John was sitting at the table on the darkest corner of the bar with a bottle of Jack when he saw them enter. He was halfway up his seat when he settled back down and decided to wait. 'Let's see how this plays out.'

They didn't know he was back, had been back for a couple of hours. The last hunt… didn't go as he planned. He wasn't fast enough, smart enough and the ghost ganked the parents of the family he was trying to save before he could even blink. Another family destroyed by dark ugly things. More children that were going to grow up knowing far more than they should…

…like his sons, who were now walking up to the bartender with far more confidence than they would have if they knew what was coming later tonight as punishment for this little adventure.

They flashed their fake IDs (when did they *get* fake IDs?) and he snorted out loud. Stupid prick couldn't see he was going to serve children? He was going to bust their ass right then and there when Sam sat on the chair next to Dean and something in John painfully knotted itself tight. Somewhere during all those hunts and training assignments, he missed it: his sons were not children anymore.

His whisky fogged brain was failing at basic math… they were in 1998 so… fuck, when did Dean turn 19? He was 19? Another shot and he subtracted four years. Sam was 15 years-old, for fuck's sake. Not anywhere near legal, but still. Definitely not children anymore.

John took a moment to observe his sons from afar. He felt a odd mixture of pride and sorrow looking at his eldest. Dean was a soldier, through and through. The way he moved, the way he wouldn't turn his back on the door. And the look on his eyes… John had seen that look on eyes just as young as Dean's, on fellow Marines coming from Nam after witnessing far more horror than they ever thought possible. John's heart tightened. Dean has been fighting a war since he was four.

Then Sam… and John was even more surprised. Maybe he didn't pay enough attention ('maybe?', a voice that sounded like Bobby's ringed in his ears), Dean was always the one responsible for Sam. But Sam had somehow also turned into a man. And for all the bitching and moaning about hunting, he too moved like a soldier far too wise for his years. And what he lacked in facial hair, he sure made up in height. When did that happen? Sam was as tall as Dean now.

They took their beers and moved to a table on the opposite side. John could see them clearly. By the second beer, they were more relaxed and chatting excitedly about something. Again, surprise hit him and John let out a sigh he didn't know he was holding. 'Thank God, they're friends'. He never saw that side of them. When they were with him, Dean was his lieutenant, Sam was the opposing party and they only talked to each other away from John's ears. Sam let out a loud round laugh and John felt a dizziness that had nothing to do with liquor. He never ever heard the sound of his son's laughter like that.

He was one step away from storming out before being noticed when he caught something glimmering in Dean's eyes. A couple of girls from the local community college walked in and were sitting themselves at a nearby table. Dean winked at his brother, grabbed his beer and walked to their table, with a confidence that did not match a boy that was going to try a move on girls that were at least a couple of years his seniors.

Sam rolled his eyes when his brother told him to come to the girl's table, but joined them anyway. And John was definitely feeling only pride when he saw all the girls entranced by his boys. He couldn't hear what they were talking about, but the girls were laughing that laugh that women only give when they are interested and a very busty blonde that had to be at least five years older than Dean just couldn't stop touching him.

Half an hour later, Dean and busty Blondie walked out of the bar, leaving Sam alone in the table with the other girls. That's when it hit John. And it was like he was seeing his sons for the first time.

They were not rugged, bearded smelly hunters like himself and the lot of them. His sons were beautiful. They could probably fit themselves easily at any of those prissy male model photo shoots from girly magazines. Sam's jaw line were par with the movie stars. Dean's green eyes and bright smile seemed to make him able to swoon any girl of her feet - and from what he had seen tonight, Dean knew it too.

He tried to envision what sort of life they would have had if things were different. If Mary had lived. If he hadn't been so selfish and given them up for adoption. They would have nice things. Nice clothes, probably a car that wasn't older than them both. He could just picture them holding hands with a stunning woman each, chatting over tall champagne glasses...

The mental image was enough to send him to the door, praying Sam wouldn't notice him.

He shouldn't be surprised with what he saw outside. He should know better than to ever expect Dean to leave his little (well, not so little anymore) brother alone. Dean was inside the Impala locking lips with busty Blondie.

John tapped the window.

"Leave me alone, Sammy."

"Not Sam", he gruffed and had to physically restrain a smile when Dean's face went white and he turned himself around like a ballerina, mumbling sorrys to Blondie and snapping to attention outside the car in less than three seconds flat.

"Sir, I'm…I'm sorry"

The voice that sounded like Bobby chuckled in his head. 'Not the kid's fault, you moron'.

"My car is not a motel", he whispered in his best menacing voice.

He could see Dean was about to blurt out another apology when his son noticed something being put on his hands. Dean blinked once, then twice looking at the 20 bill now on his palm, before looking back up. "Wha…?"

"Get a room". It was an order, but he could see Dean's hesitation, so he added. "Lady's waiting" and turned back around.

As Dean went back to the car, Sam was standing in the sidewalk looking just was dumbstruck as his brother.

"Hey, Sammy", John tried a smile. Then threw his keys into the boy's hands.

"My car in on the corner. Wanna drive?"

The slight turn of his boy's head made him look 15 again and John relaxed.

Dean was going out with some girl, Sam was driving his father's truck.

Things were as normal as they would ever gonna get around here.