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May Robinson [userpic]

Fic Update: Armistice (ch 4 of 9)

August 25th, 2007 (11:28 pm)

how i am: sleepy
accompanied by: Janis Joplin, Me and Bobby McGee

Summary: Pre-series. A hunt gone terribly wrong prompts John's first trip to Stanford. Dean's hurt and hurting, father and son angst ensues. Chapter 4 of 9.
Rating: T (PG-13), language.
Pairing: None, Gen, Dean and John Winchester
Spoilers: None.
Notes: Thanks to Penny, Heather and Jennie for helping to make this a better fic.
Disclaimers: See my profile page.

Armistice (ch 4)
by May Robinson

Chapter 4 – Rest & Recuperation

A shower, a shave, clean clothes and a decent meal and John was feeling a hell of a lot more human than he'd had for much of the day. It definitely helped that Dean was doing much better. His pupils were starting to resemble each other - a good sign that the cranial pressure was correcting itself - and his doctor was talking about taking Dean off the oxygen and the heart monitor. Things were definitely looking up. Hell, each time they woke Dean, he was acting more and more like himself. Despite still having one obnoxious killer of a headache, he was even up to charming the nurses, a sure sign John's oldest boy was on the road to recovery.

Though John actually hoped the memory of Wellington's attack would elude his son, there was no question Dean was remembering much of what he'd lost. He didn't need to be fed their story anymore. One hint about a certain Stones bass player and Dean had remembered his cover. Even recalled the fake address they'd used under those names. Which was more than his old man could say. And John had every intention of blaming that on lack of sleep and worry. Didn't have a goddamn thing to do with age.

In fact, Dean was doing so well; John had felt comfortable enough leaving his kid in Sister Carol Riley's capable care. She'd popped in two hours before her shift began, just to check on Dean and, before too long, the patient had a co-conspirator willing to help him ban his ripe father from the room. Ungrateful little shit.

Of course John didn't mean a word of that, thrilled as he was that the close-call Dean had suffered would soon become just another in a too long line of bad memories. Another nightmare for his father to take on, but that was just fine. John could deal with a rough night's sleep. As long as it meant Dean would be all right.

Dean usually bristled at motherly types, especially religious ones, but he seemed to take to the chaplain. Whether his ease with her was simply a symptom of the concussion or was just because his dad and she had hit it off too, John couldn't be sure. Either way he was happy and more than a little relieved he had someone he could trust his son's care to. Someone Dean trusted. Even if it was only for the time it took John to clean himself up and run some errands. John still needed sleep but he'd do that later. He didn't want to miss Doctor Rowe checking in on Dean and, since the man's shift started when Carol's officially did, he wanted to be back by eight.

It wasn't as though John had grown a sudden fondness for the man; it was just that John didn't trust Dean to stay put much longer, in spite of his debilitated state, without having to put a leash on him. At twenty-five, his son had long since passed the age of majority and could sign himself out AMA. Or con his way into an authorized release without even breaking a sweat. Never mind that he could barely lift his head up without seeing stars, once Dean decided to book it, John honestly wasn't sure if he'd have a hope in hell of stopping him. The best he could do was try to outmaneuver his son, cut him off at the pass. Before he did something asinine like go AWOL and somehow make his way to Palo Alto on his own.

The kid hadn't mentioned Sammy at all since he'd started feeling better but, given all the times John had shut down any of Dean's attempts to bring Sam up as of late, John had to admit that could be considered normal. Still, John couldn't help but wonder what was cooking in his eldest's concussed head. With every wake-up, Dean's memory improved, so there was no way in hell he'd forgotten a minor detail like the fact that his brother was only a four hour drive from them. Especially given his bull-headed obsession with the concept during the Wellington hunt. No, Dean hadn't forgotten about his little brother and John just hoped liked hell he'd know what to do when the subject of Sam finally came up.

Last night's snafu only reaffirmed his belief that putting Dean anywhere near his brother and father, especially right now, would be a mistake. Dean was hurt and, though he'd deny it, damn near defenseless and clearly not up to his familiar role of mediator. And, though John would never admit it to anyone but himself, Sam would be justified in any anger tossed John's way right now. The problem was, like any well trained soldier, his youngest would end up exploiting the weaknesses of his opponent (John steadfastly refused to think in terms of enemy). In this case using Dean, or rather what happened to him, against John. And that would place Dean directly in the line of fire, resulting in exactly what John had wanted to avoid in the first place.

If only John hadn't been so fucking stubborn. Despite what he felt were valid reservations, he should have just said yes when Dean had first threatened to go see Sam on his own. Hell, suggesting it might have even been the decent thing to do. But now it was too late. Dean wouldn't be going anywhere on his own anytime soon. He hoped.


Heading down the hall toward Dean's room, John made a quick detour to the nurses' station. "It's about time you took a break, John," Debra, Dean's overnight nurse, said by way of a greeting. John was a little surprised by the warmth of her smile, given the tension that had taken place between them this morning. But, as she tilted her head toward the counter and said, "The flowers are lovely, John. Thank-you," the hunter realized his little peace offering had done the trick. Atta boy, Dean.

Almost a half hour after John had accidentally awakened Dean that morning, Debra had finally shown up to check on him. Her shift replacement had been running late, so Debra, apologizing for the delay, had stayed to cover for her. John hadn't given a damn. By then Dean had already been worn out from their talk and, more worrisome, the kid's headache had tipped the scales into unbearable. Unfortunately for the nurse, John's behavior with her hadn't exactly been his best. The hapless woman had walked into the room armed with only a concerned smile and a list of questions while John, on the other hand, had met her with a full frontal assault. Just thinking about it now, John couldn't help but feel a little contrite.

"Dean's memory is fine, getting better. You can take my word for it," he'd started on her right away, authority in his voice with no time for pleasantries. "If you really wanna feel useful, his head is killing him. Go get him something for the pain." Way to have laid on the charm, Winchester.

"I'm sure you're right, Mr. Wyman but, as you know, we do have protocols to follow and," indicating the clipboard in her grip, "I really do have to ask Dean these questions." She'd been speaking with practiced patience but then had added, her tone equally determined, "before I get the go-ahead to administer any more medications."

"Go-ahead?" John had gotten plenty loud at that point. "Look, you know his doctor said Dean could have something whenever he needed it. He goddamn well needs it now. Can't you see that?"

"I understand, Mr. Wyman and, as soon as Dean answers the questions, I'm sure--"

"Fuck the twenty questions, my son's in pain!"

"Mr. Wyman, please!"

"Dad, stop it!"

"You stay out of it!" He'd barked at Dean before his brain had actually registered the agony in his son's voice. Once it had sunk in, John had stopped cold. And when he'd turned and actually looked at Dean, he'd felt like a Grade A, prime, world class jackass. Again. Sitting more upright than he should have been, Dean's face had contorted in misery, eyes again squeezed shut and he was sucking in short, ragged breaths, nearly frantic in his effort to gain control over the pain running rampant through his head. "Easy, tiger," John had soothed, grasping the flailing hand that had immediately grabbed his sleeve. "Settle down. I gotcha."

Someone else might've marveled at the change that had come over John, or maybe even shied away from his admittedly erratic behavior but, at Dean's distress, Debra had done neither. She'd simply added her voice to John's, hers melodic in contrast to John's rough gravel, both working toward the same goal of comforting John's son.

It had taken too damn long for Dean's breathing to have settled but eventually and, with the switch from the cannula to a face mask, it had. And when he'd finally relaxed, those too bright eyes had revealed themselves with large drops of moisture balancing precariously on the tips of his lashes, just waiting to fall. John knew that Dean would normally never have wanted his father to see him so vulnerable, let alone have a stranger see it. Even though the kid's head might've been scrambled, John had still been pretty convinced his son would have felt the same way at that very moment.

John had wanted to lighten the mood for Dean, do anything to draw attention away from those eyes but he frankly just hadn't had it in him right then to make light of the ordeal his kid was going through.

He should've known that he could count on Dean to take matters into his own hands.

Shakily lifting the mask, he'd hoarsely whispered, "Christ, Dad." Chastising John, despite his weakness, then adding, with a bit more strength, "Belligerent much?"

That John's laughter had been tinged with residual fear, along with budding relief, hadn't been anything new by then. After all, he'd been walking the tightrope between the opposing sets of panic and grief and gratitude and joy ever since first walking in on an awake-but-suffering Dean in the imaging room. But, to then have heard Debra laugh too. . . well, that had broken the ice between them all.

So, here they were now. The flowers for the nurses' station had been Dean's idea. It might have been considered a little surprising that the young man who could get laid at the drop of a hat, or rather, drop of a lame pickup line, could be that considerate. Dean had insisted it was purely for the purposes of self-preservation. . . that it was he, after all, who had IVs and monitors stuck into him and didn't want pissed off nurses tending him. John knew better though. Making amends was simply what Dean did. Even for his undeserving father.

John acknowledged Debra's gratitude for the flowers with a grim smile. "Don't mention it, it's the least I can do," he said, before asking, "How's my son?"

"Improving all the time," Debra answered and John felt the tension residing in between his shoulder blades, ever since the hospital had loomed back into sight as he drove into the parking lot, ease. "Sister Carol's still with him, he breezed through his question session and, last time I checked, Dean was still awake."

"Just what I like to hear." John grinned broadly and, with a wink that had both Debra and the younger nurse standing next to her blushing a little pink, he took his leave. Still smiling, more than a little smugly now - the old man's still got it, too - John made another minor sojourn before carrying on to Dean's room.

The door was open but, leaning against the door frame, John stopped to take in the welcome sight. The head of Dean's bed was raised now, so the kid was finally sitting up. His head wasn't budging at all though from the ample supply of pillows he was resting against so moving it clearly still hurt like a bitch. But John knew from experience that just being semi-upright would do wonders for Dean's recovery. Like his father, Dean hated being flat on his back when he was hurt or sick. The position was too difficult to defend, too exposed and both of them pushed themselves whenever they were down for the count to get from horizontal to vertical in as little time as possible. Shit, he hoped Dean wasn't pushing it now.

Dean looked all right though, deep in conversation with the chaplain. He wasn't talking as animatedly as was possible though and they both had the volume turned down too low for John to make out the words. Likely because Dean's ever-present headache couldn't tolerate much more. Dean seemed relaxed, his features not nearly as pinched as they'd been hours earlier. His color was better too. Best of all, his son was smiling, and John was sure it was genuine. Hell, Carol was smiling too and John couldn't help but think about Debra and the other nurse and falling apples and trees, even though he knew full well that Dean's way with women, nuns included apparently, was all Dean's.

When the soft lilt of Sister Carol's laughter carried across the room toward John, curiosity got the better of him and John found himself clearing his throat, making his presence known.

"John," She reacted warmly to his presence, vacating the bedside chair and heading toward him and the door.

"Hey," Dean's greeting was even more welcoming and stronger than John had expected, making him feel genuinely happy. And so damn relieved.

"Hey, dude," he replied, hoping the softness of his tone would let Dean know how glad his father was to see him sitting upright. "No need to leave on my account, Sister," he added sincerely as she approached him at the doorway.

Glancing at her wristwatch, she shrugged almost apologetically as she turned to Dean, then back to John. "No, I really do have other patients and their families to attend to so I'll leave you two boys alone. Now that I know Dean's in the best of hands, of course."

Her words and tone were so kind, carrying with them such respect and approval, John found himself at a loss for words. Given the baggage-load of guilt he'd been hauling around all day, he just didn't know how to respond. Dean's smirk - the kid clearly knew he was thrown - was not helping matters either, so John awkwardly held out one of the two coffees he'd picked up en route. "Well, uh, yeah. . . at least take this with you then. I owe you one."

Darting his eyes toward Dean, he could have groaned when he read the kid's lips. . . Smooth. Real smooth. His concussed son was mocking him. Terrific.

The chaplain mercifully accepted the cup with grace, saying her thanks but then surprised John when she added, "Actually, John, do you have a minute?"

Feeling his stomach plummet, John remembered just how much he hated hospitals. Debra had told him Dean was fine, damn it, there was no reason to fret. Shooting his gaze toward Dean, his son looked just as mystified but, unlike John who was still tongue-tied, Dean's voice was only limited by its strength. "Hey. . . adult here. If it's is about me, you wanna let me in on it?"

"Nothing to worry about, sweetie. I just need to borrow your father for a sec." Sister Carol led John out the door, closing it behind them, and immediately set out to placate him. "Dean's just fine, John. Doing remarkably well, so there's honestly no need to worry."

John lifted his cup, intent on taking a drink, hoping to downplay his anxiety. Unfortunately, his hand was shaking just enough for his plan to backfire and he felt Carol's smaller one land on his forearm. He closed his eyes briefly, took a few calming breaths and answered her. "Yeah, well, that's easy for you to say. You don't know my son."

"I've just spent two hours with him, John."

She was a nice lady and John didn't have the heart to tell her that Dean only revealed whatever he wanted to. Even to his father most of the time. And since he couldn't think of what else to say, he simply cut to the chase. "What can I do for you, Sister?"

Seemingly undaunted by his renewed gruffness, she just smiled. As though she knew something John didn't. He really did hate that unsettling feeling. "I'll let you get back to your boy right away, John." Their eyes met then and John couldn't help but feel a little ashamed about his thoughts and humbled by her kindness and understanding. She was a bit older than John, maybe mid-fifties but had a serenity and sageness about her that belied her years. "John, tonight's my last shift and then I'm off for a week of retreat. And, since you two will be long gone before I get back, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed spending time with Dean." She smiled warmly again, clasping a hand over his, her words heartfelt. "These days, young people just don't have the same strong sense of family that Dean has. He really is such a sweet child."

John really shouldn't have chosen that moment to have another go at his coffee. At the nun's words, something let go in him. He knew Sister Carol was being sincere. Hell she was practically oozing it and yet all John could do was laugh. Damn near hysterically. Trapped in the moment of realization that the subject of family - of Sam - was inevitable. . . that Dean was apparently already talking about his brother, just not yet with him, and then left stunned by the absurdity of Carol's assessment of Dean, it was a wonder he didn't spew his coffee all over her. Honestly though, did she just tell him that his oldest child was sweet?

To be continued.

This fic is being cross-posted to  supernaturalfic  and  hurt_dean.

To Ch 1   To Ch 2   To Ch 3   To Ch 5


Posted by: hucknclem (hucknclem)
Posted at: August 26th, 2007 04:42 am (UTC)

Yes, she did, and yes, he is! :) I'm loving reading this again. I love that we get to see here that John really isn't completely oblivious to Dean's role in their family - he does realize the efforts Dean makes. And I love how well he knows his son, and that John's aware he has some limitations in controlling Dean, no matter how much of a good soldier he is. Actually, I love everything about this. But then you know that. :)

Posted by: May Robinson (may7fic)
Posted at: August 26th, 2007 12:56 pm (UTC)
Dad Dean

Aww, thanks again so much. Dean is clearly very obedient of John but he is also capable of independent thinking and John is fully aware of just how physically strong, capable, resourceful, and wily his son can be - even when hospitalized. That's a worrisome combination!

Posted by: Late Night Drops of Random (moondropz)
Posted at: August 26th, 2007 07:47 am (UTC)

Yay! I am glad I stumbled in to my lj and saw the next chapter was up ;-P Still loving this-just fabulous!

Posted by: May Robinson (may7fic)
Posted at: August 26th, 2007 12:58 pm (UTC)
Mumpy Icon-Boys

*Hugs* right back atcha. I'm so glad you're enjoying this.

Posted by: Late Night Drops of Random (moondropz)
Posted at: August 26th, 2007 05:29 pm (UTC)
Comic-con Jensen

Oh very much so! Thanks!!!

Posted by: May Robinson (may7fic)
Posted at: August 26th, 2007 06:12 pm (UTC)

If all goes according to plan, I'm actually going to try to post the balance of the story today. My plans for today were cancelled so my goal now is to get the rest of the story posted. Wish me luck ;-)

Posted by: Late Night Drops of Random (moondropz)
Posted at: August 26th, 2007 06:30 pm (UTC)
Deans pucker

*Drops to knees and prays* Oooh please!!!! I am so bad-truly hooked though ;-P

Posted by: May Robinson (may7fic)
Posted at: August 26th, 2007 06:37 pm (UTC)
Mumpy Icon-legs

5 and 6 are up now and I'll be working on 6 shortly. The links forward to chapters won't be working until all the parts are loaded though so, in the mean time, you'll have to go to the individual entries to find each chapter. Thanks so much for the enthusiasm!

Posted by: Late Night Drops of Random (moondropz)
Posted at: August 26th, 2007 06:50 pm (UTC)
Alec Squee

Oooh! Ok, will be on my way then-yay!!!!!!! I appreciate good fiction ;-P Do you mind if we friend? I love your stories ;-)

Posted by: May Robinson (may7fic)
Posted at: August 26th, 2007 07:24 pm (UTC)
Mumpy Icon-Boys

I'd be delighted to friend with you and will do my part once I get everything posted today. Thank-you for the invitation :)

Posted by: Late Night Drops of Random (moondropz)
Posted at: August 26th, 2007 07:44 pm (UTC)

Oh cool! Thanks so much;-P I am still working through the story myself ;-P

Posted by: Pheebs1 (pheebs1)
Posted at: January 11th, 2008 11:58 pm (UTC)
Sam emo bangs of sadness

I love that Dean suggested the flowers!

Posted by: May Robinson (may7fic)
Posted at: January 13th, 2008 02:39 am (UTC)
Dean Grin

I think Dean's peacemaker traits will come through whenever his dad is acting like an ass :).

Posted by: limpflig (quirkies)
Posted at: December 4th, 2008 11:51 pm (UTC)

now I want to send sister carol flowers. *beams*
i love john's musings on the winchester men's way with women. :D sammy's probably putting the moves on jess right then too.

Posted by: May Robinson (may7fic)
Posted at: December 5th, 2008 04:32 am (UTC)
JDM Orton Smile

i love john's musings on the winchester men's way with women.

The man has too much ego not to take some credit for it *g*