Why the Winchesters Always Use Rock Aliases
John Winchester is used to the emergency room. Sometimes, it seems more like home than the myriad tacky motel rooms that they constantly find themselves in. In every town, in every state, there's always an emergency room, and it's always more or less the same. Harried nurses, annoyed doctors, and vague coloring that walks the line between light blue and green.
He's had stitches done in emergency rooms, concussions checked, and even a broken bone or two set. This is, however, the first time he's had to bring in one of his boys, and suddenly the whole place looks a bit. . .malevolent.
"Now, Dean, remember," John says. "In the hospital we have to use our code name. So the doctors aren't going to call me Mr. Winchester."
"I know, Dad," Dean says snottily. He's taken to being a know-it-all ever since he turned seven. Even now he has his nose pointed toward the sky. "Maybe you should remind Sammy. He's the baby."
John sighs, and glances in the rearview mirror toward his younger son. Sam meets his eyes in the mirror, and rolls his eyes. John chokes back a laugh. Sam came into the world with an attitude, refusing to cry and just glaring, red-faced at nurses while they blew air into his face. And even now, bundled into a child's seat in the back of the Impala, a huge towel wrapped around his head to stop the bleeding from where he'd toddled into the sharp end of a table, he manages to be stubborn.
"Okay, then," John says. "Dean, what is our top secret code name?"
Dean screws up his forehead, clearly trying to come up with it. Sam giggles in the back seat. John takes another look. The toddler's eyes are bright and aware – maybe the bump on his head isn't so bad, maybe they don't need to head to the ER. . .then again, John thinks, there's no such thing as too careful.
"Foud," Sam chirps, and he's as close as he can possibly be without the ability to pronounce his Rs.
"Yeah," Dean says. He crosses his arms over his chest. "Ford. I knew that."
John doesn't even look at his son. His lips twitched again.
"I did," Dean says petulantly. "I just wanted to see if Sammy remembered.
* * * * *
John is so tired of heading to the principal's office. So very, very tired. If it's not one thing, it's another. It's to the point where he doesn't even have to say anything to the secretary, she just shrugs and points him in. Sure enough, there's Dean, scrunched up in one chair, a blank expression on his face. And the principal, staring at him in despair.
"What is it this time?" John asks wearily. The woman, just as weary, glances up at him.
"Oh, Mr. Lincoln, thank you for coming in," she says. She doesn't bother to get up and shake his hand. John doesn't mind. He just glares at his son.
"What's Dean done this time?"
"He forged your name on a field trip slip," she says. John pauses for a minute. A field trip? Did Dean. . .he tries to think back, recalls that Dean might have mentioned something. . .a museum, or something, right? He shakes his head. More disturbing than his inability to remember the museum, however, is the fact that Dean has been caught at forgery. Something he should be a master of. It's embarrassing.
"You're in big trouble, mister," he says to Dean, then turns back to the principal. "If you don't mind my asking, how did you catch him?"
"Well, it's the strangest thing," the principal says, and indeed, she does have a strange expression on her face. "You see, he signed the form John Martin. Isn't that the darndest thing?"
John closed his eyes, and took a deep breath. Not again. "Yup," he agreed. "Darndest thing."
* * * * *
John Winchester is driving ninety-five miles an hour. Which wouldn't be so insane, if he weren't in a residential area. Still, his head is still ringing from the call from Bobby. More specifically, the call from Bobby that his phone recognized as being from a hospital.
"Dammit, Bobby," John growls. The wheels of his car screech as he pulls around the corner, nearly running over a little old lady exiting. She's pretty quick on her feet, luckily, for a woman in a walker. John is out of the car before the wheels have even stopped moving.
"Where are they?"
The trucker hat is easier to spot than even the uniforms of triage nurses, and John thinks that he might have steamrolled that same old lady on his way to his best friend. "Bobby," he growls, grabbing the other man by the collar and pulling him up, so they stand chest to chest. "Where are they? Where are my sons?"
"Hi, Daddy," Sam pops up out of nowhere, all careless curls and ruddy cheeks. A butterfly bandage covers a pair of stitches over his left eye. His tongue is lolling out, indolently licking a lollipop nearly the size of his hand. "Look at the lolly that Uncle Bobby got me. It's big! It's. . ." Sam frowns for a moment, and spreads her arms out as wide as possible. "It's this big!" he says proudly. John almost chokes on his relief, it's so palpable.
"Thank God," he says and ruffles his sons hair. Neither Bobby nor Sam seem terribly upset, so he has to assume that even though he doesn't see Dean, that his other boy is all right as well. "What happened?"
"Tree," Bobby says gruffly. Sam grins cheekily.
"It was ginormous, Dad!" he explodes. His holds his arms again. "It was bigger than this big! And Dean bet me that I couldn't climb it. But I could! I climbed higher than Dean, even!" the kid frowned at that, and shrugged, as if fighting with his own integrity. "Well," he said, "Until I falled."
"They fell out of a tree?" John asks. Bobby shrugs.
"Boys will be boys," he says.
This time John does choke a little. Out of all the horrible things in the world, his boys end up in the ER because of a tree-climbing incident. Thank God.
"Where's Dean?" he asks.
"Getting his arm set," Bobby says. "Damn fool decided he had to beat his six year old brother at climbing a tree. Idjit. He fell, too."
"Yeah, I got that," John says with a smile. A broken arm. Not so bad. Sam yawns, and John ruffles his hair again. "Listen, Bobby," he says. "Why don't you take Sam home? Looks like he's pretty tuckered out. I'll stay here and wait for Dean."
"Sure thing," Bobby says. "Come on, midget, let's get you back home."
"Okay," Sam says amiably amble out, and John sits down to wait.
"Okay, this is taking too long," he says after about two minutes, and walks up to the nurse handling check-ins. "Hi," he says. "I just want to check on my son. He's getting an arm set."
"No problem, sir," the nurse says. "I just need your last name."
"Edsel," John says, the lie coming easily to his lips. The nurse scans the names.
"Um. . .does your son have a different last name than you?" he asks. "I don't see an Edsel checked in here."
John sighs. It isn't like Bobby to be sloppy with the names. The poor old guy must have been pretty freaked out. "Try Winchester," he says.
The nurse scans again. This time, when he looks up, there is a light of suspicion in his light grey eyes. "I'm sorry," he says. "There's nobody by that name, either."
John's heart skips a beat. Maybe. . .maybe Bobby missed something. Maybe the hospital is the actual danger. Maybe. . .he can't even get the thoughts straight in his head, all that he knows is that Dean is missing, and Dean never goes missing. Sam's been known to wander off in grocery stores and department stores, but Dean is always right by his side.
There's only one explanation. Well, two. One, that the yellow-eyed demon has reappeared, to take away the next most important thing to him. And the other, just as implausible; the hospital has lost his son.
"You lost my son," John says in flat disbelief. The nurse just continues to stare at him, implacable.
"That's not possible, sir."
"You lost my son."
"Nobody checked in by those names, sir."
"I was just talking to his uncle," John says. "In the trucker hat. My other son, Sam. They were just here. Are you telling me they were lying to me about where Dean is?"
The nurse opens his mouth again, and John is getting ready to sock him, right in the kisser, when the admitting doors open, and Dean comes walking through, bright-eyed a chipper, his arm casted and immobile at this side.
"Hey, Dad!" he says. John turns slowly, and then, quick as a snake, lashes out and drags his son into a hug. "Hey to you, too," Dean scoffs.
"I thought they lost you," John mutters into his son's hair. It smells like leaves and dirt and little boy. Dean glances over at the nurse.
"Dad," He says, "that's impossible."
"That's what I said," the nurse agrees.
During the car ride back to Bobby's place, John has another thought. "Dean," he says. "how's your head feel?"
"Fine," Dean says. "I mean, the doctor said I might have a concussion, but that it's a real minor one."
"Uh-huh. What name did you use at the hospital?"
"Chevalier," Dean says. "Isn't that our new code name?"
"No," John says. "That is never a code name. We only have five code names, Dean. What are they?"
"Um. . ." Dean thinks for a moment. "Ford. Lincoln. Martin. Um. . .um. . .mustang? And. . .er. . ."
"Dammit, Dean," John sighs. "How hard is it to remember five names?"
"Your names are weird, Dad," Dean says. "Why can't you pick normal names?"
"Normal names," John shakes his head. "And what would be a normal name?"
He was all prepared for Smith, Thomas, etc. Instead he got Page, Plant. Bonham, Jones, Stewart, Jagger, Richards, Daltrey, Townshend. . .
"Okay," John holds up one hand, and thinks, hey, if you can't beat them, join them. "New rule. From now on, Dean, you pick the code name."