Stung

Recovery

CHAPTER TWO

Big Dean recovers, while little Dean struggles with what he saw.

The next morning, Dean woke up to a light weight on his chest. Opening his eyes, he looked down and saw little Dean still fast asleep on him, his thumb in his mouth.

"How are you feeling?" asked Sam, from his place by Dean's bedside.

"Okay. Has he been there all night?" he asked, nodding down at the sleeping child.

"Yeah. I don't think he's gotten over the scare from yesterday. He had a couple of nightmares and woke up a few times, crying," Sam told him quietly, stroking little Dean's cheek. "He only settled down again when he could hear your heart beating. When I suggested sleeping in the other bed, he got upset and started clinging to you."

"Poor little guy," Dean whispered, running his thumb down the freckled cheek. "Did you get any sleep at all?"

A slight blush covered Sam's cheeks, and he shook his head. "No. I wanted to make sure you was okay... and I had to stay up in-case little Dean got upset again and needed me."

Ten minutes later, the little boy shifted and muttered in his sleep, before his eyelids slowly started fluttering. "Where Dean knight?" he mumbled, rubbing his eyes sleepily.

"You're laying on him, kiddo."

Little Dean lifted his head to look at the bed-ridden hunter. "You's 'kay Dean knight?" he asked, reaching up to kiss the pale cheek.

"Yep. I'm awesome, mini-me. Are you okay?"

The little boy shook his head, and lowered his head back over big Dean's chest, his thumb still in his mouth. He was so busy listening, he didn't notice big Dean and Sam share a worried look.

Bobby came into the room armed with coffee, orange juice, a yoghurt, and sandwiches for breakfast. "Hey sleepyheads."

A small smile lit up little Dean's face as he sat up to see his uncle Bobby. "Hiya unca Bee-bee."

"Hiya little man. Did ya have a nice sleep?" he asked, holding out the orange juice to him.

"Fank you unca Bee-bee," said the little boy, taking the carton of juice, and not answering the question.

"Yer welcome." Bobby handed out the food and drinks to the others, and sat down in his chair. He smiled when he saw the look of disgust on big Dean's face when he saw the yoghurt. "Before ya start having a bitch fit, the doctor said to eat soft things like that since yer throat is still sore. How are ya feeling?"

Big Dean swallowed a spoonful of the yoghurt, and looked up to see Bobby was looking at him with a concerned expression. "A lot better than yesterday."

"Good. But do that again, and I'm going to kill ya."

"Don't worry. I'm not planning on dying anytime soon. When can I go home?"

Bobby and Sam rolled their eyes in unison. "I spoke to the doc while I was getting breakfast, and he said if there are no changes from last night, ya can go home later. But he's coming in to check on ya in an hour or so."

"Cool." As Dean ate his yoghurt and drank his orange juice, he kept shooting worried glances at the little boy, who was snuggled up to his side as he ate his breakfast.

Later, the doctor said Dean was allowed to go home, as long as he took it easy. He was sitting on the edge of his bed with little Dean on his knee, waiting for Sam.

"Hey Dean. You ready to get out of here?" asked Sam, coming into the room with a nurse and a wheelchair. He smiled when he saw his brother was glaring at the chair. "Before you say anything, you're not going anywhere without it."

Dean got up, and continued scowling as he crossed the room, little Dean's hand in his. "I hate these things."

"I know." Sam patted his shoulder, and smiled at the nurse. "I can take it from here."

"Okay. Bye guys," she said, waving at the two Deans.

Dean winked and smiled at her. "Bye sweetheart."

"Bye bye, pwetty nursie," said little Dean, waving at her. He placed his little hands on the back of the chair, and tried to push it, but it was going nowhere.

"Dean, you can't push that. You're not big enough."

"I is Sammy. I big," he told him, standing on his tiptoes, which didn't make much difference; he was still less than 3 foot tall.

Sam laughed, and lifted him up to sit him on big Dean's knee. "How about going for a ride?"

Little Dean gasped, and threw his arms around big Dean's torso when the chair started moving. "We's move," he whispered, placing his ear over Dean's heart again.

Big Dean smiled, and stroked the blond hair. "It's alright. I'm okay."

"Woves you, big dude," he whispered, looking up at him with a cute little smile, his tiny freckled nose scrunched up.

"Love you too, little dude."

Sam looked down at his two Deans fondly, and continued pushing them towards the exit of the hospital. In the parking lot, he quickly found Bobby waiting by the Impala, and headed in his direction.

"Hiya Unca Bee-bee."

"Hey little man," he replied, lifting him up from big Dean's knee, and placing him in the backseat. He turned to the wheelchair, but Sam was already helping his brother stand up. "Need any help?"

"No. I've got him," said Sam, helping Dean into the car. "There you go."

"Thanks Sammy."

As soon as big Dean sat down, little Dean shifted closer, and sat on his knee with his ear against his chest again.

Big Dean raised his eyebrows, and wrapped his arms around the upset little boy. "I'm alright, little dude. You don't have to keep listening anymore," he whispered, fingers stroking his soft hair.

Little Dean's face crumpled as he suddenly burst into tears, and hugged him tighter.

"Hey what's wrong, kiddo? Are you alright?" asked a worried Sam, climbing into the backseat with them.

"Mini-me, why are you crying? Are you hurt?"

Bobby climbed into the driver's seat, and turned around to see what was wrong. "What happened?"

"We don't know. He just burst into tears. Come on, little dude. Talk to me, you're freaking everyone out."

The little boy sniffled, and continued crying, but didn't respond, which made the three men even more worried.

"Hey Bobby, start driving. It might calm him down a little," said big Dean, rubbing his back in soothing circles.

"Shh. It's alright," soothed Sam, stroking his fingers down the freckled cheek.

Bobby started the car, and drove out of the parking lot, hoping that it did its usual job and soothed the little boy. He kept shooting concerned glances in the rear-view mirror to see the older Winchesters try and calm the distraught Dean down.

"Tell me what's wrong, kiddo. Come on. Shh. It's alright, Dean the knight's fine," Sam told him in a gentle voice, finally realising what was wrong with him.

"I-I'S SAD!" he cried, holding onto big Dean tighter.

Dean and Sam shared another worried look, and wrapped their arms around him to give him a hug. "I know. But he's all better and he can breathe."

That was the wrong thing to say as it seemed to remind the little boy of the day before when big Dean was struggling to breathe and then stopped. His eyes scrunched closed and he wailed even louder, making their ears hurt.

The screams broke Sam's heart and he couldn't help the tears that fell down his cheeks. He reached over and took him from his older brother. "I've got you. Shh. Come on," he whispered, holding him to his own chest. "Sammy's got you."

Dean's breathing hitched, and tears flowed down his red freckled cheeks, as he sobbed his heart out, clinging onto Sam's shirt.

Sam started rocking him gently from side to side, humming Metallica to sooth him. "Hurry up Bobby."

Bobby clenched his hands tightly around the steering wheel and put his foot down so they could get home sooner and make sure the little boy was okay. His cries were heartbreaking.

By the time the Impala pulled up into Bobby's yard, Dean had cried himself to sleep and was laying in Sam's arms.

"Get him in the house," Bobby told him, looking down at the sleeping child in concern.

Sam kissed his little brother's cheek, and climbed out of the car when Bobby held the door open. "Make sure big Dean's okay," he told the older man, and rushed up to the house with little Dean cradled to his chest.

"Come on son," said Bobby, reaching over to help the older Dean when he climbed out of the car.

Dean tried to shrug the hand off, but Bobby was going nowhere. "The little dude needs you. He's upset."

"Yeah. And he's also asleep right now. Now shut up and let me help. Ya nearly died yesterday."

"Fine." Dean sighed and rolled his eyes, as the two slowly walked up to the house, so the young man didn't get dizzy.

Making it into the house, the two of them came to a stop when they saw Sam knelt in-front of the couch stroking his fingers through the blond hair, talking to the sleeping little boy bundled up into the blankets with Zeppelin laying beside him, licking his cheek.

"How is he?" Dean whispered to Sam, as Bobby led him over to his chair so he could sit down.

Sam looked over at him for a second, before turning back to little Dean. "He's resting. But I don't know how he'll be when he wakes up. I've never seen him like that before."

"Me neither. The poor little man was devastated. What are we going to do?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, we can't leave him like that. The kid is traumatised about what he saw yesterday. We have to do something to help him."

"Hey, why don't we get one of those memory eraser things like the men in black use?" suggested Dean with a shrug.

Sam and Bobby stared at him. "Yeah. We'll get right on that."

"What do you suggest then?"

Sam watched little Dean sleep, as he thought of something that could help him. "Missouri. She helped him with his nightmares before."

"Yeah, but nightmares are different from actual memories."

"Well, I don't know about you guys, but I can't sit here and watch him like this," said Sam, looking up at the two men for a second. When Dean started whimpering in his sleep, Sam's expression softened immediately and he whispered soothingly to him.

"It's alright, kiddo. Sammy's here. Shh. It's okay."

Zeppelin whined softly, and licked the freckled cheek, nuzzling his face against Dean's gently until he settled down again. When Dean was sleeping peacefully, Zeppelin laid back down with his head resting on Dean's shoulder, and continued keeping watch over his best friend.

"He's pretty good with him, ain't he?" whispered big Dean, watching the cute scene on the couch with a soft smile on his face.

"Yeah. He's been protective of Dean since they met, and looks after him while playing with him too. So he has a playmate and protector in one. They've been inseparable ever since."

Dean smiled, and settled back in the chair when he started feeling a little light headed. "Missouri might be the only person who can help the little dude. I think we should call her, if she can help, great... If she can't, we'll just think of something else to help him."

Sam nodded, and got his phone out with his free hand to call the psychic, trying his best not to disturb Dean as he spoke quietly to her. "Hey Missouri. It's Sam..."

During the conversation, Sam raised his voice slightly, which made Dean flinch and cry out. Zeppelin lifted his head, and growled at Sam in warning, and he shifted closer to Dean, almost curling around the tiny form protectively.

Dean sighed and snuggled up to his dog almost as if he was his teddy bear, one tiny fist clenched into the soft black and golden fur.

"Sorry," Sam whispered quietly, using one hand to stroke Dean's cheek while he spoke on the phone. Several minutes later, he hung up and turned to the two waiting men.

"What did she say? Can she help the little man?"

"She said she'll come as soon as she can, but couldn't promise that she could help him." Sam sighed, and leaned forward to lay a soft kiss to Dean's forehead. "I hope she can."

Over two hours later, little Dean was awake and clinging tightly to big Dean, cuddled up to his chest again. Since he woke up, he had refused all food and wasn't talking, not even to Sam.

"Where the hell is she?" asked Sam for the twelfth time in the past hour, chewing on his thumbnail almost frantically. He was worried earlier, but that seemed like nothing compared to what he felt like now.

"She'll be here soon, Sam. Try and calm down," whispered Bobby. He wouldn't admit it, but he was as worried as Sam.

"I AM CALM!" yelled Sam, before closing his eyes and putting his hands over his face. "Sorry. It's just... he's even worse than he was earlier. I can't..." He trailed off, and stood from the couch to walk to the other side of the room. Seeing his brother like this was breaking his heart, and he couldn't even do anything to help him.

"He's going to be okay, Sam," big Dean told him, trying to calm the little boy down when he got upset again. "Hey, I'm alright mini-me. Shh. Come on." He stood up and cradled the back of his little head, before walking from one side of the room to the other, gently rocking him from side to side, singing softly into his ear.

"So close no matter how far, couldn't be much more from the heart. Forever trust in who we are. And nothing else matters. Never opened myself this way, life is ours, we live it our way. All these words I don't just say. And nothing else matters..."

Dean continued to sob, his breath hitching and hiccuping as he cried his eyes out, and listened to big Dean's heart and his singing. He nearly jumped out of his skin when there were three loud bangs at the door, followed by the bell ringing.

When big Dean went to sit back down, Zeppelin shot up, and stood in-front of Dean protectively, barking savagely, brown eyes blazing as he glared at the door as if it was a hellhound.

"Finally," breathed Sam, running to answer the door. "Hey Missouri. Come in."

"Thank you Sam. Where's your brother." Walking into the room, she nodded at big Dean who was holding his younger self in his arms, a tiny smile on his ashen face. "Hey trouble. Been up to any mischief since I last saw you."

"I'm a good little boy, I am," he said, fluttering his long eyelashes and giving his most innocent expression.

Sam blinked in surprise, his eyebrows shooting up into his hair. "Since when have you been British?"

"I spoke in a British accent? Huh. That was weird."

Missouri shook her head fondly, and turned her attention to Sam. "I can get rid of nightmares, but I'm not so good at erasing real memories. But a friend of mine... who's a white witch helped me make a special potion which erases the last 24 hours." Seeing the expressions on the other mens faces, she tried to explain, but Sam beat her to it.

"A witch? A witch made that potion? How do you know it isn't poison? I won't let you give it to him if a witch made it," said Sam, standing between her and his brother beside a still growling Zeppelin.

"Believe me Sam, I wouldn't do anything if I knew it was going to harm Dean."

"What's her name? I'll try and find something about her in one of Bobby's books. We don't work with witches, and I can't trust one with my little brother's life."

"I don't work with witches either, but Gabrielle is a very close friend of mine."

Sam froze and stared at her for several seconds. "Gabrielle? You know her?"

Dean looked over at his brother, and saw he had turned white. "Are you alright Sammy? You look about as colourful as milk," he said, forgetting for the moment that right now he would make a ghost look tanned.

"Of course. I wouldn't trust her if I didn't." Missouri frowned. "Friend of yours?"

"She's the one who..." He broke off and gestured to the little boy.

Missouri nodded, and turned to little Dean, letting Sam get over the shock. "Hey honey." She didn't seem surprised to see two Deans sitting on the couch, she was more surprised about the big snarling dog in-front of the couch, barking at her, refusing to let her near his best friend.

Even though Missouri had helped Dean before when he was smaller, it was as if Zeppelin had forgotten who she was. Whenever she tried to get passed him, Zeppelin darted in-front of her, growling savagely, his hackles raised as if he was about to attack.

"Down Zeppelin," said Bobby, trying to get him to move. "She's not here to hurt him, she's going to help him. Come on boy, let her see him."

Big Dean reached over and stroked him with one hand, and did the only thing he could think of- using his number one weakness. "Zep, the little dude needs you. Let her come closer, she's going to help him." When he saw Zeppelin look towards him, he smiled and said, "Chill out and come see him, he's looking for you."

After barking at Missouri one more time in warning, Zeppelin jumped up onto the couch and sat beside big Dean to lick the little boys red blotchy face.

"It's safe to come over now," big Dean told her, watching the little boy take one fist away from his shirt and stroke his dog.

Dean sniffled and gave a tiny smile as he leaned over slightly and snuggled up to the overprotective German shepherd, not moving too far away from big Dean's chest.

Missouri moved to sit beside them, being careful not to sit too close to the dog, who was dividing his attention between licking Dean's face and glaring at her, silently warning her not to hurt him. "Remember me? It's Missi."

The little boy looked up at her, his green eyes darting around her face, before he nodded shyly, hiding his face in Zeppelin's soft fur.

"Well, I'm here to make those bad memories go away. So you're not scared or sad, okay?" she asked the little boy, who nodded again. Missouri opened the bag she had, and rummaged through it until she had what she was looking for.

Big Dean was staring at the vial of liquid she was holding, a troubled expression on his pale face. "24 hours? He'll still remember me, right? I mean... he won't forget me?"

"Don't worry. As if anybody could forget you," she said, giving him a wink, before her expression turned serious again. "How long have you been back here? Was it earlier than yesterday?"

"Er... I think I came here the day before yesterday. Sammy?"

"Yeah. Two days ago," said Sam, still in shock at hearing the name of the witch who had turned Dean into a child.

"Okay. So he'll definitely remember you, but none of the things that happened yesterday and this morning."

The men sighed in unison, relieved that the little boy wouldn't remember seeing his hero almost die. Dean was also relieved the little boy wouldn't forget him too.

Missouri asked for little Dean to be laid down on the couch and got out two candles, and lit them, before rubbing something on the little forehead. "I need one more thing. Have you boys got any incense?"

"Well... There was a spider in the bath the other night," Dean told her, smiling at the memory. "Samuel started screaming like a woman when he was in the shower. I thought Norman Bates was in there with him or something." He raised his eyebrows when he saw everyone turn to stare at him as if he had suddenly grown another head. "What?"

"Dean, she's asking for Incense, not Insects," Sam told him with a smile.

"Oh." Dean was silent for several seconds, before he shrugged and said, "I don't even know what that is."

"I've got some in the library," said Bobby, trying not to smile as he walked out of the room to get the needed item.

Sam was watching the tiny three year old laying on the couch, looking nervously up at the people standing around the couch, looking down at him. His huge eyes teared up again, and his bottom lip began trembling.

"Hey, it's alright kiddo," he soothed, kneeling back down to stroke his face and hold his hand. "Nobody is going to hurt you. We'll be right here with you every step of the way."

It wasn't until Zeppelin nudged his little hand and barked once that Dean settled down and continued staring up at his big brother as if he could protect him from everything in the world.

"I'm here. I love you," Sam whispered, leaning forward to kiss his nose. "Everything is going to be okay. You hear me?"

A tiny smile crossed Dean's little face, and he reached his arms out for a hug, which Sam gave him with tears shining in his eyes. Holding his brother, Sam could feel Dean's heart racing against his chest, and it broke his own heart when he realised how scared the little boy really was.

"You don't ever have to be scared of anything as long as I'm around," he whispered into Dean's ear, and laid him down gently on the couch.

When Bobby came back and gave Missouri the incense, the psychic got everything ready. "Close your eyes and relax, honey." After looking up at his big brother again, Dean closed his eyes, still squeezing onto Sam's hand.

Missouri completed what she needed to, and was about to give the potion to Dean when Sam grabbed her arm, stopping her. "Sam? You okay?"

"He... It won't hurt him, will it? I can't... Please tell me it won't hurt him," he pleaded tearfully.

"Don't worry. The potion is harmless, but he will remain asleep for a couple of hours while his brain rewires and recovers from the memory loss."

Sam swallowed the lump in his throat and looked at little Dean, biting his lip. After a few seconds, he let go of her arm, and nodded. "Okay."

The psychic patted Sam's shoulder comfortingly, and lifted Dean's head slightly, holding the cup to his lips. "Hey honey, can you hear me?" she asked Dean, who nodded with his eyes scrunched closed. "I'm going to need you to drink this, can you do that for me?" When Dean nodded again, she carefully helped him drink it, making him grimace at the taste.

When the cup was empty, Missouri placed it in a plastic bag, and gently lowered Dean's head back on the cushion. "Wait for about ten seconds."

A few seconds later, which seemed like hours to the people gathered around the couch, the little boy shuddered once and opened his bright green eyes, smiling up at Sam. "Sammy," he whispered, speaking for the first time in hours, before his eyes fluttered closed again and his little body went limp.

A sob broke from Sam's throat, and he leaned forward to lay a soft kiss to Dean's cheek, whispering in his ear quietly so the others didn't hear him. After a minute, he turned to look at Missouri through watery eyes. "How long until he wakes up?"

"About two hours, give or take a few minutes," she told him, standing up. "My work here is done, I have somewhere else to be. Call if you need my help again... I'll know if you don't." She smiled at the men, and let herself out, leaving them to wait for the little boy to wake up.

Sam covered Dean up and lifted him gently into his arms, before sitting on the couch with him cradled to his chest. Zeppelin jumped up beside him, and laid with his head on Dean's legs, looking up at him with his big brown eyes, and whining softly.

Big Dean suddenly started blinking rapidly and he would have collapsed to the floor if Bobby's reflexes hadn't been as sharp as shards of broken glass.

Bobby caught him around the waist and held him close, holding the back of Dean's head where it rested against his shoulder. "Whoa son. Are ya okay?" he asked, leading him over to sit in his chair.

"What's wrong?" asked Sam, watching them with a concerned expression. He wanted to get up and see for himself, but he wasn't willing to let his little brother go yet.

Bobby knelt beside the chair, and placed his hand on Dean's ashen cheek, cradling his face gently and raising it, so he could look at him. "Hey. Can ya hear me? Are ya alright?"

"Yeah. I just got a little dizzy."

"Do I have to remind ya what happened yesterday? Ya nearly died, yer supposed to be resting, idjit."

"I had more important things to worry about."

"Oh really? Like what? What could be more important than resting after nearly dying the day before?"

"I wanted to make sure the little dude was okay," Dean told him, trying to move away, but Bobby held onto him.

Sam shook his head. "Dean, you need to put yourself first for a change, and take better care of yourself."

Dean settled back into the chair, but was still looking at the sleeping little boy. Even after a near-death experience, he was more worried about little Dean.

"I'm going to get ya something to eat. Stay in that chair, or I'll come back in and tie ya to it," Bobby warned, pointing at him with narrowed eyes, before getting up to walk into the kitchen.

Dean closed his eyes, and took a few deep breaths. When he opened them a few seconds later, it was to see Sam looking worriedly at him.

"Are you okay? Should we take you back to the hospital?" he asked his brother, while continuing to stroke little Dean's hair. "Your breathing is not getting worse again, is it? Is your throat alright?"

"Er..." Dean blinked in surprise at all the sudden questions, and tried to remember what he was asked. Unable to remember, he shook his head, and tried to reassure him. "I'm okay, Sammy... I promise."

Sam continued looking at him for at least two minutes, his eyes darting over Dean to make sure he was really okay. When he felt satisfied he wasn't going to suddenly stop breathing again, Sam finally relaxed and turned his attention back to little Dean. But big Dean noticed that Sam was still keeping watch on him too.

Bobby came in with something for Dean to eat and drink, and sat on the table in-front of the chair, so he could keep an eye on him, making Dean roll his eyes.

"You don't have to worry about me, you know," Dean told them, reluctantly eating the yoghurt Bobby had given him.

"Well, someone needs to."

"Mini-me needs you more than I do. I can take care of myself. I'm..."

"If ya say yer fine one more time, I'm going to take my boot off and beat ya around the head with it," threatened Bobby, trying to act as though he wasn't as worried as he felt. "Sam can take care of the little man. I'm staying right here to make sure ya don't end up collapsing again. So stop being a stubborn idjit and let somebody look after ya for a change."

Dean sighed and shook his head. "Fine. But only for ten minutes. I get bored if I'm not doing anything."

Bobby smirked and looked over at Sam and winked, making the younger man smile. Dean could complain as much as he wanted to, there was no way Bobby was leaving him alone for the rest of the day.

As Sam watched little Dean sleeping in his arms, he couldn't help but wonder about Missouri's friendship with Gabrielle. He wondered if she had asked the witch to do it for whatever reason, or if it was just a coincidence. The thoughts were circling around in his head almost making him dizzy, but if he had to be honest, he didn't really care whose idea it was.

This was the best year of his life. Not only had it given him his only chance to be a dad, but also the opportunity to give Dean the childhood he really deserved, something he would always remember with happy memories rather than the terrible ones after their mother died.

He couldn't think of a better time in his life, and for the first time he was really happy.

TBC

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