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Subterfuge and Sacrifice

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Dean fumbled with the keys for the motel door believing he was being as quiet as a church mouse.

He slid his key into the door, slowly turning it before it swung inwards with force making him stumble forward with the momentum.

Sam had wrenched the door open causing Dean to topple forward into him.

Not so quiet, then.

Sam was beyond pissed, it was 4.17am. Dean smelt like booze and sex and cigarette smoke and a little bit of something he couldn’t quite catch. It was a scent he recognised but his current mood demanded that he forget it for now. Dean had clearly been out carousing all night while Sam stayed in the room working out their next move.

A quick trip to the local bar had turned into an almost all-nighter. Sam could always count on Dean arriving home before dawn but he was not expecting him to fuck off again while they were working a case. So fucking typical. Typical in that it was Dean taking the fucking cake, yet again, and Sam was beyond sick and tired of it.

“Heyyyy Sammyyyyy!” Dean slurred, grinning that wickedly disarming grin at his little brother.

Sam’s face was as unreceptive as stone against his brothers’ tipsy joviality.

“Dean! Where in the fuck have you been?” he demanded, his fury bubbling under the surface, as he forced his brother into the room and locked the door behind him.

Dean laughed merrily: “Ohhhh, wouldn’t you just loooove to know!” he offered mockingly as Sam stood glaring at him in disbelief.

His fists were tightly clenched at his sides, brow furrowed and chin jutted forward the way it always did when he was severely fucked off. Dean casually dropped his keys onto the table and flopped, back first, onto the bed with a slight bounce that made him chuckle, seemingly ignorant of his brother’s barely concealed fury.

Sam felt his bile rising. He knew all too well where he’d been but he didn’t want to hear, let alone believe, the nauseating truth. He stalked toward his prone, drunken brother and aggressively lifted him by the shirt collar so they were nose to nose.

“You’ve been with that…” Sam hissed between clenched teeth in a low, barely contained growl.

He looked away from his brothers’ incandescent green eyes in disgust, not wanting to finish the sentence. The unavoidable truth burned bright behind Dean’s eyes and seared its way into Sam’s chest like hot lead. It wasn’t the first time, but he would always hope against hope that it would be the last.

“Go on. Say it, Sammy,” Dean demanded, seeming suddenly sober and focussed. “Say it!”

Sam looked him square in the eye.

“That – fucking – vampire!” Sam spat each syllable like a filthy accusation.

Dean merely smirked up at his little brother who was seething at his alleged betrayal and this only served to anger him further. To Dean, it was clear that this thing – whatever it truly was – was something Sam was never going to understand and he knew that he wasn’t ever going to be able to explain in terms to make it clear. So he didn’t, and Sam continued to roil at his brother’s blatant disrespect of the unwritten and oft unspoken (no one truly considered it necessary, after all) Hunter Tenet – Thou shalt not lie with a demon.

Sam wasn’t concerned in the least that it was a man, Dean had always taken lovers from both sides of the field, but in Sam’s eyes, a goddamn vampire was really fucking cutting it. They were hunters and vampires were just another one in the increasing army of evil known as the enemy.

“Oh come on! It’s not like you’re in living in a glass tower over there, Sam!”

Dean needed to use extra force to push Sam back off of him and sat up on the edge of the bed lowering his head for a moment to regain his wits and to stop the room from spinning. Not from the alcohol that had warn off hours ago, but the weariness his body was starting to feel as well as the surge of adrenaline.

Once he’d recouped some sense of stability, he began quietly, almost apologetically: “Look, I don’t know what to tell you, Sammy. I wish I could tell you that I won’t go there again and absolutely mean it, but I can’t. I get that it flies directly in the face of everything we’ve ever known, everything dad and Bobby ever taught us. Believe me, I get it. I’ll never be able to fully explain the reasons why I can’t just walk away from this.”

Dean paused for a moment while Sam paced and bristled before beginning again, this time more pointedly.

“Besides,” Dean felt his ire rising in the face of Sam’s anger, “I don’t see why I have to justify my actions to you. We’re fucking adults here. Do I really need to rehash the whole demon blood addiction,” Dean schooled his features into cold pointed focus, “with goddamn fucking Ruby no less, that you went through?”

He injected more than a little venom into the statement knowing full well he’d hit a chord and waited for Sam’s reaction. Sam stopped pacing the small room. Damn it all to fucking Hades and back, he knew his brother was right. While Sam wasn’t exactly in a position to be sanctimonious about anything considering his own shady history, least of all his damn near crippling demon blood addiction, this was different. This was his big brother, Dean. Once his protector, now his only family and the closest connection to what he can honestly call home.

And that Dean Winchester, his brother and fearless hunter, was bedding a soulless vampire. He felt like their positions had been reversed and he knew all too well how quickly it would devolve into something other.

Dean’s remark had slapped him down from his high horse and had taken some of the sting out of his initial anger, only to replace it with another. He fucking loathed the fact that Dean was something akin to right and Sam knew he couldn’t stay mad at him in this. He shook the memory of his enforced rehab at Bobby’s off. It seemed a lifetime ago and he and Dean had been in what felt like thousands of demon skirmishes between then and now.

Sam knew that Dean was clever – and he truly hoped and prayed that he was in this – he didn’t exactly trust that this vampire (or any demon, for that matter) would ever have his brother’s best interests at heart, not like he did. Sam was also keenly aware that Dean could be highly unpredictable when it came to these things so he could never really be sure he was taking the necessary precautions…did he even have a stake with him?

Sam released a long, measured exhale before he spoke again.

“No. No, I guess you really don’t,” he said with a drawn out sigh, a little softer and slightly mollified, his anger receding but not fully dissipated. Sam chewed his bottom lip as he continued to pace. “But, Dean...,” he continued, trying to consider the delivery of his next words, “I uhh...just need to know. Are you... uh... being... um...” Sam looked around the room nervously. The words wouldn’t come.

Dean stood and looked at Sam incredulously. “Oh god, Sam. Are you seriously fucking asking me if I’m... if we’re using... protection?” Dean couldn't be believe Sam was giving him the fucking talk.

Sam blanched. “Wait, what? No! That’s not what I meant!” he balked. “Stakes! Do you have any with you when you’re...” Sam couldn’t finish his sentence, the sick-hot fissure in his chest widening and preventing him from continuing.

Dean raised his hands in a ‘say no more’ gesture: “Hey, it’s alright baby brother. I know you’re just looking out for me and I appreciate it. But you don’t have to worry, okay? Everything’s cool.”

“Huh. Yeah, I’m sure it is. But as canny as you and I are, you still have to stay on your toes, Dean. I mean, vampires for chrissakes. They’re just as devious and underhanded as any other demon in a skin suit.”

“Or those dickish angels,” Dean said with a raised eyebrow as if to consider the point and waved a dismissive hand at Sam. “It’s fine, Sammy, I promise. You don’t have to worry, I’m careful - honest,” he said brushing the tender spot under his jacket, which smarted at the touch. He was mindful not to let the pain show on his face, lest it start another confrontation that he wasn’t ready to deal with. Not at almost five in the morning. It was going to leave a mark. He really would have to be more careful, dammit.

“Yeah, I know. It’s just... I wish you’d tell me when you’re gonna be out all night,” Sam replied, there was still a hard edge to his voice but Dean let it slide. It was progress at the very least.

“I did text you to let you know. Did you not get them?” Dean raised a questioning brow at his brother.

Sam’s shot up and stormed to the table to check his phone.

There were three unread messages from Dean. Shit. He was goddamn fucking right. Again.

“Oh... I uh... I didn’t see them,” he admitted sheepishly.

Dean shook his head and laughed quietly. He knew Sam would have been caught up in his research and forgotten to look at his phone. More to the point, it would have been buried under books and printed pages sprawled across the desk.

“Okay then, are we cool?” asked Dean, raising a questioning eyebrow at Sam. Sam merely nodded, begrudging as it was, it was a small confirmation that they were always going to be okay. “C’mere. We need to hug this out, bitch!” Dean beamed at him and stood with open arms.

Sam tried to suppress a small smile but that only made things worse. He hugged his brother tight, smiling to himself and only a little bit (but not at all) jokingly called him a jerk. Sam was glad he was safe. Dean was happy that this round was over. He was exhausted, the physical pain was starting to creep in and he was in desperate need of another shower. He’d been worked over in more ways than one tonight and the evidence was starting to show.

Sam pulled away from Dean crinkling his nose.

“Dude, seriously. Go shower. I don’t know what you’ve been up to – nor do I want to – but you need to get that stink off of you. As in now,” he said as he playfully smacked Dean’s shoulder.

“Hey!” Dean said, feigning affront as he lifted his shirt to his nose. Sam was only a little bit right and he eyed him questionably before smirking again. “I will Sammy, now go get some rest,”

Dean said smiling wearily as he turned and made his way to the bathroom to clean away some of the night’s excesses.