tifaching: (alastair dean)
[personal profile] tifaching
Title: Good For What Ails You
Characters: Dean, Sam, various OCs
Recipient: judith_88_g
Rating: PG
Warnings: Spoilers for season eight. Other than that nothing.
For the fantastic spn_summergen fic exchange.
Word count: 9613
Beta'd by the amazing sharlot1926
And now with an absolutely awesome podfic read by kalliel *does happy dance of getting to listen to my story!!!!!!*
Summary: For this prompt: Yet another school, yet another dot on the map. Nothing unusual. Or so at least it seemed to Dean. However, for some reason this school is bound to sink deep into his memory.


Now

At any other point in Dean’s life, living in a vast, well-furnished, impregnable underground bunker with a large screen T.V. and his own bedroom would have made him the happiest man alive. With Sam doing the trials though, the gaping pit in his stomach wouldn’t have shrunk if he was living in the actual Batcave. With his brother pale and sick and coughing up freaking blood, it was hard to do anything but obsess over Sam’s health. Right now he was sitting with Sam at the table in the main reference library, reading the same page in his book over and over and not retaining a single word. Sam was doing better, pencil flying over his notepaper as he feverishly turned pages, but the weight of Dean’s worry was obviously having an effect on him. Sam folded further in on himself with each anxious glance and right now Dean couldn’t glance at his brother any other way. It wasn’t doing either of them any good for Dean to sit there pretending to research so he decided to make himself useful another way.

“Gonna get us some food,” he said, whacking Sam on the arm to get his attention when the words seemed to hit a brick wall before they reached his brother. They did that a lot these days. Sam was so worn down that he could only concentrate on one thing at a time and his research was always that one thing.

Sam grunted something non-committal, waving his brother away. Dean shook his head as he left, silently vowing to get some food into Sam if he had to shove it down his throat. Sam never was a big eater, but he was a skinny alabaster shadow of what he’d been before the trials. Finding something Sam would eat was at the top of Dean’s agenda for the rest of the night. Down the stairs, along the hallway, two rights and a left brought him to his second favorite room in the bunker. There was no memory foam here, but the refrigerator held five different kinds of beer along with a variety of foods, healthy and non, that would make Sam’s head spin from something other than hunger and fatigue. A huge gas range took up most of one wall while a bank of ovens covered another. Professional chefs would kill to have half the amount of counter space he had at his disposal. He left the door open so he could hear Sam if he needed something, wanted something, uttered a strangled scream before falling into a starvation coma.

While Sam was out there poring over tome after tome in the research library, Dean had his own volumes to peruse. The bunker’s previous occupants might have been serious scholars and fighters of evil, but just like everyone else they had stomachs that needed to be filled on a regular basis. The collection of cookbooks on the kitchen shelves was epic. He was itching to make Sam some rich and gooey comfort food and he knew exactly what kind. Grabbing The Joy of Cooking off the shelf, he flipped open the front cover, pulled out a much folded piece of paper and got to work.



Then



“What is that?” Dean stared in awe at the loaded plate on Chandra Mortensen’s lunch tray.

“Macaroni and cheese,” Chandra said, giving Dean an incredulous look. “And salad. You’ve never had macaroni and cheese before?”

“That’s not…” Dean said, staring at the thick noodles and creamy white sauce. “Not like that.”

“Just the stuff out of the box?” Matt Walters chimed in from Chandra’s other side. “Yeah, I’d never had the real thing either before Mrs. Salters got here.”

“What’s that brown stuff on top?” Dean was positive they were wrong. No way it was macaroni and cheese. It wasn’t even orange.

“I don’t know, “Chandra slurred around a mouthful of food. “But it tastes amazing.”

“You’re eating stuff you don’t even know what it is?”

“Mmmmhmmm,” Chandra muttered, stuffing something green and leafy into her mouth. She chewed and swallowed before grinning at Dean. “We do it all the time. If she’s making something new, Mrs. Salters won’t ever tell us what it is before we eat it.”

“How come?”

“Because then we might not eat it, dummy,” Matt said.

“Be nice, Matt.” Chandra shot him a dirty look before turning back to Dean. “I’d eat it no matter what it was. She cooks better than my grandma.”

“So you’d eat it if she said it was stewed eyeballs with baby meat and poison ivy?”

“Urgh,” Chandra groaned. “Why would she feed us something so gross?”

“Just to prove she could make it taste good enough to eat,” Matt said with a laugh, scraping his own plate clean.

Dean had an empty paper bag folded in front of him, trying to give the impression that he’d eaten. Chandra, who knew he’d done nothing of the kind, gave him a thoughtful look.

“You should go get some,” she said, nodding toward the line snaking up to the cafeteria window.

“Nah.” Dean shook his head. “I’m good. Besides I, uh, didn’t bring any money for lunch today.”

“You didn’t bring any lunch either. It’s okay,” she said with a grin. “You don’t need money to eat here.”

“No such thing as a free lunch,” Dean quipped, ignoring the poorly timed rumble from his midsection.

“Come on, Dean. How are you planning to get through Mrs. Evan’s English Lit test on an empty stomach?”

“I was kind of planning on sleeping through it.”

“Yeah, well, detention sucks even worse than English Lit when you’re starving.”

“I’m not starving.” The gurgle that shuddered through his innards had had students from two tables over turning to stare.

“Look, if you don’t want to go yourself, I’ll get it for you.”

“But you’ve already got your food,” Dean pointed out.

“Well, I’ll just get more,” Chandra said in a duh tone of voice.

“Wait, they give you seconds here? What kind of alternate dimension school cafeteria heaven have I fallen into?”

Chandra rolled her eyes and headed back to the serving window, snatching a tray off a cart on her way by. Dean tracked her without seeming to until she greeted the woman dishing up the grub. The woman said something to Chandra, laughing, but Chandra only patted her belly and shook her head, gesturing toward their table. The lunch lady followed Chandra’s pointing finger back to Dean who shifted under her scrutiny. After an uncomfortably long moment, Chandra’s tray disappeared into the kitchen and she was shooed back to her friends.

“Let me guess,” Dean said, unwilling to admit his disappointment at not getting a taste of the alleged macaroni and cheese. “No seconds for you and no lunch for me without paying.”

“Hope you guess better on the English test,” Chandra smirked as the door to the kitchen swung open. “Mrs. Salters is bringing it to you herself.”

“Why would she…?” Dean toyed with the idea of making a break for it, but Mrs. Salters moved fast for a plump, older lady. Before he was halfway out of his chair she was behind it, blocking his way with a tray full of food. Sinking back down, he looked up at her with a cocked eyebrow. “Something I can do for you?”

The woman’s eyes swept over him appraisingly, coming back to meet his with an amused glint. “Why, yes, you can young man and thank you for asking.” Matt snickered and her lips curved up in response. “You can do me the huge favor of taking some of this food off of my hands so I don’t have too many leftovers to pack up at the end of the day.”

The aroma wafting off the steaming plate had drool gathering at the corners of Dean’s mouth, but he hadn’t lived to the ripe old age of fifteen by being easy to put one over on. “Why would I want to do that?”

“Told you, Mrs. Salters,” Chandra said, shaking her head. Dean’s stomach made a noise reminiscent of the Impala’s engine turning over and Chandra and Mrs. Salters smothered laughs.

“Maybe to keep your stomach from sounding like it’s about to take off on a cross country flight?” Mrs. Salters asked with an innocent air. “I hear you have an English test coming up and you wouldn’t want to be responsible for the rest of the class being unable to concentrate, would you?”

“He’s planning on sleeping through it,” Matt said, earning a disbelieving glare from Dean.

“Oh, now, that can’t possibly be true.” Dean gave Matt a smirk that turned into a grimace when the older woman continued. “How could anyone sleep with that kind of racket going on?” She placed the tray on the table in front of Dean and stepped back. “And if it is true, it’s much easier to sleep after a nice hearty lunch.”

Dean clenched his stomach muscles, but the squeaks and whistles continued unabated. He made a mental note to drink more water tomorrow, picked up the fork and aimed for the slice of pie in the back corner of the tray. It was snatched out of his reach before he could snag a single bite. “So, word is that this is macaroni and cheese,” he said, gazing longingly at the pie.

“Word is correct,” Mrs. Salter’s said with a grin. “Give it a try, I guarantee you’ll like it.”

Dean scooped a heaping helping of food onto his fork and lifted it toward his mouth. “You know I can’t pay for this, right?”

Mrs. Salters gestured to the table next to Dean’s. “See those people eating?” Dean nodded and she swung her arm to encompass several other tables. “How about them?”

“Yeah, I see them.”

“Well, they didn’t pay for their lunch either. In fact, every student eating school lunch here today and every day pays nothing.”

“What’s the catch?” Dean’s fork was still paused halfway to his mouth.

“No catch. I just happen to believe that no child should go through the day without enough to eat.”

Dean stared skeptically. “And because you believe it, the world goes along with it?”

Mrs. Salters frowned just a little. “Not the world,” she sighed. “Not yet. But here in this school? The students get fed. No matter what.” Her frown deepened. “Eat.”

“Yes ma’am.” Dean lipped just a bit of food off the fork and Mrs. Salters sighed again.

“Did you even taste that?”

“Can’t be too careful,” Dean said with a grin, closing his mouth over the rest of the forkful. He slowly chewed and swallowed then inhaled the rest of the pasta until half of the plate was scraped clean. “Wow. That was…not bad.”

“Just ‘not bad’?” Mrs. Salters asked, lifting an eyebrow. “I must be losing my touch.”

“Okay,” Dean said with a grin. “I take it back. It probably was the best thing I’ve ever eaten.” His eyes returned to the pie, but Mrs. Salters showed no signs of relinquishing it.

“If you don’t eat the vegetables you don’t get dessert,” Matt muttered in Dean’s ear.

“How about I just eat some of them,” Dean bargained. What was left on his plate was supposed to be a salad, but the lettuce was too dark and it was full of nuts and apples and other things that definitely weren’t croutons and bacon bits.
“Just try it.” Chandra jogged his arm. “It’s really good.”

Dean speared a bit of lettuce with his fork and screwed up his face as he deposited it in his mouth. His expression smoothed out as he chewed and a few nuts, a sliver of apple and another piece of greenery followed before he laid his fork down. “Sorry,” he shrugged. “That’s as much vegetable as I can do.”

“Well, good for you for trying it.” Mr. Salters said, putting the pie down in front of Dean. “You like pie?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Dean replied, digging into it like he hadn’t eaten in weeks.

“Well, I hope you enjoyed everything. I’ve got to get back to work. You come on back tomorrow, you hear?”

“I don’t usually come to the cafeteria,” Dean replied, his mouth full of peach pie. “I just did today because…” A roll of thunder shook the building, muted by the fact that the lunchroom was in the basement of the building that housed the gym . “They wouldn’t let us go outside.”

“Well, come back anyway. You can at least get some food into you before you do whatever else it is you do with your lunch period.”

It sounded like an order and Dean straightened without thinking. “Yes, ma’am.”



Mrs. Salters hadn’t been wrong. It was much easier to sleep after a nice hearty lunch. Dean woke to the clicking of heels as Mrs. Evans strode between the rows of desks until she loomed over him. She tapped a finger on the blank page of his test while his keen sense of observation informed him that they were alone in the room. He’d slept right through the bell and wouldn’t that bit of unawareness about his surroundings piss Dad off if he ever found out.

“Sorry,” he offered as the students from the next period began to trickle in.

Sorry really does describe your effort in this class, Mr. Winchester.” Mrs. Evans replied acerbically. “Report to the principal’s office after seventh period for detention.”

“But…”

“The sixth grade is having play rehearsal after school every day for the next two weeks. No excuses this time.”

Picking Sam up from school had gotten Dean out of every detention so far but he’d known it was too good to last. The elementary school was just up the hill from the high school and Sam usually met him half way for the walk home. “Sam’s not an excuse,” he muttered.

“Excuse me?” Mrs. Evans arched a brow.

“I really do have to walk him home. It’s not an excuse.”

“Fair enough,” she said with a small smile. “Now,” she continued, “you’re going to be late for biology. Scoot.”

Dean scooted.

When the final bell rang, Dean moseyed his way to the office, pausing in the doorway at the sight of the three boys already squeezed onto the bench. The room was small, with just enough room for the bench and the secretary’s desk behind the counter. Dean had just resigned himself to leaning on the wall for the next hour when a head popped up over the counter and a tiny woman with short dark hair eyed him quizzically.

“Dean Winchester?”

“Yes.”

“I’m Mrs. Hastings, Mr. O’Donnell’s secretary.” She held out a clipboard. “Sign in, please and then head over to the cafeteria. Mrs. Salters has requested that you do your detention with her today.”

“Why would she do that?” Dean replied, taking the clipboard but not signing
.
“I don’t know. Maybe she needs the extra help.” Mrs. Hastings smiled and raised an eyebrow at the board.

Dean signed his name and handed it back. “I can’t cook,” he said a little defensively

Mrs. Hastings lips twitched. “We’ll see,” she replied.



The sound of voices echoing through the mostly empty cafeteria caught Dean’s ears as he trotted down the stairs. Mrs. Salters spotted him as he came through the doorway and waved him over.

“Couldn’t stay awake, huh?” she said. Her tone was disapproving, but a twinkle in her eye took the sting out of it.

Dean shrugged. “Nope.” He looked around at a dozen other students getting instruction from cafeteria workers at stations set up around room. “Why am I here?”

“Mrs. Hastings sends me a list of the kids who are going to be in detention and if I think one of them can be useful, I ask her to send them to me.”

Dean scanned the room again. “All these people have detention?” he asked in disbelief. He recognized at least two girls from his class that he couldn’t imagine ever getting in trouble.

“No, today it’s just you. Some of these other kids have had detention with me in the past. Now they just come back because they like to help and they love to cook.”

“Huh,” Dean said noncommittally.

“Don’t think you’ll be back?”

Dean shrugged. “You think I can be useful? I don’t know. What do you want me to do?”

“What can you do?”

Shoot straight, make bullets out of silver and iron, field dress a wound and watch over my family. “Uh, I can fix just about anything that’s wrong with a car,” Dean responded.

“That’s very impressive,” Mrs. Salters said. “I’ll keep you in mind if my brakes start squealing again. What can you do in the kitchen?”

“Make coffee?” Dean hazarded. “Open a can of Spaghettios?”

“Well, we’ll start you with something nice and easy, then.” Mrs. Salters led Dean to two students surrounded by bushel bags of apples. “We’re having apple crisp for dessert tomorrow so why don’t you help prepare the apples. Tina, Kim, why don’t you go and help Mrs. Demers’ group peel potatoes?”

The girls looked over at the potato peeling group, back at Dean, and then beseechingly at Mrs. Salters. “Can’t we stay here and help you?”

“Sorry,” Mrs. Salters said with an understanding smile. “You know the rules. First timers work with me.”

“Hey,” Dean said settling into a seat across from the girls. “I’m Dean.”

“Kim,” one of the girls said with a grin as she rose from her chair. “And we know who you are.”

“You do?” Dean was surprised. He’d only started here a week ago.

“There’s only three hundred kids in the whole school,” she threw over her shoulder as she walked away. “Cute new boy? Always big news.”

“Eyes back here, Dean,” Mrs. Salters said, pointedly bringing Dean back to the task at hand. “First we slice, then we pare.”

“Excuse me?”

She held up a metal contraption shaped like a tiny wheel and positioned it over the top of an apple, pushing down until the core stood straight, surrounded by six even wedges. “Slice.” Separating a wedge, she peeled it with efficient strokes, then neatly removed the seeds. She cut the peeled slice into three pieces and dropped them in a bowl in the center of the table. “Pare. Kim and Tina made a good start with the slicing, so why don’t we pare what they’ve got done so we won’t hold up the next step.” She slid a small knife across the table and pushed half the apple slices over to Dean. “When they’re done just put them in the bowl. The parings go in this bucket here. Try not to take too much of the apple with the peel. And don’t cut yourself.”

Dean gave her a cheeky grin, and watched her peel another slice before picking his own knife up. He resisted the urge to spin it in his fingers, slowly placing the edge of the blade under the peel and easing it down. The second strip came faster and by the third, he was going as quickly and skillfully as she was.

Mrs. Salters raised an eyebrow. “Not bad.”

“I’m a fast learner. So,” Dean said, looking around the cafeteria where other students were chopping and mixing and putting things into pans. “Do we crisp these apples when we’re done, or what?”

“That’s not our job,” Mrs. Salters said, tilting her head toward another table with four people gathered around it. “That’s their job. When they run out of apples, they’ll be down for more.”

“Oh.” Dean was strangely disappointed that his involvement would begin and end with peeling fruit.

“Maybe next time,” she said encouragingly. “Nobody gets stuck peeling twice in a row.”

“Next time would be why, now? I mean, if you don’t have detention, why would you come back?”

“Everybody’s got their own reason for being here,” Mrs. Salters said, sadness flashing across her face, there and gone almost before Dean could see it. “Maybe you’ll find one for yourself.” Dean made a disbelieving face and she smiled. “And maybe you won’t.”

They fell into an easy rhythm; slice and pare, slice and pare. Occasionally someone replaced their full bowl with an empty one and they filled that one so it could be taken in its turn.

At a quarter to five, Mrs. Salters clapped her hands and told everyone to start cleaning up. Dean looked at the clock, startled. The two of them had gotten an informal, but serious paring competition going and the time had flown by. Mrs. Salters’ assistants in the kitchen were still hard at work, but their student helpers were done for the day.

“That’s a good start,” she replied, patting Dean on the shoulder. “Maybe tomorrow we can move you on to something a little more challenging. What do you say?”

“Sure,” Dean replied, looking surprised when the word came out of his mouth. “With my little brother at play rehearsal, I don’t think I’ve got anything better to do.”

The students were calling their goodbyes as they headed out the door. Some left empty handed, but many of them were clutching a paper bag or two. Dean shrugged into his jacket, already thinking of what he was going to scrounge up for Sammy’s dinner when Mrs. Salters called him into the kitchen.

“Here you go, Dean,” Mrs. Salters said, holding out a large paper bag. “And thank you.”

“What is that?”

“Leftovers,” Mrs. Salters said with a grin. “We don’t throw anything away, it all goes home with somebody.”

Dean had been preparing himself for Sam’s whining about canned spaghetti for dinner again (not that he blamed the kid), so he wasn’t about to turn down real food. “Thanks,” he said, reaching for the bag.

“You earned it,” Mrs. Salters replied, waving him toward the door.

“But I only peeled apples,” Dean said, shaking his head.

“Without the apples, there is no apple crisp, Dean.” She drew him over to the ovens and cracked one open so he could see the bubbling goodness inside. “Everybody contributed to tomorrow’s lunch and everybody needs to know that. So, again, I’m saying thank you for helping.”

“You’re welcome,” Dean said, inhaling the delicious scent of baking apples. Yeah, he was definitely coming back tomorrow, if only for the chance to bring some apple crisp home for Sam.



Dusk was falling as he headed up to the elementary school but he recognized Sam in the midst of the crowd of youngsters heading toward him. He called to his brother and Sam broke off with a wave at the other kids.

“What’s in the bag, Dean?” he asked, eyeing it hopefully. “Did you get takeout from somewhere?”

“Yup,” Dean replied. “No Spaghettios tonight.”

“Awesome,” Sam said, brushing against his brother’s arm with a huge smile. “I’m starving.”



Detention was not forthcoming the next day, but Dean caught up with Kim and Tina as they were leaving the main building and walked to the cafeteria with them anyway. He didn’t quite understand why he was going back so he decided to take a little poll to see why the girls did.

“Because I don’t want to be home.” Kim’s tone was easy in response to Dean’s query, but her eyes told him to change the subject.

Dean nodded but didn’t press. “And you?” he asked Tina.

Tina gave a little shrug. “I don’t know. I guess it’s because I’m good at it. When people eat the food I make and think it’s delicious it makes me feel like I’m doing something right.”

“I get that,” Dean said with a grin. “It’s like you’re helping people.”

Mrs. Salters caught the end of the conversation as they walked into the cafeteria. “That’s right,” she said with an approving nod. “You’re helping them eat delicious, made from scratch food instead of processed junk.” She smiled at Dean. “I’m so glad you made it. Did you like the lunch today?”

“It was delicious,” Dean said with feeling. The meatloaf and mashed potatoes had been fantastic and he’d even tried a little green bean casserole before getting his apple crisp, served warm with fresh whipped cream. If peeling more apples would get him a sack full of that for dinner tonight, he’d peel until his fingers fell off. “I can’t wait to see what we’re having tomorrow.”

“Well, tomorrow we’re having barbecued pork with coleslaw and pineapple upside down cake for dessert.” She laughed at the symphony of ecstatic groans that came from the teens. “Kim and Tina, please go help Mrs. Albee with the rub for the meat. Dean, you come with me. We’re going to get you started on something a little more complicated than peeling apples.”

“I don’t know,” Dean hesitated. “Can’t I just peel the stuff for the coleslaw or something?”

“No, I’ve already got someone shredding the cabbage. I thought you could make the dressing.”

“It doesn’t just come out of a bottle?”

“Not in this kitchen.” Mrs Salters gave Dean a mock stern look and led him to his station for the day. “Here,” she said, handing him a plastic enclosed sheet of paper. “This is just the regular recipe. Once you get a standard portion done, we’ll work on making enough for everyone.”

“But I don’t know…”

“Anyone can follow a recipe, Dean. It’s not quantum physics.”

“It is if you don’t know what any of this stuff means,” Dean grumbled. “What’s one c? Or three Tbsp?”

Mrs. Salters put a set of measuring cups and spoons on the counter in front of Dean and held each up, pointing to the writing on them. “One cup. One half cup. One tablespoon. One teaspoon. I’m going to assume you can follow the progression from there.”

Dean nodded and grinned. “I’m not really sure what quantum physics is, but it sounds pretty complicated. This I think I can handle though.” He read the list of ingredients, compared it to what was laid out on the table, studied the cups and spoons for a moment and began to scoop.

“Don’t overload it, now.” Mrs. Salters took the back of a butter knife and leveled off Dean’s tablespoon of sour cream. “And don’t dip the cups into the mayonnaise just use a spoon to get it out.”

Dean nodded, concentrating on getting the right amount of everything into the bowl. After carefully dumping the celery salt in, he looked at Mrs. Salters quizzically. “What’s a whisk?” When she held up the wire contraption, his expression was no less confused. “Okay, so what do I do with it?” A brief demonstration followed with Mrs. Salters handing the whisk to Dean as Mr. O’Donnell entered the kitchen.

“Excuse me, Marion,” he said to Mrs. Salters. “Could I have a word with you please?”

“Have you heard from the school board?” she asked eagerly.

The principal’s eyes flicked to Dean, then away. “In private would be best.”

“Keep whisking, Dean,” she said as she followed Mr. O'Donnell out the door.

Dean whisked, changing hands every couple of minutes, turning the stirring into one of the manual dexterity drills he’d been neglecting since Dad left on his latest hunt. He was still stirring when Mrs. Salters returned a few minutes later, anger radiating off her.

“Bureaucrats,” she muttered under her breath. “Not like it’s their…” She broke off when she noticed Dean’s intent stare.

“Something wrong?” he asked.

“Nothing you need to worry about,” she replied. “But thanks for asking. Now, let’s try out that dressing.” She filled a bowl with shredded cabbage and carrots and poured Dean’s concoction over it, mixing it in until everything was evenly coated then grabbed two forks. “Here you go,” she said, handing one to Dean and stabbing her own into the salad. “Oh, that’s perfect,” she murmured through a mouthful of slaw.

Dean flushed and forked some into his mouth. “Wow,” he said as the sweet crunch of the vegetables and the tang of the dressing collided on his tongue. “That is good.”

“Not so hard either, was it?”

“Once I knew what to do it wasn’t too bad.”

“Ninety percent of life is figuring out what to do and then doing it,” she said with a laugh. “Once you know that, everything else is gravy.”

“My dad says that,” Dean said, cringing as he awaited the usual, inevitable questions about his family.

“He sounds like a very sensible man,” was all Mrs. Salters had to say, setting another recipe page in front of Dean and telling him to get started.



At lunch the next day Chandra was in ecstasy over the coleslaw. “My mom says it’s too much work to make the dressing, but this is so much better,” she sighed.

“How do you know it’s not out of a bottle?” Matt asked.

“In Mrs. Salter’s kitchen?” Chandra said with a snort. “No way. Somebody made this deliciousness from scratch.” She gave Dean a side eyed look. “What are you grinning about?”

“Just enjoying my food,” Dean said, trying to tamp down his ear to ear smile. Tina was right. Having people compliment your food was a pretty darned good feeling. “Hey, I heard Mr. Evans talking to Mrs. Salters yesterday about the school board, but I didn’t hear what they said. She seemed pretty upset about it, though. Is she in trouble or something?”

“Nah,” Chandra said. “She’s just trying to get the free lunch program going on at the elementary schools here and in North Haverhill and at the middle school. I heard my parents talking about it and I don’t think it’s going very well.”

“Yeah, I can see that.” Dean said. “I’ve been to a lot of schools and most of them really don’t seem to care what they feed you or if you eat at all. Hate spending money, I guess.”

“Not like it’s their money,” Chandra said, rolling her eyes.

“Whose is it, then?”

“Mrs. Salters,” Matt said, raising his eyebrows as he leaned across Chandra to see Dean’s reaction. “She’s stinkin’ rich.”

Dean choked on his coleslaw and swigged some milk to clear his throat. “No way. Why would she be working here if she didn’t have to?”

“Dunno,” Matt said. “My mom says she’s some flatlander do-gooder who came up here after her husband died to find some charity cases to make herself feel good.”

“That’s awful,” snapped Chandra.

“Hey, my mom said it, not me.”

“What’s a flatlander?” Dean asked in confusion.

“A flatlander’s from the south,” Matt explained. “You know, like Massachusetts or Connecticut. The people who clog up our roads every fall looking at the leaves.”

“They spend money too,” Chandra said with a sigh. “You know as well as I do that foliage season gets us through winters where there’s no snow and summers when it rains all the time.”

“Like last winter,” Matt replied with an equally gusty sigh. “My dad’s already started to cut back on things at the market.”

Dean, who had eaten far too many meals at soup kitchens or out of church pantries, knew about cutting back on things. “So, you getting your lunches for free must be helping out a lot.”

“Yes,” Chandra said, pointedly eyeing Matt. “It is.”



Another thing Dean knew a lot about was pretending to be something you weren’t and just wanting people to leave you alone about it. If Mrs. Salters wanted to be seen as the person in charge of a high school lunchroom and nothing else, Dean could respect that. After all, he wanted to be seen as just a normal student and not someone hiding the fact that he and his eleven year old brother were living alone in a fleabag motel. Secrets; Dean could keep them. For himself and everybody else. The week went on and he mashed potatoes to top a raft of shepherd’s pies, glazed carrots and, on Friday, made batch after batch of yeast rolls that drew groans from Sam when he brought a half dozen home on Monday alongside roast chicken and stuffing. When quitting time came after the baking session, Mrs. Salters sat him down before giving him his food.

“So,” she started, settling across the table from him. “We’ve gotten you going on a variety of things this week. I have four questions for you.”

“Shoot,” Dean said when she paused to see his reaction.

“One: what was your favorite thing to make?”

Dean thought for a moment. “All of them.”

“Truly?” Her face brightened with a smile.

“Yup,” Dean said, his expression mirroring hers. “I wasn’t lying when I said all I could do in a kitchen was make coffee and open cans. This whole week has been awesome.”

“Well, that’s a very gratifying answer. Okay, question two: Do you feel confident enough in what you learned to cook for your family or help whoever the cook is in your family?”

“Uh,” Dean hesitated. “My dad’s away a lot, so making coffee and opening cans is about all the cooking we do. Sometimes when he’s home he makes burgers and stuff, but mostly we eat out.”

Mrs. Salters nodded but didn’t look surprised. “Well, maybe you can put something together occasionally to make your diet a little healthier. I know it’s hard in some situations, but nothing’s impossible.

Dean just nodded. Telling her he didn’t usually have a kitchen to work with really wasn’t something he wanted to do. The room he and Sam were in now did have a tiny kitchenette, but the oven and two of the burners on the stove didn’t work, leaving him very limited space to heat up the food he brought home.

“Three: do you think you’ll come back next week?”

“Definitely. My little brother has one more week of afterschool play rehearsal, so I can be here. After that, I don’t know.”

“Your brother’s at the elementary school?”

Dean nodded, frowning at her suddenly serious tone.

“Does he bring an empty bag for lunch every day too?”

“No!” Dean was torn between anger and wanting Mrs. Salters to not think he was the kind of person who would send a little kid to school with no lunch. “Sam has a sandwich and snack every day. And he gets milk at school.”

“I’m sorry,” Mrs. Salters said, correctly interpreting Dean’s expression. “I just wanted to let you know that I could help if you…”

“We’re fine, thanks.” Dean was feeling a little guilty about the lunches he was getting versus the ones he was sending with Sam, but Sam was getting Dean’s lunch food for dinner, so it sort of evened things out. “What’s the last question?”

“Have you found your reason to be here?”

Dean was silent for a moment. He’d actually found a couple, but he didn’t want to spill them just yet. “I’ll make you a deal,” he said, grinning when her eyebrows rose in surprise. “I’ll tell you next week on one condition.”’

“Name it and we’ll see.”

“You tell me your reason.”

She stared at him for a moment and then gave a small laugh. “Definitely more to you than meets the eye. I thought so.” She held out her hand and Dean shook it. “Deal.”



The next week brought au gratin potatoes, Cajun rice, Sloppy Joes, pizza crust and, on Friday, chocolate cake. When Mrs. Salters reminded Dean that they would have to discuss their reasons that night, he asked if he could work on making a single cake for himself instead of taking home an entire meal.

“What’s the cake for?”

“My little brother’s play is tomorrow and I wanted to do something special for after. He’s been driving me crazy practicing his lines, but he’s really pretty good.”

“Cakes for special occasions are always encouraged,” she said with a smile. “No reason for you to not take dinner home too. Now, I think you owe me a reason.”

“This is one reason,” Dean said, stirring the thick chocolate batter. “There’s no way I could make a cake like this if I wasn’t here. I don’t have the money and I don’t have the…well, the oven. All the food I’ve gotten for working here has really helped out with having money for other things that we need.”

“That’s not the first time I’ve heard that reason.”

Dean nodded, unsurprised. “And the other reason is because it really does feel good when people like what you’ve made.”

“From what I’ve heard, it doesn’t seem like anyone actually knows you’ve made anything. Why don’t you want to tell people what you’ve done?”

We do what we do and we shut up about it. “I know I did it. Isn’t that what matters?”

“You know,” she said with a smile, “you really remind me of my husband. Or what he must have been like as a teenager.”

“Your dead husband?” Dean asked quietly, not looking up from his bowl.

“In other words, get on with my reasons?” She didn’t sound angry, but Dean kept his eyes down until she resumed talking. “Well, I guess you’ve heard a thing or two or you wouldn’t know about Billy. He was a student here, just like you. He had a little brother to take care of, just like you. And he came to school with no lunch every day, just like you. He was a smart kid, my Billy.” Her eyes were sharp when Dean finally looked up to meet them. “Also like you, I think, though you take a lot of pains to hide it. Billy didn’t. He was determined to get an education so he could help people in the situation he was in. So he worked and he studied and he was valedictorian when he graduated.

Dean was impressed. He couldn’t even imagine making it to graduation, never mind ending up at the top of his class. “So you met him at college?”

“Dartmouth,” she said, like that was supposed to mean something to Dean. She sighed at his blank look. “It’s an Ivy League school about an hour from here.” When he didn’t show any more comprehension, she sighed again. “It’s very prestigious and very expensive.”

“Wow,” Dean was even more impressed. “What did he do, rob a bank to get the money to go?”

“No, he didn’t rob a bank,” Mrs. Salters laughed. “This tiny high school has the Bartlett scholarship. Any student that is accepted to Dartmouth gets their way paid in full.” She gave Dean a serious look. “Something worth working for, don’t you think?”

“We’ll be long gone from here before I graduate.” Dean replied honestly. “And I’m going to be working with my dad. Don’t need a college education for that.”

“Education is important, Dean. Don’t sell yourself short by not getting as much as you can.”

Dean shrugged uncomfortably. “Aren’t we supposed to be talking about you?”

“Yes, we are.” She waggled a finger at him. “But don’t think we’re done talking about you. Me…well, as you might have heard, my family is ridiculously wealthy. Not just a little rich, but rolling in dough. So when I fell in love with the genius in my freshman Economics class who didn’t have two nickels to rub together, moved in with him a year later and married him right after graduation it kind of shocked my parents.”

“Did they write you out of their wills?” Dean asked, putting his cake pans in the oven and setting up to make the frosting.

“I think you’ve been watching too many movies,” she replied with an amused smile. “No, my parents liked Billy’s smarts and even though they knew that his ambition to be a counselor for low income kids wasn’t going to be a money maker, they knew I had enough money for the both of us.” She smiled wryly. “For the both of us and about a zillion other people.”

“So, if you’ve got all that money, what’s the problem with you buying the lunches for all the other schools?” Dean licked a bit of frosting off his finger and added a little more confectioner’s sugar to the mixture. “Seems like it would be win/win for the schools. The kids get fed and they don’t have to pay for it.”

“Oh, if only bureaucracy worked that way.” After watching Dean stir for a moment she added, “you might want to add a little more vanilla.” She dipped a spoon into the bowl and tasted it for herself, nodding in approval. “What we’re doing at the high school is called a pilot program. Just because my foundation is subsidizing everything doesn’t mean that we can avoid state regulations or auditors or inspections. Not that we want to, of course. The faster they realize how well this is working, the faster it’ll get to the kids at the elementary and middle schools.”

Dean opened the oven and stuck a toothpick into the center of one of the cake pans, frowning when it came out with a little batter stuck to it. With his back still turned, he asked, “ Your husband died, so you learned to cook and came back to his hometown to make sure the kids here didn’t go hungry. At least at school. That sounds like a pretty good reason to me.”

“We were going to come here together. Billy was going to open a legal aid office with his brand new law degree. He was so proud…” She cleared her throat and continued. “And I was going to run the lunch program. My degree was in business and running the foundation and the cafeteria is right up my alley. But you’re wrong about one thing.”

“What’s that?” Dean asked, taking his pans out of the oven.

“I didn’t learn to cook after Billy died. I learned when I was seven. After my grandmother passed.”

“Seven? Wow, when I was seven…” Dean stopped for a moment and thought about what that time in his life had been like. “I guess it’s not that crazy an idea. Were you and your grandma close?”

“She was my favorite person in the whole world. When my mom told me she’d gone to heaven and I couldn’t see her any more, I was crushed. I didn’t eat for days.” She looked up and caught Dean’s eyes, bright with shared pain. “My mother was afraid she was going to have to put me in the hospital, but Sara, our cook, marched me into the kitchen, sat me down and made me eat one bite of her macaroni and cheese and then another. ‘It’s good for what ails you,’ she told me and you know what? She was right. Macaroni and cheese didn’t get me over my grief, but it helped push it back for just a little while and once I realized it, cooking became my passion. I never left that poor woman alone after that. ‘Teach me this’ and ‘how do you make that?’ I found out that the only thing better than eating food that made me feel good was feeding it to other people. Her macaroni and cheese is my go to food when I’m down. Or when someone else is. It was the only thing Billy would eat at the end.”

“The end?” Dean looked startled. “You mean it wasn’t, like, an accident or something?”

“Cancer.” Mrs. Salters wiped at her eyes. “He was gone six months after we found out he was sick. He used to say that knowing I was making my mac and cheese for him was what was keeping him alive.” She let out a deep breath and smiled at Dean. “Enough about my reasons now. What’s your go to food when you’re down?”

Dean gave that some thought as he popped his cake layers onto cooling racks. “Cheeseburgers, I guess. Rare with lots of onions. Or maybe apple pie. Even if things aren’t really better after I eat them, sometimes it seems like they are.”

“Precisely,” she said with a firm nod. “Both excellent choices. I am, however, going to give you this.” She laid a sheet of paper on the table. “None of my kids leave here without this recipe. Even if you don’t need it for a depressing reason it still makes darned good eating. So,” she added, leaning back in her chair, “since it’s going to be a little bit before your cake cools enough to frost, why don’t you tell me about your brother. And your father. And your plans for the future.

Dean told the truth about Sam and lied about his father until the cake was ready to frost. “I don’t know,” he finished. “I don’t think it makes sense to worry about the future. I mean, your grandma, your husband…my mom. They all had plans and dreams and things they wanted to do, but what did that get them? Nothing more than anybody who just went with whatever came their way would have gotten, right?”

Mrs. Salters was silent as she watched him smooth frosting over his cake. “That’s kind of bleak way to look at things, Dean. And I can’t say I agree. You’ve got to prepare and hope for the best. You can’t just say ‘well, I’m going to die some day so why plan anything’.”

“So,” Dean said, glancing at the clock and desperate to change the subject. “You really think you’ve got a chance to get this program where you want it to be?”

“Nothing’s impossible,” she said, writing Good Job, Sammy on the top of the cake in green icing. She laughed at Dean’s delighted grin and slid the cake into a box, then into a plastic bag. “There. Now it can be a surprise.”

“Thanks,” Dean said.

“You’re welcome. Now go pick up your brother. Oh, and will I see you next week?”

“I don’t think so,” Dean replied with genuine regret. “Now that Sam’s done with play practice I don’t know when I can come back.”

“Well, I’ll miss your help. And I’ll miss you. And there are far too many leftovers for just the people helping out after school to finish up. Stop by any time to pick some up.”

“Way too many leftovers, huh?” Dean said with a grin. “Doesn’t sound like good management to me.”

“I think it depends on what the manager’s trying to accomplish,” Mrs. Salters replied with a laugh. “Enjoy your weekend and I’ll see you at lunch on Monday.”

Dean waved as he headed out the door, mind on what he was going to make Sam for dinner on Saturday to go with his cake.



While Sam was at dress rehearsal, Dean wandered through the supermarket, crossing item after item off the mental list he had made of things he thought he could manage to cook on the two burners he had available to him. He’d always thought junk food was expensive, but he couldn’t afford to make a single main dish out of ingredients he’d learned to cook over the last two weeks. He settled for a box of spaghetti, a jar of sauce (the thought of Mrs. Salters’ reaction to that had him looking over his shoulder to make sure she wasn’t in the store) and a quarter pound of hamburger to make meatballs with. Sam would be thrilled that it wasn’t out of a can and Dean would have cooked at least part of it himself, so he called it a win.

Fifteen minutes before the curtain was due to go up, Dean settled into a metal folding chair in the elementary school gymnasium. He grinned, remembering Sam’s excitement at being cast in the play despite being “the new kid” and scanned the program until he found March Hare…Sam Winchester. Dean wasn’t really up on Alice in Wonderland, but Sammy had given him a crash course in the weird as he’d tried to explain it. Dean had finally begged off, telling Sam he’d wait for the play and see if it all made sense then. By the time the curtain fell, he was just as much in the dark as he had been when it rose. All he knew for sure was that Sam was the only kid in the whole play who hadn’t muffed his lines. When the lights came up he stood, stretched and turned to see his father leaning against the back wall of the gym. Dean’s stomach tied itself in knots as he went over to join him.

“You see the whole thing?” he asked, bumping his father’s shoulder.

“Got here just after the curtain went up.”

“You understand anything that went on up there?”

“I understand that Sammy knew all his lines,” John said with a grin.

“Yeah, that’s all I got too.” Dean shifted before he asked his next question, already sure of the answer from the look on his father’s face. “You finish the last job?”

“Yes, I did. We’re heading out as soon as Sammy’s ready.”

That’ll be about never, Dean thought. “I got Sam a cake for after,” he said. “Can we at least have some before we go?”

“I packed it along with the rest of your gear. We can have it when we stop tonight.”

Sam’s not going to want it by then, Dean thought, but all he said was, “Yes, sir.”



Now:

Dean brought the food out, certain that Sam would be in the same position he’d left him in and he was right. Hunched over the table, books stacked in front of him, Sam stubbornly stuck to his research. Carefully settling the tray down, Dean poured a tall glass of ice water from the pitcher and set it next to the mug of hot tea. Sam needed fluids as much as food. And rest. First things first, though and Dean intended to get his brother fed.

Sam’s nostrils twitched and he lifted his head, peering around blearily. When his exhausted gaze reached Dean he blinked slowly and unconsciously licked his lips. “Something smells…good.”

“Good? Good? With your oversized vocabulary that’s the best you can come up with? Sammy, this food smells freakin’ awesome!” Dean shook his head in mock disgust and set a plate of warm bread slathered with butter and crushed garlic in front of his brother. “Good.”

Sam rubbed his eyes wearily and stared at the clock, then the overly laden tray. “How long…? Did you go out?”

“No, man, I was in the kitchen.”

Sam looked at the clock again. “All this time? What were you doing?”

“Really, dude?” Dean dropped into a chair and stared at his brother. “I know you’re exhausted and there’s no fuel in your body to drive that gigantic brain, but what do you think I was doing? Making you dinner, maybe?”

A silent minute went by and then another. Sam wrinkled his forehead. “You can’t cook,” he finally said.

“What, you think all this just appeared by magic?” Sam’s gaze sharpened slightly and Dean bristled. “No, Sam. I know there are some powerful spells in these books, but the ones I used were normal cookbooks.”

Sam stabbed his fork through a crisp vegetable, scooping up its green length and chomping down on it. “Was that a pea pod?” he asked after he swallowed.

“Yup. Also carrots, cucumbers, green beans and spinach.”

Sam swallowed another fork full of greens. “Didn’t think you knew what those things were.”

“Well,” Dean said with a smirk, “fortunately there’s a supermarket a half hour away that does a fantastic job of labeling its produce.” He pushed the bread plate toward Sam. “Come on, try some of this. You need carbs to go with all those vegetables.”

Sam picked up a slice of bread, grimacing as the butter trickled over his fingers. He took a small bite, then a bigger one, a satisfied hum coming from him as he swallowed. “Truth, Dean. You bought the bread.”

“Truth, Sam,” Dean shot back. “I made the bread.”

“You..”

“Why is that so hard to believe?”

Sam just stared at his brother. “Because you never even cook, never mind bake. Next you’ll be bringing out cookies.”

Dean shrugged. “Rice pudding, actually.”

“How…?” Sam covered his confusion by taking a mouthful of macaroni and cheese. “Dude, this is awesome,” he said with a small groan. “Are you sure you didn’t use magic?”

“Anyone can follow a recipe, Sam.” Dean’s lips quirked up. “Grate the cheeses, melt them into a sauce with some milk and flour, cook the pasta, put it together, sprinkle bread crumbs and put it in the oven. It’s not quantum physics.”

“Maybe,” Sam replied through another bite of bread. “But you never have as far as I can recall.”

“You recall Woodsville?”

Sam furrowed his brow. “That little town in New Hampshire?”

“Mmmhmm. Dad was hunting all kinds of stuff up there. We lived in that crappy motel by the railroad tracks.”

Sam dug back into the reaches of his memory. “You stayed after school all the time.”

“I did,” Dean nodded. “But what did I come home with every night?”

Sam shook his head, clearly at a loss.

Dean grinned and pitched his words high. “That’s not macaroni and cheese, Dean! Macaroni and cheese is orange!”

Sam snickered, coughed a little and drowned it with a gulp of tea. “You brought home dinner. Some of it was weird, I remember, but it was usually really good. Are you telling me you cooked all that? Why’d you wait so long to do it again?”

Dean raised an eyebrow, remembering the tiny kitchen in Cassie’s apartment and Sunday morning breakfasts in bed. Lisa’s kitchen had been huge and sundrenched with a bread machine on the counter that hadn’t been used the whole year Dean was there. It would have been cheating. And even further back, pots of spaghetti when they had the means to boil water and baked chicken when they had an oven. ”I made stuff for you. Don’t you remember?”

“Not like this.” Sam tapped the salad bowl with his fork. “Dude, there are dried cranberries in here. And…pine nuts?”

Dean’s smile dimmed a little. “It costs money to make good food like this, Sammy. And you need a good kitchen. When we were kids we didn’t really have either very often.”

“And when we were grown we didn’t either.” Sam nodded slowly. “But now we do. So you’re going to be doing the cooking from now on?”

Sam’s bowl was almost empty and half the bread was gone from the plate. Dean snagged the next to last slice and leaned back in his chair. “You gotta eat, right?”

“You too,” Sam said with a yawn. Dean watched his brother’s eyelids try to slide closed as Sam fought to stay awake.

“I will.” Dean had ground beef and all the fixings for his favorite cheeseburger waiting in the refrigerator. He got up and rounded the table, gripping Sam by his upper arm. “After I get you to bed.”

“No, I’m okay. I’ll just…”

“You’re not sleeping on your books, Sam.” Dean heaved his brother to his feet with a small groan and herded him down the hallway. “You’ve got a bed and you’re going to use it.”

“Don’t let me sleep too long,” Sam murmured as Dean tucked the blankets under his chin.

Dean stared at the black circles around Sam’s eyes, stark against his pale skin. “I won’t,” he lied, dimming the light as he left the room.

Later, Dean sighed around a mouthful of rare ground beef and cheese topped with tomato, red onion and basil mayonnaise, letting his mind drift to something other than Sam and the trials. Carefully wiping the grease off his fingers with a handful of French fries, he booted up the laptop and Googled Mrs. Marion Salters, Woodsville, N.H.

Local philanthropist celebrates twenty-five years of innovative school program

Free meals now available to students at all district schools

Marion Salters, fifty-five, cooks with students in remodeled Woodsville High School cafeteria

The last was accompanied by a picture and he smiled in recognition of the woman busily instructing a roomful of teens in a kitchen that put the one he learned in to shame. Fifty-five, he thought in shock. That would have made her thirty-six when he’d known her; just a few years older than he was now. Dean stared at the picture for a few minutes before grabbing Sam’s notepad and ripping off a blank sheet of paper. A few false starts and wadded up pieces of paper later, he’d managed to scrawl a few lines across the page. He hesitated a few more moments, chewing the end of his pen, before signing his name. Before he could change his mind he stuffed it into an envelope and copied down the high school’s address from one of the articles. He’d pick up a stamp and send it off on his next trip to town. Sighing, he leaned back in his chair and popped open another beer, already making plans to use the rest of the loaf of bread to make the most kick ass French toast ever for breakfast.

Dean raised his beer bottle to the computer screen. “Here’s getting it done, you not so old lady,” he said with a grin. His eyes fell on Sam’s notes from earlier and the grin dropped from his face. “Nothing’s impossible,” he added in a harsh whisper. “We’ve just got to figure out what to do and do it. We’re going to get this done, Sammy. And you’re going to be fine.”

Date: 2013-09-22 03:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] borgmama1of5.livejournal.com
Don't take this the wrong way...but I never would have figured this story for yours because it's so...sweet :) (I liked it!!!)

Date: 2013-09-22 03:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tifaching.livejournal.com
LOL, I'm actually kind of happy to hear it. I like to write a lot of different things and it's so good to hear that they don't all sound the same!

Thanks!

Date: 2013-09-22 06:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-phoenixdragon.livejournal.com
This was deep, sweetie. So thoughtful and sad - and filled with wonderful ideas/words to remember. Thank you for this. I think this is going to be a favorite for a long, long time.

*HUGS*

Date: 2013-09-23 01:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tifaching.livejournal.com
Thanks BB! I'm so thrilled you liked it!

*smishes you*

Date: 2013-09-23 03:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] indiachick.livejournal.com
This is beautiful. I read the whole thing while feeling down and ended up with a really warm feeling. I love this, and I love Dean in it. Thanks for sharing! :)

Date: 2013-09-25 11:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tifaching.livejournal.com
I was sure I'd replied to this but it seems to have vanished. If this is a double, please excuse me! I'm so glad the cooking was comforting even if was just in words! Thanks so much for reading!

Date: 2013-09-23 12:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tifaching.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm so glad the cooking was good for your down feelings even if it was just in words. :)

Date: 2013-09-24 06:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strgazr04.livejournal.com
I loved this. It's just gorgeous and so touching. I really wish there was backstory like this on the show because it fits so well and is pretty much the kind of thing I'd imagined with Dean having to take care of Sam using so little money. Plus I can't get enough of nesting!Dean. Please write more stories like this!

Date: 2013-09-24 10:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tifaching.livejournal.com
Yay, I'm so glad you thought the backstory was plausible!!! Nesting Dean is love, isn't he? Thank you so much!

Date: 2013-09-25 01:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] monicawoe.livejournal.com
What a sweet story!
Dean does truly seem to enjoy the cooking. I love this little backstory you wrote for how he learned-fits in perfectly!

Date: 2013-09-25 02:59 am (UTC)

Date: 2013-09-25 11:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fifimom.livejournal.com
What a great way to start my day with this wonderful story.
Thanks so very much for sharing.

Date: 2013-09-25 11:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tifaching.livejournal.com
Thank YOU so much for reading! I'm glad I could help get your day off to a good start!

Date: 2013-09-25 01:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apieceofcake.livejournal.com
This was lovely! Thank you :-)

Date: 2013-09-25 11:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tifaching.livejournal.com
Aw, thank YOU!

Date: 2013-09-25 01:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] reading1066.livejournal.com
That was so sweet! I love the idea of Dean learning to cook that way. Your Mrs. Salters was wonderful!

Date: 2013-09-25 11:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tifaching.livejournal.com
Thank you. I'm so happy the idea works for you and that you like Mrs. Salters!

Date: 2013-09-25 02:17 pm (UTC)
ext_29986: (dean nom nom)
From: [identity profile] fannishliss.livejournal.com
One of my favorite things about Dean's time with Lisa was getting to see him cook -- we see him making an omelette and we see him grilling -- so we know that he wants to and can -- just that he usually doesn't have the options.

Whenever I'm at my local dollar store shopping for food I always think of Dean, trying to find food that will keep Sammy fed and nourished.

So I loved this story and Mrs. Salter's background and Dean's desire to make sure the bunker kitchen is well-stocked. :) I really agree with you that with Sam's health at stake, Dean would do a lot better than a couple of beers and Reese cups!

great story!

Date: 2013-09-26 12:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tifaching.livejournal.com
I've got to agree. Seeing him crack that egg into the pan was right up there with his bare feet for my favorite moments of that ep.

It must have been so hard for him. Finding good for for little money is practically impossible, especially if you don't really know what good food is.

Thank you so much!

Date: 2013-09-26 01:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zara-zee.livejournal.com
Oh! This was wonderful. It actually made me tear up a little! ;)
This is probably my favourite kind of fanfic; a writer picking up on a canon fact and then creating the back story for it! The OC you created, Mrs Salters, was just perfect and Dean's relationship with food and cooking was realistic and a little heartbreaking. The story was beautifully in character and is now and forever-more my head-canon for how Dean learned to cook! :) Beautiful piece.

Date: 2013-09-27 03:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tifaching.livejournal.com
Thank you! I heard a program on the radio today about how more and more people have no idea what to do with whole foods and all kinds of vegetables because they've never been exposed to them. The person being interviewed was running a program to teach people how to prepare foods that were totally foreign to them even though they are what most people of middle class and above are totally used to. The participants in his program would take home a bag of the ingredients they'd learned about and prepare them for a meal. It was fascinating and just made me love Mrs. Salters even more. :)

Date: 2013-09-29 05:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] roxymissrose.livejournal.com
I loved this story. I love stories in which Dean makes friends with outsiders, because Mrs. Salters and Dean were definitely friends. I like that she gets him, and lets him make a connection on his own time and terms. Teaching him to cook is a wonderful gift, because he can feed Sam better knowing more about food. At least, I feel that Dean feels that way.

I'm also not surprised that Sam doesn't remember that Dean can cook. But little kids don't remember much of the process of parenting--they just know that it got done, somehow, some way and it's not a big deal to them. Doesn't mean that in some corner of their mind they don't appreciate it, it just is what it is. It makes it even nicer that Dean suddenly presents Sam with all this good food, Sam is puzzled, a bit suspicious but totally impressed. :)

Hah, so I'm a bit rambly today, but all in all, this really was a delightful read. Mrs. Salters was an impressive and attractive character and I loved her interaction with Dean. Thanks so much for sharing this, it really touched my heart. *wipes leaky eyes*

Date: 2013-10-01 12:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tifaching.livejournal.com
They were friends, but like so many people that came to know the Winchesters, it was too short lived. I really wanted to have something deeply affect Dean from that time and food just seems to be something that is (or can be) a common denominator.

I'm glad that Sam came off that way. He did seem impressed by Dean's cooking in the tiny bit of canon that pertained to it.

And please, ramble away! Well thought out comments always make my day! Thanks!

Date: 2013-10-01 01:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] harrigan.livejournal.com
Here from a rec from a friend - I love you stayed true to canon, with Sam doubting Dean's expertise in the kitchen, and yet we fans all believed he could cook! Very sweet!

Date: 2013-10-04 11:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tifaching.livejournal.com
Yay, I'm so happy you liked it! And that you thought it was canon true! Thanks so much for readiing!

Date: 2013-10-06 05:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rince1wind.livejournal.com
A cooking and Supernatural crossover! Excellent!

Date: 2013-10-06 06:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tifaching.livejournal.com
LOL, food and Dean naturally go together! Glad you enjoyed, thanks!

Date: 2013-10-08 07:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] autumnfey.livejournal.com
really enjoyed this story, I love a nice warm and fuzzy pre-series story about Dean taking care of Sam. This was well written and I loved Mrs Salters.

Date: 2013-10-10 01:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tifaching.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm a big fan of preseries myself. I love to read about what young Sam or Dean are up to! And I'm so glad you liked Mrs. Salters!

Date: 2014-06-04 11:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] reggie11.livejournal.com
Ack, I wrote a really long comment telling you how much I adored this and why and my computer crashed. I'm not even going to attempt to rewrite it so I'll just say that I really loved it, and that your OC was wonderful!

Date: 2014-06-04 12:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tifaching.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2015-08-08 04:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aerynsun5.livejournal.com
This was lovely. I'm smiley and a little teary, so I'm glad I'm in the corner of the coffeeshop. I love everything about Dean and food and cooking. He's such a secret little nurturer.

Loved Mrs. Salters.

Date: 2015-08-13 12:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tifaching.livejournal.com
Eeee, thank you! Mrs. Salters was such a joy to write! And I do believe Dean is a nurturer in his heart of hearts. He just NEEDS to take care of people.

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