And on we go... :-) Thanks once more for your reviews! Please keep that up, so I know you're still with me... :-)

Chapter 2

Then

Sammy was fast asleep in the one of the two small beds in the room next door, and Dean was watching TV, switching the channel bored every now and then. A silent click! from the appartment's frontdoor made him jump from the couch the ten year old boy sat on and grab hastily for the sawn-off shotgun resting against the headpiece of the couch.

The door opened slowly, and John Winchester sneaked into the room, hairs tousled, his jacket torn at one shoulder, a big bloody streak squarely across his strong features. Dean relaxed and let go of the sawn-off. „Hi, Dad", he said and strolled over to the man, hands stuffed into the pockets of his jeans. „How did the hunt go?"

John placed his duffle bag onto the table and stood for a moment, not reacting to the eager words from his eldest son.

„Dad?" Dean closed in another step and lifted a small hand, hovering inches above John's arm, not daring to touch the tensed man.

„Ah, Dean. It was – it was horrible." He couldn't hold back the words, and once they were out, he regretted placing them upon his son's heart. John turned face to face to Dean and pulled him into a tight embrace, his chin resting on the boy's long blonde hair. They stood for a long minute without moving, and finally John let go. „You should get a haircut", he ruffled through Dean's mane.

„Awww, Dad... in a few days maybe." Dean hated that word since his father played hairdresser then, cutting his hair in a terrible ugly way. The kids in school used to laugh at him, and whenever he had such a „treatment" by his father he pulled on his New York Rangers cap he had gotten from Uncle Bobby last birthday.

„You should go to bed now, dude." John patted the soft cheek of the boy and smiled at him with a sad look in his eyes. If only I can protect my boys a little longer from what's out there in the dark...

Dean slipped under the blanket and snuggled close to Sammy, with whom he shared a bed. It was only to his father's order that he did that, for he thought he was too big to still sleep with his baby brother, especially since the younger boy had grown through the last year and used to sleep with widespread limbs, leaving almost no place for Dean.

Listening to the familiar sounds of his father changing his clothes and taking a bottle of beer out of the refridgerator made him close his eyes, and within the wink of an eye he was fast asleep.

Dean stirred, still sleepy, and wondered what had waken him. His eyes wandered to the clock placed on the nightstand: 3:15. He blinked tiredly and yawned, tugging at the blanket that Sammy had drawn with himself when he had turned away from the older boy, leaving Dean uncovered and shivering, as he now noticed. But that hadn't waken him.

A strange sound came from the small living-room of the apartment, alerting Dean. Now broad awake he slowly withdrew from the bed and tiptoed towards the ajar door that separated the bedroom from the living-room.

Relief flooded his wiry frame as he realized that the sounds came from his father, but it lasted only a few seconds.

Dad's crying? Dean couldn't believe that. After all, his father was a hero, right? And heroes never cried.

He sneaked to his father's side who sat slumped on the couch, face buried in his big hands. Dean stood in front of his father for a minute and finally decided to put a small hand on the man's shoulder.

„D-dad? Everything okay?"

John lifted his tearstained face and looked at his son with reddened, swollen eyes. „Oh, Dean. Why ya `wake?"

Dean wrinkled his nose at the cloud of alcohol that hit him. „Dad, come to bed, please."

Anger lit up in John's eyes and Dean withdrew a few inches. He realized that his father was dead drunk, and that scared him. He had never seen his father in such a state; sure, John wasn't shy to beer and whisky, but he never drank more than he could stand. Except for tonight. „Don't tell me whatttado!" He grabbed the long hair of his son and yanked a little bit at it.

Dean bit back the tears that threatened to shoot into his eyes from the stinging pain. „Ouch, Daddy, that hurts!" He yelped and tried to free his hair from his father's firm grip.

John frowned. „I'm gonna give ya a haircut now, boy." He stood up and dragged the wriggling boy with him to the tiny bathroom. He forced Dean to lower his head down into the sink by the pressure of his big hand on the boy's fragile neck and rummaged with his free hand through the washbag.

„Gotcha." He pulled the scissors out and started cutting Dean's hair, tearing hard at the strands. He once catched Dean's ear and caused the boy to scream in pain as the sharp blades cut through his soft skin, blood immidiately oozing from the small wound.

John slapped Dean hard across the back. „Don't move, jerk."

Dean felt tears well up in his eyes, out of pain and shame, and he bit his lower lip until his teeth left bloody marks in it.

It seemed like an eternity to him, but finally John let go of him, shoving him roughly aside that he tripped over his own feet and crashed hard against the toilet. John just gave him a disgusted sneer. „You shouldn't look like her. No-one should! But that I've taken care of now." He turned and left, leaving the trembling boy alone.

Dean dropped boneless against the toilet and sobbed silently, unable to hold back the tears anymore. He couldn't believe what his father had done to him, but when his eyes grazed the sink he saw the blond hair lying all around it. He lifted slowly his hands and touched his head, fumbling through his now short and spiky hair. New tears ran down his cheeks and Dean fought to stiffle the moans when he scrambled to his feet and sluggishly collected the cutten hair, throwing it into the dustbin.

When the last strand had vanished, he sneaked past the living-room where his father sat, downing another beer and staring at a picture. Dean didn't have to crane his neck to see who was on the photo. It was his mom, he knew, laughing at the invisible photographer, long blonde hair flying in an unfelt wind, her green eyes glistening happily.

Dean slid back under the covers and crouched close to Sammy, trying to catch a little of the smaller boy's sleep-heat. All of a sudden he was glad that he had to share a bed with his brother, searching the comforting presence of the six-year-old's fragile frame.

When he closed his eyes, he suddenly understood what his father had meant with his last words, remembering the picture in his father's hand.

He looked like his mom. That was why his father had gotten angry. It was his fault that the man had cut his hair in such a rough way. He had caused his father pain by simply looking like his mom. A lump formed in Dean's throat, and he silently swore to himself to do anything to never hurt his father that way again.

A/N: Okay, that's it for today, folks! Now I'll watch the last 7 minutes of Sweden-USA. Don't know what I'm talking about? Dudes, it's HOCKEY TIME TONIGHT! ;-) Go get fighting, Sweden!