"Why didn't you just leave that stuff in the car?" Dean asked Sam. The younger man had a bag full of weapons draped over his arm. It would have made sense to leave them in the car, but after what just happened with Meg, Sam still felt a little shaken up. He'd never admit it to Dean, but weapons made him feel much safer, even if they were just going to their hotel room.
"I've said it before and I'll say it again, better safe than sorry," Sam replied. Dean was going to point out that Sam hadn't said that in a very long time, but decided against it. Instead he just unlocked the hotel room door and pushed it open so that he and Sam could get in and clean up their wounds from the daeva attack.
With Sam following behind him, Dean pulled the key out from the lock and looked up, automatically scanning the room for any threats. He noticed a dark figure standing by the window. The fact that it was human-shaped made him call out. The last thing he felt like doing was dealing with some half-assed burglar.
Sam worked behind him to grab a weapon out of the bag as the figure turned to face them and stepped into the light. At the sight of his father's face, Dean felt his heart drop. He knew that meeting up with him again was inevitable, but he didn't want it to be anytime soon, especially after what he told Sam after the whole Max fiasco. He looked at his brother out of the corner of his eye and saw a whole bunch of emotions covering his face. There was relief, longing and hope, but much more strongly was anger and the kind of determination that Dean had only seen right after Jess's death when Sam was gunning for the demon.
"Dad?" Dean whispered out, not really meaning to, but somehow having to confirm that the man was really there, so he could prepare for what was about to come next.
"Hey boys," John answered.
Dean gulped and resisted the urge to take a step back. He looked over to Sam again and saw the younger man's jaw clenched. Dean noticed that his father was walking towards him, ready to give him a hug, and giving Dean a look to do the same. It was to keep up appearances around Sam, Dean assumed. Dean silently moved towards him, too afraid to disobey his father's orders, even if they were silent ones. Sam's arm shot out and stopped him though.
"No," Sam said, almost in a whisper. John looked at his youngest son with a look of confusion, but stopped his advancement. Dean suppressed the sigh of relief. He was grateful Sam prevented his father's fake show of affection.
"What happened?" John asked.
"It was a trap," Dean said, "I didn't know, I'm sorry," he said quickly, hoping to avoid his father's wrath. He saw his father's face turn to one of rage, before a quick look towards Sam calmed him down.
"It's alright, I thought it might be" John said with that voice that Dean knew so well. It meant 'I am being nice to you because Sammy is around, but the second he's not you're going to wish you were never born.'
"Were you there?" Dean said, trying to keep the conversation moving and Sam distracted, because Dean knew that once Sam remembered what John had done to Dean, all hell was going to break loose. The only reason it hadn't yet was because Sam still hadn't assimilated the information he had learned about their father with the fact that those deeds were indeed done by the man in front of them.
"Yeah, I got there just in time to see the girl take the swan dive. She was the bad guy, right?" John asked.
"Yes sir," Dean and Sam answered simultaneously. Dean cringed, because he knew that being so automatically obedient to the man always pissed Sam off. With Sam pissed off, he would finally make the connection to the man in front of them calling himself 'father' and the man who abused Dean that called himself 'father.'
Dean was right, because before he could blink, a rather large fist was flying at his father's face. John stumbled back and looked up at Sam angrily.
"What the hell was that for?" John yelled, clutching his nose, which now gushed blood.
"You thought I'd never find out, didn't you!" Sam yelled at his father. Dean had to physically restrain the young man from continuing his assault.
"What are you talking about, Sammy?" John said, obviously trying (and failing) to calm both he and his son down.
"My name is Sam. You ever call me Sammy again I will make you bleed even more. Only true family is allowed to call me that. Only Dean is allowed to call me that!" Sam shouted.
"I am family. I'm your father for Christ's sake!"
"No! My father would never do the things you've done. You're a lying piece of shit!" Sam yelled right before his father's fist flew forward. Sam braced himself for the impact, but it never came. He immediately realized that somehow Dean had caught John's arm and was holding it in place. This was not an easy task since their father was stronger than both of them.
"Dean, what are you doing?" John growled at his oldest son, a look of malice marring his face.
"You will not hurt Sammy. You can do whatever the hell you want to me, but you don't lay a finger on him, got it?" Dean said in a calm, cold, calculating voice.
"No, he can't do whatever the hell he wants to you, Dean, not anymore," Sam said in an even tone, trying to sooth his very angry brother while making sure that his father knew that he would answer for his crimes.
Realization dawned in John as Sam said those words. "What lies have you been telling your brother now, Dean?"
"He didn't tell me anything. I just finally figured it out," Sam said. John looked between the two boys. Sam was glaring at him with more hate than John knew the young man possessed and Dean was holding his arm in an iron grip with a dangerous look on his face.
"Look, this really isn't the time for all of this," John said, trying to change the subject as Dean finally let his arm go, "this demon has tried to stop me before. It knows I'm close. It knows I'm gonna kill it, not just exorcise it or send it back to hell. Actually kill it."
Sam and Dean took in this news.
"How?" Dean asked. His voice was still cold, but there was a hint of curiosity and thirst for revenge on the demon in it.
"I'm working on that."
"Look, we both want this demon dead as much as you do. We'll help," Sam said, now interested in what his father had to say, though still wary of the man's presence.
"No, Sam. This demon is a scary son of a bitch. You and your brother's distorted view of me at the moment will only get us into trouble."
"You don't have to worry about that. We're professionals. We'll be fine," Sam said.
"No you won't, Sam. You're under the impression that I did something to your brother. Which I didn't, by the way. There is no guarantee you'll have my back," John argued.
"So that's it, isn't it?" Dean questioned, "That's why you don't want us along. Afraid we'll get some revenge on more than just the demon?"
"What the hell is your problem, Dean? You never used to be so disobedient!" John yelled, getting frustrated with his sons.
"Because every time he was disobedient you beat the crap out of him! Hell, I'm surprised he's not completely fucked up because of you and your little 'anger outlet'," Sam said scathingly.
"I did no such thing!"
"Bullshit!" both Sam and Dean yelled. Sam and John looked over at Dean, surprised. The only time Dean stood up to John was to defend Sam, never himself.
"That is complete bullshit and you know it! Hell, not all these scars are from hunting, Dad," Dean bit out the last word like it was a curse. "Do you even know the hell I went through not only worrying about my own safety, but worrying that someday you might turn Sam into your new punching bag? He was right to leave, and you know, I'm glad you told him to stay away, because it kept him away from you!"
Before John could respond he was thrown into the cupboard by an invisible force. The same force slammed Sam into the ground then sent Dean flying into the wall. Outside Meg, who in all rights should have been dead, stood controlling the daevas, the shadow demons.
John's shadow was being attacked by the shadow of one of the creatures, leaving blood trailing down the side of his face and his body. The other daevas had done similar damage to John and Dean. Blood was everywhere and their faces were marred by the deep lacerations from the daeva's claws.
Sam watched as his father was attacked and a brief sick sense of satisfaction washed over him, before he realized that the thing flying in front of him was Dean. Sam quickly dove into the bag of weapons he was now glad he brought in.
"Shut your eyes!" he yelled as he grabbed a flare, "These things are shadow demons, so let's light them up."
He lit up the flare and placed it on the floor. The whole room filled with light and the shadows disintegrated, leaving John and Dean alone. Smoke began to fill the room and choke the three Winchesters. Sam grabbed the bag of weapons and started making his way to the door.
"Dad!" Dean called out.
"Over here," a voice replied. Dean moved quickly to where his father lay and helped support the man so that he could walk.
"What the hell are you doing?" Sam asked when he realized that Dean was helping John.
"Sam, he's our father," Dean said evenly. Sam realized that this wasn't the place or time to discuss this so he wisely shut his mouth and let Dean and their Dad go first. They all ran out of the building, coughing and wheezing. They made their way to the Impala as quick as possible.
"Come on, we don't have much time. As soon as the flare is out, they'll be back," Sam said as he opened one of the rear doors of the Impala and threw in the weapons bag.
"Sam, wait," Dean said resignedly, "Dad's not coming with us."
"What? We need him to find the demon," Sam said.
"Look at what happened tonight, Sam! The damn shadow demons got the drop on us because we were arguing! Not to mention the fact that I don't trust him around me or you. We're stronger apart, right now."
Sam knew Dean was right. He couldn't guarantee that he wouldn't take another swing, or ten, at their father again. And as much as he wanted to kill the demon, he knew he wouldn't feel comfortable having his father and Dean in the same room until absolutely necessary. Although, after tonight, Sam doubted that Dean wouldn't stand up for himself.
"Your brother's right," John said to Sam.
"Don't sound so surprised," Dean said sarcastically. Apparently this new rebellion of his was still growing.
"We will be a part of this fight, though," Sam said firmly, "You will let us know when it's time to take down this son of a bitch and we will help."
There was no room for compromise so John nodded his head in agreement. With no words left to say, he made his way to his truck, but was stopped halfway by his youngest son's words.
"By the way, you ever hurt Dean again and I'll finish what the daevas started."
John again nodded is head, for once realizing how much he screwed up his relationship with both his sons. It tore at his heart and he wished that he could go back in time and do it over. He just wasn't sure that even if he could do it over, he would change anything.
"Be careful, boys," he whispered before climbing in his truck and driving away.
A/N: So that's the story. Sorry it's not as long as the last one. I wasn't sure about the ending, but I couldn't resist making John feel at least a little guilty, especially since to write this I had to watch the end of Shadow over and over, making it really hard to right a mean John without some kind of guilt in there. Anyway, let me know what you think!