"For the Quest is achieved, and now all is over. I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things." ~Frodo Baggins (J.R.R. Tolkien)
The air around us is fire, bright and violent and somehow cold. Flames dance in our eyes, a sight too familiar to both of us.
"I'm glad it's you," he says, breathless. "I'm glad it's us."
I huff out a laugh, voice cracking like thawing ice. "Like it would be anybody else."
He laughs too. Thin, fragile, fading. We both are.
"Sam..." The words are caught in my throat. But I need to speak them, to give them life, to make him understand all the things I haven't been strong enough to say for too-
"I know, Dean." My stuttering heart slows, pauses. "Right back at you, jerk."
The world around us is dissolving. The World. Not Ours. It was never ours really. The flame around me flickers. There are still so many things I want to say, about family and love, sticking together, overcoming everything, living to fight another day. But I'm tired. I'm so tired.
"I can't do this alone," I whisper, closing my eyes. Death is somehow scariest when it comes slowly.
Sound is being swallowed up with every minute that passes, but I can still hear his smile. That cheeky dimpled goddamn grin. "Yes you can," he says.
"Yeah, well," I grind out. "I don't want to."
The words burn in my throat. Everything burns, in the end. Sammy reaches toward me, grasping my arm.
"Don't have to," he says, coughing dryly. "Not alone."
I use the last of my reserves to turn toward him, every nerve in my body flaring and dying in the same motion. He's already looking at me, all floppy hair and puppy dog eyes. He is two years old, saying "D'n" as he stumbles toward me. He is thirteen and staring as though I have all the answers. He is twenty-two and grief stricken, twenty-six and falling backwards, thirty-six and staring down the barrel of my gun, pleading and begging and trusting me more than he has any right to.
The sky is still burning around us. Sammy glances up. "Kind of like fireworks," he says. We are kids again, Impala a solid weight at our backs, colors dancing across our faces. We're both smiling. Maybe this is the end. Maybe it's just another beginning. Maybe it doesn't matter.
"Yeah," I breathe. "Like fireworks."