A Hard Road Ch. 32
Disclaimer. Still don't own them and still not making a profit from my stories.
Previously: Knowing the boys needed their rest, the hunters said their goodbyes and promised to be back in the morning when visiting hours started. Once the others left, John pulled a chair up beside Dean's bed to keep watch over his boys for the night. "We're gonna be okay boys." He said knowing that as long as he had the two of them, that he could face anything that life threw at him from here on out.
Morning found John waking up with a kink in his back from having catnapped in an uncomfortable chair throughout the night since he was unable to get any decent sleep. He had been awoken several times as nurses came in throughout the night to check on Dean. At one point, he had to stop one of the nurses from physically removing Sammy from the bed, telling her that Dean wouldn't rest comfortably without having his baby brother by his side. Raising his arms up and arching his back, John stretched to get the kinks out of his muscles and then looked at his sleeping youngsters. Sammy was snuggled into Dean's side with his head now resting in the crook of Dean's shoulder and he had his thumb tucked into his mouth sucking on it intermittently. Reaching over to remove the thumb from Sammy's mouth, he whispered, "Kiddo, what am I going to do with you? I thought we had finally broken you of that little habit."
"Sammy sucks his thumb every night dad, he just waits for you to leave the room"
"Dean, you're awake." John said with a huge smile as he focused his attention on his oldest son. "How are you feeling Ace?"
"M'fine Dad. But please don't tell Sammy what I said. He doesn't want you to think he's a baby. It's just that he's still having nightmares and it calms him to have his thumb in his mouth."
"Dean, is he still dreaming about what happened with the clowns?" John asked with concern as he brushed a hand lightly through Sammy's hair to keep from waking him up.
"Yeah, but they're getting better. He doesn't fully awaken from them anymore if I can catch them soon enough."
"Dean, why didn't you tell me Sammy was having the nightmares?" John asked feeling guilty for not knowing how distressed his youngest child still was over the clown incident.
"Because I've been able to handle them myself dad. Besides, it's my job to look out for Sammy." Dean answered with a statement of fact.
"And you do a damned fine job of it too sport." John said with pride, tinged with a little bit of guilt also. He was extremely proud of the way Dean always took care of Sammy and looked after his needs first instead of his own, but then he felt guilty for putting that weight on Dean's shoulders since Dean was still just a kid himself.
"Thanks dad" Dean said as he felt Sammy shifting beside him. Wrapping his arm around Sammy and pulling him a little bit closer, he heard Sammy sigh in contentment before fully relaxing into sleep once again.
Later that morning, Bobby and the others walked into Dean's hospital room to see the Winchester boys giggling while watching a Tom and Jerry cartoon as John sat writing in his journal. They breathed a sigh of relief to see both boys acting so carefree as if they didn't have a care in the world. Walking over towards John, Bobby handed him a cup of strong, black coffee. Looks like Dean is feeling pretty good this morning." He said as he nodded his head towards the bed.
"Yeah, the doc was in a few minutes ago to check him out. He said if Dean is able to eat some breakfast and keep it down, he'll consider letting him go this morning." John replied with a smile.
"That's fantastic news." Bobby stated as he pulled up the other chair in the room to sit down. "So what are you and the boys planning on doing once Dean is released?" Bobby inquired just as the door opened and a nurse walked in carrying a breakfast tray.
"Good morning boys." The nurse said with a smile as she pulled over the portable table and placed the tray down on it. Readjusting the height for the boys, she opened the top of the tray to reveal two bowls filled with Lucky Charms and two small cartons of white milk.
"Yay Charms." Sammy shouted upon seeing his favorite cereal. He was about to dig in but looked shyly towards Dean instead. "You eats them Deanie, the nurse bringed them for you." He said with a wistful look at the cereal.
"I brought them for both of you little man." The nurse informed Sammy as she reached out to ruffle his chocolate brown locks. You didn't think I would leave out the best little brother in the world did you? You took such good care of Dean last night so I thought you might be hungry too."
"Yep, I'm is!" Sammy stated with a smile as he pulled one of the bowls towards himself and waited for Dean to pour the milk in for him. Once Dean poured the milk into his bowl, Sammy scooped up a spoonful of the cereal loaded with marshmallows of different colors and shoved it into his mouth, a look of pure happiness on his face, even with the milk dribbling down his chin.
"Yeah, I guess you are." The nurse said with a laugh as she watched both boys enjoying their breakfast. Her favorite part of being a pediatric nurse was when she was rewarded with a big smile from a child, especially from the two precious angels sitting on the bed before her. Needing to look in on her other patients, the nurse turned to John and said, "I'll be back in a few minutes to see if Dean was able to keep his food down. There is a small kidney shaped basin in the top drawer of the stand should Dean become nauseous and need it."
"Thanks Janice." John replied grateful for kindness of the young nurse. She was really good with Dean and took the time to make sure Sammy was felt special too.
"You're welcome John. Just let me know if there is anything more I can do to help." With those words, Janice left the room to check on her other patients.
An hour later found the doctor signing Dean's release papers while John helped his oldest to get dressed. Dean had been able to keep his breakfast down and his vital signs were all looking good. Handing the sheet with the instructions over to John, the doctor said, "Make sure he gets plenty of rest over the next few days and that he doesn't do anything too strenuous. If Dean starts suffering from dizzy spells, or his headaches get worse, bring him back or get him to another doctor as it could be a sign of something more serious going on."
"You can count on it doc." John answered as he placed Dean's shoes on his feet and tied the laces for him. He knew how dangerous head wounds could be, especially for children and that was one thing he wouldn't take any chances with. Helping Dean into the wheelchair, he hoisted Sammy into his arms and then everyone followed Janice out as she pushed Dean towards the exit where Joshua was waiting on them with the Impala after having went to the parking garage to give Dean some curbside service.
Once they made it to the car, Bobby helped Dean into the backseat while John placed his youngest in the carseat and strapped him in securely before climbing into the backseat himself. Bobby was going to chauffeur them back to Joshua's cabin so he could keep a close eye on his boys. Glancing in the rearview mirror, Bobby saw Joshua's truck pull up behind the muscle car with Josh driving and Caleb riding shotgun. "Here we go boys." Bobby stated with a smile as he pulled out, happy to leave the hospital behind. He couldn't help but think how lucky they had been this time that Dean had only suffered a concussion, things could have been much, much worse.
The drive to the cabin was relatively quiet as Dean snuggled into his father's side and went to sleep while Sammy watched his brother with worry. Seeing the fearful look on Sammy's face, John said, "Don't worry tiger, Dean's fine. He's just going to need his rest for the next few days."
"Kay daddy" Sammy replied as he turned his face toward the window and sneakily placed his thumb in his mouth for comfort.
John had to smirk as he watched his baby trying to be secretive. He would allow Sammy to get away with it this time knowing that he was worried about his big brother. But he planned on working with him over the next few weeks to stop the bad habit before it messed up Sammy's teeth.
Arriving back at the cabin, Dean carried a sleeping Dean in to place him in bed while Bobby took care of getting Sammy out of the car. Knowing that Dean needed his rest, John decided to take Sammy over to the small playground where he could play without disturbing his older brother. Taking a seat on the wooden bench, John watched while his youngest played on the slide for a few minutes before walking over to the sandbox to play with the toys that were located there.
Approximately an hour later, John called an end to playtime and carried his youngest back over to the cabin. He needed to gather their things together since he wanted to hit the road in the morning. It was time he and his boys took some time to themselves.
Placing Sam in front of the television, John walked to the boys room and started gathering their things and placed them into their duffle bags. He had only been packing a few minutes when Bobby walked into the room with a startled look upon his face.
"John, what are you doing?" Bobby asked fearful of the answer that he knew was coming.
"I'm packing up our things Bobby. We've infringed on everybody's hospitality long enough and it's time the boys and I get back on the road." John answered knowing Bobby would be displeased with his answer.
"John, you haven't been infringing on anybody's hospitality. You know how much we love those boys. Dean's just getting over being in the hospital. Why don't you give it a month or so and allow him the time to fully recuperate."
"I'm sorry Bobby, but I need to do this. I need some time alone with my boys. I don't want to hurt you and the others, but we have to learn to depend on ourselves if we're going to survive this life. Please understand how I feel. I promise to bring the boys by every so often so they won't forget their Uncle Bobby." John stated hoping to make Bobby understand his reasons for leaving.
"I do understand John, and I guess I can't blame ya, but that doesn't mean I have to like it." Bobby stated hating to think about how lonely his days would be without those boys around.
"Thanks Bobby." John replied grasping the older hunter's shoulder and giving it a firm squeeze.
That evening, Bobby and the others took the time to play with the boys and enjoy their time together knowing how hard it would be to watch them drive off in the morning. Dean and Sammy were so firmly entrenched into their lives now that it would be like watching their own children driving away. Going to bed that night, each hunter stated a silent prayer that the angels would watch over the Winchesters until they were all back together once again.
THE END---for now! Thank you so much for your support throughout this story. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing it, but need time to focus on my other stories.