Okay, so I have no idea where this little fic came from...or what it's about for that matter.
If I owned anything Supernatural, whatever pulled Sam up would have used its brains and brought John back and Samuel and the cousins would be far off in matrix!heaven where I wouldn't ever have to see them again...
Rated for language. It's the Winchesters, what do you expect?
If there is one thing in the world that John Winchester hates, it's research. Research that goes on for days on end and turns up nothing but crumpled papers and ink stained fingers and not one single helpful clue. If there's one thing he detests, it's that.
Well, that's not right. Unproductive research isn't the one and only thing in the world that he hates. In fact it's only one tiny little turd in the giant heap of shit made up of all the things that John Winchester wouldn't mind never encountering ever again. But right now it's doing a pretty good job of moving up right to the top of that heap.
He's been staring down the messy pile of whiskey stained papers and quickly scribbled notes and stolen library books for hours. He hasn't gotten up to get a drink or take a piss or answer the landlady's incessant knocking. All he's doing is staring at contradicting pieces of ancient lore, trying to find a pattern that he's pretty sure was never there in the first place.
So yeah, his eyes are burning (from exhaustion. He does not need glasses!), his legs are feeling numb, he feels a migraine coming on, he's pissed that he'll have to go out and hunt blind with little to no actual intell again and the last thing he needs right now is for his stupid, fucking phone to start ringing.
It's his 'Mr Winchester; Father' phone. A trick he – well, Sam, really – has picked up from Bobby. Different phones for different callers. Makes it easier to not slip up when the boys' schools are calling.
He grumbles his name in his best I'm-oh-so-very-interested-in-how-my-kid-is-doing at-school voice. He really hopes that it is some overly enthusiastic teacher, absolutely needing to tell him how moved she was by Sammy's latest essay on the importance of the Gettysburg Address and not another principal, ready to rip his head off for Dean's inappropriate language or some such shit.
"Mr Winchester, this is Principal Turner speaking, I'm calling to inform you that your son has been suspended for the rest of the week."
What the fuck has gotten into Dean? He told the kid to keep his head down for once. Social Services on their case is the last thing they need right now and in the last town it got pretty damn close. Dean is under strict orders to not fuck up or else.
"His teacher caught him trying to steal the envelope that held the money for this week's field trip to the Museum of Natural History."
Wow. Okay. So that's new.
John is used to being called about fights and missed homework assignments and outright brawls in the cafeteria. Even the occasional call to inform him about his son's exploits in the janitor's closet, which he really doesn't want to know about. But this? Swiping an envelope full of other kids' money out of a teacher's desk? Getting caught doing it? This is a whole new level of trouble Dean has managed to get himself into.
The principal drones on and on about how, considering his son's permanent record, they don't think that calling in a parent/teacher meeting will do anyone any good at this point and John agrees, though he imagines for different reasons.
He is just about to hang up the phone, all the while assuring the principal that he will most certainly talk the issue over with his son and that he won't be spending his suspension "lying on the sofa, playing videogames" – Sofa? Videogames? – when he hears the door behind him open.
Sam's been staring at the door to their crappy apartment for what feels like hours, turning the keys to the three separate locks over and over in his sweaty hands.
He walked out the gates of his run down Bronx middle school several hours ago with no intention of going straight home, like Principal Turner told him to, choosing to spend as much time in the public library as possible before they finally kicked him out.
He has no illusions that Dad is still going to be pissed once he opens the door. Being pissed at Sam is something Dad does really well these days and it's not like making him wait for hours is gonna do anything to calm him down. It's almost funny how Sam is probably about to spend the rest of his day being yelled at, when the teachers seemed really more concerned than angry when they caught him with that stupid envelope. They probably figured he was having some sort of metal breakdown, even suggested that he use the time of his suspension to "unwind and get back in touch with his real self".
Yeah, right. He'll get right on that. Right after he's done cleaning and re-cleaning the guns and doing rounds around the apartment complex and scrubbing the Impala and god knows what awful things Dad will think of to make his life misery.
This is ridiculous, he decides. Not having the balls to enter his own home, standing outside, staring at the door handle. Dean would call him a little bitch if he could see him right now.
Dean. Man, he really hopes Dean is home already and has had time to talk Dad down somewhat.
Sighing like a man approaching his own execution, Sam pushes the first key into one of the locks.
Time to face the music.
He half expects to be grabbed by the collar of his only dress shirt, the moment the door falls shut behind him, having one very pissed off John Winchester in his face.
He isn't at all prepared for the friendly "hey there, Sammy" from the kitchen table. He spins around and stares at his father who seems the epitome of calm and not-pissed, brooding over some book that Sam is pretty sure belongs to the Salt Lake City Library.
"…h-hi, Dad." It's more like a squeak and makes him sound like he's years, rather than weeks away from his thirteenth birthday.
"How's school today?"
Is that a trick question?
Sam tries several times to come up with an answer that's slightly more intelligent than "uhm…I-ah…" and finally settles on a nervous giggle and hightails it into his and his brother's room.
Dean is slumped down on his bed, staring daggers at a car magazine, doesn't even acknowledge his little brother. Which is a little weird, but Sam has bigger problems to deal with right now.
Okay, so it's a pretty safe guess that through some miracle Dad doesn't know about The Envelope of Doom, but Sam was in the room when Principal Turner called to tell him about it. Which leaves his only clue…
His eyes don't even flicker from the Ferrari's front wheels.
"No." His voice is as strange combination of whisper and growl.
Sam let's a few seconds pass, then tries again. He really needs to know what's going on here.
"Dean, listen, have there been any phone calls from…"
"Shut the fuck up already!" Dean hisses again. This time his head whips around so fast that it must hurt. "We're not talking about this. Not long as Dad's out there."
And then he's back to pretending to read his magazine.
Okay. 'Not as long as Dad's out there'. Sam can work with that. So Dean somehow kept the Envelope Situation from Dad and wants to keep it that way. That's good. Beyond good, actually. Best-big-brother-in-the-world-awesome. Sam is still somewhat thrown by Dean's annoyed attitude though, because, honestly, since when does his brother follow any particular code of honor when it comes to stealing or not screwing over a teacher?
They spend the next two hours on their respective beds. Dean stubbornly staring at one and the same magazine page, Sam more or less focused on the homework he'll now have the rest of the week to complete.
The sun is setting somewhere behind the huge, grey building that's about two feet from their window. About time for Dad to go out and 'earn some money'. Dean said that's one of the great things about living in a huge city like New York: Literally thousands of run down bars to hustle pool in and never having to go to the same one twice.
Right as Sam is finishing that thought and hoping that Dad won't take Dean with him tonight (there's that whole school night thing, but god forbid anyone in this screwed up family would care about that), a low grumble, just about loud enough to reach them through the door: "Dean."
Dean pushes himself up on his elbows into a position that just screams uncomfortable and barks back "yes, sir?". It's such an annoyingly conditioned response, Sam wants to throttle him.
And then his jaw drops.
"I call you, you fucking come to the door and look at me, boy!"
Dad's voice is anything but a low grumble all of a sudden and it takes on that tone that he's been using with Sam constantly. The one that throws Dean so far off balance that Sam's surprised he doesn't fall when he stumbles for the door.
"Yes, sir. Sorry, sir."
Dad hmpf's and points at the artillery that has now replaced the heap of books and papers on the kitchen table.
"Those guns better be clean by the time I get home."
"I want you up at 0500, running laps."
"Don't pull any shit while I'm out."
Sam stops himself just short of asking what the hell is going on between his father and his brother. Maybe Dean has somehow managed to fuck up even worse than Sam and Dad is spending all of his energy being pissed at Dean. They sure are both acting like it.
And then Dad is out the door and Dean's shoulders sag for a minute while he's listening for the sound of the Impala driving down the road, before he turns on his heels, towering over Sam and suddenly Sam doesn't feel like his latest growth spurt was any good at all.
"Wanna tell me what you need 200 dollars for, you little shit?"
It's a very good impression of Dad's best drill sergeant voice and now Sam's just totally confused. Sure, he expected Dad to be less than impressed with his little kleptomanic episode, but Dean is supposed to clap him on the back and say 'well done, Sammy. Bet those sons of bitches had it coming.'
"W-what do you…how do you even…?"
"Your principal called, dipshit, that's how I know."
There are about one millions follow up questions racing around in Sam's head, but his tongue has decided to stop working. All he knows is that somehow the Envelope of Doom has turned their world upside down with Dad being nice to Sam and mad at Dean and Dean cowering in front of Dad and being mad at Sam.
"Dad doesn't know shit."
Sam is just lost. He can't figure out why on earth Dean's acting like he is and it makes him angry that he can't figure it out and when Sam gets frustrated, the waterworks get turned on and he could just shoot himself. Somehow the big crocodile tears that are suddenly welling up in Sam's eyes are having the opposite effect on Dean, though. The drill sergeant act deflates and all that's left is a big brother who looks pretty lost himself when he turns around and walks into their kitchenette/living room.
"Quit worrying about Dad, Sammy. I got it covered."
Sam's got the tears under control again, but then Dean turns to look at him with an expression on his face that's twenty bad things all put into one and he just can't shake the feeling that something's terribly wrong.
"Guess your principal forgot to mention your name. Dad figured she was calling about me. I sorta went along with that notion."
Dean watches as Sam's expression slowly morphs from confusion to shock to absolute adoration.
"Dad…Dad thinks it was you?"
"Can't say that I blame him."
Dean tries. He really tries, but it's fucking hard to pretend that Dad just assuming that it was him, not even considering the possibility that he might not have screwed up for once, doesn't hurt like hell. Then again, who in their right mind would assume anything different?
Sam watches as his brother forces his bitter smile to twist into a painful imitation of his usual cocky grin.
Dean reaches for a frayed notepad and Sam watches in horror as the sleeve of his baggy Black Sabbath t-shirt slides back and reveals a purplish handprint. A goddamn handprint. Sam can make out individual fingers.
"Dean, what the hell?"
Dean follows his brother's gaze, drops his arm.
Sam spends some time doing his fish-out-of-water impression.
"Did…did Dad hi– "
"No." The tone is obviously meant to imply how ridiculous that statement is, but doesn't quite manage, so Dean forces himself to adjust his answer. "He just…kinda…shoved me."
Right. Because shoving totally produces the kind of bruises that look like someone was trying to cut off any circulation in your arm.
"Dude, that's not just – "
"Anyway," Dean talks over him. Geez, his brother is worse than a dog with a bone. "Let's deal with the real problem here."
Sam blinks a couple of times. As far as he can tell they have a bunch of problems on their hands, all of them pretty damn real.
"So, I gather that you're suspended for the rest of the week?"
Sam nods. God, he hates how awful that word sounds. 'Suspended'. 'You are suspended.' 'We have decided that having you around other students was a terrible mistake. We shall rectify that mistake by suspending you.'
"Okay. Well, I'm not." Dean grabs the notepad again and starts scribbling away. "But Dad thinks I am, so my mornings are sorta crammed. You drop this off at my school tomorrow."
He hands Sam the note and Sam glances down at his Dad's handwriting, detailing how Dean had his wisdom teeth removed today and won't be able to attend classes for the rest of the week.
"Once you're done, you go to the library. You stay there 'till school lets out. Then you go straight home and do some pretend homework. Every day. Clear?"
Sam nods in fascination. He feels his old hero worship rise up in his chest again.
"But what about you?"
"I…" Dean tries again for that fake smile that gives Sam the creeps. "I am going to amuse myself with a lovely little game called 'boot camp'."
Sam gulps down his guilt. This whole situation sucks and it's all Sam's fault, but there's little he can do about it at this point. The idea that he could maybe come clean and tell Dad the truth doesn't even enter his mind.
"Dean, I swear, whatever non-workout stuff Dad throws at you, I'll do it. I'll clean the car, I'll take care of the guns, I'll…"
He practically throws himself into one of the kitchen chairs and grabs one of the sawed off shotguns.
Dean sighs but starts taking apart the new Browning and Sam doesn't miss the slight wince when his brother's spine makes contact with the back of the chair. Dad kinda shoved you, huh? Grabbed you and threw you into the table's more like it. Dean's an idiot the way he puts up with their father.
"Hey, Dean…I just wanna say thank – "
"So what'd you need the money for, anyway?"
He's doing that talking over him thing again. Sam would roll his eyes at his brother if he weren't feeling so freaking guilty. His screw up got Dean into this world of trouble and for what? God, it sounds so stupid and trivial now.
"I need new cleats. The ones I have are two sizes too small. Coach said I had to get new ones or I couldn't play."
Dean does roll his eyes at his little brother. Such a Sam thing to do. Use the tools of their trade in order to get himself a piece of normal or some such nonsense. Still, he makes a mental note to set aside some of his pool money so he can maybe get Sam some no- name cleats for his birthday.
They fall into silence, working on the guns, taking apart and cleaning and oiling and putting back together. Sam glances up at Dean from time to time, trying to imagine a scenario in which he would ever cover for Dean like that and it shames him to say that he can't come up with one. Yelling at Dad and huffing and puffing and arguing in favor of his brother he can do, but just taking the fall like that, not complaining at all? Not gonna happen. And still, Dean is sitting there, helping him out with the guns, even though Sam said he was gonna do it and making sure his little brother had a place to be while he couldn't be at school or at home and feigning indifference to the fact that their dad, his hero thinks he's a selfish, immature idiot.
But that's Dean for you. All 'yes, sir', 'no, sir', 'will you love me if I jump off a cliff for you, sir?", but the moment Sam needs it, he throws his primary goal in life, pleasing their father, out the window and does whatever it takes to take care of Sammy. Usually, Sam would be annoyed by that. He is almost thirteen after all, he doesn't need a body guard, except that when it comes to Dad, he sort of does.
He should really be doing more to make it up to Dean, other than helping with the punishment that should be his in the first place.
"Hey, you own my M&M's for, like, the next two months, okay?"
This time Dean's grin almost reaches his eyes.
"You bet your ass I do." He smirks. "God knows I'm gonna need the extra calories."
He's really getting tired of his brother's continuing chick flick mood.
"Just…Dad seemed really mad at you and – "
"Dad and I are gonna be fine, Sammy."
They always are. The main reason Dad was so pissed in the first place is that Dean didn't immediately figure out what was going on, so he spent some time pleading his innocence, before his fake admission. Having John Winchester think you're lying to him to get out of trouble? Probably not a good idea.
But anyway, Dean's gonna do an extra good job on the Impala tomorrow or maybe try his hand on Dad's favorite pasta and the world will be right again. As long as he follows orders and takes care of Sammy, they're gonna be just fine.
And that's it. I'm irrationally insecure about this one. I really like some parts and other parts are just...I don't know. Please tell me what you think.