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Title: I Will See You in the Next Life
Author: [livejournal.com profile] serotonin_storm
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating: PG-13
Character/Pairing: Sam/Dean
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Word Count: 968 words
Warnings: incest, underage
Summary: "See, it was like this."

See, it was like this:

What Dean had wanted more than anything for his sixteenth birthday was to fight a Yeti.

Now, Yetis were real fuckin' far from their then base of Delta, Pennsylvania - not to mention unproven in existence - so John had just given him the Impala instead.

Dean was pretty friggin' happy to settle with that.

But Sam. Sammy was harder to please. Always had been. Dean wanted cereal; Sam couldn't deal unless it was Lucky Charms.

Anyway. For Sam's sixteenth he didn't want a car (probably good, because they couldn't have afforded one anyway; can't buy a car on credit card scams alone), and of course he didn't want to fight any badass supernatural villain. Sam bitched enough about that on a regular, non-birthday basis.

Sam wanted, "Just one week, Dad. No hunting, no getting up at the crack of dawn to run laps, no target practice. We're just a normal family for one week. Just one week."

Dean was pretty damn exhausted by the time that shit finished hitting the fan, and well. By the time Sam stalked into their room and slammed the door behind him, all he could offer to his father was a weary, "Sixteen, huh? Well, this is just friggin' great."

John rolled his eyes in agreement and got them both a beer.

--

The week before Sam's birthday was a chorus of the same plea in different keys.

Monday, it was, "Just - think about it, okay?"

A quiet, stoic, "I know we don't have a lot of money right now" on Tuesday.

Wednesday was the worst. Just, "Dean, I just... I want this. Don't you understand?" Don't you understand?

Thursday and Friday was melodrama and, "You make our lives miserable! Jesus, Dad, Dean almost died last month. Doesn't that mean anything?"

Dean hadn't stayed to see that one out.

On Saturday ("He's not gonna, is he, Dean? I just want to know what it's like. What it would have been like, Dean."), they both cracked, he and John. Saturday, he found John sitting shell-shocked at the rickety old kitchen table that had come with the apartment, staring at his gun like he'd never seen anything like the thing before in all his life.

"Dad?" Dean asked.

"Yeah," John said, "Yeah, okay."

--

There were rules, obviously. Be armed, keep up with the salt lines. They could pretend all they wanted, but there are some levels of not-normal you just can't get back from. A break doesn't mean you have to be vulnerable.

Sam's face'd lit up like a Christmas tree anyway.

"I want you to watch him," John said to Dean when Sam had left the room still grinning. "You keep him safe, Dean. He'll be off his game."

And Dean said, "Yessir."

And Dean thought, Of course.

--

He woke Sam up on his birthday with "cream with a side of coffee, just for you, princess" and Sam just smiled, eyes bleary with sleep, and took a sip.

He took Sam to the crappiest movie out the day after, and Sam grinned and bought him a box of Milk Duds.

Next day, they got burgers and fries. Sam beamed at the him, the waitress, the other customers. Dean groaned and smacked his forehead against the tabletop.

"For god's sake, Sam. Shit. It's not even different, Sammy."

"Feels different." Sam pushed his plate in Dean's direction and fucking smiled. "Want some fries?"

--

The week went by slow for Dean. No running in the morning, no driving off to the field to shoot after Sammy got off from school, and Dean just didn't know what to do with himself. Dad kept the research out of sight, but Dean knew what he got up to when Dean and Sam weren't around.

Sam, though? It was all too fast for him. Over in a blink. Dean could see that.

On the last night of the week, Dean drove them out to the field. Left the guns, brought the beer. They sat on the grass and leaned against the side of the Impala, still warm from the drive.

"Gettin' tall, Sammy." He passed Sam a bottle. "Let's hope your tolerance measures up. I ain't carrying your drunk ass all the way up the stairs."

"I think I'll be taller than you," Sam said, considering.

"You wish, shorty."

"What, Dean? Can't handle the thought of me looking down on you?" Sam smirked. Took a sip of his beer and it turned into a grimace.

He laughed. "I sure as hell ain't lookin' up at you."

Ahead, the sun dipped behind a hill and cast the sky into a darkness tinged with red.

"I don't get how you don't want it like I do," Sam said, quiet.

Dean sighed. "Yeah, well. I don't get why you want it so much, dude."

"I just... I feel like it's how I was meant to be. Not everything else. Just - " he flung his arms out wide, "just this."

A cricket chirped off to his left. Dean looked away from his brother, tried to follow the noise with his eyes. "It's not so bad, man. It's not."

Sam breathed, "Jesus, Dean", pained. Then, "Yeah. Yeah, I guess."

He didn't mean it, and Dean knew. But that was okay.

They lay there as the sky turned to ink, side by side.

--

"Dean," Sam said later. Urgently, "Dean, what time is it?"

Dean turned his wrist over, squinted at the glow in the dark. "12:03. Why? You tired?"

"Not tired, just - " And then there was Sam's hand on his chest, pressing down steady over his heart. Sam's breath hot on his neck. Sam's lips soft over his.

Somehow it ended with Dean panting into Sam's chest, the sleeve of Sam's sweatshirt clenched in one fist, Sam quiet and sure above him. "Sammy," he said, "Sammy, that ain't normal. That's - it's not what you want. I know what you want," he said.

And see, it was like this:

Sam, he said, "Dean, life started again three minutes ago."

And he didn't smile, but that was okay.

Dean knew.
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