Dean closed his eyes and scrubbed a hand over his face, the blue glow of the laptop still glaring through his closed lids. He sighed and let his hand drop heavily onto the chipped table. Clearing his throat, he tried to focus on the coroner’s report before him.
“The minute he walked through that door, I knew. It was over.”
Dean inhaled sharply. Picking up the closest beer bottle, he went to take a swig only to find it empty.
“Shit.” He muttered under his breath, tossing it aside, and snatching up the half full bottle of rotgut he found behind the stash of empty bottles that littered the table. He took a long sip before pouring a generous amount into a semi-clean glass next to the computer and thunked it back down on the table, now mostly empty, just as the familiar burn hit his stomach.
After a few minutes of staring blankly at the screen, he gave in and admitted that research wasn't gonna happen. He snapped the lid shut and sat in the dark room with nothing but the hum of the air conditioner to break the silence.
“You two have the most unhealthy, tangled up, crazy thing I’ve ever seen…”
He took another mouthful hoping the alcohol would burn away the lump in his throat. It had been weeks since he had spoken to Lisa and she had finally ended it. He couldn't blame her. It was for the best and he knew it. It's why - no matter how many times he sat there staring at her name in his phone - he could never make himself hit the button. He had found himself a few times trying to believe that it had just been Veritas’s curse that made her say it was over but he couldn’t deny the fact that the curse had only forced her to tell him the truth. Things were better this way. What, with Cas confirming his suspicions that something had been wrong - was wrong - with Sam. That he came back from the cage without his soul. His life didn’t allow for relationships like he had wanted with Lisa. He had said so to Veritas himself.
And Sam….Sam had even gone so far as to state that they were barely even brothers now.
“So. I was thinking.” Sam switched topics abruptly, heaving an awkward sigh. “You were right.” Dean felt himself tense.
“I'm not your brother. I'm not...Sam.” Dean’s expression instantly darkened. Sam’s tone was light and casual and twisted Dean’s insides with apprehension. The knot in his stomach that he’d been carrying since Sam had returned from the cage, the uneasy knot that only got worse when Cas had ‘diagnosed’ him, hardened into a pit. He wasn’t sure where Sam was going with this and, while cautiously curious, he was pretty sure he wasn’t going to like it.
“Okay.” Dean said flatly after a long pause.
“Um...All that blah-blah-blah- about being the old me? Crap.” Sam’s blunt tone was like a slap. Delivering the exact point he was trying to make with ease. “Like Lisa and Ben, right? I've been acting like I care about them. But I don't. I couldn't care less.” Dean pulled back a little, taking a steadying breath and breaking eye contact in an attempt to hold back his rising anger. He had already beaten his brother bloody once recently and was desperately trying to prevent doing so a second time.
“Is this supposed to make me feel better?” He asked, the pit in his stomach growing. It's one thing to suspect something like this, it was another to hear it said. Especially from Sam. Especially in such a way.
“You wanted the real me, this is it. I don't care about them. I don't even really care about you,” Dean’s gaze shot back to his brother, pained surprise seeping through the anger. “except that I need your help. And you're clearly not gonna stick around for much longer unless I give it to you straight, so...I've done a lot worse than you know. I've killed innocent people in the line of duty, but I'm pretty sure it's not something the old me could have done. And maybe I should feel guilty, but I don't.”
The memory echoed in Dean’s head renewing the lost, hurt, angry fire burning in his stomach fueled on by the liquor. No matter what he said, Sam was his brother and now he had to, yet again, save him. Make it better...somehow. But all he wanted to do in this moment was run home to Lisa and get drunk. Or wake up to find Sam back to how he should be so they could get back to their own weird, skewed version of normal. Neither was an option but he could drink.
A hand abruptly landed on his shoulder making him jump.
“Hey. You... okay?” Dean looked up at the giant shadow standing right behind him.
“Jesus Sam!” Dean growled at the surprise. “When did you get back?”
“Uh...just now, Dean, you didn’t hear me open the door?” Sam asked, flipping on the light switch. The yellow light buzzed overhead, illuminating the craptastic motel room with its stained bedspreads and crusty kitchenette. Dean blinked against the harsh light.
“Must've missed it.” He mumbled as he watched Sam throw a new supply of beer and miscellaneous food bits into the mini-fridge.
“Okay. So. Made any headway on the case? We any closer to figuring out who it is?” Sam asked. Dean stared at his brother for a good long minute before swallowing another mouthful. They had just rolled into town. Just barely long enough to grab a room, pull up info for the case on the laptop, and for Sam to go on a supply run.
“No, Sammy, not a clue.” Dean downed the last of the whisky in his glass and stood up from the chair, stretching a bit as he did. He hit the button on the front of his phone. 2:13am glowed up at him. Groaning audibly, he peeled off his shirt as he shuffled over to one of the two beds and collapsed diagonally across it.
“Dude...how much have you had to drink?” Sam asked, mild dry amusement seeping into his voice. Dean cracked an eyelid to look up at his overgrown, soulless brother who was leaning up against the counter with arms folded.
“Not nearly enough.” Dean answered into the pillow before closing his eye again.
“Uh, okay.” Slight scoff. “Right. Well, I’m going to go take a shower.” Sam stated before flipping the light off again and heading into the bathroom. The light from the cracked bathroom door fell directly on Dean’s face.
He was exhausted but he wasn’t sure he could sleep. He laid there for a while with his head spinning, listening to Sam shuffle around the bathroom; water turning on, curtain rustling, the worn plastic of the tub groaning under Sam’s weight. Eventually he slowly dozed off.
Lisa trailed her fingertips from the nape of his neck down his spine, exploring his ribs and back dimples along the way before her hand came to rest on his left hip. Dean made a little appreciative moan in his half-sleep and turned onto his side, allowing her room to wrap her arm around him like she always did. She hesitated for just a second, fingers stalling on his hip, before her warm hand continued its movement along the edge of his jeans and came to rest on his low stomach. He happily sighed and started to let himself drift back down into sleep when she ran a finger slowly, teasingly just under the waistband of his underwear.
The slight movement sent lazy shocks of arousal through his stomach that ended up making his bits twitch against their confinement. He could feel her warm body close behind him on the bed and smell the chemically harsh motel soap on her skin. A pang of loss hit him, he missed smelling the oatmeal-lavender soap she had loved to use. That smell had subtly clung to everything she came in contact with, making everything he owned smell of her.
His eyebrows furrowed in sleepy, hazy confusion.
Dean’s eyes flew open to find himself lying on his side on the saggy motel bed with a dude’s hand - Sam’s hand - roaming across the exposed flesh of his stomach.