"Josephina is such a conniving bitch!" Dean proclaimed vehemently, gripping the remote as he sat on the couch four days later at Rufus's cabin; his casted leg stretched out in front of him, propped on a pillow-cushioned chair.
Sam sat beside him, asleep – as he often was these days – and covered with a blanket; leaning against Dean's arm as he had been for the past hour since he had listed sideways on the couch and had landed against Dean's shoulder.
"You're tellin' me," Bobby agreed, shaking his head in disgust as he stood beside the couch with his arms crossed over his chest and stared at the small television across the room. "Do you think the spoilers are true?"
Dean jerked his attention to the older hunter. "What spoilers?" he demanded, glancing back at Sam as his brother shifted against him.
"That Ricardo's gonna find out and kill himself over this," Bobby replied as the end credits began scrolling across the screen.
"He better not!" Dean growled heatedly, glaring at the television. "Dude, if that happens, I'm gonna be so pissed!"
"Well, you better get ready for it..." Bobby advised, crossing to the door. "The rumors are all over the Internet. The fandom says..."
"Screw the fandom!" Dean spat, clicking off the television and resisting the urge to throw the remote in his frustration. "What the hell do they know?" he ranted, glancing again at Sam as his brother shifted once more; a possible sign the kid was waking up, which would be good since Dean's arm had gone numb half an hour ago from the way Sam was leaning on his shoulder.
Bobby shrugged, collecting the RV's keys from the table beside the door. "Just sayin'."
Dean shook his head, scowling at the blank television screen. "I can't believe I let you get me hooked on this crap."
Bobby glanced over his shoulder and chuckled. "If it's crap, stop watching."
"I can't!" Dean confessed, looking at Bobby as though the older hunter had lost his mind. "Not now. Not when Ricardo might kill himself all because of that bitch!"
Bobby chuckled again. Who would have ever believed Dean Winchester would become so emotionally involved in a telenovela?
"Alright, fangirl. Calm down," Bobby soothed, his hand on the doorknob as he prepared to leave. "It's just a TV show."
"Yeah, I know. But, dude..." Dean sighed and shook his head, refocusing his attention on Bobby and on the situation at hand. "So...guess we'll see you in a week?"
Bobby shrugged. "Maybe more, maybe less. Just depends on how long it takes me to return this RV, pick up the Impala, and get back here without being followed."
Dean nodded and then quirked a smile when Sam sighed noisily beside him; thankful Sam was simply dreaming and not something worse.
Bobby opened the door but did not walk through, hesitating. "You sure you're okay to take care of him by yourself?"
Dean made a dismissive sound; half offended, half amused. "I've been taking care of him by myself since..."
Dean's voice trailed off, knowing their mom had been Sam's primary caretaker for the first six months of his brother's life but unable to truly remember that; to remember a time when he had not been solely responsible for Sam.
Dean shook his head. "Since forever," he finished, feeling a strange mix of nostalgia and pride; knowing if Sam was awake, he would insist – wrongly – that he no longer needed taking care of.
Bobby sighed. "Yeah, I know."
"So, go. We'll be fine."
Bobby nodded. "I've stocked everything you might need while I'm gone. And, if Sam gets sick again, there's – "
"He won't get sick again," Dean assured, glancing at his brother. "Whatever virus he had is long gone."
And Dean fervently hoped that was true.
Sam had not thrown up since that final day in the RV – that day they had finally arrived at the cabin – and although he was still not eating or drinking enough to suit Dean, Dean knew from experience that was just part of Sam's recovery and not a sign that his brother still felt sick.
Bobby nodded. "Yeah, I guess you're right. Just make sure he gets more fluids and rest. And that he finishes his antibiotic. And also keep a check on his hand, just to make sure it's still healing well. And if he seizes while I'm gone, just – "
"Bobby!" Dean called, loud enough to interrupt the older hunter's worry-filled rambling without waking Sam.
Bobby blinked. "What?"
"You act like I don't know the kid," Dean accused, shaking his head; unsure of how to react to Bobby in all-out mother-hen mode.
"Well, of course you do," Bobby scoffed. "But you've been out of it for the past few days, so I was just reminding you."
"First of all, I was only 'out of it' for one day," Dean corrected. "And that was only because you made me take those heavy-duty painkillers."
Bobby shrugged. "Helped, didn't they?"
Dean glared. "Not the point. You know I hate morphine."
Bobby chuckled. "Yeah, but it's sure entertaining for the rest of us. Besides, that's what you needed after the trip out here, so I ain't sorry."
"Anyway..." Dean continued, maintaining his glare. "I've been back in the game for three days, so I think I'm up-to-date on everything Sam-related."
"Fine," Bobby allowed and then paused. "And if he has a grand mal?"
Dean resisted the urge to flinch at that word. He was terrified of ever having to watch Sam endure a grand mal again and unnerved more than he would admit about the amount of times Sam zoned out when he was awake these days – even if pressing the hand wound had proven effective more than once in ending the seizure activity and bringing Sam back to reality.
Dean glanced at Sam still asleep on his shoulder and shook his head. "He hasn't had a grand mal since the ambulance ride to Sioux Falls General."
"But if he does?" Bobby pressed, not wanting to upset Dean but needing to know that Dean had at least thought about it, because Bobby certainly had.
Dean clenched his jaw, feeling somewhat attacked; as though Bobby doubted his ability to take care of Sam. "I'll handle it, Bobby."
Bobby arched an eyebrow. "By yourself with your leg in a cast and only a make-do crutch to help?"
Dean nodded, having already thought about that scenario, and glanced at the tree branch propped in the corner; remembering how Bobby had stripped its leaves and smaller branches to make a workable crutch substitute.
"Before we had you, I had to deal with worse things with less help," Dean commented and then paused, suddenly realizing what was really going on here; softening as he remembered that Bobby had been through a lot and had lost a lot over the past couple of weeks, too.
And like their dad, Bobby was being tough on him now because he wanted to make sure Dean was prepared to take care of himself and his brother.
Bobby continued to linger uncertainly in the doorway.
"We'll be fine, Bobby," Dean assured, strangely warmed and strengthened by the reminder that the older hunter loved them and was just worried about them; that Bobby did not want to lose them along with everything else that had already been lost...just like their dad.
"And if something happens?" Bobby challenged, watching as Sam suddenly pushed the blanket away in his sleep.
"If something happens while you're gone, I'll deal with it," Dean answered confidently, snagging the edge of the blanket before it slid to the floor and draping it back across his brother. "You know I would ask you to stay if I didn't think I could handle this. I wouldn't put Sam at risk like that."
Bobby nodded, appreciating Dean's honesty and knowing he was being ridiculous about this.
Because Dean would undoubtedly take care of Sam in his absence; and in his own way and as much as he was able, Sam would take care of Dean.
But even still, they were his boys, and leaving them alone and unguarded for the better part of a week when they were both less than 100% bothered Bobby more than he expected.
Dean shifted on the couch, watching Bobby's internal struggle while tolerantly allowing Sam to wallow on his shoulder as his brother resituated himself in his sleep.
A few minutes later, Bobby sighed harshly, his decision made. "Well, daylight's burnin'," he commented, stepping out onto the porch before he could change his mind. "You watch yourself, Dean," he ordered, pointing directly at the oldest Winchester.
Dean nodded, Bobby's tone and gesture reminding him even more of their dad. "You, too," he returned.
"I will," Bobby assured, his attention flickering to Sam. "And you watch your brother."
Dean quirked a smile at another classic John Winchester line and glanced at Sam as the kid continued to lean against his arm. "Watch him do what? Sleep?"
Bobby chuckled. "For your sake, I hope that's all he does while I'm gone."
Dean nodded his agreement, knowing Sam needed to rest in order to fully recover and preferring an embarrassingly clingy, sleeping brother to no brother at all.
Dean swallowed, not allowing himself to think about what might have happened, how things might have turned out differently; thankful for what he still believed was Cas's healing touch; the angel's signature two fingers to the forehead...and done; instantly healed.
Like it was never even there.
Dean smiled, freshly warmed by gratitude and fondness for his old friend; their guardian angel.
"Well..." Bobby sighed, scattering Dean's thoughts. "Call if you need me," he reminded. "Otherwise, I'll be in touch."
Dean nodded again, watching the door shut and listening to Bobby cross the porch and then descend the steps; hearing the RV's driver's side door creak open before its engine coughed to life.
Seconds later, Dean startled when his cell phone rang.
"Miss us already?" he answered, seeing Bobby's name on the caller display and glancing at Sam as his brother slept on.
"No, ya idjit," Bobby responded gruffly. "I forgot to tell ya to take notes about what happens between Josephina and Ricardo. I'm gonna want to know when I get back."
Dean chuckled. "Who's the fangirl now?"
"Shut up," Bobby retorted, ending the call.
Dean laughed, closing the phone and feeling lighter than he had in a long time.
And while he knew things were still complicated – knew they would still face challenges and setbacks and heartache along the way – Dean felt a sense of peace because he knew they would face it all together; him and Sam against the world, with Bobby at their side and Cas overhead...or at least "out there" somewhere.
Dean smiled, shifting from where he sat on the couch; easing his arm out from under Sam and rolling his eyes when his little brother simply snuggled closer to his side.
"Ah, Sammy," Dean sighed, affection in his tone. "The things I do for you, huh?"
Sam's only response was a sleepy, contented sigh.
Dean shook his head fondly and grabbed the remote before draping his arm protectively over his brother; surprisingly content himself in his boring routine of watching daytime television while Sam slept beside him; knowing in a few weeks, all would be back to normal – complete with stressful hunts and non-clingy little brothers.
Dean snorted, knowing Sam would be horrified to learn how cuddly he had been over the past week; a combination of medication, exhaustion, and confusion never failing to cause Sam's snuggly tendencies to resurface, just like when he was a kid.
And while it was Dean's duty as a big brother to make sure Sam not only knew about the temporary reemergence of those tendencies but to also tease his brother mercilessly about them once Sam was fully recovered – for now...this arrangement was just fine with Dean.
Not that he would ever admit that.
Dean smiled to himself, clicking on the television with the remote before glancing at his brother and smoothing the blanket over Sam's shoulder as the kid continued to sleep soundly against him.
"Alright, Sammy..." he said conversationally, as though his brother was awake to hear him. "What d'ya say we watch a little Days Of Our Lives..."