Father Figure

Set season 6 just after Unforgiven.

Sam tries to make it up to Bobby for trying to kill him, but is the surrogate father finally ready to forgive?

No beta; all mistakes are mine, but many thanks to my mate Neats for reading it through and offering encouragement – always good to have!

I was on call when I wrote this so, be fair eh? And don't have a go if there's something amiss with it 'cos I'm not interested.

Go read something else if you have a problem with it.

Warning: Language. Angst. Humour. Mild Sick Sam towards the end.

"Dammit!" Bobby swore and tossed the wrench aside.

A drop of rain water seeped through a crack in the roof, landed on the peak of his ball cap and dripped off the edge, landing unnoticed on the engine block.

He'd been struggling for the last hour or so trying to remove the spark plugs, but they'd rusted into their sockets long ago and refused to budge.

For a moment there he began to wonder why he was even trying, but a small noise from behind readily reminded him.

Bobby stilled. He could feel eyes boring a hole in his back, and he knew who they belonged to. A soft, meek voice speaking up, just about heard over the rain drumming on the garage roof, confirmed it.

"Hey, Bobby. I-I made dinner. Should be ready in five if you're hungry? You've been out here all day working on that."

Bobby turned around to face down the puppy dog eyes of Sam Winchester.

It still freaked him out a little, seeing that face, all kind, and innocent and worried looking. Even knowing that Sam's soul was back where it belonged, glued in place and going no where, Bobby couldn't bring himself to trust the kid. And it was true that he'd spent most of his time out here in the yard whenever the boys returned from a hunt, avoiding the younger brother as much as possible.

After a fashion, Sam had seemed to respect his need for space and backed off, taking his apologies with him.

But now, the guy had come to find him, and Bobby's hand itched to pick up the tyre iron.

Because, while a part of the issue was trust, there was also a small inkling of desire for vengeance that Bobby found more than a little disconcerting.

Sam, the real Sam, was a good guy, in spite of his mistakes over the last few years, and kind hearted with it, Bobby knew that deep down. But that wasn't the Sam who haunted Bobby's dreams each night.

The Sam with the cold, calculating gaze, the fake understanding, and that sneer, instead of empathy and a friendly smile… he was the one Bobby feared most, and the one he still saw every time he looked at the kid.

The damned of the thing was; Sam knew it too. Knew what Bobby saw in him, and worked day and night to fix it. The kitchen sparkled, the bathroom looked like new, the study had never been so tidy, with all journals and grimoires properly catalogued and filed alphabetically, and there was never a shortage of whisky and food in the house.

He was trying too hard, and it was only making things worse.

"Look, Sam," said Bobby, as calmly as he could, and inwardly winced at the look of hope blossoming on the kid's face. "This has gotta stop. I'll do you a deal. You stay outta my way, and I'll stay outta yours. Understood?"

Sam fixed him with a broken, pleading gaze, "But if you'll just…"

It was beginning to tweak his guilt too damn much and Bobby couldn't take it. He felt his temper rise, and spoke without thinking.

"Just leave me alone!" he snapped. "I need some space, ok? Can't you understand that at least?"

"Bobby, I'm so…"

"Don't! M'sick of hearing it!" Bobby took a threatening step towards him, not even a little gratified when the kid backed up, eyes suddenly brimming with tears.

It made him even angrier.

"In fact," he lowered his voice, "just get the hell off my property, for both our damn sakes before I do something we'll both regret!"

Sam sniffed and his shoulders slumped as though under a great weight. He blinked back his tears and nodded, the movement jerky, his face haunted by sorrow and remorse, turned and left.

Bobby's anger deflated almost immediately, leaving him feeling like all kinds of shit.

He picked up the wrench and gave those damn spark plugs one last try, but his conscience, sneaky sonofabitch that it was, pricked at him.

That boy was effectively his son, family by unofficial adoption, just like his brother. Sam, after saving the world, had literally been through hell and barely made it out the other side. He was confused, addled by guilt, his mind held together by Death's own plywood and plaster, and Bobby had just kicked the poor kid in the teeth.

"Aw, dammit!"

The wrench went flying once again, this time with far more force.

Bobby didn't wait around to see where it landed, though he sure heard the noise it made when it did.

"Something smells good!" Dean called out, dumping a six pack and a bottle of Jose on the kitchen table. "Sam? You here somewhere, buddy?"

There was no answer, but the smell of honey roast chicken wafting out of the oven was all the reply he needed. This was Sam's signature dish, the one he sometimes fixed for special occasions, or whenever he was trying to apologise for something. Dean hadn't tasted it in way too long and kind of missed it, but a part of him ached for his brother, knowing who this food was really meant for and what little good it would do right now.

He opened the oven door, sniffed deeply, an honest smile forming across his face, and contemplated stealing a piece of crispy skin, but hurried footsteps out in the hall change his mind.

Dean stepped out of the kitchen just in time to see his younger brother's back disappearing onto the veranda.

"Sammy? Where ya goin'?" Dean followed him, picking up the pace when he spotted Sam through the screen door. "Sam!"

The kid was trudging across the yard towards the gates, his duffle slung haplessly over one shoulder. Hair limp and plastered to his head by the rain, Sam's chin was sunk right down to his chest, shoulders up round his ears in the classic 'heartbroken Sammy' pose.

Dean caught up before he could leave and stepped in front of him.

"Dude, what the hell?"

Sam refused to look up and tried to dodge, but Dean wasn't having any of it and grabbed his arm.

"Sam, stop!"

Sam fixed tired, sad eyes on Dean at last.

Dean stared back, angrily. "You wanna explain why you're ditching us?"

Sam licked his lips before answering. "M'not ditching anyone…"

"The hell you're not!" Dean growled right back at him, and reached out to wrench the duffle off Sam's shoulder. He held it up accusingly, as though it were exhibit A.

Sam took a shaky breath. "I'm not ditching you, Dean." He sniffed and hung his head, mumbling "Bobby told me to go."

"He what?" Dean exclaimed, eyes wide with disbelief.

"Yeah," said Sam in a small voice. "He wanted me out, like, now, and… y-you weren't home yet… I-I didn't know what else to do…"

He raised his head and gazed forlornly at his brother, rain water dripping from his nose.

"He hates me, Dean," he said, brokenly. "Poor guy can't stand having me around after what I did, and I can't say I blame him."

Turning his head and staring out towards the exit, he sighed.

"I should never have come back here after that last hunt. I knew Bobby was wary of me, worried I was gonna turn on him at any second…"

"Sammy…" Dean began but Sam stopped him with a huff.

"This isn't going away any time soon, Dean. Bobby can't get over what I did, and there's nothing I can do to make up for it." Sam paused and then continued. "Remember when Bobby was possessed just after I freed Lucifer?"

Dean rolled his eyes and nodded. Like he could forget the night Bobby stabbed himself and was left paralysed from the waist down.

"Those things the demon made him say to me?" said Sam. "It was right when it told me to lose his number. Bobby should've cut me loose a long time ago. You both should have."

Dean was speechless, mouth open but nothing coming out.

Sam smiled, sadly. "Face it, dude. My days have been numbered for a while, now."

The rain seemed to come down harder and louder in the silence that followed, pounding on the brothers and soaking them right down to the bone.

Dean grabbed both Sam's upper arms and gave him a hard shake.

"That's crap," he said, hoarsely, spitting water from his mouth, eyes fixed on Sam's. "And you're not going anywhere…"

"How you gonna stop…" Sam interrupted, only a shade defiantly.

"…without me," Dean finished, startling his brother into silence. He fished the car keys out of his pocket and pressed them into Sam's huge paw. "Go wait in the car, dude. Need to grab my stuff and then we're out of here."

"But what about Bobby?" asked Sam, but his brother just frowned.

"Bobby can look after himself. But do you seriously think I'm gonna let you walk around out there with that ticking time bomb in your grapefruit?" Dean replied. "Anything could happen when that wall comes down and we don't even know what could trigger it."

"Ok," Sam couldn't deny he had a point. "But what do you mean by 'anything could happen'?"

Dean raised an eyebrow, pointedly. "I'm not willing to risk letting you loose on the world if there's even a remote chance of RoboSam making a come back."

Another good point, one that hadn't occurred to Sam before now, but then, he'd had a lot on his mind.

"So you're my baby sitter now?" said Sam, fighting a grin.

"It's in the big brother job description," Dean responded, with his own smug grin, and patted Sam's shoulder. "Now go get my baby warmed up again…" he shuddered, suddenly. "That sounded wrong on sooo many levels."

The brothers turned at the sound of squelching mud to find Bobby Singer striding towards them, face set in a scowl.

Sam immediately tensed up.

"I was just leaving, Bobby, I swear," he said, nervously, misinterpreting the look on the older hunter's face for anger. "But I needed to stop by the house to pick up my bag."

"And if you insist on this bullshit, then I'm going with him," Dean added, face and voice neutral. "Someone needs to keep an eye on the kid, make sure he doesn't get himself killed or somethin' stupid."

Bobby halted and peered at the two boys through the rain.

"Neither of you are goin' anywhere," he said, gruffly. He eyed the brothers up and down, scowl deepening when he spotted Sam's full body shiver. Kid looked like a drowned rat. "Now get your fool asses up into the house and dried off before ya catch ya deaths."

Dean grinned. "Knew you'd come around. Can't bear to live without us, huh, Bobby?"

Bobby snorted and glared at him. "Yeah, 'cos I'd just miss you girls too damn much to live without ya! Now get!" He jerked his chin, eyes narrowed in a silent message.

Dean got the hint, chuckled, and headed towards the house.

Sam lingered, anxious and uncertain, still shivering from head to toe and shifting from foot to foot in the mud as though ready for flight.

Bobby's face softened when he tried but failed to catch Sam's eye.

"Hey kid," he said, gently. "Go on with your brother, now."

Sam met his gaze at last, and when Bobby saw – really saw this time - all the hurt and guilt in the younger man's eyes, he felt a wave of sadness crash over him.

He'd wilfully wounded the boy, and deeply so. This was the Sam Winchester he'd known and loved like his own for so long, and Bobby had almost lost him, for good this time. Because he could see it on the kid's face. Bobby had told him to leave, and that request would have been honoured. In all likelihood, Sam wouldn't have returned, and Bobby would never have heard from him again. Maybe, one day, he'd have picked up a newspaper and seen one of Sam's aliases in an obit, and that would be that.

The very thought terrified him, and was probably the reason why he suddenly pulled Sam into a fierce hug, almost squeezing the life out of him.

"God, kid," he muttered into Sam's ear. "I'm so damned sorry. Acted like a giant asshat, sending you away…"

Sam sniffed. "I nearly killed you, Bobby. You have a perfect right to be pissed at me."

"Wasn't you," Bobby replied, holding on even tighter. "Not really."

"Yes. It was." Sam huffed. He pulled back from the hug and looked Bobby square in the eye. "And we both know it."

The old hunter sighed. "Fine," he said. "It was you, but without a soul you were basically just a human acting on animal instincts. And those instincts were telling you that your soul was a threat to your very existence." He threw his hands up. "Hell, I wasn't keen on the whole re-souling idea either. Not sure I wouldn't have done the same damn thing in your shoes just to avoid it. And as for Cas, well, I've never seen the guy so incensed about anything." Bobby shrugged and clapped a hand on Sam's shoulder, ignoring the spray of water from his sodden jacket. "Without a soul, you were half a person, no moral compass to guide you, but at least you were sane and free and alive. Survival was all that mattered to you. And I gotta say, now that you're truly back with us," his sudden smile was uncommonly fond and gentle, "I'm kind of glad about that, son."

Sam looked so grateful that Bobby almost cried.

"Now, let's get out of this damn monsoon," Bobby growled, squinting and blinking in the downfall, back to his old, gruff self.

Sam shivered and nodded, allowing Bobby to pull him along the muddy ground towards the house.

Sam sneezed a full on body sneeze that could have sent tidal waves around the Pacific Ocean and caused entire flocks of migrating geese to fall from the sky.

"Here's ya hot lemon," said a voice from above.

A steaming mug was thrust under Sam's nose, and he peered gratefully up at his saviour through wet bangs.

"Thnnnnks, dude," he mumbled, and reached out with a shaking hand.

Dean shook his head in mock despair, and helped him raise the mug to his lips.

"Sip it slowly," he told him. "S'got quite a kick to it."

Sam paused and tried to sniff suspiciously at the mug, but all he managed was a thin, reedy passage of air through his blocked sinuses that told him absolutely nothing.

"Wha' you spike it wid?" he demanded to know, the words coming out all slurred and nasal.

His brother held up a bottle of Bobby's favourite cheap whisky. "A little extra medicine."

"Huh," Sam appeared to think about it, then shrugged. "H'okay."

"Dean made up a whole jug of the stuff," said Bobby, sitting at his desk, feet up and nursing a tumbler of his own.

Said jug sat nearby, steam curling lazily up to the ceiling and leaving a faint yellow hue on the aging paintwork.

By the time he'd finished the first mug of his brother's concoction, Sam was, as Dean so delicately put it, totally shitfaced.

It was the best he'd felt in a long, long time.

Sam settled back on the sofa, cocooned in blankets, and a cold, wet wash cloth draped over his forehead. As predicted, he'd caught a real stinker of a cold after their little heart to heart in the rain, and started snuffling and sneezing around five minutes after he'd stepped out from under a hot shower.

"How's the man flu, Sammy?" asked Dean, with a small grin, and poured him another mugful.

Sam glared at him, which looked kind of funny with his bright red, stuffed up nose and watery eyes.

"Shuddup," Sam mumbled, petulantly.

Dean laughed softly and ruffled his messy hair, turning that glare into a full on scowl.


"What was that?"

"You dow what I sssssaidaaaahhhhhhhhhchooooo oooo!"

"You wanna try that again, snotball?"

"Fuuuaaaaaahhhhhhchooooowwwha how!"

Dean rolled his eyes. "Just drink your juice, get some sleep and try not to hurl over the couch, huh?"

"Bassstaaaaaaahhhhhhchoooowww weeeeee!"

"Right, that's it." Bobby swung round off his chair, and headed out. "I'm gonna call Castiel. Sooner he cures Sam the better. Don't think I can take much more of this…"

He left the house with the sound of another loud, earth shattering sneeze ringing in his ears, and a huge grin on his face.

This whole father figure business was hard work, but it sure was worth it.

The End.

A/N: Hope you all enjoyed this little one-shot. Another break while writing that dark fic I was telling you all about before Christmas, which is coming along nicely but turning out to be somewhat longer than I'd anticipated.

And there's more to come.

So I thought I'd post this just to let you all know that I'm still alive and, if not kicking, then certainly writing.

Love and hugs,

ST xxx