HoodieTime is totally enabling my procrastrination. Expect more hurt!Dean fic in the days to come.
I don't own Supernatural. I just like to play with the boys and return them slightly more broken than they were before.
It's the most awkward and tense drive Dean can remember in recent history. Sure, there was that one time last Christmas when Dad wouldn't turn around for the magic wand Sammy had left at the motel room and there was that unfortunate situation when Dean was fifteen and John had to drive him to the hospital after an…encounter with his succubus tutor, but still, this one takes the cake.
Dad is silently fuming, anger and irritation coming off of him in waves and Dean is seriously considering calling Bobby and asking for some sort of voodoo spell that would merge him with the leather seats of the Impala. Because Dad would probably have a much harder time beating the shit out of the upholstery and burying its remains in the woods.
"Left turn," Dad directs, voice still kinda blown from all the yelling he did earlier.
Dean steers the car in the desired direction, thinking that it's beyond fucked up how Dad has him driving to his own execution. He thinks he might try another plea for mercy, explaining how his brain is still riddled from his recent bronchitis and he wasn't really thinking straight, but it's not like Dad was particularly taken by his first three attempts and anyway, Dean isn't exactly the little, innocent choirboy in this situation. Sure, he was only planning on Sammy throwing a hissy fit at getting salt all over his cereal, but that doesn't really change the fact that his – hilarious – prank also sort of lead to Dad showering the ghost of one pissed off Klan member with a surprisingly unhelpful load of sugar. Dean chances a quick glance at the painful looking burns on his father's neck and quickly returns his attention to the road when he is met with a steely glower.
"Pull over," comes the next cold command.
Dean expected their little drive to take them somewhere out into the swamps where no one would hear his dying screams but hey, he's cool with stopping right in the middle of Hick Town, Mississippi.
The damp night air hits him like a wall and Dean doubles over, grabbing onto his half open door while trying to get his coughing fit under control. He was maybe expecting a helping hand or some sort of comforting whacks on his back from Dad like he's been doing all of last month, but obviously Dean's really screwed the pooch this time, 'cause when he manages to pull himself back together Dad is still on the other side of the car, just staring at him.
"You're not getting out of this one, son," he scoffs and Dean bites down on his lower lip to keep from digging himself in even deeper.
"Not tryin' to get out of anything, sir," he half-coughs, eyes dropping to his ratty sneakers. His voice is still entirely too close to a barely audible rasp, but whatever.
John nods and leads the way into the local school's football stadium, knowing that Dean will follow right on his heels.
It's a small feat, especially considering how anything that remotely involves wiring and is not a car tends to hate John's guts, but he manages to bully the floodlights into flickering to life, basking the entire stadium in cold blue light.
He can hear the quiet wheeze that has been his son's breath for the last couple weeks and for a minute he's back at the kid's bedside, sorting meds and taking temperatures and helping him through painfully exhausting coughing fits and he almost wants to pussy out of his plan. Make Dean translate ancient texts over and over and over again maybe, or simply postpone the punishment until he's back to 100%, but then a quick tilt of his head aggravates the small abrasions on his neck and just like that his earlier anger is back full force.
"Get running," he orders, jerking his chin in the direction of the illuminated football field.
John turns around to glare at his son who can be grateful he looks honestly confused, rather than defiant.
"Laps. Around the field. Keep right on going."
You'd think that the kid would have figured out by now how this whole chain of command thing works, but John sees the stubborn set of his seventeen-year old's jaw and the glimmer of something in his eyes and senses danger.
"Geez, thanks, I'm Forrest Gump now?" Dean quips and it's all John can do to not slap that insolent smirk right off the kid's face. Must have shown in his eyes too, because Dean takes a very deliberate step backwards, out of his reach, before he continues, "Dad, really, running? I don't think my lungs are up for that just yet."
John pulls at that memory of being stabbed with his own torch by a racist ghost again and fixes Dean with a cold glare. "I can start counting, buddy," he threatens.
"Right," Dean heaves with a heavy sigh that sort of ends in a dry cough. "How many laps?"
Before John has a chance to finish his count, Dean takes off in the direction of the goal posts, muttering under his breath about how good old-fashioned whipping never hurt anybody.
Dean thinks he might be dying. It's only been five laps and his head is pounding and he has broken out in a cold sweat – not the healthy workout kind of sweat, but the bronchitis and fever kind – not to mention his chest is burning and it feels like with every breath he takes, he sucks in the moisture in the air and it takes up permanent residence inside his lungs. He knows this isn't supposed to be a walk in the park and he's been through his fair share of punishment workouts to know that he always ends up a shaking, crying ball on the shower floor, but it isn't supposed to be bad like this and certainly not after five measly laps. Granted, it is one giant bitch of a football field, but still…
Dad's voice from somewhere behind the blinding lights carries over to him when he's making his way past the stands for the sixth time. Something about picking up his pace and doing this all night and some other fucked up shit. Dean is pretty sure that he should be able to make out the words more clearly but the deafening white noise is clogging up his ears in a way it probably shouldn't.
Maybe he shouldn't have stopped taking his antibiotics half way through last week, Dean figures. And maybe he shouldn't have thrown out the inhaler he got at the hospital and maybe he shouldn't have started another prank war after Dad officially banned them in the wake of the Great Nair Incident of '93.
He trips over his feet and does a faceplant right as he's passing the stands for the seventh time. The muscles in his legs are starting to cramp and Dean's ready to do just about anything other than running. Pushups or squats or fucking Latin translations. Anything.
He might have said something along those lines too, or Dad is just creepy good at reading his mind, because a hand on his clammy shoulder pulls him back onto his feet and his father's low "tired of doing laps?" manages to get through the white noise.
Dean sways on his feet and makes a hoarse sound that vaguely resembles a "yessir".
John takes in the look of his kid. He's in bad shape, but that's to be expected what with the recent chest infection and being out of training and all. Well, no time like the present to catch up, right?
"Shuttle runs," he instructs, indicating the distance between the goal posts and the fifty yard line. Something flashes across Dean's flushed face, but the earlier fight is all but gone. Good. Means they're getting somewhere.
John sits back down on the coach's bench and watches Dean make his way to the fifty line, back to the posts, to the forty line, back the posts. The kid's steps look sloppy and barely coordinated, but John figures that's only natural after being out of commission for almost a month. It's still entirely unacceptable, though. Ghosts and demons and other sons of bitches don't give a flying fuck about lingering chest infections, so neither can John. He barks another command to keep going when Dean comes to a standstill after completing his second set. He doesn't want to have this 'talk' with Dean again, he tells himself. Better get it over with quickly.
Dean takes a few stumbling steps towards the ten yard line before stopping completely. John is hit with a jolt of worry before he quickly pushes it down to be covered by protective layers of anger and hard-ass and drill sergeant.
All his shouting is doing no good this time 'round though. Cursing himself and his son and the entire state of Mississippi for good measure, John crosses the field in an angry stride. He keeps calling Dean's name in that voice. The one he knows better than to ignore but nothing happens and John's brain is seriously having trouble catching up with this new rebellious streak of his son's.
Not knowing whether to be pissed as hell or worried sick, he grabs the kid's shoulder and that's when his brain finally decides to pick the correct answer, which is 'be worried shitless'.
Dean's shirt is soaked through with cold sweat, but he can feel the burning flesh underneath. Fear and pain is shining back at John in two huge pools of green. His face has lost all traces of his earlier flush and John's pretty sure he could count individual freckles if he tried. His blue tinged lips are opening, closing in quick, choppy motions, desperately trying to draw in breaths with a sickening wheezing sound that sounds altogether too close to a death rattle.
"Fuck, Dean, you with me?"
Dean sags forward with another pant and it's a good thing John's already got his hand on the kid's shoulder.
"You getting any air, kid?"
"Right. C'mon, hospital."
John half drags, half carried Dean back to the car. He tries to force himself back into Marine mode, but he's let go of that for a second, so now the scared father has completely taken over control, telling him he screwed up, he very possibly just killed his kid, he's a failure at being a father and a hunter and living in general.
He thanks whatever higher power he's pretty sure he doesn't believe in that Dean is still breathing his wheezy, painful gulps of air by the time he gets him to the hospital, parking the Impala right in front of a huge No Parking sign, only throwing the keys at some blood covered male nurse, when Dean points a panicked finger at the tow truck that is looming over the parking lot.
John tells the doctors some contrived lie about what happened to his son and in turn the doctors tell John a lot of medical mumbo jumbo about pneumothorax and secondary causes and underlying lung disease and finally somebody manages to get the words "not life threatening" in there, after which John stops listening entirely.
When Dean gets wheeled back into their little section of the emergency room, a tube sticking out of his chest, looking pale and exhausted, but very much alive, John has already worked himself up into a nervous wreck of worry and guilt and it takes every bit of restraint left in his body to wait until they are behind the semi-privacy of the stained curtain, before he crushes the kid against his chest.
Dean bats weakly at the offending hands, but his efforts only make John hold on tighter.
"Dad, what's wrong?" Dean asks, still sounding hoarse and out of breath and John feels the unwelcome tickle of tears at the back of his eyes. Dean just almost died – and no matter what the doctors say, not being able to breathe equals almost dying in John's book – because of John's moronic stubborn ass and now John wants to hug him and Dean has to ask what's wrong? He can feel the grief run through his whole body in shivers.
"Jesus," Dean rasps, failing at getting his face free from John's chest. "Not like this is the first time I almost kicked it."
And that just does it. He is fairly sure that the grip his has on his kid is going to leave bruises and the tears he's been trying to hold back leak past his eyelids. He wants to apologize over and over and over again, tell Dean that he's sorry and that he'll listen next time he says he can't do something, but it's been so long since John admitted that kind of weakness to anyone, much less one of his boys and before he can remember how to do it, Dean is whispering his own quiet sorries into his father's shirt.
"What the hell do you got to be sorry for?" John pulls back in confusion and is met with an awkward shrug from his son. He looks completely and utterly confused by the question.
"C'mon," John forces his voice to work even though his insides are being pulled in all sorts of painful directions. "Let's get that tube out of you and get some chow."
Dean nods, already more comfortable at the quasi command than the creepy touchy-feely hugging situation. "Burgers and pie?" he asks hopefully.
"Burgers and pie," John agrees and that's probably the closest he'll ever get to an actual apology.