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Sunday, August 15th, 2010 04:48 pm
Part 6 -The Salt and Burn

When they go on the salt and burn, it is windy and chilly, but Sam’s warm on the inside with the memory of the afternoon. Which even though it had left an inordinate amount of art jumbled in his head, had been pretty much all systems normal between him and Dean. And pretty much perfect.

Every five minutes, Dean had complained that he was bored. This had been accompanied by many eye rolls and distracted fingernail chewing, just to irritate Sam, but Dean had tagged after Sam and stopped to look at every painting that Sam had, just the same. More, Dean hadn’t used his portable phone at all, saying that he’d left it on some old bureau somewhere. Instead, he’d turned the full wattage of his attention on Sam, and made Sam explain every single thing about what they were looking at. All of which had left a good, solid feeling in Sam’s chest.

Which makes him eager to go to work.

The trek along the riverbank is littered with rocks and slopped over with cold mud. They pick their way along, heads down, the water inky dark over the mud. It’s going to be a messy night, still, Sam feels pretty good, having soaked up as much painting and culture as he can handle in one day. Who knew Texas had such things in it?


(The Road to the River)


“The east side of the new bridge, right?”

Dean asks this without turning his head back to look at Sam.

Sam has lost the map somewhere along the way, but he remembers the drawing pretty clearly, so he nods at Dean’s outline against the setting sun. “Yes,” he says. “And I imagine the south bank of the river, since that’s closer to the town than the north side.”

Now Dean is nodding, and if he’s as cold as Sam is, he’s cold. The wind is moving between stillness and bluster, and the setting sun shafts black shadows among the gold-brown grasses. A swirl of starlings funnels overhead, and then bends over the bank towards the water. Then they swoop back, a black blanket against the pale eggshell blue sky.



Sam’s shoes are soaked though and his fingers are aching. He’s carrying one shovel and the salt. Dean is carrying the other shovel and the gasoline, so really, Dean’s got more to carry. To the victor goes the spoils, so this means that Dean will get the privilege of lighting the corpse on fire. It’s his favorite thing.

Sam slips and his shovel clatters to the stones. Dean stops and turns.

“You okay there, graceful?”

Sam picks up the shovel. The handle is muddy now and the wind skips off the river like ice. It’s only September here, not even winter yet. He wonders how people stand it. They’ve long since left the dirt road that paralleled the new bridge, and had been moving east along the river bank for at least 20 minutes.

“How far can five drunk guys carry a dead body?” Dean wants to know this, and asks it as if he’s sure Sam’s got the answer.

“Long as they could without staggering and falling into the river,” Sam says. Guessing. “Long as they didn’t feel the cold. Long as the booze held out, if they brought some bottles with them.”

“During prohibition?”

“By the picture of Virginia, I’d say so.” Sam’s lips are going numb. He should have brought a heavier jacket. “So if there was a marker, it’s long gone.”

“Those assholes wouldn’t have marked it,” says Dean. Sam can hear the disgust in his voice. “Assholes.”

“Your EMF on?” asks Sam.

“Has been the whole time.”

“Well, it’s going to have to tell us because I can’t—” Sam looks up. He sees her. She is standing on a rock on the edge of the river, in a thin dress that’s meant to be fashionable, but isn’t. Her mouth is dark, and she is smiling. Waving him on.

“You see her?” he asks Dean, just as the EMF goes off.

Dean keeps walking and Sam follows him. Not tiptoeing, impossible in the mud, but just about. He doesn’t want to scare her, doesn’t want to have to try this again, frankly, it’s too miserable a walk. He would, of course, he would if he had to.

“Yeah,” says Dean. He walks right up to Virginia’s ghost and reaches out with the EMF just as she vanishes. He looks down. “This must be the place.”

They dig on the Dean’s sayso and the EMF’s, but mostly on Dean’s. They dig for a good ten minutes before the tip of a shovel finds white bone. They dig it all up, shovels sure, putting their shoulders into it. They pile the dirt carefully and find the rest of the bones, still tied in rope, held together by the remains of a dress. It’s not the dress in the picture, but it had been enough to keep her together while she waited.

Sam pours the salt in the hole until he covers the body with it. Dean pours in the gasoline and lights the whole mess on fire. The fire is hot and rises with black smoke just as the sun goes fully down. They wait for a while to watch it burn out and then cover the ash with dirt, patting it down with their shovels.

Sam looks up at the landscape shivering into darkness. He can see the line of the river swinging west under the bridge, and then south, still reflecting what’s left of the light, glinting as though already covered in ice.

“We can cut right this field,” Sam says, using the end of his shovel to point. “It’d save us walking along the river in this wind. Save us a good ten minutes to where the car is parked.”

Dean looks and agrees. “Dibs on the first hot shower.”

“Only if you get through the door first.”

They gather up the shovels and empty gas can and start marching.  Sam’s wet socks pick up bits of stray, prickly grass, and his pants, soaked from the knees down, slap at him.

Even with the shortcut, it’ll be ten minutes to the car, less than that to the motel. But even if Dean does manage to hustle his way through the door first, it will be warm and dry and Sam can put on clean socks. He’ll remind Dean about the laundry, now more needed than ever. And if The Bucket is open for dinner, they are in luck.

“Fence,” says Dean. There’s enough light to see what he’s pointing to, but only just.

The fence is part wood, part barbed wire. The wire is slack as if someone never tightened it after the first frost, and the wood is old and splintery under Sam’s hands. He ducks between the rails, carries his leg slowly over the wire. Dean’s shovel clatters over the stones as he moves between the wires. Then he straightens and Sam can hear the whoosh as he settles the shovel over his shoulder.

“Christ,” Dean says. “Maybe two hot showers.”

They walk through the mesquite and short grass towards the lights of the road, the ground underneath choppy and uneven, but at least it’s dry ground now. The wind is barely there, cut through by the grasses that are stubby and that rake at Sam’s calves. He can see the dark lines of the other side of the fence against the dark background of night. A passing car shows them that they are nearly there, the headlights glinting off the parked Impala and the rusted strands of barbed wire.

Sam hears another whoosh and wonders what it is. Both Dean and he are already carrying their shovels on their shoulders. He turns around, feels the hard body brush against his side, pushing at him, just as he sees the glint of horns. It’s tall, this thing, with hard muscles, and it snorts at him. And he thinks that maybe, just maybe, he can see it paw the ground, because the air suddenly smells like dust and cow dung and sweat.

“Dean,” he says. He moves forward and pushes at Dean. “It’s a cow, Dean.”

“Cow?” Dean stops to look.

“Or a bull.”

“Shit.”

They run. Sam keeps a grip on his shovel and the container, not really thinking why he’s doing it, but maybe he’s thinking it’s easier to keep them than replace them, and if he needs to, he can throw it at the thing and distract it while he leaps over the fence.


(Barb Wire Fence)


His long legs bring him to the fence line just as he hears Dean’s shout of protest, and he throws his shovel over the wire just before he hurdles the fence. Dean bangs into it, shovel and gas can flying, the flash of horns arcing over his head as he rolls under it on the ground. He’s safe on the far side, and he looks up at Sam, grinning as he gets up.

“Missed me, you fucker,” Dean tells the cow. Which by the light of a passing car they see is a bull, a young bull, but pissed off just the same, tossing its horns and snapping at the ground with pointed hooves.

As Dean bends to pick up his tools, he lurches to the side, hands going to his ribs. “Must’ve hit it pretty hard,” he says, almost to himself.

They throw their gear in the trunk and then Dean gives Sam the keys. “I got the wind knocked out of me,” he says. “But it stings too.”

“Dean.” Sam tucks the keys in his pocket, and gets a flashlight from the glove compartment. He shines the flashlight on his brother and watches as Dean’s hands come away, covered in glistening blood.

“Scraped yourself up some,” Sam says, remarking upon this even as he lifts the edges of Dean’s t-shirt. It’s easier, when necessity comes, to look at Dean’s skin, muscles over ribs, objectively.

At first it looks like red stripes going sideways, like someone had painted on Dean’s skin. He reaches out to touch, Dean flinches back, and Sam realizes that there are splinters, long, black splinters from the wood. They are imbedded under Dean’s skin like black ribbons. There are deep cuts from the barbed wire, too, that ooze blood down Dean’s ribs, soaking into the tops of his jeans.

“Aw, Jesus shit.” Dean looks up at Sam, his voice sounding white. Then he sighs, teeth drawn back as Sam snaps off the flashlight and hustles Dean into the passenger seat. It’s not life and death surely, but it warrants breaking the speed limit all the way to the motel. By the time they get there, Dean’s shirt is soaked through and sticking to him, his face is white, and the inside of his forearms are blotched with blood all the way up to his elbows.

Once in the room, Sam snaps his fingers and points at the bed, digs out the first aid box and slams it down. It’s not Dean’s fault, but it’s stupid too. With all the things they ever hunted, it’s stupid that an inanimate object can rip Dean up bad enough to make him turn white. Like the proverbial sheet.

Dean sits on the bed, holding his side, pulling his shirt up, trying to look. “Man, splinters, aw, crap, Sam. Just crap.”

“It’s crap alright,” says Sam. He goes over to Dean and pulls his shirt off, making it quick, tossing the bloody garment on the floor of the bathroom. Then he bends down, eyes flicking up to Dean’s face as he touches the skin. It is raw and threaded through with large splinters, and laced with scrapes from the wire. Blood is oozing everywhere, trickling down Dean’s skin like red tears. “That wood is probably covered with cow shit.”

“How come I didn’t feel it when it happened, Sam?” asks Dean as he tries to get up so he can look at his ribs better. “I can sure as fuck feel it now.”

Sam pushes him back down, and blows his bangs out of the way. “Adrenaline,” he says. “You just don’t know it. You were running from the bull, and everything else went into the background.”

“Fuck.” Dean lays back and watches, trying not to wince as Sam pulls up a chair and tips the light on the nightstand so the shade directs the light where he wants it.

“I’m gonna have to pull these out, Dean,” he says. “And you’re not going to like it, but if I leave them in there to work their way out—”

“Then they’ll fester and that’ll mean drugs and maybe a trip to the hospital, which is—”

“To be avoided at all costs.” It’s what Dad always said.

“I’ll make it quick,” Sam says now. He tucks a towel beneath Dean’s side and pulls out the tweezers. “And if you want to scream like a little girl, go ahead. There’s no one to hear you but me.”

“You’ll tell,” says Dean, pretending to be obnoxious about it, his mouth screwing up as Sam takes out the first and most obvious splinter. It’s soaking red. He wipes the tweezers on the towel. He looks up at Dean.

Dean gives him a little nod and then Sam concentrates on his task. Some of the splinters are short, and come out fast and slick. Others have little jags on them, so he has to worry them out. He checks on Dean, who is holding himself as still as he can, muscles clenched like rocks, face like grey paper. There’s sweat dappled under his eyes like tears and his hairline is damp.

“Just hurry,” Dean says, his voice sounding like he’s being pulled across gravel. “Oh, the mother fucker.”

“I’m not the mother fucker,” says Sam, tugging. “You’re the mother fucker.”

He keeps his hands from shaking as best he can. Hurries as fast as he can. He uses a damp washcloth to keep the blood from dripping, but it slips down Dean’s side to curve beneath Dean’s back. Hopefully the towel will soak it up. That or the polyester bedspread, with its wild flower pattern, won’t show the stain.

Sam pulls out thin ones, fat ones, little ones. He’s getting near the end, and Dean is quivering beneath his hands, chest heaving.

“How’s your head?” he asks, knowing that sometimes a build up of pain, even little pain, can make your head swim.

“Dizzy,” says Dean. “Guess there’ll be no dance for me tonight, huh?”

“Is that all you can think about?” Sam makes his voice bright as he tugs on a particularly large splinter. “Because you know all dancing leads to is sex, right?” He’s almost not sorry he’s said it.

Dean pretends to be shocked as Sam yanks the splinter out. He hears Dean’s grunt of effort, and wipes the tweezers on the towel as he pretends not to hear it.

The last splinter comes out. “Done,” he says, rising to his feet, feeling a little shaky himself, and gets a clean washcloth from the bathroom. He runs the water cold and comes back to Dean.

“Don’t rub,” says Dean, and Sam shakes his head no as he sits back down, patting the slices in the skin, thinking about butterfly bandages, wondering if they’ve got enough. He puts the washcloth down and checks Dean’s side, bending close, his breath coming back to him hot. He wipes the cloth along Dean’s ribs, as gently as he can.

“Neosporin,” he says, and Dean nods.

“Hurry, it stings like a bitch.”

He hurries. The tube of Neosporin is the economy sized one, bought on sale and it’s going to help, Sam knows, though it’s going to sting going on. Sitting by Dean’s side, he rubs the cream in, watches as Dean’s skin turns red and glossy beneath Sam’s fingertips, as if the heat of Dean’s body is keeping the blood from coagulating.

“Just stay still, alright?” He slathers the whole area with the cream, and then watches, his fingers cupped under Dean’s back, waiting for the blood to stop flowing, waiting for the Neosporin to kick in. It does slowly, and he resists the urge to wipe Dean’s skin again. He thinks that he’ll let the wound set in the open air before putting a bandage over the whole mess. Dean is still shivering.

“Okay,” Sam says. He gets up, and looks down. Dean’s arms are coated with drying blood, there is blood turning black along the waistband of Dean’s jeans, and there is sweat along Dean’s hairline.

Sam gets the Advil first, and makes Dean take two, and screw what the instructions say. Then he takes Dean’s shoes off and undoes Dean’s jeans, smacking away Dean’s hands that move as if to stop him.

“Hold on,” he says, using one hand to keep Dean’s boxers in place, though those are stained too, and pulls the jeans off in one motion. He’s all business, as he should be, as he pulls the counterpane across most of Dean’s legs, his mind almost on autopilot. Then he gets a clean washcloth and soaks it with warm water, wringing it out on the carpet as he comes back to Dean’s side. “I’m so getting the extra cookie for this,” he tells Dean, sitting down in the chair again.

“Well, I guess you are,” Dean says. He’s watching Sam; his eyes are soft.

Sam uses the washcloth to wipe Dean’s face, ignoring his brother’s frown of protest, and wipes his neck, and then the blood from his arms. He has to scrub a bit as the blood is spread thin and has dried.

“Quit fussing, Sammy.”

Sam finishes up. Now he’s got two bloody, cold washcloths and he gets up to put them in the sink. He’ll have to rinse the heck out of them if they want to avoid the attention of the maid.

“I told you, I’m fine.”

“Yeah?” Sam asks from the bathroom. He comes out, making himself look stern. “You look about as fucked up as a pig’s behind, and you’re fine.”

“A pig’s behind?” Dean’s voice rises, affronted.

“A pig’s behind.”

Sam stands there, feeling the weight of the day hard on his shoulders. “Look, I’m going to take a shower, and get this mud off me, then I’ll put the bandage on, alright? Do you need anything? Just ask, ‘cause you shouldn’t move for a bit.”

Dean waves him off. “Just some naked dancing girls, if you can manage, 'cause I sure could use the distraction.”

Sam smiles. He picks up the clicker, and turns up the volume a bit. “Look, Dean,” he says, chipper as a new morning. “It’s a program about the Egyptian mummies.”

“No,” says Dean. “Fucking NO, Sam, not that shit. Give me the clicker, at least.”

Sam places the clicker on top of the TV and out of Dean’s reach. “I won’t be ten minutes. It’ll be good for you to get some culture.”

“Not mummies!”

This makes Sam laugh as he gets in the shower. Dean had had a thing for mummies once, in a way that told Sam he’d used it as a way to meet girls. Which hadn’t worked. Then he’d overdosed on the subject, which now left him feeling sour about the whole thing. Art class, dude, Sam remembers telling his brother. Chicks dig guys who know about art and it’s a whole lot more fun than mummies.

The water in the shower is as hot as Sam can stand it, and he uses the soap and a washcloth and gets the mud off. He doesn’t have a scratch on him, and his toes are no longer numb. He steps out of the shower and towels off, then puts his t-shirt and boxers on, and wonders if he’s got some clean sweats. Even if he doesn’t, there are some near clean ones in the laundry bag. He steps out. Dean is in the same position, frowning at the TV, and now at Sam.

“Change the fucking channel, dude, or I swear, I’m getting up and beating the crap out of you.”

Sam reaches over and grabs the clicker. He hands it to Dean. “I’m going to bandage this up,” he says.

“Good. Cause it looks gross.”

Part of Dean’s brain, Sam knows, tells him that if he can’t see it, it might not hurt as much. Though with the acreage of skin torn up, it’s going to hurt for a couple of days, and the scabs are going to itch like crazy. Can’t be helped. Could have been worse.

“I know,” says Dean, as Sam comes over to sit down, with several large squares of bandage in his hand. He can’t find the scissors, so he uses his teeth to tear off strips of tape. “Could have been worse, right?’

“Yeah,” says Sam. “You coulda gotten speared right through.”

“Bleh,” says Dean. “Guts all over the place.”

“Bile, too,” says Sam. “Don’t forget the bile.”

He measures the bandage with his eyes. It’s big enough for most of it, but it’s not big enough. Still, if he tapes it right, the skin will scab over and heal without becoming infected. He lays it out and tapes the edges down.

“More Advil?” asks Dean.

Sam shakes his head. Dean knows the rules. Well, guidelines really. Twice the dosage in half the time is the limit. If the bottle says one every four hours, they can have two every two hours. But no more than that. “Ask again later. If you’re not asleep.”

“How am I supposed to sleep with it hurting like this?”

Sam gets up, starts picking up the detritus from his first aid. He puts things back in the box, and then shoves the box against the wall. He turns off most of the lights, and then turns up the heat. Dean is watching him “You got to get behind the pain, Dean,” he says. ”Or is it ahead?”

“I can’t.” It’s not a complaint; it’s a statement of fact. Dean, Sam knows, can turn away from pain faster than anyone he knows. But it’s rather like the difference between someone pulling out a single hair, and someone pulling out a whole hank. The single hair always hurts more.

Sam sits back down on the chair next to the bed in the mostly dark room. His body is still winding down from their close call; he’s still a little giddy with it. There’s only the two of them in the middle of the country, and his brother is looking to him, and only to him, for help.

Sam thinks of the ways Dean always takes care of him, when he’s sick or hurting. Or even like today, when he was pouting over the pioneer museum, and acting like a five year old denied ice cream. As to when Dean had found the art museum in the middle of a Podunk town in the middle of no where, Sam has no idea. The fact remains that Dean had been prepared to give Sam what he needed, like he always did.

“It hurts, Sam,” says Dean, almost as if he doesn’t want to admit it.

And then there is the way Dean helped him the other night, in Mammoth Spring. Sam’s is still coming down of the adrenaline from running from the bull. The shower has made his skin warm, and he can feel the blood pulsing in his neck.

Dean looks a little white, and his eyes are wide and green, and it’s going to take twenty minutes for the pain pills to kick in. Even if Dean is an asshole and a jerk sometimes, he still deserves better.

“I can fix that,” says Sam. He looks at the light on the nightstand and leaves it burning. Then he places one hand on Dean’s stomach, and looks him right in the eye.

“I can fix that,” he says, “and in the morning, we’ll go on, just like we always do.”

Dean’s eyebrows shoot up, a question mark, his mouth open to say something, maybe to ask or protest, but Sam moves his hands over the blood-stiff waistband of Dean’s dark boxers and pulls them down. Dean’s thighs are warm, and Sam’s fingers stir through the hair on his legs. He looks at the darker hair and the flushed cock between his brother’s legs, feels the heat there with the tips of his fingers.

“I don’t have any naked, dancing girls,” he says, his voice feeling thick in his throat, “but perhaps this will help.”

Dean says one word. “Sam.” Just that, as though any other thoughts he might want to add to this are thrown into a stall.

Sam imagines that it’s his hand, now covering the hardening flesh of Dean’s groin, that stops him. Under his palm he can feel Dean’s cock, coming up, hardening. Filling his hand.

Sam’s eyes flick up. Dean is looking back at him, mouth still open, blinking as if he’s sure he should stop Sam. Stop him right now. Sam continues, though the angle of his body making the movement of his hand somewhat difficult. He thinks of that night in Mammoth Spring, and wishes he’d waited for full darkness. He reaches up a hand to turn off the light, but Dean has beaten him to it. With one click they are both in darkness.

Which somehow gives Dean permission to protest out loud.

“Sam,” he says. “You shouldn’t—don’t—”

“Going to,” says Sam. He shifts his chair and moves closer. He shoves Dean’s boxers further down Dean’s legs, feels the edges of the bandage. He can smell the blood and the Neosporin. And musk. Salt. The heat of Dean’s skin, a drowsy perfume he’d know with his eyes closed.

He leans close. Moves his hand along Dean’s cock, and circles it with his fingers. Dean’s cock leaps to life, almost jumping up. It’s already wet at the top, and Sam imagines the pain of removing the splinters might have something with this, with Dean’s willingness to go along. Pain can cause erections just as pleasure can, he knows this. Dean’s whole body shifts beneath his hands, as if moving to a place only it knew about, and Sam hears Dean sigh.

“Shouldn’t—” Dean says. “We shouldn’t. You know it, Sammy, you know it.” Dean’s hips push into Sam’s hands.

“I know it.” Sam agrees with this, because to do anything else would be a lie. They shouldn’t. But they already have. And it hadn’t changed anything. Had it?

But Sam has learned that bodies take over even when minds protest, and his brother, already hard beneath his hand, is breathing deep breaths, and will soon be unable to give voice to any coherent thoughts at all. He pulses his hand around the base of Dean’s cock, feeling the rigid flesh beneath the heel of his palm. Feels the shudders of Dean’s stomach, hears the rasp of skin across sheet. Then he strokes. Long strokes, bending forward with it, feeling Dean’s breath on his neck, hearing the whisper of something in the back of Dean’s throat. If it’s a protest, Sam will end it. But there is nothing more, so Sam continues.

With his wrist flicking up as he pulls long and slow, arm shifting back as lets his grip slip; he feels Dean’s blood pounding beneath the thin skin. He strokes until Dean’s whole body is shuddering, feels a tenseness in Dean’s frame, hears the choke of Dean’s breath, and waits till the last minute. He bends forward and takes Dean’s cock in his mouth. His mind is amazed, and his tongue wants to taste.

The second his lips circle a seal around Dean’s cock, Sam feels the pulse like a distant roar coming at him, feels the jerk of Dean’s cock against his lower lip, and then the heat, a thin, hard stream, as it hits the back of his throat. Almost gagging, he swallows, tenders Dean’s cock to stillness with his hand, and then swallows again. It’s almost too much. He brings the back of his hand to his mouth as he sits up, Dean’s cock falling from his mouth, the almost-sweet taste of come sliding over his tongue.

He can see Dean, in the light that his eyes allow him to now see. Just a glaze, enough to pinprick the brightness of Dean’s eyes. Accent the hardness of his breath.

“Jesus Christ, Sam,” says Dean. Sam can hear him pulling at his boxers. “What did you do that for? Using your—”

Dean stops, apparently hacked off enough to sit up even when he shouldn’t. “You shouldn’t have done it like that.” The words are almost barked out, and Sam stands, the back of his legs pushing the chair back. His mouth is still humming with the feel of Dean’s hot skin in his mouth; there are traces of salt on his lips, and he licks them.

“You started it,” Sam says in the near darkness. He feels like he’s been stung.

“I didn’t start that.”

“What’s the difference?” Sam asks, pressing the heel of his palm hard against the side of his mouth. “That’s where it goes anyway.”

“In your mouth?” Dean’s voice rises to a horrified pitch.

“No, that’s not what I mean, I—” He means, of course, that there is rather a sequence to things. Hands first, then mouths, then— He stops there.

“For fuck’s sake, Sam.” There is the sound of blankets being pulled, Dean punching his pillow with the back of his head. “Just—just fucking forget it, okay? And don’t ever do that again.”

“But—” Sam starts. His body has been wanting it and Dean’s body certainly hadn’t minded. “I liked it, and I can’t stop thinking about it.” There’s so much that needs saying and he’s tired of not saying it. “You gave me that, Dean and it made me feel—

He stops, wanting to find a way to explain the torrent of feeling, the layers beneath his words, what he’s always felt for Dean and could never collect together in his brain at one time. Besides, his body had wanted what Dean had given him and now, he’d given back (finally) and Dean’s body certainly hadn’t minded.

“You are the only constant in my life, and I need you.” He feels a little dizzy, like he’s suddenly drunk.

“You need to find someone else to obsess about, because I can’t want this.” Dean’s voice is stern and cold.

That stops Sam right there. He knows he has to try and do what Dean says, because what Sam wants is impossible. But his hands are shaking, and he has nothing he can do with them except pull the chair back to its spot next to the wall. To go to his own bed and turn down the covers, feeling the scratch of stray plastic threads catch on his fingers.  He stands there.

“Go to bed, Sam.”

“Dean.”

“What.”

“In the morning, will we go on as like we always do?”

There is a silence, pushing up in the darkness, and Sam can almost hear Dean trying not to think. Then, finally, Dean says, “Yes. Now go to bed.”

Sam climbs in under the covers and lets his head settle on the three pillows he gathered there. The taste of Dean is like a fresh snap in his mouth every time he takes in a breath. His hands are hot and sticky and he tries rubbing them across the sheets.

“Knock it off, Sam,” says Dean. Hard at work at being irritated. “This is the end of it, do you get that? Just stop it and go to sleep.”

Sam holds still. His stomach is churning around, and his head is still sending signals to all the rest of him. He holds still. Sleep will come. And in the morning, they will go on like they always do. Dean said so.

~

Part 7 - Across the Plains and Into the Mountains
Master Fic Post

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