And Then There Was Family – by Vonnie836

"Bobby…."

Cupping his loosely hanging head in my hands, I slightly shook him, calling his name over and over again, hoping against hope I would receive an answer. The 'thing' slithered out of his ear and fell to the ground, wiggling once before lying still. I knew it right then – we succeeded in destroying it, it was dead, but so was Bobby.

My mind raced as I looked over at Dean, the horrified expression on his face saying more than he could ever articulate with words. This was the man that had become a second father to him, to us and he just electrocuted him.

Oh God, how could I let this happen? How could I make my brother do this, even though it needed to be done, while I just stood by? No, that wasn't true either, I didn't stand by, I turned away, once again not only too weak to take the burden from him, but also too cowardly to watch and lend support when he needed it the most. I tried to kill Bobby once before, that time for my own gain, why hadn't I been able to do it now when it would have kept Dean from shouldering the load?

Frantically I tore my knife through the Duck tape bindings and slid the lifeless body to the floor. Positioning his head, I gave two rescue breaths, before checking for a pulse and movement of his chest – nothing, not even a flutter. Moving down the torso, I positioned my hands on his chest and started compressions. Counting out loud until I reached thirty, all the while pressing down and releasing again, my mind could think nothing but "don't die, don't die, don't die…". I slid back up to his head and gave two more breaths before repeating the procedure. On the fifth repeat something seemed to click in Dean's mind and my brother prevented me from taking my hand off the still chest, his eyes telling me he was ready to help.

Waiting for him to give the two breaths and checking for a pulse that clearly still wasn't there, I continued my part. This was couldn't be happening, he couldn't be dead…Oh God, please don't let him be dead! I almost killed him when I was soulless; I had to save him now. Maybe if I could save him then… No! I threw the thought out before I could finish it. There was no forgiveness for what I had done.

In the middle of another set of compressions there suddenly was movement beneath my hands. I could feel the deep intake of air, hear the gasp as it escaped again, see pale blue eyes open at the exact same moment and gaze up at my brother. He was alive, oh thank God, Bobby was alive.

In a split second all adrenaline seemed to drain from me, yet instead of the usual drowsiness that would come with it, a sick feeling started to make its way through my gut and whatever I had eaten last threatened to make a reappearance. Getting up and running towards the door, I saw the confusion written on my brother's face. Didn't matter though, I had to get out of there right then and there, if I didn't want to puke all over both of them.

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Bobby wasn't breathing.

I watched Sam call out his name, before he shook him, trying to get a response out of him. Dammit, I had been afraid the bitch wouldn't come out easy and I had known there was no other way, yet somehow I had expected Bobby to come through this unscathed.

Seeing the thing slither out of my surrogate father's ear and fall to the ground, I knew I had succeeded, yet at what price? Sammy hadn't even been able to watch, turning around while I electrocuted Eve's hybrid parasite and Bobby with it. I hated to do what I did, yet it was better I did it then letting my kid brother take over the terrible task, he still wasn't over the fact that his soulless self had tried to murder the man we both felt kinship for.

Ready to help cut Bobby loose and do whatever it took to bring him back, my eyes met Sam's and something in them made me stop. With bewilderment I watched as he cut the tape and gently lifted the unmoving body out of the chair and onto the floor. Almost immediately he started CPR with an eagerness that bordered on desperation. No, it didn't just border on it, it was desperation and as much as I felt the same way, this was different. I knew my brother and there was more to his behavior than met the eye.

Taking a deep breath, I decided there was time later to find out what exactly was going on, although I had a pretty good inkling about what it was. Right now I needed to jump in and help get Bobby back. Waiting until the kid finished another thirty compressions, I caught his eyes. There was no need for me to say the words; he instantly understood that I was ready to do my part.

Silently we worked towards the same goal, our hope sliding away with each time I checked for a pulse that wasn't there. It was while Sam was doing compressions that Bobby gasped and started to breathe. His eyes opened and still glazed looked up at me. Throwing a quick glance over to my brother, I could see all color drain from his face. He swallowed hard, before bolting up and out of the room. Ready to go after him to make sure he was alright; a groan from the ground reminded me that I couldn't just take off.

"Dean…" Bobby sounded a little off, but it was good to hear his voice.

"You okay?" I asked, immediately knowing that it was a stupid question.

"Been better! What happened?"

Helping him sit up and lean against a support beam, I filled him in on what happened, watching as he tried to process what he had done to Rufus.

"It wasn't you!"

I knew it was a poor attempt to soothe; those words never seemed to work, no matter who I used them on. Yet this time something seemed different, as his face suddenly took on a different expression. Moving, a moan escaped him and he brought up his right hand and pressed it against his chest.

"Sorry, hope the compressions didn't break any of your ribs?" I said, remembering what damage CPR could inflict.

"Nah" He groaned, slapping my hand away, when I tried to check him, "I'm fine!" Looking around, he pushed out, "Where is Sam?"

"I think he wasn't feeling too well!"

The look I received at that was all Bobby, "Go after him, idjit!"

"But you…" I hesitated, my whole being longing to know if Sammy was alright, yet my loyalty and love for the old man beside me preventing me from leaving him.

"…will be fine! Now go, before I kick ya're butt!"

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I hardly made it through the door, before the meager contents of my stomach made a comeback all over the floor. My stomach kept cramping and wanting to turn inside out long after nothing was left in it. I had no idea how much time passed before I finally could quit retching, but it seemed like an eternity. Trying to get away from the mess, my vision blurred for just a moment and my legs went soft. I stumbled across the hallway and let myself fall against the wall on the other side, turning as I slid down to the ground.

Oh God, what had I done? First I almost killed Bobby and now I allowed Dean to almost do the same. Dean, my brother, who loved this man like he was our father, Dean, who had always shouldered every burden for me and who I now abandoned by making him shoulder this task. I might as well have stuck a knife into his chest.

Who was I, if not a monster? Bobby was right not to forgive me, what I have done is unforgivable. You don't try to kill your father, blood or no blood, and get away with it.

My thoughts started to swirl around, none of them making a lot of sense or even staying long enough for me to grab on to them. All I knew was that I would never be able to make up for what I had done. I jumped into the cage to pay for letting the devil out in the first place, but that couldn't bring back the lives that were lost because of it, couldn't undo the pain I caused my brother, couldn't purge the war I started from the memory of heaven and hell and the people that got caught up in it.

When I jumped in, I expected to stay in for eternity; the torture Lucifer subjected me to being my just reward. Yet not only did I get out, I also found out that part of me got out almost immediately and caused more pain and suffering. That my soul was still in the cage and had no control over my body, which was walking the earth for over a year without it, was no excuse, no matter how hard Dean was trying to convince me of it. Although I couldn't remember any of it, the flashbacks of what had happened during that time, made it clear that my mind had retained the memories of everything I ever learned and experienced, which meant it knew what was right and only chose to do the wrong things. Things like using a civilian as bait and even worse, trying to kill the man, who was like a father to me, so my soul couldn't be reunited with my body.

All my struggles, all my attempts to stay on the right path and later to make things right, all of it had been in vain. I failed, probably had been doomed to fail from the beginning and everyone would have been better off, if Dean would have never made that deal, or even better if it had been me that died that horrible night instead of my mother. Only heaven knows, why I always believed I could beat my destiny, because in the end even when I thought I did it still came back to bite me. I guess, I just never learned to give up, but for the first time I probably was closer to doing so than ever before. I couldn't bear hurting even one more of the people I loved.

Unable to hold my emotions in any longer, the tears made their way down my cheeks, sobs breaking out of me without asking for permission. I was at the end of my road.

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To say I was shocked at what I found when I entered the hallway would have been an understatement. The smell of vomit that hit me the moment I walked through door was bad, yet not completely unexpected. Sam always had a tendency to lose his lunch, when his emotions overwhelmed him; even the sight of the tears streaming down his face, while his body was shaking with sobs was not what did me in. It was the sounds of those sobs and the complete and utter hopelessness chiseled onto his face that made me realize this wasn't just a 'normal' breakdown. I've never seen the kid this devastated, although I have to confess, a few times he'd come pretty close.

Sammy was a fighter, if nothing else he was stubborn, heck, he was probably the most obstinate Winchester ever born and that said a lot, meaning that our dad had been as stubborn as they came. Thing was that many times this exact trait had been what prevented my giant little brother from giving up. Today though, right here and now, there was nothing left of it. It was as if with every tear a little bit more hope streamed out of him and that every sob tore apart the strings that kept his will to go on from floating away.

My whole being wanted nothing more than to put my arms around him and take all his woes away, yet aside from this not usually being my way to approach things, I also knew that I wouldn't be able to change anything. My only hope was that maybe I could make whatever was going on in that giant mind of his better.

Very slowly I approached him, my hand finally coming to rest on his shoulder. Even though he was facing me, he didn't seem to realize I was there, until I knelt beside him and touched him.

"Dean…." He pushed my name out in between two sobs like it was a lifeline, "C..can't …" He took several breaths, before trying again, "Can't do no more!

He almost collapsed into himself at that point, prompting me to pull him up against me, hoping that my presence would reassure him, but knowing that this time it would not be enough. Sitting like this for several minutes he finally seemed to calm, yet knowing my brother as well as I did, I was fairly certain that it was likely exhaustion rather than actual relief that settled his heartbreaking cries. Giving him a couple minutes to rest against my shoulder, I finally pushed him back far enough for me to look at him, my supporting hands never leaving his shoulders.

His eyes were filled with so much hate, for a moment I was taken aback by the sight. It took me only a split second though to realize that the emotion wasn't directed at me or anyone else, but rather it was directed inwards, at himself. Yet instead of feeling relief, my fear only multiplied. I could deal with him hating the world, even hating me, but how was I supposed to deal with Sammy hating Sammy?

"It's not your fault!" The words weren't thought through, weren't even anything I really felt would make any difference, they just came out of my unbelievably strong desire to take this burden away from my brother.

In an instant his hands grabbed my shirt and dug into it, his arms pulling me closer towards him.

"It is, always was and it will never change!" His voice was almost toneless now, which if even possible almost scared me more than the emotion written in his eyes only a moment before, "Whatever I do I can't escape it!"

Letting go of me, he stood, his legs unsteady because of the toll his emotional outburst took on him. Stumbling away, he leaned on the wall, his hands pressing against it just above where his head came to rest. Jumping up, I was ready to follow him, when a voice from the same doorway I came through a while ago startled me.

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I wasn't completely sure on what happened, but coming to the way I did, my ribs hurting, Rufus lying dead on the ground, Sam gone and Dean worried as hell but reluctant to leave me, I got a damned good idea of it. And one thing was clear, it wasn't pretty. I was possessed by that wiggly little super monster Eve created and I killed my best friend. That by itself would have been reason enough to quit breathing again, yet it also slammed home the comparison of what Sam had done to me. It wasn't like I hadn't known before that it wasn't Sam, at least not all of Sam that had tried to kill me, yet somehow I just had a hard time having the kid around me and separating his being from his body. I've always thought I was better than that, but obviously not.

Telling the idjit of an older brother that I was okay and he needed to go after his gigantor little brother, I had more than enough time to think about all of it and as much as I really wanted to dwell on the fact that I killed Rufus, I knew that this had time until later. What didn't have time was me setting things right with Sam.

Still hurting and feeling kinda shaky, it took me longer to get across the room. Leaning against the wall, I took a few deep breaths, which was easier said than done, because really, have you ever been given chest compressions? No? Well, I can tell you, you didn't miss out on anything! It took me several minutes before I was able to straighten up, yet to my surprise my head felt clearer now and my legs were less rubbery.

Opening the door, I watched the two boys I loved more than my life and it hurt to see how dreadfully helpless Dean looked. And it hit me right then, that maybe for once it was my turn to make a difference, to pull Sammy and Dean with him away from the edge.

"You don't have to escape it, because it wasn't you, who caused all the problems…"

Walking over to him, I continued, "…and it wasn't you, who tried to kill me!"

I could see a jolt going through his body, before he stilled again. After that it still took several minutes before he turned, his left shoulder continuing to lean against the wall for support. He didn't look at me, instead his head hung down, his eyes staring at the ground or his shoes, or maybe neither, his long fringe prevented me from telling.

At least he turned, yet I knew it wasn't enough; I needed to get through to him fast, before he slipped away. Thinking frantically of what to say and not coming up with anything significant, I ended up acting in desperation. Reaching out, I placed my hand on his shoulder. Not getting a response, my fear that it was already too late grew. So I put my other hand on his other shoulder and gently shook him.

Sam, look at me!" I pleaded.

When he still didn't move, my heart took over, "Damn it kid, this time I was the idjit! I messed up, because I couldn't see past your body. Can you ever forgive me for that?"

Very slowly his head lifted and he cocked it ever so slightly until I could see his hazels shimmering with tears, yet even though his gaze was directed at me he still didn't look at me. Damn, but else could I say to get through to him?

Again I shook him, before my hands cupped his face, something I'd never done before, "You don't think I can forgive you? Well you're wrong, I do! I forgive you and you want to know why? Because I consider you my son and I love you!"

Shocked by my own words I stepped back. I never expected anything like that to ever come out my mouth. Not that I didn't mean every single word, but I just wasn't the type that would say them out loud. Almost afraid of his reaction, I watched the expression on his face change, as his eyes found focus in mine. For a long while he held my gaze and it was at that moment that I understood for the first time how those two boys communicated with one another without saying a word. It was like his emotions were flowing through me and I could feel a part of the despair that he had buried inside of him for way too long.

At a loss for words, I could only nod, but it was enough, because relief…, no it was much more than that, it was actual peace that lit up his expression. Opening his mouth and closing it again, he instead took a step forward, his arms wrapping around me.

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I could only watch in amazement how Bobby took over and I was more than grateful for it, as I was pretty much out of ideas on how to reach Sam. At first I was worried because I knew he never got over what Sam did to him, yet the first words out of his mouth told me that this was no longer true. The realization that it had taken him killing his best friend while some monster worm from purgatory was in control hurt me more than I was ready to admit at this moment, because I knew how hard it would hit him when this was over. I didn't want to see the man I considered a father hurting like this, but right now I needed to see Sam heal even more, I could concentrate on how to help Bobby later and hopefully my little brother would be on my side.

It was difficult being pushed back into the role of an observer, when my whole being longed to reach out to Sammy, yet something told me that if anyone could reach him, it would be Bobby. And his actions truly spoke of how much Sammy meant to him. So much actually that he almost seemed to become a different person. There was a tenderness and love about him that I would have never thought he possessed, even though he didn't seem to reach Sam.

When Sammy turned around I was hopeful that he was coming back, yet when he still failed to respond, fear started to fill me, fear of losing my baby brother for good and more than likely Bobby with him. My heart felt like it was going to break and for a moment it stopped as all hope left me.

I could tell that Bobby was giving up hope too, but he kept talking. And just when it seemed like there was nothing left to say it happened.

Something in the old man's words must have reached that giant brain of his and got through in a big way. The transformation was instantaneous and watching the expression on Sammy's face change was like watching Atlas being relieved of the weight of the heavens. I couldn't remember when I've seen him like this last, if ever.

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I knew Dean was there, I felt his presence and heard him talk, even talked back, yet it seemed all so far away, it was too surreal to hold on to. I knew I needed to get away from him before I hurt him more and I think I did, but at this point I really wasn't sure of anything anymore. Another voice was humming like white noise in the background, but all I could see was the brick wall that appeared without warning in front of my face. It was huge, seemed to go on and on to either side and upwards, yet the mortar in between the red bricks was crumbling. In the middle was a large crack, yet weirdly enough it seemed to be patched up with a material that I couldn't identify, but that appeared much more solid than the rest of the wall.

Watching the crumbling cement seep out, I could feel the heat of hell coming through where it was the thinnest. Anxiously I waited, welcoming the punishment for my failure, yet finally unable to take the blistering heat, I turned, just to realize that the wall was still in front of me. Lowering my head, I felt the tongues of fire slithering through the cracks and making their way towards my skin. The voice I heard earlier was still there and for a moment I thought it was Bobby. I looked up, but couldn't see anything; the fire burning too bright and hot by now taking my sight as well as my breath. No longer could I see the wall, although I could still feel its presence. I knew it would be gone soon and hell would swallow me. It scared me and still, it was what I deserved. There was no way back for me.

Something or someone shook me and suddenly something cool touched my face. There were only two words that pierced through the roaring of the flames, yet they were enough to make me listen.

"… forgive you…"

It couldn't be true, there was no way anyone could ever forgive me, least of all Bobby, why would he? Yet as my desire to hear more was piqued, the flames seemed to be just a little smaller, their heat a bit less and their roar just low enough for me to hear a bit more.

"…consider you my son and I love you!"

Like an implosion the fire rolled back to the other side of the wall and I could see liquid metal appear in the cracks, cooling and solidifying at an unbelievable speed. My vision cleared and there he was – it was Bobby and he really said those words, told me he forgave me and considered me a son and more than that, he loved me. I don't know what happened, but there was no way I could ever describe the feeling that filled me at that moment. If he could forgive me, maybe there was hope? The light and warmth I could see in the eyes of the grizzled hunter in front of me was enough to make me wanna go on. If after all I had done to him, he still wanted me around, how could I disappoint him?

Wrapping my arms around him, I hugged him and this time I could feel him hugging me back and it told me that he truly had forgiven me. At the same time there was another hand on my back and I didn't need to look to know, who it belonged to.

For a moment I found refuge and solace in the embrace, before I hesitantly pulled away. It was time for me to give back, to help Bobby get through the guilt he was certain to shoulder for having been the body that killed Rufus.

THE END