Summary: Coping with a sick Sam brings back some memories for Bobby, and reminds him and Dean that family is more than just blood. Written by Floralia and Gidgetgal9 in honor of Sendintheclown's birthday!
a/n: Happy Birthday Sendintheclowns. Thanks for your continued help and support, and for all the great fic. I hope you have a wonderful day. And thanks to Gidgetgal9 for agreeing to take on this with me, and to Bayre and BlueEyedDemonLiz for the last minute beta. You all rock.
a/n: Happy Birthday to my wonderful friend Sendintheclowns. The Supernatural fandom wouldn't be so much fun for me without you to share it with. A big thanks to Floralia for having such a great idea for a story and letting me write it with her. Thank you Bayre and BlueEyedDemonLiz for helping with the beta work, you two are totally awesome!
They hadn't called ahead to say they were coming, which Bobby knew straight away was a bad sign.
Usually an unheralded arrival was followed by one of two things; any second now both boys would come hurtling through his front door and barricade it behind them. Or one of them would be carried in amid a flurry of triage instructions.
He paused, dish cloth still in hand, waiting for the sound of booted feet on his porch. Maybe he could tell from the quality of that sound which direction he needed to run; for the first aid kit under the sink or the heavy duty wards.
But the expected flurry of activity never came.
He tilted his head with a frown. He'd definitely heard them approach; he'd recognize that throaty rumble anywhere. They just didn't seem inclined to get out of the car.
He dried his hands and dropped the dishcloth onto the unit with a sigh. They were going to make him go to them. He should just wait them out in the comfort of his own home, but the curiosity was too great for him to resist.
The car was parked out front and he could see them through the windshield, heads bent together in conversation, movements slow and with no sense of urgency. As he watched Sam nodded subduedly at his brother and Dean looked up, obviously sensing Bobby's concerned gaze, and offered a reassuring smile.
Two doors creaked open. Sam hesitated but Dean pulled himself smoothly out. He rest his arms on the top of the open car door, posture relaxed, and flashed Bobby a grin, squinting slightly in the afternoon sun.
"We were just driving by, thought we'd say hi," Dean shrugged nonchalantly in the face of the skeptical frown Bobby was throwing in his direction. And if Bobby thought his posture was relaxed bordering on shifty, Sam's incredulous snort from the passenger seat confirmed it.
Dean's smile faltered as he threw his brother an irritated look.
Sam heaved himself out of the car with a groan, wobbling slightly. He closed the door with a slam, turning to face Dean over the top of the Impala with an expression that dared his brother to argue. Dean looked like he was about to take him up on the offer too, right until Sam's legs went out from under him and he had to scrabble to grab hold of the car to keep himself upright.
Bobby darted forwards a few steps but Dean was already moving, and Bobby knew better than to get between them
"'m k," Sam murmured to the floor. "Just got up too fast." He'd found his feet before Dean made it around the front of the car to his side but he wasn't relinquishing his hold. Instead he paused with both arms resting on the roof, forehead brushing his forearm as he stared at the ground, breathing deeply.
"That would be why I told you to wait until I got round here to help you," Dean chided softly, with a hand on his brother's shoulder.
"Yeah," Sam agreed ruefully. He turned slowly and transferred his weight from the car to Dean's shoulder, and Bobby's concern spiked.
"You guys okay?" he asked, moving towards them.
"Just peachy," Dean reassured him, while Sam croaked out a yes, nodded, then clung onto Dean with both hands to stop himself from falling over again. Dean rolled his eyes in mock exasperation.
"Come on, let's get you inside." Dean wrapped one arm around his brother's waist, hooking a finger through Sam's belt loop, and nudged him in the direction of the house.
"'m 'll right," Sam whispered in Bobby's direction, no doubt taking in the fact Dean's words had failed to reassure him "'m just tired."
"We'll get you somewhere where you can sleep," Dean told him. "Bobby, can you...?" Dean nodded in the direction of the front door, the direction the Winchesters' unsteady steps were taking them.
He nodded and reversed his steps back up the porch, ready to hold the door open for them when they got there.
"You said you told him we were coming," he heard Sam scolding in a low voice as he passed.
"Actually, I think you'll find I never said that," Dean corrected. "I might have implied it," he conceded with a grin, "But…" he trailed off with a shrug.
Bobby led the way through to his living area and cleared some books from the sofa, then hovered awkwardly to one side as Dean gently lowered Sam onto it.
Sam smiled tiredly, shivered and coughed, hunching over into himself as though in an effort to get warm. Now he was close enough to tell, Bobby realized the younger man looked awful.
"You're getting a little warm," Dean murmured, one hand placed against his brother's forehead, and his lips were pulled into a frown.
"Hmmmm," Sam agreed disinterestedly.
"He okay?" Bobby asked quietly in Dean's ear as Sam's eyes slipped closed.
"Yeah, he just needs some rest."
Sam made an effort to move aside the jacket and folders that were taking up the other side of the couch, with lethargic arms.
"I got it," Dean took a hardback from Sam's shaking grasp before he dropped it. Sam brought his knees up to his chest and made to flop over onto the cushions, looking thoroughly miserable.
Dean pulled the blanket that was draped over the back of the seat down over his shivering form.
Bobby took in the pale face and bloodshot eyes, the congested breathing and the fact the younger man had to fold himself almost in two to fit on the dusty old sofa, and he sighed, running one hand over his face in resignation.
"You get him upstairs, I'll make up a bed," he offered, dumping the books in his hand onto another stack of books on the table, and picking his way out of the room. A softly spoken "Thank you" followed him out.
He was just closing the door to the linen cupboard when the Winchesters reached the top of the stairs.
"In there," he indicated to the room he'd be putting them up in and Dean nodded, half dragging his brother through the door.
Sam was sat on a chair at the far side of the room, hunched over and coughing, when Bobby had snagged towels and headed inside.
"I'm gonna grab our bags, bring them inside," Dean told him, squeezing past Bobby and clattering back down the stairs.
Bobby hung back in the doorway, feeling slightly uncomfortable. Sam looked up at him with bloodshot eyes and offered a grateful smile.
"You really okay?" he asked.
Sam snorted affectionately. "I'm not the one you should be worrying about," he croaked out.
Bobby tilted his head in question.
"I'm alright. It's just the flu or something, I'll be fine. I just wanna sleep. And apparently I'm not allowed to do that at the Dive Inn."
"But you are here?"
"I choose not to question."
Bobby nodded and moved towards the bed, laying the linens and towels down.. But when he reached gruffly for a pillow Sam spoke up.
"Hey, don't worry about it, we got this. Seriously." He made an effort to stand and take the pillow from Bobby's hand but groaned and sank back into the seat, obviously thinking better of it. "Sorry," he whispered, staring sheepishly up at Bobby through sweat soaked bangs.
Bobby just sighed exasperatedly and shook his head. He was sure Sam was sorry for not being able to get up and help, not for the fact he had attempted to do so. It was clear by the way he was listing sideways in his seat that he lacked the co-ordination to make up his own bed, and it wasn't like Bobby was incapable of fixing it himself. It wouldn't be the first time
Dean was about to make it up the stairs when he met Bobby coming down them.
"Leave the bags for now Dean, kid's out." Bobby said motioning to go back downstairs.
Dean nodded, relieved to know Sam was resting. "Cool, I'll just set these in the library for now."
"Yeah, you do that and I'll put on a pot of coffee. You look like you could use it boy." Bobby followed Dean downstairs.
Dean looked over his shoulder and smirked. "Could we make that a beer?"
Bobby sighed. "Bit early but yeah, okay."
Dean quickly put the bags away in the library so that they wouldn't trip anyone and then joined Bobby in the kitchen.
He found Bobby sitting at the table with two open beer bottles. Dean sat across from the older hunter and gladly took the bottle being pushed his way. He took a long draw of beer.
Dean was pulled from the enjoyment of the beer by Bobby's voice. "So, kid's pretty sick?"
Dean reluctantly sat the beer down. "Yeah, kept getting worse and the crappy motel we were hold up in didn't have a heater that worked properly. We'd changed rooms twice. So, I headed this way."
"Glad you did, it's what family it's for. You know the door is always open." Bobby picked up his own beer and took a swig.
"Thanks for that. I know that Sam thought I was over reacting but crap if having the kid sick doesn't raise all kinds of hackles with me. I guess its cause I can't do much for him, but I can make sure he stays warm." Dean sighed in frustration.
"Yeah well you two have such a strong bond, it amazes me. I've never seen … well anyway." Bobby shifted in his chair.
Dean took another long swallow from his beer before speaking. "Yeah well, it's just me and Sam now and before that it was just us and Dad. That tends to make a family close."
Dean quirked a brow. "What?"
"Just got me thinking about you and Sam as kids. It was the three of you but you three had a group that was your family support even if you didn't recognize it as such." Bobby smiled and took another drink.
"Yep, Pastor Jim and Uncle Bobby. That's what Sam called you but I can't remember when or why he started calling you that." Dean looked towards the older hunter with a questioning look.
"Huh, guess I've never told you that story. Let's see, Sam had to be around five years old and John took you out on a hunting exercise leaving the kid with me.....
Bobby finished drying the dinner dishes and went looking for his young charge. He wasn't surprised to find a five year old Sam huddled at the front window watching the snow come down. Instead of excitement over the white stuff, Sam's face was scrunched up in concern.
"Sam, why don't you join me on the couch, it's gotta be cold by the window." Bobby plopped down on the beaten down couch and patted the spot next to him.
Sam's shoulders fell and he reluctantly moved to sit down by the older hunter. "They should be back, and the snow is getting bad."
The words tumbled out of the worried child as he plopped down next to Bobby. The elder hunter gave Sam a reassuring smile. "They'll be fine. Your daddy is an ex-marine and knows how to handle a little snow."
Sam nodded slowly. "But why did he make Dean go hunting when it is so cold? He knew it might get bad and snow."
Bobby sighed, it would be so much easier to just tell the kid the truth but then he understood keeping Sam innocent to the ways of the hunt as long as they could. Kid deserved to keep his innocence.
"Well Sammy, hunting critters like deer and duck come into season in the cold. Your daddy hopes that Dean will want to be a hunter so he is teaching him the proper ways of the hunt. Plus, it never hurts to know how to survive in the worst conditions. Cars can get a flat in this stuff, people get stranded all the time. It pays to know how to survive." Bobby was proud of himself with his explanation, especially as Sam seemed to buy it.
"I guess so, but what..." Sam's voice went quiet and he started to sniffle.
"Sam, what's wrong kid?" Bobby moved closer so that his leg touched Sam's.
"J-Just they're the only family I have... and if something happened to them... I'd be alone." Sam's voice was quivering and Bobby knew the kid was near a break down.
Bobby placed a hand on Sam's shoulder and spoke in a quiet but firm voice. "First off kid, nothing is gonna happen to Dean and your dad. John is highly trained and a little blizzard is not gonna take him down. And second off kid, you are far from being alone. You think family ends with blood?"
Sam's right hand wiped away the moisture gathered in his eyes. "W-What do you mean by that?"
Bobby smiled. "I mean, you have a family that cares about you. It might not be a biological family but you have me and Pastor Jim for starters. Caleb, Jefferson and Joshua are all part of this family. We are there for each other and if something was to happen we would be there for you. In fact, I feel closer to this group of family than I do my own blood kin. You guys understand me and accept me for me, which is a lot more than I can say about my blood kin."
Sam's face was knitted up in thought and he was quiet for a bit before he finally spoke. "Never thought of it that way, before. Dad has always had us call you or Pastor Jim if we need anything. He looks at you as family doesn't he?"
Bobby chuckled. "Yep, he does and even if he is a stubborn jackass sometimes I think of him the same way."
Sam's eyes went wide but he smiled. "You cussed, but I won't tell."
"Thanks kid, or your daddy might get mad at me for speaking the truth. So how about some hot chocolate?" Bobby got up and held a hand out to young Sam.
A few hours later, the front door burst open with snow, wind and the Winchesters. Bobby was relieved and Sam was ecstatic to see the two snow blown figures in the doorway.
"Daddy! Dean! You made it!" Sam exclaimed as he made a beeline to his brother, burying himself in the nine year old's snow covered coat.
"Hey kiddo, of course we made it, didn't think a little snow would stop us now did ya? You shouldn't have worried." Dean's voice reprimanded him in a light way.
Sam pulled away and looked Dean in the eyes. "I was worried at first but Uncle Bobby he told me not to worry, that you and Dad could handle a little snow."
Bobby felt his face flush a bit as Sam referred to him as 'Uncle Bobby' and he was a little afraid of the reaction John would have at this but was soon relieved when John's eyes met his with a wink.
Dean seemed taken aback for just a second but seemed to accept the outburst just as his dad had. "Huh, you haven't been giving Uncle Bobby trouble have you squirt?"
Sam started to babble on about the snow and hot chocolate.
Dean smiled as he finished off his beer. "Sounds like the kid, always over thinking everything. Glad you were able to convince him he wasn't alone."
Bobby chuckled. "Not an easy task but yeah, me too."
A cough coming from the other room pulled them from their conversation.
Bobby sighed. "Thought the kid was getting some rest."
Dean chuckled as he rose from his spot at the table. "Now when has Sam made things easy on us, Uncle Bobby?"
"Good point son, good point." Bobby smiled as he rose ready to take on the role of Uncle Bobby once again with pride.
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