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Stranger Than Fiction

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The next morning, after they drive as far away from Lilith and Chuck as they can get, Dean stands in line at a Starbucks in Heber Springs, Arkansas, hands shoved into the pockets of his coat as the person in front of him orders a vanilla something-or-other with extra foam and fairy crystals and puffs of clouds from a unicorn’s ass.

He rolls his eyes, body twisting sideways on his heels, considering the gray morning sky.

Him and Sam. Him and Sam?

Really?

There’s the crazy they deal with on a daily basis, and now? Somehow? There’s even crazier.

Why would anyone…? No. There are whole books written about them; every moment, every emotion, full frontal, bared for the entire world to read. They have a Gospel, and books, and fans, and… internet slash for fuck’s sake. There are angels and demons and an apocalypse looming. This is not the time to question the crazy.

He steps up and smiles at the girl behind the register.

*

Dean eyes the motel room as he gets out of the car. When he’d left, Sam was deep in research mode, barricaded behind his computer and so intent on his notes and books that he’d effectively blocked any attempts Dean might have made at conversation. Which was probably a good thing, since any attempts at conversation probably would have ended in yet another argument.

“Got a case,” Sam says as Dean walks through the door.

Sam says it like nothing at all happened last night—like they hadn’t gotten right in the car afterwards and kept driving all night until Dean was nodding off with his hands on the steering wheel. Like Lilith wasn’t just here, thisclose to them, inches from killing Sam.

Like the last forty-eight hours never even happened.

But then… the last two days have been pretty crazy. Even beyond Lilith.

Maybe they should just move on.

The coffee cups in his hands are beginning to burn his skin.

“Where?” he asks, setting the cups down on the table where Sam’s bent over his laptop.

“North Vernon, Indiana, about ten hours northeast from here. Marcus Dolby, seventy-seven, found dead in his own backyard after eight days of telling neighbors how his wife had returned from the dead to be with him. No visible cause of death, and according to the coroner’s report, no internal cause, either. He was old, but in perfect health.”

Back the way they came from. Damn. “So was this Dolby guy freaking out that his wife was all Reanimator?” Dean asks, sitting down in the seat across from Sam.

Sam’s eyes meet Dean’s meaningfully above the laptop. “He seemed blissful and content, almost drugged, according to the neighbors.”

“Spirit,” Dean says, and Sam nods.

“But not just him—listen to this—two weeks before Marcus Dolby died? A guy named James Dove in Deerfield, Michigan, was reported as having seen his dead wife outside his house. He called the police to report it, but they just thought he was crazy. Seven days later they found his body at the pond near his home.” Sam’s eyes flick up again. “Cause of death unknown, according to the autopsy report.”

“How far apart?” Dean asks, frowning thoughtfully.

“Hang on,” Sam responds, typing something into his laptop. Sam stops, looking at the results of whatever he just typed. “One week before Marcus Dolby started talking about his dead ex-wife visiting—towns are 298 miles apart. It crossed right through Ohio,” Sam says, raising his head to look at Dean.

They’ve been doing this too long for Dean to doubt Sam’s skills of Google-fu. “So whatever this thing is… it’s on the move.”

“Maybe it’s smart enough to know not to stay in the same place.”

“So we follow it. Keep heading north and west, slowly, until we get a fix on its pattern.”

“Yeah,” Sam nods, hair falling forward into his face as he leans over the laptop again, fingers flowing over the keys.

“Sam…” Dean reaches for his coffee, throat swallowing convulsively. “Why would people write us like that?”

“Wait. Who? Like what?” Sam asks, frowning.

“The fans. Like that.” Dean almost coughs the words, gesturing.

Sam blinks, realization setting in, fingers pausing, face working as he thinks. “I don’t know,” he says, sounding as baffled as Dean feels.

Dean nods and gets up from the table, handing Sam his cup. “Drink your coffee and find me a monster, bitch.”

*

That afternoon, they have lunch in some no-name diner in the middle of nowhere, Sam nibbling thoughtfully at his chicken as Dean cuts another slice from his Rib-eye.

Dean pops the steak into his mouth and chews reverently, listening to Sam go on. “I know the thing’s M.O; that should make it easy,” Sam is saying as he forks into his steamed rice. “But…” Sam shrugs, trailing off.

“Nothing yet,” Dean concludes. “Whatever. You’ll find it. You’re not the Nancy Drew of this duo for nothing.”

Sam huffs out a sound that isn’t quite a laugh. “We’re actually more like the Hardy Boys.”

“No, we’re not,” Dean contradicts, carving off another slice of steak as he flicks his eyes up to meet Sam’s. “I’m not lame enough to be a Hardy Boy.”

“You are so Joe,” Sam mutters, shaking his head.

“See?” Dean asks, pointing his steak knife at Sam as he chews. “You know their names. Lame.”

“You’re the one talking about Nancy Drew.”

“Everybody knows Nancy Drew.” Dean shrugs.

“Most people know the Hardy Boys, too,” Sam counters.

“But who knows their first names, Sam?” Dean asks with a smirk. “Besides you, I mean.”

Sam’s jaw flexes with annoyance, eyes dropping to his plate.

They eat in silence for the next minute or two, and that gives Dean way too much time to think about the Hardy Boys. The Hardy Boys were brothers. Well, Dean’s pretty sure they were brothers anyway, considering they had the same last name. He wonders if anyone ever wrote slash about them.

Dean reaches for his coke and takes a drink, words leaving him without thought as he sets his glass back down on the table. “So… what were the stories like?”

“The Hardy Boys stories?” Sam asks.

Dean rolls his eyes. “God you are such a geek.”

Sam pauses with his fork halfway to his mouth, and Dean can see the light bulb go on. “You mean… the ones about us?” The way Sam emphasizes the word, Dean knows he gets which stories.

“Yeah,” Dean says, utterly absorbed in dipping a French fry into the puddle of ketchup on his plate.

“How the hell would I know?” Sam snorts, sounding offended.

“Come on, Sam. You’re research boy. You had to read at least one.”

“No way.”

Dean risks a glance up at Sam. Sam’s flushing pink and desperately looking at everything but Dean. Mostly, he’s staring down at the table with that expression that screams “I’m guilty” at a thousand decibels.

Dean nods. “Uh huh.”

“You’re sick, Dean,” Sam informs him.

“Yeah? Well at least I wasn’t scouring the internet for stories about--”

“Could we focus on the case?”

“You totally read one.”

“Dude. I did not read one.”

“Then how did you know they meant ‘together’?”

“You can pick up a lot from reading a message board, okay?”

Dean narrows his eyes on Sam. Sam can lie dead straight faced with his puppy-dog eyes to anyone else, but Sam’s always been a terrible liar when it comes to lying to Dean. “So you weren’t even a little curious?”

No, Dean. You’re the sicko that wants to know what the stories were like.” Sam’s definitely squirming, and he can barely look Dean in the eye.

“Still not the sicko that read them.”

“We are so not talking about this.”

“Heads up, dude; your guilty face? Subtle as Pamela Anderson’s rack.”

Sam rolls his eyes and lifts his hand, signaling the waitress. “Check.”

The waitress slides the check across the table to Sam, her nails perfectly pink and just long enough to draw blood. But her eyes are riveted on Dean the whole time, looking him up and down.

Dean shoots her a smile, fingers sliding over the back of her hand, tugging the check towards him. “I got that.”

“I’ll just bet you do,” she says, winking at him.

Sam sighs like it’s a fucking Olympic event of sound, tossing back his hair as he pushes up from the table. “I’ll be in the car.”

Dean watches Sam’s back retreat towards the doorway and reaches for his wallet. “Man-period,” Dean confides, leaning close, and she laughs.

“I’ll just get this taken care of, then, sugar,” she says, leveling her blue eyes on him. “Unless there’s anything else you need?”

It’s an obvious invitation, and she’s pretty enough, wide hips and tiny waist and lips that look like they could suck a cock into the next world. Dean glances out the window, watches Sam lean against the Impala, body stiff and tight, hands shoved in his pockets.

“Just the check,” Dean says, handing her the credit card.

“Sure thing, sugar.” The waitress pulls her hand away; grinning wide and bright in that way that Dean recognizes as, ‘Oh, you’re a gay couple’.

Dean thinks about explaining, but it’s really not worth it.

“Thanks,” he grunts, grinding his teeth together so hard that he can feel them creak.

*

They don’t talk, radio filling the silence between them as Dean drives on through the afternoon. Sam’s so annoyed that he doesn’t flinch at anything—not even once at Dean’s cockrock mix tape at ear-splitting volume. Sam just sits in the passenger seat with his brooding and pensive shoulders and face, staring out the window and ignoring the fuck out of Dean and Judas Priest screeching “Turbo Lover.”

Fine, Dean thinks, turning down the volume. It’s not like he did anything wrong. Sam’s the one reading porn about them for fuck’s sake.

Porn. About them. About them fucking each other. Why would anybody—

“I’m not gay,” Dean says.

Sam turns his head and arches a brow at Dean. “Thanks… for the update?” Sam asks, sounding baffled.

“I mean, you, you’re questionable, but I’m definitely not gay. Why would they write me as gay, Sam, huh?” Dean asks, throwing Sam a quick, imploring glance.

Sam rolls his eyes, shifting against the seat. “Dean, our lives are being written into a Gospel by a prophet, and this is what you’re stuck on?”

“Yeah,” Dean allows, looking back at the road as he fidgets in his seat, “that’s pretty weird, too… But come on-- gay?”

“Yeah,” Sam nods, looking at Dean like he might’ve lost his mind. “You’re right. That’s way more disturbing than the incest.” Sam puts an emphasis on the last two words that Dean can’t miss the meaning of.

Right. “I was gonna get to that, too,” Dean says, hurrying through the words—because really, he’s been so stuck on the whole gay thing that yeah, he kinda forgot that part. “I mean, we’re brothers, how can they think we’d…” He shakes his head in disbelief spreading his hands palms up across the top of the steering wheel. “But gay?”

Sam curls his tongue against the roof of his mouth and shakes his head. “I can’t believe you. The apocalypse is coming, and this is what you’re worried about?”

“Our reputations are at stake, Sammy! If those books are gonna be the Winchester Gospel someday, then everybody’s gonna know about us.”

“…And?” Sam prompts, exasperated with Dean.

Dean holds up a finger. “One trip to Google, Sam. That’s all it would take.”

“You’re ridiculous,” Sam sighs, shaking his head.

“Your face is ridiculous.” Dean hurls the words back without a thought, and really, he could’ve come up with something better than that.

“Mature, dude. I’m just saying, it could be worse.” Sam looks away, out the window again. “Besides, it’s fanfiction. Everyone knows it isn’t real.”

Sam makes a good point. Dean isn’t sure why it’s bugging him so much. But he’s still pissed about Sam cockblocking him back at the restaurant, so he picks a fight with Sam over his navigational skills instead. They end up hurling stupid insults for the next hour until Sam falls into stony silence, glowering out the windshield.

When they finally stop for the night, Sam opens the door and gets out immediately.

“Where are you going?” Dean yells as the door slams shut.

“Out,” Sam yells back, face angry through the glass as he turns. “Don’t wait up,” he snarls.

Which means Sam will be gone until late. Dean throws up his hands. “Great. Another night where I have no idea where you are or what you’re doing,” he mutters, opening the door.

*

Dean gets all their stuff into the motel room and finally settles onto the bed, TV remote in his hand. He’s still pissed about Sam taking off like that, even if Dean was kind of being a prick. He’s got reasons to be a prick, which Sam should totally understand. Besides the books and the apocalypse, there’s the fanfic stories—which Sam obviously read—with people writing him as gay for his brother.

It pisses him off even more that Sam’s right. It’s fiction. Not that Sam was willing to tell Dean what he read, though, and if it was no big deal like Sam was acting in the car, then why couldn’t he share?

Dean eyes Sam’s laptop bag sitting innocuously at the foot of the other queen bed.

Maybe he should... No. No reason to go there.

He looks at the dark, blank TV screen, finger hovering over the cable power button. He hesitates, eyes sliding back over towards the laptop bag.

Maybe he could get it off his mind if he just…

No. It’s sick and perverted.

But it’s just fiction.

It couldn’t really do any harm, right? Maybe leave some permanent mental scars, but hey, he’s had more than his share of those, and they’ve gotta be worse than this. Nothing could be worse than Hell.

He eyes the bag for a few minutes longer, finally sighs and tosses the remote on the bed as he gets up.

It doesn’t take him long to find the message board in the browser history once he gets it set up. There are all kinds of conversation threads, and he scrolls down the list until he sees one titled “Fanfiction” and clicks on it.

samsgirl087: Hi! I’m new to this fandom and looking for some good Sam/Dean stories. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

There are dozens of replies, all of them with lots of links.

Dean’s finger hesitates over the mouse button.

He feels like an idiot.

Sam already did it.

He glances guiltily around the empty motel room, takes a deep breath and clicks.

LiveJournal. Huh. He’s never been here before. He scrolls down to where the story starts.

“Never thought we’d get to wear these penguin suits again,” Dean says as they exit the Impala, car doors slamming shut. And Sam might never say so out loud, but he’s kind of glad they got a second wear out of them, because goddamn Dean looks good in a tux.

Okay. This is just, beyond weird. This is fucking Bizarro world on crack. It’s like the laundry mat all over again. He’s reading fictional stories about real stories about his real life. It’s… surreal.

Sam thinks he looks good in a tux? Wait, no, this isn’t the actual books.

God he’s confused.

It's New Years and they're together. And he's drunk, giddy bubbles rushing to his brain, making him tug and pull at Dean, fingers popping the buttons on crisp white linen as he wrestles Dean down to the mattress and pins him there. Laughing as Dean fights back and they slip and slide against each other, mouths hot and tongues diving deep, crisp taste like apples beneath the bite of champagne.

What? Okay. Even if they were fucking, do people really think it could ever be like this? First of all; Sam pinning him? Not fucking likely. Second; like they could ever act like this was normal?

Dean keeps reading, eyes getting wider and wider. He can’t do this. He can’t. But it’s like a train wreck; completely fucking horrible but he can’t look away.

“Christ’s sake, Sam. Do it.”

Wait. Sam’s… Sam is the one who’s… what?

“I’m gonna stripe this little ass all red, Dean. Mark it and make it mine.”

Dean puts a hand over his mouth. Okay. No. He really can’t do this. Not only is he reading about him and Sam having sex but Sam is spanking him? Sam. is spanking. Him.

Sam read at least one. If Sam can do it, so can he. Dean can’t wait to make Sam tell him what he read.

“I’m gonna make it burn ‘til it’s sweet, ‘til you can’t take anymore, and then fuck you while it’s all still tender.”

Dean busts out laughing. He can’t help it. He’s trying to imagine Sam ever saying something like that to him, let alone carrying it out. Besides, Sam fucking him? Did this writer even read the real books about them?

He feels a little better after laughing, like maybe he can actually handle this without being completely horrified. It’s so far removed from reality that it’s almost bearable.

The feeling lasts a few seconds, until he gets to the part where Sam’s got his tongue in Dean’s—Oh. That. That’s… just. He squints at the words, hurrying through them.

“Jesus Christ, Sam,” Dean gasps. “If you don’t fuck me soon I’m gonna turn around and kick your ass on principle.”

At least they didn’t make him a total girl.

Sam chuckles into his brother’s body, gives one last dive of his tongue and then pulls free. Surveys his work and thinks it’ll be a miracle if Dean can even sit down soon, much less kick Sam’s ass. And oh, wouldn’t that be fun. Especially if Sam slid a plug inside Dean and made him keep it in all day, heavy weight of it pressing against his sweet spot, making him shift from one foot to the other, cock hard, toy keeping his tight hole open--

Dean flinches back from the screen. What? Okay, first, TWISTED. Second. No fucking way Dean would ever let Sam do that shit to him. Even if he was the bottom, which he is totally not. Or, wouldn’t be, if he and Sam were actually…

He can’t believe he’s even thinking about this.

He sits forward in the chair and hurries through the rest of the story. The fucking is actually easier to read than the tongue thing, even if it is graphic and Dean’s a complete, pansy bottom.

That sucked, he thinks, clicking the back button.

He just read about having sex with his brother.

People think he takes it up the ass from Sam? Seriously?

Writer’s got to be a Samgirl or something.

He clicks on another link.

Three hours later, Dean is slumped over, chin in his hand, eyes burning and blurring the words on the screen as Sam fucks him again, for the fifty-sixth time. All their fans seem to think Sam has an enormous cock and fucks Dean to death with it at every opportunity. He can’t even begin to count the various perverted things the writers have had Sam do to him, including one very special story he stumbled across where he gets fucked with every goddamned vegetable in the garden of their post-hunting perfect little domestic house complete with white picket fences, nine-to-five jobs and supportive neighbors. That’s without even getting into the story where Dean got hurt while hunting a ghost and Sam saved Dean’s life with his magically healing, huge cock—something about “the jizz of baby cherubs”.

He has a splitting headache, and he’s pretty fucking sure he’s never going to be able to look at his brother again without thinking about sex.

He wonders if Castiel has any idea that the Winchester Gospel set this in motion. He’d kinda love to see Cas’s face, if he found out.

Dean considers for a moment, rubbing a hand across his chin and smirking.

Yeah. That’s a great idea—introduce the angel to the Book of Incest.

He really needs to go to bed.

He erases the entire browser history, every cookie, every single fucking button he can click to delete anything and considers deleting firefox.exe just to be really sure, before he crawls into bed.

*

Sam gets in about an hour later, motel door creaking open on rusted hinges. Sam tries to be quiet, and Dean pretends to sleep through it all.

*

In the morning, Dean wakes up tired and cranky with a need for coffee so bad he’s ready to kick the tall, lanky guy’s ass behind the counter at Starbuck’s when he asks Dean to repeat his order a second time.

When he shoves the steaming cup into Sam’s hand back at the motel room, Dean does it without looking at him, sailing past to the bathroom with his own cup in hand.

Sam joins him in the middle of shaving a few minutes later, picking up his toothbrush and shooting Dean one of those looks as he reaches for the uncapped toothpaste.

Dean bumps Sam’s elbow as he rinses the razor in the sink, and Sam shoots him another patented bitchface look. Dean ignores it, bumping Sam’s elbow again as he raises his arm.

Sam moves two inches to the left and Dean feels a slow burn of satisfaction rise in his chest as he strokes the razor up the line of his throat.

After all, if he’s gotta be the one to take it up the ass in fanfic all the time, the least Sam can do is show him a little bit of respect.

*

Over breakfast, Dean contemplates Sam’s face as he shovels down his eggs. Dean looks for a while, but he doesn’t see a wide, pretty mouth, or high cheek bones or hazel eyes slanted like a fox’s. Sam’s complexion isn’t smooth or flawless, and he certainly doesn’t glow. Yeah, he’s got big, broad shoulders and rippling muscles and freakishly large hands, but mostly, he’s just Sam; Dean’s stupidly tall, floppy-haired, gigantic dork of a little brother.

Sam finally drops his fork on his plate and glances up at Dean with irritation. “Dude. What?

Dean shrugs, nonchalant, and reaches for his mug of coffee. “Nothing,” he says, keeping his expression the same. “Just wondering if you found out anything about the case last night.”

Sam hesitates for a second, and then he picks up his fork and looks down at his plate. “There’s a book that might help…” he says, spearing eggs on his fork. “I need to check the local library.”

That’s… vague. Sam’s not being completely honest with him. Dean’s tempted to ask for details on what exactly Sam needs to look up. But Dean’s got a little errand of his own he can run at the library. “Okay, Nancy Drew,” he says instead. “We’ll hit it on the way out of town.”

*

The library isn’t very busy this early on a Tuesday, just a few college kids studying and perusing the aisles of books. Sam peels off towards the rows of books, and Dean heads for the row of computers near the center of the building. He settles himself in front of one of the monitors, glancing over his shoulder once to make sure Sam’s disappeared into the non-fiction section.

He pulls up a browser and types in the address to LiveJournal.com, fingers hovering over the keys before he finally types “Supernatural” into LiveJournal’s search field.

He finds so many journals he doesn’t even know how to begin. Finally he uses the pull down menu and does his search in a couple places. A search of ‘communities’ finally turns up some stuff that looks useful.

Supernaturalfic is first on the list, and he clicks on it.

It’s the motherlode of Sam/Dean fic. He doesn’t have a lot of time to sort through it before Sam gets back, though, so he clicks on the first ten or so, skimming them. Some of it is really bad—like jizz of baby cherubs bad—but there’s some of it that’s… well… at least it’s literate and there’s no vegetables involved. He picks a couple stories, copies and pastes them into a Word document, then eyes the printers across the room.

There’s a cute, gothic chick standing by them, face pensive as she waits for her pages to print. Cute, but a little too in love with her pain for Dean’s tastes. Dean waits until she gathers the stack of papers, her short bob-cut flashing short-cropped blond beneath the black as she walks away, skirt swishing around her knees. He waits another minute to make sure no one else is headed for the printers, and hits the “print” button.

He practically runs to the printers, planting himself in front of the one that starts to spit pages.

He ends up with seven pages of short Sam/Dean stories. He folds them all together as he glances around to see if anyone’s watching him, and then tucks them into his back pocket.

He sits back down at the computer, surfing for another twenty minutes or so. There’s no access to porn in the library and he’s not reading any more fanfic when Sam could come walking up behind him any minute, and after twenty minutes he’s so bored and antsy that he gives up and goes looking for Sam.

Sam’s nowhere to be found in the non-fiction section. Dean frowns and keeps walking to the fiction section. He finds Sam kneeling on one knee in an aisle all by himself, thin paperback open in his hands. He looks engrossed in whatever he’s reading, book propped against his raised knee. Dean walks down the aisle and it’s not until halfway that Sam hears him coming and startles, looking guilty as he shuts the book.

“Supernatural?” Dean asks, looking at the section of books Sam’s kneeling in front of.

“They… didn’t have the book I was looking for.” Sam almost stumbles over the words, shoving the novel back onto the shelf.

“So you thought you’d read some more adventures of Sam and Dean we already lived through once?”

“I wondered if they had any of them, so I came over to look, and they have a few that we don’t.” Sam’s looking up at Dean like that’s supposed to mean something. Dean raises his brows and stares back at Sam expectantly.

“I was thinking,” Sam goes on, looking down at the shelf again. “Maybe we should keep them around for reference. I mean, books tend to be written with themes and foreshadowing. Who knows? There could be clues in there about things that haven’t happened yet.”

It sounds dubious to Dean—even Chuck didn’t know where the story was going. But since he’s standing there with seven pages of the Incest Gospel in his back pocket, he figures he’s not exactly in a position to protest dubious ideas. “Couldn’t hurt to have them around, I guess,” Dean shrugs.

Sam’s eyes widen like he’s surprised Dean’s giving in so easily. Dean avoids the look, kneeling down beside Sam and hunching over the bottom shelf. They push eight books inside their coats and zip them up.

Dean cuts Sam a sideways glance as he zips his jacket. “You think Chuck’s writing about us stealing books about ourselves right now?”

“Probably,” Sam nods, zipping his coat, too.

“This is just weird,” Dean says, standing up.

“Yeah.”

*

They drive north and slightly west at a leisurely pace for most of the day. Sam’s practically dozing in the passenger seat, mid-afternoon sun beating down when Dean pushes in mix-tape #3. “Highway Star” pours out over the speakers, and Dean sits back in the seat, satisfied.

That’s when it occurs to him, apropos of nothing, that Chuck doesn’t just know about the stolen books—he probably also knows every single thing Dean read last night.

“Christ,” he mutters under his breath, jolt of realization running through him like adrenaline. His hand jerks on the wheel, and he steadies himself, ignoring the way Sam stirs and cuts him a half-lidded look.

“Squirrel,” Dean lies, his voice gruff.

They’ve got miles to go before they stop for the night and there’s no way Dean can do anything about it with Sam sitting right next to him. He drives until the sun sinks below the horizon, and then an extra half an hour just for appearances before he pulls off at an exit with a lodging sign in Mohall, North Dakota.

The motel siding is painted the most hideous shade of green Dean’s ever seen—and that’s saying something. The rooms aren’t any prettier, but at least they’re clean, even if there’s a lingering scent of mustiness lurking underneath. He throws his stuff down next to his bed and watches Sam settle in until Sam looks comfortable behind his laptop screen.

“I’m gonna head out and get some food. Be right back.”

Sam glances up and nods just before Dean shuts the door. Dean walks around the front end of the car and slides behind the wheel of the Impala, pulling his phone from his pocket as he backs out of the parking space.

The phone rings four times before Chuck picks up. “Hey, Chuck, it’s Dean.”

“I know. I just finished writing this scene—I mean, the part where this happens.”

Dean pauses, absorbing that as he turns onto the main road. “So you already know what I’m going to say?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s disturbing.”

“I really agree.” Chuck hesitates for a second, then adds, “Dean… don’t… don’t worry about it, okay? It’s just… curiosity. I understand.”

Dean feels like a stupid teenager caught with his pants down. This sucks. “Yeah, dude. Thanks for the therapy session.”

“I mean... I’ve read some of the stories, too… um… because I thought people were writing about my characters, and that’s… kind of flattering--”

“You knew about this? And you didn’t tell us?” Dean demands as he changes lanes.

“I already knew that you knew, remember? You and Sam had that whole conversation in the motel about slash--”

Dean winces against the word, slowing down for a red light. “Right, okay. So what I read last night, that’s--”

“Not going in the book, right.”

Dean scowls at the phone as he comes to a stop. “This is creepy enough without you finishing my sentences.”

“I knew you were going to say that,” Chuck says, tittering nervously. The sound fades out as Dean scowls at the phone even harder. “I mean, I… Sorry.”

Dean closes his eyes and presses a hand to his forehead. “You know, this whole fucking thing gives me a major headache.”

“Try drinking,” Chuck advises.

*

The line at the drive-through at Wendy’s is nearly wrapped around the building. The inside is predictably almost empty, and Dean slides the car into a parking spot. He gets out of the car under the yellow glow of the sign and glances up, taking in red pigtails and freckles. Personally, Dean’s always thought Wendy is kinda hot, in that sexy librarian way. He’d mentioned it to Sam once, and Sam had stared at Dean, appalled as he said, “Yeah, Dean. She’s also twelve, and rolled his eyes so hard Dean thought Sam might snap his own neck. Which… was a good point he never thought about before and really wishes Sam had never made, because he can’t ever look at her the same way again.

He gives his order at the counter and flirts a little with the girl behind it, who finally cracks her serious ‘just the burgers, sir’ veneer and gives him a smile. He throws in a wink as he asks for extra ketchup and she puts two handfuls into the bag, which is perfect.

He’s almost to the Impala, keys in one hand, greasy bag that smells like heaven in his other hand, when someone behind him says,

“Dean.”

Dean spins—he would’ve sworn there was no one else in the parking lot—dropping the bag of food to the ground, fingers closing into a fist—

Castiel’s standing there; frowning slightly, like Dean’s response confuses him.

Dean sighs, bending down and snatching up the food. “I’m gonna put a bell on you,” Dean threatens as he rises, pointing at Castiel, keys jingling.

“Lilith’s vanished,” Castiel begins, as if Dean hadn’t even spoken. “No one knows what happened to her after the last time you saw her. There are even rumors that you killed her,” Castiel says, eyeing Dean. “You didn’t, though.”

“No.”

Castiel nods like he expected the answer, and then he turns and starts to pace. “No one knows what her disappearance means.”

“Or if and when she’ll turn up again.” Dean hesitates, thinking about that as he takes the last few steps towards the Impala and turns around, leaning back against the trunk. Parking lot asphalt has never seemed so interesting as he adds, “Did you try Chuck?”

“He hasn’t seen anything.”

“So we’ve got zip?” Dean asks, looking back up at Castiel.

Castiel frowns. “Nothing. I even tried consulting the story, to see if there were indications of where she might have gone… but there was nothing.”

Dean’s already given this as much thought as he plans on giving it. If he’s gonna get any answers, it’s gonna be here—and if he doesn’t, well, it’ll still be fun. “You were reading the Winchester Gospel?” Dean asks.

“Yes,” Castiel nods.

“You know Chuck’s not the only one writing about us?”

Castiel’s brows draw together, his eyes closing on Dean intently. “He was chosen. Who else would write about you?”

Dean sets the bag on the trunk and then reaches for his back pocket. He pulls the pages out, unfolding them as he clears his throat. He smoothes them out and then hands them to Castiel.

Castiel takes them, still frowning as he shakes out the papers in his hand. “The minute Sam turns twenty-three, he’s buried balls deep inside of Dean, licking the last remnants of his birthday cake out of his brother’s mouth.”

Castiel stops and goes very still. He shifts his weight back and forth between his feet and he can’t seem to tear his eyes away from the page even though the look on his face reminds Dean of the time he ate too many Doritos and decided to polish them off with orange juice. A mistake so serious that he’s added it to his very short list of rules not to live by.

There’s a long, uncomfortable silence, and Dean gloats, just a little.

“Yeah. So tell me. Did God see that coming?”

“This is… this is fiction,” Castiel says, lifting the pages towards Dean.

“The people reading your “Gospel” wrote this.”

“It’s fiction,” Castiel says again, like he’s got one brain cell and it’s stuck on stupefied.

“But it’s being written. This is what the readers are getting from ‘our story’.” Dean shakes his head, tonguing against the inside of his cheek. He’s enjoying this way too much—but why not? If he has to suffer through it, Castiel should, too. “I gotta know… Was that in the ‘big plan’? ‘Cause I’m thinking… God? Not gonna approve of the incest version of the Gospel.”

Castiel is speechless, and yeah, Dean’s loving the fuck out of this.

“It has to be part of God’s plan, right? He wants the people who read our stories to think this?”

Castiel opens his mouth then closes it again, looking between Dean and the pages. “Well… but… the… the children of Adam and Eve procreated with each other to produce offspring,” he says, stumbling over the words. “But then…” he stops, hand with the pages dropping to his side, frowning like he’s just encountered a very difficult math problem.

“But then there’s that whole pesky Kingdom of Sodom thing,” Dean adds.

“Yes,” Castiel nods emphatically.

“So as long as it makes babies… incest is okay?” Dean can hardly keep the smirk from his face, mouth twitching.

Castiel’s eyes meet his, filled with confusion. “I… may… need to take a meeting on this.”

Castiel vanishes, leaving Dean feeling incredibly satisfied.

*

Dean’s enjoying his mood so much that he waits until he and Sam are both almost done eating before he tells Sam about Lilith disappearing.

Sam’s face goes pensive as he wipes a napkin across his chin, and then his whole expression turns hard as he balls the napkin up. “She’s up to something.”

“You said she was running scared,” Dean counters. “Maybe she decided the whole thing wasn’t worth it.”

“No.” Sam shakes his head. “She’ll be back.”

Of course she will. Dean doesn’t even know what he was doing entertaining the idea they might get out of this easy. He knows better than that. Nothing’s ever easy. “You still think you can take her?” he asks, voice low.

“I know I can.”

“Using your powers.”

“It’s the only way.” There was a time not too long ago when Sam might have sounded sorry about that; now he’s just matter of fact.

Dean crumples the empty cheeseburger wrapper in his hands and purses his lips, thinking for a long time before he speaks again. “How are you getting more powerful, Sam?”

Sam’s mouth thins and he looks away. “Practice.”

He doesn’t even bother to point out that admitting that means Sam’s been lying to Dean all along. Dean already knew Sam was. Dean tosses the wrapper into the empty bag. “With Ruby?” Dean tries to keep the anger from his voice, but it’s damned hard.

Sam flinches, then tenses and doesn’t answer.

“I’ll take that as a yes.”

“It’s the only way we can win, Dean.”

Dean’s so tired of having this argument with Sam. He rubs his hands clean with a couple of napkins, focusing intently on cleaning the grease from under the edges of his nails. “There’s got to be another way, Sam. What about the angels? You don’t think they’ll help us?”

He can hear Sam shrug. “Maybe. But I don’t think they will.”

“Cas will, if he can.”

‘If’ isn’t good enough.”

Dean wishes he could argue with that. But he can’t, and there’s nothing he hasn’t already said to Sam about this. He decides to go to bed instead.