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SPN Fic: The Eyes to See (Gen, PG) - Bloodslave for Cookies
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dodger_winslow
dodger_winslow
I'd Sell My Soul for a Blunt Instrument ...
Wed, Aug. 2nd, 2006 11:47 pm
SPN Fic: The Eyes to See (Gen, PG)

Just a little something I ended up finishing off when I was supposed to be writing on Pt 4 of Season instead. (Can we say procrastination, boys and girls?). Have to send a shout out of thanks to the wonderful eloise_bright whose lovely BURNED  reminded me I had a teacher fic I wanted to finish sitting on my harddrive, being sadly and tragically neglected. Cause really, it was the tragedy of this inexcusable neglect that prompted me to finish it, not the fact that I was procrastinating. No. Really. Why are you looking at me that way? I'm serious.

Fine. Don't believe me then.

Title: The Eyes to See
Author: dodger_winslow
Challenge: Paranormal 25: Haunting
Genre: Gen
Word Count: 4,200
Rating: PG
Warnings: Mild Language
Parings: None
Disclaimer: I don't own the boys, I'm just stalking them for a while.

Summary: The kid was in trouble. He'd seen kids in trouble before. He’d been watching them most of his life. He knew the signs … knew the dark look in their eyes, knew the cautious way they moved when they were hiding bruises or burns or broken bones under clothes and lies and a determination to be normal at any cost.




The Eyes to See

The kid was in trouble. Mike had seen kids in trouble before. He’d been watching them most of his life. He knew the signs … knew the dark look in their eyes, knew the cautious way they moved when they were hiding bruises or burns or broken bones under clothes and lies and a determination to be normal at any cost.

This kid was a new transfer. He’d been in class a little over two weeks. In that time, he hadn’t said more than a handful of words to anyone. The way he watched the world was too familiar: An animal hunted to ground, treed and waiting for someone to come and finish him off.

Someone was hurting him. Mike could see it in the hopeless way he smiled.

"Winchester."

The kid glanced at him, already half way to the door.

"Stay for a minute."

His eyes narrowed, but he didn’t argue.

"Have a seat." Mike gestured to a chair in the front row. He leaned against his desk, studying how smoothly this boy moved until he got to the wrong angle, then how well he hid the clench of pain that skated his features as he settled in. Ribs, maybe. Or a shoulder. It was hard to tell. He seemed to be favoring his whole left side.

"So." Mike said.

The kid didn’t respond the way most did. He didn’t try to fill the silence, didn’t try to offer lies or stories or other diversions to distract a teacher’s scrutiny from things he didn’t want noticed.

Instead, he just sat there, quietly, waiting, watching.

"How things going for you?" Mike asked after several seconds. "What do you think of our school? You settling in to the new routine okay?"

"Yes, sir."

The economy of his answer was what Mike expected. When this kid did talk, he tended to do so in small bursts, few words wasted, nothing revealed that wasn’t specifically required by the question asked.

"You don’t have to call me sir, Winchester. My name is Mr. Farris. Or you can call me Mike, if you’d rather."

"Yes, sir," the boy said again.

Mike smiled. That wasn’t what he’d expected. Not quite a joke, but not far from it either. Certainly a response more that absolutely required by what he’d said. And just a hint of antagonism for authority. That was a good sign. It meant he still had some spine left. Whoever was hurting him hadn’t broken him yet.

"Why don’t you tell me a little bit about your last school?" Mike asked. It was a deliberately leading question, one he left open to see how much the kid would try to fill in.

"What do you want to know?"

Mike shrugged. "Whatever you want to tell me."

The kid said nothing. Mike waited. Still, he said nothing.

Mike got it then, realized the boy was telling him exactly what he wanted to tell him: Nothing.

"How long did you go there?" he asked after almost a minute of silence.

"Two months."

Mike nodded. School jumping. Harder to track injuries that way. If they don’t stay in one place long enough to establish a baseline, no one ever knows them well enough to see the despair changing them. No one bonds with them, cares enough to look behind the failing grades. They’re just bad kids. Poor students.

"I noticed on your transcript that you’ve been enrolled in seven schools this year." He waited a beat, then added, "So far."

The boy didn’t answer him. He wasn’t going to offer an explanation then. Another good sign. The harder a kid is to crack to the task of talking, the more they have left to protect.

"That seems like a lot," Mike noted. Then, because he’d established the boy wouldn’t offer anything unless directly requested, he asked, "What kind of work does your father do that requires you to move around so much?"

"He’s a spy," the boy said. "I could tell you more, but then I’d have to kill you."

Mike actually laughed at that. He didn’t mean to, but he did. To this point in time, the kid had been so quiet, so isolated, so withdrawn, that it never occurred to him he might have a sense of humor.

"Really," Mike said, still chuckling.

And then the kid did something unprecedented. He offered something unasked, saying, "Scout’s honor."

Mike laughed again. "You don’t really strike me as the Boy Scout type, Dean," he observed drily.

The kid didn’t answer, but something flickered in his eyes. It almost seemed like an expression for a passing moment, and then it was gone. His eyes were dark again. Unreadable. Waiting.

"Why don’t you tell me a little bit about yourself?" Mike invited.

"What do you want to know?"

Because he’d learned from this question the first time it was asked, Mike said, "Why don’t you tell me about your family. You have a brother, right?"

"Yes."

"Younger or older?"

"Younger."

"How much?"

"Four years."

"What about your dad? The spy?"

"He’s older."

Mike smiled, but pushed on, "And your mother?"

The kid didn’t answer. Not with his mouth, at least. But his eyes told a different story; different enough for Mike to know he’d hit something.

"Is your mother older, too?" he pressed, softening his insistence by playing the question as a joke.

"Did I do something wrong?"

He had hit a nerve. This evasion was what he’d expected earlier; a shift away from a subject the kid didn’t want to discuss. This was his road of ingress. This was a place to start.

"You don’t want to talk about your mother?"

"Because if I didn’t do anything wrong," he glanced at the clock pointedly, "I really need to be heading home."

"Just a few more questions. What happened to your side?"

That shut him down completely. Like a time lock on a safe, every expression the boy had vanished.

"My side?"

It was the most disingenuous request for clarification Mike had ever heard. "Yeah. You’ve been favoring it for two days now. Did something happen? Are you hurt?"

"There’s nothing wrong with my side."

"You mind if I take a look?" When Mike reached for him, the boy jolted to his feet, stumbling a bit with the abruptness of the response, wincing in pain, his eyes fierce suddenly, angry in a way that seemed very near violence.

"Dude! Hands."

Mike stood, too. Though he had no intention of actually touching the boy, his response to the mere possibility of such a thing was all the clarification Mike needed to take his concerns to the next step. "Let me see your side, Dean," he said quietly.

"Fuck you," Dean retorted. "Sir."

Mike sighed. He kept his voice even, calm. The boy needed to know this offer was one of refuge, even if it was made as a threat. He’d learned through hard experience they wouldn’t respond to invitations, to suggestions, to a hand extended with the intention to help. They were too broken to see a sanctuary offered. They couldn’t accept what wasn’t forced, couldn’t capitulate to anything not coerced.

"We can go at this one of two ways, Dean. You can either let me see it now, here, with just you and me in the room. Or I can call social services and have you removed from your home. Taken away from your family. And we can look at it then, in a hospital, with at last twelve other people involved. Which way do you want to go?"

There was panic in his eyes now. True panic. For a moment, Mike thought he was going to run.

"I play a lot of sports," Dean said suddenly. The lie was a burst of panic through tight lips. "Motorcross is my favorite. I totaled my bike a couple of days ago. Totaled a few ribs, too. My dad took me to the hospital. They said everything is fine. Just some bruises, nothing that won’t heal."

Mike felt sick. It was the way so many of them played it, trying so hard to convince someone they were loved, to convince themselves the parent betraying them was, in reality, their protector.

"Dean …" Mike started.

"I have to go." He was backing toward the door as he spoke. "I pick my brother up at school. He’ll be waiting."

"You don’t have to do this alone," Mike said. "Let me help you."

"I don’t need help," Dean told him.

"What are you going to do when he starts in on your brother?"

"My brother’s fine. My dad and I make sure of that."

He was losing him. He could tell he was losing him. If he let this boy leave, he would never see him again. Mike held out one hand, knowing it was already too late, knowing it would do no good, that this boy was already lost to him. "Let me help you, Dean," he whispered.

"Goodbye, Mr. Farris."

And then he was gone.

He didn’t come to class the next day. Or the next. Within a week, Mike had the official notification: Dean Winchester was no longer one of his students. He’d moved out of district, forwarding address unknown.

*

Mike Farris sat in his classroom, staring out a window, thinking of children lost and years gone by. It had been almost twenty years now, but he still remembered one in particular. He’d tried so hard to reach him. Tried so hard to give him a hand out, to let him know it was okay to ask for help, or to accept it when it was offered.

Losing that boy haunted him. He’d lost sleep over it for years, wondering what had become of him, what had become of his little brother. He’d had his chance to make a difference when there was still something of that boy to salvage, and he’d failed. That failure lived with him every day of his life.

He could sense someone standing in the doorway to his classroom, but he didn’t turn for a long moment, knowing it wouldn’t matter to whoever was there how long it took him to respond. Time didn’t mean much any more. Each day was the same as the last, an endless string of regrets for children lost.

"Hello, Mister Farris." The quiet voice was familiar. It blew through him like a cold wind from the past.

Mike jolted to his feet. The chair he was sitting on slammed back against the wall, cracking the plaster, shattering the chair itself to kindling. A window burst outward in a explosion of glass as he turned. Every desk in the room screaked backward several inches, scoring the hard linoleum floor like nails put to a chalkboard.

"Dean."

The temperature dropped several degrees when he spoke. Though neither were lit, both overhead fluorescent lights burst, showering the room with orange and white sparks.

Dean Winchester smiled. "You remember me," he said. "I wasn’t sure you would."

Mike stared at him, seeing the child in the man. "I’ve never forgotten you," he said.

There was another man with him, older, with a beard and dark eyes. Those eyes were the same eyes he saw in his dreams, watching him from the face of a quiet kid who’d only been in his classroom for two weeks, but who’d stayed on his conscience for twenty years.

His father.

The temperature dropped another ten degrees. Mike took a step forward, wanting nothing so much as he wanted to get his hands around that man’s throat. Another window blew. In the hallway outside, the sprinkler system went off, a monsoon in a can, artificial rain pelting rows of metal lockers in a staccato of pings and pops.

"This is my dad," Dean said, his breath puffing to vapor in the cold as he spoke. "I should have brought him to meet you sooner. I’m sorry it took me so long to get him here."

A third window exploded, followed in quick succession by a forth and a fifth.

"Hello, Mr. Farris," John said calmly. "I’ve heard a lot about you. I’ve wanted to meet you for years; to thank you for what you tried to do for my son; to tell you how much I appreciated it, even though it might not have seemed like it at the time."

Mike was confused. He lost his focus for a moment, forgot what it was he wanted to do. "I don’t understand," he said.

"It was never what you thought it was," Dean explained. "This is what my father and I do. Sometimes there are injuries. That’s what happened to my ribs all those years ago. It was never my father hurting me. That particular time, it was a poltergeist that pitched me into a wall, but I couldn’t very well tell you that at the time."

"A poltergeist?" Mike snorted derisively. "Are you really trying to tell me a ghost put those bruises on you?" He laughed then, bitterly. "I appreciate you trying to protect him, Dean; but ghosts don’t do things like that to children. Fathers do."

This time, it was John who slammed back into the wall. The impact of it shook the small room, reverberating through the floor.

Mike blinked, surprised when Dean raised a shotgun, pointing it straight at his face. "I don’t want to hurt you, Mister Farris," he said levelly. "But I will if you don’t let my dad go."

"I’m just trying to help you, Dean," Mike said.

"I know that. But I can’t let you hurt my father."

"Son of a bitch, Dean," John wheezed. "Pull the trigger already."

Dean pulled the trigger.

Mike didn’t know what was in the shotgun, but it burned like acid going through him. He screamed, blowing apart for a moment before coming back together again, weak and disoriented and barely able to maintain himself.

Across the room, John Winchester slid to the ground. He gasped several times, breathing like a man who’d been held underwater too long and was only now being allowed to surface.

Dean cracked the shotgun and ejected the spent shells. He’d already reloaded and had the weapon in position again, ready to fire, before Mike got his bearings, re-oriented himself to his surroundings, figured out where he was, and why.

Putting a hand up to protect himself as Dean’s finger whitened against the trigger, Mike stepped back, turning his face instinctively away. "No …"

The ferocious intensity of Dean’s expression eased. Though his finger remained tight to the trigger, ready to fire at any moment, he released the immediacy of its pressure as he said again, "I don’t want to hurt you, Mister Farris. But I won’t let you hurt my dad."

Mike took another step back. "I don’t understand." He looked from Dean, to his father, and back to Dean again. "Why are you here?"

"We’re here for you," Dean said.

"What?"

"We’re here to help you," he clarified. "To help you go where you’re supposed to be."

"I’m supposed to be here," Mike said. "I’m a teacher. This is where I belong."

"Not any more," Dean said.

"I don’t understand …" Mike said a third time.

"I think you do," Dean corrected.

John was standing again. Unsteady on his feet, his throat already darkening with a five-fingered bruise, he moved closer to his son, a shotgun in his hand now, too; but held down, pointing at the floor. There was an overtly protective aspect to his posture that confused Mike, made him feel off balance and uncertain.

"Did I do something wrong?" he asked suddenly, speaking to John this time instead of Dean.

"No," John said. "You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just time for you to let go."

"I can’t let go. They need me. My kids need me." He shifted his gaze to Dean. "The way you needed me. I’m so sorry I couldn’t help you, Dean. I tried, but I couldn’t reach you."

"You did help me," Dean said. "I just didn’t need the kind of help you thought I did."

Mike stared at Dean for several long moments, then looked to John again, and then once more to Dean. "You didn’t?" he asked finally.

"No. But I did need help. And you helped me."

"How?"

"Just by caring. By noticing me."

"Noticing you?"

"Seeing there was something wrong, even if it wasn’t what you thought it was."

"I always see it," Mike said. "Sometimes it haunts me. Especially when I fail. When I fail like I failed you."

"You didn’t fail me. That’s why we’re here: to show you that. I wanted you to meet my dad so you’d see he was never a threat to me."

"I thought he might have killed you. That happens sometimes. When I lose one, they show up dead some other place, some other time. I was so afraid that had happened to you. You had so much spirit. So much heart. I knew he’d break you, sooner or later. I knew he’d break you, or if he didn’t, you’d turn up dead someplace where no one knew what you could have been. Someplace where no one had the eyes to see what you were going through."

Dean lowered his shotgun to his side. "You don’t have to do this alone, Mister Farris." He held out one hand. "Let me help you."

"How can you help me? You’re just a child."

"Trust me," Dean said.

It came to him like a dream he’d dreamed for a thousand years: He was tired. So terribly, terribly tired. The air around him had grown warm. The weight of it against his body was almost too much to bear. It made him weary just to be. It exhausted him simply to exist.

"I’m tired," he admitted. "But I can’t afford to sleep. If I close my eyes, I might lose one of them. They need me to see them. Sometimes I’m the only one who does."

"Have you met Mrs. Wagner yet?" Dean asked.

Mike nodded. "She teaches music. She’s been here almost four years now. She seems like such a nice woman."

"She’s seen three of them this year alone," Dean told him. "All three of them are getting help now."

Mike blinked. "She has?"

"Yes. And Mr. Vebruge, the science teacher? He reported one just this week."

"Vebruge?" Mike canted his head to one side. "I had a student by that name once."

"I know. Leo, right?"

"Yes." Mike nodded. "Leo. He was a good kid. Very sharp. Such a sad boy though." Mike was smiling, but his smile faded as his memory clarified. The room went cold again as he said, "His father put him in the hospital three times. Three times, Dean."

"But the third time, you stopped it," John said.

"Three times," Mike repeated grimly. "I told them what was happening. I tried to get him to tell them, too; but he was just so frightened. It took three times before they finally caught on. Three times for them to see what was right in front of their eyes, for them to pay attention. Three times for them to stop. Letting. It. Happen."

"But you never gave up on him," John said. "I spoke to him earlier today. He told me you’re the reason he became a teacher. That you were the only person who ever saw him as a kid. The only person who ever cared enough to keep at him when he tried to push you away."

Mike blinked. "He said that?"

"He’s the one who told us you were here. He’s worried about you. He wants to help you the way you helped him once. The way you helped my son. The way you’ve helped a hundred kids over the years."

"I’ve lost so many," Mike whispered. "They haunt me." He turned back to Dean, staring at him, hopeless, empty. "The way you haunt me, Dean. I wanted to help you. I wanted to help you so much."

"It’s my turn to help you," Dean said.

"I don’t need help."

"Yes, you do. You don’t have to do this alone, Mister Farris. It’s okay to let us help you."

"I’m so tired," Mike said again.

"Leo asked me to tell you thank you," John said. "He wanted me to assure you he would keep teaching the way you taught him to."

"I teach math," Mike said.

"You taught him how to see." John corrected gently.

Mike was tired. He was so very, very tired. "You can help me?" he whispered.

"Just close your eyes and let it go," John said. "Let my son and I take it from there."

"Your son." Mike smiled. "Dean, right? He’s a good kid. Very funny. He seems to have such heart. It makes losing him so much harder."

"You never lost me, Mister Farris," Dean said.

Mike glanced at the young man standing beside John. There was something so oddly familiar about him, but he couldn’t place exactly what it was. "I’m sorry, do I know you, young man?" he asked. Then, a little embarrassed, he added, "I used to have a much better memory. Getting old sucks, you know. But I highly suggest it. Much better than the alternative."

Dean smiled at him. "I used to be one of your students," he said.

Mike brightened. "Really? I wish I remembered you. I’m so sorry I don’t."

"That’s okay," Dean said. "I remember you, Mister Farris."

Mike chuckled. "I hope that’s a good thing."

"It is," Dean assured him. "You were my favorite teacher when I was a kid."

Drawing a long, deep breath, Mike nodded. "I probably shouldn’t admit as much, but I never get tired of hearing that," he said. "Even if I can’t remember the student, I feel like I’ve accomplished something if they remember me. If I made a difference for them somehow." He looked sad for a moment. "So many of them need things. I do the best I can, but sometimes I think I fail more than I help."

"You helped me," Dean said.

Mike cocked his head to one side. "Did I?" He smiled then, saying, "Thank you for telling me that, young man." He glanced at John. "And this is your father, I assume?"

"Yes. This is my dad. I thought you might like to meet him."

"Your son turned into quite a fine man," Mike told John. "You should be proud of him."

"I am," John agreed.

"It’s time for you to go now, isn’t it Mister Farris?" Dean asked.

Mike sighed. "Yes. I suppose it is. I didn’t really want to retire, but they’d already bought the gold watch, so I figured what the heck. I hate to leave this place though. I loved it here. Loved teaching." He looked around the room, remembering all the children who had passed through his watch over the years. "I felt like I made a difference in this place. One of my students is a teacher here, did you know that? He started the same year I retired. Nice young man. Very dedicated to his students. I really don’t remember him, but he told me I was his favorite teacher when he was young." Mike chuckled slightly. "Old age," he said, shaking his head self depreciatingly. "Sometimes it steals the best of your memories. But I guess it’s less important that I remember him than that he remembers me, eh? Kids should remember their teachers. If they don’t, the teachers aren’t doing it right."

He looked at Dean then, smiling and feeling a sense of satisfaction that the fierce boy with the sense of humor had turned out so well. "It’s good to see you again, Dean." He looked to John. "And a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Winchester. I didn’t have Dean as a student for very long, but he made a big impression on me. I’ve remembered him all these years. I used to worry about him, but I can see now that I needn’t have bothered. He seems to have grown up just fine."

"Yes," John said. "He has."

"I hate to leave this place, but I need to be going, I suppose. The old have to make way for the young: That is the way of our people. Besides, this new math is much worse than the new math they had when I was first teaching. You’d think something like the adding and subtracting of numbers wouldn’t change so much over the years, but they always seem to find some new way to confuse students into thinking the round world is newly round all over again. Sometimes I think that’s the role of teachers: To confuse kids into standing still long enough to let them grow." Mike laughed at the notion. "Isn’t that a silly thing for a teacher to say? It was something my father used to say. He was a teacher, too. Wonderful man. Always saw the best in kids."

"You should visit him," Dean suggested.

"I think I will. Goodbye, Dean." He nodded to John. "Mr. Winchester."

"Goodbye, Mister Farris," Dean said. "And thank you."

"Well there’s something I don’t hear every day," Mike said. "In fact, you may be the first student I’ve ever had who came back to say thank you. Except for Leo Vebruge. He told me thank you once. I have no idea what for, but he seemed sincere about it, so I accepted it as if I remembered him … which I don’t, but don’t tell him that, okay?"

"I won’t," Dean promised.

Mike smiled once more. And then he was gone.

-finis-



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54CommentReply

janissa11
janissa11
janissa11
Thu, Aug. 3rd, 2006 05:40 am (UTC)

Oh man, that is just gorgeous. The early glimpse of Dean through another's eyes, and that beautifully affecting denouement. Bittersweet and lovely. Thank you!


ReplyThread
dodger_winslow
dodger_winslow
I'd Sell My Soul for a Blunt Instrument ...
Thu, Aug. 3rd, 2006 06:03 am (UTC)

Thank you. This fic SO wanted to go dark when I was originally writing it. But my whole point was to put Dean with a teacher who was trying to help him, so it kinda worked against me to have that teacher identifying vulnerabilities in him to capitalize on to his own nefarious ends, which was where this kept trying to go the first time I hit it. So I just had to put it away for a while until it decided to cooperate. :D


ReplyThread Parent
wilwarin1
wilwarin1
wilwarin1
Thu, Aug. 3rd, 2006 10:40 am (UTC)

That was beautiful.

Poor Mike. He can't get over the fact that Dean got away and may have died as a result of that and it haunts him even beyond death.

I really like that Dean and John are this patient with a spirit and are letting him go away of his own accord instead of just destroying him as they normally do, even if Mike got violent at first in his confusion.

Great fic!


ReplyThread
dodger_winslow
dodger_winslow
I'd Sell My Soul for a Blunt Instrument ...
Thu, Aug. 3rd, 2006 06:59 pm (UTC)

Thanks! I've always wanted to do a good spirit fic ... see how it would alter the way they dealt with it. Had no idea this was gonna be it (I actually thought it was just teacher fic), but the combination between the depth of his devotion to what he was doing and the potential for tragedy if he failed at it kind of just led me this way.


ReplyThread Parent
lady_octavia
lady_octavia
Thu, Aug. 3rd, 2006 01:34 pm (UTC)

That's frakkin' awesome!

I love the perspective of the first part, seeing the Winchesters through the eyes of another and someone who cares.

Dean and John hunting together and John being all proud Daddy at the bizzare meet the teacher night just rocks!

I love the ghost flipping between lucid and forgetful, and his take on new math and teaching -hillarious!

And, I mean, how cool is it Dean getting to shoot a teacher! (and it being for their own good is just icing on the cake)


ReplyThread
dodger_winslow
dodger_winslow
I'd Sell My Soul for a Blunt Instrument ...
Thu, Aug. 3rd, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC)

Thanks. :D I loved the idea of a ghost parent/teacher conference. That appealed to my absurd bone for some reason. I'm really pleased the flipping around on the lucid scale worked rather than being distracting. I wasn't sure how that would play, but I didn't want him to read as a Human, but rather, a spirit being driven by his failures. So once Dean and John began putting his failures to rest, they became so much less important to him ... something he could accept and move on, rather than something so haunting in his memory he just couldn't get past them.

And, too, the idea of the spirit not being able to keep track of John (or Dean, for that matter) appealed to me in the idea that it really wasn't just about one person, but rather about him feeling he hadn't been able to do enough, or that there was still more to do, rather than it all being about losing Dean. Although losing Dean, in my mind, was one of his greatest failures in his world just because he liked Dean so much, and felt like there was really something there to get saved, if he could only reach it.

I'm also glad the teacherly aspects worked for you. I wanted, even in spirit form, for this guy to be the kind of teacher you would have loved in school. The funny, self depreciating guy who cares more for the kids than any other aspect of it. And, too, I wanted to make it clear he wasn't actually being driven by his own father being an abuser (which I considered, but decided not to go with), but rather that he was carrying on in his father's footsteps, like his student was doing for you.

So glad you liked it.


ReplyThread Parent
adelheide
adelheide
Queen of the Monkey People
Thu, Aug. 3rd, 2006 03:25 pm (UTC)

Okay. I cried. Dammit.

This was so touching and bittersweet. I felt Mike' confusion at first, like What the heck is going on? But then as I figured it out, Mike started to get confused. Nice switch.

I've often wondered if there were ever a case where they didn't take extreme measures with a ghost. If mediums are to be believes, sometimes it's as simple as asking them or telling them to leave. We haven't seen that but I've often wondered if that wasn't the way they might do it sometimes.


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dodger_winslow
dodger_winslow
I'd Sell My Soul for a Blunt Instrument ...
Thu, Aug. 3rd, 2006 07:22 pm (UTC)

I'm so glad you liked this. And absolutely tickled you traded your confusion for his, as that was exactly they transference I was trying to create. That the more clear it became to us what was going on with the spirit, the less clear it became to him, allowing him to let it go.

I really wish the show would deal with a spirit that is dangerous, yet also more empathetic ... someone they might actually want to help, rather than destroy. And I tried to leave it open (with John's "let my son and I take care of it from there") to the notion that dealing with him this way helped put his spirit to rest so it would quit haunting the school in such a destructive fashion, but that perhaps John and Dean would still have to burn some bones, it just would be a final releasing act rather than a destructive act.

And, too, they've had spirits who have hung on past their mortal remains being destroyed, and who've been released or destroyed by dealing with their problem rather than their remains (the lady in white springs to mind), and I've always liked that aspect of SPN ... that you know the rules, more or less, but it's supernatural stuff, so it doesn't always play by what you think the rules are.


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tsuki_no_bara
tsuki_no_bara
cindy
Thu, Aug. 3rd, 2006 04:40 pm (UTC)

that wasn't quite how i expected it to go, but i really liked it. (i especially liked the drama - windows exploding, furniture sliding, the sprinklers going off - when dean and john show up as adults.) you gotta wonder if sometimes the winchesters want to show the spirits a little mercy, especially when they're not violent spirits and they were once good people and they really only want to help.

and i loved the interaction between mr farris and the younger dean - dean's "yes, sir," his easy lies, his panic, and the way mr farris draws entirely wrong (but understandable) conclusions. it's always interesting how other people see in the boys.


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dodger_winslow
dodger_winslow
I'd Sell My Soul for a Blunt Instrument ...
Thu, Aug. 3rd, 2006 08:11 pm (UTC)

I'm so glad you liked this. I wanted to make it clear from pretty early on in the adult scenes that Mike was a ghost now, but I didn't want him to think of himself that way. And I wanted to play the aspects of the haunting that would be scarier than crap to those being haunted as something he wasn't even doing intentionally ... just as something that manifested because of his anger.

And, too, the idea that he totally would have killed John without ever knowing he was killing someone who did absolutely nothing ... because that's the whole point of ghosts. I loved the idea of John and Dean dealing with one that they knew was a good person in life, and a ghost driven by his failures at doing good; but that still was dangerous, and potentially lethal. I wish the show would deal with that sometime ... the idea that not all supernatural things are evil. Sometimes they are just misguided, or so angry that they act destructively, even if they aren't intending to.


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starhawk2005
starhawk2005
Queen of Sassgard
Thu, Aug. 3rd, 2006 06:09 pm (UTC)

Mike got it then, realized the boy was telling him exactly what he wanted to tell him: Nothing.

*snort* Gotta watch how you phrase those questions, heheh.

The chair he was sitting on slammed back against the wall, cracking the plaster, shattering the chair itself to kindling

Bet I can guess where this is going. Niiice.

Yep! I knew it, heheh. Very nice. I already loved how you worked in the fact that if Dean got hurt hunting as a child, some other adults of his aquaintance might think John was an abuser. But the added twist of the ghost! Great stuff!


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dodger_winslow
dodger_winslow
I'd Sell My Soul for a Blunt Instrument ...
Thu, Aug. 3rd, 2006 08:18 pm (UTC)

Thanks! I love how evasive Dean is. Usually just a wince short of standing against the authority, but certainly not helping them out at all. That just seemed so Dean. LOL

I'm glad you liked the ghost aspect. This story let me deal with two notions that have been buzzing around my skull for some time ... a teacher or other adult in Dean's life that might have thought he was in trouble and really tried to help him, and the idea of a ghost who isn't evil, he's just ... haunted. :D


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iamstealthyone
iamstealthyone
iamstealthyone
Thu, Aug. 3rd, 2006 07:09 pm (UTC)

Good fic here, very different from the other Dean-in-school fics I’ve seen. After reading the challenge note (first time Dean shot a teacher), I was sure Mike would be very, very bad, and was initially suspicious of him. But it quickly became clear he was just a good teacher trying to help Dean. I liked the little twist of what he became later, and I loved how John and Dean helped him at the end.

Favorite lines:

Someone was hurting him. Mike could see it in the hopeless way he smiled.

Poor Mike, he just wants to help, but he’s so wrong here.

"So." Mike said.

The kid didn’t respond the way most did. He didn’t try to fill the silence, didn’t try to offer lies or stories or other diversions to distract a teacher’s scrutiny from things he didn’t want noticed.


Yeah, that’s exactly how I’d expect Dean to react to teachers with pointed questions. Must have driven his teachers nuts. *g*

"Yes, sir."

The economy of his answer was what Mike expected. When this kid did talk, he tended to do so in small bursts, few words wasted, nothing revealed that wasn’t specifically required by the question asked.


This, too, sounds very Dean. He’d definitely go in favor of economy with words, because he’s worried about letting anything slip that might get him separated from John.

"What kind of work does your father do that requires you to move around so much?"

"He’s a spy," the boy said. "I could tell you more, but then I’d have to kill you."


LOL! That’s our Dean, all right.

"Just a few more questions. What happened to your side?"

That shut him down completely. Like a time lock on a safe, every expression the boy had vanished.


Ooh, I felt bad for Dean here. You can just feel his heart start racing, you know?

"We can go at this one of two ways, Dean. You can either let me see it now, here, with just you and me in the room. Or I can call social services and have you removed from your home. Taken away from your family. And we can look at it then, in a hospital, with at last twelve other people involved. Which way do you want to go?"

There was panic in his eyes now. True panic.


Yup. Mike, the well-meaning teacher, has backed Dean into a corner, and it’s no surprise Dean disappeared soon after. I wonder how many times the Winchesters moved just to avoid run-ins with Child Protective Services.

Mike jolted to his feet. The chair he was sitting on slammed back against the wall, cracking the plaster, shattering the chair itself to kindling. A window burst outward in a explosion of glass as he turned. Every desk in the room screaked backward several inches, scoring the hard linoleum floor like nails put to a chalkboard.

Nice, vivid description there.

"I can’t let go. They need me. My kids need me."

And now we know why he’s still around. Poor Mike! The guy takes helping people seriously. I wonder if Dean would do something like this, after he dies. You know, stick around thinking he could still help people or protect Sammy, or both. *ponders*

“Besides, this new math is much worse than the new math they had when I was first teaching. You’d think something like the adding and subtracting of numbers wouldn’t change so much over the years, but they always seem to find some new way to confuse students into thinking the round world is newly round all over again.”

LOL!

“Sometimes I think that’s the role of teachers: To confuse kids into standing still long enough to let them grow."

LOL again!

Mike smiled once more. And then he was gone.

Love the gentle ending here, and that John and Dean helped him find peace rather than got rid of him the usual way.

Nicely done. Thanks for a good read. :)





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astrothsknot
astrothsknot
Princess Robot Bubblegum!
Thu, Aug. 3rd, 2006 07:59 pm (UTC)

At the moment, just, oh. Wow. I love the fics where we see the boys through the eyes of others, and I loved the ending


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bluesister
bluesister
Fri, Aug. 4th, 2006 03:22 am (UTC)

If they don’t stay in one place long enough to establish a baseline, no one ever knows them well enough to see the despair changing them. No one bonds with them, cares enough to look behind the failing grades. They’re just bad kids. Poor students.

I read this a few hours ago at work so I culdn't reply then. But at both readings, I had to pause at your insight into the beaten kids.

I got that Farris was a ghost when the temperature dropped around him but I didn't expect you'd expand on that:
The air around him had grown warm. The weight of it against his body was almost too much to bear. It made him weary just to be. It exhausted him simply to exist.

That is one of the best descriptions of being a ghost that I've ever heard. Really beautiful. And the moves between stuck spirit and old person who knows he's a loved teacher even if he doesn't remember that detail.

Farris was old and losing his memories but Dean's injuries still haunted him. Gah. You made me cry at work too. Thanks!


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dodger_winslow
dodger_winslow
I'd Sell My Soul for a Blunt Instrument ...
Fri, Aug. 4th, 2006 03:56 am (UTC)

Thanks! (sorry about making you cry at work though ... that can be awkward). I appreciate your comments about insights into specific dynamics. I write a lot about trauma of all sorts, and the results of trauma at an early age on someone as they grow older. In many ways, this is also what Seasons is about.

That is one of the best descriptions of being a ghost that I've ever heard. Really beautiful. And the moves between stuck spirit and old person who knows he's a loved teacher even if he doesn't remember that detail.

Thank you so much. The mechanism of existance for ghosts and/or non-corporeal spirits is an intriguing subject to me. Because the presiding theories seem to suggest that temperature drops in the vicinity of ghosts might be due to siphoning off energy from the air itself to maintain the manifestation, I tried to extrapolate how that might work in reverse ... if his reasons for haunting the school became less, so the effort required to siphon off the energy became more taxing for him. Kind of like when you're furious, extreme physical things don't seem so tough because you're working under the impetus of adreniline, but without that drive of emotional excess, those same physical things can be exhausting.

So in terms of the logic of hauntings (is there such a thing?), I thought there were some fascinating dynamics to the idea that relieving the emotional angst (so often, rage) driving the spirit to the need to haunt would make it more aware of how incredibly taxing it must be to simply exist in such an unnatural state. And also, in losing that rage, he might equally lose his obsessive focus on those things that have become so outsized in his afterlife as to drive him to a need to haunt ... that these failures that were likely sorrows in his life, but things he understood as part and parcel to the good he had accomplished, could resume a more balanced state, allowing him to let them go and move on, rather than stay in an unnatural state and obsess on them to such a degree that he is creating havoc in the same place he so loved.

Or that was my thinking on it at least. :D


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phantomas
phantomas
phantomas
Sat, Aug. 5th, 2006 10:13 am (UTC)

Appreciating this a lot (just adding an ehtusiastic agreement to what the other commenters have already said) and letting you know I'm almost done with DSeasons. Should be with you by tonight (my time, or tomorrow morning). *hugs*


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dodger_winslow
dodger_winslow
I'd Sell My Soul for a Blunt Instrument ...
Sun, Aug. 6th, 2006 05:03 am (UTC)

Thanks! Hope all is at least level in your world. I'll look forward to getting your beta on Seasons. I'm blaming you for holding up 4, in case you didn't know. Not that you really ARE holding it up, mind you; but I'm blaming you anyway. Cause I'm just that kind of ass. LOL


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vaznetti
vaznetti
Vanzetti
Sun, Aug. 6th, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC)

The thing that sticks with me in this one is the way Mike himself starts to forget who he is as he begins to let go of his life. Well, that and Dean as a child, so fierce and fragile all at once. Really nice work here.


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dodger_winslow
dodger_winslow
I'd Sell My Soul for a Blunt Instrument ...
Mon, Aug. 7th, 2006 04:16 am (UTC)

Thanks! Those were two of the most important points for me, so I'm so glad those were the ones that stuck out for you.


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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
dodger_winslow
dodger_winslow
I'd Sell My Soul for a Blunt Instrument ...
Mon, Aug. 7th, 2006 07:52 am (UTC)

Thanks so much. Writing young Dean is great fun for me ... such a great mix of angst and strength and dysfunction. And thanks for the rec! I LOVE recs. :D


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kattahj
kattahj
Katta
Fri, Sep. 8th, 2006 12:56 pm (UTC)

This was really great. I loved your take on Mike as a ghost, you really managed to catch the shades of grey and how he's different now without even knowing it.


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dodger_winslow
dodger_winslow
I'd Sell My Soul for a Blunt Instrument ...
Tue, Jan. 23rd, 2007 06:40 am (UTC)

Thanks. Shades of grey is my favorite set of colors on the planet. Especially when it comes to the Winchesters. :D


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lilacsigil
lilacsigil
lilacsigil
Sun, Dec. 3rd, 2006 03:54 am (UTC)

This was a beautiful and understated piece of work, and not at all what I expected from the title and opening sequence. The patience and kindness that Dean and John showed - compassion that Mike Farris once showed to Dean and many other kids - was very touching, and very respectful.


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dodger_winslow
dodger_winslow
I'd Sell My Soul for a Blunt Instrument ...
Sun, Dec. 3rd, 2006 05:20 am (UTC)

Thanks so much. When I originally wrote this, it kept trying to go a darker place, but I wanted to write something about the same kind of dedication to helping others that IMToD touched on later. The idea of becoming an unintentionally destructive spirit merely because you want so back to do what you feel is so necessary that you can's see the time to let go when it arrives. And I wanted it to be about compassion ... both from the teacher's end, and from John and Dean's. The idea that some of their hunts are mercies rather than predations appeals to me. I'm tickled pink it did to you, too.

Thanks for taking the time to comment!


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cetpar
cetpar
Sun, Jan. 21st, 2007 02:05 am (UTC)

This was a wonderful story. I enjoyed it very much. Thanks.


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dodger_winslow
dodger_winslow
I'd Sell My Soul for a Blunt Instrument ...
Tue, Jan. 23rd, 2007 06:37 am (UTC)

Thanks. It was fun to write a teacher as a hero rather than a villain or a moron. And to let someone who might have felt he failed Dean as a child see the kind of man he became.


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katikat
just a geek
Sat, Feb. 17th, 2007 06:57 pm (UTC)

This story made me cry. I'm serious. It's so wonderfully written, so full of emotions. Thank you for writing and sharing :)


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dodger_winslow
dodger_winslow
I'd Sell My Soul for a Blunt Instrument ...
Sun, Feb. 18th, 2007 08:06 am (UTC)

Thanks!


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