Don't own any of them. Probably better that way, all things considered.

Emergency Room

In light of all the evidence, Dean Winchester found himself forced to conclude that if there was some higher being out there controlling the universe, it hated him.

For one thing, some dumb jerk had driven his shiny new truck into the back of Dean's baby car that afternoon. The damage, fortunately for the jerk, was not great, but it would stop Dean from picking Sammy up from school later.

For another, the Principal had seen fit to call his Dad.

The doctor had been the one kind enough to notify Social Services.

And oh yeah, Dean was currently in the ER with an impressive collection of bruises, a split lip, and a sprained wrist.

As if all this weren't bad enough, none of the nurses had even stooped to flirt with him. He felt kinda insulted.

"… several older scars," the doctor was saying in a hushed voice to the guy from Social Services. "Some could be explained by falls, but not all. One on his upper thigh, in particular: it's a knife wound, or I'm an accountant. And that wrist has been broken before."

Dean was rather tempted to get up, go over there, and punch the guy out. But they'd made him strip for the check-up, so he was in a hospital gown, and for all his seventeen-year-old arrogance he wasn't that sure of himself. Besides, the scar on his leg was pretty noticeable. He'd only been hunting a little over a year, and that ghost had been vicious. Perhaps best not to display it's handiwork to the entire ER.

He leant back against the thin pillow and stole a glance across the room at the reason he was in here. Ralph Hampton. The dumb jerk with the truck. Also the alpha male of the infamous gang of bullies known colloquially as the football team. He had taken an instant dislike to the elder Winchester brother when they'd arrived in town two months ago. Dean hadn't understood it… still didn't. It wasn't as though he'd made a conscious effort to become the most talked-about kid at school.

Damn, he missed Clearwater. No snotty arrogant rich kids there – the town was too small and out of the way for that – just ordinary people. People he knew; people he liked.

Ralph caught sight of him, and glared furiously. He hadn't been that belligerent while they were setting his broken nose, Dean remembered with some satisfaction.

It faded quickly, though. The social worker seemed to be reading his file.

Super. Jake would laugh his ass off if he could see this.

Under any other circumstances, Dean would never admit to missing any place. Or anyone except Dad and Sammy. But right now he felt a bit like a lab rat in a cage for everyone to stare at. The blankets had been stretched so tightly over his legs, then firmly tucked under the mattress, that he felt tied down. He was cold, and every muscle in his body ached, and not an hour ago he'd been made to strip naked and submit to a brief check-up that was plainly so routine for the doctor and nurses involved that they hadn't even bothered to speak to him while they were doing it.

When he'd spoken to them, everyone in the room had jumped a mile and stared as though the chair in the corner had come alive and started to tap-dance. The whole experience had left him feeling exposed and vulnerable and utterly humiliated.

And now Mr. Concerned Social Worker was talking to the Principal. Even more super. The guy had dragged them down here because he played golf with Ralph's father, who had made several large donations that had enabled the construction of the school's new science building. Dean had been brought along as an afterthought. Mostly at the insistence of the school nurse.

Dean had a sudden urge to draw his knees up to his chest and hug them protectively, the way Sammy did when upset. He resisted. That sort of gesture was showing weakness, and he couldn't afford to do that in front of these people. If they were even human.

Cybernetic organisms, he thought bitterly. Every last one of 'em.

It took all his willpower not to revert back to childhood habits and bite his lower lip when the social worker turned to look at him. Not an ounce of compassion in the man's gaze. He was simply sizing Dean up, as if he were asking himself, Can this one be saved or is it not worth it?

Well, screw you, buddy. Dean Winchester doesn't need saving.

But for all that, he couldn't even remember the words to Enter Sandman. Which was ridiculous, because he'd been listening to the song for years.

Instead, snatches of Stairway to Heaven floated through his mind, and he closed his eyes to better remember the way Mom smiled whenever she picked him up from pre-school, how she'd wear Dad's leather jacket, and he'd press his face into her shoulder and breathe in the smell of them both combined.

Why was this place so frickin' cold?

Then the bed dipped beneath him, and Dean's eyes flew open in time to see a flash of dark eyes under an untidy mop of brown hair before Sammy flung both arms around his neck and held on for dear life. At twelve, he was getting a bit too big to fit comfortably onto his big brother's lap, but he managed somehow.

Then the low rumble of Dad's voice reached Dean, as familiar to him as the Impala's deep purr, and he looked round. John Winchester was arguing with doctor, principal and social worker all at once, and he looked furious.

Dean was rather glad he was all the way over here, with several beds and trolleys in between.

"You're as white as a sheet," Sammy said, pulling back to look at him.

"Hunger," Dean quipped. "How's the car?"

Sam shrugged. "Dad didn't seem too worried about the car," he said drily. Too drily for a kid who wouldn't even be thirteen for another two months. Precocious little monster.

"Well, I am," Dean declared. "Pull the curtains and pass me my clothes, will ya?" He ruffled his little brother's hair as Sam slid off the bed to do as asked.

"Here. Sorry it took so long. Dad got me straight out of classes, in case you – in case he couldn't come by later."

In case you were hurt really bad, he meant.

Dressing was a relief, like putting on armour, donning the costume that made him once again Dean Winchester, instead of some nameless, half-naked, beaten-up kid in an ER who was about to be stuck in foster care. Jeans, boots, his favourite Metallica shirt, amulet, ring, bracelets, finally the leather jacket. He flipped the collar and grinned at Sammy.


But before Sam could reply, a voice called from the other side of the curtain, "Dean, you decent yet?"

"Yessir," Dean said smartly, and turned to face his Dad as John yanked the curtains back. "Dad, I -"

"You're OK? Not hurt?" John cut him off, eyes running all over him, checking for damage, assessing his bruises, eyes darkening briefly when they came to rest on Dean's bandaged wrist.

"I'm fine, Dad," Dean said quietly.

John nodded. "Let's go then. We'll be working on the car all weekend by the looks of it."

Dean nodded back, and then turned to look at Ralph Hampton again. He'd meant to blow the bastard a kiss and a smirk, but both insults withered away into nothingness when he saw the look on the kid's face as he watched Dean.

It dawned on him then that although they'd already spent over an hour in the hospital, neither of Ralph's parents had shown up.

"Dean?" Dad said from behind him. "Come on, son. Exit's this way."

Dean turned away and followed his father out of the hospital.

"Can we have chocolate cake for dinner again seeing as Dean's hurt?" Sammy asked hopefully, and Dad groaned. "No!"