Ideally, this story would be called "The Chick Flick Moments that (Never) Happened to Dean Winchester" but the character limit in the title box had other ideas, lol. Again, this is a series of unrelated shorts about the angst, adorable and dramatic moments in Dean's (and of course, Sam's) life. Oh, and as awesome as Season Five is, there won't be any spoilers.
Please let me know what you think, love it or hate it. Thanks!
Dean's father was a belligerent, pigheaded, cold, slave-driving sonofabitch, who put weapons in the hands of childhood sons and trained them for war. Who drank too much on birthdays and anniversaries and didn't care about holidays. Who was so obsessed with protecting his children and strangers, it left him twisted and dark. But sometimes, John Winchester wasn't so bad. Like an eclipse, something slipped into alignment, fleetingly blocking the grief, the intensity fading, and Dean got his father back. His little brother only knew John Winchester, the gruff sonofabitch who was gutted and embittered by revenge and saw things as innocuous as soccer practice a threat, thus always said no. But Dean had watery memories of John when he was a regular, happy family man, working the 9-to-5 with friends, hobbies, and dirt under his nails instead of rock salt, motor oil staining his clothes instead of blood.
Dean wasn't so sure if that he was the lucky one.
It had been a disastrous three months since Sam had left college, and the wounds were still raw. John plunged forward, attacking a relentless string of hunts with little breaks for the past eighty-two days. Dean was running on fumes, frayed nerves and a weary spirit. They'd finished a hunt in Oklahoma, both of them relatively uninjured, which was as fortunate as they got these days. John drove the Impala, steering it east with no direction and Dean sat in the passenger seat, wishing they were going west, towards Stanford, wishing Sam was in the back seat. John glanced at Dean, all stubbled jaw, popped collar and concealed eyes, and smile slyly.
"Sir?" Dean questioned, not lifting his head from his hand.
"Nothin'," John replied, mischievous.
Dean stifled a groan, hoping he wasn't about to be roped into a training exercise or even worse, sparring with his father. The man had twenty years experience of hand-to-hand, actual war stories, and believed all lessons should be learned the hard way.
"Get some rest, Dean." The smirk stayed on John's lips and Dean didn't question it. He hadn't felt light and unburdened since Sam had bolted.
He fell asleep, wishing he knew what was making his father grin like a Cheshire cat when there were no werewolves--his father's favorite prey--to kill.
Dean found out roughly four hundred miles later when he woke up to the Impala turning heads of appreciation as he methodically drove through the parking lot.
"We're here, son." John said.
He blinked at the bright colors blurring his vision. Idly, Dean wondered if he were hallucinating as his eyes focused on rows of cars—not bloated minivans and clunky sedans that that littered the roads like unimaginative steel cages—but honest-to-God muscle cars. He salivated at the red Thunderbird parked thirty feet away, the lime green GTO next to it. He turned his head as a grey, 1964 Mustang shined obscenely in the sunlight. His heart fluttered happily at Dodge Charger to their right. "So there's a heaven…" Dean wowed. He turned to his dad, trying to button in his excitement and glee, "What's haunted here?"
John squinted at him when he exited the car, stretching and cracking his stiff joints. "There's this new-fangled thing called fun. All the kids are doing it these days," he bent over and leaned back down to catch Dean's eyes, "thought we could give it a shot."
Dean gaped at his father like he was possessed.
John stared at him, serious.
Dean nodded warily, face slowly rearranging into a smile. "Fun, huh? You think I could get hopped up on goofballs?"
John grinned, this time showing teeth, "...just stay away from the dope."
"Yes, sir." He chuckled as he got out of the car.
He popped the trunk and dug through his duffle for a clean shirt. John shrugged out of his Army green jacket, putting on a simple button-down. Dean stuttered with disbelief when he left both 45s and his knife in the hidden armory. Dean settled on the black sweater of Sam's. It was a bit wrinkled and smelled of exhaust, but it was clean with no holes. He unarmed as well.
John and Dean spent the day, admiring the sleek bodies and powerful lines of classic cars, accepting compliments on the Impala like it was his own.
It wasn't one of those fancy car shows organized by auto executives. It was a down-and-dirty ode to the cars and the people who drove them held in the parking lot of the local fair grounds. Cars were parked in the St. Louis sun, people barbequed, and tailgated, sharing food and stories and beer. There were girls in short skirts and rickety booths raffling off stupid prizes like beer can helmets and armchair toilet seats. Dean couldn't describe the warmth in his chest or the flutter in his stomach that made him smile like a schoolgirl as he watched his father joke and interact with people, unarmed, and as unguarded as he ever got. They drank beers and overloaded at the food booths, eating spicy shrimp and amazing chicken grilled in a rotisserie-on-wheels and beer from local breweries.
They stayed the night, when the lanterns and colored lights lit up the fields. Dean was pleasantly tipsy, leaning against the back of the Impala. He watched as his father talked to a woman, fidgeting and twirling his ever-present wedding ring, loyal to a wife that had been dead for almost two decades. Dean wasn't sure if he was proud or saddened. Still, he winked at her when his father left them, and joined his son on the back of the car, watching the lights and stars flicker in the darkness. "Get the digits?" Dean asked casually.
"Nope, made a deal. Remember that Charger you liked, the red one?"
"Mhmm," Dean said, opening another beer.
"I bought it."
He nearly choked on his beer, sucking it down his lungs. He coughed, sputtering on the alcohol. "Come again?"
"A man should have his own car, Dean…" John kept on talking about how he could put some love into it, paint it black if he wanted, but Dean tuned him out. He was blindsided with an odd combination of unfettered gratitude and surprising disappointment. The car beneath him was more his home than the ratty motels or the homey bi-level in Lawrence or even Bobby's junkyard where he and Sammy spent several winters and summers as kids. He'd slept in the backseat, curled up with an ever-changing Sammy like puppies. He'd watched the snow fall and spiral on Christmas mornings, lost his virginity to Virginia Yang in Missouri. It's sun-faded vinyl and the hum of the engine was more reassuring than anything Dean had ever known. But John was giving him something, and that was more important. He smiled stiffly, around the lump in his throat, and forced himself to listen as John's voice dipped.
When Dean met John's eyes, he tore them away, staring at the moon or the glint of its light off the roofs of a thousand beloved cars. "I..um…Dean, and I don't…want you to…think that I'm not proud of you. Or that I want to keep you with me…under lock and key. Sam's gone…and it doesn't look like…he'll be back. But…you can go if you want."
Dean's back stiffened and he squirmed under his skin at his father's dysfunctional outpouring of emotion. The knot in his belly softened and twisted into a flutter of nerves and he scratched furiously at the label on his sweating beer bottle. Dean had almost left, after John had thrown Sam out in that rainy July night. He'd packed his things three days later, furious, and ready to some serious California sunshine. But stupid logic sliced through his anger, and he realized his father needed him more than his independent, freak of a brother.
"I'm in this fight, Dad, 'til the end."
John laughed flatly. "That's what I'm afraid of, son."
"Dad, if I wanted to go…I would have left. With Sammy."
John's eyes chanced a glimpse at this oldest son. "You can go…whenever you want. Put down roots, ya know? Date a nice girl."
That was scarier to him than the things they fought. "Maybe one day."
"Well, you wanna take a look at the car?"
Dean nodded curtly, and slid off the hood, catching the keys John tossed at him. They felt warm in his hand, familiar. He glanced down at them, and then back up to his dad in slack-jawed shock as he saw they were John's keys to the Impala. "But the…Charger..."
"…is for me." John said with a soft smile.
Dean bit the inside of his cheek, looking back at the only place he'd ever called home, and cursed the sting in his eyes. "Dad…" he whispered, clutching the keys.
Winchesters didn't do soft or play up a chink in the armor. Dean was grateful it was dark and they had both drank their weight in beer. John shoved his hands in his pockets while Dean stared in awe at the right fender of his car. "You loved this car your whole life, Dean. Hell, you were made in it. It belongs to you."
"Thank you, sir. And ew." Dean mumbled to the dirt. Overwhelmed.
John stepped forward and patted Dean on the back letting his hand linger before pulling him slowly into a hug that wasn't manly with back-slapping, but bruisingly tight and fiercely tender. Dean pressed his nose into his father's shoulder, breathing in the smell of leather and ebbing grief. "I'm proud of both my sons," John said strongly. "Don't you ever think I'm not."
Sometimes, John Winchester was pretty freakin' awesome.
They broke apart and shifted awkwardly. "I'm gonna stick around here a few days. Work on the car." John said. "Why don't you take your baby out, and stretch her legs?"
The next morning, with the sun at his back, and his new car purring happily, Dean headed west.