(no spoilers/warnings, Sam and Dean gen, a bit of hurt Dean)
What if: Dean turned forty and he'd never left the road, not really, never left that crazy interstate through heaven, never settled for long in any earth that would remember. He said that, over bottles, over the table, and Sam just looked at him: what do you want to leave behind, man, what matters to you. This. It's always been his only answer: this. You and me and everything saved between us. That's it.
Sam makes banana sandwiches without peanut butter because they're out, so Dean goes to the store, not the good one, the little one, to pick up generic and more beer and a couple of sad apples, passable tomato. Give it up, Kansas. Drives home the long way because they're all long ways. Clouds say snow but no revelation. No angels. Just another birthday that ain't an exit sign.
Slow. Still here.
Dean, Sam says, tugs another stitch and makes that sound, one that pulls him lip-straight, serious. Been awhile: monster-bit and road-rashed and yeah--
too old for this, Dean says, predictable but effective; Sam almost smiles.
Whatddya think, Dean says (Cas is doing now, or Mom, Bobby or Charlie or Jo).
Sam presses him still, makes him lie with his leg up like the old dog he might have been, feels every hour along the wound-seams, for heat.
Dean drinks water. Sam takes shotgun on the double.
Bunker has a road in its closet, sometimes. Dean didn't know that until this year.
Rotates the mattress and blinks at the indent there: his epitaph.
He can hear Sam snuffling in the archives, shaken dust.
It might be possible, play your cards right, to drive straight back into what you might have been.
Happy birthday, Sam says.
Not yet, Dean says. Baby hums in his hands and holds them, tips them there, crack of midnight.
Sam kinda smiles, time slotted between them like canyons.
Whaddya say, Sammy, stop for awhile? Don't need to say it, not really. Sun's not far off and they'll share breath, after and before.
We'll be there by morning, Sam says.