Genre and/or Pairing: Gen? Can be read as pre-Dean/Cas
Spoilers: If you know who Cas is, you're good.
Warnings: Vague reference to child abuse. Set during Dean and Sam's childhood.
Word Count: 1,100
Summary: Another week, another school.
Author's notes: I might have kept going, except I thought this was a good place to end and then I noticed it was exactly 1100 words. It just felt right. Written for a prompt I received from an Anonymous reader on Tumblr: "Back when it was just Dean, Sam and John, hopping around states and going to school for a week at a time. Cas comes in, and he's still an angel, and you know, looking after the Michael Sword because Zachariah decided he should-- probably for his own entertainment."
Another week, another school. This time it’s in some hick town in the middle of South Carolina. Or is it North Carolina? Dean can’t quite remember. All he knows is that this is the fifth time he’s been the new kid in seventh grade, the sixteenth time he’s been to a new middle school, Dad’s on the trail of a Vampire nest, and Sammy’s been whining about some big field trip he just missed at the last school they attended.
Oh, and there’s some weird kid who has been following him around ever since Dad dropped them off at Bumfuck Middle School in Bumfuck, South Carolina. Or is it North Carolina?
Whatever, none of it matters. Maybe this time Dad will let Dean come along on the hunt. He’s already proven he’s a crack shot, and Sammy’s nine years old. That’s way past old enough to stay by himself for a few hours while Dean helps Dad out, right? It’s just that Dad’s not quite recovered from three weeks ago when a Skinwalker stabbed him right through his trigger hand. He needs someone to look out for him, and since Uncle Bobby doesn’t really hunt anymore, maybe Dean can –
But serious, who the fuck is that kid?
Dean has half a mind to just march right up to him and punch him in the mouth to stop him from staring at Dean all the time. Because that’s all he really does: he follows Dean around and just stares at him. With this really fucked up, intense look in his eyes. Like he can see through Dean’s clothes and skin, right into his heart and mind. Into his soul. If he had a soul, that is. Because only pussies and crazy backwoods religious people believe in souls.
The way Dean figures it, there are two ways he can approach the situation. One, he can confront the kid head on and probably get thrown out of school for fighting. Again. Or two, he can just ignore him and hope that he goes away. Against his instincts, Dean opts for the second route. He’s got more important things to worry about. Like what he and Sammy should have for dinner. They’ve had Mac ‘n Cheese for the last four nights and even Dean is getting sick of it; maybe he’ll cook some Spaghetti O’s for variety.
It takes Dean six days before he finally snaps. Later, he’ll be really proud of his patience, as it has to be some sort of record, but in the moment all he thinks is that kid better get the fuck away from him or Dean’s going to teach him exactly what the Winchesters are made of.
It all happens so fast. Dean is walking along Sixth Street, heading for the elementary school to pick up Sammy when he spots the asshole. There’s nothing remarkable about him, really, and Dean might not even have noticed how the kid follows him around except for that damn incessant staring. He’s maybe a year older than Dean, taller, skinnier like maybe he’s growing too quickly for his body to keep up or he’s just not getting enough food at home. There’s a distinctly ruffled look to his clothes like he doesn’t give two shits about how he looks. His dark, soulful, brown eyes bore right into Dean, and Dean is honestly this close to just ignoring it like he usually does. But then he remembers seeing the kid trailing him a few blocks ago. And now all of a sudden he’s ahead of Dean. It doesn’t make any sense, and there is nothing that pisses Dean off more than something he can’t figure out. So before he knows it, he has stepped of the curb and is heading directly towards the boy, his hands curling into tight fists, jaw clenched so hard that it’s painful.
He doesn’t see the car, doesn’t hear the screech of tires as the driver slams on his brakes.
He just knows that one moment he’s upright, the next he is flat on his back with heavy weight pressing him down.
And, somehow, miraculously, he is back on the sidewalk.
Time freezes. Dean realizes that the weight holding him down is that boy. He is laying on top of Dean, pressed flush against him.
And he’s still. Fucking. Staring. Right into Dean’s eyes.
Dean can’t breathe. And it’s not just because the boy is heavier than he looks. He cannot tear his eyes away from those sharp brown ones. He is floating in a dark, murky lake; drowning, barely able to keep his head above the surface. And for one brief second, he thinks he sees black, shadowy wings protruding from the boy’s back.
A car door slams and the spell is broken. The boy gets off Dean but does not offer a hand to help him up. He just backs up several steps and continues to watch Dean wordlessly.
“What the hell is wrong with you, kid?” the driver says. “Are you okay? Can you get up? Jesus, you scared the fucking daylights out of me.”
“I’m fine,” Dean snarls. He sits up, shrugs off the driver’s rough hands.
“Do you want me to call an ambulance?” someone says. A few people have gathered around, and one of them has a wireless phone in hand.
“I said I’m fine.” Dean springs to his feet. He’s a little sore, but it’s not nearly as bad as a weekend with Dad after a hunt has gone wrong. “I have to go pick up my little brother.”
“You want a ride?” the driver asks. He looks like it’s the last thing he wants to do, but he feels obligated to ask. Like somehow a ride to the elementary school will keep him from getting sued or something. Dean doesn’t even bother with an answer; he just starts walking down the street, hands in his pockets, face burning. The people gawk at him as he leaves, and the driver gets into his car and takes off, albeit at a more cautious speed. As soon as he is out of sight of the rubber-neckers, Dean looks up from the sidewalk, expecting to see that boy following him again, but he is nowhere in sight.
Dean never sees him again after that.
Several years later, Dean has forgotten all about the incident. Yet there is some strange sense of déjà vu when he looks into Castiel’s eyes for the first time. He remembers the feeling of drowning in a brown lake, but this time the lake is clear, blue, and frighteningly cold.