Sam frowns at the boxer briefs that Dean’s tossing onto his pile.
“Dude, those are mine,” he says. Dean frowns back at him.
“You sure, Samantha? I thought yours were pink and flowery.” Sam rolls his eyes and withholds what Dean would call a hippie comment about society and oppressive gender roles.
“Those’re mine. Your butt’s bigger.” Dean’s frown turns into a glare.
“No, my hips are wider,” he snaps, then slingshots the boxers in question at Sam’s head.
“Denial,” Sam teases with a laugh, then bumps Dean’s shoulder with a fist to reinforce that it’s all just fooling, that he’s still just riding the high of being around Dean again. They keep folding their crap for a couple more minutes (and damn, Sam’s constantly surprised by how much crap he actually owns) before Sam really can’t take it any more. “Dean, what happened with Cas?”
By the way Dean stiffens instantly, Sam knows he’s gonna have to fight hard for a straight answer.
“Like you said,” Dean mutters gruffly, “he fucked up. I got over it.”
Oh, damn. Sam gets ready to pull out all the stops because this is gonna be a tough one.
“Dean, come on,” he says impatiently. Start with the impatience – get him worked up, emotional enough to start saying things, then sucker punch with the puppy-dog eyes. Sam’s got this down to an art. “You really expect me to believe that?”
“It’s none of your business,” he snaps. Bingo.
“Of course it’s my business,” Sam snaps back, “Cas is family to me, too. You never let anything like that go without a goddamn effort, you know I know that.” Count to three. Cue the eyes. “Dean,” he follows up quietly, and fuck yes, there’s the Dammit I Can’t Lie To Him face and the But How Do I Say This sigh.
“We fought, okay?” he says, throwing a shirt down onto his pile with a soft ffmp. “He said some crap and I said some crap and then suddenly I just–” He sighs and squares his shoulders. “God fuckin’ forbid I’m actually saying this, Sammy, but I let out all the crap I always keep in. You know, what you’re always on my case for doing.”
“But it sucked. God, the crap I said–” Dean’s definitely avoiding his eyes. “But the stuff Cas said, it sucked too. We just– it was this giant shitstorm, and I was yelling, and he was yelling, and we kinda... you know, we hit each other a couple times, nothin’ too bad.” Sam’s pretty sure that the jeans in Dean’s hands are folded exactly in half, judging by the way he’s meticulously making sure the seams line up. “And then I realized that I was being a dick and Cas realized he was being a dick and that...” Dean looks up, almost annoyed now. “So fuckin’ help me god, Sam, family’s family no matter how bad they fuck up.”
Sam smiles at him because after all these months, Dean finally gets it – he finally realizes how much Cas means to him (and, by extension, to Sam) and he’s finally found a way to work around that knot of stubbornness that they both have.
“But speaking of which, you weren’t exactly too clear on why you’re buddy-buddy with Satan,” says Dean shrewdly, and it’s Sam’s turn to scramble for an answer.
“He saved my life.”
“Yeah, that’s what you said about Ruby,” Dean mutters.
“But this isn’t–”
“No, Sam, it’s just the freakin’ devil,” hisses Dean, keeping his voice down because the old guy in the corner has been giving them really weirded-out looks. Sam sighs and sets down the shirt he’d been halfway through folding.
“Okay, look, I know this sounds sketchy–” Dean snorts. “–but seriously, he’s, like, obligated to keep me alive. He can’t exist up here without me, so...” Sam shrugs. “It’s not a perfect arrangement or anything, but it works.”
“Yeah, but you actually like the guy,” Dean counters, leaning on his stack of folded laundry with his arms crossed.
“He’s irritating,” Sam fires back, “he talks too much and he acts like a ten-year-old half the time. But on the flip side, I’m his vessel. There’s a reason we– I don’t know, match up.”
“Oh, so you’re telling me you want to burn the world now?”
Sam strongly considers throwing the bottle of laundry detergent at him.
“For fuck’s sake, Dean, you wouldn’t get it unless you’d said yes to one of those holy dicks,” he snaps. “It sucked, it wasn’t fun, I thought I was burning alive, but–”
“Whoa, Sam.” Dean cuts him off; he glares. “I was kidding. I swear. I already talked to Cas about your friend Satan’s intentions. I just wanted to know your side of the story.”
Oh. Sam feels himself deflate like an old air mattress and he petulantly folds his last shirt.
“He saved my life,” he says again, more quietly. “A Leviathan attacked me, couple weeks ago. I didn’t have anything on me, and the next thing I know, Lucifer’s kicking the chomper’s ass halfway across the city. He snapped me out of, like, a hundred panic attacks on the way here. I wouldn’t have made it without him. So yeah, I like the guy.”
There’s a silence where he stares at Dean, asking him to challenge that, and where Dean stares back, knowing there’s no possible way he can refute the fact that Lucifer is the one who constantly nudged Sam towards safety.
“Alright, now that we’ve got all the meaningless details out of the way,” Sam mutters, trailing off. He starts packing his clothes back into the duffel (because it’s definitely time to go home and have a beer) but then he realizes that Dean’s wearing one of his biggest, most shit-eating grins ever.
“C’mon, Sam,” he says, and Sam’s got a couple of milliseconds to think oh god no, “details are important. The Devil’s in the details, you know.”
“I swear to god, Dean, if you keep that up I’ll hurt you.”
“Guess I’ll have the Devil to pay, huh?”
“You know what? Fuck you.”