A/N1: a short reflection inspired by what I saw on the table when Sam was eating his sandwich in 6.12.

A/N2: does anyone know how to capture a picture off of Youtube? In the video from Chicago, where Joshua's shaking Misha's hand, he has such a cute look on his face (Joshua) and I want to put that on a t-shirt or coffee cup or Christmas cards. Any thoughts how to do that? Thank you!


Turned out 'starving' didn't even begin to cover just show hungry Sam was. Two bowls of cereal, two peanut butter & butter sandwiches, two handfuls of potato chips, and two bottles of beer, and Sam had only begun to slow down.

Dean didn't care. He sat there at the table, right there, six inches away from Sam, and watched him inhale his food. Sam could eat every single thing Bobby had in the house, every single bit of food in the whole town, and it would be perfectly fine with Dean. Sam was back and he was fine. That's all Dean needed.

Bobby headed outside, muttering something about a brake job, and a few minutes later Sam was on the sofa, the bowl of chips in his lap, TV remote in one hand, and the last of his second bottle of beer in the other. He flicked through the channels with a speed and intensity that impressed even Dean, stopping at anything that caught his attention, just long enough to completely absorb and understand everything he needed to absorb and understand of any particular news item, TV show, or commercial, and then he was onto the next.

Dean sat on the couch next to him, watching the mind-numbing whirl of flickering images, reaching over to snag chips out of the bowl, and answering the flurry of questions Sam peppered him with.

"Gas is how much? What's going on in Haiti now? How long were those miners trapped underground? Who won the Stanley Cup and Super Bowl and World Series? We had a bet on one of those didn't we? Really, they cancelled Smallville? Is that why they moved it to Fridays?"

If they'd sat there the rest of forever, that would've been just fine with Dean, too. Sam was back and Sam was Sam and neither of them needed anything else.

But when Sam started to fade, when his questions slowed to only three or four a minute and he stayed on one channel longer than it took to blink, Dean thought he might just take a few minutes to go out and talk to Bobby about how not telling Sam everything was the better course of action. The 'this is how we're going to do it so get used to it' course of action.

He stood up, stepping over Sam's outstretched legs, and pulling the empty beer bottle out of his hand.

"I'm going to bring Bobby a beer. See how he's coming on those brakes."

Sam nodded.

"Okay."

"If you get tired, go lay down."

"Okay."

"Don't sleep on the couch, you'll only get a stiff neck if you sleep on the couch."

"Okay."

"If you get hungry, eat more than chips. I made extra sandwiches for you, they're in the fridge. I left them on the top shelf. Maybe drink some milk too. Bobby's got enough of it. If you need anything, I'll be in the garage with Bobby, come get me. Or call me, maybe. It's cold out, so call me if you need anything. Don't come outside in the cold. And if you're gonna take a shower, just – wait until I come back. You know? You just woke up, I don't want you slipping in the shower or falling asleep in the water when I'm not around to check on you."

Dean finally stopped his list of 'because I say so' because Sam was giving him an amused 'you do know how old I am, right?' look.

"Okay." He answered Dean, sounding just as amused as he looked.

"Okay."Dean growled back. He turned to head into the kitchen and out the back door, and Sam stood up from the couch. "What d'you need?" Dean asked, but Sam gave him another amused look.

"Thanks, but trust me, Dean. There are some things you can't take care of for me." He took a few steps in the direction of the bathroom and said without looking back. "And no, I don't need an escort."

Dean glared at him, for all the good it did, and took the beer bottle into the kitchen to set with the other empties. Sam came in behind him.

"Hey, Dean?"

God, had it really been a year and a half since he'd heard that exact question in that exact hesitant, affectionate tone from Sam?

"Yeah?"

Sam suddenly found something very interesting on the front of his shirt. Uh, oh. Chick flick spotted off the port bow

"Just – I just – thanks. For getting me back. And for getting me back without – without – doing anything stupid. 'Cause if I got out of hell, just to find out you weren't here, I just – I wouldn't really be out of hell."

He looked at Dean then.

"So – thanks for being here when I got back."

Dean crossed the couple of steps to Sam and gave him a hug. Damn the chick flicks anyway, full speed ahead. Sam hugged back so hard it actually hurt. It was just what Dean needed. Then, like always, Sam let go first and offered a hesitant smile as he turned away, headed to the bathroom again.

"Still don't need the escort." He called back, as Dean watched him down the hallway. And Dean watched him anyway, until the bathroom door closed.

The End.