"Bad night?" Mary asked as she kept her attention on the pan of bacon she was frying, only briefly having glanced to see who had entered the kitchen.
Dean, who was in mid yawn, rubbed at one eye with the cuff of his sweater as he made his way over to the table. "Yeah." Taking a seat, Dean slumped against the table, leaning an elbow on the table and leaning resting his head on his hand.
"His nightmares are getting worse." Dean answered knowing Mary understood he was talking about Sam.
She sighed before walking over to the table, pan in hand. Knocking two slices of bacon onto the plate in front of Dean, she then dished out the rest. "John!" She called.
John walked in a few seconds later.
"John, honey, could you go and see if Sam's up for breakfast?"
Dean, who was idly nibbling at a slice of bacon, looked over at Mary. "D'you think his nightmares will ever stop?" He asked softly.
"Maybe..." Mary answered. "Depends really."
"Is there anything I can do to help him?"
"Dean..." Mary sat down at the table after dumping the pan into the plastic wash basin in the sink. "You're helping him by just being there after he has his nightmares. You reassure him so that he knows that it's not real."
"I know, but...he's always so panicked, and I just feel useless when he has them because there's nothing I can do to stop them." Dean paused. "And he just seems so upset right now."
"Maybe it's just Sam's way of dealing with everything."
"He's different right now...something's bothering him."
"And if there is, we'll deal with that too." Mary declared calmly.
Dean nodded. "I'm just worried."
"I know you are." Mary nodded too. "Now hurry up and eat your bacon, it's going cold and you two have got school to get to."
Walking into the headmaster's office, John and Mary were motioned towards the seats beside his desk. Sitting down in them, Mary turned to the headmaster.
"Is everything okay?" She asked, her mind immediately presuming that Dean had done something again. Their eldest had a tendency to get into fights at school. The headmaster had made his thoughts known on Dean's place at the school many times, but the circumstances as to why he had got into the fight in the first place always came back to bite the headmaster in the ass. Dean had made a name for himself amongst the students as someone to look out for. Not as a notorious bully, but for the complete opposite reason. Dean was the student in school who wouldn't just stand around when someone was being beaten up or picked on. Dean was a good kid, the head knew that, but the board was unhappy about the acceptance of these fights within the school. They had tried to call for disciplinary action against Dean but the parents to the kids Dean protected always came to his rescue. They gave statements in his defense which allowed him to keep his place in the school.
"To clear up first, Dean isn't in trouble." The headmaster assured.
John nodded, sighing in relief as he did so. "Good."
"This meeting is actually about Sam." He paused, unsure of how to deliver it to the parents sat opposite him, hating to be the one to have to deliver such news. "He was sent by his science teacher today to student support to speak to Miss Haines. She deals in child psychology."
Mary and John were both confused as to where this was going.
"After chatting with Sam today...she strongly believes that your son is currently suffering from depression."
Mary gasped silently as she felt John's hand envelope hers in reassurance.
"There are options, steps we can take to ensure Sam is taken care of. Centres and facilities that can help people like Sam." He picked up two sheets of paper and a leaflet from his desk and handed them over. "Here is a copy of Miss Haines' notes that she made during her assessment, and the leaflet for the facility she recommends."
Outside the main school building, Dean stood waiting for his little brother to come out the doors.
There were only a few students left hanging around in the yard outside the school now, and Dean was starting to get worried. His worry was short lived however as he heard the doors open. A large group came flooding out, all with exasperated expressions. Dean guessed that their teacher must have kept them back after the bell.
Finally Sam emerged through the doors, backpack dragging behind him as he held it by one of the straps. He appeared to be cradling his other arm against his chest however which flared up Dean's big brother senses as he walked over to Sam.
Sam looked up at his brother, startled from not realizing he was there and immediately dropped his arm to the side before throwing his backpack on properly to save himself a lecture. As he did however, the movement clearly jolted Sam's other arm causing him to wince slightly in pain.
Noticing this immediately, despite Sam's attempts to try and hide his discomfort, Dean grabbed the strap of the backpack and carefully lifted it from his brother's shoulder.
Sam allowed him to take it, knowing Dean had caught on.
Dean slid the strap over his own shoulder and left the other hanging before he turned to his brother. He noticed that Sam was no longer wearing his jacket so the scars on his arms and hands were clear as day to anyone who looked. Sam would never have taken that jacket off in a million years. Not when he didn't have a long sleeved shirt on at least. "What happened to your arm?"
"And your jacket's in your backpack, yeah?" He followed his previous question.
Sam hesitated before nodding.
"Sammy..." Dean began.
A couple of students they walked past smirked slightly.
Dean witnessed Sam curling even further back into his shell as the other kids laughed at him. At his height of 6'1', Dean towered over most of the kids in the school meaning that he wasn't often challenged. Turning to stare down the students who had dared laugh at his little brother, their expressions lowered the ground as if told off by a teacher as they noticed Dean's dangerous glare.
"Can we just go?" Sam asked.
Dean nodded. "Come on."
As they walked the streets on their way back to the house, Dean once again looked at his brother. "Seriously, where is your jacket? And don't give me that bullshit about it being in your backpack because we both know it's not. Not when you're in that t-shirt."
"It is in there." Sam answered.
"It is!" He shouted.
Throwing a hand back, Dean swung the backpack around slightly before unzipping it.
"Dean..." Sam tried, but ultimately failed to stop his brother as he pulled out the jacket.
There were numerous patches of blood staining the light brown hooded jacket. Dean noted that the blood had come through the jacket from the inside, meaning that Sam had been injured but had attempted to conceal it which ultimately appeared to have not worked.
"What did they do?" Dean asked, trying to keep his tone as calm as possible as he stuffed the jacket back into his brother's backpack, zipping it up once again.
"What did they do, Sam!" Dean's tone grew sterner.
"They insulted Mary!" Sam shouted, catching Dean off guard. "They insulted Mary...so I punched one of them, and then they beat me up. Yes, I know...I should have held my ground better...should have used my training because that's what it's there for...self defense..." He paused. "But I am sick of being the freak! So yes they held me down and they kicked me and I did nothing about it, because I couldn't have done anything about it...I'm not a good hunter. I'm not good at sparring. I'm not good at training, and apparently I'm not good at pretending to not be a freak!"
"I mean you...you went up against seven demons yesterday and won, and I can't even take on some kids in the older years."
"You were outnumbered, Sam."
"So were you!" Sam exclaimed. "I can't even defend my own family..." He shook his head, tears threatening to spill from tired eyes. "You don't know what they were saying...what they always say...about Mary, about John...about you..." Sam looked down at the scars on his arms. "About these..." He motioned to them. "They had some wild theories..."
"Sam, just tell me who it is and I'll deal with them."
Sam looked up at his brother with disbelief before snorting and shaking his head. He then walked off.
Neither brother said anything else to each other during the rest of the walk back to the house.
Reaching the house, Sam swung the door open and walked inside. Making his way up the stairs, Dean cringed at the sound of their bedroom door slamming shut.
Taking the backpack from his shoulder, Dean placed it on the floor before throwing his own bag down next to it.
The commotion alerted the attention of Mary and John who walked in from the kitchen.
"What's going on?" She asked.
"Sam got beat up at school." Dean answered, getting straight to the point. This had an immediate effect on Mary whose face softened in sympathy for her youngest. She sighed, before looking up to see her eldest staring.
"What?" She inquired.
Dean, having noticed her bloodshot eyes, showed immediate concern. "What's wrong?" He asked, gently.
"We got a call from your school today." John spoke up. "About Sam."
"And...the headmaster arranged for the school's psychologist to talk to Sam. And she believes that your brother is depressed."
Dean's eyes widened. "No, he can't be...but Sammy he's..."
"He's hurting, Dean...and I think we've all been plucking for excuses for a while now."
"No..." Dean shook his head.
"Dean, there are options. People who can help him."
"No!" He answered sternly. "You are not just going to dump my brother at some hospital!"
"It wouldn't be a hospital, Dean, it would be a facility that specifically helps those suffering from depression." John took out the leaflet from his pocket and handed it to Dean.
"Meadowbank Rehabilitation Centre." Dean read. "Rehabilitation?" He questioned.
"Sam needs help, maybe more than we can give him."
"This is stupid..." He shook his head.
"Dean, honey..." Mary began softly. "We don't want this any more than you do, but we have to put Sam first."
"Sam is never gonna' go willingly..." Dean stated in a weak tone.
"We know..." John sighed.
"If we do this to him, he'll never trust us again."
"The benefits outweigh the negatives here Dean, and I think you realize that too."
"Isn't there like a waiting list of somethin'?" Dean asked, wanting to find a way out for his brother.
"We rang the centre when we got back from the school...they're able to accommodate Sam." Mary explained.
"So what are you suggesting?"
Mary hated herself for what she had to say next, but knew that there was no other option. Visibly shaking, she took a deep breath. "We go tonight, take him to the facility...but we can't tell him..." She paused as tears began to trickle down her cheeks. "...we can't tell him." Mary shook her head.
"Why can't we tell him?" John asked, expression laced with confusion.
Dean knew immediately the reasons why they couldn't. "We'd never get him there. He'd never go willingly. And if we just take him, trick him into thinking we're just going somewhere, he'd never speak to us again..." He said nothing for a few seconds before he eventually spoke up once again, his tone now having lost it's strength too. "And this facility, they will be able to help him...right?"
John nodded. "We've spent all afternoon researching it. It's the best in the state."
Dean took a deep breath. "Fine...if it helps Sammy, then we have to do it."
Walking to the room they shared, Dean rapped lightly on the door. "Sammy?" He called softly. Dean heard the sound of sniffling as he pushed the door open to reveal his little brother sat so that his legs were hanging down over the side of the bed, crying lightly.
Joining him on the bed, Dean placed the first aid box down before turning to Sam.
Sam was still staring at a point on the carpet like it was the most important thing in the world, clearly not wanting to meet his brother's gaze. He had one hand supporting his arm which he was gently holding against his chest while the bruises on his face and arms had clearly developed now leaving dark purple and black, angry marks on the struck areas.
"Let's get you cleaned up." Dean began to slowly lift his brother's t shirt, being careful not to knock his injured arm.
Sam wriggled free from the t shirt wincing only slightly in pain as he did so. An expression of vunerability then plagued his face as he knew the rest of the bruises would now be visible.
Most people would exclaim or say something along the lines of 'oh my god!', but not Dean, because Dean could see the embarrassment that was rolling off his brother. He knew exactly how his little brother would be feeling right now, and so kept his mouth shut as he began to clean him up.
Nothing required stitching. Everything just looked worse because of the blood. Not that what those dickheads did to Sammy didn't leave him wincing at every touch and shaking as antiseptic was applied. The deepest cuts to need stitches were still worrying Dean though. He'd opted to wrap Sam's chest over the spots of the cuts, which were also highly bruised from where the force of them kicking him had not only broken the skin but caused it to darken to a deep shade of red, meaning that he had white bandage around his upper stomach. His arm was the worst though. Although unbroken, the kids had made a pretty good to at it. The darkest colour of bruise could be found here, and Dean was even wincing at how painful it looked.
"I'll get you some painkillers." Dean got up and walked to the bathroom. Grabbing a box from the cabinet, he returned to the room and sat back down on the bed before offering one pill at a time to his brother, alternating tablet and water.
"Thanks." Sam eventually spoke up.
"You're welcome." Dean smiled softly despite feeling sick to the pit of his stomach. He hated the fact that they were going to have to lie to him, but it was the only way. "Try and get some sleep, Sammy, Mary and John have found a hunt so we're leaving tonight."
Sam nodded before climbing in bed.
Dean walked to the door and flipped the light switch before taking one last look at his little brother and leaving the room.