Disclaimer – Not my characters, I just use them improperly
You like? You don't like? Review and tell me why! (Constructive criticism only please, if you don't like the subject, don't read the story.) If you haven't read Full Moon, Fast Cars and Cracks in the Glass yet, you'll probably want to read those first or this probably won't make sense…
Here is the epilogue, finally :) I'd like to say a huge thank you to my wonderful beta Phx – without her help, this story wouldn't be half as good :) And thank you to everyone who has reviewed over the course, I can't tell you how much I've appreciated hearing what you think of the story! I hope you enjoy this final part…
Sam was quite possibly lying in the most uncomfortable position ever. His ass felt sore and bruised, and the hard cold surface his hip was digging into made him feel stiff as an old man with arthritis. His body was twisted sharply, his legs going one way and his torso another, and there was a nagging fly buzzing around his head. He frowned, trying to gather the strength to swat it away.
Something bumped him, and his head lolled backwards on his neck. He felt weak and pitiful as a newborn baby.
The buzzing started to break up into words, words his mind had to work to put together. "Sam? Sammy, wake up! C'mon Sammy, open your eyes!" His face scrunched up; he didn't want to open his eyes. He liked the dark, and he had been enjoying the quiet, until the stupid fly started bugging him.
"Sammy, look at me, please!" Why did the fly want him to look at it? It didn't make sense.
Another fly started speaking, this one sounding…growlier. "Dean, get him in the truck! The cops'll be here any minute; we can help Sam once we're clear of this mess."
Soft hands, stroking his face and hair. The touch reminded him of something, something he should be feeling… Scared, maybe? Should he be scared of the hands? But they felt so good on his hot skin, soothing. They were good hands, he decided. Good hands, not bad hands. They were allowed to touch him.
They scooped him up suddenly, pulling him back until he was pressed flush against a warm body, arms wrapping tight around him. Another set of hands caught his legs behind the knees, lifting until he was suspended in the air. A twist, and he was being moved, feet first. It was strange, and Sam wondered if this was how furniture felt, being manhandled into different places with no say in where it was going.
A long creaking noise; a car door being opened, his mind told him. His legs were hoisted up and in, while the other end of him was pushed in the same direction. A squishy surface under his butt, and a hand propping him up while someone else climbed onto the surface beside him. Then the hand gentled, pulling him in close until his nose was pressed into nice-smelling skin. "It's okay, Sammy. It's okay now; I'm here, I gotcha. Not going anywhere." A voice mumbled, close to his ear, and he should know that voice. But it was too hard to think, and everything was so soft and warm around him, so safe. He snuggled in closer to the body beside his and floated away.
Dean's head was a mess.
It was over, and it felt like the scene should cut, the curtain should fall, fade to black. And he was tempted to let it happen, close his eyes and lie down and let it finish without him, because hadn't he done enough? Wasn't he entitled to rest now?
But exhaustion had never been an excuse to John Winchester, and looking at his father, Dean could tell the older man was fighting the same battle against his fatigue as he was. But he was still moving, doing what needed to be done. Dean looked at his dad, hauled in a deep breath that ached at his ribs, and finished what he'd started.
The kid was unconscious on the sidewalk. Dean slumped down against the truck, wincing at the fire-burn in his muscles as he reached out, hesitating for a moment with his hands hanging in the air – what if Sam came around and freaked out at being touched? – before shrugging it off and trying to pull Sam into his lap. The kid might be injured, he justified. He needed to touch him to check him over.
Dean's panic returned full-force as Sam's limp body sagged against him like a rag doll, light and dead-feeling, and he found strength to shake the kid as he told him to wake up, please Sammy in a voice that grew louder with each repetition.
His dad cut him with a command off before he could start screaming.
Everything seemed to be happening so fast; John barking orders, staggering around like a solder under enemy fire, one minute pulling Sam's unconscious body into the trunk, the next minute marching ushering a dazed Margaret into the front seat, practically tossing Charlie onto her lap. The poor kid was confused and crying, shaking so hard Margaret was having trouble holding onto him. Dean was surprised for a second – honestly, he'd thought the kid was dead, or as good as, after John's not-so-careful manhandling combined with the strain of possession on a tiny fragile body.
Caleb was groaning and clutching at the open door of the truck, insisting he was alright, he could climb in himself, but John bodily shoved him in the back with Sam and Dean anyway. Once everyone was loaded up, John turned and marched back to Margaret's house, and Dean blinked before he remembered Kiera, still possessed and locked in that tiny circle in the living room.
He deliberately kept his gaze averted from Missouri's body. It seemed to be the only thing not moving, not making some kind of pained noise.
Sam was bundled up against Dean, and he closed his eyes for a second, just letting himself feel the rhythmic rise-fall of the kid's chest against his. The kid seemed to come around for a second earlier, his face pulling into a slight frown as Dean begged him to wake up, and Dean hoped like hell it was a good sign. That it meant Sam wasn't irreparably damaged in some way that only a doctor would be able to find.
There would be no doctors this time. They couldn't chance it, not with Missouri dead on the sidewalk. The loss of the demon's influence would mean that someone would walk by sooner or later, and they needed to be gone when it happened. Dean pressed a hard kiss to the top of Sam's head, lingering to breathe in the warm sweet scent of the kid's hair. It was kind of greasy, like he hadn't washed it that morning, but it was Sam, and he could have been covered from head to toe in horse crap and Dean would still be trying to get him closer.
John came striding back out of Margaret's house, Kiera's still body in his arms. In the front seat, Margaret let out a low moan.
"Hey, no, she's okay." Caleb said suddenly. "Look, she just moved." Dean thought the older man was probably making it up; Kiera looked pale and icy-cold in John's arms as he approached the truck. But then the little girl's eyes fluttered open, latching onto her mother, and it seemed like that was the motivation Margaret needed. She scrambled for the truck door handle, one arm wrapped tight around Charlie.
"Hey, don't do that!" Caleb said, reaching forward to touch her shoulder.
She wrenched away like he'd tried to burn her, aiming a blazing glare at them. "You think I'm going to stay here, with you people? My babies nearly died because of you!"
John narrowed his eyes at her, thrusting Kiera into her arms with enough force to push Margaret back into the truck. "Well, if you wanna keep your kids out there on the sidewalk with a dead body, answer some police questions, be my guest."
Scowling, Margaret settled down, gathering Kiera and Charlie to her with both arms. "Fine. But this is only until we're out of town. Then you drop us off somewhere and you leave. I don't ever want to see any of you again."
John spared her a steely glance as he climbed into the driver's seat. Then he was turning the key in the ignition, gunning the engine, and getting them the hell out of there. Dean closed his eyes as the truck took off down the street, rubbing his face in Sam's hair again. They'd be okay now. They had to be okay.
He was pulled out of his thoughts at the sound of John's voice.
"…yeah, it's done. We're on our way to you now, prob'ly stop off at a motel for the night."
Dean craned his neck to see around the driver's seat without jostling Sam. John was talking to someone on his cell phone. He looked over at Caleb, eyebrow raised in question.
Caleb grunted, shifting in his seat before answering. "Sam's friend Stephen."
"Oh." Dean knew there should be more to say on the matter, but all he could think was Sam Sam Sam. It played on a loop through his tired mind, telling him he should be doing more, doing something, making it right.
Instead he turned his face to the night pressing against the window, watching with detachment as streetlights turned into shooting stars when John put his foot to the gas pedal. He tugged Sam closer, pulled the kid's legs across his lap, ostensibly to give Caleb more room on his side of the seat. Sam let out a soft sigh against his neck, a second of warmth on his skin that turned just as quickly to chills.
It was gone midnight when Sam decided to wake up.
He'd been drifting between unconscious and light sleep when he heard a clock chiming somewhere out in the night, but he couldn't bring himself to pull into full wakefulness, mostly because he just felt so warm. He was lying on his back, spread out like a starfish on something soft but firm, and there was something else covering him, a heavy weight that only added to the cocoon of safety. Everything felt good, muted and quiet and distant. Although his memory was shady and unclear, he knew it had been a while since he'd been allowed to just drift, free and easy. He wanted to enjoy it, just for a little while.
But then his cover started to tremble.
Sam dragged himself from sleep in time to catch Dean mumbling broken sentences into the side of his neck; "…god, so sorry Sammy, I shoulda been there, never should've touched you, darlin'…"
Sam opened his eyes carefully, wincing as his gaze caught on the bare light bulb hanging above the bed. A quick glance from side to side told him that they were in a motel room, cream-painted walls and a dusty bedspread, a painting hung on the wall opposite that was trying to be modern art but looked more like a child's finger painting experiment gone wrong. Nothing special about the room, but it made Sam smile all the same, because it meant that they were out of Lawrence. It took him a second to remember why that was a good thing, and then he wished he could forget all over again.
Missouri's body was probably still lying on the sidewalk outside her cosy house. Used and then abandoned like yesterday's trash. Sam couldn't imagine Dean or John wasting valuable getaway time on making the body more presentable, more dignified. Sam couldn't blame them for it, but he wished he could have done something, closed her eyes with thumb and forefinger or brushed her hair off her face, like the people in movies did when one of the good guys was killed.
The instinctive stiffening of his body as his memories returned told Dean he was awake, and for a second they both lay there breathing in silence. Then Dean pushed himself up suddenly, propping a forearm on either side of Sam's head so his upper body wasn't in contact with Sam's, and the terrified expression on the older man's face made everything else drop away. Dean was here and alive, and even though Sam hadn't ever let himself think about Dean actually being dead, a tiny part of him had been screaming it the whole time they'd been apart.
Sam cut Dean off with a hard kiss, his arms wrapping around the older man's waist, pulling him back into the bed. Dean responded like he'd been starved for it, one hand tangling and restlessly tugging through his hair, the other cupping the side of his face. His thumb brushed along the line of Sam's cheekbone, a gentle contrast to the desperation Sam could feel in his kiss. Dean pressed their bodies into the mattress, every inch of them as close as he could get without removing clothes. For a brief second Sam thought of a dirty alleyway and another man pressing against him, but then Dean pulled away, keeping his forehead against Sam's as he panted into the half-inch space between their mouths. "God, I love you. Don't ever do that again, y'hear?"
Sam didn't have a chance to respond. Dean was already surging forward to reclaim his lips, stealing his breath along with it. Sam curled his fingers in the back of Dean's shirt, wanting so desperately to wrap himself into the other man, be eaten up by Dean's lips and knotted into his body and live the rest of his life loving him more than anything, ever.
Dean rolled over onto his side, pulling Sam along with him without breaking their kiss. A firm thigh inserted itself between Sam's legs, and he felt a whisper of arousal at the friction, despite knowing that it wasn't about that. Instead Dean wrapped his own arms around Sam, holding him in place against his chest while his mouth ravaged Sam's with an intensity that made him shake.
He kissed Dean back, hard and biting, because this was everything and he needed Dean to know it too. Dean's breath stuttered in his chest, his heart pounding, and Sam could feel it like it was his own.
By the time they'd burned off some of the urgency he was lightheaded from lack of oxygen. He turned his head away, rubbing his nose against Dean's in an Eskimo kiss and feeling kind of silly about it until he saw the look in Dean's eyes. The cool air hit his face, soothing across his burning cheeks, and he closed his eyes, nuzzling at Dean's jaw. "I love you, too."
"That's good. I woulda felt pretty stupid about sayin' it if you didn't." Dean smiled shyly, his hands moving up and down Sam's back like he couldn't stand not to be touching as much of him as possible. He tugged Sam back into another kiss, this time slower and sweeter, fading away until it was just a touch of Dean's lips against his. Sam could feel it when Dean whispered "I love you" a second time, the words caught in his mouth and swallowed down, spreading through his veins until it felt like he was glowing with it, filled from the inside out.
He watched Dean watching him, grinning so wide he thought his face might break. Dean would probably have made fun of him for it, if the older man hadn't had the same sloppy grin on his own face. One of Dean's hands reached up to brush away his bangs, lingering as Sam leaned into the touch. It was perfect, a perfect moment that Sam wanted to live in forever.
Except the hand trapped under Dean's body was prickling with pins-and-needles, and he couldn't hide a wince as he twisted it free. Dean caught it immediately, a concerned frown replacing his grin.
"You okay? Is your head hurting? Do you want some painkillers?"
"What? No, no, my head's fine." Sam said, eyebrows raised. "Why, did I hit it when I passed out or something?"
"No, but when you used your psychic thing the last time, your head was all…" Dean fluttered his fingers in the air beside his own head. "Y'know. Bleeding, and stuff."
"Huh." Sam blinked, cocking his head to one side. The last time he'd faced off with the demon, his brain had been haemorrhaging and his eyes had been bleeding. He'd been wearing sunglasses for a week because sunlight brought on blinding headaches, and the doctors told him his blood pressure was so high he was in danger of a stroke. "I feel…fine. No headache. Not even a nosebleed." He met Dean's eyes, shrugging one shoulder. "Weird."
Dean's expression was a mix of concern and relief. "Yeah. Maybe you just got used to it? Like, immunity by exposure, or something."
"I dunno." Could you get immune to psychic abilities? Somehow Sam doubted it. He didn't even know exactly what he'd done, but it felt like something big. Something huge. It had been enough to hurt a fallen angel, and as far as they knew, nothing but the Colt could do that.
Dean stroked a thumb down the side of his neck, derailing his train of thought completely. With a smirk, Sam leaned forward to kiss him again, just because Dean was here and they were in love and he could. When he pulled away, Dean was fighting a losing battle with that sloppy grin.
"So, uh, what happened? After I passed out, I mean?" Sam asked.
"Not much. I killed the demon, we jumped in the truck, drove outta state and here we are. On the bed. Together." Dean leaned back in for another kiss.
Sam leaned away, his heart clenching tight. "The demon's dead? Are you sure this time? Is everyone okay? Are Margaret and the kids…"
Dean stroked a feather-light touch over Sam's cheek. "Hey, calm down, kiddo. The demon is dead. Shot the bastard myself." A smile pulled at his lips. "The job's done, Sammy."
Something in Sam broke free, and for the first time he felt unfettered. The one thing his entire life had been about, and it was done. There were no responsibilities weighting him down, nothing he had to do or worry about or research. His mom and Dean's mom and all the other mom's and families whose lives had been ruined, they'd all been avenged.
He was free.
Dean continued talking, a gentle smile on his face like he felt the same escape as Sam did. "And everyone's okay. The kids are pretty shook up, and I think Margaret hates us more than the damn demon did, but they're okay. Dad bought them the room next to us. Him and Caleb are in the room on the other side of them." He nodded at the wall with the finger-painting picture hanging on it. "By the way, you coulda told me you called Stephen."
"Stephen?" Sam's eyes went wide. "Stephen's here?"
"No, but apparently he got your email. Dad and Caleb got into some trouble with the demon's kids, and he sent some guys to get them out of it. He was the one who masterminded the whole rescue scheme at Missouri's."
For some reason, hearing that Stephen had come through for him, had worried about him, made tears prick at the back of Sam's eyes. Dean smiled like he could tell and continued talking in a softer voice. "I'm gonna have to think of some way to thank the guy. Maybe bake him a cake or something. Or buy him a pot plant. Isn't that what people do?"
Sam grinned, dizzy and high with a multitude of emotions. "I don't know about him, but I'd love to see you try to bake. Would you wear an apron?"
"Damn right. If you're real good, maybe I'll let you lick the spoon." Dean winked as he said it. Then his face turned bright red. "Uh, that is, the actual spoon, that I'd use, to mix the cake, not like…what you might have thought, if you were thinking…something."
Sam almost choked trying to hold back a laugh.
A knock on the door broke into their private little space, startling Sam and reminding him that there was a world outside. The rush of emotions faded a little, and he took a sudden deep breath.
Dean seemed just as reluctant to let anyone in as Sam was, but with a grunt he rolled off the bed, heading for the door.
John stood outside, shifting on his feet. He gave Sam a hesitant smile. "Hey, You're awake. How're you doin' kid? Feelin' okay?"
"Yeah, I feel fine."
"Sure? No headaches this time?" John asked, eyebrows raised.
Sam shook his head. "Nope. Everything seems okay. Dean said maybe I'm immune, after last time. And," he ducked his head, "Missouri, or rather the demon, did help me a bit with the psychic stuff."
John's gaze was aimed at the ground. "Yeah, about that. I…wanted to say sorry to you boys. I would never have sent you to her if I had any idea-"
"We know, dad." Dean interrupted, looking every bit as uncomfortable with the conversation as his father did. Sam hid a smile at how similar they looked. Not hard to guess where Dean got his serious-talk phobia, then.
"Well…I just wanted to make sure you boys were okay. And Stephen says he'll call you tomorrow morning, Sam." John nodded brusquely. "Margaret's taking off with the kids first thing tomorrow. She asked me to tell you not to…bother them before they go."
The implication behind John's careful words made Dean's mouth tighten, and Sam gathered that something had gone down between them while he was out of it. He couldn't say he was surprised; Margaret was like a lioness, fiercely protective of her children. But he'd have liked to say goodbye to Charlie. To tell him it wasn't his fault.
"Also, Caleb looked into those pills Missouri gave you." Sam looked up at that, his eyes darting between Dean and John.
"Uh, yeah. I, uh, had them on me. I wanted to make sure they weren't…addictive, or anything." Dean said, scratching at the back of his neck.
"Well, good news is they're not. Caleb says they seem to be some kind of synthetic relaxant. Probably to make Sam more susceptible to psychic manipulation."
"Oh." Sam bit his lip, feeling stupid. He'd taken the damn pills without even knowing what they were. He hadn't even asked. God, he thought he'd learnt by now; a familiar face didn't mean anything when it came to trust. Trust had to be earned.
As if he read Sam's thoughts, John said, "Don't worry about it, kiddo. Missouri was…she was a good person. I'd have believed what she told me, too." He coughed gruffly. "Well, that was it. We'll be off early tomorrow; I'll drop you boys off with Stephen so you can take some downtime."
"What about you, dad?" Dean asked, his forehead creasing. He took a step toward his father, his arms reaching out for the man like he could physically hold him back and then hesitated, like he hadn't meant to do it. "You're-you're not gonna stay, too?"
"There's a hunt in Colorado. Werewolf, I think."
Sam coughed and they both turned to look at him. "Uh…Sorry, I was just…there's a month 'til the next full moon. If you…if you wanted to stick around, Dean and I could come, help with it?"
Sam caught the spark of hope flaring in Dean's eyes before he hastily pulled a mask down over it. From the look on his face, John saw it too.
"I suppose." John coughed again, covering his mouth with his hand. "Anyway, I'll let you get back to…whatever you were doing. Seven sharp tomorrow." And with a manly pat to Dean's shoulder, John turned and left, closing the door behind him.
Dean turned back to Sam, trying to bite down on the grin pulling at one corner of his mouth. "He's really gonna stay. Huh."
Dean felt happy. Like, happy to such a degree it was almost unbearable.
He'd always thought that the expression 'bursting with happiness' was kind of stupid, but right then, standing over the bathroom sink, looking at a dead spider stuck to one of the black stains on the rim and listening to the alarming creaks the bed Sam was lying on in the next room made every time the kid moved a fraction, he really thought he might burst with happiness. The cynical part of himself said it was leftover adrenaline, the high of having survived buzzing through his veins. But Dean was damn well going to enjoy it anyway, even if it was followed by a crash of epic proportions.
The demon was dead, Sam was safe – Sam was safe, and he loved Dean – yeah, they still had obstacles to overcome, but for now…
For now, they were here.
Of course, that was the cue for the cynical voice to speak up again, a vicious hissing whisper that sent a thread of anger cutting through his elation.
Gareth was out there, somewhere. Gareth, who had touched the person Dean loved, so much he ached with it.
But Sam didn't want him to hunt Gareth down, he reminded himself. Sam asked him to promise.
Dean stared at his cell phone, the one John had pressed into his hand after helping to carry Sam into the motel room. Dean hadn't thought to ask where John had found it. Tim Rook's number was on the screen, and Dean's thumb hovered over the green call button.
"Dean? You okay?" Sam's voice was muffled through the door, but Dean could hear the slight shake to it. That crash was probably looming on the horizon for Sam, too.
"Yeah. Yeah, just a minute." Dean stared at the number for a second longer. He could do it, he could call Tim, find out where Gareth was. Stephen's place was a lot closer to Chicago than Lawrence. It would probably only be a days' drive to get there. And Sam would be safe with Stephen, John and Caleb watching over him.
Dean jumped, eyes flicking nervously over to the doorway. The kid was leaning against the doorframe, arms crossed over his chest and eyebrows raised high enough to be hidden behind his mop of hair.
"What are you doing?" Sam looked pointedly at the phone in Dean's hand.
"Uh, I was just…" He rubbed at the back of his neck, waving the cell phone in the air. "Just…checking. To see if I had any messages."
"Yeah. New voicemails, you know. Exciting." Dean tried a smile that fell flat. God, he was ruining everything already, crushing their new-found happiness with clumsy lies. He'd at least hoped to last one night without inadvertently pissing Sam off. He squeezed his eyes shut, letting out a heavy sigh. "Yeah, okay. Look, I…have something to tell you."
"Really? I'd never have guessed." Sam said, rolling his eyes. "I'm not gonna like this, am I?"
"Probably not." He swallowed, hard. "Uh. It's about…Gareth."
He peeked up at the kid, watching as Sam's face paled a little. "Oh. Uh, what about him?"
"I know you told me not to…do anything. But…I kinda did." It was hard to gauge Sam's reaction to his words; his face straightened into a blank mask immediately. But he'd started now, he had to finish. "I called someone my dad knows. Asked him to track Gareth down for me."
Dean cocked his head. "And…what?"
"Where is he?"
The kid's jaw clenched visibly. "Where, Dean?"
"It doesn't matter, okay? He's not anywhere near here, so it doesn't matter. You asked me not to do anything…and I'm not going to. I'm not going to break a promise to you, Sam. It means too much." As soon as Dean said it, he knew it was true. Even if it meant letting Gareth go. Hell, even if Sam asked him to cut off his own leg to prove himself, he'd do it.
Sam wasn't saying anything. The kid's gaze was set on the dirty mirror above the sink, a familiar set to his jaw that Dean knew from hours of bitch-fits that resolved themselves in shy I'm sorry smiles and tentative touches. Hopefully this would end up the same.
But Sam didn't start shouting. Instead, he swallowed hard, adam's apple jumping with the movement. When he met Dean's eyes, the anger he was expecting wasn't there. "I…have something to tell you, too. Uh, before, when…when I called my dad. I did it because," he sucked in a loud breath, "Because I remembered something. About Gareth."
When Sam didn't elaborate, Dean prompted him. "What did you remember?"
"When I was a kid," Sam's eyes met Dean's and then skittered away fast, "Gareth…I think he tried to…do what he tried in the alleyway. But my dad got there before he could and beat the crap out of him. I'm not sure, not a hundred per cent, anyway. So I called my dad. If it did happen, then he'd be the only one who'd be able to tell me."
Sam let out a shaky sigh that fluttered his bangs, peeking up at Dean like he was expecting him to start hitting things. And Dean wanted to, god, he wanted to. But that wasn't what Sam needed, not now.
The surprise on Sam's face when he was suddenly enveloped in a hug was almost worth the monumental effort of pushing away that searing anger. Then Sam started hugging Dean back, and he thought that anything would be worth it if he could keep this.
Sam lay on his back, eyes half-closed, letting himself enjoy the warm weight of Dean's arm wrapped protectively over his chest. The older man had fallen asleep a while ago.
A flicker of headlights passed through the room, lighting up the thin patterned curtains closed over the window. The light was accompanied by the rumble of a big rig, probably stopping over at the McDonald's across the highway. It made Sam smile, think this is home.
It also made him wonder what state the Impala might be in.
Dean had freaked the hell out when he realised he didn't have his car, and Sam had to duck into the bathroom to hide his laughter when the older man started openly praying to the Chevy gods that he'd be faithful, honest and true if only they'd give him his car back. It had taken waking up John with a phone call in the middle of the night, and then a sprint to John and Caleb's room in his underwear – because apparently Dean needed to 'see it in their eyes' before he'd believe it – to confirm that the Impala was okay. Apparently the car had been found abandoned a few miles from Missouri's house. It had been taken to an impound lot in town, and only Stephen's deft computer skills had saved it from the crusher. Dean had been clutching his chest when he heard that. But after being reassured – many, many times – that the car was safe and on its way to South Dakota, where John knew a guy who owned a salvage yard, Dean finally calmed down enough to go to bed. Sam didn't dare bring up his concerns about paint-scratches or worse, otherwise Dean would probably insist on going to get his beloved car right there and then, even if it meant he had to walk to South Dakota.
Despite his panic, the older man had passed out almost as soon as his head hit the pillow. His body still knew what it was supposed to be doing though; looking after Sam. Dean had an arm wrapped tight around his chest, a leg thrown over both of Sam's and his nose pressed into the hair behind Sam's ear. Every time Sam shifted, Dean's face would crease into a frown and he'd make a tiny whining sound in the back of his throat, both arms pulling Sam back securely against him.
It was comforting. Peaceful.
Of course, that was when Dean's phone started ringing.
Dean shot out of bed like he was under attack, groping for the knife he usually kept under his pillow. It wasn't there, mainly because Sam thought something like this might happen, and he didn't want to accidentally get stabbed on his way back from the bathroom.
"Wha…" Dean slurred, his mouth clearly still half-asleep.
Sam sat up on the bed, pointing to the table where the cell phone was doing a flashing-vibrating dance to 'Paint It Black'. Dean grunted something that may have been a thank you and slumped down in the hard wooden chair beside the table, rubbing a hand across his face as he flicked the phone open.
There was a long pause as whoever was on the other end of the call spoke. Sam cocked his head, curious as Dean suddenly went still, his eyes stretched wide and awake.
"What the… Are you sure? Je-sus Christ."
"What?" Sam asked, swinging his legs over the side of the bed. Dean met his eyes, held up one hand in a wait a sec gesture, his expression inscrutable as he listened to the person on the phone.
Apparently whatever was going down was big. Big enough to make Sam's heart rate quicken, anyway. He closed his eyes, leaning forward to press his head into his hands. Couldn't they catch a break? Just one night off, one night to be them, without anything else to worry about. One night for Sam to focus on the fact that Dean said he loved him, and Sam said it back, and they didn't have anything breaking down the door trying to kill them.
A loud click told Sam that Dean had hung up. With trepidation, he looked over, meeting the other man's eyes. "What was that about?"
Dean opened his mouth, working on words without sound for a second. Then he snapped it shut, sucking in a long breath before trying again. "Uh, Sam… I don't know how to tell you this, but…"
"But?" Sam crossed the room and fell to his knees in front of Dean with one swift movement. "What is it, Dean? You're scaring me."
Amazingly, the corner of Dean's mouth twitched in a brief smile. It faded just as fast, like it wasn't sure it should really be there. "That was my dad's friend, Tim Rook. The one I called…about Gareth. He was calling to tell me there was no need to go after him anymore."
Sam's heart thudded to a sudden halt, then picked up double-time. "What?"
Dean stroked a gentle hand through Sam's bangs. "Sam, Gareth's dead. He was murdered last night."
It took a second for the words to sink in, and then Sam was reeling back on his heels. He lost his balance, flopping ungracefully onto his ass on the floor. He looked up at Dean with wide eyes. He knew he was probably wearing the expression of a lost little boy, and god, he felt like one.
Gareth was dead?
"How…" He could barely form the questions in his own mind, let alone force them into speech.
And then Dean's mouth curled into a sharp smile, feral as a wild dog. "The police are treating it as a torture-for-information deal, because he was so messed up when they found him. But this guy, Tim Rook, he got someone to check around after they'd gone. He found a photograph. A picture of a woman named Rose Miller, holding a baby."
It felt as if someone had pulled the bottom out of Sam's stomach. "My-my mom?"
"Your mom." Dean said with a short nod.
"Do-do you think…my dad…"
Dean nodded again, considering. "Maybe."
"Huh." Sam said stupidly.
Dean stood up, reaching a hand out to Sam. He took it in a daze, letting himself be pulled to his feet. He stumbled forward with the momentum, Dean's arms wrapping around his waist.
"Hey," Dean whispered, lips brushing his cheek softly, "you okay?"
Sam swallowed, dizzied and confused by the riot of colourful emotions swirling around his head like a kaleidoscope. They faded at the press of Dean's mouth to his, faded back into insignificance. Right now, the most important thing in the world was standing in front of him, holding him, kissing him.
As if he heard Sam's thoughts, Dean smiled, tapping their foreheads together gently. "Hey. Love you, kiddo."
Sam smiled back. "Love you, too."
Dean pulled him into another brief kiss that lingered, and Sam felt the sigh against his wet lips. Everything they'd been through, everything their lives had been about, and they were finally done.
Tomorrow would be a whole new life.