Title: Questions and Half-Truths
Summary: For young Sam and Dean, it's a home with a family that loves them. It's just not with their father. AU.
Spoilers: Lots of spoilers for 4.03, including two of the main characters.
Warnings: There is a character who is not pleased with a certain John Winchester, so very mild character bashing.
Author's Notes: Dean's in 7th grade and Sam's in 4th, so they're about 12/13 and 8/9 respectively. Questions, comments, reactions and reviews are greatly appreciated.
"Grandma! Grandma, guess what I did!"
Deanna turned from the stove to raise an eyebrow at her eldest grandson. "Shoes."
Dean quickly toed off his baseball cleats by the door and rubbed his feet against the carpet as his grandfather followed suit. "But Grandma, I hit a home run at practice today! It was awesome!"
"He also struck out two of his teammates. Knew the boy'd get my pitching arm," Samuel said, ruffling his hair.
"That's great, Dean!" Sam said as he continued stirring a large bowl of whipping cream.
Smiling at her boy, Deanna wiped her hands on her apron. "Well, I'm very proud of you. Now, why don't you and Grandpa go wash up. Sammy and I are almost done with dinner."
Smirking, Dean peered into the bowl. "Of course Sam would be doing the girl's work."
"Hey!" Sam glared at his brother as his grandfather pushed Dean's baseball cap down in front of his eyes.
"Go do what your grandmother said. Upstairs to the showers!"
"Quick, but thorough," Deanna said, giving him a look.
Dean sighed. "Yeah, yeah, I'm going." The sound of heavy feet echoed up the stairs as Samuel kissed his wife on the cheek and said, "I'm guessing that it's time for the 'men and women are equals' talk?"
She rested her head on his shoulder briefly, a sad smile on her face. "You were the one who always wanted a son."
"Yeah…yeah…" Samuel gave her a lingering, one-armed hug before gently pulling away. "I'm gonna go clean up too. It's amazing how dirty you can get just picking up a boy from the baseball field." As he headed towards the downstairs bathroom, he placed a light, loving hand on Sam's shoulder. "Lookin' good there, Sammy. I can't help but hope that whipped cream is for some of your gran's cobbler, can I?"
Sam gave a sly smile. "Maybe…"
Laughing, Deanna said, "Go on now or I'll never get this chicken done and we won't even get to dessert!" As Samuel retreated, she smoothed Sam's long bangs from his face, making a mental note to give him a trim this weekend. "You know your brother was only playing, right? Men cook just as much as women."
"Oh, I know. Dean's just not enlightened like the rest of us."
This statement shocked Deanna so much that for a moment she could only stare at her youngest grandson before laughing so hard that tears ran down her face. Wiping them away and still wearing a grin, she muttered, "Out of the mouths of babes…" She then placed a kiss on the top of his head. "I love you, Sammy."
He grinned at her, 1000-watt smile and those adorable dimples in full effect. "I love you too, Grandma."
Half an hour later, they were all settled around the dining room table eating when the phone rang. "Uh uh," Deanna warned her husband as he started to push away from the table. "Not during dinner."
"If it's that important, it can wait. This is family time. And Dean, stop inhaling your food. Chew, then swallow."
Dean swallowed, then chugged a quarter of his milk. "Sorry. I'm just hungry and it's really good."
"Sammy and I made plenty. No one's gonna take it away from you." She shook her head, smiling lightly. "I swear, it's a good thing both of you don't have practice every day, you'd eat us out of house and home."
Samuel smirked at his wife. "Just wait until they're doing soccer during the summer."
"Especially since I'm gonna be on Dean's team this year!" Sammy said.
"You wish," Dean said, huffing a laugh.
"Coach said he would see how good I was! You're just afraid I'm gonna beat you."
Dean opened his mouth full of green beans to retort, but Deanna cut him off. "There is to be no arguing at the table. Cut it out and eat your dinner. Dean, please pass the potatoes."
The phone rang again as Dean passed the large bowl over to her. Samuel gave her a concerned look. "If it wasn't important…"
"Then it'll still be as important after dinner."
He nodded and they fell into a companionable silence until it was interrupted again by a third call. Samuel sent her a pleading look and she pushed back from her place. "I'll get it. You boys finish eating. Don't stuff yourselves too full though, that peach cobbler certainly isn't going to eat itself."
The three boys all looked at each other with delight as she picked up the corded phone from the receiver in the kitchen. "Hello, Campbell residence. Oh…hello, John."
Dean and Sam looked at her with excitement written all over their face. "Dad?" Dean insisted, suddenly kicking his chair with fervor as Sam bounced in his seat. "Can we talk to him?"
Deanna seemed to ignore the question as she said, "Well, we're eating dinner right now… Mmmhmmm… And you can't call back in ten minutes? Hmmm… Well, alright, don't take too long. Okay. Okay." Covering up the mouthpiece, she gestured to Dean. "C'mon, then."
"Yes!" he cried as she practically leapt off his chair, running into the kitchen to grab the phone from her. "Hey, Dad! Yeah, yeah, I'm good! I'm starting pitcher on the baseball team now. Grandpa's helping me too. Oh, yeah, and Sammy doesn't suck too bad. But we might make it to the playoffs!"
Reclaiming her seat, Deanna forced a smile at her husband. "And look, he's only three days late with this call… It's nice to see him improving." Samuel just shook his head lightly and nodded in Sammy's direction, though the younger boy didn't seem to notice the way he was raptly watching his big brother.
Suddenly, there was a sharp shift in Dean's tone. "Yes, sir. No, of course. I'm listening to them really well. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. I'm watching out for Sammy the best I can, really. Alright, sir. Okay." He paused, then whispered into the phone. "Love you, Dad." Without waiting for an answer, he held it out to his younger brother. "Your turn, Sam."
The small boy ran over, grabbing the receiver from his big brother. "Hi, Dad! Guess what! I made the honor roll! I got all A's on my report card and Grandma said we could do something fun to celebrate and there's gonna be a ceremony at school and all the parents are supposed to come. It's next week and it's gonna be fun and Brian told me that they usually give out cupcakes too!"
Deanna raised her water glass, sipping slowly as she willed it not to shake in her grasp. Sighing lightly, Samuel reached across the table and took her free hand, holding it softly.
"Yeah…that's okay, Dad. They need help too. But you know, if you happened to pass by, I'm sure Grandma could tell you all about it. Okay, okay, I'll put her on. Alright, talk to you in a few days, Dad. Bye."
"I'll get it," Samuel said quietly, then raised his wife's hands to his lips in a light kiss. "Just enjoy your dinner."
As Samuel talked with John on the phone, the rest of the Wincesters and Campbells ate in silence, each replaying the conversation they had in their head. Deanna was startled when Samuel placed his hands on her shoulders, kneading in the tight muscles. "So…cobbler?"
Her eyes were filled with relief and love as she looked up at him, placing a hand softly on top of his. "Cobbler."
Dean had just finished his reading for social studies when Sam came into his room that night and sat on the bed, dressed in his truck pajamas. "Hey, Dean? Can I ask you something?"
"Yeah, whatever," he said, putting his books away in his bag so that he wouldn't have to hear Grandma yelling at him in the morning that he was going to miss the bus because his things weren't together.
"Why doesn't Grandma like Dad?"
Turning in his desk chair, he frowned at his little brother. "What are you talking about? Of course she likes him."
Sam shook his head slowly. "I don't think she does."
"Now that you're on the honor roll, you think you're so smart, huh? Okay, why doesn't she like Dad?"
"I dunno…" He shrugged. "It's just…after he calls, she and Grandpa always talk in these quiet voices like they don't want us to hear."
"Grown ups talk like that all the time, dummy."
"Yeah, but she always does it after he calls. And, well…" Sammy ran a hand through his hair, still wet from his bath. "When he does show up—"
"Sam, you know Dad's busy!"
He put his hands out in an attempt to calm his brother. "I know, Dean… I know, I'm just saying! When he's here, she always uses that…that voice."
Dean raised an eyebrow, crossing his arms over his chest. "Now you're just making things up. What voice?"
"The voice where she's really angry, but she doesn't want to yell. The same voice she used when Grandpa was showing us how to clean knives and you had to get stitches."
Scowling, Dean shoved his pencil case into his bag. "Whatever. You don't know what you're talking about. You've just got a…" He tried to recall what his teacher had written on his story about the ghosts and how to kill them. "An overactive imagination."
Sam was silent for a minute as Dean packed up his stuff. "I like it when Dad's here, even if Grandma does almost yell."
"Yeah…yeah, me too." Faking a yawn, Dean stretched his arms over his head. "Look, I'm really wiped, I'm gonna go to sleep."
Getting up quickly, Sam nodded and let Dean climb into his head. "Okay, Dean. Night."
He quickly pulled the baseball cover up towards his ears, remembering where his flashlight and book of ghost stories was so he could read after Grandma came to tuck him in. "Night."
"Can…can I sleep in here with you tonight?"
Dean opened his eyes to see his brother standing there in the middle of the room, looking really small for someone who grew so fast. "…sure, Sammy." He scooted towards the wall as Sam crawled in underneath the blanket, curling up beneath his big brother's arm.
A sudden wave of exhaustion hit Dean and he decided he'd just skip the reading tonight, curling closer towards his brother after Sam turned out the light. They laid there in silence for a minute before Sam said, "Dean? You know, I was thinkin'… Maybe Dad will get to come to my ceremony and your game and it's a surprise and Grandma didn't want him to let it out and that's why she seemed to mad at him. You think?"
"I mean, it could happen, right? Dad just wants to surprise us?"
Dean hugged his baby brother closer. "Sure, Sammy. Sure."