3.

Sometimes you didn't have to look to know that someone interesting had walked into the bar. You just heard the noise levels die as people stopped talking, cussing and yelling and, instead, fixed their attention on the new-comer.

It depended on whether the intruder was an official of any kind, a hot new bitch or simply Jack Nobody as to how quickly the usual level of noise resumed. Not that Bobby cared. He never bothered to look up to see who had just walked in. Whoever it was, they were never as interesting to Bobby as the contents of and the amount left in his glass.

These days he rarely even noticed when the quiet descended. He had become too turned in on himself, too isolated and too desolate to care.

XXX

On this particular evening Bobby, as usual, ignored the lull as it occurred. He was busily engaged in trying to figure whether he'd left it too late to reach the toilets before he pissed himself again. He decided he'd try his luck at getting to the toilet and see what happened. Bobby scraped his chair back and began to rise unsteadily to his feet.

He startled and wobbled dangerously when a strong hand reached out to steady him.

"Whoa there man! Looks like you've still got your sea legs on."

Puzzled, Bobby raised his head, blinking his eyes in an attempt to regain some semblance of focus as he tried to see who the hand belonged to.

"Hey bro. Manager at the bar you an' Karen used to hang out said I'd likely find you here. Jeeze man. Have you seen yourself lately? You look like shit! Come to that, you smell pretty much like shit too!"

Bobby's knees gave way and he slumped back down onto his chair, staring up into the worried face of the one man he'd hoped he would never see again,

"Rufus fuckin' Turner….Whathe fuck d'yu wan? Wha' ever 'tis….go fuck yersen. An' when yerv done? Go fuck yersen some more."

Bobby's head lolled forward, his chin hitting his chest.

Ignoring the instructions thrown at him, Rufus sat himself down opposite Bobby and stared with concern at the living corpse of the man he'd stopped by to see.

"Got a job near here, thought I'd call in. Y'know? See how my buddy Bobby Singer's doin'…Don't suppose you've seen him anywhere round here have you?"

"M'goin' fer a piss. Don' stay on my accoun'…fucking freak bastard."

XXX

Bobby stood. Swaying, he looked down at himself and the floor. He guessed he must've left it too late as he watched the new addition to the staining on his trousers dampen one trouser leg before pooling and spreading between his feet,

"Oops!"

Bobby looked vaguely around, his eyes crossing as he tried to get a fix on Rufus' position; then his eyes rolled upward and he began to topple backwards.

His foot skidding on the edge of the spreading puddle of urine, Rufus couldn't catch Bobby in time. Bobby crashed to the floor and lay still. A further pool of dark red liquid immediately began seeping out from under Bobby's head, heralding an injury caused when the back of his head met the wooden floor. Bobby lay motionless and unconscious.

"Shit!"

Two old guys who were sat together at the table nearest to Bobby began laughing. One pointed at Bobby's still form and looked over in the direction of the bar, shouting delightedly so everyone could hear,

"Look! Dick 'ed's jus' pissed 'imsel."

XXX

It took some rapid talking and no small amount of money from Rufus to stop the owner finishing off what was left of Bobby with a baseball bat.

Bobby himself remained blissfully unaware of his near death experience as well as Rufus' cursing as he manhandled Bobby into the back of his truck.

Unwilling to search Bobby's pockets for keys, Rufus simply shot the padlock off the gates to the salvage yard and picked the lock on Bobby's front door. Inside, the house was freezing and had a faint smell of food stuffs that hadn't been fresh for a good while. Bobby clearly hadn't been home for some time.

Turning on the lights resulted in suspicious scurrying noises coming from the kitchen. Ignoring the dust and debris, Rufus kicked a pile of empty spirit bottles to one side before dragging the unconscious Bobby from the truck through into the living room and laying him down on the sofa; covering him with the blue chenille throw that was draped over the back of the sofa. He then turned his attention to finding what he needed in order to clean out the fireplace and get a warming fire going.

Grunting he pushed the sofa accommodating Bobby's inert body closer to the warmth. That done, he then returned to the truck, collecting the Bergen that contained his clothing and other personal kit. Fishing behind the driver's seat, Rufus extracted his sizable first aid box and a couple more blankets. Rufus figured he was going to be staying a while at Bobby's place if he was to get the man back on his feet and functioning again.

A further trip to the truck saw Rufus selecting a number of weapons as well as holy water and salt from the hidden storage compartment in the back. Satisfied he had what he needed at least for the night, Rufus locked the truck up and went back indoors to begin the uphill task of caring for Bobby.

XXX

Despite the late hour Rufus pushed his own feelings of tiredness to one side and began checking out the rest of Bobby's house, making certain they were alone whilst at the same time familiarising himself with the layout. When he found Bobby's bedroom and the bathroom he collected towels and clean clothing for Bobby.

Rufus stopped a while, looking and remembering as he recognised the short hallway where he had found Bobby, sat cringing up against the wall whilst a blood soaked Karen moved in on him.

The dark staining caused by Karen's blood still highlighted where she fell. It was clear that no attempts had been made to clean the staining. Rufus sighed as he moved on, making a mental note to himself to have a go at cleaning the bloodstains as soon as he had the chance.

As Rufus had suspected, the kitchen was a mess. Rufus' heart sank at the thought of the tasks he had to look forward to. For now he ignored the state of things as best he could and concentrated on fixing himself a hot drink and thanking the heavens when he found the hot water still worked, filling a bowl with it.

XXX

Bobby didn't stir as Rufus stripped him of his clothes and washed him down as best he could before dressing Bobby in a pair of clean pyjamas. Neither did Bobby react whilst Rufus tended to the gash on the back of his head. Never flinching as Rufus skilfully stitched the wound.

Rufus pulled an overstuffed armchair over to the fire and settled himself down to sleep, knowing he would need all his energies to cope with what he was about to put Bobby through over the next few weeks.

XXX

Bobby's initial detox was harsh and he fought Rufus every step of the way. When the tremors stopped him from attempting to physically fight against Rufus' ministrations, Bobby would resort to verbal attacks.

The hallucinations Bobby experienced tore into his very soul as time and time again he was confronted by the image of Karen, chest covered in stab wounds and with impossible amounts of blood pouring from them, walking towards him.

Bobby repeatedly saw her reaching out to him, her eyes filled with pain as she silently mouthed "why?" Bobby would alternate between screaming for Rufus to make her go away or breaking down in tears and begging her forgiveness.

XXX

As soon as Bobby was able to walk albeit unsteadily, he frequently emptied cupboards and tore open drawers to scatter their contents in his desperate search for the alcohol his delusional state told him Rufus had got hidden somewhere. For his own safety and for Bobby's Rufus had to hide anything sharp in the house such as knives, scissors etc.

There were times that Bobby would try to bolt out of the house. His attempts to escape often ended up with he and Rufus grappling and wrestling with each other as Rufus tried to restrain him.

Bobby even tried going on hunger strike, refusing to eat unless Rufus gave him alcohol. Rufus simply ignored this tactic, making certain that there was food lying around for Bobby to "find" and pretending he didn't know that Bobby was eating when he thought Rufus wasn't looking.

Both of them suffered from disturbed nights, mostly because of Bobby's nightmares and hallucinations. But also due to Bobby's sleep being so restless, or because one minute he was feeling too hot, then the next he complained of being freezing cold.

Surrounding all this were the physical pains felt by Bobby in the early stages of his detox, along with the nausea and vomiting he initially suffered when Rufus slowly introduced solid food back into his diet.

The depression Bobby felt when his cravings weren't met often left him breaking down and sobbing hopelessly. At other times he would simply sit, almost catatonic, not communicating in any way and with his eyes fixed on nothing.

Through it all Rufus somehow stuck with him, despite his own lack of sleep, despite his constant watchfulness, despite not being able to take a break away from it all.

Rufus prepared the meals, spoon feeding Bobby when he was in his periods of catatonia. He cleaned up the vomit. He put things back into cupboards and drawers. He laundered bedding. He helped Bobby to wash. He guided him to the toilet. He took the words of hatred that Bobby frequently threw at him. He held Bobby close whilst Bobby's heart broke.

And, he was there when the man that was Bobby Singer at last began to slowly re-emerge.

XXX

At first, along with the man came the all consuming guilt. The terrible haunting knowledge that he played a part in killing his own wife.

Bobby tried to put the whole blame onto Rufus and to make Karen's death completely Rufus' responsibility. But Bobby couldn't keep that one going. Rufus had tried to warn him. Had given Bobby a possible way to protect himself and Karen. Rufus couldn't have known that the evil was already there. So, it was with the help of Rufus that Bobby was able at last, to begin to grieve properly.

When Bobby felt ready and able to ask, Rufus told him about Demons. Then Rufus continued. He spoke to Bobby about other supernatural beings, spirits, shape shifters, ghouls, Wendigo and more.

He told Bobby about the reality of all those things which Bobby had previously consigned to the world of myth and fantasy. More importantly, as far as Bobby was concerned, Rufus spoke about his own life and about his job. About being a Hunter.

Rufus answered Bobby's innumerable questions as honestly and as best he could. At night, laying in his bed, Bobby would re-play in his mind the things that Rufus had told him.

One day, partly to give himself a break from Bobby's continual probing, Rufus gave him an ancient book of the occult. Bobby read every word, soaking up the information and knowledge contained within it. Turns out, Bobby was a quick study.

XXX

Then came that morning. Bobby, as was often the case now, was up before Rufus. By the time Rufus had showered and wandered into the kitchen, breakfast was ready.

Bobby passed a plate of food to Rufus before sitting himself down opposite his friend with his own meal. Rufus wasted no time and began to tuck in.

After a few forkfuls he realised that Bobby was not yet eating. Bobby simply sat, elbows on the table and his breakfast untouched as he watched Rufus carefully.

Rufus put his cutlery down,

"You not hungry?"

Bobby didn't respond, his gaze remained on Rufus, his expression serious.

"Bobby? What's wrong?"

"Nothin'…..just..…"

Taking a deep breath, Bobby began again, keeping his intense gaze on Rufus' face.

"I want you to do somethin' for me."

Rufus leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms,

"Ok…What is it?"

Bobby reached for his mug of coffee, raising it as though in salute to Rufus before taking a gulp and putting the mug back on the table.

"I want you to train me."

FIN

A.N. Thank you for reading. Reviews or constructive criticism are always helpful

when it comes to deciding whether or not to have a go at any more stories.