Prequel to 6.01. Spoilers. Set in the first days after Sam's resurrection, a couple of days before 'When Death Came Calling'.

Death on the Doorstep

It was raining the night the dead showed up on his doorstep, but after his own recent resurrection, Bobby Singer couldn't say he was really surprised. Not after the first few tense seconds anyway.

He hadn't heard anyone outside but was just locking up for the night when something (nothing he could put his finger on outside instinct), told him to open the door –

To the very pale faced and shaking visage of a boy back from the dead.

"Sam?" the word was a throaty hiss.

The tall apparition just stared at him, hand still posed where it had obviously been reaching for the door when Bobby had opened it.

"Sam?" Bobby repeated, his heart hammering hopefully in his chest. "That you, kid?"

"Bobby?" Sam's voice was reed thin; too small and broken sounding to be from the man mere inches in front of him… or to be anyone else.

"Sam." The name was exhaled in pure relief as the older hunter crossed the distance between them and pulled the kid in for a tight hug. "Oh Gawd, boy."

"'m wet," Sam started to protest before he shivered hard, long arms slowly snaking up to hold on.

"Idjit," Bobby snorted gruffly; like the rain mattered in face of death. And then Sam was griping him back tightly, Bobby's name a sobbed exclamation against the hunter's neck.

Logically Bobby knew there were tests he should be doing first but, damn it all, after everything they had been through recently, he had no doubt about who this was. And if any of them deserved a second chance in the aftermath of that apocalypse, it was Sam. So putting common hunting courtesy aside, Bobby just held on for another moment and then reluctantly let the boy go, stepping back to go inside. "C'mon," he offered wanting to get Sam in the house, dried off and warmed up. Even in the dim porch lighting the kid looked like terrible.

"No," Sam shook his head, his eyes wide as he stepped backwards, away from the house and the safety of the awning.

Bobby watched the skittish young man. "Sam? You okay?" It seemed a stupid question to ask in light of everything.

Sam started to say something then changed his mind and offered a brief twist of lips in answer. He shrugged then glanced down at his feet as he shifted on them. Bobby got the distinct impression he was seconds away from bolting.

"I – uh – didn't know, you know, that you were, ah, alive?" it came out as a question and Bobby frowned wondering what Sam was trying to say. Considered one of the intellectuals of the hunting community, it tore at Bobby to see Sam practically stumbling over his words and knew where the uncertainty was coming from. Hell.

"I, well, I didn't know where else to go, what else to do, you know? First I was there and then I was here…" Sam rambled on.

"Here? You were brought back here?" Bobby wondered if there was some significance to that. Why would Sam be resurrected in the scrap yard? Why not closer to Dean?

"No, no, not here, here. Here, in the cemetery, here. I woke up in the field, alone and it was raining." Sam tried to clarify. "I tried to find Dean first."

"He's with Lisa," Bobby immediately offered and Sam actually smiled.

"I know. I saw him. Them." Fondness and longing colored his face. "He looked happy."

"I don't know if happy is the word I'd use," Bobby mused then regretted saying anything as he saw the emotion bleed off Sam's face, leaving him looking resolute and cold.

"He is happy, Bobby. I could see it." Sam's conviction was cement hard and left Bobby wondering who he was trying to convince. "Yes, he's hurting. I know that. I'm not stupid but I also know he's better off there… with them."

"Sam," Bobby narrowed his eyes. "What exactly are you saying?"

"I'm saying," all vulnerability was gone. "I don't want Dean to know about me being back. I want him to live his life, his safe and normal family life, the way he wants to. Not the way he thinks he'd have to if he knows I'm back… I love him, Bobby, too much to drag him back into all this, especially not when I don't even know what the hell I'm doing back. I mean, who brought me back? And why? Dean's been dealing with my crap all his life… and it isn't fair. It's time I stood on my own two feet and took care of my own clean up."

Bobby listened to the young man as Sam continued on.

"He wanted out years ago, after Dad died. Man, you didn't see him in River Grove, he was so tired then and that was nothing, nothing, compared to this. And hell?" Sam faltered and swallowed hard. Bobby saw a sliver of Sam's own demons flash across the kid's face. "He went to hell for me." A heartbreaking smile warred with the shininess of unshed tears. "I have new understanding about that now and I can't…" he shook his head, his resolve back in place. "I won't do that to him again."

"Sam," Bobby understood. It wasn't necessarily the 'right' thing to do, Dean should know, but he also understood where Sam was coming from. And more than that, as he stared at the young man standing in front of him, almost as much a shadow as the darkness surrounding him, he wondered if Sam somehow needed this, as much for Dean as for himself. Sighing loudly, Bobby closed his eyes briefly and shook his head. "He's hurting, Sam. You know that. He misses his brother."

"I know." Sam shoved his hands in his pockets and shivered again. "But, I don't know what else to do. I can't give him what he needs… I'm not that person anymore." He looked up at the overcast night; rain pelted his pale face. "The little brother he wants and loves is still in the pit, Bobby, so really, my being here? It's just semantics. So why mess with what Dean can have? This is the only thing I can do for him so I'm going to do it."

"And what exactly are you going to do? While he's off playing house?" Bobby asked, genuinely curious. If Sam wouldn't even come in out of the rain, it was highly unlikely he was planning on staying with Bobby.

"Hunt," Sam stated tonelessly. "Try to find out what brought me back and why." He peered intently at Bobby. "I am glad you're alive though, surprised but very glad."

Bobby snorted. "That's nice to hear, Sam."

"No, what I mean is that I'm sorry."

"Sorry?"

"Sorry I couldn't save you. Stop him… you know? The bastard."

Bobby didn't fail to notice how Sam avoided saying 'Lucifer' but didn't say anything, instead he offered the kid absolution. "You did save me, Sam. You saved us all."

A flash of gratitude and a slight blush warmed something inside Bobby and he tried to get Sam to come inside again. But like the first time, Sam shook his head.

"No, I can't… stay. Not right now. Bobby," Sam looked worried, "you won't say anything to Dean, right? About me?"

"I tell you what," Bobby gave what reassurance he could. "How about this? If he doesn't ask, I won't tell. But can I ask you one more thing first?"

Sam's face grew guarded but he nodded anyway.

"You know what it's like to lose a brother to hell – do you really think Dean can ever just let you go like this?"

The shadows swallowed Sam as he gaze dipped back down. He shook his head but didn't answer.

"Okay then," Bobby sighed heavily. "Just so you know."

"Yeah. I do." Sam looked up at the older man again, his eyes piercing with so much emotion Bobby had to force himself not to look away. "But he has a real family to comfort him, Lisa and Ben, they love him… they'll take good care of him. All I had was a demon." He blinked and offered an apologetic shrug. "Well, you know what I mean."

Bobby did, and didn't take offence. Instead he rubbed his face tiredly, then glanced behind Sam at the dark and wet road stretched out behind him. "How'd you get here anyway?"

"Walked mostly," Sam admitted. "Was kind of hoping you'd have something working that I could borrow once I got here."

"Borrow? Don't you mean 'inherit'. You thought I was dead, kid." Bobby corrected with a huff. "Oh and just so you're all caught up on things, Castiel was brought back too."

"Cas?" Sam frowned, his gaze went distant as he seemed to be trying to search his memory for something. Then his face went even whiter and for a moment Bobby really thought he was going to pass out.

"You didn't know?" he speculated and Sam shook his head.

"No," he admitted. "I didn't get to see everything…"

"That's probably a good thing," Bobby assured him although he suspected Lucifer had made sure Sam saw the really important stuff. Unfortunately. And a lot of that was probably influencing Sam's decisions right now. Stupid idjit. However, idiot or not, Bobby loved that the poor fool like a son and, if Sam wouldn't stay with him, he could at least get him a set of wheels.

"Well you were right about one thing," he flashed the kid a smile thinking that he did have a car the kid could use. A cherry of a ride too that Bobby had been saving a long time for. But right now, there was nothing more he wanted from that vehicle than to give it away. To Sam. "Boy, do I have a car for you…"

Reaching out to tap Sam on the arm to get him to follow, Bobby led him away from the house and towards the shed. "But if you so much as get a dent on her-"

It was right about there that Bobby was sure Sam tuned him out…

And then Sam showed up on his doorstep, again in the dark, a couple of nights later…

The End