Extinguished Fears

By Mellaithwen

Rating: K+

Genre: General/Angst

Disclaimer: Nope, I don't own them. I do however have Halloween Candy Apples...

Summary: Pre-Series. A Winchester Halloween. Dean dresses up as a fireman.

Pixel0 gave it the once over, but some things changed so mistakes are mine. This was a prompt on the livejournal community spnhalloween: Wee!Dean goes trick-or-treating as a fireman (or fireboy)

When John looks at his sons, he sees Mary shine out. It doesn't hurt him anywhere near as much as it used to. In the dark days that followed the fire, when he needed the drink. When he longed for his boys, but his boys only longed for each other and memories of their mother.

John wonders if it was then that Dean knew better than to expect too much from his father. He wonders—and realises that that's when Dean started to call him Dad not Daddy.

John wonders if it was then that Dean decided to take care of his brother, maybe more so than himself.

John knows it was then that his four year old turned forty.

They haven't celebrated Halloween for some time. It has just never occurred to them to celebrate it again. Not when November is just around the corner, not when Mary is gone.

But it was last year, twelve measly months ago, that Dean dared to even ask about the holiday.

It was last year that John had known everything there was to know. It was last year that he had refused to open the door to anyone or anything. Every hunter John has met with has warned him about the disguises evil can wear—and he's just supposed to give midget-sized zombies and ghosts candy?

More like a face full of buckshot.

No, is the simple answer. So what if it means cleaning a few eggs off of the garden fence come morning? Better that than the blood of his boys dripping down the drywall.

But that was last year, this year is different.

This year has Mr Jenkins knocking on their door with a complementary pumpkin. This year has Mrs. Matthews from next door telling Dean all about her special spider-bread and candy apples. This year they're living in a community, the boys have friends and John has spun enough tales to make a few of his own too. He has a job and the school is only happy to teach Sam and Dean.

This year is different.

"Dad, we're home!" Dean shouts from the bottom of the stairs, having already slammed the door without meaning to and trudged through the porch with his shoes covered in mud and fallen wet leaves. The rain had abated as the two boys walked home from school together, thankfully enough.

Rain and face paints don't mix together very well.

"Daddy!" he whines and his head is tilted to the side with his bangs falling in front of his eyes until he can barely see.

"John, your son is getting restless," Mary shouts into the kitchen while she ties the long laces of her son's new sneakers, hidden beneath the long white sheet that for one night makes him a terrifying three year old ghoul.

"Dean," John calls back sternly, showing his disapproval at his son's shout as he makes his way down the stairs and stops before getting to the bottom.

He looks at youngest son with surprise.

Sam is standing next to his brother, tugging at the too long sleeves of Dean's old shirt, with his face covered in the same face paints he was given in preschool to make him look like a zombie. His hair has been jelled back by his big brother and his white teeth shine eerily against the grey make-up and black lipstick.

"School's big on Halloween," Dean explains with a shrug when John continues to stare at the undead-appearance.

John never asks Dean about his own day at school, he doesn't need to. Especially as Dean then takes off upstairs to get his own costume ready.

Sam had made Dean promise to wear one if he was to escort his little brother around the entire neighbourhood.

"I'm not a kid, Sammy, I'm not gonna dress up as a ghost or something..."

"But Deeean, everyone will see!"

"How about I dress up as the cool older brother?"

Sam had pouted then, which explained completely why Dean had eventually caved.

"A fireman?" John asks, surprised at his own calm tone despite the whirlwind of emotions currently making their way through his head. Dean's just made his way downstairs, and he grins sheepishly in his father's direction.

"I want to be a fireman, Daddy. Then I can make the flames go away forever."

In his mind's eye John can see a rugged man—a hunter, a killer with the same green eyes as his little boy—holding his brother back from the flames. He can see a four year old on his front lawn holding his baby brother. He can see a hero.

"Yeah, I couldn't think of anything." Dean swallows, but his lies aren't nearly as convincing as they will be, and John sees right through him. Dean's thought about this, he's probably enjoying it. John remembers his four year old telling him of his want to fight the fire before realising it was ever more than fire.

He's wearing an old black coat of his father's; it's bulky and thick—things John will be glad of when he steps outside with them on the freezing October night. The hat is plastic and cheap from the old toy store down the road. John knows only too well that Dean was probably polite enough to get it for half the marked price, showing his seldom seen dimples and smiling kindly at the old woman in charge.

The belt around his waist is too big, and it's been looped carefully to create holsters for his own torch and...

John frowns.

"A squirt gun, Dean?"

"The hose is too long." Dean shrugs beneath his father's unyielding gaze.

"And I suppose you're not planning on getting your little brother wet at all are you?" John asks with his eyebrows raised once more, abandoning his notes spread haphazardly across the dining room table intermingled with the tissue paper witches Sam brought home with him.

They've already been given a complimentary pumpkin from the owner of the local market and it's sitting unfinished by the sink surrounded by the orange insides that John promised to his boys later on tonight.

"Not Sammy." Dean grins and by doing so tells John all that he needs to know. He holds his hand out all the same, and Dean sighs and huffs as he hands it over grudgingly.

John walks away into the back room and doesn't come back until Dean's shouting for him at the door. Sam's restless, jumping from one foot to the other, apparently desperate for chocolate and sweets.

Ten minutes later when they're finally ready, finally leaving, John hands the semi-watermatic back to his oldest with the trademark smirk that made Mary giggle. He doesn't explain to Dean that it's now filled with holy water. There's no need.

The trees are bare, leaves spread all around them. A giant stands looming over the path with his bark-covered body and bald head reaching out with his elongated branch-like fingers. Fee, figh, fo, fum, where the have all my dear leaves gone? A blanket of orange, yellow, red and brown at his feet. That's where.

And amidst the October leafage, every colour of the sunset and more, there are steps. Atop of which sits a young boy, no older than ten, his head in his hands and an overly large red helmet falling down across his forehead while his long hair covers his eyes. His small fists and clenched; his fingers are curled in towards his palms—his knuckles pressed against his childish features that betray his pre-teen age.

The air is crisp, just like the leaves that crackle beneath his feet when he moves them to and fro against the cemented stair. Leaves that break with his hurried footsteps across the pavement when he finally spots his brother across the street and runs forward to greet him with a stern look and a growled, "Sammy!" that's tinged with relief.

In all fairness, the younger boy has the sense to look ashamed...

Before showing his older brother his very full bag of treats; his treasure worth running ahead for. Worth scaring his brother for. For a moment, the older boy keeps his stern face, and in that very moment, Sammy falters.

"Dean?" he tries, worried that maybe this time he'd gone too far.

"Don't run off again," Dean growls simply, matching his father's tone perfectly despite the many year difference. Sammy nods enthusiastically, shaking his mop of hair all around him as much as he can with the gel still holding fast.

He lets his older brother guide him to the next house. The night's not over yet and there's plenty more treats to be had before curfew looms in.

John watches his sons through the window. He sees them look both ways before crossing the road already on number nineteen on their block. Thankfully (for his son's sake) he missed Sam's five minute disappearing act, but he's still watching when they're at number twenty-two, and he sees Dean spray the pavement with his water-gun.

He sees Dean with a gun, dressed and ready to fight the flames that hunt their family.

He closes the curtains and sighs. He hates that the smallest of things—like Halloween costumes—make him hate the world. He hates how indifferent he is about his son holding a weapon. He hates his own pride that Dean wants to fight the fire instead of run away. He hates his own fear for the same reason.

He hates Halloween, and he worries that soon his sons will too.

Because next year will be different. It always is.


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