A Simple Trick
Summary: Co-written by Sendintheclowns. Bobby learns to forgive and a lot more from Sam when a hunt goes awry. Set after "...And Then There Were None"
Gidgetgal9A/N: I just want to wish Floralia a happy birthday. I hope you have a wonderful day. A big thanks to sendintheclowns for working on this with me when my muse was flagging, she really is the best! :)
Sendintheclowns A/N: Happy birthday Floralia! I'm so very pleased to call you friend. I think if you squint, you'll find a conversation we once had reflected in the story. I had a ball as always co-writing with the very talented Gidget.
If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.
~Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Bobby concentrated on breathing. Every bump and stop restarted the fire in his ankle so focusing on his breathing helped him make it through each flare up and kept him from blacking out. The warehouse had unfortunately been thirty minutes outside of the nearest town which was perfect for a hunt not so perfect for seeking help after it went awry.
Every so often he spared a glance at his young companion. The kid was a bit pale himself and had tried to mutter assurances until Bobby had snapped at him to shut up, five minutes into their trip. Now Sam was quiet but his whole body was strung tight and when the kid didn't think Bobby was paying attention he spared the older hunter concerned glances.
They were probably about ten minutes from the hospital when Bobby finally found some respite. The pain had numbed and he was actually able to relax a bit. Just as he settled into a half way comfortable position he was jolted from it when Sam spoke suddenly and broke the silence.
"You okay, Bobby?"
"Well I was about to get settled until you spooked me." Bobby growled out. He knew he was being way too hard on the boy but at this point he just didn't care. His ankle was giving him fits and Sam's over concern was getting old especially when... well his mind couldn't help but compare those concerned eyes to the cold ones he faced not so long ago.
Sam looked away like he'd been slapped. "Sorry, I should have just left you alone, but we are almost there and we haven't talked about a cover story. I was thinking a home improvement job gone bad? I'm your nephew and was helping you put on a roof when you fell?"
"You must have taken a hard knock to your head if you think that'll work. It's night time and I don't have a local ID so how about something a little more believable like, I was being mugged and you stepped in to help. That would explain the bruise you go there on your cheek. We can point to the Stoney Brook, neighborhood where some of the demon activity has been located at. I'm sure the police would buy that story and kind of have a suspect in mind."
Bobby turned away from the kid and looked out the window when he was done. He was really wishing Dean was with him because at least he could take the heat. Sam just seemed to shrivel up and take it but Dean would have dished it right back.
"Sounds like a good cover, and I'll just let Dean claim you as next to kin if they admit you." Sam replied quietly.
Bobby grunted in agreement. He wanted to tell the kid that he was just tired, hurt and grumpy. His treatment was rough but not personal but if he was honest with himself there definitely was a personal element to it. Part of him was very upset with himself for carrying a grudge and part of him just couldn't let things go yet. Bobby hoped in time he could but the fact Rufus had never forgiven him still hurt and made him wonder if hunters could forgive and forget.
It didn't take long after their short conversation for Sam to pull up to the ER entrance. Sam quickly moved to help Bobby out of the truck and then waved an orderly over to help get the elder hunter in a wheelchair.
"I'll go park the truck and I'll be right back," was mumbled in his ear as he was taken into an exam room and helped onto the table.
A cute little blond nurse that would have definitely caught his eye in his younger years placed a clipboard with paper work to be filled out in his hands. She gave him a pat on the arm and told him that someone would be with him shortly.
Not long after she left, Sam stumbled in looking worse for wear and refusing to look Bobby in the eye.
Bobby sighed to himself. Okay, so he was having issues with Sam but the kid was trying his darnedest
to please him so he needed to cut the younger hunter some slack.
"Got the truck parked, do you need help with the paper work?" Sam asked as he moved to the far side of the exam table and leaned against it heavily.
Bobby gave him a brief glance before starting in on the forms again. "Nah, got it covered. Now's the fun part, we wait. At least you aren't as antsy as your brother in a waiting room. I always want to kill him by the time we're done."
Sam chuckled at that and Bobby could see some of the tension leave the kid's body. "Yeah, hospitals and Dean are a toxic mix."
Bobby gave Sam a grin, happy that he had let the kid become relaxed around him. "Yep, so do you think we'll have to deal with the fuzz?"
Sam blew out a breath. "Good question. The town isn't very big so I'm not sure with all the demon commotion that they'll have the manpower to send someone over. I'm hoping the doctors will be satisfied with a promise from me to report it."
"One can hope this will go smoothly. Bad hunts are rarely easy clean ups though."
Bobby replied as he finished off the last paper and set the clip board aside.
He glanced up to look at Sam and found that the kid had a good grip on the exam table and was now white as a sheet.
Sam looked at him and mumbled, "I don't feel so good."
And that was it, the next thing that Bobby noticed was Sam falling like a cut tree. Bobby wrenched his injured ankle trying to catch him but wasn't fast enough. Luckily it was a clear fall and Sam didn't hit anything on his way down.
Bobby realized quickly that the best course of action was to call for help. They were in a hospital after all, that had some perks.
Bobby sent a few shouts of help out and within seconds an orderly, nurse, and a doctor were on the scene.
The doctor, well Bobby assumed he was a doctor, because of the white coat, was yelling instructions that were hard for Bobby in his newly awakened pain state to follow. He had banged the ankle good again and it took a lot for him to stay focused and not pass out.
He vaguely registered questions being asked of him by the nurse and he did his best to answer. The kid fainted and yes he they were both involved in a mugging. The mugger was huge and knocked him and his rescuer around a lot. Kids, name is Sam and no he didn't know if the kid was injured, kid hadn't said.
All too quickly he was left alone in shock and a loss as to what had happened. Part of him knew that he needed to call Dean, but he hoped that if he waited the doctor would come back and just say the kid had a minor concussion. There was no use in getting Dean worried, and boy would he worry, if things were minor in nature. So Bobby opted to wait.
Dean was beside himself with worry. He'd gotten a call from Bobby telling him to get his ass to the Sanford Hospital Canton-Inwood as soon as he could get there. Sooner if possible.
Sam had passed out and been whisked away to rule out a spinal injury and since Bobby wasn't family, they wouldn't tell him jack squat.
Almost bowling over a mother with a fussy baby, Dean rushed into the ER waiting room and immediately spotted Bobby who had commandeered another chair for his casted lower leg. "Any news?"
The older hunter took off his cap and scratched his hair before straightening the cap on his head again. "No, damn it, but I don't think it's good. The ER doc demanded a backboard and neck brace, was spouting off phrases like spinal shock versus neurogenic shock."
Dean felt a little woozy himself upon hearing Bobby's words. Sam had been thrown around hard in the warehouse but he'd been moving around pretty good when he'd helped get Bobby situated in the truck. Bobby's face was pale, too, although that could've been from the pain. "You okay?"
"Straight forward fracture. Now get over there and find out some news." Bobby's earlier coolness toward Sam had thawed considerably.
Knowing a good piece of advice when he heard it, Dean quickly moved toward the young woman at the desk. "Excuse me, I'm looking for my brother,Sam Adams." That was Sam's current alias and his brother's favorite beer, although Dean knew there was no insurance attached to that ID.
The brunette gave Dean the once over before she fiddled with her computer. Her disinterest disappeared and she straightened up. "I'll page the doctor for you. Please have a seat."
There was no way Dean could take a seat. He paced the small area, pausing to update Bobby. "Sir?" The girl from the desk was hustling him to the sliding glass door, escorting him into the ER area.
A middle aged mad with peppered hair, looking very weary, shook Dean's hand briefly. "I'm Dr. Love and I'm coordinating Sam's care. Apparently your brother was thrown around a bit during a mugging attempt and we're trying to figure out the extent of damage. There's quite a bit of swelling around his L1 and L2 and we'll be addressing that just as soon as we get him stable."
Under any other circumstance, Dean would have made a Kiss reference but not with Sam hurt. In fact it was hard to find words or for his brain to function.
"Stable?" Dean felt like a parrot but he was having trouble following along.
The doctor scratched his chin. "Sometimes when there is a spinal injury, the body undergoes what we call neurogenic shock. Sam's hypotensive and he's having some arrhythmia so we're addressing those problems with IV fluids."
What the hell? He was never letting his kid brother out of his sight again.
"If you come this way, you can sit with Sam. I'm sure he'd like to see a familiar face." Dean followed the straight back down the long corridor.
"He's conscious?" That had to be a good sign. Dean would take whatever he could get.
"Definitely conscious, if a little groggy." Dean was being shown into a cubicle and was dismayed when he found Sam, hooked up to all sorts of machines, lying pale and bruised on a hospital bed. It was hard to reconcile the person before him with his brother who had been walking and talking just fine when he'd last seen him.
The doctor checked some of the equipment, nodding to himself. "Please, try to keep Sam calm. I ask that you keep your distance though; we can't have you jarring him right now. His condition is a bit precarious at the moment but we hope to know more shortly."
Precarious? Dean sunk into the burgundy colored chair and scrubbed his face with his hands as the doctor departed. "Sammy?"
Dean caught his breath as heavy eyelids lifted and bloodshot hazel met his gaze.
"De'n?" Sam mumbled out as he started to shift. Dean went to reach for him but stopped and just raised his hands up in a placating manner trying to get his drugged brother's attention. He didn't want the kid moving.
His worry was for not, evidently the medical team had strapped Sam down to reduce his movement. Sam was now looking at him with a puzzled expression on his face.
"Sam you can't move around, you hurt your back." Dean replied to his dazed brother.
Sam nodded slightly. "I can't move that must be why. I- I what happened Dean? The doctor wouldn't tell me much."
Dean frowned, not happy with his brother's lack of memory. "Remember our WWE throw down with big and ugly demon?"
Sam frowned and then swallowed hard. "Yeah, Bobby was hurt, is he okay?"
Dean sighed. Leave it to Sam to worry about others before himself. "Yeah, he has a fracture but he'll be okay, it's you that gave us a scare Sam."
Sam closed his eyes and opened them slowly; Dean figured the pain meds had his brother pretty foggy.
"Uh, the doctor he said some stuff but I guess I'm … too high to get it. Must be good drugs. I'm tired."
Dean smiled at his befuddled brother. "Get some rest dude, I'll be here when you wake up."
That seemed to be all the incentive his little brother needed, Sam's eyes closed and soon he was breathing heavy.
Once he was sure Sam was out for the count, Dean got up and retrieved Bobby, knowing the older man had to be worried. The older hunter might have been playing it cool when it came to Sam of late but the concern he showed when Sam faced off Samuel and the concern he was showing tonight proved to Dean that Bobby still cared deeply for Sam.
Dean helped the elder hunter wobble into the room and soon found him a chair to sit in. Once Bobby was as comfortable as he could be, Dean sat down in the remaining chair.
Bobby cleared his voice and spoke quietly. "So, how'd you get it Okayed for me to be back here? I'm not listed as family."
Dean gave him a fond smile. "Don't under estimate my charm, when I told the nurses that you would not leave until you knew your hero was safe, well they just melted. In fact, the head nurse said, that it was so sweet of you."
Bobby huffed. "Yeah that's me, sweet."
Dean chuckled a bit and then moved his chair a little closer to Bobby. He had a few questions for the older hunter but he wasn't sure he'd like the answers.
"Uh, Bobby the words being tossed around, like neurogenic shock, am I mistaken or did I hear that before when you were laid up?"
Bobby looked away and sighed. When he returned Dean's stare, his facial expression was one of sympathy.
"I ain't gonna lie to you Dean, this ain't good, not at all. Worst case scenario, well it won't be pretty but we made it through my problems and we'll make it through Sam's. Hell, at least Cas is back to snuff and could heal him, I think, right?"
Dean swallowed hard. "Yeah, I think so if we could get a hold of him but with Sam's soul and his wall, I don't know. I mean a full healing might mess some of that up."
Bobby nodded. "Yeah, well, so if Sam is out of commission we'll deal with it. One thing I've learned is nothing is certain in this world so we'll take things as they come."
Dean sighed and looked at Sam. He was greeted with moisture filled eyes.
Sam heard muffled voices, and as he concentrated he realized it was Dean talking to Bobby. The words were fuzzy but slowly he could make things out and then he heard Bobby. His voice was full of emotion.
"Yeah, well, so if Sam is out of commission we'll deal with it. One thing I've learned is nothing is certain in this world so we'll take things as they come."
Sam wasn't real sure what they were talking about but he knew it wasn't good. Something had happened while he was fighting with the demon in the warehouse. That something was pretty serious by the tone of Bobby's voice and the pained filled expression his brother was now sporting.
Sam knew his movement was restricted and that he was hooked up to a few things. Not good. All the pieces of the puzzle alluded to a bad thing and part of him wanted to shrink away from it but he knew he had to learn more.
"De'n, what's wrong with me?" Sam slurred out, shocked at how washed out his voice was.
Dean rose from the chair. "You evidently took quite a blow to your back, do you remember your fight with big and ugly?"
Sam blew out a breath. "Yeah, uh my back was spasming a bit and there was pain but it went away and then Bobby was hurt so … I brought him here and then the pain started again and … I passed out."
Dean swiped his hand across his face in a frustrated jester. "Why didn't you say something?"
Sam closed his eyes and willed the strength to answer. "I didn't think it was bad."
Dean stomped towards the bed ready to touch him only to pull back last minute. "Damn it Sam, you need to be honest with me always. You were hurt, I needed to know."
Sam nodded. "Kay. Sorry."
Dean blew out a breath and Sam could see some of the tension leave his brother. "Well I'll be honest with you Sam. This could be bad, there could be some damage but I don't want you to panic. We don't know yet and even if there is, we have Castiel."
"You think Cas can heal me?" Sam's voice broke and betrayed the fear he was trying to hide.
"Yeah, of course Sammy." Dean replied in a confident tone but the confidence didn't reach his eyes.
Sam sucked in a breath. He knew he was close to breaking, his world crashing in on him. There was some doubt on Dean's part and that eroded any confidence Sam had that things would work out okay. When did things work out for him?
Not wanting his brother or Bobby to see him break, Sam decided to feign sleep. "Dean, I'm tired."
Dean nodded. "Yeah, sure, Sammy."
His brother moved to sit back down in his chair. Sam closed his eyes.
Things were bad and maybe he deserved it. He had committed some atrocious acts while his soul was missing, so maybe this was his payback. His burden to bear for all the wrongs he'd committed. Actually, he was probably getting off lightly. Looking at the people he loved like Bobby, and seeing the fear and loathing in his eyes and the worry in Dean's made him wish he could do something to make it better.
Being stuck in a chair and walking in Bobby's shoes would not fix what he'd done but maybe it was his punishment.
Bobby looked at both boys and his heart was breaking. To have Sam facing paralysis was like a bullet to his heart. He knew better than anyone how horrible a sentence that could be. But there was hope, it was early yet and the doctor could come back any minute with a reprieve or.. Hell, he could come back with a life sentence so they needed to hedge their bets.
"Dean, I'll watch Sam, and you go and see if you can't get a hold of that trench coat wearing miracle worker 'cause we might need his help."
Dean gave Bobby a relieved smile. "Yeah that sounds like a plan."
Dean rose and gave his brother a quick glance and once he was satisfied that Sam was settled, the young hunter left.
Bobby took stock of Sam from his position in his chair. Once the door opened and closed he could see Sam tense up. The kid was playing possum. Not that Bobby blamed him, faced with the crap he was faced with, hiding always seemed like a good option.
Bobby grabbed his crutch and stumbled over to Sam's bed. The kids breathing quickened a bit.
"Sam, Dean's gone so maybe you and me we can talk?"
Sam didn't respond.
Bobby sighed. "Sam, I know that we haven't been on the best of terms recently but hell kid, you're in a pickle and I think I might be the only person that really understands what's going on in that head of yours."
Sam slowly opened his eyes. "I'm sorry Bobby. I know there is no way to make things better after what I did and you don't have to waste your time comforting me. I think maybe this is my penance."
Bobby groaned. He realized he was responsible for this thought process. It was his distrust and abuse that made Sam feel like he needed to be punished. Bobby realized how stubborn, selfish and stupid his actions had been after Sam's soul was returned.
The kid had been through the ringer all his life with little control of how things played out for him. Bobby knew this better than anyone. Dean's words after Rufus's death played in his head.
"Life's short. Ours are shorter than most. We're gonna spend it wringing our hands? Something's gonna get us eventually. And when my guts get ripped out, we're good. Blanket apology for all the crap that anybody's done all the way around."
"Sam, I'm only gonna say this once and I want you to listen closely. I've been an ass. A total stupid, stubborn ass. Dean's right, life is too short to dwell on the past. And what you did? Wasn't even your fault, so I forgive you and I hope you can forgive me for being an idiot about the whole thing." Bobby finished and watched as Sam's face scrunched up in confusion.
He knew the kid was drugged to the gills but he hoped his words had sunk in.
A quiet tentative voice broke the silence in the room. "Bobby, what I did..."
"Is in the past. I refuse to waste any more time on it. Watching you in pain, fearing what was happening to you, made me realize how much you mean to me. You and Dean are my family and I don't quit family. So let it go, or I'll kick your ass for turning this into a hallmark moment."
Sam eyes got big and he nodded tightly. Damn puppy dog eyes almost had Bobby misting up.
Sam sniffled. "So Bobby tell me straight, what happened to my spine, it's similar to what happened to you?"
Bobby sighed. "Ain't gonna lie. Your injury could be bad but with all the swelling we don't know for sure. It took awhile for them to know the extent of my injuries and well, we're playing the waiting game on yours. I do know this, we have an ace up our sleeve that we didn't have with me."
"Castiel." Sam whispered out almost like a prayer.
"Yeah, him. The feathery wonder boy." Bobby said with a grin.
Sam's face scrunched up in thought. "Something is up with that though, Dean didn't seem certain that Cas can help."
Bobby swallowed hard. He'd hoped he could avoid this subject. "Well, with your soul problems and the wall, Dean and I aren't sure if being touched by an angel is a good thing for you."
Sam rubbed at his face. "Yeah, I was thinking maybe something like that."
Bobby could hear the fear and despair in Sam's voice. "Kid, I won't try to fill you full of sunshine but I will say I survived the worst case scenario and you are strong and will survive too. Your life doesn't stop just cause your body breaks. It slows you down but hell, I did a lot of things behind the scenes without my legs. It'll surprise you how much you can do with the right attitude."
Sam nodded but didn't reply, his eyes averted.
"Kid, you ain't alone in this and we'll figure it out. No use focusing on the negative when we don't have all the Intel. You of all people should know that. That Daddy of yours drilled that into your head right?"
Sam gave Bobby a slight smile. "Right."
"Now, I hate to leave your eye level but my leg is going numb."
A hand grasped his elbow and helped him in a chair. Dean had snuck in during their heart to heart and with close expression helped him to his chair.
Once Bobby was seated, Dean approached Sam's bed and spoke. "Well at least you two knuckle heads made nice while I was gone. About time."
Bobby huffed. "Yeah well, we're good aren't we, Sam?"
Sam gave him a small smile. "Yeah."
The kid cleared his throat and looked at Dean. "Did you get a hold of Cas?"
Bobby watched as the elder Winchester tensed up in anger. "Nah, he was too busy, sent Balthazar, who told me to kiss off and not to call unless it was life or death. Then he disappeared before I could punch him."
Bobby felt the anger boil in him. He got that Cas was in a war but this seemed pretty damn important.
Sam's quiet voice broke the tension. "It's okay really, they might not need to heal me after all."
Dean turned to Sam. "That's the attitude I was looking for Sammy."
Bobby hoped that Sam's attitude would carry him through.
Twenty four hours had passed, and with it came some good news and bad news. Bobby was trying to concentrate on the good.
First thing that went right was the local cops bought their mugging story.
Then Doctor Love had finally declared that Sam was suffering from something called a 'stinger'. It was definitely gonna slow the younger Winchester down but at least it was treatable and not permanent. Temporary paralysis was the worst of it but with an analgesic, anti-inflammatory medication, ice and heat, restriction of movement, he should recover with time.
The bad news, Cas was still MIA, so that meant that Sam was stuck with the old fashion way of getting better. And maybe that was a gift and not a curse. Sam and Dean being forced to take some downtime couldn't all be bad. They'd probably drive him insane but it would give Bobby time to cement his relationship with Sam.
Bobby started rethinking his bonding time with the boys as he entered Sam's hospital room and encountered a full fledged shouting match.
"Dean, I'm fine, I want to go home now." Sam huffed out.
"What home Sammy? The motel in town? I guarantee you'll be a hell of lot more comfortable here." Dean shot back.
Bobby scowled at the two. "You two idgits hold it down. There are patients here trying to rest."
Both boys took around and at least had the decency to look guilty.
Once he had their attention, Bobby hobbled into the room and spoke. "Sam, your brother is right and I think at least another twenty four hours isn't gonna kill you. And Dean, the kid is not comfortable here and will get a lot better rest at a motel so we should make preparations to move him, okay?"
A unison of "Yes, sir." greeted Bobby.
Bobby settled down in one of the uncomfortable plastic chairs. "Dean why don't you get yourself some lunch? I'll sit with Sam for awhile."
Dean nodded. "Yeah, and I'll grab you a burger Sam."
Sam gave Dean a smile. "Thanks."
Dean returned the smile and headed out.
Bobby was glad to see the boys at peace again.
"Thanks Bobby, we tended to get on each other's nerves when we're cooped up."
"Sure kid. I get wanting to leave here but meeting Dean half way is better than trying to fight him." Bobby replied with a smile.
"Yeah you're right. So Bobby I don't want to be rude but last night they kept checking on me and I didn't get much sleep and well I ..."
"Say no more. Get some rest kiddo, I'll keep watch." Bobby replied.
A quiet 'thanks' was all Sam managed as sleep quickly took him.
It made Bobby feel like things were finally back to the way they needed to be. Sam felt comfortable enough around Bobby to sleep with the trust that he had Sam's back. It made Bobby's heart swell.
Bobby had just finished the discarded Time magazine he'd found in the room, when Cas and Dean appeared in front of him almost causing him to have a heart attack.
"Damn it, you guys couldn't use a door?" Bobby grunted out.
Dean looked guilty, "Cas just appeared to me at the restaurant..."
Cas interrupted Dean and moved towards Sam. "I don't have much time."
He quickly walked over and placed a hand on Sam's forehead and the boys eyes flew up in surprise and then he gasped Castiel's name. Just as he finished, Cas was gone.
Bobby stood as quickly as he could as he and Dean moved to Sam's side.
Dean grabbed Sam's hand. "Well Sam, how do you feel?"
Sam tentatively sat up. "I feel fine."
Bobby broke into a big smile that each boy echoed. "Kid, looks like you get your wish about leaving this joint."
Sam reached for Bobby's hand. "Thanks for your support Bobby it means a lot."
Bobby squeezed Sam's hand back and then pulled away. "Yeah well, we need to get the show on the road. We either bust you out or stick around for the doc to test you and declare you a miracle."
Sam huffed and glared at Dean. "We're busting out right? Please?"
Bobby had to giggle because as protective as Dean was being it wouldn't have shocked him for the elder brother to demand Sam be checked over.
Sam was in luck though because big brother was feeling generous. "Yeah sure, Sammy, let's get you dressed. Can't have Dr. Love messing with my Sammy, might put a love spell on him."
Sam rolled his eyes. "Love is a common name Dean."
Dean chuckled. "Dr. Love, dude, it's a classic Kiss song. I've been good up until now, and Lord knows I've been dying to say something."
"Thank you God for small miracles." Sam replied with no heat as he hopped up in bed. It was a good sight to see after his restricted movements of the last few days.
In a matter of minutes, Bobby was left to check the room one more time to make sure they'd grabbed everything. The two boys had already made their escape. As Bobby took one last look, his eyes landed on the wheelchair Sam had been using and he let out a relieved sigh.
They had really lucked out with this one. Sam had ended up spending a few uncomfortable days in the hospital and not a life time in a damn chair. Everything had worked out okay, well except Bobby still being stuck in the cast. Not that he was bitching, he knew that Cas had his hands full in heaven and he was just grateful the angel had been able to heal Sam.
Sam. If there was one good thing to come of the whole thing it was that he realized how important Sam was to him. He was truly like a son to him and while the whole Robo Sam thing had shaken him, he'd been stupid to hold it over the kid's head. Bobby felt bad for how he'd almost totally lost the close relationship he had with the younger Winchester.
Moving to leave the room, as he closed the door, he realized that it was time to move on and he was thankful for the chance to do just that.
A/N: Thanks for reading!