A/N: A huge thanks to mb64, mandancie and (even though the site was being temperamental and wouldn't let me see it) LilyBolt for your recent reviews. It means so much! You guys are awesome! Thanks also to those who have read, followed, or added this to your favorites list. And as always, I don't own Supernatural, just borrowing the boys for a while!
"Sam, for goddsakes I can get in the fucking car." Dean glared at the orderly as he slowly rose himself from the wheelchair, the young man gazing rather warily at his former patient. Frustrated, Sam rolled his eyes, glancing apologetically at the frazzled orderly. "Dean, you just got over being stabbed in the stomach. You can't rush these things, man." Dean grumbled, but begrudgingly accepted his brother's help into the passenger side of the awaiting Impala. After shooting the young man another sympathetic glance, Sam slid behind the driver's seat and gunned the engine; the black beauty roared into life.
The brothers drove in silence to the motel, Dean dozing, his head leaning against the window that reminded Sam of his own habits when the lull of the Impala's engine lured him to sleep. Glancing at his brother, his still pale face wearing hints of pain he was still trying to hide, Sam sighed. It bothered him how close he had come to losing his brother. Sure, the job was always risky; Dean himself would remind him that he had just drawn the short straw. But Winchester guilt always seemed to haunt the brothers on a seemingly daily basis, and this time was no exception. Sam knew he couldn't really share it with his brother; in fact, he knew damn well what he'd say: stow your crap, Sammy. Granted, Sam had done just that, and it had nearly cost Dean his life. But he also knew that he would never bring up what had happened in L'Anse aux Meadows again. He'd just have to do what he'd always done: push it back, deep in the recesses of his mind, and get on with the job. Hell, it was the Winchester way, after all.
"Stop looking at me, Sam, you're giving me the creeps." Dean's gravelly voice broke the silence, and Sam felt a slight grin tug from his lips. "Not," he retorted, "can't afford to crash your precious car." But Sam was smiling now, though a hint of sadness remained in his eyes. "Damn straight," Dean agreed, rubbing the back of his neck. "Shit, Sam, how did you ever sleep like this? No offence, Baby." Giving the dashboard an affectionate pat.
"If you're tired enough, guess you'd sleep anywhere." Dean groaned. "Debatable, Sammy."
"So, you feeling any better? Do you need anything?" Sam pulled the Impala into the space before their motel and killed the engine. "I can stop by the pharmacy and get you some pain meds and soup or something. Think I passed one on the way…"
"Dammit, Sam, stop!" Dean immediately regretted his harsh tone when he noticed his younger brother's face fall slightly. Shit. He knew Sam was only trying to help; the kid felt guilty enough as it was about what had happened. But this feeling of being so weak, helpless…it was too much. Even if the doctors had assured him that he was on the road to recovery and should be back to normal in four or five weeks. Softening his tone, Dean gently patted his brother on the shoulder. "Thanks man," he answered instead, reluctantly allowing his brother to help him out of the Impala. "Gives me some time to watch a little pay-per-view." Rolling his eyes, Sam helped his brother to the motel, settling him in bed with the TV remote and some automotive magazines he had picked up for him the day before; and as his brother bitched because of the shitty channel selection, Sam headed out the door, en route to pick up some pain meds and other supplies. As he slid into the driver's seat, the familiar scent of leather, cheap cologne, and gunpowder permeating through the interior, Sam had to fight back the overwhelming grief flooding through him. He had come so close to losing this; just he and his brother, fighting monsters and saving the world, one hunt at a time. For a moment, he just sat there, hands gripping the wheel, engine silent despite the cold.
Dean hands him Ruby's knife to a dumbfounded, but obviously relieved Sam. "If you're serious and you want back in…you should hang on to this. I'm sure you're rusty."
Sam accepts the knife gratefully, shocked at Dean's sudden change of heart. He doesn't understand it. Just a few days earlier, his older brother had been adamant on keeping the distance, insisting that they be on separate hemispheres, even. Why, suddenly, does he want him back? What could have possibly happened to Dean to prompt him to make such a dramatic change of opinion? He voices this opinion, and Dean's reply is simple.
"…Maybe we are each other's Achilles heel. Maybe they'll find a way to use us against each other, I don't know. I just know we're all we've got…"
Sam can now feel the tears slide gently down his cheek at the memory. It was the day he'd reunited with Dean after their temporary separation. Later his older brother had shared with him the story of his stint in 2014, but at the time, the only thing Sam had felt was this overwhelming sense of relief. His older brother still trusted him, despite his massive fuck up. Hell, he'd even allowed him to trap Lucifer in the pit, for goddsakes. He trusted him. And now, more than ever, Sam was going to prove to Dean that he hadn't laid that trust in vain. Wiping his eyes, Sam turned the ignition, the old car roaring to life, and guided it in the direction of the pharmacy. He had an older brother to take care of.
Slowly things were getting back to normal for the Winchesters, the brothers settling into their familiar routine. It was, sadly, rather common for at least one of them to get seriously hurt (though fortunately it was a rare occurrence for one of them to have to be admitted to the local hospital), and the pair enjoyed some much needed time off. Bobby's place had always been a refuge to John Winchester's sons and the duo spent five weeks helping with research, relaxing, and enjoying each other's company. Of course, by the third week, both Dean and Sam were becoming restless, inching to go after their latest supernatural piece of shit, the Mother of All, but Bobby had insisted that Dean rest, regain his strength. And of course, where Dean was, Sam stayed behind. Other than a few easy salt and burns, the younger Winchester remained with his brother, grumbling about his brother's constant barrage of complaints of boredom.
"Should've thought of that before getting stabbed by a Viking, Dean."
"Shut up, Sam."
But truthfully, Sam was grateful not only for the break, but his brother's constant bitching. Initially he had still been frightened for his brother's well-being, fearing that another nightmare would still ultimately become a reality. But as the weeks passed, the terrifying dreams became even more infrequent. Occasionally he still dreamed of Jessica, sometimes still burning on the ceiling, but now, more often than not, his subconscious was toying with him, showing a slideshow of the what might have beens. In one particular dream, Sam is sitting on the back porch swing, drinking in a beautiful sunset, a newborn sleeping peacefully in his arms. Jess settles on the seat beside him, smiling at her husband and baby daughter. Never are words shared, just that beautiful smile, radiant as the setting sun reflects upon her delicate features and her clear blue-green eyes.
There are no further dreams of Dean. No premonitions of any sort in fact. To this day Sam wasn't certain if his dream had been a coincidence or indeed a snippet of the future, one he had managed to successfully change. It didn't matter. All that mattered to Sam Winchester was that he was with his brother; he had a home to go to when things got a little rough on the road. Everything was just as it should be, at least according to the Gospel of Winchester. Sam chuckled, thinking of the nerdy little prophet who had suddenly vanished after his leap into Hell. Sure, his life was crazy, but damn, it was one hell of a ride. And as the Impala pulled away from Singer Salvage, Dean once again behind the wheel and AC/DC blaring from the stereo, Sam realized that he wouldn't have it any other way.