Finish Lines


The Wanting Comes In Waves

All Sam/Dean, All The Time

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Finish Lines

Ring Around Your Soul

Fic title: Ring Around Your Soul

Author name:  smalltrolven

Genre: Wincest, Fix!It!Fic, Established Relationship, almost curtain!fic
Pairing: Sam/Dean
Rating:  R
Word count:  6,900
Characters: Sam, Dean, Bobby
Warnings: Sexual content, set immediately following “Like A Virgin” episode 6.12, schmoop and angst in equal measures.
Summary:  Sam doesn’t give up on getting Dean to talk about what he’s found in Soul-less Sam’s duffle bag.  Dean doesn’t mind as much as he thought he would.  And we find out why Dean wasn’t wearing his silver ring in season 6.
Disclaimer:  I only own these words, that’s it, nothing else.
Authors Note:  I saw someone ask somewhere on lj, “Why doesn’t Dean wear his silver ring anymore?” and this story popped into my head based on my instant head-canon response:   Well of course, Dean gave it to Sam, the night before Sam jumped into the Cage.

Read it here on AO3

When Cas pulled Sam out of the Cage, he came out without his soul, but with Dean’s silver ring still on his left hand on his ring finger.  It bugged Sam at first. This ring, being there, on that particular finger, on that particular hand.  Bugged him a lot.  Because he remembered what had happened that night, the night before they’d driven to Detroit, the night before he said yes to Lucifer.  He remembered what the ring was *supposed* to mean to him, what Dean had said and done when he gave it to him.  And he definitely remembered what they’d promised to each other.  But it didn’t mean that to him anymore, it didn’t mean anything, except as a physical reminder of those memories.  And that bothered him.  A lot.  It bothered him that he didn’t feel anything at all, and the ring reminded him of that.  So he took it off his finger, and stowed it away in the new bag he was using for his newly gathered possessions as he travelled around hunting with his new “family” the Campbell’s. 

After that long year, when he finally starts hunting again with Dean and gets his old duffle bag back from the Impala’s trunk where it was stored all that time, he puts the ring in with the amulet.  He knows instinctively that those two items might come in handy if he had to manipulate Dean to stay on his side at some point.  He doesn’t give them anymore thought than that, they’re small and lie at the bottom of the bag wrapped up in an old bandana of Dad’s.

When Sam gets his soul back, six months later, and they’ve handled a case fighting dragons of all things, he finally gets to spend a long afternoon all by himself.  It took some convincing to get Dean to leave his side long enough to go out with Bobby to get supplies.  After taking a long shower, fixing something to eat out of what’s left in Bobby’s kitchen and taking a short nap on the couch, the last thing he decides to do is to spend some time going through his old duffle bag.  His first thought  and only purpose is that he’s doing this so he can consolidate the stuff from his soul-less self’s bag with his own.  It bugs him to have two bags instead of one for some reason.  He just wants everything he has to be in one place like he’s used to.  Sam also wants to catalog exactly what he’s got.  But as he starts going through everything, just by touching all the old shirts he left behind, he finds he honestly just wants to connect with his stuff, piece by piece.  He finds his iPod, some of his old journals, a few favorite books, and he’s glad to find his favorite socks at least two pairs in soul-less’ bag.  Funny that they both liked the soft wool/cotton blend in a grayish purple, only there’s one orphan sock too.  He snorts to himself, guessing Soulless Sam wasn’t any better at keeping track of laundry than he is.  Who knew having a soul wouldn’t affect how hard it is to hold onto all of one’s socks? 

Towards the bottom of the bag he finds a folded over, tied up, scrunched up faded red bandana.  This is one of his Dad’s old ones that he’s had forever, even had it at Stanford he recalls, and just seeing it makes him smile a little sadly.  He lifts it out to see if it needs washing and feels the unexpected weight of something in the bandana, hears a small clinking sound, so he sets it down and unties it.  And suddenly, there they are, Dean’s silver ring and Dean’s amulet.  He’s momentarily unable to do anything, frozen immobile by the weight of the memories that crash back over him.  Both the heart-crushing pain of Dean throwing the amulet away after their visit to Heaven, and the overwhelming joy of Dean giving him his silver ring the night before he jumped in the Cage.  Both of them there before him, not canceling each other out but showing him the range of emotion that he’s been missing for a year and a half.  Just like that, he can feel his soul expand somehow, like a dried up sponge soaking up a spilled glass of beer.  His chest feels heavier and lighter at the same time.  He smiles widely through his sudden veil of tears looking up at the small noise at the doorway.


“You okay there Sammy?” Dean asks in his gruff yet gentle voice, fearing his brother’s tears, worrying that something’s happened to the Wall of Sam, but happy to see him smiling.

Sam snatches the ring and amulet up and closes them tightly in his fist, not wanting Dean to see what’s making him cry, not sure he wants to show them to Dean.  He then lifts his wet eyes up to meet Dean’s increasingly concerned ones.  “Yeah, okay.  I guess.”

“Whatcha doin’ with all this stuff anyways?” Dean gestures at all of Sam’s possessions spread out on the bed in neat piles.

“Um, just going through it all, seeing what I still had. It’s been a while since I’ve seen all this, and there’s new stuff I don’t recognize.”

“You’re not scratching though, right?”

“No, um, no of course not.”  Sam shakes his head dismissively, he’s beginning to get annoyed at that tired concerned look in Dean’s face already.

“Okay, just be careful looking at old stuff, who knows what’s in there, I never really looked myself to see what he had, there might be something in there that’ll trigger you. We don’t know how this wall thing works really.”

Sam pauses to think about Dean calling his soul-less version “he” as if he was a whole separate person, which means something important that he hasn’t gotten his mind wrapped around quite yet.  It’s a lot to process thinking about your body walking around for a year and half without you.  “I get it Dean, I’m just seeing how many socks I have and stuff.  But, uh, it’s interesting.”

“What is?”

“What soul-less me kept around.  I’m just surprised at some of the stuff I’ve found in here, and what’s missing.”

Dean comes over to sit across from Sam on the other bed, eyes scanning the meager assortment of Sam’s possessions laid out in a typically orderly fashion.  “Kinda vague, what do you mean? Give me an example.”

“Well, like here are my favorite socks, but there are only two pair left, plus one orphan, funny that he kept that one instead of just throwing it out.  I would have thought he’d discard anything that wasn’t useful, but maybe I just don’t understand how he defined useful.  Because there’s also something else” he stops abruptly, hesitating to finish, not sure what Dean will say or do when he sees his two pieces of jewelry.  Not sure if he’s ready for this conversation. 

“Why’d you stop, what something else Sam?”  Dean tenses up, seeing his brother’s hesitation, hoping it isn’t something bad that’s going to hurt end up hurting him or bringing down the damned wall of Sam.

“Just, there’s a couple things I’m, well, I’m really surprised they’re even in here.”

“Aww, c’mon, show me.” Dean demands in his best big-brother drawling slightly demanding tone.

Sam reluctantly opens up his hand and closely watches his brother’s reaction, hoping it will be good and not some other obstacle coming between them, he knows they are both too tired and worn down to fight.  He sees Dean’s face fall in on itself suddenly as he takes in the two things lying on Sam’s palm.  Dean tenses his hands into fists, taking a shuddering breath and reaches out with one hand to touch both pieces.  Looking up with a face openly filled with emotion, like Sam hasn’t seen in a very long time, “how can you, why are they, what does this mean Sammy?”

Sam gets up from his bed and sits next to his brother on his, puts his arm around his shoulder pulling him close for a half-hug, “I guess soul-less me understood they were important, he did have my memories after all right?  So he kept them.  Not really sure why.  Honestly, probably because they didn’t take up much room. But I’m glad he did.”

Dean leans his head down onto Sam’s shoulder, shaking a little now as he’s trying not to cry.  “I never thought I’d see these again. Hell, I never thought I’d see you again.”  Sam turns and pulls him into a full hug, wrapping him up tight, Dean’s face pressing hot and suddenly wet into his neck.  “I know Dean, I know, me too.”  They haven’t talked about this yet, about how they’d thought they’d never see each other alive again. He feels his brother shake against him as he cries, tears of relief he thinks, it triggers something in him though, because Dean hardly ever lets loose like this.  Sam starts crying too, they feel like grateful tears and because he’s so touched that Dean’s crying.  He squeezes Dean more tightly as he feels Dean relax and give in to the mutual comfort of their embrace. 

After a while, they both stop crying and Dean pulls away from the hug, wiping his eyes, patting his brother on the back softly.  Sam closes his hand on the ring and amulet again, and looks over at him, “So, um, what do you think I should do with them?”
Dean’s eyes widen in surprise, he wasn’t expecting this question, “Uh, I don’t know Sam.  Wear them I guess, if you want to.” He finishes gruffly, looking away sharply, clearing his throat in embarrassment for letting loose and crying like that, and very unsure what Sam is really asking.

“Dean. Hey. Look at me for a sec.”  Sam pulls his brother’s head towards him.

“What?’ Dean reluctantly meets his eyes.

“Just.  C’mon, don’t shut down on me right now.  We’ve gotta be clear about this. I know you don’t want to say anything, and that’s fine, but can you just listen, okay?”  That little brother pleading tone that always always works does the trick again.

“Sure, whatever, go ahead.”  Dean’s misgivings increase as he realizes what’s coming, one of those moments where he never knows what to say, how to put into words what he feels about Sam, but he knows his brother needs this right now, needs him to be honest and at least try.

“Gee thanks.  Okay, the way we left things between us, the night before we drove to Detroit, well, I just want to make sure we’re still on the same page with all that.”

“With all that. Huh, nice way to put it Sammy.” Dean says sarcastically turning away from looking into Sam’s eyes.

“C’mon give me a break, this isn’t easy and you know it.  So that night when you gave me your silver ring and told me we were going to be together forever no matter what happens, well, that still goes right?  It wasn’t just a one night thing right or just because you knew I was probably not coming back?”

Dean’s whole body tenses and he explodes forward grabbing up all of Sam into his arms that he can manage.  Holding him fiercely faces so close together, searching deeply into his eyes, “Yes, of course, god, of course it does Sammy, I said it and I meant it. You and Me.  Forever.”

Sam’s sudden smile is like the sun coming out after a month of thunderstorms, his whole body smiles, held there within the tight circle of his brother’s arms.  “Oh. Good, that’s good, uh, thanks Dean, it means a lot that you’ll let me still wear it.”

“Still let you wear it? C’mon man, tell me you weren’t really questioning that?”

Sam huffs, thinking through what he’s going to say, “Well, yeah, honestly, I guess I was.  I mean a lot has happened since that night.  A lot.  And I don’t even know most of it since I don’t have my memory back, and you’re not telling me, and Cas only gave me part of the story. I didn’t want to just assume you’d want to go right back there.  To be with me like that again. Don’t get me wrong, I hoped we would, but I had to ask.”

He kisses Sam tenderly for a long time, trying to say without words what he means, until they part with a mutual sigh.  He holds Sam’s left hand and puts the ring back on his finger where it belongs, giving it a tight squeeze like it will make it stay there permanently. “You’re an idiot.  You’re my idiot, but you’re an idiot.  Like I’ve told you before, all the stuff that happened when you were soul-less doesn’t count in my book, you weren’t you.  And if you’re worrying about Lisa and what I had or didn’t have with her, well don’t.   I tried, she tried, but it just didn’t ever really work, I was too messed up without you Sam.  She saved me, she and Ben really did, but I never loved her or anything, not anything like, well, like I love you.  I love you Sam.  Only you.  Always have, always will.” 

“Oh.” Is all Sam finds he can say in return.  He’s stunned into silence by what his brother has just said and done.  Overwhelmed with all that it means to him, that his brother still loves him like this, after everything he’s done.  All the things he’s done that he doesn’t even remember.

“Oh.  That’s all you’re going to say? Oh?” Dean seems to be upset, and he is a little bit, that his heartfelt declaration has been met with an “oh.”

Sam suddenly grins at him, “I love you too.”

“That’s better.” Dean smirks at him and pats his cheek, none too gently.

Sam grabs the hand on his cheek and twines their fingers together, “Uh, Dean, one more question.”

Dean rolls his eyes, trying to pull out of this caring and sharing mode that makes him so damned uncomfortable, “Alright, isn’t this chick flick over by now?”

Sam laughs “Well, yeah almost.  We took care of the ring.  I want to ask you if I can give you the amulet back.”

Dean’s breath stops suddenly when he hears his brother’s question, “Oh Sam, no. I couldn’t, I can’t take it back.” Now it’s Dean’s turn to be stunned, he can’t fathom that he of all people could be forgiven for that betrayal.   Not by Sam.  By the Sam who gave him that necklace all those years ago when his big brother was his whole world and could do no wrong.  By the Sam who saw him throw it away in a damned skeevy motel trash can because he’d given up.  That’s unforgiveable isn’t it?

“What, now it’s your turn to be an idiot? Why the hell not?”  Sam asks trying not to let all the hurt come through his voice that he’s feeling at his offer being rejected.

“No, c’mon don’t get mad, Sam, I just.” He looks down, talking quietly into his chest “I don’t deserve it.”

“What? You don’t deserve it? What the fuck are you even saying?”  Sam pushes away from Dean so they’re no longer wrapped together.  He’s so angry he can barely even listen to what Dean’s saying or not saying.  Why can’t this just be easy for them? 
Why does every bit of this have to be so damned hard?

Dean flinches back from Sam’s anger, and has to really reign himself in from lashing out or stomping off.  It takes everything he has just to say, “No, I really don’t deserve it.  Look, I don’t know how or why you even have it.  But I threw it away, me, I actually threw it away.  And I’ve always, Sam, I’ve always regretted it.  You have no idea how much.  It’s like looking at my biggest failure, giving up on you, on us like that.  All there, in that little necklace.”

“Dean, I get it.  I understand.  But you’ve got to know that I’ve forgiven you for all that.  Maybe I’ve never said it clearly enough, but I do.  I forgive you for all of that. Damnit!  I forgave you when I picked it up out of the trash can.  If you can forgive me for Ruby and starting the fucking apocalypse, it would be a bit hypocritical if I couldn’t forgive you for that.  We were pulled apart and manipulated by the fucking Host of Heaven Dean, it’s not all on you.  Do you hear me?  I forgive you.  Please.  Do you hear me?”

Dean’s shaking his head back and forth, not accepting it, not able to understand why, or how Sam could get past that. “Not the same, not at all, at least not how I see it.  Ruby I get, it took a long time for me to get over it, but I did, because I understand why that happened.  And the apocalypse was a destiny thing, we didn’t have all the information.  I probably would have done the same thing, and I started it breaking the first seal anyways.  But what I did, that was personal between you and me.  I just don’t see how you can forgive me for something like that.”

Sam stops Dean’s head shaking by holding it between his hands, forcing Dean to look at him.  “Dean, you’re not getting it.  Don’t you even know what you did our whole lives together means to me?  What you did for me there in that cemetery in Stull? How you fucking died (again) to get my soul back?  There isn’t any way I can ever repay you for all that.  No way.  And if you really feel that way, you don’t feel like I’ve forgiven you or should ever forgive you.  That means we’re not starting out equal, with a clean slate between us.  So, I don’t think I should wear this ring.”  Sam takes off the ring and tries to give it to Dean.

Dean’s face breaks down into a crumpled mess, he’s completely horrified by what his words have caused, he holds up both hands so Sam can’t give him the ring. “No, you can’t give it back. Please Sam.  Don’t.”

Sam challenges him by holding the ring and amulet up together in front of his face.  “It can’t be just one, it’s gotta be both.  Don’t you remember, right before Detroit? We came so far together. You finally were seeing me as more than just your little brother to take care of. You’re going to sit there and tell me that all of that is gone.  That only you can love me like that.  I don’t think so.  Not the way it’s gonna work.  I can’t go back to that.”

Dean flops back onto the bed, arm covering his eyes, his body tight all over, trying hard to control the shaking that comes with his sobs.  All he wants is to be able to stop crying about this, fuck he thought they were going to be alright, that they could be together again.  What does Sam even want?

“Hey, come on now, stop.”  Sam pets him, fucking pets him.

Dean leaps up off the bed, furious, “No!  You stop.  What are you doing to me, what are you even asking? I don’t get it Sam!”

Sam looks up at him, grabs his two hands to stop him from walking away, pleading with his eyes, his whole body, wanting him to understand, to finally finally listen, “Dean, I just.  I just want you to accept that I’ve forgiven you.  That’s what I’m asking.  Taking back this amulet from me means that to me.  If it really bothers you that much just to see it, how about you don’t have to wear it?  I just want you to have it, to keep it, and know all that it means to me;  it’s like our whole life together since I gave it to you the first time.  It’s my thanks and appreciation for everything you’ve ever fucking done for me, that’s what it means.  Don’t you see, if you don’t take it back from me, it means all that’s for nothing?” now it’s Sam’s turn to cry, and cry hard, letting go of Dean’s hands and wrapping his arms around himself, trying to contain himself, to stop, so he can look at Dean to see what he’ll do next.

Dean takes a deep breath, watching his brother cry, shakes his head and grabs for Sam’s hand, “God we are a pair of freaks.  Here, give me that thing. NO, not the ring, damn you.  There? Better?”  The amulet rests on Dean’s chest, right where it belongs.  “Here, give me your hand again. There.  Okay now?”

Sam looks down at the shiny silver ring on his left hand and Dean’s strong hand holding his.  “Yeah Dean, yeah okay now.”  He pulls him down so quickly that Dean has to straddle his lap, facing him holding him as tight as he can.  “Missed you.” He whispers into Dean’s neck. “Missed this so much.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know, me too.”  Dean accepts the nuzzling soft kisses Sam is giving his neck, sighing in relief that all the drama seems to be over, rubbing Sam’s shoulders softly.  Sam’s stomach growls loudly, and they both crack up laughing.  “Guess we oughta go see what Bobby’s made us for dinner, huh?”

Sam hugs him tighter, it doesn’t feel like he’s letting go anytime soon, “Wish we could just stay in here, wrapped up together just like this.  Hate having to pretend in front of him.”

“Yeah, me too, but he’s our only family left, I don’t want to give him a heart-attack about this, you know?”
Sam sighs, “Wish we had somewhere to be, just us two.”

“Uh, that’s what I was coming to talk to you about.  Maybe we do have somewhere to be.  Bobby was just telling me about it a couple weeks ago.  He’s got a hunter friend that’s selling a cabin with some land just over in Colorado, near Carbondale. A long day’s drive away, about 14 hours.  It’s supposed to be all tricked out with built-in devil’s traps, permanent iron/salt lines, the whole shebang, right on one of the best trout fishing rivers too.”

“Sounds nice Dean, but I don’t think we can charge that on a fake credit card.”

“Dude, think.  What did we just bring back from the dragon cave?”

Sam’s eyes widen as he realizes what Dean’s talking about.  “I forgot! All that gold it’s got to be worth a lot right?”

“Yeah, Bobby was weighing it and we looked up the current price of exchange and it’ll be plenty to cover buying the place, with lots left over.  What do you think of that?”

“I think you’re a genius.  A crazy idiotic sexy genius.  When can we get there?”

“Well thank you Sam.” Dean grins his best full-watt lopsided grin at him, feeling the warmth of his brother’s praise fill him up.  “We’ll
go soon, might be a couple days until we can sell the gold, then we can go check it out.  But c’mon let’s go eat, I’m hungry too.”  Dean kisses him soundly and eases off his lap stretching as he stands up.

Sam can’t help himself when he sees Dean’s lean stomach revealed as he stretches, he grabs him around the waist and pulls him in close, burying his face in his stomach at the top edge of Dean’s jeans, breathing him in deeply.  Sam nuzzles his head back and forth, tugging the jeans down as low as they’ll go until he gets the top of Dean’s hipbone showing.  He presses in hard, biting and sucking until he feels the blood warm the skin even more. He’s always needed to mark Dean there when they get like this.  Dean knows it, he needs it too.  “Mine, Dean.” He whispers brokenly and intensely.

The raw hunger and need in Sam’s voice gets to Dean at a very base level, he feels his body instantly respond, god it’s been so damned long since he’s felt this.  He tangles his hand up in Sam’s hair pulling his head back so he can see his lust-darkened eyes.  “You know it Sam, always, always yours.”

Sam groans and tips his head back forward, forehead resting at Dean’s belly button, breathing hot and heavy over his now-bulging crotch.  “Dean, can I?”

Dean is surprised at this sudden neediness from his brother, he thought it was just him feeling this way, “What? You wanna put off dinner?”

“Mmm, yeah, I guess, just, I just want to suck you. Right now.  Please?” Sam looks up with a look of such open want and need that Dean can’t help but mirror back the same feelings.

Dean groans at the thought, and smiles down at Sam, “No need to ask twice, dinner can wait.”

Sam instantly responds by unbuckling Dean’s belt and pulling his jeans and boxer briefs down quickly to his knees.  He moans at the sight of Dean’s hard length right in front of him, ready for his attentions.  He licks up and down swirling at the head, sucking the tip in gently.  Dean’s knees buckle a little and he moans “god Sam, your fucking mouth. Almost forgot how good, ohhhh.”
Sam hums amusedly and starts moving up and down bobbing his head, letting Dean’s cock further and further into his throat.  It’s been so long since he’s had this full feeling, this precious weight on his tongue it almost makes him start crying all over again with how good it feels.  The relief he feels that they’re still together like this almost overwhelming his desire.  He steadies himself by holding onto Dean’s ass even tighter, anchoring himself to the rock steadiness of his brother, his brother who is there like always, planted firmly at the center of everything that matters. 

The vibration from Sam’s humming and the sweet, perfect suction of his mouth has Dean so close to spilling already, he taps his head in warning.  Sam just pulls him in closer and sucks him down deeper his throat fluttering perfectly and that’s enough to push Dean over the edge.  He fucks into Sam’s mouth a few more times until he’s done.  Sam releases him and licks him clean, looking up at him with a satisfied smirk.

Dean collapses over him onto the bed, “Your turn now Sam.”

“I’m, um, good, just need to clean up.”

Dean snickers, so pleased that Sam’s still so into it that he came just from blowing him and worms his hand between them, getting it into the front of Sam’s jeans, pulling it back out all sticky, and carefully licking it all off right in front of Sam’s face.  “Mmm you still taste so good Sam.”

“Alright, enough or we’ll never get out of here, I’m gonna go wash up and head downstairs.  You good?” Sam stands up from the bed, shifting from foot to foot.

“Yeah Sam, I’m good.” Dean looks up at him curious to see him so restless “How about you? Why so jumpy?”

“It’s just hard to believe.”  Sam reaches down to caress the curve of Dean’s cheek.

“Believe what?” Dean holds onto Sam’s hand and searches his face, worrying that the wall isn’t working, hoping (but not praying what would be the point?) that he has a little time, just a little to be with his brother.

Sam shrugs, and meets Dean’s eyes, “That we’re back like this. Together.  Seems too good to be true.”

Dean stands up and pulls him in for a hug, “I know what you mean, but dude, can we just not question it?  The way I figure it we deserve something good by now. So quit ramping up the emo.”

“Yeah, okay, you’re right.  Meet you downstairs in a minute.”

Dean heads down and helps Bobby finish up getting dinner out.

“Boy, where’d you find that thing?”   Bobby points with the spatula at the amulet on Dean’s chest.
Dean reaches up and grabs it in his fist protectively, “Uh, Sam just gave it back to me.  He found it when he was cleaning out his duffle bag.”

“That mean you two are okay again?” Bobby asks nonchalantly, trying to sound like he doesn’t really care one way or the other but utterly failing, he of course knows how crucial it is that the Winchesters are all the way put back together.  He knows what that little necklace means since he gave it to Sam in the first place.

“Yeah, guess it does.” Dean says, a little suspicious of Bobby’s question, not wanting to reveal too much, getting a feeling that Bobby knows more than he’s ever let on.

“Well, it’s about damned time.  I was wondering when you’d get it together again.”

“How do you mean?” Dean asks, unsure what they’re actually talking about.

“Just, you know, when you boys are apart or fighting or whatever, it’s no good, all the way ‘round.” Bobby tries to sound matter-of-fact about it, but this really is the only thing he knows for sure about his boys.

“Very true.  So yeah, we’re good I guess. As long as the wall holds that is.” Dean tries to sound final with his statement, hoping to end the conversation before it gets too much more specific.

“That’s a risk, I know, but Dean, there wasn’t another choice that you could have made.  We both know that.  You did right by Sam, he’s gotta know that.”  Bobby looks over at Dean to make sure he’s listening, Lord knows that kid has self-esteem issues out the wazoo, and he wants him to know he recognizes how much he did for his brother.

“He does Bobby, believe me he does now.”  Dean can see that Bobby is looking at him with more than the usual intensity, so he tries to put his conviction into his words.

“I believe what?” Sam’s quiet voice from the kitchen doorway reaches them, surprising them both.

“Hah, you believe it’s time to eat. You bottomless pit.” Dean cuffs Sam on the back of the head as they sit down to start eating the steaming spaghetti with meatballs.

Sam points at him with his fork, “Hey, you try not eating for more than a hundred years, see if you’re hungry.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever Bottomless.”

“So you boys done or what?” Bobby raises his eyebrows, trying to sound gruff and authoritative but not able to keep the laugh out of his voice. “Good.  Sam did Dean tell you about the place in Carbondale?”

“Yeah he did Bobby, it sounds like a good idea.  Can’t wait to check it out.”

“When are you guys going to head over there?” Bobby asks as he passes a dish to Dean.

“Trying to get rid of us already, huh Bobby?”  Sam laughs at his own joke.

“Yeah, that’s right, y’all are cramping my style genius.  Give me a break.”  Bobby grins back at him, glad to see the real Sam grin back.

“We’re going tomorrow if we can get the gold taken care of early enough. Who’s the guy we’re supposed to go see?”  Dean replies as he chews through a big piece of garlic bread.

“Carl is usually in his office downtown by nine in the morning.  That early enough for you?”

“Just barely, I figure it’s a fourteen hour ride to Carbondale, didn’t really want to stop overnight anywhere, but I guess we will if we have to.”

“The place might be a little hard to find in the dark.  It is a little off the beaten path or so Rod used to describe it anyways.”  Bobby shakes his head at Dean and his penchant for making plans to that involve a lot of driving all at once.

They finish up eating, talking over the whole dragon fiasco and the tidbits they’ve gathered on this “Mother”.  All of them are glad to just be with each other like this, like normal.  Normal for them anyways.  Dean goes off to finish their laundry and pack up, and Sam helps Bobby clear up the dishes.  As they’re washing Bobby notices that Dean’s silver ring is back on Sam’s left hand, and he points at it, catching Sam’s eye.  “I’m real glad to see you boys back together again Sam.”

Sam tries not to blush or give himself away too much, Bobby always notices those details, he knows them so well. “Uh, yeah, thanks, it’s all good.”

“Just, you know I’m always pulling for you two. And I’m glad you’re getting a chance here to be happy.”

“Thanks, really thanks for all you’ve done for us Bobby.  We can’t ever repay you.”

“No need boy, ‘nothin to repay, you’re family.  You two are real important to me.  Always have been.  Goodnight, I’m turning in early.”  Bobby clasps him on the shoulder, squeezing a bit before he leaves the kitchen.

“”night Bobby, see you in the morning.”

Sam goes back upstairs to their room catching Dean sitting on his bed holding his amulet and staring off into space with a fond look on his face.  His face is beyond beautiful Sam thinks for what must be the millionth time, he wonders if he’ll ever think differently.  Dean looks up as Sam comes in the room, stopped just leaning on the doorframe.

‘Whatcha’ thinking about there?”

“Uh, nothin’ just you. Me. Us.” Dean shakes his head a little to pull himself out of his thoughts.

“Oh that’s all huh?”  Sam says teasingly his smile dawning slowly, turning into as loving a look as Dean’s seen in more than a year and a half.

Dean shrugs and looks a little upset and confused at getting confronted with being teased while Sam is giving him That Look.  
“What, I’m not allowed to or something?”

“No, I just liked the look on your face is all.”

Dean scoffs, “What look is that?”

“Hard to explain, but I can tell you’re thinking about something nice and it makes your face even more beautiful.” Sam says a little hesitantly.

Dean rolls his eyes and sighs, “God, enough already.”

Sam huffs impatiently, “What I can’t tell you I think you’re beautiful?  Too bad. You are, deal with it.”

“Fine, just don’t expect me to come up with that kind of stuff.” Dean looks down not wanting to look Sam in the eye.

“I don’t, believe me, I don’t expect that.  You don’t have to worry about it.”

“Well, I do sometimes. Worry about not saying enough of that mushy stuff to you.”

“Dean, just today you told me so much, I still can’t even believe it, we’re good, it’s okay.  I don’t expect you to try and be something you’re not.”

“Alright, just I wish I could do it more, for you, because I know you like it so much.”

“Dean that might be the sweetest thing you’ve ever said to me, c'mere.”  He motions for his brother to get up and come give him a hug.  Dean gets up slowly, smiling in confusion as Sam wraps him up in his arms, squeezing him tight and nuzzling his ear right where he know it makes him shiver.

He pulls back to look up at Sam, “What, how in the hell is that sweet?”

“Just knowing you want to try communicating more, for me, well, that’s just how it’s supposed to be, in a relationship.”

“God, do you have to keep calling it that?”

“What the hell else do you want me to call it?  Fuckbuddies? Brothers-with-Benefits? What?”

“No, shit no.  I don’t know, just relationship sounds so Dr. Phil or something.  Doesn’t matter, forget it.”

“Dean, I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, I really don’t, so I’ll stop using that word, okay?”

“Thanks, I know it’s stupid to get so worked up over one little word.”

“No, it’s not stupid, I know it’s hard for you, talking about all this stuff.  So, just know that I appreciate it. whenever you do,  okay? “ Sam gives him a final full body hug, reveling in the feel of his brother’s body up against his, the sensation of protection and safety making him relax even more.

“Alright, fine, now how about we get some sleep, we’ve got to get going on time tomorrow.”  Dean doesn’t really want to end this hug which is filling up all the empty nooks and crannies inside him, that he didn’t even know he had.

They both quickly undress down to t-shirts and boxers.  “Hey can I sleep with you? I’ll sleep better if I can feel you during the night.” Sam asks quietly, unsure if this is what his brother wants now, especially when they’re at Bobby’s.

“Of course, c’mon, get in here.”  Dean holds up the quilt and blanket, shoving over to make a little room.

They shuffle and rearrange themselves onto the small bed, finding they fit just as they always have, just like they always do.  Sam tucked into Dean’s side, his head on Dean’s shoulder, breathing hot into his neck, feet hanging off the end of the bed.  Dean can feel Sam smile, and feels the vibration of his words travel through his neck down to his lower belly, keeping that fire that’s always going warming him to have Sam like this in his arms again,  “I think Bobby knows.”

“Yeah I got that feeling too.” Dean’s trying to shrug it off like it’s no big deal.  But they both know it means the world to them that Bobby is still there for them, still on their side after everything they’ve done.

“He didn’t say anything specific, but it sounds like he’s happy for us.  Guess that’s a good thing right?”

“I was just glad he didn’t come out and say anything specific you know?”  Dean shivers in mock fear, that maybe is a little more real than he’d admit to anyone.

“Hah! That would be a hell of a conversation.”  Sam chuckles into Dean’s neck.

“Shit, no kidding, don’t want to go there unless our lives depend on it somehow.”

“I’m really excited about this cabin thing.  I hope I don’t get too annoying about it.  You can tell me to shut up tomorrow if I get carried away.”  Sam’s laughing a little at himself which Dean loves, hearing all these emotions and subtleties in his brother’s response.

“That’s okay dude, I’m excited too.  This is something that we’ve needed for a long time.” Dean squeezes him as best he can in a hug that’s meant to be comforting and convey how much he wants it all to work out, this settling down, resting in one place, no matter how scary that is, he knows it’s going to be just what they need.

They’re quiet and their breathing slows, syncing up just like it always has. Dean is gently stroking through Sam’s hair, thinking of how grateful he is that Sam’s lying there with him, the whole Sam, the real Sam.  Sam is twining and untwining their hands together slowly like he’s trying to remember how they fit together in the best way.

“Hey Dean?” Sam asks in a whisper.

“Yeah Sammy, what?” Dean answers, hoping this isn’t going to be yet another emotion filled talk, he’s just so done with that for the day.  He can’t believe how tired he is by all the talking they’ve done today.

“This is our real heaven isn’t it?” Sam says in a voice filled with wonder and hope, reminding Dean of his six-year old brother, still so open and unsullied by the world that almost ended up breaking him.

“As far as I know or care, yeah, yeah it is, this is our real heaven.” Dean’s surprised by how much he means this.  He remembers what Heaven was like when they were there, and he can’t compare it to how good this is right here, right now.  He knows he’d rather this is what his ever-after is really like, instead of a never-ending greatest hits memory parade.

“Good, glad we’re here together then.” Sam murmurs, his voice fading out as he begins to fall off the cliff into sleep.

“Wouldn’t be heaven if we weren’t together now would it? ’night Sammy.” Dean kisses the top of his brother’s head.

“You’re right, g’night Dean.” Sam breathes into his brother’s neck.

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Aww, this was a lovely take on the whole ring issue. I was wondering about that, too, and this explanation fits in quite well with my head!canon... ;) A perfect mix of angst and schmoop, thank you. And the line Wouldn't be heaven if we weren't together just made me sigh happily.

Now how about that curtain!fic sequel with them settling down in the cabin? Would love to read that, I was sorry to see this fic end already!

Glad you like the mix of angst and schmoop, I find that hard to do right, so I'm glad it worked for you. So you want a true curtain!fic sequel, hmmm, I'll think about. I guess I did kind of leave it open for that.

This was lovely and perfect. Our boys maybe finally getting the happiness they deserve. Happy their gonna get their cabin in the woods. *sigh*

Thanks so much! Yes, maybe some happiness, they sure deserve it at this point.

Awww, thank you very much!

OK so I am completely stalking you o-O and I am loving all your fic, but I have a question, because I am one of those people who had NO idea Dean stopped wearing that ring and I know this might be stupid, but is there a reason that he did? I am pretty sure he didn't actually give it to Sam, but I am not sure, and I realize I sound like a tool but if you know what happened, could you tell me :-) Thanks ever so bunches!

Heehee, stalk away, it's there to be read and I'm glad you're loving it! They didn't ever mention it in the show, but I noticed since I'm an obsessive pay-attention-to-non-essential-details person. I just went and looked it up and what do you know, Jensen talked about it. You can read the explanation here Kinda interesting huh?

Hey thanks for the link!!! That was pretty interesting, I would have thought they would have wrote that into the show but I guess they didn't think it was that important. I also didn't notice he lost his watch LMAO I swear I pay attention, but I didn't actually find out about SPN until about 18 months ago, and someone lent me the series on DVD and I watched the first five seasons in less than a month. I was on overload, but I couldn't stop!!

I don't know why they didn't mention it in the show, it is kind of weird, since he'd worn it in every episode up til then. But then they don't seem to think Dean's amulet was all that important either, but whatever!
I did the same thing with SPN, gobbled it all up at once and then have been rewatching it overandoverandover. Totally addicted, that's me.

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