Sam was used to pain. The pain of disappointing a father or your big brother who was everything you ever needed. He knew the pain of losing the girl you thought you loved over and over again. He also knew what hell was like. Not the hell Dean had been to, but the cage. He knew what it was like to be tortured by lucifer.
He felt pain for a lot things but this. This was far worse. Not knowing what or who was real. He spent his days in a constant state of wonder and confusion, thanks to Castiel who was supposed to be their friend and ally. Castiel the angel who betrayed them just like almost everyone in their life.
The absolute worst part of all of this was Dean. His protector, watching helplessly as his baby brother lost his mind a little every day.
Dean and Sam had something that ran deeper than any brotherly bond. John Winchester insured that Sam and Dean would only love each other when he chose revenge over caring for his sons. When he told Dean that he had to protect his little brother with his life. The day Sammy told them be wanted to go to college, be normal, feel safe, and his father threw him out and disowned him for not being hellbent of revenge like his father. John Winchester left his boys no choice, but to find comfort and love in each other.
It started to show itself before Dean went to hell. When Sam was desperately searching for a way to save his brother. All the anger and sadness was bubbling over until he needed to be closer to Dean. Closer than they ever were. It started out so innocent just cuddling every night. Tangling their legs and arms and Dean whispering that it would be okay. Then Sam would kiss Dean's chest. Right over his heart. Promising to save him. No matter what. Slowly, both scared of what the felt and where Dean was going, they started kissing each other. Only at night when they both had just a bit too much to drink, lips moving slowly and their breath tangling together. Right before Dean died, they had sex. Dean laid under his brother, letting his little brother who now towered over him, top him. Sam was so gentle. Asking Dean if he was okay, everytime he added a finger and before he entered Dean. It wasn't just sex. No matter what they said and how they tried to pretend it was. It was love and it was comfort and it was fear. It was a need to be closer before they were torn apart. Dean and Sam fit together like puzzle pieces. Each made perfectly for each other. When Dean came with his brother inside of him and his brother touching him, he yelled out 'Sammy'. The nickname he tried to outgrow, the name only Dean could call him. When Sam came after him, he called for Dean and confessed his love. It should have felt wrong, coming in his brother and swearing that he loved him. But it was Sam and Dean, so broken that they could only ever belong to each other.
They both died at some point and left, but everytime they came back they would fall into each other's arms and find comfort in the scarred skin. No matter what happened, who died, or how the came back. Sammy would always belong to Dean and Dean would belong to Sammy.
Now that Sam was falling apart, the kissing became fewer and farther between and the sex stopped. Not that either were desperate for it, it just showed how broken things truly were.
Dean tried to help. Tried to be his rock. But Sam tried to keep his brother out of this, as much as possible. Trying to protect each other and not communicating only insured that they were both hurting and feeling overwhelmingly lonely. Longing for each other and not knowing how to be honest with one another.
In the end, Sam found himself firing a gun in an empty warehouse. Wishing desperately for his brother. And then Dean was there. Taking the gun and pulling the shaking, crying mess of his brother into his arms.
"Dean!" Sam screamed, clutching Dean back and burying his face into his brother's neck. Dean smelled familiar and safe. "I don't know where I am. I don't know what's real. Lucifer keeps telling me you're fake and this is all fake. And it's bad because I wouldn't believe it if our life was good for a single fucking second." Tears started streaming down Sam's face and he gasped for air. "I just need to know if I'm really here. Dean, I need to know you're real."
Dean's heart broke as Sam cried and struggled to hold himself together. Dean wasn't a good person. He lied, he cheated, he let people down. But the one thing Dean was always good at, was being Sam's brother. He would die a million terrible deaths to save Sam and he had. Dean was always and will always be Sam's protector and would always be irrevocably and deeply in love with him. He knew it was wrong to feel this way about his brother, of course it was. But Dean did love Sam with every part of his body and soul.
Dean grabbed Sam face and shushed him, brushing the tears from his face. He stared into Sam's green eyes, similar to Dean's own eyes but softer and a bit lighter.
"This." Dean said as he pressed his lips firmly against Sam's. "This is real." He kissed him again and Sam started to lean into the kiss. Lips moving softly, salty tears from both men mixed together and they both were breathing heavily, as if they needed each other to live. And honestly, this did. Sam and Dean were only complete when they had each other.
"I'm real." Dean kissed his forehead. "You're real." He pressed a kiss to Sam's nose. "These feelings we have for each other are completely unique. No one could fake this." Dean kissed Sam's lips and his cheek and then down his neck. The whole time he let his hands slide under Sam's shirt and let them rest of Sam's lower back.
Dean, as horny as he always was, was not touching Sam's bare skin to turn him on. This wasn't the place nor the time, he was feeling Sam's warmth and calming himself as much as he was calming Sam. How real Dean felt, his familiar rough hands rubbing small circles on Sam's back.
Dean brought his lips to Sam's ear to whisper to him.
"I know you're scared and I can imagine how scary it must be to relive what you went through in the cage. Sammy, I will spend the rest of my life begging for your forgiveness and trying to make up for it. I can't imagine how real lucifer must seem but this, what we have, can't be created or faked. You were made for me and I for you. I know your body better than anyone, maybe better than you." Dean smiled softly and walked behind Sammy. He tugged on Sam's shirt and he obediently lifted his arms to let his big brother pull off his shirt.
"I know every scar." Dean stroked the scars on Sam's back. Scars from practice fights with his dad and from saving countless lives. Pressing kisses to his shoulder and making Sammy shiver. Walking in small circle Dean stroked and kissed every scar he found on Sam. Dean traced the lines of Sam's tattoo. The one they got together. "I know every part of you. I can map out your entire body in my sleep and I know you could do the same for me."
Dean took Sam's hand and put it over his heart. Letting Sam feel it beating against his chest and feel the scars on his chest. For every scar Sam had, Dean had two. His reckless brother, taking knifes and bullets for the love of his life. Sammy, Dean's reason for living.
"Sammy you're my heart and I don't care how powerful lucifer thinks he is, he could not recreate us. The world could end and Start over and no one will ever come close to loving anyone as much as I love you. And let's be honest, Lucifer couldn't make me this adorable." Dean cracked a smile and Sam even laughed quietly. Pressing himself closer to Dean. "Please come home with me Sammy."
Sammy's mind was broken and Dean's words couldn't fix it but it was enough to make Sam come back to Bobby's. He hugged Bobby briefly before going back and clinging to Dean. Bobby saw, he never asked. He loved his boys, no matter what. John Winchester was a terrible father and a bad friend, but Bobby made up for it with unconditional love and support. It was hard and Sam eventually got worse, his mind breaking completely, before that happened he would often grab Dean's hand and hold it to his face or press his head against Dean's chest and listen to the heartbeat he had memorized over the years. He would press his face in Dean's neck and breathe in the scent of whiskey and leather that he had come to know as Dean. Dean who had always been his big brother, but became Sam's safety net.
When Cas took Sam's madness, Sam never forgot what Dean said and he told him how much those words meant. He whispered his gratitude against Dean's chest as they lost their selves in each other bodies. Sam made love to Dean and worshipped his body. The body that was littered in scars that mapped out their life. Hunting thing, saving people.
Sam kissed every inch of that body, tracing Dean's tattoo with his tongue and telling his brother how much he loved him, how beautiful he found him. How lovely that body was.
When they were done, Sam cleaned Dean gently and then himself. He laid next to Dean in the uncomfortable motel bed and held Dean close, their legs tangled together. Sam pressed a kiss to Dean forehead.
"I love you. More than I could ever express." Sammy whispered. "None of this is your fault Dean. I chose to jump into the pit. Castiel decided to break my wall and it was his choice to take my hallucinations. You can't blame yourself for other people's choices. You're a hero Dean. You're my hero and I love you. I love you."
Dean didn't say anything. Overwhelmed with every thing he felt. The guilt of all of it and the relief that his brother was okay even if Cas wasn't. He didn't have to say anything because Sam knew how much his brother loved him. He knew how Dean sacrificed and died for Sam more times than either could count. So Dean just pressed himself closer to Sam and let himself feel how real this was, how deeply he loved his brother.
Because Dean did love Sammy. With his entire soul and every part of his broken heart, he loved his brother. And God, Sammy loved him too.