Sam Winchester knew a lot of things about his brother, but the one thing he prized above all else was something that he had no business knowing. He knew that Dean was a good kisser. A really good kisser. He could count the number of times that he’d kissed his brother. Twice. Thrice, if you included the time Dean had kissed him. Three kisses with the same number of years spread among them. Sam remembered each kiss distinctly. While memories grew hazy with time or developed an air of nostalgia, Sam could recall any of these kisses instantly. They had been burned into his mind like no other memory he possessed.
While Sam would never have described their lives as ever having been simple, moving from school to school and worrying about fitting in seemed a lot simpler than say, trying to prevent your brother from going to Hell since he’d sold his soul to a demon in exchange for your life. Seriously, their lives had reached a whole new level of messed up.
Thank god that business was behind them. At least, Sam hoped it was. Dean maintained the cool façade, but Sam knew his brother was hiding something from him. He only had to look as far as the bottle that Dean kept by his bedside to know that things were far from all right, despite what Dean may say. It was just like Dean to keep something of this magnitude hidden inside, refusing to let Sam share some of the burden with him. His brother had a serious martyr-complex, followed closely by the most finely tuned denial skills Sam had ever seen. Dean would rather block something unpleasant, especially if it hit too close to home, rather than deal with the fallout.
Like those kisses. Dean had probably wiped them from his mind as soon as they’d happened. They never talked about it. But that didn’t mean Sam didn’t think about it. A lot. Sometimes he even jerked off to it – memories of a promise never to be fulfilled – but Sam’s imagination often took care of the rest. He had a very active imagination.
It was times like these that those memories really came to the fore. He was standing in the town’s center a few feet away from his brother, discreetly trying not to watch as Dean said good-bye to Jamie. Sam had to admit that they had good chemistry, but it was hard not to have good chemistry with Dean.
Dean had his arms wrapped around Jamie’s waist. They were standing outside the Bavarian Beer Tavern where Jamie worked as a bartender. Oktoberfest was in full swing, but Jamie hadn’t changed yet into her ‘bar wench uniform,’ as Dean called it. She mirrored Dean’s gesture by wrapping her arms around his waist. Their kisses were slow and lazy, matching the heat of the noonday sun.
Sam idly wondered if their sex the previous night had been slow and languid too or if their adrenaline had still been rushing from killing the psychotic shapeshifter. He knew what he would’ve wanted after the hunt. He forced himself to look away. He had just seen Dean’s hand travel up Jamie’s back, a sure sign that he was about to deepen the kiss. Even through the bustle of the courtyard noises, Sam could hear Jamie’s low moan of pleasure. He studied his shoes.
His mind drifted back to that first kiss. They had been in Orlando at the time. He and Dad had just finished hunting a banshee when Dean showed up two days before his birthday. Sam wasn’t surprised. Dean had promised that he would be back in time and unlike their father, Dean kept his promises. He had dropped out of high school two years before and had taken to going on road trips by himself. Sam had been surprised when their dad let him, but he kept his mouth shut for once. Dean came back from the trips in high spirits, happy to see him and ready to hunt. He was becoming a great hunter, totally following in their dad’s footsteps and Sam both loved and hated him for it. He was just trying to finish high school. He wanted more out of life and he was seriously considering going to college. Maybe even applying for a scholarship. His grades were good enough, in spite of all their moving around. He hadn’t shared his plans with anyone yet. Certainly not his dad. He wanted to tell Dean, but that was the problem. Going to college would mean leaving his brother and well . . . that was the one thing Sam couldn’t bear to do. No matter how bad things got, whatever crappy town they found themselves in, whatever monster they were hunting, whatever shit their dad was piling on them, Dean was the one constant in his life. Sam knew it was little brother hero-worship and that he’d fallen victim to it when he’d been young and impressionable, but that didn’t matter. It was what it was. And then some.
That night, two days before his birthday, they’d met up with some of Dean’s friends. He hung out with an older college set. How or when he’d met them, Sam had no idea, but for someone who refused to maintain any close personal ties, Dean made friends easily whenever he wanted to. He was the exact opposite of Sam.
They ended up in the house of one of the girls. Her name was Laila and her parents were out of town for the week. She and Dean had a ‘thing.’ Laila was pretty and blonde, and possessed the kind of snobbish streak that told you she’d been a cheerleader in high school. Probably the captain of her squad. Dean thought cheerleaders were hot, even if the jocks were mostly a-holes.
Being the kid brother sometimes made Sam feel a little awkward around the group, but not because any of them intentionally made him feel that way. Dean would never have allowed that. It didn’t hurt either that one of the girl’s was hitting on him too. Amber. She was also pretty with flaming red hair to match her name. Sam thought she dyed it. No one’s hair could possibly be that color. “Who cares if she dyes her hair?” Dean had said. “Dude, she likes you. Do you know how lucky you are? An older woman is every guy’s fantasy. She could teach you a few things.” Sam didn’t care much what Amber could teach him, but Dean liked the idea so Sam went along with it. He’d never disappoint his brother.
There were drinks and there were games. Sam was starting to loosen up and Amber was becoming more attractive by his side. This is normal, he told himself. This is what I want. A debate had started on who was the best kisser in their group. It wasn’t long before people were taking turns being blindfolded. The point, supposedly, was to be able to judge someone’s kissing technique without prejudice or expectations. “You can tell who it is by how they kiss,” Laila claimed, giving Dean a wink.
Eventually, it was Dean’s turn. He sat in a wooden chair in the center of the living room, eyes blindfolded by a red silk handkerchief. (Laila, of course, would have a red silk handkerchief laying around.) Amber had watched attentively as Laila had tied the handkerchief around Dean’s eyes and when her friend was done, she gave Sam’s knee a little squeeze before standing up and walking to the center of the room. There she knelt in front of Dean, placing one hand on each of his knees. She leaned forward and pressed her lips against his. Dean wasn’t allowed to touch her. It was part of the rules. Dean responded to her touch and he tilted his head to the right. Sam watched fascinated. He’d never seen his brother kiss a girl up-close before. It made his heart race and without realizing it, he was leaning forward on the sofa. After Amber, it was Krista. Then Jen. Sam could tell that Dean was loving every minute of it.
Suddenly, Laila was by Sam’s side. She gripped his left hand and with surprising strength, pulled him to his feet. He gave her a confused look, but she only put a finger to her lips and smiled wickedly. Sam let her pull him to the center of the room. Jen was standing up, licking her lips. She gave Laila a look that translated into, You lucky bitch. Laila looked smug. She motioned for Sam to kneel in front of his brother. Too late, Sam figured out what she wanted him to do. He shook his head and broke free from her grip only to bump into Amber who had followed the pair.
“Come on,” Amber whispered, so quietly in his ear that no one else could hear them. She slipped her arms around his waist and pulled him to her. “It’ll be fun.”
Sam didn’t see anything ‘fun’ about the situation at all. He was terrified. Dean would kill him for doing this, even if it was just meant to be a joke. But what terrified Sam even more was how much he wanted to do this. How unbelievably lucky he was that these girls were giving him an excuse to kiss his own brother. Could he risk it? Could he broadcast his totally inappropriate feelings for his brother in front of a crowd of semi-strangers? What sort of kiss were they expecting anyway? A quick brush of the lips so they could tease Dean afterwards for unknowingly kissing his brother? It was meant to be harmless.
There was nothing harmless about it as Sam knelt in front of Dean, gingerly placing one hand on each of his brother’s knees. The gesture had become a signal to the person in the ‘hot seat’ that they were about to be kissed. Sam was lanky and taller than any of the girls. While most of them had had to lean upwards to kiss his brother, Sam was practically eye level with Dean. His stomach was turning. Oh god, he was going to be sick. He glanced behind him. Laila and Amber both gave him encouraging nods. Those girls were twisted. Sam faced his brother again. Dean appeared to be restless, probably wondering what was taking so long.
Right. Sam took a deep breath. He could do this. He wanted to do this. Just a quick brush of the lips. He leaned forward and then closed his eyes.
“Call that a kiss?” Dean teased as soon as it was over.
Sam flushed. He could hear Amber and Laila’s muffled giggles behind him.
“Try that again, sweetheart, and I’ll show you a real kiss.”
Sam could feel his face growing hot. Dean was actually daring him to kiss him again. He felt a tap on his shoulder and glanced backwards. It was Laila’s turn to whisper encouragement.
“Go on,” she said. “He doesn’t know.”
It was true. Dean really didn’t know and he might never get this chance again.
This time Sam placed his lips more firmly on Dean’s and held them there. It was the cue for Dean to take over the kiss and his brother did. Sam felt the returning pressure and then Dean opened his mouth ever so slightly, just enough to suck a little on Sam’s bottom lip. Sam felt the wetness and his brother’s warm breath. His heart was beating unbelievably fast and he gripped Dean’s knees tighter in response. Dean took this as a sign of encouragement and ran his tongue along the seam of Sam’s still sealed lips.
Sam’s resolve was weakening. His brother wanted entrance and who was he to refuse? He opened his mouth. He felt the gentle probing of Dean’s tongue, inviting him to come out and play. Sam felt timid and small, almost paralyzed by the situation. But Dean was persistent. Gentle, but persistent. He could sense his partner’s hesitation.
Then Sam was falling into the kiss. Dean was everything that was good in his life. Kissing his brother was like coming home. He responded more actively and Dean, ever aware of his partner’s shifts in mood, returned in kind. The kiss grew deeper, lasting longer than Sam had ever dreamed it would. Without realizing it, his hands had traveled mid-way up Dean’s thighs. He was invading his brother’s space, leaning into him, forcing Dean to spread his legs a bit wider. Dean wasn’t supposed to touch him. The kissing game had a hands off policy for the person in the chair, but that rule was thrown out the window when Sam felt two hands cradle his neck. They were in serious tongue-fucking territory now.
Sam was only dimly aware of the muffled voices around them until a female voice rose clearly above the others. It sounded urgent and slightly hysterical. It was calling Dean’s name, telling him to stop the kiss. Sam ignored the voice and urged his brother on, but Dean was already pulling away, chuckling softly as he sat back in the chair.
“Ladies,” he said, still smiling, “I think we have a winner.”
It was at this point that the memory grew a bit hazy. The kisses never faded, but the aftermath? Not as pleasant. Things had happened so quickly that he couldn’t register all the details. He remembered Dean pulling the blindfold off and the split-second of horror he’d felt when he’d realized that he’d be found out so soon. His horror was matched by the horror he saw on his brother’s face. There was a crash as the chair fell to the ground in Dean’s haste to get to his feet.
“What the hell?” he yelled, backing away from his brother.
The horror was gone, replaced by anger, disbelief and . . . Sam couldn’t quite place the last emotion. Disgust, perhaps? Revulsion? Sam sank to his knees. He couldn’t have expected anything else, and yet he’d irrationally hoped. He couldn’t bring himself to look his brother in the eye, but that didn’t matter since Dean had turned his attention – and his anger – to everybody else in the room.
“What the hell is wrong with you people?” he yelled. “You think this is funny?”
Laila was the one who stepped forward, hands outstretched to appease him. “It was just meant to be a joke.”
“A joke,” Dean repeated. “It’s sick.”
“It wasn’t supposed to go that far,” Laila began.
“Save it!” Dean snapped. He grabbed his brother’s wrist and dragged him to his feet. “C’mon, Sammy. We’re outta here.”
Sam stumbled slightly as he followed his brother out the house. His whole body felt heavy, his feet like lead. Laila was calling after them, but Dean ignored her.
The ride back to their own house was awkwardness personified. Sam sat slumped in the passenger seat, eyes not registering the passing scenery. Dean gripped the steering wheel tightly with both hands, barely containing his anger. Sam inwardly cringed. He was really going to get it when they got home. God, Dean wouldn’t tell their dad, would he? He couldn’t. Sam was horrified at the possibility.
Dean pulled into the driveway of their one-storey house and turned off the engine. The porch light was on, which meant their dad was home. They sat in the car silently. Sam was waiting for Dean to decide what to do. He’d follow his brother’s lead.
“Not a word,” Dean said quietly.
Sam nodded in agreement, a gesture that was completely lost on his brother as Dean was already out of the car and headed for the front door. Once inside, Dean went straight to the kitchen. Sam knew his brother was going to get a beer. Unfortunately, that’s also where their dad was, the family arsenal laid out on the kitchen table as John Winchester went through the slow process of cleaning their weapons. He looked up when his sons came in and then glanced at the wall clock.
“Boys are back early,” he noted.
“Yes, sir,” Dean replied, snapping to military attention.
Dean’s tone indicated that was all the explanation he was going to give, but John knew that if he pressed his elder son, Dean would tell him the reason for their unexpected appearance. He looked from one boy to the other. Dean’s jaw was set, his expression hard and uncharacteristically defiant. Sam, on the other hand, looked guilty as hell. John turned his attention back to his .45. He’d let the boys sort this one out.
“Good,” John said. “You can help with the cleaning.”
Dean didn’t budge. “Yes, sir,” he said again, more quietly this time. “Just going to go wash up first.” He brushed by Sam, the beer he was planning to get completely forgotten.
Sam turned on his heel and followed his brother out of the kitchen. He’d turned into a freaking appendage, waiting on whatever punishment his brother was going to dole out for his idiotic behavior. He followed Dean straight to his brother’s bedroom, shutting the door softly behind him. Dean had his back to him and when Sam couldn’t take the silence any longer, he spoke.
“Don’t,” Dean said threateningly, as he turned around.
“I don’t know what I was thinking,” Sam went on.
“You weren’t,” Dean said flatly.
Sam gathered the courage to close the distance between them. “I love you,” he said softly, standing in front of Dean.
Dean’s anger seemed to dissipate at those three words and his expression softened. He sighed. “I know that, Sammy,” he said.
“No,” Sam shook his head. “You don’t.” Before Sam could really think about what he was doing, he grabbed the back of his brother’s head and pulled Dean in for another kiss.
Even if he hadn’t anticipated Sam’s actions, Dean’s reflexes were quick. Sam felt his brother’s hands on his shoulders, fingers digging deeply into his bones. He knew that Dean was about to push him away, but instead Dean let the kiss linger for a moment longer, long enough for Sam to coax his brother’s mouth open. That was all the incentive Dean needed to break the kiss, holding his brother at arm’s length. They were both breathing deeply. Dean looked straight into Sam’s eyes as he said, “It’s not that kind of love, Sammy.”
Sam felt the wind get knocked out of him. Dean released him immediately and Sam wasn’t sure how he remained standing without his brother’s support. He heard the door open behind him, and a few moments later there was the sound of running water. The sound was soon muffled as Dean closed the bathroom door.
Aside from the memory of that first kiss and his ill-advised confession, that night had been a turning point for Sam. Standing in Dean’s room, he made the decision to leave that life behind. There was nothing for him here anymore. Dean didn’t return his feelings. How could he expect him to? His brother probably thought he was a freak. And he was. He felt like a freak, and not just because of the life they lead. Sam knew there was something wrong with him. Later, Dean and their dad would think that Sam left for other reasons. Some of those reasons would be true, others not so much.
Sam was brought back to the present by the sight and sound of Dean snapping his fingers in front of his face.
“You okay?” Dean was looking at him with some concern.
“Fine,” Sam said automatically.
“You’ve been standing there a while.”
Sam pulled bitch-face number 13. “Your good-byes take a while,” he retorted.
Dean grinned. “Fair enough.” They fell into step. “This was a good case, wasn’t it?” Dean continued. “A black-and-white monster hunt.” He seemed particularly satisfied.
“There was nothing black-and-white about this hunt,” Sam pointed out.
Dean shrugged. “Oh, I don’t know. So, the shifter was a little loopy. In the end the monster got ganked and the hero got the girl.” He paused, grinning sideways at this brother. “And then the hero got the girl.”
“Real classy, Dean.”
Dean just laughed and Sam’s heart jumped a little. He couldn’t remember the last time he had seen his brother so genuinely happy.
“Sammy, you need to get laid more often.”
Sam didn’t disagree, but since that prospect wasn’t going to happen with the one person he most loved, he’d settle for his vivid imagination and the memory of those vanished kisses.