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fic because boys will be boys

Title: the simple stuff
Ficverse: SPN
SPN comment!fic
Rating: Gen / PG
Length: 900 ish
Characters: John and teen!chesters
Prompted and posted: from 1.07, Hookman
Sam: Be quiet.
Dean: You be quiet!
Sam: You be quiet!

Notes: first I don't want to be always doing all friendship-death-angst stuff. Then I be invaded by bunnies o' silliness. I think the muse they assigned me is bipolar.
Warnings/Spoilers: pre-series. Badly un-beta'd even by me....
Feedback: let's hear it. The good, the bad, the ugly....

John Winchester screwed his eyes shut and opened them again, but it didn’t make a difference; the oncoming car lights were still blurring in time with the throbbing of his head, and the white lines on the road were shifting in his vision more than they should be. A squint at the Impala’s clock said it was only 2230, but this made his third day straight with next to no sleep. So many wires were getting crossed in his head by now that he honestly couldn’t tell if he were driving upside down. If he kept this up, he soon would be.

The pall in the Impala wasn’t helping, either. In the back, Sam was sulking at having to up and leave a place with an hour’s warning again (see how the boy liked Children & Family Services if his daddy got picked up for a gruesome set of events he had no explanation or alibi for), and in the front Dean had been quietly squirming for the last twenty minutes. Ever since John’s exasperation had made itself felt. Or, more accurately, heard.

His body almost groaned with relief all on its own when he spotted a minor offramp with a decent shoulder. The crunch of gravel when he pulled off the road could make a lesser man cry.

“Dean, get out the alarm clock. I want to sleep for an hour, no more.”

His eyes were already closed, but his ears recognized (unwillingly) one of those busy silences in which his sons communicated volumes with each other through expression alone. Then Dean spoke.

“I think I forgot it, Dad,” he said, nervousness combining tellingly with a determined note.

At another time, John might care. “Dammit, Dean –” But right now, his head was swimming in dead ends. The only thing he was sure of was that he couldn’t risk more than an hour, and he couldn’t keep driving.

“I’m sorry. I could drive....”

Third sure thing: he wasn’t letting his fifteen year-old behind the wheel at night when he was in no state to watch over him.


“But –”

What was with the back-talk? “Dean!” ... Maybe he was even more tired than he’d thought, because he couldn’t figure out how to stop the words punching out of his mouth. “How hard is it to just pack everything? How many times have we done this? I thought you knew better than this!”

“We were in a rush –”

Fourth sure thing: it wasn’t Dean’s fault. If it had been, he’d take the dressing down in silence, like the good soldier he was. The protest wasn’t for his own benefit. It never was. And John still couldn’t get a leash on his own mouth; there was only one way to keep himself from saying anything worse. “Just – be quiet, Dean.”

The simmering rage from the back seat, which he’d been ignoring, boiled over. “You be quiet!”

Dean jumped on that quick. “Sam!”

“It’s not fair, Dean!”

“Sammy, shut up –”

Both of you shut up!” John yelled, and instantly regretted it. The hush, thick with remorse, pounded in time with his head. He curled forward and laid his forehead against the wheel, just concentrating on breathing in. Breathing out. The simple stuff. Just for a minute.

Which was when, without warning, an almighty fart ripped through the silence from the passenger’s side.

The whole world paused, a far more deeply uncertain silence gripping the car, until a snort escaped his youngest’s attempts to stifle it.

As though that snort had tipped the scales in John’s own frozen reaction, a huge guffaw burst out of his chest, throwing him back, shaking his whole body with laughter. He tried, with limited success, to roll down the window in between convulsions. Behind him, Sam was also laughing fit to bust a gut and trying to get his window down.

“I think it was the burrito –” began Dean, abashed, before his stomach gurgled loudly, and another fart escaped.

“For God’s sake, son, open your window,” John gasped out, before imploding into laughter again.

Dean obeyed, beginning to snicker as the release of laughter in the car infected him, too. “I told you we shouldn’t have stopped at that stupid take-out,” he groused. “It’s been gas city down there for hours.”

He hadn’t said anything of the kind, but John couldn’t care less. As he regained his breath – and the air in the car returned to being something he wanted to breathe – he felt calm for the first time in hours. Days. Weeks, maybe.

“Okay. The pair of you, go sit on the hood and look at stars for an hour. Make Sammy tell you all their names and constellations and the phases of the moon, okay? Then wake me up. One hour. Got it?”

Dean made a face, but didn’t say anything. John raised his eyebrow. “If you can find anything else to look at out here in Nebraska, boy, be my guest. But don’t get off that hood.”

“Yessir,” Dean said, checking his weapon like John taught him and getting out into the warm summer night air. Sam was already on the hood, pointing at the Milky Way, and John jammed his jacket under his head against the door. He stretched out on the seat and was out like a light in seconds, with a smile still twitching on his lips.

A/N: I freely admit this was inspired rather a lot by the S1 S2 blooper reel. And my own brother at that age. ROLL DOWN THE WINDOWS!!!


( 2 speakses — have a speak )
Aug. 19th, 2010 07:11 am (UTC)
Very nice depiction of John's exhaustion and dogged determination. I love the image of Sammy telling Dean about the stars!
Aug. 19th, 2010 01:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks! John's stubbornness is somehow everything that's wrong with him and everything that's right, all at the same time.

I was so glad when they made boys stargazing canon in Swan Song. So many little details about their lives and the Impala!
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