Chapter 5

Dean was wrapped in layer upon layer of blankets, sleeping fitfully on the couch as Bobby and Sam sat at the kitchen table, coffee mugs in hand.

"That wound needs stitching," Bobby announced, nodding towards Dean. He was stating the obvious but Sam was quiet...too quiet and if Bobby had to drag the information out of him then so be it. They were in his house after all, he had a right to know what was going on under his own roof.

"You try getting near him with a needle!" Sam snapped back. "I know that! I can't hold him still and stitch him up, can I?"

Bobby frowned at that tone. "No but you can drop that attitude, boy," the final word was almost a growl and Bobby was pleased for a split second to note that Sam immediately stopped glaring. But in its wake was a look of weary despair so crushing that Bobby immediately felt guilty.

"Aw jeez, Sam I'm sorry, you're having-"

"No no I'm sorry, Bobby," Sam sighed rubbing wearily at his face. "I don't mean to snap I just...It's bleeding and he-he sees the needle and freaks out, I just keep bandaging it up won't stop bleeding, it's been a week and it won't stop bleeding."

Sam's tone was rising in pitch as volume as he spoke and Bobby immediately recognised the kid's anxiety.

" won't stop bleeding, Bobby. It's been a week and it won't stop-"

"Alright, Sam. It's alright." Bobby interrupted Sam's agitated explanation. "There's two of us now, so we can sort it."

Bobby figured that he must have sounded more confident than he felt because Sam seemed to relax a fraction, nodding shakily and taking a steadying sip of his coffee.

"I can't understand's not, it doesn't make sense."

"You pulled the kid out of Hell, Sam, hardly anything about this 'makes sense'," Bobby muttered and he watched as Sam immediately averted his eyes.

"Sam. I'm gonna ask you again and I want an answer or you're out of my house. How did you get your brother out of the pit?"

Sam stood up abruptly, pushing his chair angrily to the side. "I-I told you, I dragged him out. He's safe, he's here, that's all that-"

"Sam?" Bobby 's tone was threateningly serious, forced past the lump in his throat.

Sam was shaking his head, looking anywhere but in Bobby's eyes. Bobby found himself reminded of little Sammy, squirming after he'd taken too many cookies from the jar, of teenage Sammy, pouting and sulking guiltily through another one of Dad's lectures. Bobby cast his mind back and craved the normalcy of those days...

"I found a spell...magic...dark magic. I-I used it," Sam stammered out before turning on his heels and beginning to pace agitatedly. "Look, it's doesn't matter how, I've dealt with all that. I just, I just need some help with...this!" the hunter finished gesturing at Dean before breaking into a series of sobs.

Bobby paled as he finally watched Sam break down in front of him, the kid sinking to his knees in his despair, wailing into his hands.

Bobby searched his brain for words of comfort but everywhere he went in his mind all he could see was Dean's broken, terrified shell. And dammit, Sam wasn't dumb or desperate enough take any comfort from hollow, empty promises, never really had been. With that in mind, Bobby moved from the bed and sunk to his knees beside Sam, offering a silent embrace of comfort, the only thing he really had to offer at all in this situation.

Sam had sobbed for nearly an hour and Bobby's shirt was damp with tears. Dean had pushed himself into a corner of the room, frightened by the raised voices and Bobby downed the remainder of his cold coffee to steel himself for the confrontation with Dean.

"Hey kiddo, that don't look too comfortable," Bobby jokes like this is an amusing, everyday situation, not a horrifying demonstration of Dean's shattered psyche.

Bobby sinks to his knees as he approaches Dean's huddled form even though Dean can't see him. The kid had his arms curled over his head, his face buried in his knees. Bobby could see him trembling even from three feet away.

"Dean..." he called out gently. Dean's breath hitched and Bobby took that as a sign that the guy had heard him.

"Hey, it's Bobby, can you look at me?"

Bobby watched as Dean's head tilted and one eye peered out from the protective cocoon of his arms. Bobby could've cheered but settled instead for just grinning like an idiot.

"That's it, that's good, why don't we get off the floor and out of this corner, huh?"

God damn -Dean, the 'normal' Dean, would be so pissed off if he knew Bobby was patronising him like this but Bobby didn't see what choice he has other than to treat the kid like the frightened, wounded animal he was imitating.

Dean flinched from Bobby's hand as the hunter reached to touch him but he didn't resist and Bobby grunted as he pulled the man upright. It was hard as it should have been, as it had been in the past when Bobby had dragged Dean's unconscious body onto the couch more times than he cared to remember. No, Dean was way too thin and as Bobby led the man back to the couch he figured they'd start with that first.

Dean immediately sank into the sofa, hunching himself back up into a ball but keeping his head up this time and staring at Bobby with confusion but not fear. Bobby took that as a good sign, hell, he had to keep focussing on the positives, as insignificant as they might seem to an outsider or he'd end up a wreck like Sam was right now.

It was startling how different Dean seemed when Sam wasn't in the room. He was hardly back to his old self of course, but he was at least coherent and not half-mad with fear.

"You hungry, kiddo?" Bobby asked, searching to make eye-contact with the traumatised boy on his couch.

"Do you want something to eat?" he tried again, speaking slowly and clearly so that he might get a response this time. Well, he didn't get anything from Dean per say but the kid's stomach growled loud enough to let Bobby know that, yep, Dean was hungry.

"Closest thing I'm going to get to a reply today, ain't it boy?" Bobby sighed sadly as he made his way back to the kitchen and then immediately felt guilty for patronising the kid.

Kid's been down in the pit for eight months, Singer, he chastised himself, cut him some slack.

Bobby scowled as he scanned his barren cupboards and sparse fridge. Unless the kid wanted steak and beer he hadn't much else going. Shrugging, Bobby reached for the rest of the crackers he'd given Dean last night, he'd stock up on 'proper' food later. It wasn't like he'd had much of an appetite these last eight months knowing Dean was in Hell.

"Sorry, still not a cheeseburger," Bobby joked, receiving the same blank stare he'd got last time. Dean just stared warily at him as he reached tentatively for the packet.

Dean's fingers, when they brushed against Bobby's own, were freezing and Bobby frowned, pressing his hand gently on Dean's forearm.

"Damnit boy, you're a few degrees short of an icicle," Bobby cursed softly. He kept half an eye on Dean as he nipped out to the entranceway, grabbing his heaviest, fleeciest jacket. Dean barely flinched as Bobby draped the garment over his slender shoulders but, as bobby stepped back, he wrapped the jacket tightly around him, the crackers slipping from his hand in his haste for warmth.

Bobby just looked at the once strong hunter currently huddled wordlessly into a jacket that swamped his malnourished frame and shook his head. There was a way out of his, a light at the end of the tunnel, he damned as hell couldn't see it but he had to believe it was there. For the sake of the Winchester boys and his own santy he had to believe things could get better than this.

AN: The layout of Bobby's house has changed so much through the series that I decided to just lay it out how I wanted to!