Title: Haze

Author: C Cawthorn

Author's note: This is my first attempt at a serial. It's preseries, so thereshouldn't be any spoilers for the show.I will try to keep the rating to a T, partly by only using language you'd hear on network TV. Feedback might spur me to write faster! Apparently I still do not own Supernatural, Dean, Sam, John, or anything else involved with the WB or the CW.


Men didn't cry. Not real ones, anyway, so Randy Kay wouldn't.

Wind that wasn't wind howled outside his window. Pebbles, not hail, rained continuously against his bedroom window.

Come out come out come out come out

He clapped a hand over one of his ears and reached out for his stereo, pushing the button for his favorite station. Nothing but static. He pushed another preset: static, howling feedback. A third; more static. Cursing, he frantically switched it to CD and pushed play: nothing at all.

Come out come out come out come out

"Go away!" He pressed both hands over his ears, but that didn't help when the whispers were already inside his head, nesting like parasites.

The window shuddered in its frame against the onslaught of pebbles. Struggling to his feet, Randy stumbled across the bedroom, tripping on empty beer bottles. He wrenched open his backpack and rooted through it, digging a small, orange plastic bottle with a white cap out of its depths.

Come out come out come out come out

Hands shaking, he pried the child-proof cap open and emptied the contents into his hand – six round yellow pills with a cut-out V in the center. They looked like candy. Dropping the pill bottle, Randy made it back to his stereo and grabbed his remaining beer. Seconds later, the last of the Bud chased the Valium down.

He set the bottle down shakily; it tilted, then hit the floor and spun madly, just like all the others had done. Collapsing onto the bed, he curled up and pulled a pillow over his head.

Come out come out come out come out

The wind began to slow, until it was little more than a whispered moan. Slowly, slowly, the window stopped shaking, the pebbles dropping into the grass 20 feet below.

Randy never noticed.

September 1996 – Marshalltown, Iowa

If Dean could have his way, he'd be working on the car all day instead of being trapped inside school. It was one of those flawless September days made for being outside – warm sun shining in a cloudless blue sky, a breeze off the Iowa River providing just enough coolness to create perfection.

Sitting in a classroom, on the other hand, seemed like torture designed by some particularly cruel fiend. John didn't put much stock in the majority of what was taught in school – one of many fatherly opinions that Dean fervently agreed with – but he still insisted on his sons' attendance. Sam, of course, embraced the instruction with dorkish glee. But as he sat listening to Mr. Gibson drone on about Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, Dean couldn't begin to imagine how this was useful to anyone, even if they weren't monster-killing superheroes-in-training.

The ringing of the bell was the sweetest sound in the entire universe (and he'd heard some pretty sweet sounds). Dean jumped up, barely listening to Mr. Gibson's shouted instructions as he shoved his notebook into his beat-up backpack. Something about reading the next chapter and a quiz and yadda yadda. All he cared about was Wednesday afternoon freedom and the chance to give the Impala a well-deserved tune-up.

Dean breezed past a few of the geeky types surrounding the teacher's desk and ducked out river of students sweeping through the hallway. Soon enough he was jogging down the front steps and taking a deep breath of free air. All he had to do was find his loser freshman brother and...

"Hey, Dean," female voices chimed in tandem.

Temporarily forgetting all about Sammy, Dean swiveled in the direction of a cluster of five girls. Cheerleaders, actually. The experienced part of his brain immediately issued a warning of impending trouble. The rest of his brain – well, maybe other organs too – automatically switched on the charm.

"Ladies," he replied, giving them his best smile, and he was not at all deterred when two of them giggled. The one in the center – Bambi or Buffy or something like that – looked like she wanted to devour him where he stood. For that, he'd put up with a few laughs.

"Randy's off the team," she informed him, twirling a blond curl around her finger as she took a few steps toward him. "We think you should try out."

Dean arched an eyebrow. "Football? I don't think so."

"Awww, why not?" she pouted, running well-manicured fingers over his shoulders. "You've certainly got the muscles for it."

His cocky smile grew, even as some of the girls continued to giggle. " 'Cause I don't need to huddle with a bunch of guys wearing tights to convince anyone I'm good in bed."

Two were outraged, one was amused, one was interested, but Dean's words hadn't been for them. They were all for Miss Homecoming Queen here – and her sly smile was a good approximation of a cat who'd just spotted a helpless bird. She took a step forward, right into his personal space, and ran her fingers down so a hand was covering one of the wings on his Aerosmith t-shirt.

"That so?" she purred, then leaned close to whisper in his ear, breath hot on his skin. "Welfare trash like you? You're no one. Dream on, baby."

Dean's expression barely changed as she pushed away – still cocky, still confident – but his green eyes narrowed. "Anytime you get tired of watching your boyfriend play with his balls, you come find me," he replied, his grin slipping from charming to devilish.

"As if!" Rolling her eyes, she spun on her heel and sauntered away. The other cheerleaders made similar noises of disgust and followed.

He watched them all go, chin held high, and was rewarded when the last one – a pretty little brunette with blue eyes – looked back at him over her shoulder speculatively. Tilting his head, he winked at her and won a coy smile in return before she once again turned away. Dean stayed where he was, appreciating the sight of her backside amidst the others.

They were precisely what he'd expected, of course; exactly like every group of cheerleaders at every high school he'd attended. Attitude on legs, better than everyone else – this wasn't the first time Dean had been called trash. His family's poverty automatically put him and Sam at the bottom of the social ladder of every school they had attended.

On the positive side, though, he figured he'd found the girl who'd use him for her 'walk on the wild side' fling. Dean's first experience being the bad boy on the side had hurt, because he'd thought it was the real thing – an illusion she shattered with laughter when he asked her to a school dance. Yeh, that had stung. But now it was kind of fun, sneaking off for a quickie with a pretty cheerleader while her boyfriend was on the practice field, or stealing some time in the back seat.

"Dude, Dean, were those cheerleaders?" It was Sammy, sounding a bit awed as he joined his older brother. "Five cheerleaders?"

"Don't know why that surprises you. Remember," he looked over and pointed at his own face, "chick magnet."

Sammy rolled his eyes, trying to look dubious, but the attempt failed when he looked back wide-eyed at the cluster of girls. "Yeh, but five? What did they want?"

Dean smirked and turned away, yanking the strap of Sam's backpack to get him to follow as he started off for the parking lot. "Me, duh. Oh, and they want me to be on the football team," he added with a laugh.

"Really?" Sam sounded impressed, and Dean preened in it until his little brother continued in a thoughtful voice, "maybe you should."

"You nuts, Sammy? Why would I do that?"

"Well," the younger Winchester replied, "I bet you'd be good. I mean, I know you throw well, and you've gotta be faster and tougher than those guys. And you'd have fun, and you'd make a lot of friends, and–"

"Whoa, stop right there." Dean turned and looked down at his brother, brow furrowing. "One, I don't want to be friends with the football jocks. Two, I've got a lot more important things to do than play football. And you know dad wouldn't go for it."

"Maybe he would," Sam pressed. "If you asked, when he comes back, maybe he would. Then we could stay all year. I like this school, and they have that shop class that you like so much, so he can't say you're not learning something useful."

There's the truth of it, Dean realized. He'd accepted their need to move often when he was years younger than Sam was now – but then again, he'd had more duties at age nine than Sam ever would, at 13 or any other age for that matter. Still, he shouldn't have to remind him of all the reasons behind their mobility; he couldn't anyway, not here on school grounds.

"We'll be here as long as we'll be here; that's just the way it is." He gave his brother a pointed stare and then continued on toward the parking lot. They'd stay here until dad found another hunter to learn from, or until child services started nosing about, or until dad pissed off one too many bosses, or until they'd committed a little too much credit card fraud for comfort. Then it would be time to move on again.

"It'd just be nice," Sammy murmured, then didn't say anything else. Dean hated it when he did that – shut down, all quietly wounded. But he hated it even more that he couldn't give him what he wanted.

Actually, what he really hated was the jerk in the letterman jacket sitting on the Impala's hood.

"Hey, you, off!" he 'suggested' as he strode over, absorbing and evaluating the situation just like his dad had taught him.

The beefy blond teen looked up, and his three friends who'd been leaning against a nearby pick-up meandered over. "Why? It's not like this piece of crap actually runs."

Dean glowered at the insult. "Stay behind me, Sammy," he muttered, dropping his backpack on the ground at his brother's feet and taking a wide stance on the dirt parking lot.

"She runs better than that GM piece of crap ever will," he said, nodding at the truck and the three goons. "Let me say this slow, so you'll understand: Get. Off. My. Car."

The guy using the Impala for a bench – Greg, he remembered now, the quarterback – shifted forward but didn't get up. Dirt and grass from his sneakers were clumping onto the front bumper, a detail that just made Dean angrier. "What, don't like someone messing with your things? Yeh, kinda sucks, don't it?" Greg stomped his foot down none-too-gently on the bumper.

Dean's eyes narrowed and his hands curled into fists. Logically he knew he couldn't take on four football players, but Greg was going to get a dent for each one he put in the Impala, guaranteed.

"Not my fault your girlfriend couldn't keep her hands off me," he taunted. "Though I can see why she's not satisfied."

The quarterback was on his feet and advancing, a fist raised. So freakin' predictable, Dean thought as he prepared to dodge.

"Is there a problem here, gentlemen?" a sharp, authoritative voice rang out.

Everyone froze – Greg, mid-punch; Dean, mid-dodge; goons and Sam, mid-advancement – and looked over at the source of the words.

"Ms. Martin!" Sam exclaimed, recognizing his black-haired history teacher instantly.

"Mr. Winchester," she replied dryly. "I repeat, is there a problem?"

Greg was the first to back down, and once he did his teammates did as well. "No ma'am, no problem."

Dean said nothing, since he definitely had a problem with Greg. But he knew not to push it, not now – and in a way he knew he should be grateful for her interference. Four football players would put him on his ass quick. Sam, at least, was quick to echo Greg's reassurance.

She pinned Dean in place for a moment with a dark gaze, then nodded slowly and let him go, shifting her attention to the athletes. "I didn't think so. You four have football practice; I suggest you go."

As they retreated she looked back at Dean and Sam. "Is this your brother, Sam?"

The younger Winchester started, then nodded. "Yes ma'am. But Dean didn't do anything wrong, they–"

"Fighting for any reason is against the rules. I'm sure you both know that." She aimed her dark eyes at Dean again; she reminded him, somehow, of his father. It wasn't a comfortable realization. Nor did it make sense, given that she was half John's size and at least 10 years his junior. But there was a confidence about her that gave her an authority few teachers possessed – at least not in his experience.

"The next time you have a problem out here, Dean, find a supervising teacher. Today that's me. Understand?"

Dean forced himself to straighten from the defensive posture he'd taken and nodded. "Yes ma'am, I understand," he said, meeting her gaze without flinching... but also without challenging her. He knew better than to cause this kind of trouble with a teacher. It was one thing to mouth off in class, but another thing to come off as a thug. Then she'd start looking into his records, then Sam's, and that was the way trouble started.

"Good. Get going, then. Sam, at least, has a lot of homework." She offered a smile to Sam, who smiled shyly back.

"C'mon, Sammy, time to go home." Dean scooped his backpack up and unlocked the Impala's doors.

"Bye, Ms. Martin," Sam said, then scampered over to the car, throwing his bag in the backseat along with Dean's.

Already ensconced in the front seat, Dean was hunting through his box of cassettes and trying not to scowl too fiercely. He found exactly what he wanted as Sam buckled in. He popped it into the player, then revved the engine to life and backed expertly out of the spot.

The song wasn't meant for Ms. Martin – Greg and his cohorts were unfortunately too far to hear it now. But Dean still glanced at her and smiled as he cranked the volume and drove away, the raw-edged guitar riffs of Motörhead blaring over the engine.

Come on baby, eat the rich,

Put the bite on the son of a bitch,

Don't mess around, don't give me no switch,

C'mon baby eat the rich

C'mon baby eat the rich

(end chapter one)