Distribution: The Nook
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended, no money made, no characters created.
Spoilers: Season 3 finale of Supernatural, Season 1 Eureka
Summary: Sam is trying to get close to Dean by finding out what his brother had done while Sam was in Stanford.
Henry Deacon was working on his engine when the 1967 Impala pulled into the parking lot. Henry recognized the purr and was walking out of the garage with a welcoming smile on his face. The smile fell away when he saw an unfamiliar face behind the wheel. The tall, lanky, young man climbed out and walked over to Henry.
He was trying to smile, but his eyes were searching. He offered the engineer his hand. "Henry Deacon?" he surmised.
Henry nodded and shook the man's hand. "Yes. Who are you?"
Sam flinched as if Henry had hit him. "So you are the one that wrote Dean the recommendation?"
Henry knew that he couldn't stop the young man. His father had called and Dean had stopped everything and had packed to leave. He could only give the best lab tech he had ever had an incentive to come back and a way to keep in touch, if only indirectly. He handed Dean the clean, white envelope thick with professional papers. He was careful to keep grease stains from touching the paper.
"What's this?" Dean asked as he accepted it.
"In case you ever want to go to college or get a job. You are good at both electrical engineering and mechanical. You could go far."
Dean tried to hand it back. "I've got a job."
"That gives you scars, nightmares and a sense that society owes you. That's why you scam credit cards."
"Dude. I'm good at it."
"Why don't you show me? Why don't you tell me about 'the family business'?"
That grin. Henry had seen it a couple of times in the last few weeks. It told Henry of jealousy and protection and knowledge. Henry wanted that knowledge. "You belong in a lab, Henry. I don't."
"But you could."
"Just come back."
"Yes, I wrote the recommendation," Henry told Dean's tall brother.
"And you really were a NASA engineer."
Henry grinned. It wasn't like he was hiding anything (more than any other Eureka resident). "Yes."
"Was Dean as good as you wrote?" Sam really needed to know. He was desperate.
"Easily. Dean's mind was sharp in both the practical sense and the theoretical." Such a combination was rare and easy to spot. Even Henry wasn't as balanced at Dean had been. He didn't like putting Dean in the past tense. It seemed like yesterday...
The engine squealed from a street away. Henry knew that he was getting a customer. Sure enough the waxed Impala parked beside the garage and then popped the hood. The fair young man climbed out of the driver's seat and strolled to where Henry was waiting. If Henry wondered about whom in town owned such a gas-guzzling car, the Kansas license plates were a dead giveaway to another rare stranger passing through town.
The man grinned and Henry found himself grinning in return. "I don't suppose that you carry parts for my baby." He opened the hood and together they identified the problem, a serpentine belt.
"No, I'd have to order. It's going to take a little while to fix her up."
The man looked past Henry into the open garage bay. "How about this: you order the parts and I'll be your willing slave until they get in and I'll replace the parts? If I let you touch her insides, I won't recognize her engine when you're done."
Henry laughed at being pegged to quickly. "You like fixing things?"
"When I have time."
Henry offered him a grease-stained hand. "I'm Henry Deacon."
"Dean," he didn't offer a second name and he didn't hesitate to touch Henry's dirty hand.
"How long did he stay?"
"Two weeks. Long enough to get parts and to fix the car." It dawned on Henry that Sam was as good as Dean had been about directing a conversation.
"Where did he stay?"
"I've got a cot in back. He used that after the sheriff found him camping just outside of town."
Sam nodded and glanced around town before looking back at Henry. "Did… he leave anything?"
"Not on purpose."
"What did he build?"
"An EMP bomb."
That didn't surprise Sam at all. He simply nodded. "Anything else?"
"He helped me make some breakthroughs on my engine." Henry eyed the man from the top of his messy hair to his sensible shoes. "You any good with engineering?"
Sam chuckled weakly. "Not at all."
"You can still stay in the back room tonight, if you want."
The young man considered it.
"I can tell some stories," Henry bribed. He found himself wanting to fix that desolate look on Sam's face. "It's better than using a bad credit card somewhere in town."
"What did Dean buy?" Sam asked. He neither admitted that he would have used a fake card, nor condoned Dean's past actions.
"How did you know?"
Henry stepped up to the legs sticking up from under the beloved classic car. "Credit card scams?" he asked without preamble.
Dean didn't even slow in his work. "Do you do a background check on every stranger that stops at your shop?"
"Only the ones I want to hire."
Now, Dean did stop. He didn't slide out from under the car though. "You don't need my help. You don't get enough cars to keep you busy."
"I mean as a lab tech for my other job, not just my hobby."
"I'm a drifter."
"You are an incredibly talented engineer."
"With absolutely no college."
"You can't fix me, Henry."
"Are you sure?"
"You can't undo the past."
"You don't live in the past." Henry had noticed how much Dean embraced the present, flirting with every female, young or old who walked through the doors.
"I don't live for the present."
"What do you live for?"
Dean blatantly ignored the question. He tightened a few more screws. "I'll be out of your hair tomorrow, or even late tonight."
"I had at least two more test runs I wanted to run with you. I'll pay you in cash."
Dean slid out from the car and grinned at Henry. "I do like getting paid to play in your garage."
Henry had managed to bribe Dean with food and invention for three days before his father called. It was then that Henry realized what Dean lived for.
"I asked the sheriff to run a background check on him. I was hoping to hire him myself," Henry admitted to Sam.
Sam looked slightly worried and proud and sad, all at the same time, but he changed the subject. "I'm surprised you let him build an EMF bomb with how wired this town is."
Henry grinned. "Dean said the same thing," and this time Henry shared his memory.
"An EMP bomb? In this town?" Dean had figured out Henry's goal long before he had put together all the different pieces.
Henry evaluated the young man and decided to share some truth. "Crotty's experiments are dangerous. Especially the ones he does at home. I'm stopping it before it gets out of hand."
"Crottys," Dean searched his memory. "The blue house on the end of Pi Street with the lame security system?"
Henry was surprised beyond words. "How do you know that?"
Dean shrugged. "I went for a walk and like the name of the street. So I remembered it."
Henry didn't know what to think.
Dean didn't give him a chance to formulate his thoughts. "Do you want the Crottys to know that you punked them? Or do you want it to be an anonymous meltdown?"
Sometimes Dean's terminology was varied and crude, but Henry could figure out the gist of the question. "Anonymous." He wasn't in a position of authority to eliminate the budget for the Crotty's work.
Dean grinned. "So why don't you go into the office for a couple hours." Dean pushed his out of the chair and guided him to the door. "You can pick up something for breakfast."
When Henry had returned with food twelve hours later, Dean was taking apart the EMP bomb. "What went wrong?"
Dean looked vaguely insulted. "Nothing. I already used it. I don't like leaving evidence around so I brought it home and you can reuse the parts."
And Dean circumvented the Crotty's security, used the EMP bomb and snuck out with no one the wiser. The Crottys had even been home at the time. There had been a full investigation in why they suddenly lost electricity and fried all their computers. The results of the investigation had gotten the Crottys kicked out of Eureka.
"That's when I knew I was going to hire Dean," Henry told Sam. "I was expecting something to be on his record, but not the grave desecrations and the credit card fraud. He never did explain those."
Sam didn't bother to explain them either. "Dad called, didn't he? And Dean left." He was bitter and sad and not surprised.
"He never changed." There was an intensity in Sam's words that Henry didn't understand.
Sam glanced around the garage and smiled as if he could see Dean's ghost hunched over the workbench or lying underneath a car.
Sam was broken, as broken as Dean had been.
And Henry couldn't fix him. The engineer wasn't surprised when Sam drove away two hours and a beer later.
Henry much preferred fixing engines to fixing people. He had a better success rate.