"Ha! Your ass is so mine," Dean chortled as he reved up the engine to the Impala.

"Laugh it up," Sam said dryly, settling comfortably into the front seat. It felt like he'd never been gone.

"Hey, the doc did say that they were releasing you to my care. That they didn't feel you were dangerous, just that you needed continued therapy to work out your 'dillusions', and they felt that I could safely handle your 'issues'." Dean grinned. "Not like I haven't been doing that since day 1," he groused. But the grin was still plastered on his face was a dead giveaway. It was still there as he turned to back out of the snowy parking spot.

Sam had to admit the reality of that. "But I still say it would have been easier to break me out than go through all this."

"Dude, did you have a plan for getting out when you got in? It ain't that easy."

"Come on, Dean. An orderly's uniform, a stolen ID? Please."

Dean looked at him thoughtfully, then shook his head dismissively. "Nope, they'd notice a sasquatch anywhere. You'd never make it. And besides, what's with you and the costumes again?"

Sam just rolled his eyes and looked back at the retreating building. He'd never win with Dean, especially with him as gleeful as he clearly was today. A part of Sam was warmed to the core by the obvious delight (in his own way) his brother was showing at Sam's return.

"And dude. 'Sam Addams'? Couldn't you at least have picked a decent beer? Like, maybe, Sam Corona? I had to go in there being Dean Addams. How wussy is that?"

Sam laughed in spite of himself. He had really missed Dean. Time had blunted the sharp edges of the guilt and knowledge of all he'd done, but the problems were still there, lurking. But he felt like maybe he could actually face them now, especially since it didn't appear he'd being doing it alone. And it looked as though his brother wasn't feeling so raw either.

"I meant what I said, Sammy," Dean said seriously.

Sam turned in surprise at the change in tone. They were now rolling down the highway. Sam had apparently been musing for sometime. He raised his eyebrows in question.

"Trust is an issue, and will need to be earned. But it isn't like I don't need to earn your trust back either. We can do this." He turned and looked at Sam. "Right?"

Sam nodded firmly. "Right." He truly believed that now. After a week of talking to Dean in the controlled environment of the hospital had proven that to him. It would be good to talk openly again, but he'd learned enough even through the double speak. And actions spoke louder than words. Even though Sam had admitted himself to the hospital, Dean was concerned enough about him to use Dr. Wilson's knowledge and the hospital itself to asertain for himself that Sam was truly ready to re-enter the fight instead of just busting him out. Frankly, it wouldn't have been that hard to get out, no matter what Dean said. Only a Winchester would do that. How screwed up was that?

"Oh, I have something for you."

Sam turned as Dean fished something out of his back pocket and tossed it onto Sam's lap without looking away from the road.

Looking down in shock, Sam saw his wallet. With shaking fingers, he opened it, and saw his engraved money clip, id and emergency cards, and the pictures he'd discarded.

"Weapons are in the trunk."

Sam looked at his brother's profile in amazement. Dean had literally followed his footsteps, miticulously picking up the tiny pieces of his life. putting them back together and holding them until Sam was ready to take them back. Even as angry and disappointed in him as Dean had been at that moment. Sam didn't need the months he'd just spent emersed in psychology to tell him the symbolism of that.

"It's no big deal, Sam," Dean said defensively, still not looking away from the road.

Sam knew better. 'Thanks, Dean," he said quietly, putting all the emotion he could into those two words. Relief, graditude, and all the rest.

A tick in Dean's cheek was all Sam needed to see. Message received.

Quiet reigned for a few moments before Dean spoke with studied casualness. "Cas said to head north after I picked you up. We're supposed to meet up with Ellen and Bobby."

Sam looked at him in surprise. "Cas knows you were picking me up?"

Dean snorted and looked sideways at him. "Dude. Angel?"

Sam huffed in amusement. "Right. Well, north it is."

Rooting for the maps, Sam knew they were heading immediately back to the fight. Trust was still an issue, as was the phone message Dean had left. But they both had said things they didn't mean, and done some pretty terrible things. But they were brothers, and they were stronger together than apart.

So, the apoclypse? Bring it.