Rating: PG - wee!Chesters - Gen
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Beta: Thank you Kat!
Summary: John attempts to get his kid in a bath tub and Sam just wants to dance around naked.
Everything in life required some degree of maintenance.
John didn't consider a week complete without logging in a couple hours of swearing under the hood of the car. Not a day went by that he didn't spend some time carefully checking and caring for the various needy items in his arsenal. The constants of his universe were few but required most of his energy to keep going. Sometimes he even ate and slept. He rubbed his chin and judged it was about five days worth of beard.
His face was better than a calendar.
Staring down into the old bathtub, he studied the stain that created a rusty halo around the drain. On the off chance anyone ever asked him what he spent the most time working on he might have gotten deep and said something like perspective.
He redirected his gaze towards the trail of water that led across the tiles and darkened into small footsteps on the grungy hallway carpet.
“Sam?” He tried. “Sammy?”
The resulting wail of protest created a Doppler effect as his four year old streaked naked past the bathroom door.
“Come on, now.” John said reasonably. “The water is gettin' cold.”
Harrowing temperatures never seemed to bother his youngest child. Smack dab in the middle of winter was just a good a time as any for escaping mid-bath. Doing laps around whatever set of drafty rooms available always appeared to be pretty good times too.
“Sam!” He tried the stern route. “Get in here before I--”
His son flew past the door going in the opposite direction.
“--get really angry.”
John flipped the toilet seat down so he could take a load off. Although he'd rolled up his sleeves to get the job done, his shirt was soaking wet anyway. The water stiffening his jeans had chilled to an unpleasant iciness in his crotch. There was the added bonus of being coated with the scent of bubble gum shampoo. He considered the bright pink puddle of kid's soap on the floor and pictured other more festive children's bathrooms.
Rubber ducks. Sponge toys. Some stick on cartoon fish to decorate the shower curtains.
His kids didn't miss what they didn't have. But damn it all, Sam would freak out if he didn't have that green plastic cup to play around with during clean up time. John sighed at the sight of the sub-standard red cup he'd tried to slip in the cherished green's place. The phone in the kitchen had been ringing for while. Its shrill buzz kept stopping and starting with a persistence that was making John’s head ache.
John waited a beat for a reply.
He didn't hear him come down the hall but one sullen eye appeared around the corner.
“You ever gonna pick up that phone?”
“You told me not to.”
John winced when he heard a dull crash in the living room. Sometimes Sam's laps resulted in accidental high-speed impacts. It hadn't sounded like anything too important. He frowned when he suddenly remembered the bag he'd left unattended on the wobbly coffee table. Untangling the mid-century rosary beads was not how he wanted to spend any hours that could be used for sleeping.
“Come on, dude.” John said. “You know what I said. I said don't answer it if it's not me.”
Although he could only see one of Dean's eyes, he could see the mild satisfaction on the kid's face. There was always a cheerful gleam when given confirmation that all logical sense had left the building. If John bothered to get up off his ass, he could probably get a good look at the smile that usually came with it.
The phone started ringing again, abruptly joined in concerto by the piercing doorbell.
“What the fuc--”
“It's the landlord.” Dean informed him. “He's been callin'.”
He got an unfortunate glimpse of himself as he passed the broad mirror over the sink.
“Why don't you dart Sammy and get some pants on 'em before he freezes to death?”
“You didn't wash his hair.”
“I got to all the important parts.”
“But you didn't--”
“Get me the Smith & Wesson.”
The walk to the front door wasn't a long one. Early twilight allowed John to look out the window and not be observed by the man standing on the concrete balcony of the second floor. He held out his hand behind him at the sound of Dean's light tread and felt the cool hand grip of the semi-automatic placed carefully in his palm.
The gentleman who collected the weekly rent was elderly and distractingly short.
However, John wasn't a fan of house calls no matter how harmless they appeared. There was a brief thought about putting on a smile on as he slid the weapon into the back of his jeans. He looked sideways at Dean's scramble to climb up on the arm of the couch to stand eye level beside him.
“Thanks but no thanks,” he told him. “You sit tight.”
It was an easy thing to unbalance the precarious perch and push the boy neatly down on the other side of the sofa and a comfortable distance away. Unlocking the door, he wondered if there was any such thing as a contest for dirty looks. His eldest would clean up the competition any day of the week.
The landlord cleared his throat for the important announcement.
“There's a leak.”
It took a second for John to wrap his mind around the ambiguous statement. The task wasn't simple to accomplish while attempting to ignore Sam's alarming giggling going on behind his back.
“A what now?”
“Your bathroom,” the man explained. “When ya run the shower it leaks into the unit downstairs. Gotta shut your water off for a spell.”
“Oh.” A ban on bathing sounded like the best news he'd heard all day. “No problem.”
When the reason for the visit was made clear, Dean wriggled past John to stand between them and noisily sip from a can of coke. The landlord's frown deepened as he leaned over to peer suspiciously into the room. John glanced behind him to see what the startled man might be witnessing.
He supposed it wasn't every day you saw a naked kid dancing around in about a hundred strands of rosary beads with assorted crucifixes attached.
“We uh,” John tugged at his wet shirt. “We were just about to head to church.”
Dean chimed in with some wholly unneeded backup.
“God bless you!”
“Yeah well,” the old guy was already hobbling back towards the stairs. “Rent's due the same on Friday.”
The heavy door shut itself on the uneven hinges.
Taking the can of caffeine from Dean's hand, he swigged what was left and chucked it at the garbage bin. After his dance to music no one else could hear, Sam suddenly took off barreling back towards the bathroom.
John cringed when the joyous screeching tragically cut off with a loud thud.
He'd forgotten that he'd closed that door.
“It's cool.” Dean assured him. “He'll get tired in a minute.”