Pup – Epilogue

Dean fiddled with his tie for what must have been the 100th time, making sure that the knot was tight enough, the actual tie was straight, his shirt collar wasn't sticking up. He hated wearing suits and the last time he had actually worn one was when he and Sam were pretending to be lawyers or doctors or something. He huffed a laugh, he had to be careful with this one though as it was his own, rather than a hire.

He looked down at the dog. He was behaving himself impeccably as usual, soft brown fur brushed until it shone. He wore his best red collar and was sitting to heel, just as Sam had taught him. Dean put his hand on the dog's head and patted it gently. In the five years since they had 'acquired' him, the dog had grown considerably and had finally gotten a name. They had discussed it endlessly after the hunt that had nearly killed Sam; the hunt where the pup had saved Sam's life and become Dean's best friend. Finally Dean had made the decision – Sam had brought the dog – but Dean should name him and pup became Ozzie, something Dean was proud of and Sam had learnt to live with.

Dean found his seat and got comfortable, Ozzie settling beneath his legs. As usual Dean found himself surrounded by women, all wanting to pat and play with Ozzie. Dean had met more girlfriends through the damn dog than he cared to admit, but he wasn't complaining. Chicks seemed to love men who loved dogs and Dean was seriously considering buying Ozzie a friend, you know, for company.

Two years ago they had finally killed the demon that had haunted their lives. Two years in which they had lived through torture, pain and separation. In the end though, their bond had remained strong and together they had risen above any challenges the bastard had set them and come out of the experience tired but whole.

Dean had waited for Sam to leave him, but for a while it seemed that Sam wasn't going anywhere. Eventually he admitted he would like to go back to education, but not unless Dean and Ozzie (the damn dog was always mentioned in the same breath as Dean now) came with him. Sam had laid down the law fairly firmly. He didn't want to go back to Stanford (too may memories) or to study law. He wanted to be a teacher, he explained, he wanted to work with kids and he wanted to stay with his brother. Finally they had found a quiet place in New England, near a wood that was excellent for dog walking and near a small town that had a bar, a pool room and a garage, everything in life that Dean needed or wanted.

Dean had continued to hunt, but only low key and safe gigs. He always took the dog and Sam was always waiting up for their return, no matter how late or how important his deadline. Dean often wondered if either of them would settle down, maybe find a nice girl, have a few kids. He watched Ozzie sniffing around the lady dogs and decided that the pup would probably have kids before either him or Sam.

Now it was his brother's graduation day and Dean was foolishly nervous. Sam had protested and made enough noise for the Dean to let Ozzie come to the ceremony, but Dean worried more about his behaviour than the dogs. He didn't want to let his brother down, it was important, to both of them, that Sam succeed in this. They had been through so much and now Sam deserved this, he deserved to do well; he deserved to achieve his goal. Dean looked around, a little sadly. There were so many families here today, proud parents, smart siblings. Dean knew that his dad would have, finally, approved of what Sam was doing and that both he and his mother would be proud of both their sons. He wished there were more people here for Sam on this special day and then he felt Ozzie's soft head on his knee and he found himself smiling. Ok, maybe their family was small, but it was loving, loyal and together and that was all that mattered to Sam.

He looked up as the students took to the stage and he spotted his brother immediately. Sam was head and shoulders above anyone else and he caught Dean's eye, grinning like a loon and waving to him and the dog. Ozzie caught sight of his master and tugged at the lead excitedly, his large tail thumping on the floor. Dean swallowed, determined not to have a 'mini chick flick moment'. Sam looked so smart in his cap and gown, even though his hair still wanted cutting and his shirt didn't quite do up on the sleeves. How he wished their dad could be here, to see Sam, to see what they had achieved. It had been five years and at one point, Dean hadn't thought he would even make it into his thirties, let alone see his baby brother graduate. He hadn't thought that they would live a normal life, hadn't thought he'd want to, but he'd been wrong and he could almost pinpoint the moment that their lives had changed.

Ozzie put his paw on Dean's knee and panted excitedly. The dog had changed their lives and for the better. It had made Dean realise that Sam had needed a little normality in his life that he needed something to care for (other than Dean), that he needed something to help him forget, to help him have a life outside of hunting. The dog had helped Dean get over his dad's death, helped him to face the real world, to relax a little when it mattered, to share things like Christmas and birthdays. Ozzie had seen them through good times and bad ones and now he would be with them as their life entered yet another new phase. Dean let go and let his tears fall freely. He didn't mind that everyone could see him, he didn't care that his brother would see him blubbing and probably tease him for weeks, even months, to come. He rested his hands on the dog's head and smiled "This is the biggest chick flick moment ever mutt" he whispered "And here's to many more"