Hey everyone - so, I should definitely be studying right now for finals (yikes), but instead here I am, writing another Supernatural story and actually remembering to publish this one! It's just a short little one-shot I had in my head since hearing the line in 'The Great Escapist' about Dean getting the thermometer when Sam starting getting fevers, so I figured write it then I might be able to concentrate on Macbeth. Unlikely, but gave me an excuse to write SO! Here we go!
(P.S - if you've read my other story, No Room for Doubt, I'm working on a requested follow-up chapter, so that should be up sometime soon!)
And please, if you enjoyed it or have anything to say about it, leave a review!
Title comes from The Narrative's song 'Eyes Closed', and has absolutely no relation to anything in the story, but I have this thing about using song titles and couldn't find a relative one in my iTunes library so, yeah. Go listen though, it's a great song.
Sydney hated her usual night shift at the small grocery store where she worked during her college breaks, but sometimes the afternoon shift she had on Sundays was worse, simply due to the absolute lack of customers. At least at night she had the expected teenage and drunk shoppers, but sometimes she could go through an entire shift on Sunday without a single person coming in to the store.
However, on this particular Sunday when she was about halfway through the US Weekly she had picked up from the news rack by her checkout, the automatic doors let in a gust of the warm Kansas air from outside with the arrival of a young man who made Sydney do a double take. Seeming to be in his mid-thirties, the guy was dressed in a pair of faded jeans, boots and a snug green Henley, and was extremely attractive. However, while he had Sydney's full attention it soon became apparent that she had none of his, as he strode down the first aisle with purpose and didn't spare her a glance.
Because of the limited size of the store and the location of her checkout, Sydney could see down all of the aisles and watched curiously as the man who clearly knew what he was looking for picked out specific items, sometimes turning a package over to read the back, before adding them to the basket he had picked up by the door.
After a while Sydney turned back to her magazine and continued to read it uninterrupted until a voice come from in front of her.
Sydney looked up and saw that the quiet voice belonged to the man – of course it did, who else was in the store? – and found she had to double her focus on what he was saying when she met his eyes. Positive she had never seen eyes so green, she stared at them for a minute before realising that she was clearly testing the patience of the man. She cleared her throat.
"Um, yes, can I help with you anything?" she asked in her best Customer Service voice.
He nodded. "Yeah, you know those in-ear thermometers? I looked around but couldn't find them, do you have them somewhere?"
Sydney shook her head. "I'm sorry, no, we only have the ones you use in the mouth. They're with the cold and pain medicines."
The man sighed. "Yeah, I saw those. Just kind of wanted an ear one so I wouldn't have to wake him up every time. Thanks, though."
Before Sydney could ask who 'he' was, the man walked off back to his basket and continued to put items into it – one of which she noted was the thermometer.
Shortly, after finishing the article on a various Kardashian sister and their activities of the week, she heard the thump of someone placing a basket at the end of the checkout counter and looked up to see the man loading various items onto the conveyor belt, as she got ready to start scanning them.
Cartons of orange and apple juice and bottled ginger ale and packages of tylenol passed in front of her, as well as the thermometer, a box of tissues, popsicles and the collection of Star Wars movies on DVD. Sydney smiled as the man stood in front of her, wallet open when she'd finished packaging everything into bags.
"You got a sick kid at home, huh?" she said conversationally as she ran the card he handed her through the register.
The man laughed once but didn't answer immediately, just signed the receipt she placed on the counter and gave it back to her.
"Yeah," he said quietly after a minute, "yeah, I do."
Looking at the man, she saw a half-smile on his face, and could clearly see the concern he felt over his ailing child and the eagerness to get back to them after being away, assuming that was the 'he' that had been referenced earlier.
"I don't mean to intrude, but my younger sister? When she gets sick and doesn't want to eat anything, we crush vitamin supplements and mix them into her orange juice to make sure she doesn't get a deficiency or anything. She can't even tell the difference." Sydney had noticed the lack of food amongst the man's purchases, and hoped he wouldn't think she was telling him how to do his job by suggesting her tip. However, a thoughtful looked crossed his face and he walked back towards the health aisle, picking up a couple of bottles of different vitamin supplements and coming back.
"Thanks," he said as he pulled out a bill to pay for them, "I'll try that."
And with that he picked up his bags and left the store, leaving Sydney to wonder about the child he had at home, and hoping everything worked out. She could see the love the man felt for his kid, and instinctively knew that whoever the boy was he was lucky to have such a caring parent.
"Hey, Sammy," Dean said softly from his position on the edge of Sam's bed, gently rousing his sleeping brother. "C'mon, I want to get some of this in you, otherwise you're gonna get dehydrated."
Lifting the glass of orange juice with crushed vitamin tablets mixed into it, Dean carefully relinquished it to his sleepy younger brother who somewhat clumsily lifted it to his mouth, taking small and slow sips.
"Finish it, okay?" Dean said as he placed the tissue box on Sam's nightstand. He then sat and waited for Sam to finish the half-glass he'd handed him, knowing a full one would be too much right now, taking it from him when he had and placing it on the floor. He then placed his hand across Sam's forehead and frowned at the heat he felt there, although noting that it didn't seem to be high enough to require absolute attention yet, just careful periodic monitoring.
As far as he knew, Sam's temperature had been completely normal until late that morning when he'd asked Dean to turn down the heating because it was too hot, creating Dean's concern as the heat wasn't even on. Dean had then sent Sam to bed and, remembering that the thermometer from the first aid kit had been broken a few years back and never replaced as there had been no need for one, had departed for the grocery store with a mental list building of all of the things he had down as 'Sick Sam Necessities', like juice and flat ginger ale in case the sickness developed to nausea.
Standing up with the empty glass in hand, Dean watched his brother fall back into a somewhat peaceful sleep – the only positive of the exhaustion that Sam was feeling as a result of the trials was the fact that it meant he slept deeply and hadn't had a single nightmare or restless night's sleep since he'd started – and walked over to the door, flicking the light switch off on his way out but leaving the door open. It had become an unspoken rule since moving in to the bunker – after years of sharing rooms, while the two were happy with the new-found privacy they were granted with their own they kept their doors open at night.
Walking into the kitchen and putting the glass into the sink, Dean then walked back down the hall to his own room but couldn't resist stopping at Sam's again. He leant against the doorframe and watched his younger brother sleep, his thoughts trailing back to what the teenager in the store had said.
"You got a sick kid at home, huh?"
It would've been easy for him to say that it wasn't his kid but his kid brother, but he came to a realisation he had come to before when he had been asked similar questions in similar situations – at the end of the day, Sam was his kid. He was his responsibility, always had been, always would be, and though there had been times in the past when he'd resented the pressure of the responsibility his dad had put on him at such a young age, he realised there was nothing in the world that he'd want to change it for.
"Night, Sammy," Dean whispered into the dark room before turning and heading into his own, determined to spend the next day caring for his brother and figuring out how to move forward so that Sam could get better and they could return to their version of normal – saving people, hunting things. The family business.