« Well well well. Look at what the werewolf dragged in. » Bobby chuckled as he watched Dean Winchester lift himself out of the impala.

Bobby's smile quickly disappeared as he watched the young man falter. He didn't fail to notice how pale Dean looked; his movements, slow and sluggish. Dean winced in pain as he stood to his full height, his hands instinctively holding the car for support. "yeah, yeah. Laugh it up old man." Slowly, Dean limped his way to the front porch, paying extra attention to his left leg. Bobby grew instantly worried as he watched Dean sway slightly, the remaining colour draining from his face.

"You okay?" Bobby stepped forward to offer a steady hand. Uncharacteristically, the younger man took it, glad to be rid of his own weight.

Dean concentrated on his breathing "Just a little run in with a black dog. Damn thing nearly tore my leg off." He shut his eyes to stop the spinning as he let the older man hold him up. Bobby noticed the hospital bracelet still around Dean's right wrist, finally putting two and two together.

"Kid, I would have come pick you up if you'd have called." Bobby helped him up the stairs and into the living room. Exhausted from the drive, Dean lowered himself on the couch, not ever bothering to take his coat or boots off. His leg was hurting and he hoped that he hadn't pulled any of the stitches. He closed his eyes against a second wave of dizziness.

"Here, take these." Dean pried his eyes open. Bobby stood there offering him a glass of water and two painkillers. He swallowed them easily and washed them down with the water. Bobby brought him a blanket and a pillow to make him more comfortable. It didn't take long for the exhausted youth to fall asleep. "What the hell am I going to do with you." Bobby mused as he watched the sleeping Winchester.

* *****

It took a few days for Dean to get his colour back. It took a few more days before he was able to walk around without feeling like he was going to pass out with every step. Luckily, the drive hadn't pulled any stitches and his leg was recovering nicely. As far as Bobby knew, John had no idea what had happened for the simple fact that he wasn't here yelling at Dean for screwing up a hunt. That being said, he wasn't going to be the one to call John and tell him. Dean would be ready to go in a few weeks or so, good as new. Besides from what little Bobby knew of the Winchester family dynamics, his father probably wouldn't even notice his absence. For now, he needed a little rest and relaxation.

Walking the junk yard with Dean brought back a lot of old memories for the old trucker. Dean was never one to sit still for more than an hour. Bobby could still remember how chaotic it had been babysitting Sam and Dean when they were little. Though at first Dean didn't talk much to anyone other than Sam, the youth had more then enough energy to make up for it. He would always be outside racing through the junkyard causing Bobby more than one panic moment. Sam on the other hand had always been shy and would follow his older brother until he was too tired to keep up.

The only person who had ever noticed Dean's absence was his little brother Sam but that had all changed the night Sam announced he was accepted at Stanford. Bobby hadn't been there the night Sam left for college but from what he was able to piece together from the other two, it hadn't been pretty. Bobby shuddered at the memory of how Dean had been in those first few weeks. It was almost like he had no idea what to do with himself now that his little brother wasn't following him around 24/7. John spent most of his time away or drunk. The trucker had the distinct impression that Dean and John had stopped speaking to each other for that brief period.

Bobby sighed. Who needed tv drama when you lived with the Winchesters?

***

"Hey Dean, before I forget, I got a package for you." Bobby got up to rummaged through the front closet. Dean's eyebrows arched in surprise, he never received any mail let alone a package. For that to happen, he would have to stay in the same place for more than a week and have someone who cared enough to send him something. This was definitely a first for him.

"From who?" He leaned forwards from the couch to see Bobby searching the closet. The two had gone for a walk early and his leg was now letting him know it didn't approve. Finally after many swear words and random objects spilling out into the hall, Bobby came back with a box wrapped with brown paper. It was addressed to him but to Bobby's house. Dean eyes widened as he instantly recognised the hand writing.

Tentatively, he tore open the package. Inside were many different things. He picked up the letter that lay on the top. As he unfolded the paper, a silver ring fell unto his lap.

Hey bro,

I hope you didn't think I'd miss Christmas AND your birthday. You know one of us has to keep track of these things. College is great! I love my classes and I love the people here. I think you'd like it too if you gave it a shot. I'd try calling but I know it's hard to get you when you're not out kicking ass and saving the day.

I know it's not much but I also know how much you hate "chick-flick" moments. So to make it short and sweet, the ring is pure silver and blessed. There's also a small devil's trap carved on the inside. I hope it fits. Well, drop by to see me next time you're anywhere near Palo Alto.

Sam

P.s. The girls here are hot.

Dean had to read it three times over. After that, his hands still held the paper out of instinct as his eyes stared blankly at the words. He hadn't spoken to his brother for nearly a year. He had called a few times but it was always awkward when their father was around.

"What he give you?" Dean had momentarily forgotten that Bobby was sitting next to him. Of course Bobby had known who it was from. It was the only reason he had held onto it for so long. Dean held out the silver ring for the old hunter to see. It easily fitted onto the middle finger of his right hand. He then turned his attention back to the other contents of the box.

There were several tapes, burnt CD's, chocolate bars, random tools, a container of salt, cookies, and various other odds and ends. This was the best present anyone had ever given him. But that wasn't what brought a smile to his face. It was the simple message that Sam didn't hate him. The package itself could have contained encyclopaedias for all he cared. The message remained the same. The second he could stand for more than 5 minutes, he was headed to Palo Alto to visit a certain brother of his.