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He remembered schoolyard rules: You lick it, it's yours. Spit is a universal identifier, the only unchallenged brand of ownership.

Dean eats cookies Sam gnawed on first, whatever is left on his plate. Sam finishes whatever Dean drinks, soda and beer and slushies.

He understood as a toddler the best way to explore, to really know something, was to put it in your mouth. To see what it felt like between your teeth - the chewy quotient, the give ratio, the resist factor. Was it hard plastic or cool glass or soft-muffle fabric; did it linger bitter on the back of your tongue, dance on the tip like sugar, sit there bland without flavor.

Dean has handled everything that comes out of Sam - cleaned up, messed in, swallowed down. Sam has tasted everything of Dean - acrid blood, fear and shit and bile, salt sweat on sweet skin.

He licked dirt and sand and grassblade juice from his fingers. He opened his mouth when he smelled something, breathed it in deep, let the scent fill then rest in his sinuses. He savored them - found their milky-thick come similar if not quite the same, Dean's sharper, his smoother, and the metallic bite of their blood was an exact match.

Dean kissed behind Sam's ear and settled closer, wet warm sweat and come in their skins and mouths and touch, tugged blankets over them. Sam blinked slow, smiled and curled his tongue, pulled Dean's thumb into his mouth, soft satisfied noises as he sucked.

He lay sated and heavy on the bed Dean's body warm behind - arms around, legs pressed, fingers entwined on his chest - every point in contact from sleepy stretched toes to silky tangled hair. Spooned. Like ice cream or rice pudding or marshmallows floating in hot cocoa. Spooned tucked together, supple curves and muscle planes and they breathed together, in and out, and the air tasted of Sam, of Dean. Of SamandDean.

Dean gave Sam everything there was to give, needs only for it to be granted and taken. Sam took - cherished all - by tasting it, accepting it, marking Dean as his own.

* * *

They spilled from the kitchen, down the ramble of uneven, failing stairs and into the yard, overgrown and swaying in tumbles of weeds and foxglove, Dad's reminder not to go too far almost swallowed by cicadas and the gorging bullfrogs bellied to the lazy, forgotten drain-pond that'd used to water cows carved between the driveway and the dogleg of country road that conceded to lead back to only here.

It was too hot for cocoa, so Dean had sweet tea in a mason jar, tight-lidded and sweating slippery in his hand. Sammy tugged his other hand, so impatient, but Dean couldn't deny he felt the exact same press and breathless hurry. Any minute the sky's endless void would start to melt into stars, company for Venus; she'd been showing off since suppertime, bright and round, flirted with the sun as it faded rose to amber to a muddy mix of the both, perfect icy blue. Any minute longer inside and they'd have been fit to burst, Dad at last waving them off, too distracted and fidgety for practicing knots or knotting their tongues on Coahuilteco.

This house--one of so many and so many more to follow--was simple, squat, comfortable. Dean liked it in particular because it'd so charmed Sammy, with its inlaid floors and hidden cellar and remnants of something no longer thriving but lying in wait to be discovered, the archaeology of abandonment and moving on.

Sammy grinned, flash of white in the dark caught by the porch light that buzzed and billowed with moths and junebugs, pushed Dean against the forlorn, solitary and sagging brick wall in the back garden, then fell into him with a happy, trusting laugh.

Dean dropped the iced tea, gathered Sammy all up, gangly arms and legs and bony hips and elbows, buried his face in Sammy's humid-curled hair. Sammy squirmed into his lap, arched back then straddled his thighs, hurriedly rucked his tee and nipped at his cheek and Dean got his jeans popped and Sammy's sweats slid down.

He palmed Sammy's cheek, loved the sleek and soft and took the full resting weight, strayed his thumb teasingly over Sammy's lips, back and forth again and again until Sammy chased it with a huffy shiver, pulled it in with a lick then latched on. They moved together, cocks hard and lengthening, strained between them, and Dean shuddered when Sammy stroked, quick and sure, then set both hands on his shoulders and rolled a steady, continuing rhythm.

Sammy hummed throatily, slurped and gnawed on his thumb, and Dean looped an arm around Sammy's trim hips, slid-slicked them closer, slotted his nose alongside Sammy's so he could hear and feel and take in every noise and sucking-pull that Sammy made.

"Yeah," he breathed, heels dug into dirt and grass pungent and crushed, and already they shook, trembled on the brink, more on that ever-thrumming urgency and need and the gasping pleasure of being able to submit to it completely. "Yeah Sammy, s'good c'mon," and at that Sammy did, bit his thumb with a whine, sharp and painful and just that something more enough to loft Dean right after. He grunted, kissed the sweet of Sammy's damp neck, sucked Sammy's earlobe in and matched Sammy's slowing pulls on his thumb.

They murmured, then, swayed and swept and kissed, deep and unhurried, smeared into their come, licked fingertips and palms and skin clean, their clothes a bunched, welcome mess. Dean shrugged out of the flannel shirt Dad had wondered he wouldn't suffocate in so it could blanket under them. Sammy smiled, stayed a moment their foreheads alight, then followed a quick kiss with twisting around, and Dean pressed his palm to Sammy's middle as they settled and shifted, curled to each other, found their fit.

Stars began to wink sleepily and Dean skimmed his hand up after Sammy's slender fingers had encircled his wrist, impatient once again, didn't tease now and just let Sammy's mouth take his thumb, both sighing as Sammy began that relaxed, appeased and contented work they ached to share. Dean spanned his other hand on Sammy's ribs, felt the swell and ease of Sammy's breath, smiled and kissed Sammy's nape. He knew this couldn't last, not exactly like this, because nothing did and that was one of the few things he'd learned for certain. But he also knew it was the whole world that would change around them--upend, fall, scatter--but this right here would never fail, abandon, fade.

* * *

A few months after Greenlee. Glorious months of reconnection and grisly but basic-good hunts and heady togetherness. Sam and Dean in a motel room. Theirs--shared bed, shared air and touch and trust. Dad has summoned them because this hunt is bigger than the three of them.

Dean of course has sussed out why Sam left and went to Stanford. He's smart; he knew from the time he walked in on Dad and Sam's argument with those stupid red-eyed skull conchos. Knew during the whole agony thereafter. Sam is anxious and won't settle. He hasn't been able to since Dad reappeared. What if Dad realizes they're together-together. What if Dad threatens to pry them apart again-- or worse, this time.

When John gets to their hotel room he finds Dean sat on one of the beds, Sam drawn to stand in the vee of Dean's legs. They'd been talking, Dean comforting, matter of fact, telling Sam it's going to be all right. Sam startles but Dean only pats Sam's thigh, keeps Sam there. He waits until Dad is all the way in the room and the door is closed, and then he stands without haste, stands up in place. He's so close to Sam their hips are slotted and their chests touch, his hand still on Sam's thigh, and he stands there for a long time, holding onto Sam without shame, without flinching. Eventually, finally, he moves not from Sam but to put himself between Sam and their father.

He'd planned for them to be found this way, but Sam isn't aware. Sam doesn't need to worry; not about having to set this up, not about any confrontation, not anymore after today.

Dean stares John down--see how it is? good. because if you don't we're both gone--and John stretches the moment three beats, four. Seven, and he's testy and so is their silence, but at last he wordlessly concedes.

Dean hasn't moved a breath.

Sam's jitters subside and he lurches away sinks--strings cut--into a chair at the table, too big for the space, jammed into the corner of the room. He unfolds a map and fiddles a wax pencil and his hands shake. His thoughts are a riot. His heart throttles then slows. Incredible of Dean to actually do that; incredible relief.

Nothing different seeming about Dean as he goes to Sam's side and plants both hands on the table, leans over the map. They start to discuss the hunt--with or without you, John--and Dad finally nods, walks over, stands a step apart arms crossed as they plan how it should be done.

The hunt is hard, hard on them. Dean stays with Sam instead of the three split going all directions like John ordered; Sam gets them out of a tight spot and then they run, grinning the entire sprint skittering down a forested hillside, ears on the dead quiet then roar of fire left behind and eyes on each other. Meet back up with Dad, compare notes and the job done, beastie fucker dead. Then without pretense of more Dean tells Dad stay safe, we're here if you need us, but don't bother us with anything more than outright need.

Sam settles fully. Into the car, shotgun; into himself, with Dean. Watches out the window while Dad gets smaller and smaller as they drive away and the drizzle turns to true rain, the hunt and the hurt and Dad washed from them in sluicing lines of blue and grey. Soon at another nowhere--here--motel. Get clean, get dinner, get warm. Get busy on more of that heady togetherness. As if there'd been no interruption.

Late in the night Sam loosens his tongue, Dean's thumb falling from his mouth as he rolls over. Dean lifts his arm, hums an asking sound, gathers Sam close. Thank you Sam breathes against Dean's lips, Dean's neck, Dean's heart.

Course, Sammy, Dean answers. Sure as everything. Simple as that. Tightens his embrace, teases Sam's hair, laughs when Sam's greedy mouth recaptures his thumb. Now go to sleep.

Sam sleeps. Dean with him.