You Listen, But You Just Don't Hear.

Summary. . . . . . . . . . A failure to hear, a botched hunt, and hurt Winchesters all around. What more could you ask for, for Christmas?

Disclaimer. . . . . . . . . . Still Kripke's, just on loan.

A.N. . . . . . . . . . . . . . So whilst talking to my best friend, my Sister, my Lil Bit, Darksupernatural on the phone the other day I challenged her to write a one shot for me for Christmas as I've seriously missed reading new work from her. In return I asked her what she would like in a one shot from me. She asked for separated Sam and Dean, bad weather or a snow storm, and a monster of the week of my choice. Well from the moment she said what she wanted, I was hit by ideas and for the first time in a while I was writing again like a woman possessed. Here's what I came up with Kris, I hope you have an amazing day and a very prosperous New Year, I'll miss you today, enjoy your Christmas gift, as for your real one you'll have to wait until the next time I visit, believe me though you'll love it.

To everyone else who has reviewed, added me to favs, or just taken time out to read my work this year, thank you so much, and I send to you all my very best of wishes, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Peanut x

It tore at him, pulled and pushed with a power he had never felt before, no demon, no beast, nothing had ever created this much fear within him. He fought against the intrusion that with every breath he took wanted to invade his body. Bitter wintry chill shrouded every inch of his being; roaring, thunderous noise deafened him; both threatening to overwhelm him and pull him beneath the surface and into the darkness that dwelt there; yet he knew he had to hold on. As he pushed again, with a strength that was quickly draining, against the swell that wanted to keep him for eternity, he stole a quick glance to his side, towards the friend that lay still and silent and reliant on him for his survival. He willed those eyes that held such strength, such emotion, to open; instead they stayed lax and unmoving, and the fear that he had been feeling grew in strength.

The roaring surrounding him increased and knowing they were close to the edge now, he held tighter to the younger man; but it was of little use. As they fell over the verge, the power of the ice swollen river prised them apart as though they were made of paper, tossing them violently into the rocks beneath it's falls, before spewing them free to travel down river once more. Coughing out mouthfuls of water, he searched frantically for the boy, fighting the blackness that encroached, catching sight of him eventually, face down in the water, arms spread out front as though caught in the midst of a stroke. He attempted to move, attempted to get to him, but movement caused pain, and pain caused darkness.

Fear raced through him, chasing away the darkness, the pain, the cold. He knew he had to move, that to stay still would mean certain death for the both of them, and whilst he had no fear of perishing himself, he knew he couldn't allow his young friend to fall. He pushed aside all other thoughts, and concentrated on moving stiff and cramping muscles, using the rivers own force to his benefit, closing the distance with each stroke; yet he could feel his efforts might not be enough, could feel his strength once again waning and knew that if he didn't reach the boy soon, he wouldn't have the strength to pull them from what would be their icy grave. His fingers brushed against his boy's jean clad leg, and he willed them to bend and tighten, but the bitterness of the water made his actions slow and uncoordinated, the rough fabric slipping from his grasp as a particularly strong swell pushed his friends son further away.

He wanted to cry out in frustration, to curse whatever God's were watching them, but he knew he couldn't afford to waste the energy and instead focused on moving once more; those frustrated cries turning to ones of relief as the boy's leg once more bobbled within his grasp, and this time he made no mistakes, holding on for dear life and pulling the still and lifeless body close to his own. Once secure he pushed for the banks and the relative safety they provided, knowing he could do little whilst still in the water to help his fellow hunter, a fiery determination burning inside of him, igniting reserves he didn't know existed, empowering him with a renewed energy to push his failing body just that little bit further; an energy that grew as his feet finally scrabbled across the gravely, rocky slopes of the shore.

As the slopes began to soften, and the water's power dwindled, he pulled even harder, ignoring the stabs of intense pain that shot throughout his frame. He could feel his reserves faltering and knew they didn't have much time until they died completely, and before they did, he had work that needed to be done. They needed shelter, and warmth, hell they needed a hell of a lot more like food, like medical help, and warm, dry clothes; but for now he knew shelter and warmth would have to do. He could only pray that the remainder of the party were on their trail with the rest. That was if they had made it out of there alive.

Earlier that day. . . . . . . . .

"But Dad, it all fits. The company the victims worked for have been cutting down trees in the area for months now, just because they were hiking on their own time when they died doesn't mean anything. I really think. . . . . . . . . ." Seventeen year old Sam Winchester started to rush out, only to be cut off sharply by the baleful glare and angry tones of his Father.

"Sam, I said no, and I damn well mean no. Now get your gear together, we leave in fifteen." John turned away from his youngest child, his shoulders set stiff, his posture daring his son to disobey, yet telling of no room for arguments. He smiled to himself as he heard his boys footsteps leave the room, he still had control, the smile faltering slightly as another thought entered his head, yeah but for how long? He turned back as his eldest child's steps could be heard. "Don't try and defend him Dean. He needs to get his priorities straight, the hunt always comes first, everything else is just gravy."

"I'm not gonna defend him Sir, but I think you should listen to him about what he found."

"I do listen to him Dean."

"Yeah, you listen, but you don't hear."

"You know what he's like, he's just trying to stall us so that he can attend that damn party he kept going on about. I've researched this myself, and I've been doing this a lot longer than your brother has, don't you think I would have caught something amiss if there was something?" John could see his eldest was not convinced, and silently cursed his youngest child. "Spit it out Dean. I wont allow you to go on this hunt if your mind isn't in the game."

"It's just. . . . . . . . . . . It's just I think he could be on to something. I think we should just spend a bit of time looking over what he found. And as for the party, this is Sam Dad, not me. I kept pestering him to go, he didn't even want to go, especially when he found out he was only asked so that those rich pricks could make fun of him and get him back for breaking their friends nose." Dean sighed before adding. "Just give him a chance Dad, listen to him before it's too late."

"What's that suppose to mean?"

"If you don't know by now, you are never going to figure it out. If you don't see what all this fighting, all this arguing, all these put downs, are doing to Sam then I can't help you." Seeing the puzzled look still on his Father's face, Dean felt a bit sorry for the man and added. "We're losing him Dad, we're pushing him away. It's not just you, it's me too. We're hunter's, we have been for seventeen years nearly, but Sam he's different. He'll never be a true hunter, he see's good in things we class immediately as evil. He needs to listen, whilst we go in guns a blazin'. Talk to him Dad, listen to him, otherwise one of these days it will be too late." With that last threat hanging in the air, Dean turned and left his Father to his thoughts, heading up the stairs to see what damage he could mend with his brother.

John watched him go, his mind a tumultuous whirlwind of emotions. He knew his son's words were true, could see with his own eyes how the gap between them and Sam was growing with each passing day, but he had no idea how to fix it, no idea how to make things right, no idea how to even talk to his boy. Dean was easy, a few commands here and there and he responded like any good soldier would; but Sam, Sam was another matter all together. John commanded and Sam rebelled. John demanded and Sam questioned.

How could he stop what he could see happening before his very eyes? How could he prevent the breaking up of his family? Deep down he knew he should change, but driven by revenge and filled with a hate for anything he deemed evil, a hate that had grown and festered over the years, he didn't know how to, or more importantly he didn't really want to. No, Sam would have to come around. Sam would have to push aside all his childish wants and buckle down to what was important in life; the hunt. Thrusting the last of his arsenal into his bag, he lifted it with ease over a still taut shoulder, and bellowed up the stairs. "Dean! Sam! Move it, we leave in two. I don't want to be late meeting Caleb."

Dean had just reached the room he shared with his brother, his hand in the process of reaching out to open the door, when he heard his Father's bellow up the stairs, the tone and words yet again leaving no room to argue. He hung his head in resignation, he really thought that he had managed to break through his Father's one track mind, that he had managed to convince him that Sam was different and needed treating as such; he should have known better. Pushing aside his regrets he opened the door, all he could do now was try and make things easier for Sam himself, all he could do was listen, and advise, and be the buffer between the two. But would it be enough? He jumped as Sam spoke softly to him.

"Thanks for trying Dean, but please don't get yourself into trouble because of me." Picking up his own bag, the youngest Winchester went to leave, stopping beside his brother, but unable to look him in the eye, he continued. "It's not a wendigo, Dean. It's a nest of tree spirits, I'm sure of it. If it all goes south please remember this, fire made from blessed yew wood, I put some in your bag, along with the chant we used on the wood pixies will banish them. We need to go, wouldn't want to keep Dad waiting."

With that he left the room, leaving Dean with a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. A feeling that was to return later that day.

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"Dad! Look out!" Dean shouted as a branch flew through the air towards the older man, his warning enough to allow the older man to duck, the missile glancing off his shoulder instead of crashing into his head like it was intended. So intent of keeping the other's safe though Dean had failed to see the creature stalking up behind him, it's long and vicious fingers spread and ready to strike. The pain was like anything he had ever felt before, as the deadly talons ripped into the tender flesh of his side. "Arrrrgggh! Son of a bitch!" He managed to grind out, immediately regretting it as his brother's panic stricken voice could be heard above the roaring water and the banshee like shrieks of the tree spirits. "I'm okay Sam, concentrate." He managed to grind out, even though he was far from okay, as he pulled the spirit from his back and tossed it over the cliff and into the roaring river below.

But his cry of pain had been enough for Sam to lose focus, the spirits surrounding him advancing, seeing him as their best chance of a meal. They feigned to attack from his left, steering him further into the woods and the domain they knew so well; but Sam could see their plans. He blocked the attack, his booted foot sending two of the spirits flying through the air, and inched his way back into the clearing. He cried out himself as an attack from his other side left his leg shredded and bloody, and practically useless, his body stumbling backwards as he tried to stay standing. A shout of "No!" left his lips as he watched his Father overcome by the spirits, his feet shifting even further back not realizing the danger until it was too late and he found himself falling into thin air. He grunted as pressure was suddenly wrapped around his wrist, his shoulder protesting as he jolted to a halt.

"Don't look down Kid." Caleb shouted, as he battled to stop the youngest Winchester from falling into the icy waters.

Sam fought to avert his eyes from the ice swollen river below, and looked instead to his brother for reassurance, pleased to see him attacking the tree spirits with the fiery yew, whilst quoting the Latin banishing ritual. He allowed himself a moment of triumph as he watched the spirits slowly begin to disappear, he should have known better though than to celebrate too early as he spied over Caleb's shoulder the approaching attack. He tried to shout a warning, tried to push the older man aside, but still fighting to find purchase whilst dangling dangerously above the waters, there was little he could do but watch as the spirits talons embedded deep within the flesh of his friends thigh, the pain and shock enough to unbalance the hunter and send both him and his charge into the swollen river below, the spirit screeching as it to fell.

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Dean could do little but watch as his brother and his friend toppled over the edge and into the icy depths below, his own battle with the tree spirits still raging on. He looked over to where he had last seen his Father, hoping that the man had seen what had happened and was already moving to aid his youngest son and their friend, but those hopes were dashed as soon as he caught sight of the older man swaying precariously as he fought to stave off the creatures. Bloody tracks marred his features from a cut nestling within his hairline, bloody tracks that were repeated on the worn fabric of his jeans. Finishing of the ritual that would banish the beasts attacking him, he rushed to his Father's side to repeat the ritual and finally put a finish to the spirits.

He ignored his Father as he fell clumsily to the ground, ignored the guilty feelings that churned deep within his stomach at the fact that Sam had been right all along, but had been ignored yet again, his brother paying for it deeply. Speaking the last of the ritual, he lashed out at the remaining spirits turning their lithe forms into mere ash, before finally turning to check upon his Dad. Dropping to his side, that whilst slightly uncoordinated and a bit bloody, he was awake and aware, even though the questions he asked were ones Dean wished he wasn't the bearer of the answers to.

"Where's Sammy? How's Caleb?" John asked, his voice changed from his usual loud bark, to a more quiet reserved tone, as it set off a drum roll of pain around his head. He tried again when he realized Dean was not going to be forthcoming with the answers. "Dean? Where's your brother, and Caleb?" His mind filled with fear and worry as he watched the emotions flicker across his eldest son's features. Those fears and worries increasing as he listened to Dean's finally released answer.

"They went over the edge." Dean replied, his hand pointing out the way automatically even though he knew his Dad would understand. His own concerns for his sibling being pushed slightly to the side as he listened to his Dad's next words, anger replacing them.

"God damn it! What did that boy do now?" John spat out, not meaning the words he spoke, his fears for his son and friend taking over; his fears and an uncomfortable feeling of guilt. He hadn't listened to Sam's theories, had pushed aside his son's worries and his insistence to research more, had put them down to Sam wanting to go to that damn party. But in the end Sam had been right, they had been dealing with tree spirits, and his youngest had suffered a heavy price for his Father's ignorance. John stopped Dean as he was about to answer back. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean what I said."

"It's not me that you should be saying sorry to Dad." Dean fired back.

"I know, and I promise you I will once we find your brother and Caleb. Now help me up, there's still a lot of daylight left, lets fix up these wounds as best we can, and go get your brother."

He held out his hand for his eldest to help him up, and with Dean's help hobbled back over to where they had stacked their backpacks earlier. At seeing a couple of smoldering tree branches laying around, a thought crossed his mind. "Dean, how did you know that fire would work, when we came here to fight a Wendigo?"

"Sam told me." Dean answered as he rummaged around their packs for bandages and supplies. "Even after you shot his ideas down, he was still adamant that it was tree spirits. Fire made from blessed yew branches, and the ritual we used to kill that pack of wood pixies, he said and he even packed some in my bag for me."

John could only contemplate Dean's words as his eldest started to treat his wounds. Over the past year or two he had tried every trick he could to bash the stubborn streak, that ran through his youngest like a rod of iron, out of him but nothing had ever been successful. Now he found himself thankful that Sam had managed to hold onto it, otherwise today they would have all perished. He quickly, yet safely treated his eldest boys wounds, once Dean had finished with his own, before they packed back up and set off down the trail that John knew would lead them down to the river, and hopefully to where Sam and Caleb were.

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His leg gave out as he attempted to bring even more dry wood into the small cave, well if you could call it that, the cave more like a small crevice in the rock face, he had found near where they had finally tumbled out of the river, sending him crashing to the icy rock strewn floor, and bringing stinging tears to the hunter's eyes; tears of failure rather than pain. He cursed himself for his failure to keep Sam safe on top of the hill, cursed himself for failing to see the attack that had sent them both tumbling, failure in putting Sam through the trauma of that fall, and for not keeping him from getting injured further as they hit the water, his own body landing on top of the younger mans forcing it deeper under until it was stopped by the uneven rocky bottom.

Sam had sustained his head injury then, a head injury that had kept him unconscious since; a further check of his young charge's body revealed a few broken ribs and a solid mass of bruising that stood out vividly across his back, whether from their initial drop or from the tumble over the falls Caleb wasn't sure, along with the tears in the boys leg from the spirits initial attack and a swollen wrist from his own attempt to keep Sam from falling. The only saving grace he had found was that at least his friends shoulder had not dislocated, but that was little comfort given their situation.

They had a little shelter, but would it be enough when night fell? They had warmth, the small fire Caleb had managed to start taking the chill of Sam's icy frame even now, but he had gathered all the dry wood he could see, would it be enough when the temperature dropped? Caleb had no idea where they now were, had no idea how to get out of there, had no idea of the fate of John and Dean, had no idea if any of the tree spirits still survived, had no food, no dry clothes, no supplies with which to treat each other, and now to top it all off the adrenaline with which he had used to be able to push himself way past his limits was failing, allowing his own injuries to surface.

The fall for him had been bad also, whilst he hadn't come off as bad as Sam, he hadn't come out of it unscathed, he had his own colorful pattern of bruises littering his body, bruises that bit deep and hurt like a bitch but which thankfully didn't hide any broken bones beneath. His ankle was twisted making walking on the limb agony, spikes of pain shooting up his leg with each step he took, but on the bright side at least it was the same leg the spirit had tore into, he didn't want to even think about having two injured legs whilst having to look after a charge that was unconscious and far worse off than him.

He kneaded at the muscles that were cramping up, willing them to ease so he could get back to Sam, he'd been away too long and wanted to get back in case he woke up. He wished that was the only reason though but it wasn't, he just couldn't get past the feeling that he was being watched, by what he didn't know, but he had been in the game long enough to trust his instincts, and his instincts were telling him to get back, to protect Sam, and to meet whatever was out there on his own terms. Pushing up his aching body, and picking up the logs he had dropped, he hobbled his way slowly back.

A smile spread across his features as he entered the clearing their small cave was nestled in and spotted Sam's eyes open, the expressive brown orbs moving around their small campsite. When they finally landed on Caleb, his smile grew bigger as a small one was matched upon his young charge's face.

"Caleb." Sam shivered out. "Where are we? Why is it so cold?"

Caleb dropped the bundle of logs once more and rushed to his young friend's side. "It's cold because we decided to take a dip in that river remember?" He watched as Sam eyes rolled about as he processed the words he had spoken, noticing for the first time the signs of a concussion, a concussion he could only hope was a mild one. He started as Sam suddenly jumped up, only to falter as his injuries ignited in him a pain that had him doubling over and expelling the meager contents of his stomach.

"Dean? Dad? Caleb where are they? What happened to them?"

"Sammy, calm down please. You're hurt real bad, and all this moving around wont do you any good." His words though did little to quell the youngest Winchester's unease, if anything his not mentioning the two other members of the family distressed Sam even more, the teenager attempting to stand even though his body didn't have the strength. "Damn it Sammy, will you calm down? I don't know what happened to Dean and John, but they're Winchester's, which means they're stubborn ass son's of bitches. They'll be okay, Dean was fighting them off the last time I saw them, they'll be okay."

"You promise?" Sam whispered out.

"I promise." Caleb replied, hating the fact he had just made a promise he was unsure he could keep, but if it calmed Sam down he was willing to take that risk.

"Okay, I'm gonna go sleep now." Sam whispered out once more, his body going slack in the older hunter's arms.

"Sammy, No! You have to stay awake buddy."

"Too tired, go sleep now." The teenager breathed out before surrendering to unconsciousness once more.

Easing him gently back onto the pile of leaves Caleb had gathered for warmth, he made sure his charge was comfortable before gathering a few more logs from his pile to stoke the fire once more, his mind wondering just what else could go wrong, unknowing that he was soon to find out.

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It was the unnatural growl that alerted him to the fact that his feelings of being watched, were true. Moving his aching body, so that it was placed past the small fire, yet still rested protectively in front of Sam, he waited for his eyes to adjust and peered out into the gloom. He pulled out the knife he always kept strapped to his calf and placed it into his left hand, as he heard and saw the bushes move to his left, with his right he picked up one of the logs, they would help if the creature was an everyday woodland foe, but would do little if those damn tree spirits had survived the drop, and a gut feeling was telling Caleb they had. That gut feeling proving right as the bushes moved again, but this time to his right, most creatures around these parts hunted alone.

He turned and parried as he was suddenly attacked from the left, successfully batting away the spirit with one of the logs he had collected, but the movement left his right side unprotected, and the momentum of the swing put too much pressure upon a leg that was weak, buckling the limb and having him drop to one knee, his injured leg spread out in front of him. He cried out as the second spirit attacked, it's talons ripping easily through the clothes that covered his back and gouging the flesh beneath, forcing him to drop the weapon he had procured, leaving him with just the knife with which to protect both himself and the still unconscious youngest Winchester.

He could feel his strength draining as he felt the warm blood seeping from his new wounds trailing down his back, and forced himself to hang on. Sam needed him and he wasn't about to let his young friend down. He used his arm to push away the spirit that had attacked him as it tried to maneuver past him, it's beady eyes and it's knotted limbs set on getting to his charge; grabbed hold of one of it's legs as it rushed again at the teenager, holding on for dear life as it kicked and clawed at his exposed wrist and arm. So consumed with keeping Sam safe, Caleb forgot the golden rule of hunting, always know where your prey is, all of your prey.

He let go of the leg instinctively as the log he had been using to bat away his attackers was turned so viciously against him, slumping to the ground in a dazed heap as his vision swirled and threatened to drag him under, his hand reached out uncoordinatedly trying desperately to grasp a hold once again, but it was too late the damage had been done, the beast was poised before it's prey, and all he could do was watch through blurry eyes as it raised it's talons to strike.

He started to cry out, to shout out obscenities, only to stop as another voice could be heard; a voice he had never been so glad to hear before in his life; a voice of a very pissed off brother.

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Dean had almost given up hope of finding his brother and his friend that night. Whilst he felt that they were still alive, he knew the task of finding them was immense, the woods vast, and the river long. He had no idea where they had come out, and no idea if he was even on the right side of the river, but the thought that his brother was hurt kept him moving. He turned to wait for his Father to catch up, the older man getting slower and slower with each minute that past, his mouth opening up ready to suggest they rest again only for it to close once more as he heard their first clue as to where Sam and Caleb could be; the guttural growl of the tree spirit.

He looked at his Father, communicating what he needed to with his eyes rather than words, before taking off at a run, knowing that the older man would follow as fast as he could. He ran even faster, as he heard a cry of pain, not knowing if it was from his brother or his friend, blindly pushing through the trees and bushes, ignoring the stinging pain as they thrashed against his body, opening cuts across his face. He fell over exposed roots, or got tangled in the dense foliage that covered the floor, but he didn't care, Sam was close and Sam could be hurt, and that's all Dean needed to know. Pushing aside a thick hedge, he stepped into a clearing that jutted up against a shear rock face, his feet slowing as his eyes bore witness to the sight before him. Caleb lay dazed and prone on his stomach, a small fire just visible between him and a bundle Dean presumed was his brother; a bundle that had a tree spirit standing above it, a tree spirit that was ready to strike.

Not thinking he ran forward, crying out his brother's name, just wanting to stop the carnage before it started, pleased when his cries alerted the spirit to his presence and it turned it's focus away from Sam. From the corner of his eye, he spotted the other spirit creeping it's way towards him too, and turned slightly so that he could watch them both. He reached behind him and into his pack, his hand grasping the last piece of the yew that Sam had placed there, and pulling it free, swinging it menacingly like a batter warming up; whilst at the same time trying to inch himself closer to the fire, even if it meant it brought him closer to the beast.

He knew he had no choice, knew he had to act before the spirits attention turned once again towards his brother and his friend. He lunged, swinging the branch at the same time, feigning to aim for the spirit, gaining the reaction that he wanted as the beast moved further away from Sam to avoid being hit. Dean though wasn't aiming for it, as he watched it dodge to the side he dropped the yew into the fire Caleb had started, the dry wood igniting almost immediately. He started chanting the ritual, once it was lit, and thrust the fiery branch at the spirit that had stood over his sibling, it rushing at him as it realized the threat, catching it square in it's wooden torso. He didn't wait to see it fall though, instead pivoting around, his eyes searching out the other one, spotting it as it attempted to flee. Whilst the ritual still fell from his lips, he raised his hand and threw the branch at the spirit, his aim straight and true.

He started to turn to check upon Sam and Caleb, stopping as he heard noises coming from the woods to his left, surely there was no more? He breathed a sigh of relief as his normally stealthy and silent Father pushed his way through the thick brush. Moving over to the small fire he bent down and quickly assessed his friend, pleased to see that although bloody, battered and bruised, he seemed to be okay, unconscious and out for the count, but okay. Moving to his sibling, he wished he could say the same. He could see the injuries that Caleb had attempted to clean and fix, and loved the older man for taking care of Sam, but his brother needed help, and he needed help now. Dean didn't like the tinge of blue to Sam's lips and fingernails, nor did he like the trembles that shook his brother's body so violently. He turned back as he heard his Father approach.

"Caleb will be fine, his leg's a mess and he has multiple bruise and cuts, including one close to his hairline which I believe knocked him out. Sam needs help though, he's not doing so good. I need you to stay here whilst I go get help. I'll keep checking my phone, once I have a signal I'll call for help. You need to try and get him warm, he's like a freakin' popsicle. Also try and get him to waken. . . . . . ."

"Dean, I know what to do. Just go. Get help, we'll be okay until you get back." At seeing his son's hesitation he added. "I promise Dean, Sam will be okay until you get back. Now go."

Taking one last look at his brother, Dean rushed off into the night.

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Dean had been gone less than an hour, and John was starting to get worried. Although he had managed to awaken Caleb a few times, ask him the usual question, get him to drink and take some painkillers, Sam had remained dead to the world. His son's shivering had decreased significantly since he had dragged off his wet clothes, pulled him close to his own chest and wrapped an emergency blanket around them both; but he wished he would open those expressive eyes.

He had so much he needed to say, so much to apologize for, and he knew the longer he waited, the more likely he would be to bottle all his emotions back up, and the words along with it, and Sam would never know how much he loved him, how much he was proud of him, how much he was sorry. He brushed damp strands, of the hair he badgered and ordered his son to get cut everyday, out of his eyes and looked down upon a face that was a constant reminder of what he has lost all those years ago, his nerves finally breaking. He couldn't wait any longer, he had to say what needed to be said now.

"I'm sorry son, I know that I should do this whilst you're awake, but I'm scared that once you are I wont have the strength, the courage to say what I need to. You were right Son, yet again you were right. I shot down your thoughts, your research, but you were right. I should have listened to what you had to say, should have took the time to look over what you had found, but I didn't, I pushed you aside and we paid heavily because of it."

"I am proud of you Sam. I know I never say it, but I really am proud of the man you are becoming. Your mother would have been too, you are so much like her it hurts to be near you at times. You have her eyes and her smile, her gentle nature and her stubbornness, something which I am so glad you have today. If you hadn't have been so stubborn, so insistent that you were right and I was wrong, Dean would never have known how to stop the spirits. You did good son."

"I love you Sam, whatever else you might think, I do love you. I'm hard on you because I worry about you. I can't lose you, we can't lose you, because if we do, this family will not survive. You're our heart Sam, our reason to keep going. Please don't give up on us now. We need you. I need you. Please wake up."

He coughed to clear his throat and swiped at the wetness on his cheeks as he heard the sound of Dean coming back. He waited for his son to break through the bushes, hoping that he would have help with him, but when he finally did he was alone.

"Help will be here soon." Dean shouted across the clearing, trying to alleviate the worry he could clearly see written upon his Father's face. As he got closer he noticed something else, and anger rose and registered in his tone. "You did what you always do when it comes to Sam, didn't you? You told him all the things he needed to hear whilst he was out? You selfish son of a bitch. He saved us today, he saved us and he's hurting, but you couldn't wait." He moved over to his brother, taking him out of his Father's arms and placing him in his own, not caring about the hurt his actions cost the older man, his attention immediately focused on his brother.

As the sounds of approaching help could be heard, John could only watch as Dean took his baby from him, a cold chill settling deep within him. Dean was right, he was selfish, he was a coward for not waiting, but at least the words had been said, all he could hope for now was that somehow, deep down in his subconscious, Sam had managed to hear them.

The End. . . . . . . . . . .

A.N. . . . . . . . . . I hope you all enjoyed? As I said earlier, have a great day today, Merry Christmas. Catch you all soon with new work, Peanut x