"We're sorry, but the number you're trying to reach has either been disconnected or is no longer in service. If you feel you've reached this message in error, please hang up and dial again."
Bobby pulled the phone away from his ear and stared at it in growing dismay. For the last week he'd called Sam every day, several times a day, hoping, praying the kid would pick up or call him back. But never had he expected this.
Sam had cancelled his phone. Cut off the one lifeline Bobby still had to the boy. What did it mean? The sickening feeling in his gut was sure it wasn't something good.
He'd learned long ago that when a Winchester got it into his head to disappear, there would be no finding him unless he wanted to be found. Nevertheless Bobby had put out feelers to every contact he had, called in favors where he could, scoured for supernatural signs, demonic activity, anything he could think of just to get a hint of where Sam might have gone.
A couple of wild goose chases had brought him nothing but disappointment and frustration. Still, having the ability to at least leave messages had been something. He'd never pleaded so desperately or argued as persuasively as he had in those messages. Yet he'd heard nothing back. He didn't even have the faintest idea if they had been listened to or been totally deleted out of hand.
Bobby put the phone back on the cradle and turned away.
Now he didn't even have the faint hope he might somehow reach him. Worse, he could only think that Sam would cut him off completely only because he was involved in things he would not approve of. And the types of things that fell in that category made Bobby's blood run cold.
One though, one stood out above the rest. The only one they didn't have lore on, the one they didn't know the true possible results of, the one which might give Sam false hope – his untapped demonic powers.
Dean had asked him once if he thought something was wrong with his brother. That maybe he'd come back different when raised from the dead by the crossroads demon. Before his destruction Azazel had gone out of his way to seed demonic doubts in the boy as if the weight of selling his soul weren't enough to contend with. It was a good thing Bobby was such an accomplished poker player. There was no way to discover the truth of the demon's words and that type of doubt could eat you up like a cancer if left unchecked – Dean would have started seeing differences in his brother whether they were there or not. From what Bobby had seen, Sam was Sam. A harsher, at times colder version, one growing more and more like his father – doing things because they needed to be done and damn the consequences – but still Sam. The look on his face as he took down Jake was enough to let anyone know he'd been at least partially affected by the things that had happened to him – no demonic interference necessary. So he had told Dean that no, demons lied. That he was sure Sam was okay. Yet it didn't mean Sam hadn't changed or that he'd become normal with YED's death.
He'd pretty much suspected Sam still had powers whether the boy thought so or not, especially after how he was able to defeat the lunatic using dream root to kill people in their sleep by turning the tables on him so quickly. He asked Sam about it at the time and the kid seemed surprised as if it had never crossed his mind. Sam said he didn't think so. But then the two brothers had assumed Sam's budding powers had either left him or gone dormant with the demon's demise.
Bobby had suspected different, but that was his own counsel to keep. Nothing would have been gained by telling them and having them worry over it. Yet Sam's confrontation with Lilith would have brought all of that back. Sam had said nothing about the encounter, but he didn't need to. The fact he was alive and Lilith fled spoke volumes.
This would give Sam an option to explore which hadn't been there before. One Bobby felt wouldn't end well if the other psychic children were any indication. Yet the more he thought about it, the more he feared this was the very avenue Sam would choose to take.
And there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it.
He had lost him. In the end, despite all his efforts, he had lost them both.
Bobby stumbled into the study, needing to sit down, his legs no longer steady. The chair creaked as he dumped himself behind his desk. He stared at its scarred surface as if it alone might hold the world at bay for him, maybe even protect him from the things he knew.
He had failed every person who'd ever truly meant anything to him – his wife, Dean, and now Sam. And there was still an army of demons on the loose planning who knew what, with possibly no one to stop them from completing their goals. The end of the world had never been more imminent.
He doubted he ever felt more impotent in his entire life as he did at that moment. And he was somehow sure the feeling wouldn't go away anytime soon. He had failed – failed when those who counted on him needed him most. And there wouldn't be any second chances this time around.
Feeling weighed down, Bobby glanced around him at a lifetime of accumulated research and of trying to save others from the dangers of ignorance regarding the unknown, and for the first time ever knew he could never do enough. That his efforts would always fall short no matter how hard he pushed. Everything he'd done and tried to achieve only an exercise in eventual failure.
With numb fingers Bobby opened the bottom drawer of his desk. He stared at the bottle and shot glass nestled inside, usually reserved as a treat for a job well done. But not today.
He pulled out the bottle of Gilbert Hadrian Black Scotch Whiskey and stared at the amber liquid as he filled the glass. He drank it down in one gulp, embracing the burn as it worked its way down his throat and into his empty stomach.
He filled the glass again and sent the second serving right after the first. Soon a warm glow spread through his limbs. A little later, his thoughts took more effort to keep together. But then he had no intension of even trying.
There was no point to thinking. Forgetting was where the appeal lay – even if it couldn't be forever. Just as long as the weight just felt a little less.
NOTES: First off, many thanks for reading! Do appreciate it. Hope it was worth it.
Second, I swear I thought I would have to go and strangle Kripke. My brain had assumed that the last episode in season 3 had been in the same state as the beginning of season 4, till I went and researched it. Of course "show" didn't give any explanation for the 5 hour difference in location. Now I am grateful for it as it led to me a solution I thought came out pretty well. Guess I will let him live…for now… :P
Third, I will share something cool/creepy with you. Under google maps, type in Humiston Woods Prairie Forrest Illinois. Then click on the Blue A and it will show you a picture (Or if this works, click this url .com/maps?q=gilbert%20hadrian&rls=:*:IE-SearchBox&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7DKUS_en&um=1&sa=N&tab=wl) Don't know if Kripke and them searched for woods in the area of Pontiac like I did, but this picture of the prairie is a dead ringer for the look they used for Dean's grave. I thought it was the coolest thing ever! Creeped out my beta though. Bwahahaha!
And finally, thanks to Kaz for looking the stuff over for me. Never hurts to have one extra set of eyes before releasing things into the wild. Thanks!