Disclaimer: The Winchesters belong to Eric Kripke and I will be forever grateful to him for sharing them with us. I hope he doesn't mind me borrowing them from time to time; I promise to return them as I found them.

And I know the rule. If I break them, I buy them.

A/N: Well here ya go; the last chapter. Thanks for the feedback and I hope you like how this ends up. As always, thanks to Beta Kel!

Father and Son

Chapter 9

John walked quickly to his son's side and touched his arm, then cupped the side of his face in his hand.

"Dean, it's your dad. I finished the job we came here to do; I've got a lot to tell you about what happened, but you have to wake up first." John smirked. "What if I ordered you to wake up? Would that make a difference?"

He smoothed Dean's hair. "This thing – it's been after you for a long time, but I got rid of it. It's all over now, Son, and it's safe to wake up."

John glanced toward the door when he saw the doctor. He briefly turned his attention back to his son. "I'm going to talk to your doctor, but I'll be right back. I'm going to be just outside the door, Dean."

"Mr. Lewis, I'm Dr. Granville. The doctor that's been treating Dean isn't on duty tonight."

"How is he?"

"He's stable and his vital signs are very strong. Seizures are not uncommon for patients who have head injuries, and unless he has more, I don't think we need to anything more than continue to monitor him."

John nodded. "So he's no worse off than earlier?"

"Not at all."

"But no better."

"No, I'm sorry."

John glanced back toward the room. "How long can he stay this way?"

"Comas generally don't last very long, but they can. I'm sorry, but there's just no way to predict. As long as he remains strong, there's no reason to think he won't come out of this."

"What about brain damage?"

"Well, it is possible, but none of the tests we've performed so far show any indication of brain damage."

"Thanks." John said quietly.

"I'll check on him again in a little while."

John nodded, then returned to his son's room.

XXXXXXXXXX

"John?" Caleb walked into the room a few hours later. John looked up and could see the beginning of sunrise outside the window.

"Why don't you go get some rest? I'll stay with him."

John shook his head.

Caleb put a hand on John's shoulder. "You're exhausted."

"I can't leave him."

"I'll be here. You need to get some sleep or you're not going to be any use to Dean."

Dean looked at his son.

"You know you can trust me, John."

"It's not a matter of trust."

"I'm not going to argue with you about this, but I am going to get my way." he squeezed his friend's shoulder. "One way or another."

"You'll call if something happens?" John asked after a few moments.

"You know I will."

John sighed. "All right."

Caleb walked with him to the doorway. "You also might want to think about calling Sam."

"I can't call Sam. He'd be here in a second if he knew Dean was in the hospital and if he leaves school before he's gotten a real start, he'll have too a hard a time going back."

"You're not avoiding calling him because of the fight, are you?"

"Not entirely." John said. "I'll be back in a few hours. Call me if something happens."

XXXXXXXXXX

John took a shower then practically fell into bed, sleeping fitfully for a few hours. After getting dressed, he drove to the Borders' house, passing two fire trucks on his way. The house had been completely destroyed, but as he wandered around the ruin, he noticed doors leading to an underground basement. He made sure he was alone before picking the lock and opening the door. Flashlight in hand, he descended the stairs.

It was obvious no one had been in the basement for a long time. It was full of boxes, trunks and discarded furniture among other things. He looked around, but found nothing of any particular interest. He considered burning the contents of the basement, but decided to perform a simple purification ritual. The Borders and all the paranormal activity connected to them, was at an end.

He leaned against his car looking in the direction of where the house had stood, but he wasn't seeing anything. He thought about the Borders and how their fighting had transcended life and followed them in death. He didn't want that to happen with him and his sons.

He nearly jumped when his phone rang a few minutes later.

"Caleb –"

"Dean is waking up, John. He's asking for you."

Tears sprang into John's eyes. "I'll be right there."

XXXXXXXXXX

After a brief consultation with Caleb and the doctor, John walked into Dean's room. His son's eyes were closed, but the respirator was gone and color was returning to his face. John laid a hand on the side of Dean's face and heard his son moan.

"It's okay, Son, it's just me." John whispered, leaning close to his ear. "You can relax."

"Dad?" his voice was weak.

"Yeah, Dean. It's Dad."

"Where's Sammy? He okay?"

John paused, but realized Dean was probably asking about his brother out of habit. "Sammy's fine, Dean. Can you open your eyes for me?"

"What?" Dean's brow furrowed.

"Open your eyes, Dean. Can you do that?"

Slowly, Dean's eyes opened, but they were unfocused.

"Dad –"

"I'm right here, Dean." John said, squeezing his arm.

"What happened?"

"Do you know where you are?" John asked.

"Hospital." he answered, looking confused. "Already told doctor that."

John reached for the chair and pulled it closer to the bed.

"Sammy –" Dean started.

"He's fine, Dean. You can talk to him later."

XXXXXXXXXX

Caleb talked John into leaving the hospital when Dean fell asleep. Exhausted and confident Dean would be all right, he let Caleb lead him downstairs. It was the first decent night of sleep John had gotten in quite a while.

XXXXXXXXXX

The doctor was reviewing files at the nurses' station when John arrived the next morning. He warned John that Dean would be easily confused and agitated, but that kind of behavior was normal following a head injury and wouldn't be permanent. He also said that Dean was being put on solid food and, if the tests scheduled for later that day were normal, there was no reason he couldn't be released the next afternoon. There were no lasting effects from the surgery that would cause any problems.

John was happy to see Dean sitting in a wheelchair at the window. Since his release was scheduled for the next day, they weren't planning to move him out of ICU, and a nurse told John he could take Dean outside as long as he used the wheelchair.

"Dean?" John called as he walked into the room. "How are you feeling?" Dean turned to look at him, smiling.

"Hey, Dad. I'm fine. I'd like to get out of here."

"The doctor said you can probably leave tomorrow." John said. "How would you like to get out of this room for a while, though? It's warm outside."

Dean nodded. "Okay."

John pushed the wheelchair through the halls toward the walkway outside. They stopped as far from the hospital as they could get and still be on the grounds. After locking the wheelchair into place, John sat down on a bench.

"Do you remember what happened?" he asked Dean.

Dean looked thoughtful. "We went back to the house – I know something came after me. I'm sorry, I let you down."

John saw the expression on his son's face; it was a mixture of shame and sadness. After the last few days of not knowing whether Dean would live or die, seeing him beat himself up over something out of his control tore at his heart. That was a relatively new feeling for John. He knew there were things out there that would stop at nothing to get the Winchesters. They had to be better than most, but now and then, he remembered that his sons were still very young. They were also all he had left and when he let himself think about it, he knew Mary would not approve of how he'd raised them. He had actually been thinking about that quite a bit as he sat by Dean's bed waiting for him to wake up.

"You didn't let me down." John said.

Dean looked at him, trying to read his expression. Normally there would have been extra training and John's wrath to endure after a failed job and Dean wasn't sure how to handle John's reaction.

"But –"

John held up a hand. "No buts. We didn't know exactly what we were up against. There was a lot going on in that house, and my research was incomplete. What happened there was my fault and I'm just glad that –" he blinked back tears, realizing again what could have happened.

Dean looked confused. "Dad, where's Sammy? He hasn't been here and –"

Still lost in his own thoughts, John was surprised when Dean started to get out of the wheelchair

"Where are you going? You need to stay in the chair."

"Where's Sam? Did he get hurt? Is –"

John caught Dean as he lost his grip on the chair and nearly fell. Dean tried to fight him, but even at full strength, he was no match for his father. John settled him back in the chair, promising him that Sam was fine.

"Dean," John looked him in the eye. "Sam went to California. Remember?"

He looked confused, then stared at John. "You told him not to come back."

John glanced away. It was not the time for this discussion.

"Look, you can yell at me later. Right now you need to concentrate on getting better so you can leave tomorrow."

Defeated, Dean slumped in the chair and for a moment, John thought he might cry. He couldn't remember the last time Dean cried; he didn't even cry when his mother died. Dean refused to look at him and John was about to take him back to his room, when Caleb found them. He looked from Dean to John and wondered what he had missed.

"Can you stay with him for a few minutes?" John asked.

Caleb nodded.

Standing behind Dean, John put his hand on his head. He walked away a moment later.

XXXXXXXXXX

John was not surprised to get Sam's voicemail when he dialed the cell phone number. Even if he could have taken the call, John knew Sam wouldn't answer the phone knowing it was him calling.

"Sammy, it's your father. I'm calling about Dean. He's going to be fine, but he's in the hospital." John paused. "To be honest, I wasn't going to call you, but I've had a lot of time to think about things and – look, I don't know if I can fix what I did to you, but this isn't about us. This is about Dean. He's being released tomorrow, but he would really like to talk to you. I think he really needs to talk to you. I understand if you don't want to talk to me, but Dean can't have his phone in the hospital…" John stopped talking when he heard the phone beep, ending the recording. He sighed, and walked around for a few minutes before going back to Dean.

XXXXXXXXXX

They sat outside for another few minutes before Dean asked to be taken back to his room. John knew he was angry, but he also knew Dean's behavior was exacerbated by the head injury. He didn't want to tell Dean he'd called Sam since he didn't know if the younger boy would return the call. Dean didn't need that kind of rejection right now.

He'd only been back in his room for a few minutes when an orderly came to take him for some tests. John and Caleb went to the hospital cafeteria to pass the time.

"I called Sam." John said simply. "Dean remembered what happened and got pretty mad at me all over again."

"I know. He told me."

John looked at Caleb over a cup of coffee. "I got voicemail, not surprising."

"Feeling a little guilty for tossing the kid out?"

"I didn't toss him out. He orchestrated an escape." John lowered his gaze. "I just helped."

Caleb looked at his friend. "I've told you that you're too hard on those boys."

John said nothing.

"I understand why you pushed them, but you should have known Sam could only be pushed so far. Dean, too, for that matter." Caleb took a sip of coffee. "But it might not be too late."

XXXXXXXXXX

John sat with Dean again later, but there was little conversation and when Dean drifted off to sleep in the afternoon, John left the room. Coming so close to losing Dean made him think about the fight he'd had with Sam, and he didn't feel very good about it. He thought about their mother and what she would say to John if she had the chance. John told himself he'd only been doing what he thought was best, but with one son in the hospital and the other gone, that did little to assuage his guilt.

He'd just gotten into the car when his cell phone began to ring. He was taken aback at the nervousness he felt when he saw the caller ID display and answered the call.

"Sam –"

"What happened to Dean?"

"He got hurt on a job, but he's going to be released tomorrow. He was in a coma –"

"He was in a coma? For how long? And you're just now calling me –" Sam stopped himself. Fighting with his father came naturally, but this wasn't about his father. "Are you with him?"

"No, he just went to sleep. Look, Sam--" John leaned against the car.

"I don't want to have this conversation with you right now. I called for Dean. When will you see him again?"

"I'm coming back to the hospital in a few hours. I can only have the phone on when we're outside, though."

"I'll try to call again later. If you're not where I can talk to Dean, don't answer. If I miss him tonight, I'll call him on his phone tomorrow. You said he was being released?"

"Probably; pending some test results."

"Tell him I called."

John was about to ask Sam how he was doing when the call ended. He sighed and slowly got into the car.

XXXXXXXXXX

Dean was in a better mood when John got back in the evening. The test results had come back normal and he was eating solid food; there was no reason not to release him.

"That's great news, Dean." John smiled when Dean told him. "I have more good news."

Dean looked at him, curious.

"I called your brother. He's going to call back tonight, but if he misses you, he'll call on your phone tomorrow."

Dean was surprised. "You called him?"

"Yeah. I told him what happened to you; the short version, anyway." John said. "Do you want to go sit outside where I can have the phone on?"

Dean's eyes lit up.

XXXXXXXXXX

They'd only been outside for a few minutes when John's cell phone started to ring. He checked the caller ID, then handed the phone to Dean and walked away.

"Sam?"

"Hey, Dean. You okay?"

"Yeah, I'm being held captive in this stupid place but I get out tomorrow. You get to California all right?"

"Yeah, I'm all settled and classes are good. So, tell me what happened."

"I don't really remember much of it, but Dad finished the job."

"Yeah, whatever."

Dean hesitated. "Sam? About that fight you and Dad had – look, I just want you to know that I wasn't siding with him, okay?"

"I never thought that. You couldn't very well say anything with him going nuts on me like he was."

"So we're okay?"

"Always." Sam promised.

"And Dad?"

"We'll see, Dean."

Dean was going to say something more, but decided there was plenty of time to fight this battle. For now, it was enough the he and Sam were all right.

The End