Title: Not to Be
Spoilers: pre-series
Disclaimer: Not mine or they would be in much better shape
Beta: sandymg

Dean would have had his eyeballs gouged out before admitting it. And he couldn't quite explain the fascination. But for once he actually was interested in the assignment.

"Dean? What are you watching?"

He did not just jump guiltily.

" 'S for school."

Sam stood next to the couch, watching, and had it figured out within a few minutes. Of course. Geek.

"That's Shakespeare!"

It did not irk him that his brother sounded so incredulous.

"I told you, it's for class. We have to write a paper."

"You're doing homework? Do I need to get the holy water?"

With a growl Dean threw himself at Sam. It wasn't a fair match at all, Dean having a good thirty-five pounds on Sam and catching him completely unprepared to be bowled over to the floor. Three quick moves had Sam in a headlock.

"Ow! Dean, you're hurting me!"

"Say 'uncle!' "

"Screw you!"

"Uncle, c'mon, say it."

Dean decided to let Sam's mumble count because he didn't want to miss any more of the movie. And this had Mel Gibson and Helena Bonham Carter so it wasn't as if he was watching something like, educational.


"This is the third time this week you've been late, Dean."

Dean ran through several responses to Sam's whining and decided not to bother with any of them. Not reacting naturally had the effect of escalating Sam's bitching.

"Are there still any girls left that you haven't made out with in the janitor's closet? 'Cause really, if we're only gonna be here a couple more weeks you don't want to miss any of them."

"I've been using the library computer. Writing a paper, asshole."

Sam had his mouth open to deliver another put down when Dean saw the gears switch in his brother's head. Which was one very freaky effect.

"On what? Does it have something to do with that movie you were watching yesterday?"

Had he and Sam had a conversation about schoolwork since third grade when Sam decided he didn't need Dean's help anymore? This was weird.

"We're studying Shakespeare. Hamlet. I saw that play …"

"Back when we were in Canton, Ohio, last year. I remember you getting Dad to give you the money for the field trip."

"Yeah, well, anyway, Ms. Granger is cool and is having us watch different productions of it to compare instead of just trying to read it. Because it's not exactly in English, you know? Not normal English, anyway. And it's kinda … interesting.."

Sam was actually looking at Dean with something akin to respect.

"So what's your paper about?"

"I'm writing about where Hamlet screwed up because he got so hung up on revenge, and how if he'd done it different maybe not everybody would have died. Except for Claudius, he deserved to die because he murdered Hamlet's dad."


Sammy at a loss for words, that was a rare occasion.


"What's so funny, Dean?"

"Some guy over in England wrote a song where he tells the whole story of Hamlet in three minutes."


"Hey Claudius! You killed my father! Big mistake!""Dean, that's … that's Arnold Schwarzenegger as … Hamlet?"

"Awesome, huh, SammY?"


"Dean, I need you to go with me on a case tonight. It's liable to take the whole night so bring your school stuff, I may have to drop you off directly there in the morning."

"Sure, Dad. What about getting Sam to school?"

"He starts after you do, I'll swing back for him."

"Did you get your Shakespeare paper done, Dean?"

"Yeah, Sam."

"Can I see it?"

"Here." Dean tossed the three weeks' worth of effort at his brother.

"This looks cool, Dean. You've got a title page and footnotes and everything!"

Dean couldn't help grinning. "Maggie Colter works in the library during study period and she knows how to do all that fancy formatting … among other things," he added with a smirk.

Sam handed the paper back respectfully. "I bet you get an 'A' on this. Or at least a 'B.' "

Dean tucked it carefully along the side of his duffle where it wouldn't get creased. He wasn't completely sure what to call the warm feeling Sam's words gave him. But it felt kinda awesome to have Sammy say something like that to him.


Son of a bitch, it was stinging.

"Hold still, Dean. I almost have the last ones out."

Freakin' porcupine quills. Freakin' supernatural creature porcupine quills.


"Just gonna rinse it with holy water to be safe. Doesn't need stitches, at least."

Dean set himself to not flinch as his dad finished the cleanup on his arm, using the now destroyed flannel shirt to wipe off the last of the blood.

"Why don't you lay down in the backseat and grab a little shut-eye? It's a four hour drive back."

Dean thought about protesting, he could sleep in shotgun, but it would be tricky getting comfortable with his battered right arm against the Impala door, so …

"Okay, Dad. Can you shove this shirt in my bag and hand me a clean one, though?"

"Sure, Dean."


Dean made it into Ms. Granger's classroom just as the final bell was ringing.

"Please hand your papers in."

Dean hauled his duffle to the top of his desk, reached in for his work, and froze at what he pulled out.

His wrecked shirt had spent the last four hours wadded up against his masterpiece. The white pages were now saturated with holy water and streaked with dried blood. As he tried to ease it all the way out the wettest pages stuck to the inside of the bag and shredded.


By the time class ended Dean had decided that he would throw himself on Ms. Granger's mercy and see if she would give him one more day. Then he would see if Maggie could help him recover his work from the library computer.

"I don't make exceptions, Dean. The work was due today, and everyone else in the class completed the assignment on time."

"Please, Ms. Granger? What if, what if you mark my grade down one from what you would have given me if I'd handed it in today?"

Dean didn't often try to sway someone to feel sorry for him with just his eyes, well, okay, not females considerably older than him, anyway, but he set his gaze to maximum plea and held his breath.

He watched as his teacher internally debated and he could see the moment he won.

Now he just had to get Maggie to work her computer magic.


The safest place he could think of for overnight was under his mattress. Nothing could spill on it, it would stay flat …

Dad came in the door still talking on his phone. "Three victims already? Okay, I've got it."

He clicked it shut. "Dean, Sam, we're packing up right now."

"Daaad!" Dean had to bite his tongue not to join Sam's protest.

"I'm sorry, boys, I didn't plan on having to leave so fast."

"Couldn't you leave us here?"

"No, Sam, I'm gonna need Dean's help with this one. It's nasty and it's a two-man job, and it's in Wisconsin, too far for leaving you here alone."


"That's enough, Sam. Pack up, I want to leave in twenty minutes."

Dean dropped The Error of Hamlet's Plan in the trashcan as he walked out the door.

A/N: There really is a 3 minutes Hamlet song:
Lyrics: .
Youtube version: .com/watch?v=oD0S3jq4otU

And Arnold appeared briefly as Hamlet in the main character's daydream in the 1993 movie The Last Action Hero.