"'You step into the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to,'" Dean repeats. "That what you said?"

"Yeah," Sam says absently. "Look, up ahead on the right. Pull in." He adds, "It's Tolkien."

"Oh, God," Dean groans, coasting to a stop and tipping his head back until his skull hits the headrest. "Tell me that's not the plan."

"What plan?" Sam can't remember being this perplexed by a conversation made up mostly of monosyllables before.

"You're not planning on getting me out of hell with some geekery cooked up after reading too many books about hobbits and dwarves and shit, right?"

"What? No," he says. Lies, maybe. It's not like he has a plan.

"Because that would be just plain sad, you know? If Bobby's library had not one thing that would work but random nerds had the answer tattooed on them?" Dean gives a theatrical shudder.

Sam laughs when he gets it; this is Dean confirming that he meant what he said about wanting to stay with him, showing him that this is just one more thing to get through together, even to joke about.

"For you?" Sam says, feeling a smile stretch his mouth for the first time in way too long. "We might have to go a little deeper into the children's room, dude. Phantom Tollbooth, maybe?"

"That would hurt, Sam, if I'd read it." Dean's clutching his heart with one hand and smacking him upside the head with the other.

"You know, succeeding at a quest, and not knowing it was impossible until after you'd won."

"Huh," Dean says, looking thoughtful for all of half a second before his stomach growls. "C'mon, I'm starvin', and I need something to get the taste of that ass-root outta my mouth." He ducks out into the rain and jogs for the diner entrance.

Sam scrambles to follow him, thinking it's time to do a little rereading.

"Books aren't the answer, Sammy," Dean yells, ignoring the other patrons huddled under the awning and waiting for his brother. He holds the door open and Sam sweeps inside. He's got water in his ears, but he can still hear distinctly, from behind him, Dean saying, "Now, song lyrics. That's a whole different story."