Thanks to everyone who reviewed, I received some very interesting PM's regarding the season and it was an eye opener hearing everyone's opinion on how they feel this season is going. Once again, thanks for reading, I know I'm moving slow at the moment, so I really do appreciate everyone who is still hanging on to this story and reading it. Also, a big hello to all the new readers who have jumped on board and a big thanks to those who added me to their alerts ;O) This chapter is unbetaed, so all howlers belong to me. This chapter dedicated to my lovely beta Carol, who I promise I will send the next chapter to.

Chapter 20-Funky Things in my Head

Dean pulled up short and stared at the gun in his hand. It suddenly felt like a foreign object, and that was so not normal.

Looking in the darkness, he could see his father standing on top of a sand dune waving frantically at him with both hands over his head.

He finally turned behind him and he was pretty sure a little yelp slipped out of his mouth, because what he could see happening, was so not a good sight.

Sam was being tossed around like drift wood by one hulking, kick ass spirit and instinct all but took over. The older Winchester simply held his gun out and fired at the spirit. More shots rained down on the spirit, and it took Dean a moment or two to realise that the shots were not coming from his own gun.

Seconds later, John Winchester ran past him towards his fallen son, while Dean stood on the spot trying to understand what the hell had happened.

Either he'd just passed out and missed a very important part of this battle, or he'd hit his head a little too hard.

Either way he quickly jogged after his father, looped an arm around his unconscious brother's body and helped carry the silent youngster back to their beach apartment.

Sometimes being a Winchester could be a confusing business….

It didn't take long for his sense to come back though, and by the time they'd got Sam settled in his bed, and his father was on his second scotch of the night, Dean was all but tearing a hole in the floorboards by his frantic pacing.

" So let me get this perfectly straight…" Dean said spinning to stare at his father, " You get the opportunity to kill Fear, just like you'd been beating into my head the whole freaking night that this is what you wanted- and yet, you don't kill it, you kill Anger…"

" That's about it…" John said reaching for the bottle of Jack and pouring himself another one, Dean watched wide eyed and shook his head in horror.

" Why..?" Dean demanded, " You put us through this all, for what..?"

" It was going to kill you Doone, I didn't have a choice…" John said his eyes far away as he sucked down the drink, " It was going to have you kill me, and then kill you…"

Dean opened his mouth to say something, but no words came out. Instead he sank into the couch opposite his father and let his eyes close for a second, hoping that the next time he opened them, this whole freaking mess would have been nothing but some rather screwed up nutty nightmare.

Of course nothing was ever that simple for the Winchester's now was it.

" How's Sam..?" Dean quietly asked, " He's been through so much in such a short space of time Dad, his body, I don't know if he can handle this, physically or mentally…"

" I'll be fine…" Came a tired voice behind them.

Dean turned and watched his younger brother standing in the doorway to his bedroom.

" You should be resting, go back to bed…." Dean chided as he studied Sam's split lip and new purple coloured eye, " We'll head to bed soon as well…"

" It's been a long day…" Sam said walking past his father and giving his shoulder a squeeze. John's hands wrapped around his son's and held it tightly for a few fleeting seconds and finally letting go, only to pour himself another drink.

Sam sat down beside Dean on the couch who was curling on his side, while toeing off his boots, when John clambered nosily to his feet and stumbled off towards the kitchen, carrying his drink.

Sam gave his brother a poke in the hip.

" Is he ok..?" Sam asked in a small voice.

" I doubt it…" Dean said his eyes closed, " I guess he's not dealing too well, with the idea that he's sentenced you to death…"

Sam tried to ignore the sarcasm in Dean's voice and gave him another poke.

" You guys act like I can't look after myself…" Sam said in a stubborn tone, " Well, I can, and I'll prove it…"

" I think you have a concussion…" Dean muttered,

" And I think you're an ass…" Sam heatedly snapped.

Dean opened one of his eyes and stared at Sam, " I'm the ass…?"

" Yup.." Sam said stubbornly.

" That's rich coming from you, this was after all you and dad's crazy idea, remember..?" Dean muttered, " I don't know why nobody in this family ever listens to me..."

" What was I supposed to do Dean..? I'd already gone against what dad wanted and he took off and left us for dead in a freaking hospital..!" Sam suddenly blurted out, " I was scared ok, scared that he'd just leave us and you'd blame me for everything and don't pretend like you don't, cause I know you do..."

Sam's hand suddenly shot to his mouth and covered it tightly while Dean untangled himself for his position on the sofa to face his younger brother.

" Where the, hell, did that come from..?" Dean demanded, as he studied Sam who seemed to afraid to remove his hand from his mouth.

" Sam...?" Dean asked again.

" I think you're right Dean..." Sam said suddenly getting to his feet, " I think I have got a concussion..."

Sam hurried back to his room, ignoring his screaming and protesting body which argued at the speed he was moving. He was about to close the door shut when Dean shoved his hand in between the gap.

Sam stared at the hand, and was half tempted to close it with it still in its place.

" I could have squashed your hand.." Sam muttered in a defeated tone as he shuffled to his bed and climbed into it, pulling the covers around him.

" Well you didn't..." Dean said coming into the room, and sighing heavily, " Dude, what you just said, it's bull and you need to believe that. What dad did, was down to him, not you. You didn't do anything wrong, and I don't blame you for any of it..."

" Well you should..." Sam said in half a smile, " Cause it would be true, I pretty much screwed your life up from the day I got mom killed..."

Dean shook his head and came a little closer towards him, " Sammy, where is this coming from..? I don't blame you for what happened to mom, she was your mom too..."

" But dad does..." Sam whispered, " Mom died trying to save me, and he lost his wife and you lost mom. You don't think I see that look in his eyes, where he wonders what life would have been like if I'd died instead of mom..."

" Ok this, this is ridiculous..." Dean said holding up his hand to end the conversation, " He does not think that, he just wants that bastard dead, all the bastards dead; and that's a good thing..."

" Well one of us is wrong Dean, and I'm pretty damn sure it's not...-" Sam suddenly sat up in the bed and looked directly at Dean, " Can you smell that..?"

Dean sniffed the air, and opened Sam's bedroom door again, " That smells like smoke..."

Before Sam could even force himself out of bed, the lord shrill of the fire alarm echoed around the apartment.

" What is he doing..?" Sam muttered as he hurried out the room and found Dean in the kitchen, scolding their clearly drunk father, who looked dazed and confused to why his toast was two special shades of black.

Dean had automatically slid back into the role he'd been forced into taking when Mary had died, the one who had had to be the good soldier, the one that took care of everyone, the one who had had no choice, because if he didn't; then the whole family would have fallen apart.

Sam's heart broke just a little more.

You forced him to be like that. He had no choice but to become what he was because of you.

And it was right.

Because Sam had always known that deep down, everything that had happened to his family was his entire fault.

If he had just died in the nursery, none of this would have happened.

Because then his father would have been happy to have Mary back and Dean would have had a mommy. They could have always had another child to replace him, one that would have been nicer and kinder and more worthy to have a family like his.

Because that was one of Sam Winchester's fears.

He was scared that his family blamed him for what happened to Mary......

John Winchester sat down on the steps of the veranda and stared out at the dark beach, the gentle waves crashing in the background doing nothing to ease his fears. Dean had all but collapsed on the sofa and was out for the count, while Sam had fallen into a rather restless slumber, refusing to go to bed until the rest of them did.

He was pretty sure both kids would wake up with sore necks in the morning, that is, if they even woke up at all. Call it a haunch, or father's intuition, but the way things were going for them all, the house would probably burn down before morning anyway- especially if he tried to make toast for his children again.

Guess the mumbled, half attempt at an explanation to Dean about trying to stop his kids from starving hadn't gone down to well with his eldest who has simply glared a hole straight to his soul.

John knew deep down that things between him and his eldest were shot to pieces. He'd always had Dean on his side, always. No matter what he did, no matter how bad he screwed up, Dean always backed him up. Stood by him, allowed him to bumble through his apologises, which all too quickly became orders and Dean had simply taken it year after year after year.

But this time he'd snapped.

This time nothing could repair the damage to what he did.

Sam had died and he had walked away and left his son, his eldest son alone. It was bad enough the hatred Dean felt for him for simply leaving them at the hospital when Sam had been ill, but the idea, the very thought of Dean, or Sam for that matter, ever, ever finding out that he still left after he had found out that Sam had died was unforgivable.

The very thought of his children finding out the extent of his betrayal made his empty stomach churn.

Then there was Sam.

His sweet, little hard headed, too stubborn for his own damn good, son.

And he loved and cherished that boy, along with Dean more than life itself, and somewhere along the line his youngest had stopped believing it. He'd heard them, outside on the veranda, Sam admitting that he was only going along with his plan to stop his father from leaving. Sam was so fragile right now, so scared of losing his father that he was willing to walk himself right into harm's way just to make his slightly deranged father happy.

Well, John was convinced he was deranged anyway, or at least, well on the way to it.

Now Fear was lurking around his boys with a passion that filled him with disgust. The boys were tired, exhausted from their constant running, drained from always having their wits about them- having no time to gather their strength and get back on their feet.

His sons were some of the best hunters John had ever known, even when they were operating on only 50%, but John knew they were operating on a hell of a lot less than that.

Both boys were running on empty.

Sam's tank had been empty since the crash, having never been given the time to catch his breath, to get better, while Dean, Dean seemed to be simply running himself into the ground.

Not to mention there was something particular odd about the boys and the way they were at the moment with each other. John wasn't quite sure what to make of it, but he knew, he knew, there was much more to what had happened with these demons before he'd arrived in Clearwater.

John stared at the half empty bottle of Jack, and took a swig from the top. Why bother using the glass, it still only had one destination, so why delay the sweet experience by placing it in a glass ?

Just right now, John didn't have the time to go into finding out what was wrong with them, maybe because part of him had no idea how to even go about doing it. But he'd changed. Ok, sitting here with the bottle in his hand swigging back warm whiskey wasn't exactly an indicator that he had changed, but he knew in himself that he had. He knew his relationship with his children had to change, He had to start seeing them, treating them as exactly what they were- his boys. They weren't soldiers on some mission, they were his children and both of them were in bad places right now and both needed help.

Both needed help in very different ways, so he knew he had to prioritise, but he planned to somehow be the hero, and save his youngest boy and heal his eldest.

And then he thought back to the scenario on the beach and those precious couple of seconds he'd taken on the sand to choose which son to save.

He took another drink because he'd saved Dean.

He downed another because he'd condemned Sam to death.

Staring out into the moonlight sky, the water crashing gently out at sea, John Winchester made a promise.

He would save Sam.

And in the process save Dean.

Now if only, he could just figure out how the hell to do it before Fear reared its ugly head again.....

He chose not to save you.

You do realise that, don't you..?

He stood there on the beach, looked around, and chose Dean.

It's just like you always thought Sam.

Just like you always believed it was.

Dean's his favourite.

The good little solider that didn't make dad angry.

You, the disappointment that always brought misery to your family's door.

You'd be better off dead.

You know it.

I know it.

So why don't you do something about it.

Sam's eyes flew open, his breathing coming out in sharp gasps.

The warm sunshine spread lovingly over the living room, as the veranda door was wide open, allowing the Florida sunshine to invade their cold little world.

Sitting up on the sofa, he clicked his neck slowly, trying to ease the kinks out of his badly aligned neck and shoulders. His breathing was still rattling though around his body, his heart hammering in his chest.

Either that was his mind playing tricks on him.

Or that was one vivid nightmare.

Swinging his legs off the sofa, Dean poked his head around the sliding door and promptly came in.

" Morning sleeping beauty…" Dean kidded as he carried over a cup of something hot towards Sam and held it out to him, " I don't know where dad got this stuff from, but it's hitting the spot…"

Sam stared baby eyed at his elder brother. He willed himself to take the coffee, the simple task of just accepting a cup of damn coffee from Dean though, felt like climbing the nearest mountain.

Trust was a very funny thing.

Especially when your last thought had been of your family wanting you dead, and previous occasions had had your own brother drugging you to kill you.

Sam simply stared at Dean's coffee offering hand and slowly shook his head.

" Come on Sam…" Dean said in a small voice.

Sam could hear the plea. Dean rarely ever begged, and it broke Sam up just to hear that tone in his brother's voice. Dean shouldn't have to beg him to take a freaking cup of coffee from him- but he was. And yet, Sam still couldn't take it.

He couldn't help Dean feel better about himself. He still couldn't help heal the rift between the two of them. If he took the coffee it was proof that he'd forgiven his overly-influenced older brother, but he still couldn't take it.

He was making Dean feel worse.

And it in turn plunged Sam's self worth down to nothing.

" I'll just leave it here, drink it when you're ready, but before it gets cold…" Dean cautioned and simply turned and walked back out onto the deck.

Sam ran his hands through his dark down hair and kneaded at his scalp.

Why was he doing this..? Why was he going out of his way to make Dean feel bad..?

Because he was a bad person.

Just the way that dream had told him.

All he did was bring misery to his family.

Maybe it would be better if he just died.

Shaking the thoughts out of his head, the younger Winchester got unsteadily to his feet and walked towards the bathroom…..

John Winchester, nursing a very unhelpful hangover, watched the bathroom door close and then quietly walked onto the deck. He could see Dean in the distance, the older boy clearly having gone for a walk along the beach.

Closing the sliding door, John took a sip of his own strong black, no sugar coffee, and slipped his cell phone out of his jeans pocket.

He dialled a number and waited.

" Why are you calling me..?" Came a humorous, but tired sigh from the voice on the phone.

" Ben, the Colt, where is it..?" John demanded, " You said you were going to send it…"

" I am, you think this is just a walk in the freakin park..? I still got no clue to how I'm going to ask them to send it to you, without explaining to them, why they are friggin well doing this…" Ben heatedly snapped, " So don't get antsy with me John, I don't enjoy lying to my boys. That may be a trait with you, but not me…"

John sighed and rubbed a hand over his stubble.

" You're right, ok, you're right.." John admitted, " I know I'm asking a lot from you, really I do, and I know you hate lying to your kids- but man, I am desperate here…"

" Isn't that always the case for you John..?" Ben countered, " Look, give me a couple minutes, maybe I can get them to send it to you now…"

" How are they..? Your boys…." John asked quietly, " I was thinking about them last night, the way they went after that Sypher demon.."

" I ought to kick their heads in over that…" Ben muttered, " They'll live, cuts and bruises, but nothing broken…"

" I'm glad to hear it.." John said with a nod, " But that gun, Ben I need it.."

" I'm glad you went after Anger like I told you too…" Ben said, " It's much more easier to take out than Fear.."

John dragged a chair out from under the table on the deck and sat down.

" Why do you say that..?" John said in a clearly pained tone.

" Because Fear is deadly, while the others take over an emotion, and then builds on it, exaggerates the feeling…" Ben explained, " But Fear, Fear doesn't have to exaggerate it, or build on it, because those fears are already there, inside of you. The things that you buried at the back of your mind…"

" But the Colt, it'll kill it right..?" John said, " Of course it will, that gun can kill anything…"

" You did kill Anger right..?" Ben said sucking in a sharp breath. The lack of answer on the other side caused the other man to swear, " God damn it John, why didn't you do it..?"

" I don't know, it happened too quick…" John blurted out, " Both of them were in trouble, but Dean would have been killed…"

" And didn't I warn you, warn you that it would go after Dean, and yet you still take it out…?" Ben snapped, " It was setting you up you idiot and you walked straight into it.."

" I already know that…" John said between gritted teeth, " I didn't call you for a lecture…"

" Yeah well, you're gonna damn well get one…!" Ben barked, " Now listen to me, and listen very carefully, you have got to kill Fear now. Not this afternoon, not this evening, now."

" I would if you send me the freakin Colt..!" John bitterly snapped, " I can't lose Sam, I can't lose either of them, those boys are all I've got Ben, I don't know what I would do without them…"

There was silence on the other side of the phone.

" John, listen very carefully to what I'm saying to you. Fear is already there…" Ben said in a slow, low tone, " It's feeding off your fear at losing your children. Your heart is hammering, you're sweating, right..? Well it's there and chances are it's been there all night.."

John's eyes darted around on the deck.

" Shit.." John whispered.

" Where are Dean and Sam..?" Ben demanded, " This thing will go specifically after Sam, but that doesn't mean it can't feed off you and Dean as well, keep those boys and yourself together- don't let them take off…"

" The Colt, please…" John said, " Send it…"

" It's on its way…" Ben said solemnly, " Johnny, please be careful…"

" You know me, I'm always careful…" John kidded as he stood up on the deck, his eyes trying to scan for his eldest son out on the sand.

" That's just it John, I do know you, that's what scares me…" Ben chuckled, " Watch your back Winchester…"

John nodded to the empty air and let the phone disconnect, his feet were already moving towards the gate at the deck and he was down onto the sand, his cell phone at his ear trying to call his eldest son.

He couldn't help think about all those thoughts that had flooded his mind, all those thoughts about losing his kids, about them never forgiving him, about them hating him for what he did.

Maybe that was all Fear.

Maybe that was the demon.

Or maybe, John Winchester enjoyed living in denial….

Reviews are like cold remedy right now ! Nose is blocked and head hurts too much to stare at the computer. Damn cold weather. Make me smile and leave me a review ! Xxxx