A/N: As always, props to Sarah_Ellie for being an awesome beta.
Dean really never thought it would end like this. Bloody, sure, it's practically in the job description. But the variety of bloody end that people like them usually come to is at the hand of some monster, not a gunshot to the gut by some freaking wackadoo who kills like a monster.
He's said it before, and he'll say it again; monsters he gets, people are just crazy.
Unfortunately, it's people he never quite banked on when they started this job, and now he's paying dearly for it, fighting to get out of this goddamn maze, and back to the car while he's bleeding out.
He has no idea where Sam is, for all he knows the psycho got him ages ago; he knew it was a bad idea to split up. And of course they're in the middle of nowhere, some god-forsaken abandoned farm, so cell service is non-existent. Perfect. Great. Awesome.
At least he got the bastard, thank god for his talent for knife throwing, even while coughing up blood.
"Fuck," he wheezed, leaning heavy on the side of an old, rusted tractor, knees barely holding him anymore. But Baby was in sight, parked twenty feet away, and by God, if he was going to die, it was not going to be in some fucking field; it was going to be in that car. She was the only home he ever had.
Those twenty feet were agony, and he barely made it half the distance before the world started spinning from the blood loss and the pain became so severe that his legs failed him, pitching him forward to the ground. Dean couldn't help the ragged cry that ripped from his throat, pain shooting through him so sharp and deep he almost heaved; blood dripping from his open mouth into the dirt. He forced his head up, the glint of Baby's wheels sharp in his vision, and it took every scrap of willpower he had to keep going to her.
But if Dean Winchester was anything, he was determined, and he thought there must be something symbolic about crawling the rest of the way home to Baby, but he couldn't think straight about it just now. Sam would know.
He cried out when he finally managed to reach her and throw a heavy arm up to the handle, blood-slicked fingers barely able to press the lock release that would open the door.
Even he wasn't sure how he did it, in the end, but apparently that Winchester determination won out because the door opened and he found one last surge of strength to propel his sorry carcass into the front seat.
He collapsed in agony as soon as he hit leather. His legs still hung outside of the door, but he couldn't have moved again if God himself had commanded it.
He curled in on himself the best he could, both hands instinctively pressed against his abdomen. He couldn't really pinpoint where the bastard had got him, he just hurt; pain radiating from his insides.
Dean tried not to think about his blood ruining the upholstery as he turned to press his face against the seat, the rich leather smell filling his senses. His whole life he'd known that smell, and never once had it gotten old. He had a thousand memories attached to that scent.
"No nap!" Sammy whined, shoving his little toddler hands against Dean's chest to push him away.
"Sammy, I know you're tired, just lay down and you'll see," Dean said exasperatedly, grabbing Sam's wrists to stop his pushing.
"NO," Sam refused, scrunching his face up in a frown and Dean cast an apprehensive look toward the front seat, where their father was sure to be running out of patience. It was Dean's job to look after Sam, and if Dean couldn't even get his little brother to lay down for a nap, there was sure to be shouting.
"Dad's gonna get mad," Dean hissed quietly at his brother, giving him a serious look, "Do you want him to spank you?"
Sam's frown deteriorated a little as he cast a glance at the front seat as well, then looked back to Dean with a pout.
"No," he answered quietly, and Dean nodded.
"Then you have to lay down," Dean encouraged, and Sam made a face again.
"You nap too!" Sam insisted, crossing his arms, "Or else!"
Curse the day Sammy realized he could threaten Dean with bad behavior to get something he wanted. Usually, Dean could put his foot down and have his father's support when it happened, but he had a feeling this was not going to be one of those times.
"Alright, alright!" Dean grumbled, grabbing Sam around the middle and arranging them with Sam's back to Dean's front; fitting them horizontally in the back seat.
Dean slid his arm under Sam's head, allowing him to use it as a pillow while his own neck tilted at a weird angle that was sure to become painful. Sam squirmed around stubbornly for a minute, insisting on turning over to face Dean, and Dean sighed, but allowed Sam to grab fistfuls of Dean's shirt like a security blanket.
Satisfied, Sam finally settled down, his face pressed close to Dean's chest. Dean closed his eyes after a moment as well, figuring that it wouldn't hurt if he actually did take a nap with Sam, especially since his brother's grip meant he wasn't going anywhere any time soon.
The leather seats were warm, from the sun shining in the windows and their own body heat, and Dean breathed slow and deep as the rich leather smell mixed with Sam's in his nose comfortingly. Dean sighed before pressing a gentle kiss to Sam's unruly hair and letting himself drift off to the only smell of home he had ever really known.
Sam. Sam was the one thing he wished he had right now, if for no other reason than to have his brother's face be the last one he saw before lights out.
He opened his eyes with effort, looking instead at the dashboard. The dials were dark, and he half wished for the comfort of the radio playing and the hum of Baby's engine to see him off...
"I wanna rock! ROCK! I wanna rock! ROCK!…"
Dean head banged to the guitar riffs as he reached to the volume knob and turned it up, the wind whooshing through the open windows. The weather was beautiful, the road was clear, and the Impala was running in a gorgeous low rumble that made Dean feel like melted butter.
In other words, life was good.
Until Sam huffed and turned the radio down, frowning at the crime reports in his lap.
Dean turned it right back up again, a little louder than before, and rocked out the words to the chorus with enthusiasm.
"Dean, come on," Sam huffed again, turning it down for the second time, "I'm trying to read the case file."
"You've already read it a zillion times, Sam, lighten up," Dean said flippantly, nudging the speedometer up another few miles per hour contently.
"And you've barely looked at it, at least one of us has to be prepared," Sam groused, eyebrows furrowed as he read, and Dean rolled his eyes before jacking the volume up again.
"Dean!" Sam snapped, reaching for the radio and Dean blocked him, batting his hand away. Sam tried to smack him back, but Dean was too quick, dodging Sam's hand and managing to land a second smart rap to his little brother's knuckles in one swift move.
What followed could only be described at childish, the the two of them swatting back and forth at each other rapidly, and Dean split his attention between the road and his brother, mindful of Sam's sneakier moves.
"Little bitch," Dean huffed with a smirk, getting a flash of inspiration and jerking the wheel to the side, nearly swerving them into the dirt on the side of the road and Sam gasped in surprise. It was enough to make him drop his guard, and Dean seized on the opportunity to go for Sam's side, pinching it in a tickle that got an undignified squawk out of him. Dean straightened the car out at the last second, bringing them safely back onto the road and Sam grabbed his wrist tightly, holding it away from his ticklish abdomen.
"You're such a jerk!" Sam groaned, trying to one-handedly straighten out the casefile papers in his lap that had gone askew in the skirmish.
Dean just laughed, twisting his wrist out of Sam's grasp and reaching for him again rapidly. Sam tensed, anticipating another attack, but Dean surprised him by grabbing his hand and pulling it up to his mouth, kissing Sam's knuckles gently.
Sam looked a little dumbstruck for a moment, and Dean smirked, biting a gentle nip to his fingers as he glanced back and forth rapidly between the road and Sam.
Dean couldn't help it. He got like this when he felt good, and right now, cruising down this stretch of highway with Baby purring like a big cat and Sam being so very Sam, he wanted nothing more than to share his relaxed mood by affectionately kissing Sam's hand like they were in a chick-flick or something equally, toothache-inducingly sweet.
"Still a jerk," Sam said decisively, but didn't try to take his hand back as Dean brushed a few more lingering kisses to Sam's knuckles before settling their joined hands on the leather seat in the space between them.
"Still a little bitch," Dean threw back with a grin, and Sam just shook his head before interlacing their fingers.
Dean's eyelids fluttered, his vision starting to go in and out of focus.
Yeah, a lot of good memories in this car. Too bad he was ruining it for Sammy with his blood all over the seats. These seats had certainly seen some things.
"Ung, God, Dean!" Sam panted against his mouth, and Dean gave a breathy groan in answer, using the firm purchase his still-booted feet had on the floor to make his next thrust that much harder.
Sam's breath punched out of him on a moan, titling his head back against the reclined passenger seat wantonly, and Dean took the opportunity to bite and suck on his exposed neck. Fuck, it got him hot to have Sam like this, completely naked and worked up under him, thighs wrapped around his waist while Dean was still half-dressed.
"That's it," Dean sighed against Sam's throat, thrusting deep and hard again and again, his hands pulling Sam's hips down into each forward jerk of his pelvis, "That's it, Sammy, come on."
Sam writhed hotly, whining with need and pushing his hips up to rub his cock against Dean's stomach desperately. Dean groaned and pushed up on his arms, reaching up to grip the top of the seat on either side of Sam's head. He looked down with wide eyes at Sam's shadowy form, lust spiking through him at the sight of Sam's pleasure-slacked face.
"Come on, Sammy," he repeated in a panted whisper, reaching down to grip Sam's cock tightly, the heavily-leaking precome slicking the way and making each firm stroke in rhythm to his thrusts smooth.
"Oh God," Sam choked, arching, hands scrabbling at Dean's waist and trying to hold on as Dean fucked him into the seat.
"Dean!" Sam groaned, and Dean thumbed the head of his cock as he ground his hips in tight, squeezing the breath from their lungs...
He was so fucking close, and so was Sam, he could see it in the tension of his arms and belly, Sam just needed that extra tightness at the tip of his cock...
Suddenly Sam cried out, hands tightening with bruising force on Dean's skin as he came, hot and thick across his belly. The sight was incendiary, and Dean's back bowed as his orgasm ripped down his spine...
Dean's eyelids felt like cement. It matched the concrete feeling of his limbs, and the idea of sleeping forever sounded pretty nice right about then.
Where the fuck was he, anyway? What was...?
Dean forced his heavy eyes open, the memory of a bullet in his gut and Sam's voice ringing in his ears suddenly coming back. The world was too bright, blurred white in front of him and he squinted, trying to will it all to come into focus.
"Sammy?" he rasped, voice scratchy and dry and it made him cough weakly.
"Dean?" Sam was suddenly there in his line of vision, blurred around the edges, but definitely, undeniably, Sam.
"Hey," Sam breathed, the relief clear in his voice, and he gently reached up to cup Dean's face. Dean let his eyes slipped closed for a moment, the touch of Sam's hand a warm comfort.
"Dean?" Sam said gently, and Dean forced his eyes open again, blinking hard a few times, brows furrowed, trying to make his vision focus.
"Where-" Dean started to ask, coughed on the next word when his throat was too dry to talk, and Sam hurried to pour a cup of water from the pitcher on the nightstand. He held it up to Dean's lips carefully, helping him take small sips.
Dean accepted it gratefully, letting the cool water moisten the inside of his mouth and he finally felt like he could talk in more than one-word sentences.
He shook his head slightly and Sam put the water aside, cupping Dean's face gently again. Dean relaxed into the touch, Sam's thumb stroking cautiously back and forth across his cheekbone and it was a struggle to keep his eyes open and focused on Sam's face.
"Thought I'd lost you," Sam whispered softly, and even undoubtedly drugged, Dean could hear the emotional toll Sam had taken in his voice, "God- Dean..."
Sam leaned down over him, pressing a gentle kiss to Dean's lips, the corner of his mouth, his nose, and even along his jaw and Dean swallowed, opened his mouth to speak.
"Can't get rid of me that easy," he remarked dryly, and Sam huffed a voiceless laugh, "How'd you find me?"
He felt the bed dip slightly as Sam sat on the edge of the mattress beside him, still leaning over him and stroking his face gently.
"Found our killer first," Sam said, "Followed the trail of blood back to the car."
Sam swallowed hard, leaning in to press another brief kiss to Dean's lips before he continued, "You're lucky to be alive. They had to pump four pints of blood back into you and fish the bullet out of your small intestines."
"Fun," Dean croaked.
"Don't ever do that again," Sam suddenly said seriously, and Dean's heart twisted at the sight of moisture gathering in Sam's eyes, "Don't you ever, ever get hurt like this again. I can't-"
"I'll try, Sammy" Dean whispered, swallowing thickly, and Sam stared hard at him for a long moment.
Finally he nodded, leaning in to press more kisses to Dean's lips and cheeks slowly, and Dean let his eyes slip closed, the warmth of Sam's body beside him and his gentle touch threatening to lull Dean back into sleep.
"Love you," Sam murmured, "Love you, love you, love you..." he repeated over and over, after every kiss he pressed to Dean's face, and Dean felt his own eyes begin to tear up at the intimate gesture.
Sam's voice tapered off slowly, and finally he pulled back enough to look down at Dean's face, and Dean forced his heavy eyes open.
"You're being pumped full of so many antibiotics you could survive bio-warfare, I think," Sam commented after a few moments, clearly trying to lighten the mood. He gave a small smile as he glanced at the bags of liquid suspended above their heads that were hooked to Dean's IV, and Dean returned the quirk of his lips.
"You should get some sleep," Sam said quietly, "You're going to be recovering for quite a while."
Dean made a face, and Sam snorted, "That's what happens when you face down serial killers, Dean."
"Got the bastard in the end," Dean insisted in a slur, the fight to stay awake getting steadily harder.
"Yes you did," Sam assured him, leaning in for another kiss, "Go to sleep, Dean."
Dean didn't answer, staring as long as he could at Sam's face before sleep forced his eyes closed again.
"I'm telling you, man, this job doesn't offer much, but there are some pretty amazing perks," Dean sighed, taking a long drag from his beer languidly.
Sam hummed in agreement next to him, and Dean sighed contently again as he gazed out over the mountain range, the vivid colors of the setting sun splashing reds, golds, and oranges across the steep landscape.
They didn't always get much down time after a case. A lot of times it was arrive, kill, onto the next. But this last salt-and-burn had been quick and easy, and with no other weird occurrences spotted, they had just picked a direction and started driving.
Honestly, it was a nice mini-vacation, and the gorgeous sunset that was promising an even more gorgeous starry sky was too good to resist stopping for.
Dean tilted his head back to finish the last few swallows of beer before tossing the empty bottle back in the open cooler and scooting farther back on the hood. He leaned back against the windshield carefully, the coolness of the glass on the back of his neck sending shivers down his spine for a moment.
Sam looked back at him, and Dean winked before closing his eyes.
Sam chortled, and Dean heard the hollow sound of his brother's beer bottle upturning before the weight shifted on the roof of the car, and he could feel Sam's presence looming over him.
"You want something?" Dean asked casually, and suddenly Sam pressed the cold glass of his bottle against Dean's neck, and Dean cursed colorfully, batting at Sam's hand and squirming away affrontedly.
"Little bitch!" Dean shoved at Sam's shoulder, and Sam snickered, tossing the bottle into the dirt carelessly before shoving his arm under Dean's shoulders insistently, and Dean shoved Sam's stupidly big shoulders again.
"What're you doin'?" Dean grumbled, but Sam only forced himself closer, laying half-on top of Dean with one arm supporting Dean's neck and shoulders as the other sneaked around his waist.
Sam ignored him in favor of pressing his mouth to the cold spot his beer bottle had left behind on Dean's neck, and Dean snorted.
"Oh yeah, sweet-talking me now, are you?" Dean teased, and Sam laughed quietly, the puff of air from his breath humid against Dean's neck as Sam made himself comfortable, scooting down to rest his head on Dean's shoulder.
Dean sighed dramatically, slinging his arms sloppily across Sam's back and Sam chuckled, "Oh yeah, this is such a hardship for you."
"It is, actually, yeah. What if I wanted another beer?"
"Then that's just too bad, isn't it?" Sam sighed, and Dean rolled his eyes and contemplated rolling Sam off him and onto his ass in the dirt, but decided it was too much effort and he was too relaxed.
So he let his eyes slip closed instead, dozing as the colors of the sunset slowly faded away into the dark of night.
The next time Dean opened his eyes, he couldn't help but gasp softly at the explosion of stars above them. Sam tensed against him for a moment, and Dean assured him softly, "Wow, take a look at that."
Sam tilted away from him, turning his head to look up, and echoed Dean's awed gasp.
"Told ya, Sammy, the job has perks. How many shmucks of the world get to see something like this?"
"Yeah," Sam agreed softly, and Dean couldn't help but press a gentle kiss to Sam's temple, still looking out among the stars.
Yeah, their lives weren't perfect, but there was no where else Dean would rather be.