It seemed like an age before anyone spoke. Sam's jaw seemed to be making it's best effort to work it's way to the floor.
"You're not thinkin' what I think you're thinking'?" Bobby whispered.
"All I'm saying," Dean began, knowing that whatever came out of his mouth would sound hopelessly illogical, "is they helped me an' I …" he tailed off, looking up at Bobby, "I don't wanna hurt 'em."
"Couldn't we let them go, you know, like somewhere remote?" asked Sam.
Bobby looked between the boys, "I get it, I do," he sighed, "OK, they did good for you; it's probably some kinda genetic species preservation thing that the child and parents' toxins neutralise each other, or an instinct thing, perhaps the wound tasted or smelled of their mother; I don't know; but whatever, they didn't do it out of love - you gotta know that right?"
Dean shrugged. "Does it matter? I'm healed, who cares about the whys and whatevers."
Bobby continued, a hint of empathy animating his voice, " OK; look, they think you're their mom; but to every other livin' human on the planet they are a deadly predator. They might be cute now, but these things are gonna grow into forty foot long killin' machines that make Jaws look like a kid's goldfish."
Dean looked hollow eyed into his lap, his face a mask of conflict; "I know," he said, barely above a whisper.
"Do I need to remind you that if your brother hadn't wasted their mother, they would have been dining out on you?" Bobby continued; "all you would have been to them then would be a source of protein, same as the other poor bastards the mother killed."
Dean looked up at Bobby, he knew the older man was talking sense and he loathed the weakness and emotion that was clouding his own judgement.
Sam knelt down beside his brother and looked up at Bobby, he felt compelled to offer some moral support; "but we don't go around slaughtering alligators just because they kill the odd person…" he knew the argument was lame, but his brother looked so torn, it all but broke his heart; the euphoria from knowing Dean was healed, long gone.
"No," sighed Bobby, "that's a different thing, and you know it Sam; we're not talking about the 'odd' person. Every so many years when these things are active, they kill dozens of people, hundreds even." Bobby continued, "and anyway, you know as well as I do; bears, cougars, alligators, sharks … any creature that turns maneater gets a bullet between its eyes sooner or later".
Dean spoke up; "well then, let someone else friggin' do it." The words came out in strained gasp between clenched teeth.
Bobby shook his head; there was overwhelming sympathy in his tired eyes. "OK kid, I appreciate this is putting you in a horrible situation. Let me do it."
"But what if they bite you?" Sam asked.
"He can't do it" Dean's voice interrupted, sounding suddenly calmer; "It's too dangerous, I'm not letting anyone here take that sort of risk, it has to be me; I'm the only one they won't try to attack."
Sam leaned in towards the dejected figure and squeezed his shoulder sadly; "Can't we take them away somewhere, miles from anywhere; like in the desert or something, and leave them there?" As soon as the words left his mouth he knew that sentence was possibly a contender for the title of the most stupid thing he had ever said.
Bobby shook his head miserably, "I wish I could think of a solution, really I do, but I don't see that we have a choice."
"We don't" Dean looked up. "Dad wouldn't be sitting here on the floor snivelling like a girl; he'd get straight in there and do the job." he took a deep breath. "We're in the business of protectin' people, not snakes."
The commitment in the words didn't carry through to his tone or his face.
"Yeah, but Dean ..." Sam began gently.
"Please leave me alone," Dean whispered; "I don't want an audience for this."
Sam looked up at Tom, who had been standing discreetly in the doorway keeping well out of the conversation, "Tom, can't you do something?" he pleaded.
Tom looked to Bobby, then back at Sam; "what would you want me to do Sam?"
"Can't you do it humanely?" Sam whispered, "You know, kinda put them to sleep?"
Tom shook his head, the regret clear in his eyes, "Sam, I'm a doctor, not a vet." he shook his head, "I wouldn't have the first idea what to give them and in what quantities to make it completely humane and painless, I couldn't even begin to guess; I'm sorry Sam."
"PLEASE." Dean's voice was clear and sharp; "please, all of you, go away and leave me alone."
Sam looked to Bobby who nodded sadly; he put the knife on the floor at Dean's feet.
"When you're ready son."
Sam stood up, but appeared rooted to the spot. "Dean, let me …"
Sam bent down, patting Dean's back with his good arm, then turned, slowly walking out of the room, ushered by Bobby.
"If you need help, son; just ask … " Bobby spoke softly, there was no response.
The door clicked shut behind them.
Dean looked up to the ceiling and took a long deep breath; he turned to the creatures coiled on the floor beside him; "you two creepy little jerks have thrown a bomb into the middle of my friggin' world," he said softly. "Everything was so simple; we found supernatural stuff, we killed it." He sighed, "an' then you two little sonsofbitches came along, did me a freakin' good turn, and now look at me!"
He stared at the motionless scaly knot for a while, "but then I suppose we kinda came along and threw a bomb in the middle of your world; we did kill your Mom; an' lets be honest, I'm a piss-poor substitute!"
Wiping his face, he took a deep breath before continuing; "see, the thing is your mom was one big, scary broad, and she was killin' loads of good people, no doubt to feed your scaly asses; an' the thing is, although you guys are cute now, well, in a kinda creepy sorta way; you're both gonna grow up to be big an' fierce an' hungry jut like your Mom." He paused for a moment; "an' it's my monumentally crappy duty to stop that from happening."
The two infant Lyndworms remained huddled in an unmoving pile on the floor beside him.
"I wanted to grow up to be just like my Dad," Dean muttered absently; "thing is, if my Dad was here, he wouldn't be worrying about the rights and wrongs of it all, he would've iced you by now and just got the job done. Oh yeah, he took his duty very seriously, my Dad." He sighed; "he wouldn't be sitting here on the floor feelin' sorry for himself and whining about how unfair his freakin' life is … so I guess in the end, I didn't grow up to be like to be much like my Dad at all."
He leaned back against the wall.
"An' I can't believe I'm baring my soul to a pair of freakin' lizards."
He looked down at the knife Bobby had left on the floor and felt the bile rise in his throat as he picked it up and stared at the blade. His fingers curled around the handle and he turned to look at the two coiled reptiles, fingers tightening as he leaned in towards them; raising the knife.
He hovered for what seemed like a lifetime; knife poised in his trembling fist, eyes closed. His breathing quickened as his conscience fought for dominance over his father's voice in his head; "if it's supernatural, Dean, we kill it; we don't show mercy, because these supernatural bitches don't show us any, we just do what's necessary …"
Gritting his teeth he felt his bicep clench as he brought the knife down with all his might, grunting as it embedded with a loud 'thud' into the floor, sending a heavy jolt through his body hard enough to make his ribs rattle. His head slumped into his chest; "I can't, can't do it…" he groaned as the tears began to flow freely.
He reached out to the two creatures; confusion overwhelming him; what to do? Do what Sam said? Take them out into the wilderness miles from anywhere and let them fend for themselves? The chances were that nature would do the job for him, but that was good right?
He sighed; Bobby would probably hate him forever for doing it; hell, he would hate himself forever for taking such a cowards way out.
He punched the floor beside him; Damnit, Sam was supposed to be the one with the conscience and the feelings and all that girl stuff. Pull yourself together Winchester - you'll have to start shaving your frickin' legs next.
As he gathered up the first scaly body his heart froze.