Father's Day -- Of Heartache and Hope

Disclaimer: I am only playing with the Winchester family and will return them once I am done. No profit is being made from writing this story.

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Sitting there on the bed with a card held in his hands and tears coursing down his face, John couldn't believe how royally he had screwed things up. Here it was, Father's Day and he had driven away his youngest with words that should never have been said. He had woken up in a damn foul mood after a tough hunt the previous night and Sam had tried to make things better for him.

"S'okay dad, we'll get the demon the next time." Instead of taking Sam's words as they had been meant, he turned them around on him. "What the hell do you know Sam and why act like you even care. All you ever do is complain about this life and I'm freaking tired of it. If you cared one damn bit about your mother or me, you'd be eager to participate, but no, you have to fight me the whole way and tell me how much you hate hunting. So you have no damn right to tell me it's okay so just shut the hell up."

Damn, how he wished he could take those words back now. Damn, how he wished he had never seen the hurt in Sammy's expressive eyes before he threw the card he held in his hands at him and turned around and ran out the door without even a jacket. Running a shaky hand through his hair, he opened the card and read the word's that Sammy had inscribed once again.

Happy Father's Day Dad. I know we don't always get along, but I wanted you to know that I love you and I'll try to do better, to be the son that you want me to be. I wish I had known mom, maybe then I could be the soldier that you need me to be. Please, just give me some time to sort things out in my mind and I'll be there for you. Until then, just know that I love you. Sam

"Some damn father you are." He muttered to himself with disgust as he wiped the tears away with his shirt sleeve. "The kid was just trying to make you feel better and you bite his head off with words that cut deep." Knowing that he had to get out there and find Sammy, he pulled on his boots and jacket and stuffed the card in his pocket when he heard the door opening.

"Sammy?" he questioned as he glanced up to see that it was Dean instead, returning with their breakfast.

"No dad, it's me." Dean answered just before taking in the look on his father's face. "What's wrong?" He queried as he glanced around the motel room to see nothing out of place.

"My big mouth, that's what's wrong." John answered as he rubbed a trembling hand across his jaw. "I woke up on the wrong side of the bed so to say and managed to put my foot in my mouth again where your brother is concerned and he took off out the door." John answered with shame evident in his voice.

"Damn it dad, He had planned…" Dean said before trailing off as he set their breakfast down on the small table in the room. He needed to get out there and find Sammy and see if he couldn't set things right.

"He had planned what Dean?" John asked needing to know what Dean was going to say.

"Nothing dad, don't worry about it."

"Please Dean, I need to know." John pleaded as he looked at his oldest.

"He had planned for just the two of you to spend the day alone together so that you could talk. He thought that if the two of you went out into the woods and did some target practice or something, maybe he could make things better between the two of you so you wouldn't be constantly fighting all the time." Dean voiced with angst obvious in his voice.

"Damn it, I've got to get out there and find him, tell him how sorry I am." John stated as he grabbed Sammy's jacket and started walking towards the door. He couldn't lose his youngest son because of his own damn stupidity.

"I think I might have an idea where he is." Dean informed his dad as he followed him out the door. Lately, Sam had a habit of going down to the local park in town and watching the families there on their normal everyday outings. He knew Sam longed for that kind of life, but he also knew that Sam was beginning to realize that he could never have it.

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Parking the Impala up to the park entrance, John and Dean climbed out of the classic car and Dean started walking towards the lake area with his dad following behind him. Sam had wanted for them to spend Father's Day there fishing but knew John would think it was a waste of time because nothing was learned from it. Approaching the lake, they could see Sammy sitting on a park bench away from the other families and watching them wistfully. It was obvious the kid was hurting by the way he held himself and allowed his bangs to hide his eyes. Sighing deeply, Dean started walking towards the bench when John reached out a hand to stop him.

"I've got this one son." John said knowing that he was the one who had to make things right with his youngest or lose him forever. He gave Dean a tight smile and then started a slow walk over towards Sammy hoping and praying that he had the right words to make things right between Sam and him once again. Taking a seat beside his baby boy he couldn't help but notice the way that Sam tensed up with the close proximity. No words were spoken for the first few minutes as John placed the jacket over Sam's shoulders and surveyed the families at the park as they celebrated Father's Day with picnics, games and fishing.

"Looks like everybody's having a great time." John stated casually as he kept his eyes focused on the crowd of people who were grilling hot dogs as their children played close by.

"Yeah, I guess." Sam muttered back as he surreptitiously reached a hand up to swipe at his eyes.

"I know somebody else who should be having a good time right now, but instead had his heart broken by the one person who should always be there for him no matter what."

"Doesn't matter any more." Sam choked out as he turned his head away since the tears were beginning to fall. He didn't know why he was letting things bother him so much, he was used to John letting him down all the time.

"Yes it does kiddo, it matters more than you'll ever know." John voiced as he reached out to place an arm around Sammy's shoulders only to feel his son pull away.

Sighing with regret, John placed his hands in his lap where his fingers played with the frayed hole in his jeans. "Sammy, I want you to know that I'm sorry for the words I said to you this morning. I had no right to accuse of the things I said. I know you care tiger, sometimes you care too much and it scares the hell out of me. You've got such a tender heart when it comes to people and I'm afraid that it's going to get you hurt or even killed one day with the things we hunt."

"Whatever." Sam replied. He already knew how much he was letting his dad down, he didn't need to be told how weak he was because of a tender heart.

Dropping his head to his chest, John knew that Sam had taken his words the wrong way. He could feel his youngest drifting away and it scared him beyond words. "Sammy, please listen to me. I need you to know that I love you just the way you are. I don't want you to change into the perfect soldier you think that I need. I wish you could have known your mother. She had such a caring heart too and that's something she passed on to you tiger. I wouldn't want to change that for anything in the world."

"Then why are you always after me to be more like Dean? I try dad, God knows I try, but I'm not him. I'm my own person and I don't know why you can't just accept me for who I am." Sam said as he turned angry eyes towards his father. "Don't get me wrong, I love my brother, more than anything in this world, but I am not him even thought I try to be At least Dean got to have a few years of normal. The hunting life is all I've ever known. I just want to spend time as a family once in a while, not as a family of hunters."

"Aw Sammy, I don't want you to be a carbon copy of Dean and I am truly sorry if I have made you feel that way. But you have to understand, that I have to find that thing that killed your mother and destroy it for the way it destroyed our lives. I swear to you kiddo, I will try to do better, to be the father you need once in a while, but you're going to have to work with me here son. I've lived this way of life for so long now that I don't know any other way of living."

"I'm not asking you to change dad, I just want you to accept me for who I am and to spend a little time being a family." Sam retorted as he focused pleading eyes on his dad.

"I'll try Sammy. I can't promise you that things will change, but I can promise you that I will try." John voiced with sincerity.

"That's all I'm asking dad, that you at least try." Sam said grateful that his dad was at least willing to give it a shot. He knew he would never be able to give up the life of hunting, he just hoped that maybe one day, his dad would understand his need to have a little normalcy in his life.

"So what do you say we go get that brother of yours and see about renting us some poles to do a little fishing?" John inquired as he wrapped his arm around Sam's shoulders once again, this time to find his son leaning into his embrace.

"Sounds good to me." Sam answered grinning widely enough to showcase the dimples in his chin. Maybe his dad really was going to try after all.