Poison

Dean and Sam drove through the dark night each staring straight ahead and neither one speaking. Both were covered with scrapes, cuts and various marks that by morning would become dark bruises from the fight that they had just endured. Finally after much battle they had prevailed and the evil thing had first died and then been burned and salted and buried. But the victory hadn't been easy and it showed on both the faces and the battered bodies of the warriors. Usually at the end of a night such as tonight had been there would be easy banter between the brothers and while feeling drained they both would usually be feeling very positive but something tonight was different.

They pulled the Impala into the parking space in front of the motel room and the doors creaked as they got out and slammed them shut. Grabbing the bags of weapons they both headed for the door and Sam stumbled and bumped into Dean. "Watch where the fuck you're going little brother."

Sam sneered at him in return and watched as he opened the door following him into the hotel room. "So did you kill it?"

They both looked at their father and nodded at his question. "Good I got the information that we needed as well."

John Winchester took stock of his two sons standing there and he had the strangest feeling that something was off. He couldn't exactly put his finger on it but he just felt something was odd. "Are you both okay?"

They exchanged a heated glance and as always it was his oldest soldier who answered. "Yeah no thanks to my brother the loser."

John's eyes narrowed as he regarded Dean even more closely. "Did the two of you have a fight over something?"

And it was Sam who answered. "No he just sucks and I am sick of looking at his ugly face every damn day."

John looked between the two like they had lost their collective minds. "Well whatever is going on knock it off already."

And much to his surprise Sam stepped towards Dean. "Yeah Daddy's good little soldier better do what he says you wouldn't want to ever disappoint him now would you?"

And if that wasn't enough Sam snickered at the end of his little speech. John turned to him with disbelief written all over his face but it was far from over. "Yeah well Sammy you know all about disappointing Dad now don't you? In fact isn't that your specialty?"

Neither of them was surprised when Dean made a run at Sam and John thinking quickly stepped in between his two sons and got slammed in the middle as Sam did everything he could to get to Dean. And as quickly as that John's own temper made an appearance as he gave them both a hard shove to push them away from him and each other. "Both of you sit down now on those beds."

Neither boy moved, instead staying rooted to the spot breathing hard and glaring at each other. "I don't know what the hell has happened but the two of you have five seconds to do what you are told or so help me God I am gonna blister some asses."

While neither one of them wanted to move they both knew that their father wasn't bluffing and when they didn't move fast enough he helped them along with two swats for each of them. John paced the strip of floor in between the beds and simply couldn't believe what he had seen. In the past they may have had their differences but this was something he never thought he would see in his lifetime this obvious fury and disgust one towards the other. He looked long and hard at both of them and besides the obvious urge to bend somebody over and start smacking he was not sure where to even begin.

"Dean tell me what happened tonight." John was amazed to actually hear his younger son snort.

"Yeah big surprise you asked your number one soldier sir. Kiss ass."

Turning towards his youngest for just a moment he couldn't even believe what he had heard. "What did you just say?"

Now Sam looked at Dean and smiled. "I think you heard me Dad."

John wondered if maybe he had fallen asleep and this was some strange dream that he was having. Walking the two steps to where Sam sat smirking he looked him up and down. "Stand up smart guy."

Suddenly realizing that maybe he had pushed it to far he stood up. "Turn around."

John was pretty sure that Sam knew where this was headed and he did as he was told. Placing a large palm between his son's shoulder blades he pushed his face down onto the bed which had the unfortunate result of leaving Sam's behind in a perfect position to receive the six stinging swats that John placed there. "Now sit back down and shut it."

Breathing hard Sam did as he was told and then John heard Dean laughing. Turning slowly around he saw the smirky grin on his eldest sons face freeze when he noticed his father's stare. "You think that was funny Dean?"

And then to his amazement he saw the grin return. "Actually yeah I do I think he woulda turned out lots better if you had done more of that and less coddling."

For just a moment John thought that perhaps he had heard that wrong and he gave his eldest a chance to re-think it. "Dean would there be any chance that you might want to change what you just said in any way."

He watched as the boy really thought about it and then nodded and he exhaled relieved that even Dean knew how far over the line he was. "I also should have said works better on his bare ass and oh yeah… sir."

John took several deep breaths in an attempt to calm down and wondered if Dean was trying to provoke him. But even if that was the case he couldn't, no wouldn't allow his son to talk to him this way. He stepped to the bed and yanked Dean up by the arm and was thankful at least that he didn't fight him but even if he had John had made up his mind. "You think it works best on the bare then let's try that son."

He sat down on the bed and unbuttoned his eldest son's jeans and yanked him over his lap tugging down briefs as well. His raised his hand and looked up just to see Sam lean forward and smile as if this was a good movie.

He couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong here but he knew that both of his sons needed to know that they could trust him and count on him to be consistent even if it was about discipline. He shoved Dean's shirt out of the way with his other hand and prepared to deliver a harsh spanking and that's when he saw it. He dropped his raised hand and prodded the four long scratches on Dean's lower back.

"Aww come on Dad give it to him already." Looking into Sam's eyes suddenly all of it made sense.

He quickly yanked Dean's clothes back up and stood him up and stripped his shirt off of him. "Fuck."

He saw Sam shaking his head in disappointment. "Come on Dad why did you stop? We all know a little of your hand to his ass or even your belt will help his bad attitude tremendously."

While John was probing the scratches that covered Dean's chest he was unprepared for Sam to lunge at Dean and Dean to try and fight back.

He took his shoulder and gave Dean's chest a good shove, which propelled him to fall back on the bed. And grabbing Sammy again he landed four good smacks on his behind and then gave him a little shake. "Stop it right now."

He used a tone of voice that neither of his sons would dare disobey and he was glad to see Sam settle down. Turning again to Dean he all but growled. "Move an inch and I will make you extremely sorry."

He was glad to see him nod his head but even then the two of them continued to stare daggers at one another.

He stripped Sam's shirt off of him as he had done with Dean and was not surprised in the least at what he saw. There covering the torso of his youngest son were the same odd scratches that covered Dean. But to his dismay he noted that Sam actually had more. He reached down and started to unbutton and unzip Sam's jeans. "Hey cut that out Dad I have been able to dress and undress myself for a long damn time now so hands off you big perv."

He looked at both boys and slapping Sam's hands away continued to strip him of his clothes. "You have both been scratched and infected by a very dangerous demon and I need to get you into the shower now. Dean how do you feel son?"

Dean grimaced "Like I still wanna kick Sam's ass and kinda funny too."

John groaned knowing time was of the essence. He got Sam in the shower and was not happy to note that he was already fevered. He stood him against the cool tile and using soap and a wash cloth washed him down trying to quiet him while he scrubbed the wounds the best he could knowing that it hurt the boy. "Come on Dad that really hurts pleaaaassseee."

While the words cut him like a knife he continued until he thought the scratches were clean.

Running to get the first aid kit he came back and found Sam with eyes closed. "This is gonna hurt son."

He then put disinfectant on all of the scratches and felt sick at Sam's protests of pain. Getting him out of the shower he handed him a towel and helped him dry off and wrapped another towel around his waist. "I don't feel so good Dad."

John nodded "It's the poison it'll be better soon."

And he prayed that he was right. Taking a disposable pre-filled syringe from the first aid kit he turned back to his son. "This is epinephrine and it will keep you from having an anaphylactic reaction. Just turn around and lean against the wall."

If the situation hadn't been dire he would have laughed at the look on his son's face. "Can't I just take a pill or something who knows I might not even be allergic to this stuff and really I feel lots better. Come on Dad I hate shots."

John just shook his head and made a circle with his index finger. He wasn't surprised when Sam gave him his most pathetic look before obeying his command. Yanking his towel down a bit he jabbed the needle into the muscle and tried to ignore Sam's groan of protest but it was thankfully over quickly.

He could tell Sam was getting weaker by the moment and he carefully opened the bathroom door and helped him to bed worried that Dean was now lying down and being quiet which with his elder son was never good. He got Sam tucked in and covered up and turning pulled Dean to his feet. "C'mon Dad I don't wanna just let me hit Sammy one time."

He started stripping shoes and pants off and again was sick when he saw how many scratches Dean had as well. He gave his eldest son a little shake not to hurt him but to bring him back around. "Come on now Dean stay with me buddy."

It seemed to revive him a little and John once again managed to get this son into the shower and cleaned out his wounds as well. If Sammy had been pathetic about how much it hurt Dean had just been mad and actually slapped his hands away so many times that John threatened to smack his behind if he didn't stop and thankfully it worked. He disinfected them and listened to some pretty strong language but he was too worried to be upset.

He got another injection ready and Dean flat out refused and while John didn't want to have to punish him in his compromised state he was taking the injection and that was pretty much that. "Turn around and lets see it done please."

Again Dean shook his head. "No way Dad."

Just as John was thinking smacking was going to have to be done he saw Dean drop his head. "Please Dad?"

He put a hand on his shoulder and squeezed. "It'll be fast and not too bad I promise. Okay?"

Relieved he saw Dean nod his head and he went with it before Dean had a chance to rethink it. He was glad when other than cursing he didn't fight him on it at all. He got Dean tucked into his bed as well and going into the bathroom again he got doses of Tylenol for both of them knowing that the body aches weren't far away.

He sat down on Dean's bed having already given Sam his dose. "Dad I feel really rotten and Dude this sucks and then some and it's Sammy's damn fault and when I get better I am so gonna kick his skinny ass."

John just patted his leg and hoped and prayed that that was the venom talking. And he wondered if there was some reason that Dean blamed this on Sam. He pulled the straight backed chair from the kitchen and put it between the two beds watching both of them and realized that it would be a very long night.


John Winchester stood up and stretched glancing yet again at his two sleeping sons. They had both been asleep for most of the night and sunrise was just around the corner. He had given them both more Tylenol a few hours ago but Sammy's fever raged on. He had been incoherent several times during the night and John had actually resorted to a sponge bath to try and bring the fever down. And he had felt heartsick at Sam's chattering teeth and pleading for him to stop and still the damn fever persisted. But even in his compromised and delirious state he had been talking about taking Dean apart piece by piece.

John was hoping and praying that that side effect would go away as with as big and strong as these two were now they could actually hurt each other. Most parents had at one time or another refereed a fight between their children and John supposed that he was lucky that Dean and Sam while not always agreeing had never really come to fist to cuffs. It unsettled him greatly to see the way each had gone for the jugular of the other so easily last night and while he knew it was the venom he worried that there would be some long lasting emotional effects after all was said and done.

He knew that Dean was in a better physical state than Sam and that was probably due to having less venom in his system. John had a good idea what types of demons could have done this and he wanted to research it more after his sons were on the road to recovery again. But he was surprised somewhat because the thing that they had gone after and killed to his knowledge couldn't cause this type of thing. And he wished and not for the first time either that he had let the researching and interviewing people go last night and just gone with his boys.

He heard a soft moan and went to sit on the side of Dean's bed and was surprised to see his eyes open. He rubbed his arm and was relieved that his fever seemed to be lessening as well. "Hey buddy how are you feeling?"

Dean grimaced "Like crap dad what the hell?"

Now John smiled for the first time all night at his son's obvious return of spirit. "Well do you remember last night at all?"

He saw frustration on Dean's face. "No shit it isn't like I had amnesia Dad and by the way did you actually give me a shower and then stick a needle in my ass?"

John out and out grinned at that comment. "Yes as a matter of fact I did Dean but I didn't have a choice."

Now he saw his usually stoic son blush a deep red. "Yeah well don't expect me to thank you cause Dude that was just wrong."

He patted his arm again and had a thought. "So do you still want to kick Sammy's ass son?"

Dean nodded his head yes and John sighed. "Yeah."

John's brow furrowed with worry. "But just like normal now Dad."

John shook his head at Dean in warning. "Yeah well smart ass I ought to give you a swat for that."

He saw his son look chastised for just a moment. "For what telling the truth or wanting to smack him and hello sick here."

John squeezed his arm and went to get him something to drink thankful that he had at least put some provisions in the small motel fridge.

After he finished as much as his stomach could tolerate John helped him to the side of the bed and let him get his bearings for a few minutes. "Gee Dad I'm thinking if you got some father son activity planned I'll take a pass cause just sitting up and I am pretty much done for."

John patted his shoulder. "I thought since your fever seems to have broken maybe another shower and some more medicine on those scratches."

Dean groaned "Oh crap Dad no let me go back to bed really."

John shook his head. "You will feel better if you do son."

Dean looked to his father "Dad look at my face and tell me if you see an ounce of give a shit there."

John looked sternly at his son. "Either you can shower and I can wait out here if you need me or I can help you just like last night again."

Dean looked like neither idea was something he wanted to entertain. "By more medicine you mean the same crap from last night that feels like liquid fire? And I am so not doing anything again that involves needles either."

He was happy to tell his son that while it would involve the same medicine from last night the needle portion was over.

Listening to great protests he helped Dean into the bathroom and set out the disinfectant and the salve and then stepped outside the door and could not help but chuckling at the vocabulary of curse words that Dean was using as he showered and cleaned out the wounds again. When the shower stopped John handed clean jeans and underwear in to Dean and gave him a second to dress before going in and picking up the salve. He could see that just the shower alone had left Dean weak and he made quick work of putting the medication again on all the scratches and helping Dean back to bed.

Sitting once again on the side of the bed he noted with unhappiness the dark circles and the pale face and no matter how brave he was pretending to be John knew that Dean was hurting. He didn't want to press the issue but he still needed to put the previous night's events together. "So Dean what exactly happened last night?"

He saw his son's face go even paler. "Just a routine demon kill Dad that's all."

John noted that Dean said that with absolutely no conviction. "And it was the same demon that we thought it was?"

He saw Dean do the deer in headlights thing that was Sam's specialty and he didn't think he had ever even seen his elder son do it. "Uh yeah you know I'm really kinda tired could I just go back to sleep now?"

John tucked the blankets around him and nodded sitting on the bed until Dean was actually asleep and knowing with every fiber of his being that something had gone on last night that was being kept from him. Hearing a groan from the other bed he walked over to where Sammy slept restlessly.

"Please Dean I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I didn't mean for that to happen. Please don't tell."

He brushed a hand over Sam's warm forehead and pushed his sweaty bangs out of the way. Suddenly the boy's eyes snapped open. "Dad I feel really, really…"

He didn't finish the sentence as he sat up and promptly threw up over the side of the bed. John spent the next half an hour cleaning it up and then he got things ready to sponge Sam down again. He also poured a glass of ginger ale hoping that Sam would take some sips. All the while he cared for his youngest wiping down his chest and back and putting medication on the scratches which looked better already he wondered just what had happened with his boys.

He was glad to see that Sam opened his eyes and was focused. "Dad?"

He asked in a scratchy voice. "Yeah buddy I'm right here."

Sam's eyes scanned the room "Is Dean all right?"

John nodded and pointed to the other bed. "He is actually better than you are."

He helped the boy to a semi sitting position and held the ginger ale while Sam took several small sips. And then he saw tears fill his eyes. "I feel so awful."

John just nodded sympathetically. "I know Sammy boy soon you'll feel better. I promise."

He tucked the covers back around Sam and unable to help himself placed a small kiss on his forehead knowing that once he was well again such an action would result in a huge amount of eye rolling on his son's behalf but he figured what the hell.

Watching Sam's face relax for a few minutes he stood up and started to go into the bathroom and straighten things up a bit when he heard Sam call his name. "Dad?"

He turned and looked down at his son. "Did you ever make a mistake before?"

Now John knew beyond any doubt that something had happened other than what he had been told. "Lots of them why?"

Now he watched tears streak down the sides of Sam's face. "Did it turn out all right?"

John sat back down on the side of the bed and squeezed his hand. "It almost always does son but you don't need to worry about anything other than getting better. Understand me Junior?"

Sam nodded and closed his eyes and immediately was drawn back into the dream that he was having about fighting the last demon with Dean. He was again seeing the vision that he had that had eventually caused him to beg Dean to help him find and kill it. He was again begging Dean to just do it without any preparation or real homework. Tossing and turning he was dreaming of the conversation that they had had about never telling dad what they had done. The promise that they had made before going into the cave where the demon was. The promise to never tell dad that the demon they had killed hadn't been the one that they had been sent after at all.

John Winchester sat and watched Sam's restless slumber and saw him clearly fighting something in his sleep. He tossed and turned and John put a hand on the boy's chest to try and soothe him and felt the fever still present. He hoped that soon it would break and Sam would be better but he was worried both about the physical and mental condition of his youngest son. He seemed to be saying something over and over and John leaned in close enough to hear it. "Can't tell Dad, can't ever tell Dad."

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

The day was long with Dean sleeping and only waking to go to the bathroom and have a few sips of ginger ale but at least his fever stayed down and for that John Winchester was grateful. Sam's fever continued to rise and fall during the day and the boy lingered between sleep and being delusional. It was ten o'clock that night and John sat down on the side of his bed again with a wet washcloth to wipe off his face and was delighted to feel that the fever had apparently gone. He gave the boy some more sips of water and like he had with Dean earlier sat him on the side of the bed and then helped him into the shower. His scratches still looked worse than Dean's had but at least they seemed to be making minimal improvement.

Unlike with his older son he still had to help Sam in the shower as the ordeal seemed to have drained all of his strength and then some. Getting the wounds cleaned and new medication put on them and then getting him into some sweats was a major feat and John was relieved when it was all done. Both of his sons slept well that night and the sunrise dawned with John realizing that he had had no sleep in close to two days now. If he hadn't been so exhausted he would have chuckled about staying up all night with sick children who weren't children anymore.

Dean was awake and John was delighted to hear that he was hungry. He fed him some cereal bars and fruit that he had on hand and just let Sam sleep. Waiting while Dean showered again he looked at Sam who was sleeping peacefully and wondered what exactly had happened. He had already figured out what type of demon that they had fought and he also knew that Dean apparently hadn't been on board from the beginning but there was so much that he was missing about it all.

Dean lay back down and John did some more research and became more and more convinced that he was right. He knew that before he passed sentence on his two sons he needed some rest and all the facts and for them to be better. It was three o'clock in the afternoon when Dean finally woke up and stood up and stretched. "Hey pal how are you doing?"

He noted happily that his face wasn't as pale and the circles were lighter than before. "Better I guess. How's the brat?"

John smiled at Dean's description of Sam and he was ever so thankful that Dean seemed to harbor no ill will towards his brother again.

"Dude I don't mean to be disrespectful but you look kinda like the walking dead have you slept at all?"

John shook his head no. "Well I feel good enough to sit with Sam if you wanna get some shut eye."

John stood up and walked by Dean stopping to place a kiss on his forehead. "Aww man stop it that was just not cool."

He fought a laugh as he saw Dean try to wipe the kiss off. "Wake me if he needs anything or you either."

"Yes sir." John fell onto the bed where Dean had been sleeping and closing his eyes was instantly asleep.

Dean took a seat next to Sam on his bed and wondered how he was going to get through the conversation that he needed to have. As long as he lived he would never forget the absolute fury that he had felt towards Sam when the venom had kicked in. And while he wasn't sure if Sam would remember the things that he had said to him Dean would never forget. Some older brother he was supposed to take care of and protect and he had screwed up on both counts and then to add insult to injury he had said such horrible things to Sam. He fought tears at the thought and tried to get it back together.

"Dean, are you okay?" He looked down to see Sam's eyes open and he nodded.

"Yeah Francis I feel like shit but better than before. How bout you?"

Sam smiled and then grimaced. "Like there is a marching band in my head but I think I'm gonna live."

Dean nodded and swallowed a lump in his throat and cursed himself for being emotional. "Look I don't know what you remember but I said some things that night and I…."

Sam cut him off. "Dude we were both out of line some of the shit that I said to you was just awful."

Dean reached over and squeezed his arm. "Yeah but I'm the big brother here Sam I'm supposed to be taking care of you and the things that I said were just mean."

Sam couldn't believe it when he looked up and saw tears glistening in Dean's eyes and he carefully maneuvered himself to a sitting position. "I never wanted Dad to smack your ass before either man I just don't know what came over me…"

Sam stopped him with a soft shake of his head. "Hey look I can think of several times in my life when you stepped in and lied and got it instead of me just to save my ass so I know you didn't really mean that."

Dean still didn't look convinced. "Look big brother no matter what you said last night I know that you are the one person in my life who has always been there for me and dude even though you would never admit it I know that you love me."

Now Dean fixed him with a hard stare. "Yeah but if you ever tell anybody that I will kick your ass myself. Got it?"

Sam smiled and lay back down. "Got it and Dean?"

Dean looked at him as if he were going to say something horrific. "Don't you dare go chick flick here on me man."

Sam just smiled at his brother's obvious aversion to emotions. "Thanks."

Dean jumped to his feet and both brothers looked away willing the tears back. "Hey so go back to sleep Sammy you look like shit."

Sam closed his eyes for just a second and was sound asleep.

John Winchester came back to consciousness and realized that it was dark outside and that he had slept the day away. He looked to the bed where Sammy was and was pleased to see that he was sleeping peacefully and he looked like the fever hadn't returned. He put his feet on the floor and stepped on his eldest son who had apparently made a bed of sorts so that he could rest as well. And that spoke volumes to John about how sick he too had been. He shook his shoulder.

"Come on Dean wake up son."

Dean rolled onto his side and shook his head. "C'mon Dad I don't wanna go to school just let me sleep dude."

John couldn't resist the smile that crossed his face at Dean's confusion. "Get up now son no school just get back into your bed and go back to sleep."

He offered a hand, which Dean used to pull himself up with and then he went to crawl into bed and John stopped him. "Go ahead and take off your clothes Dean you'll be more comfortable that way."

Dean groaned and rolled his eyes and did as he was told and as he did John checked with an eagles eye to see how all of his scratches looked. He was delighted that the healing process seemed to be going well and that he didn't have to resort to threatening Dean to get a look. He waited until he was comfortable and covered him up and then walked to Sam's bed and put a hand on his forehead. He was pleased when it was cool and Sammy slapped it away and told him to "go 'way."

He sat at the little table for a very long time and tried to figure out what exactly was up with his sons. Finally he decided that the only way to find out if they had killed the demon that they had been sent after was to go and take a look to see for himself. So he quietly prepared and let himself out of the motel room hoping to put the pieces together so that he would know exactly what had happened that night.

It was hours later when an exhausted John Winchester returned to the motel room and quietly let himself in. He had just spent the last three hours hunting, killing and burning the demon that his sons swore to him that they had killed. He had also done some researching and found evidence that the demon that they had killed had been in the area also for some time. He knew that was what had happened but he still didn't know why they had done it and damn it he was tired of being lied to. But he wouldn't take any chances with either of their health and he would allow them to mend and then when they did he was going to make some points irrefutable with both of them and if it needed to be on their behinds then so be it.

He waited patiently two more days and knew that they had arrived back at good health. Dean was bouncing off the walls and had driven him to distraction and back again playing with the weapons. If they got any cleaner you would be able to use them as mirrors. And Sam had spent the majority of the last few days sleeping and using his laptop and currently he was playing computer games and he and Dean were fighting like nine year olds over whose turn it was. "Give it back to me damn it, your turn is over."

When Sam didn't immediately hand it over Dean reached over and smacked the back of his head and Sam went one way and the laptop went another and John looked to see his two sons rolling around like a couple of puppies. "Oh for God's sake."

As he pulled them apart he realized that while he hadn't planned on taking care of things now would be as good a time as any and then maybe they could all get on with their lives. He grabbed the back of the shirt of each of his sons and separated them. "Both of you sit down on that bed right now we need to discuss some things."

He didn't miss the jig is up look that was exchanged between them as they did as he told them and he retrieved the items that he needed and sat down himself.

Sam and Dean sat next to each other on the bed across from where John sat with hands on his knee's looking grim. Both of his sons were well acquainted with the look on his face and they even had a name for it. They called it dads "shit is about to hit the fan look" and just its presence made them both uneasy. Dean had a sick feeling that his father would not stop until one of them cracked and he vowed that it wouldn't be him.

"So we need to discuss the night that both of you were injured."

Both boys simply nodded not wanting to say anything quite yet. "So you both killed the demon that I sent you after that night and that's how you got all those venomous scratches right?"

Both brothers nodded again even more tentatively this time. "Yes sir."

Now John clasped his hands together. "And you're sure then?"

Sam actually could feel his palms getting damp and he rubbed them on his pants leg to dry them and didn't miss the settle down look Dean shot him. "Yeah we just said so didn't we?"

Dean answered before Sam cracked and spilled it all. Something flickered across John's face that neither of his sons' recognized nor liked. "So this is what it feels like then?"

His gaze fell hard on their puzzled expressions.

"What what feels like dad?" Again Dean was the one to find his voice.

John sighed. "To have you both sit right in front of me and lie to my face."

Dean could see Sammy's breathing become faster. "But we…"

Now his father turned to him and the look on his face made Dean's eyes widen. "Stop it Dean after you both were asleep last night I went out and killed the demon that I sent you after so save your breath."

It was at that point that both of them stopped breathing for a moment so it was an easy order to follow. "So right now I had better hear an explanation about what the hell the two of you thought you were doing disobeying an order and almost getting yourselves killed in the process."

Both boys could see that his face was tight with anger and he leaned forward with elbows on his knees. "And I might just suggest that you do it quickly because my patience is not long today."

He then fixed them both with a harsh look that actually caused them both to flinch but they remained silent. "Next time I have to ask it will be with my hand so I suggest someone starts talking got it?"

The brothers exchanged a look and again Dean is the one to answer. "Okay so the thing that we killed that night wasn't exactly the same one that you sent us to kill."

Now John actually swore. "Yeah well no shit Junior get to the point and tell me something that I don't already know. One…"

Sam's eyes widened. "Dude is he counting?"

"Two."

Dean became panicked knowing that having dad count was never a good thing.

"Three..." John said it in a menacing voice which worried them both as much as the actual counting did.

"Well, okay so the demon we killed was another demon."

Sam turned to look at Dean wondering if he had lost his mind. John having had more than enough stood up and closed the distance between the beds in an instant pulled Dean to standing tucked him under his arm and laid two blistering swats on his behind and sitting him back down did the same thing to Sam. Coming back to stand in front of his eldest he then bent down so that they were almost nose to nose.

"Last chance wise guy, tell me what happened and tell me now!" He all but roared the last word.

The brothers exchanged another look and Dean sighed. "Sammy had a vision and we had to go after that demon because in his vision it was going to kill someone."

Now John looked puzzled. "But isn't a vision something that could be of events in the future and who knows when? Why would both of you ignore everything else and rush in to kill this demon knowing nothing about it? What was so different with this vision?"

Again not a word was spoken and John could actually feel his heart pounding. "Did you both want me to spank an answer out of each of you?"

He noticed Sam hung his head and spoke softly. "We didn't have a choice, we couldn't take a chance, and we had to kill it that night."

John pressed needing a better answer than that and still confused as to why this appeared to be such a secret. "Why?"

He grabbed Dean by the arm again frustrated at still not knowing the answer and ready to do whatever it took to get them to the truth. He saw panic on Sam's face as he answered. "Because the person I saw the demon kill in my vision was you Dad."

Sam hung his head in an attempt to hide the tears that coursed down his face. "What?"

He realized that he still had a hold of Dean and released him arm allowing him to sit back down next to Sam. "It was you Dad in the vision and Sam and I didn't want to risk it. So we just rushed in and killed it."

John sat down on the other bed facing his sons and ran a hand over his face. While he still was unhappy with his sons at least he had some understanding of why they had made the choice that they had made. He sighed completely not wanting to proceed but knowing that he had to continue as he was a man of his word and it was important that his sons could count on that.

"Tell me about it Sammy."

He saw Dean nudge his brother's shoulder, and as always he was touched by Dean's obvious support and gentle affection towards his younger brother. And for a moment his vision was blurred by tears.

Still hearing nothing from his son he gently prodded. "Sam…"

And as soon as he lifted his tear filled eyes he started to talk about it. "It had you cornered and it lifted you off of your feet and broke your neck and then…"

He paused to get a hold of his emotions and John felt as if someone had reached in and squeezed his heart. "And then it ripped your throat out."

Sammy sobbed the last words out and Dean put an arm around him and John stood up and closed the distance and had him in his arms in no time at all. "Hush now Sammy it didn't happen I'm fine and I'm not going anywhere buddy."

He let his son sob and rubbed his back and just held him surprised that he didn't fight to be let go which meant that he needed it as much as John did. Finally he felt Sammy pull back and he looked into a tear stained face. "I love that you both put your lives on the line for me. I will never forget that but it still was the wrong choice. My life wouldn't be *worth* living if you both had died to save it."

Looking to Dean he saw realization dawn on him. "Aww crap you are still going to punish us aren't you?"

Now John felt genuine sadness. "Yes Dean I am you went in unprepared and ignored an order and almost got yourselves killed for your trouble. Add to that you have lied to me about this for days. And you both know how I feel about lying."

He gave Sammy another squeeze on his shoulders and hated the worried look on his face. "Now I know that I killed the demon that the two of you were sent after. I want to make sure what the one that you killed was."

The hunter stood up and lifted a heavy volume off of the bed where he had placed it and opened it to the pre-marked place. But it wasn't the book that had both of his sons staring open mouthed in amazement. It was the object under the book. "So tell me is this the demon that scratched you and that you ultimately killed?"

Neither one spoke. "Boys?"

Now Dean turned a nervous look in his direction. "Dad is that what I think it is?"

John turned around and looked at the object on the bed. "Why what do you think it is?"

Dean squirmed as if he didn't even want to say it.

Ignoring the distressed look exchanged by his sons he walked back to where they sat and held the book out in front of them. "So was this it?"

They both just kept staring at the object on the other bed and he again pushed the book closer. "Well is this the demon?"

He was not surprised when both of his sons said "yes sir" at the same time. "Umm Dad that other thing on the bed is that just to kinda scare us? Cause I'm thinking that concept works really good. Don't ya think Sam?" Sam still not lifting his eyes simply nodded.

John had known without any doubt that this would be the response to his choice in regards to their punishment. "No Dean it isn't just for show, I fully intend to make some points well felt with it."

Now they both groaned. "But Dad where did it even come from you haven't used that in like years I thought maybe you didn't even have it anymore."

Now John really wanted to smile but he didn't. "I'm sure you hoped that I had lost it but unfortunately for both of you I held onto it. And when I realized last night that you both had lied through your teeth to me since this happened I decided I needed to do something to make you understand how I feel about being lied to and I was pretty sure this would do it."

The brothers both sat in silence while their father put the book away in his bag and stared at the wooden paddle on the bed across from them. Dean turned and looked at Sam with a grimace of distaste evident on his face. "Dude we should have just let it kill him."

He watched as he brother nodded in agreement, neither one clearly wanting to have anything to do with the paddle or what their father had in mind for it. John finished what he was doing and walked to the other bed. "Now I love you both very much and do appreciate what you did for me. But you should have come back here and discussed this with me first. And the lying was a very bad choice which you both will be realizing soon enough."

He looked them both over carefully trying to determine their states of health. "Look we can wait a few days if you don't feel up to this today."

Sam looked at him as if he were insane. "Or we could just forget it Dad please we really did learn a very important lesson."

He shook his head much to both of his son's unhappiness. "No I am going to punish you both and I think you have been on the receiving end of this often enough to know that. Now again if you want we can just wait a few days."

Now he heard Dean snort. "Yeah like every second of the next two days isn't gonna suck loads cause we are waiting for that. I'll take mine now."

Dean said it in his usual tough guy voice but John knew him well enough to catch the undercurrent of fear and uncertainty there. While he was still looking at his older son he heard Sammy clear his throat. "Yeah Dad if it's gotta happen just… I don't wanna…I mean waiting…"

John just shook his head in agreement knowing exactly what Sam was trying to articulate as he himself felt the same way. Neither one of them knew it but it would be torture for John to have to wait as well.

Punishing his sons was very difficult for him but he did it because the kind of men they turned out to be mattered greatly to him. "Okay then Sam go on over to the dinner and get something to eat. Dean will be over later and then you can come back here."

He reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet and handed Sam some money, which he looked at as if he had never seen money before. "Go on now son."

With a squeeze on the shoulder he sent him out the door not missing the sad look he gave to his brother who he turned to now. "Well I guess it's just you and me now son."

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

Sam Winchester sat alone in a booth at the diner and looked down on the bowl of soup that he had ordered. Eating was the last thing that was on his mind right now but he knew that dad would ask him if he had eaten and not wanting to lie again he had ordered something. He looked down and realized that the soup bowl was round and kinda reminded him of… awww God why did Dad still have that damn thing anyway? He thought about how many years it had been since he had had it used on him and he realized that the last time had been something he wasn't likely to ever forget.

He had gone through a rebellious stage in his early teens and it was made that much worse by all the "sir, yes sir" shit that Dean seemed to do all the time. He had snuck out one night and snuck back in his window at dawn and dear old dad and that wooden relic had been waiting for him. Before that he had been swatted with it before once or twice maybe a swat or two but he had never actually been paddled with it and it was even worse than he had imagined. After the first few swats he was swearing Sainthood and begging for dad to stop. But one thing was for damn sure it was the last time he had ever snuck out his window.

Picking up the spoon he drug it through the soup and finally filled the utensil with the hot liquid and put it to his mouth and forced himself to swallow. He took everything he had not to gag. But he repeated the action three more times and took a swallow of his drink just so he could honestly tell his father that he had eaten. Pushing the bowl away from him he wondered how Dean was doing. He put his head in his hands and groaned pretty sure he knew exactly how his brother was doing and as soon as he was finished Sam himself was going to get a turn.


Dean sat on the bed and watched Sam's back as he went out the door and he felt something that he couldn't quite put his finger on and then it hit him. He tried to fight the feeling because he knew that no good would come of it but it was inescapable and getting stronger. He looked to his father's face and saw a very familiar resolve there and then looked over at that damn paddle and could not help the roll of his stomach. Nothing like his father to stop him from thinking that he was capable of making his own decisions now was there? He shifted his eyes once again to his fathers face.

"Well so just do it already I don't have all day."

John looked to Dean and could just see the anger pulsing beneath the surface. Despite all his best efforts otherwise Dean was a straight shooter and he was much easier to read than Sam ever was. If the boy was pissed one look was all it took to show it and that was apparently what the deal was now. He gave him a stern look and knew that he needed to take charge of the situation in order for it to be effective. "I say what happens now and if I want you to sit there all day Dean you will. Understand me?"

Instead of compliance he got an eye roll and a snort. "Whatever Dude."

He knew that his elder son was pushing and he just didn't know why. He suspected that maybe it was the appearance of the dreaded paddle but then again while Dean had never enjoyed being punished he usually accepted it with the same do whatever it takes mentality that he approached life with in general. Sam was the one who begged and pleaded and generally tried every thing he could to escape being punished right up until the last swat was delivered.

"So what has you so angry with me Dean?"

He watched as the boy actually bristled with indignation. "Now why would I be mad Dad after all we did just save your sorry ass and now you are gonna smack us both over it what would make me mad about that?"

John sighed suddenly knowing where this was headed. "Okay you know that I appreciate what you both did but you did it in entirely the wrong way and I will not allow you to put your lives on the line for me ever."

He didn't see any sign of Dean backing down. "Yeah well I was around and watched the night that my mother died and if you think I'm gonna do the same for you or watch Sammy do the same for you old man you are full of shit."

John flinched when he saw tears roll down his usually unemotional sons face but he knew damn good and well that Dean was also challenging him and that he could not permit. He felt guilty enough that they had gotten hurt trying to save him but he needed to address the situation now hard and fast. "Did you just call me old man Dean?"

Now Dean looked back defiance written on every feature. "What is the hearing going too?"

John took a deep breath and refused to be baited. "You have ten seconds to apologize son and if not something very unpleasant is going to happen."

John counted in his head and was happy when Dean spoke. "Okay so sorry that I was honest old man and oh yeah sir."

John sighed wishing that this could go some other way but knowing Dean he knew that unless he got the kids attention and fast it would become a contest of wills. He picked up the paddle and walked over to where Dean sat and looked down on him. "Stand up young man."

Now Dean smirked at him. "Yeah like I didn't see what happened the other day when you told Sam to do that. No chance Dad."

John was tiring of this game and knew that he needed to get Dean to a place where he was going to be listening to something other than his own anger. He grasped Deans chin in his hand and tipped the boys head up so that he was looking up into John's face. "You know son that I can make you do this but I don't want to have to. This will be so much worse if you fight me on it. Now I am telling you once more to stand up."

It took all John had not to let go with a relieved sigh when his stubborn son stood up. He squeezed his shoulder to give him some encouragement. "Good boy. Now turn around."

Dean still looked defiantly at his father and was breathing hard from anger but did as he had been told and like he had done with Sam he placed a palm between his shoulder blades and pushed his chest down on the bed. Not wanting to but knowing that he needed to he brought the paddle down hard four times and felt sick at the cracking sound it made.

He grabbed Dean by the shoulder and pulled him to standing again the only evidence of what had happened being his eyes being bright with unshed tears. "Now are you ready to talk about this without the anger and the smart ass or did you need some more encouragement?"

Dean looked as if he was trying to keep from saying what was on him mind and finally he spoke softly. "No sir, I'm ready to be civil now."

John just nodded and tossed the paddle back on the other bed and sat down next to his son. "Now do you want to tell me what about this has you so mad again? I heard you before when you said that you felt like you saved me but I was still going to punish you is that it?"

Now he saw Dean look down at his hands instead of his face when he answered the question. "Look Sammy was really torn up about this and you don't know what its like to watch him have one of these visions and…."

Suddenly John had a clue. "Son are you mad at me because you couldn't help your brother and you thought maybe I should have been in that position and not you?"

Dean sat without answering for a long time and then finally with tears rolling down his face he spoke. "The visions, the nightmares, the walking the floor all night and even Jess's death. I watched him go through all of those things trying to find a way to help him. Me Dad not you. So yeah maybe I'm just alittle pissed that you don't seem to understand how much these visions tear him apart and what it would be like for him if he ignored one and you died. How it would be for the both of us. Or what it would feel like to lose you."

John wrapped his son in a hug and held him tightly and he was surprised to feel his usually unemotional son sobbing. "Hey c'mon now I'm not dead or even going to die anytime soon. I'm sorry that all of this has fallen on you for so long and I am so proud of the way you have handled it all."

He held on alittle longer waiting for the tears to stop and soon Dean was scrubbing a hand over his face. "Man this bites I hate this crap."

John couldn't help a smile at his son's determination to get through life without any emotional involvement whatsoever. "It's part of being a human being son. And while I know you both worry about me I want you to try not to. And the next time something like this happens I want you to make the right choice."

Dean wiped the back of his hand across his eyes and nodded. "Okay I'll remember that and so I guess that means we're done here huh?"

Now John fought an honest grin. "Well I know that you would like us to be but unfortunately we haven't even really started."

Dean grimaced and swore under his breath and John stood up walking to the other bed and sat down setting the paddle next to his leg. "Okay so I know you remember what happens now."

Again he saw hesitation on his eldest son's face. "Do we have to do this?"

John just nodded and waited while Dean walked to his side and he pointed to the snap on his jeans. "No Dad -come on."

He stood his ground. "Yes Dean and now."

Dean groaned and unsnapped his jeans pushing them down his muscular legs. Taking his arm John pulled him across his lap and not even taking a moment to think about it he started swatting and within a very short time Dean was squirming and fighting the hard hand. "Settle down son unless you want it all with the paddle. Do you?"

Dean lifted his head and turned to look at his dad. "Are you serious Dude?"

John's answer was two very hard swats. "Okay, okay no sir."

John resumed the punishment of his eldest and soon he could actually feel the heat under his hand. And he continued the hard spanking and before long Dean was making small owww sounds and then finally crying and John paused.

"Now that was for disobeying an order and not coming to me with the fact that Sam had a vision and letting me help you both figure out what to do."

He picked up the paddle and yanked down the briefs. "And this is for lying to me every time I have asked for days and days."

He snapped the paddle down first on one side and then the other and tightened his grip on Dean's waist as he felt him struggle again in earnest and while he was strong he was in no position to get up.

But that was all that was on Dean's mind at the moment was to somehow get away from the wicked sting that his father was concentrating on his behind. He was sorry that he hadn't followed orders and that they had both been injured. And yes he was sorry that he had lied but it felt as if everything was simply on fire and he wanted it to stop. He felt his father tighten his grip and he knew that he had no choice but to accept what his father and the paddle were doing and that was as bad as the sting.

To be physically restrained and made to submit to a paddling was almost too much for him to bear and finally he just wept. Not only for the injury to his behind but for the injury to his pride as well. This was a child's punishment and he felt like a little boy again and it just hurt so badly and he felt so broken and he gave in and sobbed not knowing what else to do about it. The paddling stopped shortly after that and while he fought to regain control of his emotions they were pretty much a run away train at this point. He finally got a small hold on things and then his dad started rubbing his back and he was gone again.

He felt John pull his clothing up and even that hurt. He pushed off of his dads lap and at his urging sat down next to him and fought to regain control of his emotions. He hated to cry and be weak and vulnerable with all that he had but he also realized that his father had been right and he had screwed up in a big way and he was supposed to be watching over Sam and he had even failed at that. He didn't fight the gentle arm that his father put around him or the way he hugged him tightly and just held on. Finally he pulled away when he was left with only sniffles. "I'm sorry Dad I didn't mean to make such a mess of all of this."

John again put a finger under his eldest son's chin and looked into intense and tear filled green eyes. "Dean it was just some bad choices and we have already dealt with them. I heard what you said earlier about Sam and all he has been through. And you were right I haven't been there for any of it but that's going to change now. And I understand that you might not want to come to me about it."

Dean looked at him incredulous at what he had just said. "Well funny Dad cause it sure as hell didn't feel a minute ago like you understood. It felt like you were trying to see if you could light a freakin fire back there."

John shook his head as if in warning. "You earned that and I think that you know it. But I want you to understand that in the future I am going to try and be there more for both you and your brother."

Now he heard Dean swear. "Fuck."

He was puzzled now more than anything. "Excuse me?"

He watched as his son shook his head. "Great and then the next time we do something stupid or not by the book I suppose this is gonna happen again?"

Now John smiled suddenly understanding his comment. "Yeah I guess so or you could just try to follow orders and stay out of trouble."

He fought a smile when Dean rolled his eyes. "Yeah like that's ever gonna happen."

They sat in silence for a few more minutes with John holding onto Dean and Dean allowing him to do so. John could feel the boy finally start to fidget and he knew this signaled the end of Dean's allowing him to give him some small comfort. Dean stood up and immediately reached behind him and rubbed. "Damn it that paddle stings like hell."

John knew that Dean was attempting to protest again. "Yes Dean and you know how to avoid having that happen don't you?"

Dean again rolled his eyes but the complaining stopped.

"Now go in and splash some water on your face and then go across the street and send Sam over."

Dean looked at him with amazement. "You don't really expect me to sit down and eat something do you?"

John was again overcome with the urge to just swat this stubborn kid of his. "Did you *not * get the memo Junior about following orders? You don't want me to already have to show you the error of that again do you?"

He saw Dean take a step backward. "Ahhh no thanks dad I got it."

As he did as he was told and went out the door John wondered just how long it would be before Dean was back in the position again and for both their sakes he hoped it was at least a few days.


Sam resumed the action of pacing back and forth and wondered why he hadn't worn a trench in the dirt. He had grown tired of staring at his lunch and paid for it and come outside where he currently stood waiting for his brother to come out of the motel room. And the longer he waited the more frantic he became. I mean how long did it take for someone to get well…. talked to? First a lecture then a little bit of dad guilt and then the stern John Winchester look that he thought had them both shaking in their boots and then the smack, smack I forgive you and all done. So what the fuck was taking so long then?

He felt as bad about what was apparently happening to Dean as he did as what was about to happen to him. Dean hadn't wanted to handle it the way that they had. He had wanted to come to dad and tell him all of it. He had only done it the way they had because Sam had been so freaked about the vision and he had begged Dean and then when that hadn't worked he had threatened to do it himself and even gone so far as to tell Dean that if he got killed it would be on his brother's head. And now that dad and his old friend Mr. Paddle were having a go at Dean Sam was sick with guilt.

Finally after what seemed a lifetime Sam saw Dean crossing the street and just from the way he was walking so carefully and tightly Sam knew that Dad had given it to him and good. And he felt like someone had punched him in the gut. When his brother got even closer he could see that he must have been crying and that fact alone made Sam sick with worry. He stepped towards Dean with concern evident on his face and his brother held out a hand to stop him. "Don't even go there Francis. I can't live through another chick flick thing dude. Just leave it alone."

Sam stepped back and still continued to stare at his brother in sympathy. "He wants you to go back over now."

As bad as Sam felt about his brother's suffering he was way beyond feeling bad about his own he was in a panic. "No Dean that is just gonna really suck, I don't want to. How can he do this I mean we aren't like six any more?"

Dean shook his head "Unfortunately he can do it really well and you had better go before it gets worse."

Dean looked with panic to Sam when his cell phone rang. "No sir he is headed that way right now."

He gave Sam and another look and Sam rolled his eyes and headed in that direction. Getting to the door of the room Sam took a big breath and tried to tell himself that it couldn't be *that* bad could it? But thinking about the look on Dean's face and his other experiences with the paddle he swallowed hard. "Just crap." Squaring his shoulders he went into the room.

"Well so glad that you could drop by Sam."

Sam looked at his feet. "Yeah well that makes one of us Dad."

John shook his head. "You are in enough trouble here young man don't make it worse. Sit down while that's still a possibility."

Completely not liking that Sam sat down on the bed. John spent the next few minutes lecturing his youngest son about the importance of following orders. He then went into a discussion about not knowing the enemy that you face and how it could easily get you killed. Sam listened and made the appropriate "yes sirs" along the way but he couldn't stop thinking about that damn paddle.

"Now I want to talk a little bit about the vision that you had of me dying."

Sam could feel his temper rising. "I told you already and I don't want to talk about it anymore."

John sat down next to his son and put an arm around his broad shoulders. "I know Sammy but I think you need to realize that every vision that you have isn't necessarily going to come true. And while I appreciate that you were scared about my life you need to understand that you put you own life on the line to protect me and that isn't gonna cut it with me."

Now Sam protested "But Dad…"

John held the hard line and shook his head. "Not ever Samuel."

Sam dropped his head and realized that if he hadn't forced the issue with Dean they would have come back and talked to dad and that they would have made completely different choices about everything and neither one would have gotten hurt. "Okay so I know I should have handled this one better and I'm sorry. I just freaked."

John squeezed his shoulder and nodded. "I know son but that is a good place for me to start."

Now Sam's eyes widened and he squeaked the word out. "Start?"

"I'm sorry son but you need to understand that orders are not to be broken. Now did Dean go along with this because it doesn't seem likely to me that he would?"

Looking into his father's face Sam thought that for sure he was screwed now but given the circumstances he was afraid to lie. "No sir he didn't want to do it the way I did and we actually fought about it but finally he gave in."

John raised an eyebrow and tipped Sam's chin up so that they were eye to eye. "You should have listened to your brother and you could have saved both yourselves a paddling."

Sam started to plead his case and his father just shook his head. "Stand up and step over here."

Sam did as he was told and felt sick when he father pointed to his jeans. "Take them down."

He felt his heart rate pick up and with as hard as his dad could smack he shook his head and couldn't stop the pleading. "Please Dad I mean come on just let me keep them up."

He could tell by the stubborn shake of his father's head that it was no use. And he unsnapped and pushed them down his long legs feeling sick. He absolutely hated being punished this way and he suddenly was wondering why he had ever thought convincing Dean and then disregarding what they had been told had seemed like a good idea at all.

John reached out and grabbed his wrist and yanked him across his knees into the position that Sam detested and it was as awful as he remembered it to be. At least his father had the majority of his chest resting on the bed and at least that was somewhat comfortable. But any feeling he had of comfort vanished the moment John reached down and yanked briefs to mid thigh. "Noooooo Dad please."

He felt a large hand resting for a moment on his thigh and if anything that panicked him even more. "No Sam you have earned this and you are going to get the full measure. This is for making the bad choice about disregarding my orders and not coming to me. The next one with the paddle will be for all the lying."

"The next one…? But Dad."

The only response he got was the fierce sting of his fathers hand on bare and vulnerable skin. Sam had forgotten how methodical his father was during a spanking. He kept the swats hard and steady and left no area untouched and within a very short time he was writhing trying to avoid the hand that was correcting him.

And with as much as he fought both the position and the hand soon he was unable to deny the fire that was being set and the pain of knowing he deserved it. Pushing his face down into the motel bedspread he gave in and wept and while it did nothing for the unbearable sting of his father's large hand it eased the pain in his chest a bit. And finally when he was sobbing inconsolably the stinging swats stopped.

He felt a soft hand rubbing circles on his lower back and apparently his father was giving him a chance to catch his breath. No matter how hard he tried he couldn't seem to stop crying and he heard his father sigh. "This just needs to be finished and frankly son I want you to remember this for a while."

He felt his father reach over and the next thing that he felt was the smooth wood of the paddle resting on his already flaming behind. "I'm sorry Sammy but this needs to be done. This is a lesson that you need to learn. Lying will never be accepted."

Before he had a chance to really think about it and long before he was ready the paddle snapped down on his behind and Sam arched his back and reached back trying to stop the assault. But his father captured his hand and grasped him tighter and continued to use the paddle to punish his son and teach him a hard lesson. Sam struggled against the swats and his father to no avail. Delivering some particularly hard swats on his legs John steeled his heart to the boy's obvious discomfort and continued. Sam sobbed never remembering a time when he had been punished this hard. And it might have been fifteen swats or it might have been a hundred because all he could do was feel and cry until finally it stopped.

He put his head down on the bed and sobbed like his heart was broken. He felt so raw and vulnerable and he just hurt. John just gave him a few minutes again rubbing his lower back and feeling terrible that he had had to be so harsh. Finally he could sense Sam's crying was not as hard as it had been at first and he pulled clothing back up not surprised by more tears. Giving his son even more time to compose himself he finally helped him to sit down next to him on the bed. And if he hadn't already felt like an absolute bastard the pathetic and hurt look Sam gave him would have done it for sure. But still having his son's best interest at heart he had to be positive about the situation.

"Do you understand Sam why that happened?" Tears spilled down his face and he refused to look his father in the eyes.

"I mean think about it why would I suddenly after all these years use the paddle? I'll bet you even forgot that I had it now didn't you?"

John could see that he had peaked Sam's interest with the question and at least the boy was looking at him again. "Yeah as a matter of fact I did. So why then?"

John gave him a measured stare. "What did you and Dean do this time that was different from any other time you have gotten into trouble with me?"

Sam knew the answer right away. "It was the lying wasn't it?"

John wrapped an arm around his son and pulled him close in an affectionate manner. "That's right Sammy you had to know that I won't ever allow you or Dean to be anything less than truthful with me. I will listen to anything that you say and try to help you work through it but to just out and out lie is not an option. Ever. I need to be able to trust you and you both need to be able to trust my word."

He watched as Sam's face crumbled again and he pulled him to his chest and rubbed a hand through the shaggy hair.

"Hey buddy it's all over now and I forgive you. I can even understand why you thought that was the only choice that you had. To a point. I love you and your brother very much. You know that right?"

For some reason this just increased the crying and John waited the emotional storm out again. "So are we good here son? No more lying and no more disregarding my orders about things right?"

He was relieved when Sam mumbled "yes sir" under his breath. He continued to sit next to the boy and rub his back until finally Sam dried his eyes and stood up.

"Now I want you to lie back down for a little while. You have been pretty ill and I know this whole thing has you worn out."

Sam looked as if he wanted to protest but knew better. "I'll go and get Dean and he can come with me while I run some errands. Okay?"

John was ever so glad when Sam just nodded and crawled onto his bed on his stomach. Sitting down at his hip John continued to rub the boys back until he was actually asleep. Getting up and grabbing his jacket he gently opened the door and let himself out.

He could see Dean leaning against the railing on the front porch of the diner and he almost smiled knowing that his elder son wouldn't be sitting unless he had to for at least a little while longer. "So Dean have you been standing here the whole time? I thought that I told you to eat something."

Now he saw his son blush. "Yes sir I did. I just ate really fast cause my ass was still recovering from the 'talk'."

John fought a grin at his oldest son's refusal to say the word spanking. "Is Sam all right Dad?"

John wondered if he had *ever* punished Sam when Dean hadn't ask him that question. "He's about the same as you I imagine. And just for the record he didn't like the paddle anymore than you did."

Now he did chuckle at the look of horror on Dean's face. "Dad please not in public."

Now John couldn't resist. "It wasn't like I said anything about your getting spanked."

The older hunter thought for a moment that his son might just have some sort of seizure. "Dude that is just mean. Honestly it hurts."

Suddenly unable to help himself John continued. "As much as the paddle did Dean?"

He wasn't surprised when Dean shook his head. "Man I just wonder if Sammy and I are too old to be adopted. There has to be someone out there who would appreciate us."

Grinning from ear to ear John put a gentle hand on his shoulder. "You are both far too old and I appreciate you. Now get in the car and let's go and pick some stuff up. Your brother is sleeping."

Doing as he was told Dean walked across the street and to his father's vehicle. John got serious when he watched Dean sit down and wince. "Your okay now right?"

Dean rolled his eyes. "Oh God this chick flick thing is even worse than the comedy routine. I'm just freakin peachy now can we just go back to pretending that I'm an adult at least."

John just smiled and drove.

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