Once again, it took me a long time to update and I'm sorry for it. No excuses, just on to the story!
Bobby Singer paused for a moment before stepping into the kitchen. Both of the Winchesters were already sitting at the table, digging into the breakfast Sam prepared. Suddenly the younger man grimaced and let out a "gross", when his brother stuffed a piece of toast in his mouth, showing off the scrambled eggs and bacon already in there.
Chewing and swallowing enough of the food to allow him to talk around the rest, Dean smirked, "Hey, instead of complaining, you should take it as a compliment to your cooking!"
"Yeah well, could you restrain your enthusiasm enough to keep control your manners, instead of grossing me out?"
"No thanks, I rather not, don't know where you've been last, don't wanna get sick." Sam countered.
"What?" The older Winchester threw his hands in the air, "if anything, biting me would just make you awesome and cool."
"Bitch" Dean's response came without hesitation and with a smirk on his face.
Looking up, Sam noticed for the first time their surrogate father was standing in the doorway, "Oh hey Bobby, sit down, there is plenty of food left for you."
He stood up and went over to the counter. Taking a mug out of the cupboard, he filled it with coffee and handed it to the other man.
Drinking a large swig of the hot concoction, the older hunter let out an appreciative sigh, before starting to fill his plate with eggs, bacon and several slices of toast.
"Guess from now on I'll have to make my own breakfast again!" He stated, "You sure you don't wanna stay?"
"Already got everything loaded into the car." Dean replied, "We'll take off right after breakfast, I wanna drive about half way today, then find a motel. Don't wanna wear the kid out too much!"
"The kid is sitting right here and would like to have a say in this too!" Sam protested good-naturedly.
"No way, we're stopping just as planned."
"Didn't say we shouldn't, I just said I wanted a say in it." The younger Winchester smirked.
He felt better than he had in months, but knew he had to take it easy and not just jump into the hunt they had researched without thinking. In addition he decided to let Dean take the lead, it would make his brother feel better and show him that he trusted him.
"Smartass…" Dean looked at his little brother affectionately.
The hunt they had chosen was easy, a simple salt and burn in Ohio. The spirit never killed or even hurt anyone, just played some harmless tricks on people. Things like switching the salt with sugar or putting blue dye into the shampoo bottle. Matter of fact, when he had first read about it, he couldn't help but remember the Nair in the shampoo trick, he had played on Sam during one of their prank wars.
Upon looking further into it, Sam had found out the spirit used to be a ten year old boy, who died fifty some years ago of polio. He had been one of six brothers and four sisters and it seemed he'd never moved on, continuing to silently enjoy the presence of his siblings and after they'd moved out, his parents. Now that both his father and mother had died of old age and the family had decided to sell the house, he obviously took joy in making his presence known with harmless pranks. Yet continuing to let him do so would be like playing with fire, as one could never be sure when a benevolent spirit might turn evil. Sooner or later all of them did and now was the time to end it, before anything happened. And it was the perfect opportunity for a first hunt for Sam.
Bobby had allowed the boys to do all the research and planning, yet couldn't help but make sure they had some back up in the area, although he didn't tell the Winchesters about that, as it was something they would have never have agreed to. Experience though had taught the grizzled hunter that he had every reason worry; after all, he was dealing with Sam and Dean here. Sure he trusted them and knew both of them were capable hunters, yet after everything that happened, he needed to know that this hunt wouldn't have even the slightest chance of going south.
SN SN SN SN SN
An hour later Dean was standing in the yard, Bobby's strong arms embracing him with all their power. The older man kept the hug short, knowing the other hunter would not allow for any longer physical contact, unless it was initiated by him, which actually happened more frequently than one would expect. After feeling the affection returned, he moved on to Sam. Almost immediately he found the taller Winchester leaning against him, his hand almost dropping the cell and map held, as he wrapped them around his upper body. Staying like this for a second, Sam finally stepped back.
Damn, those boys really knew how to get to him, all that was missing now was that he started to cry now.
After taking a moment to pull himself together, he addressed both of them, "You take care of each other and call me. You don't, I'll come and hunt your asses down, you hear me?"
Sam smiled, "Yes, Sir!"
There were a hundred more things the salvage yard owner wanted to say, but he knew most of them wouldn't go over too well with Dean and the rest of them needed to be left unsaid, if he wanted to keep up the image of the grumpy old hunter, he had fought so hard to obtain his whole life. Instead he stood by and watched as Dean climbed into the driver's seat of the Impala, throwing one last look at him that told him more than any words would ever be able to.
Sam hesitated slightly, before joining his brother on the passenger side, his eyes wandering around the junk yard, before pausing on the house for a while and then finally locking with Bobby's.
"Thanks Bobby, for everything!"
"Just come back soon" The grizzled hunter answered, watching the young man disappear into the black car.
The engine came to live with a loud roar an Dean pulled his baby down the drive and out of the yard. Bobby watched until the car disappeared around the curve, before walking back into the house. Padding Rumsfeld on the head, he went inside. Settling on the couch, he grabbed the remote and turned on the TV. After flipping through the channels for a while, he got up and made his way into the kitchen. Refilling his empty cup, he took several sips of the hot brew, before setting it back down on the table.
"Darn idgits, can't believe I miss them already." The hunter mumbled, shaking his head.
He was used to being alone ever since his wife died. Granted, since John Winchester had shown up on his door step, two little boys in tow, things had been a little different, but he'd always known that the time with the kids would be temporary and had been prepared to let them go. This time though, he really had hoped the boys would decide to stay, making his home their home base. He even had offered, yet had been turned down.
The junk man let his gaze glide out of the window, his thoughts wandering back through the last few months. He still had difficulty believing John Winchester never thought it necessary for him to know about the sleepwalking spell little Sammy experienced. They almost lost the youngest and not just once, because of it. Yet at least there had been something good that came out of the almost tragedy. Dean, almost destroyed by the death of his father, had finally realized that his little brother had always been and still was the most important person in his life.
It had been a long road back for them though, even after Sam had come out of his catatonia and the steroid induced rage, he still had been struggling with depression. Although most of it had been caused by the prednisone, it had taken more time for this effect of the drug to wear off and the anti-depression drugs to kick in. Bobby had seen how Sam had been struggling with his inability to stop melancholy in its track. After he had known the cause, he had felt he should be able to take control the illness, instead it continued to pull him into the darkest crevices of his mind, flooding him with a complete lack of hope and a devastation, he had been incapable to fight. It hadn't taken long before the young man had taken on the guilt of putting yet another burden on Bobby and his brother. In typical Winchester fashion he had taken on responsibility for something that not even his biggest enemy could have held him accountable for.
In all this Dean had come through for his brother, pulling him out the depth of dejection and being his hope when nothing else could lighten his load. It had reminded the grizzled hunter of when he first had met them. Dean had always been there for little Sammy, hardly ever leaving his side and always making sure the little one had everything he needed. When no one else had been able to calm the distressed baby, it had taken one touch, one look from the older boy to quiet the little one, even make him smile at times. Any other child that age; the boy couldn't have been older than five at the time his father first showed up at Bobby's doorstep, wouldn't have been able to take care of his own needs, yet this little tike had managed to not just do that but also handle his baby brother. Never had it been John the smallest Winchester had cried for whenever he'd been waking up from a nap or been hungry.
It hadn't been that their father hadn't tried, yet still too distressed from the death of his wife and the reality that in face what was out there, he never would be able to give his sons the life they would have otherwise had; he just had provided as much attention as he could spare them. And that had usually been only enough for one of them. Most it had been Dean, not because his father had loved him more, but rather because he was older and had witnessed the tragedy that took his mother, so John had seen him as a confidant, rather than the little boy he had been. Baby Sammy on the other hand hadn't been able to run after his father or even ask for his affection. The younger boy though had never suffered from the lack, as Dean had always more than made up for it. In return he had been adored and worshipped by his brother.
Bobby smiled, remembering, he witnessed the first word the little one had spoken and although John had tried to deny it, there had been no mistaking the "De" out of the toddler's mouth for anything else but a declaration of love for his brother.
And just like then, Dean now had carried his brother, although not literally, as the little brother now was the bigger one, until the medication finally had kicked in and done its job. Still, there was no doubt in their surrogate father's mind that in the end it was more the effect Dean had on Sam, than the one of the medication that had pulled the younger sibling out of the depression.
After that it had taken only a very short time, before Sam started to push for training again. Bobby knew that at that point he had felt that it was his turn now to take action. Dean had agreed, yet made sure his brother would go easy and not overdo it. There wasn't a single time, when the younger man would go for walks or runs without Dean accompanying him. And although Sam was usually very independent and especially enjoyed alone time during his runs, taking the time to clear his head, he had never seemed to mind, actually clearly thriving on the attention his brother was giving him. It had been like there was a silent understanding between them, something that had been there in the past but had been missing ever since their dad had died. Now it had returned and in a way appeared to be even stronger than it had been before.
Getting Sam back into shape, helping him feel 'normal' again had clearly been Dean's ultimate goal. As soon as he had accomplished it, the firstborn Winchester had started to get antsy, yet had put his effort into helping fix up some of the cars on the lot that still were worth doing so. And in the end, when the older man had suggested for them to stay with him and make his home their base, it had been Sam, not Dean, who'd said no. There had been no question in Bobby's mind to why the younger Winchester had done it though, but he had know that it hadn't been a sacrifice either, as Sam's home had always been Dean and maybe the Impala, as the two of them seemed almost as inseparable as the brothers were.
Turning back towards the room, Bobby sent a short prayer for protection for his boys to heaven. He wasn't the believing kind, yet he knew that too many miracles had happened lately for him to ignore the possibility. And after all, their friend Jim Murphy had believed and if there was a heaven, he would surely be up there and relay his request to the Almighty. And maybe he needed to say a little thank you also, because with all the worry and anxiety those boys brought with them, they also brought something else, something he never expected to experience – family.
Sure, he always had called his hunter friends his family, yet they had been more like extended family, some as close as cousins, John almost like a brother, yet this was different. Dean and Sam, those boys were different. They weren't his blood, but they were his sons anyway. He knew he would give anything for them and although he probably never would find out for sure, he had recognized almost immediately that John had made some kind of deal to save Dean. And although he would have called anyone else a fool for doing so, there was no doubt in his mind that he would do the same for either of the boys without even so much as blinking. Blood reached only so far, family though reached far beyond and to him that's what Sam and Dean were.
So this is it. I know I ended it with Bobby's point of view and maybe this was disappointing to some of you, but after the long talk in the last chapter I felt that Bobby deserved this. He is the one that has been pulling our boys out of the fire again and again and I needed to make sure he was being recognized for it.
Thanks for sticking with me; it has been a long journey. I have a sequel in mind, but have no idea when I will get to it. No promises there. There are a few other projects I need to finish. You all have been awesome and I want to give thanks to all of you, especially to Hotshow for the idea to this story. It took on a live of its own, mainly due to the ideas and inspirations many of you sent me. Again, thank you and let me know how you liked the ending. Hugs, Vonnie