The car ride home was silent.
Neither of them spoke, there was no music, no cheering, nothing. Sam sat and stared at the road, watching the trees go by, looking at the rows of houses.
Dean let them into the house, key loud in the lock.
The light made the whole place look cosy, warm, welcoming. Dean turned on the fire and put the coffee pot on. The scent of coffee permeated the air and Sam's mouth watered.
He sat down on the sofa and put his head in his hands. He took a breath, big and clear, chest no longer rattling, no pain. He could feel himself shaking, his throat tight. Tears, sudden and unexpected, trickled through the gap in his fingers.
"Sammy…" Dean dropped to his knees beside his brother, "Sammy, when did you ever do what dad told you?"
Sam barked out a laugh then, strangled and wet and more tears came. Dean moved nearer, his arms coming up and around Sam's shoulders, pulling him in, pulling him closer.
"I can't quite believe it Dean," Sam sounded hoarse now, not the harshness from his illness but stark disbelief, "can't quite believe that we have actually caught a break."
"Believe it Sam," Dean's voice was gentle, filled with hope, "believe it."
Sam was silent for a long, long time. Then he lifted his head and stared at Dean, eyes wide and wondering.
"What are we going to do now?" Was all he said.
Sam lay on his back, staring at the ceiling. He couldn't sleep at all, his mind whirling with everything that had happened.
He was better, the cancer was gone, he was going to live.
All his life he had wanted to believe in miracles, wanted to believe in a higher power. Now he felt as if he had proof of it and he didn't know quite how to handle that knowledge. He had seen demons sure, angels as well, but this, this was different, this was something personal.
He turned over, pulling the sheets up around his chin. He felt warm, cosy, safe. He could hear Dean breathing in the bed across from his, his brother's presence comforting to him, the only thing he needed, the only thing he had ever needed.
They were home and safe and Sam wanted it to stay that way. He wanted to stay here in Lawrence, maybe go back to school, get a job, perhaps even meet someone. He wanted that for Dean too, a life away from hunting, from death and hell and destruction. Sam had already had one miracle and he hoped, prayed that there was room in his life for one more.
"So," Dean smacks a huge plate of eggs and bacon in front of Sam, "how do you feel about getting back on the road again?"
It has been a week, just a week, since Sam got the good news and already Dean is twitching to be up and away. Sam is glad to see his brother so happy, so carefree but – but he feels tense, twitchy, worried.
Thing is, he doesn't WANT to get back on the road again. He has found his peace, found his home, found his miracle. He just wants to go on sharing it.
"Sam?" Dean's voice is soft, "you ok?"
"Yeah," he prods a piece of bacon with his fork, his eyes fixed to his plate, "yeah – I'm fine."
"No pain?" Dean is concerned now and Sam can see it in his eyes, see his brother's worry.
"I'm fine Dean," Sam forces a smile because, physically, he's great, better than fine, fantastic in fact, "I'm fine, the cancer is gone and it isn't coming back, so stop worrying."
"You just don't look fine Sammy," Dean squeezes his shoulder, hand warm through Sam's thin tee, "you look kinda – well – spaced out."
"Do you like it here Dean?" Sam feels the words leave his mouth before he has the chance to recall them and he sees Dean's eyes narrow a little, his mouth opening and closing.
"Yeah – I do Sam – I rented it for us – made it home for us – of course I like it."
"Then why are you in such a god-damned keen to leave?" Sam doesn't mean to sound so angry but it comes out of him like that, an explosion of words and Dean steps back, his hand sliding from Sam's shoulder.
"I – hunting – it – what – I mean – what else is there Sam?"
"There's normal," Sam swallows, the lump in his throat huge and painful, "there's safe."
"We are safe Sam," Dean spoke as if he were calming a skittish animal, "old Yellow eyes is dead, I'm outta hell, you're alive and we have all the time in the world."
"Not if we keep hunting Dean," Sam swallowed again, tears pricking his lashes, salty and hot, "one day, one day something is gonna take one of us out and then the other is gonna be alone again – and Dean – fuck – I can't go through that again, I can't and I won't."
Dean stared at Sam, his eyes bright and he grinned, watery but warm.
"You quittin' on me Sam?" he said.
"Looks that way," Sam murmured with a smile.