Dean Winchester was never drinking again. Whether that was by choice or because he wasn’t going to survive this hangover he didn’t know yet; but as he half-laid on the bathroom floor and clung to the porcelain bowl waiting for whatever little was left in his stomach to take its revenge upon him for last night’s clear abuse of his body, he wasn’t sure that living was the better option anyway and had therefore begun to quietly pray for death. What he did know for certain was the bathroom floor was freezing, the overhead light was too bright, his back was sore as hell, and he was never drinking again.
Well, perhaps that was a bridge too far. He was at the very least never drinking tequila again. He hated tequila. And The Lord of the Rings. And life. And Sam Campbell. Not necessarily in that order.
It all had seemed very innocent last night. Certainly nothing that would have ended up with Dean feeling a desperate desire to scrape his taste buds off by way of his toothbrush in an attempt to rid himself of the dead rodent/stomach bile flavor currently coating the inside of his mouth in a semi-slimy, semi-fuzzy film that made him shiver with disgust. Dean had teamed up with Sam on a pretty routine vampire hunt and after tracking the vamps down yesterday neither had gotten killed or even seriously maimed while taking out the nest. A routine vamp hunt was not really anything to celebrate, let alone celebrate with a drinking game involving a large bottle of Don Julio (that shit was nearly $150 a bottle, which went a long way to convincing Dean), but it was one of those things that just kind of happened and now here he was.
It certainly didn’t seem like it would happen when Sam found The Lord of the Rings on cable while Dean worked on submitting the paperwork certifying the hunt had been successful. However, after listening to Dean protest that nerd stuff wasn’t really his thing, Sam stole the laptop and pulled up the official LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring drinking game rules. Dean read through them, quirked an eyebrow, and had remained skeptical until the first close-up of the One Ring came barely two minutes into the film, at which point he was convinced this was going to be awesome. And it had been awesome, especially after the halfway mark when they were both hammered and abandoned the movie in favor of pursuing other activities of a much more intimate nature. The “this is a bad idea Winchester” warning sign hadn’t even flashed once, and this morning Dean found himself waking up alone in the Holiday Inn room Sam had booked for them (“Just because you’re getting us a fancy room, don’t expect me to be putting out, Campbell,” “Please. Don’t flatter yourself, Winchester,”) and making a mad dash for the toilet.
The events from the night before were a bit of a blur as he climbed shakily to his feet after what must have been at least a half hour vomit session, though he was aware both he and Sam had been willing participants. If his head hadn’t felt like someone had mistaken him for a zombie and left an axe buried in his cerebellum he might have been inclined to try to parse through why they’d both been willing participants but that was for another time. He wasn’t really clear on who had kissed whom first to start the whole thing off, but his short term memory banks at least had decided the expanse of Sam’s tanned chest (somehow soft and solid in equal measure at the same time), the absurd width of his shoulders (Dean couldn’t even see the overhead light they’d forgotten to turn off before tumbling to the floor; he had never felt so thrillingly petite), and the warmth and flavor of his mouth (the taste of pepperoni and green pepper pizza on Sam’s tongue was almost enough to outweigh the misery of this morning) needed to be stored away for future use; and though Dean really wanted to forget last night completely his dick was now actively trying to outvote his brain. His head throbbed as he glared down at the tent in his grey boxer briefs.
“You don’t get a say in this anymore, pal,” he grumbled before stripping to climb into the shower to see if he could gently clean some of the carpet fibers out of the rug burn on his back.
The water pressure in the shower was glorious and gave him a much needed jolt to help clear the fog from his head. The soap, shampoo, and conditioner were some fancy blend infused with gardenias and vanilla, and despite the huge mistake he’d made last night - and that encompassed both the tequila and Campbell - he was going to enjoy the built-in massage showerhead and stay here in the steamy enclosure until the water ran cold. This was so much better than he usually got to experience at the seedy motels he’d always stayed in with Dad; first as a little kid and then later on when they’d started hunting together again. God, he really was hungover. Three whole seconds thinking about life with Dad and he felt like someone had reached into his chest to squeeze until something burst, and now he was on the verge of tears like a ridiculous baby. He needed his stupid brain to just shut off so he could enjoy this shower, which of course meant his stupid brain was not going to shut off, and he soon found himself scrubbing with far too much force at his skin, hot tears mercifully masked by the water while he willed his dick to stop being happy with the memories of last night since that’s not ever happening again, goddammit, so just forget the whole fucking mess.
Because Sam Campbell and Dean Winchester didn’t like each other; not anymore, not since Dean presented as an omega when he was sixteen with only two years left until graduation and promptly got kicked out of Actaeon Academy, the most prestigious hunter’s boarding school for alphas in the nation. Before that they’d been...not exactly best friends, but certainly good friends, despite the four year age difference between them. Both boys were considered legacies within the community and had been admitted with little more than a handwave. Dean had been well into middle school when he and his baby brother, Adam, were dropped off in front of the school with half-empty duffel bags and the squeal of tires. Their father, John Winchester, was practically a legend within hunting circles, primarily for his talent in taking down the worst of the supernatural creatures that made all kinds of things go bump in the night, and secondarily for his violent alcohol-fueled temper. He did not play well with others and a challenge to his request to enroll his boys would have been unwise, even though John was in no position to pay the exorbitant tuition the school charged.
The admissions office was more than willing to overlook this minor point not only because of John’s well-known volatility, but because of who John’s father was. Henry Winchester was one of the highest ranking members of the oh-so-secretive Men of Letters - an organization shrouded in mystery and devoted entirely to the study of the supernatural - and a gifted practitioner of the magical arts. Though his temperament was known to be far milder and considerably more sober than his son’s, Henry was largely shrouded in mystery as well and no one in admissions cared to refuse to let his grandchildren into the school and risk seeing just how good he was with all those spells the MoL had collected over the centuries.
As for Sam - well. Sam’s grandfather was not only obscenely wealthy (old money thank you very much; the Campbells came over on the Mayflower after all) but very high up in the Federal Department of Hunters. Sam could have had his pick of any school in the nation, any university, any post-graduate college, could choose any career he wanted and Samuel Campbell would have only needed to pick up the phone to make it happen. Samuel had apparently caved for the first time when Sam insisted he was going to be a lawyer and went off to Stanford for a couple of years, until something happened that Dean never really caught the gist of and Sam returned to hunting. Dean had wondered when whatever it was that happened happened if Samuel had arranged it. The whole reason Samuel shipped Sam off to Actaeon in the first place was so he could follow in the Campbell family footsteps to become a hunter.
But their childhood...friendship? Dean wasn’t exactly sure anymore what it had actually been, that was a decade ago by now and at the end it certainly hadn’t proved to be any true friendship. Whatever it was had long since been replaced by the current open and mutual distaste they harbored for each other. Dean had noticed the break between them immediately after his presentation, and it was an old wound he wouldn’t admit that he carried, but he did. Male omegas were extremely rare, like a white rhinoceros or a Sumatran tiger, which should have made them cherished but didn’t. Instead, alphas largely saw it as some sort of flaw (though no such opinion was held about female alphas), like an error in evolution that needed to be raped out of existence. The majority of his classmates turned on him when they found out he was an omega; the Board of Administrators had expelled him before he’d even been released from quarantine in the Nurse’s Office where they’d locked him up during his first heat (and he was grateful, even though it had nearly killed him, that they’d at least had the decency to lock him away from all the knotheads); and when his father came to pick him up...well. That hadn’t exactly been the happy family reunion he’d hoped for.
The only ones who seemed to care that he was leaving the school were his younger brother, who at ten years old was reduced to sobbing like a toddler, and his best friend (truly a best friend) Benny. When Adam presented as a beta on his sixteenth birthday and was still allowed to stay and graduate from the alpha-only academy it had been another twist of the knife, and another underscoring of how Dean had landed himself firmly in second class citizen territory thanks to his biology. It was still a topic his younger brother was careful to avoid whenever they were together. Both did their best to act like Actaeon Academy didn’t exist.
That would have been much easier if Sam Campbell didn’t exist either, but of course because Dean’s life was one long running cosmic joke he did. Sam had no trouble remaining friends with Adam after Dean left school so it was impossible for the eldest Winchester brother to avoid the knowledge that his once-childhood - let’s call it friend - couldn’t stand being in the same room with him. Perhaps that’s why after all this time it still stung, despite being what most would dismiss as “typical kid stuff.” Logically Dean understood that’s what it was, and he should have been able to let it go. The reality that beta Adam, who was now out of the life completely and in college for nursing, was good enough for the high and mighty alpha Sam Campbell to stay friends with to this day, while Dean, a lowly omega quietly regarded as one of the best hunters in the country (behind closed doors, mind you - no one would ever admit how good he was publicly) ought to be barefoot and pregnant somewhere baking pies as far as Sam was concerned...it had Dean suppressing the urge to reach for his silver boot knife whenever he caught the smell of gunpowder, books, well worn leather, and green tea that indicated Sam’s presence in a room.
The shower was still putting out a steady stream of high pressure warm water when he decided he’d had enough and if he stayed in there longer he’d just make himself sick again. Wiping away the steam he checked the mirror over the sink to assess just how bloodshot his eyes were (very), and quietly cursed his stupidity at not turning and walking right out of the Roadhouse the second he caught Sam’s scent in the air four days ago. He started in on the scrubbing of his tongue, which still retained something of the flavor of a toad that had been soaked in alcohol and left to bake in the sun, poured himself a glass of water after feeling he’d done the best he could and that his breath at least smelled somewhat minty, then headed back to the bedroom to fish through his duffel bag for some clean clothes and his trusty bottle of aspirin. Absently he noted that Sam had left at some point when he was in the bathroom, but Dean’s head hurt too much to figure out how he felt about that right now. Later he’d probably be really pissed, but at the moment he just felt a conflicted mixture of sadness and anger, but he needed aspirin too much to bother with emotions.
After rummaging for a few minutes he gave up all pretense of attempting to keep his possessions orderly and dumped the whole bag on the maroon bedspread. He quickly found the small bottle he kept for traveling purposes so he didn’t always have to lug around the 500 count bottles he typically bought (why hadn’t he invested in aspirin stock yet? Oh right, hunting didn’t pay for shit), but also uncovered a folded piece of hotel stationary that certainly hadn’t been there when he packed and the roll of $400 FDH coupons he’d flung back in Campbell’s face at the bar. He could feel his cheeks grow hot as he looked at the coupons and blushed all the way down from his hair line to his chest, then opened the stationary to see what it said.
This doesn’t make us friends. - S.C.
P.S. - Buy yourself some decent scent blockers and save us all the trouble.
For a long moment Dean stared at the note from Sam and blinked, re-reading the two simple lines in the neat cursive writing. Not that he’d expected anything but continued disdain from the other hunter, but damn - it was one thing knowing someone despised you, but seeing it on hotel stationary in well practiced script? Shit like this was why he stuck exclusively to betas and omegas. Besides not having to deal with being knotted, he didn’t have to deal with the damn smug superior alpha attitude either.
He should have just thrown the note in the trash without reading it. Or burned it. Or thrown it in the trash and then burned it. Both the note and the coupons. But he really needed the coupons, it was the only reason he’d stayed on the stupid fucking hunt to begin with once he knew Sam had caught wind of it as well, it was convenient to have the coupons in hand and not have to wait for the automatic payment to hit his bank account, and fuck now he was crying again and no matter how many times he pressed the heels of his hands to his eyes the tears just wouldn’t stop. He grabbed a clean pair of jeans and shoved his legs in, pulled his favorite Metallica tee shirt over his head, threw on socks and his boots, then jammed everything back in the duffel. After pausing for a second, he stuffed the note and the $400 coupons into his pants pocket, just so he’d have a reminder in case Sam Campbell ever wanted to do shots of tequila with him again.
Almost on autopilot given how many times he’d done it, Dean did a sweep of the room to make sure he had his tool kit properly put back together with the correct number of knives, guns, and various and sundry warding items, laptop, all of his clothes, toothbrush and paste, before swinging his duffels over his left shoulder and jamming his jacket over both bags. He ran his hand over his face to clear away the tear streaks now that he was finally getting himself under control as he did a last visual sweep to make sure he hadn’t forgotten something before slamming on his sunglasses. Yeah, he was going to be walking through the hotel wearing sunglasses and looking totally hungover, but it’s not like he knew anyone here so it didn’t matter. He could hardly be the first person doing the walk of shame out of this place, no matter how many stars it got on Hotels.com.
His head still pounded like it would split in two as he exited the building into the parking lot, and his stomach threw out some warning waves of nausea to caution him about how quickly he was moving, but he couldn’t possibly have cared less. Ignoring the alpha who wolf-whistled and made a comment about how he smelled good enough to eat, he flung his belongings into the back of the Impala and then threw himself into the driver’s seat. He apologized immediately to his Baby for slamming the driver’s door so hard - none of this was her fault - then heard his phone buzzing in the glove compartment. He fumbled with the lock (never drinking again) and dug through the fake IDs and car registrations to check it.
A message from John lit up his screen:
What the hell were you thinking taking on a vamp’s nest with Campbell? Call me.
Dean? Where the hell are you? Call me.
I never should have let you hunt on your own. You’re not a hunter, Dean! Call me!
There were another five texts, all under the contact “Dad,” but he didn’t bother with them. Dealing with one asshole alpha at a time this hungover was effectively his limit, and this morning that honor went to Sam Campbell. And Sam really was an asshole. Dean pulled his note out and read it again, before tossing it out the window and peeling out of the parking lot.
He’d known where he stood with Sam before this hunt, the stupid drinking game, and the mind blowing sex (thanks memory banks for retaining that fact clearly amidst the haze) and it wasn’t that he had expected any of that to change just because they now knew all the incredibly-embarrassing-outside-the-moment sounds the other made when he came. He was a big boy who’d had plenty of casual partners, and he knew the morning-after drill. It’s just that this was the first time he’d ever left the morning after feeling like a whore.
He watched the hotel disappear in his rearview mirror, and willed himself to leave behind his many lapses in judgment since he answered Ellen’s phone call and agreed to take this case. He certainly wouldn’t be making those mistakes again.