This is all I had planned. Thanks for all the glorious reviews, ya'll really made my week!
Mikey shuffled out of the auditorium. He had turned in his robe and collected his real diploma after graduation, but it felt empty. Granted, he could not pick out his family in the huge crowd gathered, but he had assumed Sam and Dean would have shown up before it started.
"Come on, Mikey!" Brad Downing gave him a shove. "Cheer up! We're graduates now!"
"Yeah!" Derrick Brown raced to join them as they walked. "You coming to the big party tonight?"
Mikey sighed. He did not feel like partying. He felt like tracking down his brothers and kicking their collective asses for breaking a promise. He shrugged. "Dunno."
"Whoa! Check out the classic Chevy!" Brad pointed out the glass doors.
Mikey's head snapped up. It was the Impala and two men were leaning against it. "Catch you later, guys!" Mikey shouted, bolting for the doors. He raced outside and down the steps for the black car.
"Hey kiddo!" Dean greeted him as he barreled into his oldest brother.
Mikey lifted him up, spinning around. "You made it! Did you see me!"
"Put me down!" Dean barked, hitting him lightly on the shoulders and struggling against Mikey's hold. Despite his tone, Dean was grinning.
"Of course we saw you!" Sam laughed from beside them as Mikey dropped Dean to the ground. Mikey leaned into Sam, pinning him against the Impala's fender. "Knock it off!"
"Yo! Mikey!" He turned around to see Brad and Derrick walking up behind him. "Who's that?"
"Hey, guys! Come meet my brothers!" Mikey waved them closer. "Brad and Derrick, this is Sam," he always introduced Sam first since Dean did not like to talk to people. "And this is Dean."
"Congratulations," Dean boomed, grasping each of the Mikey's friends by the hand. "Party tonight?"
"You bet!" Derrick replied. "It's at Brad's house."
"Don't suppose you'd let a couple of old guys like us come, too?" Dean grinned at them with a wink.
Mikey studied his oldest brother for a moment, shocked. There was something different about him, more than the fact Dean was actually talking to strangers. His eyes were hard and – what was it? – confident? Sam was different too. He was more reserved, his eyes tracking and evaluating everything.
"Uh, yeah, sure. That'd be awesome," Brad bubbled. "You can buy the keg for us!"
Dean laughed lightly. Wait, Dean laughed? "No problem, dude. What time you want it there?"
"Dean," Sam's voice was reproving.
"Aw, come on, Sammy. We'll be there to supervise. Besides, it's been too long since we had a little fun." Dean beamed at them.
"Six o'clock," Brad said quickly. Dean nodded at him.
"Yeah, have a little fun, Sammy," Derrick rejoined.
Mikey grabbed his friend by the shirtfront. "It's Sam!" he declared, shaking Derrick.
"Whoa, easy there, Mikey," Dean pried his fingers off Derrick's shirt. "Come on, you're riding with us." Dean shoved him toward the backseat. He gave Mikey a stern look before climbing behind the steering wheel.
"We'll catch you later!" Dean shouted to Mikey's friends as they peeled away from the auditorium with a sullen Sam.
"Dean, we are not going to that party," Sam glared from the passenger seat.
"Sure we are, Sammy," Dean replied, a mischievous grin on his face. "Just don't let me drink too much, okay?"
Sam glanced back at Mikey, rolling his eyes.
"Did you find him? Your dad?" Mikey asked, unable to wait any longer. He had not heard from either of them since before New Year's.
"Yeah, we found him," Sam's gaze was drawn back to the front. "It's true. All of it."
"All of it? Demons, ghosts, the whole bit?" Mikey leaned over the front seat so he could hear them both.
"The whole bit," Dean held up a leather bound book. "This is Dad's journal. He documented everything he knows about the supernatural and how to kill it in here."
Mikey took the book, flipped through it looking at the handwritten pages. "And he just gave it to you?"
A small smile crept over Sam's face. "Not exactly." He let out a dark chuckle. "Dean nearly killed him."
Mikey looked between his brothers. "What happened?"
"Sam stopped me," Dean ground out, clearly not happy about it.
"Dean, you can't just kill the man. It's not like he killed her. He's as much a victim as we are." Sam argued. It sounded like a well worn argument.
"Not hardly," Dean spat. He shot Sam a hard look. "And stop defending the bastard."
Sam sighed. He turned his face to Mikey. "He said he thought we'd be safer with Mike and Kate. That he was afraid we'd get hurt if he took us with him after the thing that killed our mother." Sam shrugged. "He was probably telling the truth, as he saw it."
Dean grunted from the driver's seat, his eyes glued to the road. Sam shrugged at Mikey. No one said anything more until Dean pulled into the liquor store. "I'll get the keg."
Sam waited until Dean was inside before nudging Mikey's arm. "We need to get him really drunk tonight."
"What? Why? He said he didn't want to." Mikey stared at Sam, who had always been the stable, take-charge brother.
Sam grinned. "You'll see."
Sam and Dean did not want to go home before the party. Dean was afraid Mom and Pop would not let them out of the house after they had been gone for so long. He was probably right. So Mikey called and lied to their parents, saying he caught a ride with Brad and was staying for the party. He would be home later. He hoped the lie would be ignored after they saw Dean and Sam in the morning.
Dean set up the keg like an old pro, which Mikey watched suspiciously. "What?" Dean demanded. "Dude, I went to college too, you know."
"State. While you lived at home," Mikey pointed out. "You went to what? Two parties?"
Dean's gaze was directed at the keg. "A few more than that," he admitted.
Mikey frowned. "I don't remember more."
Dean shrugged, testing the tap. "I don't either."
Mikey felt a nudge from behind. It was Sam. He winked. Apparently this was the reason they needed to get Dean drunk. Oh yeah, he was definitely game now.
As the graduates started showing up, Sam and Mikey took turns making sure Dean's plastic cup never got empty. After a couple of hours, Dean was flirting and charming all the girls. Mikey watched, amazed.
"Told ya," Sam laughed, squeezing in next to Mikey on the couch. "It's like seeing a whole new side of him, isn't it?"
"Damn," Mikey breathed. "That is not the same guy I used to buy movie tickets for, because there was a girl selling them at the ticket booth."
"That guy," Sam pointed with his cup at Dean, who had three eighteen year old cheerleaders hanging on his every word, "could probably get us all in for free."
Mikey lowered his voice, pitched it for Sam alone to hear. "When do we leave?"
"In a couple of days," Sam replied, "when Dean recovers from this hangover." He chuckled. "Man, is he going to be pissed at us."
"Where are we going?" Mikey asked, leaning into his older brother's shoulder. He was so glad they were here. The past five months were a lonely, isolated hell for him. As the youngest, Mikey understood that one day his older brothers would leave and he would have his own room. However, considering how reluctant Dean had been to even move to his own room, Mikey never thought it would happen. Then when Dean started working at the garage and going to college he was home less and less. The same weekend Sam moved to California was the weekend Dean quietly found his own apartment near the shop. Dean moved out a month later, but he was around the house so much Mikey did not have the opportunity to really miss him. The five months with no contact had come not just as a shock, but a life-altering event. He knew Mom and Pop had even considered therapy for him, but after what they considered a thirteen year fiasco with Dean, the idea was quickly dismissed.
"We'll talk about it tomorrow," Sam promised, glancing around the room. "Not here."
Mikey nodded. He doubted anyone would remember or believe anything odd overheard between him and Sam, but apparently safe was better than sorry.
"Oh, and don't get drunk," Sam took his cup of beer away. "You're driving."
"Hey! I'm the graduate here! I should get to party." Mikey protested.
"You're underaged, you shouldn't be drinking anyway," Sam pointed out.
"Everyone here is drinking, Sam!" How many motherly brothers can a guy have, anyway?
"Everyone here isn't my little brother," Sam said pointedly, pouring the rest of Mikey's beer into his own cup. "Suck it up."
Mikey felt his eyebrows arch at that. Suck it up? What the hell?
"Go get a coke or something," Sam elbowed him in the ribs.
Mikey scowled as he went in search of soda. When he returned with root beer in hand, apparently the only kind of beer he was going to be allowed the rest of the night, Dean saw him and waved him over.
"Ladies, have you met my baby brother Mikey?" He was smooth and charming. Mikey wondered if it were possible his big brother was possessed by James Dean or something, since apparently those kinds of things were possible. He made a mental note to discuss it with Sam later. "Mikey, the graduate who has a football scholarship!" Dean turned beer-bleary eyes on him. "Which one did you accept, anyway?"
"Accept?" None. He was going with them!
"You have to take one of them, Mikey!" Dean wrapped an arm around his shoulders. "You'll have to sign one of them before we leave." His voice broached no argument.
"You're leaving?" One of the girls, Mikey recognized her as the head cheerleader, um, Stella Something, asked. She sounded disappointed.
"Road trip," Dean grinned. "Me and my brothers, we're heading off to explore this great land of ours." Dean slapped his shoulders. "Sure would hate for Mikey to have to set out still a vir-"
Mikey stomped on Dean's foot, cutting him off.
"Ouch!" Dean hopped on one foot, spilling his beer all over Stella.
"Hey!" Stella screamed. She leapt up and slapped Dean. In his beer induced haze he did not appear to have felt it.
Dean looked at the two remaining cheerleaders. He held up his free hand, comparing three fingers with the two girls standing in front of him. "What happened?" he asked Mikey, his speech distinctly slurred. "I thought I had one for each of us."
"Maybe we should head home now," Mikey suggested. He saw Stella talking to the offensive line, pointing out Dean. "Right now." Mikey steered Dean to the door and Sam fell in line behind them.
"Keys?" Mikey asked. Sam slapped them into his outstretched hand. Even three sheets to the wind, Dean insisted on sitting up front. Sam grumbled as he crawled into the back. Mikey started up the powerful car, smiling as he remembered all the afternoons Dean let him help with oil changes and suckered him into waxing the beast.
The next morning Mikey woke to the sounds of groaning.
"You assholes. You weren't supposed to let me get drunk." Dean lay on the bottom bunk, one arm flung over his eyes to block out the light. "If I don't die, I'm gonna kill both of you."
Sam dropped from the top bunk, grinning. "You'll have to catch us first, Dean. And I don't think you're in any shape to do that." He walked over to shake Mikey. "Let's go let Mom and Pop know we're here. But don't tell them about the road trip." Sam glanced back at Dean, who was moaning piteously. "Not yet, anyway."
Sam made a point of stomping right by Dean's bed, eliciting louder moans. He chuckled as he led them out of the room. "Why do you still have the bunkbeds?" Sam asked as they headed toward the stairs.
Mikey shrugged. "Just, you know, in case."
Sam glanced back at him as he took the stairs two at a time. "In case of what?"
"Dunno." It was a nonanswer answer, just one of many things living with Dean taught him. That and bullies were to be pitied, not feared, if Dean found out about them. Not that bullies were something he had needed to worry about in the past few years, but it was still nice to think about.
Sam stopped in the hall, before they could be seen from the kitchen. "You really want to go on this trip with us?" he whispered. "You won't ever be able to look at things, life, the same way again."
"I'm going," Mikey insisted. "You two aren't abandoning me again."
"Mikey," Sam rested a hand on his shoulder while his brother's eyes looked past him.
"We never did abandon you," Dean's voice came from behind him.
Mikey whirled around. "You never called."
Dean shrugged. "Neither did you. But we still came back. We kept our promise." Dean pressed a finger into his chest. "And if you had called, we would have been there for you." There was no sign of the hangover now.
"I know," Mikey admitted, wondering over this new intensity in both his brothers. "And I'm going."
"Good. Now I need some coffee or I'm gonna stake somebody." Dean rubbed a hand over his face as he pushed past them toward the kitchen.
"He is kidding, right?" Mikey looked up at Sam. Sam's face went carefully blank as he turned to follow Dean. "Sam? He is kidding? Sam!" Mikey hurried after his brothers, something he suspected he would be doing a lot of in the next few months.
"Dean! Sam!" He heard Mom squeal in the kitchen. Mikey knew that there would be about a half hour of 'so happy to see you' before the 'how dare you not call for five months' started. He slipped into the kitchen to enjoy the next thirty minutes while it lasted, before things started getting back to normal. If you could call it normal around here.
As he accepted a cup of coffee from Sam, Mikey wondered what normal people did the day after graduation. Probably not get ready for a road trip to go hunt a demon with their big brothers. Mikey did not know what he'd done to deserve this, but he was grateful. After all, who else had brothers like his?
The End. (Next: Problems With Dean: Road Trip)