Alright, this took forever and it's sort of short and rushed, but it's the EPILOGUE! So thank you to every one who favorited and followed, and esecially for your reviews:) They mean a lot to me, and you guys have been awesome.

WARNINGS: mentions of abuse and rape, language, slash

Sam set the stack of chipped plates down on the table and proceeded to unstack them and put them down on the threadbare placemats. Dean cursed under his breath and hefted the pot of boiling water off the stove before it boiled over, sloshing half of it over the rim and all over the stovetop in the process.

Sam raised an eyebrow and commented dryly, "Maybe you should have waited for Cas to do this."

"I can cook a pot of damn pasta, Sammy," Dean growled, hissing when the boiling water licked at his fingertips. He managed to pour the pasta into the sink, most of it making it into the strainer he'd placed there earlier. "God knows how many times I've done it in your life time."

Sam hummed softly in reluctant agreement, setting down the forks and knives next to the plates. He slid into his chair at the table and watched Dean dig through the fridge for tomato sauce. He absentmindedly scratched at one of the faded scars on his arms, lost in thought.

Dean's voice broke into his thoughts and he glanced up at his brother, listening more closely to what he was saying.

"…talk to Dr. Griswold about your nightmares?" Dean asked, dumping the spaghetti into a ceramic bowl.

"Yeah," Sam replied slowly, glancing down at his palms. He bit his bottom lip before adding softly, "She prescribed some medication for me."

Dean bit the inside of his cheek and set the bowl down in the center of the table. He leaned on the edge of the table and sighed, hunching his shoulders. He'd expected this to happen. Sam had been waking himself up screaming since they'd moved out of Kansas. Dean and Cas took turns trying to calm him down, holding him or, on the bad nights, sitting on the edge of the bed, not touching him, but trying to be there for him. Dean felt like crap with the lack of sleep he'd been getting lately, and Cas didn't look much better than he felt. Every time Wednesday when he went into the main office to pick Sam up to get to therapy across town on time, the lady in the main office would give him a sympathetic look and asked if Cas was eating enough; Dean wanted to be irritated with her concern, but, honestly, a part of him was relieved that there was someone at that school that looked out for Cas.

Sam pursed his lips and dug his hand into the pocket of his jeans, feeling around for the slip of paper the doctor had given him. He fished it out and handed it to Dean. "If we can't afford it, I get it, it's alright. They'll go away on their own…"

"We can afford it," Dean said tersely, snatching the paper from Sam's hand and tucking it in his pocket. He'd pick it up after work tomorrow. If he tapped into the cash Dad had sent last month (which he had been determinedly avoiding the use of), he would still have enough for the rent at the end of the month. "Don't worry about it, Sammy."

Sam shrugged and fiddled with the hem of his shirt uncomfortably. He watched Dean place the tomato sauce on the table next to the bowl. The lock turned in the front door and Cas pushed it open, stepping inside and out of the howling wind whipping the snow around outside. He was clutching a stack of envelopes under his thick jacket. He shouldered the door shut behind him and locked it instinctively, letting out a sigh of relief when the warm air of the apartment hit him, making his stiff, freezing fingers tingle. He glanced up and smiled breathlessly at Sam and Dean, "Hi."

"Hey," Sam stood up and moved to take the stack of mail from Cas before it slipped out of his arms. He tucked it under his armpit and reached out to help Cas out of his jacket. Cas smiled at him gratefully and went up on his toes to peck Sam's cheek, reaching out to pluck one of the letters from under Sam's arm. "How's it going?"

"Fine," Cas replied, smiling brightly, clutching the letter in his hands tightly. He gripped Sam's wrist and tugged him to the table, taking the mail from him and discarding it onto the counter without looking at any of it. He pushed the letter into Sam's hands and took a step back, watching him turn the it over in his hands. Sam glanced up at Cas, confused. Cas sighed, still smiling widely. "Open it!"

Sam's gaze fell on the return address and his stomach dropped. He swallowed hard, his throat suddenly dry and his chest tight. "I…this wasn't supposed to come until next week."

Cas exchanged a glance with Dean. Dean inclined his head slightly, turning back to the counter to wash out the pots in the sink. Cas rested a hand on Sam's hip and curled his fingers loosely around Sam's waist. He tilted his head back to look up at Sam and gave him a lopsided smile, pleased that Sam didn't automatically flinch away from his touch. "Just open it, Sam. We'll take it from there, no matter what happens."

Sam pursed his lips and flipped the envelope over. He slid his fingers under the seal and tore the envelope open, his heart in his throat. Cas moved to press himself to Sam's side, trying to offer some support, to let Sam know that he was there. Sam's gaze flickered down to meet Cas's warm blue eyes, and a feeling a warmth spread through his chest. He tugged the thick sheaf of folded papers out of the envelope and suck in a deep breath before unfolding them.

His gaze flickered over the page without really reading anything until his eyes fell on the words, "…great pleasure in offering you admission to Stanford University's Class…"

Cas peered over his shoulder and followed Sam's gaze, grinning unabashedly as he read the letter. He squeezed Sam's waist tightly and pressed his face into Sam's shoulder. He felt Sam's back relax from the tight knots his muscles had been wound in.

Sam let out a long breath and clutched the letters so tightly the paper crumpled in his hands. "I can't believe I got in…"

"You got in?" Dean whirled around and gaped at Sam, his eyes wide. He smiled and rubbed his hands over his face. He knew Sam was smart, and he'd known Sam had a good chance of getting in to college with his grades, but he'd been worried that with them moving around so much, Sam's transcripts might not be accepted.

"Full ride," Cas added, unable to keep himself from smiling against Sam's shoulder. Sam felt his mouth curve against the worn flannel of his shirt. "Of course you got in, Sam."

Sam dropped the letter and the attached papers onto the table, slightly shocked. Cas watched him with concern, waiting for some sort of reaction. He curled his fingers into the front of Sam's shirt and tugged at the fabric gently. "Sam?"

Sam blinked and looked down at Cas for a few moments. Cas's wide eyes were trained on him with concern, but the corners of his eyes were still slightly crinkled with happiness. His slim fingers tugged hesitantly on Sam's shirt, asking for his attention, but not demanding it. His hair was a ruffled mess, as usual, sticking up in every direction around his head. Faint scars wrapped around his exposed forearms in thin white circles; Sam traced his fingers over the lines, wondering if they'd been carved there by handcuffs or rope, or whatever else his brother had used to keep him trapped in that house. Cas squeezed his waist again tightly, and Sam's chest tightened. He was suddenly overwhelmed with the thought of how incredibly lucky he was.

He had a caring, patient, beautiful boyfriend who wanted nothing more than for him to be happy and safe, and he had an older brother who loved him enough to work his ass off to take care of him and protect him with his life.

He had nightmares where it felt like large, rough hands were running all over his body, a tongue forcing its way in his mouth, Prose's gruff voice in his ear, commanding and threatening and humiliating words spilling from his lips. He could feel tears running down his cheeks as he struggled to get away from the unwanted touches, whimpering and begging softly for Prose to stop. Dean or Cas would shake him awake and hold him until he managed to fall asleep again, rubbing his back and muttering comfortingly into his thick, tangled hair to calm him down. He was becoming progressively more and more comfortable with being touched. He wasn't dirty, and it wasn't his fault; he'd been instructed to repeat that to himself by his therapist with the promise that someday he'd believe it.

He hoped she was right.

"We're going to California," Sam glanced between Dean and Cas, a smile tugging at the corner of his lips. He pulled Cas against his chest and wrapped his arms around his waist, lifting him a few inches off the ground and spinning him around a few times. Cas clutched at his shirt tightly, confusion, fear, and joy mingling on his face. Sam laughed and set Cas down, pressing his lips to the smaller man's. Cas stumbled back into the table, breathless and caught off guard by Sam's sudden display of joy and affection. "Cas, we're going to college."

Dean pursed his lips into a smile and watched Sam pick up the letter to reread it, his eyes bright and wide with disbelief, gripping Cas's hand tightly and pulling him close. Cas laughed a little bit, obviously as elated by Sam's reaction as Dean felt, and hugged him tightly, grinning against Sam's collar bone.

Dean tossed the dishrag into the sink and sucked in a deep breath, letting the tension ease out of his shoulders.

They were going to be just fine, as long as he had anything to say about it.


There it is! Let me know what you thought of this, or the whole thing. Review if you've got a minute, I love them:)

Thanks for reading.