Okay, so Houses of the Holy beat the dust off this little bunny. It grew quite rabid and ate all my chocolate. A bunny on a sugar high is never a good thing, so be warned. Poor Dean, someone really should have warned him of the dangers of having a genius for a little brother. Unquestionably a crack fic, but with a slightly more serious undertone that the angst lovers amongst you might spot.
Can substituting addictive behavior with coercion or the promise of a reward encourage an individual to forfeit pleasurable pursuits?
Dean Winchester (brother)
Subject likely to die of starvation, alcohol poisoning and/or syphilis.
Possible dangers to researcher
Grounding. Extra PT. Loss of dignity and/or hair. Fratricide.
Likelihood of success
"Got a challenge for you." Five words that never failed to attract Dean's attention.
Armed with pen, pencil, notebook and switchblade, Sam cornered his subject in the kitchen come living room/entrance/bedroom of their latest rent by the week apartment. 'Cornered' perhaps not being correct; 'approached casually whilst sibling lounged on couch' was probably a more accurate way of putting things, but the first sounded better on paper, and that was half the point. It was Sam's final year of junior high school, and his science teacher had hit the class with a final project before exams- a practical experiment. His extracurricular demon hunting activities left little lab time, and so Sam had chosen the human behavioral science option with his brother in mind. Dean was every psychologist's wet dream.
"A challenge, huh?" The last few months had been spent upstate, with Sam enrolled in an exclusive school run by one of their father's old buddies. The change of environment hadn't failed to amuse the older hunter, who took every opportunity to let his accent slip into a thick southern drawl. The girls thought it was hot. The guys though Dean was dumb, and Sam's brother took the lot of them for a ride and a fair amount of cash.
Propped up against the arm of the couch with Jelly Beans in one hand and a battered novel in the other, Dean was sprawled, lazily comfortable and, in Sam's mind, the prime target for a manipulative younger brother with his eyes on an A+.
Sam nodded enthusiastically. "Uh huh."
Dean popped a red bean and threw one of the yellow ones for Sam to catch. "I'm listening." He said between chews.
Sam kept the candy in his hand. "It's a dare, but you get the choose the details."
Dean's eyebrow rose, "Details, huh?" Things were playing out just as Sam expected them to. Dean was eyeing him with barely concealed amusement. A kind of patronizing, ok, little brother, I'll bite, attitude that was just asking for Sam to extort and humiliate him.
"Some time today, kiddo." Dean drawled.
Knowing that unless he got to shoot something, Dean's attention span was worse than a goldfish on crack, Sam hastily laid out the terms of his challenge. "One week, you have to go without for one week. Think of it like a short lent."
Dean shuddered predictably. Their first and only Easter celebration had turned into an unprecedented disaster when Pastor Jim had convinced Dean and their father to give up caffeine for lent. The withdrawal hadn't been pretty, and the weeks that had followed were nothing short of torturous for all three of them, especially as the Winchester code of conduct forbade admitting defeat. Easter Sunday, and Sam had personally bought them both the biggest coffee the local diner could provide.
"Touch the coffee and die." Dean said predictably.
"I wouldn't go there, dude. Last time you were so antsy I think the Wendigo was afraid of you." Sam assured.
Dean nodded slightly and fished around for more red candy. "So what is the choice?"
"Sex. Alcohol. Food or the Impala."
"Well you've covered the staples of my life."
" You have to give up one for a week." Sam challenged triumphantly.
Dean flopped back with an air of impatience. "Fuck no."
With his arm flung melodramatically over his face, Dean didn't seen Sam's shit eating grin, but he heard his little brother spin on his heels and mutter "Pussy," from the doorway.
A big brother's pride could apparently stretch to being carried like a sack of coal over his father's shoulder after saving Sam from a charging skin walker, and Dean thought little of humiliating himself in a pool hall to win enough rent for the week. Women constantly had Dean acting like a clown, and the guy talked to his freakin' car, for Christ's sake…
…but as predicted, Dean's ego chaffed at the very notion of his brother calling him on a dare. His lazy position on the couch gave way to a boxed spring. Sam made it to the bedroom before Dean caught him in a headlock and stuffed him under one arm like a teddy bear.
"What was that, Sammy?" Dean asked, his voice dangerously light.
Sam sniggered and dug his thumb between Dean's ribs, eliciting a curse and a wince from the older boy.
It had been raining heavily for the last few weeks, and John had installed a water butt on the front porch in order to collect water from the gutters and save the roof from excessive weight. So far, they had only suffered a few leeks, and those had been easily bunged.
Maybe Sam had a little ESP, but he sensed exactly where things were going when Dean changed their direction and hauled him towards the front door.
Fifteen minutes later, dripping wet and scowling at a smug looking brother, Sam woefully wondered if Freud had had faced anyone nearly as difficult as Dean in his career.
Dean was stuck.
The problem was, in a town the size as theirs, and with no permanent employment, there wasn't much to do besides drink, tinker with the Impala, and fuck any pretty girl he could. So Sam's little challenge presented him with something of a conundrum.
In order to think it over, he headed straight for the nearest bar and ordered a beer-just in case. Sally practically fell out of her bra whilst serving him, and the two of them spent her break with her legs around his waist.
Again, just in case.
"Sam?" Dean later cornered his brother in the kitchen, a puzzled frown marring his face. "Do Jelly Beans count as food?"
A sigh. "Oh. Does coffee?"
He brightened. "Okay. I'll take food then."
Typical. Sam grinned. "Shake on it." Dean nothing if not predictable. He could probably manage a week without anything more substantial than milkshakes and coffee, but he'd forgotten to factor in the trump card.
Dean spat onto his hand and held it out over the table. Sam repeated the procedure, shook Dean's hand, but didn't pull away in time to escape the second headlock of the day.
"Bath time." Sam's feet left the ground in the face of Dean's joyous revenge.
As expected, the subject initially refused the option of food in favor of more pleasurable pursuits. The self imposed fast lasted thirty three hours before outside intervention tampered with the experiment and forced the subject to consume semi-edible substances.
"For the love of god, no more caffeine." John snatched the mug from his son's hands before Dean could add water to the three spoonfuls of instant lining the blue ceramic base.
"But dad…" Dean whined. Honest to God moaned, miserable as fuck and twitching like a crack addict denied a hit.
Sam sniggered behind his history text.
"And eat something, for Christsake." John was in a foul mood. The Black Dog they were hunting had eluded him again the previous night, and some poor sod had lost his leg because of it. "You're coming with me tonight. If you pass out, I'm grounding you until you're thirty."
Dean shuffled in his seat, and Sam ticked off a box on the pad resting on his lap.
"Yes sir." Dean muttered with a desperate glance at Sam, before tucking into a bowl of Lucky Charms. "Alcohol." He said flatly. "And I so hate you."
Test unsuccessful. Subject consumed an alcoholic substance less the fifteen hours after selection. Results to be stricken from final record.
Dean moaned miserably, struggling weakly against Sam's restrictive hold as their father cut away the tattered and bloody left leg of his favorite jeans.
"Fucking Black Dog." He slurred, head lolling against Sam's shoulder. Dean's leg was a mess. Sam instinctively held Dean tighter as he thrashed, and he jumped when John pressed a silver flask into his hand.
"Whiskey." John grunted.
Sam didn't think twice before pouring the entire contents down Dean's throat.
The needle was out, sewing through flesh, and before he passed out, he managed a wry smile. "I think I can safely give up sex for a week, don't you think?"
Subject successfully abstained from sexual intercourse for three days. New element added to experiment.
Dean threw three cushions, a book and the empty sheath of his newest blade. Sam dodged the lot of them.
"I swear to god, you don't bring that remote here, you will never have children." He growled, failing to look menacing in a large white t-shirt and grey track pants. The bowl of ice cream and petulant pout solidified the picture of a five year old mid tantrum.
"I'm not the one who has to worry about that right now." Sam chuckled, holding the kidnapped remote high above Dean's head.
"Dude, no." Dean whined. "There is fair, and then there is fucking fair. No sex for a week. I'm totally holding up my end of the deal."
"Porn, Dean, is sex."
"No, it isn't." Dean made a snatch for the remote, grounded with a bandage from hip to calf.
Sam danced back. "Yes, it is."
"No." Dean growled. "It really isn't. See, for it to be sex, I would have to physically be involved. Lotta Rider is having sex with some random hot blond chick. I'm just watching."
"Your logic is impressive, but the act of observation is physical, so you kinda shot yourself in the foot with that one. Do you really want to leave the Impala in my care for a week?"
The look on Dean's face was nothing short of pained. Sam flicked the TV over to the news. "Didn't think so." He dropped the remote into Dean's lap and left the room to continue writing up his experiment. His feet had barely left the room behind when Dean bellowed after him.
"Goddamnit, Sammy! Give me back the fucking batteries!"
The researcher has discovered that with the right motivation, even a particularly stubborn individual can be persuaded to give up things that are important to them. In this case, threatening the subject's ego proved sufficient to trigger uncharacteristic compliance. I propose that this method of substituting a practice for a suitable reward or victory can be used to encourage individuals to give up addictive behavior.
Sam, when mom and dad brought you back from the hospital, I told them to trade you for a baseball. I stand by that.