AN: I always felt like I ended this story too abruptly so I wanted to bring some closure to the series. Thanks to all those who read and reviewed. I have started a new Supernatural story called Lineage so if you have the time and interest, please check it out and let me know what you think.
Jack watched silently as Sam threw his duffel into the trunk of the Impala. The boys had returned to Kentucky three days earlier to regroup as much as to recuperate. While Sam seemed to have no lasting physical symptoms (other than the healing knife wound), he had been plagued by nightmares. He didn't remember a lot of the past couple of months but he knew that he had slipped over the edge - and somehow his brothers, both his brothers had pulled him back.
Dean watched Sam closely, almost as if he was afraid to turn away, fearing if he did, Sam would disappear. He was watching from beside the car as Sam moved in front of Jack and pulled the younger man into a bear hug.
Holding his brother close, Sam mumbled, "I don't know what to say man. Thanks doesn't really seem to be enough."
Jack smiled even as his eyes watered. "You being here is enough."
Sam pulled back, grasping Jack's upper arms hard, searching his face. "You sure you don't want to . . ."
"I'm sure. I mean I'm a year out from graduation. I should go ahead and finish it. Besides, me being here doing the research frees you guys up to do the job. It also gives y'all a home base to work from. One which I hope you will use, a lot. You know, at least at the holidays."
Sam smiled, nodding with understanding and gratitude. A home base was something the Winchester's had never really had.
Sam pulled out of the embrace, saying, "Okay - but you email me and let me know how classes are going. And you can text me anytime for anything. or call . .. "
Jack started laughing at Sam' Mother Hen act. "Yes sir, I'll stay in touch and be home by ten and eat my green vegetables."
Sam smiled chagrined and climbed into the passenger side.
Jack turned to face his eldest brother. Things had been strained since the "episode" and Jack didn't really know how to bridge the distance - but he wanted to.
But before he could find the words he wanted to say, Dean cleared his throat and said, "You know I don't do teary goodbyes . .. "
Fearing this may be his last chance to repair the relationship with his eldest brother, Jack said hurriedly, "Listen, Dean. I'm sorry I didn't tell you . . ."
Dean shook his ruefully. "Don't. Just don't/." Dean heaved a sigh, unsure of what to say. "You know, what I said . . . I didn't mean . . ."
Jack cut him off, knowing he had made Dean uncomfortable. "That's okay, you . . ."
However, Dean stepped forward, his gaze intense. "No, it's NOT okay. I should have known you wouldn't . . . you couldn't. . . . I should have known."
"You weren't thinking straight. None of us were." Jack replied, relieved that it didn't seem as if Dean was going to stay mad.
"Still," Dean reached around and cupped the back of Jack's neck. "You did great. And I'm proud to be your big brother." Dean pulled Jack to him roughly, giving him a one armed hug. The tears Jack had been holding back cut loose and Jack returned the hug fiercely.
Dean cleared his throat again, stepping back to release his youngest brother. Pulling out his keys, he opened the driver side door. "You be careful." Dean warned.
Jack smiled indulgently. "The house is completely warded and all the openings are salted."
Dean gave Jack his best 'devil may care' grin. "No, I mean those sorority girls . . . Man they will kill you." Dean waggled his eyebrows for effect and then climbed into the car. The Impala's engine roared to life and Dean pulled out of the driveway.
Heading down the oak lined street, Sam looked straight ahead for a minute before looking over at Dean. "He'll be okay, right."
Dean smiled. There was nothing he could do to keep Sam from worrying about Jack. Afterall, he was a big brother and that's big brothers do. However, for the sake of conversation, Dean replied, "Of course, he will."
Sam sighed. "And Thanksgiving is really not that far off. . ."
Dean smiled. "Nope . . . Just right around the corner," he answered as he reached over to switch on the radio, Led Zepplin filling the car.