Author's Note: I'm aware that I took entirely too long to post this and I apologize. Life got in the way a lot and then I just ended up forgetting all about the damn thing. But here's the conclusion and I hope you enjoy it.
The next morning, Dean had gotten his cast. He bitched the entire ride back, already complaining that it itched. John told him to stop messing with it and Sam wanted to know if he could draw on it.
"Dude, you're such a pansy ass."
Sam stopped talking to him after that; his arms folded tightly across his chest and a scowl on his face.
They were all irritable, none of them having gotten any sleep the night before. Sam kept his eyes on his brother all night, scared he might vanish. Whenever he started to doze, he'd jerk himself awake and check Dean's bed. Dean slept off and on, alternating between the start of nightmares to jarring his injured arm enough to waken him. John had spent the remainder of the night cleaning up his notes and such and writing the incident in his journal. By the time morning came, the three of them looked haggard. Dean said something akin to zombies and John figured looking for another job could to wait. So Dean got his cast and then they all got breakfast.
John stared at his boys throughout the meal, neither noticing his intense scrutiny. This whole thing had been hard on all of them. He knew Dean would be all right. The kid had a tough skin, just like his old man. He'd get over this. Sam was a slightly different story. John could see the worry swimming in Sam's eyes and how he didn't want to let Dean out of his sight. For all their fighting and arguing, when it came down to it, they'd do anything for each other. It made him proud. John shook his head. He didn't have to worry. Dean would get Sam through this too.
Dean stared up at his dad through his lashes, knowing he was being watched. For once, it didn't bother him. Dean was never one to dwell on thing. Shit was what it was and you can't really change that. But, this last experience left him a little shaky. He'd never come so close to dying before. He wasn't even sure that was what bothered him most. He'd been unprepared. He barely knew how to handle himself out there and he was surprised he'd lasted as long as he did. He didn't want that happening again and he got the feeling that his dad didn't either. He saw the look in his dad's eyes after they made it out. Worry was replaced with determination and he was pretty sure Sam wasn't going to like what came out of it. Dean didn't care. He just wanted to be able to handle himself if something like that ever happened again.
When they were finished eating and were making their way out to the car, two of the boys that had left Dean in the woods were walking towards the diner. Eye contact was made and Dean started to move before John's hand clamped firmly on his shoulder.
"No." Dean clenched his jaw but listened to his dad and kept walking. Once he reached the car, he turned and settled his back again the door. The two boys nervously approached them, they're eyes quickly glancing at Dean's cast. The one that had told John about Dean's 'disappearance' had been the one to speak.
"Uh, hey. Dean, right? We're, uh, we're really glad your dad found you." The boy paused and swallowed, trying to ignore the clenching in both Dean and John's fists. "Uh, listen, we're really sorry about leaving you out there. Honestly, man, it was a joke and we went back for you. Look, we're just sorry. No hard feelings."
It surprised them all when it was Sam that spoke next.
"Yeah, no hard feelings. I mean, you stupid dipshits only almost got my brother killed. But I guess it's okay since it was just a joke. "
"Sam." It was a warning tone but there was a quirk to John's lips that he tried to hide. But damn if he wasn't proud of his youngest right then. Both boys stared down at their feet. Must suck to get reprimanded by a 10 year old but John wasn't going to let them off that easily.
"Dean, Sam, get in the car."
"Dad-" Dean started.
"Now." There was grumbling but both listened. Dean thought about rolling down the window when John hooked a finger, meaning for the two boys to follow. He badly wanted to hear what his dad was telling them, as did Sam.
"They look freaked. Betcha dad's laying it on thick." Dean nodded. It still wasn't fair though. He felt gypped. The one that he really wanted a piece of wasn't anywhere in sight. Probably just as well. Dad would kick his ass for messing up the new cast.
Once John was finished, both boys turned and walked away quickly. Dean frowned, thinking it was kind of anticlimactic. Either dad was losing his touch or they ran off to piss themselves in private. Dean grinned. Definitely the latter.
When John got in the car, he turned around to face Sam and fixed him with a glare. Sam shrank a little at the look and spared a glance at Dean. In the end, John sighed and shook his head.
"Could you two at least pretend I raised you with some manners? Sam, your mouth's getting as bad as Deans."
Dean's face split into a wide grin and his eyes lit up, as if it was some sort of compliment. Sam's smile emulated his brother's.
"Sorry, sir." Both replied, though neither of them really meant it.
Arriving back at the rental, John instructed both boys to pack up their stuff. Dean stopped in the doorway, not wanting to question John but wanting to know why he'd changed his mind.
"Dad? I thought you weren't going to look for a hunt?"
"I'm not. At least not yet. Figured we should get out of this town, though." Sam's ears perked up at that.
"Where we going?"
John furrowed his brow. He didn't pretend that he hadn't been thinking about it since Bobby had offered but he hadn't actually planned on going there. Staying put seemed like a good idea for all of 5 minutes and John had already been itching to move on before breakfast even ended. Another nameless town wasn't what his boys needed right now, though.
"Bobby offered his place for a few days." John shouldn't feel so jealous at how excited that made Sam but he couldn't help feel the twinge when Sam whooped and ran off to pack up his stuff. Dean, on the other hand, moved a little slower.
"We don't have to, you know. I'm fine."
"Not the only reason we're going." Mostly a lie and Dean knew it.
"Right, because you love each other's company that much. You two fight like an old married couple."
John decided not to comment.
"Pack your stuff. Whatever ain't packed in the next half hour gets left behind." That got Dean moving. John did the same, grunting when the boys started to argue.
"Hey! What are you doing with my walkman?"
Surprisingly, both boys slept most of the way to Bobby's. John was glad he didn't have to stop but he desperately needed to stretch his legs. The last couple of days were catching up to him. Dean twitched ever so often in the passenger seat but otherwise slept soundly. Sam was dead to the world and John was grateful. If he was sleeping, that meant he felt that Dean was safe. Getting out of that town was definitely the right choice.
When the Impala pulled up to Bobby's house, his friend was on the back steps drinking a beer. When John got out of the car, he noticed an unopened one sitting next to him. He wasn't going to ask how Bobby knew he was coming.
Dean got out of the car groggily before John even had a chance to wake him and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. The long nap only made him feel more out of it and he hoped he could grab his stuff later. He turned to the back door and opened it. Sam finally stirred at the sound and blinked lazily up at Dean.
"Yeah. Get up."
"I'm up." Sam looked around. "Where's dad?" Dean pointed to the house, too tired to spare any more words.
Both boys walked up to the house together, stopping in front of Bobby and John. They both said a mumbled hello to Bobby, smiles on their faces. Dean looked to his dad and held out his hand.
"Keys?" John shook his head.
"I'll get it. Both of you get inside." John didn't miss the "thank God" that Dean mumbled as he passed, Sam on his heels.
"They look beat." Bobby said after taking a swig from his beer.
"Didn't really sleep much last night."
"What about you?"
"Slept fine." Bobby eyed him carefully, knowing that was a bunch of horse shit, but he didn't argue. Much.
"You look like shit." The side of John's mouth quirked up.
"Yeah, well." And he didn't say anything else. He didn't need to.