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Kale or Nada

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Art Masterpost on AO3 or LJ.

 

 

Sam walked in from his garage with a spring in his step, even though it was somewhere well past two in the morning. He locked the garage door with a perfunctory wave over the bio-id wall unit. The stimulating conversations over the elegant ten-course dinner with his intellectual peers had kept him up and alert for the long drive home. 

 

Finally he was in his fortress of solitude, that was what he called it, but only to himself, of course. Alone with only his thoughts, just the way he liked it. This was the way he had arranged his life, no partners, no families. Certainly no people who expected him to put up with their time-wasting issues. All of it had worked to make him happier and more productive than he’d ever been.

 

It was hard for him to even remember a time when it had been any different. Or to remember ever wanting his life to be set up any differently.

 

The movement sensitive lights automatically came on as he entered the enormous living room. In an instant, it was like there was a bright spotlight over the one comfortable chair in the space, because that chair was filled. And the person who was sitting there, shouldn’t be—couldn’t be. Because he was not part of Sam’s life. He hadn’t been for fourteen years.

 

“Heya, Sammy,” his brother drawled, cracking that familiar one-sided grin that hadn’t changed a bit in all these years. Probably expecting him to freak out or start yelling or both.

 

“It’s Sam,” was all he could manage to say, even thought it was obviously what Dean had wanted, given the broad grin he got in return. Had his brother’s grin ever been so real and true like this? He honestly couldn’t remember ever seeing Dean look actually happy like this. 

 

“Came by to say thanks for springing me from the slammer. Just seemed like the least I could do, ya know,” Dean said, snuggling back into the leather chaise, looking like he belonged there, like he intended to stay there for a good long while. 

 

Seeing him there in his favorite chair reminded Sam that Dean had always looked especially good in leather. The distressed brown leather of the chaise reminded Sam of their dad’s old jacket, the one Dean had insisted on wearing for years even though it had been several sizes too big. It may or may not have been why he’d bought that particular chair. He hadn’t given it a single thought until just this very moment. 

 

Dean wasn’t wearing any jacket now though, leather or otherwise. He was dressed in a single layer, and now that Sam was looking more closely, it was definitely one of Sam’s own fine-gauge Italian wool cashmere sweaters. The sleeves were covering most of Dean’s hands, and the thought of his brother here, going through his drawers, choosing to wear one of his sweaters gave him a possessive thrill he hadn’t felt in many years. Had Dean taken a shower too? Sam sniffed and smelled his own sandalwood shampoo. The deep green color of the sweater seemed to be making his brother’s eyes seem an even more intense green than usual.

 

“You’re welcome. Seemed like the least I could do,” Sam said, trying to answer Dean’s grin with his own. He lowered himself into the second-most comfortable seat in the room across from Dean, choosing to remain well out of touching range. It seemed like the prudent thing to do at this point, at least until he figured out why the hell his brother had broken into his house. Besides taking a shower and stealing his damn sweater. Dean looked positively edible, Sam smiled again at the thought.

 

Dean’s eyes widened when he saw Sam’s smile.

 

“You don’t do that much anymore, smile like that. At least not on the internet, not that I’ve seen lately,” Dean said.

 

“You’ve been internet stalking me, like one of my creepy fans, huh?” Sam asked, hugging his arms around himself at the thought of them. He hated the attention of the fans, sure he loved the fame overall because of the money it brought in from all the speaking fees But not when it came down to one on one interruptions of his private life by those people. He didn’t want it, he couldn’t tolerate it because it wasn’t up to him, he couldn’t control when it happened.

 

“Nah, just keeping tabs on you, little bro, like any halfway decent big brother is supposed to. Whether you like it or not,” Dean said, adjusting his hips a little further back into the chaise. 

 

It was mortifying how hypnotizing that small movement was.

 

“I don’t—I don’t like it, that you do that. You should know that by now,” Sam said, wishing he didn’t have to bring it up, spell it out like this. His stupid, stubborn brother, after all these years should just know.

 

“Hey, you’re the one that’s got his face plastered all over the internet, dude. You’re kinda hard to avoid these days.” 

 

Dean was looking at him with this strange—god was his brother actually proud of him? It sure looked like it to Sam. All of a sudden he really didn’t know how he felt about that, he didn’t want anything from Dean, didn’t need anything, not even approval or this very odd, brotherly no…almost quasi-parental pride.

 

“Well, that’s one thing, but you’re the one keeping track of the exact type of smiling I do,” Sam said, trying to keep the smile off his face that Dean was talking about. But it was impossible, now that he knew, his brother had been watching out for the quality of his smiles, checking up on him the only way he could.

 

“Hard not to, with those dimples of yours. Did you know they have their own fan club and website?” Dean said with a teasing sparkle in his eyes.

 

“What are you, the founding president of said fan club?” Sam sneered, trying to ignore the way Dean was grinning at him like he was a two a.m. snack.

 

“Nah, I’m totally the one who started the ShrineToSamWinchester’sAss.com though, not gonna lie about that,” Dean said, bursting into uncontrolled laughter at Sam’s expression at his outlandish brag. At least Sam hoped it was a brag, Dean wouldn’t know how to start a website, right?

 

“Should have guessed that was yours. It was always hard to get away from the fact that my big brother was sort of ‘invested’ shall we say, in my ass.” Sam’s fingers made the air quotes on invested and suppressed the shiver of want that threatened at remembering how that had felt back then. To know that he was owned, heart, mind, soul, body and ass. Like an idiot, he’d thought it was forever. Until it wasn’t. He really hoped none of that showed on his face, he didn’t want to give Dean the wrong idea, that there was any hope of anything ever between them again. He wasn’t that person any more, he doubted Dean was either.

 

“What are you really doing here?” Sam asked, once Dean seemed to be done with his laughing fit.

 

“I just came by to say thank you. I was really in a jam with the Feds, I thought I was never going to see the outside again. But your dude came through. Got me right out of there with the surprise bonus of the Feds giving me a freaking apology. A god-damn apology, Sammy, it was freakin’ awesome.”

 

“He the one that told you who sent him to you?” Sam asked.

 

“Now don’t you go blaming Barry or anything. He totally deserves that bonus you gave him just for putting up with me getting the info out of him,” Dean said, sitting up a little straighter in the chair.

 

“You didn’t hurt him, did you, Dean?” Sam asked, heart in his throat as he worried for the lawyer he’d sent to help Dean in his efforts to get out of prison.

 

“You really think I’d—shit, Sammy. It’s like you don’t even know me,” Dean said with what sounded like real vehemence and a little disappointment too.

 

“It’s Sam, and I do know you, better than I know anyone. You’ll get violent with a human if you have to, especially if it’s something to do with me.”

 

“But Barry’s not strictly a human, which of course you already knew. I don’t see how there’d be much point beating the truth out of him. Doing business with a shifter, Sam, really?”

 

Sam ignored the poke about working with a ‘monster’, but Barry had gotten the job done, just like Sam had known he could. “He told me already, that you’d weaseled the info out of him. So I was half expecting you to turn up at some point. You know, he asked me if you were actually a succubus, not just a human, and I wasn’t sure what to answer.”

 

“Hmph…well, I didn’t expect him to tell you…everything,” Dean said, one hand going to the back of his neck in that self-protective gesture Sam didn’t know he’d missed seeing.

 

What did that mean though? Had more happened between them than Barry had told him? The crack about Dean being a succubus Barry had made, seemed like he’d been talking from recent personal experience (perhaps with Dean’s seductive charms). Had Dean fucked a monster that looked like him, and had Dean known it wasn’t him when he did it? He couldn’t ask the question, he just couldn’t. The answer meant too much.

 

“Maybe he didn’t tell me absolutely everything. I’m guessing he left something out because he promised you he would,” Sam finally said into the soft quiet that had spun up between them.

 

“He did come to me in prison dressed as you, Sammy,” Dean said with that familiar sound of possessive want coloring Sam’s old nickname.

 

Sam sighed and debated on whether to correct the nickname for the third time. Trying his hardest to ignore how his belly swooped at that possessive tone. He didn’t want to want to hear it. “How long did it take to figure out it wasn’t really me?”

 

“The second he walked in, I knew you wouldn’t have bothered to come yourself,” Dean said.

 

“Aww, poor poor Dean. Why, because you think I don’t care enough?” Sam teased, just because he could.

 

“No, because you have people to take care of the little unimportant things that don’t truly matter to you, that suck away all your energy.”

 

“Oh, so you’ve memorized my Ted Talk, huh?”

 

“I’ve seen it a time or two, sure. Good advice there, I’ve really taken it to heart, especially about the kale.”

 

“Hah! I’d like to see the mighty Dean Winchester actually eat some kale,” Sam scoffed and then chuckled a little to himself at the thought.

 

“If that’s what I’ve got to do to get you to return my phone calls, then point me to the nearest bowl of the stuff,” Dean said, all of sudden as serious as a heart attack.

 

“What is the point? We’ve said all we needed to,” Sam said.

 

“Sammy, I’m your only family, doesn’t that matter to you? Because it does to me. I was sitting there in prison, feeling ripped to pieces because I was never going to see your stupid face again—the real one.”

 

Sam looked up in surprise. “Thought you were fine with how things were.”

 

“How would you know what I’m fine with? You wouldn’t talk to me the last fourteen years,” Dean said, on the edge of shouting. There was so much emotion in his voice, he might as well have been screaming.

 

“If you’d really wanted to talk to me, you would have figured out a way, Dean,” Sam said, trying to keep that wall up, trying like hell to not let his brother’s emotions get to him this time.

 

“I was trying to give you the space you said you needed. What was it you said when you left? Oh yeah—you needed a space without me in it.” Dean leaned forward and hid his face in his hands. His shoulders started moving, shaking a little, he couldn’t possibly be crying, could he?

 

“That is not what I said. I never said anything like that,” Sam said, sitting forward in his chair, almost so that he could touch Dean.

 

“Well, that’s what I heard. When you left me,” Dean said into his hands.

 

“I did not leave you, Dean. I just left for school, like any other regular eighteen-year old does. You and Dad, you’re the ones who left me.”

 

“Regular eighteen-year-old, yeah right. He’s gone you know, twelve years now, and he never told me exactly what he said to you when you left for school.”

 

Sam had known that his father had died, a bit after the fact, a letter from Bobby had been forwarded to him. Back then he’d been a newbie lawyer in the middle of one of the largest corporate acquisitions in the tech industry, so he hadn’t had the bandwidth to even respond. 

 

“He told me if I was leaving that meant, it was for good. He actually said the words to me: ‘If you leave, never come back, never contact either of us. You’ll be on your own’. And I never heard from you, Dean, not once in all those first few years, so I figured you agreed with him.”

 

“I didn’t know he could say something like that to you. Sammy, I didn’t know that he did. I wish I had,” Dean said in the quietest voice Sam had ever heard him use.

 

“You just assumed I never wanted to hear from you or see you again?” Sam asked.

 

“Before you left, you never talked to me, about your plans, about wanting to get out, get away from us, the life, whatever the reasons you had that made you leave. So I had to make up a story for myself. You weren’t there to ask.”

 

“You had my phone number, you could have called,” Sam said, picturing all those nights in his dorm the first year at Stanford, falling asleep holding his old cellphone like a jackass waiting for his long lost love to actually freaking call.

 

“Dad told me that you’d be better off if we left you alone for a while, let you get used to being on your own. So that’s what I did.”

 

Sam jumped to his feet, barely holding himself back from taking a swing at Dean. He clenched his hands into fists at his hips instead. “And you just believed him? Just like that?” Sam waited for an answer, and there wasn’t one coming, he could see it plainly written on Dean’s face. “Of course you did, stupid question, it was dad and when he said jump you always started jumping without asking a damn thing besides how high, sir yes sir.”

 

“Sammy, you left me, and I didn’t know what I’d done to make you want to just take off and go like that. What was I supposed to do?” Dean looked up at him then, face open and without guile. He looked so undone, so lost, so unlike the tough-as-nails brother he’d remembered. He really didn’t know?

 

Sam took a step towards Dean, halving the distance between them. He wanted to touch him so badly, but he couldn’t let himself, not yet. He decided it was time for the truth, and if Dean denied it, he’d have the answer to the question he’d always tortured himself with all these years.

 

“It wasn’t about you, Dean, it never was. Back then you owned me, body and soul, I was already yours. You knew that.”

 

Dean swallowed loudly, and slowly rose to his feet. He looked up into Sam’s face, meeting his eyes with the truth and conviction Sam needed to see. “I did. I did know that.”

 

Sam felt himself sway a little towards Dean after hearing his answer. He yelled at himself internally to cut out the damn swooning. He was no longer a swooner, right?

 

“Do you still—know that?” Sam asked.

 

“Should I?” Dean asked, still dead serious, no one-sided grin or eyebrow waggling to break the moment.

 

“Yeah, you should. But only if it’s a mutual thing, something you’re not going to let go of just because someone else tells you to. It’s got to be something you’ll actually fight for,” Sam said, struggling to keep his eyes from going liquid at the hope in Dean’s two-word question.

 

“It is mutual, it always was. And now there’s no one around anymore to tell me what to do or what to think. And if there was I’d tell them to fuck off if I thought I had chance to…” Dean trailed off, his eyes searching Sam’s face as if it held the rest of his sentence.

 

“A chance to do what, Dean? Let me hear you actually say it, then maybe I’ll believe you,” Sam said.

 

“To be with you again, to own you like you said. And for you to know that you own me too,” Dean said, taking a step forward so that he was almost touching Sam.

 

Sam held up a hand to stop Dean’s approach. He knew this was his last chance to make sure they really were on the same page. Once he let Dean touch him, all his resistance and discipline would go poof like so much vaporware. “If I make space for you in my life, it’s going to mean a lot of upset and changes for me. So I need to get clear on something first. Are you still going to hunt, or what?”

 

“No, I’m out—for good. I mean it. I am not going back out there after the whole FBI thing, and honestly, hunting without a partner is all kinds of shit show.”

 

“You’re really out? Because I am not getting pulled back into any of that. I just can’t do it,” Sam said, shaking his head at even entertaining the idea. It was one thing to deal with the occasional shifter non-human who happened to be a great lawyer, it was a whole other world to expect him to get out there and hunt again.

 

“Yeah, I really am. I think I finally get it, why you don’t want to hunt,” Dean said.

 

“You do? What caused that change?” Sam asked, repressing the urge to sit back down in surprise.

 

“After doing it for so many years, with partners or without, it’s just so endless, all the evil shit that’s out there. Most of the time I never felt like I was making even the smallest dent in it. Sure, I suppose I helped a bunch of people along the way, but there’s other hunters that will keep going and doing that. It doesn’t have to be me doing the job forever and ever until I die bloody.”

 

“That’s kind of amazing to hear, I never thought you’d come around to thinking that.”

 

“You know how Dad and me, we got the thing that killed Mom. That’s what took him out, and he was happy to go that way. At least I think he was, like it was a release or something,” Dean said, his voice almost breaking on the last bit of the sentence. It had been twelve years, but Sam imagined the loss still seemed very fresh to Dean. He watched the emotions play across his brother’s face, as he struggled to get himself back together.

 

Sam couldn’t hold back any longer from touching him. Dean’s whole body was leaning towards him, yearning, radiating the need to feel him too. He clasped one hand on Dean’s shoulder, the bare minimum to start. Dean leaned into the touch, so much that Sam had to re-plant his feet to take the additional weight. 

 

“Yeah, Bobby told me the story in a letter he sent me back then,” Sam said.

 

“It’s probably the only close to happy way Dad could have gone out.” 

 

“After that, I always thought I’d get another letter or call from Bobby telling me that you’d died too. And I was thankful everyday that I hadn’t heard from him,” Sam heard his own voice break on the last word and knew that Dean knew what it meant. He felt Dean’s hand on his own shoulder, the two points where their bodies touched seemed to sizzle with fiery electricity, it was almost hard to hold on, but he was dying to feel more of Dean.

 

“You were worrying about me dying out there?” Dean asked, looking up at him with big eyes full of genuine surprise.

 

Sam stared down into those eyes, the ones he’d missed seeing all these years, they were even more beautiful than he’d remembered. The depths to this man that he still loved to distraction, all on display in his eyes if he let you look deeply enough into them. “Of course I was, I’m not some sort of unfeeling monster even though I may play one on the internet.”

 

“Now about this making space for me in your life thing, is that still something you’re up for?” Dean asked, cocking one eyebrow up in question. He must have seen the answer before Sam said anything, because his arm snaked around Sam’s waist, pulling him in close, their lower halves aligned.

 

“If you’ll do the same, yeah,” Sam said, wrapping one arm around Dean’s shoulders, pulling him up onto his toes, the other hand tilting Dean’s face so that their lips could finally meet. All the years they’d missed just melted away as they relearned the way they’d always communicated best. Sam felt like the fourteen year old Sam still inside him was cheering him on as he bent Dean backwards in a slight dip, just because he could now. 

 

Dean laughed a little at the sensation, pulling away from their increasingly desperate kisses, searching Sam’s face, no doubt remembering he’d been asked a question. He surged up and captured Sam’s heart all over again with the sigh of satisfaction he let out when Sam kissed him like he meant it. Because Sam did, oh god did he ever, and there could be no hiding that.

 

“Same, ditto, you got it, Sammy, nothing I’d rather do,” Dean murmured against Sam’s lips.

 

There wasn’t much talking after that, their bodies seemed to be up to the task of doing all the reminiscing for them. Sam was surprised at himself that he remembered all of the places that made Dean moan and whimper the loudest. He had Dean flat on his back in the middle of his enormous bed, his hands above his head where Sam had pressed them into the luxurious, high thread-count, organic, cotton sheets. 

 

Dean’s legs were spread wide and Sam knelt between them. He was taking his own sweet time re-learning the taste of his brother’s skin. He licked and sucked and bit his way down Dean’s neck to his chest, lingering on his nipples, delighted with how responsive Dean still was. He kept his hands in motion the whole time, his manicured nails scraping gently up and down Dean’s thighs. 

 

Finally he couldn’t hold back any longer and moved down to press his face into the neatly trimmed thatch of hair. He felt the velvet soft skin of Dean’s cock twitch against his cheek as he breathed in the essence of Dean. This was what brought it all back to him, how it had been between them back then, owning each other, but keeping it from everyone that knew them.

 

Sam turned his head and kissed the side of Dean’s cock as it lay against his face. Dean’s hips were practically vibrating with the need to move, and Sam admired how his brother was holding himself back, letting him take what he needed. He doubted Dean knew how much he needed himself, and Sam wanted to give it to him—everything. He extended his tongue and licked up and down the shaft slowly, feeling the skin move and catch on the roughness of his tongue. Dean moaned loudly, one hand coming down to land in Sam’s hair.

 

Sam sat up at that feeling, and reached over into the one bedside table for the tube of his favorite organic all-natural ingredient lube. There was only one bedside table in his bedroom, something he’d had to argue with the designer about. They had insisted on balance, and Sam had staked it out as a personal choice. He knew what it meant, that he was choosing to have this room be his personal solitary sanctuary, never to be shared on a permanent basis with another. Because back then, he couldn’t have imagined anything like this happening. 

 

The this in this case being, opening himself on his own fingers as Dean writhed and thrust into his throat. He gagged and kept going, swallowing the tip of his brother as far back as he could, but pulling off before Dean could finish. He sat back on his heels and fisted Dean’s cock, slick with his own spit and the left-over lube, it glistened and swelled even harder in his hand. 

 

Dean’s eyes glittered up at him, gone fully black with desire. Sam straddled his brother’s hips and let himself slowly sink down, he felt himself open and take Dean inside, he felt the pain at being opened for the first time in forever (fourteen years but who’s counting) and welcomed it. 

 

“Welcome home, Dean,” Sam said, feeling himself flush all over at the embarrassment of voicing such a thing.

 

Dean just smiled and said, “Thank you, Sammy,” in a voice that held the same sort of emotion. They both seemed to be equally surprised at the grace of it all, the wary forgiveness, the tentative welcome, the ache to return to normal, the missed-this forever and finally-after-all-this-time feeling of it all.

 

Sam cut off any more conversation by moving his hips, sinking down and pulling back up slowly, feeling every inch of his brother slide through, the slow-drag friction insanely erotic. Sam clenched his inner walls in a graduated pulse as he moved and Dean seemed to lose control of himself, he flopped back, head hitting the pillow, one arm thrown over his eyes, hiding from him. Sam couldn’t have it, wouldn’t have it like that.

 

“Look at me, Dean,” Sam said, his command voice low and inescapable.

 

Dean moved his arm off his face, and slowly opened his eyes, those long eyelashes of his sticking briefly to his cheek, fluffing up to emphasize the eyes Sam had dreamt of every damn night they’d been apart. He looked completely undone, ravished even, the slicked-up puffy lips, the slackness of his expression, utterly besotted and open to anything Sam would give him in that moment.

 

Sam began moving his hips in a regular rhythm, and Dean joined him, planting his feet wide on the bed to thrust up as Sam slammed down, they moved in sync like they’d been practicing for twenty years. It had been about that long, but most of it they’d been doing it solo. Only in their memories of what had been, what they’d lost. 

 

Sam meant to make Dean accept it, with every twist of hips he made Dean accept that this was exactly what he’d been missing. But it was what Sam could offer, what he could bargain with, the memory of all the years without this feeling, chasing it in random hookups across the country, he knew that Dean had never had anything close to this. 

 

The feeling of a hand on his stomach made him realize that Dean was attempting to take control, to give him pleasure, but Sam wanted to take it. He knocked Dean’s hand away and shook his head. Dean smiled slow and cat-superior, realizing what Sam wanted. Dean sat up and arranged Sam in his lap, bending him this way and that until Sam was spread as wide as he possibly could be, in the perfect angle for Dean to hit him deep inside on every upstroke. 

 

“C’mon, Sammy, want to come with you,” Dean husked in his ear, biting at his earlobe. 

 

Sam melted into his brother’s touch, curling himself into his hold, pressing their mouths together, hot and sloppy and perfect. Dean kept it up, the perfect rough upstrokes, and Sam felt himself come apart from the inside out. He came back to himself with Dean wiping him gently with one of the soft washcloths from the bathroom. He opened his arms and Dean tucked himself up against his side, pressing their slick skin into a sweaty perfect mess. The smell of them, the musk of the sex and completion hit Sam, he hadn’t realized how much he’d missed this. 

 

“I didn’t know, until just this second,” Sam said.

 

“Me either,” Dean agreed.

 

For once, they both knew exactly what they meant.

 

One of Dean’s hands was tracing nonsense designs on Sam’s back, barely keeping him aware.

 

“This is what you meant, making a life together?” Dean asked in a whisper that held all the hope Sam had seen in eyes earlier.

 

“Go to sleep, Dean. We’ll talk in the morning,” Sam said in a feigned sleepy mumble. He didn’t want to nail down the specifics of what that meant, not when he felt so open and vulnerable. Instead he let himself memorize the exact weight of his brother’s arms around him, the slowing rhythm of his breathing lulling him to sleep even though he wanted to stay awake and not miss a second of this, especially if it was a one time thing.

 

 

The next morning—well the same morning, Sam wasn’t awoken by his usual Zen chimes alarm, it was by his brother’s mouth. Dean was under the covers, working his morning wood with his mouth and hands. His fingers pressed in where Sam was sore from last night and Sam barely had time to get a hand in Dean’s hair before he was coming down his brother’s throat with a bitten-off cry. Dean licked and suckled him until Sam had to push him away, he could feel the bed shake as Dean brought himself off all over Sam’s stomach.

 

Dean crawled up from under the sheets and flopped next to Sam. His hand never left the cooling come on Sam’s taut belly, drawing designs and protective sigils into his skin. Sam knew it was the marking thing they used to do to each other. They couldn’t leave visible marks on each other back then, their father could have seen. So they’d always done it this way.

 

“What were you going to do, if I’d said no last night? If I’d kicked your ass out of the house like I probably should have?” Sam asked.

 

Dean’s hand stopped moving and he brought it up to his mouth to lick his fingers clean as he considered Sam’s question. “Dunno, go hang with Bobby for a while I guess. He’s always got some regular, non-hunting work that needs getting done.”

 

“You’d just get pulled back into hunting if you hang out with him, you know that.”

 

“Well, what’s the alternative for me? It’s not like I’ve got some fancy college degree or career like you do.”

 

“You could just stay home, I mean…um, stay here.” Sam internally kicked himself hard in the head for the slip.

“What, and be your kept man or some shit like that? You gonna take me to your fancy parties and introduce me as your “life-partner” or something even more lame?” Dean asked, disdain dripping from every word.

 

“That was the general idea, yeah. I already have more than enough money to live on, for both of us. I want to keep working, because I enjoy what I do.”

 

“Honestly, I think I’d get bored of being a kept man after a couple of weeks, but it would be a nice vacation from real life.”

 

“Dean, this is real life. This is my real life anyway, the one I made without you in it. I thought the idea under discussion was that you wanted to make one together now. Isn’t that what we said last night?”

 

“You know me, heat of the moment, I’ll say anything to tap this,” Dean smacked Sam’s ass so hard Sam almost jumped off the bed. 

 

Sam rolled onto his back and stared at the reclaimed wood ceiling, letting himself momentarily get lost in all that glorious texture. He felt his heart begin to harden, the protective barriers he’d built over the years were being reassembled more quickly than he’d imagined possible. But it had to happen, he’d misunderstood things so completely, and well—honestly, it kind of took his breath away how wrong he’d been.

 

“Get out,” Sam said in the voice of command he used on his underlings at the office. It always worked, because he always followed through on what he said, and they all knew that he did.

 

“Baby, c’mon, you know I was just kidding,” Dean said, trying to gather Sam back into his arms.

 

Sam kicked at Dean’s legs and squirmed out of his hold, he sat up, pulled his robe on and stalked into the bathroom. “I am sure as hell not your baby. I want you out of here, now,” he said, just before shutting the door on his view of Dean’s shocked face. Sam locked the bathroom door for the first time ever, he’d never had anyone else in this space with him before. He’d never needed the protection here, not like he did now. Hell, he needed it more to keep himself from running back into the bedroom into Dean’s open arms. He had to get his shit back together here. He gripped the edge of the marble counter and stared at himself in the mirror. 

 

The man he saw was not the composed, serene Sam Winchester that was internet famous and the head of one of the biggest tech law firms in the business. No, he saw the face of the dumbass who’d fallen for Dean Winchester’s one-sided smile one last time. That’s what this had to be, this couldn’t happen again. No family entanglements, that was his motto, his guiding creed, it was one of the big reasons he had achieved all this success. He had to grab onto that with both hands and hold on, instead of reaching for his brother like a drowning man. Because he wasn’t drowning, not at all. He was doing damn well, he looked around at the elegant furnishings and expensive finishes of the bathroom. Maybe he wasn’t one hundred percent happy, but he was content with his life.

 

He heard a quiet tap at the door. It made him hold his breath. What would Dean do here, would he pick the lock on the door and come in, or would he leave without a fuss? Just like the way he’d let Sam leave before.

 

“Sammy, I’m sorry. That’s not what I should have said, I didn’t really mean it. I was just fooling around. Because…uh, honestly, the whole ‘kept-man’ thing got to me. It’s hard to picture myself like that, and I don’t know if I can do that, even for you.”

 

Sam dropped his head and groaned quietly to himself. “Don’t you dare fall for it.”

 

“I want to try it though, I mean, if you’d still want me around after I said something so shitty,” Dean said, a little louder like he wanted to make sure Sam heard him through the door.

 

Sam glared at himself in the mirror, mouthed the words “Dumb Ass!” at himself and then opened the door.

 

Dean stood there, dressed only in his boxers, and a just-barely hopeful smile.

 

“I think you’re right, it’s not going to work out for you to just move in here and try to do the kept man thing. I can’t be the only thing your life revolves around, you’ll need something else. A job, school, whatever it is, I can set it up for you. And a place for you to live—one that’s not here. And then we’ll see how it goes. I think a time limit of six months sounds workable.”

 

“You’re still kicking me out of here then?”

 

“Yeah, I am, Dean. Because I am not your ‘baby’, or Sammy, or some random booty-call. What I am is an incredibly successful and wealthy lawyer who does not do family or personal attachments, not for fourteen years now. It’s going to be a period of transition for both of us. Let’s just be honest about that, right here, right now. Or it doesn’t happen.”

 

“Got it. You’re right. And by the way, you’re not just a booty-call, Sam, not to me, not ever.”

 

“Good, that’s…uh, good to know. I still want you to leave, but let me get you—“ Sam walked past Dean and got one of his business cards out of his wallet. He handed it to his brother who took it like it might have been made out of poison. “My personal cell number is on the bottom. Let me know where you might want to get set up and I’ll get one of my people to find you a place to live.”

 

“I want to be as close to where you are as I can. I mean…if that’s okay with you.”

 

“So, somewhere in the Napa area then, you want a house or an apartment?”

 

“Whatever, I’ll make it work,” Dean said. He turned away and started pulling his clothes on. Sam disappeared into his dressing room to do the same. When he re-entered the room, Sam noted Dean had left the borrowed sweater folded neatly on the dresser. Dean was bent over, tying the laces of his boots.

 

“Someone will be in touch later today. It may not seem like it, but I’m really glad you came here, Dean. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get started on my workday. I’d offer you breakfast, but all I’ve got is kale smoothies.”

 

“Sure, sure, Sammy—uh, sorry, Sam, I’ll just get out of your hair. Thanks,” Dean said, sounding a bit more emotional than Sam had expected after his mention of kale smoothies.

 

“For what?” Sam asked, confused by the seemingly random ‘thanks’.

 

Dean took a deep breath and stood up as tall as he could, squaring his shoulders like he did before going into a fight. “For not kicking me out the second you laid eyes on me, for getting me out of fucking prison, for helping me figure out a life after hunting, but mostly for maybe giving me another chance to be with you. Take your choice, or take all of the above.”

 

“I’ll take ‘em all, how about that?” Sam said with a small smile of satisfaction. Maybe he had gotten through to Dean after all.

 

“Sam?” 

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Can I kiss you one last time?”

 

“Well hopefully this isn’t the last time,” Sam said, gathering Dean into his arms. He leaned down as Dean stretched up, meeting in the middle to press their lips together. Dean hummed a bit, a happy sound that felt good against Sam’s mouth, he returned the sound and deepened the kiss. It had to last for a while. At least the rest of the day while he got all his work done. It definitely didn’t feel like a one last kiss to him.

 

“Would you be able to come back here for dinner tonight?” Sam asked after they’d stepped back from their embrace.

 

“I’ll have to check my busy social calendar, but yeah, that’d probably work. When, and what can I bring? Something besides kale I hope?”

 

“Just bring your appetite, let’s say seven. I should be done with all my meetings by then.”

 

“See you then, Sam.”

 

Sam waved goodbye as his brother walked down the slate pathway out of the courtyard. He watched as Dean hunched up his shoulders against the chill of the morning, shoved his hands in his pockets and strolled off down the driveway that curved almost as much as that dearly familiar curve to his bowlegs. The one that Sam had sketched and made into his company’s logo, combined with the beautiful curve of Dean’s ass. 

 

He smiled as he remembered using the OriginLab software to calculate those curves, importing them into Adobe Illustrator and then sending the finished design off to his own lawyer, asking for the copyright to be file for immediately. Yeah, that’s right he had found a way to copyright Dean’s ass. Probably one of the things he wouldn’t get around to sharing with his brother anytime soon. If you looked at the logo, it wasn’t at all obvious. And he seriously doubted Dean would put that together, as good as he was at figuring out patterns and symbols for hunting.

 

Now to figure out what to serve Dean for dinner, for Sam, it had to be whole food, preferably raw food. But he knew Dean wouldn’t be able to deal with just having that sort of thing for a meal. Sam had a chef that did locally-sourced fusion cooking for his dinner parties, he’d have his assistant arrange something with the chef, he had too much else to get done today to worry about shopping and preparing for a meal. 

 

 

All day, during his meetings, Sam would find his focus drifting away from the topic or discussion, it was fucking annoying. He tried to get himself back into the zone, the mask of the efficient detached killer shark was too far away, now that his protective layer had been peeled back and discarded by the contact with his brother. It was an adjustment, it was going to take time, he reminded himself. It had taken a while to get to that detachment mindset that had made him so effective, it would take a while to carve out a new one that had some sort of balance. He was so far away from balance though, he wanted anything but that, sitting in his elegant San Francisco office staring out at the orange bridge that would take him back to Dean tonight. All he wanted was what lay there waiting for him at the other side of the bridge. 

 

He heard his phone chime with the incoming text sound and tried to snap out of it. He slapped his own cheeks gently, that’s not all you want, you idiot. He stood up and paced, glad that he was alone in his office for the next hour. He needed to…he wanted to see if it would work. He grabbed his phone to check the text message. He’d forgotten he’d given Dean his private number. He quickly typed out a reply to Dean’s text.

 

Dean: Just checking if this number works or if you’ll answer.

 

Sam: How do you feel about steak tonight?

 

The cursor began blinking almost right away, Dean had been ready and waiting for him to text him back. He’d probably been sitting there with the phone in his hand, probably in the Impala somewhere. It made him smile and he felt a blush which was ridiculous, Dean wasn’t even here.

 

Dean: You know me, I’ll never turn down any meat you’re offering.

 

Sam: Rolling eyes emoji. 

 

Dean: Lascivious tongue out emoji.

 

Sam: My assistant get in touch with you yet?

 

Dean: Yeah, they got me looking at a bunch of places in Napa. 

 

Sam: Is it all too fancy for you?

 

Dean: So far, yeah, but I’ll deal.

 

Sam: Got to get back to work, I’ll see you tonight.

 

Dean: Yeah, I’ll be there, bye, Sammy.

 

Sam: It’s Sam!

 

Dean: Lol face emoji.

 

Sam tucked his phone in his desk drawer, out of sight out of mind—hopefully. He couldn’t help picturing Dean traipsing through the Napa real estate that his assistant had likely had him choosing from. It had all gotten insanely pricey in the last ten years, hardly anything still existed in the area that’d be close to his brother’s no-tell motel style. He hoped Dean would deal like he’d said, because Sam wanted him to be comfortable as well as safe. That way he could at least have a chance to relax into regular civilian life. Maybe if he did, then they’d have a prayer of making things work between them.

 

Work—work, back to work, he made himself do it. Putting away all thoughts of Dean’s creamy soft skin under his hands last night, the musk of him, of them still filling his nostrils even though he’d showered twice. The things they’d said still resonated through him. The hope that Dean had let him see, he was going with pinning it all on that. Sam let the meetings roll by, all the appointments and clients and the work that underlay all his success, he let himself sink into it all morning and into the afternoon. He was genuinely surprised when his assistant reminded him of his dinner appointment.

 

“Did Dean give you any trouble today?” Sam asked as he scooped up his phone and briefcase to leave.

 

Alexi looked at him with one skeptical raised eyebrow. “No, he’s actually quite lovely, I’m not sure what all your warnings were about, sir. We found a place for him in the new Hawthorn Village development. The only argument was on the issue of one bedroom versus two.”

 

“Let me guess, he didn’t see the point of having two since he’s just one person,” Sam said with a laugh.

 

“Precisely that, sir, I guess you do know him inside and out, just like he said,” Alexi said.

 

“Inside and out, yes I suppose I do—thanks, Alexi. See you tomorrow,” Sam said.

 

“Dean said there was a possibility you’d be taking tomorrow off?” Alexi asked.

 

“Ohhh I just bet he did. No, that’s not a thing that will be happening. Don’t take directions on my schedule from him, please,” Sam said with a frown.

 

“Sorry, sir, of course. Have a good night, and chef Max let me know he’s left instructions for the meal on your counter,” Alexi said.

 

“Thank you, Alexi, for taking care of all this extra personal stuff for me today, I appreciate it,” Sam said.

 

“Not a problem sir, it’s my job, I’m happy to do it,” Alexi said.

 

Sam grumbled to himself at Dean’s presumption all through the traffic getting over the bridge. His Tesla was filled with NPR and all the worries of the world, but all he wanted was—he didn’t want to, he couldn’t finish that sentence anymore. And that bothered him. For fourteen years, he’d been so single-minded, driven in one sole direction, to succeed. And after just one night, his brother had knocked all that completely off track. 

 

It shouldn’t be a surprise, it was all part of being owned. He could do the same type of thing right back at Dean now. The thought of that gave him a whole lot of satisfaction.

 

He pulled into his driveway, his silent car whooshing up the slate driveway past the parked Impala. She’d better not be dripping oil on it. 


“God, listen to yourself,” he said out loud, staring at his own eyes in the rearview mirror. “Get it together, Sam. This is your house, not his, you’re in charge here, not him. It’s up to you how he fits in here."

 

Dean was of course, in the leather recliner, reading something, which made Sam want to crack a joke. Then he saw what it was, a copy of his autobiography. His staff had written most of it for him, and it didn’t mention anything that happened in his life before law school. 

 

“Enjoying your reading?” Sam finally asked.

 

“Sure, just filling myself in on what I missed,” Dean said, turning down a corner of the page, obviously watching to see if Sam would object. Sam had more than one pristine copy of the book in his library, it didn’t matter. Dean could have this one and do what he wanted with it, burn it, jack off on it, whatever.

 

“Heard you found a place,” Sam said, leaving the rest unasked.

 

“Yeah, it’s hella fancy, way too nice for the likes of me, but at least I talked him into the one bedroom,” Dean said.

 

“I’m glad he listened to you, Alexi can be a bit much sometimes. But he keeps my life running, so I let him put a hand in when he needs to,” Sam said.

 

“So…are we eating, or what?” Dean asked, standing up from the recliner and setting the book on the glass topped table.

 

“Let me change, and then we’ll fire up the grill outside,” Sam said.

 

“I’m betting it’s not a hibachi grill on the patio,” Dean said.

 

“No—it’s a bit more complicated than that. I’ll show you,” Sam said, walking down the hallway. He switched his hips a bit more than absolutely necessary, wondering if Dean would take it as an invitation to follow him. He undressed and was under the water in a few moments, washing off the day. This part of his nighttime ritual was part of his routine that he wasn’t letting Dean postpone or upset. He felt the air change as the bathroom door opened and closed. Soon Dean’s hands slicked their way across his back and down to rest at the top of his ass. 

 

“Goddamn do you ever look good, Sammy,” Dean said. “Feel so damn perfect in my hands, like this.” 

 

Sam leaned back into Dean’s strong hands, relishing the hold his brother had on his body, and loving that he was strong enough to hold them both up. He rested there and soaked it up for a moment. Dean was really here. This was really happening. He turned in Dean’s hold and wrapped his arms around his brother, pulling him in close, slotting their bodies together.

 

Dean’s skin had so many more scars and imperfections, fourteen years worth of hunting and hard-living would do that to a man. He was still perfect, skin dusted with those maddening freckles everywhere, demanding that Sam lick and re-map every single one.

 

“You still worrying about the kale versus steak situation?” Sam teased.

 

“I can think about two things at once, usually. But not when you’re naked and wet in the shower. That seems like something I ought to concentrate on at the moment. We don’t want any head injuries.” Dean turned him around without letting him go for a second, their bodies melded together under the hot spray.

 

“Couldn’t agree more,” Sam purred as Dean’s hands began stroking him the rest of the way to full hardness. He wriggled his ass against the hot brand of Dean’s hard length, relishing the gasp of pleasure from Dean’s lips. 

 

“God, I want to bend you over and do you right here right now,” Dean growled in his ear, his hand speeding up its movements on Sam’s cock. 

 

Sam didn’t know what he wanted or needed in that moment, he wanted control like he’d had last night, but that seemed silly with Dean moving him around so effortlessly right now. God it was so hot, that his brother was so strong. He spread his legs and bent over, hands on the edge of the tile bench, presenting himself to Dean’s evident surprise. Sam soaked up the groan and growl that seeing him like that produced from his brother. 

 

“Use the stuff in the green bottle,” Sam managed to say. It was the leave-in conditioner that he usually put on his hair. It was slippery and non-toxic, all natural, all that stuff. It would work to ease the way. Sam felt Dean’s fingers press into him, opening him up slow and careful, maddeningly slow.

 

“Hurry up, c’mon, I’m ready,” Sam said, knowing how much Dean loved it when he got bossy.

 

“Still the bossiest bottom to ever bottom, huh,” Dean said with an evident grin, his fingers were replaced by the familiar blunt tip of Dean’s cock, pressing in where Sam was sore and used from last night. The stretch and pull, the pain of it was so familiar already…again. He only wanted it more and harder, but Dean was going slow, careful, like he knew it was hurting Sam. It was all so damn tender and loving, so unlike what Sam remembered. 

 

“’s it good, Sammy?” Dean asked in a slurred quiet voice, still keeping up a slow pressing rhythm, which was taking Sam apart piece by piece, he wasn’t sure where his words were. Or if he even had any, or if they were really needed. Instead he answered by pressing his hips back, to meet every one of Dean’s thrusts

 

“Please,” Sam finally managed to say, reaching back with both hands to grab at the back of Dean’s thighs, slipping in the spray of the hot water.

 

“I gotcha, Sammy,” Dean said, speeding up his movements, and wrapping a hand around Sam’s cock, his other hand bruise-tight around Sam’s hip. Sam lost it then, crying out Dean’s name and who knows what else as he clenched hard and inescapable around where they were joined.

 

Dean was calling out his name too, speeding up his thrusts, until he came, collapsing over Sam’s back in a warm huddle. He pulled out gently, both of them groaning at being parted again. Sam just wanted him to be there, always now, inside him or about to be, or just had been. That’s what he wanted, revisiting the question he’d struggled with on the drive home.

 

“You okay?” Dean asked, hands moving in slick circles on Sam’s back and flanks through the pounding water.

 

Sam pushed up from the tile bench and ducked under the spray of the water trying to compose himself. He couldn’t show it to Dean yet, that bottomless need, even if his brother had figured it out, he needed to keep the illusion—for a little while at least.

 

“Yeah, I’m good, really good. That was a nice way to end the work day, better than yoga maybe,” Sam teased.

 

“Better than yoga!” Dean yelled, slapping Sam’s ass with a grin. “You’re damn right!”

 

Sam gathered Dean into his arms, pinning him against the tile wall under the water, he took over Dean’s lips, stole his breath, kissed him soundless and breathless until they both swooned dangerously on the wet tiles. Sam’s stomach growled loud enough to be heard over the noise of the water.  

 

“Let’s go eat, huh?” Sam said, switching off the shower. He handed Dean one of the luxuriously plush organic cotton bath towels. His eyes never left the sight of his brother’s skin, flushed pink and gorgeous, heated from the hot water, the sex and the rough treatment Dean was giving it with the towel. 

 

Sam put a hand on Dean to stop him. “Let me,” Sam said. He took the towel from Dean and gently dried him off, head to toe, avoiding anything too sensitive until the very last. He folded the towel around Dean’s cock and balls holding him all in one big hand. He didn’t need to say it, not for himself, but Dean probably needed to hear it. “Mine,” Sam said, squeezing briefly and then letting the towel drop.

 

Dean stood there before him, naked and stunned into silence. His eyes were round and open in what almost looked like fear, but it was something else. Stunned acceptance maybe? He reached out a hand to take Sam’s towel from him, and silently repeated what Sam had done for him. 

 

When Sam stood there, with a towel and Dean’s hand wrapped around his junk, hearing the same word pass his brother’s lips, he thought he’d finally had that stress-induced stroke his doctor had warned him about and died. They held each other, shower warm skin to skin, towels around their ankles forgotten.

 

 

Preparing the dinner that his chef had prepped was easy, it gave Sam’s hands something to do while his mind whirred and tried to plan what to do with what had just happened between them. The outside kitchen was situated so that the dining area was nearby. Dean was chattering about the different places the real estate agent had taken him earlier, and all of a sudden, it was all so normal that Sam could barely breathe. This could be his new normal—if he let it.

 

He looked out at the killer Napa view of the sunset glowing over the rolling hills and the fog coming in and thought about how he’d never even hesitated in buying this place just for the view, imagining himself growing old here, all alone, like he’d always imagined. And now there was a completely different future possible: He was sitting right there on his flagstone patio in one of the cushy modern outdoor seats at the marble topped table.

 

The steaks were done to perfection, and the fresh peach and kale salad had been tossed in the balsamic dressing, crumbles of fresh goat cheese and Greek olives glistening on top. Dean sat at the outdoor table, he’d been watching him man the grill the whole time. Sam wondered if he let Dean take a turn grilling, would go overboard like the manly stereotype that was out there. He placed the grill plate on the table between their places and seated himself. The wine had been opened but not poured, he filled their glasses and picked one up in a toast. Dean did the same, looking unsure about what to do next.

 

“A toast to the pleasure of unexpected visitors,” Sam said, clinking his glass to Dean’s. They each took a sip, eyes never leaving each other. “Hope you enjoy the steak, it’s from a local company, no antibiotics, all that good stuff.”

 

“Honestly, I’m more worried about the kale,” Dean joked.

 

“Just pretend it’s a very robust lettuce,” Sam said, watching Dean poke the salad with his fork and move the kale around the bowl. “It’s not going to kill you, I promise, and if you like it I also promise not to tell anyone.”

 

Dean frowned and grumbled down at his plate, but he forked up some kale and the salad toppings and popped it into his mouth. Sam watched with increasing delight as his brother not only didn’t spit it out, he didn’t even make his exaggerated I’m-being-poisoned face. 

 

“It’s not as bad as I thought. So…uh tell me about how you know a guy like Barry,” Dean said.

 

“You mean, tell you how I know a shifter who happens to be a lawyer?” Sam asked. “I met him in law school, believe it or not. We went to a fancy reception at one of our professor’s houses and he had an interesting skin reaction to the silverware.”

 

“You’re saying that Barry was really trained as a lawyer then, not just stealing the memory of the last person he killed?” Dean asked, chewing the kale more than was strictly necessary while he talked, his mouth thankfully mostly stayed closed.

 

“He hadn’t ever killed anyone, except his father. And yeah, he’s an actual lawyer, the dude beat me out in the moot court competition.”

 

“So he just wanted out of the family business, that what you guys bonded over?”

 

“Something like that, and he listened to my sob story more than once all the way through,” Sam said.

 

“Sob story?” Dean asked, taking his first bite of steak.

 

Sam ignored the near-pornographic moan of pleasure from Dean when he tasted the steak. “When we’d party, sometimes I’d get chatty about what I’d left behind,” Sam admitted, eating a piece of the steak himself. He ate meat very rarely these days, but he had to acknowledge how good it was with a little moan of his own.

 

“Oh—” Dean said, cutting himself off from saying anything more. He busied himself cutting the rest of his steak into bite-sized pieces.

 

It was too much, it was too intimate too fast, Sam knew he had to put the brakes on for both of them, so he reached for the only emergency brake he had left available to him and yanked on it—hard.

 

“You know how we were talking about what Dad said to me when—when I went to school?” Sam asked, hating how hesitant he sounded. He had to get back into negotiation mode, because that’s what this really was.

 

“Yeah?” Dean asked, chewing another bite of steak, obviously not wanting to discuss this any further than they’d taken it last night.

 

“He…uh said something else to me that I think I ought to tell you. After he finished yelling, he told me he was glad I was going, that he saw how I looked at you. He’d been trying to figure out how to pull us apart, that it wasn’t right how close we were, he knew what I was up to, that I wasn’t good for you. And so he was glad that I was the one that was doing it to you instead of him. That was the last thing he said, I’m glad you’re the one breaking Dean’s heart instead of me.”

 

“Huh—that explains a lot,” Dean said, dropping his silverware and sinking further into the cushions like he wanted to disappear from the conversation.

 

“Explains what? I thought you’d be freaking out to find out that he knew,” Sam said.

 

“After you left, he…uh, he wasn’t too slick at hiding how much he pushed hooking up as a way to drown my sorrows. Kept up at me about it so I finally gave in. He was right, instead of drinking myself to death at an early age, I just fucked around all over the place. Didn’t work though,” Dean said, staring up at the starlit sky above them.

 

“Why not?”

 

“None of them were you. It didn’t matter how much I drowned myself in pussy or cock or both, or how much I drank. You were all I wanted. Half the time, I threw myself into hunts completely unprepared, just raring to go, ready to meet the reaper whenever he was ready for me.”

 

“I…I didn’t kno—“ Sam said, cutting himself off, he didn’t want to apologize, he wasn’t sorry.

 

“What didn’t you know? I’m pretty sure you guessed how it’d be for me after you left,” Dean scoffed.

 

“I didn’t think about it too much. I just wanted out, I couldn’t do that, be that any more.”

 

Dean didn’t say anything, just ate the rest of his steak and most of his salad with exaggerated enthusiasm, obviously desperate to hide his real response to Sam’s statement. Finally he stopped chewing and took a big swig from his wineglass. “Well, you got out, and you got what you wanted. No family, no ties to anything besides your work.”

 

“That’s just the story I tell myself, the one I sold to the partners in my firm, to all my clients, my Ted Talk audience, the fucking internet. People want to believe that’s possible, so I let them believe it about me. Wasn’t ever true, not really, no matter what I tried. I couldn’t fill it in.”

 

“Fill what in? What’d you dig your swimming pool in the wrong place?” Dean gestured out towards the pool.

 

“Fuck you,” Sam said and stared out at the last of the sunset reflecting in the still water of his perfectly placed swimming pool.

 

“I’m sorry, damn my mouth—Sammy, c’mon, you know I joke around when shit gets real. I’m no good at this kinda chick-flick stuff. What couldn’t you fill in?”

 

Sam looked at him, weighing out whether he should accept Dean’s apology or not. Something about the earnest tentative hope that still clung to Dean’s expression decided it for him. “I couldn’t fill in the space where you were supposed to be,” Sam said, regretting it immediately.

 

Instead of pouncing on the admitted weakness and tearing him up about it, or even worse teasing him, Dean nodded and looked serious. “Sounds real familiar, Dad hated seeing it in me too, since he knew what it meant. Once when he was beyond drunk, he started talking about how I reminded him of how he’d been when mom was first gone. How his heart kept grabbing at the empty place where she was supposed to be, and how he could see the same in me. Then he passed out, we never said shit about all that again.”

 

“God, we’re pathetic,” Sam said.

 

“Oh yeah we are, ya think that’s permanent or what?” Dean asked.

 

Sam shrugged and tried not to let his own feeble hope show on his face. “No,  I really don’t.”

 

“Good, I’ll leave it to you, let me know when you figure it out I guess,” Dean said.

 

Sam felt sad that he’d brought things to a close tonight, all he wanted was to bring Dean inside and then…and then do what exactly? Play house, let him take over his life, change everything? 

 

“I’m gonna get going. Get to spend the first night in my new place, all thanks to you,” Dean said.

 

“I’m glad you came over tonight,” Sam said.

 

“Even if you had to eat steak?”

 

“You ate the kale, so I had no choice,” Sam said.

 

“It was a lot better than I’d imagined,” Dean said.

 

“What the kale?” Sam asked.

 

“Yeah, and everything else, thanks, Sammy, for taking a chance on letting me in. I know it’s probably messing you up, but I hope—“ Dean cut himself off.

 

Sam stepped closer to him, and held Dean’s forearms so that Dean had to curl his hands around Sam’s hips. Dean’s thumb pressed into the place where the bruise was, they both knew it was there. “I don’t like being messed up, but I also don’t like not getting what I want,” Sam said. “To me it’s worth it. You’re worth it.”

 

“I’m glad to hear that, thanks, Sammy,” Dean said, leaning up to kiss Sam gently on the lips. 

 

Sam stood there, a bit stunned by the unexpected gentleness, and briefly touched his own lips as Dean walked away.

 

“Dean? I’m busy the next couple of nights, but this weekend is clear. Want to come over on Friday night?”

 

Dean stopped and turned to look back at him. The lights from the house formed a halo around him, making him look even more divine. It was ridiculous how beautiful he still was. “Sounds real good, see you then, Sammy,” Dean said, flipping him a little wave and walking into the house.

 

Sam sat back down and looked out at the star-lit valley, the twinkling lights of the far away houses and listened to the familiar rumble of the Impala starting up. He could hear her go down the long, winding driveway, the sound echoing up against the hills. It filled him with unwanted nostalgia, reminding him of all those nights waiting up in sketchy motel rooms for his dad and brother to return from the hunt. He pushed that away and consciously tried to change the association, it was the sound of his brother, still in this world, still moving through it, clinging to a hope he’d never let die completely. It was the sound of that space inside of Sam finally beginning to refill.

 

Sam had finished the dishes and settled into bed with his herbal tea warm in his hand when he heard his phone ding with a text message. He knew without looking who it was from, and what it was probably about.

 

Dean: Sam! What the hell is all this stuff in this fancy basket for?!?!

 

Sam: It’s for you to get started with. Think of it as a house-warming gift

 

Dean: You’re too much you know that? 

 

Sam: Just do me a favor and don’t bleach the towels or sheets okay?

 

Dean: Now you’re telling me how to do my own damn laundry?

 

Sam: Good night D

 

Dean: Night Sammy thanks

 

Sam clicked his phone off and sipped his tea. He was glad he’d asked Alexi to arrange for a selection of household items to be waiting for Dean when he got there. Alexi knew all of Sam’s preferred brands and had just duplicated most of them. Sam was suddenly proud of being able to make sure his brother was sleeping on brand-new sheets, not worn-in sheets from the thrift store. He had the same luxurious towels Sam had in his own bathroom, he didn’t have to resort to the cache of stolen motel bath towels Dean always kept stashed in the Impala. 

 

He wondered if Dean would text him when he looked in the refrigerator. He’d also asked Alexi to stock the essentials for a person who ate a “normal” diet. Alexi had been shocked when he’d said to make sure there was at least a twelve-pack of El Sol. Sam settled down into his sheets that still smelled of them, he hadn’t wanted to change them from last night, just in case. He drifted off to sleep, picturing Dean doing the same in his own bed, not too far away. Not gone. Not out there some where. But back here in and in his life. It meant everything just then not to feel alone. He reached out to the other side of the bed, imagined Dean being there under his hand. How would that be, to have him here every night? Would it work, could it? More importantly, did he want it to work?

 

His hand clenched on the emptiness, the soft sheet filled his grip instead of Dean’s soft skin. He wished he could make it easy on both of them, wished he could have just let Dean in tonight, let him stay forever. But he had to protect himself, his life, what he’d built. He couldn’t blow all that up just because Dean had improbably waltzed back into his life. Was it just a whim of Dean’s that he ended up here, pure happenstance, or was it built on a similar hope like the one that he’d stubbornly kept hidden from himself for fourteen years. He rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling, kicking himself for letting Dean leave tonight. He should have offered him the couch, or one of the guest rooms…or something.

 

No, it was better this way, it had to be. He had to be the grownup this time around. Make sure they didn’t get in too deep without having a plan. It was in his nature to look ahead, plan for the inevitable breakdowns, it had made him seem ruthless in his business life, but it came down to preparing for the worst case scenario. So what would that be here in this case, if he opened his heart and his home, fully accepted Dean back into his life and then what? The worst three scenarios he could imagine were first, Dean leaving; second, Dean finding someone else to be with; and third, Dean bringing some supernatural woe down on them.

 

Sam turned each disastrous possibility over in his mind. Dean leaving if they got too hot and heavy too soon, seemed the most likely. His brother was known to run when things got too emotional. Sam wasn’t sure how long they had before that happened. He’d nearly blown it tonight for instance. If he hadn’t stopped himself, how would Dean have reacted? He seemed so much like the old Dean, but if he was really out of the life, then he’d have to change, right?

 

If Dean met someone else, like if he started working, or going to school, he was going to meet people, lots of people, and they were going to want him, because he was gorgeous (and the fucker knew it too). He had said the words tonight about owning Sam again, and being owned, but for how long? They hadn’t specified. 

 

This wasn’t a contract negotiation he sternly reminded himself. Sam didn’t think he could stand seeing Dean happy with someone else. He wasn’t that good of an actor, he wouldn’t be able to pull it off. He should probably make his intentions and limits about sharing Dean with other people clear then. Not in a contract way of clarity, but just telling him straight out. Something along the lines of : “When I said I wanted to own you and be owned by you, I meant that I want it to be just us this time. No one else. Not ever again.”

 

He said the words out loud to himself, testing them in his mouth, tasting the possessiveness, still tinged with the little-brother jealousy he could never shake. Would Dean want that kind of monogamy or need it like he did? Had Dean changed enough, could it be a part of giving up the hunting life? Sam didn’t have friends himself, hadn’t had time or energy for all of that, so there was no one who knew him like Dean did. Could they be enough for each other, just the two of them? It sounded like a good and workable plan to Sam, here alone in his bed late at night. But would it make sense to Dean in the cold light of day or out in the real world? That would be the real test.

 

The last scenario, the supernatural coming back into his life seemed the hardest to deal with on his own. It wasn’t like he could prepare his staff for it somehow. Start using holy water in the espresso machine at work, and silver spoons in the lunch room, the idea was ridiculous. He’d have to talk about it with Dean, get it straight that Sam wasn’t ever hunting again, and he didn’t want to be drawn into any left over monster b.s. that Dean hadn’t fully dealt with. 

 

He fell asleep and dreamed of yellow eyes, fire and the softness of Dean’s skin under his fingertips. The next day, he was slightly less distracted at work, because he forced himself to put aside thoughts of what Dean was doing at that very moment. But after lunch, he couldn’t help himself. Was Dean setting up his new apartment, was he driving around looking for a job, or was he still in bed? He knew he shouldn’t be the one to text first after how they’d left things last night, but here he was, already had his damn cellphone in his hand, typing out a dumbass needy question.

 

Sam: How’d your first night in the new place go?

 

Sam set down his phone on his desk and tried to concentrate on the complex contract negotiation he was supposed to be finalizing. He wasn’t going to hold the phone waiting for an answer, to watch for the blinking cursor that showed the only person he wanted to hear from was writing his reply. That’s why he was surprised at the ding of his incoming text. It almost made him knock over the two o’clock cup of green tea that Alexi had just brought in for him.

 

Dean: Really good, it’s quiet here, and I like how it smells. Everything’s so new.

 

Sam: What have you been up to today?

 

Dean: Found a job

 

Sam: You did? Already? What happened to taking a few weeks off and having a vacation?

 

Dean: I have to do something Sammy, can’t just sit around all day watching tv and waiting for you to text me.

 

Sam: I wish I could see you today, but I have this thing in the city, I’m not even coming back home tonight.

 

Dean: I could come there

 

Sam: No, it’s not a thing that you’d enjoy, big-wig client schmoozing

 

Dean: I could wait for you in the hotel or wherever you’re staying

 

Sam hesitated to answer his brother’s offer. It would change everything if they started off down this path. But the thought of having Dean there, waiting for him in his San Francisco apartment after the dinner meeting he’d been dreading for months seemed worth the risk.

 

Sam: I’ll send a car so you don’t have to try to park the Impala downtown.

 

Dean: See you tonight then, you better get back to work Mr. Boss Man

 

Sam: It’ll be there to pick you up at eight, I should be done by nine.

 

Dean: There’s no rent boy emoji, but that’s what I’m sending you

 

Sam: Sending the nonexistent sugar daddy emoji right back at you 

 

The rest of the afternoon flew by, then it was time to dress for dinner. Sam took a quick shower in his office bathroom. He dressed in his favorite custom-made tailored suit, with an ultra-smooth silk cotton blend turtleneck underneath as was his usual style. He slicked his hair back and carefully shaved, looking at himself in the mirror closely to see if he looked different. If he looked owned. There was a relaxation around his lips and eyes, but that could have been from the awesome sex. He knew there was more of that to look forward to tonight.

 

Sam left the dinner meeting as soon as he felt he’d gotten the point across to the firm’s newest clients that they were in it for the long haul, and that his firm would take care of their new company from the ground up. He could feel his phone burning like a hot coal in his pocket, softly buzzing with messages coming in from his brother in a steady stream. He made himself wait to read them until he was on his way up to the apartment in the elevator. His heart seemed to expand with each one, the hole in it filling up as he absorbed Dean’s enthusiastic responses.

 

Dean: This car is amazing, the driver dude wouldn’t let me sit up front with him though which was weird.

 

Dean: I love going over this bridge at night, it’s beautiful, if I was driving I couldn’t enjoy it like this, thanks

 

Dean: Is the whole top of this building really all your apartment? The doorman was very helpful, he seemed surprised that you were having company tonight. Guess I’m disrupting everything like you said.

 

Sam hit his head against the mirrored wall of the elevator as it slowly climbed all the way to his floor. Yes, the entire top floor was his, and he smirked at the idea of Dean being impressed. But hell yes was he ever disrupting everything, just like Sam had known he would. He held his cellphone in his hand, tempted to write something, but he was interrupted by another incoming text.

 

Dean: I’m in your bed, waiting for you, hope that’s okay

 

Sam felt his stomach swoop with a sudden onslaught of desire. This was the best sort of disruption. He walked faster through the long hallway, his footsteps echoing off the marble floors. The lights of the city flashed and twinkled through the floor to ceiling windows. He let himself into the apartment with his palm print on the scanner and slipped his shoes off by the door, placing them carefully in the Japanese cedar shoe rack. He was ridiculously pleased to see that Dean’s boots were already stowed there. There was something perfect and right about seeing their shoes side by side. Like he said, ridiculously pleased.

 

“Dean?” Sam called, thrilled that there was someone actually waiting for him for once. Sure it was sad and pathetic, but he wouldn’t tell anyone, certainly not Dean.

 

“In here, Sammy,” Dean called from the direction of the bedroom.

 

“You really are in my bed, huh?” Sam asked from the bedroom doorway. His eyes took in the tantalizing view of Dean’s naked shoulders and arms, the rest of him under the silk blend duvet. 

 

“You never answered me, hope it’s okay that I assumed…” Dean said trailing off when Sam didn’t answer.

 

Sam stepped forward, slowly and deliberately placing each footstep with each beat of his heart. His steps consciously taking him towards what he wanted most. “It’s more than okay, Dean. It’s exactly what I was hoping for.” Shit, why had he said that out loud?

 

“Gonna join me?” Dean asked, patting the bed beside him and waggling his eyebrows.

 

“Give me a second, I’ll be right there,” Sam said, ducking into the bathroom and shutting the door. He leaned up against it to collect himself, his thoughts running wild, he noticed how quickly his heart was beating and did some deep breathing exercises to slow it down. He was interrupted by a quiet tap at the door.

 

“Sammy, you okay?”

 

“Yeah, I’m…almost—“ Sam said, cutting himself off to splash some cold water on his face. He stared at himself in the mirror. “Get it together, you want this, so fucking figure it out,” he muttered to himself.

 

“Who are you talking to in here, dude?” Dean asked, cracking the door open.

 

Sam caught Dean’s eye in the mirror, and saw how freaked and worried his brother was. It matched his own state of mind too, so he let Dean see it, instead of trying to cover it up.

 

“This was too much, too soon, wasn’t it…me coming here tonight,” Dean said, sounding sad and resigned.

 

Sam turned and leaned against the marble counter. “Maybe, but you’re here, and I…uh, I want you to be, if that helps.”

 

“Want to just have a drink or something?” Dean asked.

 

“Instead of just jumping into bed, yeah that sounds really good actually,” Sam said, just now noticing that Dean had gotten dressed, everything except his boots.

 

Would he have just left if Sam hadn’t left the bathroom door unlocked? 

 

Sam led Dean back into the living room and poured them both a double of whisky. He handed Dean one of the two glasses, and walked over to the sliding glass door that led to the balcony. He slid it open and got himself settled on one of the comfortable chaise lounges. The balcony had glass wind-break half walls so he could see the city stretched out below, and the bridge in the distance. He vaguely noticed the sounds of Dean settling down in the chaise next to him. 

 

“It’s really beautiful from up here,” Dean said, breaking the silence.

 

“Yeah, I like it, but the house is usually better for me. Some nights I just can’t make it all the way back up to Napa, so I keep this place. You’ll love it during Fleet Week, the Blue Angels fly formations just past the building. You can see the pilot’s expressions.”

 

”When’s that happen?” Dean asked.

 

“October,” Sam said, all of a sudden realizing that was more than six months away.

 

“I like that you’re thinking ahead, Sammy,” Dean said, hiding his grin behind his whisky tumbler.

 

“It’s pretty much all I do,” Sam said.

 

“You didn’t plan for me though I bet,” Dean said, turning onto his side to face Sam.

 

Sam looked over at him, stretched out on the chaise, everything his heart had ever wanted.  “Yeah, and that’s okay. I’m dealing with it, with you—with the situation.”

 

“If it’s too much, I can just get out of your hair for a while,” Dean said, sitting up and gulping down the rest of his whisky. “I can clear out of the condo too in a few minutes.”

 

“No! I mean no, please don’t go. That’s not what I meant, or what I want. Not at all,” Sam couldn’t help it, the begging, the wanting, any of it. He let it show in his eyes, hoping Dean would just get it.

 

“What do you want, Sammy?” Dean asked, looking him straight in the eyes, challenging and also unsure.

 

“You, I know I want you. And my life, this one that I made without you in it? I didn’t leave a place for you, because I thought I knew for sure that we weren’t ever going to—“ Sam trailed off, not sure how to describe what he thought he’d lost forever.

 

“Pick things up where we left them?” Dean offered.

 

“Yeah, pretty much.”

 

“Like I said, I can just go, give you some time to think about all this. I’m sorry for pushing, I just want to be with you, however you’ll have me,” Dean said with a little shrug that almost broke Sam’s heart.

 

Sam sat up with alarm that Dean was going to leave after saying something like that. “Hold on, hold on. You’d really do that? Give me as much or as little as I demand?”

 

“I…uh, yeah, I would. Listen, Sam, I don’t have a lot in this world that’s important to me, especially now that I’m out of the hunting game. You’re pretty much it, so if there’s a chance, I’ll take what you can give, sure. I mean, even if you just want to brothers, we can make that happen right—”

 

“That’s not what I want,” Sam said, cutting him off before he said anything even more stupid. “There just can’t be anyone else, not this time.”

 

“No, there’s no point, what would I need with someone else if I’ve got you? And…uh, the same goes for you too, right?” Dean asked.

 

“Of course, no one but you. And you’re really done with hunting?”

 

“Yeah, done, I promise, the hunt got enough of my life, I want to spend the rest of it on my terms,” Dean said.

 

“Your terms?” Sam asked, wondering what in the world Dean’s terms for how his life was going to go would be.

 

“How I want it to go, instead of random shit coming at me day after day, hunt after hunt. I want to have a plan, one that’s got you centered in it by the way,” Dean said.

 

Sam was so moved by how Dean had said that all so plainly, or maybe it was the whisky, or even the soft night air. He rose out of his chaise and folded himself down over Dean. Dean’s arms wrapped around him, holding him close, he laid his head down on his brother’s chest and listened to Dean’s heart beating, steady and strong, after all these years. It’d gone on without him, thank god. He tangled his fingers in the silk cord of Dean’s amulet. 

 

“Can’t believe you still wear this thing,” Sam said.

 

“Never take it off, not on purpose anyway, came off for the hospital a couple of times, but that wasn’t up to me,” Dean said. “Helped me remember you were out there, that you were what I was fighting for.”

 

Sam leaned up and captured Dean’s lips in a searing kiss, he couldn’t believe how much he’d needed to hear that, he hadn’t been forgotten or discarded just because he’d left. That had been his biggest fear over these long Dean-less years. And now his arms were full of Dean, writhing under him in pleasure as their bodies moved together.

 

“Want to fuck you, Dean,” Sam said in a hot whisper smeared into Dean’s neck.

 

Dean groaned and spread his legs a little wider, the invitation obvious. He panted into Sam’s hair. “All ready for you, Sammy.”

 

Sam gulped, holding down the rush of desire that swamped his every nerve ending. He pulled Dean’s jeans off, unbuttoning them with rough tugs, his own jeans were almost off with Dean’s help. His fingers were inside Dean then, finding him hot and wet and open, he was already ready. Dean had opened himself up at some point, it was beyond hot thinking of him doing that, anticipating this. 

 

Sam stood up and undressed, slow and deliberate, one piece of clothing at a time. Dean watching him, mouth open and wet, tongue licking his lips. 

 

“C’mere,” Dean said, leaning over the side of his chaise and pulling Sam towards him. His hands landed on Sam’s ass and his mouth enveloped Sam, instant heat and wet pressure, bringing him to instant beyond-full hardness. Dean bobbed his head, and Sam laid a hand on his cheek, to feel him working, to feel himself moving inside his brother. It was intoxicating having those lips, that mouth concentrating on his pleasure. Dean’s eyes told the rest of the story, he wanted all of this just as much. Sam felt himself ramping up to climax, and pushed Dean back into the chaise. 

 

He kneed up between Dean’s spread legs, and pulled him forward, impaling him in one long, endless push. He slowly brought him up into his lap, their arms wrapped around each other and they didn’t move, not for a long, nearly endless moment. 

 

Sam closed his eyes to memorize the feeling, the earthy scent of their mingled desire, the need that spun up deep in his belly, that driving imperative to move, to pound into him, make Dean his again.


“Sammy, please,” Dean said, begging him so pretty, how could he refuse.

 

Sam moved his hips, exaggerating the slowness, the control of his movements, making this last for as long as possible. Dean scrabbled at his back, fingernails scraping as Sam’s thrusts took him apart from the inside out. Dean was vocalizing, letting himself make all the noise they’d always had to hide. It was glorious and Sam wanted the world to know, Dean was his, he’d tattoo mine mine mine all over his ass if Dean would let him. But he wouldn’t want to spoil all that beautiful creamy skin. 

 

He grabbed at the globes of Dean’s ass, pulling them apart so he could dive in that little bit further, finally reaching the spot that took Dean apart, coming between them, wet and hot. The feeling of Dean going tighter than tight, undulating rippling muscles working him to the edge and pulling him over.

 

“Hope your neighbors enjoyed the show,” Dean muttered into the side of Sam’s neck where he lay panting for breath.

 

Sam’s eyes popped open, startled at Dean’s mention of neighbors, he caught himself staring around and felt silly, there couldn’t be anyone able to see them. That was one of the things he’d liked about this unit, the privacy.

 

“I was kidding,” Dean said with a low chuckle. “They’d have to have pretty damn good binoculars.”

 

 

The FA/18 streaked by, more than six hundred twenty miles an hour, and Dean’s whoops of joy and surprise were louder than the near sonic boom that followed in the jet’s wake. “Holy shit!”

 

The small group that had joined them on their balcony had similar reactions and it made Sam smile that their friends got to experience this. It made him smile even more—that phrase ‘their friends’. He’d never planned for it, the whole having friends thing, much less ‘couple friends’, but Dean had made it happen. Just like so much else that had changed, he hadn’t known he’d needed or wanted it, but now that he had it, he wasn’t ever letting it go.

 

“This okay, Sammy?” Dean asked, leaning back against Sam’s chest, craning his neck around so he could see him.

 

Sam leaned down and brushed his lips against Dean’s. “Yeah, it’s perfect, Dean."