Author's Chapter Notes:
Just a little one shot look at the family having some down time together at Bobby's place.
The huge black car was parked in the middle of the breakers yard on a glorious July day.
The sun was high in the sky and warm against the back of the man who stood next to it, one boy standing at his side and the other sitting a stone's throw away. The hood of the old classic muscle car stood opened to the sky, rock music filling the air and various parts of its guts lying spread on the ground around them.
The man and the younger boy were standing at the front bumper, the boy with part of the car in his hand and a puzzled look on his face. "I've told you already Sammy where this goes. It's a simple part of the engine. You need to know how this all goes together, its important that if she breaks, you know how to fix her." John tried hard to keep the exasperation that he was feeling from his voice.
The small boy let out a long sigh and his face dropped to a scowl as he stared at the car part and the engine bay with barely disguised hate.
His older brother was sitting in the dust, leaning back against a stack of tyres. He had his head tilted up a little, relishing the heat from the sun even though he knew that it would bring out his hated freckles in full force….for the moment the peace and contentment that filled him was worth it. His eyes were half closed against the brightness, long lashes shielding their green from the worst of the rays. He stretched as he watched the exchange between his father and younger brother, enjoying his brother's discomfort under his father's watchful stare and the fact that, four hours into this little autoshop masterclass, there still had been no angry words between them.
No angry words yet, his little inner voice reminded him. He could feel it starting to build though, like the way you knew that a thunderstorm was on its way. The change in the air was palpable.
Sam blew a little puff of air out of his lips to chase away the long hair that threatened to cover his eyes. "I can't see were it goes." He threw a little look at Dean hoping that his brother would somehow signal him a useful clue. Dean ignored him.
"Maybe." John ran a hand through the young boy's shaggy mane of hair. "If you let me cut this, you'd hear what I was saying and see what you were doing."
Dean coughed to hide his laugh at Sam's face as he batted his father's hand away and stuck his head further into the engine bay. He'd seen angry spirits look happier. The older boy watched as the shadow appeared on the ground next to him and looked up smiling. "Hey Bobby."
"Hey." He nodded in the direction of the car where the voices were beginning to get ever so slightly raised. "They still not managed to rebuild the engine yet? Your brother won't be getting a job here anytime soon….I can tell you that." Bobby handed down the bottle of cold water to Dean and grinned as he saw him eyeing the beer bottles in Bobby's other hand. "Nope, don't even ask."
Dean sighed as Bobby walked over to John and Sam.
"Here. Figured you boys could use a drink and a break. That's an alternator that you've got there by the way Sam." He leaned in and pointed inside the bay. "And it goes there."
"Bobby! I'm trying to get him to show me." John's irk was eased some as Bobby shoved the beer into his hand.
"Well you've been blocking up my yard for hours now, besides Dean could rebuild this thing in his sleep, why'd Sam have to learn to do this anyhow?" Sam grinned at him gratefully.
"Because…." John really hated when Bobby gatecrashed into a lesson like this. "…what if Dean wasn't around when the damn thing broke…what would he do then?" John crossed his arms.
Both Dean and Sam choked with laughter at the older man's reply. "He'd just call me and I'd come tow it." John opened his mouth to argue and then thought better of it.
"I've ordered food but I think you'd better let Dean finish off here….that's if you and Sam actually want anything hot to eat tonight." He walked back towards Dean with one final parting shot. "Besides…it'll be dark in six hours and Sam'll still be out here trying to sort a spark plug from a cylinder head."
Dean couldn't keep the laugh inside this time and his brother stomped over to him. "I know the difference between them…I'm not stupid you know…I just hate this car and it….hates me. If you're so smart finish it yourself." He winked at Dean and threw the alternator at him, heading for the house and ignoring his father's shout and his brother's curse as he tried not to drop the car part in the dirt.
"I think your class just dismissed itself." Bobby turned so that John couldn't see the grin on his face and stared down at Dean. "D'you want a hand piecing her back together?"
Dean put his water down and held out his hand for Bobby to pull him up. "Nah. I've got it." He looked at the various bits still sitting waiting to go in. "I'll only be about half an hour."
John came up behind them. "I'll help….but tomorrow he's back out here and he's staying out here until he can do this."
Dean rolled his eyes at Bobby careful that his dad didn't catch it.
Bobby smiled and slapped him on the shoulder. "That should be fun. Dean can you put her away in the shed when your done? I've got a coupla cars coming in and I need to be able to get by here."
"Sure thing." Both Winchesters stood watching as Bobby walked back to the house and then turn their attention to the car.
John found himself relegated to spectator and part fetcher as Dean skilfully slotted the mechanical puzzle back together. His father smiled as Dean finished the job and then fussed for an extra five minutes to get the car sounding just right before he manoeuvred her with ease into the old shed at the end of the lot. He watched Dean wipe off the grease from her paintwork and then walk back to him. "Nice to see that my mechanic skills are at least shared by one of my sons." Dean glowed briefly under the small praise from his father and then flushed with embarrassment as his dad pulled him into a half hug.
"Maybe I should get you to show him how it's done?"
Dean feint horror. "I'd rather eat Bobby's cooking than that."
That earned a chuckle from his dad. "It's not that bad."
"What Bobby's cooking or teaching Sam something he isn't interested in learning?" Dean raised an eyebrow at his father.
John hugged his son to him again briefly, his arm resting on Dean's shoulder. "It's kinda a tie ain't it?"
The two men made their way up the front stairs of Bobby's house, John with his arm still slung across his elder son's shoulders oblivious to the joy that the small gesture of affection gave Dean.
Bobby didn't miss it though. He smiled at the look on the older boy's face and then turned to Sam. "Go get cleaned up, you and that brother of yours." He dismissed both boys with a wave of his hand.
Dean trailed his brother through to the bathroom and sat on the edge of the bath picking at the dirt under his nails as Sam got first shot at the sink. "Well, enjoying autoshop 101 then?"
Dean grinned at Sam's major huff. "I hate working on the car, it's a waste of time, I can never remember what goes where." Sam scrubbed viciously at his hands. "And I hate having dirty hands that you can't clean!"
"He's gonna make you do it again tomorrow you know and the next day….and the next…." Dean's grin was widening as he spoke.
"I hate you." Sam scowled and scooped a handful of filthy water at his brother's face laughing as he scored a direct hit and Dean ended up with streaks of black down his sunburnt skin.
"Little shit." Dean grabbed the towel and dried his face. "Just for that I'm not gonna tell you my plan for tomorrow to get you through your class quicker." He stood and pushed his brother from the sink and started to clean his hands as their Dad called them.
Sam turned his huge eyes on his brother. "I'm sorry. What was your idea Dean?"
Dean crossed his arms cursing as he realised that his hands were still dripping wet and he soaked his t-shirt "If it works you have to do my chores for a week."
Sam looked at Dean hopeful that his brother could rescue him from the torture of failing one of John's lessons and having to repeat it for the rest of the week.
"We need to be up before Dad tomorrow and you'll need to read this." Dean pulled the manual for the car from his back pocket. "Just so that you can answer any questions as well as rebuild the car."
Sam's face lit up. "Research, now that I can do."
"Your weird…but you know that don't you?" Dean shook his head at the fact that his brother would prefer to read about fixing the car rather than just working on it.
Sam threw his parting shot at his brother as he walked out the door. "I'm related to you, I think that's enough to qualify me as weird!"
"I could make that two weeks Sammy." Dean followed him out.
"Make what two weeks?" John turned as his sons walked towards him. Instinct told him that they were up to something. "What are you two cooking up?"
"Nothing." The two voice chorused in unison.
Sam slid into a seat at the table and Dean circled it to sit on the other side so that John couldn't death glare both of them at the same time. Bobby and John both recognised the well tried avoidance tactic, it made one smile and other frown.
John narrowed his eyes at Dean who shifted slightly in his seat but didn't break eye contact. "Well?"
"I just told Sam that I'd get up and strip the car tomorrow and let him watch so that he could rebuild when you were there." Innocence dripped from the look that Dean had on his face.
"What's in it for you?" John leant his arms on the table and moved closer to his eldest.
"Just helping my brother out that's all."
"I'm gonna do his chores for a week." John's attention turned to Sam.
"Yeah and if you don't let him I ain't helping him with the car and you'll be here for weeks trying to get him to rebuild her." Dean smiled a smug smile at his Dad.
John looked between them and tried to avoid the huge grin on Bobby's face. He could sense that he was getting played somehow, he just wasn't sure how. "I'll be out there at five thirty." He crossed his arms and tried desperately to hide his smile as the smugness faded from Dean's face.
"Five thirty…oh man. Fine." Dean was never one to back down from what was obviously a challenge. "If I have to get up that early though I want to sweeten the pot."
John gave him an interested look. "What with?"
"If Sam manages to rebuild the car first time tomorrow I get off researching for a whole month."
John smiled. "Ok but if he doesn't you do double for two and you get to clean the weapons on your own after every hunt for the same amount of time, and he gets no help with the car."
Dean looked at his brother knowing that if he didn't agree to the terms then Sam would think that Dean didn't think he could do it. He was trapped. He glared up at his Dad. "Deal."
Bobby shook his head and leaned over to Dean. "Might as well get started on that research kid, there is no way that your brother is gonna be able to do that without any help."
Dean just shrugged and finished his plate then he excused himself and his brother and dragged Sam off outside to study.
"They're up to something but you know that right?"
John smiled at his friend. "I know it, but if it gets Sam to learn how to fix the car, I'm not sure I care."
"I'll remember that when you're cleaning all the weapons and doing all the research for the next two months."
"I didn't say that I wasn't gonna make Dean clean all the weapons if he won, only the research, that'll teach the boy to make sure that he knows all the conditions of a deal before he agrees to it!" John smirked and threw the plates into the sink.
"That's mean." Bobby glared at him as they started to pile up the plates for the boys to wash later.
Sam tried to get away from the hands that were hauling him out of his nice, warm, cosy bed. "Gerroffme!"
Dean slapped his face with the wet cloth causing his younger brother to squeak and sit up so fast that they bumped heads. "Sonuvabitch! Sammy!" Dean rubbed his head to chase away the stars that were circling round it.
"Dean!" Sam glared at his older brother. "What time is it?"
"Ten to five. Move your ass or Dad'll get the jump on us. I've been up since four Sammy so don't give me any of your crap ok? Get up!"
He dragged himself into the bathroom wash the sleep from his eyes and then went out and shrugged on his old jeans and one of Dean's old t-shirts. Silently he trailed through the house and out into the yard where the Impala was already waiting, it's guts spread out on various pieces of newspaper round her. Dean's was already under the hood fixing something inside the engine bay. He stood and wiped his hands on his jeans and smiled at his brother. "You read the manual?"
"Every word." Sam tapped the side of his head. "It's all in here."
"Good, now come look at this." Dean beckoned him forward and Sam stuck his head in beside his brother listening as Dean unfolded his plan to him.
"Dean, you're a genius. Won't he guess?" Sam looked at all the parts lying on the paper.
"No. I put a Plan B in for him to find…throw him off the scent." Dean grinned at Sam and then put his finger to his lips. "Sssh they're coming."
The daylight was just breaking as Bobby and John strolled down the front steps and over to where the boys stood. "Bobby's the official adjudicator. Just so everything is fair."
Dean smiled. "Just one thing before we start, I forgot to add that I don't clean the guns for two months if we win either."
John shot Bobby a look. "Adjudicator's are supposed to be impartial."
"What?" Bobby raised his hands in fake innocence.
He winked at Dean when John turned his back on him.
"Fine. Now I know that the parts are just on the paper to keep them clean, I know that you won't have numbered them just so that Sam can follow what goes where?
Dean looked guilty. "No."
"Really?" John lifted the first piece of paper and turned it over, the number four was written clearly on it in marker.
Sam looked at Dean. "Busted."
John shook his head. "Did you honestly think I wouldn't check?"
"Hoped." Dean walked over to a crate that was positioned outside the shed that the car was still parked in and sat down, leaning back against a wall of tyres that he'd placed it against.
"Ok." Bobby clapped his hands together. "Let's get this show on the road. Sam…when you're ready."
John reminded Sam that he wasn't allowed to lift any of the papers off the ground and then sat on a crate over near Dean to watch. Sam threw his brother a hesitant look and then picked up the first part. He lent right in with the part in his hand and then started to fit it.
His three spectators smiled as the sun broke through the clouds casting it's warming glow on them. Dean smiled more as it left his brother working in the shadows.
John watched as Sam slowly but surely worked his way through the rebuild, stopping every now and then to seek reassurance from his brother. Dean just smiled at him and waved him on.
John eyed his eldest suspiciously but Dean ignored him.
Bobby sat enjoying the fact that however Dean had managed it, it seemed as if he was going to win this one and that made Bobby smile. He liked it when Dean showed how clever he really was instead of hiding it.
John cleared his throat and stood. "Right. Stop there."
Sam froze and Dean looked nervously at his father.
John walked over and picked up the next car part as Sam fumbled in the engine bay. "I said stop."
John turned the part round carefully in his hands and examined it. He cast a glance at Dean and then walked over to the car, handing the part to Sam and taking a quick look round under the hood. He stood and scratched his head knowing now that he was definitely getting played he just wasn't sure how. He looked at Sam and watched as the boy couldn't meet his eyes. Frowning he went and sat back down. "Ok, get on with it."
Bobby watched as Dean breathed deeply beside him and threw him a little mischievous smile.
Two hours later and the car was in one piece. John walked over and started her up, smiling as she caught first time. He walked round to his son and slapped him on the back. "I don't know how you did it but good work."
He walked over to Dean and knelt down. "I know you cheated. Want to tell me how?"
Dean shook his head. "A good hunter never reveals how he caught his prey just in case he has to come up against it again some day, but you're right….we cheated….but I still won."
John ruffled his son's hair. "I'm impressed. In fact….the werewolf hunt you wanted to come on…you can if you still want…a reward for beating your old man."
Dean's face lit up. "Really?"
"Really." John stood. "Check her over would you, she still sounds a bit rough and we'll need her running to go hunting tomorrow night."
"Yes sir." Dean was on his feet and on his way over to the car in an instant.
"I've got a couple of calls to make. You boys finish here and I'll take you out for lunch." He turned to Bobby. "Did you help him with this?"
The other hunter shook his head. "I'm as stumped as you are. That's a bright boy that you have there John. They both are."
"I know that Bobby." He patted his friend's shoulder. "I know that."
Bobby watched John go into the house and walked over to where the two boys were giving each other a high five and congratulating themselves.
"Ok spill. How'd you do that? I know that he didn't learn to rebuild an engine overnight no matter how good a teacher you are."
He looked at Dean. Dean reached into the bay and pulled a small tube out from under the lip behind the front grill. He switched it on and shone it into the engine.
"Well I'll be damned."
The black light lit up the numbers on the engine parts and on the places in the compartment where they went.
"Son I never want to come up against you in a contest that's won on cunning 'cos I think I'd loose every time. Very nice. I take it that's why the car was left in the shed?"
"Yeah. The light works better in here. I was worried though that Dad would see it but he didn't seem to. Think the sunlight in our eyes helped with that."
Bobby turned and surveyed what he realised now had been the strategically placed crates that they had all been sitting on. All of them in the full glare of the sun. He smiled at Dean.
"Nice. I like it."
"Don't tell him."
"I won't." Bobby shook his head again. "You're some kid you know that?" He went to walk away and then stopped. "Now get all that newspaper cleared up, you're making my yard look untidy."
He stifled a laugh as the boys looked round the yard littered with tyres and old cars and then exchanged glances with each other.
"Yeah 'cos we're the ones that made a mess." Dean rolled his eyes at his brother and they started to clear the papers away. Bobby laughed as they started to bicker good-heartedly with each other.
He called over to them. "If you're Daddy springs for lunch, I'll get the dessert. I take it pie is alright with you boys?"
Two grins told him that it would be.