Title: Twenty-one
Rating: PG-13
Warnings/Spoilers: None
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or the universe they live in.
Summary: Dean's celebrates his 21st birthday. I think I started this as an answer to a challenge but I can't remember what the challenge was. If someone knows, please tell me.
Author's Notes: I was just finishing the story when I realized that Dean's birthday is in January. So, instead of taking another chunk of time to add in random references to the cold, let's just say the Winchesters are living in a place that doesn't get winter. Also, this was conceived when I still held the idea that Dean's Impala was not his Dad's Impala, so please don't correct me on that. Also, this is sort of the sequel to You're Beautiful.

This wasn't how Dean wanted to spend his twenty-first birthday. He'd been working since seven this morning, loading bags of fertilizer onto flat bed trucks, and he was sore, tired and smelly. The job had been Dad's idea. Not the actual job of being a shit shovel, that brilliant idea belonged all to Dean's, but the getting out and making money part. Something about not wanting Dean lazing around all day.

But, as much as he didn't enjoy his job, he could handle it because at the end of the day, he could come home, have a nice hot shower and relax with a beer in one hand and the TV remote in the other. Unless, of course, Dad and Sam were starting world war three in the kitchen.

Dean didn't even bother going inside; he could hear them from the side walk. Instead, he turned away and continued walking. He had better places to be, like the bar two blocks away. He'd have a couple of drinks, hook up with a pretty local girl and wait for hurricane Winchester to blow over.

Dean was just finishing his third beer when he realized just how pathetic this all was. He was 21, for God's sake, officially shedding the last restrictions of childhood. Now and for the rest of his life, he was an adult. Shouldn't this mean something? For the first time in his life, he was drinking legally, but there wasn't even any point to telling anyone 'cause this was the same old water hole where the regulars knew him as a rather young looking 23 year old. Yep, pretty pathetic.

Dean raised his beer up to no one in particular, in a silent toast, Here's to twenty-one.

Dean groaned and rolled over to look at the alarm clock through blurry eyes, only to suddenly he bolted up and out of bed, as he realized he was extremely late for work. Why hadn't anyone woken him up? Why hadn't his boss called to tell him not to bother to come in? He'd threatened that if Dean was late one more time this month, he'd kick his ass to the curb. Which would mean another lecture from Dad about responsibility and having to find another job and…

Dean collapsed back on his bed with a groan. No one had woken him up or called him because it was Tuesday and he didn't work on Tuesday. The adrenaline drained from his body, leaving behind the pounding in Dean's head from last night's adventures.

Actually, Dean thought, thinking back, there hadn't been much of an adventure. Turned out that no matter how hot Dean knew he was, woman just weren't attracted to the smell of shit on a man. He'd spent the night drinking away his pay check, got kicked out with everyone else when the bar closed and, after much stumbling and swerving, walked home. The house had been dark - Dad and Sam had gotten tired of screaming at each other and had gone to bed - and Dean hadn't bother to even turn on the lights before he stumbled to his bedroom and collapsed on the bed.

Though, Dean thought, sniffing himself, a shower might have been a good idea.

But that could wait. Sam would already be at school and Dad would already be up, so there wouldn't be any competition for the shower. He could curl up and go back to sleep for another couple hours.

Or, Dean thought sitting up with a smile, I could open my birthday presents. There was a present and a card sitting on his bedside table. They'd probably been there when he came in last night but was in too much of a drunk stupor to notice.

The present was from Sam and looked suspiciously like a book. He opened that one first and, what do you know, it was a book. On the Road by some Kerouac guy. There was a little note on the inside of the front cover.

Seriously Dean, you might like this.


Dean could only shake his head. That was his brother. He just could not accept that Dean was not a book person.

Dean put the book aside and picked up the envelope. It was from Dad. Same thing as every year: Ordinary white envelope with no name or card, but with a couple twenties. Only this year, there was no cash but an index card with the words:

Look out the window.

Dean does as he's told, because to disobey his father in writing is just as unthinkable if the man was standing in the room. Dean's window looks over the back yard. They live in one of those cheap rental places, so they don't have a fence. Someone torn it down when it became a health hazard and it hasn't been replaced since. Parked out in the dirt alley, behind the house, is a tarp, covering a car of some kind.

"No way." Dean said in disbelief, dashing down the stairs and out the back door. He doesn't even notice Sam and Dad at the breakfast table.

Once he's in the backyard, though, he slows down, as doubt creeps into his mind. Maybe this isn't for him. Maybe someone else just parked it here. Maybe he was suppose to see something else but Dean can't possibility think what it could be. There is nothing else in their backyard that Dean would consider a birthday present.

Dean approaches it slowly but then all his doubt goes away as he sees the taped sign on the tarp.

Happy Birthday, Dean

Dean pulls off the tarp with a quick, single tug.

"No way." Dean says again and then, for good measure, "No fuckin' way."

It's the 1967 Chevrolet Impala he's been ogling the local Buy and Sell for months. This is the car he's been saving his shit-shoveling money for.

"Needs a lot of work but I figured you'd have time." John said, walking up behind his son, "You need a hobby other than drinking."

"She's perfect." Dean spun around and gave his Dad a sudden hug, "Thanks, Dad." Dean, suddenly embarrassed by his outburst of emotion, let go and stepped back, "I mean, thank you, sir."

John just shook his head in amusement.

Dean spent the next hour outside, examining his new car and making a mental list of parts and jobs he needed. His car. This was so cool.

"Dean, breakfast." John called from the backdoor.

Dean came back inside, to find Sam and Dad in the kitchen and a cake and a tub of ice cream on the table.

"Cake and ice cream for breakfast?" Dean asked suspiciously.

"Brunch actually." Dad replied, serving Dean a plate first. It was chocolate cake, of course, a Winchester family favorite.

Dean looked from the clock, it was twenty after ten, to his little brother, "Aren't you suppose to be in school?"

"Dad said I could take the morning off."

"Really?" That wasn't like Dad. He had no trouble yanking the boys out of school for a hunting trip but if they were in town, they were expected to do to school. Unless, you know, they were at death's door.

"I know you want to get started on the Impala right away but there's evidence of a werewolf upstate that we need to check out."

Ah, so that's why Dad and Sam were fighting yesterday, Dean reasoned. Sam hated ditching school to go hunting.

"Sam has finales next week he can't risk missing, so it'll be just you and me. Thought we should eat the cake, 'cause I know it won't be here when we get back."

"It would be stale anyways," Sam mumbled but Dean could see he was smiling. Dad wasn't exactly smiling, but he wasn't frowning or yelling or barking orders, so that was the next best thing. And Dean couldn't help but smile because this was probably the best birthday ever.