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Title: Grades and Marksmanship
Author: Tarie
Pairing: Winchester gen, pre-series
Summary: Dad isn't going to like this, Sammy.
Word Count: 800-ish
Rating: Pg-13
Author's Notes: For [livejournal.com profile] andrealyn. ♥ First evar SPN fic. Hold me.

The bus rolled to a stop at the corner of Thatcher and Pryce, just past the dilapidated clapboard house with the barely-hanging-on shutters. Sam shuffled off the bus behind Amy Jo Madigan, eyes nearly burning a hole in the report card where the words Overall Marking Period GPA: 4.0 were. He tripped down the steps, and in front of the dingy house Dean guffawed.

“Hey there, Sammy. Have a nice trip?” he cawed.

“Shut up,” Sam muttered, cramming the slip of paper in his hoodie pocket.

“Oooo.” Snorting, Dean jostled Sam’s elbow and tripped him up the walkway. “Whatcha got in that pocket, huh?”

After shoving back, Sam popped up on his heels, sending his backpack up and then down, redistributing the weight across his shoulders. “It’s nothing.”

“Riiiiiiight.” A beat, and then Dean cut in front of Sam, using his body to block access to the front door.

“C’mon, man.” Dark fringe fell in Sam’s eyes. A shake of the head took care of that problem. It’d probably take a hell of a lot more to get Dean out of the doorway.

“Lemme see your invitation to the ball, Princess.”

Dean waggled his eyebrows and Sam exhaled slowly. He was exhausted from a killer calculus test, X-Files re-runs were gonna be on in ten minutes (“What a crock – ‘The truth is out there.’ The truth is you dumbasses can’t handle the truth!” Dean would yell, then change the channel to old Looney Tunes cartoons. “That coyote is one friggan’ persistent bitch. Take note, Sammy. It’s what’s gonna get us through life, just like it does for Dad.”), and he needed a glass of water. Better to just give in rather than fight for ten minutes. The outcome would be the same either way – Dean would cheat by putting his finger in one of Sam’s pressure points, Sam would cave and cough up the paper, and Dean would rub his head and say, “Atta boy.”

“Here.” With a resigned sigh, Sam pulled the paper out of his hoodie and forked it over.

True to form, Dean ruffled his hair, a smug, “Atta boy” rolling off his tongue at the same time his lips curved in a smile. The triumphant smile on Dean’s face faded as his eyes scanned the page.

“What?” Sam said defensively.

“Nothin’, brainiac.” Dean shrugged. Sam noticed his brother wouldn’t look at him.

“It’s definitely something, Pinky.”

“Dad—“ Dean started, but Sam didn’t want to hear it. Dad isn’t going to like this, Sammy. Why you gotta be so different? What’s wrong with Dad and me, huh? Books and school’s a buncha crap. Life’s where it’s at. Y’d think a genius like you could figure that out.

Grabbing the report card away, Sam crumbled it into a ball and forced his way into the house.

Dad sat at a rickety old desk by a south-facing window, pouring over a text with ancient sigils. He didn’t look up, not even as Sam angrily threw the wadded up ball of paper in the trash can beside the desk and gave it a kick for good measure.

He went to his room, listening to Modest Mouse on his headphones for hours. When dusk began to set in and his stomach growled, Sam gave in and went to the kitchen. Dean was leaning against the counter, drinking straight out of a juice container. Dad was at the table, the tip of his ballpoint pen prying up the peeling formica as he spoke with Caleb on the phone.

Sam wandered over to the fridge. The front had a new addition, a target with the bullseye pretty much missing. Scrawled at the bottom in sharpie were the words Dean, 200”, crossbow, left-handed, 10/12/00. His stomach dropped a little, but he didn’t say a damned word. Eyes stinging, he shoved his head into the icebox, digging around until he found a bottle of Jolt. Twisting off the cap, he pressed his back against the freezer door of the fridge.

Covering the phone’s mouthpiece, John waved his pen at Dean’s target. “That’s my boy,” he said with a laugh.

“Fuckin’ A,” Dean said smugly.

Breathing hard through his nose, Sam’s head lolled to the side, staring at the corners of the target. The magnets weren’t exact on the corners; Sam could see that another paper was behind it. Pretending to be interested in Dean’s marksmanship, Sam stood in front of it, the hand not holding the Jolt lifting one corner.

He caught sight of one-and-a-half words, Overall Mar-, before letting go of the target’s corner, covering up the other paper.

He was his father’s son, too.
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