A man always has two reasons for doing anything-a good reason and the real reason-J.P. Morgan.
It was hard to stay awake in advanced chemistry on a normal day, but on a rainy, Monday morning when Sam was surviving on a total of four hours of sleep, it was nearly impossible.
The seventeen year old looked up at the clock on the wall and sighed. There was still forty-five minutes left in second block and Mr. Andrews didn’t appear to be winding down his passionate spill on elemental combinations anytime soon.
Several of his prize students were already immersed in other things including well-camouflaged naps, but Sam was at least trying to look interested. After all, Dean had busted his ass to get them back to Morgana on time for Sam to make it to school. He'd said it was because he didn't want to hear their dad bitch when a letter from the truancy board arrived, but Sam suspected it had more to do with not wanting to hear Sam bitch about another lost day to the world of the great hunt.
Because in typical John Winchester fashion, their father had drug them along on another job to Oregon on the Friday before, swearing that the creature troubling hikers there would be easy to track and take care of. Neither had been true.
They had spent the majority of the weekend tracking the thing, and even now John was still in Townsend, researching and planning how to kill it. Dean and Sam had left on Sunday to drive back home, and had finally made it at a bright and early 3:00 A.M. on Monday morning.
With Dean refusing to let his little brother drive his prized possession, Sam had been able to sleep off and on, but the teen had tried to stay awake and keep his brother company as much as possible.
After all, Dean had taken Sam's watch the night before at their campsite, complaining he couldn't sleep in an area infested with numerous blood thirsty bears, and had gotten maybe a total of five hours of sleep in the previous two days. Sam hoped that his older brother was now at their beach house catching up on the lost shuteye, instead of surfing the net looking for possible information that could help their father.
Neither boy liked the idea of their dad hunting alone, but the man was nothing if not self-sufficient. Besides, John had been the one to order them home. He and Sam had a deal, and for once the oldest Winchester’s determination to keep his word to his son seemed to rival that of his unwavering commitment to destroy everything evil in the world. The change was both comforting and a little unnerving. Sam kept waiting for the other proverbial shoe to drop. Things were going too well.
And it was on that note of morose thinking that Sam’s attention was suddenly drawn to the classroom door where Mr. Brady, the school counselor, had just entered.
“I’m sorry for the interruption,” the lanky, dark-skinned man apologized to Mr. Andrews. “But could I borrow Samuel Winchester for a moment?”
All eyes went to Sam, who was sitting in the back of the room on the side closest to the door, and the teen in question silently groaned.
It was hard enough being the new kid at the close knit, high socioeconomic magnet school, but it was made even more difficult by the simple fact that Sam seemed to draw attention to himself.
For one, he was six foot four. For another, he didn’t drive a fancy car or live in one of the rich neighborhoods, nor did he have the desire to play any sports. Also, he was smart, too smart for his liking at times. Even when he did nothing to outwardly show it, teachers seemed to sense it, pounce on it, and then proceed to openly express their enthusiasm about it. In one word Sam was a freak.
There was also the little thing Dean liked to call the brooding, mysterious mumbo jumbo magnetism.
Meaning that Sam seemed to attract the attention of girls.
Not in the tongue wagging, eyelash batting, hey- here’s my number kind of way that his big brother did. No-girls like to whisper when Sam walked by or giggle, or accidentally bump into him. They liked to comment on his 'amazing' smile as they would pass him in the hall, or drop notes near his desk that had unsolicited commentary on the ‘New Hottie’, and on several occasions he’d heard some of them going on about his long hair, and how they’d love to get their hands in it.
Honestly, it kind of scared the crap out of Sam.
And now, with every female in the class casually giving him the once over as he coolly extricated himself from the desk and started for the door, he felt trapped in one of those 'naked at school' dreams that everyone had and was once again considering the idea that on-line education might not be so bad, after all.
“You should bring your things, son,” Mr. Brady told him, after he was half to the door, so Sam circled back, very nonchalantly, and grabbed his backpack.
“Bye, Sam,” one of the girls said as he passed her desk, and some others giggled.
Sam just smiled, and hoped his face wasn’t turning an embarrassing shade of red, which seemed to illicit more unnecessary chatter between the female population, and garnered a heated glare from Mr. Morgana High, himself, Jeff Wilkerson-who already had it in for Sam.
He was pretty sure he sighed in relief once he was out of the classroom, because Mr. Brady seemed to understand his discomfort and had a clear look of sympathy written on his kind features.
But then a feeling of dread washed over Sam as the look on the counselor’s face morphed into something more akin to dread. “Is something wrong?” the teen asked, as the door to the classroom closed loudly behind them.
“Let’s talk in my office,” Mr. Brady replied, with a quick pat on Sam’s shoulder.
Sam tightened his hold on his backpack, feeling very much like he had when he was eight and had been taken to the counselor’s office because of the strange bruises his teacher had seen on his back and arms.
But back then, Dean had been pulled from his class at the adjoining middle school also, and his presence had steadied Sam enough to face the well-meaning yet terrifying inquisition. Now, Sam was alone, and even though he was older and pretty sure that Mr. Brady wasn’t going to question him about abuse allegations, he had an unexpected , desperate desire to see his brother.
By the time he’d followed the older man out of the Senior pod and into the guidance department, Sam’s nervousness was nearly at a panic level, and for the life of him, he couldn’t exactly put his finger on why.
“Sam-have a seat.” Mr. Brady pointed to an overstuffed chair beside of his desk, and instead of taking the big one near his computer, the counselor pulled up another so that he was sitting right in front of the senior.
“Thanks,” Sam replied, glancing around the lavishly decorated space.
He had been in Mr. Brady’s office once before when Dean had come to register him. School had already been in session for a few weeks and even though it seemed absurd that a seventeen year old couldn’t register on their own, it was school policy.
Luckily, Dean was use to the whole process though, having repeated it about a hundred times in the course of the last twelve years. Sam was pretty sure Dean knew every in and out of wrapping any school official around his finger, and could provide any documentation needed-albeit most of it forged.
He even had legal guardianship papers to prove he could make decisions concerning his little brother.
Sam wasn’t sure if those were legit or fake. He had never asked because maybe he didn’t really want to know if his dad had finally faced the fact that Dean was more parent than he was and made it all legal behind his youngest son's back, or his brother had just taken an extra step in his own way to ensure Sam’s welfare.
“Did you hear me, Sam?”
Sam blinked, pushing away the thoughts of his family and forced a smile. “Sorry, Mr. Brady, I must still be half asleep this morning.”
The man grinned. “Or in a coma. Mr. Andrews is brilliant, but I think you have to be a card-carrying member of MENSA to understand half of what he says.”
Sam nodded, trying not to fidget and give away just how uncomfortable he was feeling at the moment. “What were you saying?”
The man shook his head. “I was attempting to make small talk to avoid the real reason that I brought you in here.”
Sam’s eyebrow went up. “Am I in trouble? Is there something wrong with my transcripts from the other schools, because my brother can…”
Mr. Brady quickly held his hand up. “You’re not in trouble, Sam, and I only wish that most transfer students had the detailed history of success that you do.”
“Then, I don’t understand.”
The counselor leaned forward and held Sam’s gaze. “I don’t want you to worry, but it seems there was some kind of accident at your brother’s job this morning.”
All Sam heard were the words worry, accident, and brother. His heart sped up, and his fists reflexively clenched. “What kind of accident?” Why was Dean at work?
Mr. Brady frowned. “I’m not sure-something about a boat colliding with the dock that your brother was working on. He was hurt, but apparently not that seriously. They said the paramedics were taking him in as a precaution.”
“Paramedics?” Sam felt his face drain of all color, and his champion’s breakfast of Doritos and Mountain Dew was threatening to make a quick encore appearance on Mr. Brady’s nice, blue carpet. “That doesn’t make any sense. My brother had the day off. He’s at home.” Safe. “There must be some kind of mistake.”
“Sam-just take it easy,” Mr. Brady watched worriedly as the teen paled and his eyes took on a distinct deer in the headlight appearance. It was obvious he was terrified, and that only confirmed some of his suspicions about Sam Winchester's past. “Your brother is fine. He’s at the hospital, and needed a ride home. The doctor won’t let him drive because of the head injury. That’s why I came to get you. I swear I wouldn’t lie about something like this.”
"Head injury?" This was just getting worse by the minute. Sam stood quickly, grabbing his backpack and starting for the door, but turned with a frustrated growl when he remembered that he didn’t have a damn car. “My brother brought me to school. He was going to pick me up this afternoon.”
“I know that, but if you’ll give me a second, I’ll tell you the rest.” Mr. Brady motioned for Sam to take a seat again, and after a conflicted moment the teen acquiesced.
“I need to go.”
“I understand that, son, but I need to make sure that you’re calm and okay to drive yourself. I don’t think your brother would be too happy if I let you get into an accident, now would he?”
“You’re sure he’s okay?”
“I just know what a," Brady paused and glanced over at a sticky note on his computer, "Mr. Frank McDermott told me.”
Sam nodded. “Frankie is Dean’s boss down at the Smyrna boat dock.”
“Well, he said to tell you that Dean was okay, that he got lucky and only hit his head. Seems he thinks your brother’s skull is second only to diamonds when it comes to hardness.”
A small laugh escaped Sam. “Maybe we should have Mr. Andrews look into that.”
“Yeah,” the counselor smiled. “You’re brother might be a scientific wonder.”
“He’s a wonder all right.”
“Well, Frank is having a couple of his other workers bring your brother’s car over to the school. They should be here anytime.”
Sam couldn’t help to imagine how Dean would take that bit of information. He, himself, wouldn’t ride in the Impala without showering after working a shift at the docks, and Sam doubted than anyone else was going to express that kind of care when it came to his brother’s baby. “Oh, he’ll love that.”
“I bet. I’ve heard about his sweet ride.”
Sam looked surprised. “Really?”
Mr. Brady smirked. “I have two teenage daughters in this school, Sam. Need I say more?”
Sam ducked his head and grinned. “No, I understand.” In the afternoons, Dean loved to pull the Impala up right out front, along side the typical BMW’s, Porsche’s, and Mustangs littering up the school parking lot. Then he’d drape himself against the side of it, and pretend to be annoyed that he was being forced to wait on his brat of a kid brother. When in reality, Sam knew that he was eating up the attention that he and his car was garnering.
“Is there anyway you can reach your father, Sam?”
Sam lifted his head at the sudden change in subject, and a knot of fear tightened in his gut again. “I don’t know-do I need to?”
Brady watched the fear return and could have kicked himself for the less than tactful way he’d phrased the question. “Not because of your brother, but it’s usually procedure to get parental permission before we allow a student to leave school.”
Sam let out the breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding. “My dad’s on a business trip. His cell is probably out of range.”
The explanation was mostly true. John was working and Sam doubted that his father's phone had the best of reception in the wilds of Oregon.
The counselor nodded, recalling from Sam’s file that his father was a mechanic at one of the private owned shops in town. “Does he go out of town a lot?”
Sam shrugged. “Occasionally.”
Brady had read Sam’s transcripts; amazed both at the grades and test scores, and the countless numbers of schools the kid had attended.
“You all move around a lot.” A thousand explanations ran through his mind, from the idea that Sam was a kidnapping victim, which could legitimately happen when parents divorced, to the unlikely scenario that Sam’s father was a secret agent.
It wasn’t a prying question, but Sam recognized it as a lead in for a discussion he wasn’t willing to have, especially when his brother was hurt and in a hospital. Sam needed to see him, to reassure himself that Dean was really okay. “Look, Mr. Brady, I’ll sign myself out, and if the principal has a problem with it, then she can call my father at the end of this week. Hell, she can send me to In School Suspension, I don’t care.”
“Sam, no one’s going to put you in ISS. I didn’t mean to imply…” Mr. Brady’s apology was cut off as the buzzer on his phone rang. He stood with a deep sigh, and picked up the handset. “Yes?” He nodded, rubbing a finger and thumb over his brow. “I’ll tell him.”
After he hung up the phone, the counselor turned to Sam. “That was Ms. Jones, she said to tell you that a Marty Collins is here to sign you out.”
“Marty?” Sam stood, wondering what the friendly tow truck driver that worked with his father was doing at his school.
“Apparently Mr. McDermott called the body shop where your father works before calling here." Mr. Brady clicked a few keys on his computer and pointed to the screen. "Seems Marty Collins is on the list of people who can pick you up.”
Sam’s brow furrowed. He hadn’t really paid attention to the papers Dean had filled out when they had come to Morgana High; more concerned was he with picking out which Honors and Advanced Placement classes he was going to take. Apparently, Dean had thought of everything.
It suddenly struck Sam, how completely dependent he was on his brother. How Dean took care of him in ways that Sam didn’t even comprehend. And that sent a surge of guilt cascading over Sam andanother wave of panic coursing through him.He had to get to his brother.
“May I go?”
Mr. Brady waved his hand towards the door. “Of course.” The teen had almost made it to the door, when the counselor called out to him. “And Sam? Please tell your brother that my daughter, Tayla, is not eighteen, no matter what she might say.”
Sam nodded. “I’ll tell him.” Along with all the other things I
really need to say to him.