December 24th, 1999

"He'll be alright, Sammy."

All three Winchester men are gathered in a cramped hospital room, the pulsating beepbeepbeep of machinery burning deep into their brains. Sam and John are sat in the too-hard plastic chairs.

Dean is the one in the bed.

It was a 'simple' salt and burn gone wrong and a vengeful spirit had seen fit to throw Dean out of a bedroom window. The damn thing didn't even have the common courtesy to open the glass panes before tossing the kid out. Honestly, some people.

Three broken ribs, a broken leg, a sprained wrist, a concussion and numerous lacerations were the spirit's parting gifts to Dean. Really he was lucky; a fall like his could have easily been fatal. Probably would've been if years of hunting hadn't made his body steel-like in its ability to handle danger.

To be quite frank John is just as worried about Sam as he is about Dean right now. The kid is shaking, his face is impossibly pale and his hazel eyes are haunted and huge with the ever-present threat of tears. Sam was the one who had found his big brother and, John knows, had first thought him to be dead.

John looks at his sons' interlinked hands and smiles softly, in a bittersweet sort of way. Looks like he'll have to take care of Sammy on Dean's unconscious behalf right now. God knows all three of them need him to.

"I don't want him to die, Dad." Sam, no; Sammy whimpers. It breaks John's icy, hard heart to hear the raw terror and anguish behind the words. "He's my big brother."

"Kiddo, Dean's not gonna die. You heard the doc. He'll be right as rain in no ti-"

"Not what I meant." Sam interrupts, voice trembling with emotion. John gestures for his youngest to elaborate. "I mean, the stuff we do, hunting, it's dangerous. I don't want Dean to die." He takes in a deep breath, his words running away from him. "Ever."

"Oh." And that's all John can think to say.

How the hell is he supposed to respond to that? What they do is dangerous and John isn't naïve enough to think that he can protect is boys forever from all that is out there, no matter how badly he wants to. He can't honestly look Sammy in the eyes here and tell him that his big brother won't die at the hands of a hunt because, most likely, Dean will.

But then, looking at his youngest son's lost and desperate face, he realises something; Sammy doesn't want honesty. He wants comfort and reassurance and his father. He needs it.

"You're my boys and we save people, son." John declares, allowing his pride to bleed into his words like honey. He wraps an arm around his boy and Sam doesn't stop him. "You know what we have that other hunters don't?"

Sam shakes his head, hanging on his father's every word just like when he was just a little kid. John smiles at the thought; this is his Sammy.

"We have each other."

John takes a moment to wonder when the hell he became a fucking philosopher but then swiftly decides that it doesn't matter. Sammy seems to be buying this bullshit and that's all that both of them really needs or wants right now.

John gives his boy a brusque squeeze and casts his gaze to Dean, quietly thinking that the twenty-year-old would approve of him showing his nearly non-existent caring side right now.

"It's Christmas Eve, Dad." There are tears in the boy, no, in the man's voice and eyes. "Christmas fucking Eve. And we're in a goddamn hospital!"

John lets his son be angry. He knows that Sammy needs it right now. He understands that.

"I know it sucks, Sam." He says after a short while, making an effort to keep his voice both sincere and gentle. "But think about all the people out there; the men and the women and the children who we've saved. They wouldn't be waking up to Christmas tomorrow morning if it wasn't for us."

Sam nods and says nothing because, for blessed once, he can't find anything to say that conflicts with his father's words. In fact, he agrees with the man on this one.

Saving people, hunting things; it's what they do, it's what they've been doing ever since Sammy can remember. He might not always like the 'hunting things' part of it all that much but the 'saving people'? He prides himself in it, relishes it.

Sam looks up at the annoyingly loud clock hanging haphazardly above his big brother's bed. It's midnight.

"Hey Dad?"

"Yeah Sammy?"

"Merry Christmas."

A/N: So that's it. It's over. Woohoo!

This is my first story on here that's been posted in chapters so it feels really awesome to have seen it through, even though I know it isn't amazing. Thank you so, sooooooo much to all of the people who have read, reviewed, favourited and followed this story; you guys are the best!

So yeah. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it; please let me know what you think! :D

P.S. As I have previously mentioned, my next story will be a chapter case-fic set early season one, which sees the boys investigating the deaths of eight kids in a town called Silent Oak, all whilst Sam struggles dealing with Jess' death (there will be lost of brotherly schmoop). Hopefully, I'll have the first chapter up soon but I'm trying to complete a rough draft of the whole thing before I start posting. Anywhore, time to end my shameless self-promotion here.

Thanks for reading 'Five Times John Screwed Up and One Time He Didn't'!