Sam looked at her expectantly, and June bit her lip, trying hard to come up with the correct answer.
"I'm thinking," June pressed out. She looked at the picture again, projected against the wall of their living room; three tiny puppies, looking at her with doe eyes. "Um… cute?"
Sam sighed patiently, "And what does it make you feel?"
June looked at the picture again. Nothing. "That I'm a cat person?"
"When I showed you cats, you said you were a dog person."
"Well, maybe I'm a goldfish person."
Sam pressed a button on the remote and another picture showed, this one of a crying child.
"Alright, I take it this one ought to appeal to my deeply rooted mother instincts."
"If you want to take it that far." Sam shrugged, leaned back and reached for his beer. "Alternatively, it could just appeal to your basic human instinct."
"Alright, fine." June thought hard on what it should make her feel.
"Don't think, June, feel."
"Hey, how'd you-"
"You have those two lines between your brows when you think." Sam grinned, which earned him a playful punch to his side and a kiss from June.
"Okay, fine. I feel… pity. And kind of want to help the kid."
"We're getting somewhere," Sam smiled, kissed the top of her head and skipped to the next image. It was a monkey.
"Eeeew, eeeew, next one, next one!" June screeched and buried her face in Sam's chest, draping his arm over her.
He chuckled quietly. "It's just a monkey, sweetheart."
"You know I hate them! They scare me, dammnit. Skip to the next one!"
"Ah, getting to healthy fear, good."
"If you're not playing nice, I'll put on a clown suit."
"That's an acknowledged phobia."
"So is mine." June whined, still not diving up from under Sam's arm. "Is it gone?"
"Yes, darling, you can look again."
June sceptically opened one eye first, and when she indeed found the monkey gone, let out a relieved sigh.
"You're kind of cute when you're scared."
"I'm always cute." She batted her eyelashes at him.
"Debatable. There are moments when you're sexy."
"Those better outweigh the cute moments."
Sam just smiled. "Back to work, sweetheart."
June sighed and studied the next photo, which showed a wildfire. "Is it awfully heartless to say I'm thinking of roasting marshmallows?"
"Okay, then forget I said that." June pondered for a moment. "Er… shock and sadness? Kind of feel bad for all the animals caught in the fire."
"Glad to see we're improving," Sam said and shut down the projector. "You hungry?"
"What do you want?" Sam pulled her up from the couch.
"What do we have?"
"Seeing as you once again brilliantly failed at grocery shopping, not much." Sam's eyes twinkled amusedly.
"I'm learning. Slowly, admittedly, but surely. Anyways. That screams for take-away. We still haven't checked out that Indian place that opened last week."
Sam shook his head and laughed.
"Nothing. I'm just starting to believe that even if I can get you to feel bad for crying kids, I won't ever get you behind a hearth."
"Probably not, no, but why should I even try, seeing as that you're perfectly able of cooking?"
"Basic skills, June."
"Calling delivery service is a basic skill, too." June replied, unimpressed, and flipped through the piles of papers and brochures on the kitchen counter until she found the one of the new Indian restaurant.
Sam watched her amusedly. The girl brooding over the menu right now, probably debating whether to take butter chicken or tandoori, surely was a long way away from the cold-hearted bitch she'd been a few weeks ago.
To his surprise, Sam found that he didn't miss hunting as much as he expected. Maybe Dean and June had been right and he nearly needed the break. The fact there was nobody urging him to get back to family business surely helped; Dean was enjoying his own piece of apple pie with Lisa and Ben, living at the other end of town, and neither of them wasted a thought on hunting yet.
Sam was sure June played her role in that. Every day they spent together, Sam fell even more in love with her, and every day June discovered the lost pieces of her soul, she fell even more in love with him.
It was hard to miss the dire life on the road when all he wanted was right here.
"Should I take the butter or tandoori chicken?"
"Tandoori. You had butter last time."
"Really?" June looked up, amazed. "You remember that?"
"It was only last week, sweetheart."
"Yeah, but still…" Nobody had ever bothered remembering petty details like that for her before. And so another piece of her soul thawed.
"You know, June, for someone who's studying the effects of alcohol on a human body, you sure drink a lot," Sam teased as he poured June another glass of wine.
"Oh, be quiet," She reprimanded kindly, "At least, I cut out the whiskey." That was true; ever since she's moved in together with Sam, she hadn't touched hard liquor. Almost like her body didn't need it any longer.
"You know, Sam, I'm not even sure if I want to resume my medical career…" June confessed. "I don't know if it's what I want any longer."
Sam wasn't truly surprised. He hadn't believed medicine to be a field of work June belonged to, but hadn't interfered. "What'd you rather do?"
June lifted her shoulders. "I'm not sure. I've considered psychology, perhaps…"
"You sure that's better?"
"Why wouldn't it be?"
"I don't know if you poking around in other people's minds is really going to help humanity."
"I wouldn't poke around in their minds…" June defended weakly.
"No, but you wouldn't exactly help them, either, sweetheart."
"Okay, fine, I think you've got a point. Maybe I should stick to medicine, after all."
"What about law?"
"Law? Seriously?" June arched an eyebrow. "Kind of goes against family business, doesn't it?"
"As long as you don't end up a FBI agent, I think we're good." Sam shrugged, "Just saying, I can well imagine you in a courtroom."
June mused over that in her mind over and over again, trying the taste of 'law' on her tongue. "Isn't that rather your field of expertise, though?"
"Was." Sam replied without regret. He had at one point believed his future to lie in courtrooms, have a white picket fence and a wife with two kids at home; something along those lines, anyways.
"Regardless of what I end up choosing, what are you going to do?"
"Not sure yet." Sam shrugged; an occupation wasn't his main concern at the moment. Right now, he just wanted to taste life fully again.
"Just take your time before going back to hunting, okay?"
"Yes, I am. Worried about you," June admitted unfazed and not even blinking at her honest admittance of feeling. "I can't lose you, Sam. Not again."
Sam reached across the table and took her hands in his. "You won't, June."
June smiled, wistful because she knew she wouldn't be able to hold Sam forever, and hopeful because she knew their futures were intertwined.
"Care becomes you, you know," Sam said thoughtfully as he twirled a strand of her golden hair around his finger.
"That's because you're good for me."
"Seems to me like you're getting in touch with your romantic princess again."
June chuckled. "I guess so."
"What would my princess like to do tonight?"
June smiled. "Could we just stay in and watch movies?"
"As long as it's nothing like 'Sex and the City' again."
"Hey, it's a great movie!"
Sam just looked at her.
"Okay, so the plot sucks, but the clothes…!"
Sam still looked at her silently and with an ironic smile playing around his lips.
"Fine. Criminal Minds?"
"I'll even do the dishes." June beamed and took the take-out boxes away.
"Throwing out paper plates isn't technically doing dishes."
"Totally is, too."
Sam just chuckled and got the TV ready. The more June lost her biting edge to everything she said, the more carefree and lose she became, the more loveable she grew. Though surely without losing her sassy touch.
And it didn't only help her, but also made Sam stop from wanting to scratch at that itching spot in his brain... Every time June entered his field of vision or even his thoughts, he stopped wanting to break that wall down, because she reminded him once again that there was nothing that he could possible gain from taking that wall down. Everything he wanted was here.
"You want dessert?" June called from the kitchen.
"Depends, what do we have?"
"Well, despite my glorious defeat in the face of grocery shopping, we do have ice cream. And popcorn. And, oh, hey, pop tarts!"
Sam shuddered at the mere thought of the sticky sweet tarts. "Only you would think of considering that dessert."
"Oh, come on, it ain't that bad…"
"Totally is, too," Sam mimicked.
"Pfft. Prude. Popcorn, then, I take it."
Two minutes later, June shuffled into the living room, a bowl full of popcorn in her one hand and a pop tart in the other. The sight of June in lose drawstring pants, shirt and sweater, her curls wildly flowing over her shoulders, shuffling into the room laden with TV dessert was unbelievably adorable and homey.
"What?" She asked demandingly as she took a bite of her raspberry pop tart.
Sam just couldn't help but kiss her before pulling her down with him onto the couch as the previews came on. In moments like these, she looked no older than her eighteen years, but Sam had long since passed the point of having concerns about her age. Though, truth be told, he did have scruples in the beginning, with his newly returned soul telling him she was too young.
June had kindly told him that was bullshit ("Sam, we've done it every way, every time of the day, every place a human could think of, and now you're bothering about my age?"), and he wouldn't ask twice, since the last thing he wanted was lose her.
"Nothing. You just had one of your cute moments again."
"Oh." June snuggled close up to him. She'd become addicted to the feeling of having Sam's arms around her, how safe and worry-free it made her feel.
June never knew what it was that she was giving Sam in return that he stuck with her throughout it all; why he put up the enormous effort of showing her how to get her soul back on the rails again. She just knew that when she realized some years later that she was abundantly happy, going through life with a smile on her lips, it was all due to Sam.
"Hey, Sam…" June quietly started when they lay curled up in bed together that night.
June took a deep breath, wondering if she should say a little prologue first or just get it out in the open. She decided the latter. "I love you."
Abruptly, Sam stopped tracing patterns on her skin and June feared she'd gambled away the lightness of their relationship, feared that she might have admitted feelings he didn't feel for her in return when he replied softly: "I never thought I'd hear you say that."
"Well, here I am, saying it, and I mean it."
She could feel the smile in his kiss as he brushed his lips over her forehead. "How convenient, since I happen to love you, too."
Needless to say, the sex they had that night was one of the best and passionate ever.
June woke up with a fuzzy feeling in her stomach. Stretching, she realized she had been smiling in her sleep, and that only increased her smile further.
Looking at Sam sleeping beside her, she thought it funny how the two of them had found each other and loved each other, despite the beginning of their relationship laying founded in soulless realms. Yet, they'd each found their soul one way or another and discovered they were made for each other, and made to save each other, too.
'Alright, June, lay off the dramatic romance,' She almost scared herself.
"Morning, sweetheart," She sang and brushed through Sam's messy hair as he woke up.
"You're in a good mood."
"You sound scared."
"About whether you may have hidden some dead bodies in the backyard."
"We don't have a backyard." June stated matter-of-factly. They'd thought it a little over the top to buy a house for just the two of them, so they'd settled for a comfortable two-bedroom apartment. They really didn't need more.
Sam had been mildly surprised at June's modesty, but it was nothing compared to his amazement at how tastefully she'd furnished it. His little wildcat turned out to have a sharp eye for design, who knew.
"The fridge-freezer, then."
"Can't I just be happy that you love me?" June smiled softly.
Sam sat up and kissed his girlfriend lovingly. "That'll do for an explanation."
June responded devotedly to the kiss, but Sam broke away all too soon. "Dean's coming at 12."
"I don't have pie," June simply said, sulking slightly.
Sam chuckled. "You think we have at least enough supplies for a simple breakfast?"
"Well, there's always pop tarts." Unwillingly, June followed Sam out of bed. All she really wanted is curl right back into the warm sheets and drag him down with her, but he had that determined expression on his face again that told her mercilessly he wouldn't waver.
"I'd rather starve, thanks."
"Alternatively, you could just go grocery-shopping."
"Yes, soon as I'm back from this hunt, but you're coming with me."
"You know I don't-"
"Yes, that's why you're coming."
June couldn't help but smile, which she tried to cover up by punching Sam's side. He exuberantly picked her up in his arms and carried her into the kitchen.
"So what's with this hunt?"
"Some kid up in Wisconsin claims he can see auras."
"Aha," June just said sceptically.
"You sound thrilled."
"Oh, I am. Driving to Wisconsin and back will take you, what, two days of driving? No stops included, that is, and then it'll be a couple of days more for you to solve whatever case there is."
"So, you're going to ditch me for at least a week," June observed, not too happily.
Sam turned his attention from the scrambled egg to his girlfriend in surprise.
"Yes, that's a) discontent and b) longing you're hearing and c) I'm going to miss you."
Sam abandoned their breakfast to walk over to June, hoisted her up onto the counter and kissed her lovingly. Three months together, and she had confessed not only to loving him, but also to her wanting to be with him. Sam honestly hadn't expected her soul to thaw that quickly; what he didn't know was that so far, June's soul only worked for him. And slowly warming up to Dean, Lisa and Ben, too, but nowhere near as successfully as for Sam.
June locked her arms behind his neck and drew him closer. "Hey, Sam."
"Mhm." He kissed her again.
"I'm no cook, but I think the scrambled egg's scorching…"
"Mhm." Sam simply gave the pan a shove off the hearth and turned his attention back to June. She wrapped her bare legs around his waist and drew him closer, intensifying their kiss. Sam's hands slipped under her shirt and up to her bare breasts, since June had been too lazy to put on a bra this morning.
June moaned into his lips and her practised hands flew to his belt.
"Whoa, damn, that's a party I never wanted to see!"
Sam unwillingly broke away from June to shoot his intruding brother a death glare. "Nobody asked you to come in, Dean."
"You gotta learn to lock your doors."
"What for? You'd just pick the locks, anyways."
Dean just grinned.
"You couldn't have just given us ten more minutes, Dean, could you?" June ran a hand through her messy curls in a weak attempt of smoothing them.
"You kidding me? Ten more minutes and I'd have been scarred for life walking in on you two!"
"As if there's anything you didn't do before."
"Kitchen counter actually happens to be a place I haven't-"
"Dean," June arched an eyebrow, "Too much information. So, you two are off to Wisconsin."
"You sound about as thrilled as Lisa had been."
June growled something ineligible and switched on the coffee machine. That's when Dean realized June really had gotten her soul back to work; she cared about his brother. Truly cared.
Hell, by the enraptured look on her face, she loved him.
For once, he didn't feel the need to tease her about her 'deep' relationship with Sammy. On the contrary, he was happy for both of them. After all the crap they've gone through, they really deserved having found their peace and love.
And Sam had had worse than damaged millionairesses with a radar for the supernatural.
"I'm not sure I like the smile on your face," Sam remarked with a sceptic side-glance at his brother.
"Don't worry, Sammy. Everything's perfect."
Some weeks later, when June came home from another attempt at grocery shopping, she found a note on the table waiting for her.
Dean and I went to check out a case just one state over, I'll be back by tomorrow.
I love you.
June had to smile and almost forgot the fact that Sam had abandoned her yet again. These soul searches increased lately, and it was a development she most strongly disliked. On the other hand, if Sam and Dean wouldn't be working on that soul business for Death, he might just plug Sam's soul back to hell… and that was the seriously last thing June wanted.
Next to the note lay a pack of brochures and another piece of paper with Sam's messy handwriting: Thought this might be something for you, love.
With a cup of hot chocolate in one hand and the stack of papers in the other, June settled onto their couch and got to reading. It was information on an art college nearby and its course of studies.
By the end of the day, June knew what she was going to do about college and tried figuring out how Sam could know her so well as that he was able to point her the right direction for her future when she hadn't know it herself.
'Guess that's love,' June sighed to herself, and wasn't even that uncomfortable with the cheesiness of it.
Then she let out a sigh at the prospect of sleeping alone tonight, but comforted herself with: 'Bittersweet ending's better than a bitter one.'
June switched on the TV and pulled her laptop towards her to create the illusion of company. Thinking Sam would never know since he wasn't around, she poured herself a glass of whiskey, too.
While CNN babbled something about domestic affairs, June discovered two new emails in her inbox. One was from Sam, updating her on the case they were on.
My sweet Athena,
Case turned out to be nothing. Dean's intent on driving home right away, but after the amount of beer and Johnny Walker he downed tonight, I won't let him near a steering wheel. We'll be back early tomorrow morning, though.
I've gotta go keep Dean from starting a bar brawl, I'll talk to you later.
And quit the whiskey, June.
I love you.
June shook her head smilingly. She smiled a lot lately, and found that she liked it. Said smile faded when she opened the next email.
Where on earth are you? We haven't heard from you since your father died and your brother disappeared, and that was half a year ago! We're worried about you, it's not like you to just ditch everything.
And why'd you sell your house? It was such a beautiful villa!
Look, sweetie, we understand that it must be really hard on you, but you can't shut yourself off at the Côte d'Azur or wherever you are.
Why don't you come to the charity gala next week? You've got to start back into your life someday, might as well do it with glitz and glamour. There'll be an auction and a four-star menu, I've heard a French star cook's responsible for the catering.
Call me and we can discuss the details, I've already found the perfect dress!
Cassandra, one of her so-called friends from another life. The thought of going to a snobby charity event, conversing with stuck-up rich folks and what other hocus-pocus they'd come up with was as abhorrent to June as a root treatment. It hadn't always been, but it was now.
Moving in together with Sam had been an awakening; June had realized she had never truly lived before, and the prospect of returning to that world, to be ripped back into old patterns… no. Her place was here, not under crystal chandeliers.
June was certain that Cassandra had only written to her because the Hallbergs were still on the guest list, seeing as the event in question had been planned last year, and not out of true concern about her personally.
So she did the only thing sensible: Deleted Cassandra's email without replying.
June yawned and typed a quick reply to Sam before she'd head off to bed.
We ought to get a dog. Or rather a cat, they're less messy.
What I'm saying is: It's damn lonely without you. Give Dean a good kick in the ass from me when he wakes from his comatose hang-over for keeping you away from me longer than really necessary.
No, I take that back, I want to do that personally.
If you think you can make it back by 9 o'clock tomorrow morning, I'll have a breakfast waiting for you.
No need to smile so amusedly, I can totally do it. Even without setting everything on fire, promise. I went grocery shopping today, and they didn't even call the SWAT-team this time. So, you see, I'm improving.
Fine, I still have no clue how much of what we need, but other than that, it was an okay day without big events.
Alright, so maybe I told off the old lady for trying to skip the line with the words: 'Being old doesn't justify being rude and that she should move her ass back to the end of the line' and then I kindly told the middle-aged woman that reading all those highlander novels she was buying won't enhance her sex life, either.
To which she unkindly shot back that I should return home to my horde of brats, to which I had the witty rejoinder of remarking that it takes sex to have kids and she wouldn't know about that and never would if she continued reading those trashy novels. We parted after I excused myself that I had to get back home to have dirty hard-core sex with my boyfriend. I sadly didn't quite get her hysteric rejoinder to that.
That was it, though. Relatively peaceful, right?
Oh, and I snapped at the guy in the parking lot to stop treating his wife like his personal errand-boy and to lay off the beer and even made the productive suggestion of him cooking a candle-light dinner for her instead.
I think that really was my mischief for this day, though.
Except for the part where the guy turned around and promised I'd regret intervening with his business, to which my response was a detailed description of my tall, muscular, sexy boyfriend and that he even served time in jail and would put up with his pack of brothers any day.
He mumbled something about mafia, mob and some other stuff, but I told him my boyfriend would kick anyone's ass any day and would get his brother for moral support if necessary.
So… see the breakfast as reparation for coming damage. And I really improved my honesty skills telling you all that, so all in all, it was a good day.
I love you.
Hundreds of miles away, Sam was about to shut down his laptop to get his three hours of sleep when June's mail landed in his inbox.
"Geez, Sam, enough with the work already."
"Trust me, this is so much more challenging than work," Sam wasn't sure whether to laugh or shake his head in despair, "That girl's going to kill me."
Dean leaned down to read June's mail. "Dude, does she always write novels?"
"Actually, this would be more of an excerpt. But considering you think the imprint of 'Busty Asian Beauties' is of novel-ish length…"
"I do not!"
Sam shook his head. Discussing literature with Dean was as productive as convincing a werewolf to live Vegetarian.
Dean chuckled. "You got yourself quite a handful with June, Sammy."
Sam was rather surprised Dean didn't tease him about the lewd suggestions in June's mail. "No kidding."
"She's kidding about the mafia thing, though, right?"
"With June, you never know."
"At least, it won't get boring, tiger," Dean gave Sam a brotherly clap on the shoulder and headed off to bed. "Of course, it's not like our lives aren't exciting enough…"
Sam shook his head smilingly and went to bed. As contradictory as it may sound, June gave him peace. Stability. Love. Family. A reason to never scratch that itching wall.
Sam ended up getting his promised breakfast, and it was delicious. June had to laugh at his surprised expression, it was Oscar-worthy.
"I told you so."
"Yes, but you also told me you'd make your peace with the neighbours."
"It's not my fault they're annoying!"
"Because they're turning their weird TV show up a little too loud?"
Sam sighed and looked at June lovingly. "Sweetheart, just, as an estimate: How loud do you suppose we are when we…?"
"That's natural." June interrupted matter-of-factly. "Reruns of Magnum at full volume are not natural. And we don't normally do it for one and a half hours."
"No, but we do do it more than once a week."
"Alright, fine. I'll try not snapping at them again. But I won't go over apologizing, either."
"It's always 'haggling' with you, isn't it?"
"You think I could get you to fully agree just once?"
"That'll highly depend on what you want me to agree to."
Sam was tempted to ask her to marry him then; but he didn't. They'd have all the time in the world, and he wouldn't try tying June down too soon. He knew it would go against her independence and free spirit to marry; and he could wait. He would wait, because June was worth it, and they didn't need a marriage certificate to make their love real. They already knew it would be forever.
"Things are looking up, love," Sam grinned and kissed her.
"Yes," June agreed honestly. She'd walked some seriously dark realms in her life, but they faded away with every day she spent with Sam. Finally, she'd found her peace. "They are. And they're never going down again."