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[personal profile] elohvee
that's just some people talkin'.
Supernatural. John. G, gen. Four times Papa Winchester didn't come home. Approx. 400 words. Title from the Eagles.


Early summer of ninety-two he's in Tennessee and the boys are in Flagstaff, in what passes for home. He said he'd be back for Sammy's birthday. He said he'd see the end of the year school awards ceremony. Sammy was up for everything but perfect attendance.

Dean begged but followed orders. And John said, Next time, son. You can come next time. When I don't... When it's safer. When I know it's safe.

Sammy asked and sulked for days. And his father answered, Next year, Sammy. I promise. I'll be there next year, okay?

From a pay phone in Memphis, he calls and runs out of time before Dean can ever get the phone away from his brother. He hasn't got another quarter.

::

He says goodbye to the old millennium in a North Carolina bar. There's a group of drunk college students singing karaoke and when the clock strikes twelve he calls, but nobody answers. The boys tell him later that they were out.

There were fireworks at the park, says Dean when he calls back the next day. He pauses. And then, When are you coming home, dad?

He sighs, leans his forehead against the wall. Soon, son. It's almost over. I'll be home soon.

::

On the road to San Antone, a diner waitress twenty years younger than him leans too far over when she collects his plate and leaves him a bill with a seven-digit number scrawled on the back in red ink.

He goes back to his room and picks up the phone, dials Jim's instead.

He says, Your boys miss you, John. And John says, I know.

Dean says, It's been weeks. Come home, dad. And John says, can't, son. Not until it's done. Can't walk out on a job. This is important.

Sam turns eighteen in three days. He doesn't come to the phone at all.

::

After Jericho, Dean leaves him messages every few days, usually just casual updates, but every so often he's worried. Panicked. Hurt. He'll say, Please, dad, and We need you and then he'll sigh before the line goes dead, like he doesn't expect an answer. He never expects an answer.

John starts erasing most of the messages without listening at all. His hands shake like the very first time he held a gun, but at least it keeps him from calling back.
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