Disclaimer: don't own anything winchestery, but wish i did

Summary: On Dean's 33rd birthday he blows out a candle and makes a wish.

A/N: This is a sequel to Make a Wish. Some of you asked me to write a sequel, and since i depend on the approval and affection of others, i have done so. This continues the mirror image story thingy I wrote after reading refur's Memento Mori. This won't make sense if you don't read Make a Wish first. It's a deathfic/birthdayfic combo. Betaed by the the amazing refur who is twelve kinds of awesome.


When Dean turns thirty-three he blows out a candle and makes a wish.

That's when Sam opens his eyes.

---

Dean's spent the last year thinking about this moment. He doesn't have time for second guessing or doubt or consequences or repercussions, because Sam's eyes are open and he's looking at Dean and that's all that matters.

And then Sam starts to scream.

Dean clamps his hand over Sam's mouth and starts talking, low and urgent, into Sam's ear. "Sammy. It's okay. It's me, Dean. You're okay, I've got you. You're okay, Sammy." Dean has no idea if Sam's okay but he's hoping, he's praying, he did the spell, he made a wish, goddamit.

Dean lays his head against Sam's chest and listens. He can hear the creak of muscle and sinew regenerating, the click of bones meeting and mending. Sam's scream winds down like a broken toy, and the chest beneath Dean's ear hitches and then moves--it freakin' moves--and there's the faint drum beat of Sam's heart.

Dean closes his eyes and exhales.

Sam's alive.

"Sam, Sammy, it's okay," Dean whispers.

Sam shifts beneath Dean. He feels Sam's arm move and then Sam's hand is in his hair, on his face.

Dean thinks this is it. Either Sam came back Sam or he fucked up big time. It's entirely possible both are true. Sam coughs and there's dust on Dean's forehead and Dean reaches up, puts his hand over Sam's.

"Dean?" The voice is hoarse and broken and childlike all at once. It's also unmistakably Sam.

---

The first thing Sam does is shower until the hot water is gone. Dean makes him keep the bathroom door open.

Sam comes out the bathroom clean and quiet. He pulls on the clothes Dean bought him and Dean thinks he looks the same. He's still got enough hair for five guys and he's still ten feet tall but something about him seems less.

Sam's eyes are sad, but Dean can't find it in him to feel guilty. He's too relieved for guilt.

The guilt will come later.

---

Sam is the same, but different.

He sleeps, but he sleeps less. He eats, but he eats less. He smiles, but he smiles less.

And he dreams. He wakes up screaming--in a motel, in the Impala, at night, during the day. When Dean least expects it.

Dean asks him what he dreams about, but Sam just looks at him and changes the subject. Dean wants him to say puppies and lollipops, but he never does.

---

Sam comes back with no regard for personal space--at least not for Dean's personal space. He follows Dean constantly. He's the world's biggest puppy on Dean's heels, and even when Sam's not physically following Dean, his eyes are.

Dean catches himself wanting to bitch about it. He wants to put a hand on Sam's chest and tell him to back off, but he can't and he won't: he made a wish and he won't take it back. It's a small price to pay--annoyance goes down a lot easier than guilt. Besides, when Sam's always looming right there, he can't see into Sam's eyes. And for that, he's thankful.

---

They're on the trail of a wendigo in northern Wisconsin when Dean works up the courage to ask. "Sam, look...when I brought you back...did I...did I..." Dean swallows and wishes Sam would make it easier on him. Knows he doesn't deserve to have it easier.

Sam rubs his fingers over the marking on a tree. "Did you what?"

Dean clears his throat. Hates the way his voice wobbles. "Did I pull a Buffy on you?"

Sam looks over at him, eyebrows raised. "Did you what?"

Dean looks at the ground and he can feel his face heat with embarrassment. "Did I pull you out of someplace better? Someplace good." He can't say the H word. He's not sure if he believes in it, but if anyone deserved to go there, it's Sam.

Sam stares at Dean a moment, then sinks down onto a nearby stump. "Dean."

Dean leans against a tree. Crosses his arms. "I need to know."

Sam tilts his head. "What difference does it make? I'm here now, right?"

Dean doesn't answer.

Silence settles over them like dusk. Finally Sam sighs. "Let me put it this way. After a year of arguing with Dad and St. Peter over which one of us cast out more demons, it was a relief to come back."

Dean's mouth drops open.

Sam's face splits into a sudden grin. "Dude. I'm messing with you." Sam gets to his feet with a low chuckle. "St. Peter? You bought that?"

Dean doesn't know what to say. Sam's been alive (or more accurately, not dead) for six months now, and this is the first time he's made something that could pass for a joke. He closes his mouth. Opens it again. Purses his lips.

Sam turns back, still smiling. "What? You're speechless?" Sam pulls a leaf off a branch, twirls it between his fingers. "I guess it's worth coming back from the dead for that."

Dean finds his voice. "You came back from the dead because you missed me, you little homesick geek."

"I came back from the dead because you made me, you controlling jerk."

Dean realizes much later that Sam never really answered his question.

---

They don't go back to the Roadhouse. They don't visit Bobby. Missouri calls sometimes but Sam always knows when it's her, so they let the phone ring.

Dean knows he can't just show up toting his not-dead brother and expect a pat on the back. He also knows Sam feels guilty about it.

Dean figures Sam's the only one out of all of them who has nothing to feel guilty about.

---

When Dean turns thirty-seven Sam gives him an antique double bladed knife. Sam tells him he found it online, and it's used to kill hell hounds. When they try it out, one of the hell hounds buries his claws in Sam's throat before Dean can kill it.

That's when they discover Sam can't die.

Again.

---

After that, Sam adopts Dean's shoot first, ask questions later motto. He won't listen to Dean's arguments or threats. "I didn't bring you back to be a fucking pin cushion," Dean grits out after sewing Sam up for the third night in a row.

Sam locks eyes with him and asks, "Why did you bring me back?"

Dean concentrates on the needle and thread. "Hold still."

Sam leans his head against a dirty bathroom wall. In a tired voice he says, "Once upon a time, I knew a man who said what's dead should stay dead."

Dean ties the knot, cuts the thread. "Maybe that man should have kept his damn mouth shut."

---

Some nights they sit side by side on the front porch of the little cabin Dean bought. They don't need to talk. They each take comfort in the other's presence and that's enough.

One night, beneath a paper thin moon and a veil of stars Sam asks, "Are you sorry you did it?"

Dean takes a pull on his beer, swallows. Claps Sam on the back. "Nope."

Dean can see Sam's wistful face in the moon's light and he inhales the smell of pine and coming winter. He nods to Sam and recalls a long ago night when a juke box played Queen and it still mattered that The Demon was dead. I'm not sorry, Sammy. Not once. Compared to some of the lies he's told himself, it's not much of one. Dean looks at Sam's familiar profile. "Are you sorry I did it?"

Sam rests his arms on his knees and nudges Dean with an elbow. "And miss the chance to piss you off?" He smiles and it's one of those rare smiles that reaches Sam's eyes and Dean's heart unbreaks a little.

---

In the end, it's a zombie.

Turns out zombies are a bigger pain in the ass to kill than ghouls. One grabs Dean and snaps his neck before he can get Sam's name out of his throat. Sam smashes and punches and twists and rips his way to Dean, but it's too late. Sam drops to his knees, Dean in his arms, and howls his brother's name into the night. The echo ripples out across the frozen field, lost and hollow like Sam.

Because without Dean he's nothing. Dean is the one that brought him back, Dean is the one he lived (again) for. So what if he hasn't really been living for the past ten years? He walks and eats and breaths, and that's good enough for Dean. He never really came back to life, but he tried, he tried his fucking hardest to live for Dean. But mostly, he just stopped being dead.

Now, with the bodies of zombies strewn around him Sam dies again--only now, he doesn't know how to get his body to fall in line with his heart.

---

He goes to see Bobby but Bobby won't even open the door. He does stick a rifle out the window and shoot him point blank with rock salt though. Sam doesn't even feel it: without Dean, he can't feel anything.

Eventually, he contacts Ash, and being the Dr. Badass he is, Ash helps. It takes a few months; not long, really. When he arrives at the Roadhouse it's deserted and Sam's grateful. The package is on the front steps, just like Ash said. There's a note in Ash's chicken scratch that reads, I found it at an antique gun show. You owe me a PBR, dead or not.

Sam leaves a longneck on top of the note.

---

He stops in Palo Alto to say goodbye to Jess, and then in Lawrence for Mom and Dad. It's September by the time he gets back to the field where Dean is waiting. The grass is waste high and full of bones, but the spot where Dean's buried is untouched.

Sam sits next to the grave and holds a handful of dirt in his hand.

It feels like home.

Then he unwraps the twine, unfolds the cloth and looks at the gun. The Colt looks the same now as it did then. It's the same familiar weight in his hand.

There's still one bullet left.

And Dean is waiting.

-end-