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Breathe

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Bobby paused in the act of retrieving a bag from the bed of his truck to watch his family reunite.  

For all of their bickering, those two sure do love each other.   Sam had scampered across the parking lot like a gangly colt as soon as he saw Bobby’s truck pull up.  For his part, Dean had his door open before the wheels stopped rolling, and wrapped his slightly taller little brother up in a hug that lifted the delighted boy off of his feet.

They really shouldn’t be apart.

John had come as far as the doorway, leaning against it, dimples deepening in a relaxed grin as he observed his boys.  He straightened as Dean approached, smile fading, and Bobby read the uncertainty there.  

Dean stopped within arm’s length, and his queried “Dad?” begged for acceptance in a way that broke Bobby’s heart even as his blood boiled.

The Winchester patriarch pulled his eldest into a tight embrace, and the tears on his cheeks were understood by all to be forgiven as he had nearly lost this child to a Succubus.  A demon.

Dean had demanded vehemently that Bobby keep his secret so that neither John nor Sam would ever know that it was not the actions of a monster that had landed Dean in the hospital in the first place.

Not a supernatural one, anyway.

Dean’s memory of the Succubus hadn’t turned out to be very helpful.  Once they’d all made it clear that they wanted the nudity and more graphic details omitted, there wasn’t much to tell.  Dean was convinced that it was Dr. Kim, despite all three of the hunters showing him different articles of lore explaining that a Succubus could take on any form that it chose, so they were starting with that.

Sam teased that it had actually been Dr. Garby that the Succubus had chosen to impersonate, and John had been surprisingly tolerant of the pillow fight that ensued.

Pizza boxes and beer bottles decorated the hotel room.  Plans had been laid, further research outlined.

Bobby couldn’t think of any more excuses for staying.  “To protect Dean from you” wasn’t a reason that John Winchester would accept, graciously or otherwise.

As if sensing his unease, the man himself followed Bobby out to his truck.  “Singer....Thanks.”

Bobby sighed.  He chewed his lip, pulled his cap off, raked a hand through his hair, tugged the cap back down.

Finally he looked up at his friend, a man he had mentored for the past sixteen years.  “John, you know I love ya.”

John shifted uncomfortably, dropping his chin to hide his eyes.

“But I love your boys more.”  He waited for the other hunter to look up.  “If you ever raise a hand to either of them ever again, I will take that shotgun --” he stabbed a finger at the rack in the rear windshield of his old Ford-- “and I will blow a hole in you big enough to park my truck in.  You hear me, Winchester?”

John nodded, face solemn.  “I hear you, Bobby.  And I won’t.  I swear.”

“Good,” the man grunted, and he heaved himself into the driver’s seat.  “See ya in a week.”

John stood, hands in his pockets, watching until the old hunter’s taillights were swallowed by the night.