spoilers. Post S2 Finale
notes. Much thanks to belovedsnail and rei_c. Deliberately follows yesterday's Atlantic Ocean prompt.
This has history behind it.
Dean squinted up at the sky, hand almost shielding his eyes, then he dropped it down and glared at Sam. Sam shrugged, looked over at the coastline.
"It's not boiling, at least," Sam offered. Dean scowled, stomped back to the Impala's hood and leaned against it with a sigh, playing at the over-dramatic.
"Graves aren't spitting back the dead," Sam said, and then moved to stand beside Dean.
By the time they got back to the Midwest it felt like they'd been running for so long it felt dizzy to stay still.
Dean stopped, smiled, bent over and tried to catch his breath. The ground was still moving under him and when he stood back up straight Sam was staring, not even barely panting.
"Freak," Dean muttered, and Sam grinned, then raced him to the front door. Dean stumbled in past him, pushed him into the tiny kitchen and against the narrow counter, reached up enough to brush his hands against Sam's shoulders while he got two plastic cups out of a cupboard.
The house was in the middle of nowhere, or thereabouts; this old and gabled and horribly designed thing with rooms twisting around each other and narrow little corridors and steep staircases. They'd gotten it cheap because there wasn't much of a housing market in southern Wyoming, and nobody really cared for railway lines crossing through their property. The loophole they'd found was simple and effective: seems like fixing up iron lines did as good a job blocking as they had before, and the whole thing bought them nothing but a lot of time and a really big corral.
Day 366 ticked by, and Sam breathed a huge sigh of relief. At midnight Dean stood at the edge of the porch, wearing this drawn and pinched expression, then he turned and stepped back inside, made his way up to the bed they happened to share. The wind rose and rattled the windows, then blew around and settled. Both of them held their breath.
"Nothing can get through," Sam said, as if he was trying to convince himself. Dean nodded slowly, kept his eyes shut and his hands white knuckle clenched around the bed's bottom left post.
It wasn't going to be a perfect solution, not by any means. They were both going to be cabinfeverish, in each other's space day in and day out and there was nothing for it.
It wasn't like the demons suddenly decided to go easy, but they'd both already given up too much to take anything less than a wholehearted grab at this third chance.
Dean got a telescope about three months after that, on day 447. It was this Sears mail order catalog selection, and it set them back a whole $20.
"At least the north star doesn't expire", Dean had said when Sam called him on it, and Sam was about to say well, it sort of does but he couldn't remember his brother ever looking at stars, not like that, not like they were the final frontier or can't stop the signal or something. Except maybe when they were kids, but that was seemed so long ago he could barely remember.
There was precious little else to do. Besides research, that was. Bobby had sent them books and manuscripts, all of them centered around the "sell your soul" mythology, included anything ranging from academic articles on Marlowe's Faust to transcriptions of rites performed by voudon priestesses. Sam spent hours reading them in bed, watching Dean out of the corner of his eye and curling fingertips against the freckles at the nape of Dean's neck.
There was no solution to this problem, at least not one they could find together. Dean would stay inside the lines until he died or something broke them, and Sam would stay with him, stuck, the two of them to the very end.
Sam sighed, yawned, and looked over at his brother. Dean was lying beside him, head on Sam's arm, wisps of too-long hair touching at Sam's nose. Sam nearly sneezed but Dean woke up enough to say bless you before Sam actually managed.
Sam wouldn't have it any other way, but what he wanted and what Dean wanted and what they wanted together - saving people, hunting- - they were three very separate things and he'd finally learned the difference between them all.
There was only so much he could hope for. It was a gamble, a risky thing but it was old and it just might do the trick. Sam scratched at the writing on his palm, he rubbed idly at the ink and barely stopped before it smeared.
The plan was simple. Sam would exorcise the demon from its human host, hold it hostage for Dean's soul. He kept the idea a secret from Dean as long as he could, had to enlist Bobby's help for the tricky pronunciation in about four dead languages, but all things considers he figured he got the best end overall.
The demon dressed itself in Jessica's skin, and he didn't think twice before sending it back to hell as soon as he'd gotten what he'd come for.
Dean was pissed, of course. He'd ranted for about six hours on don't you know how dangerous that was? and I'm never letting you out of my sight again! and SHIT FUCKING SHIT WHAT IF SOMETHING WENT WRONG, YOU THINK OF THAT? before finally settling on punching Sam in the face, easing off and grabbing Sam's shoulders, pushing away and pulling in until their bodies met from mouth to hooked around ankle.
Sam didn't have a whole lot of time to think, and it wasn't as if he'd been planning on this anyways and therefore, thinking in advance was a moot point. He'd considered it, in the way that one might consider The Top Ten Things That Would Never Happen.
He fought and held on, they stumbled past the knocked over tables, out the front door, into the Impala's front seat, out the five or twelve or fifty miles until they got to a battered railway crossing. Dean hauled Sam out of the car and past the iron lines, down into the hollow on the other side, something just wide enough to give them room to hitch breaths and hold back and come hard against each other.
Sam lay back and looked over at Dean, thought you mean everything to me and didn't dare say it out loud. Dean rolled over in his sleep and hooked a thumb under the waistband of Sam's boxers, elbow at Sam's hip.
There wasn't any wind in the air but the birds were out and every last one was flying, swooping low. The view of the night sky was clear and the stars were pointing north.