It's hard to hunt. It's even harder to hunt alone. To be alone. At least when he hunts with Dad, there's someone else in the room, afterward. The quiet hiss of his breath, the soft snores or gasps during the night.
But by himself--
Those times, when it's dark and everything's quiet, too quiet, Dean thinks. Lets memories and thoughts loose that are better left locked down in the back of his mind.
Thoughts like it was my fault, or I shouldn't have done it. Wanted it. Sometimes he blames himself for Sam leaving. It's not fair to himself, because Sam was always different from him, from Dad. Wanted things they just couldn't have. But so, it's not fair, but yeah. Mostly he blames himself. Blames the nights he couldn't handle the dark, the rush of adrenaline, the need to touch, to feel. To have something alive, something real, something good touch him back.
If he could've controlled it...himself...better. At all.
Dean thinks about that first time, a demon vanquished, sent back to the hell it crawled from, him shaking in bed, too much adrenaline making him high. Sammy laying beside him, staring at the ceiling even though it was dark. Dad gone somewhere, having a beer or a whiskey or something. Just him, just Sammy.
Soft breath sounds, quiet, rushed, near-silent hisses in the night. Heat coiled right beside him, a touch away. Sam, coiled right beside him, chest rising and falling fast, too fast. Dean thinks he said something, made a noise or asked a question as he rolled, but he's not sure. He just knows Sam rolled, too, body tense and hot, a sob rising up around them, him, his mouth slick, wet, so hot, when he opened up to Dean.
It was rough and awkward; Dean doesn't think Sammy kissed anyone before that, before him. He cut Dean's lip with his teeth, a hard, painful slice that tasted dark and metallic when Dean licked his lips. Then Sam licked his lip, tongue pressing against the sore spot before he whispered, please please, Dean-- and pressed harder. Dean grunted and reached out, pulled Sam closer against him and he was hard, just as hard as Dean, more frantic, gasping and pushing in closer, pushing against, rough and desperate. He cried out -- Sam, not Dean, though Dean thinks he probably did, too -- when Dean touched him, fingers curling around Sam's dick through his shorts. Three quick jerks was all it took, and the rush of liquid warmth through thin cotton made Dean groan and reach for himself; his fingers tangled with Sam's and it was too much, too fast, and he came, biting on his already sore lip so he wouldn't cry out.
He comes now, thinking about, hand wrapped around himself. In the darkness, it's just him, and it's too quiet, too cold, even though his skin is wet with sweat and the room echoes with his gasps and pants.
Afterward, he curls in on himself, trying not to think of the afters with Sammy, the way Sam would curl up against him, arms wrapped tight around Dean like a living blanket, fingers stroking and petting gently.
"What's less like normal," Sam would mutter sleepily. "A family that hunts the things that go bump in the night, or fucking your brother?"
Dean never had an answer, nothing that wouldn't sound angry and defensive, anyway. Screw normal. Normal was whatever worked for you, right? And, what was that word, subjective. Normal was subjective, and overrated, if everyone was happy.
Sammy wasn't happy, and as soon as he could do it, he was gone.
Dean tries not to think of how cold he's been since Sam's been gone.
He's going to see Sammy again, though. Soon. It's been days since Dean heard from Dad, and a cold unrelated to missing Sam curls through him, thinking about it. Maybe it's his fault Sam left, maybe it isn't. His brother might've wanted away because of him, because of Dad, because of a whole lot of things like wanting to be normal...but some things you could want but not have.
Maybe he should remember that, when he gets to Stanford.
Maybe eventually he and Sam can want - and have - the same things.