A/N: I don't own Supernatural, but sometimes I most certainly wish I do ;). For entertainment purposes only. Please feel free to review, I love reading them! This fic is inspired by Bob Dylan's rendition of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" and of the scene in "Dark Side of the Moon" when Dean recalls his Fourth of July of 1996. Hope you enjoy!

Knockin' on Heaven's Door

At first, he feels pain, so intense it seems that shards of glass continually pierce Dean's body. He doesn't remember much of what had happened, just the squealing of tires, Sam's terrified cries of "omigod, omigod, OMIGOD moments before the semi T-bones the Impala, the sickening crunch of steel against steel as the two vehicles…..

And then the pain, like hot fire, rushing through his body until Dean slips into merciful unconsciousness…

XXX

Of all the things to bring down the Winchesters, it was a goddamned semi.

The day had started off normally. Fresh from a hunt, the brothers had been enjoying the rare moments of down time which were few and far between. The November weather was far from promising, a mix of wet snow and rain having fallen for the past few hours. Sam had insisted on staying in, enjoying the day off by parking in front of the TV and watching the Cowboys play Cincinnati. Order a pizza, share a twelve pack, and enjoy each other's company. Dean had wanted to head out to the local bar, shoot some pool, try to "win" back some of the funds they had used up on the latest hunt. Hunting may be in their blood, but there sure as hell weren't benefits packages tied with the gig.

It happened so quickly. One moment, Dean had turned his head, teasing his little brother, who was still talking about the latest hunt. He had opened his mouth to tell his brother to forget about the job for once in his life and have some fun damn it, when he was interrupted by the look of sheer horror on Sam's face. Before Dean had any time to react, he heard the squeal of brakes as the semi slams against the Impala.

Xxx

The temperatures rise slightly, enough for the snow to transition into rain, one cold enough to send an icy chill through Sam's bones. He shivers, but pulls off his jacket nonetheless, covering his brother's badly wounded body. Dean trembles, mouth opening and closing, but no words come; blood trickles from his bottom lip, the rain washing it away and causing a ghastly effect which would have disturbed the stoutest of observers. One green eye is practically swollen shut, caked with blood, but the other is aware, staring at his brother. He tries to speak, but no words come.

Sam initially misses the cue. He's concentrating on keeping his brother alive, applying pressure to the wound and screaming for someone, anyone, to come and help. In the distance, a siren wails, and Sam feels a faint glimmer of hope. Perhaps no one had had the balls to stop and help, but someone had at least had the decency to dial 911. For a moment, the sun peaks from beneath a cloud, and Sam takes it as a good omen. He has to. He can't give up on his brother, needs to hold on to some kind of hope, no matter how pointless, how unlikely, it may be.

He almost misses it.

"S'mmy…" So faint, it's barely audible, but after a moment's hesitation, Sam hears it again, this time slightly stronger.

"Sammy…."

"Dean?" Sam's heart is pounding in his chest, his mind racing a mile a minute. Sam knows he has to calm down, be cool, for Dean's sake. But he can't. He feels his eyes moisten and Sam quickly blinks them back. No crying now. Not yet. He had a brother to save.

"Sam…" Dean closes his eyes and Sam begs him to reopen them. To close his eyes would be to succumb to unconsciousness. To slip away. And Sam can't lose his brother now. Not after everything they'd been through.

"…love you…"

Sam froze. And finally allowed the tears he had been trying desperately to hold back fall along his cheek, mingling with the cold rain. Carefully Sam lifts his brother's rain soaked head from the pavement, looks into his eyes.

"I love you too, Dean."

His brother smiles, satisfied that the words the two had never been able to say to each other, had finally been uttered. He nods weakly, satisfied, and settles comfortably in Sam's arms. The young man feels a shudder, a faint struggle for breath, and he's gone.

Sam holds his brother in the rain for what seems like an eternity, oblivious to the paramedics who treat his equally injured body, only letting go when one of the paramedics gently, but forcibly pulls him away. As he is lead into the awaiting ambulance, Sam watches as Dean is laid gingerly on a gurney, a plain white sheet covering his brother.

The man who had taken care of him since childhood.

The man who had rescued him from the inferno of Jess' apartment.

The man who had made him laugh, pissed him off, drove him nuts with his overprotective behaviour.

The man who had gone to Hell for him.

The fight gone, Sam collapses, sobbing uncontrollably.

Xxx

At first, he sees only darkness. Then, gradually, his green eyes adjust to the light, and Dean finds himself sitting in the driver's side of the Impala; his baby, which just moments ago, it seems, was nothing but a twisted pile of metal along Rte. 66. Curious, he steps out of the car, walking along a lonely stretch of highway. The night is warm, starless, and Dean wonders why the weather is so mild for November. Somehow the fact that his car is miraculously intact skips his mind.

He wanders until he finds a vast clearing, the faint wind rustling the timothy. And there, before his very eyes, stands a young boy, no more than twelve of thirteen, a look of pure ecstasy on his young face. In his arms he cradles a cardboard box of fireworks.

Fourth of July, 1996.

Dean's eyes widen and a grin spreads across his face as he recognizes the boy beside him. Young Sammy, only thirteen, celebrating his first Fourth of July fireworks show with his big brother. Dean's faint smile widens into a grin as the night sky is suddenly aflame in a burst of colour. As he holds the young boy close, basking in the beauty of the spectacle, Dean thinks he can faintly hear a melody linger in the night breeze, so faint, it could very easily be non-existent.

"Knock-knock-knockin' on heaven's door…"

Dean closes his eyes and relaxes, feeling the warmth of the boy leaning against him.

There'll be peace…