Summary: Pizza Pie 'verse – Dean stared up at Bobby, holding a crying Sam and looking uncharacteristically spooked even as he kept his voice steady. "Something's wrong with Sam's eyes," he reported, his expression reflecting his confusion and concern. "He can't open them."

Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine. But this 'verse is...and I sometimes wish I could live here forever.

Warnings: None – just minor language and a healthy dose of schmoop and angst...or as I like to call it, "schmangst".

And my eyes, they hurt... ~ Holly McNarland, "Water"

This was one of Bobby's favorite times of the day.

This brief moment when he allowed himself to float in the haze between asleep and awake and pretend that his life was different.

That Karen was beside him, tucked warm and safe and alive under the covers with her hair fanned out long and messy over the pillow. Her smile sleepy but genuine when she blinked back at him, her face within inches of his.

"Morning..." she would whisper in this recurring dream and would kiss him softly, wrinkling her nose at the rough scruff of his beard. "One day, I'm gonna make you shave, Bobby Singer," she liked to tease.

"Anything for you," he would quip in return.

But he had always meant it – anything for Karen...even the unthinkable.

Bobby frowned as the thought crossed his mind and quickly pushed it away.

Because this was no place for reality. No place for harsh truths and the memory of impossible decisions – like killing your wife for her own good.

This was a place of make believe – of what could have been...of what should have been – and Bobby didn't care how ridiculous or crazy that sounded. This dreamlike haze was one of the only places he was truly happy, and he allowed himself to linger a bit longer.

Because Karen was still smiling at him, one elbow digging into the mattress as she sat up, sweeping her hair out of her face and listening.

"Are the boys up?"

"Don't think so," Bobby mumbled, drowsy and comfortable as he lounged beside her with the sun beginning to flood their room through the half-closed curtains. "Haven't heard them moving around yet this morning."

Karen nodded and turned her attention back to Bobby. "Guess that means we have a little time on our hands, old man..." she pointed out and batted her eyes suggestively, trying to look sexy but then laughing at herself.

Bobby laughed with her. "Got any suggestions for how to fill all this time?" he asked, even as he reached up to cup the back of her neck and pulled her toward him.

"Hmm..." she hummed into his kiss, relaxing into his hold and draping her body over his as the blankets rustled and the bedframe creaked. "I think you're on the right track," she praised a few seconds later, breathless, and winked at him as she snuggled into his side. "Because after all...a woman's got needs, Singer."

"Yeah?" Bobby prompted, as if they didn't always have this conversation in his dream.

"Yeah," Karen affirmed with a contented sigh. "And all that I need, I've already got right here – you and our boys...and even that damn ol' dog."

Bobby chuckled, his arm around his wife as they continued to lay in bed together. "Hey, woman. What have I told you? Never talk about a man's dog."

Karen laughed at the expected reprimand from one of their long-running jokes – that she didn't like Rumsfeld – and kissed Bobby again, pausing at the sound of little feet padding down the hallway.

"Guess who's up..." she sing-songed and glanced over her shoulder just in time to see their bedroom door swing open.


Karen smiled at the sound of her four-year old's sweet, sleepy voice. "Yes, baby."

"I'm hungry."

"Sammy..." Dean admonished, appearing in the doorway beside his brother. "I told you not to wake them up. I can make you breakfast."

"Not like Mama can," Sam countered, a stubborn scowl creasing his forehead.

Karen's smile widened. "It's okay, Dean," she assured her oldest, seeing the comeback forming on the eight-year old's lips. "We were already awake." She paused. "And since I'm awake and Sammy's hungry, how 'bout I make you boys some pancakes?"

"Yes!" both brothers answered in unison, hoping their mom would offer that particular Saturday morning treat.

"You spoil them," Bobby grumbled, still stretched beside his wife on the bed.

"And you don't?" Karen challenged with an arched eyebrow.

Bobby smiled and shrugged. "Way I see it...they're ours to spoil."

"Damn right they are," Karen agreed and turned back to their boys still standing in the doorway, only now with an overgrown puppy squeezing between them.

"Rummy," Sam whined as the dog pushed against him. "Quit it!" he complained and pushed back.

Rumsfeld licked Sam's face but otherwise appeared unfazed, continuing to shove his way into Bobby and Karen's room...and then bounding forward when he finally gained entry past the brothers.

Sam gasped and stumbled backwards, saved by his big brother's steadying hand.

Dean glared at the culprit. "Why does this dog stay in the house?"

"Good question," Karen commented, equally annoyed that Rumsfeld had almost toppled her four-year old. "Bobby..."

Bobby chuckled, knowing Rumsfeld was in trouble – and so was he – just by the tone of Karen's voice. "Rummy," he called and snapped his fingers, his hand hanging over the side of the bed until he felt a huge furry head. "Stay over here with me, boy. You know I'm the only one who loves you," he told the dog, scratching behind Rumsfeld's ears.

"Nuh-uh," Sam chirped from the doorway. "I love him, too."

Karen smiled, taking notice that Dean remained silent on the issue since she and her oldest merely tolerated the mutt because Bobby and Sam enjoyed the dog's company so much.

"Well..." Karen drawled. "Now that we know who loves Rummy, I want to know who loves me?"

"I do!" all three answered – the four-year old, the eight-year old...and the old man beside her.

Karen's smile lingered. "That's good. Because I love you," she told them and opened her arms wide toward her boys.

It was the only invitation they needed, Sam scampering toward the bed while Dean followed behind his little brother and gave the kid a boost onto the mattress before climbing up behind him.

"Mmm..." Karen hummed as she hugged her youngest, sweeping his floppy hair out of his face and kissing his forehead, then depositing him on Bobby's chest so she could reach for Dean.

Bobby groaned as if Sam weighed 100 pounds. "You're crushing me, squirt," he teased the scrawny four-year old as Sam giggled with delight. "What's your mama feeding you anyway?"

"Pancakes!" Sam replied, still giggling as his dad began tickling his sides.

Karen smiled, now hugging her oldest as she listened to her husband and her four-year old play.

Rumsfeld barked.

"Ugh..." Dean groaned at the sound and cut his eyes at the dog.

Karen laughed softly. "I know," she agreed, patting Dean's back and releasing him from her hold. "The things we put up with for those two, huh?"

Dean smiled and nodded.

Karen winked.

Sam squealed as Bobby's tickling continued. "Daddy!"

Bobby chuckled. "What? Do you surrender to the tickle monster?"

The only kind of monster any of them knew about.

Sam said nothing, instead dissolving into another round of giggles as he squirmed on his father's chest.

Karen shook her head – affection and exasperation in her expression – and then sighed.

"Alright, you two..." she warned in her borderline mom voice. "If the tickle monster is done with his attack, maybe we can all get up and go see about those pancakes."

...and that's where the dream ended.

Sometimes it went further and lasted longer.

But today...that's where it ended.

Karen flickering from view as Sam's laughter faded.

The only sound now being the sheets rustling as Bobby moved beneath them, becoming more fully awake and aware that he was alone.

The realization shouldn't sting, shouldn't ache as much as it always did.

But it did.