Characters: Mary Winchester, Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester, John Wincehster
Additional Tags: Wee!chesters, Pre-Series, Fluff, Familial Relationships, Dean gets his nerdiness from Mary, Kid Dean and Mary bonding
Also available on: AO3, Tumblr
Summary: Mary loved Star Wars from the first music cue. She saw it opening week in 1977, and made a point to see it every time it was re-released in theaters. In the short amount of time she had with him, Mary passed on her love of the films to her eldest and the story remained close to the hearts of her sons as they grew up without her.
Mary loved Star Wars. She first saw it with John the week the film opened, and dragged each of her friends to go see it until it ceased playing. Mary saw it every time it returned to theaters, even convincing John to leave Dean with a neighbor for the evening and make it their first date alone since he was born. When the commercial for Empire Strikes Back aired on television, Mary started her campaign to convince John they needed to see it opening day. John was skeptical, unsure the time and financial commitment was worth it, but Mary and John were both waiting in line, Dean happily bundled in a stroller, the day tickets went on sale.
When Dean was three, Mary decided he was old enough to behave himself in a theater. She and John had been fighting over John’s drinking habits, and she knew it was starting to get to Dean. Star Wars had recently returned to theaters so Mary took Dean to see it as part of a special Mom and Dean Day to distract him from the fact his father hadn’t come home the prior evening. Mary spent most of the movie watching her son’s wide eyed face as he took in the story playing out on the screen. He cheered aloud when the Death Star blew up, and Mary didn’t have the heart to tell him to be quiet in the theater.
For the next week, Star Wars was all Dean would talk about. Mary made the error of telling Dean that there was a second one that would be back in theaters in a few months, prompting Dean to ask “why isn’t there now?” far more often than she would care to hear. Mary made Dean a tiny Han Solo costume for Halloween that year, accompanying him as Chewbacca using an old brown suit of John’s. She even returned to her family’s old storage unit for the first time in years to get a holster and bandoleer to modify for their ensembles. Mary spent the rest of the night trick-or-treating with her son and doing a horrible Chewbacca impression that made Dean giggle in glee every time. At one point, Dean asked why John wasn’t Chewbacca, and Mary told him simply it was because John wasn’t cool enough to be Chewbacca, but she was. Dean nodded, agreeing with her, commenting that her hair was the wrong color for Princess Leia anyway.
For Dean, the chance to see “Star Wars Two!” couldn’t come soon enough. Mary was skeptical of taking him to see Empire Strikes Back, concerned about how he would take the revelation at the end of the movie. Dean pitched a fit so loud in response to her reticence it had John shouting “He can handle a goddamn movie Mary!” She caved, and even let Dean wear his costume to the theater, though she declined to reprise her role and tucked Dean’s Chewbacca action figure into his pocket instead.
As the end of the film drew closer, Mary kept her eyes on Dean to gauge his reaction. His wide eyes and silent shaking of his head at Vader’s admission broke her heart, though she felt a guilty relief he hadn’t caused a scene. Last time she'd seen it, a child had started crying so loudly he and his mother had to leave early, and Mary was glad to be spared that particular embarrassment.
Dean was silent the entire way home, devastated. As she was tucking him into bed, Dean finally spoke “Does Vader being his dad make Luke a bad guy?”
Mary frowned. “Why would you think that sweetie?”
Dean stared resolutely at his sheets, worrying them in his small fists. “Everyone says I’m going to be just like Dad. Boys are always like their Dads. So Luke’s gonna be a bad guy like Vader right?”
Mary smiled and smoothed his hair. “No sweet heart. What you do makes you a good guy or a bad guy. Some people are like their parents, but not everyone. Vader might be a bad guy, but Luke is a hero. And his Dad isn’t going to change that.” Dean looked relieved, but Mary sensed Dean was still worried about something. “Why is this bothering you so much?” Mary asked.
Dean frowned, hesitating a moment as if trying to find the words before speaking. “You and Dad are fighting. I don’t want to be like Dad and have you hate me too.”Mary’s heart broke all over again and she pulled her son to her chest. “Oh no sweet heart. I could never hate you. Your Dad and I are just having some grown up problems, but none of it is your fault. I will always love you.” She kissed the top of his head as he whispered “I love you too Mommy” into her shirt. Mary held him tightly for a while longer, gently rocking him and making soothing noises before tucking him back in and beginning their usual nighttime routine of a story and “Hey Jude” in lieu of a lullaby.
Once Dean was asleep, Mary went downstairs to where John was sitting on the couch,with several empty beer bottles on the coffee table and one in hand. She sat next to him and took a deep breath. “John, we need to work this out. Dean’s noticed and it’s scaring him. We can’t let our problems hurt him.”
John put the TV on mute and sighed. “I know. I’m sorry Mary.” He paused and looked at the beer in his hand, then looked at Mary. “This is my last one.” He took sip as Mary frowned at him.“Of the night?”
John finished off the beer and set it on the table next to four other empty bottles. “No, ever. I’ve been thinking, and you’re right. You’ve always been right. I’m not the same when I’m drunk. I’m not the husband you deserve or the father Dean needs. So I’m done. I got rid of all of it except this one while you were out with Dean. The empties are in the bin. You can check if you like.”
Mary silently shook her head, tears running gently down her cheeks. “No. I don’t need to check. Thank you John.” She leaned in and kissed him, out of love rather than habit for the first time in months. John responded fiercely, his lips moving in a new form of apology.
“I love you.” Mary whispered as they broke apart, foreheads touching.
John cupped the back of Mary’s head and looked into her watering eyes. “I love you too Mary. Things will be better now. I promise.”
Mary pulled John into another kiss.
As May of that year drew closer, Mary wasn’t sure what Dean was more excited about, his baby brother being born, or the final Star Wars movie coming out. When Dean caught his first glimpse of the trailer, he immediately began shouting for his Mom, running to pull her into the living room when she didn’t move as quickly as he would have liked. John chuckled when he heard the story later, reminding Dean that he had to be gentle with Mom and the baby. For once, talk of his soon-to-be baby brother didn’t completely distract Dean from what he had been saying, and he continued to yammer on about what he thought might happen in the movie.
Dean completely forgot about seeing Star Wars the moment he laid eyes on baby Sammy. He refused to be separated from his brother, even sneaking out of bed to sleep under his crib at night. After a week of finding Dean asleep on the floor of Sammy’s nursery, Mary and John were able to coax Dean into sleeping in his own bed with the promise of bunk beds once Sammy was old enough. Sam had been home almost a month when John suggested the family go see Star Wars that weekend. Dean was so excited he barely slept that night, and spent the entire day before they went to the theater recounting the story as best he could to Sammy. Mary grinned from the doorway of the nursery as she watched Dean weave the tale for the baby through the bars of his crib, acting certain bits out with his action figures. A creak alerted her to John coming up the stairs and she silently motioned for him to fetch the camera.
When Dean learned that Sammy wasn’t coming to the theater with them, his mood immediately soured. The notion of leaving Sam with a neighbor was incredibly distressing and he started screaming adamantly that they just couldn’t leave Sammy with a stranger. John and Mary tried to console Dean, but the remained convinced Sam wouldn’t be properly cared for by someone who wasn’t family.
Seeing that Dean would rather miss the movie than leave Sam, John made a decision. He knelt before Dean and put a hand on the boy’s small shoulder. “Hey Dean, why don’t I stay with Sammy and you and your Mom go see the movie, just the two of you.”
Mary frowned, “But John, we should see it as a family.”
John saw Dean calming and considering the idea. “Nah, it’s tradition for Star Wars to be a you and Mom thing isn’t it? You can’t break tradition.” Dean nodded and John continued, “but it’s also tradition that you come home and tell me all about it, so be sure to pay real good attention so you remember everything. Okay champ”?
Dean grinned and hugged his Dad, face still wet with tears, “I promise to tell you everything!”
John chuckled, sure that Dean would talk his ear off for hours once they got home. Mary hugged John, whispering thanks into his ear. John smiled, saying he was tired anyway, and that he’d see it sometime later.
Dean started talking the moment John opened the door to welcome them home so excited to tell his father the story that he started skipping words. It was all his parents could do to convince him to wait until tomorrow to tell his sleeping brother all about it. Dean eventually agreed not to wake Sammy, but as they brought him into the nursery to say goodnight, Mary heard him whisper “a sister like Leia would be pretty cool, but I’m glad I’ve got you instead Sammy” as he kissed his brother’s forehead.
Almost none of their personal belongings survived the fire. John returned to drinking, and for a time, Star Wars was forgotten. A few months after the fire, Dean was crawling around the inside of the Impala, playing while John was inside the gas station, when he found a shopping bag hidden under the seat. He pulled it out, curious, and found an omnibus of all three Star Wars movie novelizations inside. He was still flipping through the pages when his Dad got back in the car. John glanced over and saw what Dean had, scowling silently before putting the keys into the ignition and taking off. Dean already knew what that look meant, the books had something to do with Mom. Dean didn’t mention them to John again, hiding them in his backpack. Dean would often return to the books as he was learning to read, trying too see how many more words he recognized. The day he was able to read the entire first chapter without stumbling, he began to read the books aloud to Sam. It was slow going as Dean still had to sound out some unfamiliar words, but every night John wasn’t around to put Sam to bed, Dean would read until they fell asleep.
Dean began to use the Star Wars book as a carrot on a stick for Sam as he started learning to read, telling Sammy that once he could read all the little kids books and at least one short chapter book from Pastor Jim without stumbling, he’d let Sammy read Star Wars on his own. When Sammy read the first chapter aloud to Dean, his grin nearly split his face.
When Dean was thirteen, the Star Wars Trilogy was re-released on VHS, and Dean wanted them desperately. He started saving what little money he had, scrounging and even resorted to pick pocketing every now and then, hoping to surprise Sam with a set for Christmas. It was slow going though, as more urgent needs frequently cut into what little he had saved to begin with. Sam was watching E.T. on the grimey motel television when Dean thought of another solution.
With the money he had been able to set aside, Dean bought a pack of blank tapes, carefully labeling each one. It took months of nicking copies of TV guide, to see when and which channel the movies would be on, and getting lucky enough to stay in a motel with both the right channel and a VHS player that could record to get all three movies. Since Dean couldn’t keep what he was doing a secret in such close quarters, Sam would sit on the floor to watch the movies while Dean recorded them. Dean was never able to enjoy the movies during these viewings, instead tensely poised to pause and start the tape at a moments notice to not record the commercials, and to switch the tapes quickly when one got full.
The first weekend John was away after Dean completed the set, the brothers had a marathon. Dean splurged and bought sodas and a tub of popcorn from Blockbuster for the occasion, belatedly realising he could have just rented the movies and never returned them instead of going to all that trouble recording them off the TV. Sammy’s grin when he walked back into their room was enough to cure him of any foolishness he felt. Besides, Sammy would’ve given him all kinds of grief over stealing, and this way they could enjoy the movies together guilt free.
Dean hated the Special Editon. He’d gotten tickets as a birthday present to himself, and a reward for Sam getting straight “A”s the prior semester. Walking into to the theater, Dean barely concealed his excitement, his own memories of seeing Star Wars on the big screen having long since faded. He complained about the changes the entire way home from the theater.
“Han shot first Sam! What the crap was that bull shit!?”
“It’s not that big a deal Dean.”
“It is big deal! They made him a pussy! Han’d never let someone get the jump on him like that”
“I liked the new Jabba scene. It explains a lot of things.” Sam was desperately trying to change the subject, but Dean would not be deterred.
“It was fine the way it was.”
Despite his irritation at the changes made to A New Hope, Dean still saw Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi in theaters over the subsequent months, dragging Sam with him each time and complaining loudly the entire way home. Sam rolled his eyes, smirking at Dean’s thinly veiled enjoyment of seeing his beloved movies in theaters for the first time since he was a kid, and Sam had to admit, they certainly were more impressive when not viewed on a tiny crappy motel TV.
Dean coveted his taped-from-TV VHS, pissed as hell when motels stopped providing players in the rooms. Sam caught sight of the tapes in Dean’s bag when he was collecting laundry to wash after a particularly disgusting job that brought them no closer to finding their Dad than the previous five.
“Why do you still have these things Dean? You can’t even play them?”
“They’re classics Sammy!”
“Classics you can’t even watch!”
“I might pick up a player for cheap.”
“And lug it around in the car just for Star Wars?”
“Damn straight bitch”
Sam found a “previously viewed” DVD box set of the Special Edition when rummaging around the bargain section of a video store looking for something to pass the time while Dean was busy trolling the local bars for a quick lay. He grinned and bought it immediately. Dean gave him all kinds of crap for getting the “crappy remake” when Sam presented them to him, but that didn’t stop Dean from commandeering Sam’s laptop to watch them whenever their accommodations lacked a DVD player.
Sam smiled and shook his head as Dean once again launched into a tirade at the screen about Greedo shooting first, returning to re-packing his bag. He paused to finger the battered novelization that was carefully tucked into the side pocket of his bag. He’d left it behind in his hurry to leave for Stanford, so it hadn’t been destroyed in the fire like all his other possessions. Dean had called Sam a sap at the nostalgic look he’d gotten when he found the book in the trunk of the Impala, but Sam had just rolled his eyes and squirreled it away for himself. The movies were what mattered to Dean, a connection to memories of their Mother that had long since faded. Sam enjoyed the movie well enough, but it was the novelization omnibus that really mattered to him, and not because it had once belonged to a mother he couldn’t remember. The book brought held memories of Dean: Dean telling him the story as he went to sleep, teaching Sam to read, and giving it to him as his first “good grades” gift when their Dad couldn't even be bothered to look at his report card.
Dean swore at another change he did not approve of “He changed even more stuff for the DVD Sammy! Bastard couldn’t leave well enough alone! What the crap is this bullshit? I want my damn tapes.” and Sam laughed silently to himself. Thanks Mom.
I did a lot of research for this fic! Here's the timeline for those interested.
- May 25, 1977: Star Wars opens in theaters.
- July 21, 1978: Star Wars returns to theaters.
- January 24, 1979: Dean Winchester is born
- August 15, 1979: Star Wars returns to theaters.
- May 21, 1980: Empire Strikes Back opens in theaters
- April 10, 1981: Star Wars returns to theaters
- July 31, 1981: Empire Strikes Back returns to theaters
- August 13, 1982: Star Wars returns to theaters
- November 19, 1982: Empire Strikes Back returns to theaters
- May 2, 1983: Sam Winchester is born
- May 25, 1983: Return of the Jedi opens in theaters
- November 2, 1983: Mary Winchester dies
- March 29, 1985: Return of the Jedi returns to theaters
- 1992: Star Wars Trilogy re-released on VHS*
- January 31, 1997: Star Wars: A New Hope Special Edition opens in theaters
- February 21, 1997: Empire Strikes Back Special Edition opens in theaters
- March 14, 1997: Return of the Jedi Special Edition opens in theaters
- September 2004: Star Wars Trilogy released on DVD
- November 2, 2005: Sam returns to hunting with Dean
*Star Wars was released on VHS and laserdisc several times in the early to mid 80s, but that wasn't terribly relevant for my fic, so I didn't track down the specifics.