This was inspired by watching the extras in the Supernatural DVDs...the part where someone said if the Winchester brothers were dogs, Dean would be Rin-Tin-Tin and Sam would be Goofy. I got bit by a plot puppy, and here's the result.

As usual, if you recognize it from the movies or TV, somebody else owns it.

Dog Days

The summer Dean Winchester was eight years old, he really, really wanted a dog. They were staying at Pastor Jim's, and one of the neighbors had a dog with puppies. Dean spent as much time as he could over there---he could get away from Sammy for a little while that way, because Sammy wasn't allowed to cross the road---and Mrs. Martin said if it was okay with his dad, he could have a puppy. That meant waging a campaign to convince his father that the Winchester family urgently needed a lab-setter/golden retriever cross.

The first time Dean brought up the subject, Dad didn't come out and say no. He pointed out that the puppies were too young to be away from their mother yet, and that they'd most likely have left town by the time they were. He probably hoped Dean would drop the matter, but lack of a refusal was enough to convince the boy that there might still be a chance. He'd have to be sneaky about it and persuade Dad otherwise.

One of the local TV stations ran old episodes of Lassie---in black and white!---after dinner, and Dean tuned it in every night, thoughtfully raising the volume so the heroic collie's woofs could be heard by the adults in the kitchen. If Dad hadn't left on a hunt before bedtime, Dean made sure to remark on Lassie's latest exploits, emphasizing how smart and helpful dogs could be to have around.

After a couple weeks of this, Pastor Jim had a little talk with him about the difficulties of trying to incorporate a dog into their nomadic lifestyle. There were a a lot of reasons it was a bad idea, he said, sounding regretful. The puppy might be free, but it would need shots and expensive veteranary care to stay healthy, it would have to be fed and groomed, and wouldn't get enough exercize if it was stuck in the car all the time, plus there were a lot of motels that wouldn't accept dogs.

Dean figured his dad had put the other man up to the talk, but Dad still hadn't said no, so he raised the stakes. He took Sammy with him the next time he went over to the Martins and showed him the puppies. Sometimes, he thought his little brother was Dad's favorite---he might say yes to Sammy.

Sammy was ecstatic at the idea of having one of the fluffy little bundles of love. Dean steered him toward the multi-colored pup he'd privately decided was the pick of the litter, and was pleased with how well they got along. The afternoon was a rousing success, and without any prompting from his older brother, the four-year old started a dinnertable conversation about what they were going to call their new dog. Dad and Pastor Jim exchanged glances, and Dean looked down at his Salisbury steak and tried to hide a smile.

After dinner, Dad went out, so he didn't get the benefit of Lassie that evening. When he returned, Sammy was in bed, and Dean was having a Latin lesson. Dad had a bag from the video store, which wasn't unusual, and he invited Dean to watch the movie with them, if he wanted to stay up for it.

Well, yeah. Who wouldn't go for that? It turned out to be a really cheesy horror flick called The Hounds of Hell---Dad and Pastor Jim spent most of the movie sneering at how clueless it was, and swapping stories about real Black Dogs, and how they were bad news while Dean scarfed a whole bag of Cheetos. It was great.

The next night, the pattern repeated itself. Dean thought Lionheart would be a cool name for the puppy, but Sammy insisted he looked more like a bear than a lion. Maybe, but Yogi was a dorky name for a dog. Dad disappeared as soon as he'd finished his dinner, and didn't return until Sammy was tucked in and Dean was furrowing his brow over verb tenses. Another video bag made an appearance; tonight the movie was Cujo; Dean started to get the big picture.

Although he never said no, Dad got his point across. By the heart-rending conclusion of Old Yeller the following evening, Dean gave in. The next time Sammy brought up the subject at dinner, it was Dean who said they couldn't have a puppy. He cited all the sensible, grown-up reasons that Pastor Jim had mentioned, and because his brother was giving him a look that made him feel like a skunk, he added, "And besides, we've barely got you house-broken, dork." That crack made Sammy cry, and got Dean sent to bed as soon as dinner was over, but that was okay. At least he wouldn't have to watch any more episodes of Lassie--that kid Timmy was a total dumbass.

It's been years since Dean's thought about that youthful folly. He smiles a little, shifting gingerly as he sits on the porch outside their motel room, surveying the parking lot. Two nights ago, he and Sam checked out a house while the Lockhart family was at the hospital with their kid, who'd been attacked by something in her bedroom. The family dog was a collie, and that brought back some memories. Lassie Jr. followed him upstairs while Sam scouted downstairs, and if he'd been a robber, the dog probably would've been just as friendly. He scratched behind the canine's tawny ears and grinned when it licked his fingers. Okay, so maybe it was just cleaning up traces of that Bavarian-cream donut he'd had earlier, but it was a nice dog, anyway.

Then he heard Sam yell, and he dashed toward the stairs. Lassie Jr was a little ahead of him---until the apparition they were hunting swooped toward them. The brave collie turned tail and tried to bolt between Dean's legs, back up the stairs, and he went down in a tangle of legs and fur.

Now, Dean's left leg is in a cast---which itches like a bitch, thanks for asking---he's got seven stitches on his forehead, and the ER crew destroyed his Guns'n'Roses tee cutting it off him to x-ray his torso. Two cracked ribs, and it only hurts when he laughs. Or sneezes. Or tries to bend over. He's going to be out of action for a few weeks; and it kills him that Sammy's gonna have to do all the driving, because most of the time, his baby brother drives like somebody's grandmother. At the moment, Sam's at the store getting munchies, and Dean has his leg propped up on a milk crate as he stares at the vacant parking space in a Vicodin-induced haze.

When the Impala pulls back into the lot, he's relieved. No scratches on his baby; Sam's track record with the Impala isn't that great, after all...because once in a while, that granny is the little old lady from Pasadena.

His brother has brought him a big bottle of Gatorade and a jumbo bag of peanut M&Ms, and Dean feels a contented glow. This being laid up might not be so bad, if he gets this kind of attention out of it. There's even a bright blue shirt to replace the one that the ER trashed. It's not as cool as G'n'R, but he likes the color---Dean unfolds the tee, and his brother snickers as Dean reads the motto.

"If you can't run with the big dogs...stay on the porch."