Sam's voice trailed off. The grimoire he was reading from wobbled in his hand, suddenly too heavy. He had to set it on the table in front of him where it landed with a solid thunk.
"Oh, hell, no," Dean said, looking thunderstruck. "Hell. No."
Sam gripped the edge of the table to stop the tremor in his hands from betraying him. He had to wet his lips to speak. "Huh," he said, glancing at Dean, trying to gauge his reaction. "That was... not what I was expecting."
Dean had gone very pale. "Sam, this isn't even a remote possibility. There's just no way."
Sam took a deep breath, not quite a sigh, more allowing himself a moment to take stock. The whole situation was fucked up to hell and back, no question, but he was determined to do whatever it took to get them through, just like always. "Yeah, not exactly ideal, but we're running out of time. Maybe we should just bite the bullet on this one?"
"Are you serious?" Dean looked like he wanted to punch something. Sam could only hope it wouldn't be him. "I am not biting shit today, you hear me? And what's all this "we" crap? This is all on me."
Sam spread his hands, trying to keep a tight rein on his temper. Now was not the time to let Dean goad him into an argument about Dean's predilection for self-sacrifice and being a stupid asshole. "I'm all out of ideas here, Dean. We might really have to do this. I mean, look. Say we just do it. Get it over with. Maybe take a little vacation for a week or two afterwards. Y'know... from each other."
"Sammy," Dean said, enunciating his words clearly and precisely. "There is no vacation, there is no power on Earth that will magically take away the fact that we..." At a loss, he waved his hand between them.
"Incest or death, Dean," Sam said, his cheeks blazing at the word, soldiering on bravely despite the faces Dean was pulling. "Not the greatest choice I've ever been offered, but probably not the worst either."
Dean scrubbed a hand over his face. "How incredibly fucked up is it that in our lives that's true?"
Sam squared his shoulders. "So, shall we, uh."
Dean saw how close Sam was standing and leapt away. "No, Sammy, god."
"No, I didn't mean..." Sam shifted his weight. "You want to go back to the motel first?"
"No, I don't want to back to the motel first!" Dean barked, furious and red-faced.
"Dean," Sam said, and Dean sagged.
"Fine," Dean said, sounding miserable and pissed off and utterly defeated. "Whatever. Let's just go."
Sam busied himself collecting up the grimoire and the few trinkets scattered on the table. No sense in leaving them behind for anyone to find, plus it gave him something to do with his hands. "You ever done this before?" he asked without looking up. "With a guy, I mean?"
Dean shook his head. "Dudes aren't usually my main squeeze. There've been a couple of... But we never..." He smirked and did that thing where he closed his eyes for a second too long before he spoke, that nervous little tell that let Sam know how uncomfortable he was. "We never had time to play hide the salami."
"What the hell do you want from me? I just find out that because I'm a freaking idiot, I've got a nasty little curse cast on me where if I don't have sex with my brother within the next--" He glanced at his watch and let out a short breath of bitter laughter. "-- seven hours, then I die. Whoopee for me."
Sam put his hand on Dean's shoulder and squeezed. Dean didn't shrug him off, but he turned his face away. "I don't know what to tell you, man," Sam said, "but we'll get through it."
"Really?" Dean sounded a whole lot less than convinced. "You actually think this is going to be just another thing we can chalk up to experience and let it go?"
Sam shrugged. "We're Winchesters. That's kind of what we do."
"Seven hours, Dean."
Dean sighed, looking small and unhappy. "I hate my life."
Sam squeezed his shoulder again and let go.
The ride back to the motel was conducted in silence. Dean drove as per usual, but his eyes never left the road, his jaw was tight, and he kept shifting in his seat like he wanted to crawl right out of his own skin. It wasn't until they got back to their room and Sam closed the door behind them that Dean spoke.
"I've decided. We're not doing this. There'll be another answer."
Sam dumped his bag and threw his coat on the room's only chair. "Can we just cut out all the arguing and the you trying to shield me part of the proceedings? You know as well as I do that this curse is rock solid. This is our way out."
It took Dean a moment to find his voice. "I can't ask you to do this, Sam. This is my mess. We'll find another way out."
Sam walked towards him, backing him up against the wall, doing it slow but not leaving Dean with an easy escape route. Dean flinched when Sam put a hand on his hip. Dean's hands were shaking -- Dean, who was the best shot Sam had ever seen and who never lost a game of pool unless he meant to -- and it twisted Sam's stomach with love and determination and a sick little whisper of want.
"What the hell are you doing to me, Sammy?" came out in a rushed whisper.
"Saving your life," Sam said, leaning in.
Dean's hands shot up and stopped him, fisting the front of Sam's shirt. Dean shook his head rapidly. Sam gave him what he hoped was an encouraging smile, a smile that said, don't worry, I got this. He leaned in and kissed the corner of Dean's mouth. Dean went very still, his eyes wide and shocked. Sam could see his pulse hammering wildly at his throat.
"You... you can't do that."
Sam frowned his confusion. "That's... sort of how these things go."
"No, but this isn't... Shit." Dean darted his tongue over his lips. "This isn't like a normal hook up or whatever. Christ, Sam. I'm not supposed to enjoy it."
Sam bit hard on his lip to stop from blurting anything out about Dean's fucked up sense of priorities or self-worth or, hell, if he actually thought Sam was going to do anything that meant Dean had to suffer through it. He didn't miss the way Dean's eyes darted to his mouth and stayed there just a beat too long before he tore his gaze away. That was when the clouds parted and Sam realised exactly what it was that was troubling Dean. He'd be able to suffer through anything, trauma, physical hurt, anything, but the thought that he might actually end up enjoying this was more than he could endure. Sam took a leap of faith and pinned Dean to the wall with his whole body, sliding his thigh between Dean's. Dean screwed his eyes shut, every muscle tensed and ready to bolt, his breathing coming shallow and fast.
The room felt smaller and hotter; the only sound their mingled breathing. Dean was hard against Sam's thigh, all the way hard, straining against his jeans.
"You want this," Sam murmured, hardly daring to believe it, not quite sure how to process it. "You're into it."
Dean gave a tiny shake of his head. Sam hooked two fingers on the waistband of Dean's jeans and tugged, like an experiment, like it was just idle curiosity, wanting to see what Dean would do. Dean made a soft, pained sound, and pulled Sam into a hug, gripping him tightly and hiding his face in Sam's throat.
"This is so wrong, Sam," he said, his voice a hoarse whisper. "We can't do this. We can't."
"We already are," Sam whispered, pulling back with a gentle, constant pressure until Dean's death-grip eased up. This time when their mouths met, Dean kissed him back. It started out tentative and almost chaste, their lips barely touching, just breathing each other's air. Sam was too aware of his own skin, the insides of his elbows, the backs of his knees, the prickling at the base of his skull, the way his chest felt tight like there wasn't enough oxygen in the room. He pushed Dean's jacket off his shoulders and used it like a lasso around Dean's torso to pull him in closer, kiss him harder, and stop him from keeping Sam at arm's length. Dean gave up on fighting it, his hands closing tight on Sam's hips. They got a little frantic, and Sam let go of the jacket when it was clear Dean wasn't going anywhere, getting his hands on Dean's face, angling him where he wanted. It was only when Sam popped the top button of Dean's fly that Dean tensed and he grabbed at Sam's wrist to stop him.
"Dean, the curse," Sam said, keeping his voice low, not wanting to spook Dean, but they had to remember that the clock was still running. Maybe in another life they could have taken this slow, spent some time coming to terms with it, but that simply wasn't on the cards for tonight. Although Sam was pretty sure in another life this would never, ever have been happening. "You know we have to actually..."
Dean nodded. "Yeah, I got the memo." He shuffled over to the bed, hitting the light on the way so the only illumination came from the streetlights outside. He stood by the bed and kicked off his jeans, grabbed something from his duffel and threw it on the bed, then sat on the edge of the mattress, his head lowered, his hands gripping his knees.
Sam stood there for a second, just watching. He pulled his t-shirt over his head and used it to wipe the sweat off the back of his neck before he tossed it in the corner, then went and knelt in front of Dean. "You okay?"
"Don't try and nursemaid me through this, Sam." He gripped the back of Sam's neck. "Just don't, okay?"
Sam nodded, and let himself be tugged into another kiss. He crawled slowly up onto the bed until they were lying side by side, their legs tangled together, Sam naked from the waist up, Dean naked from the waist down. Sam found the lube Dean had thrown on the mattress and squeezed some out over his fingers. Dean flinched at the first touch and tried to escape Sam's hand, but that only meant that he moved closer to Sam's body, their hips snugged together, the heat of Dean's skin bleeding through Sam's jeans driving him slowly insane. Dean groaned, turning his face into the pillow when Sam touched him again, circling, circling, then dipping inside.
"Oh, god. Oh, Christ. Jesus fuck, Sam, that's fucking weird." Sam immediately stopped what he was doing and started to withdraw his fingers. "No, no, I didn't say stop." Dean rolled onto his back and tilted his hips up, throwing an arm over his face. "You bastard, don't fucking stop now."
Sam didn't. He kept working him, using more lube, getting him good and wet, pressing deep and aiming for the spot that made Dean gasp. Soon Dean was breathing hard and rubbing his ass all over Sam's knuckles. Sam was pretty sure he wasn't even aware he was doing it.
Sam's stomach felt hollowed out, twisted up and achy. "You ready?" he asked, because he had to be sure, needed to be told that this was okay.
Dean nodded, his hips working restlessly. Sam shoved his jeans down to his knees, grabbed the lube and slicked himself quickly with the last of it, making a mess of it, getting it all over his belly and the backs of Dean's thighs. Dean didn't make a sound. He got up on his hands and knees and Sam scrambled into place behind him, stunned with the realisation of what was about to happen. He lined up and pushed forward -- couldn't breathe, couldn't think -- watching the shadows between them in amazement as he disappeared inch by inch inside Dean, not stopping until he bottomed out. He blinked sweat out of his eyes, gripping Dean's hips, completely lost inside the moment.
Dean dropped his head onto the mattress between his fists and twisted his hips up and back, making Sam's world go fuzzy around the edges. Sam spread his knees a little and drew out just a couple of inches. He pushed back in, and it made Dean moan. Sam leaned forward, touching his forehead to the spot between Dean's shoulder-blades. "You tell me," he said. "You tell me if I'm hurting you."
Dean arched his back. "I'm okay," he said, his voice little more than a rough whisper. "Doesn't hurt. Swear. Just, please, fuck. Move. Just move."
Sam did as he was told, taking it slowly, terrified of getting carried away and hurting Dean.
"Sammy," Dean said, his voice scraped raw. "I'm not going to break. Just do it. Come on."
Sam pulled out and flipped Dean over, barely aware of what he was doing, only that he wanted to see Dean's face. He crowded back in and slid home, sending Dean skidding several inches across the mattress. Dean slammed his hand against the wall to hold himself in place.
"Sammy," he said again, a whole world wrapped up in one word.
Sam fucked into him, riding the burn of his muscles. Dean lifted higher and higher to meet him, wrapping a leg around Sam's hips and urging him on. Dean made a sound like he was dying, and came all over their stomachs, clenching so tight around Sam that it dragged Sam over the edge with him. Sam came with a shout, the world whiting out, and collapsed on top of Dean. Sam couldn't lift his head, didn't want to, his whole body sticky and sore and buzzing with contentment.
It took him a minute to realise that Dean was pulling his hair, little tugs at the back of his neck. Dazed, Sam lifted his head and kissed him, lazier now, but deep and serious. Dean didn't fight him, didn't complain; he just wrapped Sam up in the shelter of his body and kissed back. Sam pulled out slowly, making both of them hiss and it was enough to break their kiss. Sam touched their foreheads together, kissed Dean one more time, and rolled off him to sprawl out on the mattress. He was exhausted and fucked out and maybe ever so slightly in shock.
"Well," he said, blinking up at the ceiling. "That wasn't so bad."
"Oh my god." Dean groaned and pulled a pillow over his face. "I hate you. I hate everything."
"You sound like a teenager." Sam frowned up at the ceiling, waiting for the horror and revulsion to kick in and finding them strangely absent. There was guilt, but it was tempered with a satisfaction that went right to the bone. He thought maybe he should be more worried about that. He was, however, kind of thirsty. He planned to do something about that, just as soon as he regained the use of his legs. "You gonna freak out on me now?"
"Just been fucked by my brother," the pillow said matter-of-factly. Dean lifted his hand and see-sawed it in the air. "Jury's out."
"Okay," Sam said, knowing there'd be repercussions to deal with later, knowing that the chances of them simply being able to put this evening behind them were somewhere between slim and none, knowing that Dean's impending freak out was pretty much guaranteed, but right at that moment, he was content to lie there, listening to the sound of his brother breathing beside him. Right at that moment, that was more than enough.