Equinox: Prologue

Two years ago, when Dean had been in the second grade, his teacher, a visually inspiring bouncy blonde came up with a school wide relay race. The idea was simple, one representative from each class would partake in a race between the grades and then the big finale, winner take all, race for grades K-5. The oldest Winchester son easily beat the other second graders - but then the teachers decided to change the course for the final.

One of the parts of the race was a twenty-five-feet trek through ankle deep ice water…

Bare foot…

Ice with a little bit of water was more appropriate because it was freakin' cold and Dean was seriously considering killing his teacher when he got to the end of the relay.

The first couple steps numbed his feet. Then the water seemed to prick him and poke him with hundreds of needles, bristling over his toes and heels and the arches of his feet. Needles over every single inch of his feet and they hurt.

This only reinforced his notion that teachers were sadists and school was evil.

After a while the needles all blurred together and the water just kind of burned his whole feet. That's silly isn't it? When something gets too cold it feels like it is burning?

By the time Dean reached the end of the death pool his feet ceased to feel anything, instead a feeling akin to a limb falling asleep, it deadened his feet and he clumsily finished the race. He got first place, of course, but the feeling of ice cold water earned a place on the "Dean Hates" list – right up there whatever killed Mom, Dad coming home late, and changing Sam's diaper when he was a baby (a necessary evil.)

But two years ago it had been only his feet, and this was much, much worse.

"Dean!" The small voice of Sam cried out from the bridge, but in fact, he could hear little more than the roar of the water at all. Sam leaned his small frame over until he was halfway over the railing himself. "Dean!" He yelled again.

Dean couldn't really hear Sam with the water rushing over his head. Dean had taken his brother out for a walk in the woods behind the brother's temporary apartment, but when they got to the bridge crossing the rapids Dean miscalculated a step and slipped over the railing.

When he hit the water Dean dimly saw his baby brother over the railing. He propped his head out of water best he could, for need of both air and to yell at his brother to stop leaning over the rail. He gasped and wheezed a mouth full of icy water and crisp air. He choked out the water and before he got to take another breath the water pulled him under.

The familiar sensation of stinging racked his body as he contorted in the rapids, and just as he felt his body starting to shut down from lack of air and the freezing cold his back thudded up against a large boulder and he hazily realized he could pull himself up onto bank.

"I'm alright," Dean remarked, crawling up the icy shore of the river.

"Dean?" Sam asked hesitantly again.

"I'm okay," Dean said shivering and rubbing his hands against his arms.

"I'm sorry," Sam started to sniffle, carefully running to the edge of the bank. The rocks were icy from the rainfall the previous night, and Sam climbed down on hands and knees before rushing over to his brother's side.

Dean was soaked from head to toe in freezing water. He was visibly shaking and Sam undid his scarf to wrap it around Dean's neck. "I guess slipping off the bridge wasn't a great idea. How would you score me for that swan dive Sammy?"

Sam's little hands helped Dean up and the two climbed up the rocky bank of the river. "We should call Daddy," Sam said, trying to be helpful.

Dean shook his head more violently than was necessary, and he coughed out, "No."

"But Dean, he'll want to know that…"

"No, let's just get back home. I'll take a warm shower and it'll be okay," Dean shrugged.

Sam didn't reply, just pulled Dean up the final edge of the bank.

"Are you cold Sammy?" Dean asked, he didn't care about his own welfare, but he wanted to be sure that his brother was fine in the cold weather.

"Dean I'm sorry," Sam said meekly.

"For what Sammy? It's my fault that I was walking too fast."

"For asking to go on a walk, I know Daddy said that we needed to stay inside."

Dean smiled, "It is alright, he doesn't have to know. He wouldn't be home until late tomorrow anyway. Let's just get cleaned up before dinner."

Sam looked at his brother warily with wide eyes, Dean was hurting, he must have gotten banged up when he hit the river rocks. "Dean, we need to tell Daddy."

"No we don't, it'll be fine."

Sam's eyes flitted from tree to tree, tracking some unknown shadow that he felt in his heart. Sam felt that something was watching the two young brothers, and he hurried along with Dean back to the path to their apartment.

But the older brother was starting to degenerate from his bath in the freezing waters. Dean slipped and fell more than once and each time Sam panicked in his own six-year-old way.

"We're almost there Sammy," he reassured his baby brother after each time it happened.

They were in fact near the rundown apartment that the Winchester family called home for the past few weeks; they lived on the first floor of the cheapest joint in town. John had been working local jobs, enough so that Dean and Sam could go to the same school for more than three weeks.

Before they got in Dean tripped one last time and he rubbed his chest with a slight grimace on his face.

"Dean, are you okay?" Sammy felt the eyes watching them again, building to a heavy pressure in his chest.

"I don't know," Dean faltered, "Something felt like… I don't know."

Sam looked fearfully at his brother, "I'll go turn the bath on."

"Yeah, sounds good little brother," Dean nodded weakly. Inside, Sam ran to the bathroom and Dean stripped off his cold wet jacket, leaving it on the floor. He looked over to the window on the side of the room by the door.

Suddenly, Dean was racked by the overwhelming sensation of cold… slicing across his heart and the feeling was so sudden and so surprising that he collapsed onto the ground with wide eyes. He couldn't breath and it felt like his heart had literally been frozen.

He managed to lift his head a few inches, just to look out the window. Outside stood a dark shadow and Dean looked at it for a few seconds without blinking. When he finally did, it had vanished.

"Dean! The water's warm!" Sammy called from the bathroom.

His eyes lingered on the window for a moment then he limped over to the bathroom, the feeling of pure terror he had just experienced slowly leaving his system. Nevertheless, he could feel Sam's fear about their father walking in radiating from the small boy. "Sammy, today's the twenty-second, Dad didn't say he would be back until the twenty-third."

Dean ditched the jeans, and his long sleeve shirt on the linoleum floor of the bathroom, leaving him in a pair of black and grey plaid boxers and his grey undershirt. Thinking to himself, Dean realized that he probably should've removed all his clothes but he suddenly felt very self-conscious about the whole ordeal. He lowered himself, freezing clothes and all, into the tub of warm water and slowly felt the numbness and shock that he had earned from his dip in the river melting away.

However, the fright of the shadow remained. "Sammy, lock the door and put down some fresh salt okay?"

"Okay Dean," Sam nodded and hesitated before letting himself lose the sight of his brother.

When he was gone, Dean slid down tub, until his entire body except the head sank beneath the warm water. He closed his hazel eyes and sighed.

When Sam walked back in, he cupped his hand in the water and poured it over Dean's head, whispering, "Your ears must be cold."

Dean laughed, "I'll be okay in a minute Sammy. Thanks for the help."

Disclaimer: Don't own the boys or Supernatural. They belong to the CW and Eric Kripke. I'll gladly borrow them for the night if those kind gentlemen would let me wink

Author's note: Honestly I'm just throwing this out there to see what people think. Yes, I'm still posting my Dresden crossover, but updates for that are on Saturday. The way I see it, if people are waiting for chapters, it'll be a hell of a lot more encouraging then it just sitting on my computer. So… REVIEW and tell me what you think!