but ships were sunk and someone took the fall
Supernatural. John, Dean, Sam. On the road. Worksafe.
In the beginning when the roads got too blurry and he couldn't keep his eyes straight ahead, John Winchester would pull over into the mostly empty parking lot of a gas station with one of those nearly dirty diners attached messily on the side. Dean would always jerk awake the second the engine was turned off but Sam would sleep through until Dean poked him in the belly too many times and pushed him out the door.
The boys would get excited over too greasy eggs and lukewarm hot chocolate (and hell if Dean thought he was foolin' anybody when he switched his cup with John's coffee, really) and too sour sweets that were half a dollar on the racks. They fought over the red ones and John lost himself in the glare of headlights on the glass.
It was an adventure for them, at the start. Long drives to nowhere, street lamps the only thing protecting them from the dark. No night lights for the Winchester boys.
Sometimes Dean had nightmares, though he never mentions them to John. He curls up on himself, clenches his fists and snarls in his sleep but in the mornings, when Sammy is staring longingly out the windows at things neither John nor Dean can grasp or understand, Dean never says a word. John doesn't ask. There are some things a father can't teach a son.
But they go on that way; John quiet and trying, Dean trying to keep up with one eye turned towards the smaller, Sam in a world of his own and with dreams to match. John thinks he's doing the best that he can. He loves his boys. Dean understands, Dean always understood. He thinks. But he can't fault Sam, not Sammy, not the baby. Sam never saw the dark the way they've seen the dark. He sees it now, day after day, but it hasn't touched him the same way. Hasn't gripped his whole body with loss.
John checks his mirror, both boys sound a sleep like pups curled on the back seat and he can tell there will be bruises tomorrow when they wake up like that. He half smiles and takes a right; he prays that Sam never has to know the things that give Dean unspoken nightmares, or the reason John feels like he'd be lying if he told his boys to not be afraid of the dark.
In the beginning John felt like he knew them both, like they could go on this way, like he could keep his family together be it with glue or lessons in rifle cleaning. In the beginning Sam stared out the windows and Dean tried hard to be a man.