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Long shadows and gunpowder eyes

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For the three years that Sam has been an inmate at Crozier Green Correctional Center, he's been a model prisoner. He's minded his own business, stayed out of trouble, and has so far served his two consecutive life sentences in peace.

And then they bring Jensen in.

Sam can't take his eyes off him. He doesn't know where Dean is, knows - despite the eerie resemblance - that this isn’t him, but from the second Jensen is herded into general population, Sam is transfixed.

He's not the only one.

Everybody must know what will happen to someone as pretty as Jensen in a place like this. None of the guards will say it, but they'll all be thinking it. By the time the next morning rolls around, Jensen will be lucky if he's only been raped a couple of times.

They're already moving in on him, three invading his personal space from the front while two of them cage him in from behind. Jensen's smart enough not to try winning them over with charm; these guys don't want to be friends. But his steely resistance is all front. Sam can see it at once, and it won't take long for the others to realize. Jensen doesn't know the dirty tricks and dirtier fighting that Dean did to counterbalance sooty-lashed green eyes and soft-soft lips. He's too smooth, too polished, too accustomed to clean cotton sheets and scented hand lotion.

Sam watches a moment longer, studies the way the guys jostle Jensen between them, their hands sneaking out to slide over his body - ass, chest, back of his neck, any piece of him they can get at - and then he gets up and goes to speak to the guards.

He's very polite and all he does is observe that he's a really big guy capable of a lot of violent bad behavior if so inclined, so maybe they should do as he's respectfully requesting and put Jensen in his cell, spare everyone a lot of trouble in the long run. They consider him briefly, and then agree.

Sam nods, flicks his lips into a smile, quick as the flicker of a snake's forked tongue, and then goes to retrieve Jensen. Sam reaches into the throng that's surrounded him, takes hold of Jensen's shoulder and pulls him into himself. Crowd howling with disappointed disapproval, one of the guys starts to protest.

It's Prentiss, of course, neckless and thick-fingered.

Sam looks right at him, the full weight of nothingness in his eyes, and Prentiss finally notices how huge Sam is, how nasty, as though Sam's only just now unfolding from the prison walls after three years of invisibility, just growing and growing, until he's ten foot high and dense with muscle.

Prentiss goes quiet and Sam pulls Jensen away.

"Take your fucking hand off me," Jensen hisses, and there's the first flash of real teeth.

Sam's seen worse. "Shut up."

He leads Jensen over to the bench, where he sits him down beside him, and then resumes reading his book. Jensen instantly makes to get up again, and Sam grabs the back of his jumpsuit and slams him back down.

"It's me or them," he says quietly.

Jensen eyes the group of guys still watching, Prentiss at the head of them, and stops fighting. Sam watches him until Jensen's shoulders drop slightly, then he goes back to his book.

Jensen leans his entire body away from Sam, drums his fingers on the armrest, irritable and anxious. But his breathing evens out the longer Sam goes without touching him. At last he's quiet – seething with hostility, but quiet.

It's only then Sam dares take a peek at him. Jensen's face is turned away from him, towards the basketball game being played on the other side of the yard, so all Sam can really see of him is his profile.

He remembers sitting in the Impala next to Dean while the road whistled by like a song.


When Jensen sees that he's been moved to Sam's cell, his mouth goes pinched and white. He makes a disgusted little noise and won't take another step towards his bunk. Sam leaves him be; it's not like Jensen's got anywhere else to go.

"I thought I was in with that other guy. The one with all the tats," Jensen says tightly.

"There are a lot of guys with a lot of tats in here," Sam observes, and gets nothing but silence from Jensen.

He knows he should be more sympathetic, this is a nightmare for Jensen, but the years and the separation have wrung him dry. He's giving all he's got, and there's not a drop left for explanation or reassurance. He settles on the bottom bunk, closes his eyes, and wishes for Jensen to just take what he's being offered.

The lights go out.


He's in the middle of dreaming about Dean when Jensen wakes him.

He's dreaming about the road and the patterns in the dust and his name and Dean's written on the wall of every motel room in the world, in the universe. He's warm and free and there's the steady weight of his brother at his back.

Then he's awake. Narrow bed, prison walls, and Jensen.

Jensen's even softer in the darkness. He's smoothed out to unreal, Hollywood beauty. He's by Sam's bunk, arms folded across his chest, one fingertip anxiously tapping the muscled curve of his bicep. Though he's barely moving, he gives the impression of violent trembling. Sam's sure that if he reached out, the vibration he'd find would be painful.

He sits up in his bunk and regards Jensen expectantly.

"I don't know if you're trying to ease me in gently or if it makes you feel less guilty about this, but I know how these things work." Despite the wary dislike he's radiating, Jensen's polite, formal even. Maybe he's rehearsed the words so often in his head that the emotion's bled out of them. "I'd like to just get it over with. What do you want me to do?"

Sam's stung. He can't blame Jensen for thinking it; after all, he did stake a claim of sorts out in the yard, and he did have Jensen put in his cell. But he's stung that Jensen doesn't somehow know him better than that.

Embarrassment makes him awkward. He isn't quite sure what's a tactful way of promising someone you're not planning on fucking them by force.

"No," he says, somewhat inadequately. "You don't have to. That's not why I…"

Jensen's head tilts contemptuously, because not only is Sam going to rape him, he's not even man enough to admit it. "I wanna pay my debt now. So we're clear. Then you stay the fuck away from me and I look after myself." His tone is cold with bitterness.

He reaches for the front of Sam's pants, and his fingers touch the shape of Sam's cock, which wakes instantly at the contact, before Sam catches his hand in his and holds him away.

A moment passes between them.

Sam is fascinated by how small Jensen's wrist is in his grip. He can't believe Dean could ever have felt so small in his hand. Dean was the size of an epic; he wasn't brittle, wasn't put together from china, like Jensen is. Jensen's just the picture of Dean painted on silk.

The vehemence of Sam's rejection seems to have startled Jensen. He twists his hand slightly, and Sam is aware of the delicate motion of his bones, of the shiver of his pulse, before he realizes Jensen is drawing his attention to how tightly he's holding him. He's putting up a civilized kind of struggle.

Gathering his thoughts, his breath, Sam says, "You don't have to. It's just… you remind me of someone."

Someone Sam has loved with a blazing purity. He has loved Dean with the senseless, bodiless fierceness usually reserved only for the adoration of God by those most faithful.

Jensen studies his face, his own expression unreadable, and then tugs lightly until Sam releases his hand.

"Okay," says Jensen. Sam's not sure if he's convinced him or not.

Jensen backs off, disappears. The frame rocks as he crawls into the top bunk. Sam stares up at the dip carved by the weight of Jensen's body, his body built only in Dean's image.


Jensen doesn't go away. He hangs around near Sam, though not with him, in the library and at meal times, especially in the showers. Sam can't help looking at him at those times when he's naked. Jensen is very nice to look at, sure, but Sam hardly notices that when the water running from the tendrils of his hair blurs his vision enough for him to believe Dean's beside him.

All the while, Jensen gazes stonily at the wall while the water courses over him and pretends not to notice the undeviating attention the others pay him. He pretends not to hear that wife-beating piece of shit, Anderson, crooning filth at him, round red head of his stubby dick working through his fingers as he jerks himself off while he watches Jensen.

Jensen is good with silences, which Sam appreciates. They come naturally to him. He doesn't ask Sam personal questions, and he's not eager to share about his own past. What Sam knows of his backstory is this: Jensen used to be a TV star, he was a regular on a show about teen Superman, and then something happened. It goes without saying that the something was bad, because Jensen is here now and is in no danger of leaving any time soon.

Sam gets used to him being there. He gets used to there being a shadow standing by his own again.


It's a rough day. Three times, so far, Sam has lost track of Jensen during the day. Like usual, when he finds Jensen, he's been herded away by a couple of guys to somewhere out of sight of the guards and Sam. This time, it's by two neo-Nazi skinheads, but it's usually either Prentiss or Anderson.

Prentiss likes to rut against Jensen, likes to trap him against the wall and rub the bugling thickness of his dick against Jensen's hipbone or his ass, likes to ride him with one big hand wrapped around Jensen's throat, fingers flexing in warning. And Anderson's got a thing for Jensen's mouth, licking at it and sucking on the swollen wetness of his lips, mouthing at Jensen's pretty face while his friends keep Jensen pinned down to take it.

Sam always gets there before Jensen can be fully stripped of his jumpsuit, but it's been a close thing more than once.

These days, Jensen has a perpetually harassed look, always sharp-edged and tense. He plays it off as no big deal, tells Sam some pretty funny stories about the fans he used to have. Sam's forgotten how to really talk to people, people who require more than a shared look or a quirk of the brow to know what he's saying, but he tries, because that hunted light is too often in Jensen's eyes.

"They'll leave you alone eventually," Sam tells him, as the skinheads slink away.

Jensen nods jerkily. "Better be real soon."

He lights his fifteenth cigarette of the day and Sam loses him to silence and nicotine.

Dean's never smoked; John wouldn't allow it. Dean's vice has always been food, the less nutritious the better. Not like Jensen. Jensen smokes, doesn't eat. The smell of his cigarettes, at first stale and faintly dirty in some way, has faded as Sam has grown used to it. He still catches it sometimes, like a look on Jensen's face that he never saw on Dean's.


At lunch, Jensen sits beside Sam, shoulders hunched, and slops the soggy pasta over and over on his plate. His fingers twitch like he's ready for his next cigarette already. Sam sees a bruise on his neck. It looks like a bite mark, Sam thinks, as though someone bit down on him like an animal. He wonders how recent it is; he has no way of knowing.

Jensen eventually pushes his plate away from himself, and Sam eyes the full plate, vaguely disapproving, before he resumes stoically shoveling food into his own mouth. While Sam is eating, he's aware of Jensen doing nothing at all. Not watching the other tables, not deep in thought, doing nothing but existing.

When Sam's done with his meal, he and Jensen get to their feet and move to deposit their trays. Guard Rivera is waiting there to meet them, and Sam slows instinctively. Rivera's a pock-faced sonofabitch, with a mouth too generously shaped for his nature. He's got a habit of using undue violence when dealing with unruly prisoners though he's never been called on it. Not successfully, anyway.

He inclines his head at Jensen, says, "Hey, Ackles, you get your wish. Warden'll see you before lock-up."

Sam waits until Rivera is done, concentrates on neatly scraping his leftovers into the trash, then says, "You're going to the warden? What about?"

The look Jensen gives him plainly tells him not to be a dumbass. "My lawyer says it's the first thing I gotta do about my situation."

Sam nods; really he's just digesting the news that Jensen has spoken to his lawyer about this too. He glances over at Prentiss doubtfully, gives it a moment, then can't help asking, "What do you think your lawyer or the warden can do about it?"

He's honestly curious but Jensen gives him an even sharper look. His voice drops to an angry whisper. "I was sentenced to imprisonment, not playing sex doll for anyone who can fucking hold me down long enough. It’s not fair. And if I go to the warden, make my complaint official, he's gotta do something about it."

Sam doesn't disagree. It's not fair at all. He's simply surprised this comes as news to Jensen.


It's Rivera who takes Jensen to the warden, and it's Rivera who brings him back less than an hour later.

Sam has already been returned to his cell, reading on the lower bunk, and he looks up at Jensen's return.

Rivera sees him in, then taps his baton against the bars. "Tomorrow's the first day of the rest of your life, Ackles," he calls as he leaves.

Sam folds down the corner of his page and sets his book aside to give Jensen his full attention, waiting quietly for Jensen to talk if he wants to. Jensen climbs up onto the top bunk and is silent long enough that Sam begins to think he should go back to his book.

"Warden suggests supervised mediation sessions. He says if the inmates get to know me as a person, maybe they'll stop trying to gang-rape me."

Sam wrinkles his nose. He hopes Jensen isn't naïve enough to see that as anything other than ridiculous. Jensen did go to his lawyer and the warden though, so he can't be sure.

"Huh," says Sam, as neutral as he can be. "You think you're gonna try that?"


Sam wonders if he didn't sound neutral enough.

"No, Winchester," Jensen says at last, coming in somewhere between exasperated and actually amused. "I'm not gonna try making friends with a group of shit-for-brain assholes who still haven't figured out that no really does mean no."

Sam's lips twitch into a smile and he nods. "Good," he says, and goes back to his book.


Jensen's been awake for a while; Sam's heard it in the lighter rhythm of his breathing. They've both been lying awake in the darkness, listening to the occasional trash-talking and the sobbing, grunting and noise-making of the uneasily sleeping prison.

Sam's gaze crawls up the walls, touching the indistinct shapes of his belongings and Jensen's, climbs as far as the ceiling before the line of Jensen's bunk cuts him off. It's familiar to him, this cell. He's used to living in enclosed spaces. This cell, the interior of the Impala, he's used to being able to see the extent of his world wherever he sits.

He's used to sharing that space.

"Hey, Sam?"

Sam's gaze flicks to the upper bunk. "Yeah?"

"You know, if they thought you were fucking me, they might leave me alone."

Sam's aware of the rise and fall of his chest as he breathes, of the dancing static across his vision as he stares into the darkness.

"Where did you get an idea like that?" he says

"It doesn't matter. I'm right, aren't I?"

Sam doesn't answer, can't. Jensen's not wrong. Not in principle. Just in everything else. There's nothing to say to something like that.

"C'mon, Sam. Will you help me?"

It doesn't work like that, not for Jensen. Jensen's the wrong person and the right person would never ask, wouldn't need to, wouldn't accept it if he did. Jensen's the wrong person but he looks like the right one and it's all just screwing with Sam's head.

"I can't."

Jensen makes a noise, a cough or a choked sigh. "Okay."

"See, it's just, you remind me of someone and I can't-"

"It's okay," says Jensen. It's not, of course.


Anderson puts himself right next to Jensen in the shower. As usual, Jensen keeps his eyes on the wall. He pretends he can't see the big naked guy standing a few inches away from him, telling him all the different ways he's going to rape him.

Sam is on the other side of Jensen, and, so long as Anderson keeps his hands to himself, Sam's staying out of it.

The hands-off approach doesn't last.

"You know, baby, it's rude not to look at me when I'm talking to you. You think you're too good to listen to me, huh? Think you're too good for my dick? Nah, you need a good hard fuck, don't you, baby? That's what cockteasing whores like you need. Won’t be so fucking uptight when I got you on my big dick, will you? C'mon, baby, look at me."

He skims his hand down Jensen's slippery, naked spine, laughs when Jensen jerks around to push him away. The reaction's all Anderson was waiting for; he lunges forward, slams Jensen against the wall and is shoving his tongue in Jensen's mouth and his hand between Jensen's thighs when Sam steps in.

Sam hauls him off and punches him square in the face for good measure. Blood sprays from Anderson's nose onto the wet floor, gathering and swirling in the puddles, and Jensen's still against the wall, breathing hard, when Sam turns to him.

It's not Dean. It's not. And Dean would understand that.

Firming his jaw, Sam pushes Jensen down onto his knees. Jensen makes a cut-off noise. There's a spark of instinctive betrayal in his eyes at first, before Sam wills him with his gaze not to protest, but to understand.

The weight of his prick rides in smooth and easy, so wet, over Jensen's tongue as Jensen opens up for it, surges up for it. He takes so much of Sam's thickness at once that it's kind of dizzying to Sam, makes him twitch, makes him want to fuck in hard. Jensen doesn't gag or choke; he lets Sam stuff his mouth full, and stays there a moment, on his knees in front of Sam under the water, face pressed in close to Sam's belly, just resting there, so obviously in use by Sam in front of the others.

Sam can feel the heat of Jensen's breath on his skin, as he breathes through his nose, then, laying a hand on Sam's hip, Jensen draws off slowly, another wickedly slick slide – so fucking hot Sam's sure Jensen must have done this before, but how would he know? They've never talked about this, never talked about anything.

Tilting his head just so, Jensen leaves only the barest inch of Sam's cock in the mouth, his shiny lips forced open around the fat head, and sucks on it. Sam grunts, knees jolting at once at the rush of arousal, and Jensen's hand braces more firmly against his hip.

Jensen fucks his mouth back onto Sam's dick, a harder slam than before. He works Sam's dick into him with steady, deep thrusts, and Sam picks up the rhythm, rolls his hips just hard enough to take back control. He pounds into Jensen's mouth, silent except for a grunt with each deepening push, and the sound of them grows sloppier and dirtier as more spit and precome gather, slick skin slapping skin.

And when Sam worries that maybe he's gone further than he should, because he doesn't know where the lines are, he touches Jensen's shoulder, his chin, to coax him into looking up at him.

Jensen glances up at him from under long dark lashes, face pressed into his thighs for Sam to use, and Sam registers how absurdly hot it is to have someone so beautiful look so grateful to him for putting his dick in their mouth.

Sam leaves Jensen shivering under the water, still on his knees, with Sam's come filthy and white at the corner of his mouth, which Sam has fucked to glossy-redness.

Nobody bothers Jensen.


That night, Sam gets Jensen down from the top bunk and into his own, and he fucks him.

Jensen's flat on his belly, most of Sam covering him, and his shoulders tense and flutter, and his breathing catches and rises, and Sam fingers him open, before he fucks in, unhurried but relentless, not stopping until his balls are tucked into the split line of Jensen's ass, and Jensen can't possibly move without feeling the stiffness of Sam's big dick buried right up inside him, breaking him open.

"You should make more noise," Sam mutters. "We want them to hear what we're doing."

Face hidden, Jensen ducks his head in a nod, and Sam hesitates.

"Do you want me to stop?" he says.

Jensen still doesn't look at him. He shakes his head.

Sam begins to lift himself off Jensen's body, watching his cock come reluctantly out of Jensen's ass, shiny and angry-red with wanting. Jensen pushes up onto his elbows to move with him.

"No," Jensen whispers fiercely. "Don't stop."

Again, Sam hesitates. This time, he eases back in, sinking his dick into Jensen's ass in a way that feels way too good. He closes his eyes briefly, swallows thickly as he adjusts to the impulse to wreck Jensen, to grab his shoulders and hold him down, make him take it. To get the job done while he doesn't have Dean in his head, while he's got it clear in his mind that this isn't incest.

Sam makes himself go slowly instead, takes Jensen in deep, long strokes that send bone-shaking tremors of heat and desire up his spine. He breathes steadily, just as deep, while his body works in a powerful rhythm.

And Jensen - Maybe Jensen's acting. Maybe Sam's just really that good a fuck. Whatever it is, Jensen starts making these crazy little noises, sighing and crying out like he just can't help himself, like Sam's giving it to him just so damn good, better than anything Jensen could get on the outside from guys who are rich and famous and haven't been convicted of a couple of counts of murder. He thrashes and squirms under Sam, pinned down by Sam's prick digging into his ass, and he gets the bedsprings creaking and shrieking like scandalized old women.

Sam finds he kind of likes the noises. They're pornstar-cheesy and they’re hot, and he doesn't know if they make him want to laugh or fuck Jensen even harder for more.

After Sam comes in Jensen's ass - which they never discussed beforehand, and Sam's silently shocked and turned on when his load starts leaking out of Jensen's ass – Jensen buries his head in the pillow. His shoulders heave as he catches his breath. Sam rolls over onto his back, aware that they're both still bare and sticky and touching.

He studies Jensen, a frown gathering on his face. "Was that… was that okay?" He doesn't know why he's asking. He doesn't know if he's okay himself. He's not thinking about Dean right now, so that's good, but maybe he is, because surely he's thinking about Dean if he's thinking about not thinking about him.

"Thanks," says Jensen. He bites his lip, claps Sam on the shoulder a little tentatively. "I appreciate it."

Sam nods, because he's still thinking about not thinking about Dean, and because it's a weird kind of favor to fuck a guy, especially one as pretty as Jensen who's probably never had a problem getting guys on him in his life.

Further down the block, someone's applauding.


So they've solved a lot of Jensen's problems. People know that Sam is fucking Jensen, and people are also pretty sure that Sam's not someone they want to piss off.

Anderson still stares at Jensen in the shower when he's working his dick through his fist. He doesn't try to pretend he's looking anywhere other than Jensen, who's shining and sleek and carefully bruised up by Sam at the hips and the throat. Still says c'mon, pretty bitch, c'mon. don't be all prissy like that. you got me so hard over here, do a guy a favor and let me come in your ass. no? how about in that dirty little whore-mouth then? c'mon, just gimme your tongue, baby.

Sam doesn't touch Jensen at times like that, because he doesn't want to provide Anderson with jerk-off material.

Prentiss hangs on too. He likes to get in Jensen's way, put his bulk in front of him and refuse to move, so Jensen either has to rub up against him to get by or find another way to go. Jensen always goes another way.

Nobody touches. They all still look.

Except for Sam. Sam doesn't look, not if he can help it. He looks at Jensen less and less. He talks to his awareness of Jensen in the room, to the movement out of the corner of his eye that's him. Sometimes when he's inside Jensen, balls-deep and pushing hard between his thighs, he'll catch a glimpse of Jensen that isn’t Jensen. It's Dean. And it doesn't matter that it's not Dean, it's all Sam sees.

The problem is this: Sam has sex with Jensen when there's nobody else to hear or see. He does it just because it feels good and he likes doing it and Jensen seems to like him doing it too, and he thinks there's got to be something pretty wrong with him because he's enjoying fucking a guy who he knows looks just like his big brother.

He sweats with guilt, suffers through the terrible uncertainty of what this says about himself. At night, he hunches over the toilet bowl, dry-heaving and retching, even while Jensen's freshly fucked and sleeping in Sam's own bunk. Not even his dreams about Dean are a mercy anymore, because in every one of them he's terrified that Dean knows what he's done.

"Are you coming down with something?" says Jensen eventually. "Maybe you should go to the infirmary and get yourself looked at."

"I'm fine," Sam tells him. He's read the same sentence on the page a few times now. Although he doesn't have the heart to engage with the story, he keeps the book between himself and Jensen.

"Huh," says Jensen.

Sam tries to interpret every syllable Jensen's not saying.

Jensen's concerned for him; they are, after all, all that each other has by way of company and friendship in this place. It's not surprising that their intimacy should lead to a certain amount of fondness and affection.

Or –

Despite all the fucking, they're still virtual strangers to one another. Jensen is conscious enough of that fact to be too polite and too wary to outright call bullshit. However, Sam is all that stands between Jensen and several rounds of violent rape, and Jensen has no wish to see him go out of commission due to illness.

There's silence in the cell, and Sam understands that Jensen is watching him. He grips the book more tightly.

"Can I try something?" says Jensen, and the line of Sam's shoulders stiffens.

"Like what?"

"Like-" Jensen moves, brings his hands down on Sam's shoulders and digs his fingers in. "Like this."

Sam is about to protest when Jensen works his fingers into a knot of muscle, and it feels so good that Sam's eyes all but roll back in his head. He groans before he can help himself and he's relaxing more under Jensen's hands the longer Jensen touches him. He's being worked to heavy, unboned softness.

"Put the book down," says Jensen, and Sam does, it's pretty much falling out of his grasp already.

Sam's neck lolls forward, and Jensen takes advantage of the greater access to expand the scope of his massage. The pressure is focused to the point of painful, and then, when Jensen's hands move on, it rolls into a pleasurable ache. By the time Jensen eases Sam's arms out and tucks his jumpsuit down to his waist, Sam is pliant, receptive to however Jensen wants to take care of him.

"Get on the bed," says Jensen, and Sam does it. He pushes his face into the musty pillow, stares sightlessly at the floor, and comes to pieces at Jensen's touch.

He expects Jensen to straddle him. His dick is hardening at the expectation of Jensen's weight and heat settling on him. But Jensen stays at his side, while he kneads and rubs, more satisfying still than that first arching stretch of a morning. Sam is flying, his whole body lifting off the bed, and he knows he's making pleasured noises, knows his cock is aching, but Jensen doesn't stop. Jensen knows exactly what he's doing.

Sam considers that, even while his body hums and buzzes.

Jensen is probably only doing what he can to make Sam feel better. They're fond of each other. They look out for each other.

Or would it be too self-serving of Jensen to simply be reminding Sam what he has, what he stands to lose if Anderson or Prentiss or one of the others gets in to take Jensen from him?

"I was gonna be a sports therapist," says Jensen. He clears his throat, sweeps his palm over Sam's shoulder blade, like he's tending to some massive thoroughbred. "Before."

He concentrates on a particular tangle of tightness, one Sam cultivated through years of attempting to disguise his true height, not willing to appear as anything more threatening than he wanted to be.

"I was going to be a lawyer," says Sam, when it's clear to him that Jensen's not going to ask. What's not as clear is if Jensen cares or not, if he's ever curious, and if Sam in turn wants him to be.

"Well," says Jensen. "Well," he says. "Guess we sure fucked up, huh?"


It surprises Sam that he doesn't see it coming. He used to be able to see the signs. Demonic or human, he used to register the crackle in the air or recognize the glint in a guy's eyes that said Dean had pushed him too far. Maybe living without Dean is as much of an amputation as it's always felt. He's blinder and deafer than he used to be. Swinging in the dark.

He and Jensen have managed almost two months of something that's not exactly domestic bliss, but certainly isn't a trip back to Hell either. Jensen smiles more, though he still doesn't talk much. Now and again, when they're just shooting the shit together, Jensen will make some idly sarcastic observation about this or that that'll make Sam laugh, and only hours later Sam will realize just how much Jensen sees when he looks. There's a sharpness to him that all that pretty does a good job of hiding. A sharp tongue to match the sharp eyes.

Maybe those edges are why Sam forgets just how weak the protection he offers Jensen is, and why it's so necessary.

Sam leaves the gym before Jensen. He leaves him there. He doesn't even think about it.

And maybe it's not Jensen's edges. Maybe it's that, even now, Sam can't help forgetting sometimes that it's not his brother in here with him, it's not a guy who's crazy enough to trash talk the devil and call Death his bitch. Sam's trying to get used to living in a foreign country; he can be forgiven for occasionally still thinking in his own language.

He isn't gone long. But gone long enough all the same.

By the time he gets back, Anderson and his friends have got Jensen down on the ground. Jensen's throat is under Anderson's foot, and Anderson's merrily pissing all over Jensen's face. Jensen thrashes and squirms, screaming with bloody rage. He's not going anywhere. Anderson's friends have got him stretched out and pinned down; one of them has his fingers knotted in Jensen's hair, yanking his face backwards to catch Anderson's stream.

"You like that? You like that?" Anderson's saying. "You think you're gonna be a little nicer to me next time? 'Cause I can do this again, baby, any time I like. I can get you down on your knees as my personal fucking pissbowl, and you'll take whatever I give you, and be fucking grateful for it."

At Sam's arrival, Anderson's head whips around to him. He backs off quickly, dick still dripping and a big grin on his face.

"Hey! Boyfriend's back!" he cheers. His gaze runs over Jensen, who stays on the floor, soiled and wet and driven half out of his mind with furious humiliation. "You wanna keep a closer eye on your bitch. I bet I could get a load in his ass in the time it takes you to brush your teeth."

Sam doesn't say anything, just takes another step towards them, steps over Jensen to put himself between them and him. They scatter. And Sam is left to turn uncertainly to Jensen.

Jensen still hasn't moved. He's shaking. Sam's seen that look on his face before, usually on the face of dead things that are too fucking pissed at the world to stay down. His eyes snap to Sam. His gaze is burning and wild. Sam doesn't know what to say to him.

Instead, he helps Jensen to his feet, and Jensen looks around himself, as if so completely possessed by the trauma and the anger that he can't even hang on to the basic memory of what just happened. He can't place himself.

Sam doesn't know what to say to him. But that's okay, because Jensen doesn't seem to want to talk.


The next day, Prentiss brushes his hand over the back of Jensen's neck as he passes, Jensen tries to rip his throat out with his bare hands, and Rivera throws Jensen into solitary.

Sam is left alone in his cell. He can't sleep. Tries burrowing his head under Jensen's pillow to catch scent-traces of nicotine, while he pretends the prison generator's hum is the purr of a finely-tuned car engine.


When Sam looks up, he sees Dean standing in the doorway of the library. Sam smiles, because it can't be Dean so it must be Jensen.

The quality of the light in the library changes - the moody sun slipping behind a cloud or a dip in the electric overhead lights – and Sam sees then that there's nobody in the doorway. Nobody at all.

Sam breathes, in, out. Wets his lips and looks back at the page.

Then he closes his book and goes to find Anderson.

Anderson is with his little friends in the laundry room, smoking and sniggering, self-satisfied and sleazy. Anderson is so very pleased with himself, Sam thinks, like he doesn't realize just what a maggot he is.

Sam takes a quick glance to make sure the guards are out of sight, before he smoothly breaks Anderson's nose. And then his cheekbone. He twists Anderson's arm up behind his back until Anderson's squealing, then slams him against the washer, leans in close to talk right into Anderson's ear.

"When Jensen gets back, you don't touch him. You don't talk to him. You don't look at him."

Sam jerks him harder against the washer with a nasty yank of Anderson's arm; he wants to make that Anderson is paying attention, that he's taking in what Sam's telling him. There's a bloody smear against the washer's metal surface, slimy like a slug's trail, where Anderson's broken nose is squashed and bleeding.

"Fuck you," Anderson grunts, and Sam puts an extra turn on his wrist, until, spine rigid, Anderson rolls up onto his tiptoes and teeters there.

"You leave him alone. He belongs with me." Sam realizes he's breathing too hard, his eyes are prickling. Is he going to cry? Is he really going to cry? "You can't take him away from me."

"Fine, fine, whatever!" Anderson shrieks. When Sam lets him go, he backs away and doesn't take his eyes off Sam while he rubs his aching wrist, the center of his face fat and clotted with blood. "Crazy fucker."

Crazy fucker. Sam goes looking for Prentiss.


Jensen has gone somewhere. He's sitting right next to Sam, but he's not there. Sam wants to try him with salt or with silver, because sometimes things come back that shouldn't. But he knows Jensen is alive and that he is breathing, and that eventually he'll ease up again.

Both Prentiss and Anderson avoid looking at their table as they eat. Sam nods to himself, satisfied, and continues mechanically eating.

Rivera puts Jensen and Sam in their cell that night. He taps his baton on the cell bars and says, "Tomorrow is another day," and Sam isn't sure if he's being a dick on purpose, because there's no crimson and coronal sunset waiting for them, no silhouetted Vivian Leigh.

Fiddle-de-dee, Dean would say. Fiddle-de-dee and go fuck yourself.

Jensen is silent, so Sam is left to wonder to himself how that same Scarlett O'Hara hardheadedness would sound in Jensen's lighter, tighter voice.

He wants to take Jensen down into his own bunk. He feels it with a sudden urgency. He wants to press his face into the angles of Jensen's body, wants to mouth at him and kiss him and share something with him. He wants to reconnect himself. He wants to take an interest in his own heartbeat again.

But nobody is going to touch Jensen. Not for a good long while. Sam has seen to that. He doesn't have the excuse of protecting Jensen to make it okay. Sam shouldn't want to kiss a guy who's got his brother's mouth, not just for the sake of it, not just because he likes doing it, not just because Jensen kisses like something out of an old movie, sultry as film noir and rough as a western.

Sam clenches his fists and relaxes them, over and over, all through the night.


It's afternoon, irritable and idling, and Guzman has been mopping floors in the infirmary. He's the one who brings the news back to Gen Pop. He makes the announcement breathlessly. His upper-lip, where a few dark hairs are a meager moustache, is damp with sweat.

"Anderson's dead," says Guzman. "Prentiss put a knife in him. Fat bastard got him right in the gut about five or six times before Rivera found 'em and pulled him off."

"Huh," says Jensen. He laughs a little shakily. "Guess I'll be excused from shedding a tear." He leans back in his seat, runs both hands through his hair, and his gaze turns heavenwards, released and glorying. But Sam doesn't think he believes in God again. Sam is smart and though maybe he will never get it all figured out, not down to the finest detail, he gets the basics.

Anderson. Prentiss. Rivera.

And Jensen.

"You went off shift at midday," Sam points out to Rivera later.

"Forgot something in my locker." His plush mouth stretches into a death's head grin. "Pity for Anderson I didn't remember it sooner, isn't it?"

"And what's going to happen to Prentiss?"

Rivera shrugs. "Sounds to me like the warden's gonna transfer him to a higher security wing." His gaze flicks to Sam, and at least he's not insulting Sam by making any real pretence. "I'm really gonna miss that ugly-ass sonofabitch."

Sam understands. And Sam doesn't understand at all.

When Jensen comes into their cell for lockdown, his shoulderblades have spread apart, unfurled like wings, broad and loose. There's a upward tilt to his head. His gaze is immediate and close, ready to meet anyone who chooses to look his way. His lips move sometimes, not in the shape of words he's not going to say, but just in the idea of a smile.

"I know what you did," Sam tells him, and Jensen brazens it out with innocence.

"What did I do?" he says, wide-eyed and soft-mouthed and not fooling Sam for one second.

"All the time I've been here I never saw Anderson and Prentiss exchange more than a few words. The only thing they had to fight about… was you." Sam smiles thinly as the first lines of hardness appear on Jensen's face. "You played them off against each other, didn't you? Did you arrange to meet them or did they work that out for themselves? And how about Rivera? Did you have to pay him to be strolling by or was he just glad to get rid of them? How'd you do it, huh?"

Jensen looks him right in the face and says absolutely nothing. He doesn't need to. The specifics don't matter.

It feels to Sam unreasonably like a rejection.

"But why?" he says, unintentionally plaintive to his own ears. "I wasn't gonna let them hurt you."

Jensen blinks. Then his eyes narrow as he studies Sam, and it's been a long time since anyone looked at Sam like they thought he was naïve. Jensen is supposed to be the naïve one. Or he used to be.

"Sam," says Jensen. "C'mon, Sam." He smiles helplessly, and Sam's heart screws up tight like a crumpled paper ball, because Jensen's gentleness can only be a prelude to letting him down easy somehow.

"But… I don't-"

Jensen cuts in over him. "C'mon, Sam, I couldn't expect you to be watching my back twenty-four-seven."

No. He couldn't expect that. Jensen doesn't live in a world where people live lives like that. In fact, the only person Sam's ever met who lives like that, other than himself, is Dean.

For perhaps the first time, Sam is aware of Jensen as a complete, self-contained unit. The lines of his self are discrete and unbroken. There are no waving tendrils of his identity to tangle with Sam's. He exists within himself, occupies his own space, and everyone else will only ever be looking in.

He's separate from Sam and always will be. He will never look like Dean again.

So Sam pulls him in close and kisses him.