Word Count: 1486
Summary: Everyone has a hidden talent, Dean’s is singing. The real question is why does he feel the need to hide it.
Disclaimer: Are we still doing these? Look, I don't own ‘em, never have and I don't make a penny out of these little scribbles, so please don't sue.
Notes: Having watched 15.07 and seen the debate on whether Dean can sing according to cannon, I was struck with a flash of inspiration. This is my take on why he suddenly seems to be able to sing.
As always there’s a couple of people who I’d like to thank for all their help. First bigj52, a beta without compare who turns my scribbles into English. And chellexxx, Obi, enabler, partner in crime and hand holder extraordinaire. Thank you for putting up with my wibbling.
Dean watched Lee get up on the stage, and groaned inwardly when he heard the opening bars of ‘Good ‘Ol Boys,’ and cursed the day he’d made the mistake of letting his old friend hear him sing. He always made sure that no one ever heard him sing properly. After all, it was the family running joke that Dean couldn’t hold a tune to save his life.
But if the truth was known, Dean could sing, as it was yet another way he took after his mom. When he’d been a kid, he’d often sing in the crappy motel rooms they stayed in. Partly to ensure some privacy in the bathroom, so his dad and Sam wouldn’t bust in while he was having a shower, and other times, singing helped him drown out the crap fest of his life.
All that changed when he was thirteen, while he was stitching his dad back together after a Black Dog hunt had gone sideways. While he worked, he’d unconsciously started to sing ‘Hey Jude’ to help calm him, and keep his hands steady. His dad glared at him, and took another swig of Jim Bean to deaden the pain. He sat forward, and jabbed Dean in the chest with a bloodied finger. “Mary used to sing that, she had a beautiful voice. You know, when you sing you kind of remind me of her.” And then to Dean’s horror his dad started to cry, going on and on about Mary sounding like an angel, all while he cradled the bottle of booze to his chest, drunkenly urging Dean to keep singing.
By the time Dean had finished the stitches, his voice was hoarse, and tears spilled down his face from the shame of causing his dad so much pain. Once he’d put his dad to bed, and finished cleaning up the medical supplies, Dean swore to himself he’d never remind his dad of his mom again. From that moment, all of Dean’s singing was loud and out of key. It was so bad, Sam used to threaten to walk if he didn’t stop caterwauling.
Dean didn’t care, because his awful singing made his dad laugh. On rare occasions John would ruffle his hair, and tell him fondly he’d inherited his tone-deaf approach to singing, when it was actually Sam, who couldn’t sing to save his life. But just seeing the joy in his dad’s eyes made him sing louder, and even more out of tune, as Sam laughed and begged him to stop. Even to this day, he still sang out of tune around Sam, just so he could make him laugh.
Dean would’ve happily carried on with the pretence, but he made the mistake of forgetting how thin motel walls were one day, and somebody heard him.
That somebody was Lee Webb, a hunter who Bobby introduced them to after Sam left for Stanford. Then a hunt came up soon after. A coven of witches was terrorizing a small town, which was too much for the two of them, and so John invited Lee to join them. It had been strange working with someone else, but Lee seemed to know what he was doing, and they soon fell into a rhythm. When they finally tracked the witches down, the fight had been bloody but, in the end, they’d been successful and the three of them ended up in a bar to celebrate.
John had been the first to cry ‘halt,’ when he heard the bar’s band strike up, saying they weren’t playing his kind of music, and he was getting out of there before Dean started singing along, and made his ears bleed. Dean swallowed his hurt as he took another drink of beer, then managed to laugh good naturedly, as John stood to leave.
“Why do you let your dad talk to you like that?” Lee asked, as he took another long drink of beer.
“What do you mean?” Dean shifted uncomfortably in his seat, as Lee stared at him with his piercing blue eyes.
“That bullshit about you not being able to sing. I heard you yesterday while John was on a supply run, and you can sing, son.”
Dean swore under his breath. He’d forgotten how thin the walls of motel were. He gave Lee a cocky smile as he threw back another tequila. “I think you’re hearing things. That wasn’t me.”
Lee hummed and nodded, as he turned his attention to two young women who kept looking over at them. He sat forward. “You know what’s good about being able to sing?” Dean shrugged.
“The ladies love it. Now if you’ll excuse me.” Lee winked, drained his beer, then swaggered up to the stage. The band’s singer stepped forward, and the two men had a conversation. Then Lee jumped up on stage, and the band started to play. When Lee opened his mouth and sang, Dean stared at him in shock. He’d never expected he could sing like that. Dean looked around the room, where everyone appeared to be enjoying Lee’s performance, and the two women who’d been looking their way all night, seemed very interested.
Dean sighed and slumped in his seat. There was no way you’d ever get him up on a stage like that. The song came to an end, and the audience showed their appreciation by whistling and cheering. Dean expected Lee to come back to their table, but he stayed up on the stage. “Winchester, get your ass up here!” He called over the mic and Dean nearly choked on his beer.
Dean shook his head, and tried to slide even lower in his seat, but everyone around him was encouraging him to get up stage and join Lee. He glanced over to where the two women were sitting, whispering to one another. One of them was giving Dean a look, that promised him he wouldn’t be going back to his and dad’s motel room, if he played his cards right. She glanced up at the stage, and then looked back at Dean. She tilted her head with a look on her face, as if she was daring Dean to get up there and sing.
Later, he’d blame what happened next on a combination of too much beer and tequila, and never backing down from a dare. Dean finished his beer, got to his feet, and Lee whooped in delight as he made his way to the stage. Once he was standing in front of the mic, he began to regret his decision, as he looked out at the sea of faces watching him.
He was about to make a run for it when Lee grabbed his elbow. “What the hell are we supposed to sing? He asked nervously.
“How about your old man’s war cry?” Lee replied as the band began to play the theme to the ‘Dukes of Hazzard’.
Dean’s palms began to sweat, and his mouth went dry, as Lee sang the first verse, He nodded encouragement as Dean closed his eyes, and opened his mouth to sing. When no one threw anything at him, Dean began to relax, and by the time the song finished, the audience were clapping along.
“See, I told you, you could sing.” Lee pulled Dean in for a hug, then slapped his back, nodding to the two women who’d joined in with the standing ovation they got. “Now, how about we go and see if we can make sweet music with those two?”
Dean followed Lee as he wove through the crowd. When they reached the ladies, there were two bottles of beer waiting for them. “They’re from the owner, who wants to know if you boys will sing us another song later.” The woman who’d been staring at Dean, smiled and licked her lips. “Or you could give us a private show a little later,” she purred as Dean reached for his beer.
That had been the first time Dean sang with Lee, and after that it became something of a tradition. No matter where they were, Lee always managed to find some bar where they ended up belting out a few songs, usually fuelled by beer and women. No matter how much he protested, Dean had come to enjoy his moment in the spotlight. While he was singing, his problems faded away, just like they used to when he was a kid.
Dean made up his mind and joined Lee on the stage. The familiar nervousness washed over him as he looked out at the crowd, but when he started to sing it went away. Now as he lost himself in the song, as his voice soared above the music, the oppressive weight of responsibility, and the problem of what to do about Chuck, faded. For the first time in days he didn’t feel like a rat in Chuck’s maze. In this moment he was truly free.