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SPN Fanfic: Boys 'n Berry Jam - CaffieneKittySpace
('i' before 'e' if you're looking for me)
SPN Fanfic: Boys 'n Berry Jam
Title: Boys 'n' Berry Jam
Characters: John, Dean (8), Sam (4)
Classification: GEN, kidfic, pastfic
Rating: GEN, PG
Warnings: None. May cause extreme sugar shock.
Word Count: 1757 words
Disclaimer: It's Kripke's world, I'm just spreading a little jam on it.
Summary: A contemplative sequence of late summer-y vignettes, some funny, some schmoopy, stuck together with jam. John POV
Translation available: Russian - Мальчики и ягодное варенье, Translated by Lupa_Gangrel

A/N:As bass-ackwards as my life is lately, here is a sort of post-story tag for a story I haven't managed to write yet, despite the pages of notes and some research. And this came first. The story I haven't written yet was started solely to explain the origin of the jam in this one. I swear, someone put my brain in backwards. This is not the story I've been fighting with for nearly four weeks either, this is just a little thing that's been mostly done for a couple months, sneaking out under the radar. Unbeta'd, so it's all my fault.

Boys 'n' Berry Jam
by CaffieneKitty
- - -

Before they reached the end of her driveway, the boys had searched and inventoried the box the old widow had insisted John take.

A bag of sandwiches, slabs of ham a quarter-inch thick on home baked rolls. Another bag of fresh-baked rolls besides. A bag of familiar apples. A bundle of carrots, washed, roots and tops still on. And at the bottom of the box, several types of homemade jam in pint sealers, some still warm from the canner.

John hadn't thought the boys could get a jar open on their own, four-year-old Sammy almost certainly couldn't, but less than five miles down the road, there was a sucking sssponk! of a home-sealed jam jar opening. He glanced in the rearview mirror. Dean met his father's reflected eyes before sliding his gaze oh-so-casually toward the window. Sammy was covering his mouth with both hands trying to hide a grin. John looked back to the road. They'd all been eating the widow's jam for a week or so now. No harm in the boys getting into it.

In the first hundred miles, the first four jam rules were established.

The first rule was "No jam-sandwich-making while the car is moving. Put the lid back on the jam and eat the ham sandwiches first." The corollary to the first rule, after the ham sandwiches were gone, was "A stop sign does not count as 'not moving' for the purposes of making jam sandwiches."

The second rule was "No eating jam straight from the jar. No, not even if you do find a spoon to use."

The third rule was "No drawing, painting, doodling or otherwise smearing your brother with jam. Either of you. I don't care if they're protection symbols."

The fourth rule was "Alright, that's it! The jam goes in the trunk until we get to the next hotel, where you are both getting hosed off, and then we are all cleaning the car. Or you two can ride in the damned trunk and I'll keep the jam up front with me. No? Just try me."

Despite his admonitions, John's scowl never quite reached full-on forbidding. It was too busy fighting down the smirk that threatened to surface anytime he glanced in the rearview mirror. The car smelled like a fruit salad massacre, and his impishly downcast sons were purple. John could almost hear Mary's laugh when he looked at them. Made the mess almost worth it to remember her laugh.

When they reached a hotel, the sticky sounds of children peeling themselves off the back seat was almost entirely imaginary. To the boys' delight, the jam content of Sam's hair turned the hotel shampoo mauve.

It was well past dark by then, Sammy turning into a warm, dozy lump after the bath, and Dean rapidly crashing after the jam-induced sugar-high. The car-cleaning was left for morning.


The fifth jam rule was "Until we can get every last trace of the jam out of the car, the windows are to be kept rolled up tight."

The next morning when John went out to start the cleaning process, he discovered two things. First, that a black car smeared internally with jam and parked where August morning sunshine would hit it for an hour or two after dawn makes a great fermentation chamber. Second, that if a vehicle in such condition has a window open wide enough for a four-year-old boy to wave his sticky fingers in the air currents when the vehicle is in motion, the car will become a mecca for bees.

Hundreds of them, crawling over the sun-warmed sticky patches, flying in and out of the window in squadrons. John stood and stared at the insects zipping past, around and through his car for a minute before opening all the doors wide and heading back into the hotel room for more coffee.

Later at a gas station with a self-serve car wash, John, Dean and Sammy scrubbed everywhere there were jam patches. The seats, the floor, the back of the front seat, under the front seat, the ceiling... "Dean? Do I want to know how the jam got on the ceiling? Never mind. I know I don't want to know. Make sure it never happens again."

The Winchesters drove to the next town, the car smelling of rug shampoo and wildberry cider, pursued by disappointed bees.


Jam is good on bread. Jam is good on cereal. Jam is good in milk. Jam would be good on ice cream, if they had ice cream. "No, we don't have any ice cream, Sammy, sorry for mentioning it." Jam wasn't good on baloney, but was apparently okay if you licked the jam off and then ate the baloney afterward. Jam wasn't good in beans. Jam wasn't good in coffee either, John noted one morning, spluttering.

The sixth rule was "Jam doesn't go with everything." The corollary was "No, we don't need to try it with everything."


The seventh rule was "Finish one jar of jam before you open another." The almost-immediate corollary was "This does not mean you can put half a cup of jam on a slice of bread and call it a sandwich in the name of finishing the jam faster."

They left the half-full jar of green gooseberry jam at Pastor Jim's, mostly by accident. Jim said that his parishioners brought him jam all the time, but that gooseberries didn't grow in the area. It reminded him of home, he had mentioned, quietly, and wouldn't say more.

John noticed the jam hadn't made it back to the car, and that the boys were being overtly sneaky, but didn't say anything. The pale berries were a bit too squashed-eyeball-like for even large amounts of sugar to lessen the effect anyway. No real loss. John and the boys waved at Pastor Jim, standing in the doorway of his house, as they pulled away.


The eighth rule was "If the jam can be used to help a hunt, it will be."

As it turned out, nixies like jam. They really, really like jam. The last spoonful of blackberry in the bottom of the jar, left near the creek in the late afternoon, and the whole infestation was trapped. They were making happy drunken nixie noises as the lid went on, and kept making happy drunken nixie noises all the way back upstream to the ring of bilious yellow toadstools they'd come into the world through. When John went and checked the jar the next morning, it was empty, nixie-less and squeaky clean, right down into the threads of the lid.


The ninth and last rule was "When the jam is gone, it's gone. End of discussion."

Strawberry had turned out to be the universal favourite, so they'd saved a jar of the strawberry for last. The last few spoonfuls of the last jar rode in with the cans of beans and boxes of mac and cheese in the trunk, hotel to motel, bar fridge to bar fridge. They checked it once in a while to make sure it hadn't gone bad, but they didn't finish it off until weeks later.

Hunts were getting longer as the nights got shorter, and things that liked the dark came out to play. Dean was eight; John figured he could keep an eye on Sammy for an hour or two on their own in the hotel room. An hour or two away from the boys to go through county archives stretched into an afternoon. A couple hours of searching through the bush for an abandoned gravesite turned into an evening. Then a left turn instead of a right, a flashlight dropped down an embankment, and a one-hour reconnaissance turned into an eight-hour scramble in the dark, trying to find a black car on the side of an unlit road in the rain, John cursing himself with every sodden step.

He'd told Dean he'd be back that night. He'd said he was just going to be a couple hours, and be back with a pizza or something since the hotel had no kitchenette rooms.

Technically it was still that night when he pulled into the hotel parking lot. The sun wasn't cresting the horizon yet. Nothing was even open in this town at this hour, not even a gas station. John was soaked, muddy, foodless and so angry with himself he was shaking as he unlocked the hotel room door.

The first thing John saw was Dean, sitting backward on the desk chair facing the door, eyes closed lightly, one hand over a shotgun on his lap, chin resting on the chair back.

Dean's eyes opened as the room door did, and a tension in the boy's shoulders left as he recognized John. "Hi Dad," he murmured, eyes sliding half-closed again as he leaned back from his uncomfortable position and stretched. The imprint of the chair back seam was red on the underside of Dean's chin. Sammy was asleep across the end of the far bed in front of the static-filled TV. "You okay?"

"Yeah, m'fine, Dean. You're still up?"

"Mhmm," Dean slid the rifle carefully to the floor, then slid off the chair himself, feet thumping onto the carpet.

John pulled off his wet coat, watching Dean. "Was gone longer than I thought. Didn't mean to worry you."

Dean sat on the bed Sammy was sprawled on and shrugged. "Oh, I wasn't worried." He looked up at John through his eyelashes for a second, then dropped his head.

"Uh hunh," said John, "I'm glad you weren't, then." He pulled the chair over and started removing his muddy boots, watching Dean. "I didn't bring back a pizza, nothing was open. In the morning before we pack up, I promise we'll go for the biggest breakfast you've ever seen."

"'S okay, we had food," Dean yawned and swung his legs up onto the bed. "Sammy, he was maybe a little bit worried, so we had to use up the jam." He pointed at the side table with the coffee machine on it. "Saved you some," Dean said through another yawn.

Sitting by the coffee machine was half a kaiser roll spread thick with the last of the jam. Where Dean had gotten the roll from was a question for morning, maybe, or maybe it was another question best left unasked. By the time John looked back, Dean was asleep on top of the covers, his sock-covered toes brushing his brother's side.

John discovered Dean had made coffee too; chunky-style, grounds sifting around the bottom of the hotel carafe. He was beginning to like it that way. He ate the last of the jam and watched his boys sleep, planning for tomorrow.

- - -

Tags: , , ,
Current Mood: pensive pensive
Current Music: "Home for a Rest" ~ Spirit of the West

51 comments or Leave a comment
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curtainpull From: curtainpull Date: June 4th, 2007 09:13 am (UTC) (Link)
I love your description! No time to read this yet, but I totally will soon!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: June 5th, 2007 05:35 am (UTC) (Link)
*grin* I look forward to hearing your opinion!
autumnsfire From: autumnsfire Date: June 4th, 2007 11:05 am (UTC) (Link)
That was awesome. Well worth the read and good for a smile on a Monday morning. :)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: June 5th, 2007 05:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad to have brightened your Monday!
(Deleted comment)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: June 5th, 2007 05:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Aw, thanks! John's fascinating, and elusive. One of these days, along with the twenty other things I have on the go, I'll do a summary of my thoughts about John as the boys were growing up.

And what's a rule without corollaries? :-D
innie_darling From: innie_darling Date: June 4th, 2007 04:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
This was so cute, especially the "stop sign" and "protective symbols" corollaries.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: June 5th, 2007 05:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, and thanks for putting it in the newsletter! It took me almost an hour to figure out how you'd found it! :-D
wynterwolf47 From: wynterwolf47 Date: June 4th, 2007 08:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Jam wasn't good in coffee either, John noted one morning, spluttering.

Awww! Thank you so much. That was the perfect antidote for a Monday.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: June 5th, 2007 05:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Happy to have antidoted your Monday! :-D
wpadmirer From: wpadmirer Date: June 5th, 2007 03:12 am (UTC) (Link)
A lovely story. Thank you.

caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: June 5th, 2007 05:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad you liked it!
(no subject) - dairwendan - Expand
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: June 5th, 2007 05:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I find John extra hard to write, so I'm very glad he came across okay in this!
(Deleted comment)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: June 6th, 2007 03:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Sticky is pretty much a constant state in small kids, from my limited experience. :-D
saberivojo From: saberivojo Date: June 6th, 2007 03:04 am (UTC) (Link)
This was a very cool idea. I love the thought of something as innocuous as jam being the focal point of story. That is creative thinking and I have to give you kudos for that. Also, I loved your John. The fifth rule of jam is priceless. Something about the boys and John dutifully cleaning the impala and trying to avoid bees. John was actually calmer than I would have been. Thanks for the fun fic.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: June 6th, 2007 04:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh, thank you! Yeah, John's quite permissive in this. I've got a timeline of John's parenting and mental state in my head that I'll post sometime in the far distant future when the bunnies let me have my brain back. I'm glad you liked it! :-)
schweedie From: schweedie Date: July 4th, 2007 09:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, man. This was awesome. After reading and writing a *lot* of angst lately it was so good to get a great big schmoopy smile on my face.
I love the jam rules. So very parental.

"When the jam is gone, it's gone. End of discussion."
That is probably a very good rule to set way before the jam is actually gone. *nods*

Jam wasn't good on baloney, but was apparently okay if you licked the jam off and then ate the baloney afterward.
Hee! And eww. Yup, that sounds like something the boys would do.

(I've been hunting around for TWoPers lately and remembered that you were the one who wrote the awesomeness that was 'The Week After Christmas' - mind if I friend you?)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: July 5th, 2007 07:08 am (UTC) (Link)
(I've been hunting around for TWoPers lately and remembered that you were the one who wrote the awesomeness that was 'The Week After Christmas' - mind if I friend you?)

Hehe, I'm thrilled someone actually remembers that :-) Friend away.
girlfan1979 From: girlfan1979 Date: August 2nd, 2007 02:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

And John here? Sounds TOTALLY like my mother.

Even rule eight.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 3rd, 2007 10:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Hehehe. Cool, glad the parental vibe came through.
marinarusalka From: marinarusalka Date: August 22nd, 2007 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Here from a rec on spnroundtable

I love it! Especially all the jam rules, and the image of disappointed bees pursuing the Impala.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 22nd, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Here from a rec on spnroundtable

Cool, thanks for letting me know about the rec! ! I'm glad you liked it! \o/
musesfool From: musesfool Date: August 22nd, 2007 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is utterly adorable and achy. Oh, boys.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 22nd, 2007 03:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aw, thanks!
pen37 From: pen37 Date: August 26th, 2007 11:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh this was wonderful. Bees and Pastor Jim's gooseberry Jam, and the jam rules and Mary's Laugh. And there being things that Dean does that John just dosen't ask about, like how he got Jam on the roof of the Impala, and where the half of the Kaiser roll came from.

This was just wonderful.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 27th, 2007 12:57 am (UTC) (Link)
*feels all warm and fuzzy* Aw, thanks!
From: jeddy83 Date: August 28th, 2007 12:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aww, this is such a charming little story.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 29th, 2007 02:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! That's a very unusual fish in your icon...
51 comments or Leave a comment
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