More to Family Than Blood
NOTE: This is an AU where Dawn was placed with John Winchester, rather than Buffy, to be protected. Spoilers for season one of Supernatural. Technically, the timeline of this isn’t canon (John spent most of Sam’s very early life between the Roadhouse and talking with Daniel Elkins, according to John Winchester’s Journal) but it goes along with what the show has given us. Warning: I'm not a big John Winchester fan and that is reflected here.
Disclaimer: Supernatural and all of its characters are owned by Eric Kripke and the CW. The character Dawn Summers is owned by Joss Whedon. No copyright infringement is intended.
Bobby Singer sometimes wishes that he’d slammed the door shut when John Winchester turned up on his doorstep, that cold, early April morning.
If it had been anyone else, Bobby probably would have. As it was, he took one look at the pair of boys peering around John’s legs, sighed, and stepped aside. He’d made some oatmeal for the boys and watched them carefully. The older boy stuck to the little one like glue, held him in his lap and fed him every other bite of the bland food without complaint.
Neither boy was very old. The little one couldn’t have been much more than a year old, barely able to stand up on his own and falling down every time he tries to take a step, and the elder wasn’t yet school-aged. Neither talked, though the baby babbled nonsense at his brother nonstop as long Bobby wasn’t in his direct line of sight.
“Hunting ain’t no place for a daddy,” Bobby told John gruffly, “Hunting’s a dangerous game. You’ll be risking more than your own ass, Winchester.”
John scowled, “I’ll protect my boys. That thing killed their mother. My wife, my Mary. I’m not gonna just let that go.”
It wasn’t Bobby’s place to judge, but he thought any man intent on putting revenge before his children made for a piss poor excuse for a father.
He vowed to put a better lid on keeping his mouth shut.
Over the next two years, Bobby saw a lot of Dean and Sam. John had a tendency to drop them off to stay with him, Jim Murphy, Caleb, or the Harvelles. John kept moving, desperate to be the best hunter he could be. The best of them all.
Bobby looked at those two lost boys and cursed John Winchester’s name.
He doesn’t talk about why he became a hunter. Everyone has a story. Bobby killed his wife. She was possessed and he hadn’t known enough to save her, so he put a silver bullet through her heart and killed her. She’d been talking about having a baby, starting a family.
Bobby had always wanted a houseful of sons and a girl or two, girls that looked like their mother, Bobby’s beautiful wife.
John dropped the boys off and barely stuck around long enough to see them settled. He didn’t tell Bobby where he was going, even when Bobby asked. He sent a cloud of dust and gravel into the air when he left.
Bobby tried to celebrate Sam’s birthday, but he all but burnt the cake black. Dean picked at it half-heartedly and Sam insisted they wait to open presents –Bobby picked him up a baseball and a mitt in town last month and Dean had something wrapped in newspaper that he dug out of the bottom of his bag –until John got back. He was too serious and sad for a six year old, Bobby thought.
Sam spent the day staring at the phone, but John never called. When Bobby finally declared it time for Sam to hit the hay, Sam sobbed himself sick. Dean picked him up, settled the kid in his lap, and let Sam cling to him and cry.
Bobby swore he was gonna blacken John’s eye the next time he saw him.
When a full week passed without word from John, Bobby started thinking John wasn’t coming back.
Later, Bobby sometimes thought it would have been better for all involved if John had just stayed gone.
If Bobby had a soft spot a mile wide for the two Winchester boys, it was nothing compared to the way little Dawnie had him wrapped around her tiny finger. The girl was downright adorable –bright eyed, dark haired, and sweet mannered –and John was a damn fool for pawning her off on his eldest son to raise.
Bobby was smart enough to see that Dean had all but raised Sam himself, but that didn’t mean it was right to dump another child on the narrow shoulders of a ten-year-old. Wasn’t right, wasn’t fair. Just like it wasn’t right or fair that Dawn was gonna grow up like her brothers: scared, alone, and lost, hesitant to trust anyone, reluctant to lean on anyone for support, and starving for the love of an absent father.
Bobby gritted his teeth and damn near bit his tongue right off keeping quiet, but it wasn’t his place to tell a man how to raise his children.
When Bobby heard Sam took off and boarded a greyhound bus to California in the middle of the night, his first thought was at least one of them would have a normal life. He mailed Sam an envelope of cash, enough to pay for a place to live or a couple weeks worth of food, and slipped in single note.Good job, son. I’m proud of you. –B.
Two weeks later, Bobby got a copy of a book he’d been looking a year for in the mail. In the inside cover, in Sam’s neat writing, it just said “thank you”, but Bobby got the message loud and clear.
The shit hit the proverbial fan when the Impala went roaring up his drive with Dawn Winchester in the driver’s seat and Dean passed out in the back. Dawn looked terrified, covered in blood and Bobby couldn’t tell if it’s her own, Dean’s, or whatever they’d been hunting’s.
“Where the hell’s your daddy?” he growled out as he pulled Dean from the back. Dean’s shirt was torn clear open and the gasp across his gut was going to leave a nasty scar if it didn’t take his life.
“Don’t know,” Dawn shook her head, “Said he’d be back by Tuesday.”
Last time Bobby looked at the calendar, Tuesday was four days ago. “Help me get him inside. Grab his feet.”
The hauled Dean in, stretched him out on the kitchen table and Bobby did all he could to save the kid’s life. If he was alive in the morning, it would be a miracle. For the first time since his wife, though, Bobby got down on his hands and knees and prayed.
John turned up two days later. Dean was sleeping, stable and alive, in one of Bobby’s spare rooms and Dawn was passed out on the bed beside him where she’d refused to leave. Bobby shoved John off the porch and finally did what he’d been wanting to do for the better part of eighteen years.
He called John every name in the book and got two hits in before John started swinging back.
When John took off again in that shinning black truck of his, Bobby swore he’d put a round of buckshot in his ass if he ever came back.
Dawn and Dean stayed until Dean could move without painkillers and tearing his stitches, but as soon as they were able, the pair climbed into the Impala and chased after their daddy’s headlights.
Bobby didn’t expect much else, didn’t fault either of them for wanting.
The next time a Winchester shadowed his doorstep, Dean and Dawn had Sam in tow. Bobby took one look at Dean and knew he was looking for blood, looked at Dawn and saw she was near her breaking edge, and Sam clearly didn’t know which way was up. They had a goddamn demon with them and Bobby wasn’t about to turn them away.
He did insist, though, that Dawn stayed with him while the boys went to chase after their dad and the yellow eyed bastard that killed their mom. Good thing, too, considering.
At least Dawn wasn’t there when her daddy sold his soul to the devil to save her brother’s life.
A/N: Again, many thanks to Manda for being the best friend I could ever have and finding all my stupid typos.