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It takes four weeks, an ungodly amount of bed rest, and an unholy alliance with Crowley, but at the end of it, Sam's fine. Thinner than he should be, and a bit vampiric from all the time spent in an underground bunker, but there's no coughing up blood, no doubling over in pain, no more than usual likelihood that he'll drop dead within the week. Dean is, all things considered, pretty goddamn satisfied, especially when Sam wakes up and doesn't immediately start asking awkward questions. Dean's not stupid enough to think that'll last — he has, after all, met Sam before — but so long as Sam's around to be annoying and unreasonable, Dean doesn't mind.

That lasts at least a couple of days. Then he makes the mistake of leaving Sam in the bunker by himself. He walks back into the library three hours later and is met by Sam's death glare. Given the strength of it, Dean suspects he's pretty lucky not to be met by Sam's fist.

"Do you remember that time I nearly killed myself to be purified?" sam asks, spreading his hands out on the table, as if he hasn't ruled out punching either. "Got all the demon blood out of me? It wasn't that long ago, so you probably do remember." It's impressive, how he manages to combine menacing and conversational so effortlessly. Dean sure as hell never taught him that.

Dean goes for placating, because since the church and Sam's motherfucking weird confession, he's been working on yelling less. "Okay, look," he says, holding his own hands up. "I know what you're going to say. I shouldn't have made that sort of decision for you, blah blah not a kid, etcetera and so on. But as a counter, let me say. I don't fucking care. You were dying. Again. Getting the demon blood back into you was my last shot, and I took it."

Sam looks at him, steady and unreadable. "I was gonna say, I was clean, and now I'm — whatever the fuck it is I am." For a second, his shoulders slump, and he looks nothing but defeated. Then he pulls himself together, and goddamn him if he ever talks about Dean's game face again. "Guess at least if I bring on another apocalypse, you can't say you weren't warned."

He leaves without another word, and Dean knows it must be bad when he doesn't stop to right the pile of books he topples over on his way out the door. Dean scatters them far and wide, in a moment of petty, satisfying retribution. It makes him feel better for about three minutes, and then he's moving, too, storming through the bunker and barrelling into Sam's room without knocking.

"I'm done with this," he tells Sam's back, and he's never meant anything more in his life.

Before, when Sam was sick and not even conscious, and before Dean had the ingenious demon blood idea, he thought up really elaborate speeches. Lots of I statements; lots of heartfelt sentiments he wouldn't have told with a gun to his head but that he swore he would give up all the fucking time if Sam just stayed around to hear him. Now, he can't really remember what any of them were — at least, not the words. But the truth of them has always been perfectly clear.

"Fucking turn around," and Dean's voice must be serious enough, because Sam, for once, doesn't argue just for the sake of it. "You were dying, you moron. A dead you is the only you I don't want." He pauses, thinks. "Okay, there are a few other versions. Soulless you wasn't great, and high on demon blood you had a couple notable character flaws. But—dead you is the only thing I can't deal with."

Sam just shakes his head, as if there's anything in what Dean just said that he didn't mean. "I can't always be your problem to fix," he says. His hair is in his eyes, but Dean doesn't need to see to know the expression in them. The one from the church, and the one when he learned what he'd done without a soul. The one Dean's seen too many times, and doesn't want to see again.

"In the first place, you're not, and if you were, I wouldn't care. In the second, you're pretty much the only reason I haven't just given up about a hundred times, so you work out who's doing more fixing than who around here. And in the third place." He pauses, but not for long. He's thought about this, too, and he's sure he's right. "In the third place, we're going to have sex."

Sam gapes at him, his mouth just hanging open, which is a thing Dean's never seen anyone in real life actually do before. Dean doesn't laugh, but it's close, and only avoided because he's pulled the pin on this one huge thing between them, and that's probably going to have consequences.

"What?" Sam says, stepping away from Dean, at least until he realises he's moving towards the bed, at which point he starts to panic. "What—Dean?"

"You heard me." Dean moves towards Sam again, confident now that he's put it out there. And now that he has put it out there, he doesn't have to pretend, doesn't have to back off when he wants to get close. "About the only thing we do more than find new and stupid ways to die for each other is find new and stupid ways to fuck each other up. I'm saying, let's stop doing that."

"By suggesting we have sex?" Sam looks shocked; Dean will give him that. Eyebrows bravely crawling into his stupid hair, and eyes gone wide. Thing is, Dean knows him, and he might look shocked, but he doesn't look surprised. "You think having sex will make things less complicated between us?"

"I do. I've seen you looking at me, and I know you've seen me looking at you." Sam blushes, and there's no way he can deny it. "We've pretended there's nothing going on, and so far, we've nearly ended the world, both gone to Hell, and died — I honestly don't know how many times, but that's pretty revealing, right? I've sold my soul for you, and you've just finished nearly killing yourself so I could have some bullshit happy ending I'd never want without you."

"It's hard to see why some people think we're crazy," Sam says, like the smart-mouthed little fucker he is, even while Dean's having a moment.

Dean ignores him, because he's spent his life learning not to be sidetracked by him. "I don't see how sex can make things any worse. And if it does, at least we'll be getting sex out of it." He's reached Sam, now, close enough that he can grab on. "So do you want me to fuck you, or do you want to fuck me?"

"Wow," Sam says. "You're foreplay is seriously terrible." But he's biting his lip, and he's breathing too fast, and Dean's spent a decade and then some learning when Sam's turned on, lying awake and pretending not to be so he can hear Sam come in the same room.

"You're wrong," Dean says. He slides his hand from Sam's shoulder, traces a line over his chest, keeps moving down until he reaches the waistband of his jeans. "Don't have to try to make this hot, Sammy."

"Dean—" Sam says, hoarse and ragged; the sound of it sends a jolt right to Dean's dick. His fingers aren't as steady as they were as they unfasten Sam's jeans, slip inside. He rests his hand on Sam's hip, the warmth of Sam's skin bleeding through his boxers. And just that is horrifying, how much it turns Dean on.

"You can tell me no," he says. "You always can. But you think a little demon blood changes anything between us? You think I don't trust you? You think there's anyone more important than you? I've seen the size of your dick, and I still want it in me. I want to fuck you until you can't see or walk or think straight. Spread out and all mine, that's what I—"

Sam's mouth shuts him up — Sam's hot, clever, perfect mouth. His teeth catch on Dean's lower lip, and his hands curl around Dean's shoulder, and his whole body pushes into Dean's space, like an invitation Dean's been waiting years for.

"What do you—?"

"Whatever you want," Sam says, fierce against his mouth. "Holy fuck, anything."

Dean wants everything, so that's a stupid question, right there. But Sam's tugging him to the bed, pulling Dean on top of him, and Sam under him, already bucking up against him with these needy sounds Dean's been trying not to think about for so long, is answer enough.

"Wanna fuck you this time," Dean says, and Sam bites down on his neck, and Dean gets harder just thinking about the bruise that's gonna leave.

"There's stuff," Sam says. "In the drawer," and that's hot and weird and something to ask about later. Not now, though. Now, Dean grabs the lube from the drawer, bangs his head on the wall and hardly feels it, caught up in the better thought that's just come to him.

"Turn over," he says, and if he'd known Sam could ever be this compliant, he'd have tried this years ago. He strokes a hand down Sam's back, an expanse of smooth skin and a network of scars he knows by sight, but that's not enough anymore. He follows with his tongue, a slow slide all along Sam's spine that has Sam shivering beneath him, has Sam saying Dean's name again in that broken way Dean never wants to stop hearing from him.

"Gonna open you up, Sammy," he says. "Gonna make this good for you."

Then he shuts up for a while, goes to work on Sam, for real. Just because he's never done this specific thing with Sam, that doesn't mean he doesn't know how to take Sam apart. Starting out slow — careful, deliberate swipes of his tongue, just enough pressure for Sam to feel it, always a promise that there's more he could be having. Longer and harder with each stroke, until by the time Dean's satisfied, Sam's already shaking and desperate beneath him. And that makes Dean so hard it hurts, the kind of hard where he feels like he might come if Sam just looked at him. Or when he remembers that he's Sam Winchester, and a demanding bastard, and says, "I'm going to kill you with my bare hands if you don't put your dick in me in the next thirty seconds."

Dean holds his breath, attempts to run through an exorcism in reverse in his head, and when he's sure he's got control again, tugs on Sam until Sam's on his back, cock hard and leaking when Dean puts his thumb to it. "So easy," Dean says, only he misses his mark, and instead of teasing, it comes out soft, wondering.

Sam skims his hands over Dean's shoulders, pulls him down for another kiss. "You gonna do this, or what?" he asks, and Dean's definitely in favour of doing it.

It's easy. Far easier than it should be: Sam's legs hooked over Dean's shoulders; Sam hot and tight around Dean; Sam's cock hot and heavy in Dean's hand while they move, hard and fast and always together. And Sam's body is open for Dean, bringing him in, like Sam knows how to give all of himself up to Dean. Like Sam wants to. When he comes, it's like Dean's never seen him before, never known him with all his defences gone, and everything he wants written so plainly on his face. Dean loses himself in it, a wild and dangerous joy that corkscrews through him, leaves him gasping and unravelled after.

Sam curls his hand around the back of Dean's neck, and it's possible he's running his fingers through Dean's hair, but Dean's lost all his higher brain function, and no one can expect him to defend himself right now.

"I'm still pretty upset about the demon blood," Sam says, and Dean says, "Yeah?"

"Yeah. All sorts of issues."

And the thing is, Sam's joking now, but he's not wrong, either. Dean knows that — Sam's been carrying around what he said in that church for years; since Lilith and maybe even before. What they just did was good, obviously, but not that good. But it's new; an honest thing between them. Maybe even a hopeful thing. Dean's won battles from shakier ground.

"I'll see what I can do about that," he says, and Sam smiles, reaches for Dean's cock, wraps his fingers around it and squeezes.

"Not for a while, you won't," he says, so Dean kisses him, just to shut him the fuck up.