Three weeks later:
The outside was set just right. The sun sitting high up in the nice clear blue sky, shone down intensely; enough to where a person without his or her two-hundred SPF sunblock will end up appearing like a nice steamy lobster. The temperature was set around mid-eighties, not too muggy or gloomy, or even somewhat miserable. A soft breeze blew through stirring and rustling up the trees, and surrounding hay and cornfields. The stalks of hay were bent at a slant. So if you were to get hay-fever easily, then you would be screwed. And it's scary this entire paragraph contained a weather report!
Several picnic tables were set up arranged in a neat box, taking up a good amount of space in the Dolittle's back yard. The tables themselves were decorated in a sort of St. Patty's day and July Fourth cross-over; party favors were meticulously scattered all over them. Red balloons hung on every other rail-post that was part of the wooden walkway that led up to the Dolittle's Victorian era farm house.
The back door opened and out came Dean carrying two plates full of food with enough meat products to make PETA have a panic-attack. He remained holding the door open, revealing many people and loud chatter inside. A few seconds later, his little brother came out on crutches. After Sam was in the clearing, Dean let go of the door and they both limped slowly down the wooden ramp toward the tables.
"Here ya go Sammy. One good serving of all the heart-attacks on buns you can get," Dean stated cheerfully plopping the dipping plate down on the table.
"Thanks Dean," Sam replied gratefully, setting his crutches against the table and taking a seat. "Is Dad coming out?"
"I don't know. He just got here. He'll probably be out in a few minutes."
"Okay. I just hope he found us a better quality home this time."
"You and me both brother," Dean responded taking a chuck out of his double-patty burger.
Sam looked around at the backyard. It had a nice circular arranged flower bed mixed with exotic looking flowers centered in the middle with a cobbled-stone patterned perimeter. And entire row of fancy shrubbery topped with humongous sunflowers lined the outside of the house and extended along a nice path to a refurbished mahogany gazebo set on the border of the woods.
"Yahoo!" he heard a man yell. Looking over by the back patio, he saw Elmer fighting against a storming blaze on his grill. The man swatted erratically at the smoke billowing from it. Sam couldn't help but try to repress a laugh.
He turned and overlooked the rest of the backyard or the whole forty-acres of it; admiring the red dilapidated barn containing any and all farm equipment known to man. A shed was built beside the barn and to Dean's surprise was home to a 1970 Dodge Charger that was rusty and run-down beyond repair. It took Dean all morning to stop crying!
The youngest Winchester stopped observing the spectacular scenery and turned back to his plate. He hoped his dad had found a decent style home like this. Here, at this farm, he couldn't describe the feeling he had towards it. If anything, he would probably say it was peace.
The following weeks after Sam was discovered in the woods, the only place they could call home was the hospital. Sam needed extra observation and other procedures done after suffering from a mild case of hypothermia and exhaustion. He had to undergo another surgery to re-fix the fracture in his ankle after it became disfigured from the extra stress he put on it while running away. He didn't complain, because he knew it was his fault.
Dean absolutely refused to leave his side and so shacked up in a very uncomfortable chair every night, in which case he became the whiny bitch. But he always kept his cool whenever a hot nurse came in to check on the patient, before his irritability caught up with him again. Allie appreciated the supervision, and so as a treat, kindly gave him permission to sneak a few fast-food meals in. And that shut him up.
John, since knowing Dean was keeping vigil, set out to find his family another decent home. Since money was tight, he had to settle for a cheap suburban house several towns over. Plus with all their essentials buried inside the old home, he had to budget wisely in order for his sons to have proper clothing and materials. Obviously since money doesn't grow on trees (even if they are made of paper and paper comes from trees), John realized that he would have to put his gambling skills back to full use—considering pulling off the credit card scam wouldn't be a good idea since he was hanging around the authorities. After scoring the amount his rusty technique procured, he was in the clear; just so as long as his kids and the cops don't find out, then he wouldn't have to worry.
The invitation to a summer get-together picnic went out two weeks after Sam was discovered. Ellie, Elmer's wife, was so thrilled that everything had turned out alright she decided to hold a barbeque picnic. Everyone from the police force to some of the staff at the hospital was invited. With the way Ellie glared down everyone at the station over her home-cooked potato casserole, no one dared to decline.
Of course, the police force decided to make it a B.Y.O.B., and an all around pork-fest.
Soon a whole parade of people with plates and beer bottles (with some people in both hands) filed out of the door. Some of them racing past the 'instant-death smoke' as it made it's way across the walkway. Sam and Dean looked on at all the cheery faces while many took their seats.
Ellie—dressed in `70's flares and a leather beaded vest complete with a flamboyant headband overtop pillow white frizzy hair— came out after the group with a big bowl of potato salad and a large serving spoon. Spirited and just as caring as her husband, Ellie was like the proverbial grandmother: tends to hobbies such as knitting and gardening, stuck with the traditional cooking of homemade meals, and shared advice whenever possible. But she was different in that she refused to live out of the seventies. She said the best time she had was at the disco joint in downtown Chicago; and that no matter how old she was she could still do the 'scuba diver'. But since she had grown older—much older—she had to settle down into the traditional life she always knew and loved.
Ellie came behind the people sitting at the table offering a spoonful or two of her salad. Some of the cops at the table goofed off, joking about a recent pull-over drug search, many of the others laughing hysterically.
"And then he said to the guy," one of the officers jeered, "alright now pull your pants down. Why, the guy asked. Jerry looked at him funny and said 'what cha' afraid of jackass? Afraid of me seeing yur peanut-sized junk?"
The guys at the table began to laugh but shut their traps— caught by surprise— when Ellie smacked the guy upside the head with her spoon, leaving a large smear on the guy's dark hair.
"Watch your language," she scowled. "There are children here," she pointed at Sam and Dean, who glanced at one another. And soon the whole table howled with laughter as the guy wiped the back of his head off with a napkin.
Ellie smiled setting the big bowl down. Taking a seat beside Sam, her smile widened revealing several cracked and yellow-stained teeth. "Hey there youngin'. I hear you gave my husband quite a time."
Sam gulped down his food rather quickly, "Yes I did ma'me and I'm sorry for that."
"Oh, don't be. It gave us a good reason to finally get a new truck. Plus he was out of the house for a whole night; that was like a blessing. Usually it's hard to get him out of the house for more than ten minutes."
"I'm sure your sister would agree," Sam eyed her nervously.
"Nah, boy. I'm just jerkin' yur chain. It's a blessing that you are alright now and so is my hubby. Now don't go gettin' yerself inta anymore trouble now, ya hear?"
"Good boy. Now I made some key lime pie—"
"Pie!" Dean piped ecstatically.
"That's right. Would ya like some?"
"Oh would I?" Dean hopped up ready to follow the woman, until Ellie pushed him back down.
"Nah, ya don' need to worry. I'll bring it out. You boys both are still on the mend."
"Okay," Dean agreed sitting back down, still working on his over-sized burger.
"Hello boys!" Allie came up behind them scratching both their heads. Simultaneously looking up, they prepared for the worst. "You know there's soy in that burger Dean?"
Suddenly both Dean and Sam choked.
Allie laughed slapping both their backs. "Just kidding. Man you two need to loosen up."
"Haha, I only believed you cuz its tastes kinda funny," Dean countered.
"Yeah that's cuz I spit in it. You don't mind do ya?" Allie retorted which made Sam laugh.
"I'm done now," Dean put down his food.
"Dean. Dean. Dean, you're just too gullible," Allie beamed walking away, "Enjoy your meal boys."
Sam sniggered incessantly. He was having a hard time trying to stop. He turned away and saw his dad exit the back door. "Hey look it's Dad."
"See I told ya he'd be out in a few minutes."
John joined his sons with his plate in one hand and a nice big plate of key lime pie, giving them a cheery look. "Hey boys. Enjoying the picnic?"
"Yes sir," they answered in unison. Dean particularly, eying the dessert with delight and possibly with an intent on mauling.
"No Dean, look away," Sam yelled playfully covering his brother's eyes. "Don't look at it."
"Shove off Sammy," Dean pulled off the hand.
"It's for your's and the pie's own good."
"Boys," John warned.
"Sorry sir," they answered again in unison.
"Now for that you can't have any."
"Come on, that's not fair."
John smirked, "Well, I guess in order to get back into my good graces, you two can only get some of this pie if—and only if…you can get it from me first," John joked holding the dessert above his head.
Sam and Dean exchanged glances, "Get him."
Immediately they hopped up. Dean hobbled across the table lunging at his father, who in turn jumped up from the table laughing. Dean hopped down steadily, wary of his leg and limped hurriedly over to his father. Approaching the man who held the pie high over his head, he began jumping up trying to catch it, all the while John dodged left and right.
"Come dad, that's not fair. Give it! Still got a bad leg, ya know?" Dean protested, still hopping up and down on his good leg.
"Doesn't matter. Ya can't get to it, ya can't to it," John teased.
Both elder Winchesters turned and saw Sam standing on top of the table.
"Catch me," Sam said before leaping into the air. Without any time to do anything, John opened his arm and caught the kid letting a great 'oomph' as they landed on the grass, and the pie took flight from his hand.
"NOOOOO," Dean cried out jumping forward and sailing through the air. He landed on the ground with his arms out-stretched and the pie landed smoothly into his hands. He let out a great sigh of relief.
"Nice catch there dude," John congratulated.
Dean turned a heavy scowl to his giddy little brother, "Dude, it would have been your ass if something happened to this pie."
Sam eyed him innocently all the while unable to stop giggling. Still giddy about their round of playful family antics, all three gorged themselves into the creamy thickness of the pie. Feeling somewhat guilty, Sam looked around at the other people, "Shouldn't we leave some for somebody else?"
"Nah," Dean answered taking another large bite.
"No. Cuz the lady inside said this was for you two, sooo…no," John told him.
"Okay, well by all means," Sam dug in some more.
After the pie was devoured with not a single crumb left, the Winchesters sat back on the grass feeling their insides tingle with delight, either that or their stomachs were working overtime. Allowing a few minutes of genuine happiness to pass, John decided now was the time to break the mood. "Hey Sam. You mind going into the house and getting us some napkins? And get yourself a drink while you're at it."
"Huh? Me?" his son looked at him as if he had gone senile.
"Yes, you. Please."
A little perturbed, Sam slowly stood up and limped towards the table, grabbing his crutches. "Yeah. Yeah. Ask me, the disabled here. That's real nice. Why can't you get your own napkins, but no gotta ask the crippled," he muttered bitterly to himself limping away.
Dean gave his father a curious glare, "Uh oh, so I guess this means it's talk time."
"Yeah… well," John sighed deeply, "I think I just need to explain myself."
Dean raised his eyebrows, appearing a little nervous, "Over our last lovely little lecture."
"Uh huh," his dad muttered sternly, "About that."
Dean bowed his head down.
"You were right. I acted like a real ass," John replied causing Dean to jerk his up in alarm.
"I have no explanation for my actions," John continued, "None. I can't say if they were influenced by guilt for leaving you, or for shock for not knowing what happened to you guys when I came home… or fear when I saw both of your conditions. Because honestly I don't know. I overreacted with this whole thing and that I can admit to. Probably because I never imagined anything bad would happen to you guys. I thought by keeping away for awhile at times, I'd be protecting you. It just goes to show that even I can be wrong sometimes. Turns out I was hurting you more by not being there, but now will be different. I don't know how different. But it will be, I swear."
Dean listened intently, now seeing for the first time the true face of his father. "That's great to hear dad, but I don't get why Sam couldn't be here to hear this."
Looking up and being rather hesitant, John answered, "It's hard with your brother sometimes. Because you understand how I work, how I do things…but he doesn't. I guess…I guess when it comes to Sammy, I missed out on my chance. And it's much easier to ignore than it is to deal with it. That's why it was necessary for you two to look after one another. Why it was necessary for you two to be so close. And when I see him with you, and it's like a gut feeling, I know he doesn't need me. I screwed up too much already. And I can learn to deal with that."
After hearing the last part, Dean snorted shaking his head. "You want to know something, Dad?"
He waited until his father's full attention was on him, "The time just before he went into cardiac arrest and before all the crazy happenings that can only happen to Sammy went down, he called for you."
"Yeah, he did. He didn't cry out for me. Didn't cry out for Jesus. He cried for you."
"But why?" The impact of that statement left him a little breathless… and a little guilty.
"I don't know, but he did. So you know what that means Dad? Means he doesn't hate you. He may be a little ticked off at you, but he doesn't hate you. That's pretty much why he's been in such a tizzy lately. He's scared that you'll be gone and leave us alone. He does need you."
"Dean I don't," John announced, still trying to recover from his momentary shock,
"Uh…how does this make you feel?"
"Honestly I'm in the same boat as him," Dean shrugged, "That's just facts."
Silence settled between the two men. John was still trying to overcome the information he just heard. Dean waited patiently, strumming through and breaking off a few pieces of grass, and began twirling them around his fingers.
As the silence wore on, Dean decided to break it. "So does this mean, you'll be making hunting a part-time job?"
John let out a great sigh, "I can't guarantee anything Dean, not with your mother's killer still out on the loose…But I suppose I can, as you put it, 'shapen up'. Make it not so tense between us all the time."
Dean nodded at that, still picking at the grass.
"And did you really mean it? Part ways if it were to get bad?"
"You betcha," Dean answered automatically, "Dad, you know I've always looked out for Sammy, always have, always will. You tend to remind me to do that everyday and you don't have to. And if something threatened him in any way, you bet I would do it."
"But there are times, Dad, where I feel like I can't do it," Dean continued, "Like I'm not strong enough. And at those times, I really want you home. I know that the family business is important. It is important- I have no problem with that. But after all that's happened, I have to side with Sammy on this one—family is more important than the job."
Becoming rather emotional over their little conversation, John sat up straighter. "You're right. You two are absolutely right. Family is more important. And I guess it will stay that way for a while…Now I won't say I won't go back to hunting. I can't make that promise. But I can promise that I'll be here more often, take care of you guys like a real father should."
Smiling, Dean said, "Good to hear."
A small squeak sounds catching their attention, where they saw Sam standing there with a hand full of napkins, his crutches on the ground, but with a look pure content on his face. Apparently the little snot overheard them.
Happily Sam limped fast and hugged his father.
John smiled mightily embracing his son, "Since apparently you heard the whole thing, I can say I'll try to make things better too."
"Oh goody, but you're still not off the hook."
"At this point, I don't think I'll ever be."
"Thanks Dad. That really means a lot. And I'm still really sorry I took off. I know you're still pissed at me for that."
"Well, honestly kiddo, I would've been less pissed off if you had waited to run away when you were in a better condition," John replied causing his son to laugh.
Dean cringed. Hardly able to handle the bonding moment, he stood up and walked away.
After that little heart-to-heart, Dean needed a beer. It was too much over-share and was definitely a hostile takeover of chick-flick territory. Even though he knew was underage, he figured sneaking one wouldn't hurt. He located a beer bottle on a far off table. Glancing around, he approached it stealthily. Just one good swig…
"What's the matter Elmer? Allie asked when both a flustered Elmer and his wife approached her determined.
"I've lost my piss-bottle," he stated anxiously.
Allie paused, "I'm sorry, you're what?"
"His damn piss-bottle," Ellie reiterated. "Apparently he still does the nasty habit of urinating in beer bottles as a method of keeping our son out of the beer. Only he forgets that our son moved out fifty years ago," she raised her voice eying her husband with disgust.
"Eww, Allie muttered.
"And I can't remember where I set it down at."
"Um, okay. Don't panic," she glanced around at all the beer bottles on the tables, "…let's just start—"
The sound of spitting out liquid and sputtering caught their attention and they all turned to see Dean hunched over gagging with a beer bottle in his hand.
"Found it!" Elmer replied gleefully.
And sadly the picnic soon came to an end and it was time to say the dreaded goodbyes. Allie and her husband, plus Elmer and his wife all joined in on group hugs, making sure the little darlings wouldn't escape. A scowl seemed to have permanently plastered Dean's face while the group completed their departing farewells. Elmer had apologized several times for the little mishap earlier, but Dean wasn't going for it. He knew the man secretly was laughing his ass off behind his back. But that's okay, he had retaliated in his own way by making sure he used all of their toothpaste in the bathroom.
"Now you make sure you stay off that foot," Allie told Sam, "And definitely make sure you come by for a visit. I'll miss you guys."
"Me too. You take care now, ya hear?" Both Elmer and Ellie said simultaneously.
"Come on guys, it's time to leave," John called from the car. Everyone gave one last hug and salute before the two boys made their way into the car.
Somewhat relieved that he was back into the Impala again, Dean slumped in the passenger seat. He looked out the window as the car began to roll. Everyone on the outside waved. He waved back, hoping at least he'll be able to see these people one last time. It was good for Sammy as well. His friend couldn't make it to the picnic, but at least he had some other friends there he managed to get along with. Who knows if Sam was ever going to be able to keep in contact with his other friends at school, since they were starting a relatively new life now.
But in the long run, it was cool that the tension between the three Winchesters was at an all time low now. There was nothing but good smiles and playful antics, and that was how it should have been. Dean was so glad his dad and brother were getting along nicely now; so glad the two weren't at loggerheads with one another…but who knows how long that'll last. So until that time, Dean was just going to enjoy the peace and quiet as much as possible.
"Hey dad, where're we going?" Sam asked.
"A couple towns over."
"Where, a couple towns over?"
"You'll know when we get there."
"Why can't you just tell us? Why does it always have to be a mystery?"
"Because I'm your father and I don't have to tell you everything."
"Why not?" Sam protested.
"Because I said so."
"That's not fair!"
Dean huffed slamming the back of his head against the seat, "Dammit."
Hey guys, that's it. Of course, I couldn't let the sappiest end with the last chapter. And I know the piss-part was gross, but I couldn't help it. I had to mess with Dean one last time. I'm hoping this chappie's ending sufficed and I certainly do hope that you enjoyed it. I really wanted to end it with a happy ending, despite all the sadness and horrible drama this fic entailed.
I want to thank each and everyone who reviewed, alerted, pm'd, favorited, and all that jazz. I truly valued your reviews and will cherish your words of inspiration and encouragement. Especially during my time of unreasonable tardiness. And an incredible thanks goes out to you guys once again for sticking with me and waiting so patiently. I do hope to hear from you in the future! Catch ya on the flip side! Ciao!