Chapter One: Death Wish
A sharp, efficient rap at his door caught his attention and held fast. Fingers squeezed around a glass of scotch while keen eyes narrowed on the front door suspiciously.
Where most would have simply gone to the door, maybe give a cursory glance through the peephole, and welcome whomever had come calling, that was not Bobby Singer’s inclination. Life had taught him time and again that unexpected visitors were never a good thing.
Setting down his glass, Bobby grabbed a flask of holy water and peered through the curtains. An express service delivery man stood unassumingly in front of the door, patiently waiting for an answer.
“Yeah – whatta’ want?” Bobby barked through the front door.
The young man startled before catching himself and saying politely, “Um, I have a special delivery for a Mr. Bobby Singer…?”
“Oh you do, do ya?” Bobby returned dryly. He never had post from anyone other than the many collection agencies who sent him weekly letters to oh-so kindly remind him of his debts so an express delivery courier was not something he’d chance to random coincidence. The second your guard falls down is the moment the devil comes to bite you on the ass…
“Who’s it from?” he snapped, wanting some sort of sign that the man was on the up and up. Ticking his head to the side, Bobby eyed the sawed off shot gun already propped up behind the door, primed and ready to deliver a painful shot of rock salt should he need it.
“Um, well, it says here it’s from a Charles Swan…?” the man read off the name on the return address, looking up at the door expectantly with wide eyes that clearly thought he was on Candid Camera. That is, if he’d have been old enough to remember that classic gag show. Kid had a smooth puppy dog face of a teenager who hadn’t even seen breasts that weren’t on a computer or TV screen before, Bobby thought.
All thoughts of TV shows and the types of spooks who could be trying to get the jump on him halted at the name. Charles Swan. Fucking Charlie.
Maybe he was conditioned to always expect the worst in life but Bobby knew the second he’d heard the out of sight, out of mind name of his brother that it weren’t no belated birthday card he’d be receiving.
“Balls,” he muttered, finally moving to crack the door open.
Pretending to have tripped while handling the door and conveniently giving the kid a good dose of holy water to the face did little to ease his mind. Sure, the kid didn’t hiss and spit like a cat in heat so probably wasn’t a demon but it also confirmed Bobby was about to receive some bad news. Like that was what he needed in his life right now – more bad news. He suspected he would prefer the demon over what he was about to hear.
Ignoring the insulting ‘crazy-old-man’ mumbled under the kid’s breath, Bobby signed for the thick envelop, slamming and locking the door in his face not a second after. Sticking by the window to make sure the kid didn’t linger, Bobby only turned away once the dirt had settled from the delivery van and all was quiet once more.
Making his way back over to his drink, Bobby threw back the remainder of it before refilling the glass again and quickly tossing that back too. He had a feeling he’d need it.
Deciding to get to it, Bobby tore open the folder and removed what looked to be a hunter’s journal with a plain white envelope with his name scrawled sloppily across it wrapped to the cover. Charlie always did have shit writing.
Glaring at the journal, he set it aside for the moment and tore into the letter.
So this is awkward. I know we haven’t spoken for some time, not since I cut ties with you, Rufus and John, but I’m sure it ain’t no secret why you’re receiving this so I’ll cut to the chase. If you’re reading this, then I’m well and truly dead and I have a favor to ask of you.
Bobby’s hands started trembling as a sharp pain pierced his heart when he saw the confirmation of his suspicions. Charlie may have been only his half brother but there’d been a time the two of them had been thick as thieves. No matter the shit that’d gone down between them, Charlie was family and Bobby loved his younger brother with the same fierce protectiveness Dean had for Sam.
“Oh Charlie, you bastard,” he muttered, feeling betrayed. Sucking it up, he forced down the lump in his throat and fought the burning tears in his eyes. There was more to it, he was sure. There was always more.
He continued reading…
I know – it’s a dirty move putting it like that, giving you no real choice about it and all – but I’m a desperate man. I’m a desperate father, Bobby. When I left the hunt, turned my back on you and the guys, I’d hoped to fix things with Renee and salvage my relationship with Bella. It didn’t work out so good at first as you know but recently things had been going well. Bella decided to come live with this old man and I thought I was getting my time at last. Thought my effort to leave the supernatural behind, leaving you behind with it for the most part, was finally going to pay off and I could be a real father to my daughter at last. I should’ve known though; just because you stop hunting the monsters doesn’t mean they stop hunting you.
Included with this letter you’ll find my journal. I’ve been documenting everything so far but I know I only got about the half of it and a shit-storm is well and truly brewing. I know you can send out one of your boys to take care of it but I’m asking for you to handle this personally, Bobby. I know you spent just a few summers with us, but Bella’s right smack in the middle of a supernatural showdown and I can’t trust anyone but you to help her. I may be rusty but I’m still a tough son of a bitch. If I’m dead, you know I went down fighting, trying to protect my baby girl. I’ve got no right to ask anything of you, not after I abandoned you and the guys, but family is family. If you don’t want to do it for me, do it for Bella. She’s in danger, Bobby, and it’s bad. Bad enough to get the jump on me and now she’s all alone. I suspect she knows more than she lets on – she’s a clever and observant girl, rather takes after you that way – but I guarantee she doesn’t know enough.
Please Bobby. Look after my little girl now that I can’t. Save her. I’m begging you.
Until we meet again, brother – just don’t make it too soon –
Bobby read the letter, then read it three more times before it sank in. He’d known it’d be bad but some part of him had hoped…
“Damn,” he muttered.
Charlie and him were only half brothers, but they’d been very close growing up. When Bobby had stumbled into the supernatural world, Charlie had been hunting right alongside him. Him, Rufus, John and Charlie… the rat pack of hunters. They often hunted in teams, sometimes all together if the job was big enough, but things had changed when Charlie met Renee. He’d been young and in love, thinking he could have his cake and eat it too.
It’d worked for a year or two, but eventually Renee grew tired of Charlie’s lies and secrets. Long business trips away turned into suspicions of cheating and resentment grew. She decided to cut her losses and leave Charlie, taking their baby girl with her and Bobby knew a small part of Charlie had always blamed him for losing them. It’d been Bobby, after all, who’d brought him in on the hunt.
When Charlie decided to leave the hunt not long after, turning his back on them all for good, Bobby hadn’t been all too surprised. He hadn’t even blamed him all that much for it, either. If he’d had the chance of a family… Bobby would’ve sacrificed anything to get his wife and kid back.
With a shaking hand, he poured another glass of scotch. The liquid burned as it traveled down his throat but he was thankful for it.
As he read the letter again, his mind thought of little Bella. He’d met her a several times during her summers in Forks. It became a sort of tradition for him and the guys to visit, almost a vacation away from the supernatural though they often took turns going out for small hunts nearby. His old heart had always held a soft spot for the precocious little girl. Her big brown eyes had melted even his crotchety old heart whenever she’d smile up and call him, “Uncle Bobby.”
Girl always had a way about her, softening even John and Rufus when they’d make their visits. John had Sam and Dean underfoot and while Charlie had more or less told them not to come that first time, wanting to shield Bella from every aspect of the supernatural, the three hunters had swung by anyways. Unable to turn them away when they’d basically put him on the spot, Charlie had welcomed them into his home for a few weeks that summer and each summer after that for almost seven years. Bobby suspected Charlie knew what a relief their time there was for the hunters and the boys and though his resentment was strong, even he wouldn’t begrudge them a taste of normalcy. Especially the kids.
Bella must’ve been about five or so when the tradition first started, just a bit younger than Sam. Bobby knew they’d been an imposing lot for a small little girl, but though she’d been a shy little thing, there was no fear. She’d smiled at them all with big and bright eyes, showing off a gap where a tooth had once been, before sidling up to Sam who was the least imposing of the large group, saying, “Hi, my name’s Bella – wanna play house?”
Poor Sammy had looked confused though he’d smiled down at her and nodded, letting the younger girl take him by the hand and drag him off, happily telling him that he could be the daddy and she would be the mommy. Dean followed closely after the two and Bobby was surprised to see him looking at Bella indulgently and with the same protective glint in his eyes he had for his little brother.
That was one of the first times he really began to question John’s way of bringing up his boys and wondered if Charlie had it right all along; it was the first time the sting of betrayal for Charlie leaving had eased slightly as he began to realize just what his younger brother had really left to accomplish.
Little Bella had won them all over, one by one. The boys had been first given that they were close enough in age to all get along and she was just so sweet on them both, though especially Sam. It was obvious she’d a bit of a crush on the boy and Bobby had thought it funny when Charlie would glare at John accusingly whenever Bella would smile up at Sammy. For his part, Sammy seemed to relish feeling like a normal kid for once. Bella was just two years younger than him so it’d been easy for them to get on well and Bobby knew the boy enjoyed her attentions, his cheeks tinting pink every time she would hug on him, resting her little head against his shoulder.
Dean had fallen to her charms just as fast. She’d a bit of hero-worship for the older brother and thought he was just so cool. Naturally, Dean loved being thought of as cool so he’d taken to showing off for her – giving her piggy back rides and telling her silly jokes just to hear her giggle. Dean always took his role as an older brother very seriously and it appeared he decided to adopt Bella as a little sister. Taking the girl under his wing, he treated her very much like he did Sammy though with a slightly softer touch. She was a girl, after all.
He remembered how one night during their first visit Bella’d had a nightmare and woke up crying about some monster under her bed. The boys had been in sleeping bags in her room so by the time the adults rushed in – all of their minds automatically jumping to the worst – Dean had already stepped up. Even knowing the truth of monsters, Dean had showed a gentler side of himself as he smiled at the crying girl, assuring her he’d never let some monster get her. Sammy had held her hand as Dean made a big show of checking under the bed and even in her closet for good measure – telling Bella all the while that any monster hanging about would never dream of taking him on.
The adults had lingered in the doorway completely useless and unnecessary as Dean soothed little Bella’s worries and eventually had her giggling at his antics. He doubted the boys had even noticed them, so focused on taking care of Bella they were. After they tucked her back in and both stretched out beside her on the bed and promised to stand guard, however, Dean had flicked his eyes over to them and gave them a rather serious nod. It was a clear signal of dismissal meant to reassure them that he had the situation well in hand.
For a few years, it was the same every summer. Bobby, John and Rufus would bring the boys to Forks making sure their visit coincided with Charlie’s visitation rights with Bella. Each year the kids would play and wrestle without a care in the world and if John and Rufus disappeared for a few days for a nearby hunt, Bella would welcome them back with cookies and brownies from her Easy Bake Oven, none the wiser to their dangerous professions. Bobby made it a point to pass on those hunts and Charlie ignored them completely. For the most part, hunting was a taboo topic that they never spoke of though it lingered between the adults – and eventually the boys too when they got older – like the proverbial specter over their heads.
Then John started to catch Yellow Eyes’ trail and opted to stop his visits as his hunger to kill the demon who had killed his wife grew into an obsession. Bobby had offered to bring the boys with him so they could still see their best friend, but John had wanted to increase their training and had said no despite the pleading of his sons otherwise. Sammy had always been a rebellious sort and had tried to run away to see the one steady friend he had – the friend he’d developed his own crush on as the years had passed – but John had expected such antics from him and caught him easily.
Even Dean who always blindly followed his father’s every order had hesitated at the new directive, looking at the man with hard gaze.
“But Belly is family,” he told his father solemnly, using his pet name for the girl. “We don’t abandon family.”
John did a double take at the not-so subtle note of accusation.
Giving his eldest a fake smile, he’d just said, “Well hell, son. It’s just one summer. Take it easy now – you’ll see her next time.”
Defeat and resignation haunched Dean’s shoulders down like his father had placed a sack of bricks on them. Young as he was, life had forced him to grow up fast and he was old enough to know that it would start with just the one summer… But then it would turn into missing the next summer and the one after that and so on.
He knew his father was forcing them to abandon the girl he saw as his little sister and for the first time ever, Bobby had witnessed a gleam of resentment in the boy’s eyes as he nodded silently, putting a comforting hand to a still seething Sammy’s shoulder and leading him to the back of the Impala.
When Bobby had shown up that summer, just he and no one else, it’d about killed him to see the hurt in that little girl’s eyes. Bella had always been a soft, insecure sort. She clearly thought she’d done something wrong.
The following summer after that, Bobby showed up and was greeted by Charlie. Just Charlie. Once Bella had found out her boys wouldn’t be coming again, she’d decided she didn’t want to go to Forks. It’d taken a bribe of Disneyland and beaches for her to even agree to see Charlie at all and his brother had not bothered to hide his anger for that.
“This is why I left, Bobby,” he said, refusing to invite him in. “This is why I never wanted to expose her, no matter how superficially, to the hunt. It tears families apart and now my little girl doesn’t even want to see me. Those boys meant the world to her and y’all never even hesitated before yanking them away from her, did ya?”
“Charlie, please,” Bobby had tried to explain. John may have made his choice – and Rufus too, though he wasn’t quite as close to Bella as John and Bobby had been – but Bobby understood now. He understood what Charlie meant and he still wanted to be in Bella’s life.
He wanted, even if just a few weeks out of the year, to experience what it meant to have a real family. To have real happiness.
“No,” Charlie cut him off. “You guys done gone and broke my daughter’s heart and in such a way she may never recover from it. There’s no coming back from that – not for her or for me. Don’t you darken my door again, Bobby, or I’ll pump you full of lead. From now on, I ain’t no family to you and neither is Bella. You leave her be.”
Then he’d slammed the door in his face.
It’d hurt something fierce when he’d turned his back on that door and walked away, knowing it would be a long time – if ever – until he’d see his brother or his niece again. A part of him knew Charlie had spoken mostly in anger but he didn’t blame the man once, not this time. Bella was his daughter and the way they’d treated her, unintentionally or no, would leave its mark. The three of them had been uniquely close and while he’d seen them all happy enough when they were apart it was only when they were all together that they truly shined. It was like they each came to life in the other’s presence – light and carefree. It was the way they should always be. He hoped his sweet niece would be able to recover from the loss of those boys but he had his doubts about that. She was young yet, but even at twelve, there would be no forgetting.
Their actions had undoubtedly left wounds and even when they healed, there was bound to be scars. And Bobby knew – it was those emotional scars that still pained the most even after healing.
Sighing, he set the letter down and eyed the journal. Charlie needn’t have worried nor should he have ever thought he’d have to beg. Bella was family and Bobby had never stopped loving her. He’d get to the bottom of it all and protect her with his dying breath if need be.
The journal was calling him and he wanted to get straight to work but knowing Bella was alone and defenseless… Well, he had to get moving fast and there’d be plenty of time to sort through Charlie’s notes on the plane.
For now, though… Bobby sighed again but marched determinedly into the kitchen. Along the wall was a row of phones used to help his fellow hunters in their cover stories, but there was one he tended to use to make all of his outgoing calls regarding the most important hunts. The kind of hunts people should drop everything for and haul ass to. There wasn’t a hunter worth their salt who didn’t know they better answer when they saw that number calling.
Picking up the phone, he dialed a number, his heart racing faster than the time he hunted that rougarou down in Charleston. The line rang twice before it was answered.
“Bobby?” a gruff voice said by way of greeting.
“Dean,” Bobby returned.
There was a long pause and he heard the boy sigh on the line.
“Let me put you on speaker then,” Dean said.
Boy was no fool. He knew it had to be bad by Bobby’s tone alone, never mind the number he’d seen a’calling. It went without saying Dean was placing him on speaker so the bad news would only have to be shared once – so he wouldn’t be forced to repeat it himself to Sam.
He hated bringing this kind of news to the boys – especially with the unrelenting shit that’s been raining down on them lately – but there weren’t no one else he trusted enough with this job and he’d need the help. He wouldn’t chance it, not with Bella, and they’d have tried to kick his ass should they find out he’d called anyone else anyway. They would want to know this so that they could take care of it personally.
Because shit was about to get real personal, real fast.
There was a shuffling of sound and he could hear the faint purr of the Impala’s engine in the background. A click sounded and Dean said, “Alright. You’re on speaker, Bobby – lay it on us.”
“I got a job for you boys,” he started.
“That’s it? Just a job – why don’t you call Alan, Ted or hell, even Rufus. I hear he’s hunting again.”
“The job’s in Forks, Washington,” he cut Dean off before he could continue.
Silence strangled the line and Bobby felt his heart take a dive knowing the news he was about to hit his boys with was going to re-open some old wounds of their own. They may have buried the memory of little Bella deep and refused to ever talk about her, but Bobby knew that neither of them had ever forgotten her. Not for a hot second.
Neither had they both stopped loving her.
“Tell us,” Dean ordered after a moment, almost daring Bobby to give him bad news now that he knew who it was likely pertaining to.
Dean was always a bit rough around the edges but it was really reassurance he was demanding Bobby to deliver. He wanted to hear that little Bella was fine – Charlie too – and that the job was unrelated but he was sending them in to get it done right, just in case.
Sighing, Bobby felt the prick of tears but took a deep, resolute breath and suppressed that nonsense. Ain’t no time for mourning, he told himself. He could think on the loss of his brother later – for now, he would honor the man’s dying wish and dedicate every last one of his resources to saving Charlie’s daughter. He’d save little Bella – who he knew mustn’t be so little anymore – if it was the last thing he ever did.
“Charlie’s gone, boys, and he took some measures to ensure I’d be notified first thing in the event of his death. Seems he was hunting again or so it sounds and was onto something big.”
He heard the squeal of the car’s brakes followed by the screech of the tires as Dean presumably flew into a u-turn and changed directions. A soft glow of pride and fatherly affection warmed his chest knowing that he was already on his way to Washington before Bobby could even ask.
Before he could continue with the rest, though, Sam was cutting in.
“What? What do you mean Charlie’s gone and that he was hunting again – he doesn’t hunt. Not ever. He’s been retired for years, since before we even met him,” Sam spouted off.
Bobby wasn’t all that surprised by the unusual behavior, though. Usually it was Dean letting his mouth run off but Sam had always been a bit impulsive where Bella was concerned. Girl knocked all reason outta that boy’s head and had him running on instinct alone more often than not. He was sure that had their visits continued it would’ve only been a matter of time before more had developed between the two of them.
He had to wonder if that hadn’t been the real reason behind why John had put a stop to their visits. Knowing the man as well as he had, Bobby wouldn’t have put it past him to think he was protecting Sam, and even Bella, by separating them. He probably thought he was protecting all of them, adults included, in the long run.
“Shuddup Sammy,” Dean barked, cutting his brother off mid-rant. “Bobby,” he said in a deceptively calm voice. “Tell us the rest.”
“He sent me the notes on what I guess he’s been hunting but I haven’t read them yet. I’ll sort through that mess on the plane over.”
Her name rumbled like thunder and had Bobby’s breath catching.
“Bella,” his tongue tripped over the name even he had been too hurt to give voice to over the past years. Clearing his throat, Bobby continued, “Bella’s in trouble. Charlie didn’t spell it out but I think she’s being hunted by something.”
He may not know all the details yet, but that much had been pretty clear from Charlie’s letter.
“Son of a bitch,” Dean growled. “We’re on our way there now. We’re about six hours out.”
“I’m heading straight to the airport – you boys pick my ass up on your way in. I don’t know all the details yet but Charlie made things pretty plain in his letter. Whatever he was hunting was likely hunting her and took him out because he got in the way. With him gone…”
“There’s nothing from stopping this thing from making its move,” Dean finished grimly.
“Drive faster, Dean,” Sam demanded in the background. “Call for Cas – see if he can go ahead and keep an eye on her until we get there. We can’t risk it, not even for a few hours. We can’t risk her.”
“What the hell happened, Bobby? Charlie may have been retired but he was still a tough guy. What the hell could’ve gotten the jump on him and what’s it gotta do with Belly?” Dean sounded off.
Rubbing his neck, Bobby sighed for the umpteenth time. “Not sure yet, Dean, but I’ll be sure to fill you in once you pick me up at the airport and I hope you both know you better not keep me waiting long. I’ll get Garth to man the phones and work to clear your route. You boys don’t worry about anything except getting to Washington as fast as possible.”
“We’re on it, Bobby – you know you don’t gotta tell us twice,” Dean agreed. “And I’ll call for Cas like Sam said. He can stay hidden but keep her guarded. Hell, I’m sure the guy will have a good idea of what we’ll be dealing with by the time we arrive.”
“I know the timing is not ideal, what with Lucifer and…” he began.
“Shut it, Bobby,” Dean snapped. “You don’t owe us an explanation. We got your back. Besides, Bella’s family.”
Sam was unusually silent and it made Bobby worry that the subtle intensity that always simmered within the boy when it came to Bella had been re-ignited. Worried that Sam wouldn’t be quite his usual, logical self by the time they made it to Forks.
“Right,” Bobby said. “Drive fast, boys. Don’t keep me waiting.”
“On it,” Dean said before there was a telling click as he hung up.
Bobby held the phone for a long second as he gathered his thoughts and made a mental list for what he needed to do.
First he’d call Garth and get that idjit to man the phones; he’d either get Garth to work the scanners as well or have him call Ash to work them. Dean and Sam needed a path clear of any cops who would pull them over as they booked it to Washington. Second, he’d pack a small carry on for the plane so he wouldn’t have to wait for luggage – he needn’t worry about holy water and the likes since the boys would be rolling in hot. Third, he’d gather up the courage and ring Bella. No sense taking the girl by surprise and she needed to know she wasn’t alone in this – whatever this was. Fourth, he’d go through Charlie’s hunter’s journal once in the air and would find out just what in blue hell was going on.
And last, he’d make good on Charlie’s dying wish. He’d take Bella under his wing and protect her from the devil himself if need be. Ain’t nothing was going to get to that girl while he was around and he reckoned he knew two others who felt much the same way.
(A/N): So there it is, my accidental first chapter of a new fic, lol. Here’s my friendly reminder that I don’t have an outline/timeline for posting this story. I won’t make promises for when updates will come, but know that the WILL come. None of my fics will ever be abandoned and I will keep everyone up to date on them on my facebook page. Please visit and give it a like if you’d like to stay in the know.
Until next time, please let me know what you thought and I hope you enjoyed reading!