The Test

By Montez

Disclaimer: Do not own, this is strictly for entertainment because I totally love the show and characters.

A/N: not really a seasonal timetable, could be an AU story. Supernatural premise still holding with some episodic references.

John Winchester had raised his boys, after their mother's death, to be soldiers. Seemingly forgetting they were children. The world his eyes had been opened up to in the wake of Mary's death blinded him to everything else. His desperate, all consuming need to find the evil that had stolen his beloved wife, the mother to his children, became his life. His instinct, forged from his service in the Marines, caused the his mind to not see his boys as children, but as soldiers who needed to be trained to survive in this new and horrifically frightening world that now lay before them . He was proud of his boys though he rarely told them. When they were in action they worked as one unit. The boys' moves were so in-sync with one another that even with Sam's years away at college, they quickly fell back into a pattern where words were not needed. Just a look and each could instantly do what was required. John felt safe with the boys backing him up and he was always confident in his ability to back up his boys.

They had been back hunting together for a while: John, Dean and Sam Winchester. It was like when Dean and Sam were younger, before Sam had gone off to college and reduced the Winchester hunting trio to a duo. Everything had fallen back into the familiar, albeit tense, routine. John assumed 'command', much to Sam's distress; Dean quickly and obediently fell into line; and Sam was left to fill the position of antagonist as he again questioned nearly every move made. Sam didn't have the patience his brother did for their father's 'need to know' mentality, so as before the eldest and the youngest Winchesters were in a near- constant battle, leaving Dean to helplessly watch from the sidelines. His need to obey his father conflicting with his need to protect his brother, left Dean in the proverbial minefield that was his family.

00000000000000000000000000000000

After working several jobs in a row they found themselves in an unusual lull between jobs. They used the time to do the mundane things such as laundry; this job was relegated to whomever lost the 'rock, paper, scissors' game the boys came up with as children. Restocking of the first-aid kit, ammo supplies, rock salt and packing of those shotgun shells were on the 'to-do' list as well. It was also a chance to meticulously clean and sharpen their array of weaponry. Though each was always cleaned and/or sharpening after use, a detailed inspection was always good.

The events leading up to the night were normal; at least Winchester-normal. They found themselves that evening at a diner a couple blocks from the motel they had been staying. Between bites of their meals, refills of coffee and Dean's shameless flirting with the barely-legal waitress, they were searching newspapers and websites for possible jobs.

"So anything piquing our interest yet?" Dean pulled his attention from the retreating waitress to glance at his father, hunched over his journal.

"Still working a couple places up. Next day or so we should be good to go." John answered without looking up as Sam continued working on his laptop.

"Good, I'm starting to get a little rusty here." Dean smirked as he again caught the waitress's eye, giving her his trademark smile, watching her giggle with the other waitresses.

"It's getting late." John started gathering his papers, standing, thus signaling to the boys it was time to head back to the motel. Sam quietly closed his laptop as Dean made his way to pay the check. Glancing at his brother Sam was sure Dean was probably going to also get a phone number with his receipt. Sam chuckled to himself as their father passed Dean with a 'let's go'. Dean looked like a kid who'd been caught doing something he wasn't supposed to be doing as he looked longingly at the waitress, then turned to follow his father out the door. Sam was the last one out of the diner, pausing outside the door trying to get his computer back into its' bag. As John and Dean were crossing the street heading back to the motel, Dean saw his father drop a few papers.

"Hey dad, you dropped something!" Dean yelled out as John stepped up onto the sidewalk and turned. "I'll get it." As Dean stooped to grab the papers a car came screaming around the corner.

"DEAN LOOK OUT!!" John shouted.

Sam, just reaching the corner, looked up at his father's panicked yell only to see his brother in the path of an oncoming car that didn't seem to be slowing. "DEAN!!" Sam yelled as his body instinctively reacted.

Dean didn't know what had hit him. He was pretty sure it wasn't the car, but the force of the impact sent him tumbling. Instinct, born from his father's training, caused Dean to tuck his head down and roll from the hit. His action allowed him come up quickly onto his hand's and knee's, the gust of wind from the speeding car ruffling his jacket. His mind racing through all the possible reason's why he would have ended up on the ground as he was didn't come close to the scene that played out in front of him. That scene being of his little brother, the one it is his job to protect, being somersaulted over the hood and roof of the car. At the same time Dean heard his father screaming, "SAM!!"

"Sammy!" Dean yelled as he watched helplessly as his baby brother hit the ground with a sickening thud, the car speeding away, never stopping. Dean got to Sam first, dropping next to him. "Oh God Sam," he whispered.

John instantly appeared on Sam's other side, both of the older Winchesters momentarily stunned at what they had just witnessed. John had watched in horror as the car rounded the corner. In the fraction of a second it had taken him to shout Dean's name, he watched as Sam bolted for his brother. John himself seemed to be frozen, unable for one of the few times in his life to react to the horrifying scene being played out in front of him as his youngest, his baby boy, was run down by a hit-and-run driver.

Dean was afraid to touch Sam, who was lying face down, blood trailing from seemingly every part of his body. His leg was at such an unnatural angle Dean felt bile rise in his throat. In his shock, seeing his brother look so broken, Dean couldn't tell if Sam was breathing or not. He unconsciously pulled his phone out and dialed 911, never even remembering doing so.

John, trying himself to grasp what was happening, shakingly reached his hand to his youngest's neck, praying he'd find a pulse. "God, he's alive!" This seemed to snap both men out of their shock and they each quickly removed their jackets, laying them over Sam's still body. "Sammy you hold on, help's coming," John whispered as he gently touched the side of his son's face, feeling coolness replacing the normal warmth.

Time seemed to pass slowly as the eldest Winchesters waited for the ambulance to arrive, watching as the life's blood seemed to slowly seep away from the youngest. John and Dean continued to whisper assurances to Sam, telling him help was on the way and to hold on. Dean spared a glance at his father, through tear-filled eyes. He was shocked to see tears rolling down his father's face as he listened to the choked words coming from his father's mouth, begging Sam to hold on. Dean in that instant saw the Dad he remembered from all those years ago. It wasn't the drill sergeant his father had become after his mother's death. It wasn't the man who would tell him to patch it up and keep going when he became hurt on a hunt. It was the one who would patch up his skinned knees with bandages and hugs. It was the father whom Dean would run to when he had a bad dream, who would let him curl up in his lap on the recliner in the living room until Dean fell asleep in his arms, knowing he was safe and nothing would hurt him. That was the man he saw across from him, a father who had witnessed one of the most horrible things a parent could witness. In that moment Dean saw John Winchester: his dad.