He said 'Son, have you seen the world?

Well what would you say if I said that you could?'

Just carry this gun, you'll even get paid.

I said that sounds pretty good.

John Winchester always made everything seem like fun. All that moving around, hanging out in bad diners and old motels. He would grin like it was some big joke, turn up the music in the Impala, and drive even faster to make Dean and Sam laugh. As if they could just stop whenever they wanted and buy a house and settle down. But no, they didn't, because John wanted them to see the country up close.

Sam would play along, too, because Dean and John always acted like he was stupid and he thought they were just on some road-trip or that everybody moved around like this.

Black leather boots, spit-shined so bright.

They cut off my hair but it looked all right.

We marched and we sang,

We all became friends

As we learned how to fight.

Yeah, John made sure his boys could fight. He taught them how to clean their guns the right way, so that they were never dull and never jammed, and how to aim properly so they would never miss. He showed them how to handle all sorts of knives, even though he always said "Never bring a knife to a gun fight, you hear me?" since being prepared was the number one way to stay alive.

Sometimes Sam thought John was treating them like the Marines he fought with back in the day, but he would always push those thoughts away because when it came down to it they were his sons, not his brothers and certainly not his friends. And John was just- well, maybe he was just being cautious and maybe he thought it was fun. Sam didn't know for sure but if it kept him alive and moderately safe he wasn't complaining.

A hero of war, that's what I'll be.

And when I come home they'll be damn proud of me.

I'll carry that flag to the grave if I must.

'Cause it's a flag that I love and a flag that I trust.

Sam always imagined they were fighting in some great war, since that's how John usually treated it. Like they were soldiers of fortune or whatever and they were keeping the civilians safe. And they were, too. Just not all civilians. Not the ones with sharp teeth and bad eyes who snuck into houses at night and ate babies. Yeah, those were the bad guys, John said. We go after those.

I kicked in the door, I yelled my commands.

The children they cried,

But I got my man.

We took him away, a bag over his face

From his family and his friends.

Monsters. That's what John called them. He would spit on the ground and say it in disgust, and then he would rest his gun on his shoulder and head to the car to do the next job.

When Sam was still young, old enough to tag along but not quite old enough to break free from the naïveté, he would go through the monster's pockets after John killed them. He didn't let Dean see him doing it, and especially not John, but he would pull out their wallet and look through it. Sometimes they just exorcised the demon and the shell would have been dead for a very long time. Sometimes it was a vampire or a werewolf that had just snapped. Sometimes Sam didn't know what it was but they had killed it and that was what mattered.

It was always bad when he looked at the license and read the name and address. Yeah, they were the things that went bump in the night when John killed them. But before that they were Stacy Quinn and Mark Stewart. And sometimes they would have little school pictures of their kids in third grade or folded-up ones of them and their boyfriend drinking beer on the beach. For a long time Sam had a little collection of pictures from wallets and driver's licenses. Then one day he was looking at them and decided to throw them out and that's exactly what he did.

They took off his clothes.

They pissed in his hands.

I told them to stop, and then I joined in.

We beat him with guns and baton not just once,

But again and again.

The only time Sam ever really saw his father come alive was when he was killing a very bad thing. It was like something had electrified his blood and it grabbed hold of his heart and squeezed really tight. Sam always told himself that it was just a remnant of John's stint with the Marines, and not something dark in the back of his mind that could have been passed to his children.

Dean would hang out in the background, and he would always smirk when John said something funny and tap the barrel of his gun against his hip in a way that was supposed to remind the bad guys they were in it to win it.

Sam was thirteen the first time John let him tag along and at first he was kind of freaked out by how much John seemed to change. But then he got used to it because, really, what good would come of being nice?

A hero of war, that's what I'll be.

And when I come home they'll be damn proud of me.

I'll carry that flag to the grave if I must

'Cause it's a flag that I love, and a flag that I trust.

John took pride in his work. He walked with iron in his spine and steel in his eyes and he treated each job like it was a mission from God, which Sam figured it kind of was since they were battling demons. The way he stood after the job was done- it was like he was silently accepting commendations. Sam admired that, that his father could stare down death and think of it as a victory.

She walked through bullets and haze.

I asked her to stop, I begged her to stay.

But she pressed on, so I lifted my gun and I fired away.

The shells jumped through the smoke

And fell to the ground, that the blood now had soaked.

She collapsed with a flag in her hand.

A flag white as snow.

Sam could drum up a thousand pictures whenever he thought of someone who died and didn't deserve it. All the victims they couldn't save in time because they were screwing around for whatever reason. And the ones that got bit and turned and you know you can't turn them back.

Of course there was that girl, that werewolf girl in San Francisco that they had to cap. Sam had really liked her, too. But Dean was smart. Dean knew you can't save the damned. Sam took her out because she was a monster and that's what John Winchester would have done, without even looking back.

A hero of war- is that what they see?

Just medals and scars, so damn proud of me.

I brought home that flag

Now it gathers dust.

'Cause it's a flag that I love, and the only flag I trust.

Sam was getting old, now. In his thirties (man, that's old.) and he was still driving around the country and shooting bad guys in the heart or the head or wherever they needed to be shot. He and Dean would knock their beer bottles together for good luck and then take Route 66 to God knows where.

Hey, that's what Dad preached right?

So let's go right? Come on Sammy let's go.

Sam. Are you listening?

He said 'Son have you seen the world?

Well what would you say I said that you could?'

Yeah, I'm listening. Hold on, wait for me.