Bobby found them in the middle of the street.

Dean, down on his knees, arms around Sam; Sam's back against Dean's chest, head rolling limp, nestled back in the crook of Dean's shoulder. That shoulder that had felt a thousand kicks from a shotgun, those arms that had bucked strong back against the recoil of a gun, now holding Sam gentle and safe and secure.

Bobby couldn't count on both hands the number of times he'd seen them like this: Dean, fresh from training with his father, coming into Bobby's house a quiet, belligerent mess. He'd thump up the stairs in silence, and when Bobby went to look for him later, would find Dean with little Sam in his arms, not a baby anymore, maybe two or three years old, but still content to nestle up against his brother and swipe away the tears Dean cried in secret where John couldn't see.

Something was wrong, this time. Sam was too still, too cold. His face a strange, waxy pale blue. He wasn't fighting Dean's hold, squirming in protest the way he'd done after he turned seven and outgrew his brother's bear hugs. He wasn't doing anything to stop the tears that were slipping soundlessly from Dean's eyes, streaking his dusty cheeks and lips with rivulets.

Bobby stopped several feet up the street; everything in him bucking this, backing up, denying it. Maybe he'd had too much faith. Maybe he'd always believed that there wasn't a hurt in Sam's life that Dean couldn't put back together with enough duct tape words and plaster promises. But seeing Dean knees-deep in that mud, cradling his brother's body, broke something inside of Bobby he hadn't even known could break.

He'd never had children of his own. Karen hadn't wanted them. But standing right there, staring down at Dean's glassy eyes, so bright they looked like a contrast picture in his shadow-splashed face, Bobby was looking at his own boys.

And one of them was dead.

"I messed up." Dean finally said, and although his voice was hoarse and quiet, in the vacant street it lashed with a kind of finality that made Bobby's hairs stand on end. "I messed up bad, Bobby."

Dean looked like he was waiting for something, and when Bobby didn't say anything, Dean's face crumbled. He lowered his eyes first, then bowed his head into Sam's hair, and the sobs didn't just cut through the misty night like a knife, didn't just stab into Bobby's bones. They shook Dean, harder than the hum of the Impala, harder than Sam might have when Dean was unconscious. They shook him like an earthquake that caved in the ground under his feet and the world around him.

"Aw, kid." Bobby whispered. He dropped the shotgun, walked over and knelt beside Dean, facing him, their arms almost touching. He reached up and curled a hand around the back of Dean's neck. "Look at me. Look at me, Dean."

Dean didn't look up, and every ridge of corded muscle under Bobby's fingertips was a tight wire. Every sob shaking out of Dean found a new home in Bobby's chest, building up until he choked on them.

"C'mere." Bobby tugged gently on Dean's neck, and Dean didn't fight him as Bobby pulled Dean's face into his own shoulder. Bobby let him hide there like he was a kid again, slumped over, tears an unstoppable force hotter and thicker and more final than blood, his arms still tight around Sam's chest. A tiny family huddled around the broken part, the part they couldn't put back together this time.