The road winding through the red rock canyons of southern Utah demanded caution in the same way that the spectacular towering mountains demanded attention. Dean drove with both of these at a relaxed 30 mph, elbow resting out the open window, slouched at the wheel, sunglasses reflecting the bright, midday light.
Sam had rolled down his window as well, letting in crisp desert air. He liked the feel of it on his face, tousling his hair, clearing out the close stale air that he and Dean had been sharing between them for what seemed like thousands of miles. He felt good. Content in a way that he hadn't felt in a long time.
Sam didn't have many personal possessions: a few clothes, a cell phone, and a shared interest in a trunkful of weapons and occult paraphernalia. Right here, right now, though, he wished he had a camera with an expensive wide-angle lens. Maybe then he could take a snapshot of the scene to keep forever: the rough-hewn, brilliantly colored peaks framed against a Utah blue sky, the slow traverse of the Impala down the smooth black highway, he and Dean, silent but together, sharing the same purpose, the same past, present, and future.
The wind tasted sweet on Sam's lips, and carried the pungent scents of desert sage and recent rain. The riot of color and sensation all around him made something tighten in his chest; made something else grow heavy and loose in the rest of his body.
Sam stretched out his arm over the seat, let his fingers curl around the firm, muscled jut of his brother's shoulder.
Dean startled a little. "What?"
Sam smiled. "Nothing. I'm just happy. To be here." With you.
Dean must have sensed his unspoken words. "Oh, God." He groaned. "Are we having a moment?"
"Looks that way," Sam said, still smiling.
"Dude, come on …" Dean tried to shrug Sam's hand off.
Sam kept his hand where it was. This was his brother, warm and living. Here. Now.
"I'm not letting go, Dean," Sam said. "Neither are you. Remember?" He gave Dean's shoulder a gentle squeeze.
Dean's eyes flickered to Sam's. He swallowed, gone still in that way he did when he was feeling something deeply. The muscles under Sam's hand relaxed by degrees. After a moment, he cleared his throat, and said quietly, "I remember."
He let Sam keep his hand there as long as he wanted.
This feeling, this contentment, wouldn't last long, Sam knew. Soon, they'd be wrestling with devils and demons and restless spirits. There would be pain and sorrow, deals and blood and uncertainty.
For now, though, this was enough.
The road wound on.