"What do you mean you're leaving?" Dean said softly, though there was anger there in his tone, regret, and betrayal.

He shook his head, "I can't do this anymore." he said. "There's too much between me and Dad... getting in the way, making this harder, harder than it ever was before. And there have been too many close calls." he looked silently at the stitched-up gash that ran, pretty much from Dean's eye, down his cheek and neck, then disappearing below the collar of his shirt.

"You're leaving..." he repeated again disbelievingly.

Sam stared at him with a look of apology, then, without a word, turned, and left, boots crunching along the ice on the ground as he walked away.

I promise you nothing,
I take only that which is free.

Dean watched him go, still unable to get his mind fully around the idea of Sam not being there anymore. 'But... I thought...'

I'd give you a life full of risk
and the whirlwind of joy that can be.

Maybe Sam just didn't look at it the way he did. He ran a hand gingerly over the wound on his face, wincing. Oh, but that made it hurt more. He sighed, and turned away as well.

He didn't care about the close-calls. They were part of the job... and they were close, never actually fatal. They always pulled through. Yes, he was scared sometimes, but he had learned to be strong, and go with it. They knew what they were doing. Maybe Sam just... wasn't as strong as he thought.

'Thank you...' Sam thought, breathing a sigh of relief, and watching his misty breath curl away into the air. 'For letting go so easy.'

Don't try to bind me,
just love me without any greed,

'Dad just wants me as a partner in hunting. You...' he turned to look back, already breaking the promise he'd made to himself never to do that. To his slight disappointment, Dean was already walking off in the other direction. Though in a moment, he recovered from this, and it actually made him smile, ''re really willing to let me do what's best for me.'

"Thank you, Dean." he murmured silently to himself, as clouds gathered overhead, and snow began to drift down out of them. "I hope you know I'd do the same... if you ever asked me for it."

and I'll give you the world,
and my heart, and the air that I breathe.

He pulled his mittens on a little tighter as he moved down the sidewalk. God it was cold... it seemed like his jacket did nothing against the biting wind.

Slip the jesses, my love.
This hunter you own from the hood to the glove.

"I hope you come back, Sammy." Dean sighed to himself, as he made his way back to the hotel room to break the news to their dad, deliberately taking his time, so that Sam had an adequate headstart before John went roaring off in the Impala after him. "When you're done doing your thing out there, whatever it is. I hope you let me come and get you, and bring you home."

When the circling and striking are done, and I land,
let me come back to your hand.
Let me come back to your hand.


I have no illusions
to think that I know what's to come.

It was too good to be true for a while. Better than he ever imagined it would be. So it was no real surprise that it eventually all came crashing down.

I laugh at the concept
of life as the simple result of the sum.

There are no such things as coincidences when you lived the life he did. He'd always believed that in some way... their job directly tied them in to some bigger thing going on that they had no real control over, whether they liked it or not. After Jess' death, he was sure of that more than he ever had been.

"I'm sorry." Dean said to him, one cold, dark night, months later.


"I'm sorry she died, Sammy. Sorry dad and I didn't catch on. We could've stopped it. It was the same thing that got mom, if only we could have gotten there before it got Jess too." he sighed, and looked down at himself, his body spread out beneath the blankets in the hotel bed.

Sam paused on this for a while, standing halfway to his own bed with a toothbrush still in his hand, unmoving since Dean's first words had frozen him. It really was a ridiculous claim, though, for Dean to think that he might have made it back in time to save Jess, especially with everything else that was going on with their dad's disappearance at the time... and no clues to point them in the right way.

"And I'm sorry I dragged you back into this." he continued. Sam looked up in surprize then. "I know how much you wanted to get away." Dean continued, not noticing the man's movements, instead just looking blankly down at himself. "And I didn't want to be the one to give in and get you first... you know, before you came back of your own accord." he looked up with a faltering smile, as if he was kidding... even though he really had hoped Sam would return.

Sam was closer now, standing over Dean in his bed, and looking down. "Dean, I'm... glad to be back."

The older brother blinked, confused, "What...?" he began.

"I've missed you." Sam admitted embarrassedly, sitting down on the bed beside him.

Something about that made Dean smile.

"And to tell the truth... I've kind of even missed the hunting too. But mostly you. And not dad."

I just want to hold you,
and share with you all of this life,
with the stars in the darkness,

"C'mere, man." Dean said, sitting up and holding out his arms.

Sam watched him, dumbfounded for a moment, while his brother just nodded his head and waited. After a moment, he at last gave in, and leaned forward. The two embraced, Dean grinning at the oddity of it.

and love in the light
and it's dizzying height.

Sam breathed a sigh of relief, his eyes closing. The air was cold, and Dean was warm...

"You don't need her anymore." Dean softly muttered in his ear. "You've got me."

Sam opened his eyes, finding to his surprise that there was no anger in him after that comment... because somewhere inside, he knew Dean was right.

Slip the Jesses, my love.
This hunter you own from the hood to the glove.
When the circling and striking are done, and I land,
let me come back to your hand.
Let me come back to your hand.

The next morning they departed. Ever on the search. The cold wet air met them outside, and Sam shivered, pulling on the hood of his coat, and the mittens in his pockets.

Slip the jesses, my love.
This hunter you own from the hood to the glove.
When the circling and striking are done, and I land,
let me come back to your hand.

"Don't slip on the ice." Dean said warningly as his brother took a step out the door, holding out, and offering a hand to help steady him.

Let me come back to your hand.

Sam looked at it a moment, then reached out and took it, stepping carefully down off the curb onto the pavement, slick with the winter's freeze.

Let me come back to your hand.

Hand in hand, like children going out to play on the first day after the blizzard snow, the two proceeded down toward the bank where their car was half-buried. They had to break their contact as Dean moved to the driver's side on the left, and Sam to the passenger's side on the right, but once inside, they came together again, at last.

Let me come back to your hand.


Author's Ending Note Thingy: I think I focused on different themes than I'd originally intended, but I like it nonetheless. Personally, I'm really big on making sure the setting of my story really portrays the mood, even more than the characters do... and I liked the feel of this. It needed to be set in winter. Hope you liked! Glad you gave it a chance.

P.S. For those of you that noticed and/or wondered… 'Jesses' in 'Slip the Jesses' is deliberately capitalized in the second repeat of the chorus. Yes, that's me, the queen of double meanings. XD