Bobby found himself on the street outside of a dingy motel room. The pizza guy who was poised to knock on the door jumped about ten feet when he saw Bobby.
"I'll deliver those for you kiddo." Bobby said with a wry smile, took the pizza from the guy and watched as the pimply teenager dashed to the running car and sped out of the parking lot like the devil was on his ass.
Bobby smiled and knocked on the door. "Coming!" he heard Sam yell.
The door opened and Sam's hazel eyes greeted Bobby. They were tired and worn, but the sight of them nearly brought Bobby to his knees.
The door opened all of the way and a shot gun greeted Bobby's stomach. "This is getting old." Sam said with a lethal edge to his voice.
"It's me Sam." Sam blinked a couple of times tiredly and pushed the gun further into Bobby's belly. "Sam, it doesn't matter if you fill me full of buckshot or salt, I'm dead as it is so it ain't gonna matter."
"Then?" Sam questioned.
"Let me in, and I'll explain everything."
"I'm not that stupid."
"I know you ain't boy." Bobby said with exasperation. Bobby shifted and then looked Sam in the eye. "Boy. It's me. I've got one night with you boys, one night to make sure you guys are alright, and I really don't want to spend that time standing out here arguing with you about whether or not I'm really me."
Sam seemed to consider the argument Bobby posed. His eyes shifted a moment as did his feet and then he let the shot gun drop and he said, "One second." The door closed and was closed for several moments and then Sam opened the door and Bobby walked through, past the devil's trap that Sam had quickly sketched on the floor. Sam's eyes watered over with tears.
"It's me kiddo." The two men embraced and the younger held on tightly and cried.
"How?" Sam asked pulling away from the surrogate father.
"Went and found the big guy."
"God?" Sam asked astonished.
"Whole lot of walking and searching."
"He just let you out?"
"No. No. I'm just on shore leave for the night. I wanted the rest of my life time. But he said that I'd just have to content myself with one night with my boys."
Sam nodded and submitted for another round of hugging. "I've missed you so much."
"I've missed you too." He held on a little tighter and then they ended the embrace. "How are you son?"
"Good. Good." Sam nodded too quickly and sat down on the bed that Bobby assumed was his.
"Don't lie to me boy." He said and pulled the kitchenette chair over to the bed and sat down.
Sam hesitated for a little bit. "It's been hard. Lucifer is up front and center. He's been louder and crazier since…" Sam brushed his forehead with a finger and nodded towards Bobby. "But I've had to keep it together."
Sam gave a small sad laugh. "Dean's gone. Dean's just gone. What's left is a mess in a coat. Drinks and drinks, hardly eats, hardly sleeps, and he sits in the car while I hunt. It takes everything I've got every morning to get him up and showered. If he's left on his own he would just rather smell." Sam looked down, sad and tried. "That's not my brother Bobby. He just hasn't been Dean since you died."
"Where is he?"
"He went for a walk. He walks a lot. He goes nowhere in particular he just walks and walks. Snow up to his ass, scorching sun, torrential down pour. Doesn't matter." Sam shrugged. "He's got ten more minutes before I go looking for him. I've set his watch to beep so he'll remember to come back. He forgets, just keeps walking and walking. Before I knew to set his watch, or set mine, he was gone for almost three hours, and he walked miles and miles." Sam ran a hand through his hair, pushing hair that was longer than when Bobby had passed, out of his eyes.
Sam looked up at Bobby. "I don't know what to do. I've never had to take care of Dean completely alone before. What do I do? We've got no one left."
"Yell at him. That's what he responds to. He needs to have someone yell at him, order him, get him moving again."
"I don't know if that will work."
"It has to work Sammy. You can't be soft with him. You can't pet him and cajole him and ask him nicely. Dean doesn't do well with that. You know that."
"But that's always been someone else's job."
"It's your job now kiddo. You have to be strong. As strong for Dean as any of us ever has. You have to be stronger. You have to make him pick himself up. Remind him why you hunt."
"You told him didn't you."
Sam nodded. "I've told him and told him. I've told him about all of the wins we've had, told him about all of the people we've saved."
"What did he say?" Bobby asked knowingly.
"That we haven't been able to save anyone that counts."
"I don't know what to say to that."
"Hit him." Sam's eyes widened.
"Ain't that what he does to you when he thinks you're being stupid?" Sam nodded. "Return the favor."
"Sam. Your brother needs an iron hand. It's how he's been raised, it's what he understands. That's why he raised you different."
Sam looked down. "So, I need to be more like Dad?"
"No. You need to be you. You need to use what you know about your brother to help him. You need to smack him and get his head on straight. It takes work…takes patience. It takes everything in you to make him see what is so plain to everyone else." Sam nodded.
"Then use what you know boy. Don't be afraid. Dean won't get mad. He won't leave."
"No. He never leaves. That's my job."
"You need to get over that young man. You've made mistakes. We all have. But you can't keep beating yourself up for leaving when you knew that you couldn't handle the situation any longer." Sam nodded. "You are a strong good man Sam Winchester. That will be what will help your brother."
Sam nodded, holding tears back. "I miss you Bobby."
"I miss you too kiddo."
The door opened, and a bearded, tired Dean walked in. His eyes connected to Bobby's and the sadness just about knocked Bobby out of the chair.