Genre/Pairing: Slight Dean/Lisa, pretty much gen
Summary: Every summer solstice, Dean is cursed into dog-form for three days. Usually, Sam looks after him, but this year, Sam's gone and the task falls to Lisa. Lisa POV. For a prompt at hoodie time.
Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural. Characters are not mine.
Dean keeps apologising. Lisa doesn’t know why, because in that infuriating way of his, he won’t tell her. He just goes on one of his guilt trips and says she shouldn’t have to deal with this and he should never have taken advantage of her goodwill and she shouldn’t feel obliged to look after him.
“I’m just gonna go away for a while,” he says, refusing to meet her eye, “Tomorrow’s the solstice. You shouldn’t have to deal with this… I mean, S-Sam always used to…” He doesn’t finish, trailing off. There’s a faraway look in his eye and he keeps clenching and unclenching his fists as he goes to stand up.
Lisa puts her hands on his shoulders, refusing to let him up. “Dean,” she says firmly, “I don’t know what’s going on, but you’re worrying me. Stay. Whatever it is, we can deal with it. But if you leave, I’m calling out a search party.”
Dean ends up staying, but he’s quiet and twitchy all afternoon, and insists Ben sleeps over at his friend’s house. He won’t come to bed. Lisa works very hard at being understanding – after all, there is no denying the suffering Dean’s been through and how hard he works every day just to keep going – and brings him a blanket for the sofa.
Dean finally looks at her, his eyes big and apologetic. “You don’t have to keep me,” he says.
The next morning, Lisa wakes to the sound of something whimpering in her living room. All the things Dean’s told her about being alert and not going to investigate strange noises on her own run through her head. She ignores it. She knows there are threats out there, but she also knows that Dean’s paranoid, and that you can’t run and hide at every unexpected noise. That’s not living. And anyway, Dean’s in the living room.
When she peers around the door, the first thing she sees is the sofa. Her blanket is thrown messily over it. There’s a lump in the blanket, and it’s wriggling and whimpering. It’s not big enough to be Dean. She approaches cautiously and gingerly peels back the blanket.
It’s a dog. It’s a black Labrador, with sleek floppy ears and a droopy face and big, worried eyes. There are flecks of grey on its chin. It lowers its head onto its paws and stares up at her. It’s wearing Dean’s shirt.
“Dean?” She asks. It doesn’t reply. She is grateful for that. Having your boyfriend turn into a dog was one thing, but a talking dog? That would just be too weird. “Dean?” She tries again. It blinks at her.
She curses to herself. Why couldn’t he have told her this was going to happen? He’d obviously known. At least then she could have done some research. She doesn’t know anything about looking after a dog.
The dog cringes and looks away, like he can feel her annoyance.
“Hey, it’s okay,” she says soothingly, reaching out to stroke the dog’s head. It’s very smooth, and its ears are like silk as she runs her hands over them. “I’ll look after you.”
She gently untangles him from the blankets, talking quietly the whole time. She’s pretty sure he can’t understand her, but the sound seems to make him feel better.
The dog whines when Lisa leaves the room to search the old shed out the back for any dog-related equipment the previous owners might have left behind. To her relief, she finds a collar and lead, abandoned and dusty in the corner. She’s not sure she likes the symbolism of tying Dean up, but if he’s retained any of his consciousness, the first thing he’ll do if he gets out is try to run away so she doesn’t have to put up with him.
To her surprise, he stands still while she puts the collar on him, head lowered meekly. She’s surprised at how expressive his face is. He’s got little eyebrows like fuzzy caterpillars. She hadn’t realized dogs had those. He looks sad and confused. Not at all like those dogs in the dog-food commercials, bounding through fields with their tails wagging and tongues hanging out.
She takes him for a walk that afternoon, because even someone who has never had a dog knows that dogs need to go for walks. Especially big dogs. He walks close beside her and looks around him suspiciously, growling quietly as they pass Mrs Badger from two doors down, who is out walking her poodle.
“Shh, Dean, it’s not going to hurt you,” Lisa soothes him, before it occurs to her to temporarily rename him.
Mrs Badger gives her a funny look.
The next day, the dog eats his breakfast with gusto. He doesn’t whine while Lisa’s in the shower. Well, not much. Not like the night before, when she’d gone to get the dog food.
She sits in the backyard and reads her book, one hand absently stroking his head as he lies beside her. Eventually, the sun gets too hot on his black coat and he gets up and flops down comfortably under the lemon tree. He’s not out of sight, but not nervous and unhappy and stuck to her like glue, either.
When she takes him for his walk, she has to wait for him while he sniffs things. The ground. Lamp-posts. He snuffles at Mrs Badger’s daisies, sneezing when the pollen goes up his nose.
He even stops and sits patiently as James and Valerie’s three year old twins attack him with cuddles.
That night he lies curled up on her feet as she watches TV. It’s a comfortable silence.
On the third day, Lisa starts to worry. The dog is lovely, but she wants Dean back. Proper, human Dean, who might be more complicated than a dog, but is also better conversation. She misses him. Even the messed up bits.
Dean doesn’t seem to mind though. He gobbles his breakfast in two mouthfuls before looking at her with his head cocked to one side, wearing an expression that clearly says “What? That’s it?”
He paces impatiently around the house as she tries to do some research on what could be causing the transformation and how to fix it. She gets nowhere.
Dean keeps coming and snuffling her with his wet nose, sliding his head under her hand so she has to pat him. It makes it hard to concentrate. He wags his tail and looks towards the door.
“Ok,” she sighs, “We’re going to the park.”
Outside, the sun is shining and the sky is clear. A slight breeze keeps it from being too hot. Dean chases a butterfly, barking joyfully. Then he gets distracted, veering into the bushes, emerging a moment later with an old tennis ball in his mouth and leaves on his back. He drops the ball at her feet and looks up at her, expectantly. She throws it for him, and he leaps after it exuberantly.
She watches him running full-tilt, his ears blowing in the wind, an expression of doggy-excitement on his face, and is suddenly, unexpectedly sad. She wishes Dean could look like this all the time. Not dog-shaped, obviously. But this carefree, wild enthusiasm reminds her of Dean, the first time she met him, so long ago, and she hasn’t seen it since. For a second, she thinks maybe it would be better for Dean if he stayed like this.
She throws the ball a few more times, and then he loses interest. He walks over to her and leans against her legs, panting, before sliding down onto her feet and rolling over so she’ll rub his belly.
On the fourth day, Dean is human again. He mumbles uncomfortably when she greets him and looks embarrassed.
“Thanks for, you know, looking after me,” he says after a moment.
“Anytime,” she says.
Later on, she asks if he remembers anything.
“Not really,” he says, “I remember you looking after me.” He pauses. “Guess it wasn’t really that different for you.”