The thing about growing up with a family full of people who know how to fix stuff is that you’re used to the tools just… being there.
Dex had grown up with pretty much everyone in his family, sisters and brothers alike, knowing how to fix everything from a flat tire to plumbing problems to electrical issues. The learning curve varied from manageable to smacking into a brick wall. Of course, it also leant itself to some rather hilarious and enduring family stories. Nothing like bringing up the time Grandma decided to fix the hot water heater by herself and ended up singing off an eyebrow and part of her hairline. Ah yes, good times.
The thing was, you just got used to always having what you needed on hand. Either an uncle or a brother or your little sister had whatever tool you needed when your own box was lacking.
Here at Samwell? Well, you were lucky if one person in the hall had a hammer. You were lucky if one person in the building had a hammer worthy of the name (and yes, he would argue up and down with every bro in the house that hammers were not all the same, how could you say that.)
When Bittle had first come to him asking him to take a look at Betsy, well, he’d been find with the idea. Dex was always handy with appliances, electronics, if it wasn’t organic he was pretty good at fixing it (just please, never make him fix drywall again. It’s an exercise in devilry and sandpaper and paint. Never again).
What Dex hadn’t counted on was being without the tools needed to fix Betsy.
Sure, he had his basic tools. Hammer. Screwdriver. Soldering kit with six types of solder. But he only had the one set of pliers, and they were the wrong sizes completely to strip the wires. Granted, he could have gone the route of his grand-da and just used his teeth, but he wasn’t particularly keen on shocking himself or, worse, getting chirped for it. Not only that, but it seemed half of his socket set had disappeared, along with his actual wire strippers and good god, he already knew who was responsible because she took his zipties, too.
He was going to murder his sister for raiding his toolkit again. ‘Sharing is caring’ is such utter bullshit when you have siblings.
“Sorry, Bits. Going to have to wait until later tonight before you can bake again.” Dex said, pulling away from the oven. He knew what was wrong with her. It. Her. Whatever, but he needed to see if he couldn’t scrap together a few tools from a couple of his buddies to finagle the wiring a little.
The look Bittle game him was like looking at his neighbors dog after it got hit in the face with a snowball when it thought it was getting tossed a regular ball.
Scratch that, he’s going to go pick up some tools and flesh out his kit again. He’d need to, sooner or later.
Dex let out a low sigh, the sound catching in the back of his throat as he looked over the tools in front of him. Chowder and Nursey had wandered off at some point whilst he debated over the finer points of ‘cost’ vs ‘actual ability to use the tools for their intended purposes.’
“So, just get a set.” A voice said, and Dex almost startled into dropping the tools in his hands. Ears burned as he glared at Nursey, who simply grinned at him, a chirp already forming.
Dex decided to not give him the opportunity and simply put both tools back and started off down the aisle, picking up the basket that had the rest of his purchases in it.
“Hey- aren’t you going to get, you know. The tools here? The… spinny turny things?” Nursey called out, jogging to catch up to him. Dex snorted. How the hell do you not know what a socket wrench is?
“Can’t afford both. I can either get the tools I actually need to fix the oven…” Here he gestured at the basket. “… or a I could get set of socket wrenches back there, which, while useful aren’t immediately needed.”: Dex explained, looking around for Chowder. He heard some excited shouting over by the yard displays. He’s probably found an inflatable something-or-other. He sighs and makes his way over towards that side of the store. “Besides, I can make do with regular wrenches for the time being. Not hard, just requires a bit more flexibility.”
There was an amused snort from Nursey. “Yeah, Betsy is doomed. You’re about as flexible as plank of wood is”
“Dude, seriously? Have you ever swung a eight-by-two? You get a good sixteen foot eight-by-two and you can practically use it like a catapult. Woods more flexible than you think.”
Nursey looked at the long rows of planks of wood, an eyebrow raised as he appraised them.
“Nah, bro. Don’t think so.”
“Listen, I’ve used them like that. Used to lob watermelons over the property line to see if we couldn’t hit-” Dex was interrupted by Chowder suddenly appearing, wearing either an inflatable yard shark or some brightly colored plastic sheeting.
“Ohmygods, we should totally do that as a prank for the LAX frat.”
“Chowder, no. That was a folly of- No. Super illegal. Could actually hurt a dude and-”
That was about as civil as the night got before it devolved into a series of arguments about what would be acceptable to catapult into or against the rival frats’ house.
Dex didn’t think too hard about the trip to the depot store until a few weeks later, when he was pulling his toolkit from it’s place under the sink (it’s new home since it became abundantly clear that Betsy was going to be in need of some continuing hospice care, rather than precise surgery).
Inside lay the set of socket wrenches he had been eyeing, and, much to his mortification, a set of some of the worst screwdriver bits he’d ever seen.
Maybe this is just me, but I see a lot of AUs where Bull is a gym coach or a carpenter or a bouncer or a mailman….. and there’s a pattern there.
Bull’s canon job in’t just soldier, it’s spy. he’s extremely intelligent, and uses people’s assumptions (based on his race, stature and profession) in his favor. So when fandom gives him professions based solely on those same factors, while his LI is a teacher, a lawyer, a professor…. I think there’s something that needs to be examined, there.
He could teach language classes just as easily as coach a wrestling team. (Qunlat could be offered in highschools alongside Trade, Orlesian, Ander, ect.) He could be an immigration lawyer or have a practice in family law. The Chargers could be a architecture firm just as easily as they could be a group of contract carpenters.
He could teach, administrate, or account just as easily as he could paint, build, or deliver packages.
I guess what I’m saying is, don’t discount his intelligence. If he just needs ajob for the purpose of an AU, don’t jump straight to something physical.
And I’m not saying it just because he’s an intelligent character. Fanfic (and the source material) doesn’t exist in a vacuum. In the game, Qunari are coded as black. Bull is coded as a tall, muscular black man. When we as fans automatically (and only) give him blue-collar jobs, or jobs based in physical labor, we’re showing our bias and strengthening the idea that those are the only jobs black men can do. That pattern and bias is harmful, both in fandom and in the wider world.
I’m not trying to call out anyone in particular. I’m just putting forward to the Bull fandom as a whole, that the pattern is clear, and when we write and draw and come up with headcanons, we owe it to the character– and more importantly, to other fans– to not let unexamined biases accidentally influence our work.
Can we talk about how important of a character Isiah Hank Babineaux is. He is favorite song is anything by Celine Dion, he loves the Notebook. Not to mention he likes both ballet and football. He doesn’t give a shit about what other people think of him. He is not afraid to show people how sensitive and caring he is not to mention that no matter what your gender is you can like whatever the hell you want. He cares about all his friends so much, and he would do anything for Lucas Friar. He likes to flirt and say silly things and would never internationally hurt anyone. Love confuses him, he gives the worst advice. He thinks it’s wrong and impolite how everyone enters Riley’s room through the window when there is a door. He is such a southern gentleman who likes ballet and football and fanboys about Celine Dion and the Notebook and will try and hurt you if you talk shit about Lucas Friar or any of his wonderful friends.