Disclaimers:Yaddah, yaddah, see Chapter 1.

Thanks to Metallica for writing such a truely inspirational song.

Authors Note: Yeah,…big heavy sigh…Well here it is, the last instalment of NEM. It wasn't all that difficult to write, just hard for me to let it go. Like the first of anything you want to hold onto it and keep it yours. Possessive much? Whatever I write after this, or realistically whatever the plot bunnies decided to scramble my brain with; this fic will always be my favourite. It will be a candle, a measure by which I will hold all other fics of my own up to. And if they don't come up to par? Then its ashes for them. Or the delete key, whichever. Vanity? Hell yes! I practically thrived on all of your reviews and comments. They are like compost to my nutrient depleted brain when I was lost for inspiration. All I had to do was read my reviews. And you guys were there for me…blushes

Big Hugs: Gee, what can I say that I haven't already said before. Oh I'm not shirking from this chick flick moment. But these two simple words seem so inadequate. THANK YOU!!! No matter how many times I say it or re-word it still seems to simple.I really cannot thank you all enough. You know who you all are.

Also a thank you to my beta xoleanderx for making my scratchings look like words instead of splotches of ink.

So,……dramatic drum roll please maestro…here it is!

Chapter 7

Epilogue-Nothing Else Matters

It's been four weeks since Sam brought Dean back.

Four weeks that Sam would rather not have had to deal with or remember. If he knew of a spell that could selectively wipe his memory of that period of time and replace it with others more pleasant, he would. But this was their reality now; suck it up and deal.

Forewarned is forearmed so the saying goes. Well as forewarned as Sam thought he possibly was, he wasn't prepared for this.

Dean had had his share of colds and flu's, which made him grumpy and irritable to say the least. He'd also been banged up, beaten up, bruised and bleeding on quite a few occasions. All part and parcel of their job description. Looking after an ill Dean would've tested the patience of a saint. Sam wished that he had a few saints with him now. Sam was truly concerned, he felt that this time he was way out of his league and had been tempted to rush Dean to a hospital a few times. Dean imploring him, begging him not to stayed his hand. That in itself was an illness.

Dean had been sick, really sick.

The fevers and the nightmares were horrendous.

Sam could only imagine what Dean had gone through. His partially coherent mumblings shattered all misconceptions that Sam had any idea of what had awaited Dean. They didn't even come close. It scared him. Not for himself, but for his brother. For Dean to relive it all again in his heated state; how he would have to cope with it upon remembering it all and then living in a reality that was now all new to him; Sam just didn't want to think about it.

All Sam could do was offer his silent support and not judge. He was always there to sponge a fevered brow, to delicately remove a soiled sheet, to hold Dean down in the throes of a violent nightmare so as not to hurt himself. Calling to him; calling him to the present to himself, to Sam. Holding his hands when the tears of a shattered life were suddenly remembered. Sam had long since given up the pretence of sleeping in the other room. He spent most of his time with Dean anyway and it came as no surprise that he would often crawl into bed with him when it became too much for the both of them, and the only consolation were each others' presence and not the usual platitudes. Where actions spoke louder than words in their closeness, their proximity. The knowledge that they were together, that they had each other no matter what life or death decided to throw at them.

The hours blended into days, the days blended into weeks. And Dean's inner turmoil continued.

After another bad night, Sam awoke to a glorious sunrise. The room was emblazoned with the golden rays of the morning sun being mirrored here and there off objects that reflected and seemed to come to life at its burnished touch.

For the past few days and nights it seemed to Sam that time and the elements had stood still. Or perhaps he was that preoccupied he took no notice of his surroundings. It felt like today was the start of a new day for both of them.

Looking around him, he noted that he had fallen asleep with Dean yet again in his arms. He felt the steady rise and fall of his brother's chest against him and brought a hand up to feel his brow. His temperature felt normal. His breathing was steady and regular. Looking closer, he could even see a rosy tinge to his brother's cheeks.

Sighing deeply, he extricated Dean's grasp off his sweatshirt and moved silently out of the bed. Successful in his endeavour, he went to the bathroom then down to the kitchen intent on making himself and Dean some breakfast.

Himself and Dean.

The thought had never occurred to him. Not for a long time. A broad smile lit up his face as a tear of happiness slowly slid, finding its way into a dimple that had deepened with the intensity of his joy. Now he had a real reason to smile.

With the smell of bacon and eggs, toast and freshly brewed coffee wafting up behind him, Sam took their meal upstairs to find Dean sitting up in bed.

"Hey," he said, surprised that Dean was awake as he put the tray of food on the bedside table.

"It's beautiful," Dean whispered, his voice hoarse from the screaming of a few nights ago, his eyes not leaving the window.

Concerned, Sam followed his gaze, then relaxed as he saw what Dean marvelled at.

The Sun in all its glory had risen to enliven the cold earth and to reawaken its inhabitants to a brand new day of life.

Sam realised that this would have been a distant memory to Dean. A piece of his former life that he may have held onto for his sanity or for the sheer beauty of it, he couldn't really decide.

Clearing his throat he brought Dean's attention across to himself.

"I made some breakfast. I wasn't too sure what you'd eat so I did a bit of everything. Made some fresh coffee too," he said, proudly waving his hand in the general direction of the breakfast tray.

Dean looked at Sam, at the food, then at Sam again and noticed his eagerness for him to eat something. His stomach flip-flopped at the thought of consuming anything. The smell enough nearly made him gag. But he knew that he had to eat something. If not for the enjoyment of it then at least for what nourishment it would bring to his weakened body.

Nodding in acquiescence, he motioned towards the toast. Hoping that he could keep it down and not embarrass himself further. Taking the toast from Sam's hand, it halted in mid air, the toast a few centimetres away from his open mouth. Looking askance at Sam, he took a tentative bite, chewed then swallowed. A few minutes later another bite, chew then swallow. Before he knew it, the whole piece was consumed with not a twinge from his body.

Sam smiled, his eyes shining with pride.

"Coffee?" Dean croaked.

Sam beamed with happiness. Reaching over he brought the breakfast tray across to rest in front of Dean. They ate together in silence, Sam unconsciously matching Dean bite for bite with every morsel of food, every sip of coffee. Each eating in companionable silence until the breakfast tray was empty.

Sam could see that Dean was getting tired. He moved lethargically, his every action an exertion and depletion of whatever strength he may have absorbed from the meal. Removing the tray and brushing onto the floor any errant crumbs, Sam left the room to return the tray to the kitchen.

Hastening back he found that Dean had snuggled down into the bed, pillows slightly elevating his head and shoulders. His eyes closed as if in slumber.

Tentatively Sam approached the bed; then gently sat on the edge.

Dean opened his eyes at the movement, his eyes all soft and doey with the onset of sleep.

Sam reached into his pocket and withdrew a small bundle.

"Give me your hand," he said softly.

Trusting Sam implicitly, Dean did just that, and Sam quickly placed a small bundle in his upturned hand.

Dean cautiously opened the folds. A cold shiver of déjà vu impaled him making him gasp in surprise. There in his hand was his ring, his amulet and a set of keys.

This time there were no tears, no silent thoughts of No! and no promisesto be kept.

Memories spined likes leaves in a cyclone. Catching him unaware with their intensity, then leaving just as quickly. Their essence smudging away to be replaced by another. They took him back to a roadside near a crummy motel in some small hick town in the middle of nowhere-ville. A place where his whole world changed in a few short minutes. A reality that he had come to accept as his lot in life which would soon be brutally ripped from him to be replaced with one that would make a child of him.

He looked up to see that those same memories were reflected in Sam's eyes.

This time there was no moon in the cold night sky casting its light on a sad farewell.

Heralding the dawn of a new day the sun was their companion now as its rays pierced the room with its pureness of light and colour. Shining upon the shoulders of two brothers.

Then a deep voice began to murmur.

So close, no matter how far
Couldn't be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are and nothing else matters

Never opened myself this way
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words I don't just say and nothing else matters

Trust I seek and I find in you
Every day for us something new
Open mind for a different view and nothing else matters

Never cared for what they do
never cared for what they know
but I know

Hesitantly joined by another, tremulous at first, then growing in strength adding depth and resonance to their anthem.

So close, no matter how far
Couldn't be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are and nothing else matters

Never cared for what they do
never cared for what they know
but I know

Never opened myself this way
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words I don't just say

And nothing else matters.

Trust I seek and I find in you
Every day for us, something new
Open mind for a different view
and nothing else matters

Their voices harmonised, entwined and coalesced.

Never cared for what they say
never cared for games they play
never cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
and I know

So close, no matter how far
Couldn't be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are

No, nothing else matters

And now they finished the song as one.

With the song still singing in their ears, Sam reverently placed the amulet around his brother's neck The ring he left for Dean to place on his right thumb. His fingers still too thin to hold the ring in place on his finger. The keys Dean held tightly in his right hand, feeling the cold steel as a reassurance that all of this was real.

They sat quietly on the bed; content, at peace, two young men trained in the art of fighting and killing. With many weapons at their disposal to vanquish and destroy evil. But they had one weapon in their arsenal that was mightier than any weapon they could buy or manufacture. It was forged long ago in the womb of a woman for her man. Their weapon was love. Love of one brother for the other.

And when it all comes down to it and the die has been cast, or your number is up and your back's against the wall and the whole world seems to be against you and is treating you like shit. If you have this; this love that knows no boundaries, has no limits, is infinite, then really…

Nothing else matters.