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One beer turns into three turns into six, and when that don’t get it done, chicken-wing for the rotgut stashed in the back of the island. Pictures in a pocket. One more Winchester cheats death, literal wish-come-true but that light’s a freight train, always is. Settle for a couple of Heaven-level memories before…

Water surges. Sammy’s up, but no, fifty-fifty now, like when Cas was around, except, Cas ain’t never been much for washin. Clock check… Yeah that’s Sam. Found his jeans in the motel trash and that ain’t like him. Boxers too. Don’t gotta be Gil Grissom to know he ain’t sleepin, figure why.

Little brother needs me. Heave up, BAC lands a suckerpunch. Lean hard on the sink, breathe deep. Splash a little water and set off searching.

Shower’s empty. Missed Sam or he never left his room. Door’s open. Sam stands shirtless in gray track pants; waist rides low on Santa boxers, (clearance) Valentine’s gift. Kid looks good, considering. Tan and tall and lean.

Head pops out from under his towel. “Hey.”

“Heya Sammy.” Kick at the doorjamb. Who woulda thought the not-dead speech never gets any easier? Towel hits the floor and two hundred pounds of brother hurtle forward. Grab his neck, haul him in and breathe fresh sweat, rosemary soap, and Sam. “I thought I’d lost—”

“Are you fucking kidding me?”

That’s fair. Didn’t come here to open a vein, but, the heat of him, solid and whole… “Can’t leave you alone for five minutes, huh?”

“Guess not,” Sam says, and there it is. Eyes glint, nose flares, even after all this shit.

Swing a hammer at him.

Still, or, maybe again.

If he comes back…

Either way…

Fuck it.

“I…” breathe, “stood there in that graveyard, ready to die, again,” look up, “and for keeps this time and there’s God, and Cas, and friggin Crowley, and I—” Hook his chin. Crooked mouth and wrinkled brow. Hair stuck up in the back. “—I just had this one regret.”

Kiss him. Dry slide, grip enough to mean it, wheel away.

Wonder reflects above the sink, then Sam drops to the bed and he’s thumbing that palm, and “Sammy? Hey…” Knees hit cold concrete, jar teeth. “Fuck, I didn’t mean—”

Watery smile. “I’m… It’s okay.”

“Like Hell.” Spring up. Tackle him sideways, crossways. Suffer a headbutt and two bruised shins but clutch him, baby-Sammy style, chest-smashed.

“What the Hell, Dean?” or something like, droolier than necessary. Sam pinches tender underarm skin. “Get offa me.”

Smell his hair. Try not to be too gross about it. “You wanna talk?” Turn him loose.

Sam rolls back, stares at the spinning fan. “About…”

“The farmhouse.”


Still alive to see his grays. “You sure?”

“Was total bush league,” and he means it, which—

“Sometimes that’s worse.”

Sam huffs. “How bout you?” He curls, props on his elbow. Hair and skin and muscles shift.

“Nah.” Catch his eyes. You know everything.

“Dean, what—” Sam reaches, balks. “Why are you here?”

“Checkin on my pain-in-the-ass little brother, you know, since you got beat up by girls.” Meet his hand, just kinda, bump knuckles.

That grin. “I noticed they beat your ass pretty thoroughly too.”

“Wasn’t a fair fight.” Root around, palm-to-palm.

Sam curls his fingers. “What are you asking for?”


Bullshit squint.

“I’m offerin.” Stand up. “Brood on it awhile, figure out what you want.” Slip slow from his hand, let it fall to the bedspread. Head for the door—



“I thought, if I could make you hate me I could—”

“Stop.” Brace on the frame. This ain’t right. Sam’s got good years ahead of him yet, can’t—

“You gonna chicken out?” Sam’s perched, eyes under his hair, long legs bounce his forearms, folded hands.

“I’m gonna shower.” Breathe. “Get some sleep. We been a in shitstorm lately and it’s no time to be makin life choices.”

Almost a chuckle. “Aren’t we always in a shitstorm?”

Even money says he’s warming the memory foam within ten minutes. “G’night, Sam.” Don’t know which way to hope it goes.

Sam doesn’t answer.

Don’t look back.