A/N:

Star-eye, you are the best, both online and in the real world. We've been friends over 7 years now, so statistically speaking you'll still be in my life in 40 years. I'm sorry I can't wish you well in person this year, but know that I'm with you in spirit. I'm looking forward to all of our adventures, both online and irl :)

Also, unfun fact: Dean was killed by hellhounds on Sam's birthday, May 2nd. I would feel bad about writing angst for a birthday gift, but this is the SPN fandom after all :P


Sam stared at the lopsided cake. Dean looked proudly back at him with a stupid grin on his face. There was a bit of flour caught in the wrinkles on his forehead that apparently his brother was unaware of. He would have to tease him mercilessly about it later.

"Happy birthday Sammy!" he cheered. Sam couldn't help but chuckle back.

"Dude, you know those things are supposed to have right angles, right?"

"Pfsh," Dean shook his head, causing a small puff of flour to fall from his salt-and-pepper hair. "Tastes just fine as-is. Blow out the candles, Birthday-boy, and don't make a wish!"

Sam laughed and did as he was told. They'd hunted a birthday-wish sprite a few years back. That had been a rather trippy hunt, and no mistake. Dean hacked into the malformed cake with gusto.

"Sixty-five, dude, you're officially older than dirt," his brother teased as he slid over a piece of cake. Sam rolled his eyes. Ever since he'd figured out what hunting was when he was eight, he'd known he'd most likely never see the dark side of forty, much less sixty. The older he got, the more sure he was in his morbid prediction. No way would he live to retirement age. Not with their lifestyle. Even excluding the monsters and various apocalypses, the alcohol and fast food alone should have killed them both long ago. But somehow they were still here, more or less in one piece. Sam took a bite of his slice.

"Damn, Dean, this is good!" he complimented, and he meant it, much to his surprise. It was moist and delicious and full of chocolatey goodness. Dean didn't cook as often as he used to, and it was always a treat when he did.

"Of course it is: I made it!" Dean said defensively, the harshness of his words somewhat mitigated by his chipmunk cheeks. Sam chuckled and enjoyed the good moment. There had been more than enough bad ones over the past sixty-five years.

"After you're done with that, we'll take Baby out for a spin, how about that? Go find you some hot young things who want you to be their sugar daddy," Dean suggested with a wink. "We'll have one hell of a time."

Hell. Most of the time, the word didn't bother him in the slightest. It was just another curse word in their vast vocabulary, nothing special. But today was different.

Dean, ripped to shreds while he was held helpless against the wall by Lilith's power.

"Sammy! Hey," Dean snapped in front of his face. "Going senile in your old age?"

Dean, dead eyes staring past him as his blood stained Sam's battered jeans.

Sam gulped back the bile in his throat. "Yeah, sure, whatever," he mumbled to get Dean off of his case. His brother gave him a look.

Dean, so perfectly still as Bobby nailed the lid on his coffin.

"Fess up, man, what's eating you?"

"Nothing!" Sam insisted. Dean raised an incredulous eyebrow and crossed his arms.

Dean, trapped and tortured in hell for months, years, decades, and there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it.

"You're lucky I'm arthritic or I'd thrash you silly for such a shitty lie," Dean threatened half-heartedly. "So let's just cut to the case. You've got 'chick flick moment' written all over your sorry face. What's the occasion?"

Dean, still haunted by the wounds Alistair carved into his soul.

Sam looked at the ceiling for guidance. It was, as usual, unhelpful.

Spending so many sleepless nights staring at water-stained ceilings in shitty motels as he tried to find some way to mute the screaming pain in his chest where his heart used to be.

"Sam…" Dean drew out his name in a clear warning to spill now or face the consequences.

"It's been forty years," he said quietly. He felt his brother stiffen. "Forty years since I let you get dragged to hell after you made your deal. I never imagined…" he took a breath to steady himself. "Forty years is a lot longer than I thought."

Sam risked a look at Dean. The patented Winchester poker face was firmly in place.

"First, off, you didn't 'let' anyone drag me anywhere. We were just kids: we had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into. And yeah, it's a long time. Almost as long as it's been since you last got a haircut," Dean said nonchalantly. Sam knew better. Dean was only ever this version of flippant when he was wounded. Badly.

"Sorry man, I'm not sure where the thought came from, I just…"

"I pushed," Dean forgave him with a shrug. "My bad. Let's go, Sammy."

"Dean…" Sam started. His brother froze, halfway out the door.

"It was a long time ago," Dean said quietly.

"Forty years ago," Sam prodded.

"Yeah," Dean agreed flatly. "You said that."

"And?"

"And what, Sammy?" Dean said resignedly. "Was it worth it?" his shoulders slumped. "I'd do it again. I'd go about bringing you back differently now, of course, but yeah, Sam, your ridiculous whining ass was worth it. Is worth it. It's been a good forty years topside. Well, more like thirty-five, if you account for the time I was in purgatory and the time I was a demon and the time we toured heaven and all of the time we've spent in various alternate dimensions and time traveling…"

Sam smiled as Dean did calculations on his fingers. He stealthily snuck closer and gave his big brother a surprise hug. Dean pouted and struggled like he always did, but Sam knew he secretly liked it: his brother was always the last one to let go.

"Thanks jerk," Sam said simply. Dean smacked him gently over the head.

"Whatever, bitch. Let's get out of here. I didn't spend forty years in Hell to get stuck in this stinking bunker with you for the next forty," Dean quipped. Sam smiled.

"Only if I get to drive," he bargained.

"But…"

"It's my birthday," he held out his hand expectantly.

"One scratch and you'll wish I let you die all those years ago," Dean groused, handing over the keys. Sam rolled his eyes. Some things never changed.