“So you’ve got your four bullets, right, Sam?” Brady asked, jingling the bullets in his pocket.
“Yeah, but hopefully I’ll only need one,” Sam said, searching the crowd for Dean. Their eyes finally met across the field and Sam smiled wide enough that he felt like his face would crack. His heart swelled up with happiness just at the sight of Dean, his beautiful face framed by the wreath on his head and the red scarf at his neck.
The contest, it turned out, had more than one stage. Sam and Brady were equally matched through three turns at harder and harder target shots. The crowd went wild as they were able to hit targets accurately at incredible distances that should have been impossible. But the final test came down to shooting a dove that Dean had to hold in a cage. Brady used a regular bullet and missed, nearly shooting the Duke.
Sam took aim at the dove, steadying himself with a look at his soon-to-be spouse and let the bullet fly. Meg appeared in a flash of black smoke, blocking the bullet so that it ricocheted into Dean’s head. No one but Brady and Sam seemed to notice Meg. She grinned at Brady and disappeared in another flash of black smoke.
Dean fell to the ground, appearing to have been grievously wounded, the red blood from the injury instantly soaking the red scarf. The cage hit the ground next to him, releasing the dove which took to the sky in a panic of scattered feathers.
Sam raced across the field to Dean, pushing through the crowd until he was able to reach him. He fell to the ground beside Dean’s still body and gathered him up, cradling Dean in his arms, his head bowed, tears pouring forth with his anguished cries shaking both of them.
Dean came to, because of the tears falling onto his own face. “Sam, hey, I’m okay,” Dean whispered, holding onto Sam’s shirt with one hand.
“I thought, oh god, I thought I’d killed you, Dean,” Sam said in surprise. They kissed then, not caring that the entire crowd was watching or that there was blood soaking into Sam’s white shirt. The union of their lips seemed to be more than just a kiss, it was a joining deep and true. They parted and looked at each other, silently vowing that nothing would keep them apart.
Missouri made her way forward out of the crowd and stood behind the embracing couple and put one hand on each of their heads. “I bless the union of these two souls. We are witness to a powerful rare thing today: soul-mates reuniting before our very eyes. A true blessing for us all to witness. Give thanks and praise!” Missouri shouted with an authoritative fervor that rang through the trees.
Meg appeared again, grasping Brady’s wrist with both hands and yanking him down into a kiss that he furiously resisted. After a long minute, he fell, dead to the ground. The crowd went silent in astonishment. Meg laughed loudly in triumph. “Neither of these men deserved to win, they were using my bullets bought with Brady’s soul. You can cheat in a contest of skill, but you can’t cheat your way out of a deal with me!” Meg disappeared in a flash of black smoke, her words ringing out into the silence.
Duke Gabriel was furious when he heard the story. Sam had cheated at the contest, a most grievous crime. He pronounced Sam’s immediate banishment. Everyone protested loudly, even John the Forester came forward to give voice to how good of a man Sam was known to be by all. The Hermit, Missouri was the final witness, she explained that the combined effects of Sam’s all-consuming love for Dean, and the fear of losing him to another caused Sam to stray from his life of goodness.
“Fine, fine. Have it your way. You two are now married, you tree-hugging weirdos deserve each other,” the Duke said dismissively, waving both hands at them as if to shoo them away.
Sam and Dean kissed passionately in front of all once again, Dean throwing his bloodied bridal (thankfully not funeral) wreath into the sky as the crowd clapped in joy for them all. They walked off to Dean’s rooms arm in arm as the crowd sang the traditional marriage song. They could hear John the Forester join in, his bass voice carried under the rest. Sam and Dean didn’t mind though, too wrapped up in each other, and their thoughts of a future together. When they reached Dean’s room, Sam carried him over the threshold, both laughing until they saw Duke Gabriel lying on Dean’s bed.
“I get first crack at him, Duke’s Privilege and all,” the Duke sneered at their surprised faces.
“Sir, I had not thought that you would actually do that,” Sam sputtered in protest.
“Aw, cut it out, Sam. I’m just kidding you,” Duke Gabriel laughed.
“Why would you joke about such a thing? I don’t understand,” Dean asked, holding Sam close around his waist.
“I’m giving up on getting this message through to you two yahoos, you always manage to screw it up somehow. So here—have a nice trip back boys. Smell ya later,” Duke Gabriel reached up and touched both of their foreheads.
Sam shook his head, hitting it into the car window. The car wasn’t moving, the engine wasn’t even on. He looked over and saw Dean, snoring softly against the driver’s side window. It was dark out, and the moon was up. Putting his hand down on the seat between them, he jumped in surprise. There was a prickly bunch of plants or something. He clicked on the overhead dome light and saw a wreath made of dark flowers and greens sitting on top of a folded-up, embroidered blanket. The one that had been stitched into his cloak.
Dean muttered and smacked his lips, waking up blinking into the light. “Whazzat?”
“I don’t know. It was here when I woke up. Where are we, Dean?”
Dean peered out the windows at the dark landscape, lit only by the moonlight. “Hell if I know, this could be freakin’ anywhere.”
“Why are we sleeping in the car, though?” Sam asked, turning the wreath around in his hands. “Weren’t we just driving?"
“I don’t remember a thing. I was having a crazy-ass dream about pistol shooting contests and jumping off bridges and I don’t even know what else.”
“Were you like a lumberjack or something?” Sam asked.
“Yeah, it was called something else though. Hey, how would you know?”
“Lucky guess. Or I had the same damn dream. Something got us again, Dean. I mean, look at this wreath, it’s got all kinds of plants you use in magic, and this blanket, where the hell did it come…” Sam stopped talking when he unfolded the blanket. His name was stitched on one corner in blue thread. Samuel Robert Winchester born, May 2, 1748. He ran his fingers over the stitching and looked over at Dean.
“Sammy, what the hell?”
“I have no idea. In the dream, this blanket, it was stitched into the lining of the cloak I always wore. All I really remember was Dad was there, but he was my boss, not my dad, and Brady, this guy I knew in college was there too. And something about magic bullets and Meg. I had to win you.”
“Win me?” Dean asked.
“Some shooting contest or something. I don’t know, it was weird,” Sam answered, looking down at the blanket.
Dean shifted in his seat, obviously uncomfortable. “Having to win me in a contest is pretty damn weird if you ask me, yeah.”
Sam put the wreath on the dashboard and turned to look at Dean in the dim light. “But I did win, you’re mine, I won you, Dean.”
Dean folded his brother into his arms. “You didn’t have to win a contest, ya idiot.”
Sam melted into Dean’s embrace, glad that his brother had accepted the crucial truth of their life. “Guess it was a trickster or something.”
“Must have been, I have no idea otherwise. I’ll just start driving, so we can figure out where the hell we are,” Dean hugged Sam a little closer, preparing to release him.
“Dean?” Sam mumbled into Dean’s neck, lips moving over his warm skin. “I’m glad we, you know.”
“What?” Dean asked, shifting Sam to lay down with his head on Dean’s lap.
Sam snaked one arm around Dean’s waist and stared up at his big brother. “Came back here…together.”
“You’re not going anywhere without me, remember? You won me.” Dean chortled, shifting into reverse and backing up onto the road.
He punched the gas and they took off in a cloud of dirt and gravel, in which direction he didn’t know. But it didn’t matter, not really, not when Sam’s head was cradled on Dean’s lap with the blanket over his shoulders and the strange but lovely smelling wreath sitting on the dashboard glinting in the moonlight.
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