Ministers of Grace

Disclaimer: Not mine. All Kripke's, of course.

Summary: 4.02 and the panic room. Bobby's pretty sure his boys are idjits.

Forgive me. This is just me working through my own thoughts and putting a whoooole lotta words in Bobby's mouth to do it. If going through the whole "why do bad things happen to good people" issue isn't your cup of tea, then I'd suggest a different story would be more to your liking.

Angels and ministers of grace defend us! -
Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy interests wicked or charitable,
Thou com'st in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee

Hamlet - Act I, scene iv

Bobby looked up from his book and watched as the conversation ricocheted back and forth between Sam and Dean while they loaded the salt rounds. He loved these two boys like sons, but sometimes they really were as dumb as stumps.

"See, this is why I can't get behind God…"

Bobby just sat back and looked at them. His boys. His as much as they'd ever been John's in some ways. Not even close in others. Definitely his now, though. John had left that responsibility to him. Or the boys had elected him to the position. Or something. Dean more than Sam, probably. The boy just felt better with someone older, and supposedly, wiser to turn to. Sam not so much, but he followed his brother's lead when it suited him. Sam was more like his Daddy. Told Bobby where to stick it when he didn't want to listen. Solemn, steady, bookish. Deadly. Dean was a whole other kettle of fish. Just as deadly, but he listened and he certainly hadn't picked up that sense of humor from John.

These two boys. Living breathing miracles. Miracles to him anyway.

Bobby'd had to sit in that dirty house with Sam's body, trying to convince Dean to see to his brother, to talk, to fight, to do anything but eat the barrel of his shotgun. Dean had surprised him, shown up on his doorstep with Sam beside him.

A year later, Bobby had walked into a room to find Sam sobbing and Dean's insides on the outside. Second verse, same as the first, without the shotgun, but with a whole lot more takin' off. Then Dean had surprised him again, fresh out of the pit and back on Bobby's doorstep.

Was it any wonder a man took to the bottle?

Bobby was watching two dead men talk. Two warriors who spent their lives fighting for each other, sacrificing themselves in the process, going to war for anyone who needed the help.

"How does He live with Himself, ya know? Why doesn't He help?"

And Sam, the idjit, just shrugs and looks at him. And Dean, the idjit, does the same.

These two, who have spent their lives, dedicated themselves to serving others, fighting evil - not just bad guys, but genuine, full on capital E, evil - and they still can't figure it out.

Why didn't He do something about people getting torn to shreds?

He had. The Man Upstairs had a whole lot of weapons in his arsenal and two of them were sitting there filling rock salt rounds. They'd been working for Him for years, whether they realized it or not.

Bobby'd been a churchgoer once upon a time. His mother had made sure he was clean and dressed decently and taken him on Sundays. He'd gone with his wife after that, sat beside her, sung along, listened to the preacher. It'd all fallen apart, of course, when he'd killed his wife. He'd been hard-pressed to see anything but the evil in the world after that.

Sometimes he remembered though. He remembered things the preacher had told him. God had allowed humans free will. Some chose to serve and some not. The result was that bad things happened to good people. God would save the obedient, reward them. He would give them peace, more than the inner kind anyway.

Just not necessarily here.

More than the preacher, Bobby remembered his mother. He'd come home from school one day with a bloody nose after a bully had decided he was fresh meat. Bobby had gone home, vowing to poke the kid in the eye next time he saw him. His mama had cleaned him up and told him not to worry. Revenge wasn't his job. God would take care of it.

Bobby's immediate question had been "when?" She'd very calmly answered, "In His own time, honey. The mills of God grind slow, but they grind exceedingly fine." Bobby hadn't had clue what that meant at the time, but he'd made better sense of it later. God might take His time sorting things out, but when He did, He took care of it good and proper.

It had taken twenty some odd years for the Winchesters to find the thing that had killed Mary. But of all the hunters and all the people who had been hurt, it was Dean Winchester who'd been given the split second chance to put a bullet in its heart.

Talk about Providence. Now that was a way to let a good soldier right a wrong.

Sam and Dean were still looking at him.

Bobby huffed out a breath. "I ain't touchin' this one with a ten foot pole."

Telling them what he was thinking would only send Dean running faster. The kid was already skittish as all get out that he was being watched. He probably wouldn't appreciate being told that he'd been under surveillance for a long, long time.

Whatever was going on, it was important enough that the Big Guy wanted His soldier back in play. Dean had work to do.

Why didn't He do something, Dean wanted to know.

The boy asks this while he's sitting there, breathing, alive, not in hell, loading shells that will help him deal with spirits that had killed who knew how many hunters in the last couple days.

If Dean was still dead, Sam would be off who knew where, getting up to who knew what, and Bobby had a sneaking suspicion he wasn't gonna like it when he found out. And if Dean was still dead, Bobby was pretty sure he'd be flat out in his living room right now lookin' a whole lot like poor Olivia.

Or maybe, Bobby thought, and goodness knows he'd been doin' a lot of it since Dean had told him about the angel, maybe he was pullin' all of this out of his ass. What did he know? He was just trying to stay alive. And if he could keep these two boys of his from dying, again, anytime soon, that would be a near miracle in and of itself.

"Found it. The symbol you saw…"

Undoubtedly not what Bobby was thinking, but hey… the joy of fanfiction…