Just a short one-shot, written some time ago before I ever watched Lucifer rising.

It's Bobby's POV - and it basically covers the first days after Dean going to hell.

I realize that it's been done a dozen times, and probably way better than this, but I felt the need to post it anyways.

For those of you still waiting on the next chapter of Crows in the wheatfield, I haven't forgotten about you guys, and I'm definitely going to continue and finish it very soon. Just...RL demanded some serious attention for a while, and could no longer ignore it. But the next chapter to that one is almost done and will be up wihtin the next week, I promise! Just fretting about it some more, making it, hopefully better ;-)

Also, I sadly don't own them - and this hasn't been beta-ed, so all mistakes are mine.

Closer to the edge

Sam finally slept.

Had taken him long enough – and it wasn't entirely due to exhaustion and actual willingness of the youngest Winchester to let go, Bobby had to admit.

Might in parts have been due to the tiny little drop of a little something special the older hunter had managed to slip into the kid's drink when Sam hadn't been looking. It wasn't something Bobby was overly proud of, but he was far from being ashamed, either.

The kid needed the sleep, needed the rest – and he certainly needed the however small reprieve from the past days harsh reality.

Bobby needed it, too, needed it so bad, he physically hurt, almost, but he knew he had no right. He missed Dean like he would his own son. Missed him so bad already, after such a short, short time… And if he felt this bad already, there was no telling how Sam…

But Bobby needed to be there when Sam woke up, needed to be the shoulder to lean on, the bastion of calm, however little he felt like it right now. Sam needed him. Now more so than ever. Even though the kid wouldn't admit to it, wouldn't want Bobby to stand by him.

It would be so hard to keep him grounded, and Bobby had no idea how to do it. Not when he himself felt like he was breaking apart any second now.

The last days had been the longest Bobby had ever been through in his entire life.

The past days spent with Sam…

He finally slept, but Bobby still couldn't believe how hard it had been to get him there.

They'd been through minutes that had felt like hours of Sam sitting there, rocking his brother's dead body in his arms, crying, screaming, pleading, silently staring ahead.

Hours of driving, then, Bobby following the Impala, driving so close he hardly saw her taillights anymore just so he could make sure Sam wouldn't swear off the road, wouldn't turn around or speed off on him.

They'd argued fiercely once they'd arrived at the place they'd agreed on, Bobby trying to be the voice of reason through his own barely suppressed tears and clogged throat, trying to persuade Sam that Dean would want to be burned, just like John.

A hunter's burial – there'd never been any doubt to either of them that it was what Dean would have wanted, that he wouldn't want to be left rotting in the ground, to possibly turn into the very thing he'd been hunting all his life. But it had somehow been different when Dean had still been around, had sounded reasonable and, if not alright, then at least an agreeable option.

But, of course, as soon as it had come to it…

Bobby had lost the fight, after many tears and harsh words and unfound accusations and Sam had started to dig, stubbornly determined, both jaw and mind set. And because Bobby couldn't, try as he might, let the kid do it alone, he'd helped him in the end. It wasn't something anyone should ever do alone – bury his own brother like that. Nobody deserved that. Especially not when they'd been as close as the Winchesters, had needed each other so fiercely.

When they'd been done, they'd sat for hours, staring at the grave that held Dean – Dean - held the brother and friend they'd both missed so terribly already, it was impossibly to imagine going on at all. At some point Sam's tears had dried up, eyes red but parched, old trail of tears still visible in the grime and dust covering his devastated face.

And then he'd gotten quiet. Too quiet.

Sam hadn't wanted to come back to the junkyard with Bobby, had wanted to drive off on his own, go somewhere, anywhere, to just be alone.

But Bobby hadn't let him. He hadn't trusted the kid, to be honest, to not do anything stupid at this point, had been determined to keep him under close surveillance for as long as he possibly could. Maybe…if he could keep him close by long enough…

Bobby had abandoned his own car, had sat down in the Impala – Dean's car…Sam's now – and had insisted that Sam drive him back home. The desperation and pain in Sam's eyes as he'd tried to stare down the older hunter had been unbearable. But in the end, Sam had relented, had gotten into the driver's seat and driven off like a madman. Bobby had known that there'd be no way that Sam would let him drive instead, despite the apparent danger of crashing them both into the nearest ditch the way he was driving like being possessed by Dean Winchester himself.

When Sam had finally calmed down enough to reduce the speed to a somewhat reasonable level, they'd almost made it back to Bobby's place.

The radio had never been turned on, both of them not ready to be faced with Dean's music just yet.

They hadn't spoken one single word during the whole drive.

Hadn't spoken one single word while Bobby fixed them some sandwiches neither of them touched in the end.

Hadn't spoken one word while Bobby sat in his chair, an already lukewarm bottle of beer clutched tightly in his hand, watching Sam pace the room like a caged tiger, watching him sit on the porch steps, staring at his hands, the horizon, the Impala… At one point Bobby exchanged Sam's already piss-warm beer with an ice cold one, and that one Sam had finally touched, had downed in pretty much one gulp, as he did with the second one.

After that, finally, his body lost a tiny bit of its tension – the kid never had been able to drink much more than a teenage girl, despite his size and bulk…

Bobby finally made the call to a friend of a friend of a friend, calling in a favour and having said friend pick up his car, drive it all the way to South Dakota so he wouldn't need to leave Sam's side again any time soon.

He planned on keeping his friend close, planned on forcing Sam to lay low for a while, give himself time to get it back together, calm down, let it all settle, somewhat. Bobby had no idea how long that could possibly take. And he had no idea how to get Sam to do it, either.

He had no idea how he himself should handle it.

Already, the house felt empty, too quiet without Dean around. Usually, when the boys stayed at Bobby's for any time at all - had stayed with him - there'd always been life within in the old walls, noise and smell and feeling. Always a TV running, or music or they'd simply been chattering, talking, discussing, bickering among each other. Dean would rev up some engine, mould some silver bullets, built a flame thrower out of some broken toaster while Sam cluttered and rustled around with some book or ritual bowl, moving things off the chairs or the sofa to better accompany his large frame.

They'd been ever present, somehow.

Now all Bobby felt of Sam's presence was the oppressing sadness, the silence and the grief thatthreatened to swallow them both whole. All he felt was that something, someone was missing.

The stillness of the night, Sam finally lying asleep on the sofa, didn't manage to reduce that feeling in the slightest, unfortunately, only seemed to make the burden even heavier, even more oppressive.

But it gave Bobby some reprieve at least, as he wasn't forced to look into his eyes anymore, see the pain there, the overwhelming guilt.

Sam lay on the sofa that stood against the wall in Bobby's study. He'd refused to camp back out in the room he and Dean had shared ever since they'd been little and had stayed with Bobby many a week, sometimes even months. But Bobby got it, understood that Sam couldn't stand being in the one room that used to be his' and Dean's, the only room ever for as long as the youngest Winchester could remember, that had been somewhat akin to a home to them.

Motel rooms, at least, were anonymous, impersonal - exchangeable.

This room, tiny and crammed with the two queens Bobby had bought off a friend for twenty bucks and a free oil-change, was memory and past. It was theirs. They still had the odd t-shirt lying in the tiny dresser that stood wedged between the window and the wall, had an old paperback that Dean had had to read for school wedged underneath the wobbling leg of Sam's bed.

There was a tattered and fading AC/DC poster on the wall next to the door and in the even tinier bathroom across the hall still lay an old razor that Dean had left there when he'd been 16 or 17 and had decided that, in favour of the manly look that a full-beard would grace him with, he'd stop shaving. He'd carried through with his plan for all of five days after being back on the road though before it had driven him crazy and he'd had to buy a new one at a run down gas-station somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

Sam had called Bobby the minute Dean had been clean shaven again, demanding the ten dollars they'd betted for to be handed over as soon as they met again.

Bobby remembered now that he still owed the young man, actually, since they'd kinda lost track of each other pretty soon after…

So, Bobby got why Sam refused to sleep in the room, had refused to even take one step inside, as a matter of fact. He didn't blame the kid one bit.

Sam lay on the sofa, all gangly limbs and painfully twisted neck, lying on his side, lower leg bent at the knee, other leg stretched out, giant foot dangling limply over the armrest. He had one arm slung around his midsection as if he needed to hold himself together, the other draped across his eyes, burying his face in the crook of his arm. His face was pinched in silent pain even in sleep.

He was breathing low and heavily, a steady rhythm that finally managed to pull Bobby's racing mind along with him, calming him down somewhat. Sam looked all of ten years old, despite the fact that he was a freaking giant and sported more muscle than most athletes Bobby knew.

But in his eyes he'd always stay the little, floppy haired kid that he'd met over twenty years ago, hanging onto his big brother's shirtsleeve, peeking at him shyly from behind Dean's back, the older brother standing protectively between that strange, older man that neither of them knew and his kid brother. It hadn't taken long to break Sam's resistance, the little one always the more trusting one, warming up to Bobby quickly. It had taken Dean much longer to learn to trust the older hunter, had taken him days to even talk to him, at first. Only, once he'd finally started talking, there'd been no stopping him anymore.

Bobby had to smile at the memory of Dean following him around for hours more days than one, chattering incessantly, demanding that Bobby tell him everything, teach him everything he knew about engines and spark plugs and carburators and just cars in general. Bobby had been close to strangling the kid that day.

He'd give anything to hear that annoying yet happy voice again.

Sam groaned silently in his sleep, turning onto his back, hand flopping lazily to the cushions above his head, unveiling his face for Bobby to see.

Revealing something else, too.

Dean's pendant, the pendant Bobby had given Sam as a present for John, originally.

The pendant that had been a part of Dean ever since that Christmas so many years ago.

Bobby had never seen Dean without it since.

Seeing it against Sam chest now was somehow…wrong.

And it was the final straw that broke the camel's back.

Bobby managed to pick up the kilt that lay crumpled on the floor behind the sofa and drape it over Sam's lanky body, managing to cover him from chin to knee, at least, hiding the amulet from view. He managed to leave the room quietly, managed to avoid the creaking floorboard just outside the doorway and escape to the safety of his back porch in silence.

And then he just sat there, sobbing till his throat hurt, that pain deep inside his chest only deepening, a giant wormhole, swallowing him whole. He felt like sobbing and screaming and begging – knowing that it wouldn't make any difference, that there was no god that would listen – not on Bobby Singer's behalf, not on anybody else's.

No matter how long he sobbed, curling in on himself, hands covering his mouth to stay as quiet as possible, the big, dark hole didn't get any smaller. So he just sat there, hoping Sam wouldn't wake up and find him like this, because Sam needed someone to be strong for him now, didn't he? And Bobby wanted to be that person, even though he'd probably make a piss poor substitute for Dean – at least in Sam's eyes. He was sure of it.

But Sam didn't wake.

He slept like a stone and allowed Bobby to wallow in his on misery for hours, unable to shut his eyes and not see green eyes and a wide smile – unable to not see shovelfuls of dirt hitting the crude wooden box that held the shell of who had once been Dean Winchester, down in his grave.

Finally, sometime in the early morning hours, Bobby fell victim to his own exhaustion as his body just demanded the rest it had been denied for too long already.

He slept deeply, even though his dreams were plagued by weird pictures and shapes and sounds. He didn't wake till late the next morning, the sun up and tickling his nose. He blinked himself awake, confused as to his whereabouts as the short moment of peacefulness, of not remembering had him wondering why the hell he was camping out on the porch instead of his bed.

But when he finally remembered it felt like a stab in the guts, almost bringing him down heaving, the reality was too harsh, almost too much to take.

Made him wish with all his heart he'd never gone to sleep in the first place, had never forgotten only to be reminded again.

And then he knew, somewhere deep in his gut, an even more painful knowledge – a hunch telling him what he'd find once he entered his house again, even before he made his way stiffly into his living room once more.

Sam hadn't even left a note, the blanket once again crumpled and abandoned on the sofa, but nothing else reminding of the fact that he'd ever even been there.

Sam was gone.

So was the Impala.

And when Bobby went back into the tiny bathroom a couple of hours later, he discovered that Dean's old razor was missing from the small plastic bathroom cabinet above the sink, as was the torn and tattered book that had kept Dean's bed from wobbling.

If Bobby had thought nothing had ever hurt as bad as Dean dying, he'd been only partly right.

Because, almost as much did it hurt that Sam had just left without a word, never looking back at all.

It felt like he really had lost both Winchester's for good, this time.

The end


Alright, so, as always, thanks for reading, and if you don't mind and find the time, I'm always most thankful for any review you might want to drop me. I'm always very anxious about posting, so you can help me feel better about it ;-)

Thanks for reading, happy easter to you all and take care!