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meet me on the corner when the lights are coming on

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Fic: meet me on the corner when the lights are coming on (and I'll be there)
Pairing: Sam/Dean
Rating: PG-13
Words: ~2k
Summary/Warnings: They follow the road because they want to, not because they must. My silverbullets tag was 'Texas Rain'. Naturally, I provided character death. Um. But if you think about it as more of a 5.16 fix-it fic, I promise it is disgustingly schmoopy, honest!

Dean wakes to the lonely rattle of rain. They're in Texas, someplace where the reststops are crappy and the dirt is mostly dry. His arm is tucked around Sam's ribcage, fingers curled underneath, and their cave beneath the bedcovers is warm but Sam is still, too still. Thirty years, Dean's come awake to the sound of Sam's breathing, that weird little huffing sound he makes (made) in the back of his throat, not quite a snore, but close. Dean knows how Sam sounds when he's sleeping. He knows (and he shouldn't, but he does) how Sam sounds when he's dead.

It's not worth it to speak. The sense of understanding is too complete for that, too twisted up around Dean's gut like poison ivy, clawing at his insides. He clenches his jaw, feels the ferric taste of tears snap through the back of his throat, surge up under his tongue and behind his eyes. Tears, and those are pointless, too. But if Dean leans in, presses his face into the juncture of Sam's neck and shoulder, into the hollow of his throat where his pulse once beat under Dean's tongue -- well. There's nobody here to see. There never has been anyone but Sam.

It's not as if they haven't been waiting for it. Since the Wall fell, they've been waiting, and specifically since Lucifer thrust his way back in like some mirror-prince hewing his way through their slapdash enchanted forest and took Sam hostage. It was never much of a defence to begin with. For a second, Dean wonders if the bastard's in here right now, watching the way Dean tucks himself up against his brother's back, but then he remembers: this Lucifer was only ever a figment of Sam's imagination. Sam isn't here right now, but Dean knows where to find him.

Dean's had the pills for a while, pretty much for as long as he's thought this eventuality might arise. He doesn't know if Sam ever worked it out. He hopes not, but, hell, you never could tell with Sam, and part of Dean isn't even sure what he'd prefer: to know Sam went out unaware that Dean planned to follow him, or to be sure Sam's kicking his heels, even now, waiting for Dean to take his medicine and get in the car, already.

Sam's hair is soft under his palm, a little damp with sweat at the temples. Dean strokes it absently as he reaches over Sam for his Evian from last night and the case with the pills in it, stowed under the reading glasses Dean pretends never to wear. There was a time he'd thought about using the Colt, but it's cleaner this way, less mess and trauma for whatever poor chambermaid comes in here and finds them gone, and Dean doesn't need the drama any more. A simple exeunt, no bears in pursuit. No demons. No angels. Just him and Sam, a sleepy tangle of Winchester arms and legs. It seems fitting.

The first pill is already on his tongue, water bottle uplifted, when he says, just for the sake of it, "Sammy." Naturally, Sam doesn't move, and Dean kisses the nape of his neck and swallows the pill, takes a handful more out of the case. Damn powerful stuff, this; it won't take many. "Sam," Dean says, the word he's said his whole life to mean everything, c'mere and stop that and screw you and Sammy, how the fuck 'm I supposed to live without you? He says it now, and his heart swells, a last warm pulse before it settles into a slow decline, beating itself out. "Sam."

His hand finds Sam's, fingers slotting easily into the spaces between his, holding on. Finding safe harbour. The muscles go loose in Dean's face, leaving it smoothed-out and new, but the hand stays put, fingers clenched and sure. Death grip, they call it. Dean would know.

*

When Dean wakes to warm rain and Sam, it's not a surprise, but, for a second there, he's still relieved. The passenger side window is open and Sam has one elbow slung out of it, water spattering in the bare, tan crook of his arm. Dean would protest for the sake of the goddamn seats if he wasn't so freaking happy just to see Sam smiling at him like that, warm and young and nothing but his brother in it. Dean hadn't realised how much he'd missed it until now.

"Took you long enough," Sam says. For a second, Dean's not sure what he's talking about, where he thinks Dean's been, if he knows where they are, and he's readying himself to take care what he says when Sam continues, "Always thought you'd go for the Colt, man."

Dean snorts, but his chest squeezes gratefully. They're on the same page, thank God or the universe or whoever the hell's taking care of business up here, these days. "The Colt?"

Sam grins at him. "Yeah, because you think you're a badass."

"I am a badass."

"Maybe," Sam says, pulling his elbow in and making to crank up the window, "but apparently you're a badass who cares about the chambermaids. I respect that."

"More than you respect my goddamn seats, apparently," Dean says, because he can't resist and, besides, this is Dean's baby they're riding in, fucking finally. Damn straight, this is heaven.

Sam throws him a sidelong look, a mild soupçon of bitchface tossed across the length of the seat. His stupid long hair is sticking to the back of his neck where the rain blew in, and Dean barely thinks before he stretches out his arm to comb it out with his fingers, tuck a few damp strands behind Sam's ear. Apparently, heaven works a little like that curse Dean caught once that stripped him of his inhibitions. This place isn't how he remembers it, not exactly.

"Hey, Sam," he says.

Sam turns his face, rubbing the line of his jaw against Dean's hand like a cat marking its property. "Mmm?"

"What do we -- I mean, do we just drive, or what? Last time -- " Dean gestures at the road ahead, and Sam stops nuzzling, although he doesn't move away.

"It's not like last time," he says, slow. "That was their game, Dean. You know -- how do we Yoko Ono this place enough to make us so pissed off, we'd rather turn ourselves into angel condoms than stick together. You gotta know that, man."

Sam's eyes are earnest on Dean's face, and Dean -- he's thought this before, but there'd always been a part of him that thought he was being too optimistic, in denial. He clears his throat, laughs a little, but it's weak. "Kept leaving me, dude," he says. "Every fucking memory it threw up was you running away from us, and that was supposed to be your heaven?"

But Sam's shaking his head like he knows, like he doesn't even have to think about it. "Dean, this is our heaven. That's the whole point, like Ash said. We share one. This place, it's supposed to make us happy, both of us. It's not, like, some trade-off of poorly-selected Greatest Hits that fit badly and piss us off." He pauses, and then his hand is on Dean's face, massive palm cradling Dean's jaw and thumb brushing at the corner of his mouth. "Are you happy, Dean?"

The car smells like leather and gun-oil, stale McDonald's fries and sugar and Sam's shampoo. Sam's hand is warm and his eyes are steady, not darting away from Dean to find the devil in the details, and -- "Yeah," Dean says, soft. "Yeah, I am."

Sam smiles, too, at that, enough to show teeth. "Jukebox must be working properly this time, huh?"

Dean leans in, experimental, and kisses him, warm press of lips that coaxes a soft, pleased sound out of Sam's throat and makes his grip tighten on Dean's face. Sam breathes out through his nose, opens his mouth under Dean's, and Dean lets him in for a brief, lazy tangle of tongues, wet and easy like it's never been. He's never kissed his brother like this, in plain sight and gently, like it's okay. Like they're allowed to. When Dean pulls back, his pulse is pounding in his throat, but Dad hasn't shown up to rap on the window and Sam hasn't punched him in the face, and, "Yeah," Dean says, "Guess it must be."

Sam's hand slips from his face to wrap around his throat, quietly possessive. Former Dean would probably have gotten all twisted up and guilty about how good it made him feel, the sense of being owned like that, but there's no need for that any more. When the hand slips lower, makes a fist around the cord of Dean's amulet, his breath catches and Sam's looking back at him, warm and sure. His eyes are dark, shining.

He tugs, and Dean goes with it, no more resistance.

*

They follow the road because they want to, not because they must. The cassettes all work, even the Radiohead one that snapped under the weight of Sam's gigantic ass in, like, 2007, and Dean eats apple pie without getting the shivers. The motels have Magic Fingers and the empty steam-shower houses are plentiful, which Sam says is totally all Dean, even though it doesn't seem to keep him from indulging.

Another town, another highway. Miles of California orchards give way to red dirt and then prairielands, no logic but desire lines to guide them. It's home, except there's nobody here who can die, nothing here that can kill. It's children's book America, and the Impala, and Sam.

They stop when the whim takes them, and when they set off again, it's because they want to. No destiny, no doomsdays, no work to do.

In some Kentucky farmhouse spooled out of a childhood memory, Sam lays Dean out on the porch and kisses him till he's squirming, then straddles his lap and brings it home. They both taste like beer and there's more Corona for after, when the sun's dropping red below the horizon and Sam is a sweat-damp, solid weight against Dean's side. It's 1993 and Dean is Sam's whole world. It's 2003 and Sam is Dean's. It's 2013, it's 2090, it's Kingdom Come and they're both each other's and doubt is a tragedy reserved for the living.

"Sam," Dean says, "Get me another beer, wouldja?"

"Get it yourself, asshole," says Sam, and kisses the hollow of Dean's clavicle.

They wrestle briefly, till the sky goes grey-pink and dim and the crickets are chirping in the fields. Sam goes still on top of him after, like he wants to lay there for a bit, and Dean'd get impatient except that they're in no hurry, and there's always more beer, always more road.

When Sam finds his mouth again, it's warm and slow, and that's okay, too. After all, if they want it, they've got all the time in the world.