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Make the Yuletide Gay

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Sam wakes up with the taste of eggnog in the back of his throat and his face smooshed into the corner of the couch. The crappy TV is still on, showing an infomercial that's busy explaining how easy it'll be to lose those Christmas love handles just by buying a total body workout machine that looks like nothing more than a glorified torture rack. His mouth is gummy and he's all twisted up on the couch, legs hanging off the end, his arm completely numb and starting to spazz out with pins and needles because he'd fallen asleep with it tucked behind his head.

Dean is out cold and snoring in the armchair, slumped low, his legs sticking straight out in a wide V, an empty bottle of beer still clasped loosely in his hand and balanced on one hip. Sam's grin is automatic, but it fades as he watches his brother. Watches the steady rise and fall of Dean's chest, Dean's eyes rolling slowly behind closed lids. Dean. Dean.

It's almost too much to bear, being with Dean like this, knowing what's to come. Watching over him, trying to protect him against something Sam has no idea how to fight, something that Dean seems happy to walk right into like it's his job or his duty or some other little gem of Dean Logic that's just as infuriating and twice as retarded. All Sam's fruitless research, his clandestine meetings with Ruby, his determination to do whatever he has to do to save Dean. All of it. It's not enough. It'll never be enough, there'll never be enough time, and Sam can't bear to sit there and watch the simple little signs of his brother's life a moment longer. Not without Dean awake to smile and goad and distract him.

Sam is wrung out. It had been a hard day. Harder than he'd been expecting, but he'd got through it, managed not to say anything too stupid or embarrass both of them or, God help him, cry all over Dean because he knows Dean hates that, but now Dean is asleep and Sam doesn't have to pretend anymore. He doesn't have to hold on so hard, doesn't have to paste on the big smile, doesn't have to laugh too loud to cover the silences that say too much. He doesn't have to look at his brother and pretend it's all going to be okay. Doesn't have to stop himself from saying all the things that echo through his head pretty much constantly.

Don't die. Don't leave me. Don't do this for me. Find a way to take it back. Stop accepting it. Stop pretending this is normal.

You're my brother and I'd die for you. Willingly. Gladly. Why couldn't you just let me go? I'm not worth this. Not even close.

I love you. I love you so much it's killing me, you big, dumb asshole. Every minute of every day it's getting worse and worse and I love you and I love you and I love you and it's choking me.

He swallows heavily, and has to get out, has to be away, but he can't bear to leave. Dean waking up alone in the dark to find him gone is unthinkable right now. He's in the bathroom before he even realises he's moving because there's nowhere else to hide that isn't too far away from Dean. Cold water on his face and in his mouth isn't enough, so he ditches his clothes and takes a shower, water hot as he can stand it, just for something to do, just to turn his face into the spray and let it all wash away.

He's standing at the sink, towel around his waist, staring at the can of shaving cream in his hand, when there's a perfunctory tap on the door and it creaks open, trailing curlicues of steam in its wake. Dean's hair is squashed on one side, sticking straight up on the other, and he looks bleary as hell, framed in the doorway and rubbing at his eye with his fist. In that moment he looks so lost, so incredibly young, that it hits Sam like a fist to his stomach.

'Sammy?' Dean says, his voice rusty. 'Whatcha doin'?'

Sam glances around the room. 'What's it look like?'

'Looks like you're takin' a shower at four in the morning, bro,' Dean says, lifting the can of shaving cream from Sam's hand. He waggles the can. 'Gotta say, you locked in the bathroom right now? I would've thought I'd find you in here with your other present.'

Only Dean could manage to look quite so gleeful about giving pornography as a Christmas present. Sam hasn't looked at the magazines Dean bought him. He can't bring himself to. They're tucked in the pocket of his duffel bag, folded carefully and wrapped up in an old shirt.

He'd wanted to tease Dean about it being the same thing as Homer buying a bowling ball for Marge, the exact same thing, and expanding on his all too apt metaphor by calling Dean Homer, which would have led neatly to Dean laughing and saying that if he was Homer, that made Sam Marge, all big stupid hair and stern disapproval, but Sam hadn't been able to start it, couldn't get the words out.

He'd just smoothed his fingers over the garish cover of Frolics and didn't even see the naked chicks -- just saw Christmas, just saw Dean -- as he tucked them away, safe and sound.

And he doesn't even use shaving cream. He's been using shaving gel for years. Palmolive Sensitive Shave Gel for Men with Aloe Vera. Dean knows this. Dean has teased him for this, so why Dean chose to buy him the same generic brand of shaving cream that Dean's been using since he started shaving at the tender age of fourteen and a half, Sam couldn't possibly say.

So all he does say is, 'Door wasn't locked.'

These days it never is.

Dean smiles, loose and easy, still blinking a lot, as he smoothes the backs of his fingers against Sam's jaw, going against the grain. Sam can hear the rasp of stubble. It's little more than a five o'clock shadow, but Dean's skin feels soft against the bristles.

'Babyface,' Dean says.

'Shut up, man,' Sam grumbles, pulling his head back, and suddenly he's eleven years old again, watching his brother shave, listening with rapt attention as Dean explains the intricacies of shaving and puberty, laying it on thick enough that Sam's sure he won't have enough facial hair to start shaving until he turns thirty.

'I woke up,' Sam says. 'Don't know. Just... ended up taking a shower.'

'Okaaay,' Dean says with a little eye flare, giving that tight-lipped smile that pushes his cheeks out and reminds Sam a little of a chipmunk, not that he'd risk life and limb by telling Dean that. 'So you don't have porn in here with you is what you're telling me.'

'I don't need porn,' Sam says, matter-of-factly. 'I have a vivid imagination.'

'I'll bet you do.'

'Besides, I still have plenty of Busty Asian Beauties branded on my eyeballs from that time you froze my laptop.'

'You're welcome,' Dean grins.

Sam sighs and narrows his eyes, and has to resist the urge to put his hands on his hips.

Dean can see right through him. 'Dork,' he says fondly, and tosses over the can.

It's an easy lob, one Sam should be able to catch with his eyes closed, but it knocks against his injured finger and that smarts like a son of a bitch. He swears and flails his arm in a wide enough arc to toss the can across the room where it hits the wall and lands with a metallic clatter against the cheap tile.

Dean's hands are on him in a second, gentle on his wrist, checking him over, murmuring apologies.

'It's nothing,' Sam says, flexing his fingers. 'See? Just caught me off guard is all.'

Dean lays his fingertips on the bandage over the gash on Sam's forearm. 'I wish I could kill those fuckers all over again.'

'It's just a nail. It'll grow back. You nearly lost a tooth.'

'Meh.' Dean shrugs, finally letting go of Sam's wrist once he's satisfied the bandages are still in place. 'Did you put ointment on those?'

'Yes, Dean,' Sam says with a sigh.

'Good. You don't want 'em getting infected.'

'No, Dean.'

'Hey, I'm just saying.'

'Three bags full, Dean.'

'Jackass,' Dean says, stooping to pick up the shaving cream. He shakes the can a couple of times like a cocktail shaker and pops the top off with his thumb, sending it skittering away across the floor.

'What are you doing?'

Dean squirts out a handful of cream. 'Thought I'd give you a hand. Seeing as how you're incapacitated.'

'I'm not an invalid.'

'No? You want to try shaving with your hand like that?'

Sam looks at his hand and counts seven beats of his pulse, tight and painful in the tip of his finger.

'I guess,' he says. Eight. Nine. Ten. Eleven.

Dean grins and advances. Sam catches his wrist at the last minute, pulls it to one side, the shaving foam a white blob in his peripheral vision. 'You sober?'

'As a judge,' Dean says like the very idea is an affront on his good character.

'All the way awake?'

'All the way.'

Sam presses his lips together, but releases Dean's wrist.

Dean dabs the foam on Sam's skin, warming to his task as he slathers it on.

'Don't mess up my sideburns.'

Dean rewards him with a pat on the tip of his nose, leaving a blob of foam behind. 'Don't be a backseat shaver, Sammy.' He looks off into the middle ground. 'That reminds me of a porno I saw once.'

Sam rolls his eyes. 'Everything reminds you of porn.'

'Not everything,' Dean says, filling the sink and testing the edge of a disposable razor with his thumb. He holds the razor up to Sam's face, but pauses, realising his folly. 'Dude, you're like a freakin' giant redwood. Here. Sit.'

Pushing at Sam's shoulders, Dean makes him sit on the edge of the bath. Dean leans in with his hand still on Sam's shoulder, planning his avenue of attack. He runs his fingers through Sam's hair to lift it out of the way and tilts Sam's head with the gentle pressure of his fingers on the back of Sam's skull. Sam sits, acquiescent, and lets Dean move him around. If it was anyone else, he'd be nervous right now, expecting nicks and slips and tiny moments of blank terror, but it's Dean, Dean who would never hurt him, not anymore, they're way past that, so this is actually kind of relaxing. The bathroom is quiet enough that Sam is lulled by the sound of Dean's breathing, the rasp of the blade on his face, the occasional swish of the razor in the sink and tap-tap-tap as Dean knocks off the water.

Dean rubs the pad of his thumb over Sam's closed lips to get rid of a smear of excess foam and Sam has to remember not to lick them, that he has to wait until he can rinse off, otherwise he's going to have that bitter foam taste in the back of his throat for hours.

When Dean touches his knuckle under the point of Sam's chin to get him to tilt back to do his neck, then leans in close enough that Sam can feel Dean's breath against his skin, Sam closes his eyes. Kids himself that it's because of the bare lightbulb hanging over their heads. When he opens them again, Dean's face is right in front of his, gravely eyeing the line of Sam's sideburns.

'Don't mess them up,' Sam reiterates.

'Don't worry, princess. I'm like a human spirit level.'

He looks Sam right in the eye as he makes the first swipe. Sam knows that look. It's the one from when Dean's playing pool and has given up any pretence of not being a total shark. It's that moment where he lines up a shot then doesn't even look when he takes it, preferring to look his opponent in the eyes and give him both barrels of the patented Dean Winchester cocky bastard grin of doom. Sam knows that Dean stole the move from watching Tom Cruise in The Color of Money, although wild horses couldn't drag that admission out of Dean. He also knows how good Dean is at pool. That every shot he takes, he knows exactly where the balls are going to end up, that his showboating comes from endless misspent summer days during their formative years, and that Dean never, ever misses. So he just sits still and trusts his brother not to make him look like a lopsided idiot. Dean's grin softens, and when he does the other side, he pays a little more attention.

'There,' he says when he's done. 'Pretty as a picture.'

In the tiny mirror above the sink, Sam's reflection shows him even sideburns and a blob of shaving cream still clinging gamely to the tip of his nose. He rinses his face and it feels good. Smooth. Dean did a good job. When he blinks the water out of his eyes, Dean is handing him a towel. Sam scrubs it over his face and tosses it back. Dean catches it one-handed just before it hits him in the face and uses it like a flag to wave Sam out of the bathroom.

'Hold up,' Dean says before Sam can take a step. 'You still got a little schmutz.' Dean's thumb is back on his cheek, smoothing three times over his skin. He tilts Sam's face this way and that.

Dean smiles again -- another one of those myriad of smiles that these days he seems to keep reserved solely for Sam, the ones that are slowly breaking Sam's heart -- his eyes on Sam's face, wearing the exact same critical but satisfied expression as when he's checking over the third coat of wax on the Impala.

'There,' he says, 'all--' He looks up as Sam turns his head to look at the cream on Dean's thumb, and they're so close their noses bump. They're right there and the fact that neither of them laugh, or make yuck faces, or leap apart, awakens something in Sam that has maybe been in there all along, hiding or sleeping or just plain afraid, but now it sits up and takes notice, and his whole body hums with it.

'Sam,' Dean says, half the name eaten up by the tremor in his voice. 'I didn't--'

No, Sam thinks as he leans in and kisses Dean, neither did I.

It's kissing, Sam's brain helpfully supplies. What they're doing. It's kissing. A soft, careful press of lips that Dean doesn't back away from. Dean breathes sharply through his nose and it sounds like a gasp. His lips open like he's going to speak, like he's trying to take a breath, like he's just shocked and appalled all the way to hell and back, and Sam doesn't think, just takes advantage of it by making it more of a kiss. He touches his tongue to his brother's lip and feels his heart beat so hard that maybe it's going to burst right out of his chest and flop around on the floor like a spastic frog.

Dean's hand is on his jaw, feather-light and trembling, and his fingers curl, blunt nails scratching gently over the patch of skin just behind Sam's earlobe. Sam wants to arch into the touch. Wants to be petted and reassured and keep Dean's hands on him because while they're touching, nothing can separate them.

Dean breaks away first, stumbling back a step, reflexively rubbing the back of his neck, his head bowed so low all Sam can see is the top of his head.

There's a long moment of stunned silence, then they both start talking at once, stumbling over each other's names so that they run together -- SamnDean -- like they're one hugely freaked out person. Dean takes a couple of deep breaths and it seems like it takes a huge expenditure of willpower to force himself upright, his eyes wide and shocked when he meets Sam's gaze.

'I didn't mean to... Shit, Sam, I'm sorry. I never would have--'

Sam can't listen to it. He can't. Two strides take him into Dean's space to crowd him up against the bathroom wall. He slams his palm up against the wall inches from Dean's head and leans in.

'Stop it. Stop apologising to me. Stop taking all the blame.'

'Sam, you don't have to--'

'I did this. It was me, okay? You want to blame someone, blame me.'

He hasn't seen Dean look so freaked out since the nosedive on Flight 2485, all wide eyes, huge black pupils, trembling hands and big, shaky breaths, one after the other, like the air is cool and clear, filling his lungs and stretching his chest.

'I'm not blaming you for anything, Sam. It's just... Are we really...?' Dean frowns and licks his lips, a nervous gesture. 'What are we doing?'

Sam's whole body feels heavy with the weight of his gaze on Dean's wet lips.

'Don't know, don't know,' he mutters, and truthfully, he doesn't. This is new and strange and maybe that's why he feels so hot, like everything is spinning out of control, but he can't do any more with words. He can't rely on silent Winchester communication either. The way he and Dean have been living these past few years, the things they've done, and this deal, this goddamn deal that's killing Sam just as surely as it's killing Dean, maybe that's what's throwing everything into stark relief. Maybe that's the catalyst because there's a deadline in sight, and things are always, always different when you know when they're due to end.

And then there's Dean. Stupid, sloppy, belligerent, overly butch, beautiful, generous, stubborn, loyal, annoying as hell Dean, who Sam loves more than he thought it was possible to love another human being. Who, as it turns out, loves Sam back just as much, because even if Dean can't say the words, he shows it in every gesture, every breath, every fibre of his being. He always, always has. It's just a matter of knowing how to interpret it.

Dean loves Sam just as much as Sam loves Dean, if not more, because Dean's willing to give up his eternal soul just to keep Sam walking around for a couple more years. No question, no hesitation, no takebacks. Dean's freely admitted that he couldn't survive in a world without Sam. Sam isn't sure he knows what to do with that kind of love. That kind of love scares him. It's enough to blur boundaries. It's enough to warp perspectives. Enough to change a person. Enough to make a person make some very bad choices and not even pause to second guess himself. Love like that... it's enough to change the world. Or end it.

Sam can't talk any more. Can't think anymore. He wants to lose himself in this. Lose himself in what they have while they still have it. Who's to say it's wrong? Because, right now? Sam's not so sure that it is.

'Say stop,' he says, his voice so deep and raw it sounds like it belongs to someone else. 'I think... I think I want to do this. You should say stop now.'


'If you want out, say stop now.'

Dean looks at him for a long time, but he isn't saying anything, so Sam leans in, lets him see it coming, gives him the chance to say no.

Dean doesn't say no. He nudges into the kiss, blinking behind closed eyes, testing the waters. Sam doesn't push it. Lets Dean set the pace, though he already wants more. They've gone this far, now Sam's thinking he's maybe willing to go the distance. Maybe he will push it a little. Maybe he's willing to see how open to this thing they really are.

Dean jerks away again, the little turn of his head enough to break a kiss, not enough to go far. He's breathing heavy, his chest heaving, eyes darting around the room, but never staying away long, always coming back to Sam.

Sam closes his hand on the amulet around Dean's neck. 'Can't believe you kept this so long.'

'Sam, I--'

'S'okay. You don't have to say anything. I just...' He shakes his head, the tips of his damp bangs tickling his eyelids. The amulet lies warm and heavy in the palm of his hand and he rubs it absently with his thumb. 'I just...'

'Yeah,' Dean says. 'Yeah. I know.' And this time, he's the one who kisses Sam, open-mouthed and breathy, and even this is enough to make Sam's toes curl against the cold tile because Dean's mouth... Dean's mouth is amazing.

They kiss for a while, slow and careful, getting the feel of each other, until Dean's tongue brushes Sam's and Sam feels the electric connection in every part of his body. He lets out a muffled whimper and steps in closer. Any lines in the sand Sam may have kidded himself he'd drawn get scuffed over, and their kiss gets deeper, a little more frantic, elbows knocking with dull little thuds against the wall, and the knowledge that Dean is letting Sam lick into his mouth, isn't pushing him away, is actually going with it, does crazy, crazy things to Sam's insides.

Sam starts to get carried away, his hands on Dean's face, leans in all the way without meaning to, without realising what it would mean, because honestly, he's so wrapped up in kissing Dean he's forgotten entirely about the rest of his body. That all changes when their hips meet and just for a second it's snug and sweet and oh, god, yes, and that's when Dean jumps like he's been burned.

'Dude.' Dean gestures a little wildly, blushing, actually blushing, and Sam doesn't think he's ever, ever seen Dean more lost for words.

'What?' Sam asks, his thumbs brushing Dean's cheekbones, gentle over the bruises, looking back and forth between Dean's eyes.

'Dude,' Dean tries again. 'Towel.'

'Do you want...?' Sam glances at the open door, into the dim room beyond, quiet now, lit only by the flickering light from the television. 'Should we...?'

Dean swallows, a huge gulping sound that would be comical at any other time, but right now it just makes Sam feel good. 'Yeah,' he says, nodding rapidly. 'Yeah, I think maybe... Yeah.'

Standing at the foot of Dean's bed, it's awkward. Dean keeps shifting his weight, and Sam feels stupid in his towel and naked in more ways than one. Dean is sneaking looks, not like he's checking Sam out, more like he's making sure Sam's still there, like he's seeing him in a whole new light and it's too bright, too much for him to try and take in all at once.

'Dean,' Sam says quietly, scuffing the ball of his foot against the carpet, 'if you--' And that's as far as he gets because Dean is kissing him again, hungry and serious, tugging Sam's head down, his fingers lost in the thick of Sam's hair.

They tip backwards onto the bed and the knot on Sam's towel doesn't survive the fall, leaving him bare-assed with only a damp motel towel between him and Dean. Sam barely notices because he's wholly preoccupied with the way Dean is kissing him, open and honest, and it should be wrong, it should be the most fucked up thing Sam has ever done, and maybe it is, but it doesn't feel like it. It just feels completely, unspeakably perfect.

Dean's hands alight on Sam's skin. They lift and settle again, ghosting over ribs and hips, his touch a skittish, nervous thing. It's not how Sam imagined Dean ever touching anyone. But then, he supposes, Dean's never touched his brother before. Not like this. It's enough to throw anyone off their game.

When they speak, it's in whispers, because the words are too big, and because this is their secret.

'I don't know if I can do this,' Dean admits.

'You want to?' Sam asks.

Dean stares at him, chest heaving, and he nods, quick and scared. 'Think so. Yeah. Think so. Weird, Sam. It's really weird.'

'It really, really is.'

'I mean you're...'

Naked, Sam realises. Naked. He's in bed with his brother, sprawled all over him like a blanket, a big, horny blanket, and yeah, his metaphors aren't worth shit right now, mostly because he's horny, and scared, and a little confused, and horny for Dean, and deliberately not over-thinking this thing he's doing. He's just not.

'Oh,' he says. 'You want me to put some clothes on?'

'That...' For a second, Sam's positive, he's positive that Dean's going to say yes, because that looks a lot like relief, but Dean turns it into a freaked little chuckle. 'Kind of defeats the purpose.'

He gets it. It's actually hard to make his hands move away from Dean's face. It's scary to put his hands on Dean's chest, past broad shoulders to smooth down over warm cotton and solid muscle, to relearn Dean's body in an entirely new way. When he gets to Dean's belt it takes him a long time to work up the courage to slip his hand under the tail of Dean's shirt, and they both flinch at the first touch of Sam's fingertips on his stomach, but then it's done, the hard part is over, and it's stupid, but it makes Sam feel a little braver, a little bolder. His hands sneak up, slowly, slowly, and it's enough to make him feel like a teenager. There's an automatic impulse to go for the chest that only reinforces how dumb he is when he finds flat muscle, the skin crisscrossed with the ridges of old scars, and a faint dusting of hair.

'Dude,' Dean whispers, his hands tracing patterns on the small of Sam's back, running up and down his spine, like he's finding his own little seed of brave and letting it grow. 'M'not a girl.'

Sam grins and pinches a nipple, just because, and he's not expecting it when Dean gasps and grabs at his hips, bucking up against him hard enough to shift them on the bed.

Sam ends up sprawled between Dean's thighs and he's right there and Dean's hard, he's hard and Sam can feel it, and fuck.

'Fuck,' Sam whispers, the word hot in his throat. 'Fuck.'

Fuck being brave. Sam's up for being reckless. He curls the fingers of one hand over Dean's belt and tugs, not accomplishing a damn thing, but the tugging feels good so he does it again. Dean doesn't seem to mind.

'Yeah, Sammy, yeah,' Dean is muttering, his eyes closed, forehead furrowed as he frowns his concentration.

With his injured hand, Sam attacks Dean's belt buckle, keeping his index finger up and out of the way, sliding old leather through the buckle, popping open buttons and tugging at Dean's jeans. His head is spinning. There's no sound in the world except for the little grunts and gasps his brother is making. His skin flushes and shivers and sings. Dean shifts his hips to help, except that it doesn't, but the intent is there, and between them they manage to tug the towel out and away, and to shove Dean's jeans and shorts down his thighs.

Sam freezes, can't move, the fear is a thick flutter in his throat, a vice squeezing his heart, and it steals his breath. He's straddling Dean's thigh, hard enough that it hurts, hard enough that he's about ready to start humping the goddamn air, and he's inches away from Dean, who's shifting nervously underneath him, and he can't move, he can't move.

'Sam. Sammy, you don't have to--'

He does. He really does. The feel of Dean, hot and smooth and curved granite-hard in his fist... it's like a revelation. Dean lifts his head and looks down his body at what they're doing.

'Shit, Sam. That's really... We're...' He groans, his head thumping back into the pillows, and he throws an arm over his face.

Sam doesn't like that. He doesn't like that at all. 'Hey,' he says, 'no hiding.'

Dean lifts his arm and peeks out, his eyes fathomless and glittering in the darkness. 'Not hiding. I'm just--' Sam twists his wrist on the upstroke. Dean chokes on a curse and grabs at Sam's arm to stop him. 'Fuck, Sam, I can't. I can't.'

So Sam shifts instead, lowers his hips and god. They're together. The crispness of Dean's hair, the solid bone of his hips, the warmth of his skin, the soft dip and curve of muscle. Sam's aware of it all, but mostly, mostly there's the startling realisation that Dean is hard against him, slippery now as Sam starts up a lazy thrusting, dragging their cocks together, and it's so sweet he wants to die. Dean's grip tightens on his wrist, tight enough to be painful.

'You can,' Sam says. 'Let it go. You can.'

Dean gasps and shudders as he comes, painting Sam's stomach. He breathes Sam's name and kisses him, messy and hard, even as he's still shuddering through his orgasm, and when he bites Sam's lip it's enough to send Sam over the edge. They cling together, rocking through the aftershocks, trading kisses that start off hard enough to bruise, but fade into something softer, then trail off altogether when reality comes trickling back in.

The towel is still on the mattress and Dean uses it to clean himself up as best he can, then passes it silently to Sam. It feels oddly domestic, feels strange to have to deal with something so mundane after something so life-altering.

Dean sits on the edge of the mattress with his back to Sam and he's still for a long time. It's when he starts taking off his boots that he says, 'You should go back to your own bed.'

Sam snorts. 'M'not moving.'

'You might not think that way in the harsh light of day.'

'Dean, we fooled around,' Sam says simply, glad of the darkness to hide his blush, but tired of pretending, tired of wasting time.

'We didn't--'

'We did. It's done. Me sleeping in another bed isn't going to change a damn thing.'

It takes Dean a long time to formulate a response. 'Don't you think you should--'

'I'm. Not. Moving,' Sam says. 'Not moving.'

'Sam,' Dean says, like he knows he's already lost the argument. Sam just grabs his arm and tugs him back down. Dean resists for a second, but goes with it and they get under the covers. After a lot of wriggling around and kicking at the sheets, they end up face to face, close enough to share air, but not quite touching.

There are a million things that Sam wants to say, but nothing that won't keep. He's tired, his body tingling pleasantly, and he doesn't want to blow on the hot coal of worry lying in the pit of his stomach by thinking that this was a mistake. That this was something that could break them apart more effectively than demons or deals or any other damn thing they've had to face in their lives.

So he closes his eyes and he listens to the soothing sound of Dean breathing, alive and well and still with Sam.

He's drifting off when Dean speaks again, his voice low and sleepy, like he's half in a dream.

'Hey, Sammy?'




'We should... massive snowball fight.'

Sam doesn't open his eyes, just yawns, long and slow. 'Winchester Rules?'

'Yeah, course,' Dean says. 'I'munna kick your ass.'

'Bring it on.'

'You know it.' Dean yawns, long and languid and, Sam hopes, peaceful. He smiles as Dean turns his face into Sam's shoulder, every warm breath against his skin speaking a language that only Sam knows how to interpret.

Outside, it's still snowing.