Disclaimer: Not mine




CHAPTER SUMMARY: A touch of inspirational message, a dollop of humor, and a dash of reality.

Let it never be said that growing up is easy.

The tumultuous shove and drag of hormones, family traditions, and pop culture twist together to become a more than worthy enemy to the teenager's sanity. To find a way to balance the obligations to family with one self's freedom is an adolescent's greatest achievement.

It is a wonderful thing, becoming comfortable in your own skin, letting no one beat you down with words and attitude. It is empowering, having your peers detect the confidence brimming out of you, and instinctually respect you for it.

Sadly, not everyone reaches that level; the one where one says, "This is who I am. I am happy to be who I am. You cannot change who I am," with a wide smile on one's face.

That is why High School has become the equivalent of Hell for too many.

Thankfully, this is not Dean Winchester's story.

Dean is a young man who at the age of fifteen knows what he likes from life, what he wants from it, and is extremely happy with what it has already given him.

He has an incredibly smart younger brother, a powerful and fearless father, an understanding uncle and aunt, and an amazing cousin. He has a large build, with model-like good looks, hair that falls just where he wants it, and mossy green eyes. He's book smart enough to not get hounded by teachers, street smart enough to not get eaten alive out of school, and sports smart enough to get into varsity football and bask in the glory this brought. He's sweet and charming enough to melt all the girls around him. He's also rough and assertive enough to rile up and grapple with any guy who's willing. He's good enough in bed to leave them all a bit moon-eyed as he winks a mischievous goodbye over his shoulder.

Dean Winchester has his life together, and it shows in the way he walks, talks, and acts.

It's just that no one but he knew just how certain he was of himself. Or, more accurately, how certain he was of his sexuality.

Because it was truly terrible how society had decided that attraction, and love, towards the same gender was forbidden. Sickening. Punishable by God. And now that eyes were being slowly, and painfully, peeled, the subject has become a taboo in the small towns of America. Only the brave and the self-assured could smash through it all and remain standing, like an immovable stone in the face of a hurricane.

And by God, Dean was the bravest, most self-assured of them all. He would rise against the multitude and be. He owed nothing to anyone but his family. That is why tonight, Dean Winchester will reveal the last hidden aspect of him, to his little family in Sioux Falls.

He will loudly proclaim who he is. He will be proud of who he is. The catharsis of the release will make him a better man, a stronger being. Tonight will truly cement a sturdy path into the wilderness of Life.

"So like, I think guy's penises are as hot as girl's v's," Dean states as he spears another piece of rib-eye steak with his fork and then drops it in his still full-of-mashed-potatoes mouth.

Uncle Bobby chokes on his beer. Aunt Ellen drops her fork to the floor.

"Seriously?" Sam asks from his right, trying to decipher whether his brother is just trying to be annoying at the dinner table or is actually truthful. Dean smiles at him around a mess of food and proceeds to cut himself another piece of steak.

"Dean?" Ellen begins, but is cut off by an incredulous, "What?" from Bobby.

"He's got the whole AC/DC thing down pat," Jo comments airily from the other side of the table as she serves herself more sweet tea. Sam goes back to spooning mashed potatoes towards his mouth.

"What?" This time it's Aunt Ellen, while Bobby's face just does this frowning/bewildered movement.

"I swing both ways," Dean answers after drinking down half of his glass of iced tea. There's silence from the adults. Jo grabs the pepper shaker and flavors her food a bit more. Sam reaches for more steak sauce, while surreptitiously (not really) looking at his uncle from under his brow.

Dean does this weird shoulder clench thing he does whenever there's an uncomfortable silence, and just blurts out, "I'm bisexual."

"We get it," Aunt Ellen sort-of-snaps, like she does whenever one of her brood starts to babble.

"You kept staring at me in silence," he defends himself a little grumpily as he pushes his broccoli out of the way to serve himself more potato.

"You just told us you're bisexual and you expect us to be all 'ladeedah' about it?" asks Bobby, a little wide-eyed. To his left, Jo reads a text message while biting into a flower head of broccoli.

"Are you mad at me now?" the teenager asks, a bit confused, a bit subdued. Sam stops pretending and just full on stares with that puppy-eyed look. Jo rolls her eyes.

"No!" Bobby declares too loudly, causing Ellen to startle a little and place a hand on the older man's arm. The sudden slump to his shoulders is ridiculously obvious.

"What Bobby means: it's just surprising, is all. We just, never even considered the possibility you might like boys the same as girls," her voice is soft and melodious; the voice of reason. Uncle Bobby cants his head to the side—his silent way of admitting that his wife has just said everything he was thinking, out loud, only better sounding.

"I've always known there was something weird about him," Sam remarks with a shrug, before attacking his brother's broccoli.

"I've always known there was something weird about your face," Dean fires back, and smirks when Sammy huffs.

"Since, since when…" Bobby begins, but trails off. Obviously his brain is still loading.

"…have I noticed guys?" Dean finishes, because the question is still an obvious one. Jo interrupts before he can answer, though.

"Keith Sunders, fourth grade." Her tone is matter of fact. The sky is blue. Plants are green. Dean is bi.

Said Winchester smiles as he reminisces. "Biggest brown eyes I've ever seen."

"Keith Sunders? You got suspended for brawling with that kid!"

"Yeah," he sighs, "I did."

"Ok then, everything's ok," Aunt Ellen's soothing voice sounds lighter as she goes back to her plate after cleaning her fork with a napkin. "We support you in your decisions, and we are and will always be proud of you."

Dean's heart warms. "Thanks."

Slowly, Bobby goes back to his own food, and for a few minutes, everything is as peaceful as it's going to get. But then the older man stops eating again, and Dean raises his eyes from his plate when he notices the sudden pause.

Bobby's muddy eyes are warm, and there's a quirk to his mouth that settles the last of the teenager's uncertainties.

"Have you told your dad yet?"

And there goes his nerves.

John Winchester works for the government. That is all he's allowed to say. That was all his Mary, God rest her soul, was allowed to say. That was all both their sets of parents were allowed to say.

So John is, most of the time, unfortunately, too busy with government issues in the most random countries of the world to truly take care of his sons. He's eternally grateful that his once-mentor had been willing to take the mantle of caregiver to his children. It's harsh, being so unattached in the rearing of his own boys, but Jesus, the things he had stopped from happening not thirty hours ago.

But he was on a break now, because he absolutely refuses to forget his children; it was easy to do so, in his line of work. So he stopped something from happening and then declared he was taking time off, and before anybody could even object, John Winchester had left the building. Literally.

And he came with light-hearted stories, and souvenirs and smiles. And he fixed cars with his eldest, and he did homework with his youngest, and he sparred with both of them. There was long hours of pointless fishing, and teaching phrases in foreign languages, and just listening to what his children had to say.

At the end of his vacation, John took Sammy away for a whole day, just the two of them. Then, he did the same with Dean.

They are eating dinner at this diner where you can see George Washington's head on Mount Rushmore poking from the top corner of the giant glass window by their table, when Dean opens his mouth.

"You know, I think sausage is just as awesome as muffin."

And one doesn't get to stop the things he does with an innocent, clean brain. So of course John gets what his son saying. Immediately.

"What?" the father asks, because even though he gets what had been said, he's not processing it all that well.

"I'm ambisextrous," the teenager announces after putting down his fork.

John's eyebrows are in danger of fusing together with how much he's frowning.

"I swing both ways." At this, John comes back to reality, and he opens and closes his mouth a couple times, and blinks rapidly, because maybe that'll make his brain work faster.

"I'm bisexual."

"I get it!"


And then there's silence. Because he knows how to diffuse a bomb with only seven seconds to go, but this right here? This is like the Byblos syllabary.

What's left of the day is completely awkward, and Dean doesn't say goodnight to him before he hides himself under the covers of his motel bed, and John feels like an ass.

They return to Bobby and Ellen's house the next morning, and Sammy just knows something happened, because those big, puppy, sad (scary) eyes land on him and refuse to leave. They stay stuck to the back of his neck when he drops his bag on the bed next to Sam's, they stay stuck as he shucks off his jacket and takes off his boots. They stay stuck even when he's hiding in the bathroom, pretending to get the tiredness out of his face with a splash of water.

He can sleep like a baby next to a firing machine gun.

John leaves the bathroom and walks down the hallway over to his eldest's room, idly scratching away the burn from his neck.

Dean is laying on his back on the bed with the grey covers and the '67 black Impala poster by the head—Jo's bed is the one with the purple covers and a '72 cherry-red Chevelle poster by the head—fully clothed and listening to Led Zeppelin. It's the tape he left him eight years ago; he didn't think he'd see his son's big green eyes ever again. But he did, thank God, he did.

He enters the room clearing his throat, and Dean opens those eyes of his and locks gazes with him.

"You know," he begins awkwardly, because only his sons could ever make him feel awkward, "I took your mother to a Zeppelin concert for our third date."

The teenager sits up, still obviously wary, but way too curious. "Really?"

"Yeah," his voice cracks, so he clears his throat again as he sits next to his son. "Yeah. At first, I thought it'd be a great idea, but then the crowd started getting rowdy and I worried, you know? But Mary she just," at this, John smiles, wide and bittersweet, "she just laughed, and danced."

Dean smiles too, and it's like the world is finally starting to make sense again.