The car still purrs beneath my fingers, the slow, low rumble of something familiar, something warm that feels like home.
It doesn't hurt so much anymore, the wounds in my shoulder are healing as are the ones in my guts and thigh. There are burns on my back and legs that I don't recall getting and my hair is still short, pieces of it missing.
Instead of hot chicks handing me their numbers, I get glances of sympathy, low voices, comments whispered behind hands. I don't know what they think when they look at me and I don't freakin' care.
I'm out now, I'm good.
Only wish I could say the same for Sammy.
What is he thinking?
I risk a glance to the side and it is like we have zipped back two years.
Me drivin', Zeppelin playing loud, bass thumping so that it vibrates the seats. Sammy slumped up against the passenger window, all pale and emo looking. Hair too freakin' long and that long face all bone and hollow.
Eyes slant my way, catching me lookin' and I tap my hands on the steering wheel, half a smile curving on my face. It doesn't hurt to do that anymore, the scars are, like the rest of me, healing.
Sammy doesn't believe me when I say I'm ok, I can tell, I can read the little fucker like a book. He doesn't believe me but he won't push it, daren't.
Sammy might be a freak, but he's my freak and I want my little brother back. Not this worn-out, grief stricken shell of a man, who blames himself for everything.
Winchesters don't talk about it. Never have, never will.
Take after dad for that. The good old, 'suck it up, keep the game face on, don't let your emotions get the better of you'. Dad taught us well, both of us, but Sammy never used to be as good at it as this, makes me wonder what he did, what he is hiding, how the fuck did he get me out of hell in the first place?
Bobby ain't talking; Bobby refuses to see us, keeps in phone contact but won't let us in if we swing by his place. Salt lines his threshold and, though he knows it won't stop us, we ain't worrying him none.
He was – is – the closest thing to a father that we had since dad died, but those bridges are well and truly burnt now. Burnt in hell fire along with my useless soul.
Ellen hangs charms outside the new roadhouse and pokes a shotgun through an open window, voice still honey rich and scratchy, making her feelings known.
I want to ask what went down in the six months I was in hell, but Sammy's not saying and I can't remember, sure, I remember pain and burning and meat hooks through my skin, but beyond that, who fucking knows.
Sammy, that's who, but his lips are tightly sealed and we move ever onwards, an eternal road trip with no one else but each other for company.
Lilith's dead, white eyes and all. Ruby's gone too, never really did know what her agenda was. Demons are leaderless now, but they still lurk around, still possess, still tempt. We've managed to send a lot of them back to hell, not that we get any thanks for it.
I chant the Latin now, use the holy water. Doesn't burn me, doesn't hurt me and I'd do anything to prevent my brother's pain.
Sammy knows I'll never do it, couldn't, wouldn't and circumstances have made it so that I just won't. Don't want to do this alone, which is where the fucking problem started really.
Sammy blames himself, but it's all my fault and I fucking know it.
Sammy yawns, stretches, asks if we are gonna stop anytime soon. I don't get so hungry now, body just that wrong side of skinny, guess I'll use the time I used to spend in bars to get it back into shape. I flex my hands and nod, "yeah," I say, suddenly longing for fried chicken, "we'll stop at the next diner."
Sammy smiles a little then and I see dimples and my little brother.
I wish he could give him his normal back, wish that I could turn back time, pull Jess off the ceiling, stand by Sammy's side when he buys that ring.
I can't though and it's too late, we make our own beds and mine is fucking lumpy as hell, but I'm lying in it, doin' the best I can.
I'm sorry mom, I'm sorry dad, guess we'll never see you again but at least we'll be together, together wherever we go, all I hope is that someone is merciful and that I don't have to go back down again.
I pull up outside the diner and kill the engine. Sammy pulls on his hoodie, ties up the lace on one of his sneakers, scratches his chin. I grin, real now, wide and smart, traces of the old me, something to cheer up Sammy.
He grins back, dimples and teeth and everything and I nod, handing him the shades, making sure he doesn't forget.
People can be disturbed by yellow eyes.