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08 August 2010 @ 01:14 am
SPN Gen Drabble: "You Live, You Learn" (Dean, John, Pre-Series, PG)  
Title: You Live, You Learn
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: Dean, John (Gen, Pre-Series, Drabble)
Rating: PG
Summary: Life is a classroom, and not all lessons are kind.
Author's Notes: A late birthday gift for erinrua, and the third entry in the Bleeding Cuticles Roadkill Challenge.
Also for supernatural100, this is "School."

x-x-x-x-x

"What's this, Dean?" Dad asked, pointing to a picture of a demon he'd fought the year before.

Dean sounded the word carefully, one he'd whispered in the dark. "Huataparang."

They'd nearly lost Dad to it that night, and Dean couldn't forget any more than the lie they'd invented for Sam.

"What's this?" Mrs. Thetelbaum asked, searching the classroom before stopping in front of Dean. "Well?"

She was old and incredibly boring, and Dean rarely paid attention.

"What?"

"This word."

"Happen." He wondered if Dad was home and whether they still had food.

"Very good!"

God, what a waste of time…


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Lady Strange: Rainbow Pentagramsynnerxx on August 8th, 2010 09:13 am (UTC)
I like the contrast between Dean really paying attention to learning the demons and him not paying attention at school, learning "normal" things. Nicely done. :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: weechestershalfshellvenus on August 13th, 2010 01:01 am (UTC)
You have to feel for him, with everything at home being important just because of the danger alone, and school seeming so optional when so much of his life is about survival. :(
Celtic_Forestceltic_forest on August 8th, 2010 09:32 am (UTC)
Bravo! Makes me wonder if all their lies to Sam contributed to the disparity between his and Dean's views of school, and its many consequences.
This piece is intriguing to me because often the high praise for a drabble is "perfect snapshot," but what strikes me here is the feeling of a whole story.
Love it!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: weechestershalfshellvenus on August 13th, 2010 01:05 am (UTC)
Makes me wonder if all their lies to Sam contributed to the disparity between his and Dean's views of school, and its many consequences.
I think a lot of their differences, _period_, come down to the point where Dean's innocence was destroyed (Sam was too young to understand much of anything) and Dean became more of a complicit co-parent than a child.

What a burden it put on him, to be so responsible for his family's safety while also being so young and ultimately not the person in charge of the biggest, most dangerous decisions. :(

I love that this DOES feel like a story to you, because it really is more of a contrast in entirely different worlds than a snapshot, and each half sheds light on the other side of it. And let me tell you, it was a lot of work getting this down from its original 139 words. They all seemed so necessary, but in fact... it could still be said with less.
janissa11: young Sammy & Dean 2janissa11 on August 8th, 2010 02:26 pm (UTC)
It's good reasoning on his part -- pragmatic. Oh, Dean.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: weechestershalfshellvenus on August 13th, 2010 01:05 am (UTC)
It's so sad when a child is forced to think so pragmatically, but given the position he was in... he really didn't have much of a choice.

And he did the best he could.
cindy: spn - dad and boys (by kiraboshi)tsuki_no_bara on August 8th, 2010 03:39 pm (UTC)
this makes total sense to me. dean's a smart kid and could no doubt do really well in school, but he knows that in his world, it's not where you learn the important stuff, and if he has to pay attention to one teacher, it's going to be his dad.

(and i love the mention of having to concoct a lie for sam about how dad hurt himself. such knowledge of deception, so early.)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on August 13th, 2010 01:08 am (UTC)
dean's a smart kid and could no doubt do really well in school
I agree. I suspect he was bored a lot of the time, but moreover... there were a lot of distractions weighing on him with John being gone so often and endangering himself so much. And that's completely apart from moving around all the time. You've got to want it to be able to focus in spite of all of those things.

For Dean, it would never be as important as sheer survival. And in helping to keep Sam innocent, he gave his brother the opportunity to focus more on "normal" life than he had himself.
borgmama1of5borgmama1of5 on August 8th, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC)
The disparity...hurts.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on August 13th, 2010 01:09 am (UTC)
It does, and yet... it says that this story reached you perfectly, so that's wonderful feedback!
tifachingtifaching on August 8th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
That's a depressingly accurate picture of the priorities that Dean had to live with. Life and death and whether or not he and Sam would eat that night took precedence over "normal" lessons.

Sam didn't have the same worries so he could concentrate on normal. So sad.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: weechestershalfshellvenus on August 13th, 2010 01:11 am (UTC)
Exactly-- Dean's sacrifice of his own childhood made Sam's possible (despite how much Sam chafed and moaned, it could have been so much worse but for Dean).

And it's utterly true that Dean's priorities were the only ones he could possibly have, once he'd been handed that burden of knowledge.

Looking at how Sam turned out, you'd have to say Dean did a damn fine job of it, considering.
Legio: JMDlegio_felicia on August 8th, 2010 08:26 pm (UTC)
Some times you don't need a lot of words to nail the emotion down.
Most things seems trivial when you have to wonder where the next meal will come from.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on August 13th, 2010 01:12 am (UTC)
Most things seems trivial when you have to wonder where the next meal will come from.

It's so true. One of the biggest distractions for children living in poverty is exactly that, sometimes coupled with how much they're actually raising themselves (and sometimes younger siblings). Who has the energy for school after that? How important can it really seem?
lies_unfurllies_unfurl on August 15th, 2010 07:15 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed reading this -it's a wonderful look at Dean, and what he must have thought of school.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: weechestershalfshellvenus on August 17th, 2010 12:01 am (UTC)
Thank you! Oh, the contrast between the two types of education he's getting is painful, isn't it? And you can sure see why school was never the most important thing to him.
Legio: blue deanlegio_felicia on August 17th, 2010 11:57 pm (UTC)
I get the impression that for Sam school was an escape form the worries of life, for Dean... there never was an escape.
ErinRua: Deanerinrua on October 12th, 2010 03:33 am (UTC)
EEEEEEEEEE! \o/
Oh, my sweet authorly friend, I suck like a sucking thing and I am so sorry to have missed your beautiful ficlet!

Because it is beautiful. Such a painful, tragic juxtaposition of the lessons Dean's learned in life and the lessons he's taken to heart, found valuable and applicable. Who cares about grammar and spelling, when he'd do better to learn about the evil things that kill innocent people and could take his family from him?

*wibbles*

I love how, even at this young age, even in so few words, the tone is distinctly Dean. Very well done, you. Thank you so very much, saving to mems! *HUGS!!!!*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on October 12th, 2010 04:56 am (UTC)
Re: EEEEEEEEEE! \o/
Yayyy! I'm so glad you liked it, and I'm sorry you were offline for so many months. But now you know you're weren't forgotten in your absence. :)

I feel so for young Dean, who had and lost everything and was forever fated to know what his life used to be and what it had so hopelessly become. And always, in the next breath, trying to give some of that "before" life to Sam because of all people, Dean knew what Sam was missing.

Many happy late, late returns to you, and all hopes for a great coming year! ♥
ErinRua: Chevyerinrua on October 12th, 2010 05:21 am (UTC)
Re: EEEEEEEEEE! \o/
Well, I peeked in once in a while, but I really enjoyed being "unplugged" for the summer. It was healthy for me.

However, I probably missed lots of good stuff, so I'm delighted you poked me. *SMISH!*

Yeah, young Dean is heartbreaking, and it makes his handling of Ben all the more poignant, now in Season 6. He knows too well what he lost, what he missed out on. For the longest time, he was like in this fic: uncaring and even proud of not being like everyone else. Of not being a "civilian." But he sees things in a different light now, I reckon ... *sighh*

Yup, I'm happily back and GREATLY enjoying Season 6! I am still avoiding most of fandom, just enjoy my circle of flisties here and a few folks on Twitter, and it's nice that way. I don't even remember the last time I looked at an open SPN forum. I think it's better for my peace of mind that I don't. ;)

Blessings and happy days to you, O Authorly One! And thank you again for the marvelously achy little fic.
ThyCrownlessPrincessisarn on March 25th, 2011 12:35 pm (UTC)
Lovely.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on March 25th, 2011 05:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you!