Chapter Fifteen

Oh God. Oh God oh God oh God, Sam repeated over and over again in his head, not realizing he was mouthing the words as he scrambled across the small space separating him from his brother. There was so much blood. He could hear the choked gurgling noises coming from Dean's throat. His brother's eyes were shut tightly in pain, his back arching and relaxing in rhythm. His skin was paling by the second, making all of his previous injuries, and the soot that now covered his face and clothes, stand out like death warrants marring his body. Oh God, Dean was dying.

"Dean," Sam choked out, the tears coming quickly as he leaned over his brother, touching a hand gently to the side of his face. Dean's eyes didn't open, but he gave a grunt of pain and his back arched again, moving his head into Sam's soft touch. Suddenly, Sam couldn't get enough oxygen into his lungs. He stared down at the face of his brother, half of it bruised with day old wounds, scrunched in pain, his mouth a sickening shade of deep red as the blood stained his lips and coursed down the sides of his cheeks. "Oh God," Sam said again, unable to stop the panic that was mounting inside of him.

He should have known. Sam should have known that this was going to happen. He should have seen it coming. But Dean had been so adamant in believing that it was Sam's life that was in danger. His brother had been so set on making sure Sam took every precaution necessary. Sam had been an idiot. The Mothman hadn't show itself to Sam, it'd been showing itself to Dean, warning Dean. His own stupidity was going to cost him his brother's life. Sam let out a sob but closed his eyes, trying to regain control over himself. No, he couldn't do this. He couldn't panic right now. He wasn't going to lose his brother, not like this, not because of an idiotic mistake on his part.

Sam leaned further over his brother, eyeing the protruding piece of metal in his brother's chest. He didn't know how deep it went, but the blood coming from Dean's mouth told him that it was deep enough to puncture at least one lung, maybe both, he couldn't tell from the positioning. Sam looked back at his brother's face when Dean gave another grunt of pain and the gasped as the grunt just intensified it. He ran a hand through his brother's hair and called his name, trying to make his voice strong but failing miserably. At the sound of his voice, Dean turned his head slightly to the side, but his eyes remained closed, the gagging in Dean's throat growing louder.

He's going to drown in his own blood, Sam realized. He held back a sob at the thought and continued to run his hand over Dean's head. "Dean, come on, look at me," he called. When Dean's face crumbled and a tear slipped out from one of his closed eyes, trailing down his face and leaving a path in the soot, it was all Sam could do to keep from breaking down completely. "Dean," his voice cracked. "Please open your eyes."

Then, with way too much effort, Dean's eyes slid open. Those eyes. Sam had never seen so much pain and sadness there. Never. Not when they were growing up, not when Sam announced he was going to college, and not even when Dean talked about the possibility of their father being dead. Sam was looking at a stranger in those eyes, someone he'd never met before. He was staring at the four year old that Dean had been once, the child that had at one time been his brother, innocent, normal. Dean never had a childhood, not one where he was actually allowed to be a child. He'd grown up fast, he'd been forced to. He'd learned not to cry, not to take things to heart, to be strong. And even though there had been times when Sam thought that he'd seen his brother break down those boundaries, he realized that he'd never seen this. He'd never seen anything close to this. He'd never seen the life Dean had given up in just one glimpse into his pained eyes.

"S…Sammy," Dean choked out, blood gurgling from his mouth again, making his words near impossible to decipher, but Sam heard him clear as day.

"Shh," Sam hushed him, looking down at him and trying to look strong, but knowing that he wasn't able to. He felt it in his face, he could feel the tears on his cheeks and the frown on his lips. "Stay quiet, Dean." Sam took hold of one of Dean's hands. "Just hang on, you're going to be okay," Sam said, trying to convince himself as well as Dean. He looked up, trying to spot anyone who could possibly help. But people were running all over the place, panicked, maddened, horrified. Sam had never felt so helpless in his entire life.

"S…Sammy," Dean croaked again. Sam looked down at him, seeing Dean's eyes had hardened a bit, intent on making everything okay, to which Sam felt himself hating the fact that Dean felt like he was obligated to always make everything okay. He blamed himself for that just about as much as he blamed their father. "I…I'm sorry," Dean gasped out and Sam's heart stopped. So this was it. This was the final clue, the Mothman's cruel goodbye. Sam stared down at Dean, watching as his brother's eyes began to flicker. No. No it was not going to end like this.

"No!" Sam shouted, leaning close to his brother's face. Dean's eyes opened again, frowning slightly at him. "Don't you dare!" Sam screamed, putting a hand on the side of Dean's head, making his brother look at him. "Don't you fucking dare you selfish bastard. Don't you give up on me." Sam knew it was cruel to insult his brother like this, but he hoped it would spark some fight in him. Enough fight for him to hold on until they could get him some help. When his brother's eyes focused again, Sam realized that it was working.

Good, he had to make Dean angry, had to get him riled up, get it so he wanted to stick around, so the pain wouldn't cloud his mind, wouldn't make him wish for death. But how? How could Sam possibly contend with the pain his brother was so obviously in? He had to hit him where it hurt. He had to find his brother's weak spot. And he realized that his brother had only one weakness. Sam went for it, grinding into it so cruelly that he almost felt bad, almost. "Dean, if you die, I swear to God I'll kill myself and follow right after you." Sam watched his brother's eyes widen slightly, his face contorting in both pain and confusion. "Do you want me to die? Is that it? Do you hate me so much that you'd leave me and make me do that?"

Oh God, the look in Dean's eyes. He immediately wanted to take it all back, to tell Dean that he knew he'd never purposely leave him. But he held himself back. If Dean believed that Sam actually thought these things, then his brother would continue to fight, drawing on his need to stick around and play protector some more for his little brother. Sam knew that's how Dean worked, that's how Dean would always work.

Dean looked as if he wanted to say something, but the blood in his throat was making it impossible. Sam realized that just willing Dean to fight wasn't going to be enough. He had to stop the bleeding, get him medical help. He reached down and put a hand behind his brother's head, the other one letting go of Dean's fingers and slipping beneath his back. He wasn't sure if this was the best thing to do, but right now, he wasn't worried about anything else other than the fact that Dean was drowning.

Pulling Dean up gently, he cringed at the sharp gasps his brother was taking, the small moans and grunts of pain, the strangled cries as the foreign metal in his chest was jarred and sent waves of stabbing pain throughout Dean's entire body. Sam quickly moved himself so he was bracing his brother with his body, sitting at his side and letting Dean's shoulder lean into his. He stared in horror at the amount of blood that dribbled down Dean's chin. Dean was struggling harder and harder to breathe. And Sam didn't know how to help him.

Quickly taking off his coat, while trying not to jostle his brother too much, Sam bunched it up and carefully placed it around the metal that had punctured Dean's chest cavity. He had to stop the bleeding, as much as possible. His eyes went back to Dean's face and realized his brother was on the verge of passing out again. He rose a hand and cupped the side of Dean's chin, making him turn and look at him. Dean was shaking, choking still on blood and had now developed a sort of hack cough that sent blood flying from his mouth every so often. "Dean," Sam said and watched his brother's eyes focus once more. "Come on, stay with me," he coaxed. When tears started to fall from Dean's eyes, Sam tightened his grip on his brother and knew that they were losing this battle.

Looking around again, Sam saw that people who weren't in the blast were starting to help those who were. God, someone help me, Sam thought, and then voiced his wishes out loud, "Someone help!" he screamed, feeling his brother jerk at the volume of Sam's voice. He rubbed Dean's back soothingly, but kept his head up, looking around to see if anyone would come and help.

When Dean gave a sudden sob of pain, Sam's attention was turned back to his brother. He saw that Dean's hand had risen to the metal in his chest. He was grasping it as tightly as his weak hands could do and was trying to pull it out. Sam reached forward and grasped his brother's wrist with a quick, "No, don't." Dean let out another sob and Sam realized his brother was starting to panic, was starting to understand that as much as he wanted to, he may not be able to lick this one, he may not be able to stick around and save Sam from himself. "Leave it," Sam said softly, trying to soothe his brother in what ever way he could.

Someone suddenly squatted down next to Sam and when he turned to see who it was, he felt a moment's shock at the face that was now examining his brother. It was Scott Kingly. Scott Kingly who was supposed to be dead. When the man reached out for Dean, Sam swatted his hands away and he turned to look at him with wide blue eyes. "Don't touch him," Sam spat, really not wanting some ghost to work on his brother.

Scott merely looked at him with a gentle smile. "It's okay," he said, looking Sam square in the eye. Sam felt the man's words float over him, easing away some of the panic and pain. "I'm going to help him." When Sam still looked skeptical, Scott put a hand on his shoulder, still smiling warmly. "He's going to fight. This wasn't meant for him." Fight. Not you. The words echoed in Sam's mind and he suddenly realized what Dean's third encounter with the Mothman was for. It had been telling Dean that he wasn't meant to die. Not today at least.

Sam didn't say anything as Scott reached for his brother again. He noticed with sudden panic that Dean's head had dropped, his eyes closed, breathing shallow and gargling still on blood. He watched as Scott put his hands around the wound, examining it. The man reached out and lifted Dean's chin, smearing the blood across Dean's cheeks. Sam was surprised when his brother's eyes opened. Scott smiled at him. "Hello Dean," he said and Sam watched as his brother smiled, looking into Scott's eyes. He realized that the two were communicating with each other somehow, but he didn't know what they were saying. "How you doing? Sam wondered if he really expected an answer. Apparently he didn't as Scott moved to the opposite side and looked over at Sam. "Let go," he told him gently. "I've got him."

The words brought a fresh new wave of panic through Sam. No, he was not going to let go of his brother. He wasn't going to just let a ghost take over control of him. He'd probably steal him away, probably invite him into death. No way. No way in hell. "No," Sam choked, but his voice was so broken that he knew himself he wouldn't be able to deny Scott for long. Scott merely smiled and laid his hands on Sam's who were still on Dean, holding him upright. He watched, openly crying as Scott removed his hands from his brother. As soon as Sam lost contact with Dean, he felt the sadness wash over him in waves. No, no please no, he repeated in his head, watching as Scott pulled Dean into him, wrapping one arm under Dean's chin, cradling his head. Dean's eyes had closed again, his face snowy pale. Scott put a hand on Dean's back and slowly pushed, making Dean's hunched form straighten. His brother cried out at the motion and Sam just about lunged at the man in anger. But something held him back.

When Scott had Dean sitting up straight, he put a hand on the metal in Dean's chest. Sam was surprised when Scott looked over at him. "The doctors won't be able to get this out," he told him plainly, that stupid smile still on his face. Sam felt his heart drop. Was he telling him his brother was doomed? "He'll die on the operating table."

"No," Sam shuttered, unable to keep the small word from slipping out.

"But I'll get it out for them," he continued. "Keep him from bleeding out and he'll fight. This wasn't meant for him. I'll make this right again." The last sentence was said absently and Sam wondered if maybe this was why Scott hadn't crossed over yet. Maybe he was meant to help people until he felt he had made up for the life he had accidentally ended. Scott suddenly yanked on the metal.

Dean's scream brought Sam instantly back into the fray. He shoved Scott away and wrapped his arms around his brother, shifting the coat so it was covering the now gaping wound in his brother's chest. Dean was bucking in pain and it took every last ounce of strength for Sam to hold him down and in place. Small, heartbreaking cries were escaping Dean's throat and Sam felt fresh tears sting at his eyes and warm his cheeks. But after only a few short minutes, Dean finally gave into the pain and closed his eyes, falling limp in his brother's arms. Sam rushed to feel for a pulse, sucking in a breath of relief when he found one, light, thready, and fading fast, but it was there. Sam hugged his brother to him and looked up at Scott, only to find that the man was no longer there. He wasn't anywhere. "Thank you," Sam whispered, and could almost hear the quiet reply.

Kate was suddenly on her knees by his side. She had spotted the brothers from the road. Sam glanced at her, looking at her like a child looks at a mother, wanting them to fix something that had broken. "Oh no," she whispered and turned around, yelling for her husband. Peter came over not a moment later. He kneeled by them also and looked at his wife. "Peter, do something," she pleaded. Sam looked back down at Dean in his arms. Dean's face was pale, his eyes closed, his body limp. God, he looked dead. Kate gripped his shoulder and gave him an encouraging smile. "Peter's a doctor," she told him. Sam didn't know what to think as he watched Peter hastily work on his brother. He felt helpless. Kate put a hand on his shoulder and pulled him away from Dean. "They're going to get him to the hospital," Kate told him and Sam turned towards her, spotting the EMTs jogging over to them with a stretcher.

"Kate…" Sam whispered, feeling the tears coming back again as he looked down at Dean and realized he wasn't breathing. The EMTs quickly took him from Sam's arms and Kate guided him backwards, wrapping her arms around him as he watched them cart his brother away.

Four hours later, Sam sat in the emergency room, hunched over and staring at a spot on the floor. He'd somehow managed to collect his wits again and was able to think clearly again. The doctors didn't have any news on Dean, other than the fact that he was in surgery and he was alive the last time they checked. Kate sat next to him, her husband off helping some other people. She held one of his hands and Sam took strange comfort in her contact. The contact of a stranger, but also it was so much more. Kate held his hand, but he felt as though Jess were doing the same, that somehow she was channeling her energy into Kate and letting her presence be known, showing Sam that she was there, supporting him, taking care of him, watching over him. And it was just the comfort Sam needed.

Sam thought about what had happened. They hadn't been able to stop it. After all they'd gone through, it meant nothing in the end because people still died. One of the deputies had informed Sam that because they'd started evacuating, the fatalities were probably less than half the size of what they would have been, but Sam couldn't find any comfort in that. There shouldn't have been any fatalities at all. This shouldn't have happened. They knew it was going to happen, there had to have been something more they could have done. Maybe if they had called the Sheriff sooner, or if Sam hadn't spent hours typing up that goddamn recall map. God, what would their Dad think?

At the thought of John Winchester, Sam realized that a part of him was yearning for his Dad to walk through those doors and wrap his arms around his son in that bear hug he'd always gotten as a kid. He was torn between missing his father and hating him for not being here, for not stopping this from happening, for not coming when they needed him the most. Dean could die. Sam sighed as he realized he had a phone call to make. He stood up and smiled at Kate, who was watching him closely, like she'd been since the explosions. Her husband had probably warned her to watch for the signs of shellshock. Sam didn't have the heart to tell her that he'd been through countless training sessions with their Dad about how to prepare their minds for things like this, so shellshock wasn't an option. He was touched by her concern.

Stepping outside into the parking garage, he pulled the cell phone from his pocket and dialed the number he knew by heart. It rang once before the voicemail picked it up and John's familiar voice made Sam feel the lump form at the back of his throat. God, why was he abandoning them? Why was he hiding from them? They needed him. But more than that, Dean needed him. Dean had never been so lost in his whole life and Sam knew it. Without their father to guide him, Dean didn't have a clue what he was supposed to be doing except for fighting every baddie they came across. Dean needed their Dad to tell him what he should do, tell him what he wanted from them.

The voicemail beeped and Sam sucked in a breath. Here goes. "Dad?" Sam cursed himself when his voice cracked. He waited a second before he went on. "It's Sam." Like he wouldn't know, idiot. "Dean's in the hospital. They…" he had to collect himself before he could bring himself to say the next part. "They don't know if he's going to make it. I don't know if you still care about him or not, but I thought you should know. He's still your son." Sam almost hung up then, but he knew he couldn't end the voicemail on such a bitter note. "And, I just needed to hear your voice. Merry Christmas." He closed the phone and stuck it back into his pocket. He half hoped that John would call back in a minute, after he was done screening the call. He half hoped that John would drive out here to see them, to make sure they were both okay, to care about them the way fathers were supposed to care for their sons. He half hoped that John Winchester would never speak to them again.

Walking back inside, he found Kate on her feet, talking to Dr. Marksman, the same doctor who had treated Dean after the car accident. They both looked over at him somberly and Sam felt his heart drop. Oh God, Dean was dead. Look at the way they're looking at me, Dean's dead. Oh God, I let my brother die.

"Sam?" Dr. Marksman called and Sam snapped out of it.

"Is he okay?" Sam asked softly, too afraid of the answer to talk any louder.

Dr. Marksman sucked in a breath. Oh God. "Your brother has had some very serious trauma over the past few days. His body started shutting down on him during surgery. His heart stopped twice and we had to revive him." Sam felt his own heart stop. "But he made it through all right. And we believe, with a few weeks rest, he's going to be fine." The words were the sweetest thing Sam had ever heard. He felt himself relax and Kate grabbed his arm, thinking he may fall over.

"So he's not going to die?" Sam had to ask it bluntly to reassure himself.

"Well," the doctor shrugged. "I hope not because for the short time he was awake, he told me that if I let him die, he'd kick my ass."

Sam couldn't help the laugh that escaped him. Oh God, Dean was alright. Sam sighed in relief again and looked at the doctor. "Can I see him?"

"He's pretty sedated and will be for a while," Dr. Marksman explained. "We're trying to keep him as still as possible. He's done some damage to his lungs and nearly broke his sternum in half. We've had to put some screws and pins in his chest, for the fracture there. So he's not going to be very responsive for a while."

"That's okay," Sam said, nodding vigorously. "I just want to see him."

"Alright, but on one condition," the doctor held up a finger to Sam, who looked at him, waiting for any set of instructions this doctor could give him. He'd saved his brother twice, he'd do anything the man asked of him. "I don't want to see you in here again anytime soon. Frankly, I'm sick of your face and I need a break from you boys." Sam laughed and promised the man that, once Dean was out, they wouldn't be coming back anytime soon, he'd make sure of it.

As Sam entered Dean's room, he almost couldn't believe that the person laying in that bed was his brother. He was pale and looked small among the blankets covering him. There was a tube in his nose and a heart monitor beeped rhythmically next to him. A tube had been stitched into the side of his chest, probably helping the collapsed lung his brother had experienced. Dean's face was still bruised and his wrist still bandaged. Sam could see the bulge on his chest that he could only imagine were mounds upon mounds of bandages and accessories keeping Dean's chest still and the broken sternum from piercing his heart. He was out cold.

Sam sat down next to his brother and took his hand. He wanted Dean's eyes to open, but he got no response from him. That's okay, Sam assured him silently. You get some rest brother, I'll be here when you wake up, I promise. Sam sat by Dean's bed for the next fourteen hours. Dean slept through it all.

There was movement beneath him and for a moment, Sam wondered what was moving beneath his pillow. He opened his eyes and tiredly looked around. Strange, the motel room didn't have all that equipment there the last time. And suddenly he remembered where he was. He lifted his head, realizing he'd been resting it on Dean's arm. His head shot to his brother's face as he realized that Dean's hand was moving, grasping his own. He was actually surprised to see Dean's eyes open, watching him. "Hey, kid," Dean rasped. Sam smiled at the glorious sound of his brother's voice. It meant he was alive, and aware. Dean hadn't called him "kid" since Sam was twelve.

"Dean," Sam said, holding his hand tightly. Dean still looked tired, his eyes only half open and slowly blinking.

"Is everyone okay?" Dean's voice was weak and Sam wanted to tell him to be quiet, but he knew he'd only get protests at that and he didn't want Dean to waste his breath.

Sam licked his lips as he said, "The Sheriff's dead. And twelve people were killed. A lot more injured." Sam saw Dean's face falter slightly and so he was quick to add, "But it could have been a lot worse. The police said that if people hadn't started to evacuate, there'd be a lot more fatalities."

"Are you okay?" Dean asked, eyes opening a little wider, more alert, like he really wanted to pay attention to the answer.

"I'm find," Sam said quickly. "It's you whose in the hospital, yet again."

Dean actually smiled and Sam felt some of his worry start to fade away. Dean closed his eyes as he said, "Well I wanted to say hello to the nurses again." Sam gave a soft chuckle before he sobered again. Dean must have noticed the mood change and he opened his eyes. "How am I doing?" he asked, seemingly gauging Sam's reaction. Sam realized that the doctors must have not told Dean anything. He felt like smacking himself for not saying anything sooner.

"Well, you're going to live," Sam said dryly, watching Dean's face spread into a smile. "But we'll be spending Christmas and New Year's with those pretty nurse friends of yours."

"Ah," Dean sighed, but still smiled. "No complaints there." Sam chuckled and watched as Dean's eyes roamed over his face.

"Are you okay?" he asked again.

Sam frowned. "I just told you…"

"Not what I meant," Dean cut him off, looking at Sam sternly.

Sam didn't know what to say. No he wasn't okay. He'd almost lost his brother and twelve people had died. Children had come away with missing limbs. How was he supposed to be okay? And he didn't want Dean to coddle him. Especially not while he was laying in a hospital bed. But Dean would know if he lied to him. So he settled on, "I should have figured it out sooner." Sam shook his head, looking away from his brother. "We could have stopped it."

"Sam," Dean said, grabbing hold of Sam's hand once more. "You can't save everyone." Sam recognized the words. He himself had said them to Dean just months before all of this. He'd meant it when he'd told Dean that, but now, when the words were aimed at him, he didn't know how he was supposed to believe it.

"It doesn't make me feel any less guilty," Sam whispered. Once again, Dean squeezed his hand.

"Sam, that's my guilt to bear," Dean said hoarsely and Sam looked at him, confused. What? "You remember Bloody Mary?" Dean asked, closing his eyes.

Sam watched his face for a moment before saying, "Yeah."

"Why do you think my eyes bled?" Dean's voice was soft and he hadn't opened his eyes again. Sam realized his brother was confessing something, something big. When they'd went up against Bloody Mary, she'd been attacking people who felt guilt over someone's death. Sam had his dreams of Jessica dying to feel guilty about. That's why his eyes had bled. But he hadn't even thought about why Dean's eyes bled. He had assumed that, after breaking the mirror, Bloody Mary's powers had become stronger and she'd just made them bleed. He hadn't thought that Dean felt guilty over someone's death.

"I don't know," Sam whispered back.

Finally, Dean opened his eyes and looked directly at Sam. "There have been so many people I know I could have saved, but didn't." Dean was winded and had to wait a minute before he went on. "Guilt is part of the job. I'd have a hundred names on the back of that mirror if she'd gotten me. But it's my choice to take on that guilt, Sam. It's not yours. It's never yours. Leave the feeling guilty to me. I'll handle it."

Sam stared at his brother as Dean tried to catch his breath. His face creased with pain for a moment before calming again. He hadn't known his brother felt that way. "You shouldn't have to do it alone," Sam whispered.

Dean grinned then and Sam wondered what the hell was so funny. It seemed that Dean had in inside joke with himself as he shook his head and patted Sam's hand. "I've been doing it alone my whole life, Sammy." He wasn't exactly sure what that was supposed to mean, but a part of him accepted the answer, as saddening as it was. He didn't want to press his brother any further, seeing the way Dean was quickly tiring out from all of this.

"Get some rest, Dean," Sam said, putting a hand on his brother's forehead. Dean didn't protest and Sam knew he must be tired. "We'll talk about this later. All of this." He thought he heard his brother mutter a stubborn, "Yeah Right," but soon Dean fell quiet again. It was over. It was finally over. They were safe again, for now.

After a few minutes, he leaned back, thinking his brother had fallen asleep when he still hadn't said anything. He watched him for a while, realizing that in the past few days, he'd seen so many sides of Dean that had been hidden from him for so long. He thought he'd known his brother. He thought he could read Dean inside and out, know what he was thinking all the time. But as Dean lay in his hospital bed, pale and tired and broken, Sam realized that the brother he knew and loved was only half of who Dean Winchester was. On rare occasions, he'd catch a glimpse of the side Dean kept to himself, the side that he may not even know existed. It was Dean Winchester, the businessman or doctor of Hollywood movie star. It was the Dean Winchester his brother had abandoned to follow his father in this never ending hunt. And Sam realized just how much Dean had given up for this life. Sam had escaped, had tasted what a normal life was. Dean had never been given the privilege. His father hadn't let him, and Dean had never tried.

Sam knew that he hated his father for that. He knew that he could never forgive his father for molding Dean into the hunter he was today, instead of letting him grow and become what he wanted to be, instead of letting him choose. He hated his father for ruining Dean's future, because at the rate they were going, Dean's future didn't exist. How could it? What was the saying, if you keep knocking on Hell's door, eventually someone will answer. What were the odds that Dean would reach thirty? Forty? Fifty? Did sixty even seem possible? And Sam blamed his father for that. Because he had created Dean Winchester, the hunter.

But Sam didn't know if some of that hate didn't ebb over onto Dean. If somewhere, deep inside himself he didn't hate Dean for not seeing what he was doing to himself and for not making an attempt to save himself from what inevitably would be the death of him. He wondered if the hate he felt inside of him wasn't directed at his brother's inability to disobey an order from their father. He wondered if he hated the hunter his brother had become, if he hated the life his brother had been forced into. Did he actually hate the man laying before him?

"Sam?" Dean's voice brought Sam's eyes back to his brother's face.

"Yeah?" Sam answered, taking his hand again.

"Did you call Dad?" he asked quietly. Sam chewed on his lip, staring back at his brother, not knowing how to tell him that once again, their father had failed to show up for them when they needed him. That once again, John Winchester had chosen the hunt over his son. The blank stare was all the answer Dean needed as he turned his head to the side and closed his eyes, hurt written all over his face.

No, he didn't hate the man laying before him. He didn't hate the hunter that his brother had become. He couldn't hate him, he didn't know his brother to be anything else but Dean Winchester, the loyal hunter. No, all of Sam's hate, all of his disdain for the life they'd been forced to live, forced to endure, all of that hate was reserved for one person and person alone.

John Winchester never did call to see how his son was doing.

The End

Author's Notes: Hey all! I want to thank ALL of the wonderful people who reviewed this story. I hope this ending satisfied you. I'd like to know your thoughts on it. I had some trouble wrapping this story up, so if you feel like I did a crappy job ending it, let me know, I won't take offense. (But be gentle, lol.) Thanks again to everyone!