Hi Guys. I decided to go soft for a one-shot, as compared to my usual tragic angst. This is a challenge fic for Sammygirl1963. Hope you like it girl. Hope this gives you some peace of mind after everything that's happened. Disclaimer: I don't own the boys or any other supernatural character, as you all know it belongs to the master...the Krip!

"Come on Sammy, concentrate!" a fourteen-year old Dean ordered, annoyed his little brother kept glancing away afraid.

"I can't do this," the child opposite of him whined, his expressive green eyes beginning to water.

"Yes you can," Dean urged.

"It's scary outside."

"It's just a thunderstorm, not the 'Nothing'."

It was true. A thunderstorm had come through the little town the boy's had been living in for the past three months. Cackles of thunder raged on the outside, flashes of lightning illuminated the motel's small room every few minutes, and the roar of rain pounded against the door, resembling someone trying to break in.

Typically Sam was fascinated by thunderstorms, always amazed at the beautiful sight of lightning making zig-zag patterns across the night sky, and the swishing motion of the trees. But ever since he and Dean watched the "Neverending Story" where the ravaging storm aka "the Nothing" completely demolished the fantasy world into bits of floating rock and debris, he had this particular paranoia the same was going to happen to their world after every storm.

The small boy couldn't help but peer out the window where everything was cloaked in black. Nothing could be seen and it only aided in his vision that this world was doomed.

Annoyed, Dean shook his head slapping down the overly sized dictionary he held into his lap.
"Sam, look at me."

The little boy turned his head.

"Remember what I said about thunderstorms?" he lifted his head waiting on the reply.

Sam scrunched his face glancing away.

"That...it's just the Gods--"

"The Gods bowling," Sam answered in unison.

"Uh huh, and the lightning?"

"Is when they make a strike," the child said monotonously.

"Good. And the way it is outside, it sounds like they're having a party," Dean raised intrigued eyebrows looking out the window. He turned back to his brother, "Alright, let's get back to studying. My show's coming on."

Sam scooted closer across the floor until he was directly opposite of Dean, mimicking his Indian-style sitting.

Dean picked up the book. "Okay...spell bam...boozled," he made a face hoping he pronounced it properly.

"Bamboozled. B-A-M-B-O-O-Z-L-E-D. Bamboozled," Sam spelled immediately.

"Right on my man! Alright next word," Dean scrolled through the pages, "Jeez how do they expect people to learn this crap?"

"Come on Dean, I have to be ready for tomorrow night."

"And we will be. Here, uh...uh, what? What the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks does that mean?" Dean tilted his head, "Uh...ser-ro-strat-tus."

Sam beamed. "Cirrostratus. C-I-R-R-O-S-T-R-A-T-U-S. Cirrostratus."

Dean stared at him. Sometimes his little brother scared him with how smart he was. The kid never ceased to amaze him with his academic prowess. And there was never a time where he wouldn't be surprised at how fast the kid was learning. He was equally surprised when Sam came up and flat out told him and their dad that he signed up for the Junior Champion Spelling Bee tournament that was to be held at the end of the week. Deep down, he always knew his little brother would go far. And Dean had said to himself ever since the Striga attack that he'd be there for him, even if it meant pain-stakingly forcing himself to help his brother study, which was interesting in that he couldn't pronunciate most of the words. And Hell if he knew what they meant.

"You scare me sometimes."

"I know."

"Okay, next one. Let's see," he skimmed through the books contents, "Ooh. Here. Ses-qua...qui...pa...ped...dal...dallion. Sesquipedalian?"

Sam's eyes became the size of saucer plates. "Um..."

"Take your time."

Dean could hear the grinding of his brother's teeth, a nervous habit he took up on recently when the little gears in his head were turning. And quite frankly, it became downright annoying hearing the 'chisel-chisel-crunch-crunch'. But he bit his lip hoping Sam would be able to get this next word.

"Sesqui...S-E-S-Q-U-E..."

"Nope, try again."

"S-E-S-Q-U," the little boy's face was focused, chomping down on more of his teeth, "Q-U-
A..."

"Nah uh."

Sam huffed. "I can't do this Dean."

"Yes you can. And I don't want to hear that ever again, you got me? You're not a quitter."

At that moment, a flash of lightning struck nearby momentarily blinding them. It was followed by a clattering rumble that sounded like the nearest artillery ranch going off in a cataclysmic boom. Dean was immediately taken by surprise when his kid brother leapt into his lap, hugging him in a death-like grip. Sam's head found it's way into the crook of his neck and his body trembled. Dean felt he couldn't do anything else but wrap his arms around the quivering creature, offering some form of comfort. "Shhh, it's okay."

After a long second, Sam let go with a wild look in his eyes. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I shouldn't be scared. I should be more grown up now," he blustered panting heavily.

Dean patted his leg, also panting. "No. No. That last one nearly made me crap my pants too. I'm right there with ya," he reassured.

Sam slouched down looking sad. "Sometimes I wish Dad was here."

A pang of hurt and jealously shot through Dean at that comment. He knew his Dad was gone most of the time and so he had to take up the responsibility. He wanted Dad there too. But he didn't think he was doing such a bad job. Didn't he count for something?

His brief anguish was quickly replaced with confusion when Sam added, "He can make storms go away."

"Uh no he can't."

"Yes he can. Remember you said he was superman. Superman can do anything."

"Yeah, I guess you're right. Next time I'll tell him to go stand out there with a metal hanger and he'll take care of it for ya."

"Really! I wonder if that works," the child piped about ready to hop up, "Let's go try it. I'm sure I have one..."

Alarmed, Dean grabbed him by the wrist keeping him from hopping up. "No. No. Wait. Sammy stop. Don't do that!"

"Why not?"

"Because if you do that, you'll fry up like a turkey roast and I don't want to be the one to explain to Dad why there's extra barbeque in the fridge."

Sam made a face. "Eww, barbeque."

"Shuddup twerp," Dean retorted shaking up Sam's mussed hair. He turned around and looked at the time on the microwave. "Alright buddy-boy, time to go to bed."

"But Dean," Sam whined.

"No buts. You need to be well rested, freshened up or whatever, and I'm not going to have you zonking out on me because you stayed up too late. Now off you go."

"Jerk," Sam grumbled picking himself off the floor and stomping off to bed.

"Biotch," Dean yelled after him.

"Hey Dean?" Sam stopped at the threshold of the bedroom.

"Whaaattt?"

"Dad's...Dad's going to come, right?" the ten-year old asked tentatively.

"Yes. He said so after you hounded him about it a gazillion times."

"Okay, I hope so," Sam mumbled going inside and closing the door.

Dean let out a long sigh. "Yeah I hope so too Sammy."


"You ready for this Sammy?" Dean asked glancing down at his brother as they walked across the parking lot towards the elementary school.

Sam had a nervous 'I'm walking to my death' look about him. He didn't answer.

"Sam?"

"Huh?"

"Are you ready?"

Dean could've sworn Sam's face went a shade paler.

"Yea," Sam squeaked.

"Oh don't worry Sammy," Dean wrapped an arm around the scrawny shoulders, "Remember you're a pro. And you're gonna knock em' dead. I'm sure of it. In fact, I'm counting on it."

Sam peered up at him interested, "What do you mean?"

"Oh nothing. Let's get inside," Dean countered opening the door and pushing his brother inside.

They were walking down the hallway following the signs to the auditorium when Dean noticed Jordana Lewis strolling towards them. Adorned in a beige skirt riding past her knees and a pink blouse that screamed out 'ready to lose virginity', she walked with an air that described her as 'untouchable'. The curls of her natural blonde hair bounced rhythmically as she walked and her green eyes shone with a sparkling vigor.

Dean could see the area go fuzzy, everything else out of focus besides her. For a second, he could've swore she looked at him, her milky white reflection brightening and the rosy patterns on her cheeks intensifying. Paling, Dean grabbed Sam's hand and pulled him over to a corner beside a huge wooden case full of trophies. He pushed Sam in front of him and ducked down waiting on the girl of his weekly dreams to walk by.

Sam, stunned by the unforeseen turn of events, rolled his eyes to the right waiting on the pretty lady to walk by (because that's clearly why he was being used as a shielding post). Once Jordana walked past, Dean came out from behind checking around the corner to see if she was out of eyeshot. Once it was confirmed, he straightened up, composing himself, and turning around to face his brother who was shaking his head disbelievingly.

"What?"

"Dude, I thought you were supposed to be a pro with the ladies. I mean that's all you seem to go on and on about at home, you and your womanizing ways."

The elder brother shrugged, looking a bit uncomfortable. "I am. But...but not when it comes to that girl," he looked behind once again, "I don't know what it is about her, but she makes my tunes fly."

Sam coughed, "Ew."

"Like I said, I don't know what it is. It's like she's got kryptonite or something."

"Dean, Dad's Superman."

"It doesn't matter," Dean sighed happily, the look of fantasy crossing his face.

Sam shook his head again. "I think there's a word for you...Incorrigible."

Dean was brought out of his musings and he stared peculiarly at the little boy, stupefied quite possibly from the big words. He really may need to read more that way he could somewhat keep up with his brother.

Sam smirked. "You don't know what that means, do you?"

"Well, do you know how to spell it?"

Sam was about to answer when Dean cut him short, "Don't answer that. Come on squirt, we gotta get going. We're late."

"Yeah, no thanks to you."

-------------

The two boys entered the grand auditorium, or as grand as any elementary school auditorium could be, and walked down the blue carpeted aisles. Sam eyed the stage anxiously noticing there were a lot of chairs and many contestants his age already lining up and sitting down. Dean led him up to the small stairwell.

"Good luck Sammy. Don't forget to put your game face on."

Sam turned around with an apprehensive expecting look. "Dean, you sure he's going to be here?"

"He'll be here, Sammy. I promise," Dean replied sullenly, praying his father would. But knowing the man's reputation for not keeping promises, he only hoped he didn't lie to his little brother. After all, he felt like he deserved a break from his daily occupation of cheering the kid up when John went back on his word.

Quickly, he ran to a seat in the front row centered in the middle, wanting to get the best seat in the house. He looked all around observing the panel of judges seated in front of the stage and the happy looking contestants playing in their seats, all except one. His brother looked the more nervous out of all the students. He could see the big eyes searching all around and Dean knew deep down that Sam was continually looking for their father.

Dean bit his lip to keep the anger away. John had better show or else Sam would never forgive him. "Keep your head in the game man. He'll be here. Come on Sammy, you can do it," he said out loud.

He heard a 'ahem' and turned to the person sitting next to him. His jaw fell agape. It was Jordana sitting next to him. He smiled nervously, "My brother's up there."

"Oh. Is he the little one on the far right with the messy hair?" she asked sweetly.

Dean smiled sheepishly all the while nodding his head like he was experiencing electric shock therapy. He muttered something inaudible.

"I'm sorry, I didn't catch that."

"Yeah. He is that one right there," he swung his arm out pathetically. "That little guy is my brother. I helped him study for this, you know?"

"Oh that was sweet of you, Dean," she smiled, a glint forming on her pearly white teeth.

Dean adopted a lop-sided grin. "Yeah." She's knows my name! Hot Diggity DOG!

------------

The lights dimmed down and the contest had begun. Each student had a turn coming up to a small microphone planted in the middle of the room. And each one was asked a term that Dean knew was steadily decreasing his IQ points.

Then it was Sam's first turn. The little guy appeared as though he were an insect studied under a microscope, all the while he kept searching through the crowd. His first word given by a wrinkly old woman whose facial expression looked as though someone pissed in her cornflakes that morning.

"Insalubrious," she said in a 'Anne Robinson' like tone from the 'Weakest Link'.

Dean bit down on his fingernails.

Sam's gaze focused on the mike. He took a deep breath, "Insalubrious. I-N-S-A-L-U-B-R-I-O-U-S. Insalubrious."

"Correct," the woman announced.

Happy, Sam smiled before resuming his seat. Dean let out a harried breath; if that was the first try, he knew the suspense was going to have him in a straightjacket by the end of the night.

And it nearly did.

Two hours later, the number of contestants slowly dwindled until there was only three kids left, including Sam.

Dean was absolutely frazzled at the type of words the kids were asked to spell. Words like: Precentorial. Corresponsive. Weissmuller. Where do these people come up with crap like this? Were they drunk off their ass one night and decided 'I'm going to make the world better by making long hard-to-understand words to make me look smart? Seriously!

One of the contestants, a little girl with short dark hair dressed in a white flower dress approached the mike.

"Dubious," the judge announced.

"Oh come on, that's an easy one," Dean exclaimed.

The little girl was hesitant.

"Yeah that's right. You don't know it, so sit back down," he chided.

"Thank you Dean. But I think my little sister deserves a chance," Jordana next to him spoke.

Dean's mouth turned into a big 'o'. He looked back at the girl who gazed at him seriously. "Sorry." Way to go, numnuts!

"Dubious. D-U-B-I-O-S. Dubious," the little girl answered tentatively.

"I'm sorry that is incorrect."

The little girl looked as though she were about to cry and she went back to her little chair and slouched dejectedly in it. Dean turned to Jordana with a scrunched up face.

Jordana sighed. "Well, better luck next year."

"Sorry."

She nodded in short appreciation.

He turned back seeing that it was Sammy's turn again. Dean leaned forward hiding his face in his hands, peering through his splayed out fingers.

"Insurrectionist."

Sam gulped. Looking up at the ceiling, he collected his thoughts, thinking of the context of the syllables. "Insurrectionist. I-N-S-U..." he never took his eyes off the ceiling, "R-R-E-C-T-I-O-N-I-S-T. Insurrectionist."

There was a long pause before the judge announced, "Correct."

Sam exhaled out a huge breath reclaiming his seat. Only one other person to compete against. This was it!

It all seemed silent as the crowd now leaned forward for the next one, a shy mousy-blonde kid that looked the size of a ant on stage. He could barely reach the mike.

"Timorousness."

The kid looked down, his red round glasses about to fall off. He scuffed his foot not once, but three times before finally answering, "Timorousness. T-I-M-O-U-R-O-U-S-N-E-S-S. Timorousness," he cringed waiting on the answer.

Dean's fingernails were biting into his face, about ready to claw the skin off, waiting on the answer. This was becoming intense.

"I'm sorry, that is incorrect."

Dean breathed. Now Sam was the only one left. And if he got this word right, he would be champion. If not, then there had to be a 'spelling bee' death match or something to pull off the tie.

Sam stepped up to the mike once again. He scanned the crowd for the umpteenth time and his face fell when he saw his father was a no-show.

Dean's face paled upon seeing his brother's sullen look. He knew what that meant. "Oh come on Sam," he scrunched his eyes shut prying his fingernails out of his face and clenching his fists in the air, "Game face. Game face. Game face. Game face."

"Dean. Dean. It's okay, chill," Jordana tried to reassure.

Dean ignored her. "Game face. Game face. Game face," he continued his litany.

Sam didn't see his father and his heart dropped. He had thought he was special. But then ever since Dean told him what his father really did, then that must be more important. Even still, it hurt. He looked over at his brother and saw him seemingly praying towards the ceiling. Thanks Dean, so much for the faith there!

The judge cleared her throat. "Sesquipedalian."

Dean groaned making another face plant into his hands.

Sam stared at the mike once again, taking his time. Of course, it had to be this word. What else did he expect? He took a long breath, and another, and another. Well, if he didn't get it, there was always another try, just less respect.

"Sesquipedalian. S-E-S-Q-U..." He thought hard. But he found it rather hard to concentrate with the roaring thunder of his heartbeat in his ears. Finding no other source of comfort in this ridiculous 'spot-on' moment, his gaze traveled to Dean and stared at him. Dean stared back hopeful and encouraging. His brother's voice echoed in his ear, "You're no quitter." Then the memory of Dean helping him to study came into view. He remembered going over the word, first with E then A. If neither of them worked, then that only left one letter left.

"I-P-E-D-A-L-I-A-N. Sesquipedalian," he answered automatically, as if he knew it all along and his certain revelation took it's grand time.

The air was dead. Nothing stirred. Every one of the audience members held their breath. Dean looked away cringing.

'Anne' cleared her throat again. "That is..." the miserable old woman paused, aiding in the suspense, "correct."

The whole place exploded in pandemonium. Everyone cheered. Some applauded. Many people jumped up from their seats crowing wildly. Dean was one of them. He hopped up and down yelping mirthfully like a man who had just won the lottery, "Heck yes! Yes! That's my brother. That's my brother. WHOOOO! He's not your brother, he's my brother!"

It took a long moment for Sam to realize what was happening. Did he win? Did he spell that God-awful word correctly? He saw the zaniness of the crowd. Must be! A sense of satisfaction and happiness filtered through Sam as many of the kids and some of the teachers patted his back, congratulating him, squandering him of his way on the stage. He was thankful for their appreciation, but he still didn't see the one person that mattered. He should've been the geeky kid smiling like a goof when he was announced Junior Champion. Instead, he appeared downtrodden.

Time to present the trophy.

He went to the center of the stage again with his head bowed, so to conceal his crestfallen expression. He just wanted to get it over with and go home. A pair of worn loafers loomed into his vision. It must be the award presenter.

"Way to go son," he barely heard the gruff voice. It was hard to hear over the crowd.

"I guess," Sam shrugged.

"You should feel proud," the man continued, "I know I am."

At that comment, Sam looked up and peered into the face of his father's, who appeared dressed in a what looked like a brown mothy 'hand-me-down' suit holding a small trophy in his hands. The look of shock never left Sam's face. "Dad?"

John smiled, "In the flesh son."

"DAD!" Sam nearly shrieked as he lunged forward wrapping his little arms around the man's midriff. John grunted hunching over feeling the wind knocked out of him. He hugged the child back.

"I thought you weren't going to come," Sam cried.

"I was a few minutes late. But that's your pop for ya, always fashionably late."

The biggest smile flourished across Sam's features and he hugged his Dad tighter. Many of the single moms in the crowd all let out dreamy 'awws'.

"Don't you want your award?" John asked.

"No," Sam shook his head, "I got the best prize in the world."


The crowd soon dispersed, each person heading home thankful that the night was over and each of the parents flustered for having to cheer up their heartbroken kids who didn't win. Dean strutted his way through the crowd towards his family with the most 'shit-eating' grin he could muster. He felt good that night. Not only had he managed to score a date, but he also put his gambling techniques to practice.

"Whoo hoo hoo! We scored about three-hundred bucks," Dean said gleefully flashing the wad of cash as he joined the other two Winchesters sitting on the stage's steps.

"Thaaannnk you," John replied swiping the money out of the boy's hand.

"Hey I earned that," Dean protested attempting to pull off his most wounded expression.

Being immune to his children's charm...well, except solely for Sammy's, John retorted, "Yeah, off your brother."

"So what? I'm his spelling bee pimp!"

Sam made a gross face.

"Oh don't be so sensitive Sammy. I won't sell you out just yet. You just keep winning and you leave the rest to me."

"I didn't think any kid in this town had this much money to bet away," John commented flipping through the dollar bills.

"You're right, that's why you bet little amounts from everyone else in the school the day before."

Both John's and Sam's eyebrows shot up.

"Hey why do you think I helped you study?" Dean wise-cracked, flashing a smirk at his little brother.

"Yeah well your little exercise just paid for dinner tonight."

"What! Come on Dad!"

"Sorry kiddo. If you're gonna make money off your brother, you're gonna help take care of him in the process. Don't worry, just count it as your own way of congratulations."

Dean crossed his arms, scowling, coming to sit beside his Dad on the step. "Fine." He looked at his father, "Soooo, that was quite a surprise. I didn't think you'd make it there Daddio."

"That's sir to you," John told him automatically.

Dean's face paled a shade, "Sorry sir," he sat up a little straighter.

John and Sam chuckled. "Stand down soldier. You can call me dad for now."

"Oh okay," Dean replied, his eyes flickering to a string sticking off the end of his father's blazer. "So I see you robbed a homeless guy of his good suit, good for you."

John glared at his eldest through the corner of his eye, "No. Bobby had a spare suit he lent me. Had it kept somewhere in his attic."

"Ah no wonder," Dean swished his hand in front of his nose, trying to block out the smell of mothballs.

"But I'll be sure to tell him that. He's waiting on us outside, so we better get going," John stood up.

Sam clutched his trophy to his chest walking alongside his family. He looked up at John, "So really, how long were you there?"

"Long enough to convince the lady to present to my kid."

"But how'd you know I'd win?"

John smiled wrapping an arm around his shoulders, "I just knew."

"How?"

John smiled again, "Because dads know everything."

A big frown appeared on Dean's face, "Everything?"

John gave him a big sardonic grin, pulling him into a hug, "Everything."

--------------

They reached the outside where Bobby in his tattered vest, grungy ballcap, and patched jeans sat on the steps.

"Uncle Bobby!" Sam screeched running forward to the old man and hopping in his lap, giving him another air-squandering hug.

"Hey there boy. I see ya won. We both knew you would," the old man remarked. He laughed when the little boy wouldn't let go.

"No serious dad, you don't know everything, right?" Dean eyed his father earnestly.

"Everything Dean," John shook his head carrying on past the two on the steps, "We'll be at the car Bobby. Come on Dean."

Dean followed closely behind, "Dad, in that case, I think you and I need to have a little talk."

"Uh huh, your teacher was very explicit on my voicemail about your behavior in class."

"Hey I have an excuse!"

"Really? So sleeping in class is a proper excuse."

"You would be sleeping too if you had to listen Ms. Undertaker drone on about...wait, I forgot what she drones on about."

"Uh huh?"

"No seriously. And sometimes she looks at you like you're a piece of meat. I swear she's evil."

"Evil?" John looked at his son peculiarly.

"Yes. Dad I think I found you a new hunt. I swear I poured holy water on her and part of her melted."

John shook his head opening the back door, "Dean, what am I going to do with you?"

------------------

Both Bobby and Sam simultaneously shook their heads while listening to John and Dean walk away.

"Your brother truly is a character, Sammy," Bobby said.

"I know. Can't live with him, can't kill him," Sam replied causing the old man to burst with laughter.

"That was good, and so true. Same goes for your daddy."

"So really uncle Bobby, what time did you guys get here?"

"Honestly," Bobby began, "Just a few minutes after the show started. We were flying down the interstate so fast, I was holding on to dear life. I really want to think my life flashed before my eyes."

Sam giggled.

"And I'm quite surprised we weren't pulled over. Even though that wouldn't have mattered to your daddy, he definitely wouldn't have stopped. He had to get to your big event. I swear all that man needed was a cape!"

"Okay," Sam said, happy because that was the answer he was hoping for.

"You did good, squirt. Your father couldn't be any prouder. Now if Dean were to be able to do the same in his schoolwork," Bobby said.

"Come on Sammy," Dean yelled from the side of the car, he threw his hands in the air, "We're going to IHOP. WHOOO!"

"Dean, get back in the car," John ordered.

Again the two on the steps shook their heads.

"Come on Sam, let's go eat some food."

"Yeah, before Dean hogs it all," Sam replied taking the man's hand and walking back to his family, happy and content.

There were plenty of times where Sam had wished his family were any other family in the world, but for moments like this, he wouldn't trade it in, not for a pot full of gold.

The end.

Well...how was it? Like I said, this is a sideroad compared to what I usually do. And yes, I got the idea of the title from Akeelah and the Bee, but I have not seen the movie. So I don't own that copyright either. And if there were any insane similarities where you think I got quotes from the movie, that is purely coincidental. Hope you enjoyed it! Thanks, see ya soon!