The fist connected with jaw with a sickening crunch. Cheers ensued. Davis Martin fell to the ground and moaned. Dean Winchester wiped the blood off of his knuckles on his robe. He smirked a little and daubed at the blood on his split lip. He tossed a smoldering glance at some nearby Ravenclaw girls. They giggled and blushed. Davis rolled around on the ground and reached for his wand. But before he could curse his opponent a tall, long haired, Slytherin fourth year yelled, “IMMOBULUS!” Davis froze, literally. Dean looked down at Davis and laughed. “Gonna curse me?” He looked at the fourth year. “You good Sammy?” Sam nodded. “Yeah, come on Dean; let’s get you to the hospital wing.” Dean allowed himself to be led off by Sam, who bore a striking resemblance to him, despite Dean’s robes being a scarlet red with a lion, and Sam’s an emerald green with a snake. “You don’t have to hit everyone that calls me a freak, Dean.” Sam spoke to him softly now. Dean yanked his arm away. “Like hell I don’t. You’re my little brother, Sam. I will hit anybody that says anything bad about you.” Sam sighed. “I can take care of myself. I stopped you from being cursed, didn’t I?” Dean daubed at his split lip again with the hem of his robe. “Lucky catch.” Sam rolled his eyes. “Whatever.” Then his face took on a more serious tone. “You know end of term is coming up.” Dean sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah Sammy, I know.” He looked at his brother, who was already taller than him; despite the fact Dean was older. “I’ll take care of you.” Sam sighed and clapped his brother on the back. “I know.”
Exams came and went, and Sam was the top of his class as always. Dean scraped a few O.W.Ls, and they got on the train home. And just like always, when the tall man in the leather jacket, leaning against the 1967 Impala took them, nobody heard a word from Sam or Dean Winchester for the summer. And like always, when they boarded the train again in the fall, Dean had a black eye, and Sam had a split lip. And no matter how much you pried, they would never say why. After a while, Sam curled into a ball in his compartment and cried. Dean just stared at the wall. It had been the same for five years now. And every year, even though Headmaster Singer tried to talk to their father about the apparent bruises and cuts, nothing changed. But this year, Dean’s sixth, and Sam’s fifth, something did.
Sam and Dean rode the train together, but when they got to the Great Hall together, they had to split. Dean was greeted at the Gryffindor table with cheers and friendly pats on the back. Sam sat down at the Slytherin and some people threw him glances. He just looked at his hands and tried not to respond. The sorting started and Dean welcomed all their new first years with laughter and cheering. Sam just smiled whenever Dean caught his eye and focused on the green of his robes. But at the end of the sorting, Headmaster Singer stood up. He smiled at the students and said, “This year, we have something new.” He smiled wider. “Transfers from the magic school in America!” There were mutters and gasps. Headmaster Singer laughed. “Their father was given a position at the Ministry Of Magic, and they will finish their magical education here. We don’t usually have sixth and seventh years sorted around here, but as Ilvermorny has different houses, we have the pleasure of sorting them now!” He nodded to the door, and it swung open. And three young men walked into the room. The first was tall and cocky. He was handsome for sure, with his spiky blonde hair, devilish smirk, and first shades of stubble. The next was shorter by a ways, but he too was good looking. He had longer hair, a prominent nose, and there was a candy bar peeking out of his pocket. Then the third walked in. And Dean’s heart caught in his throat. The third and final transfer was by far the gentlest looking. He walked like he was used to being small. He was shorter than Dean for sure. He had thick, black hair, and the most shocking blue eyes Dean had ever seen. Professor Turner picked up the hat and the scroll. And he called out the first name. “Castiel Novak!” The third of the boys stepped forward. His shocking blue eyes searched the hat wildly. And he sat on the stool. The hat took a long time deciding with him. Finally, after some debate, it drew a breath and shouted, “HUFFLEPUFF!” Dean’s heart sank. But before he could think about it, Professor Turner called the next name. “Gabriel Novak!” The second of the boys stepped forward. He threw a flirtatious smirk over to Professor Turner and sat down on the stool. The hat barely touched his head before it screamed, “GRYFFINDOR!” Dean groaned. The boy came and sat next to him. He opened his candy bar and the wrapper fluttered to the floor. “Howdy. I'm Gabe.” Dean smiled a little forcefully. “Dean.” Then he turned his attention to the final one of the brothers. He seemed off. Something about him rubbed Dean the wrong way. Professor Turner read off his name. “Lucy Novak!” Dean’s brow furrowed for a minute and then Lucy, as he was called, smiled amiably. “L-U-C-I, Professor.” Professor Turner shrugged. “Whatever. Just sit on the stool.” Luci took a seat and the hat settled on his head. It debated for a moment and then, the hat smiled. It opened its maw of a mouth and yelled, “SLYTHERIN!” Dean watched intently as Luci walked over to the Slytherin table. And then he sat next to Sam. Dean felt his gut twist. He did not want this transfer around his brother. But Sam was already chatting pleasantly with the eldest Novak brother. Dean made a mental note to remind himself to talk to Sam about this. He tried to eat, but for some reason, he wasn’t hungry. So he stared across the table at Castiel, the new Hufflepuff, as Gabe droned on and on beside him.
Dean had a hard time sleeping that night. He always had a tough time with nightmares, but this night was worse. Gabriel was one of his new roommates for the year, so Dean hoped that it would be undetectable if he nightmared, but he had no control over it. Garth and Adam, his other roommates, they had been with him since first year, so they knew about the night terrors, but Gabriel didn’t know. It was bad when Dean went to bed on a full stomach and a happy heart, but it was so much worse when he went to sleep uneasy. And Dean was uneasy that night. He finally fell asleep, on his side, his hand curled under his pillow on his knife. His wand was right beside him, twelve inches, supple, holly, and unicorn hair core. It chose him in Ollivanders when he was eleven. But it was his knife that he chose to curl his hand around as he slept. His father hadn’t trained him in magic. His mother was the magic one. But she was dead. So his father taught them how to hit harder than you were hit, how to cut deeper than you were cut, and how to shoot straighter than you were shot. He rolled over, and the knife rolled with him. He mumbled a little. In his mind, he saw his mother, trapped in that house, burning on the ceiling. In his mind he saw the fists of his father cutting into him. He heard his father’s gruff voice cussing him out. He saw Sam all alone and scared. He tightened his grip and moaned. In his mind, he saw Luci with his hands around Sam’s neck. He tried to run toward him, but someone was holding him back. He looked and he saw his father holding onto him. Luci was leading Sam away. And Sam couldn’t see the dagger hidden up his sleeve. But Dean could. And he woke with a scream. Gabriel was standing over him and Dean yanked out his knife and brandished it wildly. Gabriel jumped back. “Woah Dean-o! I'm not here to hurt you!” Dean blinked a little and squinted. “Gabriel?” Gabe nodded. Dean tucked his knife back under the pillow. “What do you want?” Gabriel shrugged. “You were crying in your sleep. I wanted to make sure you were okay.” Dean bit his lip. “Well I'm fine.” He said a bit gruffly. Gabriel looked hurt. “Okay. I’m going to try and get some sleep.” Dean nodded and rolled over. Gabriel crawled into bed and was snoring in a few minutes. But Dean didn’t fall asleep again. Not for hours and hours.