AN: This started out as a One-shot, but by the time it had reached 4,000 and I was no where near done, I decided I'd better divide it up. I'm long winded, what can I say? This is a prequel of sorts to my WWWS & Baby stories. What happens in this fic is directly referenced in Baby. It doesn't mean you need to read the other two, but I'd love for you to, if you haven't already. This is unbetaed, because I've already bothered my beloved Zara Zee enough for one day...she's such a sweetheart. So...if you happen to find mistakes, please point them out so that I may fix them and next chapter I promise will be betaed.
Disclaimer: They're obviously not mine. If they were mine, they would have behaved themselves two weeks ago when I started working on this fic.
Bobby Singer thundered down the stairs, checking the rounds in his Army issue, Colt Peacemaker and slapping the loading gate shut when he was satisfied that the chambers were properly loaded.
Whoever had the balls to come pounding on his front door at three in the morning, had a surprise waiting for him.
He tucked his robe securely around his waist and drew his gun ready, flicked the lock and yanked open the door.
"What do you want?" he growled.
The figure standing in the doorway was shrouded in shadow, leaning heavily against the frame of the door, looking foreboding. Bobby leveled the revolver at the unexpected visitor.
"Good to see you too, Bobby."
The older hunter fumbled for the light switch, flicking it on and flooding the dark entryway with blinding light.
The foreboding stance provided by the darkness, faded into Dean Winchester's familiar cocky stance, wearing a self-assured smile that Bobby recognized as the one that always got the boy whatever he wanted. But not tonight…not if Bobby had anything to say about it.
"Dammit, Boy! I about blew your fool head off. What the Hell are you doin' pounding on my door at three am? And where's your damn key?"
"Sam's got it," Dean answered matter-of-factly, thumbing over his shoulder to where Sam was trudging tiredly up the front steps beneath the weight of both his and Dean's gear.
"Thanks for the help, Jerk."
He shoved Dean's duffle firmly into his older brother's gut, a ghost of a smile playing across his lips when the hit earned him a pained 'oomph' from Dean.
"Sorry, Bobby. I told him not to wake you up."
"Well, I'm up now, so you might as well come in. I can put a pot of coffee on."
"Thanks, Bobby, but none for me. I'm tired. Going upstairs for some shuteye. "
Sam put a warm hand on his friend's shoulder and scooted passed him through the doorway. He hitched his bag up on his shoulder and followed the short hallway around to the staircase, where he climbed toward his bed without even a 'Good night.'
"Everything alright?" Bobby directed at Dean, watching the confident demeanor slip before his eyes.
"Yea. Long day, long drive."
"That job go okay?"
Dean tried to hide the grimace, but Bobby caught the slight look as the young man tried to step around him and head for the kitchen. Bobby reached out and caught Dean at the elbow.
"Did the job go okay?" he repeated slowly.
A minute head shake and down cast eyes was all the answer he needed.
"Like I said, long day."
"Long day," Bobby mimicked. "Like I need a beer, long day? Or like I need a fifth, long day?"
"A fifth," Dean answered honestly, all his energy seemed to seep out of him.
"I haven't got one. I've got a beer," Bobby counter-offered, releasing Dean's arm with a comforting squeeze.
"Beer would be good." Dean followed him through the library toward the kitchen, dropping his duffle on the couch as he passed.
Bobby opened the short fridge and leaned into it, grabbing out a bottle for Dean and a half gallon of milk. He tossed the bottle to where Dean was leaning against the counter; the bottle landing perfectly in Dean's awaiting hand with no effort on Dean's part other than to close his fingers around the bottle.
Without having to be told, Dean reached over his shoulder into the cupboard and pulled down a glass, setting it on the counter beside him. Unscrewing the cap of the milk jug, Bobby poured himself three quarters of a glass.
"You hungry?" he asked Dean. No sooner was the question out of his mouth, than Bobby was shaking his head. Of course the boy was hungry. The boy was always hungry.
"Maaaybeee" Dean responded slowly, drawing out the word; his eyebrow quirking high on his forehead, his mouth drawn up at one corner in a mischievous smile.
The young man was completely captivating as it was, not that Bobby thought of him like that, but when Dean lit up like he was now, Bobby found it was hard not to return the smile. It was followed immediately by a deep chuckle when Dean's eyes went wide with excitement.
"Oh! You know what sounds real good? Cereal! You got cereal, Bobby?"
Dean started poking around the kitchen looking for any sign of a cereal box. Bobby pointed to the cupboard where he kept dry goods. The cupboard had just a few frequently used necessities and Dean was quick to find the lone box of cereal available; Rice Krispies.
He pulled the box free of the cupboard and grabbed a bowl, spoon and his beer, setting them down on the table and himself down in a chair; all with a loud bang.
Bobby joined him at the table. He picked up a discarded newspaper and sat back, watching Dean in amusement over the top of the paper. Bobby didn't object when Dean snatched his jug of milk to pour over his cereal. Spoon in one hand, bottle in the other, Dean started a back and forth motion. One heaping spoonful, slurp the milk first, then chase the bite with a thick swallow of Busch Light.
"Cereal and beer?"
"Absolutely!" he grinned around a mouthful of the puffed rice, the snap, crackle, pop echoing inside his toothy smile. "Best meal ever. Almost as good as pie. Cereal was a freakin' commodity when we were kids. Between eighty-nine and ninety-three, I can count on one hand how many bowls of cereal I got. Always had to give my portion to Sammy. Damn kid. I'd make macaroni and he'd want Fruit Loops. I'd make Spagettios, he'd want Frosted Flakes. I should have invested in Kellogg a long time ago; the kid would have made me millions."
Bobby smiled fondly remembering the boys growing up. Even then, Dean was always looking out for his little brother. Fixing his meals, helping with homework and just plain ole taking care of Sam; more like a parent than a brother. And rarely a complaint to be heard, because it was what had to be done; Dean's responsibility.
But Sam was asleep, safe in his bed in the room that they shared at Bobby's. And with his lifelong responsibility lifted momentarily, the tension ran out of the older Winchester and Bobby found the grown man almost childlike in his enthusiasm over a bowl of cereal.
"This needs something," Dean murmured thoughtfully and the idea hit him.
He jumped up from the table, carrying his bowl with him and went back to the kitchen counter where a row of small canisters lined the backsplash. One by one he lifted the lids until he found what he was looking for and then sprinkled a couple spoonfuls over the cereal, licking the extra off of the spoon.
Dean's eyes narrowed and he grimaced at the offending spoon, smacking his mouth around the bitter taste. Shrugging it off, he dipped the spoon back into his bowl. After three heaping bites, he was again frowning.
"Bobby, I think your sugar went bad."
Bobby's head popped up from behind the newspaper that he was reading. The paper rattled in his hands as he turned anxious eyes on the young man.
"What sugar? I don't have any sugar."
Dean's eyebrows climbed high on his forehead. He bent a tentative look over the rim of the bowl. It looked like sugar. Except that now on further inspection, Dean noticed the matter wasn't melting like sugar did. It just sort of floated there, looking ominously back at Dean.
"I don't feel so good," was the weak response Bobby heard before he watched Dean sink to his knees and then splay out on his stomach across the kitchen floor.
Bobby jumped from his seat, knocking the chair over to loudly bang on the linoleum. He crossed to his fallen friend and reached under the man, taking a hold of Dean's far arm. Carefully, Bobby edged him over onto his back, supporting his head when he laid him flat.
Bobby's rough, calloused hand patted Dean firmly on the face, trying to rouse him.
"Wake up, Son. Dean, you in there? Sam!"
Bobby's voice echoed throughout the entire downstairs making his own ears ring. In the back of his mind he knew that prior to calling out for the younger Winchester, Bobby had already heard heavy feet hit the floor. Even now, as he was turning to look through the library, Sam was barreling down the stairs taking three at a time. He skidding around the corner, through the first room and slid across the linoleum on his knees, stopping just shy of bowling Bobby over.
He didn't look up at Bobby. His panicked eyes were glued to his brother's still form. Sam leaned down and put his cheek to Dean's lips and watched his chest, looking and feeling for Dean's shallow breath. Dean was breathing. He was alive. Sam closed a fist and rested his middle knuckles on Dean's sternum and gave him a good, hard rub. Dean moaned in discomfort. Breathing and responsive to pain, both good signs.
Breathing a tentative sigh of relief, Sam sat back on his tucked feet, one hand to his own forehead in shock, the other resting on his brother's chest.
"What happened?" He repeated, finally looking at Bobby.
The older hunter had sunk down onto his butt and was swaying slightly, pale in his distress. Sam moved to put a reassuring hand on his shoulder and this brought Bobby back into the present.
"It's…it's my fault," he stammered, still looking shocky. "I wasn't paying attention and he must have gotten into one of my spell work ingredients. Thought it was sugar and…Hell, Sam…I don't know what he ate or how much. He just complained that it tasted bad and fell over."
"Where? Show me."
"Up there," Bobby pointed towards the kitchen counter.
Sam jumped up, going to the jars and began tearing off the lids. A dozen small jars in total, each with a different herb, root or crystal.
"What are all these? Wait, is this it?"
Sam rushed back to Bobby's side, thrusting a jar into his hands. Bobby dipped his fingers into the substance and frowned. He set the jar down and reached over Dean, knocked the overturned bowl away and scrambled for whatever might be left sitting in the milk.
"Yea, this is it. How in the Hell did he mistake this for sugar?"
"What is it?"
"Mushrooms?" Sam choked over a laugh. "Sorry, that's not funny. This is serious," he admonished himself. "How much did he eat?"
"I told you, I wasn't paying attention. He was sprinkling it over Rice Krispies."
"Oh," Sam's voice fell to a low worrying rumble, "Oh, that's not good. That's two tablespoons at least, maybe more. Let me think."
Bobby watched as Sam's eyes closed & his expression turned inwards while doing the math.
"One gram will last about six hours, give or take. There's…twelve and a half grams per tablespoon, times two, better make that three, just to be safe. God, Bobby, this could last for days."
"If he survives."
"Oh, he'll survive. It'll be the nastiest trip of his life, but he'll survive…I think. Why do you even have mushrooms?"
Bobby was about to defend himself when all that Sam had just said sunk in. He turned to pin Sam with a curious look.
"What? I went to college."
Bobby closed his eyes and shook his head, amused by Sam's admission.
"Do I even want to know what else you got up to in college?"
"Probably not," Sam muttered, blushing.
"Well, we gotta get him someplace quiet and safe before he wakes up. We don't want all this commotion and…stuff making the inevitable hallucinations a thousand times worse than they could be…yea, that's right…I was young once too."
Sam raised surrendering hands and tried to hide his grin, but received a playful punch in the arm anyway. Sam stepped over Dean so that there was a foot on either side of his prone brother. Taking Dean's wrists in his hands, he pulled the limp form into a sitting position.
Sam squatted down in front of Dean, threading one hand between his brother's legs and getting a good grip on Dean's inner thigh. With his other hand, Sam worked Dean's arms over his left shoulder and in one fluid motion, stood up, bringing all of Dean's weight with him.
He jostled the motionless Dean on his shoulder, working him into a safe, well-balanced position.
"Alright. Where to?"
"Your bedroom?" Bobby suggested.
Sam momentarily sagged beneath Dean's weight. Not because he was too much to carry, which he nearly was, but because Sam already knew that the stairs would be a daunting task with Dean carried fireman style over his shoulder. He took a deep breath to prepare himself.
"Okay, let's do this."
Five steps up the flight, Sam began to sweat.
"Christ, man. You gotta quit eatin' so much damn pie. You're heavier than you look."
"Quit screwin' around," Bobby instructed from behind.
He held a steadying hand against Sam's back, not that he'd be able to stop the domino effect once it got started and they continued up the flight to get Dean settled down into the boys' shared bedroom.