A/N: I liked the season finale, but I think it was missing the emotional heft that most SPN season finales have. So I wrote this because I felt like this would be the exact thing that would have ruined me had it been in the finale. Please let me know what you think.
The mornings before the kamikaze, world-hanging-in-the-balance hunts were always exquisite.
This one was no different. The fog folded around Sam as he slogged out onto the narrow slip of the porch and sat down next to Dean. The view was nothing but vibrant, spring green and the marbled gray of the expansive Montana sky. Rain fell in swirls of hissing snaps as it hit the leaves, the top of the roof, the Impala. Mist settled into the lows of the uneven land and loomed there.
As much as he missed Bobby's house, filled with books and memories, he was starting to like the cabin Rufus had built in the middle of nowhere.
Dean drank a beer slowly in the way that suggested he was savoring it more than trying to numb away whatever psychological pain throbbed the worst at that moment. Sam thought of the papers in the sealed envelope in the middle of his duffel Bobby's ghost had directed him to before, stomach fluttering with more nerves about that than the final assault on Dick Roman.
"Dean," Sam called quietly as the birds began to announce the dawn from the canopy of trees that flanked the narrow path.
"Not yet, Sammy," Dean answered amiably.
It was a ritual they'd started before big hunts, because now that death was once again an option, they needed to clear the air, confess secrets they didn't want to take with the do grave. It was an unburdening. So Sam waited. Until Dean finished his beer, cracked open another and offered him one.
"All right, Sam. Whatcha got?"
"Why do I always have to go first?"
"Because I'm older," Dean said slyly.
"I just have one this time," Sam rubbed his clammy hands on his sweatpants, and hoped this wouldn't dredge up twenty years of unresolved angst. "Why do you keep hunting?"
Dean looked startled, and he turned to Sam, eyes a brilliant, terrified green. His Adam's apple bobbed and his hands grip the beer bottle so taut, the caps of his knuckles bled white. "Sammy…"
"Just listen to me, Dean. I want to gank Dick Roman as much as you do. He killed Bobby; he's building human slaughterhouses. Man, I get it; I'm in."
Dean gazed away from him, listening. "But…"
"…but I think this fight is all I have left in me." He steeled himself for Dean's reaction to what he was about to say, "if…no when we make it through this one, I want to stop hunting, stop running, stop all of it. We've saved the world, what, three times now? We've done enough. Rufus knew a hunter who works with the county. I got some papers made, identities for both of us. And Rufus has another place—a house in upstate New York. We could stay here or go there. Add that to Bobby's insurance money, and we could have lives, Dean. Away from the hunt."
Sam searched Dean's face and when it didn't so much as twitch, he took a long pull from his beer, wishing he had never said anything.
"No offense, Sam, but I think you're too old for law school." Dean said, his tone inscrutable.
He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "I don't want that; I just can't lose anything else, Dean. After Bobby…" Sam's eyes instantly filled and his voice splintered. He stopped, reining in the grief that was fresher than this spring morning. "You're literally all I have left. I've lost my mother, my father, the love of my life, Bobby…I can't…lose my brother, too. Dean, I can't. We've given enough."
Dean was still for long minutes, staring out at the trees and a fiery sliver of sun wafted over the horizon. Finally, he extended his arm and tipped his beer towards Sam. "Damn straight we have," he said with a smirk. "Sam, I was gonna tell you the same thing. I'm tired, man. Bobby said went he was done, he just knew, and I'm ready to pack it in."
Happiness, truth, unfiltered mirth, was as rare as an eclipse, so Sam dove into it face first, feeling the lightness and the adrenaline that powered an easy smile and a robust heartbeat. "To kickin' it in the ass one last time," Sam said. And they toasted to a wide-open future, hopefully without anymore violence than the morning fight for the shower.
Sam and Dean watched the storm rain itself out, and the sun rise over the trees.
"So tell me about this house in New York…" Dean prompted, flopping back.
When Sam pulled out the pictures that he'd tucked in the pocket of his hoodie, Dean's laughter echoed over the hills and imbued Sam with the determination to survive this hunt and begin the life they both deserved.