-1Title: Orpheus Drowning
Rating: NC-17
Characters: Dean/Sam (Wincest)
Summary: In the aftermath of Sam's plan.
Disclaimer: So not mine, if they were I would have better things to do then write about them.
Warnings: Angst, maybe some fluff, and plenty of incest.

Author's Note: Last chapter now. Sorry it took so freaking long. This chapter kicked my ass about a million times.

………………………………...

His blood runs sluggish, as if its become used to immobility. It burns as it goes, making his muscles twitch and ache and god- it's painful. His eyes are dry behind stiff lashes. Breathing is a battle, and it's not one he seems to be winning.

Bobby is still leaning over him, holding him down as slight convulsions rocks his body; a body dead for longer than he can know, a body that seems to be fighting against living again.

"Sam." His voice, and he's surprised he still has one, is low and rough and he's not sure Bobby even hears him. "Sam."

"Breath, Dean, damn it, you have to take a minute and breath. Your brother's fine." But Bobby's eyes meet his and Dean can see the fear in them.

Panic floods through him and he tries to push Bobby off of him, but he can't raise his arms, can't move his legs, or even make his mouth form any word other than his little brother's name.

He doesn't really understand where he is or how. He just knows he's out and Sam's dying and he can't, can't, can't let that happen. He's fighting so hard, to move and speak, and then he's fighting just to breath because his body can't handle everything else. He blinks his eyes widely, tries to turn his head again to look at his brother lying just a few feet away, so close he could touch him if he could just move, but it's harder to do a second time.

"Sam!" His brother's name off his dry lips is an inhuman sound even to his own ears and Bobby flinches.

"You need to shut up and breath, god damn it, Dean." Bobby looks over in Sam's direction and Dean can see real fear now, not held back. Bobby looks back down at Dean and then nods his head as if he's made a decision. "Okay, jackass, since you won't cooperate, you lay here and keep thrashing like a fish on dry land and I'm gonna get your brother in the damned car so we can get him to a hospital." Bobby starts to stand up off of him. "If you're still alive when I get back I'll shove you in with us." And then Bobby is gone from his field of vision.

Dean hadn't noticed it was raining until that moment. It's a cold and steady fall and it's starting to soak through his clothing. He lays there, staring up at a dark sky, and tries to make his body listen to him. It won't. And the tide of his panic washes over him again. If he can't move he can't help Sam, and he has to help Sam.

He's halfway to sitting up when Bobby gets back to him; panting and gasping and his vision is faded and fuzzy. Bobby doesn't give him time to adjust, just drags him off the ground. Where his hands grab Dean they burn, touch seems like such a foreign thing. The sense memory of his skin being pulled off brings a scream from his lips. Bobby hesitates for a moment, but doesn't let him down, just keeps half-dragging him to the car because his legs certainly aren't helping them any.

Dean's pushed into the front seat and his body protests loudly at the bending of his limbs. He turns his head, grits his teeth against the sharp pain, so he can look at Sam. His younger brother is sprawled boneless in the backseat, deathly pale and covered in blood. There's so much blood. Dean shudders, tries to speak, but his voice isn't cooperating.

Bobby climbs into the car and Dean just keeps his eyes glued to his brother's face as they take off, leaving the graveyard and the Devil's Gate and Hell behind them. Except that Dean can feel them clinging to his skin, like ash and dirt and blood.

Dean shivers.

He reaches into the backseat, ignoring the roar of pain in his muscles or how hard it is to move his body in any way that he wants to, and grabs Sam's hand.

It's like a balm to everything in him that's aching; his body, his heart, his soul, all those things left battered from however long he was gone. For just one moment he can take a deep breath and not feel burning in his lungs from the smoke of Hell Fire. Then he feels something else, something that hurts worse than anything else; how weak his brother is, how slow his heart beat has become, the pressure in Sam's lungs that's making it hard to for him draw in breath.

His eyes catch on the red gleaming stone in the center of the ring on his finger, a ring that wasn't there before.

The same ring that is on Sam's hand.

………

There is only dark for a what seems like very long time. He can't hear or feel or see.

Then there is fire in his lungs, spreading through his blood to every part of him. Then numbness, as if his body has cut itself off from everything else. For a long time he floats in the darkness, with no thought as to who or what he is.

But eventually, and he has no way of knowing time, there is sound.

A voice, harsh and tense, and the sound he knows is a heartbeat, one as familiar as his own. He wants to respond, but finds he has no way of doing so. And so for a while he hides in the darkness again. The fire in his body is banking, slowly fading to nothing.

But it is a slow process and he is not inclined to rush it. And finally, when the fire has cooled to a low burn, there is peace; a small bastion of light in the dark. It speaks of love and home and comfort. His spirit, if that's what he would call it, rests here a while.

……..

Bobby doesn't tell Dean what story he concocted for the hospital or the police that the hospital are required to call. Bobby doesn't tell Dean much of anything; only that Dean can't go to the hospital and he has to have patience, that he's damned lucky and a damned fool. Actually, on second thought, Bobby tells Dean a lot of things, just nothing Dean wants to hear.

Sam is alive, he knows that much, without touching him or even being anywhere near him he can feel his brother. Now that he's aware of the connection, even if he doesn't fully understand it, he can feel it thrumming between them. But Sam is faint and so damned faded and it's been weeks, two weeks now.

Dean still can't quite walk, can't talk either or maybe doesn't want to talk, he doesn't even know for himself. Sam would know, he thinks, Sam would know if it was physical or mental and he'd chide Dean one way or the other. If Dean could make his voice cooperate, and part of him wonders if it's gone forever or if he'll find it again when he has Sam back with him like he found it in the graveyard when he first woke back up in this used and abused body, he would demand that Bobby take him to his brother. As it is he shoots daggers and glares at the man whenever he's in the motel room with him. But Bobby ignores him, or tells him it's for his own good.

He doesn't sleep well, most of the time when he closes his eyes he still sees Hell. When he doesn't see Hell he sees Sam dead; not in that stupid town with a knife in his back though, no, he sees Sammy dead on the ground in front of the Devil's Gate or in the backseat of the Impala, and maybe that's worse, Dean's not sure. Sam dead is Sam dead but there's something about Sam dying for him that puts an awful rock in Dean's already unsteady stomach.

Everyday that passes despair and fear and anger begin to take over his vision, until he's seeing the world only in shades of deepest blues and vibrant reds, until the slightest look from Bobby makes him curl his still weak hands into fists and snarl soundlessly.

He runs the fingers of his right hand over the ring on his left, but he can't feel anything more from Sam than he did after that first night, when the doctors had supposedly stabilized him.

Dean would cry maybe but he's starting to think that Hell somehow dried his tears, the few that he ever had, away.

………

There is love still for the taking, but where comfort and at least some small degree of peace has been there is the low thrum of despair and a heavier note of fear. It wakes him from his healing sleep, like someone calling his name from very far.

He struggles to surface through the darkness, to get back to whatever or whoever it is that is calling to him. He thinks it should be easy, but it isn't. There are things in this darkness, things that try to keep him, to pull him further in. They aren't malicious exactly, but he doesn't like the feeling of never reaching light again.

His understanding of himself only goes so far, he doesn't remember breath or sight or touch. But he knows there's something he should be reaching for. And he reaches, with the abstract idea of arms, he claws his way out.

Sam opens his eyes wide and tries to suck in a desperate breath. The breathing tube chokes him, although he's not aware enough yet of who or where or how or why to know exactly what it is that's choking him.

His eyes roll back in his head, and his chest tightens.

The heart monitor flat-lines; a high, reedy whine.

He doesn't know that this is the second time it's done so.

……..

Dean's finally sleeping when his hand cramps, the fingers curling in on themselves, and he wakes suddenly, mouth wide open in a scream that's completely silent because his voice is still missing. He throws the covers off of himself and stands from the bed, not caring that it hurts, and oh god it hurts; like sunburn and pulled muscles and maybe even broken bones.

He's wearing pajama bottoms that are Sam's and way too long on him and a thin white t-shirt that's his own but smells suspiciously like his brother. He doesn't admit, even to himself, that that's probably why of all the plain, soft, worn t-shirts he has this was the one he chose. He doesn't bother with shoes or his jacket, not because he doesn't want to, but because the panic he's woken into doesn't allow room for any thought other than getting to Sam.

Something is very, very wrong. Bobby isn't in the room, and that's both a blessing and a curse. Dean's not sure if he can get anywhere without Bobby and he doesn't actually know where the hospital Sam is in is, or how close. But he walks to the door anyway, throws it open and looks out.

Bobby's truck is gone, but the Impala is parked just outside the door. He can see signs further up the road for the hospital, so it can't be far. He looks behind him at the table near the door and the keys to his baby catch his grateful eye. He's worried whether he'll make the few steps back into the room to grab them, he doesn't want to think about what he'd do if he had to search for them.

He nearly kills himself more times than he can count on the short drive, and he's pretty sure that it's in no way legal, the way he parked. But the panic and fear coursing through his blood means he doesn't give two shits about a parking ticket or even if the Impala gets towed.

The hospital is a small, old looking thing, but a hospital none the less. Dean breathes deeply as he braces himself for the walk in, ignoring the stab of pain in his chest that flares up. And then he's walking, somehow ignoring the endless, bone deep ache of his body which still isn't quite used to being alive again.

It isn't until he reaches the desk at the ER, it's the middle of the night and the only part of the hospital that's unlocked, that Dean realizes he doesn't know what name Bobby has given them, or that even if he did he can't speak it. He's stumbling, legs trying to give out on him, arms shaking with the effort of holding himself up against the walls and then the desk. He can't speak, his breath is coming in shaky puffs and he can hear his heartbeat in his ears. The nurse at the desks looks up at him, startled and obviously concerned, asking him what's wrong and can he breath. He nods his head, frantic, he doesn't have time for this.

"Sir, are you hurt? Are you bleeding?" She asks.

She's friendly and pleasant and obviously worried that the crazy man who just stumbled into her ER is going to die, but Dean doesn't care. He shakes his head violently; no, no, no. He pushes off the desk, tries to follow that thread of connection that binds him to his little brother. But the nurse is around the desk, grasping his shoulder in one hand and putting her other arm around his back and he both hates and loves her just then, because while she's keeping him from finding his brother, she's also the only reason he's still standing. His whole body can't take the effort of staying upright. It hurts so badly he has to grit his teeth against the pain.

It's pure luck, he thinks, that Bobby comes crashing through the doors leading from the belly of the hospital just then. The older man stops, clearly startled, and then he's barreling down on Dean so fast it makes Dean pinwheel backwards before he can stop himself. He almost falls over himself, almost takes the nice nurse that he loves and hates with him.

"Was just comin' to get you. Let's go. It's not good." Bobby's short and concise, no extra words and even if Dean had questions he knows he wouldn't get answers.

The older man practically drags him down a hallway into one of what may be only twenty or so rooms at most. The damned place is so small. He hears the hard, mind-numbing whine of the flat-lining heart monitor long before they enter the room.

Dean's breath slams hard back into his bruised and battered body, leaving him gasping and choking. He tries to get Sam's name past his lips but he can't. So he pushes off of Bobby, manages to shove a nurse out of his way and grasps his brother's hand before he falls and falls hard onto his knees next to the bed his brother is dying in.

And even though he can't give it voice every part of him screams; Sam, Sam, Sammy. No.

………

He's tired, so tired, the kind of tired that means it's time to give up.

Everything outside of the darkness is turmoil and sharp pain and desperate despair.

Except, except for that one thing he can't ignore.

And he reaches one last time, one last, because that's all he has.

He reaches.

Sam's eyes open once more, breath again stopped by the forceful push of air through the breathing tube, but there are doctors this time to pull it out, to help him breath for himself.

They're pulling the shock cart away from him, and there are a lot of voices and Sam can't understand a god damned one of them except that they sound shocked and confused and frantic.

Sam becomes aware of his body slowly, starting with the tightness in his chest as he breathes and moving out from there until it ends or maybe only really begins at the sensations of a rough, calloused hand gripping his. He turns his head, ignoring the exasperated noises of the nurses around him and meets his brother's eyes. A shiver runs through his body, the feeling of someone walking over his grave and then it's gone and not nearly as unsettling as it probably should be.

Dean's on the floor, on his knees beside Sam's bed, and he looks like hell, like so much used up and tired flesh. But Sam's damned if he can think of anything he's ever seen that's been more beautiful than the sight of his big brother, pale and wide eyed and slightly frayed around the edges.

He dredges up a smile from somewhere, closes his eyes for a moment and then opens them again cautiously. But Dean is still there, looking pained and exhausted, but there.

"Dean." One word, just his name, but Dean's eyes widen at the sound of it. His hand on Sam's tightens.

The doctors and nurses are still talking, Bobby has a hand on Dean's shoulder, obviously trying to get him to move out of the way, Dean isn't talking and somewhere in the back of his mind Sam knows that should worry him. But nothing matters except that he can feel Dean's relief coursing through him and his heart is calming into a steady rhythm, a rhythm echoed to the very last beat by Dean's.

Dean is alive.

………..

It's a full hour before they let Dean back into the room. He has to keep a hand on the wall as he makes his way around the room and over to the chair tucked in near Sam's bed.

Sam seems to be sleeping but Dean can feel his heartbeat pick up as Dean sits beside him. Dean just watches him for a long moment. He's still puzzling how he feels, now that he knows Sam isn't going to die on him, about the stunt Sam pulled; pulling him out of Hell. Bobby explained some of it; the sword that they'd gotten in Ireland and something about a lyre and Orpheus and Dean had had a sudden flash of that woman in Hell who had called Sam by that name.

Most of it Dean didn't understand for shit, but he gets the idea.

He's a little pissed, no, a little furious. Sam had promised him, given him his word, that he would let Dean go when the time came. He stares at Sam, watching the slow movement of his chest as he breathes. No tubes now, just Sam. But his ears still ring with the sharp whine of his brother crashing, dying.

"Don't get mad at me. Don't." Sam's voice is hoarse, two weeks of not being used, and pure exhaustion. "What was I supposed to do?" Sam opens green-brown eyes and gives Dean a pleading look.

Dean shakes his head. He has no answer and even if he did, still no voice to speak them with. And those words, what am I supposed to do, words Sam can't possibly remember because Dean had spoken them to his dead body, make Dean shudder. But Sam shouldn't have taken the risk. That was the point of Dean making the deal, to make sure that Sam lived.

"You're here." Sam rasps out after too long a silence. His tone is a little disbelieving. He's staring at Dean with something like wonder now.

Dean just stares at him, brow still furrowed, still feeling the pulse of worry and fear and fury in his blood. It makes it easier to ignore the pain in his body. Sam's hand twitches as if he wants to reach for Dean, but he doesn't. And Dean's grateful, doesn't know if he can handle Sam touching him right now.

"I'm not-." Sam coughs quietly, loses his breath, and takes a minute to get it back. "I'm not any stronger than you are. I don't want to live my life without you. I couldn't- god- you were dead, Dean. In my arms and dead." Sam closes his eyes tightly and Dean doesn't need to feel his exhaustion to see it written loudly across his face. He doesn't need to reach far to know exactly how Sam's feeling either.

What a pair the two of them make, neither one ever willing to just let the other go.

Sam's eyes open again and he looks over at Dean. Dean's tongue darts out, wets his dry lips, and he can't ignore it when Sam is looking so pained. Dean leaves the chair, sits beside Sam on the bed and reaches out to grab Sam's face, to hold his jaw and rub his thumbs in circles over the strong line of it. He stares at Sam, tries to say with his eyes what he can't say with his voice; how angry, how proud, how furious, how grateful, how scared he is. Even with a voice he's never been that great at communicating, but Sam's always been the one who could read him.

Some of the fear in Sam's face leaves, not all of it by any means, but some small part. His hands, large and dry and warm, cup Dean's face, pull him down until their foreheads are touching. They're still like that for a while, breathing in each other's breath, heartbeats calming and then speeding up and then slowing again.

Dean doesn't know who closes the distance, doesn't care once Sam's lips are on his and finally, finally, the taste of death and ash is washed away; replaced with the sweetness that is Sam and life and survival.

He knows somewhere in the back of his mind that this release is brief and temporary, but he'll take what he can get. It's been two weeks since he was brought back from the dead, and this is the first moment that he's felt alive.

………………………………...

Epilogue:

A month passes before Dean stops moving and looking like a man on his death bed.

When Sam had first been released from the hospital and Bobby had driven him back to the motel he'd been shocked.

Sam had stared, taking in the pale expanse of Dean's bare chest, the slightly jutting bone of his hips where the pants he was wearing had slid down just a bit and the blanket was off him almost completely. Dean had stood, staggering slightly, and making his way towards Sam. And all Sam could do was stand, completely still and somewhat in shock, as his brother moved like a sick man, like a dying man, until he stood in front of him. His eyes were pale and cloudy, dark circles under them leaving the rest of his skin looking even paler in comparison. And Sam had shuddered and tried to reach for him, only have Dean skitter backwards and away from him, shaking and gasping for breath.

And it's one month later, after the first night since they've been back together that Dean doesn't wake up screaming, that the hint of swagger is back in his walk. After that he sleeps, albeit restlessly, through the night. The dark circles start to fade, the color is back in his skin. He eats ridiculous amounts of food, even though it's not quite with the same gusto as before.

It's something. And Sam's taking whatever he can get. Sam looks for their first hunt the next day and finds what looks like a haunting three towns over. Sam's thinks the light returns to Dean for at least a moment as he pulls his guns out to clean them.

……….

The first time Dean speaks it's to scream Sam's name just before a werewolf gets the jump on him.

It's exactly three months since the day Sam brought Dean out from Hell, head straining to face forward and never throw a questioning glance behind him. The silence has been a hell of it's own.

"God damn it, Sammy." He's almost waiting for the rough grab of his face, the hands that should be running over his skin to make sure he's not injured anywhere else, but that doesn't happen. Dean doesn't touch anyone these days. "Stupid ass. What the hell were you thinking, turning your back?" His voice is low and pitched oddly and rough. It doesn't sound like Dean at all, but it's him.

And if Sam cries in relief to hear his brother's gruff voice calling his name and then cursing him out for his stupidity, then that's okay. The tears wash away months of silence and the feeling of tightness in his throat. He doesn't touch his brother, but he smiles at Dean when Dean's done yelling at him.

He gets Dean a glass of water for his sore, underused throat, even though Sam's the one sporting matching claw marks on either side of his back.

………

Dean touches him for the first time since the hospital three months after he starts speaking again.

Not that he's been speaking much, but it's still better than the absolute silence of before. They're outside a dive bar in the middle of Kansas and Dean, for the first time since coming back, reaches his hand out and takes the keys from Sam.

His touch lingers over Sam's, fingers brushing lightly over the palm of Sam's hands. Sam shivers violently. At first because the simple touch of his brother's skin on his is enough to make him painfully hard. Then because the touch seems to solidify the connection the rings had started. And all of sudden Sam's slammed with visions, things he never wanted to see and things it makes him weep to think of his brother seeing. They both end up on the ground, hands clutching at each other in an effort to stay upright and to offer some small comfort.

It's a while before it stops and when it does there's a quiet in his mind that hasn't been there in nearly two years. Dean is a solid presence in the back of his mind, curled up tight, not taking space, just there.

Dean leans forward, breathing hard, and rests his clammy head against Sam's, forehead to forehead.

"Only you." Dean murmurs, voice gruff, but Sam can feel the warmth of it running through his blood.

"Only me what?" He gasps out, still trying to catch his breath, slow his tears.

"Only you would do something as girly as marrying a guy to save his life." Dean answers, low and heated words, the only way Dean speaks now it seems. It sends a shiver up Sam's spine every time he opens his mouth.

"Had to- jesus, Dean- I had to." He manages to get out before the sobs start shaking his body. It's backwards, he knows, it should be him comforting Dean.

But Dean's arms are warm as they wrap around him, warm the way they used to be, before he'd started wasting away. They're strong and sure and they feel and smell the way Sam remembers them and it's been so damned long since he's been able to touch or be touched by his brother; too much between them, too much between Dean and himself and Sam and himself. Just too much.

"Had a sword too." He mumbles finally, when the sobs have stopped and all that's left are the quiet tears.

Dean's laughter is deliverance, it's Heaven, and more importantly, it's home.

……..

Dean makes love to Sam exactly nine months after Sam risked life and limb and soul to drag his sorry ass out of Hell.

He eats his food with relish, drinks his alcohol the same way. He hunts with a disturbing amount of joy in his heart every damned time they come upon one of those son of a bitch demons that got out of the Devil's gate. He drives his baby all around the damned country and it all looks fucking brand new. He sings his songs so loud that Sam actually tells him to shut up and this just four hours after telling Dean, with a sappy grin on his face, that he never wants Dean to stop talking again. But even with all of this he still can't quite bring himself to touch his brother with anything other than lukewarm affection.

But it's a full moon, and they're two days off a hunt, and holed up in a little motel. Dean has been feeling maudlin and grumpy, not able to pull out of himself for the last week or so and he doesn't know why. And Sam went and got himself hurt again, and damn it all if Dean isn't going to start smacking the crap out of him every time he pulls his 'throwing myself on the pike for my brother' bit, like Dean doesn't have reflexes and instincts of his own or the ability to get himself out of the damned way.

Dean's sitting in a chair by the window, fingers idly fidgeting with the clasp on Sam's laptop, never fully opening it, just pressing it down and then clicking the top back down. It makes a small, nervous tapping noise, but that doesn't bother Sam.

Sam's asleep on one bed, half naked, pants riding low on his hips, and he's sprawled like only Sam can sprawl. In the moonlight he's painted silver and midnight shadows and Dean's not really one for dime store romance novel metaphors but his little brother is a god damned work of art at that moment even in spite of the glaringly white bandage wrapped along his right forearm.

He moves in the moonlight, lets out a small noise that's close to a moan, and Dean can feel the heat run through his blood like it hasn't in months. No memories of the horrific things visited upon him in Hell to dampen it, they're the farthest thing from his mind. It's almost a shock to feel desire and want and need, things he hasn't felt in so long that he was starting to think they'd been burned out of him.

He leaves the chair carefully and makes his way to the bed, sinking down onto to it carefully. Sam makes a small noise in his sleep and rolls over on his side to almost curl around Dean. His left hand reaches out blindly, but unerringly and grabs Dean's. As always, when they do touch, it brings his awareness of Sam to the forefront. But Dean's getting used to that like he's become used to the weight of the stone ring on his finger and the looks they get when people notice them.

He's never told Sam, but of the three the ring is the only thing he's really comfortable looking at or touching. The sword he won't touch, ever, there's something off about it and Dean won't touch bare skin to it no matter what, doesn't even like to think of it sitting in the trunk of his baby, but Sam's right when he says it's not safe anywhere else. The lyre makes his chest hurt, the way it hurt that last night with Sam, what he thought was his last night with Sam. It's painful and sad and he doesn't like to look at it. He's grateful that Sam keeps it wrapped safely and has only unwrapped it that one time, to show Dean what it was and what it looked like, this instrument that had apparently saved his soul.

But the ring, the ring which seem as much a part of him as his own flesh now, he can deal with those. He has the vaguest, sheerest memory, of a dark haired woman with stars in her eyes. And it's the only comforting vision, memory, whatever, he has from his time in Hell. And yeah, he can see the irony in coming out of Hell with a good memory. But he thinks it's a good thing he did or he might never have been able to find himself again out here, in the world, with Sam.

So he tightens his hand around Sam's for a brief moment before pulling it free and moving it to brush the soft hair out of Sam's face. He'd forgotten how soft Sam's hair was, how it felt between his fingers. He runs his hand through it again and feels his breath catch when Sam's eyes open sleepily, blinking up at him in the bright moonlight.

"Dean." It's a bare whisper of breath but Dean feels set on fire with it.

He leans down over his little brother and kisses him, all tongue and desperation and fierce need that has him aching all over and wanting Sam to feel it too. Sam hesitates, but when Dean moves to straddle his hips he moans deeply into Dean's mouth and grasps at his shoulders, pulling his closer.

It seems to take forever and no time at all. Sam is oddly silent and Dean finds himself murmuring against his lips, his skin, into his hair and the soft spot just behind his ear; words he hasn't said since the night he died and words he's never said. He takes his time with Sam, slow and steady and Sam's body twists into shapes and angles made beautiful by the moonlight. And when he's finally inside his brother; warm and tight and so much like home it brings tears to eyes that he thought Hell Fire had dried, he takes a deep breath and it smells like clean air and the tang of ocean water. Sam's fingers are tangled in his near his head on the pillow, and his eyes are locked on Dean's, unblinking and in the light it's as if a million stars on falling in his little brother's eyes.

"Sammy." Urgent and deep, the word coming out of his chest like a rolling wave. Sam whimpers and pushes up off the bed to press against him.

And then Dean's moving, careful and sure, slow like he's got the rest of his life to do just this. And he think that maybe, just maybe, he does. The rest of his life and the rest of Sam's. Sam's kisses, when he raises his head and presses his lips to Dean's, taste of tears and forgivness and safety.

"Dean, Dean, Dean." Sam sobs his name against his lips when he comes, pulsing slow and steady between them and Dean comes with him, inside him.

Afterwards, tired and sated, some deep and gnawing hunger in him finally satisfied, he wraps his brother in his arms and kisses his temple.

"Sam." He whispers, low and soft and not because it hurts to speak, but because the words and the moment are delicate and deserving of care. "Thank you, Sammy."

He doesn't need the rings to know that Sam's content for once. His muscles bleed contentment against Dean's body, and Dean soaks it up, takes it for himself. Sam lifts his head, and the moonlight isn't as strong now, hours having passed, but Dean can still read his eyes.

"Dean, god damn it, Dean." He says softly, no real recrimination in his voice, "I love you. So just- just stay with me now, okay? Just stay."

And Dean moves the half an inch that's between them and kisses his soft, full lips.

"Okay, Sammy." A simple promise.

………

It's a full year after Sam pulls Dean out of Hell.

Dean picks the music, eats too much food, and glues Sam's hand to the headboard of one of the motel beds. Sam nags Dean about his eating habits, puts one of those stupid fake ball-through-the-window gags on the Impala and laughs till he cries while Dean curses and screams, and manages to track down well over half of the demons they accidentally let out of Hell the night Dean killed the Yellow Eyed demon.

Dean fucks Sam, makes love to him, touches him, whenever and wherever he can and Sam's okay with that.

The rings on their fingers gleam bright, ruby red. And even though Dean knows when Sam is brooding he still acts like he doesn't, and when Dean pretends he's not scared, Sam lets him even though he can feel it.

Life is hunting and the road and the war and each other.

It's everything it ever needed to be.

……………………………...

(The End)

Author's Note II: This whole thing started (chapter one) as an angsty, porny one-shot with the slight possibility of a plot. But then I started thinking and the plot grew. And now, seven chapters later here we are. Thank you so much to everyone who read this and for all the great comments and support. Seriously, it's always terrifying to get into a new fandom, so thanks for reading.

Author's Note III: (I know, seriously, three?) I just want to say how bad this chapter kicked my ass. These boys couldn't decide how they wanted to be reunited and if I told you all just how many version of this chapter there are, you'd die. Now that it's done, I think I'm satisfied. I hope you all are too. Thanks again for reading.