"Alright. Yeah, I got it. Sure I'll leave tonight," Caleb hung up his phone and headed back into the apartment. He watched John as he lay asleep on the couch. He didn't want to leave until Sam came home and he knew everything was going to be as good as it could get between the two uninjured Winchesters, but he was needed sooner than first thought and he couldn't wait.
Caleb walked over to the sleeping man and gently shook his shoulder in an attempt to wake him up. John startled awake and swung out at Caleb, his still asleep mind making him think he was under some sort of attack.
"Geez, John, calm down, it's just me Caleb," Caleb shouted as he jumped back just in time to avoid the punch that if it had connected would have laid him out cold.
John looked up at Caleb and recognition set in. "What the hell, Caleb? What's wrong," John asked worriedly, because the only way Caleb would have dared to wake him was if something was wrong.
"Nothing's wrong John. I wanted to let you know that I got a call and I need to head out sooner than I thought. Like right now. I wanted to make sure that you're all squared away. I mean if you need me to stay I can see if someone else can help."
"Nah, you go on ahead. I've got it covered. I've been looking after me and the boys for as long as I can remember. We'll be alright," John answered as he stood and headed to the bathroom. John stopped and turned to Caleb before he turned the corner to the hallway, "Thanks Caleb, for everything. I mean it. It's been good having you here, but, the hunt doesn't stop because one of us gets hurt. You're needed Caleb. Sam and I will take care of Dean."
Caleb packed his last bag into his truck, said one last goodbye to John and drove off. He couldn't shake the feeling that he should stay; but, as John said he was needed elsewhere and highly doubted whether his staying behind would make all that much of a difference.
Sam pulled his dad's truck into the empty parking space next to his brother's car. He looked for but didn't see Caleb's truck and figured that his dad and Caleb had gone out for something to eat or a drink since he didn't see any lights on in the apartment.
Sam entered the apartment and realized he wasn't alone only after he felt the rough hands pull him through the open door and push him hard against the nearest wall. The scent of stale whiskey assaulted his nose causing him to gag on the unpleasant smell. His eyes tried to adjust to the darkness but it wasn't easy as his oxygen was being cut short by the forearm that had been placed across his throat.
Words full of bile and hate snaked their way to his ears and he felt himself grow weak from their bite as well as the lack of oxygen. 'Is this what you feel when dad starts on you, Dean,' Sam thought to himself, 'How do you do it?' He slid down the wall when the arm that had been holding him up let go and he sat gasping for air trying to get his head clear.
Strong hands gripped him around the biceps and pulled him up, giving him a shake after he was on his feet. He was dragged over to the couch and forcefully pushed down on it. The table lamp that sat on the coffee table next to the couch flicked on and Sam found himself staring into the anger filled eyes of his dad. Sam instinctively drew back and did his best to figure what he had done to make his dad mad this time. He didn't have to wonder to long as John filled him in.
"I have never in my life seen anyone as selfish and careless as you. What did you do to your brother? I got a call from the nurse after you left. She said that Dean was really upset about something after you left and wouldn't tell her what was wrong. What did you do," John asked emphasizing his anger with a punch to the wall beside Sam's head that dented the plasterboard.
Sam flinched when he heard the wall crack and he coughed at the light dusting of plaster that had shaken loose from the wall. He stared at his dad in shock, his hazel eyes conveying the fear he felt at that very moment. "I didn't do anything," Sam said his voice shaking, "I stayed with him until they made me leave. I told him about my night and he appeared to be happy. He asked me to come back tomorrow but I told him…" Sam broke the sentence off, 'Oh, gosh, that can't be it. Can it? He didn't seem happy about it, but he didn't seem that upset either. Well not upset enough to make a nurse call dad.'
John, who had been watching Sam, caught the hesitation and he jumped on it. He grabbed Sam by the front of his shirt and pulled him forward so that they were both literally nose to nose. "What did you tell him, Sam," John seethed.
"I told him that I didn't think I'd be able. I told him I had to study. He looked upset so I told him I could bring the books to the hospital and study there but he said I didn't have to. He told me he wasn't going to be there to long as he wanted to watch me graduate. I swear, dad, he didn't look to be upset enough for a nurse to have called you. I swear. I don't know what happened."
John's backhanded slap sent Sam's head turning to the side with its force and Sam felt the blood begin its trickle from the new cut that the blow had created on his cheek. He felt his eyes feel with tears and he wanted nothing more than to run right then and there. The only thing that prevented him from doing that was the fact that Dean would need him when he got out of the hospital and he didn't want to leave his brother without at least talking to him first.
"Dammit Sam, your brother's in the hospital because of you. Your selfish desire to do what you wanted without thought of consequence to anyone other than yourself left your brother distracted, unguarded. Then when he had woken at the hospital and you weren't there to see him, but with Allison, well how much more could you clearly convey just how little you really think of him," John backed away from Sam and began pacing the room like a caged lion, "Where did I go so wrong with you? How did you grow up to be so self-centered? Why can't you be more like your brother…"
Sam felt his own anger rise and his father's last comment lit the match to the powder keg and before he could stop himself, Sam erupted, "Cause, I'm not. I'm not like him. I'll never be like him. I'm not so willing to give up what I want. What I need, for a cause that isn't really mine.
Dean's the good son, the good little soldier. The never question orders do as he's told one. I'm not like that. I need to know, to understand, the how's and why's. I don't remember mom. I don't remember being held by her. Being loved by her. I wish I did. But I don't. From, what I've been told, I believe this isn't what she would have wanted for any of us.
From what I've heard of her, mom would be pissed at you right now for dragging me and Dean into this life. She would have wanted you to leave us with someone, anyone, other than training us to be soldiers in your war." Sam's tirade was cut off when his father's fist landed squarely on the teen's temple, effectively knocking him out.
John knelt beside his son's unconscious form, grabbed the front of his shirt and pulled him up from the floor. He fisted his hand and was ready to hit Sam again when a small voice stopped him. "John no," the voice whispered to him, "This is wrong and you know it. Please don't hurt our son any more than you have. Think of him and Dean. What would it do to Dean? You know he'd blame himself for leaving his brother here and unprotected. John, please."
John's hand loosened it's gripped on Sam's shirt and he watched as his son's limp body fell back onto the floor. He looked at his hands and felt the all too familiar burn of the tears as they built in his dark eyes. "I'm so sorry, Mary. I'm so sorry," John cried to the empty room. He carefully picked Sam up from the floor and carried him into the room he shared with his brother. Gently he laid the injured boy on his bed and sat down on his brother's vacant bed.
For a moment John had thought about calling Caleb back, but only for a moment. This was his family, his issue and he was going to take care of it. John wasn't aware of how long he had sat by Sam's side as exhaustion had overtaken him and he had fallen asleep on Dean's bed, breathing in the familiar scent of his oldest, when a low groan from his youngest stirred him from his sleep.
John opened his eyes to find himself looking into the dazed and frightened hazel ones of his baby. He shuddered at the thought that it was he who had put that fear in his baby's eyes. "Sam, hey son, how are you feeling," John asked his voice husky from having just woken up as well as the guilt he was feeling over Sam's current state.
Sam gingerly touched the cut on his cheek then moved his fingers up to his temple where his dad's fist had connected, causing him to black out. He flinched at the pain the contact caused and he swallowed a moan stopping it before it could escape his lips. He scooted himself as far back as he could from his father, stopping only when his back hit the wall. "Mmm, fine," Sam lied. His head felt like it had been used as a piñata and he felt nausea building, but he wasn't going to tell his dad that so he lied, "I'm fine."
John stood up from the bed he had been resting on and moved towards Sam. He stopped when Sam flinched and tried to sink further into the wall. Holding his hands up in front of him John addressed his youngest, "Sam, look I'm sorry. I'm just gonna check you over. I know you say you're fine, but I would like to take a look anyways, alright?"
John let out the breath he had been holding when Sam nodded. Slowly he walked over to and sat down next to Sam. He looked into the boys eyes, did all the other things a person would do when checking for a concussion and found himself satisfied that Sam didn't have one. He noticed that a dark and angry bruise had begun to form in both places his hand had met his son's face in rage and he felt the guilt rise again.
John stood and asked Sam if he was hungry. When Sam answered he was and agreed that soup sounded good, John left the room to make them both something to eat. Sam sat up, his head still spinning and looked to his brother's empty bed. "I'm sorry, Dean," he murmured, "I'm so sorry, but I can't take what you can. As soon as I'm set I'm gone. You can come with if you want, but all I know is I can't stay here."
Sam stood from his bed and headed to the kitchen when the aroma of beef vegetable soup stirred his stomach into growling. He would stay until Dean was better and then he would talk to him about what he was planning. He would offer Dean to come with, but he wouldn't give in and stay. No, he had to get away before this life either killed him or turned him into his dad.