Dean smiles softly at his partner and kid. They don’t always get along, Cas being stricter than Sam wants him to, but isn’t that the same for any parent? Cas just wants to make sure Sam gets enough sleep and eats more protein, and Sam just wants to read until he passes out and eat cucumber and ice cream until he’s sick. Also, for a three year old Sammy is stubborn as fuck, as shown by his tantrum this morning. With that thought Dean laughs quietly to himself, placing an arm around Cas’ shoulders. “Come on you two, let’s get going.” This is gonna be the best trip ever… he hopes.
“But I don’t WANT to get out!”
“Sam,” Dean sighs for the tenth time, scrubbing two tired hands over his face. “We’ve been driving for ten hours now, how can you not want to get out? I want to get out!”
Sammy’s crying now, silent furious tears rolling down his chubby cheeks as he kicks his legs against his car seat. They’ve been sitting here for twenty minutes, Sam having complained the moment the car stopped. “Dean,” Cas says tiredly and quietly. “Why don’t you go ahead into the diner and I’ll-”
“NO!” Sam screams, having overheard even over his tears. “De can’t go! S’not swafe!”
Cas and Dean immediately share an alarmed look. That’s new. “Sammy?” Dean asks gently, reaching back to place a hand on his little brother’s knee. “What’s not safe, kiddo?”
“S’dark,” Sammy explains, rubbing at his eyes with two tiny fists. “An’ mons’ers are in the dark.”
“Oh kiddo,” Dean sighs, leaning over the bench seat to unbuckle Sammy and gather him into his arms. “Monsters aren’t gonna get us.” He doesn’t want to start the whole ‘monsters aren’t real’ thing right now, especially as Cas often exhibits his angel mojo to the kid. It’d be too complicated, especially as they plan on telling Sam about monsters later in life… or even raise him knowing about it. They’ve never really talked about it. “I’m a monster hunter, so they wouldn’t dare come near me. Besides, even if they did, Cas is angel, and he can kill them in a blink.”
Sam’s crying slows a bit, and his lip wobbles as he looks up at Cas with wide eyes. “Weally?” He asks, his pleading voice almost too much for either of them.
“Yes,” Cas replies seriously; it’s not a lie, after all. “I could smite them without even touching them.”
Dean is pretty sure Sammy doesn’t know what ‘smite’ means, but the kid seems reassured none the less. “Youse carry me?” Sam asks sweetly, letting out a little hiccup as he reaches out to Cas. Dean smiles as he passes Sam over, rolling his eyes a little.
“I’ll keep you safe, little one,” Cas promises, and Dean can see the seriousness in his eyes. It warms his heart and makes him want to take Cas to a bedroom all at the same time.
When they enter the diner they find it almost completely empty, and they’re passed menus by a smiling, tired looking waitress. “I was just about to tell you boys that you have to come inside if you want to park there,” She says easily enough, smiling all the while, taking out a pad of paper and pen for their drink order.
Dean’s glad she’s so easy going, because he has a feeling Sam is going to be just as difficult about this meal as he was about getting out the car. He smiles too, motioning over to where Sam is clinging onto Cas, his head buried into his shoulder as the angel sits down in the booth across from Dean. “The little one was worried that monsters would come out of the dark and get us, but we told him that couldn’t happen,” Dean explains, liking her instantly as she nods solemnly, as if that’s a very normal thing to happen.
“Well,” She says, looking down at Sam, who is certainly not looking at her. “There’s no need to worry about that. Around here, the only monsters we have are the kind who just live out in the woods; they don’t come and hassle us and they certainly don’t hurt people!”
Dean is so glad that she’s played along; he does not want to end up having a conversation with Sam about whether or not monsters really exist or who really knows about them. Sam finally lifts his head from Cas’ shoulder, looking up at the waitress with still teary eyes. “Weally?” He asks, giving the same puppy dog eyes to her as he did to them in the car. Dean can practically see the woman melting with maternal instincts at the site of his pitiful little face. Little con artist.
“Absolutely!” She says cheerfully, giving him a motherly smile. “Now, what would you like to drink, darling?”
Sam puts on his thinking face, so while he stews over his answer Dean and Cas order a coke and a water respectively. Dean would rather have a beer but he’s pretty sure he’s gonna have some driving left to do if Sam doesn’t let go of Cas anytime soon. “You has milkshake?” Sam eventually asks, and Dean shares a surprised look with Cas. Both of them are pretty sure Sam’s never had a milkshake before.
“Sure sweetie,” The waitress says. “Would you like vanilla, chocolate, strawberry or banana?”
Poor Sam, who has certainly never had a milkshake before, now that Dean thinks about it, looks overwhelmed by his options. “De,” He says pitifully, because he clearly doesn’t know what any of those flavours are or taste like, because Sam is probably baffled by the fact that fruit can be in milk form. Surely it’s not real strawberries, Sam is probably thinking. Dean can see it in his eyes. He knows his brother too well.
Which is how he knows exactly what Sam will like. “He’ll have vanilla please,” He says with a grin, and the waitress nods before leaving with one last smile for Sam.
Soon they have their drinks, and not long after that finally have some food. Dean – of course – got a bacon cheeseburger, while Sam and Cas got a chicken salad to ‘share’. Cas won’t eat any of it, and to be honest it doesn’t look like Sam will be anytime soon, instead he sits in Cas’ lap while the angel helps him drink the milkshake. Dean smiles softly at Sam’s happy little face while Cas helps him eat some chicken too. They got the salad without any dressing because it will be easy to box up and will be easy for Sam to eat with his hands – even small Sam loves greens. Dean has many a memory of Sam sitting in the passenger seat having eat a takeaway salad with his hands because they didn’t have any plastic forks or spoons left, or they just forgot to include them. But now, watching his boyfriend wipe away baby Sam’s milkshake moustache as tiny hands try to push him away, that feels like a distant memory.
Sam conks out pretty much as soon as he’s finished his milkshake, which is pretty surprising considering how much sugar must be packed there. He rests softly on Cas’ shoulder with his thumb in his mouth, letting out soft breaths into the angel’s ear. “I can take him,” Dean whispers as he finishes his soda, reaching out for his brother.
Cas’ grips only tightens on the toddler. “I’m fine,” He says, probably a little more forcefully than he intended. Dean just grins, taking the last sip of his drink before standing up. He throws down some bills and stands up, waving to their waitress as they leave. She smiles back and calls out a ‘drive safe!’ as they’re out the door. Both of them are glad Sam is asleep, so they avoided the inevitable ‘it’s dark outside’ meltdown in the diner.
“You gonna let him go?” Dean asks when Cas slides into the front seat with Sam still in his arms, instead of buckling him into his car seat like he should.
“I can keep him safer than any human safety measure,” The angel almost growls at him, while – in contrast – he strokes a gentle hand down Sam’s back. The toddler sleeps on.
Dean just rolls his eyes, pulling out of their parking space, “Yeah, alright Phil.”
Maybe this road trip isn’t turning out so bad after all.