Summary: Dean will always be Sam's big brother.
Notes: My first fic in MONTHS that wasn't done for a challenge. That felt good. And it's gen. Huh. Thank you to samescenes for a super quick kick-ass beta! Title and cut from This Year's Love by David Gray.
Dean swings his legs beneath the table, kicking him in the shins.
"And what'll it be for you, hon?" the waitress asks, licking at her pencil before taking down his order.
"Early bird special and some coffee, please," Sam says.
She nods and makes her way to the back to hand the order over to the kitchen. Sam watches as she tucks a strand of hair back into the graying bun hanging low at the back of her neck. She's pretty, in a tired sort of way.
Sam circles another obit as Dean spills little mountains of salt onto the table.
"Stop that," Sam grates out between clenched teeth when he spots the waitress coming over with his order.
Dean grins and steals a fry from his plate.
Take care of your brother. I'll be back by Sunday," John says, heaving the duffel over his shoulder.
"Yes, sir," Dean answers, back ramrod straight. Sam stands behind Dean, tightly gripping the hem of his brother's shirt with his tiny fingers.
"Call Jim if you need to, he's close. But only if it's an emergency, you hear?"
Sam interviews the dead miner's wife. He gets in the door easily, barely has to flash the fake badge. Dean always says no one can resist his sympathetic face.
"Can you tell me how he died?" he asks, settling back into the couch. He carefully balances the warm cup of coffee on his knee and takes an oatmeal cookie from the plate she offers him.
"They said it was an accident, the lift malfunctioned." She dabs at the corner of her eyes with a pink handkerchief. There are small purple flowers embroidered around the edges. "But I'll tell you now, it was no accident. My Andy told me he had a bad feeling about that thing ever since they got that new firm to service it two months ago. He didn't trust them. Said they had shifty eyes."
"So you think they may have sabotaged it?" Sam says, sitting forward so can check on the car through the window.
Dean is sitting in the driver's seat, thumping his fists against the steering wheel in time to the music loudly blaring from the radio. Sam catches his eye and scowls at him. Dean gives him a wide grin and two thumbs up.
"Dean!" Sam screams.
Dean jerks awake and the shotgun falls from his limp fingers to the floor with a loud clatter.
Sam sees the horror on his brother's face when he realizes he fell asleep and then he screams again.
"And there's no record that the company ever existed?" Sam scribbles in his notebook as Pete, the manager, shakes his head.
"I could have sworn there was a signed order. Wouldn't have let them touch a thing without one. But now I can't find it and head office says they never hired them."
"What about the service record? They must have signed off on it."
Pete scratches at his bald spot, flakes of dandruff falling onto his shoulders like snow. He fishes a piece of paper from the second drawer of his desk and hands it over to Sam wordlessly.
Sam takes it and tilts it so that Dean can see it too. All of the details have been filled in, but where the signature should be a hole has been burned straight through the paper.
"Let him go, you piece of shit," Dean says.
Sam forgets about his terror for a second, stares wide-eyed at Dean. Dad would wash out his mouth with soap if he heard him swearing like that. Dean points down at the floor, one of the secret hand signals Dad taught them. Be ready.
Sam nods, and when Dean's hand curls into a fist, jams his elbow back as hard as he can.
The thing lets go and Sam tumbles to the ground, free. Dean jumps at it, and Sam hears him yelling as they fall backwards in a twisted heap.
"Run, Sammy, run!"
They were cousins. Fell to their deaths when the company cut some corners in the servicing of the lifts.
It's the first time they encounter two spirits haunting in tandem, but Dean just shrugs and takes an extra shotgun.
They're a mean pair of motherfuckers, fighting dirty and desperate until they've got Sam pinned down in a dark corner. Dean launches himself at them with a wordless scream and Sam has to shield his eyes from the maelstrom of dirt and dust they throw up as they struggle.
With a blinding flash of white light it's over. It cuts through the unnatural darkness, dispelling it back to where it belongs.
"Dean?" Sam calls out hesitantly as he gets to his feet. His eyes are having trouble focusing as he searches for his brother in the murky half light.
Dean is packing their gear back into the duffel, zipping it shut with a flourish. He quirks an eyebrow at Sam, his age old way of asking you coming?
Sam makes it as far as the door before his heart catches up with his head. Swallowing down his terror, he turns back for Dean.
Dean is looking at him as it rips his heart out through his chest. Sam sees his brother's blood dripping down the walls, soaking into the carpet and then he runs.
Sam wakes up in the middle of the night, the summer breeze blowing the curtain up high enough for the streetlight to shine into his eyes. He looks over at Dean sitting in the wooden chair at the foot of the bed, shotgun in hand as he watches over Sam, before turning on his side and going back to sleep.
In the morning he holds Dean's little hand in his as they cross the road to the diner for breakfast.