A/N: As ever, huge thanks to those who reviewed! I must say that I am enjoying writing this story more than I have in a long time, and it's all thanks to you guys! Keep it up!

Summary: Preseries, Wee!chester fic. By the time the party was over, Sammy was gone and Dean would never be a teenager again.

Disclaimer: Tis not mine. I tried selling my soul for it but the deal demon said I had to ask Kripke first. Lame.

A WARNING: This chapter contains OC's! Crafty, evil, mean, crudely constructed OC's! You have my assurances that these scum of the earth are only present to aid the plot, and NOT as a long term and exceedingly annoying love interest!

(clears throat) Anyway…

Swings and roundabouts

It was eerily quiet out here. Hollowly still. Just the echoing resound of a confident pair of well worn boots, and the soft pitter-patter of too-small sneakers following on behind. The sidewalk was the typical grubby silvery-grey, dappled with a flickering yellow glow whenever they passed under a streetlamp.

They were going slow; but there was no hurry. Sixteen year old Dean Winchester hooked his thumbs into the belt holders at his hips and allowed the weight of his arms to sink, slumping his shoulders. Behind him came the soft hitch of a breath and the smallest of sighs.

"Are you mad at me?"

Dean halted in his steps and turned slowly to regard his pursuer with indifferent eyes. He shrugged one shoulder briefly, spun on his heel and cocked an eyebrow.

"Why should I be?" he said, tone light yet expressionless. His younger brother frowned at him from under a concealing, low-slung mop of brown hair, and seemed to consider Dean for a moment. Then, he shook his head and shoved his hands forcefully into his jeans pockets.

"I dunno." He muttered, mimicking the cool indifference of his older brother. Dean looked disdainfully at him. Sam was wearing a scuffed pair of sneakers, jeans with holes and frays in the knees, and an old hoodie with sleeves that encompassed the entirety of the eleven year old's hands. The kid's hair needed cutting, too.

"Hm." Dean huffed, feeling inexplicably uncomfortable as he turned and continued to walk . For once, he had actually made an effort for his appearance. He had gelled his hair up, washed his face, donned a clean pair of pants and a vaguely new shirt. Which wasn't exactly dressed-to-impress material, but by Winchester standards he was practically in a tuxedo.

"So…what…" Sam trotted a few steps to catch up with him, casting wary eyes around as though he expected the shadows to jump out at him "what kind of party is this?"

Dean almost faltered in his step, but managed to retain his gait. Now, that was a good question. What kind of party? Who the hell knew? He hadn't asked questions. It was a party, with girls, at a house. The girl who had invited him…well, to be honest, he had been too busy checking her out to listen properly. But she was one of those clueless, rich sort of girls; not the type to throw a wild do.

"It's just a party, Sam." He said, resignedly. What had Todd said? Second street on the right past this one? Yeah, there was the corner shop.

It wasn't like he'd planned to bring Sam along; in fact, he had assumed exactly the opposite. For once, Dad had been home researching and so Dean was free to go where he wished for one blessed night of freedom. Not that he didn't enjoy looking after Sam…

That was a lie.

Well, sort of. He still enjoyed the time he spent with his brother. Just…not as much as he used to. They were at an awkward stage, he and Sam. Right back where they'd started. In the beginning, there had been a tiny baby and his big, brave protector. Then, for years, they had been practically mutual; two little boys growing up together, and despite the age gap, they'd got on well.

Now, though…there was less need for a big, brave protector. Sam didn't need a bodyguard; he just wanted a brother. And Dean was afraid of that. Afraid that if he took away the purpose, that there would be nothing left between them.

"I could…" Sam hesitated, swallowed, brushed his fringe from his eyes, looking sheepish "You know. Just…not come. You didn't want me to come, anyway."

Dean didn't deny it. The terrible beast that was puberty had struck a wedge between them that no wendigo or ghost ever could have. With teenage hood came a re-shuffle of priorities; suddenly, there were girls. Popularity. Loud music and stretching the boundaries of society.

Dean knew Sam resented being seen as a tag-along. He was independent, in his way. He gave Dean his space. But they were no longer on a level. They didn't talk, couldn't talk, with the ease they used to. Dean felt something hot turn in his stomach, but pushed it down with dismissal.

"You have to come." He muttered, kicking at a crack in the pavement which Sam hopped neatly over "Dad said-"

Sorry, Dean, a call just came up on the police scanner. I've gotta go.

But Dad, I was gonna go out tonight!

You'll have to take Sammy with you if you want to go out. Either that, or don't go at all.

"I know." Sam muttered darkly, hunching his shoulders, his whole body tensing up. Dean looked at him sharply. Ah. Dad. Of course.

The other biggest development in the family Winchester dynamic, was the problem of Sam and Dad. Or lack thereof. Sam had always been one for asking questions. But always to Dean, who could talk him down from it. Dad didn't have the patience. He'd tell Sam it wasn't his concern. Sam would just ask why. Dad got angry, Sam got mad, one thing led to another and it usually ended with Dad downing another bottle and Sammy curled under the covers pretending he wasn't crying, in the same way Dean pretended it didn't hurt him, either.

"I don't get why I can't just stay by myself." Sam said moodily, shoving his hands deeper into his pockets, his hair concealing his face "I'm eleven and nine months."

Eleven and nine months. Hm. When Dean was eleven and nine months, he knew how to handle a shotgun better than most grown men. He spent half the day avoiding the world and the other half protecting Sam from it. By eleven and nine months, Dean had already killed a total of six times. Dean felt worlds apart from that boy. The boy who'd live only for Sam's smiling face and the occasional pat on the head from his Father. Content.

But now I want more.

And there it was again. That flare, that stab of terrible heat. Resentment. Anger. Longing. He swallowed thickly, heart banging against his ribs, cold twisting in the pit of his stomach. Guilt. Oh God, guilt.

"Dean?" A small hand on his arm. He shrugs away, shook his head, and something like hurt flashes in Sammy's eyes. He tries to tell himself he's not sorry. That Sam's not a little kid anymore, that he needs to toughen up.

"What?" He mumbles, and it doesn't come out as gentle as he'd like. He curses silently to himself. Pushes the weight down. It's wrong. It's all wrong, he's wrong. Nothing is like it used to be. Everything's changing.

"You…um…" Sam trails off, looking at him with an almost unreadable expression. Almost. His dark eyes shine with some deep level of confusion, and yet understanding. He eventually lets out a small breath, and looks away "Nothing."

There was an uncomfortable silence for a few moments, before Sam spoke again "It's Thursday, right?"

Dean frowned. Where was this going? "Uh huh. So?"

"So couldn't we just…" Sam straightened up suddenly, did a little jump to get a few steps ahead of Dean, his dark eyes lighting up "I don't know. Do stuff together? You always said Thursday was movie night. There's that new movie…Monster Truck! I'd like to see it."

Dean considered it. Yeah. It would be fun to go. He and Sam could sit and throw popcorn at stuck-up rich kids, and snigger at the cliché plot of the movie, discuss whether the concept of a possessed truck would actually work in comic seriousness. They'd be allies, there. The only two people in the theatre that fully understood each other.

Dude, you cart that kid everywhere. What's up with that? Haven't you got anyone better to hang out with?

On the other hand, he could go with a girl. Grab a quick one in the back row, in the dark of the theatre, the thrill of secrecy behind the seats and an escape from the reality that only existed in other people's nightmares. Sammy. Passion in the back row. Little brother. Responsibility, escape.

He didn't know. Shit. He didn't know what he wanted anymore. He looked down at Sam's excited face, practically glowing with anticipation, and felt sick to his stomach.

"Maybe tomorrow." He said, trying desperately to ignore the way Sam's face fell, the way he seemed to shrink back into his too-big clothes and fall behind Dean again. Girls at a party. Alcohol. He needed a drink. Badly.

"Oh." Sam murmured flatly, and they both pretended they couldn't hear the shake in it "Okay."

It wasn't. It wasn't okay. He shouldn't have to do this, shouldn't even have to think about it. Sammy came first. Sammy had always come first. And that had been okay. It had been fucking fine. But now…he didn't know. Couldn't decide. He'd had a taste of something else and now what he had felt bitter.

"Where was Dad going tonight?" Sam asked, and Dean shrugged for what felt like the twentieth time.

"He didn't say."

"Yes he did. You just don't want to tell me."

"You don't need to know."

Dean could practically feel the heat of Sam's glare searing into the back of his skull, but he bore it with an impassive dignity. They had now turned into a long, well-lit side road which was lined on either side with identical, looming, how-was-your-day-honey houses. Dean felt something prickle down his spine, and he tensed. He could hear the far off thump of loud music and the tinny shriek of a good time.

"I don't want to go to this party." Sam said, sullenly. It wasn't really a plea, or a question, or even an accusation. Just a statement. Nonetheless, it was enough to call up that terrible heat in Dean's stomach.

"Don't be selfish, Sammy."

Sam looked at Dean as though he had slapped him across the face.

"Yo, Dean, ma man! Ya made it!" Came a slurred yell from across the street, and both brothers turned sharply.

Swaggering towards them were two teenagers, a boy and a girl about Dean's age. The boy was tall and well built, with short blonde hair and a square sort of face. His skin was bronzed and his expression seemed plain enough, but something quietly malicious seemed to glint in his eyes.

The girl was a petite, dark haired affair with a face caked in make-up and ill-fitting clothing. Purposefully ill-fitting, the material stretched so tight in places that the seams seemed fit to burst, and unattractively loose in others.

Sam shrank behind his brother as they drew closer; Dean heaved the tiniest of sighs which thankfully went unnoticed "Hey Todd." He nodded curtly to the boy, then turned to the girl "Gracia."

Gracia giggled behind bitten, chipped red nails, and Sam watched in fascination as a bent-looking eyelash fell away when she blinked, along with a tiny shower of flakes of mascara. The boy, Todd, waltzed over to Dean and clapped hard on the shoulder. Perhaps a little too hard, Sam thought, eying the boy's tight smile and his tense posture.

"So, have ya heard?" Todd said thickly, slinging an arm around Dean's shoulders and breathing foul, bitter breath in his face "Kyle said there was gonna be some crazy shit tonight. He's got hold o' some real hard stuff. It's gonna be wild!"

Dean raised his eyebrows and tried to look interested, when he felt a tug on the back of his shirt "Dean?" Sam was frowning up at him, his expression accusing and a little betrayed "What crazy shit?"

Dean winced. The words sounded vulgar coming from Sam's mouth "Sam, shut up. And don't say…that word. Dad'll kill me."

Sam opened his mouth to retort, but a high-pitched squeal cut him off, and Gracia scuttled around Dean to peer adoringly down at his wide-eyed little brother.

"Oh my Goood, who's the doll?" She cooed, wiggling about in delight. She leaned down close to Sam, who glared openly at her, shying away "Aw, Dean, he's sooo cute! How old are you, little guy?"

Wrinkling his nose at the baby-voice she was speaking in, Sam backed away as she reached for his face, making to pet his hair. Quite suddenly she grabbed him and held him flush to her stomach, still babbling about how adorable he was. Sam smelled something sweet and yet sour in her clothes, like cigarette smoke but different, and felt faintly nauseous.

Dean snatched Sam back with a force which sent his brother's head reeling, then checked himself. Gracia blinked in surprise, her expression twisting from besotted to offended. Dean avoided her eye, muttered an apology, tried to shake it off with a sheepish smile. Todd's face darkened.

"It's not nice to not answer a lady's question." Gracia said delicately, addressing Sam, who was hovering close to Dean's side. Sam flushed deep red, his cheeks filling with blood, and Dean would have mistaken it as embarrassment if he hadn't noticed the way Sam's fists clenched at his side. Weird. His little brother was…angry, for some reason.

"Not a lady." Sam muttered, a cold venom in his voice, and Dean was surprised. What the hell was all this about? "And I'm not cute. I'm eleven."

There was an awkward silence. Sam seemed to suddenly become aware of himself and deflated, shuffling his feet nervously. He stood between Dean and Gracia, not looking at either, and eventually Dean cleared his throat and tapped Sam on the shoulder.

"C'mon, Sam. You shouldn't be rude." It was an empty reprimand, and they all knew it. Todd barged his way between the seeming standoff, giving both brothers the beady eye. He looked intensely first at Dean, then at Sam. The eleven year old hastily backed up, right into Dean, who steadied him.

"Sam, quit that." He murmured, then returned Todd's gaze firmly "He won't cause any trouble, Todd."

For what felt like an eternity, they simply stared unblinkingly at each other. Gracia had folded her arms defensively in front of her, and watched the proceedings with deep lines set in her forehead. Dean's hands clutched his brother's shoulders tightly.

Eventually, Todd broke away from Dean's gaze and shrugged "Eh, it's your call. Whatever." Gracia hooked her arm through his, and they began to walk away. Gracia called stiffly over her shoulder: "We'll seeya at the gig."

They watched them go in silence. The far off thrum of the party had grown wilder now, and Dean could hear the distinctive wail of excited shrieks. He shivered, excited. Daring. Danger. He could practically smell it in the air.

"Dean." But there was Sam. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. It couldn't be. If there was trouble Sam could - "I really don't want to go."

What the fuck are you, Winchester, a Daddy's boy? Fucking whipped. Yer jus' a retarded freak after all.

"Sam…" He couldn't just take that! Every single other time, he'd just turned his back, become an outcast, focussed on Sammy and Dad. But he had to do it. Just once, to try. To see whether he really could…fit in. And after…"Look. I haven't gotten out all week. I need this. I need some time to…" Get some release. Re-arrange my entire reason and philosophy for being. Get laid. "anyway. Just for a couple of hours. Okay?"

Sam looks at him for a long moment, then, finally, nods. "Okay." They begin to follow after Todd and Gracia, Sam's arms folded tightly across his chest. He looked like he had swallowed a lemon as he glares at their retreating figures "I don't like them. Especially her."

Dean saw the rift between he and the pair widen, looked down to see Sam huddling close to him. "Wanna know something?" He grinned "I don't, either."

Sam's face split into a dimpled smile, and for a long moment they simply stood, alone, yet allied, facing the rest of the world defiantly. Slowly, Dean's smile wavered, then fell. Yes, for now, they were together. United still by that thread of responsibility, of waning affection. But misunderstanding and change were wearing that thread thinner by the day.

Dean swallowed, and the presence of Sam so close felt suddenly stifling. He'd have to choose. Sometime, somehow, he'd be faced with an inescapable choice: Sammy…or himself?


A/N: This chapter was kinda uneventful, but I needed to set the stage for the big act! MASSIVE apologies for this being such a short chapter! I have six very important exams next week and am kinda stressed. But I thought you'd like to see what I've managed to get done!

As an apology, I give you a sneak preview of the next (coughunwrittencough) chapter:

"Sweetie, I'm sure it's safe." Gracia leant casually against a scaffolding pole, demonstrating how sturdy it was "After all, Dean wouldn't have told you to do something if he didn't know it was safe, right?" She leant down, her cleavage wobbling horribly in his face, her eyes filled with what seemed to be sincerity "You trust your brother, don't you?"

Sam snapped immediately to the defensive "Of course I do!" he proclaimed, folding his arms resolutely over his chest. He and Dean may fight sometimes, but his big brother would never let anything happen to him. Never ever ever in a million trillion years plus one.

Todd grinned, grabbed a nearby ladder and let it drop against the platform above, where it emitted a loud clang which made Sam wince "Well then." He gestured languidly upwards "Up you go."

Hope it'll get you all in the mood! Anyway. Thanks for reading, please review! I've a feeling this story might last a few chapters, maybe two or three.