July 4, 1985

Sammy and Dean were laying on their backs across the trunk of the Impala on Dean's camouflage G.I. Joe blanket. Dean had planted Sammy between himself and the back windshield to keep him from rolling off, but Sammy was rolling into Dean anyway, laughing harder each time. Dean kept swatting him back, shaking the whole car.

John was reading the newspaper with a flashlight, wondering if he should even ask, but when they were cheerful, it made him feel a little cheerful, too. "What are you two doing back there? You'd better not be kicking dents in my car."

"We heard fireworks!" Dean called out.

"Ve heard firevorks," Sammy mimicked.

"Fireworks," Dean corrected.

"Firevorks," Sammy said back, very serious.

"We'll work on it," Dean told him reassuringly.

Sammy couldn't say his "W" yet, so he walked around sounding like Colonel Klink. If he didn't keep telling people his name was Sammy Vinchester, Dean probably would've let it go.

"You sure it wasn't a shotgun?" John asked anxiously. He clicked off the flashlight and shoved the newspaper under his arm, getting out of the car. His knees popped from being crammed in there for too long.

"It went —" Dean made a series of noises like something being shot out of a cannon, and then a high-pitched sound as he demonstrated something falling to the ground.

"Ah," John said, leaning against the car. Yeah, that cleared it up. "You sure we're not taking mortar blasts there, sport?"

Dean looked over at John, rolling up onto one elbow, still blocking Sammy's escape. His honey-colored hair was starting to hit his shoulders. He'd need a haircut soon.

John was suddenly struck by Dean's expression. On Mary, he called this the "gathering intel" face, and it spelled trouble. Big, wide Bambi eyes, mouth slightly open in curiosity. John would be lying if he said it didn't hurt to look at him and see her face.

"What's a mortar blast?" Dean asked. He could sniff out a good war story like nothing else.

Sammy looked over too. "Vat's a mortal blat?"

Dean groaned, smacking at him. "Stop it, Sammy!"

"Stop it, Sammy!"

"Never mind," John murmured. "I'm just trying to make sure we're not actually being shot at for parking on someone else's property."

Dean flopped over on his back, raising his fists at the sky. "It's the fourth of July! Who's gonna shoot us on the fourth of July?"

"Ferth July!" said Sammy, raising smaller fists.

Dean rolled back enough to clap his hand over Sammy's mouth as his brother struggled. "They said it on the radio."

John unfolded the newspaper, holding the front close to his face on what little light they were getting from the moon. "I'll be damned. So it is."

"Aigh!" Dean cried out, his hand flying off Sammy's mouth. "You bit me!"

Sammy clapped and laughed. "I bit you!"

"I hope my hand had shit on it," Dean said angrily, shaking the sting out.

John sighed. He was already getting an earful from Dean's first grade teacher about his language. Last week, Dean told another boy "go fuck yourself!" and a note had been sent home pinned to his t-shirt. John, knowing full well that he was the source, wearily asked him what the kid had done. Palms thrown out, Dean howled,"He's an asshole!" John had laughed before he could stop himself.

"Dean, stop cussin'. Sammy, quit bitin' your brother."

Knowing well enough what "shit" was, Sammy was wiping his tongue on the G.I. Joe blanket. John figured the dirt level between the blanket and Dean's hand was about the same, but said nothing. He ducked back into the car, sorting through all the stuff that had accumulated in the passenger seat: books, bags, ammo boxes… there it was. When he'd stopped for gas about an hour before, he'd picked up a chocolate bar at the register, which was exactly why they put them there.

He thumbed open the brown wrapper and foil, breaking off a square for himself before setting the remainder down between them.

Predictably, chaos followed.

"Share!" John bellowed at the small tangle of flannel and denim.

Dean moved the foil and chocolate to his chest, breaking the squares carefully and doling them out. John wondered if he noticed he had given Sammy more.

"Vere's firevorks?" Sammy asked, cramming a piece into his mouth.

Dean hadn't stopped staring at the sky the whole time. "I don't —"

At that moment, a burst of white sparks, bright enough to rival the moon, filled up the black sky. As the white sparks faded, the sparks around the edge turned red and twinkled out.

John threw his head back in spite of himself, almost as much at their surprised faces as anything else.

In the huge silence that followed, Dean elbowed Sammy. "Did you see that? Son of a bitch!"

"Summa bitch," Sammy agreed, but scooted closer to Dean, dark eyes giving away just a little bit of fear.

John grinned, wrinkling his nose at the leftover scent of sulphur, as a spray of blue sparks flew over their heads.