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Knowledge is a Fickle Thing (Memory Even Moreso)

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"Love you too, Dad," Dean says, as he hangs up the phone. He takes a deep breath, turns and meets the eyes of his nine-year-old brother, sitting on the bed with his knees pulled up to his chest.

It's been storming for the last three days -- not, like, any old rainstorm but more like the 'green sky, every clap of thunder shakes the building, every crack of lightning echoes in your chest, the wind's gonna tear the roof off' kind of rainstorm. Dean's not afraid of storms but this is one is starting to push at the limits of what he can handle, especially because Sam's either on the bed and curled up as small as he can get, like the storm is an actual, tangible thing that's trying to eat him, or he's nose-up against the window, probably blinding himself as he watches with wide eyes.

Half an ago, the window blew in, just like that -- no tree fell through it, no debris hit it, just -- it just blew in, thank god Sam wasn't in front of it or he'd've been torn to smithereens. Dean duct taped up the sheets and comforter from the second bed, cleaned up all the glass he could, split off the area with clothes from their laundry pile to keep Sam from stepping in it, and then called Dad.

"He's already on his way home," Dean says, perching on the edge of the bed, within Sam's reach. Sometimes, when Sam's scared, he doesn't want anyone to touch him, even screams if someone tries. Dean never thinks about why but their Dad gets a pinched look when Sam's scrambling away and trying to run away or tuck himself under the bed, couch, whatever piece of furniture's nearest. One of these days, Dean's going to ask.

Other times -- like now, apparently -- Sam's almost touch-starved and frantic with it. He tugs on Dean's fingers, a light little pull, and Dean rearranges himself, sits with his back against the headboard, legs stretched out. It doesn't take five seconds before Sam's spider-monkeyed on him, clinging to Dean as if the wind that blew out the window might carry Sam away in its place.

Dean threads his fingers through Sam's hair, wraps his other arm around Sam, strokes his brother's back and plays with Sam's hair. "Said he would've been home four or five hours ago but some of the roads were flooded out so he had to make a few detours. Okay?"

He's not expecting Sam to answer but Sam lifts his head from where it's tucked long enough to ask, "When?" before he hides his face away again.

"Dad thought half an hour, maybe forty-five minutes if any more of the roads are closed," Dean says. "He's inside the state line; on a clear day that would take fifteen minutes tops."

"Sad to say it, Dean, but today is not anyone's idea of a clear day."

Sam stiffens and Dean looks up, towards the window. He unwraps his arms from Sam and, when Sam looks up at him, gestures at the space between the bed and the wall. Sam's eyes are big, shining with tears just waiting to spill over, but he nods and slides off the bed, hides. Dean grabs the shotgun from under the pillows and asks, "Who are you? What d'you want?"

"Oh, babydoll," she says. "It's not a matter of what we want. It's a matter of what we're about to do."

We. There's more than just the woman?

"And what are you about to do?" Dean asks. He tries to sound cocky, unworried, but Sam peeks just his eyes over the side of the bed, fear written clear as day in them. "Because I gotta tell you, lady," Dean says, looking right at Sam, "we don't got a lot of room in here."

"Got enough for what we need, though."

Another voice, this one male, and Dean -- he doesn't recognise it but something in him does. The guy sounds amused, fond, even, as he says, "Come on, Dean-o, open the door. It's not polite to keep us standing in the rain. We aren't going to hurt you -- either of you."

"The day I let strangers into my place in is the day I'm -- I'm not me," Dean spits out. "You have got to be joking. You think I'm just gonna open the door and invite you in for coffee?"

The sheets and comforter go flying, hit the wall opposite the window with a wet smack. Rain comes pouring in, soaking the carpet, but Dean's mouth is so dry. There are two of them standing right outside the window, and they're asking him to let them in which means they can't get past the sigils or salt lines under the duct tape -- thank god they're still intact -- which means --

Half an hour, Dean tells himself, and jumps at another clap of thunder. Half an hour until Dad gets home.

The power in the room flickers then goes out; Dean can only see what's outside thanks to the lightning that leaves spots in his vision. There are only two of them, thankfully: one man with bright yellow eyes, the woman with -- they're white, pure white, no pupil or iris. He's running through the lessons Dad's been drumming into him, going through a mental catalogue of what creatures would be held out by salt, which ones have strange eyes, which ones roam in pairs or packs. He's coming up blank.

Sam, though, is standing, back against the wall and knives in his hands. Guns, he should've gone for guns, what has Dean told him about appropriate firepower, but then Sam says, "Demons," and Dean's not worried about what kind of weapons his little brother has anymore. Demons are way beyond them, like way out of their league beyond them. Sam sounds sure, though, and Dean's learned to trust Sam when his brother sounds like that. "Dad's journal, he talked about a person with yellow eyes. That's who killed mom. He thinks it was a demon."

"Mary Winchester," the demon says. "I liked her. She had real spunk, you know? Knew the terms of the deal upside-down and sideways, and she still couldn't stop herself from fighting back. Hunters," and he shakes his head. "Always fight until the very end. It's what I admire most about them."

"Shut up about our mom," Dean snaps.

Yellow-eyes laughs. "Good to see the gene's passed down, Dean. Nothing but dogged determination in that family." His eyes slide from Dean to Sam and a smile crosses his lips. "Ah, but you, Sammy. You're not a Campbell like your brother, not one bit. Not much of a Winchester, either. I know, I know -- maybe it's too early to tell, right? You're young, Sammy, I'll give you that, but you are so thoroughly tainted beyond the salvation of both lines."

Dean thinks he can hear Sam's gulp from here.

"Wasn't my fault," Sam whispers.

"Of course not, baby boy," yellow-eyes says, practically a coo, and Sam -- Sam sways at the sound of that, takes one step away from the wall. "Nothing that's happened has been your fault. There's a reason they're all drawn to you and it's nothing you have any control over. But you want to be strong enough to fight back next time, don't you? Want to teach men like that what happens when they get in over their heads? Want to make sure they get what they deserve?"

That's -- none of this is making any sense but Sam's another step further from the wall, another step closer to the window, holding the knives like he's forgotten he has them. Dean moves, then, gets right in front of Sam and reaches back with one hand to cling at Sam's wrist, keep Sam there.

"What are you doing to him?" Dean asks. "Why are you here?"

"We'll get to that," yellow-eyes says. "For now, let's just say we're checking in on an investment -- and my, my, my, what we've found. The future king, the son of the righteous man -- who's become something of a caretaker to the boy king, haven't you, Dean. So protective, so watchful; you'd do anything and everything for him." Yellow-eyes smiles, taps one finger-tip against his temple. "I can tell that you've been thinking about exactly what you'd do. You have quite the appetite, don't you."

Dean's heart is beating so fast that he thinks his chest might explode from the pressure. How do they -- they know, oh god, and they're going to tell Sam just how absolutely sick Dean is, how he's taken the love he's supposed to have for his brother and twisted it all up inside himself, got it knotted around one of the worst crimes in history, and how there are times when he doesn't care at all.

"Who are you?" Dean breathes out, stomach churning from the cereal he ate for breakfast.

"Azazel," yellow-eyes says.

The woman with white eyes steps into the light -- and she looks like Dean's memories of mom, white nightgown and wavy blonde hair and her voice, when she speaks, it sounds so similar. "I'm Lilith," she says.

Sam mumbles into Dean's back, something Dean can't entirely make out but he thinks has something to do with Dad.

"You don't need to worry about John Winchester," Azazel says. "We're not here to hurt anyone."

"And why should we trust you?" Dean asks, eyes narrowed. The salt lines, the sigils, him -- they're the only things keeping Sam safe from the demons, no matter what they say about why they're here. Demons lie.

Lilith moves closer to the window; for the first time Dean wonders how the hell none of the demons are getting rained on. He's soaked, shivering with it, and the rain's practically coming down sideways. Her dress should be plastered to her, her hair should be dripping, but there's no sign of anything.

"We've been watching you for the last three days," she says, "ever since John left, and we haven't done a thing to harm anyone. Azazel and I simply wanted to see how you're doing."

"Doing just fine," Dean says, "so you can go now."

Azazel looks amused by that but the expression drops off his face when Sam peers around Dean to see the demons. Instead, something -- Dean hates to say loving in connection with a demon -- something else crosses his face. Dean makes out a hint of pride, a touch of possessiveness, and resists the urge to bodily take Sam and run.

"Sam," Azazel says, and Sam hides behind Dean again the second the demon starts to say his name. "Dean's done his best to keep you innocent but there is so much potential for darkness buried in that tiny little body of yours. It's going to be a beautiful thing watching you grow into it." Sam's fingers, grasping Dean's shirt, shake, grip tighter. "Why don't we start now? Or continue, I might say?"

"No," Dean says, almost before the demon's done talking. "Sam's not doing a thing."

Lilith shakes her head. "You don't really have a choice, Dean. For what it's worth, I am sorry."

She lifts a hand, gestures to the side, and Dean goes flying. He lands on the bed rather than slamming into any of the walls, thankfully, but when he tries to move, to get back to Sam, he can't. He fights but it's like his hands and legs have been pinned to the bed, are being held in place; he can't move more than an inch in any direction. He tries to yell, tries to warn Sam, but an invisible hand curls around his neck and he can't speak no matter how desperately he needs to.

There's nothing Dean can do except turn his head and watch as Sam stands halfway between him and Azazel, head cocked, one shoulder of his -- Dean's -- old t-shirt sliding off to show the delicate curve of Sam's neck.

Dean's thought about biting that neck before -- thought about it right here in this bed last night while Sam was sleeping. He's obsessed with Sam's neck, has thought about sucking his bruises onto Sam like a claim, 'Property of Dean Winchester,' thought about the noises Sam might make as Dean presses kisses all over that soft, soft skin, thought about what Sam might do if Dean rubbed his own come onto that flesh to make Sam his, entirely his.

"Give it a minute," Lilith says; Dean cranes his neck enough to see that she's speaking to him, only him. "And then we'll see if there's any possibility of that ever happening."

He feels the binding around his neck loosen, takes in deep heaving breaths that fill his lungs but do nothing for the lightness in his head and how his mind refuses to accept any of this. "What are you going to do?" Dean asks, fear threading his words onto a high string of panic. "Sam, come back here, stay away from them."

Azazel laughs, a low, rumbling noise, that has Sam shuddering in a way that Dean thinks has nothing to do with fear. "It's no use fighting the inevitable, Dean," he says. "My children know my voice. They'll always come when I call."

"He's not your child," Dean says. "He's not -- he's not yours, you hear me? He's --."

"Go ahead," Lilith says. "Finish that sentence."

Dean swallows. "Mine," he whispers. "He's mine."

He stares at the ceiling, can't look at Sam, can't watch the horror bloom over Sam's face as he realises what Dean means, what Dean dreams of. But then -- then Sam says, "Of course I am," sounds puzzled, like he doesn't know why everyone's making a big deal about it. "I always have been."

"Come here," Azazel tells Sam. "And then you'll understand what we mean. Let me give you a taste of the depth of your brother's possessiveness."

Dean turns so fast he hears his neck crack with the movement. He watches Lilith look at Sam with a little sadness, a little calculation, in her expression as Sam steps right up to the edge of the duct tape and the salt line beneath it. "What do you mean, continue? What did you do the night you killed our mom? What did you do to me?"

"A blood baptism of protection," Lilith says, barely loud enough for Dean to hear. "And then a marker, something so we could find you, something that would make you special and give you gifts, something that would make you ours."

"Blood adoption," Azazel says. "There's a reason you're not like a Campbell -- or even a Winchester. Where it counts, Sammy, you are my son."

Dean's frozen, even beyond Lilith's hold on him. No. There's -- no, it can't be, there's no way that bastard demon fed Sam its own blood.

Doubt immediately creeps up, though. Sam was only six months old and if he was hungry, he probably would've taken anything at first. If it was time for a feed, then that explains Mom being up, walking into Sam's nursery and finding the demon. It explains why Sam looks hypnotised by every word Azazel's saying when it just makes Dean feel sick.

God, this is insane and yet Dean's forced to watch as Lilith takes out a knife, as she slices right across Azazel's wrist, as Azazel holds out his arm.

"A little taste," Azazel says, "to boost what's already inside of you. And so you know exactly what you mean to your brother."

"No," Dean barks. "Sam, get back here, don't you dare." He doesn't want Sam drinking that blood, doesn't want Sam -- young, pure, innocent, despite what the demons think -- to know how Dean feels about him. He fights the restraints, desperate, yells out, "Sammy, please."

It doesn't help. Sam's attention is fixed on that wound, Dean can tell, even if he can't see Sam's face. Sam steps right across the salt line and reaches out to take Azazel's hand in both of his. Dean's terrified that the demons will kidnap Sam, that they'll kill him, something, anything, but it's almost worse to see Lilith stroke Sam's hair as Sam latches his mouth onto Azazel's wrist and drinks.

"Oh, sweet thing," Lilith says. "If you end up as strong as we think you'll be, it'll be an honour to die at your hand."

Dean's eyes have to widen at that because -- because -- "What the fuck?"

Sam lifts his mouth just long enough to say, "Bad word," before he's drinking again, sucking down Azazel's blood like he can't get enough, like it's the best thing he's ever tasted, making happy little noises each time he swallows.

If vampires were real, Dean would have a hard time trying to see the difference between those blood-sucking freaks and his little brother.

Azazel's the one that pulls back; Sam whines in protest and chases his arm for one last lick before the wound closes. "Out of time," Azazel says. "It's a shame, too; I would've given you so much more." He pauses there, lets his eyes slip to Dean, and says, "Though I have just long enough to give your brother a sip."

Sam staggers back from the window, says, "No." He shakes his head as if that'll clear it then turns around.

The moment Dean meets Sam's eyes, Dean has to swallow; those aren't his Sammy's eyes. They're someone else's, someone older and stronger and more determined -- someone who might do everything with Dean that he wants from Sam, that he dreams about. There's something hungry in those eyes, and Sam takes one step closer to Dean as he licks the last traces of blood off his lips, mouth curving into an alligator smile when he's done.

"No," Sam says again. "If Dean's drinking from anyone, it's me."

"Sam, what are," Dean starts to ask, trails off as Sam climbs onto the bed, straddles Dean. He settles right on Dean's crotch, can feel the instant Dean's body decides to ignore the demons and the restraints to focus on the object of his devotion right there, on top of him. God, he wants to see Sam ride him like this, throw his head back, give Dean the perfection of his throat.

Sam laughs. He rolls his hips, punches a harsh breath out of Dean, then bends down, squeezes his hands around Dean's neck, thumbs digging into the soft part of Dean's throat. "You look so good like this, Dean," Sam tells him. "Bound to the bed, completely at my mercy, begging for whatever attention I want to give you. The things I want to do to you. The things you make me want." Dean flushes; as much as he hopes he and Sam are on the same page, he doesn't want Sam to've seen the same things Lilith and Azazel did. Sam leans in, nose brushing the curve of Dean's ear. "Want you, Dean, want you every way I can have you, want every part of you and I don't care what you want, I'll take it if you won't give it to me."

"You -- yeah," Dean says, "I -- everything, Sammy, promise. Swear."

"This is all we can do for now," Sam says. He sounds furious. "I'm too young; we're both gonna have to wait for the good stuff, but." He laughs, a sinuous thing that has Dean's hips arching upward, trying to get some friction. Sam gestures, a quick sharp flick of one finger, and the bonds holding Dean down disappear. Dean instantly moves his hands, fingers digging into Sam's hips as he holds Sam down tight and thrusts up, over and over again.

Sam rides Dean's movements, then bites his lip deep; Dean's eyes are drawn to the bead of crimson that wells up, trickles over and down his skin, a slow slide that Dean can't tear his eyes away from. Sam makes a noise low in his throat, something half-amused, and grinds down. "Kiss me, Dean," Sam murmurs. "Kiss me like you mean it."

Dean's heart stopped beating five minutes ago, he's pretty sure, and any brainpower blew away the second their makeshift window coverings did. That's the only explanation he has for why he growls, "I'll always mean it," and moves. Dean rolls them over, grips Sam's wrists and pins them to the bed like he'd been pinned just a minute before. He takes Sam's mouth, sucks at the bite, groans when the taste of Sam's blood hits the back of his throat.

Sam doesn't fight any of this. He spreads his legs to give Dean space and then wraps them around Dean, pulling him closer, heels digging into Dean's back and probably leaving bruises. Sam's mouth opens for him and Dean wastes no time licking past Sam's lips, maps out the insides of Sam's mouth with his tongue, he way he's wanted to for so long. He's lightheaded with want, with need -- and there's a burning at the back of his mind, something that settles down and fucking purrs when Sam gives up all control and just lets Dean take.

He bites at Sam's mouth, making Sam's lips even bloodier, then gives up there and goes to Sam's neck, one of his obsessions. Dean licks and sucks and bites again, rips at one spot with enough force that a whole piece of Sam's skin comes peeling off. He's still in his jeans but he's fucking pounding against Sam; he lets Sam's wrists go and scratches his nails up Sam's arms, far past deep enough to draw blood and into the territory of leaving scars.

Dean doesn't stop until he comes, shuddering, panting, and it's the wet feeling in his underwear that brings him back to earth. He breaks the kiss and sits up, kneeling between Sam's legs. He takes Sam in: the mussed hair, the heaving chest, the blood smeared across Sam's face and chin and arms, that gash on Sam's neck.

"Sam, I --" and he should be horrified, both at what he's just done and how Sam's going to react, but he's not, there's nothing but that desire and the sense that the back of his mind's on fire because fuck, that was better than anything Dean's ever imagined. Thunder rattles the building, strong enough to knock pictures off the wall, yet Dean can't do anything but look at Sam. Sam's always been the picture of absolute temptation but now that Dean's had a taste, now that he's heard the prettiest little moans coming from the back of his brother's throat, he's never going to be able to look at anyone or anything ever again.

Sam grins at him, a shark-like grin with teeth and the potential for death, like he's a spider and Dean's trapped in his web and will remain there forever. He meets Dean's eyes, sits up so he can lift a hand to trace his thumb over Dean's lower lip. "Give me a few years to grow up."

Dean has no idea how to react to those words; arousal wars with horror and self-loathing in the pit of his belly as his mind comes back, as he realises what he's just done -- and to Sam. "Sam, I didn't mean for -- I'm sorry, you weren't supposed --" and he takes a deep breath, closes his eyes because the words just won't come.

"You're mine," Sam says, quietly. "And I'm yours." He puts his palms to Dean's cheeks, waits until Dean looks at him, and says, "And we'll do whatever the fuck we want and kill anyone who tries to stop us."

"Bad word," Dean says. Sam laughs, climbs into Dean's lap and kisses him again, and the moment their lips touch, the electricity surges; the microwave, TV, clock-radio, phone, they all pop, burn quick then sputter into small steaming piles of rapidly melting plastic. "You did that," Dean guesses, feels his face pale when Sam doesn't disagree. "The storm, too?"

Sam shakes his head, says, "Not the storm. The storm's them."

Them. Shit, the demons. Dean's completely forgotten about the demons. He looks over, holds Sam tighter, closer, as if he's telling them that Sam is his and they should never forget that.

"I had been thinking guardian," Azazel says, watching them thoughtfully, like he's trying to solve a particularly difficult puzzle. "But I can see that would be difficult to arrange; I doubt either of them would take to the traditional methods. Perhaps a consort instead."

"We'll have to start looking into it," Lilith says, glancing at Azazel, who returns the look. She pins her eyes on Dean, then, and tells him, "It's very rare that we're willing to change our plans, Dean Winchester. I hope some part of you remembers this and appreciates it."

Some part of him? Dean's going to remember this night for the rest of his life. Everything that's happened here will stay crystal-clear in his memory. Beyond that, it's already sunk down to his bones: his fear of the demons, his fear of losing Sam to them, how Sam looked when he drank from Azazel, how the demons talk about what's going to happen, how his desire for his brother doubled when Sam kissed him and tripled at the casual expression of the power growing in that skin-and-bone body, and then completely subsumed him the second Sam looked at him with serpentine eyes and crawled right on top of him. Dean sucked Sam's blood, orgasmed thanks to Sam -- and the microwave is a pile of smoldering plastic no bigger than Dean's fist; Dean's not likely to forget any of this anytime soon.

Sam, though, seems to understand what Lilith means underneath the words. "Dad's almost here, isn't he," he says, like it's not even a question. "And you're going to make us forget because we know too much now."

"You've always been my favourite," Azazel tells Sam, fond smile playing about his lips. "Maybe it wasn't smart to come, maybe it's giving you an edge over the others, but I couldn't resist." He blows Sam a kiss, winks at Dean, says, "Can't wait 'til we meet again, boys."

The worst thing is, Dean absolutely believes every word the demon's just said.

"It won't hurt," Lilith says. "Just close your eyes and it'll be like we were never here."

Dean tries to argue, tries to protest, what if Sam forgets. He doesn't shut his eyes but there's white light spilling out from Lilith and god but it's bright, it's blinding, if he doesn't close his eyes he's going to lose his sight and Azazel is smiling at him like he's proud of Dean, and Sam's pressed against him, face hidden and --

A clap of thunder makes Sam flinch but he jumps up off of Dean's lap and rushes to the soaking sheets, drags the comforter over to the window. "C'mon, Dean, please, we gotta hurry."

That's enough to break Dean out of whatever state he'd been in -- seeing the wind blow those bedclothes clear off the wall and across the room's enough to stun him for a moment, so sue him -- and the two of them wrangle the sheets, the comforter, the duct tape, until they've blocked out most of the rain and wind.

Dean makes Sam go take a hot shower and while Sam's in the bathroom, Dean dries off, changes, and does his best not to think about Sam soaped up and dripping wet. He fails miserably, just like always, and wonders, again, how much Sam will hate him when he finds out.

The last of their soup is warming up in the microwave when a key turns in the lock and the door opens. Dean's got a shotgun in his hand a second later but it's Dad, thank god, Dad's back, and the soup's forgotten as Dean drops the gun and goes racing into his father's arms.

"Hey," Dad says, all quiet and concerned, brushing his nails lightly over Dean's scalp. "You okay?"

"Yeah," Dean says. "It's -- we missed you."

Dad chuckles, presses a quick kiss to Dean's forehead. "Missed you, too, Dean. But I'm here now. Everything's gonna be okay."