Summary: Pizza Pie 'verse – 4-yr old Sam, 8-yr old Dean, Awesome Uncle Bobby, Puppy Rumsfeld...and John being John – Bobby continued to listen, hearing Dean's voice as it floated down the hall; the big brother talking Sam through his usual bedtime routine as if it was just another night. As if the four-year old wasn't covered in blood. As if Dean wasn't also covered in blood.

Disclaimer: Not mine

Warnings: Mention of events from the Pilot and usual language


...our scars remind us that the past is real. ~ Papa Roach


Unless they were born into it, every hunter had a story about how he or she got introduced to the life.

The details were usually different – different family members or friends...who died different ways...in different circumstances...because of different supernatural beings.

But the overall story always had the same trilogy – senseless tragedy followed by overwhelming grief and then leading to an all-consuming lust for revenge.

John could relate.

Since Mary had died, his only purpose was to kill the thing that had killed his wife.

And in the meantime, he would just kill whatever else got in his way.

Because if there was anything John craved as much as revenge, it was distraction.

Distraction from the memory of Mary burning on the ceiling.

Distraction from the need for just one more drink.

Distraction from the disappointment of how much he sucked as a father.

John clenched his jaw at the unwelcomed reminder.

Out of all the disappointments that had accumulated over the past four years, that one always stinging the deepest.

Because John remembered when he had been an awesome dad.

Remembered giving baths with bubbles and reading stories in funny voices.

Remembered playing peek-a-boo as often as he had played catch.

Remembered holding his baby and tucking in his four-year old.

Remembered giving hugs and kisses and never letting a day go by that he didn't tell his boys just how much he loved them.

But now...

Now John couldn't remember the last time he had done any of that.

Now John's baby was a four-year old and his four-year old was eight...and he couldn't remember the last time he had told either of his kids that he loved them.

In fact, now that John tried to think...he realized he couldn't remember much of anything.

He frowned, the expression causing fresh pain to flare across his forehead and then settle in his left temple.

The pulsating ache quickly reminding him of his head injury...but the how and the why and the where-the-hell-am-I-now still fuzzy.

John swallowed – his heartbeat continuing to throb at the edge of his hairline – and then blinked at the ceiling as he slowly became more aware of his surroundings.

The room bathed in the warm glow of a nearby lamp.

The lumpy but comfortable mattress beneath him.

The pillow soft under his head...but the sheets rough against his arms as the once smooth fabric pilled from too many trips through the laundry.

A quilt pulled high over his chest, heavy...but warm.

The strangely comforting creaks of an old house bracing against the wind as a late winter storm whistled and blustered outside; sleet tapping on the windows, heard but unseen behind the thick curtains.

The smell of whiskey and engine grease and gun oil mixed with the distinctive scent of old books and the damp mustiness of rooms that were never opened and aired out unless company had arrived.

"Bobby's..." John murmured hoarsely, finally recognizing where he was, and then received even further confirmation as the older hunter suddenly loomed over him.

John startled at the unexpected intrusion of personal space and scowled.

"What the hell, Singer?" he demanded, raising his arm to block Bobby's reach and then blinking against the instant dizziness caused by the sudden movement.

Still holding the threaded needle, Bobby stared down at his pain-in-the-ass patient, expressionless even as the heat of anger burned through him.

"You done?" he asked, his tone clipped.

Because Bobby had other shit to do besides deal with John Winchester's theatrics.

Other shit to do besides patch up this dumbass every other week from a hunt gone wrong.

Other shit to do – more important shit to do.

Like taking care of the two kids down the hall...

Bobby could hear them in the bathroom a couple doors down.

Could hear the squeak of the handle as Dean turned on the water. The pipes in the wall clanking and groaning in response as they pumped water up to the second story of the house and then dumped it in the empty tub. The faucet releasing the water in noisy, cold bursts as air sputtered through the pipes; the infrequently used bathroom always seeming grumpy whenever it was expected to actually work.

Bobby continued to listen.

Hearing Dean's voice as it floated down the hall, his words muffled by the racket of running a bath for Sam.

But Bobby still knew what the eight-year old was saying.

The big brother maintaining a quiet, soothing chatter as he tended to his little brother; talking Sam through his usual bedtime routine as if it was just another night.

As if the four-year old wasn't covered in blood.

As if Dean wasn't also covered in blood.

...though Bobby suspected that John's oldest had already cleaned himself up a bit since the sight of blood on Dean had seemed to upset Sam more than the blood that had soaked the four-year old's own clothes.

Because that's how those two worked – always concerned about each other more than themselves, even at ages four and eight.

Bobby had never seen anything like the bond Sam and Dean shared, and he knew it would only grow stronger with time.

How could it not when living this kind of life?

Bobby shook his head, freshly irritated by John's recklessness in his pursuit of the demon that haunted him...and freshly pissed that tonight John had endangered his boys as well.

John's boys who were really Bobby's boys since Sam and Dean stayed with the older hunter more frequently these days.

John often dropping them off before heading to the next town, next county, next state; the younger hunter always fresh on the scent of yet another hunt and staying gone for sometimes weeks at a time before returning to collect his sons.

But not tonight.

Tonight John had apparently decided that he couldn't wait until his boys were safe at Bobby's but had instead chosen to bring the kids along for the hunt.

Because that's, of course, where a four-year old and an eight-year old belonged, especially after midnight in the middle of a blizzard – not safe and warm in bed at Bobby's house but on a hunt with their dumbass father.

Bobby clenched his jaw as fresh anger burned through him; barely resisting the urge to gouge John's wound with the needle he still held.

Would serve the asshole right...

John blinked up at him, disoriented but aware that something had happened – something major.

He could sense it, could see it in Bobby's expression.

Something had happened.

But the details were vague at best.

John remembered being en route to Bobby's earlier that evening...then seeing the shadow of something in the swirling snow just beyond the Impala's headlights.

Something that had made him turn off the main road onto an icy gravel path.

John remembered driving deeper into the woods before finally parking among the rows of trees white and heavy with the snow that had continued to fall.

He remembered telling Dean to stay with Sam in the backseat and then arming his oldest with one of the guns from the weapons duffel riding shotgun.

Then...

John swallowed, feeling his heart begin to hammer in his chest as he realized he couldn't remember what had happened next.

He knew he had gotten out of the Impala and had left his boys behind.

But then...

Then?

John swallowed once more, vaguely wondering if it was his throbbing headache or his gut-twisting anxiety that made him want to throw up.

Probably both.

"Where's my boys?" John asked, his voice rough from fatigue and injury and fear.

Because Sam and Dean had been with him earlier – that much he knew.

But they weren't in the room now...and John couldn't hear them anywhere else in the house.

"Bobby..." John prompted, his gaze intense and unwavering as he stared up at the older hunter still sitting beside his bed. "Where's my boys? Are they okay?"

Bobby said nothing, considering John's questions and withholding the answers.

Because if John couldn't take care of his kids any better than he had demonstrated tonight, then he didn't deserve to know where the boys were or how they were holding up.

But...

Bobby sighed, feeling himself begin to give in.

Because he could see the desperation in John's eyes, could feel the young father's growing panic and worry that something had happened to his sons.

Just like something had happened to Mary four years ago.

That was John's greatest fear.

That was Bobby's greatest fear.

That something would happen to Sam or Dean...or more realistically, that something would happen to Sam and Dean.

Because neither brother would ever leave the other...even at ages four and eight.

If something happened to one of them, it would happen to both of them.

And that was a fact.

Bobby swallowed at the thought, at the frighteningly real possibility of something snatching his boys from him because of the stupid decisions and questionable choices of their dumbass father.

The older hunter clenched his jaw.

"Bobby! Answer me!" John demanded, shoving against the quilt that covered him; his movements sluggish and uncoordinated as he struggled to sit up under a wave of dizziness. "Where's my boys?"

Bobby arched an eyebrow at John's sudden yelling. "I ain't deaf," he drawled. "And you ain't goin' nowhere," he added, easily pushing the younger hunter back on the mattress.

John glared weakly but didn't resist as he briefly closed his eyes against the renewed pounding in his head; feeling his body sweat and shake in protest of the sudden exertion.

The wind gusted outside, throwing a handful of sleet against the window like a bratty child throwing sand.

The old house creaked in response like a scolding parent.

Somewhere in the room, a clock kept time; its rhythmic ticking perfectly matching the throbbing in John's left temple.

He sighed and opened his eyes, staring at Bobby who was still staring at him.

"Are they okay?"

It was Bobby's turn to sigh.

"Bobby..."

"Yes," Bobby finally responded and nodded to further confirm his answer. "They're down the hall," he reported about Sam and Dean, gesturing at the open door over his shoulder. "And they're fine," he assured, knowing that description was relative.

Because kids covered in supernatural blood and traumatized by the events of a hunt gone wrong were not usually labeled as "fine".

But his kids were tough.

Even little four-year old Sammy would bounce back from what had happened tonight.

Dean would make sure of that.

Bobby felt his heart warm with pride, then tilted his head as he once again heard Dean's voice echoing off the tile in the bathroom.

The eight-year old's words clearer now that the faucet had been turned off and Sam had been stripped of his bloody clothes; the four-year old now carefully settled within the bathtub brimming with warm water and Mr. Bubble.

Bobby always making sure the boys' bathroom was stocked with that particular brand of bubble bath, even though he knew Dean liked to tease his little brother about the pink bottle.

But there would be no teasing tonight.

Sam was too fragile.

And Dean knew it; the big brother offering only comfort and safety.

Bobby twitched a smile.

"You were so brave tonight, Sammy..." Dean was praising his brother, the water sloshing in the tub as Dean repeatedly dunked the soapy washcloth while he scrubbed away the creature's blood from Sam's skin.

Sam sniffled. "So were you," he predictably responded, his voice quiet and shaky from the effects of prolonged crying that could begin again at any second.

Bobby frowned, hating how upset Sam had been earlier, how upset he knew his sweet little boy still was.

But who could blame the kid?

After what he had seen tonight, after what he had experienced...

Bobby sighed.

"You were super brave," Sam emphasized, still talking to Dean and obviously not wanting his big brother to underestimate his own bravery.

Dean snorted. "Yeah, I guess..." he agreed, then paused.

And Bobby knew from the silence that Dean hadn't felt brave. That Dean had been scared as well...but had been brave for Sam; had done what he had to do for Sam – always for Sam.

"You always save the day, Dean..." Sam told his brother, clearly Dean's biggest fan. "Just like Batman..."

Dean laughed at the comparison but didn't dispute it.

Bobby's heart swelled with love, knowing a teary four-year old was now beaming at his hero brother...and that hero brother was kneeling beside the tub and smiling right back.

Bobby held onto the moment, thankful his boys seemed better now than when they had first arrived over half an hour ago.

Because half an hour ago had been a disaster...and half an hour before that had been a fucking nightmare.

Bobby didn't even know all the details yet, but he still knew that his boys had endured something tonight that would make most grown men shit their pants.

The older hunter sighed – intending to get the full story later – but for now continuing to listen to the familiar sounds of Dean giving his little brother a bath.

That unmistakable sound water made when it was repeatedly cupped and poured as Dean began washing the blood from Sam's hair.

John shifted on the bed, attracting Bobby's attention.

"Hear 'em?" the older hunter asked.

John nodded, slow and careful.

Bobby returned the nod, watching as John noticeably relaxed at hearing his sons' voices down the hall, confirming they were indeed alive and here.

But...

"What happened?" John asked, knowing his boys were generally good to each other...but also knowing that Dean was being especially gentle with Sam and that his kids weren't praising each other's bravery for nothing.

Bobby snorted his disgust at the question.

Because that was just like John – to create a cluster fuck and then forget all about it.

"Bobby…" John prompted when the older hunter didn't answer. "What happened?"

"What do you think happened?" Bobby countered sharply, not doubting that John's memory was hazy but knowing he at least felt the pulsating pain in his head.

There was a pause punctuated by a gust of wind outside followed by a fresh splattering of sleet against the window.

"I don't know," John finally admitted, sounding as detached as he looked. "I don't remember."

"Well, don't that make you a lucky sonuvabitch..." Bobby drawled, his tone cutting.

Because Bobby knew Sam and Dean wouldn't be so lucky as to forget the events of this night.

And Bobby knew he wouldn't be that lucky, either.

The sight of his boys soaked in blood was seared in the older hunter's memory and would likely greet him every time he closed his eyes.

Hell, even now, wide awake Bobby could still see that horrific, heart-stopping image.

"It feels like something hit me..." John reported, scattering Bobby's thoughts.

"Stop," Bobby ordered, halting John's hand as he reached to touch his left temple. "Leave it alone. I'm not done yet."

Because Bobby had hauled John inside the house and up the stairs. He had changed John's clothes and had checked for other injuries. He had cleaned John up and had flushed his head wound with holy water...just in case. And he had placed the first three sutures before John had regained consciousness.

But Bobby still had at least five or six stitches left to go.

And he didn't need John fucking up the process.

John had already fucked up enough tonight.

Bobby shook his head and then glared at his patient as John once again struggled against him.

"Hey. You hearin' me?"

John scowled weakly. "I hear you," he returned, managing to pull away from Bobby's grasp and continue to reach for the gaping wound at his hairline.

"Then stop," Bobby growled, grabbing John's hand in a more crushing grip than before. "Or I'm gonna hit you."

And Bobby wanted to.

Bobby wanted to punch this asshole right in the face for the stunt he had pulled tonight.

Thank god the boys were okay.

Thank god the blood that had covered them was not their own.

Thank god they had only sustained a few cuts and nothing more.

Bobby had made sure of that.

"It's not ours," Dean had immediately told Bobby as the older hunter had run towards the brothers earlier that night. "It's not ours. It's not ours..."

Bobby had felt a brief wave of relief at the repeated reassurance but had still felt his heart pound in his chest at the sight of his boys covered in blood; the brothers standing beside each other in the snow-covered yard, framed by the Impala's open passenger door.

Sam had been hysterical, his tears winding watery tracks down his blood-stained cheeks as he had clung to Dean with both arms.

"S'okay," Dean had soothed his little brother, pulling Sam closer and then refocusing on Bobby. "It's not ours," he had said again as the older hunter had reached them.

"Then whose is it?" Bobby had demanded about the blood and had crouched in front of the brothers; had instantly realized once he was closer that whatever had bled out over his kids wasn't a who but a what.

Because this blood hadn't spilled from anything human or even corporeal; it was too dark – such a dark shade of red that it looked black – and its consistency was too thick.

Bobby had said nothing as his gaze had swept over his boys and then had flickered beyond them to John collapsed in a motionless heap across the Impala's front bench seat.

Bobby had narrowed his eyes, taking in the bright red blood streaked across John's forehead and down his left temple, matting his hair. John's blood having flowed long enough to coat the entire left side of his face and neck and even his shoulder, saturating and staining his layers of shirts and leather jacket.

Bobby's gaze had lingered, examining the interior of the Impala and noticing the busted back glass, the backseat dusted with snow, and more dark blood every fucking where.

"What the hell..." Bobby had blurted as new questions had flooded his mind.

The snow had continued to fall.

Dean had shifted from one foot to the other, drawing Bobby's attention and reminding the older hunter about what mattered, about what question needed to be answered first.

"Are you two okay?"

Because that was all that had mattered; that was what had meant more to Bobby than anything else, including John's condition.

If his boys were okay, then Bobby could handle the rest.

"Are you two okay?"

Dean had nodded at the repeated question.

"Yes."

Bobby had shaken his head, Dean's answer hard to accept when there was so much blood.

"Let me see..." Bobby had ordered and had reached for his kids.

Dean had made an impatient sound. "We're okay," he had insisted. "Just a few cuts from the glass..."

Bobby had nodded, indicating he had heard Dean...but was still planning to complete his own evaluation of the brothers.

And he had.

In his yard dimly illuminated by the front porch light, Bobby had quickly triaged first Sam under Dean's watchful gaze – "He's fine. I've already checked..." – and then Dean as Sam had sniffled and had clung to his brother's arm.

"It's okay, Sammy..." Dean had soothed and had shaken off Bobby's anxious hands as they had systematically rubbed up and down his arms, looking for injuries.

Bobby had arched an eyebrow, had felt equal parts annoyed and concerned at being nonverbally dismissed by an eight-year old.

Especially since this eight-year old had a history of downplaying injuries...or outright hiding them.

"Dean..."

"We're okay," Dean had assured, having recognized the warning in Bobby's tone, and then had reached for Sam.

Bobby had watched, nodding as he had suddenly realized that Dean dismissing him had nothing to do with concealing injuries and everything to do with Dean being able to console an increasingly distraught little brother.

"C'mere, buddy..." Dean had murmured before effortlessly lifting the four-year old.

Sam had wrapped himself around his brother in response; arms around Dean's neck, legs around his waist, face buried in Dean's shoulder.

Dean had held tight, softly shushing his little brother and rubbing the kid's shuddering back through his blood-soaked coat as Sam had sobbed.

The snow had seemed to fall harder; coating the Impala, dusting their hair, further saturating their clothes.

Bobby had continued to crouch in front of the brothers; his knees and thighs and calves beginning to burn.

Dean had rested his chin on Sam's shoulder, still rubbing his brother's back as he had slowly swayed back and forth in that way parents often did to soothe upset children.

Sam had swallowed and sighed, shaky and exhausted.

Dean had held Bobby's worried gaze over his brother's shoulder.

Because Dean had known how bad they looked; how bad everything looked.

Bobby had said nothing, his heart still hammering in his chest as he had continued to stare at his two boys absolutely covered in something's blood.

"What happened?"

Sam had hitched a breath at the question, fresh tears tracking their way down his blood-smudged cheeks.

Bobby had frowned at the four-year old's renewed distress, his mind buzzing with possibilities of how the Winchesters had arrived in his yard like this.

His boys covered in blood and John unconscious in the front seat of the Impala.

"Dean. What happened?"

Dean had shaken his head. "Not now," he had warned and had glanced meaningfully at Sam still held in his arms.

Bobby had nodded, had instantly understood that Dean didn't want to further upset his little brother by explaining and describing the details of a hunt gone obviously, horribly wrong.

"Okay," Bobby had agreed about postponing their talk. "But later..."

Dean had nodded. "Yeah. After Sammy's asleep..."

Because Sam had already been traumatized enough...but Dean had seemed remarkably unfazed; had participated in at least half a dozen hunts thus far and knew how quickly they could sour.

So, good for Dean for having that experience and keeping his shit together...

But what kind of father allowed his son to hunt supernatural creatures when the kid was only eight-years old?

Not to mention that Sam had now experienced his first hunt at the ripe old age of four.

Bobby shook his head, freshly pissed as he refocused on John.

John blinked up at him. "What?"

"Is your head always up your ass?"

John blinked again. "What?"

Bobby didn't respond, choosing to silently fume instead.

Because the less Bobby talked to this asshole, the quicker he could work and the quicker he could get to his boys down the hall; could make sure they were clean and warm and safe.

John squinted, his gaze lingering on Bobby's hand as it hovered within inches of his face.

"How many?"

Bobby didn't answer but narrowed his eyes as he pierced one edge of John's skin with the needle.

John winced slightly. "How many?"

"Three so far," Bobby finally replied, knowing John was asking about his sutures and wouldn't shut up until he received an answer.

"How many more?"

"Probably five or six..." Bobby predicted, pulling the torn skin toward the opposite edge to close the wound with the fourth stitch.

John sighed.

The wind outside howled as another stitch was placed, Bobby as quick and efficient as any surgeon.

"What happened?"

Because Bobby still hadn't answered John about that...and John still couldn't remember what had caused his head wound that reportedly required eight or nine stitches along with what felt like a mild concussion.

Bobby shrugged at the repeated question.

"Not quite sure," he responded about what had happened prior to the Winchesters arriving in his yard. "Dean ain't said much."

...which was true.

Because beyond assuring Bobby that he and Sam were fine and that the blood they were covered in wasn't theirs, John's oldest hadn't said much else.

In fact, Dean had seemed uncharacteristically detached and indifferent to John's condition as he had instead focused on Sam and had asked Bobby to take care of their dad.

Bobby had nodded, had sensed Dean's anger at his father but had not pursued the issue.

Not yet.

"Sure you don't want to shoot for it?" Bobby had offered.

Dean had twitched a smile at Bobby's attempt to lighten the moment but had shaken his head; his chin brushing over Sam's shoulder as the big brother had continued to hold the sniffling four-year old.

Because there would be no paper, rock, scissors match tonight to decide who took care of who.

Sam was Dean's...which left John for Bobby.

"Lucky me..." Bobby had grumbled.

Dean had snorted softly, had glanced at John still sprawled across the Impala's front seat and then had glanced back at Bobby.

Bobby had waited, had expected Dean to comment on John's injury.

But...

"Rummy?"

Bobby had blinked at the unexpected mention of his dog. "In the kitchen," he had informed about the Rottweiler puppy's location in the house. "Stuck him in there when I heard y'all drive up..."

Because this close to midnight, Bobby had assumed Sam would be asleep and hadn't wanted his rambunctious puppy jumping and barking and waking up the youngest Winchester when John or Dean carried him inside.

But then the Impala's horn had blared.

Bobby had scowled – hoping that hadn't been done accidently as John had exited the car, hoping Sam hadn't been startled awake by John's clumsiness – and then had felt his stomach twist with instant concern when the horn had blared again...only longer and more insistently.

Rummy had tilted his head at the repeated noise and had whined.

"S'okay, boy..." Bobby had soothed his dog even has he had suspected otherwise. "Stay..." he had ordered and had allowed the kitchen door to swing shut behind him as he had crossed to the window facing the driveway.

As expected, the Impala had been parked outside of his house.

But there had been no John in the driver's seat.

Bobby had frowned as his gaze had refocused and he had realized that Dean was in the passenger seat, awkwardly leaning over something – an unconscious John – to lay on the horn...while an obviously upset Sam had been grabbing for Dean from the bloody backseat.

Dean had reached back, one hand holding onto Sam while the other had continued to blare the Impala's horn.

"Shit..." Bobby had hissed and had left his house running; had found his boys standing beside the car seconds later, covered in blood but together.

Dean had sighed, had scattered Bobby's thoughts as the older hunter had continued to crouch in front of his kids.

"Good," Dean had commented about Rummy being in the kitchen; the big brother having seemed pleased that he and Sam would not be attacked by an overly excited dog when they entered the house.

"Rummy?" Sam had repeated at the mention of the puppy, lifting his head from Dean's shoulder and rubbing his tired, teary eyes.

Dean had smiled, had leaned his bloody forehead against his brother's. "We'll see him later," he had promised, knowing the puppy would help distract Sam. "But first, let's get you cleaned up, huh?"

"No. You first," Sam had countered and had blinked against lingering tears. "I don't like blood on you, Dean."

"I don't like blood on you, either, Sammy..." Dean had agreed and had glanced again at Bobby. "You got him?"

Bobby had nodded as Dean had tilted his head toward John.

"Yeah, I got him..." Bobby had assured about John still sprawled in the front seat. "...as long as you've got him," the older hunter had finished, gesturing at Sam still held securely in Dean's arms.

Dean had pulled a face – because of course he had Sam – and had stepped away from the Impala.

"See you inside..." Dean had called over his shoulder to Bobby and had carried his brother across the snow-covered yard, approaching Bobby's house.

Bobby had watched them go, had felt a certain satisfaction that Dean had not even bothered to retrieve their duffels from the trunk because the kid had known that Bobby had everything they needed in their room; extra clothes and toiletries and anything else...just like home.

Bobby had smiled, then had sighed as he had stood; had wiped his bloody hands on his jeans before tackling the chore of hauling John from the Impala; of carrying the younger hunter inside to clean him up and change his clothes and put him to bed before beginning first aid and suturing.

Speaking of...

"All done," Bobby announced, twisting where he sat and reaching for the scissors on the bedside table.

The older hunter snipping the thread before scanning his work; double-checking the tiny suture knots and the line of tightly clustered stitches extending from the edge of John's forehead down his left temple.

"Probably gonna leave a scar..."

John snorted tiredly at Bobby's comment, like he gave a shit about scars.

"I'll just add it to the rest."

"I reckon you will," Bobby agreed, because all hunters had their own collection of scars...both seen and unseen. "But what about Sam and Dean? What about their scars?"

John frowned at the mention of his kids, the expression causing pain to flare in his freshly stitched temple.

"You said they were fine," he reminded Bobby, his tone vaguely accusing as if he suspected the older hunter had lied. "Are they hurt?"

Bobby shook his head. "Not physically. Not that I can tell, anyway..." he replied honestly, omitting the detail about the alarming amount of blood that had covered both boys earlier. "But they're sure as hell shaken up from whatever happened, especially Sam."

Bobby paused, allowing that information to sink in with John.

"And they both have a few cuts here and there from the busted glass..."

"Busted glass?" John repeated, blinking against confusion and fatigue. "What the hell? The Impala's glass is busted?"

Bobby nodded. "The back glass is."

It was absolutely shattered – either by the supernatural creature or by whatever had been done to kill the evil sonuvabitch...which would explain the unnaturally dark blood that had covered the backseat and the brothers.

And would also explain why Sam had been so hysterical when they had first arrived in Bobby's yard...and why Dean had refused to discuss details.

Because something had happened earlier that night – something kids had no business witnessing, much less experiencing firsthand.

Bobby just didn't know what that something was...or how John fit in the sequence of events.

John seemed confused about it as well.

The younger hunter's frown deepened as he tried to think, tried to remember.

"Shit..." John growled in frustration, hating how hazy he felt; hating the effects of the concussion he had sustained at some point in the evening. "What happened?"

"I don't know," Bobby replied, returning the suturing needle and thread and scissors to the open first aid kit on the bedside table. "But I'm planning to go find out..."

John's gaze flickered to the door, listening to his sons' voices float down the hall from the bathroom.

"I want to see them."

Bobby arched an eyebrow but bit his tongue to stop himself from saying no.

Because as much as he wanted to, it was not his decision to make about whether or not John saw his boys.

Only one person could make that decision.

"I'll let Dean know," Bobby responded to John's request but made no promises beyond that.

Because it was up to Dean whether or not he wanted to see John tonight...and it was definitely up to Dean if John would see Sam.

"Bobby..." John began, trying to glare and sound threatening even as his head pounded and exhaustion pulled at him. "You know that – "

" – save it," Bobby interrupted and closed the first aid kit, leaving it on the bedside table for later. "I'll tell Dean that you want to see him and Sam...and then we'll see what happens."

It was as simple and as complicated as that.

Bobby stood, grabbing the garbage bag with John's bloody clothes and the stained towels stuffed inside on his way to the door.

Every bedroom in Bobby's house always stocked with a box of the plastic bags to help make clean up easier and quicker when tending the injured and dealing with the bloody clothing and towels and whatever else was left in the aftermath.

Bobby lingered in the doorway, glancing over his shoulder.

"For now, you're safe and the boys are safe...so get some sleep," he advised John, watching as the younger hunter's blinks became slower and longer. "Whatever knocked you in the head knocked you pretty damn good."

Bobby paused.

"Maybe even good enough to knock some sense into your stubborn ass..."

John frowned at the comment and watched as Bobby left the room, the older hunter closing the door behind him.

Seconds passed.

The clock ticking, the wind whistling, the sleet tapping.

John sighed and closed his eyes, feeling himself drift towards sleep as he freshly wondered what the hell had happened earlier that night.


TBC