Okay last chapter.

Thankyou all for reading it really is much appreciated. And thanks again to those of you who reviewed.

There is some major angst and a last minute freak out in this chapter because you know, if you're going to wind up a story you may as well do it with some major angst and a last minute freak out.

And just a reminder that this story is set after Hellhouse, there's some talk of John and a reference to something that happened in Shadow.

Chapter 10.

Sam watched it all unfold before him as if in slow motion. He saw his brother sway and it occurred to him that he was going to go down, so when Dean's knees buckled Sam was already turned toward him and he lunged forward, just managing to grasp the lapels of Dean's jacket with his fingertips, holding his brother in mid-air for a moment before gently settling him on the ground.

The standard examination was performed, taking a rough measure of the condition Dean was in. Sam was relieved to find his brother's vital signs only slightly north of normal, at least nothing dramatic was going on.

"Hey," Sam called softly, tension coiling in him when his brother remained still and unresponsive. He didn't know why Dean was unconscious, there had been no immediate cause and effect. He wasn't sure whether the passing out was a cumulative effect from the events of the past few days or the result of some undiagnosed injury. Maybe the bump on the head when Dean had fallen into the grave had been a little harder than he thought. He gave his brother a light tap on the cheek, "Hey. Dean."

Dean struggled back to consciousness, forcing open eyelids that were weighted and reluctant. He blinked up at the stars trying to chase away the confusion, aware of an all-over ache, a pervasive, unpleasant, wearying heaviness throughout his body.

"Hey," Sam greeted with a relieved smile. "You had me worried for a minute. What's going on? You alright?"

The older hunter frowned, trying to figure out why he was laying down, his mind working slowly as it fought to catch up. Did I just pass out? He didn't make any move to rise, content to gather himself together first, get his head in order before tackling the physical stuff.

"Sniper fire?" Dean asked hopefully, joking, thinking that would be an acceptable reason for being laid out.

Sam looked around in alarm. Was Dean asking or telling him about snipers? Either way it wasn't good. His eyes carefully raked the cemetery trying to find whatever it was Dean might be referring to but as far as he could see, all was quiet, no sign of snipers.

When the younger man's puzzled gaze returned to his brother's face Dean asked, "Big bastard in the shadows?" Again, kind of an ill timed joke, another acceptable reason for being on the ground, tackled by something huge. He could deal with that much better than he could deal with having just fainted.

Sam's eyes were wide and slightly panicked. Dean was delirious or hallucinating or something. "Do you know where you are?"

Dean's focus shifted lazily over his brother's shoulder and then back, "The flaming grave behind you is a bit of a giveaway."

Okay not completely out of it Sam thought and his emotions slid from panicked down to concerned.

"Tell me I didn't just keel over," Dean said, his face wrinkling, not really wanting to hear the answer.

"Uh, okay."

"Son of a-," Dean uttered, disgusted at his body for letting him down. He reached out and grabbed his brother's arm to pull himself into a sitting position and Sam assisted by gripping Dean's shirtfront. When he was up, Dean buried his head in his hands and tried to master the dizziness that was threatening to lay him out again. He had the light headed, disoriented feeling of having ridden a rollercoaster too many times.

"God I hate rollercoasters," he groaned.

Rollercoasters? The panicked feeling returned to Sam and he wanted to ask once more do you know where you are? He kept a hold on his brother's shirt, not at all confident that he wasn't going to pass out again. After a few minutes in that pose Sam suggested, "Why don't you lay down while I refill the grave?"

The hands came away from Dean's face and he replied, "Nah, I'm okay."

Slowly the younger man loosened his grip, ready to grab on if neccessary, but Dean remained seated upright without Sam's support.

"I'm just going to fill the grave," Sam informed, not sure how much of what he was saying was actually registering. "Call me if you need me." He looked into his brothers glazed eyes to gauge his understanding.

"I love that chick," Dean mumbled to himself, visions of Deborah Harry singing Call Me.

Sam shook his head in despair. Who did Dean love? "Did you hear what I said?"

Dean met his brother's eyes. "You're going to fill the grave," he repeated, waving his hand dismissively. "Knock yourself out."

Sam was taken aback by the coherence. Dean was all over the place, rambling one minute, crystal the next, working on a wavelength all his own. The young hunter sighed and toyed with the idea of leaving the grave uncovered, just take Dean back to the motel and to hell with the finishing off. But he decided that his brother wasn't too bad, conscious and talking. His mind was working a bit randomly but that was nothing to panic about, hopefully a good night's sleep would fix that.

Sam picked up the shovel and as quickly as he could started returning the displaced soil into the unearthed grave. When the mound of soil was reduced by half Sam threw a quick glance at his brother to make sure everything was okay. Dean was lying down, facing skyward and Sam hoped he hadn't passed out again because the last thing he needed was another knock to the head. He was relieved when Dean brought a hand to his forehead and started massaging his temples, it meant he was conscious.

He's fine Sam thought and returned to filling the grave. He felt a pang of guilt for not going to his brother's side, checking him out properly, but Dean probably wouldn't want attention right now and his priority was to finish off the task so they could leave. Besides, after the events of the last few days breathing was the new benchmark. If Dean was breathing he was fine.

When the grave was refilled, Sam went over to where his brother lay. It was a testament to how exhausted Dean was that he had fallen asleep on the hard cold ground. Sam gathered their equipment and took it to the car, before kneeling beside his brother and gently shaking him awake.

Dean woke with a start and his eyes darted wildly, scanning the surrounds, not sure where he was.

"Time to go," Sam soothed and pulled his brother to his feet, snaking an arm around Dean to take some of his weight, but Dean pushed him away with irritation, "Dude, I'm 26, I can walk."

Sam held his palms up in an apology and stepped back, watching with arms crossed as Dean took a few unsteady steps then stumbled to his knees.

"Yeah not so good tonight," Sam pointed out as he moved forward, put his hands under Dean's shoulders and lifted him back to his feet, then wound an arm around Dean's middle.

"The air is really heavy," Dean commented seriously. "Does it feel heavy to you?"

Sam sniffed a wry laugh and shook his head. "Way heavy."

"That's what I'm saying."

At the car Dean automatically veered toward the driver's door and reached for the handle. Sam pulled him away. "Don't even..."


"You're not driving," Sam proclaimed in disbelief. "Shotgun or backseat."

Dean stared blankly at his brother as if he couldn't quite understand the words, then dropped his gaze to the ground and shuffled a little on the spot. "Where is my shotgun?" he muttered, searching around his feet for the weapon, as if it might have been dropped.

"It's already stowed," Sam replied.

"Huh," a baffled expression crossed Dean's face.

"Just lie down in the back," Sam directed, opening the back door and pushing his brother through. Dean didn't object. He curled up on his side, knees drawn to his chest and his eyes fell closed before Sam had shut the door behind him.

As Sam drove back to the motel the plea ran through his head God let this be over.

When Dean awoke he was confused to find that he was in bed at the motel and sunlight was streaming through the window. Last he remembered they were at the cemetery burning Casey's corpse, he had no recollection of leaving the cemetery or of returning to the motel. He stared at the ceiling for a moment trying to find the missing pieces but when they didn't come easily he abandoned the effort, he was too tired for puzzles and he didn't really care about the details.

He brought an arm over his head to block out the light, not ready to face the day yet.

Sam noticed his brother rouse and came over to sit next to him on the bed. Dean didn't move, didn't give his brother any cues to start a conversation. When he felt a hand on his forehead he pushed it off and rolled away but made a sharp intake of breath as he rolled over tender ribs and had to roll back toward Sam to find a comfortable position.

"Don't talk to me," Dean instructed without opening his eyes.

Sam breathed out a laugh. "Did you hear the banshee last night?"

"That's talking. No talking." But Sam's question sparked his interest. Had he heard the banshee? He couldn't remember hearing her. He was pretty sure that if there had been wailing he would have heard it, it had been hard to miss the last few nights. "I don't know if I heard her, I don't think so," Dean answered. "No more talking."

Sam moved away, back to his own bed where the laptop was powered up and he was half-heartedly attempting to find a new job. He felt like they were in limbo, he didn't know if the ordeal was over or not, if Casey was a spent force, if the banshee had stopped wailing. He suspected that it was over, he just couldn't be certain and he didn't want to take any risks with Dean's safety until he was.

It was late in the morning and Sam would have loved to go and get something to eat but he couldn't bring himself to leave his older brother unattended, the consequences of being wrong about the ordeal being over weren't worth it. Sam's stomach rumbled loudly and his eyes flicked toward his brother's prone form waiting for a wisecrack or even better a suggestion that they go and get some breakfast. But Dean was quiet, he had already drifted back to sleep.

All day Dean slept. Sam was determined not to worry about it. His brother had been through a lot in the past few days so it was natural that he was exhausted. He kept a close eye on Dean but there was nothing to suggest he was in any distress. Sam spent a dull day flicking through tv channels and surfing the internet, his biggest problem being finding something to eat. He knocked off what little was in the fridge pretty quickly and by the afternoon was rifling through their bags looking for anything edible. Sam had earlier noticed a vending machine in the motel reception and he gazed longingly out the window across the carpark. He thought very seriously about ducking over quickly to buy something but just couldn't work up the courage to do it. Yes Casey was probably gone, yes he would only be leaving Dean alone for a few minutes, but still, he couldn't bring himself to take the risk of something happening while he was gone.

The sun had set when Dean finally awoke. He was feeling clear headed and rested but out of sorts. There was a dark mood over him he couldn't really understand, the job was finished, Casey was gone, that banshee had stopped wailing, he should have been feeling celebratory but instead he was irritable, about nothing in particular, just generally unhappy. He attributed the mood to the many aches and pains that assailed him with every move he made. Falling into the grave last night had him hurting all over, he didn't know which part to clutch as he moved.

It quickly became apparent that Sam was starving. He fairly pounced on Dean as soon as he was awake and wanted to know what he felt like for dinner. Sam suggested ordering a pizza but Dean felt restless, he wanted some fresh air and a change of scenery, so an hour later they were sitting at their favorite diner.

As Sam pushed away his empty plate feeling completely sated, Dean still picked at his meal, trying to force food into a stomach that wasn't much keen.

"So you think this stuff with Casey is over?" Sam asked.

"Yeah," Dean replied, "it's over. What a freaking nightmare this job turned out to be."

"Yeah," Sam agreed guiltily. He had chosen this job, brought them to this town and unbeknownst to Dean he'd had an ulterior motive for doing it. He looked down at his hands as he said, "You know there was a reason I chose this job."

"Yeah I know," Dean answered matter of factly.

The younger man looked at him sharply. "No, you don't."

Dean matched his brother's gaze. "You were hoping Dad would show."

Sam's eyebrows drew up in surprise. Wow. Dean did know.

"I knew it when you mentioned that Evans was in Dad's journal."

"Why – Why didn't you say anything?"

"Because I knew Dad wouldn't show." Dean averted his eyes and lifted a shoulder in a half shrug, "You didn't tell so I didn't tell."

"Why not?'

"Because it's none of my business," Dean said vehemently.

"What's none of your business?"

"That you secretly wanted Dad to show," he replied with exasperation.

"Why not?" Sam remarked, starting to feel annoyed, and kind of foolish. "I would have thought it was all of your business."

Whatever that means Dean thought and shook his head. Sometimes he wondered if Sam argued just for the hell of it, just to annoy him. "Look don't get pissy with me because I didn't answer a question you didn't even ask, I mean – give me a break."

Sam looked away. He didn't know why he had wanted to run into their father, all he and his Dad ever did was fight. It was strange, the thrill he'd got when he'd matched the David Evans in the newspaper to the David Evans in the journal and thought maybe their father would investigate the death of someone he knew, maybe they could all do it together. It had been naïve, he knew better than to hope for some sort of happy family experience, and he had realized that very soon after arriving in town.

But finding out Dean had known about his secret hope all along was humiliating, he felt like he had been humored as if he were a child. Sammy misses Daddy so I'll go along with the job. Feeling unkind, he lashed out with a question he knew Dean wouldn't want to answer.

"What did you mean last night when you said you were a means to an end?"

Dean's stomach dropped. It had been a smart ass point scoring comment that he should have kept to himself.

"I don't know." He gave a shrug, "I was on the downhill slide, I don't even remember saying it."

Where Dean stood, with Sam, and with their Dad, was one of those ambiguous truths that was going to lead to misinterpretation and misunderstanding if it was given voice. He wasn't the sort to dwell on things, certainly not relationship matters, but in the family unit, Dean saw himself as, and had fostered the role of, a capable off-sider, a facilitator. He'd spent most of his life playing the part with his father, providing support either by helping on a hunt or looking after Sam, and now, it was the reason his younger brother was sitting across from him. Sam wanted to avenge Jessica's death and he needed Dean's help to do it, to find what had killed her and deal with it. Sam wasn't with him out of love or loyalty, wouldn't be with him at all if Jessica hadn't died, and Dean wasn't precious about it. The reasons behind his brother's company didn't matter, what mattered was that they were together and righting the wrongs of the world. The only time it bothered him was when his limited appeal was pointed out, as it had been in Chicago recently, when Sam had said he was looking forward to killing the demon and getting back to college life. It had stung to hear that Sam had no interest in being with him once the quest for Jessica's killer was over. He didn't need Sam telling him how much he couldn't wait to leave, he didn't like being reminded that his value lay in what he could offer not in who he was.

But there was so much white noise in their relationship that he often forgot Sam was with him conditionally, temporarily. And when he did remember he didn't dwell on it, it was what it was, he just wanted to enjoy the ride, make the most of it and he'd take the hit when Sam left, as he'd taken the hit before. He'd survive another hit.

He didn't think he could explain all that to Sam, and he was pretty sure that if he tried Sam would get insulted or defensive or just react badly. Talking about things was only going to complicate them, much better that they avoid the topic altogether.

Dean turned his attention to the food in front of him, threw a couple of fries into his mouth, signifying a close to the conversation.

Sam narrowed his eyes. Dean remembered it alright, no way was the means to an end comment was a throw away. And Sam thought he knew what it meant, to a degree anyway. After stewing on it all day he had come to the conclusion that Dean was feeling used. What other meaning could the words have? But he couldn't get any further than that in his circumspection, he couldn't quite figure out what Dean's problem might be.

"Do you think I'm using you?" Sam accused, jutting out his chin.

"For what?" the older brother countered.

"I don't know, you tell me."

"I don't know what you're talking about Sam."

"I'm talking about being a means to an end," Sam said deliberately. "Do you think I'm using you?"

"No Sam, I don't think you're using me. Quit being ridiculous," Dean snapped, the food he'd managed to choke down sitting heavily in his stomach.

"So what does it mean then? Why did you say it?"

"It doesn't mean anything. Seriously dude, get over it, you're fixating on nothing."

It was a frustrating game of cat and mouse that Sam was so tired of. Round and round they went, Sam trying to figure his brother out, tie down his thoughts and Dean being non-committal, keeping his thoughts locked.

"I don't think I can do this anymore," Sam said flatly. He picked up the paper napkin beside his left hand, swiped at his mouth, then crushed it in his fist and hurled it onto his empty dinner plate.


"Play games with you."

"Who's playing games?" Dean exclaimed. "What is your problem tonight?"

"Shit, man, you're all games. Everything you say is carefully weighed and measured. And I don't get it. I'm your brother, why can't you just talk to me? What is so wrong with letting me know what's going on? I'm so sick of trying to guess your thoughts."

There was silence for a beat. Dean was a little stunned by the outburst, unsure how to respond. "I don't know what you want Sam," he remarked carefully. "I already tell you way more than I'm comfortable with. I'm not you, you know. I'd rather stick myself with a knife than share feelings. Maybe you need to reign in your expectations."

Sam regarded his brother with lips pursed. Dean was still avoiding the question, talking around it. There was no point pursuing the conversation, Dean could avoid all night.

"Can we go?" Dean asked. He was looking pale and Sam wasn't sure if it was because of the conversation or if he wasn't feeling well. Probably a little of both. The young man's eyes rested for a moment on the half eaten burger and fries on Dean's plate and he wanted to ask the question are you feeling alright? but what was the point, he'd only get ducking and weaving.

"Yeah okay," Sam sighed.

There was very little conversation for the rest of the night. The brothers sat on their beds and watched a movie with maybe ten words spoken between them. It made Dean feel insecure. He knew he had pissed Sam off, not just tonight but over the whole job, it seemed that every way he turned, everything he said had pissed Sam off. And the words I can't do this anymore rang inDean's ears. Sam was going to suggest they go their separate ways, the more he tried to dismiss the idea the more convinced he became.

By the end of the movie Dean was feeling ill. Silent tension radiated off Sam, he was deliberately not looking at Dean, deliberately not talking and the older brother wanted to fall on his knees and plead for forgiveness.

As the credits rolled Dean commented, "Steven Seagal. Has the man ever made a bad movie?"

Sam gave a wan smile, then strode into the bathroom to brush his teeth.

When he returned Dean was sitting with his legs over the side of the bed, elbows on his knees, head in his hands, taking deep, slow breaths.

Sam paused uncertainly. "You alright?"

Dean swallowed. "Yeah. Although I may throw up."

"Okay," Sam replied and his mind whirled with possible reasons for the sudden change in his brother's health. He took a hesitant step toward him. "You want anything?"

"World peace," Dean shot back and gingerly pushed himself up, off the bed. The movement made him blanch and he swallowed deeply, waiting a few moments for his rubbery legs to find form. Sam moved closer and Dean put up a hand. "Be cool. I've got this."

He really didn't. He staggered to the bathroom and dropped heavily before the toilet, lifted the lid and crossed his arms over the bowl, closing his eyes. His stomach was churning and flipping but not rising which was annoying because Dean just wanted to get it over with. Sam knelt down behind him and rested a hand on his back, and Dean wanted to shove it off, yell at his brother that he knew he was leaving and a show of care was only going to make it harder.

His head began to spin, his fingers curled for grip on the porcelain. He had a crashing sense of despair. And the thought went round and round in his head that Sam was leaving and he had nothing to offer to make him stay. He had nothing. And if Sam didn't stay, then who was Dean? Dean was no-one by himself.

He couldn't counter the thought, or find the inner strength that usually sustained him. He didn't think he could survive the hit of Sam leaving again.

A sob escaped Dean, catching him by surprise, and could have been a cough but for the pressure behind his eyes telling him it was more. He was mortified. Sam was right next to him and he was coming unglued. More loud ragged breaths followed that Dean tried to swallow but his throat was tight, his chest was painfully constricted and he almost choked trying to stop, no choice but to let the miserable sounds out.

"Shit," Sam muttered, eyes wide as he realized what was happening. Dean was unravelling.

And that made Dean feel worse because he knew he shouldn't be doing this, knew that more was expected of him, that he was giving into weakness.

"It's okay man," Sam gently reassured. "It's over, you're okay."

Dean shook his head. It wasn't okay. His shoulders heaved with each breath, tears stung his eyes and fell onto his cheeks.

"Listen it was close, I'll grant you that," Sam continued in a calming voice, "I think I lost twenty years of my life from the worry and stress. But it's over and I think you're just having some sort of delayed reaction to it all."

A delayed reaction. Yeah, Dean grabbed onto that idea, because this wasn't him, he usually had great self-control. Maybe the events of the last few days had messed with his head, and created within him the feelings of vulnerability and inadequacy and overwhelming self-doubt that were dragging him down.

Sam murmured to him about psychological trauma, near death experiences, aftermath and fallout. It all sounded like Dr Phil, armchair therapy, Dean wasn't sure how much of it Sam was making up and how much was true, but after getting over the initial desperation for Sam not to be a witness, accepting that he didn't have the energy or wherewithal to push his brother out of the room, Dean focussed on Sam's voice, letting the words and tone soothe him, reassure him, give him a foothold on optimism.

After a few minutes Dean wondered why exactly he was freaking out. Sam hadn't said anything about walking away. People fought and rubbed each other wrong all the time, didn't mean they walked away. He had created this drama out of nothing. But a nagging doubt remained. He couldn't shake the feeling that he was about to be blindsided.

Without raising his head Dean took advantage of a break in his brother's monologue to ask in a ragged, strained voice, "Are you going anywhere?"

Sam frowned. "Not right now," he replied slowly, not sure of the thrust of the question.

"Tomorrow or the next day, are you going anywhere?"

"I don't know," the younger brother said with confusion, "are we leaving this place tomorrow or the next day? Is there someplace you want to go? I don't know what you're asking me."

Dean didn't respond but was comforted by his brother's confusion. If Sam wasn't following the conversation then abandoning him couldn't be at the forefront of his mind. "Just tell me if you're going somewhere, alright?"

"I'm probably going to need the car, so I think you'll know," Sam joked, while secretly he floundered. Dean was talking in code, on his own wavelength again and it was scary because Sam felt like he was out of the loop, like he'd missed something. What exactly was Dean talking about? Where did he think Sam was going?

Gradually Dean's stomach stopped dancing, the tears stopped flowing, his body stopped trembling and he was back in control, but tired, tired beyond words. He took some deep steadying breaths. "Okay. I'm good. You can go," he proclaimed, swiping his face against his arms to rub away the wetness before lifting his head.

"Okay," Sam exhaled, flooded with relief. "You want some help getting up?"

Dean groaned at the thought of the effort. "I'll just sleep here tonight."

"Sure you will," Sam chuckled and hooked his hands under Dean's shoulders hauling him to his feet.

Dean felt embarrassed by the whole incident. God, what a performance. He just wanted to be left alone, he couldn't look at Sam. And he wanted a drink like never before, but he wasn't sure his stomach could stand it. He shuffled to the bed while Sam straightened the pillows and blankets.

"You want anything," Sam asked as Dean lay down. "Water or aspirin or anything?"

"Nah man, I'm good. Thanks," Dean replied with a sheepish grin which Sam returned before dropping heavily onto his bed and turning off the bedside lamp, plunging the room into darkness.

Sam lay staring at the moonlight playing on the ceiling feeling completely rattled. Christ, what an eye opener that had been. He'd just witnessed some sort of mini breakdown. Dean had been completely out of control, totally freaking out, tears even. When was the last time Sam had seen tears from Dean? He couldn't even remember.

He had a perception of his brother being impervious to everything, that nothing threw him, nothing touched him. But, clearly he was as vulnerable as the next guy and Sam found it a shock. Dean was tough and strong and cocky and aggressive but he was only human, things affected him and Sam forgot that sometimes, bought into the facade. The younger Winchester was back-peddling on everything he thought he knew about his brother.

When he analyzed his brother, really thought about Dean's character and the life he was leading, Sam realized that his brother was walking a mental tightrope, trying to appear impenetrable while holding onto secret fears, trying to be nonchalant about living on the edge of society, trying to buffer his younger brother from all that was wrong in the world and blaming himself when he failed. Add to that the fact that Dean had been dealing with the stuff of nightmares for over a decade, facing mortality on a regular basis. That was a lot of pressure. That was a life of constant stress. No wonder cracks were appearing.

As he listened to his older brother's regular breathing in the next bed Sam felt a surge of protectiveness toward him. Over the past few days Sam had worried about Dean physically, but now he could see he should have been worrying about him mentally as well and he wasn't going to make that mistake again.

Dean was coaxed through the layers of sleep by the smell of coffee. Real coffee. Bought coffee. And something else. Something sweetly foodish. He heard paper crinkling next to his head and cracked open an eye to a Dunkin Donuts bag.

"Sam, you're a genius," he said his voice thick with sleep.

The young hunter laughed. "For going out and buying coffee and donuts?"

"I think that may be the definition of genius."

Dean slowly sat up in the bed aware of every ache in his body but feeling okay despite it. His attitude had changed overnight, the depression had lifted and he was himself again - cool, capable, assured. He felt like he had shrugged off his anxieties and was ready to move forward, onto the next job.

"Coffee me," Dean held out his hand to Sam and was rewarded with an oversized takeaway cup. "You got me the ginormo," he commented with a smile, "you know me so well."

Sam looked away, momentarily uncomfortable.

It had been a wrench for him to leave his brother for food. Dean hadn't woken in the night and Sam was confident that meant the banshee wasn't visiting him anymore but it didn't mean Sam still didn't have lingering concerns. It had been three days of heightened awareness, constant alert and it wasn't easy dispensing with that. The young man was working toward finding a balance between trust and awareness, he knew he couldn't hover over Dean forever, he had to quell his fears.

"How do you feel?" Sam asked casually, taking a sip of his coffee, trying not to make it a loaded question.

"I feel like I'm ready to get out of this frigging town."

Sam gave a half smile then said, "What about Kimberley James? Should we do anything about her?"

"Nope," the older hunted returned decisively. "She's harmless and I'm not breaking my back digging up another grave to dispense with a spirit who's harmless."

"Okay," Sam responded agreeably, that was fine by him.

"I'll have a look on the computer later and see what I can find for us, because you are banned from picking any more jobs."

"Whatever," Sam returned with a grin, then his eyebrows drew down and he stared intently at Dean's throat.

"What? What is it?" the older hunter asked, his hand instinctively reaching for his throat.

"You're neck. It kind of makes a pattern. I think it's a-" Sam leaned closer, "- flower. Yeah it's a pansy, there's a pansy on your neck."

"Shut up," Dean laughed.

"Oh its beautiful, the colors are so vibrant, we should take you to an art gallery and stand you against a wall."

"You're an idiot," the older brother said with an affectionate shake of his head.

The brothers quietly appreciated the lack of purpose and concern that came with finishing the job, there was an uplifted mood in the room, an absence of tension. Their ordeal in this town was over and for the moment life was enjoyable. They knew that shortly they would go searching for more trouble and the upheaval would begin again but there was no need to dwell on that now. They had to make the most of the carefree times and let tomorrow take care of itself.