Title: First Accident
By: nancy
Pairing: Sam/Dean
Rating: R
Series: 1) First Tooth 2) First Six Months, 3) First Word, 4) First Steps
Warnings: INCEST, angst, violence, series spoilers, language, Future!fic, MPREG
Summary: Sam and John get into a car accident.

Dean hit the brakes, screeching to a halt in the parking spot, barely avoiding the cars in the other spots. He jumped out of the car and ran flat out to the ER, heart pounding from panic, not exertion. The cops had called ten minutes ago and he’d broken every speeding law to get to the hospital as fast as he could. Skidding to a halt at the reception desk, he demanded, “Sam and John Winchester? The cops called, said they were in a car accident!”


Dean’s head jerked around at Sam’s call and he flinched on seeing his brother in a neck brace, his arm strapped to his body. Running over to him, Dean asked, “Where’s John? What the hell happened?”

Looking more shaken than Dean had seen in a long time, Sam stuttered, “Th-they won’t tell me anything. He’s…”

“Mr. Winchester! Please, I told you to stay lying down,” a young man exclaimed, rushing over to them. “You really shouldn’t be on your feet!”

Dean glared at him and demanded, “Where’s our son? What’s going on with him?”

Taken aback, the young man gaped at him and then answered, “The doctors are still looking him over.”

Looming over him, Dean stated, “I don’t hear my son crying, which means they’ve taken him somewhere. Where is he? I want to see him right now. No bullshit, or I start making a lot of noise.”

With a nervous swallow, the nurse said, “He’s ah, he’s being examined for possible internal injuries. When they’re that young, they can’t really say what’s wrong and…”

“You bring us to him right now,” Dean ordered, low and dangerous.

Paling, the nurse nodded and started walking.

Dean put an arm around Sam’s waist for support as they followed across the loud, busy ER. Halfway there, he heard John’s distinctive wail and stiffened in anger. Sam’s breath hitched, but neither spoke until they were able to see John being looked over by multiple medical personnel. There was a vivid bruise on the toddler’s cheek and a cut over his eye, but Dean couldn’t see any other visible injuries.

“Dr. Wendell? These are the parents,” the nurse announced.

An older man in his fifties with sure-seeming hands and a steady blue gaze briefly looked them over before he said, “One of them looks like he needs to be lying down, Justin.”

Sam spoke up, “I just want to know how John is.”

John heard him and looked over. Still crying, his arms reached out and he sobbed, “Da! Da!”

Dean’s heart stabbed with pain as he stayed where he was, waiting while Dr. Wendell motioned one of his younger colleagues to take his place and walked over to them.

“At first glance, your son seems fine. He’s responding to stimuli and fully aware of his surroundings, not to mention able to call for the two of you, so there likely isn’t any head trauma,” Dr. Wendell reported. “We’re about to do further testing to make sure there’s nothing wrong internally. How old is he?”

“Sixteen months,” Dean answered.

“Any health problems or allergies?”

Sam and Dean answered simultaneously, “No.”

Dr. Wendell said, “Good. Look, I know this is difficult, but you need to let us do our job and finish checking John out. And as for you, lie down before you fall down, young man. Come on, let me take a look at you.”

“I’d rather you look over our son,” Sam replied, frowning anxiously.

But now that Dean knew John would be okay, he turned his attention to Sam and ordered, “Move it, Sammy. Let the nice doctor check you over.”

Sam glared at him, but allowed them to escort him to the exam bed in the next screening area. It took some effort to get him actually sitting on it, but Dean and Dr. Wendell managed after a few minutes of maneuvering.

“You know, I love old cars,” Dr. Wendell said, slowly removing the bandage around Sam’s arm and torso. “Pure, solid metal that can withstand a hell of a lot. I understand from the paramedics that it’s likely the car saved both of you from serious injury.”

Dean felt sick. “Jesus, Sam. What happened?”

Sam hissed as Dr. Wendell carefully probed his stomach area and then answered, “I don’t know. Some kind of truck just blew through the traffic light. All I remember is a flash of blue in my peripheral vision and then the crash.”

“It was a drunk driver,” someone stated from behind.

Dean turned, not surprised to find Neil and Jake standing nearby.

“The suspect hit your car, Sam, you spun and then crashed into another vehicle,” the Sheriff explained. “You’re very lucky, both you and John.”

Wide-eyed and looking sick, Sam asked, “What about the people we hit?”

“Couple broken bones, whiplash, some lacerations. You’re all very lucky. It could’ve been a lot worse for everyone involved,” Jake observed.

Dean snarled, “I bet the bastard who caused it all doesn’t have a scratch on him.”

Neil grimaced, but nodded. “Drunk’s luck, unfortunately. If you’re up to it, we’d like to get your statement now and then you can just rest up.”

Sam nodded, even as he winced at Dr. Wendell slowly lifting his arm into the air. “Sure. Well, like I said, I don’t remember much of anything. The light was green, so I really didn’t even slow down. I think I was doing around twenty-five or thirty since we’d just left the school zone. I saw a flash of blue out of my peripheral vision and then the crash. Next I know, I’m strapped to a gurney and being lifted into an ambulance. That’s pretty much it. I’m sorry.”

But the cops were both nodding and Neil told him, “Don’t worry about it. We’ve got eyewitnesses and a traffic cam that caught most of it. There’s no way this guy walks. You take it easy for a few days, don’t worry about coming in until the doctor says you’re okay to do so.”

Dean bit back the urge to ask for five minutes alone with the bastard who’d caused the accident. Who the fuck gets drunk at two in the God damned afternoon? Near a school zone, no less.

Sam nodded and said gratefully, “Thanks, Neil.”

The two men left after muted goodbyes and Dean turned his full attention back to his brother, trying to let his anger go. There wasn’t anything he could do about it anyhow.

Dr. Wendell spoke up with, “Well, it looks like you have three broken ribs, a cracked collarbone, and likely neck trauma, but I don’t see any signs of internal injuries. All things considered, you’re in good shape. Too bad those old beauties don’t come with airbags; you probably wouldn’t have even gotten a scratch if they were. I’m going to send you for a CAT scan and MRI just to see how much neck damage we’re talking about and to make sure you don’t have any head trauma, since you mentioned blacking out. Stay put this time. I’ll send Justin over to patch you up and take you for testing.”

Once Dr. Wendell was gone, Dean took Sam’s hand and held tight, the knowledge that his family was okay giving him the shakes with the lowering of his adrenaline. Kissing the back of his brother’s hand, he said unevenly, “Shit, Sam, I could’ve lost you both.”

Sam looked as unsteady as Dean felt. “I was never so scared, Dean. I could hear John screaming as they put me in the ambulance, but they had me strapped down. I couldn’t get to him. He’s got to be so frightened right now.”

Brushing his hand lightly over Sam’s head, Dean promised, “You’re both fine. You’ll be hurting for a while, but you’ll both be good as new in no time. As soon as you’re set here, I’ll track him down and make sure he’s not alone.”

“Would you do that now?” Sam asked.

Dean cupped Sam’s face and nodded. “Sure. Anything you want, Sammy, you just name it.”

In a small voice, Sam said, “I want this not to have happened.”

Dean wanted the exact same thing. Sighing, he kissed Sam gently on the mouth and then said, “I’ll go find John now. You do what the docs say, all right?”

Sam nodded and Dean went in search of their son. A nurse found him on the walk across the ER and held out a clipboard of paperwork with an apologetic, “I’m afraid we need to get all this information for your partner and son, Mr. Winchester.”

“No problem. Just point me in my son’s direction and I’ll fill it out while I’m waiting,” Dean answered with a kind of feral cheerfulness. “And don’t even think about not telling me where he is, either.”

Her smile thinned, but she acquiesced, “Of course not, Mr. Winchester. If you’ll follow me?”

The next two hours were spent trying to remember the pertinent parts of Sam’s medical history while waiting for John to finish with his tests. John’s information was just automatically filled out, all of it memorized, something he wished he could do with Sam’s. Then again, they didn’t need it so much these days, what with hunters coming to them for guidance instead of taking actual jobs. Life was a lot simpler and safer than when they’d been on the road.

Not safe enough, he thought darkly.

Finally, a nurse deposited John in his arms. There were stitches on the cut over his eye, but nothing else wrong that he could see. John instantly burrowed against him, face to Dean’s throat and fisting Dean’s jacket tight in his little hands. Dean put a hand over the small back, holding light, but firm.

A new doctor arrived and told him, “Your son is fine, Mr. Winchester. He’ll likely be sore and cranky for the next few days, but just follow the prescription for the baby aspirin, give him some warm baths with Epsom salts, and that should help.”

Dean sighed in bone-deep relief. “Thank God. And thank you, Doctor.”

“My pleasure,” the man replied with a smile, walking away.

When he returned to the ER area, Sam lay in the same bed, but looked a lot more put together. The neck brace was an official one and his arm was again strapped to his torso, but with ace bandages. His ribs were wrapped and taped in addition to all of that. The black of his mangled tattoo stood out in stark relief against his skin and all the bandages, the older scars also plain to see.

Sam gave a wan smile, his eyes locking onto John as asked softly, “How is he?”

“Fine,” Dean answered, sitting on the edge of the exam bed. He rested a hand on Sam’s thigh and continued, “Doc says he’ll probably be sore, but no real problems.”

Breathing a long, slow sigh of relief, Sam rubbed his free hand lightly over John’s back and said, “They want to keep me overnight for observation. I was out for at least ten minutes, according to the paramedics.”

Dean winced and replied, “Sorry, Sammy. When do you get a room?”

Sam answered, “Any time now.”

An orderly came over just then and said, “Mr. Winchester? I’m here to move you to a room.”

Sam groaned as the bigger man helped him off the exam bed. Once he was settled in the wheelchair, he said, “You should go home, Dean. Get John back into familiar surroundings so he isn’t scared anymore.”

Torn, Dean said, “But you shouldn’t be alone.”

“I’ll be fine,” Sam insisted. “Take care of John. Besides, they probably wouldn’t let you stay anyhow.”

The orderly nodded agreement as he explained, “Visiting hours are ten to eight every day, but you can’t stay overnight unless it’s special circumstances. Which a concussion isn’t.”

Dean scowled, but said, “Okay. I’ll bring him home, but we’ll be back here first thing in the morning to get you.”

Sam smiled tiredly. “I wouldn’t expect anything else. Night, Dean.”

Dean leaned down and kissed him, first on the mouth and then the temple, whispering at his ear, “Love you, Sammy.”

Sam’s smile was a little brighter as the orderly wheeled him away.

Dean watched them go and then sighed, but headed for the exit. He was glad they had a car seat in each car, or he’d’ve had to buy a hideously expensive one at the hospital. Once he got to the car and started putting John in it, the toddler started screaming and trying to get out of it. Dean held him down firmly and buckled him in, even as he muttered, “I hear ya, LJ, I really do, but you can’t never ride in a car again. I’m sorry, buddy, but we’ll be home in no time and then you can get some real sleep.”

The ride home made Dean wish he had earplugs, but he steeled himself to ignore John as best he could. He knew that nothing would fix the fear except rides in a car without getting into another accident. Thankfully, John cried himself into an exhausted sleep before they got home about twenty-five minutes later. Dean wasn’t looking forward to the trips back and forth the next day, but then thought maybe they could get someone to look after him while Dean went to pick up Sam.

Dean parked and then swiftly unbuckled John from the car seat, cradling him to his chest. He went inside and immediately walked upstairs to put John to sleep. He figured there wouldn’t be a lot of sleep to be had, so it was best to get whatever possible when possible. John didn’t wake when Dean set him gently into the crib, thankfully. He stood there for several minutes just watching the slow rise and fall of his son’s chest.

Turning from the soothing sight, Dean left the room and pulled out his cell as he headed for his own bedroom. He called Amanda first and she promised to swing by the next day to check on John, but allowed that he was probably fine if the hospital hadn’t found anything. Ellen was next, but it took Dean a few minutes to make his fingers dial her number, sure that she would explode.

“Dean? What’s up?” she answered, sounding like she was smiling.

Dean ran a shaky hand through his hair and said, “Sam and John were in a car accident today. I just got back from the hospital.”

Ellen gasped, “Oh God!”

“No, they’re fine,” he assured hastily. “They’re both fine, but they’re keeping Sam overnight for observation because he blacked out. John’s got a cut and some bruises, but he’s fine. Sleeping in his crib right now, matter of fact.”

She let out a shaky-sounding breath and then asked, “What about Sam? And what happened?”

“Broken ribs, broken collarbone, concussion, neck trauma,” Dean listed. “And a fucking drunk driver is what happened.”

“Jesus. How are you?” Ellen asked finally.

Dean shrugged as he answered, “I’m fine. I wasn’t even in the car.”

“I wasn’t asking about your body, Dean.”

“Oh. Uh, I’m sure I’ll freak out sometime soon, but so far okay.”

“Well, if you hang on until tomorrow, I’ll be there and you can freak out as much as you want.”

Stunned by the offer, Dean protested, “Ellen, you don’t need to do that! You’ve got the Roadhouse and…”

“The roadhouse is a building. You’re family. I’ll be there in the afternoon.”

Stated, not suggested, so Dean smiled and said, “Thanks. Oh, and Amanda’s going to stop by. Want me to pass along a message?”

“Mind your own damn business, how’s that for a message?” Ellen retorted, exasperated.

Dean chuckled and then got serious again. “Thanks again, Ellen. I really appreciate it.”

“It’s no bother,” Ellen said gruffly and then just hung up.

Shaking his head, Dean went to call Bobby next. That went about as good as it had with Ellen and they got another offer to come out. Dean told him, “We’d love to have you, Bobby, but don’t stress about it. Amanda’ll be here in the morning and Ellen will be here in the afternoon. If you want to make it out here in a couple of days, that’s cool.”

“Well, let me see what car I got that’ll make it out there and call ya back,” Bobby temporized. “Maybe I’ll catch a flight out instead.”

Surprised, Dean asked, “You want to fly out?”

Bobby retorted, “What’s want got to do with it?”

Dean rubbed at his eyes and said, “Well like I told you, don’t kill yourself trying to get here.”

“You take care of Sam and John and let me worry about how I get there,” Bobby stated.

Stretching out on the bed, Dean agreed, “Sure thing.”

“Get some rest, Dean. It’s probably going to be a rough couplea days.”

“I’ll try. See ya, Bobby.”

“Bye, Dean.”

One more call, he told himself, even though Missouri was the last person on the world he wanted to call. If she offered to stay with them, too, God knew where everyone would sleep. Maybe Bobby could pick up an air mattress. Although then Ellen would probably have a fit at him saying she could hack sleeping on the floor.

His phone rang before he could dial, though, and Dean jumped in fright. He glared at the ID, which read Missouri, and answered it tiredly, “Hey, Missouri.”

“Dean, how are you? What’s going on?” Missouri demanded.

So he repeated everything he’d already gone over with Bobby and Ellen.

She didn’t interrupt, instead waiting until he was done to say, “Well, thank God they’re both all right. Now, you get some sleep before Little John wakes up. You sound about out on your feet.”

Dean nodded and said, “Thanks, Missouri.”

“You call if you need anything. I’d be on the first flight out, but it sounds like you got all the help you can handle right now.”

“We really do,” Dean agreed.

“Well like I said, you get some sleep now. G’night, Dean.”

“Night, Missouri.”

He fell asleep still holding the phone in his hand.

*  *  *  *

John looked much the worse for wear after having a night for bruises to settle in. They showed vividly against the otherwise pale skin, an X across the small body from the car seat straps. Dean gave him a bath first thing, making the water a little warmer than usual and putting in some Epsom salts. John fussed the whole time, though he didn’t move around much, giving Dean the most pitiful, big-eyed expression it had even been his misfortune to see.

He sighed and muttered, “You definitely get that from Sam.”

It was a battle to get John to eat anything, but eventually there was more food in him, than on the highchair. That done, Dean set about giving him the baby aspirin in drop form, fervently thanking the makers so there weren’t pills to deal with. John made a good impression of a leech after that, hanging tight to Dean as he went about getting ready for the day. The doorbell rang just as he buttoned up his jeans one-handed and he kissed John’s cheek. “You are definitely going to scream bloody murder when I go to pick up Sam, aren’t you?”

He walked downstairs and opened the door to find Amanda waiting. Offering a brief smile, he exclaimed, “Man, am I glad to see you!”

John hid his face against Dean’s shoulder.

Amanda smiled and said, “Doesn’t look like LJ is, though.”

Dean stepped back to let her in, saying, “He’s been clingy all morning. Not that I blame him.”

“How’s he been otherwise?” Amanda questioned.

“Moving slow,” Dean admitted. “He hasn’t crawled anywhere, either.”

She held out her hands and Dean had to literally pry John’s hands from his t-shirt. Naturally, this started a whimpering protest, though it wasn’t nearly at the level as the previous day. They moved to the kitchen table and Amanda set John down there to examine him. Dean watched closely, holding John’s hand with his fingers and using his other hand to brush comfortingly over his son’s head, trying not to get in Amanda’s way.

Amanda finished with a light tickle in John’s belly, though it failed to make the serious toddler smile. “He’s fine, Dean. Keep an eye out for any dizziness or vomiting, just in case, but I think he’ll be right as rain in a few days. Kids bounce back amazingly fast.”

Remembering all the scrapes and broken bones Sam had gone through, Dean half-smiled and said, “Yeah, I know. Still good to get a verdict from someone we trust.”

She gave him a hug and replied, “That means a lot to me. Unfortunately, I do need to get going to the office. Busy day today. Call me if you need anything or have any questions. I’ll have Lila get me right away.”

Scooping John into his arms, Dean walked her to the door. “Thanks again, Amanda.”

“No problem,” she said, cupping John’s head before winking at Dean and leaving.

Dean pressed his lips to John’s temple and then mused, “I wonder if Francine’s available to babysit?”

It turned out that Francine was available to babysit. As soon as Dean told her what happened, she promised to be there in five minutes with the girls. She was showed up five minutes later on the dot, Beth and Ginny in tow. The girls gave him big eyes and worried looks before going in to play in the living room.

He smiled at Francine and greeted, “I really appreciate this.”

“Not a problem,” she answered firmly. “That’s what friends are for.”

They walked into the living room where he warned, “He’s probably going to cry as soon as I give him to you. I don’t think we’ll be longer than a couple of hours, but there’s paperwork and all that. Ellen’s not supposed to arrive until this afternoon, but she may show up early.”

“You take as much time as you need. Now, give me that gorgeous boy of yours and go get Sam,” she ordered, smiling.

Dean kissed John’s head and said, “I’ll be back soon, buddy. You hang in there.”

As expected, Dean had to carefully pry John’s fingers from his shirt to hand him over to Francine, which prompted the toddler to start crying loudly. He brushed a hand over his son’s soft hair and resolutely turned to grab his jacket, the bag he’d packed with Sam’s clothes, and keys, shutting the door on John’s cries. He climbed into the Nova and said to the car, “No offense, but I’m glad you’re a piece of shit that Sam doesn’t like to drive.”

Because if Sam had been driving the Nova, half-finished piece of junk that it was, God only knew how badly hurt he and John would have been. It just about killed Dean to imagine what kind of damage had been done to the Impala in the crash so he’d been doing his best not to even think about it. He’d rebuilt her before, though, and would do so again. More importantly, he had to focus on his family and so pushed thoughts of his damaged car out of his mind altogether.

Parking was a bitch, but he found a spot near the entrance by virtue of stalking everyone who left the building. He didn’t want Sam to have to walk any further than necessary. He strode into the main entrance and stopped at admissions, giving the young girl there, probably in her early twenties, his most charming smile as he greeted, “Hi there. I’m here to pick up Sam Winchester. He’s supposed to be discharged this morning.”

Visibly melting, she answered, “Sure. Um, just, I need to look up the information.”

Dean waited impatiently while she typed on her computer and forms printed out.

She pushed the paperwork to him and said, “Have Mr. Winchester fill these out and you can drop them off on your way out.”

Taking the paper, he gave her another smile and asked, “Room number?”

“Oh! Sorry, he’s in 413,” she replied, blushing.

Dean nodded and walked quickly to the elevators. He’d thought several times about calling Sam, but didn’t want to risk waking him up. It seemed to take forever for the elevator to arrive and then, naturally, it stopped on every damn floor. He finally escaped and scanned the room numbers to determine directionality and then headed down the hall.

Sam was still in bed when Dean got there, sound asleep. There were dark circles under his eyes and a bruise had blossomed on his lower left cheek; he’d probably connected with the car door on one of the impacts. Moving silently, he set the bag on the floor and sat in the chair beside the bed, just watching. A regular sling had replaced the body-wrap bandages at some point, strapped firmly over Sam’s chest.

It was a good half-hour later that Sam stirred, yawning and slowly waking. Dean moved from the chair to the bed and took Sam’s good hand in his. This seemed to wake Sam more, causing his brother to open his eyes, squinting at Dean with a faint smile. “Hey. How long have you been here?”

“About a half-hour,” Dean answered.

Sam pulled his hand free to rub his eyes as he asked, “Where’s John?”

“Francine’s watching him.”

“She doesn’t have to work?”

Dean shook his head and said, “Nope. And Ellen should be here this afternoon and Bobby said he’s coming, too, but I don’t have a timeline.”

“Oh God,” Sam sighed. “That’s going to be fun.”

Given the number of times the two strong-willed people had squared off, Dean just snickered and said, “I might sell tickets, what are you complaining about? Easy money.”

Sam snorted. “So am I getting out of here?”

Dean nodded and moved to get the bag as he said, “I have clothes for you and forms to sign, then we’re outta here.”

It took a good fifteen minutes to get Sam dressed, thanks to the sling, but they managed. Dean had known to bring a button-down to make it as easy as possible. Sam then signed the forms where needed and that was about when Justin showed up with a wheelchair.

“I thought you might be about ready to leave,” he said, giving Dean a wary look.

Dean rubbed the back of his neck, remembering how he’d ridden roughshod over the poor guy the day before. He offered, “Hey man, sorry I came on a little strong yesterday.”

Justin nodded, but still kept the wheelchair between them.

Sam grinned at the exchange and said, “Thanks for your help, Justin.”

The nurse nodded and left.

Dean moved to help Sam into the wheelchair and then gathered up the bag and paperwork, setting both on Sam’s lap. “Ready to go home?”

“And then some,” Sam sighed.

It didn’t take too long to drop off the forms and get Sam officially discharged.

Once outside, he held up his good hand and said, “I want to walk.”

“You’re a pain in the ass,” Dean muttered, but stopped the wheelchair.

He helped Sam to his feet and they walked the relatively short distance to the car. Dean had to admit that Sam didn’t look too bad when they got to the Nova, not like he was going to topple over or anything. He helped Sam sit and then buckled him in, pausing to steal a kiss on his way out. Sam grinned at him and Dean warned, “Fingers and toes in,” before closing the door.

Sam still chuckled when Dean climbed into the driver’s seat. Starting the car, he asked, “So how are you feeling really?”

“Sore, but not too bad,” Sam answered. “I’ve been worse.”

Dean made a face and said, “Doesn’t mean you don’t hurt now.”

“No, but I’m not incapacitated either. We really don’t need Ellen and Bobby to come.”

“Like I didn’t suggest that? And be my guest, if you want to call and tell them to turn around.”

“Yeah right.”

Dean grinned and pulled into traffic. “I doubt Ellen and Bobby’ll stay more than a day or two; just enough to make sure you and John are in one piece. You can rest up at home for a few days.”

“Now there’s a restful thought,” Sam teased.

“Bite me.”

“Where and when?”

Dean laughed and observed, “You’re in a mood. What, did they spike your jell-o with happy juice?”

Sam gave him a smile, a big one, and said, “I am feeling very good today. Do you want to know why?”

Eyebrows raised, Dean glanced at Sam and drawled, “Sure. Why not?”

“Because John and I are alive and relatively unscathed after a three car accident with a drunk driver,” Sam explained emphatically. “Dean, do you know how much worse all of this could have been? And the people in the other car were okay, too! It’s like…well, maybe not a miracle, but it’s a really great thing!”

Dean snorted and commented, “They really did spike your jell-o, didn’t they? I hate to burst your bubble there, Sammy boy, but the reason you and John came out so good is because the Impala’s a solid piece of metal.”

“Even after all this time, you still have trouble believing in the good things we can’t see,” Sam observed, shaking his head.

Shrugging, Dean said, “I just think it’s a lot more likely that you were in a well-built car, than to say angels intervened.”

They were almost back to the house, leaving the more developed areas for the true suburban neighborhoods. Snow covered most of the yards, though there wasn’t a lot of it. A few malformed, too-small snowmen sat watch over the neighborhoods and Dean grinned at how kids everywhere did the same thing with snow.

Sam told him, “I don’t see how you can keep denying the existence of beneficent beings, seeing how you were pregnant with John for eight months.”

Wagging a finger at him, Dean contradicted, “Nu uh, Sam! Freyja’s not some do-gooding angel-type. She’s a pain in my ass who thought making me into a de facto woman for eight months was a reward. Really, I think she did it for kicks.”

“We have John now, so isn’t that a reward? Something good?” Sam argued.

Dean grumbled under his breath and then said, “That’s not the point! Oh hell. Never mind. You’re going to be unbearably happy about this whole thing while my baby is crushed to pieces and I have to rebuild her. You want beneficence? Tell me the Impala’s not a hero, saving you guys like that.”

Sam shifted in his seat to better face Dean and opined, “You refuse to believe in good spirits and yet anthropomorphize a car. That’s balanced.”

Dean turned into their neighborhood while flipping Sam off. Listening to Sam laugh, he thought, Damn, it’s good to have him back.

He pulled into the driveway and ordered, “Stay there,” before hopping out of the car and jogging around to the passenger’s side. Dean opened the door and helped Sam out, noticing the pinched look as Sam had to slightly bend to get to his feet, but not commenting. He put an arm around Sam’s waist just because he wanted to and they walked to the house where Dean held open the door for his brother.

A chorus of female voices immediately went, “Sam!” and they were surrounded by the Bellwethers. John was still in Francine’s arm, face red and lined with tear tracks, but quiet until their entrance. He instantly sat up and held out his arms to Sam with an imperious, and slightly whiney, “Da!”

Sam used his good arm to take John from Francine and Dean put his hand on the toddler’s back to steady him.

Francine told them, “He settled down not long after you left, Dean.”

“Out of sight, out of mind,” Dean half-joked.

Sam shot him a pointed look, but only said, “We appreciate you sitting on such short notice, Francine.”

She motioned for the girls to get their things and answered, “It’s no problem at all. I’m just glad I happened to be home this week so I could help.”

“We helped too!” Ginny piped up.

Francine’s hand descended on her five-year-old’s head and agreed. “Yes, you did. And you did a great job, honey. Let me know if you need anything at the store or whatever.”

“Ellen’s coming,” Dean reminded. “So we should be good, but thanks.”

Dean walked them to the door and when he’d closed it behind them, turned to find Sam walking for the stairs. He jogged to catch up and put his hand on Sam’s back for the trip to the second floor. “Ready for a nap?”

Sam gave him a smile and said, “I think we all are.”

Dean wasn’t about to argue, not with their home about to be invaded. In the bedroom, he helped Sam sit and then tugged off the sneakers. Sam grimaced as he lay back and Dean toed off his own sneakers before climbing in behind him. Shifting so Sam lay partially on him, back to front, Dean was careful to rest his hand on his brother’s hip and not his ribs. John settled in the crook of Sam’s good arm, snuffling against his chest before his eyes closed.

Pressing his face to the back of Sam’s neck, Dean sighed deeply and relaxed for the first time in almost twenty-four hours. His family was safe and together. He really couldn’t ask for more.

Next story in series - First Hunt.