Friday, July 6, 1995, 2:10 A.M.

A tingling at the base of Dean's spine told him something was desperately wrong. As soon as he realized what the sensation was telling him, his father's voice brought him back to reality.

"Dean, where's Sammy?"

Dean's face paled immediately when he realized his little brother was gone. Jerking his head around trying to check out the entire area, he panicked when he couldn't find any trace of Sammy.

John saw his son's fear. "Damn it Dean, you were supposed to be watching him!" Raising his shotgun, he circled around, trying to find any indication of where his younger son might be.

"He said... he was... I told him to stay in the car..." Dean spoke to himself, his voice rising in fear. The panic was overwhelming.

Noticing his son's shock, John commanded, "Pull yourself together, Dean, we need to find him!" Of all hunts for Sam to go missing...

John had been hunting a spirit, leaving Sammy and Dean safely in the Impala. Usually he would let them help, but this time it was too dangerous for them and they were already worn out from a previous hunt two days before. He had been infuriated when Dean had followed him into the woods to give him more rock salt bullets. Sure, John had forgotten the extra bullets, but that was no excuse for Dean to leave his brother alone. He knew the sixteen-year-old wanted to be involved in the hunt and had been hoping that if he conveniently showed up next to John when he was hunting the spirit, that he would get in on the action. John only hoped Dean's willingness to hunt wouldn't cost them Sammy's life.

The man whose spirit they were hunting, Devon Hill, had been an infamous murderer. He attacked victims of all ages, races, and sexes and would torture and mutilate the bodies before killing the victim in Greene Grove Park. Nobody in the area doubted Hill's guilt, but no hard evidence could be found and he was let go. From his research John concluded that the father of a young boy murdered by Hill had killed him and buried the body in the park. A few months had passed since Hill's death when people began disappearing again from the same park where Hill had been taking people. The bodies were found in the same state as Hill's other victims. If Hill's spirit had taken Sammy... John didn't want to think about it.

Gun raised, John headed off towards the area where the other bodies had been found, praying his son had just wandered off for some insane reason. Dean followed closely behind him, not knowing the particulars of what Hill did to his victims. The last hunt had been a difficult one and John hadn't wanted to upset Dean with the gruesome details if it wasn't necessary. In hindsight, he probably should have. Then Dean would have known the seriousness of the situation and not shirked his duty to protect his brother.

"Sammy!" John yelled, praying to hear some sort of reaction from his son. It wasn't the reaction he'd been hoping for.

A piercing scream echoed through the woods. The sound was undeniable; it was Sam. John started sprinting in the direction the first shriek had come from, with Dean following close behind him. As the screams continued, John's pace increased, and Dean began lagging behind. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he reached the clearing where the bodies had been found. He fired warning rounds to ward off the spirit, aiming into the ground to make sure Sammy wouldn't be caught in the crossfire. The spirit materialized in front of him with a jagged knife and, before John could react, sliced him across his chest, knocking him down and grinning maniacally. Laughing, the spirit disappeared, leaving John on the ground, bleeding.

Covering the wound with his left hand and holding the shotgun in his right, John called out again, "Sammy!" Hearing no answer, John pulled himself to his feet, using the shotgun as leverage. He was pretty sure Hill's spirit was gone, but he couldn't be too careful. Stumbling slightly, John regained his composure and continued in the direction he had heard Sam yelling from earlier.

"Dad!" Dean yelled as he finally reached the clearing.

"Find Sam!" was all John said. It took two minutes, two hellish minutes, before John found Sam lying about ten yards outside the clearing.

Sammy was lying at an awkward angle on the ground. He was covered in blood, but he hadn't lost enough blood to lose consciousness. Red marks on the boy's throat indicated he'd been choked by the spirit to the point of unconsciousness. John let out a string of cuss words as he tried to assess the damage on his unresponsive son, kneeling down next to him. Picking up the small boy's wrist, John checked for a pulse. Terror overtook John when he couldn't feel anything, but the former marine forced himself to stay calm. He checked for a pulse again, moving his fingers slightly to the right, and let out a relieved breath when he was able to detect a faint but steady pulse.

Dean came up behind his father, gasping when he saw the state Sammy was in. Leaning against a nearby tree for support, he stared in shock at the bloody mess that was his younger brother. He began to back away slowly, unable to handle the horrific sight before him.

As John evaluated his younger son, making sure it would be safe to move him, he could hear Dean behind him as he began to vomit. 'Damn it Dean, control yourself! We don't have time for this now!' John didn't even attempt to speak to his son, though; his fury that Dean had allowed this to happen was so strong John wasn't sure what he would end up saying if he did open his mouth.

Deciding that lifting the boy would not cause any more damage than there already was, John pulled Sammy into his arms and began running back to the car, where the first aid kit had been left behind in the haste to find Sammy. Realizing his father was leaving, Dean gained enough composure to follow.

"Get the kit!" John ordered his eldest son. Dean grabbed it from the back of the car and opened it for his father, handing him a pair of scissors. John cut off Sammy's shirt to examine the damage the spirit had inflicted; John was relieved to see that the spirit had not had enough time to cause as much harm as it could have, but the jagged lacerations still looked serious. Most were a few inches long and from half an inch to an inch deep; they would need to be stitched shut. The steady blood flow made John wonder if any veins had been cut, but as long as no arteries were damaged he knew he would be able to take care of it himself. "Sammy? Sammy, I need you to wake up now. Come on Sammy, open your eyes," John encouraged quietly. Sammy began to stir as John applied pressure to the wound with a towel. John increased the pressure, hoping to stop the bleeding more quickly. Hopefully if he could get it under control in a short amount of time they would not have to worry about the effects of blood loss or having to do a transfusion.

As John increased the pressure, Sam's eyes flew open and he gasped, struggling to get away from whatever was holding him down.

"Sammy, calm down son, it's me. You're okay, just calm down." John coaxed, running a hand through Sammy's hair, hoping the contact would help settle the boy at least a little bit. It worked somewhat, as Sammy stopped trying to get away.

"Dad?" Sammy choked, his throat too sore to properly get the word out. He was still gasping, and John hoped hyperventilation wouldn't become a problem.

"Don't try to talk Sammy, your throat is hurt." The small boy's eyes were looking around frantically, trying to find any trace of the spirit. "Hill's spirit is gone, Sammy, you're safe now. You're going to be okay."

John's soothing words helped to calm Sammy to some extent, but he was still breathing too quickly for the nervous father to be comfortable with. "Son, I need you to calm down. You need to breathe with me, okay? Just concentrate on taking deep breaths."

"It hurts," Sammy whispered.

John nodded. He knew applying pressure to the wounds was causing his son pain and that his throat was probably burning, but he needed to stop the bleeding. "I know it hurts, Sammy, but you need to breathe through the pain. You're doing good, just keep going, you'll be fine."

"Is Dean okay?" Sammy managed to choke out.

John nodded. "Dean is fine, he's right here." Looking behind him to catch Dean's eye, John waved him over. Dean knelt next to Sammy's side, guilt tearing at him for allowing this to happen.

"It's going to be okay," Dean whispered, more to himself than to Sammy.

A few more minutes passed as John continued working on Sammy's injuries, using bandages and gauze to hold them over, at least until he got to a place where he could work effectively. Knowing there was not much else he could do in the dark, unsanitary woods, John lifted Sammy into his arms again.

"Get the door." John said to Dean, a little more harshly than he had intended to. He couldn't help himself from feeling anger at Dean for what had happened, even though he knew the blame did not all rest on him. Dean did as he was told silently, climbing into the Impala and moving over to the other side of the back seat. John placed Sammy on the seats next to Dean. "Keep him still and make sure he doesn't hurt himself. We're going back to Aaron's."

John got in the car and began speeding to his associate's house, the exact opposite direction he'd been hoping to head in once this hunt was over with.

Sammy was quiet, except for a few pained whimpers as the car went over bumps or through sharp turns. He tried to ignore the pain, for he knew both John and Dean had had worse injuries in their times hunting, but it was still hard for him. He knew that they weren't very far from Aaron's house. Once they got there it would be better.

Dean stayed silent, except for whispering a few encouraging words to Sammy when he could tell the pain was becoming worse. Guilt and remorse kept him quiet; he knew this was his fault. He'd made a mistake, and both Sammy and his dad had paid for it. John was ignoring his own injury to take care of Sammy, but Dean could tell by the way John was walking that the laceration wasn't insignificant. Because of him, both his brother and dad were suffering.

'It's all my fault this happened.'

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Author's note- So do you like the story so far? Please review and let me know what you think!

-Mary