A Hard Road

Disclaimer: I don't own the Winchesters, CW and Kripke does.

Author's Note: This story starts approximately a month after Mary's death so Sammy is seven months old and Dean is four.

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John Winchester sat silently on the bed of what would be the first of many motel rooms watching his boys sleeping. Dean was lying on the bed by the far wall and Sammy was in a crib provided by the motel. He was on his way to Blue Earth Minnesota to talk to a Pastor John Murphy after having spoken to Missouri Moseley. The psychic had confirmed that he was not crazy as he was beginning to fear after witnessing his wife's horrifying death. The fire marshal had tried to convince him that the fire had been started by faulty wiring in the ceiling, but he knew better. He had watched his Mary burning on the ceiling, her stomach eviscerated by something evil that had been in their house that fateful night. Missouri had told him about the things out there that people never dreamed of. His family had been visited by pure evil and it had left it's mark. Missouri also told him about people out there, people she called hunters, who fought the forces of evil and would teach him how to defend himself and his boys.

So here he was a month after his wife's death spending the night in a motel with his nearly five year old son who had quit talking and a seven month old. He worried about Dean who had fallen silent a few days after Mary's death and had yet to utter a word. He remembered the energetic child that Dean had been just before Mary's death. He and Mary had even joked that they thought Dean might have a hyperactivity disorder since he was always so active, even in sleep. Oh how he wished to see that child again instead of the solemn one that Dean had now become. He hoped that Dean would be able to sleep through the night without having one of the nightmares that seemed to plague his oldest child lately.

Knowing that he needed to get some sleep himself, he walked over and pulled the blankets up more firmly around Dean before bending down to kiss him on the forehead. "Sweet dreams kiddo" he whispered before standing up and walking to the foot of the bed where Sammy was sleeping in the crib. He reached down to check his diaper to make sure it was dry and then pulled the pastel blue baby blanket up over his youngest. It hurt him to think that Sammy would never know his mother and what a wonderful mother she was. He stood for a minute and watched as his baby squirmed and then put his thumb in his mouth and started sucking on it. He sighed in relief as Sammy relaxed into sleep once again. With any luck, Sammy would sleep through the night and they would be able to get an early start in the morning.

John walked over to the bathroom door and opened it. He turned on the light and then left it slightly ajar knowing how much Dean hated sleeping in the dark now. He shut of the light beside his bed before lying down himself. He still had trouble with the idea of sleeping alone and wished he had Mary's warm body curled up beside him. "God, I miss you so much Mary" he whispered before closing his eyes and slowly drifting off to a restless sleep.

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John woke up early the next morning and wiped the sleep from his eyes as he glanced over to check on Dean. He wasn't surprised to find the bed empty. For the past two weeks, Dean had taken to climbing into Sammy's crib if he woke in the middle of the night. One look confirmed that Dean had indeed climbed into the crib sometime during the night. He was lying on his side with an arm thrown protectively over his baby brother. If Dean needed the comfort of sleeping with his baby brother right now, he wasn't about to take that from him.

John decided to take a quick shower while his boys were still sleeping. He quietly ruffled through the old duffle bag that he had kept after his stint in the Marines. He never dreamed that he would be using it so soon again. Pulling out a clean pair of jeans, boxers and his USMC tee-shirt, he walked into the bathroom and took a quick shower leaving the door ajar so he could listen out for his boys. He still got nervous if the boys were out of his sight for more than just a few seconds.

After John finished his shower, he walked out of the bathroom to find Dean already dressed and looking up at him with those beautiful green eyes of his and holding a diaper and wipes in his hand. John didn't need Dean to tell him that Sammy had soiled his diaper and was in need of changing. John walked over to the crib to see his baby gazing up at him with two fingers planted firmly in his mouth. He reached down into the crib and gently lifted him up and carried him over to his bed. He quickly stripped Sammy of the sleeper he was in while Dean went through Sammy's bag to get him something to wear. As John opened the diaper, he wrinkled his nose at the smell that greeted him. "Jeez kiddo, can't you give daddy a break once in a while" he asked as he pulled out two wipes to clean the mess off of his baby's behind. After cleaning Sammy's little bottom, he put another diaper on him and then looked up to see Dean standing there with a big smile on his face and the clothes that he had picked out for Sammy.

"You think that's funny huh kiddo" John asked as he reached over to pick Dean up and place him on the bed beside Sammy. "Maybe next time I'll have you change Sammy's stinky diaper while I get him something to wear." He laughed as he watched his youngest vigorously shake his head no. John then quickly dressed Sammy in the blue jeans and the baby blue shirt with teddy bears on it that Dean had given him.

"Alright boys, let's hit the road" John said as he reached down and picked Sammy up and held him in one arm as he used the other to pick up his duffle bag and sling it over his shoulder. He waited until Dean was by his side before walking out the door.

He placed his bag in the trunk before walking around and opening the back door of the Impala. He watched as Dean climbed in the car before leaning in and placing Sammy in his car seat and strapping him in. Dean rifled through Sammy's bag and took out his favorite rattle and placed it in his little hands. Sammy took the offered toy and cooed as he shook it up and down. Knowing that Sammy was taken care of, Dean leaned back and pulled his seatbelt on as he sat beside his baby brother. As John climbed into the front seat behind the steering wheel, he adjusted the rearview mirror so he could see his boys before pulling out of the parking lot. They were still a few hundred miles from Blue Earth and John settled in for a long ride.

After a couple of hours of driving, John pulled into a McDonald's restaurant and parked. He figured Dean was probably hungry and he could use some food himself. He quickly grabbed a jar of baby food from Sammy's diaper bag and then unbuckled Sammy from his car seat and picked him up while Dean unfastened his own seatbelt. He grasped Dean by the hand and led him inside the restaurant. Walking up to the counter, he ordered Dean a cheeseburger, small fries, and a coke while ordering himself a Big Mac with extra onions, a large fry and a coke.

While waiting for his order, John grabbed one of the high chairs in the corner and sat it beside a table while Dean climbed into the booth. He quickly placed Sammy into the high chair making sure his son was secured so he couldn't climb out. He opened the jar of rice cereal and handed it to Dean to feed his baby brother while he returned to the counter to get their order.

John carried the food over to the table and then encouraged Dean to eat while he fed Sammy. He quickly took bites of his own food in between spoon feeding his baby boy. After finishing their meal, John made sure that Dean used the restroom before getting on the road once again. He took that time the time to change Sammy also. After hitting the road once again, John hoped he would only have to make one more stop to fill the car with gas and pick up something for dinner. With any luck, they would arrive at Pastor Jim Murphy's home by eight o'clock in the evening.

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Pastor Jim was sitting in the study of his parsonage working on a sermon when he heard the sounds of a car engine rumbling outside his door. He wondered if it might be the family that Missouri Moseley had called him about earlier. Missouri had informed him that the Winchester family had been visited by a demon on the night of November 2nd and that the mother had been killed protecting the youngest. He knew this small family would need all the support that he and others could offer now that they knew what was truly out there.

Jim pushed himself up from behind his desk and walked over to open the door. He watched as the man opened the rear door of a 1967 Chevy Impala and reached inside. When the man straightened up once again, he could see him holding an infant child in his right arm while his left hand clasped the small hand of another little tyke. As the small family strode towards him, Jim could see the weariness in the face of the father and wondered if the man had had a good night's sleep since his wife had been taken from them.

Jim smiled and greeted the small family as they walked up stairs. "Hello John, Missouri Moseley called and told me you would be coming. It is alright if I call you John isn't it?" Jim inquired as he welcomed the family inside his house. At seeing the man nod in acceptance, Jim went on to say, "Missouri has also told me about what happened to your family and I want you to know that I am here to help you in any way that I can. I'm sure you have many questions, but they can wait until we get you and your boys settled."

"Thanks Pastor, but we can get a motel for the night" John said as he stared in awe at the man who welcomed them with open arms. He was amazed how the man was so willing to accept them into his own home when he didn't know anything about them other than what Missouri had told him.

"You will do no such thing. I have plenty of room here for you and your boys. We have a nursery in the church so I'll have any supplies that the baby will need and I'm sure the boys would be more comfortable here than in some nasty motel room and by the way, please call me Jim" the pastor advised John as he said "Follow me."

Jim led John and the boys up a set of stairs and showed him where they would be sleeping. "I have set up two beds in here just in case you were uncomfortable being away from your boys. I'll get a portable crib from the nursery for your little one after we have dinner and set it up in the room also.

John was still somewhat nervous about spending the night in the pastor's house, especially after what had happened to Mary. "Are you sure you want us to stay here, I mean…" John trailed off not wanting to talk about his fears in front of Dean.

Jim instantly understood the man's fears as he watched the tension building in his posture. "Let me assure you John, you and the boys are safer here than anywhere else since this holy ground. I also have protective wards and sigils placed throughout the house and grounds. You can sleep peacefully tonight knowing that nothing can get to you or your boys.

"I don't know how to thank you for what you're doing for me and my boys" John said as he visibly relaxed knowing that his boys would be protected at least while they were staying here. Realizing that he hadn't introduced the boys, he said "Forgive me for not introducing my boys. The little one here in my arms is Sammy and the one standing by my side is Dean."

"It's nice to meet you boys" Jim said as he reached out to shake Dean's hand, only to see the youngest slip behind his father's legs for protection.

Placing a protective arm around Dean's shoulders, John said "He's kind of wary now around people he doesn't know."

"That's totally understandable after everything he's been through" Jim said as he thought about the horrors that his young eyes must have witnessed on that dreadful night. "Why don't you and the boys get washed up and I'll start dinner."

TBC Should I continue? Do you want to read a story about John learning to become a hunter as he raises two young boys?