denyce: (SPN: JW)
[personal profile] denyce
Title: Make a Wish
Author: Denyce
Fandom: SPN
Rating: G
Summary: inspired/written for [livejournal.com profile] comment_fic prompt: John/wee!chesters, Sam turns one.
Disclaimer: Owed by TBTB Eric Kripke, & the CW. Not mine, zero profit, written for fun/entertainment purposes only!
Warnings: NA
Word count: 1405
Notes: Big thank you's go out to [livejournal.com profile] immortal_jedi and to [livejournal.com profile] snarkgoddess for the beta, again thank you ladies ;)



John glanced at his son’s nearly empty to-go carton. Four bites were left of his cheeseburger as well as a few fries. Dean did this often now-a-days, stopped eating before he was ready in order to share his leftovers with Sammy. It had only been in the five months after they left Kansas that John had become aware of the practice. He’d tried to dissuade Dean, but so far none of his discouragement seemed to make any impact on his eldest son. “Dean go ahead and finish if you’re hungry… unless you need to save room for dessert?” Dean gave Sam a glance. “Don’t worry about Sammy, he ate his hamburger, and I have another one if he’s hungry later. Plus there’s more than enough dessert for all of us.” Seemingly satisfied, Dean reached for his cheeseburger.

Pleased, John stood and moved over to the small box on the kitchen counter behind him. Opening the box, he removed the small cake carefully so as not to squish the sides before Sammy got a chance to get his hands on it.

It was the largest, ready-made birthday cake that John had found still available at the local bakery. It was a chocolate cake with white frosting, decorated with several colorful balloons and a simple Happy Birthday Sammy, written on top. Obviously Sammy wouldn’t know or remember one way or the other, but Dean might, and John already felt bad enough. He hadn’t even remembered on his own that it was Sammy’s birthday. What was worse, he had completely forgotten Dean’s birthday back in January. Though, he could admit that neither of them had been feeling very celebratory - each still grieving and waiting anxiously for all the holidays to be over with.

Months later and several states away after the fire, John still couldn’t stop running. It was the only thing he could think to do in order to protect the boys. That thing wasn’t human, wasn’t something he could fight – at least not now. Running allowed him time to learn, to research, and more importantly, to protect the boys.

They stayed together, moving across the country and discovering the truth of what was out there. He had already calculated his funds if he stayed within traditional boundaries, but with that thing out there, it changed everything. For now he stayed on the outskirts of society, moving from one church and monastery to another. Reaching out only to those that shared a similar look and knowledge. Something that wasn’t too different from spotting another vet; there was a look one got from a mutual experience. What John discovered that was different, was he had the boys, and for Mary – for himself he had to do whatever it took to protect them from what was really out there.

As it was, he had failed, hadn’t been able to protect his family – to protect Mary. All he had left was Sam and Dean. Sam was just a baby; Sam adjusted, but Dean… With Dean, he was lost. His boy hadn’t spoken since the fire. The only sound Dean made was cries from the nightmare. It’d be easy enough to wake him as Dean wouldn’t sleep alone. Not that John was fighting the issue, together they shared the bed, Sammy tucked in-between them. He didn’t even care about the nights Dean wet the bed. Usually those nights were after nightmares, reliving the fire.

Forcibly John pulled himself out of his dark thoughts. It was Sammy’s first birthday and something to celebrate. Placing a single candle in the center, John then added a few more before he shoved his hand into his pocket to find his lighter. Pulling it out, John’s thumb ran over the silver Zippo caressingly. It had been a gift from Dean. One that Dean found and Mary allowed Dean to give him on Father’s Day the year before. It was one of the few things she had left of her father.

Doing birthdays, the holidays – those were things Mary loved and took charge of. Without her, he knew was already screwing things up for both his boys.

Sammy’s childish, “Dean,” caught his attention as he heard Dean’s chair push back, scraping across the floor to Sammy.

“Stay put kiddo, I got ‘im.” Quickly John lit the candles then shoved the lighter deep into his pocket. John grabbed the knife as he turned, set the cake and the knife down on the table and scooted it closer to Dean. “There you go… think Sammy will like it?”

John reached down to pick Sammy up from the portable playpen and settled him onto his lap as John took his own seat. The volume of his voice boomed a little too loud, a bit too enthusiastic in contrast to the quiet that had previously settled in motel room. A pang of worry and disappointment settled in John’s chest at Dean’s lackluster response. Plunging onward, John’s chin jutted out as he spoke, “Want to sing Happy Birthday? I’m sure Sammy would love to hear you sing.”

John’s arm cinched tighter around Sam’s waist as Sammy wiggled in his lap and fought to escape by leaning forward. Small fingers stretched out for the cake, decorated with six candles flames dancing enticingly, just out of his reach. Trying to hold off the inevitable, John started bouncing his knee. Sammy responded, squealing in delight. With a sideway glance John eyed his eldest, hoping Dean would relent.

Though Dean was grinning at Sammy’s antics, his smile faded, as he firmly shook his head, no, in response.

Swallowing against the lump, John nodded, his voice hoarse. Encouragingly he asked, “Its okay kiddo. You want to make a wish, blow the candles out?”

Kneeling up in his seat Dean leaned forward, his face inches away from the candles. Dean stilled. Long strands of blond hair fell forward, hiding half his face. The sudden flash of Mary was sharp, painful and brought on memories of Dean’s first birthday.

Every one of the ridiculous number of pictures they had both taken, each taking turns – all gone. He remembers the balloons, presents, cake, the joy, and laughter as they shared watching Dean attacked his first cake – digging in with both fists. Flashes of them laughing at the mess they continued cleaning the following day, finding bits of cake and frosting everywhere. Then fragmented memories of Dean’s fourth birthday hit him. Just over a year ago. It was the first and only year Mary didn’t bake a cake. After three attempts her nausea wouldn’t let up. Instead she decided to try pie. He had come home to find her and Dean in the kitchen. Neither had noticed when he came in. The scene was something out of a movie, where flour had exploded, both covered in white from head to toe and each grinning ear to ear. They spent the entire day baking everything from apple pie to her and Dean’s favorite, cherry pie.

On reflex, John’s hand reached out and tucked the long locks behind Dean’s ear.

The movement broke the spell of memories and Dean glanced back catching John’s gaze, his demeanor focused and un-childlike. Turning back toward the cake, staring steadily at the candles, Dean’s eyes fluttered closed as he pursed his lips, inhaling and then blowing out the candles in one go.

Slowly Dean opened his eyes then looked over, grinning, his eyes glimmering with hope.

John’s heart fell, suddenly suspecting what Dean might have wished for. Wondering if he just set his son up for another let down.

Dean’s smile faded, his eyes wide as his small hand spread out over John’s cheek, wiping away tears that had gone unchecked. John’s voice was gone. He swallowed hard, his lips dry as he tried to smile but he still nodded to convey some kind of reassurance. It clearly fell flat even for a five year-old because Dean hugged him.

Daunted by Dean’s gesture, John turned away to find Sammy watching them; his chubby little hands clapped and kept John focused in the present. Decidedly knowing there was nothing he could do, John returned Dean’s embrace before pushing away as Sammy squirmed between them. Reaching around, John picked up the knife and presented Dean the handle. “Go ahead and cut us a nice, big slice. Once Sammy gets a hold of it…”

Dean grinned at that, accepting the knife then turned his focus toward cutting the cake.

FiN~~

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