Summary: 1-shot. Sam struggles to cope with the immediate results of losing someone else close to him and Dean finds it necessary to drop his own emotional shields to help his brother handle the process of saying goodbye. * Sad/grieving/emotional!Sam & Big brother/emotional!Dean * Spoilers for 07x10 Death's Door.
Tags: This is tagged for 07x10, Death's Door but carries on past the end of the episode with what might happen.
Warnings/Spoilers: Has spoilers for the episode so if you haven't seen it, then be cautious. Contains minor bad language and I'll put a definite tissue alert to this one.
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or the boys or Bobby. Just use them for a distraction. No harm done and hopefully some enjoyment.
Author Note: Okay, this is the 2nd of three tags I have planned. I don't know what Sera and the writers have planned and while I hope it doesn't go this way…maybe I'll have it all cried out before January. I hope those who read it enjoy it.
SPN SPN SPN SPN
One simple little word that he'd heard a thousand times over in his life. One word that had always meant good natured kidding. One word that had been a way to say so much. One goddamn word that they'd taken for granted that they'd always hear.
One single word that turned out to be the last word he and his brother would hear from the man who had been like a surrogate father to them.
Ignoring the running water from the shower and sink faucets that he'd turned on after locking himself in the bathroom upon returning to the motel that was close to the hospital.
Dean had come back with him but he'd heard him leave shortly after that. He'd assumed to either go back to the hospital to handle the…final…details or, more than likely, find a bar and drown his sorrows in his own way.
For Sam, drinking the pain away wouldn't work. Liquor had never worked for him. He'd tried it after Dean went to Hell but it only succeeded in making him feel worse.
A part of Sam longed for the blissful time of not having any emotions when he'd been soulless because then none of this would affect him. He could've stood idly by in that hallway of the hospital and listened when after thirty minutes of fighting to revive Bobby Singer the Doctor on call had finally given the dreaded order to stop and called…time of death.
Sam really couldn't say much of what happened then since all he could recall was feeling his legs buckling, hearing a roaring in his head and feeling Dean's hand grabbing for him. Then it was nothing but a blur until he got inside their motel room and locked himself in the bathroom.
He wasn't sure how long he'd been in here since if he were honest with himself time had stopped being important from the moment he and Dean realized Bobby had been shot in the head while escaping the Leviathan lab in New Jersey.
A simple job in the woods turned sour in the time it took the damn monsters to take Bobby prisoner, he and Dean to get into the building and to escape. All routine. It should have went down like clockwork in Sam's rational mind.
He still replayed it in his head. He and Dean were handling the Leviathans until the big boss, Dick something or another, came into the picture and wasn't as weak to the chemicals they used. Bobby distracted him and they all should have gotten away clean but somehow Bobby had been slowed down or something happened and he got out of the building later which allowed Dick to follow.
Sam had thought they'd gotten away clean. He'd shut the van door and they were clear…until he handed Bobby back his hat to see the bullet hole and blood. Then time stopped for him and in the hospital while he and Dean waited, he'd tried to be the reasonable one. The rational headed, clear thinker who knew they needed to accept the possibility that this would be the time that Bobby didn't pull through because he knew there was no way in Hell that Dean would be that guy.
He'd tried that. He'd convinced himself that he was ready to face it and he had…until Bobby's condition improved enough that the doctors were prepping for surgery to remove the bullet. Then Sam had began to believe that his brother was right. Bobby would be fine and that's what it appeared. Right up until that fateful moment when the older man seemed to wake up, wrote some numbers on Sam's hand, looked at them so plainly and so deeply that it hurt now to remember it and called them… 'idjits'. Then it was over because Bobby slipped back under and flatlined.
From that moment until now, Sam was numb. Of all the people in their lives that they'd lost, Bobby was one person that Sam had believed would always be constant. He was the one person that he and Dean had both come to believe was invincible and would always be there for them…with them.
"Goddamn…son of a bitch…stupid…" gritting his teeth against the rage that was buried so deep inside, Sam struggled against the urge until finally he lifted his head to stare at his reflection in the steamy mirror and only saw Bobby the last time he and Dean had seen him, before they were pushed out of the room.
Even when he'd been stuck in that wheelchair, Bobby had been strong and alive. The last time Sam saw the man who had been so much like a second father to them he seemed so frail and…helpless in that bed and… "Damn it!"
Glass smashed as his fist collided with the mirror and Sam only became aware of the damage he was doing to his own hand, not to mention the wall, when he happened to see the bloody glass as well as blood spots littering the white sink. "God, Bobby…" he groaned, unaware of the burning tears streaming down his face as he fought not to let the bitter loss overwhelm him.
Sam had faced loss before. Hell, he'd lost his Mom when he'd been six months old but he hadn't known her so maybe that was why that death didn't affect him as much as it had his brother and Father. He'd lost Jessica and had ached. That grief was mingled with guilt, the grief he'd felt at losing his Dad had been numbed by knowing Dean was still alive and while Sam had loved his Father because that was who he was, he knew his and John's relationship had never been as strong as what he had with…
"Bobby," Sam slid down the bathroom wall, ignoring the heat of the steam the hot water had caused to build up as he reached blindly for what he'd been holding all day and night. The battered trucker cap that the grizzled hunter had been wearing and a wrinkled photo he'd found in the pocket of Bobby's jacket.
Recalling the time this had been taken, Sam smiled shakily through the tears blurring his vision. He and Dean had both whined and griped until Bobby had told them to shut up and stand still. It had been the day he and Dean were fighting over movies and junk food. A rare good day for them these days.
Memories began filter in as Sam recalled his first memories of Bobby, of how he'd laughed when Dean had taught him to catch a ball, how he'd let them run around the junkyard and just be kids when their Dad wanted them to be training.
He recalled Bobby being there for them when John wasn't. How he'd done more for them, had tried to protect them even in these last few years when dealing with their hassles hadn't been easy. Now, it had been their latest enemy of the year that had finally taken one of the last things he and Dean had and Sam wasn't sure how to handle that.
He'd listened to Dean giving details to the staff, hearing people ask what were their 'Uncle's' final wishes were and that was when he finally felt his empty stomach begin to twist. Touching the hat, he looked at the blood stains and thought of that night, of how dead Bobby had seemed in the van while he struggled to keep him living as Dean rushed to the nearest ER.
Feeling his vision swim with more than tears this time, Sam managed to get to the toilet before losing what little was on his stomach as his recent memories of seeing Bobby looking so lifeless, knowing that he wouldn't be at the other end of a phone anymore, or around for advice, or to break up one of his and Dean's fights or…to call them idjits anymore finally brought the buried emotions out.
All of Sam's rage, his grief, the loss and fears he'd been burying for months suddenly just all came out with this last loss and he lost it, clinging to the toilet for support as his stomach heaved, his eyes burned with the tears he couldn't control any longer and his hand bled from where he'd smashed it into the mirror, he was oblivious to anything else around him until his bleary mind began to realize there was a gentle hand gripping the back of his neck and he recognized the voice that seemed to have been quietly speaking to him for…who had no clue how long.
"…Dean…?" bleary on the time or how long he'd been like this, Sam slowly turned to his head was resting on his arm to see that his brother was sitting beside him on the bathroom floor.
It took a couple more moments for Sam to also see that the faucets had been turned off and the steam had left the bathroom, which meant that Dean must have picked the lock…since he noticed the door was still standing, and been with him for some time.
"When'd you…get back?" he asked, swallowing and wincing at both the taste in his mouth and how scratchy it seem when he felt the bottle of Gatorade being pushed into his hand.
"Been back awhile," Dean admitted casually, glad that this motel at least had a decent size bathroom since it often got crowded when he'd have to do this in a tiny one. "Long enough to let you get most of this out of your system…until you started puking your guts out a little too much. Then I picked the lock," he chose not to tell his barely with it brother that he'd been back at the motel for well over four hours and had let Sam stay alone in the bathroom until he heard the glass break and Sam start to vomit.
Dean also didn't tell him that he'd been sitting with him in the bathroom for over an hour, letting him work through the grief, the tears, the anger and everything that they'd both been avoiding. He figured it best for Sam to work up to that conclusion on his own.
Blinking a few times, Sam took in his brother's way more calm than he'd been expecting manner and then noticed something else. "You're…not drunk?" he found this weird since he'd been expecting that was where Dean had spent the night.
"No…though I didn't plan on getting drunk in the first place," Dean returned, carefully letting his fingers squeeze tight muscles and knew the pains Sam would have tomorrow if he didn't get him up soon. "I took care of a few things, talked to Garth, grabbed dinner, came back here and found you puking up what little you had eaten," he also looked closer at the busted hand to decide that would need the stray pieces of glass picked out of it once he had Sam asleep.
Frowning at the mention of the little skinny hunter they'd met a few weeks back during that whole mess with Becky, Sam felt like throwing up again but became aware of the familiar signs and sigals being made against his neck and back like Dean used to do when he'd been smaller and sick. "You told Garth about…?" the very thought of the finality of telling others made his stomach heave again even though nothing came up.
"Yeah, but I'd already called him to do me a favor and go back to the lab for the security tape," Dean replied slowly, reaching back to wet a cloth to lay on Sam's neck while handing him a wetter one for his face. "I wanted to see what the hell had happened and he found out what went wrong."
"I should've made sure Bobby was out with us?" Sam muttered, already knowing he'd screwed up and his mistake had cost them…everything.
Hearing the self accusation plain in the quiet voice, Dean had already been aware that if Sam blamed anyone for this it would be himself since Sam had been taught from too young an age that if anything ever went wrong on a job then it was probably his fault.
Once again Dean cursed their Father for filling his brother's head with lies and knew that it had been Bobby who had been one of the few men in Sam's life that tried to offer support. Losing that would be hard for both of them for the next little while and while Dean accepted that telling Sam this next bit of news wouldn't help him in the short term, he was hoping it would in the long run.
"Sam, the reason Bobby wasn't right behind us…the reason he was late coming out of that building was because…he stayed in longer to make sure that we were clear," he told him, making sure to keep his hand on Sam when he did because he knew his brother and could guess how he'd react to that news.
Lifting his head again, Sam's watery too large puppy dog eyes stared at Dean as if he hadn't understood him then slowly his words gelled and he wasn't sure if he wanted to be sick again or just die. "He stayed behind, he let that bastard get close to him for…"
"…Us," Dean nodded, giving a gentle squeeze to a tightening shoulder. "Sammy, if know you're hurting but Bobby did it, he risked what he did for us and…Sam!"
Giving a shove, Sam tried to push to his feet only to fall back against the wall. "I'm tired of everyone we love dying, Dean!" he yelled, not noticing the streak of blood his hand left on the wall. "Mom, Pastor Jim, Caleb, Jo, Ellen, Ash, Jess and now Bobby! Who's next? You?" he demanded, swiping blindly at his eyes to clear them and missing the twitch in his brother's jaw. "You going to die for me again, Dean?"
"If I have to," came the quiet reply that caused Sam to look right at his brother as if shocked by his reply then he looked down to see the battered trucker's cap and began to reach for it only to lose his balance, beginning to fall. "Bobby fought to come back that short time because he wanted to see us, Sammy," Dean had made a grab that kept his off balance and sick at heart little brother from striking his head on the tub then he pulled him up to his feet and moved out to the bedroom. "He wanted that one last moment with us and no matter what, I don't think he regretted what he did back there because he did it for us and you know why?"
Not caring if he was still crying and willing to take his brother's jokes and teasing, Sam let himself fall on his bed while still clinging to that hat much like he did his brother's jacket right after Dean had died. "Why?" he asked much like he had as a kid and sick or tired.
Sitting down on the edge of the bed, Dean considered his next words carefully because he knew if he screwed this up then Sam would spiral down a path neither of them were ready for since his brother had been through too much already.
"Because blood doesn't make you family and family doesn't mean you have to share blood," Dean reached over to grip Sam's chin enough to lift it so their eyes met and he forced a shaky smile. "Bobby was as much a Dad to us as our own was…hell, he was more of one to us because Bobby never gave up on us, little brother. He stood by us even when no one else should've and probably, if he'd still been alive, our real Dad would've walked away."
Seeing the pain echoed in Sam's eyes that he was feeling in his heart, Dean closed his eyes briefly before giving up, throwing his long ago made chick flick rule out the freaking window and did something he hadn't done in more years than he liked to think of.
He gave a tug that brought a surprised Sam into a full brotherly hug and held it until he felt Sam's arms reach around to latch on much like he had after waking up again when his soul was put back and when Dean returned from Hell. "I miss him too, Sammy," he whispered, hearing the first sob break and didn't move until he was sure Sam had finally gotten it all out.
"What're we gonna do, De'n?" Sam asked through a tired yawn, rubbing his eyes in a way that his brother hadn't seen in years as he laid back down on his side to face the other bed in the room. "Bobby was…he was… did he know?"
The struggled words took a couple seconds for Dean to comprehend then he felt the first tear slid free but he made no move to wipe it away as he laid a firm hand on Sam's neck like he would when they'd been kids and his brother needed reassurance or security.
Considering the question, Dean slowly nodded while noticing that Sam was falling to sleep finally after days of staying awake and grief. "Yeah, kiddo. Bobby knew we loved him just like I know and you know that he loved us. Hell, he said it in the last thing he spoke to us."
"Idjits," Sam whispered, flipping to his stomach like he always did when upset or sick and remembering the look of pride that spoke more than anything his own Father had ever said to him. "He was ours, Dean."
"Yep, and we were his, Sammy," Dean murmured, keeping his touch light as it rubbed over Sam's trembling shoulders until he finally fell to sleep and it was in this moment of knowing his brother was safe in his sleep that Dean allowed his own emotions to surface.
He eyed the bottle of Jack he had bought that evening in plans to toast the man who had become a Father to him and Sam but had decided to wait until Sam was more stable to try that since he knew he couldn't drink with even the slimmest chance of his brother needing him.
Slipping the hat out of Sam's good hand, he gently folded it in his own to recall that nearly every time he'd seen Bobby Singer it was with this old hat on and Dean also recalled the day that he and Sam had given it to the man.
It had been one of the last holidays they'd spent with Bobby before his fight with John Winchester had kept them apart for more years than Dean liked and since both brothers knew a tie would get them laughed right out of the house they'd settled on a new trucker's cap.
Swallowing the lump that had settled in his throat, Dean struggled to concentrate on cleaning the glass out of Sam's hand then bandaging it before staying beside his brother a moment longer then gently eased over to his own bed to lay down to stare at the ceiling.
He knew the coming days would be hard for both of them. Garth had offered to come and help them handle the final arrangements but Dean had refused the man. Bobby was a hunter plain and simple and Dean knew what his final wishes were in that regards. It was just the thought of carrying them out that he knew would bring the final walls crashing down for both of them.
The funeral pyre for their Dad had been customary and Dean accepted that he'd still been too numb from that whole event to fully respond to it. Though if he were honest with himself, he'd finally just admit that the gap between them and John had been to great by then to have the same emotional response like this time would have.
"Blood don't make you family," he repeated to himself, recalling the time when Bobby had said that to him and looked over toward Sam to see the tears still on his face. "We'll be okay, Bobby," he whispered to the room, as if feeling a final presence and knowing if he did who it was and why. "I'll take care of Sammy. I'll make sure he's safe and maybe even break a few of my own no chick flick rules more often cause he's all I have left and vice versa. So, even though you shouldn't have taken the risk…I know why you did it and I swear, we'll make you proud," he promised, unaware of the tears on his own face or the feel of a warm hand that brushed his shoulder as he closed his eyes in preparation for the days to come. "Goodbye."
As Dean slowly fell to sleep, he missed the soft breeze that blew through the room and the softly glowing shadow that stood in a corner to watch one final time as the boys slept. 'Idjits,' it seemed to whisper into the room before slowly disappearing from view but not from memory.