Puppy Dog Eyes
Salvation AU. The family was missing only one thing.
It was waiting for him.
No warning, nothing. He got out of his car and headed for the stairs to his apartment building one evening after one damn long day at work and it stepped out in front of him, plain as day, not caring who else was around.
It was a mid sized mutt of some sort, shorthaired, longtailed, blunt-nosed, white with huge black and brown patches. It had one blue eye and one brown, ears cocked up on its head but eartips folded over. It looked perpetually surprised and never seemed to blink. No collar. Good shoulders.
“What,” Dean said.
When he spoke, the dog patted its front paws along the sidewalk in invitation and excitement, keeping its gaze on his face.
“You better get out of here before animal control shows up,” Dean said, heading for the stairs.
It made a whining, groaning noise behind him, but he didn’t look back. He’d just be winding the thing up for more attention.
It was still there.
From what he could tell, the damn thing had been out there all night, head on paws, waiting by the stairs. It started whipping that tail around when it saw him but didn’t get up until he reached the sidewalk, as if he was off limits until he was off the apartment building’s property. When he paused to look at it, it rose and came to sit by his feet, staring up into his face.
It - he, actually, now that he was paying attention - seemed pretty smart, wasn’t completely ugly, and was kind of thin but not starving. He’d been getting food from somewhere, and it wasn’t like Dean was the only human around.
“Christo,” he said.
The dog cocked its ears at him but didn’t react otherwise, patiently staring up at him.
He left it there, staring after him.
He thought about it all damn day.
Against his better judgment, he stopped and got a cheeseburger at the McD’s drivethrough on his way home about sixteen hours later on the off chance that the mutt hadn’t taken off. It wasn’t a good idea to feed it and make it think it could just hang around, but. What was the harm.
It was gone.
Good. Well, it had gone home or been taken in somewhere or carted off. That was best, he didn’t need to be worrying about some stupid -
Shit, there it was. It had been around the corner, listening for his car.
He rattled the bag at the dog as it paced him across the parking lot, its eyes darting between his face and the bag, nose lifted into the air.
“This isn’t some regular thing,” Dean said. “It’s not like I’m gonna feed you all the time now, it just looked like you could use a decent meal.” He sat on one of the empty planters by the stairs and opened the bag. “Well, this isn’t decent. But it’s dog-heaven, right?”
The moment he started unwrapping the cheeseburger, the dog sat down again, then offered a paw. Not to try and grab the greasy food away, not reaching, just an offer. Dean smirked, then handed the cheeseburger over. The dog took it gingerly in its front teeth, then turned away without moving away.
Dean watched it peel the pickles off.
That was when he knew he was screwed.
When it was finished, it turned back and licked his hands, but not as if it was looking for anything else. Just being grateful. It slapped at his legs with its paws, then leaned against him hard when he finally gave in and patted its back. He had to scratch behind the dog’s ears - it was what people did with dogs.
It belonged to somebody. They’d find it in a day or so and everything would be back to normal. Pets weren’t allowed in his building and he didn’t need something to look after anyway. He was gone a ridiculous number of hours on the weeks when Charlie wasn’t with him, and it was just a bad idea.
The next morning, the dog was still there, escorting him to his car, looking sad when he drove away.
Sam made it to the door first for once, since the girls were still at school.
He opened his mouth to say hi to Dean and ask if everything was okay, because the look on his brother’s face was strangely wistful. Then he dropped his eyes to the dog sitting right up against Dean’s leg, all weird eyes and cocked ears and slapping feet.
“He’s a stray,” Dean said.
Dean was trying puppy dog eyes on him.
While Sam was trying not to pass out from amazement, Sarah wandered by behind him and then noticed who it was and said, “Hey, Dean - “ She noticed the dog. “Who’s this?”
“He’s a stray,” Sam said.
“And you can’t have pets,” Sarah said to Dean.
“I took him to the vet,” Dean said. “Shots and everything. He’s really healthy.”
Sarah was looking at the dog, who had thrown its head back to look at Dean while still leaning hard against his leg.
“He knows how to shake hands,” Dean said. “And he doesn’t bark, and he’s got short hair so he won’t shed much. He’s really well behaved.”
Sarah looked at Sam. Dean looked at Sam. The dog finally looked at Sam.
“Why don’t you guys come in,” Sarah said, patting Sam on one shoulder.
When Dean left without the dog, it laid down near the door and pressed its nose to the crack and whined.
“You name it,” Dean said when Sam called him the next day. “It’s your dog now.”
“It’s your dog,” Sam said. “That’s pretty obvious.”
“Let the girls name it.”
The girls had been ecstatic. After asking for a dog for years, a cat, anything, suddenly there was a dog. A gentle, playful dog. There was romping in the yard and he took turns sleeping in their rooms.
“Leigh says the dog told her his name is Christo,” Sam said, his tone going a long way in letting Dean know what he thought of that. It was the vocal equivalent of a slap to the back of the head.
“Well, it was the first thing I said to him,” Dean said. “Seemed reasonable to check and make sure it was just a dog. I thought Leigh only talked to objects.”
Sam sighed. Then he said, “He’s a really nice dog.”
“He is, isn’t he?” Dean said, a note of excitement creeping into his voice. “He’s got manners. Someone took really good care of him once.”
“Did you even try to find out whether anyone’s looking for him?” Sam said.
“Well,” Dean said, “Does he act like he’s missing anybody? He’s my dog, now.” He paused. “Just, you know, name him whatever you want. If he needs to go to the vet or anything, I’ll take him.”
“Do you want partial custody?” Sam said. “Sleepovers? Your landlord doesn’t have to know.”
“Hilarious,” Dean said. “When I have Charlie next week, I’ll bring her over. We can let the girls choose a name all together.”
“Sucker,” Sam said.
“You’re the one with the dog in your house,” Dean said. “I’ve been waiting all my life to try the puppy dog eyes on you. How’s it feel?”
“I’m impervious,” Sam said. “You’re too late, I’ve got three kids.”
Dean snorted. “Now that I know it works, you’re in a lot of trouble, Sammy.”
Sam looked down at the dog, who almost seemed to know Dean was on the phone.
Yeah, he was in a lot of trouble.