Behind Closed Doors

Memories

John's hot breath brushed against his skin, crawling up the back of his neck. It smelled like an unpleasant combination of liquor and gunpowder that made Dean want to puke. John was too close to him. He felt much too warm beneath his large body, but he couldn't escape. He was pinned down, unable to move or even breathe.

"Shh... stop struggling. It'll be over faster if you stop struggling." John's words slurred together and Dean kept reminding himself that it was the alcohol doing this, not his father. He was just drunk, that's all.

Dean's face was already streaked with silent tears as John removed his jeans. He felt exposed and vulnerable and he tried to convince his mind that he was somewhere else. Anywhere else. Anywhere but here, in this moment.

"Please... stop... don't..." Dean found it harder and harder to get the words out.

He felt John's hand connect with his face, immediately ending all attempts at pleading. "I already told you to be quiet."

Dean felt his hands on his body, nails digging into his skin. "Dean," He heard his father's voice. "Dean, wake up." Suddenly, he father grabbed his arms and started to shake him, violently. "Dean! Wake up!"

Dean's eyes shot open, and he tried not to panic at the hand wrapped around his arm. He pulled away and sat up. "Dean? Are you okay?"

Dean let out a sigh of relief. It was just Bobby. He nodded silently. He and Sam had been at Bobby's for only three days, and he still wasn't used to it. He had nightmares every night, and he always woke up, thinking his dad was right there.

Bobby eyed him suspiciously, but let it slide. The poor kid had been through enough. "Breakfast is ready, if you want."

"Okay. Be there in a minute." Dean watched Bobby leave, closing the door behind him. Dean fell back onto his pillow. His nightmares had only gotten worse since he left his father, even though he thought it would get better. He wished he could just erase all those memories completely, so he could just move on with his new life, without his old one trying to force it's way back.

Dean wandered out into the kitchen. Bobby and Sam sat at the table with plates full of scrambled eggs and bacon. "Morning, Dean," Sam smiled up at his big brother. "Your plates on the counter."

"Thanks," Dean grabbed the plate and sat down beside Sam, but when he looked down at the meal, he didn't feel hungry at all.

They sat in silence for a while, Bobby and Sam finished their plates while Dean mostly just stirred his eggs around with his fork. Dean could tell Bobby wanted to say something, but was waiting for the right time. Dean took a couple bites of the bacon, hoping that he would just spit it out already.

"Dean," Bobby said, finally. "I need to ask you something."

Dean glanced over at Sam, who obviously knew what Bobby was going to say. "Okay..."

"I know you probably don't want to right now... but how would you feel about talkin' to somebody about what happened?"

Dean dropped his fork on his plate, which made a loud clattering sound. "What, like a shrink? I ain't goin' to some freak psychoanalyst, Bobby." Dean couldn't imagine having to sit in the room with some old guy who just asked him about his feelings for an hour. And he certainly didn't want to tell anybody any specifics of what happened. He just wanted to forget about all of it.

"I think it would be good for you-"

"Nuh-uh, no way." Dean shook his head. "I''m not doing it, Bobby. I... I can't do it."

"Look, Dean, this isn't just about diggin' up memories that nobody wants to dig up. It's about keeping John away from you." Dean stared at him, confused, so Bobby continued. "I don't know where John is now, but I'd bet all I've got that he's gonna be lookin' for the two of you. And it ain't gonna be long until he looks here. And when he finds you boys... well, I don't have any legal rights to keep you from him. He's your daddy, and he has every right to drag you back home. But I can... sue for custody if we can prove what he did to ya."

Dean felt both pairs of eyes staring at him, expectantly. He couldn't go back. Not anymore. But he didn't want to tell anybody else about what happened, either. "I... how long?"

"I don't know, Dean. I'm sorry."

Dean nodded. He knew he had to do this. It was the only way.

The next couple days were a blur to Dean. Bobby had called some people, who Dean assumed were Child Protective Services, or something. Dean didn't have to do much, just answer some of Bobby's questions.

And then a couple days later, he found himself sitting in the waiting room of a child psychologist.

"Dean Winchester?" The receptionists voice rang out. Dean glanced over at Bobby before standing up. He walked over to his desk. "You're Dean Winchester?" The man asked. Dean nodded. "Ms. Claire is ready to see you."

Dean felt nervous walking into the room, even though he knew it was stupid. This woman was only trying to help him. All he had to do was be honest, and convincing.

"Hello, Dean. Go ahead and have a seat." Ms. Claire was sitting in a chair, holding a clipboard. She had long black hair, tied back in a pony tail, and wore thick-rimmed glasses. Dean sat down on the seat in front of her. "I'm Ms. Claire."

Dean nodded. "I kinda, figured."

Ms. Claire smiled. "Is there anything you'd like to know about me, Dean? I think I'm going to be learning a lot about you, and it's only fair."

Dean thought for a moment and shook his head. He really just wanted to get this over with.

"I talked to Mr. Singer. He's looking after you, right?" Dean agreed. "He told me about your situation with your father. If you don't mind, I'd like you to elaborate on that."

Dean looked down at his hands. "Um..."

"Do you remember the first time it happened?" She got right into it.

Dean shrugged, not looking up at her. He could still feel the bruises and cuts beneath his clothes. His face had mostly healed, though, so it wasn't as obvious. But still he felt like she was staring at all the right places, as if she knew exactly where he was hurt. He hated that.

He heard Ms. Claire sigh, sympathetically. "Dean, I know this is going to be hard for you. But I know that some terrible things have happened to you. You've been through a lot, and it is not my intent to make things worse. I want to help you. But I need you to cooperate with me. Can you do that?"

Dean looked up to meet her eyes. He was pretty good at reading people, and she seemed genuine. "Yes, ma'am."

"Good. Now, do you remember?"

"No, not really... it's been happening for a while."

Ms. Claire nodded, as if she had already known that answer. "Are you scared of your father, Dean?"

He wanted to say no, because he didn't want to be scared of anything, let alone his own father. After a moment of thinking, in a small voice, he replied, "Yes."

"What are you afraid of?"

"I don't know... Just... I don't want to make him mad."

"Why not?"

He paused. "Because I never know what he's going to do."

"And when you do make him mad? What does he do, Dean?"

Dean swallowed hard. He felt like curling up in the chair and crying his eyes out like a baby, but he knew he couldn't. He just had to talk. That's all he had to do. Just tell her the truth.

Well, mostly the truth.

"You let her get away, Dean!" He didn't want to mention that she was a Djinn, because then Ms. Claire would never believe him. "We almost had her and you let her get away."

Dean slunk back, trying to put as much space between him and John as he could. He backed away until he felt his legs against the back of the couch, and John was just a foot away. There was nowhere to go. "I'm sorry, Dad. I didn't mean to..."

"Of course you didn't mean to!" John yelled. "You never mean to, but somehow you always manage to fuck it up, anyway." John took a menacing step toward him, and Dean could see hate in his eyes. He hated him. Of course he did. He deserved it.

Dean braced for the punch to his gut, but it didn't make it hurt any less. Dean doubled over, trying to make himself as small as possible. "Come on, get up." John grabbed at his hair, yanking his head back up. "You just gonna sit there and take it like a bitch? I thought I raised you to be a man."

Dean thought about fighting back, or running away, but quite frankly he didn't have it in him. He felt tears running down his face and he felt weak. He was weak. He felt another punch to his jaw.

"That's what I thought." Dean's eyes were closed, but he heard the sound of a belt being undone, and he braced himself once again. He told himself that this was normal. He screwed up, and this was his punishment. It was just they way things were.

The leather belt hit him hard on the side, and it took every ounce of control Dean had to not fall to the ground, or run. He just grabbed onto the couch, digging his fingers into the material, and waited for it to be over.

He looked back up to Ms. Claire, who's lips were curled downward, her pen no longer scribbling. She put down the pen and paper and adjusted her skirt. She leaned forward to get a better look at the boy in front of her. "Thank you for being honest with me, Dean. Is there anything else you'd like to share?"

Dean shook his head. Not today. One was enough.


Ms. Claire was a well-known and respected child psychiatrist. With three degrees and years of practice, she had devoted her whole life to working with children, and she combined that with her love of psychology and the human brain in order to help the kids who needed it most.

At least, that's what Sam found out about her from her autobiography, which he found in her waiting room. It had been a week since Dean's fist visit with her, (he had been back three times,) and still nothing seemed to be changing. He swore he was working with her, and answering all her questions, but it didn't seem to be helping. Ms. Claire had asked to see Sam, now, as well. Sam wasn't sure why, but he figure she thought Sam could help her get inside Dean's head. Little did she know, Sam only wished he could understand his brother that well.

"Well, Sam, as you know I am Dean's psychiatrist, Ms. Claire. I've been talking to him for about a week now." Sam nodded. "I asked your uncle if I could speak to you as well, because I think it's important to get your side of it."

"If you think it will help."

"So, Sam, start by telling me about your relationship with your brother."

Sam smiled. "We're close... Pretty much as close as you get with brothers. He's been taking care of me since I was a baby. He looks out for me, and I look out for him." Sam knew that if it weren't for him, Dean wouldn't be in Sioux Falls right now, getting help. He'd still be there.

Ms. Claire was writing things down in her notes. She looked up as he finished. "Your brother talked about you a lot. I can certainly believe that you're close. What about you and your father?"

A lump started to form in Sam's throat, but he pushed it down. "He was... gone a lot. He worked all the time, and he'd leave me with Dean. Even when he was home, he's not much of an affectionate person, you know. But I used to think it didn't matter, 'cause he was my dad, right? But recently, I've changed my mind."

"What about Dean's relationship with your father?"

Sam mulled it over, trying to remember back when he was little. He wondered for the first time if things were different back then, or if he just never noticed before. "Well... It was always strained. Dean, he... He loved our dad. He'd do anything for him. To be honest, I'm a little worried he still would. But our dad, John, didn't care. Never did. He treated Dean more like a babysitter. Made him take care of me, even when he was young. John just ordered him around like he was nothing. And he..." Sam paused. "He was horrible to him."

"Did he get physical with him? Did he push him, or hit him or anything like that?"

Sam knew she already had this answer, but he humored her, anyway. "Yes."

"What exactly did he do?"

Sam sighed. "I never really saw anything happen. So I'm not sure. I just saw the... aftermath."

Ms. Claire nodded and wrote something down. "Was there sexual abuse?"

Sam wanted go throw up at the thought of it. But he remembered back to the morning before they ran away, and he had no idea if that was a one time thing or much, much worse. "I don't know. I hope to God not, and Dean never mentioned anything like that, but... I don't know."

"Did he tell you much? About what was going on?"

"He didn't really tell me anything. He didn't want me to know." Sam ran his fingers through his hair."But I wasn't stupid. I noticed things."

Dean was curled up on the couch when Sam got home. Dean stayed home sick from school that day. Last night John had gotten back from work late, and he drank a lot. Hr had been agitated and kept yelling at the TV. When Sam went to bed, Dean said he was going to stay out with John to keep an eye on him.

The next morning, John was the one who woke Sam up for school instead of Dean. He told him Dean wasn't feeling well, and he wasn't going to school that day. He rushed him to get ready and to school. He hadn't seen Dean that day until now.

"Hey, Dean!" Sam dropped his backpack and ran over to his brother. Dean sat up on the sofa to receive Sam's hug. John entered close behind him, closing the door as he came in. "Are you feeling better?"

Dean's eyes flickered over to his father, momentarily, but he quickly turned his attention back to Sam. "Well now that you're home I am. How was school?"

"It was boring. We had an assembly today, and we had to leave class for it."

"Oh, sorry, buddy." Dean brushed his hand through Sam's hair. John was over in the kitchen, fixing something to drink. Sam could tell that Dean's mind was elsewhere, and he wasn't really paying attention to Sam. He glanced over to John, where Dean's eyes kept wandering. He didn't notice anything out of the ordinary, though. "Hey, Sammy, let's go into the other room, huh? You can tell me about your day, and we can get started on your homework."

"Not yet, you won't." John interjected, suddenly. Both boys turned to him. "This kitchen's a mess, Dean. I told you to clean it up while I went to get your brother. Instead I come home to your lazy ass on the couch. You ain't doing anything else until your done, here."

"You didn't say-" Dean started, but stopped abruptly. He clenched his jaw for a moment before nodding. "Sorry, sir. I'll do it now." Dean tapped Sam's shoulder so that the younger boy would get off his lap. "Go ahead, Sammy, I'll be there in a minute."

Sam frowned as Dean got up and went to the kitchen, where John was now leaving. He could tell there was something tense between them as they passed each other, neither looking over, and Dean shrinking to the side. John sat down on the couch with his drink, and Sam followed Dean with his backpack.

Dean turned on the sink to do the dishes, but looked over to Sam before he started. "Sam, what are you doing? Go start your homework."

"I am." Sam insisted. He dropped his bag onto the ground, and sat down beside the cabinet. "I want to do it in here."

Dean didn't seem pleased by the arrangement, but he didn't argue and further. He just got to work cleaning. Sam pulled out his math notebook and turned to the right page. He started to work as well, glancing up at his brother every once in a while.

Eight or so minutes in, Sam glanced up just as Dean was reaching up to put something away in a cabinet. His shirt lifted up, exposing skin underneath. But his skin was not as it should've been. The small area Sam could see was mostly black and blue. It looked painful, and Same couldn't believe Dean hadn't said anything about it until now.

"Dean! What happened?" Sam stood and ran to his brother, who gave him an odd look, bringing his hands down. "Your side..." Sam reached for his shirt again to pull it up, but Dean grabbed his hands before he could.

"It's nothing, Sam. Be quiet." Dean's hushed tone worried Sam even more. Their father was only in the living room, and apparently Dean didn't want him to hear. "Go back to work, I'm almost done."

"But Dean," Sam whispered. "Your side is all bruised. How did it happen?"

"I just fell, Sam, it was nothing." Dean finally released his hands.

Sam frowned. "Does it hurt?"

"No," Dean shook his head. "I'm almost done, Sammy. Just one more minute."

Dean turned back to his work, making extra sure nothing else was exposed. Sam sat back down with his notebook, but couldn't find any motivation to think about math right now. He watched his brother work, only looking back down to avoid being caught. He chanced a few glances at John, who's back was turned to the boys in the kitchen. He had an awful feeling in his gut that he couldn't ignore, but couldn't decipher. He knew something was wrong. Very wrong.

"And that's when you were suspicions?" Ms. Claire had let him speak without interruption. Sam nodded. She smiled and looked down at her paper. "Thank you for sharing that with me, Sam. I know this must be hard for you."

"I just want to get Dean help," Sam admitted. He didn't really care about anything else at the moment. His big brother had been through so much, and he wanted to fix it.

He thought about all those years Sam had been utterly oblivious to what was going on behind closed doors in his own house. How much had Dean suffered, that Sam didn't even know about? Just thinking of John brought on a rage Sam had never felt in his life.


John had never felt such a rage in his life.

One moment, he was trying to retrieve his sons, and the next he woke up in a hospital bed with two gunshot wounds. He knew it was only a matter of time before the police ended up at his door, so he bolted as soon as he could.

His shoulder and abdomen hurt like hell, but he was used to pain like that. He simply patched it up in the motel, and hit the road. He was going to find those boys, whether they wanted to be found or not.

He didn't understand why they left. He was a good father to them. Sure, he was a little rough at times, but only when necessary. Some kids just didn't get it, and they never will, unless you beat 'em with it. Dean was just one of those. Simple words were never enough to crack his thick skull.

And what did Sam care, anyway? If he could guess, the whole charade with them running out seemed to be the youngest's idea. Sam had always been rebellious, but he was smart. He must have realized what a terrible idea all of this was. Boys needed their father. Where would they even go?

Wherever they were, John would find them. And when he did, he would make them regret their little stunt.

His thoughts were all over the place as he tried to contemplate the problem before him. He needed to find those two, and fast. And there was only one person he could think of to call for help. Bobby Singer.


"Did you ever have any suspicions?" Ms. Claire asked once Bobby Singer had made himself comfortable on the children's couch Dean and Sam had sat on earlier that day. After hearing both their stories, she explained she was getting ready to file her report. Obviously the authorities already knew about John, and although they hadn't found him yet, they would. But in the mean time, she wanted to make sure they were safe where they were. With Mr. Singer.

Bobby shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He needed to make a good impression with Ms. Claire. She would have a lot of say in the boy's future, and as long as it was what they boys wanted, he wanted to be a part of that future. It was the least he could do. He wanted to say that he was completely blindsided when Dean and Sam ended up on his doorstep, declaring that they had run away. But he knew he would be lying, and he knew she would know. "Yes. I had my suspicions. I had just hoped to God I was wrong."

"What indication did you have of the abuse?"

"It wasn't like I had ever seen it happen. I would've put a stop to it right then and there," Bobby promised. "But... watching the two of them- Dean and John, I mean- interact, well, it wasn't your typical father-son relationship, that's for sure."

"How so?"

Bobby frowned. "Dean would drop everything for his daddy at the drop of a hat. And not in a good way. He wasn't devoted to John the way he was to Sam- lovingly, unconditionally. It was... more out of fear."

Ms. Claire nodded, writing something down. "Had Dean ever come to you for help before?"

Bobby shook his head. "Not for anything like this. I mean, you know how kids are. He'd come to me when he lost some money his dad had given him for dinner, or something like that. He'd come to me when his brother was sick, and he didn't know what to do. But if he had ever hinted that this was happening..."

Ms. Claire put down her pen and paper. "Mr. Singer, I'll level with you here. I want to make sure these boys are safe in your care. Now, I know you've been married, but you are currently alone, with no other children, am I correct?" Bobby nodded. "I just need something to assure me that you have their best interests in mind, and that you'll be delicate with them- with them both."

Bobby adjusted in his seat so that he was sitting straight, his arms grasping the arms of the couch. "I can assure you, Ms. Claire. Since the moment John handed me Sam when he was just a baby, and Dean came, parading behind, I have had nothing but their best interests in mind."

Ms. Claire studied him for a moment, before nodding, picking up her pen again. "If you ever need my help with them, you call me right away, Mr. Singer. I can help them, I promise."

Bobby thanked her. "That's what I'm here for."

He left her office and made a quick phone call to Dean, telling him he was on his way home. He didn't like leaving them alone, not with John still no where to be found, but Ms. Claire called him up saying it was urgent. He figured their conversation could have waited a few more days until he would be back with Dean, but it was too late now.

As he stepped outside the building, his pager suddenly went off. He didn't recognize the number, but so many hunters called him from different phones, he rarely did. He went back inside and asked to use a phone, which they politely allowed.

He dialed the number and waited for it to ring.

"Bobby?"

A lump formed in bobby's throat. "John?"

"Oh thank god, you answered. I need your help, Bobby. Right away."

Bobby considered just hanging up, but then John would probably come straight to Sioux Falls, and that would be much worse. "What's the matter, John?"

"It's Dean and Sam. I got no idea where they are. They were just gone overnight. No idea if they ran out, or got dragged out. Either way, I got to find them." John was so convincing, Bobby realized how easily he could have been tricked into John's lie had he not known the truth.

"Well, John, I'm so sorry. I can make a few phone calls, see if any hunters have seen your boys, recently."

"Thanks, Bobby. I'm thinkin' about swinging over to your place for a bit if you don't mind. I need somewhere to think."

Bobby's eyes widened. That is the exact opposite of what he wanted. "You see John, I ain't home right now. I've been working on this case for a while now. But I can meet up with you someplace afterwords."

John paused on the other end, and Bobby was worried he didn't buy it. If he came down to Sioux Falls, both the boys would be in trouble. Sure, he could move them someplace else until John was gone, but all the neighbors and the store clerks had seen the boys here. If John found out that Dean and Sam had been here since running out, the result could be disastrous.

Luckily, John didn't say anything. "Sure, Bobby, no problem. Thanks for your help. I'll keep looking, and call me if anyone's seen them."

"Of course John. Good luck."


Sam hoped he was truly making progress.

Ms. Claire seemed to think they were. Sam cooperated fully, and wasn't afraid to tell her every detail. If Dean had been in the room, he never would have admitted all that he had seen, but talking to Ms. Claire was like talking to himself. There were no filters.

Sam's visits started out about Dean, but after a few times, things changed. Ms. Claire explained that even if Sam was never touched physically, he had been affected emotionally to a much larger extent than he probably realized. She also explained that it was therapeutic to talk about your experiences, so he did.

But now that John had contacted Bobby, things were different. He felt on edge all the time, like John could be behind any corner. He knew Dean was feeling the same way, probably even worse than Sam. He knew it must have been hindering their progress.

"What do you have on your mind, Sam?" Ms. Claire prompted. They had already been in session for twenty minutes, but they had said very little. Ms. Claire could tell he was distracted.

"Nothing. I mean, nothing more than usual. It's just... Now that I know my dad is looking for us, it's been even worse. I hope I never have to see his face again, but I'm worried he'll show up at any time." Sam sighed, looking down. "I keep playing back memories in my head. I don't even mean to – I don't want to remember them. But it's like I can't stop, I can't forget."

Ms. Claire smiled, gently. "Sam, have you ever gotten a song stuck in your head, before?"

"Um... yeah."

"Do you know what to do to get it out?"

"You listen to the song."

"I think that strategy may be helpful here, as well. Would you like to tell me about it?"

Sam nodded.

The worst part was when Dean cried.

Sam knew he tried to be quiet. He tried to stay silent so that Sam would never have to know. But even his brother had a breaking point, he supposed.

Dean had brought a girl over. It wasn't something particularly weird, and Sam was actually kinda glad he did. Dean was going through a weird phase at the moment. He was keeping to himself a lot, and rarely talked to Sam, let alone anyone else.

But now he had a girl on their couch, and Sam figured that was a good thing. He teased Dean a little about it, but he let them be and retreated into his room.

Neither of them had any idea that John would be coming home earlier than expected from his hunt.

John was furious when he came back. Sam was listening to music in his room when he heard yelling from the living room.

Turning down the volume, Sam peaked out his door and saw his father, Dean, and the girl.

John ushered the girl out of the house. He never put his hands on her, but by the look on her face she was terrified of him, nonetheless. He slammed the door behind her, turning back to Dean.

Sam quickly closed his door so that they wouldn't see him, but pressed his ear up against the wood so he could still hear.

"What the fuck were you thinking, Dean? You know the rules!"

Slap.

"I'm sorry," Dean's voice was barely above a whisper. "She wasn't going to do anything..."

Slap. "I don't give a shit!" Slap. "What were you gonna do, huh? Fuck her in my house? With your brother in the other room?"

No response. Sam could make out the sound of a belt being undone. He could imagine John folding it over, gripping it tight, ready to strike at him like a dog with a newspaper. "Get down on your knees."

Sam slid down the door onto the ground, pulling in his knees. He was prepared to cover his ears, turn his music back up, so he didn't have to listen anymore. But then... "No."

"What did you just say to me?"

"No! I didn't do anything! I wasn't- ow! No, stop! Stop-"

Crack. Crack. Crack. "You need to fucking learn some respect!" Sam could hear their struggle, like Dean was trying to get away. He mentally cheered him on, but he couldn't get up the courage to go out there.

Crack. "I'm sorry! I'm suh-sorry!" Crack. Crack. "I'm sorry... Dad please!" He cried.

Sam put his head in his lap, covering his ears with his hands, as tight as he could. It only muffled the sounds from the living room.

When it was finally over, Sam crawled into his bed and waited. And waited. And waited. But Dean never came in.

It was silent out there, so Sam decided to take a chance, and go find him. As quietly as possible, he tiptoed out into the living room. All the lights were off, and it was hard to see. He could make out a form on the couch, like a lump. But as he got closer, it was obvious what it was. "Dean?" He whispered.

He got closer, and could hear muffled sobs coming from his brother. Dean's face was buried in his hands, which were covered with marks from the belt. Sam felt frozen above his brother. He didn't know what to do, or what to say. He supposed nothing he did could make it better, anyway. He knelt beside the couch and hesitantly reached out his hand to his brothers. "Dean..."

Dean winced, pulling his arm away. Immediately he sat up straight, wiping away tears. "I'm sorry, Sammy. I'm coming to bed. Go back to your room, okay? Give me a moment."

Sam stared at Dean, almost in disbelief. He didn't actually expect him to just ignore all of this, and go back to bed? But when Sam didn't move right away, Dean stood and made Sam stand up as well. "Come on, Sammy. It's getting late." One hand on each arm, Dean led him back into the bedroom and to his bed. "Lay down, buddy."

Sam did as he was told, still not saying a word.

"I'll be right back, okay?" Sam nodded, and Dean, seemingly satisfied, went off to the bathroom.

Even just repeating the story for Ms. Claire brought tears to his eyes. But he told her anyway, because he knew it was best for Dean. It was best if someone else knew what they had been through, especially someone with the kind of power Ms. Claire had.

Ms. Claire listened intently, scribbling down notes on her page. Afterwords she smiled sympathetically and asked if John had ever done anything like this to Sam. Sam shook his head. "No, Ma'am. Nothing like that at all."

Ms. Claire didn't seem to believe him. She seemed to think he was hiding something. "And why do you think that is?"

Sam knew exactly why that is. "Because of Dean."

She looked down, and Sam knew she believed him.

After the session, Sam found Bobby in the waiting room. The older man sat tensely on one of the plastic chairs. He rose as Sam came out. "You ready to go, boy?"

Sam nodded. "Have you heard from Dean?"

"No, he hasn't called, but he would, if anything was wrong."

Sam frowned. He could tell that Dean was getting ready to split. He wasn't the most patient person, and he seemed to be tiring of the therapy sessions. He had only been back three times, but he was already done. "Yeah, you're right."

Bobby led Sam back out to the truck, but he could tell something was wrong. "Sam, don't worry about your brother. He ain't going anywhere."

"You don't know that."

"Yes I do. He wouldn't leave you like that. You know through everything he's always stayed by your side. Now is no different."

Sam appreciated Bobby's kind words, and he hoped that he was right. Maybe Dean would stick around and keep going to Ms. Claire, and maybe they would start to help. Maybe.


Dean had convinced Bobby to let him stay at home while Sam went to his appointment. He needed some time to himself, and he wasn't sure there was any other time to get that.

Bobby and Sam promised to be back in two hours, and Dean told them to take their time. Sam gave him a look as they left that said, You better be here when we get back.

Dean would be lying if he said he hadn't thought about leaving a couple times, and obviously Sam had caught on. He only hoped Sam understood why he had thought about it.

It wasn't that he was unhappy, or that he didn't like living here in Sioux Falls. Bobby had always been like a father to him, and he was eternally grateful that he had been so willing to help them when they ended up on his doorstep.

It wasn't that he wanted to leave Sam. In fact, Sam was the reason he was still here. He promised Sam a million times over the years that he would never leave him, never run off. This was the first time in his life he had ever seriously considered breaking that promise.

The reason he was considering leaving was his dad. At any moment, John could show up at Bobby's place and wreak havoc. As long as Sam and Dean were gone, John would be looking for them.

But if Dean went back to him, John may agree to leave Sam alone. Sammy was safe here, and cared for. If Dean leaving was the only way to ensure Sam didn't have to, then he'd do it.

Dean sat in his room upstairs, ear buds in his ears. He had one of Sam's books on his lap, but he couldn't really immerse himself in it with all that was on his mind. He sighed, pulling his headphones out and throwing them against the wall.

He hopped out of the bed and went downstairs for a drink. He made it all the way to the kitchen before his hunter instincts kicked in.

He could hear something behind him in the living room. They were moving quietly, but not quietly enough for Dean to be oblivious. Dean's stomach twisted into knots, and his whole body tensed. He didn't have his gun, but there should be knives somewhere in the kitchen.

Playing dumb, he wandered over to the silver wear drawer and fumbled through it. He found the biggest knife in there, but as soon as he turned around he dropped it onto the ground.

There was his father, beneath the archway to the kitchen. He stared down at Dean with angry eyes and clenched fists. Dean froze, internally willing himself to bend down and grab the knife, to no avail. "Dad," His voice was barely above a whisper.

"Dean."

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