Thanks to all of you, who reviewed, I tried to get back to everyone. There are a few that didn't log in - aworland and super fan 101 - thanks for your reviews also. I hope I didn't forget anyone. Also thanks to anyone, who added me to story or author alert and/or favorite. I am totally overwhelmed because I never seen anything like it. Thanks again. So now on to the second and final chapter.

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Chapter 2

Disclaimer: The Winchesters or Supernatural don't belong to me and I don't think Kripke will give them to me for Christmas either!

"I'm telling you, he is probably with this girl from last night again!" John Winchester insisted, while unlocking the front door.

It was just beginning to get dark and the salt and burn they've been on had turned out to be a bust. It had been kids, who caused the damage, trying to make people belief in a ghost. So they decided to return, hoping to salvage what was left of the Christmas.

"Dad, you are so out of touch." Dean shook his head, "Normal people don't let there kids go out on Christmas. It's a family day. I just have a bad feeling about Sam not answering the phone."

"Well, if he is not with the girl, then he is probably cooped up somewhere, moping because we left him."

Dean gave his father a scolding look, "Hey, this time he has every right to be upset. I told you there was no reason to go, even if it would have been a spirit."

"You're right!" John Winchester couldn't belief he was saying the words, "But you never know when property damage turns into hurting people!"

"At least you think I'm right, but that still doesn't make it up to Sam." The younger man moved into the house. Seeing the light on, he made his way into the kitchen.

John followed his son, almost running into him, when he came to a sudden stop in the doorway. Instinctively knowing that something was wrong, he pushed his firstborn out of the way and got a first look at what Dean had already seen. The small first aid kit was open, gauze pads and tape were spread out on the table. Sam's coat was on the floor smeared with blood. Yet that was nothing compared to the torn T-Shirt soaked with blood lying beside it.

"I knew something was wrong!" Dean's worry picked up several notches as he turned and ran up the stairs, again closely followed by his father.

Hurrying down the hallway, he threw the door to Sam's room open, only to find the bed untouched and the room empty.

"He's not here."

He remarked, realizing he was talking to himself, as John was already checking his room, only to come up with the same results. Without hesitation both man's ran into the master bedroom. Although it too was empty, they could see the blood on the bed spread and the torn apart larger first aid kit. Exchanging a glance of silent understanding both walked into the bordering bathroom.

The sight before them made the two men stop in their tracks. Their youngest was lying on the floor, his only covering a towel, which by now was no longer wrapped around him yet still partially covering his lower body. His sweat soaked bangs were plastered to his forehead, while the rest of his body was covered with a sheen of perspiration. Although his eyes were closed, the movement behind his lids was clearly visible.

Dean was the first to snap out of his trancelike state and let himself down to his knees, "Come on Sammy, let me see those hazel eyes of yours." He tried to coach the younger man, padding his cheek. To his dismay, the only response he got was a moan and Sam moving his face into his touch.

"Its okay little bro, we're gonna take care of you now." He promised.

He started to examine his brother for injuries; first noticing the brace on his right wrist and the discolored and severely swollen fingers. Carefully, as to not jar the injured extremity, he opened the brace.

"It's broken, but it looks like he was able to align it enough to ensure the circulation." John looked in disbelief at his youngest, unable to even imagine how the kid managed to set the wrist without help.

"There is no open wound, so this is not were the blood came from." Dean gave his father a worried look.

Gently both men worked together to roll Sam over, instantly noticing the wound in his back. Although there was no bleeding anymore, the area around the injury was swollen and had a purple-reddish color to it. The youngest Winchester was burning up, yet the heat radiating from the wound was even more intense, indicating that infection set in quite some time ago.

"Shit", John couldn't belief what he was seeing, "What in the world happened?"

"Guess it doesn't matter, at least not right now. What does matter is that we need to get him help."

"Okay, get a pair of sweats and a shirt, I don't think your brother would appreciate it, if he ever found out we took him to the hospital naked."

Even with the seriousness of the situation, Dean couldn't suppress a grin. Knowing Sam, he had to agree with his father; with his sense of modesty Sam would be more than horrified, if they wouldn't get him dressed. As a matter of fact, the older hunter was sure his brother would rather die.

While the younger man left to get the cloths, John reapplied the brace to Sam's wrist, making sure it was loose enough not to obstruct the blood flow but tight enough to support the broken bones. When Dean returned, the two of them carefully dressed their youngest, then wrapped him into the blanket the older brother had also brought.

"Why don't you get the car started, I'll bring Sam!" The oldest Winchester ordered, gently picking up his baby boy.

By the time he carried his precious burden to the Impala, Dean was sitting in the backseat, ready to receive Sam from him. Giving the younger boy to his brother, he went to close the door to the house, before sliding behind the wheel of the classic car.

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The drive to the hospital took way too long for Dean's liking. Holding his brother's sweat soaked body in his arms and listening to the moans coming from his lips was almost more than he could bear. He should have been there for Sam, should have fought his father more, instead of giving in so easily and going on this senseless hunt. If he just….

Another moan tore him out of his reverie, at the same time he felt saw Sam's face tense up before shivers went through his body. At first barely noticeable, they quickly increased in intensity until they became full blown jerks.

"We're out of time, Sam is having a seizure." Dean's voice had a desperate quality to it as he held on to his brother, trying to prevent the kid from hurting himself even more.

His answer came when the car came to a screeching hold. John tore the door open, "Stay with your brother." He ordered, then disappeared through the emergency entrance.

A minute later the back door opened and multiple hands reached in to take Sam's still jerking body from his older brother's arms. Climbing out after him, Dean noticed several people in blue scrubs surrounding a gurney on which they laid the younger man.

"Let's get him in stat!"

The order came from a petite woman with long dark hair that was pulled up into a pony tail. Instantly the team started to move, rolling the gurney inside and disappearing into a room down the hall.

Running behind them, John and Dean found themselves stopped by a nurse.

"You need to wait here." She pointed to the waiting area in the corner.

Although her voice had authority to it, Dean protested, "You don't understand, this is my baby brother in there. I need to be with him."

The strict features soften and her hand came to rest on the hunters arm, "Listen, why don't you and your father sit down and I bring you both some coffee. Then you can tell me what happened. In the meantime let our trauma team work on your brother. I promise you, they are really good at what they do."

Although still reluctant, Dean let her lead him to a chair, where he sat down. John let himself fall in the seat beside him and gave him what was supposed to be an encouraging smile.

"Sam is going to be okay, he is in good hands now."

"I sure hope you are right."

"I know I am!" John assured him, adding silently, "at least I hope so."

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It took two hours before the door opened and the same petite brunette from earlier made her way towards the two impatiently waiting men. Although she wore a smile, both could see the seriousness in her features.

"Mr. Winchester?" She asked.

"Yes!" The Winchester patriarch gave her an anxious look that was only topped by Dean's.

"I'm Dr. Marcus. I understand you want to know how Sam is doing, so let me explain. He suffered a fracture of the distal radius and ulna, the two bones of the lower arm. It looks like the break was fairly well aligned which is good because otherwise the circulation to his hand would have been only minimal, maybe even totally cut off. Now this was the good news."

She stopped, waiting to see how the men in front of her would take her words. Seeing the growing concern but also a silent strength, she continued, "The knife wound in his back is severely infected. This is what caused the fever and the resulting seizure. At the time you brought him in, his temperature was 106.3 F. We treated the seizure and brought his temp down to 103 F. Then we drained the wound and packed it. In addition, we started him on a combination of several antibiotics until we have the culture results back."

"Is he going to be okay?" The question came out as little more than a whisper, as Dean tried to hide the shaking in his voice.

"I can't make any promises, but if the antibiotics work, I think he will." She gave him another smile, this time more encouraging, "Your brother got lucky. The knife went in his back from the middle outward. If it would have gone in straight it would have sliced his intestine, possibly his spleen depending on the angle. It was certainly long enough. Half an inch higher and it would have nicked the kidney. Both would have been bad, one causing an even worse infection with toxic shock certain, the other major bleeding. As it is no major organs were hit and although he suffered considerable blood loss, we were able to replace most of it already."

The two Winchesters exchanged a relieved look, although there youngest was in serious condition, his state was not as dire as they had been afraid of.

"They are settling him in ICU now; I want to keep him there at least until tomorrow so we can monitor his temperature closely and prevent any further seizures. If you want to you can go up now and see him. It is on the third floor."

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Dean was slightly encouraged when he entered the ICU room holding his brother. The youngest Winchester was a little less flushed and for now at least there was no moaning or jerking. The latter had been what really shook the older boy up more than anything else. Right now Sam looked like he was resting peacefully, a term which could hardly ever be applied to the teenager, his bed usually looked like a battle field in the morning. Now, with his still moist dark curls and his face relaxed in sleep, he looked all but five years old.

The older brother pulled a chair up and sat down, before taking a hold of Sam's fever hot hand.

"Alright kiddo, you better hurry up and get well, because I have no intention to leave here until you do."

Dr. Marcus, who had followed the two older Winchesters into the room, smiled, not really believing the handsome young man.

"Belief me, he is serious about it." John assured her, "It wouldn't be the first time he stayed with his brother for several days.

"Well, than let's hope Sam decides to come around fast." She said, before leaving the small family to themselves.

John also sat down and carefully started to rub his youngest shoulder. For a moment both men seemed to be caught in there own thoughts, before the older hunter finally broke the quiet.

"I really would like to know how this happened. I thought all Sam was going to do was going to this party."

"That's all he told me. He was really excited about it too. He is head over heels for that girl, even if he didn't say so. I could tell."

For the first time in several hours John had to grin, his oldest was the self acclaimed expert in all matters of the heart, especially those which involved less heart and more hormones.

"I'm sure you could."

Ignoring his father's last comment, Dean said, "Yeah, well that still doesn't explain the knife wound and the broken wrist."

"It's obvious he's been in a fight. The bruises on his jaw, ribs and abdomen are a dead give away."

"And it seems like he was not just on the receiving end either." Dean mused, pointing at the abrasions on the knuckles of Sam's right hand.

A sad smile appeared on John's face, "Your brother might not be as good a fighter as you, but he surely knows how to hold his own. I bet that's why the knife wound is in his back."

Not even thinking this far before, Dean clenched his fists, a sudden burst of anger almost overwhelming him. Only when he looked at the sleeping form of his baby brother did he manage to contain his anger. Nothing else but Sam mattered right now, his attacker could wait. There was nothing that could him save him. He messed with a Winchester and no one got away with that, especially not if that Winchester was Sam.

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Morning came and went. Sam's fever had risen several times, yet never above 104 F. The youngest Winchester had woken a few times, on each occasion finding Dean and his father by his side. Feeling like coming up from a deep darkness, his fingers curled around those of his sibling, finding enough comfort to let himself slide back into the same lightless abyss again.

As morning turned into afternoon and finally early evening, the young hunter heard his brother's and father's voices for the first time with any kind of clarity. Struggling to open his eyes, he heard the gentle coaching coming from Dean.

"That's it, Sammy, open those eyes. The doc promised you would wake up soon. You don't want to make a liar out of her now, do you?"

Continuing to try, Sam finally was able to open his lids for just a second before the bright light in the room caused him to shut them again. He could hear some footsteps, before Dean started to speak again.

It's okay now, we turned the light down."

This time when he opened them, his brother's face was hovering over him.

"D'n?" He mumbled.

"The one and only!" his siblings voice was suddenly very cheerful, "Welcome back little bro."

"Thirsty!" As soon as the word came out, a straw was pressed against his dry lips.

He drank with big gulps until it was pulled away again, "Easy there, don't want you to get sick."

"Thanks!"

Dean was encouraged by the clarity in Sam's eyes. His fever had broken a few hours ago and was well on its way down, the last reading showing it at 101 F. So he was shocked, when the younger man suddenly started to breathe fast and heavy, while trying to sit up.

Holding him down proofed easy, the illness had left Sam weaker than a newborn.

"You have to calm down, Sammy. You are alright now."

Although his breathing calmed, the fear and despair in his eyes didn't, "No, Dean, Alicia…, the party…" Tears were running down his face, making the older man gently scoop him into his arms.

"It's alright, I take care of it."

By the time he laid his kid brother back onto the pillow, Sam had fallen asleep again. Dean looked up at John, who stayed in the back ground until now.

"I need to have a talk with Alicia. Something happened at that party."

"Go!" the older man encouraged him, "I take care of Sam."

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Dean took the stairs down, needing to get rid of some of his cooped up anger before he exploded. Running across the lobby, he stopped dead, when he almost ran into a tall middle aged man.

"Mr. Woods?"

"Yes, and you are?" the man gave him a questioning look.

"Dean Winchester, I'm Sam's brother." The hunter had seen the older man a few times during school events.

"Ah, yes, you can tell your brother Alicia is doing better. She should be discharged tomorrow."

Dean gave him a confused look, "Discharged? I didn't know she was in the hospital."

"Ruptured appendix, on Christmas Eve off all things, really threw the whole family for a loop. We had to take her to the hospital for emergency surgery. Brian called all her friends to cancel the party. Guess your brother didn't tell you." Mr. Woods was a little taken aback but shrugged it off fast, not all families were as close as his.

Suddenly the older Winchester brother was in a hurry, "I'll tell him. Would you please tell Alicia, we wish her the best?" Already halfway back across the lobby, he turned and called back, "Sorry, Mr. Woods, I have to be somewhere."

With that he stormed off, leaving the surprised father standing by himself.

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John was still sitting with a sleeping Sam, when the door opened and his eldest entered the room. Not expecting him back this soon, he threw him a surprised glance. It took the younger man only a few minutes to fill his father in on what he just found out.

When he was finished, he added, "I wouldn't put something like this past Brian. He's always been a bully."

"You are probably right but let's not jump to any conclusions." John was the first one to admit, he wanted the SOB, who did this to Sam punished, yet he didn't want Dean to run off halfcocked and get in trouble. His brother needed him right now.

"Don't you trust me to get it out of him?" the younger man asked with dismay.

"Oh, I belief you wouldn't have a problem with that." John snorted, "But I don't belief it's worth getting in trouble over, especially not, when Sammy here needs you."

Dean glanced at his brother, then back at John, "You're right, Sam comes first."

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The next time Sam woke up, he felt a loose grip on his hand. Turning his head, he realized it was Dean's hand holding his. His big brother was sitting in a chair beside his bed, his eyes closed and his mouth slightly open, a soft snoring noise coming from him. For a moment his mind tried to remember, combing his still slightly hazy mind for the events which led him here. Because one thing he knew for sure, this was a hospital. It was the pain in his back that cleared up the confusion and bombarded him with the horrific reality of his ordeal.

Unable to suppress a moan, he felt Dean's hand release him, as almost at the same moment his brother's face appeared above him.

"You alright there Sammy?" Although there was a smile on his face, his voice was filled with concern.

"It's Sam."

Dean grinned, "Glad to have you back little brother. You scared us for a while. You up for telling me what happened?"

He offered him a glass of water, which Sam gladly accepted. After drinking most of it, he handed it back.

"Got jumped from behind on my way back from the party, never saw the guy." The teenager mumbled, never looking at Dean.

"Now that's bullshit Sammy and you know it." The older man found it difficult to suppress his anger. What in the world would make his brother come up with such a lie?

"There was no party and, the abrasions on your knuckles tell me you didn't give up easy."

"How did you know?"

"I talked to Alicia's dad. So you're going to tell me what really happened?"

There was a moment of silence before the younger Winchester started to talk, "I got in a fight with Brian,…"

"I knew it was him!" Dean proclaimed almost triumphantly.

"He pulled a knife on me, caught me by surprise."

"Caught you from the back is more like it." The older man corrected him, "And after that?"

"I walked home, tried to fix myself up."

Overwhelmed with guilt, Dean bit his lip, "Darn it Sammy, I should have been there for you."

"Its okay, no big deal." The kid's voice sounded defeated.

"Don't say that, it is a big deal and you know it too. So does dad, why do you think he isn't here?"

"He is hunting again?" the question came out sounding awfully submissive, not at all like the usual Sam Winchester attitude.

"Dad feels bad, because he knows he screwed up. I promised you Christmas and than he left. Shit, I wish I would have told him to shove it and insisted we stay. I'm sorry Sammy; it's just as much my fault." Dean tried to hold the tears back from falling, having little success as he looked at the brokenness in his brothers eyes.

"Knowing dad, he would have made you go anyway. Nothing you could do. I don't blame you."

Deciding to let it go for the moment, the older brother continued, "So what about your arm?"

"I fell in the kitchen, must have tried to brace myself." Afraid of any more questions, Sam closed his eyes, "I'm really tired."

Dean gave his sibling a worried look. He knew him too well, to miss the signs of Sam trying to hide something. For a moment he wanted to press on to get the rest of the story but seeing the paleness and the lines of pain on the other's face made him change his mind.

"Its okay, Sammy, I'll have the nurse get you something for the pain, so you can sleep. We can talk later." He pushed some of the stray hair out of Sam's face, feeling the comfort the younger boy took from the gesture, as he leaned into his touch. A sad smile appeared on his face as he remembered how many times in the past he had done this and always received the same response as now.

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John Winchester was happy to see his youngest back home. After spending three more days in the hospital the doctor finally agreed to take him off the IV and change him to an oral Antibiotic. Although the older man saw him several times in the hospital and attempted to apologize, Sam always interrupted his efforts by pretending to fall asleep. Now that he was back at their home, John hoped he would finally get an opportunity.

There was no doubt in the older man's mind that he could never make his mistake up, but he had to at least try to do something. No matter how bad of a father he was, he loved his sons and it hurt him to know he let his baby boy down once again.

The ride home from the hospital had been hard on Sam's still recovering body and although he had been given a strong pain reliever before leaving, the poor road conditions left him wanting for more. Knowing it was way too early to take anything more, the youngest Winchester slowly made his way from the car up to his room, stubbornly refusing any help from either Dean or his father. Finally arriving there, he didn't bother with taking the loose sweats or T-shirt off. Instead he let his coat fall to the floor and carefully crawled under the covers. Completely exhausted, he was asleep by the time Dean entered the room to check on him. Smiling the older boy pulled the blanket up and tucked it in around Sam, just as he had done a hundred times before, when his baby brother was still a little boy. Silently he left the room, making sure not to disturb the younger man.

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Several hours later John carried a tray up to Sam's room. After knocking, he opened the door and walked in. He carefully set it down on the table beside the bed, then took a moment to enjoy the sight of his sleeping child, before he gently nudged his shoulder.

"Sam, I brought you something to eat."

Patiently he watched Sam starting to stir and rub his good hand over his face before his eyes blinked open.

"Dad?"

"Yeah, I brought you some supper, just some soup and a sandwich, hope that's enough."

Gratefully taking his father's hand, the teen pulled himself up to a sitting position. John positioned the pillows behind him, so he could comfortable lean against them, then set the tray on his lab.

Sitting down on the end of the bed, he quietly watched Sam eat. After a moment he got lost in his thoughts, only returning to the present, when he heard his son's voice.

"Sorry, I guess I wasn't listening." He apologized.

"I just said I'm done." the younger man explained.

Looking at the tray, he noticed the soup was half gone, while the sandwich was still untouched.

"You sure? You hardly ate anything."

"Yeah, I'm done, sorry, I'm just not hungry. I feel a little queasy; I think it's those Antibiotics they started me on. Doc explained they can do that sometimes."

Although it worried him, John decided not to press the issue right now. Instead he took the tray and set it back on the table. Taking a deep breath, he looked for the right way to start the conversation he had in mind. Not really coming up with anything, he finally just jumped in.

"Sam, I know you are mad at me and you have every right to be. I always taught you and your brother to keep your promises unless there was a really good reason not to. Now I made a promise and I broke it."

For a second the young hunter was startled by his father's confession, then he said, "It's okay, I'm sure you had a good reason."

John could see the sadness in his youngest' eyes and it almost broke his heart, "I thought I did, but I should have listened to your brother. The hunt we went on could have easily waited, even if it didn't turn out to be a dud. There was nothing urgent about it, I just got carried away. I'm honestly sorry that I let you down."

Again he received a sad look and for a moment he expected his apology to be rejected, before he noticed a slight change in the kid's expression.

"Dad, I understand, you did what you thought was right at the time. Guess we all make wrong decisions sometimes."

"Yeah, but I should have known what was right your brother sure didn't have a problem knowing. Because I wasn't there, you didn't just get cheated out of Christmas again, you also got hurt."

"It's not your fault I got hurt." Sam protested.

"Maybe not, but it's my fault you didn't get to a doctor right away."

The youngest Winchester had never heard his father voice so full of self loathing and it suddenly made him feel ashamed. All the older man ever wanted was to keep his boys safe. He suddenly felt very selfish for making such childish demands as celebrating Christmas. After all, he really wasn't a little boy anymore.

"Dad, it's okay, I forgive you. Really, Christmas really doesn't mean that much. It's just another holiday. As long as you, Dean and I are a family, it doesn't matter what day of the year it is."

Again John was caught by surprise. Remembering all the arguments he had with his rebellious boy, he never expected Sam would let him off so easy. Bending forward, he pulled him into a hug, then said, "Thanks son, if you feel this way, why don't we do something special as soon as you feel up to it."

Unable to stifle a yawn, Sam said, "Yeah, I would like that."

"Okay, then it's a deal!" The oldest Winchester smiled, "now why don't you take your medication and lie back down. You look like you could use the rest."

Without arguing Sam took the pills his father handed him, then scooted back down, while John repositioned the pillows for him. Pressing a kiss on his forehead, he took the tray and left, missing the single tear that rolled down the side of the teens face, disappearing in his dark curly hair.

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It was the first week of January and school already started back up a few days ago. Yet Sam was still not allowed back to school. While his fractured wrist was casted and healing well, the knife wound was continuing to give him fits. After it looked like it was beginning to heal, it suddenly started to get infected again and the doctor had to change him to some different Antibiotic. When this didn't work, she decided to start him back up on IV Antibiotics, allowing him to do it on an outpatient basis.

So twice a day, either Dean or John would take their youngest in for an hour of treatment. By now Sam was getting sick of being sick and if he didn't feel so weak, he would have protested against all the poking and prodding he went through.

After seven days of torture, at least that's how the teenager perceived it, his temperature was finally staying normal and Doctor Marcus was convinced they were beating the infection. Yet Sam's hope of coming off the IV's and being able to go back to school was crushed, when she told him, they would have to continue for another week, before she could be sure all of the infection would be gone.

Because Dean could tell sitting at home was driving his kid brother nuts, he started to drive to school daily to pick up assignments and turn in any Sam completed. It never seized to amaze him, how the kid managed to complete all his work perfectly, while still feeling like crap most of the time.

Throughout the whole time Sam stayed pretty withdrawn and neither John nor Dean were able to break through the barrier he erected. The two older men couldn't help but think it had to either do with the disappointment of being abandoned for Christmas or the injury inflicted by Brian. Yet with time doubt grew in both men. John had enough experience with his youngest, to know when he was angry at him and this was clearly not the case. Sam had assured him, he forgiven him for his screw up and there was no indication to doubt him. So it had to be Brian Woods, who still bothered him.

Hopeful, that the problem would finally be resolved, John fixed a special breakfast before waking his son and convincing him to eat with him and Dean in the kitchen. Although Sam would have rather curled up for a few more hours, he didn't feel up to arguing and decided it would be easier to just give in.

Taking a short shower to try and get some of the tiredness out of his weary bones, he dragged himself downstairs and sat down. John set a plate with eggs, pancakes and bacon in front of him, while Dean filled his cup with coffee, handing him milk and sugar.

"Here, I know you like to drink your coffee like a girl, Samantha." He teased, trying to lighten the mood. Disappointed when he didn't get a reaction out of his brother, he continued, "I really think you should read today's head lines."

He handed him the paper, which Sam took with a disconcerting level of disinterest.

Almost ready to just put it aside, he decided to humor Dean and at least take a look at it. There was no way for him to miss the head line on the front page.

Local Teen arrested for arson!

The story underneath told about how Brian Woods, the eighteen year old son of Richard and Lorna Woods being arrested after a knife with his finger prints was found at the grocery store on seventh street after the building burned down several days ago. Brian didn't have a alibi for the time of the arson and a passerby reported seeing someone matching his description in the area.

Sam looked up and for a moment starred at both his father and older brother.

"Did you blame him for this?"

"Yeah, it was pure genius, wasn't it?" Dean smirked.

There was a level of disbelief in the younger boys eyes, "Please tell me you didn't set that store on fire."

"Do you really think we would do something like that?"

For a moment there was silence in the room, than Sam looked at his father, "No, I don't!"

"It was a minor fire demon that caused the store to burn down. He was so powerless; it took me no time to exorcise him and send him back to hell. It actually was Dean's idea to blame the arson on Brian, so he would get what he deserved."

"If you ask me, he got off way too easy." The older boy stated, "I wanted to beat the shit out of him, but dad finally convinced me, that you wouldn't want that."

He looked at Sam, anxious to see his reaction. When it finally came, he was disappointed.

"Thanks, I'm glad you didn't get yourself in trouble for me." He stood up and started to shuffle out the door, leaving his food almost untouched.

"Don't you want to eat something?"

For a second he stopped like he was considering it, then he shook his head, "I'm not really hungry, just tired."

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After Sam left, Dean looked at his father, his face reflecting the disappointment his father felt.

"Guess that was a failure. I really hoped seeing Brian get punished would lift his mood a little."

"Yeah, me too. There is definitely something else that is bugging your brother." John was getting really worried about his youngest state of mind. He never really understood how to deal with the more sensitive nature of Sam's mind and this made him once again wish Mary would be here.

"Well, it's time for him and me to have a heart to heart. I have a feeling, if I do a little digging, he will break eventually." Dean stated, hoping he still knew his brother well enough to get through to him.

Getting up, he made his way upstairs and entered the teenager's room without knocking. Finding him in bed again, he sat down, not waiting for an invitation he knew would never come.

"It's time to talk little brother." He started, giving Sam an expectant look.

The uneasy feeling the younger boy had from the moment Dean entered his room intensified when he looked in the others eyes. He knew the look and it usually meant his sibling wouldn't let up until he got what he wanted.

"I really don't feel that great Dean. Can't it wait until later?" He gave him one of his patented puppy-eye looks.

For a moment Dean was temped to give in. He'd never been able to resist those eyes, yet he also knew that his brother only wanted to get out of the conversation that he was planning to have with him.

"No, it can't wait. I want to know what's going on."

"I have no idea what you're talking about." Sam tried to turn over but Dean prevented him by putting his hand on his shoulder.

"I think you know exactly what I'm talking about."

"How would I? I was doing just fine until you came waltzing in here and wanted to talk."

"Right, you are doing just fine. That's why mope around like you do. Seriously Sammy, I know you since you've been in diapers and this is not you being okay" Dean leaned back in the chair, waiting for a reaction. He didn't have to wait long, even if it wasn't quite what he had hoped for.

"Okay, so I'm not fine." Sam confessed, "But I really don't want to talk about it."

He closed his eyes, hoping Dean would get the message and leave. After several minutes of silence he could still feel the other man's stare on him. Opening his lids again, he found himself gazing into his brother's green orbs.

"You don't want to talk about it, that's fine, but then you have to put up with me sitting here all day and all night, if I have to. Or you could just get it over with and we both can do what we really want."

He sat through another few minutes of silence, only this time he could see the wheels in his kid brother's head spin. If he had any doubt he accomplished what he came to do, it was erased, when Sam hesitantly started to talk.

"Alicia, she....ah, she just played with me."

Dean could see how difficult it was for the teen to say the words out loud; the tears standing in his eyes said it all, even if the brokenness of his voice wouldn't have told the story already. For a moment he searched for the right words, when a thought crossed his mind.

"Did she tell you that?" He questioned, knowing it was impossible Sam could have seen the girl after leaving for the party on Christmas Eve and at that time he was still in seventh heaven.

"Brian did!"

"And you believed him?" Dean was surprised.

"Why would he lie to me?" He asked, as a tear made its way down his cheek, "There was no party and she never called me to cancel either."

Looking at his brother, Dean couldn't help being reminded of a younger version of Sam crying over someone stealing his favorite teddy. For just a second he wanted to take him into his arms but then thought better of it.

"Guess you're right", He said, "Except that at the same time Brian told you that, Alicia was in surgery getting her ruptured appendix removed."

Sam starred at him like he had just been told the sky was green and the supernatural didn't exist.

"Close your mouth, Sammy before you catch a draft." Dean smirked.

"But....?"

"How do I know? I ran into Mr. Woods in the hospital lobby. He told me to let you know Alicia was doing alright. Brian was supposed to call everyone and cancel the party."

"He lied to me? He didn't call me so I would come to the house and he could tell me face to face that Alicia was only playing with me."

Sam still couldn't belief that Brian was actually capable of something like this. Sure, he had experienced the cruelness of human kind before, but it had always been in an open, up front approach. Even the evil of the supernatural world was not sneaky, with the exception of maybe demons and a few of the monster capable of thought.

"I know this seems unbelievable to you, but that's the kind of person Brian is. He didn't just take pleasure in lying to you; he also tried to beat you physically while you were down."

"Guess he didn't know what Winchesters are made of though. He didn't expect I could take him."

Dean was happy to see a smile appear on Sam's lips when he said the last words.

"Yeah, you don't beat one of us in a fair fight", He smirked, "Not even Samantha." He couldn't help adding.

"At least you admit you don't fight any better than a girl." The younger boy grinned and this time Dean was not only glad for the come back, he also gave it to him willingly, because it was proof his brother was on his way back.

Still, there was a lingering concern in the back of his mind and he couldn't help but ask, "So you're okay now kiddo?"

Sam locked eyes with him for a second before he answered, "Yeah, yeah, I am or at least I will be."

"The last few weeks haven't exactly been a walk in the park, have they? I'm sorry for not being there for you on Christmas Eve."

"Dean, it's okay, we've been over that before. I'm not mad at you."

"What about dad?" the older man gave him an expectant look.

"Nah, dad and I, we're okay. We talked."

"Dad and you talked?" Dean couldn't hold a snort back, "I would have liked to see that, I'm amazed the house is still standing."

"Hey, we are not that bad!" Sam defended.

"No, worse!" his brother replied, still giggling and caught of guard, when a second later a pillow hit him in the face, "Guess I better get out of here before I get in more trouble." He stood up and walked away. In the doorway he stopped and turned. Opening his mouth, he was stopped by Sam, "Thanks, Dean, I'm glad we talked!"

"Any time little brother, any time." The older hunter smiled. It was good to know that he still knew how to be the big brother Sam needed.

SN SN SN SN SN

After Dean left, the younger boy scooted down in his bed and rolled over to his stomach. His knife wound still hurt but he could tell it was starting to heal and his wrist, although fairly useless because of the cast, didn't give him any pain at all.

Closing his eyes, he thought about his conversation with his brother. He was glad to know that Alicia didn't mess with him. It took away the emotional agony of feeling betrayed. Yet there was still a sting because he knew their relationship would never happen now. How could he ever face her, now that Brian was going to jail? He couldn't imagine listening to her talking about her brother, knowing that he was the one who caused this. Not that he felt guilty for it, Brian got off easy, yet he still couldn't see himself dating his sister.

Letting his mind wander, he thought about his father and their conversation. He really meant it, when he told the older man that he forgave him. And he was glad for it. But forgiving didn't mean forgetting. His dreams of a family Christmas were crushed and although John had promised to make it up to him, it was not going to be the same.

So right now and here the youngest Winchester decided he was done with Christmas. No more hopes and anticipation. He would ignore it and treat it like any other day of the year. With that thought in mind, for the first time since December 24th feeling actually at peace, he fell asleep.

Sam Winchester's life had gotten just a little poorer for giving up a childhood dream. Little did he know that years later, under total different circumstances, the fear of loosing what he loved most would give him back the dream he gave up as a disillusioned seventeen year old.

FIN

So this is the end. Let me know how you liked it. Hugs, Vonnie