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Beat the Devil: Coda

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Sam's gotten hugs from Mom and Jack, even a clap on the back from the angels, who don't really look him in the eye; he's relieved, because he doesn't think he can look them in the eye either, not just yet.

Right now, all that matters is the recent memory of Mom punching Lucifer in the face and Dean's hand encircling his wrist. Dean hasn't let go since the moment he grabbed Sam's wrist and dragged him off into the woods behind the rebel camp.

Sam's pressed up against an old tree with a reassuringly broad trunk. (It reminds him of a tree in one of the rental houses Dad had left Dean and him in for a long summer, eons ago. It had a tree-house left by the former residents, in which Sam had curled up for hours at a time with his favorite books, only leaving when Dean cajoled him into coming back into the house to eat or sleep.)

"Sit," Dean says, the sound barely a syllable, tugging Sam down by his wrist.

Sam obeys, too shaken to resist. "Dean," he says, leaning back against the rough bark of the tree.

"It's all right," Dean says, spilling water from a bottle onto his bandana. He soaks it and nudges Sam's head back, pressing the cool, wet cloth against Sam's bloodied skin. "It's all right. You're all right."

"Yeah. Yeah, Dean." Sam keeps his eyes closed, letting Dean take care of him. They aren't touching each other the way they want to, not yet, but Sam needs to keep his hand on Dean. He runs his fingers up Dean's arm, over his shoulder where the muscles are still rubber-band-taut with desperate grief, as though Dean's body hasn't yet caught up with what his mind already knows.

I'm okay, Sam wants to say. I'm okay, Dean, you didn't lose me. You made the right call, leaving me behind. But his words aren't his to use at the moment, his voice stuck somewhere low in his throat.

Dean finishes his ministrations, tossing the bloody cloth aside. "You're good," he proclaims. "But the shirt has to go."

Sam huffs out a small laugh, the sound incongruous in the silent woods, as though they're the only two people left in the world, as though there isn't a small army of rebels in a camp around the corner, as though the group doesn't include their mother (thank god, thank god), the Devil himself, and two angels who don't give a fuck about what happens to Sam. He pushes them all from his mind, leaving room only for Dean, letting his fingers slide into the soft hair at the nape of Dean's neck.

"Sammy," Dean says, wrecked, his big, rough hands cupping Sam's face.

Sam leans in until their foreheads are pressed together, breaths mingling in the alien air. "I'm sorry," he says, almost into Dean's mouth. "So sorry."

"Don't you dare," Dean says, fierce. "Don't you dare blame yourself for this, Sammy. I'm fucking glad Lucifer made it here, you hear me? Yeah, I'd like to rip his insides out with my bare hands for everything he's done to you, but right now, I'm happy the asshole is here. Hell, I'll give him a freaking medal for saving your life."

"I led him to you. To Jack, to Mom," Sam chokes out.

"You didn't have a choice. You wouldn't have had to if I'd stayed in those tunnels with you," Dean says, sounding as anguished as Sam feels, and he almost has the irrational impulse to laugh. Here they are again, singing the same song they have for decades. There ain't no me if there ain't no you. You sacrifice everything for me; don't you think I'd do the same for you? There is nothing, past or present, that I would put in front of you. I'm not leaving you, ever.

"I was dead, Dean," he reminds his brother, voice stronger now, warmth seeping from Dean's skin right into Sam's where he's got his hands curled over Sam's face, his lips against the bridge of Sam's nose.

"I was coming back," Dean says, mouth inscribing the words on Sam's skin. "Wasn't gonna leave you there, Sammy, I was coming back, I -- "

"I know." Sam wraps his arms around Dean's waist, tugging him closer until there's no space for anything between them, not even air. "I know, Dean."

Dean's arms are a circle of devotion and protection around him when they kiss, mouths fitting against each other's like they always have, so right, so full of love that everything else fades to nothing as Sam tastes the salt of their mingled tears.