Sam and the Snake

Summary: An old ghost town, an abandoned mine, and a snake all make things very dangerous for Sam who finds himself trapped. It's up to Dean and John to find him before it's too late./Teen!chester fic/ Hurt!Sam/ Limp/angsty/worried!Dean & Worried/concerned!John

Warnings/Spoilers: Maybe for slight language.

Tags: No.

Disclaimer: I don't own the boys or the show. Kripke and the CW do. This is written for fun and the enjoyment of others.

Author Note: I don't normally do the boys as teenagers so bear with me.

SPN SPN SPN SPN

Gulf Canyon, Arizona: 1995:

"Dean! Dad! Help!"

Wiping his stinging eyes clear of dust and dirt in order to see if he could see where he was thirteen year old Sam Winchester wasn't sure he was any better off knowing than he had been upon first waking up after falling through what he thought was solid ground only to realize now it must've been a covered up hole to one of the old mines.

Pushing himself up on his right arm, sudden pain made the teenager gasp. Struggling to see if his flashlight was anywhere close, Sam felt it on the ground with his left hand and flicked it on while gritting his teeth as the pain spread.

"Oh, man," he whispered upon realizing he'd probably not only broken his right arm but also his left leg by the way he'd landed.

Gritting his teeth as he struggled to at least try to sit up until he could figure out what had happened to him and how he'd get out.

Sam's face was covered in a thin sheen of sweat that also soaked his brown hair by the time he'd sat up, feeling the wall of the old mine at his back when another sound reached his ears and his light flashed off to one side, feeling his already rapidly beating heart nearly stop.

The rattlesnake must have been hibernating in the cool mine and hadn't appreciated the interruption by the thirteen year old boy. It was now coiled up a few feet away from where Sam sat cornered since even if his leg wasn't broke, he was trapped in a half collapsed mine about twenty feet underground and no way to even let his dad and older brother he was in trouble.

Keeping wary hazel eyes on the snake whose rattling tail was up as if in preparation to strike, Sam tried to ease back further but found he was pretty much as far as he could get and fought the scream that wanted to come as his broken leg shifted.

"Uh, hey," he spoke softly, not only to not scare the snake but also to keep anything else from falling in on him and because his head was pounding.

Laying the flashlight by his side, Sam gingerly touched a spot on his head that was hurting and saw stars the second his fingers touched a large lump that was forming and felt the sticky blood, telling him he'd hit hard and was in serious trouble.

'Dad's gonna be so mad,' he thought to himself, watching the snake who hadn't moved but also didn't look any less threatening.

Swallowing, Sam looked up at the hole then slowly let his gaze move back to his companion. "I'm…uh…Sam," he spoke again, sure he'd hurt himself more since he was talking to a snake that could kill him in a heartbeat but needing something to do as a distraction to the fear that was building. "I won't be here to…bother you long. My Dad and brother'll come for me…I hope."

Sam knew his father and older brother Dean were somewhere in the large ghost town that was Gulf Canyon. He and Dean had come with John Winchester in the hunt for what their Dad had figured was a simple vengeful spirit.

Sam had been told to stay in the Impala while his Dad and Dean took a quick a look around the place to either see if they could spot the ghost or if the town was safe enough to stay in for the night.

Unhappy with being left behind when his Dad had just gotten over an hour lecture on Sam taking hunting more seriously and learning how to be a bigger help in the field, he'd sulked a bit before deciding that staying beside the 1967 Chevy Impala that he'd practically grown up in was nearly the same as staying inside it.

Since it was the middle of the afternoon in mid-July the air was hot, dry and humid. Hanging around a literal ghost town that hadn't seen any sign of life since the late 1970's when a camp of free loving people decided to make it home and just vanished one day was not Sam's idea of a good time.

He had debated on trying to catch up with Dean when he'd heard his brother shouting. While not happy with the idea of hunting or feeling the same when doing it, Sam's instincts still kicked in at the thought of his brother or father being in trouble.

He'd followed the yelling voice to the outside of town when he came to a small hill that overlooked what Sam took at an old mining machine. A shadow out of the corner of his eye had him turning, expecting to see his brother's smirking face or his Dad and that was when things went wrong for him.

"Stupid ghost," Sam muttered, not sure if his dad had ever told him if ghosts could become solid or not but whatever had come up on him with an old rusted pickaxe had been solid and was still out there…with his family. "Dean! Dad!" he yelled again then jerked when the rattlesnake shot out, striking the dirt only a few inches from his hand.

Recoiling in basic self-defense Sam bit down hard in his lip to keep from screaming as pain from jarring his broken arm made his eyes tear up and left him gasping then all he could do was try to keep still as the mottled looking snake slid over his legs.

"Ahh, nice snake?" Sam tried to stay still, to not think too much about where he was, how hurt he was or about the reptile that had slithered over him and seemed to be about to go back off into the darkness until Sam made the mistake of shifting his body a little and a small shower of stones and pebbles came off the wall, scaring both boy and snake. "Damn!"

The rattlesnake's body moved like lightning, twisting until its head was back in a position to strike at the threat it perceived and its fangs pierced the soft flesh between Sam's thumb and forefinger.

The bite was quick as the rattlesnake released its hold quickly but it also only slid a foot away in order to coil up for another strike at the now sweating boy.

Trapped in an underground collapsed tunnel with a broken leg and arm, a possibly venomous snake bite on his hand and a now enraged snake, Sam was looking around for something he could possibly use for a weapon since he'd lost his knife either before or after he fell but knew his chances were getting more bleak by the second.

Risking a look at his hand, Sam couldn't see in the dim light of his dying flashlight but he could feel blood which told him that the snake bite had torn the skin and while he wasn't certain if the wound had venom in his mind he could feel the effects already happening.

"My…Dad would…make boots outta you," he told the snake softly as if hoping to intimidate it more than it was scaring him but when the reptile's rattle-like tail stood up to shake harder and the hissing got louder the boy swallowed and bit back the cry that was on his lips as in his head he could see the rattlesnake's open mouth with fangs dripping venom lunging for his face. "Ah!"

A sudden gunshot echoed in the silent mine tunnel like a bomb going off and Sam gasped and tried to cover his head as best he could with one arm if the more of the tunnel was caving in.

Gasping in pain from moving his injured limbs, he was confused when he slowly realized that not only didn't anything crush him to death but the snake hadn't attacked him again. That was when he slowly began to realize someone was shouting his name.

"Sam! Sammy!"

Jerking his head up toward the voice, Sam had to blink his blurry eyes to see through pained tears and dirt to finally catch sight of his father's worried face peering back at him. "D…dad?" he whispered, not sure if he was seeing his dad or if either the shock or possibly venom was making him see things; until another head appeared at the hole and he felt relief. "Dad. Dean!"

"Hey, Geek, what're you doing down a hole?" Dean asked easily enough but was glad his little brother couldn't see the way his hands were shaking or the panic he'd felt when it became clear that the youngest Winchester was in trouble. "If you wanted outta the heat there were better ways or…"

Leaving Dean to distract his brother, John took the time to shine his flashlight down the hole to get a better grasp of his son's situation and felt his blood run colder as he realized how close the damn snake had been to his boy before he'd shot it.

Considering the distance from the top of the hole inside the tunnel to the one open above which is the one he guessed Sam had fallen through, John hope of an easy rescue was dwindling. "Sam, if we toss a rope down can you use it to climb up?" he asked, nudging Dean who was clearly running out of easy and light things to say to keep Sam distracted.

Trying to work past the pain that was now steady and his hurting head and hand, Sam bit his lip. He knew how his Dad frowned on weakness and not working through the pain of an injury but he just wasn't sure if he'd be able to grip the rope tight enough with one hand, much less how he'd climb up.

"No, sir," he finally called back, unaware of how weak his voice sounded or how shaky. He couldn't stop the startled cry of pain when the sudden bright light shining on his made his aching head want to explode. "Ow!"

Moving the light away a little when he realized it bothered Sam, a better look told John way his normally agile son wasn't able to use a rope to climb out of the hole.

"Hang on a second, son," he called back, pulling Dean aside to talk to him. "Looks like he's busted up some," he began grimly. "From the way he's sitting, I figure he's got a busted arm and leg. I can't be sure if that snake bit him or not so we need to hurry. You're going to have to go down to him. You okay to do that?"

The seventeen year old offered his typical cocky smile despite the thin line of blood on his face from confronting an axe wielding nutcase left over from the 1970's who was convinced he was the next line of defense against everything from aliens to a government conspiracy.

"I'm fine, Dad," Dean assured his father, looking back toward the hole. "You want to go get the rope or…"

"Go grab it and pull the car up a little ways so we can hook the rope to it and then I'll steady it," John didn't miss the look that came into his older son's eyes and understood it. "I'll stay with your brother, Dean."

"It's not the staying with him that worries me," Dean mumbled as he quickly left the tunnel to run back to the Impala.

John waited until he was alone to release a shaky breath. Finding out that they hadn't been hunting something dead or supernatural but only a crazy guy living in his own little world and killing anyone he considered a threat reminded John that there was more evil in the world than just the undead or weird.

As a former Marine he was prepared to handle the guy but then he remembered that he hadn't come into this ghost town alone and the second the kook became a threat to his sons was the moment hunter became father.

Dean's injuries were minor but John wasn't certain about Sam's. The one thing he was certain of is his youngest son was hurt, in shock, and scared.

John would be the first to admit that he drove his boys too hard at times and he accepted that he just didn't seem to connect with Sam in the same way as he could Dean.

Sammy didn't show the same interest in hunting as his brother and on one hand John understood this but on the other he knew that there was little chance of Sam ever having the normal life he was always saying he wanted and the part of John that still recalled the night Mary had given birth to their second son grieved for what Sam could never have.

He also understood Dean's concern for leaving him with Sam since these days it was rare for John and Sam to be in the same place for more than five minutes without bickering over something.

John figured Dean was worried that he'd jump Sam for not following orders and ending up in this position and at first he had been angry that Sam hadn't listened to his orders. Then he learned what they were up against and his disapproval of Sam's actions turned more to concern for his son's welfare.

He'd taught both boys how to take care of themselves and while Dean had picked up on the habit to be naturally suspicious of any situation, Sam still had a naïve streak that left him far too trusting and dangers of the real world were still a very physical threat to him.

"Dad? Dean?" Sam's voice sounded more shaky, much more like the child he still was than the future hunter John hoped he'd be.

"Hey, Champ," John knelt by the edge of the hole to look down, shining his light down but avoided letting it shine directly on his son. "Dean went to get some rope so we can get you out of there. How bad hurt are you, Sammy?" he asked, careful to keep his voice calm in order to hopefully keep the boy calm.

His head aching, his hand burning and arm and leg he knew he'd broken were both throbbing, Sam hesitated then looked up into his Dad's face. "Not sure, sir," he admitted, biting his lip against the pain and looking down so his Dad wouldn't see the fear or tears in his eyes as he fought against the pain now. "I…I'm sorry I…didn't listen, Dad. I thought…I heard De'n and…"

"No, you heard the hermit. He could throw his voice and that's probably how he did most of his dirty work," John explained, seeing a short nod and smiled even though Sam couldn't see him. "So, you think I could make boots out of that snake?"

"Sure, you told Bobby and Pastor Jim…'bout some time in the Marines where you…killed a snake and cooked it so…" Sam shrugged, looking up suddenly as more tiny stones began raining down. "Dad?"

His light moving to see where the stones were coming from, John frowned. This tunnel was half collapsed, unstable and could finish collapsing at any time and he'd be damned if it did with his son trapped inside. "Hurry up, Dean," he whispered, jerking his head around at the familiar sound of the Impala. "Hang on, Sammy," he urged. "Dean's back."

Grumbling about too much stuff in the trunk and too soft ground to try to get the car any closer, Dean ran back inside and was already tying one end of the rope around his waist while looking at John. "The other end is tied to the bumper but you'll have to steady it so I don't go down too fast and then pull him up. Can you do that?"

Lifting one eyebrow, John offered a dry smirk that was much like Dean's own and resisted the urge to slap his son in the head with an open hand. "Neither of you are still too heavy for me to carry, Dean," he replied, laying a hand on Dean's shoulder. "He's scared."

Nodding, Dean backed up to the edge before looking down then tightened his hold on the rope his father had a firm grip of and dropped into the collapsed tunnel.

As soon as his boots hit solid ground, Dean tugged off the rope and flicked on his flashlight. "Sonuvabitch," he whispered upon seeing the now dead snake only a few inches from his brother then he was on his knees next to Sam and only a sharp gasp from the smaller boy had him looking before touching.

"Hey, little brother," slowly Dean shined his light over his brother and instantly knew that getting Sam out was not going to be easy. "Let me touch, okay?"

"No…De'n," Sam went to pull back but gasped as his broken arm shifted and this time he couldn't hide the cry of pain, feeling strong hands grip his until the pain subsided and he could hear their Dad yelling from the top.

"He's got a broken arm and leg, opposite of each other…of course," Dean called back, gritting his teeth as he tried to see how bad the breaks were without causing his brother more pain. "Looks like he hit his head too and…shit," the light showed the broken skin of the snake bite on Sam's hand and that possibility hastened Dean's reactions.

Wishing he'd worn his dad's old leather jacket when he noticed that Sam seemed to be shaking from shock, Dean's eyes looked around the tunnel until they landed on a broken stick.

"He's not coming up on his own, Dad," he yelled up to hear John offer several curses but didn't miss that most of them were aimed at the situation and not Sam.

"Dad…mad?" Sam asked softly, feeling sleepy but the pain in his arm and leg was too great for him to try to sleep. "Didn't mean to…"

Breaking the stick in two, Dean jerked his belt off in order to use it to hold the splint together. "No, Dad's not mad at you, Sammy," he assured his in shock little brother, holding his breath while moving Sam's leg and heard the gasp. "It'll stop hurting soon," he promised, hoping he was right and hating to see the tears on Sam's face. "Besides, the crazy old guy got a good shot in at me too and you know it takes a lot to catch your awesome big brother by surprise."

"You're…hurt?" Sam made himself look up and saw the thin line of blood on his brother's face. "Bad?" he asked, focusing on Dean and not on what his brother was doing, which was Dean's intent all along.

"No, not bad," he didn't think he was hurt bad at least while giving a pull on the long sleeve overshirt he was wearing that day. "Sammy, this is gonna hurt," Dean warned before touching Sam's arm and knew Sam wanted to pull it back but he held on while using the torn sleeve as a makeshift sling.

John had been watching the exchange from above and could tell his younger son was in pain just by the way his pale face was drawn and he was gritting his teeth.

A sound from up above made him look up and swear. "Dean!" he shouted even as a larger section of the top of the tunnel loosened to fall into the hole on top of his sons. "Dean! Sammy!"

Dean had heard the noise of pebbles and rocks falling even before his Dad had shouted. He already knew there wasn't anywhere to go in this space and so did the only thing he could; he shielded his brother as best he could with his body.

After what seemed like several minutes but was more like seconds, John scrambled back to the edge to shine his light in. He could see much more rocks and dirt had fallen then his eyes were searching for his boys and felt his blood run cold upon realizing what Dean had done. "Boys?"

"We're good," Dean called back, refusing to admit to feeling warm blood running from somewhere as he shook the fresh dirt out of his hair to meet the frightened gaze of his brother with a confident grin. "We're also getting the hell outta here, kiddo."

Sam's trust in his brother didn't allow him to doubt or question Dean on how he was planning on doing this. He simply nodded and waited.

Looking up to briefly meet John's grim gaze, Dean offered a slight shrug while he took the rope to carefully place it around Sam then placed his brother's good arm around his neck before securing the rope back around his own waist.

"I'll do all the work, Sammy," he spoke softly to his brother while wrapping the rope around his hand and keeping his other arm tightly wrapped around Sam. "Just close your eyes and don't think how much this may hurt. Dad and I are with you, little brother."

Sam could taste blood from where he'd bit his tongue to keep the pain of this move back but knew he'd be alright. To avoid looking at either the spots in front of his eyes or the climb, he closed his eyes and did something he hadn't done since he was smaller; he buried his face against Dean's shoulder.

"Alright, let's do this," Dean set his teeth, made certain his grip on Sam would keep the smaller boy from moving and jarring either broken limb then tugged on the rope. "Dad! We're ready!"

John checked to make certain the rope was still securely tied to the Impala before taking it in both hands, firmly planting his feet in the dirt on the tunnel floor and took a deep breath. "Go slow, son," he advised, swearing he heard Dean snort as he felt the added weight on the rope as he pulled.

Grunting as he felt his foot start to slide, John dug in more when he heard Dean offering quiet encouragement to Sam and knew it was up to him to get his boys up out of that pit before it collapsed more.

Sweating from the strain of pulling on the rope, John debated his choice of not using the Impala as a winch but hadn't wanted to bring the boys up too fast considering Sam's injuries.

Judging by the length of rope his now bleeding hands had pulled and the louder Dean's voice seemed, he could guess they were close to the top and was watching for any sign of the boys when something behind him made John shift a look just as a handful of dirt was tossed in his eyes, making him drop the rope on instinct to try to clear his vision.

"Damn!" John swore, grunting when a kick to the stomach knocked him down and he heard Dean let out a sharp oath as the rope gave way. "No!"

Dean could see the edge of the hole when he felt the rope begin to go slack only a moment before he heard his father's grunt and knew something was wrong. Then he had more to worry about as he felt the rope let go and knew if they fell there'd be no way he could protect Sam from being hurt worse.

"Dean?!" confused, Sam cried out in pain at the unexpected jarring as his brother struggled to grab hold of anything solid. "What's…"

"Don't look!" Dean snapped, tightening his grip on Sam while using his now free hand to grab for the edge of the hole when his eyes were drawn up and his stomach clenched. "Shit."

Blood covering him from the gunshot wound to the shoulder and from where he'd fallen down through a rotting floor in an old saloon, the hermit who had been terrorizing visitors of this old town had tracked his latest foes up to the old mine where he'd thought he had disposed of the smallest one.

Now after blinding and kicking the older one, he'd deal with the other two in his own fashion. "All you monsters shoulda made sure I was dead," he chuckled through bleeding gums as he raised a long sharp hoe like weapon above his head with the plain intent to slam it into Dean's face as the teenager clung to the edge while trying to both pull himself up but still protect Sam. "I'll kill you first then maybe keep the little one for food," he cackled.

"Go to hell, asshole," Dean gritted, feeling his grip loosen when movement caught his eye and a gun fired, striking the hermit multiple times until he fell forward into the very hole Dean was trying to climb out of. "I think my Dad may have other plans."

Wiping the dirt out of his eyes, John managed to see what was happening and reacted to it. Ignoring the pain the kick to his gut had put him in, he pulled the sidearm he carried and had already aimed when he heard the hermit's last threat.

Pulling the trigger, he emptied the entire magazine then watched the old man fall. "Don't touch my sons, bastard," he spoke in a voice full of a rage only a father could feel then he quickly shoved the gun away to lunge and grab Dean's wrist just as it was losing its grip. "Easy, boy. I've got you both."

John reached down to get a better grip as he hauled both sons over the edge to safety then heard a sound that told him they needed to move. "Out!" he yelled, swiftly lifting Dean to his feet and shoving him toward the tunnel entrance. "This place is coming down!"

Exhausted and in more pain than he liked, Dean didn't care for the idea of being caught in a cave-in so with Sam still held tightly to him he took his father's advice and ran like hell.

John had just cleared the entrance when the whole thing seemed to collapse in on itself, burying the mine and the old hermit. "That takes care if that," he sighed, then hurried to the side of the Impala to check on his boys.

"Hey, Sammy?" Dean had undid the ropes so he could ease his brother back to solid ground and frowned by the way the boy only groaned and tried to curl up. "Dad?"

"He passed out, Dean," John could feel that Sam's pulse was strong but a little too unsteady. A quick look also told him his younger son's eyes were dilated from shock. "We need to get him to a hospital for those bones though and…" a better look at Dean made him rethink that phrase since now in the light of day he could see that by shielding Sam from that last little slide his oldest son was bleeding more and his hands were tore up from that rope. "Dean?"

Hearing and knowing the tone, Dean went to wave a hand to dismiss it when he winced but stayed focused on Sam who he'd carefully picked up. "I'll stay with him," he decided, not even noticing that John's hand was under his elbow to help him to his feet or when his father opened the back door to the Impala for Dean to ease in with Sam held gingerly like he had when his brother had been an infant. "Sammy's safe. I'll protect him, Dad."

"I know you will, son," John murmured, kneeling down to gaze between his boys and felt a familiar ache in his chest.

He knew it was dangerous to have raised Dean and Sam in this life. He accepted early on that Dean would be the one sacrificing the most and it was times like this, times when he was forced to see his sons hurt, that he regretted the night in Kansas where everything had changed.

"It's going to be alright, boys," he promised quietly, reaching in the front seat for his old jacket that he'd given to Dean on his last birthday along with the keys to the Impala. "Both of you will be fine," he added, laying the jacket over Sam since he could tell he was further in shock than Dean. "I'll make sure you're both safe."

Several Hours Later:

"Mr. Winchester?"

Turning from staring out a window in a small ER in the next town big enough to have one, John Winchester figured he looked as worn out as he felt.

Sam had woken up in terrible pain halfway to the hospital and it was all ex-Marine John could do to keep from pulling the car over and taking his thirteen year old son in his arms to try to stop the pain but was relieved that Dean was still with it enough to finally calm the boy again.

He'd lost track of the hours he'd been sitting in this waiting room waiting for news on his sons since both he and the doctors had pulled rank on Dean once it became apparent that the elder brother needed looked at too.

"My boys?" he asked the tall, raven haired doctor who was waiting for his attention. "How are they?"

The doctor had to smile despite the seriousness of his profession. "From what you say happened, they're very lucky," he admitted, motioning John to follow him. "Dean mainly has some bruises and cuts. The cut on his forehead took a couple stitches and his hands will need to be covered for another couple days. He snarled at my staff until we let him sit with his brother."

"Yeah, that's my son," John felt like groaning but knew Dean would want to be with Sam and no amount of security or staff would keep him away. "How's Sam?" he asked, lips thinning when the doctor frowned. "That bad?"

"The break in his arm and leg were straight so they needed set and casted so he'd lucky they weren't broke more from the height he fell," the doctor replied, looking at the chart before offering a small smile. "That little boy must have an Angel on his shoulder. Not only could that fall have killed him but that snake bite could have.

"It was a dry bite, Mr. Winchester. While the snake bite pierced skin and it got infected from the dirt, there was no venom in it so while he'll be laid up with that leg and arm and a little sick from the small bump on his head and infection, he'll be fine," he motioned to a curtained off room in the ER. "Give it another hour to be sure that infection doesn't give us problems and I think you can take 'em."

Feeling relieved, John smiled fully while shaking the doctor's hand. "Thank you," he replied, waiting a moment to settle his suddenly unsteady hands before parting the curtain to peer in with a dry, almost knowing smile. "I hear you tried to take out the staff."

"You know how Sam is when he's scared or when he has to be in a hospital," Dean replied crossly, still ticked that he'd been bullied into getting checked out. "I'm fine, Dad."

"Sure, now that the doctors cleaned up all the bruises and cuts you got," John agreed, laying a hand on Dean's shoulder and felt the tension. "Sam's going to be fine, son. They just want to keep him another hour or so then we can go."

Looking up from where he was sitting beside his sleeping brother, Dean's gaze tried to decide his father's mood when he felt his father's hand squeeze his shoulder just as Sam shifted and began to wake up through the pain killers he'd been given.

"Dad…De'n…?" confused at first, Sam tried to move his hand to rub his eyes only to feel familiar fingers grip his in order to keep him still.

Remembering the ghost town, the old mine, his wounds and finally his brother's determination as he tried to get Sam to safety, the teenager tried to see where he was when he noticed his Dad's face.

"You're in the ER right now, Sam," John assured his son, seeing the fear and noticing that Dean's fingers seemed to be moving in some sort of pattern on the back of Sam's good hand.

It was a habit he'd noticed his son doing when Sam was scared and like always his youngest seemed to calm down.

Looking around, Sam noticed the clean white casts on his arm and leg and guessed he would be getting a lecture later on following rules. "I'm sorry, Dad," he mumbled, tongue feeling weird from the pain medication. He guessed it was that reason that also made him think he saw his father smile reassuringly. "I didn't listen and…"

"No, you didn't but…right now all I'm concerned with is that you're safe and since that leg and arm will be in casts for at least six weeks you can work off the grounding by doing research or something," John told him, going to lightly ruffle Sam's hair when he seen Dean tense but ignored that since he knew he had given both boys reasons to fear his reactions before.

"I'm going to go make a few calls then see about getting both of you signed out," he met Dean's tired eyes to share an unspoken message of reassurance. "Stay with him?"

"Duh," Dean returned, watching John leave before looking down at his brother who seemed to be thinking the same thing. "I'll slip some Holy water in his drink tonight but I'm pretty sure it's Dad," he shrugged, seeing Sam was in pain and fighting it. "There are some pretty hot nurses in this place so if you need some more pain meds just let me know."

Tired and wanting to sleep the most of the pain off, Sam still grinned at his brother's clear suggestion before shifting more toward Dean like he was still prone to do when hurt and his brother would sit with him. "Go flirt for yourself, jerk," he yawned, offering an objection when Dean's fingers dragged his hair into his eyes. "Hey!"

"Go to sleep and I'll take the brunt of the research…bitch," Dean offered, moving enough that Sam could rest his head on his shoulder as he fell back to sleep and only let his smile fade when he was sure his little brother was sleeping fully. "You scared us, Sammy," he whispered, rubbing his own eyes to try to get rid of the burning that was both exhaustion and buried fear of losing his brother. "I will always watch out for you, little brother," he promised, closing his own eyes just to rest them and was asleep in minutes.

John stood inside the curtain to watch his sons sleep and once again remembered the nights that he and Mary would find their four year old son curled with his new baby brother.

Despite Dean's attempts to hide his emotions, John knew that his older son would always show them with Sam. Just like he knew Dean would always protect his brother from anyone who tried to hurt him.

This is why John knew he needed to solve this mystery if for no other reason than to shield his boys from being hurt or from forcing Dean to ever make a choice that would break him.

Stepping to the bed, he lightly laid a hand on both boys and could see their mother so clearly in them. "I will make this right," he swore, hoping he could as he stepped out to find the doctor and make those calls. "I will protect them, Mary."

The End

Author Note: This was supposed to be a simple, short story but turned longer. I hope everyone enjoys it. I don't write John often so I do hope he came across well since normally when I do write him it's not always in a good light. This story seemed to offer him a chance to be slightly different than what I normally write for him. Thanks!