Here's the epilogue. Thanks for reading and reviewing everyone. ErisandDysnomia I don't think it was anything specific, just that what Meg did threw doubt and confusion on his previous experiences.
Two months later.
Bobby had tried everything to get the boys back to South Dakota. He'd begged Dean. But there was always something else to do. A hunt, a hunch to follow, an errand that took them to the other side of the country. He knew they were avoiding him. Well, not him exactly, but the subject he was bound to raise.
Ellen had been shaky the morning he'd visited. When she saw him walk in she'd chased Ash out of the room, poured Bobby a half a tumbler of whiskey and asked.
"Is he ok?"
"Is who ok?" He'd replied. Like a prize idiot.
It takes nine weeks of fretting before they show up at his door. Finally.
He's been working on a car, a normal, non supernatural, activity for once. When the impala rumbles up the drive.
Dean exits the car first and just stands there, like he's scared if he approaches Bobby he'll get punched. Then Sam gets out. He's lost weight, his shoulder's hunched, head down. He just stands there looking at Dean then glancing at Bobby then quickly down at his nervously jogging foot.
Bobby approaches them and the first thing he does is hug Dean, who looks like he's about to faint in terror.
"Don't look at me like that boy! I aint gonna eat ya! " He tells him, giving him a slap upside the head for good measure. Dean smiles, it doesn't reach his eyes.
Bobby turns to Sam, who is standing the other side of the Impala, as though the car is a shield of some sort. He's eyeing Bobby doubtfully. Bobby knows why.
You wanna know if I'll look at you different now huh Sammy?
He sighs and walks over to him.
"What? No hello for your uncle Bobby?" He teases, pulling the boy into a hug, pretending not to notice that he flinches and stiffens in his arms.
"Well?" He asks them. "What you waiting for? Get your asses inside and get settled. I'll follow you in soon as I'm done here."
He gives them ten minutes to get their shit unpacked and makes his way inside. He sees yet another message on his cell from Jim Farley . The guy's been investigating Wandell's death, he knows Bobby is close with the Winchesters and would very much like to speak to Sam. Fat chance.
Bobby's pretty certain that the hunting community has accepted that Sam was possessed. But that didn't mean there weren't some fucking morons out there who'd still want to take it up with him.
He puts them in the spare room. Falling asleep easily for the first time in weeks. They're back under my roof, safe.
He wakes up in the early hours, it's still dark outside and he can see the full moon glinting. There's a sound from downstairs. He takes his rifle from under the bed and creeps down the hallway. Sneaking a look into the spare room as he goes. Sam's bed is empty. Kid must be up and about still.
Dean is asleep, fully clothed and half propped up against the headboard, a revolver beside his hand. Ready for anything. He wonder's how long it's been since Dean got a real nights sleep.
"Shit!" Bobby breathes. He skillfully flicks the safety on, and takes the gun away without waking him. Then he takes the boy's shoes off one at a time, re-positions him comfortably and pulls a blanket over him. Dean moans in his sleep.
"Shhhh! Its ok kid I got it." He tells the sleeping form of the man he considers a son. Stand down soldier. The battle's over.
Sam is awake, watching TV on mute in the dark. Sam's eyes are glued to the screen. The blue light throwing his face into stark relief. He notes the kid's concave cheeks. Shit. He really has lost weight.
He looks up with a start when he hears Bobby walk in.
"Couldn't sleep huh?" Sam nods.
"You want a beer kid?" Bobby asks.
"Yeah." He looks up with a forced smile. "Yeah thanks Bobby."
Bobby doesn't try and talk to him. He just hands him a cold one and they kick back and watch a re - run of the game. This seems to please Sam and he loosens up some and even gets a little animated over the action on-screen.
Bobby watches him surreptitiously. The way he curls his arms around himself, he never used to do that, or worry his lip either. Kid's fingernails are bitten to the quick. He picks at some twine around his wrist constantly. Bobby wishes he could get his hands on the demon again, just one time.
Sam's fiddling with that twine again and Bobby realises , with a jolt. That it's one of the anti possession charms he gave them . Sam has tied it to his wrist.
The boy startles, gulping down fear.
"You keep that on you all the time?" He points at Sam's wrist.
"Y... Yeah. I do." Sam mumbles. Suddenly ducking his head so that damn mop of hair covers his eyes.
"You know..." Says Bobby " A lot of people who've been possessed... Who've survived being possessed, find they don't feel secure enough with just a charm."
"Oh...Ok." Sam whispers. Drinking his beer like he isn't falling apart inside.
"Some of them get a more permanent soulution...Like a tattoo." Bobby explains. "Now most of them will never need it, but It makes them feel safer. Added insurance. You get me?"
"Y..yeah...I do. Thanks Bobby." He sounds genuine. Bobby can see him breath a sigh of relief out if the corner of his eye.
They watch the game. Say nothing for a while. Then he pipes up.
"I...Um...I do, you know... Worry."
"What do you mean?" Asks Bobby.
"About her coming back. They'll often come back to the same vessel... If they're still alive."
"That's true. But I don't think you need to worry."
"No?" Sam looks over at him then. Incredulous.
"Nah... Meg had a type. Young women in their early twenties. She took you took to make a point. But I doubt she'll be back. Demons tend to stick to type, can't resist their fetishes."
"I've been thinking about her." Sam says quietly.
"Meg?" Asks Bobby. Saying the name like a curse.
"No! Not her... The girl... The one she was riding."
Bobby swallows thickly. He feels nauseous.
"I...I guess I wonder soemtimes... What she was thinking while Meg was ...Y' know. What kind of person she was." Sam continues.
"Well." Says Bobby. "She was probably a good kid. Just going about her business like everyone else. Just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.'
Sam gulps down some beer. He nods stiffly. "I guess you're right."
"It's too bad."
They sit in silence, each waiting for the other to speak . Sam starts to fidget. Bobby looks up to find that he's staring at him with the saddest freakin' look on his face.
"Kid?" He asks softly.
"Bobby." Sam says, his voice breaking. "I...I can't ask Dean but..." He cuts himself off, like he regrets saying anything.
"But what Sam? It's ok you can tell me son."
"Bobby do you think Dad's really in Hell?" It comes out in a rush. Bobby hadn't been expecting that.
"Sam" Bobby sighs. "Demons..."
"Lie" Sam finished for him "Yeah I know that, but do you think she was lying?"
"Sam..." Bobby wants to sugar coat it but Sam never could tolerate being lied to ."I...I don't know."
Sam nods his head like this confirms all his worst fears and rubs his sleeve over his eyes.
Bobby sits there in silent shock for a few seconds. Wishing Sam hadn't asked him that question outright. He knew in his heart that it was true. So did Dean, and that tore him up inside. But he had hoped to keep Sam uncertain a little longer. To protect him.
Yeah, and a fine job you've done of that.
He should have been told God dammit! He should have been there for his boys! As it was little Jo had been forced to handle it , and he had to admit she and Dean had done good. Sam was alive after all.
But truth was, he was still angry that Dean hadn't told him. Bunch of kids shouldn't have to deal with something like that. Ever... Especially not a kid like Sam.
"You know he used to call you "Serious George?" He blurts out.
Sam stares at him like he's just sprouted wings. "What?"
"John... That was his nickname for you when you were a baby. On account of the big deep eyes and the very rare occasions of laughter."
Sam chuckles then. "I...I don't remember that."
"You wouldn't, you were tiny. I remember he had to stop 'cause Dean would get upset." He mimicks a small childs voice. "His names not George! It's Sammy!"
Sam snorts. But he's smiling. The sight warms Bobby's heart.
''Quiet, but stubborn as hell, like your dad."
Sam's eyes darken at that.
Bobby takes a swig of beer. "I worry sometimes that I didn't give you enough attention, I was so focused on giving Dean some semblance of a childhood..."
"Bobby..." Sam sighs. "You... Don't... Just don't."
"No really. You know you were such a quiet little thing, I forgot you were there sometimes. You didn't laugh much but you never cried much either, unless your brother left your side. Sensitive kid, took everything to heart, but you kept it inside... You know that's why she chose to you to torture right?"
Torture. He can't bring himself to say the other word.
Sam nods, he can't speak. He bites his lip hard and starts peeling the label off his beer bottle. He turns in his chair so he's facing the window.
"You know he always said he'd haunt my ass for all eternity if he died I let anything happen to you boys."
He hears what might be a laugh or a sob.
"And I let you down. I should have known better after all the exorcisms I've been a party to. I should have kept you at the house and made sure..."
"No!" Chokes Sam. "Not your fault." He sniffs loudly and wipes his nose on his sleeve. "No one's fault." He concludes.
Poor kid. John would have died. When Sam was small sometimes he'd catch John staring at him with this worried look. He was always afraid something would happen to this innocent little thing he was carrying around with him in this dangerous world. It was the reason he'd been so against Sam leaving for Stanford.
"Anything could happen out there Singer! And without Dean or Me to protect him!" He'd ranted, when Bobby had tried to get him to think like a sane person.
John had loved his boys fiercely but he'd been a lousy father. It had always been Dean who kissed the boo boos, beat up the bullies and mended the broken hearts over the years. With John hanging back a distant second.
Bobby's heart broke for both of them. Sam and Dean. An injury to Sam always hurt Dean twice as much. In fact, sometimes he thought it was the only way to hurt Dean. The kid put up such a front.
"You're right Sam. No one's fault Including yours, you know that right?"
When Sam doesn't reply Bobby reaches over and grabs his arm.
"You know that don't you Sam? That nothing that happened from the moment that bitch jumped you was your fault?"
Sam turns to him with those same sad eyes that had bemused his father all those years ago.
"I know..." He says. "I know logically but sometimes it feels..." He doesn't finish the sentence. Letting it hang in the air between them.
"The thing is Bobby... What... You know if what she said was true and Dad is down there then..." He wipes his eyes again trying to hide the tremors in his hands.
"What do you mean Sam?" Asks Bobby, observing the quiet breakdown with a combination of fear and sorrow.
"What if she tells him?" He sounds like a frightened child.
"Sam." Says Bobby gently. "You know John would have been heartbroken... 'Cause someone hurt his baby. Nothing else. "
Sam hides his eyes in the crook of his elbow and shakes his head. "You don't know that." He whispers. "He was always disappointed in me."
"Never!" Bobby says stridently. "Not even for a moment. He loved you boy! He was as proud of you as a father could be. Of your brother too. He told me once that he didn't know how you two grew up so good with him never being around."
"I guess it was you then." Sam smiled sadly.
"Me?" Asked Bobby nonplussed.
"The reason we grew up good." Sam says with a twinkle in his eye. "Well the reason I grew up good. Dean on the other hand..."
Bobby laughs at that.
"We'd better not laugh to loud, we'll walks him." Says Sam. "He needs to sleep... He's been kind of an insomniac lately. Sleeps sitting up with a gun across his lap. "
And there it is. Thinks Bobby. One sleep deprived, half starved, walking-wounded kid worrying about another.
"He's not the only one who needs sleep Sam." Bobby tells him in an admonishing tone. He turns of the TV and turns on a dim lamp. "Why don't you lie down on the couch?" To his surprise Sam doesn't ague and does what he's told. Then he remembers that Sam always was good when it came to bedtime. He quietly covers him with an old rug thats sits by the armchair. Then sits down and opens a book.
"You not going to bed Bobby?" Sam asks quietly. Already on the edge of sleep.
"Nah son. I'm catchin' up on my research, don't you worry about me."
Bobby doesn't read much that night. He's too tired. But that's ok. Sometimes you stay up and listen out so other people don't have to. It's just one of those things you do for family.