AN: This follows in the same line as Christmas Memories. You do not have to read that first to read this. Enjoy!
School started up again after Christmas and ever since Dean hadn't seemed particularly right. He was quiet, helped Sammy with little things, but shied away from helping him with homework and sending him Bobby's way instead of helping like he usually did. Dean seemed unusually studious as well, sitting at the kitchen table for hours studying and doing homework. Today, Sam finished his work early and was watching a television show, one that Bobby knew for a fact that Dean never liked to miss, so he was surprised when he saw Dean, back pack in hand coming into the kitchen. He climbed into the chair next to him and looked at him.
"What's up?" Bobby asked the young large eyed child. Dean looked down and bit his bottom lip and seemed to contemplate what he was about to say. "You okay Dean?" Bobby tried. Dean finally looked up, his brows were knit together but it seemed as if he came to a decision.
He put a book on the table and looked at Bobby. "You heard what my teacher said. You know before Christmas, about me being slow." He sighed and opened his book bag. "They said that I needed to be with the kids that were like me, you know, dumb. Well, they did. Last week, I was put in the dumb kid classes, and I've been trying real hard, because Tyler said that if we get smarter we get put into the smarter kid classes. So, I've been doing all of my work, not slacking, and watching television instead. I'm trying. I really am Bobby. I'm trying not to be the dumb kid anymore." Dean sighed and pulled out a blue folder that had seen better days and gave it to Bobby with a slight hesitation.
"What's this Dean?"
"My papers from the dumb kid class." Bobby opened the folder and found a lot of papers with Ds and Fs on them in bold red marker. He also saw a lot of notes saying that he needed to spend more time studying. Bobby knew for a fact that this kid had been spending as much time as possible studying, so obviously something wasn't right. "It's not good. I can't even pass the dumb kid classes, and Sammy can get As in the genius class." He sighed and looked at the papers that Bobby held in his hands. "Sammy's smart. I just want to be able to finish a book without having to ask for help with the words. That's it. I don't want Dad to know I'm dumb." He said the last quietly.
"You aren't stupid Dean."
"You can see those papers."
"Doesn't mean you're stupid."
"Whatever." Dean said with a sigh and started to take back his folder. Bobby kept it out of his reach.
"Now, Son, hold on there."
"Forget it Bobby. It's no big deal."
"It is a big deal. You want help?" Big green eyes couldn't meet his. All of the fight drained out of him and he sat there virtually still.
"I've been studying. I try hard Bobby. I really do."
"I know you do kido. I watch you."
"Then why aren't I any smarter? I thought studying made you smarter."
"Sometimes you need help before you can study."
Bobby was stuck there. Sam pretty much did get every single thing that was presented to him. He understood a lot for a kid his age. Damn good reader. Damn good at school. The kid was just smart. "I can't fake it anymore." The information startled Bobby.
"What? Can't fake what?"
"He asks for help with school, and now that he heard my teacher call me slow, I just can't fake helping him anymore. I don't know why he even asks. He knows I don't know the answer."
"Is that why he's been coming to me?"
"Yeah. I tell him I'm busy and that you know the answer."
Dean shrugged and looked at the papers again. "I don't like getting Fs." He said softly. Bobby's heart almost stopped with sadness. Dean was always so full of bravado and smart mouthed replies that he forgot sometimes, that he was just an 11 year old boy, a boy that was still growing and learning. The vulnerability in the small face was heartbreaking.
"Okay Dean. Okay. Go get your books, I'll help you the best I can." Dean nodded and pulled out his reader. It was definitely designed for much younger children, and Dean looked embarrassed when he handed it to Bobby.
"I made it out of the dog one yesterday. Took me all week to get through it. Even the other kids got it done in a couple of days. I must be really stupid."
"That's enough Dean. That's enough. You are not stupid and I will hear no more of this nonsense. Come on. Let's get through this. It's as easy as firing a gun."