Summary: Pizza Pie 'verse – 4-year old Hurt Sam, 8-year old Big Brother Dean, Awesome Uncle Bobby, Grumpy Daddy John, Puppy Rumsfeld – Before midnight, John was going to listen. Because Bobby wasn't going to stand by and let a new year begin with old habits. The boys deserved better. And John needed to wake up before his unintentional negligence led to one of his kids getting hurt.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Warnings: Just the usual language...
A/N: Happy (belated) New Year!
What do I stand for? Most nights, I don't know anymore. ~ Fun.
"Did you hear me?" John prompted impatiently, sitting at the table and staring expectantly at Bobby as the older hunter poured coffee into his blue mug with the word BOSS boldly printed on its side.
A mug that Karen had teasingly given him about a month before she had died.
A mug he drank from every morning because it made him smile at the inside joke that still lingered even today.
A mug he had washed by hand ever since her death to ensure nothing happened to it.
Bobby glanced at John, not surprised to see the younger hunter scowling at him. "Yeah, I heard you," he returned dryly, standing at the kitchen counter and inhaling the rich aroma of the freshly brewed coffee filling his cup.
God bless caffeine.
John waited – one hand around his own coffee mug while the elbow of his other arm rested casually on the back of his chair – and then narrowed his eyes at Bobby when it seemed no further answer was forthcoming. "Well...?" he asked irritably.
Bobby shrugged, placing the coffee pot back inside its perch in the coffee maker and turning to lean against the counter, sipping from his mug before he spoke. "It's still the holidays, John," he pointed out in response to John's earlier question about a case; the same case the young hunter had asked about when he had first arrived at Singer Salvage the day before Christmas.
"It's New Year's Eve!" Sam added excitedly around his mouthful of cereal, as if he had a clue what that actually meant beyond getting to stay up late that night.
John sipped his coffee and rolled his eyes, not giving a damn what day it was; feeling restless and wanting to get back on the road now that his youngest was finally on the mend from the nasty chest cold the kid had caught a week ago.
Bobby ignored John's response and instead nodded at Sam. "That's right," he agreed with the pajama-clad four-year old and smiled as Sam leaned over in his chair to rub Rumsfeld's head as the puppy nuzzled the kid's sock-covered feet that swung back and forth under the table.
"Sam..." Dean called quietly and shook his head when his little brother looked at him; his tone warning the kid to eat, not play with the dog while his expression warned his brother to not speak again – the eight-year old seeming to sense the impending argument between John and Bobby and wanting to keep Sam quiet and out of the line of fire.
Sam frowned but sat up straighter in his chair, nervously glancing between his dad and his uncle before glancing back at Dean.
Dean smiled encouragingly and patted his brother's back. "Eat up," he told the four-year old as he gestured to the cereal quickly becoming soggy in the bowl. "If you don't eat your breakfast, you can't play outside," he commented casually, knowing the reminder of that deal-breaker would distract his brother from the mounting tension in the kitchen.
Sam's eyes widened at the potential threat; having been stuck in the house for the past week with congestion and fever and a chest-rattling cough and now desperately wanting to go outside like Dean had promised earlier when he had asked his brother even before he had gotten out of bed that morning.
"But I'm better," Sam insisted, although his voice was still a little hoarse and his cough a little stubborn to leave.
"I know," Dean agreed, thankful that statement was mostly true. "But a deal's a deal, Sammy. No breakfast, no parole."
Crossing from the kitchen counter to the table, Bobby chuckled quietly at Dean's description, as though Sam had been serving time in prison for the past week.
Of course to a sick four-year old who had primarily stayed in bed during that time, it had probably felt that way...even though the kid had enjoyed plenty of attention from his big brother and new puppy.
"And I think Rummy really wants to play with that Frisbee..." Dean added, further enticing his brother and glancing over his shoulder at the red plastic disc that had been waiting by the backdoor all week in preparation for a kid who finally felt well enough to truly play with a rambunctious puppy.
Sam followed Dean's gaze, eager to play with the Frisbee even though he had never thrown one before. "Do you think Rummy will really fetch it?"
"I don't know," Dean admitted, glancing at the puppy still roaming around beneath the table. "But Bobby dug it out just for you," he further commented about the Frisbee and winked at his little brother when Sam beamed at him.
Sam then turned his attention to Bobby.
"You heard him," Bobby confirmed to the four-year old as he settled in his chair at the table; having forgotten to buy actual dog toys when he had first brought Rumsfeld home and figuring the old Frisbee would suffice until he could get back to town.
"It's from Boca Raton," Dean told his brother, and Sam tilted his head.
"Wow," the four-year old breathed, clearly having no idea where that actually was but being impressed just the same.
John sipped his coffee before lowering his mug and glancing over his shoulder at the plastic disc receiving so much discussion, curious about its origin. "Where did a hunter like you even get a Frisbee from Boca Raton?"
Bobby arched an eyebrow at the snarky tone; having seen John's expression when the younger hunter had first read the faded white letters on the Frisbee earlier in the week and feeling amused that John was just now getting around to asking that question.
"I wasn't always a hunter," Bobby vaguely replied and quirked a fond smile at the memory of that summer he and Karen had escaped to Florida on a whim just for the hell of it.
Just to live in the moment; just to soak up the sun and to laugh when the residents and other vacationers of the affluent area had stared at them like they didn't belong.
"I don't think they like us here," Bobby had commented back then as they had lounged by the pool one afternoon.
Karen had followed his gaze to the gawkers on the opposite side of the pool. "Eh. Screw 'em," she had responded with a shrug and had grinned her delight in making others uncomfortable.
Bobby had chuckled. "You she-devil, you..."
Karen had laughed at his description of her as she had leaned over from her chair and had kissed him; had literally given him a taste of what would come later that evening.
But that had been years ago.
Bobby sighed and shook his head to scatter the memory, instead refocusing on the kids and their father sitting at his table.
"So, what about that case?" John asked, holding his mug between his hands as he leaned forward and rested his elbows on the table's scratched surface.
Bobby glared at John's tenacity. "What about it?" he returned as he sipped his own coffee – both men having favored a caffeine-only breakfast that morning because they were running low on food...and it was more important that the boys ate.
John glared back. "Bobby..."
Dean sighed at the growled name – hating what was coming – and meaningfully tapped the edge of Sam's cereal bowl with his own spoon as he continued to sit beside his brother; narrowing his eyes as the kid was once again leaning over in his chair to play with Rumsfeld.
At the sound of spoon against bowl, Sam paused mid-rub – his small hand hovering over the puppy's head – and glanced at Dean...then back at his bowl, wrinkling his nose at the soggy mess floating in the sugary milk.
Dean arched an eyebrow.
Sam sighed but obediently sat up and began eating again.
Dean nodded his approval and did the same; barely tasting his own cereal as he kept one eye on the approaching verbal storm brewing at both ends of the table and the other eye on his brother.
But Sam seemed oblivious to the argument about to break loose and proceeded to eat his cereal without complaint, continuing to happily swing his legs back and forth; his feet within inches of Rumsfeld's head as the puppy collapsed in a pudgy heap under the kid's chair.
There was an awkward beat of silence; only the sounds of spoons clinking against bowls and the squeak of Sam's chair as he swung his legs.
Back and forth...back and forth.
Squeak, squeak, squeak.
The repetitive sound grating on John's already frayed nerves.
Back and forth...back and forth.
Squeak, squeak, squeak.
"Sam!" John barked; his tone low as he cut his eyes at his youngest. "Enough!"
Sam blinked at his father in response – startled and confused as to what he had done to deserve being yelled at – and then glanced at Dean for explanation as his brother pressed his foot against Sam's swinging legs in silent command to stop...now.
Delayed realization lit in Sam's eyes, and he squirmed in his chair. "Sorry," the four-year old offered shyly to John and then glanced again at Dean. "Sorry," he repeated suddenly on the verge of tears; lingering sickness and fatigue making him more sensitive than usual.
"It's okay," Dean assured quietly but kept his foot against Sam's legs as a reminder not to make any noise that would further irritate their already moody father.
Sam nodded, blinking against the tears and bravely twitching a small smile at his brother.
Because if Dean said it was okay...then it was.
Dean winked and then nodded at Sam's cereal.
Sam sighed shakily and began eating again.
Bobby clenched his jaw as he watched the interaction; the four-year old's misty eyes having only served to further piss him off in regards to John's temper.
Because if the kid had finally felt well enough to not only sit at the table but to also expend extra energy by swinging his legs, then let him.
Bobby sighed harshly before taking another sip of coffee, wishing he had made it Irish.
Because if anybody ever made Bobby want to drink, it was John Winchester.
"Bobby..." John began again, staring intently at the older hunter at the opposite end of the table. "I need an answer."
"I gave you an answer," Bobby evenly responded, not in the mood to deal with John's increasingly pissy attitude.
John narrowed his eyes.
"It's still the holidays," Bobby repeated, reminding John once again as he had done when they had first started this conversation.
John snorted. "So?" he countered, clearly tired of Bobby using that excuse to stall progress on a hunt.
Bobby glared as he set his coffee mug on the table. "So, I think the case can wait a couple more days."
John shook his head, nonverbally rejecting that suggestion. "Well, I don't," he further disputed and then paused. "Did you call Jim?"
It was Bobby's turn to sigh.
"Did you?" John pressed.
"Yeah," Bobby reluctantly replied.
"And...?" John impatiently prompted.
"Is he comin' to see us?" Sam asked suddenly; the four-year old's hurt feelings instantly forgotten at the mention of Jim's name; the kid always eager to see the Pastor, especially since their circle of friends and family was so incredibly tiny.
"No," Dean answered before either man could; the eight-year old having known John hadn't requested Bobby to call Jim for social reasons. "Not this trip."
"Oh," Sam replied, disappointment in his tone and expression. "He could meet Rummy if he came to see us," he added hopefully, glancing down at the black and tan puppy under his chair.
"He'll meet Rummy some other time," Dean assured and then nodded at the untouched glass sitting inches from where Sam's small hand rested on the table. "Drink your milk."
Sam wrinkled his nose. "There's milk in the cereal," he logically pointed out and gestured toward the now empty bowl.
Dean snorted at his smart little brother and then shrugged. "Fine," he allowed. "Guess I'll just be playin' with Rumsfeld outside by myself..."
Sam's eyes widened, but he said nothing more as he reached for his glass.
Dean quirked a satisfied smile and glanced at John.
John offered a brief nod of approval of Dean's handling of his brother and then redirected his attention to Bobby still sitting at the opposite end of the table. "What did Jim say when you called?"
"Didn't talk to him," Bobby informed, leaning back in his chair. "Left a message."
"And he hasn't called back?"
Bobby shook his head. "Nope."
John narrowed his eyes in further annoyance at no one seeming to take their jobs seriously anymore. "What the hell?"
"It's the holidays, and he's a preacher," Bobby dryly explained before pausing. "You figure it out."
John scowled at the implication that Jim was too busy right now to help him with this case...and Bobby was obviously too disinterested to give a shit either way. "What the hell's with you, Singer?"
Bobby arched an eyebrow at the challenge. "Could ask you the same," he returned; his laid back demeanor giving no hint of the heat of anger slowly burning through his veins. "It's the holidays, John. The one time of year when even you should be able to get your head out of your ass long enough to appreciate what you've got."
Bobby paused, glancing meaningfully at the two kids sitting together at the side of the table; Dean intently watching and listening to the conversation while Sam slurped his milk, only the kid's large eyes visible over the rim of the upturned cup.
John followed Bobby's gaze and then snapped his attention back to the older hunter; freshly annoyed at being so blatantly called out in front of his kids.
Freshly angered that despite still having his boys, the holidays had done nothing but royally suck since Mary had died.
Freshly pissed that his life – that their lives – fucking sucked.
Every single day fucking sucked.
And the only way John knew how to fix that, how to get revenge for that was to pursue the hunt, was to chase after whatever had killed Mary...and then make that sonuvabitch pay whenever he finally caught it.
And he would catch it eventually.
Why didn't anyone understand that?
Out of everyone, Bobby should.
But the older hunter didn't seem to...and it only served to further piss John off.
John clenched his jaw as rage swelled within; the pressure pushing against his ribcage and feeling as if his chest would literally explode.
"Fuck you, Singer," John spat sharply and promptly stood; his chair noisily scraping against the hardwood floor as he roughly pushed back from the table and left the kitchen without another word.
The backdoor slammed as John stormed out of the house, causing Rumsfeld to bark twice before once again settling under Sam's chair.
There was silence after that.
Bobby sighed, offering a strained smile to the kids staring at him; Sam's eyes impossibly larger than before...and Dean's eyes impossibly old for his age.
After several seconds, Sam was the first to speak. "Daddy said a bad word," he needlessly pointed out.
Dean sighed but said nothing, clearly bothered that it certainly wasn't the first time his four-year old brother had heard that word out of their dad's mouth.
"Yeah, well..." Bobby began. "Your daddy makes Uncle Bobby want to say bad words, too."
Dean snorted while Sam set his empty glass on the table and looked confused by Bobby's statement.
Bobby chuckled and shook his head. "Never mind," he told the four-year old and then leaned forward in his seat, unable to resist the urge to wipe away the kid's milk moustache.
Sam giggled and then rubbed his own hand across his lips. "Thanks, Uncle Bobby."
"Don't mention it," Bobby replied and then winked at the kid. "Maybe one day you can pay me back when I'm too old and senile to wipe my mouth."
"Okay," Sam easily agreed, willing to do whatever Bobby needed both now...and later.
It unexpectedly warmed the old hunter's heart.
Sam turned to Dean, oblivious to the joy he had just given Bobby simply by being his sweet adorable self. "Can we go outside now?"
"In a minute..." Dean stalled and pushed back from the table, taking his bowl and Sam's with him to the sink before returning with his brother's medication from where he had brought it down earlier and had set it on the counter.
Sam wrinkled his nose. "Deeean. I don't wanna take that," he whined. "I'm better. I don't have a fever no more." He paused and lifted Dean's hand to his forehead. "See? I'm not hot."
Dean rolled his eyes. "Good for you," he returned dryly and ruffled the kid's floppy hair; the strands made even more disheveled by the way the four-year old had slept the night before. "But you're still taking this," he informed and expertly poured a dose of children's Tylenol into the small plastic cup.
Sam directed his attention to Bobby, batting his eyes. "Uncle Bobby..."
Bobby snorted at the four-year old's familiar ploy. "Don't look at me, squirt," he advised the kid and then nodded at Dean. "I think we both know who calls the shots with you."
Dean smiled and nodded proudly. "That's right, Sammy," he agreed, appropriately smug big brother shining in his tone and expression. "What I say goes. So drink up."
Sam sighed dramatically but accepted the medicine, downing the liquid with a grimace of distaste.
"Atta boy, kiddo," Dean praised his brother and patted Sam's back.
Sam's only response was to grab Dean's juice glass, since his own milk glass was empty, and take a big gulp to chase the medicine still coating his tongue and throat.
"Dude..." Dean admonished in mock disgust as he watched his brother. "That's my glass."
Sam held the juice in his mouth – his cheeks puffed out on both sides – and nodded, a hint of little brother mischief shining in his eyes.
Bobby chuckled at the boys' antics. "Alright, you two..." he called and stood, crossing to the sink with his coffee mug and glancing out the kitchen window at John lifting the Impala's hood.
Dean joined him, standing at Bobby's elbow. "The holidays are hard for Dad," he needlessly reported and shrugged when Bobby looked at him, knowing the statement was a lame, roundabout apology for the way John had acted...but not knowing what else to say to excuse his father's behavior.
Bobby held Dean's gaze, saddened that the eight-year old felt he had to justify his dad's words and actions.
"What about you?" Bobby countered quietly; glancing over his shoulder to make sure Sam wasn't listening to their conversation and smiling briefly at the sight of the four-year old now sprawled on the floor beneath the table with Rumsfeld. "The holidays are hard for you, too," he continued.
Dean shrugged, following Bobby's gaze. "I've got Sammy," he replied, his tone conveying that as long as he had his little brother, everything else was tolerable. "But Dad – "
" – has got both of you," Bobby reminded, keeping his tone gentle as he spoke to the well-meaning eight-year old even as he felt fresh anger burn under his skin.
Because John needed to wake up.
Dean nodded but said nothing, instead glancing out the window at John as his dad continued to lean under the Impala's hood.
Bobby sighed, trying to reign in his emotions; knowing it wasn't Dean's fault that John was an ass. The kid was only trying to defend his dad...because that's what good sons did.
Not that Bobby would know about that since he had always called a spade, a spade – and that had certainly applied to his own asshole father.
But Dean was a good kid trying to do the best he could by those he loved – both his dad and his little brother – and Bobby admired him, respected him for it.
John on the other hand...
Bobby sighed again and directed his attention out the window as well.
John did need to get his head out of his ass and appreciate what he had, especially with the New Year about to begin. What better resolution than to be a better father?
Bobby nodded in agreement with himself and then glanced at Dean, watching the kid as he continued to watch his father.
"Dad likes working on the Impala," Dean commented as he tracked John's path from the Chevy to the work table on the far side of the garage and then back again. "Seems to help sometimes." He paused. "And it's better than drinking..." he added more quietly.
Bobby swallowed at the implication and nodded, reminded once again of his own father and unable to stop himself from asking. "He never hits you, does he?"
Dean reacted as though Bobby had slapped him; visibly startling at the question and then scowling up at the older hunter. "No," he snapped, clearly offended that Bobby would even suggest that. "Never."
Bobby nodded, relieved that Dean wasn't secretly reliving his own childhood in that regard; the old hunter having lost count over the years of how many times he had been knocked around by his own drunk father.
Bobby cleared his throat. "What about Sam? Has he ever – "
" – I would kill him," Dean interrupted, not even allowing Bobby to finish the question and not batting an eye at making such a threat against his dad.
The eight-year old unflinchingly serious in his threat.
And strangely enough, Bobby believed him.
No one – not even John – harmed Sam, especially without answering to Dean.
And that was that.
Bobby nodded again. "Good," he replied simply and let the issue drop.
There was a beat of awkward silence, thankfully shattered by a four-year old's delighted laughter as Rumsfeld playfully tugged on the hem of Sam's pajama pants.
Bobby and Dean both turned in response and simultaneously smiled, exhaling and allowing the sound of Sam's giggles to wash away their shared tension.
"Make him stop!" Sam yelled, pointing at the puppy still tugging on his clothes even as he continued to laugh. "Rummy! Stop!"
Dean rolled his eyes. "Well, if you weren't on the floor, then you wouldn't have this problem."
Sam shrugged and then gasped as Rumsfeld actually tugged hard enough to jerk him backwards.
"Whoa!" Dean blurted and immediately crossed to his brother, ducking under the table and squatting beside the kid now sprawled on his back. "Hey. You okay?" he asked anxiously, pushing away the puppy as Rumsfeld abandoned Sam's leg and tried to lick Sam's face now that the kid was fully down.
"Rummy!" Bobby called and crisply snapped his fingers. "Cut it out, mutt. Get over here."
Rumsfeld glanced at Bobby.
Bobby narrowed his eyes at the dog's hesitation to obey. "I ain't sayin' it again," he warned.
Rumsfeld seemed to sigh, giving a final lick to Sam's face before slowly approaching Bobby and sitting beside the old hunter's leg.
"That's more like it," Bobby grumbled and then turned his attention the boys. "He okay?" he checked with Dean.
Dean nodded, sitting his little brother up. "I think it just knocked the breath out of him," he reported and rubbed Sam's back. "But you're okay. Right, kiddo?"
Sam nodded and then coughed harshly.
"I'm okay," Sam quickly assured, even as he coughed once more.
Dean stared at his brother but nodded tightly; knowing the sudden rush of air out of Sam's lungs...and then back in...was probably the reason for the kid's renewed coughing spell.
But still...Dean didn't like it.
"I'm okay," Sam repeated at Dean's intense gaze. "Can we go outside now?" he asked hopefully.
"Yeah, I guess," Dean reluctantly allowed. "But not like that," he pointed out, vaguely waving at Sam still dressed in his pajamas. "I want you bundled up."
...which was spoken like the mother hen Dean was when it came to Sam.
Bobby chuckled, knowing the eight-year old was serious and would personally layer Sam with clothing until he was satisfied the four-year old wouldn't catch a chill while playing in the snow.
"The last thing I need is for you to get sick again..." Dean continued to fuss as he eased out from under the table and then pulled Sam out as well, lifting the kid to his feet. "You hear me?"
Sam nodded obediently. "I don't wanna be sick again," he agreed and then coughed.
"Well, that makes two of us..." Dean assured. "'Cause I don't want you sick again, either."
"Make that three of us," Bobby added and winked at the boys when they both turned to look at him.
There was a pause.
"Uncle Bobby, what's for dinner?"
Dean pulled a face at his brother's question. "Dude, we just finished breakfast, and you're already asking about dinner?"
"Must be learning from you..." Bobby commented and then chuckled when Dean playfully scowled.
"I was just wondering," Sam defended, holding out his hand to Rumsfeld as the puppy once again approached.
"I don't know," Bobby admitted. "Hadn't really thought about it. But I need to make a supply run 'cause we're fresh out of almost everything around here. You two are eating me out of house and home," he teased good-naturedly.
But he wouldn't have it any other way.
The boys smiled.
"Can we have tacos?" Sam asked shyly, glancing at Dean for his approval and then back to Bobby. "Please?"
"Hmm, I don't know..." Bobby hummed, pretending to consider rejecting the request, when truthfully Sam could have practically anything he wanted.
Bobby Singer was a sucker for cute kids...especially these kids.
Sam's eyes widened as Bobby stalled. "Please?" he repeated and stepped closer to the old hunter, blinking up at him.
"Ah, geez..." Dean muttered and shook his head at his brother, the one-trick pony. "That doesn't always get you everything you want, Sammy," he reminded the four-year old, even as Sam continued to engage the mysterious power of those huge eyes of his.
Bobby chuckled. "It does today," he informed and ruffled Sam's hair. "Tacos it is."
"Yay!" Sam exclaimed, hopping a little in his excitement.
"Yay!" Bobby echoed and then chuckled at himself for how foolish these boys could make him act.
But he didn't care.
Unlike John, he knew exactly how precious these two kids were, and he intended to enjoy every single second he was lucky enough to have with them.
"You hear that, Dean?" Sam checked, crossing back to his brother with Rumsfeld on his heels. "We're having tacos for dinner!"
Dean rolled his eyes, even as he was excited as well. Because he loved tacos...and no one's tacos compared to Bobby's, especially not those fast food tacos he usually had to eat when they were on the road.
Dean grimaced at just the thought of them.
"Tacos!" Sam announced again and grabbed Rumsfeld's head; his small hands on either side of the puppy's face. "Do you like tacos, Rummy?"
"We're not gonna find out," Bobby informed quickly, having no desire to see what such food would do to a puppy's digestive track.
Dean laughed, knowing Bobby's thoughts.
Sam shrugged. "Sorry, Rummy."
Rumsfeld wagged his tail.
"Alright, Sammy..." Dean sighed and looped his arm around Sam's neck, playfully shaking his brother. "You ready to get dressed?"
"So we can go outside?"
"Well, duh..." Dean responded.
Sam scowled but then smiled. "Race you!"
Dean blinked as Sam suddenly took off for the stairs with Rumsfeld close behind; both four-year old kid and seven-week old puppy stumbling up the steps.
"We beat you!" Sam called down several seconds later.
Dean rolled his eyes.
"Dean!" Sam yelled down the stairs when his brother didn't respond. "You comin'?"
"Yeah, Sam. Hang on a sec," Dean urged and then glanced at Bobby as the old hunter crossed to the door. "You leaving?"
"Yeah," Bobby confirmed, grabbing his coat from one of the hooks on the wall and slipping it on. "I figure if I leave now, I'll hopefully be back by lunch." He paused, digging the list he made earlier from his pocket and jotting down taco ingredients with the pen he snagged from the magnetic fridge notepad. "You need anything?
Dean didn't hesitate. "More children's Tylenol. And soft tacos are better for Sam, so get those roll-up shell things."
Bobby quirked a smile at Dean's description, nodding as he wrote down "tortillas" along with the requested medicine. "Anything else?"
"I want Sam to have soup for lunch," Dean informed. "It's good for him when he's been sick. He likes those chicken and stars."
Bobby nodded, continuing to write on his list and knowing exactly which kind of soup Dean was talking about. "Got it. Anything else?"
Dean paused and then shrugged. "I don't think so."
"Alright," Bobby replied, once again scanning his list. "You boys don't stay out too long," he called to Dean as the eight-year old approached the steps. "Fresh air is good for Sam since he's been cooped up, but not too much. Don't want him to – "
" – Bobby," Dean interrupted, glancing over his shoulder but saying nothing more; his tone and expression saying it all – that he had been taking care of Sam since the kid was an infant and that he knew damn well when to bring the kid in from the snow to keep him from getting sick again.
Bobby chuckled. "Sorry. I just worry about you boys."
Dean nodded his understanding, used to a certain amount of mother henning from Bobby...and secretly admitting that it felt good to be openly worried about.
John never really seemed worried about anything, except the next hunt.
Dean sighed, inwardly shaking himself; having learned long ago that it was useless to allow his mind to wander to such places; that pity parties were lame and distracting.
And Dean didn't have time to be distracted – not when he had a little brother to take care of.
As if on cue, Sam yelled down the stairs. "Dean!"
Dean glanced up the steps at the sound of his brother's voice and smiled, instantly reminded of what really mattered in his life – Sammy.
Bobby snorted at the four-year old's impatience. "Better move your ass. Sammy's waitin'."
Dean scoffed. "He can wait," he responded dryly, even as he began climbing the stairs.
"Mmhmm," Bobby replied knowingly and shook his head, wondering if Dean ever really thought he was fooling anybody...especially when it came to Sam. "See you later," he called to the eight-year old and then exited the house in a gust of wind, not even glancing in John's direction as he carefully descended the porch steps and began scraping the ice and snow from the windshield of his truck.
Several minutes later, Bobby was behind the wheel in the slowly warming cab and heading to town; smiling as he caught glimpse in his rearview of a bundled-up Sam holding the red Frisbee and appearing on his back porch, followed by Rumsfeld and Dean.
"You boys have fun," Bobby told them, dividing his attention between the road and his rearview; already eager to return from his errands, so maybe he would have time to play with the kids before lunch; feeling certain Dean wouldn't allow Sam out again after they ate but would insist the kid take a nap in the afternoon.
That would be a fun battle of wills to watch.
Bobby chuckled and shook his head.
Speaking of a battle of wills...
Bobby's expression darkened at the thought of John and at the memory of what had happened over breakfast; wondering what it would take for the young father to realize that in his constant pursuit of the next hunt to bring him closer to getting revenge for Mary's death, he was missing out on the most precious thing Mary could have ever left him – his boys.
A four-year old and an eight-year old who were essentially growing up without him.
It was heartbreaking and infuriating, and Bobby had had enough.
Before midnight, John was going to listen...whether the stubborn sonuvabitch wanted to or not.
Because Bobby wasn't going to stand by and let a new year begin with old habits.
The boys deserved better.
And John needed to wake up before his unintentional negligence led to one of his kids getting hurt.
Bobby nodded in agreement with himself and then sighed harshly as his truck bounced from the snow-covered gravel path of his driveway to the equally snow-covered asphalt of the highway.
"Balls," he muttered at the treacherous driving conditions that greeted him and shook his head in annoyance.
Bobby had driven in worse, and he wasn't going to turn back now.
The trip would just take longer than he had anticipated.
But that was fine.
Because snow or not, he had to get to the grocery store.
After all, he had tacos to serve tonight.
Bobby chuckled at the memory of Sam's excitement and at the knowledge that Dean was secretly just as excited.
"That's my boys..." Bobby commented fondly and focused on the road.