This Time Its Different

By: Tidia


JT didn’t know if it was Uncle Sam’s psychic or Scholar abilities that made for a well planned hunt. Nothing happened that Uncle Sam was not prepared for- there was no seat of the pants moment. 


It was boring, JT learned a lot on his hunts with his uncle, but hunts with his Dad or Uncle Caleb were exciting, and injury producing.  Uncle Sam was proud no one ever got hurt on his hunts, unlike when the boys went with the other hunters- scrapes, bruises, stitches and some ER visits were par the course.


Max was on summer break from college, but offering a colorful commentary of collegiate life with every other word being something about a girl and a party.


"Max, are you taking any classes?"  Uncle Sam asked the same question JT was wondering.  He didn't think Max had decided on a major either.


"Sure, but you don't have to go." Max glanced to Sam from his flanked position.  When they were three, Sam preferred a triangular strategy with him in the middle.  JT recognized it as the riskiest place. "You can catch them online."


"You don't have to go?"  JT was a little suspicious.  College was coming up for him, and baseball was a part of it, but he had to keep up on academics.


Uncle Sam cleared his throat.  "I don't think your father is paying a hefty tuition for you not to go to classes."


"I help pay." Max stopped and his foot caught on a branch, breaking it, drawing attention to them.  "I got a job, between classes and lacrosse," he whispered.


They waited a minute before Sam gave a nod to push forward.  They were wearing dark clothing with Max going the extra distance by placing camouflage paint on his face.  "Not the male model idea," JT groaned as they started moving.  It was embarrassingly vain that Max thought so highly of himself.


"No, but I should. Do you know how much a male model gets paid?"


JT did not encourage his friend.  He had heard the speech about Max losing out on thousands of dollars.  Joshua had spoken to his son about keeping a somewhat low profile while he was at school in Miami.  "So what are you doing?"


Max turned his head towards Uncle Sam first, before answering.  Their uncle wanted them to have balance in their lives, and he harped on Max.  JT thought it was because of Max's involvement with the coven, but Max had made it clear he would not take the mark.  "I'm a short order cook."


"You cook?" JT was surprised.  Max ate a lot of food, but he never saw him preparing it.


"Yeah, I cook- just the basics- fries, hamburgers, chicken fingers.  It's good, and I get to eat there, too." Max shifted the rifle he had out, using it to gesture to the mark ahead.  The chimeras were supposed to be about one klick away, and they needed to be prepared.


"Sounds healthy," Uncle Sam commented, coming up in front of them to see the glowing venom debris left on the bark of the tree. "JT, do you want to take a picture of this?"


Since he had gotten hurt on their first unofficial hunt, JT had been taking pictures of the supernatural. The Triad had encouraged it, and in a few short years he already had one full volume.  He took the pictures quickly.


They continued on, and Max lifted his hand for them all to be quiet.  JT saw the reason, up ahead were four chimeras.  Two were larger- head of ram, body of a lion, and tail of a snake. The larger ones were five feet in length and the smaller were half the size.


"Uncle Sam, I thought you said there were only two?" JT whispered as they backed up a few steps.


Sam wiped a hand down his face. "That was the report I got."


Max kept the gun trained on one of the larger chimeras from the distance. "Looks like the two were male and female and this is their spawn."


"Do you want us to change positions?" JT was going through different scenarios in his head, using his limited hunting experience.  His father always stressed a Plan B, sometimes C, and taking the input of others because Winchesters had a habit of tunnel vision from time to time.


Uncle Sam was quiet for a moment.  He picked up a stick, traced some squiggles on the ground, then kicked over the drawings with his booted foot. "No, the original plan should work. Just remember-"


"Don't get sprayed with the venom,” JT repeated the mantra.  Sam had them read all the legends about chimeras and highlighted the information about the venom in yellow.


"Maybe the little guys haven't developed it yet,” Max said as he checked his ammunition.  He gave JT a nod before disappearing into the night to his flanking position.


It went as Uncle Sam had expected, they had each taken out one, leaving the fourth baby chimera up for grabs.  JT called it, and splattered the chimera with one shot.  He looked down to check his weapon when Max called out to him.




He turned to look at his friend, but then quickly turned back to see another chimera, a full grown fifth one, coming towards him.  He started to raise his weapon, but was pushed to the ground with a huff as if he had been tackled.


He heard the rap, tap, tap of gunfire, a shriek and then normal night sounds.  He got up, brushing himself off and seeking who had hit him- his uncle or his best friend.  Uncle Sam was facing him, eyeing him.  JT lifted his hands to show he was fine, probably a little bruised, but not hurt. JT turned to find Max, thank him for his stupid move and to remind him that JT could handle himself, but all those words were lost.


Max had landed away from him.  JT skidded to the ground. Max was hugging his arm close to him, breathing purposefully with a forced in and out breath.  JT gingerly rolled him over.


“JT, wait,” his uncle called out to him.  “Don’t touch that arm.”  Sam sat next to him and pulled out some gloves.  JT saw that Max had been hit with the chimera venom- its tail was that of a snake, and the chimera used venom as one of its defensive mechanisms.  


The jacket material had been eaten away, as was the shirt. With gloves and a knife, Sam made quick work of the sleeve, throwing everything away from them to be burned later.  Some of the venom had reached Max’s arm and it was on his hand, the hand that had touched the arm, too. 


“Grab his arm, JT,” Sam ordered. 


JT was hesitant about restraining his friend, but the skin was blistering, and JT knew it could get worse. 


Max keened as the holy water was poured first over the area on his arm, then on his infected hand. He started coughing, making it difficult to hold him as he wanted to tighten into a ball.


Sam brushed a hand through Max’s hair.  Shh, it’s all right.  All done.”


JT didn’t know if Max could hear him, but JT loosened his grip.  Uncle Sam turned on his flashlight, the beam going over Max from foot to head.


Max’s jacket had been torn on his chest.  The chimera’s ram head had collided into Max before Uncle Sam had been able to kill it. Hurriedly, the beam went to Max’s face.  His friend was pale and there was a spray of blood around his mouth. 


JT released Max’s hand, brought it down to tuck it to his friend’s side.  "Hey, you with me?"


Hurriedly, Sam shined the light on the arm and hand wounds- which remained blistered, but were not worse. Sam wrapped them quickly in white gauze after putting some of the coven’s burn ointment on them.


"Yeah, I think so.” Max winced as he struggled to sit up.  “Get me up,” Max ordered as he seemed to struggle for breath.


There was an outcropping of rocks nearby that Sam gestured to.  His uncle grabbed one side while JT grabbed the other.  Max was relieved to be sitting upright, although he moaned as they had moved him.


"Why did you do that?" JT asked, giving a worried look to his uncle, who was performing a cursory examination over Max’s ribs.


Max did not play coy, understanding what JT was asking. "It was heading toward your throwing arm.  I couldn't let you risk it." Max licked his lips.


JT pulled out his canteen, Max tried to take it, but JT guided it to his mouth to give his friend some water.  


Sam pointed the flashlight at him.  “JT, get some wood together and build a fire.”


JT was reluctant to leave his friend, but for May it was still cool in the higher elevations, and they also needed light.  He also wanted to respect the chain of command.  JT did not stray too far from the original site. He filled his arms with firewood, getting enough to burn the chimeras.


With the bodies burning up, and the fire started, the glow was enough for JT to see Max was pale and unwell.  He kneeled down next to his friend. 


“Max needs help,” Sam covered Max with a blanket.  “We need to get him out of here.”


This was a plan JT was all for. “We can make a travois and take him back.”


Uncle Sam glanced at Max before resting his eyes on JT once more. “It would be quicker if you go to the nearest place that has cell phone coverage and call your dad.”


“But, with the both of us we can get Max back to the car. . .” JT protested. 


Sam shook his head. “We need a helicopter to get him to a hospital.”


“Dude, the sooner you leave, the quicker you’ll get back.” He coughed and wiped his mouth.  “I’m not going anywhere.”


JT nodded, palmed his phone in his pocket.  “I’ll be back.”  He looked over at his uncle.  “Take care of him.”


Part 2


JT looked back before disappearing into the woods at a fast pace, soon they no longer heard the sounds of his nephew running through the woods, instead Sam was having a panicked dialogue with himself and Max was going into shock.  This was not supposed to how his hunt turned out- this is what happened to Dean and Caleb.  They returned with the boys injured, carried and bruised.  He returned with the kids in the same condition as they had left. He studied Max’s paleness in the firelight.  How was he going to explain this to Joshua?


“I have herbs are in my pack.”  There were two medical kits-one with the basics and the other one Max and his father used.  It was the bit of crafting Sam liked because it did not involve manipulation. Or what part it did, involved good.


Sam rifled through the pack, finding the crafting kit.  He didn’t know which vial would help.  He lifted them up, and Max gave a nod when Sam chose the right one.


“It’s like natural adrenaline,” Max explained breathily.


“So it should help with your breathing,” Sam replied.  It could also keep Max from going into shock. 


Max nodded and lifted two of his fingers so Sam knew how many drops.  Sam checked the bandages he had placed on the burns, then placed Max’s feet on JT’s backpack to lift them up.  He checked his cell phone again to make sure there was not a momentary spike in coverage.  Sam also wondered if Caleb would be aware there was something wrong- he had in the past where his nephews and nieces were involved.


“Uncle Sam,” Max hardly used the honorific term anymore. When he was younger he used it more because of JT’s use.  “Remember when I stayed with you when Josie was born?”


Sam rubbed a hand down his face.  Max was trying to put him at ease, sensing Sam needed reassurance.  “I remember it was the first time I was alone to watch a child.” 


“I was easy.” Max closed his eyes.


Sam tapped Max’s face to keep him awake. “That’s not what I remember.”


From the past:


The phone call came at midnight; Sam was still downstairs in the den.  Lidia was settled in bed upstairs on bed rest for the remaining part of her pregnancy.  Sam’s phone was on vibe, so he would not disturb her. Sleep was a struggle for her, because the baby was pressing on a nerve which caused her back to spasm with sudden movement. 


Joshua was calling him, which meant one of two things, either there was a Brotherhood emergency or Carolyn was going into labor, and since it was not during the day, then they needed a babysitter for Max.


Sam hoped for the Brotherhood emergency.  “Joshua?”


“I should have Max there in fifteen minutes, Carolyn’s in labor.”


Sam nodded, but realized Joshua wanted an answer.  “I’ll be here.”  He got up from his chair, and started to think of what he needed to do to prepare. The downstairs couch was a pull out, which his nephews slept on from time to rare time.  He saw them all the time, spent time with them too, since he and Lidia were not planning to have children.  Max was different, coming at a time when Sam was involved with school and just getting to be a Scholar. 


He remained by the door, waiting, and the Mercedes SUV came up with Carolyn in the front with a wincing wave.  Joshua exited the car and waited for his ten year old, pajamas underneath a jacket with hair sticking up, looking sleepy and sullen.


Joshua kissed his son on the top of his head.  “Be good, Max, don’t disturb Lidia.   I’ll come back as soon as I can and take you to see your new baby sister.”


“Brother,” Max commented, his backpack dragging on the ground. 


Sam knew he was going to have a girl, too.  He and Lidia decided that they wanted to know.  Sam reached for Max’s backpack, and swung up it to his shoulder.  Carolyn waved from the car, blew a kiss to Max.


Joshua shook Sam’s hand. “Thank you for taking in Max.” He glanced back to his wife. “Carolyn and I also want you to be the godfather of the baby.”


He and Joshua had gotten closer, especially with their wives pregnant at the same time.  He was surprised nonetheless. “What? What about Caleb?”


“He’s already an uncle due to marriage.” Joshua ruffled Max’s hair.  “He doesn’t need anymore accolades.” Joshua headed towards the driver’s side of the car.


Caleb would be upset, like he was with not being Max’s godfather. Dean had made him godfather of JT and James.  Ben said Caleb was his honorary godfather.  Joshua had bucked the trend again. “Wow, thanks.”


Joshua nodded.  “Be good, Max.  I’ll call as soon as I can.”


Sam and Max stayed in the driveway, and watched as Joshua backed up.  He opened the door for his guest, who trudged inside, sneakers barely on.


“I made a bed up for you in here.”  Sam led the way, still holding the backpack. 


Max remained silent, sitting on the bed, bouncing for a minute.  Sam could not recall Max being so silent.  When the boys were at Dean’s house it was a cacophony of kids. 


“I’ll put your stuff here,” Sam placed it on a chair.  “I’ll be upstairs if you need me.”  Sam retreated from the room, heading to the bedroom to check on Lidia and call it a night.


Sam was quiet, but Lidia sighed when he got into bed.  She couldn’t get comfortable, but didn’t want to be touched either.  He had discussed the moodiness with Dean, but his brother had no advice, just told him not to piss her off because they use every infraction against you during delivery.


“Carolyn’s lucky,” Lidia turned her head.  “She’s already having the baby.”


“Max is downstairs,” Sam stated, reaching out to put his hand on Lidia’s belly.  She didn’t pull away so Sam let his hand rest in wonder of the life beneath.


“You should check on him.” Lidia yawned.  “I’ve done nothing all day and I’m tired.”


They had decided they did not want children, and Sam had been honest with his reasons.  He did not want to pass along that drop of demon blood. Lidia had been honest, too- she did not have any maternal instincts.  They decided to go forward with the pregnancy with Dean and Caleb’s support; he became less terrified of the demon blood and more frantic about being a good father.  “He’s fine,” Sam answered as the baby kicked.


Lidia tapped his hand. “He’s never stayed with you, in this house.  You’re JT’s uncle to him and his father’s friend. . .”


His wife had a point. He could count on one hand how many times Max had been to this house.  They didn’t spend time together alone, it was usually with others. “You’re going to make a great mom.”


“To a 10 year old, who is not my child,” Lidia shifted on the bed.  “I’ve got to use the bathroom- again.”


Sam went downstairs again, and noticed a light was on in the den.  Max was propped up on the sofa bed, looking wide awake.


“Is it okay to leave the light on?” Max asked when he noticed Sam.


Sam nodded. “Want some company?”


Max moved over on the bed.  “Can we watch some tv?”


Sam didn’t think television watching was a good idea, but he had no other suggestions.  He thought about calling Dean, but the late hour was a deterrent.  “Okay,” Sam found the remote and tried to find something suitable to watch.


“I’m going to have a baby brother,” Max announced their topic of conversation.


Joshua and Sam had compared ultrasounds.  Sam knew Max had been told about the sex of his sibling-repeatedly. “Your dad said you’re going to have a baby sister.”


Max seemed satisfied with some movie on TNT, he shrugged his shoulders. “It’s a mistake.  Happens all the time. That’s what Darryl said.”


Sam didn’t know who Darryl was, but he had the wrong information.  Max was going to be in for a surprise shortly with a girl, not a boy. Sam found he had to logically reason with Max. It was his Scholarly duty. “What if it is a baby sister that your mom and dad bring home?” 


Max yawned, relaxing now that he some company. “JT said I could move into his room.”


His nephew and Max had already made a plan.  He wondered if Dean knew.  “What about your mom and dad? They would miss you.”


“They would have the baby,” Max explained. 


Sam remembered as a child he thought he could be replaced, too.  Dean would be enough for their father. “Wouldn’t you miss them?”


“I would see them sometime,” Max replied.


Sam thought he could out maneuver the adolescent.  “I’m going to have a baby girl.”


Max gave him a sympathetic tap on his leg.  “Boys are better.”


“What about your mom?” Sam was becoming frustrated trying to reason with Max.


Max snorted, and sounded more like Caleb and Dean. “She’s my mom.  That’s different.” 


Sam took a deep breath. He had another angle to explore. “I know with my daughter, I hope that JT, James, and you, will protect her and watch over her.”


Max seemed to debate this for a moment. He had seen the young boy keep a watchful eye on JT and James when they were together, since he was the oldest.  “We can do that.”


“Your baby sister will need you to do that for her, too,” Sam eased into his argument.  “Like a knight.”


“Like Uncle Caleb?” Max seemed to perk up again.  The boys had Uncle Caleb on a pedestal. 


“Yep, but girls need knights more than boys do. They can get into a lot of trouble,” Sam whispered, as if letting Max in on a big secret.


Max gave him a dubious look. The boys did a lot of roughhousing, were loud when together and found trouble.  Sam could not believe girls would be worse, but Max seemed more interested in a baby sister now.


“I want to be a knight,” Max raised his hand as if dueling with a mock sword.


In the present:


Sam looked down at the young man, hurt, and the next Knight of the Triad.  It was a natural decision; Mac had said the same about their Triad.


“You bought me a plastic sword and shield.” Max lifted his hand up to rest on his chest.


“Dean said that a congratulations gift to the big brother gift was important.” At that point in his life with impending fatherhood, he looked to Dean for parenting tips. 


“A reminder that you’re being demoted.” Max closed his eyes, licked his lips. “When’s my dad going to get here?” he groaned.


Sam was caught off guard. He was hoping Max would not deteriorate, but the memory lapse was a bad sign. “Remember, your mom and dad are on vacation?” There was a minute shiver, Sam shucked out of his jacket to lay it on the young hunter.  “I’m sure Dean and Caleb will be here soon.”


“Right,” Max gave the noncommittal answer, not letting on he hadn’t recalled his father was not on this hunt. “I don’t feel so good.” Max’s eyelids fluttered.


Sam looked out to the darkened forest where his nephew had gone.  JT had entrusted his best friend’s care, Joshua had entrusted his son to Sam. Max had to survive.  “We’ll get you to a hospital real soon.”


When JT returned, it was with his father, Caleb and a medivac helicopter. Sam had complained about their wild entrances, but this time it was warranted.  Max had lost consciousness. Dean pried his son away from Max’s side, and Sam volunteered to with the injured hunter.


Sam had constructed an excuse for the injuries—campfire accident for the burns, and a wild animal attack for the others- a run of really bad luck for Max.  He waited at the hospital for the others to arrive, flipping through the worn magazines left in the waiting room that were not catching his attention, but giving something for his hands to do.


He had already texted Caleb to find out their eta, and had received texts from JT asking about Max’s condition.  Sam also volunteered to contact Joshua, but was waiting until Max came out of surgery to do so.


Max had internal bleeding, other than the visible marks that were on him.  The nurse came to find him just as JT ran into the room, Caleb and Dean following behind him at a hurried, but less frantic pace.


“The doctor repaired the bleeders, and gave him a transfusion.  He will come to speak to you after he situates the patient in recovery.”


“So he’s going to be okay?” JT asked.


The nurse smiled.  “It looks good.”


It wasn’t an all clear, but the energy in the room seemed more relaxed.


“Do you still want to call Josh?  I can do it,” Dean said, taking a seat in the taupe covered chair, bowing his head.


“I want to do it.” Sam nodded.


“Guess this ruins your track record. The injury free streak has ended,” Caleb commented, taking a seat next to The Guardian.


Sam didn’t want to be reminded, plus the fact Joshua was out of town and would not be able to get to his son right away.  Sam went to the cellphone area down the hall, and scrolled to Joshua’s name.  It rang a few times, which was when Sam realized it was early in the morning, but Sam thought the injury of a child warranted the interruption.


Joshua answered groggily. 


“Hi, Joshua, sorry to disturb you and Carolyn on vacation.”


“What did Josie do this time?” There was a rustling of sheets. 


Josie and Mary were thick as thieves and did get into their own brand of trouble, add in witchcraft and there could be issues.  “Not Josie.” He paused.  “It’s about Max.  He got hurt on the hunt.”


“What happened?  Is he okay? Where are you?”


Sam heard Carolyn echoing the same questions with more panic in her voice. “I’m really sorry.  Dean and Caleb are here, JT too, and I’m staying. He’s going to be fine, Joshua. He’s going to be fine.”  Sam went on to explain the injuries and the surgery.


“I will check in with you when we are at the airport. Carolyn is packing now.”


Sam was giving reassurances to Joshua, and noticed Caleb had entered the room.  He held out his hand for Sam’s phone. “Can I talk to him for a minute?”


Sam handed Caleb the phone. “The doctor came out to speak with us. He’s confident that Max will be fine. He’ll be in the hospital for a week and then needs to recuperate for a bit.” Caleb cleared his throat.  “I wanted to let you know that when you see him, he’ll be sporting some new jewelry.”


"Must there always be spilled blood before someone gets a ring in this Triad,” Joshua said.


Sam was surprised.  He knew Caleb had Maxim’s ring, but thought it would be presented with more ceremony.


"Sorry, man, history does repeat itself,” Caleb replied, then said his goodbyes.  He handed Sam back his phone.


 “You’re going to give him his ring?”


They started back down the hall to the waiting room. “Once he wakes up.  You don’t think he deserves it?  He acted like a Knight from how JT tells it.”


Sam thought back to the hunt.  Max had followed orders, saved JT and calmed Sam. “He deserves it.  He’ll be a great Knight.”


*************************The Brotherhood* Legacy*************************


Max opened his eyes, closed them again, then opened them.  He felt the tug of sleep, but also the knag of confusion.  He twitched his nose, feeling cool air and plastic.  He went to wipe it away, but his hand was caught.   


“Hey, you with me, Max?” It was Uncle Caleb. “Don’t try to talk.” He turned and brought a spoon to Max’s mouth. “Here you go.”


He coughed, it felt funny, but he let the ice melt in his mouth. His throat felt dry.  His uncle brought another spoonful to his lips.


“Last time you woke up you were talking about some fugly kittens.”


Max didn’t recall that, but a lot of what had happened was coming back to him.  He tried to talk, but Caleb was continuing his one sided conversation.  “JT’s good. Sleeping on the cot.”  Caleb gestured to JT, sprawled out on a small bed.  “Dean and Sam went to get some coffee.  Your parents are heading here.”


“What happened?” Max tested his voice, it was crackly. 


Medivaced you out of there to a hospital.  You had some surgery.  They rearranged your organs, but you’ll be fine.”


“Okay,” Max lifted his head a bit, but it was too much effort.  He could feel bandages.


“You did a good job out there, Kid.” Caleb placed a hand on Max’s shoulder.  “I think its time you got this.”


His uncle drew out a pouch and a silver band spilled out.  Caleb placed it in his hand. 


Max lifted it so he could see it better. “My hunter’s ring.” He turned it over before placing it on his finger, and looking at it some more.  “I thought The Guardian gave them out?”


“Not the special ones. That’s your great-grandfather Maxim’s ring.” Caleb sat on the edge of the bed. “When I retire- and that’s a long, long, long way off, you’ll be The Knight.”


“Me?” He spent a lot of time training with his uncle, more than JT and James, but he assumed it was because he was older.  But, now things were falling into place. 


“You.” Caleb tapped his leg.  "You know you're lucky, kid. When I got my ring, I wasn't fast enough to keep Dean from being hurt. I wished I was the one recuperating. I thought I had done everything wrong. John had just chewed my ass out for dropping the ball. Your old man and I had gone rounds. It was one hell of a shitty day."


He ached, but it was all so unimportant compared to the weight he felt from the ring on his finger. "I wouldn't have said this was one of my better ones, until now."  His great grandmother had told a lot of stories about his great-grandfather. 


"Don't let it go to your head.” Caleb pointed to his ring. “That thing doesn't mean you’re invincible."


Max had always wanted to be a hunter of The Brotherhood for as long as he could remember. He saw his dad and uncles, and wanted to be a part of it.  "Does it me I can hunt on my own?"


"It most certainly does not mean that."  


Max looked over to his sleeping friend. "I can't wait to tell JT and Jimmy."


"Dean and Sam were the first people I told." Caleb got up from the bed, and stood over him.


"Uncle Caleb?" Max was feeling tired again, he glanced at the IV and wondered what was coursing through him.  He wanted to stay awake just a little longer. 




"Are JT and Jimmy the next Guardian and Scholar?" Max was having a hard time keeping his eyes open.


Caleb slid a hand over his hair. "What do you think?"


"I think I'm going to have my work cut out for me."  Max closed his eyes, sleep was loudly calling him.


"Don't worry; I've had years of experience in watching after Winchesters. I'm going to teach you everything I know,” Caleb replied softly as Max fell asleep.


Sam cleared his throat and he and Dean walked in with three coffees, “That’s a scary thought.”


“Shut up, Runt.” Dean handed Caleb one of the coffees.  “You survived.”


“Not unscathed,” Dean commented after taking a sip of the brew.  “How many times did we get stabbed, kidnap and runaway?”


“It could have been a lot worse if I wasn’t around.” He hated to see Dean and Sam banged up and injured, but it was worse with the kids.  They were all so innocent.


“I want better for my boys.” Dean glanced at a sleeping JT, then to Max. “My godson will be the one to pull it off.”


It still irked Caleb that he was not Max’s or Josie’s godfather.  He swore Joshua did it to get back for their parents marrying.  “Who knew John would be leaving such a legacy?”


“He would have liked Max,” Dean wiped a hand down his face.  The lack of sleep and the urgency of the situation was catching up to all of them.


“What’s not to like?” Sam replied, taking one of the chairs they had dragged into the room once Max was situated.


Caleb and Dean shared a look.  Sam had always been skeptical of Max, Caleb thought it was because Joshua was also training him in witchcraft, but it could have been the fact that Sam had not been around much while Max was in his formative years.


“What?” Sam asked, a little flustered.


“Just a little surprised by the change in attitude.”  He wasn’t going to press any further. Caleb’s stomach rumbled.  “I’m starving.”


“They had some breakfast sandwiches that didn’t look too bad down there,” Dean said, standing up after sitting on the edge of JT’s bed.


“You guys go. I’ll stay here.” Sam relaxed back in the chair to watch over Max while he slept.  “It reminds me of old times with Max.”