AN: Whee!! *sings* It's my birthday and I'll squee if I want to, squee if I want to, squee if I want to…Okay, is my homage to the song that was playing in the episode "Ghostfacers" (Leslie Gore's "It's My Party") not working?
Whatever. So here's the last installment of my birthday self-challenge fic. I will probably be Jossed by the end of the season. Actually, I think I already have been. Oh well. Enjoy.
Twenty: The Man Who Laughed In The Face Of Death
"You are talking to a man who has laughed in the face of death, sneered at doom and chuckled at catastrophe…I was petrified." —The Wizard from "The Wizard of Oz"
Sam stood next to his brother and checked his gun over. Dean was bent over the trunk sorting the weapons he wanted to use in this fight from the things he didn't need.
"Dean?" His voice rasped, dry like the landscape all around them. He cleared his throat and tried again. "Hey."
The sandy head turned. Dean squinted up at his tall brother and grated out, "Yeah, Sam?" The older man sounded as tired as he looked. He looked as weary as he felt. He felt as exhausted as a man who was at the end of his rope would feel. They both were running on fumes. Lucifer had been wreaking havoc for months now and they'd been trying to clean up the mess and stay out of his way at the same time.
Sam had been looking rather the worse for the wear recently, Dean thought as he checked his brother over out of habit. Tired, depressed, bone-weary. Just like he was. In addition, Dean now acknowledged with a sigh, for the past thirty sleep-deprived hours, the younger man had been sporting that pinched look he got when he was thinking too hard. That was never a good thing.
Sam took a deep breath and let it out slowly to calm his nerves. "You scared?" he asked, eyes staring down at his dusty boots, as worn and stained and beaten down as their wearer.
Needless to say, the question took Dean by surprise. The Winchester men were not prone to talking about feelings a whole lot, and especially not about fear. Still, this battle was something Dean knew they probably wouldn't walk out of alive, or at least unscathed, so he tried to answer as best he could.
"I'd be an idiot if I wasn't, Sammy," he sighed, opting to tell the truth. He turned and sat on the Impala's bumper. Then he smiled and glanced up at Sam. "But then you are always telling me that I am one." The lines fanning out from his eyes crinkled around the eloquent gaze.
Sam swallowed and nodded. Damn, if even Dean was admitting that he was scared, then it meant he thought this was the end. At least it meant Sam wasn't alone in that at least. They were both in it together. He sat down next to his brother, brushing the sleeve of his hoodie up against the leather jacket, and threw the ball back in Dean's corner. "That's because you are for not leaving me when you had the chance," he mumbled to the ground. This mess was all his fault.
Dean shook his head. "No, Sammy, no. Don't you start that again." Sam opened his mouth to argue but got a rough hand held up in his face for his trouble. "Shut up, Sam. You're my brother and as many times as I've threatened to leave your ass, when have I really ever done it?" With one eyebrow raised, he looked a little like the cocky, teenaged brother who used to tell Sam dirty jokes, and a little bit like one of the weary soldiers in old war portraits with the haunted look of battle in their black-and-white eyes and a sad almost-smile. He looked like Dean Winchester, circa 2010, warrior for humanity.
Serious green eyes bore into right side of Sam's face, making him uncomfortable. He tried to cover up the big sniff that wanted to make its way out of his nose. "But that still makes you an idiot for not leaving me when you had the chance," he said flippantly, trusting his little brother status to turn the insult into a tease. "A short, loveable idiot." He quirked a smile at his brother.
Sensing that the serious moment was over between the two of them, Dean bumped his shoulder against Sam's and retorted, "I'm not short. You're just freakishly tall. And I already know that I'm loveable. Women love me." He grinned boastfully at Sam, his eyes creasing up at the corners. Affection shone unchecked from his face.
Before Sam could think of a witty rejoinder, Bobby came out of the broken-down old cabin they'd holed up in last night. "You girls done flirtin'?" he growled amiably. "Good. Get yer asses in gear. We got work to do." He flung his the last of their things into the open trunk.
The boys' eyes met again, after flicking over to the old hunter. With identical grins, they hopped off of the bumper. Dean slammed the trunk shut and fished in his pocket for the keys. "Sammy wouldn't know flirting if it kicked him in the perskeeter," he said cheekily.
Sam's comeback was a silent one as he slipped into the Impala; he flipped a bird at his brother.
Bobby chuckled and sighed, sneaking a long glance at the men the two Winchester boys had become. They were both tall, loveable idjits. And he, Robert Steven Singer, was proud to fight alongside them in this final battle between good and evil.
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AN: Wow, last one. This has been a great end-of-summer project. I loved doing it.
Shout-out thanks to: raceh8(lots of other random numbers, lol), Toast_Winchester, hachoo, Mrs_Max_McDowell, lynxzpanther, UpstairsMind, parinumal7, .x, enviousxbeauty, Janakie, TJ_Sparkles, QuierdoMusic, and oh dear, if I named everyone who reviewed, I'd be going on forever. Thanks to everyone who's stuck with me this far. Later!