"Now I want you boys to listen to me okay?" John said, it was phrased like question but clearly wasn't. More of a, 'do it or regret it'

"You will not under ANY circumstances open this door to ANYONE."

Both boys nodded.

"Do you understand?" Obviously their father required verbal responses, as if they might forget if they didn't say it out loud.

"Yes Sir!" They said in unison.

"Okay, now money is on the fridge. I want it spent on food and food only. If you buy useless crap like sweets or toys or whatever the hell you bought last time, there won't be enough for food." There was a hard glare sent Dean's way, he may have bought that stuff for Sammy but it was his decision and it wasn't happening again.

Dean had gone hungry for two days after that stupid idea. Not that it slowed him down, until of course he passed out in the middle of his English class.

It was lucky Dean was so good at spinning a tale, 'cos explaining why he and his 8 year old brother were alone and social services not getting involved, would have been a tall order for most 12 year olds.

That happened a few months ago but apparently Dean wasn't going to be allowed to forget that EVER. John could practically hear his oldest rolling his eyes when he brought it up again. Dean had tried to point out it was Sammy's birthday, but John countered with, 'how much of a present is getting put in foster care?' That had shut him up pretty quickly. The look on Dean's face made John feel mighty guilty, but he had to get through to the kid somehow.

"Salt lines around all the doors and windows, and anything short of an explosion and you DO NOT leave the house after dark. Am I clear?"

"Yes Sir." Both boys replied, Dean slightly less enthusiastically than Sam.

Dean started to wonder if their dad was ever going to stop repeating this to them every time he left them alone for a few days. He had the whole ritual memorised with all the variations. He wasn't some stupid little kid; he was practically a man now! He could take care of himself and Sammy with him arms tied behind back. Hell he could do it stapled to the freakin' wall if it came to it, yet here he was being talked at like a two year old. Man, this was getting old.

Sam however was thinking how great this was gonna be. Having older brother as awesome as Dean had some definite perks. He had pretty much perfected the whole puppy dog eyes thing too, so Sam could get anything if he wanted it. Dean had been so proud of him when he scored them some free ice-cream the other day.

Dean was always proud of the things he did. Their dad only cared about hunting stuff. He didn't bother to read all his reports, or look at his certificates, or congratulate him if he won a prize. Dean always did, always. Even if he been a totally brat for like a week! Dean always cared, and the look on his face made Sam almost burst with pride.

John finally bade his boys a farewell and reminded them again to stay safe. Like Dean would ever put Sam in danger on purpose.

Normally on a hunt like this, John would have taken Dean along. But there were two problems this time. Firstly they were hunting a particularly nasty spirit who was in the habit ripping little boys insides out, literally, and there was no way on earth John was taking Sammy with him. That led to the second problem. They couldn't find anyone to look after Sam, not even Pastor Jim was available.

So Dean couldn't come either. John decided to tell Dean it was too dangerous for him to come rather than tell he basically on babysitting duty. Dean was he loved taking care of Sam true. However, no matter how much he liked it, if John told he had to stay behind to look after Sam he'd be outraged and start declaring the unfairness of it all and it would cause tension between the brothers.

So John allowed Dean to think he was the bad guy, being mean and telling him he wasn't ready to come along on this one. He didn't want him taking his frustrations out on Sam, intentional or not. He hated seeing his son's fight, not the silly brotherly banter, no, that on occasion was hilarious. It was when the really fought that it was so awful to watch. Mostly because when Sam got really cross, he REALLY knew what to say to hurt his brother. The look on Dean's face as the verbal wounds were inflicted was painful to see.

Physical fights Dean could do, name calling, practically turned it into a sport, but trying to hurt his brothers feelings on purpose, even in retaliation? Not a chance.

If Dean hurt Sam feelings like that, it was never on purpose and he would take it back and apologise as soon as he realised what he'd done. Making fun of Sam was very different, it was meant to annoy, not cause hurt. Making Sam cry would be more of a punishment for Dean that Sam.

Sam, even at the tender age of 8 however, used emotions like a weapon of mass destruction. John doubted Sam really understood the damage he was doing to Dean; he was just trying to win. Unfortunately that wasn't much consolation for Dean and you could see as each of the blows landed. He was gonna be one hell of a force to be reckoned with when he grew up.

John however knew what to do to 'win' an argument with Sam. By not listening to word he said and sticking to his guns. It was easy to forget how young he was sometimes, how young both of them were. Even though Dean had shielded Sam as much as possible, they had both grown up much faster than most kids. With the things they had seen and done; they had to.

As John drove away he prayed they'd be alright.

Two weeks later, Dean was starting to get seriously worried. Their dad was supposed to have got home six days ago at the latest, and whilst Dean had been careful with the money, he didn't think he could stretch to buying enough food to fill up even Sammy's tiny body.

Dean had already sacrificed a eating at all tonight just to make sure Sammy had something half-decent.

When Sam asked why he wasn't eating Dean had just said he wasn't feeling hungry. That might work for one night but when there wasn't anything more than a few crackers tomorrow, Sam was going to realise they were in trouble. They couldn't even contact their dad since they had no number for him and no idea where he was.

Dean wanted to yell at his father for not being here, for making him go hungry, but he knew that he was doing his best.

Unfortunately, lying there, stomach painfully empty, Dean knew that right now, that wasn't good enough.

For some reason that made him feel disgustingly sad.

Man he wanted his dad to come home now. Because he knew that if he didn't, tomorrow Sam would also be lying curled up in bed unable to sleep because his stomach was screaming for food. Also, as if matters weren't bad enough, there two weeks off school ended tomorrow and he would have to get Sam to school and then walk to his own classes.

He was just exhausted and the thought of having to go to school tired him out just thinking about it. He probably wouldn't have bother going if it weren't for Sam. Boy that kid was a weird one! He actually liked going to school, he came out filled with such enthusiasm; there was no way he could let him down by not letting him go.

He was going to have to get some money tomorrow. He wasn't sure how he was gonna do it, but he sure as hell wasn't gonna let his little brother go hungry and that was final! The only reason he'd left it 'til now to think about getting more cash, was his blind faith that their father would be back soon. He wouldn't let them starve, would he?

It was getting harder and harder to stop his brother worrying. The constant questions about his father's whereabouts were getting more difficult to deflect.

Dean sent up a silent prayer that there father would come 'home' soon. He was running out of faith by this point though.

Dean was bitterly disappointed and sent a curse up to God for letting Sammy down (then quickly took it back lest God decided to smite him, damn Pastor Jim and his lectures!)

The next morning it had taken a lot of will power for Dean to force himself to get up. He was even more exhausted than when he went to bed in the first place; life was so screwed up sometimes.

It was a three mile walk to the school, which whilst normally was nothing for the well trained brothers, was much harder going when you were tired and hungry. Dean had only had nothing to eat for one night, but he had been living on a pretty meagre diet for the whole of their dad's absence to make sure his brother was okay. He had lost weight already and he was skinny enough to start off with. He was looking plain gaunt now.

The Winchesters were no strangers to hard times and they were used to having to stretch food a bit further than it would normally go, but this was excessive even for them.

The school they were at now catered for pupils from kindergarten right up to high school age. Probably 'cos this crappy town was in the middle of freakin' nowhere and had very small population.

Everyone knew everyone round here and that really sucked for people like the Winchesters, as one of two things tended to happen;

One, you were treated with suspicion and distain; the decision there was that they were probably mass murderers or thieves. If anything bad happened it was instantly their fault and their punishment was to be stared at and whispered to death.

Or two, they were there to be scrutinised and asked enough questions to drive anyone insane. Dean almost started to appreciate the death glares by the time they left places like that.

Here was most definitely a death glare type of place. Neither Sam nor Dean had much hope of making friends in a place like this. Normally if they wanted some friends they could both make them fairly easily, but not in a place like this. They were gonna have to stick together round here, not that either of them really minded.

It was lucky really, people were less likely to notice things like the fact that you had some pretty nasty bruising or that you had lost way to much weight over the school break.

When Dean reached his first class his was beat. He actually felt himself drift off a few times but managed to stop himself at the last moment. Why couldn't this have happened last night?

By some miracle he made it through to recess without falling asleep and with slow, lethargic movements made his was over to where Sam was in the playground.

"Hey Dean!" Sam shouted gleefully and ran full pelt toward him. Where in the hell did he get all that energy from? Dean tried valiantly to sound enthusiastic when he replied;

"Hey Sammy, how was your class?" He failed. Not that Sam seemed too bothered.

"It was brilliant! We…" Dean lost the tail of Sam very detailed and excited description of whatever the hell it was he had been doing so far that day. Frankly, he just wanted to go home.

"Oh, and guess what! Mrs Martins gave us all cookies! An' I got an extra one 'cos she said my homework was so good. I saved you one for you 'cos I bet your hungry by now!"

Dean stomach rumbled at the mention of food.

"Nah Sammy, you have it, she gave it to you as a prize. I can't eat it, that wouldn't right."

Dean stomach was now screaming angrily at him, but he couldn't take food from Sam. He was gonna need it for later in case Dean couldn't find a way to get some money. He was the big brother; he was supposed to look out for Sam, not the other way round! But Sam's face turned serious.

"No. You gotta. I know you're hungry Dean. Please." Sam turned his big puppy dog eyes on him. Damn him! He was sure that he had hidden his lack of eating sufficiently. Nothing seemed to get past Sammy though. Then Sam leaned in conspiratorially.

"Anyway I snagged the rest of the packet anyway. We need it more than all the other kids – an' I love chocolate chip ones!"

Dean had to laugh at that. No-one would ever suspect innocent little Sammy, not with those great big brown eyes. And he was right, none of those over-fed, stuck-up kids needed them, they were probably doing them a favour.

So Dean ate a cookie, and Lord they had never tasted so good.

It was the last lesson of the day, thank god! Dean was the last to arrive in his maths class so he was stuck sitting two seats from the front. Great now he was going to have to look at least vaguely like he was paying attention, worst still he might end up getting asked questions. 'Could this day get any better?' he thought sarcastically.

Luckily his maths teacher seemed to have a high opinion of him (not that he could fathom why.) Her name was Ms Routh. She was probably the only teacher who didn't have a mutual relationship of hate with Dean. Not because Dean was particularly awful, he just made it fairly clear he would rather be anywhere than school; that he had better things to do. He was bright, very bright, not like Sam though, 'cos Sam had the one thing that Dean lacked; motivation. Sam loved everything about school; he seemed to absorb knowledge through freakin' osmosis.

Sam desperately wanted to learn things, anything. Dean however only wanted to know things that pertained to hunting. Learning the difference between a metaphor and a simile? Not a high priority.

Dean didn't study. He turned in two word assignments. Yet he consistently scored B's on nearly every test he took.

This was entirely intentional on Dean's part. He kept them high enough to get away with never handing in homework, but low enough that teachers didn't take too much interest in him or start suggesting extra classes. He could do better if he wanted to, but he didn't.

Ms Routh however, seemed to have seem through his little act, seen the potential. She was one of those young, optimistic types. She was naïve enough to think she could help Dean. It annoyed him a little, but he couldn't help but like her, so he refrained from acting like a terror until she gave up and allowed her to carry on with her fool's errand. It didn't really matter. They'd be moving on soon anyway.

Given her extra interest in the elder Winchester, Ms Routh had noticed the change in Dean. The first thing she noticed when he trailed into the room was the fact that he looked really sick. My God, she thought, he looks like he's starving!

Something that had always surprised her about him was how muscular he was for a twelve year old (not in a pervy way of course!) He should still have that covering of puppy fat at this age. It seemed a little unnatural. Not that it looked weird exactly; he had a natural grace about him. One that contradicted the frequent bruising that seemed to cover him. He always claimed he'd had an accident, fell down the stairs, or fell hard playing football. She worried that someone was hurting him; she didn't want to believe it though. The fact that he'd spent the week before the holiday with a vivid and fairly impressive bruise around his left eye had not helped.

Still, she did nothing; not knowing how to help. She hadn't even worked up the guts to ask him about it. But this new development had her seriously worried. There were bags under his eyes and he had hollowed out cheeks, not to mention how washed out he looked. She wondered if maybe he was seriously ill. She'd seen what chemo did to people, maybe that was it? Between the nausea and exhaustion of the treatment people often ended up looking how Dean did.

No. She had no reason to think he had cancer. She was probably being totally over the top. It just seemed odd because she'd seen his adorable little brother and he looked fine. Still chubby and rosy like all small children.

Another thing that puzzled her about Dean was how he was with his brother, normally at least. He was attentive, very protective and so very sweet. He'd do anything for his little Sammy. She hadn't expected that at all when she'd first met him. He acted very confident and charming, but she had imagined him as the selfish type. How wrong she'd been. He was about as selfless as they came. He would grow up to be a great man.

By the end of the class she had made up her mind to talk to hi, to find out what was wrong. So she asked Dean to stay behind when the bell went. She saw the sigh and look of slight exasperation.

"Don't worry, this won't take long." She said to try and reassure him.

"Okay, but I really need to go pick up Sammy. He'll panic if I'm late." He tone wasn't rude exactly, just a little abrupt. She allowed him this as he looked so beat-down right now.

"I'm sure his teacher will keep him entertained. You know how much she adores Sam." Dean actually offered a smile at this. She hated to ruin his first display of it for the whole day. She wasn't used to Dean being like this. He usually spent the whole time with that cocky grin on his face, one no child of his age should be allowed. Either that or a sensationally bored look. But not this, this dead look in his eyes, like he had given up, stopped caring.

"Dean, are you okay? You can tell me if something's wrong."

"I'm fine." Came his flat reply. "Just leave it alone."

That made her frown. She hadn't known what he'd say but that wasn't what she'd expected. Now it was clear something was wrong, he was being too defensive.

"Dean, I just want to help…"

"No!" Dean interrupted. Wow, he'd never been rude before.

"Please…" But again she was interrupted.

"No, you don't wanna help me, you wanna interfere! Well everything's fine, everything is absolutely fine!" She wasn't sure who he was trying to convince. He looked upwards, she suddenly realised he was trying to stave off a wave of emotion.

He was trying not to cry.

This was so wrong. So out of character. Whatever was wrong it must be bad. She started to feel out of her depth. She needed to tell someone, someone who could do something to help this struggling boy. He seemed so much younger without his confident façade, not the mature, in control boy she had gotten to know. Now he was so obviously just a child; a child who was lost and alone.

What was she supposed to say to make this better? She asked the question and he broke, she broke him. She wished she could take it back now. Selfishly wishing she didn't have to see him looking so fragile, it was just too painful. She felt tears in her own eyes. Her voice wasn't quite even when she started speaking again.

"Dean, you're not alright, please tell me what's wrong, please, let me help you." She was pleading with him now. How had this become so emotional? He hadn't even told her what was wrong.

"I don't need any help!" It was quiet but vehement.

"Dean, if you don't tell me, I'll have to tell someone…"

"NO!" He almost grabbed her arm then, but restrained himself just in time. He turned away from her running his hands through his short blond hair. When he turned back he looked her straight in the eye.

He was about the same height as Ms Routh, and she almost stepped back, not because he was trying to intimidate her; no because he was showing her his raw emotion, letting her see.

"Please listen to me. I'm just not feeling great right now, but I'm fine, honestly. It's just…it just…we're having a hard time right now, an'…I just need you to leave it alone. It'll all be fine soon. It will."

Then she did something she shouldn't have done. Something the school did not allow. Something that she and Dean would never talk about again.

She hugged him.

And he clung on to her so tightly, so desperately. She gave him what he needed, she let him be the kid she realised he wasn't. She gave him her strength. Gave him the comfort that he needed so that he could carry on.

Then they let go. He picked up his bag and walked to the door. He stopped and turned back. Looking right at her, with eyes that bore right into her soul and gave her one last sad smile.

"Thank you." Then he walked away and didn't look back. She never told anybody about that moment, but she knew what she had done was right. She could see the subtle change in his demeanour and knew he'd be alright.

When he reached Sam's classroom, Dean had composed himself well enough that no-one would know he had almost broken down. He hadn't of course; not a single tear had fallen. But all the same he felt emotionally drained. Drained, but definitely a little better. Things didn't seem quite so bad anymore and he knew he could cope.

Sam of course was running round his classroom like a manic. Dean felt himself smile at his brother over-enthusiastic antics. He appeared to be giving a dramatic explanation to his teacher, who was positively beaming at his little brother. He felt almost jealous of her getting his brother's full attention, of her getting him all to herself. It was silly but he couldn't quite bury that twinge of envy.

He opened the door and walked in.

"Hey Dean!"

"Hey squirt, time to go home. Sorry I was late." The apology was aimed more at the overwhelmed looking woman with Sam, than at Sam himself.

"Oh don't worry. He was no trouble at all."

"Thanks anyway." It was important to stay on the right side of people if at all possible. Being polite didn't take much time and it tended to avoid problems in the long run.

By the time they had walked home all Dean wanted to do was sleep for the next week, right after he had devoured an entire cow; no scratch that, a whole elephant.

He hadn't even allowed himself to hope their dad would be home when they got back. He couldn't take the disappointment, not again.

The first thing he did after he let himself into the cramped apartment was to search it for food. He found two crackers and a slightly rotten banana. Man he hated bananas!

"Sam, I have to go out for a little while."

"Ooooh! Where are we going?"

"We aren't going anywhere; I am going to get us some food." Sam put his hands on his hips and looked like the poster child for the outraged. Dean sighed.

"Sam, you can't come. I need you to stay here." Safe, "Keep the door locked and don't open it to anyone but me." He was starting to sound like his father.

Something about the resigned quality of Dean's voice stopped Sam from arguing. It also unsettled him. Where was he going, Dean didn't have a problem taking him to the shops normally, it wasn't like it was going to get dark soon. The shops were only a ten minute walk. What was Dean doing?

"When are you gonna be back?"

"I don't know exactly." Seeing the look on Sammy's face he added, "Before it gets dark."

Then he left Sam on his own. He didn't like leaving him, but he didn't really have a choice.

Normally he wouldn't have a problem stealing, but if he got caught now they'd be screwed. If the cop's were called, they'd realise that they were alone and put them in the system. Dean couldn't let that happen.

So he went to a bar. He was young to be hustling really, but he could pull off the 'short-sixteen-year-old' look at a push. His already muscular frame made the impression he was older than he really was, plus his was tall for 12 year old. He'd be alright.

Looking slightly green also made people underestimate you, which made his task a little easier. So he headed over to the pool tables.

A few hours later Dean was on a bit of high. He had two-hundred dollars! If he'd known he was capable of this he'd have done it days ago. It had been slow at first, but around six more people came into the bar. People started fairly early around here apparently. Mainly because there was a new development not far away and the builders all seemed to stop by here as soon as they got off work.

By nine Dean realised that he should have left by now. Although it wasn't that late and he could have made more money, it was getting darker by the second and Sam would be worried by now. He decided to make a quiet exit as people didn't tend to like kids who conned them out of their money.

Unfortunately life was never that simple.

"Hey! Where do you think you're going! I want a chance to win my money back!"

Dean closed his eyes and let out a sigh. Turning back he offered a cocky smile to his last mark. He was obviously a builder; he was tall and well-built dressed in workman's clothes still. Complete with steel-toed boots. 'Oh joy' Dean thought.

"Sorry, maybe another night." Yeah right! Still the man didn't know that.

"I don't think so. Get back here before I make you!" Brilliant, just…brilliant. Dean reckoned he could take the man; he spent enough time practicing with his father to know how to use someone's size against them. Not that he'd ever beaten him, but then this man was unlikely to be as skilled as his father was. But just because he could, didn't mean he wanted to.

"Look, I don't wanna cause any trouble, please, just let it go." The look on the man's face was enough of an answer for Dean so he tried once again to leave. The man grabbed his shoulder and whipped him around.

Dean dodged the first punch and surprised the man with a fierce punch of his own. He felt the man's nose break and witnessed the blood pour down his face. With a howl and watering eyes, he stumbled back. Apparently, based on the gasps from around him, he'd shocked them with that vicious hit.

"You bastard!" Was thrown at Dean as he made yet another attempt to leave. But a circle had formed around them, they wouldn't allow him to push past, they wanted a fight. This wasn't fair; he was too tired for this.

When he looked back to see his opponent, two of his friends had stepped forward too.

"What? Scared you can't take little old me down by yourself?" Dean mocked; he was hoping that the man's pride would force him take Dean on by himself. He wasn't sure if he had the energy to take the three of them down full stop, let alone the three of them at once. Unfortunately his belligerent streak had caused him to put a little too much sarcasm into the words and succeeded only in pissing them off more.

"No, we just think you need putting in your place." Said friend no.1, or Lard Arse, as Dean had labelled him. Friend no.2, just stood her looking intimidating, Dean named him Fugly Dude.

Once the attack began Dean switched into hunter mode, but he did control himself to a degree, snapping necks was frowned upon in polite society apparently.

Dean blocked as many of the punches as he could, but three opponents twice your size meant injuries were inevitable.

Lard Arse went down fairly quickly as Dean took out his legs and the man's head connected with a table (with a little direction from Dean of course.) Fugly Dude had more skill than his friend but Dean subdued him temporarily with the introduction of his knee to the man's groin, hard. That caused him to drop to the floor, clutching his damaged goods.

His original attacker, who Dean had settled on the name Crazy Eyes, on account of the man's wandering eye, had recovered from the shock of having his face rearranging by a kid half his size.

Dean was bleeding by now, but still coasting on the adrenaline of the fight so he wasn't feeling a thing. Unfortunately he was getting more and more fatigued.

Then he heard a voice he was not expecting to hear. His dad. Holy crap! What the hell was he doing here? He never got a chance to decipher what his dad was trying to say to him as Crazy Eyes had taken this opportunity to rush Dean. Dean was too shocked at the arrival of his father to do anything.

He was stunned as his head collided with the floor. Then the pummelling began. He felt his snap as it was ripped away from its position of trying to protect his head and hit a steel table leg. Apparently it was stronger than Dean's arm and refused to give. This was not a pleasant experience.

Through the blood covering his face he saw the man drawing back his arm, all he could do was squeeze his eyes shut.

The punch never landed. He felt the man's weight leave his middle.

When Dean finally opened his eyes, he saw his father slamming the man's head into a table repeatedly. He was yelling something about beating up twelve year olds and whole lotta unrepeatable words. Dean couldn't quite comprehend what was happening as he slipped into unconsciousness.

He last thought was 'Dad is gonna skin me alive'.

When Dean woke up he was back at the apartment. That's weird, he could have swore he was at the bar a minute ago. Then it all came rushing back to him. Crap, crap and more crap.

He tried to sit up. Wow, definitely broke some ribs Dean surmised as he felt the familiar flash of hot, white pain. His right eye was swollen and he could feel the stitches in his head and over his cheek bone. His arm was in a temporary bandage, at least he hoped it was temporary, that would have been a really nasty punishment, but his father would never do that, he hoped.

Almost to his horror Dean realised it had been manipulated back into place. Mind you, he supposed he should be grateful he hadn't been conscious for that. Getting up was not an option.

How the hell was he gonna explain this.

"Dad?" He said softly.

"Ah, you're awake. How are you feeling?" Okay, that was a disconcertingly gentle reply; he considered shouting christo to check it was really his dad.


"No, you aren't. What the hell were you thinking? When I got back Sammy was sobbing his eyes out, he thought you were dead. Told me you'd gone to get food four hours ago and neglected to come home. He thought you were dead; needless to say I shared his anxieties. I spent hour looking for you. What part of don't go outside in the dark didn't you understand?"

"It wasn't dark when I left, I…" He voice trailed off.

"What were planning to do, magic yourself home? Cos' it looked pretty dark out when I found you." He closed his eyes at the memory of seeing his son trapped by those thugs. He had felt like a failure for not being able to get to the man in time to stop the final assault on his son. He had dealt out quite a punishment to that man as well as the other two assholes who decided to pick on his Dean.

John's voice never rose above normal level; this wasn't meant to be a telling off when he'd started. He let his boy's down, Dean was there because he was not.

"Dean, I not trying to tell you off, I was just worried about you," He looked Dean straight in the eyes, "and I want you to know that I a m so, so sorry. I got back as soon as I could."

Dean looked away, he didn't want to be angry with his father but he couldn't help it.

"Where were you? What took you so long?" He tried to make his voice emotionless, he wasn't very successful.

"After I finished off that spirit, I got caught by the coven of witches who got wind of a hunter in the area. But it's all fine now, I took 'em down. No-one else got hurt."

Dean suddenly felt very selfish for wishing his father hadn't gone. People would have been dead if he'd got his wish.

"Oh. Sorry."

"No. No. You have nothing to be sorry for. I'm the one who's sorry."

Dean felt his stomach rumble and had the urge to laugh. He looked at his father with a small smile.

"Please tell me you have some food." Both Winchesters laughed.

"Yeah Dean, I got some food."

There were no hugs and crying. That wasn't their way. No they just mad right and carried on. Let the memories get sucked back into the far reaches of there minds, allowing them to be replaced by new ones. John never reprimanded Dean for what he had done, although he did take Dean's earnings from that night. He had felt vaguely pound when he realised how much Dean had made.

The next morning the Winchester's had driven to the next town to get Dean's arm fixed up, they knew there'd be too many questions in the local hospital. The next town was much bigger and no-one had time to question the story they were offered.

John might as well have stitched Sam to Dean when he'd been fixing him up since Sam spent the next week practically soldered to his brother's leg. Terrified he'd leave him alone again and get the crap kicked outta him.

They left for their next 'home' about two weeks later, once Dean was sufficiently healed to deal with the long uncomfortable journey. All of them were glad to put that place in the rear view mirror. The stares Dean were getting wherever he went were seriously getting on his nerves.

It was probably because everyone had heard about the bar fight, not that anyone had asked Dean personally. Doubtless because they had heard about how dangerous Dean and his father were. Some people had suggested that John had beaten one of them to death and buried them in his backyard. This was total rubbish obviously, but still the stigma followed them nevertheless.

Stupid small towns.


A/N: Well what did you think? This is the longest oneshot I've written so far. Sorry if the stuff about schools is wrong. I don't know enough about the American schooling system to know if it's accurate or not. I did my best! Please excuse any dumb errors :-)

Hope you enjoyed!!

Gracie xx