A/N: Title is from an obscure movie quote (the quote, maybe not the movie so much) anyone who gets the quote (said by, which film) will get a fancy piece of art or a ficlet.

A/N II: Since reading the spoilers out of ComicCon—or rather the "where we pick up" I could not get this out of my mind, and since they were being brats and said I couldn't have a chapter of Gifts until I wrote this, I gave in. So, spoilers for the season premiere or, um rather the hiatus or... huh... how would I phrase that? Also warnings for bad word. Just one.

Disclaimer: Supernatural is the property of Kripke et al, and quoted lyrics belong to Eric Clapton.

With Nothing to Say, Just Checking

The soft evening light filled the backyard, the scent of dinner washing over Dean as he leaned back in his chair. He had meant to grill something, but it had been a long day at work and had decided against it. Taking a sip of beer, he listened to the sound around him, the stupid birds that had a nest in the vent were chirping away, the damn things drove him nuts, but he really didn't have the heart to do anything about moving the nest until they were finished with it.

The deep rumbling noise of a car on the street out front made his breath catch—it was a big block eight, purring down the road. Probably Matteo and his '66 Catalina on the way to Kelly's for the weekly classic car gathering. When Matteo had seen the Impala he'd invited Dean, but Dean declined for the same reason the rumbling of the engine took his breath. That aching, throbbing hole in his chest that never went away. The grief that still colored his life, sometimes rising to the top, but always there like background music, like the empty passenger seat in the Impala.

"I miss you, Sammy," he said to no one, watching the bird stop and stare at him, before it went back to tugging the straw out of the strawberry pot.

His phone vibrating on the table beside him caused him to start and grab it before it vibrated itself right onto the ground. He'd lost two phones that way. Picking it up, he frowned at the phone for a moment before answering. "Yeah?"

"Dean?" a warm voice asked.

"Father Ken?" Dean smiled. He hadn't heard from the priest in a while, in fact he'd been meaning to call him for a long time. The man was calm in the face of any storm. He'd offered Dean and Sam sanctuary years before when Dean had rescued Sam from a horrific foster home and the man had kept track of them since.

"How are you, Dean? I heard you quit hunting." The priest sounded concerned, even worried, for a moment Dean thought he heard an odd echo on the phone.

"Really? Who told you?"

"A hunter came by, looking for help, he said you were out of the game."

"Yep. Who was it?"

"I never thought you would quit. Why did you?" Father Ken continued as if Dean hadn't spoken.

"I promised."

"Sam?"

"Yeah, he made me promise," Dean said sadly.

"Of course he did," Father Ken said gently. "And how are you, Dean? You never answered."

"I..." Dean paused. His heart ached with the loss of his brother, and he knew the pain would never be gone, but he also knew that hunting wouldn't take the pain away. Knowing he was keeping his promise did help, it felt like Sam was still there in a way. Dean even imagined him there sometimes, sharing a beer and his brother laughing at him about his domesticity.

"Dean?"

"I... I'm good, Father Ken."

"You are? And happy?"

Dean could hear Ben's bright laughter in answer to something Lisa had said. There was something about the tone that reminded him of Sam. I miss you, little brother, so fucking much, sometimes I think it will kill me. Still, this is what you wanted, and I am honoring that. "Yeah, yeah, I guess I am."

"That's good."

"Why did you call?"

"I told you, a hunter came by and said you were out of the life. I wanted to make sure you were okay."

"Dean, dinner's ready," Lisa called from the kitchen.

"I am okay," he said with a smile.

"You keep in touch, understand?"

"Yeah, I will. Father..." Dean stopped himself. "Never mind. I'll call in a couple of weeks to check in." He broke the connection and stood, with a last glance around the yard, he headed into the kitchen.

X X X

Ken punched the "speaker off" button on the phone and turned to the man lying in the bed. The bandages would need changing again very soon, they were already dark with the blood and pus draining from the probably fatal wounds.

"Thank you," Sam said softly, his eyes still on the phone.

"Sam, you need to..."

"What? Tell him I'm not dead long enough for him to stop by in time burn my bones?" He sighed and shook his head. "No, you heard him..." Sam smiled gently, Ken knew the smile, it was the one that was only bestowed on the elder Winchester. "He's good, happy."

"You are more than likely dying, Sam, you..."

"NO!" Sam said, then groaned in pain. "No, he deserves his happiness, his family."

"You are family."

"Yeah, but I'm dead, and I want him to have this. I made him promise, but I promised myself too, that he could be happy. Rest. He has been... tired..." Sam paused on the word, it was obviously a euphemism for something else. "He has been tired since right after dad died. He told me, he wanted out of the life then, and that was before everything. He's done so much for me, I can give him this."

"And if you recover, what then?"

"Same thing as before," Sam said softly, letting his eyes close.

"What, like John? Calling and hanging up to hear his voice, driving by to check on him but never saying anything?"

"Yes." Sam smiled for some reason. "With nothing to say, just checking." He laughed softly before slipping into sleep.

Three Weeks Later

Dean stepped out of the coffee shop, automatically checking the street and the sidewalks before heading to his truck. Years of habit died hard. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted a black car. He thought he'd seen it before once or twice. He'd written off the seeming familiarity, it was just someone who lived in the area, nothing more sinister.

The window on the car was cracked, but the sun on the dark windows blocked the driver from view. Dean could hear the music coming from the car. Cheesy Eric Clapton, still, as the lyrics played in his head he swallowed hard and scrubbed a hand across his face. "Of course I would, Sammy," he said to his coffee and walked to the truck, as he opened the door, the car drove by, then was gone, the last of the song drifting behind it.

...Beyond the door
There's peace I'm sure.
And I know there'll be no more...
Tears in heaven

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Will it be the same
If I saw you in heaven ?
I must be strong, and carry on
Cause I know I don't belong
Here in heaven