A Hunter's Goodbye

Summary: While mourning Rufus, Bobby muses over the forgiveness of his friend and comes to a startling conclusion of his own in regards to if he can finally forgive Sam.

Tags/Spoiler: Tags toEpisode 6.16 ...And Then There Were None. Possible spoilers if you've never watched the episode.

Warning: None.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything. The CW and Eric Kripke owns the boys. This is just for enjoyment.

A Hunter's Goodbye

"Rest in peace you old fool."

Pouring another drink from the bottle of Johnny Walker Blue out onto the freshly covered grave, Bobby Singer took a hearty swig from the bottle as he toasted his late friend.

The past few days hadn't been easy on the older man. He remembered being in the cannery with Rufus. They'd just kicked the boys out because Bobby had no intention of cutting into the brain of Sam and Dean's grandfather with them in the damn room when it all went wrong.

He recalled the man's eyes snapping open, the fight that ensued and then coming to with two very freaked out Winchesters' leaning over him and by the way Dean was spitting, he was pretty sure he didn't want to know exactly what he'd missed in the meantime…until he learned about Rufus.

Bobby took another drink before pouring the rest of the bottle onto the grave with a sigh. He and Rufus had been friends for a long time and even though he knew that the other hunter hadn't forgiven him for Omaha, he hoped that at the end Rufus did know how guilty Bobby felt for that moment and also for…

"Damn it," he muttered, scrubbing a tired hand over his face and down his neck only to touch the bandage that still covered the burns that were another momento of this job. Being electrocuted to get some creepy oozing worm like monster out of him wasn't fun but Bobby knew no matter how hard it had been on him, it had been worse on the boys.

"I owe you for helping me with Karen that first time, Rufus," Bobby spoke quietly, looking down at the grave of the man who had helped to teach him what he knew…the man he'd killed. "Ya damn old fool. I owe you for more than I could ever repay and I wish I could've made up for Omaha…I wish it hadn't happened but the one thing I wish is…balls," he growled, feeling like throwing the bottle but held back out of respect for the dead. "Ain't no way to ask for someone to forgive you for killin' 'em, Rufus and…"

Scowling, the older man closed his eyes as those words replayed themselves in his head and he glanced back to where he knew the boys were waiting for him back at the car. "Damn old fool. Leave it to you to throw it in my face what Dean's been saying for weeks."

Bobby knew that he'd still been holding Sam at arms length since he got his soul back but considering that he still blamed the boy for trying to kill him in order to keep from getting that same soul back he believed he had a good reason…until now.

He knew that Rufus wouldn't hold this against him. Omaha might have been an issue but that was over someone else…someone who meant a lot to his friend but when it came to them…no, the hunter knew the grouchy older man would have made some comment about Bobby letting that evil worm get a hold of him and to let it go. He wouldn't hold a grudge…hell, Rufus never even blinked when he seen Sam again.

"Only you could die to throw it in my damn face that I've been a horse's ass," he muttered, taking something out of his pocket that Rufus had given him years ago to place it in the small hole he'd made in the fresh dirt. "You give 'em hell in whatever direction you ended up, Rufus and I'll find this Mother of All thing and make her pay," he promised tightly, hearing the step of someone approaching but not moving as he would have a few days ago. "Sam."

"Dean said one of us had better check to be sure you were…I mean…" Sam Winchester cough, unsure how to go about this since he knew his brother would've been the better choice to check on their friend. "I know we've said this but Dean and I…we're sorry about Rufus, Bobby. I know you guys were friends for a long time and…"

Considering that, Bobby slowly nodded. "Hunters don't usually have many of those but Rufus was one of the few that I can say was mine," he admitted gruffly, not having to look to know the younger of the two Winchester brothers was shifting uneasily like he used to do as a kid when placed in an awkward position. "Your Daddy was another."

"I thought you wanted to blow Dad away with your shotgun," Sam remarked on instinct then winced, throwing a look over his shoulder in hopes that his brother would be there but frowned when he wasn't then glanced back at the chuckle.

"John made it easy to want to kill him, Sam," Bobby replied, then nodded. "For that matter, so did Rufus most of the time but we coped & I've had more time in this world getting used to losing people than you and Dean."

Sam wasn't certain how to respond to that and since he knew the older hunter was still uneasy around him, he coughed and decided to leave the man to his grief when a hand caught his shoulder. "Bobby…"

"Rufus and I went through some shit together in the day, Sam. Same as with John," Bobby kept his hand firm on a shoulder that he felt shaking. "Your idjit brother was right when he said Rufus was family but then…Dean was right about something else too."

"What?" Sam had relaxed some after Dean had pretty much said all was forgiven but now he felt himself tensing since he wasn't certain what the older man was going to say. "I'm sure Rufus forgave you for…"

Shaking his head, Bobby finally gave a tug to pull the boy around to face him and once again swore silently about Sam being so damn tall. "That's my point, Sam. I can't ask Rufus to forgive me if I can't do some forgivin' myself and I think I owe you some."

"Bobby…you don't owe me anything," Sam swallowed, feeling like looking anywhere but at the man who had been more like a father to him and Dean over then years than their own had been. "I understood how you felt considering that I…"

"Boy, I've been an old fool who just didn't want to take the risk again," Bobby sighed, looking down at the grave and could hear Rufus making every smart remark that he normally would have. "You and Dean have been driving me to distraction the past few years and I guess a large part of why it's been so hard to let you back in is…because I don't think I handle losing either one of you crazy idjits again but Sam…" pausing to take a deep breath, the older hunter met Sam's wide eyes. "I missed you, boy and…Dean's right. What's done is done and it's forgiven. Can you forgive me?"

Blinking, Sam stared at him. "Forgive you?" he repeated, surprised by the burning his eyes were doing. "Bobby…you didn't do anything wrong. I'm the one who tried to…I mean…I…sorry isn't enough to…"

Reaching up to lightly slap the younger hunter in the head like he'd always done, Bobby reminded himself that he was dealing with Winchesters. "Sam, Rufus told me before this started to swallow it and move on. You didn't know what you were doing and if Dean could forgive me for trying to kill him when I was possessed, if Rufus could possibly forgive me for this mess and you two could forgive me for whatever the hell I did this time then I think you and I are alright. I forgive you, boy. Now, are we good?"

Swallowing the lump in his throat, Sam nodded. "Yeah…we're good, Bobby," he murmured, hesitating in what instinct had him wanting to do but blinked when Bobby beat him to it when he reached out to grab Sam in a tight hug like the older man had been hesitating on doing.

"Let's get back to Dean before he gets himself in trouble," Bobby decided, breaking the moment by shoving the empty bottle of liquor at Sam. "Oh, and if you tell that idjit I said he was right about something…"

"I know my brother, Bobby. I'm not that stupid," Sam smiled, relaxed more now that he finally felt that he'd been forgiven by both men whose opinions mattered to him. "Bobby? Thanks."

Waving that off with a muttered reply, Bobby shoved the boy ahead of him but paused to look back at the grave of his friend. "You better save me a spot up there, ya old war horse," he made the final comment in his typical style but looked over to see that Dean was gesturing in a way that told Bobby he was bitching to Sam over something but the younger man was just laughing it off. "I'll probably join ya…as soon as I see these two idjits safely to a life I can trust 'em to lead. I'm not losing anymore family, Rufus so that means I'm not losing either of these boys again."

Walking away, Bobby caught what Dean was about to do a second before he did it. "Dean! Don't you dare do that or I swear you're scrubbing every window in my place!" he shouted before the older boy could grab his brother in a headlock. "John, you and Rufus are probably laughing your asses off at me but I swear those boys are enough to drive a sane ghoul to drink. If this new monster doesn't kill me…these two will."

The End

A/N: I like to think that Bobby had worked out his issues with Sam by this episode but if not, I hope something like this might have occurred. Dean was right that with their lives, everything should be forgiven. Rufus was a wonderful character and while I'd only written him a couple times he will be missed. Now, I think I'll give Sam and Dean some closure of their own in another tag to this episode. Also, Chapter 8 of Mirror Image is coming for readers of that story.