Two sets of books

Disclaimer: I don't own John Winchester, Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester, the Yellow Eyed Demon, or the Supernatural universe. They belong to the CW, not me. I just write free advertisements for them. I make no money from this fanfiction. Please do not repost without permission, even with the proper byline.

Title: Two Sets of Books

Author: IsaacSapphire

Fandom: Supernatural (American TV show)

Wordcount: 500

Rating: T

Pairing(s): Mentions of John/Mary

Warnings: Bad language

Reviews: Constructive criticism and praise are always welcome. Heck, flames are ok too.

Synopsis: The biggest secret was that there was a secret. Preseries, John-centric.

Timeline: Preseries, starting before Mary's death and ending sometime before Sam left.

Spoiler warning: Nothing specific.

A/N: I'm on a roll! This isn't linked to my other stories. (none of my stuff is linked unless specified) I don't know if this is focused enough or if the ending is any good, so let me know what you think.

***

John Winchester had been an honest man. He'd served his country and he'd run an honest garage. He didn't cheat on his taxes, didn't cheat on his wife. He didn't steal, didn't lie, had only killed in Vietnam, and that didn't count. Went to church on Sundays.

Then his wife died; killed, he learned, by things that didn't exist. John knew one way to deal with tragedy, with emergency, with pain; he became a soldier again. It wasn't conscious, wasn't intentional. But John's a soldier; it's in his blood, in his bones. He was born one and he'll die one. Of course that's who he is when the shit hits the fan.

Once again, he found himself in a war with no front, where you couldn't tell friend from foe, where there was no backup, no support, physical or moral, and no hero's welcome at the end, only a pauper's grave and the disdain of honest people. He'd done it once because it was the right thing. He did it a second time because it was personal.

He raised his sons as soldiers in that war. He gave his firstborn one objective; protect Sammy. John could watch his own back and he'd watch his boys, but he couldn't be there all the time, not if he was searching the thing that killed Mary and learning how to kill it for when he did find it. Dean needed a task and John needed Sam safe and protected. Sam was the vulnerable one, not just because he was the youngest. He was the one they wanted, whoever 'they' was and whatever they wanted him for.

Other things changed too. John Winchester, the man who went to a technical high school and got middling grades, the man who never stepped foot in a library or cracked a book, learned to research.

As he read, asked questions, learned what questions to ask, how to ask them, who to ask them of, John Winchester realized that his second son was not normal. Whether he'd been born that way or made that way didn't matter, but Sammy wasn't quite… average.

It never did occur to John to wonder exactly how much of Sam's apparent abnormalities were caused or exacerbated by his unconventional childrearing methods. Well, Dean's childrearing methods really. But that was the point.

John Winchester now lied constantly, stole, and broke laws with careless abandon. And he kept two sets of books. One journal was for his boys to see. The other was just his notes on the yellow-eyed demon and the children who had caught its attention. He put enough notes on that into the main journal to keep from being suspicious.

Dean could not be allowed to harbor suspicions about his brother. Dean's loyalty to Sam had to be unwavering and absolute. He was raised to be the perfect guard. The question John never allowed himself to ask was whether Dean was supposed to protect Sam from the world or the world from Sam.

John knew there was a chance that his second son was a monster, but he didn't want to act before he had investigated every possibility. It never occurred to him that in his efforts to preserve Sam he might be making his firstborn a monster as well.