Prompt: #32 Pouting
Type of Story: General
Author's Website: Kezzie5 LJ
Author's Note: This is set pre-series when the boys are young children. Sam is 5 and Dean is 9. Thank you to my lovely beta's Cam (astrangerfate) and especially Sarah (Nocturnal08) for all her suggestions. This story certainly wouldn't be what it is without you two. Warning for parental discipline. Disclaimer - I own none of these characters. They are the property of Eric Kripke and the CW. Any characters in this story are used simply for entertainment purposes, and I am not making any money from these stories.
Fears Of the Heart
"No matter what, Sammy, you're still my baby boy."
"Sometimes I wonder
" came the heartbreakingly honest reply from the small bundle currently curled up in his lap. A trembling hand clutched to his shirt just like it had every other night this past week, the same broken voice pleading, begging, for his father to stay home.
John had to battle hard to breathe through the tightness that was threatening to take over his throat and his heart, clenching so hard it caused physical pain. What had he done to his children? Was he, their father, the one that put the fear in their hearts? He was just trying to protect them, to provide a circle of security around them at all times.
"My love for you is not negotiable son," he said with a low growl. "You should never doubt me on that."
Small hands tightened where they clutched at his father's shirt. "But I was so bad!" came the incredulous reply.
"Well, you haven't exactly been behaving yourself, but that doesn't make you bad, Sammy."
"You got spanked because you were giving me attitude. You know that even when you're upset or scared, you don't answer back or disobey, and even if your arguments are valid, you don't yell at me. It doesn't mean I don't love you." John's tone was firm but the comforting circles he rubbed on his sons back let Sam know the worst was over.
"I'm s-sorry, Daddy" Sammy sobbed against his chest.
- Flashback to earlier that evening -
"I'm ready, daddy!" Sammy squealed as he pulled open the bathroom door with such energy that it rattled, bouncing off the wall. The little boy didn't notice, though, as he pattered down the hallway, wet footprints following him into the bedroom that the boys were sharing. It wasn't until he climbed up on the bed using the sheets to aid him that John noticed his youngest.
"Oh, Sammy," he mumbled tiredly, a hand rubbing his unshaven face as he took in the sight before him. He straightened up, stretching his back to work out the kinks before taking one last look at Dean's sleeping form and marching his youngest back to the bathroom.
"What's I did wrong?" Sammy asked, biting the inside of his cheek as the pride he'd felt only moments before faded. "I 'ad a bath and I brushed my teeth!"
The floppy hair was plastered against his forehead and sticking up at the back, soap suds still visible throughout, making John groan as he realised he'd have to bathe the boy all over again making sure to supervise this time. And he wasn't even going to comment on the toothpaste on his chin, cheek and the bag of M&M's now creating a chocolaty mess at the edge of the tub.
Sam stood in front of John as he refilled the tub, testing the water for the correct temperature. Sam's spiderman pajamas stuck to his wet shivering body, the damp seeping through. John made quick work to strip them off, ordering Sam to raise his arms above his head. Sam obeyed, giving John a brief chance to tickle under Sammy's arms earning him a shy giggle.
The wide eyed look on his face instantly clued John into the fact this was going to be a long night of Sammy style questions. He made an encouraging noise for him to continue.
"Why cants I climb d'wall?"
John's eyebrows furrowed as he paused to study him "Sorry?"
"The wall!" an exasperated sigh left Sammy's lips, for a clever man his dad could be slow to pick up on things "I saw Dean's co-me-k" he slowly sounded out the word and silently repeated it before continuing "And the spiderman had jam jams like me and he got to climb and play on ropes"
" John nodded again non-commitedly still not following
Another drawn out sigh. "Why can't I?"
"Climb walls?" John tried tiredly; relieved when Sammy's head nodded with enthusiasm "You're a boy Sammy, not
get Dean to actually read you the comic sometime ok kiddo? I'm sure there's an explanation in there. And, you know how I feel about you climbing on furniture," he added with caution.
A huff escaped Sam's lips as he fixed his father with a glare. He might get some things from Mary but the stubborn looks? Definitely John's.
"I wants a mask. They had 'em at the cent store-"
"Dollar store, Sam." John pinched the bridge of his nose before running a weary hand back over his stubbled jaw
The tired raspy apology coming from behind him made John jump; he hadn't even heard the boy in the hallway. At least he'd trained him well.
"Dean! What are you doing out of bed?" he gently admonished, a large hand grasping his eldest to pull him closer
"Couldn't sleep. There was a high voice coming from here, thought a girl might have come to visit," he teased offering a glance in Sam's direction though his furious blinking revealed just how much this infection had taken it's toll.
"Am not a girl!!" Sammy scowled poking a finger into Dean's side.
John held up a hand, even gentle teasing seemed to escalate quickly these days. "I thought I told you not to leave that room. I wasn't joking Dean, you need to recover and you're not giving your body enough time."
"I can give Sam a bath, Dad."
"No. You can sleep like I asked, young man."
Dean's eyes met his father in defiance. "I want you there. Unless you still have that hunt that you said you'd be going on?"
It wasn't like him to question his father. When he'd first fallen ill, Dean'd been happy to have the responsibility lifted off his shoulders. That had quickly changed into a clinginess though, one that hadn't been around since Mary's death, John noted with a sense of regret once again for his boy growing up so fast. He'd originally been happy for the rare opportunity for a few quiet moments and cuddles with his eldest, the novelty had worn off. Having two children requiring constant attention just wasn't a luxury he could give them.
John spoke softly but with the authority both his boys recognized from an early age, "If you think you aren't old enough to put yourself to bed then you certainly aren't old enough to question my orders. Sam, wait here".
In one swift move he scooped Dean up in his arms with ease resting him on his hip, just like he had when he was younger, just like he still did with Sam now. Except Dean's legs were longer and he squirmed against the childish position he was held in.
He was placed in the bed propped up against the pillows and tucked in before he had time to take in what was happening. The cool breeze coming in through the slight crack in the window and the softness of the bed had him quickly struggling to keep awake.
Dean's eyes fluttered open again as his father's rough hand cupped the back of his neck, his warm fingers dug into the flesh massaging the tight muscles there for a moment before urging him to raise his head.
"Open up," John ordered spooning the children's Tylenol into Dean's mouth and bit back a smile at the look of disgust on his face. "Swallow it son," he ordered.
Once he was satisfied that all the medicine had been administered and he'd wiped down Dean's face with a damp cloth, he rose to his feet.
"Sam wants you to take him to the park. The one with the monkey bars that you won't let us go to alone," Dean stated clearing his phlegmy throat.
"Maybe Jim'll take you both if he has a minute and you behave yourselves."
"He wants you, Dad. That's why he talks about spiderman
you're the one who told him that he's a cool dude, he wants you." His voice was as close to a whine as Dean ever got.
John's jaw twitched "I'm tired, Dean. I just want to get through these next few days, ok? Give me a break."
Dean's explosion was cut short as John turned him in the bed just enough to land a sharp swat to his bottom, through the covers. Dean flinched, tired enough that his eyes watered in response to the mild discipline.
"Count yourself lucky that I'm taking your condition into account. I won't accept backtalk from either of you. If it happens again you can bet you'll feel a sting sharper than that. Sleep. Now."
John planted a kiss on his forehead before returning to the bathroom to find Sam curled up in a towel with a book in his hands. His finger following the words as he tried to sound them out.
"You and Dean have baths all the time, you know how to do this Sam" he scolded half-heartedly as the boy happily splashed about minutes later.
"Nu-uh! Dean gets a water bottle and we play turtle time then make waterfalls for our hair."
"Yes! We always have waterfalls!" He paused, pursing his lips together. "You always say we have a routine, daddy."
John rolled his eyes at the cheeky retort. "Well, you can't have games all the time. You're five years old for crying out loud-" he cut himself off before he could say something he'd regret, already noticing the effect his words had as Sam's face fell, lips trembling. Damn it, why couldn't he keep his temper in check? "Sorry kiddo. I just
there's no time for playing tonight. When your brother is back in shape we'll get onto that. But I need you tucked up in bed an hour ago so I can give Dean one last check before heading out."
There was silence for the first time all evening as Sammy scowled up at him. John braced himself unhappily. "You're going?" Sammy accused.
John nodded abruptly, not giving the boy time to build his argument "But daaaaady," Sam whined, his bottom lip jutted out for added effect as John rinsed off the last of the soap. "Dean's ill! You have to stay and make him all better!"
An eyebrow raised in warning, "Don't you raise your voice at me, young man."
"Dean gots infected because you weren't home when he got hurt! He's got a bad tummy because of you!"
Sam was too young to see the shadow of guilt in his father's eyes. He continued his accusations, sparkling young eyes reminding John just how terrible a father he'd been the past few weeks.
"You always LEAVE!" Sam said, kicking a frustrated foot.
John breathed out, frustrated, stifling his own feelings like he'd had to steel himself to leave all week, not daring to glance in the rearview mirror as he pulled away from the motel they'd set up base for fear of seeing Dean restraining his youngest, the pleading screams of "Daddy!" ringing in his ears. He'd had to manhandle Sam off him every time he left for a hunt, untangling the limbs and placing him on the bed or in his brothers waiting arms. He'd even taken to sneaking off in the early morning to avoid the scene of a bawling Sammy. Dean wasn't much better though; he'd recently taken to brooding stares at his old man across the breakfast table.
He shook himself out of his thoughts and broke into Sam's rant before his temper got the better of him.
"Dean's just fine, buddy, and Pastor Jim was with you within the hour. The man knows how to clean a cut. I wouldn't leave you with him now, otherwise."
"It's NOT fair," Sam pouted, scrambling out of the tub and yanking the towel from John's hands, holding it around his waist, more modest now than a year ago. "I made friends, 'n Callum said I could come play at his house but we had to go, again!"
"Samuel Winchester, that is enough. Cut it out." he snapped his fingers and pointed menacingly as the boy bit down on his lower lip, shrinking back.
don't be loud" Sammy whimpered.
"I have had it up to here with your sulking and injured pup expressions
" John started hardheartedly. "You were being such a good boy doing all your chores and helping your brother, I was going to get you boys a treat for such good behavior. But, Sammy, you're holding me back from the hunts! You've called me twice now, when you know very well that the phone is used for emergencies only!"
He threw his hands up in frustration as Sammy stomped out of the room, tears streaming down his face. He took a moment before following in a controlled manner. This argument had been bubbling under the surface for a few weeks; he'd wondered when it was going to rear its ugly head.
Feeling a bit of a coward, John ducked past where he hoped the boys would soon be fast asleep, casting a grateful glance at Jim as he rinsed his mug out, the taste of bitter coffee still lingering in his mouth. It'd keep him going for the first few hours of his journey.
"I, uh, it would have been a tough week if you hadn't been here for the boys. Saved me a lot of headaches. They could go both do to run off some steam when Dean's up to it," he stated scratching the stubble on his chin, a small smile playing on his lips as Jim rolled his eyes, laughing.
"Can't it ever be a simple thanks. John?"
" he started, then caught the twinkle in his friends eyes he chuckled, grabbing his coat and pulling it on before swinging the duffle over his shoulder. He did a quick check of his supplies on his way to the door when he noticed his handgun missing. Removing the bag, he patted down his sides and slid his hands into his pockets, his eyebrows furrowing as he pulled them out, mouth twisting in exasperation as he examined his nails. His hand dug back in again, pinching the substance there. When he pulled it out, raising it to his lips, he let out a low growl:
He strode into the bedroom, his thunderous expression giving some indication of his mood.
His little troublemaker had clearly been anticipating the moment. His body tensed in bed, but he made no effort to move. After placing a cool hand on Dean's forehead and checking he was still out for the count, John cleared his throat, waiting till one eye peeped open guiltily.
"Out. Now." he whispered, pointing to the door with an expectant glare.
"What the hell are you playing at?" John growled, rounding on Sammy as soon as they reached the kitchen. It was sheer bravado that made the little boy fold his arms across his chest and glare up at him. "My gun has gone, there's salt lining each pocket of my jacket, not to mention, my car keys are missing"
"You're not going, Daddy. You're
grounded," Sam tried, desperately racking his brain for all the phrases he'd had thrown at him over the year.
John muttered a profanity under his breath, his eyes glistening like molten steel. "I don't have time for this. Answer the damn question, little boy!!"
"I DON'T WANT YOU TO GO!" Sammy roared, his face coloring with the effort "You're going away to mommy and you won't come back for us. I HATE YOU!"
John's hand shot out compulsively, delivering a well-deserved swat to the boy's pajama clad bottom. Sam let out a wail, accusing him with a smacked puppy look.
John's jaw clenched, leaning down till he was at eye level with his son, the pain of those words still piercing him. "That's one buddy. Now, you tell me where those keys are this minute," he warned.
"You'll die. Like Mr Bobby's friend!" Sammy wailed, rubbing his teary eyes with a fist. His spurt of bravery trickled away beneath the glowering fury of his father's frown.
"You heard that?" John asked, a little more gently. Shit. He and Bobby had shared some tense words after their hunt last week. The loud mouth had accused him of being reckless, overly eager to risk orphaning his boys.
"Uh huh," Sam drew a shuddering breath. "The bad thing came after 'im 'cause he killed its family."
John sighed, drawing up a chair. "Call Caleb. Tell him I'll be there by afternoon, Ashton is close if he needs the help," John said, addressing Jim, who'd entered upon hearing the commotion.
Once they were left alone again, he sat down, pulling Sammy to his side. Sam dragged his feet, looking understandably nervous. He knew very well what happened to little boys who threw tantrums and disobeyed dad.
"Samuel. I am not going anywhere, not even to your mom," John said with quiet intensity. He wished, not for the first time, that Mary were there to help him. Hell, if she were there they wouldn't even be in this mess. "But being naughty is not going to keep me around longer; you're holding me back from helping people who need it."
Willing to do anything to delay his trip over Daddy's knee, Sammy looked up at him pleadingly, "We need your help, too, Daddy
"And you have it," John reassured, before fixing a stern glare on his son once more. "Right now I'm going to help you remember to be a good boy. Clearly I've been ignoring my fatherly duties. My boys know they don't behave naughty to get attention."
With that, he lifted the little boy up and onto his lap. Sammy immediately started fussing, hating the position as much as ever. His father simply wrapped an arm around, pulling him in close.
"Noooo!" Sam wailed, "No smacking, it hurts!"
Knowing he wanted, and needed, to deliver the message fast for both their sakes, John swept the pajama bottoms down, revealing Sammy's clenched bare bottom. His heart was already aching at the wracking sobs coming from his youngest, but Sam needed him to be firm and consistent. His raised hand came down across the middle of the small bottom with a solid smack. He pulled back again and lay down another three sharp smacks all overlaying each other, making Sammy howl in protest, his legs squirming to escape.
"Settle down," John ordered tersely as he made sure to cover every inch of the cheeks, watching carefully as they turned from a dusty pink to red, feeling the heat under his hand. He was being quicker than usual, but the sharp stinging smacks that rained down on Sam's thighs and under curve of his bottom made up for it. He continued, alternating between each cheek for several minutes till the boy was shaking with tears. He laid one last firm swat, before gathering his baby into his arms.
- End of Flashback -
"I get scared too
" John added softer, more to himself than for Sammy's benefit but he still caught the widened eyes gazing up at him, "for you and your brother." He spoke in hushed tones, still working to calm the boy.
"But" another shudder of the shoulders as he tried to be a brave little boy like his daddy had trained him, "but Dean said you're not scared of anything and you're fearless. That's what hunters are."
John chuckled at that, thinking fondly of his little soldier asleep in the next room. "Well, a lot of hunters seem fearless. They have had bad things happen in their life so they want to help people. It keeps them going. Like you must have known you'd get swatted for all your troubles these past few weeks but you wanted me here bad enough that you kept on going no matter what. Want to know a secret though?" he asked, conspiratorially.
Sam nodded, eyes wide.
"Sometimes I get scared that I can't save everyone."
Before he had time to dwell on his thoughts, the small voice broke into them "But you're a hero, daddy!"
He looked down at Sammy, seeing the sincerity shining in his eyes as he patted his father's arm consolingly. His heart swelled with love and pride. When had the roles reversed and he was the one now seeking comfort?
"Dean said so and he knows everything," Sam said with finality. There was no doubt in his young mind that his brother spoke absolute Truth.
"He does know a lot
" John agreed before shifting his baby further back on his lap so he could take a good look at him, his hand reached forward tenderly sweeping the bangs off his face. They fell straight back into place, making him smile.
"You know, when I got angry tonight it wasn't just because you argued with me but because you're getting so grown up. It makes me sad, sometimes."
Most parents have moments of sadness when they're child goes off to school, their first sleepover, when they pack up and leave for college. For us, it's when the kid's big enough to handle a shotgun, when he lays a salt line with a sure hand, he thought, allowing himself a brief moment to think of the future he'd snatched from them when he emptied their college funds all those years ago, hoping they wouldn't resent him for that.
"All I can think is that each year you get bigger, the harder it is to keep you boys safe. Your mom, she
she spent an afternoon crying once because you preferred sleeping next to your bear, than cuddled up against her side. You were only a few months old!" Sam smiled, hungry for the memories. John cuddled him closer, letting the boy's heat warm him where talking about his wife made him feel so cold. "I told her it meant nothing, but she thought she was losing you. Now I have to worry that I'm letting you fall asleep with a drunk down the hall, with me out there trying to kill anything that would even think about trying to hurt you."
"But why can't you stay," Sam asks, plaintively, discretely sucking on one of his fingers. John gently removed it from his mouth.
"I don't want to go buddy, but there are people who need my help. If anything were to happen to you boys, I would never forgive myself. But your brother, he knows what he's doing. And he's got you, Sammy. I heard you with Pastor Jim last week, you've made great progress on your Latin," he rubbed circles on Sam's back as he spoke, another knot forming in his stomach as he felt the sharpness of the spine and muscles under the skin replacing the baby fat that had been there only months ago.
"What about you, though, daddy?" Sam's eyes were piercing him with their intensity.
"What about me?" His kid was filled with silent questions tonight, ones he couldn't even begin to answer.
"Who keeps you safe?" the breath was hitched and he could feel the small body tense in his arms, his own hand snaking around and instinctively pulling him closer again. "You must make the bad things mad, don't they follow you and try and get you? What if you go to hunt and then don't come back?"
"That won't" he started then tried again. "Your old man knows what he's doing kiddo, I have some of the best dam...dang hunters teaching me."
Sam nodded, but continued to play with the loose thread on the bottom of his t-shirt, twirling it in his fingers. "I watched a movie with Dean," he said softly, "and the daddy went to war and he got trapped in a building and the bad men were shooting all around him."
John nodded, grimly making a mental note to remind his eldest exactly what movies were deemed suitable viewing.
"He looked scared because he got shot, then he was saved and taken to hospital. But he died there b'cause he lost a lot of blood."
John listened, waiting.
"What if you get hurt? Who saves you? I don't want you to die, Daddy
please! Please don't leave us; we'll be good I promise. Uncle Bobby can hunt and you can help me read."
He hesitated for a moment hearing the fear behind the question, the silent plea for reassurance that he wouldn't loose the only family he'd ever known. It hurt him to hear his little boy so desperate. "Always have backup, that's an important rule in hunting," John told him, it wasn't exactly a lie. He just didn't always believe that rules necessarily applied to him. The simple answer seemed to satisfy his youngest for the time being though as his sobs quieted.
"Do angels watch over you?"
The hunter chewed on his lip unsure how to answer that, knowing what Mary's answer would have been. Things were more complicated now. "What do you think Sammy?"
"Pastor Jim said I should pray for us if I'm worried. He showed me how, you can just think it
because I told him we don't have a phone!"
"Then you do what you need to do, son."
He waited again, giving the boy time to process everything, providing whispers of reassurance as he rocked him until he was sure there'd be no more hysterics.
Adjusting Sammy in his arms so that his head was rested against his father's shoulder, sticky hands clasped around his neck, he carried Sam through to the room the boys were sharing. He saw Dean stir as he entered the room but a nod and confident smile reassured the boy he was off duty. He watched as Dean allowed himself the luxury of slipping into a peaceful sleep once again.
John walked to the opposite side of the bed and peeled back the covers with one hand being careful not to drop Sammy, aware that his breathing was slower and deeper, a small hand now twirling a curl of his hair, a tell tale sign that he was about to drop off. For a brief moment he considered settling him with a bottle of warm milk, something that the boys hadn't needed for a couple of years. It only took him another moment to dismiss the idea though and he kicked off his boots before sitting on the bed swinging his legs up. He eased back against the pillows; Sammy now sprawled on his chest being held on by a firm grip around the waist. His baby needed to know he wasn't going anywhere. It wouldn't hurt to give into him just this once. With his other arm he gave Dean a gentle tug till he rolled over, his body pressed up against John's side snuggling into his dad's warmth.
There was a stack of papers to sort through and his journal to update, but he could get a few hours of work in before the boys woke in the morning. He was doing this for them. With that in mind he drifted into an unsettled dream.
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