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Oxygen

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After all the fighting – all the noise, the screaming, the clash of metal on metal, and the scent of sweat and blood and desperation and longing – it was quiet. Chaos surrounded them. Another threat, another disaster averted by the skin of their teeth. The aftermath of another impossible battle… it never ceased to feel surreal, those first few moments.

The clanking of metal hitting the ground sounded like the blast of a shotgun and Dean jumped, shoving aside the miracle and turning back to the only person that was left – the only person that mattered to him in the crazy, screwed up world.

Their eyes finally met and the moment lasted forever.

Orbits realigning once again.

“I want to be done.” Sam finally whispered, tears sliding down his face as he sat trembling where he’d collapsed – the angel sword he’d been holding on the ground where he’d dropped it. Dean stumbled to his feet, blood running down the one side of his face and knelt down beside his brother. “I can’t – I can’t do this anymore.”

Sam’s trembling hands quickly found Dean’s jacket and clutched it like a lifeline.

“Sammy,” Dean breathed, holding on to his brother’s shoulder for support and the other cupping the side of Sam’s face in a tender display of emotion.

Five months – not knowing whether the other was dead or alive. It was too long. Too much.

It never got easier. Only more and more painful.

There wasn’t anyone else who could fill the gaping hole that was left behind when they were apart. Life was off balanced. Fuzzy and meaningless and dull except for the unquenchable need to find the other.

Reuniting… what was broken inside of them fixed itself and it became easier to breathe again. The world righted itself and what became a skewed fell back into place. “We’ve talked about it – retiring… getting away from this… this life.” Sam continued softly, almost absently, voice shaking with desperation. “Getting a cabin in the mountains and growing old together.” He shuddered, trembling as his face begged Dean to understand. “I w-want that, Dean. No more death. No more goodbyes. No more angels or monsters or hell. I… I just want to grow old with you. I, I don’t need anything else.” He sobbed brokenly. “Please, Dean – I just… I can’t lose you again. Not again – h-haven’t we done enough?”

Dean leaned into his brother’s side and rested his forehead against Sam’s, breathing deeply.

After a moment of just soaking each other in, Dean pulled back just a little and found Sam’s eyes and held his pleading gaze. “Yeah, Sammy,” he choked out, tears falling without restraint at his younger brothers’ admission. “We’ve done enough, little brother. We’ve done more then enough. And you know what?” He asked gently, lips twitching into a faint smile. “We’re going to take the Impala and we’re going to find that damn cabin and we’re going to pay cash upfront for it and then we’re going to fix it up together. You and me. And I’m going to get you a dog and you can throw it sticks in the evening from the deck. Hell, I’ll even build us some rocking chairs and we’ll watch the sun go down every night.”

A short, broken laugh escaped Sam’s mouth at that and Dean continued on, smiling a tiny bit wider at the hint of hope that appeared in his brothers’ world weary eyes. “We’re going to go fishing and I’ll teach you how to fix up classic cars – just for fun. I’ll let you drag me to theater shows and we can listen to old time radio in the evening. And, w-we’re going to watch football on the weekends, drink beer, and we’re going to grow a damn cornfield in the back just like in Secondhand Lions.” Their ragged breathes tangled together, hot and ragged – they were the oxygen they needed to breathe.

“Promise?” Sam whispered desperately.

Dean pulled him into a tight hug, never wanting to let go and Sam hugged him back just as fiercely. “I promise,” He whispered, shaking. “And when we finally go, we’re going together. No more goodbyes, Sammy. Not for us. I promise.”