Title: Time Out
Rating: PG - wee!Chesters - Gen
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: John is forced to slow down...
"What's your problem?"
"Nothin'." Dean mumbled.
John looked sideways at his ten year old son and saw him scratch up under his sleeve again. Several moments later he saw him scratch again, this time at the back of his neck. Soon after that Dean was really rubbing into the thigh of his jeans.
"What's wrong with you?" John asked again, trying to keep his eyes on the road and the actual car itself on it at the same time.
"Nothin' Dad, geeze."
John turned his attention back onto the thin weak gleam of the highlights that were trained through the late night torrential downpour. Even after wiping down the windshields with wetting agent at the last stop he could still barely see a damn thing. A semi truck passed by them almost forcing John completely into the opposite lane when its trailer hydroplaned over the lines. The following spray of even more water from its back tires obscured his vision even more.
Swearing under his breath, John quickly forgot the distraction of his son in the seat beside him and used all the attention he had on the task at hand.
And that was the not so simple act of getting himself and his two kids to the next motel down the road all alive.
By the time the room had been paid for and John had located it, he had a full blown headache raging behind his eyes. The hours of straining them on the dark watery mess of the highway and lack of caffeine all day had put him in a mood that he knew wouldn't be assuaged by anything but a hot shower and a good night's sleep.
But first things first.
Even if he was willing to crash into bed on an empty stomach, his kids couldn't.
Leaving his oldest to remove Sammy and all other similar items that should be taken out of the car and placed in their room, he headed over across the street. The rain had let up a little bit but it was still falling cold and heavy, uncomfortably sliding down into the collar of his jacket and drenching the fronts of his jeans. He imagined how good grinding three dry aspirin in his mouth would taste with the scald of some black coffee.
The diner was just about to close but a smile and a few choice phrases about having kids without a dinner lent him the sympathy of the waitress who was about to lock the door. The grill was off but did he mind some cold sandwiches and a half carton of milk she was going dump out because it had expired just that day?
John sure didn't mind any of that at all.
He tucked the bag of food under his coat so it wouldn't get completely soaked on his return trip and thanked her with another smile that she returned with a bit more warmth to it than absolutely necessary. If John wasn't so tired he might have even tried a little harder to maybe see her again soon. But his head was in no shape for doing much more than tossing her another kind of grin that made her blush before she handed him his coffee and wished him a good night.
Waiting on the corner for a lull in the traffic he picked out his car on the other side parked up in front of their room.
One of the doors was sitting wide open.
Picking up his step, he reached the car and paused. The right back passenger door was left wide, and even though it was dark he could make out the familiar form of Dean laying face down in the back seat. It took him a moment to register that Sammy was no where to be seen and that there was one of their bags laying on the car floor as if it had been dropped there. A keen sharp sliver of fear ran through him that was colder than the rain.
John grabbed his son by the back of his jeans and rolled him over. He expected blood, or worse. But he couldn't make out a thing. Dean blinked his eyes open and groaned.
"M-My head hurts..."
Letting out the breath he was holding, he pulled Dean up to get a look at his face. The kid was in a pretty heavy sweat, his cheeks flushed and now that John was really taking a good look...
Covered in faint small red spots.
"God damn it." John mumbled.
Bemoaning his dropped coffee, he slid his boy out of the car and picked him up. Carrying Dean to the room, he was relieved but not surprised to see Sammy already curled in a bed along with all the equipment Dean had been told to bring in from the car.
Sammy wasn't clamoring and tackling him for food. In fact he was very quiet under all his blankets and still fully dressed. John slipped a hand over his forehead. He knew what he'd find before he even felt it. The slow hot burn of a fever. His youngest squirmed away from his touch and whimpered into his pillow.
Great. They both had it.
There went their entire time table. Time table? There went an entire week of travel time and an extra load of motel fees. John rubbed at his face and sluggishly came up with a new game plan.
"Okay dude, yer first."
He sighed as he hefted Dean up again to take him to the bathroom and a tub soon to be filled with water.
"Time to cool off a little."
"We goin' to Texas tomorrow Dad?" Dean murmured sleepily from his shoulder.
"Change of plans." John felt himself laugh a little bit while he sat his boy on the edge of the bath. "Looks like we're stayin' put for a while."
"Why?" Dean asked wearily as he raised his arms so his father could yank his shirt off over his head.
"There's a pox on our house."
Shivering and his teeth chattering even though his skin was radiating heat, his son actually seemed to brighten a little bit at the notion. "Like a curse?"
"You could say that."
John twisted on the cold water and took a good look at the rash of bumps that covered his kid's chest. He examined his arms and checked out his back.
"A chicken curse." He winked.
His boy half smiled at him and the dumb joke.
John grinned back, his own fierce headache easing a little back with the sight of his son's lack of worry and the ease in which he let his father help him. There was something about it that always let him find the bright side to just about any situation even when he thought he had run out of just about anything that could.
Besides, slowing down had its benefits sometimes didn't it? It let you really take in your surroundings for a change. Let you take your time and take it all right on in.
John smiled again but this time only to himself.
Like maybe talking again to that pretty waitress right across the street.