Title: If I Cannot Move Heaven
Author: James Parker Lombard
Rating T: Language, mentions of suicide (nothing risque)
Spoilers/Set: Season 6 Ep 20
Characters: Dean and Sam Winchester (3rd Person Sam POV)
Word Count: 6,460 Oneshot
Summary: Dean has changed, and resouled Sam has noticed.

If I Cannot Move Heaven

Flectere si nequeo superos, Achaeronta movebo (If I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell).
- Virgil Aeneid, "Book 7"

Sam woke with his head at an odd angle—jammed up against the door panel. For a split second the sunlight was so bright that he wondered where he was, but then he saw the tell-tale tears and gapped stitching of the headliner, and heard the low, familiar sound of Dean's gravel –thick voice in the middle of "It's a Long Way to the Top." He stifled a chuckle, and groaned when the blood thumped in his temples in retaliation. His head was pounding, and the light was blinding. He dislodged his half-asleep arm from between his body and the seat-back, and draped the crook of his elbow across his eyes to block the light.

"Gettin' old. Gettin' grey. Gettin' ripped off. Under-paid."

The music was a soft static-y hum over the front speakers. Sam had to give it to Dean for trying to be quiet. He ran his hand along the raised stitching of the seat, dragged a nail through the seam, gathering dirt, and thought back to the years he had spent in this very spot, wondered if he had left some trace of himself there, enough DNA to identify him, to prove he existed.

Dean's voice was still low when he spoke, "Baby boy, I know you're awake. I can hear you thinking."

That earned a chuckle and a groan as Sam shifted to stretch his left side.

"Head hurts, huh?" Dean said, picking up, as usual, on every subtle everything. Sam would wonder how Dean was so in-tune with him, if he didn't know how long and how intently Dean had watched him, and over him, his whole life.

"Head hurts," Sam confirmed. "How're you?" He slurred, tongue still sleep-heavy in his mouth.

"Right as rain."

Sam didn't want to move; the world was all bright and speed. Dean was all bright and speed. Too much, too fast. Used to fit better here, he thought. He could remember nights before he knew things about the dark, and what lurked there. Back then, Dean would flip over the front seat, toes clipping the chrome edging as he "thunked" into the backseat beside him. Dad fussing, "Dammit, Dean," at the sudden movement. Dean was bright and speed then too. His smile would flash in the dark, and Sam imagined he could almost see the glint of his eyes, like highway reflectors sucking in every bit of light and bouncing it back. Dean would smoosh in close, pull Dad's leather jacket over the both of them, and hum to Sam until he fell asleep.

Now Sam was awake, and forcing himself to move. He hadn't fit easily in the back seat for a long time. His bones felt like tooled parts sinking back into place- metallic pop and squeak as he swung his legs around, rested his head at a new, although equally awkward, angle on the seat in front of him.

Dean's laugh was low and welcoming, "Good Day, Sunshine," his eyes caught and crinkled in the rearview. Sam didn't need to see his mouth to know he was smiling.

"Hey." Sam rotated his left shoulder, "where we at?"

The long straight road through nothing admitted nothing either. It could be Nebraska, Iowa…the sky was huge.

"Dunno, my co-pilot sucks."

It was Sam's turn to smile then. "You don't need me."

"Sammy, boyo, I need you like," Dean paused, flapped his right hand in the air like he was orchestrating, or swatting away a fly, "well, like something necessary."

Sam leaned back and covered his face with his hands, trying not to laugh again. Everything felt slippery, like he was still half-asleep, half-dreaming of the Impala rolling forward into nothing, beyond where the road seemed to flicker out like a mirage.

"Y'okay?" Dean asked.

"M'fine." Sam said, then repeated it, "M'fine'm'fine." All the words were bumping up against one another. He tried looking ahead, but the sky was too still and blue, and the mile markers sped by quickly. Whatever state they were in, they were 180 miles from the next one. He spread his arms wide along the whole back seat, amazed that he could easily cover the span from fingertip to fingertip. Sometimes he missed being smaller.

"Y'ungry?" Dean asked.

"M'fine. M'fine M'fine." He rolled his head side to side along the seatback. Only he wasn't exactly fine; his head was pounding.

"Okay, okay," Dean rotated his head slowly on the pivot of his spine and without thinking, Sam leaned forward again, ran his hand up over the puppy-soft buzz cut, rubbing his long fingers over Dean's scalp, pushing the tips in parallel esses until Dean groaned, "Fuuuuuck," and rolled his head back into Sam's hands.

"Dean, quit making it dirty." Sam felt eight today, nine at the most. He crooked his elbow, leaned his head against it and stared at Dean's profile, the crinkles at the sides of his smile through the close-mouthed chuckle deeper than Sam remembered them; the lines at the edges of his eyes even more so. And the sudden upwelling of sorrow made a knot in his chest, at the meeting of his collarbones.

Dean was a year and a half older than he remembered him, older than he had ever been. And it had been a hard stretch of time that Sam couldn't remember, and wasn't sure he really wanted to, no matter how puzzling and frustrating the gaps. He made a mental to never use the idiom "I wasn't myself" lightly. He had not been himself. He had been gone, at least the most of him had been. He wasn't clear on all the awful things he had done, or how Dean had survived what he had taken to calling alternately "robo-Sam" or the "Saminator." Dean joked, but the truth was Dean had been alone, and Sam did remember how that felt—alone. He shook his head like that could loosen the sorrow, but it just made him wobbly with pain.

The wall made his head ache. Not all the time. A few times a month the headaches would come on like migraines, ever since the seizure. They would stay a day or so, burning behind his eyelids, and making him a little motion sick. He'd lay flat in the backseat and ride it out, sleeping through the brunt. And Dean would accommodate him, almost baby him, if Sam was being honest. It was, to say the least, disconcerting. Dean did not call him girly names, didn't flick him "the look" that meant "pussy" and tell him to suck it up. It bothered Sam; it meant Dean was in brother overdrive, and that meant he was worried.

"Quit staring at me," Dean said, turning his head a quarter to look Sam with suspicion. Sam just reached out and rubbed his hand against the nap of Dean's scalp again. Dean made a low rumble of appreciation and his eyelids fluttered as they turned back towards the endless road before them.

Sam had broken into consciousness in Dean's arms. When he awoke screaming, bound in the panic room, his eyes were flooded with blue light, and his body with pain. Every nerve flaring for a second like an electrical jolt before the pain retreated, and he became aware of Dean's arms wrapped around him. Dean's face gulping back fear and pain of his own, searching Sam's face, touching it, repeating "Sammy" over and over like a question, and all Sam could think in the dumb confusion of the moment was "what's he being all clingy for?"

Then Dean gasped, saw whatever it was he was looking for. Most of that moment was a blur, Dean hollering, his tears falling into Sam's mouth as he struggled to loosen the restraints, and gather him up, too hard, too fast, too tight. Dean not himself, having a full on chick-flick moment that deserved an award, maybe even honorary membership into the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. He spoke too fast and too low and ran his hands over Sam like he was looking for wounds. Dean's hand on his chest; Dean gulping air like a drowning man; Dean pressing his hand, and then his forehead to Sam's chest. Stray words, "never," "help," "safe," "lose him," and for some reason "robot" peppered through the babble. But mostly he heard his name, panic-laced and mournful, "Sammy, Sammy, Sammy," as Dean rocked into him like a child in need of comfort. And Sam went to say something like "Dude," but when he moved his head to speak the world went dark again.

But here he was alive and in…well, somewhere flat America, head pounding, flying over asphalt, in bright sun, staring at Dean who was making stupid noises at having his head rubbed. Sam was here, all of him, soul included, but something had changed. Specifically, Dean had changed. Not in a bad way, but in a weird one. The weird change was why Sam felt he could reach out and thread his fingers through Dean's hair while he was driving, why he could, if he wanted, climb into the front seat and lean into the crook of Dean's body, pull his arm around him and fall asleep. Of course, he hadn't tested that yet. He wasn't actually sure the change had gone that far.

When Sam was small he touched Dean a thousand times a day: held his hand on the way to school, snuggled into him on the sofa, fell asleep against him at night. And then they grew up, like all children do. And they pulled away from the tactile comfort of one another. There were, to be sure, expectations from their father—"Boys need to be tough." Of course, they actually did need to be tough in their line of work, but the expectation came first, before the training, before the hunting, it was there from the start. It was some unwritten man-rule, to ward off what they would come to know as chick flick moments, and what the rest of the world might have called tenderness, vulnerability, affection. The rule was why they were so closed off at times, and why, despite the fact that horrors and absurdities seemed to be status quo, there were times simple displays of emotion were foreign and frightening.

Dean pulled away first because he was oldest, and Sam was confused for a while until he figured out the new rules for himself. Growing up meant not touching, not falling into soft habits, or comforts—it meant toughing it alone. And there was that word again, "alone." That word, and the power it held, had everything to do with the something that changed.

There were moments, of course, in their old life, few and far between, when Dean and Sam bent the rules against emotional physical contact. Usually they stemmed from the aftermath of some loss, some life or death situation that could have, but luckily didn't, tear them from one another. There was a momentary reprieve of the man-rule due to circumstance in these situations. And they tended one another's wounds, with a set jaw and a trained soldier face, stoic and matter-of-fact, but these situations did not entail taking comfort as much as accepting defeat. The ministrations were done with care, and love, always love, but also with full awareness of practicality and necessity. These touches were duty. Until now, when the something had changed in Dean.

When Sam awoke three days later in the spare room at Bobby's house after being what Dean later (much later) jokingly called "resouled" as if he were a worn shoe, Dean was there. He was sitting on the floor with his back against the wall, seemingly asleep, his head resting on his bent knee. Sam looked at him long and hard, noticed the way the evening light slanting through the window hit him and made him glow. Sam remembers being struck with a momentary sorrow then too; it came and went, left him shaken, awestruck, and feeling ridiculously needy. Not that he would have admitted it then. When he turned to prop himself on his elbow, the soft rub of material was enough to make Dean's eyes spring open. And Sam's ridiculous thought was, "I forgot how green," as Dean scrambled towards him looking panic-stricken. When he clambered onto the bed, pushing and pulling Sam into his arms, Sam's ridiculous response was, "What are you doing?"

"What am I, what?" Dean said in a gritty voice, his cheek on Sam's head, rubbing against his hair. "Just, shut up. Shut up, Sam." And then Dean was shaking, and sobbing again. And Sam had wondered what he had done.

Turns out he had died. Again. Left Dean alone. Convinced Dean that the best thing for the world, for everyone, was for Sam to sacrifice himself to the pit. He remembered that part. He had leapt, and that would have been bad enough, but worse things happened. Sam had come back, not later, but right away, and he had not run to Dean. He had not run to him at all. When not-Sam showed up later, everything had been wrong. Dean was still alone, with Sam's body there with him it had to have been worse. Sam hadn't known this at the time. He knew it now. Saw the scars Dean carried inside in how he acted. In the change.

He had thought those moments, in the panic room, and later when he woke, were like others in their shared (tragic?) past: momentary, brief, fleeting, stray scraps of weakness. But Dean's soldier face had slipped. Even now, with the wheels of the road beneath them, Sam saw it out of place.

"Stop staring, Sam, I mean it." Dean frowned, and lifted a hand to rub his jaw with the back of his knuckles.

"How long have you been driving?" Sam asked.

"All my life."

"How long?"

Dean turned his head to look at Sam who was slumped forward over the seatback, then looked back towards the road. "Five hours."

Five hours since the last stop or five hours total? Sam didn't know. "We'll need gas soon," Sam said noticing the gauges.

"Sam, I've got eyes."

"Stop soon?"

"Yeah, yeah. We'll stop soon."

"For the night?"

"Not yet, kid. We want to make Manitowoc someday."

"Wisconsin?"

"Ireland." Dean scoffed.

"Why Manitowoc?"

"I like the ferry."

Sam dipped his head in a slow nod of acceptance. That was as much reason either of them needed.

"Where are we?"

"Between Rochester and LaCrosse."

Sam did mental calculations in his head. Years of co-piloting had drilled routes and miles into his head. Sometimes he dreamed of maps; often he dreamed of roads. Five, no, six hours, or more.

"Too far, Dean." Sam reached out and gripped Dean's left shoulder lightly, rubbed it in slow circles.

"Think I can't?"

"Know you can. It's not a race." The sun was starting to lower behind them. Two hours tops until nightfall. "We need gas, you need to eat."

"Fine."

And with that Sam removed his hand, shifted himself against the worn leather seat and lay back down.

Dean's reaction to Sam's resouling had been a little surprising, but Sam had just returned from Hell, a place Dean remembered and Sam did not. Sam remembered too clearly how he felt when Bobby showed up Dean with having been "raised from Perdition," it turns out. He remembered the rib squeezing embrace, and wanting to pull Dean closer and closer, never let him go. He remembered fighting that need to touch, to confirm Dean's presence, over and over again in the next few weeks because that's not what they did. They toughed it out. They manned up. Soldiered on. Sam was already fucked up at that point, twisted by Ruby, played. Not that it was Dean's fault, or Dad's fault, or anyone's fault, but Sam couldn't help but think, if they had been able to just be, just be (Sam could think of no other way to say it), that maybe the desire for vengeance or retribution or whatever against Lilith would have been quenched a little by the comfort of one another. If Sam had told Dean to "Shut up," and held him and sobbed and released all that pain, the way Dean had…who's to tell? Maybe something would have broken in them earlier? Or maybe nothing would have changed at all? But Sam wasn't brave like that. Dean, it turned out, was.

In the days that followed Sam's return, Dean spent a lot of time touching Sam. At first it was just a little weird. Dean sat closer than necessary. Dean patted him on the arm. Then it got weirder. Dean brushed his hair out of his eyes with a quirky little smile that Sam hadn't seen in a million years, not since they were kids and Dean was proud of him for something. Dean grabbed both of his hands, and pulled him from the couch, told him to go to bed because "he hadn't slept in a year and a half." And then it got really, really weird. Like really weird. Dean unlaced Sam's boots, kneeling in front of him like a penitent. Dean cupped his cheek with his hand to get his attention, and then just stared at him until Sam shook it off, had to look away. All these weird moments kept piling up.

Sam was small for a long time, tiny even. He remembers being carried. Remembers being wrapped around not his father's or his mother's body but Dean's. He was propped on Dean's hip, with Dean's hand's wiping away tears and snot. Dean lifted him into shopping carts, onto swings, up on the counter to clean a scraped knee. He slipped into Dean's bed when he had a nightmare, came to Dean with his A papers to get a pat on the head, kissed Dean goodnight after a story.

After Rhode Island, where they learned some of the wrong things Sam had done, Sam hit the wall hard. When he woke, it was in Dean's arms again, he was rocking back and forth, stroking his hands over Sam's forehead and through his hair, his eyes were shut, and this time Sam could hear what he was murmuring. "They won't take you, Sammy. It's fine. Just fine. You and I, no one will ever take you from me." And when Dean opened his red-rimmed eyes skyward, praying to a god he claimed didn't exist, and said, "I will let this world fucking burn itself down if you take him from me." Sam kinda laughed as he lifted his hand to stop the trembling of Dean's lips.

Sam was little once, but Dean was still the big brother. Sam got that. The night after the seizure, when Sam climbed into bed, Dean said, "No. I need to keep an eye on you. I need to make sure." So, Sam climbed into Dean's bed for the first time in 15 years. Sam fell asleep that night with Dean's hand tight around his wrist, like he was trying to tether him. Neither of them said a word.

That next morning, Sam woke to Dean's hand on his ankle, as Dean stood at the end of the bed, smiling, "Up and at'em. New day." And still, neither of them said a word. Later, in the car, Dean stretched his arm across the back of the seat as he drove and placed the tips of his fingers on the back of Sam's neck. Just set them there. And Sam didn't flinch although they burnt into him like a brand.

When they stopped just outside of Pittsburg, crashed in another horrible hotel, Sam had to say something. Sam was leaning over the laptop, trying to stabilize the rickety table with the weight of his forearms as he scoured digital archives and scanned facsimiles, looking for anything mentioning purgatory, when Dean stepped behind him and crossed his hands over Sam's shoulders in an awkward hug.

"Dean?"

"Mmm?"

"Not that I mind, I guess, but what's with all the touchy-feely?"

Dean sniffed loudly, "Don't know what you mean."

Sam shifted, throwing Dean's hands off of him, "Right. Dean, I'm not going away, okay? Nothing's gonna happen to me if you stop touching me."

Dean stepped back with a "You don't know that," and sulked off towards the bed.

The argument that night was ridiculously brief, partially because Dean denied he was doing anything out of the ordinary, but mostly because Sam didn't care. Sam had to admit, he liked this shift from no-touching. Apparently he was, as Dean had always surmised, a "huggy" person. Now that he had called Dean out, though, Sam expected the touches to stop, and when they didn't, Sam thought, "Well, imagine that."

From his reclined position in the back of the car the clouds passed above Sam's head at a constant speed, "Dean. Remember, you're stopping soon, right?"

"I said, yes, Sam. I said, yes." The reply was curt, but not loud. Not long after the car banked around a cloverleaf. Sam saw the Marathon logo swing into view above him as they sidled next to the pumps. Dean's door opened and closed, and then Sam's door opened. Dean looked down at him from above, upside down from where Sam's head lolled on the seat. "You hungry yet?"

"I'm tired."

"I can see why, you've been working so hard today." He paused, and upside down Dean's eyebrows were furrowed into a concerned frown. "We can make Mani-toe-pick tomorrow."

"No rush, it's not like the world is ending." Sam said. When Dean actually laughed at that, it felt like a miracle.

Two hours later Sam had convinced Dean it was time to pull off for the night. DJ's Inn off the 90 in Mauston, Wisconsin was more than a little outdated, and the girl at the counter seemed to require a cell-phone for life support. Sam watched from the car as Dean got the room, and marveled at how she literally never put it down. That had to be a talent, right?

When Dean walked back to the car he said, "Girl said the food next door is crap, but that it's the only game in town." Sam looked at the Kountry Kitchen sign and groaned as he unfolded himself from the back seat of the car. Sam had a pet peeve about intentionally folksy misspellings, and country with a "k" was one of the worst offenses he could imagine.

When they got to the room, he groaned again. Horrors of orange and brown! At least it was clean, he granted. Sam had barely flopped across the lumpy mattress when Dean sat on the foot of the bed and reached to unlace Sam's shoes and pull them off.

"De, I'm not a baby."

"Shut up, Sam." Dean said laying back on the bed and worming his left hand under Sam's knee, squeezing lightly and then letting it rest there, cupping the cylindrical muscle.

"Really. I, Dean, it's okay, right? You know it's okay. I'm okay."

Dean said nothing in response, so Sam crooked his neck up, looked down to where Dean lay mouth stretched thin, lips tight, breathing hard through his nose. And then like nothing, like his face hadn't just been registering some undecipherable pain, he sat up, with a "Whelp, I'm starved. Do you want to go over, or should I try to bring something back?"

"Bring something back." Sam's head still hurt, and he was still slightly shocked at the way Dean's foot never separated from his under the table of the last diner.

Sam got it. He understood. So much of what they fought, they couldn't touch, at least in the early days. Sam found it hard to believe that he looked back on being throttled and thrown by a ghost as "simple work." Things had gotten so much more complicated, because for fuck's sake…dragons? Time travel? A person needed something tangible to hold on to, something stable. Sam was afraid he couldn't be that for Dean. What if the wall came down? Dean should hitch his wagon to something that didn't hold catastrophic self-destructive potential. Although that sharp sorrow was rising in his chest again at the idea, Sam knew Dean should have stayed with Lisa and Ben. They were his little chance at something real and pure. He had been out in the world, like a real person.

When Dean returned he tossed a Styrofoam to-go box of Caesar salad and a grilled chicken breast sandwich wrapped in foiled paper on the bed. Sam hadn't even bothered to move while he was gone.

"They only had Caesar, sorry."

"No, it's fine."

They ate most of their meal without talking, and Dean flipped the TV on. The volume low as they half-watched the NASCAR race in Darlington. The zip of the engines passing the cameras and crowds was rhythmic and filled the silence of the room.

Sam washed his face, brushed his teeth, and was on the way out of the bathroom, when Dean lunged forward from the ratty loveseat and gripped Sam's wrist tight enough to hurt, pulling him down on the too small couch beside him.

"Dean," Sam sighed, wrenching his wrist away, "nothing is going to happen."

"Just," Dean made an exasperated noise in his throat.

"Yeah, 'Shut up, Sam.' I've heard it a million times lately. I'm starting to think it's my name."

"It should have been."

They watched the grainy screen; cars were weaving in and out, braiding along the track like a synchronized dance.

"When you were little," Dean started, "you were always no further than arm's length. I woke up with you stuck to me, I carried you, rocked you to sleep. You got bigger and even though I still," he gulped, shook his head slightly "things had to change. That's the way things are."

"So the touching is…"

"I dunno."

"You do though."

Dean shot him a sideways glance, "Yeah, I do."

Sam didn't expect Dean to go on, thought it would end there, and was surprised when he didn't; another new thing, another change. "I guess I just…too long without you, right?"

"We were apart before, Dean."

"Not this way." Dean smirked a little, looked up into Sam's face sheepishly, from under his lashes, "I used to spy on you at Stanford."

"I know."

"You never said anything?"

"Why would I? It's how you are. I would sort of, I dunno, feel you, assumed you were there. It made me feel a little safer, I guess. Big brother saves the day."

"I couldn't save you this time."

"You did. Dean, you wagered Death for me." Sam paused, "Idiotic, by the way."

"It took too long." Dean paused, ignoring the second half of Sam's response. "When you were little I held your hand so tight, always had a hand on you. It was my job. 'Don't lose Sammy.' Now it's all I seem to do. I can't lose you. Not again. I'm always losing you."

"I'm not little."

"You are to me. You are little. You will always be little. And, you'll always be my responsibility."

"I'm not. This is a two way thing. I almost lose you all the time Dean, I mean, seriously you let Eve bite you? You were almost a…"

"Jefferson Starship," Dean said smugly, he stood suddenly, walked over towards the beds.

"Oh, lord. Dumbest name ever." Sam shook off that argument for later, "That's not the point, though. I almost lose you all the time."

"But you don't." Dean said voice thin. "You won't ever."

"Dean, dammit. You don't know that, you can't know that."

But when he said, "I know," it had resignation, finality.

"Then why are you scared?"

Dean swallowed, "Because I don't want to be alone again, and I don't want you to be alone either. You don't remember it, but you were alone so long. And I was alone, so long. If you go, I go. That's the end of it. I will breathe my last keeping you with me. There's no more jumping into pits, not alone anyway. I go too. Where you go, I go too."

"You can't just, Dean," Sam tasted salt in the back of his throat, felt that sorrow clawing its way into, or out of, his chest, "you can't do that."

"I can. I will." Dean laughed a little, but it sounded bitter. "Heaven, hell, fuck'em. Even our own little guardian angel betrays us now, hurts us, hurts you in the worst way he could, taking what's you away from you, leaving it there to be torn and bruised. Keeping you from me and taunting me with this fake you." Dean turned away, sucked in a deep breath and turned the window unit up to high cool, "You are in you, and I can't not hold on. I'm sorry. I can't not keep, I don't know, confirming things. When I touch you, it's like everything in me knows…this is Sam. This is Sam. No one else. All of him. No one will play us against one another again. And that means I keep you near me, until the end. And if that fucking wall cracks, we say our goodbyes to whomever still matters, and we go."

"What if you had died when she bit you? What then? Wouldn't I be alone?"

"Just for a little while, right? I'd wait. After all I get to share your lame ass heaven with Jenny-Lynn Wakenfuss's thanksgiving snooze-fest."

"You should have stayed with Lisa." It came out of the blue, and out of Sam's mouth so fast he hardly registered it, but Dean looked like he had been slapped. Dean balled his hands into tight fists, and Sam could see the knuckles tighten, the shaking of his shoulders. He started to retract what he said with an, "I didn't…"

"Shut up, Sam. Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" Each repetition growing louder.

"Dean…"

"God dammit, Shut up!" He tilted his head back hard, and sucked in a deep breath. "You're a fucking idiot. I couldn't."

"Why?"

"I did it for you, because you said."

"It was good though. You were happy."

He huffed out derisively, "Happy?"

"Yes, Dean, you were happy."

Dean walked over to the bed, sat down on the edge and rested his elbows on his knees. His voice soft, "You actually think I was happy?" Sam watched Dean's face, his eyebrows came together tightly, and if he were capable of setting fire with his mind, at least one square of the hideous brown Berber would be melting. "What the fuck is wrong with you Sam?" Dean turned to look at him not even trying to pull his customary soldier mask over the pain. Sam saw the pain clearly, "You think I was happy?"

There was a long pause as Dean studied Sam's face; Sam could almost feel the weight of his eyes.

"I would have killed myself a hundred times, if you hadn't been trapped. If I knew you were already in your lousy, no, our lousy corner of heaven, with your boney ass dog and whatever, I would have put a gun to my head, met you there in no time. But I knew you weren't there. You were in the pit. There had to be some way, I knew it, I kept telling myself, some fucking way to get you out. And I wouldn't die, wouldn't hunt, and would keep your fucking stupid promise to stay put until I found you a way out."

"Dean." Sam felt his eyes filling with tears, too fast to blink away.

"And Cas wouldn't come to me, I guess we know why now. And I couldn't even look at Bobby. I mean, I love him, but why did God bring him back, bring me back and not you? What didn't God or whatever know about you?" Dean stood, paced the floor.

"I know," he said nodding his head rapidly, pointing to his chest, pacing and pivoting on his heels. "What you sacrificed, how you love, and care, and would give up everything for someone else. I fucking know. So why didn't God know? Why didn't those dick-bag angels, or even the fucking demons know? I knew. No one asked me, Sam. No one! I would have told them, how you above all people deserved to come back. I cried myself sick when no one was looking. I read and researched until I collapsed. And then I got up, and I did what you asked me to do, 'be with Lisa,' you said, 'get normal'…but I didn't want Lisa or normal anymore. I did it anyway because you asked me to. Because you said, this was good, this was right. I wanted you. You. For a year I looked at the world like it didn't deserve to be there because you weren't in it, because you had saved it and it could not save you. I had to live in a world without my world. My fucking world. My world, Sam." Tears were running down his face, when he finally stilled, turning one last time to look into Sam's eyes. "My world was gone. And these happy fucking people, safe in their houses, didn't know that I felt like it was a bad trade. I would have let it fucking burn to get you out."

"You don't mean that."

"I do." Dean turned his back, and Sam didn't know how to respond, so the room was silent.

"I hurt you," Dean said, back still to Sam.

"No you didn't."

"You don't understand. I hurt that other you. It wasn't a fight. I mean we've thrown punches before, this was different. I wanted to hurt him. I beat him half to death because I was so angry."

"Dean it wasn't me."

"It wore your face, moved, remembered you. And I hated it. Another way the world was taunting me. I didn't know right away, it fooled me a bit, but something wasn't right from the get go. You wouldn't have left me like that. You would have come to me," he turned, implored, "right?"

Sam stood on shaky legs and closed the distance, "We found the only thing that could keep me from you, right? Only some fucking pit that can trap the devil could keep us apart. But even it didn't right?"

"God, do you know how gay that sounds?" Dean rolled his red-rimmed eyes, and pulled Sam to him anyway.

"Well, you're the one going all Uncle Feely-hands on me."

"Yeah, I just don't care anymore, so deal with it, bitch."

"Jerk."

"I can stop." Dean spoke into Sam's shoulder."If it makes you uncomfortable or something, I can go back to…well, whatever, just say so."

"Nah, I kinda like it."

He felt Dean's body shake with laughter, "You are so gay."

"Says the butch, macho hunter who wants to snuggle."

"I don't snuggle."

Sam laughed aloud, then kissed Dean on the top of the head.

"Can't you just be smaller again? Undo yourself, maybe even both of us, like when we were little?"

"I can try."

"Try harder."

"You know it doesn't matter, right? Big, small?" Sam said, "It's me and you."

"Yeah, yeah. Me and you against the, well, I guess…everything? Is it everything now?" They both sighed. This shit was fucked, as usual, way beyond belief: heaven, hell, earth, purgatory…fucking fairies, even.

"There's no giving up, right?"

"I won't promise that, Sammy. I can't. You go, I go."

"Fuck, Dean, you are impossible."

Dean laughed, and Sam felt like crying all over again. Dean led him over to the bed closest to the door, the bed that was always Dean's. He wrestled Sam down into the circle of his arms, "One can snuggle in a totally manly way."

"Sure, totally manly," Sam rolled his eyes.

"Just wait it gets worse," Dean smirked, kissing the top of Sam's head.

"Dude, seriously?"

"Payback." They lay for a while, NASCAR ending on the television, the announcers' voices droning on and on. Dean reached over to the bedside stand, grabbed the remote and thumbed the power off. The room was dim under the light of a single, stuttering bulb. And then Dean began, "Once upon a time, there was a little princess with long brown hair named Samantha."

"Funny, jerk."

"Bitch."

And for a second, everything in their world was right. Weird, but right.


Supernatural. CW. WNUV, Baltimore. 2005-2011.
Virgil. The Aeneid. Norwood: Norwood P, 1910. Print.
Young, Angus et al. "Long Way to the Top." T.N.T. Albert, 1975. CD.