[personal profile] jennytork


It took a full ten minutes of discussion and debate before the brothers opened the door to their room. Sure enough, a shadowy figure stood by the window.

"Dad," they chorused.

John Winchester turned and smiled. "Boys."

"How long--" Dean began.

"I saw the girl take a swan dive. I take it she was the bad guy?"

Sam nodded. "It was a trap for you. Daevas."

John hissed, his breath sucking in sharply through his teeth. "That's old magic.... you boys, you look tired." He licked his lips. "But there was something else up there, wasn't there? There was a lot of fire."

Dean nodded. "They're shadow creatures. There were nine of them, and six burned."

"Burned." John's chin rose in a single slow nod. "It was there, then. The fire elemental."

"Dad," they chorused wearily, and Dean finished, "He is not a threat."

"He's something supernatural, and--" John's counter was cut sharply off as he was suddenly propelled backwards into the wall like he was on strings.

Sam cried out as something sharp lashed across his chest before shoving him violently. Dean just had time to gasp, "No!" before he was thrown to the side like he was an oversized rag doll.

Sam barely registered it before he was thrown to land beside his father, who was being clawed and battered.

After being thrown one more time, Dean snarled, "Light 'em up!" And snapped his left hand.

John heard the crackle of fire and felt the heat close to his face. He opened his eyes – when had he closed them? -- to see the distinctively stretched out humanoid form of a daeva ignite and fall from where it had been straddling him.

"Winchester!" a vaguely familiar voice bellowed. "Move!"

John climbed to his feet and saw a red-haired man in a henley firing fire from his wrists. A second daeva lit, and the man pinned him with narrowed fire-red eyes. "I said move!" he bellowed.

"My boys!"

"Are safe!" the man countered. "Outside! Go!"

John lurched for the door and felt his jacket being grabbed. Again, he heard the distinct crackle of fire whooshing behind him and felt heat. He was suddenly released and lurched out of the room.

He bolted to his truck, seeing the Impala beside it. But his boys were nowhere in sight. "Dean!" he yelled. "Sammy!"

No answer. Fire exploded out of the motel room he'd just vacated, and some parental instinct screamed at him that his boys were still in that room. The creature had lied to him!

Bellowing a denial, John raced back toward the motel, only to see the fire elemental glide out and land, shaking its head. "---swear," he heard it say, "that man's gonna be the death of us--"

"Damn straight." John snarled, stepping in front of the elemental, gun drawn and pointed right between its eyes. "I'm only going to ask this once, and you had damn well better tell me the truth. What the hell have you done with my sons?"

The elemental's hands rose and he said gently, "They're safe. I swear."

"Not good enough." His thumb moved toward the hammer.

"Winchester, this is the solid truth – you harm me, you harm your sons."

"I don't deal with threats."

"It isn't a threat. It's a fact. Your sons are safe. They got out of the motel safe."

"I don't believe you."

"You don't have to," the elemental said. "It's a fact."

Suddenly its right arm shot out, the palm connecting with John's wrist on the pressure point. John's hand spasmed and the gun fell out of it. Swearing, John grabbed at it with his left hand and straightened with it in his hand. He saw the elemental streaking into the sky and fired a single shot in its direction.

He saw it grab at its arm, but continue to gain altitude. John swore at himself for letting it get away, but felt a matter of satisfaction that he'd managed to shoot the creature.

Served it right, for attaching itself to his sons!

Now to find his boys and get the hell out of Chicago.

He was almost back to the truck when his boys came staggering out of a nearby alley. Both had blood on their clothing – Sam's chest and Dean's arm. It was clear the daevas had done a number on both of them. "Boys, you look beat all to hell."

Dean looked at him steadily. "You can't stay with us."

John frowned. "Dean--"

"Dean's right, Dad." Sam sounded exhausted. "We're your main weakness. We need to separate."

Dean reached out and wrapped his good hand's fingers around John's wrist. "But for pity's sake, Dad – no more radio silence. When we call, you either pick up or text us after with real messages, not just co-ordinates."

He shook his head. "Boys, that elemental---"

"Is not the issue!" Sam roared, clearly at the end of his patience. "The creatures that were trying to control the daevas are! And if it wasn't for that elemental, we would still be in that mess, maybe even more beat than we are! He fried them, Dad! Why can't you--"

"Sammy."

Sam's jaw snapped shut with an audible click at Dean's single soft word.

Dean looked John in the eyes. "We love you, Dad. But your single-minded hate of Gemini is going to get us all hurt. You're getting distracted from the real issue. Find what killed Mom and Jess-- stop it. Then you can deal with Gemini. Not until then."

John looked at him steadily for a long moment, then he sighed. "When did you get so damn wise?"

"I had a good teacher."

John found himself start to smile.

"Been back in touch with Bobby Singer. That guy's really smart." Dean smirked.

John huffed a laugh. "Smart-ass." He hugged Dean, then Sam. "Agreed," he said as he climbed into the truck. "The creature that killed Mary and Jess first. Then we deal with – Gemini, is it?"

His boys nodded in unison.

"I'll table it for now. You two get patched up and.... I'll be in touch."

"See that you do!" they chorused.

John smiled – fondly – and started his truck. He drove away, watching them in the rear view mirror until they were no longer in sight.

He told himself they were right – they were better apart.

But it felt wrong.

~*~

The truck rumbled out of sight, and Dean grunted, shoulders hunching as his hand flew to his forearm.

Sam hissed softly. "The bullet's still in there, isn't it?"

"Yeah," Dean groaned. "Let's get outta here and ---"

"Yeah, forget that." Sam snapped his left hand fingers, and Gemini re-formed.

"What the hell? Why did you--"

Hush and roll up your sleeve.

Gemini did, and his eyes went huge and round as the bullet wormed itself out of the closing wound and fell to the ground. ".....holy...."

Yeah. And Sam was laughing, the brat! I figured you were in such pain and stress you forgot completely about Gemini's healing ability.

"Sucker bet." He sighed and stepped away from Gemini, frowning at the half-healed gash on his arm. "I can't believe Dad really shot us."

"Well," Sam said. "Now that we know he will when we're Gemini, we just have to be more careful around him." He paused. "Dean, do you think he would have done that if he knew it was us?"

"No," Dean said without hesitation. "I don't. But I also know he'd try to control the situation, to control us. It's a lose-lose situation, him knowing right now."

As they got into the Impala and Sam wrapped a strip of cloth around Dean's arm as a bandage until they could get to a new motel in a different town and finish healing, Sam asked, "Do you think we'll ever be able to tell him?"

"I don't know, Sammy," Dean sighed as he put his Baby in gear and they began to put Chicago behind them. "I hope so."

"Yeah," Sam sighed, leaning back in his seat. "Me too."

END

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