Summary – Complete AU. Slashy Sam/Dean, mentions of child abuse and violence. Dean Winchester left his father to live a 'normal' life. Eight years later and he is a failing teacher in a small town, ignoring anything supernatural. Until he meets Sam Miller.

Disclaimer – Not my characters, I just use them improperly.

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Chapter 1

On the same night Sam Miller drove too fast into the town of Elmstead with the dusty moon lighting his way overhead, a young girl died.

It happened five minutes across town, in an area neither Sam nor his father would ever be able to afford to live in. The street was broad and clean, the neighbours respectable, with money to spend on luxuries like Porsches and horticultural architects. Sweeping driveways led to identical mansion-like houses, differentiated by the stucco or red brick fronting. The unnaturally green lawns were all cut to a regulation three inches.

The sweaty summer night had windows thrown open wide. The heavy scent of lavender drifted lazily through the night air like treacle, overripe and almost sickly. In one house, a young couple made love, faint moans creeping free of the bedroom window. In another, a stockbroker gave up the search for elusive sleep and turned on the TV. A blonde woman left her bed to escape to the relative cool of the living room. She passed a window, light from the room illuminating her from the side. The white nightdress she wore flowed in her wake like angel's wings, the light flickering out behind her. Children tossed and turned in their beds, irritable and sticky with heat.

The young girl who had been alive at the start of the night was one of those irritable children.

After a few hours of uncomfortably warm sheets, she overcame the instinctive fear of the dark and left her bed for a glass of water. Slipping quietly down the plush carpeted stairs, she trod lightly on the side of each step so as not to creak the board and wake her parents. She tiptoed through the still house in search of the kitchen, passing wide patio doors opening to the back yard. Brightly coloured plastic toys littered the grass, glowing iridescently in the faint touch of moonlight. The flash of strange colour stopped her in her search and led her to the doors.

A dog kennel stood close to the house. The girl pressed herself to the glass, her cherubic face squashed into flat white patches, looking awkwardly for the dog inside the kennel.

Pickle was not there.

Hot panic gripped her throat, and she rolled her face against the glass, trying to see into the dark corners of the kennel.

Nothing moved in the yard, and silent tears began to slide over her face. She reached for the dish her mother stored the house keys in, kept below the window ledge on a nearby counter. Putting the dish on the floor, she picked up the key with a pink label attached. The words 'patio door' had been written neatly on the label, but the girl was too young to read them.

Approaching the patio doors, she considered for the first time waking her dad. He would take care of it for her. But the time it had taken to find the keys had lessened her fear, old repeated words of there's no such thing as monsters floating through her head.

She opened the doors and slid them back with a whisper of sound. From inside the house the corners of the yard weren't visible, and so she hesitantly stepped barefoot onto the patio.

"Pickle?" The yard was quiet and still. Another step forward, and her foot touched something warm and wet. With a little shriek she jumped back, looking down at a dark puddle on the paving. The liquid on her foot made child size footprints on the sandy stone.

An animal sound, like a purr or a growl, came from her left and she spun away in surprise, her small body clumsy on its feet. A moving patch of darkness came toward her from the shadows, and she screamed once.

Her parents awoke in their bed at the sound of a scream. On discovering their daughter wasn't in her bed, they searched the house with a growing panic. They found her outside, her blood splatters obscure red hieroglyphs on their crazy paving.

The first class of the day had just ended and Dean Winchester was already downing black coffee like it was tequila.

The Thursday morning was bright and sunny, the kids were noisy and his hangover was drilling bolts of white agony into his brain through his temples. Normally, Dean would be taking the time between classes to sneak into Chrissie Spenser's office and carry on what they begun last night. But today his head was demanding quiet time and aspirin, neither of which he was going to get until lunch.

His first class had been filled with sixteen year old students, chatting and throwing paper across his classroom and not paying the slightest attention to him. Most of the girls had spent the hour gossiping together and glancing slyly over at Dean, sat slouched behind the teachers' desk with a hand over his face. They giggled annoyingly when he looked up at them.

He was well known with both students and teachers for being easy on the eyes and easy with his grades. Mainly because the effort it took to mark endless bad essays could be put to much better use, in his expert opinion. His face was probably the only reason Principle Markenham hadn't fired his ass yet. He was a terrible role model for young minds.

Chrissie's office would be empty, the other receptionists in the staff room. Chrissie would have made some excuse to stay longer, just in case Dean decided to show up. For a second Dean considered it, but the creak of a door somewhere in the hall sent electrical pain bouncing through his skull and he dropped his head to his desk instead. She would have to be disappointed.

A knock on his classroom door doubled the pain behind his eyes. He sat up and tried to look somewhat professional in case Principle Markenham had stopped by with another complaint from a parent. He didn't know why she even bothered. All she ever did was give him a stern look, extract a false promise to make it right and then leave no better off than she started.

But today the figure by the door was not the small grey haired woman who ran the school.

"Hi. I forgot, I was supposed to give you this in class."

The new transfer student from his first period class stood in the doorway, shifting on his feet. He kept his head down, chocolate coloured hair falling forward into his eyes.

"Oh. Thanks, uh…"

"Sam. Sam Miller." Sam walked over to the desk, hands pushed right down into the pockets of too-baggy jeans, his arms almost straight by his sides. The pose emphasised Sam's tall and skinny body. He handed over a pink form which Dean added to the pile of pink forms he'd accumulated over the years on the floor by his chair.

"Thanks, Sam. I'll…do something with that." Like throw it in the trash. Sam flashed a pretty smile at him and lifted his face so his hair fell away, revealing green cat's eyes. Dean smiled back perfunctorily, then groaned aloud as a door banged somewhere nearby. His hand flew to his temple, trying to hold in the rapidly worsening headache.

"You want an aspirin?"

Dean looked up to find Sam holding out a white foil wrapped pack, a quirked smile showing his amusement. Dean groaned again, this time in pleasure, snatching the pack out of the kid's hand without a word. He popped two pills out of their tabs and swallowed them dry.

"Kid, thank you from the bottom of my heart, really. You've saved my life. Anything I can do for you, anytime."

Sam smiled wider. "I'll hold you to that."

"Did you see the paper today? A little girl was found dead in her backyard across town this morning. They say she was mauled by some kind of animal." Chrissie Spenser made herself at home next to Dean in the staffroom, interrupting his solitude.

The aspirin had taken effect almost straight away, killing his headache, but after three more classes all discussing the death in macabre details he was in a seriously bad mood. He deliberately didn't buy newspapers, preferring to remain ignorant of any events that might bring back unpleasant memories.

Chrissie tossed a folded-up local newspaper onto his lap, the headline bold across the front page – Girl Found Dead In Animal Attack. A picture of a pigtailed girl playing with a puppy was displayed beside it. Dean looked at it for a second before moving it away. Old unwanted instincts came into play, comparing times and dates before he could push them to the back of his mind.

"You wanna come over to mine tonight? I'll make us dinner after we get out of bed." He winked at her suggestively.

"God, is that all you think about? I can't anyway, I'm going to dinner with my parents, remember?" Chrissie narrowed her eyes. "The dinner you couldn't make it to." She looked at him for a second, waiting for a reply. When none came, she sniffed and strode away, flicking her hair aggressively.

Dean sighed and slumped back. He had forgotten about the dinner. When Chrissie invited him he'd instantly made excuses not to go, because while Chrissie was nice and pretty and wonderful in bed, he didn't want her thinking they had some kind of commitment to each other. She'd only started working at Elmstead High a few months ago, and he'd thought he'd made it clear from the beginning, but apparently a regular engagement for sex entailed some kind of responsibility on his part. And honestly, Dean was enjoying the sex part too much to break it off completely. It didn't hurt that she was incredibly attractive with long legs and wavy blonde hair that brushed against her breasts. He could never resist that kind of girl.

The paper caught his eye again, and against his will he picked it up.

The story described in clinical terms the brutal killing of Casey Tomlins, age 6, and her dog Pickle. The article said that the killings had taken place early this morning. Her parents had been woken up by her scream, but were too late to see what had attacked her. The surrounding neighbours hadn't heard anything before the scream, although one mentioned the dog barking. It was believed to be caused by an as yet unidentified wild animal, and all pets should be kept inside and all lower floor windows securely locked until it has been caught, etcetera, etcetera.

Dean let out a loud exhalation and violently pitched the paper onto the coffee table in front of him. Covering his eyes with one hand, he leaned his head back until it touched the back of his chair.

His cell phone vibrated in his pocket and for a wild second he thought it would be his father calling him. But John Winchester hadn't contacted him for nearly eight years, ever since he'd walked out after their fight with the words don't come back echoing in his ears. He fished it out of his pocket. A text message. From Chrissie. Il cum round aftr dinner. U bettr make it wrth my while.

The bell rang for the end of lunch, and Dean dragged himself from his chair with a last glance at the paper. He was tempted to walk out, just blow off final classes and take a long drive to nowhere to clear his head. He'd thought he'd been done with this sort of thing eight years ago after leaving his father. A dry laugh came out as a huff of air and he walked out of the staffroom scuffing his shoes on the floor like an overgrown kid.

Dean walked out to his car, bag slung over one shoulder. The hot sun scalded the top of his head and the keys to the Impala glittered in his hand.

His final class had been a waste of time. Hell, he doubted any wisdom had been imparted on his part in any of his classes today. The story in the paper was still playing on his mind, slipping to the forefront every time he tried to distract himself. His headache had returned.

He'd wondered more than once whether he should just call his dad and let him take care of it, but after everything he'd said about wanting to be his own person, he doubted a request for help now would be taken too well.

The sight of the Impala calmed him in a way nothing else could.

The sleek black car sat waiting in the corner of the teachers' parking lot, the paint shining like hot tar in the sun. Dean stroked a hand along the hood, caressing the car as another man would caress a lover. Problems momentarily forgotten, he opened the driver's door and threw his bag onto the passenger seat, the leather seat soft and comfortable against his skin. The full-throated roar brought a smile to his face as he started the engine and slowly eased out, careful of the other cars. To get to the main road, he had to drive through the students' parking lot, which pissed him off because there was always the chance that one of the idiot cocksuckers would pull out fast without warning in their beat-up Volvo and damage his baby.

Today it was the last thing on his mind as he caught a look at the car parked in the end lot.

A cherry-red 1967 Mustang, restored beautifully, all black leather interiors and sparkling silver chrome sat in the shade of a tree in the student parking lot. He blinked at he saw Sam Miller walk up to it, escorted by a blonde girl Dean vaguely recognised from one of his classes. She was chattering away to Sam, her arms flying around her as she talked. As Dean drove past, Sam smiled at the girl, a full and genuine smile showing off all his teeth and dimpling his cheeks. Dean watched him for a second, fascinated, before realising where he was. He mentally shook himself, put his foot down and drove out onto the main road, pushing a Rolling Stones cassette in the tape deck and turning up 'Sympathy For The Devil' to full volume as he went.

Sam pulled up beside the shitty ground floor apartment that was home for this week. His dad's old Cadillac was parked in front of the building taking up most of the space, so he was left to hope that no one took the sharp turn too fast to see the tail end of his Mustang hanging into the curve of the next street. Shifting the car into neutral and turning off the engine, he sat back and wished for a second that he was somewhere else, anywhere else.

His first day of school had gone pretty well. Better than some of his previous first days under different last names. The blonde girl, Jessica Moore, had been the main reason. Pretty and friendly, and not at all stuck up like he had been expecting from these rich kids with their parents' money. She had stayed with him all day, showing him around and inviting him to sit with her and her friends. He liked her, a lot. It was a shame he wouldn't be around long enough to make friends, maybe ask her out once he had gotten to know her better. He snorted without humour at the thought. Like he would ever stand a chance if she ever found out what his life was really like. He'd told her that he lived with his father, who moved them around a lot because of his job. When she'd asked what his dad did, Sam had subtly changed the subject. He was good at avoidance.

He looked through the windscreen at the back of Jim Miller's car. It was dusty and dented, the bumper held together with black masking tape. His dad didn't give a shit about appearances, unlike Sam, who would have loved to fit in, just once.

With a heavy sigh, Sam collected his stuff and got out of the car, locking it. Even towns as pristine as this had a dodgy side, and his dad always made sure they were living in it. It had the unintentional benefit of helping Sam resist the temptation to make friends with anyone. Bringing them over to this dump would end the friendship before they even got out of the car.

The apartment itself was tiny, consisting of one bedroom, an en-suite 'bathroom' that looked like it used to be a cupboard before washing facilities were crammed in, and a cramped living area-slash-kitchen.

His dad got the bedroom. Sam slept on the two-seater sofa with the broken springs that came with the place. There was no other furniture in the apartment, and his dad wouldn't buy any.

Jim Miller was currently slouched on Sam's sofa, a succession of empty cans piling up on the floor beside it. There was a mess of paper spread along the other seat, spilling onto the floor. On top of them was the local paper, its headline proclaiming the death of a young girl. His dad looked up as Sam walked in, making as little noise as possible.

"Where the hell you been, boy? I had to check this out by myself! What the fuck am I keeping you around for if you're just gonna go skipping off every five minutes?" Jim's words were slurred together.

"I went to school, remember? You told me to check out the kids, see if anyone knew anything." Sam said, taking a step backwards, out of reach. His dad didn't reply, turning back to his papers and taking another swig of cheap beer. Sam let out a breath. His dad continued to ignore him, and Sam knew he had been dismissed. Putting his bag down, he kept as quiet as possible and hoped his dad would forget he was there.

"Did they?" Jim broke the silence suddenly, making Sam twitch. He hurriedly backtracked through the conversation.

"One kid, he lives on the next street over from where the girl lived. Said last month his neighbours cat was killed, ripped apart."

"I got a homeless guy, told the police his buddy was attacked around the same time. The police didn't take him seriously, fucking drunk." His father said. Sam glanced at the growing mountain of cans, averting his eyes before his dad caught him. "I assume you didn't get an exact date? 'Course you didn't. Well going by the dates for the girl and the bum, and before that the missing pets, they all happened around the full moon. Looks like a werewolf."

Jim gave Sam a derisory glance, then turned back to his beer. "You're going out tonight. Look around the neighbourhood the girl was killed. See if you can find anything. I don't wanna see you back 'til dawn."

Sam didn't bother pointing out if it was a werewolf, it wouldn't return to the same hunting ground two nights in a row. And he had school in the morning. He grabbed his bag and walked out, leaving his dad to his drink. Maybe he could get some homework done in the car.