AUTHOR: Obi the Kid
SUMMARY: Takes place at some point after the Season 6 finale. Bobby POV as he observes Sam and Dean working on the Impala.
DISCLAIMER: The characters of Sam and Dean Winchester and the world of Supernatural do not belong to me, nor do I make any profit from this story.
Any typos or grammatical errors are my own. Please forgive them.
They were at it again. Bickerin' about the damn car.
"Come on, Sam, I taught you all this stuff years ago. Ya gotta keep her tuned up or she'll die on ya, man."
"Not in the mood, Dean. She can tune herself for all I care right now."
"A little respect for my car, dude. She's been through a lot, getting all flipped and tossed around like that. My baby's not used to that kind of abuse."
"Well then, she's lucky she has you, right?"
"Damn straight. Hand me the 3/16th."
Sam stood briefly as he reached into the tool bag, found the wrench and smacked it into his brother's hand.
"Ow! Damn it!"
Yeah, now in any other year, that deliberate action woulda put them on the edge of a good old-fashioned Winchester yellin' match. But this wasn't any other year and neither wanted to press emotions too far as to lead Sam into another Hell seizure. He was doing just fine at leading himself into those. So this time around, despite the stinging pain in his hand, Dean sucked in his temporary anger at the discomfort and softened his gaze when he saw Sam's tired face.
"You okay, Sammy?"
Sam sat sideways inside the Impala's driver's side door. "I'll live."
"You will," Dean replied as he stuck his head back under the hood of the car. "You also don't lie very well. I was up with you last night, in case you forgot."
"Yeah. I'm fine, Dean."
Older came to stand in front of the younger, resting an oil-stained hand on the tip of the car door. "Let's not go there, Sam - the whole I'm fine routine. I know you want to deal with this on your own as much as you can, but at least level with me. If you do then I promise not to mother-hen you to death, okay?"
Sam smiled, squinting up at his brother. He nodded. "Yeah, I know. Just a long night, that's all. I'm beginning to really feel the lack of sleep."
"Ya think?" With his clean hand, Dean gave Sam a supportive pat on the knee. "We'll get through this Sammy."
The nickname still stuck.
I remember a four or five year old Dean carrying his baby brother around. It was Sammy-this and Sammy-that. I didn't spend a lot of time with the boys when they were kids, but when I did see them, little Sammy was the pride of his big brother's eye.
Twenty some years later, little Sammy is the size of a moose, but to his big brother, he's still Sammy.
I tell ya though, anyone else try to call him that and he's liable to break your nose.
To be honest, I can't really say for sure why he actually accepts it from Dean. My best guess is that it offers some type of comfort when the crap hits the fan. And trust me these two have had a lot of crap hittin' a lot of fans in their lives.
My other guess is that maybe it reminds him of when they were kids – back when things weren't all that simple, but were a loads less messy than they are now. Something as uncomplicated as a nickname can mean a hell of a lot when your current lives are so twisted and crazy.
Whatever the reason, Sam allows it to stick, at least when it's his brother using the name.
Now, as to why Dean uses it in the first place? That's pretty straightforward. He's been Sam's protector since the big lumbering Sasquatch was a baby. Big brothers always seem to have nicknames for their little brothers. It's some type of unwritten rule. For Dean today though, it allows him to hold tight to that feeling of family that he's always so desperately needed. Well, desperate ain't the exact word for it, but at the moment I can't think of any stronger word to use. If there is one, it applies. Sammy keeps him grounded. Keeps 'em both grounded. And it's a name that Dean uses more often when one of them is vulnerable, almost as if clinging to it will make it easier to muddle through.
Maybe it does make easier, who knows with these boys. I've never seen two people more reliant on another human being in my life. And yet at the same time, they've taken their relationship to the matt before – taken it down with betrayal and distrust and damaging words of hate -damage that quite honestly went beyond revamp.
And one thing's for damn sure - there ain't no Sammy when they're at it tooth-and-nail.
They rebuild though. They trust again. And Sam becomes Sammy again.
It's unhealthy, I know, to be so co-dependently connected to another person. With these two though, it's all they got. Well now, sure they got me and they both know I'd go to the ends of the earth for either of them and they for me, but…between them, it's different. It's what they are, buried in what they do. They were born to hunt just as they were born to be locked together in this off-kilter connection they have with each other. And there ain't no way in hell, that connection will ever be broken.
They've tried, unintentionally, to break it, but it's like some giant rubber band that gets stretched to the furthest of all breaching points and then right when it's about to break, the damn thing just coils back into itself.
I can pretty much guarantee that barring the permanent death of the both of them, there ain't nothing gonna snap these two apart completely. There's always gonna be some lingerin' tendril that brings 'em back together. And silly as it may seem, that darn nickname plays a part. Dean ain't right without Sammy to look after and I know for damn sure that Sam can't go claiming to be Sammy when he and Dean are at odds.
Could be that's the real reason why Dean still uses it and why Sam allows it. Without it, they just fall apart.
I finished my work on the old rusty Ford I was fiddling with and turned back to the old black Chevy twenty feet away. Sam had gotten out of the car and was sitting on the cooler a few feet from where Dean had his head stuck under the hood. Dean's muffled voice was still ramblin' on about the state of his beloved Impala and asking for a specific ratchet driver. Sam held up four various tools like one would a deck of cards. He looked at 'em real careful like and then said, "Go fish."
Dean's head came up, naturally whacking into the underbelly of the hood and he stared down at his brother.
"Really, Sam? Go fish?"
"Sorry, Dean. I don't have any quarter inch ratchet drivers. Not that I really know what the thing would look like anyway, but I'm guessing that I'm right. Do any of these look like something you can use?"
"You know what a ratchet driver is, Sam. How could you not? I drilled it into your head before I went to Hell."
"Time passes. Memories fade."
"And apparently brain cells fry."
"You asked for help. This is all I can give you."
Dean shook his head and thrust his hand out. "Gimme a damn beer."
I do think the cooler breathed a sigh of relief when Sam lifted his large frame up for a second to reach inside for a bottle. Its breather lasted briefly.
I kept watchin', without making it obvious that I was watchin' as Dean leaned against the car and nodded to his brother.
"You eat today?"
"Oatmeal this morning."
"And that was about ten hours ago."
"Yeah, well, I wasn't hungry. And don't start, Dean."
I felt it coming. Dean had to get through to him and the only way to do it – yup, he pulled out the Sammy card.
"Sammy, you need to eat, no matter how screwed up things seem right now. Physically you need to take care of yourself."
Sam broke the eye contact and looked at the bottle in his hand. His voice was so quiet I could barely make it out as he said simply, "Yeah, I know."
"Good. We'll start by going out to eat tonight. I can't take another one of Bobby's culinary creations anyway."
I heard that. "Hey, I heard that, ya ungrateful idjit! You know, you ain't payin' rent, you can move out at any time."
"Ah, you know we love ya, Bobby, despite the cookin'. You wanna come with? We'll hit that barbeque place you're always raving about."
I licked my lips. "Well, yeah! I ain't missing good barbeque. Close up the hood before you finish up there, they're talkin' rain tonight."
Dean tossed a smirk my way and then eyed Sam – Sammy – again.
"Dean, what if…"
"Ain't gonna happen, Sammy. I won't let it. This is gonna be a quiet night out, me, you and Bobby. No invites for Lucifer or Hell or any other whacked-out memory floating around in that Cro-magnon skull of yours. Got it?"
No guessin' who was gonna lose this fight. Big brothers seem to have a bullyin' way about 'em, especially this one. And this early into his post-Hell-wall recovery, Sam wasn't all that sure about being left alone for too long, and Dean sure wasn't gonna leave him alone.
So, dinner was planned and I didn't have to cook. Though I was more grateful that they didn't have to cook. Talk about my crap cookin', they should consider their own once in a while.
"You boys wanna get cleaned up and we'll head out soon then? Place fills up by six."
"Yeah, Bobby, we're going." Dean smacked Sam on the knee, "Come on, man," and I paused before heading inside.
Sam stood. "Fills up? What…Dean, you know I can't control this stuff and call me crazy, but I'm not really much for putting on a public display of Hell seizures in front of a restaurant full of people. This may not be a good idea."
Here it comes again. Sammy. Dean took Sam's beer bottle and tossed them both in the nearby empty oil-barrel that doubled as a trash can, then he put a hand on his little brother's shoulder.
"I'll look after you, Sammy. I promise." Meaning, Dean couldn't prevent Hell from happening, but he wouldn't let Sam fall to pieces in front of an audience either.
That seemed to be enough. I saw Sam's shoulders release their tension – or at least some of it – as he nodded and followed Dean toward the house.
I followed them in thinkin' that this last hour just about summed up what these boys were all about. They may be the two best hunters on the planet, willin' to take on demons, angels and devils alike, but at the bones of it all, they were as human as anyone.
Heh, maybe more so than most.
Dinner would be good. Sam would do fine. Dean would be sure of it. After all, he'd just made a promise to his little brother that held more weight than any other promise on the planet.
A promise to keep Sammy safe.