This Bitter Cup
coda/outtake to Finally Gets Home
Summary: "You should go up. Don't let him wake up alone."
Warnings: Language. Will make no sense if you haven't read the companion stories. Really. Context.
The characters and situations portrayed here are not mine, they belong to the WB. This is a fan authored work and no profit is being made. Please do not link to this story without appropriate warnings. Please do not archive this story without my permission.
His jaw still tingles from the slap.
He'd forgotten Sarah has a temper on her -- it doesn’t show itself very often and it tends to come out of nowhere when it blows, but he did know about it.
He figures he got off easy. It was a…vicious thing to say, and while Dean's pretty honest about most of his faults, he doesn't really number being deliberately vicious and cruel to people he cares about among them.
And he does care about Sarah. A lot. Maybe more than he should -- except no. No…if anyone is proof of a stand up, kick fate in the teeth example of not letting doubt or fear stand in the way of what you want, it's Sarah, because otherwise he suspects Sam would still be living alone and possibly Dean as well and there would be no point to any of it.
He's learned that too, finally. Maybe not well, but he knows it.
She'd been right to call him on it, and he'd gotten off lightly because if it had been Sam…Sam would have used his fist, and possibly kicked him once he hit the ground.
He's at the top of the stairs when it really hits him, despite his talk with Sarah.
So, last night was a little clearer than he'd like but before that…before that it all got kind of fuzzy and vague and the last truly conscious thought he'd had was that he had to call Sam, had to call Sam to come get Charlie before he totally lost it. Thought didn't always follow actions and thank God Charlie was the smart little wonder she was
He was kind of surprised that he'd even had any idea what was happening, because one minute he was listening to Charlie talk about her day school, and the next thing it was like she was talking to him and he could hear her but she was getting ever distant, ever further away from him.
Coming back had been similar but in reverse and it had been Sam calling him back, Sam's voice/presence/need. Whatever-the-hell-all-of-what-Sam-is beneath face and smile and voice and presence who had pulled back gauze or cotton or just nothingness to get to him.
It didn't surprise him. Not that Sam had answered, not that he'd done it, again. That he'd managed to pull Dean back out of whatever kind of spring-loaded trap this thing had become. Not even surprised at what Sam had been willing to offer, had offered, asked for, given -- there weren't even words for it -- Sacrifice didn't begin to cover it.
Temptation was closer.
Temptation was fucking on target and Dean knew it and Sam knew it and the only thing Dean wasn't sure of was if Sam knew Dean knew, or if Sam knew how easy it would be for Dean just to let him wear all of him like a second skin and never, ever, have to feel the agony of separation again. Sam was the only one who had the keys because Dean had damn well forced them on him without even knowing he was doing it.
He was half-afraid that what had triggered the whole episode was some kind of sub-conscious soul-weariness that was just ready to let someone else have it all, someone stronger, someone better able to deal with the ugliness out there…
Sam might think that Dean burned brighter and clearer than he did, but all the illumination did was show him how ugly and cold and unconquerable the dark underside of the beast called life was.
And God, Sam.
The coffee he held could be pure courage and this would still be hard. Impossible.
He pushed the door open anyway.
It was dim but not dark, and for all Sam's size he looked ridiculously small curled up in the center of his and Sarah's king-sized bed.
And God, the room reeked of sex and sweat and probably fear.
Sam was still asleep but it wouldn't last long, couldn't the closer Dean got to the bed and even as he turned to close the door Sam was already stirring, shifting, a frown marking his previously passive face.
Don't let him wake alone.
Sarah really had no idea what that meant.
He settled on the bed before Sam could fully wake, not surprised when his touch on Sam's arm settled him rather than woke him up further. The frown smoothed out, the tension in Sam's body just bled.
Dean couldn't feel it, he could only see it, watch it…wonder how much damage he'd managed to wreak this time.
For Dean it was always internal, still his own, no matter how fucked up.
For Sam it was physical as well, all of him, everything. Tossing himself into the drowning pool with nothing but his own strength to pull them both up and out again. And yes, wearing Dean like a sodden overcoat until he could break the surface and shed him again.
Except it left Sam naked and raw and exposed in a way that was only barely tolerable.
He twisted to set his coffee cup down and turned back to find Sam's eyes on him.
Before, then, Sam had managed to shunt it off; jokes and snark masking concern and fear. Touches and reaction offering relief and release.
This was different.
He'd put himself inside his brother's body and Sam had let him.
Dean could neither forget nor ignore the sharp thrill of pleasure that had brought him, or how it whispered to him now. Sarah thought permission was all that was needed.
There was nothing Sam wouldn't offer and Dean knew down to his soul that he wasn't strong enough to say no. Maybe it wasn't rape or even abuse but it was still…it was still--
"I'm not Charlie," Sam said evenly.
"Wipe that look off your damn face, or I will."
Dean didn't even know what look was on his face but he changed it anyway and Sam rolled his eyes before pushing up, propping himself on one arm, then grabbing the back of Dean's head and bringing their mouths together.
Okay, so Dean was kind of expecting Sam to punch him. He didn’t even know how to react at first, but Sam was insistent and pushy like he always was and his lips and teeth teased and prodded and finally he bit Dean's bottom lip hard enough to make him open his mouth.
Which was pretty much all she wrote.
Sam's hair under his fingers was kind of tangled at the ends, silkier further up on his skull.
Something like delight tingled through Dean's blood, made his skin prickle but there wasn't the same sudden blinding arousal or even need driving blood to his balls and his groin, just an easy warmth, familiar, welcome even.
Sam's arm started to give out and Dean caught him, eased him back and down, leaning over him. Their mouths parted and he found himself being grinned at -- possibly mocked. "Want to fuck me again?" Sam asked, grin wide and completely amused.
"Oh, God, Sam." Dean rubbed a hand over his eyes and face. And he thought Sarah was being tough.
Sam pulled his hand away, expression far more serious. "Do you?"
Not, do you, because you can, but really…did he?
He actually didn't. Yeah, his dick was a little full and warm, but no more so than any other morning with or without reason. "No. Not really."
Dean's eyes narrowed, "Not that you aren't a good lay, Sammy, but…"
Sam's grin got wider, but his eyes went all soft and gentle and God…
"Just kill me now."
"Sorry. No rest for the wicked," Sam said but his hand came up, broad palm and a thumb sweeping across Dean's face. "It's a thing, Dean…when you need, what you need…it's different."
Dean flopped down next to him, studying the ceiling. "No shit."
After a moment he cast his eyes sideways only to look away quickly. What you need, when you need it…
He couldn’t offer any less, didn't want to. "Do you want me to fuck you again?" he asked quietly.
Sam's laugh was a little sharp and bitter. Bingo. "No. Thanks. Not right now. My ass is still sore. And do not apologize for that. I will kick you into next week."
"I'm never apologizing for the size of the goods, Sammy," Dean said which made Sam laugh again, with less of an edge to it. Dean rolled over and rested his hand in the middle of Sam's chest, studied his face.
Sam's eyes met his only briefly and Dean felt that slice that Sam couldn't quite pull back in time but then it was gone. He pressed his lips to Sam's forehead and then rolled over to reclaim his coffee, taking a deep swallow. It was bitter and hot and made his eyes water.
"Give me some of that," Sam said, demanding and absolute. Dean passed the cup over without a word and grabbed a couple of extra pillows, leaning back and watching while Sam sipped. "You want to tell me what happened?"
It wasn't as bad as with Sarah, because most of it Sam already knew -- substance just not form. "Case in Baltimore…fire in a low rent apartment complex. Arson," he said quietly. It wasn't quite so painful or immediate now. Still pointless and such a massive tragedy. Little piles of ash in the basement that shouldn't have been there. That no one knew were there. No mother or father had come forward to claim them, no adults had been found.
Dean wiped at his face again and Sam passed the cup back, solemn and sorry. "Could have been us once. Maybe."
"Dad would have claimed us," Sam said.
Yeah, he would have.
Sam had rolled to his stomach, stretched crosswise on the bed, pajama bottoms riding low but mostly what Dean noted were the scars, faded and pale now, scattered across Sam's back and shoulders, rather than any sudden desire for his brother's body. Wondering if Sarah knew how ticklish Sam was just above his hips. She probably did.
He passed the cup back, let Sam have the rest of it.
He wanted to say, to offer, but the words wouldn't come. He nudged Sam with his foot.
Sam looked at him.
Unguarded. Raw. Exposed.
Guilty. Both of them.
Anything. Everything. Anytime.
I love you.
But it was Sarah who brought him pop tarts.