Title: Wherever This Road May Lead Us - sequel to Memories of Me
Author: Gillian Middleton
Characters/Pairing: Sam/Dean
Rating: R - NC17
Total word count:
16 700
Warning: Wincest.
Author's Note: Please read the first story, Memories of Me, before this sequel.
Summary: Struggling to cope with the events that occurred during his memory loss, Dean tries his hardest to bring his relationship with his brother back on an even keel.

Wherever This Road May Lead Us

Part Two

Sam was out when Dean woke up and he stretched his limbs under the covers and squinted at his watch. He'd slept the morning away and they still had to get everything ready for the night's hunt. Not to mention surveying the area and staking out their position before moon rise.

By the time Sam got back Dean was up and dressed and brooding over the map with his second cup of coffee.

"Tell me you bought food," he said, breathing in the enticing aroma of donuts.

"Fried and sugary," Sam confirmed, pulling the box out of his paper sack and tossing it in front of his brother. "Don't say I never do anything for you."

Dean fell on the offering like a starving man and inhaled two of the cinnamon covered treats before pushing the box Sam's way. Despite the sarcastic comments about sugar and fat Sam helped himself and poured a mug of coffee.

"I was talking to a few people downtown," Sam told him, opening his laptop and clicking at the mouse. "We're not the only ones who've picked up on the lunar cycle."

Dean grunted around a mouthful of still warm donut. "Figures. There've been rumors about werewolves in these parts for decades. Violent deaths like these tend to stir that all up."

"Yeah, well the cops are looking for a very human predator, so we're gonna be avoiding them tonight. But I think our biggest problem is gonna be the thrill seekers. I already scoped out three groups in town, all SUV's and scoped rifles."

"Great, just what we need, liquored up good ol' boys shooting at anything that moves."

Sam sighed down at his screen. "It's gonna make our job a lot harder."

"Maybe not," Dean said, licking sugar and cinnamon off his fingers and twisting the map around so Sam could read it. "I've been studying the patterns of the three attacks, and I think I have something. Look, our predator is going for random, but so far he's hit the east, then the west, then back to the east in this area."

Sam studied the wooded section marked on the map. "You think that's a pattern? Looks pretty random to me."

"I think it's supposed to. If the hunters go for the area where the last attack took place, well, hell, they might get lucky. But if we stake out the western area of the woods, I think we've got a chance to bag this thing."

Sam considered the map. "Maybe," he conceded. "But what if you're wrong?"

"Well, we can't be everywhere. If I'm wrong then some hairy sonuva bitch is gonna eat well tonight. Then we try to kill it again tomorrow. We've got three nights of full moon."

"It's worth a shot." Sam sipped his coffee. "Listen, Dean, about last night."

"Yeah, pretty good, huh?" Dean said casually. "Between what we made at the tables and what I scored playing poker we're pretty flush right now."

"Dude," Sam said stubbornly. "We really should talk."

"Because that went so well last night," Dean said sarcastically. "No, Sam, we don't need to talk. We've said all there is to say. We've just gotta get through this."

"And if we can't?" Sam said bluntly.

Dean pushed away from the table and stood. "We will," he said with finality.

-666-

"Yahoos at six o'clock," Sam said quietly and they went to ground in the bushes, gray and black clothing a perfect camouflage in the strong moonlight.

"At least they're heading east," Dean murmured in his brother's ear as the three men tramped by.

"Lucky they didn't have a hound with them."

"Lucky for their hound," Dean said, teeth flashing as he patted the big blade strapped to his thigh.

"Dude, you wouldn't kill an innocent dog, would you?"

Dean rolled his eyes as they carefully broke cover and headed for the clearing they had scouted that afternoon. "No, I'd much rather let another human being get eaten by a werewolf, Sam. Wuss."

"This'll do," Sam said, stopping in the center of the clearing and dropping his bag on the ground. He began to set up the raw meat while Dean got to the business of laying the blood trail.

Dean took the flask and began dripping blood from the circle of meat Sam was laying out to the edge of the clearing. He'd used an orderly's outfit to swipe a couple of pints from the local medical center and he silently vowed to donate blood at the nearest blood bank as soon as he could to make up for it.

Trail laid he crossed back to the center of the clearing and took up position with Sam, back to back and facing the tree line.

"Gonna be a long night," Sam observed.

"The first three attacks took place after midnight," Dean agreed quietly. "But we can't count on that. The scent of human blood carries pretty far, could draw this thing in quicker."

"I just hope it isn't tracking one of those idiot thrill- seekers as we speak."

Silence fell, broken only by the sounds of the night around them. But it was a comfortable silence this time, the familiar silence of the Winchesters at work. Sam's back was warm and solid against his own and Dean relaxed into a kind of hunter's trance. He'd learned a long time ago to court patience, to preserve energy while still keeping his senses on high alert. He was well trained by long nights crouched with his father and brother in some graveyard or haunted house. Cultivating stillness. Becoming so in tune with the night that without even being aware of it the three of them would begin to breathe at the same time, their hearts beating in perfect accord.

Nothing else in the world was like this and these were the times he lived for. Him and his brother, minds in perfect sync, senses alert, so in tune with each other on the hunt that they were anticipating each other's moves perfectly. Even after all those years away Sammy had walked back into it as if he'd never left. That slow dance, those perfect steps. Backing up, covering each other, quick nods, silent communication.

This was what Dean lived for.

This was what he'd missed most while Sam was away.

This was what he'd miss most when Sam went away again.

It occurred to Dean, as he let his mind wander while his senses stayed sharp, if maybe there was some subconscious reason for what had happened back in California. Could that be why lost memory-Dean had fallen so hard for Sam? Seduced his vulnerable little brother with all the love and attention he'd obviously been craving? Because somewhere, deep in his hind brain, some part of him was still trying to get Sammy to stay?

He was never one for all that Sigmund Freud crap, preferred to do all his thinking on the surface and leave that deep down stuff to the more emo types. But it was one explanation that Dean could maybe live with. And he had to admit, to himself if no one else, that his brain had been working over-time since Chicago trying to figure out a way to haul his little brother back into this life. Back into his life, where he belonged.

But that didn't really explain all the rest of it, did it? Didn't explain something he'd barely acknowledged to himself and never would to Sam. That those hours that night, in Sam's arms, had been some of the sweetest of his life.

And not just the sex, which had been surprisingly hot considering the fact that it hadn't really gone a lot further than some serious necking and some squishy jacking off. But the emotion, the intensity. The sheer overwhelming love behind the act had elevated their fevered touching into something... sublime.

Dean inwardly scoffed at his own sappy thoughts, glad that Sam hadn't graduated to mind reading yet. He'd make a real feast out of that admission.

A distant howling drifted to them on the wind and as one their heads lifted and they tensed. Another howl and Sam raised his rifle to his shoulder.

"Coming closer."

Dean nodded, senses flaring. Something was coming, every hunter's instinct he had screamed it. Clouds scudded over the moon and the clearing darkened, but they could clearly hear it now, a harsh guttural howl, its tone sending a thrill of primitive fear down the spines of anything unfortunate enough to be in its way.

"It's over there," Sam muttered but Dean shook his head.

"No way," he whispered harshly back. "It's upwind. Can't you smell it?"

Behind him Sam's rib cage expanded as he took a deep breath. "Yeah," he said, sounding confused. "It's your shot then."

"Keep your eyes on your side," Dean instructed, rifle on his shoulder, eyes still fixed on the forest ahead of him. "You know how these bastards like to double back."

The words had barely left his mouth before it emerged, breaking out of the undergrowth in an explosion of brush and branches, the stink of its matted hair and breath like a physical blow. Dean barely had time to absorb the sheer size of it before it was throwing its head back in a triumphant howl and then running towards him, powerful legs crashing into the ground as it crossed the clearing between one breath and the next.

Time seemed to slow down as Dean took his shot, aiming for its chest - despite his experience in the past he knew a chest shot was just the safer bet at this range - and squeezed the trigger. The barrel of Sam's gun was in his peripheral vision as he watched the blossom of bright red bloom on the matted hair of its chest, and then it was dropping like a stone, dead before it hit the ground but still twitching.

"Is it dead?" Sam demanded, rifle still raised, ready to back his brother up if the shot had gone wide or the gun jammed.

"God I hope so," Dean said fervently. "Dude, have you ever smelled anything like that?" He lowered his rifle and took a cautious step closer, keeping out of its range but listening hard for the scrape of breath. The twitching finally stopped, but now another noise was registering from behind him, a crackle of branches, a rasping drag of breathing. Realization hit and he spun as he yelled, raising his rifle, cursing the darkness as the moon still hid her face behind the clouds.

"There's another one!" he roared but it was already way too close, smaller, just as hairy and ugly but still downwind and much more quiet than its partner. Sam had his gun on his shoulder and the thing was already in the air and launching as he took his shot, Dean's own bullet hitting it a split second later. It came down in its arc, catching Sam's legs, bringing him down hard and then rolling over and over with the momentum of its fall. Stone dead.

"Holy crap," Sam swore from the ground, rifle flung to one side with the impact, long legs akimbo. "That was too freaking close."

"Did it get you?" Dean yelled, keeping his own rifle cocked, eyes scanning the perimeter of the clearing.

"Dude, it was dead before it hit the ground," Sam said, reaching over for his gun and climbing to its feet. "It hardly... touched me..."

"What?" Dean said, panicked. His eyes left the perimeter for a second and then he froze in shock, horror creeping into his consciousness. There was a jagged tear in Sam's jeans at his thigh. Liquid oozed from the cut, blackened by the darkness. Sam touched it, lifting his fingers and staring at them for a moment before raising his eyes to his brother's.

"Dean?"

"Holy water," Dean said, dropping the rifle and fumbling for the flask in his jacket. He caught at the torn fabric and ripped it wide, exposing the shallow cut.

"I think it was just a stone," Sam said dazedly as Dean slopped holy water onto the cut.

"Does that sting?" Dean demanded tensely. "Is the water burning the wound?"

"I - I don't know," Sam said. "It stings because it hurts."

"Sam," Dean said, grabbing his shoulders and shaking him. "Pull it together, man! I need you to think! Did the damn thing cut you? Tooth or claw?"

Sam frowned, wiping his bloody hand on his shirt. "I don't know," he said slowly. "I - I don't think so. I think it was just a rock, man."

Dean scanned the ground, the clearing was littered with rocks and thick grass and he could see a glimmer of dark liquid on the ground but there was no way of telling whether it was Sam's or the werewolf's.

"We're getting out of here," Dean said tensely, trying to hold it together. He wanted to scream and cry and throw his head back and howl at the moon, but Sam was obviously in shock and the wound was still seeping, running down his leg, mingling with the holy water and spreading in a dark stain on the worn old denim.

"There were two of them," Sam said, stumbling a little and righting himself as Dean leaned over and grabbed up his rifle, thrusting it into his brother's grasp. Dean pulled out his hand gun, holding it at the ready as they headed into the darkness of the forest towards the road.

"No shit," Dean said, wishing they could risk a flashlight. Those shots would bring the cops and play-hunters running and they couldn't risk being caught out here. Behind them the bodies would be changing back into their human forms and neither he nor Sam needed to hang around to see that. It would make an interesting story for the papers tomorrow anyway, naked couple shot with silver bullets deep in werewolf country. Grimly Dean predicted the town would be selling werewolf t-shirts and opening monster themed cafes within the year.

The moon emerged from behind the clouds and the forest around them lit up in shades of silver and blue. Sam shuddered to a halt, rifles clutched to his chest, shaking like a leaf.

"Dean," he stuttered. "What if it wasn't a rock?"

Dean clenched his jaw. "We'll deal with it," he promised tensely. "Let's just get to the car, Sammy, okay?"

Sam frowned and nodded, stumbling forward and Dean laid one hand on his back to steady him as they pushed through the branches toward the road. His muscles moved under his jacket and shirt and Dean pressed closer, needing to feel his brother warm and alive next to him.

-666-

"At least it's only the first day in the lunar cycle," Sam said, toweling his hair dry. Dean soaked a layer of gauze in holy water and pressed it to the cut, just below the cuff of Sam's shorts. His thigh was still warm and damp from his shower. "Dude, I don't think holy water is gonna help."

"Well if you have a better idea, Sam, I'd be glad to hear it," Dean snapped back. Sam just looked at him and Dean rubbed at his eyebrow tiredly. "Sorry," he muttered.

"I don't think there's much that can be done for a werewolf infection," Sam said gently. "Except for the silver bullet."

"It's not gonna come to that," Dean told him firmly. "I've been thinking about it and I don't think the thing got its claws into you and I'm sure its teeth didn't come close. You said you thought you landed on a rock?"

"It all happened so fast." Sam shrugged apologetically. "I didn't even really feel it, my adrenalin was so high. But even if it didn't get me - what if its blood got into the wound?"

"Jeez, Sammy, think positive why don't you?" Dean heaved a sigh and crossed to the window. "It's nearly dawn. Damn this is gonna be a long day."

"Could be worse," Sam said soberly. "This could have happened on the last day of the full moon and we'd have to wait a month to find out..."

"At least that might have given us time to find a cure," Dean ground out, hand twisting in the curtain.

"Dean," Sam said quietly, but Dean cut him off with a gesture.

"I'm gonna have my shower, see if I can get the stink of that damn thing out of my head. You okay?"

Sam nodded. "I'm fine. I should be tired but I just... I don't think I'm gonna be closing my eyes any time soon."

"Gonna be a long day," Dean repeated.

The bathroom door closed behind him and he slid down the paneled wood until his butt hit the ground. He didn't know how he was going to summon the energy to get undressed, let alone get through the endless hours that lay ahead of him. He lifted his hand and laid it over the bulge inside his jacket. Over his gun.

The one that was loaded with silver bullets.

-666-

"You should eat something," Sam said, looking up from the hotel note pad.

Dean clicked the remote, switching channels until he found an episode of The Simpson's. "I'm not hungry."

"No, me neither," Sam admitted. He bent back over the pad.

"What are you writing?"

Sam looked up a little self consciously. "Letters."

"Letters." Dean shook his head and turned back to the TV. "Let me guess, they start with something subtle like: If you're reading this I'm already dead."

"You're the one that jokes about imminent death, Dean," Sam said simply. "I'm just planning for all eventualities."

"Well don't," Dean ordered. "You're creeping me out."

"I have things to say and people to say them to."

"Well don't bother giving me mine." Dean set his jaw stubbornly and stared at the TV intently. "Just tell me what it said tomorrow."

Sam chuckled and slanted Dean a shy smile. "You might want to rethink that."

Dean felt his heart lurch in his chest and turned away before what he was feeling could show on his face. He'd spent the entire morning fighting the gut feeling that was telling him to go to his brother and wrap his arms around him. To pull Sam's head to his chest. To hold him so tightly that not even death itself could rip him away.

Worse than that he was fighting the part of him that was asking what the hell he was fighting for. If Sam was infected... If these were his last hours on earth...

What the hell did they have to lose?

But he wasn't infected and Dean wasn't going to allow himself to go down that road. In a few hours the moon would be up and they would both know for sure that everything was okay. And then they would go out and get stinking drunk and pass out for a week and when they woke up all this stuff he was feeling would be gone and he could get the old Dean back, the one who loved his brother but never, ever wanted to cradle his face and kiss all the shadows away.

God, he wanted that Dean back.

"I'm sorry," Sam said huskily. "I screwed up."

"No," Dean said intensely. "You thought you heard it behind us but I didn't listen. It's my fault."

"It's not your fault, Dean," Sam said firmly. The bed beside him depressed and Dean felt a tentative touch on his arm. "Not everything is your fault."

Dean shook his head.

"I'm not your responsibility any more, Dean," Sam said, gripping his wrist more firmly and squeezing. "I'm a grown man now."

"You'll always be my responsibility," Dean said, finally turning to look at his brother directly. "But if it's any consolation I'll always be your responsibility right back."

Sam tilted his head and smiled. "Really?"

"Yeah, I guess it finally cuts both ways," Dean admitted, heart aching at that elusive dimple.

Sam's face darkened and he looked away. "Except when I let you down," he said lowly. "Like in California. I know you haven't forgiven me for that."

"I told you it's not about forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn't come into it."

"Everything's changed since then," Sam whispered.

"Still say you don't regret it?" Dean quipped lightly, then instantly wished he hadn't when Sam pulled his hand away and straightened. "Sorry," he said quickly and Sam paused, swallowing hard. "I'm sorry," Dean repeated more softly. "God, Sam this is hard."

Sam just looked at him, his eyes sad.

"I want you to know something." Dean blinked away the moisture gathering in his eyes. "And this isn't something I'm saying because I in any way think you're gonna die. Understood?"

Sam frowned at him quizzically but nodded.

"I just want you to know... I don't regret it either."

Sam half shook his head, as if he didn't believe his ears. "You what?"

"I know it's caused a lot of problems and I know it can never happen again but... I'm not sorry it happened."

Sam brow puckered. "Why?"

Dean searched for words, shaking his head to clear it. "I just - I never knew it could feel that way, you know? Never knew I could feel that way. I didn't think it was something that I would ever have."

Sam nodded his understanding.

"It was like we weren't even two people any more. It was like..."

"Being whole," Sam finished solemnly.

"I guess."

They were so close on the bed it was only the smallest movement and Sam was resting his forehead gently against Dean's and they just sat like that for long moments, breathing in each other's breath, feeling their hearts slow and sync.

"Dean," Sam said quietly, pulling back and gazing into his brother's eyes. "Man, I don't want to have to ask you this - I know I probably don't even have to. You've always done a better job of looking after me than I've done myself. But if this goes bad tonight. If I am infected..."

Dean met his gaze, knowing what was coming next, knowing he didn't want to hear this any more than Sam wanted to say it.

"It's okay," he said sincerely. "I've got your back, little brother. Like always."

And Sam's frown faded away and he smiled, sleepy this time, long lashes falling for a moment.

"Lay down," Dean said, leaning back against the head board and pulling Sam's head onto his chest. "You don't have to sleep, just rest for a little while."

Sam's head was heavy against his breast, fingers gently gripping his sweatshirt loosening and falling away as his breathing deepened and he fell asleep.

And Dean gave in and laid a gentle kiss on unruly brown hair - it was just a moments weakness, hadn't he earned a moment?

"It's okay, Sammy," he murmured, and it was. Because Sam knew his big brother wouldn't let him turn into one of the things that they hunted. Wouldn't let him become a danger to the smiling little gap-toothed children out there, the ones who lived normal, safe lives. Wouldn't let him become a monster.

Dean had his gun in his jacket pocket and it held two shiny silver bullets.

And the beauty of a silver bullet is that it kills just as well as a regular bullet.

-666-

When Dean opened his eyes the door was open and pale golden afternoon sunlight was spilling into the room. In an instant of panic he shot to his feet and raced to the door, stopping dead on the threshold in sheer relief. Sam was sitting on the hood of the Impala, back against the windscreen, long legs stretched in front of him, crossed at the ankles.

It was a familiar sight and a favorite position and Dean remembered long ago nights as boys, sitting up there watching the stars in comfortable silence.

Dean made to take a step out of the door, then stopped, closing his eyes for a moment. The sun was setting, the sky was orange streaked with pink, a few clouds tinged with gold as the last rays of sunlight saluted the sky before departing. Setting his jaw he lifted his jacket from the back of the chair, shrugging into it, feeling the heavy weight of the gun settle against his breast. Then, barefoot, Dean padded across the worn and cracked paving stones and slid up onto the car, scooting back and taking up his position beside his brother.

The day had passed more quickly than he'd expected, they had dozed most of it away, waking now and then to shift position, to curve closer, to take a piss or have a drink before curling back up on the bed. They hadn't spoken, the TV had played softly in the background and outside life had carried on undaunted.

Now the sun was setting and there was nothing more to say, there was a lifetime of things to say, and the next few minutes could be their last on earth.

But Dean felt eerily serene as he tilted his head back and gazed at the sky. And there was a solemn serenity in Sam as he took a deep breath of the warm summer evening air, eyes half closed as he enjoyed the gentle breeze that lifted his bangs and ruffled the too-long hair over his ears.

The sun sank slowly, light fading, darkness stealing across the landscape, long shadows fading together to form the night. The moon lifted, sailed up into the sky, full and round, growing smaller as she climbed until she was just a pale globe shining her subtle blue luster upon them.

Dean's sigh came from deep inside him and he loosed his hand around the butt of the gun in his jacket and looked at Sam who was half smiling, head still tilted back, the smooth youthful lines of his face limned with silver.

"Told you it was just a rock," he murmured and Dean punched him in the arm.

"Damn drama queen," he grumbled, but his legs were suddenly weak and he staggered as he slid off the hood, bare feet hitting the asphalt parking lot. Sam slid down next to him and they leaned for long moments against the car, weak and giddy with relief.

"I need beer," Dean said decisively. "No, tequila. I need tequila."

"Well let's start with the beer and graduate to tequila," Sam proposed and Dean flashed him a grin.

"That's why you're the brains of this outfit, Sammy."

-666-

"No, no, no," Dean said, flapping his hand as Sam finished his third beer and proposed a game of pool. "It's all about the drinking tonight, Sammy. Mission accomplished, bad guys put down, now it's time to get wasted and stagger home in the wee hours, singing some filthy song about long legged women."

Sam raised his mug in a toast. "I'll drink to that!"

"And speaking of the mission," Dean said, raising his own glass. "Here's to Sam Winchester - who last night wasted his first werewolf." Dean dropped the banter and met his brother's eyes squarely. "There are few of us who walk the earth but today another has joined the ranks. To you, Sam."

Sam accepted the tribute, raising his mug and clinking it gently against Dean's before draining it with a gulp.

"More beer," Dean decided.

"Or tequila," Sam reminded him.

"That's my boy," Dean said proudly. "Nothing like mixing drinks to get totally shit-faced, and that's our mission for tonight."

"Yeah," Sam agreed, softly. "Hey, Dean?"

There was a great song playing and Dean swayed along with it, caught up in his own happy place. "Hmm?"

"Thanks for today, man. I couldn't have gotten through it without you."

Dean grinned. "That's my job."

Sam was smiling at him with soft love in his eyes and alarm bells began sounding in Dean's brain, big honking screaming alarm bells that drained away his contentment and replaced it with bone-deep terror. The intimacy of the day, the long hours leaning against one another had knocked down the walls Dean had spent the last few days building between them and the glow in Sam's pretty slanted eyes was all too familiar.

"I'll get us a bottle," Sam offered, standing up a trifle unsteadily and grabbing Dean's shoulder for a moment. "Dude, I should have eaten before those beers."

"Lightweight," Dean accused automatically, but the heat of Sam's hand on his shoulder was searing him and the look in Sam's eyes was haunting him. If this went on then there would be no stopping it. If Dean didn't do something, say something right now then this was it, they'd be on that road and there would be no turning back. Every defense he had was down right now, and Sam hadn't made any secret of what he wanted, what he'd really wanted ever since California.

If they went back to that motel room together tonight then by tomorrow they would be lovers.

And there wouldn't be any convenient memory loss to blame this time.

The thought terrified Dean, froze everything else out of his head, drained the intoxication of the alcohol out of his blood stream. All the temptation to give into it was gone, stripped away by sheer panic. He would not risk his relationship with his brother for the temptation to drown in his warm willing flesh tonight. He would not gamble a lifetime of being brothers on the insane idea that they could actually make this work, that they could cross this line, break this last taboo and walk away unscathed.

A movement by the bar caught his attention. Sam was heading back with a bottle of tequila and two shot glasses, and behind him swam into focus a shock of flaming red hair and a wide white-toothed grin as the redhead from the other night sketched a wave at him.

And suddenly Dean knew what he had to do.

"I hope you got that to go," Dean said, standing up and smoothing a hand over his hair.

Sam paused, glasses on the table, bottle still in his hand. "We going somewhere?"

"Well, I don't know about you," Dean said brightly, nodding towards the bar. "But I have some unfinished business to take care of."

Sam frowned quizzically and glanced over his shoulder and Dean could tell the exact instant realization sunk in. Sam's body tensed, his hand tightened around the bottle, his free hand jerked.

"Dean?"

"Nothing like a little R&R to release the tensions of the day," Dean said, keeping the grin on his face, ignoring Sam's confused expression, the way his cheeks paled. "And this has been one hell of a day."

"Dean, I thought," Sam began huskily, breaking off and shaking his head. "I thought we-"

"Sammy," Dean said quietly, catching his brother's eye, meeting the confused gaze squarely, freezing Sam's words in his mouth. "This is the way it is, okay? This is the way it's always gonna be. We agreed. Right?"

Sam frowned, pain in his eyes, muscle in his jaw jumping. "But that was before. Before today-"

"Nothing has changed," Dean said clearly. "We just gotta get through this, remember?"

Sam swallowed, looking down at the bottle he still held as if he couldn't remember how it got there. He thrust it out and Dean took it, carefully avoiding touching his brother's hand.

"You think I don't know what you're doing?" Sam said, his voice a low growl. "Did it all get a little too close for comfort today, Dean?"

Dean kept his face carefully blank, feeling Sam's scorn like a blast wave in his face.

"Well you do what feels right to you," Sam said quietly, muscle in his clenched jaw jumping.. "You tell yourself what you gotta tell yourself. But this isn't gonna change anything."

This is the right thing to do, Dean said to himself as Sam turned away and pushed through the crowd to the door. Gritting his teeth he turned and went to the bar, smiling a greeting at the redhead as she caught his shoulder and drew him close, laying the bottle carefully in front of them. He could feel Sam's gaze on the back of his neck but by the time he'd plastered on a fresh plastic smile and turned to look for him, Sam was gone, the bar door swinging gently closed against the night.

This is the right thing, Dean repeated to himself as the redhead told him her name, leaned over and whispered something in his ear, walked her long red nails down his leather clad arm. This is the best thing for both of us. Sam will come to understand that. When he recovers from the intensity of the day, when things get back on an even keel between us...

So why did he have this ache in his chest right now, why did everything around him suddenly jar? The music too loud, the smell of the alcohol making him dizzy, Red's perfume too strong. This was the right thing to do, the only thing to do, to keep within the lines, to preserve their relationship. So why didn't it feel right?

Where was the right in this?

The longer Dean stood there the more everything around him seemed wrong and out of focus, and oddly, the angrier he got. Sam had no right to make him feel this way, not right to lay this guilt trip on his shoulders. Dean had to wonder why it was that he was carrying the burden of this, just as he seemed to carry all the burdens for his family. Why wasn't Sam taking some responsibility for this?

It was time and past time that he sorted this out, once and for all. Time he and Sam had it out.

Without a word of apology he pulled away from Red's clinging fingers and crossed the barroom floor. He pushed it open and straddled the threshold, gazing down the dark street.

Behind him the bar was jumping, music blaring, feet stomping, the smell of beer and spirits drifting out into the night. Dean came alive in such places, flirting with the girls, hustling at the pool table, flipping cards in some back room. He'd been in a thousand just like it and never doubted there were thousand more in his future, barring accidents or werewolf bites.

It was his past and his future, a long familiar road spread out before him. All he had to do was knock some sense into his brother and they could be back on that road together, things going on as they were meant to.

It seemed Sam had only made it as far as the next street corner before finding the bus stop seat. He was sitting, head back, gazing up at the stars, the way they had been when they sat stretched out on the car at sunset.

Wanting to get this over and done with Dean stomped down the street and stopped in front of Sam, who lowered his gaze and stared stonily back at him.

"You're determined to do this, aren't you?" Dean demanded. "Determined to take everything we have as brothers and throw it away."

"No!" Sam exclaimed, looking horrified by the accusation.

"Then what the hell do you want, Sam? I mean, please, just tell me what the hell you hope to achieve by all this?"

"You know what I want," Sam said hotly. "You want it too."

"No, Sam, I wanted it too. And, if you'll recall, I wasn't exactly in my right mind at the time."

Sam shook his head. "That can't have all just disappeared, Dean. You don't love somebody that much and have it all just go away."

Dean gritted his teeth. "It didn't go away, Sam," he said tightly. "I'll always love you. Just not that way."

"No," Sam said, his face pale in the moonlight. "You still feel it, I know you do. I've seen the way you look at me, today, all those things you said, the way it was. You still love me, you still want me."

"You mean sex?" Dean said bluntly. "Because, not to brag here, Sammy, but sex I can get almost anywhere."

Sam's lips compressed angrily. "Not the way it was that night," he insisted. "Not the way it was between us. And don't try to make it out to be something cheap and tawdry again. That didn't work last time and it won't now."

Dean winced at the mention of the conversation Sam spoke of, when he'd first recovered his memory and lashed out in pain and fear. He'd said some terrible things and hurt Sam deeply. He was hurting him now, Dean could see it in the puckered frown on his brow, the way his big hands trembled.

It was this sight that undid Dean, drained his anger, weakened his knees, sent tears to his eyes. He blinked them away, collapsing on the bench next to his brother. He didn't want to hurt Sam any more. He didn't want to hurt any more.

"No," he said, fighting to keep his voice steady. "It wasn't cheap and tawdry. I never should have said that."

"You told me today that you didn't regret it," Sam reminded him shakily.

"I shouldn't have said that either."

"Even though it was true?"

"Yeah," Dean said dully. "Even though it was true."

Sam turned his head, frowning across at him. "Denying it won't make it go away, Dean," he said intently.

Dean nodded tiredly. "So I've noticed." He returned his brother's stare, taking in the too-long hair, his pale skin, his eyes full of concern. Sam had no walls around him, every emotion he felt crossed his face. He wore his heart on his sleeve.

"What do you want, Sam?" Dean asked again, but there was no anger in his this time.

"I told you," Sam said, lifting his knee and twisting on the bench to face his brother fully. "I want things to be the way they were when you didn't let us being brothers come between us."

"It's not gonna happen," Dean said simply.

"It could," Sam began, but Dean cut him off.

"I don't want it to."

It was an echo of a past conversation and a weapon at the same time and he saw it strike home, saw Sam wince with the painful memory. But it didn't quite have the effect he was hoping for, instead Sam's eyes narrowed and he tilted his head thoughtfully.

"Is that was this is all about?" he said slowly. "Because I said I was leaving that time?"

"No," Dean scoffed, rattled. "No," he repeated more forcefully, denying Sam's words but his brother was relentless, he was nodding his head, thinking hard.

"You're scared I'm gonna pick up and leave you again. Scared that if we're lovers it will hurt even more than when we were just brothers."

"Listen to yourself!" Dean exploded, jumping to his feet. "Lovers! Do you know how stupid that sounds?"

But Sam was all calmness now, his expression as he shook his head said he would not be goaded. "Don't fool yourself, Dean," he said with certainty. "We're already lovers, you and I. We have been since that night, and that's what scares the crap out of you. You're still in love with me."

Dean reached down and grabbed Sam's shirt front, dragging him to his feet, ignoring the fact that he was now glaring up into the taller man's face. "I am not in love with you," he ground out. "I just want things back the way they were!"

"Which time, Dean?" Sam said quietly. "Before we were lovers? Before I left to go to college? Or before Mom died?"

Dean caught his breath in shock, pain shafting through him. He loosened suddenly nerveless hands and stepped back, away from the gentle look of understanding in his brother's eyes.

"Everything's always changing, isn't it?" Sam said tenderly. "Falling apart. And you always seem to get left behind, holding the pieces, trying to put it all back the way it was."

Tears started in Dean's eyes and he barely felt Sam's big hands take him by the shoulders and gently steer him back to the bench. They squeezed comfortingly for a moment and then slid down his arms and grasped his hands, holding them firmly.

"But I'm not going anywhere, Dean," Sam whispered lovingly. "I'm not leaving you behind again. We can't go back to the way things were before, but maybe we can go forward. Together. And maybe things can be even better?"

Dean stared down at their linked hands, watching as his own teardrop fell and hit Sam's skin and became a damp spot.

Dammed if Sam wasn't right. Dean was scared down to his bones. Give him a demon to fight, a ghost to exorcise, a vengeful spirit to do battle with, and he didn't know a moments fear or hesitation. But take away his father or Sammy and he was like a child again, afraid of the dark, clinging to the covers as if they would protect him from all the pain losing them would bring.

And that's why he'd been fighting this so hard.

"Dean," Sam said huskily. "Please don't cry. It tears me apart to see you hurting like this."

And Dean realized their linked hands were wet with his tears and he felt the soothing pressure of Sam's forehead against his own and breathed the comfort of the soft exhalation of his breath.

"Love shouldn't hurt like this," Sam said brokenly. "I'm sorry, Dean. I'm sorry."

Dean couldn't bear the pain in Sam's voice and he tried to gather the strength to speak, although in truth he still didn't know what he was going to say. But Sam beat him to it, pulling back and laying a soft kiss on his forehead.

"Dean?" he murmured. "If you honestly don't want this..." Sam took a deep breath, his chest rising and falling slowly. "If you don't want this then I'll do what you want me to do. I'll try to get over this and do my best to just love you as a brother again."

Dean blinked heavy lashes, looking up into Sam's face cautiously.

"But you have to tell me, Dean. You have to look me in the eye and tell me you aren't in love with me. And it has to be true, man, not some bullshit face you put on." Sam bit his lip, a pained frown chasing across his face. "If you can do that then I promise... I promise I'll let this go."

"And you won't leave?" Dean said hoarsely.

Sam looked down, eyes closing briefly, then looked back up again, meeting Dean's gaze openly. "No," he said softly. "I won't leave you."

"I... I can't do it, Sam," Dean said hoarsely. "I already need you so much, rely on you so much." Dean shook his head frantically. "I'm afraid if I love you any more..."

"You think I'm not scared?" Sam said desperately. "I was in love with Jessica, Dean. She was my future. Losing her almost killed me. Losing you would kill me."

Suddenly this was all too much, Sam's intense gaze fixed on him, the warmth of his hands. He couldn't cope with this pressure, not for a moment longer. He could barely hold onto his own emotions, he couldn't handle Sam's as well.

"I'm sorry," he said, pushing up and off the bench, out of the circle of Sam's presence, Sam's need.

"Dean," Sam cried out, long arm reaching for him, but Dean was backing away.

"I'm sorry," he said again. "I can't take this, Sam, it's too much. No!" he said, as Sam stood and took a step after him. "Don't follow me. Can't you just take the damn hint and leave me alone?"

He didn't stay to see the pain on Sam's face, but he didn't run either. He turned, thrust his hands in his pockets and walked away. And Sam didn't follow him.

-666-

Walking felt good and for a while he just wandered slowly along, hands in his pockets, head down, turning the last week over in his mind.

Sam was right, he admitted again. He'd put his finger right on it. Dean was scared, scared of losing Sam again, scared of loving him more than he already did. Scared that next time he lost him it might just destroy him.

In his whole life the only certainty had been Sam, and even that had been ripped away from him. Nothing ever hurt like that.

In a life where Dean hadn't known from one day to the next where he'd be laying his head that night. With a father whose love and approval were given or withheld by impossibly high standards. In a world where his mother had been stolen away by fire in what should have been the safest place on earth.

Sam had been his only constant. Sam's companionship, his love, his understanding - because who else could understand this weird life of theirs but Sam?

And now Sam wanted every other part of him as well.

"I'm not leaving you behind again."

"Yeah, Sam. Sure."

"Everything's always changing, isn't it? Falling apart."

"Tell me about it. And maybe I am the one picking up the pieces, but who the hell else will do it? You were too little and Dad too strung out on vengeance. And then when I finally figured I could count on you as an ally you were gone, and when you came back you were just like him. You wouldn't even have stayed with me if it weren't for that."

"We can't go back to the way things were before."

No. Not any of the befores. Time after time everything changed and he couldn't do anything to stop it.

But...

But maybe...

Dean stopped in the middle of the pavement, gazing down at his boots. But maybe if he hadn't been so set on trying to keep things the way they were... When any fool could see that Dad and Sam just couldn't go on that way any longer. If he hadn't been so set on keeping them together maybe they wouldn't have blown apart quite so thoroughly.

He'd lost Sammy for all that time because he couldn't change. Wouldn't change. And now he was pushing him away because he was too scared of change.

"Losing her almost killed me. Losing you would kill me."

And Dean remembered then. Two silver bullets...

-666-

Sam was where he'd left him, still sitting on the bus stop seat, elbows resting on his knees, shoulders slumped. Even as Dean watched he leaned his head in his hands, grinding at his eyes with his palms. Dean walked slowly towards the seat and stopped in front of him. His brother sniffed and looked up, eyes swollen and shiny with tears..

"Dammit, Sam," Dean sighed, lifting one hand and laying it gently on tumbled brown locks. Blindly Sam's hands sought his hips and then he was drawing Dean close, his heavy head leaning against his brother's belly, warm breath and damp tears against his shirt.

"We're quite a pair, aren't we?" Dean observed with a self deprecating chuckle.

"I'm sorry," Sam mumbled, and Dean carded his fingers through the warm softness of his hair, the way he'd done when Sam was two and called him Din. He just stood there for a long minute, feeling the rightness of it all at last. Then he pulled back a little and sat down, gently pressing Sam's head to his shoulder. Two pairs of legs stretched out and the brothers sat, Sam's head heavy against him, Dean's hand still tangled in the soft umber waves.

"Well this is a fine mess you've got us into," Dean said resignedly.

"I'm sorry I pushed too hard. I meant to go slower, I really did."

"Sounds like quite a campaign you had planned, Sammy," Dean said lightly. "I never stood a chance, did I?"

Sam pulled back and gazed at him earnestly. "It wasn't like that, Dean, I swear. I understood why you were holding back, I loved you even more for it."

Dean's heart jumped in his chest and he shook his head at his own sentimentality.

"I knew you were only trying to protect us," Sam continued solemnly. "And I was prepared to wait as long as it took. And then today," he broke off, a small smile chasing across his features. "Today was just what I've been wanting. That closeness. Being able to just reach out for you and have you there."

"I've always been here, Sam," Dean reminded him, but he smiled a little too, to show he understood. The day was still fresh in his mind as well, the closeness and intimacy of it all. He could admit that before they'd become... lovers it wouldn't have been like that. He and Sam probably would have spent the day isolated in their own little corners, nursing their pain and fear.

"I thought I could wait as long as it took," Sam said lowly. "And then tonight you go off with that jiggly redhead."

"I prefer the term statuesque," Dean said in dignified tones and then ouched as Sam punched him in the arm. "Hey!"

"You're a real asshole, you know that?"

"That hurt," Dean complained. " And I meant to be. I was trying to push you away."

"Well you didn't," Sam said bluntly. "You just hurt me like hell."

"Join the club," Dean said sarcastically.

Sam snorted agreement and sat back. the two of them sat a while as the full moon sailed across the sky above them

"You know if we do this," Dean said slowly. "Then everything changes."

"Again," Sam reminded him with half a smile.

"Yeah," Dean agreed humorously. "Again. And maybe the first time we could just fall in the sack and it was rainbows and butterflies, but it can't work that way now."

"We can go slow," Sam hurried to assure him. "Take our time."

"And the sex, man," Dean said, lifting one shoulder. "I'm not so sure about that part of it. It would just seem too weird, you know? Getting all hot and heavy right off."

"Like I said, there's no hurry. It's not like this is all about the sex anyway."

Dean gave him a look and Sam huffed a laugh.

"Come on, man, I'm not the one who's led around by his dick in this relationship."

"You can't tell me all those looks I've been getting from you aren't about the sex," Dean accused, but the tight feeling in his chest was gone. And it was all staring to feel... okay..

Sam looked just as happy, skin taking on some color, eyes brighter. "I'm not saying I don't have some fond memories of that night," he admitted. "And the next morning. But I'll be happy if I can just feel free to reach out for you," he said, then put this threat into action and snagged Dean around the neck and drew him to his side.

"Hey, public street here," Dean protested, but let himself be drawn close to Sam just the same.

"And if I can snuggle you a bit," Sam murmured, turning his head and nuzzling at Dean's neck, causing his older brother to lean away, chuckling under his breath.

"Dude, what are you doing?"

"And maybe just a quick peck now and then," Sam whispered, and then his head swooped and he laid his lips on Dean's and coherent thought vanished. Dean froze, feeling the mobile warmth of Sam's lips on his, and the possessive touch of Sam's big hand coming up and cradling his cheek.

Sam drew back and Dean blinked, eyes still wide open in shock.

"Okay," he said, then broke off as his voice came out as a squeak. He cleared his throat. "Okay," he repeated. "Maybe the sex won't be a problem."

Sam smiled, and if it had been at all smug Dean might have been tempted to return that punch on the arm with interest. But instead it was tender and happy and so full of love that he just had to close his eyes and lean forward, wanting to feel and experience all that his eyes were telling him.

Sam obliged.

-666-

The walk back to the motel was surprisingly comfortable. They just strode along, side by side, shoulders bumping now and then. On the last block Sam threw his arm around Dean's shoulder and they continued on that way, easy and comfortable, A truck sailed by and the occupants called and whistled and as one the Winchester boys lifted their hands and delivered one fingered salutes.

"Jerks," Dean muttered.

"Ignore them," Sam said unconcernedly, unlocking the door and following Dean inside.

"Might as well get used to it," Dean said practically, but he wasn't really worried. They'd never fit in anywhere but with each other anyway. He tossed his keys and wallet on the table, shrugging off his jacket and draping it over a chair. Sam tossed his own jacket over it and then just stood in the middle of the room as Dean sat on the end of the bed and pulled off his boots.

Dean cocked a brow at him. "Awkward much?"

"Maybe a little" Sam admitted, toeing off his trainers. "But it's all good. We're taking this slowly, right?" He sat down on his own bed.

Dean lifted his feet onto the covers and settled back against the headboard. "Told you this was gonna be a long day."

Sam sighed from some place deep inside him. "You weren't wrong." He looked up, casually brushing his hair back with long fingers. "You okay?"

"Yeah," Dean said softly, and he was. It had been quite a battle, and he'd been sure he was fighting it for the right reasons. But none of it really seemed that important now. That ache he'd been carrying around for days was gone, and Sam was near him, and he looked so young and happy, his eyes still full of hope.

Did they have a future? Well, had they ever had one? The work they did, the life they lived. Either one of them could be gone at any time. Today might have been their last day on earth, if that werewolf had been just a little bit quicker, their shots a little slower.

The thought was painful and Dean suddenly missed their closeness on the bench. "Come here?" Dean invited, extending one arm.

Sam put one knee on the bed and then crawled its length, sitting next to his brother and gazing over at him. "I thought we were gonna take this slow?"

Dean stretched out and snagged Sam behind his neck, hauling him closer and pulling his head down to his shoulder. It was an echo of the way they'd spent the afternoon, but now Sam wasn't warm and sleepy against him, his body was taut, his broad hand laying over Dean's heart as if to measure its beat.

Sam's head tilted and he gazed up at his brother, eyes a little worried now and Dean smiled, throwing in the towel completely. "I love you," he said and Sam's eyes filled with tears and overflowed. And, kitten-soft, Dean's tongue collected them and drank them down, warm salt in his mouth. It was just as sweet as he remembered.

He lifted his hand and cupped one smooth cheek, stroking the lingering dampness. "Tell me you love me," he pleaded, suddenly needing to hear it.

"I love you," Sam said instantly, heart in his eyes.

"Tell me that you'll always love me," Dean demanded.

Sam's hand lifted now and cupped Dean's face and Dean found himself leaning into its warmth and solid masculine strength.

"I will always love you," Sam said fiercely, then his lips found Dean's and he was kissing him wildly, deeply, pushing him down onto the bed, broad chest and wide shoulders pressing him back.

And Dean was answering the kiss just as fiercely as need exploded out of him. He gripped Sam's neck hard, twisting under the bruising kiss, returning the sensual rasp of tongue against tongue, throwing his head back to take a breath and then being engulfed again under the onslaught.

Finally, finally Sam's lips gentled against his own, the fierce grasp of his hands softened, became caresses, strokes, sighs of pleasure on Dean's skin. Sam lifted his head, lips swollen and bruised, breathing harsh. His lashes flickered open and he blinked down at his brother dazedly.

"Dean?" he murmured and Dean blinked his own lashes, not surprised to find them damp and heavy. He felt oddly shy as warm hazel eyes quartered his face possessively, but he fought it, figuring he was probably losing as warm blood rushed under his skin and Sam's chest heaved a deep breath against his own.

"You know," Sam said quietly, the low drawl zinging straight down Dean's body to his core. "Since we're starting off slow and all, there's this little thing I've been wanting to do all week."

Dean raised a curious brow. "What's that?"

Sam's eyes zeroed in on one spot and he nodded slowly. "I've been wanting to kiss every one of your freckles."

"I don't have freckles," Dean said absently. One of Sam's big hands was flicking open the buttons on his shirt and it was amazingly distracting.

"I think I'll start here," Sam said, dropping a warm kiss under one eye. Dean squinted and huffed a laugh.

"I do not have freckles," he insisted as that mouth skated over the bridge of his nose and to his cheekbone. "That's just the way I tan."

Sam lifted his head and looked down at him and it occurred to Dean to wonder how it was his little brother had taken the driving seat on this one, and when exactly he'd lost control of this situation. But now Sam's intent gaze dropped to Dean's chest and he was tugging apart the sides of the shirt and gazing down raptly at his brother's exposed flesh.

"Freckles," he said with satisfaction, mouth dropping onto one shoulder as Dean squirmed and really tried not to laugh under the onslaught.

"Sam," he said, wriggling as Sam mouthed over his collar bone. "Hey!" he yelped as white teeth nibbled gently. "That is so, oh, hey, wait a minute."

Sam's lips found a nipple and for a moment his warm wet tongue rasped a trail around it and Dean was about to tell him he'd never really been turned on by having his nipples touched, when Sam engulfed one pink nub and began to make love to it.

And by then everything coherent that Dean was about to say flew out of his head as his eyes rolled up and he arched back on the bed.

"God," he managed as Sam blew gently on the swollen nipple before shifting his attention to the other side.

Dean was hard now, harder than he could ever remember, leaking uncomfortably in the confines of his pants and thrusting mindlessly up at the pressure of Sam who was somehow now resting between his legs.

And it wasn't just about a mouth, Sam's mouth doing this to him, it wasn't just about the heat and the hardness and the knowledge that he was about to come in his pants for the first time since he was fourteen years old.

It was the sheer incredible intimacy of Sam nursing at his breast like this. He'd had Sam's tongue in his mouth, he'd stroked Sam's body and lain between Sam's lean thighs and rubbed their cocks together until they both came.

And yet all that paled into insignificance against this act of love, Sam's broad hands cupping his rib cage, Dean's shirt draping behind him as his body arched off the bed. Sam's lips gently mouthing, his tongue flicking and stroking. Sam's own hardness answering the need Dean was feeling as he ground and thrust upwards just as Sam sucked hard.

And then Dean was doing it, he was coming, without Sam even touching him there, and it was endless and intimate and Sam was kissing him again, breathing into his mouth and whispering.

"I will always love you."

-666-

"Man," Dean sighed long minutes later when his breath had come back. "You know how uncomfortable it is to cum in your pants?"

Sam lifted his head and looked down the length of his own body before quirking a brow at Dean. "Apparently."

"Dude, you too?" Dean rolled onto his side and studied Sam laying next to him, broad chest still rising and falling rapidly. "That actually makes me feel better."

"So much for taking it slow," Sam said ruefully.

"Well, it was mainly just necking," Dean pointed out. "And rubbing. It's not our fault that it all kinda got out of hand."

"Yeah," Sam agreed. "You think we'll ever graduate beyond frottage?"

"Frottage?" Dean repeated. "I thought that was cheese?"

Sam exploded into chuckles and Dean swatted him on the arm.

"Shut up."

"It's when you cum from rubbing against each other, doofus," Sam said fondly, his hand pushing beneath the hem of his t-shirt to scratch idly at his belly. Dean followed the movement, trying to keep his mind on the conversation.

"What kind of stuff did you learn at that school, Sammy?"

Sam attempted a mysterious look, eyes slitted and sultry and damn if it wasn't working and turning him on all over again. Which only reminded him about the rapidly cooling dampness of his pants.

"I need to get this stuff off."

"Yeah."

The stood on their respective sides of the bed, stripping off jeans and pants, wiping at sticky bellies and genitals with their underwear. Then they just stood, looking at each other.

"This is still weird," Sam announced.

"Pftt," Dean said, climbing back onto the bed. "Tell me about it. Dude, don't get a swelled head or anything, but I have never cum so hard in my life."

"It's not my head swelling," Sam said as he joined him back on the bed and Dean felt his eyebrows rise until they must have met his hairline.

"Du-ude," he said, impressed despite himself. "I've never seen you hard before."

Sam palmed himself fondly and Dean bit back a groan at the sight of his brother's huge hand wrapped around his length.

"Half hard," Sam bragged and Dean grabbed a pillow and hit him in the face just for the principle of the thing. And then they were wrestling and giggling like teenagers and Dean was on top and straddling Sam and getting to know Sam's private parts in a whole new way as they nestled against him.

"Now this is what I'm talking about," Dean said with satisfaction. "Back on top where I belong."

Sam lay back and tucked his arms under his head. "Your turn to do all the work," he invited generously.

Dean smirked down at Sam's smug face. "I'm warning you, Sammy," he said playfully. "I've got years of repressed bisexuality to make up for."

Sam's smug grin turned to pure anticipation. "Bring it on."

-666-

In the darkness of predawn the room was lit with shadows from the red letters of the digital clock and the streetlight outside through the worn curtains. The brothers lay entwined, mattress askew on its base, sheets a tangle on the floor, the air heavy with the scent of sex.

"What happens tomorrow?" Sam said sleepily, head on Dean's shoulder.

"We find another gig," Dean said, arm bent, stroking umber waves absently. "Get in the car and blaze, same as always."

"You still scared?"

"Nah," Dean said, not entirely truthfully. "I guess, at some point after jumping off a cliff, a guy's gotta realize, there's no changing his mind."

"Did I ever mention that your romantic skills need polishing up?" Sam said in exasperation. "Seriously, dude."

Dean made a face. "You're such a girl sometimes." He squirmed as Sam playfully nipped at the muscle of his bicep. "No, seriously, Sammy. I don't know where this road is gonna take us. I don't need to know. So long as we're on it together."

"Wherever it leads?" Sam asked softly and Dean nodded his promise.

"Wherever."

Sam sighed contentedly and rested his head back down.

"I can live with that."

The End.