|"The Sum Of His Parts"
||[Dec. 17th, 2008|10:37 am]
Title: The Sum Of His Parts|
Rating: PG (Language)
Disclaimer: Written for entertainment purposes only. No money, no sue.
Notes: Sweet Charity fic written for meansprite. Further notes at the bottom.
Summary: Some said those boys were so wrapped up in each other, it was like they were one person.
"Think of it as a personal favor."
Bobby Singer sighs, long and low and rubs a hand over his face. His ear is getting sweaty with the phone pressed between it and his shoulder. He'd been listening to Jim Murphy tell him about this hunter who'd had a run of bad luck which had culminated in something happening to his kid, a kid along for the ride for chrissakes, and had managed to wedge into the conversation a way to ruin Bobby's day.
He'd swear if he weren’t on the line with a man of the cloth.
"It is a personal favor," Bobby points out and Jim chuckles, a sound as familiar as Bobby's own lined face in the mirror.
"Well, then, I'd owe you one," Jim amends.
"Nah, I think I owe you about a hundred. I'm not a man who welshes on his debts," Bobby relents although he knows he'll regret it. Other people are a messy business and he tries to stay away from them as much as possible. He's not sure how he's become the wise man on the mountaintop but he's currently trying to discourage it and letting in a guy and his two ragamuffins for a visit will send out the wrong signal.
Bobby doesn't want to be open for business.
"There's one other thing though," Jim says and Bobby rolls his eyes although the other man can't see it. There's always something else with Jim. "I told him he was doing me a favor, said you needed help with somethin'."
"Like what?" Bobby asks incredulously.
"I don't know. Be creative,” Jim huffs. “Something that'll take him a few weeks at least. Enough time for them to just... heal." Jim’s voice has turned down serious, his why haven't you been to confession lately voice.
It's a tone that can't be denied.
Bobby takes a moment to sit back in his chair and look about his place, or more accurately the stacks of books that basically swamp the downstairs. The ones he's been meaning to organize and catalogue for years but he can't get help with because you can get more than paper cuts from these types of tomes.
"Yeah, I can think of somethin'" Bobby says finally.
Bobby didn't get the specifics but when the large black Impala pulls up to his house he sees for himself just what kind of hell these people have been through lately.
The father, sliding out of the driver's side, is moving with a care that would be more at home on a man forty years his senior. He's being careful of everything like he's just one big walking bruise. A little tyke with shaggy hair bounces out of the backseat on the side farthest from the house and runs around to the other door, opening it and then standing stock-still.
Bobby's brows knit but raise when a hand appears on the small boys shoulder and another boy, taller and older by the look, face almost obscured by white bandaging, emerges. The younger raises a tentative hand and waves while his charge is setting himself down on his feet and Bobby waggles fingers back with a smile he wasn't expecting.
"You okay, Dean?" the father calls.
"Yessir," the taller boy replies immediately. The younger moves forward only when the car door behind them both squeaks shut and Bobby racks his brain because Jim had told him three names.
Sammy, he thinks, cogs finally settling in place and producing the memory.
As they make their slow way towards his house, Bobby tenses when Dean stumbles a little. Sammy immediately spins and puts small hands against his brother's chest but Dean bats him away with a disgruntled, "I'm fine! Jeez!" and Sammy turns back, now kind of shuffling his feet as he progresses so he can sweep aside the small rocks that litter the ground.
"John Winchester," John introduces as he reaches Bobby and he puts out a hand. Bobby returns the shake, still with half an eye on the two boys who have almost reached his front porch. From closer Bobby can see that Dean's mouth and nose are clear of the bandaging and a tuft of hair sticks out from the top. There's dark tendrils of what looks like soot peeking out from underneath dusting his cheeks and Bobby bites the inside of his cheek to stop from asking just what the hell happened to someone who couldn't be more than ten years old.
"Bobby Singer," Bobby finally blurts, realizing he'd just been standing and pumping John's hand without a word verging on an awkward handful of minutes. They drop hands and John turns to his boys, putting a hand out and behind Dean but not actually touching him like he’s almost herding his boys forward into the house.
"I appreciate what you're doing," John says, eyes now fixed on Dean who has been guided by Sammy until his hands have bumped up against the front door. Dean feels around for a moment before he finds the catch of the screen and pulls it back, shuffling out of the way just enough to be able to pass through.
"I thought you were here to do me a favor," Bobby says almost absently and John huffs a wry chuckle.
"Jim is salt of the earth but he can’t lie with a damn," John says with a rueful shake of his head. "If this is any kind of inconvenience then you just say the word and we'll-"
"Nonsense," Bobby immediately dismisses, waving a hand. "Had a few things needed doing for years. I'm grateful you came."
John looks incredulous for a moment but then rubs a hand over his face and nods. "I'm not real comfortable with taking charity."
"I'm not real comfortable with givin' it and I don't intend to. I told you, I got stuff need's doin'."
"Okay then," John says and his face clears a touch. Inside the house there's a thump and Dean cursing words Bobby wasn't sure a ten year old should know, some even he didn't know.
Both men look at each other for a moment. "Last chance," John offers with a grimace and Bobby laughs.
"I'm tellin' you, I seen 'em pull the pins out with their teeth in the movies. I wouldn't put a grenade that close to my noggin'"
Bobby is nodding along to Eric Deed's latest rant when a hush falls over the bar. Two men, or more from the look of them boys have entered. Bobby cranes because it's a special kind of someone that puts a crowd like what Ellen attracts to quiet and even though the boys have their heads together where they stand so he can't exactly see their faces, Bobby knows despite the years just who he's looking at.
"Holy hell! That those Winchesters people been talkin' about?" Eric asks, leaning up out of his own seat to have a look. Bobby waves Eric back down onto his butt with an impatient hand. Dean is nineteen if he's a day and Sammy fifteen or sixteen if he's just had a birthday. They have no business being in a bar of any sort, no matter the particular vocation of the clientele. Bobby feels something in his chest grip when Dean finally faces forward and he's got wrap around shades on. Even still, the edges of his scarring can be seen.
"They both blind or just one of 'em?" Eric presses, looking keen as a new puppy. Eric's one of those hunters who likes to pass along news, which done by a woman would be called gossiping.
"Just one of 'em," Bobby says and wishes to hell despite the crowd in the place on a Friday night, he'd sat somewhere else. Eric wasn't a bad guy and Bobby had been in a rare mood to have contact, shoot the breeze as it were with other human beings but that urge has well and truly passed him.
"Which one?" Eric asks and Bobby rolls his eyes because it's just a dumb question but he supposes, watching Dean and Sammy weave their way through the room, that it really is hard to tell. For a moment he's caught up in memory, standing on his back porch still intact then before one hell of a storm ripped up half the boards last summer. Sammy is sitting on the back steps, looking at Dean intently and Dean is lining up a rifle with bottles on a car. Bobby's thinking to himself that it won't really do much harm since all that's out there is junkers anyway but then Dean shoots and the cans fly up and away, one by one.
Pock, pock, pock.
Dean turns in Sammy's direction unerringly and raises his arms in triumph and Bobby's about to say something because it's a goddamn miracle but Dean isn't acknowledging his presence at all. With something cold curling through him Bobby realizes why.
Dean hasn't seen him yet because Sammy hasn't.
Bobby shifts his weight a little and there's a tiny creak in the boards under his boots. It's too soft for Dean to have heard but the moment Sammy turns his eyes in Bobby's direction, Dean's face shifts too.
Sammy blinks for a second and then smiles to see him and Bobby catches out of the corner of his eye Dean going from standing sure to slumping a little, rifle swinging down by his side and face going off center.
"Knew it wasn't true," Eric snorts and Bobby snaps back into the present to see the fallout of some bright spark having chucked a bottle in Dean's direction. Dean's over tables and hunters alike to get to the man who'd pegged it and Sam is watching after him, same intent expression on his face Bobby had seen all those years ago.
"It is true," Bobby says and Eric turns a raised eyebrow on him.
"He ducked," Eric says incredulously.
Bobby sighs hard and gathers himself, checking for wallet, keys and knife as he stands. There's going to be a brawl because Dean's gone after Bill Blakeny who isn't exactly a lone wolf type, always has some meathead friends with him.
Bobby isn't in the mood for fighting his way out.
"Dean Winchester is as blind as they come," Bobby says but doesn't bother responding when Eric just dismisses him with a snort.
Bobby doesn't see them for about a year after that and then they turn up in the most unlikely of places.
Every two to three years, hunters gather. It's nothing particularly organized, just word of mouth passed on. It's a chance to catch up, take stock and lick wounds. The motliest crew of caravans, trucks and vintage cars arrive in a beaten-down field in the middle of nowhere and stay at the most about four days. Bobby's never been sure how the timing is worked out, he knows someone must do it because right when the hunters go off reservation there's always a strange lull in supernatural activity. There's still stuff going on but nothing pressing and nothing too violent and Bobby in his more fanciful moments imagines another field somewhere on the other side of the country with all manner of demons and monsters gathered for the pure joy of shooting the breeze and eating BBQ.
It takes him a second glance to realize it's Dean Winchester sitting in amongst the kids at the fire outside Tara Henley's campervan. There's never very many kids at these gatherings, not many hunters who have them but there's always a few. John Winchester wasn't the only one to start down this road with a few passengers in tow. Dean is so swamped he looks like one of those men with bee beards, little'uns basically crawling all over him and all he does is pluck off the more adventurous of them that get up around his shoulders or tickle the ones that get too close. He looks at ease in a way that his daddy never did like this particular life suits him down to the boots.
Bobby takes a moment to take in the wrap-around sunglasses and edges of scarring that still dominate his face and then let his gaze slip sideways, finally finding Sammy standing a little ways off, just outside the circle of the fire's light. Bobby expects to find him alone because he's pretty sure Sammy's not the chatty, friendly kid he once was by all he's heard but he's not. Denny Pritchard, taken in by his Uncle Jacob who is currently hunting whatever son of a bitch slaughtered his baby sister right in front of the six year old, is standing by Sammy's side holding onto his arm.
"Hey Bobby, long time no see," Dean says from right by Bobby's shoulder and he could kick himself when he jumps a little. Bobby turns just enough to see Dean smirking at his own little joke.
"Hey kid, how've you been?" he asks, trying to sound normal but it's hard. He's seen a lot, enough to turn a man's stomach and his hair white, but it unnerves him all the same that Dean appears to be looking at him dead-on.
"Can't complain," Dean says with a shrug and he's looking friendly but Bobby's not getting a particularly friendly vibe. If anything, he feels like Dean's bristling. Dean reinforces this sensation when he basically moves so that he's herded Bobby backwards just enough that Dean is now standing between him and Sammy. At that moment Dean reminds Bobby of his oldest dog Hercules with his shoulders up and head going down like he's on guard.
Later, Bobby catches sight of the two of them. Sam's pressed against Theo Howard's pickup and Dean's leaning in, hand twisted in the collar of Sam's shirt but it's not an aggressive hold, more of a possessive one.
"You really sure?" Dean is asking and Bobby hears Sam sigh like this is an argument they've had over and over again without really getting anywhere.
"I know what I'm doin'."
"You look thinner," Dean says, pushing his other hand up under Sam's shirt and Sam squirms.
"I can handle it," Sam insists and then sighs, dropping his head onto Dean's shoulder. "I don't know what will happen if I stop. What will happen to you. Don't ask me to do that because I can't risk it. Can't risk you."
"Hey, it's okay. Just... tell me if it gets bad. If it gets bad for you it gets bad for me okay? Anything happens to you it happens to me. We're one, we're the same person, okay Sammy?"
Bobby backs away, melts into the shadows of the evening because he feels like he's just witnessed something nobody else should.
It's another eight months later and a diner outside of Alabama has Bobby spotting Sam by himself. The boy looks gaunt, with heavy shadows under his eyes and he’s nothing but skin and bones. He's got a jacket on that makes him look all of twelve because it's swamping his thin frame.
Bobby's just about to approach but the men's bathroom door swings open and shut and Dean strides out. Bobby freezes because Dean's not wearing the wrap-around sunglasses anymore and the scarring on his face is mostly gone, just a mild discoloration around the eyes and brow.
What's most troubling is that Dean has a paper in hand and he's scanning it as he returns to his brother's table.
Bobby backs out of the diner and has the accelerator on the floor, fishtailing out of the parking lot before he knows it because for just a second, a mere moment, when Dean sat down his and Sam's shoulders didn't just bump.
"Yeah? Didn't even know there was a third Winchester."
Bobby's back at the roadhouse and drinking alone this time but catches the tail end of a conversation. He whips around and Billy Hicksom and Terence Weathers are bent over their whiskeys with their journals out. "What's that you said?" Bobby asks, not bothering to apologize for the intrusion.
Billy blinks a little but then clears his throat. "I says I didn't know there was three Winchester boys," he repeats and Bobby bites his tongue to stop from insisting there isn't. "Would've thought it was just one of them wild rumors those boys have spring up around them like weeds after a rainstorm if I didn't see him for meself."
"Spittin' image of the Daddy," Terence adds, nodding slowly.
"Yeah, Clare Durham says she ran into him last month down in Texas. Helped clear out a harpy nest. He says he's the middle'un, name's Sean."
Bobby feels cold all over.
Bobby hasn't screamed since he had to kill his own wife, but he nearly does when he comes down his front steps and sees John Winchester standing in his turn-around, bright as day.
Only, when Bobby recovers from his near-heart attack, he can see it's not John. The man’s a dead ringer for sure from a distance but closer there are subtle differences. John's eyes weren't that green and he didn't have moles on his face.
"Got a beer for us?" the man asks and Bobby doesn't miss the collective. He swallows hard and knows he should be heading back inside to retrieve his shotgun.
"Sean, is it?" Bobby asks instead and the man smiles, eyes crinkling and dimples digging deep.
We're one, we're the same person, okay Sammy?
"That's what they say," he agrees with a small nod.
Notes: This turned out a lot stranger than I first imagined. Like many of my stories, I started out with the intention of writing something straight forward. My requestor wanted a h/c Dean and also liked the story The Summer Of Standing Still which is why this ended up being a Bobby POV. I haven't read anything like this before but I have read many and varied takes on the blind!Dean story so this kind of diverted itself. At least, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.