I'd like to start this with an apology to sylvia37 who gave this prompt that should have come before the last chapter but I was suffering from some serious writer's block with it – it's finally finished though, so here it is! "Set in Season 6. Sam is feeling guilty about Soulless Sam and particularly guilty about what he did to Bobby and Dean. They're out on a hunt together and Sam gets shot while trying to save one or both of them. It can be by either Bobby or Dean or some other hunter and/or bad guy." I hope you enjoy, and I'll try and get another prompt out within the next couple of days!
Three guns and one goes off.
One's not quick enough.
Sam sat on his bed in Bobby's house, pulling absently at a loose thread in his jeans. He could hear Bobby and Dean talking downstairs but he knew he didn't want to know what they were saying – it had to be the same conversation they'd been having since he woke up, he could tell that from the raised tone his brother was using.
Bobby didn't like having Sam in the house; the first time Sam had overheard the argument Bobby had said he didn't feel safe with the newly souled man walking around when not a week before he'd tried to kill him. Dean was fulfilling his role as the protective and defensive big brother in saying that it hadn't been Sam Sam, but the emotionless robotic dick who had been walking around in his skin for the past year and a half. Bobby said he knew that but it didn't change the fact that someone who looked like Sam had tried to kill him when all he'd ever done was be like a father to him. The arguments usually ended with Dean saying that they'd go somewhere else but Bobby was being a martyr and said they could say – using the most painful statement Sam heard, saying that Dean shouldn't have to leave just because Bobby didn't want Sam there. Dean shouldn't be punished for what Sam did.
That particular remark hit home with Sam too much for his liking. For his entire life Dean had sacrificed and given up things he had wanted to do or have for the sake of his younger brother coming first with his needs and wants, and every time Sam even began to think about it a crushing wave of guilt came over him. The most recent thing Dean had had to give up was the one Sam felt the worst about – his life with Lisa and Ben. It was the one thing his soulless self had done right – left Dean alone to let him have a normal life with a woman and child he cared about, giving him a family and a life that would see him past being torn apart at age 35. Dean kept telling Sam that the only thing he'd wanted while with Lisa and Ben was to have Sam alive and that he was happier with him now than he had been with them, but Sam knew that there was a part of Dean who had always ached for a normal life, even if the rest of him didn't realize it.
At that point in the argument, however, Dean would walk away, normally to find Sam, and would pretend that nothing had happened and nothing had changed.
When Bobby approached Dean with a hunt Sam had thought he would jump at the chance to go and blow off some steam, but Dean surprised him in his hesitance to take the job. It was a three-man hunt and, although he wouldn't admit it, he wasn't sure how much he trusted Bobby to watch out for Sam. He knew that Bobby would never consciously not protect Sam, but with less of an inclination things might slip by him that wouldn't have otherwise. However, when Bobby said that there was no one else to take care of it Dean realised he didn't have much of a choice and so it was with that the he and Sam were getting into the Impala and following Bobby's car to a town less than 100 miles away to find a skin walker hiding out in the woods.
Bobby held his gun out in front of him, Dean and Sam following behind, when he heard a rustling coming from an area within the trees beside them. Turning around and nodding towards the patch, the three split off and surrounded it from different angles. Cocking the rifle, he looked through the sight and saw something moving from the other side of the trees before him.
Is that it? he thought to himself, hesitating slightly before pulling the trigger. Hunting with other people meant you always needed to be sure of where they were before shooting something that may or may not be them or the ugly of the week. Turning his head quickly Bobby saw Dean a few feet off and, making the assumption Sam would be somewhere in that area too, he took the shot. The shout of pain that followed, however, made his heart go cold as he heard Dean yelling his brother's name and running towards where whatever he had shot had gone down.
"Gah," Sam gasped, a hand immediately going to the blood flowing from just below his shoulder. He could feel the bullet rubbing against a rib, but knew he wasn't in enough pain or losing consciousness quickly enough for it to have hit an organ or an artery. He'd just been shot enough for it to hurt like a bitch and need it to be cleaned and stitched next pretty damn quickly.
The next thing he knew he was on the ground, shaking hand still clasped against the wound. He could hear someone yelling his name, he thought it might be Dean, but before he could be sure he decided to give in to the wave of fatigue that suddenly overcame him and closed his eyes.
Sam blinked his eyes open, unsurprised to find himself looking at the ceiling of Bobby's den. What did surprise him, however, was Dean sitting in a chair pulled up next to the couch, relief evident in his eyes as he looked at his little brother. The previous night then came back to Sam, and the ache in his side that was making itself more and more known as the seconds went past was explained.
"Hey Sammy," Dean said with a grin on his face, although it didn't quite reach his eyes. He immediately held out a hand with two pills in his palm, with a glass of water in the other. Handing them to Sam, the younger man downed them with the water and nodded gratefully, then winced as he felt the pull of the wound after sitting up to take the pain medication. He heard Dean take a deep breath, and braced himself for the lecture he knew was to follow.
"I'm sorry, Sam," Dean said, looking at the floor and pulling a hand through his hair which was looking like he'd been doing a lot of that, spiking in different directions.
Sam blinked in surprise at his older brother, confused. "What are you sorry for, you didn't shoot me."
A dark look passed over Dean's face but it was gone as soon as it had come and the composed expression was back. He huffed out a breath, and continued.
"I meant I'm sorry for letting you get shot, dumbass," he joked, but there was now a bitter edge to his voice. "I didn't think…I shouldn't have let us keep staying here with everything the way it was. We should've gone somewhere else-"
"He didn't shoot me on purpose, Dean," Sam interrupted quietly but firmly, knowing exactly where his older brother's train of thought was. "It was an accident, and I didn't die so we're going to count it as a win as far as Winchester accidents go."
The attempted humor was not received well by Dean, but before he could retaliate Bobby walked into the room behind him, hovering in the doorway with a look on his face that could only be described as very poorly concealed remorse with a huge amount of guilt and remorse. However, when Dean saw where Sam's gaze had gone he stood up in front of his brother on the couch and cast a glare so cold at Bobby the older hunter couldn't help but think about how it was a look he had seen the boy give John many times and being on the receiving end of it, he couldn't imagine how the other man hadn't learned his lesson in not crossing Dean when it came to Sam the first time. Bobby tried to ignore the cold green eyes and looked past Dean as well as he could to Sam.
"How're you doing, kid?" he asked gruffly, trying to keep his voice steady. The smile that came onto the youngest Winchester's face made him want to cry though – the amount of forgiveness conveyed in the single expression was more than Bobby had ever given Sam, and it was more than he would ever deserve.
"I'm okay, Bobby," Sam said earnestly, looking around Dean's hip, "thank you for asking."
And if that didn't just break Bobby's heart, as well as Dean's. Family shouldn't have to be thanked for asking how you were after you got shot – after one of them shot you. The fact that Sam seemed a little surprised that Bobby had even asked hardened Dean's glare even more, and without another word from any of them he was pushing Bobby out of the living room and out the front door onto the porch, shutting the door behind them.
"Dean, I-" Bobby began, but Dean didn't give him a chance to even finish the opening sentence to what he knew was an apology.
"Don't apologize," Dean said in a cold voice, "it was an accident, right? You didn't mean to put a bullet into Sam's ribcage, right?"
The insinuation hit Bobby with the force of a semi, and his eyes widened in disbelief.
"You…you think I shot him on purpose?" he asked incredulously, unable to comprehend the suggestion.
He expected Dean to refute the possibility, acknowledge the fact that he knew Bobby would never intentionally hurt either of them, but instead he got the protective brother of the kid lying on his couch inside the house moving closer to him until he was less than a foot away.
"You've wanted him out of this house since the minute he was conscious and had his soul back. You don't like being alone with him, you keep saying you don't feel safe with him around – won't even be in the same room as him if you can avoid it." Bobby opened his mouth to interject but Dean shook his head, holding up a hand. "I know, I know, you didn't shoot him on purpose, but you think that maybe you would've been more careful in not shooting him if you hadn't still been pissed at him for something he hadn't even done?" With that, Dean turned and walked back into the house, leaving Bobby outside with his thoughts.
"Dean, I'm fine," Sam muttered as his brother shoved yet another glass of water towards him. The look the he received made him sigh in defeat and accept the drink, ignoring the smirk on Dean's face.
At the sound of a throat being cleared from the doorway, however, the amusement was gone from the older Winchester's face and replaced by a carefully concealed expression that Bobby knew was disapproval. He refused to be deterred, though, and held his ground.
"Dean, can I talk to Sam for a minute?" he asked in a way that showed his clear understanding of whose permission he was asking.
Dean frowned, but Sam nodded his head.
"Give us a minute, Dean?" he said quietly and Dean reluctantly got up from where he had been sat beside his brother's legs on the couch and moved toward the door, shooting Bobby a warning look before leaving.
When the porch door closed, signaling the fact that it was now just Sam and Bobby, the younger man looked at the older expectantly, and Bobby took a few steps forward before pulling the chair by his desk over to beside the couch.
Taking a deep breath, Bobby sat down and began. "Sam, I am so sorry. I shouldn't have gone yesterday with the way things were, it was only a matter of time before someone got hurt and it kills me that it was you."
Sam went to say something, but Bobby held up a hand to prevent the interruption. "Hold on, let me get this out." He dropped his gaze to the ground before lifting it again to meet the eyes holding so much forgiveness and acceptance that it almost made him want to cry, seeing the amount of faith Sam Winchester still had in everyone, determined to see the best, despite everything that had been thrown at him over the course of his life and the amount of times he had been wronged.
"After what happened before you got your soul back it was just hard to be around you, but that ain't no excuse for the way I've been treating you," he continued, "and your brother kept telling me that it wasn't you and I knew that it wasn't you but it sure as hell looked and sounded like you so it was harder to find the difference."
Taking off his worn baseball hat and running a hand over his hair before putting it back on, Bobby sighed. "You're family to me, kid, you and that idjit of a brother of yours, and I'm sorry for letting you get hurt and for not being there for you these past few weeks, and I'm sorry it took a bullet in you for me to pull my head outta my ass and try and make it right."
There was a pause after Bobby finished, but before he could take it as anything other than an acceptance of his apology, Sam smiled at him. It was weak, considering he was still making up blood loss, but it was there and damn it if it didn't bring one to Bobby's face too.
Dean stepped back into the room a few minutes later, obviously having eavesdropped although Bobby expected no less from a Winchester, but the lighter expression on his face made it clear that he approved of whatever the older hunter had said to Sam, and watching the two boys bickering light-heartedly as Dean shoved Sam's feet over on the couch so he could sit down made him remember what it had been about them that had convinced him to take them in all those years ago when they had been small children with their father. They'd all been through Hell and come out the other side and though everyone had made mistakes, most recently Bobby's, he knew that they were stuck together until the end and, you know what? That was okay with him.