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in my dreams you walk dripping from a sea-journey on the highway across America

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Sleep is too slow. Sleep means stop. Sleep means an end to the day, an end to the fun, means an end to a means to an end.

Sam says if they don't sleep, things could get worse. But Dean thinks things would only get better.

Dean doesn't really dream anymore. If he does, then he doesn't care to remember. He knows he used to dream, a lot, even in that light warrior sleep.

He daydreams now instead. Daydreams about Sam taunting some All-American Football Joe boy into trying to kiss him, maybe go to his knees in front of Sam, like all people should be to Sam, on their knees, begging up and opening their mouths and wanting. Except he's Dean's, he belongs to Dean, every last inch of him and the fun is that people don't get to have Sam.

They can look. They can want. They can beg. They can plead. They can cry. They can attempt to threaten. But Sam only unzips his jeans for Dean.

In a hospital somewhere in Ruidoso, there's a guy that's learned his lesson. Had to have his jaw wired shut since it was in pieces. It happens.

Dean likes to daydream about Sam, naked with fire behind him, a knife in his hand like he knows exactly where your heart is, his hair wild and loose like the rest of him, and his eyes so bright and hazel, they're water on glass and real and slice so fine.

But lately, he's been having dreams, proper dreams, full of light and color and noise. And it's disturbing because he doesn't want them. The dreams make him remember.

Before the knives, before Sam smiled at him with his dimples red and his teeth white on Dean's skin, before they knew what freedom meant, before they had this wavelength humming in harmonic distortion, before Sam could get Dean to come in the time it takes for a body to hit the ground.

Before.

Sam was gone, Sam was at college, doing something pretty fucking stupid though Dean's a bit fuzzy on what exactly except maybe learning how to run that mouth of his or how to slide his fingers just right or how to make bigger better bombs.

The point is he remembers Sam being gone, remembers the time when he was emptied of his guts and his heart was mashed in the Impala's tires, strewn out over years of road.

It felt like hell. Hell felt like that. Dean without Sam is Dean stretched on a rack, his joints screaming from the mouths made where his skin has split, his guts and his heart mashed to pulp car-crash style in front of his eyes.

This makes him remember any time he was ever without Sam, Sam without him, any time they had the space to breathe and what the fuck, how many times has he died then because he's not alive if he's not with Sam. Maybe he dies every day and Sam is his gleaming reaper who breathes into him and fucks into him and brings him back with a jerk and a cry.

He dreams of Sam, so fucking tall and dripping wet, his hair dark and curling, limbs glistening with water or something more, same as that day in the sunshine when Dean licked him clean and tasted Sam's joy in the salty slick shine of blood. But here, Sam's walking down a road, barefoot on the yellow lines and Dean's scared mindless; he can't tell if Sam's coming or going, maybe he's leaving again or Dean's leaving again and they'll be lost, so many miles apart and do you have any fucking clue how big America is, how easy it is to get lost on any road anywhere, the yellow lines on the asphalt not the yellow brick road leading you to anything resembling home?

Sam is soaked, shaking as he walks and Dean thinks he's either scared or he's laughing or he's both, both makes more sense; they don't really get scared anymore unless it's something suicidal about each other and laughter is best in high doses, Sam's better than any drug ever to fuck your shit up and that's what Dean lives on, hearing Sam laugh and tasting the adrenaline lighter-spoon cooked out of it, their currency, their food, their pistons igniting gasoline.

They're here to have fun. And fuck each other silly. What else is there?

Then this dream keeps happening and Dean stops sleeping. And the world starts to balance in ways that are tearing Dean apart, a paper plane caught in a hurricane.

He's seeing phantoms, as if he was back in Hell, though these don't look like Sam and they should all look like Sam and Sam's starting to look like a phantom instead.

So he grabs on to Sam, bruises him and doesn't cry, trembles as he swallows Sam down, because this is how it should be, Sam here, Sam dry, not soaked unless he's bloody which happens almost daily if they take every chance, Sam on the road next to him instead of alone on some insane peyote-purple journey, parts unknown, parts that aren't and don't lead to Dean.

Today, Sam tosses Dean over his shoulder and Dean dangles, licks a finger, tries to get it in Sam's ass as he walks, but Sam's angry, pissed off with Dean and he kicks open their newest motel room door and throws Dean onto the bed so hard it breaks.

What the hell, Sammy?

Dean, I told you to sleep.

Maybe I don't want to. Sleep is overrated. I'd rather stay awake and--

Oh yeah? Well, guess what, jerk, your perception's all screwed up. Can't shoot worth a damn, now can you? Sam's breathing hard, foot in the middle of Dean's chest as he lies in the ruins of the bed.

He must be referring to the waitress Dean shot when he was clearly shooting at the vengeful spirit right next to her tossing plates at them.

You must mean that waitress, Dean says and Sam's foot presses harder as he scowls.

Yeah, I do.

Trapped against the crooked mattress, Dean flaps a hand, She was drooling all over you anyway. Should've kept her tits to herself.

With a huge put-upon sigh, Sam moves his foot and plops down on Dean, pinning him.

Ok, look, Dean, I get it. Yeah, she was flirting with me and you shot her. Fine by me. Whatever. But, dude, she brought us free pie. Before you shot her. Before the spirit starting throwing things?

Free pie? Fuck, no way, Dean says, horrified.

Under his bangs, Sam nods, the expression on his face weary because Dean's fucked up and Sam has to deal with him every second of every minute of every hour of every day.

Vaguely, he has a memory of Sam saying something to that effect, you dumbass, you asshole miscreant, I only put up with you because you're my brother and you're mine and holy shit, you taste so good, fuck, and Dean said something back along the lines of yeah, bitch, you stick with me, kid, and I'll feed you cock whenever you want it, such a slut for your fucking gorgeous badass big brother -- and vaguely, he has a memory of pie, picking broken shards out of the fruit, the cuts on Sam's arms bleeding into the pastry as he fed it to Dean with his fingers.

Sweet and metallic and oh yeah, it had been mind-blowing, throwing him out of his body when they came together and their jeans were sticky, but Sam's shot was true, the spirit vanishing long enough for them to burn the dollar bill in its gaudy frame and maybe the grill caught fire, so.

Now Dean licks his lips, sugar and Sam's come and Sam's blood in his mouth, the memory rushing to his head like falling-down drunk.

Dean shrugs, It was good pie, and Sam huffs, says again, You need sleep.

He knows what his aim does to Sam, how much he loves the bullet shooting out of Dean's gun right into the invisible bullseye flesh and he thinks maybe Sam's sexually frustrated, irritated he can't get his jollies like he used to.

Maybe they need to find some damn good hunts, really huge fuckers, or demons, demons are more fun. Something to let Dean get his aim back. He does love shooting something through the eye and having Sam growl in his ear, fuck Dean harder, both of them lighting up like a carnival ride.

Shoot the target, win a prize.

So Dean pulls a gun on him, puts it to Sam's temple as Sam leans over him, knees squeezing Dean's hips.

Is this what you miss? he asks, pushing at Sam's hair with the muzzle.

Sam nuzzles against the gun, eyes closing.

Dean, you haven't hit anything in three days. Of course I miss it, you bastard.

Well, I hit that waitress. Right in the chest. Fixed that ugly uniform.

C'mon, idiot, you know what I mean, Sam's almost whining, voice ratcheting as if he's making threats.

Staring up, Dean knows how lucky he is, beautiful baby brother warm on top of him, all that dark-eyed killer danger submissive for him, dominating for him, and he wants to give Sam a present.

Maybe I just like to watch you. You always did shoot off with both barrels.

Sam's mouth opens a little and he grinds down against Dean, tilting his head so the gun scratches along his cheek, down his throat.

His brother's so good, so good for Dean and he isn't going to leave Dean, maybe, not before Dean can give him his present and Dean's starting to panic, the gun held on Sam not enough, the “D” on Sam's shoulder not enough though it's there always and forever unless Sam tries to burn it off.

The dream is so strong even though he's awake and Dean sees Sam curling his tongue along the gun down to Dean's fingers where he holds it, but then he sees Sam from the dream, sopping wet, hair dripping in his face, walking on the road, on the black asphalt of Dean's life and he might just be walking away.

He yanks Sam down hard, biting, steeltrap kisses and Sam fumbles, breaks the lamp tumbled to the floor next to them. Dean wriggles as Sam holds up a large jagged piece, cuts open Dean's shirt and smoothes a hand along Dean.

His skin opens under Sam's touch, so slow, it throbs with his heart, blood rising for Sam, blood pooling in his groin, and by the time Sam spreads his tongue flat over the wound, he's so hard, it motherfucking hurts.

The door rests on crooked hinges, huge splinters hanging haphazardly as he fucks Sam on the broken bed, so slow, the two of them in an arching rocking rhythm, as if they could fall any deeper, slide any further into each other and no one walks by the open doorway to interrupt, they wouldn't care, murmuring against flesh and blood like the hum of the traffic on the highway.

--

They leave not long after that. The motel was a hellhole anyway, but Sam steals the Bible before they skip town, damn fine Bible with gold letters because theirs is older than Dean and is disgorging pages in the trunk.

Dean breaks the TV since Sam broke the door and now they're even.

Sam kisses Dean, taking the keys and drives, chortling triumphantly for the next two miles.

The car sways, Sam's hand is warm like necessity on Dean's thigh and he falls asleep.

He dreams.

Same fucking dream, Sam walking wet like he's drowning crosscountry and he can't have Sam leave him.

Not ever.

He might drown in something if Sam disappears again, if he loses Sam somewhere on the road, might drown himself in gun oil, alcohol, blood, vomit and bile as his insides crawl up his throat.

Same fucking dream and Dean feels like he can't wake.

--

It's dark when his eyes open and his eyes are open, but he can't be sure if he's awake or not until Sam says, Dude, look, motel. Unless you want me to tie you to the steering wheel and fuck you so your head hits the horn every time.

You gonna hog-tie me, Sammy?

Now this is a nice dream, why can't he dream like this instead of that other bullshit, but this might be reality or some variation because Sam's grinning at him, smile bright in the dark like a flare of headlights.

Sam laughs, low and growling, and Dean realizes he's awake, dizzy with relief and the heat from Sam next to him.

They have a hunt and Dean's more excited about that than the hog-tying, though that would be fun too, but he gets to shoot things, each gunshot like the beat of his heart, and Sam tackles him on the bed amongst their weapons, excited too as he bites Dean's jaw.

--

Two girls got drunk once and then screeched out of town to the lake nearby. Wanted to go skinny-dipping because it was the best idea in the history of the world, their fingers finding each other's arms in the night as they howled their way to the lake.

But on the way, they hit something, a deer maybe, big enough to break the windshield and send the car careening down the hill into the lake.

Two girls got drunk once and then screeched out of existence in the lake nearby, their fingers finding each other in the gloomy water as they drowned.

On the way, they killed a boy, a classmate who was collecting leaves for a science project.

Story goes the boy causes car accidents. The girls draw people into the lake: Labor Day boaters, picnickers, lazy people out fishing, dazed survivors from the car accidents.

Sometimes they work together, in tandem, a spiritual winding ecosystem.

Sometimes they take what they can get, lonely and greedy.

Dean thinks he can understand. It's tough being dead. It's tough having someone die on you. It's better to have them either alive with you and know the warmth, the flavor of their blood or to have them dead with you, stabbing each other in the heart so you won't ever forget you're together.

--

He's excited. Sam hands him a gun with a spark in his eyes that says you are such a fucking pain in my ass, and a smirk that promises a singing blade or a blowjob with a gunshy captive audience or maybe just a tequila-sloppy kiss and a match.

There's bones and they always like bones. They don't mind the digging; it's almost like they're pirates and the bones are going to make them richer than any pieces of eight.

The crack of the coffin, the crack of the bones, the crack as the fire eats and grows fat, Dean thinks it's worth the graveyard dirt and the stench of death he can't seem to shake.

To cover it, Dean licks the salt from Sam's hands and Sam laughs like it tickles.

But they're disappointed, Dean most of all probably in a grubby party's-over kind of way because he hasn't gotten to fire off a single round. The ghosts around here are a big damn disgrace to the supernatural world, little bitches, won't even come out to play.

Oops, says Sam.

A hand on his belly, another hand on the button of Dean's jeans, Sam trying to soothe him, but Dean's busy deciding whether he wants to be pissed or distraught, so he pushes at Sam. His brother pushes back and then they're fighting, throttling each other, cussing each other out until Dean pins Sam and Sam fucking moans.

Dean's whispering filth, all the ideas he's had about loaded guns, sharp knives, painkillers and ropes, bodies coated in blood and come. Eyes slammed shut, Sam shakes his head like he's in pain from not having any of it nowrightfuckingnow, and maybe they'll just fuck right on top of the helpless dead, coffins flaming around them.

And Sam is his Sam is his Sam is his, won't disappear down the road where Dean can't see him or taste him or touch him or mark him.

--

The air doesn't clear, like the unbalanced silence after a siren is shut off and Dean frowns since the bones are usually good, the bones usually behave for them.

Looks like you missed something, genius, Dean says, dirt in his hair, staring up at the moon.

Sam smacks him, says, Lazy bastard, we missed something.

No, you missed something. I'm just here to pull the trigger.

Sighing contentedly, Sam wiggles next to Dean, elbow in Dean's ribs like he's six.

When we finish this, I'm going to hold you facedown on the bed and fuck you and I want you to fight me while I do it, he says, black and low out of his chest.

Promises, promises, Sammy.

The fires have died down, so they head to the lake and the strip of road.

Sam's smile is crooked and almost lost to the shadows, but Dean can feel it, hot like a glowing iron rod.

--

Gee, there's a memorial. How thoughtful. And covered in bird shit. The people in town obviously care an awful lot, Sam, maybe we should just leave 'em to their haunted fate.

Lips curled, Sam surveys the memorial stone, hands in his pockets, leaning away as if he's avoiding maggots.

Not a bad idea. I kinda like it. Poetic justice. You don't clean the bird shit, you deserve to die in the lake.

Or on the road, Dean points out. Can't forget the road.

Right, yeah. Would you rather drown or be roadkill?

Sam's question makes Dean shiver; stupid dream, stupid fucking dream, Sam drowning as he walks, and shit, he shouldn't be such a bitch about it, it's just a fucking dream.

Dean's been both. Drowned in his own blood and organs. Squashed beneath the tires of pain and loss and his own dumb mistakes.

But now's no time to be maudlin.

Water laps behind them. The memorial's on the shore, putting them in an overgrown clearing between the lake and the road.

Bet those creepy motherfuckers left something here, Dean says, shrugging at the huge stone. It looks like a headstone, names and dates. The townspeople are bloodthirsty because it turns out, according to the sign next to the stone, they did bury something there, A few somethings, Sam says, with the dead-eyed gaze of the annoyed and disgusted.

Three kids. Three items. A small plaque in the ground showing where they buried the box, time capsule style, as if the earth is going to care at some later date.

Dean kicks at the plaque.

Fanfuckingtastic. I just love it when people are morbid.

Sam sighs, crossing his arms.

Why didn't they just set up a mausoleum? Would've been better. Remember your loved ones with miniature mansions.

Yeah, they passed up their chance to do something really gaudy, Dean says, waving in the dark with his flashlight at the big marble stone. What's better than bird shit?

A bounce of light as Sam shrugs, I think that plant right there is poison ivy.

Dammit, that does it, I say we leave these people to their ghosts.

Are you going to flounce off in a huff? Sam says, putting his flashlight under his chin, jack-o-lantern grin that does things to Dean, makes him think of unfettered glee and it's just the exact flavor for Sam, diabolical, the evil genius.

He's going to kiss Sam, feel the faint heat from the flashlight against his skin when giggling fills the air.

And fingers wind around Dean's arms like lake grass before Sam shoots.

--

The girls are pissed off, really fucking wrathful at Sam for filling them full of salt.

So Dean's digging under the ugly brass plaque as Sam struggles exasperated in the mud of the shore, the girls hissing, grabbing at Sam, his jeans soaked up to his knees.

A metal box and Dean almost cuts it in half with the shovel, wants to take the box into town, middle of town, town square and set fire to their precious tidbits in front of them, here's what you get when you try to remember, the fire licking obscenely at what they hold dear.

Then maybe he'd burn down the town. Because life lessons should be fun. And on a large scale.

Suddenly, there's silence and then a faraway giggle, as if the girls are waiting, curious, twin Alices on the lookout for the white rabbit.

With a snap, Dean breaks open the box and Sam's a wall of clenched-jaw anger and stale water smell when he appears.

Three kids. Three items.

A dissection kit and it's like torture devices, shrunken for easy consumption and Sam sighs.

Yeah, the kit kind of reminds Dean of fun ways to pass the time too, but they can't get sidetracked.

The giggles circle closer.

A faded, dirty blue ribbon twined around a small trophy. Homecoming queen or Miss Maize Days or something totally worth the shitty plastic gold and blue.

Water slaps in the dark behind them.

A tiny velvet bag, crimson, almost black in the moonlight. Dean tips the contents into Sam's palm and white stares back at them.

Baby teeth. Some still have dried blood around the roots.

Holy shit, Sam breathes, rattling the teeth over his life and love lines, cupping his hand to not drop them.

Dean squints.

We could make a necklace.

It'd be mine, Sam says hotly. You already have one.

Waving his hands around his brother, Dean illustrates, Like some weird-ass voodoo priest or something. Give you some feathers, a few chickens to kill...

He could picture it, Sam half-naked, smeared with blood and paint and making old-fashioned zombies, calling up spirits, trading with the dark beings crawling on the ground, controlling the world with his outstretched arms. Exotic bliss. Dean could definitely live with that.

With a sly movement, Sam dance-steps next to Dean, bumping his hip and croons deep, I put a spell on you 'cuz you're mine.

The teeth click dully, little beads, and Dean's really tempted to keep them because, c'mon, teeth, as good as bones. The town can have one ghost, separated and extra lonely and very vengeful.

Here's what you get when you try to remember.

The giggling has gone menacing, darting out of the night like snake tongues and then there's something new.

Sounds like a car up on the road, jerky time lapse, a loop of noise engine tires engine tires engine tires.

Pouring the teeth back into the bizarre mortuary red velvet bag, Sam says, Dean, it's the kid.

--

The night is blacker on the road, swallowing light so there's just a shimmer-shine of asphalt and moving shadows. The moon is hiding behind the trees at the bend in the road and Dean doesn't blame it because it's dangerous out here since he and Sam are playing.

Dean follows the yellow lines a few feet, hears a splash of water down at the lake.

Hey mister.

He turns and there's the kid.

Scrawny for fifteen, standing like a pile of limbs, hair razor-straight in his eyes and he looks like Sam did.

The kid looks like one of the Sams Dean went to Hell for, one of the Sams the phantoms started morphing into, one of the Sams he saw as a knife slid in and out between his ribs.

Hey mister.

Breath trapped in his throat and Dean misses that Sam so fucking much, wants his Sam now to come to him with the same child-brightness and a knife to slide in and out between his ribs.

Anything to get Sam to smile and laugh and groan Dean's name, the way he did in that movie theater as they fucked during the slasher film, bent over the seats so they could both watch the blonde with the big tits lose her head and Dean's name in Sam's voice with the horror soundtrack wailing was one of the sweetest things Dean can think of. No one does Valentine's Day like Sam.

Hey mister.

The kid runs a little down the road and Dean is drawn to him, how the shadows cut away his eyes but leave his smile.

Hey mister.

Another splash in the lake and an engine revs with a squeal of tires.

Then the kid gasps and crumbles.

Wait, Sam can't leave him, not like the kid just did, never never never.

Dean stares at the yellow lines and the shimmer-shine of the asphalt without the moon.

--

When he hears his name, he was expecting a hey mister instead.

But it's Sam, his Sam, grown Sam, every maniacal fucking inch of his Sam walking on the road.

Soaked to the skin. Dripping wet, his hair curling.

Barefoot.

He's walking the yellow lines like a tightrope walker.

The shadows cut away his eyes but leave his smile.

And Dean's angles are pulling tight together, imploding, about to shatter.

It's his dream, that piece of shit dream, and is he asleep or is he awake, Dean can't remember, this is bullshit, motherfucker, bullshit, he sees Sam drowning crosscountry and it's so dark on the road he can't tell which way Sam's moving.

An engine revs with a slide of tires and a car comes hurtling around the corner, headlights blinding and Sam's thrown into full shadow, edged with wet white-gold.

A car, a real car, no ghosts anymore and it's barreling torpedo-honed at Sam without slowing down or swerving.

Dean swings his gun up and aims above the grill at the black glass where the windshield should be.

He fires and the car squeals, jerking sharply to the side and then trips, tumbles into the woods like a bellyshot drunk, ramming and snapping into the trees.

It's upsetting, there's no explosion, just the loud cracks and breaks of the car twisting itself as it goes down the hill, but no explosion and yeah, that's some tragic shit.

Dean is sad, but doesn't get to enjoy it because Sam strides up to him, sliding thumbs over Dean's cheekbones and kissing him hard, sucking Dean's tongue into his mouth.

His brother is here, not lost on the road, here, biting down to draw blood.

You. Sam, I. Fuck.

Sam smiles, easy killer slow, whispers happily, You got your aim back.

Then he kisses Dean again, smearing the warmth of saliva and blood between them.

And Dean’s woozy because Sam isn't leaving, isn't murdering them both like in his dream.

--

They fuck in the middle of the road, Sam stretched out on the yellow lines and Dean riding him in rhythm to the dying clicks of the car somewhere in the trees.

--

Back on the road, the nepenthe crisscross network Dean's happy to chase with Sam as the center of his maze, he falls asleep.

He can sleep again.

Because he doesn’t dream.