Disclaimer: No, I don't own anything. Sorry folks.

Author's Note: Alright, so incase folks haven't noticed; yes, I'm having a blast doing character sketches of Dean right now. Dean is awesome. Oh, and if you notice that there seems to be a lack of swearing in here, you're right. Sorry, I don't write that stuff... which is a serious disadvantage when dealing with this family. LOL


As the adrenaline began to fade, Dean noticed driving becoming a good deal more difficult. The car was drifting from side to side a bit; his hands were shaking. Even worse, he could feel the lids of his eyes drooping, growing heavy.

Leaning over, he turned the knob on the radio and In a Godda da Vida suddenly blasted through. Ah, he was just on time. He slapped the steering wheel in rhythm with the music. "In a Gadda da Vida, Hon-ey!" he sang loudly and wildly off tune. "Don't you know that I lo-ove you-u! In a Gadda da Vida, Ba-bey! Don't you know that I'll al-ways be true! Oh wo-on't you come with me-he-hehe! And ah take my-" Then the music was gone. Looking over in shotgun, he saw his dad's hand on the radio, and a frown on his face. "Dude, you just killed Iron Butterfly," Dean accused.

"That's enough of that," said the eldest Winchester, before leaning back and closing his eyes. Glancing at the rearview, he caught Sam's gaze. The youngest seemed to hold some sympathy for his brother, somewhere in that face chock full of boiling anger. Dean sighed.

Pulling up in front of the door, he put the Impala into park and got out of the car. The neon red sign declared "vacancy" which was a good thing, but that didn't mean they could afford the place.

"Can I help you?" asked the woman at the desk. Hair looking like it hadn't been brushed in a month, wide-rimmed glasses, a collared shirt that looked like it'd been made out of 60's wallpaper, crooked yellow teeth, and a cigaret hanging from hot-pink lips; Dean recoiled at the sight of the desk worker. He was definitely not asking this chick out. Suddenly he got the feeling that they might be able to afford the place after all.

After a moment of shocked silence, Dean replied, "Uh, yeah... hopefully. You got a three-bed room?"

"Sorry, Hun. Two fulls is the best I can do for you."

A resigned sigh. "How much?"

"Forty-five bucks a night and it's smoking."

"Forty-five!"

"Cheapest place out here. Can't deal with it, cuddle up with your car."

"You're a real charmer, you know that?" he said, pulling the credit card out of his wallet.

"I try." Reaching for the thirty year-old keyboard beside a similarly ancient monitor, she asked, "What's the name on this?"

Dean glanced at the silver letters on his credit card. "Jamal Montgomery."

The woman stared at him for a long moment, giving him the feeling that she was expecting him to tell her it was a joke so she could react sourly to it. When he did nothing, she blinked and typed it into the computer. Then she held out her hand. Rolling his eyes, Dean stuck the plastic in her hand, careful to avoid the outrageously long fake fingernails.

--

The car door slammed. "Dude, I'm telling you. The next hunt we do should be for that chick. I don't know what's wrong with her, but something that fugly can't be normal."

"Do we have a room?" his dad asked.

"Yeah, number ten. Oh, and Sam, don't wet the bed. We're sharing again."

"Ha, ha, Dean. Just get us to the room," his little brother muttered.

"Fine. Don't anyone thank me or anything."

It only took a moment to pull up outside the room and shut the car off. He popped the trunk, then got out and circled around until he got to the passenger seat. John was already starting to haul himself out of the car, but he looked none too steady. Catching his father under the arm when he started to stumble, Dean gave a thin smile. "Let me give you a hand." It was a testament to how much John was hurting, that he didn't try to shrug his son off.

Hauling his hobbling dad to the door with a rusted "10" nailed into the front, Dean looked at the barred windows and frowned. Apparently they hadn't picked the nice side of town. He shoved the key into the door handle and gave it a quick turn before kicking the door open.

Well, it wasn't really flat out awful, not after some of the other places they'd stayed, but it was pretty darn close. Call him crazy, but for some reason Arabian Nights seemed slightly out of place Podunk, North Dakota. Even worse, they'd somehow managed to keep it feeling decidedly 60's. Boy could he pick them. He crossed the threshold at long last and let his father slip gingerly onto one of the beds before allowing his nose to wrinkle. The air was stagnant in here; laden with animal musk, cigaret smoke, and something sweeter... Marijuana? Dean took several deep breaths, sucking in the fumes, until Sam shot him a disgusted look. "What?" But his brother just kept on walking, dumping their suitcases onto the floor. Dean sighed. "You lock the doors?"

"I'm not an idiot, Dean."

"Now, I don't recall saying you were one, Sammy boy. Cool off."

"It's Sam." Sam walked over to where the TV hung crookedly from the wall mount and pressed the power. Nothing. "TV's broken."

"Don't have time for that now anyway," Dean replied as he unlaced his father's boot. "Get the med kit out, will ya?"

"It's his own darn fault he's hurt," Sam grumbled as he pulled the requested box out of a duffle bag.

"I ain't deaf, you know," their father growled from his position on the bed.

"Really, Dad? Cause I seem to remember someone telling you get so close until we caught up with you, but you didn't seem to hear me," Sam snapped back.

"Oh boy," Dean muttered under his breath as he ripped the soggy sock off his father's foot. Now there was that smell to add to the potpourri.

"I know what I'm doing, Sam. Don't need some kid telling me what to do."

"Yeah, then why are you hurt? Huh? Was that in the plan too? After all, your so darned anxious to get yourself killed..."

"Sam, hush now. I gotta take care of this before it gets infected," Dean cut in.

"I'm trying to take care of you boys!" John roared as he sat back up.

"So that's what you've been doing all these years? Taking care of us? That a darned strange way to do it, Dad! Most folks join the PTA at school and get some lame nine to five job to pay the mortgage, but no. You like to drag your sons all over the country going on revenge killings!"

"Shut up, Sam!" Dean shouted, nearly dropping the disinfectant on the floor.

"Is that what this is all about?" John asked acidly. "PTA meetings and white-picked fences? I don't know if you've noticed, but your mother's dead, and the thing that did it is still out there. Do you honestly think we had a chance of being a normal, Leave it to Beaver, family after that?"

"Dad!" Dean pleaded, looking up from his stitching.

"Yeah, Dad, I think we did. We're never gonna catch that thing. Never going to see it again. But you've dragged us out into the middle of some mess that's too big for us. Now look at us! We're all cut up half the time, but we can't go to a darn doctor's office. We can't finish school, can't have friends, can't have girlfriends unless we're Dean, never held a real job. Mom isn't coming back. What are we going to do when this is over?"

"We're going to do this, Sam. You're place is out here! We're hunters now!"

"Maybe Dean's is, but mine isn't!"

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Means that as soon as I can, I'm gone, and I'm not coming back!"

"Both of you!" Dean shouted, standing up and stepping between them. "Sam. Outside. Now. I'll be back in a sec, Dad."

Standing up, Dean walked over and took his brother's arm in an iron grip, before turning and walking to the door. Sam dug his heels in for a moment, then gave up and followed his irate brother, slamming the door behind them.

As soon as they were in the cool night air, Dean spun Sam around to face him. "What is up with you, huh? Can't you and Dad keep from going at each other's throats for a moment?!" he demanded.

"Why is it always me, Dean?" Sam asked.

"Huh?"

"Why is it always me you haul outside and shout at? Huh?"

"Dad's hurt."

"Bull! You're just too busy being Dad's good little Marine to question any of the junk he throws our way."

"So that's what I should be doing? Questioning him? Sam, if you haven't noticed, he's saved our lives more times than I can count with his 'junk'. All he's doing is trying to keep us alive, and as far as I can tell, he's been doing that. So lay off!"

Sam snorted. "Dean, I remember being pretty far gone a couple of times, I don't know about you. I still remember that time when I was home alone and he came dragging you into the house with a sucking chest wound. You were fifteen, Dean! I'm not even out of high school yet, and we've got more scars than all his old army buddies combined! Yeah, Dean, he's been doing a pretty bang-up job at keeping us alive!"

"We're in a war, Sammy. Things like that happen."

"We didn't choose this war. I sure as heck didn't."

"Yeah, well, we're in it. So deal!"

"Not for very much longer, I'm not. Soon as I'm old enough, I'm getting out of here, Dean. You aught to come too. Maybe we can salvage something, live some sort of normal life. I could go to college and you could... I don't know, work on classic cars? Think about it, Dean!"

"I'm done thinking about it, Sam. He needs us here, so that's just where I'm going to be."

"Ah, great! More of this stupid soldier-boy duty crap!"

"What do you want me to do, Sam? Leave him? And what if something happens to him, huh? What? Do I just pretend like it isn't my fault?"

"Yeah, Dean, that's exactly what you do, because it isn't your fault."

Dean shook his head in disbelief. "We've all got a job to do, Sam. Dad's our point-man, and I've gotta do everything I can so that he can focus on his job and not worry about anything else. If I don't do that, then someone's going to get hurt. You know sure as anything, Dad can't take care of himself."

"Dean-"

"Shut it. Now I'm going inside to finish patching Dad back up. You stay out here until you cool off, then come back in. Don't even think about hot-wiring my baby and taking off. I'll hunt you down. Got it? Good." With that, Dean turned and went back into the hotel room.

Rubbing his aching temples with a hand and giving a deep sigh, Dean got back down on his knees, picked up the needle again, and made the last stitch. Then he snapped the thread and tied a knot in it. "Where's Sam?" his father asked.

"Blowing off some steam," he muttered. "Why do ya'll always have to do this?"

"You boys just don't get it," John sighed.

"Yeah, we do. It's just kind of hard to watch you try to get yourself killed all the time. Sam's right. You took too many risks today and got away lucky."

"That's Sam talking, not you. He's got you thinking all sorts of crap."

"No, Dad. It's me."

Just then the door opened and slammed shut again, and Sam walked over to his bed, crossed his arms, and fell onto it so that he had his back to John. John, on the other hand, glared into his youngest's back. Finally, Dean couldn't take it any more. "You better finish wrapping that, Dad." He gave a frustrated laugh. "I'm going for a beer." With that, he strode from the room. This time, he got to slam the door.