Summary: AU Story – Hurt Sam (17) / Big Brother Dean (21) / Likeable John / Awesome Bobby – It's one of Dean's worst nightmares: his little brother trapped in a burning car.
Disclaimer: Not mine
Author's Note: Just posting a little something in honor of my nine-year anniversary on this site. Also, this story was inspired by the music video for "May We All" by Florida Georgia Line. If you haven't seen it, I encourage you to check it out.
There's danger in the lesson learned. Slow down before you crash and burn. – G-Eazy
"C'mon, Dad. Fifty-fifty split."
John snorts at his oldest standing behind him, leaning against the bottom edge of the truck lift and watching him work. Dean still trying to bargain over how they will divide tonight's winnings – as if this conversation doesn't end the same way each week.
"Dean..." John begins, angling for a better view of whatever is causing the truck's drive shaft to stick instead of rotate. "This speech is gettin' old."
"Your excuses are gettin' old," Dean counters. "There's no reason why we can't be 50-50. Winchester and Sons, right?"
John chuckles at the emphasis. "Right," he agrees, struck for a moment by the weight of those three words: Winchester and Sons. Not only the name of their family business, but a way of life since Mary had died – just him and his boys left behind.
A familiar sadness twists his heart at the thought. John wonders if Mary would approve of how he's raised them, of how their lives are now. Being a mechanic is honest work, but he knows she would worry about the stockcar racing they do on the side.
"Too fast, too unpredictable, too dangerous," she had told him the one time he had mentioned it.
And John agrees. Stockcar racing fits all those descriptions and then some.
But the money is damn good.
And Dean is damn good behind the wheel.
John's oldest wins more races than he loses, and John knows Dean is right – he deserves a 50-50 split of the cash he earns going 'round those dirt tracks. But Dean is only 21. The school of hard knocks still has a lesson or two to teach him before John graduates him to equal partner.
"So, we got a deal?"
"Yeah," John replies. "Seventy percent to me, 30 to you...if you win. That's our deal."
The same deal they've had for the past year.
Dean scoffs. "That's bullshit. And by 'if,' you mean when," he points out, his cocky tone matching his smile. "You know I'm the fastest driver in Douglas County."
"Well, you used to be," a voice corrects, entering the garage and their conversation. "But that was before I started driving."
"Hilarious," Dean deadpans as his little brother approaches.
Sam grins, socking a half-hearted punch to Dean's arm.
Dean socks him back and gives Sam a once-over like he always does whenever the kid has been out of his sight for longer than a few minutes.
Sam knocks his shoulder against Dean's, assuring his brother he's fine as he leans beside him.
"How was school? You kick anybody's ass today?"
Sam laughs at the question, at his brother's way of checking on him. "No. Did you?"
Dean shrugs. "Day ain't over yet."
Sam smiles and shifts his attention to John. "Hey, Dad."
"Hey," John returns, metal clanking against metal as he exchanges one socket wrench for another. "You hungry? There's a couple slices of pizza leftover from lunch up at the house."
Sam gasps, feigning shock as he glances at Dean. "You left pizza?"
"Only for you, Sammy," Dean quips, and Sam knows he's only half joking.
It wouldn't be the first time his big brother ate less of a favorite meal to make sure there was enough for Sam later.
"Thanks," Sam tells him. "Pizza sounds so good right now. I'm starving."
"You're always starving."
"It's the age," John comments, remembering when Dean was the same way as a teenager. "You got homework tonight?"
"Yes, sir. But I finished it in study hall."
"Of course you did," Dean remarks, earning another chuckle from John.
He glances at his boys standing there together – their bond closer than anything he has ever witnessed, yet they're as different as night and day. Dean is loud and defiant while Sam is quieter, calmer. They're both smart, but Sam is more analytical, more studious; he craves knowledge and books more than Dean ever has.
While Dean was eager to get under a hood and hone his skills as a mechanic, Sam has been more reluctant. He has yet to outright refuse to help in the garage, but John knows that day is coming, knows Sam is completing college applications and writing scholarship essays. And although having one of his sons reject the family business stings, it isn't a complete shock.
John knows his youngest is different. Mary used to remind him all the time, and he and Dean have discussed it over the years; even more so now that Dean works alongside him in the garage every day while Sam is at school. They both know the kid can't wait to graduate and leave Lawrence in his rearview. But they also know Sam will struggle to leave them, and if it's selfish to hope that bond keeps him at home, then fine – John is a selfish asshole.
He just can't bear the thought of losing one of his boys.
John swipes a greasy hand across his forehead and sighs, refocusing on his work. He needs this truck fixed and off the lift before they head out to the track within the next hour.
"Since your homework's done, you feel like racing tonight?"
Sam's eyes widen at the offer as he glances at Dean.
"Don't look at me. It was Dad's idea."
And it was.
With each passing day, John had become more desperate to entice his youngest to stick around after graduation. While Sam had shown zero interest in the mechanic side of the family business, there was a spark when it came to the other side – the stockcars.
When Sam had turned 16, John had allowed him to drive in the off-season. Sam had watched his father, then his brother race for years, but it was different in the driver's seat. Both John and Dean had made sure the kid was trained, comfortable, and ready before allowing him on the track with other cars going well over 100.
In the fall of that same year, Sam had subbed for Dean in two races to get his proverbial feet wet. John hadn't expected much, but to his surprise, Sam had held his own against veteran drivers. He had been proud of the kid – damn proud – and had seen the excitement on Sam's face. He knew his youngest had the potential to be as good a driver as his oldest. Sam just needed experience...and John was eager to give it to him.
"What d'ya say, Sam?" John prompts as the kid just stands there, speechless and wide-eyed. "I think you're ready. I think it's time both Winchester boys kick some ass and take some names."
Sam blinks, realizing John isn't planning for him to take Dean's place in the race. He's planning for them to drive together in the same race – both representing Winchester and Sons in separate cars.
Sam glances again at Dean. It's no secret he's proud of Sam's accomplishments on the track, but Sam knows his big brother also worries about his safety.
If John had said it once, he had said it a thousand times: a worried driver is a distracted driver. And Sam refuses to do that to his brother. He refuses to be the reason Dean drives worried and distracted. He refuses to be the reason Dean loses...or worse, crashes.
Sam holds Dean's gaze. "I think I'll sit this one out."
Dean shakes his head, appreciating his little brother's gesture even if it's unnecessary. Sure, he'll worry about the kid tonight. But worrying about Sam is something Dean does every waking moment, regardless of whether Sam is on the track, at school, or anywhere else.
If anything, Dean will feel better knowing he's out there with Sam, knowing he can look out for the kid and run interference if the other drivers become too aggressive.
Still under the truck on the lift, John glances at his boys, allowing them to work out the details in that silent way they often do.
Sam shifts from one foot to the other as he ping-pongs between his options – to race or not to race. He wants to, but...
"It's up to you," John says, tightening the wheel bearings on the truck. "I just need to know how many cars to load on the trailer."
Sam bites his lip and stares Dean.
Dean smiles. "Two," he answers and slings his arm over Sam's shoulders. "We're taking two cars tonight. Right, Sammy?"
Sam tries to smile, relieved the decision has been made even if he's not sure it's the right one.
"I just have one question, Dad."
John turns to face his sons and arches an eyebrow at Dean, waiting for the punchline.
"If Sammy wins, is it still 70-30?"
Sam rolls his eyes as John laughs.
"Are you his manager now? Negotiating rates and payouts?"
Dean grins and rubs a rough hand through Sam's shaggy hair. "Nah. Just lookin' out for my kid brother."
"Yeah. You do that," John replies, his tone light but his expression serious.
Dean understands his father's message and answers with a nod. He will always look out for Sam – on and off the track.
John returns the nod, then jerks his chin toward the yard. "You boys go hook up the trailer and get ready to load."
"Yes, sir," they reply in unison and head out of the garage, side-by-side.
To be continued...