A/U. Set Pre-series. Dean Centered Story (though John and Sam get mixed in-especially later on). After Sam leaves for Stanford, and John takes off solo hunting, Dean Makes the decision to enlist in the USMC. It turns out to be a little more than he may have bargained for.

Supernatural Disclaimer: I own nothing. Never have... don't intend to, this is just to satisfy my incessant need to write... something...

Hope you enjoy, leave a comment if you have time!


P.O.V: JOHN WINCHESTER

His phone rang as he was climbing into his truck, exhausted from what he had deemed a successful night long hunt. Initially he thought to ignore the call as he often did, but something told him to answer. Despite the unfamiliar number he hit the small button accepting the call, "Hello?" he answered in his usual gruff and fatigued voice.

"Yes sir, I'm trying to reach John Winchester."

"Well you've got 'im." He replied turning the key in the ignition.

"Sir, I'm calling you—" Already he was beginning to regret his decision to answer the call. This was beginning to sound a lot like a scared kid trying to find help for a new job, and damn, he really didn't need another job just yet.

"Just spit it out kid."

"Uh, yes sir." The voice on the other end of the line hesitated, and John knew. His heart raced as he leaned back into the driver's seat, waiting. Only two types of people repeatedly used the formality of "sir" when speaking to him over the phone— his sons (because he'd insisted) and members of the police or the military. And this sure as hell wasn't one of his sons.

"Sir," the voice finally identified itself as being a mid-level officer belonging to Dean's Marine Corp Battalion. "I'm sorry…"

"You are sorry about what?" he demanded, "What happened to Dean?" His voice came out a distinct mix of fear, rage and terror all at once. Dean wasn't dead—they'd hunt him down and deliver that news in person. They'd send a goddamn car with a chaplain to deliver that kind of blow.

"Sir, I'm sorry to inform you that your son was injured during a combat mission."

"I get that—"John snapped, regretting it immediately, "Shit." Wiping a hand across his forehead, now damp with perspiration he swallowed hard, "I'm sorry, I just—what happened to him?"

"Sir, I don't have specifics, hospital records show he's listed in serious condition." John listened as the young man on the other end of the line spoke of a grenade, injuries to Dean's legs, to his arms. Jesus, John shook his head, he knew—he'd seen it first hand in Vietnam, the damage a grenade could do to a human body. "He's slated for evacuation from the combat hospital later this week to Germany. We will keep you updated."

John stared at his phone in disbelief as the call was disconnected.

The sound of blood rushing to his ears was overwhelming.

Updated? His son was laid up in a combat hospital thousands of miles away, seriously injured, and the Marine Corp was going to keep him updated? He dropped the phone to the seat beside himself, slamming his fist hard into the dash board, a guttural scream rising from his throat.

IT WAS TWO WEEKS and three hunts later that John Winchester received the call beckoning him to Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

He'd managed to pick up jobs as close to the east coast as possible, teaming up with different hunters while he waited for news, waited for the next update. The dedication to the hunt, the focus it required and the energy it used had been John's only saving grace. The harder he pushed the less time he had to think about or imagine what was going on in Dean's world, and the better off he seemed to be. But that all shifted the moment he shoved his cell phone back in his pocket. Without hesitation he packed up his gear, and jumped in his truck, uncaring as to how this final hunt turned out without his help.

Lights and signs on the interstate seemed to fly by in a blur as John barreled down the interstate, making short time of the two hundred miles lying between himself and his oldest son.

He was running on very little sleep as he set foot inside Walter Reed, wrung out from anxiety and fear, but desperate to see for himself just exactly what kind of condition Dean was in.

It took almost two hours from the time he arrived to the point in time a small brunette nurse in green scrubs lead him down a white-washed hallway toward what she deemed as Corporal Winchesters room. She was pleasant and talkative as they walked, and John was thankful for the distraction she offered as they talked.

Stopping short before room 421, she turned to him her demeanor shifting slightly, "Sir," she smiled, her voice soft and low, "nobody is ever entirely ready for what they are walking into. He's pretty heavily sedated right now and when he comes too just remember he's been through a lot."

John nodded, feeling his stomach turning over with apprehension as the nurse excused herself and left him standing in the doorway. The small room was colder than the hallway, sterile, and reeking of antiseptic and there in the middle of it all was a wreck of a human being that John recognized as his own flesh and blood.

He couldn't remember the last time that he had seen his boy looking so distinctly injured. It wasn't that there weren't any of those moments to recall, but they had been so few and far between that John was hard pressed to remember the circumstances around the last injury Dean had been hospitalized for. He couldn't remember the last time he'd dropped everything to sit shotgun next to his son at the local hospital.

John stood quietly for a long minute studying the young man before him. It had been damn near two years since he'd last seen Dean. His hair was too short, even for Dean's standards. His shoulders were broader, arms thicker, his face even as pale as it was, still held the color of hours in the sun against the light blue sheets that covered the length of his body.

Taking a deep breath John stepped inside the threshold. He might not be able to remember the last time he'd taken up residence in a hospital room for one of his kids, but he was here now.


DEAN'S POV:

Dean startled awake, breathing labored, head pounding, he was pretty damn sure he was still trapped in the same nightmare he'd been locked in for the past week and a half, except this time he was pretty sure the figure seated next to him was actually there… and alive.

He tried to ease the drumming of his heartbeat in his chest, but somewhere above him he made out the faint beeping of the heart rate monitor echoing the racing rhythm of his futile attempts.

"Hanson?" he called out closing his eyes, his throat straining from non-use. Dean wanted more than anything to hear Hanson's voice respond to him.

"No Dean." The voice that came back was strong, but unmistakably familiar.

His eyes shot open, a breathless whisper leaving his mouth, "Dad?"

John Winchester sighed, reaching up to rest his hand on Dean's arm, careful not to disturb any wires or tubing as he did. "Hey kid." John's voice was suddenly laden with a soft, aching tone. "How ya doin' son?"

Dean looked around the darkened room glancing briefly at the hand encircling his arm, groaned as he shifted uncomfortably in the hospital bed, and looked back at his father.

John sighed seemingly able to understand Dean's lack of response with a simple shake of his head, "You look like crap Dean." It wasn't a cold statement, Dean understood, but rather a simple observation.

Dean laughed, a bitter sounding laugh as he fought against the tears forming at the corner of his eyes, "I'm okay. I just—"

"Damn it Dean." John shook his head, scrubbing his free hand across his jaw line. There was a long pause as John considered his son, "You don't have to lie to me."