Yes, this is a spanking fic. It is going to be a multiple chaptered story on Adam joining the family and, hopefully, the emphasis is going to be more on the familial relationships than on the discipline. Please do not read it if the content offends you. It's not for everyone and I don't really want to be flamed by a million people telling me how horrible the discipline is.
Funny how something as small and routine as a simple phone call can change your life forever.
The one positive thing that John Winchester found about the arduous and somewhat mundane task of researching in the more southern states was the consistent and somewhat gratuitous use of air conditioning in all of the public record buildings.
Sure, he was used to living rough and having to relentlessly forge ahead under any conditions with whatever needed doing, be it a hunt or a day labor job taken for some fast cash. He was tough, didn't complain, even as streaks of slick sweat cascaded down his rugged and still quite handsome face or pooled into a sticky puddle at the small of his muscular back. His tour in Nam had broken him of any preciousness he held regarding personal comfort a long time ago.
Ever the persistent instructor, he had made sure that his boys learned to live with discomfort as well. You just couldn't be too careful with the life they lived, the things they did. They never knew where the next hunt would take them. What the circumstances might be or even the time of year or the weather. No matter how much his youngest child saw fit to bitch about the unfairness of it all, a Winchester couldn't afford to be prissy about something like a little sweltering heat during a seven hour stake out for a Chupacabra in southern Texas in August.
Which is exactly how they had spent last Sunday before moving east once the hunt was finished.
Still, when their latest no-tell motel carried all the creature comforts of a prison farm, and there were mountains of woefully anticipated hours of research that needed to be addressed, there was just nothing more decadent than sitting down with a pile of local reference materials in a library in Memphis, where the AC was cranked so high that it actually produced gooseflesh.
John finished examining a stack of old newspapers and then stood to stretch out his back. Pulling his arms to the side, he tried to ignore the popping sounds that his sorely abused joints made. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Dean smirking before chancing a quick peek at his father. A well perfected paternal scowl dissuaded the nineteen year old from making any old man jokes, even though the scowl was followed by a good humored wink from said old man. Still grinning, green eyes twinkling mischievously, Dean returned his full attention to the death records he was working on, his smart ass firmly checked for the moment.
John leaned over to grab the stack of yellowed papers that he had carefully combed through to exchange them for another pile that might hopefully yield more helpful details. Frowning irritably, it didn't escape his notice that his younger son was barely leafing through the birth records that were his assigned task for the afternoon. The large book lay open in front of him, a scant few pages more progressed than it had been a half an hour ago when John had last checked. Sammy's head was propped up on his left hand, his right hand holding a pencil, the lead point only slightly duller thanks to the random doodling that was littering the page of his lackluster notes.
The weary father didn't even have the energy to sigh at the disjointed picture of his sons. Dean, his spikey haired head bent over his book in fierce concentration, the eraser of his pencil jammed between his teeth a sure sign that the boy was deeply concentrating on the pages in front of him. Sam, physically present in the cavernous room with his father and brother, but clearly mentally sitting in some dreamworld classroom where algebra and Shakespearean prose were the things that kept you safe at night.
John clenched his teeth as he fought back a wave of irritation at his youngest's lack of concern and blatant disobedience. Sam would study for hours on end, writing and rewriting papers until they were letter perfect. Just as long as the work was for whatever school they were currently enrolled in, of course. The boy was undeniably smart, a real natural in the field of academics, and even the rugged hunter in John would beam proudly when handed Sam's exceptional report cards at the end of the terms. All the while, Dean would hover in the background, posture stiff and straight as any grunt, patiently waiting for his little brother to have his moment in the sun before his own less than stellar grades were presented.
Dean was just as smart as Sam. That, John knew for sure. He may not appreciate literature or speak foreign languages (unfortunate for a future hunter, where an inability to master Latin could literally be the death of him), but Dean had a way of looking at something and seeing the mechanics of it. Whether it was his car or really any kind of mechanical device, Dean could rip it apart and reassemble it in his sleep in new and creative ways. He could see through patterns and detect irregularities even better than John could himself. But, formal schooling had always been difficult for his oldest child.
John knew his son better than anyone else. Most people saw Dean's overconfident smirk and cocky swagger and assumed that he was just a pompous Romeo looking to impress.
His father knew better.
On the contrary, the eldest Winchester son had been shy from birth, unnaturally quiet and unquestioningly introspective. He had gone completely mute for months after the fire, only eventually regaining his voice when John finally convinced him that his mommy would want him to be a brave big brother for little Sammy. What Sammy needed, Dean had always desperately tried to provide. As a result, Dean's cover personality was eventually born, all smart ass remarks and bullish manners, but, underneath, John still saw his shy little boy.
If his father would have let him, Dean would have started hunting at age five. He embraced John's obsession, with equal passion if not quite equal fanaticism, and all his energy went into training and keeping Sam safe. There was no time in his schedule for something as mundane as general education.
They moved so much that he never bothered making friends. He had his father. He had his brother. What more did he need?
And while John appreciated his son's dedication on both fronts, he knew the surest way to guarantee meeting his beloved Mary as an angry spirit would be if he didn't push Dean to graduate. So he pushed and pushed, with little results.
If John told Dean to jump, Dean would ask how high. Always. Which is why it had perturbed him to no end when his son would repeatedly defy him regarding his school work. Was the work too hard? he'd ask. Do you have trouble understanding it? Is it too easy? Are you bored? John's questions were always answered with a no. Dean just didn't want to be in school, plain and simple, and his father couldn't figure out why.
Still, he expected Dean to obey and follow his rules, especially given their precarious style of living. After a rather impressive run of missed assignments, failed tests and skipped detentions led to a close encounter with social services in Biloxi, the issue was finally forced to the point that John genuinely feared losing his sons to the state. His ice cold panic fueling his rage, John had packed up the boys faster than they had ever moved on before and drove on back country roads like a man possessed for almost two days, certain that they were only just ahead of well intentioned but naive do-gooders who would separate him from his babies.
He never stopped for anything but gas and coffee until they were in Kansas when, without explanation or warning, he slammed on the brakes, jammed the gear shift into park and hauled Dean out of the back seat of the Impala where his oldest had been relegated to sharing the space with Sammy for the first time in years. Dean never uttered a sound as he was dragged around to the back of the car and bent over the trunk. Even the sickeningly familiar sound of his father's belt being pulled from the loops of his jeans failed to prompt the boy to speak a single word.
With one hand, John had yanked down Dean's pants and cotton briefs and with the other he wielded the belt, laying stripe after stripe across his son's behind and thighs. Stripes that immediately raised red angry welts that caused Dean to sputter for breath, even as he clamped his mouth shut, refusing to beg or plead his way out. Fortunately, or more likely for Dean, unfortunately, the older boy didn't need the release of crying out during his punishment. He had his brother to do it for him.
Sammy, having come flying out of his seat in the Impala was screaming bloody murder for John to stop, unsuccessfully grabbing for the belt that was inflicting such pain on his beloved big brother. Harshly barked commands for Sam to remove himself from the belt's path went unheeded until John was forced to used the hand that was holding Dean against the trunk to grab for Sam, now pushing his youngest against the trunk as well. Squirming futilely against the iron restraint that held him in place, Sam had settled for howling at the top of his lungs, tears bitterly streaming down his still plump cheeks. Dean had turned his face sideways, pressed hard against the Impala's sleek black shine, his silent crying leaving clear slimy trails of tears and snot over the gloss.
It was when John saw Dean snake an arm out to reach Sammy to console the distraught child that his anger evaporated. The sight of his oldest son, selflessly giving comfort to his little brother while he himself was enduring the harshest whipping of his life, bled all of the heat out of John's anger. He had dropped the belt onto the ground and released his hold on both of his sons, taking a few steps back to gather his wits. Sam had immediately launched himself at his older brother, barely giving Dean time to painfully adjust his clothing before pressing himself so hard against his big brother's chest that John would not have been surprised if they had become fused
Dean had held Sammy tightly, murmuring soft words of comfort, their faces pressed close together and their tears intermingling. John ached to put his arms around his children, his palpable fear of how close he had come to losing them almost choking him. Sammy had managed to find the ire to throw more than one scathing glare in his father's direction, only finding consolation when his face was pressed into Dean's neck. Dean's eyes were at once pleading for forgiveness and offering forgiveness in kind, his body language inviting the now also crying John to join the boys' huddle. Moving quickly, he wrapped his arms around his sons, holding them as tightly as he could, thanking a God that he wasn't sure he believed in anymore for the chance to do so.
And so it was that the three Winchester men, entangled in each other's embrace, quietly cried on the side of a deserted road. And if anyone happened to notice that they were within a stone's throw of Lawrence, no one said a word about it.
Things improved for a while. Every so often Dean would slip back into bad habits and John would have to put him back over his knee and express a little paternal disapproval. The Winchesters, by necessity, didn't have much in the way of variety when it came to their discipline arsenal. Grounding them would imply that the boys had regular privileges and social lives, which they certainly did not. They both had a heavy chore load as it was, and John wasn't one who believed in punishing one son by increasing chores as it ultimately resulted in rewarding the other with less. The same with extra training. Unless John was home, he couldn't very well order Dean to run extra miles as he would have to drag Sam along with him. Likewise, he couldn't order Dean to bed earlier than normal as he usually was caring for Sam.
By process of elimination, that left corporal punishment, but damned if he didn't feel like heartless hardass sometimes as a result. The heartbroken guilty look on his oldest son's face after a punishment nearly brought John to his knees on occasion. Dean wouldn't cry. He would simply take all that was handed to him and be ready for more, never uttering a complaint and leaving his father floundering for a satisfactory reason as to why the normally compliant boy would just not obey.
When Dean was seventeen with eighteen approaching fast, by some previously unused miracle, he managed to make it to his senior year and John finally felt the first warm rays of real hope that they would actually complete the boy's formal education. Dean was of an age where he could drop out without parental consent and John wasn't stupid enough to believe that his son went willingly to his classes for any reason other than being able to watch out for his little brother during the day.
That fall, however, John had had to park the boys in Sioux City, Indiana for close to a month by themselves before he could return. He never asked what happened at Truman High, but it was the end of Dean's academic career. When they landed in their next temporary town, Dean had flat out refused to be enrolled. John irritably resorted to threatening him with his belt, and Dean had squared his shoulders and verbally shooed Sammy out of the room. Removing his own belt, Dean had handed it to his father before dropping his jeans and bending over the rickety kitchenette table. His posture stiff, his muscles taut, his jaw firm as he stared straight ahead.
"I'm not ever going back," he had stated quietly, but firmly. His voice was sure and steady, carrying no tone of insolence towards his father, but leaving no room for doubt on the subject either.
By this point in their lives, Sammy had started to rebel against researching for their hunts and John, always striving to be what he considered a fair man, had begun matching Sam's refusal to research spankings with Dean's refusal to study spankings, smack for smack. Quite frankly, he was tired of having to discipline both of his boys so regularly and wearily started to fear for the longevity of his gun hand. Surely it would give out long before the boys were fully raised up if things continued as they were. So now, with Dean so clearly determined, and willing to put his money - or, in this case, his ass - where his mouth was, his father backed down for one of the few times in his life.
That Monday, only Sam was enrolled in school. A few days later, Dean had a part time job at a small garage that paid under the table. A few weeks after that, Dean had his GED and his schooling was never mentioned again. John spent exactly one evening crawled deeply inside a bottle of Jack, Dean's GED notice clenched tightly in his hand, wordlessly begging Mary's forgiveness for taking the cowardly way out with their firstborn's education.
Now, walking behind Sammy's chair, John reached out a hand and purposefully tapped his index finger on the open page of the birth records book. Sammy risked a scowl from underneath his long bangs, earning a glare of laser intensity from his father in return. Sam huffed, John cocked a dangerous eyebrow and, from across the table, Dean innocently cleared his throat in a manner that didn't imply innocence at all. Sam crossed his arms, John crossed his and moved closer to his son. Dean shot to his feet and swiftly traded his book and meticulous notes for Sam's book and practically empty tablet.
"Let's switch for a while, dude. The deaths are depressing the hell out of me."
Grudgingly, Sam accepted his brother's more than generous offer and John allowed it, if to only get the job done that much quicker. A parting glance from his father promised Sam further discussion on the matter back at the motel and Sam knew that he had pushed too far. He'd be lucky if he wasn't sleeping on his stomach tonight. He picked up the pencil and wisely went to work, his father's eyes boring a hole in the back of his head for another moment before leaving for the periodicals desk.
Once again a weary soldier in a battle of wills with his own child, John rubbed the back of his neck and tilted his head upwards, closing his eyes and enjoying the cool breeze pushing down from the ceiling vents as he waited at the desk for his next request to be filled. Every few seconds he would crane his neck sharply to the left so that he could catch a glimpse of the table where the boys were sitting.
By habit he had parked them at a table between two stacks and a windowless wall, so they were as secluded as possible. The chances that they would be in danger in a public library in the middle of the afternoon were small, but the protector in him didn't take risks if he could help it. Dean was once again engrossed in his book and, thankfully, it looked like Sam was too.
Like always, just the sight of his boys, healthy and safe as they could be in their world significantly loosened the tight knot that was ever present in John's chest. Every glimpse of their precious faces was the fuel that kept him going long after his mind and body pleaded with him to lay down his mantle of vengeance.
Unfortunately, today was also one of those days when it physically hurt to look at Dean. Face placid and unmasked when he read, he looked achingly young and so much like Mary that it was hard for John to breathe. Dean got his peacemaking skills from his mother too. Mary had been a natural at smoothing ruffled feathers. From the day they had fallen in love, she had been the calm in John's storm and without her, he struggled against the very forces of nature to keep himself grounded for his children. Unfairly, as his eldest grew, John had found himself gripping to Dean just as tightly for balance.
His eldest child's devotion and admiration were a crutch that John took advantage of far too often. One day, one day soon, he would end all of this madness and he swore to himself that he would make everything up to both of his children. Until then, he would push down the feelings of guilt that plagued him into sleeplessness about the unhealthy life he had plunged his boys into.
The steady whoosh of the air vent sputtered briefly, catching John's attention and immediately triggering his ingrained instinct to look for threats. It only took a brief second for him to catch himself, forcing his heart rate to steady. Convinced that it was only a matter of the overuse of aging equipment.
Glancing at his sons again and smirking slightly at the sight of Dean twisting his mouth into wicked grin, clearly announcing his intention to rile up his brooding younger brother. As much as John would love to allow his eldest the simple pleasure of big brother ribbing, he wasn't up to dealing with the ill tempered fallout that would surely result from whatever it was that Dean had planned. He caught his son's eye and shook his head slightly, a stern frown on his face that immediately sobered the older boy. Feeling bad, John was about to reward the obedient compliance with an approving smile when he felt his cellphone vibrate in his pocket.
At the table, Dean had caught his father's visual message loud and clear. No starting shit with Sammy. He briefly contemplated carrying out his plan anyway, but just as quickly discarded the idea. No matter how much Sammy had been begging for a comeuppance, Dean knew better than to poke the bear after his father had specifically warned him not too. He was also a little bit wary of just how pissed of a mood his dad was in right now. Searching John's face for clarification, Dean was left hanging when he saw his father slide his hand into his front pocket and extract his phone.
Although immediately curious when his father grimaced at the number and darted outside to answer, Dean bit his tongue, like the good solider that he was, and waited patiently for the orders that were surely coming their way. Not many people had John's phone number, and the ones that did only incited that kind of response in his father when there was some deep shit going on. Dean quietly closed the book he had been reading, catching Sam's eye and giving him The Look. Sam frowned, but he continued making notes, the geek boy in him determined to complete the research now that he had bothered to start it, even though they both knew that they were most likely done for the day.
John often took mysterious calls. It was part of the job, after all. They usually ended in their father announcing an abrupt change of plans. It would be a new lead or another attack, something that required their immediate attention. They would grab their stuff and book. Lives were always at stake, danger was always lurking about, and they couldn't afford to screw around. But what Dean wasn't prepared for was the wild look in his father's eyes when he stomped back into the library and ordered Dean and Sam to pack up everything and hightail it to Uncle Bobby's house.
Dean didn't ask for any further explanation, the yes, sir coming automatically, like it always had. He just started grabbing everything that they had brought in with them, shoving the various books and papers into his backpack. Sam however, in his habitually true form of questioning every word that came out of their father's mouth, sat stubbornly in his chair and refused to budge.
With that one little word, Dean sucked in a breath, his busy hands stilling in their task, as he waited for the inevitable fallout.
John didn't care for his younger son's insolence on the best of days and, by the telling anxiety clouding his eyes, this was definitely not one of those. On a better day, their father might have allowed Sam's small stab at insubordination pass relatively unchecked, just for the sake of keeping the peace with a surly fifteen year old who was constantly spoiling for a fight. Sam may have caught an earful and then been given all of the dirty grunt work for the hunt, or John might have opted for confining his youngest to the car for the rest of the hunt and then sending Sam to bed early like a cranky three year old, but that would have been the extent of it.
Neither boy was prepared for their father's reaction this time. Without saying a word, John grabbed Sam roughly by the elbow and hoisted him up out of the chair. Lifting his hand high into the air, their father brought it crashing down across Sam's behind, the sound of the smack bouncing off of the walls and echoing loudly throughout the cavernous room.
Sammy's grunt of pain and the shocked look on his face was enough to kick in Dean's protective big brother instincts, and he had to force himself to rein in a desire to step in between his father and little brother. John did not take kindly to his oldest son interfering with discipline, but he usually did not lose his temper so quickly either, so Dean knew right away that something serious and most likely life threatening was going on at the moment. Something so far past the already abnormally high level of messed up in their lives that John skipped the middle steps and went directly to Mad Dad.
Sam didn't say a word, his face flushed with hurt and probably a good measure of embarrassment. Even though they had been holed up in their own quiet corner of the library, the smacking sound was clear and distinct. It wasn't likely that someone would mistake it for a falling book.
Years of their father's strict discipline ingrained into him, he didn't even try to pull his arm out of John's tightly gripped hand, instead sliding quietly into a more submissive position bent over the table and waiting for either permission to obey the earlier command or to receive further correction for his attitude.
John was not a man that quickly and arbitrarily spanked his boys. It generally took a good deal of nonsense or insubordination to get him to the point where he let his hand or belt start to make his points. However, Sam knew that once this line had been crossed, his father was unmoving about his position and a punishment always was followed through with. Years of pushing boundaries and John's buttons in general had taught Sam that, once his dad starting spanking, the wisest and least painful course of action was acceptance, obedience and contrition.
In the tense few seconds following the smack, Dean chanted a prayer in his head that his father would just herd them out the door. As a rule, John refrained from spanking his boys in public, but it had been known to happen when they were younger and, with the thunderous look on the man's face, his oldest was afraid that this might qualify as one of those rare occasions, regardless of Sammy's age.
John was too distracted to pay close attention to the shift in his younger son's demeanor but, fortunately for Sam's behind, he clearly was pressed for time. His breath coming in long heavy draws, he leaned forward slightly, enough to press his mouth closely to Sam's left ear.
"Get your ass in the car while you can still sit down," he growled.
Chastised and humiliated, Sam clenched his jaw tight, throwing a quick baleful look in his brother's direction. Dean's pleading face convinced him to refrain from escalating the situation further.
"Yes, sir," he ground out, convincingly enough, apparently, for John to release his hold and push his rebellious child towards the exit.
With John's visible desire to hurry, the three of them bolted for the parking lot. The boys were allowed five whole minutes at their latest motel to gather all of their worldly possessions, something they were used to doing. It was not the first, nor likely to be the last time they left town in a hurry.
Dean's sense of impending dread heightened considerably during the hurried and tension filled drive north. His father drove ahead of them in his pickup, the landscape whizzing past them as they barreled onwards, pushing speeds that John normally frowned upon as it drew unwanted attention to them.
They drove in tandem as far as Kansas City when their father pulled over at a rest stop without warning. Dean's quick reflexes managed to swing the Impala onto the off-ramp just in time to follow and park next to John, the black beauty's large tires kicking up pebbles as he came to an abrupt stop. If Dean had not been jumpy about the situation before, he certainly was after their father exited his truck, bringing over a large manila envelope and shoving it at Dean through the open car window.
"I'm going on radio silence," John said, his voice strong and steady, but his thick dark eyebrows drawn in concern. "You don't hear from me in three days, it's FUBAR."
Those few little words left Dean feeling panicked and cold and he knew immediately what the envelope was for.
When Dean was sixteen, John had returned home from a hunt one night more shaken than he ever had been before. His father had never spoken about what happened but, a few days later, he had pulled Dean aside after Sammy was in bed and walked him outside to the car. There he had told him that there might come a day when something had gone so terribly wrong that Dean and Sam would be forced to run. Forced to run without their father and forced to never look back.
The code word was FUBAR, another military throwback that defined so much of their existence as a shattered family. Then John had proceeded to give him the full list of instructions, steadfastly ignoring the trembling of his son's hands that Dean was desperately trying to hide. They never spoke of it again, and Dean almost had himself convinced that the whole conversation was simply a moment of unusual fear and over-reaction on his father's part.
On the side of the highway outside of Kansas City, Dean's hands trembled again as he took the envelope. He looked his father straight in the eye, knowing that there was a good chance he would never see him again, and silently gave his promise to protect his baby brother with everything that he had in him.
John gave him an encouraging small smile, clasping his shoulder tightly with desperate and hopefully reassuring affection, before turning his gaze briefly towards his still smoldering and petulant youngest. He frowned for a moment, and then strode purposely over to the passenger side of the car and leaned into the open window slightly.
Dean had wanted to scream in protest. His very soul yearned to beg his father to stay with them, to not go and do whatever it was that he was planning on if it left his sons orphaned. He wanted to shake the smartass out of his little brother and demand that he make up with their father, to tell Sammy that it could be the last time he ever saw the man he worked so hard to give grief to, but loved deeply nevertheless.
In the end, he did none of those things. His father wouldn't approve, and Dean had his orders. In a life of chaos and ever-changing tempestuous circumstances, their father's orders were his primary means of keeping himself grounded and focused. He couldn't afford to lose that focus. It could mean his brother's life, and were anything ever to happen to Sammy, Dean would never be able to live with the consequences.
Knowing that his father would not have executed that particular plan without significant cause, and also knowing that his first priority was to protect Sam from whatever ugliness that he could, he kept their father's dangerous intentions to himself.
"Sammy, you mind your brother. Do exactly what he tells you to. Y'hear me?"
At his father's gruff and insistent summons, Sam lifted his head long enough to lock glares with the man before grudgingly nodding his head.
"Samuel," his father insisted, demanding a firmer acquiescence.
Sam refused to look at his father further, digging his long fingers into the fabric of his worn jeans. But he knew better than to refuse to respond to that tone.
It was delivered with a poisonous undercurrent but, at this point, John would take what he could get. Surrendering to an ill advised moment of weakness, John reached out his hand towards Sammy's face, painfully ignoring the slight flinch from his child. With unaccustomed gentleness, John used his calloused thumb to softly stroke Sam's cheek. Sam's eyes shot over to him, the hostility and petulance replaced by a slight twinge of fear over the unusual affection.
Before Sam could say anything that would break John's heart and slow him down, he returned to the driver's side window and focused on Dean again, needing his oldest to step up once more, like he always had.
"Watch after your brother, Boy." The sharp order softened slightly by the light pat on Dean's shoulder.
"Yes, sir," he responded strongly. "You know I will."
John nodded slightly and reluctantly released his hold on his eldest child. Throwing one more sad glance at Sam, he squared his jaw.
"Be careful, boys." And with that, he was gone.
Dean watched, with an increasingly painful clawing at his chest, as John ran back to his truck and took off for parts unknown.
Holding his breath as he waited for the last possible sight of the black pickup in the distance, he willed himself to keep his composure for his brother's sake even as he fingered the edges of the envelope and its life altering contents. When the pickup wasn't even a speck on the horizon anymore, he dropped it into the seat like a hot potato and yanked the atlas out of the glove compartment.