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The record shop is small and dim and cool, and the girl behind the counter watches warily as Dean eases his way through the crowded aisles. He flips through the vinyl, remembering Pastor Jim's unstable record player, the way he'd drop the needle and back away quietly, as if from a wild animal, so the record wouldn't skip. He remembers holding his breath, closing his eyes, lying on the floor with Sam tucked up beside him, the low mournful tones of Johnny Cash's voice vibrating through them while her hair tickled his nose.

He stops abruptly, forces himself not to think about Sam. Even now, that loss is still too raw, and the trail too cold to pick up. Not that he hasn't tried--even thinks he came close a time or two, in North Carolina and then Kentucky--but Dad trained them both too well, and he figures she won't be found until she wants to be, same as him. He tries not to think about what would happen if she never wants to.

He gives the clerk a charming smile and she just looks more sour than ever, nose wrinkling in disdain. She's wearing a Ramones t-shirt, and he's holding a copy of London Calling, so it can't be his taste in music that's annoying her. Maybe she knows he's not going to buy anything, but he can't imagine they do much business these days, so it's not that, either. He shrugs and turns back to the racks of albums.

The door swings open, and a little kid voice says, "But Mommy, I swear I would take care of it. I'd walk it every morning and feed it every night. Please, can we have a dog?"

"You're still too little, sweetie." Dean freezes at the sound of her voice. He's been wrong before, victim of his own wishful thinking, but he's never been this sure. "Maybe when you're six. Do you think you can wait until you're six?" He turns slowly, holding his breath, thinking, Please, God in a way that's become familiar over the past few years, since he lost her.

"I always wanted a dog," he says, his voice a hoarse croak, because it's Sam, his Sam. Her hair is longer and blonder than the last time he saw her, and her face is fuller, but it's her. With a little boy perched on her hip.

She sucks in a breath, eyes dark in her suddenly pale face, and says, "Johnny, why don't you go play with Kelsey for a while, okay?" The little boy--he can't be more than three, Dean thinks, wide green eyes in a freckled face, dark gold hair flopping over his forehead, so familiar Dean can't stop staring--shimmies down her body and rushes to the girl behind the counter.

"C'mon, Kelsey, let's play cars." He leads her into the back--she glances at Sam, who nods and smiles, It's all right, and it makes Dean's chest hurt to think that she'd think he was a threat to the kid--and then Dean and Sam are alone in the shop.

"I'm sorry," she says before he can figure out what he wants to say. "I should have--I should have told you."

He pushes down all the angry words, the years of accusations and recriminations, that threaten to spill out, and says, "Yeah. Sam, I--He's awesome."

She smiles, and it lights up the whole place. "He really is."

Dean still can't wrap his head around it. "How did it happen?"

Sam huffs like he's being ridiculous. "When a man and a woman love each other very much--"

"You know what I mean."

"I let my prescription lapse, and we were careless." She shrugs one shoulder. "Nature took its course."

One more thing he'd always tried to protect her from. One more thing he'd failed at. "And there's nothing--" He can't even bring himself to say it.

She knows what he means, though. "No. No. He's healthy. Normal."

"Good, good." Dean breathes a little easier hearing that.

"I--" She looks down at her hands and talks fast, like it's a speech she's memorized. "I have no excuse. I was scared, and I was stupid. By the time I got my head out of my ass--" She laughs, but it sounds sad, and he can't laugh with her. "You were gone. Ellen said you went off the grid completely."

"Henriksen, yeah," he says, his voice hoarse. He takes a step closer, holds out a hand. When she takes it, he pulls her into his arms, into a bone-crushing hug. She buries her face against his neck, and he can feel hot tears against his skin. He cups her cheek, tips her face up and kisses her, salt hot and sweet, and desperately familiar. He can feel the rapid beat of her heart against his chest, or maybe it's his heart--he can't tell, can't think of anything but Sam now that he's found her again.

She sobs into his mouth, a hitch of breath and salt on his tongue, and he hums in response, It's okay, Sammy, I gotcha,, mouths the words against her cheek and her temple as he gathers her in. She smells like Johnson's baby lotion and some kind of fruity shampoo, familiar and home and Sam. She buries her face in the crook of his neck and cries in a way he hasn't seen since Dad died; he feels the sting of tears himself, bites his lip to keep from giving in, because they're together now, and that's not something to cry about.

He's still murmuring comforting nonsense into her hair, breathing her in, when he feels a sharp kick from a tiny boot-clad foot on the back of his knee.

"Stop making my mom cry," Johnny says, pounding on Dean's leg with his fists, his face set in determined lines.

Dean pulls back, though he doesn't let go of Sam, and says, "Wow, he really is your kid."

Sam sniffs and raises an eyebrow. She looks awful--her face is red and shiny with tears and possibly snot; she's never been a pretty crier--but she's smiling when she leans forward and holds out an arm for the kid to climb into.

"Johnny," she says when he's high up enough to look Dean in the eye, "this is your dad."

The kid eyes him warily, and Dean can't help but feel guilty. He forces himself not to fidget. "Hi," he says. "You can call me Dean." He hesitates, and then, mostly because he can't not, says, "Or, you know, Dad." The word feels strange on his tongue; he'd kind of given up on the idea of ever having kids, had certainly never expected to have one with Sam. They'd always been so careful--though not, it seems, careful enough--and he'd always expected her to leave eventually, to go on and have a family of her own.

"Hi," the kid says, holding out a hand. "I'm Johnny. Are you gonna live with us now?"

Dean takes his son's hand and shakes it. "That's up to your mom." He looks at Sam, who's still crying. She swipes at her nose with the back of her hand, and Dean reaches into his pocket to pull out the napkins from the diner where he ate breakfast.

She laughs, wipes her eyes, and blows her nose. "We have some catching up to do."

*

Sam's apartment is tiny, about the size of a good-sized motel room, though it's neater and brighter than most of the places they stayed in growing up. It's a studio, and there's a curtained alcove in the corner which reveals a race car bed, made up with race car sheets.

He looks over at her, laughing. "You always wanted one of those." A dog, a race car bed, a permanent address--all the things they hadn't had.

She grins, ducks her head. "Yeah."

He sits down at the small butcher block table and she putters around the tiny galley kitchen, making coffee. "So, you work in the record store?" It seems the easiest--safest--place to start.

"Yeah."

"They do any kind of business? I mean, even I mostly download now."

She smiles at that, and hands him a mug of coffee, then sits down on the other stool. "Mostly DJs and collectors. Audiophiles. Hipsters." She takes a sip of her own coffee and lets Johnny climb up into her lap. He runs a pair of matchbox cars along the table, rumbling under his breath. She holds him close, relaxing into him, and Dean recognizes the posture, the feeling of safety his nearness brings her.

"It pays the rent?"

She laughs. "Not quite, but I do have other work." She runs a hand through Johnny's hair and he leans into the touch; Dean has a vague flash of memory of their mother doing the same to him, there and gone before he can chase it down. "I do some freelance editing, and some...consulting." There's something shifty in the way she says it, and he makes a mental note to find out more later, but he's not going to push her now. She leans forward, puts her elbows on the table. "But what about you? Where have you been?"

He shrugs. "Doing the job. Saving people. Hunting things." He laughs bitterly. It was miserable without her. Without anyone, really, but she was the only one he'd missed, her absence an ache in his bones. "I slipped down into Mexico for a while, did a lot of work there. The border's easy to cross if you have cash.

"Once you were gone--" He shrugs, unwilling to tell her about how much he hadn't cared about anything--getting caught, getting killed. "I occasionally heard from Bobby, and he'd say you'd sent him a postcard, asked where I was, but you were never there when I got to where he'd said you'd been." He takes a sip of coffee. "They were always from places you were just passing through." Sam had always been good at hide and seek, at the games of evasion Dad had run them through over the years, but then, she'd always called for him when she'd needed him, when she'd hidden too well to be found. "And then the postcards stopped coming." He can't keep the anger from seeping into his voice, all the fear he'd carried since then rising bitter in his throat.

She shakes her head, reaches across the table to squeeze his hand. She presses a kiss to the back of Johnny's head and then lifts him down off her lap. He huffs a little, but runs over to his little alcove to play quietly when she gives him a gentle shove in that direction.

"I was so scared," she says, taking Dean's hand again. "When the doctor put him in my arms," she closes her eyes, shakes her head with the memory, "all I could think was that I couldn't screw this up, I had to keep him safe. Nothing else mattered, you know?"

He squeezes her hand, remembers Dad putting her into his arms the night of the fire, the constant refrain over the years to watch out for her. "I know."

She gives him a watery smile and sniffles, but doesn't start crying again. "I know you do." She pulls the ponytail out of her hair, plays with the black band and doesn't look at him. "I kept thinking about the demon's plan, and after everything that happened--" She shakes her head, hair falling over her face, hiding her eyes from him. "I thought it was safer to disappear completely, at least until I was back on my feet again. And then it was just easier to stay gone. I understand Dad so much better now." She makes a sound that might be laugh, except there's nothing funny in anything she's saying. "Not knowing was hard, but I told myself you were still alive, and eventually we'd find each other. You always find me." She smiles again, small half-curve of her lips, and brushes the hair out of her eyes and meets his gaze squarely. "But I missed you so much."

"You left." He doesn't mean to make the accusation, and it comes out sounding more hurt and bewildered than he'd like.

"I was so scared, Dean. I'd started to remember some of the things I'd done when I was possessed, and I just, I couldn't deal. I was so afraid I'd hurt you again, that I'd just go dark side, and you wouldn't be able to stop me." She sniffs. "So I left. When I found out I was pregnant. I was stunned--terrified--and I didn't know what to do. I tried to get in touch with you, but you were totally off the grid by that point. Bobby said you were still alive, as far as he knew, but no one could find you, and after the first few months, I wasn't really in any shape to go looking. And once Johnny was born, he became my priority."

She gives him a pleading look and he squeezes her hand again, wants to pull her into his lap and tell her it's all right, he understands. As much as he hates it, she did what she had to do.

"I was living in a little town in Kentucky, not too far from Ashland--remember we spent a semester there the year I turned sixteen?" He nods; he'd almost caught her trail then, but he'd been looking for his sister, a single girl alone, and they'd told him about a mother and child. He'd disregarded the information because it had never occurred to him that Sam had had a baby. That they had a kid. "The people were really nice, but I was terrified the whole time. Dyed my hair, changed my name, and still couldn't shake the fear. The night before Johnny's six-month birthday, I stole a car and started driving, didn't stop except to pee once or twice, and change his diapers. Drove for nearly thirty-six hours straight, praying the whole time that yellow-eyed bastard wouldn't find us."

"He's dead." Dean still takes enormous satisfaction from that, probably will until his dying day.

"What? How?"

Dean smiles grimly. "The Colt. Remember Andy? And that girl, Ava?"

"Yeah." Sam nods, encouraging him to keep talking.

"The demon was doing this thing, testing them. I think he thought you were dead. I don't know how you slipped his radar unless--" He glances over at Johnny. "I don't know. But he gave Ava the Colt, and I got it back from her and--" He makes a finger pistol and a clicking sound with his tongue. "That was the end of that demonic son of a bitch."

"It's over?"

"It's over, Sammy. Has been for a while now." He'd celebrated by getting stinking drunk and calling her old cell phone over and over, listening to the out of service message until he'd tossed his phone against the wall of the motel room, hard enough to break it.

She gets up then, climbs into his lap the way she used to--he thinks she must be part octopus or something, the way she wraps him up so thoroughly with her arms and legs, and he's never been able to break free (never wanted to)--and gives him a kiss that makes his whole body tingle.

"And this?" she whispers, hope in her eyes and voice, so close they're sharing the same breath.

"This is never over, Sam. Not unless you want it to be." He keeps his voice low, too, tries to put everything he feels into it, make it mean even more than the words he actually says.

She closes her eyes again, takes a deep breath, bites her lower lip. She breathes out into his mouth, coffee and heat he wants to taste on her tongue. He can see the flush climbing her cheeks, wants to see it spread all over her body, but she pulls back before he can do anything to make that happen.

"Johnny and I were gonna order pizza and have a Toy Story marathon," she says, voice a little husky. "You up for that?"

"Yeah," Dean says, grinning at her. "I think I am."

*

It's both familiar and strange to have pizza and movie night with Sam and Johnny. Dean takes the opportunity to study the kid--his son--more closely, learns that he likes pizza and can let out a mean burp for such a little guy.

"Definitely your son," Sam murmurs, when Johnny lets loose with another belch and giggles when Dean grins gleefully in response. "Don't encourage him." She turns to Johnny. "Say excuse me."

Johnny smiles wide and says in a sing-song voice, "'Scuse me." He settles on the floor with his crayons and toy cars, and Dean sits on the small couch with Sam, awkward, for all that this should be familiar.

"What about the FBI?" she asks in a low voice once Johnny's attention is on the television.

"Henriksen had his very own come to Jesus moment a few months ago," Dean says, shaking his head. "Wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it myself, but he got possessed, and after I exorcised him, he saw things in a whole new light." He leaves out the part about how he'd been ratted out by a motel clerk who'd spent too much time watching America's Most Wanted, and how Henriksen, demon riding him hard, had cornered him in the motel, ready to call down a horde of demons to slaughter the other guests. "Maybe you saw it on the news? Crazed gunman kills motel clerk, dies in fire?"

It's easy to play it off now, but he'd thought that was going to be it for him, had thrown himself into the fight like he had nothing left to lose. Once Henriksen had been free of the demon, he'd been only too eager to help Dean fight the others off. It hadn't been easy, but they'd managed it. It had felt good to fight as part of a team again, but it made him miss Sam even worse than before, which he hadn't thought was possible.

"That was you?"

Dean nods. "I am officially dead. Well, for the second time, I guess. That's why it took me so long to find you."

"'Cause you were dead?"

"'Cause I knew the FBI didn't have you, and it was hard looking for you without being obvious, raising suspicions. I didn't want to bring them down on you." He reaches out, runs a finger over her cheek, tucks her hair behind her ear. "We are in the wind, Sammy."

She looks at him, all big-eyed and earnest. "I wish they'd clear your name."

So does he, to tell the truth, and hers with it, but as long as they're free, and he can call on Henriksen to run interference when necessary, he's not going to complain. "Can't always get what you want." He reaches out and takes her hand. He's got what he needs.

"Stop talking," Johnny says from his spot on the floor, turning to look at them over his shoulder, frown creasing his small face. "You're not supposed to talk during the movies."

"Yes, sir," Dean answers, and turns his attention back to Buzz and Woody.

*

About halfway through the movie, Johnny climbs up into Sam's lap, untwines her hand from Dean's so he can hold it himself. Dean feels a pang at the possessiveness, sad that he's an outsider in their lives now, but Sam grins at him and puts her head on his shoulder, so it's not too bad.

"Mommy says you're a hero," Johnny says, jolting Dean out of the reverie he's fallen into watching Buzz and Woody. He looks over at Sam, curious under the warm wash of pleasure the kid's words bring. She bites her lip, dips her head, gives him a shy half-smile through her hair. "That's why you don't live with us."

"I keep people safe from the bad guys," he says slowly, remembering how Dad had explained it to him when he'd first started leaving Dean behind to go hunting. He's still not sure how they ever convinced Sam that Dad was in sales, but he's glad she hasn't passed on that particular lie. "Your mom used to help me."

Johnny nods, and he might look like Dean, but his solemn little expression is all Sam. "But then she had me."

Dean grins. "That's right. Then she had you, and her job now is to keep you safe from the bad guys." He runs a finger along Johnny's cheek, tracing the new-familiar curve of the kid's face. "She's doing a good job, don't you think?"

"Yeah." Johnny cocks his head thoughtfully. "I'm gonna be a hero, too, when I grow up. A race car driver. Or a fireman."

"I wanted to be a fireman when I was your age," Dean says, brushing a hand through Johnny's soft hair. "Race car driver's a cool job, too."

The kid smiles at him, Sam does that little sniff thing that means she's trying not to cry, and Dean has to swallow hard past the sudden tightness in his chest. He wraps an arm around Sam's shoulder and squeezes, pressing a soft kiss to her temple, breathing in the scent of her hair, and she leans into him, content.

*

Johnny's asleep as the credits roll, and Sam puts him to bed, brushing the hair off his forehead and kissing him goodnight, making sure he's tucked in the way Dean used to do for her. She pulls the curtain closed around the alcove, and stands in the middle of the room like she isn't sure what to do next.

"I have a sleeping bag in the car," he says, eyeing the couch warily. It's not really long enough for her, let alone him, and certainly not wide enough for the two of them to share.

"The couch opens," she says, following his gaze.

They unfold it together and start making the bed. It'll be a tight fit, but Dean doesn't mind that part of it.

"This is going to mess up my back," he says, grimacing. In Dean's experience, sofabeds suck even worse than most motel beds, and that's really saying something.

"It's not so bad. No center bar." Sam shrugs and gives him a rueful half-smile. "Johnny's a blanket hog, though, and I guarantee he'll be in bed with us before the night is over."

She sounds matter-of-fact about it, but Dean hears a warning. "Yeah?"

"He's only had his own bed for a few weeks, kind of as a bribe to stay in it. He's not really thrilled with the whole sleeping by himself thing yet."

"You never quite got the hang of it either," Dean says.

She huffs a small laugh. "Whose fault is that?"

Dean freezes for a second as he's tucking the flat sheet under the mattress, every doubt he's ever had about what they're doing--what they've done--returning in full force. "Sam--"

She shakes her head, runs a hand through her hair. "I didn't mean--I shouldn't have said that." She grabs a t-shirt from the dresser drawer and heads into the bathroom, closing the door behind her.

He takes the opportunity to explore the small apartment--there are runes carved into the lintel, and a strip of duct tape over the threshold and each of the windowsills, no doubt holding a salt line in place. All the little things she hadn't done at Stanford, that they'd gotten sloppy about before she'd been possessed.

He sits on the edge of the bed and takes his boots and jeans off, digs his toothbrush out of his duffel, and thinks about joining her in the bathroom. He raises his hand to knock and the door swings open. She's dressed in a t-shirt and a pair of white panties, and she's got a toothbrush in her mouth and one foot up on the lip of the tub, razor in hand. He stands at the sink, brushing his teeth, and for a few minutes, he can pretend they were never apart.

*

Sam walks around turning off the lights and checking on Johnny--it reminds him of his own pre-sleep routine on nights when they just didn't fall into bed exhausted and dirty from a hunt. He drags his duffel over next to the bed, has his hand curled around the hilt of a knife, ready to shove it under his pillow, and she shakes her head, tips it towards the alcove where their son is sleeping. He supposes he can manage without it.

She curls up against him with a soft sigh and he can feel her body relax when he drapes an arm around her. He presses a kiss to her hair and times his breathing to hers, the beat of her heart steady beneath his palm. He thinks about nudging a knee between her legs, pulling down her panties and pushing inside the slick heat of her cunt--one hand is already stroking softly up the inside of her thigh, tracking the hitch in her breath at the touch--but then he remembers Johnny's in the room, and he doesn't.

"I missed you," she whispers, her voice slow and lazy with sleep. She wraps her hand around his and squeezes tight.

He presses his face against her neck, noses along the curve of her skull, kisses her behind the ear. "I missed you, too."

She sniffles, and he wonders if he's in for another crying session, but she just sighs again and says, "I don't blame you, Dean. I never--I always--" She huffs, and she's always been good with words, so he knows she hates not being able to find the ones she's looking for. "I had a choice, and I made it. There's always a choice and I always make it. I keep making it." She presses a kiss to his hand. "You taught me that."

He has no idea what to say to that, so he says, "Okay." He kisses her again, and waits for her to fall asleep. He lies awake for a while, listening to her breathe.

*

Johnny climbs into bed with them around two in the morning. Dean wakes up, alert and reaching for the knife that's not under his pillow, relaxing only when he realizes what's happening.

"Mommy, I can't sleep."

"It's okay, baby," Sam answers softly. "Come here."

He slides down in between them, giving Dean a curious look before he curls up in Sam's arms and falls back to sleep.

The kid is, in fact, a blanket hog, something he inherited from his mother, and if Dean thought it would hold him, he'd go sleep in the race car bed, but he's not sure it's up to his weight. Tomorrow, he thinks, he'll bring in his sleeping bag, and make his escape to the floor.

*

He wakes up at some point, hearing them whisper about breakfast and school, but Sam says, "No, let him sleep," when Johnny wants to wake him, so Dean lets himself sink back down into unconsciousness.

When he wakes up again, Sam and Johnny are at the kitchen table--Sam slumped over a giant cup of coffee and Johnny happily shoveling down the Cheerios. Dean stretches experimentally, but his back feels okay, and it's the best night's sleep he's had in a long time, listening to Sam breathe beside him.

"Mugs are in the cabinet above the sink," she says as he stumbles into the small kitchen. He pours himself a cup of coffee and watches as Johnny finishes his breakfast and takes his vitamin. He still can't quite believe he has a son.

He and Sam have a son.

He's not sure he'll ever get used to that.

"Barney's my favorite," Johnny says, and for a second Dean thinks he means that creepy purple dinosaur--Dean is sure that thing is some kind of minion of hell, and he can't believe Sam would let the kid near it--until he sees the vitamins are Flintstones.

"I like Betty myself," he answers. "Though Wilma's no slouch, either." Sam groans. "Oh come on, Sammy, you can't deny that Betty and Wilma are hot." Sam just shakes her head, though he can tell she's trying not to laugh.

"How are they hot, Mommy? Am I supposed to wait until they cool off?" Johnny asks as he jumps down from his chair and starts packing his backpack. "I thought you said they were good for me."

"They are good for you, Johnny," Sam says, helping him out with his little denim jacket. "Make you grow up big and strong. But De--your dad thinks they're pretty, too."

"Oh." He slings his backpack over his shoulders and looks up at Dean. "But not as pretty as Mommy."

Sam bites back a laugh and turns to Dean, as well, skeptical look on her face.

"You're right," he says, ruffling Johnny's hair and giving Sam a grin. "They're not as pretty as your mom." Sam can't hold back a snort of laughter, and she whacks him in the arm on her way out the door, but Johnny beams up at him like he's just said the greatest thing ever. "Have a good day at school, kiddo."

Halfway out the door, Sam turns and says, "I'll be back in twenty minutes."

"I'll be here," he promises.

*

Dean takes a quick shower, grinning at the array of bath toys sitting on the edge of the tub. Sam's apparently spoiling the kid rotten with all the things they hadn't had growing up. When he's done, he pulls on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, then pokes through the refrigerator, looking for breakfast. Sam's never been much of a cook--he'd taught her enough to get by, but she'd always left it to him when she'd had the choice--so he's not expecting much. He finds eggs and bread and cheese, but there's a sad lack of bacon he's going to have to tease her about. He thinks about going out for it, but he doesn't want to not be there when she gets back.

He's just slid the cheese omelet onto a plate when she comes back in, hair damp and frizzy from the drizzle.

"Hi," she says, shrugging off her jacket and draping it over a chair.

They stare at each other for a long moment, so silent that the buzz of the refrigerator sounds loud. Sam bites her lip, flush already rising under her skin, but she doesn't look away.

Dean makes sure the burner is off and gently sets the plate down on the counter. They each take a step forward and that pretty much covers the length of the kitchen. He wraps one hand around the nape of her neck, and she reaches up to cup his face, meeting in the middle for a kiss that starts out slow and soft, almost tentative, but it's him and it's Sam, and even after nearly four years apart, this is familiar. He licks her lower lip, slips his tongue inside her mouth, tasting coffee and heat. He can smell the rain on her skin, the shampoo in her hair. She takes a stuttering breath and opens to him, all teeth and tongue and hunger, her hands sliding over his face, making him shiver, fingers combing through the short hair at the nape of his neck, holding him close.

"God, Dean," she whispers against his lips as he walks her back to the little butcher block table. Her hips hit the edge, and she laughs--it vibrates through him, making him laugh in response. "Table's not that sturdy," she says, grinning against his mouth.

"Good thing the bed's real close," he answers, turning them in that direction. He grabs the hem of her t-shirt. "Up," he says, and she raises her arms and lets him yank it up over her head. His shirt and her bra follow it to the floor, and then he's pressing her back against the pillows, skin to skin.

She puts a hand to his chest, holding him up, eyes wide in surprise and the pink tip of her tongue poking out between her lips. She traces the black lines of the tattoo on his chest with her index finger, and he shivers under the touch.

"Had it done in TJ after--you know." He shrugs one shoulder, gives her an awkward grin. He's pretty sure she wants to talk about it even less than he does. "Seemed like a good idea at the time."

She just beams at him like he's the best thing she's ever seen, so he gets back to the task at hand, which is making her come as many times as he possibly can before they have to go pick Johnny up.

He dips his head to kiss her throat, the sleek line of her collarbone, and then down between her breasts. He palms the right one, feels her nipple harden against his hand, and smiles when she gasps. He pulls back a little, eyes her curiously, brow furrowed in concentration.

"You're more like an A-plus now, Sammy," he says, grinning, and leans in to lick at the soft curve of her breasts, tasting sweat and soap, loving the weight and firmness of them against his tongue.

"Dude," she says, laughing, "you should have seen me when I was pregnant. I actually filled out a B cup."

He closes his eyes, stung. "I wish I had, Sammy. I really do."

She strokes a hand through his hair, comfort and forgiveness in one easy gesture. "I know, Dean. Me, too. I didn't mean--"

"I know." He flicks open the button on her jeans, and the zipper sounds loud when he pulls it down. She raises her hips, and he strips the jeans down and off, along with her underwear.

He looks up at her, startled. "You--When?"

She has a tattoo on her left hip that's a dead ringer for his. It's his turn to trace lines with his finger, make her shiver under the touch.

"After I stopped nursing. It seemed like a good idea," she says, repeating his own words back to him. "I didn't want to ever go through that again."

He leans in and licks at it, following the circle with his tongue and tracing the points of star before pressing his lips to the center, a silent blessing he knows she'll understand.

In some ways, it's like it always was, like they were never separated, though he can feel the weight of the years between them, see the changes in her body, the same as when they first went back out on the road together after Jess died.

He kisses his way down the soft curve of her belly, licks the crease where her thigh joins her body, salty-sweet and better than even his best memory, heat firing in his veins, dick aching to be inside her. Her fingers tighten in his hair, and he stops, breathes her in for a few seconds, letting the reality of her presence sink in. He wants to bury his face, his hands, his cock between her legs, drown in her until there's no pulling them apart. He wants to fuck her until the only words they remember are each other's names, until they're both too exhausted to move. He stares at her body like he's a starving man and she's a feast--he doesn't know where to start, but he knows he's going to taste it all and never be satisfied.

He runs his fingers through the slickness glistening between her thighs and licks them slowly, salt and Sam exploding on his tongue, then takes a moment to think about what he wants to do first.

"You're gonna make me ask, aren't you?" There's amusement in her voice, shot through with need.

He grins up at her. "Would I do that?"

She rolls her eyes, tightens her hands in his hair. "'If you can't say it, you're probably not old enough to do it,'" she says, mimicking him, reminding him of the first time they ever did this, a hot summer night too many years ago. He laughs to cover the tightness in his chest at the memory, but doesn't move. "I'm definitely old enough now." She slides a hand around to cup his cheek, trace his lower lip with her thumb. "Please, Dean?"

"Say it." His voice is low and rough, demanding.

"I want you to fuck me," she answers, her tone matching his. "I want your mouth and your hands and your cock--"

He shifts up, cuts her off with a fierce kiss, his mouth moving over hers, apologizing for all the broken promises, the years of separation, every wrong thing he's ever done. She kisses him back, the slide and curl of her tongue against his spelling out apologies of her own, and absolution. She emphasizes the point with the thrust of her hips and the stroke of her hand down his back, blunt nails scraping his skin, marks he'd like to wear forever.

Her fingers fumble at his zipper, her hands trembling in a way that's unfamiliar--Sam's always been so sure, always known exactly what she wanted (and how to get it), and he hates that he's somehow taken that from her, that she has doubts about him, of all things, the one thing he's always wanted her to count on.

"It's okay, Sammy," he murmurs, shoving out of his jeans, and reaching down into his duffel for a condom. "I've got you."

"I know." Her smile is as soft as her voice, and he thinks maybe she's not shaking out of doubt.

He slides inside her and it's like coming home, a perfect fit, like firing his favorite gun, or sliding behind the wheel of the Impala, but better, because it's sex, which is just about better than anything, anyway, and it's Sam, which is the best thing of all, ever.

She wraps herself around him, holds him tight, and meets every thrust of his hips with her own, the soft, breathy noises she's making driving him crazy.

"Come on," she says, "come on, Dean."

He reaches down between them to rub at her clit, feels the way her body tenses and her pussy quivers around him and knows she's almost there. "You first," he answers, shifting her hips up so he can thrust deeper, harder, faster.

"It's always a competition with you," she says, breathless and laughing, tightening around him, trying to make him lose control (and he's close, so close, going to lose himself in her and never be found). Like it hasn't been four years since they've done this. Like she doesn't know this is one competition he's going to make sure she always wins.

Another thrust of his hips and the rough stroke of his thumb and she comes apart, clenching tight around him like a fist, her voice choking on the solid syllable of his name.

The sound sends another shock of heat through him, and he's done. He kisses her, swallows down whatever else she might say, and growls it back into her mouth as he comes, everything else disappearing in the white hot pleasure pulsing through him.

They lie there for a few minutes, sweaty and satisfied, before he gets up to get rid of the condom. He can feel her watching him, turns to see her leaning on her elbows, speculative look on her face.

"Like what you see?" He runs his hands over his chest. "I know you do."

She laughs. "Could you be more conceited?"

He slides back into bed. "It's not conceited if it's true."

She snorts and rolls her eyes, but opens her mouth for his kiss and parts her thighs for his fingers when he slides his hands up her legs.

"We don't have to pick up Johnny until noon," she says, grinning against his mouth. He checks the clock; they've got plenty of time. "I've wondered what a carseat would look like in the Impala."

He grumbles because he knows she expects him too, but he can't help smiling, too, love and pride surging through him. "Well, I'm not riding around in whatever crappy little hybrid you're driving these days."

She gives him a little shove and he falls onto his back, and she slings a leg over, straddles him, rubbing against him slowly, a promise of what's to come, as soon as he's ready for it. She runs her index fingers along the line of his eyebrows, down his nose, over his cheekbones, and then finally, his mouth, where he nips at them playfully.

"So you're gonna stick around?" she asks, holding his gaze, fearless. It's a question she should never have to ask, one she should already know the answer to.

"As long as you'll have me," he says, and seals the promise with a kiss.

end

~*~