Author's Notes: This story takes place five years after the events in season 1 of Supernatural. I wrote this mid way through season two, so I know it's not cannon since John died – although I still have hope he may return, and then it could be more cannon. But for my story John is alive and well, and he only had to trade the colt for Dean's life. That means Dean never went on his emotional downward spiral after his dad's death. Dean is 31, and Sam is 27. Assume spoilers for all episodes up to December 2006, but there will be specific references to the characters Andy and Anson from 'Simon Said', and Max from 'Nightmare'. This story is a Christmas gift for my good friend Sandy.

A New Life

Present day

August 2010

Dean was drunk. Drunk was normal these days, even at 3pm. He was sitting alone at a table with a half empty bottle of Jim Beam and a shot glass. He was looking through an Enquirer magazine when a thin, somewhat attractive, young brunette sat at his table and said, "Any good dirt in there?"

Dean looked up and smiled at her, "A two hundred pound baby is trying to diet, and a pig with two heads was born. Oh, and apparently the apocalypse started last Tuesday."

The brunette smiled and said, "Buy me a drink?"

Dean gave her a charming smile, "Already on it."

As he finished talking the bartender showed up at Dean's table and said, "What can I get you miss?"

The brunette gave Dean a surprised but pleased smile, and kept eye contact with him as she said, "I'll have a sex on the beach."

The bartender left to make it and Dean said with a smirk, "I knew you were my kind of woman. I'm Dean, who might you be?"


Dean shook his head a little and said, "Of course you are."

Two hours later, Dean was tired and a little sweaty, but smiling. Candy was naked and pressed up against him on the bed in Dean's hotel room. Dean was just about to drift off to sleep when Candy gave him a contented, "You're good."

Dean's eyes opened and his memories started. He tried hard to not let them in, but sometimes he couldn't help it. When he got too drunk, or not drunk enough, they came whether he wanted them to or not. Her comment echoed through his head. He had said it himself about his hunting skills many times. Now all he could say was that he used to be good, back when hunting mattered. His thoughts turned to Sam, and the people like him who had changed the world.

Two years and eight months ago

January 2008

Dean was driving towards Alabama to check out a suspicious death, when Sam suddenly grabbed his head in pain. Dean had seen this often enough to know it was a vision and pulled over. He waited Sam out, and a minute later Sam looked at him and said, "Turn around. We need to go to Kansas."

Dean turned the car around and said, "What did you see?"

Sam said, "The end of the world."

Dean didn't like the sound of that at all. "Be specific."

"I know what the demon wants with me and the other people like me. Sometime in the near future, in every major city in the world, a demon will possess one of us. Then they all go on a killing spree at the same time."

Dean felt like he couldn't breath and said, "Why?"

"To take over the world. To be able to walk among us without fear of being put back in hell."

"No, I get that part. Why possess people like you?"

"The demon we've been hunting, he's the leader, and he has his own powers. But most of the demons that are going to help him take over don't have powers on earth. They're stronger then most humans and they can keep the bodies they possess going even after they should be dead, but that's the extent of their powers. But if that same demon possessed someone like Max, he could read his thoughts and use his powers as his own. Can you imagine someone like Max going on a mass killing spree out in the open? What if he hadn't killed himself, and his powers were still growing? He could stand on a sidewalk and kill hundreds, even thousands of people, before anyone realized he was the one making things move."

Dean was feeling a little sick. Over the past three years the increase in supernatural activity had grown exponentially to the point where more and more people they met already believed in supernatural happenings because they had seen them first hand. The things down in hell wanted out, and they were finding ways to escape. So Dean believed Sam, and that was frightening. Dean pulled out his phone. Sam said, "What are you doing?"

"Calling Dad."

Sam shook his head. "I don't think that's….."

Dean was already dialing. Sam slouched a little and frowned out his window. Dean said, "Dad?"

"Hi Dean. What's up?"

"I need you to meet us in Kansas."

"Okay, why?"

"Sammy had a vision, and it's a big nasty one."

"I'll meet you at Missouri's house in two days."

"See you then."

Dean hung up. Sam said, "I don't even know if it's real. You could have waited until we knew exactly what was going on to call Dad."

Dean rolled his eyes. "Are you freakin' kidding me Sam? He'd have our hides if we didn't tell him about something this big."

"Well maybe it's better if he doesn't know."

"No. It's not."

Sam was quiet for a while and then he turned to Dean and said, "Dad wanted me to kill him to send this demon back to hell. What do you think he's gonna do to me and the others like me to stop the demon from possessing us?"

Dean looked over at Sam like he had lost his mind. "What are you saying? You really think Dad's gonna entertain the idea of killing you or even hurting you to stop the demon? I ought to make you get out and walk. Of all the asinine things I've heard out of you over the years, this one has to take the cake. Shut up and let me think for the next hundred miles before I clock you one."

Sam pouted but shut up. A few seconds later Dean asked, "Why do we need to go to Kansas?"

"I don't know. I just know it's where we need to start."

Two days later Dean and Sam pulled up to Missouri's house. Sam had had two more visions, both the same as the first, but longer and with more details. Dean had called John when Sam was sleeping, and told him the whole thing, and what Sam had said about it as well. John had arrived before them, and met them on Missouri's porch. He gave Dean a big hug and said, "Good to see you son."

Dean hugged back, "You too Dad."

Sam stood back and looked at the porch stairs. John walked to him and pulled him into a hug. Sam hugged him back after a few seconds. John whispered in his ear, "I promise you, we'll get through this Sammy. I won't let that bastard hurt you."

Sam was amazed at how good those words made him feel, even though he didn't actually believe them. He hugged John harder and said, "Thanks Dad. But you shouldn't make promises you can't keep."

John let go of Sam and put his hands on Sam's face. John looked into Sam's eyes and said, "I will keep it."

Sam felt himself close to tears and nodded in belief. John smiled at him and patted his shoulder as he said, "Let's go on in and talk."

Missouri gave both boys a hug, and then they all sat down in the living room, with Sam and Dean on the couch, and Missouri and John in easy chairs on either side of the couch. Once they were settled, Sam gave them a detailed account of his visions. When he was done the room was silent for a few seconds while everyone digested the information. Dean was the first to break the silence with, "Well that just sucks. How can we stop it?"

Sam shrugged. "If I knew, I'd tell you, but I don't. I don't even know why we need to be in Kansas."

Missouri said, "Sam."


"Why would any demon want your power?"

"Um…. I'm sorry, I don't quite understand."

"You think your power or ability, the thing that makes you special and of interest to the demon, is your visions right?"


"But maybe you're wrong. What would a demon want visions of things that were about to happen. Maybe your visions are just a part of being a psychic like me."

Sam looked over at Dean. Dean was slowly nodding and said, "You did tell me that you moved that big hutch with your mind when Max had locked you in the closet. Maybe that's the ability that makes the demon want you, and your visions are a separate thing."

Dean and Sam both looked at John to gage his reaction. "I suppose it could be true, but even if it were, why would it matter?"

Missouri gave John a look of annoyance and said, "I firmly believe that there is a balance of good an evil in the universe. This demon and what it has done to various families over the years is evil. There has to be some good somewhere to balance that out. What if Sam's visions are there specifically to balance out the evil?"

The room was quiet again for a few seconds and then Sam said, "But I can't even control them. I don't know how to make myself have one, or how to see something specific, so even if they do help me save some people here and there, I don't see how it helps us now."

Missouri leaned over and took Sam's hand in her own. She said, "Why don't we try it together. I'll hold your hand and focus my energy into you. You focus on a specific question that you want the answer to."

Sam gave a nod showing he was willing to try and said, "What should I ask?"

"Don't be dense boy. Ask how to stop the demon."

Sam's cheeks got slightly pink, but he nodded and said, "Yes Ma'am."

Missouri closed her eyes, and after taking a quick look at his father who seemed to be giving him an encouraging look of approval, Sam closed his eyes too. Before he got very far Missouri's voice said, "Dean, get your behind out to the porch. You're negative energy is disruptive."

Sam opened his eyes and looked at Dean. Dean looked offended, "I'm not being…Hey!"

John smacked Dean in the back of the head before he could finish his sentence. John said with calm authority, "The lady asked you to step outside Dean."

Dean glared at John, and Missouri, and finally at Sam before he got up and stomped out of the living room. He shut the front door behind him with more force then necessary. Missouri squeezed Sam's hand and said, "Concentrate. Find the answer to defeating the demon."

Sam closed his eyes again and after two minutes he was completely focused on how to stop the demon. A minute after that a vision popped into his head. He gripped Missouri's hand tighter, as he saw himself, eleven other adults, and one young boy, standing in a circle in Missouri's living room chanting. He wasn't sure how he knew, but he knew they were all people with abilities like him, and recognized Andy as one of them. The ceiling above them had a devil's trap to capture a demon, and the floor under that had some symbols for demon summoning. The vision stopped and Sam opened his eyes. He said, "It worked!"

Missouri looked tired and kind of drained, "Yes it did."

Sam gave her a concerned, "Are you okay?"

"Your vision sucked a lot of energy out of me, and left me with a pretty serious headache."

Sam looked at his lap for a second thinking. Then he turned to her and said, "I didn't have a headache this time. Every other vision I've had has given me a splitting headache. I'm sorry you got it instead of me."

Missouri gave Sam a smile and patted his knee. "Don't you worry over it now, I'll be just fine. We all have sacrifices to make for the grater good, and I'm more then willing to make some. Now tell me what you saw."

Sam looked towards the front door wanting Dean to be there. John exchanged a look with Missouri who gave a slight nod. John got up and opened the door. Dean was sitting on the porch steps. John said, "Come on back in Dean."

Dean looked up and said with sarcasm, "So now I'm welcome again?"

John closed the door behind him and stepped out to the porch. He whispered fiercely, "It worked and Sammy's scared. He needs you, so get your ass in there and drop your attitude."

Dean was up and walking towards the house with a look of concern for Sam before John even finished the sentence, and John knew he wouldn't have to say anything more about it. Dean went in with a big smile and said, "Please tell me this mumbo jumbo worked, so we have something to go with."

Sam took a deep breath of relief just seeing Dean, and looked at him alone while he described everything he had seen. Dean sat on the couch, listened, and nodded when appropriate. When Sam was done, Dean gave him a smile of approval and clapped him on the shoulder as he said, "That's the best information we've gotten about how to kill the demon so far."

Dean turned to John and said, "Looks like we need to find more of the children like Sammy."

Sam muttered, "I'm not a child, and it's Sam. There was only one child in the group."

Dean and John ignored Sam. John nodded in agreement with Dean. "I'll call Andy. He's helped us with cases a few times over the past two years, I'm sure he'll help again."

Dean nodded and John pulled out his cell phone to make the call. A few seconds later he said, "He's hitching a ride. He'll be here tomorrow."

Sam looked over at John and said, "You're okay with him hitchhiking?"

John said, "When you can force people to comply with your every whim just by saying it, then I'll be okay with you hitchhiking too."

Sam rolled his eyes and refused to look at John. Dean said, "So I guess the question now is; how do we find the rest of the eleven people you saw in the circle."

John pulled out his journal and said, "I know of six people like Sam we can start with."

Dean and Sam just looked at John in shock. After a few seconds Sam yelled, "You've known about these kids all along, and you haven't said one word to us about them!"

John glared at Sam and said, "I've been checking on them from a distance. None of them have shown any signs of abilities yet, and none of them have done anything evil. I knew if I told you about them, you'd go barging in and disrupt their lives just to satisfy your own curiosity."

Sam's sarcastic, "Thanks for putting so much faith in me Dad." felt like a knife in John's heart.

Dean was about to try and smooth things over when Missouri said, "Sam."

Sam looked over at her. She put a hand to her head in pain and said, "I think I need to lie down for a while. Could you please get me some aspirin and a glass of water?"

Sam felt a flash of guilt. He got up as he said, "Of course."

John went over to her and offered a hand as he said, "You want me to help you get to bed."

Missouri slapped his hand away and said, "I'm not an invalid John Winchester."

He held his hands up in surrender, and Missouri got up on her own. Sam came in with the aspirin and water which Missouri took. She handed the glass back to Sam and looked in his eyes as she said, "Tomorrow morning we do this again. So you think about what question you want answered, because the quicker we figure this out, the less strain on my system."

Sam shook his head and said, "I don't think we should do it again, it took too much out of you."

Missouri shook her head. "I wasn't asking if you thought we should. I was telling you we're going to."

Missouri gave Sam's shoulder a squeeze and walked into her room. Sam looked over at John who said, "Let's look through all the information I have on the six kids we know about, and then we'll think about what question to ask Missouri tomorrow."

Sam nodded in agreement.

The following morning Missouri and Sam sat together again, and this time Sam was thinking, 'How do I find the other people like me?'

Sam saw a vision of a little boy who looked about ten years old. He knew it was the boy he had seen standing with the rest of the adults in his previous vision. The boy was climbing out of his bedroom window in the dark. He had a fresh split lip and he held his stomach in pain for a few seconds after making it out the window. Once he caught his breath, he quickly made his way across the yard and over a small fence to his neighbor's yard. He went straight to the dog house that was off to the side of the porch, and climbed in with a happy looking German Shepard. The boy snuggled up to the dog for warmth on the winter night, and soon fell asleep.

Sam opened his eyes and looked with concern over at Missouri. She looked spent, and he said, "I don't think it worked."

"What did you see?" she asked.

Sam told everyone about his vision, and then said to Missouri, "I wanted to know how to find all the people, not one at a time. I don't think you can do this four more mornings in a row."

Missouri said, "Find the boy, and then we'll see if it worked or not."

Missouri made her way back to her room for a nap again, and Dean grilled Sam about all the details he could think of. Sam soon remembered that he had seen an address and name on the neighbor's mailbox, and John and Dean started some research. In the afternoon Andy showed up, and was introduced to Missouri who had mostly recovered from her headache.

Once Andy was up to speed with what was going on, John showed Missouri five possible addresses in five different states that he had come up with for the little boy. He said, "Do you get any feel for one of these over the others?"

Missouri closed her eyes for a second and pointed to the address in Texas. John looked at Andy and said, "How about a road trip?"

"Sure man. As long as you don't cut off anything's head again, we'll be good."

John smiled and clapped a hand on Andy's shoulder as he headed them out the door. "No decapitation this time. You're going to convince an abusive parent or foster parent to let us take care of their kid for a few months. And if the kid gives us trouble, you're gonna convince him to get in the car with us."

Andy nodded. "That I can do."

Sam yelled after them, "If the kid is like me, Andy's powers won't work on him."

John sighed and said, "Great. We'll be back late tomorrow night if everything goes well."

John and Andy took turns driving and sleeping through the day and night. They arrived at the house with the big German Shepard early the next morning, and staked out the house next door. At eight in the morning a little boy stepped out of the house, and John took a picture of him with his camera phone. He called Sam and sent him the picture asking if that was the kid. Sam assured him it was, and John turned to Andy and said, "Showtime."

John and Andy got out of the car and walked over to the kid who had walked to the end of the block to wait for the bus. The boy saw them coming and looked a little scared. When John got within ten feet of the boy he could hear a voice in his head saying, "Please don't hurt me, please don't hurt me. Keep on walking past me."

John stopped where he was and looked at Andy to see if he had heard it too. Andy just looked at John confused as to why he was stopping. John looked directly at the boy and said, "We're not going to hurt you. We're here to talk with you and your folks about the things you can do."

The boy panicked and ran away from John and from his house. John heard the voice in his head saying, "No, no, no! I have to hide!"

John started running after the boy and called to Andy, "Wait there."

John caught the boy less then a block away, and the voice in his head was screaming along with the boy. John put a hand over the boy's mouth which stopped the outward screaming at least. He quickly walked back to Andy and said, "Get us into his house."

Andy and John carrying the boy walked to the boy's house. Andy tried the door, and found it open. He and John walked in and closed the door behind them. They heard a female voice call out, "Shane, is that you? Did you forget your lunch?"

A woman came around the corner and gasped. Andy ordered her, "Don't scream, stand still, and listen to us."

The woman looked panicked, but did as she was told, even though her mind was telling her feet to run for the phone to call 911. John was still holding Shane and said, "If I take my hand off your mouth, are you gonna be quiet?"

Shane nodded. John took his hand off Shane's mouth and when the boy didn't scream he said, "I'm gonna put you down. You stay put though."

Shane nodded again. John could hear the voice in his head saying with panic that these men were going to kill him and his mother. John said to the woman, "We are here because of your boy. He has abilities, and if my head isn't playing tricks on me, I'd say he can push his thoughts into other people's minds."

Andy looked down at the kid. "Really? I haven't heard anything."

Andy ordered, "Jump up and down kid."

Shane just looked at him in fear and confusion. Andy said, "My powers don't work on him either."

John looked down at Shane and said, "Who gave you that split lip son?"

Shane didn't comment but his mind screamed, "My mom."

John looked over at the woman with obvious disgust. She stammered, "I… He… The second I have one drink his voice is in my head repeating again and again to please not hurt him. Sometimes I… I just need him to be quiet."

John knelt down to Shane's level and said, "Where's your dad?"

Shane stammered out, "D… dead."


Shane looked over at his mom. She said, "He died in a fire when Shane was a baby."

John closed his eyes for a second and then nodded. He looked at Shane and said, "Hey buddy, did you see the movie the X-men?"

Shane was hesitant, but nodded. John said, "I know other people like you. People who have abilities like you. Andy here is one of them, and so is my son Sam. Now I don't exactly run a school or anything, but I do need to form a team to help me rid the world of something evil. I need you to help me do that."

Shane's eyes were practically popping out of his head. He looked at his mom too. She looked at Andy and said, "You're making me stay here?"

Andy nodded and ordered her, "Sit on the couch, and put both hands on your lap."

She walked to the couch against her will and sat down with both hands on her head. Shane looked over at Andy and said, "Wow."

John stood up and looked at Shane's mother. He said, "We're going to take him for a few weeks, maybe a month. Once the thing we're hunting is dead, I'll bring him home. I'll let him call you once a day to talk. What time will you be home to get his call?"

Tears ran down the woman's face and she said frantically, "You can't just take him! He's all I have in the world. What if something happens to him? Please don't take him!"

John glared and turned to Shane. He said, "Lift your shirt and show me your stomach."

Shane shook his head and backed away a step. John said, "My son has visions. He saw you last night. I already know the bruises are there. I know you snuck out and slept with the dog"

The woman sounded shocked as she said, "You slept with Sadie?"

Shane looked over at his mom who was crying, and lifted his shirt. John said to the woman who was now looking away, "Look at him!"

She didn't, so Andy ordered her, "Look at your son's stomach."

She did, and cried even harder. She said, "Mommy didn't mean it honey, you know it's different when I drink."

Shane put his shirt down and looked away from her as he said, "I know Mom."

John said, "While we're gone, you get sober, or we may have to make other arrangements for Shane when we're done."

Shane shook his head, "I can't leave. I have to go to school, and mom will be all alone."

John sighed, "You're mom needs time to get clean without you, and I need your help."

John looked over at Shane's mom and said, "A group of us, including my son, are trying to get rid of the thing that killed your husband, and my wife. If we don't succeed, this thing will be back to finish both you and Shane off eventually. I wouldn't be here doing this if I didn't believe this was the only way."

The woman shook her head, "This is crazy! How could you possibly know how my husband died?"

"The night Shane was six months old, your husband was plastered to the ceiling, and fire spread out around him and eventually consumed him while you grabbed the baby and ran. Exactly like my wife."

The room was silent for a few seconds, and Shane grabbed John's hand in his. John looked down at him, and Shane closed his eyes. A few seconds later Shane let go and turned to his mom. "He's telling the truth. Or at least he believes he's telling the truth. He's a good person."

John smiled at Shane and said, "So you can do more then push your thoughts into other people."

Shane looked away and said, "I usually can control that better. It's only when I get upset that I can't stop it."

John looked at Andy. "Give her instructions."

Andy nodded and ordered Shane's mom, "You will not call the cops. If anyone asks, you will tell them Shane is visiting a relative for a month. You may get up and go about your normal day an hour after we leave."

Andy looked at John and asked, "Should I tell her to stop drinking too?"

John shook his head no. "She has to do that herself, or it won't stick."

He looked back at her and said, "Andy's orders will wear off in a couple of days. I hope you can believe me, and trust me to bring Shane home safe. What time should I have him call you tonight?"

"Please don't take him. Please!"

John said, "He'll call you at eight pm."

Shane shook his head still not wanting to go, but John picked the boy up, and carried him out the door, even though his mind was screaming no and he was kicking to get away. John called to Andy, "Get Shane a few changes of clothes and some books and toys."

Andy went and got the stuff while John got Shane in the car. John put Shane in the back and said, "I have child proof locks in the back, so don't bother trying to get out."

The boy glared at him. John said, "I'm gonna make a call, be quiet."

Shane listened to half the conversation while John asked someone named Father Mike to help his mother over the next few weeks. By the time the conversation was over, Andy was back in the car with a bag full of Shane's things, and soon they were on the road back to Missouri's house.

While John and Andy were on their road trip, Sam convinced Missouri to take a day off from the visions. Instead Dean and Sam contacted the six people like Sam that John had known about and tried to convince them they were needed in Kansas with no success. They spent the rest of the day trying to find any families that had a parent die in a fire, to see if they could find more of the people like Sam.

John, Andy, and Shane arrived early the next morning. John had told Shane a lot about his life over the past twenty hours, and Shane was much more willing to help out, even though he was obviously still worried about his mother, and kept asking to call her before it was time.

Soon they were all having breakfast at Missouri's house telling each other the things they had learned over the past couple of days. Dean got done explaining how useless the phone calls to the other's had been, and ended it with, "But at least we don't think any of them were off the deep end like Anson or Max."

Shane asked with a mouth full of pancakes, "What do you mean off the deep end?"

Dean looked at John to see how he should answer, but Andy beat him to it. "Anson was my brother, and the demon that we're trying to kill had already infected him before we even met."

Shane looked a little scared. "Infected?"

Andy said, "The demon invaded Anson's dreams, and make him so crazy that he….."

John interrupted when he heard a voice in his head yell out 'In his dreams like in Friday the 13th!!?' John said, "Hey Shane, it's gonna be okay. The demon isn't going to bother you as long as you're here with us, and as soon as we get done with him, he won't be able to go into anyone's dreams again."

Shane gave a small nod, but looked like he didn't quite believe John, and John gave Andy a glare. Andy shrugged and said, "Sorry man. I figured he should know what he's up against."

Missouri said, "If we're all done eating, why don't we go into the living room, and see if Sam can get another vision."

Everyone got up, and as they were walking into the living room Missouri said, "Have you thought about what to ask Sam?"

"I still think the thing I need to know the most is how to get the other people like me to join us and help out."

Once everyone had sat down Dean said, "What about Shane here? He was the center of your first vision, so maybe you should ask how he can help you find the others."

Missouri gave Dean a smile and said, "Now there's an idea."

Missouri held hands with Sam, and everyone waited while Sam concentrated. A few seconds later he broke the connection with Missouri and opened his eyes. He said, "Are you okay?"

Missouri held her head and was quiet for a few seconds. She eventually said in a weak voice, "Please tell me you have some kind of answer, because I don't know how much more of this my body can take."

Sam put a comforting hand on her arm and said, "I do have the answer. You won't have to do it again."

He looked at Shane, and then at Andy. He held out his hands and said, "Each of you take one of my hands, and then you two hold hands as well to complete a circle."

Dean rolled his eyes and said, "Are you gonna sing Kumbaya or something, because I'm sure I could go out and get some groceries."

John smacked him in the back of the head, and Sam gave his brother a dirty look. Dean said, "Sorry. Jeez.'

As soon as Sam, Andy, and Shane held hands they could all feel a difference in themselves. Sam said, "Close your eyes."

Once their eyes were closed, they could all see each other standing in a circle in a large empty white room. Andy said, "Cool man, it's like an acid trip without the acid."

Shane cocked his head to the side and said, "We're in your head Sam."

Sam smiled at him. "That's right. When we hold hands our abilities combine in me. I take you with me on my visions, and I can use your abilities on the people we see. I'm going to try and get a vision of the next person who is supposed to come here, and then I'll use Shane's ability to see if they are good or if they're infected. If they're good I'll use Shane's ability to talk to them in their minds, and I'll use Andy's ability to force them to get in their cars and drive to Kansas to meet us."

Andy and Shane nodded in agreement, and soon Sam went to work. He saw a woman who was about his age. She was working as a waitress in a diner. He watched her for a few seconds and he knew she was a good person. He waited until she put down a plate, and then he ordered her, "Tell your manager you are very ill, and you need to go home."

Her eyes darted around the room and she said, "Who said that?"

Before anyone could answer she found herself walking across the floor, and telling her boss she was sick. She was walking out the door, and she said to herself, "What the hell?"

Sam ordered her, "Get in your car and start driving safely towards Kansas."

She did as she was told. Once she was on the road Sam said, "Get out your cell phone and dial this number."

Sam gave her John's cell phone number, and she put it into her phone. Sam said, "In exactly five minutes push the call button and listen to the man explain what is happening to you."

Sam broke off the vision and opened his eyes. A few seconds later Andy and Shane opened their eyes too. Sam looked concerned and said, "Do either of you have a headache?"

They both shook their heads no. Sam smiled brightly and turned to John, Dean, and Missouri to tell them what had happened.

Sam, Andy, and Shane spent the rest of the morning contacting other people like them through their minds, while Dean, John, and Missouri spent the morning and afternoon talking to those same people over the phone about what was happening. By dinner time they had ten people headed their way. They had also discovered eleven people who were infected by the demon's mind games, but they hadn't contacted those people.

That night during dinner, Dean asked, "Do we know for sure what we're going to do once they all get here?"

Sam said, "I'll hold hands with each of them, and see if we can find the answer to that."

Andy asked, "What about the others? The other eleven people we found who have been infected?"

John said, "We'll keep an eye on them, and if any of them try to interrupt what we're doing here, then we'll have to deal with them."

When dinner was close to over the doorbell rang. Sam got up to answer it. It was the waitress from his vision, and she looked pissed. She held out her hand palm up towards Sam's head for a second, but then seemed confused when nothing happened. Sam smiled and said, "Your power doesn't work on me, or the other people like us."

She looked a little defeated and said, "Oh."

Sam held out his hand and said, "Hi, I'm Sam."

She put her hand in his and felt different instantly. She said with some awe, "I'm Tammy."

Sam closed his eyes for a second and said, "You take people's memories away."

Tammy nodded and Sam let go of her hand. He said, "I know you're a good person, because I felt you in my vision. So tell me, what memory of mine were you trying to take away?"

"Just the ones with me in them. I figured if you didn't know who I was, you couldn't keep me here against my will."

Sam nodded. "Is it safe to have you in a room with my friends and family without you trying to do the same to them?"

Tammy nodded, and soon she was eating dinner with the others and listening to their story. After a while she told them all what her ability was, and how traumatic it had been for her to first discover it because she had wiped out the memories of her best friend who now in an almost vegetative state.

When Tammy was done with her story Dean said, "That's it!"

Everyone looked at him and Dean looked at Sam, "You use Tammy's powers to take away all the memories of the demon from the infected people. And maybe while you're at it, take away all the memories of the things that made them want to turn to that side in the first place. I'd rather have amnesia then remember a childhood like the one Max had."

That night Sam, Tammy, Andy, and Shane all worked together to eliminate the threat of the others like them who had been infected by the demon.

Over the next three days people with new abilities kept showing up, and Sam and the others kept track of them, while John, Dean, Missouri, and a few of John's friends all worked on finding summoning spells and exorcism rituals strong enough to work on the demon.

Finally, ten days after Sam's first vision, the last of the thirteen people showed up. Sam had them all stand in Missouri's living room holding hands, and could feel the power pulsing through them all. He tried to get a vision on how to kill the demon for good but he heard a scream behind him. He broke the connection and looked behind him where John was standing with his mouth open, and his head facing the ceiling. What appeared to be black smoke went pouring into him for a few seconds, and then he became silent. A second later John looked at Sam with golden yellow eyes and said, "Thanks for getting them all together Sammy. I couldn't have done it without you."

Sam shook his head no as he started to back away his stomach tied in knots. Before anyone could say anything else, Dean came barreling into the room hitting John in the middle of the back like a football player doing a tackle. John flew a couple of feet through the air, and fell onto the middle of the living room floor. Dean rolled as he fell, and quickly got up and took a few steps back. John chuckled and slowly stood up as he dusted himself off. He looked at Dean and said, "That was a pathetic little display of…."

John had started walking forward towards Dean, but found himself unable to move. Sam looked over at Dean not understanding. Dean flipped the edge of the rug up to show a devil's trap under it. Sam said, "But… how did you know?"

Dean smiled, "Come on Francis, did you really think I was gonna take any chances with all this power converged in one spot? There's one of these in every room of the house; just in case."

John yelled, "If you think this is gonna stop us, you're wrong. It won't even hold me for long!"

Dean ignored him and looked at Sam. "You heard the man. Better get cracking and work your magic fast, because personally I kind of hate it when he screws around with Dad's body and mind."

Sam held out his hands, and the rest of the twelve in the circle held hands with him. John started chanting something, and a few seconds later there was some black smoke circling the room. Dean saw it and knew it was another demon waiting to possess someone. It headed for him and Dean yelled, "Andy, put me to sleep! Missouri too!"

Then Dean's eyes turned black, and he wasn't Dean anymore. Dean took out his gun to shoot one of the thirteen people, but before he could do it Andy ordered him and Missouri, who was now holding a butcher knife, to go to sleep.

Sam concentrated and in his head told everyone to focus their energy and power not into him, but to concentrate on using their abilities against the demon. Sam had done many exorcisms in the past, and he knew the words by heart. He started a normal exorcism, and while he concentrated on that and on saying the words, he could feel the power swirling around the room through his physical and mental touch with the others in the room. Tammy concentrated on wiping out all the demon's memories. Andy concentrated on ordering the demon to go back to hell and stay there. Shane concentrated on yelling in the demon's head so he couldn't concentrate on whatever it was he was trying to do. And everyone else in the room concentrated their abilities on the demon as well.

A few seconds into it John stumbled and fell to his knees. And as soon as the last of the exorcism words were out of Sam's mouth, John's head snapped back and he screamed. Black smoke swirled out of him, but instead of flying away as it had in the past, it hovered above everyone. Sam and the others were suddenly all shoved back a few feet away from the circle by some invisible force, loosing their contact with each other, and all of them falling to the floor. A small black hole appeared in the middle of the living room floor, and it quickly expanded sucking things into it as it widened.

Sam looked at Dean and saw black smoke coming out of him too. Then Sam saw the hole. John, who was passed out, already had one foot in the hole, and it was getting bigger by the second. Sam scrambled to his father and pulled with all his strength. Less then a second later Dean was there pulling John away from the hole as well, and they got him safely a few feet away. The hole got wider and Dean yelled, "Everyone out!!"

Missouri was still passed out along with Shane, but everyone else was awake, and getting out. Andy and another man helped get Missouri out, while Tammy picked up Shane, and Sam and Dean carried John. A few seconds later they were all out of the house. The sky had turned black above the house and as Missouri came to she said, "Demon spirits. All the demons that were out of hell are converging above us. So many…"

They all looked up as the sky got darker and darker. Sam looked at Dean and said, "What now? Is it working?"

Dean said, "Something's working, I just don't know if that's a good thing or not."

Before Sam could reply there was a loud rumbling, and the earth started to shake under there feet. Missouri along with a few others said a quick prayer. Then in a gush of noise, wind, and electromagnetic energy, all the black from the sky was suddenly sucked down into Missouri's house. Less then a second after that, the ground beneath them was still, and there was nothing but silence for minutes after.

Sam and Dean were staring at the house, and still holding John up with one of his arms around each of their shoulders. In a groggy voice John said, "Why are we outside?"

Sam said, "Trying not to get sucked into hell."

John stood up a little straighter and took his arms off his boy's shoulders. He looked around at everyone. Shane had regained consciousness too. "Is anyone hurt?"

The people standing around all shook their heads no. John said, "Dean, you're with me. Let's go check it out."

Dean got out his gun and held it in front of him ready to check out the house. John looked at Sam and said, "If we don't come out in five minutes, you all work together to summon it and trap it again."

Sam shook his head no and John barked out, "Sam!"

Sam looked away and said sullenly, "Yes sir."

John gave him a curt nod, and got his own gun out. He went into the house first with Dean covering his back.

Two minutes later they came back out looking much more relaxed. John smiled and said, "It's clear. You can all come back in."

Shane looked over at Sam and said, "Did it work?"

"I think so. Let's go in and check."

They all went into the house, and as soon as Missouri saw her living room she gave Sam a smack on the arm. Sam covered his arm and said, "Hey! What was that for?"

"This had to be done in my house?"

"Um…. Well…. This was where I saw it in my vision."

Missouri looked around the room and saw that most of the furniture had been sucked down to hell along with the demons. The floor however was as good as new. Dean said, "Look at the bright side, the floor is fine."

Missouri gave him a smack too. She looked over at John and said, "You owe me a sofa, a coffee table, and a TV."

John smiled and said, "We'll be sure to refurnish your living room before we head out."

Sam looked around the room at the people like him and said, "Let's all hold hands, and I'll concentrate on finding out if it worked."

Everyone other then Dean, John, and Missouri stood in a circle and held hands. As soon as the circle was complete they could all feel the difference. There was no power left in their connection. Sam looked confused at first. He closed his eyes and said, "All of you close your eyes, and try to concentrate your energy on me."

A few seconds later, Sam opened his eyes and looked at Dean. "It's gone."

"The demon?"

"My visions. I feel….. normal."

He let go of the hands he was holding, and everyone else did too. Andy turned to John and ordered, "Hop up and down."

John gave him a glare, and was about to give him a piece of his mind when he realized his body wasn't doing what Andy had ordered. Andy turned to Dean and ordered, "Go sit on the couch."

Dean stood where he was. Shane looked intently at John, and a few seconds later he said, "You didn't hear me did you?"

John shook his head no. Dean asked, "Their powers are gone?"

Missouri said, "It stands to reason with the abrupt disappearance of so much evil in the world, that we would have to give up some of the good as well to balance things out. Or it could just be that their powers are drained."

Over the next couple of days everyone left to get back to their normal, power free lives. John had kept in contact with Father Mike to check on Shane's mother's progress, and was happy to hear she was clean and going to AA meetings. He took Shane home while leaving Dean, Sam, and Andy at Missouri's doing odd jobs to start getting together some money for new furniture. John was surprised when Shane gave him a fierce hug before he left, and he was even more surprised when his mother actually thanked him for giving her the shock she needed to change her life. He left them his cell phone number before heading back to Missouri's.

A week later Missouri had some new furniture, and John, Dean and Sam were on the road looking for things to hunt.

Present day

August 2010

Dean shook his head to get the memories to go away. He didn't want to remember the rest. He put a possessive hand on Candy's ass and pulled her up close to him and tried to fall asleep. The fact that he had drank two thirds of the bottle of Jim Beam earlier that afternoon helped.

An hour later, Dean and Candy were both asleep. Dean didn't stir when the lock to the hotel room was undone. He didn't wake up when a figure walked into the room and shut the door. He didn't move when the light was turned on. He didn't stop the soft snoring when the figure walked up to the bed and leaned down towards him.

When Dean felt a hand on his shoulder shaking him, he tried to come out of his drunken haze long enough to grab the knife that was on the nightstand, but it was gone. He squinted up at the person standing over him and said, "Dad?"

John said, "What's going on Dean? This isn't Susan from the picture. Is this the real Susan?"

Dean looked over at Candy who had her eyes open now. He said, "Nah. This is Candy. She can do some pretty special things with her mouth though, so I'd call her Susan if she wanted me to."

Candy had woken up all the way and was looking at John when she said, "What? Who are you? What's going on?"

Dean looked at her and said, "It's okay, it's just my dad. Go back to sleep."

Candy seemed nervous and said, "I think I'll just grab my stuff and go home."

She looked pointedly at John who turned his back on them to give her some privacy. She got up and started putting her clothes on. Dean said, "Aw, come on baby, don't go. He'll leave in a few minutes, and then I'll buy you some dinner."

John said, "Don't bet on it."

Candy said, "I'll be in the bar again tomorrow if you want to hook up sugar."

Once she had all her stuff, she gave Dean a kiss on the mouth, and walked out the hotel door. John turned back to Dean and said, "Explain yourself."

Dean sat up with the covers still on his lower half and put his hands behind his head relaxing. "What do you want to know Dad?"

John glared and leaned down into Dean's personal space. "What do I want to know? I want to know why you've been lying to me for the past six months. I want to know why you told me you were working as an auto mechanic in Texas when you're clearly still living off fake credit cards you don't intend to pay off. I want to know why you told me you were engaged and living with a nice girl named Susan Manning, who incidentally told me she has never even heard of you. I want you to explain these!"

John had gotten a handful of letters out of his coat pocket and held them in front of Dean's face. Dean looked slightly bored. He reached down to get his boxers off the floor. He put them on under the covers, and then got out of bed. He walked over to his jacket and pulled out an unsent letter and handed it to John. "I'm glad you came to visit, it saves me some postage. Go home Dad. Show the letter to Sammy and tell him everything's fine. Tell him you met Susan, and that I'm about to be able to afford my own auto shop. It's all in the letter."

Dean was about to walk into the bathroom, but John stopped him with a hand to his bicep. John's voice was low and dangerous. "This isn't a joke son. You tell me what's going on right now, or things are going to get ugly between us."

Dean laughed, but there was no joy in it. Once he was done he said, "I'm 31 Dad. You think some little threat is going to matter to me? Go home!"

John was furious. He couldn't believe his son, the son that had always been obedient and tried his best to please his father, was talking to him like this. John was a man of action and quick decisions. It didn't really matter to him that Dean was in fact an adult, or that he hadn't done this for over ten years, because he knew it would change Dean's attitude quickly. He hauled Dean over to the bed, sat down, and pulled Dean over his lap. Dean was still half drunk, and in no shape to fight back, but he did attempt it.

John pinned him by putting a leg over both of Dean's legs, and by grabbing one of Dean's arms and twisting it up behind his back. John used his free hand to pull the boxers down to the sound of loud yells and cussing from Dean. John slapped his hand down hard in the center of Dean's butt. Dean jerked and cussed some more, calling John some things that John had never heard come out of his son's mouth before. John's look became even grimmer and his hand came up and down with precision while Dean struggled to get free.

John's hand was getting sore, and Dean showed no signs of giving in after a good two minutes of spanking. John sighed and used his free hand to take off his belt. Dean felt the spanking stop and tried harder to get up as he said, "What? That's all you've got old man? Get the fuck out of my hotel room!"

As John pulled his belt off Dean heard the noise and tried to look back over his shoulder. Dean was already hurting, but he was trying not to admit it to his dad or to himself. His confidence wavered at seeing the belt. John had only used it on him one other time. Dean clearly remembered it and never wanted to feel it again. Dean yelled out, "Let me up!"

"That's not gonna happen until you change your attitude and start talking to me son."

John doubled the belt over and brought it down on Dean's behind. Dean tried hard to muffle it, but a sound of pain escaped from his lips. John brought the belt down again and again, and Dean quickly ran out of energy for fighting. As the eighth swat landed Dean yelled out, "Okay! I'll tell you! Just stop!"

John didn't stop. Dean struggled some more and called out, "Dad! I said I'll tell you. Stop! Dad stop!"

John did stop and said, "Okay Dean, talk."

Dean tried to get up, but John held him down. Dean was breathing hard, and his ass felt like it was on fire. It was all he could do just to keep from crying like a girl, and now his father expected him to talk?

"Let me up first?" Dean meant to say it as a demand, but it came out as a question.


"Come on Dad, I'm sure I'll think much better in an upright position."

"I think you'll be more talkative this way, and probably more honest too. Explain yourself."

Dean lay there and wondered how the hell to do what his father asked. He knew what the truth was, but it was too painful to say out loud.

Six months ago

March 2010

Sam looked at his watch again. Dean was late. He looked over at his fiancée, Bethany, and said, "I guess we'd better start without him."

Bethany gave Sam a sympathetic look, knowing how worried Sam was, but nodded in agreement.

Sam looked over to John to see his reaction. John nodded in agreement as well and looked over at his blind date, Carol, apologetically. Next he looked at Bethany who had set up the blind date and said, "I'm sorry, could you excuse me for just a second."

Bethany understood, "Of course John."

John stepped out onto the porch and used his cell phone to call Dean. It was voice mail again. "Dinner is ready Dean. Where are you? Call me as soon as you get this."

Sam had stepped out onto the porch as well and shut the door behind him. John turned and saw him. Sam said, "No answer?"

"No answer."

"You don't suppose he's on another one of his wild goose chases do you?"

John sighed. "I don't know. Probably."

"It's been more then two years Dad. There have been absolutely zero supernatural occurrences since the day we sent all those demons back to hell. We all worked together to find things to hunt for almost year with no results before we got back to a normal life. Why can't Dean see that it's over?"

John looked out into the distance and said, "Because he doesn't want it to be over."

Sam gave John a confused look, and John clapped a hand on Sam's shoulder and said, "Let's not keep the women waiting."

An hour later the four of them were finished with dinner and Bethany was about to go get the apple pie she had made, when a disheveled looking Dean burst through the front door. Carol gasped at the intrusion. Sam said, "Dean?"

Dean looked around the table and realized he had forgotten about yet another dinner. He said, "Oh… dinner was tonight? Sorry Bethany. Dad, Sam, I need to talk to you…."

Dean looked at Carol unsure of who she was and he added, "Uh…. You know, on the porch."

Sam wearily got up and started to apologize to the women, but John broke in with, "No."

Sam stopped and just looked at his father wondering what was going on. Dean gave a confused little laugh and smile and said, "No really Dad. I need to talk to you on the porch."

John said, "Bethany made this nice dinner for all of us, and we were just about to have dessert. Sam and I will talk to you when we're done."

Dean just stared at his father with disbelief. Bethany tried to smooth things over and said with a smile, "Come sit and join us Dean. I made apple pie."

Dean looked at her and snapped out of his shock. He said with a big fake smile, "Thanks Bethany, but I just realized I have somewhere else I need to be. Sorry for the interruption."

Dean went out the door, and ignored Sam as he called out to him. He overheard John telling Sam not to go after him, and after a short protest, John convince Sam to stay. Dean stood on the porch for a few seconds not able to believe his father had blown him off like that. Dean understood that it had been a year since anything supernatural had happened. He understood that both Sam and John were trying to get back into a normal life. He understood that he was looking for supernatural occurrences where there just weren't any. But he didn't know what else to do. He didn't even understand what a normal life was supposed to be, or why anyone would want one.

Dean walked around to the side of the house and looked in the dining room window. It was a warm spring night, and the window was ajar so Dean could hear them talking. Bethany had brought out the pie, and as she was passing it out Carol said, "Dean seemed to have something urgent to say… are you sure no one should go after him?"

John said, "He's trying to find something to hunt, but there's nothing there."

Carol asked, "Hunting…. Things? Like you all used to do together?"

John smiled, liking the fact that Carol hadn't just scoffed and told him he was crazy when he had told a couple of stories about hunting. But then Bethany had given Carol the basics before she had even come to dinner in the first place, so John knew she had an open mind. He nodded, "Dean can't accept that it's over."

Sam said, "I don't get it Dad. He hated the things we used to hunt. He hated seeing people hurt or killed by them. He should be happy they're gone and get on with life."

"He is glad those things aren't out there, and he does want to move on, he just doesn't know how. It's my fault. I never taught him anything else. Hunting is all he knows. I've tried to get him a couple of jobs, but he keeps getting fired for not showing up when he goes off to try and hunt something that's not there."

"But hunting is all you ever taught me, and I'm able to move on."

John gave Sam an affectionate smile and said, "But you hated hunting. You've wanted a normal life since you were seven and realized in the first grade that not everyone was like us."

After a few seconds of silence Bethany said, "Sam tried to get Dean interested in going back to school, but that was shot down right away."

Sam shook his head. "It kills me to see him like this Dad. We have to help him, I just don't know how."

John agreed. "I'll think about it for a few days, and see what I can come up with."

The room was silent for a few seconds, and Bethany said to John, "Sam got that internship at the law firm."

Dean stood outside the window staring at his family. His guts were all twisted up, and his denial wasn't working very well. The one thing that stuck out in his mind was that they all pitied him. He stalked off, and walked down the road a ways to the Impala. He drove the couple of miles to his apartment and went inside. He tossed his folder of unsolved deaths onto his coffee table and went into the bathroom.

Dean looked in the mirror and said, "They pity you. You're looking for things that aren't there, because you don't know how to do normal, and you're so transparent that they pity you."

Dean punched the mirror and broke it. He looked at his fist, but there wasn't much damage. He sighed and went over the things everyone had said. He flopped onto the couch, and after a few seconds of reflection he had a revelation. He said it out loud, "Sam and Dad are happy. They're freakin' happy. They actually want a normal life."

Dean lay back on the couch and put an arm over his eyes. He thought, 'I'm standing in their way. They could be happy, but they can't be when they know I'm all messed up. Isn't this what you always wanted for Sammy? For him to be able to have a happy life? And here he has everything he ever wanted, and you're messing it up for him. It's selfish of me to stay here and get in their way. I should just leave.'

Dean shook his head no. He said to no one, "But that won't let them be happy either. I have to be happy too. Or at least pretend to be."

Dean lay there for a long time, and by morning he had a plan. He didn't want to be pitied by his family. He didn't want to lie to their faces every day and tell them he was happy. He didn't want to disappear and make them worry. And now he wouldn't have to do any of those things.

At seven fifty am, Dean wrote a letter and put it in an envelope addressed to John. At eight am, Dean packed up all his worldly possessions and packed up the Impala. He went to the apartment manager and paid him the rent for the next month, gave him his key, and told him to keep the security deposit. He handed the manager a twenty dollar bill and asked him to do him a favor. Then he got in his car and headed out of town.

John had called Dean about six times over the day with no results, and as soon as he was off work, he headed to Dean's apartment to give him a piece of his mind. He called Sam to meet him there, so they could talk to Dean about his continued hunting things that weren't there. John got to the apartment first and was shocked to find the manager in Dean's empty apartment cleaning it out. The manager said, "Are you John Winchester?"


The manager got out a cell phone and a letter. He handed them both to John and said, "Dean left these for you."

John thanked the man and then walked to the front of the apartment building to sit in his truck and wait for Sam. He saw it was Dean's cell phone with eight messages on it. He opened the letter and read:


I know you and Sam have been worried about me lately, and last night I realized that the two of you are right. I do need to stop trying to find supernatural events where there just aren't any. I'm going to take a break from everything, so that I can get my shit together. I know you could find me if you wanted to, but I'm asking you not to. I'll contact you in three weeks, and let you know that I'm okay. Then once I get things sorted out in my head, I'll come back home.


Sam tapped on John's truck window. John rolled the window down and showed the letter to Sam. Once he had read it they looked at each other and Sam said, "What are you gonna do?"

John looked out his window and thought about it. "I'm gonna respect his wishes."

Three weeks later, John received another letter. And then he received a letter every week for the next six months. Over those six months Dean had written to John about his new life in Texas, and how happy he was now that he had met the girl of his dreams, Susan. He had set up a post office box so that he could receive letters from Sam and John as well. He told them about his job as an auto mechanic and about all the happy events in his life. During those six months, he had only talked to John over the phone once, and Sam twice. He had kept it very short both times, but he had convinced them he was truly happy.

Present time

August 2010

Dean thought about it for too long, and John took that to mean he needed a little more help to get his tongue working. John brought the belt down one more time on Dean's very red ass. Dean jumped and hissed in pain. He said, "I'm thinking!"

"Think faster."

Dean blurted out, "I lied."

John rolled his eyes. "Ya think?"

"I lied about all of it; Susan, the job, the whole new life."

"I got that part. The part I don't get is why."

Dean squirmed wanting to be up. "Because it was the only way to make sure you and Sammy could stop worrying about me, and get on with your own lives. It was the only way to make sure you could both be happy even if I was gone."

John felt like crying when he heard Dean's reasons. He had so many thoughts running around in his head he didn't know quite what to say or do. He had come out to Texas to try and surprise Dean and Susan with a visit, and when he had found out Susan had never even heard of a Dean, he had started to get worried. He had shown her the picture Dean had sent him of the two of them, and Susan had gotten scared maybe she had a stalker. After he calmed Susan down, John took a closer look at the picture and realized Dean had done some photoshop work on a computer to make it. Over the next two days John hunted his son down, and the more he found out about what Dean had actually been doing, the angrier he had gotten. But John had been thinking that Dean had done it all just to get away from them nagging at him to get a normal life. He thought Dean was just being selfish and childish. Now he understood that Dean was trying the best way he knew how to do what Dean had always done; protect Sam so that Sam could be happy.

The room was silent for a few second and eventually Dean turned his head to try and see John's face. John looked close to tears. "Can I get up now?"

John looked over at Dean's face. Dean looked bad. He hadn't shaved for days, he had big dark circles under his eyes, and he smelled so strongly of alcohol, John thought maybe it was coming out in his sweat. John took a look at Dean's back, and realized he had lost a lot of weight, both in muscle and in fat which made him look unhealthy. John felt the anger of the past few days surging through his veins again. He knew that Dean had been trying to do what he saw as the right thing, but John disagreed. He got a tighter grip on Dean and said, "No. Now I'm gonna let you know how I feel about what you've been doing for the past six months."

Dean's stomach sank as he heard the cold fury in his father's tone. He had heard it a few times before, and it always ended badly for him. He looked away and said, "Dad I…."

John wasn't going to listen to any arguments about it. He started lecturing, and brought the belt down at the end of each sentence. "I can not believe that you've spent the better part of six months lying your ass off to us. Sammy and I have been going through our daily routine thinking that you've been settling down and making a life for yourself. But really all this time you've been living off credit cards. You've been spending your days in bars drinking yourself into an early grave. You've still been looking for supernatural things in every gossip magazine you find. You've been sleeping with every cheap woman you find. And worst of all you've been writing us these God damn letters that are complete bullshit!"

The pain, along with his father's words, and the tone John was using, all combined to make Dean cry. It was silent at first with some tears spilling over. As soon as John was done with the lecture he dropped his belt onto the bed and said, "This is for lying and the letters."

John started to bring his hand down fast and furiously on Dean's behind, and Dean's quiet tears turned into loud sobs very quickly. A few long seconds later John felt Dean stop trying to struggle, and he stopped spanking. Dean was still crying as if the spanking was still going on, and John let him lay there for a few seconds to calm down.

Once the crying was less pronounced, John let go of Dean's arm, and took his leg off Dean's legs. He pulled up the boxers, and put a hand on Dean's shoulder to help him up. As soon as Dean was standing, John pulled him down to sit on the bed next to him. Dean tried to stand right back up, but John held him in place. Dean squirmed slightly, but made no more attempts to get up.

John pulled Dean into a hug and said, "I love you Dean, but you don't lie to me. That's a rule you've known since you could talk. I don't care how old you get, that rule is always in place."

Dean was in too much pain to do much besides nod in agreement on his father's shoulder. He couldn't explain why, but even with all the pain, he felt somehow less lost then he had in months.

John held onto Dean until Dean's tears stopped, and Dean pushed away. John let him go and Dean stood up rubbing at his butt with both hands. John said, "Okay buddy, pack up all your things. We're going home."

Dean's eyes snapped up to John's. "What?"

John stood up, stepped close to Dean and said with menace, "Pack your things. You are coming home with me."

Dean shook his head and said, "But I…."

John grabbed Dean's arm, spun him to the side and swatted his thighs since his hands were still coving his butt. John swatted with each word. "Pack your things; you're coming home with me!"

Dean was dancing a little by the time John was done, and his tears had started up again. When John let him go, Dean backed away out of reach. John crossed his arms and waited to see what Dean would do. Dean wiped at his face and gave a slight nod of acceptance as he got out his duffle bag and started to pack things.

Dean was done packing and dressed in five minutes. He didn't have much. Dean zipped the bag and said, "That's it."

"Where's the rest of your stuff?"

"There are a few things in the car, but for the most part I sold it all."

John sighed. "How many nights have you paid for?"

"Just one more."

"Let's go turn in your key."

Dean followed John out of the hotel room and to the manager's office. John did the talking with the manager, and soon Dean was putting his duffle bag in his Impala. John looked over at his truck and asked Dean, "You know anyone around here who would drive my truck back to Kansas?"

"I'll just follow you in the Impala."

John shook his head. "Sorry Dean, but I don't exactly trust you right now. I'm not letting you out of my site for a while. Now answer the question."

Dean blushed with shame and muttered, "Frank the bar tender next door could arrange it."

"Okay then, come on."

Dean followed John into the bar. Frank looked surprised to see Dean, and especially surprised at Dean's demeanor. Dean refused to make eye contact when Frank greeted him but said, "This is my dad, John."

Frank held out his hand to shake, and John said, "Dean said you could arrange to have my truck driven back to Kansas."

Frank nodded. "Sure I know a guy who would do that for the right price. He's very reliable."

John made the arrangements and paid Frank. John got his overnight bag from his truck, and put it in the Impala. He held out his hand to Dean and said, "Keys."

Dean handed them over, and got in the passenger side. John got in and started the long drive towards Kansas. He turned to Dean and said, "When was the last time you ate?"

Dean shrugged. "I had a donut this morning."

"Along with some whiskey?"

"Breakfast of champions."

John glared over at Dean. "It's not funny."

"I didn't say it was."

The car was silent until John found a diner and pulled into the parking lot. He parked and said, "We're gonna have a healthy dinner, and then you're going to get in the back of the car and sleep while I drive."

Dean thought about arguing, but decided not to since he was already squirming after just ten minutes of sitting. He simply nodded and got out. He followed John into the diner wondering what the hell was wrong with him. He wondered why he was just letting John take charge again after all this time. He shook his head and thought maybe he'd be able to think more clearly on a full stomach.

Dinner was mostly silent, and soon they were back on the road. Dean had planned to do a lot of serious thinking while laying in the back, but he was asleep before they made it to the freeway.

Dean woke up somewhat disoriented, but once he saw the back of John's head in the front seat, the night before came rushing back to him. He noticed it was sunny outside and wondered how long he had been asleep. He sat up, and a groan came out before he had time to think about it. John's eyes met his in the rear view mirror. Dean asked, "What time is it?"

"Ten am."

After a few seconds John asked, "You hung over?"

Dean shrugged. "More like pre-drunk. Find us a bar, and I'll take care of that."

John frowned in disapproval. He had been thinking about things for the past fourteen hours while he drove. He had thought about Dean and the life he was leading. He had thought about Sam and himself and the lives they were leading. And he had come up with a decision and a plan. John had argued with himself for a couple of hours about what to do. He knew what he wanted to do, but he also didn't think it was exactly right since Dean was an adult, and entitled to live the life he chose. But in the end, John just couldn't stand by and let Dean suffer when he could stop it.

He said, "We're gonna go eat a late breakfast, and then you can drive us the rest of the way while I take a nap in the back."

Dean rolled his eyes. "I don't see why you're making me take this trip with you. It's just going to upset Sam when he hears about the whole thing. You should have left me there, and taken him the letter like I told you to."

John gave Dean a weary, "I'm tired, and my whole body is stiff and sore from sitting here so long even with the three rest stops I went to. Could we please just eat, and then you can let me sleep for a while before we get into this?"

John knew it was manipulative of him, but he also knew it would work. He could see the flash of guilt on Dean's face when he said, "Sure Dad."

After they ate, Dean drove for the next six hours while John slept. Dean found his hands shaking an hour into the drive, and he was surprised at how much he wanted to stop and have a drink. Instead he stopped at a few rest areas and had a bunch of coffee.

Late in the afternoon Dean pulled into the driveway of his father's house. He parked and looked in the backseat at John. He said, "Dad?"

John woke with a start, "What?"

"You're home."

John sat up and rubbed his hands over his face to wake up. Dean said, "I guess you better call Sammy so he can come over here and get all emotional about what I've been up to, and then the two of you can get this intervention out of your system and let me be on my way."

John gave Dean a look that said he wasn't amused, but before he could get anything out, there was a knock on the driver's side window. Dean turned with an annoyed look and saw Sam standing there looking at Dean with an expression Dean could only describe as furious. Dean's annoyance slipped away, and he was less sure of himself. Dean turned back to John, obviously wondering what he had missed. John said, "I talked to Sam last night while you were sleeping, and our little intervention isn't going to be so little."

Sam wrenched the door open and leaned down into Dean's personal space. Dean leaned as far back as he could in his seat. Sam said, "I've been thinking about this all night, and you know the one thing that keeps popping up in my head?"

Dean shook his head no. "That night when I was thirteen and you beat my ass for lying to you about where I went when I snuck out."

Dean blushed and couldn't keep eye contact with his brother. Sam went on, "Now tell me if I've got it wrong here, but from what I can remember the lesson that night wasn't 'don't sneak out' as much as it was 'don't lie to me'."

Dean's defenses came up and he said, "Do as I say little brother, not as I do."

Sam grabbed a handful of Dean's shirt and yanked him out of the car. Dean was too startled to fight back at first, but as soon as he was out of the car he grabbed Sam's arms and tried to push away from him. Unfortunately for Dean, he was out of shape and Sam had been going to the gym. Sam got one of Dean's arms behind his back and 'helped' him walk into the rental house.

While Sam was getting Dean into the house John got both of their bags out of the car, and followed them into the house. John shut the door behind him and put the bags down. He saw Sam shove Dean down onto the couch. Dean stood up ready for a fight after being manhandled by his younger brother. Sam crossed his arms, glared at Dean, and said, "Go ahead Dean. I'm just looking for an excuse to turn the tables on you."

Dean's eyes widened for a second, not sure if he believed Sam or not. After a second to think about it, he gave Sam another glare, but decided not to physically attack. John's voice boomed from the other side of the room, "Sit down both of you!"

They sat while still glaring at each other. John came in and paced around the room while talking. "I've been thinking about this since I found you in the hotel room Dean, and I've come to a decision."

Dean muttered, "You've decided kidnapping will be your new hobby?"

John ignored him. "I've decided you need some forcibly imposed direction in your life."

Dean just looked confused and said, "What?"

"I trained you to be a hunter from the age of four, and I never gave you the chance to even think about what you might want to do with your life. So it's not exactly a shock that you feel lost now that the one thing you were trained for is gone."

"Look Dad I don't…."

"I'm not finished."

Dean bristled but shut up. John continued, "So for the next six months you are going to live with me, and you and I are going to work on finding you a carrier. You're going to take some basic courses at the local college, and depending on what you finally decide on for a carrier, you may be in some training programs or internships."

Dean shook his head no, but John ignored him again. "And as always living in my house means living by my rules, and rule number one for you right now is no drinking. In fact, I'll go so far as to say you're grounded for the next month. No drinking, no dating, and no going anywhere without letting me know where you are."

Dean crossed his arms, leaned back against the couch and said in a voice that clearly said he thought the whole situation was ridiculous, "Are you through?"

John thought about it a second and looked over at Sam to see if he had left anything out. Sam added, "No skipping classes. School will be starting in two weeks, and I'll take you down to enroll next week."

Dean shook his head and said, "The two of you are crazy if you think I'm just going to sit idly by and let this happen to me."

John nodded in agreement. "Actually I kind of doubt you're gonna do much sitting at all if you fight us every step of the way."

Dean could feel his face heating up, but he kept his cool and looked at Sam as he said, "Keeping me here against my will is illegal. Tell us what the penalty is for kidnapping lawyer boy."

Sam scoffed, "Yeah, like you're gonna turn us in. Please. And don't get it in your head that you're gonna sneak off in the middle of the night either."

Dean laughed a little, "Why, are you guys gonna watch me 24/7?"

John said, "Probably for the first week, yes. Sam and I both have the next two weeks off, and the only thing we plan to do is spend time with you."

Dean groaned and said, "Please tell me this is some nightmare and I'm gonna wake up back in my hotel room."

Sam felt himself tearing up, but he didn't care. He knew showing Dean how much he was hurt by what his brother had done was the best way to keep him there. Sam shook his head. "No Dean. You're gonna focus and get yourself together for me, because I need you too. I…. I can't even explain how hurt I am that you did this. I've trusted you to be there for me my whole life, and this is the first time I've ever felt like you let me down."

Dean saw the tears falling down Sam's face and felt his stomach twisting at the words. Sam said, "Do you think so little of me as a man that you can't confide in me when you have a problem? Does our relationship always have to be so one sided? You've always looked out for my welfare, and I love you for that, but my happiness does not supersede your happiness. You told Dad you did this to make sure that he and I could go on with our lives and be happy, but I think that's a load of shit. You did this for yourself. You did it to escape the fear of having to start your life over again."

Dean was close to tears now himself, and he was shaking his head no in denial even though he suspected Sam was right. He hated seeing Sam in pain, and wanted to somehow make it better. "Sammy, I….."

John interrupted, "Sam, go make us all some lunch please. Dean and I are going to have a talk about his recent drinking and lack of eating."

Sam looked over at Dean with some sympathy, but Dean could tell he approved of whatever John was about to do. Sam said, "Sure Dad."

Dean looked up at John warily as Sam walked into the kitchen. John said, "You look like shit Dean."

"Gee Dad, thanks for noticing."

"I know that you know how to take care of yourself. You know how to eat right, and what to do to keep yourself in shape. You know the difference between a drink at the end of the day and drinking all day long. But obviously you've been ignoring that knowledge, so I have to conclude that you've decided not to take care of yourself on purpose. Wanna tell me why?"

Dean pretended to think about it and then said, "Midlife crisis?"

John slowly shook his head. "Your smart ass remarks aren't helping."

Dean shrugged, "Looks like we disagree again."

John went over and sat next to Dean on the couch. "Fine that's the way you want it, let's see if my hand applied to your butt will help you to become more agreeable."

John reached for Dean's arm, but Dean jumped off the couch and out of John's reach. Dean shook his head. "No way am I letting you do that to me again Dude. You caught me off guard last time. It's not gonna happen again."

John's jaw clenched with fury and he had to take a second to calm down. John was pushing sixty, and he knew if it came down to a physical fight it was possible that Dean would win, but he wasn't about to let it get that far. He said with conviction, "You get your ass over here right now, or I'll get Sammy to help hold you down."

Dean's complexion became somewhat pale, and his eyes darted over to the entryway to the kitchen. Sam stepped into the entryway just as Dean looked over. Sam crossed his arms, glared at Dean, and said, "You need any help in here Dad?"

John looked over at Dean and said, "Do I Dean?"

Dean's eyes went back and forth between John and Sam for a few seconds while they both looked at him. He believed they were serious, and he couldn't understand exactly how his role in their family unit had changed so drastically. John said impatiently, "Dean?!"

Dean glared over at Sam and said, "You better hope that it takes a long time for me to get back to normal, because revenge is a bitch Sammy."

Sam nodded once understanding that Dean would be compliant for a little while at least, and headed back to the kitchen. John looked at Dean expectantly and waited for him to walk back over to the couch.

Dean shook his head and said, "You know how ridiculous this is, right?"

John leaned his elbows on his knees and said, "Which part? Yes it's ridiculous that you've been drinking so much that sober is an unusual state for you. Yes it's ridiculous that you've lost so much weight that your little brother can easily overpower you. Yes it's ridiculous that you're so stubborn this is the only way to get through to you. But no I don't think it's ridiculous that your brother and I love you enough to make you stop your self destructive behaviors."

Dean looked down at the floor for a few seconds thinking about that, and slowly made his way over to John's side. John said, "Get your jeans down."

Dean rolled his eyes as he unsnapped his pants, not quite able to believe he was doing this willingly. As soon as they were undone, John reached a hand up and pulled Dean over his lap. Dean's upper half rested on the couch, and his lower half hung off John's lap. John pulled the jeans down, but left Dean's boxers on. He brought his hand down hard on the right side of Dean's butt, and then matched that swat with one of the left. Dean's butt was still tender from the night before, so it didn't take much to reignite the fire.

John spanked Dean steadily until Dean was making small noises of pain, and squirming to avoid his hand. John paused and asked, "Do you think being a smart ass was helpful now?"

Dean growled slightly in irritation and said, "No sir."

John nodded and said, "Good. Now this next part is gonna be for not taking care of yourself for the past six months. You may not take your wellbeing seriously, but believe me when I say Sammy and I do."

With those words John took the boxers down as well and started spanking again. Dean couldn't fight the tears anymore when he felt the first slap to bare skin. The sound of Dean crying tore at John's heart, but he forced himself to keep going. Very soon Dean was giving broken apologies and promises of good behavior, but John didn't stop until Dean gave in and wailed. John stopped and waited until Dean's crying became a little less severe before pulling up the boxers.

When Dean felt the boxers go back on he stood up, and John helped steady him with a hand on his arm. Dean got his jeans back on, and John stood up beside him. John pulled him into a hug and just held him while Dean cried. Quite a few minutes later, Sam cleared his throat in the entryway to the kitchen. Dean let go of John, and they both looked at Sam. Sam looked sad and uncomfortable at the same time. He said to the floor, "Lunch is ready."

John said, "Thanks." And then looked at Dean and said, "Let's go eat, and then maybe you can answer my original question without the attitude."

Dean muttered a subdued, "Yes sir."

Dean saw that Sam had set up lunch on the kitchen counter instead of the table, and all three men ate standing. Dean was the first to be done, and John noticed that he didn't eat all that much. He gave Dean a look, and Dean said, "I feel kind of sick."

John gave in, knowing that Dean's body was probably in withdrawal from lack of alcohol, and that even the little bit of lunch he had eaten was more then he would have normally had. John said, "Okay. Why don't you tell me why you haven't been taking care of yourself?"

Dean said sincerely, "Because there's no point."

"No point in taking care of yourself?"

Dean nodded and looked out the window. "It's not like there's any immediate danger around the next corner. I don't have to worry about saving anyone from anything. I don't have to worry about you or take care of Sammy anymore. As for the drinking…. It helps me to forget."

John waited a second and when Dean didn't say anything else John said, "Forget what?"

"That it all use to matter."

John wasn't surprised by Dean's statement. He had been expecting Dean to say something similar, and had an answer ready. "Thank you for being honest. Sammy and I are gonna spend the next few weeks proving to you that there are still things that matter in the world. We're gonna prove that you still matter, and that the things you do every day for yourself, your family, and the people around you, have an impact on lives other then your own. "

Sam was done eating and said hopefully, "After Dad called me last night I made a list of jobs I thought you might like. You wanna take a look?"

John looked at Dean wondering what he would say. This was the first time Dean had been given a choice since John had dragged him home, and John thought Dean's answer would say a lot about how the next six months were going to go.

Dean didn't really want to look at Sam's list. He didn't want to think about his future. He wanted to take a few painkillers with some whisky, but he knew that wasn't an option. He was about to say he wanted to try and take a nap, but Sam was giving him the puppy dog eyes, and he always had a hard time saying no to that. He sighed and said, "Alright."

John smiled and started to clean up the dishes, while Sam and Dean went into the living room. John was sure there would be more then one bump in the road to Dean's new life, but for the first time since he found out what Dean had done, he really believed his plan would work. He found himself smiling and even chuckling as he overheard the conversation in the other room.

"Sam, this list looks exactly like the one you made when you were seven."

"What? It does not. I don't even know what you're talking about."

"In the first grade when everyone was talking about what their parents did for a living, you came home all upset about it. That night you made a list in crayon and showed it to Dad to let him know you would be any of those things, but you weren't going to be a hunter."

"Whatever Dean, you just don't want to take this seriously, so you're making jokes."

Dean looked at the list. "Let's see you've got Fireman, Policeman, and Army Guy on here, and I know all those were on your other list."

Sam's voice got louder as he said, "I put down you might be interested in joining the National Guard. I didn't write down 'Army Guy'!

"I do have to give you credit for coming up with Private Detective. That's a new one from the other list. But you're missing Cowboy and Candy Maker. What? You don't think I have it in me to do those?"

"You're a jerk."

Dean laughed and said, "You're a girl. Learn to take a joke Dude."

John's voice from the kitchen called out, "Are you two arguing?"

They answered, "No sir!"

Dean gave Sam a smile, feeling a little more like his old self and said, "I suppose being a cop could have its perks. I could arrest you and Dad for kidnapping, and eat donuts while I did it."

Sam tried to stay upset about Dean's joking, but found himself smiling as well. He said, "It's good to have you home Dean. I missed you."

Dean smiled and said, "We'll see if you still think so six months from now when I kick your ass for your part in all this."

Sam smiled even bigger and called out, "Daaaad! Dean said he's gonna beat me up!"

Dean's eyes got wide and he slapped a hand over Sam's mouth. Dean gave a nervous laugh and called out, "Joke! It was a joke Dad! Sammy just has no sense of humor!"

Sam was now laughing, and John walked into the entryway of the kitchen and said, "Alright you jokers, enough. Let me see the list."

They spent the afternoon and evening talking about, and looking into carriers for Dean. That night as he lay in bed Dean admitted to himself that he had missed his family, even if they were overbearing sometimes, and he was actually happy to be home.