Author's Note: This story takes place directly after the story "Sam's Guilt".

Dean's Deception

Dean slowly opened his eyes, back still propped against the headboard of the bed. He heard the sound of the vehicle that his father and brother were in driving away. Opening his mouth he reached under his tongue and plucked out the two pain pills that his father had given him and threw them into the trash can. Being able to hide pills and not swallow them was a talent he had cultivated when he was ten.

The family doctor had given him some daily tablets that he needed to take for allergies. But the problem was that they made him sleepy much like these pain pills did. So he had refused to take them after the first day and on the second day his dad had insisted and he had gotten into trouble because he didn't want to take them but finally he had. On the third day his dad had gone so far as to smack his butt a couple of times when he refused. So then on the fourth day he had begun practicing the art of pretending to take medication without really taking it. He had gotten quite good at it and finally his dad had stopped giving him the pills because he said that they weren't working as Dean's allergies were no better than without taking the pills.

He swung his feet around onto the floor and groaned as even that movement caused his broken and mending ribs to shift and ache. He took some deep breaths and worked through it. He had been injured many times and he knew after a certain point it was just mental over physical. And he was going to have to just push through this if he was going to go after his father and brother. He knew that dad wouldn't be happy that he had disregarded what he had been told but he also knew that in any fight he was an asset and he would never forgive himself if one of them got hurt cause he was stuck in bed with some sore ribs.

He bent down and put on his boots taking shallow breaths trying to work through the pain. After a few minutes it eased up a bit and he stood walking to where his stuff was stowed. He found the first aid kit first and took out two Tylenol and dry swallowed them. Then finding his duffle bag he reached into the inside side compartment and pulled out one of his spare sets of car keys. And then he opened the lid on the weapons case and grabbed his weapon of choice. Smiling because he knew that he had one upped his dad he grabbed his jacket and left the cabin in a rush.

The grand rush came to a dead stop when he got within fifteen feet of the Impala. "Son of a bitch!"

He couldn't believe that his dad had apparently let the air out of the tires. Or more accurately he could completely believe it as it was exactly what he himself would have done under the same circumstances. While that made him mad it also made him more convinced that he was going to join his family. And what his father didn't know was that he had a really good idea just where they had gone.

He knew that even a little hesitation would have a price and he made a split second decision. Giving the car a little pat and a promise to make things right later he headed for the main road. The cabins were a place where a lot of truckers stayed and Dean walked to
the side of the road and stuck out his thumb. Within a few minutes a big rig stopped and without any hesitation Dean got in. The act of climbing in however took Deans breath away. "Hey kid you okay?"

Dean just nodded and took deep breaths willing the pain to ease up and finally it did.

The trucker asked where he was headed and he told him. Luckily it was on his way and Dean settled back in the seat and looked at the driver. He was as big as an ox and had a shaved head and several earrings and looked exactly like the kind of person you shouldn't get into a car with. "Ya know kid hitchhiking is just plain dumb. I could be anybody from a sexual sadist to an axe murderer. Getting into a truck with a stranger is just a dumb assed thing to do."

Now Dean was starting to hope this wasn't the spiel he gave his victims before he raped them, dismembered them and buried them in three states. "Yeah."

The trucker shook his head. "Well you ought to thank yer lucky stars ya ain't my kid cause if ya was I'd beat yer ass good for ya."

Dean just nodded and thought that if his dad knew what he had done the trucker would have to take a number.

After his little lecture they rode the next few miles in silence and finally the trucker spoke. "I got a kid bout your age. He's in college and makes good grades and it would just tear me up to think he was out hitching rides."

Dean just sat silently and listened as the trucker opened up and talked about his son and their quest for a good college and his SAT scores and his little wife Lou Ann who was the prettiest little thing he ever did see. Dean had some thoughts that he should never again judge a book by its cover because this guy definitely was nothing like he looked.

After a twenty minute drive with Lee the trucker talking nonstop they pulled up to a cemetery where Dean was positive his father and brother were. And sure enough the car his dad was driving was parked in front of the locked gates. Dean grinned proud of his ability to deduce what his dad was going to be doing. He went to get out and Lee took a few more minutes to continue his story of what kind of scholarship money Lee Jr. had gotten. Dean was itching to climb out of the truck and join the fight but he listened for a moment more. Thanking his driver he gently climbed down and walked quickly careful not to jar his ribs to where the gates were.

Of course they were locked and the only way to gain entrance was to climb over. Dean knew that the action of climbing over was going to hurt like hell with his ribs and shoulder but he saw no other way. He figured it would be okay as long as he didn't fall on the way down. The initial act of pulling himself up would hurt but then the momentum would throw him over and he would be fine. At least he hoped it would work like that. But of course it didn't go exactly that way. Climbing up and over had hurt badly enough that it took his breath away but on the way down on the other side his foot had slipped and he fell to the ground. Knocking the wind out of him and making him wonder just how much more he had damaged ribs already injured.

He lay on the ground gasping for air and moaning and trying to get control again. But he couldn't seem to take a deep breath and the pain was like white lightening. He heard a movement and looked to see both his father and brother standing over him guns in hand. "Dean? Shit dad it's Dean!"

Dean would have laughed at the shocked look on Sam's face that is if he could stop gasping for air like a fish out of water. His father reached him in a second and began to feel his ribs which if he hadn't been in pain before that would have done it. He bit back a scream.

The breathing was becoming a little easier and the pain was easing to a dull roar. "Do you think you punctured a lung son?"

He felt some comfort at the worry on his father's face. "No it's easing. I just fell and landed hard."

Now the full reality of what was going on was apparently dawning on his father. "You fell because you climbed over this gate…with your broken ribs, in a place where you aren't even supposed to be and ..."

They both heard Sam's exclamation of surprise when he crouched down and found Dean's gun on the ground.

Now Dean wasn't exactly afraid of the look on his father's face but he also knew that it wasn't good. The little vein in his forehead was throbbing and even in the dark Dean could see it. "Oh and let me add to the list that you're packing heat. Great, just great."

Dean didn't think little brothers eyes could get any larger. "We will discuss this in the car, let's get you moved and make no mistake this is going to hurt like hell son."

With Sam on one side and his dad on the other they gently lifted Dean to his feet and he was proud that he managed not to scream. But then he sagged against his father when he started seeing stars and had the distinct impression he was gonna pass out. "Deep breaths buddy, just take some deep breaths."

The feeling passed and getting Dean in the middle and supporting him on either side the three walked slowly to the gate. Taking a key out of his pocket John unlocked the gate and then once his sons were safely outside the gate he locked it again. Dean couldn't help the ugly swear word that slipped out. They made their way to the car and once they got him settled in the back seat with Sam beside him his dad once again probed his aching ribs and he couldn't help the moan that escaped his lips. "I don't think you damaged them any further but you sure as hell didn't help them."

Dean could see that his dad had a whole lot more that he wanted to say but didn't and he was thankful for that. Dad climbed into the driver's seat and he saw Sam look at him as if he had two heads or something. "Get over it dude."

He noticed the harsh look his dad gave him in the rearview mirror but his ribs hurt too badly to care.

But suddenly he had a thought "Hey did you guys even get what you were looking for?"

He saw a smile come to his dad's face. "Yeah actually we did just as soon as we got there; Sammy has turned out to be quite the tracker."

Now he saw his brother fight a smile at the unexpected praise and he felt jealousy crawl up his throat. 'Yeah what'd he do when you found it ask it if it needed a hug?"

Now he saw his father turn around and glare at him. "You are in so much trouble already here kiddo don't even think about making it worse. And as long as we are on the subject how exactly did you get to the cemetery tonight being as I disabled your car?"

"Well I called one of the waitresses and they gave me a lift."

That seemed to satisfy his father for the moment and Dean was proud of his ability to think on his feet. "And didn't you take two pain pills before I left?"

"He can do a little trick where he doesn't swallow them he has been doing it since he was ten and you made him take those allergy pills. Only he never took any of them he flushed them all after you left the room."

Again Dean felt his father's eyes glaring at him in the rearview mirror. "That would explain why they never helped now wouldn't it?"

He invested all the pain he was suffering in giving his brother with the big mouth and the excellent tracking skills the dirtiest look he could manage. Way too soon for Dean they were back at the cabin and he was going to have to move again. His dad opened the door and crouched down next to him. "Now you know that this is going to hurt. But I'll let you do the moving and I'll just support you."

Dad tossed Sammy the keys to the cabin door and he went to open it. And true to what his dad had said it hurt like hell and again Dean thought he might pass out but he didn't.

His dad brought him through the door and helped him to lie down on his bed and gave him a moment to catch his breath. He then removed his shoes and went to unzip his pants. "Hey, not on the first date."

His father just gave him the warning look and Dean tried not to move as he was stripped of his pants. Thankfully his father left his shirt on because he knew damn good and well he couldn't have raised his arms over his head if his life depended on it. He then felt himself being covered up and Dad walked away.

It was just a few minutes later when he returned water glass in one hand and pain pills and muscle relaxants in the other. So far he had avoided taking both together even though the Doctor had told him it was all right. He felt his father sit down on the side of his bed and he was wearing what Dean liked to think of as his no nonsense face. "Now you are going to take every single dose of medication that I give you with no screwing around."

Dean knew that there was an or coming and he was right. "Or I'm gonna call this doctor back up and get both of these prescriptions refilled in suppository form. Are we clear on that?"

Dean felt his eyes widen and hoped like hell his dad was bluffing. He could see Sammy sitting on the other bed wearing his deer in headlights expression. "Funny Rad" he finally said when he could get the words out.

"Not joking Dean." Dean all but grabbed the glass and swallowed all three pills opening his mouth to show his dad that they were all gone.

Geez he wondered if this day could suck anymore and then dad proved it could. "I will take care of you for the next week or so. And you will do what I tell you to do, no questions asked. And when you are all better we are going to have a discussion about the great big fat mistakes you made tonight. And be prepared it's not gonna be pretty either."

Now Dean sighed feeling suddenly exhausted and hurting and just lousy. He closed his eyes and leaned against the headboard. "I hate your discussions."

John shook his head completely frustrated with his first born. "And yet that never seems to stop you does it Dean." But he got no answer as the boy was already sound asleep.


John sat in a chair at the bedside of his eldest son and watched him sleeping. He had been up all night making sure Dean took his medication and that his condition didn't change at all. Once in a while Dean would roll onto his side and moan. It made John sick to think of how much pain he was in, and then he would remember the events of the night and fight back the urge to start in with the whole 'what the hell did you think you were doing' line of questioning. But that along with anything else that was to happen between he and his son would have to wait until Dean was better. He hoped that he hadn't re-injured anything tonight and only given those healing ribs and shoulder a good jar.

"Dad"

He stood up and sat down on the side of the bed. "Yeah Dean?"

"Is Sammy asleep?"

Now John looked to the boy asleep sprawled in the next bed with both covers and pillow over his head. "Yep."

He saw Dean struggle to sit up and he reached over and helped him. "I'm sorry, tonight was just a dumb assed thing to do."

Even in the darkness John could see the tears shining in Dean's eyes and nothing ever made this warrior of his cry. "I know buddy, now try to rest some more."

He reached over and stroked Dean's face and was surprised when his son allowed him to do it. "Back to sleep now."

Dean still didn't settle. "I don't need any more pain pills do I?"

Now John was just confused. "Is the pain that much worse son?"

Dean shook his head. "No I just wouldn't want to miss any doses and give you an excuse to go all righteous indignation again."

Now John grinned even though Dean couldn't see it, as he had been pretty sure his bluff about the medication would assure that Dean wouldn't fight him on taking it. "Go to sleep unless you want to see me go all Terminator again."

"I can't believe the little shit ratted me out about the pills. It's been like ten years at least. Dude that was just mean."

The grin on his face remained firmly in place "Sleep now son."

He saw the boy struggle to find a comfortable position and he closed his eyes once again and John resumed his position in the chair to keep watch over his son. And before long the sun rose and he got up and showered and then walked over to the diner for a cup of coffee. Coming back he let himself into the cabin and found Sam was awake and in the shower.

"Hey you're up early."

Now he saw a shadow fall over his son's handsome face. "Nightmare, I just figured I'd get up."

After checking to make sure Dean was still sleeping and somewhat comfortable they both sat down at the small table that was in the cabin and just talked. John knew that this was just a small stop on his ultimate journey but he relished the stolen moments with this son who so reminded him of his late wife. Finally they got up and went back to the diner for lunch and with only waking once to take his pain meds Dean slept on which suited his father just fine. He needed the rest to heal and John just needed a break from the obvious power struggle that his relationship with Dean had become in the last few days.

The next few days were much the same with Dean sleeping more than he was awake. But he never fought John on taking his medication and even eating what they brought to him. He could see that Dean was moving with a little more comfort by the third day and he was thankful that soon his young, strong son would be back. And of course his return of spirit became obvious. He had just had lunch and had actually gotten out of bed, showered and dressed with some help from John. Sam was using the laptop on his bed and John was drinking a cup of coffee at the table when Dean turned to Sam and John could actually see the malicious gleam in his eye.

"Hey Sammy, I've been thinking that since we are telling Dad stuff about when we kids how bout we tell him something he didn't know about you?"

John fought a smile as Sam all but broke a sweat and jumped to his feet pleading evident in his eyes. "Dean…."

Now Dean smiled well aware that he had his prey effectively trapped. "Yup, I'm thinking maybe something like that summer when you were thirteen."

Suddenly Dean pretended that he found his fingernails to be very interesting and Sam was looking more panicked than ever. "Come on Dean don't…"

"Yeah I think that's exactly what he should know about."

Having entirely too much fun Dean turned to his father and John was unsure which son amused him more. Dean who was so relishing torturing Sam or Sam who should have known there would be payback. "Dad do you remember the night you couldn't find the night vision goggles or the scope?"

And John having an excellent memory and being a fanatic about the tools of his trade nodded that he did. "Yeah and you told me that they were out in the shed wrapped up in a blanket cause you hadn't put them away yet?"

Now Dean actually grinned and he heard Sam groan. "Well I was lying cause I was afraid that you were gonna come down really hard on Sammy. I was just trying to protect him Dad. They weren't in the shed Sam and his friend Ben had them. He was using them to spy on Melissa Denison's slumber party to see what they were talking about. Well actually who cause little bro had a major crush on her."

Now John turned to Sam the game between brothers forgotten. "You did what???"

Sam flinched when he heard the roar. "I was only thirteen dad and that was a long time ago."

"But you always knew that the equipment that we had was for the job and nothing else. NEVER for anything else."

Sam seemed to not have an answer and his father wasn't done yet. "And you used it to spy on a girl you liked? What in the hell were you thinking Samuel. And what happened to the whole family secret concept?"

Now Dean stacked his hands behind his head and stretching out looked from his brother to his father as if it were a very interesting tennis match. "Ah the whole name- doesn't look good for you Sammy."

Now Sam turned to his brother in a real fury. "I could so kick your ass now Dean."

And Dean just smiled the smile of a cat to a mouse. "Come ahead little brother even with these ribs I could still make you cry like the girl that you are."

"Enough!" After giving both of his sons a look that they both immediately recognized as the last warning John just stood there amazed at the things that had gone on in his household that he had been unaware of. Sam looked at his father knowing that he was still angry.

"Well I guess I will just take a walk then." He walked out throwing Dean a nasty look and slamming the door.

Dean ever so exhausted by his payback plan fell back into a deep sleep and John pulled the covers over him again. Sam was gone for several hours and when he came back John had cooled off and Sam looked at him sheepishly. "Hey I'm sorry; there was no excuse for what I did."

Now John smiled "You wouldn't be the first man to make an idiotic mistake due to a beautiful woman and after all you were thirteen. But it's a good damn thing I didn't know it then."

Now Sam grimaced, "Yeah good thing."

They sat down in companionable silence for a few minutes and Sam smiled. "Hey they offered me a temporary job at the diner unloading trucks for a few days. I guess their regular threw out his back. It would be day hours and just for three or four days and it pays pretty well too under the table of course."

"You don't have to son I can take care of us for a while longer."

"I know but I would like to help." So they agreed that Sam would take the temporary job and once more John was reminded of what great young men these two had turned out to be. Well most of the time anyway. Sam went back to his laptop and Dean slept on and before long it was almost dinner time. After Dean awakened they decided that he felt good enough to go over to the diner for dinner and that's exactly where they went.

John was glad to see that the anger between his sons seemed to have dissipated and they were their normal selves. The diner was packed and again Sam's appetite amazed him and he was so glad to see that Dean seemed to be so much better tonight and just being out in the real world seemed to help him. Maybe the rough stuff with Dean was all behind them now. They were almost finished with their meal when John excused himself to go to the men's room.

John was standing at the sink washing his hands and he was surprised to see a threatening looking guy come through the door with a shaved head and several earrings. He was roughly the size of a small house. John just ignored the man until he got into his personal space and he mentally prepared the best way to handle him in a fight if necessary. "Excuse me sir?"

Now he looked to the guy with surprise. "Are you talking to me?"

"Yeah I am- are you with those two boys sitting at the table by the door. The kid with the sandy blond hair in particular."

"Yeah… what of it?"

Now he looked sort of uncomfortable. "Are you like their dad?"

Now John found himself suddenly interested in what this guy had to say. "Yeah I'm their father."

"My name is Lee Porter and I am a trucker and I hate to do this but if it was my kid I sure as hell would want to know."

Now John was curious as to what this guy was talking about. "Want to know what?"

"Well bout a week back I picked that kid up while he was hitching and I dropped him off at some cemetery bout twenty miles from here. He didn't know me from Adam and he still got into the cab of my truck. I told him he was lucky he wasn't mine cause I woulda whipped his tail for hitching."

John put his hands on the sink to steady himself and shook his head. "Oh he is so dead."

Lee nodded his head in sympathy. "He seemed like a real nice kid though. I just thought from one dad to another I would tell ya what he was doing."

Now John reached out and shook the man's hand. "Thank you Lee I appreciate that even though my son isn't likely too when I'm finished with him."

Now Lee smiled "Well a dad's gotta do what he's gotta do."

They both walked out and back to the table and John could see from the way Dean paled and dropped his head when he saw the trucker that he realized that he had been caught.

Sam wondered who the big guy following his dad was and he looked to his brother and heard him mutter something under his breath. "Oh shit I am so freakin dead."

John sat back down next to his sons and Dean looked up at Lee the truck driver with the big mouth. "Hey Lee."

"Hey kid, I'm sorry but I had to do it. I would feel bad for the rest of my life if you hitched again and someone murdered or hurt ya. The next time it might not be someone as nice and normal as me that picked ya up." Sammy wondered in whose universe this guy was normal.

Dean looked down at his plate, which suddenly didn't look so appetizing anymore. "Yeah well dead from hitching or killed by my father dead is still dead."

Now John gave Dean a little smack to the side of his head. "Owwww dad we're in public for god's sake."

He wasn't surprise to see Lee smiling. "Yeah well it looks to me like yer dad's got it under control. See ya kid."

With a wave he walked off back to his table and Dean felt the heat of his fathers stare. "I thought you told me that one of the waitresses from here gave you a ride to the cemetery Dean?"

Now Dean just sat still and didn't say anything. "So you hitched a ride with a guy who clearly looked clean cut and nice and then you lied to my face about it?"

"Actually I lied to the back of your head Dad." Sam's mouth dropped open as he couldn't believe his brother had just said that. Or had hitched a ride with a stranger and especially one who had looked like the big guy that just left the table. He saw his father square his shoulders and tighten his jaw and he was damn glad that he wasn't Dean at this particular moment.

"Well I will just add that to the list then son. In case you have forgotten the list now includes lying, not actually taking your medicine and lying to make me think that you had, putting you life on the line hitchhiking and lying about that, trying to rush in and save the day when you injured and had been told to stay put and refusing to obey direct orders from me on several occasions. But not to worry when you're better we will take care of all of that."

Dean suddenly looked sick but still he continued and even rolled his eyes. "Yeah don't forget I didn't take my allergy pills when I was ten."

Sam wondered if the concussion had somehow damaged his brother's brain.

They finished their dinner in silence and Sam knew that his dad was fuming. After dinner they walked back to the cabin and Dean stretched out on the bed and was asleep instantly. Sam was somewhat surprised to find that his dad didn't seem so angry anymore. "He acts like he is so much better but the truth is that he is still in a lot of pain he is just too damn stubborn to admit it."

Now Sam smiled too "Yeah that's just Dean Dad, all tough on the outside but he hides things pretty well."

John sat down in the chair and again watched his son sleep and though about just how much they had in common. And he prayed for both patience and strength and sincerely hoped God was tuned in to his frequency.

**********************************************

The next few days went smoothly with Dean resting a lot but not all of the time and Sam working during the day. It had been almost two weeks since the night that the vampires had injured Dean and John was sure that he was healing nicely. It was a day when Sam didn't have to go to work until afternoon time and they had all just finished breakfast when John turned to Dean. "Go in and shower and get dressed because we have an appointment at the ER Doctors office for a follow up this afternoon."

Now Dean gave him his least favorite defiant look. A look that he was becoming more and more familiar as the days went by. "I don't need to go back to the Dr. I am feeling better."

John held his ground "You're going, now get ready."

And of course Dean thought he was going to have the last word. "No I'm not."

John having had enough with this stubborn son reached him in two steps and landed two hard swats on his behind.. Sam actually jumped at the loud cracking noise it made and Dean turned to his father with an angry look. "I hope this doctor examines me and makes me drop trou and finds your huge red hand print on my butt."

Not willing to give in to his son and completely meaning the threat he kept a hold of Dean's arm. "Yeah how bout if he finds several dozen? Sound good?"

Dean pulled away and went into the bathroom slamming the door. Completely worn out by his son's insistence on doing things the hard way he sat down on the end of the bed and rubbed his temples. "Where has my good soldier gone?" he said mostly to himself.

"He's still a soldier Dad it's just that now he thinks he's the captain."

John turned to look at Sam and realized that there was probably a lot of truth in that. When it was just Sam and Dean his older son was in charge and maybe suddenly taking orders again from his father hadn't been easy. John was sure it felt good in the beginning because it took the pressure off of him but now he was chafing at the restriction of being told what to do. But damn it the kid made some really lousy choices the night he and Sam had gone hunting.

He realized that he just needed to go ahead and punish Dean and get it over with. It would clear the air and they could go back to the way things had been. It would restore the order of things. And hopefully reinforce who to steal a phrase from Sam was alpha male. But it all depended though on how Dean was healing physically as he would never dream of doing actual harm to the boy. Okay well he wondered if a good shake constituted actual harm. Although before he was through he planned on doing a hell of a lot more than just shaking his eldest son.

They left the cabins and headed for the doctor's office where again Dean was the center of attention of the entire female staff. The insurance biller spent fifteen minutes talking to him and they didn't even have any insurance. John just watched and shook his head. Finally they were in the small exam room and Dean was in a gown and clearly not happy about that. The doctor came in and gave him a thorough exam and announced that he was healing very well. He showed John his x-rays from the night the incident occurred and he could easily see how damaged his ribs were. "What about activity? Can he resume all the physical stuff he does?"

Now he noticed Dean rolling his eyes and didn't miss him mutter under his breath, "What am I invisible?"

Looking at the x-ray again he hedged. "Well let's just say within reason, I mean clearly we don't want him engaging in hand to hand combat for a while."

He laughed thinking that he had just been clever but John and Dean exchanged glances. "I would say in about six weeks he will be as good as new. And now he can go back to regular daily activity including some light lifting. And exercise is good too just not weight lifting with that shoulder until six weeks has passed."

John was filled with relief, glad that the ribs hadn't been further injured by Dean climbing over the gate and falling. He stepped back out into the waiting room while Dean got dressed and together they headed for the car. "So that was good news."

He noticed that his son remained unusually quiet. "Wasn't it?"

Still no answer and then it hit John. Dean knew that now he was getting better it was time to face the music. While he knew his son well enough to know that he wasn't afraid he also knew that he couldn't be looking forward to being punished and he had to know that it was gonna be a whole lot of punished too. It was almost funny how brave he had been when he knew that his father couldn't do anything to him.

"So do you want to stop and get something to eat?"

Now John smiled as they had eaten lunch just two hours ago. "Wouldn't be stalling would you?"

He didn't get an answer from his son. "Hey how bout a movie something with lots of violence?"

Now he just shook his head. He saw Dean give him a sidelong look. "Shit. We are gonna have that discussion now aren't we?"

John fought to remain serious but almost failed at the disgusted tone in Dean's voice. "Yes we are. I think it's been put off long enough."

Now John had a thought. "But if your ribs and shoulder are still really hurting it could wait a little longer."

He saw Dean look away from him. "No they're fine."

And now he could feel his own temper becoming frayed. "If you are just saying that I swear I'm gonna…"

He was amazed to hear his son interrupt his little threat with a snort. "Yeah well your gonna anyways so what's one more thing?"

He wanted to stop the car reach over and shake his son. "Dean answer my question honestly please….are your ribs still really bothering you?"

Now he saw Dean actually smile "Just my luck the one day that nothing is really hurting. Oh how I do love irony."

John exhaled relieved at Dean's answers and continued to drive. They had just pulled into the driveway of the cabins and John looked to Dean and could see how tense he had gotten. Which while not wanting him to be nervous it was a good indicator to John that Dean had some idea just how badly he had screwed up and that would ultimately make John's job all that much easier. Although spanking Dean was always a test for John because he was a tough kid and a tougher nut to crack. But this time John had some real inspiration to work with.

They got out and went into the cabin, which was empty because Sam had gone to work for the day. "So where is Sam?"

"He went to work this afternoon again."

Now Dean fixed him with an unhappy stare. "I don't think you should let him work right now Dad."

Now John knew that he was pushing again. "Yeah well you don't get to decide and it is helping to make him feel like he's paying for his mistakes. And speaking of mistakes that brings us to the discussion part of our discussion. Sit down."

Dean did as he was told and John started with the whole what did you think you were doing following us after I had told you not to move off of that bed and even given you pain pills, which you didn't actually take dialog. And Dean listened and flinched occasionally when John would get particularly animated about the situation.

"And then do you have any idea what would have happened if Sam hadn't realized you weren't one of the things that we were killing. We could have shot you Dean. Do you have any idea how horrible that would have been for us to have to live with that?"

Trying to lighten the mood Dean quipped, "Yeah well that woulda sucked for me too."

John already at the end of a short rope reached him in one step and lifting him by the arm off of the bed he landed the hardest swat he could onto Dean's behind. "Owwww shit that hurt!"

Seeing the fire in his father's eyes he sat back down and resumed being silent squirming to find a comfortable position. "And how about the concept of puncturing a lung with a broken rib when you landed after using your barely healed dislocated shoulder to pull yourself up with. How about that?"

Dean remained quiet wondering how one swat could have hurt so damn much and still his father continued. "And then there was the whole carrying a gun which thank god didn't discharge when it hit the ground and kill- I don't know you or me or maybe Sam."

Now Dean looked guilt stricken because if there was anything he had been taught it was respect for the weapons. "Of course we could discuss carrying a weapon when you had taken medication for pain. Do you remember anything about that Dean?"

Now Dean felt his face and neck get red as he answered quietly. "Never use or carry a weapon if you are in any way compromised by drink or drugs."

Now John nodded his head. "Oh so you do know then."

Dean felt tears prick his eyes as he knew that he was good at what his father had taught him and he knew he had screwed up in a huge way with this one because he knew these rules inside and out. "Yes sir."

"And then how about getting into a vehicle with a complete stranger who just happened to be the size of a small house. And yet that didn't seem to even make the slightest difference to you. Do you have any idea what it would have done to me if this guy had murdered you or raped you or even just beaten you up? It wasn't like you could have even defended yourself in the condition you were in. And don't even tell me you had a gun, one smack to those ribs or that shoulder and *he* would have had a gun."
Dean sat quietly realizing just how much he had to atone for.

"Now I realize that you are very good at hunting and you have grown into an excellent hunter over the years. You are fast and lethal and unafraid to take necessary risks. Add to that you have managed to protect your brother while teaching him to be almost as good as you are. What if I wasn't around and Sammy had pulled all this stuff that you just did? How as the senior officer would you feel about that? Would you just let it go and hope next time he would make better choices?" Now John saw tears and he knew that Dean understood completely his father's position on all of this.

"Remember the time when Sam was ten and he climbed out the bedroom window and went out to meet his friends in the middle of the night?"

Dean wiped the tears off of his face with the back of his hand and knew exactly what his father was talking about and he nodded. "And you got up for a drink of water at three a.m. found he wasn't in his bed and came to wake me up and tell me he was gone."

Dean spoke in a very soft voice. "And you went out and tracked him down and then brought him home and blistered his butt."

John nodded again "And do you remember what you said to me after it was over?"

Now two tears streaked down his usually unemotional son's face. "Yeah I said I hated that he had to be punished but that it was important that he learn the lesson."

Knowing that there would be no time like the present John stood up and took off his belt. "Time to learn the lessons son."

Feeling sad but resolute he walked to where Dean sat on the bed and using his arm pulled him to standing. He sat down and placed several pillows where Dean's chest was going to be hoping to make the position comfortable for the injured ribs. Unfortunately some other area wasn't going to be so fortunate.

He motioned for Dean to come closer and Dean did so looking for all the world like he wanted to run. "Take them down Dean."

Now he saw Dean just close his eyes for a moment and then unzip and push his jeans down his legs. Taking a hold of the hand on the side with the uninjured shoulder he gently pulled Dean across his lap and then scooted back on the bed so that most of his son's torso and legs were supported by the bed and his behind was exactly where it needed to be.

He took another moment and rearranged the pillows so that Deans chest was completely supported. "Are you comfortable son?"

Dean knew what he was being asked and while wanted to say something like does it look like I'm comfortable he knew that he didn't dare certainly not while in this position. "Yes sir."

Again John looked over the situation. "Your ribs are okay in this position?"

Dean nodded and had the insane thought that soon rib pain was gonna be the least of his worries. John pulled his son close on his lap so that his injured shoulder and arm were both pinned and protected and then he got a tight grip on Dean's waist not wanting him to have any room to struggle once he started knowing that potentially that could cause the ribs to hurt again. His butt was gonna be hurting enough once he started.

Knowing that he had said all that he had to say he picked up the belt and smacked it down on the intended target not being surprised when Dean tensed. Knowing that while with Sam it never took too long to make a point Dean usually was pretty tough he started spanking his son in earnest. He got to ten before Dean even allowed himself to make a sound and John feeling like Dean was still resisting starting swatting even harder. He heard the first noises from Dean as he placed several swats across the back of his thighs and he could feel the boy beginning to panic about being held in place and being punished. He was drawing his breath in ragged gulps.

Before too many more licks he felt the struggle going on with his eldest not to cry but the fierce sting of the belt combined with the humiliation of the situation was too much for even a rebel as stubborn as Dean. He put his head down on the bed and sobbed and John knew that they had finally arrived at the place they needed to be. Placing just a few more perfunctory swats he stopped and rubbed small circles on his lower back allowing him a few minutes to adjust to what had just happened.

"I don't want to do this but the fact that you hitched alone is all the incentive I need son. I'm sorry."

Setting the belt down on the bed he lowered the boy's boxers much like he had recently done with his brother. And just like with Sam he brought his hand down hard on the bare and exposed skin. He heard a shocked gasp coming from his son but ignoring that he went about the business of seriously teaching his son that hitchhiking was a dangerous thing to do. He knew that Dean would never do it again if for no other reason than to avoid this again. He counted as he smacked and by the time he reached fifteen he knew that both he and his son had had all they could stand and he stopped. Dean was no longer fighting crying or even resisting and was softly sobbing and John pulled the boxers back up, released him and resumed rubbing his back.

They stayed like that for some time with Dean finally getting the tears under control. And while he wanted to make sure his son understood that the lesson was the important thing here he also was concerned about his earlier injuries. "Hey Champ how are the ribs holding up?"

He saw Dean look at him with almost amusement in his eyes. "Don't know Dad my butt is screaming so loud that's all I can hear. Man that really hurt."

Now John leaned over and helped the boy to a sitting position. Only Dean had other idea's and immediately stood up. "No way I think sitting is out of the question for a really long time."

John stood up and hugged the boy and was amazed to hear him sobbing again. This son of his never cried and he was never fragile and now John was honestly worried. "Dean what…?"

He wiped his eyes on the back of his sleeve and looked at John like his heart was broken. "I'm sorry Dad that I let you down. I shouldn't have let you down, I shoulda been a better soldier than that."

John was astounded for a moment and then he took his hand and gave Dean another swat on the behind. "Enough you didn't disappoint me and you never have."

The additional reprimand to the already punished area brought a fresh torrent of tears, which John knew were cleansing in nature and he just let them run their course. After a little while Dean once again wiped his face on his sleeve and gave his dad a weak grin. "Man I can't believe this I must be turning into a chick with all the bawling."

John put a finger under his chin and turned his face upward. "Hey that was some pretty serious punishment you just got there kiddo. It's understandable."

Now he was relieved to see a smile on his face. "Yeah but now I feel kinda bad cause I really busted Sammy's chops about when you did this to him. Somehow it isn't so funny anymore."

Now John had to smile back and shake his head. "Okay now you are going into that bed and taking a nap no questions asked."

He hugged his son again and was so glad to feel the strength with which he hugged back. "Now as far as we are concerned everything has been handled and is over and done with and I forgive you. But I know damn good and well that you know by heart what all the rules are and I need you to promise me that you will start following them again."

Now he heard Dean chuckle. "If you think I'm gonna say anything other than yes sir after that you are delusional dude."

John bent down and kissed the top of Dean's head. "Thank god I have been waiting for days to hear you say yes sir to anything."

He sat down on the side of the bad and resumed rubbing the boy's back and his uninjured shoulder. Within minutes flaming behind and all Dean was sound asleep and John breathed a sigh of relief that this parenting task was all done. At least for today because with his two sons it was definitely one day at a time. And for once he was glad that he had been here when they had needed him.


Sam worked steadily and thought about how he didn't mind this job at all. It was nice to be able to do something physical and he was glad to earn some cash to help out. He knew that it had cost them financially to stay in one place and do nothing while Dean healed. And it felt pretty great to be able to make things alittle easier. After all that had happened the night that dad had showed up and Sam had gone postal he didn't feel so guilty anymore. Well he supposed he would always feel some guilt over the night that Dean got hurt but his dad had pretty thoroughly convinced him that it was okay and that that bill had been paid in full.

He carried a stack of boxes into the store room and smiled to himself wondering how dad had faired with the whole convincing Dean thing today. About an hour after they had come back from the doctor's office dad had stopped by and told Sam that he had a work related errand to run and he would be back in a few hours. When he had asked about Dean the only response he had gotten was that he was asleep. And now that he was feeling better for Dean to just be napping in the middle of the day was suspicious to say the least. Sam figured if what had happened before they went was any indication of things it must have been fireworks city. He had just stood there with his mouth hanging open when dad apparently had had enough and had swatted Dean on the butt like he was five or something.

Walking into the shed and setting down the boxes he started putting them on the shelves as he had been instructed to do. "Hey."

He turned to see Dean standing there with his hands in his jean pockets. "Hey. So what'd the doctor say?"

Now Dean narrowed his eyes. "Didn't Dad give you a blow by blow of the situation?"

Now Sam couldn't help the grin that crossed his face. "Interesting choice of words there Bro."

He could see Dean relax a bit. "Yeah no shit, and that was about it too."

Sam turned back to the job at hand, knowing that in his own way and in his own time Dean would spill it.

"Want a hand?"

Now Sam looked at Dean like that had been a trick question. "Are you allowed?"

He saw Dean grimace "Just know that from today forward I am only doing things that have been cleared by General Patton."

Sam still didn't move and finally Dean gave in. "Yeah the doctor said light lifting was fine just no hand to hand yet. So I can help you but if you try to beat me up I'll just have to let you."

Now Sam really grinned "Oh thank God finally I have been waiting for this chance my whole damn life."

Dean and Sam started working together to unload the boxes and they shared a comfortable silence. Finally Sam couldn't stand the suspense any longer. "So want to sit down and watch a movie or sit down and watch TV or….?"

Dean held up his hands in surrender. "Okay, okay I know I had that coming and then some but it seemed funny at the time."

For once Sam sensed a little something under the smart assed exterior and it worried him. "That bad?"

Dean wouldn't quite meet his eyes. "Worse."

Sam had known that dad was really upset at Dean and all the things he had done since he got hurt. And he figured knowing his father that he wouldn't go easy on him. But it almost seemed as if Dean were trying to piss dad off this time. And usually Dean was always the good soldier and did as he was told to do no question asked. However by no stretch of the imagination was this the first time Dean had gotten into trouble. And with as many times as dad had laid into Dean's butt it was always done and forgotten by his tough older brother as soon as it was over. Sam felt as if maybe this time had been different for some reason and it worried him.

"Wanna talk about it Bro?"

Dean continued to put away boxes and Sam thought he wasn't gonna get an answer at all and it must have been five minutes before Dean spoke. "Did it seem when Dad well you know…did that to you that it hurt a lot more than you remembered?"

Now Sam smiled at the remark. "Yeah it kinda made me wonder why the hell telling him to fuck off had seemed like such a good idea at the time."

Now Dean smiled back at Sam. "Yeah kinda like me thinking maybe I was temporarily possessed when I hitched a ride."

Sam shook his head "Yeah that was way not too smart and just your luck the guy shows up in the diner."

Now Dean frowned "Oh yeah I paid for that all right. Could I like win the lotto… no but the one person in this whole world that I want to keep away from Dad strolls right in. Sucks."

Sam relaxed thinking maybe he had imagined the vibe from before with Dean. He turned to take a box out of Dean's hands and was startled to see tears shining there. This was the fearless warrior and he never cried. He just waited knowing Dean was about to let go of it. "Man it just hurt so damn bad and I felt so guilty knowing that I deserved it and then I got so freakin emotional about it….."

Sam looked to Dean's face and couldn't believe that he had just admitted that. "You got emotional bro…I didn't know you had that in you."

Now he saw the smart assed grin that usually graced his brother's face. "Are you trying in your own retarded way Sammy to tell me that you are proud of me cause when I got my ass beat I cried like a little girl?"

Now Sam smiled back. "Yeah kid welcome to the club."

"Yeah well even with all my feminine traits of late if you try to hug me I'm still gonna smack ya Francis."

Now Sam laughed at the constancy that was Dean. "Wouldn't dream of it dude and if you're done now talking about your inner feelings we could get back to work."

That did earn him a smack on the side of the head for his trouble. They worked steadily only taking one break when the cute waitress that had been flirting with Dean at dinner brought them both out burger platters and drinks. Sam sat down on a stack of boxes and ate while he noted with amusement that Dean chose to remain standing. And of course the waitress must have timed things on her own lunch break cause she spent the entire time they were eating talking to and throwing herself at Dean. Sam had been watching it for most of his life and it still amused the hell out of him.

Finally the waitress went back inside and Dean and Sam finished up the job with Sam locking the store room and returning the key. As they walked across the street to go back to the cabin Sam looked to Dean and could see that he looked a little pale again. "Hey are your ribs bothering you from the lifting?"

Dean grimaced "A little bit but not too bad, but dude my ass is just way miserable."

Now Sam laughed out loud. "Maybe Dad will give you a pain pill for that?"

He saw Dean frown. "Not likely all damn week he has been forcing them down my throat and now when I really need one he'll want me to suffer so that I get the point."

Letting themselves into the cabin they found that their father had returned. "Hey guys where have you both been. I though maybe you had run away from home."

"Yeah now why would we do that seeing as how it so wonderful here and people just forgive your mistakes and there is never any price to pay."

Now Sam looked to Dean with amazement not quite believing that he was pushing dad yet again. But luckily for his brother he just heard his dad laugh at what he had said.

"Dean came over and helped me for a few hours and that hot little waitress who checks him out every time we go in there brought us out dinner."

"Yeah at least something good happened today."

Now John turned to look at his son. "It's not like you didn't deserve all the bad stuff earlier now was it?"

Sam saw Dean's face get red, and he for once didn't have an answer. "So how are your injuries with lifting boxes for a while?"

Now Dean shook his head "Not so bad and not nearly as bad as some other areas are feeling."

Again Sam stared at Dean and wondered where his brain was. "Tough luck kiddo you're lucky it wasn't worse."

Now Dean looked to his father with amazement. "You're kidding right?"

John pointed to the bed "Lay down there and rest."

Dean looked petulant but did as he told grumbling all the way about bossy old men who had authority issues. Within five minutes he was sound asleep. And Sam stretched out on his bed and picked up his laptop looking forward to some quiet time.

Dean awoke slowly and wondered why he was asleep on his stomach. He never slept on his stomach because it was too easy for someone to sneak up on you when you had your face in the mattress. He rolled over and gasped. Oh yeah that was why he was sleeping on his stomach- dad's little therapy session earlier. He got out of bed managing to not roll over and was glad that his ribs didn't protest. He could tell that finally his injuries were healing, well except for the most recent one.

He stretched and saw Sam staring intently at the screen of his laptop. "Gonna ruin your eyes Junior. What are you doing anyway surfing the net for porn again?"

Sam looked to him with disgust. "For God's sake Dean, I'm working. I'm doing research for the job remember the job?"

Now Dean was feeling better and just couldn't resist. "If your trying to impress Dad and become the good little soldier in the family it isn't gonna work cause I already have that position nailed down. I am after all his favorite."

Now Sam snorted "Oh yeah I can tell that from how much he has enjoyed your company for the last few days and how you never get into any trouble. I'm sure you're his favorite."

Dean smiled because he knew that something must have happened with Sam and dad because he seemed much more confident about their relationship now. "Well fine then but even you have to admit I'm the one who inherited all the looks at least."

Sam's answer to this was to throw a pillow at Dean's head with deadly accuracy. He deflected it and launched himself at his brother being careful to set the laptop out of the way. He knew that Sam would be mindful of his ribs and therefore he could get the upper hand. "Dean…get the hell off of me!!"

They rolled around for a couple of minutes while Dean attempted to get both of Sammy hands out of the way so that he could tickle him which Sam had always hated. His brother fought so hard that they slipped off of the bed and landed on the floor. Luckily for Dean he landed on top of Sam and his younger brother pretty effectively broke his fall.

"What is going on here?"

The sound of their father's yell stopped them both cold. "Get off of him Dean."

Dean did as he was told and threw a look of victory over his shoulder. "Guess I won again."

Now Sam struggled to his feet. "You so did not."

And as if to prove his point Sam reached over and flicked the back of Dean's head. And of course Dean could not or would not let it go at that and grabbed a good sized lock of Sam's hair and pulled. "Oww shit that hurt."

"Well if you didn't have such long luxurious locks Samantha I couldn't grab enough to pull- you gigantic girl."

That comment prompted Sam to make a run for Dean and John stepped in between his two rambunctious sons. "I said enough!! Or do you both want me to start swatting people?"

Both boys shook their head no. "Good now if the two of you are done playing I have a job for us to do tonight."

John noticed that while Sam looked interested Dean just looked defeated. He turned to the boy and gave him a stern look. "What you don't want to work tonight Dean?"

He saw the look of recognition cross his son's handsome face. "You are gonna let me come this time?"

Now John looked even sterner. "Yes but there are some rules here. No actual fighting if that happens you let Sam and me deal with it. And no climbing over anything and no carrying a weapon yet other than rock salt. And if I give you an order out there and you blow me off so help me God Dean I will bring you back here and make this afternoon look like a walk in the park."

Dean nodded understanding and looked to Sam. "Remind me to avoid that particular park dude."

And both Sam and John fought smiles. John briefed both his sons on the mission and they collected the weapons. Sam found some more helpful information on the laptop and Dean pulled out the maps. They all got as prepared to do this as humanly possible and as they headed for the car John couldn't have been more thankful to have these two fine hunters by his side as he entered into his never ending battle with evil again.

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