Author: SN Brown
Rating: T (strong T for this chapter); violence and foul language doth occur within the chapter
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters from Supernatural and shall return them when I'm done…maybe
Word Count: ~3100 words
Summary: Dean was surly, angst-ridden, and he was having a hard time assimilating into his new world, wasn't sure where his place was or how he should be acting
Author's Note: New story! I throw my hands up in the air sometimes, sayin' aye-oh, baby let's….no? Okay then. I've been tooling around with this idea for most of my summer, and have four chapters awaiting you. It's definitely AU, definitely, very, very AU, with OOC John (most definitely) and to the lesser extreme Bobby and Dean.
Also, I am not a doctor, so my info comes from websites on the internet in between studying for school and work. Therefore, take all my medical info with a grain of salt!
Otherwise, enjoy, and please, please, please review. The last story didn't get all that many reviews, and I think that discouraged me from posting for awhile (because I'm selfish, and self-conscious, and mean ), so any reviews are greatly appreciated (and might get a cookie of your choice).
He hated the dark, cold, confined space that they held him in when his training went bad. He hated this punishment worse than the beatings, worse than the sacrificial cutting, worse than the humiliating times he was forced to spend outside, chained to the house, to strengthen himself, his father said.
Nothing compared to the nothingness of the small closet. He couldn't see, he didn't know how time passed-all he knew was the darkness and the thoughts and the questions about why he couldn't do anything right.
He should have been quicker in slaying the monster. His father tried to tell him that, tried to show him that, but he was constantly misbehaving.
If only you could do things right! his mind screamed at him. You have to help save the world, and you suck at it!
Soon, he knew, his father would come with the switch and the belt and the knives and he would show Dean the error of his ways. He would beat him into submission, until he saw his mistakes, and he would carve the ruins in Dean's skin to keep him safe from evil.
Dean understood that this had to be done. He understood that the world was slowly failing, and that his father-and those like him-were humanity's last hope. Dean understood that the symbols that now scarred his skin protected him from the evils that would enter him, and he knew that behind every scar was a lesson he had learned well.
Dean wished he was the son his parents deserved. He wished that they would acknowledge his successes, but his disappointments were so numerous that his parents could only see them.
He didn't know how much time had passed before the door opened and his father's hulking shadow appeared in the light, his savior coming to rescue him from the error of his ways. Dean dragged himself to his feet, following his father into the living room, where his mother waited, her harsh glare making Dean shiver involuntarily.
"You have disappointed me again, my child," his father bellowed, and Dean nodded, willing the tears not to fall as he removed his shirt.
His back was littered with black bruises, new cuts, and old scars, and he presented it to his father as the man raised the heavy wooden switch.
He winced when the first strike landed on already swollen and sore shoulders. The tears fell on the second strike.
His mother was watching his face, and he knew the minute the tears began that he would be going back into the closet. Tears were for wimps and little girls, not men meant to save the world.
The hits lasted for nearly an hour, each one progressively worse than the previous one, and Dean's back was on fire by the time the punishment was complete. He knew the worst was yet to come, knew that the symbols would have to be carved deep to be effective.
There was a fresh line of them on the nape of his neck, and he jumped when his father dug in there, continuing the line he had started the day before. Dean could feel the blood pool in the shallow cuts his fingernails made in the palm of his hands, and he could also feel the white hot pain of the knife being dragged through skin and muscle.
He felt every mark being made, every slice in his skin. He felt the burning tears falling down his cheeks, felt the red flush of embarrassment when his mother tsked and rolled her eyes at his tears, muttering something in Latin to his father.
"Look at me, boy," he father yelled, and he jerked his head up, but the pain forced his head down again. His father gripped his hair, pulling his head up. "Veneratio mihi!"
"I am!" Dean cried, trying to escape, feeling the knife claw up his neck. "Please!"
His father pushed him to the ground, smashing his steel-toed boot into Dean's side. "You ruined it! You ruined my masterpiece! You ruined your protection!" The older man screamed, kicking Dean over and over and over again. He whimpered the first time, curling as tight as possible, but then stayed silent. "You're no good! You're ruined."
He woke in the closet to the sound of a girl screaming. His breath came in strangled gasps, but the girl's screaming distracted him from any pain.
She sounded young.
Her cries had faded into pleas of "no"s and "please"s, and her voice made him think that she was ten or so. He stood slowly, wobbled unsteadily, but reached for the door as the screams erupted through the house again. He turned the knob of the door, surprised that it gave-his parents must have been too busy with their enemy to lock the door-and opened it a fraction of an inch, letting light bathe him.
Just as his father taught him, he looked both ways before opening the door farther, grimacing at the creak it made. "Just shut up," he whispered to the inanimate object, eyes peering sharply each way again as he took another step towards the screams.
What could a little girl have possibly done to convince his parents that she was possessed? Evil? How could they be so confused?
He knew they would be in the back room, in the room where the training took place, where the carvings took place. He knew that room by heart, knew every inch of it. He knew that there was a chair in the corner fitted with restraints, knew that because he had practiced on many possessed people in that chair. "Your screams cannot be heard, demon," he heard his mother scream, and the sick sound of skin hitting skin that made the girl cry out made him wince.
The girl was his age, maybe younger, her face bloodied, her dark blonde hair dirty and matted; she must have been held out in the barn before his parents brought her here. She had moisture on her face, tears, and he wished he could tell her that crying just made it worse.
"There you are," his father's voice called out, and he froze, tense, realizing that he had been spotted. "Come here."
He obeyed quickly, scurrying into the room with a quickness his parents had taught him. He stared at the girl, at her eyes that begged him to help her, that begged him to see that she was just an innocent girl.
Her eyes weren't black. She wasn't possessed…
"Hurt her, Dean," his father said, shoving the hunting knife in his hand. "It's iron, and the demon will be exorcized."
"Dad, she's not possessed-" Dean murmured, wincing when his father jerked him. He lifted the knife in his hand, feeling the weight, and looked at the girl again.
"Please," she whispered, tears falling. "I'm just a girl-I'm not possessed, I promise. Please."
He leaned forward, pressing the knife against her chest, his eyes never leaving hers'. He drew a line across, watched it fill with blood. "Trust me," he mouthed, and she bit her lip as the pain came. He drew another line, careful about how deep he went. "I'll get you out of here."
She winced again, but he could tell. She was acting. He gripped the knife tightly, twisting it in his hand, and closed his eyes. "God forgive me," he whispered, raising the knife as if he would plunge it into her chest. He twisted on the balls of his feet, slashing at his mother-she was closest, and he knew his father would go to her first before coming after him. That would give him enough time to get the girl free.
He heard her scream, but he focused solely on the girl, using the knife to slice the ropes restraining her. "Go!" he yelled, pushing her towards the front door before turning again to face his father. He whimpered as his shoulder smacked into the edge of the wall, ducking and jabbing his elbow in his father's kidneys. "She wasn't a demon!" he yelled at the older man. "You tried to kill an innocent person!"
He fumbled for a better grip on his knife, tripping past his father as the man moved in, the intent to kill. Dean followed the girl, nearly pushing her as they hurried to the door. "Go towards the barn," he told her as they made it to the deck. "You're going to have to hop a fence."
"Thank you," she breathed out as they ran.
"You don't want to thank me yet," he answered, pushing her again. "Move! C'mon, we've got to move!"
He could hear the heavy footsteps of his father on the deck and he held back, twisting and crushing his palm against his father's jaw. His father grabbed him on the way down, and he saw the girl stop, wide eyes. "Go!" he yelled, and she nodded, leaving him.
"I'm going to teach you, boy," his father snapped, jerking him up. "You will respect me!"
Dean shuddered, and watched the girl disappear into the woods, hoping she would make it back to her home safely.
Detective John Winchester had been on the force for twelve years, and knew what to expect. He knew how these oddballs worked, how they thought, knew how they could twist something precious and innocent into something horrific. He knew how they could make a fourteen-year-old boy maim an innocent girl, and he knew how those kids could get lost in the system.
He was the first one to the small compound on the outside of town, the place where the good Samaritan had picked up little Lindsay Harper. The property was large, sprawled out on a couple hundred acres with old buildings littering the clean landscape.
"Remember, there is a child inside. Be careful who you point that gun at," crackled through his ear piece, and John nodded to himself, joining the SWAT team at the front door, making sure his vest was secure in the final moments before they took the battering ram to it. He twisted his wedding ring, his good luck charm, and nodded at the lead SWAT, then his partner on the other side of the team.
The inside of the house was dark, dated, with minimal furniture. There was a slight staircase, rickety and steep, but John ignored it, heading for the back room, where the girl had said she had been held.
Lindsay Harper was twelve, a little older than his son, Sam, and he couldn't imagine how parents could mistreat their son, as Lindsay had said the poor kid was. She had told him about the blood she saw trailing down his back, about how she had turned momentarily when she was running and saw the father smashing his son's face into the ground.
The back room was empty, though John could see the stain of blood on the ground, the broken chair tossed haphazardly in a corner, and a bottle of half-drunk whiskey sitting precariously on an end table. He saw an opening on the other side of the wall, and he carefully stepped towards it, hearing muffled noises from inside.
He waited until his partner was beside him, covering him, and he entered, gagging at the putrid smell of the rotting food that covered the kitchen.
There was a closed door at the end of the galley kitchen, and his partner headed for it. John mouthed off the numbers one…two…three, and then twisted the door and pulled it open, turning so he could look into the room.
His gun dropped when he saw the body, a woman, her face meticulously cleaned, a healing cut scabbed over on her face. She smelled heavily of booze, and she looked like she had passed out in front of the linen closet, as the door was opened just a bit. "Cuff her and let's get her out," his partner whispered, and he nodded, handing over the cuffs to Bobby. Together, they lifted her, carrying her through the kitchen to the back room where paramedics could attend to her.
They turned back to the linen closet, John kept his gun trained on the door while Bobby opened it.
A staircase disappeared down into darkness. John glanced at his partner, grabbing his flashlight and turning it on.
There was another body at the bottom of the staircase…a fragile body of pale skin, blood pooled under it. "Dean?" John called, rushing down the steps despite his partner's protests.
The kid groaned, twisting slightly in his fetal position, but not moving. The stairs led to a small cellar, most of which Dean was occupying, but John checked before crouching beside the kid, pushing his too-long brown hair from his eyes before checking on his pulse. "Open your eyes for me, son."
Blue flashed up at him, and John smiled, trying to ignore the blood and bruises and cuts. "Who…who are you?"
"My name is John Winchester; I'm here to help you."
Dean coughed once, a strangled whimper coming out as he tried to curl into himself to keep the pain at bay. "Hurts."
"We've got paramedics here, Dean. We've got to get up the stairs. Can you walk?"
Dean pushed his eyes close before letting them open, nodding ever-so-slightly. "I can walk."
"Okay. We'll go slow, I promise. We're going to get you to sit up first. Can you do that?"
Dean nodded, looking up to the small square of light at the top of the steps. John shifted so that he was kneeling behind Dean, and reached out, one hand settling on Dean's waist, the other brushing his right arm.
Dean hissed and jerked away. "Don't touch it!"
John lifted his hands, nodding. "I won't. Is your other arm hurt?"
"Just this one."
John switched hand positions, the left gripping underneath Dean's left armpit, the right on Dean's waist. "You ready?" When Dean nodded, John pulled, ignoring the soft mewls of pained protest and hauling Dean to his feet.
John wrapped Dean's left arm over his neck, his right arm wrapped around Dean's back. The boy was barely supporting any of his own weight, but John was okay with that. Dean's right arm hung uselessly at his side, and John tried to ignore it as he got them to the steps.
Very slowly, each step was conquered, a process that took longer than John expected and made beads of sweat trail down his face. Finally, he got Dean to the top o fthe steps, where Bobby helped him get him to the bathroom.
Pale was not the way to describe Dean's skin. It was a pasty white, an unnatural and unhealthy white, and it was covered in a thick layer of mixed dirt and sweat, with blood stuck to it in some places. The back of his nasty t-shirt was caked with blood, and John winced when he saw the angle at which Dean's shoulder currently sat.
"You did a good job, Dean," he whispered as he handed the teenager off to the waiting paramedics. "His shoulder hurts really badly, guys."
"We'll take good care of him, Detective," one of the paramedics answered, turning to his patient. "Bud, you look pretty bad."
"Not as bad as I feel," Dean commented, smirking, even though everyone could see the way the smirk turned into grimaces of pain.
"Don't worry, we're going to get you all fixed up. Can you tell me your name?"
The voices faded as John watched the medics settle Dean onto a waiting stretched, placing padding around his shoulder to cushion it.
"Good job, kid," Bobby complimented the younger man, clapping him on the shoulder. John shrugged off the hand, ducking out through the back onto the dilapidated porch, pictures of Sam flying through his mind. "Cases like this are hard."
John glared at his partner, shaking his head as he fought to control his breathing. "I keep seeing Sam. If anyone-anyone-hurt my child like that, I would kill them. And here they are, doing it to their own son!"
"John, we're just helping; this isn't our case. Let it go. He's going off to a better place, and we have to assume that from here on out, he's going to be just fine." John nodded, letting Bobby pat his shoulder. "You did a good job, b ut next time you run down a thing of stairs without checking, I will hurt you."
"Where is his father?"
"He was upstairs, passed out in the bed."
John looked through the big window into Dean's hospital room, watched the teen shift in pain. "How is he?"
Ellen was an old friend, and the social worker in charge of Dean's case. She had been for the past five months as he went through numerous surgeries to fix his shoulder. Hse had placed him in a half-dozen different foster homes, and none had worked out.
She was at a loss as to what to do with him. Dean was surly, angst-ridden, and he was having a hard time assimilating into his new world, wasn't sure where his place was or how he should be acting. "Not good. The doctor's are hoping this will be his last surgery on the ligament from where he had a separated shoulder."
"So why'd you call me out here?" John asked. "I haven't seen Dean since the raid; why are you asking me to see him now?"
"I'm having trouble placing him, John. All my foster parents are saying no, whether because of the surgery and the attention he needs for it or because they've heard how bad he was at the other homes. I need a favor, or else he's going to end up in juvie and then he's going to fall between the cracks."
"And what does that have to do with me?"
"You and Mary are registered foster parents for that time when you thought her coworker was going to lose her kids?"
"Yeah, but that was…four years ago, Ellen."
"It doesn't matter. I would never ask you if I didn't…I want this kid to succeed. I want him to beat the odds, but…the other foster homes have been crowded and no one had time for him and no one understood him-they thought he was a freak, and-"
"You want us to take him."
"I want you to take him," Ellen agreed. "He has the potential to be a really good kid if someone would just work with him, and no one is willing."
"But you think Mary and I could?"
"I think you guys have the right stuff, especially for this kid. I think you and Mary have the patience, and I think Sam would give him an understanding friend."
John looked back into the room, eyes focused solely on the kid's face. "I'll have to talk to Mary about it," he whispered. "And if she says no, then we can't, Ellen."
"But you'll try?"
He nodded, eyes never leaving Dean. "Yeah, I'll try."