The day had been crap. It started out cold and rainy, just when the whole of South Dakota was getting used to the idea that spring was actually upon them, then one of the tow truck guys called Bobby and quit, and he'd spent most of the morning trying to find someone to come in and cover for the guy, and because the law of luck said that if your business was a man down that customers would pour in and you would be swamped. He'd managed to get the shift covered, but not before Bobby had had to go out and do a tow himself.
And as if that wasn't enough to secure this day in his top fifty bad days of all time, the damn hunter phone line wouldn't stop ringing, it must have been national hunt a monster day. And every one of those hunters participating in the day had called either for advice, research, or had given his other lines, and he had had to cover for at least a half a dozen hunters.
And around 5 in the evening, the phones stopped, business slowed, and Bobby finally had a minute to get himself something to eat, and a minute to sit down. He smiled a little to himself when he felt his old bones sag against the plush couch in his living room. And as if on cue the phone rang. He sighed, "Of course." He mumbled and went for the phone, saw that it was Sam, forced the shiver that still ran up his spine when he had to talk to Sam alone, down to his gut and answered it.
"Have you seen Ben?" was the frantic question on the other end.
"Ben, Lisa's son. Have you seen him?"
"No, son, I haven't. What's the matter?"
"Lisa called Dean hysterical a little while ago. She can't find him. Dean's worried that a monster took him, and he's worried that if they call the police…."
"You need me to make some calls?" Bobby asked quickly, all aggravation, exhaustion, and grouchiness evaporating with worry suddenly filling him. He didn't know Ben or Lisa that well, but in the short time that they had stayed with him, he knew without a doubt that that kind, biology or no biology was Dean's kid, Bobby saw a 13 year old Dean in that boy and he had instantly grown attached, just like he had when Dean showed up at his door all of those years ago, watchful green eyes, with a soul much older than his 6 years behind them.
"Could you please?"
"I'll let you know what I find."
The frantic pace began again in that moment. Bobby called every contact in the book, and pretty much all of them owed him at least one favor, and each one was on the look out for a boy fitting Ben's description, or a monster in the mid west region that had a thing for preteen boys that happened to look like Ben.
It was almost nine by the time he called Sam back, and shared that he had nothing, but that he had every hunter he knew in the country on the look out for the kid. "Thanks Bobby." Sam said, and Bobby could hear the worry through the phone, and it gladdened Bobby's hear to hear emotion in Sam's voice again.
"A wreck. He and Lisa have been on and off the phone every couple of minutes for the last six or seven hours. She's called the police, they have an amber alert out for him in Indiana, but Bobby…."
"Yeah, if a monster got him, the odds aren't good."
"And even if a plain old fashioned kidnapper has him…." Sam sighed. "Lisa didn't find him missing until around 5….when she got off work."
"I'll keep my eyes and ears open Sam."
"You just keep your brother from losing it."
"I'm doing my best. I'm driving to Lisa's right now."
"Okay son. Keep me up to date."
"You got it." And the connection was ended. The three of them had long since quit saying good bye to each other. The apocalypse hanging over their heads had made that phrase seem quite final, and none of them had gotten back into the habit since the all clear had been sounded.
Hunters slowly checked in with Bobby, telling him their area was clear of both monster and kid. And the hope that Bobby had been carrying slowly died with each one of them. Finally caffeine and worry gave way to exhaustion and he succumbed to fitful sleep.
The sound at the door woke him, his body was instantaneously alert thanks to years of hunting bad shit, and he grabbed a shot gun full of rock salt, turned on the flood lights over is porch, and slowly opened the door.
There stood Ben a book bag on his back and a determined weary look about him.
"What in the hell are you doing here kid?" Bobby demanded skipping the traditional greeting opting for something more direct, more to the heart of the matter.
Ben stood straighter, resolution and determination clouding his eyes, "I want to learn how to be a hunter."
"Son. Get your ass in here." Bobby opened the screen door, watched as the kid passed over the devil's trap without hesitation, and closed the door behind him. "Do you have any idea how worried your momma and Dean are?"
"Dean?" Ben perked up at the mention of Dean.
"Yes, Dean. Sam and Dean are at your house with your mother. Your mom has called the police, I've called every hunter in the book. We've been looking for you all day."
"They all think I'm some dumb kid."
"None of us did until you pulled a stupid stunt like this." Bobby said and picked up the phone and dialed Dean's cell.
"Bobby? You find him?" Dean asked, a frantic edge to his normally throaty voice.
"He's standing here in my living room."
"Oh thank God." Dean moved the phone from his mouth and Bobby heard Dean tell Lisa that Bobby had Ben with him. Is he okay? He heard Lisa ask from the other end.
"Tell the boy's momma that he's just fine. I think he's tired, but otherwise there isn't a scratch on him. His clothes ain't even dirty."
"Lisa wants to talk to him."
"Kay." Bobby pulled the phone from his ear and reached out to Ben. "Your momma wants to talk to you." Ben looked sheepish and hesitated. "Boy you better take this phone, or I'll whip you myself. You don't get to worry your mom like that and then not take responsibility for it." Ben took the phone and the kid didn't say much, but Bobby could hear Lisa on the other end yelling, crying, and talking, and then the phone was handed over to Dean, and he continued with the yelling, and then the talking, and Ben said little more than 'I'm sorry' and 'okay'. Ben turned the phone off and then handed it back to Bobby.
"They are on their way. Dean said that Sam will drive them all out here tonight." Bobby put the phone back on its cradle.
"Come on kid. Let's go get your room ready." Bobby put his hand on the kid's shoulder and steered him upstairs. "You are going to need to be well rested when your momma and Dean get here, because they are going to chew your ass out son." Ben nodded solemnly.