No Regrets

Summary: One year later, payment is due.

Disclaimer: I make no claim to these characters or their back story, only to this particular scene.

Note: I have no beta, so this is entirely self edited. All comments, corrections and suggestions are welcome. I was going for a particular mood. Did I succeed?

A large black car slowed to a stop at the intersection of two dirt roads, the loud purr of the engine fading abruptly. Two young men hauled themselves out of the front seat and circled the hood to the double beat of two doors slamming, meeting in the crossbeams of the headlights. Crickets chirped and the engine ticked as it cooled. Neither man said a word. There was nothing left to say.

The moon rose, just short of full, and rode its way between the stars. A night creature cried out in fear or in triumph, and was abruptly cut off. Minutes ticked by.

They stood in companionable silence, leaning against the car, shoulders brushing. Every so often one would glance at the other, a quick head count. Are you still here?

The night sounds faded and the darkness stilled. A figure appeared just out of reach of the light. It was time.

Dean turned to Sam and saw tears running down his face, shimmering in the low light.

"Hey," he said softly, cupping Sam's face in his hands and brushing away the wetness with his thumbs. He tilted Sam's head down and pressed a gentle kiss to his brother's forehead and then to each eye, one by one. He touched their foreheads together and they held that moment for several heartbeats, gazes locked.

"You are alive. I have absolutely no regrets."

Sam swallowed thickly but made no sound. He grabbed Dean's hand and held on tightly. Dean squeezed back, then opened Sam's hand, pressed his car keys into the palm, and closed the fingers around it.

He smiled and turned away to walk across the headlights' wash towards the dark. Easy confidence drew itself up his straight back and across the line of his broad shoulders. He stepped beyond the farthest reaches of light, threw a quick smile over his shoulder and was gone.