Title: Forever

Disclaimer: I do not own, no nothing.

Summary: Wishes came with price tags on pretty lips. Payments had to be made for happiness.

Characters: Dean, Sam

Words: 273

Sam never notices. But he's seven, playing in the slime of a tide pool, inspecting with hands so tender the sea things trapped there. He's smiling, carefree.

He doesn't ask about mom. He doesn't ask about dad. He only plays.

Dean is older. Always older. He feels it, sees it. Sammy remains the same. Never changing, never growing. Big eyes, tousled hair, limbs long and uncoordinated.

Sam never notices. The painted sky, the dull sun, the twice-breathed air; every day, over and over, like a needle caught in the grooves of a favorite record: the same beach, the same words…

"Monster!" cries Sammy, his voice too mirthful -always laughing. Dean is at his side, slower now -slowing always- but already knowing what slithers beneath the point of Sam's tense finger.

"It's not a monster," explains Dean, again and forever. "It's a sea urchin."

Sam curls his finger away, staring with brave intensity but giving the spiny creature it's due space. Observation and wonder; the glimmer of curiosity burns in his eyes.

"I'm gonna be a bio-gist when I grow up," he says, as matter-of-factly as every such declaration, turning his head for a different view of the animal. "Or a pirate."

Dean hides his bittersweet smile and ruffles his brother's hair.

Sammy. Forever seven. Forever smiling.

Wishes came with price tags on pretty lips. Payments had to be made for happiness.

Caught in memory -or madness-, tucked inside a forgotten past, and pressed like a flower between the pages of a better time. A desperate deed; a hopeless prayer; a selfish choice.

This fiery heaven. This golden hell. At least it is forever.


Notes: I don't even know. Way AR, speculating perhaps: what would dean do for forever, no matter the cost. And from that rose a scene, and a few words. Short, bittersweet, open for interpretation. :D