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Somewhere in Montana

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An endless stretch of road, somewhere in Montana. Mountains on either side and the sun maybe an hour short of setting.

Dean turned off the music miles ago. They are sitting in comfortable silence, alone, no car has passed them in what seems like forever. Dean has a feeling they’ll spend the night by the road, in the car. He doesn’t mind doing that occasionally. And in the middle of nowhere is the best place for that. They can watch the stars for hours, not talking until their minds are one with the night sky.

Or maybe they will stumble upon a little town, by a stream or lake or at the foot of a mountain. Where the next big city is miles and miles away, and where it actually gets quiet during the night, save for the crickets chirping in the grass.

“The mountains are beautiful,” says Sam, breaking the silence. When Dean glances at Sam he finds him watching the trees flow past them, the mountains slowly changing shape as they drive down the highway.

“Weren’t you reading?” Dean asks. Sam is still loosely holding his phone, the screen dark.

“I was. Found an article I want to share with you.”

“A job?”

“Nah, wasn’t looking for a job,” Sam shifts toward him. “This guy says answering these 36 questions will make you fall in love with anyone.”

Dean huffs a laugh. “Yeah, right.”

“That’s what I thought too,” Sam says and turns his phone back on. “I want to try it.”

“Try it? Why? You’re not gonna find a stranger who’s willing to do that with you, and if you do it’s not gonna work and create love.” Sam punches his arm lightly. “Hey,” Dean says. “I’m driving here.”

“I know it’s not going to create love, dumbass,” Sam says. “Unless he used some kind of spell in his experiments, no, they sometimes fall in love because they reveal stuff about themselves or something. But anyway, I want to do this with you.”

Dean furrows his brows in surprise. He can’t help his grin. “Dude, and then you bitch when I call you a girl.”

“I skimmed the first few questions, it’s not that bad. I think it’d be good for us.”

“Good for us how?”

“Like, you know,” says Sam. “Make us talk. Really talk.”

“Aw, you wanna talk about your feelings, Samantha?” Dean wiggles his eyebrows. He doesn’t need to move his head to know Sam is wearing his bitchface. Dean grins even wider. Sam takes a controlled inhale and cracks a smile himself.

“Yes,” Sam says, voice warm. “Let’s talk, Dean. It’ll pass the time at least.”

“Yeah, okay,” Dean gives in and shrugs easily. He has no desire to be anywhere else but here, a nice long road in front of him and nowhere to be.

“Wait, really?” Sam sounds taken aback. “Just like that?”

“‘S not like it will actually make us fall in love,” he says. “Besides, what kind of questions are those anyway? Favorite food? What do you wish for most? When did you last jerk off?”

“Yes, kinda like those. Maybe not that last one though.”

“Okay,” Dean says and leans back, hands on two and ten. “Shoot.”

Sam focuses on his phone. “So, normally we’d read the questions alternating, but we’re not gonna do that—”

“Obviously.”

“Yeah. First question. If you could invite anyone in the world to dinner, who would it be?” Dean watches him from the corner of his eyes. Sam raises his head and waits.

“Man, so this quiz thing starts out with the hard questions?”

“It’s not a quiz in that sense. And I think that’s supposed to be an easy one,” says Sam. Dean can hear the smirk in his voice.

“Dead or alive?”

“Doesn’t matter, I guess. There are no rules, Dean. And no right or wrong answers.”

Dean contemplates it for a moment. “Shit, there are so many people I’d like to meet. Or ‘invite to dinner’ or whatever you said.” He does the air quotes with one hand.

“Pick one,” Sam urges.

“Hm, okay. Clint Eastwood.”

“Ah, I thought you’d pick some musician.”

“I can’t choose only one of them, Sam. So I chose my favorite actor, easy as that,” he says. “Who would you want to meet?” Sam is staring into space. “Oh come on, dude. You had more time to think than me. Is it one of those true crime guys?”

“Dude, no. As a dinner guest, man. No— Dad, I guess.”

Dean’s gaze snaps to Sam. “Really?”

“Yeah,” says Sam, shrugs like it’s no big deal.

“Fair enough.”

“Would you like to be famous?” Sam continues with the list of questions. “In what way?”

“I think in a way we already are famous.” Dean chuckles and they exchange a look.

“But I don’t think I’d want to be famous for real,” says Sam. “Or, depending on why, maybe I would. If I suddenly had the cure for cancer or something. That would be a cool thing to be famous for.”

Dean hums in acknowledgement. “Being a rockstar would be sweet too.”

“Of course,” says Sam. Dean looks over in time to see him make a face. “Before making a phone call, do you ever rehearse what you’re going to say? Why?” Sam looks at him expectantly.

“Can’t say I do,” says Dean.

“Mh, me neither. What would constitute a perfect day for you?”

Dean smiles. His baby is rumbling under him, rolling smoothly down the road. He is warm all over, the late summer day only partly a contributor. Their current problems are on the backburner.

“To be honest, I can’t imagine how it could be better than this,” he says, accelerating the Impala for a few seconds before falling back into the somewhat leisure pace they were in before.

“Answering questions to make you fall in love with me?” asks Sam like the annoying little brother he is. Dean can feel his eyes on him.

“No,” he says a bit too harshly. “Sitting in my Baby. With you. Talking. Or listening to music. That would make it better, actually. Not having to listen to your stupid bullshit.”

“Dude!”

Dean glances at him to make sure he isn’t angry. Sam is biting back a smile.

“Sorry,” Dean says anyway and clears his throat. “What about your perfect day?”

Sam lifts one shoulder. A twinkle in his eyes. “The same, actually.”

“Yeah?”

Sam hums a yes. “When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else? Well, I guess I know that about you. Half an hour ago? Maybe one?”

Dean thinks about his horrible singing to Def Leppard before. He laughs. “I don’t know when you last sang to yourself though.”

“I don’t… sing.”

“Yeah you do, sometimes. With me.”

“It’s not that often. I can’t even remember the last time.”

“Me neither,” says Dean. “Okay then. Next one.”

“If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30 year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you choose?”

Dean exhales slowly, thinking. “That’s hard.”

The lines on Sam’s forehead appear. “Is it?” He huffs. “I would want the mind of a 30 year old. That’s not even a question.”

“But man, you’d be all old and gross. If I had this body forever I’d get laid forever.”

“What if you get dementia or something?”

“Okay, fine,” Dean says and tilts his head to the side. “But we’re not gonna live that long one way or another, so.”

That’s not how this game is played and Dean knows it. He can sense Sam’s eye roll.

“Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?” Sam asks.

Dean laughs. “Is that the next question? Easy. Wrong side of a gun or knife. Do my previous deaths count? Hellhounds, whatever. Brutal.”

“Wow,” says Sam dryly.

“What?”

“Nothing.”

“So?”

“Yes, what you said, me too.” Sam sighs in defeat. “Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.”

“Job, life, last name,” Dean shoots out. He chuckles at the last one as he remembers what this quiz is supposed to do.

“You had to pick the most obvious ones, huh?” Sam glares at him.

“Yup, now you have it harder,” Dean says. “So, come on, what do we have in common?”

“Okay…” Sam takes a second or two or three to think. “We have long stopped being bothered by murder,” he says eventually.

Dean lifts his eyebrows. “True…”

“We’re really fucked up, and we both would give our life for the other.”

Dean exhales slowly. “Damn, Sammy. Getting deep here already.”

Sam ignores him. “For what in your life do you feel the most grateful?”

Dean falls into silence. He doesn't know what to say, watches the road with attention. What immediately pops into his head is Sam. He doesn't know how to express that or if he should.

“I think…” Sam starts slowly. “I think I’m most grateful that I could get out for a while. Go to Stanford.”

A pang dashes through him and his head snaps toward Sam. His insides twist. He’s glad he didn’t go first.

“Because… I don’t think I could have otherwise appreciated what we have now. I would have always wondered what it’d be like to have a normal life. And I’m grateful I got to try it out. To know for sure it wouldn’t have worked out no matter what.”

You could still have that, Dean thinks at Sam. He doesn't dare say it. Doesn't dare open his mouth, fears if he will Sam might change his mind, might want to leave, again. He swallows audibly.

“Dean? What about you?”

Dean keeps his eyes forward. “Yeah, uhm. The existence of pie.”

Sam is quiet. He’s watching Dean, no doubt. Dean stares at a curve of the road that’s coming up in the near distance.

“Okay,” Sam says, whispers it almost. He doesn't believe him. Dean’s glad he doesn't press it. “If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?”

Dean closes his eyes for a second. Another question about their life.

Silence. Sam waits for Dean to go first this time.

Dean thinks about Sam, knows exactly what his brother is going to say, and can’t come up with an answer for himself. Sam waits.

“Uh, if I could change anything about the way we were raised…”

“You,” says Sam.

“What?”

“About the way you were raised. This is about you,” Sam says. Patiently. Softly.

“Okay.” Dean breathes out, shakily. “I don’t know, Sam. I didn’t mind the way we were raised.”

“Don’t you think it was… harsh? At times?”

Dean’s knuckles are turning white on the wheel and he forces his hands to loosen up. “Well, I know you think so. You always wanted to stay at one place, you hated the childhood we had. I know you did. Shit, Sam— I wish you could have had a normal life, I truly do. To have a mother, or even just a dad who was there more often. And—”

“You were there for me.” The seat shifts as Sam turns toward him a little more. “You shouldn’t have had to do that. You should have been a brother but you were everything to me.”

“Sam—” Dean swallows down the need to apologize.

“But, if I had to change anything about the way I was raised, I wouldn’t. It’s— our lives would have always ended up like this—”

“You can’t know that.”

“Yes, I can. We were always Michael’s and Lucifer’s vessels. I was always infected with demon blood—”

“Sam.” Dean hears the whine in his voice and hates himself for it.

“And in that regard,” Sam pushes on, “how dad raised us, he… He did the best he could and if he hadn’t raised us the way he has… We wouldn’t even have been able to defeat the yellow eyed demon.”

“But if that wouldn’t matter you would have wanted a normal life.”

“I mean… Yeah. Wouldn’t you?”

Dean shrugs. That isn’t something he can think about right now. Besides, it’s not like it matters anyway. They can’t change the past.

He doesn't want to hear the rest of the questions anymore.

“Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible,” says Sam, hesitates, then adds on, “skip this one?”

“Please,” says Dean with a strangled tone.

“If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?”

“At last, we have returned to the fun questions.”

“Flying?” Sam jokes, but it doesn't fit the mood anymore, somehow.

“I think they mean, like, real qualities you can have,” Dean says.

“Dude, we killed a bunch of vampires two days ago. And no rules, remember?”

“Okay, yeah,” says Dean, a smile tugging on his lips. “Flying. Or invincibility.”

“Not having to sleep anymore,” Sam suggests.

“Dude, yes!”

“So many more hours to do stuff…”

“I was thinking more along the lines of no nightmares anymore.”

“Oh.” A pause. Then they both can’t help but laugh and the air feels easier again.

“So…“ Sam reads the next question, still chuckling. “If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?”

“Uh…”

“What’s that even supposed to mean? The truth about yourself?”

Dean considers it for a second, then says, “I think that’s something you would have liked to know back when we were dealing with your psychic powers.”

“But how many normal people have those kinds of problems?”

“You never know. What was the other thing? Future, and?”

“Yourself, your life, the future or anything else.”

“Okay. Hm. Fuck the future. And if I discover anything else about myself, like that Michael bullcrap, I’mma punch something dead,” Dean says and darts a look at Sam. “Pass.”

Sam brakes eye contact and bites his lip. “Yeah, uh, agreed.”

Dean nods once. “Next one?”

“Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?” Sam asks. “I could come up with a lot of small things, but not really anything big… I feel like I’m living moment to moment.”

Dean simply says, “Grand Canyon. Always wanted to see it. But I guess I don’t want it enough, ‘cause it’s not like we’ve never had the chance. But what you said too.”

“Let’s go there, then,” says Sam.

Dean glances at him, driving a bit slower. “Really?”

“Why not?” asks Sam. And yeah, why not? Why hadn’t he done it yet?

“Yeah,” Dean agrees, smiles. “Let’s go there.”

Sam brightens up. “I’ll hold you up to it. Next question. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?”

Dean taps his thumb against the steering wheel. “Do you think saving the world and ridding the US of evil counts?”

Sam does a wheezy breath. “Definitely.”

“Or…” Dean says, dragging it out. “You’re gonna kill me for that one, but... Saving you.” Selling my soul for you. “Protecting you.”

Sam gives him a fond look. He is smiling. “Which time?”

Dean smirks back. “Every time. What’s yours, college boy?”

Sam rolls his eyes. “Dude, I overpowered the devil.”

Proudness wells up in Dean, and maybe something else. “Yeah, you did.”

“Okay, what does friendship mean to you?”

“Friendship? What friends?” Dean asks. Sam punches his arm. “And I’m still driving.”

“You barely are anymore,” says Sam. Which is true, Dean is creeping the Impala along the road, slow and steady so he can sneak longer glances at Sam.

“Loyalty, I guess,” Dean says, answering the question. “You?”

“Yeah,” agrees Sam. “And trust. Being comfortable around each other, being able to talk about anything, stuff like that.” Dean nods and doesn't add anything else. Sam continues, “What is your most treasured memory?”

Dean’s pulse is bouncing in his neck. His mind is immediately back to that time they visited heaven. He knows what his favorite memory is. But it’s heaven that’s also holding him back from saying it.

“You go first.”

“Okay,” Sam says. Pause. He is staring out the window, smiling wistfully.

Unease creps up in Dean, he tries to push it back. “Jess?” he asks and bites his tongue afterwards. Of course Jess.

Sam turns to him, a confused look on his face for merely a second. “Oh,” he says. “No, I wasn’t thinking about Jess. I was surprised how much there was to choose from, actually.”

Dean raises an eyebrow. “Shoot.”

“Remember when you had one year left to live?”

Dean can practically feel the blood drain from his face. “Okay, you shot.”

“Dean.” Sam puts a hand on his thigh. It doesn't make him feel better. “No. That Christmas, remember? I didn’t want to celebrate at first.”

“Yeah, I remember. We did though.”

“Yes. It was— it was nice, that day.”

Dean winces, squirms uncomfortably. “It was. But that’s your most treasured memory?” Dean would be lying if he said it isn’t one of his, but—

“Not exactly, it just came to mind. But it’s a good one for sure, considering all what happened that year. It’s nice to take breaks like that. With each other.” Sam nudges him. “Remember how Bobby sometimes took us camping and you scared off a badger that one time?”

That almost surprises a laugh out of Dean. “That badger was going to bite you, how is that a good memory?”

Sam simply grins. “Or when— God, when you came back? From hell? That first time I saw you after those four months, man...” His words choke up.

Yeah, Dean can relate to that feeling. He clasps the steering wheel and takes deep breaths.

“Mine is… This is also from when we were kids— you were 13 and it was the Fourth of July and I got us some fireworks that we set off on a field—”

He realizes suddenly how stupid that sounds. There are fireworks on that day every year. They live in the US, heck, no matter in what state they are in, on the Fourth of July everyone got out the fireworks.

But around that time Sam had started puberty and was bitching about everything, every day. The way they lived, that they never could stay anywhere, Dad’s absence, the motels and cabins— hating their life more than ever. Fireworks weren’t special, but on that day they had been. Sam was smiling, not stressed and miserable, and for once, happy.

“I do. You always did stuff like that for me. On my birthdays too. You were always there for me, tried to make my days better. And I love you for that.” Sam squeezes his thigh once before retracting his hand.

Dean watches the road go by through the tears forming in his eyes. Concentrates on keeping the car from veering toward the middle line. “Damn, Sammy, question 10 and you’re already confessing your love to me? Aren’t you getting ahead of yourself?” There’s a lump in his throat.

“Shut up,” says Sam and huffs a laugh. “And that was question 17.”

“What’s question 18?” Dean asks to get them to move on.

“What’s your most terrible memory?” reads Sam. “Oh…”

Silence between them. The sun, low above the horizon, is peeking from between two mountains in the distance. The last of the day’s light is spilling through the trees and into the car, dancing through the leaves and on their faces. Dean wishes he was in a mood to appreciate the beauty of it.

What the hell, it isn’t like Sam doesn't already know his worst memory. He lifts his chin, makes eye contact.

“The day you left,” he says. Voice pinched in a way that plainly betrays his feelings to Sam. “The day you died, all of them.” There were also the times he had felt betrayed, Ruby and whatnot, but he decides to stay with the major things. Nothing can top Sam’s death anyway.

Sam clears his throat. “Uh. Yeah, mine too.” Dean’s deaths. So many of them. Not that Dean remembers Sam’s Tuesdays, but the thought alone…

“Your deaths are you worst memories too?” Dean tries to joke. Sam doesn't laugh. Dean rubs the back of his neck. “Yeah, okay, question 19. You go first.”

“If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly—” Dean brings the car to a halt while Sam reads— “would you change anything about the way you are living? Why?”

Dean turns toward Sam, facing him straight on. How can this experiment be real?

“I think we already know what you would do.” Sam grimaces.

“Are you making those questions up or is that actually what they ask?” He smiles without humor.

“I don’t think they accounted for people like us doing this.”

“I don’t think there are many people like us.”

“I don’t think so either,” Sam says.

Dean leans in and puts his right arm over the back of the seat. Sam faces him some more, mirroring his position, except for his hands that he keeps resting easily in his lap.

“So what would you do? What would you change about your life if you knew you’d die soon?” asks Dean. He is hyper aware of the way their knees brush against each other.

“Not like we’re not constantly living on the edge of death anyway,” says Sam. Dean snorts. “Okay, but seriously, I don’t think I’d change that much. Try to save as many people as possible, make an impact, you know? Nothing we’re not already doing. And eat more junk.”

Dean kicks him. “I knew you don’t actually like your rabbit food.”

“Hey.” Sam kicks back, a leisure smile building on his face. “I do like it. But I’m also looking out to eat healthy. When I die it won’t be because of a heart attack, no way. But if I knew for sure I die in one year, I wouldn’t care as much.”

“Okay, fine.”

“You know, it wouldn’t kill you to eat more healthy—”

“Read the next question, man.”

Sam does. “What does friendship mean to you?”

“Didn’t we already answer this question?”

“Yeah, kind of. But it was more along the lines of what you value in friendship.”

“Ah. What’s your answer now?” asks Dean.

“To me, friendship means… You,” Sam says. “I don’t know how to— I’ve had friends, of course, but… At the end of the day it’s always you. Friendship doesn’t have to be forever to mean something, but it’s nice when I know I can count on someone no matter what. I think what I’m saying is… You’re my best friend.”

“Aw, Sammy. I’m touched.”

Sam scoffs. “Say I’m not your best friends.”

“Of course you are,” says Dean, voice soft. Then he takes Sam’s phone from him and reads the next question, “What roles do love and affection play in your life?” He looks up, curious about Sam’s answer.

“Now it’s— You’re— I mean, when,” Sam says, brakes up again, stares at a point behind Dean. What he would give to know what goes on in his head. “I feel weird saying you again, but… Because, it’s not like I’ve had a lot of love and affection in my life. You’re pretty much the only human contact I get. Now, especially, the only thing we have is each other. And we’re…” Sam releases a frustrated breath, stops his jumble of words. “Your turn.”

Dean bites the inside of his lip, avoiding Sam’s gaze. What Sam said isn’t untrue. And Dean used to have a lot more one night stands than he has now— well, not that those were love.

It is so quiet in the car Dean can hear the click of Sam’s throat. He opens his window, hopes to let some sounds and fresh air in, aware he’s avoiding the question.

He jumps as Sam grabs his phone back to continue with the list of questions. Dean keeps his eyes down.

“Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items,” says Sam.

Dean can’t judge his tone, so he takes the lead. “You’re my trusty research boy,” he says, stops. He’s still thinking about the last question, even though Sam obviously let him off the hook. He opens his mouth, looks at Sam with a painful tightness in his throat.

“It’s okay if you can’t find the right words, Dean.” Sam is sitting relaxed against the window, the complete opposite of Dean. “I can’t either.”

“That’s not a positive characteristic.”

“No, it’s not, but I had to say it,” he says. “You’re protective. That’s one reason that makes you an amazing hunter. And you’re smart, you are. You’re very observant and competent. You’re good with your hands, I mean—” Sam blushes, splutters. Dean’s face grows hot too, but he smirks nonetheless. “As in, building stuff, god, you know. Now you go.”

Dean takes a breath to ground himself and says, “Well, you’re a great hunter as well. You can look at people with your puppy eyes and they’ll do anything you want and tell you anything you need to know. You’re empathetic with them. And shit, you’re intelligent. And you can memorize anything like holy hell. I’ve lost count of how many languages you speak. You’re selfless—”

“You are too.”

“And you’re a giant geek.”

“Again, you are too. Just in a different way.”

Dean mirrors Sam’s smile. That question was easy. He watches him read the next one.

“How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people's?”

“I think our family’s closer than other people’s. Simply because we’re us.”

“We’re all that’s left,” adds Sam.

“Yeah.”

“And we’re just gonna ignore the childhood part?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay,” says Sam generously. “How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?” He looks at Dean with an unreadable face.

“Uh,” supplies Dean and stares at his knee.

Sam coughs lightly and reads, “Make three true "we" statements each. For instance, ‘We are both in this room feeling…’"

“We’re both in this car skipping an awful lot of questions. And we’re feeling a bit weird about the fact that there are so many we can’t answer or can answer too well.”

Sam sends him a long pained look. Dean lifts his shoulders and puts a what? on his face. Sam scoffs in response. Dean wants to laugh.

“We gave each other so much crap over the year, and fuck, the world put us through so much crap. We’re barely talking about this as it is, and yet we’re avoiding stuff even now.”

“That’s a Winchester for you,” says Dean, feeling a bit better about himself. Sam is in this with him. “You can’t expect an 180, man.”

Sam stares at nothing for an overlong moment, before flushing a pretty pink and meeting Dean’s eyes. “We’ve both had sexual thoughts about the other before.”

Dean’s breath hitches and an intrusive thought about just that fills his mind for a fleeting moment. “You say that with an awful lot of confidence,” he says. His voice cracks.

“Are you saying it’s not true?” Sam’s voice doesn't waver.

“Well, now. ‘S not like I could have heard that and not—”

Sam offers a bemused smile and Dean shuts up.

“We both know it’s only a matter of time until something happens between us.”

Dean doesn't deny and lets the birds outside fill the silence.

“Complete this sentence: ‘I wish I had someone with whom I could share…’” Sam says. “I first. I wish I had someone with whom—”

“If you say your feelings I’m gonna punch you,” says Dean and emphasizes it with a light kick against Sam’s shin.

“I wish I had someone with whom I could share a serious conversation, you jerk.” Sam’s eyes glow in the evening light.

“Then what do you call this?”

“A revelation.”

“You’re getting ahead of yourself again, we haven’t fallen in love yet.”

Sam watches him with a tilted head. “What do you want to share, Dean?”

“A good fuck.”

Now it’s Sam’s turn to be lost for air. “Dean.”

“I’m in the mood, what can I say.”

The air is heavy and for a second Dean wonders if he really rolled down the window. He can’t turn around and check, he is too focused on Sam fumbling with his phone.

Sam shifts in his seat, and there is the blush on his cheeks again. “If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.”

“Well, there was this time I killed a guy…”

One corner of Sam’s mouth jumps. “Shocker. I think I might have been infected with demon blood.”

“That’s an old one,” Dean says.

“Fine. I’m literally and actually Satan’s one true meatsuit. And I might have PTSD from hell and other shit.”

“Good thing I’m your counterpart then, or this confession would have been awkward.”

“Yeah. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you've just met.”

Sam’s eyes are so bright and glossy they steal Dean’s breath. His cock is definitely chubbing up a little. Dean looks at Sam, and he thinks… He would. He’d fall for him. He’d fall in love with him if Sam did too. He is already feeling helpless with love. And he will love him, forever if Sam lets him.

“Your eyes, Sam,” Dean whispers. “Never seen eyes more stunning than yours.”

Sam’s mouth opens. A tiny gap that pulls Dean’s gaze right to his dusty pink lips.

“I like how honest you’re being today,” says Sam. “Even though there was some stuff you’ve held back.”

“Yeah, well…” Dean clears his throat and turns his head, heat rising to his ears. Sam can probably see. “You’re not perfect either, what that’s concerned.”

“Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.”

Dean grins widely, happy for the change of topic. “Now, please, do dig out some college story.”

“You know what? Fine,” says Sam and bites his lip not to smile. Dean’s heart skips. “Okay, how about this one…”

He goes red and brings a hand up to his face to hide. Dean snatches it down. “This better be good.”

“Okay, so… This was when Jess and I were living together. I was on our bed… masturbating.”

“Nothing embarrassing there yet, Sammy,” says Dean.

Sam makes a face. “Well, I heard the front door open. Jess came in, and someone else. She obviously knew I was home, cause she left right after. But the thing is, I thought the other person had left and it was just me and Jess in the apartment.”

“This is getting good, do continue.” Dean chuckles, he can see where this is going. “What did you do?”

Sam’s blush deepens even more, he doesn't look at Dean. “We spilled some wine a few days before and it was a carpet cleaner and I—” He pauses and makes a strangled noise. “I said some sexual stuff, and when Jess didn’t come in I stood up, naked as I was, and went into the living room.”

Dean throws his head back and laughs. “This sounds like the beginning of a porno, but something tells me sexy times didn’t happen.”

“No.” Sam rubs his neck. “I was embarrassed, he was embarrassed. I stood there for a minute in shock, still hard, until I ran back into the bedroom and hid until he was done. And there you have it.”

“I almost feel sorry for you,” Dean says, giggling. “Was he hot?”

“No, he wasn’t, and no, you don’t,” says Sam and forces out a laugh. “Your turn, jerk.”

Dean nods and thinks about it for a second. Fair is fair, he can’t do something milder than Sam’s story. “Okay, here’s a sex story— or almost sex story, kinda similar to yours. Me and my girl for night were at her place and we were getting mildly kinky and she handcuffed me to the bed.”

Sam’s eyebrows jump up.

“And might I add— those were the good kind of handcuffs, not the flimsy ones you get in sex stores. I’ll spare you the details, but after a while she ended up riding me, and right when she started the fire alarm went off.”

“Oh shit, don’t tell me she left you like that.” Sam frowns at him, worried.

“She kind of did…”

“Kind of?”

“Not immediately. She couldn’t find the keys,” says Dean. “She said she was sorry, and said some asshole pulled the fire alarm all the time and it was probably nothing, so she left.”

“What a fucking bitch. Shit, Dean—”

“Hey, relax, nothing happened. But the firemen did turn up, and well, now to the embarrassing part.”

“They found you like that.”

“Yup. They had to cut the chain with one of their strong scissor thingies. It was even worse because I still had a blindfold on.”

Sam grits his teeth and glares at him. “What happened to that egotist fuckhead?”

“I didn’t go back to fucking her if that’s what you mean.” Dean gives him a crooked grin.

“Good, I guess,” he says. “That made me mad.”

“I can tell,” says Dean. “Want to continue?”

“Give me a moment,” says Sam. “Pretty sure you were supposed to make me laugh, not mad.”

“Sorry.” All the stories did to Dean was make his dick half hard.

“Alright then, when did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?”

Dean cocks his head. “When was the last time you died?”

“Dude.” Sam looks at him agast.

“What? Come on, it’s true.”

Sam scoffs at him. “Whatever. And it’s not, actually. Remember that movie we watched a few weeks ago? With the dog that died and came back in a different dog body. Lived with a different owner, died again, and—”

“Okay, okay, stop.” Dean flails his hands in the air to get Sam to shut up. “A Dog's Purpose, yes, I remember. We both cried. And I told you to never mention it again, you ass.”

Sam snorts a laugh and shakes his head. “Tell your partner something that you like about them already.”

Dean purses his lips. “That’s the third question that’s telling me to give you a compliment.”

“You’ve better not run out yet,” says Sam and smirks at him.

“Never. But, already? Meaning what I like that I have learned during this?”

Sam shrugs. “This is meant for strangers mainly. But... I like that I can talk with you about all this stuff. Even though it doesn’t always seem like it, we can talk.”

“Bitch,” Dean mutters.

Sam laughs and continues. “What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about? Hm. I believe with enough time you can joke about mostly anything.”

“Mostly?”

“Some things you just don’t want to be reminded of.”

“Yeah, I agree with you,” says Dean quietly.

“If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven't you told them yet?”

Dean offers a bitter smile, same as Sam. They have scooted closer to each other somewhere during the last few questions. Almost too close for comfort, if there existed something like too close for them.

“Everything I’d wanna tell you, you already know,” Dean says. “Even if I died during an argument with you, I’d like to think you know…”

“Sometimes you wanna hear things too,” Sam says softly. “Not just know them.”

Dean doesn't have to wonder what Sam is thinking. They are both thinking the same thing. Sam smiles at him, genuine and warm and endlessly affectionate. Dean feels like he’s physically hurting looking at him. In a way he is— because Jesus, he is so hard and Sam is too. His heart is pounding.

Sam clears his throat and unlocks his phone another freaking time. How many more are there?

“Almost done,” he says like he read his mind. “Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?”

“Photos,” Dean says without much contemplation.

Sam nods and moves to the next one. Dean squints at his screen. Question 35. “Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?”

“Well that’s a no-brainer.”

Sam opens his mouth, closes it. Dean is curious what else there is to add that they both didn’t already say. “Shit, Dean. No matter how many times you die on me, everytime, it’s— it’s just—” His lips move as he tries to find the right words to say.

“Yeah.”

They both take a moment to compose.

“Share a personal problem and ask your partner's advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.”

“I don’t think I want to get into our problems right now,” Dean admits, raking his fingers through his hair, Sam’s eyes on him. “That might be a number above this quiz.”

Sam licks his lips. “That was the last question then.”

The sun is gone now, but its last light is still illuminating the sky in all those pretty colors. They sit in silence.

A little movement from Sam and Dean’s heart makes a jump, but then Sam turns his focus back to his phone. “Dude,” Dean says.

“Congratulations,” Sam reads. “You've answered all the questions! Now for the hard part. In order to solidify your love, you have to look into your partner's eyes for four minutes. In silence. It's hard, and you'll squirm, but you'll learn an incredible amount.”

“What’s that supposed to mean,” asks Dean dryly. His hands are sweaty, he rubs them on his jeans.

Sam pulls up a timer and sets it to four minutes. His hands are trembling. He places the phone between them and looks at Dean. “Ready?” he asks, wetting his lips again. Dean is already doomed.

“Yup.”

“Okay. Go.”

Dean meets Sam’s eyes and immediately feels so defenseless, staring into them. Like Sam could ask him for anything and Dean would be unable to resist. There’s civil twilight outside and it’s not yet dark enough not to appreciate the colors in Sam’s eyes. Or as much as there’s left with his huge dilated pupils.

They’re endlessly deep, intense. Dean feels like he’s falling, focuses on the iris instead, which is a thousand times prettier than the sky. Green and blue and gold. Like there’s a whole universe in them.

It’s as if they’ve never seen each other before. They’re both leaning forward, lips parted, and Sam is so close to him Dean’s head is swimming and his stomach fluttering.

Sam’s breaths are deep, but Dean has trouble breathing. He’s inhaling Sam’s scent and can’t bring himself to let it back out. He’s never wanted to touch Sam so badly, to bring his face to his neck and take it all in. Their knees are still touching but that single point of contact is not enough. He craves to reach out.

God, his heart is step dancing.

Time is standing still and they’re only seeing each other. Dean might die, he loves him so much. He still thinks of him as his brother. He’d still give him anything he has, do anything for him and never stop trying to do better. Until he dies, until his very last heartbeat, and even after that. There are no words for the love he has. He doesn’t even know where to start expressing them, so he doesn’t say it at all.

Sam’s eyes are tearing up and he blinks rapidly to will the wetness away. Dean gives him a little smile. He wants to hold his little brother and never let go.

Four minutes are a long time he realizes, or maybe they’re nearly through, he can’t tell, lost all feeling for time. Dean wouldn’t mind if this moment lasted forever.

It hurts so much looking at him, like his body is not a strong enough vessel for are the emotions swapping over him. Dean is so hot he’s convinced he’s going to combust. They’re still so close but not close enough. It’s overwhelming and they’re not even touching properly. Everything is buzzing, tingling with need — his lips are burning.

His cock is hard. Has been for ages now.

Sam knows. Sam is seeing right down into his soul. Intimate and vulnerable.

“Sam.” His voice cracks with emotion. He doesn’t care about the time anymore, about the questions. Everything in him is aching to get his hands on Sam.

Their heads are bowed toward each other and Dean is ignoring the instructions in favor of staring at Sam’s mouth, glistering with spit. The heat of their breaths is mixing in the gap between their mouths.

Excitement settles in his belly. There’s a warm wave of anticipation lingering between them, his lips are tingling with it.

The phone goes off.

Sam scrambles to turn off the alarm.

“Sam.” Sam, always Sam on his lips. He closes his eyes to savor the feeling. Almost.

He pulls back, still overheating. Sam releases a shaky breath. There’s still a physical pain in his chest, too much to bear but he can’t do anything.

“Dean.”

Sam is flushed. He’s leaning against the door, head against the frame, watching him with a glazed look. His hands are clenched on his thighs, and God— he looks like he’s been thoroughly fucked.

A shiver runs down Dean’s spine.

He doesn’t think the questions have changed anything about how he feels about Sam. He’s still his brother. He still loves him. There is nothing that can make Dean love Sam more than he already does.

Sometimes it seems like too much for his mere human body. But they’ve got all of eternity to explore every single facet of it.

He doesn’t know where they’re going to sleep tonight. But he’s got Sam. And Sam is his home.