Summary: AU Spin on 8x20 – Sick Sam / Big Brother Dean / Quirky, Supportive Charlie – If Sam was sicker now than when they had left him...if they indeed found him on the floor coughing up blood...then Dean would handle it; Dean would take care of his brother; Dean would somehow make it better. Charlie had never been so sure of anything else in her life.
Disclaimer: Not mine
Warnings: Usual language, plus spoilers for season eight (specifically 8x20)
Darlin' do not fear what you don't really know. ~ Brett Dennen
Dean didn't scare easily.
Never really had.
Was fearless even before life had taught him to be...since most four-year olds would have run away from fire, not toward it.
Was fearless even before John had required him to be...since most children were afraid to be alone...afraid to take care of an infant by themselves...afraid their dad would never come back, especially when weeks had passed with no sign of him.
Was fearless even before his job had demanded him to be...since most teenagers weren't tracking and hunting, killing and burning supernatural creatures deep in the woods in the middle of the night.
But none of that – none of it – had ever bothered Dean.
Because at any age, he was used to doing what had to be done.
And he didn't scare easily.
...except when it came to Sam.
Except when Sam – sick, coughing, can-hardly-stand Sam – didn't answer his phone the five fucking times Dean had called the kid's number over the past two minutes.
"C'mon, Sam..." Dean growled, ending the call only to send it again. "Pick up the damn phone!" he ordered.
As if Sam could hear Dean from here; as if Dean and Charlie weren't still standing in the middle of a boutique; as if people weren't beginning to stare at them.
As if Dean gave a rat's ass who stared at them...
But Charlie did – still frustratingly self-conscious in out-of-place places like this – and smiled shyly at the older woman glaring in their direction.
The woman did not smile back.
Charlie huffed an awkward laugh and shifted where she stood, suddenly unsure of what to do with her hands.
Sighing, she continued to fidget and felt like an insecure child as she finally reverted to her nervous habit of pulling her hands inside the sleeves of her jacket – the jacket of her kickass new pantsuit.
Charlie smiled and relaxed a little at the reminder, nodding approvingly as she remembered her reflection in the mirror seconds ago before she had turned around.
Before Dean had asked to use her phone since he wasn't getting reception on his.
Before a pleasant shopping trip to start a new adventure had begun to unravel into a cringe-inducing spectacle.
Because Dean was pacing now...practically stomping back and forth in front of the grey couch he had been sitting on moments ago; his head down, his eyes on the floor as he completely focused on the phone ringing in his ear.
And this had to be call number eight in no more than a three-minute time span.
Charlie blinked at the realization. "Wow."
Because she knew that Dean was the protective big brother and Sam was the sick little brother, but damn.
"Mother hen, much?"
Dean cut his eyes at Charlie as he dialed her phone once more; not needing words since his expression said it all – I like you, but I will cut you.
Charlie blinked again, uncertain whether to laugh – because surely he wasn't serious...or to be scared – because maybe he was.
Either way, it was probably smart to apologize.
"Sorry," she immediately offered, her hands reappearing like a magic trick from the cuffs of her sleeves as she lifted them in surrender; the fabric of her jacket rustling with the motion.
Ta-da...apology! Now, please don't kill me.
But Dean said nothing, apparently saving his words to unload on Sam's voicemail.
And nobody could say that name like Dean could...whether the big brother was worried or pissed or happy or gentle...nobody said Sam's name like Dean did.
Charlie swallowed, unexpectedly touched by that realization and freshly wishing she had siblings.
Even though Sam's sibling was pretty worried right now...
And pissed – definitely pissed.
Pissed because he was worried.
Charlie shifted nervously.
"You listen to me..." Dean told Sam's voicemail as he stopped pacing to better focus on threatening his little brother. "If I come home and find out you're not answering your phone because you're just being a pouty little bitch about being left behind, I will kick your sickly ass. You hearin' me?"
Dean paused as if Sam would reply.
Charlie chewed on her bottom lip.
Other customers in the boutique discreetly stared at them and whispered, politely gossiping.
Dean glanced at his watch. "I'll give you one minute to check this message. One minute, Sam. And then I'll give you one more chance to answer your phone..."
And then all hell would break loose.
Charlie was sure of it, though Dean didn't say it.
Dean only ended the call and sighed harshly, shaking his head and swearing under his breath.
Charlie cleared her throat, unintentionally attracting Dean's attention. "Oh...sorry," she apologized and vaguely gestured toward her neck. "Nervous habit."
She had a lot of those that surfaced in tense situations like this.
Dean stared at her like he didn't have time or patience to interact with children.
Charlie nodded more than was necessary – another nervous tic – and glanced around the boutique. "Nice place," she commented, as if they had just arrived. "And nice outfit, huh?" she added, glancing back at Dean and pointing at her pantsuit still fitting her body like a glove.
The kind of glove a top-secret, FBI agent wore.
All she needed was a hat and some shades to match this body glove, and she'd be ready to cuff 'em and stuff 'em.
Book 'em, Danno.
Charlie smiled and nodded again at her inner dialogue...and then stopped when she noticed Dean was still staring at her, not amused.
"Get changed," he told her, checking his watch since the one minute deadline was almost up.
Charlie frowned at the brusque order. "But I thought we were – "
" – get changed or get left," Dean interrupted, making it clear that their plans had changed as well; that even if Sam answered the call he was about to make, they were still going back to the Batcave.
Playing FBI agents would have to wait until later...maybe even as late as tomorrow.
Because Sam came first and making sure that Sam was okay was the only thing that mattered to Dean now.
And damn, Charlie wished she had a brother or sister; someone to worry about her like that, to love her like that, to take care of her like that.
"Yeah, okay..." Charlie belatedly agreed about changing clothes, turning and stepping into the dressing room; catching a glimpse of Dean redialing her phone and lifting it to his ear as she pulled the red curtain across its rod with a clank.
Seconds passed; Charlie changing clothes at a speed that would even rival that one time she had worn two different costumes to Comic Con to represent two different fandoms – even though their panels had been back-to-back that year – and had changed from Doctor Who's Donna Noble into Harry Potter's Hermione like a freakin' flash in that first stall of that women's bathroom.
Charlie nodded, impressed with her skills even now several summers later, and didn't bother hanging the pantsuit as she reached for the edge of the red curtain...and then paused when she heard Dean's voice.
"Alright. That's it, Sam..." the big brother announced into her phone, undoubtedly talking to Sam's voicemail for the second time. "I'm coming home."
Still behind the curtain, Charlie smiled fondly; wondering if Dean realized how much he sounded like a dad who was worried about his seemingly missing child but who was also pissed that he now had to leave work and go home to check on that child who was probably just being a little shit.
Charlie wanted one.
She sighed and slid the curtain back slowly, so as not to startle an enraged Winchester...like Dean was a wild animal or something.
Which was funny because if Dean was a wild animal, he would probably be a...
"Hey..." Dean snapped, tossing Charlie's phone at her and scattering her thoughts as she lingered in the doorway of the dressing room. "We're leaving," he informed and then promptly turned to do just that.
Charlie frowned. "But wait..." she protested, grabbing her phone from the floor where it had dropped when she hadn't caught it fast enough, and then snatched her bag from beside the couch as she followed after Dean. "We still have to pay for this," she reminded him, lifting her arm that had the pantsuit draped over it.
"Done," Dean replied, pocketing his own phone and pulling out his wallet while he walked; slapping a 100 dollar bill on the counter as he strode past the cash register...and then kept going; the dainty bell on the door practically ripped off with his exit.
The older woman, who had been staring at Dean and Charlie earlier, blinked as she now stood behind the counter. "Um, sir..." she called, clearly wondering how such trash as these two had ended up in her store. "You need to come back..."
"And you need to fuck off," Dean countered sharply, not even turning around to look at the woman as the door slammed behind him.
Because only one thing was on Dean's mind...and that one thing was not following the appropriate steps to properly purchase clothing. It was going home to check on a sick little brother who wasn't answering his phone and probably shouldn't have been left alone in the first place.
After all, Sam was coughing up blood as recently as yesterday morning...and had slept for damn near 24 hours straight...and could barely stand without toppling over...and had looked suspiciously flushed earlier.
Dean shook his head.
In fact, he would bet the same 100 bucks he had just forked over for that pantsuit that Sam had a fever...and as soon as Dean got back to the Batcave, he was going to confirm that hunch.
And then he was going to dose Sam with a fever reducer and painkillers, since Dean had seen the kid squint and wince and rub his forehead that morning, too.
Oh, yeah...little sick Sammy was getting taken care of and fussed over whether he wanted the attention or not.
It was Dean's job, dammit.
Let him do it, Sam.
Dean nodded in agreement with himself and loosened the knot on his tie as he continued walking, approaching the Impala and unlocking the driver's side door before sliding in behind the steering wheel.
It was time to go home, with or without Charlie.
Nothing personal, Your Highness.
Back inside the boutique, the woman at the cash register blinked; her eyes wide, her hand splayed in the middle of her chest in speechless shock after her initial gasp of horror at Dean's f-bomb dropped in the doorway of her shop.
Charlie froze, knowing she should move – that Dean would definitely leave her there – but feeling obligated to say something, to do something in the wake of Dean's parting words.
The woman stared out the window at Dean now sitting in the black muscle car that had heralded trouble as soon as she had seen it pull up. She shook her head and made a sound of disapproval before slowly turning her attention to Charlie, clearly demanding an explanation for the rudeness displayed.
"Um..." Charlie began, shifting where she stood; her right hand nervously twisting the fabric of the pantsuit as it was still draped over her left arm.
The woman crossed her arms, waiting.
"I'm sorry," Charlie offered; her voice shaky but her tone genuine. "He's got Tourette's."
Because that was the only thing she could think of.
And maybe Dean did have Tourette's.
Hell, Charlie didn't know.
All she knew was that Dean liked to throw the f-word around at the most inopportune times.
Charlie quirked an apologetic smile as the woman continued to stare at her.
There was a beat of silence.
The woman frowned as she processed the unexpected news. "He...what?"
Charlie nodded solemnly that yes, sadly...it was true.
"Oh..." the woman replied and then said nothing, now more uncomfortable than self-righteous.
And that somehow made this all worth it.
Charlie resisted the urge to smile wider.
There was another beat of silence.
Charlie shrugged – because what else was there to say after a lie like that... – and then pointed at the Benjamin still resting on the counter. "Hope that covers this," she commented, tilting her head toward the pantsuit over her arm.
The woman nodded. "Yes. Of course. I mean...it should."
"Good," Charlie returned and then glanced out the front window of the boutique, noticing that Dean was backing the Impala out of the parking space.
...which meant she was indeed about to be left there.
"Shit!" Charlie blurted at the realization, springing forward and then glancing over her shoulder as the woman gasped again. "Sorry," she offered over the tinkling of the bell on the door. "It runs in the family."
And with that, Charlie was out the door and chasing after the Impala.