Chapter One

He looked like a tool.

They had had to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe for both him and Sam. Dress slacks could only be gray or black, absolutely no jeans allowed. Belts were required, and they couldn't have studs or designs on them. Shirts had to be white and collared, not to mention tucked in. Then there was the school blazer in forest green, which had a little red dragon underneath the script Penworth School.

New socks. New shoes. New haircuts. New underwear even! Dean stared at his reflection in the mirror in total disgruntlement. He'd never looked less like himself. That reflection was some boy with the last name Dewberry or Cheltenham, who dated girls named Muffy and Chiclet. It wasn't Dean Winchester, and he didn't want to do this. "Dad-"

"We've gone over it," Dad barked at the table of the motel room. Dean wasn't going to win this battle. This case was getting hot, too hot, and Dad wanted the boys out of the way. It wasn't fair how Dad could drag them here, there, and yonder while he chased ugly, and then not let them participate. Yeah, Dean knew this case was different. Yeah, he knew this demon especially liked to eliminate a hunter's kin both old and young if the opportunity arose in the strike zone he inhabited. And yeah, Dad should still let Dean help.

Sam was in the bathroom parting his hair one way, and then parting it another. Dean didn't think Sam hated this quite as much as he did, and that was a bit of a betrayal. The principal had been very impressed with Sam's test scores. Based on his academic prowess, thirteen-year-old Sam was being allowed to start in ninth grade. A little less impressed with Dean's scores, the principal signed him up as a senior on academic probation.

This demon needed to get ganked fast, or Dean was going to start playing croquet and drinking tea with his little finger out. He'd use words like smashing and pat friends on the back while calling them old chap. Dean knew exactly what these schools were like from television, not to mention the kinds of people who went to them, and now he was going to be one of them.

Maybe Chiclet would be hot. It was all he could hope for.

He sulked in the car on the drive, wondering how Dad was going to feel whenever he came back to Stonebridge, Pennsylvania for his sons and found them talking about the stock exchange and listening to chamber music. Dean didn't even know what that was, but he was pretty sure that he'd be listening to it. Hearing a rustle of a page from the back seat, he said, "What are you reading, Sammy?"

"About the school," Sam said. "It was an all-boys school when it opened in the late 1880s. The first year only thirty students were enrolled in all four grades combined. Now Penworth has six hundred, and it started accepting girls in the 1970s. The motto is excellence to excellence."

Dean shuddered to consider that this could have been an all-boys school. Then he really would have had to put his foot down with Dad. And Bobby, wow, did Dean owe Bobby one. Penworth had been Bobby's suggestion, because he knew a hunter who knew a hunter who had some connection to this school, and hunters' kids were always slipped in as a free ride if the need arose. Dean was going to mail Bobby a croquet ball. When Bobby asked why, Dean would refuse to tell him. That would make Bobby crazy, wondering why he had a croquet ball.

"Eighty percent of the teachers have advanced degrees," Sam continued. Another page turned. "Latin and Greek are offered in the curriculum."

"I know Latin," Dean grumbled. There couldn't be much more to it than the variations of die, demon, die that he'd chanted a hundred times already. And whatever else Latin had, he didn't need. Dean knew what was important, and what was important was the hunt.

"The school has its own museum, and there are over forty clubs ranging from Spanish to chess to cooking," Sam mused. Dean wanted to throttle him for not sulking and staring out the window in mute disagreement with Dad's decision.

Dad pulled through the gate and down the long driveway to the school, which was a bunch of red buildings with trees all around and wide stretches of clipped grass. Classes had started last week. Sam was assigned to a double for a dorm room with some dweeb named Kaplan Meeker, and Dean had a single as a senior. They were both in Beechman West Dorm, although Sam was on the ground floor and Dean the third. The girls lived in East.

Oh, thank God there would be girls. It would give him something to look at while his teachers droned about alleles and matrices.

They carried Sam's stuff in first. The hallways were quiet, since everyone was in the dining hall having breakfast. There was a whiteboard stuck to the door split down the middle with a red line. One side read KAPPIE and the other read SAM. Kappie Meeker. That was a punch-me name if ever there was one. Dean shook his head as he went inside and dumped the plastic bag with a new sheet and pillow set on the bare bed. The school had regulation blankets, the same forest green as the blazers. Kappie's side of the room was neat as a pin, the bed made and no posters on the walls because the school took the same dim view of posters as it did shirts without collars and belts with studs.

"Let's get your things," Dad grunted, so they returned to the car for Dean's. The school was so rich that it had an elevator. They rode it up since Dad was antsy to go. Dean had a whiteboard on his door, and someone clever had written Mr. Invisible upon it. Hysterical. He dropped his bag with a thud and looked around the tiny space. White walls, popcorn ceiling, regulation brown carpet, a bare bed, empty desk and dresser, a view of a tree out the window.

"You should let me fight," Dean blurted on the walk back to the car to say goodbye. Sam tensed and looked around nervously, since this argument had reached very loud decibel levels three times before.

"One day," Dad said. "But not today."

Sam waved when the car pulled away from the curb. Dean didn't.