Characters: Dean Winchester, Mary Winchester
Summary: This is the first in a series of fics involving Dean’s cat allergy throughout his life. First up: when his mother first discovered his allergy.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the characters or anything else that belongs to the CW & Kripke.
A/N: This is my first fanfic, but I’ve loved Supernatural for years. I’m mostly writing these for writing practice & to get feedback (positive or constructive), so if you have any, please leave a comment!
A trip to the pet shop is just what we need, Mary thought as she tightened her grip on her little boy’s hand. Dean was four years old now, and had an independent streak going strong. He jumped in & over puddles, dodging back & forth as his mother tried not to lose her hold on his little fingers. This was made more difficult by the fact that Mary was over 8 months pregnant & had enough difficulty getting around herself. Dean was oblivious to this, though, and kept tugging his mother faster, faster, into the store.
Once inside, Dean’s eyes widened in awe as his head swiveled around, trying to take in all the sights, sounds, & smells all at once. Mary’s stifled a chuckle as she watched her little boy’s amazement. He almost looked overwhelmed— frozen to the spot, so Mary gently tugged his hand as she started walking through the store.
“C’mon, baby. I’ve gotta show you something.” Dean broke out of his trance and hurried forward so he was once again a few steps ahead of his mother.
“What is it?” Dean asked as his gaze roamed the aisles on either side of him.
“It’s a surprise,” his mother replied with a mischievous grin. Her smile faltered for a second as she remembered why exactly they needed cheering up in the first place.
Her & John had had another big fight that morning— one that ended with him storming out & driving away, without a word on when or if he would be returning.
Mary had spent the morning partly angry, partly bitter, but mostly worried. What if John didn’t come back? She was due any day with their second child, the first was still practically a baby himself (at least in her own mind), & she had no job with which to pay the bills. After a few hours of stressing out, & Dean becoming agitated as he sensed his mom’s worry, an idea had struck her: the pet shop. She & Dean could take a little field trip to get their minds off of their worries. Dean had never been before, & she knew he would love it, which would lift her spirits as well.
So here they were, moseying their way to the back of the store where the puppies & kitties are kept, & Mary was stressing again. She shook herself. C’mon, Mary, just let it go already. Easier said than done, but all of the sudden, Dean let loose a squeal of pure delight & ran towards the petting area where several other kids were cuddling with baby animals. Her worries one again forgotten, Mary laughed & hurried after her son, who was standing right outside the puppy area.
Mary helped her son into the enclosure while a volunteer brought him a sleepy pup to hold. Dean gathered the puppy in his lap gently, stroking its soft, curly, golden hair.
“Mama, she has hair just like you!” Dean whispered in wonder. Mary laughed. If Dean was this good with animals, she had nothing to worry about when it came to the new baby. She rubbed her belly affectionately & watched as Dean petted every puppy in the enclosure, then darted off towards the kitten enclosure.
Mary shook her head affectionately at her sweet, little boy, and followed him towards the kitten area. Her son had already entered in and was sitting with one kitten in his lap, one pawing at his knee, another attempting to climb up his arm, and a fourth in Dean’s hand, lifted up to his face. This kitten sniffed Dean and their noses touched. The kitten sneezed and Dean giggled with glee. He rubbed his cheek against its soft fur and listened to its tiny meows.
The kittens must not be as popular as the puppies, because they were the only other people at the pen, which made Dean want to give them cuddles all the more. Mary stepped up to the edge of the enclosure (as close as she could get per her doctor’s recommendations) and leaned down to coo at the baby cats.
“What do you think, sweetheart?” Mary laughed as one of the other kittens stalked towards Dean, but then got scared and skittered away.
“They’re so little, mama!” Dean looked up at her in awe. His gaze dropped back to his lap and his “petting hand” came up to rub at his eye.
“Yes, they are. They’re just babies, just like the baby in mama’s tummy,” Mary held her belly tenderly. Dean snapped his wide eyes back towards his mom.
“There’s a baby kitty in your tummy?” The look of shock on Dean’s face was too much for Mary, and she burst out laughing. Dean’s face changed from shocked, to confused and a bit hurt. His hand was back scrubbing at his eyes and then wiping his nose.
“Oh, no, baby, don’t cry. I’m sorry for laughing. There’s not a baby kitty in my belly, there’s a baby person in it— like you: another mini Dean,” Mary stroked her son’s blonde hair in an attempt to stave off the tears.
“I’m not crying, mama,” Dean said, his nostrils flaring indignantly. Mary sighed inwardly. He was probably getting tired.
“Ok, Dean. Are you ready to get going? It’s past your nap time.” And mine, Mary silently added.
Dean was rubbing his eyes again and then scrubbed at his nose and sniffed.
“Dean, honey, are you done playing with the kitties?” Mary prodded.
Dean opened his mouth in preparation to give, what promised to be, an adamant refusal, but he was cut off when his eyes fluttered shut and his breath faltered. He sat there, frozen, until suddenly his face scrunched up and he let out a trio of desperate sneezes. The aftermath included another wipe of his nose, a couple sniffles, and a little sigh of satisfaction.
Mary did her very best not to burst into laughter again. She was used to her son’s over-the-top sneeze routine. He had done the exact same thing every time he sneezed since he was two. While she did kind of think it was a bit dramatic (even though she was sure he wasn’t doing it for attention), mostly, she found this quirk of his adorable.
“Bless you, Deano,” she said, but Dean had long since returned his attention to his new little friends. However, only a couple minutes had gone by before she noticed that squinty, faraway look on his face again. Sure enough, another triplet of sneezes was released into his cupped hand. This time, the additional step of a quick shake of his head was added as the conclusion to his performance.
Mary frowned as she observed her boy. “Dean, baby, are you doing ok?”
Dean looked up at her with watery eyes and sniffled. “I sneezed.”
Mary couldn’t resist a chuckle this time. “I see that. Are you ok?”
Dean nodded, but his pre-sneeze face was already starting to reappear. Three more sneezes. Then, three more with just a desperate gasp in between.
Mary’s brow furrowed. Dean always sneezed in threes, but not usually twice in a row like that. Mary eyes traveled down Dean’s body, evaluating, till her gaze reached the five— no, six now— kittens on and around her son, and her heart sank.
“Dean, honey, are you feeling itchy?” She lifted his chin and saw that his face was all pink and splotchy. Dean jerked his head away from his mom, and Mary was worried there was a tantrum in the immediate future, but then Dean gasped and sneezed thrice again into his lap. The kittens meowed in distaste after being disturbed from their comfy position.
“Ok, Dean, come on. We gotta say goodbye to the kittens now,” Mary started to reach for Dean to pull him up but he pulled away.
“No, mama,” Dean wailed, voice thick with congestion, and crawled to the middle on the pen where Mary couldn’t reach him. He was sitting next to a cat tower now, and the kittens were level with his head. He reached up and grabbed one, smothering his face in its fur and whispering to it.
Mary grimaced at the sight and then watched helplessly as Dean, once again, dissolved into a fit of sneezes— eight this time, breaking his normal pattern. Dean blinked owlishly as if the fit had left him dizzy, but quickly shook it off in favor of scrubbing his pink-tinged nose. The reprieve didn’t last long, because a few seconds later, he was, again, sneezing helplessly into his little hand, barely able to take a breath.
“Dean, come on, sweetheart, I know you don’t feel good,” Mary pleaded with her son, but he ignored her and just kept playing with the cats.
This was supposed to be relaxing, Mary thought morosely. How was she supposed to get Dean away from the cats he was so obviously allergic to when he wouldn’t come to her, and she wasn’t supposed to go to him? Stupid “doctor’s orders” and “avoid cat excrement while pregnant” rule, she grumbled. She rubbed a hand over her belly as she weighed her options. There were no volunteers around that she could ask for assistance. She sighed as she heard Dean launch into another sneezing fit. We’ve got our hands full with your big brother, don’t we little one? Mary smiled as she felt the baby kicking. Hope you’re less strong-willed than he is.
Mary’s head snapped up when she heard a cry of pain. Dean was still by the tower, but now he was hugging his hand to his chest, with tear-filled eyes and a quivering lip.
“Baby, what happened?” Mary called, willing him to come show her so she could extricate him from the situation entirely.
“He scratched me, mama,” Dean’s wavering voice answered. He sneezed his signature triple, which squeezed the tears from his eyes so they dripped down his face, along with his now running nose. All in all, he made quite the pitiful picture, and Mary wanted nothing more than to gather him into her arms and kiss him better.
“The kitty didn’t mean to hurt you. He was probably just scared. Come here, Dean. Come show mama your hand,” Mary coaxed.
Instead of coming to her, however, Dean turned back to the kitten and gently picked it up. He cuddled it in his lap and rubbed his cheek against its fur. Mary outwardly cringed, but then she heard her son talking to the kitten.
“I’m sorry I scared you, kitty,” he murmured. He paused to suck in a desperate breath and sneeze three— no, four times. “You don’t needa be scared anymo—“ He got interrupted by another sneeze.
Mary’s heart melted and she made up her mind. She entered into the enclosure and waddled as fast as she could to where her son was practically bathing in cat hair. She bent over, knowing that if she squatted down, she would not be getting up again on her own.
Dean was hunched over the kitten, sneezing pretty much every few seconds at this point, and now that she was up close, Mary could hear a wheezing sound when he inhaled. Her concern level immediately increased upon noticing this, as well as the hives that had broken out all over Dean’s arms, chest, neck, and face. If I don’t get him out of here now, this could get really dangerous. Mary decided on a different approach this time to try to coax her son out of the pen.
“Deano, the kitty says ‘it’s ok’. He’s not scared anymore. You took good care of him, buddy. Now it’s time for his nap, though, so we gotta go so the kitties can sleep, alright?” Mary held her breath as she awaited Dean’s response.
“Ok, mama,” Dean nodded, suddenly sounding exhausted. Sure enough, his swollen eyes were drooping closed, and his mouth hung open as he tried to breathe through the congestion. He gave a huge, whistling yawn, which reminded Mary that she’d need to make an appointment with an allergist in case Dean needed an inhaler, and laid his head against her shoulder.
Mary’s heart melted again. She could not be frustrated with this boy for long. That was bound to bring trouble when he got older. But for now, she’d enjoy her little boy who loved to snuggle. She hoisted him up onto her hip since he was already half asleep, and wiped his little pink nose with a tissue after he released a few sleepy sneezes. He snuffled into her hair and let go of wakefulness. His mama was taking care of him, so everything would be ok.
• • •
When Dean woke up, he was in his bed and his mom was sitting next to him in a rocker, humming Hey, Jude softly as she wiped down his arms and chest with a warm washcloth.
When Mary noticed Dean blinking sluggishly at her, she smiled. That Benadryl really did a number on him, she thought with amusement. But thankfully, it was helping the reaction, too. His hives were mostly cleared up, his face wasn’t so splotchy, she couldn’t hear the wheezing anymore, and the sneezing had slowed to a more manageable rate. Mary was so glad it hadn’t been worse— especially seeing as though she was on her own till John decided to come back. If he decided to come back. Mary shook that unbidden thought from her mind and focused on her son.
“Hey, sweetheart, how are you feeling?” She cooed softly. Dean opened his mouth to respond, but froze. Thinking another nasal explosion was inevitable, Mary turned to locate the tissue box, but when Dean’s mouth widened in a huge yawn, she relaxed.
“I feel funny,” Dean finally answered, rubbing at his eye again. Mary caught his now-bandaged hand and gently pulled it away from his face.
“Don’t rub, buddy. I know you’re itchy. I think you’re allergic to cats,” Mary stroked his hand apologetically.
“What’s ‘allergic’?” Dean sniffled, and Mary looked around for more tissues.
“That means that you can’t play with kitties, or you‘ll get all itchy and sneezy,” Mary explained. At this news, Dean’s face dropped. “I’m sorry, baby. I know you love the kittens, but you don’t like feeling icky, do you? Dean?” At her son’s lack of response, she looked back from her task and saw the familiar “pre-sneeze” face. Just like before, his eyes fluttered and his breaths became uneven... then the pause, and then his face crumpled and he released his typical (but tired) three sneezes. He concluded with the nose swipe, a couple sniffles, and his tiny sigh of relief.
This time, Mary could not contain her laughter. She loved her sweet, little boy, and soon she would have another little one. She reached over and stroked Dean’s soft, blonde hair while he laid there with eyes at half-mast. We’re gonna be ok, Mary’s heart filled with determination. Whatever happens, as long as I have my babies, everything is going to be alright. At this moment, Dean lifted the corner of his mouth in a small smile, and Mary kissed his forehead tenderly.
Suddenly, the deep purr of the impala’s engine filled her ears, and her heart leaped. He came back! Downstairs, the door opened and the familiar sound of John’s work boots crossing the wood floor filtered upstairs.
“Hear that, Dean? Daddy’s home!” Mary turned to Dean, but he had, once again, fallen under the spell of the Benadryl. She planted one more soft kiss on the tip of his nose, prompting his irritated nose to wrinkle in an almost-sneeze, but then he sighed in contentment and snuggled into his cocoon of blankets.
Mary quietly exited the room, and then hurried downstairs to make amends with her husband. Yeah, we’d be fine, she thought to herself as she palmed her belly. But I’m so glad we’re all together again.