Chapter 14

Dean lets his fingers snake around Sam's wrist, resting them on his pulse. He sits quietly, calmed by the feeling of his brother's life pounding a steady rhythm underneath his fingertips. They don't have much time to spare but Dean isn't moving until he's completely satisfied that Sam is indeed just sleeping.

Looking down at his sons, John realises just how much he really does love his kids. Sam's not yet a man, his face still a picture of youthful adolescence but he's seen more and done more than most men, than most battle weary soldiers even and John lives every day with that fact branded on his brain. John knows he's the reason why Sam looks like an innocent kid but is about as far disconnected from his innocence as anyone should ever be. It hurts John but he knows it's also the reason why Sam's still breathing. Letting his children live in denial would be dangerous for them. Regardless of how sweet ignorance could be, John accepts the life he's made for them because he knows pure and simple that his boys are alive because of it. John looks away from his boys and instead studies his shoes as he feels a familiar swell of regret begin to heave in his chest, accepting the path he's chosen doesn't mean he has to damn well like it.

Dean finally stands, seemingly content that for now Sam is in no danger of dying anytime soon. His eyes widen in surprise as his dad shoves him a set of pale blue scrubs to change into. Dean looks over inspecting the white coat his dad has just slipped on, his eyes settle on the ID badge clipped to the pocket.

"Wait, that's Dr Jackson's coat. Sammy's doctor…" Dean says eyeballing his dad suspiciously.

"Well, he's not going to be needing it"

"Dad, you didn't?" Dean is shocked. The man was an asshole that deserved a beat down Winchester style sure, but not death.

"No! Geez Dean, of course not. He's locked in the boiler room"

Dean sniggers but he is unabashedly relieved. Any disappointment he had felt towards his dad is fading fast leaving behind only a bitter taste in Dean's mouth. He knows he'll beat himself up plenty later about ever having doubted his father in the first place. If anything, dad is the hero Dean always thought he was and for now Dean can't get the smile off his face. He quickly changes into the scrubs, happy to be finally wearing something which actually covers both his ass cheeks.

In the end Anna's decapitated head is shoved brusquely into John's bag and the body left where it fell. No doubt it's going to give the cleaning lady a nasty shock in the morning but getting it out of the room without being seen would be damn near impossible so the body they can leave, the head however has got to go. A decapitated body is bad enough but letting the Feds find a severed head, which comes complete with a set of retractable vampire teeth, would be grounds for shock on a whole other level.

Sam is gently placed on a gurney, a sheet covering him and the Winchesters are off scurrying through the hospital like the devil's on their tail. They head straight for the elevator and as the doors slide open a harassed looking nurse shuffles out, pausing as she glances down at Sam's sleeping face and then up at John, a curious expression settling on her features. "Wait, are you taking Sam Winchester for his scan now doctor…..?"

John shifts nervously as she leans in for a closer look at his ID badge and cottons on fast that the face in the picture isn't the one she's stood nose to nose with right now. She shrieks and Sam, who never did like missing out on things, chooses his moment to wake up with perfect timing. Sam's eyes open to slits, shooting daggers through his skull. His head feels muzzy and he's somewhat confused because the last thing he saw before everything went dark was Anna's manic face, "Dad? Dean? Wh..what's going on?"

Dean reaches over, shoving a hand over Sam's mouth as he rams the gurney past the nurse into the waiting elevator. His face scrunches as he mentally grapples for a suitable cover story, "erm…quick doctor, the patient is becoming hysterical" he shouts blatantly ignoring Sam, who's giving him one of his famous Sam Winchester glares.

John shrugs his shoulders at an attempt of an apology and hustles himself into the elevator. The nurse continues screeching and her face is becoming seriously red so Dean pounds his fist on the buttons and the doors finally slide closed.

SNSNSNSNSNSNSN

They're in a whole other state by the next morning and John picks the remotest motel he can find. Judging from how well the place is maintained, it's remote enough to rarely have more than a handful of guests so ideal for the Winchesters' needs.

Sam lets Dean help him over to his new bed, wincing as his body aches in disapproval. He feels crappy, seems like the last few days have been one long fight and he's been the punching bag. He still doesn't know what went down back there in the hospital with Anna so he leans forward to listen as Dean speaks.

"So dad, just how exactly did you get away from the cops?" Dean spots Sam's forehead crease in confusion as his eyebrows take a nosedive. Dean turns to him "CPS thought dad was beating the tar outta ya, you believe that bull?"

"No way?" Sam's eyebrows plunge even deeper.

John sits himself on the edge of Sam's bed and rests his hand on Sam's knee, "boys, there isn't a set of handcuffs in the world can hold me, not when I know my sons are in danger".

"You should have seen it Sam, that Anna bitch didn't know what hit her". Dean's face breaks into a huge grin and the sight of it makes Sam feel suddenly both at ease and blissfully safe.

John smiles as he gets up and walks towards the door. "Going somewhere dad?" Sam's asks, a sudden wave of apprehension sinking his good mood.

John's fingers turn the key in the door, locking it. "Not for a day or two. We'll rest up then we're heading for Pacific City, Oregon. Joshua's left me a voicemail about a nasty water wraith up there, been attacking surfers".

Sam's eyes can't hide his dismay, 'moving on', he thinks grimly. He leans back against the pillows, watching as his dad begins pulling out several crumpled newspaper clippings from his pocket before pinning them to the wall. Dean sits on his own bed, busying himself by meticulously cleaning his shotgun with an oiled cloth. Sam relaxes letting his thoughts wander as he looks around their room. Taking in the garish patterned wallpaper, the Formica covered table and mismatched rickety chairs. A small smile rests on his lips, realisation dawning now that home isn't here in some ancient fleabag motel, it's wherever dad and Dean are. He just can't quite believe he's only just starting to appreciate it.

"Sammy? Hey Sam?" Dean's voice breaks through Sam's thoughts, "we're going to grab some food, you feel well enough to come with us kid?"

Sam looks down at his arm. The bite marks are getting better, slowly turning from purple to yellow where the skin is still bruised. They say time is a healer but sometimes it leaves scars that pucker and fade but never really go away. Sam pulls his shirtsleeve down to cover the wounds. He clambers off the bed and hobbles to catch up with his family because right now, there's nowhere else he'd rather be.

End

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Okay I was veering off into cheesedom there so thought I'd draw things to a close. Thanks so much to each and every one of you who've read this story and a huge hug to those who took time out to leave a review.