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Finish Line (The Watching from Space Remix)

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Sam had always loved the rain, when he was a kid. When they were on the road, heavy rainstorms meant shorter days in the car, afternoons spent building a tent over the gap between motel room beds and playing under there with Dean. The sound of rain blowing against thin walls was dampened by all that polyester, and Dad was somewhere outside the warm little bubble he and Dean built for themselves. When they were staying in one place for a while, thunderstorms at night meant that Dean let Sam crawl in bed with him, even when Sam was old enough not to be scared anymore.

Sam never had been scared, though he wondered sometimes if Dean had been, if he'd taken comfort the only way he knew how--by offering it. Now, after everything, neither of them was scared of anything as ordinary as weather, but Sam had to wonder if Dean knew that lightning could strike him whether he was scared or not. Or maybe he didn't care, knowing that the powers that be wouldn't allow him to stay dead long.

Or maybe he just didn't care.

Sam stood in the dark of Bobby's living room and watched Dean where he sat on the porch, just out of reach of the rain. Sam flattened his hand against the cool glass of the window and thought about grabbing a beer for himself, going to sit next to Dean. There was a time when it would've been automatic, his shoulder bumping against Dean's as he sat down, and even if they didn't say anything the darkness around them would feel less oppressive, the rain more bearable.

Now, Sam wasn't sure how to offer that comfort, and Dean didn't seem to know how to accept it. Dean had grabbed the beer and fled the warmth of Bobby's kitchen because he didn't want to talk about how much Castiel might've known about Crowley's continued existence in this plane, whether Castiel had lied to them, was working against them, had betrayed them. Sam knew he should've let it go; they didn't have any real information, just a heavy load of suspicion, and Dean was exhausted.

Sam didn't know what drinking Phoenix ash tasted like, didn't know what it felt like to have an ancient creature with your mother's face sink her teeth into your neck, but he knew that watching it had tasted plenty bitter, that it had hurt to hold himself back from intervening. Castiel had healed Dean, but Sam knew as well as anybody that "healed" didn't take away the wound, not all the way inside.

Sam knew that if he went out onto the porch Dean would take off, either walking in the storm or driving, and between the lightning and the unknown number of drinks under Dean's belt Sam didn't know which would be more dangerous. Still, he didn't want to head upstairs to bed with Dean out there hurting all alone. He closed his eyes against a bright flash from outside, and prayed.

"Please, Castiel," he muttered. "Not for me, for him."

A thunderclap rattled the glass under Sam's palm, and when he opened his eyes Castiel was standing in the pouring rain, at the foot of the steps just below Dean. Sam knew he should just turn around and go upstairs, but he stayed where he was and watched as Dean lifted his head and then Castiel walked up the stairs in his slow, deliberate way. He stood looking down at Dean for a moment and then sat down a foot or two away.

Lightning flashed close by, blinding Sam for a moment, and when he could again see past his own reflection in the window Dean was sitting flush against Castiel, somehow wilted sideways with his head on the shoulder of that rain-soaked trench coat. Sam held his breath, wondering if Dean was so broken down that he was out there crying--weeping on the shoulder of his own personal angel. But then Dean looked up, put his hand on Castiel's face, and they were kissing.

Sam turned away and took a step back from the window, his deeply-ingrained little brother oh gross, stop it Dean instinct warring with that fact that as much as he wanted to be shocked he wasn't. Despite himself, Sam turned to look out the window again, and Castiel was straddling Dean's lap, his coat tented around them both, one hand cupped around the back of Dean's head. Sam jerked back from the window and walked back to the kitchen to grab a beer for himself; there were some things he really didn't need to see.

Again, Sam thought that he ought to be shocked but he couldn't be--not when so many things since he'd been back to himself shifted and made sense for the first time in this new light. Not to mention, Sam hadn't forgotten the time in seventh grade when he'd walked home early from a sleepover to find Dean with no shirt on, sucking face with some boy with weird goth hair. Sam had turned and run off that time too, afraid that Dean would kick his ass for interrupting. He went to 7-11 that evening, walked around looking at candy and magazines with the clerk's eye on him the whole time, like he was some kind of shoplifter. Sam had never said anything, neither had Dean.

Now, standing in front of Bobby's open refrigerator looking when he wasn't even hungry, he had to smile at the thought that some things, at least, never really change. The room grew quieter, the rain outside hitting with less force, the thunder rumbling farther away, and when Sam's beer was drained he wandered back to the living room and glanced outside, ready to turn away if something was going on that he really didn't need to see.

Dean was alone on the porch again, almost as if nothing had ever happened, but his shoulders weren't so rounded, his face tipped up to the clearing sky rather than bent down to look at the gathering rain. Sam wasn't sure how he'd be received, but he didn't want to go up to bed with Dean out on the porch by himself, didn't want to worry that he'd spend all night out there in the chill of early spring. He opened the door and then propped the storm door open a few inches.

"Hey, you coming in sometime or do you plan on drowning yourself like a turkey?"

Dean twisted to look over his shoulder then lumbered to his feet like his knees were already stiff from sitting there so long. "Sam, Sam." Dean's voice was worn, but his tone lighter than it had been earlier in the evening. "Always the old woman." He patted Sam's back as he shouldered through the doorway.

Sometimes, life with Dean meant watching him make out with the most improbable friend ever, and sometimes it meant being happy from the most pointless insults in Dean's arsenal. Either way, Sam would take it. He'd take it and keep it as long as he could.