"So you really don't think it was Jess?" Sam has to be sure, he can't just go on thinking—thinking that there's even the slightest chance that Jess is still hanging around, attached to her ring or for love of him, whatever. It's tying him up in knots inside.
"I think if that demon thought he could get to you with manipulation, he would. Dad writes about demons and how untrustworthy they are. How they will lie and cheat and manipulate a person to get what they want. He says that they can read your fears and use them against you. So, no, I don't think it was Jess. You burned her body, right?" Dean glances over, the car cruising along easily down the endless roads that are slowly but inexorably bringing Sam back to his old life. The closer they get, the more he feels like he's going back in time. He's struck all at once by the feeling that sometimes you can run as hard and as far as you can and still wind up right back in the same place you started from: first back to Dean, and now back to Jess.
"I did," Sam concedes softly. He tries not to stare at the changing scenery and how familiar it is from when he made his trip to find Dean, but it's difficult. "I just can't... I can't believe it. All along I thought the worst thing was knowing that Jess had done something unforgivable that cost me my family—and the love of my life. Now, all I can think is how that fucking demon tormented Jess too. Possessing her, taking her body for a joyride, using her to kill her—our—kids; it must have been the worst experience of her life. And..." Sam chokes up a little, finding tears are more readily available now than they were even after he first learned the news. "And the last one."
Dean doesn't say anything, but Sam doesn't expect him to. He's not sure that anyone would know what to say, let alone Dean, who has never been good in situations dealing with emotion. He's always been crippled by his own shortcomings, too-aware that he doesn't like and is horribly uncomfortable with emotions—especially sorrow—and he's been using Sam as a crutch in those situations for as long as Sam can remember, because Sam has always been the one who knew what soothing thing to say, what platitude to use.
But now Sam is the grieving one, and Sam can't say those things to himself because he's being choked by his own sadness. Why should he expect Dean to be able to do any better? Anything Dean could say will not change the way Sam feels.
But then Dean surprises him, sort of. Reminding Sam that it's been a long time since Dean had Sam to react off of, a long time since he could lean on Sam for the comforting words he didn't know how to say.
"But this is better," Dean says after the long silence. "Now you know the love of your life didn't murder your little kids, Sammy. It's empty solace, I know, but, Sam, we can go after that son-of-a-bitch and make him pay for what he did to you, to Jess, to—" Dean stops. "You never told me your kids' names."
It's been hours and darkness is settling in for the night like an animal circling to find the best place to rest, and Sam turns to face Dean. His brother's face is in shadow, lit only by passing glimmers of yellow from the streetlamps which leave strange markers and patterns on Dean's skin.
Watching Dean, Sam realises that at some point it's begun to rain, water falling down the glass of the window beside Dean's head. It's fitting for his mood, he thinks. Fitting for the turn the conversation has taken.
"Tyler was five," Sam says, hearing his voice coming as if from a long distance. Maybe all the way from Palo Alto. "And James was two. Jess, she was pregnant with a baby girl this time. We were going to have a daughter." Sam turns away from Dean, eyes tracking the raindrops as they fall almost silently by his own head. It feels like a betrayal to look at his brother and talk about his wife, their children. It isn't even because he slept with Dean last night. No, it's because Dean is still here and they're gone, and Sam should be honouring their memory. He feels as if he's tarnishing it just to mention their names aloud.
"It's not a crime, Sammy," Dean says into the oppressive darkness of the interior of the car. "Talking about them won't hurt them, and not talking about them won't bring them back."
"It was almost time," Sam says, mind still far away. "I was—God, I was looking forward to that little girl so much." He whips his head back around to look at Dean. "Little boys are awesome, Dean, but can you just imagine? A little girl." He feels the smile on his lips and as soon as he does, it withers. The memory of where that little girl has gone is too sobering for a smile.
"What was her name going to be?" Dean asks, and Sam doesn't get the impression that Dean is humouring him. It actually sounds like Dean wants to know, even though Dean's never really shown any interest in kids.
"Melody Rose," Sam replies. "Well, that's what Jess wanted. I wanted Ella."
"Musical names," Dean says, and there's a note of humour there. Sam grins again, suddenly reminded why Dean was good in some situations that dealt with sadness and grief. Dean could always make a person laugh. Sam has never been able to do that; he's always been too strangled by the desire to fix things with words.
"I always thought if we named her Melody that you'd—" Sam trails off and Dean's eyes flick to his for a second, just as the glow from the streetlight sparks off of them, making the green clearly visible even in the dark. Dean turns his attention back to the road, but Sam knows Dean is waiting for him to finish that sentence. "That you'd tease," Sam finally allows.
"And you didn't think I'd tease you about James?" Dean asks, voice still flirting with amusement.
Sam swallows and pretends innocence. "I don't know why you would," he says.
"You named your kid after me," Dean says. Busted.
Sam bluffs anyway. "How the hell did you come up with that?" he asks, trying to sound as if he's scoffing. Sweating on the inside, more like. Not even Jess knew why he'd wanted to name their second son James so badly.
"James Dean?" his brother prompts. "You telling me you didn't think of that? Dude, I am not so old that I can't suss out your motivations for things, Sammy, and you're not too big for me to kick your ass for thinking that you could keep that from me."
"I had to," Sam says wretchedly. "I couldn't name him after you, you know? Jess didn't even know about you back then. But I wanted—God, I know, it's stupid. But I didn't think I was ever going to see you again and I just wanted some kind of reminder of the brother I—" he practically bites off his tongue. Winchesters don't say I love you, and Sam's not going to start now. Quickest way ever to get Dean to clam up and act weird, probably for weeks.
Dean, unsurprisingly, has a sixth sense for things he doesn't want to hear or acknowledge, because he doesn't ask what Sam was about to say. Sam, for his part, can feel the shell of his ears get hot because he would just as soon not say things like that to Dean, anyway.
"I need to wax the Impala soon," Dean says out-of-the-blue. Sam picks at his fingernail where it's chipped and tries not to look at Dean. The exhaustion written in furrows across Dean's face suggest they are going to stop soon for the night, take it slow back to California—and that's all right with Sam, who isn't in any hurry to return, to be reminded of the very reasons why he left.
Yet he wonders if this thing he has with Dean is something he could have had years ago. Did he walk out on this chance, in his haste to walk away from everything else his family represented?
"Are you going to do it shirtless?" Sam asks, trying to inject some lightness into what is an unbearably heavy atmosphere. He's joking, sure, but part of him wants Dean to do just that, wants to watch Dean's muscles flex in his shoulders as he works on his beloved car.
"That depends," Dean says, looking at Sam for a second. "What are you willing to do to make that happen?"
"Dean," Sam starts. His brother's attention is focused entirely on him, Sam can tell. Driving is such second-nature to Dean now that he can do it on autopilot. "Did you ever... have you ever been with..." Sam can't quite get the words around his thick and clumsy tongue, but Dean knows what he's trying to say. Somehow, Dean always knows.
"Yeah," Dean says. "And I'm not going to give you all the gory details, because trust me, some things a guy has to keep to himself."
Sam grins, relegating his children and his angst to the back of his mind again. "I don't know, Dean, I don't remember you being shy."
"Oh, for—" Dean puts his blinker on, takes the exit looming out of the darkness in front of them. Sam catches a glimpse of a Lodging sign and waits for Dean to continue. "If you must know," Dean says, "it was awkward as hell. There wasn't enough lube, he tried to make out with me when I specifically asked him not to, and Dad almost walked in on us. And man, let me tell you, Sammy, I do not think I could have explained my way out of that one."
"There was this kid in high school," Sam says thoughtfully. "Jess asked me about it once, but I didn't—"
"Sammy," Dean says, turning a corner. The dark shape of an animal darts into the underbrush. "Did you ever tell Jess the truth about anything?"
"I didn't lie about everything," Sam says. Dean closes his eyes briefly.
"That's not precisely the same thing," he points out.
Sam gestures to the little motel nestled alongside the road, half the lights in the sign burnt out. Dean pulls the Impala into the parking lot and stops the car.
"You up for some beer and bad television, Sammy?" Dean asks, waggling his eyebrows suggestively. Sam throws open his car door. He knows that look: Dean has used it on an innumerable amount of women over the years.
"Is this the type of bad television with a soundtrack of bow chicka wow-wow?" Sam asks, and Dean's lips twist in a wry grin.
Sam shakes his head and grabs his duffle out of the backseat. He knows what type of TV Dean is wont to watch, but he'd rather have Dean, just Dean, in a motel room with the silence only broken by their jagged breaths. He's not sure, but he thinks Dean probably wants the same thing.
When he looks up at Dean, who is staring off towards the motel manager's office with a wistful expression on his face, he realises that maybe Dean has been harbouring these feelings for Sam for a long time.
Just like that, all the touches and odd behaviour from when Sam was a teenager make sense—and so does the reason why Dean won't cop to liking guys.
It brings up a whole new crop of questions, however. What has Dean done, in the interest of trying to fill a desire he didn't think he could ever have?
Kissing Dean is a revelation. Sam cannot think why he ever thought this should be strange, or why he ever believed it to be something he should be ashamed of; here, now, in one of the double beds with the covers over bare shoulders and Dean's lips under his, Dean's cheek hot against his palm, Sam can think only of this, of kissing Dean until he can't kiss him any more. Making out with Dean until his lips swell painfully or until he dies, whichever, he just wants all of it, wants this to last forever.
It's not lost on him that the last love of his life was taken away, that it didn't last forever, but... Dean is warm with hard muscle underneath Sam, a totally different sensation but a welcome one. It doesn't remind him of Jess, and that makes things easier; plus Dean gives as good as he's getting, chasing Sam's mouth, bruising Sam's lips with the force of trying to wrest control from Sam.
Dean's hands tangle in his hair, pull; his brother's cock is a hot, hard line against Sam's bare thigh. Sam's not really sure he wants to take Dean tonight, but this? This kissing, sloppy making out with Dean's tongue over his lips and inside his mouth, with Dean's saliva slicking them up together, this Sam could get used to.
There's no time for words in this, just desperate slip-slide of mouths and the feel of Dean's pre-come sticking to the hair on Sam's thigh, dampening the skin. Sam's own arousal is a hungry ache settled low in his belly, radiating outward and pulsing in his cock, and he ruts against Dean, drives the length of his dick up along the groove of Dean's hip, finding the perfect place and just... there.
Dean sinks his teeth into Sam's lower lip and he arches up, rubbing his own cock against Sam, shoving and wrestling with Sam from underneath him to get into a position where he can get friction himself. He rides Sam's inner thigh, now, dick sliding in and out of Sam's legs, right at the juncture of his hip and thigh.
Sam swallows down Dean's fretful, needy noises and cants his hips, grinding his cock harder against Dean, feeling the way his own pre-come drips from the slit and dirties Dean up, makes it easier for him to move, makes everything better, sweeter, more.
Dean's made fists in Sam's hair, tangling it and yanking on it every time he gets in a particularly good thrust, and Sam knows that by the time they tire, collapse in a sweaty, satiated heap, his hair will be tousled and sweaty and the quintessential sex-hair. Somehow, he likes the thought. He can't really remember Jess ever being so rough with him, but it's such a refreshing change; Dean's mouth moves away from Sam's and he bites just under Sam's jaw, then sucks hard—hard enough to leave the blossom of his lips on Sam's skin for all to see.
Sam likes that he can be rough, too; he reaches up and grabs Dean's head, yanks it away from his jaw and angles it so he can attack Dean's lips again, so that he can bite at Dean's lower lip until it grows puffy and hot in his mouth. He likes Dean's lips so much, the taste, the feel; he loves how firm and yet supple they are, and how Dean knows just which way to use them. Just which way to use his teeth, as Dean snags the reins from Sam again and this time Dean is biting Sam's underlip, tugging it into his mouth, sucking, outlining it with his tongue.
Sam's balls are heavy between his legs, and his hand is gripping the back of Dean's neck now, pulling him up so that Sam can just ravish his mouth. He hopes that, later, when this is all over, Dean's mouth will be bruised and his lips will look like they've been thoroughly kissed.
Sam feels, with every push and pull of his hips to slide his cock along Dean's hip, his balls growing tighter, drawing up. And Dean is pressing back to, with everything he's got; Dean has one hand in Sam's hair still, almost painful, and the other is down over Sam's shoulder-blade, grasping for purchase on flexing muscle.
Dean thrusts his hips again, fitting his cock even more snugly into the crease of Sam's thigh, riding Sam for all he's worth even from beneath. Sam kisses Dean again, mashing their lips together so firmly he can feel their teeth clash, but it's all worth it—delicious and forbidden and for some reason, this is better than anything, everything—he can still remember Jess, but he can't remember what it was like to be this in lust with her any more. Cannot recall what it was like to touch her body because touching Dean's just feels so right, even though Sam knows, with every fibre of his being, just how wrong it is. Just what a sick perversion it is, yet he can't stop drinking from Dean's lips like Dean holds the secret of the universe, the elixir of life.
Almost as if Dean can save him from himself and whatever horrific plans the demon has for him. He aches with that thought, fiercely kisses Dean harder to help banish it, skims one hand down over Dean's ribs, his heaving chest as he struggles for complete breaths under the onslaught.
Sam's gonna come, any second now, gonna paint Dean's skin with his spunk, and it's going to feel like such a mix of fantastic and yet shameful, like he has no right to mess Dean up that way, but Dean doesn't seem to mind; his brother's getting louder, body moving more frantically against Sam's in counter-rhythm, and Sam suspects they're both extremely close and it's going to be a bit of a contest to see which one of them gets to come first.
Which is right about when the phone rings. It's Dean's phone, and Sam is pretty sure they're both too far gone in a haze of arousal and imminent orgasm to actually appreciate anything but release, but then Dean pants heavily and pulls away, slipping his fingers through Sam's hair and fumbling outside of the puce-coloured blanket to snatch his cell phone off the nightstand.
Sam's balls throb, even his hole is throbbing with powerful arousal, and yet Dean is actually flipping the phone open with a breathless,
Sam is so hoping that there will be no speakerphone, because he's still on the verge of coming messily all over Dean's bare, beautiful skin, and that probably wouldn't go over too well with whomever is calling. Of course, that brings up thoughts of their dad, and Sam almost bites through his own lip at the sudden, all-consuming, stomach-dropping terror that he will find out about this.
And there is no way, not after how much he struggled with it, that Sam is going to give this up. If he's even capable of giving this up.
And Dean sets the phone to speaker. Sam sighs as inaudibly as possible and resigns himself to a case of blue balls as a gruff, older man's voice comes over the line.
"That you, Dean?"
"Hey, Bobby, yeah, it's me," Dean says, and shushes Sam with his fingers. Like Sam was going to say anything, anyway; he hasn't seen Bobby since he was a kid. A pretty young kid who, at the time, had no idea that someday he was going to be fucking his brother and liking it, and that it wouldn't be the sort of thing anyone would understand, but then, how could anyone understand how he felt about Dean?
Like how much he needed this, and how absolutely not being taken advantage of he was?
"Saw you called a coupla weeks back, boy," Bobby says. "Was busy, researchin' and then had a hunt in Minnesota, you know the drill. So, lemme have it. What's up? I know you got a good reason for callin', though it'd be nice once in awhile if you'd just call up and say hi."
"I talked to my dad a few weeks ago, and he said some stuff to me that, well, Sam and I didn't understand. And we were hoping you would have some explanations."
"Dunno if I can help ya, Dean, but I'll do what I can. Just so's you know that sometimes, whatever your dad won't tell ya, there's a good reason for it."
"Yeah, well, sometimes he's more of a hinder than a help," Dean says, and Sam flops over to the side, starts stroking his cock idly. Maybe he can just quietly come without anyone noticing. He steals a peek at Dean and his brother is still hard, the covers thrown back now because Sam rolled off of him, and his cock is curved sweetly to the left and angled towards his hip, stiff and with pearls of fluid still beading at the slit and trickling down. Sam is amazed that Dean can have this conversation when he's that worked up—Sam would estimate Dean was actually closer to orgasm than he was.
"Just tell me what's up, and we'll see what's what," Bobby suggests. Dean grins, and Sam can see the little red pinpricks on the skin around his mouth where Sam sucked too hard while kissing him.
"Dad was talking about some sort of 'them'," Dean explains. "He said they monitor every call and they've everywhere, and somehow, from the way he was speaking, I get the impression he didn't mean the prison guards."
"Well, I heard you took down a demon," Bobby says. "News travels about particularly nasty hunts, especially when they go bad, though when they go good, too. Thing is, Dean, you know that hunt you just come off of? Think on that. They are everywhere, Dean, and very dangerous. You be careful, boy; you and Sam both."
"We will, Bobby," Dean says. "Thanks."
"Don't thank me," Bobby says, voice rough. "Just don't get yerselves killed."
"Won't, Bobby. Good-bye."
"Bye, kid," Bobby says, and Dean tosses the phone in the vicinity of the nightstand again. It falls with a clatter to the floor.
Sam's still stroking his cock slowly, and Dean grins wolfishly and pins him to the bed.
"Now, where were we?"
In the end, Sam and Dean stay in that motel an extra night, allowing the trip back to California to take longer, because Sam isn't quite sure he's ready yet.
It also gives Sam a chance to explore this thing he has with Dean more thoroughly. After the sexual experimentation with Jess, Sam knows he likes the sensation of being filled almost as much as he enjoyed the chance to be the giver in the situation, and it means that given the chance, he wakes Dean up the next morning just after brushing his teeth with a kiss to the temple.
Dean is sweaty and musky-sleep-scented, but somehow that just fires Sam's libido even more. He drags his teeth down along Dean's stubble-encrusted jaw, feeling the way the rough edges catch on Dean's skin and enjoying every moment of it.
"Dean," he whispers, pressing hot kisses to the hollow where Dean's neck joins his shoulder as his brother slowly begins to surface from sleep. "I want—" Sam pauses just a moment, looking for the best phrasing. "I want you inside me," he settles on, even though it doesn't quite convey what he wants exactly.
Dean mumbles something and flails out with one arm, flopping over half onto his back, eyes cracking open sleepily.
"C'mon, Dean, wake up," Sam says, and kisses Dean even though it mingles the sour taste of sleep with the mint of his toothpaste. Dean flails a little bit again, but then his hand thumps heavily onto Sam's shoulder, slides down over it until he's cupping the wing of Sam's shoulder-blade, and his eyes blink open more fully when he realises Sam is naked.
"Dude," Dean says, his voice raspy from disuse. "Are you seriously horny again?"
Sam grins a little crookedly, sheepishly. "I'm still getting used to this whole thing," he says. "When I—" he stumbles a little over the words that don't want to leave his throat— "when I was with Jess, man, sometimes we did it three times a day. I mean, before the kids. But... I've gone without for so long and I'm so used to—"
Dean stops the flood of painful words with a heart-clenching kiss. He subdues Sam with his mouth and tongue, then pulls back and holds Sam's face, smiles at him, bittersweet but love shining in his eyes. "I understand, Sammy. A little surprised, because I remember you as a teenager, but then again, look at that, eventually you came into your own and behaved like a true Winchester."
Sam thwaps him across the head with a spare pillow. "If you mean I acted like a whore, I did not," he says. "I confined myself to one girl instead of thousands."
"Hey, you know what they say, a girl in every port," Dean says mischievously. Sam groans.
"That only applies if you're a sailor," Sam points out long-sufferingly. And feels a lightness grow in his chest. He didn't even know how much he missed this. How could he have thought he could live on forever without this?
"Okay, whatever the equivalent is," Dean says, and wraps his hand around the back of Sam's neck and pulls him down. He allows Sam to steal a kiss, then murmurs against his lips, their breath mingling, one sweet, one sour: "Are you sure about this? I like—" Dean stops with his mouth open almost comically. Sam pokes his brother in the nose.
"You like being on the bottom?" he finishes teasingly. "I thought your one attempt was a disaster."
"Well," Dean starts, but Sam halts him with another teasing, burning kiss.
"Don't say it's because I was so awesome," Sam says. "Because I only fucked you once, and so how could you know?"
"Well, it's like that blowjob I got when I was sixteen," Dean says. "Best blowjob I'd ever had. Couldn't move for ten minutes straight, and I needed a cigarette afterwards."
"You never smoked," Sam says incredulously.
"Well, that time I had to," Dean says as though imparting a great secret. "It would have been a travesty not to."
Sam stares. "Since when do you use words like 'travesty'?" he asks.
"Since I also read Kurt Vonnegut; I'm not a complete illiterate, Sammy," Dean says. "Now, back to the conversation at hand. How do you even know—"
"I may tell you someday," Sam says. "But for now. I'm dying here, Dean." He rocks his hips forward, his stiff cock grazing Dean's hipbone. Dean takes in a startled breath at the realisation that Sam is completely naked.
"How do you want it, Sammy?" Dean asks, and his fingers unerringly find Sam's cock and brush across his shaft. He flicks his thumb over the slit and pre-come wells out. Dean grins, kisses Sam again, deep and dirty, sucking at Sam's mouth.
Sam groans again, but for a different reason this time, and his hips stutter forward without his consent this time.
"On... on my back," Sam says breathlessly. "I wanna see your face when you fuck me."
"Such a girl," Dean says, but Sam gets his hands under him, pushes up and then rolls onto his back next to Dean on the double bed. The lube is still on the nightstand where they left it last night, and Sam watches with hooded eyes as Dean picks it up.
"Just do it," he says. "Go on, Dean, just fucking get inside me already."
"Christ, Sammy," Dean says, sounding just a little rankled. "Could you be a little more demanding?"
"I know you," Sam pants, his cock up against his belly, almost curled with want. "You'll spend forty-five minutes stretching me and I'll come and then the main course will have to wait, and I don't wanna wait."
Dean's eyebrow arches pointedly, but he flips the cap on the lube and spreads it over his dick. He slides up against Sam, his lubed dick leaving a long shining smear on Sam's belly and part of his length, and Sam spreads his legs. He reaches down and grabs Dean's cock, lines it up with his hole and rubs around the rim of muscle so that lube coats him, then carefully works Dean into the clasp of his body.
Dean's eyes are wide, as if he weren't expecting this, but he goes along with it, leaning over Sam and balancing on his elbows and allowing Sam to guide Dean's dick inside.
Dean's making stretched-out, desperate noises as Sam fits him inside. He slides his fingers down as Dean's dick disappears into him, until his hand is right at Dean's groin, fingers cupping underneath his balls. Dean takes a deep breath, as deep as he can apparently manage, and thrusts the last inch or so inside, bottoming out within Sam.
Sam feels his lungs contract and expand, but he can barely touch the oxygen over the feeling of being so full, of the warm and vibrantly alive way it feels to have another dick inside him, and not just an approximation. No offence to Jess, he thinks with those last few brain cells still firing, but it's nothing like that—it's so much better.
And then he grabs onto Dean's hips and yanks on them until Dean slides out a little. He holds his gaze steady with Dean's, and Dean's eyes go even wider as he realises what's happening: that he gets to feel the inside of Sam, but that Sam still can't help himself.
Sam allows Dean a moment to push back in, to do so without aid from Sam, and then he tightens his grip on Dean's hips—finger-shaped bruises no doubt a reality later—and pulls on Dean's body, sheathing Dean's cock within him again.
He works up a rhythm, Dean letting himself be led, and Dean's eyes fall shut as Sam takes over, arching his body up even as he pulls Dean in towards him, every last inch of Dean's cock sinking into his body, and Sam feels like he's reaching for heaven. Like if he just stretches up his fingertips a little bit higher he'll be able to reach nirvana—and he slides his hands down, cups the globes of Dean's ass, and squeezes as he fucks Dean into his body.
Dean is pliant, breathing heavy and fast, just moving with Sam to make Sam's job easier, but he doesn't try to lead, to wrest away the control, he just goes with it.
Sam's hole is throbbing around the weight and thickness of Dean's dick, and his own cock is pulsing in time with his heart, balls taut and pulling up, and he gets the best hold on Dean he can and rams Dean into him so hard that Dean is essentially riding his prostate non-stop and feels his whole body go white-hot, his eyes slamming closed until black patterns fill the inside of his lids and he screams as he goes reeling over the edge into the best orgasm he's ever had.
Distantly, he feels his body clenching around Dean, and he's lost in tidal waves of pleasure so Dean takes over, rocking in and out in tiny increments until his brother makes a noise almost as loud as Sam, strangled and sounding wrenched straight from his toes, and spasms inside Sam.
Even under the last vestiges of the pleasure that is drowning him, Sam is aware of the warm flood of Dean's come as it spurts into him, and that, too, is not something he could get from Jess.
He hooks his arm around Dean's back and drags him down, their sweat mixing, and devours Dean's mouth.
Dean is gasping between kisses, his face slick with perspiration, his lips swollen and throbbing against Sam's.
There are no words, so Sam just hangs on, rides out the rest of his orgasm even as Dean slowly withdraws.
Afterwards, after a shower and the chance for Dean to shave, they pile their stuff into the Impala and grab breakfast from some little drive-thru, Dean driving one-handed as he tries to replenish the energy he lost from jizzing inside Sam earlier that morning.
Sam is doing the same, stuffing his mouth with hash browns and a buttered biscuit, and he tries to catch the crumbs with his fingers so Dean doesn't make him vacuum out the Impala like he did once when they were kids.
The music playing in the tape deck is Metallica, but it's playing low and Dean is humming cheerfully through each mouthful of food, and somehow, Sam feels better even though he knows he's just getting closer and closer to a lot of very bad memories.
He thinks, as he watches the sun crest the horizon and rise into the sky, that maybe he burned Jess right out of his soul by letting Dean inside in the most fundamental way possible, and then he feels slightly guilty.
But he doesn't feel guilty for long, because Dean seems so carefree and happy, directing an invisible orchestra with his own half-eaten biscuit.
So Sam spends the rest of the drive concentrating on Dean and wondering if it's possible to keep his brother this happy.
Palo Alto, California
After the realisation that the yellow-eyed man is, in fact, a very powerful demon who is after Sam, Dean doesn't let him out of his sight even to do what he needs to do at Jess's grave.
Dean's standing at a discreet distance, shadowed under a tree with long-hanging branches, his sawed-off up against his shoulder. Sam knows that Dean's just being his same old self, the same person who, back when Sam was young and still part of the family—before he went to college and severed ties with his father—looked on it as his personal, irrefutable duty to take care of Sam, but it's still kind of irritating. Sam gives his brother a quick nod, then gets down on one knee, stares at the beautiful pink granite headstone that reads: Winchester. Beneath it are the flat stones for Jess (Beloved wife and mother), Tyler (much-loved son), James (beloved son) and Ella (much anticipated and adored daughter). Sam can feel a tear slip from his eye and run down his face, but even now, faced with the reality of their deaths—more concrete than a vision, more impossible to ignore or avoid than the distance that had afforded him some peace—he can't cry more than that tear. He's staring down at the markers that speak louder than any words of what he's lost, but he still can't let them go. He knows, someday, that he is going to break down. But he knows just as well that when he does, Dean will be there.
Dean, who has given him a gift more precious that anything Sam can imagine: himself. Sam still doesn't really know why Dean wants him, or why Dean is willing to engage in such a perversion with him, but Sam is grateful in ways he can't express.
He thought, when his children were born, that he knew something about love.
Dean has proven to him that he still has an unfathomable amount left to learn.
"Jess," he whispers, leaning in closer. The irony that he is holding her engagement ring in his fist while on one knee in front of her grave is not lost on him. "I love you, baby, and I miss you more than I can say. But... but I can only hope you'd be happy for me. I—I wanted to return this to you."
With the trowel from the Impala's trunk, Sam turns up some of the earth in front of the granite headstone, just beneath Jess's grave marker. He makes a deep little hole—doesn't want anything to disturb these later, like lawn equipment—and drops her heart-shaped diamond into it. He follows her ring with his wedding band, then fills in the hole carefully, patting down the soil and pressing his fist to his mouth.
"I wasn't cut out to be a father," he says softly. "I wasn't meant to be a husband to anyone, babe. I knew it all along, but I didn't want to see it. I didn't want to think that this was something I couldn't have. God, Jess, I'm so sorry. Please, please forgive me."
There's nothing, though, only the sound of the wind rustling the trees, the breath of it against the back of his neck, and if it weren't so cool and smelling of fresh air, Sam might have been able to convince himself that, for just one moment, Jess was behind him, about to kiss the nape of his neck under his hair just like she always used to do.
He gets to his feet, stuffs his hands into his pockets, and takes some time to compose himself, to say a final good-bye to the children he so carelessly allowed to be murdered, to the wife he didn't protect, and this time, when he thinks about Dean standing back there with the shotgun, he thinks maybe he understands the impulse.
That maybe Dean couldn't bear the thought of losing Sam any more than Sam would've once thought he couldn't survive losing Jess.
Sam knows, way down like a thorn in his soul, that the only reason he survived losing her was because he found something in Dean, something that ran deeper than any well, hotter than blood. And then there's a breath against his neck, followed by warm lips just beneath his hairline, and Sam lifts his head, turns, cups the back of Dean's skull and draws him into a sideways kiss.
When he opens his eyes and shifts back, Dean is smiling ever so faintly.
"C'mon, little brother," Dean says. "Staying here won't bring her back, and there's a demon out there that deserves to die for what he did to you."
The Impala is parked just outside of the cemetery, and they walk back to it together, shoulders bumping every so often, a casual, unforced reminder that Dean is just by his side and probably always will be.
Dean props open the trunk and stows his shotgun, but replaces it with the pearl-handled pistol he favours, slipping that into his waistband as Sam dumps the trowel back into the morass of weapons and tools hidden beneath the false bottom.
Sam looks up and kisses Dean, fast and sweet and over too soon. They grab the trunk to close it, and just before they slam it shut, Sam says,
"We've got work to do."
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