Going Down Even Further…

Disclaimer: I have never received any monetary rewards, payment or incentives for this or any other Supernatural fanfic I have written nor will I. I write purely for the enjoyment of myself and my readers and the only reward I can look forward to is the odd review and people who favourite it. I do also get a little (umm yeah) enjoyment out of hurting the boys a little (cough) and roughhousing with them …hehe

Characters: Dean (19), Sam (15), John Winchester and Bobby Singer with a cameo by Pastor Jim.

Author's Note: I have been suffering from depression since my mother's death in March and have found it hard to get back into the swing of writing let alone anything else. So I decided to write a little of it into a story this time featuring Dean.

Author's Note 2: I know I have stories outstanding and I am working on them and will have them updated as soon as I can. I look at this story as a way to ease myself back into it all. That and my muse (looking a lot like Dean Winchester) wouldn't leave me alone until I wrote it!

S—D

Wickham high school sat on top of the highest peak in the town; built of dark concrete and iron it was as impressive as it was oppressive and foreboding. The black clouds, heavily pregnant with rain and thunder, crackled with pent up static electricity threatening to unleash the bolts of lightening to ease the weight they carried, swirled and undulated behind the school. Giving it an even more sombre appearance than normal. A shining black muscle car pulled into the school parking lot and came to a skidding stop in the park closest to the entrance.

Dean Winchester sat behind the wheel of the classic '67 impala and stared out at the stormy sky, the black and grey clouds ready to burst; it seemingly reflected his own mood perfectly. Black and oppressive.

Even though he was an hour early to pick up his younger sibling, Dean just had to get away from his father's foul mood and another argument about said brother Sam. Argument number two hundred and fifteen to precise, subject number ten, sub-category future study. Dean had it all catalogued in his mind, each and every one all filed away in a neat and borderline obsessive compulsive way.

Once again John wanted Sam to finish school as soon as possible so he could also work fulltime hunting, even if that meant he did what Dean had done and get his GED, he refused to listen to why Sam was better off in school, studying and being a teenager for just a little longer.

Despondently he rested his aching forehead on the steering wheel and closed his eyes for just a few minutes until the blinding pain behind his eyes started to ease so that he could see clearly enough to drive them home.

Home, now there was a laugh this week it was a condemned warehouse office with army cots for beds, cold washes over the basins in the men's room and packaged processed food. A small gas camp stove their only source of heat and cooking and two lanterns to give them light of an evening.

To say that they were roughing it was putting it mildly; Sam was already sniffling non-stop and Dean ached from head to toe but their dad insisted that it would help them get stronger, more focussed. It was a perfect place for them to train unnoticed, and to avoid the constant rain they ran circuits of the warehouse interior dodging the constant leaks.

Heaving a soul-wracking sigh Dean sat up and wearily rubbed at his aching eyes. The thought of taking Sam and running was a constant these days, making his mood darker and temper shorter. Sam often copping it during their long strenuous training sessions, compiling his own guilt with the feelings of complete and utter helplessness.

'Why did you have to leave us mom?' Dean whispered hoarsely, startling himself with his own voice, 'argh get a grip Winchester.' Slowly, stiffly Dean got out of the car and stood leaning against it, his hip and shoulder still aching from his impromptu sparring match with his father, 'thank god you rang Pastor Jim.' He raised his eyes and looked up at the sky, half wishing for a break in the constant wet, gloomy weather.

Their dad was going early the next morning a new job in a new place but he wanted the brothers to stay put and for Dean to finish the local job here in depressive Wickham or better known as Gloomsville on the butt-cheek of Nowheresville.

A few girls dressed in their cheerleaders' uniform ran passed him, giggling loudly and slowing down enough for them to blatantly stare at Dean, their appreciative glances had no impact this time and he ignored their smiles and calls of greeting to Sam Winchester's "gorgeous older brother" fell on deaf ears. 'Gotta pull myself outta this,' Dean muttered and focussed his attention on the entrance of the high school; Sam would be out in a few minutes and there was no way he could let Sam see him like this, no way he could let anyone see him like this a total wreck and head-case. 'It's just a funk,' he started to chant under his breath, 'just a funk.'

'Hey Dean,' Sam's quiet greeting startled his older brother enough to make him jump, Dean had totally zoned out again, 'you okay?' Sam asked, his voice laced with concern that was also reflected in his soft-green eyes, 'Dean?'

'Me? Yeah dude I'm awesome,' Dean said in reply as he fixed a forced smile on his face and busied himself with settling behind the wheel, while at the same time hiding his "sparring" wounds. 'How's school? Got a detention yet?'

'Dean!' Sam almost groaned as he rolled his eyes, nice deflect big brother but I can see right through it, Dean's depression was so palpable Sam could almost feel it radiating from him.

'So dad is off tomorrow and we get to stay in Shangri-La a while longer.'

'Oh,' Sam's smile faltered slightly, 'another hunt huh?'

'Yeah in Minnesota with Pastor Jim, he wants me to finish up here before we leave.'

'Oh,' Sam glanced down at his hands before risking another glance up at Dean, 'do we have to stay in the warehouse anymore?'

'Yeah I guess … why?'

'I ahh got called up to the office today,' Sam started and then hesitated the last thing he wanted to do was to add to Dean's depression and anxieties.

'Spit it out Sammy,' Dean turned the engine off and twisted in his seat to face his little brother.

'Yeah okay, it seems that someone … some do-gooder saw us going into the warehouse on Friday and reported it to the principle. I told Mister Grant that we do some training there out of the rain but dunno if he bought it. He wants to talk to dad as soon as possible.' Sam finished in one breath almost running his last few words together. 'I'm sorry Dean.'

'Okay well … we need a new plan then huh?' Dean slapped Sam's thigh playfully and gave his brother a wide grin, 'don't worry bout it dude we'll work it out.'

S—D

'I thought I taught you boys to be more careful than that!' John ranted after Dean explained to him what had happened with Sam at school, 'you got followed without realising it? What if it was more than just some sticky-nose?'

'Dad … this was just a … how can you expect us to hide away here forever? Someone was bound to notice that someone was living here.' Dean yelled feeling a surge of anger ready to explode from deep in his belly, 'it's not exactly the Beaver's house.'

'Watch your tone with me young man,' John fumed, 'I'm still your father.'

'Then act like it,' Dean snapped before he grabbed his jacket and car keys.

'Get back here now Dean!' John roared.

Dean hesitated for a second with his hand on the door before he left without looking back at his distraught brother and angry father, if he did then it would have completely done him in.

'Dean?' he could hear Sam's voice calling him but it only made him want to get out even more, slamming shut his car door on his baby brother Dean swallowed deeply and revved the engine before speeding off in a cloud of dust and smoke.

'Dean?' Sam stood alone in the car park watching the disappearing rear lights of the impala while a cold, insidious hand wrapped around his heart and started to squeeze.

S—D

Without looking back, Dean drove maniacally down the deserted roads of the industrial area, with Highway to Hell playing as loud as possible and trembling hands clutching the steering wheel he drove without a thought for a destination or purpose. All he knew was that he had to get out, out and away from his suddenly burdensome family.

Slamming his foot on the brakes, Dean came to a skidding stop on the edge of the industrial estate; getting out he dropped to his knees and violently threw up the meagre contents of his stomach.

Dropping back until he rested against the sleek black car, Dean spat out the last of the acidic fluids just as the heaving sobs started accompanied by hot, heavy and large tears. Pulling his knees to his chest Dean sobbed against the coarse denim, as he finally let himself release everything.

Fifteen years of anxiety, depression, guilt, anger, pain, and helplessness were forced out in gulping heaving sobs. Breathlessly, he tried to stop but the more he tried the louder and aggressive his tears became. He was only four years old when thrust into the world of blackness, horror, adulthood and parenthood. He had no understanding of what had happened to his mom except that she was no longer with them; their house was gone in flames, as was his toys and books and innocence. Suddenly he was responsible for a baby in his arms he could barely carry and a daddy who no longer smiled as much, laughed as much or played anymore.

With each sob, came a fresh memory and reopened wounds as deep as his soul; he wasn't allowed to be angry or to grieve the way a child needed to, he had to take care of Sammy. A role he both loved and loathed.

Exhausted and bereft of anymore tears, Dean leant his burning head against the cool of his car and closed his eyes as his guilt started to ratchet up a few notches. He had left Sam behind and alone with their more than pissed off father. It was only then Dean realised that he was clutching his glock; he had no idea when he had pulled out his gun or why except that, it was loaded and cocked and he was beyond the stage of being bone-weary tired.

S—D

'Get in here now Samuel.' John yelled, his anger still colouring his judgement and commonsense he waited for his youngest to make an appearance before berating him once again for allowing himself to be followed.

'I think it's time for you to finish up with school and to work fulltime with me and your brother.' John wanted to continue his rant, 'you're old enough to leave…'

'Dad I'm only fifteen,' Sam started to protest when he saw the look in his father's eyes and stopped himself from arguing anymore, 'I'm gonna go to bed, it's late.'

'Not that late Sam,' John said dropping the tone of his voice a few levels until it was gravelly and very menacing, 'time to do some laps …'

'Dad?'

'Now Sam, keep going until I tell you otherwise!'

Swallowing tightly on his own rising temper, Sam decided to run a few laps and to get away from his father. It was useless trying to have a sane discussion when his dad was this far gone especially with Dean doing a disappearing act in the middle of the "family discussion".

'Fine then,' Sam ground out as he sat down to put on his running shoes.

'Bare feet Sam … might toughen you up a bit.' John said and snatched away the tattered sneakers from his son's hands.

Without another word, Sam walked out of the office/home and slowly started to jog around the interior of the warehouse. The slap of bare skin against the concrete flooring and ragged breathing were the only sounds that could be heard in the falling shadows of dusk, the sun's rays dimming and sliding behind the buildings robbing Sam of his only source of natural lighting. Now, now, all he had to illuminate his way was the dull light from the camping lantern.

S—D

'What the hell have I done Mary?' John muttered as he gulped down another whiskey, 'Dean barely speaks to me lately and looks as though he's ready to bolt and Sam, Sam either fights with me on every little thing or gives me the silent treatment.' He downed another shot of whiskey and scrubbed his hands down his face, 'what have I done wrong Mary? What the hell have I done wrong?'

S—D

Dean sat behind the wheel and stared at the warehouse for a few minutes, inside were his father and brother, the only family he has left and yet right then and there, he couldn't feel anymore detached from them if he tried.

He glanced down at his watch and realised that he had been gone for three hours, he had left Sam alone with their raging father for three hours. Cursing under his breath Dean forced himself to get out and to hurry back to Sam, a sense of urgency surged through him when he thought of his little brother pushing him into a sprint. Grasping the door he slammed it open and yelled for Sam not caring who heard him.

'Sammy where are you?' He called again, a muffled sob and wheezy panting, barely audible but to Dean they were deafening as he readjusted his direction and took off into the larger area of the warehouse.

'What's all the yelling for?' John growled at the doorway of the office, 'see ya finally decided to drag yer ass home again huh?'

'Where's Sam dad?' Dean asked without slowing down.

'Sam?' John shook his head and tried to clear his alcohol dulled mind, he could remember ordering Sam to run laps barefoot but that was only a few minutes ago … wasn't it?

Another muffled whimper was all Dean needed to hear and without waiting for John to join him took off to find Sam.

'Sammy?' Dean skidded to a stop and stared in horror when he found Sam slumped against a pile of unused boxes and crates, bloodied footprints gleamed in the dull light. 'Oh God Sammy.'

'D-Dean?' Sam lifted his head and squinted at his sibling, 'you-you're back?'

'Yeah dude,' Dean said as he gently wrapped his arms around Sam's too thin frame and tried to stop him from clamouring to his feet to continue his laps. 'Hey sit down Sammy before you fall down again.'

'C-Can't dad told me to run laps … ' Sam wavered and felt his knees buckle under him, 'Dean?'

'Whoa I gotcha, I'm so sorry Sammy I shouldna run out on ya like that.' Dean said as he lowered Sam to the ground, propping him up against the wall, 'm'just gonna take a quick look…'

'Dean?'

'Shit Sam,' Dean breathed as he took in the cuts and scratches on the soles of Sam's feet. 'Dude you're a mess.'

'Dean? Sam?' John called out to his sons flashing his torch light at them, he felt stone-cold sober when he saw the paleness of Sam's face and the bloodied mess of his feet. Then, then he turned his attention to the haunted look in Dean's eyes and the red streaks down his face and all he wanted to do was to throw up. 'God Sam I am so sorry I didn't mean for you … why didn't you stop when you cut your feet?'

'He shouldn't have been running barefoot at all,' Dean said angrily, 'what the hell were you thinking Dad? You know what this place is like especially when it's dark?'

'Don't you take that tone with me Dean, where were you when your brother was hurting?'

'No! No! Don't you dare put this on me!' Dean yelled back, I know I stuffed up ... do you dad?

'Dad, Dean stop! Just stop!' Sam implored his only family, 'I'm fine!' His sudden outburst brought an immediate halt to the argument and a heavy pall of silence descended on the trio.

'Isn't it usually me getting between the two of you?' Dean asked breaking the sudden silent standoff.

'I ahh want to get up and off this floor if that's okay?' Sam asked turning his best dewy puppy eyes on both father and brother.

With an implied truce between the battling Winchesters in place, John and Dean helped Sam up and then carried him between the two of them into the relative cleanliness of their temporary home.

As Dean bathed and bandaged Sam's feet, John made a pot of coffee and scraped together a plate of sandwiches, they needed to talk without yelling and alcohol fuelled bitterness.

'How's that Sam? Not as bad as they looked and no stitches needed,' Dean said with a small grin and pat on his brother's thigh, 'need something stronger for the pain though?'

'Yeah thanks Dean,' Sam said tiredly and sat back against the wall so he could stretch his legs out on the cot. Thanks to a recent growth spurt, he seemed to be all lanky gangly arms and legs, like a new colt finding his feet.

'Sammy … why didn't ya stop when you felt the bleeding?' Dean asked in a whisper and then shook his head when he saw Sam's nervous glance up at their dad; that was all the answer he needed, 'it's okay Sammy.'

'Coffee for me and Dean and a hot chocolate for you Sam, with some sandwiches, aint much but better than none.' John said carrying the tray over to where the boys sat, he put the tray down on an upturned crate and pushed it closer to them. 'So boys, we have to talk.'

'Dad look I know…' Dean started but stopped when he saw the look in his father's eyes.

'Sam I am so sorry I shouldn't have taken my temper out on you and … and should never have made you run bare foot in a place like this, hell I should be reported for having you live in this place to begin with and Dean, Dean I am sorry …'

'Aint needed dad coz I'm just as guilty … I wanted to fight this afternoon, and tonight well … it's on me too.'

'Wow I think I must've hit my head or something …' Sam said his eyes wide and shining with awe, 'the two of you apologising at the same time for the same thing, is this what the afterlife is like?'

'Oh funny Sammy very funny!' Dean said with a snorted chuckle, 'now drink ya chocolate before it goes cold.'

'I rang Bobby Singer while I made them and the two of you are going to stay with him until I've finished with Pastor Jim.' John said.

'What about the job here?' Dean said unable to keep his suspicions down, this seemed to good to be true.

'I'll finish up here and meet up with Pastor Jim after that, look I know it's not ideal but Sam can't go to school with his feet like that and we can't risk him staying here and getting them infected. Bobby said that he could do with a hand in the yard with some cars and Sam … well term break is nearly here so maybe we can get something for you to do at the house until then.' John stopped speaking and looked at the two boys with an air of hopeful expectancy he really screwed up this time and could only hope that they would agree without a lot of arguing.

'Sammy what do you think?' Dean asked looking up at his little brother, 'can you handle some home schooling for a few weeks?'

'Yeah I guess, as long as you're okay with this Dean? Dad?' Sam looked from one family member to the other, 'Dad?'

'So we have a plan then?' John sighed with relief and took a gulp of his own "special blend" coffee, 'better finish up eating and get some sleep you've got an early start in the morning.'

S—D

Dean laid wide awake later that night staring up at the iron rafters and tin roof, wind howled through the spaces between the sheets of tin but was high enough not to bother them. He could hear Sam's snuffling snores even with his pillow muffling them and his dad's louder more snorting snores on the other side. He was so tired but sleep was just out of reach for him as it was for most nights lately.

His thoughts roamed incoherently around his mind, listlessly stopping on his own mini-breakdown, his father's capitulation on their staying any longer in the warehouse and Sam's unique ability to get to both of them with just one look. Why was dad being so reasonable all of a sudden? Did he really want to make up for the way he treated Sam? Did he finally see what he was doing to us? Or has he another plan? Damn it dad! You've got more than one hunt lined up and I'm being punished by being sent to Bobby's instead of going with you!

S—D

Sam watched their dad's truck disappear in a cloud of dust and diesel fumes before turning around to glance at his brother's profile. Dean had barely said a word while they got ready to leave, silently packing both of their bags and the impala. He double checked to make sure that nothing had been left behind before helping Sam out to the car and settling him in and then he seemed to take longer than necessary to come back out from the now empty warehouse. Anxious and ready to hobble back inside Sam watched Dean and John emerge from the building both wearing tight, anger filled looks on their faces, their body language was almost mirror imaged and instantly Sam realised that there was more than just goodbyes said between the two men.

'Bye dad!' Sam called out but all he got in return was a quick wave and forced smile before John climbed into the truck and roared off.

'Dean?' Sam tried to get his brother to talk but the look he got had him sighing and closing his eyes, it was going to be a long trip to Bobby's place.

S—D

Dean drove with tightly controlled precision and recklessness, he knew that he was driving too fast but for now, he couldn't care less. The feel of the power of his baby under his control gave him a sense of normalcy that nothing else could. Just knowing that she responded to his touch and control without argument or rebellion gave him something that no one else could.

It scared him a little sometimes, but when it did he ignored the plaintive voice pleading with him in his mind to slow down and to drive without the need for power and speed and amped it up. Risking a glance to his right he noticed that Sam had seemingly nodded off to sleep and his constant feelings of guilt came to the surface again.

Slowing his speed a little, Dean reached over and turned down his music in deference of Sam's need to sleep even though it irked him that he had to. Would Sam do the same for me?

'Dean what's wrong?' Sam asked sleepily, 'why are we slowing down?'

'Dude?' Dean couldn't believe that Sam realised he had slowed down a little while asleep.

'How come we're slowing down?'

'Thought that you were asleep Sammy?'

'Nah just resting,' Sam glanced over at Dean, took in his exhausted demeanour, and haunted look on his face, 'dude you doing okay?'

'Yeah m'fine why?'

'Can we stop for the night?' Sam asked changing tact to deflect Dean's natural defensiveness.

'You okay?'

'Yeah just stiff and sore,' Sam admitted honestly, 'could do with a lie down if that's okay.'

'If it's okay? Dude!' Dean reigned in his sudden frustration and sighed wearily, 'yeah it's okay just … just tell me in future if you need to stop okay?'

'Okay,' Sam smiled as he settled back happy in the knowledge that he had Dean agreeing to stop for a rest, even if he was less than honest in his reasons. He didn't even feel guilty about playing on Dean's overprotective streak if it meant that his brother would get some rest as well.

A couple of hours later, on the outskirts of Glendale a small border town they found a motel with the intriguing name of Wonderland.

'Who names a motel Wonderland?' Dean said chuckling at the absurdity of it, 'Wonder what the rooms are like?'

'Dude!'

'What?' Dean grinned and started to get out of the car, 'stay put Sammy and I'll get a room for us.'

'Thanks,' Sam said grateful that he didn't have to get out just yet.

Five minutes later Dean emerged from the office with a bemused look on his face, and carrying a small basket covered with a clean white cotton cloth.

'So this is definitely getting interesting,' Dean said passing the basket to Sam, 'have a look.'

Sam glanced at his brother and then down at the covered basket before lifting the cloth, inside the basket were four large chocolate muffins, four slices of apple pie, a carton of cream, a packet of M&Ms and a snack pack of Oreo cookies. 'Oh ahhh toothache anyone?'

'Might not leave here dude!' Dean said grinning, 'free pie!'

'Seriously they gave us these?'

'Yep, dude the owners are ancient, the little old lady found out that it's just you and me and she packed this for us, she said and I quote "need to feed you young boys" dude she even had smudges of flour on her face!"

Once they had pulled up in front of their room, Dean jumped out and made sure that Sam stayed put while he carried their bags inside before returning to help his little brother, 'dude I can walk ya know.'

'Shut up and let me help.' Dean grumbled as he looped Sam's arm around his neck and guided him up the two steps and into the room, pausing when they get inside to let Sam get the full benefit of their room.

Although average in size, the décor was unique in that it made the room seem huge inside, with forest green walls, dark brown trimmings, and plush sandy brown carpeting thick enough to sink their feet into. The twin beds had matching daisy yellow comforters, with matching white and yellow pillows and cushions. A small kitchen alcove was neat and spotlessly clean, with deep red crockery and black utensils, a small bar fridge was tucked under one bench and the other held drawers filled with towels and tea-towels. Under the lace-curtained main window stood a small round table and two chairs with a vase of plastic daisies sitting on a white and yellow table runner. A small settee and armchair in a pale green sat nestled opposite the beds and on a cabinet at the foot of the beds was a small flat screened TV on a pivotal stand.

'The bathroom is yellow and green too,' Dean laughed at the look of surprise and utter bemusement on Sam's face, 'complete with daisy shaped soaps!'

'So this is Wonderland huh?' Sam said in awe letting Dean help him over to the armchair, 'ahh might be able to stretch out a bit more on the couch.'

'Take a closer look Sammy, it's a recliner!' Dean said and pulled the lever on the side of the chair bringing the footstall up.

Sighing happily and with relief, Sam sat back and rested his sore feet, 'thanks Dean.'

'Don't get too comfortable Sammy I have to check those boats of yours.'

'Knew it was too good to be true!' Sam sighed rolling his eyes. 'But do you have to look so happy about it?'

S—D

Waking with a start, Dean stared around as he tried to control his breathing, something had woken him that he was sure of, but he wasn't so sure about what it was.

Sam slept fitfully on his stomach hugging his pillow tightly, the room lit by the flashing lights outside was bathed in shadows of red and green. It all seemed okay but something had woken him. Now wide awake Dean slipped out of bed and headed to the bathroom, deciding to shower to see if that relaxed him enough to sleep again.

As he stood under the stream of hot water, Dean leant against the tiled wall and let the water cascade down his back, soothing the tightness in his muscles. His father's biting last words came unbidden to his jumbled thoughts making him tense and pushed away all of his positiveness.

'Damn it dad, why did you have to go and prove me right?' Dean growled as he punched the tiles and revelled in the sudden pain flaring from his knuckles. After a brief and angry exchange, Dean finally managed to get John to admit that he was being exiled to Bobby's place, to learn to show his father some respect, he had to care for Sam and to do everything Bobby told him to without complaint. Then next time he might think twice about the way he speaks to his father.

For the first time since he could remember Dean was actually dreading going to Bobby's place.

S—D

A soft tapping at their motel room door woke Sam immediately and groggily tried to workout where it was coming from before sliding out from under his sheets and padded carefully across the room. Confused Sam stood in the doorway and glanced around once more, finally looking down he found a covered tray placed on the doorstep. 'Dean breakfast is here.' He called out absently as he awkwardly bent down to pick up the tray. 'Dean?'

Limping slowly to the table Sam put the tray down and uncovered warm, homemade rolls and plates of sausage, bacon and eggs, 'hey Dean food's up.'

'Yeah, yeah I'm coming,' Dean finally emerged from the bathroom, fully dressed and shaved but still feeling "off". 'What's this?'

'Didn't you order breakfast?' Sam looked at his brother and then down at the aromatic food, 'it was left on the doorstep.'

'Nope but then again … remember the welcome goodies.' Dean said popping a piece of bacon in his mouth he sighed happily and sat down hurriedly, 'dude … dude this is so good.'

Sam poured out their coffees and eased himself into the chair opposite his brother, 'maybe this is why it's called Wonderland … you wonder why you ever want to leave!'

'Ya never know … man these rolls …' Dean polished the last of his roll off and eyed the last one sitting in the basket, he had already eaten two to Sam's one roll and should really leave it for his growing teenage brother.

'Have it Dean, honestly I'm full already,' Sam said as he peeled a small orange, 'I'm fine with this to finish with.' Glancing over at his brother, Sam smirked and resisted an eye roll, he had barely finished speaking and Dean had already started in on the last bread roll.

'Maybe we could just stay here Sammy? Give Bobby a call and just stay here.'

'We can't Dean … as much as … we can't can we?'

'Nah I guess not, he is expecting us,' Dean said as he gulped down the remnants of his coffee and stood rubbing his very full belly, 'guess we should get organised.'

'Dean what's wrong with your hand?' Sam asked when he noticed the scrapes and bruises on Dean's knuckles.

'Geeze Sam mother-henning much?' Dean said trying to deflect Sam's attention away from him by his most reliable form of deflection: Get Sam mad enough to stop worrying.

S—D

'Okay that's weird,' Sam muttered glancing up at Dean, 'looks like we're not going anywhere for now huh?'

'No shit Sherlock,' Dean growled before running his hand over the shining black duco of the impala, 'don't worry baby I'll fix ya right up.'

'When do you think it happened?' Sam asked as he stood up and stretched, his body ached with growing pains lately as his muscles and tendons tried to keep up with his growing bones.

'Not sure,' Dean answered absently as he thought about being woken for no apparent reason during the night, 'ahh damn, damn, damn it.'

'Dean?'

'Nuthin' Sammy, why don't you go on back inside and get off those feet, I'll get the tyres fixed up.'

'Two tyres Dean, I know you can do the spare easily but the other…'

'Don't worry bout it Sammy, you just go in and get off those feet please?' Dean asked as he tried to reign his temper in, if things weren't bad enough now "they" had to attack his baby? 'Sammy have you heard from dad lately?'

'Nope why?'

'Nothing, don't worry bout it,' Dean said with a small smile that had no emotion behind it at all.

'Are you boys alright?' Dean and Sam turned around and both looked down to the small elderly woman neither one of them sure on where she had come from.

'Yes ma'am, just have a little bit of car trouble,' Dean said reigning in his impatience and temper that seemed to be on a shorter fuse than ever before.

'Oh dear that's not good at all, and looks like both tyres oh dear me,' she tutted and made a show of examining each wheel before moving to stand directly in front of the brothers, 'Albert will ring the mechanic for you I'm sure.'

'No need for that ma'am, I usually fix any problems with the impala.' Dean said as tactfully as he could, 'thank you for the offer though.'

'No, not going to hear anymore about it, Albert will organise things for you,' she said, 'meanwhile I'll fix you two something to eat, growing boys like you need some wholesome food.'

'We're both still full from breakfast thanks Mrs….'

'Shush and go on with ya,' she said interrupting Sam with a twinkling smile before bustling off to find her husband, her high-pitched call for 'Albert' were not lost on the Winchesters and had them both chuckling and imitating her.

'Man she likes to feed ya huh?' Sam mused.

'Yeah kindof like we're getting fattened up … ahh shit that can't be it can it Sam? I mean what the hell?'

'You think that we've actually walked into a job?'

'Looks like it … sonovabitch!'

S—D

Albert O'Donnell stared at his wife Irene with a bemused scowl, not wanting to find her antics as funny as they were. 'So they have no idea?'

'Nope none at all my darling,' Irene said as she cheerfully packed another basket of edible treats for their guests, 'I felt so good after feeding last night, I know we should let them go on today but they …'

'Just tasted so good,' Albert said laughing and bent to kiss his diminutive wife's cheek, 'oh I know my dear but we don't want them to get suspicious of us.'

'Just one more night Albert, and then they can go on their way,' Irene promised while she filled the thermos with her special blend chicken soup.

'I had best do my duty as owner and manager of this fine motel and help the brothers out of their current predicament.'

'Such precious boys Albert, do ya remember when their "da" came in with them and they were just little babes?'

'Aye sure do, nearly died when I saw that impala pulling in yesterday, wonder where that father of theirs is now?'

'Aye, he did have a bit of a bitter taste though not like his boys.'

'True enough my love, but that older one Dean he's gonna end up tasting like is pa if he stays as depressed as he is.' Irene clicked her tongue as she spoke and shook her head, 'too young to be so sad and to have so much on his shoulders.'

'Now Irene ya know we canna get involved in their lives, they're feed that's all love.'

'Aye I know but it … what I'd give to give both of em a hug and a wee bit of motherly love.' Irene sighed her eyes misting over, 'the youngest Sam he …'

'Don'tcha go there Irene O'Donnell don'tcha go there.' Albert warned his wife of two hundred years, give or take a decade as he likes to tease her with, before he left to call the local mechanic on behalf of Dean Winchester.

S—D

'So Sir Geek-A-Lot any news on what we're dealing with?'

'I called Bobby, he said that they might be Slytherns a form of believe it or not Irish Trolls.' Sam said trying to keep a straight face, 'they are harmless, they like to ply humans with food laced with herbs to help sleep and then they feed, for the lack of a better word, from the energy surrounding their victim. Apparently the more satiated, relaxed, and at ease they can get someone the more they can feed.' Sam looked up from his notes to smile at his brother, 'they often run inns, hotels or motels that kind of thing where they can make their targets feel good so that they can as well.'

'So they don't gank anyone?'

'Don't sound so disappointed,'

'Oh funny Sammy, so what …'

'Dad stopped here … Bobby remembered the place as soon as I started to tell him about the basket of homebaked goodies.'

'Dad … that means we were here before with him?'

'Probably, I dare say that they know who we are Dean,' Sam said his smile slipping slightly, 'what do we do Dean?'

'What did Bobby say?'

'Well he said that dad was quite happy to let em be as long as they don't harm anyone but it was up to us.'

'Yeah make us out to be the bad guys,' Dean muttered and swiped his face wearily with an open hand, 'she does make a good pie.'

'Yep she does but…'

'But what Sammy?'

'They usually only feed once and then let their victims if you can call em that, leave without being any the wiser and have enjoyed some home cooked food.'

'But they've made sure that we stay longer…'

'Yeah I know.'

S—D

'They've worked it out Irene, I think we had better let em go on with their trip,' Albert said breathlessly as he hurried back to the office.

'What are you talking about?'

'I just went to tell the boys that the mechanic can fix their car for us and I overheard em, they're surely the sons of their father. They've already worked us out and have twigged on the fact that we're keeping em longer than normal.'

'Oh dear Albert what are we going to do?' Irene asked her bright smile quickly morphed into a look of mortification, 'they wouldn't do anything like their "da" had threatened us with would they?'

'Think it's time to find a new Wonderland me Lovee.' Albert said taking his wife in his arms, 'that I do.'

'We don't want you to leave Mister O'Donnell,' Sam's soft voice startled the couple and they turned simultaneously to look up at the brothers, 'we don't want to hurt you either.'

'But we do want to warn you again, on what might happen if you…'

'Don't ya be thinking anything else Lad,' Albert said cutting Dean off, 'we promise we won't slip again.'

'What about the impala?'

'I can git that fixed for ya but won't be till morning,' Albert replied, 'how about a whiskey or two to set the deal?'

'Sam's underage but I'll have one thanks Mister O'Donnell,' Dean said finally feeling some sense of peace again, they were alright, Sam's feet were healing and he didn't have to gank the woman who makes the best apple pie he had ever tasted.

S—D

Bobby sat a beer in front of Dean and handed Sam a glass of cola, he couldn't help himself from laughing aloud as Dean recounted their run-in with the O'Donnells, although he smiled openly when they produced a basket filled with fragrant buns, cakes and pie.

After a while, Dean excused himself to go and give the impala a check up of his own, even though the mechanic seemed to be fairly knowledgeable and competent Dean still wanted to make sure that nothing got missed. That, and the fact that he needed some time to himself, he still felt as though he was teetering on the edge of an abyss and was just holding on, but he did feel like he was finally levelling out once again.

S—D

'So Sam you gonna tell me the truth about yer feet?' Bobby asked openly staring at the healing wounds on the soles of the teenager's feet while he cleaned and bandaged them.

'They're not so bad now Bobby,' Sam said shyly ducking his face out of view.

'Sam?'

'Dad got a little carried away and forgetful,' Sam said shrugging, 'he had been so hard on Dean lately, I didn't mind getting in the firing line for a while, it just well maybe it went a little too long.'

'Ya think idjit,' Bobby shook his head, Sam could be the master of understatement when he wanted to be, 'honestly how are things with yer daddy?'

'He's doing the best he can, ya know that Bobby,' Dean growled when he joined them on the veranda, he had heard the last of the conversation between Bobby and Sam and wanted to make sure that his dad was defended.

'Yeah that I do son, that I do, idjits all three of ya,' Bobby said pouring himself and Dean another whiskey, 'just promise me one thing.'

'What's that Bobby?' Dean asked his eyes narrowing slightly in suspicion.

'Jest look after yer brother and idjit let him look after yer, coz I know for sure that yer won't.'

'Oh very funny Bobby.' Dean said but raised his glass to his "uncle" and to his brother, 'what about we drink to family and agree to look after each other?'

'Who are you and what have you done with Dean?' Sam laughed and sipped his cola, putting his aching feet up he happily dozed while listening to Bobby and Dean try to outdo each other with their stories of cars, women and gruesome hunts.

For now, they were on their way back to normal … well normal for the Winchesters.

THE END