You remember the casual sentence Dean said to Bobby when they met him in S1E22? Something about Bobby giving John almost a buckshot. Well... There had to be a reason why the normally sober Bobby flipped like that. *g* Okay. Rated T to be sure. Spoilers for S1E18 (Something wicked). And I owe NOTHING of the show, it's all Kripke's. Man, you must be proud!

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Chapter 1

Now

They had arrived very late at the Singer Salvage Yard, dirty, tired and exhausted to death from the hunt. It should have been an easy one – simple salt-and-burn, but it didn't quite turn out that way. Winchester luck, as their father uses to say. There had been two, not just one spirit, and they had found the remains of only one of them on the abandoned cemetery. After the burning the second spirit manifested, evidently very pissed about the disappearance of his beloved one. It had thrown them around, beaten them up until John had the idea of tossing the tombstone down. And yes, there it was: a thin silver ring, which John told Sam to throw into the fire.

But the sixteen-year-old boy wasn't quite fast enough. He missed the catch, when his father threw the tiny ring, and had to fall to all fours to start searching it in the darkness only lit by the fire from the grave.

The spirit pushed John into the bushes of the grave next to him and rushed for Dean. It grabbed the boy by the throat, lifting him some inches into the air, draining his life-force from him.

Sam stared in shock at his older brother, the ring forgotten. Dean's face turned a pale shade of blue and he gasped for air, hands hanging limply at his sides, and then everything happened too fast for the youngest Winchester's eyes.

John had freed himself from the shrubs and drawn his sawed-off, pumping several loads of rocksalt into the spirit's ghostly form. It screamed in vain, a high, piercing sound and smashed Dean into the tossed tombstone before it gave in to the rocksalt dissolving his form. He then grabbed for the ring that lay next to Sam's hands and threw it into the fire, melting away within seconds in the fiery heat. He didn't shot a look at his youngest son, just rushed to Dean's side who was crumbled on the tombstone like a broken toy.

It turned out that Dean had hit the stone with his left temple, blood trickling slowly down into his firmly closed eye now that John had turned him carefully around, and it took the older hunter several minutes to wake his son, an anxious Sam standing a few yards away, too scared to move.

Dean's green eyes focused after a few moments of staring at his father, and he was able to get up on his own.

John steered the staggering boy to the car, not waiting for Sam nor even noticing if he followed. Sam darted forward and thrusted himself next to Dean onto the backseat, steadying his brother's slump form with an arm around the older one's shoulder.

They made it back in no time to Bobby's, who helped John supporting Dean on his way to the bed.

It was only then that John turned to his youngest, eyes cold as ice and a rumble in his voice: „We'll talk tomorrow." He left the room after assuring himself that Dean was fast asleep.

Sam climbed into his own bed, his slender form shaking from terror. He felt cold, so cold. My first hunt, and I blew it completely. Please, Dean, be okay tomorrow.

***

Dean stirred and felt the drool from his open mouth drip onto his bare shoulder. He moved a still tired hand and wiped it away, opening his eyes.

When the bright sunlight hit directly through his orbs and pierced into his brain, he moaned and tightly shut them again.

What happened? Where's Sammy?

He forced his eyes open again and decided to ignore the pain that bit at his brain. Just another concussion. Guess the hunt yesterday didn't work out so well. He looked at the other bed, empty, the sheets crumbled, and rose slowly to his elbows. His mouth was terribly dry and he licked his cracked lips with his tongue only to notice that it didn't change anything. He was dressed in his jeans, boots lying next to the bed, the shirt neatly placed upon the chair.

Sammy must be downstairs.

It was then when he realized that it were the loud voices from downstairs that had woken him in the first place. Dean frowned and carefully scrambled to his feet, slowly pulling the shirt from the chair over his head.

He tumbled down the stairs and found his father and brother in the living room, a few feet from each other, one's appearence mirrowing the other one's. They both stood, feet apart, shoulders hunched, fists clenched, staring at each other.

John's loud voice boomed through the room, and Dean kew instantly that his father was drunk. Again. „You almost got your brother killed!"

„I didn't want to go on that hunt! I don't want to hunt at all, and you know that!" Sam's voice was no less noisy, and the veins on his neck stood out.

Dean decided to let go of the wall which he had gripped to steady his still wobbly legs and was about to walk between the two men when John's hand shot forward, fast as a lightning, making contact with Sam's face, leaving instantly a bright red mark on the soft cheek of the teenager.

Dean now lunged forward, not caring about the room that seemed to dance before his eyes, and threw himself between the two. Sam had put a hand on the stinging mark on his cheek, staring shocked at his father who had never raised his hand before against him.

John strode on, fists clenched once more and ready to push Dean aside to get to his wayward son.

Dean turned around and shoved Sam into the kitchen, slamming the door shut behind him and locking it.

„Get outta my way, Dean", his father snarled, drunken eyes bored into his son's.

„Nope, Dad. You won't harm Sam. Guess you should lie down and get clear at first."

„Don't talk to me like that, son." John's voice was menacing now, the words blurred from the whisky he had poured down the whole night. „I have given you an order."

Dean swallowed hard, just about to give in, but Sam's desperate beating at the door make him set his jaw firmly. „No way. You never beat him again."

John moved forward, unexpectedly fast for a drunken man, and grabbed Dean at his collar, janking him away. „Do I have to teach you another lesson, son?" His voice was silent now, stripped of all emotions. And before Dean could react, John had punched him square in the face.

He felt his legs give way under him and dropped to his hands and knees, face burning from the blow, head once more screaming in pain. He felt bile rise in his mouth and swallowed hard to keep from the shame of throwing up.

His father's heavy booted foot made contact with his spine and send Dean face first into the dusty carpet, gasping astonished and in terror for he knew what would follow now. It hadn't happen for several years, but his body froze in shock as he heard the familiar sound of a belt yanked out of a jeans.

He yelped in pain as the first blow hit him square over his back, and Dean muffled his screams fast with his fists when he heard Sam shout worriedly his name from within the locked kitchen.

The slapping sound of the belt against his body turned into wet noise when the soft skin on his back cracked open, blood streaming freely and staining the belt, splashing his face.

Dean felt a tear pressing out of his firmly shut eyes and couldn't stiffle a whimper when his father's belt hit his neck. All of a sudden he was again ten years old, unable to move or get away from his father's rage. The best way to get it over with, as he had learned the hard way, was to just endure the beating.

John raised the belt again, red hot anger searing through his veins. He was so fed up, disgusted, he didn't even realize any more that it was Dean, his own son, lying in front of him.