Title: I WIsh I was a Growed Up
Characters: Sam, Dean, John
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural except in my dreams where schmoop abounds.
Warnings: Those of you who think John Winchester was a good father doing the best he could under terrible circumstances may not like my portrayal. He's not deliberately cruel, but he is negligent and he treats his sons as though they are soldiers, not little boys. Just remember this story is AU and Sammy knows what his daddy does at a much younger age than canon Sammy.
Word Count: ~3,000
Summary: Sammy has just figured out that life isn't fair for his older brother, Dean. He wishes there was some way he could help. When his wish comes true their lives are changed forever. AU hurt/sick!Dean protective!Sam Wee!chester
I Wish I was a Growed Up
Chapter 2 The First Time
"Hey, Dean. It's just me. I'm still Sammy." Smiling shyly, he sits on the edge of his brother's bed.
Dean recoils from him as though he were a venomous snake. "No, Sammy, no, this isn't right. Change back." His eyes are wild with fright, his hands clutch at his bedspread.
"Dean, it's okay. Really, don't be scared." Sammy beseeches holding his hands out to his terrified brother.
"Sammy, You just...I saw you...change back...change back...please." Dean is panting now, desperate.
Dean looks like he's about to cry and Sammy doesn't know what to do. This isn't what he'd had in mind when he made his wish.
"That's right, you saw me change, you heard me make the wish, you know it's still just me, don't you?" Sammy questions, hoping to persuade his brother that everything is going to be all right.
"Yeah, but...change back, Sammy." Dean pleads.
By taping into his adult logic, Sammy comes to the conclusion that this isn't about Dean being afraid of him, it's about Dean being afraid of a situation which is so far out of his control it's thrown him into orbit. Dean's role as big brother is being threatened and he probably feels as though his whole world is shattering.
"I don't think I can change back, not until you don't need me like this anymore. The wish was for me to be a grown up when you need one to help you. As soon as you're better, I'll probably turn back. So, all you have to do is let me help you." There, that puts the entire situation back in Dean's hands, giving him control over the outcome.
Sure enough, color begins to return to Dean's face and he relaxes into the bedding.
His next exhale turns into a coughing fit, however, that leaves him gasping for breath and holding his throat again.
"Right, so we have sore throat, coughing, sneezing and runny nose. Any other symptoms?" Sammy walks briskly to the bathroom to check the medicine cabinet for children's cold medication, anxious to act before he loses what little progress he's just made with his distraught brother. They have a first aid kit in the kitchen, but the garden variety cold medicine is normally kept in the bathroom, if they have any. Yatzee! He finds a mostly full bottle of children's cold and flu medicine.
When he walks back into the bedroom holding up the bottle of medicine triumphantly, Dean starts shaking his head. "Nuh uh, Sammy. I don't wanna take that."
"Why not? It'll make you feel better." Sammy coaxes.
The straight forward logic doesn't work with his stubborn brother who just shrinks away from him again.
He doesn't want to force himself on Dean, that's not what his wish is about. Dean is rebelling against the situation and still feeling threatened. A little reverse psychology might be just the thing.
"Okay, Dean. I'm gonna go watch a little TV, but if you need me, I'm here."
He watches his 'big' brother carefully, sees the flickers of doubt, fear, and curiosity cross his face. Taking the medicine, he purposefully turns toward the door and leaves the bedroom. The fear he notices in Dean's eyes makes him want to pause and console his brother, he doesn't though, trusting that Dean's curiosity will win out over stubbornness in the end. Although he doesn't want Dean to be afraid, his fear of being left alone might also work in Sammy's favor and allow Dean to accept his help.
"Call if you want anything." Sammy adds once he reaches the doorway.
First things first, he needs to find some more appropriate clothes. The footie pj's are just not cutting it. In Daddy's...Dad's...room, he finds some sweat pants and a tee shirt that were left behind and quickly changes into them.
In the living room with the set turned on at a low volume so he can hear any noise from the bedroom, no matter how quiet, he settles onto one side of the couch. Rustling sounds from the bedroom indicate that Dean is trying in vain to find a comfortable spot on the bed. A wet, hacking cough is the next sound he hears, followed by a juicy sneeze and more tossing and turning.
Sammy is just about to give in to the overwhelming urge to rush back into the bedroom, forcing his suffering brother to submit to some coddling, when he hears the shuffling of feet coming into the living room. He looks over nonchalantly into fever-bright eyes, careful not to overreact to Dean's presence next to the sofa. The fever is cataloged along with Dean's other symptoms and Sammy adds the thermometer to the list of supplies he needs. With a simple nod, he goes back to watching the TV, secretly holding his breath, waiting to see what Dean will do next.
It takes him a while to decide. Sammy can sense the wheels turning in Dean's feverish mind as he stands uncertainly with one hand resting lightly on the back of the couch. He wills his brother to give in to his obvious need for comfort, to abandon his pride, just for a little while.
While watching Sammy suspiciously, like he expects him to spontaneously combust or something, Dean slides into the corner of the sofa, as far away from Sammy as he can get. He pulls his legs into his chest, wraps his arms lightly around them. Sammy can see shivers racking Dean's small frame, adds a blanket to his growing list.
Now that Dean has made a tentative effort, Sammy puts the first stage of operation 'help Dean whether he likes it or not' into action.
I'll be right back. Stay here." He points to the couch while getting up to briskly gather the supplies from his list: blanket from the closet, thermometer from the first aid kit, ice chips from the freezer, orange juice from the fridge, and saltines from the cupboard.
He has to make several trips back and forth. Dean's eyes follow him uneasily, but he doesn't move from his balled up position on the couch except to cough and sniffle into his sleeve. Sammy adds toilet paper to his list and detours to the bathroom for a roll.
Supplies gathered, Sammy approaches Dean cautiously, like he's a wild rabbit poised for flight. That image makes him snicker 'cause this is Dean we're talking about and his brother never runs away from anything, even when he's scared. Sammy thinks this might be the exception that proves the rule though. The kid hasn't had anyone take care of him since he was four years old, probably doesn't remember what it feels like, doesn't know how to react to it. And that's just too sad to think about.
Dean's brows furrow at the snicker and he watches Sammy intently, but he doesn't run. In fact, he freezes as Sammy moves closer, only his eyes following his sibling's progress.
When he's close enough, Sammy wraps the blanket around Dean's shoulders and tucks it in around his drawn up legs and arms.
"Does that feel better?" He asks, hoping to get Dean comfortable enough to start talking to him again.
All he gets is a reserved nod. Heck, it's better than nothing. He'll take what he can get at this point.
Next he holds out the cup of orange juice. "The vitamin C will be good for you and the cool juice might make your throat feel better."
In order to take the cup, Dean has to unravel one arm and hand from around his legs and blanket. He lets his legs fall into a more normal sitting position and sips from the cup. So far so good, Sammy congratulates himself.
While Dean is occupied with the juice, Sammy sits next to him on the couch, shunning his previous spot on the far edge in favor of one right beside his brother. Dean doesn't object and Sammy's pleased by the positive sign. It's amazing how small his brother appears to him now, the top of Dean's head barely reaches the midpoint of his bicep when they're sitting side by side like this. Conversely, he must seem humongous to Dean.
"Let's see if you have a temperature." Holding up the thermometer, Sammy waits for Dean to open his mouth and places the thermometer under his tongue.
All things considered, Dean is handling this really well. Either that or he wants to be taken care of more than he's willing to admit.
They wait a couple of minutes and then Sammy's earlier suspicion is confirmed with a reading of 101.4 No wonder Dean's having trouble getting comfortable, a fever that high means chills and body aches. The medicine will help with that if he can just get his obstinate brother to take some.
Grabbing the medicine bottle off the coffee table in front of him, Sammy gives it another go. "Dean, you need to take some of this medicine. You'll feel so much better if you do."
"No, I can't." Dean turns his head away and purses his lips as if daring Sammy to try and make him.
"Why not?" He can't keep the exasperation out of his tone.
Dean sighs and it's such a world-weary sound coming from such a small boy that Sammy's insides flip over in sympathy. "I'm saving it for the next time you get sick. Dad doesn't always leave enough money for medicine and food when he goes on a hunt."
A kick in the gut would have been a lot less painful than listening to his brother's confession. The very idea of eight year old Dean Winchester being forced to choose between buying food or medicine brings the sting of tears to his eyes, tears he dares not let his brother see.
"You need to take this medicine now so you can get better or I won't be able to change back. You don't want me to be stuck like this, do you?" Sammy knows he's playing dirty, exploiting his brother's only weakness. He's totally fine with it, ends justify the means and all that.
Dean considers his choices for a few moments, coughs and blows his nose into a wad of toilet paper, takes a sip of juice, and nods his head. "All right."
Quickly pouring out a dose before Dean changes his mind again, Sammy holds his breath until the entire cupful has disappeared down Dean's throat. He smiles down at Dean encouragingly as he takes the measuring cup back and places it on the coffee table.
The saltines and ice chips are both turned down, but the major battles have been won. Sammy's content for the moment in the knowledge that Dean's relatively comfortable and will hopefully continue to accept his help.
They both lean back to watch the TV, some lame sitcom rerun. Sammy puts his arm around Dean's slim shoulders, makes sure the blanket is tucked snugly over his legs, checks to see if the shivers have stopped. Before long, he catches Dean's head begin to bob from his peripheral vision. Poor kid didn't get much sleep last night, he remembers, plus the medicine may be making him drowsy. Sammy pulls Dean closer against his side and supports his head, soon Dean's fast asleep, mouth open so he can breathe with his stuffed up sinuses.
The medicine seems to be helping somewhat with the sneezing and runny nose, although the coughing keeps waking him up and a sheen of sweat glistens on his forehead and upper lip. Each time he wakes up, he squirms around a bit like the perfect position will make it all better before he drifts off to sleep again.
Sammy remembers the training session of the previous week, how Dean had wanted to be held on Dad's lap when he was tired and aching afterward, how lost he had looked when Dad rejected him. Hoping that he isn't about the test the boundaries of his brother's tolerance for this temporary role reversal, Sammy lifts Dean, still wrapped n the blanket, into his arms and cradles him against his chest. Not-quite-awake eyes blink languidly up at him, a hand wriggles out of the blanket to fist in his tee-shirt. Stay.
"I'm not goin' anywhere. Go back to sleep." Sammy whispers.
Need wins out over pride. Dean let's what he wants take precedence for once, sighs his acceptance, and closes his eyes. Sammy knows a breakthrough when he sees one.
Once he's asleep again, Dean's hand relaxes its grip on Sammy's shirt and falls back to rest on his stomach.
Sammy can't get over how small Dean is compared to an adult. Hes always thought of his older brother as being so large, so capable, so smart. Taking Dean's lax hand in his own strong one, he uncurls the fingers and holds their palms together. The tips of his fingers don't even reach Sammy's first knuckle.
From an adult perspective, he looks down at the child he holds in his arms. For all that Dean is only eight years old he somehow manages to be parent, teacher and guardian. This small boy has been responsible for taking care of himself and a younger brother from the time he was four. The truly remarkable thing is that he thrives on the responsibility, worries that his family doesn't need him instead of complaining that they ask too much. Having been taught to expect nothing in return, it won't take long before he begins to think of himself as unworthy to receive affection. Sammy doesn't even want to think about what shape that will leave his self-sacrificing brother in.
After a while, Dean gets restless, Sammy can feel the heat radiating through the blanket from the body draped in his arms. A new temperature reading shows 101.8, slightly higher in spite of the medicine. In order to assist his natural cooling system, Sammy blows across Dean's sweaty face and neck. The breeze stirs his light hair, Dean settles.
Around noon, he wakes up for the soup Sammy heats on the stove, manages to eat half of it and some of the saltines, takes another dose of medicine.
Afternoon television programing consists of soap operas and talk show, so they opt for a break from the mindless drivel. While Dean is munching on some fresh ice chips to sooth his raw throat, Sammy asks, "Do you want to pick out a book for me to read to you? Don't you have some from the library?"
"No, Sammy, I read to you. You don't read to me." The fear is back in Dean's eyes.
It's almost like they're back to square one and Sammy would kick himself for saying the wrong thing except he has no clue what caused the set back.
"Well, yeah I know you usually read to me, but your throat is too sore to be talking, much less reading out loud." Maybe logic will work this time, even though it doesn't have the best track record.
Kicking at the coffee table with one foot and staring at his knees, Dean crosses his arms in front if himself. "That doesn't leave much for me to do for you."
"Dean...are you afraid I'm not going to need you any more?" Sammy asks after a moments hesitation.
Dean licks his bottom lip nervously, no answer forthcoming.
So that's it, Dean's afraid a grown up Sammy won't need him like a four your old Sammy needs him. He's afraid a grown up Sammy will leave when he finds more important things to do like Dad leaves to hunt.
"I'm always going to need you...always. You're my brother and nothing can change that." He pulls Dean into a gentle hug and kisses the top of his head. "I don't know when I'm going to change back or how much I'll remember about being grown, so I'm going to tell you now...I love you."
The tender moment he visualizes doesn't materialize. Dean's eyes glint mischievously. "I know you do, squirt."
Sammy looks incredulously at his giggling brother. "You've been waiting for just the right time to lay that one on me, haven't you? Do I look like a 'squirt' to you?" Sammy bursts out laughing and tousles his brother's hair. "You're going to be a riot when you grow up, a regular comedian."
The tension breaks and both boys sit back on the couch, flush with laughter this time instead of just fever.
Back to ( I Wish I was a Growed Up Chapter 1 - The Wish)