caranfindel (caranfindel) wrote,

Fic: Sometimes I think it's a sin, when I feel like I'm winning when I'm losing again

Length: About 2200 words
Rating: Gen, PG for language
Warnings: None
Characters: Bobby Singer, Sam Winchester. Not appearing in this story: Sam's soul.
Spoilers: Through S8

Synopsis: It's always bothered me that Bobby didn't tell Dean when Sam got out of Hell. Bothered me enough that I tried to fix it in my first published fic. So, here's Bobby's side of the story. And also maybe a teeny little bit of fix-it for Taxi Driver.

Fills the first person square on my Bingo card for spnspiration The title is from Sundown by Gordon Lightfoot, which you may recognize as the song on the radio at the beginning of Fan Fiction.


This ain't a story about heroic acts or love conquering all. It ain't a story of redemption, and it don't have much of a happy ending. It's a story about how a blind, foolish old man screwed up something big, even though he really should have known better, and hurt the only family he had left.

It was a bad time. A really bad time. I'd been hitting the bottle pretty hard, and I guess I wasn't what you might call completely sober. Or even completely conscious, which is why I didn't hear the car pull up. But I'd have to be more than a little unconscious to not recognize the sound of my own goddamn lock being picked.

I met him at the door, yanked it right out of his hand, had my gun pointed at his face. Well, his neck, turns out, cause he's a tall son of a bitch. And I almost shot him, God, I came so close. But I was too stunned, because I never expected to see Sam Winchester's face again, let alone have him standing there on my porch. And while I was gaping like a damn fool, he threw a punch and I was on the floor.

When I came back to my senses, I was on the couch, with holy water dripping down my face and someone who looked an awful lot like Sam Winchester bandaging my arm. Which was thoughtful, considering he'd just sliced it with a silver knife.

"Sorry," he said. "I thought you were dead."

"Right back at ya, buddy. And I still do, if you know what I mean."

"Of course." He held his hands up, like I'm not here to hurt you, but it didn't reassure me all that much. "I assume you'll want to use your own silver," he said.

"You assume correctly." I backed over to my desk and found my silver knife, keeping an eye on the Sam-thing the whole time. He pushed up his sleeves and held both arms out, palms up, but I didn't get this old by trusting people, let alone things that might not even be people, things that look like dead friends. So I motioned to his leg instead. He smiled kinda weird and pulled up his jeans, and didn't even flinch when I nicked him. And I wasn't gentle, I gotta admit, because I was mad as hell that something would be walking around using Sam Winchester's face. It just wasn't right, not after what that boy did. But like I said, silver didn't affect him at all.

"Holy water?" he said. He stood up and moved to the kitchen, holding his hands out at his sides, like he's trying to show me that he's not reaching for a weapon.

"You're acting like you don't expect nobody to trust you," I pointed out.

"I remember when Dean came back from Hell. I was sure it wasn't him. I figured you'd probably feel the same way about me." And well, yeah. Point taken. He didn't show even a flicker of emotion when he said it, though, and that wasn't like Sam, so I still had my guard up pretty tight. I followed him into the kitchen, still not turning my back on him, and handed him a bottle of holy water from the fridge. He took a swig and then poured a little into his hand and splashed it on his face for good measure.

"Anything else?" he said, and he wiped his face with his sleeve.

In my head, I knew some demons are immune to holy water. And I knew nothing I'd done would have any impact on an angel or an archangel. Literally, this could have been Lucifer himself, standing there in my kitchen. But my heart saw this tall, floppy-haired kid, the one I never thought I'd see again in this life or any other, the one I couldn't even let myself think about because it hurt too damn much, and he was standing there leaning on my kitchen counter and I wanted to believe it. So I let myself believe it.

"Goddammit, boy," I said, and I threw my arms around him. "It's good to see you. It's damn good to see you." He jumped a little bit, and then kind of awkwardly hugged me back. Nothing like I was used to, cause Sam just wraps those long arms all the way around you and squeezes you tight, but, well. Hell changes a man.

But it ain't the first time a dead Winchester has shown up on my doorstep, and there are always strings attached, strings that end up wrapped around somebody's neck. So I pulled back and looked at him real careful, even though I didn't exactly know what I was looking for. The boy looked normal. Sounded normal. Except, he didn't, not really. Sam's an emotional kid, wears his heart on his sleeve, and you can tell pretty easily if he's happy to see you or if he wishes you were six feet under and he was pissing on your grave. But I wasn't getting anything from him. He seemed kinda cold and guarded. Well, like I said, Hell changes a man.

And then my heart dropped, because if Sam really was out of Hell, and Dean wasn't here with him...

"Where's your brother?" I asked. I wasn't sure I wanted to hear the answer.

"Cicero. With Lisa."

"So he didn't do anything stupid to get you out? He's okay?"

He huffed a dry little laugh. "He didn't do anything stupid. He was fine, last time I saw him."

Thank God, thank God. "I can't believe he let you come out here without him. And I'm gonna kick his ass from here to Canada for not telling me you're back." I kind of collapsed into one of my kitchen chairs, because goddamn, I don't think I've ever been so relieved.

Sam took a couple of bottles of beer out of the fridge, sat in the other chair, and offered me one. He opened his own, took a long drink and finally said "He doesn't know."

"He doesn't know you're here?"

His face was completely blank. Not angry, not sad, just... unreadable. "He doesn't know I'm out."

And I knew I must have misunderstood that. "He doesn't know you're out? What do you mean?"

"I mean, he doesn't know I'm out of Hell," he said, calm as anything. "And I need you to not tell him."

"What the hell, Sam?" My bottle hit the table so hard, it almost broke. "You said you saw him!"

"I saw him. He didn't see me." It wasn't just calm, it was cold. Emotionless. "I went to check on him, and I watched him eating dinner with his family, and he's fine. He's happy, he's safe, he's out of the life, and I want him to stay that way."

My head was reeling; I figured the boy must be bullshitting me. But then it hit me - when he first showed up, he thought I was dead. If he'd talked to Dean, he would have known I was alive. So he had to be telling the truth. But why would he do that to Dean? Maybe he was brain damaged, or something. I stood there with my mouth hanging open for a minute, and I finally said "Happy? Your brother is not happy! He's mourning! He's miserable! He thinks you're rotting in Hell and he blames himself and I don't care what you think you saw, but he is not happy!"

And he smirked. The son of a bitch actually smirked at me, and said "Trust me. It's best that he doesn't know I'm out." And that was so unlike Sam that I started backtracking, started wondering what exactly was sitting there in front of me. Because if it was Sam, it wasn't our Sam, you know?

Then he said "I know your loyalty is to Dean. I know you want to make Dean happy. But even if you don't believe me when I say this is best for him, I've got to ask you to do this my way, Bobby. Do it for me, just this once."

That was something I couldn't let stand. "Sam," I said. "I'm not picking Dean over you. You know you're like my own son, right?"

He smirked at me again, and damn if that expression didn't look wrong on Sam's face, and said "Yeah, but fathers have favorite sons, don't they?"

Thing is, I never really appreciated Sam the way I should have, not until right before he jumped in the Pit. I loved the kid, of course, loved him as much as I loved his brother. But Dean was always so much easier. Never complained, never tried to get out of a hunt, accepted whatever shit life handed him. His daddy said "jump" and he'd say "how high and when do you want me to come down?" And Sam was never like that. Yeah, I know, I realize now that Sam was the more normal kid of the two, probably had a healthier attitude about the whole thing. But it took me too long to notice that Sam wasn't just smart as a whip and stubborn as a mule, but he was also brave and kind and willing to sacrifice himself for just about anybody. And this guy sitting here in my kitchen, drinking my beer, just didn't feel like that.

So I changed the subject.

"How'd you get out, if it wasn't Dean? Did Cas have something to do with it?"

He narrowed his eyes at me. "Cas? Cas is alive?"

Well, of course he wouldn't have known that either, so I filled him in. "Yeah, Cas is alive. Far as I know; I ain't seen him since that day. But apparently God, or something, brought Cas back to life, and then Cas brought me back."

He just said "Huh," and kept drinking his beer, and I guess that's when my decision was made. Because this was a version of Sam who didn't want to see his brother, who couldn't even be happy that Cas was alive. And I kept thinking about that Stephen King book, the one about the cemetery that brings things back to life, and I remembered the kid whose cat died, and the kid loved the cat so much that the dad buried it in the magic cemetery. But when it came back, it came back wrong, and the kid didn't love it any more.

Yeah, it's just a book. But I was afraid I was looking at that damn cat.

And maybe Dean was happy. I hadn't talked to him in a long time. Maybe he'd be better off... aw, hell. I know, it doesn't make any sense now, in hindsight. But it was a bad time.

And sometimes, having someone come back wrong can be worse than losing them in the first place. Trust me, I know. Was I going to give Dean his brother back, let him figure out that this guy is Sam in name only, and let him go through losing him again?

Hell. Ya'll who are without sin can cast the first stone.

We talked a little more. He told me was hunting, and when I asked if he was on his own, he said no. I didn't ask who with, and I wish I had, because hearing "my dead grandfather" might have made me investigate. On the other hand, he probably wouldn't have told me the truth. That's what I tell myself, anyway.

He'd come to my house looking for a book, so I gave it to him, and I promised not to say anything to Dean, and I let him go. He was driving this flashy plastic asshole car, and that should have been a clue, because I know Sam's taste in cars pretty damn well. That car should have told me something. But instead I just watched him drive off in his asshole car, and I knew it was either the best thing or the worst thing I'd ever done.


I ended up going to Hell. Long story.

Fella that runs the place, he tells me, Don't worry. This is the farthest corner of Hell. Practically Hell adjacent. I'm not even gonna torture you. I'm just gonna leave you here to sit and think about what you've done.

Like that ain't torture.

Turns out he was lying anyway. He didn't just leave me there, he sent demon versions of the people I love, to remind me of how bad I'd treated them. Worst one, of course, was the one who looked like my Karen. But that's a story for a different day. Next worst was those boys. Every day, I had some goddamn black-eyed Sam or Dean reminding me that if I'd just called Dean that day, we would have figured it out so much sooner. Before so much damage was done. Before people died, before Sam lost so much of himself down in the Pit.

Well, like I said, y'all who are without sin can cast the first stone. Believe me, they ain't gonna be any bigger than the ones I've been chucking at myself. And that's all I'm gonna say about it. I ain't asking for forgiveness, or trying to get you to see my side. I'm just, I don't know. Unburdening myself, I guess. But I don't feel any less burdened.

Tags: 8.19 taxi driver, challenge, fic: bobby singer, fic: sam winchester, fic: soulless sam, my fic, supernatural

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