Later, they call the library an accident waiting to happen. The school governors, like circling hyenas, spot the opportunity to propose more renovations, and the bid to knock down the oldest buildings in the school is duly approved.

The charred shell of the old library, circa 1860 stands forlornly to the edge of the property. Students who sneak in revel in the memory of bright flames and coaly smoke, history being taken down brick by brick to be reclaimed by earth; the shattered walls and creaking wooden floors, the smell of ash lingering in the air like an old grudge.

Not much investigation is made into the cause. It was old; it was potentially dangerous, and could have injured one of the fee-paying students. A blessing in disguise, really. The vague claims of a sighting of a figure with a hood drawn up and a can are dismissed without further thought.

Two weeks later, a student named Dean Winchester quietly transfers out of school. He doesn't state a reason. No one asks.

In the upheavals of the physical appearance of the school, the crash of hammer against nail and bricks rising to form walls like a band of children hiding a dead body, the truth hides, waiting, waiting.

(break)

He's too pretty to be a boy. Pretty enough to get away with anything, as his mother used to say, as his father now echoes with a twist to his mouth, as if tasting the irony of his words. She called Dean handsome. John is the one who settles for pretty.

The students at his new school spot this immediately, as is to be predicted. Seventeen years old, with a hunter's confidence of himself; he doesn't worry about it. On his first week, he encounters three boys, all older, two bigger, and walks away with a black eye and a smirk. The boys don't come back to school the next day. One's ribs are broken, and the other two refuse to speak. All three flinch visibly and hold still ever afterwards when Dean Winchester passes by.

So it's established; the pretty new boy isn't to be messed around with. He's given a wide berth; when he makes some comment with a cocky tilt of his neck, smartass set of his mouth, people smile strainedly and back off.

His teachers know him to be a smart mouthed, bright boy, too sharp for his own good like a shard of glass catching the light. His Form Master –Mr. Robert Singer- watches him from afar, feigning indifference.

He's sent to the Headmaster's Office for improper conduct in a classroom (his disambiguation of Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard bordering on pornography, sparking violent controversy, though later his English master admits it to be one of the most cleverly-phrased papers he'd seen in his entire career.) on the second month.

And that's where he meets Sam Campbell.

(break)

"Hey," and Dean starts.

Across the beige carpet of the main office, just near the ceiling-high window that lets in all the sunlight that floods the room, stands another boy. He's taller than Dean, bonier; his crossed arms look like blades. Despite that, his eyes are a wide, open hazel and his grin is summery and artless.

He doesn't wait for Dean to reply, instead pushing his brown hair from his forehead and saying, excitedly, "you're Dean Winchester."

A black feeling touches Dean's spine with fingertips of ice and he's instantly on guard, but the boy's still smiling like a six-year-old on Christmas. "You want an autograph or something?"

The kid throws his head back and laughs and Dean relaxes fractionally. Taller than Dean; younger than Dean/ not everything that looks dangerous lives up to the promise, he reminds himself. "Nah," the kid says. "You beat up Riddell, though. That does allow you celebrity status. I'm Sam, by the way."

He moves forward, into the frame of the French windows and for a second Dean's blinded. His handshake is warm, big hand enveloping Dean's.

Sam's smile is bright, and white, nothing underneath. He's got hair that's perpetually falling into his eyes, which are the color of Autumn leaves. His tie is unscissored, entirely intact, and though he's not wearing the poncy regulation knee-high grey socks (his are green; Dean's have a pattern of ponies on them, and are bright pink. Socks are the school's most expressive form of rebellion) his shoes are clean.

And Dean's bored.

Naturally, he thinks, for now.

So it's inevitable that they become friends.

(break)

Early winter, snow blocking the paths that crisscross the school like scars. Sam Campbell at the corner of his vision as he fights down an old, familiar rage, one that needed no name.

Sam's fingers around Dean's wrist, a patch of unbearable warmth on his chilled skin, Sam dragging him towards one building or the other, saying "c'mon, haven't shown you that one yet, it's so cool." Dean follows, most of the time because he's got nothing better to do.

He teaches Sam, this wide-eyed kid, how to make explosives from heads of matchsticks and cricket balls. His fingers curve around the leather, the harsh seams of the ball and for a second, he can almost hear the glass shattering into a million pieces of light.

Sam watches him all the time. Dean can feel it like a physical touch. Not aggressive, never aggressive. But something else. Something unnamed and not quite clean, not quite Sam. Dean pushes that thought away.

Strange kind of joy, climbing up to the roof of the Church tower where the rafters are loose and treacherous. Sitting on the edge, their words mixed with the cigarette smoke hanging in the air like a coded message from another planet. Sam tells him about his family, his little sister with leukemia and his preoccupied parents. At such an elevated height, Sam's body looks less and less like a deathtrap, his jagged edges mellowed in the sunset, his legs long, endless. He looks at Dean, hungry for approval yet somehow content. Dean thinks, with sudden clarity and unforgivable indifference, he thinks these are the best days of his life.

Dean doesn't bother to correct him. Later, when Sam's fingers touch the back of his hand, careful, light touch, Dean doesn't move. For a second, he stops breathing entirely, holds still, thinking on a loop, this is how you become immortal.

(End part one)