obligatory bathtub and shopping scene taken care of, now I can really start having fun. I'm feelin' some Castiel coming on next chapter… bahahahah!
Drop me a thought if you've got a minute.