Bobby looks up suddenly from the pile of books that stand like scaffholding around the ruins of what used to be his desk. He stands and stretches his legs and tries to stretch his eyes. It occurs to him, not for the first time that day, that he's just not twenty anymore and ain't that a bitch. His joints protest but he twists out the stiffness and heads for the kitchen.
John's going to need this ritual sooner rather than later and Bobby's ancient Sumerian is just a tad rusty. It tends to improve with coffee. With maybe just a shot of whiskey in it. Yeah, that sounds right. He puts on a new pot and stands over the sink looking out over the dust track of a yard that lies in a dry patch between the house and the stacks of rusted out, burnt out or flat out died out car cadavers.
"Well, shit." He mutters to himself. They're so quiet he just keeps forgetting they're here.
Dean and Sam are playing in a dirt puddle behind the screened in back porch. Bobby looks at his watch and realizes it is well past the time he should have fed those boys some lunch. He has his own opinions about the John Winchester School of Parenting, but right now he's grateful that one raised eyebrow and a warning to Dean to stay away from the cars seems to be enough to keep the boys out of salvage yard proper.
He steps onto the porch, hidden from the kids by the filthy screen and watches them for a while. Dean's drawing in the dirt and Sam's stamping on the pictures with his feet and bending over to throw puddle water at them, laughing like banshee suddenly.
"Shhh Sammy, be quiet." He whispers just loudly enough to sound threatening. It's pretty impressive for a seven year old. So much so that the little one startles at the voice and starts to scrunch his face into a crying fit.
Dean's on his feet and making funny faces at the kid before the first tear escapes. He draws more of whatever the hell in the ground and points to tell Sam to stamp in it some more, this time with a more playful press of his finger to his lips. Like he's turned smashing quiet into a game. Dean plays at being exasperated and makes a show of starting his mud and stick art all over again. Sam stamps all over it again and they keep going back and forth back and forth until Sam starts sneezing and Dean takes his sweater off to wrap around the little guy.
It's only then Bobby notices the spring air is colder than the bright late afternoon sun is capable of warming up. I'm at least three flavours of jerk, Bobby thinks to himself as he adjusts his cap and opens the screen door.
"You boys hungry?" Bobby asks.
Sam squeals and runs for the porch, Dean right behind him scooping him up before he can tear into the house.
"Yes sir." Dean says, adds a practiced, "Thanks."
"Well, don't stand there all day. C'mon in." He pushes the door out wider and makes enough room for the brothers to pass him and get inside. Dean takes care of Sam's muddy shoes first, then his own.
"It's cold outside, you boys oughtta come in sooner next time." He walks them into the kitchen and starts to fix them some sandwiches.
"Dad said not to bother you." Dean answers, helping Sam roll up the too long sleeves of the sweater he'd put on him.
"S'no bother." Bobby, full of his own guilt for forgetting about them, feels comfortable dumping most of it on John. He puts plates of peanut butter sandwiches, extra peanut butter, and couple of glass of milk in front of them and Sam almost starts to cry again.
"Something wrong?" What the hell did Winchester say about feeding them? He wracks his brain. Nothing.
"Nope. Sammy just doesn't like the crusts." Dean is already pulling them off and stuffing them in him mouth greedily, wiping his face with his arm as tears Sam sandwich into four littler pieces, "He likes it better like that."
Dean waits for Sam to finish and holds the milk glass to his little brother's mouth. Sam's done almost the whole glass before it occurs to Bobby that it was too big for the little guy to hold. It occurred to Dean though. Bobby noticed that for damn sure.
"That's OK, Mr. Singer. He likes the big kid cups." Dean's not smiling, he's not pouting, he's not angry and he's not happy. He's just concentrating on getting all the milk in Sam's mouth. He wipes Sam's face with the napkin and finally takes a bite of his own food.
"Call me Bobby, kid."
"I'm not a kid." He puffs his chest out, like Bobby's seen John do a thousand times.
No, no you're not, Bobby thinks.