Bobby Singer shuffled down the narrow hall, feet dragging against the rough wood floor. His eyes were mere slits, heavy bags of loose skin beneath the blue orbs. His mouth was dry, lips cracked, and he bore an unshaven scruffy look. Though who could blame him for not looking his best at three forty-five in the morning?
The man ran his fingers against the wall, letting it guide him through the darkened hallway. As he approached the doorway he could see a faint glimmer of light through the cracks of the heavy door, illuminating the kitchen just behind it.
Each night was a futile tussle of conflicting thoughts for Bobby Singer. The minute his head hit the stained pillow thoughts and memories of guilt poured in. So naturally it was a surprise that he had drifted to sleep not as difficultly that night-especially when earlier that day John Winchester had shouldered through his doorway, beaten to hell with his two boys by his side. He dropped the two kids with Bobby and high-tailed to some dead-end town for a case that would last long over a month. Great. This had become such a usual occurrence that Bobby actually had a spare room prepared for the ten and fourteen year old. Though it was a normal for the boys to stay at casa de Singer, this time something was off from the get-go, and Bobby had definitely taken notice. Sam was quiet—he was a quiet kid in general—but Dean was even quieter, which was very strange. The teen also bore a few scuffs and scabs, but that was also pretty normal for him. So Bobby brushed of the thought and marked it as normal teen angst. Then the night dragged on and one-by-one the trio called it a night. Dean was the first—also very unusual. The man once again dismissed this and soon Sam headed to the room too, relieving Bobby of his babysitting duty.
Skip to three-thirty when the man was aroused from a light sleep to a very faint, dull thudding coming from downstairs. Bobby's fist instinct, of course, was to check on the boys.
Sam slept deeply, legs twisted in the thin fabric of the blanket, strains of his dark hair stuck to his forehead and cheeks. Bobby, still half asleep, smiled, about to go back to his room. The noise was probably just part of his dream. But wait—where was Dean? The other twin bed was bare, blankets in a bundle on the floor. Groggily, Bobby sighed and directed himself downstairs.
Bobby wearily pushed open the creaking door, preparing for anything. Usually 'anything' was some gruesome creature or demon that may tear his face off. Well, whatever laid behind the door, Bobby ready to defend the boys and his home. He was ready for just about anything. But as the door opened, light pooling into the hall—and as Bobby Singer caught a glimpse of what was really going on in the kitchen that night—he, for the first time in a long time, had no idea what to do.
There, splayed out on the ground, leaning against the kitchen counter, was fourteen-year-old Dean Winchester. His hair, which was usually neatly combed over, was a disheveled mess. His green eyes, which were usually sharp and alert, slowly trailed to Bobby, glazed over. The boy's shoulders sagged as he rolled his head back, letting it hit the hard wood of the cabinet he was slumped against. His skin was sickly pale, and laying limply in his grasp was a bottle of whiskey. Bobby immediately recognized it as one of his. There were more scattered along the floor. Dean had raided his damn liquor cabinet. The man stood, dumbfounded.
"Heya, Uncle Bobby." the boy croaked, a smirk tugging at the corner of the his lips.
"Goddammit, boy." Bobby breathed as he lifted the teen up, who was dead weight in his arms. "What were you thinking?" his voice was firm but quiet, he knew he couldn't let Sam see his brother in that state. The bottle rolled from Dean's grasp as Bobby heaved him over to the dining room table and let him collapse in one of the chairs. He then walked steadily over to the sink, being sure to step over the empty bottles that littered his kitchen. Boy, there were a lot. He was surprised the teen was still conscious. He could sure handle a drink. Or fifty.
The man filled a glass of water to the rim and, after cleaning the mess of bottles, brought it to the table. "Drink." he sighed.
The teen sunk back in the chair, as if he hadn't heard the command. "Y'know I don't get it, Bobby." his words slurred.
Bobby rubbed the sleep from his eyes, "Get what?" he replied, voice raspy and laced with irritation. Dean locked eyes with the man for a moment, and briefly he looked very broken, and fragile.
He broke the gaze, "I do everything." he was fumbling over his words, still struggling to string together a proper sentence. The smokey aroma of scotch was tethered to his breath. "'erything he asks of me. When's it enough? What's it gonna take, Bobby?" the man immediately understood what Dean was trying to say. It was about John. Bobby exhaled, he never thought he was good with these types of talks. Serious "fatherly advice" type talks. So he remained quiet. "He took me on my first hunt last night." Bobby snapped his gaze back to the teen. He hadn't been aware John took him on his first hunt. Jesus, no wonder Dean was so screwed up. God knows what the poor kid saw. He was only fourteen. Bobby scanned the various visible scrapes and bruises, only imagining what had unfolded. He leaned in toward the boy, who's eyes were fixed on the coffee table.
"What happened, Dean?" his asked gravely.
Dean swallowed dryly, unsure if he wanted to respond. Sobering, he began to speak, a bit more clear than before. "We weren't really sure what it was that we were hunting. But people would go on this trail thing in these woods and then completely disappear. Dad did most of the research, so I sorta just took his word for it. We went in with some hunting rifles. Then Dad told me to stay back for a minute while he scoped the place out. I did. Cause I always do as he says. A long time passed and I started to hear some strange noises. Rustlin' behind me. I wasn't scared, but it was a bit weird. Definitely wasn't a fluffy bunny rabbit, I'll tellya that. Then I realized it, Bobby. I was bait. He used me for fucking bait." Bobby nearly winced at the sound of Dean's voice. He sounded so betrayed.
"I mean is that all I am to 'im?" his tone raised, "Piece of meat to dangle in front of some foamy-mouth son of a bitch?!" his fists clenched as he leaned foreword. "It charged me and my gun jammed. And Dad didn't do a goddamn thing! He told me after everything was done that he 'knew I would only going to get minor injuries'. That's why he didn't help. Great fucking logic, huh?" he finished, shaky with what seemed to be anger, but Bobby knew it wasn't that black and white. Dean might have been angry with his father, but at the same time some warped idea in his mind made him think that it was his fault. It was tearing him up inside. Then for the first time ever, Bobby saw Dean Winchester cry.
He had exhaled shakily, muscles untensing as hot tears formed in the corner of his eyes, blurring his vision. They dribbled down his jawline as he fell back into his seat. His voice cracked,"I'm just never good enough, Bobby." at this point the man had had enough. Fucking John Winchester. The nerve of that asshole. Bobby pushed his chair out and grabbed Dean, yanking him to his feet. Before Dean could even process it, he was pulled into a tight embrace. Bobby could feel Dean's tears seeped into the fabric of his shirt as he tightened his grip. "It's not your fault, kiddo."
The two stood, Dean's conscience easing in the tightened hug. The mere five words the man had said to him lifted a giant weight off his shoulders. To have that comfort was a rare privilege for a Winchester. After another minute Bobby guided the boy to his sofa, where they laid for close to an hour. Dean had very quickly slipped into unconsciousness, resting against the man who had his arm wrapped around the boy protectively. He had originally planned to carry Dean back to the spare room, but like the boy, he had also quickly fallen asleep—and man, it was the best sleep he'd had in years.