"Hey Sam I'm back!" Dean shouted as he slammed Bobby's front door, stuffed his keys into his jacket pocket, and headed into the kitchen where Sam was sitting studying something on his Ipad. Dean dropped the books onto the table next to him. "Dude, you are the only person in the free world who owns an Ipad and still wants me to go to the library to get you books."
"Well I wouldn't have to send you to the library if I wasn't on house arrest." Sam said when he looked up at Dean.
"Not my fault the glue in your brain hasn't dried yet either." Sam gave Dean the patented "bitch face" and Dean just laughed, shrugged out of his coat, and took a glass out of the cabinet. "You want something to drink?" he asked as he turned on the tap.
"How much have you eaten?"
"Dean.." Sam said warningly.
"Have you eaten more than the two eggs that you had for breakfast?" Sam closed his eyes, clenched his hands, and tried desperately to calm his already delicate temper.
"Dean. Leave it." Dean took a drink from the glass and inwardly sighed. This is how Sam had been since he had put himself back together, and Cass had disappeared to parts unknown to smite angels that hadn't supported him on his quest to destroy himself and Raphael. Sam had been irritable one minute, happy the next, sad just as quick, and then Sam'd just be gone, and Dean would be left looking at a body with nothing behind his eyes. It was hard on him, truth be told, it was hard on all of them. But Sam had been through a lot, and he needed their support, no matter the mood.
"Okay. But, even if you don't eat, please at least drink as much water as you can stomach. You are still really pale, and between the lack of food and the lack of sleep…I.." Dean stopped, but Sam understood exactly what his brother was staying. He had felt the same way when Dean had returned from hell. Dean had drank too much, not eaten enough, not slept enough. Dean didn't want Sam anymore hurt than he already was and Sam understood that, he had been on the other side of the hell fence before and it was a scary place.
Sam licked his lips and nodded. He turned to his brother. "Okay. I promise." Sam gave him the barest hint of a smile. "It's not like you're looking much better." Sam countered.
"Hey! I look damn good." Truth be told, Dean hadn't slept much more in the last couple of weeks than Sam had. Every single time Sam twitched in his sleep, Dean was awake and at his side ready to wake him before the hell dreams could take full swing. And Sam was always glad that Dean was there at his side to wake him. Hell dreams were worse than any vision, dream, or nightmare he had ever had before—and Sam had had some duzies in his lifetime.
Sam rolled his eyes, "Whatever dude. You working the yard today?"
"Yeah, the old man wants me out there, says that more ladies come to the yard when I'm here."
"Whatever dude. Bobby would never say something that stupid."
"He did too."
"Please Dean." Sam said. His eyes suddenly lost the spark of humor and his face went slack, and his eyes weren't looking at Dean, they were looking through him. Dean put his water glass down and went to his brother, took the chair next to him, reached under Sam's long hair and put a hand on the back of Sam's neck, creating contact that would ground his little brother to reality, or at least this reality.
"I'm here Sammy." Dean said softly. "You aren't in hell. You aren't with Grandpa. It's me and you in Bobby's kitchen. We're safe. No one is going to hurt you. I'm right here." Dean licked his own lips and wished that Sam's life hadn't become this. Hadn't become a series of space outs where Sam was lost and confused, reliving hell, reliving a year where he might as well have been in hell, and helpless to stop any of it. Sam swayed a little, and he swallowed, his eyes watered, and they finally moved and found Dean's eyes.
Sam wavered a little more, and licked his lips where moisture was collecting and trying to get enough momentum to stream down the side of his mouth. Sam blinked a couple of times and worked hard at communicating with his arm to move, and with great effort it did and Sam wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. He looked at Dean instead of through him and asked thickly, "How long?"
"Just a couple of minutes Sam. You're okay." Sam nodded.
"Thanks." Dean took his hand away from Sam's skin and stood up, he'd learned that the best way to deal with the aftermath of Sammy's space outs was to continue the conversation they were having before the space out, keep things as normal as possible, it took away some of Sam's embarrassment, some of his fear, and Dean was all about keeping his little brother all in one piece.
"You ought to read in the yard while I work in the office today. Bobby and I rigged up a little place to keep you cool while we work."
"Dean, I really ought to help out around here."
"You do research for Bobby, and give him time to actually work in the yard, get his business back together. The apocalypse may not have destroyed the world, but it did do a number to Singer Salvage. Trust me, you are helping." Dean said as he downed the glass of water while never taking his eyes off of his little brother.
Sam ran a hand through his hair and looked down at the books in front of him. "No. No. I'm going to stay in here. I need to keep an eye on the phones for him. And you're right. There is lots of research to do. Holbrook needs info on this thing, he needs to give me more than simply..." Sam tapped his Ipad a couple of times and pulled up the notes he had taken when he spoke to Holbrook, "more than claws, big, and gnarly." Sam shook his head a little, partly to clear the remaining cobwebs that were a result from his space out, and partly because he was confused. "I wonder if he means gnarly in the vernacular or in the literal." Dean chuckled.
"I don't know dude. That's something you have to figure out."
"I guess I'm going to have to call him back and get more information."
"Enjoy that…Holbrook isn't exactly fun to talk to."
"Oh. You don't talk to Holbrook, he holds you hostage on the phone for an hour."
"True." Dean grabbed Sam's shoulder in an affectionate gesture. "You sure you are okay enough for me to leave you?"
"You'll be right outside." Sam said reassuring his brother and himself. Sam didn't want his brother out of his sight any more than Dean wanted Sam to be out of his sight. But he had to do this, he had to learn to live autonomously again. Before he fell into the pit he and Dean were learning how to be adults, together, and independent, and since he put everything back together again, he had been dependent on Dean, and Dean didn't deserve that and Sam didn't deserve that either. Both knew that Sam had to learn to function in his new reality, but while Dean simply didn't like watching his brother struggle, Sam most certainly didn't like being the one who struggled.
Sam nodded. "Positive. If I need you, you'll have your cell on you."
"Right." Dean sighed and clapped his brother on the shoulder. "I'll be in to check on you in a little bit."
"Okay." Sam took a deep fortifying breath, picked up Bobby's cordless phone and dialed. At least if he spaced out on Holbrook, odds were good the talkative hunter would never know.
"Marcus, Anderson Autos called, they need a carburetor from the 1990 Toyota Corolla. He needs it by 3."
"Okay Boss." The young man said and started for the far end of the lot. Bobby looked down at the checklist he had on the clipboard. So many things to do to get the business back on its feet, and truth be told he was glad Sam and Dean were hanging out here for a while, the extra help the boys gave him, for nothing more than room and board was much needed and welcome.
"How's it going Bobby?" Dean asked as he walked up behind the elder hunter.
"Things would be on track if my slow as hell employees would get their asses in gear." Dean smiled.
"Where do you want me?"
"I got a muscle car in the garage that needs fixed, and keep an eye on the phones while you are in there."
"Okay." Dean turned to head back to the garage when Bobby stopped him.
"Spaced out when I got back from the library."
"Just a few minutes this time."
"That's better than yesterday."
"Is he going to sit with you while you work?"
"No. He decided to stay in the house and do research for Holbrook."
"Oh God. I wish that kid would lose my number."
Dean chuckled. "I think Sam feels that way right about now too. He had to call him back and get a definition of gnarly."
Bobby sighed. "Knowing Holbrook he probably think it means something like 'tall'." Dean smiled.
"I'll be in the garage."
Dean was almost to the garage when a car drove up to the entrance of the salvage yard. Bobby didn't recognize the Ford Taurus that came to a halt in front of Bobby. The door to the blue car opened and a tall man emerged. He looked to be around 75, surprisingly tall and straight; most men his age were hunched over even if only a little bit. He slowly made his way to Bobby, and asked, "Robert Singer?"
"Yes. What can I help you with sir?"
"I'm looking for John Winchester." Bobby's eyes narrowed slightly. Every hunter had heard when John died. John, despite his not always stellar parenting skills, was one of the best hunters, and when the demon got him, every hunter quaked just a little in their boots. If John could die, then they were all at risk.
"Who are you?" Bobby asked, deciding to play this through.
"I'm his father. Andrew Winchester. I'm looking for my son." Bobby swallowed.