Chapter 28

Another glorious fall day dawned. The weather was changing. To the east, the pale sun rose in a clear sky. To the west gray, liquid clouds obscured the mountain tops. They'd have another snow before noon.

Car packed, the Winchester boys and Abby stood at the curb not knowing how to part company.

Dean slouched against the driver's door watching the clouds roll in. Sam slammed the trunk and walked up to stand beside his brother. Abby faced them leaning against her gate.

“Well, somebody's gotta do it." She pushed away from the gate and turned to Sam first. Abby started to put her arms around his neck; decided that was too much of a stretch and slipped them around his waist.

Sam turned his head and rested his cheek on the top of her head as she pressed her face into his chest. "Good-bye little sister," he said tightening his arms around her.

"Let's get this straight,” she said as she pulled away, “You're the little brother."

"Oh yeah?" He straightened to his full height.

She looked up into Sam’s nostrils and grin spread across Abby’s face. "We'll discuss this on the sparing mat in my basement when you come back."

Sam smiled. He took her hand in both of his and kissed it lightly. "Thanks for everything."

"Right back at ya."

Abby backed away and Sam walked around to the passenger door. Not until he'd gotten in and closed it again did she turn to Dean. He stood, leaning a hip against the car. He had on his leather jacket, the collar turned up against the chill north wind.

God, he makes me hungry, Abby thought has her heart did a little soft-shoe against her breast bone. How am I gonna live on bread and water till he comes back? She reached out and lightly lifted the angel pendant on his chest. Her fingers found the small red crystal that now hung beside his talisman on the leather string. She'd given it to him last night in lieu of promises and commitments. It was very old; her grandmother's. Passed from grandmother to granddaughter, now from lover to lover, it stored great power; power he could tap into; power to help him focus his own.

And just as importantly to both of them, it was a piece of home, a piece of her. The crystal was her way of insuring that no matter how far into the dark the hunt might take him, Dean could find his way home.

"Keep practicing," she said.

"I will." Dean wrapped his arms around her waist.

Abby pulled in a long slow breath. The clean, masculine smell of him did nothing to assuage her hunger. Still, just to torture herself she pulled his collar aside to brush her cheek against the soft skin at the curve of his neck and inhaled deeply again. When her lips pressed the spot, a quiet moan rumbled from Dean's chest.

Abby drew back and dropped her chin. "I refuse to let this become a soppy Romeo and Juliet moment."

"Thank God," Dean breathed.

Abby lifted her eyes and found him studying her face as if he'd memorize every line, every pore. The intensity of his gaze made color rise in her cheeks. Her blush made him smile and it took her breath away.

"You take my breath away," he murmured.

That surprised a laugh out of her. "I was just thinking the same thing."

"This is…difficult." Dean traced his fingers across her cheek.

Abby nodded. "It'll get harder and harder every time you come back."

"Till one day it'll be too much." Dean shrugged. "And I'll have to stay."

Abby's smile widened and his hand went to the nape of her neck. He drew her close and kissed her.

Last kisses are difficult things to pull off, Sam thought. It's gotta be sweet; being the last memory the lovers will cling to, but it is the last kiss; which means you can't start something you aren't gonna be able to finish. It's a difficult balancing act. Abby and Dean got it just right.

Sam had never seen his brother in love. In lust, yes, often, but not this tender, vulnerable state. He watched them, unconcerned that they’d catch him peeping. They wouldn't have noticed if a hippo had rolled by on a skate board. Sam couldn't help a pang of envy.

He turned to the opposite window when Dean finally reached down and opened the door. Dean lowered himself into the driver's seat and rolled down the window. Abby leaned in.

"See ya, Sam."

"Definitely." He smiled and looked across at her, but her eyes weren't on him. Sam turned the smile toward his lap.

They still had fingers intertwined on the door when Dean put the key into the ignition and brought the Imapala roaring to life.

The car started moving. Sam hissed, "Watch the road, bro."

"Yeah, yeah."

Sam moved to grab the steering wheel, but Dean finally turned around. He stepped on the gas. They were away. A curve in the road took the last sight of Abby.

They rode in silence, the big Impala taking the twists and turns down Rampart Range Road smoothly. They'd come up this road just three weeks ago, fuming, blind to the world beyond the curb. Their world was bigger now.

Sam took a deep breath. "Wow."

"Wow, what?" Dean asked, glancing over.

"I just never knew what it felt like to leave home for the first time."

"Second time, you were just a baby the first time. But you're right, this is the first one that'll be there for us to come to back to." Dean huffed out a laugh. "Who knew it could feel so damned good…" His hands tightened on the steering wheel "… and really FRICKIN' SUCK at the same time!?"

Dean sat, jaw clenched, eyes on the road, breathing hard.

Sam eased his hands off the dashboard and looked sideways at his brother. He hated to be cruel, but this situation called for extreme measures.

He snapped his fingers as if a brilliant thought had just occurred to him. "Ya know, this whole situation is bringin' somethin' to mind." Sam propped his elbow on the edge of the passenger window. He stroked his chin thoughtfully then closed his eyes. His chin began to bounce.

Dean turned his head, a bit of curiosity replacing the torment on his face.

"Homeward Bound?"

"What?" Dean frowned.

"Simon and Garfunkel…Homeward Bound." Sam snapped his fingers again. "Or Rocky Mountain High, John Denver? No, that's not it." He paused thinking again. "I know, Sweet Home Alabama!" He looked over at his brother.

Dean's mouth had gone slack. "Sam those are songs," he managed. "You're not gonna…"

"Maybe Alabama's too close to sea level, huh." Sam ignored Dean's groan. "Uhhhhm…oh here we go…" Sam cleared his throat.

Dean flinched and managed to keep his hands on the wheel. He raised his shoulder to press against his ear. Sam could not sing. Sam-did-not-sing in enclosed spaces. They'd once used his little brother's voice drive a gremlin out of airliner grounded at the Wichita airport.

Sam started the song enthusiastically. "I'm leeevin', on a jet plane. Don't know when I'll be back again. Ooh babe, I haaate, to gooooo…"

"Oh God. Sam, stop! I'm feeling better now. Sam!" Dean reached desperately for a cassette, any cassette. His fingers closed on one just as Sam started into the chorus again. He jammed it into the player and hit the play button. AC/DC blasted out of the speakers. Dean cranked it up.

Sam's solo turned into a satisfied grin.

Dean hit the gas.

Cue music. Wide shot. Tail end of the Impala speeding down the winding road. Sun a big round ball coming up on the horizon.


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