Title: Blood and Bleachers
Author: embroiderama
Characters: Dean & Sam
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: language
Spoilers: none
Word Count: 1,543
Disclaimer: None of the Winchesters belong to me, alas.
Summary: Dean would have been fine if it hadn't been for gym.

Notes: roque_clasique asked for Dean hurt at school, mystery meat, pavement, bleachers. This is what she got.

~~~

It was pretty fucking convenient, as far as Dean was concerned, when they stayed a while in a town where the middle school was right next to the high school. He could drop Sam off in the morning and still get himself to first period on time without having to drag ass all over town. He liked being nearby, too. Not that Sammy ever got himself in trouble, uptight little geekboy that he was, but just in case--Dean liked being close.

There were days, though, when Dean wished he could put Sam on a bus and then go about his own business. Going to school, skipping school, whatever. Skipping school for anything other than a hunt lost all its fun when Sam knew about it, his big goofy eyes looking up from the passenger seat laying on the guilt. Which is why it felt pretty damn weird to hear Sam telling him he should take the day off school.

"What the hell are you talking about, squirt?"

"You have stitches in your head."

Dean shook his head then abruptly stopped, fighting to keep from showing the wince he felt. "I've had worse."

"You didn't see how much it was bleeding." Sam looked away and pulled his lower lip in to clamp it between his teeth. "It looked really bad."

"I'm okay. And I have a world studies test that I studied for all way to the hunt yesterday, so I want to take it before I forget everything again."

Sam rolled his eyes and picked up his backpack from the floorboard. "You should skip gym anyway. You probably have a concussion."

"Dude, save the drama for drama club. I'm fine. Go learn stuff."

Sam shot Dean one more look with those damn eyes of his and then got out of the car. Dean reached up to check the band-aid over the cut at his hairline. It had just been a few stitches, put in by his father's steady hand while he sat on the cold toilet seat in the bathroom of their current apartment. It was fine, he was fine. He could deal with a headache.

~~~

Dean was dealing with the headache just fine-- all the way through homeroom and his test, English class and math. He wasn't very hungry at lunch, the pounding in his skull making the daily lunch special look even more special than usual, but he ate it anyway. No point wasting perfectly decent disgusting food.

It was gym that did him in, and the thought of Sammy being right hurt almost as much as the increased headache as Dean reached the bottom of the bleachers and turned around to run back up them. It was just--he didn't want to look like a loser, sitting out gym on the sidelines. He could have dealt with something normal, a game of basketball or handball or whatthefuckever, but just his luck that Coach Bennett had a burr up his butt about something and had them running laps up and down the bleachers in the gym.

If the damn spirit hadn't thrown him against that tree the night before, it would've been no big deal. Dean could run circles around most of these assholes, and few gym teachers had the sheer demented inventiveness Dad did when it came to drills and challenges. Running on a flat surface would have been bad enough but the bleachers, Jesus. Every step he ran upwards felt like it was pushing more blood up into his brain, more pressure behind his eyes with each heartbeat.

Dean would reach the top and press his hands against the cool of the painted cinderblock wall for just a moment before turning to face the downward run. Running down, he could feel the bleachers shake under his feet, the rattling caused by dozens of pounding footsteps shuddering up through his legs and into his stomach. Every time he lifted his eyes up to get his bearings he felt dizzy from the sight of the drop in front of him, which was fucked up because Dean Winchester was not afraid of any stairs.

Dean reached the gym floor and turned around to head up again, the gym teacher's insistent whistle urging him onward. He breathed through his nose, trying to keep his breath steady and smooth, trying to beat back the pain in his head. When he turned around at the top and looked out over the cascading bleachers in front of him he felt the shaken up remains of lunch lurch inside his stomach and tasted the bitter tang of bile on the back of his tongue. Shit, he had to get back to the locker room before he got sick.

Dean reluctantly let go of the wall behind him and started to pick his way back down, far too conscious of the open air in front of him, of every movement of the slats under his feet. His head spun as he swallowed against the sickness rising in his throat and he lost track of how many steps were left to the bottom. The last step from the bleachers down to the gym floor was steeper than the rest, and Dean hit it unprepared. The difference was only a few inches, but Dean felt himself lost in the air for a long second, felt his balance completely desert him, his stomach rising up to the vicinity of his lungs, and then he was on the floor.

On the floor, on his knees, horking up chunks of mystery meat and overcooked green beans, and he would have been more embarrassed about the tears forced out of his eyes than anything else but his knees ached and his head hurt so fucking bad that he felt like he might as well be puking out through his goddamn eyes. Dean could feel a hand on his back and thirty sets of eyes watching him, and he really wished he could just pass out and be done with it all.

But there was nothing left in his stomach to throw up, and now that he was still, four limbs planted on the non-shaking floor, his stomach was relaxing, settling back into quiet. Dean got one deep breath into his lungs, choked a little, but the next breath was easier and then Coach Bennett was in front of him, pushing him back to sit on the floor, back against the bleachers.

"Shit, son." The coach's hand hovered up in front of Dean's face, reaching for his forehead. "You're bleeding."

"Not your son," Dean murmured, lifting his hand to cover up the bandage on his face. It felt slick with sweat, and when Dean pulled back his hand he saw the sweat was tinged pink. All his heaving must have pulled at the stitches, fucking fantastic.

"Come on." The coach held his thick hand out for Dean to grab. "You can sit in my office while you wait for somebody to come pick you up."

Dean felt himself sway slightly when the coach pulled him upright, but then everything went steady again. He knew he was fine, good to go, just as long as he didn't have to run up and down any stupid bleachers. "I can just go to my next class, really."

"Sorry, son. We got protocol." In his little office off the locker rooms, Coach pointed Dean to a chair and waited until Dean lowered himself into the hard vinyl upholstery. "Sit quiet while I go get the rest of your class moving. I've got the office calling your parents to come get you."

"Yessir." Dean bobbed his head like that was no problem, like Dad wasn't off on another hunt and not due back for two days.

The coach nodded and Dean watched as he left. He counted to fifteen in his head and then slipped out of the room and took off out the back door that led to the football field. He skirted the side of the building and made it to the Impala without being stopped. He rolled out of the parking lot slow and steady, just like he was doing nothing wrong, and drove around to the back of the middle school lot to wait for Sammy to get out. An alcohol wipe and a new bandage from the first-aid kit made his reflection in the rear view mirror look a hell of a lot better. Three Advils and a bottle of water and half an hour sitting in the shade with his eyes closed went a long way toward making his head feel better.

When Sam got in the car, chattering away about some geeky project his class was starting, Dean didn't want to tell him that they'd need to leave town as soon as Dad got back from his hunt. He didn't want to tell him, but he didn't want to lie so he just let the sound of Sam's voice fade into the background along with the remnants of pounding in his head. He let it go and concentrated on the pavement in front of him. As they hit open road and got up to speed, the rumble of the Impala's engine soothed the last traces of sickness in his stomach.