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Later, when they've walked miles through the freezing mud and slush, shivering and bumping shoulders in exhaustion, ducking down to hide from squad cars coming to the farm and then eventually back again (because they're still walking then, you see). Later, after they've finally gotten back to town, Dean staying upright through shear force of will, still shrugging off Sam's offer to drive as they sneak through the early morning dawn in the police station parking lot to get to the Impala.

Later still, Sam's hands strong and sure as they peel back Dean's shirt from his wounded shoulder, nimble fingers picking at the pieces of fabric stuck on to the burn, rubbing salve and laying down bandages like absolution.

You tried, you tried. You burned for me.

Dean ghosts his fingers over cuts on Sam's arms, marking the places where blood was spent and torn. He kicks off shoes and jeans, barely managing to climb under the covers, trying to remember the last time he slept. Does it matter? Forty-eight hours straight without rest and he still can't close his eyes, can't stop checking (double checking) to make sure his brother is still in the room.


The room is dark when the bed dips and there's Sam sitting on the edge, fresh from the shower and smelling like himself and not a charnel house for the first time all day.

"Are you asleep?"

And Dean smiles, face pressed into the pillow, saying, "Not anymore, asswipe," without really meaning it.

"I would've done the same, you know." A pause, Sam picking at the bedspread, the material cheap and stiff and rough as it rustles against Dean's thigh. "What the deputy did. If it were you, I'd have done it too. So what does that make me?"

Dean twists in the sheets, reaching out blind to grab Sam's arm, feeling him warm and real as he tugs him down to rest beside him. Fingers sliding through his brother's hair, gentling him the only way he knows how, and his eyes are already slipping closed as he murmurs, "Makes you human, Sammy. That's all."

And they sleep.