Bobby walked into the kitchen, where he heard Dean and Sam talking. After glancing at the two brothers, he walked over to the counter and poured coffee into a cup. As he did so, he suddenly had the nagging feeling that something was different. Since he had just woken up and hadn't even had his coffee yet, Bobby was a little slow to figure out what felt out of place. Sipping his coffee, he turned and looked around the room and then at the two young men, who were caught up in a conversation. Still sipping his coffee and taking in his surroundings, he noticed Dean shooting an occasional glance his way. Bobby saw something in Dean's eyes, which made him suddenly suspicious. He'd seen that look before and usually it made an appearance when Dean was pulling a prank or up to some type of mischief. That boy was up to something and Bobby felt the need to quickly figure out what that was. Taking a cautious sip of his coffee, he paid more attention to how it tasted and didn't notice anything unusual. He looked into his cup of coffee and saw that it looked normal. Deciding that Dean hadn't messed with the coffee, Bobby continued to drink as he pondered what Dean was up to.
"You boys sleep well?" Bobby asked, when there was a lull in the brother's conversation.
"Yeah." The two brothers answered simultaneously.
Bobby walked over to the table, where the brothers sat, and sat himself down on a chair. Looking from one brother to the other, Bobby could see that the two brothers were in cahoots with whatever was going on. Looking at Sam, he asked, "So, you have any plans for today?"
Instead of Sam answering the question, Dean was the one to speak up. "Not for today. But, Sammy and I were thinking about packing up and heading out in a day or two."
Bobby gave Dean a scrutinizing look. "Oh really?" Bobby wondered how Dean knew what to say to Bobby's questions. Was he that predictable? Or, was Sam somehow giving Dean a signal and Dean was simply saying what Sam was telling him to? Bobby looked a little harder at Dean and saw that Dean was trying to control his smile. Dean was good at playing poker and was really good at hiding his emotions. So, Dean showing a hint of a smile was being done for Bobby's benefit. Something was definitely up. "Sam, can you do me a favor and see if the paper 's here yet?"
Sam gave him an odd look; but, did as he was requested.
Bobby turned his head to look out a window and made certain that Dean couldn't see his face. "So Dean, you two have a hunt lined up already or you just afraid that I'm going to start making the two of you do some chores around here?" After asking the question, Bobby turned back to look at Dean and acted as though he hadn't said anything.
With a cocky smile, Dean answered Bobby. "What do you mean start doing chores around here? Sam's been washing the dishes and I've been helping to set the table." Dean's smile grew a bit bigger, as he saw Bobby's surprised reaction to Dean's reply. "Sam found something about a strange series of deaths in Tennessee and thinks we should go check it out."
"Boy, if this is some type of prank you're pulling, I'm going to kick your ass. Can you really hear what I'm saying or what?" Bobby asked seriously.
Dean nodded his head. "Yeah, Bobby. I really can hear what you're saying."
A huge, ecstatic grin appeared on Bobby's face, as he slapped Dean on the arm. "I knew something was different, when I came into the kitchen. When did it come back?"
"Last night around 3:30."
"And you didn't wake me?" Bobby seemed a little hurt that he was so late to find out that Dean's hearing had returned.
"Uh. After everything I put you through, I figured you needed your sleep. Plus, Sam and I had some things to talk about." Dean tried to console Bobby. Dean had never considered that Bobby wouldn't have minded the early wake up call, and hadn't realized how happy the older hunter would be to learn the Dean was no longer deaf. During the night, Dean had only wanted to tell Sam the good news and had never considered bothering Bobby about it. Although, in the end, Dean felt that things had worked out better by Sam being the only one awake and aware that his hearing had returned. After learning that Dean was no longer deaf, Sam had felt the need to talk about their recent hunt. Dean had suspected that Sam was feeling bad about how things had played out. However, Dean had held off talking to Sam about it, because he didn't like how the deafness cheated him from hearing the emotions that Sam's speech would have revealed. Dean was just happy that his hearing had returned and that he was capable of holding a real conversation with Sam and was able to set Sam straight about things. Once that had been settled, the two brothers had gone back to sleep. After waking up and getting ready for the day, Sam started to tell Dean about another hunt. Dean knew that his brother had picked up on Dean's growing desire to get back on the road and wasn't surprised when Sam mentioned a possible destination. Dean knew that he still needed another day or two to heal a bit more; but, he was just happy that things were looking up.
A few days later, Bobby stood in his driveway and watched the Winchester boys leave. Dean wasn't 100 healed; but, he was well enough to start a new hunt. Bobby was happy that they had all survived the last hunt and that Dean held no hard feelings for what Bobby had done. Bobby was even happier about the fact that Dean's hearing had returned. During his life, Bobby had heard about many hunters who had sustained serious injuries, which had left the hunter disabled. Usually within a few months of hearing about a hunter becoming disabled, Bobby would hear that the hunter had been killed. Bobby knew that as long as a hunter remained in shape and able to fight, he stood a chance against the supernatural. But once a hunter became disabled, the hunter became prey to the supernatural and to date; Bobby had yet to hear of a permanently disabled hunter who lived more than six months.
So, now as Bobby watched the Impala turn onto the main road, he was comforted with the knowledge that Dean was able to return to hunting and at least for now, wouldn't be turning from hunter to prey.