John didn't mind so much when Mary teased him about being such a homebody. He'd always been that way so it was no big deal that she pointed it out. When he went to basic training, John met a lot of guys who enlisted specifically to get away from home; for him it was always about duty and protecting the thing you wanted to come home to the most.

After marrying Mary and moving into the house she inherited from her parents it gave John a real sense of satisfaction to be putting roots down in the town where he grew up. He never said it in so many words, but John loved the feeling of place and home that grew stronger with each passing day. Adding Dean to the mix nearly made him delirious with glee and John didn't think he could be any happier.

As much as John loved to be home there were long hours to work at the shop; he wasn't one to shirk his responsibilities or avoid getting his hands dirty and the satisfaction of building their small, local garage into a recommended business in the area was gratifying. Then Mike got the brilliant idea that they needed to expand their customer base and diversify their product lines; this expansion would involve a lot of hand shaking, meet-and-greeting and traveling to grease the wheels. As the "senior" partner Mike got to delegate assignments – Mike got the phone work and John hit the road.

John didn't enjoy time on the road. Meals picked up in a diner were never as good as what Mary cooked. Hours alone in the car with gave him too much time to think. Motel showers never had enough pressure or hot water. And lumpy beds only accentuated how much John missed sleeping next to his wife.

But even with all of the negatives, John let it all fall away every time he pulled back into his own driveway. Putting the car into park and cutting the engine, John would take a deep breath and soak in the feeling of being home. Most of the time he didn't bother grabbing his things; he was too impatient to get back into the house. Some nights John got home late enough that Mary had already put Dean to bed and was in bed herself – on those nights there was always a light on in the kitchen and one in the front hallway as well. It made John smile to know that Mary left the lights on for him.

Other nights, if John got lucky with traffic and the schedule was in his favor, he would get home before Mary put Dean down – those were his favorites. Sometimes John would quietly let himself in so he could catch a glimpse of Mary reading to Dean in the rocking chair. He loved how the lamp made a golden halo of her hair that was reflected in the golden head tucked under her chin. It never mattered how quiet John thought he was, Mary always knew he was there and a secret smile would grace her face as she was reading.

When the book was finished, Mary would scoop Dean up with ease and settle him against her shoulder. There was something about seeing Dean so relaxed and sleepy, wearing his footie pajamas with his feet dangling by Mary's hip, that warmed John to his core. He never could resist walking into the room to engulf the two of them in an embrace, drinking deeply of Dean's smell of freshly washed baby and Mary's more enticing fragrance, even as Mary admonished him softly not to wake the baby.

This was worth coming home to.