The bureaucracy in Hell is what surprises Sam the most. The rulebooks and politics and all the hoops a guy's got to jump through to get anything done. He always knew stepping up and taking over would be a mammoth, difficult process, but he always figured it would be a question of power: other demons wanting to challenge him for the throne, maybe some rebellions and mutinies and all-out warfare—especially considering the fact that Sam's first act on the job was to seal the two worlds off from each other once and for all. Hell is trapped in its own confines now, no way to torment any souls that haven't already been damned, and Sam figured from the start that there might be some demons left a little surly by the change.
What he didn't expect was all the red tape, and he feels like he's back in his pre-law classes all over again as he reads enormous tomes in his palace library, books of regulation explaining what he can and can't do with the Lake of Fire or the River of Torment. Hell has zoning ordinances, and as the man in charge, Sam needs to be familiar with every word.
He's in his usual spot in the library, the table he's sitting at an enormous stone monstrosity—carved faces scream at him from the edges and the table legs—and straight ahead is an expansive window that he knows from wandering the grounds covers one entire wall of the palace, top to bottom. He couldn't say for sure whether it's the west wall or the south. The cardinal directions don't seem to apply.
The window gives him a view of a bloody landscape, a jarring sight that's only slowly becoming familiar. It's always storming outside, and the air looks hazy and singed all across the horizon. Giant, gnarled trees grow unnaturally from the dead ground—wide trunks that split through dirt and rock to rise and claim the sky—and sometimes Sam could swear he sees them move.
He's staring out the window now, mind numb from reading the Companion Code Book to the Necronomicon, and he's drifting, his thoughts willfully blank. He needs to finish his research, but the last thing he wants to do right now is focus on Rule 12(b)(6) or Uniform Affliction Code section 63.
A low, grating rumble behind him signals the opening of the enormous wooden door; someone entering without permission. If that alone weren't enough to tell Sam who's calling on him, the warm tingle settling low in his chest—right in the spot where Dean's soul is sewn into his own—is an unmistakable signal of his brother's presence.
Sam remembers resisting the idea of the ritual at first, guilt-ridden and terrified that he had already taken too much from Dean by trapping his brother here along with himself. But Dean insisted, and Sam gave in—knew in the end that it was the only way to keep Dean safe—and he's come to be grateful for it. Grateful and completely certain he wouldn't survive a day without the feel of his brother's soul bound up in his.
"What're you working on?" Dean asks as he approaches. His steps are deliberately loud enough for Sam to track his progress across the stone-cobbled floor.
"Do you really want to know?" Sam mutters, dropping his eyes from the window and back to the text he's been ignoring.
"Not really." Dean isn't shy about demanding Sam's attention these days, and when he reaches the table he immediately shoves aside one of Sam's massive book towers, making room to hoist himself up in its place. He's close enough to knock his knee against Sam's, and Sam can't help the warm smile that sneaks across his face at the contact.
He's about to ask what brought his brother to the library, but when he raises his eyes something about Dean's posture gives him pause. There's a line of tension across Dean's shoulders, a quiet unease behind the smirk on his face. Something is up, and Sam can see from the minute twitching of his brother's fingers that Dean's reluctant to put it to words.
"What is it?" Sam asks, hating the minute flinch his question elicits. His brother tries for a reassuring smile, and Sam almost buys it. Almost, except for how there's a new, unsteady electricity in the air that leaves Sam suddenly unsure whether he wants to hear whatever it is Dean has to say.
"Do me a favor," says Dean, meeting his eyes straight on. "Don't freak out."
"Dean," Sam breathes, torn between worried and exasperated. Because whatever it is, wondering has to be worse. He rises to his feet when Dean coughs and looks away, trying not to loom and barely resisting the urge to reach out and lay a hand on Dean's wrist, to feel the warm pulse of his brother's soul beneath his skin.
"I just don't want you to be embarrassed is all," Dean mutters with a shrug. "You can be kind of a girl sometimes."
The jibe is more comforting than Sam cares to admit, but he manages to hold silent. Waiting Dean out.
"Look, it's none of my business," Dean finally says. "But you've been having these dreams, lately—"
"Fuck" Sam cuts him abruptly off. Because he knows what dreams his brother means. They're the only dreams he ever has anymore—in the few, quiet moments he lets himself sleep.
"Dean," he breathes, and his voice sounds every bit as terrified as he imagines his face looks right now. "Tell me you haven't seen them."
Dean doesn't look at him for a long, awkward moment, and it's more affirmation than Sam needs—just like that he knows one of his greatest fears has been realized. Dean knows—Dean has seen the things Sam wakes up in the night secretly wanting to do to his brother, and there's no tiptoeing around this conversation or pretending it away.
"Fuck," Sam says again, and lands hard in his chair. His spine jolts against the tall, wide back, his elbows knocking against armrests spaced too wide to serve their basic purpose. Sam can't quite look at his brother as he says, "Dean, I'm so sorry." He stares outside instead, through the smoke-stained glass to the red world beyond. "You weren't supposed to know."
There's a new, sick horror in Sam's gut that's rising in tandem with the heart-stopping guilt. This is Sam's problem, Sam's secret, Sam's sickness, and hasn't he already taken enough from his brother? It's not fair for Dean to have to shoulder this, too—the unwelcome knowledge that Sam wants things from him that there's no way Dean could ever be okay with.
"I told you not to freak out," says Dean, gaze steady and voice surprisingly calm. Sam can't help thinking that's wrong—that his brother should sound as wrecked as Sam himself feels.
"I'm not freaking out," says Sam, but his pulse hums with the lie. Then, because it suddenly occurs to him to wonder, "Why are you telling me this?"
Because Dean could have pretended cluelessness. He could have kept the revelation to himself, and then they wouldn't be here having to face it—having to deal with it, head on and relentless like the ugly truth it is.
"Because I've been thinking," Dean says. "A guy's allowed to think, right? And I got to thinking that maybe it's not so bad."
"Not so bad?" Sam feels the incredulity ring in his voice. "Dean, I'm dreaming about fucking you! Like it's not enough that I dragged you to Hell in the first place—now I'm adding incest to the list, and that's not so bad? Seriously?"
Dean nods like he's thinking—or maybe like he's humoring Sam and waiting for his little brother to catch up. There's consideration in his eyes, heavy thought, and even so it's distracting as hell when Dean catches his lower lip between his teeth. Sam watches his brother stand with slow, deliberate purpose, and he can't stop staring as Dean inches into the small space between Sam and the wide, stone table.
"I told you," says Dean. "I've been thinking."
His next move catches Sam off guard, startling him completely as Dean drops and shifts, landing astride Sam's lap with knees pressing in on either side of Sam's hips.
Sam means to ask where this is coming from. He means to ask Dean what the hell he thinks he's doing. He means to ask if he's hallucinating or maybe finally going crazy. All he manages is a breathy "What—?" before his brother cuts him off with a kiss.
Sam manages for all of a second to keep his hands to himself, and then he's gone. Turned on and distracted and running his hands along Dean's back, because Dean is a goddamn filthy kisser. The kiss is smoothe and deep and hungry as he plays Sam like a well-tuned guitar, and all Sam can do is groan and suck on his brother's tongue, taking Dean's face in his hands to keep him from pulling away too soon. To keep him close until Sam has had his fill, because he's pretty sure this is a dream or a trick or a fluke, and he's never going to have this again. Hell's not that kind.
Dean eventually ends the kiss with a jolting jerk of movement, extra force necessary to escape Sam's stubborn hold, and Sam gasps a jagged gulp of air, feeling the rise and fall of Dean's ragged breathing against his chest.
Reality comes crashing over him in a wave, and Sam lets go of Dean in a startled instant. There's nowhere for his hands to land except Dean's legs, but it's better than the alternatives—better than Dean's throat, or his chest, or the soft fluff of hair at the back of his neck, all the places Sam wants to keep touching and never stop. As it is there's denim beneath his fingers instead of skin, heady with Dean's warmth but rough against his palms, and Sam uses the tactile pressure to ground himself as he swallows and reluctantly meets Dean's eyes.
He can't make his voice work, so he prays the question is decipherable in his eyes. He sits torn between hope and terror, hunger singing his bones for the offer he can't quite believe Dean is making.
"After everything we've been through," Dean says, his voice airy and little breathless. "Did you honestly think this was going to be too much?"
"It's incest," Sam whispers. Like Dean doesn't know.
"We're already in Hell, Sam. You really gonna try and tell me that matters here?"
"You don't want this," Sam tries instead, but suddenly he's not so sure.
"Don't tell me what I want, Sam," Dean says, but the words are carried with quiet humor. He drops a hand over one of Sam's, twining their fingers together and lifting them to press Sam's hand flat against Dean's chest. "See for yourself."
Sam only then realizes he's been blocking Dean out—that he's walled himself off, stubborn and unfeeling, from the bond that holds his brother to him. Survival instinct, maybe, or an inevitable fear of discovering that this isn't what it seems. He drops the walls to let Dean back in, and feels the familiar warmth of Dean's soul as if it's pulsing beneath his palm.
It's more than love he finds waiting for him. More than loyalty and need. Sam feels a wave of heat and passion, a hunger that matches his own, and his breath catches with bright anticipation.
"I'm an idiot," he breathes, and his heart warms at Dean's humoring chuckle.
"Not an idiot," Dean reassures. "Just a little thick sometimes."
As Sam laughs and kisses his brother, he wonders how far they're taking this. He wonders if Dean wants to take it slow, and he has no idea how to ask. The question is fast becoming pertinent, though, as Dean can't possibly have failed to notice Sam's dick taking a mounting interest in the proceedings.
The conundrum pounds in his ears when they separate for breath, the question he can't figure out how to ask. If they're not doing this, then they need to stop right goddamn now, and Sam doesn't know if he can.
"You gonna fuck me or what?" Dean asks on a breathy moan, and Sam nearly comes right there in his pants.
"You got stuff?" Sam groans, hopeful and not sure he can walk away even if the answer is no.
"Yeah," says Dean.
"Oh, thank god." Sam has no idea where Dean got lube in Hell, but his brother has always been resourceful.
"Here," says Dean, taking something out of his pocket and pressing it into Sam's palm. It's one of those stupid sample-sized packets—not quite enough for what they're doing but it explains how Dean got his hands on the stuff. He probably had it from day one, buried in a pocket of his duffel bag along with everything else they had with them when the gates closed. And even if it's not quite enough, Sam can tell from the stubborn glint in Dean's eyes that they're doing this anyway.
The first order of business is to get naked, and Sam doesn't waste another second on unnecessary thought. He yanks at the hem of Dean's shirt, tugging it over his brother's head before going to work on his own, until they're skin-to-skin in the overheated air.
"Yes," Dean breathes, and then Sam urges him to stand—undoes Dean's fly with steady hands and then drops to his knees to help get rid of Dean's pants entirely, boxers right along with them. Dean's dick is already hard at attention, and for a moment directly in Sam's line of sight, and he thinks about taking it into his mouth to learn what it tastes like. The idea is short lived in the face of other priorities, and Dean looks dazed and eager as Sam stands and shucks the last of his clothing, tossing it somewhere behind him and then crowding his brother against the edge of the table.
He pauses for moment, considering logistics. The library isn't the best place for this, but Sam can't fathom stopping long enough to relocate. Not with Dean naked and inviting and pressed right against him, offering everything Sam has ever wanted and then some.
"Up on the table," Sam finally decides, urging and helping. He grabs the small packet from the chair where he dropped it and follows as Dean scoots further back to make room—knocking and shoving books aside in the process. The table is hard stone, but smooth and cool and infinitely better than the floor, and Sam urges Dean down onto his back, settling between his brother's legs and leaning down to kiss him deeply.
"This okay?" Sam asks, needing to be sure. Dean nods, dragging Sam closer with a low growl, and it's all the coordination Sam can muster to tear open the packet and slick up his fingers, sliding his hand along the impossible heat between Dean's legs until he finds and carefully works two fingers into Dean's tight entrance.
Dean's body opens for him easily, welcoming and hot as Sam bends and scissors his fingers, working his brother slowly loose, easing more fingers gradually inside until he's all but mad with the need to drive his cock home into that incredible heat.
There's just enough lube left to slick himself up, and he positions himself eagerly, one hand on Dean's hip and the other steadying himself against Dean's hole. Dean's eyes are wide and dazed, his pupils dilated as his gaze locks with Sam's, and the moment is taut with the magnitude of what they're about to do. Sam can feel so many things in the air, all in the span of a second—need and hunger, heady desperation, but more than anything love. It expands in his chest, pulsing between them, and Sam holds Dean's gaze, locked and steady and open, as he enters his brother with a measured thrust.
He stops there, barely inside, because it's too much at once. He needs a moment to collect himself, to draw back from an explosive edge that will end this too soon. Dean seems to understand, shifting minutely beneath him and threading his fingers through Sam's hair, saying nothing with words and everything with the open warmth in his eyes.
"Okay," Sam breathes, bracing himself on one arm and finally pressing deeper. It's tight and perfect, paradise, and all he can do to hold steady until he's got no further to go. He groans against Dean's throat, feels the rough stutter of Dean's hips beneath him as his brother adjusts to Sam's cock, holding still and enormous inside him. Sam forces himself to wait until he's sure Dean's ready, until Dean rocks tentatively against him, somewhere halfway between an invitation and a challenge.
Sam tries for gentle at first, but it doesn't last long. He's waited too many months for this, wants too goddamn much, and there's no space in his head for control when Dean is moving beneath him, arching and writhing and goading Sam into a harder pace. Sam can feel Dean's need in his own chest, and he fucks his brother faster and deeper, ignoring the subtle burn that comes with doing this without enough lube. He ruts into Dean rough and hard, and the loud, fucked-out moans reaching his ears tell him that's fine by both of them.
Sam is so close to gone, so close to the edge, and any second he's going to come—going to groan Dean's name and fill his brother's body with the hot, slick evidence of exactly what they're doing.
He stops without warning, buried impossibly deep, and Dean curses as he feels Sam go still inside him.
"Fuck, Sam, so close," Dean growls, and Sam knows it's true—even though he hasn't so much as touched his brother's dick. "The fuck are you stopping for?" Dean blinks at him, looking comically surprised and a little bit betrayed.
"Just… just need a minute," Sam gasps, not even sure why. "Just. This. Fuck, Dean, I'm inside you."
"You're a genius, Sammy," Dean mutters, somehow sounding simultaneously irate and impossibly turned on. "Not to mention a total girl. We finishing this or what?"
"I love you so fucking much," Sam says in a rush, and then before Dean can call him a girl again he starts to move. Frantic thrusts that make Dean slide along the surface of the table, and Sam closes a hand around Dean's dick. His brother doesn't protest—doesn't say much of anything because he's too busy growling Sam's name, coming hard in a sticky mess across his stomach and Sam's fist. Sam eases him down, his own thrusts gone momentarily shallow, then grabs Dean by the hips, fingers gripping hard enough to bruise. It's the leverage he needs to drive deep and hard, claiming Dean's body with every thrust, until Sam's entire world explodes in white and heat and the humming pulse of Dean's soul in his chest.
He returns to himself slowly, becoming aware by plodding degrees. The first thing he notices is the feel of Dean's fingers carding through his hair, warm and familiar and soothing. There's sweat cooling on their skin and a sticky mess between them, and Sam shifts to pull his softening dick out of his brother's body. The movement makes Dean curse softly.
"Welcome back," Dean murmurs, voice an easy lull against Sam's ears. "Thought you were going to fall asleep on me."
"Still might," says Sam.
"Don't you dare. You weigh a metric ton, dude."
Sam laughs, and he can feel Dean's smile against his throat just before his brother asks, "Was it good for you, baby?"
"Fuck you," Sam mutters, but he sounds too content for the words to carry any sting. Another moment and he can feel strength settling back into his limbs. He uses the return of his motor control to shift his weight off of Dean, flopping onto his back. A couple of books dig into his side, and he shoves them away with a grunt. One falls to the floor with a loud, dusty thud.
His eyes drift closed, and he imagines what a strange sight they must make. He can feels Dean's eyes on him, then the warm weight of his brother settling against his side and resting his head on Sam's shoulder.
"Are we good?" Dean asks, and Sam feels a smile spread across his face. He's boneless and sated, happy for the first time in longer than he can remember.
"Yeah," he says, threading fingers through Dean's hair. "Yeah, we're good."