The story so far…
"We slip away when they're not looking and run like hell," his father answered. "And from the looks of the heated argument between John and the other men over there, our chance is now."
"Not a very good plan, dad," Dean said with a shake of his head. "I don't know that you can even run at all."
"You can," John pointed out.
"No. No!" Dean implored. "I'm not leaving you again."
"Dean," John said. "I love you. You're my son. I'm not going to let you die here."
"I don't want you to die either, dad. What happened to not giving up?" There has to be another way," Dean insisted desperately.
"There is!" a male voice from behind a tree to their right whispered to them.
"Who is that?" John asked Dean.
"It's J.J!" Dean realized with a smile.
"Hurry! While no one's looking!" J.J. insisted.
"I don't know, Dean," John whispered. "Could be a trap."
"I think he's okay, Dad," Dean replied.
"I guess we have no other choice," John decided.
With great difficulty, Dean put his arm around his father's waist to help him over to where the teenager was waiting for them. J.J. quickly took John's good arm over his shoulder and he and Dean half led, half dragged him over to a waiting vehicle. Dean got in the truck before helping J.J. to ease his father up into the passenger side. J.J. rushed over to the driver's side, got in, and started the truck quickly. Soon they were driving down a narrow dirt road and away from the camp. Dean was silent for a moment as he watched his father close his eyes and lean heavily against the door. He wasn't looking so good at all, shaking and breathing heavily with his wound bleeding again, and Dean decided to let him rest.
"I sure hope that you are helping us here. Where are we going exactly?" Dean asked.
"The hospital, of course," J.J. answered without taking his eyes off of the bumpy road.
"Good. Thanks. But...why are you helping us now?" Dean asked skeptically when J.J. did not continue speaking.
"Because you helped me," the teenager answered.
"What?" Dean asked.
"You helped me to realize that I need to finally take control and do what's right. Even if I am only seventeen. And even if it puts me in danger in the process, like with helping the two of you now. Just like you did when you helped your brother and then came back to help your dad. You could have left your father tied to the tree. Went with your brother and that man and not looked back. But you didn't let my father scare you away," J.J. explained before pausing for a moment. "I'm not going to take it anymore. Let him boss me around…or…or…punish me," J.J. said with hard determination on his face.
Dean could see tears in the teenager's eyes too. He wondered how much abuse J.J. had suffered at the hands of his father and he was sorry for him.
"Are you going to let us help you get away from him then?" Dean asked hopefully.
"No. I have a little brother too as well as a sister and mother. If I left…I worry how bad it could get for them if he didn't have me around. I'm going to convince my mother to take us to her sister's again, but this time…not go back to him," J.J. said.
"And if she says no? Are you going to take off?" Dean asked.
"Not alone I'm not. I'll take my brother and sister with me somewhere safe. I'm going to make this right for us," J.J. answered.
"Good for you," Dean said. "You deserve that as much as your brother and sister does. And if we can help in any way-."
"You're lucky you know," J.J. said softly. "You and your brother. That our fathers don't have anything else in common other than their name."
"I know," Dean agreed just as softly.
The next day…
"Hey dad," Dean said as he and Bobby entered his father's hospital room. "How are you feeling?"
"Much better. Letting me out tomorrow. You see Sam yet today?" John asked.
"He was sleeping when we went looked in earlier so we'll check on him again in a bit. But the nurse said he is doing great. Will make a full recovery," Bobby answered.
"Hey, Bobby? Give us a minute?" John asked.
"Sure, John," Bobby obliged with a smile before stepping out of the room. "I'm going to go find some coffee that doesn't taste like it was made with road gravel."
"Come here, Dean," John said as he patted the side of his bed.
Dean walked over and sat down on the edge, wondering what his father wanted to talk about that he didn't want to talk about in front of Bobby. Was he in trouble?
"Don't look so scared, kid," John said with a smile. "But I do realize how scary all of this was for you and I'm sorry."
"You're sorry? Why?" Dean asked in confusion.
"I messed up. Won't happen again. You shouldn't have had all of that responsibility on your shoulders. But you did great, didn't crack under the pressure one bit. Saved Sam and saved me. And from what bits and pieces I heard you and J.J. talking about in the truck yesterday, you saved him and his family too. But you know what? This isn't the first time you saved me."
"What are you talking about?" Dean asked.
"I never told you this. And I should have, to you and Sam. When your mom died…it was….hard for me. Beyond hard. I wanted to give up…to sink into deep depression or worse….but I didn't. Because of you and Sam. You two kept me sane, gave me a reason to go on. You and Sam saved me then. Just like you continue to save me every day," John said as he put his hand on Dean's shoulder.
"I'm glad dad, that you didn't turn out like J.J's dad after mom was killed," Dean agreed. "And as long as we're together, we can handle anything. Right?"
"Right," John said with a smile.