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Title: Shake It Off
Fandom: Supernatural
Genre: gen, angst, pre-series
Rating/Warnings: PG-13-ish, willful abuse of metal
Characters: Dean, Sam, John, Missouri
Words: 3672
Spoilers: Up to 1x04. You know, in case some of you haven't seen it yet.
Summary: Dean's a mutant, and that's a problem.
Author’s notes: For this prompt by [profile] citizen_ephiny, in [personal profile] hoodietime's challenge #6. Hopefully it's close to what you wanted :)
Originally posted on livejournal [profile] citizen_ephinyMar. 23rd, 2012



The first couple of times, Dean thought it was an accident. Freakish coincidence. Sure, forks didn't usually bend that way when you tried to pick them up, but they could. He coulda been standing next to a magnet, or something. And the time he woke up in the middle of the night and the chandelier was all twisted around itself had to be some weird dream. It was fine the next morning. Seriously, who puts a chandelier in a motel room anyway? The thing's asking to be messed with.

Dean started noticing things, though. He was restless now. Even when he was exhausted or beat up from a hunt there was this humming just below his skin, like something was trying to get out. It'd get worse and worse and then he'd start with the bents forks and the twisted gun barrels. He was restocking some of their ammo at this new dealer Caleb'd recommended, and the guy tried to sell him fake cold iron bullets. Like Dean couldn't tell the difference. He was 30 minutes away from the meet-up with Dad when he realized that he'd never been able to tell before. And he'd always known where his gun or his knife was hidden when he was out and about but now he could feel them, like they were just another hand or foot.

He was in a thrift shop outside of Maine and wondering if he should buy a set of plastic utensils when he realized exactly what was going on.

He and Dad knew about mutants, even before they went 'public'. There were the psychics that Dad sometimes met up with to talk shop, or for job leads. Dad seemed to like them well enough, but honestly they creeped Dean out. Then they started showin' up on the TV. People who could do more than read minds and sense ghosts. People who could control flames like a firestarter, or who could pick a person up and throw them at a wall like a ghost or a poltergeist. Every day there was another politician goin' on about the danger to everyday people, which was a riot considering what was actually out there; what had been out there for centuries. But Dad watched them religiously. Every time they stopped at a motel he'd be at the TV, with this weird look on his face. And this one time after he'd gotten into the whiskey he told Dean to watch out. “It's not natural, Dean. These people. There's gotta be something going on. Something behind it.”

So yeah, Dean was pretty sure he knew how Dad felt about mutants. He was pretty sure this thing could only end badly. And after all the training, and Sam, and Dad finally giving him the Impala, didn't it just figure that Dean had never had a chance. 'Cause bein' a mutant was in your genes. He'd always been a freak.

**

A week after that they were facing down a pair of shifters in Ohio, and the only reason Dad survived was because Dean stabbed the female with a cabinet full of silverware. From across the room. He passed out before he could see the expression on his dad's face. Sometimes good things did happen.

**

In television shows the morning after something horrible happens, it always takes the hero a few minutes to remember. They've got a couple of minutes of normalcy and then boom; their world is blown all over again. When Dean woke up the morning after That, he wasn't so lucky. He had a headache the size of Peru and he kind of felt like he'd been run over, but he knew exactly how badly he'd screwed up.

His father was sitting on the other bed, facing him. He wasn't smiling, but he'd drawn the curtains on the windows and put a towel over the lamp. So there was that. Dean sat himself up gingerly and tried not to squint in the low light of the room. He kind of wished he didn't have a headache for this, being the big showdown and all. But mostly he was relieved. He'd saved his dad's life. Of all the ways this mutant thing could've ended, this was a good one.

Dad scrubbed a hand through his beard. “How long?”

Wasn't much point in lying. Dean licked his lips and stared resolutely at his dad's knee. “Figured it out a week ago. Been weird for three.”

He heard Dad sigh. Then: “I want you to meet someone. We're leaving in twenty. Be ready.” And that was that.

**

Missouri was an older woman, but she wasn't old. She was waiting at the door when they pulled into the driveway; either Dad called her before he'd woken up or she was doing her psychic thing. She walked right up to Dean and she put her hands on his face and closed her eyes. “You poor child.” And yeah, she was startin' to look like a psychic now. Then she turned to his father and said “I'll do what I can.” They came in for chicken stew and beer, and his dad played with the neck of his bottle as he told Dean that they'd be staying for a while.

That night, Dean went downstairs for some water and they were both in the living room. Missouri leaned over the table and took both of Dad's hands in her own. Her face was so, so sad. That was the first time Dean ever saw his father cry. First time since he was 4. He felt something twist in his stomach, and he was heading back to the guest room even as Missouri turned toward him sharply.

They stayed there for two months.

Missouri taught him how to focus. She taught him how to reach for his power; how to feel it. “I can't make it go away, Dean,” she told him the day after they arrived. “I can only teach you how to deal with it.” And she did do that. She taught him little things to keep it under control. To siphon off power so it wouldn't build up and explode out. He felt stupid at first, sitting and staring at a couple pennies and trying to make them float. But he got better. And he realized it felt pretty awesome. He worked up to bigger coins, more, and then spoons and forks. He'd keep them in the air and he'd spin them. And it was like letting air out of a pressurized container. He felt lazy. Relaxed.

It helped keep his mind off Dad. After the first day, Dad didn't spend much time at the house. He'd leave in the middle of the night sometimes. Come back three, four days later and give Dean a tired smile. The whole thing felt kinda like when he and Sam were kids, chilling out at home when Dad was away on a job. Except Sam wasn't here, and Dean spent the day lifting things with his mind. Wasn't hard to figure out why Dad didn't want to stick around. He got back one morning with groceries and Dean was sitting cross-legged on the couch spinning ten spoons slowly in the air. Dean didn't know what he looked like right then, but when he met Dad's eyes right then dad was lookin' at him like he was a stranger. Or maybe a monster.

When he was at the house, Dad spent a lot of time on the phone. He'd go to the bathroom or out on the front porch, or he'd wait until he thought Dean was asleep. Mostly, Dean didn't even try to listen in. It wasn't any of his business; if Dad wanted him involved he'd'a asked. But one day Dean was getting some air in the yard and Dad was on the phone just around the corner. “He kill anyone?” There was a pause. “Shit. It's not a coincidence. It can't be coincidence.” Another pause. Then flatly. “I can't take that risk, Bobby. Not with him.” Dean didn't stay to hear the rest.

Missouri gave him coffee when he got to the kitchen. “Your Daddy's worried about you. He's just got a problem showing it sometimes.”

Dean didn't dignify that with an answer. She could hear what he was thinking anyway.

**

After two months Dad sat down with Dean on the front porch, and Dean knew that he was leaving. Dad didn't look him in the eyes. Just stared out at the street ahead of them. He always did that when he was nervous, which wasn't freakin' often. “Missouri tells me you've got a handle on things now.”

“Guess so.” Dean watched three boys spill out of a van with baseball bats and jerseys three houses over.

“Good. I, uh. That's good. Keep it up.”

Dean gave a half laugh at that. Like this was just another weapons drill that Dean was working on.

“Listen, Dean. I've got a lead on the thing that killed Mary. Few states over. Might take a while.” He cleared his throat. “I want you to stay out of trouble. Keep an eye on your brother.” Like Sammy was just inside sulking about soccer practice.

Dad didn't take the Impala when he left. Dean was packed and ready to go the next morning. Orders were orders, no matter where the geek brother in question was.

**

He got as far as pulling over in front of Sam's apartment before he stopped. Because he didn't know how to do this. Sam had a life and a girlfriend. He had everything he ever wanted, and what was Dean expecting to do here? Barge into Sam's life, 'hey little brother, nice to see you again. You mind dropping everything and letting your freak brother stay with you, 'cause Dad left and he's too much of a wuss to stick it out on his own?' Yeah, that'd go over well. As if Sam didn't think he was pathetic enough already.

Missouri'd been right, was the thing. This...thing wasn't somethin' he could just turn off. He was aware of things. He could feel the metal in his gun, on his watch, on the doorknob. Like a buzzing in the back of his head. He didn't know if he could pull off normal anymore.

He might have left then. Might have driven off and left Sam to his apple pie life. Found something to hunt. Checked back on him every once in a while. Except that he noticed the flickering light in the window of Sam's bedroom. That wasn't a flickering light bulb. Sam wouldn't let something like that stay in his house. And Dean could recognize fire anywhere.

**

It was actually the next morning, in some no-name motel just outside of Stanford, before Sam got it together enough to ask why Dean was there.

Because Sam expected him to be with Dad. And it hit Dean that he was actually going to have to lie to Sam. He sucked at lying to Sam. But the kid had just lost his girlfriend. He was grieving and alone and he needed Dean. It was for his own good, really. “Dad...disappeared. While ago.” And for the first time in his life, Sam didn't even question it.

At first, Sam was too out of it to really pay attention to Dean. He'd sit in the passenger seat or by windows in motels and just stare into the distance. When Dean tried to get him to eat something he barely glanced up. Dean kind of hated himself for being grateful. It was one thing to try and keep things under control around someone who knew about Dean's 'problem.' If Dean's spoon was bent a little after he'd used it, or the change in his wallet ended up welded to the side that faced his leg, Dad didn't comment much. That stuff wasn't going to fly around Sam. The kid had turned asking questions into an art form, and Dean doubted college had helped any. Sam would snap out of this eventually. When he did, there wouldn't be room for screw-ups.

He almost called Dad about a dozen times. Almost told him about Jessica, the way she was on the ceiling. That Sam was looking for the demon now, and for Dad. But the thing was, Dad might decide he wanted Sam with him. Might come down and pick Sam up and say 'thanks, Dean, but I guess I don't need you anymore.' The thought made it kinda hard to breathe.

Dean wasn't sure what Sam thought had happened to Dad. He'd stuck with his first story; that Dad had taken off one day when Dean was on a separate gig. That he hadn't seen Dad for weeks. He hated that it only fed Sam's vendetta against their father. That Sam didn't have a problem believing Dad would do that. But even anger was better than the choking grief he'd seen in the days following Jess's death. Sam threw himself into the search for Dad like it was the holy grail. Like the world was gonna end if they didn't find Dad tomorrow. Honestly, it scared Dean sometimes.

Then he got the text from Dad. One set of coordinates, nothing else. There wasn't really any question about whether they'd go. Dean wasn't sure what Dad was trying to do, but Sam latched onto it like a breadcrumb. And maybe it was. Maybe Dad had changed his mind. Decided Dean was worth keepin' around after all. Or maybe he was just trying to keep them busy. Anyway, where the hell else was Dean supposed to go?

One thing was for sure, travelling with Sam again was like a breath of fresh air. Sam didn't know about the last couple months. College and dead girlfriends aside, Sam was still Sam. Sometimes it was like he'd never left, the way they worked together. Sam on his old laptop spouting out facts, and folding their clothes just the 'right way' at the laundromat, and taking three hours in the bathroom in the morning. Dean realized that he'd missed this so much it was like he'd been walking around without an arm the last three years and he'd just gotten it back.

Dad's text led them to an awesome hunting place. A hiking trail, in a forest, in the middle of nowhere. Only metal was their guns and watches. Dean was pretty sure Dad had picked it out especially for him. Which was kind of nice, in its own way. Dad might not trust him on a hunt anymore, but he was still lookin' out for him. For Sammy. A day out of that hunt, Dad sent them more coordinates. And another set after that. They made a line through central US, taking out monsters all along the way. And every time they failed to find Dad Dean got more sure that Dad was leading them away from him. He didn't wanna be found. Not by Dean. And apparently not by Sam.

Dean found that he didn't mind that so much. Sam was there for the search. And Dean was gonna help him as much as he could. Finding the demon meant finding Dad, and that was what Sam wanted to do. But once they caught up with Dad the game would be up one way or another. So maybe Dean wanted this to last a little longer. As long as possible.

It was harder to practice with Sam around, but Dean got creative. He started cleaning their weapons and waiting until Sam fell asleep. Then he'd make them juggle. He had a switchblade in his shirt, and he'd make it spin in the bathroom stall. He put pennies under the table and moved them along his leg while they ate lunch. He had this in the bag. No problem.

**

Then there was the call from Jerry Freakin' Panowski, who had haunted planes he wanted them to check out. Four hundred thousand pounds of metal vehicle, and he and Sam had to go inside and then up in the air. It was a disaster waiting to happen, is what it was. But Dean wasn't about to let his kid brother go up against a demon alone, on a plane that was going to crash.

Problem was that mind over matter stuff didn't work so well when he was on a plane encased in metal three trillion feet in the air, and the noises the thing was making were not normal. Because the plane was going to crash. He was bustin' out the big time meditation techniques Missouri'd taught him, but he could feel the power rising with his panic. And they still had the case to finish – he couldn't just tune out. And that meant hunching over the aisle armrest when it decided to turn into a T and frantically trying to shove it back into shape while Sam dug out his exorcism.

It was easier once they'd found the demon; when Dean was holding him down so Sam could read the exorcism. Then, he could focus on keeping the guy still instead of exactly how far they'd go if they fell right then. Right up until the thing took over the plane, and the back cabin did a Tower of Terror impression. He didn't really catch what happened after that, on account of having a major panic attack, but by the time Sam came back the aisle down the plane was a lot more wavy than it was before. He was kinda proud that he'd managed to leave the wings alone.

Sam waited until they were back on solid ground before he grabbed Dean by the front of his coat and dragged him out to the parking lot. When they got to the Impala, Sam took the driver's seat with a look that begged Dean to protest. Dean knew how to pick his battles; he was gonna sit back and wait for the Talk that Sam was obviously dying to have. He had that set to his jaw that he only ever got when he was really pissed at something.

“So when exactly were you planning to tell me you're a mutant?”

Yeah, he was mad about the lying. Dean thought fast. Sam'd been to college. He'd done that equality, let's-understand-our-differences shit they taught there. And he was still kind of rusty with the hunting stuff. Wasn't ready to go it alone. Dean glanced at his brother. “Listen, Sam-”

“No. You know what? I don't want to hear your excuses. Just. How long?” He was looking right at Dean now, but the bitchface was gone. Now he looked curious. “I know mutants usually get their powers at puberty but, dude, I think I'd have noticed something like this before I left.”

Yeah. He would have. Dean grinned a little. He slipped his ring off and rolled it over his fingers, letting the little burst of power calm him. “No. It's new.” He takes a breath. “Dad didn't disappear. He left after...after it happened.”

“He left.” Sam blew out a breath. “He finds out his son is a little different, and he leaves. Typical.”

“A little different? Sam, I move things with my mind. You're telling me that doesn't freak you out? I could lose control and kill you!”

“And I could start sleepwalking and stab you with a knife. I mean, yeah, this is kind of a shock. But. But it could be a good thing. I mean, think of what you could do during hunts. You could help people, Dean.”

Dean thought of the shifter he'd killed with the silverware. That had been pretty cool. “Maybe.”

Sam was watching the ring as Dean rolled it around his fingers. “Can you show me?” Like he was five again and desperately wanted Dean to show him big kid stuff.

Dean flipped the ring into the air and reached out with his power, and Sam's smile was totally worth it.

**

There was a pamphlet on his bed when he got back with breakfast the next morning. “Accepting The Whole You.” It was like he'd taken the essence of a hundred New-Age self-help sites and condensed them into one slip of paper, except that the guy on the front had wings. He burned it. Couldn't be too careful. Sam didn't comment on its absence when he came out of the bathroom later, so Dean figured it was cool. Except there was another one a week later. And then two showed up the week after that. They were in some university library looking for clues on a farm haunting and Dean watched Sam pick a third off the information desk.

“Dude,” he said when Sam got to their table. “You know those things are crap, right?”

Sam flipped his pamphlet open. “Some of them, maybe. But the legit people have to get the word out somehow.”

“Sam, if you try to enroll me in some kind of school for superheroes I will dye all of your clothes pink.”

“I'm not saying a school. Just, someone who knows about this kind of thing. Someone who's not against it.”

“Neon. Pink. I'm fine, Sam. I have it under control. Can we just forget the thing on the plane ever happened? Please?”

“Fine. You can ignore it if you want.” He leaned back in his chair and flipped the pamphlet up to keep reading.

Sam picked out a hunt two days later that happened to be next to some Xavier conference on mutant genetics. He had a notebook with him when he told Dean he had some 'stuff to do.' If his brother was any more of a geek he'd be wearing saucer glasses. Dean spread their knife collection out on his bed and started to spin them. Sam would probably have some scientific term for what he was doing. He'd probably have a list of techniques recommended by specialists. Sam was like that. Dean smiled.

End.
 

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