Just something that popped into my head when I read a synopsis for At Death's Door and wouldn't leave. A quick one – shot of one of Bobby's worst/best (later on) memories when Sam and Dean were younger (I do have ideas for fics when they're older, but this was literally screaming to be written ;)) that Lucy told me to do, with her "guidance" of course.
My medical facts and that are next to nothing; me and my sister's knowledge of the subject can be compressed onto half a page of A4. But, to be honest, this was just a bit of fun that Lucy had a big part in, so don't go being daft twats and being all cocky in PM's or something telling me how thick I am, it's true, yes, but I could do without reminding, ;)
In case of confusion: I had to re-upload this because the website was being a pain, sorry about that, :S
Brotherly mush and Bobby mush because I love the guy. Also, John Winchester hatred because he needed to be in this one. I do like him, don't get me wrong… we have to love him for bringing Sam and Dean into the world, :')
Disclaimer: I own nothing at awl, :(
The night was still; a thin mist hanging low over the silent trees, the moon's beams sparsely lighting the rows of scrap cars that lined the yard, a weak, lazy breath of wind barely ruffling the net curtains in the open window.
Bobby Singer sighed as he leaned back in his desk chair, scrubbing his stubbled chin with one hand, eyes straining in the dim light as he studied a page of Greek symbols in the thick, yellow –paged book on the table in front of him. He held a hand to his head, desperately trying to contain the headache that was building, his temples throbbing. He glanced at his clock. 00:42. Damn, he wanted his bed so bad…
He froze in his position for a second, staring at the phone in front of him. He would rather do anything than face a phone call with this guy… Hesitating slightly, he grabbed the handset and dialed the worn number, unnerved when the familiar voice answered in an impatient tone.
"What?" the voice barked, huffing slightly at the silence that met him, "I don't want a million dollars or a week on a cruise ship, now stop callin' me, jackass."
"Nice to speak to you too, Rufus," he growled back.
"Singer, what you got for me?"
Bobby chuckled darkly, "Hell, you'd think you were doing me a favor; ever heard of pleasantries?"
"Cut the crap. I want to wrap this up nice and quick, I've got a job down Alabama that needs doing pretty damn soon-"
"If it's urgent I can send someone down for ya; Caleb was in Philadelphia last time he checked in, he could sort it for-"
"Bobby, stuff your chatter where the sun don't shine."
He shook his head incredulously, glancing back down to the ancient book that sat in front of him. "Well, I can tell you, you ain't wrappin' nothin' up too soon if what I've got here is anything to go by."
Rufus cursed under his breath. "Plan on tellin' me any time soon? I don't have all year, old man."
Unbe-fucking-lievable. Ungrateful asswipe.
Bobby slammed a fist on his desk, finally snapping. "Y'know what? Screw you, jackass! I'm saving you crap load of time doin' all this research, and here you are, bossing me around like I'm your…"
He cut off his sentence as a deep, tense growl slipped through the open window, raising the hairs on the back of his neck. He barely heard Rufus scream ceaseless bouts of abuse at him as he pressed the handset to his shoulder, pricking his ears to analyze the disturbance. Seconds passed before the growl turned into a bark. He sighed in relief. "Damn dog," he grumbled. He was about to raise the phone back to his ear when a second bark came… and a third… a fourth… until they all blended together into an ear splitting snarl.
The he heard the engine, the deep, rumbling sound that would only be inconspicuous in a playpen of Rottweiler's.
"Rufus, imma call you right back," he said to the room. He slammed the phone onto the cradle, barely able to move in disbelief. How long had it been since the Winchesters had fallen off the radar? Six, seven months? Bobby had guessed they were either lying low from the cops, or they were taking a break after their "Scare"; Dean had been M.I.A for almost a week when he'd attempted to hunt a wendigo by himself in Colorado, and the whole family had, apparently, taken a trip into Canada's wilderness on an intensive training course. Probably both a load of bull, but a theory nonetheless, something to cling to. Something to help avoid the most obvious reason for their mysterious disappearance.
He crossed the room to the kitchen window in a couple of strides, searching for the piercing headlights in the gate of the scrap yard; and in seconds, the car appeared, screeching into through the dust with a painful crunch from deep beneath the hood of the Impala. Bobby knew this wasn't good from that moment; John wouldn't cause such damage to his beloved car unless it was absolutely necessary, and even then it would be done with an infuriating amount of whining.
He watched, stuck in his spot as the two front doors opened, and there in the background, barely audible over the dogs uncontrollable barking, were the familiar screams of a certain young boy.
Shit. This wasn't good.
Bobby launched himself out of the back door, gaping in horror as John and Dean Winchester struggled the carry a limp, -but definitely not lifeless from the sound level of his yelling- Sam from the car, John holding under his armpits and his eldest son gripping his legs.
Bobby threw himself down the steps, freezing as he saw the red staining Sam's right side.
"John," he whispered, horrified eyes meeting the eldest Winchesters' hard expression.
"Please, Bobby, can we get him inside?" he asked desperately, adjusting his uneasy grip on his son, expression wavering slightly as Sam screamed in protest, one arm gripping the other as a fever covered his face. "Please?"
He nodded numbly, following John into the house. He risked a glance at Dean, who stared at his brother's face, his own etched with the traditional hunter concoction of guilt, fear and anger, whispering apologetic words which Bobby would have found difficult understanding even if a mixtape of Sam Winchester's desperate cries weren't filling his head.
They walked awkwardly through the narrow doorway, scraping Sam's shoulder on the wood, all of them wincing as a fresh pain washed over the boy's face.
"John, what the fuck happened?" Bobby asked urgently, reaching for his box of muddled first aid ailments packed tightly into a tool box from under his sink, following the family into to the next room where they placed Sam gently onto the couch. Dean kneeled next to Sam's head, locking his eyes with his brother's. He squeezed his hand on the uninjured side, the other hand pushing the sweaty bangs from his forehead. John barely looked at Bobby as he grabbed the first aid kit, wrenching it open and pulling out a pair of scissors, setting to the task of cutting open his youngest son's clothes.
"Werewolf," he growled, shifting next to Dean and moving Sam's injured arm from his chest, ignoring the quieted whimpers from his son, a fair few decibels lower than they had been seconds ago, the company of his brother almost a sedative. Dean always could calm the runt down. "He was living in the forest not three miles from here. The bastard clawed his whole side. Got himself thrown into a damn tree too, popped his fucking shoulder outta place."
Bobby noticed Dean flinch from the corner of his eye, increasing the speed of the undecipherable mumblings he voiced to Sam. The youngest watched his mouth intently as he tried to control his pain, panting through gritted teeth, chest heaving.
The older man moved quickly to the back of the couch, assessing the damage as Sam's bare skin came to light. He gagged at the sight of the crusting blood and pulped flesh, the mottled bruising on his chest, the useless arm that hung limply from the couch.
"John…" he started as the eldest Winchester patted the claw marks with an alcohol soaked cloth, wincing as Sam reared his head, eyes wide as white hot pain flashed across his pale, damp face, "John! You have to get him to a hospital, there's no way-"
"He won't make it that far," John hissed, ignoring Dean's horrified stare.
"Listen ya' idgit, a trained doctor couldn't help him here looking like this, he needs-"
"If I'd waited a damn second longer to get in here he'd be dead right now. Until he's stable, he's staying here."
"John, he needs a prof-"
John glared up at him, dark eyes filled with a warning threat. "We'll talk later," he said through gritted teeth. "Please Bobby, trust me."
He shook his head incredulously. Just as he opened his mouth to knock some sense into his friend – and physically as soon as he got the chance – he heard a small voice over Sam's clipped yelps and John's cold, hard words of comfort.
"Bobby," croaked Dean, still squeezing Sam's hand, unflinching as his brother dug his nails deep into his flesh, "help him, please."
Bobby could have sworn his heart tore in two; he'd never heard the kid sound so broken. "Dammit, kid, you're getting' real good with them puppy eyes, fair competition with your brother now," he grumbled.
Dean smiled slightly, returning his attention back to Sam who'd been groaning loudly audibly since he didn't have his brother's words to focus on instead of the throbbing in his body.
Bobby ran around the couch, grabbing a towel as he took over John's job of wiping the crusting blood from the wound site as John sterilized a needle.
He raised his eyebrows. "Homemade stitches?"
"Dad…" started Dean, eyes wary as he saw his father advance with the thread in one hand, "he needs drugs if he's gotta deal with that…"
"I don't want him chucking them up back and choking," John replied harshly, gesturing for Bobby to move the towels, "get something for him to bite on, hurry."
Sam moaned as Dean released his shaky grip, pulling at the battered belt on his jeans. He folded it half, pressing it gently into his mouth. Sam obliged, confusion threading through his face until he glanced up, spotting the needle in his father's fingers.
His eyes flashed in horror as he shook his head, gripping on Dean's sleeve as he tried to pull away from the other men.
"Look, Sammy, its O.K. I promise this won't hurt like it did last time. Trust me," he said softly, voice straining as he gingerly moved his brother back down, careful to avoid jostle the injured arm. He put an arm around Sam's head, reclaiming his grip on the thin, sweaty palm, bracing himself for the inevitable pain that was about to attack his own hand.
John let out a slow breath as he dug the needle into his son's inflamed skin, Bobby removing dirt and shrapnel with a small pair tweezers as he went, glancing up as no reaction came. He watched in awe as Sam stared intently up at his brother, shaking as he bit into the belt, harnessing his cries as he breathed heavily through his nose, nostrils flaring. But no sound. Not a moan, or a whimper, or a grunt. Grown men would be screaming at this, but a thirteen year old kid was coping? That was just messed up.
It took a couple of hours for John to stitch up the first three lines – that was no surprise; they stretched from under his armpit all the way down to his hip, and it was dumb luck the beast hadn't clawed into his lungs, and that the kid hadn't completely bled out – and Sam had barely pierced the agonizing silence, only once to wordlessly beg for a break when the pain caused him to spasm in Dean's grip.
But when John cursed under his breath just as he was about to close the final line, Bobby knew his night was far from over.
"What?" he sighed, inspecting Sam's other injuries. Luckily, all that was there were a few scratches, purple bruises shading his chest, face and side, the odd splinter here and there. He glanced up at his face, his eyes drooping, head nodding despite the pain. The kid was exhausted; he'd managed to sit up since John had stopped stitching, leaning heavily into Dean's hold, barely keeping his eyes open. Damn, he better not have a concussion… "I said 'what', John. Answer me, dammit!"
"There's…" he hesitated, swallowing as he met Bobby's gaze. "A part claw is still in there."
All three stared down at him, mouths open.
"Wh-what?" croaked Sam, breath hitching in fear.
"I gotta get that thing out…"
No. This wasn't right. The kid had been a werewolf's scratching post, tossed around a forest, had almost been bled dry… It was too much.
"Get a grip, Winchester," snapped Bobby; rising to his feet to glare at his friend, "the kid needs a hospital. Now. He's stable, he'll manage the journey-"
"I can't, Bobby."
"For Christ's sake! Your kid needs help, John. If those stitches get infected, or if he's got a concussion-"
"He doesn't have a concussion-"
"If he's got a concussion, things could get real nasty," Bobby seethed, looming over John who still sat beside Sam, poking at his flesh as he analyzed the wound. He suddenly snapped his head around, as if smoke was billowing from his ears.
"We can't go to a fucking hospital!"
The pair stood face to face on opposite ends of the room, the tension a thin sheet of ice over a dark, bottomless lake. John turned on Bobby, fists clenched, veins standing out on his head. For someone who didn't know John Winchester, they would've thought this was the extent of his anger. But Bobby knew this was just the beginning, and the man was doing well to not be punching walls and breaking doors.
"John, what the hell is going on?"
John glanced at Dean momentarily, who still crouched on the ground beside Sam, trying to transfer every word or form apology he could in his gaze.
If even Dean didn't know, it couldn't be good.
It was the next three letters that explained it all.
"CPS. If they see Sammy like this, and with our medical histories, it won't take long for them to jump to conclusions and they'll both be ripped away from us."
Silence tore through the house. Sam gagged, a strangled cry emitting from deep in his chest as he had to roll onto his bad side. Dean propped him up, rubbing his back, whispering assuring words into his ear as he kept the other hand on his brother's chest.
Bobby gaped at him, eyes searching for a sign that it was just an excuse, a feeble, sick excuse not to have to take his sons to a hospital. But he could see he was telling the truth.
"Child Protective Services?" whispered Bobby. John nodded, avoiding Dean's eye.
"We're practically front page news after our last… visit," explained John, "the state that Dean was in suggested that I was an abusive parent. We had to hightail it outta there, kept a low profile for a few months. This is our first proper hunt in a long time."
So that explains the disappearing act.
"My God," said Bobby. This family functioned on dependence, dependence on each other and as a unit, and separation would only tear them apart, especially Dean…
Dean had remained quiet most the night, talking only to Sam and avoiding most eye contact with Bobby. But for him not to say a word after this? It wasn't… normal. Usually anything like this, any threat to himself or Sammy had him tearing the place apart. But all he did was gently lift Sam from the couch, apologizing profoundly as the youngest hissed slightly, before pulling the kid against his chest with one arm.
And he spoke the first audible words he had all night.
"I will not leave you, Sammy. No one's taking you away from me, I swear to God."
Bobby sat in the dark kitchen, watching the brothers in the living room. After removing the piece of claw still stuck in Sam, though a small part it had been, he'd collapsed completely, staying awake long enough to take some medication and beg Dean not to leave him. After the initial "Holy shit it's a concussion" panic, they soon decided it was due to exhaustion and pain and they left Dean to do what he did best; take care of his Sammy. He took another swig of his whisky, draining the glass and poured another.
Dean hadn't spoken since. He hadn't spoken when they'd popped Sam's shoulder back into place, or when, during the argument about finding a local doctor that would help, or when John had resorted to swiping books from tables in frustration of Bobby's "obsession with control". He sat there now, Sam's head in his lap fast asleep, staring hauntingly into a space, running a hand through his brother's damp hair. He felt guilty about something, but there was so much it could be. Too much for a seventeen year old…
John sauntered into the kitchen, the back door slamming behind him. He'd vanished outside over an hour ago, to do what he had no idea. Bobby didn't look up as John leaned against the counter behind him, watching the boys with a quiet intensity.
"I called a pediatrician," Bobby told him, holding up a hand as John started to protest. "Don't worry, he's a good friend. Hunter. He lives 'bout a night's drive away, said he'd set off soon. I'm worried about Sam's fever, even with the antibiotics I've given him. The stitches are a bit red around the edges, but they shouldn't be too bad." He was met with silence. He sighed, turning to look at his friend. "John, you even list-"
He frowned as he saw the expression on John's face; a well worn, puppy –dog look that he wore every time he planned on…
"John… No, you wouldn't…"
The eldest Winchester sidestepped the two duffle bags at his feet, one each belonging to his sons, as he headed to the door that separated the living room and the kitchen. He paused before shutting the door, smiling fondly before clicking it shut. "Not for too long."
Bobby slammed his glass to the table, shaking his head. "What the Hell is wrong with you, John? You can't just get up and walk out when you want to- they're your damn sons, for Christ's sake! You have a duty of care-"
'I have a duty to protect people-"
"Including your sons!"
"I have to get rid of this monster, Bobby. It hurt my boys, and I have to end it."
"And you will. All three of you. If you go now, and leave these two behind, they'll think you're punishing them for getting hurt."
"I'm not. They're in no shape to be hunting a werewolf, 'specially a smart sonnuvabitch like this. Dean should be punished anyway. This is his fault. Anyway, I can't risk either of them getting any more injuries. If any official finds them like this, that's it. They'll be in the foster care system, and I'll never get them out. They'll be torn to pieces if they're separated."
"Are you freakin' kidding me?"
"Sam did good tonight. Real good. Saved his brother from being ripped to shreds-" he cut his sentence short, laughing darkly as he headed to the door back door again. "Dean's injured. Check him out for me, would ya? I'll be back in a week. He needs time to think about this, about what he did. We can't afford mistakes in this life."
"You're unbelievable, John. Whatever happened, it's never Dean's fault. He would rather twist his own neck with bare hands than ever see Sammy get hurt and you know it. You're being selfish, Winchester. You're so caught up in having revenge on everything that's ever been a threat to you and your sons, you're driving yourself crazy. You're addicted to danger. "
"Well, maybe if you'd kept tabs on all the supernatural in your area instead of trying to be everyone's mentor we wouldn't have had to come here in the first place," John snarled.
Bobby stared in disbelief, gaping at the man in front of him. What the hell had changed in this guy?
"Get out of my house, Winchester. Go play superhero instead of being a good dad. I guess I'll have to be your kids' father again," he hissed, with no patience for John's feeble retaliations. "I said get the hell out!"
John winced as he opened the door, kicking both bags towards Bobby.
Bobby stormed to the living room, ignoring Dean's shocked expression as he pushed the coffee table towards the couch, swinging his homemade first aid kit onto the wood with an echoing slam.
"You shouldn't have tried to hide it from me, kid," whispered Bobby, gently tapping Sam's cheek to wake him up.
"Hey, what the hell-"protested Dean, pulling a protective arm around his brother.
"Cut it out, Dean. I don't need two kids in my house with infected wounds," he sighed, helping Sam into an upright position next to his brother, "just hold your arm across your chest, it won't hurt so much."
Sam looked at him through crusty eyes, shoulders drooping as he sat.
"Dean hurt?" he croaked at Bobby, staring accusingly at Dean.
"Come on Sam, me? I'm freakin' tungsten…"
"Shut up, Dean," they said in unison.
Bobby chuckled warmly, smiling as Sam laughed at Dean's sour expression, cursing under his breath.
"This ain't nothin' compared to what you got, Sammy," Dean said, lifting his left leg onto the coffee table.
Bobby rolled up the leg of his pants, tutting as he assessed the dirty, bloody cut on his leg.
Sam squinted at it and scowled. "If that get's all rank… and green you can forget 'bout sleeping in our r'm t'night."
Bobby winked at him as Dean stuttered over his retaliation. "You might have left this one a bit late tough guy. Your leg's gonna be a stump of bad cheese pretty soon."
"Ha-freakin'-ha," he muttered, watching closely as Bobby dabbed at the wound with a cloth. "How you feelin', Sammy?'
"Yeah, sure," winced Dean as the disinfectant soaked into his skin, "You got about two hundred stitches and was a werewolf's rag doll for a few minutes."
"Just tired," Sam yawned, almost toppling over onto his bad side as he toppled off balance.
Dean frowned, pulling the kid to his side. "Well you can't sleep for five minutes or so. In case you got a concussion, y'know?"
"Wait, so you're gonna keep wakin' me up to see if I got big pupils?"
"Even if my pupils are blown I'll alw's be hotter th'n you."
"Boys," Bobby warned, closely inspecting the cut on Dean's leg, "well, you ain't gonna die. Or need stitches actually, just a clean bandage and a clean leg. And the reason you were limping- yes, I saw that –doesn't seem to be a sprained ankle, just twisted… so no cheerleading for a while, 'kay sweetheart?"
Sam's laughter boomed across the house, only stopping as he hissed in pain, side burning as the movement pulled at his stitches.
"Hey hey hey, take it easy there runt," said Dean, rubbing circles on his back as the kid gagged on the pain. He put a hand on his forehead, frowning slightly. "Getting a little warm there, buddy. You catch some shuteye, okay?"
Sam nodded feebly, eagerly reaching for the glass of water Bobby handed to him from the table, sipping slowly as he tested his gag reflex. He drained the glass, sitting back onto the couch and was instantly asleep.
Dean smiled as he watched, a light laugh illuminating his face. He turned back to Bobby, expression grave again.
"Dad's gone, hasn't he?" he said, chewing on his thumbnail.
"Gone to finish off the werewolf before the full moon ends," Bobby explained, refusing to look Dean in the eye as he wrapped the white bandage around Dean's calf.
"Wish I coulda finished the bastard off."
Bobby raised his eyebrows, gesturing towards his ankle. "With that baby sprained you ain't goin' after nothin' for a good few days."
Silence crossed the house again.
"Dad was right," whispered Dean, staring at the floor, "it was all my fault. If I'd jus-"
"Stop it Dean, don't even go there."
"But even Dad…."
"Well your daddy's about as honest as a president, he doesn't know what the hell he's talkin' about."
"But he got hurt trying to save me… The bastard thing was coming right at me. I was on the ground, gun freakin' miles away, and Sam threw a rock at it. A rock. He was trying to make it go after him 'stead of me, and it fucking worked, Bobby. It tore into him like he was nothing. And I heard him scream… He could have died because of me."
Bobby clenched his fists, heart tearing as he monitored Dean's expression fall from angry, to guilty, to downright ripped apart.
"Well John Winchester is the biggest dumbass on the planet. Have you thought where he was when all of this was going down? I suppose he left you behind for your own 'safety', did he? Or as harmless bait? Lemme guess, just as Sam was about to become human sushi your daddy came bursting through the trees, waving his silver knife around like some crap version of Batman?"
"You don't think… Us? Bait?"
"Well, maybe not bait-bait as such, but… But with you two there he knew this werewolf was gonna be nearby, didn't he?"
"He was protecting some campers," Dean said suspiciously, watching Bobby closely.
"Well either way, he ain't been such a good dad, has he?"
Bobby regretted his words immediately as Dean's jaw set, his hands flexed, his muscles tightened. He looked all about ready to punch him right in the kisser until Sam mumbled something in his sleep and fall sideways into Dean, head landing on his shoulder. Dean winced, and Bobby remembered an old conversation they'd had about "Chick Flick Moments", but instinct took over as he put an arm around his brother, tucking him into his side.
"But you," Bobby continued after Dean made no move to defend his father, "You're a great dad to Sammy. You're a better dad than any other real dad I've ever come across. You're what they all want to be to their sons; a role model, a best friend and the best damn brother any kid could ever want."
Dean looked at Bobby carefully, studying his face for any sign of deceit, and smiled as he relished in the honesty of the statement.
"Thanks, Bobby," he smiled, looking down at Sam proudly, yawning as the thought of sleep caught on. "D'you think Sammy'll be ok?"
Bobby stood. "With his big brother with him, he'll always be okay."
Dean grinned, sinking into the couch and tugging the blanket from the armrest onto his brother, pulling Sam closer as he closed his eyes, the guilt finally at bay for at least one night.
"Y'know Bobby, you don't make such a bad dad either. Fact is, you're running a damn good race for Sam's List of Possible Replacement Fathers," he chuckled, briefly releasing his grip on his brother as he readjusted his position.
The older man smiled as he watched, walking to the door. "Thanks, kid."
"G'night, Bobby," he mumbled, head lolling to rest on his brother's as sleep overcame him.
Bobby smiled as he paused at the door to look back. He made sure the scene was forever etched into his mind before switching off the light.
Rufus's little drama could wait a couple days; Bobby had two kids to father.
So what did you think? I know you're all probably laughing at my medical stuff, and how Sam could survive something like this, but hell, it's fiction, . I honestly hope you enjoyed it, I'm still getting used to the whole website thing, so don't be too mean on reviews, :') thanks for reading!