The darkness seemed to reflect itself in the paintwork of the black car as it sped through the obscurity of the deserted countryside.
Inside the two young men were wrapped up in their own individual thoughts.
Here we go again, the bearer of the name sighed to himself. The single word was enough to warn him of what was coming.
It was pronounced in Sam's broody "I've been thinking about this since we left the last motel" voice, and he readied himself for his brother's forthcoming emo-fest.
"Yeah, Sam?" Dean answered keeping his voice neutral.
"What do you think will happen to us?"
Dean waited for him to continue but that was all he was going to get, as Sam had stopped and was obviously waiting for an answer.
He turned his head towards the passenger seat.
"What sort of question is that Sam? I could answer it by saying that if we don't find a gas station soon, we'll be walking to the next town. I think you need to qualify that a little bit, bro."
Sam stared at him as if he was stupid.
"Don't glare at me like that Sammy. Last time I looked I wasn't a mind-reader. You've been brooding ever since we got into the car. You can't expect me to know what's going through that big brain of yours."
"I mean after, Dean!" Sam declared, as if what he was asking was completely evident.
"Well, Sammy. That sure helps a lot, "after"! After what may I ask?"
"Dean are you being dumb on purpose?"
"Hey, just who are you calling dumb, Sasquatch. If you ask me a question that could have a thousand answers, how am I supposed to guess the right one?"
"After we die, Dean!" Sam huffed, exasperated at the lack of empathy shown by his big brother.
'Here we go. I knew it! I can tell a mile away when he's brooding', Dean confirmed to himself.
"Well Sam, how am I supped to answer that? You're the psychic boy in the family, if I'm not mistaken. You tell me. Is this what you've been occupying your mind with? Haven't we got enough crap to worry about just getting through each day without fretting about what's gonna happen after we die?"
But Sam insisted, eyes wide and earnest. "It's important,Dean. What we do could kill us in a second and what if...if... we die separated from each other, if I end up in Hell and you in Heaven. What if we never see each other again after….."
Dean sighed and pulled the car over to the side of the deserted road.
He had to nip this in the bud right now otherwise Sam would go on and on about it. He was like a dog with a bone, gnawing away at it until it drove Dean mad.
He switched off the engine and turned to his little brother.
"This job has given us some privileges that others don't have, right? We know the supernatural exists. We've been to Heaven, Hell, met angels, demons. We know things.
We've been there, done it all. Okay?"
Sam nodded waiting.
"You remember Ash and Joshua saying we'd been to Heaven more than once, about 'Winchesterland' being us together?"
"Yeah, Dean, but how do we know it was true? Maybe Zachariah, created that little reality for us on purpose, to make us think we were in Heaven, that God had deserted the Earth, that the Apocalypse was inevitable and we had to accept being the vessels for Lucifer and Michael.
Castiel always said that you were the righteous man and I was the abomination. Maybe that's the truth. Maybe there's never been any hope for me, nothing I can do to redeem myself." Sam's voice rose in agitation as Dean stared at him incredulously.
"Sam, you spent one hundred and eighty years in Hell, tortured by Lucifer himself. I would rate that as a big redemption if you ever needed one, which I never believed you did, by the way"
"No, Dean, it was my punishment for letting Lucifer loose." his brother insisted.
"Sam!" Dean was starting to get desperate; his brother was sliding down into his self-sacrificing, "I'm to blame for all the ills of the world" persona.
"Enough, Sammy," Dean's heart was heavy for his brother. "I don't know what's going to happen to us when we finally kick the bucket, but what I do know is this; where you go, I will follow!"
"If you end up in Hell," he lifted his hand to stop Sam from butting in, "I'll be there too and we'll turn into a cute pair of demons, and if you go to Heaven, I'll storm the pearly gate and hustle St Peter himself to get in."
He took his brother's shoulders between his hands and shook him, trying to get his point across.
"You got that Sam. I went to Hell for you and I'd do it a thousand times over. Do you really think there's any being, natural or supernatural that can keep the Winchester brothers apart? Whatever happens after, we will ALWAYS be together. I'll make sure of that. Does that answer your question, Sammy?
Was that what you wanted me to say or would you rather go off to the afterlife on your own?"
Sam just shook his head. He felt the tears welling up in his eyes at his brother's attestation of love.
"Where you go I will follow." Yes, thought Sam, that summed up perfectly all that had been troubling him, and it worked both ways.
To the ends of the universe, and beyond Heaven and Hell if necessary.
Dean drove the car onto the road again, and before long he smiled to himself as he saw his brother dozing off into sleep.
Sam had already known everything he'd told him, but the big princess had to hear it over and over, always believing that he was deserving of nothing, not even of his brother's love.
Well Dean would remind him as often as necessary. Sam was his world now and after.