A/N: The end is finally here! I figured this was the best place to end the story and wanted to get it posted for Father's Day. Hope you enjoy! Thanks again for all the support!
As long as his boys had each other, they never seemed to really need anyone else.
The streetlights shined through the water spotted windows of the Impala, casting a glow on Sam's sweat glistening face. He lay in the backseat with his injured leg stretched out across the leather. Although wrapped in fleece blankets, he still shivered. The paleness of his face practically blended into the white of the pillow he head lay against.
Dean's head kept turning towards the backseat, watching his brother. Things had been pretty scary for a while in the hospital, and he wasn't completely convinced Sam should be out. After spending nearly a week and a half hooked up to antibiotics, the doctor had declared him well enough to be released into the care of his family…with a very long list of instructions and restrictions meant to help his recovery. Yet Sam still looked and felt pretty awful.
Granted, his doctor had said that Sam could easily stand to have a few more days in the hospital, but Dr. Aldridge had also felt that Sam being somewhere familiar would do him good as well. Because of that, John and Dean had reluctantly given in to Sam's pleads to let him be released. It wasn't because he had pulled out his puppy dog eyes…not at all…
Much like Dean, John glanced in he rear view mirror to check on his baby every chance he got. Sam shifted slightly in his sleep, letting the blanket slip and expose his torso. The gauze padding around his stab wound and surgical incision puffed out his shirt on the side. Despite that, John knew Sam's shirt was hanging much looser than it should. Given that Sam's injuries and medications had left his appetite almost nil, it shouldn't have surprised John that much. Also didn't help that Sam was starting to grow taller and lankier.
Dean leaned backwards and pulled the blankets back up around Sam. His hand lingered for a second on his brother's forehead. He muttered a soft curse under his breath.
"What is it, Dean?" John asked.
"He feels warm again, and he hasn't stopped shivering."
"Damn…was worried 'bout that."
"Think we should stop for the night and get him checked out somewhere?"
"I don't know. We probably could-"
Sam groaned from the back as he stirred under Dean's hand, signaling that the older Winchesters had woken him. He brushed off Dean's hand with his uncasted arm. "What's goin' on?" he slurred, voice still thick with sleep.
"Nothin' Sammy, just go back to sleep. We'll be at Bobby's soon," Dean said.
"It's Sam…and you're lying. What's wrong?" He started to push himself up in the seat, but the glare Dean fixed him with had him lying back against the leather and pillows.
"Fine…your fever is back."
"Maybe we should take you into a clinic, kiddo," John tried to say calmly.
"I'm fine, dad…really," Sam sighed. He appreciated the worry, but it was starting to be too much and over every little thing. "The doctor said I'd still get small grade fevers while I recover. That's all it is…"
"But it could be worse," Dean interjected. "You don't do things half assed."
"What? You don't…"
"Enough boys," John stated with more force. "Sam, seriously, are you sure you don't feel worse?"
"Dad, I still don't feel great, but it is no different than it has been. I'm just tired and probably need to take my meds and get lots of rest. All of which I can do on Bobby's couch." Neither his brother nor dad looked completely convinced. "Can't we just go to Bobby's and if it gets worse he can call his doctor in? The guy's clinic isn't that far from the junk yard."
"Ok, Sam," John interrupted Dean's protests. "We'll go ahead and keep goin' to Bobby's. But if you start to get worse or anything, you gotta tell us. No more of this hiding crap. Got it?"
"Yes sir," Sam said, casting his eyes to the floor.
"Good," John replied. "Now get some more sleep. We'll be at Bobby's in just a few.
Sam nodded in response and burrowed back down under the fleece of the blankets. A few moments later, he was back asleep.
"Dad, do you really think this is the best idea?" Dean asked once he knew for certain Sam wouldn't hear.
"We can't baby him Dean. It will only make him want to hide more. So we have to let him come to us."
"Yeah, we know how well that works…"
"Dean…you trust your brother?"
"With my life. Just not sure I trust him with his own some days."
"Well, we have to give him the chance to show us we can. I promise, I'm not going to let him tell us he's fine when he's not. I'm keepin' an eye on him. But I also need to know that he'll come to us when he needs to."
"Fine," Dean mumbled.
John spared a glance at his son. "You're pouting?" he asked somewhat playfully.
"You so are," John smiled.
"Just shut up and drive old man…"
The crackling of tires on the rough gravel of the junkyard forced Bobby away from his readings. He quickly set the Latin text down on the porch's table and began to climb down the steps as the Impala came to a stop in front of him.
"Hey Bobby," Dean called as he opened his door.
John nodded his greeting to Bobby as he climbed out of the driver's seat and began to move towards the back.
"Dad, I'll get him…"
"I've got him Dean. Care to grab the duffle bags from the trunk, son?"
"I'll help ya, boy," Bobby said, coming up beside Dean and squeezing his shoulder. The two moved to the trunk and allowed John to gather Sam from the car.
John slowly opened the door, careful not to let Sam fall out since he was still leaning on it a little. Sam stirred, but was still asleep. John reached in and collected his son, blankets and all. The teenager felt light in his arms.
"Wh's goin' on?" he slurred, trying to wake up more.
"We're at Bobby's now."
Sam blinked a couple of times in an attempt to become more lucid. After a few seconds he realized he was in his dad's arms. "You don't have to carry me."
"Don't want you on that knee, son. Plus this is much quicker and you'll stay warmer. As if to prove his point, the cool night air picked up, causing Sam to huddle into John's chest. After that, he didn't put up a fight; he just let his dad carry him into the house. He stayed pressed close to John to stay warm the whole way. Although it worried John, he took comfort in the fact that Sam wasn't shying away or hiding.
"Thanks," Sam mumbled into John's shirt.
John didn't respond, only pulled his son in closer to him as he made his way into the boy's bedroom. He moved the comforter down before placing Sam in the bed furthest from the door. Sam sighed and instantly snuggled back down into its warmth. John let his hand brush across Sam's forehead, pushing his bangs back in the process.
"Feels like you still have a fever bud."
Sam was cut off as Bobby and Dean walked into the room. Dean tossed his and Sam's bags on the floor before going over to Sam. "We interrupting somethin'?"
"Sam still feels warm," John answered before Sam could.
Dean was at his side, pressing his hand to Sam's face in a second.
"It's ok guys," Sam said, trying to shove Dean's hand away. "I probably just need to take my pills and get some sleep. I'll be ok." He did his best not to sound like a whiny, petulant child. "Please…"
"Fine," John sighed. He moved towards Sam's duffle and quickly dug through the clothes to find the plastic baggie with all of the medication. He returned with the correct amount of antibiotics and pain medication, as well as a bottle of water.
"Thank you," Sam said softly as he took the medicines. He looked up after swallowing to see both John and Dean's worried faces. "I'm fine, guys. I just want to crash."
"Let the boy sleep," Bobby interrupted. "He'll holler if something feels off, won't you bud?" Sam nodded tiredly. "Besides, you'll be in the bed right there, Dean."
"I know that but-"
"Then shut your trap and get ready for bed. All that yappin' is keepin' your brother awake," Bobby chastised good-naturedly.
"Bobby-" John started.
"And you're gonna come downstairs and help me with these damn translations I need to get done." Bobby then walked over towards Sam's bed. He leaned down and checked Sam's forehead for himself before gently cupping the back of his neck. "Kid's gonna be fine. He's still gonna get little fevers. You both know that so go on." Both the older Winchesters just stared at Bobby. "Am I not speakin' English for you idgits?"
"Yes sir," both mumbled back, not quite sure what else to say. Then John leaned over Sam's bed to squeeze his shoulder and say good night. Dean rushed towards the bathroom to change out of his jeans and into sweats. Within a few seconds, only Bobby and Sam remained in the room.
"Anytime kiddo. Don't be too hard on 'em though. They're just worried 'bout ya. From what I heard, they got every right to be."
"I know, but I'm not hiding anything from them this time."
"Good to know," Bobby said with a smile. "Now get some sleep. I know you're exhausted." Bobby squeezed Sam's shoulder just as John had done before leaving the room.
Sam's eyes closed as his fatigue got the better of him. He was already sound asleep when Dean crept back inside the bedroom. He smiled at his brother's sleeping form on the bed. He had been truly terrified while Sam was in the hospital. Seeing his brother so content and peaceful, Dean walked closer to the bed. He ran his hand through Sam's hair, being careful not to wake him.
Days passed, and Sam started to feel a little better with each. He had moved from laying in bed all day to lounging around on the couch and reading through various books. It had become part of his daily routine. He'd get up, take his medicines, and then camp out on the battered piece of furniture for the rest of the day.
Which was why Dean was now panicking at the sight of a very empty couch in the middle of the afternoon. Dean managed to reason through his freak out enough to run and check the bedroom. He knew his brother's medicines still wiped him out on occasions. He rounded the corners quickly until his boot caught on the tattered hall rug. Dean went down hard.
"Son of bitch!"
"What the hell is goin' on in here?" Bobby gruff voice called into the room. Moments later he stepped into the hall and saw Dean trying to get up from the hard wood floor. "You ok boy?"
"Tripped…I'm fine…looking for Sammy. He wasn't on the couch."
"That's cause he's out back on the porch."
Dean's eyes widened and he scrambled to get up.
"Calm down, Dean." Bobby reached down and helped Dean to his feet.
"But he's still sick. He shouldn't be outside. It could-"
"Dean, it's summer…it's gotta be 'bout 80 outside." A blush blossomed across Dean's face. "Just calm down before you go out there."
"Thanks," Dean said as he took off towards the back porch. Despite Bobby's urging to calm himself, Dean rushed as the panic he had felt earlier was still just beneath the surface. He reached the back door and nearly crashed into it. He stumbled out onto the porch, startling Sam in the process.
Sam jumped to see what or who had made the crashing noise, almost falling out of the old lounge chair he was laying on. He saw Dean and quickly regained his balance using his uninjured arm.
"Dean," Sam sighed. "What the hell are you doing, man?"
"Um," Dean scratched the back of his neck as he tried to figure out an explanation that wouldn't frustrate his brother.
"Dean, I'm fine. Stop it."
"I-I wasn't coming out to check on you…I was…I wanted to-to see what new junkers Bobby had out here. That's all." Dean added a shrug at the end of his explanation.
"Whatever," Sam said, rolling his eyes. He settled back against his chair once again and looked out across the junkyard. He was tired of the mother hen routine his dad and Dean were starting to perfect. He saw a shadow move past him out of the corner of his eye. A second later he could see Dean sitting himself down in the chair beside him.
Sam glanced over and saw the apologetic expression written on his face. "I shouldn't have snapped," Sam said dejectedly.
"Can't blame you."
"Look," Dean said as he leaned forward in the chair so that he was closer to his brother. "We've been worried. You were pretty sick there for awhile bud. We just want to make sure you're ok."
"I get that, but I am capable of taking care of myself some. I know I'm still sick and hurt. But still…"
"I know. Just, last time I backed off…"
"I didn't take care of myself," Sam sighed.
"No, you tried to take care of yourself. It…it was just…you got out of your element and you should've come to me."
"Then why didn't you?" Dean hated to sound accusing when he knew his brother was tired and frustrated, but he couldn't help it. The whole thing had been bothering him almost incessantly.
Sam's eyes shifted away from Dean and focused on the ground. "I don't know…"
"I guess I was…just…I just wanted to be able to handle things on my own. I mean, I couldn't even handle a couple assholes at school and I guess I couldn't even handle taking care of myself and-"
"Sammy, stop it," Dean said gently. "Is that what it was about? Those dicks?"
"Some of it…I guess. I mean, you guys already think I'm a baby half the time on hunts anyway. How am I supposed to prove I can be a good hunter if I let myself get taken out by a couple of bullies?"
"Last I checked you had a whole gang of them on your ass."
"Sam, you think Dad or I could've handled it if we had that many people on us at once?"
Sam stayed silent for a few beats, as if trying to figure out the answer. Dean decided to go ahead and reply for him.
"I know we couldn't. Why do you think we hunt together so much? We give each other backup. That's what family is for kiddo."
Sam sniffled and nodded, not trusting his voice.
"Just don't forget that," Dean added as he reached over and gave his brother a one armed hug. "Now, what do you say we quit with the chick flick moments for awhile?"
"Ok," Sam smiled. He felt some of the tension leave him and he relaxed back into the chair. "So did you catch that monster movie on TV last night before you crashed?"
"Yes," Dean said with a shiver. "Dude that thing was so fake; it wasn't even funny."
"Yeah," Sam laughed.
"I mean, what was with all those damn eyes? And tentacles? Why the hell did a monster living is a freaking tree need tentacles?"
"Me neither." Dean smiled at his brother then continued ranting about the crappiness of Hollywood monsters. Sam just sat there laughing for the first time in a long time.
John stood on the other side of the screen door watching his boys. He couldn't help but smile as he boys joked and talked so carefree. He had originally planned on joining them on the porch, but had stopped when he had heard Dean's question. He knew his boys needed the time to themselves, and he would gladly let them have what they needed.
"Everything ok?" Bobby yelled from the kitchen.
"Yeah," John called back as he turned away from the door to head back to the table where Bobby had set the mugs of coffee. He pulled back his chair and looked at Bobby with a small smile still gracing his face. "Everything is going to be just fine."