Characters: Sam and Dean (Gen, Humor, Fandom Cliche)
Rating: PG-13 (language)
Word Count: ~3400
Summary: A pregnant man may not be an Act of God, but insurance sure as hell won't cover it regardless.
Author's Notes: Happy birthday to clex_monkie89! You'd think with this subject matter, the Crack would be self-creating. But noooooo. And the story's even Gen. (My muse mocks me). Also for my Switch_25 table: this is "Sickness."
Dean knew all the words to every song on Soundgarden's "Superunknown." They'd bought it last week.
Sam knew to within ten the number of gas stations they'd passed since leaving Indianapolis.
They'd put 1500 miles on the Impala in the last two weeks, and eaten eggs in seven different diners—only two of them any good.
Last week's possession near Dubuque had broken three mirrors and a doorframe in the victim's house. All in a day's work, until the man demanded compensation for property damage; Dean threatened to destroy a few windows for him, and the issue was dropped— except in the car, where Dean bitched about it for the next six days. A coven in Kennebec had bewitched half of the City Council in an effort to keep a Walmart from being built on the Northern edge of town. The brothers debated whether the coven had the right idea on that one, but in the end they broke the enchantment anyway.
Montana was long and uneventful at 85 miles-per-hour, and Idaho was dry and dusty and boring as hell.
Spending as much time in the car as out of it, with unaware or ungrateful customers… there was a certain sameness to it all. A change always seems appealing, at least until it happens. Sometimes, ruts are better than the disasters that come between them.
The southeast corner of Oregon was just like Idaho, except for some interesting rock formations and the threat of breaking down in an incredibly huge desert. Hours later, near Burns Junction, Sam suddenly realized that he was doing most of the driving. Dean had napped most of the day away following breakfast.
Sam pulled off for gas twenty miles later, in some afterthought of a town that didn't even have a traffic light. The car had been stopped for half a minute before Dean opened his eyes and blinked at the glare.
“Bathroom?” Sam asked.
“Yeah, why not.” Dean lumbered slowly out of the car, while Sam handed over a credit card and locked up.
Afterward they continued north, on a road so quiet that even tumbleweeds were scarce.
They stopped for the night in Princeton, close to Crane and its reports of demon possession. The motel was dark, for which Dean seemed grateful. He stretched out on the nearest bed, falling asleep within minutes still on top of the covers.
“Dean? Dean!” Sam shook his brother’s arm when he didn’t get a response. “Wake up already! It’s almost noon.”
Dean’s lifted his head blearily, hair rucked-up and eyes half closed.
“Why’d you let me sleep so long?” His voice was rough and slow.
“You seemed to need it. I didn’t realize you were going to take all day.”
“I’ve been kind of tired lately,” Dean admitted. "Might be getting sick." He rolled over lazily, watching Sam as he packed away his knives.
Sam turned around at the sudden gasp behind him.
“Sam…” Dean’s voice sounded different. “Sammy—I’m fat!”
Two grown men who hunted the unbelievable and unnatural realized that one of them was pregnant. Clearly, blamestorming was in order.
"What did you touch?" Sam demanded.
"Nothing!" Dean shouted back. "Nothing weird," he amended.
"Objects? People? Things that looked like people but weren't?"
"How should I know! If I'd thought anything was wrong, I would've said so!"
"When did you first start noticing symptoms?"
"The fat thing, just now."
"Before that. What was different?"
"I was fantastically un-fat before that."
Sam grumbled, "You know what I'm getting at, Dean. What was different from usual, and when did it start?"
"Seriously, I don't remember anything. And look at all the places we've been the last few weeks—we tend to get around, you know?"
"Especially you," Sam muttered.
"Who'd you sleep with?"
"That's personal business, Sam."
"Yeah, except when you shove it in my face and go on about the details. Like, all the time. So who was it?"
"No-one, all right? I haven't gotten laid in two months."
"A girl back at the—wait, never mind. That's too long ago. I only turned fat today."
"You keep saying that. Fat and pregnant aren't the same thing."
"Except when you're a guy, in which case the rules and all that PC crap kind of fly out the window!"
Sam sighed. "Notice that we're not getting closer to an answer here?"
"If I knew, I'd tell you, Sam. But I don't." Dean headed into the bathroom.
"Checkout time's in ten minutes, Dean."
"Pack the car. I'll be ready." Dean closed the door.
Lunch was at a dried-up café, where Sam ordered soup that tasted like it came from a can and Dean ate steak and fries with extra catsup.
The next stop was the town's only grocery store. Sam left Dean near the entrance and went in search of toothpaste.
"Okay, Dean, I found it. Let's— hey, you don’t eat sardines!”
“I know that. But right now I want them.” Dean put them back in the cart.
“And is this big, honking chocolate bar yours too?”
“I can’t help it. I’m hungry, and this is what looks good.”
“Maybe we should stop feeding it,” Sam said thoughtfully.
Dean’s eyes narrowed. “No fucking way. I’m not starving on top of everything else.”
"Fine." Sam took hold of the cart and steered for checkout. "Let's get going." Before you buy anything else.
Near the edge of town, Sam pulled over next to a field. "Might as well give the Holy Water a try."
"Go for it."
It seemed a lot stupider in retrospect, after Dean claimed the water tickled…
The ride to Juntura was quiet, especially with Dean nodding off so quickly. He slumped down in the seat, shifting crankily, before leaning down sideways until his head jammed awkwardly against Sam's leg.
"Dean, your neck," Sam said.
"Want to stretch out in the back seat?"
Sam pulled off the road forty minutes later to check the map. Even stopping the car didn't wake Dean, his face weary in spite of so much recent sleep.
Sam got out and unfolded the map, locating their position and the turnoff to their destination. About ninety more miles. He cleared off the back seat and went around to help move Dean. The door creaked, but Dean slept on, sunlight falling on bare skin where Dean's t-shirt rode up.
Sam leaned in for a closer look, curiosity getting the better of him. There was a distinct bump there now since just two hours ago, lumpy and uneven. He shuddered. The bump shuddered. Sam backed up hastily and stumbled over a rock.
Great, so falling on his ass was the one thing Dean would bother waking up for.
Sam stood up and pulled Dean's legs around and out the door. "Nothing," he said. "I'm moving you to the back."
Dean settled in without protest, and that was kind of disturbing, considering. Sam got into the front and started driving again.
Trangeth demons were stupid and fairly easy to kill, thank god.
Because now that they'd taken care of that, there were certain other pressing things they needed to deal with.
What it was, and How to get rid of it, topped the list.
"Dean, we need to talk."
"We are talking, Sam."
“You know what I mean. This thing inside you—we've got to take care of that."
"Like, really soon. Now."
"Well, you weren’t planning on giving birth to it, were you? You… you don’t suppose it’s human?”
“Okay, first? Pregnant man. There is no way this thing is human. And second, there is no place for it to come out of. Except through the skin, which is kind of personally valuable to me, not to mention a lot of major organs and stuff along the way. So, no. I am not having this baby. Thing. Whatever it is.”
“Just checking. In case those hormones were making you all sentimental or something.”
“Hormones it is...”
Three cattle-crossings later, Dean spoke again. "The thing is, Sam, we're kind of in the middle of nowhere."
No kidding. "Yeah, I know. Should have never taken this job in the back-forty of Oregon—even the parts that have people are microscopic, and way too far apart."
"Well, we didn’t know. It's getting late now, though—where're we going to stop for the night?"
"Looks like Ontario."
"The Oregon one, not the Canada one, Dean. You used to know that."
"I'm just tired."
And Sam was worried.
They stopped at a diner on the outskirts of Ontario, because Dean didn't want to wait any longer to eat.
They ordered, Sam getting baked chicken and Dean the Super Steak Special, with a 24-ounce cut of meat. "Maybe I should just ask them to bring you a shovel," Sam commented.
"Ha-ha," Dean replied. "I'm going to use the bathroom."
Dean was gone for so long that their food was ready by the time he came back. Sam noticed a funny whitishness around the inside of Dean’s mouth that he couldn't identify. It nagged at him.
They ate quickly—Dean doing most of the eating, including stealing from Sam's plate —and headed on back to the motel.
Sam frowned as Dean half-waddled off to use the shower, and dug through his brother’s jacket the moment the water turned on.
Chalk. A box of schoolyard chalk, with several pieces half-dissolved. Sam sighed. This was getting more unnerving by the hour.
Sam spent the rest of the evening combing the Internet for clues while Dean left message after message for Dad, Bobby, and anyone else he could think of before crashing around nine-thirty.
Nothing the next morning, just nothing—and where the hell was Dad off to anyway? Not that he was ever all that great about answering the phone when they called, but still.
They went to a McDonald's for breakfast to kill some waiting time while they sorted out their options. Maybe the grease would bring them clarity.
Dean excused himself to use the bathroom again as soon as they got in line, and that was it. Sam snuck in behind him and followed him right on inside.
“Uh. Hey. You have to go too?” Dean said.
“No. Give me the jacket.”
“The jacket. Now.”
“No! Geez, Sam— can’t I have a little privacy here?”
“Nope.” Sam wrestled the jacket off of Dean and frisked the pockets quickly.
“Dean…” he said. “Turpentine?”
“It looked kind of good. I mean, not good, but— ”
“That’s it, we’re going. If this thing is ready to kill its host, it’ll be coming out any time now. We have to get rid of it before it does.” Sam pulled Dean’s elbow and dragged him out to the car, opening the door and pushing him into the passenger seat.
“Dude, I am not some frail little flower that needs your protection!”
“No, but you’re getting awfully untrustworthy. So let’s just say I have your best interests at heart.” Sam pulled the phone out roughly, opening the menu. "I'm trying Dad again, and if I can't get him then I'm calling Missouri. To hell with what it is, or why it's in you—we need someone who can fix this problem today.”
Dean was uncharacteristically silent.
“Dad. Dad! Thank god you're there, we need help. We’re in Eastern Oregon, and we've got to find someone with major powers right away—teleporting, death-projection, stuff along those lines."
John's voice was unhurried and sardonic. “Care to fill me in on what the crisis is?”
“Dean got knocked up by a demon.”
“Hey!” Dean protested.
"He what? Dean— really?" John said. "Damn— I should never have let that boy out of my sight!" He sighed heavily. "Okay, let me think…"
"Does that mean you have an idea about what did this?" Sam asked tensely.
"Not specifically. Couple of possibilities, though. I'll ask around and get back to you. Let me talk to Dean."
Sam gave Dean a look. "It's for you."
Dean winced. "Hi. Dad… No, I— no sir. No… But— when? Three days, maybe. Could be more… All right… Yeah, I'll—what? Okay… Thanks." Dean closed up the phone.
"All sympathy, right?"
"God, Sam, why you always gotta—" Dean stopped. "You know what? Never mind."
Sam took in Dean's anxious expression, the restless movements of his hands. "He'll find something," he said by way of apology.
Dean just looked at him, unconvinced.
"If worse comes to worst, I'll take you to a hospital," Sam said softly. "Hold a gun on a surgeon if I have to—you know I'll do it."
"I know." Dean's voice was hoarse.
"How're you feeling right now?"
"Besides that. Anything specific?"
"It feels weird, but it doesn't hurt."
"Okay," Sam whispered. "Okay."
They went through the drive-through, and then back to the motel. Sam packed their stuff and brushed his teeth twice while Dean curled up on a bed (wearing Sam's sweatpants, but Sam couldn't bring himself to make a joke about it).
One hour until checkout, and no word from Dad. Sam was getting the urge to just do something—anything-- but they couldn't afford to head off in the wrong direction. There was too much empty road leading away from this nowhere city.
Dean's eyes were shut, and Sam edged closer to see if he was asleep. Awake but uncomfortable, from the way Dean looked back at him. Sam sat down and put a hand against the back of Dean's neck, rubbing in slow, aimless motions and wondering how much longer to wait for Dad to call.
"Sam—" Dean protested.
"Shhh…" Sometimes that macho shit got old.
Missouri—Dad would call her, right? Because she probably knew somebody who knew somebody, and Sam could make it up to five states away in the next twenty-four hours, if he had to, if it was that far.
When the phone rang, Sam dropped it on the floor in his haste to get it out of his pocket. "Hello?"
"North, in Walla Walla. Man's name is Arthur Belkin, low-profile—runs a bookstore. He's expecting you, call ahead to get directions. You take care of your brother now, Sam, you hear me?"
Five minutes to get on the road, including settling Dean in the back seat with a couple of stolen pillows. Sam made it to the city in under four hours, stopping for instructions. Belkin wanted to meet them at his house.
He must have been waiting by the window when they pulled up, because he opened the door before they knocked. Most people in their network of hunters and such never did that—if anything, they were unusually suspicious because of all the dangers they'd seen.
"You're Sam." The man was medium-sized and wiry, his eyes made huge by his black-rimmed glasses. "Tall, like your Dad said. And this poor boy must be your brother. Bring him on through."
Sam had an arm around Dean's waist, maybe for himself more than Dean. Besides the bone-weary posture and some awkwardness in walking, Dean was still pretty strong. If you didn't count where he'd started out a week ago, and what was causing it all.
"On the floor, right here. Grab the holy water and the knife, just in case. I'll close the drapes. "
The room became dark, then. Isolated. A few candles burned on either side of where Dean lay, narrowing the room down to that single point of focus. Belkin knelt next to Dean, and Sam squeezed his brother's hand. They were ready to begin.
"Back up a bit, son, and keep quiet." Belkin closed his eyes.
The man needed no sound or props to help him, his face simply tightening in concentration as the seconds stretched out. A feeling of current grew in the air as he worked, his hand on Dean's misshapen belly. Sam held his breath.
The air sizzled and turned dry, suddenly smelling of sour ash. Then something formed on the floor in front of Dean. It was small and dark and still.
For a brief, terrible moment Sam wondered if Belkin had removed something that belonged—Dean's liver or spleen. But within seconds, the outside surface of the thing shrank and shriveled against a bony blue form, horn-stubs protruding in a ridge down its head. Its mouth was a snarl of teeth as it gasped arduously… and then died.
Dean and Sam stared at each other, aghast.
"I definitely would have remembered touching something like that!"
"Boys," Belkin soothed, turning on the lights. "Better get a picture while you can. Then take care of it."
In the end, Sam sprinkled it with Holy Water and took it out to the backyard to burn. He didn't think Dean should have to watch that. He'd been through enough.
Dean was lying on Belkin's sofa in the front room when Sam came back inside. "How are you feeling?" Sam sat down carefully.
"Better," Dean replied. "Not so sore."
Sam lifted up the bottom of Dean's shirt, expecting to find loose skin and god knew what else. Everything looked fairly normal—a little puffy, and he bet Dean regretted those extra meals already. But other than a few oddly-placed bruises, it was pretty much the same, like nothing had happened. Unbelievable.
Belkin's gift was a miracle, that was certain. A lot of people could have summoned the creature up through the skin, but there was no guarantee of Dean surviving that. Might as well go to a surgeon instead.
Sam smoothed the shirt back down, and laid a hand along Dean's too-pale face.
"Don't be getting all girly on me," Dean muttered, eyes closed.
"Shut up," Sam answered. He kissed Dean's forehead in a mixture of relief and revenge.
"Dude!" Dean glared at him weakly.
"Spaz." Sam patted Dean's shoulder and left.
Belkin was in the kitchen, stirring soup. "He doing all right in there?"
"Yeah." Sam leaned against the counter, wondering how you repaid someone who'd just done the impossible. "Thanks for saving him. I don't know how much longer we had."
"Glad to help." Belkin got out two bowls. "This is for your brother, and you if you're interested. Want a sandwich?"
"Sure. I mean please." Sam smiled at the floor like a five-year-old gone shy. "What can we do to repay you? That is, we don't have a lot of money, but there's probably something we could do instead."
"Well, it's inventory time."
Sam blinked and ducked his head. Dean would so hate that, he really would. Shelves and boxes of books, and lists and ledgers—it was almost like a punishment. He wondered if maybe Dad had suggested the idea to Belkin. But fair was fair.
"Sure—I can start right away, if you like. Let me just call Dad and give him an update."
"No hurry. After lunch."
Dean was still awake when Sam went to bring him the soup.
"You'll need the energy," Sam deadpanned. "We're helping out at the bookstore for awhile. Inventory." He gave a geeky, expectant smile just to see what Dean would do, like he didn't already know.
His brother groaned softly, dragging himself upright like there was no point in hurrying. He tasted the soup, then put it on the side table. "Wonder what effect this'll have on hunting," Dean finally said.
"Am I going to have to start wearing gloves now, or what?"
"Let's see what Dad finds out first. I sent him the picture."
"Awww!" Dean scowled. "He's probably told everyone by now: look at the mess Dean got himself into. How am I going to live that down?"
"We'll take jobs in a city and never leave again."
"Ha-ha." Dean picked up the soup and ate a little more. He stopped. "Tastes like chalk."
"No, seriously—though I really wish I didn't know what chalk tastes like."
"I'll bet," Sam muttered.
"Nothing. Never mind."
After a moment, Dean spoke softly. "Thanks for looking out for me, Sammy."
"Any time, Dean. You'd do the same for me."
"The hell I would," Dean kidded. "I didn't sign up for demon babies as part of raising a little brother, you know."
"I know. But you'd rise to the occasion anyway," Sam said. You always have.
"Think we could sneak out the door and drive off before Belkin catches us?" Dean asked half-seriously.
"I think he'd put that thing right back inside you, ashes and all," Sam answered. "Finish your soup."
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