Genre: gen, pre-series, northern Plains gothic
Characters: Dean, Bobby. Peripheral John, Sam. Bobby POV.
Word Count: ~2500
Warnings: This fic is gen in that it contains no romantic pairings; however, it discusses, imagines, and treats sex and sexuality as major themes. [Spoiler (click to open)]underage sexuality, non-explicit statutory rape, psychological trauma (sexual and otherwise), questionable parenting choices
Summary: Sex, drugs, and Totoros.
Notes: Inspired by Dean’s My Neighbor Totoro reference in 11x08 “Just My Imagination” and encouragement from milly_gal, septembers_coda, and brightly_lit in this comment thread. This is not, however, the cute fic such a prompt richly deserves, nor anything you might have expected or desired.
Dean Winchester fucked a girl. Now he’s Bobby’s problem. At least, that’s what Bobby’s gleaned, what with the kid at his table and the Impala fishtailing its way back to the service road.
“I fucked someone,” Dean says. “Dad dropped me here.”
“What, ‘cause I’m your daddy’s idea of a monastery? Traditionally, sex is celebrated.”
Dean snorts. “Like it’s so hard?”
There’s a glint in his eye that roars standoff, but it flickers and is gone, like this is a fight Dean’s already tried and lost.
“Coming of age, and all,” Bobby clarifies. “Growing up. John’s big on that. Maybe you noticed.”
“I think it was more about the who, not the what,” he says eventually. “Or maybe the where.”
This is all a little more vivid than Bobby likes to get, at least before sundown. But John’s been on a tear lately--making sure Dean’s ready, taking him on hunt after hunt after hunt, talking about “training”--and his sudden prudence is a riddle Bobby can’t let go of. His imagination gets the best of him.
“So, where was the where?”
“School bathroom,” Dean replies, perfunctorily. “Hey, don’t look at me. I didn’t choose it.”
Hood of the car. Up in a tree. Under a table. Flophouse. Back alley. Morgue. They’re hunters; and this is America. Bobby’s seen scandal.
School bathrooms are, well. They're elementary. Toothless.
Bobby realizes that, maybe for once in his life, John Winchester had been telling the truth.
See, Bobby’d never believed him about Mary, what life they’d led before. He can’t imagine John Winchester with a picket fence. Holding down a 9 to 5.
People on the up and up like that don’t go hunting when the lights go out; they see a shrink. They find a priest. They hew to reality, however dark it is, and they live with it. They don’t believe in horror stories.
But maybe there’s some truth to the apple pie, so to speak. To the whitebread. Because people like John--like any hunter Bobby knows, and half the state that isn’t--don’t get waxed when their teen does, well. What teens grew up to do.
So your kid did a girl in the bathroom, Bobby snaps at John’s afterburn, in his head. (The real deal never sticks around long enough for this kind of heart to heart--not lately.) You gonna disown him now? I mean, what else did you have in mind? Class president? Valedictorian?
Hell, in Bobby’s day, the valedictorian fucked the president in the school bathroom--and they still both went to USD. Bobby would know.
“Hey Bobby, you got any books?” Dean asks. It’s late at night, maybe 3. Bobby’s deep in a thing, looking up talismans. Got a call from Omaha. No idea what Dean’s been doing all this time, except maybe getting knocked in the head.
Bobby looks around them, at the turrets and balustrades of books. “Now that you mention it. Yeah,” he says.
“No, like. Books,” Dean says, with more emphasis.
“Answer’s still yeah.”
Scintillating conversation, the two of them.
“Poetry or prose?” Bobby offers, then sighs when he registers Dean’s panicked expression, like he’s not sure what one or both of those words even means. Kids these days.
Well, Browning’s probably a little top-shelf, though Bobby’s got that.
“My teacher thought I’d like Vonnegut, maybe,” Dean says.
“How long were you even at this school?”
“It’s for a book report.”
“She curate all her students’ tastes?”
Dean flushes, says he doesn’t think so, and jesus Bobby do you have a book or not?
Bobby does not. Not to serve that function, in any case. He produces a VHS. A gift from Hideo, who knows about John’s kids, knows how often they seem to end up at Bobby’s. Knows less about how time works, apparently, because it’s an anime, a kid’s cartoon. Dean’s been double-digits for a while--and Sam too, nearly--but it’ll do.
“This ain’t a book--” Bobby starts.
“I’m not an idiot,” says Dean.
“--and it’s in Japanese,” Bobby continues, “But trust me, your teacher at South Nebraska Farm Town High ain’t like to know the difference.”
“South-Central Grinnell Park H--” Dean corrects, before he catches Bobby’s meaning, and changes tune. “Well, I’m not a genius, either. Japanese, seriously?”
“What, and you think all the monsters you meet are gonna conveniently speak English?” Bobby says. “This is America.”
Every time Bobby shuffles by, the kid’s hooked on the TV with something like intensity but its glow makes the sag under Dean’s eyes stand out. You shouldn’t be able to see that in a fifteen-year old--at fifteen, you’re going to live forever, and you look it. All-nighters are a privilege; fuel is sugar more than sleep. Bobby knows a thing or two about adolescent all-nighters: The first six don’t show. Dean’s been tired a while.
Maybe it’s not about the sex. Maybe it’s where Dean was supposed to have been, what he was supposed to be doing instead. John’s always been the type to keep his docket full.
Maybe that’s worth punishment, in John’s mind.
But maybe not. (Once a Marine, always a Marine--means training, means rigor, means blood and war and fury. But it also means reveille. Duty. Starched uniform and service to one’s country. To what one loves.) Maybe this is concession.
Crumpled on the couch like that, Dean looks like he’s like to fall apart. Come undone in sloppy pieces. Maybe this, in John’s hands, is mercy.
Whatever the story, Bobby expects Dean KO’d by minute 20 of this cartoon. Not really Dean’s fare, Bobby suspects, but what does he know. It’s not Vonnegut, in any case. In bright and spring-like color, a dad and his two daughters drive down a rutted road; they buy a house. They clean the house; they meet their neighbors. The clean some more.
But the scenes flicker by, and Dean remains ghoulishly rapt.
The girls play. Mosquito nets--humid summer. Dad works. Time for school. It rains. They deliver umbrellas. They ride in a bus shaped like a cat--or a cat shaped like a bus.
They make trees grow. By morning, the trees are sprouts again.
In the end, everyone’s singing.
Around 5, Dean steps out. It’s winter, still dark. Balls cold. Bats in the sky like hissing satellites. Leaves Bobby to the whirl of the tape rewinding.
“Have fun with the Totoros out there?” Bobby asks when, at 7, Dean slinks back in. His hands are scraped white from the dry cold, nose crusty and cheeks a windburnt red. He’s got mud on his forehead, his knees. A feat, as it’s all permafrost out there. His chest is heaving, body breathing frost like a giant mouth. Morning training run.
“She dies, doesn’t she,” Dean says, swallowing with difficulty. Too much freezing air.
“The mother? I don’t think so.”
Bobby motions at the fridge--help yourself, he means. Breakfast is leftovers; there’s hotdish, milk. And what kind of lit analysis was high school teaching these days? Nobody dies in Totoro.
“Nobody dies in Totoro,” Bobby says.
Dean shakes his head. “The little girl dies. The shoe was hers, she drowned in the river, she--”
“She was up in the tree singing with the rest of ‘em. I’ve seen the movie, too, Dean. No one dies.”
Dean chuffs. “Yeah, up in the tree with the Totoros. They just never found the body.”
Dean eats his hotdish cold.
“Why are you so sure?” Bobby asks.
“Why else would you have imaginary friends?”
The kitchen wallows in the thought of that for a while, slate tones pushing in from the morning, curl of the wallpaper something Bobby’s eye latches onto and can’t quite let go again.
“Coffee?” he asks eventually.
At the same time, Dean says, “Sam has an imaginary friend, you know.”
And where is Sam? Bobby wonders.
With his imaginary friend, he supposes. Old enough to be left alone. It’s been happening more and more, with Dean getting primed and Sam too young. Sam’s been shooting since he was four and graduated to chainsaws at seven, but mostly at cans and always on firewood. It’s different when you’re in the field, on purpose (hunter, not hunted), and Sam is still too young.
Of course, that begs the question. “So why do you need babysitting?” Bobby asks.
(Why aren’t you with Sam?)
“I made a mistake,” says Dean. “Maybe he doesn’t want it to rub off on Take 2.”
“Boy, who the hell did you bring into that bathroom?”
“Oh my god, Bobby, it wasn’t Sam!” Dean’s voice cracks. “I’m not--”
“That ain’t what I was implying,” Bobby mollifies. “Ain’t even in the ballpark of what I was implying. Though it’s interesting that’s, uh, where you jumped.”
Dear glares at him sourly. “That’s disgusting. He’s my brother.”
“Was it a boy?”
Dean stares at him, blank-faced. No comebacks or witty reports.
“Why do you care?”
“Just trying to puzzle out why you’re here. Bastardizing my hotdish. Watching my TV. You know. I don’t judge.”
“I’m more about the ends than means,” Dean replies evenly. “Occupational hazard.”
(Boy with a cock in his hands--someone else’s. It all smells of industrial soap. No one had balls enough to go for lube, so they do this the hard way. It’s rarer, but not uncommon. Bobby waited until USD, but if fifteen’s old enough for a girl it’s old enough to try a boy--)
“But you’re lying,” says Bobby.
“Why, ‘cause no homo?”
“You’re bad at lying when you’re tired. Has Sam never told you that?”
“I already told you, I’d never--”
“Is she pregnant?”
Dean laughs. “I don’t think that’s possible.”
“Dean, how old was she?”
Dean’s expression dips insolent. There’s a savagery to the way he tips his plate into the sink.
“Why does it matter?”
A few years ago, it was all over the news. Bobby may be a misanthrope but he’s still got basic cable. He owns a radio. He goes to town and it’s all the bag boys, the salesclerks, the gas stations will talk about.
A little girl from Brookings, they all said. She’d gone home with a neighbor boy. He had a TV; she didn’t. She liked princess cartoons.
Boy swears he didn’t know it was wrong--he’d felt an urge and acted on it. During the hearing, judge probably had his cock in his hand and understood immediately. Boys at that age, and all. Girl didn’t know right from wrong, either--didn’t know there was right and wrong to begin with. Too young. Never got to watch her princess cartoons. Good and evil is, after all, an elemental lesson.
Dean’s got good and evil in the bank. His daddy made sure of that. But John’s example is something of a wild card, to be honest. And now Bobby sees fifteen and it’s pretty old, maybe too old. Dean’s muscular, if skinny. Growth spurts. He has coarse hands and ragged nails, dirt like kohl, permanent at his cuticles.
Dean’s acting wary around him now, a little wolfish--too many questions; caught somewhere between not wanting to be here, and being afraid he’s not wanted here--and Bobby can see it.
He’s used to seeing Dean as John’s kid, but he can see it. Dean as someone else’s nightmare.
Nobody dies in Totoro, after all. Not unless Dean tells it.
Bobby catches Dean’s eyes--a difficult thing, at this point--and there’s maybe a little madness there. It’s nothing Bobby recognizes in the boy he raised.
But there’s the rub, isn’t it. Bobby didn’t raise him. Dean is not his son.
Sundown again. It’s cold enough even Dean won’t stay outside. (Though it had always been Sam, thinks Bobby. Sam who loved the snow, the slush. Soccer made silly by black ice.)
“You gonna keep staring at that?” Bobby asks.
Dean hasn’t said a word since breakfast, and hasn’t written anything since “Totoro.” It’s sitting at the top of his piece of paper like a mutated cloud. Dean’s penmanship aside, lined paper is lined for a reason. Dean has, apparently, rejected this. But at least it’s in cursive.
“I don’t know what to write.”
“You told me at breakfast.”
“And you said I was wrong.”
Bobby sighs. Perhaps it’s better that he’s father to no one. Because he did say that, didn’t he. Parenting is wily.
“Do you want to watch it again?” Bobby asks. Dean had at least seemed interested. Maybe Bobby could salvage this.
“No. It’s depressing.”
“It’s a cartoon.”
“Bambi’s mom died, and that's a cartoon. So did that girl--mark me.”
Dean doesn’t think he’s wrong about the girl, Bobby realizes. That, he still insists. Dean just believes he’s wrong.
“Hey Bobby, you got any Valium?” Dean asks. It’s late at night again, maybe 3. Bobby’s deep in the same thing as last, looking up talismans. Got another call from Omaha. Dean’s apparently done with books and book reports.
“Can I read it?” Bobby asks. “Take an interest in schoolwork” seems like a good square one for damage control.
“It’s short,” says Dean. “Only word I know in Japanese is Totoro.”
Bobby bites his tongue. “Your teacher seems interested in your work, Dean. And hell, she’s probably better at high school English than I am; maybe she’ll be a better listener than I was.”
“Okay, now you’re just wigging me out. Don’t--fucking--whatever you’re doing. Besides, it doesn’t really matter; there’s zero chance we’re ever going back to that school.”
And just like that, Dean’s Over It. Over the insinuations, the questions, the imaginary friends and the anger. Like the full day never happened, except for the part where the full day happened. Moody teenagers Bobby gets, in theory. But John’s kids will always be different.
“So why bother with the report at all?” Bobby asks. “If you’re never going to see Ms. Vonnegut again.”
He means, maybe because this mattered to you. Maybe because you were trying. Maybe someone finally made you want to try. Maybe because you forgot to act like you didn’t care, which is exactly what you’re trying to remember now.
“Mrs.” says Dean. “Don’t know her last name. Twin boys in the grade above me, though. She told me. Also, she’s not pregnant.”
“The girl I fucked. She’s on the pill. She told me. Do you have any Valium or not?”
Non sequitur, non sequitur, non sequitur. Bobby offers one of his own. “How old is she?”
“The girl from the bathroom.”
“Why does it matter?” Dean’s voice wavers. “Fuck, I’m tired.”
Bobby has this sense of trees growing overnight, tall and adult, full forest. In the morning, they are sprouts again. And fifteen seems young.
Fifteen seems very young.
Hey, don't look at me. I didn’t choose it.
Dean still has to look up at him, though likely not for long. He seems suddenly like he’s not above begging. Valium, jesus.
Bobby wonders how tall Mrs. Vonnegut is.
“Does your father know? Does Sam?”
Dean says, “Why do you think I’m here?”
Then he says, “Are you going to help me or not?”
Hotdish, fridge. Meds, medicine cabinet. Bobby points again. He’s beginning to think parenting is a game you always lose.
Dean smiles, all teeth. Something must have shown on Bobby’s face that Dean didn’t like.
“Hey, ‘coming of age,’ right? And it’s not like anyone died.”
“I mean, Dad’s pissed,” Dean continues, “he doesn’t really--”
“I didn’t mind it,” says Dean.
“I liked it,” says Dean.
This fic borrows from a short scene in Childhood I.