The following day passed quite quickly in the end. Dean met up with Cara at 2pm, having spent the morning hanging out with Sam at a local coffee shop and trying not to think about what he'd actually agreed to do.
Sam, for all his teasing, knew Dean was genuinely nervous and had done his best to distract his brother, a fact which Dean appreciated even though he wasn't about to admit that.
Before they started the final practise session he and Cara headed over to the dance shop in the main street. Dean was actually pleasantly surprised by what they had and would even have gone so far as to say he quite liked the outfit they'd ended up buying.
Well, maybe not out loud.
But still, it did make him look kinda cool and was definitely manly which was of course the most important thing. Cara had insisted on paying, despite Dean's protests, as she kept saying he was only doing it as a favour to her anyway. She seemed in a much better mood than she had been and even seemed to have come to terms with the crash course she'd just had in 'ghosts and spirits'.
The last run through went really well and Dean even started to feel almost confident about the following day. Of course there was the minor detail that the next time they did the routine there would be a roomful of people watching them, not to mention the judging panel.
Ok, maybe confident was too strong a word.
When they finished Dean insisted that Cara joined him and Sam for dinner. They went to an old fashioned style diner in the middle of town that served 'home cooked food'. It certainly smelt pretty good.
"So, you're all set for tomorrow then?" said Sam, watching Dean to gauge his brother's current state of nerves.
Cara nodded. "Yeah, we're good to go. Dean did pretty well this afternoon as it happens."
Dean frowned. "Hey! You don't have to sound quite so surprised you know." he said indignantly and Cara held her hands up in surrender.
"I'm just saying – you're not exactly the dancer type, even you've got to admit that." she said.
"I thought we had this conversation about making assumptions?" said Dean and Cara put her hand on her chest dramatically.
"Ok, ok – you're right, I stand corrected." she said and Dean inclined his head in acknowledgement.
"If you two are quite done?" said Sam, watching them with an amused expression.
Dean smirked and took a sip of his coffee. Cara looked slightly embarrassed at being caught teasing with Dean and took a big gulp from her own drink.
"It's a shame the competition is sold out – I'd like to have seen my brother here showing off his killer moves." said Sam with a smirk.
Dean glared and kicked him under the table.
"Yeah, cos there was any chance I was gonna let you go anyway. It's bad enough total strangers watching me do this without giving you enough ammunition to last a lifetime." he said.
"Hey! I wouldn't have teased you about it." said Sam, rubbing his shin where Dean's boot had connected.
Dean raised his eyebrows and Sam's lips twitched. "Well, alright maybe a little bit. But seriously, I'd like to have seen you do this." he said genuinely and Dean shifted awkwardly.
"Well, you can't so it doesn't matter does it?" he said, getting up out of his chair. "Back in a minute."
Sam watched as Dean made his way to the men's room. Once his brother had disappeared through the door he glanced back at Cara.
"So he really is good?" he said and she grinned at him.
"You think he wouldn't be?" she said and Sam shook his head.
"It's not that it's just.. Look don't tell him I said this ok, but I'm just worried about him making a fool of himself up there. I mean, he may come across as being really confident but that kind of thing matters to him. He might not show it, but it would really bother him if he ended up looking like an idiot." he said anxiously.
Cara smiled. "You guys really are close aren't you?" she said and Sam flushed a little.
"Yeah, we are. It's just the two of us, so we kinda look out for each other. I just want this to go well for him." he said.
Cara grabbed her bag and fished around inside it. Looking round to make sure Dean wasn't on his way back, she reached across and handed something to Sam. He took it, looking down to see what it was. It was a ticket to the competition. He looked back up at her, confused.
"I thought it was sold out?" he said.
Cara shrugged. "It is, but the competitors get a ticket each for a partner or family to come along. Dean didn't get one cos he was a last minute entry, but you can use mine." she said.
"What about you? Don't you have someone coming to watch?"
Cara rolled her eyes. "I've been entering every year for the past 7 years, Sam. My Dad is sick of coming along to these things. He won't mind missing it, just this once. I think it's much more important for you to see your brother do this." she said simply.
Sam smiled at her, touched. "Thanks – I really appreciate it. Although I'm not sure Dean will." he said, putting the ticket in his pocket.
She grinned at him. "Yeah, well I'd sneak in at the last minute if I were you. What he doesn't know won't hurt him. You can confess afterwards, if it goes well. Which I have to say I think it will. He really is a pretty good mover."
Sam snorted. "For the love of God, do not tell him that. We'll never hear the end of it." he said.
At that moment Dean came back and the conversation moved away from the competition and onto lighter topics. Cara told them a little about herself and some of her stories had both of them in hysterics. They told her a few stories themselves, glossing over the more painful aspects and instead focusing on the good times. They all really enjoyed themselves and it worked to keep Dean's mind off the following day.
He slept fitfully that night, and so did Sam who was listening out for his brother and therefore woke up every time he did. Only Dean's threat to 'shoot him if he asked if he was ok one more time' persuaded Sam to go back to sleep for good.
The competition began at 1pm and Dean and Cara were last on the list. They were only competing in one category, as that was all there had been time to prepare for, so there would be a lot of waiting around. Dean was up early and ended up going for a run to clear his head. He actually felt better after the exercise and was up to getting a proper breakfast with Sam at the diner before he left. He kept his outfit in it's bag and resolutely refused to let Sam get a peek at it though.
Sam waved him off, wishing him luck, and worked out how long he should wait before making his own way to the dance hall. He was really pleased Cara had given him her ticket – he just hoped Dean wouldn't ruin the moment by killing him afterwards.
Inside the makeshift dressing rooms above the main hall Cara smoothed her hair down for about the hundredth time and looked anxiously in the mirror.
"Are you sure this looks alright?" she said and Dean rolled his eyes.
"For the love of God! You look fine Cara! Just like you did the other million times you've asked me. Geez, I thought I was the one who was supposed to be nervous?" he said.
She glared at him in the mirror. "Just because I've done this before doesn't mean I don't get nervous! There's some scouts for a dance troupe out there that I could really do with impressing." she said, reaching up to fiddle with her hair again.
Dean stepped up and leant against the desk that the mirror was resting on. Reaching out he grabbed hold of her hands and pulled them away from her hair.
"You're gonna be absolutely fine out there. You're really good at this stuff, even I know that. I'm the one who should be freaking out." he said with a grin.
Cara frowned. "You're right – why they hell aren't you freaking out?" she said and Dean just shrugged.
"No idea. I guess I just got a good feeling about this." he said.
Cara rolled her eyes. She suddenly realised Dean was still holding her hands. She blushed slightly as she glanced down at their joined hands and then back up at Dean. He just flashed her his killer smile and gently let go.
Cara wondered if someone had just turned up the heating.
Turning back to the mirror to try and hide her sudden embarrassment she retouched make up that didn't need it and tried to breathe deeply and calm her nerves. Dean had moved from his spot next to her and was now leaning casually against the window sill. Ever since they'd arrived he'd earned more than a few appreciative glances from the other female competitors. Cara found herself torn between pride that it was her Dean was dancing with and a sudden surge of unexpected jealousy.
It was a seriously good thing that this was just a one off, she thought.
One of the stewards suddenly poked his head around the door.
"Carson and Anderson – you're up next." he called.
Dean gave a wave of acknowledgement as Cara had frozen in her seat. Walking over he put a hand on her shoulder.
"Ready?" he said gently and she gave him a wobbly smile.
"Not in the slightest." she said as she got up.
Standing behind the makeshift curtain that separated the backstage area from the main hall Cara took a deep breath. She cleared her mind of everything except the routine. She pushed aside thoughts of the crowd and the judges and just focused on the moves, visualising them in her head. Dean took his own deep breath beside her and swallowed. He could do this. He'd faced some of the worst things imaginable in his lifetime. This was just a few people, watching him run through a routine he knew backwards by now. He glanced at Cara and smiled as he took her hand. She smiled back and then their names were being announced. They stepped out onto the darkened dance floor and got into the first position.
As the beginning guitar movement to Shakira's 'Whenever, Wherever' started to play, they moved in time to the rhythm. As if connected their steps were perfectly in time, each a reflection of the other. They moved fast, never missing a beat, and they seemed to fly across the floor.
In his seat Sam stared in awe. For a start both Cara and Dean looked amazing. Cara was wearing a dark green dress that had sparkling diamonds all over the bodice. The skirt flowed around her legs and came to just above her knee. Her dark hair was swept up with just a few curls framing her face. Dean's outfit was a tightly fitted black shirt, slightly open at the neck, and a pair of black trousers that flared only slightly at the bottom. Definitely no spandex or lycra in sight. Even Sam had to admit his brother carried off the look extremely well. Dean's face was relaxed as he performed the moves with a grace Sam had never noticed before. Sure, Dean was good at fighting moves, but this – this was different. It was a side of Dean Sam had never seen before and he was both slightly stunned and more than a little proud. He might not know much about dancing, but Sam knew Cara and Dean were good. Really, really good.
The rest of the audience was watching in rapt attention too and Sam felt his stomach clench with nerves, praying that the judges could see what he could see. He knew that they couldn't win, having only competed in one category, but they could possibly get as high as Silver. Sam found himself crossing everything and biting his lip he was so nervous.
As the music slowed slightly towards the end, Dean lowered Cara back in one arm and swept her round as they span almost 180 degrees. Her hair was almost touching the floor but the move was calculated and performed perfectly. As the tempo picked up again he pulled her back up and she spun away from him. Continuing the flawless moves they both swept across the floor, separately but completely in tune with one another. As the song finally came to an end Dean picked Cara up and span round holding her above his head with apparent ease. At the last moment the both dropped to the floor and leant forward so their heads were almost touching the ground as the final pan pipe notes died away.
For a brief moment there was silence and then the entire audience began to applaud. Sam actually stood up, whistling and whooping as he clapped. Standing now to take a bow, Dean's head rose sharply and he looked straight at where Sam was standing. He was stunned to see his brother there, clapping and grinning like a lunatic, practically bouncing with excitement. Cara tugged his hand and he remembered to bow gracefully to the judges and then to the audience.
As soon as they were behind the curtain again Cara launched herself at Dean.
"Oh my God, that was amazing! You got every move right, it was perfect!" she squealed breathlessly.
Dean laughed, her enthusiasm was infectious, and he hugged her back caught in the moment.
"I know, it was good, but I need to breathe here Cara." he said and she let go, flushing a little.
"Sorry, it's just that was better than anything I've done before." she said and Dean ducked his head.
"Seriously?" he said, sounding almost shy.
Cara rolled her eyes and whacked him lightly on the arm.
"Yes, seriously you idiot." she said and Dean smirked.
"Now that's more like it. It scares me when you're nice to me." he said dryly and she stuck her tongue out at him.
"Now, do you mind telling me what the hell my brother is doing in the audience?" he said, as they moved back to stand with the other entrants.
"Sam's here? Guess he must have been able to get a ticket after all." said Cara, innocently.
Dean wasn't buying it. "Yeah right – like you don't know where he got it from." he said but Cara refused to admit anything.
The one advantage to being almost last was that they didn't have too long to wait. Soon the awards were being announced. They both stood there on the dance floor with everyone else, tapping their feet discreetly, as the various awards were given out. Finally they were down to the overall medals. Cara was gripping Dean's hand so hard he was fairly certain he was going to have bruises.
The Bronze award was announced first and there was applause as the the lucky couple stepped up and collected their medals. There was a flash as the photographer for the local paper took their picture and then they moved to one side with the other winners.
"This is the last one we could possibly win." hissed Cara and her grip somehow managed to get even tighter.
Dean wondered just how much pressure the bones in your hand could take before they cracked.
Trying to ignore the throbbing he tuned back into the judge's voice.
"And the Silver award for best overall performance goes to – Cara Carson and Dean Anderson." he said.
Dean blinked. Had he heard that properly?
Cara was the first to react. "Oh my God – that's us!" she squeaked, pulling Dean forward to collect the medals.
Dean was truly stunned. The applause was deafening and he was sure he could make out Sam whooping like an idiot. Turning his head he was just about able to see past the lights and spotted Sam literally jumping up and down.
They were so not related.
He was just about with it enough to accept the judge's congratulations and he remembered to duck his head slightly so that the photographer didn't get a full view of his face for the picture. You couldn't be too careful after all when you were on the FBI's hitlist.
And then it was over and they were standing to one side with the other winners. A few of them offered congratulations and Dean just smiled and nodded, almost on auto pilot. He really couldn't believe they'd come second. It was crazy, a Winchester coming second in a dance competition. He briefly wondered what John and Mary would have made of it and found himself feeling unexpectedly emotional about it. Swallowing he turned his gaze to Cara. Her face was literally lit up. She was glowing. Sensing Dean looking at her she turned to him and gave him a dazzling smile. There was no time for conversation as the overall winners were being announced finally and they clapped along with everyone else.
And then it was over. The judges made their way round all the winners, congratulating them, and friends and family of the various entrants were swarming towards them with exclamations of excitement and congratulatory hugs.
Dean felt almost swept away by the whole thing and more than a little self conscious. He wasn't used to this many people or this much attention. Suddenly he heard a familiar voice though.
He looked up to see Sam fighting his way through the crowd towards them, the biggest smile ever on his face.
"That was awesome dude!" said Sam when he finally reached them and before Dean could stop him, Sam grabbed him in a quick hug. His excitement was infectious though and Dean found himself grinning as well.
Although he was so going to kill his brother later for hugging him in public.
Sam was oblivious to his imminent demise and had moved on to hug Cara, picking her up and swinging her round. She laughed and swatted him lightly on the shoulder as he put her down again.
"Sam! God, you're more excited about this than he is!" she said indicating Dean.
"Hey! I'm excited." said Dean "I'm just not all over emotional about it like Samantha here." he said, nudging Sam with his shoulder.
Sam just rolled his eyes. "Whatever. Seriously, that was fantastic. You guys were great out there." he said.
Dean found himself blushing at the blatant pride in Sam's voice and on his face. He wasn't used to it, but he had to admit it was a pretty good feeling. Even if it was only because of something as lame as dancing.
"Don't think I haven't forgotten you're not even supposed to be here." he said, not wanting the moment to get too emotional.
Sam shook his head. "Yeah, well – you didn't really expect me to miss it did you?" he said and Dean didn't really have an answer for that.
Now the excitement was over they quickly went back up to the room where their stuff was and got changed into their normal clothes again. Dean felt much more himself back in his jeans, t-shirt and shirt but he put the other outfit back in the bag. No harm in keeping it. Just in case.
Cara still looked lovely with her hair up and her eyes sparkling, even dressed in jeans and a shirt again. Dean found himself suddenly regretting that they had to leave so soon.
Outside in the cool late afternoon air, the Impala was waiting. Sam had already checked them out of the motel and their stuff was in the trunk. Dean opened it and dropped the bag with his outfit in, almost daring Sam to make a comment. His brother was wise enough to remain silent though.
Cara stood there, feeling slightly awkward now it was all over.
"So." she said.
"Yeah." said Dean.
Sam rolled his eyes. Yep – definitely too alike.
Taking the initiative Sam leant forward and gave Cara a quick peck on the cheek.
"Congratulations again – you take care, ok? And if you ever have any problems of the paranormal kind, you know who to call." he said.
Cara smiled. "Who needs the Ghostbusters when you've got the Winchesters?" she said and gave Sam a quick hug.
"Thanks for the ticket." Sam whispered in her ear and she grinned at him.
Sam got in the car to give Dean and Cara some privacy.
"Well, thanks for everything Dean." she said sincerely. "This really meant a lot to me and I owe you one for taking part – I know it wasn't exactly your idea of fun."
Dean shrugged."It wasn't that bad. Actually, I kinda enjoyed it." he said and she smiled at him.
"That's good. If you ever want to give it another go, you know where to find me." she said and Dean smiled.
"Yeah, maybe. And thanks for your help with the spirit – you did us a real favour there." he said and Cara smiled shyly.
"No problem. You be careful ok? Look after each other." she said seriously.
"We will." said Dean with equal seriousness.
Seizing the moment Cara quickly hugged Dean and gave him a quick peck on the cheek, even though it made her blush furiously again.
"You give me a call next time you're passing through." she said, stepping back and Dean nodded.
"We will. Good luck with the dancing." he said and she grinned at him.
Dean got into the driver's seat and they both waved at Cara until the parking lot was out of sight. She watched them go a little sadly, hoping she'd see them again some day.
In the car Sam still couldn't stop grinning. Dean glanced across at him and rolled his eyes.
"Would you wipe that sappy look off your face?" he said and Sam shook his head.
"Can't help it – I really am proud of you, Dean. That was awesome." he said and Dean looked embarrassed.
"It was no big deal." he said awkwardly.
"Yes it was. I know you really didn't want to do it, but you did it so you wouldn't let Cara down. And you were amazing at it. You did a good job on this one." said Sam firmly.
Dean looked even more embarrassed but he also felt warmed by Sam's words. There was no need to go overboard though, and just to make sure of that Dean reached out and switched on the radio. AC/DC blasted out and Sam rolled his eyes, knowing Dean was making sure there was no further conversation about what had just happened.
He'd said what he wanted to say though and he was more than grateful to Cara that she'd enabled him to be part of Dean's triumph.
Settling back into his seat he glanced across at Dean who was now singing along to the track, but still with a slightly pleased look on his face.
Sam was glad they'd taken this job, glad he'd talked Dean into the competition, and glad that his brother had been able to show his talents at something other than hunting and be recognised for it, for once. Everyone deserved a moment like that and he was glad he'd been there to share it with Dean. And it just showed – even when you'd known someone your whole life they could still turn out to have hidden talents.
Sam hoped he'd get many more years to find out what others his brother had. In the meantime, he'd settle for making sure the silver medal and the memories were kept safe. For both of them.
Author's note: And we're done! Hope the description of Dean's dancing was worth the wait and hope you all enjoyed how it turned out. I really struggled with this one, as it was so out of the ordinary for the boys, but I hope it was ok in the end.
And once again, happy birthday Joeysgirl4eva – the ending of your 'present' was only a week after the event, so that wasn't too bad – right? :)