I tried something new. A ficlet about the wee!Winchesters (or teenage!Winchesters, actually) from the POV of an outsider. It was damn difficult and it itched in my fingers to return to the minds of Sam and Dean, but I pulled through.The Caleb used is courtesy of Ridley C. James Title: ObservationsAuthor: valkrysBeta: The awesome loracj2 and rose_in_texascorrected my awful tenses, vocabulary and brought sense and grammar to the story, thank you so much ladies, you're my heroes!Word count: 5,182Rating: PG13, Gen, teenage!winchesterSummary: Sam's at a babysitter's when Dean gets injured on a hunt.Discl.: I don't own nuffin
The poltergeist had been hiding behind the antique drawer all along, just waiting for Dean to make his approach. Seconds later the young hunter flew through the air like a stuffed teddy, crashing into the back wall and landing face down on the cellar floor with a sick thud.
Objects were flying across the room and shattering into pieces as they randomly hit shelves, walls or the floor, but John’s booming voice carried over them. The poltergeist was really stepping up his game. There was no response from Dean, and John noticed with concern that his 17-year-old son was oblivious to the debris landing on him.
Seeking cover behind an old closet, John gathered the salt, accelerant and a box of matches from the duffel bag and stuffed it into his jacket. Closing his eyes, he sent a quick prayer to Odin, the Norse god of hunting. Taking a deep breath, he carefully peeked out from behind the wooden furniture to evaluate the best way to cross the room and approach the south wall, where Dean had already dug a hole in the muddy ground. Even from where he kneeled, he could see most of the skeleton bones, indicating the final resting place of George Benz.
John once more checked his supplies, then rose and threw a quickly prepared distraction into the opposite corner of the cellar, hoping the poltergeist would take the bait. Sprinting through the dark and messy room, he reached the open grave, poured salt and accelerator over the remains, and lit the match with one successful spark.
The fire caught quickly, and almost immediately the poltergeist started screaming in horror and anger. John watched as it vanished into the afterlife with an angry hiss – for good this time.
The hunter let out an angry huff to relieve the pressure that had built up inside him fighting the poltergeist, then hurried over to the prone form of Dean. The teenager lay buried beneath various shards, pots and wooden plates. Quickly but carefully, John removed all obstacles covering Dean’s body. Blood was spilling out of several wounds and Dean’s breathing came shallow and raspy.
John called for Dean to wake up, softly shaking him, trying to get him back to consciousness with increasing urgency. When he finally stopped and accepted that Dean wasn’t coming around, his jaw was set tightly and his eyes flashed dark with concern.
“Son of a bitch!”
Lifting his son’s body off the floor, he carried him up the stairs and, struggling with the weight, opened the front door of the old house and stomped his way through the wet grass to where the Impala was parked, all while muttering, “this is one hunt gone fucking wrong.”
Bridgette was fascinated. For a brief second she considered that this was kind of sick; to be mesmerized by a strange kid. But for some weird reason she couldn’t take her eyes off the boy in her living room.
Samuel Winchester, Sam, was one special 12-year-old, she had come to understand.
The first thing she had noticed as slightly off was the way the boys kept running around the house. Phillip was clumsy, often tripping and falling when he was playing, always oblivious to his surroundings. Sam, on the other hand, seemed to predict Phillip’s every step, protecting the other boy from falling over at least twice, by reaching out at exactly the right moment to keep Phillip on his feet.
Taking another sip of her coffee, Bridgette leaned back into her chair, her eyes glued to her son’s new playmate.
A few hours ago, he had turned up at her door accompanied by his older brother, polite and quiet. The moment her gaze had connected with his big, hazel eyes, all her mother's instincts had been called to attention.
“Mrs. Benoit, I’m Dean Winchester. We talked on the phone? This is Sam. Thank you for letting him stay with you for a while. I promise I'll be back in a few hours to pick him up.”
Bridgette noted the twinkle in the teenager’s eyes and the cocky grin on his handsome face. Was he flirting with her? She had squelched the thought as quickly as it had entered her mind. She had flushed and unconsciously smoothed out her clothes but returned the smile. The deep green eyes of the older boy held an amused sparkle, along with a maturity she had never noticed in a teenager before.
“Yeah, sure, of course. Please come in, Sam.”
Sam had given her a shy smile but hadn’t moved. Patiently holding the door open, Bridgette had waited, wondering if there was anything she had missed. Sliding her eyes to Dean, she noticed that he had moved his hand to Sam’s back, giving the younger boy a reassuring pat.
“I’ll be back soon, kiddo. Be nice, OK?”
Sam had looked up at his older brother and for a moment Bridgette was sure she had seen fear flickering in his hazel eyes. Dean must have seen it as well, as he had crunched down and placed his hand on Sam’s shoulder, squeezing gently.
“It will be all right, Sammy, I promise. We talked about this. Next time he'll let you go with us, but not today."
The uncertainty in his little brother’s eyes didn’t subside, so for reassurance, Dean had pulled out his cell phone and put it into Sam’s hand.
"Here. It has Dad’s number, in case anything happens.”
Sullenly nodding his head, Sam had sighed softly and turned towards Bridgette, reluctantly accepting the invitation into the house. She had smiled uncomfortably and pointed towards her son's bedroom door.
“Phillip’s in his room, if you want to join him.”
She had watched Sam shuffling over, then had turned back to Dean.
“When do you think you’ll be back?”
Dean’s eyes had followed his little brother until he had disappeared into the bedroom before he had shifted his attention back to Bridgette, seemingly considering her question.
“I’m guessing it won’t take longer than three hours, ma’am.”
“Fine, Sam will be here for dinner, then.”
“Thank you again for doing this.”
“No problem, Dean. See you later?”
“Yes, see you later. Bye, Mrs. Benoit.”
This time, Bridgette was sure she had seen him winking at her, and her cheeks had colored deep red. Watching the teenager return to the black muscle car, she had scolded herself for being flattered by the flirting of a school boy.
He hadn’t looked at her again, but had climbed into the Chevrolet and had driven off.
That had been four hours ago. But Bridgette was so busy with watching the playing children that she hadn’t paid any attention to the minutes ticking by.
She knew that Phillip had trouble making friends. He was famous for tantrums and even for lashing out at other children, so not many kids came around the house anymore to play with him. Bridgette had to admit that when Dean had called, she had been kind of surprised, but also glad that the new boy in town had made a connection to her son. Phillip had already told her about the awesome car that Sam’s brother drove, and that he wanted a car just like that when he was older.
Bridgette had made it her habit to observe Phillip when other children were around, at least in the beginning when the kids where still getting to know each other. Too many trips to the ER had taught her as much. But with Sam it seemed entirely different. Not only had Sam’s calm and apparent thoughtfulness quieted Phillip, but his air of intensity and safety made her forget all about the previous bad experiences.
Sam had been reserved in the beginning, observantly following Phillip's lead. After the first hour, however, the dynamics had changed and Sam had come up with games they could play. First she had wanted to intercept when they boys had taken up a game of hide and seek, with the obligation for the loser to do 5 sit-ups. Surprisingly enough, Phillip had enjoyed the challenge and had not once tried to bail out.
At half past five, Bridgette started preparing dinner. While Phillip buzzed around her, she caught sight of Sam from the corner of her eye, silently studying the family pictures from when her husband had still been alive; the look on his face a mixture of curiosity and sadness. When she called out to him to join them in the kitchen, guilt had raced through his eyes, like she had caught him stealing candies.
They set the table together, with Sam watching her every move with wide open eyes; displaying vulnerability as only children can. She didn’t need to say much; he already knew what was supposed to be on the table and where to put everything. The dinner itself was less hectic than usual, with Sam telling them about camping adventures with his big brother and Phillip actually listening to the calm voice of the other boy.
Not once did Sam mention his mother and Bridgette wondered for a brief moment whether she should ask where she was, but then decided that she didn't want to appear nosy.
After dinner she allowed the kids to turn on the TV, with Phillip once more deciding on the program. As she tried to catch up her test marking and correcting, she let the giggling and chattering from the living room subside into oblivion. Jumping when the phone rang, she glanced at the clock, and for the first time noticed that Dean was already one hour late.
The ringing came from Sam's cell phone and he quickly fumbled it out of his pocket and answered.
Bridgette couldn’t hear the voice of the caller, but she noticed Sam’s trembling hands and how the boy swallowed thickly, his shoulders tense.
“What happened? Is Dean all right? ….. But I wanna be with Dean! …."
A sudden loud voice barked through the speakers at Sam's pleading request. The boy blanched and straightened before answering, “Yes, sir.”
Bridgette watched him getting up from the floor and walking over to her. The open fear in his innocent eyes stole her breath.
“It’s my dad.”
Pushing the phone towards her without further explanation, Sam glanced up, his eyes begging for her to take the call and make whatever had happened all right again. Bridgette reached for the phone with a bad feeling in her gut.
“This is Bridgette Benoit.”
“Mrs. Benoit, this is John Winchester. There has been an… accident. I need to stay with my son. We're at the Crisp Regional. Could Sam sleep at your place?”
“Oh my God, I hope Dean’s going to be OK?”
The sharp intake of air next to her came from Sam and she looked down at him with what she hoped to be a reassuring nod. Placing her hand on the boy’s shoulder she concentrated on keeping her voice even.
“Would it be possible?” John insisted, avoiding her question entirely.
Bridgette swallowed, the tightness of the man’s voice indicating the worst.
“Of course, Mr. Winchester. Is there anything else I can do?”
“Thank you. I will call tomorrow before I come to pick up Sam.”
She didn’t have time to say goodbye before the line went dead. Reluctant to look at Sam, she stared at the phone in her hand, her head swimming. She would have to prepare the guestroom bed for Sam. Phillip's pajamas should fit the boy; they were about the same height. Was he accustomed to sleeping at unfamiliar places?
Sam's voice, thick with emotions, brought her back to reality. Loosening her grip on the cell phone, she looked down and forced a small smile to curl her lips. Putting away the phone, she squatted down to level with Sam and his questioning eyes.
"You'll stay here tonight, Sam. Your dad has to stay with your brother."
"I'm going to the hospital."
Bridgette winced at the force and determination in the boy's voice when stating the line as a fact.
"I'm sure you will be able to visit Dean tomorrow, Sam. He needs rest to get well."
The hazel eyes which met her gaze now were screaming for help, pain and fear so apparent that Bridgette flinched. She reached out and gently placed her hands on the shoulders of the boy, her palms comfortingly rubbing down Sam’s arms.
"It will be all right, Sam."
"You don't know! You're not Dean!" Sam spat. He swirled around and grabbed for the cell phone she had put down on the table. Scrolling down he frantically searched for a number in the internal phone book.
"Sam, please, calm down. There is nothing you can do and your dad made it pretty clear that he wants you to stay here," Bridgette tried to reason with the upset boy.
Turning around to face the teacher, Sam's stature was determined.
"Either you drive me to the hospital or I'm gonna call my uncle Caleb. He will pick me up for sure."
"Sam, your dad wants you to stay here."
Even to her own ears the reasoning sounded hollow, but there wasn't anything more she could tell him. She had no idea how to reassure the boy as John Winchester had left her pretty much in the dark about the seriousness of Dean's condition.
"He didn't tell you that you can't drive me to the hospital. All he said was that he wouldn't pick me up."
Dammit, this kid was smart.
"Sam, I can't just take you and Phillip, get into the car and turn up at the hospital. If you go to bed now it'll be morning quickly and your dad will come and pick you up."
Gritting his teeth, Sam returned to the cell phone. A sigh that was closer to a sob rushed out of his throat when he finally found the number he was looking for and he pushed down on the button.
Bridgette watched Sam dialling, unsure what to do or how to deal with the unsettled boy.
"This is Caleb. I'm away on important business, please leave a message."
"Caleb, it's me, Sam. Dad just called, Dean got hurt on a job. He won't let me see him. Can you pick me up at 31st Rounddrive, at Mrs. Benoit's; we're still in Vienna, Georgia. Please, Caleb."
Bridgette's heart ached while listening to the intensity with which Sam delivered the message to his uncle's voicemail. He seemed to jump back and forth from absolutely terrified to hopeful and confident that his uncle would listen to his plea. When Sam was finished, he wiped his sleeve over his face, erasing all traces of the hot tears that burned in his eyes.
Phillip's question startled Bridgette and she turned to see him standing in the door frame, watching them with a serious frown on his face. She had completely forgotten about him.
"I'm going to the hospital, I can walk, I know the way," Sam stated firmly.
"No! He's my brother."
She caught the glint of desperation in his hazel eyes and all of a sudden there was no question anymore. Bridgette knew that he would leave, no matter what she did or said.
"Fine. Get your jackets, we'll take the car."
Swallowing when utter relief flashed up on Sam's face, she turned around and went to get her own coat. Biting her lips nervously, she wondered whether she was making the wrong decision. John Winchester wouldn't be happy to see Sam turn up at the hospital, and to judge by his voice, he wasn't one to kid around with.
What if Dean's condition was too serious and John had wanted to shield his younger son from the consequences for another night?
Herding the two boys outside, she locked the door and walked over to the car, the cold night air giving her a chill. The drive to the hospital took only 15 minutes and Bridgette felt her nerves sparking up, butterflies dancing in her stomach.
The moment she had parked the car, the back door opened and Sam jumped outside and sprinted towards the entrance, with Phillip closely behind. Bridgette cursed under her breath, killed the engine and followed quickly. Entering the huge building, the bright hospital lights blinded her and it took a few seconds until she could orient herself and locate the two boys in the middle of the room, looking completely lost.
"Sam!" a voice suddenly barked from the left corner.
The boy tensed visibly, but nevertheless ripped his head around, his eyes searching for the origin of the caller.
"What the hell are you doing here?"
Bridgette watched Sam gulping. Still, he didn't lower his gaze when he walked over to the origin of the voice, a tall, rugged man who appeared as if he'd had a run in with a bear. There were scratches on his face and his shirt was blood stained and torn; his eyes dark and slightly narrowed as he watched Sam approach. Bridgette was sure she caught the signs of relief on his face; however, the expression was immediately replaced by a deep frown when the boy hurried closer.
"Sam, I gave you an order," the man continued, his voice lower now but sharp never the less.
Sam didn't hear him, wasn't listening, his eyes glued to the bloody shirt. The boy gave the unfamiliar but apparently tired looking man a quick once over and his eyes widened when realisation dawned on him.
"That's Dean's blood," he finally whispered, his voice breaking and his eyes filling with tears.
Bridgette noticed how the older man – John Winchester, apparently – swallowed and she felt the urge to kick herself for putting the boy in this situation.
"It'll be all right, kiddo."
John's voice was suddenly hoarse when he pulled Sam close, hugging his youngest son to his body and comfortingly caressing his back. Ruffling Sam's hair he whispered,
"Your brother's a fighter."