The Hedgehog Rescue

By PaBurke

Summary/Challenge: Dean went to Hell and was hauled out of Perdition only to be turned into a 4/5-year-old version of himself. Also has to be sick.

Disclaimer: So not mine

Rating: teen-ish

Author's Note: The challenge mentioned mostly Sam dealing with trauma kidDean, but when I tried to fit it into canon, I realized that only Dean could find Sam at that period of time and if Dean's memories are iffy and if Dean is silent (the canon way of kidDean dealing with trauma), Sam would not have been found. So it's all Awesome!Bobby.


The phone had been ringing at odd hours at the Singer residence and then the person on the other end would hang up when Bobby answered. It was damn annoying and it wasn't just his business phone or the phone that was listed as his personal number. No, it was every damn phone wired into his kitchen.

After two sleepless nights of the phone ringing, Bobby called up the phone company to see if they had the phone number of the idjit who wouldn't talk. At least the guy wasn't a heavy breather.

After a little cajoling, Bobby got the number. A quick reverse directory search on the Internet found out that the phone number belonged to an Illinois children's home.

What the hell?

Who there would have all of his numbers and would want to call him?

So Bobby called up the place to ask. Bobby talked around the social worker and the social worker talked around Bobby. Neither one wanted to admit why they were so suspicious of the other. Then Mr. Devlin mentioned that they had a little boy who was continually sneaking into the offices and using the phone. The boy would not speak all day, but he screamed bloody murder within thirty minutes of falling asleep. Every time. The child had kept the same habit for a week and it was disturbing the other children. The social workers couldn't place him without knowing what was the source of the problem, but the child was stonewalling them.

Bobby remembered another little boy who didn't talk when he was traumatized. The adult version of that little boy knew all of his phone numbers and, if by some miracle –or curse- had gotten out of Hell, would be traumatized beyond belief.

He didn't know why he asked Mr. Devlin if the mysterious boy was blond, with green eyes and freckles.

It was the freckles that convinced Mr. Devlin that Bobby knew the identity of the mysterious male-child. This was all well and good, except that Bobby didn't believe that he knew whom the boy was. Dean was dead and -not to mention- an adult. It was impossible. Incredible. Unrealistic.

But that was Dean, wasn't it? The source and discoverer of all things that should be extinct or dead or myths. Bobby didn't know whether it was hope or fear that prompted him to get his affairs in order so that he could gain custody of the mute boy.

So Bobby drove to Pontiac, Illinois. He told himself the whole way that what he was thinking (hoping) was impossible. He told himself that right up to the moment that he got out of his Charger in front of the Children's Home and a pint size Dean barreled out of the doors and into his arms. Those tiny arms were vices around his neck and hot tears got lost in his collar. He smelled of Dean.

Dean made a point of wrapping his hands around Bobby silver necklace and anti-possession charm. Then he went looking for Bobby's flask. Bobby switched out the first one Dean reached for. "Not that one," he told the boy.

An almost smile peeked out, like a sliver of sunlight in the midst of an ice storm. Dean drank the holy water without a problem, letting it dribble down his chin where Bobby could see it.

"What the hell happened to you?" Bobby asked.

Dean shrugged. He didn't use words, but at least he was responding to Bobby.

A social worker sprinted out of the children's home. He was tall and thin to the point he looked like a scarecrow. The too-long frizzy blond hair reinforced the impression. "Mr. Singer?" he asked.

"Mr. Devlin," Bobby replied.

"I presume that you have confirmed Dean Campbell's identity?"

"Yes. When his brother called me to tell me that Dean was dead and that he buried the body, I never imagined that Sam could have gotten it wrong. I even visited the gravesite myself."

"What can you tell me about Sam Campbell? Did he cause this trauma?"

Dean's fury was painfully apparent to Bobby and the hunter had to grabbed Dean and pull him back before he punched the blabber-mouth of a social worker in the balls.

"Never," Bobby told Devlin. The man had no idea how close he had come to excruciating pain. "Sam was devastated at his brother's death. Sam would do anything for Dean and vice versa. It's been just the two of them for a couple of years. Their mom died early on and their father two years ago."

"How do you fit into all of this?"

"I met their father when Sam was just a little kid. I've been Uncle Bobby since."

"Will you be staying in town, Mr. Singer?" Devlin asked. "Dean would surely appreciate a friendly face as we get him settled with a family."

"I'll take Dean," Bobby was quick to offer. If Dean was something other than what he appeared to be, Bobby would take care of that as well.

Devlin shook his head. "You're a single man who is not family. No judge is going to award custody…"

"I've got a letter from John –their father," Bobby cut him off. "I told you that I've known the family forever and since it was just John raising the two boys, I've got custody if anything happened to him." Bobby let go of Dean long enough to reach into his car and pull out the folder. It really was a piece of paper that John had signed decades ago, giving Bobby custody should anything happen to him. And a real judge had reissued it yesterday and backdated it to three years ago. The judge in question had gotten drunk and done some stupid things in Bobby's junkyard, but since the judge had come through in this jam, Bobby was going to erase those things from his mind. It never had happened. It had never happened. Thank goodness it had never happened 'cause Ronald Dupree should know better than to wear purple lace. He was an elected official in the middle of Hicksville, for crying out loud.

"These appear to be in order," Devlin looked confused.

"Call up the judge. He'll confirm."

"I will do that," Devlin promised. "If you and Dean wouldn't mind waiting inside?" The man was an idiot and clearly talked down to children, but he wasn't about to give Bobby a chance to run off with the willing –if very silent- child.

Bobby pulled Dean inside and the two of them sat on the hard benches in the hallway. Bobby tried several different ways of getting Dean to speak, but the kid ignored him. Dean simply sat by him and waited. He sniffled and sneezed. Bobby got him to blow in his hanky and took stock of the kid's temperature with the back of his hand. Damnit, Dean was burning up. Now that he was concentrating on the kid and not the situation, Bobby realized that the green eyes were glossy with fever. Even as skinny as Dean was in his memories, this version of child-Dean was even thinner.

Bobby wheeled on Devlin as soon as he stepped out of his office. "Damnit! Dean is sick! What the hell have you been doing to him?"

"Mr. Singer," Devlin was actually looking relieved at Bobby's accusation. "Please think about this. Dean had been wandering around in the middle of nowhere, with no jacket and we've had several rainstorms recently. He hasn't been sleeping, at all, and he's surrounded by several other children who all have been around other children. I would be surprised if he hadn't picked up some sort of cold. He's been through trauma on top of all that. Dean needs help. Perhaps you can get him to cooperate with a general practitioner. Dean attacked the doctor that this office normally uses."

"I'll take him," Bobby promised. "And he'll behave. Right, Dean?"

Dean shrugged, apathetic now that a familiar face was there to get him out of the mess. Bobby could see how tired he was of being sick and how sick he was of being tired. Bobby also could see the underlying fear of falling asleep. Every time Dean's head bobbed, the boy would get up and walk around and jiggle his legs and bounce and use up energy that he just didn't have to spend. He needed to concentrate on resting and improving his health, not running from night terrors.

Since Judge Dupree had verified Bobby's story, Devlin had a pile of papers for the junk man to sign. He hated every second of it but he didn't want anyone coming and taking Dean. It seemed like the papers took forever. It took hours. Bobby was vaguely aware of Dean not moving as much in the chair in the corner, but he was too busy asking questions and getting clarification. Devlin might not look like much, but the guy knew his child protection laws backward and forward. He warned Bobby of everything that would happen, everything that should happen and everything that shouldn't happen but had happened in the past for which he needed to prepare.

Bobby had been reading another paper silently when Dean screamed.


Bobby shoved away from the papers and was shaking Dean awake before he even realized it. "Dean! Dean! It's ok! Wake up! Uncle Bobby's here. It's ok! Dean!"

Dean woke up and instantly looked ashamed. Damn Winchester pride.

"It's safe here, with me," Bobby told him. "You survived it and you're safe."

Dean almost believed him. Bobby grabbed a couple of Kleenexes off Devlin's desk and handed them to the kid. "Clean up your nose." Dean cleaned up his face, surreptitiously wiping his eyes as well.

Devlin observed everything intensely, like he was taking notes to use next time he came across a boy like Dean.

Bobby would have snorted, but then he would have had to explain himself. Devlin would never meet another boy like Dean. What worked on Dean would probably not work on any other kid.

Devlin cleared his throat. "I believe that we have all the red tape cleared up. We just need to gather Dean's clothes and toys from upstairs and you can be on your way."

"Toys?" Bobby echoed. Even as a child the first time around, Dean really hadn't been one for toys. Dean didn't look embarrassed at all as he led the way to the boys' room. He made a bee-line toward the bottom bunk in the corner.

"We have a local volunteer," Devlin explained proudly. "She crochets stuffed toys for all of our newcomers. It's something just for them. She's been doing it for ten years. Some of the lucky ones still have their stuffed toy after they've become adults. Dean has been partial to his stuffed animal."

Dean pulled a stuffed hedgehog off the bed (made with military corners, Bobby noticed). The fuzzy yarn went every which way. Bobby didn't need to think long about why Dean liked it.

"Sammy," he guessed.

Dean nodded, almost smiling again.

"Sammy?" Devlin echoed. "After his brother?"

Bobby shrugged. "The boy's hair's too long and can be hard to control in the mornings."


Dean already had all of his clothes in a worn duffle bag; the hedgehog was tucked under one arm.

"You ready?" Bobby asked the child.

Dean nodded. Bobby shook Devlin's hand; the man had been a pain in the ass, but he had been a pain in the ass on Dean's behalf. Dean apparently agreed, because he shoved his hand towards Devlin to shake as well. Devlin was surprised at a boy estimated at the age of 5 wanting to shake hands.

Bobby wanted to get Dean someplace quiet, so that he could find out exactly what was happening. So he ushered Dean out of the children's home and into the parking lot.

A man in a trench coat was waiting by the Charger. He nodded once to Bobby. He reached out to Dean and wrapped his hand around Dean's right shoulder. To Bobby's surprise, Dean didn't yank himself away. He just stared up at the stranger, as if trying to figure something out. Bobby tried to dislodge the man, but he stood as firm as a statue.

"Thank you, Robert for coming," the man intoned. "I was unprepared for this."

"Christo," Bobby barked.

The man tilted his head like a bird, but his eyes never turned black. "I am not Him. I do not understand. I am not omnipotent. My brothers were surprised when I succeeded in my task so early. Why was two months of laying siege to Hell insufficient? Why is the warrior so small? I will return when I have found answers."

There was a blur and Bobby might have heard wings, but the stranger was gone. Dean's left hand covered his right shoulder like the stranger had.


Dean's hand dropped and Bobby vowed to check out that shoulder as the soonest opportunity. What the hell was going on here? No surprise that Dean was smack-dab in the middle of the mess, but what was the mess?

Dean climbed into the back of the Charger and put on his seatbelt. Bobby settled into the driver's seat and turned on the radio to a 'classic rock' station. In no time, Dean was asleep, his head resting against the door, his little hedgehog wrapped tight in his arms. But he was sleeping longer than thirty minutes. At the next gas station, Bobby bought some child's cold medicine. He nudged Dean until he would swallow the fake grape syrup and then he covered the boy with his own jacket. It was getting a little cold outside. Dean never really woke up but he was breathing easier.

Bobby might have been a bit smug, but he felt he deserved it considering how well he was handling a sick, de-aged Dean.

That was, of course, the moment when Dean woke up screaming for Sammy.


for a pic of the hedgehog: http:/pics(dot)livejournal(dot)com/faithburke/pic/0000rq0a/

Challenge: Dean went to Hell and was hauled out of Perdition only to be turned into a 4/5-year-old version of himself.
He still has the majority of his memories intact, though they're a bit vague. For example, he knows he's supposed to be "grown up", he's a hunter like Dad, that he's been to someplace very bad and scary and that it hurt, who Sam is, etc. Sam's already out of his element because he doesn't have a lot of experience with kids and Dean's... well... Dean's LITTLE and is so dependent on him for everything. Then, because of all the stress and his out-of-whack immune system Dean gets sick. Like *REALLY* sick... like with respiratory-related stuff with lots of sneezing and coughing and his chest hurts and he's having trouble breathing (can be *anything*), and his face won't stop draining and he's wiping his nose on his sleeves and he's kind of clingy and cranky and is just miserable. On top of it all, he keeps having Hell-related nightmares so he's a little traumatized smurffy on top of it all. Also, 5 BONUS POINTS if a stuffed animal or some other comforting item can be worked in for Dean to cuddle up with while sniffling and clinging to Sam's flannel shirt because he's so sick and messed up.