Author's Note: Hello everyone! I'm so glad to finally be writing something Supernatural related as I just recently begun watching the show and I am in love with it! So, this one-shot takes place in the episode "In My Time of Dying" sometime after John places the colt on the table and says that he's ready. As this is my first time writing for Supernatural and I'm only in the second season, my characterizations might be a little off. Please enjoy though!

He had wanted to tell them.

He had wanted to be honest and explain what his plan truly was—an exchange of one life for another, specifically his life for Dean's. He had wanted to hold his two boys in his arms like he had when they were little and tell them how much he loved them. Hell, he had even wanted to sob like a little child and beg for their forgiveness for every wrong that he had ever committed towards them.

But John Winchester hadn't done any of these things—it would've aroused too much suspicion and thwarted his plan. He had made a deal with the devil and he would stick with it—he would save his son.

And he had.

As he lay bleeding out on the floor of the hospital, he let a small smile grace his features. Dean was alive. He would continue the fight and protect Sam.

Sammy . . . his youngest had always been headstrong even from the earliest age. When John had forbidden Sam from riding a bike without training wheels, Sam had done it anyway. When John returned from the hunt that morning, he saw the product of his youngest stubbornness'. For there was Sam, just six years old, gripping the handlebars for dear life and Dean, right beside him urging him along. It was Dean who had taught Sam to ride a bike that day—not John. It seemed like it was always Dean who had helped Sam learn everything that a father should've taught him.

Maybe I've failed them, John thought as the pain began to fade. It would be over for him—soon, he'd fulfill his end of the deal

I've tried though, John told himself. Now, it was up to his boys to continue the fight without him. Dean and Sam would get revenge for him and then the demon that killed Mary would finally be rotting in Hell where he belonged.

And Sam would be safe under his brother's protective gaze. Dean would figure out what John had known all along about Sam. Dean would make sure that the yellow-eyed demon's plans for Sam never came to pass.

Once upon a time, John had thought he could protect Sam from afar. That—even though he had told Sam never to come back if he chose to go to college—if John maintained his distance while keeping a close eye on any strange happenings at the college, he could keep Sam safe without him even knowing. How many times had he and Dean given up a hunt just to check on odd sightings at the college? How many creatures had he let get away just to protect Sam? And how many opportunities had he ignored to apologize to his youngest? Every time they had gone to Stanford, he and Dean had always hesitated outside Sam's dorm room, and every time, John had turned away without a word.

Because John was too damn stubborn.

He hadn't wanted to be the first to apologize. In some respect, he hadn't wanted to be forgiven for his actions. He had wanted Sam to come crawling back to him and admit that he had made the mistake, not John. Deep down though, John had knew that this would never happen for Sam was just as stubborn, if not more so than John. So, he and Dean had always left and Sam was none the wiser.

One time, just as they were about to drive away after checking in on a possible ghost at the school, Dean and John had caught a glimpse of Sam. John had watched as his son walked hand in hand with a beautiful blonde girl. He leaned in and whispered something in her ear and an immediate smile lit up her face. It reminded John of a different time and place—of him and Mary.

"Dad?" John had heard the hopeful plea in Dean's voice, the silent begging for reconciliation. John had ignored it and drove on without taking another glance. Perhaps, if things had been different . . .

John frowned. No, there was no point in wondering what could've been. John had made his bed and he would lie in it. In the end, that was all he could do.

John knew he hadn't been the best father. He knew that he wasn't perfect. In some peoples' eyes, he had turned his sons into soldiers and forced them to grow up too soon. He had forced them into a life of his choosing and had groomed them for the horrible life of a hunter. John knew that in some respects, those that judged him were right—he had done horrible things to his sons; however, John believed that the protection of his sons was more important than being a good dad. His life had changed the night that he found out that demons were real—he had lost Mary that night, he had almost lost Sam and Dean. That night—as their house burned to the ground—John had vowed to protect his family at any cost. That was his mission.

The room was starting to spin. The awful buzzing florescent lights seemed to be twirling in a perfect circle and John felt his breath become constricted. The pain began to fade in his side and John knew that it was only a matter of seconds now.

He wondered if he had been too hard on Sam, too tough on Dean. Once the boys found out—

It suddenly occurred to John that he would never know. His life was over.

"Dad?" Sam's voice called to him out in the hall and John wished that he could call out to his youngest and ask him to forgive everything. He wanted Dean to know that it was okay to be weak every once in awhile. John tried to think back on every lesson he had taught his boys. Had he done enough? Had he done too much?

He could hear Sam's footsteps come closer to the room. John didn't want Sam to find him—he had been through enough pain and he wished fervently that some nurse or doctor would find him before Sam did. He could feel himself slipping away into the dark unknown. Hell was waiting for him right around the corner and yet, John wasn't scared. He had been through so much pain and so much torture on Earth that Hell couldn't be all that bad—or maybe, he was just rationalizing to himself.

John took one last breath in and as he stared up at the ceiling, the lights still twirling as couples did in a ballroom, he was overwhelmed with a sense of peace. The fight was finally over and regardless of what waited for him in Hell; John at least didn't need to worry about surviving. He didn't need to worry about protecting his family either—Dean would see to that.

Keep fighting, John ordered to his sons, though he knew that they would never hear it. He shut his eyes for the last time.

Outside, Sam clutched the cup of coffee and glanced around the hall. Then, he saw him. His father, lying on the floor, still and unmoving. The coffee cup fell to the floor as Sam sprinted to his father. Somehow though, Sam knew.

John Winchester was dead.

Author's Note: Please review!