After a long hot July day at the garage, there was nothing John needed more that to just relax, have a nice dinner and sit for a little bit. He was looking forward to having Dean climb into his lap, hearing about his day. After the day he had, it would excellent. Customers couldn’t seem to understand that is was impossible for one man to work on four cars at once or the concept of a line. Everyone that walked in that day was annoyed by the heat wave that was hitting its fifth day and patience had worn thin with everyone in the area. John just needed a nice cold beer and some quiet time. Nothing sounded better to him than to sit down in his recliner, watch the news, and have his little boy climb into his lap and tell him about the invisible bad guys he’s taken care of while his wife finished cooking dinner.
Before John even opened the door, he could hear Dean screaming at the top of his lungs.
“You’re a bad mom! The worst! I hate you! I hate you more than everything!”
“Oh, this is gonna be fun,” John sighed shaking his head, those thoughts of a nice relaxing afternoon dissolving as he turned the door knob. John opened the door slowly and kicked off his shoes. His wife was pacing with Sammy, who was sniffling into Mary’s shoulder.
“Hi,” Mary said with a big fake smile on her face. “Welcome to the fun house.”
“What’s going on?” John asked.
“I won’t let Dean jump off the back porch wearing a cape,” Mary smiled. “He told me the cape will make him fly. I told him he was going to kill himself and now I’m the worst mom ever. Sam wants to go to sleep but Dean’s being a brat, so he can’t. That’s why he’s crying. Welcome to an average day.”
“Did you put him in time out?” John asked.
“He’s in time out,” Mary nodded. “He won’t go up to his room, but he will lie in the time out corner and scream at the top of his lungs.”
“Did you try…” John started to ask.
“He’s been screaming like that for an hour,” Mary snapped. “So yeah, I tried it. Just let him scream until he’s hoarse because he’s not stopping otherwise. We just gotta wait it out.”
“It’s loud,” John argued.
“Then by all means put him out on the front yard so the whole neighborhood can hear about what a horrible mother I am because I won’t let my kid break his neck. I mean if it’s really too loud for you.”
“Is dinner ready?” John asked.
“No, John,” Mary sighed. “I’ve been busy. Since Dean’s being obnoxious, I was just planning on ordering something in. I’m too stressed out to try to cook something, and it’s just too hot to stand over a stove.”
“I worked all day I really don’t want to come home to two screaming kids,” John shouted over the screaming. “I just want to sit down and have a nice meal.”
“Well, maybe you should have thought about that before you got me pregnant,” Mary replied. “Because weirdly enough, this is what kids do, and it’s at least six decibels louder in the kitchen. Nothing I do will calm him down. ”
“Can’t you freakin’ control them?” John yelled.
“You go,” Mary said making a vague hand gesture toward the kitchen where Dean was screaming. “See if you can get him to be quiet. Have the time of your life. He’s overtired and cranky. He doesn’t care that Dad had a long day at work and expects the Cleavers when he gets home. Real life ain’t like that. But go, since you know better than I do. I got a baby to deal with before I can deal with Dean.”
Mary turned and headed up the stairs with Sam, who was still sniffling against her shoulder as he tried to fall asleep.
John walked into the kitchen and picked Dean up off the floor by his armpits.
“Get away from me!” Dean screamed. “Don’t touch me I’m mad. No no no!”
John sat down with Dean in his lap and did his best to hold him still.
“What’s wrong?” John asked as calmly as he could.
“I hate Momma!” Dean growled.
“I got that,” John nodded. “Why?”
“She won’t let me fly!” Dean screamed. “I can fly! I had a cape on. I wouldn’t have falled and Momma said no and put me in time out for trying to jump of the stairs. But I know I can fly.”
“You can’t fly, Dean,” John sighed. “Boys can’t fly.”
“Superman can fly!” Dean fought wiggling to try to get out of his dad’s grip. “Acuz he has a cape!”
“Superman is an alien,” John replied. “Spiderman can’t fly.”
“Spiderman doesn’t have a cape!” Dean yelled.
“Batman doesn’t fly,” John nodded. “He doesn’t have any super powers. He wears a cape.”
“I can fly,” Dean growled. “No one will let me try. You’re being a jerk just like Momma. Let me go!”
“Knock it off,” John warned. “You have to stop yelling and fighting.”
“Or what?” Dean spat. “You’re gonna make me go to time out? I’ve been in time out all day! If you send me to my room, I’m just gonna play with me toys. There’s nothing you can do about it!”
“You need me to spank you?” John asked. “Cuz I got no problem doing it. You got a major attitude problem little man. I think it’s about time someone fixed it.”
“I don’t have an attitude problem!” Dean screamed. “You have attitude problem. Momma has fun problem. I hate both of you!” Dean struggled against John’s strong arms trying to get away before biting his father’s hand.
“Son of bi-- look you little shit,” John growled as he spun Dean so he was lying across his lap. “You don’t bite people and you don’t tell you mother you hate her for no reason.”
“I have lots of reasons!” Dean screamed. “You weren’t even here you don’t know. I will bite you if I want! You are being mean to me and I do not like it!”
“I’m giving you one more warning to knock it off,” John said, the anger still very clear in his voice. “Then, I’m gonna spank you. Do you want that?”
“Let go of me!” Dean screamed and wiggled. “You’re stupid, I hate you!”
“You’ve been warned,” John sighed as he pulled his arm back and swatted Dean.
“What are you doing!?” Dean screamed. “Don’t hit me!”
“Then calm down and act like a big boy,” John replied, sending three more slaps to Dean’s behind as he spoke.
Dean’s screams changed to a whimpering. “Stop hitting me,” he said very softly. “Stop hitting me.”
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Mary asked as she appeared in the doorway. “Don’t hit my kid.”
“Momma,” Dean whimpered. “Make him stop.”
Mary grabbed Dean away from his husband, holding him close to her.
“I’m sorry,” Dean sniffled. “I’m sorry I didn’t listen and I yelled and I was bad. Don’t let Daddy hit me again.”
“I won’t,” Mary said softly. “It’ll never happen again. I promise. How about you go upstairs to your room? I’ll be up in a little bit.”
“Okay,” Dean nodded. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay, baby,” Mary reassured him before placing him gently on the floor. Dean walked behind his mom, keeping her between him and his father then ran up the stairs as quickly as possible. “What the hell is wrong with you?” Mary whispered angrily the second Dean’s door closed.
“He won’t calm down,” John replied. “I warned him, he wouldn’t listen. That’s exactly what would have happened if I was his age and was acting like that. And you can’t look me in the eye and tell me it didn’t happen to you too.”
“And now your son is afraid of you,” Mary argued. “Is that what you want? You want Sammy and Dean to grow up afraid of you? What do you remember of your father? You remember him bending you over his knee? Is that what you want them to remember when they’re grown up?”
“I want them to behave,” John sighed. “If that’s the only way to do it…”
“You’re hitting the boys,” Mary yelled. “Never… you’re not going to lay a hand on either of them ever again.”
“If they need to be kept in line, I’ll do what I need to,” John replied. “Shut Dean right up. Got him to listen. He isn’t screaming on the floor anymore is he?”
“They aren’t soldiers,” Mary pleaded. “They don’t need to be kept in line. They’re little boys. You don’t have to hit little boys to get them to listen! He’s a baby John. You really want to teach him that the only way to get what you want is to hit people?”
“He bit me,” John said standing up.
“So you tell him no and sit him in the corner,” Mary shouted. “Don’t hit my kids. They don’t learn by being terrified that if they step out of line they’re gonna get hit. They learn because we teach them what’s right and wrong. It’s not going to keep Dean from miss behaving, that’s going to keep Dean from misbehaving in front of you. He’s going to grow up afraid if you keep doing that to him. It’s not fair to him. You teach love, John, not anger.”
“Well that’s working real well,” John said rolling his eyes and closing the distance between the two of them. “You got kids screaming all over the place!”
“This was the first time since Dean was a baby that you’ve come home and there was baby crying,” Mary defended. “This is literally the first time since Dean was born besides the three days I was in the hospital after Sam was born that dinner wasn’t on the table when you got home from work. You don’t get to stand there and tell me I’m not doing my job. Because I do what I do all day a whole hell of a lot better than you could ever do. Leave you alone with a crying kid for ten seconds and you beat him.”
John stepped closer to Mary until he was right in her face. “At least I was doing something.”
“You don’t scare me,” Mary smirked. “And God help you John Winchester if you lay a hand on me it will be that last thing you ever do. I’m not one of your soldiers either, John. You aren’t my boss and I don’t have to put up with you. You ever touch my kid like that again you’ll be removing your balls from your throat.”
John did his best to stare her down, breathing heavily out of his nose while refusing to break eye contact.
“Get of my face,” Mary said calming staring right back at him. “You can’t intimidate me. I’ve seen things you’re worst nightmares can’t compare to.”
“Like what?” John laughed. “You've barely left Lawrence your whole life.”
“I don’t have to prove myself to you,” Mary said pushing at John’s chest. “Now get the hell out of my face so I can go check on my kids.”
John shoved Mary back against the wall.
“Get out of my house,” Mary screamed as loud as she could. “Get out of my house!”
“I pay the bills,” John said shaking his head.
“Get out,” Mary growled seriously. “Get the hell out or I will take those boy and you won’t see any of us again.”
“If that’s what you want,” John shook his head as he stepped back as he held his hands in the air. “Fine. I’m gonna go pack a bag, and I’m gone.”
“Don’t even think about talking to Dean,” Mary said, tears stinging the corner of her eyes. “Just get the hell out.”
John nodded and walked up the stairs, Mary right on his heels. While he went into their bedroom to pack a few days’ worth of clothes, she walked into Dean’s room to comfort the sobbing boy curled into a tiny ball on his bed.
“Are you okay, Deano?” Mary asked softly as she lay next to him and rubbed circles on his back.
“You’re mad at Daddy because I’m a bad boy,” Dean whispered.
“No,” Mary replied. “I’m not mad at Daddy because of you. I’m mad at Daddy because of Daddy.”
There was a knock on the door frame. “Can I talk to you?”
“No,” Mary said firmly. “You’ve said everything you have to say, and I don’t want to hear anything else.”
“Mary, let’s try to talk this out,” John sighed. “I didn’t mean…”
“But you did,” Mary interrupted. “You did, and you can’t take it back, and I’m not living with that guy. I didn’t marry an angry horrible human being. Just go.”
“Right,” John nodded. “Okay then, you know where I’ll be if you want me,” John turned and walked away, duffle bag in hand.
Mary sat there doing her best to comfort Dean as she heard John walk down the stairs and out the front door.
“Is Daddy gone forever?” Dean mumbled, rolling over to look up at his mom with his big green eyes.
“No,” Mary said shaking her head. “And you don’t gotta worry about it.”
“Do I have to go to work now?” Dean asked seriously. “Daddy said that if he’s not here, I’m the man of the house. I have to take care of you if Daddy’s not home.”
“No, baby, no,” Mary ran her fingers through Dean’s hair. “You don’t have to worry about anything like that. Never, ever. You just focus on being four years old and learning how to read and write so we can be the smartest boy in kindergarten next fall.”
“I can do that,” Dean smiled. “I’m sorry I yelled like a baby. I won’t try to jump off the stairs again. I might get hurted like I did at the playground. That hurted a lot. I just wanted to try one time, but it might be a bad idea. Daddy said that Batman, he’s my favorite, he can’t fly even though he has a cape. So maybe I can’t fly.”
“I just don’t want you to get hurt,” Mary said pulling Dean close to her. “You can play superheroes all you want, but I don’t want you to jump off things. The last thing Mom wants in the whole world is for you to get hurt.”
“I understand,” Dean nodded. “I’m sorry Daddy was mean to you. I could hear you yelling. Daddy had his really mad voice.”
“You don’t have to worry about it,” Mary said squeezing Dean tight. “You shouldn’t have to worry about it. You just remember that both me and Daddy love you and your brother more than anything in the world, and nothing is going to change that ever. Not ever if me and him are fighting. It has nothing to do with you. Understand?”
Dean nodded, although Mary could tell he didn’t really understand; he was too little to understand. All he knew was his parents were yelling, and as far as he was concerned, it was all because of him.
“Alright, baby,” Mary said forcing a smile. “You gotta be starving. What do you want for dinner?”
“Can I have cheese pizza?” Dean whispered.
“You want me to order pizza?” Mary chuckled.
“Yeah,” Dean nodded. “I do.”
“Alright,” Mary smiled. “I guess so. But this is not a reward because you were awful all day. This is because Mom’s lazy and doesn’t want to cook anything tonight. You’re still in trouble for throwing that big tantrum. You’re usually such a good boy. I want that boy to come down for dinner when I call him, but until then, you are to say up here in time out. No playing with your toys. You just sit here and think about what would be a better way to deal things than just yelling and screaming.”
“Yes, Momma,” Dean nodded. “I’ll be a very good boy from now on.”
“That’s my baby,” Mary smiled running her finger though his hair. “How about after dinner we work on writing your letters and you can right Daddy an ‘I’m sorry’ card for biting him?”
“Okay,” Dean nodded. “I bit him really hard. He was being kinda mean.”
“He was trying to get you to calm down,” Mary explained. “He shouldn’t have hit you, but you need to listen when Mom and Dad tell you things. We’ve both told you that a million times. You have to keep your ears open and listen to us.”
“I will be a better boy,” Dean nodded. “Sammy will learn how to be a big boy from watching me, that’s what Nana said, and I would be sad if he was mean to you and Daddy like I was.”
“That’s right,” Mary smiled, standing up. “You have to be a better example, and I know you’re a good boy if you want to be. So I’m gonna go order dinner. I’ll call you down when it gets here.”
Dean looked up at her and nodded. She did her best to smile as she walked from the room. She had to figure out what she was going to do about her marriage. There was a man that she loved more than she thought was possible and two boys that needed a dad. Before that moment of anger in the kitchen he’s never done anything like that before. Maybe they just needed a few days apart to settle and reset, things had been very stressful since Sam was born, nothing as easy as it had been. She knew they’d figure it out. If any couple could survive it was them. She just had to figure out how to move passed seeing a side of her husband she’s never seen.