Title: Outside of Society
Author: Blood White Panther (aka whitepanther16)
Rating/Warnings: This has an M (or R) rating for mature themes, future sexual content, denial, and underage incest and slash themes. As I stated in my profile, I believe that fictional gay incest is hot. If this concept offends you in any way or makes you uncomfortable, please do not read any further. This has not been beta-ed.
Notes: This is a 'John finds out' fic.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything that is recognizable from the Supernatural verse, and I'm not making any money off of this.
Chapter 1 – John Worries
John always worried a little about how he was raising the boys outside of society's rules. They never stayed more than a few months in any town, so his sons never had a chance to develop proper relationships with other children. He didn't like forcing Dean into a constant sitter role and he worried a little that Dean usually didn't mind. And then there was Sammy. Sam idolized his big brother to the point of hero worship. He almost seemed to consider Dean his property and attempted to be the centre of his every thought. They were eleven and seven and Dean still allowed Sam to cuddle with him for crying out loud. Dean indulged Sam's childlike behaviours to a point of ridiculousness and most often ended up avoiding kids his own age distrustfully even when he had an opportunity to interact with them. And so John worried a little about whether or not his boys were learning proper boundaries and appropriate behaviours. He worried about whether or not they were learning how to pick up on social norms and imperatives. Basically, he worried that he might not be raising Mary's babies properly. He never regretted the training he put them through or the hunting he himself was learning, but he did worry just a little about the lack of stability he was providing for his sons.
When Dean turned twelve, John moved Sam to his bed instead of Dean's and had a highly awkward talk with his eldest about puberty and the way a boy's body works. They both blushed tomato red and Dean muttered things like "I know that already" and "Oh God, please, please stop talking" but, overall, John felt it went as well as could be expected. Dean had started taking an interest in girls—chicks, as he somewhat disrespectfully referred to them—so John worried a little less about him. John watched with infinite relief as Dean hit puberty and spent more and more time brushing off Sam to sneak off and play tonsil hockey like any normal older brother should. He felt a little guilty for his relief when he overheard Sammy sniffling at night or caught him pouting after Dean had taken off somewhere with one of his girls. It was good, though, John told himself. Dean was spending time with kids his own age and it was consequently forcing Sam to grow up a little and seek out other companionship. For a few blessed years he only had the usual parental concerns to worry about: was Dean skipping school, was Sam happy hanging out with the nerdy crowd, and just how far was Dean taking things with all his girls.
When John began to catch Dean behind every convenience store or in the back of every diner wrapped around another waitress with his hand up her skirt or even, occasionally, with his hands down the very male gas attendant's pants he sighed and decided it was time for another talk about safe sex. He wasn't completely sure Dean had been around in any one school long enough to get the health class version of sex ed. That talk had been considerably worse than the first one and Dean had seemed incredibly horrified at how blind his father wasn't. Well, good. Maybe the stupid, sex-crazed teenager would learn a little self-control, or at least some discretion.
When Sam was nearly thirteen (Dean was about sixteen by then), John and the boys started drawing straws between the two beds and either a cot or the floor. He glossed over The Talk with Sam, deciding instead to give him a pilfered library book about the subject. He knew his little rebel bookworm of a son would pay very little attention to what he had to say, but would eat up every word in an actual book. Sam had always been somewhat reclusive, but now he holed up alone to read more than he talked to his fellow nerds or even Dean. He'd been hitting a fair few growth spurts lately and John thought with a smile that his youngest might just end up taller than either him or Dean. God knows the boy ate ravenously and his hands and feet were more than big enough: his son was like a large puppy in those respects, still growing into his paws. John had finally begun to relax, sure Dean was a little hormonal and Sam was a little withdrawn, but these were normal worries. He finally decided his boys were, despite all his blundering, going to turn out all right.
And then Sam's voice began to change.
Dean had already been rather resentful about the whole idea of Sam catching up to him in height, but this newest development seemed to be the last straw. John watched worriedly as his eldest began to withdraw into himself. He was angry all the time now, and though he still took John's orders, he didn't talk any more that he had to talk. It was all "yes, sir" and "no, sir" and the girls seemed to let up quite significantly. Even worse was how he was treating his Sammy. Gone were the days of indulging his kid brother. The atmosphere around them now was tense and competitive, almost as if Dean now viewed his brother as a threat. He was gruff and irritable with his baby brother and immediately shrugged off even the slightest physical contact. Even worse, John was pretty sure that Sammy the introvert was taking this idiotic display of testosterone to heart. When John tried to approach Dean about his need for an attitude adjustment, the boy was defensive and curt.
And then it happened.
John and Dean were up researching a new case and fourteen-year-old Sammy was fast asleep in the bed across the room when his youngest got a little restless. John ignored the tossing around and the moaning as best he could, but Dean seemed a little spooked. While John was red and twitchy, Dean was white as a sheet. John tried a little to ease the tension in the air.
"Come on, son, we all have dreams like that. Just ignore him for now and you can rib him about it in the morning, alright?" Dean did his utmost to comply, throwing himself into a nearby tome on swamp monsters and John did likewise. After a few minutes Sam started mumbling. Dean seemed ready to bolt into the night and right into traffic and John swallowed and carried on a one-sided, overly loud conversation to block out the sounds. Maybe he should start getting them separate rooms? And then the worst happened. Sam was arching up and calling out a soft "Dean" before falling deeper into sleep. Dean's head whipped around so fast he almost fell over. He dropped the book in his hands. If possible, he was even whiter now and he seemed slightly nauseous. John could agree with him there, but he valiantly attempted to hold onto his reason.
"I'm sure it was nothing. People have strange dreams." Dean turned to stare at him rather desperately, like a skittish horse.
"You were there getting in the way of his dream girl. You guys are so competitive lately." John sounded firm and slightly chastising and confident in his belief and after a few minutes, he even believed it himself. Dean seemed to relax slightly as he latched onto this theory with all the desperation of a drowning man.
"Y-yeah. Stupid Sam's always been a little insecure. He thinks I'm his competition. You know, actually, I think there was a Deanna in Sam's class a few towns back." His voice was a little shaky, but John ignored it all in favour of diving back into his research. The next time Sammy had a dream, John went for a walk and Dean pretended to have fallen asleep. At this point John was concerned about the battles between his sons, but he was certain that's all it was. Just a rather extreme case of sibling rivalry. Or maybe a case of mistaken identity. After all, it couldn't be anything else.
Sam was more distant than ever and John often heard him crying softly in the middle of the night. John's subconscious was developing a theory, but his conscious mind was actively repressing it. He managed to exist in denial for a couple of months, right up until he woke up one night and caught Dean masturbating and whimpering out the odd guilty sort of "Sammy" into the almost blackness. John was using the term "caught" rather loosely here. He heard it. He even saw it a little bit. Like the coward he'd never been before, he did absolutely nothing about it. Afterwards he watched secretly as Dean broke down into a stricken sort of sobbing. He kept mumbling things like "God, I'm sorry" and "Sick, so sick" into his pillow until John's heart was broken enough to pretend he was fast asleep.
John was more than slightly horrified, but he trusted Dean not to act on it. No, Dean was so guilty and quiet and sickly for the next few weeks that John was certain Dean would die before he touched his brother like that. John thought about confronting Dean, but as much as the desires of his eldest turned his stomach, he didn't want his son to go and kill himself or something. It was all John's fault somehow anyway. Something about keeping them on the road all the time, isolating them and telling them not to trust anyone but each other. Something about forcing them to live in the same bedroom through puberty. And something about encouraging Dean to look out for his baby brother to the point of making him his whole world.
So John was guilty and worried and quiet and cowardly. He watched Dean alternate between desperation, self loathing, anger, depression—and this was the kicker—shining, heartfelt adoration. He was blowing hot and cold like an active volcano in the Arctic Circle and John knew how confused and off-balance it was making Sam. John started watching Sam a Hell of a lot more closely to see if he was picking up on any of it. He wasn't. In fact, most of the time, he seemed to think Dean hated him. John listened at night as his sons took turns crying. Whenever one of them was asleep and John was presumed so as well, the other one was openly miserable (Yes, Dean was miserable even when he was getting himself off in the most twisted way. Maybe especially when he broke down and did that.) and John felt helpless. His eldest was lusting after his youngest and hated himself for it. His youngest was confused between the periods of doting affection and cold disregard and thought his brother hated him or something. And all of it was likely John's own fault.
Sam was just sixteen and Dean was twenty when John had left them alone to go on just another overnight hunt—some kind of ghoul. This wasn't just any old hunt, though. As it turns out, it was the event that changed his world, turned it upside down again and forced him to face up to a few horribly uncomfortable secrets. It was late and John was tired. As he approached the motel room, he noticed the curtains were open and he'd just resolved to chastise Dean about the slip when he heard the shouting. John drew nearer, he couldn't make out the words so, like an intruder in his own room, he crouched and pressed his ear against the door. If he angled his head just so, he could even see inside the window while he listened.
Sam was furious. He was confronting Dean about his latest brush-off, it seemed. Dean looked so scared that John's heart clenched for him. Sam was loudly telling his older brother not to "pull this shit anymore" and to just "tell him what he was doing wrong". John watched as Dean swallowed and said it wasn't anything. His eldest was backing up until his back hit the wall, but Sam, in his tirade was following him. And then he did something unexpected. Little Sammy launched himself at Dean, and with the element of surprise and his new height advantage he pinned Dean between the wall and a nightstand. He was close—in Dean's breathing space—and he wasn't taking Dean's excuses. He forced Dean to look at him and then the sadness was almost overflowing from their eyes.
John blinked at the raw sort of emotion and waited for the shit to hit the fan. Sam clenched his fist and said, "I know, Dean, alright? I know." Dean was visibly trembling and John's stomach clenched as he waited for his family to break apart. Sam was going to slug Dean. "God, Dean, I—" he stuttered brokenly. His fist clenched.
And then he didn't.
John watched helplessly as Sam's fist moved to clench into fabric of Dean's shirt. Before either of the older Winchesters could react, Sam whimpered, leaned in and desperately kissed Dean.
With sudden clarity John remembered Sam's wet dream. No, Dean wasn't going to be the problem. Sam had always been the one for confrontations. John's stomach clenched and turned and his head spun, but as he stood up to do something drastic, Dean shoved Sam halfway across the room. John watched speechless. Dean's eyes were red and he was still shaking.
"I can't, Sam. God, I— I just can't, alright?" Dean appeared sickened and guilty and afraid to John's eyes, but Sam only seemed confused. His eyes flashed.
"Dean, we—" And then Dean was springing into action, fists clenched and stepping to within a few feet of his Sammy.
"No, Sam! No, I can't, I won't. I can't take advantage of you like that, I just can't!"
"It wouldn't be—" John couldn't see Sam's face anymore, but he sounded both stubborn and about to cry. A brief flash of Sammy's puppy eyes drifted through his mind.
"Look, Sam, you're just a kid. You're confused, is all. It's my fault, I'm sick and I fucked you up somehow—"
"But—" Sam hiccupped.
Dean reached out and stroked Sam's cheek.
"Shh, look, it's my fault."
"Dean," Sam whispered, sounding completely lost. "Dean, I think I love you." Dean flinched and looked away. John's breath hitched. Things fell into place.
"I can't do it, Sam. I can't betray you like that. I can't betray Dad like that." He continued to stroke Sam's cheek. "I'm supposed to be the one to look out for you. My earliest memories, besides Mom, are about keeping you safe." Without warning, Dean wrapped Sam in a tight hug and just as quickly headed for the door. John watched dumbly as Dean gave up the one thing he wanted more than his own life. Sam, still facing away from the window, sank to his knees on the ground. John watched his sons breaking, his family falling apart. He stood at the window, numbly, and then Dean was coming through the door. He was crying, his eyes clenched shut as he forced his arm through the sleeve of his leather jacket. Blindly, he crashed into John's chest.
This was the true test. What was John willing to give up to keep his family together, to see his sons happy? Surprisingly, it wasn't really a decision. Dean gasped in shock and tried to back away, mumbling an apology, but John's arms were already wrapping around his first baby boy.
"Shh, Dean, it's me, it's alright." Dean started and began a panicked struggle when he realised who was standing in front of him, but John held him in a vice grip of a hug. After a moment, Dean slumped against his chest and cried his heart out in hot tears.
"Shh, shh, Deano, it's fine, it's okay. It's going to be alright."
"God, Dad, you have no idea, you, you d-don't understand, I—" John stroked Dean's back comfortingly. He hesitated, unsure how much to disclose, but Dean trembled like his world was ending and John steeled himself.
"You left the curtains open." Dean stiffened in horror. He wasn't even breathing. John kept rubbing his son's back and continued in a soothing voice. "I'm not oblivious, I'm a hunter, Dean. Figuring out people's dark secrets is what I do for a living." He paused and swallowed. "We heard that dream, remember. And you of all people should know I'm not always asleep when people think I am." Dean let out his breath in a big, hiccupping gasp and started shaking rather violently. John hugged him tighter.
"You love him, Dean." It wasn't really a question, but Dean was nodding morosely against John's chest.
"Y-yeah." John braced himself as courageously as possible. He knew Dean was doing the same thing, just waiting for John to disown him, beat him, throw him out of their lives. He set his jaw.
"It's not so bad as all that." and Dean was shaking and crying and laughing somewhat hysterically, burying his face into John's chest. 'It's not so bad as all that,' John told himself.
They were sitting on the sidewalk and John wasn't exactly sure when they'd sat down or how long they'd been out there. Overall, he felt lighter than he had in years. Their family wasn't going to fall apart. He was starting to get a little concerned about Sammy, though. He took a deep breath.
"Listen, Dean, I know you've never touched him. And just now, I saw what you were willing to give up to protect him. But you love each other. I've seen all the ways you look at him, the way he looks at you like you're his whole world. This isn't just going to go away…" Dean twisted around under father's arm to look at his face.
"I know that, Dad. What are you saying, exactly?" John sighed. He'd already made up his mind anyway. Now he just needed the balls to put it out there.
"I'm saying… Dean, I'm saying that you just broke both my sons' hearts in there," Dean hung his head, "and, and I want you to go and fix it, okay?" Dean's incredulous, hopeful eyes wandered up to meet John serious ones.
"Dad—" John hugged him one more time, pulled them both to their feet, and gave Dean a little push back towards the room. Through the window he noticed Sammy was still on his knees in the middle of the room, probably crying. He met Dean's questioning, disbelieving gaze and nodded decisively.
"I'm going for some coffee at the diner across the street." He paused and then nodded again. "I'll be gone for an hour." Dean swallowed nervously, still a little disbelievingly.
"Show him that you love him, o-okay?" John swallowed and quickly turned away before he could change his mind and tell them both they were supposed to be two and six forever. He started away, but after a second, he turned back. One more thing needed to be said.
"I want you to be happy, both of you, but so help me, Dean… If you hurt each other over this I'll kick both your asses." They met each other's gazes, measuring each other. Dean raised his chin and nodded.