He ignores it the first time, maybe pressing a little hard on the downstroke of the y he's writing, but otherwise not pausing.
Second time, the grip around his pen tightens, as does the clench of his jaw. Third time--
"Dad! I'm blind!"
Fine. He sets the pen down in the crease of the journal to mark his page, flips it closed. They've been in there for hours but it's still humid in the bathroom, the mirror all fogged up. Probably because they'd been topping up the hot water at regular intervals, if the current bathwater level both in-bath and on-floor is anything to go by.
He stops in the doorway, hand resting up on the frame, staring in. "What."
Sammy jerks at the sound of John’s voice, lifts up his skinny arms. His eyes are squeezed closed, wet hair plastered against his forehead. "Help!" he says. "Can't see!"
"Dean," John says, peeling off his socks before stepping into the unavoidable puddles. "What did you do?"
There's a squawk as Dean's foot moves against the cheap metal of the tub. "I didn't do anything! He stuck his own head under!"
John crouches by the tub, wrapping his fingers around one of Sammy's wrists. Abruptly both of Sammy's hands are clinging to him like limpets. Wet, wrinkly little limpets. "'M blind," Sammy says again, eyes still squeezed shut.
"Hold still," John says, glancing around for a washcloth and discovering it soaked and out of reach. He pulls the tail of his shirt up, pushing Sammy's hair away from his face and wiping at his eyes. Sam splutters, blinks open wide and grins. His eyes are a little red rimmed, color of the irises brilliant, and John gets the sneaking suspicion that wasn't the first time Sammy'd been underwater.
"Daddy," Sammy says, not loosening his death grip on John's arm. "Can you do bubbles? You always do better bubbles than Dean."
Dean, to his credit, doesn't contest this; though not so much to his credit he joins the conversation with, "Depends what kinda bubbles." And a heh heh. heh laugh that speaks more deviousness than delight.
"Hair bubbles," Sammy says, letting go of John's arm long enough to push at the water's surface, splashing Dean. Dean splashes back. John gives up on the idea of keeping dry.
"Hey, hey," John says. "That's enough. Sammy, sit down."
Sammy sits, admirably not responding as Dean gives him one last shove with his foot.
John reaches for the soap. "Turn around, then."
Sammy turns, drawing his knees up and wrapping his arms around them to keep his balance. His back curves, knobs of his spine sticking out and shoulders angular under smooth skin. He tips his head back.
John pushes his sleeves up, dipping his hands in the water and scrubbing the yellow bar of soap between his palms until he's built up a considerable lather, Dean watching avidly. John pushes his hands into Sammy's hair, keeping up the movement with the soap until the white foam's pushing out between his fingers, then sets the soap down.
Sammy's shoulders slump a little as John rubs fingers against his scalp, his neck muscles loosening, resting the weight of his head in John's hands. He leans far enough back that John can see the water-clumped fan of lashes on his cheek, see Sammy's smile. He draws his hands back slowly when he's finished lathering, slow enough that it's not a sudden withdrawal of support, and Sammy reaches behind him, grabs one of John's hands by the thumb. He draws it down so he can see it, examining the froth of soap and beaming. "Keep going!" he says.
John exchanges a glance with Dean, unable to suppress a snort of laughter at Dean's raised eyebrow, and puts his hands back in Sammy's hair. Sam's head can still fit in his two cupped hands, and he slicks the hair from the base of Sammy's skull up toward the top, smoothing it over and over, then from the sides and front as well. The lather holds it impressively well, and Dean's giggles start as soon as John starts to shape it on either side of Sammy's crown.
"There you go," John says, settling back on his heels to admire his handiwork. "Ears."
Sammy turns around rapidly, sloshing water, to look at Dean and John.
Dean guffaws. "Ears?" he says with exaggerated incredulity. "More like horns!"
Sammy slaps his hands over his ears and simultaneously attempts to stand, generating considerable waves as he wobbles, lurches. Dean grabs at his shins and Sammy's body tips dangerously, arms flying out as his feet slip on the tub.
"Holy crap," John says, kneeling up and reaching out, catching a wet armful of Sammy.
Sam blinks up at him, completely unfazed, horns undamaged. "Holy crap!" he crows. "Holy crap!"
Dean's laughing again, heh heh heh, and John shakes his head, only letting Sammy go when he's sitting, John's heart still jumping around in his chest.
"Dad," Dean's scrambling, shoving the bar of soap back in John's hand. "My turn, now."
"Alright, Sammy," John says, rubbing the bar between his hands again. "We get it."
Sammy's silent for a moment, watching as John combs Dean's hair through his soapy fingers, horns drooping. Only for a moment. "Holy crap!"