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Title: Self Sufficiency
Author name: Icarus
Author email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sub Category: Wistful Humor
Summary: John likes to be self-sufficient, even when he has to battle Dean.
DISCLAIMER: This story is just written for fun, and is based on characters and situations created and owned by Kripke and all those great people from Supernatural. All original characters and situations are Copyright © 2007 by Icarus Ancalion. All rights reserved. Only the original ideas contained within the works on this nonprofit web site are the property of their authors, and please do not copy these stories to any other website or archive or print without permission of the author. Ask, guys. I'm easy to reach and usually generous.
Author notes: This is completely unbeta'd. Sam and Dean kiddie fic for Cereta's Beloved Chores challenge inspired by Dean mowing the lawn.
The rented apartment was tiny and came furnished with the kind of worn, blocky furniture that had the sole benefit of being almost indestructible, even with Dean in the house. It had a window in the kitchenette off to right, currently casting twin squares of sunset across the floor, while Sam and Dean slept in the livingroom to the left. Which made it a disaster area most days, but livable. John said that anything he tripped over got thrown in the trash without a hearing, and no complaints. That kept the hall clear of junk.
John had settled Dean in the steadiest of the kitchen chairs, his long legs sprawled, comb and clippers set out on the table next to a baseball cap. Dean's nose had freckles from too much sun, face round and boyish, at odds with his surly scowl. He looked younger than he was — a fact that Dean hated with the fire of a thousand suns — closer to twelve than thirteen, his thick lashes flickering as he fidgeted. He let his head drop with a melodramatic sigh.
John grabbed the hat and whacked him across the ear, scissors poised in mid-air. "Sit still for five minutes. I'm not telling you again."
Dean flinched and swore. Then green eyes went wide with dismay. "That's a dollar for the curse jar, ain't it?"
"Ha," Sam gloated, skinny, long-limbed and elfin, his sharp chin and grubby fingers hanging over the edge of the other chair, digging in. His tan was dirt-colored and John was fairly sure he rolled in dust like a wet puppy. Sam made a spit bubble through his teeth.
"Yep," John said, as he leaned in to trim the bangs out of Dean's eyes.
He tried his best, but Dean had cowlicks and most times he ended up getting out the clippers anyhow. The scissors made a patient snick-snick sound as he trimmed around his ears, and Dean blinked, shoulders held stiff, hunched, trying very hard not to move -- and not succeeding. Though he was quiet for a change, which was nice. John liked these peaceful moments between hunts.
John stood back and admired his handiwork. It was pretty much even this time. Some cities they were able to locate a barber on the run and get eight dollar haircuts, but John liked to do for himself whenever he could. With a nod, he made Dean get up and turn around, and the boy complied with a bored grumble, his shoulders sagging at the great injustice of a world where, yeah, he had to get a damned haircut. Dean ran a hand through it with a suspicious scowl, his face puzzled, like he was trying to feel what it looked like.
"Okay, you're done," John said, swatting him on the ass. Dean bounded for the bathroom, scattering locks of dark blond hair all over the kitchen as he made for the shag carpet. "Hey!" John pointed. Dean froze on a dime, already on the livingroom carpet, bright green eyes like a deer in headlights. "Wherever you track that," he waved a finger at all the hair, "you're gonna clean it up."
"I've gotta vacuum anyways," Dean said, still feeling up the back of his head. "I think it's shorter on this side," he muttered as he headed for the bathroom mirror.
John rolled his eyes. Jesus, his son was getting vain.
Then he slapped the chair once with the flat of his palm, and Sam scrambled up. Sometimes Sammy tried to imitate his older brother, pretending to be annoyed, but the truth was he liked to get his hair cut. John knew the signs. The way he'd go all quiet and dreamy, his eyes unfocused, staring out into nothing. The way his left foot would start to wiggle. John had to put a hand on his knee now to get him to stop, and Sam looked up at him with soft almond-shaped brown eyes, apologetic. John smiled at his boy.
Sam's hair was both easier and harder than Dean's. It mostly only had one direction, but there was just so damned much of it, and it grew fast. It had taken him a long time to learn how to cut it so that Sam didn't look like a brown mop.
Now he cut slow and straight across the front with the bangs, Sam wincing as he chewed his lip, looking up, cautious but trusting. John left a little bit over the ears because it'd be over his ears in a week at any rate, and it was easier to get it right this way. Then as Sam relaxed into a slouch, he cut short chunks across the back, dark hair falling down the back of Sam's shirt like dead spiders. He went in again to catch the stray hairs, then once more, because, again, so damned much of it. Unlike Dean though, he could take his time.
Sam sat in the chair, as peaceful as could be, the one foot kicking a little bit. John wondered what Sam thought about when he did this.
"Okay," John said in almost a whisper, caught in the spell, "We're done," and Sam shook himself like he was waking up.
"Daaaad!" Dean yelled from the bathroom, his high voice echoing off tile. This part was predictable, too. "It's crooked!" He stomped down the hall with his hand on the back of his head like he was trying to hide it. "Gimme the damned clippers."
"Ooo!" Sam said, turning, just to make sure his brother's slip was noticed, John figured.
"Dean!" John growled. It was the tone that mattered.
"Okay, I'll pay the dollar, sir. But man, dad, you suck at this." His voice cracked on 'suck,' dropping an octave like a car slipping out of gear. "Just -- the clippers. Please." Dean held out his hand, the other hand still clapped to his head like it was a wound. "I'll do it myself."
John was surprised at his reluctance to hand them over, though he did. He should be grateful for Dean's independence, as it freed him up from another chore.
He considered that reluctance as he opened the fridge and got himself a beer, bottles in the door rattling as it shut. Sam scampered down the hall to bug his brother. John tossed a pair of underwear to the floor as he settled on the couch, thinking it was high time for some military discipline. Inspections, for example.
The low hum and buzz of clippers came down the hall from the bathroom, and Sam's voice, "Oh, yeah, that looks a lot better."
"It does?" Dean's voice brightened, hopeful.
"I'm gonna buzz your hair, Goldilocks," Dean threatened.
"Hey, quit it!" And Sam's predictable exit, stumbling out of the bathroom, both hands clapped to his head.
John smiled to himself, content as he lifted the beer. Dean was going to make mincemeat of his hair. And yeah, maybe he just didn't want them growing up too soon.