Author's Note: This story is set pre series when Dean is 19 and Sam is 15.
John and Dean stood beside the grave and watched the flames burn. John patted Dean's shoulder and said, "Good work tonight."
Dean blushed under the rare praise, and a smile tugged at the corners of his mouth as he said, "Thanks."
After a long pause John said, "You think Sammy's cleaning the weapons?"
Chuckling Dean said, "After you chewed his ass out for not having things ready for the hunt and made him stay behind? Yeah, I think he is."
Frowning John said, "Or he's studying again."
Not laughing anymore, Dean sighed and tried again to make his dad understand. "Sam…. he just likes studying. It's not that he's trying to ignore his other duties. He just loses track of everything else when his nose is in a book. You gave him a direct order to clean the weapons. You even left him with your favorite sidearm. He's cleaning them." Dean prayed that was true.
John supposed Dean was right, but Sam had become so unpredictable and insubordinate since turning fifteen, John was never sure what reception he would get when he walked through the door. And he really didn't want to spank Sam tonight if he hadn't done what he'd ordered. John looked at Dean and said, "I can finish burying the body. Go on home."
"You sure?" Dean was a little surprised John was going to give Dean a chance to go home before him and check up on Sam. They both knew Dean would make sure Sam had cleaned the weapons by the time John came home, even if he hadn't started yet.
John gave him a smile and a nod. "I took the truck in case you needed to go back before me."
"See you at home then." Dean suspected the real reason for taking both vehicles was to make sure Sam didn't use one while they were gone, but it didn't matter to Dean. He was just happy that he got to drive the Impala alone for the night. He whistled as he walked, looking forward to the drive. He looked at his watch and was pleased to see it was only 11:00 PM. He'd be across the boarder from South Dakota and back in Nebraska before midnight.
Dean awoke with a start when the phone rang. Looking at the bed across the room, he saw that Sam was fast asleep. Glancing at the clock, which read 3:23 AM, Dean wondered who would be calling. Then when it rang again, Dean realized John must not be home yet, which meant something had gone wrong. He jumped out of bed, and rushed into the living room to pick it up. "Hello?"
"Dean, I've been arrested and this is my phone call." John's voice said in Dean's ear.
Dean's heart rate went up. "Desecrating a gravesite?"
"Yes, and suspicion of murder. I guess there've been some recent unsolved murders in that graveyard."
"Of course there've been unsolved murders in the graveyard; that's why we were there!" As he thought that over Dean cursed under his breath. They'd tried to prevent the last murder. They'd even spoken with the victim earlier that day before finding him dead in the graveyard. And now that John and Dean had solved the case and burned the bones, there wouldn't be anymore murders. The murders stopping would coincide with John's arrest, making the cops even more suspicious.
John stated, "You know what to do."
"Yes sir." Dean said automatically.
"Do it." John hung up.
Dean said, "But….Dad?" Dean looked at the phone in his hand, and slammed it down in anger. "Damn it!"
Dean turned towards the hallway and saw Sam looking at him with wide eyes, obviously wondering what was wrong. Without even thinking about it, Dean slipped into big brother mode. "It's okay Sammy," he said reassuringly. "Dad just ran into a little trouble during the hunt."
Not quite believing Dean, Sam asked, "What kind of trouble?"
Dean headed towards the hallway, put a hand on Sam's shoulder, turned him around, and steered him towards their room. "The kind that you don't need to worry about."
Sam knocked Dean's hand off his shoulder and said, "Don't patronize me! Tell me what happened."
Dean glared at him; he didn't have time for this. "Don't be a little bitch Sam. Dad will be home tomorrow night, and that's all you need to know. Now get back in bed before I decide to tell him what a half-assed job you did cleaning the weapons."
Stomping to his bed, Sam grumbled, "I fixed it!"
"After I told you I'd burn your library card along with all the books you have on loan."
Sam flopped down, turned his back to Dean and muttered, "What kind of jerk burns library books?"
Satisfied that Sam would be busy pouting and then sleeping for the rest of the night, Dean lay down on his bed while his mind raced. His father's words rang in his head. You know what to do. Yeah, he knew what to do. He was supposed to execute the plan. But that was the plan they'd come up with when Dean was fifteen and got his first fake driver's license. He'd been forced to recite the plan hundreds of times over the next couple of years, and knew it by heart. John's voice went through his head again.
Anything ever happens to me, you're in charge. You take your brother, and get the two of you out of town. Get the emergency money, your weapons, and the protective gear, and you go. If the car isn't available, you steal one, and drive towards Bobby or Jim, whoever's closer. Once you're out of town, you call them both, and let them know what's happened. This is the one and only plan when something goes wrong. It doesn't matter if I get maimed, arrested, killed, or something else. Nothing changes. You got it?
Yeah, Dean got it, but now that he was finally faced with carrying it out, he thought John was wrong. Sure, when he was fifteen or sixteen it would have been the right plan, and he would have been in the car without hesitation. But he was an adult now. He already had a job, and he could pay the rent if he added some pool hustling money to his income. He could and would take care of Sam all by himself, even if he didn't want to do it by himself.
Restlessly Dean turned over and thought about it. He knew why John wanted them to run. He didn't want Sam to end up in foster care with some naive family that knew nothing about what was really out there, because they wouldn't be able to keep him safe. But now that Sam was fifteen, he could keep himself safe. He even had his own fake driver's license, and his own version of what to do if something happened to both John and Dean.
Not able to lie still anymore, Dean got up. The sound of Sam's soft snoring faded as Dean walked to the living room. He sat alone in the dark at the kitchen table and put his head in his hands. "What the hell are you gonna do Dean?" He muttered to himself. "If Dad's found guilty of murder he could be in prison for the rest of his life."
Dean knew that if he were the one stuck in jail for something, John would show up with a fake FBI badge and get him out of there. Dean sat up straight in his chair. Now there was an idea worth considering. He had an FBI badge of his own. He hadn't used it yet, but just last month John had gotten one made for him.
Dean stood and walked out to the garage. He dug through the glove box of the Impala until he found what he was looking for. He held the badge up and looked at his own smiling reflection. The ID said he was twenty-three year old Special Agent Roger Daltrey. He knew it was a good fake. It would fool most cops, and it would even pass basic computer inquiries. Someone would have to be looking for something shady, or know the FBI database pretty well to see something amiss.
Taking the ID, Dean walked back through the house into his dad's bedroom. He turned on the light, letting his eyes adjust to the harsh glare before opening the closet to find the blank forms his father kept hidden there. He found the one he was looking for, and went back out to the kitchen table to fill it out.
Once the plan was formed in his head, and the paperwork was done, he felt slightly ill. He hadn't disobeyed a direct order for years, and with good reason. The last time he'd been sixteen and not only had his father given him a fairly harsh spanking, but people they were trying to help had been in real danger because of Dean's disobedience. This time Dean would be the only one in danger, and all he was in danger of was going to prison. But he was pretty sure John would still take off his belt and spank him until he was sobbing, just like he had back then. Cringing as he thought about it, Dean muttered, "Don't be a pussy. You're a man. You can take it."
He rubbed his hand over his face once and tried hard to believe it when he said, "Dad will be so happy that I got him out, he won't care how I did it."
He let out a disbelieving laugh at that one and then wrote a note to Sam. He told him what he was planning, to go to school like usual, and to execute his version of 'the plan' if Dean wasn't back home by dinnertime.
He took a quick shower, got out his best suit to wear, and left the house at 4:00 AM. He stopped at John's abandoned truck to get John's FBI badge as well before heading to the local police station. He arrived a little after 5:00 AM, knowing that the earlier the better for getting to any police station. It meant he'd either get people who were tired because they'd been on shift all night, or people who were tired because they'd just started their shift.
John lay in his bunk, hoping to hell that Dean and Sam were miles away by now and had called Bobby. One of the officers who had arrested him the night before came to his cell and opened the door. He said, "They want to see you in the interrogation room."
John had kept his mouth shut so far, but he knew things didn't look good. The cops had seen him burying the still smoking grave, and they'd run John's ID only to find it was fake. It wouldn't take them long to find the truck, and his journal. Then he'd be as good as locked up for the rest of his life, or worse, charged as a serial killer and given the death penalty.
He got up and followed the officer to the interrogation room. He walked through the door, and stopped dead in his tracks as he saw Dean sitting across the table from him smirking. He knew exactly what was going on, and the blood drained from his face as he thought about all the things that could go wrong. But now that it had gone this far, he could only play along and pray they would buy it.
Dean stood and walked towards John with his hand out to shake. He said with an easygoing smile, "John, it's great to see you buddy. I'm sorry I couldn't get here earlier, we didn't get word until an hour ago."
John gripped Dean's hand harder then necessary. "Actually I didn't expect to see you so soon, but it's good to see you too."
Dean cleared his throat and extracted his hand from his father's crushing grip before turning back to the precinct Captain. "I've explained the situation to the Captain. He was a little bit leery until I showed him your real ID."
The Captain held out John's FBI identification to him. "You should have told me you were undercover Mr. Jones."
John took it with a tight smile and said, "Sorry, I had orders not to."
Nodding in understanding, the Captain said, "Do you have any leads?"
Before John could answer Dean said, "Sorry, that's classified."
With a tight smile of his own, the Captain pushed some paperwork over to John and said, "Just sign these, and you'll be a free man."
John looked the statement over and clenched his jaw. It stated that John had been undercover investigating a country wide drug operation that used fresh gravesites to hide their merchandise. He signed it, and handed it back to the Captain, hoping that he was as stupid as he looked. The Captain looked it over, nodded, and let the two of them go.
Ten minutes later John and Dean were in the Impala. Dean started the engine and music blared from the cassette player. John clicked it off, turned towards Dean and said, "Jesus Christ Dean, you're nineteen years old. You can't just go into a police station, hand over a fake ID, and lie through your teeth! Especially with an idiotic story like that!"
Dean had been expecting this kind of reaction, and decided he wasn't going to apologize for something that he knew was right. Pulling out into traffic, Dean headed towards John's truck as he said, "Yeah? Well I can, I did, and I just saved your ass."
John could practically feel his blood pressure spike at that comment. "All they had to do was make one phone call, just one, and then we'd both be in jail! Where would that leave Sammy? We had a plan! You know what you were supposed to do!"
"Our plan sucked! I'm not leaving you to rot in jail if I can help it!"
"Oh, but you're fine with leaving Sammy all alone?!"
"Then what were you planning to do if you got arrested?!"
"I was planning on not getting arrested!!"
"You risked your entire future going in there today!!"
Dean sighed. He didn't want to have a shouting match with his father. He knew from watching John and Sam that it could last for a very long time. Lowering his voice to a normal level, he said, "You and I put our lives on the line for strangers all the time Dad. Both of us could get killed on a hunt, and then Sam would be left alone." Dean took his eyes off the road long enough to give his father a pointed look. "The only difference is that this time I put my life on the line for you."
John knew that was true, but he still wasn't okay with Dean doing it. He tried to calm himself down and gather his thoughts. A few minutes later they pulled up to John's truck, but instead of getting out John turned to Dean and said, "I wouldn't be nearly as pissed if you'd followed the plan first, and then worked with Bobby to get me out."
John climbed out while Dean thought about it. Before John shut the door to the Impala he leaned down and said, "Straight home." His voice was laced with sarcasm as he added, "But only if you feel like it, since my orders are somehow optional now."
Dean stared straight ahead, gripped the steering wheel hard enough to turn his knuckles white, and refused to comment. John shut the door and got into his own truck. As John was getting the truck started, Dean yanked off his tie and threw it onto the seat beside him. When John pulled out, Dean followed him.
During the next hour Dean second-guessed himself. He wanted to convince himself that he'd done the right thing. He had gotten John out of prison, but John did have a point. He could have done it with Bobby a couple days later, and things might have been a lot better. Dean could have driven Sam over to John's truck, and they could have taken both vehicles over to Bobby's house. Then Bobby and Dean could have impersonated FBI agents together to get John out, and Dean wouldn't have had to deal with all the age speculation he'd dealt with when he arrived. The more he thought about it, the more he could understand why his father would be angry.
As John drove home, all he could see was Dean in prison. John saw the way women looked at Dean, and he knew that nineteen-year-old boys who got looks like that wouldn't do well in prison. Not even boys with combat training. John felt queasy at the thought of Dean suffering while John was helpless to do anything about it.
Dean pulled up to the house and tried to shove his nerves down. He said to himself, "You knew this would happen, so go in there and get it over with. Just be happy he's home." He took a deep breath and got out.
John was standing in the driveway waiting for him. He said, "Where's Sam."
"He should be in school."
"Good." John led the way into the house.
Dean nodded and thought, 'Yeah, it'll be bad enough without a witness.'
John held the door open for Dean. As soon as they both were inside, John closed the door, put a rough hand on the back of Dean's neck, and steered him towards the couch.
Even though he'd been expecting it, Dean still had trouble keeping his feet under him as John pushed him forward. Dean was too surprised to react when he found himself bent over the back of the couch. He'd expected to get spanked, but John had always put him over his lap before. The last spanking had been about two years ago, but Dean had been roughly the same height and weight that he was now, and his protests of being too big hadn't matter at all.
But even over the couch, Dean knew better then to try and get up. As he grabbed the couch cushions to keep his hands in place, the first smack landed, and Dean let out a grunt, more from surprise then pain. Dean was able to grit his teeth and remain stoic for the first twenty-five swats, but it was difficult. Dean's whole body was jerked forward with the force of each blow, and Dean could already tell he'd be sore for days. He wanted to prove to John that he could take whatever he decided to hand out. But his body betrayed him as small grunts and exclamations of pain escaped his lips.
John laid down swat after heavy swat. The fear he'd felt when he first saw Dean in the interrogation office coming back full force. "You think you're a man? You think you did the right thing today when you disobeyed me?"
Shaking his head Dean said, "No! I just… Ow!.. I did what I had to do!"
John's arm faltered, and the next swat was much lighter then the others. He'd heard that line hundreds of times before, except he'd been the one saying it. As he thought that over, he gave Dean four more light swats and then stopped all together as he realized he was spanking Dean for becoming too much like himself. How many times had Bobby or Pastor Jim tried to talk John out of one thing or another, and he'd told them it was what he had to do? How many times did Sam run to his room in a huff, because John's answer had been 'It's what I have to do'?
John closed his eyes, and felt tears on his cheeks as he thought to himself that he was a failure as a father. Dean's belief that getting John out of prison was not only his duty, but also the morally correct thing to do, made it impossible for John to go on.
Breathing hard, and still trying to keep his reactions to a minimum, Dean couldn't figure out why the spanking had stopped. He was glad, but it was confusing. Then he realized with horror that his father was probably taking off his belt. Dean looked back over his shoulder to see what was going on, and was even more confused. John was just standing there. Dean raised his upper half a little and said, "Dad?"
John turned away from Dean, wiped at his eyes and tried to calm down. Dean stood all the way up as he realized his father was crying. This was uncharted territory, and Dean found himself completely unnerved. "Dad? I… I'm really sorry okay? I swear I'll never do it again."
John heard the slight tremor in Dean's voice, and knew he was scared. That more then anything snapped John out of his self-hatred. He wiped at his face one more time and turned to Dean with a rueful smile and said, "I'm sorry too."
Dean had no idea how to respond to that, and before he could figure it out, John pulled him into a crushing hug. John said in a low and quiet voice, "If anything happens to either of you boys because of me… I'll never forgive myself."
It felt so good to be in John's embrace after all the worry and fear from the night before, that Dean felt himself tear up as he hugged John back. He said softly, "I'm sorry. I just couldn't leave you there."
"I know." John said with understanding. After a few minutes John let go but kept Dean at arms length with a hand on each of Dean's shoulders. He looked Dean in the eye and said, "You need to promise me that this isn't going to happen again. I need to know that you're going to follow the plan Dean. I'm not saying you can't try to help me, but you do that after you get in touch with Bobby or Pastor Jim."
Dean blushed in shame, but kept eye contact as he said, "Yes sir. I promise I'll follow the plan if there's a next time."
John patted Dean's shoulder once and said, "Then I'd say we're done here. I'm sure you want to go change out of that suit, and I want to go wash the jail smell off."
Dean nodded and John turned to go.
John turned back around, and Dean said with honesty, "I'd really miss you if you were gone."
Smiling softly John said, "I'm amazed you can say that with a straight face after the last few minutes."
Dean chuckled and shrugged; "So I'll be sore for a couple of days, you get to deal with moody, sullen Sammy for the next three years."
John let out a loud laugh at that, and then said, "Thanks for making sure I'd be home for those three years."
Pleased with the acknowledgement that he had helped, Dean smiled and said, "Speaking of Sam, I'm going to call the school and let him know you're home."
John headed to the shower thinking that maybe he wasn't such a failure after all.