Raised Like Warriors

Disclaimer: The characters are not mine, I'm just borrowing them and turning them inside out a little.

Summary: Preseries. Focus on John's transition into a hunter and how he trains the boys.

Part I. Resolution

Sam: So he's working over-time on a "Miller Time" shift; he'll stumble back in sooner or later.

January 1, 1984

John Winchester was a restless man in the literal sense of the word. Even before Mary's death he was prone to wakefulness in the darkest hours of the night. He would steal from their bedroom quietly, not wanting to wake his sleeping wife. He let the TV keep him company, drown out the dark thoughts that were left in the wake of the war. Mary left him to himself, knowing that John needed the time to unwind. He decompressed slowly in the dark, letting the sounds of the Kansas nights mix with the murmur of the television. That was before, though; a time when he felt safe. John blamed himself for being a blind fool. Never again, he promised himself.

Now that Mary was gone, there were nothing but dark thoughts left. Everything was slipping away and John couldn't even bring himself to care. All he knew was that he had to keep the boys safe. That, and the overwhelming desire for revenge.

Their house was gone, sold. He had given up the garage. He and the boys were living off insurance claims and John couldn't seem to tie himself to any place. It had taken a couple months to wake up, a couple of months to alienate any friend he might have had.

What kind of hell is this? The man asked himself, glaring out at the cold shadows outside in the hotel parking lot. A dusting of snow spoke to the deep winter that was upon them. Florescent lights blinked back. The room's clock read 3:30 AM.

John had never been a fanciful man. He had seen some serious shit during the war, knew exactly what the human race was capable of. Now he realized that the human race was only the tip of the iceberg. There were threats out there more sinister than his darkest dreams had hinted.

Unable to sleep, John stood guard over his sleeping sons. They lay there entwined, clinging together for mutual comfort, Dean's arm thrown protectively around Sammy. Just looking at them was hard, like looking at the sun after too many hours in the darkness. For a long time Sam's cries were the only thing that broke through the stupor of John's grief. Sometimes he had a hard time believing they were real. They were the only reality he had left, though, and John swore to himself and to Mary's memory that no one, nothing, would be touch his boys again.

He took out the book, leather bound. Mary had given it to him, hoping that it might ease his insomnia to write about whatever drove him into himself. It had survived the fire, along with most of their things. Only the nursery had been completely destroyed. John squeezed his eyes shut against the images. Mary's face disfigured with pain, her voice deafened by the roar of the fire, her body burning. He poured himself a glass of whiskey, felt it sting as it went down his throat.

Pictures of the old nursery, the charred walls speaking volumes, were pasted to the first page of the journal. John's watery eyes looked at them in the dim light of the desk lamp, trying for the millionth time to make sense of it all. The police investigation was officially closed, John had already been written off as deeply disturbed and his testimony had been completely ignored, except by child services. The inquiry that followed was enough to shake John from Lawrence, send him on a crazy trek across country. Maybe this is sick, John thought to himself, remembering the looks that his so-called friends had been giving him of late. Maybe I am crazy.

He remembered was Missouri had said, though, the things she had known. Now his eyes were open and somehow he felt the nightmare was just beginning. So casually, everything he loved had been ripped away. They knew nothing about the thing that had caused this, the thing that had caught the ex-marine unaware.

Evil, Missouri had said, but she hadn't been able tell him much more than that. But she had trained him in the basic arts of self-preservation. Salt rings, cat's eye shells, the first lines of defense against the supernatural.

He was headed west with his boys, looking for a man named Daniel Elkins. The man called himself a hunter and John liked the sound of that.

His head was spinning a little and John knew it was time to put the bottle down. He clumsily checked the hotel lock, waking Dean up as he pulled the heavy drapes closed.

The boy's sharp eyes looked over at John with silent concern. His four-year old arms tightened slightly around his brother. He watched as his daddy stumbled to bed fully clothed and a tear ran down the little face. Sammy whimpered in his sleep.

"It's okay, Sam," Dean whispered, wishing that it was true.

Author's Note: Thanks for reading! Review if you have an opinion to register.