Sitting around the dinner table in the middle of October, Dean made an announcement: “I know what I wanna be for trick or treat.”
“Who said you were going trick or treating?” John smirked.
“Me,” Dean replied. “I want to be Batman, and I asked Sam and he said he wanted to be Robin. And then he said that I can have all his candy.”
“I’m sure he did,” John said shaking his head, then turned to his wife. “You owe me ten bucks. I told you, Batman and Robin.”
“Yeah, I’ll get right one that,” Mary said rolling her eyes.
“Jamie and Brandon are going trick or treating,” Dean said. “So I’m going… and Sam. He wants to go. I asked him.”
“Sam doesn’t talk sweetie,” Mary smiled.
“He talks to me,” Dean explained. “You can’t hear him. Only other kids can hear him.”
“Oh,” John chuckled shaking his head. “That makes perfect sense. And Sammy only says stuff that benefits you? Like getting all his trick or treat candy.”
“Yes,” Dean nodded. “Well, I ask him a question and then he answers it. I only asks him what he wants to be for Halloween and if I can have his candy, since he only has one tooth and it would go bad before he gots enough teeths. Maybe he can have one lollipop.”
“That’s an excellent point, John,” Mary agreed. “Sam does only have one tooth. But he’s definitely not big enough yet to have any candy, not even one lollipop.”
“You’re not going to eat all of Sam’s candy,” John said firmly. “We’ll go trick or treating, but you can only have one bag of candy.”
“You’ll go with me?” Dean asked. “You and me and Sam?”
“Of course,” John nodded.
“You gotta get a costume too,” Dean said. “You gotta think of one.”
“I’ll get right on that,” John smiled. “Eat your dinner.”
“I’ll start working on making you a Batman costume after we eat,” Mary said.
“You’ll make it?” Dean asked.
“Yes, sir,” Mary nodded. “That way you can wear it a whole bunch more times after Halloween. If I know you, I know you’ll want to be Batman more than just one time.”
“I want to be Batman all the time,” Dean agreed picking up his fork.
“Exactly,” Mary smiled.
“This is gonna be the best!” Dean said squirming in his seat and humming to himself as he started to eat his dinner.
“When did Sammy start talking to you?” John asked, curious.
“Today,” Dean replied. “You want me to ask him another question?” Dean turned to look at Sam who was sitting between him and Mary in a high chair with a few pieces of Cheerios on the tray that he tried to eat and a sippy cup he was just starting to get the hang of using. Mary usually fed him before dinner, but she liked including Sam in family dinner time.
“Sure,” John nodded.
“What do you want me to ask him?” Dean asked.
“Ask him what his favorite night time story is?” Mary suggested.
“Okay,” Dean turned so that he was facing Sam. “Sammy.” Dean said until Sam stopped and looked at him. “Momma wants to know what your favorite bedtime story is.”
Sam looked at Dean, then started to smile and clap.
“He says ‘Goodnight Moon,’” Dean interrupted.
“Oh,” John chuckled. “How funny that that’s the book that you read to him.”
“It’s not my fault I’m his favorite,” Dean shrugged as he went back to his dinner.
Mary started laughing so hard she had to excuse herself from the table for moment.
After dinner, John and Mary stood together washing and drying the dishes while Dean played with Sam in the living room. It was getting easier to leave Dean alone with his baby brother for longer periods of time. Not that they would leave them alone for more than five or ten minutes, but the constant worrying that Dean was going to do something to him had been greatly eased the last few months.
“Our boys are adorable aren’t they,” Mary smiled passing John a plate.
“Yeah,” John chuckled. “They’re gonna be hell someday.”
“Dean’s right though,” Mary continued. “You gotta think of a costume, we can get you into a nice suit put some flour in your hair and call you Alfred.”
“Yeah, that’s not happening,” John replied. “You’re not going to take them?”
“No,” Mary said shaking her head. “I kind of hate Halloween. I’ll hand out candy you walk the neighborhood with Dean. He’ll love it. He spends all day with me. You should get to do some of the fun stuff.”
“You know the ghosts and vampires out on Halloween are just pretend,” John joked. “You don’t gotta be afraid.”
“You’re hilarious,” Mary deadpanned. “I’ve never been a Halloween person.”
“You don’t want to dress up like Poison Ivy and walk the neighborhood?” John smirked.
“Maybe we’ll have our own Halloween party,” Mary said looking up at her husband. “Let Joyce or Karen take the boys for the night, or send them up to your mom. I’ll be Poison Ivy for you.”
“I like this idea,” John said seriously. “I’ll call my mom set that up as soon as possible.”
Behind them they heard a giggle of a four year old who definitely didn’t understand what they were talking about.
“What’s so funny?” Mary asked turning around as she passed another plate to John.
“I knowed what Daddy can be for Halloween,” Dean announced. “He can be the Wolfman, because he’s all hairy!” Dean then bursted into a fit of giggles.
“You think that’s funny?” John chuckled.
“Yes I do,” Dean nodded. “But Sammy threw up on himself. It’s a disaster.”
“Wonderful,” Mary sighed. “Can you finish this up?”
“Of course,” John replied.
“I’ll help!” Dean declared. He grabbed a kitchen chair and pushed it toward the sink as Mary went to take care of Sam.
“I don’t think it’s a very good idea for you to help with the dishes,” John said as Dean climbed up onto the chair so he could reach the sink. “I don’t want you to break anything.”
“I’ll be very careful,” Dean said. “Maybe I can just dry the silverware. I can’t break that.”
“Alright,” John nodded. “I guess we can do that.”
“I like helping,” Dean said as John handed him a fork to dry. “It makes me feel like a grown up.”
“You like pretending to be all grown up?” John asked handing Dean a spoon.
“Yep,” Dean nodded. “I can’t wait to be a real grown up. It’s gonna be lots of fun. Every time I want to do something, you or Momma tell me that I can’t do it til someday. I don’t wanna wait no more. I wanna be bigger so I can go in the front seat and help Momma do stuff.”
“You don’t wanna grow up too fast kiddo,” John said pulling the plug on the sink before wiping his hand off and running his hand through Dean’s hair. “You gotta savior being a kid. You’ll miss it when it’s over.”
“You miss being a little kid?” Dean asked, reaching his arms up so John could pick him up.
“Yeah,” John said with a far away look in his eyes. “I didn’t really get to be a kid, I had to grow up real fast after my Dad went away. I don’t want that for you kiddo. I’ll do everything I can to make sure you don’t grow up too fast.”
“Okay, Daddy,” Dean nodded. “But I really do want to be a grown up. I wanna help you work on the car. And I wanna sit in the front seat, and I wanna push Sam in the stroller, and do all the other stuff grown ups do.”
“I know buddy,” John said solemnly. “But right now, you just focus on helping Mom make your new Batman costume. If you try to grow up too fast, the next thing you know you’ll be graduating high school and you missed everything.”
“I’m not even in pre school,” Dean said with is eyebrows pressed together.
“You’ll understand when you’re bigger,” John explained.
“Someday again,” Dean sighed. “Do you think Sam is all cleaned up? It’s almost bed time. Sammy said that he wants me to read him Goodnight Moon and tuck him in real good before he goes to sleep.”
“He did?” John smiled. “Well, lets go check on him, huh. You’re being a very good big brother. Sam’s very luck to have a brother that loves him as much as you do.”
“I’m just doing what you telled me,” Dean smiled. “I’m watching out of Sammy. He almost rolled into the table, but I stopped him.”
“Good job,” John nodded.
“He rolls a lot now,” Dean said wide eyed. “Momma said he’s gonna start to crawl soon. Then he’s gonna get into everything, and I gotta watch him extra careful. I take being a big brother very seriously.”
“You sure do,” John chuckled.
“That’s why I wanna be a grown up,” Dean explained. “If I’m a grown up I can be even better at being a big brother. Cuz I can pick up Sammy and move him out of the way. I can’t do that now. He’s too heavy. But when I’m a grown up I’ll be strong like you.”
John couldn’t help but smile as he walked with Dean into the living room to see how Mary and Sam were doing. It looked like Mary had everything under control in there.
“Is Sam ready for sleeping?” Dean asked. “You can put me down now.”
John obliged. The second Dean’s feet hit the floor was running toward Sam and Mary.
“I think so,” Mary said. “I don’t think Sam tummy feels very good.”
“I wouldn’t think so if he throw up everywhere,” Dean agreed. “When I don’t feel good I go to sleep until I feel better, and you read me stories. I can read Sammy some stories until he feels better.”
“How about Daddy reads you both a story at the same time?” John asked.
“I’ll ask Sam,” Dean said leaning over and whispering into Sam’s ear. Sam turned and pressed his fat little hand against Dean’s face. “He says that would be nice.”
John took the boys upstairs to the master bedroom, laying Sam on the bed and helping Dean up before going to Dean’s room to grab the Winnie the Pooh book he’d been reading to Dean at night. He returned and situated himself so that Dean was pressed against his side and Sam was laying on his chest, and began to read.
“I really like this story Daddy,” Dean yawned. “I’m glad you’re reading it to me.”
John brushed Dean’s hair out his eyes and continued reading until boy of his boy fell asleep.
“Hey, Mare,” John whispered as Mary walked by the door to head to the bathroom. “Can you grab one?”
“Yeah,” Mary nodded entering the room. “Only if you pretend to be asleep for a minute so I can take a picture.”
John shook his head and smirked. “Yeah okay.”
Mary grabbed the camera off the dress while John closed his eyes and pretended to be asleep again Dean’s head.
When the flash went off, Dean awoke suddenly. “LIghtning!” Dean yelled disoriented.
“No, just a camera flash sweetheart, go back to sleep,” Mary said sweetly.
“Oh okay,” Dean yawned snuggling back into John’s chest.
“I’m BATMAN! Nananananana.” Dean yelled running down the stairs in his recently finished Batman costume Halloween morning. Mary had taken a grey t-shirt and sewn black pieces to it, a yellow Bat symbol across his chest. They had gone out and gotten him a mask and utility belt, but Mary had fashioned some extra bat stars out of a cardboard box for him.
“What does Batman want for breakfast?” Mary asked placing Sam in his high chair.
“Justice!” Dean exclaimed.
“How about Cap’n Crunch?” Mary suggested.
“That sounds good,” Dean nodded climbing into his own chair. “Can I feed Sam?”
“If you take the mask off, I don’t see why not,” Mary shrugged. She placed Sam’s baby food in front of Dean and moved Sam and his chair close to Dean.
“But I don’t want to take the mask off,” Dean pouted.
“You’re scaring Sam,” Mary said. “Babies get confused when you have masks on. So take it off if you want to feed him.”
“Fine,” Dean huffed pulling the mask off and placing it on the table.
Sam’s eyes widened and he giggled when he realized it was his big brother under there.
“This smells gross,” Dean grimaced. “You let Sammy eat this?”
“He likes it,” Mary explained.
“Are you ready to eat this gross food Sam?” Dean asked placing the baby spoon in the jar of baby food. He mimicked what he’d seen Mary do when feeding Sam, trying to get the baby to open his mouth. “I don’t think he likes it. He knows it’s gross.”
“Try making airplane noises and flying the spoon in,” Mary suggested. “He thinks that’s funny.”
“I think you’re making stuff up, Momma,” Dean said skeptically, but he tried anyway. “Open up Sam!” He said between making engine noise. “The plane needs a place to land.”
Surprisingly, Sam opened his mouth and even leaned a little bit forward to get to the spoon.
“See,” Mary smiled. “I told you he liked it.”
“Good job, Sam,” Dean smiled at his brother. “Only a hundred more spoonfuls of gross baby food to eat.”
Mary walked around the kitchen, getting Dean’s breakfast ready, the bowl of cereal, some orange juice and a banana, and brought it over to him.
“That you for helping,” she smiled. “I’m gonna take over now while you eat your breakfast.”
“When breakfast is over, we’ll finish Sam’s costume so he can be my sidekick for trick or treating?” Dean asked.
“Yep,” Mary nodded as she flew another spoonful toward Sam. “But we’re not going to put him in it until Daddy gets home because you know Sam will get it all dirty or throw up on it before you get to go out.”
“We don’t want that,” Dean replied. “You can’t be Robin if you got baby throw up all over your shirt.”
“Right,” Mary chuckled. “Finish up you breakfast, we’ll get to work.”
Dean sat next to Mary, barely moving, just watching intently as Mary sewed the last pieces of fabric to the red onesie Sam was going to dressed in that evening.
“How did you learn how to do this?” Dean asked softly.
“My mom taught me,” Mary explained. “She used to make quilts and all my clothes when I was little.”
“Will you teach me?” Dean asked. “I want to learn how to make clothes.”
“Sure,” Mary nodded. “When you’re a little bit bigger. I think I started sewing when I was about six. That’s not too far away.”
“If I learn to make clothes then I can make you a dress like the mouses in Cinderella,” Dean explained. “They will be beautiful and you can go to the ball.”
“That sounds awesome,” Mary chuckled.
“And!” Dean continued. “I can make a Superman costume and a Captain America costume and all the other superheros and I can be a superhero every day. And I can Sammy side kick costumes.”
“That is exactly what I thought you were going to say the first time,” Mary laughed. “I’ll teach you how to use the sewing machine when your a little bigger. I don’t want you to get your fingers stuck in there. We’ll start with something small first, then move to the big stuff. I was going to use some of your old baby clothes to make a quilt. Maybe that’s something me and you can do together.”
“That sounds like a fun time,” Dean nodded. “I will like it.”
They day passed much too slowly for Dean, who was beyond anxious to start collecting candy. When John got home he was greeted at the door by a little boy holding a pumpkin pail.
“Let’s go!” Dean demanded. “Hurry up we gotta go or all the good candy will be gone.”
“Trick or treat doesn’t even start for two hours,” Mary laughed. “We’re gonna have dinner first, then Daddy’s gonna get dressed. Then trick or treat.”
“I wanna go now,” Dean pouted.
John scooped the little boy up in his arms and blew a raspberry on his belly. “You gotta wait kiddo. Just a little bit longer.”
“I’ve been waiting my whole life!” Dean whined.
“Then two more hours won’t be so bad,” Mary smiled.
John dropped Dean back down to the floor and walked passed him toward his wife. “You need any help?”
“No,” Mary said shaking her head. “It’s almost done, but if you could feed Sam that would be very helpful.”
“What is he eating?” John asked as he searched the baby food cabinet.
“Meat and a vegetable, sippy cup with milk in it. He doesn’t really have a favorite, so just whatever you grab.”
“He’s not an all sweet potatoes and peaches baby?” John laughed.
“No he actual eats all the different foods,” Mary smiled. “He doesn’t really like the peas, but no one likes peas. Maybe he won’t be so picky like his big brother.”
“I’m not picky,” Dean said.
“You are the pickiest eater I have ever met,” Mary disagreed. “Why don’t you go wash your hands and change your shirt so you don’t get dinner all over you costume?”
“Fine,” Dean huffed turning on his heels and running from the room.
“Think he’s gonna take it off?” John asked.
“I think I’m going to have to peel it off of him in about a week to wash it,” Mary replied. “Or I might just make him stand in the backyard and spray him down with the hose. He put it on the moment I told him it was done.”
“He’s excited,” John shrugged. “There’s worse things.”
“Very, very true,” Mary smirked as she started to strain vegetables.
Dean came back downstairs carrying his Batman shirt, but with his mask, belt, and pants still on.
“You can’t wear a mask at the table, Bud,” John said shaking his head. “You gotta act like a normal person until after dinner.”
“I am a normal person,” Dean said as he placed his shirt on the chair then climb up so he was sitting on it.
“Batman’s parents doesn’t let him wear his mask at the dinner table,” John said.
“Batman’s parents don’t live with him because the bad man shot them,” Dean explained. “That was before he was Batman he was just a little kid.”
“Well, you still can’t wear your mask at the dinner table,” Mary said reaching over him and taking it off. “And if you throw a fit about it, you won’t be going trick or treating.”
“But!” Dean huffed.
“You can have it back after dinner,” Mary explained. “You can’t be Batman at the dinner table. We went over this at lunch and breakfast.”
“Sometimes I think you don’t want me to be happy,” Dean pouted crossing his arms.
“Eat you dinner,” Mary laughed placing a plate down in front of him. “Then you can have you mask back. It’s not gonna kill ya.”
Dean ate his dinner with a scowl on his face. It was hard not to laugh at him, but both of his parents managed to keep from laughing. Both knew if either of them cracked it would end in a horror show. So they both sucked it up and did their best not to look over at Dean.
“I am done with dinner,” Dean huffed when his plate was clear. “Can I have my mask now?”
“Go wash your face, then you can have it back,” Mary said.
Dean sighed as loudly had he could and slid down the chair under the table. “I just want to go trick or treating!”
“Soon,” John said. “Go wash your face and put your shirt back on. Then we’ll get Sam ready and we’ll go.”
“What about your costume?” Dean asked pushing himself up to his dad’s lap from under the table.
“I’m not dressing up,” John smiled down at him. “Go wash your face.”
Dean reluctantly sulked off to the bathroom to clean up.
“We can get you dressed like Alfred in, like, five seconds,” Mary said the moment Dean left the room. “Just put on a suit jacket and put some flour in your hair and you’ll be good.”
“The only suit jacket I got is the one I got married in,” John said. “Not happening. I’ll be an auto mechanic.”
“Lame,” Mary laughed.
“Well,” John shrugged. “You’re not even going. So you don’t get an opinion.”
“Fair enough,” Mary shrugged. “I’ll get Sam dressed. The rest of Dean’s Bat-a-rang things are on top of the fridge cuz he kept throwing them at me. Make sure he doesn’t throw them at people, especially Elizabeth if you run into them.”
John gave a thumbs up as he finished clearing the table while Mary took Sam to change into Robin. While they were still getting the boys ready the doorbell rang.
“It started without me!” Dean screamed. “I’m gonna miss it!”
“Calm down,” John scowled. “We’re leaving in two seconds.”
John opened the door to see the two boys from across the street, Jamie and Brandon (Jamie as Superman, Brandon as a ghost), with their dad, Jim, at the door.
“Trick or treat!” the boys yelled in unison.
“Hey boys,” John smiled dropping a couple pieces of candy into each of their baskets.
“Hello Mr. Winchester!” the boys answered. “Thank you for the candy.”
“No problem,” John smiled. “We doing this as a group?” John asked Jim.
“Think we can get away with drinking a couple beers while we do it?” Jim whispered.
John leaned back around the archway to see if Mary heard him then nodded. He motioned for Jim and his boys to come into the house and walked toward the kitchen with Jim.
“I think I can stuff a little cooler on the bottom of the stroller,” John nodded. “Sam is part of Dean’s costume. We’ll get this figured out. Gotta do it quick though, Dean thinks that trick or treat will happen without him.”
“Batman and Robin,” Jim smiled, as Mary can around the corner with Sammy. “If only our boys got along that well.”
“What are you two doing?” Mary asked.
“Nothin’,” John shrugged, opening the fridge.
“Don’t get arrested,” Mary sighed as she watched John pull out a six pack. “This night is about all the boys. Don’t be stupid.”
“We’re adults,” John smiled. “We’ll be good.”
“Is Jamie and Brandon coming Trick or Treating with us?” Dean asked running into the room.
“Yep,” Jamie answered. “You’re being Batman?”
“Yeah,” Dean nodded. “Cuz Batman is better than Superman, and Sam is Robin.”
“Brandon wanted to be ghost,” Jamie shrugged. “I guess Sam is better cuz you can make him do what you want.”
“Sometimes,” Dean nodded. “Other times he just cries a lot, but I’m trying to teach him.”
“I wish I could teach Brandon,” Jamie replied. “He just follows me around and tries to do everything I do. It’s annoying.”
“I’m not annoying!” Brandon whined from behind them.
“You’re very annoying,” Jamie corrected, shoving Brandon’s face.
“Hey,” Jim yelled. “None of that. Behave or you can go home and I’ll go get all the candy.” He shook his head and turned to John. “You did a good thing having them so far apart. I love my kids, but it’s struggle not to drown both of them at bath time.”
“They’re good kids,” John shrugged. “I’m kind of looking forward to mine being competitive like yours. It’ll be fun.”
“You say it now,” Jim chucked taking the beer bottle John offered him. “But it’s mostly good when they’re not trying to kill each other.”
“Let’s do this,” John suggested as Mary appeared with the stroller.
“Don’t do anything stupid,” Mary pleaded. “Just walk the boys around let them get their candy, then do your drinking back at the Kings. I really don’t feel like bailing you out of jail.”
“We’re not drunk,” John said kissing Mary on the cheek. “We’ll be good. I’ll be home later. Have fun handing out candy.”
“I will,” Mary said. “Have fun out there. Behave and listen to your dad. Okay?”
“Yes Momma,” Dean nodded. “I’ll be really good.”
Trick or Treat went surprisingly well. There was no fighting between the three boys about who got more or better candy, Sam slept through most of it, and John only had to yell at Dean once for throwing his Bat-a-rang pieces at unsuspecting passers by.
At the end of the night the group ended up back at Jamie and Brandon’s. They boys dumped their candy on the floor to sort and trade while the dad’s sat at the kitchen island while Sam slept in his stroller.
“Where’s Joyce?” John asked halfway through their third beer.
“KC with her sister for bridesmaid dress shopping,” Jim replied.
“She went back to work now that the boys are little older right?”
“Yeah, she works at a boutique near your garage,” Jim answered. “Why?”
“I gotta fire Angie,” John sighed.
“Well you saw that coming,” Jim laughed.
“I didn’t really care what she did as long as she didn’t lose anything and answered the phone,” John said shaking his head. “But that had become too much for her. So I need a new receptionist. Mike’s niece goes to KU, so he said she might be able to do it a couple days a week. I’m trying to think of a way to ask Mary to work the other days.”
“She did it before,” Jim said.
“She been giving subtle hints that she’s going stir crazy,” John continued. “So I’m going to suggest it. I mean Dean’s starting school in January, she can bring Sammy to the shop, it might be nice.”
“All the other mom’s in the neighborhood work now,” Jim said. “You can use that to try to convince her. Lizzie’s mom is a fourth grade teacher, the weird hippie girl is an ad exec in Topeka.”
“Seriously?” John said, placing his bottle down.
“Yeah,” Jim nodded. “I figured she was a masseuse or aromatherapist or something weird, but she’s pretty high up in an advertising company I guess.”
“Huh,” John shrugged. “Never would have guessed.”
Dean came into the room and climbed into his father’s lap.
“I’m tired,” Dean yawned. “Can we go home now?”
“Did you have fun?” John asked.
“The most fun,” Dean nodded, as the radio Jim had for the fire department started to go off. “What is that?” Dean asked wide eyed.
“It is my pager for when there’s a fire,” Jim explained. “When I’m not at the station this is how they get ahold of me.”
“Neat,” Dean smiled “I meeted a different fireman at the grocery store. He said I’d be a good fireman because I’m very brave. I’m gonna be a fireman when I grow up.”
“You’d be a great addition to the department, little guy,” Jim told him ruffling his hair.
“Go get your candy,” John said placing Dean back on the floor. “Then we’ll head out.”
“Okay,” Dean said leaving the room.
“Cook-out Saturday before it gets too cold?” Jim suggested. “Watch some football?”
“I’m game,” John said extending his hand to Jim’s. “You ready, say good bye.”
“Goodbye Mr. King,” Dean smiled. “Goodbye Jamie and Brandon!”
“Bye Dean!” Jamie yelled peeking his head around the corner. “See you later!”
“You’re gonna carry me?” Dean asked looking up at his dad.
“I gotta push Sammy,” John said. “You can walk across the street it’s not too far. Mom’s waiting for you to tell her all about your candy.”
“Oh yeah!” Dean said, suddenly finding a burst of energy as they walked to the door.
“See ya this weekend,” John nodded as he opened the door.
Dean ran ahead to the end of the driveway waiting there for his dad to meet him so they could cross the street, neither of them knowing that there would be no play date or cookout that weekend, neither knowing that their lives would be changing forever in less than forty eight hours.