He wishes now he'd been closer to Bobby, thought of him as more than just the guy with the dogs, because he's sure there are all sorts of clues he's not catching - things Dean would have known just by standing close, shoulder to shoulder - in what Bobby says and the way he says it. "Sammy," he says, breath blowing out in smoky curls as they stand next to the truck, "I didn't want to say anything in front of that girl - didn't know if she'd take on - but the house is yours. You want her gone, you say the word."
His brain isn't working just yet, apparently, because he just stands there, squinting dumbly down at Bobby's earnest face.
"Caleb left the house to the three of you. Left everything to you and your daddy. And he didn't say anything about a little housekeeper."
He's stunned at Caleb's generosity, and rocks back on his heels a little. But maybe it's not so hard to believe; Caleb had always acted like he was John Winchester's long-lost twin - just as grimly focused on hunting and just as unconcerned about taking care of two little boys. He opens his mouth to ask Bobby what he thinks about Caleb's gift, only to find Bobby's dark eyes already on him, clear and unsparing and so knowing that he has to look away. He casts about for something to say. What ends up coming out of his mouth surprises them both. "You think he and that girl, um, Eve, ever . . . ?"
Bobby's stern expression fades into a faint smile. "Pair of fools like that, I'd believe anything," he says, clearing his throat, "but she didn't seem much like a girl Caleb would have gone for." He steps forward and pulls open the passenger side door and fumbles briefly with the glove compartment latch. The glove compartment finally flips open and Bobby pulls something out, holding it close to his body and beckoning Sam to come closer. He hands it over, a warm and heavy weight. Sam looks down to see the Colt shining darkly in his hand. "This is yours too," Bobby reminds him, and Sam feels somehow cheated that this moment of destiny is taking place in a driveway in Nebraska, witnessed only by a beat-up car and a muddy truck, with his brother out of sight. "It belongs in your hands, Sam," he says. Bobby adjusts his ballcap and touches the brim with a gesture that looks something like respect when his eyes wander over to the house. He climbs in his truck and drives off, gone in a plume of dust and the growl of an engine.
Sam tucks the Colt into the back of his jeans, pulls his jacket back down to cover his waistband, and heads back inside, taking the front porch steps slowly.
It looks like Dean and Eve haven't moved at all since he left, like they're actors holding their positions and waiting for the curtain to rise. Dean is still leaning with apparent nonchalance against the counter, but Sam can see the tiny tremors shaking his body. For a moment he sees red and wants to snap at Dean that the world will not end if he gives himself a break, but he curbs his tongue, looks again, and sees that Dean has kept himself standing with his determination to stay between the box of Dad's stuff and Eve, whom he does not know and has no reason to trust.
He grabs the boxes - surprisingly light, though bulky and needing to be juggled a little - and stands at the doorway. "Do you live here?" he asks Eve, who's looking up from her seat with a dry face and eyes turned sadly down at the corners. She nods and points to the small bedroom just off the kitchen, so he heads for the stairs. "We'll take the upstairs, then," he says, running up to dump the boxes in the biggest bedroom he can find and come back for Dean, who's pushing himself determinedly away from the counter and preparing to walk up the stairs.
"I can . . ." she starts to say, trailing off when he steps in front of her to get to Dean.
"I got it," he says as nicely as he can, wishing she would just go; Dean will never let him help if they have an audience. Her little rosebud mouth thins out and she turns on her heel, and his hands finally clasp Dean.
It's slow going, getting up the dingily carpeted stairs, and Dean is sweating and shaking once they reach the top. "Sammy," Dean murmurs, then pauses, considering. "Man, I reek."
"Like a rendering plant," Sam agrees, and Dean snorts softly in amusement. "Bath?"
"This a chick flick? No candles, no bubbles. Soap. Hot water. The end."
"Big words, tough guy. You aren't going to make it to the shower." He wants to bite his tongue, but it's too late, and now Dean has to ask for what he should have offered.
"The nurses all fought over who got to give me sponge baths, you know," Dean jokes after a moment, ignoring the fact that he was comatose at the time; "they'd be so jealous of you right now." Dean's voice is getting better the more he uses it, though it's still nowhere near its usual timbre; his sense of humor, however, has not improved.
"Yeah, I'm a hell of a lucky guy," he says, deadpan, watching surprise and amusement chase each other across Dean's freckled face.
"You know it, baby," Dean says, and collapses against the wall.
Still gen, still R-ish.
Word count (today): 947
Word count (total): 18,005 (60.02%)