Sam crawled out the bedroom window to the porch roof, laying down with knees bent and his feet planted firmly on the shingles to keep himself from slipping downward. His headphones rested over his ears, the cord snaking down his chest into the pocket of his hoodie where his cd player was tucked. He pulled out his pack of cigarettes from his jeans pocket, digging one out and lighting it with the zippo he’d swiped from Dean, the scraping of metal echoing loudly in the quiet of night.
He settled in, staring up at the stars and watching the billows of smoke he exhaled dissipate into the dark, music blaring in his ears - he still wasn’t sure where Dean had gotten the money for the cd player, or if he’d paid for it at all, but as birthday gifts go, it was one of the best. And it meant he didn’t have to listen to Dean bitch about the music he wanted to listen to anymore. But that was Dean, always coming up with ways to make things better for Sam.
Sam chuffed a laugh at the thought, gave a quick shake of his head and stared up, trying to pick out constellations through the gap in the trees that surrounded the house. The crappy rental was in a halfway decent neighborhood for a change, and they’d been there three months now. It was a long stay, long enough that Sam had made friends, met a girl, even made out with her at the movies last weekend. He could still see the jealous, angry expression that flashed across Dean’s face when Sam had told him about that. He’d reined it in pretty quickly, but Sam still saw it, still knew what it meant. But there was nothing to feel guilty about - wasn’t like Dean didn’t go out and pick up girls in nearly every town they went to.
But school was done now, his junior year complete. Any day now Dad would roll back in, and it’d be maybe a week until they were on the road again, leaving it all behind.
He’d met with a guidance counselor that afternoon, listened to the fifty-something lady go on and on about how with Sam’s grades he could do anything he wanted, any college would take him in a heartbeat, but he needed to start planning now. There were applications to submit and financial aid forms to fill out, and what did he want to do with his life anyway?
Sam had played along, just like Dad would have wanted him to - told her was thinking about being a lawyer, but he figured he wouldn’t ever be able to afford college so there wasn’t much point in planning anything. She’d gone on and on about his grades and scholarships again, and by the time the 30 minute meeting was over, Sam really thought - well, maybe….
But he’d gotten home from school, and there was Dean in the living room, sitting in front of the television packing salt rounds, and the reality of his life, of how stuck he was, smacked him in the face again. And the stupid, starry-eyed grin Dean gave him when he walked in just made his heart sink even more, a flash of the sad, disappointed expression he’d get from his brother when - if - he told him he wanted to go to college making his chest tighten and ache.
He’d been out there for nearly an hour when a movement at his left side startled him out of his musing, his head darting to the side to see Dean climbing out the window. He plopped down on the shingles next to him, leaning over to give Sam a peck on the lips while he tugged his headphones down around his neck and reached into his pocket to hit the power button on the cd player.
“You’ve been smoking. Dad catches you you’ll never hear the end of it, y’know.” Dean’s tone was no more threatening than if he was telling Sam he was going out to the laundromat.
“Yeah, well, he’s not here.” Sam muttered, his tongue darting out to lick his lips, tasting his brother there.
“Got any more?” Dean held his hand out expectantly, waggling his fingers. Sam dug into his pocket and handed over the crumpled pack, watching as Dean plucked one out and tucked it between his lips, then dug into his own pocket for his ever-present zippo.
“You’re welcome,” Sam said, all snark as Dean handed the pack back to him without so much as a nod of thanks, rolling his eyes at the smirk he got in return.
“What’s up?” Dean turned to look at his brother, but Sam just shrugged and shifted to sit up with his legs folded, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees. “C’mon Sammy, I know something’s wrong.”
“Just felt like being alone, I guess.” Sam muttered the words so Dean had to lean in to hear him.
“You upset we’re gonna be leaving soon?”
“I’m always pissed when we leave, that’s nothing new, Dean.”
“Well, then help me out here,” Dean said, leaning to the side to bump Sam’s shoulder with his own.
“You think Dad’s ever gonna stop?” Sam picked the cigarette from between Dean’s fingers and took a long drag before handing it back. Dean took in a long breath and let it out with a sigh.
“I don’t know, Sammy.” Dean sucked on the cigarette, tilted his head back and blew the smoke up into the night air, his lips pursing in a way that made the seemingly permanent knot of want in Sam’s gut churn. “Don’t know what he’d do if he wasn’t hunting, y’know?”
“I don’t want to keep doing this.”
“This is our life, Sam. It’s what Dad raised us to do.”
“He didn’t give us a choice, Dean.”
“Yeah. Yeah, I know he didn’t, kiddo.” Dean’s voice was soft as he spoke, his body leaning in until their shoulders pressed together, the simple physical comfort of closeness bolstering Sam’s nerve to tell Dean what he’d really been thinking about.
“I talked to a guidance counselor today.” Sam turned to glance at Dean, saw his eyes go wide as he inhaled as if to speak again. “She said I could get a scholarship. Wouldn’t cost Dad anything.”
“I gotta try Dean. Gotta try to get out.”
“You know Dad won’t be happy about it.”
“Yeah, I know.” Sam took the cigarette from Dean’s fingers again, taking one last drag then lining up the butt between his thumb and middle finger before flicking it off the roof, the red ember trailing a long, high arc through the air then down to the ground. “Means I’d be on my own. Alone.”
“Think that’s what you want?”
“I don’t know. I don’t want to leave you. But I don’t want this life, either.”
“Who says you’d have to leave me?”
“Come on, Dean.”
“You like hunting. And you won’t leave Dad. I know that.”
Dean let out a long sigh, then wrapped an arm around Sam’s shoulders, tugging him close to his side. “Alright, Sam. Okay. We’ll figure it out.”
Sam let his head fall to his brother’s shoulder, both of them staring out across the neighborhood. Dean let his lips fall to Sam’s temple, the warmth seeping into Sam’s skin as they lingered in a gentle kiss. They sat there, silent, letting the minutes pass and the lights of the small town slowly go out one by one, wrapped up in the warmth of each other, savoring the moments they had left together.
Sam knew he didn’t want to stay in the hunting life. Knew he’d be fine leaving Dad behind. He craved normal and staying in one place, knew he’d be happy if he could, for once, do what everyone else does. All the moving and chasing monsters and danger, it wasn’t for him, wasn’t remotely what he wanted for himself. But right there in that moment, tucked under his brother’s arm - the safest place he’d ever known - he really wasn’t sure if he could give Dean up.