"Hey Dean? Whadaya think happens to us after we die?"
Dean glanced over at his little brother who was sitting at the motel room table doing his homework with an expression that could be best described as 'WTF?'.
"Why on earth do you ask that?" Dean managed to get out, his eyes wide with confusion. Sam cocked his head to the side (making him look even more like a puppy than usual) before shrugging and replying,
"Just curious. I mean, we gotta go some time right?"
"Not anytime soon." Dean quickly interjected, an intense look in his eyes. It was a statement and a promise all in one. Dean would go to the ends of the earth, do anything to make sure that Sam stayed alive. And his little brother would do the exact same if push came to shove. As Sam realized the cause for his brother's sudden emotion, he quickly soothed,
"Don't worry, I know that. But I mean I'm just asking."
"Well don't! Why do you care?" Dean asked, throwing his car magazine on the couch.
"Because-" Sam abruptly cut off, lowering his head back to his work and didn't finish his sentence. His long floppy brown hair fell in his face covering his expression. Dean frowned.
"Because what Sammy?"
But Sam wouldn't answer, simply continuing to scribble furiously on his paper. Dean rolled his eyes and got up from the couch. Little brothers. I swear, I'm never gonna understand him. Ah the things I do for you Sam.
Dean thought, as he walked over to his brother who started to write with even more aggression.
"Dude seriously. I think you're gonna rip a hole in your essay." Dean joked. Sam looked up momentarily to flash his signature bitchface at Dean before going back to his 'work'. Dean chuckled at first, but then his eyes softened.
"Sammy please. Tell me." He asked in a gentle tone.
"I just...I don't want you to make fun of me or call or me a girl."
"I won't Sammy, you have my word."
"What do you think I just said-"
"Dean! You have to promise!"
"Ok ok I promise alright? Now spill!"
Sam struggled for a moment before finally admitting,
"I just, I'm worried that...that you won't...you know, be there. After we..."
Dean swallowed thickly, his eyes suddenly stinging.
"You're afraid that we won't be together in the afterlife?"
Sam hung his head, nodding in shame.
"Sammy..." Dean whispered, pulling his now sniffling brother up from the chair and into his arms. Guiding him, he sat them on the couch, holding Sam in his embrace and thumbing away his tears.
"I-I'm not afraid of dying. It's just, what I'm most scared is that after that you're not gonna be there and I'll be all alone...And you'll be alone here on earth and I won't be able to protect you..." Sam sobbed.
Dean's heart clenched at that. To think that the only thing Sam dreaded about dying was losing Dean. Dean quickly wiped away his own few tears and pulled Sam's face up to meet his.
"Listen to me. It's ok Sammy, it'll be ok and you wanna know why? Because you won't be alone."
"I won't?" Sam asked hesitantly, his blue eyes boring into Dean's green ones.
"Nope. I'll be there with you."
"How do you know?"
"Because I know everything remember? School must be frying your brain if you forgot that.
"Jerk." Sam muttered, cracking a smile.
"Bitch." Dean replied affectionately, tousling Sam's hair. "Honestly though Sam, you shouldn't worry about it because I promise you with all my heart, that we'll be together."
"I should hope so! Not planing on being a serial killer when you grow up are ya Sammy?"
"Cause I gotta say, I sometimes wonder about you-"
Dean grinned and went back to reading his magazine. Oddly enough, he suddenly felt a lot better than before.
Sam could hardly gather enough breath to scream against the horrible pain in his chest. In some distant part of his mind, he knew he was dying. It seemed almost comical that after having battled demons, angels, monsters, Satan, and even destiny itself, the thing that would end up taking out the Winchesters was a damned car crash. Sam felt rather than saw Dean, as his brother laid a comforting hand on his shoulder. He could feel the blood seeping into his jacket and glanced over at his brother, more worried about him at the moment. Dean looked just as bad, coughing up blood before meeting his littler brother's eyes.
"Stay with me Sammy."
"Dean...we're not making it out of this one are we?"
Dean paused and for a moment Sam panicked thinking his brother had left, but then he heard him whisper,
"No, probably not."
And suddenly Sam was totally and irrationally scared.
"Dean...I can't feel anything below my neck." Sam admitted softly. His brother squeezed his eyes but a few hot tears managed to leak out.
"I know, I know Sammy. It's ok, it's gonna be ok. Everything's gonna be alright you hear me? I'm here. I'm here."
Those words transported Sam back to a day not too long ago, in an abandoned cemetery outside Lawrence, where Sam had almost beaten his brother to death. He remembered Dean choking out those exact words: "I'm here, I'm here, I'm not gonna leave you". And just like then, they filled Sam with all of the memories together as brothers. Through the thick and thin, even against all odds, Dean had stayed by his side. 'Even when I didn't deserve it.' Sam added as an afterthought. That gave him some comfort, until he realized-
"Dean, when we, you know, go, we're not going to be together."
"What the hell are you talkin' about?"
"Dean, let's be real here. After everything I've done? You can't honestly believe that I'm going to heaven-"
"Of course you are!"
"You mean even after starting the Apocalypse-"
"And trusting demons-"
"And all the things I did when I was soulless-"
"SAM! Do me a favor, and shut the hell up! Now listen to me, because I'm not lettin you die until you get this into your skull- none of it was your fault. And whatever mistakes you made, you paid the price for already with your time in the Cage. Slate is freakin wiped man!" Dean paused his rant to take an unsteady breath.
"...Ok fine, I get it, but even if I'm not going to hell, who's to say that we'll be together?"
"Sammy, did you forget the promise I made to you?"
Sam smiled grimly at the memory that resurfaced.
"No, I remember Dean."
"Good. So then you know that I'm not leaving you alone anytime soon. Cause Sammy? It won't be heaven unless you're there."
Sam finally let the tears flow. He knew the end was near and he could feel his body shutting down, but he didn't care.
Dean used the arm that wasn't broken in three places to stroke his baby brother's hair.
"You're such a girl Dean."
"Shut up bitch."
And so Dean listened to Sam's heartbeat as it got slower and slower and finally stopped. And he knew he was dead because that enormous chunk of his soul that belonged to Sam disappeared as it had done at Cold Oak and after Sam jumped in the pit. Dean could feel his own breath beginning to become labored and closed his eyes as he let himself drift off into nothingness...
Sunlight. That was the first thing he felt. Sun kissing his face, warming his insides. Blinking his green eyes open, he peered up at the blue sky and just let himself bask in the moment of utter peace. But where was...
Dean sat up slowly and glanced at his surroundings. Sand, ocean, ample sun...it was a beach. Specifically, it was the only beach he and Sammy had ever been to. It was the summer of 1990 and John had randomly decided to take a short vacation in between hunts.
"Your mother loved the beach. Said she'd never felt more relaxed anywhere else." Dean had remembered his father telling him this when he queried as to why they were there. The trip was one of the few moments in Dean's life after that fated night in 1983 where Dean really felt like a normal, happy family. No monsters or evil. He guessed it was the perfect place for heaven. Or would be if only-
"Dean?" Dean looked up, and broke into a wide grin. Sam stood above him, his face a mirror of his brothers, wearing identical swim trunks.
"You're here! I was so worried-"
"Only you would be worried in freaking heaven-"
"Shut up!" Sam chuckled, playfully swatting his brothers arm.
"Hey I said I'd be here with you right? And when have I ever broken a promise?"
Sam thought about that. "Well..."
They sat there for a while, just listening to the waves rhythmically crash against the shore.
"Isn't this heaven Sam?"
Sam looked over at his brother and replied:
"It is now."