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The World's a Beast of a Burden

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Sam knows that every now and then Dean starts to feel antsy, like he’s waiting for the other shoe to drop. Like he’s waiting for Sam to come to his senses and leave. And, like the emotionally constipated idiot he is, he deals with it by pulling away first, by getting irritable, and flirting with everyone around him. As if he’s trying to prove to himself, and Sam by extension, that he has options, that he won’t end up alone. That he’ll be okay if (when) Sam leaves.

Now is one of those times.

In Sam’s defense, it has been a really busy few weeks. Garth had called for help in researching some seriously arcane goings-on down in Louisiana. That bayou crap was always tricky. Zombies, voudon, con artists, and drunken tourists made for a lot of bad situations. Sam has been deep in research mode for the last week, on the phone with some of Garth’s people in the South. The MoL library has some freakishly rare collections that are helping a lot.

Meanwhile, Dean had paired off with Frannie Walsh, a hunter down in Arizona, to go after what turned out to be the ghosts of a Hopi man and the Navaho woman he had fallen in love with. A hundred years dead and they’d come back to terrorize the locals. Sam was a little vague on the details, something about land, and oil, and forbidden love, yaddah, yaddah, but Dean had come back pretty beat up. His right knee was really bad, like pull-out-the-despised-cane bad. He’d also pulled some major muscles in his back when he’d lifted the side of a house off Frannie. To top it off, he had really bad sunburn.

So with all that, it just happened that more nights than not, they end up sleeping apart. Sam researching late into the night, Dean on the couch, knee propped up on a pillow. Not Sam’s favorite circumstances, but life’s like that sometimes. He passes by Dean’s room a few times, and Dean seems peacefully asleep for a change, so Sam heads for what is nominally ‘his’ room. He knows Dean hates being injured, hates attention being drawn to his injury, so he doesn’t hover, doesn’t comment on the cane. Generally, he leaves Dean to it.

Sam realizes his mistake the third morning in a row that Dean gets himself a cup of coffee without bringing one for Sam. He smells coffee when Dean passes behind him and automatically reaches for his mug without looking away from the laptop screen. Encountering nothing but empty space, he turns, puzzled, just in time to see Dean leave in a swish of dead-guy robe. Fuck.

Sam thinks back over the last few days and catalogs all the small signals Dean had been putting out that he’d missed and he curses at himself again. Damn it. He’d been so wrapped up in the thrill of the hunt for that one piece of information, the tiny bit of lore that would break open this case, that he hadn’t even noticed Dean battling with more than physical injuries. He drums his fingers against the laptop and thinks. He can fix this.

Two hours, a few phone calls, and some Google searches later, Sam has given Louisiana-guy all the info he has, let Garth know the Winchesters are unavailable for anything less than another Apocalypse for the next few days, and packed a bag for him and Dean.

He walks into the living room where Dean sprawls across the couch watching Mythbusters. The small collection of dirty cups and food wrappers on the floor by the couch are just another sign he’d missed that Dean isn’t okay. He stands between Dean and the TV, blocking his view.

“Hey, Sammy,” Dean drawls without looking up. “What’s up? Though you were being all geek-boy with your new boyfriend?”

Sam hears something explode on the screen behind him. Adam and Jamie laugh and cheer. The orange light flickers across Dean’s face, highlighting the way Dean is deliberately not looking at Sam. “I’m done,” Sam says.

Now Dean turns his head to look at Sam, eyebrows raised. “Yeah? Good for you.” Dean sits up, swinging his legs to the floor. Sam’s watching for it, so he sees the twinge when his foot hits the ground, notices the stiffness in his arms. “So anyway,” Dean continues, “I was thinking of going out tonight. Play some pool, have a few drinks. I might be late, so don’t wait up.”

Sam’s heart breaks a little at that. He wants to just grab Dean, press him into the couch, and kiss him until he can’t breathe, push all that insecurity away with the force of his body. But that’s not how this goes. That might have worked two, three days ago. But Dean’s been alone with his thoughts and his demons for too long. This is going to take more.

Dean stands up and Sam takes a step forward right into his space. He pulls himself up into what Dean calls his loom-mode, forcing Dean to either look up at him to make eye contact or keep talking to Sam’s chin. “You’re not going anywhere, Dean. But we are. We’re going on a trip.” He reaches out, curling his hand around Dean’s hip. The robe is soft under his fingers as he rubs small circles into Dean’s hipbone with his thumb. He feels the quick shudder Dean can’t suppress, and feels his muscles tense as he fights not to just lean into Sam, rest his head against his chest and let Sam hold him up. Sam slides his hand up Dean’s back, not hard, not pulling Dean into him the way he craves, just letting Dean feel the warmth of his hand. A tease, a promise for later. Dean exhales sharply and his breath is hot against Sam’s collarbone. “Why don’t you go take a shower and get dressed. I’ve already packed for us and there are some clothes on your bed.”

Dean looks up at Sam now, eyes dark, assessing. Sam is careful to keep his expression soft but not laughing, not at all. This isn’t funny to either of them. His touch on Dean’s back is gentle. Finally, Dean nods, takes a step backward and reaches for the cane. “Yeah. Okay.”

Sam moves back just enough to let Dean pass by, afraid to say anything more. Dean stops at the door to the hall, resting his weight on the cane and turns, pointing at the dirty plates. “Clean that up, bitch. You owe me.” Sam remembers Dean hobbling from the kitchen, balancing plates and the cane and, yeah, he does own Dean. “I know it. I will. Now shower.”

“Bossy.” He thinks he sees a tiny smile on Dean’s face as he turns away. Sam waits until Dean is around the bend before he lets himself sag, exhaling loudly in the room. It’s tricky, so tricky with Dean. So easy to go too far one way or the other. But he thinks that went well. He picks up the mugs and the fast food wrappers and nods. Yeah, that was good. Time for the next step.

He hears Dean humming as he quietly sneaks into the bathroom. Steam fills the space and the pounding of the spray masks his footsteps. He watches the fuzzy outline of Dean’s body through the foggy glass as he takes off his clothes. Dean turns his back to the spray, eyes closed at the feel of hot water over his sore shoulder. Sam opens the shower door and slips in. Dean doesn’t even open his eyes as Sam slides an arm around his waist. “All the other showers full?”

“I like the view in this one better.”

Dean barks a laugh even as Sam is turning him around and crowding him to the wall. “Wow. That is cheesy even for you. I should kick you out just for that.” He slaps his hands on the tiles as Sam gives him a little shove. “Hey, careful. More accidents happen in the home than anywhere else, you know.” But there’s definitely a smile in his voice now, so Sam’s not stopping. He tilts the shower head so the water runs between them, down Dean’s gorgeous back. Sam grabs the body wash they both like and pours it out in a stream between Dean’s shoulder blades. “Cold,” Dean says.

“Sorry,” Sam answers, leaning into kiss Dean’s temple. Dean pushes into it and Sam kisses lower on his neck. “Sorry.” Dean just nods, still more tense than Sam is happy with.

Sam pulls back, rubs both hands through the soap and glides his hand up and down Dean’s back and sides. He runs thumbs up the muscles on either side of his spine, digs his fingers into the meat of his shoulders and at the base of his neck until Dean groans and Sam feels him relax. He pours more soap into his palm and slides right up against Dean’s back. He slips his hands around to Dean’s chest pulling Dean into him so Dean can feel his erection pressing against his lower back and the top of his ass.

Dean’s breath hitches. “Sam.” And Sam can’t tell if it’s a warning or an invitation. His fingers trail lightly across Dean’s chest, skimming over nipples, down to the ribs and back up again to press harder as he shudders and pushes back just the smallest amount against Sam. Sam twists his hips, and rocks into Dean just to feel the glorious sensation of his brother’s wet, soapy skin against his cock. But this isn’t about him, so he leans forward to suck the water off Dean’s neck as his hands slip lower. Dean inhales and shifts his hands against the wall to help his balance.

“How’s the knee?” Sam asks.

“Fantastic,” Dean grumbles. “Want to talk about the weather next?”

Sam laughs softly and slides his hand down between Dean’s legs. “About fucking time,” Dean mutters under his breath. He’s half hard already and Sam just holds him gently, cupping his hand around his cock, and placing soft kisses wherever he can reach. Sorry, he mouths against his skin. Sorry. Dean’s hips push forward into Sam’s hand and back against him. Dean’s not all the way okay, but he’s listening.

“I missed you when you were gone,” Sam says, sliding down Dean’s body, going to his knees on the shower floor. His lips slide over the water cascading down Dean’s hip and he follows the flow over the curve of his perfect ass. “Missed you,” he repeats, trailing a finger down the valley between the cheeks. He pushes in, slippery with soap, just feeling for Dean’s opening.

Dean exhales hard through his nose. “Yeah?” he asks, voice a little cracked. “We’ll I’ve been there on the couch all week. Pretty easy to find.”

Sam doesn’t answer, can’t answer. Dean is right. He grabs a cheek in each hand and pulls gently. Dean arches into it and Sam pushes his mouth in, tongue ghosting over the warm wet flesh, flicking at the tight muscle. It’s an apology, a confession. He pushes hard and Dean shudders. Fucked maybe, but it’s language of the body, of actions, not words. It speaks louder than words ever could for the Winchester boys.

Sam pushes deeper, feeling the strain in the tendons of his neck, the length of his tongue. He’s desperate for the way Dean’s body is starting to move under his hands, beneath his mouth. A few more hot licks around and Dean is panting. “Come on,” Dean urges, pushing back. “Stop teasing.” But Sam can tell the way Dean’s thighs are shivering is only partly from arousal, part of it is from pain. Sam pulls off and rests his forehead on Dean’s hip, breathing heavily. His cock is hard and heavy between his leg. It feels good.

He stands up, wraps around Dean from behind, so that he can take some of Dean’s weight, and shuts off the shower. “Come on. Time to get out.”

Dean tries to pull away, twisting in Sam’s grip. “Really? Just going to be a tease?”

Sam lets Dean turn in his grasp until they are face to face. He kisses Dean deep and slowly. His erection slides against Dean’s stomach, and it feels so good. Dean’s lips soft and resilient under his teeth, the muscles sleek and strong in his hands. God, he missed this, he needs it as much as Dean. Thank god one of them has some sense. Maybe one day it will be him.

He walks them both out of the shower and wraps Dean in the biggest towel they have, then leads him to his bed. Despite Dean’s grumbling, he pulls Dean’s arm around his shoulders and keeps an arm around Dean’s waist, taking as much of his weight off the bad knee as he can.

The bed is soft, and Dean sighs as he sinks down into it, eyes closed. His cock has softened with the exertion of the walk and his breathing is a little shallow. Sam grabs an extra pillow and gently slides it under Dean’s bad knee, pushing his leg out to the side at the same time. With a hand on Dean’s inner thigh, he pushes Dean’s other leg a little wider. He’s completely exposed now. “Sam. C’mon, man. Just fuck me.”

Sam crawls up the bed on his hands and knees, leans over his brother, and dips down for a deep kiss. “Just let me, okay?” He guides Dean’s arms up, placing his hands on the headboard and wrapping the fingers around. “Don’t let go, okay? Let go and I’ll stop.” Please don’t let go, he thinks. Closing his eyes and hoping he’s getting this right, he lowers down, mindful of Dean’s injuries, until they’re pressed together chest to groin, Dean’s thighs pressed against Sam’s hips. Their breath mingles as they both sigh. Sam braces himself on one elbow and cradles Dean’s face in his hand, moving him into the perfect angle to fit their lips together. When they touch, everything else falls away. It’s perfect: the pressure, the slickness and the catch of Dean’s gorgeous mouth. They kiss, all lips and tongue and nips, until time stretches like taffy, slow and sweet. Sam comes back to himself with the feeling of Dean’s hand on his head, fingers tangled in his hair, tugging gently but firmly in rhythm with the rolling of their hips and the slip slide of their cocks against each other.

Dean pulls sharply, yanking Sam’s head back with a wicked groan, and Sam’s orgasm is suddenly right there, punching low in his abdomen. It feels like every cell in his body wails the loss as he pushes up and away from Dean’s body before he can come. Resting his head against Dean’s, he pants hotly, trembling, trying to slow the thundering of his heart. “Dean,” he croaks, pulling Dean’s hand off his head. He slides his hand down to Dean’s, palm to palm, and squeezes. Dean squeezes back and Sam pulls away far enough to look Dean in the eye. Pupils blown black, Dean looks as wrecked as Sam feels. He exhales a ragged laugh and pulls Dean’s arm back up to the headboard. “Yeah?” he asks.

Dean meets his eyes, lifts his head, trying to recapture Sam’s lips. Sam sways back and Dean grunts a protest. Sam presses down on Dean’s hand where it rests against the headboard. “You want to stop?” Sam’s body trembles against the pull of Dean’s skin. He wants desperately to sink down onto Dean, would fight demons to feel that skin against his, but it has to be Sam’s way. Dean can’t be in charge of this. For his own sake, for both their sakes.

Dean twists underneath him, dripping cock painting a wet line across Sam’s thigh, and Sam’s hand convulses around Dean’s, the muscle in his jaw clenching. Fucking hell. Sam feels his own cock dripping down on to Dean’s stomach and closes his eyes. Dean shudders and slides his hand from underneath Sam’s, turning it palm down to grip the headboard again. His eyes are closed and his chest is heaving. “Please. God, please Sam.” The words are dragged out of his throat.

Sam exhales, panting with relief. If Dean had fought him, had ordered him, Sam would have stopped. He would have had to. But god it would have hurt, would have been two steps back. He drops his head down to Dean’s neck, tasting the salty sweat and the clean skin underneath. He sucks and bites, dragging his tongue across the three-day beard, until he gets the skin right at the curve of Dean’s jaw between his teeth. He sucks hard, drawing the blood to the surface, marking Dean where no shirt or jacket can hide it. His own breathing is ragged in his ears, hot breath flowing down Dean’s neck. Dean’s curses and pleas are constant now, and Sam can feel the muscles of his arms like iron from the tightness of his grip on the bed.

“Oh fuck, Please. Come on, Sam. Sam.” He rolls his hips back and forth, brushing their cocks together, Sam’s hanging down hard and heavy, Dean’s arching up from his body. Sam’s whimpering. It feels too good. He knows he had a plan here, a reason to drag this out, but he’ll be damned again if he can remember it. “Sam, you feel so fuckin’ good. Please just touch me. God anything. Let me touch you. My mouth, please. Just let me taste you.”

Dean is craning his head, trying to get his mouth on any part of Sam he can reach. Those plush lips brush Sam’s neck and he groans, pulled to Dean’s incredible mouth. There’s nothing like coordination or finesse left as he just drags his lips over Dean’s. They rub open mouths together and Sam feels Dean dig his heels into the bed and thrust up. A lightning flash of pleasure shoots through Sam as Dean’s body presses hard against his dripping cock. He wrenches his head up and shouts Dean’s name, legs finally giving out. As he crashes down, Dean wraps his legs around Sam, locking his ankles around Sam’s calves and just ruts fast and hard against Sam.

It’s all over then, whatever grand plan Sam had is shattered by the feel of Dean’s hot length against his. A few wordless thrusts and they are both coming, pulsing against each other, no way to tell who came first, no reason to care.

And it’s almost perfect. Almost.

They lay there, pressed together, every twitch of the other bringing a shudder, until their breathing evens out and the press of skin on skin becomes too much. With a groan, Sam rolls off Dean, wrinkling his nose at the pull of drying come on his skin. Dean peels his hands from the headboard, flexing his fingers. “Jesus Christ, Sammy. Fuck.”

Sam nods. Tries to speak but nothing comes out. Tries again. “Yeah. Good.”

Dean laughs. “Well-put, college boy.” He pushes himself up a little on the bed, resting his back on headboard and dragging Sam against his chest. Sam goes, pretty much unable to move much on his own just yet, and turns his face into Dean’s neck. Dean huffs as he slides the pillow back under his knee.

Sam swirls a finger through the glaze on Dean’s stomach, gathering up their shared release. He feels Dean’s eyes on him as he brings his finger to his mouth, tasting.

“Good boy, Sammy. Damn, I thought you were gonna tease me all night. ‘Bout ready to put you on your back at the end there.” Dean’s reaching for a lightness, but Sam hears something off underneath it, especially given how hard he just came. He looks up at Dean, searching for the tells Dean can’t hide. There’s just a hint of tension in the shadows and wrinkles at the corner of his eyes.

Sam curses silently. He was so close. He almost had Dean where he needed to be. But now he’ll have to start again. Sam needs Dean to give up even that little bit of control he claimed at the end. Has to move Dean past the demands, past even the begging, get him to a point where he will just be, where he trusts Sam completely to make him feel good. He has to prove to Dean, in the only way Dean will believe, that Sam’s first priority is always going to be taking care of Dean. Taking care of him the way he needs but can never bring himself to ask for directly.

Sam needs to take care of Dean just as much. It’s the only thing that touches the ever-present awareness of the debt he owes Dean. He can never repay Dean for the sacrifices he made. Dean gave his childhood, his life, and his soul for Sam. Sam can be strong for him. All he wants to do now is roll over and sleep pressed against Dean, feel the rise and fall of his chest. But that’s not what Dean needs.

The sound of the flat of his hand smacking onto Dean’s stomach is loud in the quiet room. When Dean turns wide eyes on him, Sam keeps his face still, voice low. “We both need another shower. Separately,” he continues as Dean opens his mouth, a smart ass remark clearly visible in the quirk of his lips. “Then put on the clothes I laid out. We’ve got a long drive ahead of us.”

He rolls off the bed, not looking back so he won’t be tempted to crawl in with his brother.

Forty-five minutes later, Dean is dressed and waiting for Sam by the car. The bags are tossed in the back seat. Sam smiles, presses himself against Dean for a long, deep kiss. He digs through Dean's jacket pocket as he does, pulling out the keys. “Get in,” he says, breaking the kiss. “I’m driving.”

It’s a sixteen-hour drive to Vegas from Lebanon. They make it in twelve, pulling onto the Strip as the sun rises.