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The Winchester Guide to Hooking Up

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Sam would be lying if he said, I don't know when it started.

He knew exactly when it started. He just didn't know, really, what it was. Not until it was too late.

***

Neither Sam nor Dean could quite figure out who’d invited Garth to move in with them when they recolonised Bobby's old place in South Dakota - he just seemed to take it as his right, and since they’d commandeered his houseboat for Kevin to live in for all that time he was probably right. He brought his weird reformed hunters network with him, which was good as it gave Dean something to get involved in that wasn’t DIY (he was a true disaster with a hammer - socket wrench, fine. Hammer? Nope).

They'd (read, Sam mostly) been fixing up Bobby's old house for about six months, long enough to get it weathertight, when Charlie turned up in her bug and started pitching in. She didn't have any explanations, and frankly she was crap at anything that needed a hammer too, but once she got the internet going, they suddenly had a lot more income to buy lumber with.

'It's not legal, exactly,' she'd said when Sam asked her about it. 'But it's a lot more moral than leaving the money where it was, doing bad things.'

He took it at face value. It wasn't that much different from running any other kind of scam, really, and he did like having the resources to get the house fixed that much faster and better. They'd picked the worst part of the year, predictably, to start trying to fix up a burnt-out shell, but winter rolled into spring rolled into summer, and when Kevin drove up into the Singer Auto scrapyard looking for somewhere to stay that wasn't with his mother or with people who'd want to know why he still had screaming, migraine-ridden visions every few weeks, Sam was sitting on a beam, nailing down roofing iron and sweating in the heat.

It didn't start then, despite how much that scenario would have smacked of a cheap porno setup.

It started when Kevin sat down at the kitchen table three weeks after that, with a sheaf of college applications spread out over the Malleus Maleficarum and a scuff on his knuckles from helping Sam to strip out the basement, and said, 'I'm not sure you get this. I don't have to choose.'

And Dean looked at Kevin like he'd grown two heads, and Charlie hugged him, and Garth looked proud, and Sam couldn't look away from him.

That's when it started, okay?

***

'Does this town even have a gay bar?' Dean asked.

Kevin kept his head down. Maybe if he kept rereading college brochures and pretending he was totally very busy and not paying attention to them, they'd leave him alone. Being cooped up in a car with Dean and Charlie pretending to be his adopted foster half-brother and sister (their story kept changing and Kevin couldn't be bothered keeping up with it) all day was not his idea of fun. Sam had ditched them mid-morning to hit the campus library looking for archives of local newspapers, and Kevin had spent most of the rest of the day being mildly jealous of him.

But now it looked like Charlie wanted to go out looking for some … female companionship, and hopefully she'd take Dean with her, and Kevin would get some damn space at last. He couldn't wait. Maybe Sam would come back while they were out. That could be, y'know, nice.

'Don't care,' Charlie said. 'Doesn't matter, anyway. You think only straight people go to non-gay-bar bars? Hah. Come on, handmaiden. We're going out on the prowl. Kevin, c'mon.'

'I'm good,' Kevin said, waving them away. 'I should -'

'Nope,' said Charlie. She pulled the brochures out of his hands and leaned down to give him the full effect of her 'haughty queen' face. 'I want to get laid, Dean wants to get laid, you need to get laid, we are going out to make new friends and achieve our goals with all the fine upstanding womenfolk of this town who are definitely going to want to meet us. Because we are so very pretty.'

'Hey, I didn't say I wanted to -' Dean started.

Charlie rolled her eyes. 'I extrapolated from your past behaviour,' she said.

'I have got to stop her reading those goddamn books,' Dean muttered, as Charlie dragged them both out of the motel room.

***

'Tequila!' Charlie announced, dropping her tray on the table. The drinks knocked against each other and clinked, the beers they’d actually ordered bracketed by tequila shots.

‘No thanks,’ Kevin said, snagging his beer quickly and moving back. He didn’t get far, the club was packed. It was only a tiny place but they had, with only minimal searching, managed to unearth an honest-to-God gay bar.

The thing was, Kevin didn’t really object to being in the gay bar. He’d kind of come to terms with the fact that when he next fell into bed with someone they were probably going to have a penis. And they'd preferably not fail to orgasm and then spend an hour glaring at him and eating snacks aggressively until his mom got home. And, of course, hopefully they wouldn’t be possessed by a demon and killed, but he had the worst luck.

Okay, maybe he had someone specific in mind. Someone who, either thankfully or annoyingly, wasn't here right now. And they were a male kind of a person. So no, back on topic, it wasn’t the gay bar part of the evening that was worrying him, it was the glint in Charlie’s eye. That was the glint that had, so far, seen the instigation of weekly X-box night (an … experience) and ended with then all going to a LARP. She had a plan, and he wasn’t going to like it.

Dean seemed largely unconcerned, licking the junction between his fingers and holding his hand out for Charlie to salt it. Clearly there was something screwy with his survival instincts after all the years of trauma.

“Come on,” Charlie yelled over the music as she applied the salt to Dean’s hand with a practiced precision. “You’re going to go to college, Kevin. You need to know how to do tequila shots.”

“I’m sure it’s not on the course schedule,” Kevin said, dubiously, but Charlie reached across the table and he didn’t move quick enough to stop her grabbing his hand and dumping salt on it, though it didn’t stick so well as his hand was still dry. She kept hold of him as Dean did his shot - salt tequila lime, then released Kevin to try it himself.

He almost wanted to brush the salt off his hand but they were both watching him expectantly now, so with a sigh he accepted the glass and the slice of lime.

The entire process was disgusting and left his throat burning and Charlie laughing. He glared at her and took a swig of his beer to try and get rid of the taste, though the beer tasted wrong with the taste of the lime still lingering in his mouth. He downed the rest of the beer quickly, not letting himself taste it, and signalled for another. Before it could arrive though, Charlie came and grabbed him by the shoulders and spun him around, away from the table, to face the dancefloor. 'Out there,' she yelled in his ear, 'are ladies who want to meet you.'

'This is a gay bar,' Kevin pointed out as loud as he dared. He kind of wanted to make a point that that wasn't bothering him. He kind of wanted to make a point that, y'know, hypothetically, Charlie could widen her net outside of just 'ladies', but he really wasn't out looking for a stranger to hit on or to hit on him, he just … was clearly tipsy enough to want to do stupid things like out himself.

Charlie laughed. 'Don't be so reductive,' she said, before he could say something he was going to regret. 'Ladies who like ladies also sometimes like shy little nerdy dudes with pretty faces,' she added, and pushed him into the melee.

Pretty much immediately though, the melee spat him back out again. He hadn't got a clue what he was doing in the crush of people, the beer had gone straight to his head, and a kind-faced girl with a pink buzz-cut sort of turned him right back around, ruffled his hair, and ejected him from the dancing straight back into Charlie and Dean's arms.

Dean was clearly trying hard not to laugh. Kevin almost appreciated the effort. Almost.

Charlie just squinted at Kevin like he was a math problem. 'Okay,' she said decisively. 'Not a dancer, huh?'

'I dance,' said Kevin defensively. 'With people I've met. And breathing room. And music that's not loud enough to mince my internal organs.'

'Great, so when we find a bar from the 1920s, you'll be able to get laid there?'

'I hate you.'

'Shh, you love me. Okay, plan B time. You stay there.'

'I wasn't planning on going anywhere,' Kevin pointed out as Charlie melted into the crowd. 'What is her deal?' he asked Dean exasperatedly.

Dean stretched against the bar and took another drink from his beer. Kevin couldn't help noticing the number of people coincidentally glancing their way when he did that. Just great. Dean was, what, pushing forty? And he still turned heads. It's not like Kevin was actually actively out here looking to get laid but it would have been a little bit gratifying to think that maybe some of the people oh-so-casually looking over at the bar were looking at him. 'She's just looking out for you,' Dean said. 'Big-sister style. C'mon, Kevin, this is a big deal for you. You're about to go to college. We want you to have a good time. You deserve that.'

'Okay, I understand that,' Kevin allowed. 'But this,' he waved a hand at their surroundings, 'is kind of not my thing. Can't she see that?'

Dean shrugged. 'So what is your "thing" then?' he asked, 'Smooth jazz and martinis? PVC and spanking? What?' and oh no, Kevin was not going to answer that. Dean, he'd learnt to his cost, could sniff out lies like it was his mutant superpower. And Kevin would have to lie to answer that question because just possibly the person he was next hoping to fall into bed with was someone Dean was kind of rabidly protective over.

'I dunno,' Kevin said, going for his beer again to hide his face from Dean's laser eyes and lie-detector brain. 'Not this?'

'Wow, Kevin,' Dean deadpanned. 'That was really informative, thanks.'

'Shut up.'

'Look, if you actually want to go home -' Dean started, except then Charlie turned up with … the pink-buzz-cut girl from earlier. She smiled at Kevin while Charlie ran through bullshit introductions, and okay, yes, very pretty and somewhere around Kevin's age and she touched his arm like she actually was interested rather than just being press-ganged by Charlie, but … this was not in Kevin's plan so far.

They chatted for awhile, he finally got to polish off his second beer and he watched Charlie go through a couple of drinks in that time, getting increasingly handsy every time she spun back to the table. It was nice, but he knew it wasn’t going anywhere. So he told the girl it had been nice to meet her and watched her slip away into the crowd in search of someone who actually wanted her.

'Well that was a waste of a perfectly good hook-up,' Charlie said, appearing at his side with yet another drink in her hand. 'She was really nice, Kevin.'

'Yeah,' said Kevin. 'That's why.'

'Also, she was actively looking for someone to go home with,' Dean pointed out lazily, signalling the bartender for another round of beers. 'Might as well have been you, dude. It's not like she's going round bars looking for Prince or Princess Charming - just a bit of fun. You can be fun, right?'

'Can we just drop it?' Kevin said. 'You two worry about yourselves. I'm just going to do the college-approved thing and get drunk, okay?'

Charlie sighed, and smiled at him. 'Okay, sport,' she said. 'If that's really what you want.'

'Dude, I've been saying it all evening.'

'I thought it was a case of the lady doth protest too much.'

Kevin let his head thunk down onto the damp table-top and waited for the universe to end. There were footsteps behind him, but he refused to acknowledge them.

'Who's protesting what?' Sam put his jacket on the table next to Kevin's head and sat down. 'I went back to the motel room but you guys weren't there. Library was a bust, by the way. I'm starting to think Garth's 'lead' was another dead end.' Kevin peeled his face up off the table and started hating the world slightly less.

'How'd you find us?' Charlie asked. 'Also, tequila?' She shook a shotglass at Sam hopefully.

'I'm good, thanks,' said Sam. 'Also I figured you'd be at a bar, gay bar sounded like a good place to start, there's only one in town, and the Impala's about as obvious as a big duck in a small pond?'

'You're right, you are good,' said Charlie, poking her tongue out.

'And you are drunk,' Sam pointed out.

'She’s been enjoying her alcohol,' Dean put in. 'I think she’s disappointed that her plans to set Kevin up have, so far, failed.'

'Save me,' Kevin said pleadingly, sitting up and looking at Sam properly. 'They keep trying to inflict me on girls. Or vice versa. I don't even know any more.'

Sam laughed. 'Welcome to my world,' he said. 'Seriously guys, quit it.'

Charlie pouted. 'I guess,' she said. 'But we're just trying to help.' She slung her arm around Kevin's shoulder and pecked him on the cheek. 'You're free,' she said. 'I free you, little bird.'

'No more awkward wing-man shit?'

Charlie put up three fingers in a Scout's salute. 'No more. I promise. Right Dean?'

'Getting laid is now your own personal responsibility,' Dean agreed, prying Charlie off Kevin's side. 'May the Force be with you, kiddo.'

'And me?' Sam asked, hopefully.

'Oh Sammy,' said Dean fondly. 'Getting you laid will be my responsibility for the rest of time, I'm your big brother. I'm just kind of resigned to failing, that's all. On the other hand,' he said, looking down at Charlie, 'I reckon it's now also my responsibility to get Charlie a glass of water. You two crazy kids have fun - I'll be back in five.'

He moved down the bar, getting the bartender's attention and then a few glasses of water before he shoved off into the crowd in search of Charlie, who'd already wandered off again.

'How have you not shanked either or both of them by now?' Kevin asked, dropping his head into his hands.

'You get used to it,' Sam said. 'They mean well. Plus, they left you alone eventually, right?'

'I suppose.'

Sam nodded at the bartender and two beers materialised. He shoved one in front of Kevin. 'How'd the campus look?'

'Good,' Kevin said, taking a sip. 'Like a school, I guess? The library was pretty big.' He shrugged. 'I'm not looking for a frat to join or a bunch of extracurriculars, y'know?'

'All work and no play,' Sam said, letting the phrase tail off and drinking the neck off his beer. 'You never know, you might actually have a good time,' he teased.

'Now you sound like your brother,' Kevin pointed out, but he laughed. 'I know, I know. You're right. And I do want to have fun, I guess. Just,' he looked around the bar pointedly, looked at Charlie necking water while glaring defiantly at Dean and Dean smiling at her and pushing another glass her way. 'Not this kind of fun? Man, I keep having to say that.'

'We should get out of here then,' said Sam, downing the rest of his beer. 'Because I gotta say, I like my bars quieter and with more visible exits.'

He smiled at Kevin and suddenly getting out of here with Sam sounded like the best idea.

'I am abandoning you bitches,' Charlie announced, appearing at their elbows. 'Someone's gotta dance.'

'I'd better go with her Highness,' said Dean, clapping Sam on the shoulder. 'What are you guys up to?'

'Thinking of getting out of here,' Sam said, raising an eyebrow at Kevin. Kevin nodded. 'Stop cramping you guys' style, for a start.'

'Awww, Sammy, you know you never cramp my style.'

Sam snorted. 'Yeah, I do, all the time.' He got to his feet. 'Okay, we're out. You two have fun doing … whatever it is you do that you think is fun. And if you get swept off your feet keep your phones on, okay?'

'Yes, Mom,' said Charlie, dragging Dean away.

Sam shrugged, looked at Kevin. 'We going?'

Kevin pulled himself out of his seat. 'Yeah, let's go.'

The bar had a back door out into an alleyway that would cut a whole three blocks off their walk home. Apparently knowing things like that was Sam's job. He steered Kevin out through the crush of bodies in the bar with his giant hand on the small of Kevin's back. Kevin kind of leaned into it more than he maybe should have, and when they got out into the chilly air, maybe he didn't pull away.

Fair's fair though, Sam didn't quite drop his hand. They ended up walking kind of close, up against each other, along a long alleyway lined with dumpsters. Ahead, Kevin could see the occasional set of car headlights flashing by.

'Still can't quite believe you're off to college,' Sam said after a while, like he was trying to joke. 'Just got used to having everyone semi-sane and under one non-leaking roof, and now you're leaving us for higher education.'

'I'm not leaving,' Kevin said, stopping and looking up at Sam. 'You guys are … you're kind of my family, y'know. I'm just stretching my wings a bit.'

Sam looked at him. Kevin couldn't quite read his expression, but they were standing so close, and he was feeling brave thanks to the drinks, and there didn't seem to be a lot of reasons not to just lean up a little bit and kiss Sam. So he did.

Sam made a soft noise and his hand found the small of Kevin's back again, holding him still. Sam kissed back once, twice, warmly, and then pulled back a little. 'What are we doing?' he asked. 'I mean. Not that this isn't nice.'

'Maybe Charlie was barking up the wrong tree,' Kevin suggested, snugging up closer to Sam's body, enjoying the feeling of Sam's hands on him. 'I'm not into strangers, y'know?'

'Okay,' said Sam, something a little hotter curling into his smile. 'So is this a one-night thing?' he asked.

Kevin shrugged, feeling cocky, figuring the jokey road was better than the serious conversation, and said, 'Ask me again in the morning,' and Sam grinned at him as sharp as a knife, and pushed him up against a thankfully dumpster-free section of wall. He curled his arm around to keep Kevin's head off the bricks and kissed him again. Kevin couldn't help his mouth parting, letting Sam in, and he got bold and nipped at the plush swell of Sam's lower lip, too, which made Sam smile against his skin and retaliate.

Kevin might have lost some time, in the damp alley-way with Sam all over him. He could feel his own blood rushing in his ears as he kissed Sam, as Sam kept them pinned and plastered up against each other. But eventually Sam pulled back a little, braced his arms either side of Kevin's head and just looked at him. His eyes were dilated dark and his mouth was pink-red, and he licked his lips and said, 'Motel room?'

'Yeah,' said Kevin, and shit, was that his voice? 'Good - good idea.'

'I'm thinking we might wanna continue this a bit more privately,' Sam added. He licked his lips again. 'And horizontally.' There was just the tiniest uptilt to his tone, like that was a question.

'Definitely horizontally,' said Kevin, thinking about Sam's weight on him and trying to keep his knees from turning to water. Yes. That. He wanted that.

'C'mon then,' Sam said, stepping away and pulling Kevin to him in one move. 'Let's go.'

***

'Watch my drink,' Charlie ordered Dean cheerfully. 'I need the little girls' room.' She looked a lot steadier on her feet after water, some fries, and Dean making her give up the shots and stick to beer, so he felt okay letting her wander off by herself. Wouldn't have been the first time he'd hovered in a bar bathroom trying to work out if someone (Sammy) was pissing or falling asleep in the stall, but it got harder to come up with excuses for that that weren't creepy when the bathroom you were lurking in was the ladies and you weren't a lady.

So Dean leant against the bar and sipped his own beer and kept one eye on Charlie's, and waited.

There was a dude looking at him from a table nearby. Looking-looking. Dean took another drink and let him look. No harm in it, right? When he glanced back, the guy was making his way over.

'Friends abandoning you, huh?' he said when he reached Dean. 'Want some company?'

Dean shrugged. 'It's a free country.'

The man smiled. 'Haven't seen you here before.'

'Haven't been here before,' Dean said easily. 'And I'm leaving tomorrow.' He winked, kind of on autopilot. He was in a bar and someone was blatantly trying to pick him up. He couldn't say he didn't like the attention.

'Guess I'd better make the most of my time then,' and the other man leaned forward and kissed Dean.

Dean blinked, and his hands came up to catch the guy's shoulders, but … it did feel nice. Kissing. Being a little bit drunk and feeling happy and knowing someone wanted him, it was an old, familiar feeling that he kind of missed. The only thing that was new was the stubble.

… he was kissing a dude, he suddenly realised. And it was good, but he wasn't - this wasn't his thing. He pushed the guy away gently.

'I'm flattered,' he said, resisting the urge to blush, trying to just be cool about this. 'But uh, I -'

'Sorry,' the guy said, blinking. 'You're just. Uh. You're seeing someone?' he asked, and Dean realised it was the perfect out.

'Yeah, I - he isn't here tonight, and I guess I've had a little bit more than I thought ...' he let it trail off, an easy lie, one that let everyone out with their dignity intact.

'He's a lucky guy,' the stranger said softly, before he walked away.

Dean swiped a hand over his face, and picked up his beer again. No big deal. Situation handled.

Charlie bowled back up to him. 'Drink up,' she said. 'I think it's nearly closing time.'

'You coming back to the motel with me or have you found a lady-friend for the night?' Dean asked.

'I guess it's not my night,' Charlie said, shrugging. 'I think Kevin and Sam's dry spells are catching.'

****

Kevin didn't even know how they got back to the motel room. He didn't care, actually. All he remembered of the journey was the burn of Sam's body every time it touched his, the way Sam would yank him into dark corners every so often and kiss him like he couldn't wait.

And then they were inside, back in the motel room and Kevin's school pamphlets were still scattered across the table, but they went flying when Sam dumped his jacket on top of them.

'C'mere,' he said roughly, reaching out for Kevin, drawing him over to one of the beds. 'This is still okay, right?'

'It's perfect,' Kevin said. He sat on the end of the bed and leant back, let Sam come to him, and he did, bracketed Kevin's knees with his own, pushing Kevin gently back into the mattress and settling over him. He tipped Kevin's head back and kissed him again, fitting their mouths together like he knew exactly how they should go, and Kevin grabbed on to Sam's shoulders and held on tight.

Sam was heavy, solid, leaning down into Kevin knees-to-hips-to-chest, and rocking them together into the mattress insistently. Sam's cock was a hard, wide line against Kevin's thigh - Kevin's was pressed up against Sam's belly, the pressure and friction driving him the best kind of nuts. He pushed up just a little, trying for faster and harder and Sam laughed at him, pulling out of kissing him just for a moment.

'You keep doing that, this is gonna be over embarrassingly quick,' Sam said. He propped himself up on his elbows and looked down. 'And I kind of want to come in places that aren't my pants.'

'Should probably take them off, then,' said Kevin, trying for 'nonchalant' and probably only getting across 'horny'.

'Mmm, but that means getting off you, and I like it here,' Sam said in a low, mock-growly voice, thrusting again gently against Kevin's hips. 'Feels good. Maybe I'll stay.'

Kevin made a choked noise in the back of his throat. 'Pants off,' he groaned. 'Don't wanna come in mine either, okay?'

Sam sat up over Kevin's thighs and pulled Kevin up too, dragging his t-shirt off. 'Fair enough.'

Between them they managed to wrestle their jeans and underwear off, both of them taking care of their own despite how much Kevin kind of would have liked to get his hands literally in Sam's pants, and Kevin managed to get the buttons on Sam's shirt undone before Sam shook it the rest of the way off, pushed him down, gently and firmly, and kissed him again.

Kevin's knees fell open eagerly around Sam's hips. God, he wanted Sam closer, wanted that feeling of being warm and wanted and held onto, and Sam ruffled one hand through Kevin's hair and cupped his face, kept him still to lick into him. Kevin could taste beer, rich and sour with hops, but it was when Sam's other hand worked its way between their bodies, already starting to dampen with sweat and other things, that he started to feel tipsy with it. Drunk on touch, maybe, because he'd been living with the Winchesters long enough that three beers and a shot of tequila weren't enough to get him really drunk, but it had been so long since he'd been with someone, that this - skin on skin and another person so far into his space - was intoxicating.

Sam, kneeling up just enough to keep from crushing Kevin, groaned into their kiss as their erections nudged up against each other. Kevin felt Sam's fingers exploring, moving between them to curl around and hold them as one in his big hand, and couldn't help letting out a groan of his own, unable to stop his hips jerking into Sam's body.

Sam held them together, stroked them together, and Kevin dragged his hands down Sam's sides and back, trying to find purchase but also just dizzy and desperate to feel as much of what they were doing - as much of Sam - as possible. This wasn't gonna take long, Kevin realised breathlessly.

'Hey, hey,' Sam muttered into his hairline. 'You doing okay down there?'

Kevin's hands found Sam's ass, a leverage-point, and he ground up again. 'Good,' he panted. 'I just - Jesus Christ, please, I'm gonna -' because he wanted to come, he wanted to come really, really badly. Sam sped his strokes up, curving his hand between their bodies, fighting for space against Kevin frantically trying to get closer, get more friction, more touch, and Kevin bit his lip and let his eyes slam shut. The hollow of Sam's palm was slick with both of their mess, gliding over the head of Kevin's dick and Sam nosed against Kevin's neck, kissed him in the hollow under his collarbone and that was the final straw.

Sam kept a hold on him, kept stroking, as Kevin came and came, hips jerking and all kinds of stupid noises leaking out of his mouth. Sam was panting, muttering little bits of swearwords like fuck and crap and oh shit, shit, Kevin, Jesus and his confident rhythm was shot to Hell. Floating in the warm aftermath, own body still twitching with aftershocks, Kevin ran a hand up Sam's sweat-streaked shoulder and into his hair, pulled his head back so that he could kiss him again, feeling sated and entitled, and Sam gasped, pushed his cock into his hand against Kevin's, just one more time, and came.

'Hey, you alive up there?' Kevin asked after a long moment. Sam's face was buried in his shoulder, the pair of them were a mess, and okay, Kevin was weirdly comfortable with that but the fact that Sam hadn't moved or made a noise was a little unsettling. He poked Sam in the side gently.

'Mmmph, sorry,' Sam groaned, rolling over to lie next to Kevin.

'Guess it takes a while for all the blood to find its way back to your brain, huh?' Kevin joked. Sam threw an arm up over his face and laughed.

'Shut up.'

'It does have a long way to travel …'

Sam groped around until he found a pillow - which Kevin didn't realise he was going for until Sam smacked him with it. 'I'll give you a long way to travel,' Sam said.

'That doesn't even make sense.' Kevin rolled onto his side and leaned up to kiss Sam again. 'Thank God there're no -' he was about to say monsters, but then something worse made itself heard - the worryingly familiar sounds of drunken singing.

Both Sam and Kevin were on their feet and half dressed before they were even able to make out the individual words in the slurred song, and fully dressed and sitting at the table in the tiny dining area of the room before Dean and Charlie opened the door.

***

Kevin woke up before anyone else, which was pretty damn rare since he’d started spending time with the Winchesters. Probably something to do with the alcohol in his system - he never slept well after drinking. Charlie and Dean were dead to the world, sprawled over the couch, and even Sam was still snoring so Kevin took the chance and grabbed the Impala’s keys from Dean’s coat pocket.

The walk back to the bar in the cold morning air wasn’t half as good as the walk in the other direction the night before. Kevin couldn’t keep the grin off his face every time he thought about that.

Sure, now, in the harsh light of day he could see the reasons he shouldn’t have kissed Sam. There were about a million of them but, well, he’d done it. And Sam had kissed back so he completely wasn't responsible. Not for the whole thing, anyway.

And it had been spectacular. Ten out of ten, would do again.

Not that he had a large basis for comparison but ...

Sam was good. Sam was more than good, he was a real friend. The sex had been amazing and Kevin was more than willing to try it again in a dozen different positions but it was more than that. He liked Sam. Not, well, not "like-liked", at the risk of sounding like a kid. He didn’t love him or anything, but Sam was probably the best friend he had and, well, they'd had fun.

He was going away to college, he didn’t need a forever relationship right this moment. Not that he’d say no if things went that way but, well, maybe for a while they could just have fun? Sam needed some fun in his life, it’d be good for him.

***

Sam was woken up by the smell of coffee. He blinked around the room a few times, taking in the slumped bodies of Charlie and Dean, and then rolling out of bed and following his nose.

Kevin was sitting in the small kitchen area, a paper spread across the table and four cups in front of him. When he noticed Sam he grabbed one of the cups and offered it wordlessly. Sam took it, drinking the liquid in deep gulps. It was a little too hot and he knew it was bad for him to be this dependent on it, but damn he needed this coffee.

He sat down, lowering the almost empty cup to the table, and looked at Kevin. He let images from last night filter through his mind. Kevin’s skin, his lips, his … well, he probably shouldn’t think about that too much at the breakfast table.

He knew, on an intellectual level, that he shouldn’t really have done what he did last night. Kevin had been drinking, he hadn’t. Kevin was younger than him, less experienced. It was just that he'd been caught up in Kevin. That happened, sometimes. He got caught up in Kevin. In the sound of his voice, in thinking about him, in watching him work.

He watched now as Kevin moistened his finger to lift the page of his newspaper and Sam was almost entranced for a second before he reached down and grabbed his coffee again, hiding behind the cup.

Last night shouldn’t have happened. He should have stopped it. If not for Kevin then for himself. He knew this fascination, knew the feelings already more than half-formed in him. Kevin was going to go away, this could never be what Sam wanted it to be, and now he’d always know what it might have been like.

He was an idiot. A complete idiot. He couldn’t take last night back, but he could make sure it didn’t happen again. He wasn’t going down this road with someone. Not again.

***

'I think this is actually the first time we've all sat down around an actual table to eat,' said Charlie, looking around at the household proudly.

'Yeah, we have knives and forks and everything,' said Kevin, picking up one of the forks like he needed to demonstrate. He held it out for Sam to examine, catching his eyes, and Sam looked away. It had been a week since, well, since. And he’d thought about it. A lot. Sometimes it was all he could think about, and he still wasn’t sure what he wanted, but thankfully, Kevin hadn’t made a move, hadn't forced him to decide. He was just going to let it rest for now.

If Kevin did initiate something, well, Sam wasn’t sure what came next.

‘Don’t get used to this luxury,’ Garth said, stepping between Sam and Kevin to set a bowl on the table. ‘You’re going to be a student again, soon. I don’t think I owned a fork the entire time I was at college.’

‘Dude, how did you eat your instant noodles then?’ Charlie asked. She made a grab for the serving spoon but Dean got there quicker, grabbing a portion of the bowl of pasta Garth had brought out for himself.

‘Can we not start on the college stories?’ he grumbled as he filled his plate. ‘I get that you and Garth want to re-live your misspent youth ...’

‘Oh hush,’ Charlie interrupted. ‘This is all useful knowledge for Kevin. He’s going to be out there all on his own soon. It’s our job as surrogate family to arm him for the pitfalls of being a student. For example, what do you do when you wake up in a bed that’s not yours with someone who’s name you can’t remember and you’ve already missed your first lecture of the day?’

‘I’m really not planning on doing that,’ Kevin said with a flush. His foot came to press next to Sam’s under the table and Sam tried to ignore it, because reacting to it was a bad idea.

‘You’ve got to live a little when you’re in college,’ Garth insisted, sliding into his seat and dumping a bowl of salad on the table. Sam focused on retrieving the salad so he didn’t have to look at the flush on Kevin’s neck or feel Kevin’s foot pressed against his. He very deliberately did not move his own foot though.

‘I’m pretty sure I got through college without that happening,’ Sam said, putting some of the salad on Dean’s plate because Dean needed to eat more vegetables, no matter what he said.

‘Don’t use Sam as a college role model,’ Charlie advised, waving her fork like a weapon. ‘He didn’t have any fun then dropped out to chase monsters. I, on the other hand, had a wonderful time. You should join a LARP or something while you’re there. I made a load of friends that way.’

‘No thanks,’ Kevin said, taking the salad from Sam’s hands. ‘I have enough practice fighting in real life, I don’t need to play pretend.’

Dean pushed the salad off to one side of his plate to make room for the mound of pasta to spread, and said, 'Y'know, you shouldn't believe Sam when he tries to tell you he was a good little student the whole time he was at Stanford. Right, Sam? Or is that New Years' party with the cheerleader's uniform and that whole bottle of Jose Cuervo still just a blur?'

Sam glared at Dean. Dean grinned at him. Sam should have known that ten years of Dean not saying anything didn't mean Dean had forgotten that story.

'Oh my god,' said Charlie. 'And the uniform was -'

'On Sam,' Dean confirmed.

'I thought we agreed that this story was never, ever going to come up again,' Sam growled, staring down at his salad. Under the table, Kevin's foot was sliding gently up and down Sam's ankle.

'It's important that, if you're holding yourself up as a shining example of, I dunno, the correct way to be a college student,' said Dean, grinning, 'then all the details should come out.'

Sam decided to grit his teeth and salvage the situation. 'The important point you should take away from that story' he said to Kevin, ignoring Dean for now, 'is that you can't avoid your well-meaning but really unstealthy relatives from spying on you even if you run away from home.' Kevin's knee was nudging up against Sam's thigh, under the table.

'Aww Sammy, c'mon, I was just looking out for you.'

'Pics or it didn't happen,' Charlie interjected.

Dean shrugged. 'Believe me or not, it happened and no amount of brain bleach will ever make me forget it.'

'What was college really like, though?' Kevin asked Sam. 'I mean the day-to-day stuff.'

Sam shrugged, stabbing a forkful of salad. 'I dunno, kinda relaxing?' he said. That's pretty much what he remembered, to be honest. Long days, yeah, and classwork could be hard, but … after researching skinwalkers and vampires and kitsune trying to figure out how to kill them before they killed you? Essays were definitely relaxing, compared to that.

Garth reached across the table and grabbed the salt. 'You are the only person on Earth who thinks pre-law is relaxing.'

'You were at dental school,' Sam pointed out. 'That's practically medicine. I think your time at college was probably a bit more extreme than mine.'

'Hey, say what you like about dental students,' Garth said, leaning back in his chair and picking up his beer like he was toasting something. 'We work hard and we play hard.'

'Well, I just goofed around taking new media courses,' Charlie interjected. 'That's the way to live. I wrote my final paper on Battlestar Galactica. I almost convinced my Media professor that he should take us on a fieldtrip to ComicCon, but he got cold feet at the last moment.'

Sam squinted at her. 'Wasn't your degree in computer science?'

She flapped a hand dismissively at him. 'What, a girl can't write an essay or two while her code's compiling?'

The stories got dumber and dumber as the meal went on, until Garth was explaining the damaging effects of vodka-soaked gummi bears on the teeth, Dean was pointing out that he hadn't gone to college and it hadn't held him back, and Charlie was reminiscing about making out with the head cheerleader under the bleachers during a football final.

Kevin had his ankle hooked around Sam's and kept nudging their knees together, which made it really hard to concentrate on dinner, or on everyone else's conversation, or on not taking advantage of Kevin and rushing him upstairs to pin him down on the bed and make a mess out of him, but Sam tried. God, did he try.

Kevin had a little smile on his face the whole way through the meal. It did things to Sam's stomach. In an effort to make it stop, Sam pushed away from the table and stood, starting to pick up plates. 'Garth cooked, so I guess that means it's my turn to do the dishes,' he said, and tried to make an escape.

'This doesn't get you off the hook, Sam,' Dean called out lazily after him.

'Bite me,' Sam threw back, knocking the door to the kitchen open with his knee and heading through.

And then Kevin said, 'I'll dry,' and Sam realised maybe he was going to have to work out what the hell to do if Kevin made a move.

For awhile they managed to wash dishes in relative silence. Kevin hummed to himself as he dried and Sam, well, Sam tried not to freak out as he washed.

He liked Kevin too much, he knew that. Probably more than Kevin liked him, though apparently he was bad at judging Kevin’s level of interest. His liking people had never turned out well. His track record, well, best not to think too much about it. No great successes to his name, anyway, and Kevin meant more than another bad mistake. He meant more to all of them. If they did this and got it wrong Kevin wouldn’t just lose Sam, he stood to lose them all, and they all stood to lose him.

It was tempting to take anything Kevin offered, the problem was Sam knew he shouldn’t.

Their fingers brushed as Kevin took the last plate from him, and the way Kevin looked at him told him it was no accident. Sam withdrew his own hand quickly, almost causing the plate to drop to the floor.

‘Hey,’ Kevin said, setting the plate down on the drying rack and leaning in closer. ‘What was that about?’

‘I don’t know?’ Sam said, trying for casual and stepping back. ‘I think we’re done here?’

‘Are you in a rush to go?’ Kevin asked, reaching up to lay a hand on Sam’s arm. ‘I wanted to talk to you.’

‘Kevin…’

‘I mean, I think we should talk. About the gay bar and, well, the sex.’

‘Can’t it just be what it is?’ Sam asked, shrugging. ‘I mean, it’s a thing that happened, and can’t we just leave it there?’

‘What if I want it to happen again?’

‘I’m not sure that’s a great idea,’ Sam protested, trying to back away again. ‘I mean, there are a million reasons we shouldn’t.’

‘There’ll always be reasons we shouldn’t,’ Kevin said, leaning in. Sam took a full step back then. He was almost at the door and Kevin was looking at him in a way that made him want to just give in and, well. He wasn’t proud of it but sometimes retreat is the best way forward. He turned and headed for the door and the safety of his family.

He spent the rest of the evening getting his ass handed to him, trying to play Halo with Garth, Charlie and Dean, and he felt guilty as hell over the long face Kevin was wearing when he said he was heading to bed early, but given all the other potential ways Sam's stupidity in taking Kevin to bed could have ended, he'd take hurt feelings any day.

***

‘Dean,’ Charlie said, throwing herself down on the couch. ‘I love you like a brother but you and I? We need to have a serious talk about your TV addiction.’

Dean snorted, shifting to make room for Charlie to sprawl against his side. It was pretty damn nice, though he was glad she only seemed to do it when Sam wasn’t around. Not that, well, he’d gotten a little better about the entire conversation thing but it wouldn’t do for Sam to see him settling in for a cuddle when he wasn’t even getting sex in return.

‘Hey, nothing wrong with a little Doctor Sexy to unwind after a long day at work.’

‘You’ve not been working,’ Charlie pointed out with a smirk.

‘We’re setting up a hunters network. That totally counts as working.’

‘You mean Garth and I are setting up a hunter’s network,’ Charlie said, leaning her head back on to his shoulder to glare up at him. ‘I don’t remember you doing any of the work.’

‘I’m consulting.’

‘You’re having unnatural relations with your car is what you’re doing. You spend far too long working on that thing.’

‘And it’s hard work, so now I’m unwinding with some Doctor Sexy.’

‘If you say so,’ Charlie groused. She turned to face the TV again and Dean let her, settling in to watch Doctor Sexy try to save the life of his fourth cousin Marlon from the deadly disease he’d contracted working to save orphans in Peru while also fixing his relationship with Doctor Piccolo. They managed to make it through the entire climactic scene before Charlie spoke again, which was more than he’d expected.

‘So, if you could sleep with Doctor Sexy or Doctor Piccolo which would you choose?’ she asked,

“Doctor Piccolo, obviously,’ Dean replied, eyebrow raised. 'C'mon, she's a fox. Also a girl. I thought you and I were on the same wavelength with that one, anyway?'

‘Oh,’ Charlie said, sitting up a little, her forehead wrinkling. ‘Sorry, I guess. I just thought that, well, after the gay bar ...’

‘Just going in a gay bar doesn’t make me gay,’ Dean said with a smirk. ‘I’m secure enough about my masculinity to know that.’

‘I’m not talking about going in the bar,’ Charlie said, waving her hand. ‘I’m talking about the fact I totally caught you making out with a guy when I came back from the bathroom. Don’t you remember? I swear you weren’t that drunk.’

Dean hadn’t been that drunk. Drunk but, well, not that drunk. He remembered. But it had been … he wasn’t even sure why he did it and that was the worst part. He wasn’t into guys, never had been before.

He’d just been in a good mood, that was all. It was a good night. Sam was alright, Kevin and Charlie were alright. Everyone was happy and alive and, well, he felt like celebrating. It had been a long time since everyone was alright. Hell, even Cas and Garth were alright. Not that Garth was ever not alright but Cas. Cas had stuff to do, which was good for him. He had his powers, he had people, he came to see them as often as he could and he answered Dean’s prayers which was pretty damn awesome.

He’d been thinking about all this and then there’d been the guy smiling at him and Dean had been drunk and happy and he kind of worked on auto-pilot when he saw that kind of smile and it had only been a little kiss, really. Hardly any tongue. He hadn’t even known Charlie had seen.

It wasn’t like it made him anything other than straight. He guessed he could kind of see why Charlie might think that, though.

‘Nah, don’t remember anything,’ Dean lied. ‘I must have been pretty damn drunk if I did kiss a man.’

‘Oh, you did,’ Charlie said with a smirk. ‘I don’t think you were that drunk, either. I’m on to you, Winchester.’

‘Whatever,’ Dean said, shoving her in the shoulder. ‘Now shut up, I want to watch this bit.’

***

'This,' Sam mumbled into Kevin's shoulder, 'is the opposite of what I wanted to happen.' They were in Kevin's bed. Only a few days ago Sam had been saying no to this and Kevin had thought whatever it was was over, but, somehow, here they were anyway. Kevin wasn't planning on looking this particular gift horse in the mouth.

Kevin snorted and got his hand in Sam's hair, gently pulling until they were actually looking at each other. 'I feel like I should be offended,' he said. 'Dude, was I that bad?'

'No,' said Sam immediately. 'Jesus, no.'

'Then what's the problem?' Kevin asked. 'I mean, that was good? Right? I'm not complaining,' he added, stretching and feeling his muscles complain, and feeling a little smug about it. 'And we're both consenting adults.' He squinted at Sam. 'This … this isn't you having a gay freakout or something is it?'

Sam rolled his eyes. 'You're not the first person with a dick I've slept with,' he said. 'It's okay, I'm not having a crisis of identity because of what you keep in your pants.'

'Then what?' Kevin asked. He propped himself up on his elbow so that he could look at Sam properly. 'Seriously.'

'Seriously?' Sam pushed himself up to sit against the headboard, and Kevin wanted to curl up against him, but … well, he'd asked for the serious answer. He couldn't do that and then go in for a cuddle. 'I don't want to screw things up,' Sam said. He shrugged, his big shoulders rippling, as if that's all there was to it.

'Screw what up?'

'We just got everything good, y'know? For the first time, everyone's safe and, and happy, and we've got a place to live. No-one's got a death-sentence hanging over them ...' Sam trailed off.

'So?'

'So … I don't have a good history with this kind of thing,' Sam said, kind of gesturing at the bed and Kevin and himself. 'There's Jess, and … and Madison, and … even Andy, or Corbett … like, even people I literally just hooked up with. They all … well, you know. And if that's all just coincidence and I'm just paranoid, there's still the fact that we live together, we have all the same friends - if this goes south then what happens there?' He looked over at Kevin and his expression was haunted. 'I like you, I like you a lot, and I want to do this. But I don't want it to ruin our friendship.'

'It won't,' Kevin said, still having to fight the urge to curl up against Sam but now mostly because dude, guy looked like he needed a hug. 'Or, it doesn't have to. We're just having fun, right? And if you want to stop - really want to, I mean, not just because you think you should or whatever - then we can stop.'

Sam huffed a little laugh. 'You make it sound so simple.' But he kind of stretched out an arm and pulled Kevin into his arms.

'We just have to be smart about it,' said Kevin. 'Plus, you gotta ease your way back into relationships, right? Unless you're planning on celibacy for the rest of your your life?'

'No,' Sam said, pulling Kevin a little closer. 'Definitely not.'

Kevin grinned and slid into Sam's lap. 'Then I'll be your test case. You'll see. Not everything goes wrong.' And then, because he'd set himself up for it and couldn't resist the line, he added, 'Sometimes you get a happy ending.'

Sam burst out laughing and wrestled Kevin down into the bed and that was kind of the end of talking for a while.

***

Sam woke up at five in the morning and rolled over, groaning - until he bumped into Kevin, and froze.

'Mmm, hey,' Kevin mumbled, and nudged up closer, tucking under Sam's arm.

Ohhh, this was dangerous. Sam wanted to stay, go back to sleep and wake up with first light and get up like this was normal … and he couldn't. This had to stay low-key if it was going to keep happening. No-one else could know. It would get complicated, could go wrong, if other people got involved.

'I should go,' Sam whispered, gently disentangling himself. 'I'll see you at breakfast.' He dropped a kiss on Kevin's cheek and picked up his clothes, pulling on enough of them to make the run back to his bedroom.

He closed Kevin's door behind him, as quietly as he could, and practically tiptoed to his own room.

Could they just have fun with this? Could it really be that simple? Sam flopped onto his bed and tried to convince himself Kevin was right, because he knew this wasn't going to stop.

***

Garth stopped in his tracks on his way up the stairs to the bathroom (the downstairs toilet was out of paper, go figure) when Sam ducked out of Kevin's bedroom clutching what looked like the clothes he'd been wearing last night. Huh. Now that was an interesting development.

Kevin wasn't sick or hurt, that Garth knew about - so Sam probably wasn't in with him checking he was okay, or something. And if he was having a prophetic vision, well, those tended to wake up Dean and Charlie first, given they were either side of Kevin's room - Sam was on Dean's far side, so the noise of Kevin in the throes of a nightmare wasn't likely to have woken just him and no-one else.

It was juuuust possible that they'd been working on research together, but … why in the bedroom? In the early hours of the morning? And why would Sam have needed to take everything but his boxers off?

Looked like they had a little household romance going on. Garth smiled. It was kind of cute. But if they were still at the 'sneaking around at night' stage then they probably weren't ready for anyone else to know. That was okay. Garth could keep a secret. He padded up the stairs and picked up the undershirt Sam had dropped outside Kevin's room, and stuffed it into the laundry hamper in the bathroom on his way to take a piss.

Frankly, they were going to need his help to keep their secret. If he could spot it, well, it was only a matter of time before Dean did. So, in the interests of young love and house unity he was just going to have to help them out.

***

Sam knew it was just one of the many signs that this was an incredibly bad idea but, as spectacular as the sex was, his favourite aspect of the thing he had with Kevin was where, after the sex, they’d curl up together beneath the sheets and just, well, talk. Not that they didn’t talk in other places, but there was something special about the intimacy of lying there with someone after sex. It made him feel, well, a lot of things but maybe like he could talk about anything.

Still, he hadn’t been quite prepared when Kevin looked up at him, all ruffled hair and kiss-swollen lips, and asked about the other men Sam had slept with.

“What?” Sam asked, because it was hardly the normal kind of thing for pillow talk. Kevin looked up like Sam was the one being weird.

“Don’t you want to talk about them?” he asked, bringing a hand up to cup Sam’s jaw. “I thought you weren’t ashamed of your sexual experience.” Sam could almost hear quote marks drop into place around the phrase.

“I’m not,” Sam said, indignant. “I just … you really want to hear about the other people I’ve slept with when we’re in bed together?”

“It’s not like we can talk about it anywhere else,” Kevin pointed out in his reasonable voice. “And it’s not like I’m jealous. I’ve not known you that long, of course there’ve been other people. I’d be worried if there hadn’t been. And, well, you know my history, not that there's much to tell.”

“I don’t remember them all,” Sam said, flushing a little. “I mean, if you were looking for a complete inventory.”

“No,” Kevin said, shifting to lay on his front, chin resting on Sam’s chest in a way that looked kind of uncomfortable. “Honestly, I just wanted to get to know you better. If you don’t want to talk about it …”

“That’s not it, I kind of feel like there’s nothing to tell,” Sam said with a sigh. “I mean, there’ve been people all over the country but most of the time I’m with them once and I never see them again. It’s not what I prefer, but I’ve made my peace with it. And it can be kind of awesome, just getting to have fun and knowing there’s nothing serious. Nobody’s going to get hurt.”

“Kind of worried that you associate 'long term' with 'hurting people' but, yeah, I can see the appeal of that,” Kevin said, rolling over and curling into Sam’s side again. “You must have some stories, though?”

“I guess,” Sam agreed, running a hand over Kevin’s back, trying to think of something to tell that would be entertaining without being uncomfortable. “I mean, well, not everyone I’ve slept with’s been human. I guess not many people can say that.”

“You’ve slept with a monster?” Kevin asked, interest obviously perked. Sam laughed.

“Well, I’m not going into everything, but definitely angels. This one angel, Balthazar, he was kind of … kind of wild, I guess? He wanted to test out human hedonism and, well, why not?”

“That’s kind of awesome,” Kevin agreed. “Though I wouldn’t have thought angels would be much for the casual sex thing.”

“Well, not all of them are as socially awkward as Castiel.”

“He is kind of extreme,” Kevin agreed. “So, just the one angel?”

“I’d rather not talk about it,” Sam said, trying desperately not to think about it. Not just the one angel, no. But that was gone, in the past with all his other mistakes and the other people he’d let down. No point in dragging it all out now. Kevin didn’t want stories like that, he wanted the fun times. “There was this one time with a telepath, though …”

***

Charlie was technically working, in that her laptop was on her lap and open to something that wasn't Tumblr, but 'my code's compiling!' always felt like such a lame excuse. Dean was sprawled next to her on the couch with a beer and the Xbox controller, waiting for Garth to come back with the popcorn he'd promised, when there was a noise like someone shaking a sheet out before folding it.

Dean jumped like he'd been Tasered.

'Hello, Dean. Charlie,' said Cas, nodding at them.

'Hey, Cas,' said Charlie. 'Long time no see.' She smiled at him. 'Here on business or pleasure?'

'It's always my pleasure to visit here,' Cas replied, smiling back, but it wasn't just Charlie he was looking at. In fact, he wasn't really looking at Charlie at all, not for long anyway.

'You should sit,' Charlie prompted. 'I mean, if you're here for something that isn't too urgent? Garth's just getting snacks - you missed dinner, sorry.'

Cas sat gingerly down on the remaining seat on the sofa, and Dean made space for him like it was automatic, reining in the octopus-sprawl that he and Sam were both prone to and which usually ended up in them fighting over space on a couch that could very comfortably seat three people, so that Cas fit in next to him. 'How's things, Cas?' Dean asked.

'Good,' Cas said. 'Heaven is becoming more and more stable every day, and I now have the freedom to watch over the Earth as well sometimes. It's almost like having the old garrison back.'

Dean smiled at him softly. Charlie blinked. That wasn't a usual Dean Winchester expression. He started talking about the improvements Sam was making on the house and their progress with the hunters' network, and Charlie realised fairly quickly she wasn't needed in this conversation. Not that they were deliberately ignoring her, just that they were clearly catching up. So she focused on her code, rather than watch them like a socially-awkward creeper.

Her imminent-hookup spidey-senses were kind of tingling a bit (another skill picked up in college that wasn't on the syllabus. She made a mental note to tell Kevin about that useful social ability too sometime). This small talk was kind of intense, given it was just Dean giving Cas the update on what they'd been up to lately. Maybe Charlie should give them some, uh, space.

'Garth's been ages,' she said, putting her laptop down and getting up. 'I'll just go see if he needs some help.'

The second she got into the kitchen she shut the door. Garth looked up from the saucepan he was popping corn in, raising an eyebrow at her. 'What's up, sister?'

'Cas is here,' she said, leaning against the countertop. 'Just, y'know, dropped by. Not sure what for, yet.'

'Oh, cool,' Garth said, turning back to the popcorn. 'Guess I should make more of this, then?' When Charlie didn't say anything else, he looked up at her again. 'Something wrong?'

'No,' Charlie said. 'I just …'

'Just what?'

Charlie wasn't sure how to put it. 'Uh … if I go back out there, am I going to be interrupting something?'

Garth squinted at her. 'Interrupting … oh, you mean Dean and Cas. Nah.'

'You sure?'

'Yeah, I'm sure. Pretty sure, anyway,' Garth corrected himself. 'It's a pretty intense bromance, huh? Well, I guess it has been a while since Cas has been around. They're probably not gonna be great company for any of the rest of us for a while.' He picked up the saucepan and poured the corn into a bowl, and then looked down at it very seriously. 'Hmm. Salt, butter, or both, d'you reckon?'

'Both,' said Charlie, because she liked to live on the edge. 'But seriously, "intense bromance"? There was definite eyefucking going on there.'

Garth shrugged. 'That's just how they are. So. You wanna play Need for Speed?'

***

Regular access to sex was awesome. Like, the best thing that had happened to Kevin in years. Alright, the list of good things that had happened to Kevin in these past few years was pretty short, but still, the sex was awesome.

Sam was pretty awesome, too. Kevin was glad he’d managed to set up this little arrangement with him. Not that he’d have been saying no if sex had come in a different package but Sam was, well, awesome. Sam had amazing hands and was so damn strong he could just lift Kevin up and move him around, and as well as being hot as hell he was also, well, kind of awesome. They’d lie there after and talk, and Kevin loved that almost as much as he loved the other stuff.

He loved sprawling out with his head on Sam’s shoulder. He loved hearing Sam’s heart beat slowly, calming, as they lay there. He loved the way Sam couldn’t seem to stop touching him.

Mostly, he thought he was lucky that he’d managed to find someone who he could have fantastic sex with and then, after, could have a decent conversation with too. Sam was interesting and he was interested in what Kevin had to say in return. Kevin kind of felt like they could talk about anything when they were lying in bed together. He’d never really had that before.

Though maybe it wasn’t a lying in bed together thing so much as a Sam thing. These days it seemed harder and harder not to lay his head on Sam’s shoulder as they were watching TV, or hold his hand when they were talking in the kitchen. He’d find himself sat there staring at Sam working instead of doing the things he was meant to be doing.

He liked Sam. Maybe a little more than he should, but not enough to be a problem. He hoped it wasn’t going to be a problem, anyway. He reminded himself that he was going to college soon. That would probably help. If they weren't in each other's space all the time, Kevin wouldn't feel these weird urges, right?

***

Charlie started to notice a pattern, after Castiel started coming round more. A pattern involving Dean. Cas would turn up, unannounced (which wasn't a problem - actually, it was really nice to have a visitor occasionally. Charlie sometimes worried they were getting a little antisocial), and he and Dean would sit on the couch in full view of the entire household and have completely normal conversations - in a really intense way.

Sam tended to find reasons to wander off fairly early during evenings when Cas was around, which Charlie would have found suspicious except it was blatantly obvious he was trying to give them space. Kevin also tended to disappear, and even Garth, who basically lived in the main communal areas of the house and barely even acknowledged that he had a bedroom, found other places to be.

So. Charlie obviously wasn't alone in her suspicions.

And after Cas left - he never stayed long, he was a busy angel - Dean always seemed more kind of Zen about everything for a little while. He smiled more. Garth got away with hugs, Charlie got away with Project Runway marathons, Sam got away with salads, Kevin got away with leaving books all over the kitchen table.

Since they'd all taken up residence here, Dean had been happier than Charlie had ever known him, and she'd figured that was because his slightly-control-freaky mother-hen streak was finally getting satisfied, now that he had everyone under one roof and safe. But add Cas into the mix even for a couple of hours and it was like Dean's contentment got amped up to eleven.

Intense bromance. Sure.

***

'So, we should probably talk,' Kevin said, still kinda breathless. He was sprawled over Sam and mostly sort of mumbling into Sam's skin, but the words were clear enough. Sam froze.

First there had been the acceptance letter. Sam had been genuinely pleased and proud and excited about the acceptance letter. Kevin was getting to go to college, like he deserved, and Sam was so happy for him that his heart clenched a little. He remembered getting that letter himself. At the time, it had been the best day of his life.

That night he'd taken Kevin to bed and done his best to make him lose his brilliant, articulate mind.

But then came the prep. Book lists and packing and the logistics of travel. Finding a place to stay. Maps of campus turned up pinned to Kevin's wall with Post-its on. And Sam started to realise that going to college was the same as going away. And he told himself that it would be okay - Kevin still had a home here, just like he still had a home with his mom; he went to stay with her on weekends sometimes, and that was fine. Kevin would just be gone more, during the semester, sure, but he'd be back for breaks. It's not like he was leaving for good, or emigrating or something.

But this thing between them was so delicately-balanced. Kevin had pitched it as easy, fun, no-strings-attached, and those were the terms Sam had accepted, but the truth was, there were strings, y'know? Maybe Sam was the only one who knew they were there, and maybe it was his own fault, but for whatever reason, he didn't want to let this go.

But he knew what was going to happen. Kevin would go to college, and meet someone. Someone his own age, someone amazing and smart and going-places, someone who wasn't a college dropout whose achievements to-date weren't limited to house-repair, fraud and general Armageddon-related activities, and when he came home for holidays this thing between them wasn't going to be there any more.

And Sam was going to have to be okay with that, for Kevin's sake.

'We should?' Sam said, trying to pretend he didn't know what about.

Kevin pushed himself up on his hands and looked Sam in the eye. 'I'm going away in two days,' he pointed out. 'For kind of a while. Right?'

'I spent most of the day putting up lights for the party Garth and Charlie are planning for you,' Sam said. 'It's not like I could miss it. Why?'

But he knew why. And this wasn't going to be any easier if he acted like a dick about it.

Kevin sighed. 'We've … this has been fun, right?

'This is the 'we should see other people' talk, isn't it?' Sam said, trying to joke. 'Hey, it's okay. You're going to college. I know what it's like.'

'Sam -'

'It's cool, Kevin,' Sam said. 'We're not - this was for fun. That's all.' He knew he was on the border of babbling, and tried to rein it back. 'What I'm trying to say is, I guess … we don't need to make a huge deal about this right? You're going to college and it's going to be an amazing experience and you don't need to -'

'Sam.' Kevin put a hand over Sam's mouth. 'I just don't want us to get hung up on this, okay? You're one of my best friends. You’re always going to be one of my best friends, this isn’t going to change that.’

Sam smiled sadly, reaching up to take Kevin’s hand away from his mouth. Kevin looked at him oddly but Sam just squeezed his fingers and brought their joined hands to lie on his chest. Of course Kevin didn’t get it, not yet. This was going to change everything - but he was young and he’d never done anything like this before. Couldn’t see the million little ways this was going to change both of them.

‘Don’t worry about it,’ he said, finally. ‘You’re moving on to a new part of your life and that’s okay.’

Kevin didn’t say anything to that, instead just looked at their linked hands, and Sam let him. After all, what else was there to say? They’d always known this was coming. He pulled Kevin a little closer and tried to concentrate on memorising the feel of him lying there, not dwelling on the fact that this was probably the last time he would.

***

Kevin was, basically, bouncing off the walls. Sam knew he was in trouble anyway, but if he hadn't caught on yet, the fact that he found Kevin’s inability to keep still endearing would have confirmed it. He was in love with Kevin Tran and Kevin Tran was going away to college the next day.

Life was unfair, but he’d known that since he was a baby. All he could do for now was let Kevin have his fun.

As parties went it wasn't exactly overattended. In fact, the only person here who didn't actually live here was Cas. But they'd put up lights and got snacks and stuff, and okay, maybe the decor was half Christmas, one quarter Thanksgiving, and the rest miscellaneous-sporting-event related (no Halloween. They never celebrated Halloween. That was pretty much the first, last, and only unanimous house decision ever) but the general effect was pretty good.

'If Dean didn't have that ridiculous rule about dogs I'd be asking you who killed your puppy,' Charlie said, sidling up to him with a beer in each hand. 'Here. Drink this, you'll feel all better.'

'I'm not - I'm - sorry,' Sam said, rather than argue with Charlie. 'Just distracted, I guess. Uh. Y'know.' He peered up at the ceiling for a moment. 'House stuff. Does that look like damp to you?'

'How would I know?' Charlie took hold of his elbow and steered him round a little. 'Okay, be cool, but what do you see right there?'

Sam looked in the direction she was pointing him. There didn't seem to be anything of interest except more possible damp, which on second thoughts might also just be a really big dusty spiderweb. Did they own a duster? 'Where?' Sam asked, trying to stay on-topic.

'There,' Charlie hissed.

'What, on the table?' Sam squinted. Was this another bewitched cupcake incident? And if so how come it was Charlie that was picking up on the signs first? He knew he was in danger of getting rusty, living soft like this in a house with nice people and good food, but seriously. You'd think he'd spot a possessed cupcake -

'Standing in front of the table,' Charlie said, which probably put a hole in the cupcake theory.

Sam looked again, trying to work out what the hell .. 'The only … do you mean Dean and Cas?'

'Finally!'

They were just talking. Dean had handed Cas a beer. Sam didn't get it. 'What about them? Do I need to get the holy water?' Maybe they should have just made the punch with it to start with … 'Or silver -'

Charlie pulled him around again. 'Be cool, be cool,' she said quietly. 'Don't startle them.'

'Ooo-kay, you're gonna have to give me a bit more context here,' Sam whispered back. 'Is it shifters, or -'

'Oh my god, seriously?'

'Seriously what? Charlie, you've got to give me something to go on here.' Sam shrugged and took another drink, since this didn't appear to be some kind of imminent danger thing. 'My psychic days are long over, buddy.'

'You don't think they're, y'know, close?' She waggled her eyebrows. 'In general, and right now?'

Sam sighed. 'No. I think they're Dean and Cas. Not everything is an episode of Dr Sexy, Charlie.'

Over by the table, Dean cracked some joke and Cas smiled. Kevin walked over and joined them - Dean clapped him on the shoulder. Sam's happy mood lurched a little, remembering the point of the party.

'You know what?' Sam said, putting his beer bottle down on the bookcase harder than he meant to. 'I'm gonna go check on the cake. Hold that thought. Or, actually, don't. Let that one go, you hear me?'

He made it out to the kitchen before he could get caught by anyone. Just in time to catch the first whiffs of burning.

'Oh, jeez, crap, no -' Sam wrenched the oven open and yanked the cake out, burning the side of his hand because he grabbed a dishtowel rather than an oven-glove.

What he pulled out of the oven was basically a brown, sunken brick.

Sam stared at it. It still kind of looked edible, but how would he know? Would the rest of the cake be okay underneath? Maybe the burnt stuff was just on the outside, and the rest of it would be all right. He had a vague recollection of how to make frosting. That might be the solution. Everyone liked frosting, and he could just slather it on and any residual burnt bits would be camouflaged, right?

'Oh, hey, I thought I smelled something,' said Garth, shuffling into the room. 'Good work, Sam.'

'I think it's done for,' Sam said, because now he actually envisioned just covering this burnt lump with frosting he was pretty sure he couldn't do it. No-one would want that cake, no matter how much sweetening he dumped on top.

'Nah,' said Garth, nudging him out of the way. 'We just gotta clean it up a bit, it'll be fine. And anyway, it's the thought that counts. Kevin'll appreciate it because we made it for him.' While he talked he was trimming bits of too-brown off, and before Sam could even blink the cake was already looking better.

'Anyone ever tell you, you talk like a preschool book sometimes?' Sam asked, and Garth smiled at him.

'Better than a horror movie,' he said easily. 'Or one of them Dan Brown novels. Least kids books make sense most of the time.'

Sam had to admit he was right.

He took a step back and turned around to see through the kitchen door. Charlie had managed to attach herself to Kevin, so he was probably safe for now at least. He hoped she didn’t decide to chat to Kevin about her theory. He was meant to be enjoying himself, not getting caught up in Charlie’s crazy ideas.

Though, well, he was going to be gone soon so it wasn’t like Charlie’s ideas would have a lot of time to cause him problems. He’d soon be busy with classes and work and a new social life that didn’t involve demons or killing things at all.

It was a good thing. It really was a good thing. Sam just had to remember that.

‘You forgotten how to smile?’ Dean asked, and Sam spun around to find his brother lurking over his shoulders, Cas having abandoned him to help Garth fix the cake. Looked like the party was moving into the kitchen. Probably because the beer was still mostly in the fridge.

‘I’m fine,’ he said automatically. Dean rolled his eyes, bumping their shoulders and gesturing over at Kevin. For a horrible second Sam thought they’d been found out, that Dean had known all about them all along.

‘He’s only going to college, man. I know you’re going to miss your little geeky bonding sessions but it’s not like he’s skipping the country.’

‘I’ll just miss him,’ Sam said, letting out a breath. It was fine to miss Kevin as a friend. They were all going to miss Kevin as a friend. He was a great guy. Dean shrugged and gave him a shove forward and Sam went, forcing a smile on his face. He just had to keep reminding himself that all Kevin could be was a friend, that was all. He could cope with this.

He’d coped with loss before and this time it was for all the right reasons. Kevin was going to have a life, a real life without demons or anything, and Sam was going to be happy for him.

***

Kevin was pretty sure he’d planned everything. He’d found a small place off campus since the thought of sharing a room with a normal person was, quite frankly, horrific. He’d researched the hell out of the school. He’d let Sam and Dean help him out with enough money to live on until he could find a job or something (which he knew meant they’d stolen money for him but whatever, that’d never explicitly said they were doing that so he had plausible deniability). He’d packed everything and made lists and checked everything and then checked it off again as they unpacked it and set up his room, and then his housemates had left, and now …

Now they were at the bit he’d somehow managed to not plan for. He was sat in his tiny, joyless room that was kind of all he could afford. They’d unpacked and it was full of his things, ready for the classes he’d go to tomorrow and he, well, he was alone.

He’d not even thought about being alone or, when he had, he’d thought it would be a good thing. He was so used to living in a house that was really too small for that many people with Garth and Charlie and Dean and Sam and you didn’t exactly get any privacy there. He’d almost longed for this place but, now … he kind of wished Charlie would come banging in to shout at him about something or Dean would want him to translate or Sam …

He wasn’t thinking about it.

It was just the first night, that was all. Of course he was lonely. It’d get better, he hoped. When he made friends. If he made friends. It had been so long since he'd spoken to normal people but, no, he would make friends.

He had to.

And he definitely would not call Sam just to hear his voice. Not yet, anyway.

***

Charlie was aware that she didn't have the greatest reputation for being subtle. Or patient. But people didn't always understand that the whole bubbly and impulsive thing was for thinking up new ideas while the last idea's code was compiling. She was just good at setting things up to run themselves and moving on to something new, that was all. She could do strategy.

Sitting at the kitchen table with her laptop as a cover, she was trying to strategise about something not code-based for once - and that something was Dean and Cas.

Maybe no-one else could see it, or maybe they just didn't want to rock the boat, but Charlie knew happiness when she saw it on the face of Dean Winchester, and she usually saw it when Cas was around. And Dean deserved to be happy, really truly happy, as much as he could, which meant Cas needed to be around more.

But this was gonna have to be a long game. Charlie flicked open the monster database she was working on coding up from Garth's notes, and poked at it. Out of the corner of her eye she could see out the open kitchen door to where Dean was washing the Impala with Cas helping. His sleeves were actually rolled up, which wasn't something you saw that often.

Dean was laughing at something Cas had said. Cas was smiling back, clearly pleased at having amused Dean.

Charlie yanked Garth's hunter's journal across the table towards her, flicking to the bookmark she'd put in it to mark where she was up to - skinwalkers- and started typing, trying to think up the best keywords to attach to the entry. But most of her was thinking, what could bring Cas here more? Maybe they just needed more time together, that's all. They were already close. Just a bit more time, maybe they'd realise what she (and she suspected Sam and Garth) already knew - that they made each other happy.

She didn't want to meddle. She just wanted to help.

***

There was plenty of stuff to do around the house, which kept Sam's mind off the absence of Kevin tucked into corners studying, or handing him hammers and screwdrivers, pretty nicely most of the time. But by the end of the first week, Sam had to admit that this whole 'it'll get easier in time' thing wasn't quite playing out how he'd hoped. The thing was, Saturday had kind of been their night. Dean and Charlie tended to go out to bars together in some kind of obscure attempt to test every bar in the area. Several times. They either took Garth or Garth took himself away somewhere else, but he was always gone, and it had always just been Sam and Kevin. They’d have a beer and then inevitably end up making a mess of the sheets.

Dean had tried to drag them out but they never went, always had excuses, so when Dean had tried to drag him out that first Saturday after Kevin'd left, (‘Come on, you’ve not even got Kevin to keep you company in geekville here. Have a drink’) he’d kind of felt he had to say no. After all, if he took up going along with them as soon as Kevin left, how long would it be before they worked it out? Figured out that maybe now he didn't have a reason to stay behind.

So Sam was kind of home alone. On a Saturday night. With Kevin away at university probably having the time of his life, but he wasn’t going to dwell.

They’d decided on this together and it was for the best. From the beginning he’d known he’d never get to keep Kevin. It had always been a dream. He’d enjoyed it while he had it and now the best thing he could do was let it go. Let Kevin had the best life he could out there without him.

He wasn’t going to be miserable and he wasn’t going to dwell on it. They were broken up, it had to stay that way. He had to be strong about this because, in the end, it was what was best for Kevin.

He decided to spend his evening working on the spare room. It was the last big job and working stopped him thinking, at least. That was the best he could hope for.

Maybe if he kept saying the same things to himself over and over they'd turn out to be true?

***

In the end, Kevin decided to phone Sam. He hadn’t meant to. He did, after all, talk to Sam every time he phoned the house. He got handed around everyone then, got to talk to them all, but he’d never phoned Sam specifically. Not how he wanted to.

He did want to. He’d thought this ridiculous thing would fade but it didn’t. Not at all. It just kept getting worse, the missing. The wishing Sam was here to share jokes with him or help with his work or just, well …

So he gave himself one phone call. Just one phone call, just to say goodbye. After all, the last time they’d really talked it hadn’t been great. They’d both been hurting. Both been a little bit torn. This time, well, they could say a proper goodbye and then he’d be able to hang up the phone and move away. He’d be able to stop thinking about the way Sam’s hands felt, about how he missed Sam’s laugh.

It wouldn’t take long. Just an ending.

Sam picked up on the third ring.

“Hello. Kevin, are you alright?”

“Yeah,” Kevin exhaled, something inside him loosening.

Three hours later he hung up the phone with a soft ‘goodnight’ and admitted that, yeah, maybe he did have feelings for Sam Winchester after all.

And he'd broken up with him.

He needed to fix that.