Sam folded his arms and sank even deeper into the back seat, which wound up putting his knees square into his brother's back through the seat. He so didn't want to hear this. It was bad enough that he had been made to leave the one place he had been able to sort of fit in, but now they were going to military school? "You know just because I like school doesn't mean I really want to live there. This is a really bad idea."

"It's a good idea. And it's a job." John said from behind the wheel. Dean punched the back of his seat hard to get his brother's knees out from his back.

"Dude, I'm with Sam. Military school? All boys' school? I wasn't that bad this year." He grumbled.

John chuckled softly. "I spent my highschool years at this school. There is a girls' school that there will be dances and other events with. Where do you think I met your mother?" He then sobered. "Besides. It'sa job. We deal with the job, and we move on."

Sam grumbled and glared at the rearview mirror. "So set us up somewhere and you come back to do the job. Not like there is any reason for us to go with you. "

John met Sam's eyes in the rearview mirror. "I've decided." He said. "It'll be good for the two of you anyway."

Dean rolled his eyes. "Yeah, okay."

"More like good for you, it's a boarding school. You can take off whenever you want and not have to think twice about it." Sam said, but he put his feet up on the back seat and looked away from his father, pretending to go back to reading his book.

"I'm hardly taking off if I'm going to be a teacher there." John said after a long, slow exhale.

Dean scowled at Sam's tone. Not that he hadn't ever thought the same, but he just hadn't said it aloud. That was the difference. And the moment needed to be lightened as he turned around in the seat and snatched Sam's book out of his hands. "So there'sa girls' school near by? Anything fun to do in town?"

"The usual sort of thing I would imagine. It's been a few years since I graduated high school. You could do worse than to graduate from here, Dean. You two are already ahead of the game. You both know how to shoot, how to orienteer, you are going to excel here. " He didn't want to say how close the girls school was.

Sam rolled his eyes and grabbed his book back from Dean. Yeah. He was going to excel at a military school. Dean would excel, Sam would wind up being the geekish freak kid of a teacher that no one would include in anything they were doing for fear that he would tell. Sam knew exactly how things were going to go. "It's just a job. We'll move on way sooner than the end of the school year. "

"Sounds like am awful time." Dean said with a grimace as he grabbed the book again. This wasn't exactly the highlight of his year either, changing schools to go to a military school.

"Damn it, Dean, stop it!" Sam yelled at his brother and reached over the seat to grab at the book.

"Watch your language." John said sternly. He didn't like it when the boys swore at each other. There had been a change in the boys' attitudes toward each other. He supposed it was just them settling into a normal brotherly attitude toward each other.

"What ever." Sam said as he simply stared at the back of the seat. Letting Dean keep the book. "Not like he'd bother to read it anyway."

"For your information, smarty pants, I read this book in ninth grade, same as you." Dean snapped, winging the book back at Sam hard. "I'm perfectly edjumacated thank you very much."

"Ow!" Sam yelled. "Knock it off. " He glared at his brother, then looked at his father expectantly, and of course there was nothing. Not telling Dean to settle down, not telling him to leave the book alone. Figured. It just figured.

"Sam, that's enough." John said. "Just because you are mad about this move doesn't give you the right to take it out on your brother. "

"I'm not mad at Dean about the move... I'm mad at him about taking my book."

"Dude, the book sucks." Dean said. "And the move will be fine. You'll probably love the school for what it's worth." Trying to smooth over Sam's feathers, feathers he had ruffled in the first place.

"It's the only thing I have that I haven't read 4 times this summer already." Sam said as he shifted uncomfortably in the back seat. "And you know I won't love the school. I can't imagine that there is anything about it I am going to like. Have you thought about the fact that we will be in uniforms... none of which will be long enough for me... they will shave our heads... which will make me look like that freak on the cover of Mad magazine... I'm 13 and a freshman... so I am going to be the kid that everyone targets... I'm going to hate it. "

"And I'll beat the shit out of anyone that targets you." Dean said.

"Dean..." John warned. Though Dean wasn't sure what the warning was about. Threats of violence or the fact that he swore.

"And all the kids will have buzz cuts. I doubt any of them look normal." Dean finished.

"Dean... that isn't the point. " Sam sighed. Dean didn't get it. Dean was the kid that everyone liked. The one that people went out of their way to get to know. Sam was the one that people always seems to find something wrong with. "We're going to be teacher's kids on top of everything else. " He shook his head. "Doesn't matter. Never matters. Just... drop it." Even after that talk on the way out of town Dean didn't get it. How could he? He was the good son, the perfect son. Sam was the freak. Even in his own family.

"That's enough!" John snapped. "Last I checked I'm still your father. Of both of you. Therefore my decisions go, since you're both minors." He shot a look at Dean, silently telling him to shut up. After all, in January Dean would be eighteen. "This isn't going to be as bad as you think it is, and it won't go as well as I hope. So we all have to accept that, okay? This school has a top notch education, along with a haunting problem."

Sam didn't say anything more. He knew there was no point. Every one knew he was unhappy about it. They had known he was unhappy about leaving the last town they were in. Dean had gone so far as to invade his journal to figure out why. Then pretty much told him his feelings were crap. They had spent the rest of the day hanging out, pretty much were okay as they finished the packing, then things were back to normal. So much for getting along.

He almost visibly cringed as they pulled into the gates of the school. He figured it was too late to ask to go to Jim's instead. His father had put his foot down and that was all there was to that. He was the last to get out of the car, still holding his book (which did not suck), figuring it might be the last familiar thing in his world until his father decided to let them out.

Dean looked at the school with dismay. Especially after seeing a platoon of cadets march by. "Dad!" Dean said. "They're all geeks! Bad geeks too. You can't do this to us." He was able to keep up the strong front until finally faced with his destiny. And it sucked.

John raised an eyebrow as he got their bags out of the trunk. "You'll live." He said. "Signed you boys up for activities too. Sammy, you've got science club. Dean, welcome to the world of drama."

If Dean could have died on the spot to escape his fate, he would have.

Sam would have felt sorry for Dean, except he figured Dean would fit right in with the drama people. And they would like him. Science club. Well... at least he would hopefully find someone to have an intelligent conversation with. "Maybe they'll make you dress up like a girl." He said to his brother, still holding a grudge about the whole book situation. "Someone has to, right? Not like there are any real girls around here."

"Shut up." Dean said, already pouting and grumbling about it. Which just made John chuckle.

"Nope, nothing melodramatic about you, son." He said. "Come on, let's get you guys registered."

Sam gave Dean a triumphant look then followed after thier father. "Science club huh... it's not lame, is it?" He asked feigning a hopeful tone. "Science club at the last school was completely lame. A bunch of kids all making models of the solar system for the science fair."

"I'm sure it's not lame." John said. "This is a top notch school. The waiting list to get in here is miles long. You two get to jump ahead, lucky boys."

"Yeah, real lucky." Dean said, still bothered by the whole drama club thing. Then he smirked at Sam. "So we get registered, then we get a hair cut, right, Dad?"

"There has got to be some way to get out of this hair cut thing." Sam said balking once more. "Do you have any idea what people are going to do to me when we go on to the next school?" He said just loud enough for his father to hear.

"Do you have any idea how badly you'd stick out if I got around the hair cut thing?" John shot back. "Deal with it. Wear a baseball cap next year."

"Then he'd look like one of those cancer kids on the St Jude telethon." Dean pointed out.

"Jerk... like you're gonna look any better. Just think... no more girls twittering around running their fingers in all that blonde hair." Sam rolled his eyes, trying and failing not to glare at his brother.

"Bitch." Dean hissed back, so their father wouldn't hear. Language, after all. Had to watch it. "I'm sure I can distract them away from my hair." He said, sighing. "Okay, so we have to march in formation. Get hair cuts. Wear uniforms. Are there any perks to being a teacher's kid?"

"I've arranged for you to still be able to share a room.. that is unless you want to room with students your own age and get a break from one another?"

Sam looked at his brother, almost afraid of what Dean would say. Dean who had been wanting his space away from Sam. Who had been embarassed to be seen in public with him. Maybe this would be his chance to escape Sam for good. Dean could leave when he graduated if they stayed through the year. What if John decided that Sam wasn't suited to hunting and left him enrolled in the school when this was all done and they both left him there?

"Well, that's a perk." Dean said. "Fine with me." Worked for him in two ways. He could keep an eye on his little brother, and have a safe place of his own.

Sam relaxed visibly. At least he wouldnt be on his own right away. He couldn't help it. He didn't have much faith that he would be leaving this school. It was the one sort of school that he couldn't imagine liking, so it would stand to reason it was the one school he would have to stay at. "Yeah... it's fine with me too."

"Good." John said, relieved that at least they wouldn't be fighting over one thing. He'd take what he could get. "So we'll register you two. Luckily, Dean, your grades are good enough to qualify you as a senior." Sam, he never worried about. It was Dean who had to be kept on to keep his grades up.

Sam went through the process with absolute dred. He didn't like the idea of uniforms and hair cuts but there it was, and two hours later he was scheduled for all his classes and standing in front of the bathroom mirror looking at the big eared hairless freak staring back at him. "Once we leave here I am never cutting my hair short again."

"Dude, it's just hair." Dean said as he scowled as his own reflection. Okay, the hair cut was awful...short. "It'll grow back before you know it. At least I hope so. Me? I'm never wearing green again." The uniforms were all various shades of green. Including the gym clothes.

"At least you don't look like a freak. Just a guy with a bad hair cut. I have dumbo ears." It wasn't so much vanity on Sam's part as it was the sure and certain knowledge that he would be harassed about it to no end until the hair grew back. By the other kids... and by Dean.

"It's just hair." Dean responded as he turned his attention to his own. He had a cowlick that tended to spring up when his hair was too short. Like now. He'd have to figure something out.

Sam snorted and walked into the bedroom and landed on his bed with a humph. "You wouldn't understand." He grumbled and reached for his book hoping to lose himself in another world for a little while.

Dean climbed up and flopped on the top bunk. "What's to understand?" Dean asked. "These hair cuts suck. And I bet you're not the only big eared goof in this place."

"Probably not, but I am the only big eared goof that also happens to be the new kid, and the new teacher's kid."

"Yeah, but you're also my little brother." Dean said from his bunk. "Seriously, let's just do this job, we might not last the semester here. It's really not worth getting stressed about, when we both know it might be temporary."

"I hope you're right." Sam said quietly. Although it was that might that worried him the most. Might be Temporary. It might not, and that worried him.

"Of course I am." Dean said confidently. "Because this is Dad. He'll go through the motions, pretend he's just like he was when he was in the Marines, then he'll realize he's not, the job will be finished, something else will come up and we'll be off. Situation normal."

"Yeah." Sam said as he reached over and turned out the light. "I guess so. Night, Dean... and thanks."

"No problem." Dean said as he made himself comfortable.

It seemed he'd just fallen asleep when the door was thrown open, someone banging an aluminum trash can and shouting. He nearly fell out of the bunk. "Okay, this does suck." He grumbled into his pillow.

"Situation normal, huh?" Sam grumbled as he rolled out of bed and tossed his pillow at the idiot with the trash can, making his way toward the bathroom. He grumbled about 5 more minutes before the alarm was going to go off.

"Shut up." Dean said, sliding off the side of the bed to get down to the floor. He stumbled his way through the bathroom routine, he was not a morning person. And not even with his teeth brushed yet, nearly got into a fight in the bathroom. Even for Dean, that was a record.

Sam officially hated it here, but he made it down stairs to breakfast, managing to ignore most of the attempts at hazing the new kid. It wasn't that they were intentionally being cruel, it just came across that way to his 13 year old mind. Fortunately he was used to being the new kid, and figured he could hack it for the time they would actually be there. Could hack it, but didn't intend on bothering to pretend he liked it.

Dean nearly slammed his breakfast tray down on the table as he sat across from Sam, glaring at anyone who looked their way with any sort of expression. "We should lobby to go to Pastor Jim's." He announced.

"Yeah, like Dad is going to agree to that. " Sam said. "If I wanted to be here, you might stand a chance." He actually laughed a little as he said that one. He knew his father wasn't intentionally making choices contrary to what he wanted. He wasn't trying to... he just accidentally succeded more often than Sam liked. "Besides, did you see the look on his face? He is so proud that we are enrolled here. "

"Yeah, like we got in here for real or something." Dean said with a scowl. "Anyway, heard the kids talking in the line. Three years, three suicides of kids not suicidal. One in the gym, one in the theater. And one in the science lab. So, any wonders why Dad is the new gym teacher?" John had strategically positioned himself and his sons at the three hotspots.

"Figures. Would have been nice to get the heads up from him for a change. " Sam hated that his father never told them anything. For their own safety. That was what he would say. It wasn't for their safety this time. "Would have been nice to be told I was on my first hunt not set out as bait."

"Hey, I'm just glad that's the reason I have to join the frigging drama club. At least this way I might manage to have a little fun. MaybeI can paint scenery or something." Dean said as he stabbed what passed for sausage with his fork.

Sam shook his head. Leave it to Dean to find a way to make it work out in his head that way. Didn't seem to bother him when their father pulled things like this. He figured Dean would believe in god, but John Winchester stood too tall and broad in his brother's eyes to allow him to see any more superior being. "I still say they will put you in a dress."

"Doubtful. It's a military school after all." Dean said. "Besides, I'd get in a fight, then I'd get expelled, and the job would be over. I bet Dad warned his friend about that one."

"Dad didn't bother to warn us about being put in classes where the ghost strikes. Didn't bother to warn us about anything, so what makes you think for one moment he's gonna warn anyone about anything that would make our stay here less than pristine."

"Because our stay is his stay?" Dean suggested. His brother was downright brilliant for a thirteen year old. But at the same time he needed everything spelled out for him. Like Dean being signed up for drama club was status quo? There was a method to his father's reasoning. Always had been. Sam...Sam just liked everything spelled out, and John wasn't really a speller.

"Whatever, Dean. You are such a follower, you know that?" He said as he gave up on trying to eat his breakfast. "Our stay is his stay." He grumbled. " Sure... I'll be bait for you, Dad. Sign me up for a class where otherwise healthy kids are driven to suicide." He mocked. "Like he would notice if either of us started acting weird." He got up and picked up his tray.

Dean followed, eating as fast as he could. "You're always bitching he treats you like a kid. Well guess what, now he's treating you like an adult and you're still bitching. It's a job, Sam. This is what we do. And I'll notice if you start acting weird."

"Adults are told what they are getting into." Sam countered. "And of course you will notice. Just don't expect anything to be written in my journal about it." He added. He had learned his lesson about that. "And we need to get into the records later and see who has died. Check out if the thing has a type." He had been researching teen suicide and hauntings but his brother had thought he was being suicidal about it. So Sam had stopped.

"Would make it easier if you did write it down." Dean said with a grin. "okay, so after lights out we'll get into the office and see what we can find." Sam did have a minor point. Dad might be doing all this himself, but he wasn't sharing. And this was things that they needed to know.

"Yeah, right. Learned my lesson on that one." Sam said as he dropped off the dishes and tray. "So what's your first class of the day?" He asked.

"Math." Dean said. "Followed by English. At least Dad knew better than to sign me up for the advanced classes." He looked at Sam's schedule. "He left that to you I see. Lucky you, you'll enjoy it."

"Hope so." He had gotten his hopes up about AP classes in the past but the other students didn't take the class seriously. Well... most of them didn't and it made it just like any other class, but with more homework. "You're smart enough for the advanced classes, Dean. You're every bit as smart as I am."

Dean shrugged. "No attention span." He said. He wasn't going to debate whether he was as smart as Sam or not. But it was a fact he didn't have the necessary attention span for the advanced classes, because there was so much he'd rather be doing.

"Only because it isn't a girl or a car. You could do it... just gotta want to is all." Sam said. "I'll see you at lunch." He said as he headed down the hall toward his fist class of the day.

Dean stopped at his locker and sauntered into class, two minutes after the bell. Intentionally. He was the new kid, might as well make an entrance. Sam might want to fade into the background, Dean found it easier to hide in plain sight.

The instructor looked up as he walked in, as did the other students. "You must be Cadet Winchester. " He said. "I will assume you got lost on your way here from the breakfast hall since you got in too late for the proper tour, there will be no excuse for it tomorrow."

"Oh absolutely." Dean said brightly, in a not so convincing way. Whatever punishment they could come up with, he was used to. John Winchester was his father after all. Calisthenics, weapons, was par for the course.

"Take your seat." He said and indicated the open seat.The cadet to his left gave Dean an appraising once over. He was obviously the leader of some pack or another. There was usually one in every school, sometimes more in the bigger schools.

Dean smirked at the kid as he took his seat, looping his back pack around the back of his chair and loosening the stupid tie while he was at it as he slouched casually down in the seat. He'd done the canine equilvalent of raising his leg and threatening to piss on territory and he knew it. That was the point. To see who came out of the woodwork as an ally or a threat. This was high school after all. And no matter what adults thought, it really was that rough and really that much like a war zone.

Cadet Lt Col Bradly Halloran raised an eyebrow at the new kid, then cracked a smile before going back to his books. Kid had potential. Potential to be an asset, or one hell of a pain in the ass. He'd have to keep a close eye on him.

Sam's problem was that he hadn't yet figured out how to wade through the bullshit that coated each social circle, Dean figured. Or Dean was just insanely gifted in that area. But Dean opened up his notebook and took the minimum amount of notes needed to pass the class.

"What's your next class, Pleb?" Halloran asked as they filed out. "Can't have you being late twice in one day. "

"That would be a shame." Dean said with a laugh as he slung his backpack over his shoulder. "And call me Dean, I'm testing out of that Pleb shit this weekend."

"Testing out huh? Alright Dean," he said with a chuckle, "normally everyone goes by their rank around here until after hours. Some of the horse's asses still do after wards. I'm Brad... or Lt Colonel Halloran, thanks to 5 years in this place. Come on. I know where you're headed next." He said, looking at Dean's schedule. "My next class is two doors down from there."

"Well, I'm not everyone. My dad gets off on this military stuff. I'm just along for the ride, like every other teenager in the world I guess." Dean said with a chuckle as they walked toward their next classes. "So what do people do for fun around here? And I swear if you say PT, I'm so out of here before the bell rings."

"There are things to do... organized activities." He rolled his eyes at that one. "Fun though... well... we'll see." Brad told him. he wanted to get to know the kid first. "After all, teacher's kids have a reputation for narcing on the rest of the students."

"Or they have the reputation for being the biggest troublemakers." Dean pointed out. "A lot like preachers' daughters, they can go either way." He didn't say outright, but his tone implied he knew a preacher's daughter or two.

"So I've heard." Brad said with a laugh. "We're in the same barracks. Your father is the new DI. You should get him to let you out of baby sitting duty and move in to a room with Seniors. You will definitely have more fun that way."

"Oh I don't doubt it." Dean said. "But I've learned...after years with my father...that if I toe the line here and there, he doesn't notice when I cross it other times."

"What about the little brother? Doesn't he rat you out? Mine sure does. Every chance he gets." Brad said rolling his eyes, although there was a look of concern there for a moment that he seemed to will away. "But hey, here we go." He said indicating the door to Dean's next class. "See ya later."

"Sam? No way." Dean said with confidence. "See you." He said. Well, that was a good sign.

Sam found the he had actually liked his first class. People were quiet, paid attention and had better things to do than whisper about him or toss things when the teacher wasn't looking. Although that could have something to do with the fact that the teacher looked like he could go three rounds with his dad, and come out the other side. He headed for his next class and hoped that it worked out the same way.

The next class was hardly like the other one. A big freshman shoved Sam as he walked by. Sam was the new kid after all. He had to know his place, which as far as the other freshman was concerned, was on the floor.

Sam hit the floor, but so did the other freshman as Sam managed to accidentally (on purpose) trip the guy as he got to his feet. "Sorry about that, you okay?" He asked. He had learned that sometimes, going with it and taking advantage of the situation was much more satisfying.

The freshman looked at him in surprise. He knew that hadn't been accidental. But he was bigger than even some of the seniors and wasn't used to someone taking him on even if they were subtle about it. "Yeah, I'm fine." He said. "You're new. I'm Rob Clancy." He said as he picked himself up. "Gotta watch your feet. Could get you in trouble."

"Sam Winchester." He said as he rose to his feet as well. "I deal okay with trouble when I have to... rather not have to but... well you know how it is." He said meeting the other boy's gaze. "So what's this teacher like?" He asked.

"He's a dick. Thinks we're all here to learn or something." It was a required class. Typing. Also the most hated class, owed in no small part to the instructor.

"Funny how teachers have that idea." Sam said as he entered the class. Stranger still the students that thought otherwise. There were classes that Sam hated in school, just like other boys. He was at least that normal. And he could well imagine where typing could be one of them. It sounded like the height of boredom.

"Everyone take your seats." The teacher said. "Say hello to our new student, Cadet Winchester. And let's open our books to page 49 for our exercise."

"See what I mean? Dick."

Sam shrugged. "Wait till you meet the new gym teacher." Sam said with a faint grin. He settled into his seat and opened the book to the appropriate page. Still on the first row. This was going to be the longest hour he had ever experienced.

"Yeah, hope he doesn't go out like the last one. Hung himself from the basketball hoop." Rob said. "Worse, on the last day of school. Janitor didn't find him for a week."

Sam looked at him a moment. "Don't think that will happen again... but...any idea why he would do that? I mean... is it that bad being a gym teacher?"

"I don't know. All the last guy did was make us run laps and shoot baskets. Didn't seem that hard and heart breaking to me." Rob said with a shrug as he worked on his exercise. He was a good typer, despite large thick fingers. "THen we turned in our gym uniforms, we all went home, there's a two week break between the school year and the summer session, then next thing we knew, the gym was getting some major revamping cause of all the decomposing gym teacher."

Sam wasn't as good as Rob but he knew better than to not plug away at it while talking. "I've heard there were other deaths here... suicides... is that true?"

"Already getting the low down, Winchester?" Rob asked. "Yeah. They did Hamlet last year. After closing night, leading man was found impaled on a sword. Not a prop one either. Freaked out the drama geeks, their Hamlet had some weird Japanese thing, and the guy offed himself basically through seppuku, ritual Japanese suicide. Guy in the chemistry club drank a beakerful of acid. Definitely closed casket there, burned through his throat I heard. Anyway, that's when they just consolidated all the science clubs into one science club. They have those stupid counselors still tailing everyone, to make sure we're not going to try to one up the rest of them."

"That's seriously messed up." Sam said covering a little of his curiosity. "Leave it to my dad to sign me up at suicide high." He said. "So ... that's it though... right? Cause... dang."

"You'd have to ask around for the rest of the story." Rob said. "Listen to everyone else, this place is haunted. But that's stupid, right?" He said with a laugh as he printed out his assignment and went onto the next

one. "Some of the teachers here, they used to be students. Heard from the headmaster that the new gym teacher, you call him Dad, used to be a student too. So he knew what he was getting into. Absolutely nothing. Because it's just something that happens."

"Haunted, huh?" Sam said as he slowly caught up and printed the assignment. "What .. rattling chains and things moving about kinda stuff ? Or is someone hearing the boiler knocking at night and freaking out?"

"More like whenever they make the graduating seniors take the incoming seventh graders on a bivouac, they tell stupid stories about this place being haunted." Rob said. "I heard the whole spiel when I was coming into seventh grade. At the time, they were scary. Now, they're just stupid."

"Which means some jerk is gonna try and scare me with them later." He said with sigh. "Maybe I should have someone tell me before hand so that I can make up something more interesting about my last school." Even at 13 Sam had stories that could turn grown men white.

Rob looked at the clock. "I've got a free period after this. If you've got the time, I'll share." Rob said. He wasn't really a bully. Just because of his size he was expected to be.

"Yeah. I can get away. It's just gym." He said with a grin. He was on the job after all. His father would understand when the day was done that he had been doing what he was here to do after all.

"Ooh, brave guy. Cutting your father's class." Rob said with a chuckle as he handed in his next assignment. "Come on, let's grab some sodas. I'll tell them all I'm giving the new kid a tour." He said and started telling the stories as they walked. Fifty years worth of stories, told in the tone of a kid who didn't believe them, and couldn't believe that he once did.

He would think Sam was a lot braver if he knew John Winchester even a little. "That's wild. And these stories are passed down from seniors at these bivouacs like tradition, huh? Wow... so ... did you know the kids the killed themselves?"

"No, I didn't. Just the gym teacher." Rob said. "The guys in the clubs did. Don't know if any of the chem nerds are joining the reformed science club this year, they were pretty shaken up. The drama club should be thrilled," he said with a roll of his eyes, "no more Shakespeare. Too many swords. They're going the musical route from the rumor I heard."

Sam laughed at that, so much that he had to stop for a moment. "Dad signed my older brother up for Drama... this is great. The best news I have heard all day."

Rob chuckled. "Well, he's either going to love it or run out of there screaming for your father's head on a platter." He said. "Me? I stick to football. So much safer."

"I usually avoid sports. I'm one of the science geeks. Math to be specific... chess... who knows what I will wind up stuck with though. Oh well could be worse. I thought I was going to have to deal with a bully the first day, turned out I was wrong." He said with a smile.

"I'm expected to push people around." Rob said with a shrug. "And if I don't, people try to push me around. First time I've been knocked on my ass though."

"I have a lot of experience being pushed around... andI have an ex-marine... a vet... for a father. I had to fight back. Trust me... it's more satisfying to push back than to push first."

"He doesn't do anything stupid like smack you around, does he? Because this is a small community...won't be a secret for long." Rob said.

"No, Dad would never do that. Not in a million years, no matter how much I mouth off. He makes us do push ups." He rolled his eyes. "And learn to defend ourselves. You would think we were in basic training every summer. Part of the reason I get to test out of the basic training here this after noon."

"Just checking, the way you worded that and all." Rob said as the bell rung. "I have to go sit through an English lecture. See you later, Winchester. And seriously, watch your feet." he said with a grin.

"I will, thanks." He said and took off at a run for his history class. Couldn't afford to be late after ditching one class already.

Dean had managed to be on time for the rest of his classes, even if he was slipping in under the bell. His easy smile and lack of self consciousness seemed to draw people to him, and he managed to get a few stories under his belt by the time he showed up for gym class. Thirty seconds early. Sam and Dean were different. Sam toed the line everywhere else except with their father. Dean tried not to everywhere else except with their father, as he gave his dad a nod as he fell into line.

John was furious about Sam's cutting his class. He had expected more from his youngest boy in public. He put the class through their paces, not taking it out on them exactly, but they were seniors, he expected more from them physically. Once they were warmed up, he set them about gathering equipment and walked over to Dean. "Have you seen your brother today?" He asked quietly.

"Not since breakfast." Dean said. "Been a little busy attending my own classes and digging up some information. Sam's probably doing the same I would think. Want me to go find him now?"

"He skipped his last class." John said quietly. "This one." There was an anger in his tone that was obviously not for Dean. "Is it like your brother to cut classes?"

Dean grinned a bit. "He's thirteen, Dad." Dean said. "He's all about pushing limits. And doing the job. I bet there's a reasonable explanation for all of this that includes the opportunity to push your buttons."

"I don't understand your brother." John said, shaking his head. "Okay, go on back with the other boys. I'll talk to Sam tonight after dinner." He said as he went to start wrangling the groups and get them going.

Dean managed to survive gym class, and didn't blame Sam at all for skipping it. And found his rascal little brother in the lunch room. "Dude, skipping Dad's class? On the first day? Thought you were supposed to be the smart one."

"I am definitely the smart one. I got information on all the legends about this place. Supposedly has been haunted for the last 50 years." He said then excitedly went about explaining it all to Dean, including the last three suicides. "Which means no swords in the plays this year... so you... are stuck with musicals."

Dean blanched. "I'm not stuck with anything. I'll get myself kicked out first." He said as they set their trays down. "Seriously dude, Dad's class? Couldn't skip something else? He's going to talk to you after dinner, so I'd lead with the whole getting the information thing first."

"Thanks for the heads up, but could you imagine how pissed he would be if I cut someone else's class? Please, he would be embarassed on top of being pissed. Really, even if it wasn't the only time I could talk to Rob without anyone else around, it was the only class I could skip."

"Okay." Dean said. Made sense to him. Probably wouldn't so much to their father. "Really? Musicals? And somehow I doubt they're going to do 'Tommy.'"

"No... you do realize that most musicals are romances right?" Sam said with a grin as he ate his food. He had to admit the food was better than in the other schools they had attended.

"Too much to hope that we're doing a student written one, about the glories of Ebola set to Megadeath, huh?" Dean said as he picked at his food. It was good, but the whole idea of being in a musical because his father told him he had to was an appetite killer.

"Maybe you'll be lucky and it's West Side Story or something where you can just be one of the guys in the back ground or something." Sam doubted it. His brother had one of those faces people wanted to see out front and center.

"Dude, you gotta be able to sing show tunes to get a real part. I can't." Dean said with a laugh. "So what are we worrying about anyway? They'll stick me with props or something, fine by me. How's the rest of the day going? Anyone mentioned the ears yet?"

"No... got pushed once but I tripped him... then we wound up talking. " Sam shook his head. "I like my first class, but typing has got to be the worst idea ever for a class. I swear the teacher doesn't even like it."

"Thank god I got to get out of that one." Dean said with a laugh. "Mine are all right. BUt keep Dad occupied. Think I'm gonna check out the girls' school tonight."

"Dude, that is so not a good idea this soon. Thought we were gonna break into the school office to check out the records there?" He said, figuring it was pointless. Dean had caught the scent of perfume on the wind and that was all there was to that.

"Oh yeah." Dean said. "Okay, we can do that. Then I'll go out. Helps that we know exactly what we're looking for, right? I mean, all the names match from both version we've heard. So we just check them out, see what the guidance counselors had to write about them, classes they were'll be fun."

"Sounds good. I wanna see if there are any other actual suicides on record too. Or maybe deaths that they could say weren't suicides that really were. You know how places like to cover things up. Can't have all the kids parents yanking them out of school after all."

"Yeah, that would definitely cut into the bottom line." Dean said as his appetite picked back up and he started to eat again. "And this gives us a reason to cut Dad's whole lecture at you short. Limited amount of time after all, to get done all that he wants done."

"Yeah... that'll work." Sam said rolling his eyes. He half expected his father to chew him out for investigating at all, after all they weren't even told they were assigned to the hot spots for teen suicide at this school.

"Give him a little credit, Sam." Dean said. "Obviously he wants our help with this, or he would have sequestered us at Bobby's or Pastor Jim's."

"Yeah but he couldn't be bothered to tell us that he signed us up for the danger zone. Hasn't told us anything more than unexplained suicides."

"Could be that's all he knows." Dean pointed out. "Look, you want to be down on Dad, I can't stop you. But right now, we got other things to worry about. Two students and a teacher seem to off themselves every few years. New school year. Three new targets."

"I'm not down on Dad. I just don't like being left in the dark." Sam said. "That's all. " He didn't hate his father, he just hated that his father never seemed to think he needed details, which Sam did. Unanswered questions hung over his head like the sword of Damocles.

"Well, we answered our own questions so that's fine." Dean said. "Besides, it's better if we do it ourselves, I'll admit, Dad isn't the most...forthcoming...of guys."

"That isn't the point though, Dean. It really isn't. " He sighed "Never mind. We'll do what ever we need to do, on our own, like we always do." If he had let himself think about it, he would have realized that the reason he hated it so much was that it was just another wall between him and his father. Further evidence that he was in some way unwelcome. But he didn't let himself admit that, at least not aloud, because the only reason Sam could think of that John would want to shove him away, was his mother's death.

"Of course." Dean said. "Up to and including switching musical for science club, right?" Dean asked hopefully. "I'm interested in science you know. Really."

"What was it you said last year?" Sam asked with glint in his dark eyes. "The only science you were interested in was chemistry... the chemistry between you and that cheerleader.. Bambi or what ever her name was. No way am I switching it out with you. I'd rather gargle acid thanks."

"Mandy. Her name was Mandy. Or Candy. Or Mindy. Something like that." Dean said. "Oh come on, Sammy! Look, all this artsy stuff is right up your alley. Really. You just gotta find that part of yourself that screams for the stage and let it loose."

Sam raised an eyebrow. "Not a single bone in my body screams for the stage. You're the ham, not me." He pointed out. This was fun. It really was, although if he told Dean how much he was enjoying watching his older brother squirm, he might wind up with a black eye the first day of school after all. "It's okay. I'm sure they won't do anything so girly as The King and I... maybe you'll get lucky and get Camelot or something."

Dean scowled. "Dude, you're not helping." He said. "Fine, you want to hang your brother out to dry, to flap in the wind like this, I see how it is."

"Yeah I bet you do since you are wanting to hang me out in your place. I can't even carry a tune in a bucket Dean... my voice is still changing."

"Fine." Dean said. "But when you're asked to do something humilitating, don't expect any back up from me."

"What... like cutting off all my hair?" Sam asked.

"Dude, I completely backed you up. I have the same haircut, don't I?" Dean pointed out. "I feel your pain. And the draft on my neck."

"Yeah well at least you don't look like you are about to take flight." Sam pointed out. Then sighed as the bell rang. "Back to class I guess. See you at the obstacle course after classes."

"Absolutely." Dean said as he grabbed his bag and headed off to class. The rest of the classes were a bore, even by Sam standards. Several times a year, Dean and Sam were independent study from the backseat of the Impala, and Dean could swear he covered some of this stuff before.

Sam was relieved when the classes were done and he hurried down to the obstacle course to find his father and brother waiting for him. "Sorry, got held after class for a few minutes because the teacher wanted to ask me some questions." He said, trying not to shift uncomfortably under John's gaze.

John frowned but nodded at the provost. Who he had graduated with. "Okay, all you two have to do is this obstacle course and then you'll be considered tested out of basic training and most promotion exams."

Dean looked at the long course. "That's it?" He said, unimpressed.

John chuckled and looked at his sons "Alright you two. Get to it. " He said and waited for them to be in position, then gave the go. The brothers started off neck and neck, Sams long legs keeping up with Dean's all the way to the tires, where he lost a little time, due to large feet and gangly legs.

Dean got through the tires and backtracked. "Come on, Sam." Dean said. "Don't shove your whole foot in there. On your toes. Easy, just on your toes."

Sam was conditioned to listen to his brother's voice, to follow his instructions. There was a competition between them, and typical brotherly antagonism, but that tone, the one Dean used when trying to help him, was the one that pushed Sam onward and brought immediate action.

Dean nodded and moved past Sam onto the next section, and the next. Calling out tips over his shoulder. And warnings about loose ropes or stray edges of metal that hadn't been sanded down. Finally crossing the finish line and going for his bottle of water, doubling back with his water to encourage Sam on.

Sam came in shortly after his brother. He sank down to the ground and took his own water bottle, thanking his brother, grinning at him a little. That was a rough course he supposed, but only because it was timed, and Sam had been desperately trying to keep up with his older brother.

Dean wiped off his face and grinned at his father. Then at Brad Halloran. "So am I still a plebe?" He asked teasingly as he caught his breath.

"I believe we can do away with the plebe status." Brad said then looked at the Provost who was over seeing the test. He nodded in agreement. "You've done a fine job with your boys, John. I'm impressed." John smiled. "I just taught 'em what to do, they're the ones that ran the course.""Well, Captain and Corporal Winchester, welcome to the Academy. I will have your insignia brought to your quarters. It will be waiting for you once you get out of the showers. "Sam smiled. Corporal. That was the rank his father had when he was active duty in the corp. Not bad for a freshman he figured. "Thank you, Sir."

"Dude, I outrank you. You have to call me sir." Dean said with a chuckle. "Thank you sir." He said to the provost. "Come on, let's hit the showers."

"I so am not going to call you Sir unless it's an official school function, Ya Jerk." Sam said as he took off after his brother.

"Corporal Bitch." Dean said with a chuckle as they showered and waited for lights out. Then they snuck out to the student records office and Dean deftly picked the lock. Their father knew, and was going to provide cover with the janitors as they let themselves in and turned their flashlights on. "Okay, so fifty years ago it started, right?"

"That's what they say." Sam said. "Don't have names or anything to go on. Probably covered up so we should look for things like accidents or run aways that could fit the pattern."

"Okay. We'll compare the first term roster with the attendance charts for the last day of school." Dean said as he went to find them. They were in for a long night. "So did you know we broke records today? How cool is that? Completely gave the GI Joe wannabes a Winchester smack down."

"I think it completely rocks" Sam said with a grin. "You know Corporal is as high as a freshman can get in the ranks? And you totally skipped over two ranks too."

"Dude, by tomorrow morning, we'll be rock stars." Dean said with a grin. "Okay, fifty years ago is a bust." He said, putting that one down and moving onto forty nine years ago.

"You know what... let's go back wards from last year. Might be easier. Who knows how long ago this actually started? Rumor mills being what they are." Sam suggested.

"Sounds like a better idea." Dean said with a sigh. "Those should be computerized though. Dad happen to give you a password or did you get all hacker on me?"

"He gave me his. They all use the same one, work on the same records apparently." He said and moved over to the desk and turned the computer on.

"That's good." Dean said. "So how'd your talk with Dad go? Was he still blow away by his rock star sons to really give you that hard of a time?"

"Are you kidding? He is making me play foot ball of all things this year." Sam said, rolling his eyes and looking back at the computer as it finally completed its start up process. "He didn't care that I found out all the information because he already knew it, and it wasn't an excuse for cutting class."

"Dude, so not getting sympathy from me. School musical. Football. Obviously the first one gets more sympathy than the last one." Dean said with a scowl. "Why couldn't I play a sport? No, I have to be the actor person instead. You're so frigging lucky. Wanna switch?"

"I would love to trade you, but this is what Dad considers punishment for ditching gym class. Never mind I wouldn't have had to if he had told me what was going on."

"Yeah, okay, it's punishment. So what am I being punished for then?" Dean asked as Sam booted him up on another computer and he started scrolling through records also, printing out the ones that seemed pertinent.

"Welcome to my world." Sam said as he too delved into the records, looking for anything that might vaguely mean a disappearance or a suicide. "I want to get into town to check the news papers on microfiche as well."

"Ooh, field trip." Dean said. "I bet we can arrange that. We're rock stars, remember?" He said with a grin. "And if it's official case business, Dad can't say no."

"Dad says no quite frequently when it doesn't make any sense that he should." Sam pointed out. "So we should have a contingency plan."

"Got one." Dean said as he gathered a stack off the printer. "Dad has his truck, the Impala is mine...we got wheels, and a reputation to pound out. So we just go."

"There is that. " Sam said. "Since when did you turn into a rebel at home? Thought that was my job?"

"I"m not a rebel at home. I'm doing the job, right? That's what we're supposed to do. Besides, I always cut school. Just with a boarding school I can cut school without actually missing classes." Dean said.

"At a boarding school... rebelling at school IS rebelling at home." Sam pointed out. "Especially with Dad in the room next door."

"Hey, he's the one that stuck me in an all boy school. He's gotta expect that I'll go searching for the girls one way or another. So we'll let him think that. And that I dragged you as cover, using the 'job' as an excuse." Dean said. "He'll laugh, say 'that's my boy' or make some remark on my hormones and let it go."

"Yeah great for you but I will still be the rotten kid that snuck out of the school and disrespected him and the rules." He shook his head. "It's a double standard you know."

"Of course it is. But it's the same double standard that has me watching you, even though when I was your age, I was watching you. It's the same double standard that has me giving up plans at every turn because he says you can't stay home alone." Dean said with an easy shrug. "He's a dad. They excell in double standards."

Sam shook his head. "No... what it says is he thinks I am an idiot that can't manage to tie his own shoes without help from my big brother." Sam grumbled as he gathered the last of the printed papers. "No matter what I do, it isn't good enough or smart enough or strong enough. Then he wonders why I don't try and please him any more. You are so lucky where he is concerned. He at least acknowledges you have a brain."

"Yeah, okay." Dean said with a roll of his eyes. "Come on, we done here? Not sure how much longer Dad can stall the janitor and I want to take a look around the town at least."

"Yeah, we're done." Sam said with a sigh. More frustrated by the roll of Dean's eyes than anything else. His brother didn't get it. Sam swore there were days he thought he was adopted or something. Someone his dad was stuck with, rather than his son like Dean. He turned off the computers and got up. "Let's go."

"Best idea you've had all night." Dean said jovially. "So there' s a burger joint open late, I say we hit that. Dinner sucked." Even if Dean had had seconds, it still sucked.

"I'm all for that." Sam said. "Let's get this back to our room and go from there." He didn't want to deal with his dad. Not with the whole football thing, and the double standard out in the open. He would just open his big mouth and an argument would fall out. So Sam figured it was better to just keep his mouth shut around John for a while.

Dean grinned. "Good." Dean said as they headed back to their room and Dean showed Sam an unlocked exit he had found previously. Sure, it was unlocked because Dean had jammed the lock, but it was unlocked all the same. Sam seemed like he could use some brother time anyway.

Sam let Dean lead the way, staying quiet so as not to draw any attention. Once they were in the car he let out a sigh of relief. "I don't know... not sure what to think of this place yet."

"Dude, no girls. Curfew. Uniforms. Bad haircuts. What's to think? It's horrible." Dean said with a scowl as he pulled out of the parking lot. "The kids seem all right. Right now. The teachers aren't so bad. They're like all the other teachers I guess. But dude, no girls."

"You're gonna survive no girls." Sam said. "I promise. Do you think we are going to see much more of Dad here? I mean other than class?" There was a hopeful tone to his voice. As much as he thought he hated his dad, he really did love him.

"Dude, of course we are." Dean said. He was ambivalent toward that. He loved his dad, admired his dad. Truth be told, his father was his hero and he pretty much worshipped the man. But he was seventeen, and attempting to spread his wings. He wasn't sure how successful he'd be with his dad around all the time. "Probably more than we want to in fact. But it'll be good."

"As opossed to seeing him in the middle of the night when he comes in half dead." Sam said shaking his head. "I mean, you're more of a dad to me than he is most of the time. Not that I blame him for being gone, but that doesn't change things."

Dean shook his head. There were often times he felt more like a dad to Sam than John did. That was a fact. Didn't mean he was going to give his dad a short shift on the whole parenthood thing. He pulled into the burger joint, where a few of the kids from school had also snuck out to go to. "See? They'd have to suspend half the senior class." Dean said with a smirk. "What do you want on your burger?"

"Everything." Sam said. "With mustard not mayo." He said. "And onion rings." He added. "I'm gonna figure out where the library is here in town. "

"Dude, the library is closed." Dean said with a laugh. "Why don't you see if you can have a little fun for a few minutes. Meet some new people. Maybe make some acquaintances."

"I-" Sam sighed. "Okay." He didn't want to make aquaintances. You got to like people and never got to see them again. He wanted to solve the case and get out of that place before he wound up stuck there. But Dean was willing to do something with him, so he didn't complain out loud.

"All right then." Dean said with a grin as he got out to get their hamburgers, flirting with the countergirl. It would suck if he got out of practice, being sentenced to a boarding school for boys and all.

Sam took a seat at one of the tables outside and waited for his brother. Little brothers were not girl magnets and Dean was working on a close encounter with one.

Dean came back a few minutes later with their food, and two extra orders of fries. On the house. And sat down across from Sam with a grin. "Here you go." He said, giving Sam his food, then bit into his own hamburger. "Definitely beats mess hall food."

Sam nodded. "Definitely." He said with the first enthusiasm he had shown in a long while. "So what's her name and when are you taking her out?" He teased.

"And that's why you're my favorite little brother." Dean said. "It's your overwhelming confidence in me. How can I not score with a girl? Then I'd disappoint you!" He said with a laugh. "Tina. Friday."

Sam laughed and gave him a look. "I'm your only little brother. Kinda hard not to be your favorite little brother."

"Sure it is. I could hate you." Dean said with a grin as he ate a fry. "Luckily I don't. Cause she's got a sister who's a freshman. How's that?"

"Am I even allowed to date yet?" He asked, the question had never really come up. His last girlfriend had been a junior high thing, it wasn't a real girlfriend as Dean had pointed out, and dating wasn't really an option, but he was in highschool now.

"Dude, yeah. I was dating by your age. It's the whole test of manhood thing." Dean said with a laugh. "I'll clear it with Dad. Don't worry. I'm that good."

Sam nodded. His first date and it was a blind date, well, it would be interesting. "At least if Dad says no, you aren't stuck having to baby sit me any more. "

"Hey, if Dad says no, I tell him I have to bring you anyway. And she'll bring her sister and you'll go on your date anyway. It'll be fine." Dean said confidentally.

"He listens to you more than me... so it might work." He said. "So long as we can get out of the school grounds every couple of days it might not be too bad here while we are doing the job." Sam figured he could put up with it for how ever long he had to so long as they all left together.

"Dude, he's not going to stick you in a military school." Dean said. "When we leave, we all leave together." Not that Dean really thought it was a chance, but even if it was, Dean would put his foot down about that subject.

Sam wasn't so sure. It was just a feeling he had where his father was concerned. Although if he investigated those feelings, it wouldn't be so much coming from his father, as his own reaction to the man being gone as much as he was. "Okay." Sam said. He knew Dean wouldn't ditch him. That was the one thing he was sure of in his life, he could always count on Dean to be there when he needed him.

"So let's eat, then socialize, then we'll get some sleep." Dean said. "Because tomorrow, crap, we BOTH have to be in gym class because you decided to cut on the first day."

Sam laughed. "Okay." He said and looked around. "Not seeing any freshman, you sure it's okay if I tag along?" He asked remembering the previous year when Dean had wanted his own space and his own friends.

"Dude, you're in high school now. You gotta learn to move between the classes." Dean said with a chuckle. "When I was a freshman, I had friends in the senior class, junior, sophomore...I actually 'dated' a junior." He said with a grin. "It's fine."

"You change attitudes more with each year lately than I can keep track of." Sam pointed out, and went to work on his fries.

"Dude, you're in high school now. Now there's overlap. It's cool." Dean said. " were in middle school. Completely different." It made perfect sense to him.

Sam shook his head. "The year before that I was in middle school too. I know... we had that conversation before we packed up and left the last town... but just so you know... it makes no sense to me."

Dean laughed. "It will. Someday." Dean promised. "Come on, let's go meet some of the other kids."

Sam got up, carrying his drink with him. He let Dean take the lead socially. He had more experience than Sam.

Dean struck up conversations with different groups, introducing himself and his brother to them. Hey, they were the new kids, that couldn't be denied. No reason to stay the outcast new kids after all. In a regular school that was one thing. But they were living at the school, that changed the whole perspective.

Sam smiled and talked, some of them were in the science club with him. Science classes were unique. As were the higher math classes. They were not segregated only to one age group. So some of them he saw once or twice a day since he was in advanced placement classes. They were nice enough.

"Hey, Sam, this is Nick." Dean said, Nick was a senior in his english class. "He's on the football team." And looked like it too."Sam's going to play football this year."

"Right on." Nick said. "Ever played before?"

"With Dad and Dean, that's about it. Played soccer in the past, I know that isn't the same but it's what you have to work with." He said with a laugh, trying to make light of it.

"Nick, think you can show Sam some stuff before tryouts?" Dean asked. If Dad wanted a football player in the family, then Dean was going to give him one. It would be good for Sam too...something he and their dad could bond over outside of the realm of the supernatural.

"Sure." Nick said. "I can help the freshmen out, no problem. You up for it, Sam?"

"Sure." Sam said, mostly because it would embarrass Dean if he didn't. He had secretly hoped to bomb out of try outs, but he was stuck now. "Sounds good."

"Good." Dean said. He'd have someone to watch out for his little brother, try to find common ground between Sam and their dad, and get Sam socialized all at the same time. It was a brilliant plan.

"Too bad you guys don't have a soccer team though. I could seriously get into that too." After all soccer season and football season were not the same time of year.

"Yeah, well, we can't have everything." Nick said. "I was hoping they'd get a lacrosse team, but no go." He said with a shrug.

"You ever notice that they always consider the sports that take more skill to be girly sports?" Sam asked, with a laugh. Lacrosse was an impressive sport as far as he was concerned.

"That's because the ones deciding what sports they will and won't fund couldn't play those so called 'girly' sports, so feel better about their own lack of masculinity and testosterone, they call them girly sports." Nick said with good humor.

The school was a small school, the classes themselves were small, usually no more than fifty or sixty, so friendships and cameraderie across grade levels were common.

Sam laughed. "Dad would love that." He said. "Dad is testosterone on two legs and if it isn't baseball or football it's girly."

Nick scoffed. "Well, there goes respect for the gym teacher." He said with a chuckle.

"Don't let him know that. He'll punish the rest of us." Dean said with a grin. "Like today when Sam decided to cut gym, us seniors paid for it!"

"You cut your own father's class?" Another kid, a junior, said. He was impressed. That took balls.

Sam blushed. "Yeah well, he didn't buy the story that it would have been more embarassing for him if I had cut someone else's class instead." Sam shrugged.

The kids laughed at that. And to include Sam in on their conversations and jokes. On the way back to the school, Dean looked at his brother. "See, they're not so bad. It won't be horrible here."

"Yeah, they are alright." He said with a nod. "Almost gonna suck when we leave." Sam pointed out, still trying to hold on to things staying as normal, and them leaving in a couple of months.

"Yeah, it might." Dean allowed. "I'll let you know after I see more than one girl." He said with a wink as he shut off his lights and coasted into the parking lot.

"Bets on whether or not he is waiting in our room for us?" Sam asked, quietly out of habit.

"And if he is?" Dean said with a shrug as they quietly eased the doors shut and crept into the dormitory again. "I mean, we saw a quarter of the student body out there. So all we're doing is fitting in. Besides, I left a copy of the notes on my desk anyway. So that should satisfy him that we weren't playing the whole night."

"True." Sam said, not wanting to point out once again the double standard where the boys were concerned. Who knew, it might be okay with Dean with him out there. But he doubted it.

Dean led the way through the darkened dorm. Lights out meant literally that here. Which sucked. He could see getting a stubbed toe trying to find the bathroom in the middle of the night here. "Okay, no one in the hall." Dean said at the last turn.

Sam nodded and then let Dean lead the way to the bedroom. Better Dean be the first one seen if their dad was waiting inside. If Sam went in first it would set the stage for a fight.

Dean cautiously went in and turned on the light. And sighed in relief. No dad. But his notes were gone. "Well, he knows we went out." Dean said with grin. "Not sure if it's good or bad that he's not here."

"Yeah... " Sam said with a frown as he sat down on the bed to take off his shoes. "It's not like him, that's for sure. Maybe he's working " He suggested.

"I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth." Dean stated as he changed for bed and hopped into the top bunk. "He can rag on us tomorrow all he wants."

"Oh I'm sure he will." Sam said, stripping down to his boxers and tossing his clothes over the nearest chair. "I'm setting the alarm a little early tomorrow. I don't want to wake up to the banging of a garbage can again."

"Tell me about it." Dean grumbled. He'd force himself to get out of bed before the garbage pail banging maniac came in. "We should throw water on him or something."

"Sounds good to me." Sam said with a grin.

"Night Sam." Dean said as he reached down and turned off the light.

Bright and early the next morning, Dean was waiting. On such short notice, all he could come up with was two glasses of water, but it was enough when they came storming into the room to wake Sam and Dean up. Splash! In their faces and over their heads before they could even start banging.

The room was filled with yelling and laughter and four boys uncertain if it was going to be a brawl or the begining of a new friendship. John looked in the door and frowned. "What's going on in here?" He asked.

Dean grinned. "Payback." He said with a chuckle. Though Dad looked tired, dark circles under his eyes. Dean wanted to think that he was up late with research even if...he looked...hung over.

John looked to all four boys, none of which looked the worse for wear. "Get on about it then. You're going to be late for PT." He said with not even half the thunder that would normally fill his voice.

Sam looked worriedly at his father.

Dean exchanged a look with Sam. A boiling John was expected. A simmering John wasn't out of the realm of possibilities. But a luke warm John? Dean had rarely seen that. "Come on, Sam, let's grab the showers before the rest do." He said carefully.

Sam nodded and left the room, still looking over his shoulder at his father. "It's not November ... " Which was the only time he ever saw his father looking like that. The anniversary of their mother's death.

"I know." Dean said. Every year, from November 1st until November 3rd, their father went on a bender. They usually stayed with Bobby or Pastor Jim then. "Think he's drinking?" He asked quietly.

"He doesn't drink on a job." Sam said with a worried frown. "Something's wrong with him. Think he might be getting sick? "

Dean kept his expression neutral, but that thought scared him. John was their last surviving parent. If he died...that was it. There were no more parents for them. They'd truly be orphans, with no clue what they were going to do, where they were going to live...

He banished the thought from his mind. "I hope not. He'll get whiny like you whenever you're sick."

"Dude, you whine too. Usually about not wanting to stay in bed, but you whine." Sam said as he got into the shower. "It's probably just a headache or something... up too late researching." He said, although he didn't really believe it. Not really. Something was wrong with their dad.

"Yup." Dean jovially agreed. But planned to cuta class and go through his dad's room. Just in case. He'd dispose of anything like that while John was in class.

Their dad seemed back in true form at PT. At least what they were used to. He pushed all the students as hard as he pushed his boys, and in some ways that was gratifying to Sam. And no small point of pride as he and Dean managed to keep up with everything their old man ordered.

Dean wiped his forehead with the back of his hand once John dismissed them. Just said 'dismissed' and walked off the field. "Okay, I think a part of him got off on that." Dean said shaking his head.

"He likes all this military stuff... " Sam said still watching his father carefully. "Well, off to breakfast then first class." He liked his first class still. it was the second one he dreaded except for his new friend there.

Dean ate breakfast, and waited until fifteen minutes into his first class and started complaining of food poisoning. He was given a pass to the nurse, but didn't go. Instead he broke into his father's room and started searching.

And had to choke down the disappointment he felt when he found the half empty whisky bottle. He dumped it, and dumped the rest of them, and took the keys to his father's truck. This way, if he wanted more, he'd have to bum a ride, and risk getting talked about as the new alkie teacher.

Sam didn't dare cut classes two days in a row. Besides, he wanted to check up on his father and that meant going to gym class. He dressed out and joined the rest of the students in formation to await his father's direction. His eyes never once left John through out the class.

John barked out his instructions to the students and retreated to a corner to watch. Yelling out corrections and such until he was moderately satisfied. He needed coffee and a bottle of Tylenol in a bad way, and he knew it.

Sam waited for the class to end and the other students to head off to the showers. He had a free period next, he could afford to take his time. "Hey Dad... you okay?"He asked worriedly.

"Yeah, Sammy." John said with a sigh as he ran a hand over his hair. "I'm good. Just tired today. All that driving is finally catching up with me. Think your dad might be getting old." He said with a shadow of a smile.

"Okay." He said, still looking worried. "I have a free period this hour, want me to stick around or go get you anything?" He asked.

John was used to Dean hovering. Dean hovered over the both of them, it was normal for Dean. Most of the time, Sam either ignored John's very existence or pushed at his buttons deliberately. But he nodded. "A cup of caffeine would be nice." He said.

"Okay, I'll go change then be right back with your coffee." The school had rules about what was to be worn where, after all. He didn't dawdle as he normally would with a request from John. He was back in short order witha cup of black coffee and a bottle of extra strength tylenol.

"Thanks." John said. His office was a little dim, the only thing he would compromise on right now. He was an uncompromising man, not only to his sons, but to himself. "So how's classes going?"

"Not too bad. Typing sucks but it's easy enough. Just boring." He said. "I like math, and science. " He told his father the story of the would be bully that had would up being a sort of friend after he had tripped him.

"You always were my whiz kid." John said with a fond chuckle. "I told you it wouldn't be that bad here."

"Yeah... that's cause I have you and Dean here too. Most of the other kids are stuck without family here with them. That would seriously suck."

John looked at Sam. "Sammy, I'm not going to finish the job, take Dean and leave." He said. His son's face was always like water in a clear bowl. Completely transparent.

Sam swallowed then. "I didn't mean it to come across like that." He said, he hated it that his father could read those thoughts, or whatever it was that gave him away half the time. They were usually thoughts that brought about arguments when out in the open.

"I know." John siad, holding up a hand in a concillatory gesture. He wasn't up to an argument right now. "Just telling you."

"So, you found our research last night... I'd like to get into the public library and see what the news papers have... see if it's wider spread than the school... or if it's centered here."

John nodded. "Have your brother drive you." John said. Because he wasn't about to drive when he was, well, he wasn't about to drive.

"I will after last class." He said with a nod. "What was it like when you went to school here?" He asked.

John leaned back in his chair and drank his coffee. "It was about the same really, this place doesn't change all that much." He said. "Same uniforms, same formations...I even think the librarian and the lunch aide are the same come to think of it."

"Wow... no wonder there is a ghost hanging on here. If nothing changes... especially if it's the ghost of a teacher, 'cause new students every year would be nothing new... a student though... there would have to be something serious to keep them around."

"Question is, what?" John said, taking out his own notes. "Revenge? Despair? Unfinished business?" Those were the ideas, among others, he'd come up with before Jack Daniels had taken over his mind the previous night.

"That's just it... as a kid, revenge makes some sense but only if they haven't gotten it yet. Like ... some bully or something is still alive, or his killer is... Despair or what have you could just be that they weren't buried right or something..."

"And considering kids come from all over the country, and sometimes the world, to come to this school...that's a train of thought I hope we don't have to pursue." John said with a chuckle. Figuring out where all the kids were buried and redoing it. All over the nation.

"No kidding... but this seems more like a revenge thing... the science kid with the acid... I mean that isn't just driving someone to depression... that's pushing pretty hard for the most painful death possible."

"I know." John said. "So we're on the revenge track. Lot of possibilities with that one too. Adolescents can hold onto rage for a long time. Could be anything, even a bad grade or something seemingly inane as that."

"Only if that bad grade seriously cost them something. I mean the only teacher targeted is the gym teacher. It would have to screw up their GPA beyond recognition... and gym just doesn't do that all by its self." He said, not thinking in terms of what a physical failure would mean in a military setting. He was one of the bright kids that had a future assured if given the chance to take hold of it.

"This is a military school." John said. "All it takes is for one kid to be humiliated in gym class, either the teacher pushed too hard, or the kid wasn't up for it...and his career here is over."

"And he is suddenly bully bait." Sam said with a nod, suddenly very glad that his father had pushed him to excel physically as well as intellectually. "Which could lead him to suicide after a while with no escape from it. Makes sense with the teacher, but then we have the science geek and the drama kid."

"Once we find ground zero of it all, it'll be easier to figure out how all the pieces fit together." John said.

Sam nodded. "Yeah. Might find out more tonight at the library. You know... if the school records are right, what ever it is happened when you were going to school here."

"Nothing really happened when I went to school." John said, thinking. "I'll ask the provost just in case, maybe he remembers something I don't, but no one was exceptionally picked on, our gym teacher survived...actually he retired two years after I graduated. Died three years ago."

Sam nodded. "If it did happen, it might have been covered up, I mean... why would they let the kids know? Most kids are pretty fragile. It's weird you know. Dean and I can handle a lot cause we have always known, but other kids... the ones that figure it out on their own what's out there... they arepretty cracked, and the rest wouldn't know what to do with a normal murder, one committed by a ghost, well that would tweak their world in all the wrong ways."

"Or maybe you and your brother are just the living by product of my world getting tweaked in all the wrong ways." John pointed out in a rare moment of complete and brutal honesty.

"Dad, I know that I complain a lot. But ... I get it. Okay. I really do. Dean and I could be a lot worse off with some other dad. You're doing what you have to do to keep us safe... and it isn't your fault... it's mine."

John looked at his son at that. And looked at him hard. "Sam, nothing is your fault. Got it? If it's anyone's fault it's mine. Because I should have protected your mother somehow. Because I somehow should have known something was in there. Because I shouldn't have fallen asleep in front of the TV that night. But it's never your fault, and it never has been."

"How can it not be... she died trying to save me. You couldn't have known it was in there." Sam said, his voice catching in his throat. "You aren't the reason that thing was there... I am... why did it want me, Dad?"

Instantly sober, John was out of his chair and squatting in front of his youngest boy. Large, strong hands on narrow shoulders that hinted at someday filling out like his father's. Dark eyes met dark eyes and John was emphatic. "I don't know." John said honestly. "But he's not going to get you, as long as I'm alive, got it? You are my son, and I will protect you."

For the first time in a very long while, at least it had been a long while to the mind of a 13 year old boy, Sam slid his arms around his father's neck and hugged him. He genuinely felt close to John in that moment. Reminded of the love that stood strongly between them, even though they argued and fussed throughmost of their every day lives.

"It's going to be okay, Sam." John promised. Not sure how he was going to keep that promise, but he'd try. And right now that's what his youngest son needed to hear.

"I know, Dad." He said and gently eased back. "I just... I worry about you and Dean." He did. He knew that they both protected him, far more than Dean had ever been protected. Sometimes he didn't think his father would ever see him as anything more than a little kid still. Others, he was afraid that he would.

"You don't need to." John said. "I'm the adult, remember? I'm the last one to be worried about. Your brother? I'd be more worried about him getting eaten up by the girls' school. Wonder how long I can keep him from finding it?"

"Don't know about the girls' school, but he already has dates for us with one of the girls from the burger place and her younger sister." He said hoping that his father would laugh and not declare him too young for dating. "Besides... since when does being an adult mean that you don't need to be worried about?"

"Because I said so." John said with a chuckle. "So, wow. A double date. I could say no and say you're too young. But then you'd just point out that Dean was doing his version of speed dating at your age and you'd be right, so I guess all that's left for me to say is have fun."

Sam smiled. "Thanks, Dad... I'd ask for advice but I am pretty sure Dean would just contradict you anyway." He teased.

John laughed. "Open doors. Let her order first. And don't let her pay." John said, getting his wallet out and handing Sam money. He knew he'd at least taught Dean that as well. "Do you have any, you know?"

He shook his head. "Dean gave me that talk a few times already. Updated it as he you know... found out more." Sam said with a laugh. "Thanks Dad."

John laughed and shook his head. "Dean gave you the talk. And updates. Well, that's...that's great. Just don't take everything he says as literal Bible truth. It's always different for everyone, and I do think thirteen is way too young for anything past second base."

Sam blushed deeply at that. "Ahm... " He swallowed. "Yeah... had no intentions of that with you know... a girl I don't know... and let's face it with Dean within line of sight, there is no way any girl is going to think about me that way at all."

"Don't sell yourself short. Just sell yourself young." John said. There was a difference between a seventeen year old and a thirteen year old after all. "So go have some fun. For once."

He smiled. "We will. So... you're sure you're okay? " He asked, not having forgotten the way his father had looked that morning.

"I'm fine. Just a late night is all." John said. "Go find your brother, keep him out of trouble." John said with a laugh.

Sam grinned then. "Is that an order?" He asked, seeing a great deal of milage that could come from just such an order.

"Just don't let him get himself arrested." John said with a laugh, seeing where Sam was going with that. He remembered being seventeen. And Dean and Sam deserved whatever free, fun time he could manage to grant them.

Sam laughed. "That will be easy. He will be too busy thinking he has to keep me out of trouble to get into any himself."

John grinned. "Then you've got it all under control then, son." He said.

"So we'll see you later tonight." Sam asked. He didn't know what his dad was like on a hunt, and was hoping that it was just the hunt that was making him seem so blue up to this point. Maybe some time with him and Dean would cheer him up.

"Yeah, we'll catch up later." John said as he watched Sam head to the door. Guilt over putting his boys through this, dragging them from one job to another washing over him again.