Title: Socialization For Angels
Universe: Supernatural
Theme/Topic: Episode 6x20 tag?
Rating: PG-13
Character/Pairing/s: Dean, Bobby (mentioned Sam and Cas)
Spoilers/Warnings: Through 6x20. Also unedited, so yeah.
Word Count: 2,785
Summary: It's Thursday at the Winchesters' and everyone already knows how this story goes.
Dedication: mclachlan, just 'cuz.
A/N: A quickie fic reaction with all my thoughts from watching 6x20 Friday. LOL Not gonna lie, wrote this while watching bad SyFy movies with gaisce, so this might not make any sense. JUST NEEDED TO GET IT OUTTA THE SYSTEM BEFORE STARTING THAT OTHER STORY I OWE. In other words, you should probably skip this. I JUST HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS OKAY. What is the SPN Gen?
Disclaimer: No harm or infringement intended.


When he hears Bobby up and about, rummaging noisily around the kitchen a little after five-thirty in the morning, Dean finally decides to give up on trying to sleep and quietly heaves himself up from the couch to join Bobby for breakfast (or something like it). The smell of coffee brewing offers a faint promise of reprieve after hours of restlessness spent sitting alone in the dark with nothing more than his own regrets to occupy him.

Chief amongst which is his conversation with Castiel; Dean had spent the better part of the last six hours replaying it over and over in his head on loop, trying to think of all the things he should have said or should have done instead, to make it right, to make Cas see. Nothing works, not even in his imagination, and as Dean gets to his feet and rubs a hand over gunky, blood-shot eyes, he somehow feels worse off right now than he had when Michael was gunning to use him as a meat suit and Lucifer was painting a red swath across the country. Inexplicably, today feels more like the eve of an apocalypse than it had two years ago. At least back then, they'd all been in it together. There had been a certain kind of strength in Team Free Will's unity that he doesn't feel now.

Now, it feels like the end of the world all over again and they're down an angel.

Dean absently wonders how many stupid apocalypses he's going to have to survive in his lifetime.

His life is such bullshit.

Groggy and restless, he stumbles into the kitchen just in time to see Bobby take the coffee pot off the burner; the older man turns at the sound of Dean's clumsy approach and wordlessly grabs two mugs, looking expectant. Dean just blinks blearily back at him because he has no freaking idea what Bobby wants— let alone expects— from him at ass o'clock in the morning.

But after giving Dean a single, discerning once over, the older hunter just grunts in vague disappointment and pours Dean some coffee, topped off with a generous portion of whiskey for those mornings—like today— when everything feels like shit and part of you just wants to die. "Idjit," Bobby huffs to himself under his breath, as he pushes the mug at Dean.

Dean eyes Bobby as he takes it. "Something you wanna say there, Bobby?" he asks after a beat of silence, voice rough.

Bobby shrugs, expression vaguely evasive. "Just thought that maybe you'd be lookin' a little less miserable after a night out on the couch." Pause. "But you still look like shit, so I guess I was wrong."

It's a weird thing to say, even at ass o'clock in the morning.

And while Dean is the first to admit that has never been the quickest study when it comes to most things—especially at ass o'clock in the morning— there are at least three things in this world he's confident about knowing like the back of his hand. One is the mechanics of the Impala, the second is the mechanics of Sam, and the third is the mechanics of Bobby. (He'd used to think that there had been a fourth thing amongst those numbers, but then an angel of the Lord had flown to his side the night before and shot that entire theory to hell with a few growled words and an incredibly bad attitude.)

In any case, knowing Bobby like he does, the older hunter's behavior this morning is telling Dean everything he wants to know about something that had niggled absently at the back of his mind the night before, after Cas was done standing over the carcass of their profound bond and had been busy salting and burning its remains.

At least Bobby—if nothing else— is consistent.

"You know," Dean starts conversationally, when Bobby turns to start looking in the fridge for something solid to go with the hard liquor that comes with a standard breakfast-of-champions at the scrap yard, "those anti-angel sigils you painted last night weren't exactly right." The mechanics of Bobby are a lot like what Bobby had thought the mechanics of Cas were; both of them are far too methodical to do things wrong unless they mean to do them wrong for a reason.

Bobby doesn't even pause for a breath in the midst of rummaging in his fridge when he hears Dean bring up the sigils, which just confirms everything Dean already instinctively knows about the situation. "That so?" Bobby grunts, after a beat. "Enochian's still tricky to me, I guess."

There is a slight pause, and more rummaging sounds. Then, a very casual, "Cas the one who told you I got 'em wrong?"

Dean snorts. "Yeah," he says, and wonders when his surrogate father became a heavenly matchmaker. "Nice try Bobby, but no dice. He's out."

Bobby sighs and shuts the fridge, emerging with what looks to be a plastic container of bologna Dean remembers buying on his last store run. It's got to be well past the expiration date by now. "So that's it, then," he huffs, and shuts the fridge door with a slight bang.

"Yeah," Dean murmurs, and puts his coffee cup on the counter, drink untouched. "That's it." He tries to make it sound as simple and resolute as it should be, but the words just come out kind of resigned, a little bit shaky.

"Figured," Bobby huffs, and downs a good portion of his coffee flavored whiskey as a result. "Stubborn dumbass."

"Yeah, well, you know Cas," Dean murmurs wearily. "We uh, we should probably fix the sigils later." Pause. "You know, before he decides to make a return visit to raze us to the ground or something."

And then something unexpected happens.

"Fix them yourself," Bobby says. "Far as I know, they ain't wrong."

Dean turns slightly incredulous. "Bobby?"

"You heard me," Bobby grunts.

Dean had heard him. He doesn't get him though, not right at this moment. Everyone is freaking changing the rules on him and Dean isn't sure he can take it. "I talked to Cas, Bobby. Dude's gone dark side. We can't just let him in and out of here whenever he wants, not when he knows we're out to stop him."

"I'm not blind, dumbass, I know what he thinks he's doing," Bobby snorts back, before opening the bologna Dean had bought and giving the contents of the container a tentative sniff. When he recoils Dean figures that means breakfast is a no go, which is fine, because he has zero appetite right now anyway. He feels like his intestines have been stomped on. Bobby seems to think otherwise though, because he doesn't toss the stuff, just takes off the lid and grabs some paper towels.

"Well?" Dean prompts, growing impatient. "You were the first one to jump on the Cas is evil bandwagon, now you're off at the next stop?"

Bobby scoffs. "I was the first one to think the idjit was hiding something. I was right—and I always am— but that don't mean I'm ready to cut him off at the first sign of trouble. Obviously I'm not as mad at your angel as you are, so if you wanna give him the silent treatment, then fix the damn sigils yourself," he says simply.

Dean can readily believe that Bobby isn't as mad at Cas as he is because he's fucking pissed, but as far as he can tell, open invitations into his home should be off the table right about now. Dean wonders if this is a test, or something. "Bobby, he's a threat now," he grits out by way of reminder, teeth clenched so tight he can feel the throb of blood in his temples. "He's working with a demon, in case you forgot."

The older man looks at him in this completely judgmental sort of way. "Gee, someone made a deal with a demon? Must be the Thursday at the Winchesters'," Bobby drawls as he pushes past Dean to sit down at the table with his coffee and his bologna.

Dean sputters.

The look on Bobby's face stays the vehement protests of that was for Sammy and she tricked him that are on the tip of Dean's tongue. "I'm just sayin', Cas got a crash course in humanity from you and your idjit brother," Bobby mutters, leaning back in his chair. "To be honest, part of me is impressed he managed to hold out this long before he did something stupid for you two dumbasses. Least we know what he's thinking now."

Dean is full of indignation. "We did not teach him how to make contracts with evil!" he protests by rote, before he can really think about what he's saying. "Eve was gonna burn the world because of what he's doing, Bobby!"

Bobby tops his coffee off with some more whiskey and looks weary. "Yeah, that's never happened to us before either," he mutters, dryly. Then, apparently taking some kind of pity on Dean, adds, "Dean, if I couldn't forgive this kind of world-ending Winchester dumbassery I'd have shot you and your idjit brother ages ago. Far as I'm concerned, doing something like this just proves that angel or not, Cas is part of the goddamn family after all."

Dean doesn't know whether to be weirded out or insulted. He settles for angry; he's good at angry. "Do you know how many people have died because he decided to poke Eve with a freakin' stick?"

"Don't preach to me, boy," Bobby snorts. "I know exactly what's going on, and all I gotta say is been there, done that." He waves a hand absently over his head, an air of weary resignation in the motion. "John sells his soul to a demon to save you, you sell yours to a demon to save Sam, Sam runs around with a demon, thinkin' he's gonna save you, and that whole crap storm leads to the first end of the world." He looks like he has a headache just recalling it. "For all I know, that angel of yours thinks selling your soul for your family is a goddamned Winchester rite of passage."

Dean stares, feeling his temper simmering just below the surface, still raw and roiling with betrayal. But he stops himself from shouting like he wants to, swallows the biting words in his throat and takes a breath instead. Because he knows Bobby, he knows Bobby, and Bobby is usually right even when it doesn't feel like he is. Even when what he's saying does nothing but piss Dean off at first.

Bobby can tell that's what Dean is thinking too, because the older man sits back and stubbornly eats a piece of Dean's stinky lunchmeat without batting an eye.

Dean winces. "You're gonna make yourself sick, Bobby," he mutters, evasive.

Bobby doesn't let him evade. "I always put up with your other bologna, boy." He holds up the container, "Says something when this is the easiest outta all of it to swallow right now." He eats another piece and just watches Dean patiently.

Dean averts his gaze first. He always does. "So, what?" he challenges eventually, eyes lingering on the coffee cup on the counter. "It's our fault for introducing Cas to the kids from the wrong side of the tracks? We should just let it go, welcome him back with hugs and cookies?"

"That I can't say. But you're the dumbass who socialized the angel in the first place, taught him humanity the Winchester way. All I know is he's following your idjit example, doing the exact same stupid shit you and Sam did. In case you hadn't noticed, Winchesters have a bad habit of making reckless decisions that screw the rest of us over to keep each other safe. Only difference is, Cas is out there doing it alone. Because I sure as hell know we aren't watching his back right now. All he's got is Crowley and maybe Balthazar, and that can't be good."

Dean winces; he knows that too, knows that Crowley won't hesitate to kill Cas the minute he stops being useful, or the minute the demon's ass is in the fire. As for Balthazar, Dean is pretty sure a guy who abandoned Cas for orgies and black market soul buying is bad news on the backup front, no matter how fond he professes to be of his little brother. Add all that with the fact that Raphael's armies are gunning for Cas and God is about as reliable as Balthazar is when it comes to lending a helping hand and Cas really is alone in this.

He could die. Again. Dean doesn't think that God will fix it a third time.

And that, he realizes suddenly, is the most terrifying thing about all of this.

Cas could die.

Even after everything Sam had done with Ruby, even after that betrayal, looking back on it now, Dean knows that all he'd wanted at the time was for his brother to be safe. He might have hated Sam a little bit at the end of everything, might have felt like his brother had spit on the face of everything Dean had ever done for him, but even still, Dean had never stopped loving him. No matter what Sam had done, no matter how much he'd hurt or betrayed Dean that year, Dean has never considered him anything less than family. And Bobby is right; to Winchesters, family means always having each other's backs, bad decisions or no.

In that moment, over coffee that's more whiskey than coffee and bad bologna that Bobby is probably going to really regret later, Dean realizes that all he wants right now—more than anything— is for Cas to come out of this safe. Alive.

He shakes his head and runs a tired hand through his hair as that feeling fights its way past all the others –past the anger and the self-pity he'd spent the past two days drowning in— and hits him head on; it feels a lot like getting surprise whammied by an angel. But then again, Cas has always managed to sneak up on him with stuff like that.

Bobby's eyebrows rise up on his forehead a little when he hears Dean's soft exhale, the older hunter looking like he'd been waiting for Dean to figure this out for himself ever since he decided to be a sneaky bastard and screw up some Enochian warding symbols the day before. If Bobby is one of the three things Dean can be sure of knowing way too well in this world, Dean supposes that he's one of the same things for Bobby.

"Well?" Bobby asks after a moment, tone going slightly softer but no less gruff. "How do you propose we rescue that idjit from himself, then?"

Dean huffs a breath of laughter at that, the incredulous, exhausted kind. But he does wrap his hand around the coffee mug again, picking it up and drinking it like a shot before he turns and looks Bobby right in the eye. "However we can, I guess," he says, because it's all he can.

From there he takes a seat next to Bobby at the table and as the sun finally makes some actual headway into the sky, Sam comes stumbling into the kitchen to join them, looking just as wrecked as Dean had been a little while before. Bobby pours Sam coffee, offers him some stinky bologna, and then proceeds to smack the younger Winchester upside the head with same words he'd used with Dean earlier, though they're a little more eloquent the second time around. Dean supposes it comes with all the practice.

And because Sam has always been a little smarter than Dean is, he gets it just a little bit faster too. "Yeah," he says around a slightly disbelieving puff of amusement, and sits down at the table with his brother, enormous and gangly and so, so hopefully earnest. "How do we help him?"

Dean realizes that Sam has the same look in his eyes as when he'd proposed to take on the devil himself.

The three of them brainstorm together like that for as long as they can, until Bobby has to go man the phones and hit the books, leaving Sam and Dean at the table with cold, coffee flavored whiskey, a half-container of slightly rancid bologna, and an all too familiar feeling of fierce determination, the kind that means finding a way to save a member of their family, no matter the cost.

By now, it's a Winchester specialty.

END