Disclaimer: I don't own the Winchesters, Godzilla, BOC, or any other stuff in here. Borrowed and returned only slightly the worse for wear. No profit, only pain.

Rating: PG-13 for strong language, some violence

Characters: Gen, Dean, Sam, Dad, Godzilla

Spoilers: thru BUABS

Summary: While on his way to chase down Sam at Bobby's, Dean gets some help from an unexpected source.

A/N: Written for Shay Reynolds From the Ashes ficathon, which gave you a song prompt to work with and mine was Godzilla by BlueOysterCult. It's like 2 months late, because I totally forgot how tenses workand everytime I thought I was done, another thing popped up. Thanks to Kimonkey7, Harrigan, wideocean, and Northface11 for the betas. I needed each and everyone of you to finish this, and you all made it better than it was. Also, hugs to Kim for the Godzilla and son icon. And thanks to wideocean for the Dean/Godzilla one.

Livejournal link to original story.

With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound
He pulls the spitting high tension wires down


Dean drives out of Duluth and heads south, hell bent for leather, his head pounding, shoulder throbbing like a machine gun and shooting fire down his arm with every movement. His mouth is dry with fear, the taste of whiskey coating his tongue, lingering sour and heavy on his breath. He scoots uncomfortably in the unfamiliar seat. His jeans feel clammy against his skin, and his boots still squelch when he moves his feet. He feels like hell, worse than hell, but there's no time to stop, no time to think, no time to recover. South Dakota is 150 miles away. Bobby's place is 60 minutes further over the state line. Sam is … Sam is God knows where. Worse, Sam is God knows what. Hopefully, Sam is on the way to Bobby's to slit the old man's throat — otherwise, Dean knows that he's screwed. He'll never catch up to him — just be stuck with clean up, over and over again. He prays to a God he doesn't believe in for help, and scrubs his left hand over his face, pays for it with a bolt of hot pain that makes him gasp and causes his vision to blur and makes black spots dance through the headlights. That's what I get for prayin,' he thinks.

He rolls down the window, lets the cold air slap him back to his senses. He can't let himself think about what he's going to walk into at Bobby's. If he thinks about what he might have to do…what he's completely unprepared to do, there's a good chance he might just turn the car around, drive until he's out of gas, until he's completely out of his mind. Not a long trip … not at all.

Dean thumbs the switch, rolls up the window, the only good thing about this clunker he's driving is no crank windows. The less movement out of his left arm, the better. He turns up the heat, but still, he's shivering, his teeth chattering. Probably in shock, he thinks, probably shouldn't be driving, but, there's no other choice. There's no one else who can help him. His dad took all the choices with him when he left Dean with one final order to watch out for Sammy, and God, how badly has he screwed that up? He's lost him three times already. If this was baseball, he'd be out. He can't lose him again. And he sure as hell isn't going to obey the second part of Dad's order … the part about killing his brother if he can't save him.

“Shut up and drive, goddamn it,” he growls, pushes the stolen car until the engine screams in protest. He can't listen to himself think anymore. He needs noise, distraction. He tries the radio, but the reception is crap. He hits the button for the CD, and prays he hasn't stolen some Celine Dion-loving freak's car. When the music blares out of the speakers, he smiles widely in recognition, and knows there is a God and, despite everything, at this moment, God loves Dean Winchester. It's BOC. “Godzilla.” He loves this song. Chicks have chocolate and ice cream when they're feeling low, Dean has Blue Oyster Cult. One hundred percent pure comfort wrapped up in rock lyrics. He sings along, and his teeth stop chattering. He feels himself start to warm up. Then the song's over, and with an unthinking drum riff, his shoulder sends another flare of pain, and he hits the back button until Godzilla comes on again. His muscles relax, the pain in his shoulder starts to ebb, and the screaming in his head quiets to a whisper instead of a roar.

He settles into the seat, breathes a bit more easily. Three hours to Bobby's. Three hours till he finds his brother, and makes this right. He WILL make this right. The universe loves him. He has freakin' Godzilla playing on repeat in his stolen car. That's enough of a miracle to know he'll make it.

All he has to do is drive.


Helpless people on a subway train
Scream bug-eyed as he looks in on them
He picks up a bus and he throws it back down
As he wades through the buildings toward the center of town


It's a long walk to the highway, and the rain starts up again almost as soon as they leave the Bender's farm. They're soaked to the skin before a sympathetic trucker finally picks them up and drops them back in Hibbing. They hike the mile to the police station, where Dean's left the Impala. When they get there, to Sam's surprise, Dean gives him the keys and gets in the passenger seat. Sam climbs in after.

"Where to?" Sam asks, adjusting the mirrors with a grin because he knows it makes Dean crazy. But Dean doesn't comment, doesn't even seem to notice.

"Motel," is all Dean says, and even that seems to exhaust him. He leans back into the seat, shuts his eyes. He hurts everywhere, he's freezing to death, and his freakin' chest is killing him. Stupid hillbillies. If they'd had central heating, instead of a crapass wood stove, they wouldn't have had a red hot poker to jam into his pecs. Plus, now his second favorite jacket is ruined.

But Sam is back, and Sam's okay, and that's all that matters. It's all that's ever mattered. It's been over 24 hours since Dean's slept, running on pure adrenaline and one measly cup of coffee. His head drops back onto the seat, and he doesn't even hear the engine start up, doesn't feel the car pull away from the curb.

Sam wakes him when they arrive at the motel. He's already gotten a room, unloaded the Impala, and is standing next to Dean with a hand out to help him out of the car. Dean bats it away, and lurches unsteadily to his feet. He staggers into the motel room and flops down on the nearest bed.

"Let me see your chest," Sam says.

"I'm not that kind of girl," Dean mutters, but he struggles out of his wet jacket, and takes off his damp denim shirt, then his sodden tee-shirt. The burn is nasty, and deep. Bits of cloth are singed into the skin, and Sam winces when he examines it.

"You need a doctor," Sam says.

"I need a shower and about twelve hours of sleep," Dean replies. "But I'm too tired to shower." He kicks off his soggy boots and rolls over, back to his brother.

"Dean, c'mon, man. That's a serious burn. It's gotta be debrided."

"There's a burn patch in the first aid kit. Clean it out, and slap that on. It's not that bad."

Sam frowns behind Dean's bare back, notes the mottled bruises that cover his brother's skin, and sighs. Dean can picture the bitchface that Sam's shooting his way. Knows it's there, and that a lecture is sure to follow. He's not disappointed.

"You're covered in bruises and you've got a knot on the back of your head the size of a golf ball," Sam growls. Dean looks at him over his shoulder, and Sam checks his pupils. They're huge. Dean sniffs.

"Cast iron skillet. Damn things are heavy." He sniffs again, and a bitter taste fills his mouth. Shit, he's got brain pung leaking out his nose. He hates when that happens. Makes his coffee taste funny in the morning.

"You probably have a damned concussion. Your pupils are like dinner plates. I can't give you anything for pain when I clean this burn up."

Dean frowns. Despite what he's said, the damned thing hurts…bad. So does his head, and his ribs, and his knuckles, which he split on one of the retard brother's few existing teeth. Probably needs a rabies shot.

"And, I'm gonna need to wake you every hour. You know the drill."

"Dude, stop talking me to death and get to it." Dean grabs the remote control and starts to flip though channels as Sam gathers the first aid kit and the supplies. The motel has a better than average lineup, and he's tempted by VH1 Monsters of Rock, but it's about REO, and fuck all if they're monsters. More like wussies of rock. He clicks again, and there it is…the perfect choice.

The kid they'd interviewed had said he was watching a Godzilla movie, Mothra vs. Godzilla, which totally IS his favorite because of the hot little Japanese chicks, but, this one…Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, is a classic, and he turns up the volume, settles down into the bed as Sam appears with an ice bucket full of hot water, a bag of ice, every single towel in the bathroom and the first aid kit. He sets it all down on the opposite bed, digs through the kit and pulls out a bottle of alcohol and a scalpel Dad had snagged from somewhere. He fills one of the complimentary motel glasses with alcohol and drops the scalpel in with a clink.

Dean groans as Sam hands him a leather strap, apology written all over his face. "Just do it, Sam," Deans says, and bites down on the strap, watches over Sam's shoulder as Godzilla beats the everloving crap out of Tokyo, yet again. And the TV is loud enough that it's hard to distinguish Godzilla's screams from his own.


Oh no, they say he's got to go
Go, go Godzilla, yeah
Oh no, there goes Tokyo
Go, go Godzilla, yeah


Something's wrong. Dean can tell by the way Dad's acting. Being too nice. Letting them get things at gas stations, things Dad usually says, "No way, Jose" to when they ask. But now, all he or Sammy has to do is look at something and Dad's asking if they want it.

At first, Dean was so excited by the unaccustomed bounty of candy and toys and comics that he didn't question why. Then, Dad let him have a frozen Coke at the last gas stop, and he got one for Sammy too, and that was when Dean knew something was wrong, because Dad didn't let them drink sugary stuff. "Waste of money," he always said. "Bad for your teeth … keeps you up at night" and the best reason for why not — sugary drinks made Sammy wet the bed. And Dad hated pee beds worse than even werewolves. He said so, a lot. So this? This was wrong.

"Where are we goin'?" Dean asks.

Dad smiles, too big, too wide. "Blue Earth, Minnesota," he says, and smiles again. The smile was everywhere on his face. 'Cept for his eyes.

"Why?" Dean asks.

Dad waits a little bit before answering. He isn't smiling as much when he says, "Gotta see a man there on some business."

"What kind of business?"

"Grown up business," Dad says, and turns up the radio. He doesn't want to talk anymore. That's what that means. Sammy doesn't get it yet, but Dean knows when the music gets loud, it's time to shut up.

Dean sighs, sucks up some watery coke through his straw, and tries to remember when Dad got…weird. He thinks for a bit. It had been pretty quiet for a couple weeks. No hunts since that poltergeist tried to pull Sammy out of the car, and Dean had stopped it by throwing handfulls of rock salt at the ghost. Man, that had been scary. That was the first time something Dad had been hunting had come after THEM.

Usually, they just stayed in the car, waiting for Dad to come back. Well, Sammy didn't wait, he slept, cause he was still sort of a baby, even though he was almost three and a half. Dean was seven, and Dad left him in charge. Dean would sit and keep watch while Sammy slept with his head on Dean's lap. Sometimes it took Dad a long time to come back, but they always had books and snacks and water and flashlights — usually it was fun — but that ghost had gotten in the car, and grabbed Sam right off Dean's lap, and Sammy screamed, and Dean did too, and grabbed for Sammy, but the ghost snarled at him like a dog and Dean grabbed the box of rock salt from the floor of the car and started flinging salt at the ugly thing.

Everyone was screaming, Dean and Sammy and the poltergeist. And then Dad came, and pulled Dean and Sammy out of the car, and he tossed something at the ghost, and it shrieked and exploded all over the inside of the car. And boy, did THAT make Dad mad, because it is a rule that you do not make a mess in the Impala. EVER.

And that's when it happened, Dean knew. That's when Dad changed. Dean felt bad about letting that ghost touch Sam. He told Dad he was sorry and Dad had said that Dean did good and used his head and that the salt was exactly right and usually, that would have made Dean happy, but Dad looked so sad when he said it, like maybe he was gonna cry or something.

Then Dad had spent a lot of time on the phone in his room with the door shut. And Sammy made so much noise playing with his cars that Dean couldn't hear what Dad was saying, just words like "terminate" and once Dean heard "social worker" which worried him. Dad hated social workers, because they were a pain in the ass, Dad said. So anything to do with social workers wasn't good.

Dean looks over at Dad, who has his eyes on the road, mostly, except when he's looking in the mirror at Sammy, sleeping in the backseat. He doesn't know why his Dad is acting weird, but there is nothing he can say because the music is on, which means don't talk. He leans against the window, and closes his eyes, the sound of the music lost in the roar of the wind outside, the gentle sway of the car on the road rocking him to sleep.

The sound of the car door squeaking wakes him, and his head snaps up. The car is stopped, and Dad is gone from behind the wheel, standing on the porch of a house that's next to a white wooden church. They go together, the church and that house, Dean thinks, because they're made of the same white wood, the trim is painted the same light brown, the flowers in the flower beds are the same—not flowers really — not yet, just small green plants.

Dean sniffs and yawns, stretches and scratches, trying to wake up. A thin man in a black suit comes out of the house, a priest, Dean can tell, because he has one of those weird collars. He's talking with Dad, and then they both look over at the car, see him watching them. The priest smiles and waves, but Dad doesn't, he turns his back to Dean. Then Sammy wakes up and he's got to pee. They get out of the car, walk up to Dad and the priest.

"Boys, wait in the car," Dad says, but Sammy starts his pee dance, and the priest says they should all come in. So they do.

The house is dark, but nice. Way better than the places they've been staying, but not as nice as home. That thought stings a little, Dean makes it a point to try not to think about home too much, and usually it's easy because motels and apartments with furniture that isn't theirs aren't anything like home was. But this feels like a home. Someone else's home. Not his.

The priest, who tells them to call him Pastor Jim, shows them down the hall to the bathroom, flicks on the light. It's bright and yellow in there, and Pastor Jim says that he and Dad will be down the hall in the kitchen and to come in when they're done. Dean starts to object, but Dad gives him the "do as I say" look, and walks away with Pastor Jim. Dean watches the swinging door to the kitchen rock back and forth after the men disappear behind it.

"Dean," Sam whines. "I gots the bad pants." That gets Dean's attention and he closes the bathroom door.

"Okay, Sammy," he says and helps his little brother unbutton his jeans. Usually, Sam can do this himself, but the "bad pants" always defeat him. Something about the buttons on this pair instead of the usual snaps that his little fingers can't quite manage. Sam finishes his business, then Dean refastens the pants.

"You gotta ruin those somehow," Dean says as he takes his turn at the toilet. Sam's enthusiastically washing his hands. "Maybe I'll give you some scissors later, you can cut them up or something. By mistake." Sam grins with delight as he dries his wet hands on the hated pants. He loves scissors. It's why Dean is sporting a very short buzz cut right now.

"C'mon," Dean says, takes Sam's damp hand and leads him to the kitchen. He swings the door open and Dad and Pastor Jim look up at them. Jim smiles warmly, waves them in. Dad looks like he does when something bad happens on a hunt. Something he won't talk about. Dean's seen that look before and nothing good ever happens when Dad looks like that. Usually, Dad has to have a drink or two when he looks like that and sure enough, there's a bottle on the table along with the coffee cups.

"Would you boys like some cookies and milk?" Pastor Jim asks, and Sammy yelps out a happy, "Yeah!" and adds a "please" when Dean smacks the back of his head. Dean shrugs, helps Sam into the chair next to Dad. He takes the one next to Pastor Jim and watches Dad smile at Sammy, tousle his hair, pretend to listen as Sam talks about the playground he saw and the swings. Dean doesn't remember seeing a playground, but Sammy notices everything, so it must have been there.

Pastor Jim sets out a plate of homemade cookies. Dean hasn't seen any of those in a long time. Most of the cookies he and Sam have come from packages, and they all match perfectly. These are different sizes. Sam hones in on a big one. Dean chooses a smaller one. Then Pastor Jim sets a full glass of milk down in front of each boy. Dean sees immediately that it's too much, and waits for Dad to say something, to stop Sam before he grabs the glass, but Dad doesn't notice. Before Dean can act, Sam's dumped the entire glass of milk in his lap with a shriek. His lip trembles, prelude to tears and he looks anxiously at Dad, but Dad's not even looking at Sam. He's just clutching his cup of coffee, staring off into space.

"That's my fault," Pastor Jim says. "I'm sorry. Haven't had a little one around in awhile." He gets up and grabs a kitchen towel, meaning to clean Sam up, but Dean says, "I'll do it," and grabs the towel, drying Sam and the chair off as best he can before sitting back down.

"I like straws," Sam says. "They don't spill. Can I have more milk?"

"Sure thing. I think I might even have some straws around here somewhere." Pastor Jim starts rifling through one of the kitchen drawers.

"I'm cold," Sammy whines.

Dad looks up at that, finally seems to see what's been happening around him. "Dean, go get your brother a clean pair of pants," he says.

"Yessir," Dean replies and puts down his cookie. "Be right back, Sammy."

Sam's got another cookie, and barely looks up. Dean pushes through the swinging door and out into the long hallway. He's out the front door, and into the back of the Impala in a flash, digging through the duffle he shares with Sam. It's full of clothes. Everything is clean and neatly folded and he tries to remember when Dad did the laundry, and can't. Usually, Dad has Dean and Sam fold the clothes — it's their job, not his. This is kind of weird. He frowns and pulls out a pair of jeans with snaps and elastic, no stupid buttons, and races back to the house.

He stands outside the kitchen door, ready to push it open when he hears Pastor Jim say, "Are you sure about this John?" and Dad rumbles back, "I got no choice. I hate like hell to give them up, but it's not safe. If anything happened to them because they were hunting with me …"

"No one has a guarantee of safety in this life, John."

"Look, I didn't come here to argue. If you don't want to help me, I can go to the state. Do it legal. But I wanted them to go to someone who understands what's out there. Someone who can protect them. That's why I came to you. I've heard you know people like that."

"They're good boys, John. Well behaved. It won't be hard to find a place, but, I'd like you to think it over before you do anything you'll regret."

Dean's heart is in his throat. He can't think, and all he wants is for his father to stop this. Stop talking like this. He runs back to the front door, opens it, and gives it a slam. Then he runs down the hall and pushes the kitchen door hard.

The adults look up at him. Sammy's gone, and Dean's heart leaps again. Did Dad give Sam away already?

The confusion must have shown on Dean's face. "Sam's in the bathroom, Dean." Pastor Jim smiles kindly, and Dean hates him so much. "He didn't want to sit in his wet pants."

"Oh," Dean says and turns around, goes back down the hall to the bathroom where Sam is standing, tearfully trying to unfasten his pants.

"I hate dese pants," Sam grumps.

"Me too," says Dean. "Let's get rid of them." He helps Sam out of the "bad pants" and into the dry pair. He throws the pants into the bathtub, and pulls out a book of matches that he'd gotten at the last truck stop when Dad and the cashier weren't looking. At the time, all he was thinking was that sometimes, Dad needs matches when he hunts, to burn bones. Now, they look like something else entirely.

He peels off a match, and tries to strike it like he's seen Dad do a million times, but the match won't light. He tries, again and again, to no avail. Sam is watching, wide-eyed. "Dean, Daddy says no matches. Dean?"

"Sam, go eat your cookies," Dean snaps and tries again to light the matches. This time, to his and Sam's surprise, he succeeds. He drops the match on the pants and it promptly goes out. "Shit," he mutters, the forbidden swear falling effortlessly from his lips. He sniffs the match scent on the air, and pulls out another match.

Sam slaps a hand over his mouth. "'M tellin', Dean. You're not 'posed to say shit."

There's a sudden knock at the door. "Boys?" Pastor Jim asks, "You okay in there?"

"Almost done," Dean lies, scoops up the jeans and stuffs them in the trashcan along with the ruined matches and the matchbook. "Don't tell," he hisses at Sam, "or I'll tell Dad that you peed the bed last week."

Sam's eyes go wide. "No! I'll be good. I won't tell."

Dean opens the bathroom door, slaps on his most innocent face. Pastor Jim smiles, then sniffs, catching the telltale whiff of sulphur. He frowns slightly, but says nothing. "I found some straws, Sam. Thought we might finish our snack, then head over to the playground." He opens the kitchen door and Dean stops dead. The kitchen is empty.

"Where's Dad?" he demands. "Where'd he go?"

Pastor Jim sighs and squats down to Dean's level. "You boys are going to stay here for a couple of days. Your Dad has some –"

Before he can finish the sentence, Dean pushes him, knocking the pastor over, and runs for the front door. Through the heavy glass, he can see his Dad, tossing a bag into the Impala's trunk, can see their own duffle on the front porch. He slaps both hands on the glass and screams, "NO!" Then he pulls open the door and flies down the stairs, across the yard and into the street, just as the Impala starts to pull out.

"Dad!" Dean screams, and there's the blare of a horn, and then he's flying, and it doesn't make any sense. He didn't expect that sudden jolt. He hits the hood of a car, bounces off and hits the street, face first, then rolls, over and over, ends up lying on his back, looking up at the blue, blue sky. He tries to get up, but can't. Nothing works like it's supposed to. His fingers scrabble against the asphalt, and his mouth is all copper pennies and sharp edges. He spits blood and rocks. There's someone nearby, someone's screaming. He doesn't know who, but it makes him want to scream too.

"Dad!" he bawls wetly, blood and tears on his face. A woman appears in his vision, a stranger, and she's really scared, and it's freaking him out.

"Oh, my god, oh my god, are you all right?" she screams in his face and he tries to get away from her. "Don't move", she says, and presses his shoulders down and he fights, doesn't want her, doesn't want her hands on him. He swings wildly, and his fist connects and she's out of his face.

"Dad!" he screams again, and then his Dad is there, holding him down and Dean's so scared. He hurts, bad, hurts everywhere, but he doesn't care about the pain. He's afraid that Dad will leave him, leave them. Leave and never come back. Like Mom.

"Dad," he pleads, "Dad, don't leave, please."

"I won't, Dean. I've got you." Dad says.

"Promise. No-no-swear! Swear you won't go!"

"I won't Dean, I swear, I won't leave you."

It's only then that Dean stops being afraid. He hurts, oh, he hurts so much, but he's not scared anymore. He hears his dad talking to the woman, hears Pastor Jim's voice, hears Sammy asking, "What's wrong with Dean?" He tries to tell Sam its okay, not to worry, but there's a strange buzzing noise in his head, and then the voices sound funny, like they're talking underwater, and then everything gets dark.

Dean wakes up a few times. There are bright lights, weird smells and there are strangers there, but Dad is always there, too, right where Dean can see him. When Dean wakes up for real he's in a little beige room, with curtains for walls and so many machines around him, all of them blinking and beeping. And for a minute, he can't see Dad, and he panics, tries to move, but he can't. It hurts and his mouth is too dry to call out, and when he lifts his arm, something pinches, and he starts to cry. Then he hears his dad say, "Deano?" and Dad smiles at him, and says, "Welcome back, kiddo — you sure had us worried." And he cries harder, because he didn't go anywhere. Dad did. But Dad IS there, and he hurts and he was so scared, and he doesn't know what's going on, but Dad's there, so it's okay, and he's just so relieved.

Dean's in the little room, the PICU they call it, for three days. He's not awake much. They finally move him out to a real room with real walls and not so many machines. Dad has a cot, next to Dean's bed, and he stays in the room with Dean. And Dean's so glad Dad is there that even when his legs really hurt a lot, he tries not to complain. Because Dad says he's lucky he only broke his hip and his legs, and not his neck. And Dean feels lucky, not because of his unbroken neck, but because of Dad, and he's not going to be any trouble for Dad, ever again.

But he hurts, a lot, and his legs are in casts, and there's something that pulls on them all the time. Traction, or something, Dads says, but all Dean knows is that it makes his hip and back hurt. His face is sore, he lost his two front teeth, the ones that were loose anyway, and he's got a big scrape on his chin, and it itches. Plus, he has to use this bedpan thing which is gross and it hurts. Mostly though, it's really boring and he misses Sam. After a week in the real room, Dad and Pastor Jim sneak Sammy in to see him. They hide Sammy under Pastor Jim's coat, and it's so funny to see Sammy crawl out from under the coat that Dean can't stop laughing. Dad tells Pastor Jim it must be because of the morphine, but Dean knows it's because he's so happy to see Sammy, so glad they're all together.

Sammy's kind of scared of Dean at first, because his legs are sticking up in the air, and he looks kinda scary with the bruises and the casts and all the pulleys and stuff. But pretty soon Sammy is sitting on the bed next to Dean, and even though he's bouncing a little too much, Dean doesn't care. He's so happy to see Sam, so relieved that he's still there, not living with someone else.

Dean's in the hospital for two weeks. Dad stays with him the whole time. Usually Dad reads, studies books that Pastor Jim gives him. Takes notes in his journal. Dean watches TV, or Dad reads him stories sometimes. The doctors tell Dad that Dean will heal up just fine, except for being a little bowlegged, and that it will just take time and work. Dad says bowlegged is fine, and handy sometimes for dealing with the ladies, which Dean doesn't understand, but Dad says he will, someday.

When he gets out, they go back to Pastor Jim's. On the front porch is a sign that says, "Welcome Back, Dean", and it's obvious that Sam has done most of the coloring. Dad carries Dean into the house. There's a hospital bed in the living room, and Dad sets Dean down onto it, gently.

Sam jumps up on the bed with Dean. Pastor Jim hands Sam a big box with a ribbon on it ... a present.

"It's Gobzilla!" Sammy says, opening the box before Dean can.

Dean looks confused.

"It's Godzilla. Movies that your Dad and I used to watch when we were kids," Pastor Jim says with a smile. Dad smiles too, takes the box and looks happily through the tapes.

"I haven't seen these in years," Dad says. "You're gonna love this, Deano."

And Dean does. Even though some of them are black and white, it's the best thing that Dean has ever seen. When the doctors give Dean exercises to do in bed, Dad puts on a Godzilla, and Dean watches the movie, does his exercises, Dad reading by his side, Sammy coloring on the floor. The front parlor becomes Dean's room. Sam plays there, Dad reads there, Dean heals there. Sometimes Dad and Pastor Jim go back to the kitchen to work. There's a lot of stuff about monsters that Dad doesn't know. Pastor Jim teaches him. It worries Dean at first, that maybe Dad still wants to give him and Sammy away, but Dad seems so much happier. Especially on Godzilla nights.

Once the casts are off, Dad goes with Dean to physical therapy, which Dean hates more than training, more than anything, because it hurts to try to use his legs. Dean's reward for doing his physical therapy is watching Godzilla with Dad. Dean can sometimes forget how much he hurts when he sees that monster stomp on Tokyo. Some days he wants to stomp on Tokyo, too. He wants to breathe fire and burn up all the physical therapists and the doctors. He wants to scream like Godzilla when they do the rage of motion exercises, cause those hurt most of all.

But if he makes it through physical therapy without complaining, he and Dad put on a Godzilla tape after dinner, and watch until bedtime. Which is usually pretty early for Dean, because that PT stuff wears him out. And Dad tells Dean stories about when he was a kid, how he used to go to the drive-in with his parents and brothers and sisters and they'd watch Godzilla movies and eat popcorn that they made at home and brought with them.

But the best part of Godzilla is having Dad there. Because while Dad may not remember about giving Sam and Dean away to Pastor Jim, Dean remembers. And one night, when Pastor Jim is at bible study, and Sammy has fallen asleep on the couch, Dad puts on "Son of Godzilla". Dean hasn't seen that one, and Dad tells Dean that it's his favorite, and sits next to Dean on the bed and they watch together. When Godzilla chases after the little Godzilla, and saves him from the bad guys who trap him, Dean asks Dad if Godzilla will always be there when his son needs him.

Dad rubs Dean's head, and says, "Of course he will. That's what fathers do."

"Forever? No matter what?"

"Forever," Dad says. "No matter what."

Dean holds onto that promise for the next twenty years. Dad keeps it for as long as he can.


History shows again and again
How nature points up the folly of men


They drive for seven hours after they leave Bobby's, after Sam is free of his Meg infestation. They have no set destination, other than away, so they head north. Sam drives the first shift, up through South Dakota and into North Dakota while Dean sleeps. Late afternoon has given way to night by the time Sam pulls over just outside Grand Forks, to gas up, and Dean insists that they change places, claiming his baby's missed him.

The sleep seems to have done Dean some good. His face is a mess, has to hurt like hell, though it's not obvious from his behavior. He's smiling, playing the radio, and if he spends half his time with one eye on his brother, and the other on the road, well, who's to say that Sam didn't do the same when he was driving?

They talk about what happened. A little. Because, after all, they are Winchesters, and their family motto is "Suck it up, bitch." Least that's what Dean always claims it is.

It's after eleven when the events of the last week - the unending worry, the pistol to the head, the bullet to the shoulder, the swim in the lake, getting thrown into yet another wall, the fists to the face, and the thumb ground into the bullet wound - finally catch up with Dean. He spots a Motel 6 and pulls in, grateful for the generally clean, relatively cheap accommodations that the national chain offers all across this great land. No panties under the bed, no pubes in the sink, (or in the bed), no leftover pizza on the heating vents, no bugs. Just nice, clean, plain surroundings, plenty of hot water for the shower and two full size beds. Nothing could be closer to heaven at this moment. Unless the room came with magic fingers and complementary steak dinners.

The look on Sam's face as he comes back from checking them in tells Dean that he isn't having steak or magic finger action tonight.

"Booked up."


"You know, we're only about a half hour out of Blue Earth…maybe…"


"Then why did you drive us here?"

Truthfully, Dean hadn't even noticed. He was driving on autopilot, the ability to plan ahead had kind of been beaten out of him back at Bobby's and he was just doing whatever required the least amount of thought and motion. Blue Earth and Pastor Jim were as close to a true home as either he or Sam had ever known. It had always been a refuge in times of sickness, injury, or trouble. They hadn't been back since Jim died, since Dad made his deal, though, God knows, they'd had reason. But a trip to Blue Earth meant facing one more tragic loss head on, and there was only so much a man could take at one time. Dean's plate had been pretty full. Guess he was going to have to call this dessert.

"Okay," Dean sighs and starts up the car. He doesn't have it in him to argue tonight. There's no room at the inn, and he doesn't want to sleep in the car. Their safe harbors are disappearing fast. This is one of the few left, and it hadn't actually been that safe in reality. Pastor Jim is dead, and as far as he's heard, the church and house are empty. But he knows where the spare key is. Has known, since he was seven.

Dean parks the car behind the house, out of sight of the road, again, out of habit. The church and house sit on the outskirts of Blue Earth, and there are no close neighbors, so there's very little fear of the County Sheriff barging in and arresting them for trespassing. The place hasn't changed much in the twenty years since they first pulled up in front of the white wooden church, with its matching parsonage. Sam gathers bedrolls and duffles while Dean walks over to the flowerbed in front of the church and pulls out the third brick in the third row. The key sits there, undisturbed. With their lock picking skills, the key is more of a courtesy than a necessity. Pastor Jim showed Dean the secret hiding place the first year they stayed. "As long as you find a key here, you know you're welcome." The key had always been there, waiting for them. Just like Pastor Jim.

Dean puts the key in the lock, hears the grudging clunk of the tumblers. He opens the big wooden door, and the hinges screech from disuse. Sounds like the Impala's doors, just a little. The boys go inside.

The electricity is off, so it's flashlights on. The furniture in the front parlor is covered with sheets. The air is dusty, dry and cold, but underneath, the familiar Old Spice scent of Pastor Jim lingers, putting them at ease, welcoming them home.

Sam frowns, considers the cold and the dark that surround them. "Wonder if the generator is still in the summer kitchen?" He goes to find out.

Dean stands in the parlor, notes the wood stove looks operable and there's a pile of firewood neatly stacked nearby. Pastor Jim was always prepared—the winters here are hard, and sometimes they were snowed in for weeks at a time. And summer thunderstorms take out the electricity with a regularity that has them looking for candles every time it thunders. Dean is reaching for some fatwood when the chandelier above him flickers to life. "Atta boy, Sammy." Dean loads the stove, and lights the fire with his Zippo, warms his hands over the puny flames.

Sam appears with a wide smile on his face, a bottle of Jack, and two glasses. "Found the firewater."

"That's tits," Dean grins, but a wince replaces the smile, his bruises unwilling to be ignored. "Any chance there's food?"

"The emergency supplies are still in the cupboard. And the propane stove works, so you have your choice of beef stew, beef stew, or beef stew. Unless you want Spam."

"I don't like Spam," Dean deadpans.

"Beef stew it is, then," Sam says, puts the glasses and bottle on the coffee table and disappears back down the long hallway into the kitchen.

Dean shoves another log into the stove, sinks down onto the couch with a groan. Sighs, deep, and feels the pain in his shoulder flare like the stove flames. God, he'd spent a lot of time in this room over the years. The furniture is the same ugly maroon floral that he remembered from when he was a kid. Some things never change. If Dean had his way, things and people would always stay the same. They wouldn't die, or leave, or become something else.

Grunting, he leans forward and pours himself a hefty glass of whiskey. Sits back again, and drinks down half of it without stopping, welcoming the burn, the comforting heat blossoming in his chest. Takes another sip, lets his aching head meld with the worn floral upholstery of the sofa. The room shifts hazily around him, blurs and fades in and out, and when he opens his eyes, he sees Pastor Jim and his father, sitting in front of the stove, a chess board between them, the bottle of Jack on the coffee table. On the floor, in front of the television, he spies Sammy, sprawled, intently coloring pictures in a Bible Tales coloring book. And next to Sam, propped up with pillows, legs in casts, he sees himself.

"It's movie time, Dad," he says, impatient, eager, and his father reaches over, rubs his newly shorn head, like he was patting a faithful dog. Dean welcomes the feel of his father's warm hand gently caressing his head, leans into it, just a little.

"Sure you don't want to watch something else?" Dad asks, looks over at Pastor Jim, a knowing grin on his face.

"Care Bears!" Sam shrieks, and Dean looks crestfallen.

"It's Dean's turn, Sammy," Dad says, and Dean smiles up at him, grateful, and happy.

"Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla," he says. "We haven't seen that one in awhile." He turns to Sam and says, "You like that one, Sammy. It's got the robots in it."

"'Kay," Sam says, and goes back to his coloring.

Dad gets up slowly and walks to the bookshelf, carefully runs his finger along a row of black cases, and pulls one out, takes out the tape. He slips it into the VCR, and before he presses play, he asks, "You sure you don't want Mothra? Son of Godzilla? Monster Zero? Godzilla vs. Barbie?"

"Barbie?" Dean asks, confused.

"Gotcha." His father grins at Pastor Jim.

"Daad," Dean whines. The suspense is killing him.

"Okay, here we go," Dad presses play and the TV screen comes to life, the blue screen gone, and the music starts. Dean settles in, happy, watching the monsters fight, feeling his own pain ease.

Sammy doesn't really watch, he colors. Sometimes he draws letters and pictures on Dean's cast, coloring them messily. Dad and Pastor Jim look up occasionally when one Godzilla or the other screams, and they watch the action, then go back to their game. But Dean watches the screen, doesn't take his eyes off it. He knows every bit by heart, but it doesn't matter. He never gets tired of watching Godzilla.

"Hey, you asleep?" Sam asks, and Dean jerks upright with a gasp, as the room snaps back into focus.

Sam's standing over him, two steaming bowls in his hands, concern furrowed into his brow. "I hated to wake you," he says. "Looked like you were happy. Sorry."

"It's okay, Sam. It was an old dream. I know how it ends."

Dean takes the offered bowl, eats the beef stew. It's hot, and it warms him, but there's a cold, empty feeling in his chest, like someone left a window open, and a draft has blown in.

Sam keeps eyeing him between bites, skittish about bringing up the whole possession thing, wanting to know what the demon's done, but not wanting the knowledge that comes with the knowing, the muscle memory of how it feels to slit throats, break bones, pull triggers.

They finish their meal in silence, and Sam pours two finger of Jack into his glass, and three fingers into Dean's. "I'll change the bandage on your shoulder, soon as you finish this." He hands Dean the glass full of amber painkiller, throws on his default look: guilty.

"I never should have told you about that," Dean says ruefully as he takes a swallow, but he doesn't reject Sam's offer. Sam's hurting too, but Dean doesn't have any magic balm for his brother. Sam's wounds are all inside, except for the permanent reminder burned into his forearm. Those inner wounds can't be bandaged. He's told Sam that he doesn't blame him, that it wasn't his fault, and there's little else he can say. Besides, a little suffering is good for the soul. Isn't it? He's just sorry it's Sam who's suffering, because it means he's failed to protect him. He fingers the protection charms in his pocket. Hopes they'll do a better job than he did.

Dean swallows the rest of the whiskey, coughs, and shrugs off his jacket. "Let's do this."

Sam goes to retrieve the first aid kit. Dean starts to pull his tee shirt over his head, but stops when his shoulder protests. The shirt is ruined beyond salvation, and he saves himself the pain, draws out his knife and cuts the fabric away. He wriggles out of the garment like a snake shedding its skin. "You owe me a shirt," he says, as Sam comes back into the parlor.

"At least," Sam mutters, and Dean pretends not to hear. Sam sets out tape, gauze and ointment. He eyes the purple bruising that's seeped out from the bandage that Bobby had reapplied before they left. Dean wouldn't let him near him then. Sent him out to fetch the car. Didn't want him to see what the demon had done. What Sam's body had done without him.

Now the extent of the violence is evident in a ring of deep purple-black bruises that surround the bullet wound like a halo. Sam sets his hand on the marks, and his fingers line up perfectly. Dean bats his hand away. "Cut it out, Sammy. Just clean it up and bandage it."

Gingerly, Sam removes the blood spotted bandage. The wound is puffy, red and swollen. The whole area is bruised, and the hole is seeping yellow pus. "I should…I should irrigate this," Sam says, a little unnerved by how bad the wound looks, how it's all on him. "Maybe get some arnica on those bruises."

"Whatever," Dean says. Sam leaves to boil some water. Dean sighs, picks up the whiskey and pours another two fingers into his glass. He still has the painkillers that Jo gave him, but he decides to save them for later, because right now, the whiskey is doing a fair job of dulling his pain, and making his head swim. He lets his gaze travel around the room, hoping for a rerun of the Dad and Pastor Jim show, but, no luck. He glances up, and on the bookshelf, he notices a row of black video cases amongst the books, and his heart leaps in his chest. He gets up shakily, and goes to look.

They're all here. All of the Godzilla movies, all of the movies he watched that spring as they took up residence in the parsonage while he healed. He pulls out "Son of Godzilla" and holds it reverently in his hands. He turns expectantly, looking at the space where the TV should be, but it's gone. Some relative, parishioner or friend had taken it after Pastor Jim's death. He won't have Godzilla to help him tonight.

"Whatcha looking at?" Sam asks as he comes in with a basin of water and some kitchen towels.

"Nothing," he says, and then puts the case back on the shelf.

Sam comes up behind him, grins over his shoulder. "Oh, man, Godzilla. I remember watching those." He looks over the row of tapes. "Monster Zero, Mothra, oh, hey, look, Care Bears." He grabs that tape. "I used to love this when I was little."

"You were a freakin' girl, even then." Dean sits back down on the couch, his legs rubbery, the JD really taking effect now. He lets his mind wander away to another time. "You remember when we first stayed here?"

"You mean when you got hit by the car? I don't remember much. I remember going to see you in the hospital, and later, when you came home, I remember we'd sit here in the evening, watch a movie with Dad and Pastor Jim, eat popcorn. Pastor Jim gave me crayons, and scissors … and I gave Dad a haircut."

"You gave ME a haircut. That was before we came."

"Oh." Sam starts to work on Dean's shoulder. "I thought it was Dad." He draws up a syringe full of betadyne and boiled water, hesitates for a moment. "This might hurt," he says and when Dean doesn't react, infuses the warm fluid into the wound.

The alcohol is kicking in big time now. Dean doesn't even feel the water chasing the clots from the bullet hole, just the annoying poke of the syringe against his skin. "You know what? Bein' here that spring? Bes' time o' my life, Sammy." Dean leans in close to his brother's ear, lowers his voice. "I couldn' tell Dad that…he thought it was before, ya know, in Lawrence, but, truth is, I don' remember much about that." He leans back, slams his hand down on the couch, sloshing some of the betadyne from the bowl. "This, righ' here, best time o' my life."

Sam smiles indulgently, sops up the mess with a kitchen towel, and refills the syringe. "Dean, a car hit you. You had two broken legs and a busted hip. How was that the best time of your life?"

"Cause he didn't leave, Sam. He stayed. Dad was here, and you were here, and it was … it was …" He puts a hand on Sam's wrist, holds it. "It was home, Sam. Dad an' you an' me … us, together. That was home." He lets Sam's wrist go, slumps into the sofa a bit more. "Dad was here with us, the whole time. We'd do my phys'cal ther'py exercises, an' if I did a good job, we got to watch a Godzilla." Dean sighs. "Didn't matter how much I hurt. I'd watch Godzilla, an' it all went away."

"It's a painkiller?" Sam swabs the wound with antibiotic ointment, and puts a gauze pad over it. "So that's why you like Godzilla so much? That's why you listen to the song? Watch the movies?"

Dean smiles sadly at his brother. "'S more th'n that, Sammy. 'S a promise. He promised … he promised he'd always be there if I needed him. Just like Godzilla. But he's gone. Dad's gone. And I really, really need him."

Sam stops his ministrations. He's only heard this tone in his brother's voice once before, sitting on the Impala beside Dean, parked on the side of the road. He didn't have words then, and he doesn't now. Just lets his hand rest on his brother's shoulder, a beat longer than necessary for the task. Knows Dean won't accept anything more, especially now, especially from him. Then Sam pours the last of the whiskey into Dean's glass, hands it to him. It's the only way he knows to ease the pain.

Dean takes the glass. Swallows the whiskey. Composes himself. "Fuck it, though," he says. "Godzilla, man, Godzilla is always there for me. Ya know, the car I stole? That crapmobile? It had a BOC CD in it. I turned it on, and it played Godzilla. I listened, over and over, all the way to Bobby's. Got me there in time."

Sam frowns as he tapes the gauze into place. "Dean, that car didn't have a CD player."

"Yes it did, Sammy." Dean shakes his head, and then has to steady it with his hand. "An' how would you know? You din' drive it."

"Yes, Dean. I did. I moved it into Bobby's yard, remember? It had a radio, that's all. And it was stuck on AM. I remember, cause I couldn't turn off Rush Limbaugh. It was stuck on that station. There was no CD player. You musta lost more blood than you thought, man." Sam stood, basin in hand. "Be right back, I'm gonna dump this."

Dean is suddenly sober. He'd asked for help, prayed for it, and gotten what in answer? A song. And who would have known that Godzilla was exactly what he needed? A cold chill runs up his spine and he suddenly can't find enough air. He stares up at the row of tapes on the wall, blinks, and then stands. The room tilts, shifts, rights itself. The TV is on in the corner, and Godzilla is playing. He knows this one. "Son of Godzilla." Dad is lying on the bed with him, hand rubbing his hair.

"Forever? No matter what?" he asks.

"Forever," Dad says. "No matter what."

Dean turns and stumbles to the front door, throws it open, and steps outside.

The night air is cold, the sky inky black, and the moon is a pale sliver in the sky. He walks down the steps and over to the church, and sits down on the brick flowerbox. He stares back at the house. Too many memories. Too much pain. Too much loss. Too much responsibility. He's only seven, for god's sake. No. He's not.

God. He's so drunk he doesn't even know what year it is.

"Dean? Dean!" he hears Sam yell. Watches his long legs eat up the yard as he walks over to him.

"Dean, what the hell?" Sam says, and sits down next to him on the flowerbox. "You okay, man?"

Dean shakes his head. "I'm tired. And I hurt. And I need …"

Dean looks up at him, and for a moment, Sam sees his brother as he was when he was a child. It shakes him, and he has to put his hand on Dean's shoulder to steady himself. "Dean. What do you need?"

"I don't know, Sammy," he says in a small voice. "I don't know." He drops his gaze, and lets his head fall.

"C'mon, man. Let's go inside," Sam says and gathers him up, herds him back into the house. "Sit, here, Dean," he says, settling his brother onto the couch. "I'll be right back." Dean doesn't resist, doesn't say anything. Sam goes out to the Impala, retrieves a blanket and his laptop, and comes back inside. Dean hasn't moved, and Sam has to help him lie back on the sofa, then covers his brother with the blanket, and turns off the light. Settles into the side chair and powers up the laptop.

A quick scan through the music list, and he finds it. Puts it on repeat, and presses play.

The pounding drumbeats sound like the great monster's footsteps, and then morph into hot guitar licks, and then slide into screams.

Dean looks up at Sam, hurt and anger in his eyes. "Don't …" he says, levering up on one elbow, but Sam meets his gaze.

"You need this," he says and sets the computer on the floor, lets the song play. Dean lies back on the couch with a sigh, puts his good arm under his head, and listens.

With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound
He pulls the spitting high tension wires down

Dean shuts his eyes, lets the song's pounding rhythm guide his own heartbeat, until the two are indistinguishable. Lets himself remember that spring, when he almost died, when he almost lost his family, and when he got it back. The song starts again, and he remembers driving, and hearing Godzilla, and praying for help, and he doesn't know who answered, God, the universe, Pastor Jim, or even Dad, and he hopes it was Dad, but it doesn't matter, someone heard him, someone got him to Sam in time. Someone got him here, back where it all began, back to the beginning of the family business.

Now he and Sam are all that's left of the Winchester family. And just like his father was always there when he really needed him, Dean is going to be there for Sam. His Dad gave up his life for Dean's. Dean knows he can't do less for Sam. Won't do less. He promised his brother he was going to save him. And in that moment, he thinks he actually has a chance of succeeding.

Dean falls asleep, music in his ears, an unaccustomed ease in his soul, watching Godzilla in the living room, Sam, Pastor Jim and Dad around him, feeling his father's hand rest warm and heavy on head, and he's happy, once more.


They stay in Blue Earth for a week, resting, recovering. Sam does odd jobs around the parsonage, cleans and putters just like Pastor Jim used to. Dean sleeps a lot. When he's awake, he cleans the guns, sharpens the knives, gives the Impala a good detailing. She shines like a diamond when he's done.

Sam makes a few phone calls and finds out that Pastor Jim left the parsonage, church and all his belongings to their father. Too bad their father can't collect. When Sam realizes that the will is public record, and that the FBI might just be waiting for word of activity on the property, they decide it's time to go.

In the morning, Dean and Sam take turns in the tub, shave, and pack up. Sam picks out dozens of books from the library. Dean stops in the living room, gathers all the Godzilla tapes, and puts them in a box. Gives it to Sam to put in the trunk. Then he locks the front door, and returns the key to its proper place under the third brick in the third row.

When he gets back to the car, Sam is holding up a tape. "Care Bears, Dean?"

"Hey, Sammy, it's your turn to pick the movie tonight. I know how much you love that one."

Dean smiles, starts the car, and puts "Master of Puppets" in the tape deck, because he's heard enough BOC to last him for awhile. He drives off, with no particular destination in mind, no agenda other than to do what he's always done—keep his family together, and safe. No matter what.

Like Dad.

Like Godzilla.

The End