Title: Never Believed In Happily Ever After
Author: Still Waters
Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural. Just playing, with love and respect to those who brought these characters to life.
Summary: If there was one thing Jodie Mills knew about Bobby Singer, it was that the man always answered his phone. Until the night a shell-shocked Sam picked up instead. Spoilers for 7x11.
Notes: After watching "Adventures in Babysitting", I kept thinking about Sam's line to Dean about whether they should "call Bobby's people" and how a lot of hunters and other contacts would have Bobby's phone numbers. If a random kid like Krissy called him, there were sure to be others calling for help or advice – and that's when I thought of Sheriff Mills. I could see her calling to check in on Bobby down the road from the events in 7x06 and being floored, as we viewers were, by what happened in 7x10. So, going back to 5x15 (Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid), 6x04 (Weekend at Bobby's), 7x02 (Hello, Cruel World), and 7x06 (Slash Fiction), this piece became a character study of Bobby through Jodie's eyes, as well as an exploration of the Sheriff, the evolution of her relationship with Bobby, and her grief at his loss. I hope I did the characters justice. Any recognizable dialogue is quoted directly from the above episodes. Thank you for reading. I truly appreciate your support.
Jodie didn't know how she had gotten there.
She had no recollection of getting in the car, let alone driving; a fact that should've seriously worried her.
The realization that she didn't actually care should have worried her more.
She had just called to check in. It had been awhile since Montana, and Bobby kissing her between spilled Borax and boxed-up Leviathan heads. She kept an eye on the news, but hadn't seen anything concrete since Sam and Dean were cloned into murderous monsters, so she gave Bobby a call to get an update and see if they needed any help. The once clear lines between certainty and uncertainty in her life had been blurred significantly since she started to get to know Bobby Singer back during the zombie rising in Sioux Falls, but while there was a ton of stuff she didn't know about him and his world, Jodie was certain about one thing – whether it was his personal cell or one of the government extensions lining his old kitchen, Bobby always answered the phone.
So when it was Sam who picked up after eight rings that night, Jodie's gut twisted; the familiar precedent to a once solid certainty's death.
She forced herself to ask. "Sam? Where's Bobby?"
Shuddered, barely controlled breathing haunted the agonizing silence that followed; an answer all its own. But Sam finally found his voice, the words frighteningly gentle from a ragged throat, tone raw with hitched grief. "Bobby's…..Sheriff, Bobby's…..passed away."
And certainty gasped its last.
Bobby was dead.
The cop in her sought specifics through the fog of shock. Three weeks ago. Dick Roman. Leviathan. Shot to the head. Fought back from a coma long enough to pass on vital information with his last breath.
And the damn fool had scoffed when she called him her hero outside that Leviathan-infested hospital all those nights ago.
She needed to know more – if they had cremated him as she suspected they would have, if there was anywhere she could pay her respects, if she could help Sam and Dean dig up more information on the bastards who had done this. But something crashed in the background before she could find her breath. The phone muffled as Sam's head bowed, hair falling forward to crackle against the speaker, his "Sheriff, I have to go…." raw, weary, and urgent. Jodie had barely started her hurried assurance that it was all right, when the phone went dead.
Bobby was dead.
Even as a little girl, Jodie had never believed in fairy tales and "happily ever after." With the life Bobby led, it was honestly a miracle that he'd lived as long as he had. She knew the creatures he dealt with could end him just as easily as any one of her routine traffic stops could end her. And she certainly wasn't naive enough to think she and Bobby could have had something together; but the loss of that distant dream, as much as she would never consciously admit or acknowledge it, still hurt.
Because it was Bobby - the old crank who had gone from a steady thorn in her side with an "ass full of drunk and disorderlies and mail fraud" to unsung monster slayer, to her own personal savior from a Leviathan buffet. A gruff, eye-rolling, sarcastic jackass of an enigma surrounded by junk cars, nine kinds of felony charges on his kitchen wall alone, a library straight out of a psychiatrist's worst nightmare, and a yard that was probably filled with more bodies than the local cemetery. A man who managed to take pleasure in the simple things despite eyes weary with loss; who had quietly adopted and helped raise two boys while saving the lives of strangers quick to dismiss him as a useless drunk. As crazy and childish as it might have sounded, and despite the understanding that this was probably how it was always going to end for him, Jodie couldn't believe that Bobby was actually gone. He was just…..there - in his scrap yard or on the other end of the phone, whenever anyone needed him.
It was who he was.
Jodie came from a family of military and law enforcement. She prided herself on being tough and level-headed without sacrificing the emotions that made her human. Her most cherished gift from her police academy graduation was a card written in her drill sergeant father's bold hand, congratulating his "tough little broad." Even Dr. Gaines, before he mutated into Dr. Monsterface, had told her, "I know you're tough" before instructing her to rest after her appendectomy.
She had seen her little boy rise from his grave and kill and eat her husband; had heard the shot Sam fired into her zombie son's head to spare her the agony; had watched the corpses of her family burn. While post-operative and vulnerable, she was injected with sedatives while her newly revealed, liver-eating monster of a surgeon stood over her bed, assessing her bluff. She willingly walked into a remote Montana cabin doubling as a Leviathan interrogation center, because it sure as hell beat how she had felt standing in a burned out salvage yard marred with blood and devoid of bodies. During all that, she may have been freaked out, let a few sobs escape, and blinked back tears…..but they never fell. Not once. Not when just one of those events would have been enough to justify a complete, hysterical breakdown.
It wasn't an act, emotional repression, or lack of caring - she did cry, just not often; not even at the mercy of the nightmarish and insane.
It was just who she was.
But now Sam's words echoed off the confining walls of the car, the tremor of the unshed tears in his voice moving her to memory. She saw Bobby rolling himself into the office the day the dead started to rise, opening her eyes to a whole new world; the shock and grief raw on his face after she and Sam dispatched the zombies in his house. She heard herself calling Bobby's crap as the familiar voice insisted she was on the phone with FBI Agent Willis, followed by her subsequent lies to the real FBI, her own department, and half a dozen other law enforcement agencies in order to get Rufus Turner extradited back to South Dakota - all because she had read through the layers of Bobby's uncharacteristically subdued admission: "Look, I've done a lot for this town – some you know about, some you don't. And I'm not real good at this askin' for help thing…."
And felt her heart break again at the memory of the incredulous, honest "thanks" when Bobby had opened the door to find Rufus standing there - as if he hadn't expected anyone outside his little family to even consider doing something to help him.
She remembered Bobby springing her from the hospital before she lost a few organs she hadn't intended to lose, getting her into a cab, and dismissing her soft "Bobby Singer, my hero" as "the roofies talking." Remembered the utter surprise on his face when she showed up at the cabin in Montana, beer in hand, trading sarcastic barbs between demands for him to shut up and let her be nice to him; the discomfort of a man used to being taken for granted and working in the background, unable to wrap his head around the fact that she had actually sought him out across state lines in order to thank him. Recalled his practical, almost Zen-like satisfaction with what he did have in the present moment, despite all he had lost in the ashes of Sioux Falls; his relief at the news report from Ankeny that took the spotlight off of Sam and Dean, and the rare, real smile that softened his face as he thanked her for the Borax discovery; not only for the fight ahead, but because it had helped save his boys that day.
She had to throw the car door open as she saw the shy smile and emotion-laden eyes over callused hands that gave her a Leviathan head to toss over a bridge on her way home; felt the weight of the cardboard box in her arms and the scratch of his beard as he chastely kissed her cheek; heard the sheepish, yet simultaneously unapologetic, "if you excuse me, I uh…I got a body to bury in cement" as he turned and headed for the basement.
It was actually comforting that those ended up being his last words to her – polite, practical, and knowledgeably inane; so completely and utterly Bobby.
Jodie struggled out of the car, squinting in the moonlight and she blindly stumbled forward, playing Bobby's words over and over, holding onto the rough voice that couldn't hide a damn thing to anyone who cared enough to listen. She could almost hear him now, in the crunch of gravel under her feet; rolling his eyes, adopting a hint of the "idjits" voice he reserved for Sam and Dean, and asking her, with the confusion of a man who had never been aware of his true worth, "the hell you cryin' over me for?"
And she'd be damned.
She really was crying.
The wind gusted sharply, a spray of dirt and gravel grating her cheek in an invocation of coarse facial hair. But there was no warm breath on her skin – just the cruel, icy bite of winter's grief.
The only, despairing certainty left in her world.
Jodie sank down to the dirt, hugged her knees to her chest, and cried. For a town and a world that had no idea who they had lost. For Sam and Dean, who had lost so much. For the stolen hope that she would one day get to know the heart of the man Sam and Dean looked at with such open love and respect.
She rocked in and out of the shadow of the charred remains of Bobby's house, sobs echoing off the scattered junk car headstones; a primal, wordless dirge in an abandoned graveyard filled with the bodies of everything but him.
She still didn't know how she had gotten there. Still didn't care.
But she finally knew why she was there.
So Jodie Mills cried – raw, ugly, and unrestrained.
For Bobby Singer.