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Thank You, Father

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Jack furrowed his brow, hunching further over the small piece of paper. He had an intense, concentrated look in his eyes, and was scribbling furiously. All around him, there were littered crumpled papers, scattered across the oval table. He had been working late into the night, after Dean finally went to bed, and Cas left to work on some heaven related material.

 

Finally, he sat back, biting his lip. He was finished. He surveyed his work one more time, an innocent smile breaking out across his face. He just hoped that they liked them. Picking up the extra, crumpled paper, he deposited them in a trash can. Next, he quickly closed up the pencil box, returning it to the shelf where it had previously resided. Last, he took the three remaining pieces of folded paper, tucking them away safely in his coat pocket.

 

Tiptoeing down the long hallway, he snuck past Dean’s room, peeking into the cracked open door just to be sure. Sure enough, there lay Dean, all sprawled limbs and snores. This was the one time Jack had truly seen the hunter at peace. At a second glance, there was another dark figure in the bed with him, their limbs slightly intertwined. Jack squinted a little. Castiel. He blinked once at the angel, who lay there, his head turned to look at Dean, even as the previously mentioned used his chest as a pillow.

 

Jack quickly backpedaled out of there. Cas never slept, and though he thought he was away on important heaven business, apparently he was not. Jack didn’t want the surprise ruined because of the angel’s lack of sleep.

 

As he crept past Sam’s room, he could hear light snoring from inside, though no one but Sam himself resided in the big bed. Perhaps Sam would let Jack snuggle with him, like Dean was doing with Cas. It looked comfortable, and Cas looked very happy.

 

Finally, he made it to his own room. It was smaller than Sam's, and not as decorated as Dean’s, but he loved it. It felt like home. Carefully, he hung his jacket on the door, and slipped into bed, pulling out his computer. He had a lot more research ahead of him before the morning came.

 

~•~•~•~•

 

At around six, Jack finally closed the computer. Sliding out of his bed, he carried his computer to the kitchen, making sure to tread extra softly to the kitchen. Dean was an extremely light sleeper, but his door was now closed. Hopefully, Cas wouldn’t decide he was going to make breakfast.

 

Setting up the computer on the nearby counter, he clicked on the first tab. Carefully, he poured water into the coffee maker, being sure to follow the instructions exactly. As soon as the water level was slightly higher than the eight mark on the side of the appliance, he stopped. Scrolling back through the directions again, he stared at the next instruction. Coffee filters… Where did Sam and Dean keep their coffee filters?

 

Rummaging through the cupboards, he finally pulled out a small box. Looking inside, he found exactly what he needed. He pulled a coffee filter out, dropping it into the top of the machine. They were running low on filters, there were only three left.

 

From there, he turned to the bag of coffee grounds, gulping. The website didn’t give him an exact measurement, so he’d have to eyeball it. Trying to remember roughly how much Dean had put in the last time he made coffee, he started shaking coffee grounds in.

 

Finally, he switched the coffee maker on, letting it “just do its thing.”

 

He poured some orange juice for Sam and Castiel, setting up the table the way that they had taught him. He got Dean his coffee mug for when the coffee was ready, and took butter and syrup from the fridge. The man in the video had recommended putting out butter beforehand, so that it could soften.

 

Next up was the meal. He knew it was risky to try, btu Jack pulled up the next tab- pancakes. He had seen Dean inhale them one day, when Sam was cooking, and those weren’t even the ones with chocolate chips! Once Jack had seen that you could add chocolate, he was sold. He was going to make them all pancakes, no matter what.

 

Mixing the ingredients was easy enough, he could pour water, and flour. He had some trouble with the eggs, but luckily the recipe had recommended cracking those in another bowl, so he spent a while picking eggshells out of that before they were fit to be added safely. The man had said not to add chocolate chips until they were on the skillet.

Then, he chose a spatula and began to stir. It was a catastrophe. Flour went everywhere as he clunkily stirred, making him want to sneeze. He was afraid that if he did, he would wake Sam and Dean up, or alert Cas to his activities. Finally, the batter began to actually look like the pancake batter in the video, and he set it aside.

 

Grabbing a large frying pan, Jack set it on the stove, giving it a moment to heat up. He knew it wasn’t what the man in the video had used, but he hoped that it would be an adequate substitute. Finally, he poured the first of his pancake batter onto it, watching it closely, spatula in hand. When it began to bubble, he added the chocolate chips, and then did his best to flip it. The pancake stuck to the spatula, and only half turned over.

 

Jack was not discouraged. Scraping the mostly cooked blob of pancake onto a nearby plate, he tried again. And again. And again. Before he knew it, all of the batter had been used, cooked into what almost resembles chocolate chip pancakes.

 

It was then that Jack heard movement, and he rushed to put the pancakes on the table, standing awkwardly to the side. As the footsteps got louder, he looked around nervously. He had made quite a mess. He hoped that they didn’t care.

 

Sam walked into the room then, still rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. He blinked at the table before him, finally turning to Jack. “Jack?” He asked sleepily, confused.

 

“Happy Father’s Day!” Jack smiled at him. “I took the liberty of making you pancakes, I hope you don’t mind.”

 

Sam blinked once more as he took the scene in once more, the dirty dishes all strewn across the back counter, the crookedly set table, the mutilated pancakes still hot on the table and practically dripping chocolate, the strong smelling coffee finishing up, and lastly, Jack’s hopeful smile.

 

“Jack…” Sam started. “This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for us.” He smiled, walking across the room to envelop Jack in a hug. “I’m sure Dean and Cas will love it.” Sam held him again at arms length, nodding slightly as a bigger smile broke out across Jack’s face. “Now what do you say I help you wash those dishes before Dean and Cas are up, huh?”

 

Jack’s smile wavered slightly. “But it’s Father’s Day.” He looked confused. “The woman in the video said that you don’t work today. It’s ok, I can manage.” He quickly began to gather all of the dishes. “Please, eat.”

 

Sam blinked once. “Um, ok buddy. Thanks.” He took a seat, looking once more at the chocolate chip pancakes Jack had prepared for them. His mind screamed at him about calorie intake as he took the largest one, setting it on his plate and drizzling syrup all over it. He politely told his brain to shut up. It was Father’s Day, and Jack was trying to do something nice for them.

 

Dean and Cas shuffled into the kitchen then, Cas in Dean’s bathrobe, and Dean in a tee shirt and boxers.

 

“What’s this?” Cas asked, confused.

 

“Happy Father’s Day!” Jack turned around from the dishes, greeting them both. “I prepared a meal for you.”

 

“Jack was so kind as to make us pancakes,” Sam smiled at Dean and Cas. “Why don’t you both dig in?”

 

“Well, don’t mind if I do. Where’s the coffee?” Dean plopped down onto the seat across from Sam, and Jack was instantly at his side, pouring him a cup. Dean took a sip, and he blinked twice, “Whoa. That’s very strong.” He shook his head slightly, and shrugged, taking another sip. “Not half bad, really. How much coffee did you use, Kid?”

 

Jack looked at the ground. “Eleven twenty-sixths of the bag.”

 

Sam let out a little snort as Cas sat down, taking a pancake as well. As he cut it open, he found that the inside was almost pure chocolate, and the little pancake that there was happened to be slightly burnt. He took a tentative bite, with Jack watching him hopefully. It seared his vessel’s mouth, and the chocolate was slightly hard to swallow, but he smiled at Jack. “It tastes wonderful. Thank you.” His gruff voice rang out.

 

Jack looked as though he was about to burst from all of the praise.

 

Finally, Dean took a pancake, putting it right in the center of his plate. “Oh yeah, let’s see how you taste, baby!” He grinned, and Sam had a vivid memory of eight year old Dean making him almost exactly the same thing that sat before them now. Cracking another smile at his enthusiasm, he watched Dean take a huge bite. “Mhhhhh.” He grinned through a mouthful of pancake.

 

With Dean’s seal of approval, Jack finally sat down next to Sam, who smiled down at him. “Aren’t you going to try some, Jack?” He asked, and Jack added a pancake to his plate as well.

 

“Here’s a trick, Kid.” Dean leaned in over the table. “Sam doesn’t want you to know this because Sam’s no fun, but if you grab some whipped cream…” Dean reached over Cas to open the fridge, pulling out the can. “You can spray it on your pancakes and they’re like little slices of heaven.” Dean quickly sprayed copious amounts onto his pancakes, passing it to Jack.

 

“I see,” Jack said slowly, making to mimic him, but as he pressed the nozzle down as Dean had, the loud noise of the seal releasing startled him, and he jumped slightly.

 

Sam helped him out. “Here you go.” He helped Jack put whipped cream on his pancakes, then sprayed a little on his own.

 

Dean gasped dramatically. “What is this? Sammy Winchester putting whipped cream on his chocolate chip pancakes ? This is a sight to behold, folks, you may never see it again. Take pictures if you must, to commemorate this moment!”

 

Sam rolled his eyes. “It’s Sam, how many times do I have to tell you? And it’s Father’s Day, we all should indulge a little.”

 

Jack, who was sitting there quietly, mirroring Castiel, cleared his throat quietly. “I also made you all something else,” he started.

 

“Jack, you didn’t have to,” Sam smiled once more at him.

 

“That was very kind, Jack.” Cas ate more of his pancake.

 

Dean was so busy stuffing his face to reply, but he gave Jack a quick thumbs up.

 

Slowly, Jack stood up, pulling the cards out of his pocket, and passing them out. He was acting quite shy, like a young child showing off their work for the first time, not sure how it would be received.

 

Sam had the good sense to wipe his hands before taking his, and on the front, he saw a rough drawing of what looked to be him and Jack hugging. Picasso, he was not, but it was a sweet gesture. On the inside, it simply read, Dad, thanks for never giving up on me. Sam could almost feel his eyes well with tears, and he brought Jack into his second hug of the day.

 

Meanwhile, Dean and Cas were reading their cards. Cas’ card depicted a drawing of him and Jack, but Jack had drawn in their wings. They appeared to be flying. His card read, Father, thank you for being there for me when He wasn’t. They all knew what “he” Jack was talking about. It was Cas’ turn to hug Jack, whispering something into his ear that made the boy break out in smiles.

 

Lastly, Dean was staring at his card. His picture, though poorly drawn, was clearly of Jack getting him the food from that case with the ghoul. They were in their fed suits, and despite how horrible Dean had been to him, Jack had drawn a smile on his own face. Then Dean opened the card, and he began to feel nauseous. It only said, Dad, thank you for not killing me. It was written with a certain childish innocence that meant Dean could tell Jack really meant it when he was thanking him for not killing him. His mind flashed back to a time when he would have said more or less the same thing to John. His throat closed up and he ripped the card in half.

 

“Hey, hey, hey! What the hell man? Jack made that for you!” Sam was distraught.

 

Dean walked over to Jack, crushing him into a tight hug. “You never, ever, thank anyone for not killing you, you hear me?” He asked him. “You deserve to live, it’s not a privilege someone can take away.” Dean could feel the beginnings of tears in his eyes. “I’m sorry,” He finally whispered, letting Jack go, who just looked mildly confused. “I’m sorry for I prematurely judged you, and I’m sorry that I threatened you, and I’m sorry that I ripped the nice card you made me.” Dean looked down at him. “I’m sorry for everything.”

 

“It’s ok, Dean. I can make you a new card.” Jack’s voice was strangely upbeat, too happy for this scenario.

 

“Are you sure?” It took everything Dean had for his voice not to break then.

 

“Of course!” Jack smiled. “Did you not like the card?”

 

Dean chose his next words very carefully. “I didn’t like the message I sent to you. If I ever act like I was again, feel free to tell me, ok?”

 

“Ok,” Jack smiled. “So I was reading online, guys, and they said that fathers typically watch movies all day, so I went through all of the films I could find in the Bunker and found Star Wars. Sam said it used to be his favorite, and I was thinking we could all watch it together?” His voice trailed off hopefully.

 

A small smile made its way across Sam’s face. “That sounds great.”

 

Cas agreed, and Dean could barely make out a nod, he was so overcome with emotions.

 

“Great! I’ll set it up!” Jack practically skipped away.

 

As Sam, Cas, and Dean all sat together on the couch during the opening credits, Sam thought, hey, maybe this life wasn’t so bad after all. Jack rested his head on his shoulder and he smiled.

 

Fatherhood was not the life the Winchesters expected to be leading, but it was the life that they had.