He's Always There
Disclaimer: Still don't own
This story is writen for K Hanna Korossy's Fan Fic auction and is dedicated to Sylia91 for her generosity in helping a fellow fan fic writer. The auction raised over $1600
Summary: Dean's always there whenever Sam and John need him. Sylia91 requested a fic about how John and Sam would cope without Dean as a buffer. This is not a death fic, and Dean's still in it plenty. TeenChester, Dean is 17 and Sam is 13.
A/N: Thanks to Ridley C. James for letting me borrow her concept for the subject of Dean's essay.
A/N: The usual thanks also go out to Soar for agreeing to beta this, and for her continued support and encouragment. Thanks also goes to Sinead-Conlan and JuliaAurelia for their feedback.
A/N3: I know that I have other stories that are still waiting to be updated and I promise I am still working on them, this was for such a good cause I couldn't say no. I do have several prewritten chapters so it shouldn't be too long between updates.
A loud groan accompanied the buzzing alarm clock. A short time later, a hand snaked out from under a mound of blankets, smacked the snooze button, and quickly made its way back under the covers.
It seemed like he had just gotten back to sleep when the annoying sound resonated again throughout the small room.
"'Time is it?" A sleepy voice mumbled from the bed on the opposite side of the room.
"5:30," the boy answered tiredly as he tried to stifle a yawn. Damn, 5:30am came early.
"It's too early," thirteen year old Sam Winchester whined as he snuggled deeper into his blankets.
"It's okay, Sammy," Dean said. "Go back to sleep, I'll wake you at 7:00 like usual."
"Why you getting up so early?"
17 year old Dean Winchester reluctantly threw the blankets off, shivering slightly in the cool morning air. "Go back to sleep," he said again.
Sam rolled over and looked at his brother. "You didn't do your homework last night, did you?" Sam accused. "Dad said if you got any more detentions..." he trailed off.
"I got it covered, Sammy," Dean said with an air of confidence.
"I hope so," Sam said and turned so that he was facing the wall once again.
Dean rose from his bed and grabbed the threadbare robe that was hanging on the back of the bedroom door. He really needed a new one, but money was tight and Dean knew that the last thing money would be spent on was a new housecoat. He wrapped it tighter around himself and, gave one last, longing glance at his bed before exiting the bedroom and stepping out into the kitchen.
The first task to be completed on this early winter morning was to plug in the coffee maker. He could hear the wind whipping around outside and he knew it was probably freezing out. While it was nice that they had rented a house instead of staying in a motel, it also meant extra expenses. Utilities had to be paid and heat was expensive and money was tight, so Dean usually kept it low and bundled up with sweaters or blankets. He needed to keep a tight rein on the money if he wanted to have enough for the rent and groceries.
To try and stretch the money to make ends meet, Dean had joined a mentoring program at school. He was paid 5 dollars an hour to tutor students in math. He usually worked for two hours, twice a week. 20 bucks didn't go far, but it did make sure that he and Sam wouldn't starve, and it was paying for his brother's upcoming field trip to the planetarium.
When the aroma of freshly brewed coffee filled the air, Dean opened the cupboard, grabbed his favorite mug, and poured himself a full cup of the steaming liquid, wrapping his hand tightly around the hot cup, trying to warm his hands.
He sat down at the table with his backpack, unzipped it, and pulled out his history textbook and tried to study for his test.
It was tough to concentrate because he was so tired. It had been after 1 am before he'd gotten to bed the night before.
Dean rarely had a spare moment to himself. He was in school from 9 to 4, Monday to Friday. After school, Sammy usually had some activity to go to, or he needed a ride to his friend's house.
While Sam was occupied, Dean usually tried to get the household chores done. One would think that a single man who was rarely home, and two teenage sons who were mostly left on their own, would have a messy house. Nothing could be further from the truth. John Winchester was an ex-marine and Dean was expected to keep the house in tip-top shape.
It was easier said than done. The house John had rented had definitely seen better days. The paint was chipped and peeling. The windows were all draughty, and there was a leak under the kitchen sink, which Dean had already tried to repair three times. The floor was stained and no matter how many times Dean scrubbed it, it just wouldn't come clean. He knew he should call the landlord about the sink, but Dean had a feeling the guy wouldn't come anyway, and it went against the number one rule that he was expected to follow at all times.
Look out for Sammy.
Calling the landlord could alert someone to the fact that two young boys were by themselves. Someone could get nosy and ask too many questions. Dean had hunted and killed things that nightmares were made of without flinching, but nothing scared him more than those three letters, CPS. Child Protective Services. No, he couldn't risk someone coming and taking Sammy. He couldn't let his family down like that. His dad was counting on him.
After chores, Dean helped Sam with his homework, and the brothers did the physical training and Latin exercises that their father insisted on, or he researched for his father if John called and needed help.
Dean really didn't mind helping out, he would do anything for his family, but sometimes, he just wished there were more hours in the day, or it was summer and he didn't have to go to school, or even better, that his father would let him drop out. He had already approached his father and asked if he could, but John made it clear that wasn't happening.
With all his other responsibilities, it wasn't surprising that all this was taking its toll on Dean's school work. It wasn't that he didn't understand the work, or didn't want to do his homework; it all came down to time. Schoolwork was last on Dean's priority list. There were several times when Dean just didn't bother to do it. If he was lucky, he was in an over crowded school with teachers who were overworked, or burnt out, or just didn't care.
Right now, he wasn't so lucky, though. They had managed to find a house that was in a decent neighborhood, and the local high school teachers actually cared when they saw one of their students not working to his or her potential.
Dean found himself in detention every time he failed to turn in homework. Then the phone calls started. John Winchester had not been pleased when he had gotten a phone call when he was away on a hunt. He laid down the law with his eldest. No more missed tests, late assignments, or incomplete homework assignments or else.
He was trying, he really was. The problem was that his father wasn't helping the situation any.
When Dean had gotten home from school last night, he had fully intended to spend the whole evening catching up. He had a major creative writing assignment for English, a big test in history, plus physics, social studies and French assignments to complete.
Since his father wasn't due back, Dean had decided he would skip the chores and catch up on them that weekend. Then the phone rang.
John had run into a snag on his hunt. He and Caleb were hunting a fear demon and they needed to know how to block the thing from exposing their worst fears. John couldn't find anything on them in the local library and he wanted his son to try and find something.
Dean knew, without a doubt, that the local library wasn't going to have much, if anything. He knew that he was going to have to drive about 15 miles to the university in the next town. Caleb and his father had gone to the hunt in the Impala, and the Winchesters' friend had left his car for Dean to use so the boys weren't stuck without transportation.
At the university, Dean smooth talked his way in, and looked up the information his father needed. It hadn't taken too long as this library had an impressive set of folklore and mythology books. What had delayed him was that Sam was in his element. He didn't want to leave. He was so excited by all the books that they had stayed and extra hour and a half. Dean cursed himself and wished he had brought his homework with him. He did get some paper and a pencil off Sam and jotted down some ideas for his writing assignment.
When they got home, it was after 8, and Dean got supper for Sam. He had almost been tempted to stop for pizza, but they desperately needed groceries and couldn't afford it. After a quick dinner of macaroni and cheese, they had to do the Latin exercises that their father insisted they complete daily. Dean knew they should be doing their physical training, but it was getting late and he still hadn't started his homework.
He wasn't even sure what he wrote on his physics essay. He read the assigned chapter for social studies and conjugated verbs for French.
For English, they had to write an original short story, so Dean knew that he couldn't just regurgitate the events of a hunt, they were based on urban legends. One of the things on his list was his life story. It would certainly make for interesting reading and it certainly sounded like fiction, as no one would believe it.
An idea occurred to Dean. Maybe he could write it and just change a few things. He worked long and hard making up a story that contained fire beasts and dragons and princes and princesses. Dean smiled when he finished it. It wasn't often he was proud of something he had done for school, but he was proud of his story. Maybe he would even get a B or B+, and his father would be proud of him too.
The only problem was that by the time he had finished, it was after 1 am. This was why he had set the alarm for 5:30 am, and was sitting here shivering in the cold morning, trying to study for his history test.
About an hour later, Dean looked at his watch, put down his history book and stretched as he rose to go call his brother. Making his way over to the fridge, he groaned as he realized that couldn't put off getting groceries any longer. Today was also the day he was scheduled to work at the student resource center, so he'd be late getting out of school, and there was no way he could skip the physical workouts two days in a row. His creative writing assignment was done, but he also had a book report due and he still had three more chapters to read in his book.
He just wondered where he was going to find the time. As much as he hated to, he would have to tell Sam no if he wanted to do something after school.
"Morning, Dean," Sam said as he came into the kitchen and accepted his pancakes.
"Morning, Sammy," Dean replied as he sat down next to his brother.
"I can't wait for school to finish today, my friend Tom said I could come over to his house to play his new Nintendo game," Sam said excitedly.
"Um, Sam…" Dean didn't want to say no, but he had to. There was too much to do.
"I told Tom you'd give us a lift. No need for his mom to make an extra trip, right Dean?"
"I have to work at the student resource center. I don't think I can..."
"Come on, Dean. It's the new Mario brothers."
"Alright, I'll drop you off and then I'll head back to school." He couldn't disappoint Sam.
"Why don't you just skip it for today?"
Because the 10 bucks I'm going to earn is what's going to feed you tomorrow. "I made a commitment," was what he said out loud. "I'll come back for you after 2 hours. That's its, Sam. We have to get in some sparring and do our Latin. Plus we have our homework."
"Thanks Dean, you're the best," Sam said with a smile.
School seemed to drag on forever that day. All Dean wanted to do was find a dark corner and catch a nap. He knew he had failed his history test. He wasn't sure, but he thought he might have actually drifted off for a couple of minutes. He had four questions left and 10 minutes of time and the next thing he knew, the bell had rung, and the four questions were still unanswered. This meant that his father was getting another phone call. He skipped lunch and went to the library to try and do a bit of reading. He was in such a bad mood by the time he got to English, he was convinced the story he had been so proud of the night before was complete crap and he was getting another F. After school, he dropped Sam off and went back to the resource room where he was a half hour late, so he only earned $7.50, rather than his full $10.
More than one time that day, he wished he could just drop out, but his father had threatened him with bodily harm if he tried. Maybe he could skip school for one day. Maybe I could just kill myself and save dad the trouble.
After picking up Sam, Dean spent the last of the money on groceries and really hoped his dad didn't get hung up. The 20 bucks a week Dean earned wouldn't go far, especially since rent was coming due.
Jessica Monroe sat at her desk as she dismissed her class of 11th grade English students. School had ended for the day and she wanted to get started on grading the essays.
She gave this assignment ever year, hoping to finally have a student that showed some originality with their creative writing assignment.
She finished grading one student's story, which was basically just sleeping beauty with a different title when she came across Dean Winchester's.
"In The Company of Dragons," she read the title out loud. "Wonder what this one was based on?" She was very pleasantly surprised.
The story revolved around young Prince Samuel, whose mother had been killed by an evil fire beast. After the queen's death, Samuel was taken to the castle of the benevolent Astorim, a white dragon who looked out for all the dragons in his kingdom, and offered shelter to those that needed it. At the castle, Samuel came under the protection of three dragons. Onathan'Jay, the black dragon, who was leader, Belac, the red dragon and second in command, and Athewm, the green dragon, who was a sentinel dragon is training.
Although the plot was simple, the story had everything. There was love, Onathan'Jay had been in love with Prince Samuel's mother and would stop at nothing to get revenge. He even sometimes put that in the way of his duties to the other dragons. The loyalty and the devotion of Athewm to keep Samuel safe was heartfelt. Jessica could really feel the bond between the two characters, as if they were real instead of fictional. The friendship between Belac and Athewm was extremely well portrayed. The verbal sparring matches between them had made her laugh, but you got a clear sense of Belac's unyielding support of Athewm and the prince, and his desire to keep both of them safe. There was action, a big battle between the fire beast and the dragons. She cried with happiness when, at the end of the story, Athewm's wish for them to all be a family came true and they lived happily ever after in Astorim's castle.
Jessica set down the essay and wiped a tear from her eye. Dean had a real gift for story telling. She didn't even hesitate to mark a big A+ across the cover, despite some weakness in grammar and spelling. Jessica felt the story actually had the potential to be written into a multi-chapter fiction story and published.
This confirmed what Jessica had suspected, that if Dean wasn't lazy and put a bit of effort into his work, he'd be a straight A student.
Her eyes landed on a brochure that was sitting on the corner of her desk. It was for a student writing competition called Future Writers. It was a really big deal to win. The winning story received a $1000 in cash, and the essay was published in Education Quarterly, which was a popular magazine in academic circles. Plus the student's school also received a donation. Jessica had heard of students that had won the competition who often received academic scholarships to university. The organizers even came to the school and there was an awards ceremony for the winning applicant.
She grabbed the entry form and sent off Dean's essay. She felt Dean had a real shot at winning.
One Week later
Jessica was sitting at her desk trying to keep the smile off her face. She had gotten word that Dean's story had taken first place, as she had known it would, and the awards ceremony was going to take place in another week, during the end of term presentations. She couldn't wait to tell him.
"Good afternoon class," Ms. Monroe greeted her students. "I have your stories that I want to hand back to you. Then we'll go over the areas where I found most of you were struggling."
Dean slouched in his desk trying not be noticed. He was already in trouble with his dad for failing his history test. To say his father hadn't been pleased was an understatement, when he had returned from his hunt to a phone call informing him that if Dean's grades didn't improve, he was going to have to go to the resource room for tutoring. Dean had gotten a lecture from his father that he had better shape up. He was dreading getting his essay back and showing his father another F.
"There was one A+ in this class."
The classroom started buzzing with student comments. Ms. Monroe was a tough grader and an A+ was rare in her class.
"The story was so good I entered it in the Future Writers contest."
One of the students, Alana Macgregor, smiled. It had to be her. She was the teacher's pet. She opened her mouth to accept the award and the words died on her lips when the teacher made her announcement.
"The story won first place. One week from Monday, at the end of term awards ceremony, there will be a special prize awarded to Dean Winchester for his story In the Company of Dragons. Congratulations Dean," Ms. Monroe said as she handed Dean back his essay.
Dean didn't even try to keep the smile off his face. He hadn't even really put any effort into that story and it had gotten him an A+. Suddenly, none of his other problems mattered. He couldn't wait to get home and tell his father.
"Dad, guess what?" Dean said excitedly when he got home that day.
"What Dean?" John said with a touch of irritation in his voice. He was researching a hunt. He thought he had gotten wind of a succubus and was trying to do some preliminary research.
"I got an A+ on my English story."
"About time," John said dismissively. "I can't afford to have you tied up at school for extra tutoring."
"That's great, Dean," Sam said sincerely.
"Thanks, Sammy," Dean said, glad at least one person was happy for him. He had hoped to use the money to get a second hand car. He and his dad could fix it up. "That's not the best part. It won a writing contest and next week, there's an end of term awards ceremony and I'm getting a prize. There's a plaque and a check. It's a 1000 dollars dad, maybe I could get a second hand car so that..."
"The Impala needs a new transmission," John interrupted.
"I could use some new clothes. My pants are getting way too short," Sam added.
"When do you get the check?" John inquired.
"Next Monday. Will you and Sam come to the..."
John cut him off. "Any way to get it sooner?"
"Um, I don't think so," Dean replied. His good mood was deflating faster than a popped balloon. He should have known better than to try and talk to his father when he was researching a hunt.
"Hopefully I won't need to leave before you get it," John replied. "You boys go start your homework."
"Dad, the award ceremony, you and Sam are coming, right?"
"If I can," John said and Dean wondered if his father had even really heard his request.
"Sure dad. It's not a big deal," Dean said trying to pretend it didn't matter. To his utter, humiliation, he could feel tears prickling at the corner of his eyes. He should never have said anything. His wish of wanting his father to see him walk across the stage and have everybody clap for him, seeing his dad smile and say 'that's my boy' to the person sitting next to him, quickly faded. It was replaced by a new one. He wished he knew how to make his father proud of him.
"Can you go the university and bring me back some books?"
"Sure dad," Dean said, grateful for the escape.
John watched as Dean walked out of the room, a smile gracing his lips. He was proud of Dean. Why didn't you tell him that then, you idiot?
John heard Sam ask to go with his brother again, and Dean telling him to get his jacket. Making a decision, John decided that he was going to go with them and that he wanted to read his son's essay, so he put down his books and got up, hoping to catch Dean before he left. No sooner had he gotten out of the chair than he heard the front door slam shut.
In the car, Dean looked over at his brother. "Sammy," Dean said to his brother. "Like, I told dad, it's not big deal if you can't come. I'm not even sure I want to go myself, but if I do, would you like to see me get my award?" He hoped he sounded like this was no big deal, despite the fact that, to him, it was.
"Sure, Dean," Sam said not even looking up from his book.
Over the following week, Dean tried to save his tutoring money to see if he could get a second hand suit jacket. The one he had was too small in the arms and was stained. He had surprised himself by how much he was looking forward to the ceremony. He was proud of his accomplishment and the money would benefit his family.
The day of the actual award presentation did not start out very well. The first thing Dean found when he woke up that morning was a note from his father telling him that he had something to check out, and that there was a list of chores and errands he needed Dean to complete.
Dean bit back a groan when he saw how long it was. It would take most of the day to complete, and it would be really cutting it close to the start of the presentation. Not only that, his father had the car, so he was going to have to take the bus.
He dropped Sam off at a friend's house, knowing that it would be quicker if he was by himself. When he was done, he got home a half hour before he had to be at the school. A super quick shower and he should just be on time.
When he got out of the bathroom, he found his father waiting for him.
"Dean, I need you to go back to the university tonight. That succubus turned out to be an incubus. I'm back at square one."
"But..." Dean started. He couldn't. He would be late.
"Problem?" John asked, his tone implying there better not be.
"No," Dean said despondently. He had been told that his award was the last one being given out. He could be late. He didn't necessarily have to be there right at the start.
"Dean, on the way back, I told Tom and Mark you didn't mind picking them up. Dad said we could go to Fun Zone," Sam said naming a popular hang out for the junior high crowd. It was a recreation place that had an arcade and mini-put and other things. They had also just opened the new go-kart track.
"When was this?" Dean asked.
"Friday," Sam said.
"Were you planning on asking me?" Dean asked, a touch of irritation in his tone. If Sam was at Fun Zone, Dean was expected to stay and keep an eye on him.
"Sorry," Sam replied in a tone that was anything but. "I forgot. It's not like you had plans anyway."
For the life of them, Sam and John couldn't understand why Dean looked like he had just been physically slapped.
"Dean?" John questioned as a thought slipped into his mind, but wouldn't make itself known.
Dean slammed his mask into place quickly. They forgot. They had both forgot. His one big accomplishment and they had forgot. Oh well, it was just a stupid plaque anyway, and the check they could just mail to him. What was the big deal about this stupid award anyway? It didn't mean anything.
"Nothing dad," Dean blurted out. "You know me. Never any plans," he said sarcastically. "Come on Sam. Dad's waiting for his research."
Dean decided then and there to blow off the presentation. He and Sam went to the library and got John's information. On their way back, he couldn't help but think of the ceremony that was starting without him. I don't care about it, he told himself.
The wind was picking up and it was snowing. Dean was so busy trying to convince himself that he didn't care about anything, that he wasn't paying as much attention as he normally would.
He pulled up to an intersection and stopped for the red light. When it turned green, he robotically stepped on the pedal and pulled into the intersection. He didn't see the drunk driver go right through the red light.
The next thing he heard was the sound of grinding, crashing metal, and a sharp pain in his left leg before everything went dark.
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