Maybe it's for the best. Angels, ghosts, God. Throw enough at anyone and their brain trips the breaker. Sam's heard angels call it limitation. Scornfully: Human limitation. But it's a protective measure and Sam knows it'll be the thing that really saved this girl, this woman. Intelligent design.
He touches their backs. Stay present, he means, though they'll never know it because they don't know him, he is will always be a stranger. Most of the universe is not universal.
Dean touches him, but it's about the past, not the present. He says something about childhood, which is also past, but he's really still thinking about the moment Sam pulled the trigger, and maybe about the moment he didn't. How it hadn't mattered. Jack is still dead. Dean isn't, but he may as well be. He's still living in that moment, circuit-broken. He's the only one of the two of them who gives a shit about a bullet wound. To Sam all that feels like ancient past.
Sam looks at Dean and knows you don't need to be God to split universes. That, they can do on their own. Maybe that's his dream feeling--he's standing at the edge of the universe. It has more edges than it once did.
We still saved people, Sam insists. They saved 3,027 in Harlan alone, by Castiel's count.
Sam feels himself shift weight to his heels, like he's pulling away from an edge.
Deep down, he knows those words only matter because he's not thinking about the after. The bodies that girl will find again tonight, because they're seared behind her eyelids. The red he saw when Cas tried to heal this wound, the smell of it. (It's taste, Sam.) But that's how you get through this.
Sam smells rubbing alcohol.
Dean says something about you and me and every soul in Hell.
Sam tastes rubbing alcohol.
I like those odds, Dean says. He doesn't, really, but he likes the you and me. And maybe he doesn't give a shit about bullet wounds or God even whether anything matters.
You and me, Dean says. Fuses their universes back together, like it doesn't matter what universe it is. It doesn't matter what's left in, or out. So long as it's you and me.
Sam rounds the car, still feeling like there's too much dream left in. He sits. He sighs. He wonders what happens if you fall asleep in a dream.
"Where the fuck do you think you're going?" says Belphagor, and pries the door back open.
There is a gas leak in Harlan, Kansas.