Sam threw his massive arms around Dean and pulled him close.

Dean pulled him even closer.

They simply stood there holding each other until their heartbeats, thunderous and frantic, slowed and gentled. Until they breathed as one.

Then they stood there some more, each one unwilling to let go of the other first.

Dean spoke first, and said the only thing that needed saying. "Sammy."

Sam spoke the other half of their call and response; the words that years of love had carved into a sacred mantra, breathed it into Dean's ear like a prayer. "Dean."

Dean raised his head and wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. "Did Cas make it back?"

Sam's eyes flickered. "Yeah. Got here a few minutes before you."

Dean's face relaxed. Sam's expression tightened.

"Dean...did you and Cas?

Dean's mouth curved up in a smile. "Jealous?"

"Don't joke. Not now." In the fading light of early evening, the lines in Sam's face stood out, worry and grief and fear carved into his skin. Dean immediately regretted being flippant.

"You're right. I'm sorry." Dean rubbed his thumb against Sam's cheek, a gesture that never failed to comfort him. Sam pressed his face into Dean's hand, eyes closed.

"Nothing to be jealous about, Sammy. Me and Cas didn't. And won't. Never gonna happen."

A slow tear snuck from between Sam's eyelashes and crept down his face as if hoping not to be noticed.

Dean, of course, noticed. He caught it mid-flight with his mouth and kissed it away.

"You're it for me, Sam. Have been ever since... well, since always. Only ever gonna be you. Even if we're apart. Even if you're gone forever and I'm stuck in a hotel full of supermodels."

That prodded a half-laugh, half-sob from Sam.

"Hey. Look at me."

Sam blinked and raised his gaze to meet Dean's.

"Don't you ever worry about that."

"I know he loves you. Like that."

Dean sighed. "I know. But I don't. Not like that." Dean snaked his arm around Sam's waist and tugged him towards the kitchen. "Now I know you're all stocked up for me coming back, right?"

"Burgers, beer, whiskey and pie. Burgers, I gotta make. Beer, whiskey and pie are set to go now."

"Let's start with the whiskey and pie first, Sammy. Here today, gone tomorrow, right?" Dean settled into a chair at the table, and Sam leaned over him, pouring a generous splash of whiskey into a tumbler.

Dean seized the bottle. "Pappy Van Winkle? 23? Jesus, Sam. Where the hell did you get your hands on this?"

Sam stuffed his hands in his pockets and grinned. "Called in a favor."

"HUGE favor."

"Oh yeah."

Dean swirled the glass and inhaled through his nose, and his eyes fluttered closed.

He took a sip and let the amber liquid roll over his tongue. "Marry me, Sam."

Sam ruffled his hair. "Yeah, that'd go over real well in the county clerk's office."

"Fuck the paperwork. "

"You want to marry me. Back from Purgatory for all of ten minutes and you're proposing marriage. To your little brother."

"Dude. You've got to taste this." Dean shoved the tumbler at Sam. "Drink."

"Fuck. That's nice."

"Yeah. Gonna lay you out on the table here and lick it out of your belly button in about 40 seconds, just so you know."

Sam's mouth fell open.

"But seriously. I want to marry you. Wedding rings. You and me. Marriage ritual. The real deal, not a stupid legal document. That we're not eligible for anyway."


"And that's 40 seconds. Take your shirt off, Sammy."

Dean poured a capful of whiskey over Sam's navel, and tongued it out. "This is how I'm drinking all my whiskey from now on, Sammy. Licking it off your stomach."

Sam moaned, "Yes."

Dean twirled his tongue along Sam's belly button. "Yes to being my whiskey glass, or yes to marrying me?"

Sam arched up into Dean. "Yes. Yes. Yes."