Author’s Note: Not my characters, only my words. Written for 8 days of Wincest. Set after “Dark Side of the Moon” 5.16
Also over on AO3 right here.
They’re driving, seems like they’re always driving. Away from the blood-soaked room where they were shot and killed. The room where they were brought back alive and remembering Heaven this time. The room where Dean threw away the one thing Sam thought he’d never let go of. Dean’s got the radio on for once instead of his tapes, so the music’s from the last twenty years, and they’re both quiet, thinking about what just happened.
Dean finally breaks the silence, “Remember how you said you wanted an eternity stuck with me? Looks like you’re getting your wish.”
“How do you even remember this stuff Dean?” Sam asks, with a grin that was surprised out of him.
“If it’s gonna be worth teasing you about, I’ve got a mind like a steel trap little brother.”
“Hmmm, Winchesterland sounds good to me when it’s all over.” Sam says, remembering the name Ash had given their heaven.
“Hope there’s more there than what Zachariah showed us.” Dean says, “Because it would be seriously boring if that was it.”
“Oh I know there will be, we barely saw anything, I didn’t get to see any of my top ten.” Sam offers, knowing that Dean won’t be able to resist the tantalizing offer of a top ten list.
“Alright, hit me.” Dean says, looking out the windshield at the road ahead of them.
Sam socks him in the bicep, hard. When Dean yelps in surprise, Sam laughs out a sarcastic, “What?”
“Hit me with your top ten Sam.”
“Oh, thought you just were asking for some contact.” Sam grins.
“Contact’s good, not that kind though. C’mon, make with the list.” Dean demands.
When he hears Dean mention the good kind of contact, Sam takes that giant hint without comment, clicking off his seatbelt and sliding over, laying his head down on Dean’s shoulder. “Only if you’ll tell me yours.”
“Fine. You first though.” Dean knows that he probably doesn’t want to hear more memories that Sam will have that don’t involve him, or their dad, or their whole life together, it will probably all be Jess and his friends, other times Sam went away. But Dean’s pretty down after what they saw, and what Joshua told them, and the spectacle of watching Cas completely give up. Why not complete it with more of Sam’s selective memories?
“Well, I think my first one would be the first time you kissed me. I’ll never forget how lit up I felt inside, like everything was finally right in the world.”
“Just from that one kiss Sammy?”
“Well, I won’t mind replaying that one at least a few times.” Dean admits. “What’s next on your list?”
“The first time we were together, for a whole week with no hunting, no dad, just us in that little cabin in Montana.”
“Oh yeah, good choice, that’ll be awesome on re-run.”
“The time you brought me my favorite coffee and muffins and read the Sunday newspaper with me for hours without saying anything.”
“When was that?” Dean asks, because that sure doesn’t sound like anything special or memorable.
“A couple weeks after Jess, we might have been in the Midwest, I don’t really remember that. It was just a perfect few hours, exactly what I needed, right when I couldn’t have gone on without it.”
“That’s what I’m here for.” Dean says.
“When I said you and me against the world, it’s not just some throwaway phrase, it’s something we’ve lived Dean, are living right now. That doesn’t stop just because of some apocalypse the angels are trying to arrange.”
“Yeah, okay.” Dean says, lump as big as his heart stuck in his throat.
“That you just blowing me off, or do you really get it?” Sam asks.
Dean clears his throat roughly, “No I get it Sam.”
They drive in silence for a while longer, dusk turning to dark, city turning to country turning to suburb.
“I’m sorry.” Dean finally says, hoping it won’t have to be a big, long, drawn-out conversation about betrayal of trust.
“For what?” Sam asks.
“Throwing it away.” Dean says, being non-specific on purpose, because he doesn’t think he can bear to spell out the details.
“I know. Can you pull over soon?” Sam says, heart in his throat, hoping he can wait long enough for them to both be out of the car.
Dean turns off at the next exit and finds a gas station, pulls up at one of the pumps and gets the gas going quickly, leaning on the back hood to stare blankly off at the horizon. He can hear Sam rustling around in the front seat and feels Sam’s heat warming up the space right next to him.
“Here.” Sam says, holding out his clenched fist. “Thought you might want this back.”
Dean takes Sam’s hand in his and pries it open finger by finger, revealing the necklace he’d deliberately thrown away just a few hours ago, because he was mad at Sam about the memories he’d seen in their heaven, and he was swept up in the spectacle of Cas giving up on ever finding God. He’d paused over that trashcan, making sure that Sam would see him do it, throw that away. Trying to hurt him back in some petty, stupid unforgiveable way.
“Thanks, but why? I mean, you saw me toss this thing.” Dean asks, unsure why his brother would be giving this back to him right now, or more honestly, ever.
“Oh . . . uh . . . never mind.” Sam re-clenches his fist tightly and steps away from the Impala and Dean as fast as he can manage. Steps away to be apart, separate, like Dean really must want them to be after all. In a split second moment of clarity Sam realizes that Dean truly doesn’t want the reminder of the burden the necklace represents.
Dean sighs, “Sammy come back, please.” He can’t step away from filling the Impala, doesn’t want the gas to overflow and get all over her.
“I’m just gonna go…uh…I’ll be right back.” Sam mutters, walking quickly out of the circle of overhead lights and towards the back of the QuikStop where the bathroom hopefully is.
Sam pushes through the bathroom door and locks it behind him. He feels like dry-heaving, or lying down in a fetal position, or tearing the room apart with his fingernails. So this is what it’s like then, when they finally break apart. He’d gotten a taste of it when he and Dean had split right after Lucifer rose. But, this feels different, more permanent, because of the history of the little thing still digging into his palm.
He opens up his hand and looks down at it, wondering how such a small thing could carry so much weight, could mean so much for so many years, and then be so easily thrown away. He holds it by the cord dangling over the tall gas-station garbage can, it sways a little side-to-side, catching the dim fluorescent flicker of lights. Sam vaguely hears a pounding from far away, something he’s heard before, his brother’s voice in a panic on the other side of a locked door.
The bathroom door flies in, crashing off its hinges into the wall, Dean sees Sam hold the amulet over the trash for a moment and then let go, it falls down into the tall receptacle, clanging a few times and then the sound goes muffled, lost in the mass of crumpled-up paper towels and mostly empty to-go cups.
“What the hell Sam?” Dean yells, dashing forward towards his brother and the trash can. He grabs at Sam’s now empty hand and turns it palm side up, “Why didja?”
“But, you didn’t want it back.” Sam says in complete confusion.
“Not what I meant dude. I didn’t understand why you were giving it back to me, how you could forgive me so fast. That’s all.” Dean says, with an unhinged earnestness that he knows is verging on begging.
Sam’s face lights up with comprehension, the last few minutes erased with the sudden happiness he feels flooding his adrenaline-fueled system, he tosses the trashcan over with impressive speed, rifles through the debris and comes up with the amulet in a few heartbeats. He straightens up and faces Dean, deliberately repeating his words from outside, “Here.” Sam says, holding out his clenched fist. “Thought you might want this back.”
And this time, Dean gets it, what Sam was saying in the car about how it really is them together against the world, because forgiveness is one of the things that he sees now truly binds them together. He reaches out one hand and takes the amulet back from Sam. “Thanks Sammy.”
They walk back out to the Impala, bumping hips together, Dean still holding the thing tight in his grasp. When they get into the car, Sam slides over to kiss Dean like usual, reaching up to grab at the amulet to pull him in tight, but it’s not there. Dean hasn’t put it back around his neck yet. “You’re still holding it, what’s up?”
“Doesn’t feel like it’s just mine anymore you know? So I’m gonna put it here for both of us.” Dean leans forward and loops the cord around the rear-view mirror, so that the amulet hangs just below it.
Sam looks at it swinging there, little face winking in the reflected light from the gas station island. “This you showin’ me you get what we were talkin’ about before?”
“Yeah Sammy, just you and me against the world.” Dean answers against Sam’s lips.