Dean decided that Mr. Varner sucked.
And so did fifth grade.
The classroom was colorful, and the walls were covered in posters, a calendar, and a chalkboard. There were cabinet's on the right hand side, next to the door, and the rest of the classroom was devoted to cheap desks with creaky chairs. Mr. Varner was lecturing about the French Revolution to the kids in the chairs, all of whom were either drawing absentmindedly on their worksheets or poking each other with pencils and giggling.
Yup, fifth grade definitely sucked.
Dean sighed from his back row seat in the far corner. He just wanted school to be over so that he could grab Sammy and go, but Fridays always seemed to last longer than other days. He glanced at the clock again, wondering if it had stopped. It seemed to be going way too slow. He tapped his foot and fingers, involuntarily beating the time one of the many songs memorized in his head.
He looked at the clock again, ignoring Mr. Varner's enthusiasm for guillotines. Ugh, c'mon. The clock was still going so slowly. Hurry up, he thought impatiently, bring on the three-day weekend already.
He started to count down the minutes left as he tapped out the beat to a song, willing time to move faster than it was.
* * *
History was Sam's favorite part of class.
"Very good, Sam! Yes, it was President Lincoln who..."
Sam smiled to himself, and glanced to is left to catch Mark's eye. Mark grinned at him and gave a thumbs up.
Yup, Sam decided, he really liked first grade. In fact, he was almost bummed it was already Friday; long weekends were cool, but he actually liked this school…
He heard a rattling sound. It was odd; in that split second when he knew something was happening and no one else did, he managed a swift glance around the room at his twenty-three classmates; the closest person he had to a friend, Mark, was laughing at something the teacher had just said; Clara, the prettiest girl in the world, was playing with one of her pigtails while she smiled wistfully at the back of Mark's head; and Mrs. Iverson was writing Abraham Lincoln's name on the board.
Then there was a huge lurch, and the world seemed to be falling because everything was shaking really hard, and the kids were screaming and Mrs. Iverson was shouting for them to duck and cover, and Sam did as he was told and ducked under his desk while the floor shook beneath him and the room moved around him and Mark yelled "what's happening" and Clara started to cry.
Sam held tightly onto his desk's legs and wished that he were with Dean. He knew it'd be okay if he was with his brother.
* * *
Dean sensed it coming before it came.
Some peripheral part of his senses knew. He'd still been counting and tapping when he suddenly frowned and looked around the room. The guy on his left was chewing on his pencil while he aimed an eraser at another kid. The girl in front of him was writing "Kayla & Dean" over and over again in cursive on her notebook. For some reason, Dean knew that something was about to happen, and he was already alert and ready when the thrumming rumble began.
When the first person gasped, he bolted. He heard Mr. Varner's shocked voice call him back, he heard Kayla shout his name, and he heard the guy with the eraser cuss loudly in surprise.
He ignored them all. His only thought was for Sam.
He was unsteady on the trembling ground, and he fell once but was quick to right himself. He could see through the doors of various classrooms; students were under their desks, some excited and some scared while the teachers called to everyone telling them to stay calm.
Dean was not calm. The ground was shaking beneath his running feet, and Sam wasn't in his arms.
It only took him seconds to find the door, and he had barely time to think about being angry that the door wasn't open like the other classes were before he burst inside yelling Sam's name.
* * *
The earthquake lasted about sixteen seconds.
Everyone was talking very loudly after it was over, and Sam was coming warily out from under his desk when Dean burst through the door.
"Sammy!" Dean ran to him and pulled him up, barely noticed by the other children in the room.
"It's ok Dean, I'm ok."
And it was okay. Even though Mr. Varner gave Dean a discipline notice and made him write down the earthquake drill directions thirty times for homework, it was okay. Even though Sam and Mark weren't such good friends anymore because Sam punched Mark in the face when he called Dean a freak for running around during an earthquake, it was okay. Even though Dad got mad at both brothers when he had to sign their discipline notices, it was okay.
It was okay, because Sam had Dean, and Dean had Sam, and it was okay as long as things stayed that way.
* * * PRESENT DAY* * *
"Dude, this is kinda creepy."
They dusty hallways seemed darn near suffocating, the old feelings of institution and oppresive homework rising as Dean led the way through the first floor of what had once been the Bluecove Elementary School. Now it was just a dumpy building waiting to be bought and torn down, but some kids had been stupid enough to visit the supposedly haunted site and get themselves hurt by whatever spirit was claiming the joint.
"It's not that creepy. You just always hate schools," Sam replied, and Dean could hear the smirk in his voice.
"Yeah, well at least I'm not unhealthily obsessed with it like you were. You probably looked up inappropriate pictures of Mrs. Iverson when we were kids..."
"Mrs. who? And that's just gross, Dean."
The California moonlight shone brightly through the long windows that lined the hall, and the brothers were careful to tread lightly, even as they talked quietly. This wasn't a difficult hunt, but they were too well trained to be careless, even for the little stuff.
"You don't remember? First grade I think, fifth for me..."
"Oh yeah. Didn't I punch someone that year?"
"Yeah, Dad was ticked. Can't remember why you did it though, it's not really in your pansy nature..." Dean glanced back and was pleased to see his brother's scowl. He didn't expect what he said next, though.
"I think he called you a name." Dean stopped and stood up from his crouch, turning to face his brother with a blank face.
Sam shrugged, his face equally blank.
"Huh." Dean turned back around, not sure what to say.
They made their way through the first floor, finding nothing, but the sightings had all occurred on the upper floors anyway, so it wasn't concerning. They'd just come to the stairs when Dean paused.
"Alright, this is gonna take all night if we keep going this pace," Dean grumbled. Sam nodded his agreement before he replied.
"I'll take floors four and five, you take three and two?"
"Sounds good. Be careful. You got whatcha need?"
"Salt, lighter fluid, matches."
"Alright, check in at," Dean looked at his watch, "11:45."
They started up the stairs, Dean stepping off at the second while Sam continued up. The elder paused for the smallest second to watch his brother keep going up the stairs, and he had the briefest feeling of panic he always got when Sam left his sight. It was a fleeting emotion, and he began his sweep of the second floor with his determination and concentration intact.
About twenty minutes passed without event. He'd just finished a completely fruitless search of the furthest classroom from the stairwell, and he was starting to get frustrated when an incredibly familiar sensation stole upon him, making him tense and still, even if just momentarily. He frowned as some peripheral sense of his felt something coming, something he recognized but couldn't place.
That is, he couldn't place it until he felt heard the rumble.
His eyes widened as he flashed back to another school in another time, a time when he'd been apart from his brother and felt the same familiar feeling, when he'd sensed it coming before it came, when he'd bolted to find Sam to make sure he was okay.
Dean sprinted back down the hallway, but he had barely taken a step before the ground started to quake beneath his feet.
As the world lurched around him, Dean shouted the only thing he could think to say before something large and heavy collided with the top of his head.
"SAM!" Part of the ceiling caved in on him, and Dean saw white, then inky black, then nothing at all.
* * *
Sam found the bones after about twenty minutes.
He'd gone to the top floor first, deciding to work his way down. He'd run into the spirit once, but a handful of salt had kept it a bay long enough for him to salt the remains and drench them in lighter fluid. He'd just dropped the lit match onto the pile, and after a subtle whoosh of nonexistent wind swept through the wind, it was done. Easy. He turned to make his way back to his brother, leaving the small fire to burn itself out.
He was just stepping into the hall, pulling his cell out to call Dean, when it hit.
It was odd; he heard a rattling sound that made his pulse quicken and his jaw clench, but he couldn't figure out where he recognized it from. In that split second when he knew something was going down, Sam had time to ratchet up his worry levels, and he was about to panic and yell a warning to his brother when the rattling increased dramatically, this time accompanied by a massive jerk that almost floored him.
"What the h-!" The entire building convulsed underneath his stumbling feet, and Sam grasped hold of the doorjamb, realizing with incredulity that this was an earthquake, are you kidding me?!
"Dean!" he shouted, lurching into the hall in the direction he knew the stairwell was. He knew it was kinda stupid, that he should just wait it out, but he remembered now, he remembered how Dean had gone running through the building that time when they were young, how reckless he was, how stupid his brother could be. He needed to get to him now.
"DEAN! DE-" his cries were cut off as he was knocked unconscious. He fell like a stone onto the unsteady floor, and he lay there quiet and inactive as he was buried.