NOTE: This isn't outright explained bluntly within the story so I'm going to say it here. This is what if there was only one ghoul, and it took adam's mother. So adam was adam the whole time, he didn't die and was resurrected. He just was a lucky SOB. :] Good times.

Family Business

Chapter 1 - Sugarcoat

Adam sat on the kitchen counter holding a frozen bag of peas to his left eye. It hurt terribly but mostly it itched. His eye wanted to open, but couldn't, and so his eyeball was moving restlessly behind the swollen shut lid. He was hoping that if he held the frozen veggies to his eye long enough it would settle down. But he'd been sitting there for nearly thirty minutes and there'd been no settling.

"How's the eye, dumbass?"

Adam looked up from his knees, to find his eldest brother standing before him, flexing his bruised right hand. When Adam didn't answer him, Dean clucked his tongue and quirked his lips up into a brief smirk that lasted only a second. He shook his head.

"I can settle for you not talking to me," Dean started, "cuz honestly, I haven't known you that long, kid, I won't sleep any less at night, and whatever keeps you here, in college-"

Adam laughed, "Well if I don't mean anything to you, then why are you trying so damn hard to protect me, huh?"

Dean faltered, licking his lower lip, he seemed to do that when he was trying to backtrack. He rocked back onto his heels and shoved his hands into his pockets before looking at Adam again.

"Alright, alright, you got me," Dean muttered in a conciliatory tone of voice, "so I care a little, I mean, shit I got a lot of good reasons to hate you, kid, but the fact is, you're family. It may not seem like it to you, but my dad—our dad, was doing his best to keep you safe from this fucked up family business we got going, ok?"

Adam grumbled, "Yeah right, I see how 'keep me safe' and 'lying' can sound so similar."

"Kiddo, you were there, damnit, you saw that thing," Dean snapped, pointing towards the living room where just the night before a ghoul that had taken on the form of his mother had tried to kill Sam, "it nearly killed Sam, and it killed your mom, and it woulda killed you because you don't know a thing about this life-"

"I could if you taught me!"

"Adam, you have got to listen to me-"

Adam leapt off the counter, landing awkwardly due to one arm being so rigidly in place holding ice to his eye. He glared at Dean out of his good eye, his right hand curled into a fist.

"I don't have to listen to you, ok?" Adam shouted, "Those things, the kind that killed my mom, they're out there, and I'm not just going to sit around and do nothing and act like the world is normal and safe because it's not-"
"Oh cut the bullshit, brat," Dean rolled his eyes, "don't go claiming a revenge trip, alright, we killed the thing that killed your mom already, you saw it happen. And those other things? That's me and Sam's job, not yours."

"It could be mine-"

"What you should be doing is going to school, going to stupid, drunken, great parties," Dean paused there, looking dazed for a moment before pulling himself together, "and studying like geek-boy, and all that kid-crap that you're supposed to do. You grew up normal, ok, you were raised for that kind of life, not ours."

"That doesn't mean I can't change-"

"-but it means you shouldn't!" Dean cried, his arms spread wide and the exasperation clear on his face.

Adam stood there, feeling more tired than he'd ever felt before. Not even when he'd stayed up for two days straight cramming for an exam had he felt this exhausted. He slumped, falling weakly against his left hand which still clutched at the bag of peas against his eye. For a minute that was all that seemed to be holding him up. A hand fell on his shoulder and squeezed, shaking him like a leaf.

"Oh c'mon, you look even more pitiful than Sammy."

Adam could feel the good natured grin radiating off of Dean's face. He was really trying to make him feel better, even after a fight that Adam had picked. It was the second one that he'd started that day, hence the swollen eye. Adam was lucky that this time when he'd started yelling at Dean, his brother hadn't punched him again, like he had last time.

"Dean, I don't care about the hunting, really I don't, ok?" Adam confessed. He'd hoped it wouldn't have to come to this, him admitting his stupid, girly feelings about this whole thing.

"Well great, then why the fuck have you been kicking and screaming about it so much?"

"Dad was really important to you and Sam, right? I mean, not that your mom wasn't important, but you were little when she died, and you only knew so much of her, so-"

"Kid you better start making sense fast, I don't have enough patience for you."

"Well I loved Dad, alright, but him dying wasn't as shitty as my Mom, dying, ok? All I have left is you two, and yeah, ok I have my college friends, but it's not the same. I don't want to be alone, I want to be with you guys, and since you're hunters, I figure I'd be less of a burden if I was one too, that's all. It's not about the hunting, it's about being with my family."

Adam couldn't bring himself to look Dean in the face to say all that sentimental crap. He would have said it to Sam but he didn't know where he was, and if he went to Sam about it than it would probably make it look like he was lying. At the moment though he was regretting it, and he was so scared that Dean was going to hit him again, call him a dumbass, or a stupid kid, but somehow nothing seemed worse than him laughing at him.

"Kid," and here we go, Adam sighed, "I know, ok, I know-"

"What if Sam just decided that you should go off somewhere and be safe and not be with him, and be all alone? Huh? What would you do?"

"That's different, Adam, I'm the oldest here, it's my job to keep Sammy safe, not the other way around. Sure it's nice to have cover, but I'm the one-"

"-doing all the protecting? Do you have any idea how cliché that sounds?"

Dean's hand fell off his shoulder and he snorted, his voice suddenly sounding bitter, "Well I do now."

The front door opened and shut, and Dean turned away from him, hand going to the gun in his jacket. Sam appeared in the kitchen holding two bags from the burger joint down the road, and he relaxed, only slightly.

"Have you two been fighting this whole time?" Sam frowned, setting the acquired food down on the kitchen counter.

"No, we've been cuddling," Dean spat, sarcasm oozing from his voice. Adam flinched, shifting nervously from one foot to the other.

"Dean," Sam sighed, "why don't you go for a drive, alright?"

"No, I'm not leaving till I smack some sense into this-"

"Dean," Sam interjected, "not a suggestion."

"Since when do you order me around, huh?" Dean squared his shoulders and brought himself up to his full height, which still left him a head shorter than Sam. Still, Sam cringed slightly, looking smaller next to his older brother.

"Since you've been yelling at the kid all day long, and he deserves a break, alright? You can pick right up again when you get back if you want to, but take a fucking break."

Dean rolled his eyes and grabbed at the bags on the counter, digging around in them for his precious bacon cheeseburger. Finding it he grabbed it and one of the fries before storming out of the kitchen, and the house. Adam could hear the familiar creak of the old impala's doors opening and slamming shut. Then the engine revved, and he could hear Dean pull out of the driveway and speed off down the street.

"You want your dinner?" Sam asked gently, wringing his hands.

Sam's voice was so fragile sounding, like he was talking to a five year old, and it made Adam feel awkward. He shook his head and mumbled, 'maybe later' before dropping the peas onto the counter and fleeing from the room.

Adam woke up to the sound of a yelling match downstairs. He was sprawled out on his bed, his face in his pillow. His eye was cursing him for leaning so heavily on it, but it was a brief throbbing that died down to a dull background noise. He could open his left eye, but just barely, and it was no longer restless so he left it shut. There was no light coming in through the window, it was night time by now. He'd crawled up to his old bedroom, which his mom had kept the same since he'd left. He hadn't been gone long enough for her to turn it into a craft room or anything like that. That, and he'd always visited her often enough, to do his laundry, get a casserole to tide him over till he had enough money to buy more ramen, whatever, he was there every other week at the least. So his room remained the same, and there he was, in the same position he usually was when he slept after a spectacularly fucked up day.

It seemed as though his brothers were arguing, and Dean sounded like the winning party, just by the tone of Sam's voice rather than Dean's. He slipped out of bed and padded over to the door. He didn't remember leaving it open, but maybe one of them had come to check on him or something. They probably did, knowing them and their assumption that I never left elementary school, Adam thought resentfully.

Adam wedged himself carefully through the small opening, hoping to avoid making any noise as he left his room. He perched himself on the top two stairs, leaning down to get a small glimpse through the banisters. His brothers were standing in the living room, shouting at each other, and judging by the fresh looking bruises, they'd already taken a few swings at each other. In that moment, Adam realized he did feel like a little kid...watching his parents fight.

"We can't just up and leave without telling him, Dean!"

"Yeah and we can't tell him why we're leaving either, he's crazy, it must be something in the Winchester blood but you know he'll try to follow us!"

"And so what if he does, Dean? Big deal, he could help."

"He couldn't help even if we started training him this second, he wouldn't be ready and we don't have the time to be cartin' a baby around, Sammy, we don't, and you know it."

"He's not a baby, Dean, he's nineteen."

"Didja hear that, Sammy? Nineteen, teen, which means teenager, which means kid, pubescent pile of stunted growth that will whine and cry, alright? And you know what, fine, if he goes through school, he tries the normal life, and after we fix things he still wants to join our fucked up life, then ok, but not right now."

Adam's fingers dug into the carpet on the stairs. He'd already done plenty of whining and crying that very day...Dean was right. Adam pushed himself up to turn around and go back to his room when the step creaked. He heard his brothers pull out their guns and whirl around to face the stairs. Dean was the first to lower his weapon.

"Alright, kid, c'mon out," Dean sighed wearily.

Adam stood still, holding his breath. If there was anything that he could truly say he already hated about Dean, even though he'd only known him for maybe a week...it was that stupid nickname. He turned around and looked through the banisters again, and saw Dean waving him down, with the hand still holding his gun. If these two ever have kids, they're going to be the weirdest dads ever...Adam thought.

Slowly, fearfully, Adam descended the stairs. He found himself standing in front of Dean the way he used to stand in front of his mother. His arms behind his back, his left hand holding onto his right elbow, and his gaze glued to the floor. Adam heard Dean sigh and nearly jumped through the ceiling when his brother tapped him on the side of his head with his gun.

"Ah, so there is someone in there," Dean smirked.

Adam snapped, "Of course there is, now what is it? I want to go back to my room."

"Oh gee, I dunno, how much did you hear, maybe?"

"Just you two arguing over how to ditch me and how useless I could be," Adam mumbled.

"Good, now go to bed."

Adam recoiled inwardly, feeling as though Dean had punched him again. He didn't even try to deny it, because as bluntly as Adam had put it, that was what his brothers had been arguing about. He didn't realize it, but he licked at his bottom lip and rocked backwards on his feet, just like his brother. But instead of gathering the courage to look up at him he merely shook his head and turned around, heading for the stairs. Dean didn't try to stop him, but Adam heard Sam try to. No doubt, Dean shushed him.

Adam walked up the stairs, back to his room as he had said he wanted to do. He stopped in front of his door, seeing the mark etched into it...it looked familiar. Sam must have taught him about it a few days ago, but he couldn't remember for the life of him what it was supposed to mean. He looked down to the carpet and found a line of salt on the inside of the door, he must have stepped over it before when he'd crept out of his room. A mark just like the one on the door was on his bedroom window, and here was salt lining the window frame.

Adam stood in front of his bedroom door, wondering what could possibly be coming after him. The ghoul was dead he watched his brother kill it.


Adam almost screamed when a hand clamped over his mouth and he was turned around, Dean scowled at him.

"Not that I don't want you alerting anything, we're safe, but really, the shrieking gets old."

Adam nodded and Dean released him. He took in a deep breath and was about to ask what all the precaution was for. Dean didn't give him a chance to speak.

"Adam, there are a lot of horrible things out there, things that Sam and I need to hunt, in the morning, we'll teach you how to secure your dorm room in this same way, and you will, do you understand me?"

Adam nodded, afraid to say even the word 'yes'.

"Good, now get in there, and get some sleep, I don't want you up and wandering around in the night, ok?"

Adam nodded again, and Dean shooed him into his room. He shuffled in and the door was pulled shut behind him. Adam went over to his bed and climbed in. He pulled the blankets over himself and stared at the closed bedroom door. Of course Dean hadn't told him what the salt and carvings kept out, he wouldn't. Salt kept out spirits, Adam knew that much, but he was pretty sure that there weren't any spirits out to get him. He'd have to look it up later.

When Adam woke up, it wasn't because Dean or Sam had woken him up, intent on teaching him what Dean had said they would in the morning. He was woken up by the light spilling into his room through the window. A shadow in the form of the mark drawn on there was resting on the carpet, and Adam sat up in his bed. He listened, wondering where the sound of bickering, teasing, or arguing could be. He knew it wasn't there because his brothers weren't there. They'd left, just like that, they'd left him. Adam bolted out of bed, out of his room, and down the stairs. He went into the kitchen, the dining room.

It was in the living room that he found their 'note'. They were going to teach him how to secure his room, just not directly. They'd left him detailed instructions, a reference book, and a recording of them both explaining things to him. But they, themselves, were gone. No doubt they'd left hours ago, it was already ten in the morning. Adam wanted to yell, or growl, or break something, but he couldn't summon the energy, despite how well he'd slept. So, he read the 'lesson' provided, and he stored it away for future knowledge. He listened to the tape they'd left, and stared at the player as the message went on.

"Alright, kid," Dean's voice said, "you better be ready when we get back."

"It's gonna be a while, we won't lie to you about that," Sam said in his gentle, 'good cop' voice to Dean's 'bad cop'.

"But when we come back for you, you better be ready because if you still wanna do this, you're still kicking and screaming...we're gonna put you through hunter boot camp...and it won't be pretty."

The tape stopped, and Adam laughed.