There's a door in the hallway to the garage that never existed before.
Dean has been here coming on five years now. This is his hallway. It leads to the garage, and the garage is his in the same way the library is Sam's and this is his hallway and he has walked it a thousand times and he never authorised this door. This door is not in his plans.
This door does not exist.
It's ajar, this time he passes. It doesn't exist, but it's ajar, chocked open and when Dean presses on it it swings open and his fucking brother is in there reading a goddamn book.
“Hey, Dean,” his fucking brother murmurs, eyes on the page.
“Sam,” Dean says carefully, looking around. It's a fair-sized room for all that it's a room that is not supposed to be there, looks like one of several boring unused multi-purpose rooms in the bunker, tiles halfway up the wall and fancy sconces and a couch in the middle facing a – a wall-mounted TV in which he sees his own bewildered reflection, and to his right his brother is sitting at a table reading a book the size of a suitcase like a magically-appearing TV – couch – table – room is nothing at all.
“Sam,” Dean says, slightly less carefully, and Sam looks up at him, swipes his hair out of his face and apparently finds it funny, those eyes gleaming amused, his lips twitching, and Dean remembers back in the kitchen this morning, Sam nattering about the moon or some such thing while Dean was trying to get his coffee on and his hangover off. “Goddamn it, Sam.”
“Maybe if you listened to me when I--”
Dean tunes him out, looks around again. It's a pretty shit room as magic rooms go, and he steps in for a better look, kicks the chock out of his way and surreptitiously tests his weight on the polished concrete, and Sam jumps out of his seat with a shout and the door latch clicks behind him.
Sam's not so amused anymore, colour on his cheeks and glaring daggers.
Dean looks behind. At the wall.
“You should have said,” he says.
“I did say,” Sam hisses.
Dean swallows and knocks on the wall where the door used to be. The wall responds with the unyielding scorn of plastered brick.
“Uh,” he says. He's not – he's not claustrophobic, he learned early to rid himself of any of that sort of feeling, no quicker way to get yourself killed when you start to panic about being locked in but – there's no door anymore, there's no, there's no outside, it's just four walls and a floor and a ceiling and that makes him kinda queasy. “Sam.”
Sam shakes his head. “Five hours,” he says, a little softer. “Five hours or so, we just gotta wait it out.”
Dean knocks on the wall again, runs his fingers along where the jamb used to be. No cracks, no seams, the paint unmarred.
“You didn't leave the stove on, did you?” Sam says and Dean has an awful moment when he thinks: the stove, the iron, the headlights, the sink, are they on? The garage door? Is it open? “Did you?”
“No,” Dean says, rapidly, pretty sure, mostly sure. He's ninety-nine point nine percent sure that the place will still be there when they get out but he's not – all this time and still he's no good at having a house. He's nearly forty and he can't even manage to keep track of how many doors he has. “Why would you even--”
“The book,” Sam says. “I told you.”
“Couldn't you have just brought it--”
“It has to stay, it comes with the room, it can't leave.”
“What is this place?”
“I guess, think of it like a room of requirement.”
“If that's a Harry Potter reference,” Dean growls, “so help me God--”
“It's Sumerian,” Sam says, lightly, sits back down and picks up his pencil and turns another page, eyes glued, making a careful note on his notepad, which means it is a reference, it's – he's trapped Dean in a room out of a fucking kids' movie. For five hours. For a book.
“Please tell me,” Dean says. “Please tell me you got the hookers and blow stashed under the couch.”
Sam rolls his eyes and tucks his hair behind his ears and starts reading for real, which means he's gone, leaving Dean to amuse himself.
He pats his pockets down, checks his phone. A blank screen. Bricked. If it's still like that when he gets out the day's not gonna end pretty.
He's got his flask at least. He takes advantage of it and eyeballs the TV.
There's no remote. Of course. Dean has to find the panel on the back, scraping his hair against the wall. He can only spot on and off. No volume, no channel. No space for a disc. He presses the button and prays to God that it's not tuned to CNN.
Showgirls is starting. Dean laughs, and Dwight Yoakam twangs onto the soundtrack and Sam groans, knocks his forehead on the table.
“Sam,” Dean says, still laughing, rich with love for mankind and the world, “Sammy.” Elizabeth Berkley flicks her knife open. “I take it all back.”
“Turn it down.”
“No remote,” Dean says regretfully, and settles back into the couch, tries to get comfortable. It's a big beige couch, deep and solid, but there's nowhere to rest his feet. His brother has a brain like a monk. No goddamn imagination. “Hey, wish me up a coffee table?”
“What you see is what you get, Dean,” Sam says, and frowns down at his notepad, scratches something out. “Try again in a month.”
Elizabeth Berkley and her immaculate sideboob play slots in Vegas and Dean toasts them, scooches around trying to get comfortable. Over at the table Sam's in the zone, long legs folded up under his chair, spinning his pencil.
“Are we gonna suffocate?”
“Don't think so,” Sam murmurs. “Would kinda defeat the purpose.”
“Don't breathe too heavy just in case,” Sam says, flicking him a sly look, unfair, knowing that this is Dean's favourite bit, right here at the start, when Berkley's clean and lit up in neon and smiling at Gina Rivera like she wants to get hit on.
Dean is starting to come around to the appeal of this place. Nothing he's required to do, no one he's required to see. No one that can see him. No bad news coming his way for five whole hours. Just him and his brother and Elizabeth and the Ginas squared, and a whole lotta tits.
God knows what Sam's reading but the last third doesn't seem as useful as the first. He leafs pretty quick through it, rubs at his face and gives up and sags down into the couch during the S&M number, huffs an amused laugh. Dean grins at him, knuckling at his eyes, yawning; he's slumped down a little, tired and warm. And then he fuzzes out, and the movie's started again, they're back around to having lunch and flirting, and Sam is asleep against his side, his hand slack by Dean's thigh, his hair fallen in his face.
Dean's arm is around his shoulder, fingers twined in his shirt down at his waist.
He lets go and shuffles, withdraws, sits up. Sam cracks a gigantic yawn and levers himself upright. Probably hasn't slept in a week, the idiot. Shadows under his eyes. They've got no crisis on the cards at the moment, for the first time in a long time, but Dean's brother still manages to occupy himself to the point of exhaustion. Maybe throwing him in a locked room once a month wouldn't be too bad for him.
“How much longer?” Dean says, quiet.
“Couple hours maybe?” Sam's watching the TV. His lips curl in a small smile and the synth starts up and Dean knows exactly what Sam is thinking, remembering, Springfield and the second or third time he got Sam trashed, sixteen years old, a giraffe with a balance problem and a lesbian-induced boner, fleeing to the bathroom as Dean laughed.
Twenty years ago, for Christ's sake. He never could have dreamed. He could never have had the balls to think it possible, to ask for another ten years let alone twenty. Alive, both of them alive. Mostly unharmed.
How many more? How many more might he get? Like this?
The future looms, huge and dangerous, a sucking hole in his chest, a twist in his guts. He shouldn't be – he should know better than to dwell on that kinda stuff. What they have right now is too good to believe. Thinking on it invites trouble of the highest order. And hoping on more--
He sits up straighter. Looks around. Clears his throat and still feels shaky.
“Where are we? Exactly?”
Sam scrubs at his face, creases in his cheek from Dean's shirt. He's not wearing any shoes. His voice is smooth and low still with sleep.
“I'm pretty sure we're hanging out the side of the hill.”
Dean eyes the concrete again, presses with the toe of his boot. It feels solid enough.
“What is this place?”
“It's no place, really. It doesn't exist,” Sam says, and his voice is strange, hesitant, and when Dean looks at him he's staring at Dean, a soft, fixed, out-of-time look in his eye that makes Dean nervous.
“No place,” Dean says back at him, and Sam is close, he realises, closer than he's been in ages and soft with sleep, his stubble dark and his skin would be warm. If Dean touched it.
It is warm.
Dean's stomach flips.
“It doesn't exist,” Sam whispers, and he's still so close but that's because Dean is drawing him in now, cradling his cheek. Sam's eyes flick down to his lips and Dean's heart staggers out of line, painful. “It doesn't exist.”
Dean swallows, shifts his gaze to the wall, blank, impersonal. There's an impossible hand on the inside of his thigh, big, long-fingered, familiar in all ways except for where it is, cupping at the front of his jeans, encouraging, and there's no hiding what it's doing to him, and there's no resisting the tug on his belt, Sam pulling him – Dean's on his knees, on Sam's lap, and Sam's pulling him in tight, and his thighs are spread wide so they can press where it's best. Sam's forehead leaning on the crook of his shoulder and Dean's neck is bowed so he's panting hot through Sam's hair – it's, it's in his fucking mouth, and Sam is struggling with his fly, determined fumbling fingers, the fabric stretched tight.
Dean lets go his grip on the back of the couch and pops the button, spreads his fly and lifts a little to shove the elastic of his briefs under his balls, dick straining up and he jacks himself and feels Sam's forehead press like maybe he wants to get his mouth down there.
Unthinkable, his knuckles brushing alongside Sam's and he closes his eyes so he can't see the beige upholstery and the flex of his brother's back and in the glowing dark he feels Sam's dick come into play and the lift of his hips but Dean is keeping him down, and it's just – it's just masturbation, their hands hiding between their bodies, but Christ, Dean could ride him, he could rise up high and get Sam's fucking smartmouth tight and wet around him; filthy, his brain has gone nuts with this, run far and fast into impossible territory. He feels a groan build in his throat, sore and wanting, and he swallows it; they're silent but for hissed narrow panting and the soft rasp of skin.
He can smell Sam.
His breath hitches and he reaches without thinking, touches Sam, curls his fingers alongside and around the head, firm and plump, wet, him and Sam sliding together awkward and fast and Sam makes a stifled noise and his hips buck and he comes, shoots hot and shocking right into Dean's palm. With his free hand he wraps tight around Dean's waist and hauls him in so close and Dean's already grabbed himself again, and Sam's helping him again, jacking sure and long, his shoulder flexing and his hand about the best thing that Dean's ever felt, lubed up with – with his own come, and that's the thought that finishes Dean, and Sam milks him all the way through it, until he's wincing, oversensitive; he's forced to grab Sam's wrist and tug him away and--
Fuck, fuck, fuck, he grabs the back of Sam's head and keeps him jammed against his shoulder and draws a shuddering breath through Sam's hair and Sam's arm is still iron around his waist, not letting him away, and he tucks himself back into his briefs and he's looking down at the beige nothingness of the couch that doesn't exist and he closes his eyes again and Sam sort of – tips and they're lying down like a weird yin-yang where he's half smothering his brother.
It's uncomfortable as hell, Sam's shoulders as wide as the seat and Dean wedged against the backrest and they're not aligned, Dean's head is on the armrest and he has to put effort into keeping his legs up, has to consciously hook his boot under Sam's calf and he can't see Sam's face and he keeps it that way. He has his hand wound in Sam's shirt and he can feel the rise and fall tempo of Sam's chest even out. The faint thud of his heartbeat. Dean's jeans are still open. He feels – his dick is tender. It feels cared for. He's got – he was sweating. He can taste sweat on his lips.
They stay like that for an hour. Dean is warm, everywhere. He doesn't think about anything. He gets a cramp in his ass and lets it happen. He adjusts his head so that his neck doesn't break.
He doesn't sleep; he doesn't doze.
Dwight Yoakam rolls up the highway.
Sam pulls himself free, and it hurts to be rearranged, his joints sore. He keeps his eyes closed.
Later, he sits up, in the room that doesn't exist. The door is open.
“Testing?” Jody says, her voice dopplering, garbled. She's driving, has him on speaker. “This is what testing is now?”
Dean holds the phone with his shoulder and wedges the lid off against the library table and Sam looks up then, outraged glare that Dean ignores, holding the bottle to his forehead. The bunker's heating has launched into a hearty campaign of Screw You Winchester this winter and it's gotta be in the eighties at least.
“Total Sam move,” Dean says, and Sam mutters something low under his breath. Dean grins at him.
“Sam swore he was going to an admissions interview and instead got picked up D&D three states away?”
“Oh man,” Dean says. Sam is putting his earbuds in pointedly and clicking at something. “If that little nerd had once managed a drunk and disorderly I woulda driven him to Stanford myself.”
“You've got no idea what you're talking about,” Jody says. Her indicator ticks on.
“Guilty.” Dean takes a swig of his beer, walks along the shelves, pokes at the books, endless exciting waves of dark green and dark red and dark blue and charcoal. “Listen, she's – she's behind with this stuff. That vamp thing took her out for years.”
“Thought she was the good one,” Jody grumbles under her breath, and Dean turns the microphone away from his mouth and calls towards the table.
“Sam, where's the thermostat in this place?”
“I just wish she'd be honest with me.”
Sam glares at him, pulls an earbud from his ear. “What?”
“Where's the thermostat?”
“There is no thermostat. It regulates itself.”
“Oh yeah, it's regulating just peachy,” Dean says, and Sam curls his lip, which is just fucking – antisocial is what it is. It's not like he's not feeling it as much as Dean is, sitting there in his white undershirt, showing faintly damp at his pits, his flannel hung neat over the chair next to him. He stares at Dean, murder in his eyes.
“Do you have to do this here? I'm trying to listen to something.”
“I'm just asking.”
Sam waves a hand in the air, mystified and pissed. “I don't know, Dean. You're the mechanic.”
“So it's my fault?”
Sam's face goes red.
“Oh, give me a break!” Jody cries in his ear, and her siren blips twice. “Look where you're – I don't have time for this! Asshole!”
“You good?” Dean says back into the phone, and she sighs.
“Goddamn it. Yeah. Thanks Dean.”
Dean shrugs. Wasn't like he was any help. “Sure.”
“Hey,” she says, quiet. “I didn't mean that. About Alex being the good one.”
“That was a shitty thing to say.”
“It's all good, Jody. Go kick some ass.”
“Will do,” she says, and he hears her car creak to a stop as the connection beeps off, and he slides his phone in his pocket and puts his bottle to his mouth and contemplates his brother, back with his headphones in, staring at his screen. He's on some kind of Romanian kick at the moment going by the books at his elbow but he doesn't have his research face on. He doesn't even have his porn face on. He's got his – he's got his fucking podcast face on.
“Thirteen types of grass on the top of Old Smokey?” Dean says. Sam doesn't blink. “History of the polka dot? Great mimes of the twentieth century?”
Sam twitches. Yeah, he can hear, earbuds don't block shit.
“How to get that L'Oréal shine with two bucks and a gallon of canola oil?”
“Don't you have someone else to harass?” Sam mutters, leaning back in his chair and folding his arms, broad and long and sweaty, like he's Mr Fucking December 2017 of the Smith County Firemen's Calendar.
“No,” Dean says, and takes another drink, and goes back to staring at the books.
Dean asks for the big booth by the corner window and she cranks up her walk to lead them over, in time to whatever top-40 crap is beating tinnily from the counter radio. Dean throws an amused glance at Sam and Sam rolls his eyes, resets his folders under his arm and waits for her to fill their coffees and take their orders before he spreads his research out, and then hurriedly flips the folders closed when she sways back in with his rabbit food.
Dean scans them as Sam rips open the little packets of Italian Balsamic. That his salad came out right away means it's been sitting in a fridge for god knows how long and is probably about as nutritious as toejam. Dean should tell him to give it up and just eat something that was worth eating. Digging at Sam's self-defeating food habits is something he's done before. Something normal.
He keeps his mouth shut.
They've been checking out these high-road towns for a couple of days, but this is the place Sam figures is gonna be it. It's not even really a town. More a few locals who've stuck around to support the back-to-nature-eco-this-is-my-pet-louse-Reginald cabins up the mountain. The forests make any animal mutilation fairly discreet, but they're not here for animals.
There are dead folk circling this region, crushed-mutilated-burned-missing, in a neat two-hundred mile ring. Drifters, of course, and hitchhikers. A trucker.
There are werewolves about, and they're damned careful.
Dean flips back and forth through the maps. It reminds him a bit of the way his dad worked. Methodical but lateral.
“Shit Sam, this is a nice piece of work.”
“Yeah, it was a good catch. Wish I could say it was mine.”
“You remember Jesse and Caesar?” Sam taps a morgue photograph. “This guy – number three – Daniel Walters – started out in the next town over from their place.” He spears a forkful into his mouth and makes a face. Gets up still chewing and raids the packet display on the counter.
Jesse and Caesar. Yeah, Dean remembers those guys.
He thumbs at his eyebrow and flips a page. Half of the clippings have been highlighted, colour coded, green for places, for the trail, and yellow for victims. He should have known; that's not Sam's style.
“Thought they retired,” he says as Sam sits.
“Which is why they punted it to us.”
Dean closes the folders, checks his watch. Full moon in about two days.
“You reckon we can do it this cycle?”
“Assuming we can find them.”
“There's like ten people here. It'll be one of them.”
“Just shoot 'em all,” Sam grins, wicked, lighting a little thrill in Dean that he quashes. “Case closed, get home before dinner.”
“Psycho,” Dean mutters, and looks away before he can see if Sam's face falls. His burger lands in front of him with a bang, spilling his coffee.
“Crap,” Susie gasps, as Dean lifts his mug. “Sorry.”
“All good.” Dean smiles up at her and she wipes at the tabletop, lip between her teeth. She's his age and trying to hide it, foundation packed on. No ring.
“You boys heading up the mountain?”
“Just passing through,” Sam says.
“Goin' home?” she asks, false nonchalance. Her mascara, clotted, dots minor tears under her eyes. Her kind: there are have been a lot of her kind over the years. Dean was fond of all of them. He coulda gone on being fond of them for a long time, he thinks.
Her kind that were human, at any rate.
“We don't really have a home,” Dean says.
“Oh, that's so sad,” she says, and she's such a bad actress he has to duck his head to hide his smile. Sam kicks him in the ankle but it's not like he was going to say anything. He's not gonna start shooting up the diner for Christ's sake. “Let me go get you that refill.”
“Ain't you a pistol, Susie,” Dean says, and she winks at him and leaves.
Sam rolls his eyes.
“Case closed,” he says, and Dean snorts, salts his fries. They're limp, overdone and somehow still pale. The bun is already soggy.
He hopes the chef can go on their list.
Jesse and Caesar. Good people. Solid people. They could handle themselves. He'd had half a thought of cracking a beer on their ranch if he ever made it down that way.
He wishes he'd never heard of them.
He knows Sam's got his little network of buddies, and every one of them that's not irretrievably eaten by the life probably thinks on retirement or – or something like it with that little speculative twinge, but those two. Those two managed to pull potential into reality and it strikes Dean as being a particularly cruel and mocking kind of joke.
“You talk to them much?”
“Nope,” Sam says, and drinks his coffee, and keeps his eyes on his research and his hair hangs in his face and Dean doesn't get why he lets it, why he doesn't just get it out of his way, doesn't it piss him off?
His fingers twitch under the table.
Something awful starts up on the radio, jagged with throwback synth and a woman trying to be tough, and he thinks, hideously, of Dwight Yoakam.
Fuck it. The diner's pretty much empty. There's an old bird by the door and a pickup pulling into the lot and Susie and his nemesis out by the grill, framed by the service window, their heads bent together, pretty as a picture.
“Hey Susie,” he calls, and Sam kicks him in the shin for real this time, hisses something at him. He pulls his gun and checks the mag, the chamber. “Yo, Susie Creamcheese.”
“Don't you fucking dare--” Sam says, and Susie swings through the kitchen door as Dean stands, and she's tying her hair back into a bun, head lowered and when she looks up at him her eyes are already yellow.
Good. He feels like a fight.
The door behind him jingles and Sam's already out of his seat and bolting in the direction of the old bird and Dean shakes his shoulders out and grins at his waitress and throws his arm up to block as she grabs at a serving tray on the counter and frisbees it at him, viciously. The impact on his forearm kicks the world bright and fun.
She beats the shit out of him, in the end; she runs him over.
She literally runs him over. In a Honda. A bee-yellow second-gen Fit. It weighs about as much as his left nut and he thinks it breaks one of his ribs.
The other two, the old bird and pickup dude – the chef, unfortunately, turned out to be just human, and legged it the second teeth started growing – have Sam pinned in the corner but he's armed and Dean gives Susie chase through the kitchen and bursts out the door just in time to be punched fifteen feet by a bee-yellow Honda reversing at ten miles an hour.
He shoots out a tyre or two once he comes to a rest on the asphalt; she swerves into the dumpster by the exit with a crunch and grate of steel and Sam barrels around the corner of the building as her door bangs open and shoots her as she's rising out.
Dean groans and clutches at his side. His hands howl with gravel rash and it hurts too much to catch his breath and there's blood in his mouth, his lip fat and numb. His brother stands over him and doesn't offer a hand up.
“You are such a jackass,” Sam spits at him, wild-eyed and hot with fury, and three weeks ago Dean might have grinned at him and said yeah, you love it.
He closes his eyes and lets his head fall back onto the asphalt, presses at his rib to see if it hurts as much as he thinks it does.
“I hate you. You fucking idiot,” Sam says, from high above.
“Shut your cakehole and get the garbage bags,” he says, and hears Sam stomp away.
The door is there.
The room is empty, almost.
Table, no book.
Couch, no TV.
A bed, for fuck's sake.
Dean edges inside, his feet dragging, light-headed. Nauseous, his stomach halfway up his throat. The door shuts behind him and dissolves and that's good, a relief. Maybe it's gone from the outside as well. Please, let it be gone entirely.
He makes it to the table, sits in Sam's chair, facing the door. Stares at his hands and doesn't look at – the other furniture.
What is he doing. What is he doing, fuck.
He's clammy. Even his hands look pale. He can't breathe right and his rib starts complaining, a spike in his side.
What is he doing in here? What does this look like?
It looks like what it is.
This whole month it's been. It's been not-there. It's been not-there so much, so stridently, that he was starting to get a deathly feeling like its absence was ruining them as wholly as its presence.
Sam is. Unhappy with him.
It's about this, he's not a complete moron, but he can't make it make sense.
If it doesn't – won't – didn't happen then there's nothing to be mad about. There's nothing to care about. It doesn't matter.
It doesn't matter.
He puts his face in his hands and thinks about how it's no big deal to be hitting the end of his fourth decade topside after what feels most days like five hundred years of impossible living and to be sitting in this non-existent room waiting on the unaskable.
A suck of air. Sam is in the doorway.
Dean rockets to his feet. His eyes are glued to the blankest, emptiest wall in range but he can feel Sam's head turn, take in the room.
Dean's got nothing. He's got nothing with him, he's got no, no book, there's no reason for him to be here, there's not even a goddamn TV--
Sam shuts the door and stays this side of it.
Just about everything in Dean hits flight mode. It gets worse when Sam takes a step towards him. He stiffens, his heart pounding, and there's a trapped wide-eyed cast to Sam's face too, pale, when Dean looks at him finally. He looks like he doesn't want to be here either.
Keeps on coming, though, and there's a corner at Dean's back which Dean automatically shifts out of, to his right and Sam slides in the opposite direction so when he comes forward again he's pushing Dean along the couch, he's corralling Dean over to the other side of the room, he's--
The backs of Dean's knees hit the mattress. Sam seems as surprised as he is.
It's too bright in here. There are no fucking light switches in this godforsaken room. He hates it. It's got no right to be here. It wasn't. It wasn't in Dean's plans.
Sam is six feet away. His lips are bloodless, thin, his eyes huge.
“I'm too sober for this,” Dean croaks, and Sam's determined, lost expression breaks into a slight companionate smile and then he frowns, doubt clouding him again.
Welcome to the party, pal. Dean is nothing but doubt.
Sam's throat bobs and he takes another step in and Dean slips to the side, reaches up into the sconce and unscrews the bulb and drops it into the cup and the room floods blessedly dim, just a small light on the other side now, and Sam is at his back, crowding him up against the tiles. Dean puts his palms to the wall to brace and Sam presses at the back of his skull to make his head bow, his fingers digging through Dean's hair, on the verge of massage, and then he's working Dean's shoulders, long, strong fingers kneading, restless, down Dean's arms a way, around his shoulder-blades and into the muscle underneath, down to the – to the small of his back, and Dean's panting shallowly, every inch of his skin tingling, the back of his neck, the soles of his feet, his dick alive and tenting the front of his jeans already, already, Jesus, just from this, just from Sam's palm sliding around his sore rib and holding painlessly, carefully, just from his thumb working a knot by Dean's spine.
And then his hand breaks downward and finds Dean's dick unerringly and at the same time he steps in and Dean can feel him, hard, he's pressing Dean back against his dick and Dean swallows a whimper and knocks his head against the wall, rolls his forehead to get some kind of gritty clarity and Sam drags his hand up the front of Dean's jeans, sure and filthy.
Welcome to the party.
Dean turns and Sam steps back, startled, his hands coming up in the air, his cheeks dark, his hair, somehow, a mess. His bottom lip plump and bitten.
Look at him, God. Just look at him.
Here is a place where Dean is allowed.
He has a purpose, then, an acknowledged need that spins him out weightless and he starts on his buttons and rids himself of his clothes as quickly and keenly as he can, leaves his boots standing by the puddle of his jeans. Sam follows suit immediately.
Watching him draw his undershirt over his head feels like a miracle, he's so, he's so built, he's out of this world, unreal, and as Sam straightens from dropping his jeans and boxers Dean steps in and pushes at him, the swell of his pecs, the ripple of his ribs.
He bears Sam down onto the bed, shoves until he's fully on there with only his heels hanging off the end and climbs up himself. Kneels around his thighs and takes him in hand and Sam rolls his head on the pillow, his eyes fluttering closed and his lips parting, his neck arching back, showing Dean the soft underside of his jaw. He gets even harder in Dean's hand, rosy, veined, and Dean's mouth waters which is – which is insane, he hasn't done that since he was a kid, since he was trying himself out with anyone he could and sucking dick had gone right to the top of the thanks no thanks column, too stifling, too risky, too inescapable and too much work besides and here he is staring down at his hand milking glossy precome from Sam's dick and thinking he would drown himself in it if he could. He'd let Sam – Christ, he'd let Sam do anything.
He looks up. Sam's eyes are burning dark at him, want in there but unreadable elsewise, there's no reference Dean has for this situation between them, no long-proven code he can draw on. His courage fails him, his hand slowing, quailing inside, and Sam reaches up and returns to his previous past-time of just – touching Dean, grazing across his collarbone and his clenching belly and the tender inside of his forearm. Dean jacks him with a quiet careful lazy stroke and watches Sam bite his lip and track the shapes his own fingers make in the space of Dean's body. He has calluses, pen and gun. Dean can feel them all.
He's so hard he's aching but Sam's ignoring him and that's – it's unfair, but it's not like Dean can just say that so he lets go, leans back and Sam frowns at him, pinches his nipples, fucking – white hot and Dean's dick pulses and he grunts and arches into it and winces, his rib a spiking pain.
Sam levers himself up, grabs Dean by the armpit and around his waist and manhandles him onto his back, swoops dangerously over him while Dean's still reeling, breathless, trying to figure which way's up. He comes back down to rest against Dean's good side, half a blanket, his thigh over Dean's, sweaty, nosing at his shoulder and his dick is pressing thick and hot against Dean's flank, his hips flexing. His hand is on Dean's dick, huge muscles in his arm working smoothly and he's somehow – God knows how, Dean's brain has shorted out but his balls are in play too, an electric caress that comes and goes.
He's so good with Dean. Like he was born to it, Dean thinks, sick, hot. Like he was made for Dean.
Dean lets go the sheets with his hand that's not going dead trapped between their bodies and grabs at himself, rolls his balls while Sam picks up his pace and it's – Sam's thigh holding him down and Sam's hand bringing him to the edge and Sam making noises, holding them in his throat, his lips moving against Dean's skin. He bows his head to tongue at Dean's nipple but the angle's bad and he comes back up to Dean's neck, sets his mouth to the juncture of his neck and shoulder, lifts his pace and grinds himself against Dean's side, smearing wet, sucking a hickey into Dean's neck like a teenager, sharp and painful and Dean gasps and comes, feels Sam surge against him and shoot bloodwarm up his side, onto his skin.
They lay naked together. They don't bother cleaning beyond the odd wipe. Sam's forehead rests against his shoulder. It hurts Dean to breathe. His neck stings.
After a time they go again.
Sam above him now, braced on his elbows, holding himself up and leaving Dean to do the work, two-handed, slick with sweat and spit and precome. His eyes are closed and Dean can look his fill unseen. He's so sharp-featured these days, the shadow of his stubble carving his chin into a point. There's a permanent crease between his brows and above, where questions and worry have always shown on his face. His hair is damp and dark and he's so responsive. Everything Dean does to him flows through him in waves.
Dean's nicely hard and enjoying it but he's too sore and beat to come again and he keeps his focus on Sam, cradles his balls as they hang and tickles behind with his finger and Sam quakes, drops his head.
Their cheeks brush and Sam's tongue is at the corner of his mouth and Dean moans.
Sam kisses him.
He inhales deep and shocked through his nose and his rib stabs him again or maybe that's his heart twisting, clawing, Sam's mouth on his, hot and open, his saliva, sweet, his tongue, and they fit, they fit so good, melting together, it sends him out of his mind, he's got Sam so near. It sears electric through him, burns him out and he finds he can come again after all, the pain as much a part of it as the taste of Sam, the whistle of Sam's breath, the aborted high sound he makes and the pulse of his dick as he shoots onto Dean's stomach.
He falls off to the side, his chest heaving, and Dean closes his eyes so he doesn't have to replace the sight of his brother with the void of the ceiling and Sam's arm is heavy across his chest and his knee is woven between Dean's legs and Dean's body plain gives up and knocks him out.
Sam's asleep when he wakes again, sticky, uncomfortable, sore in about a hundred ways. Breathing's gonna be a stone cold bitch tomorrow. His own fault for fucking with a healing rib. That was a lesson he learned long ago.
He doesn't regret it.
He needs a hot shower and a Percocet like a motherfucker but he doesn't regret it.
He regrets sleeping. How long he was down he doesn't know. Long enough that Sam, face smushed into the gap between Dean's shoulder and the pillow, is out to the point where he's snoring faintly, sacked out and boneless.
How much longer does he have?
When he lifts his head the door is there. It's so indisputably there it's almost like it's laughing at him.
He pulls away first so that he doesn't have to be the one left behind, and heads out to where it doesn't matter.
He goes for a drive. The road spins under him as cleanly as it always has.
The Route 24 turnoff for Lawrence always manages to surprise him. They live so close now, relatively speaking, to the square hundred miles that had been verboten for half his life. Funny how these things come around.
He wonders if his mom ever went back to look, when she was with them.
He wonders if she thinks about them, in the world she chose to stay in.
Funny how life gives you these things and then takes them away.
The pawn shop in Russell has a bin of records that he flips through, all the standard Kansan castoffs, Skynyrd-Autry-Baroque Classics-Saturday Night Fever. Dressed to Kill. Gil Scott-Heron, a surprise, looking smooth. He's dead now. Fucking Guitars and Cadillacs, that Dean examines with great interest and care, surreptitiously scratching deep through the grooves with his thumbnail.
He takes Pieces of a Man to the counter and peers through the glass at the guns and knives. There's a scuffed up Lady Smith under there with a ridiculous pricetag that amuses him and he asks to see it and the dude sniffs resentfully and puts down his spank mag, tips off his stool and pulls out his keys on their little retractable belt-reel.
It's a good weight with that big fat chamber but he doesn't like the balance, the grip so small it's swallowed up by his hand.
Oh man, Sam holding this gun. Dean almost laughs out loud. Sam's always looked ridiculous with a snubnose and this would – he'll roll his eyes so hard seeing this gun they'll probably pop out the back of his head. It's a shame Christmas has already passed. Dean should get this guy down to three-fifty and a box of cartridges if he's got them and maybe find a nice pink bow--
The door dings open and a jock type and his girl saunter in, his arm thrown over her shoulder and he's yammering about something and when Dean starts listening he hears sad, you know what it's really about right like everyone knows those rusty old Chevys will pop a timing belt as soon as look at you, do you know how much you gotta drop on them before you can get some reliable power in there and Cameron's dad, he says that meanwhile you get something with some style, some class--
“Are you – are you talking shit about my car?” Dean says, confused, laying the gun on the glass and pushing himself upright. It's something that has happened to him maybe twice in his life.
The girl pauses where she's checking out the rack of leather jackets and her dude looks at Dean with his blonde eyebrow raised and says, “What are you gonna do about it?”
Mr Spank Mag puts the gun back under the counter.
“Uh, Terry,” says the girl.
“Kid,” Dean says, and imagines about fifteen different answers all involving various quantities of blood and bone and screaming and underneath that, pathetic: you don't know that car is the world. He's so struck dumb that he can't even make those thoughts present in his body, can't pull up his danger, just standing here by the counter with his dick in his hand, gaping.
“Overcompensating,” Terry says out the side of his mouth, and his girl hides a smile and tries to glare at him.
“Don't be an asshole. Sorry, sir, he just, he had a good game is all.”
Terry smirks at him and Dean finds his danger then, lets it build him from his bones on out and he grins and tells the girl it's no problem at all. “No problem at all,” he says to Terry, who when Dean stops in front turns out to be a good six inches shorter and pretty much ready to piss himself.
“Clear out the lot of you,” Mr Spank Mag growls, and Dean stretches a genteel hand towards the door and escorts the two of them out, close on Terry's heels, watching goosebumps come up on the back of his neck; down on the sidewalk he stands in the grey unremarkable day and waits for them to scurry out of sight around the corner.
He sits in his poor maligned baby and stares at his knuckles wrapped white around the wheel.
He didn't even get his fucking record.
He steals his dad's tattered and worn journal from Sam's room and reads it front to back to front to back, flooding with memories, hunts, the day-to-day shit, his dad's big hand, scruffing him approvingly, white-knuckled in condemnation.
Sam as a kid, asking him why this had to be their life. Over and over again.
He never did come up with an answer that satisfied.
“Have some toast or something, it's not rocket science,” Dean says, flipping him the bird, and Sam pours himself a coffee and pats his hair down into something – not presentable, but at least not looking like he'd just been – like he'd just rolled out of bed.
On the wrong fucking side, as usual.
“I'm not doing the shopping,” Sam says, staring into the fridge, forlorn. “This is your fault.”
“No way, buddy.” Dean's got plans for today, a new can of Meguiar's and his baby waiting. “Aren't you already doing the mail drop?”
“Yeah but you know what we need, I can't keep track-- ”
“I don't keep track.”
“Evidently,” Sam snits, and Dean's heart pounds, bile taste in his mouth. Like he's the wife or something?
“Just go when you're at the post office.”
“Maybe if we didn't live in the middle of Bumfuck, Egypt--”
“You find a better place Sam,” Dean says, ground down, “you help yourself. But don't expect me to drag my ass around after--”
“Some days,” Sam says, and his hand is clenched around the fridge door handle, and his voice is tight, his eyes fixed forward, his face bathed in cold white light, “I'd rather be in fucking Purgatory.”
“You couldn't handle Purgatory,” Dean sneers.
“It'd be clean at least,” Sam says, and under the grinding anger there's a faint yearning in his voice that freaks Dean the fuck out, makes his skin crawl in terror.
He cleaned this kitchen yesterday. It's not spotless but it's tidy which is half the battle when you've got a brother like Sam but that's not – that's not the kind of clean that Sam means, he means that he wants something else, he wants something easy, but they don't have that any more. There'd been a year or two there where they'd gotten in spitting distance; closer, even. Where they'd been living it.
Even as the universe saw fit to dump another load of shit in their laps, they'd lived it. All that Men of Letters crap; even the dream of their mother exploding in their faces. It hadn't gotten between them. They went in strong and even after all they lost they came out strong and Dean had gotten a glimpse of something that – that might have been just real fuckin nice.
He's not gonna get to have it. That's a road that's closed now. This is what they're left with.
Sam hates it. Dean hasn't seen him this angry since the bad old days.
Dean can't blame him.
He can get them back in time.
And they finish it in plenty of time, a standard salt-and-burn, tracking down the nastiest son of a bitch on the block, cracking into a mausoleum in the middle of nowhere, tossed about like dolls until Dean finally throws the matches in and then they sit there a while watching the flames, waiting for the extinction burst that always seems to come with these old bones. Dean rolls his shoulder and takes stock of his hands.
“You got a bandaid?” His nail is torn and bleeding sluggishly.
Sam fishes in his pockets and hands one over.
He's too tall for the perch he's chosen, bent forward with his elbows braced on his knees, doodling in the dust with the end of his sawed-off. Protection symbols? Dean can't tell. It's a shitty thing to do to his gun and Dean knows he knows it; he has half a thought of telling him to cut it out but he also knows it would get him in trouble.
He looks away and takes a drink from his flask. This is a pretty shitty and cheap mausoleum, he has to say. And he knows better than most. No wonder the bastard got restless.
“You like the bunker, right?” he asks, the question just slipping right out of him, and Sam straightens like a knife, snaps a sharp look at him.
“What's that mean?”
“What's it fucking-- it means, you like the bunker, right? You were saying the other day--”
“I like the bunker,” Sam says, and sighs. “The bunker's fine, I was just being an asshole.”
“Nah, Sam,” Dean says, and swallows. “I get it.”
Sam looks at him then, drawn down and unhappy.
“Dean,” he says, his eyes dark and wretched, and Dean gets an awful ominous premonition. “I'm such an asshole.”
“Shut up,” Dean whispers, stomach crawling.
“I fucked it up.”
“Shut up, Sam, I mean it.”
Sam shakes his head and looks away, and Dean only has to live with the crushing oppression of the silence for another five minutes, as Mr Ghost of the Day reappears to kick up the last fuss of his miserable unlife.
They scoot outta town and sleep the rest of the night away in an off-the-highway motel outside Waterloo, and Dean opens the door in the morning on two feet of snow. His heart drops right through his goddamn boots.
“I won't say I told you so,” Sam says, colder than the wind, standing alongside in the doorway.
“You said you had work,” Dean says, distantly, “you fucking liar.” Sam's eyes narrow at him.
Dean checks the sky.
It's not good news.
He bundles them in the car all the same. It's gonna be close.
The roads are clear of snow but Dean can feel the refrozen ice under his wheels and he edges off the accelerator until they hit the highway, makes good time right up to Des Moines but then there are cops everywhere and he's forced to bring it back down – and then a fucking idiot trucker who's jack-knifed himself – it's mostly cleared away to the right lane but the traffic's backed up to just after the exit, trapping them in the 5-mph crawl.
Dean's breakfast was a protein bar that feels like it's about to repeat on him any second.
Sam's knee is jumping in his periphery and it's chipping away at Dean's patience like a jackhammer.
“You should have taken the exit,” Sam says.
“You should stop flapping your gums,” Dean says, and turns up the music, IV, and it doesn't fit with his mood at all. It's too good for this situation. “Find some Motörhead or something.”
Sam sighs, persecuted, and stabs at the glove compartment, grabs the first tape his fingers reach, tosses it in Dean's lap.
Garage, Inc. If Dean wanted an album of shitty muddy covers he would have fucking said so. There's a reason it's in the compartment and not the box.
He picks it up, the plastic creaking in his fingers, throws it down by Sam's feet. Has half a thought of switching over to the radio but with his luck it would be some country shit. Dwight fucking Yoakam or something.
Robert Plant keeps on wailing.
They pass the blockage and the trucker is sitting on his bumper, phone stuck to his ear, head in his hands. Poor stupid bastard.
Dean hopes he's having a real shitty day.
He takes the next exit off the highway and the clouds sink about a hundred feet and let go.
It's driveable, a fine powdery snow, but his headlights feel weak and he's gotta drop his speed again, and they cross the Nebraska border into remote empty carless lifeless plains and Dean spots a mile marker green and pitiless and feels like he might – like he might fuckin cry or something, sunk by the reality of time and the road. It's impossible.
He's known it was impossible for the last hundred miles. He knew it was impossible the second he opened the door this morning.
“How much longer?” Sam says.
“I don't know,” Dean grates, and his hands tremble and the car shakes a little.
“If you could try not to kill us,” Sam snaps. “Freezing to death in a goddamn car crash with you driving is not the way I've planned--” and Dean swerves across the other lane and into a vacant rest stop and throws her into neutral, stabs the tape deck quiet, leaves her engine and heater humming. He drops his hands and stares out the windshield into a white field.
Dean has broken the universe about five times and here he is beaten by distance and some fucking weather. He can't do this. He just can't get them there.
It'll be gone by now. It would have come and gone while he was out here stuck in traffic like a world-class chump.
Sam is sitting quietly next to him, hands resting in lap.
“Where are we?” he eventually says, craning to look. The snow keeps coming on, clean and white, overlaying last night's fall, and Dean wonders if there's an actual risk of them getting snowed in, of watching the world disappear completely.
“I'm good,” he says, out at the empty. In the corner of his eye Sam shifts to face him.
“I'm good, Sam. We made it. That's. That's enough, right?”
“Dean,” Sam says, dragged out, reluctant.
“I'm good. With whatever.”
Sam picks at the seat a while. “What's whatever?”
“We're here,” Dean says, and Sam frowns and stares out at the fields. Dean flicks a glance at him. “What else...what else could I want.”
The heater rattles and the engine keeps rumbling for a real long time, just a really long fucking time and he can hear Sam breathing fast and shallow. It takes him forever to speak. “What do you want?”
“I don't.” Dean clears his throat. “I don't know if I can say.”
“Do you know?”
“Yeah, Sam.” Dean pinches the bridge of his nose, sniffs and looks out the window, tries not to be insulted. Of course he fucking knows. He always has. Maybe the shape of it has changed over the years, or the specific content, the nature. In his time he's become about ten different impossible people and they've all had a different idea of the good life. But he knows his constant. He knows what he's always wanted. It's the asking that's always killed him.
And to ask for this?
“I. Can you--” Sam breaks off and pauses again, for so long Dean works himself around to hoping that he never starts up. But he does, and the question is removed from his voice. “Show me.”
Dean sucks his cheek between his teeth and bites down. He wishes he had a drink. He wishes it were night, sitting here in the glare of too much light, bright, reflected from all over.
He's a coward. He's such a coward. He honestly thought he was better than this.
“Show me, Dean,” Sam says, thin and querulous, on the edge of giving up and Dean closes his eyes and grabs at Sam's shirt and leans across to him, kisses him chaste and dry on his chapped warm lips, balanced against his thigh. It's a bad angle for his neck, for his back, but his hand runs cleanly up Sam's thigh and cups him and he feels Sam's intake of breath against his cheek. Sam's mouth opens to him, wet and soft.
He loves Sam's mouth.
Dean works his fly one-handed and clumsy, lets his knuckles brush and his fingers smooth, Sam plumping underneath them, and kisses Sam deep and messy. He gets his lips swollen and his mouth wet and opens Sam's jeans, shuffles back and ducks his head.
Sam gasps above him.
Dean spits into his hand and slicks him up, pulls his skin back from the crown and licks as he emerges, getting hard so fast Dean doesn't know how his brain is functioning but feeling it happen in his hand, against his mouth, feeling him grow for Dean is insane, it's so deeply satisfying it oughta be illegal.
It probably is, he supposes, and opens up, stretches his lips around and pushes down and he can't get very far but the ridge of him is on Dean's tongue and the taste of him, Christ, the smell of him is so strong it could be a tattoo.
“Yeah,” Sam pants. “Yeah, yes, yes.” His hand lands heavy in Dean's hair and as Dean pulls up he shifts his back around towards the door so Dean has more room and when Dean pushes down this time his lips meet his hand closed halfway around and Sam groans and presses and holds him there a brief second. “Dean, yes, thank you.”
“I knew you'd be good, I knew it Dean, I knew.”
Dean doesn't think he's doing anything too special but he keeps on going, breathes through his nose and works up some more spit and twists his hips so that his own dick, poundingly hard and trapped between his jeans and his leg gets a bit of action as he moves.
“Always thought – maybe in here. You drive me crazy in this car.”
He's a talker. Dean should have guessed, he's a fucking – Dean's brother is a talker, it's so embarrassing, it's fucking off-the-charts hot, and his hand that's braced on the seat he brings back and grabs himself through his jeans, moaning, muffled by Sam's dick and Sam presses him down again, bumping at the back of his throat and Dean tamps down his panic response and lets it happen, lets himself get overwhelmed, the sheer size of him, the slick taste of his precome and his whispers falling down through the air.
“You know how many times I've jerked off in here? You and your – hands. All of you right there.”
His other hand is on Dean's back, smoothing, patting, and Dean's finally touching himself for real, trying to jack himself cramped and hot and if Sam doesn't shut the hell up this is all gonna be over way too soon.
“You ever driven while someone blew you? Sucked you dry?”
Of all the fucking idiotic – Dean pulls off and looks up at him, wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. His dick, abandoned, drags against the seat vinyl and with that and the thrum of the engine he nearly comes right there.
“I suppose if I was gonna die that would be a good way to go,” he says, hoarse, and Sam's hand slips around his face and he thumbs Dean's cheekbone. His eyes are obscene.
“Look at you. You got any idea? What I could dream up into that room?”
“Sam,” he says, shocked, pleased, and Sam pinks, he's so filthy, he's so ridiculous, he's happy Dean likes him. Of course Dean likes him.
Dean pumps him a couple of times and ducks again, laps the precome slow and careful as it beads and starts to come down, flicks his eyes back up to Sam. Sam looks like he's been knocked on the head, stunned mullet, gaping and wordless for a change, for a moment at least, and when he speaks his voice is deep and sore.
"I hope you don't have any second thoughts, Dean. I hope for your sake.”
Jesus Christ. His dick throbs and he feels himself blush and he licks his lips, breathes deep and tries to survive what Sam is doing to him. He doesn't think he can. His voice is a wreck.
“Now that you mention it.”
Sam rolls his eyes and shakes his head, hiding a smile, and hooks his thumb around his dick and guides Dean back down. Dean goes happily, his jaw aching, working more moisture into his mouth. It's a mess, he's a mess, and it's uncomfortable, he's gonna get a crick in his neck and the pain in his shoulder from last night is starting to warn that there's punishment down the road and in the meantime he has a faceful of everything that's most essential about his brother, his silk, his heat, his hardness, his smell, overwhelming.
He loves it. He wishes he were better. He wishes he could take him all the way.
Sam whines, hitched, finally beyond words, and his hips flex, pushing up and up, small movements but Dean can feel the tension, the held power and need and he braces his weight on Sam's legs, his hipbone before Sam loses it and gives Dean more than he can handle, sinks down as far as he can and twists his hand around the base and gets that sound out of Sam again, blistering and unforgettable, a ragged ah dragged up from the bottom of his soul. He shoots without warning, hitting the back of Dean's throat and Dean pulls off and tries to swallow instead of gag, tries not to get hit with the rest of it, brings his hand up to catch and jerk him though it, get some oxygen into his lungs but he can't, Sam hauls him up and rises himself and Dean's head hits the roof of the car and Sam's hand around his skull has him tight.
He licks deep into Dean's mouth and his other hand drops faithfully to Dean's dick, gets working fast, relentless, and Dean has to break out of the kiss because he can't breathe, he can't cope with how good it feels, the car all steamed up, and Sam is whispering against Dean's cheek, stream of words that Dean fades in and out of hearing.
“--bend you over that hood – in every room, I'm gonna show you. Fuck you on the table and you'll take it. You'll beg for it.”
“Yeah.” Dean grabs at his shoulders, his back, rucking up his shirt. Sam's wound him up so tight he could fucking die. “Come on, come on.”
“Any time. Any time I want.”
“Yeah,” Dean pants, and bucks and groans and comes right into his hand, bliss. “Yeah, any time,” and Sam rumbles in satisfaction, and grins against his mouth. Dean can feel it.
“Any time,” Sam whispers, and Dean sags against him boneless and free and says it right back to him.
“Any time, Sammy. Any day. Anywhere.”