The burns look like Dean stuck his leg into a fireplace in an attempt to fuel a dwindling spark of a fire and his pants were thoroughly slapped with an indignant flame.
His face is covered in soot, his hair is a little seared, and half of his pants are burned to a sad string of crisped fabric. Sam pulled him out of the flames by his left ankle after swatting at his aflame jacket with a bathroom towel he found in the middle of the cavern of heat the burning house created, and considering the purchase he had on his foot and how he had to drag Dean out on the rough pavement, he's not surprised to see purpled flesh arise in bruises littered around his body and gather in an angry ring around his ankle.
"Damn, Sammy," Dean says, rubbing a dirtied hand through his equally soiled hair while staring at his reflection in the mirror. He looks like a car mechanic who spent his day with his head under a greasy car hood until Sam's eyes flit over the glossy burns, bright and angry, trailing down his leg, and then he remembers he's a burn victim. There's a bruise already on his ankle, a purple ring where Sam's fingers dug into his leg and tugged.
Sam is digging through his battered bag of medical supplies, and Dean is staring at his ashen face in the mirror. It's a little comical. Dean limps through the entire motel using only the tips of his left foot to scrape over the floor for balance only to reach the reflection of his own face while Sam plays worried nurse. There isn't any burn ointment in Sam's bag. They don't run into burning buildings, and even though their thumbs have calluses from how many times they flick lighters and they've burnt more matches to the stub than even the most addicted chain smokers, they don't jump on their corpses after they've lit them. They expect gunshot wound, bloody noses, and the occasional broken jaw, but not burns. Sam digs through the bag like a smitten man who lost his priceless engagement ring on the night of his proposal until he stands up, victorious, with ointment in hand. Dean licks over his teeth and rubs his dirty hand off of his scalp with his eyes fixed on the mirror.
"I owe you one," He says from the bathroom. The door is ajar and Sam can see the dirty sole of Dean's foot through the crack until Dean's elbow pushes it and the crack turns into a wide invitation into the bathroom.
Dean catches Sam's eyes through the mirror and nods gravely with the hint of a lopsided smirk painted on his lips, like he doesn't believe it should be present in the middle of such a solemn conversation, but he still can't help it from being there considering Dean has cheated Death like a rigged poker game once again.
I owe you one. It's a catch phrase, not a promise. It's courteous. You say thank you when someone hands over the out of reach bowl of garden salad during dinner. You say please to the waitresses who scribble down monosyllabic orders when you ask for beer. You say I owe you one when your brother makes sure your name doesn't end up in the paper's obituary by morning.
He acts like he's serious, and maybe that's what irks Sam so much. He doesn't mean it. Dean's always owing something to Sam, because Sam is always saving him, and never does the debt get settled. He's like the man with more bills than paychecks whose best friend and biggest badger is the bank, the bank that stops sending loans because it's smart enough to know that it's kissing goodbye to its bills. The only difference is that Sam isn't smart enough.
"No, you don't," Sam says and looks at the bedspread. It's red, checkered, and a little faded, like it's been washed too many times with cheap detergent. "Bring me the bandages."
Dean hobbles out of the bathroom and throws a package of supplies at Sam's chest before taking his seat on the mattress.
"I'm bleeding too." Sam murmurs into the cold evening air. The radiator rattles in the corner, but it does nothing to change the feel of the room. Sam rolls his lips into his mouth and watches as Dean looks him up and down for splotches of red.
"Sorry, Sammy," Dean says, and is decent enough to look ashamed. He tugs on the hem of Sam's sleeve. "I really do owe you one."
"Stop saying that. You're always saying that." Sam kneels down on the carpet and takes sight of Dean's sight for sore eyes jeans. His knees are dry and cracked with blood, jagged crimson lines that only the scrape of pavement can deliver, boring holes into his pants. Sam looks down at the burn marks running up Dean's ankle and marring his calf. He's sure that if he tilts his head and looks at it at the right angle, the whole laceration would resemble a country. He lets his head loll onto his shoulder and sees Korea. He squints a little, and then he sees Cuba.
"Guess I am." Dean's voice drifts down from on top of the bed. Sam traces the thick ring of purple around Dean's ankle and stops there. The burns still look hot like lava, like touching them will burn Sam too.
The burns are still rough and stained red on his skin the next time they end tumbling in bed together without their clothes.
Dean's on top of him, where he likes it best, and Sam keeps reaching for his knee and tries to slow down the way he's rolling his hips and grinding up against Sam's body, scrambling for purchase on his waist to take sense into him.
"It's too early," Sam says, but he knows it's a debate he's already lost when Dean's hands land on his chest and rub at his nipples in between his thumb and his forefinger, "Your burns, the burns, they're not healed."
"Never know when to shut up, do you, Sam." It's not a question, especially not when Dean grips Sam's shoulders, looks down at him with those flushed cheeks and swollen lips, licks them, and lowers himself onto Sam's erection in one smooth slide.
Sam looks at his brother. He's panting, sweaty and wet and burning up as he leans over Sam. His hair has gotten longer. Not freakishly long or ready to be tied up like a Bohemian artist, but long enough to Sam to run his fingers through it and really fasten his fists into it. Sam leans into his body, grabs the sweaty expanse of his shoulders and slides down to feel the pulse of his spine against his back as he moves. He wants to sit up, press himself up against Dean like he's a hypothermic victim seeking out the body warmth and kiss him with the same rhythm that Dean's rocking up and down on his cock now.
But he doesn't, he lets Dean slide up and down his body like he was meant to do it forever, like he's done it a million times and by now it's just lover's routine. He groans, grabs Dean's hips, slams him down onto his length, and forgets about the burns considering Dean has too.
Turns out, Sam can shut up sometimes.
The glass is everywhere, and it shimmers like a constellation of stars.
Except for the bit that's in Dean's leg.
Shards of glass crunch like leaves in the autumn under the hard sole of Sam's boots as he brings Dean to the car and listens to him whimper in the backseat like a little boy headed to the dentist with his head cushioned under the wad of his jacket and feet propped up against the window. He's too small for the backseat, not like his teenage years or awkward prepubescent stages when his body fit snugly into the back instead of folding onto itself like pretzel dough.
There's a bottle of aspirin that Dean is shaking around in his hands in rhythm to the bumps the car makes on the road. Dean tosses the bottle back in forth in between his hands and gives them a little wiggle like he's recreating the drumbeats of a Johnny Cash song.
"Thanks for getting me outta there, Sammy," Dean mumbles from the back of the car, "Always savin' my hide."
"Shush," Sam says, and goes a little faster.
And the inevitable, "I owe you." slips out of Dean's mouth and again, Sam shushes him like it's all he knows how to say, and this time, he does.
Dean limps into the motel with a groan on every other step and his nose buried deep into the nest of hair tucked under Sam's ear. Sam's hands are around his waist like a seatbelt and when he places him onto the bed, hands him his flask from the nightstand, and he wrenches the shard of glass out of his leg, Dean swears it was a grunt instead of a cry that disturbed the silence.
"Enough of the life saving," Dean growls, his voice rough like whiskey when Sam's bandaging up the hole left by the shard of glass now deposited with a heavy clank in the trash bin. "Your mug is much too ugly to pretend to be a knight in shining armor."
"You're a jerk." Sam's mouth says, and when he looks down, Dean's head is cushioned on the pillow and his hands are knotted into his hair, chest heaving with the leftover quivers of pain rippling through his nerves. Sam pats his knee. Dean doesn't look up.
"Well, I guess I owe you everything." Dean addresses the ceiling with a heavy exhale, like he's trying to count the notches littered on it instead of look Sam straight in the eye. "What do you want?"
Sam looks down at Dean who's in the middle of another sigh that goes on for much too long in ratio to his youth. There's a thin sheen, barely visible but shimmery against the light, of beaded sweat meeting the line of his hair where he's been fixedly brushing it back against his scalp. When he asks what Sam wants, he's not the guy genuinely asking what his six-year-old daughter wants on top of her ice cream, he's the man asking the coworker who everyone silently despises what he wants for the birthday that he absolutely won't be celebrating with him. Sam gently pulls on his bandaged leg until it's flat on the bed and ignores his hisses at the movement.
I want to lie down on this bed with you and I don't want you to reach for my pants. I want you to hold me without me having to ask and I want us to stay buttoned up. That's what I want.
"I want," Sam says, and wavers a little in his words, "to fuck you."
Dean grins, one of those languid, Sunday afternoon by the pool smiles, the smiles he sometimes sees on Dean's face when he has one too many cocktails containing unidentifiable liquors, and reaches out to tug on Sam's shirt, his wound forgotten.
"Then c'mere and do it, big boy."
Sam crawls over to him, palms landing on both sides of his head. Dean's looking up at him with his bottom lip trapped between the line of his teeth, eyes dilated with lust and mouth curved into a crooked smile of a man who could smell an orgasm in his future.
"Think you could give me back that much?" Sam whispers, eyes locked with Dean's. He can feel his bangs falling down into his face, tickling his temples, and he wants nothing more than to have Dean reach up and push it back behind his ear and kiss the spot under it. He loves this spot, looming over Dean with a loitering sense of control over the situation that promptly dissolves into delusions when he wakes up with come crusted on his stomach and Dean's side of the bed no longer warm with his lingering presence. He has control over Dean's hips, how much they swivel when Sam's inside him, how soon he comes and how hard he does, but not on hard he loves him when the sex and the sheets are forgotten.
Dean reaches up and grabs the bulge in Sam's pants and squeezes. The tips of Sam's bangs start itching by his eyes. Dean unbuttons his jeans and pulls down his zipper.
"Pretty sure," Dean says over his ear, breath hot on his skin, "I can indulge in you."
He bites down on the shell of Sam's ear and tugs until Sam hisses at the pressure of his teeth on his flesh, digging in like he's trying to bite a piece of Sam away from his body so Dean can keep his taste on his tongue for even longer than just an ephemeral lick can.
"Fuck." Sam says, and drapes himself over Dean like a drunkard, drunk from the bite marks on his body, drunk from the way Dean's eyes are scanning over him like a starving man looking for a meal in the desert, drunk from the atmosphere of pure sex in the room making Sam tipsy.
"Eager, are we?" Dean whispers, and his hands hitch up Sam's shirt and wind around his waist like electricity, electromagnetic sparks that fly off of his skin every time Dean touches him with his fingertips ghosting over his skin like he wants nothing more than to keep touching him.
Sam nods, hips slotting over Dean's.
"Fuck me." He says, and bites his ear again, and Sam lets out an animalistic groan for more.
This isn't what he wants. He doesn't want to leave marks on Dean's neck that he tells the girls in bars are just bug bites. He doesn't want to tangle his legs with him if he can't tangle their fingers together too. He wants to squeeze, squeeze Dean's heart until it beats and beats and bursts in his hand like the shards of glass on the floor, nothing but glittering pieces of what could have been soul and dare he wish it, crazy, crazy love.
"Watch your leg." Sam warns, and squeezes his thigh right over the thick bandage sealing away the gash of blood on his leg, feeling the quiver under his hand. Dean grips his wrist, yanks down his pants, circles his thumb around the crown of his length and digs the tip of his finger into the slit.
"I said, fuck me." Dean says, voice already throaty like sandpaper and post-orgasm roughness.
Sam doesn't want this. It doesn't matter how many times they wrestle naked and kisses occur with open-mouthed wetness, Dean's lips pressing into his pulse where the blood runs and Sam arching into his body with a curve of his spine that's almost painful to keep up. Dean still owes him.
Sam has his hand full of two frothy glasses with beer dribbling down the sides when it happens.
Sam doesn't like bars. They're teeming with tipsy girls throwing their bras onto stranger's faces and knocking their noses on their martini glasses. There's the group of rowdy underage boys who stare at every passing pair of breasts like they've discovered the meaning to their existence. There's the truckers with one too many tattoos to be approachable who grumble in the corner and shoot pool and gamble away their gas money as it piles up on the rim. There's the provocative dancers, the screaming college girl, the bartender who drinks with the crowd, and then there's Dean.
Sam is pushing his way past what seems to be the commencement of a tequila shot contest and skirting by the gyrating body of a half-naked twenty-something woman when his eyes land on Dean. But first, they land on the person next to him.
She's the epitome of a Maxim photo shoot, all of her assets on their best display and her hair bouncing on her shoulders in perfect curls like she's just jumped out of a shampoo commercial. Her top does little of its job to conceal her upper body as it curves down to push up the round globes of her shapely breasts and curls up to reveal a thin sliver of golden skin on her stomach. Her ass stands out in her skirt with just enough support to make it noticeable without seeming rotund and her legs go on for miles in her designer heels. She's perfect.
Dean's grinning like a handful of winning lottery tickets were just deposited in his lap, bright teeth standing out in the dark, smoky atmosphere as another drunken titter wafts by Sam's ear and he gets an armful of staggering blonde who he carefully uprights and watches trip along. Dean's eyes are zipping all over this girl's body like he's trying to commit to memory what his eyes will later be missing, lingering on the volume of her cleavage and on her plump bottom lip, red like cherries and glossed with half a stick of lipstick. Dean is eating up the artificial excuse of a woman in front of him with a hungry gaze that the girl seems to be enjoying just as much. Sam hears her giggle through the pound of the music. It's deep and smooth like the breeze through a cypress tree. He wants to bottle it up and throw it away.
The thing about this whole brothers with benefits thing is that girls are not excluded. All Dean seems to be about these days is hitting the mattress with a weight of someone else pressing him down and licking him clean and then making him all dirty again, faces aside. Dean doesn't care about faces as long as they're pretty. Sam wonders if he's faceless too when he's the one with his hand curled around Dean's swollen dick.
She leans forward just a little more, arms coming in to squeeze her chest together almost obscenely. She's practically falling out of her shirt and doesn't seem to have a bra to fall out of too from what Sam can see, and he's a little mortified. This time he hears Dean's laugh, raspy like he's been doing it all night. Sam feels bubbles of ice cold beer slip down the glasses and fall over his knuckles. It'll be sticky later.
Dean loves girls. He loves their soft stomachs, their pretty lips, their curvy waists. He'd have one on his lap for every meal of the day if he was surrounded with the opportunity. He likes to watch them, talk about them, and even fuck them with groans loud enough to be heard even when Sam stays in the bathroom and lets the water run from the noisy pipes. That never changed. Not when Sam was too young to hear a live pornography happening in the bed next to his complete with R-rated moans, not when they're in the middle of investigations, and not when Sam first stripped down in front of his brother and it become okay.
He watches this girl with rapt attention, but it's different from the way Dean's watching her. Dean's watching her like he's just scored the most intense basketball game ever to be recorded on the television, hands twitching on the counter like they're waiting to curl around her hips and pull her between the V of his legs. Sam's watching her like a student teacher who sits in the corner. He's jealous, attentive, and devoted to achieving the same tricks of the trade he's watching in front of him. He watches her wondering what she has that Sam doesn't, tits and silky hair excluded.
The thing is that if Sam was to drop the beer glasses and dance a ridiculous jig or push his pants down right now and holler like a lunatic, Dean wouldn't notice. He wouldn't turn, he wouldn't chuckle at Sam's younger brother foolishness or fondly ruffle Sam's hair and tell him that he'll crack him up until his last breath. He's not good enough to watch right now. He's not the best program on TV. He's not the most titillating sports game. He's just the runner-up.
She gives Dean a thousand-watt smile, squeezes his leg, and then she's off into the crowd looking for another cocktail. And just like that, another nightmare is over.
Sam sets down the beers in front of Dean and wipes his hands off of on his pants. It's still sticky like cotton candy on a summer day in between the crooks of his fingers. He flexes them.
"Hey, Sam," Dean says from the rim of his beer glass, a frothy mustache grinning up at him when Sam meets his eyes, "That's one fine piece of ass, isn't it?"
Dean jerks his thumb in the direction after the woman, dispersed by now in the crowd in a trail of whistles and men bending over to catch the view of her legs, and Sam looks at him. He's still grinning. He doesn't get it. He doesn't get that Sam doesn't want to hear it. Not the lewd comments, not the sexual innuendos, not the raves about bra sizes or the prattle about thongs. Not the story about how far the brunette could deep throat or the story about how loud the redhead screamed when she rode him.
"Yeah." Sam says, and Dean swallows back another gulp of beer, leaving the glass half empty.
But the Sam confined in his mind that's being controlled and strictly confined by the logical part of his brain says now you owe me two.
Sam saves Dean's life again, and then again. The debt piles up and Dean tells him with his mouth pooling with blood that he owes him one. He's a life saver, he's the smartest college boy he knows, and then comes the inevitable:
"So what do you want, Sam?"
He looks at Dean and feels his heart thunder in his ears. He has his fist twitching by his hips that wants to propel forward, grab Dean by the collar of his shirt, wrinkle it up until it's one ball of fabric, and shove him back against the wall to bite his bottom lip hard enough until his teeth break the flesh and come back red.
He doesn't get it. He's sitting there looking incredibly small, small and stupid and completely unaware because Dean Winchester lives in a fantasy world where he can fondle a woman and still come home to fuck his brother the same day. It's not okay. It's not okay, and Dean's still looking at him like Sam's about to slip his hands down his pants. Like that's what he wants. Like he wants sex. Sex and tongues and moans.
He doesn't. He's full. He's been full of Dean's talk half of the time and full of his dick the other half.
What do you want, Sam?
What do you want?
There's dirty words, rehearsed and routinely, begging at his tongue. It'd be easy. It'd be easy for him to say it, for him to crawl onto his lap and grind up against his hips and latch his mouth onto his neck so more words don't threaten to fall out and land somewhere they shouldn't, namely, out into the open. It's not okay to say this. It's not okay to think this.
He thinks about what John what say, how he would be roaring at his sons if he walked in on them with their hands on each other's dicks and their tongues tangling without a kiss to seal it. Sam's view of society has been warped and distorted until it became nothing but a blurred line of what was supposed to be embedded into his way of thinking as moral and ethical. Everything has been blurred.
Is it worse to be in love with your brother, or want your brother?
"I want," Sam says, and watches Dean's eyes on him, "I want you to fucking love me."
The temperature drops at least fifty degrees. The atmosphere changes from sawdust sex motel to the land of what can't be touched. Land of what shouldn't even be labeled with a name. But it's coming out of his mouth now, pouring out like verbal tears and filling up his mouth until it's too much, and Sam keeps going.
"I want to sit with you on a park bench and feed the pigeons until they can hardly walk. I want to rob lumber mills and doughnut shops and home furnishing stores with you. Bewilder the hell out of people so they can't figure us out because that's what fucking love is. Dammit, Dean, I love you, I want to love you, and I want it to be inconvenient, disgusting, can't-live-without-each-other love. I want that more than anything and yes, so I'm a man born with the wrong genitals because I talk like this and because you don't look at me when a pair of tits walk by and fuck, I want you to. I need you to. Except falling in love with you is like falling off of a skateboard because it just hurts. God, I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know what I'm saying. And you're looking at me like you're scared, but I'm the one with the bullet in my throat. You owe me this, Dean, you owe me more than one and you owe me this. You owe me a good I'm in love with you, Sam, and I'll give you this much."
It comes out like vomit. Dean looks at him like he's seen a ghost that's forgotten to float away, and that ghost is Sam, the brother who said too much. The one who babbled away his heart because he needed Dean's in his hands.
He has his attention now, rapt and focused like a kid berated by his parents. Sam was just supposed to say fuck me, Dean, that's what I want, and he didn't. He said this.
He can't do this anymore. He can't shove his dick inside Dean when he's actually shoving in his heart. Dean sees nothing but stars and explosions. Hormones and orgasms, and his brother there to give them to him. He'll always satisfy Dean. He can't say no. He's his brother, and he's in love.
Dean looks like he wants to say I thought it was just sex, Sam. And Sam wants to say no, it wasn't.
This is where the evening splits in half, Henry, love or death. Grab an end, pull hard, and make a wish.