After It's Over
Disclaimer: They're not mine (unfortunately!).
Summary: A conversation between the boys when everything is over at some point in the indeterminate future with the demon gone.
Spoilers - Mentions of Provenance and Shadow but nothing substantial.
Thanks to Rae for your help and beta skills
Sam sat staring into his almost finished cup, swirling the coffee around inside. Dean watched him for a while, before turning to catch the waitress' eye for the bill. He finished settling up before turning his attention back to his brother. "Come on, Sam. Either finish it or leave it, but we've got to move before you take root."
Sam sighed, swirled the coffee once more, then put the cup down without finishing and stood up. He headed to the door ahead of Dean. Dean watched him thoughtfully as he followed him back to the Impala.
"You wanna drive?" he asked.
"Huh? No, no, I don't. Not now."
"You wanna talk?"
"No, I'm good."
"I noticed. Sam, if there is something you want to say to me, just spit it out. It'll be fine."
"You sure about that?"
"Yeah, I think I know what's bothering you."
"You want to leave. I know that and it's okay. You should do it but just you know, stay in touch this time. I'd kinda like to visit Stanford properly some time."
"Stanford? What makes you think I want to leave?"
"You said it, ages ago now, that you couldn't wait for it all to be over so you could get back to school. It's good, you should do it."
"In Chicago. That's when I said that."
"I was wrong, Sam."
"You said, you wanted us to be a family. You wanted it to be like it was before."
"I was wrong. You said then we could be a family but we needed to move on. You were right."
"You were right, Sam. Stop worrying. We could head there now, if you like see about getting you enrolled and sort it all out."
"I don't want to go back!"
"Sam, you don't want to hunt. This is not what you want. I'm not going to pressure you to go back to Stanford but this is not for you. Think about it, take your time, but don't just give up on it all."
"I... Dean, I'm not sure."
"What do you think? What do you want?"
"I think you should look at your options. I want you to do what will make you happy."
"Sam, things change. We can't live in the past. The demon's gone, the past is over, things have to change now."
"You're not going to stop hunting though, are you?"
"It's not the same though. Look sure, I'll still hunt, I'll do what I can on my own and when it's more than a one man job, I'll team up. There's enough hunters around the network."
"What about us?"
"If you tell me you want to hunt, I'll find it hard to believe."
"Not that... us... family..."
"Is there any reason why we wouldn't be okay with this?"
"You wanted us to be together."
"So okay, you decide where you want to be, I'll use that as a base. Where do you want to be?"
"What about Cassie?"
"What's she got to do with it?"
"You... you liked her... she meant something."
"Sam, I'm not going back to her, it's over."
"Wouldn't you like that? To settle down with a girl somewhere? Meet a nice girl and... I don't know... you know... settle down?"
"Sam, tell me what you're really thinking because this isn't really about me and Cassie, is it?"
"I just got to thinking. Jess... you know... I still miss her sometimes but I... I don't want to go back to Stanford, not to stay. I don't want to live with Jess as a shadow all the time. I want to remember the good times." The sadness in his voice filled the car.
"I understand, Sam."
"Do you? Doesn't that make me a bad personn to want to put it out of my mind? I mean she died because of me."
"No, she died because of the demon. It was wrong. It shouldn't have happened, but it wasn't your fault. And there's a difference between putting her out of mind and moving on. You're not trying to forget her, but you can't live with the ghost of her memory all the time. It would destroy you and if she was everything you thought she was then she wouldn't want it for you either."
"I don't know what I want to do now with my life."
"Okay, what do you know? What would you like to try? Where would you like to try?"
"I don't know. I want a proper job, I want a normal life, I... I don't want to live like this, Dean."
"Sam, give yourself some time, decide on somewhere you want to try living. If it doesn't work out, you can always try something else."
"But what about us? What about this?" he said, gesturing broadly at the car.
"Sam, being honest with you, even before Chicago, I knew you didn't want this. I knew, but then I hoped I'd change your mind. Selfish, huh? But after Chicago, I got to thinking about what was important and even more so since everything with the demon. I realised you were right, we can't go back to what it was like before so we need something new. Yeah, I'm still going to hunt and you're not, but that doesn't stop us being family ever."
Sam frowned as if he wasn't sure of Dean's words. "It'll be fine." Dean sounded confident.
"What about Dad? What would he have thought?"
"Don't worry about that Sam. You stood up to him at 18 and went to Stanford, you can do what you believe in now. You know, he was proud of you really. Just not so good at saying it."
"He wouldn't have liked it."
"You never know, he might have surprised you. Anyway, he's not here to talk it through with so don't let it worry you. You can move on now. It's right, it's time. I'm behind you."
"You were when I went to Stanford."
"Because I knew it was the right thing for you."
"But you didn't want me to go."
"Sam, surely you can understand. Of course the selfish part of me wanted you to stay but I wanted you to go too. It was the right thing. Now, I'm guessing that you've been thinking about this for days. So I'm hoping you have thought past the telling me part and actually spent some time thinking about what or where?"
"I wondered about New Paltz."
"Fair enough. We'll find somewhere to stop tonight and we'll head that way tomorrow. Maybe that Sarah we met would know of somewhere you could stay or a job you could try. Have you spoken to her lately?" He saw his brother's cheeks redden. "I'll take that as a yes. You tell her what you were thinking?"
"Not exactly, but bits yeah, kind of."
"Well, my suggestion is when we stop you call her properly. We can probably get there by the day after tomorrow."
Dean saw as his brother relaxed in the seat beside him and knew he'd done the right thing. It wasn't about what he wanted, it was about what Sam needed. Sam needed a home, a job, a proper life and Dean would let him try to get it.