I finally managed to put words together with some kind of coherency... I hope. (Please, tell me if I'm wrong, k? I'm so totally unable to do more than squee, because OMG WORDS!)
Title: Mary's Smile
Pairing/Fandom: Supernatural - John, Sam/Dean
Feedback/Concrit: darkhavens @ slashverse.com
Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be. No harm, no foul, no money made.
Warnings/Squicks: Implied Wincest, implied het.
Summary: John recognises one of Dean's smiles and what it means
Notes: Written for summercon's Hodgepodge Challenge - here.
Also for drvsilla, who requested #048 - 'Discover' on my SPN 100_situations BDT, wanting 'John discovers Sam/Dean'.
He can't quite remember when he first realized what was going on. It was no great bolt of lightning revelation, no horrified gasp of discovery from an open bedroom doorway. He never actually saw anything he could point to and say, "See that? There - right in front of me, my own flesh and blood!" In fact, for a pair of Winchester brats, they're amazingly discreet.
The small things speak the loudest.
They used to argue or wrestle or throw knives to decide who got stuck with the grocery run each week, but after a three-day hunting trip that stretched to three weeks, he comes home to hear them say they'll go together. He's too tired right then to do much more than nod, but it keeps happening.
Dean puts on a good show - always ready to point out that Sam never gets the chips Dean likes, the right brand of beans or the freshest loaf of bread. And Sam just rolls his eyes and starts explaining vegetables to Dean until Dean hauls off and hits him and then drags him to the car.
When they go together, they're gone for twice the time it took when only one of them would go, but John doesn't question them. Not even when they come back rumpled, smudged and out of breath, eyes bright, Sam's mop of hair clumped into sweat slick curls at his nape. He trusts them to tell him if they get into trouble.
Then they start visiting the Laundromat together, without him having to threaten to burn their clothes or make them sleep outside. Sam voluntarily joins Dean on his endurance-building runs, foregoing the usual evil eye at John for forcing him to take time away from his studies.
He's so sure that this is all about Sammy coming to terms with how his life has to be - the hunt, vengeance, always being prepared - that it takes a while for him to recognise the smile that Dean sometimes wears when they come back from wherever they've been gone to.
It's Mary's smile. The smile she always wore in bed after they'd spent some time messing up the sheets, getting hot and sweaty, intimate. It almost makes his heart stop.
After that, he can't not look. Obsessively, he catalogs every tiny touch, each sideways glance, the time they're not right there in front of him. He keeps seeing that smile and it nearly breaks him.
But he doesn't say a word, because he knows that smile. He knows that Mary didn't wear it from the start; he didn't see it until their second year of marriage, once they'd gone from being in love to simply loving. It's a smile that says 'I know your feet smell and that you wouldn't floss if I didn't make you. I know you'd rather be messing around under the hood of someone's car than taking me to the movies. I know you think I'm being paranoid when I say that the look in the eyes of the guy you hired last week makes my skin crawl. But I love everything about you, even the bits you hate yourself.'
It's a smile that says, whatever he's seeing now, it's not a new thing.
He wonders just how long he's been blind.