Title: After It's Over
Author: kaly
Category: Gen, angst, tag
Characters: Bobby, Dean, Sam
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1,500
Spoilers: All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One
Summary: Bobby returns to check on Sam and Dean.

Note: My thanks, as always, to geminigirl11 - my debt to you, as always, for the typo spotting and suggestions. And to fayedartmouth who encouraged the story along. :)

Disclaimer: Not mine. The pretty, snarky, angsty brothers belong to Kripke & the CW.

After It's Over

It was the wailing sound that caused Bobby to stop running. The bastard that had stabbed Sam had outpaced him from the get go, but still he had pursued him in the foolish hope somehow he'd catch him. Stop him.

Make it somehow not have happened.

He had just reached the edge of the town when he stopped, his quarry finally lost in the fog. His blood had run cold as Dean's scream cut through the night. Hearing it, Bobby didn't stop to think. He didn't pause to catch his breath instead turning without a second thought to run back into the town.

What he found there, in the middle of the road, was what he had expected; yet worse than he had feared. Sam, slumped boneless - dead - against Dean and Dean clutching Sam against him, keeping them both from falling. Hands and face pressed into Sam's hair, Bobby could see moisture on Dean's face that he knew wasn't from the ceaseless rain.

As he walked closer, Bobby could hear the broken sobs tearing their way through Dean's chest. He could see how both boys were shaking, how Dean's grief vibrated through his brother. And for a moment he was scared to intrude, scared to take the final steps that would put him within reach of the shattered tableau.

It was easy to see that Dean was oblivious to the world around him. Or rather, that the world didn't extend beyond the boy - the body, Bobby amended silently - in his arms. At some point the wailing sound had stopped, though it still rang in Bobby's ears. Instead, there was silence, such complete silence that it was almost unnatural, and Dean's slow rocking back and forth.

Bobby jumped with a branch snapped in the forest, sounding almost like a gunshot as it shattered the fragile scene. It was a stark reminder that they didn't know what else might be out there - and they weren't remotely ready for a fight, especially not since...

He noted with some dismay that Dean hadn't even flinched at the sound and although he hated to intrude, Bobby finally moved forward, stopping when he was just within arms reach.

"Dean?" Bobby asked, reaching a hand to touch his shoulder.

He recoiled when Dean snarled. "Get back!" he said, not looking up, but crab-walking backward and taking Sam with him. All the move accomplished, however, was almost dumping both of them into the mud.

Taking another step forward, Bobby tried again, reasoning where he knew reason couldn't reach. "Dean, we can't stay here. It's not safe."

Wild eyes met his, red-rimmed and raw. "I'm not leaving him," Dean said, clutching Sam even more tightly, although Bobby wasn't sure how that was possible. He tried to ignore the blood that was still seeping through onto Sam's coat. "You can't make me leave him."

Shaking his head, Bobby held out his hands in a placating gesture he hoped looked calming. Though he doubted Dean was even aware of it, it was worth a try.

"I'm not asking you to leave him." He risked another step forward, placing a hand on Dean's arm and tugging slightly. "Let me have him, okay?" he asked, pitching his voice as soft as he could and still be heard. He didn't want to spook Dean any further.

Once more Dean withdrew, shaking violently. So violently that Sam shook in his arms. "No!"

Bobby's head jerked up, scanning the town and woods warily, worried something might've heard the cry. Forget a fight - they weren't even in a position for a hasty retreat. When the town remained dark and quiet, more luck that he'd dared hope for after what had happened, Bobby looked back at Dean. "We can not stay here. You have to let me help you."

Counting to ten, Bobby played the only card - however cruel - he could think of. "For Sam, okay?"

Sam would never forgive him - would have never forgiven him, he amended - if he let anything happen to Dean that could have been prevented. That boy was his daddy and brother made over, sometimes. Especially when it came to how fiercely he would defend his family.

"Dean?" he asked again, certain Dean hadn't heard him.

Dean growled low in his throat, the sound echoing and making Bobby's own hackles rise. "Leave us alone."

"I can't do that. Please, just let me help."

His second attempt at pulling Dean's arm away from Sam was met with a wildly swung punch. However, Bobby took advantage of the opening to slip his own arm around Sam and pull backwards and up. He was almost certain Sam would be too heavy to carry him by himself, but he had to try.

"No! No, no, no!"

Suddenly, Dean came to life, all hands and elbows and knees where he'd so recently sat broken and docile. Bobby ducked the volley as best he could, trying to shield Sam as well while still pulling on Sam's body. It was as if they were fighting a horrible game of tug-of-war.

One punch caught him on the cheek, stunning the older man for a moment. "Stand down!" he yelled, hoping the order - so similar to those he'd heard John bark in the past - would break through where reason dared not tread.

"Sam..." Dean said, the fight almost visibly draining out of him. His shoulders slumped, defeated, and he stared at his brother who hung limply from Bobby's arms. "Sammy..." Dean stepped forward, reaching out a hesitant hand to touch his brother's cheek. His voice quivered. "No."

Bobby stared at Dean for a long moment, stunned by the change from fighting hellcat to empty shell. Sam's dead weight - he cringed at the thought - was causing his arms to shake. He wasn't sure how long he could hold him before it became too much, though he would willingly carry him to the car if he were able. To spare Dean that little bit, if it were possible.

"We have to go," Bobby repeated, searching Dean's face for some sign of recognition.

It was a surprise, when Dean nodded timidly. Not so much so, however, when Dean stepped forward and oh so carefully took Sam from Bobby's arms.

"I've got you, Sammy," he whispered, "I won't let you fall." Bobby's breath caught in his throat. He was sure that he wasn't meant to hear the tender words.

When Dean staggered under the weight, Bobby put a hand to his back until he steadied. In those moments, Bobby watched as determination covered Dean's face. There was no guarantee how long it would last, before another wave of anger or grief would swell and they would be back at square one. It was best they got back to the car in the meantime. Because Bobby wasn't stupid enough to think it was a matter of if, but rather when, it would happen.

"Lets get back to the car, alright?" It was more order than suggestion, pressing his hand to Dean's back once more to get him moving. It was harsh, but they had to get some place safe. Then they could react. Then Dean could grieve.

As they walked, Bobby risked a glance over at Dean and Sam. A flash of memory hit him then, a similar scene from so many years before, of Dean carrying his baby brother, who lay sleeping in his arms.

The two scenes were so very similar and so horribly different at the same time.

Bobby's chest felt tight, remembering the boys as he had first met them. Back then he'd thought John insane for dragging them into a life that was not meant for children. Even still, he could never forget two inseparable boys the way they were.

The younger had been a whirlwind that could fill up a room without even trying and the older was far shyer, quieter, but lit up around his little brother. Even once they'd grown, neither had seemed really complete alone, the few times Bobby had seen them separated. He had always thought that to be a gift for the boys, until now, when it was taken away.

Fear returned anew, at what would happen next. He could see the silent tears that tracked down Dean's cheeks and knew that the boy was concentrating simply on putting one foot in front of the other. On breathing. On seeing to Sam and not merely laying down to die, and join him.

Bobby couldn't even imagine what might be going through Dean's mind, beyond that.

Both boys had both lost so much over the years. He felt a fissure of fear that this loss - the greatest and worst of all possible losses - would be the one that finally broke Dean, no matter how strong he was.

Worst of all, was the thought that there was no one left to save Dean. Not when the only one who always had lie cradled, dead, in Dean's arms.