A/N...I know I am flicking back and forth in this story, but those of you that have read my stories know that there is always a reason, and the threads I throw out will weave themselves together as we progress...
There was a cassette tape in the old Dodge, and when Bobby hooked up the jump leads and called out to Dean to turn the motor over, a soulful gospel voice sounded out from the tinny speakers.
"Sometimes I feel,
Like a motherless child,
A motherless Child"
Dean looked at the tape deck, his face dark.
"Balls" Bobby hissed and hurried to the driver's side of the car, slamming the 'off' switch as hard as he could.
It was too late.
The boy turned his green eyes to Bobby, tears brimming, lower lip quivering.
"Son…" Bobby started, but Dean bit his lip and jumped out of the car.
"Balls" Bobby cursed again.
"Why is Dean angry?" Sam chirped from the backseat, delighted to find a Lego set discarded there.
"He's just havin' a bad week, junior. Why dontcha bring them toys in the house. You can play in the kitchen while I get dinner ready"
Sam happily gathered up the box of plastic bricks and followed Bobby to the house.
Bobby set about making dinner, his mind off with the older Winchester boy. The school they had been in for the past month while their daddy hunted was a good one, local, Bobby could drop them off and pick them up every day, and life was fairly normal.
Well, normal for them.
It was only this week that the boys had been finding it tough.
Sam had been a little off, having to write about his mom that he never knew, until the teacher realized the child was suffering and let him write a story on what he thought his mother would be if she were still alive.
That had captured Sam's vivid imagination and he worked tirelessly on his project, inventing whimsical tales and adventures of his mother and himself.
A one page essay assignment had turned into near a full length novel.
Dean, however, that was another kettle of fish.
A big, steaming, three days rotten stinking kettle of fish.
His teacher had no sympathy for the boy with no mother. She barely reprimanded the other children when they teased Dean about having no mommy, and a dad that was never around.
But the worst part was Dean having to go over in his thirteen year old mind how he had no mother, how his mother had died, and that he would never see her again.
He was a motherless child.
Every day since he'd first met the Winchesters, Bobby could feel the scars of that, the bright pain that would catch the sensitive boy when a piece of music his mother liked came on the radio, or an add that showed a woman with long blonde hair showed on the TV.
A scent of a passing woman who must've worn the same perfume.
Bobby died inside a little every time that happened.
Oh, John saw it too, without a doubt, but it was different for him.
Every time he saw the pain in his son's eyes it was another dagger through his heart and instead of pulling the child close and comforting him, he bullied and bossed him so that he wouldn't have to face the fact that his wife was gone, and that his son was shaped by the tragedy that left him a motherless child.
He was, at his heart, a four year old boy still confused and sad, longing for the touch of his mother that would never come.
Night fell and Dean still had not come in. Sam had started to fret over his brother not being around so Bobby distracted him by getting the rifles out and promising him five bucks if he cleaned them all.
Sam wasn't a stupid kid, he knew what Bobby was doing, but being a smart kid he went along with it.
Besides, you know, five bucks!
Just when Bobby felt it was time to send out the search party he heard the back door creak, and Dean's boots scuff the dampness onto the mat.
"Dinner's on the cooker" Bobby called out without looking up.
Let the boy have space. He was home safe, that was a plus, for now.
He heard Dean pull out a chair in the kitchen and pick at the food left for him, then rinse his plate and put it in the rack.
As the booted feet hit the stairs Bobby called out, still not looking up.
"We're off on a hunting trip tomorrow, whole weekend, up at the crack of dawn, so straight to bed, son"
"Night Bobby" the voice sounded so much younger than the tough kid normally did.
Bobby looked up for the first time. Dean's eyes were red and his clothes dirty. He had a cut lip and a shiner was purpling up quite nicely.
Kid had gone and gotten into a fight. Bobby could understand that.
"Hey. Up an attem, soldier" Bobby slapped Dean's foot as he walked past him on the way to the bathroom. They were staying in a tiny cabin outside of the state forest where Bobby had promised the boys a four day hunting weekend.
Of course, when dad dropped them of the strict instructions were to learn how to shoot rifles. Last time that happened Dean had learned how to catch a ball.
Dean sat up and rubbed his eyes, then peeled Sammy's arm from around his waist. "Wake up Sammy" he yawned, shaking his little brother gently.
Six year old Sam hadn't been sleeping well lately, and had taken to climbing in bed with his big brother.
Dean didn't mind so much.
Dad didn't like it, and Dean always had to make sure he woke up early and climbed into the other bed before dad woke up, or he'd get told off for girly-ing up his brother.
"Stop babying the boy, Dean. You'll make a sissy out of him" he'd yell.
Uncle Bobby didn't care.
In fact, if Uncle Bobby heard Sam whimper in his sleep he'd pick him up and put him in bed with Dean.
"Why we up so early, Dean?"
"Coz I'm gonna teach you how to be a hunter" Bobby smiled at them as he walked out of the bathroom, drying his face and hands on an old towel.
"Why do we have to do that?" Sammy lay back down, his arm circling his brother's waist again in an attempt to get him to snuggle back up and go to sleep.
Dean gently peeled the arm off again. "Dad says so" he sighed and climbed out of the single bed and made his way to the bathroom. Sammy gave in and followed his brother.
Bobby had the boys dressed, fed, geared up and out the door in less than half an hour, the sun just poking her fingers over the horizon, the golden rays picking up the morning dew and decorating the scrubby brush with a million diamonds.
"Well, I guess we're gonna be lucky today" Bobby told them, bending down to show them footprints in the dirt outside the cabin. "Looks like a deer came through here not more'n hour ago."
He pointed out the prints, how to read the size of the deer, the direction it was going, spinning the information into an engrossing story that had the young boys captivated, Sammy's eyes wide with wonder.
They tracked the deer for several hours, Bobby showing the boys how to track the animal, how the hidden signs pointed to exactly the way the deer had taken. They moved this way till early afternoon, stopping to let Sam have a break and a snack every hour or so, until they finally caught up to the unsuspecting wildlife in a clearing surrounded by ferns and wild flowers.
The clearing was covered in emerald green spring grass, butterflies flicking across the tops, the wild flowers scattered through and around the sea of green, framing the picturesque vision and highlighting the deer that stood there, grazing the lush pasture.
A fallen log, half covered in moss and a sheen of glistening fungi provided the perfect hide out for the three hunters, and Bobby positioned the boys behind it.
Sam didn't yet carry a rifle, but Dean did. He'd learned some time ago how to fire one, and his aim wasn't bad.
He'd yet to kill anything, though, and John had known that one day he would need to use the weapon to take the life of some creature.
Better now, with their Uncle Bobby, in a calm, instructional training hunt, than in the midst of a wild creature kill with someone's life depending on it.
Bobby showed Dean how to test the wind direction with a wet finger, then to stroke that finger over the site of the rifle, and how to line up the deer to take a clear shot.
"You don't want the thing to suffer, now. Gotta make sure the first shot is the last one, you understand?"
Dean nodded, the deer's head framed perfectly in his sites.
"Dean?" Sammy whispered. "Will it hurt the deer?"
"No, son, the shot will be quick, he won't feel anything" Bobby reassured the small boy. "Boy, calm your breathing, Dean, slow and steady, you know what to do"
Dean had a clear shot. He started to squeeze the trigger, gently, steadily, just the way Uncle Bobby had taught him.
Sammy drew an alarmed breath. Dean relaxed his finger and looked at his brother, and the little boy pointed to the deer.
Pulling his face away from the rifle site he saw what had startled his little brother so.
A fawn, eyes as big as Sammy's, nose black and shiny, ears upright and fluffy had popped his head up from where he'd been resting in the long grass.
Pulling himself to his unsteady feet, the fawn shook himself, nearly tumbling over, the movement throwing half a dozen golden butterflies into the air, they fluttered around the soft spotted coat of the baby deer, one alighting on its tail in a classic Disney pose.
"Take the shot, Dean" Bobby quietly commanded.
"NO!" screamed Sammy, leaping to his feet. "NO NO NO NO!" and he burst into tears.
Dean dropped the rifle and grabbed Sammy as the deer, startled, turned and leapt away, her fawn at foot as they disappeared into the forest.
"What is it, Sammy?" Dean asked, holding his brother tight as the child cried inconsolably.
Sammy pulled away. "You were going to kill its mommy, Dean. Its mommy!"
Bobby picked up the rifle and clicked the safety on.
Dean held his arms out to Sammy, normally a pose that had the tousled head boy collapsing into his embrace.
This time Sam took a step back, shaking his head in disbelief.
"You were going to kill her, Dean! He'd be alone, with no mommy….he'd never have a mommy…"
Dean let his arms drop, confused.
"And.." the boy's hitched sobs were heartbreaking. "He would have no one. No one. No mommy…."
Sammy fell to his knees, the sadness of the whole world seeming to be on his shoulders as he poured his sorrow out.
Dean leaned forward and gathered the young boy into his arms, rocking him back and forth.
"It's okay, Sammy, it's okay" he soothed. "No one is going to kill anyone's mommy, never again, okay?"
Sammy curled up into his big brothers lap, sobbing until he fell asleep.
Dean just held him tight and rocked him slowly back and forth, his own tears wetting the top of the wavy hair.
"Well, that went well" muttered Bobby sarcastically.
"Um, Dean?" Sam knocked on the bathroom door. "Look, I said I'm sorry, okay?"
"Dude, I promise, I won't do it again!"
Dean flung the bathroom door open, his expression hard, anger clear on the seventeen year old's face.
The older brother just ignored him and grabbed his clothes out of his duffle and dressed.
"Dean, I'm sorry. I didn't know you liked her" He tried his best puppy dog eyes. "I promise, faithfully, to never, ever do it again!"
"Do what again?" John Winchester asked, leaning against the doorway of the boy's room.
"Dean liked this girl, and I kinda, well, I um…."
"He made a fool outta me" Dean growled. "Made me look like a complete idiot"
John stifled a smile.
"Now I got no chance with her at all"
John sipped the steaming coffee from the chipped mug he was holding. "Doesn't matter. We're heading out in an hour anyway" he told his boys.
They both turned to him. "Why?" they asked in unison.
John smiled again. They were doing that more and more as they got older. Mirroring each other, especially Sam, trying to emulate every move his big hero-worshipped brother made.
"I got a job. Long one. Gonna drop you boys at Bobby's"
Dean scowled. "Why aint I coming with?" he pulled his t-shirt over his head. "Sammy can wait at Bobby's while I help you on this hunt. I'm old enough, and I hunted with you before!"
"This aint my hunt. I'm helping some buddies with a job they're doing a few counties over" John answered. "Don't want you boys mixin' with the likes of these guys. Besides, you can probably do with a bit of brushing up on your tracking skills. Bobby's got a group of mates and they're all going hunting over the holiday weekend"
Sammy groaned. Nothing he hated more than hanging out with a bunch of farting, beer drinking deer hunters.
And, with his brother pissed at him, he would have no protection from their teasing.
Dean shrugged. "Fine. I'm packed. Let's go"
John turned and walked out of the bedroom.
"He's always looking for a way to dump us at Bobby's. Can't wait to be rid of us, Dean! He never wants us around"
Dean rolled his eyes. "Can it, Sammy"
"But Dean!" Sammy whined. " Bobby's taught us everything about tracking already! And it's not like we're ever gonna kill anything, he already knows that!"
"Dad's orders, Sammy. Pack your bag"
Sam screwed his face up. "Why can't we just stay here at the motel, you and me? You know you're old enough to look after me. You do it all the time!"
Dean turned to his little brother, all signs of anger gone. "It's not a bad thing, going to Bobby's. Be good for you to spend the holidays with someone other than me"
"Besides, dad only leaves me in charge if he's going for three or four weeks. If he's dropping us at Bobby's he must be going for longer."
"We'll have Christmas at Bobby's?"
Dean turned back to his bag, quiet now.
Sam knew Christmas was hard for his brother. It always reminded him that they couldn't have a real family, that he couldn't give his precious little brother a decent Christmas celebration.
And that he would never have another Christmas with his mom.
Dean didn't know Sam had figured this all out, and Sam wasn't sharing, but last time he was at Bobby's they'd had a long conversation.
All about Dean, and how, no matter how old Dean got, he would always miss his mother, especially as their mother died when Dean was only four, and his memories weren't great. Only special times were still there, like birthdays.
"Yeah. Sure. Maybe you're right" Sammy packed his bag as requested, keeping his mouth closed.
A/N..next chapter soon. This will not be a very long story...I think, I guess it just depends on how it all unfolds...