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the island of conclusions

Four Things John Winchester Learned to Appreciate about Lego....(SPN fic, gen)

the island of conclusions

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Four Things John Winchester Learned to Appreciate about Lego....(SPN fic, gen)

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Impala
This is a birthday fic for the wonderful, amazing calamitycrow, who gave me a prompt for Lego!fic with John and his boys months ago, and probably thought I'd forgotten all about it. Sorry it’s a little late, babe—and hope you enjoy it.

Title: Four Things John Winchester Learned to Appreciate about Lego (and one he would have if he’d only known).
Rating: PG (for a few swears)
Genre: pre-series, wee!chesters.
Spoilers: for 5.22.
Word Count: ~2.1K
Disclaimer: not mine, no profit.



For all the times he’d resented the extra space the plastic bin took up in the trunk, and all the nights he’d hopped across the room clutching his foot after stepping on one of those fucking things in the dark-- for all the mornings he’d spent tearing apart motel rooms looking for the last, most important piece they couldn’t live without, and for all the times he’d said “What did I just tell you, boys? Weapons are not toys—and toys are not weapons,” John Winchester was prepared to admit that there were actually some good things about Lego.

One: It could make a good bribe:

John had made his peace with the fact that he wasn’t going to be proud of everything he did as a father. There were the big things he was ashamed of—like the fact that he was raising his boys in a series of grungy rooms in one-horse towns. And there were small things—like the fact that he occasionally resorted to bribery.

It was usually Sam. Most times, Dean would respond to either reason or a threatening look. But every once in a while, Sam would dig his heels in about leaving one town or another, cross his arms mulishly, plunk his narrow little butt down on a saggy bed, and refuse to leave. Didn’t want to miss the school play, or the soccer final, or the school awards ceremony, or some such Sam-like concern.

And there John would be, stuck between Sam’s pint-sized stubbornness, Dean beating an increasingly impatient rhythm on the door, and the desk-clerk telling them they had to be out by noon or pay for another night. And he’d cave.

Y’know,” he’d say, “there’s a pretty big Woolworths in the next town—whatd’ya say I take you—and your brother,” he added, at Dean’s yelp of protest, “over there once we get moved in?”

Sam would unfurl the tiniest bit, squint carefully at his father. “We really need one of those baseboards—the ones you can build other stuff on top of,” he’d venture cautiously.

“Yeah,” John would sigh, “I can see how we do.”

And Sam would take himself off to the car with great dignity, for all the world like a tiny mafia boss who’d negotiated a settlement between rival gangs.

Two: It could mark a trail.

Goddamn it, John thought, trying not to make too much noise as he pushed his way through the bracken of the tinder-dry forest, of all the stupid, amateur mistakes—letting the boys get snagged by a fucking witch. John hated witches—especially the kind that thought it was cool to live off the grid in the freakin’ woods.

He wasn’t even entirely sure that she was a witch, and not some nutjob Wiccan with an attitude problem. Didn’t matter, anyway, because now she had Sam and Dean, had taken them to whatever crazy hideout she had in this scrubby Michigan forest. Probably some kind of trailer with walls made of gingerbread-- gumdrop decorations, and candy cane light poles, John thought a little wildly. And what four-year-old wouldn’t follow a nice lady with candy? But Dean? Dean was eight—he should know better by now.

Maybe she was a witch—maybe she’d cast some kind of invisibility spell on them. And, okay, he was starting to get a little worried, because he couldn’t for the life of him pick out a trail in the bright carpet of fallen autumn leaves.

Just then, his eye caught an object of another color on the forest floor. Dull gray and obviously manmade. He stooped to pick it up, and rubbed the nubby little plastic square between his fingers. And laughed, because maybe, just maybe—

He scanned the leaf-strewn ground around him, and there, sure enough, was another one, red this time, nestled near a patch of yellowish mushrooms. And then a white rectangle, a few feet to the east.

John grinned. Resourceful, that’s what his boys were, fucking resourceful.

He moved through the woods more confidently now, guided by the Lego pieces that appeared every yard or so. Now that he had found the route the witch had taken the boys, he could see the evidence of their passage—broken twigs, scuffed earth. Not long now, he thought, fury speeding his progress. He wasn’t going to kill the witch—not unless he had to—but he was going to scare her within an inch of her life for daring to lay a hand on his sons.

Gradually, John became aware of another sound in the forest, the rustling of an animal, maybe a person, maybe two. It was coming towards him. He tensed, and curled his hand around the gun in the waistband of his jeans: maybe the witch was coming out to meet him.

But it wasn’t the witch who appeared out of the shadow of a vast oak tree. It was Dean and Sammy, holding hands, hair tousled and covered in leaves and dirt. Sam was still in his pajamas, and Dean had a cut above one eye, but they looked as fierce as any legendary forest outlaws.

John lunged towards them and hugged them hard, an arm around each. They mashed their faces into his chest, childish fingers scrabbling to pull him closer. There’d be snot all over his shirt next time he looked.

When they’d all caught their breath a bit, and John was sure they were alright, he squatted down to look them in the eye.

“That was good thinking, boys, leaving a trail.”

“Yeah,” said Dean. “We both had a bunch of pieces in our pockets—“

“So we dropped them, without her seeing, just like in the story,” Sam chimed in.

“But how’d you get away from her, boys?” John asked. “Don’t tell me you pushed her into the oven?”

“Nah,” Dean laughed. “She only had a hot plate. She didn’t like it when her hair caught fire, though.”

Three: It could make good poker chips.

“Dad,” Dean whispered, plucking at his sleeve, “you promised.”

John turned his head away from the TV. He could see about three inches of wrist poking out of the long-sleeved t-shirt Dean had worn to bed. That was another trip to Wal-Mart, right there, he thought, he was never going to get on top of these things.

“Dad,” Dean insisted, “You said once Sammy was asleep, you said--

John had said. And it was the kind of thing that once you said it, no eight-year-old was ever going to forget it.

“Yeah,” he sighed, flicking off the TV, “You sure Sammy’s asleep?”

They both paused a moment to look at the blanket lump on the bed in the darker part of the motel room. It certainly seemed to be slumbering peacefully.

“Yeah, he’s drooling and everything.” Dean jiggled a little bit from toe to toe, like he couldn’t wait for this grown-up adventure to begin.

“Good—‘cause you know your brother would fleece the both of us.” Dean and John shared a laughed over their mutual knowledge of four-year-old Sam’s capacity for stony faces and drawn-out battles of will. “Go get the cards out of my bag, okay?”

“Sure. And money, right? We need money.”

“I dunno,” John felt a momentary pang. Eight was a little young for gambling—even for pennies. “How about those—let’s use those.”

“Lego?” Dean was incredulous—like he knew they never used Lego in Vegas.

“Sure.” John tried to sound confident. “It’s just practice. The black pieces can be ones, okay, and the red pieces fives. Besides, you've got the rest of your life to play for real money.”

Four: It could pass the time.

There was a sharp little sound from the floor near John’s feet. It was the third time he’d heard it now, so there was no use ignoring it any longer. John sighed, and raised his eyes from the papers and newspaper clippings spread out in front of him on the room’s only table.

“You hurting, kid?” he asked. The sound had been more frustrated than pained, but it still seemed the likeliest explanation.

From his position cross-legged on the floor, Sam shook his head. “No, sir.” He didn’t look great, though, John thought, pale and hollow-eyed, his right forearm in a cast supported by a sling—the result not of a monster attack, but of jumping off the playground swing at the wrong moment. He’d hit his head on the way down, too, and it was the minor concussion, not the broken limb, that had convinced John to keep him home from school today, to take the day off himself to keep an eye on him.

“I’ll stay, Dad,” Dean had said, trying to look as sincere and responsible as possible, and not like he was looking forward to a day of TV. “I know how you hate to miss work—except for hunting, that is.” And maybe John was doing Dean a disservice—he had been genuinely upset to see his brother in so much pain—but he’d missed too much school as it was, so John packed him off with a note for Sam’s teacher.

Sam, being Sam, had only been able to stomach daytime TV for a couple of hours. Then he’d slept for a bit, and woken to kick around the room restlessly, until John had thought to pull the Lego bin out of the trunk. At seven-almost-eight, Sam was getting a little old for it, at least John was hoping he might be, hoping he might reclaim the space the bin took up for extra ammunition or something useful. But he was grateful for the stuff today, because it had kept Sam occupied for a good hour already. At least until he started making that noise.

“What is it then?” He asked.

“Nothing.” Sam ran a sullen hand through the pieces, making them clack against each other. “Just hard to put things together with one hand, y'know?”

“I bet,” John said. “Why don’t you watch TV? Or try to sleep some more.” He looked down at his notes again, focused on the possible werewolf sightings near Lubbock.

“Okay.” But Sam didn’t. John could hear him fussing with the pieces, the snap and click of them.

The fourth time Sam made that sad little mmft of frustration, John couldn’t take it anymore. He pushed himself away from the table, hunkered down on the floor near his younger son.

“What’re you trying to make?” Sam had all the black pieces from the bin spread in front of him, some of them already configured into a half-made cube.

“The car.” Sam hung his head, like he was a little embarrassed. “But it’s coming out all wrong—it should be more—more rectangular.” The frustration was back.

John had to smile: a Lego Impala—you didn’t see that every day. “You—ah—you want me to help?” He asked cautiously, because Sammy, these days, was as likely to get offended at any suggestion that he might not be able to do something himself.

But this time Sam nodded, albeit without raising his eyes.

John gave up on his notes, sat down next to him, and tried to re-jigger the Lego chassis to something more like the Chevy’s actual shape. “Okay,” he said, “you be the supervising engineer—tell me what goes where.” So Sam handed him appropriate elements, advice, and criticism. But he was right—it was frustrating trying to get the proportions of the long, low car right with the blocky little pieces.

John got so absorbed in the effort he completely forgot about the potential Texan werewolf, didn’t even notice the stream of instructions slowing to a halt. His concentration was only broken when an enormous yawn sounded next to him. He looked up to find Sam rubbing his eyes with his good hand, looking closer to four than seven-almost-eight.

“Hey,” he said, “why don’t you go lie down?”

Sam shook his head. “No. Wanna see how it turns out.” He knuckled his eyes again.

“Oh. Well, at least come over here then.” John stretched out his arm, and Sam, as he’d done so rarely lately, ducked under it, jammed his body up against his father’s support. John buried his nose in Sam’s soft hair for a moment. It had been a while since he’d shampooed it, and the sharp, antiseptic smell of the hospital where the bone had been set lingered on top of the musty scent of unwashed child.

But John paused for a moment, nonetheless, savoring the feel of his boy in his arms.

Five: It could save the world.

fin

  • Oh, man, I *loved* this. I love it when authors *get* John, you know? His strengths and weaknesses as a father, his complicated relationship with his boys.

    And yeah, my father used to play with me and help me put together my Legos into things I came up with, and it's one of my best childhood memories. :)

    Your last line totally made me tear up.
    • I'm so glad you enjoyed it! And that it brought up some happy memories! Lego is indeed an awesome thing--I'm glad SPN made it canon that the boys had some.

      John is a complicated figure, and I shy away from writing him because it hits a little close to home--but I'm glad it worked this time--thanks for reading!
  • You've committed weechester fic!!! And just at a moment when I needed a bit of uncomplicated fluff, thank you ;-)
    • Yay--I'm so glad it hit the spot! You know I hardly ever write kids because, well, it's a little close to home--but calamitycrow gave me the awesome prompt, and it was her birthday, and she's awesome, so....

      thanks for reading!
  • Tiny Mafia Sam!
  • And Sam would take himself off to the car with great dignity, for all the world like a tiny mafia boss who’d negotiated a settlement between rival gangs.

    I think this story is pretty much perfect. Loved this line especially, but the ending made me tear up (of course!). Wee!Winchesters with their papa is one of my favorite things. I've missed it so, and you write them beautifully. :)
    • Yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I debated about that line, actually, because I didn't know whether I should make wee!Sam that tough--but he probably was *g*--glad it worked!

      Thanks for reading!
  • Oh wow, I LOVE this! I've read so much awful!John lately, and you've written him so well here, imperfect and yet loving as he was. All the details of the boys with the Legos are wonderful a well.
    • I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I shy away from writing John, because it hits a little close to home, but I'm glad the love and imperfections came across here. And the Lego details--they say write what you know--and numbers one and four are pretty much lifted from my own life (aside from the Impala and the motel rooms, that is ;))

      thanks for reading!
  • On, so much love for this! Great glimpse of John being a dad--and he had to have gotten it right sometimes, or Sam and Dean would not have been the boys we saw in the pilot!
    • I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I always think John had to be trying hard sometimes, even if he was distracted (obsessed) and under all kind of crazy (demonic) pressure.

      thanks for reading!
  • (no subject) -
    • Yay--I'm so, so glad you liked it!!! *does a happy dance* It was an awesome prompt, and fun to write (finally, a good use for my personal knowledge of Lego ;)). You deserve to be showered with fic and candy and cruise ship holidays, but glad this little bit was fun! *tackle hug*

      (I totally think there should be a Lego Impala somewhere in the world)
  • Lovely, you really caught all three of them.

    (And I so remember a wet holiday in North Wales where the landlady's stash of Lego was all that prevented my brother and I from killing one another... and several occasions where Lego has saved the day with my own kids!)
    • I'm so glad you enjoyed it--and that it brought back some memories of Lego saving the day (this has happened many times in my house)! Lego is truly an awesome thing, and I'm so glad SPN made it canon that the Winchester boys played with it.

      Thanks for reading!
  • wheeeeeee! Perfect ending. But I have to confess, I love it all, and 4 makes me all sniffly. ♥ ♥ ♥
    • Yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I'm so glad SPN made it canon that the wee!chesters played with Lego, and gave it such a fitting role in adverting the Apocalypse (that may have been my favorite moment in S5).

      Thanks for reading!
  • Oh, this is adorable (and so good to see Sam and John with bonding time) -- and then I get to the last line and then I'm all sniffly.
    • I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I was kind of surprised and happy that so much of it turned out to be about John and Sam together. And I'm so glad SPN made it canon that the wee!chesters played with Lego, and that Lego helped stop the end of the world--

      thanks for reading!
  • Superb. And such an "oh yes" for that very last line - made me well up.

    And Sam would take himself off to the car with great dignity, for all the world like a tiny mafia boss who’d negotiated a settlement between rival gangs.

    And this.. I just loved this image. I could see Sammy so clearly here. Gorgeous writing, my friend.



    • Aw, thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I have a feeling Sam would have been a completely implacable little kid. And the last line is really the only thing completely lifted from canon--I take no credit for it :)

      Thanks for reading!
  • Aww. That's adorable and sweet. I love weechester fics that capture the little ordinary moments like this. They must've been rare, and therefore all the more precious.
    • I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Those moments must have been very rare--but I'm so glad the show has made their toys (Lego, and toy soldiers and the racetrack in 5.16) canon!

      Thanks for reading!
  • Absolutely beautiful.
    Thank you for sharing.
  • I just knew as I read the title what the one John didn't know would be...

    great story!
    • hee! I figured anyone who'd seen S5 probably would--the fic is really a riff on that lovely little bit of canon--

      Thanks for reading--I'm really glad you enjoyed it!
  • What a lovely little story. *files away in personal canon*
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