Sam's steps were almost silent, the light sounds of his wingtips covered by the humidity and the ring of Dean's boots on the concrete steps. Flashes of gold gleamed up at them, metal no-slip grids on the step edges peeking through where the industrial gray paint was worn away. It had taken Sam only a few moments to pick the lock on the schoolhouse door; tiny towns with school buildings old enough to be on the national historical registry didn't have Brinks alarm systems.
"What's that smell?" Dean asked at the top of the steps. There were only four classrooms on this story, all adjoining the large, foyer-like hall where they now stood on creaking floorboards. The principal's office, records room, and tiny teacher's lounge were behind them, to the right, and past the stairwell.
"Oil," Sam answered softly.
"What?" The floor creaked again as Dean turned to scowl at him. "Quit whispering, Sam. You're not the unnaturally gigantic substitute teacher shushing the kids during a test until tomorrow morning."
"I said, oil," Sam repeated, normal-voiced now and blushing into the dark. Dean was right. They were the only ones here. "The floor boards are original to the school. Back in the old days they used to oil them twice a year to keep down dust and splinters." Sam was a little surprised that Dean couldn't place the smell. Somehow he expected Dean to have an olfactory catalog that recognized any and all accelerants.
Dean did that thing where he cocked his head in disbelief and rolled his eyes, but Sam wasn't sure if it was meant to indicate the stupidity of turning a building full of kids into something one spark away from a Roman candle, or that Sam was really lame for knowing about it.
"They're about one delinquent smoking in the boys' room away from wiping out the entire next generation of this town," he grumbled, and Sam grinned.
"Lucky for them you aren't a student." Dean huffed, but didn't answer, eyes on the EMF reader in his hand. "Thought you were set on this being a skinwalker," Sam asked, watching Dean poke his arm into each of the doorways. The piles of slippery organs and entrails leaking from inside bone cages that used to be somebody's kids meant that EMF readers were contraindicated. They'd already been to the playground, the gym, the cafeteria, and the music room, where the bodies—if you could even call them that anymore—had been found. There'd only been one victim in each place, like the thing was working through the school grounds…three kids and a bus driver. The only place left was the old school building itself. It was the not-funny kind of weird, that the structure itself was protected by law and would continue to stand, but the contents were being skinned and left behind like offal in a slaughterhouse.
"I am," Dean answered, leading the way back to the principal's office. "But you said this place is super-old. I don't wanna get surprised by the ghost of some kid in knickers that got one too many turns with a ruler when we're in the middle of taking down the real deal."
Sam wouldn't have thought of that; would have looked for the best, right answer but not more than one. He knew all the ways to kill a vampire, and how they were different from those to kill a nightwalker: Decapitation, UV exposure, fire. But he still got caught out sometimes by the layers of Dean's experience, four extra years hunting with—and apart from—Dad added something extra to the way Dean's mind worked through a hunt. Sam felt a flush of warmth, and turned away to flick through a few notices on the billboard. Brainy-Dean always distracted him.
"Then we should probably check downstairs too," Sam said to the instructions for cleaning the coffee maker. Apparently it was very important to use white vinegar rather than apple cider vinegar, judging by the thick, triple underline under that portion of the information. "If anyone's secretly buried or something, that's where it'll be."
"Sure thing, Sammy." When Sam turned around Dean's tongue was poking lewdly into the red center of a stale jelly donut, powdered sugar clinging to his lips. Sam rolled his eyes and turned his back quickly. Incorrigible-Dean was sort of hot, too. Problem was, Brainy-Dean and Incorrigible-Dean both knew it, and took advantage whenever they could. They had too much going on to get distracted now. Later, though…later would be totally different.
The lower level of the school was more modern. Painted cinderblock had long ago replaced the reinforced dirt walls of the building's original cellars. Chambers that used to serve only as storm shelters and record storage (and fallout shelters during the Cold War, judging by the yellow symbol in the stairwell) had been converted to the science and art rooms. Along with those were two restrooms and a large janitorial closet where the EMF suddenly let off a low-grade growl. Dean turned, flashlight gesturing.
"See anything?" he asked as Sam stepped closer, then suddenly felt himself turned and his back pushed against the cold wall. By Dean...whose fingers were busy at his belt, breath huffing against Sam's ear in the dark.
"Dean!" Sam squirmed, his voice was pitched a little higher than he would have liked, but it wasn't his fault Dean's free hand was pushing Sam's schoolteacher-brown slacks down his thighs. Together, they only managed to get one of Sam's feet out of them but that was enough, judging by Dean's satisfied sigh. "EMF...?"
"Faked it," Dean mumbled, licking into the shell of Sam's ear. Sam heard the reader clatter down into the empty mop bucket, discarded for the moment by Dean, whose two hands were now free to pull at Sam's cock and grip his hipbone. Sam groaned, biting at Dean's mouth.
"Wha..?" he stuttered. "Why?" Sam flailed, off-balance as Dean went to his knees, grinning up at him in the reddish light from the emergency exit sign.
"What can I say?" Dean smirked. "I'm hot for teacher."
"Omigod. Please shut up." Sam batted Dean's hands away, gripped his own cock, and made him. It didn't take long. The more Sam tried not to fantasize about teachers debauching their smart-mouthed students, the harder it was not to picture a willing Dean on the receiving end, moaning on his knees and sucking just like he was right this moment. Sam stroked deep, kept pistoning between Dean's lips even while Dean coughed, whimpering around him and gripping the backs of Sam's thighs tighter.
Sam felt Dean's knees pressing outward against his insteps, urging Sam's legs open further as Dean tipped his head back and whoa. Suddenly Sam was in, all the way in, could feel himself slipping past Dean's tongue and into his throat and down. Dean kept swallowing and swallowing like he was drinking an ice-cold beer on a hot summer day while Sam stared down at him in awe and thought Christ, why don't we do this more often, like, how's tomorrow, two-thirty sound? Then Sam was coming, spurting past Dean's lips and his mouth, just pulsing everything straight down Dean's throat to his belly, his hand heavy and trembling on the back of Dean's neck.
Dean had tears slipping from the corners of his eyes and Sam thumbed them away, shifting his feet and pulling himself up and out.
Sam felt a tremor in Dean as he tugged him to his feet and into the closest classroom, Sam stupid-clumsy with his pants around his ankles. But Sam didn't find the damp denim he expected. Dean was still hard, cock bulging and eyes glittering but for once shutting up and waiting.
Sam didn't keep him that way long.
"Turn around." Dean didn't move, and it took Sam a minute to figure out that Sam was supposed to move him. At least, in whatever fantasy-world Dean was visiting at the minute, that was how it was supposed to work. Sam turned him, Dean's back to Sam's chest, hooking his chin over Dean's shoulder and whispering as he undid Dean's pants.
"This what you want? Huh?" Sam felt the bird-quick beat of Dean's pulse in his neck next to Sam's cheek. "Everything done to you? Dean. Winchester. Pied Piper-tough guy-JD-bad ass, on his knees in the janitor's closet? Bent over the counter in the science lab—" Sam took Dean's hands and pressed them down on the black laminate edge next to an acid burn "—with the history teacher's hand down his pants? Huh?"
Dean groaned, pushing himself into the hand Sam closed around his cock, squeezing but not giving Dean the rhythm he needed.
Dean was shaking and needy in front of him, and Sam felt the skitter of control under his skin, hungry for Dean to give it up. Things were turning around on him, Dean's fantasy suddenly becoming Sam's, too.
Sam was sure that it was yes. Pretty sure he heard Dean right. But not totally.
"What did you say?" Sam asked, sucking a mark onto the nape of Dean's neck.
"I said. Yes." Dean gasped as Sam cupped his balls, weighing them, ignoring Dean's cock. Then, again, a little softer: "Yessir."
Sam froze, stunned.
That was something new.
Sam waited as the frisson of shock and fear raced through him. It chased itself up his spine and then down to his cock, which Dean must have felt hardening again almost before Sam did, pushing his bare ass back against Sam's groin. Sam moved only when he felt Dean's arms leave the counter, reaching back to try and position Sam's cock where Dean wanted it. Goddammit if Dean wasn't trying to get Sam to dry fuck him right there in front of the refrigerator with the half-dissected frogs in it.
"No." Sam grabbed at Dean's arms, slapping them back down on the counter. "I'm not going to do that."
Dean half-whined, half-growled in frustration, tossing his head back and accidentally butting into Sam's chin hard enough to make Sam see stars. Sam wondered if he'd had that said to him before, and if it had been a lie.
"I'm going to take care of you. I promise." And he licked his way down Dean's spine to prove it, not stopping, but moving to kneel when it came time, his tongue slipping into Dean's crack.
Suddenly he had a face full of Dean, who'd jerked helplessly when Sam's tongue slid over his hole, and Sam had to grip him even tighter.
"Sorry," Dean gasped. Sam didn't know how Dean hadn't come yet; he felt like he was going to explode again before he could get Dean ready. "I'm sorry. Please...please just..." Sam slipped a finger inside Dean and it went easily, Dean groaning and babbling yesses and thankyous and pleasegodmores when Sam added another. Sam stopped swallowing altogether, just letting all the saliva he could bring up slip out onto Dean's hole as he worked it with fingers and tongue. He finally spat into his own palm as he stood and wetted his cock with it.
"Gonna fuck you now, Dean."
"Spread yourself for me." Sam's knees were shaking as he rose, lining himself up as Dean—obedient Dean, pliant, eager; who was this?—opened himself and bent over for him, and Sam pushed into his brother's ass.
"Oh, my God."
Sam wasn't sure which one of them even said that, but he didn't let up—couldn't have if he tried—because despite Sam's promise to take care of him, Dean was trying desperately to work himself backward onto Sam. Sam gave up on taking care, and just took.
Dean out-and-out keened with pleasure and braced himself against the counter when Sam slammed into him.
"You like it like this, huh?" Sam breathed, burying his cock, rough and sharp, inside Dean. "Hard?"
Sam told Dean how dirty he was, how Sam was going to fuck him 'til he bled, how nasty and messy Sam was going to make him, how it didn't matter if Dean came first or not, because Sam was going to keep using him until he was done with him. Dean worked himself up more and more, thanking and taking and promising and opening and yessirring until Sam realized that Dean would never break. He'd never say no or too much or stop or say "I have a line and you crossed it". Whatever Sam wanted, Dean would give, in this as in all things leading to it.
And that's when Sam came, terrified.
"I'm still not liking this plan," Dean groused from the coat closet off the main hallway, where he had the perfect vantage point. The only point of entry Dean couldn't observe were the windows in Sam's classroom, all of which Sam could see perfectly.
Sam smiled, seated at his desk and ostensibly listening to music while grading papers by himself after school. Of course Dean didn't like it. Their plan required Dean to sit still and be quiet until the skinwalker showed up; that alone pretty much guaranteed Dean's dissatisfaction. It had been almost two weeks since that day in the basement, and they still hadn't found any link between the victims, aside from all of them being alone on school grounds when they disappeared. Currently, Sam fit that criteria nicely.
The earbuds and mp3 player were fakes, letting him listen to Dean, although he couldn't talk back without blowing their cover. Dean took full advantage of this, whispering complaints about the smell of mothballs, what might be crawling over him in the dark, and the average number of spiders a sleeping human being swallows in a lifetime (none, some reporter made it up). He made cracks about the school mascot (Trojans! Condom Junior High!), and expounded for over an hour about the various theories behind the assassinations of JFK and Bobby Kennedy. When he started in about the virtues of the MILFs from Sam's homeroom class Sam started tuning him out.
"—you know that, right? That I'm okay with the other day?" Sam startled back to the present, the essay question in front of him about Mother Jones and the Wobblies suddenly unimportant. Leave it to Dean to cheerfully ignore everything for days and then suddenly initiate a conversation about it when Sam can't respond.
"I know you're freaked and whatever. I know all the psych bullshit behind it, and what it says about me, and you, not even counting the part where we're brothers. And no, for the record, 'cause I know you're thinkin' it...it never happened, not with some skeevy teacher and not with Dad either and that's sick and I hate you a little bit for even thinking it but you can't help it, I guess. But just so you know: it didn't."
Sam shifted in his chair, face flaming, because of course he had thought it; wondered if the "sir" part of "yessir" was Dad, maybe even back when Dean was still a kid himself, wondered if Dean had some perverse need to relive it with yet another Winchester. Sam was glad he was absolved from answering, that he didn't have to lie, to try and fail to convince Dean that he didn't think that, of course not, how could Dean think he would? And he was glad he didn't have to be honest, and admit that he actually did think it, and have to watch Dean look betrayed because of something else that Sam blamed on John Winchester that he didn't deserve.
"Why it was so hot...what I wanted...want...it's because..." Dean paused, took a breath, and continued, all in a rush. "Jeezus. It's just you, Sam. Okay? You're it. It's fuckin' always been you."
Sam blinked, breathed deep, tried to keep it together. If the skinwalker came at him now he was toast, because fuck, he couldn't even see. He stood and stretched, wiping his eyes and fumbling as he accidentally disconnected the player, then sat back down, swallowing a dozen things he would have said if he could.
It was so like Dean, to do this now, here, where Sam couldn't answer. But that wasn't right, not exactly. It wasn't that Sam couldn't answer…but that he didn't have to. Dean was making it easy on him, taking care of Sam like he always did. Little ways that, on the surface, were just Dean being Dean, but underneath were…something else altogether. And apparently the something else had been there for longer than Sam had been noticing. All Sam had to do was take what Dean had been offering since, well, birth.
He just had to take Dean.
Sam plugged the earbuds back into the mp3 player and cleared his throat into the mic, but Dean didn't say anything else.
Sam made an attempt to sink back into the history of the American labor movement, but after another twenty-five minutes went by, he stood and gathered up the papers.
"Dean? It's almost one. It's not showing. Let's go." Sam waited. "Dean?
The blood on the closet floor was already cold. All Sam could smell was the oily wood.
He found Dean in the gymnasium, the blood trail easy to follow on the gray sidewalks, and even easier on the aqua-colored subway tiles in the girls' locker room. Sam was surprised that the skinwalker didn't take Dean further away, that it just stood—frozen—staring at Sam like the cornered animal it now was. The situation screamed trap but there was only one way in, and one way out, and the fact that that thing was between Sam and Dean was all Sam really needed to know.
Dean was still bleeding; Sam could see the dark sheen of wetness on his chest, even in the gloom of the security lighting. As soon as the skinwalker turned its back on him to look at Sam, Dean kicked out at it, screaming Sam's name. Transcending from human into something that wasn't didn't leave all the weaknesses behind…Dean's bloody boots caught it in the back of the ankles and it went down hard, Achilles heel triggered. That was the only opening Sam needed, because four rounds of consecrated iron to the head will kill just about anything.
Especially if it used to be a person.
Sam stood over the monster, staring down for long minutes and finally putting one last shot, point-blank, into its skull to be sure. He heard the chink of the bullet as it passed out the other side of its head and buried itself in the edge of the steel floor-drain cover.
Sam didn't notice that Dean was unconscious until he turned to see why Dean wasn't bitching at him for wasting ammo. The ride to the hospital seemed interminably long; Sam had left the skinwalker's corpse smoldering in the showers before packing up a groggy Dean and speeding three towns over to the nearest hospital.
"Dude. "M'not dyin'. Don't fuck up the car," Dean slurred, light-headed, but it only made Sam tread harder on the gas pedal.
"Shut up, asshole. I'm taking you to the hospital."
"Yer goin' too faaa-aasst," Dean said, sing-songing it in the "I'm touuu-ching yoooouuuu!" voice every little brother knows and loathes.
"You drive faster than this when nobody's bleeding!" Sam said.
"Yeah, but I can, you know, actually drive," Dean laughed, amusing himself.
"It's not funny."
"It's sorta funny," Dean cajoled.
"Maybe if you're not the one following the blood trail and waiting to find a pile of intestines where your brother used to be it's more amusing!" Sam shouted.
"Aw, c'mon, Sammy. Imma be fine," Dean said, but Sam was furious now—and really was driving too fast.
"Fuck you," Sam said. He could barely see.
"Fuck you, and shut the fuck up. Right now." Amazingly, Dean did, and didn't say another word until the intake nurse asked him his name at the hospital.
Broken bones, cuts, burns, claw marks…these all had pat explanations, most of which could be—and had been—explained by just two words: "camping accident". But Dean's chest was missing entire sections of skin the size of banana peels. Apart from attempted suicide-by-potato-peeler, there wasn't a ready story for this.
"Honey, what in the world happened to you?" The fifty-something nurse was mothering him, and Sam expected Dean to eat it up with a spoon and evade her questions, but inexplicably, he froze.
"Baby, I told you, you should have gotten a restraining order on him," Sam said by way of reply. Sam smiled sadly at the nurse, and settled his palm low and intimate on Dean's back. Anyone who was looking—and who wasn't? Dean had his shirt off, after all—could see it. Sam felt a tremor race its way through Dean, starting under where Sam's hand rested. It rippled its way outward, like a dog's uncontrollable twitch when you hit just the right scratching spot. And then Dean just…settled, blinking up at Sam.
"I know. I shoulda been more careful," Dean said grudgingly, the role-play doubling as an apology for terrifying Sam.
"I hope you are, next time," Sam said, moving close enough to feel the warmth from Dean's skin. The nurse was smiling indulgently on them now, and Dean leaned back into Sam's chest, resting there while the doctor (who wasn't nearly as charmed) worked to repair what damage he could, and bandaged the rest.
"Are you going to press charges?" the doctor said, not really sounding as if he cared one way or the other.
"Nah," Dean said. "I just wanna get out of town."
Sam couldn't agree more. He wanted Dean alone and safe, where Sam could take care of him and they didn't need anyone else.
Except maybe a good pharmacist.
By the time the ER had done what they could for Dean, the radio was promising morning updates about the local volunteer fire department being dispatched to the junior high. The burning body was suspected to be missing substitute teacher Charlie Parker, who was last seen grading papers by the night janitor at around 10:00 PM. Foul play was suspected.
Dean howled with laughter when the reporter asked the school secretary why she thought the burned body was that of Mr. Parker: "Well, that pile was too big to be anybody local."
Sam had a real paycheck made out to his fake identity from the two-week stint at the school, but since that guy was presumed dead, they drove another hundred miles east to Wheeling before he felt safe cashing it at the local Kroger's. It covered the drugs, food, beer, and a hotel room a grade better than their usual. Dean, drugged and pliant, didn't bitch when Sam joined him on his bed, just kept flicking through the channels.
Dean stopped on the Food Network, trying like he always does to convince Sam that he was hoping to see Giada (she's hot and loves to eat, Sammy. How can you not want to hit that?), but he still left it there when it turned out to be Paula Deen. Sam's secret plan was to have a gourmet kitchen when they went into hunting retirement, and watch Dean go to town in it. But when Paula's sons joined her at the local slaughterhouse and they started talking about butchering and skinning and how nothing beats fresh bacon, they couldn't turn the channel fast enough.
"Why didn't it kill you?" Sam blurted out, now staring at Fonzie and thinking how much cooler Dean was. Even when he wasn't wearing the jacket. "It killed all the others right away, then skinned them, the coroners said."
"Yeah. Imagine the cracklins' Paula woulda got from the nose guard," Dean said. Sam stared at him and blanched, but didn't reply. This was classic Dean, working roundabout to an answer he didn't really want to give up. Sam just had to wait.
"I..." Dean stalled, turning to focus glassy eyes on Sam, which was weird. Usually he'd look away. "You remember the lore on skinwalkers? How they get to be that way?" Sam nodded.
"Yeah. Mages or witches or shamans. Strong ones. They build up their power for years, then commit a horrible act of murder of...against…someone in their own family." Sam fought back bile. They'd seen worse, but the idea of fratricide made him gag. "Usually they eat them."
Dean shuddered visibly, and for the first time, Sam wondered what happened to Dean's skin, but he didn't ask. He didn't really want to know. "And they repeat that same act over and over down through the ages to maintain their power." Dean nodded.
"It...he..." Dean swallowed, staring at Sam. "He missed his brother. He smelled us...brothers...he wanted us to stay. He was waiting for you to come for me." Sam stared at Dean, Howard Cunningham shouting for Marion on the TV in the background. "He was sorry he did it," Dean whispered.
"It knew I would come?" Sam whispered back. He knew how it felt to miss a brother, dead because of you. And how to lose yourself in dead things in order to escape the grief. His stomach rolled.
"I knew you would come," Dean answered, reached out for Sam's jaw...and kissed him. It was probably the drugs that made Dean kiss like that, sweet, instead of dirty or playful, holding Sam's face, but Sam didn't care. He leaned into it, careful to avoid the bandages on Dean's chest. When Dean broke the kiss he smiled. Not smarmy or slutty, just happy.
Yeah. Definitely the drugs.
Moment officially over, Dean shifted his attention back to Potsie and picked up his wallet, thumbing through the meager bills with a frown. Sam reached out and took it from him, tossing it on the far nightstand out of reach.
"I can take care of us," Sam said, and meant it. Whatever Sam had to do, they'd be okay. Dean winked, reaching up to ruffle Sam's hair, still damp from the shower. Then, taking his pillow, he squirmed down the mattress and punched Sam's thigh a few times as if it were lumpy and needed to be repositioned more to his liking. Then Dean plopped the pillow—and his head—down onto Sam's lap.
"I know you can, Sammy." Dean said, and fell asleep.
Author's note: The school that Sam and Dean staked out is real, right down to the coffee-maker notice in the office, and was built in the early 1900's. It now houses the administrative offices, rather than students. They really did oil the floors twice a year...at least up until 1982, which was the last year I attended there. For all I know, they still do.