Bobby smiled as he stood at the window watching Tom’s beat-up green SUV pull up in his yard, shuddering to a noisy, smoke-engulfed halt.
He really should do this more often. A good weekend off with his old buddy, drinking beer and putting the world to rights like the pair of grumpy old bastards they were; a few John Wayne flicks on the VCR, a roast ham dinner (which Bobby would cook - you never knew where Tom's hands had been) and maybe even a lazy day's fishing over at the creek if the darn rain they've been forecasting on the TV holds off.
Yes, the supernatural world could go screw itself; for three days Bobby was just gonna be an ordinary Joe.
Bobby was going to relax.
... and then the phone rang.
It was six hours later that Bobby looked out of the window again on hearing the growl of a familiar engine which idled for a moment then shut off outside. He glanced across at Tom with a roll of the eyes and heaved himself out of his chair to pull the door open before the first knock.
"Hey boys, how's it g … uhh?"
The words died on his lips.
Bobby had sunk a couple of beers - okay, maybe even three, but who was counting? However many it was, though, it sure as hell wasn't enough to have him seeing two Deans?
"Is this the thing you said was easier to show me than to tell me about?" he groaned once his shocked brain had regained the power of coherent speech.
"Uh, yeah, hi Bobby," Sam effected the most shitfaced grin he could manage as the Winchesters plus one stepped over the threshold and past the older man, into his house.
"Hey Tom," Dean raised a hand in a friendly greeting which was echoed by Sam. Between them, the mysterious figure stood, hunched and handcuffed, staring nervously at Tom's shocked gape from under lowered eyelids.
Bobby followed them into the living room, closing the door behind him. He turned to Tom.
"Why do I get the feeling our relaxing weekend just went up in smoke?"
Bobby and Tom sat and listened as Sam recounted their story; all the way back from the phone call, his trip to the police station, his disturbing discovery that he had somehow acquired another brother on the run from someone - or something - who wanted to do him harm, and his catastrophic lack of sleep which - for the record - still wasn't rectified.
The original Dean took up the story from there; "… we've done every test we know, Bobby, so we know he's not a shifter, or a skinwalker, a demon, a revenant or anything else supernatural that we could identify. He doesn't even know what he is himself, except that he's calling himself Dean Winsborough – an' that's the alias that I'm using at the moment."
"Yeah," Sam added; "and when the police called, they said he named a 'Sam Watson' as his next of kin and that MY alias right now."
"Honestly Bobby," Dean sighed, wearily running a hand over his face; "it's like he just friggin' stepped out of nowhere."
Bobby paced across the room rubbing his beard as he studied the bemused figure sitting huddled between the Winchesters on his couch. Nervous green eyes followed his every move.
"Have ya tried putting him in front of a mirror?" He eventually asked.
Dean nodded; "yeah, he's not a changeling - or a vamp."
Musing silently, Bobby eventually addressed the mysterious visitor directly; "D'ya talk?" he asked.
Dean's lookalike nodded hesitantly.
"What ya gotta say for yourself?"
The strange figure looked down at his cuffed hands, then up at Bobby; "I stole bananas," he mumbled apprehensively.
Bobby sighed and pinched the bridge of this nose.
He could have been sitting on that couch watching 'True Grit' now.
Throughout the exchange, everyone had all but forgotten Tom was there. It was only when he stood and walked across the room that all eyes turned to him.
"Jus' going to my truck," he announced with a quiet smile.
Within moments, he was back, and carrying a small leather case which he placed on Bobby's kitchen table. "Hey Dean," he called, sighing when two identical pairs of green eyes looked up at him. "Uh, I mean, new – uh – second Dean," he shook his head to clear his thoughts; "can you come over here, so I can get a proper look at you?"
The duplicate Dean glanced at Sam and Dean in turn, then back at Bobby, silently asking for permission.
Bobby frowned; "stay with him," he growled towards the brothers.
Tom watched as Sam led their strange companion over to the kitchen table, and pulled out a chair.
"Wanna sit?" he asked, gesturing toward the chair, giving an approving smile as Dean's double timidly did as he was bidden.
Tom crouched before him so he was at eye level. "Okay, uh, Dean; now I just want to check a couple of things. I won't hurt you, understand?"
The lookalike licked his dry lips nervously and nodded, looking back at Sam who gave what he hoped was a reassuring smile.
He sat stock still as Tom worked deftly, recording his pulse and temperature. He didn't flinch as a penlight was shone into his eyes, and sat patiently, obediently lifting his shirt as Tom pressed a stethoscope to his chest.
Tom quietly thanked his patient as he packed his equipment away, and turned to Bobby and the Winchesters.
"Okay, I can tell you exactly what our friend here is," he explained; "temperature 98.6 degrees, blood pressure is a hundred and twenty five over ninety. Heartbeat and pulse are both registering almost a hundred, and most of that indicates to me that he's probably scared half to death."
He paused for a moment to see if anyone grasped the significance of those figures.
"Our friend here is human," he eventually announced.
A stunned silence fell across the room, until Dean spoke.
"H-human, but … how?" he stuttered; "I haven't got a twin – not one that I know of, anyway."
Tom shrugged; "I don't know," he replied; "but given that uh, Dean - er - your, uh, ... him, he's human, how about we all start treating him like one, and not like some lab rat that's here for us to experiment on?" He placed a firm but gentle hand on his patient's shoulder in a gesture of support and stared at the three men opposite them.
"You're right," Sam answered after a brief pause, and turned directly to their visitor; "we're sorry. You ran away from some crappy place and then we treated you just as badly."
A glance passed between Bobby and Dean and they nodded hesitantly, manufacturing cautious smiles for their guest. "Yeah, sorry," Dean added stiffly, clearing his throat as if it took effort to speak; "we deal with some evil sonsofbitches in our line of work - had to be sure that you weren't one of them." He turned to see Sam giving an encouraging smile in his direction; "although, gotta say, it's gonna take some getting used to." He added with a smile, but the expression didn't reach his eyes.
Bobby remained silent, but Sam could tell his initial hostility was easing; he trusted Tom's assessment completely.
"I'll tell you something else I spotted while I was checking him over," Tom added, with a reassuring smile for his patient; "may I?" he asked, taking the hem of the silent figure's T-shirt between his fingertips.
There was a hesitant nod.
He lifted the front of the T shirt. "look," he added, pointing to the upper portion of the man's chest where Bobby and the Winchesters were stunned to see there was no tattoo.
"This is the main thing that makes me believe this guy ain't supernatural," Tom explained; "those shapeshifters, skinwalkers, therianthropes, whatever; they all take the form of a living thing, but it's all superficial. Inside they're still whatever skanky-ass monster they always were, but outside they are a perfect replica of whatever they're mimicking, down to every blemish, every pore, every last eyelash. They wouldn't miss a feature that prominent."
"This guy is almost like a pure version of you, Dean," Tom began, pausing as he heard a snigger from across the room.
"Sorry," Sam spluttered; "it's just you don't hear the words 'pure' and 'Dean' in the same sentence very often." He barked out a laugh as his affronted brother punched him in the arm.
Tom grinned; "well, Dean, I don't know why, and I sure don't know how, but it looks to me like you've got some sort of clone."
Dean's eyes widened and his jaw dropped all at the same time; "clone? What, some freakin' douchebag's created a mini-me - OF ME?"
Tom glanced back to Dean's clone, all broad-shouldered, six feet of him sitting in the chair; "well, apart from the fact he's not very mini, but yeah." He paused in thought for a moment; "of course, there's only one way to know for sure, but I've still got a contacts through the police who can analyse a DNA sample for us."
The room fell silent; eventually Sam waved a hand in front of Dean's stunned face, receiving no reaction.
"'Course," Tom continued; "to make a clone of you, someone would have had to get hold of your DNA, and I don't know how the hell they would have managed that. You got any ideas?"
It was then Dean finally found his tongue.