Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural. If I did…well, a lot of things would be different. I also do not own the places the Winchesters visit. If I did, it can be assumed I'd be rich enough to own Supernatural…

Ages this chapter:

Dean= 16

Sam= 12

Pride is excessive belief in one's own abilities. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as Vanity.

IN MICHIGAN:

Sam was sitting quietly, reading the computer screen rapidly. The library was cold, causing goose bumps to break out across his skin; however the teen was to focused to notice the discomfort. Dean had left awhile ago to help their dad with some interviews. Sam was finishing up the research. He knew that his dad was eager to leave the town as it was nearing the anniversary of Mary's death and it always made John restless. The youngest Winchester shook the morbid thoughts from his head, turning instead to running over the possible outcomes of this particular hunt.

There was no doubt in his mind that the cause for the recent string of deaths was a werewolf. The only thing was that there appeared to be more bodies than one wolf usually accounted for. However, Sam couldn't find any evidence of more than one werewolf despite the body count. The teen pinched the bridge of his nose. It was obvious that the werewolf was the new postman.

The start of the murders and his arrival were perfectly in sync. The postman didn't have a wife and Sam couldn't see any other ties that would led to a reasonable second wolf. The teen sighed, logging off the computer after clearing the history. He wouldn't mention his thoughts to his dad; it would just make him angry and tense. Plus they would spend more time in the town as John would want to double-check his son's research with a fine-tooth comb, so to speak.

Sam stood from his seat and walked out of the library, nodding to the librarian with a slight smile. The brunette ran a hand through his hair, hitching the strap of his backpack higher on his shoulder to keep it from slipping. The sun was bright and harsh, prompting the teen to sit beneath a nearby tree, trying to keep out of the glaring light. He leaned his head back, knowing it could be awhile before his brother and father came to pick him up.

With a light sigh, the 12-year-old closed his eyes. A gentle breeze rustled through his hair, causing it to tickle the side of his neck. He lazily reached up to brush it away, removing the irritant. The teen had just slipped into a light sleep when the familiar purr of a classic car sounded from around the corner of the street. Sam opened his eyes in time to see the Impala turn the corner, the sleek metal gleaming in the sun.

With a slight groan, the teen stood and lightly stretched to rid himself of the tense muscles along his shoulders. The Impala slowed to a stop in front of him and he quickly climbed into the front seat, tossing his bag into the back.

"Hey kiddo. How'd the research go? Find any dust?"

Dean snorted at his own joke as Sam merely rolled his eyes. Honestly, he thought, dust in a library. That was original. Sam settled into his seat. He was glad that his father had gifted Dean the Impala for his 16th birthday. Mostly because it made Dean happy but also because the Impala had become even more of a safe haven than before. Now, when they went on a hunt or drove to the next town, Sam rode with Dean. It was nice to feel safe for once. Sam sighed, shaking his head as though to rid himself of cobwebs. Dean was humming along to the Heartbreaker* as he drove back to the hotel.

"So?"

Sam turned to look at his brother, confusion evident on his face.

"So what?"

Dean sighed, one of the teasing ones that often escaped when Sam was doing something he deemed childish.

"How'd the research go?"

Sam turned from his brother, gaze fixating on the passing houses and shops. Without thinking he began to rattle off the information he knew his brother would be interested in; who it was, what it was, and how to kill it. Sometimes the youngest Winchester wondered if the elder even retained the information or if he just expected Sam to always be there to tell him. The car became silent again as Dean pulled into the hotel parking lot.

"Come on squirt."

"Not'a squirt."

Dean smirked, ruffling Sam's hair as he passed. The two headed into their room, Sam dumping his bag on the table. John was cleaning a Pennsylvania scout .50 caliber flintlock rifle, totally absorbed in his task. Dean went to the kitchen and grabbed a beer, opening it and placing it in front of his dad. The man looked up, flashing his son a small smile.

"Thanks Dean."

The eldest child hummed in appreciation of the recognition he had received from his dad. Sam sat on his bed, head bent over a book Bobby had given him last time they visited. It was written in Latin but that wasn't a problem for Sam. Besides, the stories in it were original accounts of the monsters in the Supernatural world. It was an invaluable resource.

"Sam!"

The brunette's head quickly lifted, marking the page he was on and closing the book in one smooth move. Dean and John were both turned to him, the eldest looking at him expectantly.

"The research?"

Sam nodded, reaching into his bag and fishing out the organized notes he had taken. His father would rather read them and avoid looking his youngest in the face then listen to Sam the way Dean had. Sam huddled against the head board, appearing very much absorbed in his book. In truth he was looking through the fringe of his hair and watching John as he read the notes. The man's face was blank and Sam resisted the urge to sigh. No pride, no happiness. He was nothing compared to Dean.

"Dean."

The elder looked up from his pocket knife. John was standing and shoving his wallet and phone into his pocket.

"I'm going to double-check the research. We'll head out when I get back."

Dean's eyebrows furrowed in confusion but he nodded, mumbling a yessir. Sam looked up, finger toying with the corner of a page.

"Sir?"

John paused where he was, one arm through the sleeve of the jacket. He turned to look at Sam, moving to slide the other arm into his jacket. Sam licked his lips, lowering his gaze to John's chest instead of his face. It was subtle enough that Dean wouldn't notice but also stopped John from glaring at him for disobedience.

"Ah, if you double-check the research, sir…it may be too late to save the future victim. The werewolf will strike again tonight."

John did nothing but stare at Sam. Dean, sensing the tension, perked up from his spot at the couch.

"Sam's right, Dad. Besides, Sammy's never been wrong with research before."

Dean cast a sly grin at his little brother when their dad adopted the thoughtful frown that meant he was thinking about something, turning it inside out and looking for faults. Finally, after a few minutes of silence, John nodded.

"Alright. You win."

He turned back to the door.

"I'm going to gas up the truck. Meet me at the park in thirty."

The door closed with a sharp click. Sam released a breath he hadn't realized he was holding. Dean grinned and stood, beginning to short through his bag.

"Hurry up or we'll be late, bitch."

"Jerk."

AT THE PARK/30 MINUTES LATER:

The boys got to the park first. It was already beginning to get dark outside, coating the horizon in red light that melted into a pink. Sam couldn't help but compare it to the sight of blood washing down a shower drain. Dean tossed Sam a shotgun and turned from the open trunk to greet his dad. Sam pulled out a silver knife when his back was turned, tucking it into his jacket and quickly zipping said jacket closed. Dean turned back to him, quickly pulling out a pistol and tucking it into his waistband and then grabbing a shotgun for himself.

The three quickly moved onto the wilderness trail. John walked in front with Sam in the middle and Dean covering the rear. The sun disappeared completely, bathing the world in the darkness of night. Sam twitched as he listened to…nothing. The sound of nothing was what tipped the teen off in the end. Everything was too silent and in the next minute there was snarling and a howl. John was screaming something and then one of the moving shapes fell to the floor with a whimper.

Another wolf came out of the darkness, took one look at the dead wolf lying at John's feet, and pounced on the hunter with a growl. John was tossed into a tree, back arching as it connected. He fell to the forest floor, limp. Dean yelled out as the werewolf latched onto his back with a claw, ripping through jacket and shirt and then skin. Sam cried out as Dean fell, knocking his head on a rock and losing consciousness. Sam felt like time had finally slowed enough for him to become aware of what was happening. The wolf turned to him and Sam hefted his shotgun, taking a shot.

It connected, causing the wolf to howl as the silver nicked its ankle. Enraged, the beast tore through the leaves, heading towards Sam. It barreled into him head on, causing him to drop the shotgun. The brunette grunted, successfully avoiding the snapping jaws. The beast wasn't as heavy as he would have thought, though its nails were digging into his chest rather painfully. Sam wiggled a hand between the wolf's chest and his body, slipping the knife from its hiding place and bringing it up in a sharp thrust.

The wolf fell over almost immediately, breath shallow and rapid as it looked down at the knife sticking out from its heart. Sam lay on the cold forest ground, breaths coming short and rapid. He could hear his father struggling to stand. The young teen stood slowly, walking the few yards to his brother and dropping to the ground beside him. With tender fingers, Sam tore off his jacket and wrapped it around Dean's head wound, being careful to remove leaves from the sticky wound before finishing the bandaging. John came over, dropping to Dean's other side and examining the wounds on his chest.

"Goddamnit!"

The man gently slipped his arms under his eldest son, cradling him to his chest as he stood. Sam stood, scrambling to grab the weapons. He followed his father to the cars, clutching the three shotguns to his chest. John gently set Dean across the back seat of his truck. He tossed Sam the keys for the Impala.

"Clean up here and walk to the hotel when you're done."

Before Sam could question his father, the man had jumped into his vehicle and peeled out of the parking lot. Sam blinked owlishly, moving to the Impala and opening the trunk. After depositing the shotguns, he grabbed a bag of salt and a lighter. Gently closing the trunk he hurried back to the werewolves' bodies. Damn it, he knew there were too many bodies for just one wolf and he didn't even mention it! Sam shook his head, angry at himself. When he arrived at the bodies, they had converted back to their human forms. The mailman and…

Sam almost smacked himself in the face. Of course! The man behind the counter at the post office. It made sense, Sam thought to himself as he dragged the bodies next to each other, covering them in brittle, dry leaves and branches. There had been disappearances before the post man had come to town. One or two a year, which was really quite normal. The man must have bit the post man and tried to teach him how to control his wolf side.

Sam poured salt on the bodies, stopping to pull the silver knife from the post man's chest. After tucking the blade into his pants, he set the bodies on fire. The brunette sat down, knowing he couldn't leave until the bodies were turned to ash. He settled against a tree, prepared for a long wait. And wait he did.

2 HOURS LATER/WITH SAM:

The teen trudged up the steps to the hotel room. He had just walked from the park to the hotel room and his feet ached something fierce. It had begun to rain lightly about 5 minutes earlier and his hair was just wet enough to drip. Suppressing a shiver at the cold, he walked into the hotel room and dropped the Impala keys onto the side-table.

"Sam."

The teen turned, eyes wide as he took in his father. The man's shirt was covered in blood and he looked angry, the tight lines of his mouth causing Sam to shrink from him.

"This is your fault."

Sam gulped, following his father's indications and kneeling on the floor in front of him. John twisted Sam's shirt in his fist, holding the teen steady as he punched him in the face.

"Dean has 2 cracked ribs, a concussion, and lost half the blood in his body and. It's. All. Your. Fault!"

Sam whimpered as his lip split, blood quickly dripping down his face. John seemed to have spotted the knife tucked in Sam's waistband because he quickly pulled it out, slicing the teen's side as he did so. The man inspected the knife, walking the light sheen of blood glimmer in the low light.

"Shirt off."

Sam obeyed, knowing by now it was better to just go along with whatever his father said. John fisted a hand in his son's shaggy hair, pushing his head low to gain better access to his back. He quietly commanded Sam to count. With little precedence, he dragged the knife across Sam's back, from shoulder to shoulder.

"One…"

Sam clenched his eyes shut as he listened to his father.

"It's your fault Dean is hurt."

"Two…"

"All your pride and arrogance…you don't know shit!"

"Three…"

Sam whimpered lightly.

"Four…."

"This is your punishment Samuel."

"Five."

"Take it like a man Samuel."

"Si-ix…"

"Stop whimpering brat!"

"S-se-even…"

"You're worthless Sam…you can't even do research right!"

"E-eight…"

"All Dean does is protect you…"

"N-nine…"

"…and you repay him by causing him harm!"

"Ten…"

"You're a horrible brother Samuel."

"Elev-ven…t-twelve!"

John yanked Sam's head back, looking him in the eye.

"You killed your mother, Sam. It'll be your fault if Dean suffers the same fate."

John let go of Sam's hair, leaving the boy to fall to the floor. Sam lay in silence, eyes closed tightly and he tried to breathe through the pain. John left after a few minutes and yet Sam remained on the floor. He was so tired…he knew he would have to clean everything up before his father got back. Especially if he returned with Dean.

Dean…it was all my fault. It was his last thought before darkness firmly claimed his vision and he fell into a fitful sleep.

END OF CHAPTER:

How'd ya'll like it?

*Heartbreaker is a song in Led Zeppelin's 2nd album. It is amazing~

Review please!

Eris-R-Renee