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John brought his boys around with him that time. The older one eyed him distrustfully, and the smaller one seemed entirely disinterested, just short of completely disengaged. 

He and John got down to business right away, but he wasn’t completely heartless, not entirely aware of how hard this had to be for those boys. So he dug around in his cabinets for the worst, junkiest food they had, which turned out to be potato chips, Oreo cookies, and an old bag of gummy candies.

Both boys’ eyes lit up and they dove for it. John shook his head. “Gonna get fat, then how will you hunt?” he asked. The older one just smirked, but the younger withdrew his hand, slowly.

It was another three years before he saw John and his boys again, the oldest eighteen and swaggering in like he owned the place, apparently thinking himself a hunter on level with him and his father. The youngest still looked like he faded away into the background if he could at all help it.

Dean sat with his father and waited for the hunt to begin, but the other one held back with a school bag. He went into his cabinets once more, pulling out all he could find, figuring the boy could use something good.

“Sammy, don’t eat that junk,” John says. “Don’t think I didn’t see that you skipped running two days in a row. How you gonna be a hunter like that?”

The food remained untouched, even as he could hear the boy’s stomach growling across the place.

He didn’t see the boys again until their father was long dead. They worked one case together, and he had practically come out of retirement to do it. Still, for John’s boy, he would do it.

They worked the case over in a diner, where he ordered soup and a sandwich. The older boy–no longer the bigger boy, at least when it came to height–packed away a double bacon cheeseburger with fries and a pickle. The younger one picked at a salad.

He frowned and watched him eat half of it. The boy may have stretched tall since he was fifteen, but he didn’t look like he’d grown in any other direction. Still a skinny little thing.

They talked and the older one ordered dessert, while Sam didn’t even finish his salad. He frowned, and wanted to tell the boy that hunger makes a hunter weak, makes hi ineffectual and likely to slip up and die. But he didn’t open his mouth.

If he wanted to say something, he should have said it when the boy was a teenager, hungry in his kitchen with food just feet away, all of them knowing it. Now, it felt like it was too late, like he had missed his chance to speak.