Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural.

Setting: Season 2, episode 1. Right before John summons Yellow Eyes.

His body was sore, and rightly so; age and too much wear were catching up with him after all these years. So many years. More than his boys had seen. More than Dean would get a chance to see.

John felt a shiver run through his shoulders. And it wasn't caused by the symbol he'd just planted on the floor. Dean was his boy. His oldest. As much as he loved Sammy, he knew that his youngest was only that: his son. Dean was something different. Not more or less. He was his son. His soldier. And, strangely, his friend. The only one who wouldn't hate him for every mistake at the end of the day. The forgiving one.

His friend.

John smiled grimly. The wrinkles at his mouth folded his rugged, graying stubble. His callused hands tightened into fists at his sides.

Friends were worth living for. Having someone to talk to, someone who trusted without doubt. Friends were special.

He released an anxious breath.

But family was worth dying for:

Dean, his son, was worth dying for.

John's jaw tightened as his body groaned. Nevertheless, he pulled himself up to his full height, his worn back popping, his muscles aching. And there was no rest in sight, not for him. Not anymore.

So much to live for. Everything to die for. He said the words to himself and took a breath. It was time to make a deal.