He has his eyes closed against the summer sun’s glare when Dean’s piercing wolf-whistle jerks him upright and scrambling to make sure he still has his phone safely in hand. “Hey there, Aurora,” Dean drawls. “Thought I asked you to guard the car, not use her for a bed.” He’s carrying a paper bag almost the size of his torso, with faint grease stains spreading across one side, wafting out a smell so delicious Sam’s tempted to just grab the thing from Dean so he can stick his head all the way inside and inhale.
The lot has emptied a little since Sam first came out, leaving Dean with enough room to give the Impala a full 360° inspection— “Since you were sleeping on the job, Sam. Last time I give you sentry duty—next time you can spend half an hour jammed between a biker who hasn’t taken a shower since 2005 and a mom with a screaming baby and five kids who keep hitting each other.”
“I really was just resting my eyes,” Sam all but laughs, because this is the Dean he loves so dearly and has almost lost—almost killed—too many times. “I opened them whenever I heard a car engine, I promise.” He shimmies off the hood and shoehorns himself in the passenger side of the car in a motion worn smooth from a lifetime of practice.
Dean’s still grumbling to himself as he drops their lunch into the back seat. “You and I ever carried on like that, Dad would have tanned our hides right here in the parking lot.” Which had happened, exactly once, and the thought of it sobers Sam a little.
“I hope you’re not going to make us wait on the food until we get back to Fall River,” he says as Dean guides the car out of the lot and into the stream of traffic. “The smell will probably drive me mad long before we get there.”
“Nah,” Dean answers, casting a casual arm across the back of the seat and slouching a little. “Figured we might as well enjoy the scenery a little before we get back on the highway.” He glances over at Sam, unease suddenly palpable. “Unless you got an alert on your phone—?”
Now it’s Sam’s turn to reassure—he shakes his head. “Nothing except your text message. And dude, when I have ever said yes to corn dogs?”
Dean grins at him, tension gone like it had never existed. “When you were nine and ate five in one sitting.”
“Yeah, and then I spent all night making best friends with the toilet bowl.” For an instant Sam’s mouth is filled with remembered taste of those corn dogs coming back up, spoiling the smell of their waiting lunch and tangling his stomach into knots. “And don’t tell me yet again that it was probably the fried chicken that did it.”
“Okay, I won’t,” Dean agrees, amiable in a way that would have set off warning bells in times past. Now, though, Sam’s just happy to have his brother well and truly back.
They ride in comfortable silence for a couple more minutes, which is broken only by a muttered insult from Dean when someone runs a light on them during a left-hand turn. But Sam doesn’t bat an eye at it, or even turn away from studying the gypsy moth-blighted scenery out his window—Dean driving the Impala is still the safest thing he knows.