It takes a lot of work to be real, for things to feel real. Especially when most of your life, the world has been inhabited by things that shouldn't be real.
When Dean was dead, when he was out of reach and gone, Sam would think maybe his brother wasn't real, had never been real, some sort of fever-dream wish his loneliness had made on a star so long ago, time out of mind as he stared out at a landscape passing him by as the car growled around him, a beast different from all the others.
Long dark nights and long blinding days and nothing was real. Nothing would be because the one fixed point Sam had was knocked away, broken and tangled and unable to be put back together.
If the pendulum can swing one direction, it can swing in the opposite direction.
Dean's real. Dean's here, staring at him with a look that says You're such a fuck-up with the cruelest fond definition possible.
Sometimes Sam forgets, thinks Dean is just another nightmare he's having and can't escape from, like in the old days.
So he works very hard to remember. He's terrified that if he goes to sleep, he'll forget for good and it will all be an elaborate winding hoax, Dean gone like cologne vapor and the smirk that is nothing but a quirk of emotion and muscles.
He sleeps wrapped around Dean. He sleeps touching.
The knives, all knives, they help remind Sam what real means. It means Dean and those slicing green eyes and the blood they share, inside, outside, spread over his lips and on his tongue. Licking a knife is cold metal on hot flesh and it doesn't get more real than that.
When he feels the cut, the sharp sting, how his skin spreads open for Dean, pouring himself out for Dean, he is brought back from the dead, breathing cemetery air, a second chance at life, a second chance at sight and sound and taste and touch and smell and Dean.
Dean is his sixth sense because he always knows just how to glide the blade along Sam, knows where his ribs end and his belly begins, where his heart grabs onto Dean with its bloody needy fingers.
It's overwhelming and true and nothing has ever been so absolute for Sam as this, Dean watching him with his eyes almost black, his cock twitching hot against Sam's thigh, his mouth saying, Sammy, again and again and again, glossy red coloring the syllables.
This is worth it, whatever Sam gave up, though he doesn't remember and he doesn't miss anything. It's all worth it to have Dean smile, make Dean laugh, anything and everything to have every atom of Dean.
Being in love with Dean is adrenaline on an IV drip, his brother going straight into his veins, endless speed and no brakes and fuck it if there's a cliff just ahead. Having Dean with him is messy sweaty sheets and the thick spatter of blood and heavy hard music smashing molecules apart and the world waiting for them to slice it open however and whenever they choose.
Sam will do what it takes to keep him, addicted, always a junkie for Dean, every sensation between them another needle track on his arms.
Some days feel more real than others, bright and saturated, dripping with too much too much too much and Sam has to wipe them away, smudge them back, with black smoke and ash on the wind and the electrical buzzing silence after gunfire and driving at night without headlights and dragging Dean into the backseat to get his teeth on Dean’s hipbones.
Some days aren't real enough, too distorted at their edges and those are dangerous days, sinking quicksand days and Sam solidifies them, shores them up with a ragged beer bottle slitting across a trash-talking throat, jealous drawn knife telling the soft foolish boy and his greedy skin to get the fuck away from his brother, bullets cracking and glass breaking over and over and over.
Through all those days, eyes wide and white-flame bright, hands on Sam's waist or ass or cock, through all those days is Dean, on his knees with his lips begging at denim or pressed to Sam's chest whispering in his ear, Sam, you gorgeous motherfucker, as your big brother, I know best and I really think you should fuck me right now.
Dean leaves bruises, as if calling dark into Sam's cells and demanding worthy tribute. Each one is put there by Dean in deep slow-flavored moments and Sam counts them, each little pulse of pain telegraphing to him in their private code that he and Dean are real together.
Sam leaves bruises too because Dean's skin is pale, pleading at Sam, a sacrifice he can take whenever he wants, as much as he wants, however he wants and it will always make Dean moan. He can't help it if his bones and being are Dean's body and Sam won't let it go.
He likes to make sure the smile Dean has is his, not some shitty fake polite smile, but the honest true deal, the smile Sam has been chasing like a comet his whole life and now he gets to taste it, letting it sear him to his marrow because it won’t taste right unless it burns him all the way through. Dean’s smile is the best and brightest pain.
So he does everything in his power to keep Dean smiling. Sam finds them hunts where Dean gets to do a lot of shooting, forever ecstatic to have a gun in his hand, putting round after round into something with ease, with the wet spurting sound; hunts where they can chase, complete hunters, driving something to run, pushing it to run faster, forcing it to fight harder; hunts where they end up covered in viscera, drenched crimson-black, laughing at the smell, swiping thumbs over mouths so they can kiss and steal each other’s air. Other times, they don’t need hunts; trouble comes to find them and Sam likes those times, knows Dean does too. They cherish those times; it’s like a vacation because they don’t have to do any of the work, it’s free and it’s fun. Hey, if you’re looking for a good time, you walk up and push them, because good times all around, motherfucker, they’ll push back, make it absolutely worth your while, wish you a nice day to go with that pretty hole you’ve got in your chest and you’ll go down with Dean’s wink and Sam’s smirk and yeah, it’ll be a very nice day, you son of a bitch. Sam’s going to start leaving a cell phone number behind in bathrooms, for a good time call.
Someone called the cops on them once, well, ok, it’s been a few times, but this one time in particular, this girl had come on to Sam, big eyes, bigger tits and a purring voice, a kitten ready to rub herself all over him. The way he remembers it, he said no thanks, I’m with someone, and then that someone appeared, trapping her against the bar. Sweetheart, you best move along, nothing to see here, Dean said and she glanced at Sam, her expression shooting, Who does this bastard think he is? Thing was, Dean’s not afraid to snap the kitten’s neck and while Sam wanted to see that particular parlor trick, he was too full of alcohol to get downright excited. He tried to warn her, really he did, but it’s not Sam’s fault if she was too dumb to listen. She darted towards Sam again and ended up with a gun barrel between those big eyes, another gun barrel between those bigger tits. Sam was done with his beer anyway.
The girl lived since Dean thought it was a shame to ruin those tits, the cops appeared, two small-time officers who didn’t know better and it was easy work taking their guns, their cuffs, their nightsticks, their uniforms, oh, and their cop car. By the time Sam had driven into the middle of the field, Dean had gotten on the radio to dispatch and sent cops in all sorts of hysterical directions, reports of public nudity and drunk-and-disorderlies and dead bodies and burglaries-in-progress. Then he’d shimmied into one of the uniforms, cuffed Sam, tracing Sam’s body with the nightstick before he fucked Sam against the cruiser, rough brush of the uniform on Sam's skin, fucked him good and hard, talking porn dirty with every cop-and-robber fantasy they’d ever had, Spread your legs for me, boy, jail’s too dangerous for you, think I’ll have to teach you a lesson right here and right now, you criminal scumbag. Sam asked if he’d been picked up for prostitution and at that, Dean fucked into him harder, their bodies slamming together, Yeah, you whore, better thank me for not throwing you in the tank with the sharks, pretty boy like you, you’d have every cock shoved up your ass and in your mouth so fast. Thank you, Officer Winchester, for saving me and helping me see the error of my ways, thank you thank you thank you. Dean was smiling, hand around Sam’s throat and Sam’s knees were about to drop him, pure ecstasy pouring through him and in him, like Dean’s come, like his own on his stomach and down his thighs.
They fight, knock-down-drag-out fights, Dean with his boxer’s stance and dirty fighting, Sam with his outrageous reach and the dirty fighting he learned from Dean, two weapons clashing until they collapse together, covered in each other’s blood and bruises. Then one of them starts to laugh, then the other, and they fight some more, laughing, hitting harder. All so they can lick each other’s wounds, tongue sliding over bruises, biting at any clear square of skin because they have to mark, have to claim, have to have since this is theirs and the world is so very fucked up to tell them they shouldn’t keep this. What the hell has the world come to, honestly.
Sam with Dean and Dean with Sam, it’s the only thing that makes sense anymore.
This is what Sam knows. This is what is real. Everything else can fuck off back to the shithole where it came from.
The heat from the explosion is real and running over Sam like water and Dean's next to him, laughing, soaked in the warm flickering hues that spell life and exhilaration.
Dean's happy. Sam's happy. The gas station has gone up in an impressive fireball beyond anything they had pictured, nothing like the movies. There are even other cars on fire and black shapes tumbling out of the sky, their very own homemade meteorites, better than any fucking science project.
Their fingers tangle together, slippery with gasoline and sweat.
It's like magic.
Dean breathes out, Sammy, c'mere.
He tugs on Sam and Sam goes, falls into Dean because he is indisputable, impetus and momentum, propulsion and compulsion.
They kiss and Dean's mouth is all the knowledge Sam will ever need.
Real. Not a hallucination. And because of it, because Dean is here with him, Sam is bouncing loose in his body, easy and wildly free, crazy colors and voices like schizophrenia.
The kiss breaks, Dean licking out at Sam's mouth, sliding a palm down the front of Sam's jeans and as Sam's hand echoes Dean's, he wonders if they have any marshmallows. Sugar sounds good. It's been a long day.