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eight.

Sam doesn't think he's ever been in so much pain before. His stomach is churning and twisting, the urge to throw up so high, but he can't. He's tried four times already, kneeling in front of the toilet, his mouth open, but nothing comes out. Nothing ever comes out. Dean crouches down beside him each time, pushing Sam's hair back with his hand, mumbling, "Your stupid hair, Sam, you're gonna get puke all over it," but that doesn't happen, not even once. Sam thinks he would gladly let Dean wash his hair if he did, even though he hates to get it washed, so the ache would just go away.

Bad shrimp, that's what Dean said it must be: Just something you ate, Sammy. Must've been that Chinese--knew I should've thrown it out. Sam isn't sure if Dean's right or not, but he's never going to eat shrimp or Chinese food again.

He feels clammy, and his cheeks are wet with tears. When he looks back up at Dean, there's worry spread across his brother's face. "Sheesh, Sammy, you look awful," he whispers, pressing his hand to Sam's forehead. "I don't think you've got a fever..."

Sam sniffs and shakes his head. He wants his dad more than anything at this moment--Dad would know what's wrong with him.

"Come on, I think maybe there's some Pepto in the fridge. That sometimes works for me when I--"

Sam feels it sneak up on him then, that horrible taste running up his throat, and he rushes to grip the toilet, gagging into it, but still nothing comes out. He's shaking all over, especially his hands on the cold rim, and Dean's rubbing circles into his back, saying, "It's okay, Sammy, I'm here. It's okay."

The shaking doesn't last long and then Sam lets Dean pull him up from the floor. Dean says, "You'll feel better, Sam, I promise," and, "Just one sec, I'll get it out of the fridge," and after reading the instructions, frowning, then slowly pouring some pink stuff into the cover, "Here, this'll make you better. Just drink it, Sammy."

Dean leads him to the bed then, his lip between his teeth as he walks slowly towards it, even though Sam doesn't think he needs to; Sam's sick, but he can walk just fine. He does feel a little unsteady, though, so he doesn't say anything and just keeps a tight grip on Dean's hand. Sam manages to get into bed and then Dean climbs on after him, mattress sinking a little under their combined weight. Any other time Sam would nudge him away but he doesn't want to right now, especially because Dean is warm and Sam feels cold.

The medicine isn't helping, and Sam doesn't realize he's said that out loud until Dean wraps an arm around him and says, "Give it time, Sam, it will." Dean runs his hand along Sam's belly once, then slips it under Sam's shirt. "Mom used to do this for me when I got sick," he explains, and he rubs his hand in a slow circle. "It helps sometimes."

Dean's hand feels big and warm against his belly, and Sam imagines he can feel the pain begin to lessen and go away. He thinks maybe Dean's saying something, but he can't really hear it. He nods anyway, and presses his head into the pillow and closes his eyes.

He falls asleep like that.

 

thirteen.

Dean's good with guns. Good at shooting them, cleaning them, taking them apart. It's that last one he's trying to teach Sam right now. He's got one almost apart, fingers wrapped around the pieces as he disassembles it cleanly. He's doing it slower than normal, but that's purely for Sam's benefit; Dean's well-versed in all sorts of firearms now, can break them down piece by piece like a machine, partly because of Dad's teaching and partly because of Dean's stubborn streak and need to perfect it.

Dean narrates what he's doing with a clear, firm voice and Sam watches intently: watches how Dean's hands grip each piece, the pop of his knuckles as he twists the parts; watches how precise his fingers are, stocky and slick with oil, sure with their movements; watches the way Dean's middle finger never fully wraps around any of the parts, jutting out just a little bit from the metal. His knuckles are scraped, cut in places and scabbing over in others, but his hands are smooth in the way that Dad's aren't, a tattletale sign of his inexperience still to the world of hunting.

"Sam, pay attention," comes Dean's voice, and its roughness jolts Sam out of his thoughts.

"I am," Sam says quickly. Dean doesn't look convinced but he doesn't look exactly pissed off, either. "I'm watching, I swear."

Dean snorts. "Yeah, you're watching, but you're not goddamn paying attention. Keep this up and you can learn all by yourself."

Sam is almost positive that he would probably be able to learn the ins and outs of guns faster by himself, or even with Dad taking them apart and putting them back together again instead. With Dean, Sam has a hard time focusing. He's not exactly sure what the problem is; one minute Dean's starting the demonstration and in the next he's done and Sam hasn't registered a single thing that he's said, only how he held his hands as he worked the pieces apart from each other.

"Just--show me again," Sam says, and Dean rolls his eyes but starts on the pieces again, metals slotting into place.

"Okay," Dean says when the gun's back together. He holds it up in front of Sam with strong hands, and only when Sam nods does he start the process he's cycled through ten times now. He takes a deep breath and begins: "Alright, first you've gotta make sure it's safe, 'cause if you blow my head off I'll fuckin' kill you, man--"

Dean's started with the same threat every time since the first, so Sam just nods in response and takes in Dean's ring. It's thick and silver, and there's oil on that, too--Dean's gonna wanna clean it up later, definitely. And Dean's hands are taking the gun apart piece by piece again, running commentary that's only being heard by himself, and Sam nods at points that he thinks might be appropriate. Dean's been chewing his nails again, the edge of his thumb a short and jagged line.

"You got it this time?" Dean asks, once he has the gun's parts laying in one neat row.

Sam bites his lip and shakes his head. "Show me again? Just one more time, I promise--I think I've mostly got it now."

Dean narrows his eyes and for one long second Sam thinks he's going to get called out--or slapped upside the head--but Dean just picks the pieces up and begins to slot them together again.

 

fifteen.

Sam's woken up by a full bladder. He's wrapped up in a cocoon of warmth that he doesn't want to get out of, but he knows he's not going to get back to sleep without a trip to the bathroom. He squeezes his eyes together, barely suppressing a groan at the thought of having to get up, and then he hears it: this soft, sweet noise nearby--too high for Dean.

Sam opens his eyes slowly, images a little fuzzy before they sharpen, and Sam breathes in quickly at the sight, a tight intake of air. Dean's in his bed but he's not alone, a pretty blonde with him. They're naked, the girl on her back and Dean on top of her, and Sam's not stupid. The girl makes that noise again, sharper this time, and Dean chuckles softly, voice low when he says, "Keep it down, you're gonna wake my brother up."

The girl smiles a little and reaches up to pull Dean's head down, kisses him and they both make these quiet moans that has Sam swallowing thickly. Dean's hands slide up her, one to her arm, pushing it against the headboard, the other to her breast, cupping her, thumb brushing over the nipple in a way that has her arching her back. Sam follows the movement and gets lost then, eyes locked at the way Dean's fingers wrap around her wrist completely, keeping her hand in place, his own looking huge in comparison.

Sam can feel himself growing in his underwear, blood rushing in and filling out as Dean's rocking gets faster, more frenzied. The strokes of his thumb getting briefer against the girl, and then everything dies down completely following one prolonged groan. Dean's thrusting becomes slow, barely there movements, his fingers on the girl slowing as well; the only thing still going hard and fast is their breathing, coming out in ragged gulps. Sam clenches his eyes shut, suddenly terrified that they'll see he's awake now that they're done, and by the time Dean says goodbye to the girl, Sam's still hard.

It doesn't take long for Dean to go to bed after that: five minutes in the bathroom, then another five in bed before Sam hears his breathing even out and the snoring starts. Sam removes himself from his blankets and tries to quietly get out of the bed, even though Dean isn't likely to wake up from Sam getting up. There's a lock on the bathroom door and Sam feels a little too grateful as he twists it, thinking what he'd do if Dean accidentally barged in--and that makes his dick jerk a little.

Sam slides to the floor with his bare back to the cold wall, hand slipping under the elastic of his underwear already, and then he grips himself. He lets out a slow moan, follows the length of his dick with his hand once and presses his eyes shut. He thinks of Dean and the girl, mostly thinks about how much she seemed to like Dean's hands on her and how Dean's hand looked wrapped around her wrist, wonders if Dean could wrap his around Sam's--if Dean could make his wrist look as small as the girl's, if it'd feel fragile in Dean's grip.

He brushes his thumb across his nipple and wonders how the girl must've felt. Dean's fingers are thicker, bigger than Sam's, and they're harder, rougher from cuts and scrapes and shoveling. His feels okay, sensation kind of nice as he rubs it, but Dean's would feel better, Sam thinks, if only because they're Dean's. He can almost feel the press of Dean's fingers against his side, thumb grazing over Sam's flesh, can even imagine the grip of Dean on his cock, harsh and stroking roughly, and Sam tightens his hand around himself in response.

He comes embarrassingly fast, breathing heavy and shaking at the thought of his brother running his hands all over him, and Sam stands up on unsteady legs to go clean off.

 

seventeen.

It feels like there's blood everywhere on Sam: on his hand, on his shirt, seeping into the sleeve of his jacket. His mouth feels dry and he figures he must look as good as he feels, just guessing by the way Dean keeps glancing between him and the windshield on the drive back. "You okay, Sam?" he asks for the third time, and Sam genuinely feels less sure of his answer than he did five minutes earlier.

"Yeah," Sam says, berating himself when it comes out somewhat shakily. Except Dad says, "He's fine," at almost the exact same time, so Sam's not even sure Dean caught it.

Dad's first to go into the motel when they get there, muttering about checking up with contacts. Sam's painfully aware of Dean's eyes on him as he makes his way inside, hand pressing tight against the cuts. Harpies, that's what Dad called them, but Sam doesn't care what they were called, only that their talons hurt like hell, slicing across his arm like it was butter. When Sam closes his eyes he can still hear the inhuman screeches, can still see the black, beady eyes.

"Hey," Dean murmurs, his hand fitting against the small of Sam's back. Sam fights against a shiver. "Just sit down on the bed, okay?"

Sam watches a little mindlessly as Dean sorts through their medical supplies, taking out gauze and antiseptic. "Can you get your coat and shirt off?" Dean asks, and together they manage to strip Sam of his clothing, Sam trying not to hiss when he has to move his arm through his sleeve. He takes one look at the wound, sees the shades of red and varying stages of drying blood, and feels bile in the back of his throat. He never has been all that great with seeing his own blood.

"It doesn't look that bad, Sam," Dean says. "I think it hurts a lot worse than it looks. I remember the first time I got cut up. The shock makes it hurt like a bitch."

Dean wets gauze with the antiseptic and then presses it to the cuts, and Sam hisses and jerks his arm away instantly, but Dean catches him by the wrist, fingers locking around the bone. "Hey, easy now, Sammy," he murmurs, thumb running soft strokes over Sam's pulse. Sam tries to focus on the gentle touch there when the antiseptic seeps into his wound. Dean goes slowly, dabbing at it with soft pressure, and then he pulls away and gets more gauze, wrapping it around Sam's upper arm, fingers keeping it in place until he can tape it.

"Fucking harpies," Dean mutters, possibly just to inject some noise into the room; Dean's never been able to handle silence longer than necessary. Sam grunts his agreement, not quite feeling ready to do more than that, and Dean chews on his lip as he checks over Sam's face.

He makes a displeased noise and says, "Managed to get your face scratched up, too," and then he's ripping off more gauze from the roll and the sting hits Sam's forehead. Dean catches Sam's head with his hand before Sam can turn away, cradling Sam's face as he dabs it on. Dean's hands are rough and warm, the scar he'd gotten across his palm a week ago pressing against Sam's cheek, and Sam closes his eyes for a minute.

He's made peace with how good it feels when Dean puts his hands on him, how much he likes it when Dean touches him.

Sam watches his brother and the careful consideration on his face, his lips pressed together tightly, and Sam swallows, not quite used to looking at Dean so close. He counts the seconds between the gauze's swipes at his scratches and he makes it all the way to fifteen before he realizes that Dean's stopped dabbing, expression shifted slightly, and then Dean presses his thumb to Sam's cheek and clears his throat, pulling away. He says, "All done," and then he gets up, leaving Sam completely numb.

 

twenty-three.

Sam's back hits the wall with a hard thump he barely registers on account of Dean crowding in against him, their bodies fitting together like pieces of a jigsaw. There's a faint trace of beer on Dean's breath, his lips shiny and wet, and Sam is relieved when Dean covers Sam's mouth with his own. Sam groans, knocking his head back against the wall and Dean follows his mouth, hand squeezing bruises into Sam's side, the other spread out against the wall beside Sam's head.

Dean pulls away for a second and grins, and Sam ends up reflecting it back a little breathlessly, feeling slightly insane as he takes in the wicked curve of Dean's mouth. Then Dean's back, biting at Sam's lips and then swiping over them with his tongue, and Sam stops trying to think period.

Five minutes ago Sam was high on the adrenaline of a far-too-close call and beer when he kissed Dean, almost accidentally, and somehow it's lead to them here. Sam has his shirt off and Dean's only still got his undershirt, and Sam's going crazy. He's had this fantasy a hundred times over, jerked off to it just as many times, and now that this is happening--the fact that Dean's hands are on him right now--he's finding it impossible to think straight.

At some point--Sam's not sure when, his head spinning with the pure taste of Dean in his mouth--Dean had worked his hand in between them, and now deft fingers are sliding Sam's zipper down. Then Dean's cupping Sam through his underwear, fingertips pressing up behind Sam's balls and Dean's backing away a little, saying, "Fuckin' hell, Sam."

Sam's body is trembling under Dean's touch and Sam just nods jerkily, mouth slack. "Shit, yeah."

Dean runs his hand down the length of Sam, a firm pressure that has Sam completely hard in the matter of seconds, dick pressing tight against his underwear. It doesn't take Dean long after that to push them down and out of the way, and Sam almost stumbles over when Dean finally gets his hand on him, a tight, warm fist around Sam's cock that feels too good to be real. Sam can't help but remember the thousand times Dean's hands have been on guns and the way he stripped them piece by piece, the way he's currently doing the same to Sam. Dean's hands are a familiar thing to him but not like this, not wrapped around his dick and palm pressing against the head, and Sam gets a little thrill out of knowing that by tomorrow he won't be able to say that anymore.

"Oh, god, Dean--" Sam starts and then cuts himself off with a groan, because Dean chooses that moment to start jerking him off, quick pulls of his hand that have Sam pressing hard against the wall and pushing out his hips. Dean's pace is long and frenzied, hand twisting as he takes the upstroke, grip as steady and sure as it is when he's got a weapon in his hand instead of Sam's dick. It's everything Sam imagined. Better.

Dean grips Sam's bicep, hand pushing against the muscle, and Sam registers the full size of Dean's hand as he pins Sam's arm against the wall. He takes a shuddering breath and squeezes his eyes shut, a low moan escaping. Right now, Dean is the best thing Sam's ever felt, and it's unfathomable, Sam thinks, the way Dean's working him up like he knows him so well, like he's figured out Sam completely. Sam figures that maybe he has, maybe he does know everything about Sam, maybe Sam is just that transparent around him.

Sam's shirt is sticky against his back, glued to his skin, and he's on the edge, balls drawn tight. Dean kisses him then, this ravenous, full-mouthed kiss that's almost a bite and then Sam's coming, spilling out into his brother's hand. Sam's knees feel like they'll give out any minute but he somehow manages to keep standing, and Dean jerks him through the aftershocks, mouths pressed together as Sam comes down.

Afterwards, Sam manages to tug Dean's fly down with unsteady fingers and curls a hand around him, stroking quickly and then Dean lurches against him, sucks in a breath. Sam's heard Dean make a litany of noises over the years but never this one, a low, keening groan as Dean tucks his face into the crook of Sam's neck.

"Fuck, Sam," Dean says, eyes pressed together tight as Sam jacks him. "Your goddamn hands."