Bobby Singer had never had any children.

Not that he hadn't wanted any-he and his wife had been trying when it happened. After that, he just never healed enough to find someone else to try with. It was lonely, living out in the middle of nowhere-but he was used to it.

Until he met the Winchester boys, then everything changed.

How could you not adore a boy who would die to protect his family, or a toddler who clung to his big brother like a monkey? How could you not want to provide these kids with a sense of normalcy, especially when their idjit of a father was too busy dragging them from hunt to hunt?

Bobby had known Dean and Sam since they were six and two-even then, Dean was a stoeic little soldier, while Sam was an affectionate, intelligent toddler.

Now, at eight and four, they were rambunctious children-at least around Bobby.

"Dean Winchester, you better not be jumping on that bed up there!" Bobby shouted as he translated yet another excorsism.. "Don't make me tell your daddy!"

Suddenly, the jumping stopped. Bobby Singer, you idjit. Dean loved his father, and John loved his sons-but that didn't stop him from training them to be perfect little soldiers instead of functional human beings.

"I'm just kiddin' Dean! I'm not gonna tell your daddy!"
Still, their was silence. But then-

"Uncle Bobby, Dean's not jumping! That was me. Dean's sleepin'," Sam exclaimed.

That seemed strange to Bobby. Dean? Sleeping in until eleven? The kid was hardwired to wake up at dawn, even when he was allowed to sleep late. Bobby walked upstairs, to the guest room that had become the boys' room, where sure enough, Dean was buried under layers of blankets.

"Hey, kiddo, time to get up!" Bobby said softly. "Your brother's waitin' for ya!"

He pulled the covers off of him-that's when he realized that something was wrong. Dean was crying. Bobby, in two years, had never seen Dean cry.

"What's wrong, Dean?" Bobby whispered, holding a hand over his forehead-the kid was burning up.

"I'm tired, Uncle Bobby," he sighed. "Really, really tired."

"Okay, kid," Bobby replied. "I'm gonna go get the thermoniter. You rest here, okay?"

Dean nodded, winced in pain, and rolled back over.

Bobby went to the medicine cabinet in the bathroom and grabbed the thermoniter that he had purchased just for the boys. It was one of those new-fangled inventions that you just had to rub against the forehead-better than the old mercury ones he had grown up with.

"Okay, come here, son," Bobby ran the device over Dean's forehead-you could probably fry an egg on it. 104.6. Damn it, damn it, damn it.

"Okay buddy, you're sick. Hospital sick," Bobby announced. "You wait here well I go get your brother ready for our little road trip."

"Yeah, like I'm really gonna go anywhere," Dean slurred, rolling back over. "Can you turn the heat up? It's freezing in here!"

Bobby smiled. Even when he was sick as a dog, Dean was still as sarcastic as ever.

"Sam? Grab your coat and get in the car! We're going to the doctors!" Bobby yelled.

"But I don't wanna go to the doctors! They give me shots and it hurts!" Sam whined.

"It's not for you! You're brother's sick!"

As he expected, Sam scrambled to grab his coat and shot out of the door. Bobby heard the slamming of the car door, and then went to grab Dean.

"I know you're tired. Do you mind if I carry you?" Bobby asked. Dean shook his head, and that worried Bobby more than his temperture. If he was well, Dean Winchester would rather have bamboo splinters shoved underneath his fingernails than be caried.

So Bobby picked up the boy, noting how light the child was, and ran to the car-never realizing exactly how terrible the situation was.