Author's Notes: This was written for a ficathon on LJ. The challenge was: A Halloween with the Winchesters. This is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy.


It took Sam forty five minutes to decide on a costume.

None of them really seemed right. There was a reason he'd never liked Halloween. Why would he want to dress up like the monsters his family had dedicated their lives to hunt? So ghosts, werewolves, and zombies were out of the picture. He'd considered drag for half a second before promptly dismissing the idea. Fourteen year old's didn't do drag. That was saved until at least sixteen. Besides, the party he was planning on going to would probably be attended by some of the older guys who didn't really appreciate the humor of a guy showing up in a skirt. From there, he'd moved onto construction worker, but he didn't have the hat. He would have done a plumber, but he couldn't pull off the beer gut. Cowboy came close, but the only boots he could find were size fourteen army boots. They didn't exactly scream Western.

So in the end, he decided that he was going to go as something completely opposite from what he was. One pair of jeans and green polo shirt later, he had his costume. He was Sam, the normal kid from down the street. Forget Sammy the freak. Tonight, he was really bringing out the fantasies.

Though he wouldn't be able to explain to his friends why he'd shown up to a Halloween part dressed normally, it didn't matter what they thought. He'd make up some excuse. Nudist on strike, maybe? They'd get a laugh and Sam could pretend there wasn't a deeper meaning to all of this. It was perfect. Now all he had to do was mentally prepare himself for seeing his friends all dressed up like monsters and dead guys. He'd have to remember not to point out their flaws. Remember not to tell Greg that zombies don't have dark circles under their eyes, their skin just starts drooping. Remember not to instruct Lyle on the proper way a werewolf walks and growls. That vengeful spirits of serial killers usually preferred sledgehammers to axes when breaking down doors. Once he could do that, everything would be okay. He'd go out to the party, have fun, not worry about Dad and Dean being half an hour late home from their hunt, and everything would be fine.

And as if to assure Sam of that, he heard the sound of his Dad's pickup pull into the driveway. He gave a small sigh of relief and turned off the horror movie marathon he'd been absentmindedly watching. They were home. Good, one less thing to worry about. Now he could go out and just be a kid. Tonight was going to be great. Tonight was going to be fun. Tonight was going to be...

"Sam!" John's strangled voice called from outside. Sam felt his heart skip a beat and raced towards the door. He pried it open and was instantly greeted with the sight of his father helping Dean up the porch steps. Dean was leaning heavily on him, trying to keep his weight off of his left leg. They were leaving a scattered trail of blood in their wake. "Sammy, get the first aide," John commanded and Sam snapped back into action. He ran to the hallway closet and returned a moment later, just as John was helping Dean into a chair in the living room.

Handing the kit to his father, Sam took a good look at Dean. The side of his brother's face was matted in blood, but he couldn't find a cut. Dean's shirt was practically torn to bits. There was blood on his side, but not nearly as much as what was still spilling freely from the multiple slashes decorating his leg. Dean was breathing heavily and had a slightly distressed look on his face, but other than that, he was fully alert and still conscious, which Sam added to the plus side of things.

"What happened?" Sam asked as John ripped open Dean's pant leg and he saw the ugly claw marks snaking their way up Dean's leg. They weren't deep, but there was a lot of blood, and not just Dean's. Black blood mixed in with the red. Sam tried to remember what John had said they were going up against that night. He'd only been half paying attention, his mind on the party while John had briefed him. "Is he okay?"

"I'm fine," Dean snapped and Sam saw his face scrunch up as John poured some holy water onto the wounds. Dean grunted and breathed heavily through his nose, trying to ignore the hissing sound of the burning. "Son of a..." he started before turning his head away as John poured again on his side.

"Black Dog," John said simply. Damn pernicious mutts. "Sammy, you got a towel?" Sam nodded and went into the bathroom. He gathered a couple of towels and some pain relievers and returned. "Apparently your brother thought he was Flash Gordon."

Dean made a face. "Jesus, Dad, you're so old." He yelped as John took hold of his ankle and stretched his leg out. The two squared off for a minute before Dean finally broke into a smile. "Hey I had everything covered until that fence got in my way."

"Yeah well, I'm gonna have to stitch a couple of these, Dean," John said seriously and paused to look up at his son. "You need a drink?" Dean was quiet for a moment, actually contemplating whether or not to accept his father's offer for Whiskey. He didn't give it often, only when he needed a little numbness to take away some of the bite of the needle.

Finally, Dean shook his head. "Just get it over with," he said quietly and leaned back in the chair, watching as his father got ready to start sewing. He ran a hand over his face and seemed to notice for the first time the blood still there. "I'm gonna smell like dog for a week."

"Nothing new there," Sam chirped and then grinned at the glare his brother shot his way, but handed him the towel anyway. It looked like Dean was about to say something back, probably something that would earn him a reprimand from John, but he suddenly gasped and leaned forward, eyes wide and scorching into their father. John looked up and gave him a small smile.

"Sorry, bud," he said sincerely. "Bastard's claws burnt your skin a bit. Sure you don't want that drink?"

Sam watched Dean's face pale a bit. "Just do it," he grit out and John smiled proudly at him before going back to work.

Half an hour later, Dean was stitched up, bandaged up, and propped up on the couch with his leg stretched out in front of him. Sam sat in a recliner watching him. He looked pale and Sam could tell that, as tough as Dean wanted to be, his leg was still hurting him. He'd taken a good amount of pain relievers, but Sam doubted they did much. They didn't have the heavy duty drugs like they usually did.

Dean seemed to notice the scrutiny. He tried to sit up a little but the wince that followed defeated his whole purpose for moving. So he finally just settled back and gave Sam that patented older brother look. "Hey didn't you have a party to go to or something?"

Sam smiled. "Are you trying to get rid of me?"

"What would ever give you that impression?" Dean asked with a grin. "Dude, seriously though, go party. Pick up a chick...or two. And if you need protection I got some upstairs you could..."

"No thanks," Sam cut him off. The smile faltered on his face as his eyes drifted to Dean's bandaged leg and side. He bit his lower lip. "You need anything?"

Dean harrumphed and waved a hand. "I think me and Dad got it covered, Sammy." Sam nodded thoughtfully before turning to leave. "Have fun, man. Remember those mint toffees taste like wax, so bring home so good candy this time."

Chuckling, Sam shook his head and headed for the door, nearly colliding with his Dad on the way out. He noticed the new box of shotgun shells in John's hands. "Where are you going?" Sam asked.

"Ah," John said disgustedly. "We didn't have time to torch the den. I'm gonna go burn it. Can you stay here with your brother?" John looked away, gathering his stuff and shoving the shells into his pocket before he looked back up.

"I..." Sam started, ready to tell him about the party. But the way his father was looking at him, it was a way he seldom did. That look was usually reserved for Dean. It was the look that said 'the responsibility is yours, kiddo.' Sam tried not to let the disappointment show on his face. "Yes sir."

John nodded. If he picked up on Sam's discontent, he didn't show it. "Good," he said and clapped Sam on the shoulder. "I might be back pretty late. Watch your brother. If he starts getting a fever, give me a call. If you can't get a hold of me, call Joshua, understand?"

"Yes sir," Sam repeated. John smiled and was out the door before Sam could say anything else. He stood there for a moment, staring at the closed door, wondering how he had managed to lose control of his own life so quickly. He sighed and fleetingly thought about just going to the party anyways. Dean was perfectly capable of handling himself. But Sam knew he couldn't. He didn't care about the reprimand he'd get from his father, but he did care about Dean. And if anything happened to his brother because he went to a party, he'd never forgive himself, ever.

Running a hand through his hair, he walked back into the living room, where Dean had sunk further into the couch, showing obvious signs that he was hurting a bit more than he had let on. When he heard Sam sink into the recliner, he looked over at him. "Thought you were going to get your groove on?" he asked, his voice tired.

"Yeah, well..." He leaned back and stared at the television. "Greg called and said he had the flu, so the party's cancelled."

"I didn't hear the phone ring," Dean said, eyes narrowing.

Sam raised an eyebrow. "You didn't?" he asked, watching Dean's eyes shift across Sam's face, trying to read him. "You must have blacked out, maybe we should take you to a hospital."

"Fuck off," Dean spat playfully and then shifted on the couch into a better position. "Well good thing there's a marathon on or both our nights would be ruined, eh?" Sam forced a chuckle.

He wondered when stuff like this became normal for them. When a pile of bloody towels and a brother with a mangled leg and torn side didn't warrant severe panic and hours in a hospital. When abandoning the hope for something normal, something everyday and cookie-cutter, stopped hurting so much and started to be expected. When had this become their lives? Had it always been like this? He could hardly remember. He wondered if anything in his life would ever be normal, ever be like everyone else, where he wouldn't have to keep secrets and lie about who he was and what he knew. Would the day ever come when he could wake up and not worry about all the monsters in the world. Would he ever just wake up and be Sam, the guy next door whose ordinary, plain, and just like everyone else? Would he ever not have to wear a costume?

"Dude, that Chucky doll, I could totally take that bitch."

This time the smile was genuine.