Title: Twenty Questions
Characters: wee!Sam, wee!Dean
Disclaimer: I SO wish I owned this boys. But I don’t. And I don’t make money from this.
Summary: Sam’s acting weird and Dean notices.
Warnings: A couple brief mentions of v-ing
Notes: I was in the middle of two other SPN fics when this hit. What is WRONG with my muses? It’s my very first weechesterfic. Hope it’s all right!
Sam’s usually one of the last out the door at the end of the school day. The kid’s kinda messed up and actually likes being in school, doing extra work with his teacher, and all that. So Dean’s surprised when his little brother bursts out of the doors as the first wave of elementary school kids make their Friday afternoon escape. As the middle school gets out a whole hour before, Dean always waits under the same tree outside and Sam finds him in a second today but barely looks at him.
Sam doesn’t look happy. It’s a sunny spring day out and Dean sees no reason why any normal kid wouldn’t be thrilled about that. But Sam lags behind, shuffling his feet, moving like he’s been hit by a slow motion ray gun. Dad’s been gone two days now, and he’s not supposed to be back for another few, which means the Winchester boys have to walk home to the tiny rental apartment. At a snail’s pace, it’s going to take them until Monday to get there. So Dean turns, walking backwards like it’s cool he’s got such great coordination, and narrows his eyes at his brother.
It’s not just that Sam doesn’t look happy. Sam doesn’t look so great in general. He looks tired out, like he’s been running all day. And his skin’s pale like a ghost’s. “Hey, Sammy?” Sam looks up. “You doin’ all right?”
Sam hesitates… then shrugs. A shrug isn’t a no, but it isn’t a yes either. “Don’t wanna talk about it.”
Fair enough. Kid probably got an A- on some homework assignment and thinks his academic future is over for good. Dean turns back around, walking on. But Sam’s walking even more slowly now and even a bad grade can’t do that much damage. Dean turns back around and stops to let Sam catch up, which takes a whole minute. “Hey, you know that game we play in the car?”
Sam looks around, gaze lingering on the gutter. “Guess the road kill?”
“Nah,” Dean chuckles. “The other one. Twenty questions. Only I’ll ask the questions and you nod for yes and shake your head for no. You in?”
Dean pretends to be frustrated. “No, I said nod your head for yes. Not shrug for yes.” He launches into the game before Sam can protest. “And you’re not allowed to lie. I’m your big brother. I can tell when you lie. Okay, so, question number one: did you get a bad grade on a test or assignment at school?”
Sam shakes his head for no.
“Did the kids in your class give you trouble?”
Another head shake.
“Do you not like the new school?”
And another shake.
“Is there a giiiiiiiirl you like?”
Sam pulls a face and sticks out his tongue as he shakes his head.
“Did you see a demon?”
“Did you see a ghost?”
“Was it a stupid witch? Did you see a witch?”
Sam’s head shake becomes an emphatic no.
Dean takes a deep breath and takes a chance. “Sam Winchester, are you sick?”
Sam’s eyes go wide for one brief moment. Then he hangs his head and, staring down at his shoes, he bobs his head up and down in a nod.
Dean actually hadn’t expected it to be so easy. He should have come up with this idea ages ago. “How long have—I mean, did you feel sick all day in school?”
Sam nods again.
Dean’s stomach does a funny flip. “Wait, did you feel sick this morning before we left for school?”
This time, Sam shakes his head.
Okay then. At least he hadn’t been trying to trick Dean that morning. This must have just come on during the day. Whatever ‘this’ is. Dean knows it can’t be appendicitis or tonsillitis because they’d both had those parts removed; John Winchester didn’t want anything slowing down his boys. And Sam was obviously still well enough to walk. That narrowed things down a bit. “So… did you blow chunks?”
Sam winces and screws up his face a little, but he nods.
“What about sniffling? Sneezing? Coughing?”
As if his body somehow understands the question, he lets out a little cough. Then he nods not once, not twice, but three times. Either that means his symptoms are bad or he’s got all three. Or both. “Can I feel your forehead to see if you have a fever?”
Sam looks up, sniffles, and nods.
Dean puts his hand on his brother’s forehead. He’s seen that done in movies and he remembers Mom doing it to him a couple times when he had the flu. Sam closes his eyes when Dean touches him. Sam’s forehead feels warm but Dean doesn’t know how warm exactly. How do people figure out what a person’s temperature is just from feeling? Seems pretty stupid now that he’s doing it.
Sam pulls back, cupping his hand to his nose and mouth. He takes a deep breath and his head dips with a super silent suppressed sneeze. Dean’s kind of impressed.
So Sam has a cold. Or maybe the flu. Not so serious. Nothing they’d have to call Dad about. Kids got sick all the time and bounced right back. Dad was always saying stuff like that about them to Uncle Bobby. Dean can probably just give him a couple Tylenol and he’ll get better. Unless Sam already had some. “Did you tell your teacher you were feeling sick?”
Sam shakes his head.
Huh. So that’s a little weird. Sam loves his new teacher. He always talked about her or, rather, rambled on and on about her. “Why—”
Before he can ask what won’t turn out to be a question that can be answered with a yes or no, Sam blurts out, “Because she would have sent me to the clinic!”
Dean thinks about that, trying to figure out what’s so wrong with that. Free medical treatment didn’t sound like such a bad thing. The school nurse would have made him lie down and rest and would have given him the right medicine. And suddenly he realizes that’s the best option. The school is just a couple blocks back. If they go back now, she’ll probably still be there. She can fix Sammy right up.
“As soon as the school nurse saw I was sick, she would have called Dad.”
Oh. Oh yeah. That does make sense. Wait… “So…” Dean nudges the toe of Sam’s sneaker with his own. The bump makes Sam look up at Dean. “You felt sick but you stuck it out and covered it up all day so no one would find out you were sick?”
This is a yes-or-no type question. And Sam nods yes. He does so with his big hazel eyes fixed on Dean’s.
Dean can’t help but smile. Yeah, he’s really impressed now. The most important of all of Dad’s rules is to not let anyone know he leaves them alone sometimes. Well, actually, the most important one is to not tell anyone what he does, but that’s obvious. “Wow. That’s… I’m proud of you for that.”
There’s a twitch of a smile on Sam’s lips and a slight flush in his cheeks.
Dean doesn’t want it to go to his head. “Sorry, that wasn’t a question. Let’s see… here’s one: do you want to go home?”
Sam nods, absolutely certain about that answer. He cups his hand to his face and sneezes. This time, it’s not so quiet. He wipes his hand on his jeans afterward.
They resume walking, but Sam’s still pretty slow. He’s not poking along, but he’s not walking as fast as he usually does. Dean finds himself slowing down and getting frustrated after two minutes. He stops with a sigh. “What, do you want me to carry you?”
Sam’s whole face lights up with relief as he nods.
Dean hadn’t really meant that to be a question or an offer. He hesitates, not quite sure what to do now. He can’t carry Sam the way Dad could, plus they have their backpacks. “Did you really think I was serious?”
Sam coughs and smiles. “You used up your twenty questions Dean.”
Of course the kid had been counting. Dean sighs. Okay. He can do this. He takes his backpack off and puts it on so it’s against his chest instead of his back. It feels a little awkward with the straps like that, but it’s not like he has many books in it or anything. Dean squats down and bends forward. “Fine. Climb on then.”
It takes a little shifting about and coordinating before Sam is securely on and Dean can straighten up without toppling over. God, the kid is heavy. “When did you get so ernf! big, Sammy? Pretty soon you’ll be taller than me!”
Sam laughs and it’s a great sound. With Sam’s arms around his neck, squeezing to keep himself from falling off, half-choking Dean, that sound makes it all worth it. “Stupid! You’re older. You’re always going to be taller.”
Dean wants to get home as soon as possible so he can put Sam down and put him to bed. He walks fast until Sam whimpers kinda loud. “Um, Dean? Could you… maybe go slower? My tummy…”
He slows down at once. He concentrates on trying to walk smoothly, not bouncing at all. And once he gets that down, he can speed up just a little.
Sam doesn’t get sick to his stomach on the way home, which is good. But the kid does unleash about a billion germs because every time he coughed or sneezed he does so right into the back of Dean’s neck. Dean really wants a good shower when they get home.
But he doesn’t take one. What he does is set Sam down on the couch.
“Maybe I should just go to bed? I’m kinda tired.” Sam rubs at his nose, sniffling, clearing his throat.
“Nope. You’re staying right here. It’s close to the kitchen so I can get you juice and soup without you yelling from the bedroom. And tomorrow we can watch Saturday morning cartoons here and you won’t even have to get up. You’ll have the best seat in the house.”
Sam considers, sneezes into his hand, and then owns the honor of having the couch to himself for a change. He lies down with his head on a couch cushion.
Dean turns on the television. They don’t have cable, ‘cause Dad says they don’t have the money for it, but Dean finds the local PBS station. Sesame Street’s on. Sam’s a little old for it but watches without complaint while Dean rounds up what he can find that might be helpful. There’s chewable Tylenol and a thermometer in the first aid kit. There’s a tissue box in the bathroom. He even gets the blanket and pillow from Sam’s bed, so his brother has something warm and comfortable to snuggle into.
Dean sits down on the floor with his back to the couch. His back hurts, so he takes some Tylenol as well, crunching them and swallowing the mildly cherry pills down. He wishes Dad were back already. He always takes care of them when they’re sick. This is the first time Sam’s come down sick when Dad isn’t here. It was bound to happen, Dean figures. Dad’s trips keep getting longer and longer the older they got. Dean worries he should be doing something else for Sam, but he doesn’t know what. And the last thing he needs is for Dad to come home and find out he didn’t take perfect care of little Sammy.
Suddenly, Dean feels a hand on his head. Sam’s fingers slip through Dean’s hair. Dean looks up to see Sam smiling at him. “I feel better already,” Sam says. Then he sneezes. But he smiles again right away afterward.
And Dean smiles back.