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“Dean, wait.”

Hitch in his step, but, “Not now, Sammy.” Ground glass. “Gonna have to stow the heart-to—”

Sam grabs a shoulder, puts himself between Dean and his room. “No. Don’t you walk away from me too.”

Dean staggers back then comes at Sam. Telegraphs his right. Sam sidesteps, seizes Dean and drives his face to the wall. Dean shoves off, swipes at his mouth and blood smears. He jerks his head, cracks his neck, misdirection. Hips fall into line and his center of gravity drops. Sam nods. Not much they can break in the hall, besides—

Sam bites on a feint and Dean smashes a jab to his cheek. Pulled. Dean wants submission and not a knockout. Sam gets his hands up. “Dean, you have to listen.”

Flurry of quick shots. Bright splash of pain where Dean connects with his ribs. Wraps Sam up and Sam smacks his forehead into his brother’s nose.

“Ow! Sonofabitch.”

Sam falls back. No space to circle. “You didn’t do this. You understand?”

“Right.” Dean lunges. Sam fends him off. “’Cause I’m not why she got snatched outta Heaven and dropped back into this crapsack life.”

Fist to Dean’s breadbasket winds him. “She’s a person. She makes her own choices.”

Dean’s jaw sets. “Yeah thanks, Sam, I know the speech.” He doesn’t pull this round. Sam shields his face, throws blocks and counters. Dean goes low and Sam’s knee busts his chin. Dean stumbles. Sam puts him into the wall again.

Forearm barred across Dean’s chest. “You know what I think?” Sam hisses, “Fuck her.”

Dean’s rage blooms like a time-lapse. Flush creeps up his neck and darkens. Eyes go wide, then harden. Sam barely keeps his feet as Dean barrels, drives him hard to the far wall.

“She’s not our mom.”

Dean two-fists Sam’s shirt and another slam. “Shut the fuck up, Sam.”

“We don’t even know her.” Sam knocks Dean back. “Just some hunter. Samuel’s protégé, and you know what a winner he was.”

“Sammy I will fuckin kill you.”

Sam steps to him. Both keep their arms at their sides. “Our mom? Is a fairy tale. You know, Dean. You told me. She wasn’t perfect til after she died.” Dean shuts his eyes, draws in his shoulders. Chin tips to his collarbone. Bunker’s ventilation hum and adrenaline breath. “She hurt you. Nobody hurts my brother.”

Dean blinks up, squints. Sam doesn’t think, kisses him, press-and-a-smack, not the first time. Last time though, it’d happened before Dean decked him. Last boarding call, last bus to Frisco. Last time Sam saw Dean split open like this.

Sam whispers, “She wants to grieve a little boy and not get to know the man? That’s her choice.”

Dean doesn’t move, but to close his eyes, still his face at perfect neutral.

“It’s a stupid choice.” Sam leaves his brother, slack-jawed and bleeding. “I love you, Dean.” Keeps walking.