Dean sat with Sam in the nearly empty Amtrak station, waiting for the boarding call. Sam’s leg bounced like water on a hot skillet while the rest of him slouched as if he hadn’t a care in the world. His growth spurt barely over, Sam’s legs sprawled like a skeeter-eater that had once-upon-a-childhood had him in a panic.
Dean popped his gum.
“Dad said I can never come back,” Sam muttered, staring at the advertisements covering the opposite wall.
“He’s full of it,” Dean said.
“He meant it,” Sam contradicted. “And I won’t. I won’t ever go back.”
Dean turned and leaned one shoulder against the hard orange plastic of the chair. “What he said doesn’t matter. You can always come back to me. Anytime you want.”
Sam shrugged, but wasn't quite teenage rebel enough to avoid checking Dean’s expression for sincerity from the corner of his eye.
“You gonna come see me on the holidays?” Sam asked.
Dean faced forward again and focused on arranging his own slouch and sprawl. “If I can,” he said finally.
Sam swallowed and nodded.
The PA system crackled and emitted a barely comprehensible boarding call.
“That’s you,” Dean said unnecessarily. Sam was already reaching for his duffle.
Dean followed Sam to the gate, feeling more than a little useless but not able to force their farewell one moment sooner than it had to be. The line was short, being a non-peak trip.
Sam shifted bags to free up his right hand and extended it to Dean.
Dean tried to swallow but couldn’t, and he ignored the outstretched hand to grip his brother in a hug. Sam returned it for a moment, but soon started to squirm and push Dean away.
“Shut up and take it, jerk,” Dean choked out, chin digging into Sam’s shoulder. “This could be the last time I see you.”
Sam awkwardly patted the leather on Dean’s shoulder, and finally dropped his bag to hold Dean tightly for a minute.
Eyes prickling, Dean sniffed noisily as he finally released his brother. He didn’t mention that Sam’s eyes were also wet, merely clasped Sam’s shoulder and smiled with pride.
“Knock ‘em dead,” he said, and then he turned and walked away.