The Epic Love Story of Sam and Dean

These are the days that will last forever
You've got to hold them in your heart.
- "These Are the Days," by Van Morrison

December 2008 –






"I got you coffee yesterday, remember that?"

"Yeah, and yesterday was California, not the fucking North Pole."

"It's your car."

"Bullshit. It's your car, too."

Sam breaks off in the middle of his reply to stare at Dean, who almost bites through his tongue and wants nothing more than to punch the giant shit-eating grin that erupts on Sam's face. "So I guess I should get to drive our car sometime, huh?"

Dean concedes the war to win the battle; he dangles the keys in midair. "Sure thing, princess. In fact, here's your chance right now."

Sam rolls his eyes, but he's dug his own grave. "Fine. If I don't come back, burn my computer and scatter the ashes at Microsoft headquarters." He hunches deeper into his jacket and lays a hand on the doorknob.

"Sam, if you don't come back, I'm turning our computer into the non-stop porn portal it was always meant to be." Dean scampers back to the bed furthest from the door and pulls the comforter up. He hooks his chin over the top to smile cheerily at his younger brother. "Chop chop."

Sam makes an inelegant noise, then opens the door. Even across the room, Dean feels the blast of cold air that spikes into the room's warm bubble. A few snowflakes swirl in past Sam's head as he steps out into the night and pulls the door shut behind him against the force of the wind.

A different kind of ice blossoms in Dean's stomach. He fights it down, rubbing his hands across his belly; it's a purely Pavlovian response to Sam not being here, outside Dean's sight and reach.

For almost two years, the prospect of Sam being anywhere but right next to him has done more than twist the knots in Dean's stomach, it’s made him crazy. Panicked. It hasn't happened often, especially not towards the end when there were demon-black eyes, a hunter's rifle, or a SWAT team around every corner. Dean doesn't have any more illusions about his ability to protect Sam, but he'd clung to a twisted hope that he could at least walk around that corner first.

He still knows that he doesn't want to be alive whenever Sam gets around to actually dying. There won't be enough left of him to even seek revenge if vengeance is warranted; even if Sam croaks in his sleep, forty years down the road, Dean does not want to do the whole shake-the-body-scream-the-name routine. No, no, and no, he's not doing that shit. Imagining it is enough to make him sick.

Dean blows out a long breath and forcibly pushes the thoughts aside. All that's in the past now. They've beaten the demon; the few remaining hunters have wisely elected to leave them alone; according to the FBI, they're both dead and buried. That doesn't mean they spend their days prancing through government facilities and laughing it up at Ellen's bar. They lay low and keep to themselves.

Keep totally to themselves.

Dean hesitates on that train of thought, reluctant; it's been circling his brain for days, though, sneaking little bites off the edges until it can't be ignored.

It’s been… different these past two years. Dean snorts. Yeah, real 'different'. You don't get much more 'different' than your little brother's hand down your pants, or his dick in your mouth. For two years he’s rationalized it – give Dean an ugly truth and he can argue, deny, and dance his way past it until he's worn himself down to a splinter. Still, he'd held out against Sam, against his own desperate need for months, and had practically turned them both inside-out in the process.

Dean probably would have made it on his own, but watching that spiral of loneliness and despair eat his brother from the inside had been his undoing. Self-denial he can manage, but denying Sam isn't a trick he can pull off for long. So he'd danced, found ways to justify it to himself. Soldiers in the trenches took comfort where they could. That all it was; just the two of them keeping their heads down and looking out for one another in every way they could.

For two years, that's worked pretty good for everyone involved. Trouble is, all that's in the past now. It's the present that Dean's not too clear about.

He's put off thinking about it as long as he could, denying and avoiding and dancing, but there it is: he really needs to stop sleeping with Sam.

The demon's dead. They're not being hunted. The war's over. Any excuses he's managed to conjure for letting this go on have evaporated and it's time to come squarely back to reality, where brothers are brothers and don't slip into each other's beds at night for a quick jerk off session with the covers pulled over their heads like a couple of kids.

That brings the tight feeling back to his stomach.

A honk from outside interrupts his thoughts. Dean winces and rolls to his feet. Sam has pulled the Impala around to the building's front to idle in the parking lot; Dean slides across the ice to the Impala's side and raps a knuckle on the window.

The door doesn't unlock immediately. Dean frowns and cups his hands around his eyes, leaning down to peer through the foggy glass. Inside, Sam has his head cocked to one side, tapping his chin in the mockery of deep consideration. Dean growls and yanks at the door handle. "Sam," he bellows, shuddering against the cold. "You little bitch, unlock the door!"

The window creaks and then lowers a crack, but not enough for Dean to snake a hand inside. Sam speaks through the narrow opening. "Hey, baby. How much?"

"I will pee in your bed."

"Our bed, you mean?"

Dean pauses, heart skittering, then tamps that feeling down ruthlessly. No more of that - - it's not allowed. "I'll pee on the computer."

"Oh, fine." The door finally opens and Dean flings himself inside. Sam grins across the seat at him then breaks into laughter as Dean lunges for him.

They're both way too big for it, they bang their heads and elbows, honk the horn. Dean shoves his fingers under Sam's sweater and Sam yelps at the cold touch, flailing and kicking. The Impala shakes with the force of their struggle, but Sam finally enforces a stalemate by wrapping his mile-long legs around Dean's waist.

Dean has one arm braced against the driver's door, shaking with cold and exertion and other things. Sam has his whole long body snugged against Dean's and he's grinning up at him, teeth and eyes bright; there's just no rationalizing what that does to Dean, that smile. He's seen few enough of them in the last two years that the sudden proliferation in the last few months has him reeling, has him hard and aching before he gets another cold breath.

"Christ," he says, and his voice comes out a lot less steady that he’d like. "You're such a girl." He tries to push up and wriggle free; dumb idea, seeing as how that just grinds their bodies together in all the right ways, makes his body's response that much more obvious.

Sam's grin changes, becomes something else that makes Dean swallow. Sam’s legs tighten, throwing Dean off balance; Dean's arm loses its purchase on the door and he falls against Sam. Their noses collide.


"Ow! Fuck, you dumbass."

"Sorry." But he's not, not at all; Sam's laughing again and the muscles in his stomach twitch against Dean's belly. Dean shivers and knows that Sam can feel it. "Y'okay?"

"Yeah, yeah. No thanks to you, you giant dork." He reaches out blindly, seeking a handhold and finding nothing. "You wanna let me go now?"

"In a minute," Sam answers, and his voice hits that low register that sends all of Dean's blood rushing through his veins. Sam still has his legs wrapped around Dean's, so he just slides them down a few inches and tightens, and then he starts to rock. Just a little bit at first, a tiny flex of his thigh muscles, teasing.

Breath goes out of Dean's mouth in a hiss; he squeezes his eyes shut against the side of Sam's neck. "I – I though you wanted to go out. To the bar."

"In a minute," Sam murmurs back, laughing, and fuck Dean does not need to have that deep voice right in his goddamned ear, doing all sorts of things to his dick and his heart. His fingers fumble for purchase on the steering wheel and Dean heaves himself off Sam. His blood is racing south, making him dizzy.

Sam blinks up at him. His grin fades. Dean settles himself back in the passenger seat and scrubs a quick hand over his hot face. "C'mon, we're gonna miss happy hour."

There's enough silence from the other side of the car that he finally bites the bullet and looks over. Sam sits up slowly, his eyes narrowed. "Dean."

It's right on the tip of his tongue, has been for weeks, and finally it spills over. "I don't think we should –do this. Anymore." Weak, very weak. It almost sounds like a question. Dean takes a breath to steel himself, barrels forward like a plow through snow. "Look, man, you've gotta know this already. We – it's not okay. It was never okay, it was just… something we had to do to get by."

When Sam doesn't answer immediately, Dean sneaks another quick glance at him; Sam's tapping the steering wheel with one finger, eyes watching that movement. His eyes and mouth are set in hard lines and Dean's heart sinks.

"This is like Stanford, isn't it?" Sam finally asks, his voice flat. "When you tried to ditch me."

"I didn't ditch you!"

Sam laughs, but it's nothing like before; it's ugly, mean. Another knot twists up in Dean's stomach, awful pressure on his chest. "You took me out to California and tried to drive off without me. I think that's the definition of 'ditching' someone."

"I thought… y'know, that it's what you wanted."

Sam looks at him sharply. "And you think this is what I want? Right now?" Despite the heat in his voice, there's uncertainty in his eyes and a little bit of hurt.

Dean swallows, determined. He can do this, he can. Before he can second-guess himself, he says rapidly, "It's still incest, Sammy. I mean, we're still brothers here."

Sam blanches. Dean feels sick, almost wants the words back.

They sit in silence for a minute as fat snowflakes fall against the windshield. "We did this before," Sam murmurs, almost lost in the engine's hum. He's looking out the window, away from Dean. "Back at the beginning, that first time. It sucked then, too."

Dean wets his lips. "That was different."


"You know… we had to. It was either that or lose our minds. It was different, Sam."

Sam's finger has gone back to tapping. He studies the gesture and asks, too casual, "Is that how you feel about it? That it was just something we had to do?"

It's right on the tip of Dean's tongue to say yes, that it had only ever been about necessity and never about real desire. There are just two problems with that: one, he's pretty damned sure that he'll never get to take it back, and two, he's not even certain that he believes it himself. He's done a lot of things in his life, but he tries not to lie to Sam.

Instead he says, "C'mon, man, I need a drink."

Sam's face tightens and for a moment Dean thinks he's going to push it; that would be just like Sam, never leaving things alone. He's always been kinda funny about this one thing, though, almost tentative. Unsure of himself. "Fine," he says, and puts the car into gear.

The bar's a faux-log-cabin deal, populated by an odd collection of skiers, snow-boarders, and loggers. By the time they get there, Sam has recovered enough of his usual stubbornness to be a complete ass: he takes his beer and bee-lines for a clump of local girls on the other side of the bar. The fuck you, Dean is pretty implicit.

After he gets over his initial surge of anxiety about Sam in public, people around him, danger Dean Winchester, DANGER, Dean finds himself a booth and settles in. The cold pit in his stomach remains and he knows that no amount of beer is going to warm it.

Some parka-wearing chick at the bar eyes him. She's probably a college student on winter break, here for Colorado's many fine skiing resorts; she's young and hot and no doubt loaded with cash. Before he even realizes it, though, Dean's sliding his eyes away from her. It's an ingrained habit to avoid drawing attention, to keep his head down. By the time he catches himself, she's looking away.

He chews the inside of his cheek. Looks for Sam. That's ingrained habit, too, seeking his brother's tall form in the crowd and not relaxing until he finds it. He's gotten used to sitting back while Sam interviews people – Sam could always get anyone to talk to him – but that doesn't mean Dean has ever liked it and he has to remind himself quickly that there's little to no chance of a demon lurking inside one of these long-limbed mountain girls.

Sam's clearly a hit, simply by being giant, goofy Sam; he's got two already on the hook, all flirty, shy smiles. Dean can't help it, he checks out their eyes, their body language. Wonders if he should pour some holy water in a glass and then wander over to bump into them both and oh-so-accidentally spill some of his drink on them.

Some habits are pretty hard to break.

Sam has only been back on his feet for a month after spending the whole autumn in a physical therapy clinic outside Kansas City. They'd both been pretty messed up after the last battle – Sam worse than Dean –  and there had been a week or so when no-one had been sure whether he'd walk again. He had, though, Sam-stubborn: slow at first, with one arm wrapped around a nurse or Dean for support. His back still hurts him, so Dean's been more careful about their selection in hotel beds than he was before. Still, Sam's back on his feet, still young enough that he could do anything he wanted. He has the occasional vision, yeah, but Dean could deal with the handful of demon possessions that crop up each year.

He has no idea what he wants for Sam. He knows he wants Sam to be happy, which is what the whole trip to Stanford had been about. Sam had taken exception to the plan, though. Violent, loud exception - - he dropped his shit on the sidewalk and ran after the car when Dean tried to pull out of the parking lot in Palo Alto. Punched Dean in the mouth and split his lip, eyes wild.

So, they're apparently not splitting up anytime soon. Which leaves Dean with a rather large problem, seeing as how he doesn't even know anymore how he feels about Sam.

There's another chick at the bar. Dean doesn't even glance in her direction and after a bit she moves on.

He's got some heavy thinking to do. Normally Sam’s the one who broods for hours and hours about this shit, but Dean’s got to get his head in the right place. Sam is like a steam roller when he argues, pushing things into a corner until Dean either has to admit defeat or start shouting. Sam looks for reasons and evidence, so Dean figures he’ll need to head him off at the pass.

After about an hour of thinking and watching Sam flirt, Dean figures that Sam would present six points of evidence.


1. He loves Sam.
Duh. Moving on.


2. He wants Sam.
April 2007 –
Dean woke with a lurch and found himself restrained. Not tightly, just the loose grip of Sam's arms around him, holding him from behind. Sam was a warm, limp weight against his back and the covers were pulled up over their heads.

Throwing off the sheets, Dean surged up, twisting and gasping, "Sammy. Sam. Sam, wake up." All the cautious distance evaporated in the heat of his panic and he crowded close to his brother in the dim light.

Sam's eyes peeled open, dark against his pale skin. "Hey," he croaked. "I'm okay, Dean."

Breath rattled in Dean's chest, a weird sob of emotion that he couldn't quite choke down. He fumbled for a light and pulled Sam up into a sitting position, not missing the wince that passed over Sam's face. There were dark bruises around both of Sam's eyes and cuts in his lips. His jaw looked swollen.

Dean looked at those wounds and thought I did that.

As if hearing his thoughts, Sam closed his hands over Dean's fists, holding them against his chest. "It wasn't you, Dean. You've been possessed for the last three days. It's Friday."

Dean swallowed and slowly unwound his fingers from Sam's shirt. He remembered bits of it, a few minutes from three whole days of lost time. He could remember feeling that thing get inside him and the pain of the exorcism. And he remembered his fists connecting with his brother's face, mostly because the demon had wanted him to see that part.

He'd been awake for a few minutes after the exorcism, too, long enough to see Bobby's tight, grim face and Sam's tearful, bleeding eyes.

He let go of Sam and passed hands through his hair, over his face. "Jesus."

"It wasn't you, Dean."

"I know, okay… just… gimme a minute here. I thought it was gonna…"

Sam reached for him again and Dean pulled away before he could stop himself. He'd been strict, ruthless, keeping Sam away from him. Keeping himself away from Sam. It'd been months and he still remembered every detail, every desperate sound that Sam had made. Still felt flayed alive whenever he looked at Sam's hands. Still felt close to snapping in two under the pull of this thing that he knew would drown them both.

Sam read the withdrawal and something in his face broke that had nothing to do with the bruises. He swung his legs over the other side of the bed.


"I'm okay, Dean. You should go back to sleep. I'll get us something to eat."

"Bullshit. You're not goin' anywhere lookin' like that." Dean touched his face, prodding his own bruises. From the feel of it, they weren't nearly as bad as Sam's. "We sure it's not circling back around to find us?"

Sam nodded, absently flicking at a hangnail. "Yep. Got the okay from Bobby and everything." He sounded distant, aloof.

"Okay." Dean watched him from the corner of his eye, his heart beating quick for some reason he couldn't immediately identify. "We still in Springfield?"

"Mm-hm." Sam left the hangnail alone and looked at the blank TV.

"Okay. I'll… go get us something to eat from the mini-mart. You want anything?"

Sam shrugged. He got up and went into the bathroom.

Dean practically sprinted through the mini-mart. He got a couple of sideways glances as he hastily scooped up some trail mix and anything else remotely healthy he could find. From the faint reflection on the glass freezer doors, he had a healthy shiner and a scrape on his jaw. His throat also ached like hell; Dean grabbed a bottle of cough syrup and chugged some as he waited in line to buy his processed, packaged dinner.

His knuckles were raw, swollen.

Jesus. It'd used his body to beat Sam half to death. Dean couldn't breathe, had to drop his head down onto his chest and focus on not passing out.

When he got back to the room twenty minutes later, Sam was still in the bathroom. The door hung open and Sam was brushing his teeth slowly, not at all focused on the action. His eyes looked blank and glassy, a million miles away, pulled way deep inside himself.

Seeing it sent a stab of something indescribable through Dean and everything else fell away in a heartbeat. Sam should be the boy with his arms extended out to the world, open smile and wonder. The boy that Dean knew should never have to wear that deadened, hopeless expression.

Like a light turning on in a room, he knew with sudden, perfect clarity that he'd do anything to take that look off his brother's face.

Need warred with fear and won. Dean set the bags down on the nearest bed and stood with his head bowed for a moment, just breathing. It’s sex, that’s all it is, he murmured to himself, barely audible, it’s just sex. It was so much more than that, though, and he couldn't even pretend that all of it was just for Sammy. He only knew that he had to get close to Sam right now, that he needed to make them both feel safe again, and he'd deal with anything that came after that.

Sam, thank God, didn't flinch when Dean crowded into the bathroom with him, though the bleakness stayed in his eyes. He took the toothbrush out of his mouth and asked, "What?" when Dean closed his fists in Sam's stained white undershirt again.

"Spit," Dean told him hoarsely.

Sam frowned but obliged and wiped his mouth. "I told you, I'm okay," he said, eyes sliding away then returning when Dean tugged at his shirt, turned him. "What're you – "

There were bruises on Sam's torso; Dean almost lost his nerve completely when he saw them, but then he lunged forward. Sam's mouth opened, probably in shock, and Dean slanted to slip his tongue past the salty cuts on Sam's lips. Sam’s tasted strongly of toothpaste and nothing else in particular; sparks didn’t fly around them, fireworks didn’t go off. It felt like a million other kisses and still Dean closed his eyes against the burn in his chest.

Sam took a step back and Dean followed, stumbling and pushing until he pinned Sam against the wall without breaking the kiss. If it could be called a kiss. It was more of a devouring.

After his initial surprise, Sam caught on quick and broke away. "Don't you – " he panted, eyes narrowed to almost nothing, fury making his face hard, but there was something so fragile underneath. "Don't."

Dean pressed closer, brushing Sam's hands aside when Sam tried to push him away. "It's not guilt, Sam," he croaked. "This isn't guilt."

"You don't have to," Sam insisted.

"Yeah, I do." Dean eased Sam's shirt up, mindful of the sore spots. "But not for you."

His heart was thundering and he still felt a little sick at himself, but when Sam finally groaned and yanked Dean's shirt off, the feeling of their bare skin pressing together sent a weird shockwave of relief through Dean. He couldn't get enough of it and slid his hands all over Sam, just feeling him, touching his pulse and chest and throat.

And after all of Dean’s agonizing, it sucked. He couldn’t get the angle right, kept changing his grip until Sam groaned in frustration; Sam kept dragging him in too close and trapping their hands between them; Dean’s teeth caught at the split in Sam’s lip, made him wince; they both shook so hard that Dean had to lock his knees just to stay upright. It was tense, clumsy groping in a nowhere bathroom and Dean couldn’t stop wondering what Dad would say if he was here to see this.

For all the obstacles, Sam still came in a minute flat, spun so tight that he couldn’t last. Dean didn't come at all: when Sam arched and spilled over their joined knuckles with a grunt, Dean's fears caught up and slammed into him, made him run. He went out into the rainy night with his shirt on inside-out and his brother's come still smeared on his hand.

Somehow it made him angrier than anything else: if he was going to sell off his soul, his self-respect, everything he had, then dammit the sex had better be good.

After an hour of walking the streets and punching random trees, Dean came back to the motel to find everything cleaned up, the lights off, and Sam tucked into bed. Dean was pretty sure he was faking, but didn't make a move in that direction, just climbed into his own cold bed and stared at the ceiling until dawn, plotting ways to blow his little brother’s mind.

Pride and nerves kept him from trying again for two weeks. Sam stayed quietly distant, like he had been after that werewolf chick in San Francisco. After Madison, Sam had been too afraid, too hurt, to let anyone else near him; that was Sam's only way to protect himself and it broke Dean's heart that Sam felt like he needed to do the same thing now. It also pissed him off.

So when he came back from hustling pool to find Sam staring at an infomercial with all the lights out and no heat, Dean didn't hesitate. He snatched the remote away and switched off the TV, then straddled Sam right there in the cold dark.

Sam's big hands pushed at his hips, trying to get away. "Dean – you don't want – "

"I like it when people talk dirty," Dean snapped, yanking Sam's wrists away and pinning them to the bed. "Hate tying 'em up but love holdin' 'em down. What about you, college boy?"

Sam laughed unsteadily, then broke off when Dean rolled his hips forward hard. Dean glared, felt himself shake. "Don't you fuckin' laugh at me. Don't, Sammy."

He couldn't keep the strain out of his voice. All traces of humor vanished from Sam's face and he focused with the same intensity that he usually applied to research. "I like," he said slowly, "I like, um, doing it in the shower. And in the morning, before I get up. Never had anyone hold me down before, but, ah," he was blushing furiously and his wrists moved a little in Dean's grip, experimental. "I… think I could… get used to it."

Dean watched the pink flush wash over Sam's face and throat. Sam stared back full of apprehension and something that looked a lot like hope. "Well," Dean said and leaned forward. "That's a start."


December 2008 –
He catches Sam looking for him, a hitch in Sam’s shoulders that only relaxes when they make eye contact. Just as quickly, Sam looks away; he goes back to listening to the girl on the left with a determined set to his jaw.

At least Dean isn't alone in his inability to break routine.

They haven't fucked anyone else for over a year. There was some chick in Tulsa that Dean picked up… he hadn't even liked her, couldn't remember the faintest detail about the whole episode except how frantic he'd been. The morning before, he'd woken up with Sam draped over him, sheets tangled around them both, and he'd panicked. They'd fought all day, sniping through exhaustion and tension until Dean stormed out and found Whoever-She-Was at a bar. He came back to the hotel room – smelling like her – to find Sam in the dark again, lying in bed and staring at the ceiling.

Sam had reacted to that misadventure pretty much exactly like he is now; his anger and hurt run double-strong, considering that he's both lover and brother. Before, he contented himself with stony silence; now, he grins down at this chick like he'll actually remember her tomorrow morning. She's cute in that smart, self-confident way that Sam goes for.

Dean eyes her and wonders if she'll ever get to know that Sam loves having a dick in his mouth. One of the great surprises of both their lives had been the moment that Sam took Dean's cock between his lips for the first time and just lit up; it'd been pretty okay with Dean, too.

Naw, she'll never get to know that part of Sam, unless she's got some surprises under her skirt. Dean still feels like strangling her.

So yeah, he wants Sam.


3. He's in love with Sam.
August '08 –
"At least the nurse is hot."

"She's in her forties, Dean."

"Discrimination, Sammy." Dean kicked his legs up on the corner of Sam's bed, careful not to touch the thick metal cast that held together his brother's left femur.

Sam scowled and threw an empty pudding cup at him. "You're not sleeping with my PT nurse, dickhead."

"What am I supposed to do while you heal up, then, huh? I got needs."

They've never talked about it beyond the logistics of the act itself – did you buy more and I like that, do it again and Sammy, fuck, gonna. "You have hands," Sam said at last. "So do I, for that matter." He paused, then said in a different voice, "Dean, if the doctor says – "

"You'll walk, Sammy," Dean cut him off. "We saved the world; the world owes us this one." Please, please gimme this one.

"If I don't," Sam said levelly, pressing the issue, "then I can still do research. I can still help."

Dean stared at him in shock. "I wouldn't leave you somewhere."

"I know, but I don't want you to think you've gotta stop hunting."

"I thought you wanted to go back to…"

The door opened to admit Doctor Varun. "Sam, Dean, good morning."

Dean climbed to his feet, hands shoved in his pockets. "What's the report, doctor?" Sam asked calmly. He was alive, Dean was alive; the rest could work itself out.

Varun was the sort who cut right to the point. "You're looking at surgery on your lower back, probably a graft. Two to three months recovery and you should be back on your feet."

Dean exhaled. Sam asked carefully, "Metaphorical or literal?"

"Both." Varun smiled, still young enough to enjoy giving good news. "Don't get carried away, now. It's a long hard road and you'll need – "

Dean crossed the room to hug the small doctor. Once he'd stepped back, Varun cleared his throat and went on. "…you'll need to stay with us for another two months at least, as I said. Then you can enroll in one of our outpatient programs and continue therapy from home, with weekly sessions at the hospital. Dean, I'd strongly advise that you speak to the nurse on staff in regards to helping your partner around the house, basic exercises, that sort of thing."

"Will do, will do." Dean was grinning like an idiot and still had a hand on Varun's shoulder.

As soon as the doctor left the room, Sam broke into snorting laughter. "Shut up," Dean yelped at him, but he was laughing too. They'd made it. Sam was going to walk. They were going to be okay.

"'Your partner?' Did you tell them that we're life-partners or something?"

"Dude, you were pretty loopy when you first woke up. They musta had you on something good, 'cause you tried to make out with me the minute I got close enough."

"Oh my God, you did tell them we're life-partners? That's so gay, Dean." Sam settled back in his bed, smug in the knowledge that he had enough material to mock Dean for years.

"You're gay," Dean started pacing. He suddenly had all this giddy energy and nothing to do it with. He felt like running wild and naked through the halls, but settled for going to get coffee.

Before he’d even made it to the door, though, he was sobbing. He didn’t know how it started; it felt like someone had flipped a switch inside his brain. Sam tried to sit up, wincing and terrified. "Dean?! What is it, what's wrong?"

Dean sat back down in his chair. They'd made it. Sam was going to walk. They were going to be okay. No more possessions, no more demonic plots. Sam was never going to turn evil and Dean would never have to kill him.

"Don't you f-fuckin' say anything," he gasped at Sam, trying to hide his face. Christ, he couldn't stop crying, and he was really going now, pulling in high, thin breaths between the sobs. He put both hands over his face and prayed that the ground would open up, that he'd be struck dead right there because he just couldn't stop; he'd lost control of his own body. It felt like he was observing himself from the outside, watching with a vague sense of horror as this blubbering idiot leaned into his brother's hands and let Sam stroke his hair and rub the back of his neck.

"It's okay," Sam said and Dean cringed, humiliated. Fuck, he was never gonna live this down, Sam had a memory like an elephant for shit like this; either he'd tease Dean about it or he'd get all touchy-feely and talk about letting emotions out more often.

Clearly, Dean was going to have to kill himself. He didn't pull away, though, couldn't.

"We're okay," Sam repeated, his lips moving against Dean's hairline.

"Yeah," Dean whispered, his eyes closed. "Yeah."


December 2008 –
Sam yammers on with the brunette, way too interested in whatever she's telling him. Unless she's got the meaning to life, he's faking it. He keeps sneaking glances at Dean out of the corner of his eye; he's clearly determined to call Dean's bluff. The fingers curled around his beer look tight.

Dean knows he's right about this. They are still brothers, and the war's over; they never lived in the normal world but there's normal and then there's 'messed up', and Dean has run out of excuses to let it go on any longer.

It's not gonna be easy to give up. Only Sam could outlast a demon through sheer force of will; for two years he'd clung to what Dean recognized as his innate goodness by the skin of his teeth. It had been close at times and he'd needed Dean… needed him in every way imaginable. At the end, though, it had been all Sam, refusing to let go and lose himself to the dark.

He astonishes Dean. Dazzles him, humbles him. And yeah, Sam still bitches constantly at Dean about his music and his socks and something about his choice in porn and there are still moments when Dean wants to smack him upside the head (usually those events happen in relation to one another). But there isn't a moment that Dean ever forgets what a miracle his little brother is. He's good, genuinely, wholly good in ways that Dean has never been and could never be.

Dean's not gonna mess up that miracle; he's seen enough for the world to know that a good person doesn't come along very often. He has no idea how he's going to outlast the wall of Sam's stubbornness, but he knows that he has to.

He's so in love with Sam that he's stupid with it, self-conscious, afraid that someone will look at him and see.


4. Sam loves him.
November 2008 –
So, Dean might have botched the Stanford thing just a little. When Sam mentioned that he wanted to head out to Palo Alto for a while, Dean had paused in his perusal of a roadside diner menu and wondered sickly what he'd done wrong. That feeling passed after a while and he’d even managed to feel relieved that Sam was giving him an easy way out.

And he hadn't been leaving Sam in that parking lot, dammit, not permanently. After they visited the site of Sam's old apartment – now an office building – Sam asked to drop by Stanford and Dean figured that he'd want some time alone. He was just gonna drive around the city for a while then call Sam to see if he wanted to be picked up or if he could find some old college buddy to stay with. Dean would stick around for a while if Sam wanted, but a big part of him didn't want to stay here and watch Sam slip away from him bit by bit. He hadn't been actually driving away right at that exact moment, though, fer Chrissake.

Sam must have seen something in Dean's eyes that he didn't like, because he'd flipped the fuck out before Dean could even get on the road. Afterwards, they wound their way up the coast to Nor Cal, not that either of them was paying attention to where the hell they were driving. Sam was too busy screaming and Dean drove with one hand cupped over his ear to protect his right ear drum.

When Sam finally started to go hoarse, Dean snapped, "For fuck's sake, shut up. People are gonna think I'm kidnappin’ you. You want an Amber Alert or something?"

Sam glowered; his voice sounded like it had been scraped raw. "You piece of shit, how could you do that to me?"

Dean was too shocked to say anything for miles and after Sam burned through his anger they drove in silence. There was a brushfire somewhere nearby; smoke smudged the horizon, made Dean's eyes sting.

The sky cleared up north of Sacramento and Dean wished desperately that he could just say it, just admit to Sam that no one had ever chosen him before and now that someone had, he didn't know what to do. He'd been necessary and useful and a good soldier, but he'd never felt truly loved until Sam had leaped back into the car and punched him. Had chosen him, when Sam could have had the world at his feet.

This was uncharted territory for Dean; he had no idea how to act, what to say. His hands were shaking.

Near the Oregon border, Sam finally grunted, "Pull over."

Dean obliged, panic building, wondering if Sam was pissed off enough to leave after all. Not that Dean would let him. He'd tie Sam up and put him in the trunk if he had to. No one had ever chosen him before and he wasn't letting go now – he'd do anything to keep Sam with him.

"Sam," he said thickly, but words had always slipped away from him when he needed them most.

Sam sat in the passenger seat, long legs stretched out and an arm laid along the top of the seat. He jerked his chin past Dean's head. "Look."

To the left side of the car was the coast, just a stretch of pale rocks and the Pacific Ocean beyond. Dean had never liked beaches, couldn't understand their appeal. When the water was warm enough not to freeze his balls off, it was full of sharks; he sunburned easily; he hated it when sand got in his asscrack.

As he sat there staring out over it, though, Sam's big hand settled on the back of his neck, fingers curling heavy and warm. Dean closed his eyes and still couldn't find anything to say that wouldn’t sound stupid and weak and needy. He gritted his teeth.

"Dean," Sam said wearily. "If you do anything like that again, I'll kill you in your sleep."

Okay. Threats of violence, he could deal with. "Yeah right, you wuss." His voice sounded shaky and Sam's thumb rubbed gently at his pulse. Dean sucked in another breath and blurted before he lost his nerve, "You don't have to do this."

"Yeah, I do," Sam murmured and the seat creaked as he leaned over to put his mouth against the fragile skin behind Dean's ear. "But not for you."


December 2008 –
Sam's going to sleep with this girl. She's cute, obviously has a brain on her shoulders to keep up this level of conversation without looking awkward. Dean can tell that Sam's interest is only half-feigned, now.

There's never going to be anyone else for Dean, not like Sam. For one thing there's just not enough room in the Impala for three; for another, he has no training in how to even start something like that. He can't just lure a chick home with implicit promises of a one-night stand – because Dean doesn't know another way of talking to chicks – then ambush her with hopes of something long-term. And oh I gotta go out of town all the time on, uh, business. Don't mind the demon gore, I just got back from a training seminar. Yeah right – he'd tried that before with Cassie and she'd practically run away screaming.

So, it's pretty much just Sam. Which is unfair, because Sam can have something more; he can make those connections with other people, and that's both his greatest strength and his worst weakness. Before, he'd needed Dean to shield him, to anchor him and be his connection so that the demon wouldn't use it to tear him apart.

There's no demon anymore. Sam loves him – Dean's had enough time to get comfortable with that knowledge that he doesn't question it like he did at first. How he wants Sam to love him is still up for debate.


5. Sam wants him.
December 2007 –
Sam was already drunk when they got back to the room. Dean dumped him on the bed and went back out to find provisions with the wad of cash he'd taken from the pool table. Money had been tighter than tight lately; it'd been downright scarce.

He shopped as fast as he could, not happy about leaving Sam alone for even ten minutes. It'd been a month since Gordon had broken out of prison and tracked them down; Dean's side still ached where the knife had cut him, fucking carving up his skin while Gordon coaxed him into screaming, letting Sam hear it over the phone. More than the sight of his own puddled blood, Dean had been terrified to hear the spitting rage in Sam's voice, the pure cold-blooded murder. It hadn't come to that, but holy shit it'd been way too close. There were precious few lines left that Sam hadn't crossed; they needed to keep this one. They needed to keep human blood of Sammy's hands, no matter how much the human might deserve it.

Dean actively tried to not to think about how many lines he and Sam had crossed all on their own. Sam had so little left to fight for and Dean had so little left to believe in except each other.

Dean took a long way back to the hotel, doubling back on himself and hurrying in the spaces between streetlights like a burglar; there hadn't been any suspicious cars following them the past few days, but Sam had gotten himself sloshed tonight while Dean was preoccupied with the pool game. Dean needed to be double-sharp for them both for now, and fully intended to give Sam shit for it tomorrow. Letting his guard down in a public place, getting fucked up and sloppy and teary-eyed… Jesus. It was almost like Sam wanted to get himself killed.

Dean paused outside the motel door, his shoulders hunched against the wet snow and his eyes staring at nothing.

When he finally went inside, Sam was still awake; he'd switched on the TV to some Christmas special. Jingly children's music filled the room and grated on Dean's nerves. He strode over and flicked the TV off, loomed above Sam with the grocery bag under one arm. "What the fuck was that?" he snapped, too impatient to wait for Sam to be sober.

Sam blinked up at him, eyes unfocused and so deep that Dean felt like he could tip over and fall headfirst into them, never hit bottom. "It's Christmas."

"Yeah, it's fucking Christmas, Sam. What kind of excuse is that?"

"It's Christmas, Dean," Sam explained patiently, as though to a child. "We gotta take a break sometime, man. C'mon, c'mere." He reached out and curled his long, orangutan arms around Dean's hips, squeezed his ass and dragged him forward a few unwilling steps to stand in between Sam's spread legs. "I'll give you a blowjob," he whispered, grinning up with his chin rested lightly on Dean's stomach.

Dean flushed and yanked himself away. He'd been too physically messed up to do much of anything for a while; he couldn't help but respond to Sam's heat. "You think anybody else is gonna take a break, huh? Fuck, no. We let our guard down for a minute and boom." He snapped his fingers in Sam's face.

Sam smacked his fingers away. "I don't care."

Dean's stomach lurched and he almost lost his cookies right there. He tossed the bag aside and threw himself at Sam, tackling him back onto the bed and pinning him there. "Don't you say that," he spat, one hand tangled up cruelly in Sam's shaggy hair. "Don't you ever fucking say that to me."

That sobered Sam up. "I didn't mean it like that, Dean. I just… what's the point of being alive if all we do is hunt and hide and fuck?"

Dean breathed, trying to reel himself in. Sam's mouth tipped sideways a little. "Not that the fucking isn't good…"

"Shut up," Dean interrupted, letting himself get distracted. He let go of Sam's jaw and sat back, straddling his brother.

Sam's big hands settled on his thighs. "I'm sorry. I know that was stupid."

"Goddamned right." Dean combed his fingers through his hair, shaking the snow out of it.

"Yeah, it was. And I'm sorry, okay? I just… things have been pretty rough lately and I needed a break. Can't we take a break? It's Christmas."

He kept saying that like it was a magic word that would fix everything. That didn't mean he wasn't right, though, at least about needing some relief; Dean had spent the last month in white-knuckled tension, amped up and too wired to relax for even a second. They'd been so close with Gordon, more than once. Dean knew how close he'd come to losing Sam. Just a bullet, that's all it'd take, and he'd lose Sam forever.

Sam's fingers brushed over his face, cupped his cheek. "Hey, c'mon," he mumbled. "Don't. Not right now."

Dean pushed his cheekbone into Sam's palm, gnawing on his lip and wrestling with his own fear. "A break, huh?"

"Just a short one. Just for tonight. We can eat shitty food and fuck and not think about anything else for a few hours."

Dean laughed hollowly. "Wow, you sure do know how to sweet-talk a guy, huh, Sammy?"

Sam frowned up at him and his thumb stroked across Dean's cheek. He'd been more than just sloppy tonight, he'd been the kind of bone-weary miserable that people got when they'd reached the bottom of the bottle and found nothing there. Dean had found him sitting in the corner, hunched over his beer and staring at the wall. Just staring; that was how Dean always knew when Sam was truly fucked up.

So, okay. If Sam needed this… "I got tequila."

Sam's face lit up, inexhaustible delight that could never die; Dean wouldn't let it. "Cuervo?"


"It's a Christmas miracle."

They wound up pushing something against the door, enough to keep the hunters out (or at least buy them some time to grab weapons), and laying a double line of salt against demons and the rest of the cold world outside. Sam turned the TV back on to some Christian channel, low enough to give them a little background music without getting on Dean's taut nerves.

It took a good three or four shots burning against his sternum before he could even unwind enough to sit, but then Sam got him down on the ground, his legs splayed out in front of him. Sam faced him and slung his own long legs over Dean's; he put the bottle and the salt and the limes on the floor between their bodies. The little space heater that the motel manager had given them chugged on dutifully and by Dean's fifth shot he felt warm enough to strip down to his undershirt.

Sam watched him, head tipped sideways and trying to drink from the bottle at the same time. He messed it up and a bunch trickled down his chin. "Gimme," Dean ordered. "You're abusing the alcohol."

It was a true Winchester Christmas: the two of them getting smashed on the stained floor of a two-bit motel with what felt like the entire world out to get them. Swigs became dares became pushup contests became body shots became Dean straddling Sam to lick a thin line of salt from Sam's navel to the hollow of his throat. He took his time at it, stretched it out with swigs from the bottle until Sam was grunting furiously around the lime held between his teeth.

When Dean finally stretched up to claim the small slice with his own mouth, Sam grabbed his hips and thrust up against him roughly. Even through tightened jeans the sensation sent sparks behind Dean's eyes and the lime slipped from his mouth to splat on Sam's face.

Sam yelped and clapped a hand over his eye. "Ow! Y'got lime in my eye, jerk!"

Dean flung the offending fruit away then tugged at Sam's hands. "Lemme see."

"Fuck you! Gimme a washcloth."

"I can't fuckin' walk, Sammy."

Sam snorted, then burst into laughter. His right eye was watering enough to trickle down over his temple and Dean pointed an accusing finger. "No cryin' during sex. Y'promised, Sammy."

"Fuck you. Fuck you fuck you."

"All talk and no walk makes Sammy a pussy."

The mirth didn't fade from Sam's eyes, but they took on a new glint. Getting his elbows under him, he walked himself up into a sitting position, eye to eye with Dean. "I wanna try somethin'."

Dean's eyes widened; he couldn’t help it. "Uh oh."

"Shut up, my ideas rock." Sam twisted to the side, gathering up their dwindling supplies. "Lie back. C'mon, dickhead, lie back!"

It never would have worked if Dean had been half an ounce more sober; he got so stupid when he was drunk, though, did anything Sam wanted. "All right," he grunted, easing onto his back and letting Sam slide out from under him. "But I swear to God, Sammy…"

"Shut it." Sam chopped another lime into quarters with Dean's six-inch Bowie knife. "Put this in your mouth. And don't you fuckin' lose it."

Dean closed his front teeth around the edges of the rind, then propped himself on his elbow.

Sam pointed the knife at him. "Down," he said, and his voice hit some low, growling level all of a sudden.

They stared at each other over the knife's shining edge. Dean lay down. "Eyes closed," Sam instructed, and he did that, too. "Don't lose the lime."

Sam's long, cold fingers worked at the front of Dean's jeans, and then he drew the zipper down slowly, agonizingly slow. Dean twitched and twisted, only to have one of Sam's giant hands land square on his chest. They'd discovered that Dean liked being held down as much as he liked doing the holding.

That creepy Christmas song with the bells had come on the TV. Sam’s body heat washed over Dean as Sam leaned close and then he growled in Dean's ear, "Gonna make y'come so hard. Make y'black out." He licked at the lime, slid his tongue around it to touch Dean's lips, as he yanked Dean's jeans open. Dean grunted and arched, struggling not to crush the lime with an involuntary snap of his jaws.

It got even harder once Sam's fumbling fingers closed around his dick. He got one foot flat on the ground, using it for leverage to thrust up… but then Sam derailed that by swinging a knee over to straddle Dean, pinning his legs.

Dean opened his eyes long enough to catch a glimpse of Sam holding the salt in one hand and the tequila in the other before Sam hissed, "Eyes shut."

Dean obeyed and then spoke around the lime as best he could. "Duue wa a uck ah ou…"

He got half a second's warning and a touch of Sam's hot breath against his dick before Sam licked him from root to tip in one long, steady swipe. Dean's back came straight off the floor, bowed between his hips and shoulders, shuddering.

"Lime, Dean," Sam whispered. He pressed Dean down with the hand on his chest. Dean whimpered, begging for more of the same, except then he felt something funny, like little prickles of something falling against his sensitive skin and Sam was putting the salt on his dick.

Genius, Dean wanted to scream, tried to scream around the lime. You evil, diabolical, beautiful genius.

"Y'liking this so far? Y'want me to suck all this right off your cock, Dean? Wantchya to fuck my mouth, come down my throat…" He punctuated his sentences with teasing licks and a thumb rubbing over the head of Dean's cock.

Dean grunted back as enthusiastically as he could and got Sam's mouth again, sliding all the way down Dean’s dick until the head bumped against the back of Sam's throat. Christ, Sam had gotten good at that, had a knack for relaxing that Dean couldn't get the hang of. Dean's hips snapped up involuntarily and Sam let him go twice before pinning him down with hard, blunt fingers. He worked the underside of Dean's cock with his tongue, lapping up every particle of salt and bobbing a couple of times for good measure before sliding back off with a slick pop.

Dean moaned and broke the rules a little, sneaking a peak between his eyelashes to watch Sam drink from the bottle, head thrown back, chest bare, throat working. Beautiful, even more beautiful when his sparkling eyes came down, watering a little from the alcohol's sting, and his lips worked against Dean's to eat the lime without actually taking it away. Dean shut his eyes and let Sam ease the peel out from between his teeth and then replace it with his slick tongue, sliding in and out, gentle, deep, lulling.

When Sam pulled away, Dean kept his eyes shut for as long as he could before cracking one open. Sam was on his hands and knees over Dean, his head hung low, shoulders shaking. Dean yanked his grip away from Sam's thighs and grabbed Sam's arms.

Then Sam looked up and his face was bright red and Sam was laughing so hard he couldn't breathe. Sam sat back on his haunches and threw his arms up in the air. "I!" he announced. "Have invented a way t'suck cock 'n' drink shots at the same time! All shall love me 'n' despair!"

When Dean stopped laughing, he dragged Sam down and kissed him. The denim of Sam's jeans rubbed hard Dean's hard cock, but he barely felt the pain through a haze of alcohol. "Only you," he murmured against Sam's panting lips, "would quote Lord of the Rings right fuckin' now. Y'giant geek."

Sam nudged him, grinning. "Shu'up. Y'knew what I was quotin'. S'that makes you a geek, too, geek."

Dean pushed his hands through Sam's hair, stroking it away from his face. "Guess it does, Sammy."

"You, uh, wanna do that again?" Sam watched Dean's face, hopeful. His lips were wet, red and swollen.

"Oh, fuck yes."


December 2008 –

Dean stops watching after a while, doesn’t actually want to see the moment that Sam slips out to go get himself some sweet lovin'. He feels sick about it enough already. So when Sam disappears, Dean doesn’t see it happen.

He thought he'd prepared himself for this, laid out all his own evidence. Sam is his brother brother brother and that's just not cool. Whether or not Sam wants him is kinda beside the point; they can't go on like this. It just… it wouldn't work out. Something that messed up can't end well and they need some happy endings.

Dean will get over it, slide back into the groove of one-night stands and single-serving romances. Sam, hopefully, will find some girl (or guy, whatever he's into these days) he can convince in his earnest Sam way that he's not a raving loon, and they'll have whatever relationship they'll have. And that'll be it.

His beer's gone flat and warm but Dean drinks it anyway, choking it down.


6. Sam's in love with him.

No. Fuck this. He's not doing this, he's not even thinking ‘bout it. There's no point in tormenting himself; he's dug his grave, Sam's off with his girl, time to move on.


Dean gets up from the booth, disappointed to discover that he's still a little sober. The bar's almost empty by now, mostly populated by weathered old men who stumble in from the cold to drink alone. Dean stares at them and then looks away, shivering. He starts to head for the door.

The crack of pool balls draws his eyes automatically, something Pavlovian in that response.

Sam's in the back, bent over the pool table, sighting down the cue with intense focus. Dean gapes at him from across the bar.

When he finally winds his cautious way over, Sam barely glances at him. He knocks a striped ball into the corner pocket, then circles the table, eyes roving for his next target. Dean leans against the wall beside the rack of pool cues but doesn’t take one out himself. He watches Sam methodically knock down all the stripes and start on the solids.

Finally Dean locates his voice. "How long you been back here?"

Sam takes his time answering, sliding narrowed eyes over to pin Dean like a wriggling specimen. "Half the night, you dumb shit," he growls, and knocks down the last of the solids.

Dean swallows and folds his arms; it's a caveman instinct, protect the chest. Sam gathers up the balls and puts them back in their rack formation, his movements measured like they always get when he's really, really pissed off about something.

Dean keeps his eyes on the white cue ball, watches Sam set it carefully in place. "I don't know what to say," he admits. "I don't ever fuckin' know what to say."

"You could start," Sam tells him savagely, "by begging forgiveness for always pulling the dumbest shit on the planet. That'd be nice."

Dean considers it, but what the fuck, he's got nothing else to lose except his pride and that ain't worth much. He starts to get down on his knees right there on the dirty bar floor.

Sam's face changes immediately, jolted by shock. "Jesus, Dean. Get up."

He circles around and pulls Dean up; his hand automatically reaches to press and rub the small of Dean's back. Dean lets himself lean into it for a moment before he says, "I'm real tired, Sam."

"So why the fuck would you do something like this?" Sam asks plaintively, his voice low.

The cue ball's rolled loose; Dean reaches out and eases it back into position. "Mind if I tap in for this round?"

Sam's hand moves away and Dean feels the loss immediately. "You always do that." Sam has flipped back to anger and glowers at Dean from a few inches away. "You open up and then you snap shut again. I never get a word in edgewise."

Oh, yes you do. "Sorry."

After a moment Sam sighs. "Get your own goddamned cue." He moves away to the head of the table.

Dean turns to the cues and tugs down a mid-sized one, but he doesn't return to the table right away. He keeps his distance. "We're still who we are, Sam. Who we grew up as. That hasn't changed."

Bent over the cue, Sam's eyes flick past him to the bar, maybe wondering who might overhear; Dean's beyond caring. Sam pulls a face and sends the cue ball smashing into the triangle formation in front of him. "This isn't about that and you know it."

Dean stares, opens his arms wide. "I thought that's exactly what this is about. I mean… this still isn't okay. We grew up together. I can remember you as a baby."

"I'm not a baby anymore, Dean," Sam tells him softly. He knocks down a solid, center left pocket. "And that isn't what this is really about."

"Then enlighten me, whydoncha?" It's Dean's turn to get angry; Sam always does this, act superior and smarter, like he has all the answers and is just waiting for Dean to catch up.

Sam swings his pool cue around to point it at Dean's face, anger leashed in and contained. "It's about you not trusting anything good. You never let me tell you that I love you; you make fun of me or do something stupid just to prove me wrong. So I try to show you that I do and you don't trust it. You keep testing me, and it's not fucking fair." He turns back to the pool table and rather spectacularly misses a shot, scattering stripes and solids everywhere.

Dean steadies himself and steps up for his turn. He's gratified to see that his hands are only shaking a little bit, and he knocks down a stripe. "So whaddya wanna do, Sammy? Just pretend we're different people, that we're not," he darts eyes toward the bar, "who we are?"

Sam grips his pool cue, jaw set. "Why not? Hardly anybody knows us anymore. Ellen, Bobby, Jo… and we see any one of them about twice a year. So it's not like anyone's going to come around and point fingers at us. And even if one of them found out… so what? We hunt demons for a living."

"Not much of a living," Dean bats back automatically. An old joke between them, pitch and hit. He does a fancy little bank off the rail to take down a stripe in the far corner. "We'd know, Sammy."

Sam's anger caves in a little and he looks down at his fingers wrapped around the pool cue. After a minute he asks, "Is it really that big a deal to you?"

Dean looks at him, sees the down-turned mouth that he knows can smile wide, the serious dark eyes that can be kind, furious, determined, warm.

"Naw," he admits, "not really."

Sam's head snaps up. "You asshole," but then Dean laughs and Sam laughs, too, in reaction and relief. The tension eases a bit and Dean deliberately misses his next shot, lets Sam take over.

"So," Dean goes on, watching Sam slide the cue between his fingers. "You wanna be life-partners after all? That's pretty gay, Sam."

"You're gay," Sam retorts. Pitch and hit. "If you don't like it, call it something else. I'm the only one who'll know."

"The Delta Force," Dean announces promptly.

Sam straightens up. "No."

"C’mon, Sam! You know you wanna use 'Delta Force' as a code word for being queer for each other. 'Hi, I'm Dean and this is my Delta Force teammate Sam.'"

Sam has to lean on his pool cue, he's laughing so hard. Dean takes that as his turn and whacks Sam in the shins with the butt of his cue as he passes. When Sam gets his breath back, he points his cue at Dean again. "I want regular breaks. Vacations. We're not being chased anymore, so we can afford to stop running everywhere."

"Lazy ass," Dean snarks, but he reels for a moment. They're laying out the rest of their lives, right now. It's everything he’s ever wanted and everything he's feared. "I get regular blowjobs." He knocks down a stripe.

"You'll get whatever you can charm from me and you'll be thankful for it, you prick."



"Drama queen."

Sam snakes right around the table to grab Dean and pin him, with the backs of Dean’s thighs against the table's hard edge. It hurts a little, but definitely not enough for Dean to protest, because then Sam leans him backwards just a little, hand at the small of his back to reduce the strain. Dean's aware that one of his boots is dangling in midair and the other is on tiptoe. At any other time, with anyone else, he'd feel vulnerable and self-conscious; but it's just Sam.

Sam, who grins down at him and says, "Jerk."

Dean feels love like an opening inside of him, sharp and bright and a little painful. "Bitch. You wanna name any more terms?"

"Yeah." Sam's eyes get serious. "No more tests, okay? No more going back and forth on me here – please. I'm not gonna change my mind; I've seen you at your worst and I'm not running."

Dean licks his lips and nods. "No more tests. Long as – as you don't let me die alone." His eyes slide away, he doesn't have it in him to keep looking at Sam when he finally lets that one see the light of day.

Sam kisses the corner of his mouth. "Not happening, man."

Dean relaxes against him by degrees. "You know I'm just gonna find some other way to piss you off."

"Mmm." Sam tilts around and kisses the other corner of his mouth, smiling. "It's your sworn duty as my Delta Force teammate."

Dean laughs, triumphant, and Sam swallows it down, closes his mouth over Dean's and slides his arm up to cradle the back of Dean's head in the crook of his elbow. Sam figured out long ago – without Dean admitting it, of course – that Dean is an absolute sucker for long, sloppy kisses. So Sam unleashes the full power of his mouth, sucking on Dean’s tongue and gently biting his lips, licking into his mouth long and slow and easy. Desire builds and builds until Dean feels weightless; he lets Sam kiss him into dizziness, lets go at last and allows it all to just happen.

Sam keeps his arm hooked close around the back of Dean’s head when they finally head back to the motel. Then he moans high and desperate when Dean goes down on him in the shower. They stay in there as long as possible, and not just because of the way alcohol makes it easier for Dean to relax his throat and swallow Sam down all the way; it's damned cold outside and they need all the body heat they can gather.

Dawn rises cold and frost-bitten against the windows. Swirls of ice sparkle as morning sunlight pours through the windows; Dean lies on his side watching the shimmer with his cheek tucked against the pillow, barely half-awake. He stares, and pants as Sam slides fingers in and out and in and out, ruthless and endless. "Sammy… you prick. Just… c'mon."

Sam laughs, his breath soft and his body hot against Dean’s back. He moves the fingers of his other hand in Dean's hair, rearranging the tufts and spikes. "Easy. Easy. Sh."

"Fuck you!" Dean yelps, trying to bite, but Sam just pins him down and goes right on stroking; he slips a hand around to ghost along Dean’s cock, teasing.

Sam brings him right to the edge where Dean is twitching and gasping only to back off again. Lather, rinse, repeat until Dean turns his face against the pillow, miserable and strung out with need. Then, finally, Sam pushes into him, still murmuring and shushing. "Easy, easy. S'okay, you're good. Oh, fuck, you're good, Dean." He kisses behind Dean's ear, the arch of his neck as Dean pushes back to speed up Sam's slow thrusts. "Easy. We've got all the time in the world, man."

After a while his voice loses the edge of coherence, becomes little mumbled half-words as his hips snap faster. Dean twists around to let Sam press nibbling kisses along his jaw, his lips. He knows that Sam will bite down just before he comes and Dean lets him; he's learned to love that harder bite, the ultimate sign that Sam is losing control and just can't help himself anymore.

He catches it on the jaw this time; Sam nips with his incisors and holds on, slams into Dean twice and then lets go, tilts his head back with a deep, satisfied grunt. Dean feels him hot and slick between his legs and the combination of sensations, of pain and pleasure and heat and fullness, is just the right key to unlock his own body. He shudders around Sam, milking him with spasms.

When they've both burned through their own personal supernovas, Sam hooks a leg over Dean's hips and rolls him onto his back. Dean reaches past him blindly to pull the comforters up and up, across Sam’s long back and over their heads. It’s an ingrained habit, something he did from the beginning without consciously thinking about why. He thinks, now, that it’s the only way that he can acknowledge what they’ve really done here, what they’ve made: their own little world, shut away from everything else. He can’t pretend that it’s healthy or the right thing to have done with either of their lives. It is what it is and it’s everything.

In the muffled dark beneath the covers there is only his body and Sam’s, all the smells and soft breaths that pass between them. Sam is a heavy weight, but not crushing, and Dean hooks his arms around Sam to welcome him in.