Summary: Mary's got a cold so John takes little Dean and baby Sammy out to the park and to the grocery store to have some fun before all four of them spend the evening together as a family. A happy, fluffy story, complete with some feels, set a couple of weeks pre-fire. Wee!chesters/ Baby!chesters. (Dean is four, Sam is five months.)
Warnings: Excessive fluff, maybe? ;)
Disclaimer: Writing belongs to me. Everything else belongs to Warner Brothers/CW/Kripke and co. For entertainment purposes only.
AN: This started off as an idea for a fluffy, happy drabble about the whole Winchester family, but it took on a life of its own! It's still fluffy, and happy, with maybe some feels thrown in, but it's now over 8,000 words. Ooops! What can I say? Apparently I can't say no to happy Winchesters, haha! ;) Hope you enjoy the story. Reviews are much appreciated. :)
Sneezes and snuggles
"I'll be fine John, I promise."
"I mean it, John. It's just a stupid cold."
Mary pulled her pale pink dressing gown more tightly around her, sniffling slightly. It wasn't especially cold in the hallway, despite the fact that autumn had well and truly arrived in Kansas. Despite only nearing the end of October, frost clung to everything, making the town look almost other-worldly as the ice shone and sparkled in the sun, contrasting beautifully with the deep reds and rich oranges of the fallen leaves. The wind was chilly but the sun and the blue sky made the whole picture a lot more cheerful. However after a couple of days feeling under the weather Mary had woken that morning feeling shivery and full of cold.
Glancing up at his wife John knelt down to help four year old Dean with his coat zip.
"I don't like leaving you when you're sick," he protested.
Mary rolled her eyes fondly as she shook her head, her matted blond curls brushing her shoulders. She smiled softly as she watched Dean pulling on his woolly hat, trying to get it to sit straight, ready to face the cold winds of Lawrence in the autumn. He then pulled out his new gloves from his coat pocket, tongue poking out slightly in concentration as he tried to figure out how to get them on by himself. He'd watched as his mom had gently pulled on Sam's mittens, Sam squirming and trying to flex his hands as she did so, trying to remember what she had done.
"I'm fine," Mary emphasised, as she knelt down herself to help Dean with his gloves, pulling them on straight and kissing away the frown which marred his little forehead, confused at how he'd managed to get two fingers stuck in one glove finger. "Nothing a relaxing day in bed with my book won't cure. You boys go and have fun."
John nodded with a sigh as he reached out and shouldered the baby bag Mary held out to him. He picked up Sam's baby seat, checking the straps were secure and Sammy was comfortable, all bundled up in numerous layers, with only his eyes, nose and mouth visible. Brushing a light finger along Sam's nose, both Mary and John laughed as Sam crossed his eyes to follow John's action and gurgled happy.
Dean reached out to do the same, laughing as Sam caught his finger in his mittened grip and held on tight, shaking his little fist up and down, giggling as Dean tried to reclaim his finger.
"Sammy!" Dean whined playfully, not annoyed in the slightest; he loved playing with his younger brother. He pulled his finger from Sam's surprisingly strong hold, readjusting his glove, before tickling Sammy mercilessly in the tummy. The effect was slightly lost through the padded winter coat Sam was wrapped up in but Sammy shrieked and giggled all the same, waving his arms and legs around as much as his safety restraints would allow.
John and Mary shared an indulgent glance at their sons' antics. Dean had doted on Sam from the minute he'd found out he was going to be a big brother and Sam loved the attention Dean lavished on him.
John leaned over to kiss Mary on the cheek, smiling at his wife as she scowled, pulling away, and shooed him towards the door.
"Fine, fine. I know where I'm not wanted," John huffed, the twinkle in his eye clear when he turned back to his wife as he made his way out the front door.
"Too right you do." Mary quipped back. "And don't forget to pick up the groceries on the way home."
"Yes, dear." John heaved a sarcastic, put-upon sigh as he adjusted his grip on Sam's baby seat and held out his hand for Dean to take, before climbing carefully down the front steps, Dean taking them one at a time.
Mary took a playful swipe at John's shoulder just before he was out-of-reach, before scrambling in her pocket, pulling out a tissue and sneezing loudly. John opened his mouth to tell Mary to get back inside where it was warm but Dean's voice stopped him.
"Bless you, Mommy."
Dean turned, his attention pulled away from kicking up the fallen leaves which had blown into a pile at the base of the front doorsteps to Mary, his big green eyes wide as he looked on worriedly at his sick mommy leaning in the doorway.
"Thanks, sweetie." Mary smiled at her eldest.
"You be ok?"
Mary's heart melted, as it did everyday when she looked at her precious family, as she took in Dean's anxious little face, his bottom lip caught in his teeth and a soft crease forming in between his eyebrows, clearly worried because his mom was too ill to go with them.
"I'll be fine Dean, don't you worry. You go and have fun with your dad and Sam, okay? I want to hear all about it when you get back."
Dean pulled his hand from John's and clambered up the stairs as best he could in his slightly too-big wellies. Mary bent down to meet him, doing her best to ignore the cold air which wound its way through her many layers. The warmth which spread through her however as Dean wrapped his arms around her as far as he could and squeezed her tight made lingering in the frosty doorway all worth while.
"Love you Mommy. Feel better." Dean said, his voice muffled by the folds of her dressing gown.
Kissing his head, the soft red wool of his hat feeling cold on her lips, Mary let Dean go back to John who was waiting patiently with Sam in the driveway.
"Love you too Dean."
"Come on then champ. We're gonna have lots of fun at the park aren't we?"
Dean nodded enthusiastically as the Winchester threesome made their way carefully towards the street, beginning the short walk to the park. Mary watched as they moved further and further away from the house, hearing Dean laugh at something John must have said. She waved as John lifted Dean up onto his hip so he could see Mary. She could see Dean's smile from her vantage point, and she couldn't help the blush that spread across her cheeks as John blew her an affectionate kiss with a cheeky wink before disappearing around the corner. Her husband was incorrigible, she mused with a smile, and she knew she wouldn't have him any other way. Moving back into the warmth of the house, Mary closed the door behind her. The house seemed too big and quiet as she made her way to the kitchen to make herself some soothing herbal tea for her throat.
As she waited for the water to boil her attention was caught by one of their family snapshots she'd stuck up on the fridge; the four of them were standing in front of the garden tree in front of the house, smiling at the camera, and Mary couldn't help but smile in response. She traced her fingers over Sam's face in the picture; her beautiful baby boy. She was so proud of her little family. She'd always dreamed of this; marrying John, settling down in a house with a white-picket fence, starting a family of her own, safe and happy, a life full of joy and laughter. But her dreams couldn't even touch her reality; her boys were perfect, they were everything to her and she loved them with all her heart, and always would.
Her gaze snagged onto the picture next to the photograph, Dean's somewhat wonky looking but charming crayon drawing of the Impala, with the whole family standing next to the car, with the caption in her writing 'Bringing Baby Sammy home', copied in Dean's shaky handwriting underneath. It was starting to fade as it had been stuck pride of place on the fridge door since its creation over five months ago; the edges were curling slightly, and the drawing itself not the most refined, even for a child of four, but to Mary it was the greatest work of art. If she wasn't alone she would have claimed that the sting of tears in her eyes were a side-effect of her cold, but she could be honest enough with herself that her love and pride for her family sometimes still over-whelmed her. The click of the kettle announcing that the water was ready pulled her from her musings about her family. She wished she could have gone to the park with her boys. With a sigh she threw a tea bag into the mug before pouring in the water, imagining what her boys, all three of them, would get up to without her. No doubt she would hear all about it when they returned; she didn't know whether to be excited or nervous at the prospect.
Dean ran through the park, frozen leaves crunching loudly under his feet. He threw his arms wide and zig-zagged around the bare trees and in a circle around the bandstand where John had spread out their double-thickness picnic blanket to shield him and Sam from the wind. Getting hot from all the running he was doing Dean paused to unzip his coat, a tricky task he found when wearing gloves, before charging off once again. Feeling his coat whipping about behind him, trailing in his wake like a cloak, Dean felt like a superhero, darting through the city, fighting off monsters and saving people.
John smiled as he watched Dean tearing around, just being able to hear the swooshing and wooping noises he made as he zoomed past. Dean always had so much energy; he hoped this afternoon of running around would at least make bedtime tonight a little easier. Satisfied that Dean was happy entertaining himself, John turned his focus to his youngest. Unstrapping him from his baby seat John sat Sam in his lap, holding him close, ensuring he was warm enough. A soft touch to Sam's forehead was enough to let John know he was. John felt the corner of his mouth tug up as Sam didn't even acknowledge that he'd been moved or the feather-light brush of John's fingers, simply keeping his unwavering gaze focused on his rampaging brother, huge hazel eyes tracking Dean's every move. Being sure to keep Sam safe and upright, John reached over and snagged the handle of the baby bag, where it rested on the edge of the plaid blanket. Pulling it towards him he delved inside one-handed and retrieved a small jar of baby food and a spoon. Even the loud popping of the lid wasn't enough to distract Sam from watching Dean and John debated how long it would take him to notice the spoon of baby food he was being offered.
"Come on, Sammy, I know you've got to be hungry by now. Big growing boy like you, eh? You want to grow up big and tall and strong like your ol' man and big brother over there? Sam?" John encouraged, hovering the spoon in Sam's eyeline, with no result.
Completely ignoring the spoon Sam reached out his mittened hands towards Dean, making grabby motions as Dean trotted back over to John and Sam. Plonking himself down on the blanket Dean shucked off his coat, breathing heavily from his exertions.
"Did ya…see me Dad?" Dean asked eagerly through his panting. "I was being…Batman."
"I sure did, buddy. You make an awesome Batman."
Dean glowed under the praise, his grin lighting up his face as he shuffled over to Sam.
"Heya Sammy. How you doin'?"
Sam blinked up at him, blowing soft bubbles. Dean giggled.
"Aw, Sammy! Dad, Sammy's blow-ding ras…ras…" Dean scrunched his face up as he tried to remember what his mom had called it the last time Sam had done that whilst they were playing with his race-car set in the living room. "…ras-bees!"
"Raspberries, Dean, not ras-bees. And so he is!"
Dean squirmed as John took advantage of his distraction, pulling Dean's hat down over his eyes, causing him to overbalance with the loss of his vision and topple over onto the soft blanket next to John.
"Where's Dean gone? Sammy have you seen your brother? He's just vanished!" John pantomimed, as he made a great show of twisting around from his seat, looking for his eldest.
Sam looked from Dean to John, back and forth, watching the exchange with wide eyes, mouth slightly open. Dean pulled his hat off his head causing his hair to stick up in all directions, as he jumped up arms and legs splayed wide to make himself noticed.
"I'm here, Dad!" Dean laughed, a grin stretched wide across his freckled face which was flushed red in the cold wind, eyes bright and smiling.
John jumped in exaggerated surprise at Dean's sudden appearance, catching Dean in a head lock, which Dean wriggled at of with practised ease. Sam squeaked in approval as Dean put his hat into Sam's reaching hands. Dean watched as Sam toyed with the red material in his mittened grip, pulling and stretching at the wool.
"Can I hold him Dad? Please? I'll be real careful," Dean entreated, desperate to spend some quality time with his baby brother, sad that he wasn't yet old enough to play superheroes with him yet. He just knew when the time came Sammy would be the best comrade in arms against all the nasty men he had to fight when he was Batman. Dean would show him exactly how to make his coat into a superhero cloak and how to run in such complicated zig-zaggy patterns so they would always stay one step ahead of the bad guys.
Dean settled down and sat just like Mary had taught him so he'd be able to hold Sam as comfortably and safely as possible. John carefully lifted Sam and placed him in Dean's lap, ensuring Dean had a good enough grip on his brother.
John spent the next hour listening to Dean chattering away to his brother about cars and trees and Mr. Fuzzy and snowmen and fire-fighters. Dean had Sam sitting in the gap between his crossed legs, his back resting against his body, arms wrapped around him. Dean pointed out different shaped clouds and giggled as he tried to think of all the different things they looked like. Sam laughed along with his brother, eyes following wherever Dean pointed, sometimes copying his brother and reaching out his little arms to point too.
After a little while longer however Sam slumped a little more heavily against Dean, causing him to adjust his hold to support him. Carefully manoeuvring him in his arms, Dean looked down at his baby brother whose eyes were drooping, eyelashes fanning out across his baby-soft cheeks. Dean couldn't believe how lucky he was to have a brother like Sam; he was perfect. When Taylor, a boy from along the street, had visited his house Dean had proudly introduced him to Sammy who was in his rocking seat in the living room. When Taylor had frowned and complained that Sam was boring and funny-looking Dean had promptly retorted that Taylor was boring and funny-looking, stamped on Taylor's foot and refused to speak to him again. He'd gotten in a lot of trouble for doing that, but Dean didn't mind (much) because Sammy was important, and not-at-all boring or funny-looking, thank you very much, and it served Taylor right for being so mean about Sam.
"Dad! Dad, Sammy's sleepy," Dean stage-whispered to gain John's attention.
Carefully John lifted Sam from Dean's lap and placed him gently in his baby seat, before starting to gather up the bits and pieces.
"You want one last run around before we head to the store for your mom?"
Dean glanced at Sam, now sleeping soundly in his baby seat, his soft breathing just audible. Looking back up at John Dean seemed to hesitate before nodding.
"Won't make noise. Don't wanna wake Sammy up, he's tired," Dean announced solemnly before taking off in a flash round the corner of the bandstand in a flurry of footsteps.
John quickly packed everything away, before calling Dean back. He helped Dean back into his warm, bottle-green coat despite Dean's protestations at being too hot, before picking up Sam, holding Dean's hand and setting off to the local shop a couple of minutes down the road.
Upon entering the store, John stopped in front of the aisles, fumbling in his pocket for the shopping list Mary had written out. Placing Sam's seat down on the floor to free up one of his hands he managed to find the folded piece of paper and picked up a store basket, feeling not unlike a pack-horse as he stooped to pick up Sam once more and began to look around for the first item on the list.
Dean lingered in the entrance, staring in wonder at the rows upon rows of food products. He jumped slightly as John called to him, grinning sheepishly at his dad's impatient face, ducking away from John's hand as he ruffled his hair.
"Come on buddy, stay close. I need you to help me with the shopping."
"Ok, Dad," Dean agreed happily, glad he was grown up enough to help with such an important task.
They reached the baby food aisle, shelves and shelves of different flavours and sizes. Wedging the seat between his feet, John reached up and selected two different multi-packs of baby food jars. Flipping them over he quickly skimmed the writing on the back of the packages, trying to decide which one to get, wracking his brains to remember which Mary usually bought. Coming up blank he crouched down so he was eyelevel with Dean who was busy tucking in Sam's blanket around his sides where it had come loose when Sam fidgeted.
Holding out the two packets for Dean's inspection, John whispered, "Which one do you think Sammy'd like, Dean?"
Dean glanced up at his dad's face, awed at being asked such an important question. He looked back at the two boxes, brow furrowed in concentration, comparing the two. He didn't recognise either of the packages, and both were equally bright and colourful with happy, smiling babies and parents on the cover. He frowned slightly; there didn't seem to be any big brothers in the pictures, whoever took those photographs got it wrong he thought. A snuffling noise pulled him from his musings and he saw Sam wriggling slightly in his sleep, pulling Dean's hat, which was still held scrunched in his grip, closer to him. Cocking his head slightly at the sight Dean refocused on the boxes, before pointing at the one in John's left hand; the baby on the front had a bigger smile than the one on the other box, and Sammy should have the baby food which made babies the happiest he decided.
"This one?" John queried, lifting his left hand slightly higher to indicate which one he was referring to.
Dean nodding energetically, watching as his dad smiled, returned the other back to the shelf and placed the multi-pack Dean had chosen into the basket.
"Good choice, buddy," John praised as he picked up Sam's seat once again, referring back to the list as he did so. "Milk next. Come on Dean, this way."
Their small family group managed to find the rest of the items on the list without much trouble, despite the near fight that broke out between Dean and old Mr. Dawson who was talking to John so loudly Dean was afraid he'd wake Sammy, and Dean knew Sammy would cry if he was woken and no-one got to make Sam cry, not even kind Mr. Dawson who Dean usually loved chattering away to.
John struggled under the weight of the shopping, teetering under the precariously balanced contents of the basket, the bag slung over his back and Sam in his baby seat; marine assault-course training had nothing on this he thought ruefully. He had had to give Dean the responsibility for carrying the loaf of bread since there was no way it would have fit in the basket without being squashed beyond all recognition. Watching as Dean proudly carried the loaf in his arms, holding it almost as carefully as he would Sam, John couldn't help but think how lucky he was to have a son like Dean. Mark, who worked at the garage with John, had a son, only a month or so older than Dean, and the stories Mark regaled him with as they worked gave John the impression that little Jack was the devil incarnate in miniature form. Sure, Dean could be a handful to say the least, had his fair share of tantrums and upsets like all children do, being quite the little tearaway at times, but seeing Dean helping him with Sam and the shopping, without complaint, with a smile on his face, John just knew he couldn't have asked for a better son.
Mary often asked Dean to carry the loaf of bread, being the lightest of the products they usually bought so Dean proudly clutched his charge, desperate to show his daddy just how well he could look after the bread, not squish his fingers into it and make the crust crack or drop it on the floor or anything like that. He breathed in deeply at the rich smell the loaf gave off, still slightly warm in his grip, not long having come out of the oven. He could almost taste the delicious sandwiches his mom would make for his tea. He licked his lips as his tummy gave a soft rumble in anticipation.
"You hungry, buddy?"
John had heard Dean's stomach growl, feeling sympathy as the hole in his stomach made itself known.
"Nearly time for food?" Dean questioned, hoping that the answer would be yes.
"Not long now, we're nearly done, and then when we get home we can fix you up something worthy of Batman himself."
Dean grinned and nodded.
They walked through the candy aisle on their way to the checkout. Sensing that Dean was dragging his feet a little, his gaze snagging on the bounty in front of him, John had an idea. Mary wouldn't like Dean eating candy before a meal but Dean deserved a treat after behaving so well that afternoon. Cautiously placing his over-filled basket on the store floor, checking to make sure the pile of food wasn't going to topple over all across the aisle, John pulled out some of his spare change from his pocket. Quickly totalling up the amount in his head, John reached out for Dean's hand, pressing two dollar bills into Dean's open palm. Dean's green eyes flicked up to him in confusion.
"You wanna choose some candy to eat on the way back? You can pick whatever you like."
Dean mouth dropped open at the offer, before nodding enthusiastically, beaming up at his dad. John laughed as he ruffled his hair.
Following John's gesture to the candy rack, Dean spun on his heels, his eyes wide as he began scanning his options, bottom lip caught in his teeth as it was wont to do when he was concentrating particularly hard. There was so much to choose from! He clutched the bills tight in his fist, trying to decide what he wanted to buy.
After checking on Sam and the shopping John watched as Dean seemed to make his choice. Dean's hand reached out and hovered over the small packets of M& Ms, poised to take one. John shook his head to himself, he should have known. His eyebrows rose in surprise however as Dean slowly withdrew his hand before grabbing a bar of chocolate-covered Turkish delight. John frowned; he didn't know that Dean liked Turkish delight, maybe it was a new thing Mary had forgotten to mention, or maybe Dean had just liked the colours on the wrapping?
"Can I get this Dad?" Dean asked, holding out the wrapped bar to show John. "Please?"
"Do you know what that is Dean?" John wanted to check that Dean knew what he'd picked; he didn't want Dean to be disappointed when he took his first bite.
Dean paused, glancing at the bar before nodding.
"Mmhm. It's d'light. It's mommy's fav'rite. Is…is that ok?" Dean faltered, his bright expression fading as he took in John's blank look; had he done something wrong? "You said…you said I could choose whatever I wanted. I…I wanted to get something for Mommy. Help make her sniffles go 'way."
John was stunned. He'd given Dean the money to spend on a treat for himself and what Dean had wanted was to choose something to make his mom happy and help her feel better. His little boy never stopped amazing him. He was pulled back to the present by a soft "Dad? Was I bad?" and he was confronted with the confused face of his eldest, bottom lip trembling slightly, tears shining unshed in his eyes.
John felt his own eyes prickle at the sight. Ignoring the twist of emotion at his heart John smiled at his son, crouching down to his level, resting a gentle hand in his small shoulder.
"No Dean. Not bad at all. You wanna buy that for Mommy?"
Dean nodded, expression still unsure.
"You know, lots of little boys would want to buy some candy for themselves to eat."
Dean frowned at this revelation, thinking it over. He did want the M & Ms, but he remembered the look on Mary's face the last time she'd had Turkish delight, sitting on the swings with him in the play area near playgroup, and she wasn't feeling very well right now so he wanted to make her smile, like she made him smile. Any little boy who wanted to choose candy for themselves instead of for their mommy when she was sick was stupid, he thought, and he told John so, causing him to laugh and tweak his nose.
"Ok then, you hold onto that and you can pay for it when we get to the checkout, ok?"
John was rewarded with a blinding grin from Dean, all confusion and tears forgotten.
"Come on then. You gonna show me where the checkout is?"
"It's there Dad!" Dean stated loudly, pointing down the aisle to where Mr. Donaldson was sitting reading his newspaper.
"Lead the way, buddy," John said, as gathered up all his items, with no small amount of difficulty, and followed Dean through the store.
Once John had unloaded everything onto the checkout he lifted Dean up so he could hand-over the bar of Turkish delight and his dollar bills. Dean felt like such a big boy, clutching the small brown paper bag with the candy in it and the change Mr. Donaldson had given him. John sat him and Sam down on the bench near the counter as all the products were rung through the system. Dean sat quietly so as not to wake Sam, watching his wellies shine as he swung his legs back and forth, before attempting to cross his eyes like Sammy did when you poked his nose.
Dean was feeling rather warm in the store and glanced over at Sam to see if he needed to pull down his blanket or something. He was greeted by a pair of huge hazel eyes staring back at him.
"Sammy! How long you been 'wake?" Dean asked happily.
Sam threw Dean's hat to the floor in response, watching, fascinated, as Dean exclaimed a "Sammy!" as he hopped of the bench to collect it, handing it back to Sam once he'd scrambled back to his seat. With a giggle Sam shook the hat in his fist before letting go again, watching as it flew several feet away. He looked expectantly at Dean, gurgling in joy as Dean sighed with a smile and went to retrieve the flying hat once more. After the fourth time Sammy had thrown the hat, Dean went to collect it again but was met with John's outstretched hand, holding out the offending item.
"Looking for this?"
"Sammy throwed it Dad!"
"Did he? Well then Sammy is a very naughty boy, isn't he?" John teased as he tweaked Sam's nose just as he had Dean's earlier, showing he didn't mean it.
"Come on, time to go home."
John nodded his thanks and his goodbye to Mr. Donaldson and the three of them left the shop and began the short walk home. The leaves whirled in the soft wind and Dean started up his traditional one-sided conversation with Sam telling him about the baby food he'd chosen for him and how 'yummy' it was going to be. Only half-listening to Dean's monologue, John hoped Mary was feeling better and wondered whether she'd managed to catch up on some sleep.
Ushering Dean inside John closed the front door behind them, sighing as the warmth of the house seeped through to his bones. He kicked off his shoes and pulled off his jacket, before helping Dean tug off his wellies. He left Dean fighting his way out of his coat and gloves to unfasten Sam from his baby seat and get him out if his little coat.
Looking up from his task Dean asked, "Where's mommy?" He'd been hoping she'd be there to meet them when they got back; there was so much he wanted to tell her, the paper bag with her candy inside held tightly in his fist.
"She's probably sleeping buddy. Why don't you and Sam settle down to watch something on the TV while I go and see where she is, okay?"
Dean looked a bit hesitant, clearly wanting to go and find Mary himself, but a quick glance at Sammy changed his mind and he nodded, toddling over to press the big on-switch on the television before climbing up onto the couch, holding Sam in his lap, the candy resting safely on the coffee table.
John climbed the stairs quietly in case Mary was sleeping. Their bedroom door was ajar. Pushing it open slowly John peered into the room, seeing his wife curled up under the rumpled covers breathing softly, wheezing slightly due to her cold. Cautiously John tip-toed across the room, perching himself on the edge of the bed, smoothing her hair away from where it had fallen across her face. Mary sighed and buried herself a little further into the pillow. John gazed down at his wife, smiling to himself. Even though she was sick he still thought she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He knew how sappy that thought was but he couldn't help it; she was gorgeous, both inside and out. He leant down to tenderly kiss her brow before slowly standing up, careful not to disturb the covers. As he turned to leave, a hand reached out, catching his wrist stopping him from leaving.
"Stay," Mary whispered, her eyes still closed.
John returned to his seat beside her on the bed, his hand stroking softly through her hair. Mary leaned into his touch.
"Where are the boys?" she murmured.
"Hm? Oh, downstairs watching some cartoons. Dean wanted to come find you for himself when we got back but I didn't want him to wake you, so..."
"So you came to do the honours yourself?" Mary teased.
John poked her in the side for her teasing, causing Mary to laugh. Her laughter soon became coughing though and John reached over to pass her the glass of water from the bedside table. Mary took it gratefully, taking a sip as John rubbed her back soothingly, easing the tense muscles there.
Once the coughing had subsided Mary replaced the glass on the wooden surface and thanked her husband. With a crooked smile John leaned in to kiss her, causing Mary to squeal in protest, pushing him away as she turned her face from him.
"John," she whined. "I'm sick!"
"Don't care," John retorted, looking annoyingly smug as he leaned in again.
"I don't want to give you my bugs!" Mary protested, pushing herself back towards the headboard out of his reach.
"Maaaary!" John wheedled, sounding just like Dean when he was trying to get his own way, pouting in a way that would put even little Sammy to shame.
"Not a chance Winchester!" came Mary's voice from under the covers.
The only reply he got to that was Mary peeking out from under the duvet and sticking her tongue out at him, but before their argument could become any more like an immature playground disagreement, their attention was drawn to a creaking on the stairs and Dean's whispered voice outside the door, clearly not able to wait any longer to see Mary.
Mary pushed herself up so she was sitting up against the headboard as John went to open the door, revealing Dean standing on the landing carrying Sammy in his arms.
"Hi angel," Mary greeted, opening her arms wide, beckoning Dean to her.
At the clear invitation Dean hurried over to the bed where Mary carefully lifted Sam from his hold, settling him onto her lap as Dean used the overhanging duvet to haul himself up onto the bed and clambered over his mom's legs to settle himself into her side. Dean was soon bracketed on his other side as John returned to the family group on the bed and hooked his arm around Mary's shoulders; Dean was wedged in between his parents, within touching distance of Sammy, and Dean couldn't be happier.
Peering up from under his brown-blond fringe Dean looked appraisingly at Mary, trying to gauge if she was still not feeling well. Her voice sounded a bit funny, Dean thought, all snuffly. He frowned.
"You still sick Mommy?"
Mary smiled at him, stroking his freckled cheek.
"A little bit, honey. But you know what might make me feel better?"
Dean gazed up at Mary, wide-eyed, shaking his head.
"If you tell me all about what you and your brother got up to today. Did Daddy behave himself?" Mary glanced over Dean's head to look at John with a teasing grin.
John snorted indignantly, causing Dean to twist and catch his eye. Dean scrunched up his face, his head cocked slightly to the right, thinking hard, before turning back to Mary. He shook his head solemnly with a wicked glint in his eye.
"What?!" John sputtered at Dean's answer. "Why you cheeky, little…!"
Dean felt himself lifted suddenly from his warm cocoon between his parents and squealed in surprise. He was quickly deposited on John's knee before being mercilessly tickled. Dean squirmed and wriggled, trying to get away from John's hold but he couldn't escape the tickling fingers no matter how hard he tried. He tried to tell his dad to stop but couldn't get the words out for laughing. Mary chuckled as she watched the scene before her, father and son red-faced and breathless from laughing so hard. Sam was jiggling on her lap and making little squealing sounds, clearly keen to be a part of the excitement.
"What are we going to do with them, huh?" Mary asked her youngest despairingly, kissing him softly on his temple. "Any ideas, Sammy? This house is a mad house, I swear!" Mary tweaked Sammy's toes as she entreated him for answers to saving her sanity.
" 'kay, 'kay!" Dean panted, causing John to stop his tickle-torture. "Dad b'haved," he told Mary, "Daddy was good!"
Scooping him close, John hugged him tight.
"And so were you buddy."
Turning his head so Mary couldn't see, he leant down to whisper in Dean's ear.
"Why don't you run back downstairs and fetch Mommy's surprise?"
"Ok!" Dean exclaimed excitedly before launching himself off the bed and clattering out of the room, the door ricocheting off the wall as he did so.
As they heard Dean thundering down the stairs, Mary raised a solitary eyebrow at her husband. John shook his head.
Dean darted back into the room less than a minute later, greeted by the sight of Mary bouncing Sam on her knee, playing peek-a-boo. Slowing his pace, he allowed John to lift him on to the bed, not wanting to break the candy bar trying to do it himself this time. Settling down, wedged between his parents once more, Dean bit his lip, a little nervous now that it came to giving his mom her present. What if she didn't like it? Taking a deep breath, he held out the bag to her.
"This's for you, Mommy," he announced. "Wanted to get you something t' make you feel all better."
Mary took the bag from Dean, adjusting her arm around Sam so he wouldn't lose his balance as she carefully unfolded the opening. Dean watched as she peered inside, his face breaking into a grin as Mary gasped and smiled as she saw her little gift. She reached into the bag and pulled out the candy bar, putting the paper bag to one side. In the squashed bed Mary managed to slide her arm around Dean and pull him close.
"Thank you angel. It's my favourite."
Dean curled into her side. "I know," he replied proudly, craning his neck back to smile at his mom.
"It was all Dean's idea too," John interjected, smiling fondly at the picture of his wife and sons all cuddled up together.
"Was it?" Mary emphasised, giving Dean a squeeze before letting him pull away a little, kissing his head as she did so. "Maybe Daddy'll make Mommy a cup of tea to go with her yummy Turkish delight, hm?"
She looked at John pointedly. John sighed in fond exasperation.
"Maybe Daddy will," he confirmed, ruffling Dean's hair as he swung his legs off the bed and made his way downstairs, sneaking one last glance at his family before leaving the room.
"Thanks John!" he heard Mary call from along the hall, before Dean's voice started explaining all about his and Sammy's adventures in the park.
Dean was half on Mary's lap, half crushed into her side, head resting against her chest, explaining to Mary all about how the next time they went to the park he was going to show Baby Sammy how to be the best superhero ever. His left fist was curled tightly around Mary's charm bracelet, his thumb rubbing along the dull edge of one of the points of the star charm, comforted by the feel of the cool metal in his palm as he talked. Sam was busy shredding the paper bag he'd managed to get his hands on, tearing it apart piece by piece in Mary's lap, giggling at he did so. Mary had just taken her first gulp of tea before sampling her third piece of the Turkish delight which John had snapped off for her with an indulgent smile, as she listened to Dean's explanations. It tasted a bit different due to her cold, but the fact that Dean had picked it out for her made her think it was the best Turkish delight she'd ever eaten.
Once the paper bag was completely destroyed Sam began to fuss, squirming and making little distressed noises.
"I think someone's getting a little tired, aren't they baby?" Mary asked, nuzzling her nose against Sam's cheek. "I'll get him fed and put him to bed. Can you sort out Dean?"
"You sure you're ok to do that?"
The glare John received in response was answer enough. "I've missed my boys today; I want to put Sammy to bed."
John nodded, he could understand that. He loved working at the garage but sometimes the days when he had to pull double shifts he barely got the see the boys at all and he found himself missing them then too. It had come as quite a shock to him to discover that, considering his apprehension about being a father in the first place; he just couldn't get enough of his boys, he'd do anything for them, to keep them happy and safe. Memories of the days when he'd pulled away from his family, feeling overwhelmed and stifled, snuck up on him; the days he hated to ever think about. Those terrible, gut-wrenching days when he'd selfishly walked out on Mary, Dean and Sam, after weeks of brutal arguments and angry words. He'd soon come to his senses though; the missing piece of his heart he'd left with Mary and his boys soon making itself known. He'd felt sick with how much he'd missed Mary, how much he'd missed his sons, and he swore he'd never let them go again; he couldn't live without any part of his family. He couldn't survive the feeling of missing his girl, or his boys, he just couldn't. So yes, he understood, so he put aside his worry for Mary and let her put Sammy to bed if that's what she wanted to do, despite being unwell. Pushing aside his thoughts he called out to Dean.
"Come on buddy. Teatime, bathtime, bedtime."
Dean rolled off the bed and dawdled across the room to take John's outstretched hand, his own tiredness catching up on him after such an eventful day. He let John lead him down the hall as he scrubbed his small fist in his eye to wake himself up, before John picked him up to carry him down the stairs, not wanting to risk a sleepy Dean taking a tumble.
Dean licked his finger and used it to collect all the stray crumbs from his plate, not wanting to leave a single morsel. Making sure his plate was completely clean, Dean looked up at his dad who was sitting at the other side of the table finishing off his own, decidedly bigger, sandwich. Dean made to slide off his chair, with the plan of climbing up the booster steps next to the sink to put his dirty plate on the washing board ready to be washed up, just like he'd been taught, but he was stopped by John's voice.
"Hold on Dean. I've got something for you."
Dean blinked confusedly at John, wondering what he was talking about. His sleep-fogged mind not helping him figure it out in the slightest.
"Close your eyes and hold out your hands," John instructed with a wink.
Hopping down off his chair, Dean did as he was told, resisting the nearly unbeatable urge to sneak a peek as he heard his dad rustling in a bag and footsteps across the kitchen floor. He felt a weight being placed in his upturned palms, before hearing John's voice telling him he could open his eyes now. Dean cracked one eye open to look first, and then the other; he gasped at the bounty resting in his hands, glancing up open-mouthed at John in disbelief. A packet of M & Ms! Just for him! Looking back and forth between the candy and his dad's face several more times, Dean clutched the packet tight and launched himself at John, thanking him repeatedly. Dean had thought today had been the best day ever, playing with Sammy in the park, helping his dad, making Mommy feel better, but now he was sure of it!
"You're welcome bud," John smiled as he carried Dean to the couch and settled them both down, taking the packet from Dean's fingers to open it for him. Dean looked into the packet, contemplating his first choice of M & M, before reaching in and pulling out a yellow one. He popped it into his mouth, smiling at John as he did so, snuggling further into John's embrace, sucking on the hard candy, waiting for the chocolate to start to melt. John enjoyed the surge of warmth which hummed through him, seeing his son so happy and contented, knowing he'd made the right decision back in the store to quickly add the packet to the basket when Dean was showing him the way to the checkout.
Soon the small bag of candy was empty and John went to take the wrapper to put in the bin.
"No Dad!" Dean exclaimed, grasping at the empty bag. "Wanna keep it!"
Seeing Dean's earnest face, the wrapper clutched tightly to his chest, John didn't have the heart to argue.
"Ok then, buddy. Bedtime now. Climb on."
John crouched down and Dean clambered onto his back in a piggyback ride, arms curled tightly around John's neck, wrapper scrunched in one hand.
"Giddy up Dad!" Dean laughed, bouncing slightly in John's grip.
"Woah there cowboy!" John replied with a smile, adjusting his hold to make sure Dean was safe before beginning their nightly trek up the stairs to bed.
Reaching the landing John put Dean down, who scampered off to his room to get changed into his pyjamas, having insisted a few weeks ago that he was a 'big boy now' and wanted to get ready for bed himself. This invariably ended up with pyjama bottoms being inside out and pyjama tops being back to front, but Dean was so proud of himself John and Mary let him do it. Sure enough, not two minutes later, Dean emerged from his room, hair all mussed, with his top on inside out. Ushering Dean into the bathroom to wash his face and brush his teeth, John leant in the doorway to the nursery, Sam's room, watching as Mary hummed a lullaby, which sounded suspiciously like a soft rock song which John couldn't remember the name of, as she tucked Sam into his crib. A soft smile played across his lips, drinking in the perfect image before him, reminding himself to tease Mary later about her slightly unhealthy obsession for using somewhat unorthodox music for their children's lullabies.
He was broken from his musings as Dean tugged on his shirt, silently asking permission to go and say goodnight to his brother. At John's nod and Mary's beckon Dean padded across the soft carpet to Sam's crib. He leant in to kiss him goodnight, wishing him 'sweet dreams' just like his mommy and daddy did to him before he went to sleep sometimes, reaching out to pull Mr. Fuzzy closer to Sammy in case he wanted to cuddle him in the night.
With one last backward glance as Mary checked the baby monitor before turning off the light and pulling the door to, Dean followed his parents into his room, scrambling up onto his bed and burrowing under the covers. As Mary pulled his duvet up to his chin, tucking him in, Dean turned his head on his pillow to check the M & Ms wrapper was still safe on his bedside table next to his lamp; it was. Sitting on the edge of his bed, Mary brushed his bangs off his forehead before kissing him goodnight.
"Thank you for my Turkish delight Dean. You're a very thoughtful little boy; I'm so proud of you," she whispered.
Dean smiled sleepily at the praise, glad his mom liked her treat.
" 'el-come," he slurred drowsily, remembering through his sleepy-haze that that was what John had said when he'd thanked him for his candy.
"I love you Dean. Sleep tight."
"Love you too," Dean murmured, snuggling further into his pillow.
Dean felt the bed shift as Mary rose to leave him to sleep.
"G'night buddy," John called softly from across the room, not wanting to disturb his son anymore, seeing that he was more than halfway asleep already.
The mumble he got from Dean in reply John took to mean 'Night Dad", but it could have been anything really.
Switching the light off and pulling the door to, Mary and John made their own way back to their room. Mary was feeling tired again, her head feeling like it was stuffed with cotton wool, drained from the simple task of getting Sam to sleep. So she climbed back into bed, leaning against John who propped himself up against the headboard on top of the covers with his book, not quite ready to go to sleep himself yet, but still wanting to be near Mary in case she needed anything and simply to enjoy her company, such as it was when she was sleeping. Mary sighed happily as she got herself comfortable against John, her gaze catching on the half-eaten Turkish delight bar and cup of tea on the bedside table. She had the best family she could wish for she mused; she'd loved every second of marriage and motherhood so far. She felt so lucky, blessing the day she had become a Winchester. Glancing at the baby monitor, content in the knowledge that if Sam needed her, she'd know, she closed her eyes and let herself drift off to sleep, dreaming about what happy memories the four of them would make together as her boys grew up and she and John grew old together.