For phx69's prompt for the current comment fic meme on ohsam :
prompt: Bobby loved Sam too, even if sometimes he forgets... but when Sam takes a bullet that was meant for Bobby (or is somehow hurt in place of Bobby), Bobby remembers ... I feel there just isn't enough of Bobby and Sam time. We know Bobby was close to Dean - the show gives us that - so I would love to see what the show has never really shown us. That he loves Sam too for Sam himself, and not just because Sam is Dean's brother and is part of the Winchester package.
A/N: This is meant to take place in that time period during 7x01 while Dean worked to rebuild the Impala and Cas was off playing God and smiting everyone. I don't have a beta for this, so it's probably riddled with mistakes, sorry.
It seems that all my bridges have been burned,
But, you say that's exactly how this grace thing works
-Mumford and Sons, 'Roll Away Your Stone'
Roll Away Your Stone
"I'm sorry … Bobby … for everything."
"Shut it, you… just stay awake and keep walking, okay?"
Bobby held onto Sam taking most of the larger man's weight as they trekked slowly from the woods and towards Bobby's car parked nearly a mile away, feeling the trembling in his body while keeping his hand held firmly against the profusely bleeding wound on the younger man's side.
"'Kay –" Sam replied, his voice weakening as his eyes slowly blinked and he stumbled.
Bobby elbowed Sam gently, "Hey now … what'd I just say about stayin' awake, huh?"
"Make sure you stay that way, kid," Bobby insisted firmly, but not unkindly before adding, "I'm sorry too, Sam … I should have seen that damned thing coming."
"s'not your fault. Came outta nowhere, you couldn't have… seen it in time."
"You didn't have to jump in front of me." Bobby grumbled unhappily. It was supposed to be an easy one – a simple skinwalker to take care of only a town away– he should have realized the bastard was armed – should have taken the bullet meant for him – shouldn't have let Sam jump in front of him and take it instead.
There were lots of 'should haves'.
It was his fault they were in this mess and he felt a pang for taking Sam along on this hunt in the first place while Dean stayed behind to work on the car and man the phones. Dean had his damaged car to pound back into shape on to keep his mind off of the murderous rampage Cas was on since proclaiming himself to be the new God, but Sam, while he tried to help with the project, wasn't as savvy with cars as his brother and often found himself just sitting around watching Bobby and Dean work on the rebuilding.
Dean seemed to get some kind of solace in fixing the car—it helped him to stay focused and ignore the facts that the world was going to shit once again and that his little brother by all rights should be a drooling vegetable after what Cas did to his head.
Since the wall came tumbling down, Bobby had caught Sam more than once looking as if he had just come down from a massive panic attack and he wasn't stupid – it was Hell trying to barge its way in to the younger man's brain and though Sam didn't come right out and admit that he was falling apart inside and Dean chose to ignore it and just be grateful that Sam was still upright and mobile, Bobby could see the boy slowly starting to deteriorate – losing weight, not sleeping – staring off into the distance with a haunted look in his eyes...
But talking about it to Sam was something that Bobby wasn't sure how to approach - he didn't know what advice to give him or what he could do to make anything better. He didn't know how to fix a mind that had been broken by Lucifer and it wasn't going to be as simple as fixing the car as Dean seemed to think.
So when Bobby got the call about this hunt, he thought it might help keep the kid's mind off of whatever Hell he had going on in his gourd and maybe the easy normalness of chasing down a skinwalker to the cabin he'd been holed up in would stave off the breakdown Bobby could see coming from miles away.
But that hadn't been the case. Instead, the skinwalker took them by surprise as soon as they found the cabin and entered. The next thing Bobby knew, Sam was shoving him to the ground as bullets came flying from a dark corner of the room. Bobby's brain hadn't fully caught up with the gravity of the situation until over 200 lbs of over-grown man was lying on top of him and returning fire, shooting the skinwalker full of silver-tipped bullets until its body collapsed and fell, blanketing the floor with bright-red blood.
Still reeling from the suddenness of the attack that Bobby really should have expected, he thought at first that some of the skinwalker's blood must have seeped over towards them because he could feel something wet soaking into his shirt. But the fucker was too far for that to be possible and he hadn't been hit – that meant…. Crap. Sam had rolled off of Bobby only a few seconds before, but that had been long enough for him to leave a puddle of blood large enough to dampen Bobby's clothes as well.
That was only twenty minutes ago, but it felt like hours to Bobby and they still had so much further to go before they made it to the car. Sam was barely holding on to Bobby, his hand losing its grip on the older hunter's shoulder even as he swore at the kid to stay awake and keep moving because stopping wasted precious time that they couldn't spare, not while the kid was bleeding out on him.
Sam stumbled again and nearly brought the both of them down then mumbled something that sounded like another apology. Bobby was forced to readjust his hold around Sam's waist and opted to grab around his belt so he could force the kid to stay on his feet.
"Not much farther, Sam."
"Can't" Sam muttered listlessly.
"Don't give me that shit. I'm too old and you're way too big for me to carry you, so keep those damned feet moving."
Sam's chin dropped to his chest, his bangs covering his face, but he nodded and Bobby felt the younger man straighten up a little and take more of his own weight on his legs. Bobby felt a blossoming pride spread through his chest – This kid was tougher than neither he nor Dean gave him credit for and it was his stubbornness that was going to save him more than anything else.
Bobby attempted to pick up the pace and they managed another half-mile before Sam's knees buckled again and the older hunter could no longer keep him vertical. They crashed to the ground and Sam made a pained noise.
Sam grabbed his side and rolled onto his back, his face grey and slick with sweat as he squeezed his eyes shut, clenched his jaw, and groaned.
Bobby panted hard then came to his knees and shuffled over to the younger man, resting a hand on his shivering shoulder. "C'mon, Kiddo. We gotta keep going."
Sam shook his head, his eyes staying firmly shut, "I can't … can't … t-tired."
That was it – Sam's body had taken enough and wouldn't carry him any further. He had lost too much blood and he was going into shock – Bobby wasn't going to be able to get him up and walking under his power again until he could stop that bleeding.
They didn't have many options left. He could try carrying Sam, but that would be nearly impossible given how much larger he was in comparison to Bobby. He had only one choice left and that was to leave Sam – run to the car and grab the med-kit he always kept in the trunk, run back, sew Sam up and pray that he can stop the bleeding enough so he can get the boy on his feet long enough to haul him back to the car and drive him to the nearest hospital.
However, there was the good possibility that Bobby wouldn't be fast enough, that his age had slowed him down so much that by the time he got back that he'd find a body instead and he'd be too late.
All he could do was try - he couldn't let Sam die - not if he could help it.
Bobby stripped off his jacket and draped it across the young man's chest. Sam's jaw unclenched just enough so his teeth could rattle and chatter loudly in his mouth while full-body chills took over.
"'Kay … Here's the plan, Sam." Bobby explained, "I'm going to the car, but I'll be back as fast as I can. You gotta promise me that you'll hang in there and stay awake till I get back, got it?"
Sam opened his eyes half-way and nodded weakly.
"Good. Now I better not catch you nappin' when I get back." Bobby patted his shoulder and gave it a light squeeze.
Don't you dare die on me, kiddo.
He ran the hardest he had in twenty years, but he didn't stop and he didn't let up his pace.
His lungs burned and his legs felt like Jell-O by the time he made it to the car. He was breathing so hard as he tried to open the trunk that he saw spots, but Bobby pushed his fatigue aside and grabbed all that he could hold.
Then he ran again… faster this time.
Sam was still, his face pale as a ghost under the moonlight, his eyes closed.
Bobby stopped in his tracks as his heart sank into his stomach until the moment he saw the younger man's chest rise and fall.
He nearly fell over in relief, but instead rushed over and dropped to his knees beside his injured friend.
Friend? Was that all the kid thought he was?
Bobby knew that Sam was much more than just a friend, that he was one half of a duo that gave Bobby purpose and a reason to get out of bed every morning.
But is that what Sam knew?
Did he think that he only tolerated him because he was Dean's brother? That Dean was the only one of those two knuckleheads that he seen grow from a snot-nosed little kid into a head-strong, brave, and sometimes stupidly self-sacrificing, young man? Did he think that Dean was the only one he considered a son? The only one he loved?
Perhaps Sam did believe that, but maybe Bobby had given him good reason to think that.
The last few years hadn't been easy on their relationship and he had to admit that there was some tension between him and Sam. And maybe Bobby had been a little afraid of him - afraid that Sam might do something new to break his heart. After all, there had been Ruby, the demon blood, setting Lucifer free, Sam saying 'yes' to the devil and snapping Bobby's neck like a twig while he was possessed-
Then there was the whole coming back soulless thing. He had been down-right scary during that time and when that robotic version of Sam tried to sacrifice him all so he couldn't get his soul back where it belonged – that had been damned hard to forgive, even if Sam hadn't had the benefit of a conscious to steer him.
Though it hadn't been his choice to come back that way and it Cas' fault for snatching him from the cage and leaving behind the one piece of him that made Sam Sam, it still hurt.
Sam had his soul back now, yet Bobby still had a hard time being alone with the kid. He never wanted to see the cold dispassion in Sam's eyes seconds before he tried to stab him ever again. Perhaps that was why he was afraid that if he looked too hard at the boy now – he'd see those eyes again.
Maybe that was the reason Bobby hadn't told Sam that he had forgiven him – maybe there was something inside Bobby that still wanted him to feel guilt for scaring the shit out of him so many times and making him believe that he had lost him.
But God help him, Bobby had forgiven him, because that's what family did - because he jumped into HELL- sacrificed himself, endured countless years of abuse and torture at the devil's hands all because he had a burning need to make everything that he had screwed up right again.
Wasn't that enough? What more did he expect from the boy? And wasn't it about time Bobby Singer got his head out of his ass and told him that?
He wasn't the boy's daddy – but he was realizing that he was acting an awful lot like John by keeping his distance from Sam and it was time to button it up and show the young man that he gave a damn about him.
Bobby reached out to press his fingers against Sam's neck to check his pulse and he stirred, his eyes fluttering open and giving the older man a weak, half-grin, "M'not 'sleep …swear … jus' restin'"
"Good … Don't worry … I'm gonna get you patched up real quick then we'll see about getting' outta here."
Sam blinked sluggishly and nodded then Bobby got to work. He peeled off Sam's shirt and exposed the bullet wound to the cold night air. Sam shivered, but otherwise held still. Bobby examined the hole – it bled sluggishly, but he was grateful to see that the bleeding had slowed down somewhat, but he still had to get it stopped before he lost anymore of the vital fluid and before he could even think about hauling Sam to his feet again.
The next part, Bobby knew would be the worst. He pulled a bottle of alcohol from the medkit he had brought back with him and unscrewed the cap.
"You let me know when you're ready for this." Bobby said while rubbing the younger man's shoulder. Sam's eyes landed on the bottle and he squeezed his eyes shut.
"J-just do it quick," Sam insisted before clamping his jaw tight.
Bobby held his breath as he poured the full contents of the bottle onto the wound. Sam bucked and arched his back, making pained grunts as the alcohol burned and bubbled into his skin. In a few moments it was all over and Bobby could breathe again, but Sam had fallen silent and still, passing out cold from pain and exhaustion.
Quickly, Bobby took advantage of Sam's unconsciousness and pulled a pair of forceps from the kit and began digging into the wound. Sam immediately came round and cried out, tears leaking from his eyes, his hands scrabbling at the ground as he squirmed in anguish.
"Hold on, Sam … almost got it. " Bobby tried to sound reassuring while sweat beaded on his brow. He had to fish around far longer than he was afraid Sam could tolerate, but he finally got a firm hold on the bullet and pulled. It came out with a sickening plop and Bobby tossed the damned projectile out into the woods.
Sam fell back against the ground, panting, shaking and making deep-throated groans. Bobby's hands were shaking by this point, which made threading the needle for the sutures he needed to put in difficult, but he chalked it up to the fact that he had just run a mile like an Olympic sprinter and was still riding the adrenaline high. But if he was honest with himself – he was trembling because he hated putting the kid through so much pain and it tore at him to see Sam hurting.
He did however, manage to sew the hole in Sam's side up and get it bandaged and when all was done, Sam lay listless, sweaty and pale, but he was going to live and that's what mattered the most to Bobby.
He felt the weight that had pressing down on his throat loosen, and he rubbed a comforting hand into Sam's bicep, "How you doin', sport?"
Sam looked up at the sky, slowly blinking wearily, "m'fine."
"You did good," After a beat, Bobby added, "Proud of ya."
Sam turned his head to Bobby and made eye-contact with sad, soulful, uncertain eyes - as if he never expected Bobby to utter such words to him - even if he had wanted to hear them so badly, he shouldn't have them because he was unworthy. They were the same eyes that filled with tears when he was five years old and accidentally broke an old, glass bowl of Bobby's, worried that the older hunter would hate him for being a bad boy – the same eyes that spoke of guilt and shame - the same hurting eyes that Sam now turned away with a shake of his head in a gesture that pulled and tugged on Bobby's own soul.
"D-don't …" Sam whispered shakily.
Had Bobby really pushed Sam away so much that he didn't even think that he deserved to get such meager praise?
Bobby had to fix this, so he shrugged and reached out to ruffle Sam's hair, letting his hand linger – something he couldn't recall doing since the kid was about 12, "What? Can't a guy be proud of the stupid ass that saved his bacon?"
It was only a simple touch, but it said so much more to Sam than Bobby could have ever put into words – it said he forgave him, he trusted him, he loved him for who he was -
Sam slowly turned his head and eyes back on Bobby, leaning into his touch as if savoring the affectionate contact. He smiled faintly, "Y-you're the one saving me, I think."
"Speaking of which – you think you can walk so we can get you to the hospital?"
Sam nodded and let Bobby carefully help him get up from the ground. Wrapping an arm around his boy, Bobby took the bulk of Sam's weight and slowly began to lead them out of the woods.
His boy …
Yeah … his.