Bobby was stirring cocoa powder into two mugs when he heard a thud overhead, followed by two giggles.

"Don't squash your brother, Dean," he called. John had never figured this out- the boys were so devoted and stupid about each other that if you asked 'em straight out what they were doing, they'd never say, just in case the other one got in trouble. But act like you think they're doing something else, something silly, and they'll fall over themselves tellin' you what they're really doing just to prove you wrong.

"I wouldn't squash 'im!" Dean yelled back, voice all full of righteous indignation.

"Really? 'Cause it sounds like you're squashin' 'im up there."

"I wouldn't squash Sammy!" A thunder of little feet heralded the arrival of the older brother down the stairs, green eyes sharp in annoyance. "He's still little, I haveta watch him to make sure other people don't squash 'im. I wouldn't squash 'im."

"So what were you doin' yesterday when I found you trying to stuff him into the couch, huh?"

Dean shrugged and squeezed his way between Bobby's legs and the cabinets so he could peer up at the mugs on the counter. "That was 'cus he was bein' a brat. He said Batman's not as cool as Superman. What's that? Izzat for us?"

"It's hot cocoa. And sure it's for you, if you get Sammy down here."


Bobby winced. He never could figure out how two tiny bodies could be so damn loud.


There was another thundering overhead- and honestly, Sam didn't weigh much more than a big cat, how did he make so much noise when he ran?- then the foot-thumps paused at the top of the stairs.

"DEAN!" Sam bellowed shrilly.



"Oh. COMING!" Dean pushed back on Bobby's legs, almost toppling him over, and ran to the staircase. "Yeah, you can. We've been doin' it all week, remember? You just sit down if you haveta and go down one at a time."

"Carry me."

"Uh-uh. Daddy says you're not a baby anymore, you have to go down by yourself. C'mon, I'll do it with you."

While the boys thumped and thudded their way down the stairs, Bobby carried their cocoas and his coffee out to the living room. He set the mugs down on the table and picked up the bag he'd brought back from the video rental place, shaking the video boxes out on the sofa.

"Nuh-uh, Sammy, you have to hold on to the stair."


"'Cus you'll slip and fall down the stairs and you'll die."

"Carry me!"

"I'm not s'posed to! Come on, you're almost all the way down."


"Sammy, look, you only have a few more."

"I'm not doin' any more!"

"Don't you want cocoa? Bobby made you cocoa."

There was a pause.

"'S'ere mushmellows in it?"

"Yeah, Sam," Bobby called. "I put marshmallows in botha yours. I even got you orange ones for Halloween. You wanna come see?"

"ORANGE?" Sam shrieked. There was some rapid thudding and Dean yelled, "You're supposed to hold on, Sam!" and then the boy came hurtling out into the living room. Bobby caught him under the arms and swung him up onto his hip before the kid could bash himself against the hard table. Sam twisted and reached down to the mugs. "Orange!"

"Yup. Toldja."

Dean came into the room, his freckled nose wrinkled up in a pout. "Sammy, you're not s'posed to run down the stairs when you can't even walk down 'em right."

"Dean, look!" Sam reached out for the mugs again. "The mushmow's are orange!"

"Yup, and if you're careful not to spill-"

"I'm not a baby, I don't spill!" Sam cried.

"Yes, you do," Dean said with a frown. "You spilled your juice all over my shirt this morning."

"You said you don't like your shirt 'cus it's yellow and yellow's ugly," Sam said, like that explained everything.

"Boys. If you're careful not to spill, you two can drink 'em in here and you can pick out a movie to watch. I got some Halloween ones at the store. Sound okay?" Bobby gently set Sam down on the sofa, waiting for Dean to hop up first so he could grab his brother, and handed them each their mugs. He wasn't too worried- Dean was pretty obsessive about keeping Sam clean, so he wouldn't let him spill; and even if he did manage to, it wasn't like the couch didn't have all kinds of stains all over it already. Most of 'em weren't even from humans. Bobby sat back in his armchair and watched Dean go over their movie choices. Then, for the first time, he noticed what Sam was wearing. "Sam, why're you wearing my shirt?"

Sam beamed, waving his arms at him. They'd rolled the red flannel sleeves up probably a dozen times but they were still falling down over his hands, and they'd put one of Bobby's hats on his head, holding it in place by sticking the velcro strap to Sam's messy hair.

That was gonna be fun to undo at bath time, Bobby thought with a wince.

"We were doin' our Halloween costumes!" Sam giggled. "Dean wantsa be Batman again but I'm gonna be you!"

Bobby grinned. "You are, huh? How are you gonna do that?"

Sam pushed his mug at Dean, who grabbed it at the last second before it sloshed all over them both, and hopped down onto the floor. He pulled his hat down and started stomping around the room with his feet wide apart, talking in a growly voice. "Balls, idjit! If you eat any more candy Dean you won't get your pie! You do that again John an' Imma get my shotgun and shoot your ass! Idjit!"

Bobby knew from the heat in his cheeks that his face was probably bright red. "Alright," he said loudly over Dean's giggles. "That's enough'a makin' fun of your poor old Uncle Bobby. C'mere, you." He leaned forward and snagged Sam around the waist, bringing him in and tossing him back onto the sofa. Sam shrieked with laughter. "Drink your damn cocoa. Dean, you wanna put the movie in?"

Dean jumped up to do just that. By the time the ads were over and the show started, both boys were cuddled together into the corner of the sofa nearest Bobby's chair, holding their mugs of cocoa and staring wide-eyed at the screen.

Bobby smiled contentedly and reached out to settle a lap blanket over them, keeping the chill out.