AN: Yes, this IS about Sam. Read and see. In my head, it's also part of the pathways verse, but that doesn't show (at all) much.

Times have come

One of the things Mary Winchester loved best about her house right now was the basement. Enormous, old, dimly lit, and above all cool, the perfect place to hide from the crushing Kansas heat. Dean was off treasure-hunting in a corner, crawling around on hands and knees and whispering conspiratorially to King Arthur. His mother had carried a pile of cushions and blankets downstairs with them and was lying comfortably in the light, reading a book, when John came down the stairs, barefoot and running his hands through damp hair.

"Need a haircut," he said, joining his wife on the floor. "And it's too hot to breathe upstairs, let alone outside in the sun."

"Wish you wouldn't. I like it long."

"It's awkward for work," he said. "What're you reading?"

"Lovecraft. I don't suppose you know what 'batrachian' means?"

"Something to do with frogs." John said, stretching out next to her. "Y'know, we made a mistake fixing this place up. Shoulda had the bedroom down here. Outta the heat and safe from tornadoes."

"But freezing in winter," Mary pointed out. "Besides, there's Dean."

"Could still put a wall in," John mused, propping himself up on his elbows. "Right over there, maybe..."

Mary put her book down and slung a leg over his, pushed him back down and settled in, head on his shoulder, arm lying limply across his chest. Her dress had ridden up her thigh a ways, and John traced loose loving patterns over her skin, so much paler than his own. She gave a contented little sigh, warm breath caressing his collarbone. Peace creeping over him. She smelled like that orangy-lemony shampoo she used, an island of clean and fresh in the damp-concrete washing machine smell of the basement. He let his head fall back a little, and she pressed her nose into the hollow below his throat, breathing him in in turn.

John was on the verge of dozing off like that when a loud crash shattered the mood, Dean's peeved voice rising above it in a word he'd undoubtably picked up from his mother.

"Dean, are you OK?" Mary called, sitting up, ready to go rescue him.

"M'OK, Mommy," Dean called back. "King Arthur walked into the booby-trap round the treasure." He sounded more sulky than hurt. John could just make him out in the gloom under the stairs, a blur of blond and paleness like his mother. There was another brief clatter, and then a couple cans rolled out of the corner towards John and Mary.

"There goes my beer," he said dryly.

"Just remember in the years to come that you were the one who thought he needed a little brother," Mary said.

John stared at her. "That a yes?"

She bit her lip, smiling a little. "Pills ran out yesterday, and I really can't be bothered to go get another prescription. It's always such a fuss."

John sat up and kissed her.