Westcott Prepatory Academy
Disclaimer: Don't own them, not making any profit.
Once again I would like to thank my beta reader, the awesome Soar, who had generously agreed to continue putting up with me and beta this story for me. Once again, any left over mistakes are completely my own.
Summary: Dean is diagnosed with an illness that requires long term care. In order to pay for Dean's treatment, John takes a job working in maintenance at a private school to get medical benefits and during this time, the Winchesters are a family and Sam gets to experience a taste of normal. Dean is 16 and Sam is 12
A/N: Shadows is one of my favourite episodes. In it, Dean says that he wants him, Sam and John to be a family again. Sam wanted normal and I have always wondered if somewhere along the way, he got to experience that taste of normal. So taking these two things and combining them gave me the idea for this story. I am adding Dean's illness because I figured it would take something pretty substantial to make John take a nine to five job.
If anyone is still reading here is chapter one.
Tick, tock, tick, tock
Sixteen year old Dean Winchester stared at the clock in his 10th grade English class, listening to his teacher drone on and on about some poet. Nothing she said was making sense to the young hunter. He suspected that it had something to do with the fact that he was out sick all last week, and English was his worst subject anyway.
If Dean admitted it to himself, he still wasn't feeling up to par. He could have used another day at home, but he knew that if he had stayed home much longer, then his father might not let him go on the hunt this weekend.
They were hunting a werewolf that had been responsible for several deaths in the area. It had taken awhile to figure out the pattern the werewolf had been using to pick it's victims. Dean was still filled with pride at the thought of the rare praise his dad had given him when he found the link that connected all the victims together. They now had a handle on where to find the creature, luckily, just in time for the full moon this weekend.
There was no way Dean wanted to miss this hunt because his father's friend, Joshua Holland was going to accompany them.
Joshua Holland's reputation as a hunter was legendary, especially when it came to werewolves and Dean knew that he would gain invaluable experience from hunting with him. Learning to hunt these creatures with Josh was like getting batting lesson from Ted Williams. There was another reason for him to get back on his feet though, Joshua was also a medical doctor and if Dean was under the weather, then Joshua would want to give him a check up and Dean couldn't think of anything he wanted less.
He shifted in his seat and tried to pay attention to what his teacher was saying. School would be out for the summer in about a month and exams were coming up. His dad only insisted that he pass and his English grade was barely above that. He was going to have to do well if he wanted to make sure that he didn't fail the class. He glanced toward the clock again and cursed silently. He swore that the damn thing was moving backwards. He just wanted this class over with. English was his last subject of the day and he was really worn out. Plus, he really needed to use the washroom, but he had already been once this class and he knew that his teacher wouldn't let him go again. He just wanted to go home. He was glad his father didn't have any training drills planned for that evening because he honestly didn't know if he would be able to make it through.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the bell rang, signalling the end of class.
"Okay class, that's it for today," Ms. Reynolds said. "We'll pick up this discussion tomorrow and don't forget that your essays on James Joyce are due by this Friday."
Dean grabbed his books and hightailed it for the door. He had just about reached it when he heard his name being called.
"Mr. Winchester, can I see you for a moment please?" asked Ms. Reynolds.
Dean was seriously tempted to pretend he didn't hear his teacher and keep going but he sighed and turned to face the classroom. He hoped this would be quick. He really needed to use the washroom, plus he knew that Sammy was waiting for him and Dean didn't like to keep him waiting.
"Yes, Ms Reynolds," Dean said as he walked back to the teacher's desk.
"Feeling better I see," Ms. Reynolds said sincerely.
"Yes, ma'am, thank you," Dean replied.
"Did you get your assignments last week? I gave them to your brother," she asked him.
Dean had received them but he hadn't done any of them, in fact in hadn't even looked at them.
"I never had a chance," Dean replied honestly. He'd had the flu and had hardly left his room all week.
"I'll give you until the end of this week to catch up and I'll give you an extension until Monday on your essay," Ms. Reynolds said kindly. "I know it's hard to miss a week, but you really need to make sure you complete your work. I don't want to see you fail."
"I will, Ms. Reynolds. Thanks for the extension."
"You're welcome. Please feel free to come see me if you need help," Dean's teacher offered genuinely.
"I will, thanks," Dean said, even though he had no intentions of ever doing so.
Dean left the classroom and bolted for the washroom. On his way out of school, he stopped by the vending machine and got a soda. He was thirsty.
Dean walked out the front doors and started toward the parking lot. His father had given him the car for the day and Dean gazed adoringly at the shiny, black beast. He loved this car.
"Hey, Dean," he heard a voice call from behind him.
"Hey, Sammy," Dean said as he turned and acknowledged his brother. "How was school?"
Sam grinned. "Great. I got a hundred on my English test and a 97 on my history test. Both were the highest marks in the class," Sam boasted.
"That's great, Sammy," Dean said proudly. "Do you know anything about James Joyce?"
"Yeah, he was a great writer, considered one of the founding fathers of the modern novel and wrote great stories like Finnegan's Wake and Ulysses," Sam said enthusiastically then he narrowed his eyes and look suspiciously at his older brother. "Why?"
"I'll give you ten bucks if you write my essay for me," Dean said.
"Cheapskate," Sam said.
"Okay, twenty," Dean countered.
"No way, Dean, I'm not doing your homework for you. Dad would kill us if he found out."
"How would he find out, Sammy?"
"He's dad," Sam said simply.
Dean sighed, he knew Sam was right. He had never been able to pull a fast one on his father. "You can't blame a guy for trying."
"When's Joshua getting here?" Sam asked.
"Thursday. He should be here for dinner. He's staying until Monday. I can't wait to go hunting with him this weekend," Dean said excitedly.
It was Sam's turn to sigh.
"What is it, Sammy?" Dean inquired.
"Do you think dad will let me skip the hunt this weekend? There's a soccer game after school on Friday that I want to watch, and Saturday I was invited to Bill's birthday. They're going to the movies and then out to the beach. It's going to be a blast."
"You want to skip the hunt? Sammy, come on, this is Josh, it's like..."
"Getting batting tips from Ted Williams," Sam interrupted Dean. "I know, you said it about a thousand times already. Will you talk to dad for me, Dean? I really want to go."
Dean ran his hand through his short, spiked hair in frustration. He was feeling more tired and worn out by the hour and getting into it with his dad was the last thing he wanted to do, but he could never say no to Sammy.
"I'll ask him, Sammy, but you know it won't do any good. It's just going to get him mad," Dean said trying to reason with his brother.
Sam pouted and crossed his arms, feeling his own frustration growing. "Please, Dean, just for once I want to do something..."
"Normal," Dean finished for him. "You said that a thousand times too, Sam. You know that..."
"I knew you'd side with him," Sam growled before Dean could finish.
"Sammy, I'm not on anyone's side. I'll talk to dad for you, but don't get your hopes up, you know he's going to say no," Dean said.
A smile lit up Sam's face. "Thanks Dean."
Dean pulled the Impala into the parking lot of the run down apartment building that they were currently staying in. He made sure that the car was locked and entered the building behind Sam. Dean wished that there was an elevator because the thought of climbing three flights of stairs was, at this point, more than he thought he could handle.
Suck it up, Winchester, Dean told himself. He took a deep breath and began the long, slow climb toward apartment 3F. He sighed in relief when he found himself in front of their apartment door. He had never been so glad to see the place. He really wanted to lie down, but his dad was getting ready for the hunt and when John wasn't there, it was his responsibility to get dinner on the table. Then, he had promised to talk to his dad for Sam. It had been a long day and it didn't seem like it was about to end anytime soon.
The soda he had drunk earlier had done did little to quench his thirst, so he went straight to the fridge and poured himself a big glass of water. He decided that he didn't feel like cooking, so he raided his secret stash of money he had earned from doing other kids math homework, and placed an order for pizza. Luckily, his dad came home in a good mood. He had gotten the final piece of information they needed for the hunt. Now all they needed was the full moon.
Later that evening, after dinner was eaten and the kitchen cleaned up, Dean had approached his father with Sammy's request. To say that it hadn't gone well was an understatement. John wouldn't hear of his youngest bailing on the hunt, especially with Joshua agreeing to help them out. Sam stormed out of the living room, went to the room he and Dean shared and slammed the door, refusing to come out for the rest of the evening.
This put John in a foul mood. He grabbed the impala's keys and headed out the door, telling Dean that he would be back soon and to watch out for Sam.
Dean threw up his hands in frustration, he knew his father was headed to the local watering hole. "Terrific," he mumbled to himself.
Not having anything better to do, Dean grabbed his backpack and decided to get started on his homework. It was really the last thing that he felt like doing though. He had a headache and he was tired. He just wanted to lie down, but he knew that he needed to give Sam a chance to cool off. Dean got up and went to fridge and got himself a drink and a snack. It seemed like he was always hungry these days.
Must be trying to catch up fromwhen I couldn't eat last week, he thought.
Dean pulled his English book toward him and tried to concentrate on the poem the teacher wanted them to read, but nothing was making sense. He was having a really hard time focusing his thoughts, they kept drifting back to his father and brother. With a sigh of frustration, he gave up on English for the night and grabbed his math book, it was something that came easy to him and with his current mood, he did not feel up to anything strenuous.
John returned a couple of hours later. He was frustrated over the behaviour of his youngest son these days. It seemed like ever since Sam had turned 12, he questioned everything. It was something that John was trying to drill out of him. If they were on a hunt, it was essential to follow orders.
John let himself into the apartment and went to the fridge for a beer. He was surprised when he found his eldest son hunched over the kitchen table with his school books in front of him, sound asleep.
John glanced at his son with a look of concern. That flu had hit Dean hard last week and John knew that despite his best efforts to hide it, Dean still wasn't fully recovered. He knew that Dean really wanted to accompany him and Joshua on the hunt and John hoped he would be feeling up to it. Although he would never show it, John knew that Dean would be extremely upset if John had to order him to stay home, but it was as dangerous to have someone who wasn't 100, as it was to have someone who didn't follow orders.
"Dean. Hey son, you with me?" John said softly as he gave Dean a gentle shake. He didn't want to startle the boy.
"What?" Dean asked somewhat disoriented as he stirred from his slumber. "What time is it?"
"It's about 9:30," John answered.
"That's all?" Dean asked with surprise.
"Yeah," John said gently. "You feeling okay, kiddo?"
"Fine," Dean lied.
"Come on, son, I think a good nights sleep is just what you need," John replied as he exerted some gentle pressure and helped Dean to stand. Dean was immediately hit with a wave of dizziness and if his dad hadn't been holding him, there was a good chance that he would have fallen.
"Easy, Dean. Just give it a minute," John instructed. "Take some deep breaths."
Dean did as ordered until he didn't feel like he was going to keel over any more.
"I'm good, dad. I just got up too quickly," Dean said as he tried to explain away the incident.
"Still, I think you should get an early night," John suggested with concern.
"But what about my homework?" Dean asked with a nod toward his books. He really couldn't afford to fall behind any further.
"I'll look at it with you tomorrow, alright? There's nothing more we can do about the hunt until the full moon. Get some rest," John offered.
Dean decided to take his father up on his offer, but first he needed to get a drink. He finished a glass of water, but it still didn't seem to take the edge of his thirst. He went to the washroom and then said goodnight to his dad and Sammy.
Sam was just as concerned about Dean as John was. To him, Dean was invincible, his superhero, and it made Sam nervous when Dean appeared vulnerable. Sam watched as Dean settled himself in bed. He wanted to ask Dean how he was feeling, but he knew it would do no good, Dean would simply tell him he was fine. He decided to go and ask his dad instead, even though Sam really didn't want to see him, his concern for his brother overrode his anger.
He found his father in front of the TV, watching some old movie.
"Dad," Sam greeted his father tentatively.
"Hey, Sam, what's up?" John replied. He really hoped that Sam wasn't about to start anything.
"How come Dean's going to bed so early. Is he sick again?" Sam asked in a worried tone.
"I hope not, Sammy," John said. "I think he's still recovering from last week."
"Don't you think you ought to take him to the doctor? I mean, it's been over a week now," Sam reasoned.
"It's just the flu, Sammy," John explained. "He'll be fine. Besides, you know how Dean feels about doctors." Sam looked like he was about to protest so John continued. "Joshua will he here in a couple of days, I plan to ask him if he'll have a look at Dean. Okay?"
"I guess," Sam said half heartedly.
"Sammy, I promise if Dean seems like he's getting worse, I'll drag his rear end to the doctor, kicking and screaming if I have to okay?" John said.
"Okay dad, thanks. I just hate it..."
John finished the thought for him. "When's Dean not feeling well. Me too, kiddo. He'll be fine, though. I mean he's..."
"Dean," Sam finished the sentence for him. "Okay. I'm going to go finish my homework. 'Night dad," Sam said.
The next couple of days passed quickly. Dean, Sam and John discussed hunt strategies and John did manage to help Dean with his homework. With his dad's help, he was managing to catch up. Unfortunately, Dean didn't start to feel better. In fact, he started feeling worse. He had a few more dizzy spells and his energy levels seemed to decrease as well. The only thing, John noted, that wasn't affected was Dean's appetite. It seemed like nothing could fill him these days. It seemed like every time John turned around, Dean was getting something to eat or drink, and if he wasn't at the fridge, he was in the bathroom.
Yet, Dean still wouldn't admit he was still sick. He didn't want to miss the hunt, so every morning he dragged himself out of bed and off to school and through his evening chores. He was glad that Joshua was arriving the next day because Dean hoped it would take his dad's focus off him.
That was before he went to bed. That Wednesday night, the most awful, humiliating thing happened to him.
He went to bed early that night as well. He woke up having to use the washroom, again. He was about to get out of bed when his leg brushed against a big wet spot beneath him. Dean froze instantly. There's no way, I couldn't have, Dean thought. He hesitated, took a deep breath and lifted the covers. There was no denying the evidence, he had wet the bed.
Dean's breathing increased and he looked toward Sam as if he thought his brother might have heard. Sam was still sound asleep though. Dean sighed in relief, but he felt humiliated. He wasn't sure what to do. There was no way anyone could ever find out about this. Dean glanced at his bed side clock. It read 12:08 am. There was a possiblilty that his dad could be in bed. He slipped silently out of bed and grabbed a different pair of PJ bottoms and changed quickly. He prayed to a God that he wasn't sure he believed in, that Sam wouldn't wake up and that his dad was asleep. He walked stealthily out of his room, went to the washroom so this wouldn't happen again and then he made his way to the closet where he knew the one set of spare sheets they owned, were are kept. Luck was not on is his side, however, no sooner had he grabbed the sheets when his father appeared.
John had been in the living room watching TV. He couldn't sleep, he was trying to think of away to explain to Dean that he wasn't going hunting that weekend. He hated to have to deny this to his eldest, because Dean never asked for anything and John knew just how much Dean was looking forward to it, but Dean was still ill and it was just too dangerous.
John heard the toilet flush and he knew that Dean was awake. John decided it was now or never and he got up to go talk to the young hunter. He walked down the hall and he was more than shocked when he saw his son standing with a fresh set of sheets in his hand, he didn't fail to notice that Dean had changed his PJ's as well and John thought back to the four glasses of soda Dean had drunk that evening. It didn't take him long to figure out what had happened. He was all set to scold his eldest, but when he looked at him, the reprimand died on his lips before it even began.
Dean looked miserable. He had dark circles under his eyes and he looked pale. Because Dean slept without a shirt on, John could see that he had lost weight as well. That was what scared John the most because he had seen just how much Dean had been eating.
As soon as Dean saw his dad, he knew that he was busted. Immediately, his shoulders slumped and his eyes never left the floor. He wished the floor would just open up and swallow him whole, then he wouldn't have to deal with the lecture that he knew he was sure to get. He couldn't have been more surprised at what his father did next though.
John put his arm around Dean's shoulders and pulled his first born into a light hug.
"It's okay, buddy," John gently reassured the boy. "It can happen to anyone."
Dean just buried his head into his father's chest, much like he had when he was younger. He was so embarrassed. John reached out with his other arm and cupped Dean's face so that he had to look his father in the face.
"It's okay, Dean," John repeated. "It really can happen to anyone. It did to me," John admitted and Dean looked at his father in shock. "It happened the day before I got shipped to 'Nam, in front of a whole barracks full of other marines. Just remember that as bad as things seem, they can be a whole lot worse."
Dean didn't say anything. He just gave his dad a small, grateful smile.
"You're really feeling miserable aren't you?" John asked.
Dean was tempted to deny it, but he knew he couldn't hide it any more. "Yes," he said so quietly that John almost missed it.
"Come on, let's get you back to bed," John said gently.
"But…" Dean started.
"I'll take care of it. I'll put you in my room," John said.
"Sam..." Dean protested weakly.
"I'll tell him that I thought you might be contagious. Don't worry, Dean, I'll make sure he doesn't find out."
"Thanks, dad," Dean said gratefully.
John actually walked Dean into his room and tucked him into bed for the first time since Dean was five.
"What about the..?" Dean started to ask.
"Don't worry about the hunt right now, you just concentrate on getting better. Good night, Dean. We'll talk in the morning," John said firmly.
Dean was asleep before his head hit the pillow.
John was extremely glad that Joshua was arriving the next day. The first thing John was going to ask his friend was to give Dean a check up.
True to his word, John took care of things in Dean's room and the next day, when Sam woke up, he had no clue as to what had happened the night before. Sam noticed Dean's bed was empty, which surprised him because Dean was never one to get up early. Sam rose, took a shower and headed into the kitchen for some breakfast.
"Morning dad," Sam greeted his father. He looked around the empty kitchen. "Where's Dean?" He added.
"Asleep," John replied and before Sam could say anything else he added. "I put him in my room. I don't want you catching anything if he's contagious."
"He's sick again?" Sam asked with growing concern.
"Yes," John admitted, also with concern. "I'm keeping him home today."
"You're taking him to the doctor right? Don't forget you promised."
"I know, Sam. Joshua will be here in a few hours. I'll get him to give your brother a check up."
"I promise, Sammy. Finish your breakfast and I'll give you a lift to school."
Shortly after, Dean awoke. He looked around the room and it took a moment for him to get his bearings. He was trying to remember why he was in his dad's room, then the awful event of the previous night came rushing back. He wanted to bury himself in the covers and never show his face again, but as fate would have it, he really needed to use the washroom, again.
He pushed the covers aside and got up. Once again, he had to stop as he was struck with dizziness and the whole room started spinning. He stopped and took some deep breaths and was able to get himself under control. He carried on to the bathroom and took care of business, then he noticed the time. He had overslept. He went to the kitchen to get some breakfast because he was starving. Upon entering the room, he found a note from his father.
Dean, I took Sam to school. I decided to let you sleep. I'll get your assignmentsfrom your teachers. Go back and lie down. That's an order.
Dean decided to go lie on the couch so he could at least watch TV. After a moments thought, he also grabbed the water jug so he wouldn't have to keep getting up. He curled up on the couch, covered himself with a blanket and wished he would start feeling better.
Joshua Holland drove down the street that led to the apartment building where the Winchesters were currently residing. It had been awhile since he had seen his old friend, John. Joshua had been scheduled to speak at a conference that was nearby, but when he had found out how close he was to where the Winchesters were living, he immediately called John and suggested they get together. When he found out that they were tracking a werewolf, he immediately offered his assistance. Werewolves were his area of expertise. John, of course, accepted without hesitation.
Joshua was also looking forward to seeing the boys. He couldn't wait to hear about what Sam was learning in school and he wanted to hear all about how Junior had managed to find the connection between the victims.
It wasn't long before he reached the building and he made his way to the apartment. He knocked on the door.
"Joshua, it's good to see you," John greeted his friend with an enthusiastic hand shake, holding the door open in welcome.
"Great to see you too, John. You're looking well," Joshua said returning the greeting.
John invited the older hunter inside. John took Joshua's bag and put it in his own room. He offered his friend a beer, which Joshua happily accepted.
Dean, who had been sleeping on the couch, heard Joshua enter the apartment. Drawing on his limited energy reserves, he pushed himself to a standing position and made his way to the kitchen.
"Hey, Josh," Dean greeted. "How's it going?"
Joshua was surprised to see Dean, he had thought the boy would have been in school, but he was still pleased to see him. "It's going fine, Junior," Josh said as he rose to give the boy a hug, then both said in unison.
"Don't call me Josh."
"Don't call me Junior."
John grinned as he watched the scene play out. This was something that had been going on since they had first met. Joshua's biggest pet peeve was being called Josh, so Dean decided that he was going to call him that every chance he got. Joshua retaliated by calling referring to Dean as Junior, since his legal name was Jonathan Dean Winchester Jr. Both protested, but John knew that even if they would never admit it, they were each secretly fond of their nicknames, just as long as no else dared use them.
"How was the conference?" Dean asked.
"I was the highlight," Joshua boasted.
Before Dean could say anything else, John cut him off. He could see that even this short exchange was tiring Dean out and he didn't want him out of bed for too long.
"Go back to bed, Dean," John said and seeing that Dean was about to protest, he added. "That's an order."
Dean sighed. "Yes, Sir," he mumbled sullenly. He stopped at the fridge and refilled his water jug, then he went back to the couch.
"Is Junior alright, John?" Joshua asked with concern.
"He had the flu last week and I think he pushed himself too hard to recover and caused a relapse. I don't know how to tell him that he's not going on the hunt this weekend. He was looking forward to it and I hate to disappoint him, but it's just too dangerous," John said with regret.
"I know. Do you want me to give Junior a once over?" Joshua offered.
"If you don't mind. I would really appreciate it," John accepted gratefully.
"No problem. What's been going on with him?"
"Well, like I said, he had the flu last week. This week, he's had no energy and a couple of dizzy spells," John explained. He had decided not to mention the bed wetting because he knew that Dean would be mortified if he knew that his father had told Joshua. "He's hasn't had a fever or vomiting though. In fact, his appetite seems to be the only thing not affected. I can't fill him up enough these days and he's forever in the bathroom."
Joshua shook his head in acknowledgement at each one of the symptoms John listed off. The eldest Winchester had the distinct feeling that the doctor was comparing them with some checklist that he had in his head.
"How long has this been going on?"
"This week, ever since he had the flu."
"John," Joshua said seriously. "Has Dean been losing weight, despite how much you say he's been eating?"
Joshua's tone, and the fact that he referred to his eldest as Dean, something he didn't do unless things were serious, was causing John to feel something he hadn't felt in a long time, not since he had lost Mary, genuine fear.
John barely nodded his head when everything clicked into place in the doctor's head. He jumped to his feet and looked John directly in the eye and said in a tone that left no room for argument. "Get Dean. We have to take him to the hospitalnow!!!"
A/N: Should I continue?
Please read and review and let me know.