A/N: I absolutely loved the season finale (and man did it make me cry) but I'm PISSED. I have nothing against Lisa, and I completely understand why Dean did it, but I hate that he's playing house with the woman. It's just not right and I intend to fix it. Also, sorry for my lame title, I was at a loss.

Disclaimer: Obviously, I own nothing. If I did, there would've been a much happier ending to season 5 with HUGS, damn it!

Warnings: SPOILERS, angst (but of the happy variety), brief language, lack of beta, and shortness.


It's the last place he wants to be: at a dinner table that isn't his and never will be, with a family that at some point he wanted but no longer thinks he can have. It isn't that he doesn't care about them. He wasn't lying when he told Lisa that when he pictures himself happy, she and Ben are in that picture. It's just that Sam is always in that picture too. But Sam's gone and he isn't coming back this time.

He takes another drink of the bourbon that Lisa poured for him and takes comfort in the burn that slides down his throat, while ignoring the other kind of burn that builds behind his eyes. Crying over an invisible gateway to hell or in Bobby's Salvage Yard is one thing, but crying in front of Lisa and Ben is another.

But it's more than he can handle, thinking of Sammy locked in a box in hell with Lucifer and Michael. If it weren't for the goddamn promise he made, he'd be knocking down angelic doors, making sure that Sam came out of that box in one piece. That or he'd be eating one of his own bullets because pressing on without Sam, trying to hunt alone again, is not an option. But he did promise and he doesn't break promises to Sam. That's one thing that hasn't changed over the years and through all the hell they've been through, he still has the hardest time saying "no" to his younger brother. If he had just said no, he wouldn't be sitting here, trying desperately to act like he's fine.

He's not fine. He doesn't think he'll ever be fine again. Sure, he knows with time it won't hurt as bad, but there will never be a moment in his life from now on when he won't miss his brother. Every day from today he'll be willing and ready to do anything to get him back. And make no mistake if there was any chance that he could yank Sam out of the pit, he'd do it in a heartbeat.

"Mashed potatoes?"

Lisa's voice snaps him out of replaying the day's events for the seventy-fifth time, and he looks at the large bowl she's handing to him. It only takes three seconds for him to pull on his game face and to mask out most of the pain that he's feeling. Between their dad dying and coming back from hell, he's had too much practice at it over the years. It's a routine Dean wishes he didn't have to fall into again.

He takes the glass bowl from her, it's still warm, bordering on hot, as he dishes out the contents. Just as he goes to pass it to Ben, he feels it. He must look freaked out because Lisa stops eating, and stares at him with obvious concern.

"Dean, you ok?" Lisa asks as her hand lands on Dean's arm.

Dean can't find it in him to answer her. There's always been this thing between him and Sam, this weird connection that Dean would swear was psychic if he didn't know any better. Hell, knowing his family it damn well might be psychic. It's always been there, growing stronger as they grew older. It's the thing that always knows if Sam's in trouble or if he's close by, it's the thing that tightens when Sam's in pain. He's sure that most siblings have some variation of this connection but his and Sam's trumps them all. It might have something to do with the fact that they've both killed and died for each other. Or it might be because they've lived in each other's pockets for years. Dean likes to think it's just because they're Winchesters.

Whatever it is, Dean feels it, tingling and pulling at his spine. But it's not possible because Sam's dead, locked in a cage in hell with two deranged archangels. It's just not possible.

"Dean?" Lisa asks again, her hand tightening on his arm as she becomes more concerned.

Is it possible? God brought Cas back, Cas brought Bobby back, maybe…maybe someone did the same for Sam?

"Dean!" Lisa actually shakes him this time and Dean starts, finally giving her his attention.

"What?" He asks and mentally curses and how broken his voice sounds.

Lisa frowns, "Are you alright? You looked really out of it…like you'd seen a ghost or something," she says, finishing with a small, uncomfortable laugh.

Dean sighs and runs a hand over his face, looking forward again, "Yeah, I'm…"

He freezes, blinks, and feels his stomach tighten with nerves and disbelief, "Sammy?"

He's losing his marbles like Martin Creaser did. It's the only explanation. First with the Sammy Alarm and now, out the window, he thinks he can see him. Across the street there's a freakishly tall and broad silhouette, complete with the outline of his girly hair. Dean can see it, like Sam's really there. But something in his chest pulls hard and he knows, just knows in his very soul that Sam's standing right outside. It's not a hallucination or a trick of light. Dean's just knows it.

He's pushing away from the dining table and is out the door in seconds, not stopping even as Lisa shouts for him. He pauses briefly on the porch, making sure Sam's still there. He can actually see the shift Sam makes in his weight, the tell-tale sign that he's uncomfortable or nervous, and that's all Dean needs to see before he's sprinting across the yard. He comes to a stop in front of Sam and he takes a second to run his gaze over his younger brother, looking for injuries, or for something to tell him that Sam is actually Sam.

Sam's lips quirk in a small smile and he opens his mouth to say something, but Dean doesn't let him. He pulls his younger brother into a tight hug, almost sobbing in relief when Sam doesn't dematerialize underneath him like a mirage. Sam immediately hugs him back just as fiercely and Dean allows some of the tears he's been holding back to fall freely. He doesn't care that Lisa's standing on the porch staring at them, he doesn't even care about how Sam came back or who's responsible, he just cares that he's here.

He finally pulls back but keeps his hands on Sam's arms, just so that he can look at him. Sam's grinning, with wetness shining in his eyes under the dim lighting of the night. His expression is reflecting everything he's thinking, things like, 'we did it,' and 'I promise, I'm not really dead, it's ok.'

In that moment, Dean doesn't care about the how or why Sam's back, he just cares that he is. He knows that as long as they're together, kickin' ass and taking names, then nothing else is important. It's just them, all they have left. Just Sam and Dean Winchester. Dean glances back at the house he just exited and knows that he wouldn't have it any other way.

A/N: Errr…yeah, that's it. You like? It's nothing epic, but I really feel like Dean would fricken notice Sam just chilling there outside. For various reasons, I left alone all the plot holes and questions that Kripke left for us, so that light flicker above Sam at the end? I'm disregarded it…along with the rather pissed off expression Sam had. I just want it to be happy, ok? Give me a break.
*Amendment: After re-watching the episode on my laptop (therefore with a better, much closer view) I'd have to agree with my reviewers. Sam doesn't necessarily look mad (though I swear, I can still see some anger in there), he looks...torn? Sad? I don't know, it's a hard look to decode. Thanks to everyone who has read, reviewed and favorited so far!