Title: Dean Winchester: Marine
Fandom: Supernatural, SG-1
Warnings: Canon Typical
Word Total: 4001
“Are you sure, son? Signing that last line will mean you will belong to Uncle Sam for the next eight years,” the recruiter asked, eyes serious.
Dean stared at the paperwork under his pen. He was tired of moving every few weeks or months and only relying on himself. His father was more concerned with catching his wife killer than raising his two sons and as a consequence, Dean had found himself acting as Sammy’s father more than his brother. Given how his father had been reacting to his brother’s upcoming high school graduation, whatever future John Winchester had planned for him would be bleak. There was no way that he could stay around for that.
Drawing in a deep breath, Dean signed his name on the line.
“Okay son, you’re deployment date is six weeks from now. Are you going to be good to show up here?” the recruiter asked.
“Yeah, I’ll be good,” Dean confirmed. “What can I bring with me?”
The recruiter handed him a list and Dean quickly memorized it. Most of his stuff would stay behind with Sammy and his dad, but he was going to have to figure out how to store what he wanted to keep. Well, he had six weeks to figure things out. Maybe he could mail his stuff to Pastor Jim or Bobby?
“Thanks. I’ll see you in six weeks,” Dean muttered before he and the recruiter shook hands and he left. The whole process had taken much less time than he thought it would have. Even with the additional complications of his patchwork college transcript.
The weeks before he left for boot camp were a nightmare. His Dad and Sammy were fighting like two cats in a wet sack and he was stuck in the middle. Dean had to remind himself to take a deep breath and remember he could and would be leaving.
Bobby had agreed to store everything he wanted to keep and not tell his dad he was doing so. Two trips to FedEx and everything he wanted to keep was on its way to the junkyard. He had also looked up a tattoo artist and got the protection sigil he wore as a charm done over his heart. It itched like a bitch as it healed, but he felt safer for it. The sigil was carefully packed in the last box he sent out.
One week before he was to go, Dean sat down with his younger brother and tried to… say goodbye without actually saying the words. He couldn’t get the words out, so he tried a different track. “Hey Sammy, what are you going to do when you graduate high school?”
“You really think Dad’s going to let me do what I want?” Sammy asked voice bitter.
Dean suppressed a wince. Their dad was doing his best to keep them tied to him but that wasn’t going to work. After all, Dean was leaving in a week and Sammy? Well… “You’ve got choices, Sammy. What do you want to do?”
His little brother stared at him for several beats before taking a deep breath. “I want to be a lawyer.”
Dean raised an eyebrow at that. Damn, his brother was ambitious. “I know your grades are good, but do you think they are good enough to get you into college? And maybe a scholarship?”
The pleased flush that spread over Sammy’s face was cute and reminded Dean of earlier, more innocent days. At just over seventeen, Sam was almost grown and realizing that soothed the most of the nerves Dean had about his decision. Sammy took another deep breath before blurting out. “I’m graduating this Friday with my class and I got a full ride to Stanford. I’ve got my bus tickets for next Monday.”
The relief he felt at Sam’s words was staggering. His brother would be fine. “That’s great. I’ll be at your graduation ceremony. I’ve got no idea about dad.”
Sam shook his head. “I’m not counting on him, but I’m glad to know you’ll be there. What about you? Do you have a way out?”
“I’ll be heading out the same day you will,” Dean admitted, voice quiet.
“Really? Where are you going?” Sam asked in a hoarse whisper.
“The Marine Corps. That seems to be my best bet and I can learn some stuff, get paid while I learn and get away,” Dean told him. His heart was pounding, but he wanted Sam to know he would be okay.
“And you call me ambitious?” San asked. “Will you give me your address so I can write you?”
Dean blinked for a moment at that request and then nodded. “Sure. I’ll get it to you through Bobby. I was already planning on writing him.”
“Good. I’ll do the same. I’ve made arrangements to stay in the dorms early. I’ll be taking some summer classes and seeing if I can pick up a job,” Sam told him. “I’ve saved up a lot of money for stuff, but it’s always better to have extra if I can.”
“Good. I’m going to be sending you some of my pay too,” Dean decided. He held up a hand when his brother started to protest. “I’ll have most of my needs met on base, no matter where I go. You can use the money more than I could and I’m going in as a Private First Class due to some classes I took at a community college. I’ll be fine.”
When Sam nodded his acceptance, Dean relaxed. They would be okay. Just seven more days until they both left for futures that didn’t include hunting the man that had killed their mom.
Boot camp sucked. Dean was in good condition and the physical part was little problem for him. Even the rules and regulations of the Marine Corps were easy to adapt to since his father had raised him on them. Not being able to do something with his hands bugged him until he got used to it and learned how to compensate. What got him the most was the roving bouts of boredom that came from being smart enough to read the handbook they had been issued and know the answers when asked a question. But he even managed to deal with that.
Once that mental adjustment was made, he found that he thrived. Dean had no problems being a team player and supporting the men he was going through boot camp with. He made sure that his unit worked together on everything they could and as subtly as possible started chivying, pushing and sometimes kicking them to reach the goals set by the Drill Instructors. For his pains, they noticed and made him one of the recruit officers after a few weeks.
The remaining weeks of boot camp were then one exhausting blur. He got up early, did what he was told, passed on the orders he was given and tried to keep his people motivated. Occasionally he got letters from Sam, Bobby and Pastor Jim and they made a nice change from rereading the recruit handbook.
When graduation rolled around, Dean wasn’t expecting there to be anyone in the stands for him. After all, he hadn’t gotten a single letter from his father the entire time he had been in boot camp and Sam was in school. So it was a pleasant surprise to find Booby Pastor Jim and Sam in the audience. Once they were released, he made a beeline towards them.
“Hey boy, looking good,” Bobby told him, eyes fond as he patted him on the back.
Dean couldn’t help the broad grin that stretched his face at that. If he couldn’t have his dad, Bobby was about as good. “Thanks, Bobby.”
“Wow, Dean. You did awesome,” Sam told him in a rush. He looked like he wanted to hug him and Dean nodded. His brother gave him one of his typical bear hugs and Dean swallowed. San was getting tall!
“Damn Sam, what are they feeding you in college?” Dean muttered against the kids shoulder.
“Food and lots of it,” his brother said with a laugh before stepping back.
Dean looked around and signed. No John Winchester, Pastor Jim patted him on the arm and offered an envelope. “He wasn’t able to get here, but he did give me this. And I took video for him.”
“Thank you, sir,” Dean said, blinking back the surge of emotions. John hadn’t abandoned him.
“I got one too,” Sam told him, eyes level as they stared at Dean. “He said he was proud of me.”
“Wow,” he looked down at the envelope and then tucked it into a pocket. He would read it later.
“So where are you going next?” Bobby asked as he looked around at the mosses of recruits and their families.
“School,” Dean said with a grin. He had originally enlisted to with the intention of becoming a mechanic, but his range scores had caught the attention of several people and he had been given another option. He was going to sniper school and then? He really didn’t know.
“Let me know your address and I’ll write,” Sam assured him.
“I will. Now, want to walk around this place?” Dean asked as he waved his hands around.
His family laughed briefly and the final ball of tension in him relaxed. Things would be okay. Hours later, in his bunk, he unfolded the letter from his dad. It was short, but still the best thing he had ever gotten from the man.
I am so very proud of you, my son. I wish I could be there to see you today. I know your mother would be just as proud. Congratulations.
Sniper school was fascinating. Dean nestled down in the classes and set out to learn everything he could. He was paired with Castel Novak as his spotter and they worked well together.
After sniper school was further training that Dean didn’t want to think about, but was sure would be useful. His pairing with Novak stayed and their working relationship deepened. Both of them got promoted on time and Dean increased the money he was sending to Sam.
Then 9/11 happened and the world went mad. Dean made sure he had a will and Sam had his POA to take care of anything he needed to. Cas did the same and then they shipped out to places they couldn’t talk about.
The next three years were ones he never, ever wanted to think about again. He had lived them, was scared from them and had the nightmares from them and that was enough. Sam didn’t think so, and Dean didn’t have the heart to tell his brother that caring wasn’t going to magically fix things.
When he got a dream journal and a pack of pens in the mail two weeks after his last call to Sam, Dean had to concede his little brother might have a point. Having someplace to write out the horrors placed them at enough of a remove that he could function. Enough repetitions of writing them down and they faded, so he could sleep. One day, he would let him know.
“Cas, got the mark?” Dean muttered as he stared down his scope at their target.
“To the left, four feet,” Cas’s deep voice murmured from above and behind him. “You are green for the shot.”
Dean grunted as he made the small change that swung the gun and scope to the new target. Breathing in slowly, he slowed his heartbeat like he had been taught. The minute jiggle to the scope smoothed out and he found the quiet spot between beats and pulled the trigger. The target’s body snapped book as the bullet impacted his chest and blood sprayed.
“Target down,” Dean breathed out as he settled back. “We moving?”
“Yeah. That’s our second shot from here. Let’s go,” Cas told him
Their ex-fil was slow and careful and Dean slung his rifle over his back and grabbed the carbine Cas held out to him. The rifle was not the best weapon for close range fighting. They were almost back to base when his partner grunted in pain and the sound of the bullet caught up with them.
Dean swung around and grabbed hold of Cas’s tac vest and dragged him behind a wall. The mud brick wasn’t much, but it was all they had. His hands were swift as they rolled his partner over and exposed the wound.
High on the right shoulder, the wound was ugly as fuck and he swallowed bile at the sight. Packing the wound pulled a scream out of Cas and Dean winced as he kept working. “Hold on, buddy. Okay. That’s done. I need to call our position in.”
Cas looked up at him, face white with pain and held his hand out. “Give me the radio, you guard us. I’m a shit shot with my left hand.”
He nodded before pulling Cas’s 9mil out of the thigh holster and setting it on his lap. “Just in case.” Turning his attention to their surroundings Dean tried to figure out where their enemies were located while his partner called for help.
When a head popped up, he aimed and fired, brain on automatic. Ignoring the aborted scream he kept scanning the area. He was careful with his shots and conserved his ammunition. The supply wasn’t endless after all. When he reached the end of the magazine, he quickly reloaded and dropped the empty into a thigh pocket.
“Dean!” Cas’s call cut through his concentration and he flicked his gaze down to meet his eyes for a second before returning to his scan. “What?”
“Rescue is due in five mikes,” Cas ground out. “Don’t kill them.”
“I won’t,” Dean assured him as he shot a careful two bullets at the next head to pop up. No scream, but no one tried to peek out from there again, so he was counting that as a kill.
The clock in his head was slowly ticking down when Cas grunted again and picked up his gun. Dean felt the hot burn of something entering the outside of his left leg before the sound of the 9mil going off thundered in his ears. Staring down at his partner, he hissed.
Damn man had aggravated his wound, he thought, ignoring his own. “If you bleed to death, I will be pissed.”
“I’d just come back and be your guardian angel,” Cas bitched back, voice faint.
“I’d drive you to drink,” Dean griped right back.
“God hates me,” Cas assured him. “I’m allergic to alcohol. I have eyes on our rescue. Never has a marine looked so good. But don’t tell them I said that.”
“Sergeant’s Winchester and Novak?” the marine in the lead called, voice pitched to carry, but not be terribly loud.
Dean kept his eyes on the rear as Cas got assessed and moved, all the while ignoring the pain in his leg. When there was a sharp tap on his shoulder blade he relaxed. “I’ve got this, Sergeant. Go with your spotter.”
“Thanks,” Dean grunted before hopping over to the corpsman.
“Man, why didn’t you tell us you were wounded?” the corpsman bit out, voice quiet.
“Cas is hurt worse than me,” Dean told him. A pressure bandage was efficiently slapped on the wound and he grunted in pain as it was tightened down.
“Damn heroic Marines. I swear, y’all’er the biggest bunch of morons over,” the Corpsman hissed as he got Dean into the transport and climbed in after. “We’re in! Go!”
The drive back was a blur and Dean could never get it back in more than snapshots. The hot greasy pain of his wound and the overwhelming worry for Cas were his two biggest memories. When he was lucid again, he was in a hospital and his leg was immobilized.
“Who?” he rasped out before coughing shook his frame. When a hand passed him a covered cup with straw, he greedily sucked down the water it contained. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome, son,” a strange voice told him.
“Huh?” Dean asked as he leaned back and looked at his visitor. Short, bald with a kind face, the man had general’s stars on his shoulders and the name ‘Hammond’ on his uniform. “Sir!” he tried to sit up at attention, but the general pressed him back.
“Relax, Sergeant. I’m not that big of an ass to make you sit at attention while you’re wounded,” Hammond told him. “You’re in the base hospital in the recovery ward.”
“Thank you for telling me that, sir. Uhm? How can I help you? Sir?” Dean asked as he tried to figure out why a two-star general was sitting by his hospital bed.
“I’m here to offer you the opportunity of a lifetime,” Hammond told him. “General George Hammond, lately out of Cheyenne Mountain and Project Blue Book.”
Dean blinked several times. He had heard rumors of Marines being picked for Cheyenne Mountain and they were all the cream of the crop. Why him? Might as well find out. “Why me, sir?”
“To be honest, Sergeant, you came to our attention due to your blood work, but after that, I looked at your jacket. You are just the type of marine we want,” Hammond told him, face serious.
Dean stared at him for several seconds before leaning back. “What’s the catch, sir?”
The grin that appeared on Hammond’s face was filled with good humor. “Your CO said you would ask that. The catch, Sergeant is that you would be falling down the rabbit hole of spec ops and codenamed bases. You would be stationed out of Peterson, but that’s all you’ll be able to tell your family.”
“Not much I can tell them now,” Dean admitted. “Would I be able to continue with my schooling? And what happened to my spotter? Is Novak alright?”
“Yes, you’ll be able to continue your education. Actually, we encourage it. And Sergeant Novak is on his way home to Bethesda for reconstructive surgery. His wound took out chunks of his shoulder blade and he’s going to need help. Depending on how he recovers, we may be having this discussion with him too,” Hammond said.
Dean leaned back and tried to think things through. Cheyenne Mountain was one of the ultimate duty posts, but it was also a dark secret hole that kept everyone that entered it. But he would be stateside, with better chances of getting to see Sam and his dad…
“I’ll do it, “Dean decided.
“Good! Heal up fast, son. Your orders will be waiting,” Hammond told him.
It took a month for Dean to be considered healed enough to go home. When he called Cas, he got a very groggy spotter who cursed him out. After he got that off his chest he told Dean it would be at least three more months before he could come back.
“Man, you can’t give up. I’ve got orders to Cheyenne Mountain and the General in charge said you could come too. If you heal up enough,” Dean confided. He was basically daring his best friend to get better and he knew it.
“For the love of God, Winchester! What did you do to get those orders?” Cas asked.
“No idea,” Dean admitted. “But I can’t say as I’m sorry. I need you to get better, dude. Remember, you promised to be my guardian angel.”
“That was only if I died, you bitch!” Cas barked out before groaning. “Fucker, that hurt’s.”
“Then don’t aggravate the wound, putz!” Dean snarled right back. He wasn’t going to touch how much his leg was throbbing.
He had started, carefully, cutting back on the number of pain medications he was taking. Especially the opioids. He wasn’t interested in being addicted. That left the OTC’s and they barely cut it.
“Breathing aggravates it,” Cas snapped, breath coming in harsh pants as he dealt with the pain.
“Don’t they have you on a pain relief pump?” Dean demanded as he listened to his friend deal with the agony. At Cas’s assenting noise. Dean almost signed with relief. “Take a hit Cas. You’ll feel better for it.”
“Bastard,” Cas told him several seconds later, voice slurred.
“Sure I am,” Dean agreed. Clearing his throat, he waited until he had Cas’s attention before pressing on. “I need you to get better, buddy. I can’t do this without you,”
“Fine,” Cas slurred before sighing heavily. “You need to go. I’ve gotta sleep.”
“Okay, Cas. I’ll talk to you again,” Dean told him. There was an assenting noise before Cas’s snore broke the call. Laughing lightly, Dean hung up.
Cas was right. He needed to get going.
Home was home.
Sam fussed over him worse than the corpsman on base did. And Dean both basked in it and wanted to run away from it. Unlike Cas, he had been lucky. His wound had hit the outer meat of his thigh and just been a very nasty flesh wound.
With PT, time and a lot of effort on his part, Dean was back to marine fit within a month of arriving home. Once he was declared fit, his new orders arrived and he had to break the news to Sam.
“So you’re going to be stationed in the US again?” San asked, one eyebrow raised.
“Yeah, I am. I won’t always be able to answer my phone, but I’ll call back. Or email,” Dean was certain on that point at least. Anything else was up for grabs.
“Okay we’ll figure it out,” Sam told him. “When you get your address let me know. I’ll be sending you a care package.”
“Just no porn,” Dean told him, serious. One of the guys on deployment had been sent some and that hadn’t gone over well.
“NO! Ew,” Sam actually shuddered and flashed him an epic version of his bitch face. “Porn is individual and I don’t want to know what yours is.”
“Fair enough,” Dean allowed. “Anyway. I need to get going. Do you need me to up the allotment?”
His brother shook his head quickly. “No! You already give me half your paycheck, I’m fine. I’ve even started saving some money.”
“Good. That’s great. How soon until you hit law school?” he asked.
“I go in the fall. Everything is here, so I don’t have to move,” Sam told him.
“I’m proud of you,” Dean said, voice serious. Glancing at his watch, he winced. He was going to be late if he didn’t get moving. “I’ve got to go.”
Long arms surrounded him and he flailed for several seconds. “Damn orangutan!”
“Shut it jerk,” Sam muttered against his hair. “Call me when you get in.”
Dean worked his way free and nodded. His stuff was in the Cab. “I will. Bye!”
The trip out to Cheyenne Mountain was mostly comfortable and Dean made sure to stretch his leg out regularly. He was always going to hate flying, but after years with the Marines, he was used to it. He even managed a short nap.
“Alright, boys and girls, time to get up and move out to,” the Staff Sergeant who had collected his group for the bus portion of the trip barked.
Dean rolled out of his seat and grabbed his ruck. The bus was a bus, so he had used the ruck to help make his trip a bit more comfortable. The motions to swing it on his back and shrug it onto were easy and automatic.
“Winchester, Dean, group two!”
He pivoted on one heel and headed over to where he saw a giant number two painted. He listened closely to the usual mix of threats and warnings from on high they were a bit more explicit than normal and Dean chalked that up to the ultra-top secret some things he was joining.
Twenty-four hours later and he wasn’t sure if the warnings had been dire enough. Aliens, gods, spaceships and more. It all made his head spin. What had he gotten into?
And how soon could he get Cas there?