A/N This story was written for SunnyJuneDays and Nessie. I hope you guys like it! It's going to be a challenge for me, thanks to Nessie who wants to see me write a teenfic! But I hope you like it sweets. And to SunnyJuneDays, I really hope you like the story, you've been waiting for it for long enough! I'm glad you're recovering so well and that your life can finally get back to normal… or as normal as life can ever really be! I hope I can do you both proud.

Special A/N – I received a review for my previous fic, Start to End, from someone who went by "A Fan", an anonomous reviewer with no email address for me to respond to. I just wanted to tell you, if you're reading this, that you have no idea what that review meant to me! I have never had anyone… well, I don't quite know what to say! I'm speechless, and that's saying something! LoL But, honestly, I'm an aspiring writer too. I want to be published one day, a full time novelist. I write fics because I love it and I love the show, and to be really honest with you I am not exactly my biggest fan. If anything I'm my own worst enemy, my biggest critic – which is, apparently, a trait most writers seem to have! Start To End was a story that ended up meaning a lot to me and I'm really glad that you liked it so much too. I'm really touched… and now I have to find my voice again to be able to write! LoL I hope you read this note, I really wanted to tell you thank you.

Disclaimer: As usual, not mine… not feeling particularly witty, so that's it. Saving my energy for the story ahead…

Chapter One

Spinning Out Of Control

Dean sighed as he led the way through the woods, his brother close behind. Sammy… Sam was fourteen – a new fourteen, but fourteen none the less, and he had started getting an independent streak that he hadn't seen coming. Sam had always wanted to be independent, but it had always been because he wanted to be like Dean… now it was different. He used to like hunting with Dean, but now he wanted to be allowed to go off on his own, to cover another section of the woods instead of being lumped with his big brother.

Dean was suffering two very different reactions to this new side of Sam… one was extreme frustration, annoyed that it had led his brother to argue with their father at every turn, annoyed that he couldn't just understand that John knew what he was talking about because he'd been hunting for so long, instead he insisted on trying to make a case for himself and his own capabilities. Sam striding to be his own person was seriously beginning to get on Dean's nerves.

But the other side of how he felt with the new development of his little brother was harder for him to admit… he was sad. He missed his little brother, the boy who had followed him like a puppy dog, who had always wanted to be like him, who had worshipped him like most kids worshipped Superman or Batman. This Sam was a different person, and it made Dean realise that he was growing up… something he had hoped Sam would never really do. He wanted to keep Sam safe from the world, and that was easier when he had the power to send him to his room.

Still, Sam was on the hunt and so he had clamped his mouth shut, swallowed his objections and was concentrating on the job. Sam was probably doing a better job than he was, Dean realised, trying to focus his attention on where he was going.

They were hunting a creature Dean had never actually heard of before. It had been tormenting hunters in the woods, leaving little more than the innards of some of them, others made it out alive but were never the same again. Whenever Dean had asked anyone about the survivors, everyone had clammed up, refusing to speak to them again. The best John had been able to come up with, however, was it was some kind of chaos demon wreaking havock, but that didn't put Dean's mind at ease.

"We usually know more about the thing we're hunting, Dad," Sam argued, sounding concerned. He had gone over the research his father had done and wasn't satisfied when he found there were at least three different demon's topping John's list of possibilities and several more under them.

"You can't always know everything about your opponent, Sammy," John snapped. Dean saw his brother physically wince at the use of his childhood nickname, his father still refusing to call him 'Sam'.

"Yeah, but Dad, Sam's right," Dean piped up in an unusual moment of… well, protection for Sam was what spurred him on, but it was the defiance that had been unusual for him. He never defied his father, that was definitely new. "We may not know everything about what we're up against, but we don't go in there with ten different possibilities. Maybe you should do some more research, call Bobby or do some recon in the woods… talk to some people in town…"

John glared at Dean.

"One disobedient son is more than enough thank you Dean," John snapped angrily. He turned to Sam. "And don't think you can get him on your side thinking that it'll change my mind."

"I didn't know he agreed with me, Dad," Sam insisted. "Maybe he just thinks we don't have enough information, maybe he just thinks I'm right about this!"

"That's enough, Sammy," John insisted. "Either get your ass in the car and come on the hunt or stay here and you can clean all the weapons when we get back…"

Sam hated one thing more than not being listened to, and Dean knew what it was. He wondered if his father knew, but he dismissed the idea and guessed that the older Sam got the less his father knew about him… the fact that Sam hated the idea of Dean and their father hunting without him. He wanted to be there to look out for them, wanted to make sure they were okay… he hated sitting at home, waiting for them to walk in the door and having to imagine the multiple injuries he could be faced with when they got there.

The last time Sam had sat at home, before his father had deemed him old enough to hunt, Dean had come home covered in blood with a dislocated shoulder, a broken collar bone and several slashes across his chest. Sam had had to do what repair work he could on the injuries while their father packed up the car and rushed them the hour trip to the nearest hospital… after that Sam had insisted he be taught and trained, ready for the next hunt so he wouldn't have to sit at home alone.

And whenever that threat was made, it was the only thing that could call him into line. John didn't know why it was, but it had become obvious that he'd figured out it worked.

"You still with me there, Geek Boy?" Dean asked, glancing over his shoulder at his little brother. Sam seemed to have been distracted by something, he had stopped several feet behind Dean and was looking off to one side, passed Dean's shoulder. "What's wrong?"

Sam didn't answer, he just took a careful step forward. He seemed to be concentrating really hard, like he was afraid to scare a deer off when they were supposed to have veal for dinner. Dean had never seen Sam like that before and it had him worried. He glanced in the direction Sam was looking but couldn't see anything that would elicit a reaction from his brother – particularly not a reaction like this!

"Sam, what is it?" Dean asked, knowing his brother well enough to take him seriously, especially during a hunt. His father might have dismissed his brother's strange behaviour, Dean realised, but he knew that wasn't a wise thing to do right now. "What do you see?"

"Up there," Sam said, alongside Dean now as he pointed passed him and further up the track. "By those trees…"

"I just see shadows, Sam."

"In the shadows… I'm telling you, there's something there…" Sam said, raising his gun carefully and taking aim. "Did you see that?"

"I don't know," Dean admitted, straining to see what Sam was pointing at. He had thought he'd seen something, like a ripple in the shadows, but he couldn't be sure. "Maybe…"

Something lurched in the darkness and Dean raised his gun, immediately on high alert. Whatever it was launched itself at them, knocked Dean over and raced to the other side of the path. Dean hit the ground with a puff of wind as Sam dropped to his knees and opened fire.

"D'you get it?" Dean asked, gasping for breath as he got back on his feet.

"Winged it," Sam answered, not taking his eyes away from where the creature had disappeared. "You okay?"

"Fine, Sam," Dean assured him. He saw it moving towards the path, he was sure of it this time and he knew he was right when seconds later Sam had opened fire as well. "Shit that things fast!"

"Dean, I really don't think that's a chaos demon," Sam announced. He was cut off the instant the thing crashed into him, launching Sam a good ten feet off the path where he crashed into a tree.

"SAM!" Dean yelled, watching as Sam slid to a sickening lump on the ground, his eyes shut as he was robbed of all consciousness. "SAMMY!"

The creature was approaching Sam's slumped body slowly, as if he was drawing out a wonderful moment that needed to be savoured. Dean raised his gun and opened fire but realised the bullets were leaving no effect on the creature. Realising Sam was right, this was no chaos demon, he swapped from the gun with wrought iron rounds to the one that shot silver bullets and opened fire. He walked steadily toward the creature, anger in each step rising in his blood as he reached the creature that was threatening his little brother.

As he got closer, however, he realised that the creature was biding its time. The silver was having some effect on it, but not enough to kill it and by the time Dean realised his mistake he was lifted off his feet. He felt the sting in his neck as a claw dug deep into his flesh and a moment later everything was dark…


John heard Dean's yell and before he could think about what was happening he was racing in the opposite direction he had been heading, turning south toward where he'd sent his boys. He wasn't sure where they were, but he knew he had to find them. His heart was racing, images going through his mind of what was happening to his youngest son and he immediately felt ill. Swallowing the bile that rose in the back of his throat, John reminded himself that Sam was with Dean and Dean would be watching out for him. Sam was as safe on a hunt with Dean as if he'd been by his own side, and John knew he could trust Dean to watch out for his little brother…

But a father knows when something wasn't right, and there was definitely something in Dean's voice that screamed in his mind that there was a problem.

John halted on the path, listening out for some sound that would tell him where they were. He was closer, he was sure of it, but how close? What direction had they headed in from here? Were they on the path? Had they run into the creature?

Were they alive?

"Come on, Dean, where are you?" John whispered as if he could send the message to his eldest and get a reply that would lead him straight to his boys.

No such luck.


Sam pried his eyes open, knowing he was on a hunt and that he couldn't afford to let himself pass out. He knew he'd lost consciousness, but he was hoping it hadn't been for long enough for something to happen to his brother. He would never forgive himself if…

Sam looked up and immediately saw Dean hovering several feet off the ground. Something was holding his by the throat and there was blood trickling down one side of his neck. He still had no idea what it was, but he had to try something. Sam pulled himself to his feet and rushed the beast, knocking it off its feet enough that it dropped Dean in a heap on the ground. What looked like a shadow was solid, which meant it could be hurt… and killed.

Sam stood, his feet wide apart in a solid fighting stance, his arms raised at the ready. He'd pulled a knife from his pocket and flicked it open, holding it in his right hand, ready for anything. The knife was nothing special, but it had been blessed and most evil creatures didn't like that very much…

Sam hoped this one wouldn't either…

"Sam," Dean murmured, trying to pull himself to his feet. He stumbled a moment but finally managed to get up when he saw Sam ready to go one on one in hand to hand combat with a beast that defied explanation. Dean had to distract the thing, he had to give Sam a chance to get away. "HEY!"

The creature immediately turned toward Dean, hitting him square across the face before he had a chance to react, knocking him several feet up the path.

Dean landed with a painful wheeze, darkness blurring his vision for a moment.

"Damn," he muttered, fighting against the need to close his eyes. Sam needed him to stay away.

"DEAN!" Sam called, rushing the creature again. He'd seen blood on his brother's arm from the strike and knew the creature had cut him… this creature, whatever it was, had a weakness and Sam wanted to figure out what it was. He threw itself at it, grabbing it by what could only be described as its throat, only to feel claws dig into his shoulder instead, forcing him to drop his knife.

Sam had run out of weapons, he realised, and there were very few options he had left when he had no idea what he was facing.


John heard Sam's voice now and immediately turned in that direction. He still couldn't tell how far away they were, but he was growing more and more convinced that they couldn't be too much further up the path.

He pushed himself to limits he had never known he possessed when he heard a scream that had no right to be in this world… and he was convinced it wast one of his boys.


Sam pulled himself to his feet again, getting frustrated with being knocked around. This thing had no intention of fighting him, it just continued to swat at him like a fly and focussed everything on Dean. Every time Sam got in the way, the creature would push him aside and head straight for Dean again. Whatever kind of thing you have for my brother, Sam thought angrily. You can just forget it… you're not getting him!

Realising he wasn't getting anywhere with taking the creature one on one, Sam looked around him in desperation to find a weapon that would work against the creature. He saw a dried tree branch at the side of the path and scooped it up quickly. It was heavier than he had been prepared for, but he didn't care. There was no time to find another one…

Dean let out an unnatural scream as the thing reached down and grabbed his leg. Sam was sure it was digging its claw into him again. He pulled a lighter from his pocket and flicked it open quickly. Thumb on the flint, and nothing but sparks, but the scream grew louder and Sam fought harder with the lighter until he was finally rewarded with a flame.

"Come on," he muttered, setting fire to the end of the branch and pocketing his lighter quickly before hurrying toward the thing that had started dragging his bother off. Dean was struggling against it, but with each fight the claw was dug deeper and his scream grew more painful.

Sam lurched at the creature, thrusting the lit branch straight at it. The darkness seemed to disappear around the flame and the creature screamed over Dean's pained cries. Sam kept swinging and swinging, sometimes hitting it square on, sometimes just making dent in the darkness, but one last thrust and the branch seemed to go straight through the middle.

And then it was gone…

Sam stomped out the flame and quickly dropped beside his brother, pulling him to sit up.

"Dean," he gasped, seeing how pale Dean had become in the few minutes Sam had had to contend with the tree branch. "Are you okay?"

"D'ya get it?" Dean asked, his voice a grunt of pain as he let Sam pull him to his feet.

"I think I hurt it," Sam told him. "But I think it'll be back… we gotta go…"

As Sam and Dean headed back up the path toward the car, Dean limped more than he would ever admit and Sam sore from hitting the tree, they saw John running toward them. He looked frantic and Sam couldn't help but want to laugh – but he was too tired. He had gotten damn lucky as Dean was being targeted by the creature – lucky to escape with the injuries he had instead of anything worse, and lucky that Dean hadn't been killed. Sam had no mistaken ideas that it had been luck and adrenaline that had saved his brother's life, nothing to do with his skill as a hunter… in fact he felt like he had let Dean down in that area. Dean shouldn't have been hurt at all, and if Sam was any good at the family business he wouldn't have let it happen.

"You boys okay?" John asked.

"A few bumps and bruises," Dean answered him. It sounded to Sam like Dean was finding it hard to breathe, but he didn't say anything. Until they got back to the motel there'd be no checking wounds since the creature was on the loose.

"Tell me you got it," John asked Dean, his voice stern.

"No sir," Dean told him. "I spent most of my time on the ground, it was Sam who fought the thing."

John looked at Sam for answers, but Sam saw something in his eyes that caught his attention first.

"Don't look surprised," he insisted. "I'm not completely useless."

"I never said you were," John told him through gritted teeth. "Just tell me what happened… you get it?"

"This is not a chaos demon," Sam said before taking Dean by the good arm and helping him further up the path. "And no I didn't get it, I injured it… we gotta get out of here and figure out what we're dealing with."

John opened his mouth to argue, but Sam knew he had won this round… you can't argue in a hunt, especially when there was a pissed off creature out there hungry for blood. You might be able to push my buttons to get what you want, Dad, Sam thought. But I know what buttons to push too.

"Dean's hurt," he added, satisfied that he'd hit the right nail to close the coffin of this particular argument. John nodded and took Dean's other side, taking more of Dean's weight off his bad leg.

If there was one thing Sam knew, Dean was a trigger for both of them. As much as Dean wanted to protect Sam, Sam wanted to protect Dean too… and John, well he'd made no secret of which brother was at the top of his Christmas list.

Sam sighed. Most families were proud when their kids brought home good grades, but Sam's report card was still burning a hole in his desk drawer at home and Sam had no intention of handing it over just to hear the huff his father gave him when he looked over it. That huff meant Sam spent too much time studying for school and not enough time training for the hunt… Dean was a full time hunter, now, and even before he'd finished school he had been the golden child of the Winchester clan. He, after all, didn't argue back, he didn't fight John on decisions, he followed orders, did as he was told and… well, Sam knew that Dean was stronger than he was. Dean was the better fighter, the better hunter, the better shooter. Sam had speed on his side, he knew that, but that didn't count for much if you weren't strong enough to put that speed to good use.

Dean seemed to lose balance all of a sudden and Sam tightened his grip on his older brother's waist. Something was bothering Sam, something he was sure they were missing and it was vital…

…he just hoped he'd be able to figure it out before John made them go up against the creature that wasn't a chaos demon!


Dean watched as Sam sat at the desk across the room, flicking through ancient texts for different demons. Dean knew that they didn't have much more to go on other than a vague description and the things that DIDN'T effect the damn thing, but he knew that if anyone could figure it out it would be Sam. Dean was pretty damn proud of his little brother, in spite of what Sam thought. He knew Sam felt second rate, that his family looked down on him, and that hurt Dean a little. He never thought less of Sam, he just wished he would stop fighting their father at every turn. Life was so much quieter in the Winchester… well, home was a stretch… but before Sam started going through this mean independence thing he seemed to be going through.

"Ow!" Dean muttered as his father jabbed the needle into his arm. "Can you be a little more gentle with that thing?"

John didn't say anything, he just rolled his eyes and jabbed the needle again. Dean was relieved that only one of the slashes on his arm was bad enough to need stitches, that it wasn't quite as bad as he had though in the woods, but now the needle his father insisted on jabbing into already sore flesh was starting to hurt more than the injuries the demon had inflicted on him! His father was good at the repairs they needed at times, but when he was in a foul mood he wasn't the gentlest person with a needle. He seemed to forget that Dean was attached to what he was working on.

Dean saw Sam shoot him a look and immediately wished he was the one stitching Dean's arm. Sam, for all his moods and tempers, immediately let go of any anger he felt while he tended to the injuries of his family… especially when the injured party was Dean. Sam had yet to hurt him, and now he wanted to beg his brother to take over from his father.

He could see the same thought going through Sam's mind, but the younger boy said nothing. Dean understood why, since trying to take over from John Winchester was akin to walking on a bed of hot coals, but he wished he would do it anyway.

"What I don't get," Sam piped up, eyeing Dean careful as Dean grimaced as another stitch went through. "Is why silver didn't work… nothing seemed to work on this thing except fire and wood… and even then, it didn't kill it."

"What happened when you used it?" John asked, poking Dean again.

"Dad, seriously!" Dean complained, pulling the needle carefully from his father's hand. "I've had enough sharp implements poking at me tonight, can you give it a rest?"

"I have to stitch this up, Dean," John reminded him.

"Well, if it's okay with you, I'd much rather Sammy do it," Dean told him, gritting his teeth as his arm began to throb. "I think you're helping the demon a little much right now."

John scowled but looked over at Sam.

"Well?" he asked. Sam didn't need any more of an invitation than that as he left his books and hurried to Dean's side. He took the needle gently from Dean's hand and immediately began the work to make Dean's injuries better. Dean sighed in relief as the first Sam-stitch went in with a lot less pain than his father's had. "So what happened with the demon?"

"Oh," Sam muttered, concentrating. "Um, it was weird. It was like a big shadow and it kind of disappeared when the fire touched it, like it was shrinking from the light… I think it's just a weakness, though, I don't think it would actually kill it."

"Have you found anything in those books of yours yet?" John asked, sitting at the desk and glancing at Sam's notes.

"I only just started, Dad," Sam reminded him. "It could take a little while… I don't have any answers right now, but I'm working on it."

Dean breathed a sigh of relief and eased his jaw open as he realised how much he'd been clenching it shut against the pain. Sam had cut the thread for the last stich and was now cleaning and dressing Dean's other wounds. He was especially relieved that the puncture wound in his neck and leg weren't very bad and only needed a clean to prevent infection, but it did occur to him that they had hurt worse than any of his other injuries.

When Sam tried to move away from Dean and head back to his books, Dean grabbed him gently.

"Not so fast," he told his little brother, tugging him gently to sit on the bed where Dean had just been sitting. "You got a few scratches that need looking at… and your back."

"What happened to your back?" John asked, having noticed the blood staining Sam's shirt. There wasn't much there and he knew the injuries were minor, but he hadn't heard anything about Sam hurting his back. He hadn't noticed anything, either.

"Nothing," Sam muttered. Dean saw frustration in his brother's eyes at being made to sit still when he had research to do that he deemed more important.

"He got tossed into a tree," Dean told his father, cleaning and dressing the scratches on Sam's arm. They weren't too bad, either, he realised. But then it was obvious Sam hadn't been the main target of this particular demon's rampage… Dean wasn't sure he liked being in the things sights, but he was relieved that Sam hadn't been on the receiving end of its wrath either. "Gotta check that head too… you seeing double? Dizzy at all? Nauseous?"

"No, Dean," Sam assured him, rolling his eyes.

"You sure?"

"I'm sure."

"You were knocked out, Sam, it's not a strange question."

"Only for a second, and I'm fine!" Sam insisted, getting to his feet and pushing Dean's hand away as he put the last touches on the dressing. He moved away but Dean grabbed hold of him and pulled his sweater and shirt up to reveal large purple bruises already forming on his back.

"Damn, Sammy," Dean muttered. "That gotta hurt."

John muttered a silent curse word that neither of the boys caught, wondering how he had missed the pain Sam had to be in with those bruises.

"Not really," Sam muttered, pulling away and letting his shirt fall down again. Dean knew their father hadn't missed the ugly bruises, but he didn't say anything. Instead he just kept a close eye on Sam as he walked to the chair and sat back down after John moved. It wasn't lost on Dean – or John – how stiffly Sam was moving, though Dean had to wonder why they hadn't noticed before.

"Sam…" Dean tried again, wanting to get his brother to rest for a while. That was not an easy hunt and the demon had gotten the jump on Dean so Sam had been left trying to fend it off before it killed them both. There had been a serious role reversal, and Dean didn't like it. He hated that Sam had had to fight on his own like that, that he had been so worried about his brother he had ignored his own safety and injuries.

"There's something about that demon that's bothering me," Sam muttered, leaning over his books again. "I can't quite put my finger on it, but I'm sure it's familiar…"

Dean sighed and sank back onto the bed. His part in the hunt, for now, was over. There was nothing he could do but wait…

He saw the frustration on his father's face as the same realisation occurred to him. Sam was a real live boy genius and they had learned quickly that they weren't really helping when they jumped in on the research unless Sam asked them to. And judging from the way the hunt had gone, John's research hadn't been too accurate this time out. It was unusual for John to get the research wrong, Dean knew, but he'd taken this hunt on for another hunter who had given him some sketchy information and people in town weren't feeling very talkative. John had worked with the information he'd had, and Dean knew that any one of those chaos demons could have matched the profile they had to work with.

Dean closed his eyes and trusted his brother to figure it out even as he wished he would just rest…


John wasn't sure how long he had been asleep for, but he knew it was late as he glanced around the room. Everything was silent, dark, a cold bite to the air. There was a tiny ray of light somewhere in the room, and John rubbed his eyes tiredly as he sat up to see where it was coming from. He could hear Dean snoring lightly in the bed nearby, but when he checked Sam's bed it was empty. Fear lurched in his chest for a moment as his eyes darted around the room in search for his youngest son… only to find the source of the light was the desk lamp Sam had been using to read. He had knocked it over as his body had finally given out and he had dropped off to sleep. His head rested on the book in front of him scrunching up a few pages, the pen was still in his hand dangling from lifeless finger. He seemed so peaceful for someone who had fallen asleep reading about ancient creatures that could rip your intestines out through your ears… or so John discovered as he approached Sam and glanced at the notes he had made mere seconds before he'd fallen asleep.

John knew it had been seconds because Sam's writing trailed off and the word 'ears' was on three different lines as he'd fought to stay awake.

Relieved his son had finally lost the battle to pull yet another all-nighter, John pulled Sam gently to his feet and led him carefully to his bed. Though Sam's legs stumbled along in the dark, Sam remained asleep as John lowered him to his pillow, pulled off his boots and covered him with the heavy blanket. Sam's brow was furrowed as if he was worried about something and John ran a gentle hand over his face to smooth out the worry lines that were threatening to interrupt the young boy's rest.

"It's okay, Sammy," John told him, his voice low and soothing. "You did good, today, just rest now…"

Sam moaned lightly but seemed to visibly relax under John's touch and when John was sure he was out for the count he straightened and stumbled back to his own bed. His boys, though slightly damaged, were safe and that's all he worried about. He rolled over to get comfortable again when he heard a moan coming from the bed his oldest son was occupying. He sounded like he was in pain, hurt and afraid, but before John could move to wake him and make sure he was okay, Dean drifted off into a deeper sleep yet again and John settled back down.

The boys were okay, he was sure of that. They were Winchester's after all…


The next morning Dean woke up with a blinding headache. He knew immediately he had overslept but he could barely get his eyes to stay open as he dragged himself to sit up. The night before had really taken it out of him, every muscle in his body was aching. The stitches in his arm felt like they were on fire, pain shooting down his arm. His back and neck hurt and his eyes took a while to focus.

The first thing Dean saw clearly was his little brother shoving books in his bag. He was fully dressed, his hair dripping slightly from the shower he must have had before Dean woke up, and he had a piece of toast between two teeth. He grabbed up his bag and bit into the toast.

"Hey, you're up," Sam greeted him, grinning even as he winced at the weight his bag put on his battered back. "You don't look too good, you okay?"

Dean cleared his throat, it was painful and dry.

"Yeah, dude, I'm fine," Dean assured him. "I'm just tired, long night, you know?"

"Hell yeah!" Sam laughed, rubbing his neck. "Last thing I remember was working at the desk, but I woke up in bed… you have something to do with that?"

"Not guilty," Dean assured him, getting to his feet and heading for the counter that subbed for a kitchen to make a coffee. "You going somewhere?"

"School," Sam reminded him. "But I've got a couple of ideas about that thing from last night, so I thought I'd go to the library after and do a bit more research."

"You're going to school?" Dean asked, confused. He could have sworn it was Sunday.

"Of course," Sam told him. Dean saw the suspicion in his brother's eyes and he tried to hide his own confusion. He felt like he had missed a day, he was sure they'd gone on the hunt on Saturday night… "You okay?"

"I'm fine…" Dean told him, his answer not even convincing him. He heard the shower turn off in the bathroom as his father finished up and sighed. "You need a ride to school?"

Sam nodded.

"I wanna get there a little early, there's a book I need and I'm hoping they'll have it in," Sam explained. "It's this ancient text, hard to come by, but this library has a pretty good second on the paranormal."

"Supernatural," Dean corrected.

"That too," Sam agreed. "You ready?"

"Not quite," Dean announced, stopping Sam before he could reach the door. He tugged on Sam's bag until he dropped it and put on by the door. "I want to have a look at your back first."


"Not negotiable, Sammy," Dean told him. "If you figure this thing out today, or if Dad and I do, we're going to be going hunting tonight. No way you're getting anything passed me. If you're hurt, I want to know how bad… and if it could slow you down, then you're staying behind tonight."


"End of story, Sammy, now show me!" Dean snapped, his tone harsher than he had intended. Sam bit his lip, a look of hurt spreading over his eyes as Dean turned him around and lifted his shirt.

"It's Sam," Sam muttered under his breath. Dean rolled his eyes at the comment but ignored it. His breath caught hard in his chest when he saw the dark painful bruises that covered most of one side of Sam's back. They faded a little on the other side, Dean realised. Sam hadn't hit the tree square on, he had hit in with more force on his right side… Dean sank to the bed as he looked closer. There must have been a notch on the tree because there was a darker bruise just below Sam's right shoulder blade where it had dug into his flesh.

"Geez, Sam," Dean breathed, pressing gently on the darkest area to check the swelling. "You gotta be in a world of hurt!"

"Nah," Sam argued. "I've had worse."

Dean closed his eyes a moment, wishing Sam hadn't said that. His brother shouldn't have to suffer injuries like this one… or any of the others he'd had over the years. It wasn't fair, he shouldn't have to grow up and live this life. It had been inevitable, Dean knew, but that didn't mean he had to like it.

"Maybe you should stay home today," Dean suggested as Sam tugged his shirt back down around him and turned around. "You should rest. We could get some ice on it…"

"And are you going to rest?" Sam asked pointedly. "I saw you still limping before."

"Only a little, Sam, and it's not the same," Dean told him. "Besides, I'm going to be researching with Dad today… you've got classes, you've gotta lug all those heavy books around all day, and don't you have gym today?"

Sam nodded.

"Well, at least let me get Dad to write you a note to get out of gym," Dean suggested, his eyes pleading with his brother. "If nothing else, we don't want anyone seeing those bruises and thinking Dad went on a bender last night, do we?"

"No," Sam agreed, glancing at the bathroom door. "But I'm not missing gym. Trust me, it'll be fine! We're doing track today anyway, so I'll just get to do some laps and stuff… I'm okay, I swear."

Dean sighed. There was no arguing with Sam this time, and he knew it.


A little over half an hour later, Dean was heading back to the motel after dropping Sam at the library. His head was still hurting and he swallowed some aspirin before he'd started the trip home, but it hadn't kicked in yet and he felt like his head would explode into tiny pieces any second. He took a deep breath, rubbing the spot on his neck where the creature had dug its claw into him as it began throbbing in time with his heart. It felt hot to his touch, but he figured that it might just need a bit of a clean out to make sure it wasn't getting infected. He was sure he'd be able to take care of that himself…

He wasn't sure how much more he'd be able to take, however, when his eyes began to blur and his vision swam. His arm jerked against the steering wheel, dragging the Impala into the other lane where he was faced with oncoming traffic.

"Shit!" Dean exclaimed, jerking back on the wheel before a truck took him out. He considered pulling over and waiting for his vision to clear, but something told him he had to get home and lie down. His whole body felt like it was on fire and he was starting to feel like he was losing control of himself. His body was turning against him, refusing to do what he wanted it to do, refusing to listen to his brains commands. Simple commands, too, Dean thought to himself. Like get Sammy to school and get home in one piece… not several pieces!

He could see the motel up ahead and took a deep breath to focus. He indicated his turn, but before he could do anything else he felt his foot hit the accelerator instead of the brake and he crossed over in front of on coming traffic once again, knocking down a baby tree before ploughing into the parking lot…

Dean's vision cleared as his father came rushing out of the room.

"Dean!" he called, yanking open the car door. Dean didn't remember stopping or switching off the car, but he knew he must have because he wasn't moving anymore. "You okay? What the hell happened?"

Dean shook his head, not sure he had an answer. He climbed out of the car and turned to face his father, ready for the tongue lashing that was sure to come.

"You drove Sammy to school? You look like shit! You shouldn't have been driving, you could have gotten your bother killed!" John continued. "Fix that parking before you come inside, and then you'd better lie down before you really do hurt someone! What's wrong with you?"

Dean swallowed, glancing down at the Impala.

"I have a headache," he answered dumbly.

John looked closely at Dean's eyes, concern etching his face.

"You take anything?" John asked him. Dean nodded. "Aspirin?"

Dean nodded again.

"Looks like you've got more than a headache, Dean," John sighed. "You've got a migraine, I'd say… you're vision blurry?"

"A little," Dean mumbled, looking down. "Nothing major."

"Nothing major? You nearly took out the motel sign! You nearly put the car through the wall!" John raised his voice again without realising he'd started ranting once more. "It's a good thing there were no people around, and no cars parked nearby… how did you even control the car?"

Dean shrugged, hoping his father would drop it and stop yelling. His head was hurting him enough as it was, his father's raised volume wasn't helping matters. He honestly didn't remember anything passed hitting the tree and he knew how lucky that made him. He glanced down at the Impala, finally realising what his father was talking about. The Impala was parked perfectly straight… but it's front wheels were up over the curb and halfway on the porch.

"Shit," he muttered, finally understanding how lucky he had really come.

"Go inside, Dean," John told him. "Lie down, I'll move the car and be in in a minute…"

Dean nodded and headed inside. He wondered what was wrong with him. He'd never had a migraine before, it didn't seem right… somehow he had never thought they could cause anything like this! He had thought they were just bad headaches… he would never underestimate them again.

The last thing Dean remembered hearing was the gentle rumbling of the Impala…


A/N – Well, there's the first chapter, I hope you like it. Feel free to review, I love reviews! Keeps the wheels turning the muse amused!