The bed was empty when Sam woke up, and cold. Frowning a little into his pillow he rolled his head to the side, his eyes gazing across the large expanse of naked sheets beside him. He could still smell their joint scents, different yet merging together as one clinging to the used linens. Sam let a leering grin onto his face… very well used sheets.
He flopped lazily onto his back allowing the sights and sounds the night past to fill his vision. Dean’s broad taught shoulders, Cas’ pale long limbs, the coming together of them as Sam watched, touching and kissing where he could, allowing their touches to drift over his skin until they all ended in a heaving sweaty glorious heap amongst the pillows.
Sam was startled awake and his hand jerked from under the sheets at the smack of jeans to his bare chest. His eyes flew open to find Dean stood at the end of the bed, his mouth quirking in amusement.
“Take your mornin’ wood to the showers, I need to change these sheets.”
Sam stretched out catlike along the bed, his toes extending the end of the bed, brushing against Dean’s denim clad thigh. “You could be a pal and give me a hand.”
Dean snorted and swatted at Sam’s wandering foot. “Nice try sasquatch – Laundry day. Out!”
Dean punctuated his declaration with a swift tug on the sheets, the tepid bedroom air a shock to Sam’s sleep rumpled skin.
“Fine.” Sam mumbled rolling gracefully form the bed just in time for Dean to tug at the base sheet.
He was almost at the bathroom door when he heard “Bitch” muttered behind him.
Sam peered over his shoulder giving his brother a soft smile “Jerk.” He managed to shut the bathroom door just in time to dodge the playful swat of the sheets Dean aimed at his bare backside.
When he was showered, relieved… and released, Sam made his way down the stairs, running his hand absently down the dark wooden banister. The small house they had discovered in small town New Haven had become more of a home than any place they had found themselves before. The neighbourhood small enough to know most people but large enough to disappear in if you wanted to. Sleepy in the mornings but humming with excitement for Fourth of July fireworks.
When Sam neared the bottom steps he was confronted with the things that made this place truly home. Sam smirked as Dean rolled his eyes exasperated, trying to explain to Cas how the separate the laundry… again.
“No Cas – that goes in the delicates.”
“But it is white Dean.”
Sam poured out his cereal, grabbed the Times paper left out on the side and settled down at the table, immersing himself in the crossword, letting the comforting sounds of his life around him to calm his mind and his soul.
A hand ruffling his hair made him blink. “We’re off.” Dean called over his shoulder, a full bag of laundry swinging at his side.
“Have a good morning.” Cas smiled as the door swung behind them. Silence reigned over the small ground floor for a moment. Sam didn’t like silence, it made him uneasy, made frost and ice creep into the edges of his subconscious. So he flicked on the radio, the soft rumbles of the radio host filling the house and bent his head back down.
Some innumerable time later when Sam blinked up, finally 3 down filled out and the puzzle complete ready to share a grin with Cas and maybe revel for a short moment in the true spark of pride in Dean’s eyes before he would sarcastically mumble about putting it on the fridge. Then remembered the empty house. Blinking at the clock it was now nearing 12. Sam frowned wondering how long washing sheets was likely to take but shook his head.
Letting the stillness of the house sit for a moment he shook his head and pushed away from the table. He settled for a light workout, some weights, sit-up’s, pull ups on the bar he’d installed in the yard.
They may not be hunting full time anymore but it was no reason to get sloppy. If it had anything to do with the way Dean and Cas’ hands stroked reverently over his biceps or the way their tongues mingled on his abs… well, there was no one to know but him.
He had already been sweaty then freshly showered by the time the Impala rolled back up the small drive. Sam listened form the kitchen at the murmur of voices getting louder and more clear before the door swung open.
“He did it!” Dean crowed, filling the space as usual with his larger than life presence. Sam smiled, putting the clean plate and dishcloth away.
“I drove.” Cas stated, the small pleased smile on his lips betraying his inner excitement.
Sam tuned wide disbelieving eyes on Dean.” You actually let him drive the Impala?”
“You don’t have to sound so shocked – you and me drive all the time.”
“I wasn’t allowed to touch that steering wheel until I could manoeuvre Dad’s truck. And I was 16, this is like letting a toddler behind the wheel.”
Dean rolled his eyes, slinging a casual arm around Cas’s neat shoulders. “Oh relax Sammy. He did fine. A Natural.”
Cas’ blank eyes that had been following the conversation between the brothers back and forth like a tennis match melted with warmth under Dean’s praise, his body unconsciously leaning back into Dean’s weight. Sam smiled good naturedly at the sight. One nice word from Dean and Cas was like putty in his hands.
“Celebration!” Dean hollered, breaking the elongated smouldering stare at Cas.
“Where shall we go?” Cas asked.
“Well it’s your night Big boy, where’d you wanna go?”
Cas made a small show of thinking it over, probably analysing the pro’s and con’s of each establishment in town, carefully weighing their menu and food against the atmosphere and prices. Sam knew this because he had seen the spread sheet Cas had made once Sam taught him to use the computer. So Sam also knew which was always going to be the choice. It had 10 extra points for being Dean’s favourite place.
“I think I would like to go to Moe’s.”
Dean pressed an easy kiss to Cas’s temple pulling away with a ‘mwah’. “Pack your purse Sammy.” He called over his shoulder, already ushering Cas back out the door, “Tonight we’re having steak!”
It just so happened that Dean’s favourite place, and by proxy Cas’s favourite dinner, was Sam’s least favourite.
It was easy to explain why Dean loved it so much; good drinks, brilliant steaks, old music and pretty waitresses. Old Moe behind the bar knew Dean by name and sight now, greeting the man like an old friend as they entered, Cas doggedly at Dean’s side. Sam hovered back, hands shoved deep in his pockets trying to condense his mountain frame into something unremarkable.
Explaining why Sam didn’t like the place was harder though. Sure the food left something to be desired in his opinions, the Caesar salad a bowl of leaves covered in salad cream, but he liked a good burger every now and then too. Sam didn’t drink anymore, no point weakening his already compromised ties to sanity. The music was the same thing he had grown up listening to along the highways of the country. The patrons and waitress’s the same as every other bar he had been forced to in years gone past.
Maybe it was the shadows in the back, maybe it was the odd fish trophy on the wall, maybe it was the way that everyone here ignored him and stared at him at the same time. They all knew Dean, either through his work at the construction site or form his drinks after work, and they all seemed to know Cas, probably through Dean. And Sam seemed to just come along with the package. Simultaneously invisible and too conspicuous. It gave him a headache.
Dean ushered them both to the booth by the window. Where he could see the exits and the windows, Sam felt a flutter of warmth in his gut as he knew this specific seat was for him too, so he could see the outside through the window and was far enough away from the bar’s rabble for nervousness.
After swallowing down his annoying shade of panic Sam accepted the menu from Dean’s waiting hand along with the wink his brother gave him and the kind smile from Castiel.
In recent years, just like he had discovered Dean liked to be coddled when sick and Cas barely got sick at all, he found he need his space. As he sat hunched over the toilet, his steak dinner making a reappearance he just longed for a little space. Cas hovered, and Dean blustered and he had to take a deep breath between heaves and face the two.
“Please guys. It’s just something I ate. Go sleep.”
Dean watched him with wary eyes, wide and beseeching to either stop being sick this instant or to let him wrap Sam in a plastic bubble never to be touched by germs again. But Cas’s gentle touch to his brothers arm drew them both away. There was horrible silence for a moment before Sam’s stomach thankfully intervened filling the small tiled rooms with the symphony of food poisoning for the rest of the night.
He woke that morning, neck stiff crumbled awkwardly against the toilet and bath. Sam paused for a moment waiting to see if his stomach churned but everything was blessedly still.
He vigorously scrubbed the fuzz and stench from his teeth, weakly pushing himself to the door. When he opened it he was met with a sight that made his heart ache a little in happiness. Dean and Cas lay propped against the foot of the bed, each facing the bathroom door, the comforter drawn around their shoulders, cocooning them as they snoozed curled in together.
Gently, Sam tucked the blankets around the further, taking the spare comforter from the cupboard for himself before collapsing into an exhausted sleep on the bed.
The bread was chopped, the table set, lasagne in oven. Sam sighed in accomplishment and grabbed the dish cloth, absently wiping down any surface for mess he had made. The clock above the fridge said it was coming up to 9 o’clock. He frowned at the hands just about to check his phone when he heard the tell-tale signs of the door closing.
“Hey,” Sam said in greeting as the pair entered the front room, “where’d you two go?”
“Moe’s.” Dean mumbled plopping himself on the couch to toe off his boots, “just met a few guys from work for drinks, Cas came down after the store closed.”
“I was going to call you to join us Sam but I remember your dislike for the place.” Cas looked at Sam in trepidation.
Sam immediately waved him off. “Dude its fine – you look like you had a good time.”
“An awesome time.” Dean corrected, “Seems Castiel here has been holding out on us. Beat Macey and Gerald at darts.”
“Wow.” Sam congratulated giving Cas a firm clap to the shoulder. Even as the recluse he was knew those two were the towns silver shots.
“And he got us an invited to their darts league.”
Sam snorted, remembering back to the old darts board they had found in Pastor Jim’s attic and the slap-dash rules they came up with, Dean changing them when he felt like so he could win. “Do you even know how to play proper darts?”
“You throw the thing.” Dean shrugged, “The rest can’t be that hard.”
“I think there is arithmetic involved.” Cas mused.
Sam shook his head, “Alright bull’s-eye, dinner’s almost ready…”
“Oh.” Sam turned back to see Dean shift guilty. “Didn’t know you were making dinner.”
Sam snorted at his brother. “It’s Wednesday dude, I always cook on a Wednesday.”
“They gave us sustenance at the bar.” Cas intoned.
“Oh,” Sam blinked back at the oven and the set table, “well… I’m sure it can keep for tomorrow.”
“Mmmm, home cooked meals for lunch. My baby knows how to treat me.” Dean smirked “Let’s hit the showers boy” he called to Cas taking the stairs two at a time.
Sam watched their retreating back’s, half ready to join them. But the oven buzzer rang. After one last glance at the now empty staircase towards the sound of the water running he moved away back to the oven. He donned his oven gloves and got out the lasagne preparing himself one plate.
Sam knew Cas and Dean had been having sex long before the move to New Haven. He knew in the same way you know your college room-mate is pulling one off in the bed next to you. You close your eyes, ignore it, and recite Latin until it is over.
But being confronted with it head on, with no sand to stick your head into, was a different kettle of fish. He had stumbled into the motel room, sweaty and stinking from his run to find them both wrapped up in the sheets and each other, Dean’s arms pulled tight against Cas’s back their mouths crushed together.
At the closing door they all stopped, the world hanging in wait… and then Dean held out his hand, Cas following suit a moment later.
Sam had stood still as Cas stripped him, Dean kissing every available stretch of skin exposed, Sam not daring to move lest he break this strange, wonderful, amazing, trance he was in.
When the morning came Sam fully expected for them to act like it hadn’t happened. Like the millions of kisses and fumbling’s he and Dean had shared throughout their life, it was an unspoken pact never to mention or bring up again. So when he came to consciousness, the largest spoon in the set of three across he bed, his arm resting across Dean’s waist, brushing the tops of Cas’ hips, he held his breath, committed the feel and the memories to mind, wondering if they were too fanciful to be an anchor against his whirling subconscious, and planning his escape, leaving Dean and Cas to their morning-
“I can hear you thinking Sammy.” Dean’s muffled sleep rough voice had sliced through Sam’s internal debates. He stiffened and must have made some sort of half startled, half questioning sound in response because Dean turned. As if connected by string Cas turned with him, burying his face in Dean’s back, his arms tight around Dean’s middle.
Dean looked up at Sam with bleared eyes, his hand coming up and running down the crease between Sam’s eyebrows. “Can you never turn that melon off for just a few minutes?”
Dean kissed him then, both their mouths stale with morning breath, gently teasing at Sam’s lips in lazy strokes until he slumped against Sam’s chest. Sam had lay back, allowing Dean to pillow against his shoulder. “Go back to sleep.” Dean had murmured into Sam’s skin, half plea half order.
Sam had felt the warm press of Dean’s weight against him, the gentle feather press of Cas’ fingers against his stomach and closed his eyes.
That had been it then. The three of them, together. Creating the strongest foundation Sam could have asked for. Dean was his rock, his number one, and Cas propped up his side, pushing and adjusting whenever he listed.
“I got you something.” Sam spoke the next night, Dean and Cas sat in the love seat opposite Sam’s chair.
Dean face startled away from the old movie on the TV, an overly excited smile spreading across his cheeks. “A present?”
Sam just smirked and fished the package out from the book bag by his feet, passing it over the coffee table to his brother. Dean’s face fell comically into confusion as he turned the item over.
“It’s a book on dart’s… you know - for your league thing.”
Dean was still frowning at the book as if it had cheated him out of a dollar when Cas took it from his fingers, ignoring Dean’s indignant ‘Hey’. The ex-angel flicked through the pages before giving Sam a wide smile.
“Thank you Sam.” he spoke so sincerely, in a way only Cas could do.
“Oh um… It tells you about the scoring and rules.” Sam mumbled fighting the blush creeping up his cheeks. But Cas’s attention had already diverted, swinging around on the seat to face Dean.
“We should study it Dean.”
Dean huffed and rolled his eyes, but dutifully turned off the TV and sidled closer the Cas, laying an arm along the back of the sofa and peering at the book.
Sam allowed himself a small proud smile before going back to his own reading, the much more exciting text of sacrificial rituals in Aztec civilisations.
When his eyes started to sting in their dryness, he left them on the sofa, curled toward each other over the book roles reversed as Cas explained what they had just read. The bed was cold and too empty but Sam was tired and he fell asleep just as his head hit the pillow.
Sam also knew Dean and Cas had sex without him; in the shower, on the couch, in the garage whilst Dean worked on the Impala.
That was the one thing he mourned the most from before the cage, his ability to be spontaneous. Every touch had to be projected, expected. That’s why it had been so great with Dean and Cas. They understood and knew. There was no need for lengthy awkward discussions.
But it made something squirm, deep in his stomach.
He would never deny them it though. He knew Dean was a physical person and liked to deal with feelings, issues, problems, through action. Be that by the cocking of a shotgun or in the art of a long blow job. And Cas was still learning, every day, what it meant to be with humans, be a part of them. Sam would much prefer he learnt his quest for physical intimacy from Dean, the long practiced technician he was, rather than Sam: a hell scarred recluse who was by parts touch deprived and twitchy when it came to human contact.
So he didn’t mention it. Or the love bites scattered on Dean’s neck some afternoon’s that Sam didn’t remember putting there, or the lopping gate of Cas’s walk some days that screamed out to everyone with eyes what he had been up to.
So when the squirming in his gut became too much Sam would smile and roll his eyes at whatever Dean had said and bury himself in his work until the world blurred past around him.
When they first moved to the quiet little town the first thing Dean did was yell ‘see ya’ over his shoulder as he trudged down to the nearest construction yard in looks of work. Cas had stood staring at the closed door, lost for a moment, before Sam took pity on the poor angel and grabbed the job section in the local paper. The two had spent the afternoon writing up a convincing resume for the ex-warrior of god and had a few possible jobs circled in the paper.
Sam had lasted three days at the library before he couldn’t stomach it any more. It was just so… quiet.
Dean had taken one look at him after that final day and frowned. “Dude, we don’t need money that badly.”
Sam had nodded, head down, bangs covering his face until Dean grabbed the back of his neck in an affectionate shake. “Why don’t you do something useful with that college brain o’ yours.”
“Yes – perhaps you could invent a more convenient method to store beans.” Sam looked up from his perch at the kitchen counter to see Cas struggling with the ring top of a can. Dean and Sam shared a grin before Dean gallantly offered to lend a hand.
So the next morning Sam had got up with Dean and Cas, waved them off to work and then retreated back upstairs, to the disused second bedroom. They had been using it to store the crates of Bobby’s library but in the corner, Sam knew, sat a dusty old desk. Upon it Sam placed his laptop, opened the lid and began to type.
At first it had just been something to do, to try and get all the words and congestion from his brain before it erupted in less productive ways. But before long it began to take some sort of shape. Sam wrote about the hunts he and Dean had faced, and some he had faced alone, some he remembered from hunts with his father and some he had heard Bobby tell stories of, he wrote about the creatures and their origins and their tell-tale calling cards. And when he had exhausted his own extensive memory he had cracked open Bobby’s crates. And when those were exhausted he returned to the library.
Not to work this time. But to head to the dusty books on the back shelves that nobody seemed interested or bothered by, perhaps they just couldn’t understand what they were reading. But Sam knew. A book on native American myths and legends may seem like boring history claptrap to some, but if you knew that behind ever story the element of truth ran through then the book became useful.
The information and facts and figures had outgrown the measly word document now and spread out to databases, spread sheets, theories on origins and geo-mapping. Sam had no idea what he was going to do with it but it filled his days until the Impala rolled back down the drive.
Chrissie at the library always greeted him with a smile which he always returned if somewhat woodenly before he escaped to the back shelves and the book of the week. He always went to the library on a Monday, a fresh topic for a fresh week, and briskly returned the book like clockwork every Friday.
The kindly women often tried coercing Sam into conversation, out of pity or curiosity Sam didn’t know, probably whatever driving force had been behind offering the twitchy tall guy a job in the first place.
That Friday Sam stood patiently by the desk, his latest book in hand, whilst Chrissie finished up a call. She hung with a fond smile which she then turned on Sam, her eyes seemed to light a little when she realised who her visitor was.
“Sam, hello. Sorry about that,” she nodded back at the phone. “My son was asking permission to go to the park with his friends after school.” Sam answered with a small smile making sure to keep his head down, seem less gigantic in front of the small women.
“So how have you been this week?” she asked, same as every Friday.
“Good,” he nodded en rotor, belatedly remembering to add on, “Thank you. And you?”
Sam didn’t remember when basic social interaction had become so hard. He could talk to someone if he had need, when they were on a case and he needed information, but it was day to day social niceties – the etiquette and protocol of day to day conversation… he supposed nearly two centuries in the cage beat it out of him.
“I’m very well, thank you Sam.”
Her smile then was so blinding, Sam made a mental note to ask her the same next week. He gave a nod in farewell before he escaped, breathing a lungful of air when he reached the blue skied outdoors.
The weekends had their schedule as well, if somewhat looser. Saturday mornings Dean and Cas would go to do laundry, sometimes Sam would go with them, sometimes Sam had already left on a run before they left.
This Saturday was one of the latter, having woken from his slumber in the early morning, gasping awake from a tangled mess of nightmares, he glanced to the side to see Cas and Dean curled together, the blankets wrapped around their bodies.
Sam had left them, not wanting to disturb their slumber, slipped on his trainers and taken off.
He had regular routes that he would take, ones he knew exactly how long it would take him to run and exactly how many miles. But when the endless day spread out before him and the cages shackles rang in his ear he would just run, up into the woods that bracketed the small town, only returning to earth when he had to stop for breath.
By the time he returned back to the streets of New Haven it was nearing lunch, his stomach protesting against the lack of breakfast. He walked slowly, the sweat drying stickily on his back. He greeted the townsfolk with a gentle smile whenever they met his gaze, his mind set on the small white house just around the bend and the people hopefully back home inside it.
His skin felt calmer, his nerves dampened from his exertion, and he just wanted to get home, have Dean wrap an arm around his shoulders and feel Cas’ lips against his bare skin.
He was almost there, just a house away when Ms Coulson met his eyes as she pruned her garden.
“Morning Dear.” She greeted, wiping the back of a wrinkled hand across her brow.
“Morning Ms Coulson.” Sam answered automatically. The aged lady creaked upright from her small crouch.
“You been out running again?” she asked, tsking at Sam nod, “You’re gonna run those legs off one day boy.”
Sam smiled, feeling more at ease and in sync with the world than he had in days, “I’ll try not to ma’am”
“Now what did I tell you about calling me that – call me Anne.”
“Yes Ms Coulson.” Sam smiled in return. She huffed and rolled her eyes good naturedly at him. He gave her a nod, his eyes trained on the front door but then a small hand landed on his arm. He looked up to see Ms Coulson’s kind smile.
“Leave them for a minute dear,” she nodded to the bedroom windows, and the curtains pulled across them. Drawn curtains at two in the afternoon…
“Every couple needs their time alone. I’m sure they don’t begrudge your company but…” she let out a sigh giving Sam’s arm a light pat, Sam tried not to flinch, his earlier calm and presence slipping quickly away from him “You’re a good lad, hopefully you’ll find that for yourself one day.”
Sam blinked up at his… their… bedroom window… and walked on.
He spent the rest of the afternoon in the park down the road. Far enough away from the crowds to feel alone, but close enough that the sounds of children playing permeated his brain.
He didn’t know how much time had actually passed by the time he returned. The afternoon sun had dipped and Sam could feel the tingling tightness across his nose telling him he had spent too much time in the sun.
The house was quiet, for a moment he thought that it was empty, it’s walls and floors devoid of life, the bodiless cold air circling within-
Sam blinked up from his stare into nothing and moved further into the house. Dean was alone in the kitchen, wiping some remnants of his lunch from his mouth.
Sam twitched, suppressing the urge to look over his shoulder to the eyes he could feel boring into his skull. “Huh – yeah…”
Dean jumped up from his seat, Sam startled back slightly. “Heading out.” His brother stated, grabbing his wallet from the side, “Try to keep it down, Cas is asleep upstairs, wore his little wings out.” Dean winked and then was gone, the door slammed in his wake.
Sam stood for a moment, the house curling in around him, its silence seeping into his every pore. A cackle, a high menacing laugh, in his mind, behind him, in the deepest depths of hell startled him out of his trance. He practically dove across the sofa his hand smacking the TV’s on switch, the muted voices of the news commentator seeping through the emptiness. Sam sat down in front of the screen on the floor and blocked everything else around him out.
Sam blinked away from the screen, now flicking through scenes of a daytime movie. Sam hadn’t even realised the program had changed. Cas walked sleepy eyed down the wooden stairs, one hand rubbing at his blue eyes. Sam couldn’t help the small smile at the sight of the ex- warrior of god in one of Dean’s old t-shirts hanging off his shoulders.
“What are you watching?”
“Oh nothing.” Sam mumbled, quickly turning off the TV.
There was always that undercurrent of awkwardness in Sam and Cas’ interactions above the sheets. It wasn’t that Sam didn’t like the angel, he more than liked him. After everything Cas had given up for Sam and Dean he could do nothing but. But he had no idea what to talk to him about. With Dean it was easier, years of shared history and comradary, snarking and traditions to fall back on he didn’t have to think too hard about it. But with Cas… he was a divine angle from God. And Sam was the boy with demon blood who set Lucifer free to roam the earth and who had spent multiple lifetimes playing roommate with the morning star himself.
What could Cas possibly want to talk to him about.
But Cas was watching Sam, his eyes narrowed in concentration as if her were reading a particularly difficult text.
“Are you alright? You have been quite… distant I think the word is.”
Sam opened his mouth, then closed it. And then opened it again.
‘No’ rang through his mind. ‘No I am not alright.’
‘You had sex in our bed’ his mind thought viciously. ‘And I get it, I do, but our bed, where we all sleep?’
‘Distant?’ he could say. ‘I’m here, all the time. Where are you and Dean?’
Or: ‘I’m afraid that if I turn around too quickly Lucifer will be stood behind me with his arms open and I am afraid that I will sink into them because it would be easier than this’
But Sam shook his head and swallowed it all down.
No, he wasn’t alright, but he never would be, so what was the point.
“I’m fine Cas.”
Sam spent the afternoon feeling guilty. Not there was much change there from the previous years of his life; guilt for this mothers death, for his fathers grief. Guilt for keeping Dean back, taking care of his little brother. Guilt for fighting with Dad. Guilt for leaving. Guilt for Jessica’s death, then his fathers, then his own, then Deans. Lucifer, Ruby, Demon Blood, the Apocalypse, Soulless Sam, Lisa and Ben, Bobby…
Sam wasn’t so able to dissect his own mind any more, it was too much of a mess, but he knew it was guilt. Probably for worrying Cas, for his deteriorating mind, mostly for the whole situation bothering him so much.
He was startled out of his own head by Dean voice, the soothing tones vibrating through the fog of his mind.
They were both dressed, Dean and Cas, stood in the hall. It was obvious they had said something to him and were waiting for a response. Sam shook his head and swallowed the dryness in his throat.
Dean’s brow furrowed a second, in concern or annoyance, Sam didn’t have the mental energy to decipher. “We’re heading out. Meeting some of the guys at Moe’s. You want us to bring you anything back?”
Sam shook his head automatically and the pair turned with a synchronised nod. Perhaps in a different scenario Sam would have laughed but he could almost feel it, the cold breath tickling at his neck.
“Hey – wait up,” he called, jerking upright and away, “I’ll come”
“You wanna come to the bar?” Dean frowned, Sam had no trouble identifying it as confused this time. “On a Saturday Night?”
“Yeah – why not? I’ve got nothing else to do.”
Dean and Cas glanced between each other for a moment. Sam had an absurd flash back to being eight, asking if he could play ball with the neighbourhood kids.
But Dean turned back to him, still with a little frown between his eyebrows but nodded towards the door.
Sam had been such an idiot to think this was a good idea. As soon as they had entered Moe’s Dean and Cas had been called and herded over to a rowdy table already covered in empty glasses. Sam had fallen back, away from the crowd and the laughter.
Their usual booth was taken as was all the other seats. The bar was packed with all sorts and humming with energy.
Sam swallowed down his tension and at least tried to act like a normal human being. You go to a bar, first thing you do is get a drink. Logic never failed him.
“Just water please.” He asked, looking over his shoulder to see Dean and Cas, already chugging on two bottles that had been shoved into their hands. “Just the water then I guess.”
The bartender rolled his eyes at serving water but poured it dutifully before going on to his better paying customers.
Sam allowed himself to melt into the shadows and tried to force his screwed up mind into some form of logic. Open spaces made him feel too small but crowded rooms made him feel too big. He shuddered at unexpected touch but craved comfort. He, in short, was a mess, and not even a logical one.
He watched Dean and Cas from his shadow. They were chatting joyfully with the group that had hollered them. It looked like they knew them well, manly slaps on the back and whispered jokes that had the whole table cracking up. It made Sam ache that he didn’t know these people, didn’t know how Dean knew them, didn’t know what they had said to make his brother smile like that.
The group seemed a pretty equal mix of men and women, in fact, Sam quickly counted, an exact ratio of men to women. Sam watched for a moment longer, his brows furrowing. They were pairs. A man with a woman.
And then Dean and Cas.
The thought stopped him dead… Dean and Cas were a couple... They were together in every sense of the word. As a couple. It wasn’t just old Ms Coulson who thought so, it was everyone, like a fact. All the breath left his lungs in one whoosh.
He had thought they were… a what? Unit? Pack? Whatever the hell the word would be, but all of them, together. But, Sam watched as Dean threw his head back in a laugh, leaving a lingering hand on Cas shoulder.
And he… God had he just stayed? Sam felt his heart rate pick up, his palms sweat as he went over every conversation and morning after he could remember. Had they given him hints, had he just been totally ignorant?
When they landed in new Haven and went shopping. There hadn’t been talk of getting more than one bed. Dean had joked, he remembered, about getting the biggest, along with a lewd grin and a wink… but had he just been joking?
Or had they just humoured him – the ex-blood junky now the devils wrecked chew toy. Had they thought him so close to the edge that they dare not reject him.
By the way his hands were shaking he thought they might have been pretty much right. God everything he had built his world on in the last few months had been a lie.
The air in the bar was too thin making him gasp, his head spinning and black spots appearing in his vision. He just had to get out of there before he made a fool of himself. He rushed towards the door, eyes only on the flat wood ahead, not caring for what lay in his path.
The first breath of fresh air he stopped and took a deep lungful in. And then is stomach rolled. Scrambling as quickly as he could Sam crouched at the corner of the building, heaving bile and spittle onto the dusty gravel – had he even eaten today? – he couldn’t remember.
He was a spiral, no telling where one thought ended and another began, all pressing against his forehead as one, trying to burst form his brain.
“Aw Sammy – you know I’d never do that to you.” a cold voice rang through the chaos, “You’re my one and only.”
A hand touched his shoulder and Sam jerked, narrowly missing face planting the puddle he had made on the floor.
“Hey Sammy. It’s just me.” Dean. It was Dean. Sam pushed a hand to his forehead, trying to keep it all in.
“I have to go.” He mumbled, eyes still screwed shut.
“Go where Sammy?”
“I just have to-“ Sam gasped, trying to get more air into his lungs. He just had to go, didn’t Dean get that.
The hand on his shoulder squeezed. “Hey that’s fine” Dean voice replied, soft, too soft, “We can go.”
“No-“ Sam shook his head in frustration, Dean didn’t understand, “I have to-“
“Dean, is everything alright?” Sam tensed before his brain deciphered the voice. Cas, it was only Cas. Dean should go to Cas.
“Hey Cas you ready to head? Sam’s not feeling too good.”
“Of course, I will get our coats” there were rustled footsteps and a door opening, the sound of the busy bar erupted before fading again and it was just Sam and Dean, crouched in Sam’s mess in a bar car park. Sam was sure there was a metaphor in there somewhere.
“No-“ Sam mumbled trying to get away from Dean’s sure grip. Wishing his brother would just let him go. “I need to go, away from here, I can’t-“
“It’s alright Sammy. We’ll go. Ok?”
Sam felt like he could cry. “No, Dean not–“ He couldn’t articulate what he wanted but pushed at his brothers chest.
Sam risked peering up, hoping that his message had been received. Dean seemed to get it but his eyes darkened a moment in fierce possession before he shook his head. “Not happening Sammy. Anywhere that you go, I go”
Sam blinked “But Cas-“
“I’m sure Cas shares that sentiment. Alright? Just cool your horses, there’s no rush. Let’s get home, grab some things, then we’ll be gone.”
“No you don’t-“ But Dean cupped a hand to Sam’s jaw, effectively holding his mouth shut.
“Whatever it is that got you spooked Sam we can figure it out, alright. If you need to go then we’ll go. You got me?”
Sam opened his lips to try an explain, to try and get the words from his whizzing brain out of his gasping mouth but then Cas was there and they caught an arm each, pulling him upright, the sudden change in level making him stumble and lean into Dean. “Woah, hey I gotcha Sammy, I gotcha.”
Sam watched in a daze when they entered their home. Cas peeled off, Dean barking instructions at him, his hand absently running through Sam’s hair, scratching at the scalp, it calmed his frantic mind, lulling him into submission. It wasn’t until Cas returned down the stairs, the duffels over his shoulder did Sam’s brain finally click back into gear.
“No” he mumbled shaking his head to dislodge Dean’s hand, “No stop!”
They both turned to stare at him eyes wide and worried, still as if not to frighten him. It made Sam want to cry. “You’re not listened I… Guys I am so sorry.”
“For what?” “What Sammy?” they spoke at once but Sam barrelled on, the blockage in his brain unsticking and the words tumbling out.
“I didn’t know, I didn’t realise. God why didn’t you tell me. I feel like such a... I’m so sorry.”
“Sammy what are you-“
“I just need to go, only for a bit. Just get my head back in shape. Then I’ll come back. I’ll clear out the study. I swear I didn’t… It might just take me a while you know… But I get it I do.”
Deans eyes widened in understanding, Sam didn’t know what he had finally said to get his brother thick skull but it was Cas’ horrified voice that sounded out “Sam No!”
“Sammy no.” Dean whispered, “God no. It us, all of us together. Why would you even think that?”
Dean came forward to where Sam had backed himself up against the wall. Sam’s resolve faltered a little at the look on Dean’s face. The open heartbreak, sorrow, maybe a bit of guilt.
“You… you’re always – together. Like in the garage or the shower or the bar.”
“I don’t think, we have had intercourse at the bar.”
Dean ignored the angel in favour of reaching out, slowly, projecting every inch and clasping a firm hand to Sam’s shoulder. Sam took a shaky breath, absorbing the heat from that simple touch as if it were a lifeline.
“You can join us Sammy, you are always invited, the door is always open if you want to be there.”
“I didn’t… I don’t want to intrude.”
Dean frowned, giving Sam’s meaty shoulder a shake. “Listen to me Sam, are you listening? When it’s just Cas and me… it’s fine, good even. You get off and relax for a moment, but it’s not… with you there…”
“I think what Dean is trying to say.” Cas cut in, “Is that when Dean and I come together it is a bodily urge for release, with you, with us all, it is more.”
The words made sense, but Sam frowned in confusion, their meaning not getting through. Dean’s eyes softened as they so often did for Sam, his hand cupping now at Sam’s neck where the jack rabbit pulse beat away. “It’s like I can feel your soul, and Cas’s, but yours… it’s so beautiful Sammy. And it kills part of me that you don’t show it more often, that you don’t let other’s see it, that they don’t get it. But when we’re all together I can feel it, see it. And it feels right… Please Sam. Please don’t leave us, don’t go.”
“Stay Sam” Sam’s eyes snapped from Dean’s bright one to Cas’s blue now hovering behind Dean’s shoulder.
He took a breath, slow and steady, and then another. A tear leaked down Dean’s cheek and Sam followed it, its path across Dean’s rugged face. Sam didn’t even realise he had reached out a hand before he touched Dean’s jaw, his thumb seeping at the salted bead smearing it into the stubble.
He felt, more than herd Dean’s breath catch and then their lips were together, the perfect push and sweep of their lips and then tongues melding in one. And then a hand, smaller with no gun callouses, swept around his waist, creeping under his t-shirt and up his back and the second pair of lips pressed at his neck.
Soon the soft bed was under him, the smooth caress of Cas along his front and the firm press of Dean against his back. And Sam’s world fell into place once more.
“Hi Sam” Sarah said as he approached the till, basket of shopping in hand. “How are you?”
The girl was young, pretty Sam supposed, and always made an effort to speak to Sam if they bumped into each other around town. So Sam always gifted her a smile, just enough to show his dimples, to show he meant it.
“I’m OK Sarah. How’s things today.”
“Oh busy.” She replied ringing his purchases through. “Sometimes I just want to get out of here you know? Get away for the day, or even a night.”
“Yeah sometimes it gets that way.” Sam answered distractedly, staring out the window. He smiled fondly as Dean ran his hands through his hair in frustration gesticulating widely at Cas who looked back unruffled then crouching beside the very small scratch Cas had made on the Impala when parking.
“So do you wanna?”
Sam blinked back into the store to see the small brunette blinking back at him form under eyelashes. ”Pardon?”
“Do you want to go out somewhere? With me?”
“Oh.” Sam blinked, totally unprepared. “Oh, um, thanks but-“
“But Sam’s dance card is full darlin’” a voice drawled from behind him. Sam didn’t need to turn to identify the strong arm circling his waist. He sighed internally knowing there would be no way to escape this with his dignity intact.
Sarah just gaped widely for a moment
Then Cas appeared, peering into the packed grocery bags. “Oh you got burgers, my favourite, thank you Sam.” And then tiptoed, pressing a kiss to Sam’s still lips. At that the poor cashier let out a little squeak.
Sam sent her what he hoped was an apologetic smile before his hand was caught by the ex-angels, tugging him to the exit. “Let’s go home.”
“Yeah,” Dean leered sending a wink at Sarah as he collected their bags. “Gotta put that whipped cream to good use.”
As soon as the door jangled shut behind them Sam sent a punch into Dean’s shoulder. “Asshole. I didn’t even get any whipped cream.”
“Well that’s a crying shame. I was havin’ ideas” Dean jiggled his eyebrows.
“You’re gonna get us kicked outta town.”
“So let them,” Dean shrugged, “Only special thing here is us. Oi “ he called out, glaring at Cas and the ex-angels hand on the driver’s door. “You, in the back. You’re not driving again until you can tell the difference between a bumper car and work of mechanical art.”
Sam smiled and followed, revealing in the quite hush of the town. It was quiet, and so was his mind. For now anyway.