Dean was in the hotel parking lot buying a coke from the vending machine when his phone rang. John was out for the night – something about meeting with another hunter, though Dean was pretty sure he was just going to the bar. Sam's dance would be over in a couple hours, and Dean was just trying to pass the time before he had to go back to the school and pick him up. He grabbed the coke from the machine and turned back to the hotel room. He didn't recognize the number on his phone, but he flipped it open and answered as he stepped back inside the room.
"Hello." He said, balancing the phone between his ear and shoulder while he popped the tab open on the can of soda.
"Dean, it's me." Sam said through the phone. Dean could hear in his voice that something was wrong. "There's a ghost in the school. We're locked in and I don't have enough salt."
Dean set the coke down and clutched the phone to his ear. He stood and began tossing weapons into a bag. "I'm on my way." He assured his brother. "Fight it off until I get there. Be careful, Sam."
Sam didn't answer. Dean heard someone scream. "Sam?" He asked anxiously. "Sammy!"
There was a crashing noise and more kids started screaming. Dean cursed and pocketed the phone, throwing the bag over his shoulder and rushing out to the Impala. He tried to focus on getting to the school quick, and not on what could be happening to Sam right at that moment. It was useless, though. Should have listened to Dad, Dean thought. Shouldn't have let Sammy go. Should have stayed at the school to make sure he was safe. How could Dean have known that Sam's school was haunted? It was just their luck, too. How many successful dances had the school had over the years without any sign of an angry spirit? Why did it have to show up tonight, the one time Sam decided to go?
As he neared the school, Dean's thoughts turned more troubling. What if Sam couldn't fight off the ghost? What if Sam was hurt? ... What if Sam was dead? Dean shook his head and stepped on the accelerator. No kids were dying on his watch. Especially not Sam.
His tires screeched as he tore into the school parking lot. Dean barely took the time to put the car in park before he jumped out and ran to the door, shotgun in hand. He tried pushing the door open and cursed when it didn't budge. Without time to find another way in, Dean ran back to the Impala. He lined it up with the front door and pressed his foot on the accelerator.
The door caved in with a loud crash, and Dean brought his hands up to protect his face. Shards of glass showered the car, but nothing broke through the windshield or anywhere else on the Impala. Once he realized he had made it inside the school without killing himself, Dean kicked open the door, apologizing to the car before sprinting down the hall to the gym.
He barged through the doors, shotgun raised, and paused at the scene in front of him. On one end of the gym, kids were huddled together in a tight circle inside what remained of a ring of salt. A handful of kids that were left out were trying desperately to push their way into the circle, but were only succeeding in breaking the salt line. Dean frowned and looked to the other end of the gym where he saw Caitlin crouched over Sam.
"Sam!" He shouted, and rushed to his brother's side. Sam was covered in blood, and Dean couldn't tell where it was all coming from, though he could clearly see gashes across Sam's chest. He fell to his knees beside Caitlin. "Sam?"
Sam's eyes blinked open slowly. "Dean?" He mumbled.
"Yeah, Sam, I'm here." Dean turned to Caitlin. "What happened?"
"A ghost." She said, her eyes welling with tears. "Sam tried to stop it. It stabbed him." She pulled Sam's shirt up and revealed a small puncture wound in his stomach that was bleeding way too much for Dean's liking.
He pulled the shirt back down and pressed a hand to the wound.
"He hit his head, too." Caitlin said, her voice hitching. "Pretty hard. I think it's bleeding."
Dean reached behind Sam's head and sure enough, his hand came back covered in blood. Sam groaned and his eyes fluttered closed.
"Hey. Stay awake, Sammy." Dean ordered. "Okay? Come on, eyes open."
Sam's eyes opened slowly and fixed on Dean. Someone ran up behind him and threw down a first aid kit. Dean opened it, relieved to find elasticized bandages inside.
He pulled one out and started to unravel it when someone behind him screamed. Dean spun around and saw the ghost closing in on the kids. For a brief moment he contemplated leaving the kids to fend for themselves while he tended to Sam, but he knew that that wasn't an option.
"Wrap his stomach and chest as tightly as you can." Dean said to Caitlin, handing her the bandage. "Then his head."
She nodded and took the bandage from Dean. Dean ran toward the kids. He couldn't shoot toward them, he had to get between them and the ghost. He reached the crowd of students and turned to face the ghost, raising the shotgun and aiming for the center of the spirit. He fired once and the ghost disappeared.
"Is it over?" One kid cried.
"No." Dean answered, turning back to the kids. "Just gone for a while." He cleared his throat and began shouting directions. "The front door is open. Go down the street to the gas station and get the clerk to call the police. The ghost won't be able to follow you there. Stick together and for god's sake don't come back inside the school." He noticed an adult in the back of the crowd and narrowed his eyes. A chaperone. She was supposed to be taking care of Sam, not the other way around. As the kids began running to the front door, Dean caught her arm. "Keep an eye on these kids." He said in a low voice. "Do your damn job."
The woman gasped and pulled her arm away from Dean before running out the door after the students. Dean went back to Sam and Caitlin. They didn't have much time before the ghost would be back.
"How is he?" He asked as he knelt beside the girl. She had done an exceptional job at wrapping Sam's stomach and head, but the dark blood was already starting to soak through the bandages.
"I think he's unconscious."
"Sammy." Dean said, squeezing his brother's shoulder. Sam didn't respond. Dean checked that he was breathing and then lifted him. "You did good, Caitlin. Go down the street to the gas station and call your parents. That's where everyone else is."
"But Sam–" She protested.
"Just go!" Dean snapped. He didn't have time to argue with the girl, and he was not going to be responsible for watching her when he should be worried about getting Sam to the hospital.
Caitlin made a small noise that sounded like something between a gasp and a sob, and then turned and ran out of the school. Dean followed behind her. He maneuvered Sam into the back seat of the Impala and then climbed into the driver's seat, praying that the car would at least be able to get out of the mess and get them to the hospital. He let out a relieved sigh when the engine roared to life, and then backed slowly out of the school, debris falling to the ground around him. She would be dented up pretty bad, but Dad would understand. At least the car still ran, and they were going to make it to the hospital. Sam was going to be okay. That was all that really mattered.
Dean pulled out onto the street and checked the rear view nervously. Sam was still unconscious, and still bleeding, but the small rise and fall of his chest assured Dean that he was still breathing.
"Hang on, Sammy." Dean whispered, stepping on the accelerator.
Sam blinked his eyes open slowly. He was in a bright room. His head hurt and the rest of his body was, for the most part, numb. Confused, he lifted an arm to make sure he wasn't paralyzed and noticed an IV needle disappearing into his arm. He followed the tubing back up to an IV machine and found Dean asleep in a chair next to his hospital bead. He tried to say his brother's name, but his throat was dry and the word came out a hoarse whisper. He swallowed and tried again.
Dean's eyes snapped open and he sat up. "Sammy?" He said. Sam could see the relief on his face. "Hey, how are you feeling?"
Sam flexed his fingers. "Alright I guess. My head hurts."
Dean laughed a humorless laugh. "Yeah, you knocked it pretty good. Had us worried for a while."
Sam frowned. "What happened?"
Dean looked concerned. "You don't remember?"
"I remember the dance." Sam said. "And the ghost, but not much after that."
"You saved those kids' lives." Dean said. "Almost got yourself killed doing it, but they're all alive thanks to you. You did good."
Sam pondered that for a moment. "Everyone's okay?"
"Yeah." Dean confirmed with a smile. "You were the worst off. Had one kid with a broken arm and another who bumped his head pretty good, but they're all alive."
Sam nodded, relieved to hear that nobody had been killed. "And the ghost?"
"Dad took care of it. It's gone." Dean answered, then added, "Dad just went back to the hotel to shower and grab some food. He should back soon."
Sam was quiet for a long moment, then he sighed.
"What's wrong?" Dean asked.
"Nothing." Sam said. "I'm glad everyone's okay. It's just... so much for being normal, right? I bet everyone thinks I'm a freak."
Dean smirked. "I don't know about that." He nodded toward the window where balloons, a couple stuffed teddy bears, and an oversized card sat on a shelf.
"What's that?" Sam asked.
Dean stood and grabbed the card off the shelf. "It's from your classmates." He said, handing the card to Sam.
Sam looked at the card. On the front was a picture of a cartoon dog in a cast and the words Get Well Soon. He opened the card. The inside was filled with messages from his classmates. Sam smiled as he read through them, most of them praising Sam for being so cool, thanking him for protecting them, or simply wishing him a speedy recovery. Dean found a message from Joe scribbled in messy handwriting in the corner.
Dude, that was bad-ass. You're not as lame as I thought. Hope you feel better. We should hang sometime. - Joe
A few messages below that was one written with a purple pen. Sam read the big, swirly letters.
Sam, you're amazing. Thanks for saving us. Everybody thinks you're a super hero. I'm glad you asked me to the dance. Get well soon. - Caitlin
Sam finished reading the messages and closed the card, grinning up at Dean. Dean returned the smile.
"See?" He said. "You've never been so cool. Besides, some things are more important."
"Yeah." Sam agreed.
Dean leaned back in his chair and propped his feet up on Sam's bed. "And if we get to save lives, it's worth it. Right?"
"Yeah." Sam said again. He smiled, feeling content. "It's totally worth it."
Thanks for reading!