SPOILER: This is based on a spoiler I heard about the upcoming episode - about Bobby having trouble getting past what soul-less Sam tried to do. It is completely AU and spoilers for season 6. I just wanted to make myself feel better about things. I know it will never happen and I am probably writing Bobby out of character but I needed this; so I wrote it. I do hope other people might enjoy it, at least a bit too.

A Man and his Boy

Sam felt the tension rise in the room as soon as Dean left on a quick, one-man job that they all knew Sam wasn't ready for yet.

It was funny being in the same room as Bobby and knowing that the older man wasn't comfortable around him. And while Sam understood why – Dean had brought him up to speed on that much – it still hurt in a way Sam couldn't explain.

Bobby had been like a father to him.

Hell, he'd felt closer to Bobby than his own father, their joint enjoyment of research, of finding the keys to metaphorical locks, the bonding agent. So it tore at something deep inside the younger man that the man seemed uncomfortable as they stood quietly together in the kitchen.

If Sam listened hard enough he could still the Impala's purr and regretted not pushing harder to go. He just felt so – displaced.

Bobby shifted on his feet, his fingers twitching and Sam knew the man itched to get away from him, to put some distance between them, but he was probably feeling some sort of obligation to Dean to keep Sam company; to keep him out of trouble. Not that that had worked so good the last time, from what Dean had said anyway.

Christ, I can't believe I tried to kill Bobby

So Sam decided to make things easier on him.

Taking a step back, and noticing how Bobby flinched, Sam forced a smile and tipped his head towards the hall. "I think- I'll, uh, I'll just go lie down." He'd already apologized – and geez didn't it feel like that was all he ever did anymore? – and wasn't sure how to make things better. Or even if they ever could be.

Sam had never deluded himself. He knew, like with Castiel, Dean and Bobby shared a more 'profound bond' but just accepted it as the way it was.

Bobby followed him from the kitchen, clearing his throat when Sam didn't head for the stairs. "Thought you were going to lie down?" his asked too fast to hide his unease at what Sam might do next.

Sam sighed and glanced down at his feet for a moment. "I am," he re-affirmed then opened the door to the basement. "In the panic room." He pulled the door shut behind him before Bobby could respond.

The bed upstairs was much more comfortable, the decorum more peaceful but he figured this would make Bobby feel better. Plus, if the truth be told, it would make Sam feel better as well. He wasn't ready for any unexpected visitors, angels, demons or otherwise and knew this was the safest place to be.

"Sam," Bobby's voice followed him as the man appeared at the top of the stairs. "You don't have to do this."

"Yes, I do," Sam argued mildly as he sat down on the cot and let out a heavy sigh. He didn't look at Bobby as the man entered the room, afraid of the relief he'd see on his face. Coward, he berated himself silently. Fucking coward. "It's okay, Bobby – you can go back upstairs. I won't do anything – stupid… or, you know, try to kill you agin. I promise." Sam was so tired of being unworthy.

"Sam," Bobby dragged his name out and it wasn't hard to imagine the exasperation he'd see on the other man's face. "That isn't fair."

Rubbing at his tired eyes, God he was just so fucking tired all the time now it seemed, Sam was duly chastised. "I'm sorry."

"Stop apologizing."

Sam's head jerked up and he stared at his old friend in surprise. "Are you kidding me? What else am I supposed to do?" He'd started to raise his voice but lowered it when he saw something flicker across Bobby's face. "I am so God-damned sorry… and tired of all this – I just don't know why Dean even bothered. He should have just killed me. Put a bullet through my brain and got it over with."

"Sam," there was a warning in Bobby's voice but Sam ignored it.

"Cut the crap." He snapped, fighting against his every urge to get up and pace. "Look at me," he spread his arms wide. His entire body quivered but he held fast, "Look at me!"

Bobby's jaw tightened and to his credit he didn't flinch this time. "I am looking."

"You're terrified of me. Dean knows I'm not fit to watch his back… and that's just the surface damage. I'm dying here, Bobby; and I'm not even sure I care." The admittance hurt and he felt weak and ungrateful but emotions bounced around his head, like a bullet ricocheting off the wall in his head, and he felt like he was coming apart at the seams.

"Terrified is a bit strong," Bobby sat down on the edge of the cot, actually turning his back to Sam as he spoke.

Sam's arms dropped to his sides. He leaned forward so his elbows balanced on his knees and held his head in his hands. He fought to hold back tears. God, he was falling apart.

"I'm sorry, Sam," Bobby continued. "I really am and I don't know why, this time, it's just hit me harder than it should – I mean, it's not the first time someone I love-"

Sam tensed; his whole body stilling.

"I mean," Bobby cleared his throat, "it's not the first time someone's tried to kill me… But it's just that – ah, shit, Sam, I'm trying here, I really am..."

"I can leave, if it helps?" Sam offered at a loss of what else he was supposed to say.

"And have Dean kick my ass?" Bobby scoffed lightly and it hurt. Of course, this was really about Dean. He swallowed down his hurt feelings.

Sam felt the older man shift until he was sitting closer. He held his breath, afraid to even breathe hard.

"And even if he didn't, I'd have to kick my own."

Sam felt the hotness on his cheek as a tear slipped down his face.

"You are not going anywhere and you're not sleeping down here either-"

Opening his mouth to protest, Sam slammed it shut as Bobby continued.

"No boy of mine is going to spend a second longer down here than they have to," a denim clad leg pressed hard against Sam's, "and you don't have to. Now c'mon-" patting Sam's leg, Bobby pushed himself to stand. "I know I built this damn thing but I'm really starting to hate this room."

Sam hesitated. "I don't know, Bobby," he admitted. "I should-"

"Spend some time with me. It's been a long time since we just hung out." Bobby implored, conviction washing his earlier wariness away.

"We never just hang out," but Sam flashed him a tentative smile anyway.

Bobby shrugged. "I got new books…"

Sam knew what he was doing and took the olive branch that was being offered. "Books, huh?"

"Yup, and some of them are even in English."

"Well, when you put it that way…" Sam flashed him the first genuine smile in a while. "How can I resist?"

And then the phone rang upstairs and they both knew it was Dean.

The End