Summary: Season 8 – Sick Sam / Big Brother Dean – Outsider POV – Dean frowned suspiciously at the grocery store cashier before glancing at the plastic bags now loaded with his must-haves these days – the juice and the soup and the meds...and everything else. Which of course had led the cashier to her conclusion about Dean having a sick kid at home...and in a way, she was right.
Disclaimer: Not mine
Warnings: General spoilers for season eight
A/N: A one-shot inspired by the E/O Challenge word-of-the-week: grim.
You ain't gotta tell her 'cause she already knows. ~ Jake & Papa
After being a cashier at the same grocery store for over 20 years, it never ceased to amaze O'Della how she could always tell what was happening at people's houses just based on their purchases.
She doubted most shoppers realized that.
But day after day, the items that slowly came toward her on that old, cranky, crawly conveyer belt usually told her whether tonight was taco night, spaghetti night, or pizza night.
Whether somebody was on a special diet...
Whether it was somebody's birthday...
Whether there was a party of some kind...
Whether there was an upcoming bake sale...
Whether somebody was responsible for assembling and bringing the fruit, veggie, or cheese tray to an event...
Whether there was a baby in the house...
And the list went on.
Like now as she scanned the apple juice and the Gatorade and the ginger ale and the apple sauce and the Jell-O cups and the popsicles and the cans of chicken noodle soup and the box of saltines and the case of water and the pain reliever and the fever reducer...
It was all adding up to one conclusion – illness.
Maybe a stomach virus or just a cold, but somebody in this house was definitely sick.
O'Della nodded knowingly and glanced at the 30-something guy standing on the opposite side of her counter as she continued scanning.
She had seen him enter the store around 15 minutes ago; tall and good-looking enough to warrant a second glance even without the extra appeal of that sexy muscle car he had drove up in.
A few of the younger cashiers had whispered and giggled after he had walked by, one girl having even observed that he wasn't wearing a wedding band.
Like that meant anything...
Like any of them stood a chance with him...
O'Della had shaken her head at such silliness and had hoped Mr. Good-Looking would be lucky enough to end up in her checkout line instead of theirs in order to spare him the flirty foolishness of young girls.
Though with his face, O'Della doubted he was a stranger to female attention.
In fact, she was sure he knew how to handle both foolish girls and feisty women.
She had no doubt that he was a charmer in addition to being a looker.
But there was something else about him.
O'Della could see that more clearly now as he stood in front of her.
Mr. Good-Looking ignoring the other cashiers subtly competing for his attention nearby and instead checking his watch as he waited for O'Della to finish scanning his items and announce the total he owed, his wallet already out to help speed this process along.
Because he was ready to go; ready to return to whoever he had left at home.
And O'Della had a pretty good idea who that was.
After all, she had been a cashier and a mother for over 20 years, and she knew the signs.
"Sick kid at home?" she asked, hoping she didn't sound nosy.
Because she wasn't trying to intrude on this guy's life but was genuinely concerned.
She knew what it was like to nurse a sick child; how helpless that felt and how much you just wanted to make that baby feel better...even if that meant allowing apple juice and popsicles for dinner.
O'Della nodded her understanding and began bagging Mr. Good-Looking's items.
Though before she had even seen his items, she had recognized his grim expression when he had entered the store; had noticed that beneath his good looks, he had also appeared tired and worried and anxious to get back home.
Just like most parents with sick kids.
And if anything, that expression had only intensified while Mr. Good-Looking had made his rounds in the store and had gathered what he needed to tend to his apparently feverish, achy, dehydrated child who could only tolerate soup, dry crackers, and soft solids.
O'Della shook her head in sympathy.
That poor child...
That sweet, precious angel...
"Honey..." O'Della called when she realized that Mr. Good-Looking hadn't heard her earlier question.
And forgive her for meddling, but she wanted to know.
Dean blinked and shifted his attention from his watch to the cashier.
"Sick child at home?" O'Della repeated.
Dean frowned suspiciously before glancing at the plastic bags now loaded with his must-haves these days – the juice and the soup and the meds...and everything else.
...which of course had led the cashier to her conclusion about Dean having a sick kid.
And in a way, she was right.
Dean twitched a smile, thinking about his gigantic little brother back home at the Batcave – a pale, weak, feverish, exhausted, coughing Sam bundled under the blankets on his bed where Dean had left the kid while he had gone on this quick supply run.
"Don't forget the apple juice..." Sam had called hoarsely as Dean had left his room.
"First thing on my list, Sammy..." Dean had assured; the big brother having taken care of his sick little brother enough times to know the essentials by now.
"And don't forget – "
" – I won't," Dean had interrupted, had not even allowed Sam to finish his sentence as he had briefly returned to the doorway of his brother's room. "Now stop yelling and go to sleep. And don't get out of that bed until I get back. And call if you need me. I won't be gone long..."
Though by the time Dean loaded the Impala and drove back to the Batcave, he would've been gone almost an hour.
Dean sighed, hoping Sam was okay – that no news was good news since his brother hadn't called.
But Dean wouldn't know that for sure until he got home and saw Sam for himself.
Dean sighed again, feeling a renewed urgency to get the hell out of this grocery store and back on the road...and then realized the cashier was still staring at him, waiting for an answer to her earlier question.
O'Della smiled patiently at her customer.
Because she understood that Mr. Good-Looking had a lot on his mind.
That's how it was when you were a parent.
Always worried about something...
Dean nodded. "Yeah," he finally replied about having a sick kid at home. "Something like that..."