Title: Dirty Tactics
Rating: Gen, PG for some mild language, humour
Word count: 1460
Prompt: From Rinne - Something going terribly wrong resulting in a lot of laughter for Dean and John (when Sam's away at Stanford) There's not anything going wrong here, but there is laughter and I added some mud. :)
Summary: An obstacle course, a bet and two guys playing dirty.
Beta: Thanks to Shannon for the beta
The bolt cutters made swift work of the fence and two figures slipped through it, keeping to the shadow at the edges of the spotlights and moving as one. They moved swiftly across the abandoned army base toward the assault course and the monkey bars. This part of the course was mostly cloaked in darkness and they pulled out flashlights, carefully looking over the wooden contraption and the mud below.
"Uggh!" Dean curled his lip and raised an eyebrow. "Why couldn't he have died in the barracks?"
John's huffed laughter was a low sound, deep in his throat. "Don't be such a pansy, Dean."
They got to work with shovels and hands, dredging through the mud until they found what they were looking for. Both stood, cold and muddy and wet, shuddering beside the small pile of bones as the salt and fire consumed them.
"Takes me back to my training days."
"Is that right… back in the good old days, huh."
"Dean." There was a warning tone in John's voice, but it was tempered by humour.
"I bet I could do it faster," Dean mumbled.
"Oh, yeah. What do you bet?"
"Seriously? Okay, first shower when we get back."
Leaving the bones to burn, John pointed with his flashlight, highlighting parts of the half-lit course as he spoke.
"Start at the monkey bars, across the catwalk, under the barbed wire and over the gates. It's too dark for the balance, so we'll finish with the wall. First one over the wall gets first shower, loser has to buy breakfast in the morning."
Dean nodded, his eyes gleaming cat-like in the firelight as he burned the suggested course into his mind. A couple of the spotlights were still working, their dirty bulbs giving just enough light that they should be able to do this without too much risk of breaking their necks.
John's smile was predatory while Dean's was a confident smirk, father and son each attempting to psych the other out as they made their way to their designated start point.
"On three. One, two," Both John and Dean were off and heading up the ramps to the monkey bars well before the count of three. "Cheater," John called.
"Damn straight. You can talk, old man," Dean threw back.
John swung out onto the monkey bars, feeling the pleasant burn of shoulders and biceps as he quickly found his rhythm. Swinging with his whole body, he used the momentum to carry him to the next rung with the least effort. Grab, release, grab, release. He swung off the end and hit the off-ramp at a run, adrenaline pumping. Behind him, Dean's boots hit the matching ramp to his left just a few steps behind.
They raced for the catwalk, elbows, hips and shoulders bumping and pushing. John had always taught Dean to play dirty and the two of them were well matched – John's experience versus Dean's younger body. Just before the catwalk, John got in a good jab, sending Dean stumbling just enough to give John the lead as he paced himself up the ramp, footsteps careful now even as he hurried up the narrow wooden walkway.
John carefully kept his eyes on the catwalk about a metre ahead of him, arms out comfortably for balance and kept a constant pace so as not to trip on the cross boards. If he looked straight down, he'd open himself up to vertigo. In the corner of his vision, he could see Dean doing the same thing a few metres to his left. The boy was good and John smiled. He should be good after the way John had trained him.
"That was dirty, Dad. Just you watch it."
John ignored Dean's taunts as he hit the down ramp and concentrated on not tripping as he took it at a run, letting his momentum carry him to the bottom. He hit the ground running and felt the impact jar through his whole body. The first few steps were painful, before he managed to find his stride. Suddenly Dean was right beside him again, this time not jostling with his old man, but sprinting on ahead. John growled and pushed himself to keep up, grabbing the back of Dean's sweatshirt and yanking backwards.
"No, you don't, son."
Dean huffed in exasperation, spinning about and bringing his arms down in an attempt to break John's hold, and then they were wrestling on the ground, both laughing as each tried to pin the other down.
"You know, Dad, this won't gain you anything. We still gotta do the rest of the course unless you want to admit defeat."
"Oh, yeah?" John finally had Dean pinned beneath him, his heavier bulk giving him the advantage, as Dean gave up and lay still waiting for John's next move. "It'll gain me something."
With that John was up and running, sliding to his belly to scramble through the mud and under the barbed wire in a well-practiced army crawl, before Dean was even off the ground. The boy was cussing fluently enough to put some of John's old Marine Corp buddies to shame and John laughed low, before barking out a "Manners, Dean."
"Yes, Sir Colonel Cheat-a-lot, Sir!" came the sarcastic reply, followed by several more curses as Dean snagged his shirt on some wire.
John made it out of the barbed wire, and scrambled to his feet, feeling the wet mud caking to his skin and clothes. "Come on, Dean. You gonna let your old man beatcha?"
"Truth hurts, Dean."
"That's it. You're going down."
John was already at the first of the gates and he vaulted over, feeling the extra weight of the muddy clothes in the burn of his thighs as he leapt. He had to keep moving. Dean was faster than his old man, speed his main advantage, and John wasn't under any illusion that he'd gained enough time with his little stunt to win. He could already taste metallic fatigue at the back of his throat, but there were only two more gates and a wall and John was anything but a quitter.
From behind him, John heard Dean hit the first gate, a loose board making a loud crack in the still night. As John vaulted the second gate, Dean was catching up, and they hit the third gate only moments apart.
"Give up, Dad. The hot water is mine!"
John kept running, rather than waste his breath on a quippy comeback. Then they were both at the wall, John still just in the lead. The wall, outside of the reach of the spotlights, was completely in the dark and John scrambled up, finding handholds by touch alone. He felt the hand clamp down on his ankle and clung tighter with his fingers, securing his position, before he kicked out. There was a grunt from Dean as he hit his mark. A few moments later and the hand was back, this time higher up his leg as Dean gained on him. Dean was pulling his way up, using John as a useful hand hold, the little bastard, and this time John couldn't shake him off.
"Not bad, Dean."
"I learnt from the best."
John struggled a little higher, pulling against Dean's bulk, until one hand made the top of the wall and he was sure he had a good strong hold. Then he waited for Dean to catch up. A quick strike out with his elbow and he hit Dean's shoulder. As Dean scrambled to resecure his hold, John pulled himself over the top and dropped down the other side, landing in a crouch. He let out a whoop of triumph!
A few moments later Dean dropped to the ground beside him.
"Oh, I am going to enjoy that hot water tonight."
Dean mumbled something.
"What was that, Dean?"
John loosed a warm chuckle and knuckled Dean's hair. "Da-aad!"
"Come on, let's get the gear."
Dean padded after John as they headed back for the gear. The burnt bones were just ash now, their duffle bag marking the otherwise indistinctive spot where they'd previously been. John slung the duffle over his shoulder, well aware he was going to be in a world of aching muscles come morning.
"Last one to the car's a rotten egg." Dean dashed off, as John chuckled following at a more sedate pace.
"What's wrong, Dad? Too tired?"
John just laughed harder, making Dean pout in a way that was all show, no real hard feelings. They walked the rest of the way shoulder to shoulder, pushing and shoving congenially all the way back to the car.
Yep, he was sure going to enjoy that shower.