Hello there and welcome back. I have decided that this will be the LAST chapter. I know, I wasn't expecting that either but it just seemed to flow and seemed a good spot to close up shop.
I just want to take a moment and say THANK YOU for all the support, encouragement and awesome reviews, you have kept my creative juices flowing during the entire Punching Bag Blues experience. Thank you sooooooooooo much!
I hope you enjoy.
Bobby shuffles away to leave Sam at the foot of the stairs; to give the young man a moment to collect himself. With Dean out of their immediate and watchful eyes, Bobby is certain that the younger sibling no longer feels the adrenaline rush, but rather the enormity of his brother's display.
After all, the two men were just privy to a rare glimpse and front row seat; they have just witnessed first-hand the scope of the devastation and destruction that has consumed the older Winchester son. The vision and complexity of unbridled emotions from someone who seems to take pride in the fact that he rarely shows them, has rattled each of the other men to the bone. Bobby knows well enough that one look into Sam's concerned and down trodden face would be the catalyst to his own damn meltdown. And that ain't a scene he is willing to have either of them endure.
Bobby's gait and movements are slow and laboured. His damn body seems to have lost its gumption and is sending him a strong signal that it would rather just sink to the floor and stay there. The tension that kept his body rigid and in protector mode has left him with a vengeance, and has decided to remind him quite rudely of just exactly how old he really is.
He stalks over to rummage through his ample supplies; to assemble all the items they'll need to do their usual patch up of Dean's wound. But this time is different. Dean didn't get in a tussle with a spirit, or a ghost, or a damn werewolf. He did the damage himself, as punishment for all the failings he thinks he is guilty of and all the pain and suffering he thinks he deserves. Balls.
So Bobby does the only thing he can. He continues on with his mission and goes through the usual motions; gathers up the typical entourage of devices and tools to suture and cleanse the physical afflictions Dean always seems to be in need of repair of.
He scoffs softly and shakes his head as a twisted rendition of Humpty Dumpty rattles around in his overstressed brain. Shit. For all the implements he sees; all the needles and thread and bandages that fill his bag of tricks, he don't see one damn thing that can do one little slice of god damn good to cleanse or mend that boy's broken heart or begin to piece his shattered world back together again.
Bobby jumps slightly at the sudden appearance of Sam at his side. He turns to take a good look at him. The kid looks wrecked. He supposes that ain't much of a surprise, hell, it's only natural. When you stand your ground right in the oncoming path of a tornado when it decides to blow through, you can't help but expect some pieces of yourself to be swept up in the mix; can't help but undoubtedly add your own shit and debris into the updraft as the whirlwind howls and spews, as it leaves chunks to crash loudly back to earth as it falters and fizzles out.
"Yeah kid? What's on your mind?"
"Would you mind, I mean … I think I'd… well…"
"Just spit it out Sam, I can't take much more deflecting or looks like the one you got planted on your face. I ain't gonna break, just out with it."
"Right. I was… I was thinking I would like to go up there alone. I mean, I'll call if I need help but I just… I think I need a little time, just him and me. I don't know why but I…"
Sam's eyes tear up and Bobby notices his own hands start to shake. The pure pain written all over this young man's face is undeniable. The poor kid wants to have a moment to talk to his brother without some old geezer at his side. That shouldn't bother him in the slightest, it shouldn't faze or hurt but damn it, for some reason it does.
He feels it deep within his gut. These two brothers, these two young men are his family, his sons, and he wants to be there for them however he can. The thought of either of them bearing the weight of so much pain makes him want to go out and kill each and every son of a bitch thing that has driven them into this life. He wants to protect them, to shield them from the madness that consumes every moment of their world, but, the sad and pissy truth is that he can't.
"Ah hell Sam, you read my damn mind. I could use a break from all the drama around here. You better get moving if you wanna do any talking, that idjit is gonna be passed out soon."
With a deep sigh and nod of his weary head, Sam takes the kit from Bobby's outstretched hand but the older of the two feels a swell of something bubble up from deep inside him and he suddenly can't let the kid just walk away. A cascade of emotion runs its course through his veins and before Sam can turn away from him, Bobby puts his free hand on top of his and squeezes.
He looks directly, with meaning and purpose, into the boy's face and tries to convey everything; tries to pour out every single feeling and thought that runs through his head into the other man by way of his gaze and the grip of his fingers.
Two brothers. Two young men. Their innocence stolen, their world destroyed in the brutal flame of fire and by the depths of unforgettable loss. Both of these boys endure hurt of unimaginable proportions, are saddled down with it, stifling in it from a lifetime of shit.
It's frustrating and annoying and pisses the older hunter off. The fact that he can't seem to do one damn thing to stop it makes him feel as useful as a damn brick wall. But, even so, there is one thing these two can be sure of. Bobby Singer will always be here for them, in whatever way they need him to be.
"Bobby? You okay, kinda zoned out on me there."
"Just… just a minute Sam."
"But you said…"
"I know, just humour an old man would ya? Now, out with it, how you holding up?"
Balls. The kid looks so damn tired. And sad. And heartbroken. Bobby wishes he could wave some kind of magic wand to release them from the spell of whatever son of a bitch has done this to them.
"I'm not sure. He's… he's just so lost Bobby. I thought if I could get him to talk about it… that somehow it would help to heal him but now… I'm not so sure there is anything I can do for him. I mean, you saw him, he's…."
The young man's breath starts to hitch and Bobby clears his throat and looks away in an effort to keep what he thinks is the cool and calm exterior he is portraying from going south and crumbling into anything but.
Sam needs him. Dean needs him and damn it, he aims to do whatever he can and whatever it takes to be the one person in their lives they can depend on.
"Listen Sam, we do what we have always done. We be here for him, in whatever way he needs us. It hurts like hell to see him like this, I know, but the smart ass, stubborn mule we know and love is still in there. He just has to know we ain't going nowhere. I mean come on, you two have overcome so much shit in your life but you have always managed to come out on top on the pile. Sure, you may come out stinking to high heaven, but you do always come out. You have each other and it'll be enough Sam, because it has to be."
Bobby sees the hint of a smile come to life on the young man's face.
"That really was beautiful Bobby, a real Halmark moment."
"That's about as eloquent as I get kid. Glad you got a chuckle out of me and my uncomfortable-ness."
"Yeah, what choice do I have right? I either have to laugh or cry, and I don't know if I can shed one more tear. It's all too much. And hell, I don't even know if Dean will remember any of this shit and truthfully, a part of me, a big part hopes he doesn't. I… I just…"
The smile dissipates in seconds and Bobby hates, actually he detests the forlorn look that it is replaced by.
"I just want my brother back. I don't want to lose him like I lost dad.. or Jess. He doesn't deserve any of this crap and I wish… I wish he would learn to forgive himself, if even for one damn thing."
"Ditto Sam. No argument here. We'll figure it out. But next time we gotta come up with a better plan, your brother don't take too kindly to the, what did he call it?"
"That's it. Boy, that didn't work out so hot did it?"
"Nope. That one is in the minus column for sure. I'll be okay Bobby, and hopefully so will Dean. One day at a time."
"Sounds good. Okay, well, off you go then. Let me know if princess gives you a hard time."
"I will. Thanks Bobby."
This time it's Sam that Bobby eyes as he makes his way up the stairs to try and mend some part of Dean's ravaged soul. As Sam disappears out of view, he suddenly feels empty and totally alone there in the doorway to his kitchen.
He feels dirty, like he has been coated in a layer of slime and sludge that no amount of scrubbing will ever purge from his pores; like something has been soaked right through his skin and into his blood.
He waits until he hears the soft click of the door upstairs as it closes before he turns to head back into the sunlit room. As he looks among the chaos; as his boots crunch remnants of glass that lay under his feet; as he spies the splintered pieces of cups and window that litters the floor; as he hones in on the blood, Dean's blood as it paints a sickening pattern on his damn linoleum floor, he has to grip the counter to support himself. He hangs on for dear life, to try and ride the wave and rein in his own turmoil of emotions at the realization of what happened when Dean's cork had finally blown.
He stays there, his eyes scrunched tight and his lungs pleading for him to deliver more air, until the images and words and events of the past day, the ones whose assault is constant and uncontrollable, finally overrun his defenses and manage to break the seal to come tearing out of him without anything to filter or slow their escape.
Bobby Singer. The gruff hunter, the fighter of evil, stands there surrounded by carnage of glass and debris. He stands, in the midst of blood and traces of anger and despair and unfathomable pain.
Although the sun still peeks in through the now splintered window, he feels nothing but darkness, courtesy of the damn perpetual cloud of gloom and doom that has invaded his home the same way it has invaded each and every moment of the brothers' lives.
Bobby Singer, father figure and protector; confidant and sounding board for the Winchester sons, stands alone, his heart heavy, saddened by the punches this life keeps on doling out to his beloved idjits.
The only man close enough to the boys to truly understand them; the only one able to see underneath the bullshit they weave and know them for the brave and smart and damn heroic men they are stands on the edge of his own display of uncharacteristic emotion.
Bobby Singer, the man who holds a huge soft spot in his heart for Dean and Sam Winchester lowers his head in his hands and sighs deeply. He stands alone in his kitchen. And cries.