Rating: PG - Gen
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Dean can fix anything. Especially with the correct motivation...
"Well, it's safe to say that I now know even less about VCRs than I did one hour ago."
Sam looked up over the hardcover book he had found alongside with the bible in one and only drawer in their room. Motels were like airports sometimes, people left behind things they didn't want anymore. Their cast offs became your evening. When you had little else to do besides watch your brother swear at machinery, even Tom Clancy was fairly tolerable.
"Then why'd you tell her you could fix it?" Sam asked without really asking.
Dean was seated on the edge of his bed with dissembled parts of a video player laid out on the floor like some careful post mortem project. Each piece was laid in an almost uniform distance apart and placed in some kind of order that his brother had devised in his mind that made sense. It looked like Dean believed that as if staring harder would somehow reveal the machine's mysterious ailment that caused it eat any video tape that dared enter it.
"Try some Latin." Sam suggested.
"Maybe it's the capstan flywheel..." Dean murmured as he picked up a piece and studied it.
Sam glanced up again. He almost wanted to ask how the hell his brother knew any actual technical names out of the guts of a tape player. But he didn't bother.
"Who still owns VCRs now days anyway." Sam mumbled. Besides fairly pretty Alabama girls that liked to watch recorded soap operas while she whiled away her hot drowsy afternoons behind a motel check in counter.
"Hey," Dean smiled over at him. "Outside of your common auto engine, a VCR is usually the most complicated machine an average person owns."
Looking at the array of strange shaped gears and whatnot spread out on the carpet Sam silently conceded to agree. He never quite got how Dean put together what looked like simple chaos to him.
Ever since they were kids Dean had always been taking things apart and putting them back together again. Plenty of times it was because if he didn't, they couldn't listen to the radio, or have hot water. Sometimes he did it for no reason at all. It was less than a wonder when he quickly got bored with TVs and toasters and moved onto larger interests like the car and everything in it. Sam unlike his brother, outside of basic mechanical knowledge, had never been half as interested.
Dad had liked it when Dean discovered the joys of car maintenance.
It had always made Sam stare harder at a book when they disappeared out the door with their tools and work shirts on. It turned into a weekly thing. And then it turned into whenever Dad wasn't on the road and just wanted to be quiet and get outside his head. So Dad and Dean would spend all afternoon laughing and talking under the hood of the car. Clapping Dean on the back when the engine successfully turned. Promising him the keys one day if he kept up the good work.
Sam remembered when he started to sometimes go out of his way to correct his older brother in front of their father whenever he had the chance. It had been some petty thrill to see Dean look down and away when his little brother proved he could outdo him in things that Dad thought really mattered. Wasn't what Sam took from all those books Dad made him read worthy of more praise than knowing how to fix some carburetor?
He watched Dean thoughtfully tap the business end of a mini screwdriver against his lower lip as he seemed to make some kind of conclusion and decision. It was like watching him work a job. His brother never seemed to miss a thing even when there didn't even seem like there was anything to miss.
Dean was already slipping the black cover of the case into place. With a quick twist he replaced the screws and set it on top of the TV.
It had never occurred to Sam that this natural ability he always thought Dean had somehow magically possessed might just be an extension of what he was looking at right now.
Knowing that one thing needed another to work. A network of gears and drives that had a start and end. All the pieces engaging each other with one surge of electricity that ended in a function. Take just one component away and you had silence. Or worse.
With a sigh of foreboding Dean slipped in a tape.
Sam watched on behind him, curious despite himself.
"Place yer bets." Dean shrugged and hit play.
The dark screen flashed blue and then stuttered into a picture of a daytime drama.
Dean turned around and broke into a grin. "Check that out!"
"You were right." Sam flipped a page. "Must have been that um-- wheel."
His brother nodded in distraction, already busy unhooking the thing and yanking the plug out of the wall.
"I better get it back to uh, the person, the motel uh--"
"Yeah, her." Dean slammed the door behind him.
Sam laughed a little and went back to his book.