Early September found the sun shining cheerfully at the high schoolers parking their cars and dragging their feet for another year of tortuous education at the small town’s most unremarkable institution. Eric Kripke High School, named after the famous founder of the town who bailed soon after, and known for its everlong history of never winning a basketball game. It wasn’t that the team was terrible, it was just that like all the students who graced the locker-lined hallways, they didn’t give a shit.
The blaring sounds of Metallica entered the parking lot, and as usual, at least a few students turned to look at the sleek 1967 Chevrolet Impala rolling smoothly into the lot. It bypassed the empty spots and parked smoothly into spaces closest to the entrance.
“Perks of a senior,” Dean grinned to his brother sitting shotgun. And then his face fell when he realized it meant school was officially beginning. Overnights at Bobby’s or camping out at the beach with Sammy would be replaced by studying, and god forbid, finally taking a look at the college guidebooks Sammy was not very subtly placing around the house. An uncomfortable weight dropped in his gut when he thought of leaving his brother behind in this town while he went off to college.
No, he told himself he wouldn’t think about this. Sammy had grown so much this summer, they had to dig into dad’s emergency stash to get him a new wardrobe. Sam was growing up and he would have to let go sometime, but for now, he had a year.
Dean groaned when he spots Mr. Zachariah, history teacher and self-proclaimed disciplinarian, walking into the school. “I swear Sammy, he tries to get me into detention at least once a month for his own sick pleasure.”
Sam shrugged, recalling the three page paper he got an A on last year. “He’s not too bad.” He shifted in his seat. His legs apparently have grown too long for the Impala now.
“Yeah, that’s because he’s not after your ass.” Dean pulled out a flask from under the seat and took a long swig. “Man, it’s going to be a long day.”
Sam stared at him and asked sharply, “Dean! Is that alcohol?”
“It’s okay, no one is going to know.”
“Well they will because you put it in a flask!” Sam shouted furiously. He held out his hand and frowned deeply, “Hand it over Dean. You’re leaving it in the car.”
“Wow, calm down Sammy. I was planning on it anyway. Not bringing it in on the first day, how will I survive the rest of the year if I do?” Dean stashed the flask back under his seat. “But really, your bitch face has really leveled up since you became a moose.”
Sam tried to slump down in his seat but his legs wouldn’t let him. He really didn’t like his new growth spurt. “Jerk.”
Dean smiled. “Come on Sammy. I know you can’t wait for your first homework assignment.” He got out of the car as Sam reached into the back for his bag.
“Dean, where’s your bag?”
“Come on Sammy, it’s the first day. Only you would bring notebooks and pencils on the first day. Yeah, don’t give me that look. I saw you color-coordinating your highlighters last night.”
“I hope you get detention,” Sam groused, as they walked into the school.
Dean chuckles. “Not today, Sammy. We’re going over to Bobby’s after school.”
Sam stopped at an open door. “Okay. Here’s my homeroom. I’ll see you at lunch?”
“Yeah, the usual spot,” Dean replied. And he watched as Sam entered his classroom, waved high to a few of his friends and failed in suppressing a smile at everyone’s surprise over the behemoth Sam had become.
“Hey Dean,” Anna Milton greeted him as he walked into their homeroom. Dressed impeccably as always, Dean returned the greeting to the red-haired girl and roamed his eyes over her slim figure. She rolled her eyes. “How was your summer?”
“Like always. And you? Anything special happening lately?” Anna was the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, the Kripke Gazette, probably one of the better things coming out from the school. With eyes and ears everywhere, she was the best source of information.
“Well, Mr. Azazel who left during the last week of school in June is back.”
Dean grimaced. Mr. Azazel was not in his nor his dad’s good books. During the last parent teacher conference, he implied that Dean’s behavior problems were due to his mother’s death and bad parenting all around. It had taken both Sam and Dean to pull their dad away from punching the teacher in the face. “What happened to him anyway?”
She grinned, “He had severe pink eye,” and Dean grinned as well. Served him right. Anna glanced down at her phone for the third time.
“What’s up with you? Waiting for a text from your summer fling?”
Anna rolled her eyes. “I’m not you, Dean. My brother’s starting school today, and I’m a bit worried about him.”
“No, junior. He’s been home schooled until now.”
“Eh, I’m sure he’ll be fine. Who gets into trouble on the first day?” The homeroom bell rang out.
“Dean Winchester. Detention,” Mr. Alastair called out with sick glee as he in walked in and shut the door on the senior behind him who tried coming in late. “Morning kids! Get your hungover heads off your desks, I’ll be handing out schedules soon enough.”
Dean ignored Anna’s look of ‘What did you do now?’ and bristled. “What did I do?”
“What are you planning on doing?” Mr. Alastair began marking down the attendance of the students present.
“Nothing that I have done yet,” Dean replied adamantly.
Ash, good ol’ Ash sitting in the back with his arms folded behind his head, spoke up. “No offense, Mr. Alastair, you can’t punish someone for something they have yet to do. That’s like arresting a criminal before he commits a crime.” Ash really was too brilliant to still be in high school.
“Why don’t they do that actually?” Harry asked with an entirely serious face. As usual he was attached at the hip to his buddy Ed. Together, they ran the Ghostfacers Club, dedicated to the exploration and admiration of any and all things occult. The club consisted of them, Ed’s sister, and gullible freshmen.
The entire room rolled their eyes.
“Wow. I’m just going to ignore that highly idiotic question,” Mr. Alastair said. “As for you, Mr. Winchester. Detention is because of your disrespect towards authority figures. You interrupted me--”
“I did not!” Dean said indignantly.
Mr. Alastair raised his brow. “And now you did. I’ll see you back here at the end of the day. Lucky for you, detention is only half an hour today.” Dean opened his mouth to argue and Mr. Alastair looked at him pointedly. “Want detention again tomorrow?”
Dean shut his mouth but fumed quietly in his seat. God, he hated high school.
Lunch was a quiet affair. That is, if it wasn’t for Sam’s new admirers. The wooden table next to the giant oak was reserved for the Winchesters and whichever one of their friends who decided to drift by. Today, it was just them, and Sam retrieved their lunch from the Impala while Dean waited impatiently at the table. He sent short glares at anybody who looked their way until Sam came back.
“What’s up with you?
“Ugh,” Dean groaned. “You’re going to need to occupy yourself for half an hour after school today. I got detention with that bastard Alastair.”
Sam only smirked. “Already? Last year he waited at least two weeks before he started torturing you.”
“Watch it Sammy, when he sees you, he’s going to go hounding after your ass too.” Dean felt his stomach rumble and knew he shouldn’t eaten more than toast that morning. “What’d you get for us?”
All the students (or at least the smart ones) know better than to get school lunch on the first week of school. Everything served was likely to have been from before school ended in June.
Dean’s eager face fell when he saw Sam pull out a container of greens from the paper bag. “A salad,” he deadpanned.
Sam smiled, “Only the best and healthiest option, Dean.” He started to laugh at Dean’s unenthused face, and reached into the bag again to pull out what was clearly a burger wrapped in aluminum foil. “Compliments of Ellen, Dean. A double decker bacon burger.”
Dean’s face lit up. He reached for the burger eagerly, and Sam slapped it away. “Only today, Dean. Salad tomorrow.”
Dean reached for it again, and this time Sam didn’t stop him. He tackled the burger happily, and spoke between chews. “You wish, Sammy. I’m getting my own lunch tomorrow. Go eat your carrot, you little rabbit.”
“Your little rabbit’s not so little anymore, yeah?” A familiar brunette walked up to them, curled an arm around Sam’s shoulder and slid into the seat beside him. Her fingers trailed over Sam’s collarbone ever so faintly. “Somebody’s grown up this summer.”
Dean glared at her. “Get out, Ruby.”
She laughed, “What, not even a hello from big brother?” Sam shifted uncomfortably, and tried to squirm from under her arm, but she stayed put. “Big bro’s really rude, Sammy. Come sit with me instead.” She pressed herself a little closer to Sam, her breasts almost falling out of her tight red blouse.
Sam huffed and moved her arm away from his body. “Only Dean gets to call me that, Ruby.” His usual soft brown eyes were sharply trained on her.
Ruby smiled wryly, but she got up anyway. Right before she left, she grabbed a fry from Dean’s bag and heartily dipped it into ketchup. “Alright, alright. Leaving now. Don’t need to get so scary, I’ll leave you to your lunch.”
She walked off with swaying hips, obviously a show for the boys, but Dean ignored it and looked around them instead. “Hey Sammy, looks like you’ve attracted more than just Ruby.” There were many girls, more than just sophomores, glancing in their direction. When they saw they’ve been sighted, they ducked their heads down or flushed and turned to talk to their friends.
Sam sighed, “It’s been like this all day.”
Dean grinned, “Get used it to Sammy, this is what it’s like to be blessed with good looks.” Sam rolled his eyes.
A pretty girl with shoulder length brown hair stopped by their table and sat down with her lunch. This time she was a welcome presence. “Watch it Dean, it looks like you Winchesters are going to get competition in that department soon,” she said. With a small smile, she said, “Hey Sam.”
Sam smiled back, “Hey Tessa.”
Tessa’s father was the town mortician and she endured much bullying from her classmates for “always smelling like death” until Dean stood up for her. Since then, she received no more trouble for her dad’s job as an undertaker, and could be seen frequently hanging out with the Winchesters.
Dean pushed his fries towards her, “You going to elaborate?”
Tessa shrugged. “I don’t really know much yet, he’s not in my morning classes, but I heard Meg talking to Becky about this new boy. Dressed smart, not very talkative, but very good looking. In that solemn, mysterious way, you know?”
Dean smirked wryly, “No, not really Tessa. But Meg,” he scoffed. “She’ll flirt with anything walking on two legs.”
Ash sat down with his new fancy gadget of the week. “Sound like someone we know?”
Tessa and Sam broke out into laughter, and Dean sputtered. “Who invited you?”
Ash flipped his hair over his shoulder in a bitch-I’m-fabulous way. “I’m above invitations.”
They all laughed again when Dean threw his fries at Ash and continued until the bell for the next class rang.
Sam was standing behind two bookshelves comparing two different titles when he heard someone calling from the entrance of the school library. He quickly walked to the front because Jim, the librarian and family friend had left for the day, but he trusted Sam enough to let him stay and lock up until Dean was done with detention. “Hey, can I help you?” He asked with a smile.
The student looked up from where he was glancing at the new releases and turned his gaze to Sam. His eyes were a shocking blue. “I’m sorry if I interrupted you from your work in the back,” he apologized immediately.
Sam shook his head. “No, it’s fine. I was just thinking of I should consider re-reading Arthur Conan Doyle or Shakespeare. Nothing dire that needed immediate attention.”
The other boy offered a small smile. “My English teacher from this morning would disagree.”
Sam laughed, “Who was it?”
“Mrs. Eve. She was very insistent on the beauty of beginnings and the classics.” Somehow, he managed to answer with a complete straight face.
“Mrs. Eve? She only teaches junior and senior English. Are you a junior?”
“Yes.” His eyes flickered to the watch on his arm. “I’m sorry, I have to get going. I was wondering if you could direct me to room 125?”
“Oh, yes. Of course,” Sam rambled off the directions, and the boy thanked him once more before leaving. Watching him leave, Sam pondered over the politeness, the nice clothes, and the brilliantly blue eyes. He wondered if this was the person Tessa was talking about.
Dean slouched in his seat, irritably spinning a pencil in his hand as he watched the seconds tick along in the clock. His eyes watched as Alastair walked in and glanced around the room. “Checking to see if there’s an audience before you torture me?”
Alastair scoffed. “Please, don’t underestimate me, Mr. Winchester. If I was about to torture you, it’d be best if there was an audience.” He sat on top of the teacher’s desk and stared down at Dean who was sitting rebelliously in front of him. “Now--”
“No.” Dean stared at him steadily.
“What? I didn’t even tell you what I wanted.”
“You don’t have to,” Dean countered. The pencil he was spinning dropped to the floor and he folded his arms across his chest. “You’ve asked me the same thing since sophomore year. I’m not joining the basketball team.”
Alastair narrowed his eyes. “You’re not making things easy for yourself.”
Dean threw his hands into the air. “Why are you so desperate anyway? It’s not like we ever win.”
“That’s not what’s at stake here, Winchester. Gordon Walker graduated in June and we’re down a player. If we don’t have enough players on our team, our school doesn’t get enough funding from the state. See where I’m getting to? I have to answer to Principal Lilith, and then it’s my ass on the line.”
Dean gave him a look of nonchalance. “Why do you need me then? Just get Ed or Harry on the team. They’ll love the attention.”
“We still have to compete against other schools, and since I’m the coach, it’s going to look bad on me. So yes, Winchester, that’s why I need you.”
Dean rolled his eyes. “Go cry to someone who actually cares. I’m still not going to join the team.”
Alastair smiled cruelly. “Then I’ll just keep assigning you detention until you say yes.”
That son of a bitch. “I’m pretty sure that goes against regulations. I might hate research, but don’t make me do it and report your ass.”
Alastair shrugged. “Language, boy. I’m tenured, who do you think the school board is going to trust? If I say you need to be disciplined, you think they care?” He leaned forward. “And believe me, schools only care if your parents complain, and everyone knows daddy John Winchester is never around.”
Dean clenched his fists tightly, and tensed up.
Alastair leaned back and his face smoothed over. “Calm down, Mr. Winchester. I’m not the bad guy here. Look at it like this. If you want to get out of this town, if you want to make something of yourself, you’re gonna need to go to college. And your grades are not stellar. You’re going to need teacher recommendations and extracurriculars on top of that.
“Your part-time job at the Singer Salvage Yard is not going to be impressive. You know what will be impressive? Being on a sports team. All the books say so. It shows teamwork, time management, and all that good stuff colleges like to hear. On top of that, I can write you a shiny, glowing recommendation letter. So here’s the deal. Take it or leave it. Except not, because you’re not really given the latter option.”
Almost immediately after Alastair finished, there was a soft knock on the door. He gave another glance at Dean, “Think about it, Winchester,” before calling out loudly, “Come in.”
Dean stared at the student who stepped in. He was tall with tousled brown hair. He wore a form-fitting deep pin-striped button-up with a black vest over it that accentuated his slim figure. Messily tied around his neck was a red and blue striped tie, and it contrasted ever so sharply with his piercing blue eyes. Dean had to tear his eyes away from the newcomer to focus on what they were saying.
“How very nice of you to join us,” Alastair remarked.
The boy ducked his head down, and Dean felt a protective side surge. That sight was too reminiscent of Sammy when he first entered school. “I am very sorry, Mr. Alastair. I got lost,” he said apologetically. His voice was low, yet soothing to listen to.
Alastair just sighed. “It is alright, Mr. Shurley. There’s another ten minutes before we’re done here, so just go outside to the track field and run three laps.” He turned his gaze on Dean. “This means you too, Mr. Winchester. I’ll be keeping an eye on the two of you from my office.”
Alastair left the room to Dean muttering all synonyms related to ‘child abuser’ under his breathe. He turned to the new boy. “What’d you do to get detention on the first day?”
“I did not. I have been placed into remedial gym,” he answered plainly.
Dean raised his eyebrow, but when the other student didn’t not elaborate, he said, “Going to say why? You don’t look like you couldn’t pass dodgeball.”
He looked surprised, “Should I be? I’m sorry. I have been homeschooled ever since I was young. The school found that I do not have enough credit in physical education, so I will be making up my classes now.” He didn’t look angry, which was odd because Dean would be furious if he had to stay an extra hour every day with Alastair.
“Wait, homeschooled? Are you Anna’s brother?”
“Yes.” He furrowed his brows. “I am Castiel. Pleased to meet you. How do you know my sister?”
Dean shelved the strangeness of that name somewhere, and stuck out his hand. “Dean Winchester. She’s in my homeroom.” There was a slight hesitation before Castiel reached out to shake his hand. His hand was smooth and warm. It contrasted sharply to Dean’s rough palms from the constant toiling in Bobby’s junkyard. Dean might have held onto the handshake for a bit longer than appropriate, but Castiel did not say anything. In fact, he did not pull his hand away until Dean did it.
By then, they were standing at the edge of the track field. Dean glanced once more at Castiel’s attire. “You going to be alright running in that? Pretty sure there are some spare gym clothes in the locker rooms if you need.”
Castiel glanced down at his body. “Why wouldn’t I be alright running in my clothes now?”
Dean shrugged, “Well if you’re fine with it. Let’s go, pretty sure Alastair is watching us from somewhere up high, that creep.”
They started off with a slow jog, before moving on to a full run and Dean was surprised that Castiel could keep up with him for a guy that needed remedial gym. They matched each other pace by pace and despite the sun beating down on them, it wasn’t entirely unpleasant. Castiel was eerily quiet the entire time though. “What are you thinking about?”
“I,” Castiel seemed surprised that Dean was asking him a question. “I was wondering why you have detention.”
“Oh, don’t even get me started. I did nothing wrong for once, and I still get placed in detention.” Castiel frowned slightly, and Dean wondered which part of that statement he was upset about. “Alastair’s trying to get me to join the basketball team and if I don’t, he’s going to keep putting me in detention.”
“Why don’t you join?” Castiel’s sincere curiosity surprised him.
“Honestly, I don’t know. I guess I just like seeing Alastair get all riled up. I also have a part-time job as a mechanic. Basketball might get in the way.”
“I think,” Castiel started and Dean couldn’t help but notice that both of them had started to breathe a bit more heavily from both running and talking simultaneously. “I think it wouldn’t be too bad if you joined.”
They both slowed down as they ran the last few meters. Dean watched Castiel’s face, and then the glistening sweat on his skin. He swallowed hard when Castiel pulled his tie loose and unbuttoned the top two buttons exposing his pale collarbone.
He managed a sincere smile and ignored the feeling in his stomach. “Thanks, Cas.” Cas looked surprised at the nickname, but then slowly returned a small smile of his own.
Dean’s face felt hot, and he wondered if perhaps he needed to exercise more regularly because he could usually run double this amount before getting tired. Perhaps the basketball team would be an option.