Rating: PG (Language)
Category: SPN - Gen (AU)
Word Count: 971
Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue, no offense, no money.
Notes: A coda of sorts to A World Of His Own Making. Can be read as a standalone.
Prologue | Part One | Part Two
It takes Bobby Singer five years, two months and three days to run Sam Winchester to ground.
Bobby has always known it was coming, the hunt that would take over his life. He is a hunter’s son of a hunter’s son and it presses down on him, as heavy as being seventh of the seventh. He’d spent too long centralised, hunters coming to him with their poor wretched flesh cages filled on up with demon.
It was only a matter of time.
Bobby had lost enough for a lifetime. He knew he wasn’t going to stand for it. He’d lost his own wife and son, one to an accident and one to the big C. He wasn’t going to lose the Winchester boys as well.
Running down Sam was saving Dean to boot. Bobby knew that well enough. Sam had cordoned Dean off in his own way, benched him in a matter of speaking. Bobby only had the slim hope that breaking Sam of whatever had taken him over would set Dean to rights.
The last five years, Bobby had pretty much been functioning on hope alone.
Ellen watches Dean look up and blink, rubbing at his eyes like he’s been subject to a sudden flare of light. He looks about for a second and then he looks right at her. Ellen had been sitting in a corner of his room, ignored as always in favour of the fantasy world Sam had constructed for him and Dean had possibly embellished on his own to keep it going, to keep from breaking.
“Lord Almighty!” Ellen exclaims, coming up out of her chair, the book she was reading sliding to the floor, forgotten. “Dean, hon… that really you?”
“Last time I checked,” Dean grunts and then looks around the room again and then at himself. He’s wearing striped pyjama pants and a soft t-shirt. There are faded blue slippers on his feet and Dean makes a face. “What the hell’s going on?”
Ellen opens her mouth but nothing comes. She’s been waiting for this day ever since Bobby took off but she never really thought it would happen. It’s only coincidence that she’s even there, coming up every few weeks when she can spare the time. Both she and Bobby had come to realise that Dean was never going to just snap out of whatever vision he’d been trapped into.
Thoughts of Bobby make Ellen paw for her phone in her jacket pocket. Dean is still looking at her with a frown on his face, pulling dejectedly at his shirt when she speed dials Bobby’s phone. She makes a grunt of frustration when all she gets is the voicemail. “You’d better ring me the very second you get this, you hear?” she snaps and then closes the phone.
“Sam?” Dean hazards, something painfully hopeful on his face. Ellen had never had any siblings and had never thought about it much until she’d met the Winchester boys. The way those two had been with each other had left her wondering if maybe she should have tried for a second when Bill had started making noises to that effect. She could only wish that there would be someone in the world as devoted to keeping Jo safe.
Of course, that devotion came at a large price as it turned out.
Bobby watches the thing that was once Sam Winchester spit and curse and be quiet and watchful in turns. It’s the in-between times that he’s learned to be most vigilant of because that’s when it’s up to something.
“I don’t even know what we’re supposed to be doing,” Eric Bastkin says from the doorway of his daddy’s garage. Eric and Leonard accepted Bobby’s intrusion as gracefully as they could, considering the number of times they’d turned up on Bobby’s doorstep with folks in full possession. Eric is twenty-three and Bobby is uncomfortably aware of how very much like Dean he was at that age. He’d been raised a hunter, knew nothing nor wanted anything else. He lacked the softening presence of a brother who could want more for both of them however and was harder around the edges than Dean had ever managed to become. “He’s not possessed.”
Bobby looks back at the thing chained to a chair which is in turn bolted to the concrete floor of the garage. He can’t think of it as Sam because at the moment it doesn’t remotely resemble the shaggy-hair, lanky limbed boy Bobby watched grow up. The face is changed with malice and a kind of low cunning. The features seem almost elongated and wrenched out of true by the expressions it makes.
“No, but there’s something in there alright,” Bobby says. “Something we can maybe pry loose.”
Dean is pushing eggs around on his plate. He keeps looking around the cafeteria they’re in, like it’s habit to actually watch something, or someone Ellen realises with a tight feeling in her chest.
“I wish you’d tell me just what the fuck is goin’ on,” Dean complains. He knows he’s in a mental facility of some kind, but not the type that locks the doors. Ellen had carefully kept him away from the doctors for the time being but she knows he’s probably due for some kind of therapy at some point. She thought about taking Dean onto the grounds but knew he was more than likely to attempt to abscond and the minimal security would be no match for a determined Winchester.
She’d deflected most of his questions but he kept cycling back around to asking about Sam. She can sense Dean is starting to get mad because the only assurance she can offer is that Sam is alive… so far as she knows.
What state he’s in is a different matter entirely.