Disclaimer; I don't own supernatural and never will.

This is the chapter of John and Sam bonding. I loved writing this. It was easy for some reason. This also explains oocness for John.

Chapter 11 John

Sam was sitting on the couch at one in the morning. Not something he particularly enjoyed, but it was better than the nightmare that had driven him out of his bed.

"Sammy?" a voice asked from the doorway.

Sam's head shot up. His dad was leaning against the doorframe, his hands stuffed into the pockets of his sweatpants.

"Dad," he greeted. "What're you doing up?"

"Could ask you the same thing," John answered with a small smile.

Sam shrugged. "Turns out teddy bears don't make you completely impervious to nightmares," he stated.

John looked amused. "Is that what Dean did yesterday?"

Sam flushed a little. "Yeah."

John moved into the room and ruffled Sam's hair before plunking down next to him on the couch.

"Something's bothering me; do you think you can help?" he questioned cautiously.

Sam was startled. His dad hardly ever cared about his opinion. "Sure," he agreed. "What's up?"

"AJ said earlier that I told Dean to save you or kill you. I wanna know what the hell was going through my head," John told him.

Sam frowned. "He shouldn't have said anything. You were right to tell Dean to do that, though," he answered. "If Dean had killed me when he should've, a lot of bad things wouldn't have happened."

"How can you say that?" John inquired, incredulity mixing with sadness in his voice.

"I broke the world, Dad. If Dean had killed me, so many other people would've lived. I think you must've known something about what was coming," Sam said, letting his head thump back against the couch.

"You act like it's nothing," John observed. "Like you were somehow expecting it."

"I've had awhile to get used to it," Sam reminded him. "You always liked Dean better anyway. I never got overly loving vibes off you."

"What!?" John cried loudly.

"Shh," Sam cautioned. "Don't want to wake everyone else." He paused for a few seconds, contemplating how to answer his dad's question.

"When I was twelve," he started. "You took me on my first hunt. It just so happened that we were hunting a witch."

"Why did I have you hunting a witch for your first hunt?" John interrupted.

Sam shrugged. "I don't know if I was supposed to be there. It might have all been a trick by the witch, but I got a call telling me where to be, and what we were icing."

"Damn," John cursed.

"She was….well, you had killed her sister awhile ago, and she wanted revenge. You took what was most important to her, so she wanted to take what was important to you," Sam explained.

"She wanted you," John surmised.

Sam nodded. "Not precisely me, though. Just part of me."

John sucked his breath in.

"She wanted all my good memories of you. And she took them. Every memory I had that included you and made me even remotely happy, she stole."

"She took-" John trailed off, looking vaguely sick.

"Yeah," Sam confirmed. "Considering the fact that pretty much every memory I had of you made me happy simply because you were in it, it was a pretty bad thing. It took me years to get them all back, and by then it was too late for them to make much of a difference."

"What do you mean?" John questioned.

Sam hesitated a little. "You….you didn't take this information well. You dragged us to Bobby's and did a million and a half counter rituals. When they all failed, you gave up, and part of you broke."

"Broke as in-" John prompted.

"Broke as in, instead of trying to make new good memories, you turned into the absentee father my memories now knew," Sam stated bleakly.

"You weren't….you weren't Daddy, anymore. You were the drill sergeant who dropped in every now and then to uproot us, yell at us, or drag us off into the danger of the hunt."

"You stopped listening to me. You stopped trying to keep us in town if I had something I wanted to do. You stopped hugging us. You came home drunk as often as sober."

"Dean and I were just kids. We didn't know what to do," Sam whispered.

He could see that his father hated hearing this. He didn't want to tell the man, but maybe if John knew, he could make sure it wouldn't happen.

"But that doesn't explain why you thought I liked Dean better," John reminded him.

"You just did," Sam struggled to find the right words, then gave up. "I was the freak. Failure," he breathed, dropping his head back against the couch and closing his eyes.

"No!" John sounded broken. "No, no, no, no! How could you-what did I-God."

He yanked Sam over to him, and Sam gave a muffled yelp as he found himself being hugged rather tightly.

"Dad?" he asked.

"What did I say to make you think you were a failure?" his dad almost demanded.

Sam shifted uncomfortably; John hadn't let go of him yet.

"Not anything specific. Just….the way you looked at me. Like I'd let you down somehow," he tried to explain.

"It was ok at first, when I didn't remember any different. You wanted the me that knew you back, and I can understand that. You tried to keep me from knowing anything had happened, but I wasn't stupid. I knew what the counter rituals you were using were for."

"After awhile, though, it was different. You didn't want me anymore. Any version of me. You wanted another Dean. Another soldier that would obey without question. But I wasn't Dean."

"No matter what I did, it wasn't good enough. If I managed to complete a particularly difficult training move, it wasn't, 'good job Sam' or even a grunt or look of approval. It, 'finally; took you long enough. Now we can move on at last."

"I was weak, clumsy, slow and stupid," Sam recalled.

"How could you think that? How could I say that?" John inquired, hiding his face in Sam's hair.

"It might have been the truth. I don't know. Or, I don't know about the weak, clumsy, and slow. I only had Dean and you to measure against, and I always lost when we spared. But I wasn't stupid, and I knew it. It made me so angry when you called me that."

"I can see why," John agreed. "What the hell kind of father tells their son they're stupid?"

"You did your best. You wanted to make us strong so nothing like the witch could ever happen again," Sam told him.

"I didn't see that, however. So I set out to prove that I wasn't stupid. I got straight, solid A's throughout my whole school career. I thought maybe if I could prove you were wrong about one thing, you might take a second look at all the others."

He laughed quietly, mindful of everyone else still sleeping.

"It was stupid and just gave me more work. When you realized how good I was at research, you insisted that I take over from you sometimes. It was really stressful on top of keeping up my grades in school."

"Then I got snappy and irritable from lack of sleep, and all just got worse. We fought on and off until you added translations to my already overflowing schedule."

"Translations?" John asked, confused.

"Whenever one of your buddies had something they needed translated out of an ancient language, you offered that I could do it. I knew all the languages already, and it wouldn't take as long for me as for people who didn't know them. But they had to be specific, so I had to take time to go over them. It was hard," Sam muttered.

He wondered if his dad was ever going to let go of him. Sam was practically sitting in the man's lap, and he knew John couldn't be comfortable.

Judging by the way John's arms kept tightening around him with each fact he revealed, he was pretty sure that answer was a big fat, "NO!"

"Eventually, I realized I was never going to be good enough if I wasn't perfect," Sam stated. "It was also around this time that I came to understand that to the normal parent, I was already perfect."

"Normal?" John questioned.

"Not a hunter. Hunters wanted kids that would grow up to drink and love the hunt as much as they did. Kids like Dean."

"Normal parents wanted kids that would keep their grades up and stay out of trouble. Kids like me," Sam summarized.

"It led to an obsession with being 'normal'. I wanted your approval, and the only way I say myself getting it was for us to be a normal family."

Sam shook his head. "Dean didn't understand. You didn't understand. I never tried to explain. I didn't want to be laughed at."

"It all culminated with Stanford. I wanted to go to college like a normal teenager. So I did."

"But the college fund-" John started.

"Was spent on ammo," Sam finished. "I know."

"No it wasn't. Well, it hasn't been yet," John corrected. "I just stopped depositing in it. It doesn't have enough to send you to college in it."

"I got a full ride," Sam mumbled.

John pulled away, looking excited. "Really!? Wow, Sammy! That's great. Good for you!"

He seemed honestly excited, and Sam was surprised by that fact.

"You weren't happy," he informed his dad. "You were so mad. You thought I was trying to abandon you and Dean."

John's smile slipped away immediately.

"I don't even remember what we screamed, but it was loud and angry and just plain mean on both of our parts. By the time the dust cleared, I was on a bus to Stanford. You said if I went, not to come back. Said I didn't have a family anymore. I believed you."

"I-I can't….I don't…I don't understand," John was crying now in stark contrast to his happiness of seconds earlier. "I don't get why-"

Sam shrugged. "I don't know. Dean said it was because you wanted to keep me safe and couldn't do that if I was away at school."

"But there wouldn't be anything to keep you safe from at school," John protested.

"Yeah, right up until Jess burned on the ceiling," Sam snorted.

"What!?" John gasped.

Sam nodded. "So much fire. It was everywhere. Dean got me out. Otherwise, I would've died right next to her."

"Sammy!" John exclaimed.

"I was kind of in shock," Sam defended.

There was silence for a few seconds. John didn't let go of Sam. Sam got the feeling his dad need proof that he was alive.

"It wouldn't have been so bad," he suddenly stated thoughtfully. "If I hadn't gotten my memories of how you were before the curse back."

"What do you mean?" John asked softly.

"Before I got the memories back, I didn't remember being my daddy's baby boy. I didn't remember when I thought you had hung the moon. I never knew you were any different," Sam told him haltingly.

"After I got them back, I knew what I was missing. And I knew it was my fault that you were so broken."

"No," John told him with steel.

"Huh?" Sam questioned, startled.

"It was never your fault. I don't care what happened. I made my own choices, and I take full responsibility for them," John insisted.

"But that's not how I felt," Sam said.

"We're going to start something that will help your self worth and confidence tomorrow," John replied instead of answering. "We can address your tendency to feel guilty for things that weren't your fault then too."

Sam groaned softly. That didn't sound like fun.

"Time to go to sleep," John instructed.

"I don't want to," Sam complained.

John laughed quietly. He shifted backwards, pulling Sam with him.

Sam ended up laying rather awkwardly on his dad's chest.

"Dad?" he asked.

"Go to sleep," John repeated.

Sam yawned tiredly and burrowed into John. He was sure they were both going to regret this in the morning, but he found himself uncaring.

And that's the end. I like this chapter. I really do. I don't know why.

I wanted to say that I would appreciate it if you would sign in before writing a review that's practically a flame. I had someone flame me on one of my one shots, and God help me but I deleted it.

If you sign in, I can address your concerns and explain the reasoning behind my writing. If you don't, then I don't get the point of leaving a flame. Are you doing it just to make the writer feel bad? I can't explain if I can't PM you back, and therefore, there's no logical reason to flame.

Let it be known that I don't take criticism as flaming. I actually like criticism, because it lets me know what I'm doing wrong. Just, you know, try to be polite about it. And don't review just to rant about how awful you think my writing is.

Ok, mini rant over.

I also wanted to thank all the people who give good reviews, and to say that I don't mind if you don't sign in as long as you don't flame. I love knowing what everyone thinks.

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed it.