When Sam and Dean were too young to sit in a motel room contentedly John would plunk them down in a movie theater and sneak out the fire exit. Free babysitting.
Dean was eight went Dirty Dancing hit the theaters. He saw it four times in a week—it was such a small theater they only showed one film at a time—with Sam curled up asleep or playing army men in the chair beside him.
At fifteen, Dean'd seen Dirty Dancing a few too many times. Too many late nights and dull surfing channels in a cheap motel room with nothing else on. It was a comfortable place for him—the lines so familiar he could repeat them right along with Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze. It was only more recently that he'd started to focus on the movements of sweat-streaked bodies. It was exciting, the sight of legs bared to the hip and faces pressed between pert breasts and the long, long line of Johnny Castle laid out on the dance floor, lip-synching "Love is Strange" starting a coil of heat in the pit of his belly.
Maybe the guy could smell it on him, could see it in the way Dean's eyes lingered on the shape of his ass in those high-waisted black pants. He'd picked up a shift in a dark, smoke-filled bar where college kids and off-duty waiters came to get wasted and laid, in either order and with whatever they could get their hands on.
The Guy-which was the only name Dean knew for him-was probably a waiter and he was well on his way to hammered if the alcohol on his breath was anything to go by. He didn't look much like Swayze, objectively speaking, but that didn't matter when The Guy leaned in, breath soft on Dean's cheek, along his jawline, and asked, "Wanna dance, Baby?"
When The Guy put a thigh between Dean's and ground against him on the dance floor, hips jolting, it didn't matter that he didn't look anything like Swayze or move anything like him because Dean's shift was about to end, he was hard in his jeans, and he'd been lit like a firecracker off the drinks hopeful patrons had been buying him for a hour.
The Guy was Dean's first, his first like that anyway. The Guy pressed against him, into him, grinding his pelvis against Dean's ass, calling him "Baby," and when Sam came back from his two day math-a-thon or whatever the fuck it was and found Dean still tucked against The Guy, the only thing Dean could think to say was that Swayze always gets a pass even though Sam gave him this look that clearly said he wasn't making any sense.
When Dean sobered up he worried Sam would tell John what he'd seen, but because John never blew up at Dean for bringing a guy back to the motel—taking it out of Dean's ass for letting someone bigger than him, who could have been anyone, anything into the room—letting a guy fuck him, he knew Sam hadn't.
In fact, Sam never brought it up again, for which Dean was grateful. He couldn't articulate why he'd done what he did or why what'd come out of his mouth had, but there was something about being able to close his eyes and say with his body, "I'm scared of never feeling my whole life the way I feel with you" like a fucking girl, even if wasted and fucked hastily hardly qualified as a life-defining feeling.
John gave the Impala to Dean when he turned sixteen and could legally drive her, switching to a less-recognizable '64 beater truck with as rusted back fender.
Dean rechristened her "Baby." If John or Sam got the reference, they didn't let on.
If you'd asked Dean when and why he started to dress like Johnny Castle-albiet in his dad's old leather jacket, which was brown instead of black, and sans button downs unbuttoned in deep vees and ass-framing slacks-he wouldn't have been able to tell you.
They stopped in a no-name town near the border of Arizona hunting a gremlin. The motel staff'd left a stack of local flyers on the table advertising the local sights, which were few. Dirty Dancing was showing at the drive-in.
Dean couldn't very well go by himself and he refused to ask Sammy to see a chick flick with him, but he went just the same, inviting the head cheerleader along the first night.
John hadn't been back in two days and Sam knew better than to ask where Dean went or what he did when he left with a girl in a short skirt and a tight top so he didn't worry about either of them finding out. If they did it didn't matter; it was acceptable in the Winchester Code to see a chick flick, provided that it was being used to get into a girl's pants.
It was cold even in the Arizona desert, but Dean didn't mind it. Not when she blew him while Johnny Castle punched out that douche Robbie-yes, Dean knew his name, so?-on the big screen, slacks like to split on his perfect ass.
The next night Dean pulled into the same parking spot at the drive-in. The star quarterback—who, ironically had just broken up with head cheerleader—wasn't as good at cocksucking as his ex, but he'd brought the beer so that was all right. It wasn't hard to fake interest, not with the camera tracking the movement of the muscles as he lead girls through the mambo.
Dean kept that flyer for an inordinate amount of time, and not because it had head cheerleader's number on it though that was his prepared excuse should anyone else find it.
She was his excuse when he beat off to the grainy promotional image of an artistically sweaty Swayze kneeling on the floor in his tight slacks too.
But he never had to make excuses. The one time Sam walked in on him he was too busy looking away and yelling, "Jesus, Dean, ever heard of a bathroom?" to notice Dean's inspiration.
Dean threw the flyer in the trash-crumpled up in a tight wad-when he was sure Sam wasn't looking.
It wasn't like he was gay, hell no, it was more that Swayze had an ass anyone with genitalia was libel to notice. Because he could also appreciate the leggy, half naked girls practicing while Swayze looked on, Dean figured it couldn't be too much of a concern and didn't let it bother him. Much.
Dean bought a black wife beater from a Goodwill in Texas, making the mental distinction between wanting to be Swayze and wanting to fuck him. Dean wanted to be him, not fuck him. Definitely. He wasn't like that.
The beater'd been washed one too many times, was fading around the hem, had a little hole near the right shoulder seam, but it laid smooth against Dean's chest, nipples pebbling through it.
He went back for a pair of pants to go with it-tight and black with a thin leather belt, which weren't slacks, but did just as well. The pant cuffs were so tight they wouldn't pull over the tops of his boots, so Dean tucked the jeans in and laced his boots right up his ankle.
The first time he wore them, walking from the motel to the nearest diner and back, sweating clean through the wife beater in the Texas heat, Dean was pretty sure he could take on anyone.
He hadn't counted on Sam, who couldn't have looked more bemused if he'd been walking around in a cheetah loincloth.
He hadn't counted on John either, who, on seeing him, ordered him to change on account of those jeans being nowhere approaching practical and did he want to be mistaken for a fairy?
Dean burned the outfit in the field behind the motel. It wasn't like that. He wasn't like that and, goddammit, he'd do anything not to have his dad look at him like that again.
The next time Dean saw Dirty Dancing was on Lisa's couch with Ben sounds asleep upstairs.
If he nodded in agreement to her assessment of Swayze's ass being perfectly sculpted, what of it? And if he was more than half hard after watching Swayze crawl across the dance floor, Lisa didn't seem to mind.
She seemed to think it was sweet when he whirled her around the bedroom in a mock-mambo and teased her about invading her dance square.
Right there, fucking slow and calling her "Baby," Dean decided it didn't much matter. There were some people just born irrationally, irreconcilably beautiful.
John Wayne, James Dean, Harrison Ford. And, of course, Swayze. Swayze always gets a pass.