Watch the Night Go Up in Smoke
This wasn't written for the Fireworks challenge at spn-het-love even though I'm posting it for that; I wrote it to cheer up some peeps who are having a bad week. They asked for Fourth of July-themed schmoop featuring Daddy!Dean and Daddy!Sam. When it was done, they told me I should post it to a wider audience, but it's really nothing more than my own brain's diversion into a "what could have happened" moment based on the "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" 'verse.
So the rule of thumb here is: if it wasn't mentioned in the Big Bang fic proper, it's generally best to assume that it's not that 'verse's canon. Like this story, for example. ;-P
Disclaimer: The Winchester boys aren't mine but I'd make Dean wear his boots all the time if they were.
Rating: PG-13 (Language. Schmoop. Daddy!Dean. Daddy!Sam.)
Pairings: Dean/OFC (Het)
Miscellaneous: I marked the piece as het because Daddy!Dean is also Married!Daddy!Dean but the story focuses on family and is written from Sam's POV.
Beta: Misskatieleigh read most of it but has not seen the end.
Sam waded through the football field, picking his way to where the McAllisters had taken over the grass in front of the bleachers. He found the blanket he was looking for right in the middle of them, with its huge picnic basket and cooler. The kids were chasing each other around it, never going farther than the outside edge, until Huslu screamed 'now' and they flung themselves down onto the blanket in a pile of giggling arms and legs.
Sam threw himself onto the blanket next to them, snaking a hand out to tickle the nearest bare foot. Jack squealed and the pile heaved, separating quickly into the three small bodies converging on him. Huslu held on the longest – Katie and Jack were off of Sam the moment the cooler opened, yelling for juice. "Hey, little man," Sam whispered into his son's hair.
Huslu looked up at him with a lopsided grin that reminded Sam of Dean and Sam's chest tightened, wishing – like he always did – that Dad had the chance to see that smile or listen to Katie singing to Jack while they sipped on their juice boxes. Sam did a double-take when Huslu skipped away to join her in his off-key sing-song, shaking his head with a rueful smile. "AC/DC?" he managed.
"I blame your brother," Molly retorted sharply, meeting his eyes with a lopsided grin all of her own. "Every time we go to Mom and Dad's house for dinner, I keep waiting for Katie to tell them kidney beans blow or that salad freaking sucks," she added, reaching into the cooler and handing him a beer before grabbing one for herself.
"Beans do," Katie interjected, head popping up when she heard her name. Her voice was serious in a way that only a four-year-old could manage, eyes shining when she nodded vehemently. "Daddy says 'n Daddy's never wrong." Katie rocked her head one last time for emphasis before she started tickling Jack.
"We're just lucky they're not swearing," Sam observed.
Molly chuckled and took a sip of her beer, leaning back on one hand while she looked up at the sky. She sighed. "Do you think we made a mistake, Sam?" she asked suddenly. "Given his…obsession?" Molly pitched her voice low, twisting towards him a little as her brother walked behind them, yelling something about fireworks starting up in five minutes.
Sam took a swallow of his own beer. "Mol, we're winding him up and letting him loose on an unsuspecting town." Jack suddenly appeared at his side, plopping down unceremoniously on top of him while Katie curled around her mother and Huslu sat between them; leaning back both hands as he tilted his head toward the sky. Molly caught Sam's eye over Huslu's shaggy head. "With fire," Sam added.
"You make it sound like an unholy ritual the Winchester cult is performing on Pleasant Grove." Molly set her beer into the hole on the cooler, shifting to lean all the way back against it. Katie snuggled into her side and Molly brought her free arm around her, linking hands with Huslu. "All I did was second your nomination at that town council meeting, Sam Winchester."
"I did that for you." Jack was tugging on Sam's t-shirt, mouthing something that looked suspiciously like 'down' – his nephew's lower lip kept jutting out until Sam was flat on his back. Molly snorted. "Seriously," Sam continued, hugging Jack loosely while Huslu rolled into both of them. "I saw the look on your face when you came back from the doctor's and found Dean burning out the old stump in the backyard with his acetylene torch."
"And the fact that Dean had Huslu running around with a 'homemade sparkler' had nothing to do with that decision?" It was Sam's turn to snort and Molly pitched her voice low all the same, Dean's cadence coming out of her mouth as she continued. "In my defense, Sam, that burning stick I gave the little man was longer than he is tall. And I was freaking there the entire time." She laughed, deep in her chest, and it made Sam laugh right along with her. "The way I see it, at least the fire department's close by. I mean, no one's going to let the high school burn down. We might just get through this even if your brother's a – "
A metallic screech, followed by the chirrup of feedback, erupted from the speakers hanging on poles behind the bleachers. It was followed immediately by the thump of what was probably a finger bouncing against a microphone. "Uh," Dean's voice blared around them.
"Daddy!" Jack whispered happily, raising his head.
"One, two. One two." Sam could hear the smile in Dean's voice. "One, two. Check. Check." Dean took a breath. "Cheeeeck," he added, drawing out the word with a drawl worthy of a good old boy from Texas. Some of the seniors at the school that Dean had roped into being his 'crew' gave muffled laughs behind him and there was a clicking noise. "I've always wanted to fucking do that," Dean crowed into the microphone.
"Mr. Winchester," a girl's voice hissed. "Mike's still on!"
"Oh, shi – "
Dean's voice was gone, replaced by a round of laughter that echoed across the entire football field. Molly was laughing so hard she was wheezing; the only recognizable sound coming out of her mouth was Dean's name. "Uncle Dean used bad words," Huslu said gravely, squeezing Sam's arm. "On purpose." He tugged on Sam's shirt, his eyes looking right at Sam's face. "Is Aun' Molly goin' to wash out his mouth with soap? 'Cause soap tastes yucky," Huslu added, making a face.
"I think Uncle Dean knows that what he said was bad," Sam answered. Jack was watching him, too. "And knowing we did something bad helps us not to do it again," he added. Huslu's eyes searched Sam's face while the little boy pondered the words, face bursting into a smile. Sam's chest tightened all over again and he knew then why Dad was always so hard on them, how precious his boy really was – and he wished he could at least tell his father that he finally understood the answer to two decades of 'why' because of the two little boys coiled around him, trusting the answers in everything he said.
Sam held on tight to both of them, son and nephew, as the chirrup from the speakers silenced the crowd. "Hello, Pleasant Grove!" Dean announced. There were some half-hearted noises called out back to Dean and his snort caused another loop of feedback. "I said, hellooooo, Pleasant Grove!" Some of the kids called back that time, filling in the gaps so that the field overflowed with a low roar. "Welcome to this year's new and improved Fourth of July Fireworks Extravaganza!" There was a pause and Dean snuck a breath. "Fire it up, Billy!"
One lone rocket whistled its way up into the sky, bursting overhead with a crack. Dean's controversial decision to fire the high school marching band had been talked discussed at two different town meetings and he refused to even tell Molly why – just said that he was going to kick so much ass that she'd screw him for two days straight when it was all over, so it was a good thing the kids were going to be spending the rest of the week with their grandparents. Sam realized what the band had been replaced with when the falling sparks and ash were immediately followed by 'Gunter glieben glauchen globen' bellowing through the loudspeakers.
Def Leppard was just the beginning of the onslaught.
After the shocked whisper that rippled through the rocking crowd when Dean's music started blaring from the loudspeakers, Sam had little hope regarding Dean's success but Sam was grinning so hard his cheeks started to ache when the boys swayed against him in time to the music that he didn't care what the rest of the town thought. His pyromaniac older brother was making good on his uncanny ability to play with fire and, Dean's musical choice notwithstanding, the music complemented the display so perfectly that people would have to come through every person sitting on the Winchesters' blanket if they even tried to take Dean to task for breaking with that stupid marching band tradition.
No one could ever fault his brother for not having a sense of rhythm.
By the time the show howled its way into its third song – a Ramones' cover of "Dream a Little Dream" – the kids were all sitting up and staring wide-eyed at the sky, pointing up at each burst upon burst with collective gasps. Not one of them flinched, their eyes dancing. "My daddy's making fireworks," Katie said fiercely to someone passing between blankets on their way to the McAllisters' picnic table. "And tha's our song." Sam watched Molly pull Katie onto her lap and rest her chin on her daughter's head, tightening her arms around Katie's shoulders with a soft smile. He stopped worrying about the show entirely, hearing other families' voices trying to keep along with the music's beat and marking time with hands smacking against each other.
The finale, with its cacophony of sparks, left smoke trails in the sky and ash falling on their faces long after the final strains of "The Star Spangled Banner" drifted into silence. The crowd clapped and screamed and Jack turned his face up towards Sam and cried, "More, more." He wasn't alone. Even old Mr. Higgins from the hardware store was watching the smoke curling in the sky with something like awe on his face, his wheeze speeding up during Dean's version of the national anthem – and it surprised Sam all the same when he caught Sam's eye and nodded, the first time any Winchester had evoked such a friendly gesture in months from the man.
The loudest whoops of all roared from the other side of the football field, Dean and his crew emerging from where they'd set up their display with arms held loosely around shoulders and even Dean giving high fives. They walked back to where the McAllisters had set up the town picnic like conquering heroes but the kids still bumped into each other with down turned eyes and embarrassed grins – and even Dean scratched underneath his left ear – when the crowd burst into another round of spontaneous applause at their arrival.
The kids ran for Dean the moment they saw him and he swaggered back to where Sam and Molly had started laying out their own food – supplementing the town picnic with cheesecake and pies and every other snack Molly had thought to make for Dean and his crew as a reward – with Katie and Jack in each of his arms and Huslu trotting beside him, one hand on Dean's leg. Sometimes his little boy would look up at his brother and just grin like the world was perfect.
It probably was, even though Dean started complaining the moment the kids pushed off of him and ran to Molly for more juice boxes. "I can't believe I got the timing off during 'Iron Man,' Sammy. What the hell is wrong with me?" Dean reached into the cooler, flipped the top off of a beer.
"We're just happy the school's still standing," Sam returned.
"And the fact that you're sporting two hands and both legs," Molly added, leaning up to kiss him briefly before sinking back to her heels. "I'm surprised we didn't see your little torch come out at least once during the show," she added, looking at Dean over her shoulder as she continued to pull things out of the cooler and hand them to Sam.
Dean snorted. "Apparently, there's some kind of fire regulation about that. What you can and can't use as your ignition mechanism." He took a sip of his beer, grin so cocky that Molly snorted herself, and Jack was suddenly pushing up underneath Dean's arm to lean against Dean's chest. "And your goddamn brother Kurt was there the entire time to watch." His voice rose a little, one hand waving for emphasis. "I can't believe you freaking sicced the fire department on me, Molly."
"Did you even read the fire regulations when you planned this thing?" Molly retorted. She looked like she was going to say more, mouth open, but some of Dean's crew had wandered to their blanket with paper plates full of food. "Come on, kids," she said, eyes shining as she smiled at them. "There's plenty of room to sit."
"You guys did an awesome job," Sam added.
"Thanks," a slight blonde girl said, sitting down between two tall boys. She sounded like the voice reminding Dean about the mike. She looked startled when Katie and Huslu sat down in the middle of their group, moving away just enough for Huslu to shake his head with a frown and scoot towards her more than she had originally moved away from him.
"We're big kids," Huslu explained, voice slow and patient with one hand on her arm. "Okay?"
Katie nodded. "Jackie's the baby." She pursed her lips and grinned at Dean. "Right, Daddy?"
"You're the boss, baby girl." Dean winked, taking another swallow of beer. He lifted his head, watching Molly slice one of the pies. "That cherry?" Dean didn't wait for her answer, just twisted his mouth and looked at Sam. "So, uh, Sammy. What did you think? Seriously." He coughed, looking out towards the football field where people had started to mingle with plates of food and drinks in their plastic cups.
"I think you almost gave Mr. Higgins a heart attack by choosing the Hendrix version of 'The Star Spangled Banner' for your finale." Sam shook his head; the old man's wheeze had only gotten wilder during the guitar solo. "But half of the marching band sang both Kansas songs you slipped in and having first dibs at food instead of waiting until the end made them feel better about not playing this year."
"Cool." Dean's voice was soft and he flicked his eyes towards Molly. "Baby?"
"The sound check alone was worth three days," she replied lightly, licking cherry pie filling off her thumb with a grin as their eyes met. Molly started setting the pie in the middle of their food, eyes going wide when Dean grabbed it from her. "Dean!" she hissed over Jack's protesting squawk at being moved.
"You trying to kill me, woman?" Dean snatched up a plastic fork and was already shoveling pie into his mouth as he sat back down on his heels. Jack settled against him like they'd never moved.
"A whole pie?" Molly asked.
"Need to keep my sustenance up," Dean retorted. He raised an eyebrow at her. "A good wife would get me my fried chicken instead of just letting me languish on pie."
"A good wife would tell you to get off your a – " Molly stopped, shaking her head when her gaze settled on the almost identical sets of eyes staring up at her amidst a group of teenage faces. She stood up and brushed off her shorts, reaching a hand out to Dean. "You coming?"
Dean took her hand and pulled her down next to him on the blanket, his answer cut off by Eddie McAllister waving sparklers around his head to get their attention. "You kids want to join the rest of us," he asked, looking down at the kids with a grin that matched his sister's – but Molly was looking at Dean. "Your other cousins are over there." He pointed towards a bunch of kids dancing around with sparklers underneath a tree.
"Okay," Huslu said dubiously, helping Katie stand. They both wobbled, getting their balance. "But do we get real spark'ers?" His son's voice was full of hope, grabbing onto Katie's sleeve. "We're big kids."
Eddie made a face, looking at Molly with a quizzical expression. "Real sparklers?" She shrugged her shoulders and Eddie brought himself down to their eye level. "These are real sparklers, kiddo." He gestured with both of his. "See?" They popped and whizzed in the air, leaving trails of light behind them as they passed.
"Uh-huh," Katie answered.
"Those are wimpy ass spark'ers," Huslu added. "Uncle Dean says they suck."
Dean lowered his head quickly but not before they all saw his unrepentant smirk. "You know, little man," Dean managed, choking around a laugh, "It's not nice to tell Eddie that his sparklers suck. Suck is a bad word." He snorted when Sam coughed once, a warning. "Huslu's been picking up some bad habits, Sammy. If you didn't go around saying wimpy ass so much, the kid wouldn't think suck was acceptable in polite company."
Molly leaned her head up against his Dean's shoulder as she laughed. Poor Eddie looked almost as confused as Huslu, who suddenly shrugged his shoulders after blinking at Dean and grabbed Katie by the hand, and the poor kids from the school just sat there eating their fried chicken as fast as they could and not saying a word – especially when Katie and Huslu started chanting 'wimpy ass' together and doing a shuffling little dance around the edge of the blanket.
Sam raised his eyebrows when Dean cocked another grin in his direction, but Sam's retort caught short when Dean suddenly tightened his arm around Jack and a smile flickered across Dean's face when Katie stopped in the midst of her dance to throw her arms across her parents' shoulders and rest her head between theirs. Sam blinked, closing his eyes just long enough to remember that night when Dad made sure they played with their own 'spark'ers,' full of so many marshmallows and watermelon that they fell asleep to the lull of the Impala as it rolled along the highway.
Dad had that same smile on his face when Sam sleepily raised his head from Dean's shoulder and snuggled back underneath Dad's jacket to stay warm.
The title of this piece is a song lyric from "Rock of Ages" by Def Leppard.
"Little Man" is actually the nickname my friend T uses with his son. It makes me all squee to hear it – he really treats A like a person and it's lovely to see in action. So I co-opted it for Sam to use with Huslu in this story.
"Dream a Little Dream" was an homage to the lovely Misskatieleigh. I'm not sure if there's a Ramones' cover of it, actually…but, damn it, there should be. It'd kick ass. And Dean would so play that version for a kid. Anything else would be the mark of a philistine. The ending, likewise, is for her.