Thanks for all the support and great reviews I've received on this story. You guys are the reason I keep going ;)
Here's the fifth and last chapter of the story for ya!
_ SPN _ SPN _ SPN _ SPN _
Bobby was sitting behind his desk working on some research for a hunt since a fellow hunter had asked for his help. From his position behind his desk, he could do his research while also keep an eye on the Winchester brothers once in a while. Dean was lying on the couch with his headphones on, listening to music and drumming with his fingers on his legs. Sam was lying on his stomach on the floor, coloring on a piece of paper. Bobby glanced at them every now and then, and couldn't stop himself from smiling fondly at the sight. Bobby had come to like these boys a lot during their time in his care, and he now couldn't help but wonder what it would have been like if he'd had kids of his own. His Karen had wanted kids, but Bobby didn't think he'd had it in him to be a father. But with the Winchester brothers..
"What are you doing?" Dean suddenly asked which broke Bobby out of his trail of thoughts.
Dean was standing on the opposite side of the desk, looking at Bobby with interest.
"Ehm.. Just doing some work." Bobby said and closed the open book in front of him, so Dean wouldn't see the pictures.
"Is it about demons?" Dean asked.
Bobby turned a bit pale and gaped.
"How did you…?" Bobby started and then remembered that Dean had knocked over a pile of books on the brothers' first day in his house and the young boy had probably seen something he shouldn't have. "Ah, hell.. Did you look in these books, Dean? Cause whatever you saw, it's not what you think."
"No, I didn't look in the books.." Dean said. ""If it's not demons, is it ghosts then?"
Man, John is gonna kill me, Bobby thought and scratched his beard while wondering how to gloze this.
"Ghosts.." Bobby huffed. "You have a great imagination kid.."
"But aren't you a hunter too? Like dad?" Dean asked and Bobby's eyes widened.
"You know about this stuff?" Bobby asked and Dean nodded.
"Dad has told me a lot of stuff." Dean said. "He even showed me how to use a gun."
"What?" Bobby exclaimed and looked at Dean with disbelieve. "But you are only seven!"
"Seven and a half." Dean said proudly.
"No one that young should know about stuff like this.." Bobby said in a gruff voice. "You're seven Dean! You should be playing soccer, hanging out with your friends and build tree houses – not take care of your little brother on your own, shoot guns and learn about demons!"
"Shh!" Dean said and put a finger before his mouth to tell Bobby to keep it down. "Sammy doesn't know about those things."
Bobby sent a look towards the three-year-old who was still happily coloring the paper in front of him and was luckily unaware of the conversation, before Bobby turned his attention back to Dean.
"He doesn't, huh?" Bobby said and Dean shook his head.
"No.. If Sammy knew, he would be scared." Dean said matter-of-factly.
"Aren't you scared Dean..?" Bobby asked.
Dean bit his lower lip and looked slightly from side to side, as if he was afraid anyone would hear him, before he leant a bit forward towards Bobby.
"Sometimes.." Dean admitted with a whisper. "But I have to protect Sammy.."
"Why?" Bobby asked, feeling pretty bad for the boy who had way to much responsibility on his shoulders for a boy his age.
"It's my job." Dean said as if it was obvious to anyone.
"Your daddy tells you that?" Bobby asked and – not for the first time these past days – felt a hint of rage towards John Winchester for raising his kids the way he did.
"Yes." Dean said with a nod.
"You shouldn't be having that job, Dean.." Bobby said while shaking his head. "You're just a kid."
"But uncle Bobby.." Dean said (like his younger brother having embraced the nickname) and let his eyes wander to his baby brother. "If I don't protect Sammy, no one will."
The big words from the small boy in front of him broke Bobby's heart in an instant.
_ SPN _ SPN _ SPN _ SPN _
On the sixth day, the Impala returned to the salvage yard. Bobby had just tugged in the boys when he'd heard the rumble of the car and a couple of minutes later, he'd opened up his front door to let in John Winchester. Bobby could immediately tell from the look on John's face that the hunt hadn't turned out as he'd hoped it would.
"The demon.." John said in a voice that shook a little bit. "It got away.. I didn't get it.."
"Come on.. You look like you could need a glass of whiskey." Bobby said and John followed him into the living room where they sat down on each their chair by the desk, before Bobby poured them both a glass of whiskey.
"Thanks." John said and took a sip of his whiskey.
Bobby noticed how tired the younger hunter looked and it struck him how much older than his young age John looked in that moment. Bobby had planned to shout John an earful for the way he'd chosen to raise his two boys, but he decided that now wasn't the time for it. Not when it looked like the normally so tough John Winchester was on the edge of breaking down in front of him.
"You'll get your chance again someday, Johnny.." Bobby said.
"I'm not so sure." John said and washed down the rest of his whiskey in one dram. "This is the closest I've been in three years to find the bastard who killed my Mary.. Three years, Bobby.."
"Don't give up hope." Bobby said as he refilled John's glass. "But just remember that you've got two boys who love you very much."
"Yeah.." John said and washed down the second glass of whiskey while tears welled up in his eyes. "How are they? Did they behave alright..?"
"They've been good, John." Bobby promised. "They're great kids, both of them."
John was about to say something, when the two hunters were interrupted by a small voice that said: "Dad?"
"Hi Dean.." John said, blinked away the tears in his eyes and shot the boy a smile.
Dean was standing in the doorway between the hallway and the living room, and he was looking a bit uncertain on whether to come inside or not. However, the decision was made for him as John waved him closer.
"Have you been nice to Bobby?" John asked as he put his hand on Dean's shoulder.
"Yes sir." Dean answered.
"And Sammy? Did you look after him?" John asked.
"Yes sir, I did." Dean said and John smiled.
"Good job, Ace." John said and patted Dean's shoulder a couple of times before letting him go.
"Dad, are you okay?" Dean asked as John's eyes welled up again.
"Yeah, Dean.. Dad's just tired.." John said and washed a hand down his face.
Bobby, who'd been watching the father and son in silence, once again noticed how tired and worn out the younger hunter looked. Judging from the way John washed down another round of whiskey, Bobby decided that John probably wouldn't be good for anything until he'd gotten over the disappointment of how the hunt had turned out.
"You know, I don't mind taking the boys for another couple of days if you need some time to compose yourself.." Bobby offered.
"You sure?" John asked.
"Yeah, just until you're on the top of your game again.." Bobby said.
John gratefully accepted the offer and promised Dean he would be back for him and Sammy as soon as possible before he ruffled the boy's hair and headed out to the Impala. Bobby and Dean watched from the doorway as John took off again and Bobby noticed the sad look on Dean's face and the way he struggled to force back the tears that was pushing forward.
"It's okay, Dean." Bobby told the kid and gave his shoulder a mild squeeze. "Your dad just needs to rest a few days and then he'll be back."
Dean nodded and bit his lower lip, without taking his eyes away from the spot in the distance where the Impala had disappeared.
"Dean.." A little voice said and Dean and Bobby turned around to see Sam toddle a bit behind them with his teddy bear coddled to his chest. "Are you swad?"
Dean didn't answer. Instead, he sent Sam a weak smile and then picked up the youngest boy and hugged him tight.
"Let's get you to bed, Sammy." Dean said and placed a kiss on the top of Sam's head before putting him down, grabbing his hand and leading him back upstairs.
Bobby closed the front door and watched the boys disappear on the top of the stairs. He couldn't believe how much affection he'd come to feel for these brothers. Bobby knew that this wouldn't be the last he would see of the two of them, and he swore right there and then that he would look out for these kids as had they been his own. John Winchester might have been Dean and Sam's biological father, but Bobby decided he would still treat the boys like were they his own sons.
"My boys.." Bobby muttered with a wry smile, before he turned off the lights and went to bed.
Bobby had been quite satisfied with the ways things were before the Winchester brothers had arrived at his doorstep, but it wasn't until now he'd realized that the hole in his heart, he'd had since Karen died, had been filled yet again.
_ SPN _ SPN _ SPN _ SPN _
Merry Christmas and happy holidays to y'all! :)