Disclaimer: Just the standard. If you recognize anything it isn't mine however I will lay claim to the reno work. It's all over my living room, dining room, stairs and entry way. Really I'm covered in mud dust. If you've ever renovated with drywall and sanded the mud you totally know what I'm talking about!

Author's notes: I got completely stuck on Twister and Haunted Walk. So I did what I usually do to unblock myself. Grab the rather large and dusty 1977 Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary and put it down on the table still closed. Close my eyes; open the book to a random page and point. Open eyes and find out what word I'm pointing at. Sound strange? Well actually that's not so strange for me.

So the word, I kid you not, was Gesso which really didn't make any sense to me. Under this word was also Gypsum and lo and behold if gypsum is defined as Plasterboard which is freakin drywall!

Drywall is all over my upstairs and downstairs all mudded and ready to be sanded.

So with a much better understanding of the word and way too much experience currently with the house being renovated my muse snickered (really! I heard it snort and then giggle) and we were off to the races so to speak. This story is setup pre-series.

There will be more chapters, but they haven't been written yet. It may be a week or so before I have the next chapter ready. Rated T for some questionable language.


By infinite shadow

Tree… Rock… Telephone pole… A piece of tire off a semi-truck…Tree… Rock… Telephone pole… A little grass…. A little road kill… Tree… Rock… Telephone pole… Even in the dark he would know the tell tale signs of all of it. Not that he cared.

Dean sighed and closed his eyes for a minute. It's not like he was going to miss anything. It was all the same. The purr of the Impala threatened to lure himto sleep. But he couldn't let it. He was even more vulnerable when he was asleep.

It's not that he had anything to fear from his family it was that he couldn't keep his guard up while he slept. If he dropped his guard then they'd know how he was feeling. That would lead to talking and possibly even pills. Pills bombarded his walls and tore them down as if they were brittle little twigs. Leaving him wide open and exposed and that was not acceptable. Not ever. Especially if you were Dean Winchester and you were riding shotgun for your father.

John glanced down at the gas gauge and figured he could get through the next town or two without filling up but he'd stop anyway. The boys had been pretty good so far. Sammy had started moving around in the back seat about two hours ago but he'd not spoken up about his discomfort. Dean was sitting next to him starring out the window and he wondered how long ago he'd taken his last batch of pills. He hoped it was at the last stop but with his "I don't take pain killers" son he couldn't be sure. In any case Sam was being tortured by being cramped in the back seat and whether Dean needed it or not he needed to get out and move as well.

Sam watched dark scenery fly by as the Impala flew down the road. Refusing to let the purr of the motor lull him to sleep he sighed heavily and shifted in the back seat.

John's eyes glanced up in the rear-view mirror in response. "Sammy?"

Sammy shifted again in the back seat. As much as he loved the car he got cramps in his legs if he sat back there for more than a couple of hours. So far they'd been on the road for almost fifteen hours and the last pit stop was well over six hours ago.

"You all right back there son?" John asked his eyes now back on the road ahead of him.

"Yeah. Just the usual. Are we close?" he asked.

John nodded. "Few more hours. There's a town coming up. You boys hungry?"

Dean snorted beside his father. "Of course we're hungry. Bored. Tired. Itchy…"

John fought back a smile. "Yes Dean. We know. You're itchy."

"Bitchy is more like it," Sam said just loud enough to be heard.

John took a hand off the wheel and rubbed it down his face hiding the smile that he couldn't hold back.

"Shut it Sam," Dean shot back over his shoulder.

"Make me," Sam fired right back.

"You don't want me to come back there," Dean said.

Sam laughed humorously. "I'd like to see that happen."

"Boys," John said with a slight growl in his gravelly voice. "We're stopping for dinner. Behave or you'll be staying here while I enjoy a nice juicy burger. You two will wait till we get to the house and eat out of a can. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes sir," Dean said quickly relaxing in his seat.

"Yeah," Sam said and returned to watching the dark shadows fly past.

The car remained quiet for a few minutes before Dean was tapping out drum beats on his thigh and humming a tune.

Sam frowned as he slowly turned his attention to the back of his brother's head. "Um Dean?"

"Yeah Sammy," Dean said.

"Did you take your pain meds?" Sam asked.

"Nope. Didn't need em," Dean said then changed the tempo of the beat and hummed the chorus.

Sam rolled his eyes in the darkness. No matter how tough his brother tried to be the stupid ass never needed to drive all day, cramped up in a car without taking his pain meds. If he was in Dean's position and refused to take his pain meds his older brother would have held him down and forced them down his throat for his own good.

"Are you in pain son?" John asked Dean.

"No sir," Dean said quickly.

"Dammit Dean," John just short of growled. The answer had come too quickly.

"Dad I'm ok," Dean said softly.

"Oh yeah. Right. Dean I can hear you grinding your teeth back here against the pain," Sammy yelled.

"Shut up Sammy," Dean yelled back throwing a murderous look towards the back seat.

Sam shook his head and reached into his backpack while he glared daggers into the back of his big brother's head. His hand wrapped around the prescription bottle he'd grabbed out of the first aid kit that morning after he'd seen Dean toss it in there before they'd left the last motel.

Dean looked back as his prescription bottle bounced off his shoulder and settled between him and his father. Then a bottle of coke dropped next to it and Dean shot a glare towards the back seat. "Got a hearing problem Sammy?" Dean growled.

"No," Sam said defiantly then sighed. "Dad can't you… I mean.."

John nodded at the soft request. "Dean have you taken any today?"

Dean met the answer with a sigh. "Nobody listens to me. I don't need the dammed pills!" he shouted then turned to glare out the window.

John let the silence reign silently thanking his youngest for not pressing the issue farther. They drove for a few minutes before pulling into a Denny's parking lot. "Sammy get us a table. Dean and I will be in shortly."

"Yes sir," Sam said softly and slowly got out of the car.

John watched his youngest until he was in the restaurant then shifted slightly to look at his oldest son. He didn't need the soft light coming from the restaurant to see that his son was pale, shaking and sweating. Three sure signs that he was in pain and desperately trying to hide it.

Dean shifted slightly uncomfortable under the open scrutiny but not able to meet his father's gaze.

"Dean," John said softly.

"I don't need them," Dean ground out.

"Bull," John said evenly as he reached down and picked up the prescription bottle. He opened it and shook two pills into his hand. "Here."

Dean took a deep breath and shook his head once. "No sir. I don't like how they make me feel. I'd rather take the pain."

John sighed slightly. Moments like this made him wish that his oldest wasn't as stubborn as he was. "Dean there's no reason for you to be in pain. That fight's over. This is official down time. Take the pills."

Dean didn't respond. The pills were so tempting, redemption in a bottle, but he hadn't earned it. Things had gone to hell and he needed to live with the consequences. Pain filled consequences.

John's temper flared slightly at the lack of response. "Damnit Dean you will take the damned pills!"

Dean shook his head again. "No sir. I-I can't… I screwed up. Sammy could've been… I just can't."

John's anger disappeared just as quickly as it had appeared. He ran a hand over his face and let it rest on his three day old stubble before looking back at his son. "We are not discussing this. You did not screw up. That hunt is over and your brother is fine."

"Sammy is not fine!" Dean shot back.

"Sam's fine son. You took the blunt of the poltergeists anger. Your little brother's tough. It'll take more than a few bruises to keep him down," John said.

"A few bruises?" Dean exclaimed. "He's got bruised ribs, a light concussion, a sprained wrist and cuts I had to stitch closed."

John nodded. "And because of that you feel like you need to be in pain. Is that it?"

Dean frowned and pursed his lips against an answer. He was pushing his luck already.

John waited patiently for Dean to reply but when nothing was forthcoming he tried again. "You can't punish yourself Dean."

"The hell I can't," Dean ground out.

"You won't as long as I'm around. Get it through your head boy that as much as you want to protect Sammy you can't be there all the time. Because of you he has a few scrapes and bruises. Isn't having cracked ribs, broken ankle, more lacerations than we can count and over 100 stitches enough?" John asked.

"No sir," Dean whispered even as each wound seemed to throb harder at the mention of their names.

"Hunting is a very dangerous job Dean. Sammy knows that. Hell we all know that. Sometimes we get hurt or we get lucky and walk away. When we're not so lucky we need to take the time to heal. So in order to drive your little brother crazy on the next hunt you need to be at least 75 percent. Right now he's going bug you and you won't be able to take it and you'll slug him one," John said softly and waited for the words to sink in.

Dean sighed heavily and looked over at his father slightly abashed. "Just like yesterday."

John frowned. "Not quite. You didn't hit him yesterday."

"Yeah but I really wanted to," Dean admitted as he looked straight ahead. "I really don't like how the pills make me feel."

"Like you have no control?" John asked already knowing the answer.

"Yeah," Dean admitted softly looking out the passenger window.

"Get used to it buddy cause you're going to take the pills. Then we're going to have a dinner. Then we'll be back in the car and you will be stretched out in the back seat and Sammy will be riding shot gun while you rest. And all of this is going to happen without any arguments. Do I make myself clear?" John said softly.

Dean didn't say anything just held out his hand for the pills. He glared down at the pain killers in his hands and then swallowed them whole. Quickly he wrenched open the bottle of coke and drank down half the bottle.

John smiled slightly. "Now that wasn't so difficult was it?"

"All due respect but this sucks," Dean said then hastily added "sir."

"Yeah I know it does. Now stay put and I'll bring around your crutches," John said as he opened the car door. He went to the trunk and took out two wooden crutches. As he came around to the passenger side of the Impala Dean was opening the door.

Dean shifted himself so his legs were outside of the car and waited tiredly for his father to put his crutches down for him. Looking up he gave his father a baleful look. "I was wrong. Now this totally sucks."

John just nodded and waited for his son to get to his feet. He held the crutches steady until Dean was settled and then walked behind his son as they slowly made their way into the restaurant.


It was just past midnight when John pulled into a driveway. As some point both boys had fallen asleep. Sammy was curled against the passenger door his head pillowed on his jacket. Dean slept on his side, his head pillowed in the crook of his arm and he was snoring quietly.

"Boys we're here," John said looking at the run down home. He quickly turned out the Impala's lights so the boys wouldn't notice the hell hole he was making them stay in this time. Or, more accurately, where he was making Dean stay while he and Sam hunted.

Reaching over he gently shook Sam.

"N-no!" Sam yelled as he jolted into awareness and shot up slightly in his seat.

"S'ok son. It's just me," John said softly keeping a hand on his son's arm.

"D-Dad?" Sam said confusion lacing his sleep filled voice as he blinked furiously and looked around as he tried to figure out where they were.

"Sammy?" Dean mumbled from the back. "Just a dream buddy. Go back to sleep."

John smiled slightly. "Wake up Dean. We're at the house. Sammy get his crutches from the trunk."

"Don't need em. All better now. Take down that nasty assed ghosty now," Dean mumbled.

"Dean wake up!" John said a little louder.

Dean mumbled something then let out a soft snore.

John got out and met Sam at the back of the car. "He's not going to wake totally."

"Pain killers?" Sam guessed.

John nodded. "We'll have to get him into the house."

"Dad the last time," Sam started.

"Last time he was drunk. This is different," John said.

"Not by much," Sam said softly.

"Sam," John said tiredly.

"Fine. Fine. Let's get him out of the car first," Sam said then grabbed his father's arm before he could open the door. "Wait. I got this."

"Sammy don't do anything you'll regret tomorrow," John said.

"Like that's ever stopped me?" Sam said as he rolled his eyes and opened to the door. He took a deep breath.

"Sam," John's voice growled slightly in warning.

Sam's calm face suddenly flashed into panic. "Dean! Dean help me!"

John jumped slightly at the panicky voice then sighed heavily and rubbed a hand across his face. "Jesus Sam," he murmured as he shook his head slightly. He was getting too old for this kind of shit and he was too tired to ream Sam out for his tactics. Tomorrow however was another day and another long drive with nothing to do but ream out his youngest child.

Startled at the panic in his younger brother's voice Dean struggled to get up before he'd even opened his eyes.

"Sammy! I'm comin," Dean slurred as he struggled to a sitting position.

"Sam you and I are going to have a little talk after Dean gets settled," John almost whispered.

Dean shoved himself up into a sitting then lurched out of the car banging his head on the roof of the Impala and his plaster covered ankle on the door frame. If it wasn't for the two sets of hands that grabbed a hold of his biceps he would have landed on his face.

"Easy Dean," John said glaring at his youngest son. This they would talk about.

"Lemme go! Sammy!" Dean shouted as he struggled and fought against their holds.

"Easy. I'm right here," Sam said.

"Wha? I thought," Dean said and swallowed slightly as his head sunk down to his chest. "Bitch."

Sam smiled for a second then with his father helped Dean into the house.