March 3, 2000
"I still can't believe Dad left us here," Dean complained. "What are we supposed to do in Moab for two days?"
Sam shrugged. "We could rent some bikes and ride around."
Dean burst out laughing. "Good one, Sammy."
Sam raised an eyebrow.
"What, you're serious?"
"Moab has some of the most famous bike trails in the world. Slickrock, Baby Steps, Bar-M Loop...what?" he asked, exasperated, at Dean's expression.
"There's something seriously freakish about you."
Sam ignored that. "It might be fun. I haven't been on a bike since, what, middle school? And I can't remember the last time I saw you on one."
"You never did."
"Dean, come on." It wasn't so much that Sam really wanted to ride a bike, but that Dean was being so stubborn. Sam was contrary like that sometimes.
"No, I'm serious. I can't ride a bike."
Sam rolled his eyes. "You can be cool and ride a bike."
Dean rolled his eyes. "No, goofus, I mean, I don't know how."
Well. Sam hadn't expected that. "What?"
"You heard me."
"But--you taught me."
"Sammy, how much skill does it take to hold onto a bike and run next to it?"
"You told me it wasn't hard. I remember--you told me I learned faster than you did!"
"Technically not a lie," Dean pointed out. "Come on, Sammy, think about it. When could Dad have had the time to teach me?"
You found the time for me, Sam thought, but knew better than to say it. "Yeah, fine."
But he was more determined than ever to get out of this life, before he was able to rationalize away not teaching a kid to ride a bike.
April 17, 1991
They'd watched this kid all afternoon. She just couldn't quite get it. Her dad would let go of the bike, and she'd coast along just fine for a few feet, but then she'd realize that he wasn't holding on, panic, and crash. This time, she started to cry. "I can't do it!"
"Sammi," the man said, and both Dean and Sammy started. "Yes, you can. You begged for this bike, and you hate the training wheels."
"But it keeps wobbling! You didn't tell me it would wobble!" Sammi accused her father.
"I guess I didn't," her father admitted.
"It only wobbles when I try by myself. If you hold on, it's okay."
"Sammi, would you really want me running after you, holding on to your bike every time you want to ride with your friends?" Her father helped her to her feet. "Let's try it again."
And this time, she did it. Her father let go and jogged alongside her. Sammi shrieked, but kept her balance, when she glanced over and realized she was riding solo. They went all the way around the park before Sammi braked and jumped into his arms. "I did it, Daddy!"
"I knew you could. Come on, let's go back home and get Mommy. We can all ride our bikes to Dairy Queen."
Her face just lit up at that, and they left the park.
Dean didn't have to look at Sammy to know what his little brother was thinking.
He swung off the monkey bars. "Come on, Sammy, I'll push you on the swings. We'll do underdogs."
"Really?" Sammy jumped to his feet and grinned. "You hate doing underdogs."
"Yeah, well, I'm feeling generous. Just don't kick me this time."
Sammy protested at the accusation, but Dean tuned him out and pushed and ran until he collapsed on the ground.
Sammy jumped off while the swing was still at it's highest--Dean'd half-heartedly told him he shouldn't do that, but he always did--and landed next to him. "Thanks, Dean."
"Next time, it's your turn to underdog me," Dean answered.
Sammy grinned and held out a hand to help Dean up. "Let's ask Daddy if we can go to Little Caesar's tonight. Pizza! Pizza!"
"Better save that for your birthday, "Dean advised. "It's only two weeks away, and Dad probably take us to a restaurant twice this month."
Sammy frowned as he pondered that. "Well, but that's not a very birthdayish present. Like, a bike is a good birthday present. Dean, wouldn't it be great to have a bike? I mean, of course we couldn't take it with us when we leave, but if for now, I could ride a bike to school, that would be so cool. Some other kids ride their bikes, and they get to lock them outside the school." Sammy's face fell a bit. "But I'd have to have one with training wheels, and only kindergarten babies have training wheels. So maybe I'll get pizza instead."
Dean glanced sideways at his brother as they walked and made a plan. There were all sorts of reasons it was a dumb idea, but the one reason it was a good idea outweighed those.
So when John left that night, Dean woke Sammy up and told him to get dressed.
Sammy was excited, of course. "Where are we going, Dean? With Daddy?"
"No, and you can't tell Dad about this. Not ever. You promise?"
"No, do you promise?"
"Yes, I promise."
"Okay." Dean took Sammy outside and to the park, where the bike he'd "borrowed" was hidden in the bushes. "Let's learn how to ride a bike. It's easy. Even a girl Sammi can do it."
October 31, 1983
"John, he's only four," Mary protested. "He's too young for a two-wheeler."
"Mary, he's been asking for one, and he'll be five in January. Come on, think of his face on Christmas when he sees it," John wheedled.
Mary thought of it. John could tell because of the little smile that touched the corner of her mouth. "He can't really ride it until spring..." she mused.
The great thing about a big, unfinished basement--like the one in their house--was that if you were a small child on a bicycle, you could ride in all sorts of weather, even during a Kansas winter. But John would feed that line to Dean after Christmas. First, he had to secure the bicycle purchase.
"We've been telling Dean he's a big boy now and has to help you take care of Sammy," John said. "So when those 'big kids' go by on their bikes, Dean's ashamed of his training wheels."
"We shouldn't even be talking about Christmas yet," Mary pointed out. "We just got back from trick-or-treating."
"One of my buddies has a bike that his kid's outgrown. They're moving in two weeks, so if we want it, we can have it cheap," John explained.
"It would be good for Dean," Mary conceded. "Sometimes, he's a little too dependent on me. Let's let him stand on his own two feet--or wheels, I guess."
John grinned. "He'll be out of town until the 3rd. I'll tell him we'll take it."