Rating: PG - Gen - Wee! & Teen!Chesters
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: There are some things you can only learn from your old man...
John cracked another beer and ignored the small sound of his son's sigh.
The kid had turned into the beer police sometime within the last week. He'd started counting each one John opened and drank, tallying every amber bottle with a small groan or a distinct sound of disapproval. John flicked the cap across the porch, landing it perfectly into a bucket that was set up under one of the busted rain gutters. Seated on the splintered wooden planks of the porch floor, Sammy let out another semi-dramatic noise as he dug through a small metal case filled with navigation equipment.
"What's your problem?"
"You just had one." Sam told him.
"Looks like two comes after one, don't it?"
A tongue was stuck out in his direction.
John grinned. Christ Almighty. Only two beers in and he was getting shit from a ten year old? He took the other cap that was still sitting next to his first empty. Lining it up as perfectly as he was able, he targeted his boy right in the middle of the forehead. Distracted by the case's contents, it took the squirt by surprise. Startled, Sam rubbed at the spot where it had bipped him. Upon seeing what the projectile was, his surprise quickly shifted to indignant anger. Lips tightly pursed, his son almost started to throw back whatever just happened to be in his hand at the moment.
"Nuh-uh kiddo." John warned with a shake of his head.
Sam reluctantly lowered the expensive GPS. Looking around he found the offending bottle cap and hurled that back as hard as he could instead. John easily caught it before it took out his eye. Of course, that just pissed off the kid even more. But Sam had been in a weirder mood than usual lately.
Maybe it was the different groove of being in a house for a change. His old friend Joshua was on the road out west and had told him it would be just fine if they stayed on the small run down farm for as long as they wanted. It was close enough to a town to get the boys back into school for a little while. That gave John some time and a much needed opportunity to get some work done on just this side of the Mason-Dixon line.
But he wasn't quite on the road as much as he expected he'd be.
The farm was nicely located for his purposes but even more importantly, it was out of the way and quiet. He hadn't quite realized how much of that he definitely required at the moment. That and some ice cold fermented malted barley and hops.
"One day you'll know why a man needs a beer." John assured with a half smile.
"No I won't." Sam insisted as he played with a self-luminous tritium lensatic compass.
The boy usually liked to counter most arguments by just insisting vehemently on the opposite. Although Dean had never quite gone through that phase, John had thought for a while that was just a little kid thing to do. Their only defense to a grown up's illogical and unfathomable bullshit. But as time went on, he soon realized what exactly was going on behind it. Sam's vocabulary, no matter how impressive it was on paper, wasn't exactly something he'd mastered in practice. There were volumes behind every brief protest that he just couldn't quite string together yet.
It was going to make the teen years a real damn joyride when that mouth finally caught up with that brain. John didn't know whether to be proud or worried. Maybe a little of both.
"Beer just makes you go to sleep." Sam also added.
"One day you'll know why a man likes to get a lot of sleep."
"No, I won't."
"Yes, you will."
"No, I won't."
"Yes, you will."
"No, I won't!"
"No, you won't."
"Yes I will--"
Sam stopped in puzzled shock when he realized his father had made him reverse his sentiment with all the grace of Bugs Bunny. John gave a small laugh at the look on the ten year old's face, the kid caught half way between clinging onto his annoyance and wanting to smile at the stupid trick that had been played.
He tipped back his bottle with another chuckle. Take that Sammy. Can't learn to be a smart ass out of a text book. That takes pure born talent and years and years of experience. Speaking of which...
John glanced down at his watch.
Dean had about four minutes to get his ass home. In principle, John didn't have any complaints about his eldest going out. The boy was almost 15. John would have actually been a little more bothered if the kid didn't want to get the hell away from time to time. Within limits of course. As long as Dean got all his work done and walked back through the door when the second hit the hour, John let it go. But one minute over the given time instructed and John would make sure the nightly mysterious teen business would be done for good.
But, lately it was a little suspicious that Dean had been consistently finishing up his homework so quickly just so he could dash out the door. Even when properly motivated he never managed that kind of time record. It was usually a surprise to hear that his oldest son had even made it into school everyday for a full week let alone getting ahead of the paperwork. The endless phone calls from teachers proved that well enough. But John was pretty sure he wasn't going to have to deal with for much longer anyway. As soon as Dean had heard that other countries let you out free into the world of the work place at an average age he had already reached, his lukewarm interest in academics had cooled to a chill.
John didn't mind.
He knew his boy was sharp and he was glad Dean didn't feel the need for some piece of paper to prove it.
Speaking of papers and proving it...
"Dean sure got his homework done pretty quick?"
He studied Sammy's face.
His youngest began to double his concentration on finding true north with the military device in his palm. Without making any eye contact, Sam made a slow and elaborate shrug.
That figured. He knew they probably did it all the time. It seemed wrong to reprimand that kind of efficiency and covert team work. Although what Sammy got out of it he wasn't quite sure. Maybe it was just to avoid getting hung on the back of a closet by his underpants again. He wanted to ask but decided to let his boys have their secrets. They deserved a few. John watched his kid tilt the inclinometer off the compass's baseline.
Like the tools the boy was adjusting and holding in his small hands, he had a whole lot to learn about knowledge and just exactly what you had to do with it. As quick as his youngest son was, his oldest seemed to have caught on to that concept without much problem. In fact Dean had learned that one as effortlessly as his youngest seemed to be able conjugate verbs in dead languages.
Dean suddenly appeared out of the night. He stopped to stand nervously at the bottom of the porch stairs.
"Relax." John said dryly. "You had a whole 24 seconds to go."
Dean's careful look faded into a real one. Relief.
John clicked the timer off his watch.
"You've been right on time for two weeks."
Dean shifted in place, unsure where the statement was headed.
"You get an extra hour from now on." John told him. "Use it how you want."
John's oldest boy broke out in a grin and breezed past them both, bounding up the stairs and vanishing for the second time in the same night. This time up into his room.
Turning his attention back on Sam, he saw the kid was still very determinedly trying to make the reading on his instrument reconcile with what he knew for fact by simply knowing his landscape.
"Come on over here."
"Just come on now."
Sammy eyed him, distrustful after the bottle cap attack.
"Yer magnetic declination is all wrong." John waved him over and patted his knee. "Take a seat, lemme show you how it's done."
Between all his boys books and all those late nights doing God knows what, there were still some things you could only learn one way.
And that was from their old man.