The plot thickens. Can i just apologise for the LONG delay for this chapter. It took me a while to decide where this was going but hopefully it doesn't disappoint. I have had overwhelming support for this story, and i thank you all for such kind reviews, messages and such like. It means a lot.

After the wait, i hope this is worth it :)

x

Enjoy ;)


"Daddy"

John could here his youngest sobbing beside him, he could feel his little hands pressing down on his arm. He grimaced as the incessant beeping from beside him made his skull feel like a rope stretched to its limit. He moved his arm to press the alarm, guessing that Sam had had one of his irrational nightmares, the ones that always seemed to feature some hacked off clown. He sighed as he had to concede, his boy was weird.

However, his hand connected not with the alarm, but with something wholly more hairy and trembling.

"Srry, Sam…" he slurred, groggily.

"Dad?" the youngest Winchester cried hopefully. "You're awake?"

John swallowed, wondering why the hell his mouth felt like it had been stuffed with cotton.

"Hmm." He replied, gently brushing his hand across Sam's hand. He tried to sit up, but a shooting pain in his arm told him that that wasn't a viable option.

"Don't daddy…doc says you have to take it easy…I don't want to lose you…it was scary…"

John coughed and opened his eyes fully, glancing into the puffy face of his ten year old. He must have been like this for days. John ran a hand through Sam's fringe sighing, and wondering why he hadn't done this for so long.

Because Dean always does it…

"Sam, where's your brother?" he asked, keeping the fear at bay.

Sam gulped.

"You don't remember?" Sam's voice quivered.

"Son, I think that's more than freakin' obvious." He snapped at the young boy.

Sam bowed his head, and John immediately felt guilty, his hand flying to his son's shoulder.

Nothing was said, but Sam appreciated the gesture nonetheless. He wasn't alone anymore. He had been dreading this moment, but he had to believe that his dad could help.

"Dean's dead, dad."

John blinked.

"What?"

"I told you…he…died…" Sam was fighting back tears.

"Sam, tell me the truth!" John shouted, pushing past the pain to sit up, shaking Sam's shoulders.

"Dad, it is the truth…" Tears creeped out, as Sam's breath hitched. He'd been alone for a whole day. He'd watched his brother die, watched the doctors stop. He'd screamed at them to keep going, he'd been carried away kicking, raging at the doctors for stopping. Dean wasn't dead, he couldn't be.

He remembered walking into his father's room, unable to think, unable to stop crying.

"Dad…wake up now…Dean needs us, please wake up…"

The room remained silent apart from the same bleep that echoed, again and again.

"Damnit! Dad…wake up!" Sam cried, pushing his father's limp body.

That did nothing but send the monitor into a long streamed beep.

Doctors and nurses rushed in, and Sam cursed, fearing the loss of his father an hour since he lost his big brother. But the nurses soon found nothing wrong, and reset the monitor.

Sam collapsed into a chair, and held his head in his hands. He felt so alone.

The doctor watched as the boy fell apart. He was too young, and it wasn't fair. He walked toward him and knelt at his side.

"Sam, is it?" he asked, kindly.

Sam nodded.

"Your dad is going to be just fine, should be waking soon in fact…he lost a lot of blood that's all, his body needed the rest…"

Sam snorted, bitterly.

"And Dean? He need the rest too?" Even at ten, he had a mouth that could rival his brother. He was haunted by a childhood that had been less than happy, despite the fact that John had tried to salvage the best family he could from the wreckage that had been left since Mary's death.

"I know, son…it's hard. But maybe it was Dean's time…and you know, maybe he's not in pain anymore…"

"But I am," Sam whined, "It hurts so much…right here." He placed his hand over his heart unable to swallow the lump in his throat.

The doctor's heart almost broke.

"I know…I know it doesn't feel like it now, but it will get better. Each passing day will help you focus on the happy times with your brother…and I see a lot of families like yours, all of them manage in the end…and you know Dean would want you to be brave."

Sam shook his head.

"He wouldn't…not now. He'd want me to carry on, not feel anything…but he'd want me to say goodbye properly…he wouldn't mind this time…not now."

The doctor smiled sympathetically.

"You wanna go say goodbye now?"

Sam swallowed, but he shook his head again.

"Need to wait for dad. He needs telling."

"Of course. You come find me when you guys are ready…"

Sam nodded as the doctor walked away.

He approached his dad's bed, and sat in the chair beside him. He placed a hand on his arm and the tears started to fall.

"Dad…"

"No…he was…no…I…"

"Dad, he died. You carried him in, then you collapsed, cos of your arm and then…Dean died…they tried to help him, but …"

John turned to stare numbly ahead. He couldn't process this…His first born was dead. And he hadn't even said goodbye.

"Where is he?"

"Next door…the doctor said we could say goodbye when you woke up…"

"You've been alone this whole time?"

Sam sniffed.

"Yeah. I was okay" He was far from okay.

"Oh, Sam…I'm so sorry" He pulled his son into a tight hug, stroking his hair. Sam trembled, fighting back the sobs. He climbed onto his dad's bed and clung to him.

"I want Dean…" he panted.

"I know, son, I know…" John's voice cracked and he couldn't stop the tears any longer. They fell into his son's long hair, and he brushed them away.

A knock at the door tore them from their grief.

"I'm sorry to disturb, but…we need to check you over, sir." The nurse said politely, a pained, broken smile etched on her face.

John nodded, and wiped away his son's tears.

"It's okay, Sam…we'll go say goodbye to your brother…"

Sam's breaths came short and hitching. He wanted his brother back so much it hurt. Hurt worse than anything Sam had ever felt before.

He watched as the nurse gave his dad the once over, smiling that everything was okay. She'd fetch the doctor just to let him know.

Sam bit the inside of his cheek, as his felt his dad's gaze bore into him.

"Good to see you awake, Mr Winchester."

John cast a worried look at his son, and knew that Sam hadn't been able to think straight enough to come up with a fake name. Hell, John couldn't expect that of a ten year old, especially a ten year old that had just watched his brother die.

John smiled weakly.

"Can I see my son?" he whispered.

The doctor bowed his head.

"Of course. I'll get you a wheelchair brought in."

"No, it's fine, I'll walk." John almost wanted to feel pain, something to make him go through what Dean did.

"It's no troub-"

"No. I will walk…" He was resolute.

Sam rushed to his dad's side and helped ease him off the bed. Wincing a little, John stepped forward, and his youngest, and now only child stayed at his arm. Together they stumbled down the cold, plastic corridor, every step taking them closer to their lost relative.

Taking a deep breath, Sam moved forward to open the door. The room was empty apart from one bed. Monitors had been pushed to the side, and a sheet had been drawn over the bed. John could barely comprehend that it covered the dead body of his son.

He stood at the door. He couldn't do this. His son was dead. He'd failed to do the one thing he had pledged to do the moment Mary had set the young boy in his arms. He swore that he would never let anything bad happen to his sons, that he would put himself in front of anything that threatened his sons, but at the time when Dean was really in trouble, really dying, John hadn't been there.

He trudged forward to the bed, and held Sam's shoulder to steady himself. Sam looked up into his father's haunted, grizzled face and he bit his lip. John nodded his reassurance and Sam leaned over the body to pull up the sheet.

Dean was so pale. He looked so cold. His beautiful eyes were closed, and John gasped a little, a breath escaping like a sob, as the peace of his son's face made him grieve more. He looked so much like Mary. He looked so sweet, and young, and innocent. You'd never know the life that this young boy had had. So full of cruelty, revenge, hell. Dean had barely known anything else, and somehow he managed to creep through it, help his father when he needed it most, and even now, lying dead on the trolley, John could feel something like comfort coming from his eldest. It didn't matter that it didn't stop the turmoil gushing through his entire body at knowing his son was gone forever.

"Oh, Dean…" John bit his lip, and placed a hand on his cold son's forehead.

He sank to his knees beside the bed, Sam backing off to let his dad have this moment. There was barely anything left to cry, and Sam tried to ignore the stabbing pains in his stomach. He wanted Dean back.

"I am so sorry, son…" He ran his hand through his short hair.

"I should've been here, I should have got you…I…I-I"

"We love you." Sam interrupted, coming to sit beside his father, his hand upon his knee.

John closed his eyes.

"I-I…I…can't…." he breathed, hot tears burning down his cheek.

Sam swallowed.

"What dad means is, he can't say goodbye to you Dean. We can't…you have no idea how much pain this is causing us, bro…it hurts so much, I just want to die…"

John looked at his youngest, worriedly. But Sam carried on.

"But we have to carry on fighting, isn't that right? That's what you'd say, right? And we will, but right now, we have to…mourn…I love you…I feel sick without you. I wish you were here. And I'm really sorry that I never saw this one, never helped, cos I should have known. And this thing. It will be my last hunt. I don't want to fight if your not there with me."

John grabbed his youngest's arm.

"What?" he snapped.

"Dad, I won't. I don't care any more. Dean's dead cos of this...."

"No, Sam. This thing? Your supposed last hunt? Are you telling me that Dean's death was supernatural?"

Sam nodded weakly.

"No. No, no, no…" John released his hold on Sam's forearm.

"He was really sick, and it was so sudden, and last night, just before he…died…well, I heard something. I saw something…"

"What did you see?!"

"Dad…he's dead…we can't do anything. I don't want to."

"Sam!" John warned.

"DAD!" Sam shouted back. "Dean was a hunter through and through. He loved it; he loved being someone you were proud of. But it doesn't mean that he wants us to go on doing such a horrible job. He'd rather we were happy, dad."

"Shut up…" John breathed. "Don't say a word, Sammy. If you saw something unnatural kill Dean, tell me now. Or don't ever speak to me again."

Sam's lip quivered and he didn't know what to do. Why did grief always send his father on some distorted quest for revenge?

"It was an old woman…she was…frail…and I dunno, I went sort of cold when she walked past me."

"She saw Dean?"

"She came from his room…"

"And then?"

"And then, there was a code blue called…and then, Dean died." Sam murmured.

John half smiled.

"Did you hear anything? Any incantations…"

"No but she was like…in this trance. Like sleepwalking with her eyes open…and whispering about something."

"What?"

"Something about being hypnotised. Which I guessed she was to be honest. I didn't take that much notice cos the next minute Dean was dead."

"Dean's not dead."

Sam looked up sharply.

"Dad, don't start."

"Sammy, Dean isn't dead…he's not good, but he's not dead."

"But he…but…"

John ran a hand across Dean's arm and looked once again at his youngest son.

"Dean isn't dead."

Sam ran to him, and for that moment, it didn't matter how, or why, all that mattered was that they hadn't lost the one person that kept them going. Dean was alive!

TBC