Well guys, I finally got this chapter done...and, its the final chapter. Thank you all so much for sticking with me and for offering such wonderful reviews. I'm not going to go on and on and on...you all know how much I appreciate you. So, here you go :)
"Um, Dad…it's been like, three days…shouldn't you like be over this by now?" Dean asked warily, his green eyes watching as his father paced from one wall of the hotel room to the other. Caleb and Joshua had been sent off on a supplies gathering mission with instructions to take their time, leaving the Winchester family alone to 'talk' about what had happened days before.
John stopped and turned on his heels to face all three of his boys. Daniel and Dean sat on the end of one bed, Sam sat on the other. All three watched John nervously as he glared first at Dean, then at his other two sons. Finally, the Winchester patriarch folded his arms over his chest and took a deep breath.
"So, you think I should be over this? That I should have forgotten all about how you two went off willy nilly and got yourselves taken prisoner by a lunatic spirit? That you got your younger brother tortured and almost killed? I'm just supposed to be over how I almost lost all three of you? Is that it, Dean? 'Cause, you know…that's crap!" John spat, his dark eyes sparking with anger as he eyed his boys.
"I…I don't think he really meant it like that, Dad," Daniel spoke up as he pushed to his feet to stand in front of his father.
"Sit down, Daniel…and don't speak…not any of you. This is not a discussion. I will speak and you all will listen!" John hissed.
Daniel swallowed then backed up and sat down next to Dean. He glanced over to the other bed where Sam sat, his head down, eyes on the floor. He jerked his eyes back around when John loudly cleared his throat.
"You will look at me and only me! " John snapped as he glanced at each young man, his gaze landing on the drooped head of his youngest son. "Sam, eyes front and center…now!" he hissed. He cringed when Sam lifted his eyes, their hazel depths filled with fear and misery. In his heart, all he wanted to do was embrace all three and tell them how much he loved them…how much almost losing them nearly killed him, but his head was taking lead at the moment and his head was spitting mad. "Now…I want to know something. Have you all completely forgotten your training? Since when do we go into a hunt without back up? Without knowing exactly what we're up against?"
"Uh…we…" Dean started, only to be cut off by his fuming father.
"Did I say you could speak? Did I give the okay to open your mouth?"
"Zip it, Dean! I'll let you know when I want you to answer."
Dean pursed his lips, but he refused to lose eye contact with his father. Once John was satisfied that his sons would remain silent, he began his tirade again. "You two know better than to go into a hunt without me or another hunter to back you up. You knew Caleb and Josh were on their way yet you still went running in without so much as a plan as to how you were going take the spirit out. You didn't know where his body was buried, had absolutely no clue how to take him down, yet you still went in and got yourselves in a shitload of trouble! Then, to top it all off, you got your brother involved! I did not teach you to hunt this way! I taught you to be smart…to know what you were hunting backwards and forwards! Now, what do you have to say for yourselves!"
The three siblings sat silently, all afraid to utter one word. John eyed each one then rolled his eyes. "Daniel…speak," he said through gritted teeth.
Daniel looked up at his father then stood. "Dad, I know we went against our training. I know we should've waited for Caleb and Josh, but then that kid got taken and we…Dean and I, we knew we had a shot at saving him. We had to take it…we…"
"And did you save him?" John asked coolly.
Daniel swallowed then shook his head. "That's not fair, Dad. We tried. It was better than sitting in this hotel room and waiting knowing that kid was out there," he said in reply.
"So, it was better to get captured and tortured?" John asked. "News flash, Daniel…the kid still died! Did it ever occur to either of you two that had you waited, you may have been able to save him? That with Caleb and Josh's backup, you could have possibly found a way to take down Torrence and save the kid? That none of you needed to be hurt? That Sam would've been safe at Stanford instead of being cut up like a Christmas turkey?"
Dean shot to his feet, the young man no longer willing to sit and take his father's ranting. "We were that kid's only chance, Dad! You weren't here! You don't have a clue about what went on here. And we had no way of knowing that Sammy would come here! He didn't even know where we were!" he shouted as he squared off with his father.
"You know your brother, Dean! You know that once he figured out something was wrong, he'd find a way to find you! You and Daniel threw all of your training out the window and nearly got yourselves and Sam killed! And don't think there won't be a punishment for you two for getting Sam involved!" John shouted back, his face turning a deep red.
It was Sam's turn to shoot to his feet, his wide hazel eyes glancing over at his brothers before landing on his father. "No, Dad. It isn't their fault that I came here! If you're going to punish someone, punish me, but if you expect an apology from me, you won't get it! I'm not sorry I came! They're my brothers and if there is something I can do to protect them, I'm going to do it!" he cried.
"Sammy, it isn't your job to protect us…it's ours to protect you," Daniel said as he moved to his little brother's side.
Sam took a step back from Daniel and shook his head. "That's crap, Danny. I don't know how you can say that to me," he said.
John, wondering at exactly what point he lost control of the conversation, took a step toward his youngest son and gently gripped his arm. "Sam, you are the glue that holds us all together. If something happened and we lost you, we'd be in a world of hurt. You have to understand that," he said.
Sam sighed and looked up at his father. "I do understand that, but you all have to understand something too. You always say I'm the glue that holds us together…well, guess what…you all are my glue. Without all of you, I would have fallen apart a long time ago. I can't lose any of you so please don't expect me to sit back and let you protect me without me doing the same for you if I can! It's not fair!"
Sam looked at all three of his family members then dropped back down onto the foot of his bed. Dean walked over to the bed and sat down next to him, nudging the younger sibling with his shoulder and smiling when Sam looked up at him. "You know what, kiddo…you're right. We ask you to do something that goes completely against the person you are and it isn't fair. If someone told me I couldn't protect you, that I wasn't allowed, I'd clock 'em so fast their heads would be spinning and here we are, asking you to do just that. Because of you, because you didn't stay back and out of harms way, Danny and I are still alive, so…thank you. You saved us and that's all there is to it," he said softly.
Sam smiled appreciatively then nudged Dean right back. "Thanks, Dean," he said softly.
Dean nodded then looked up at his father. "Dad, I know Danny and I screwed up, but we only did what you would've done in the same situation. You told us to handle the hunt and we did the best we could."
"I didn't mean for you to go off half cocked without backup, Dean," John said tiredly. "Look, I understand your need to try and save that kid, but what did you expect to happen? You pretty much knew who the spirit was, but you didn't know where he was buried. You went into the situation, not to salt and burn him, but to find the kid and rescue him. When has that ever worked? The rules of dealing with a crazy ass spirit is to find the body and take care of it, period."
Daniel stepped up next to his brother and faced his father. "Dad, we knew Caleb and Josh were on their way. We left all of our notes so they could figure out where Torrence's body was buried. We knew the condition that those bodies were in when they were found…we knew what that poor kid was probably going through. We couldn't just sit and wait for the guys to get here. I made the call to move so if you're going to punish anyone, punish me," he said.
"No, Dad…" Dean started, but stopped when John raised his hand to silence him.
"I'm not going to punish you. I think you all have been through enough so as long as I have your promise that you will never do anything like this again…any of you…then we'll put it behind us and move on," John said as he looked to each son.
"So, you're not even going to punish us for getting Sammy involved?" Dean asked hopefully.
"Well, I was, but I've changed my mind. Sam's an adult and as much as it scares the crap out of me, I know that we can't expect him to sit back and do nothing when his family is in danger. And, I know how stubborn the little knucklehead is. I do however expect Sam to be more responsible. No running off without telling anyone and if you lie to any of us, Caleb and Josh included, there will be hell to pay…do I make myself clear?" John responded, his dark eyes narrowing on his fidgeting youngest son.
Sam looked up through the dark fringe of his bangs and nodded. "Yes, sir…I understand…and, I'm sorry," he said softly.
John smiled as he stepped forward and ruffled the young man's hair. "You better be," he said gruffly. "Now, let's get our stuffed packed so we can hit the road. You two take Sammy back to Stanford then head toward Bobby's. He's got a hunt for us and can't just relay the specifics over the phone. I'll expect to meet you there in three days so don't goof around."
"Yes, sir," all three Winchester siblings said in unison. They went to work gathering their things, stuffing all of the research work into a separate duffel bag. Within a half an hour, they were loading everything into the trunk of the Impala.
Sam stood next to the Impala, his hazel eyes watching as John talked to Caleb and Joshua. Finally, John slapped each man on the shoulder then moved to his truck. He glanced over and nodded when he met Sam's gaze, then slipped into the truck and started the engine. Sam watched as he pulled out of the motel parking lot and sped off down the road.
"Um, I'm going to say goodbye to Caleb and Josh. I'll be right back," Sam said as he turned to his brothers, both of whom were leant against the side of the sleek, black car watching as John's truck became smaller and smaller on the horizon.
"Sure, Sammy…make it quick though. We've got a long drive ahead of us," Daniel said. The two elder brothers watched Sam walk over to Caleb and Joshua then both opened their respective doors and slid into the front seat, Dean behind the wheel and Daniel in the passenger seat.
Sam walked up to Caleb and Joshua and smiled nervously when they turned their eyes on him. "Um, guys, I…I just want to say how sorry I am for lying to you. I know it was wrong, but I just…I had to find them, you know? I know I've lost your trust and I want you to know that I'm gonna do everything I can to make it up to you," he said, his hazel eyes gazing pleadingly at the men before him.
Caleb stepped forward and cupped Sam's nape. "I'm not gonna lie, Sam…I was pretty disappointed in you, but…I understand why you did it. Just, in the future, trust us a little more, okay? Believe it or not, we kind of know what we're doing," he said.
"I'm sorry. I'll understand if you never forgive me."
Joshua stepped forward and lightly slugged the young man's shoulder. "Nothing to forgive, Sam. Just don't lie to us again…or to your family. We stick together…that's how we all come out of these situations alive and intact…okay?" he said.
Sam nodded as he smiled up at the tall man. "Okay," he answered. "Thanks, Josh."
"You better be for getting along to the monster…looks like Dean's about to leave you behind," Caleb said with a light chuckle. "You take care of yourself, half pint," he added.
Sam smiled and rolled his eyes at his friends. "I'm taller than you, Caleb…not much of a half pint anymore," he said.
"You're always going to be a half pint to me, kid…not get going."
Sam chuckled then waved as he turned around. "See you guys…stay safe," he called as he headed for the Impala.
"You too, Sammy," Caleb called after him. He and Joshua watched as Sam crawled into the back seat of the Impala. Dean glanced over at them and waved before backing away from the motel. He left the two hunters in a cloud of dust as he pulled onto the highway and sped away. Caleb turned to Joshua and smiled. "Those Winchesters are going to be the death of me, I swear," he said with a chuckle and slight shake of his head.
Joshua clapped him on the shoulder and smiled. "You and me both, brother…you and me both," he said before climbing into the passenger seat of Caleb's SUV.
Caleb turned his gaze in the direction the Winchesters had driven off in and sighed. He slid behind the wheel of his rig and started the engine. As he drove away, he said a small prayer that someday the Winchesters would find the peace they so strongly desired, yet always seemed just out of their reach. If anyone deserved it, they did, Caleb thought as he rolled down the window and let the cool desert air wash over his face. His thoughts remained with the Winchesters as the sun rose higher in the sky with the promise of another warm, sunny day.
Well, that's it. There will be more 3 brothers stories...in case you were wondering :D I've gotten a lot of requests to keep writing them and who I am to deny you all? So, hope you liked it. Keep a look out for my next story...I have quite a few ideas running around in this crazy head of mine :D Take care all.