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It wasn't until the second time Dean walked in on soulless Sam in bed with a man that he started wanting to ask some questions. Like why the fuck whatever was left of his brother was going around fucking dudes.

To be fair, the first time wasn't just with a guy. There'd been a pretty little redhead sandwiched between them, bouncing and moaning on Sam's lap while a man with broad shoulders and dark stubble pressed against her back and kissed her neck. Dean only caught a glimpse before hightailing it out of their hotel room, reeling from the wrongness of being the one to walk in on his brother getting busy instead of the other way around. It hadn't been until after the hotel door was closed firmly behind him that he realized that he'd just seen Sam having a devil's threesome—and oh man did that term take on a whole new meaning after Sam's literal possession by the devil. But from what little Dean had seen of the act, both Sam and the other guy appeared to have been all about the girl, so other than the persistent feeling of wrong that came from knowing Fake Sam was out and about slutting around in his brother's body, Dean put the event out of his mind.

Until two weeks later when Dean walked into their hotel room in Tulsa and saw some brawny dude with shaggy blond hair bent over Dean's bed, getting railed hard and moaning for it as Sam gripped his hips tight. A record came to a scratching halt in Dean's head and it wasn't until Sam turned towards the door, never pausing his thrusts, and raised a single eyebrow that Dean's brain came back online and he stumbled out of their room, heart racing.

"Enjoy the show?" Sam asked when Dean got back to the room several hours later. He was lounging back against his bed, shirtless and with his jeans slung low on his hips, completely unconcerned about what Dean had seen earlier.

"No!" Dean growled, determined to get some goddamned answers. "What the fuck, man? You're not gay!"

Sam rolled his eyes. "No, I'm not. More like…" He shrugged. "Bisexual, I guess? Though I've never really seen the need to label it." His tone was oddly smug, as if he considered labels somehow beneath him. Dean, who found labels really fucking helpful, tried not to take it personally.

"Nu-uh, no way. Sam would've told me if he was into dudes."

"Really?" Sam said with an incredulous snort. "Because I've always been the type to kiss and tell?"

Dean bristled, partly because Robo Sam had a point, but mostly because this asshole shouldn't be able to do whatever he wanted with Sammy's body just because Sam without a soul apparently had an insanely high libido.

"Yeah I'm not buying it, so experimentation time's over, buddy."

Sam rolled his eyes again as his expression slid into the now-familiar bland apathy that Dean was growing to loathe. "First of all, Dean, you can't stop me. And second of all, this isn't some new phase I'm going through now that I don't have a soul. I mean, I didn't do anything about it until college, but this ain't my first rodeo."

Dean narrowed his eyes. "Since you have all of Sam's memories, then you should know that the two of us have basically been living on top of each other for the past five years, and not once did I see Sam so much as check out another dude."

"Interesting choice of words," Sam said musingly. "But you clearly weren't paying much attention, because I was definitely looking." He paused, giving Dean a lascivious look that made Dean shudder with something that he was certain was disgust. "Honestly, I generally prefer women, and given we spend most of our time in small towns, the opportunities just weren't really there."

Dean just stared at him, stunned and a little pissed. He'd pretty much convinced himself that this was some soulless-specific quirk, but according to Sam this wasn't a new thing.

"If that's true then why the fuck didn't Sam tell me?"

"You mean why didn't I tell you?"

Dean glared. "We've gone over this. You may look like Sam, and you may have his memories, but you're not him."

Sam raised his hands innocently as he got up off the bed, his expression amused and his body language tense and predatory. It rose the hairs on the back of Dean's neck, and his hands twitched towards the gun tucked into the back of his jeans. Sam smirked.

"If you say so. But don't get pissed at me because Sammy didn't tell big brother that sometimes he likes to suck cock."

Dean's eyes went wide, his face burning at those filthy words coming out of Sam's mouth. Sam's smirk widened and he took a step closer.

"Oh, I've—he's—got all kinds of secrets, Dean. Things he'd never want you to know. But like you said, I'm not him. What do I care if you know how worried he was about you finding out. Not because he thought you'd hate him, not for that at least, but because it might make things… awkward. What with all that sexual tension between you and all."

Dean blinked. "What?"

Another step closer, and Dean backed up until his ass hit the wall.

"How'd it feel, seeing me fuck that guy earlier, watching him moan like a slut as he took my cock."

"What the fuck, man. You may not really be my brother, but you're not not my brother, either, so quit it with the porno lines." Dean's voice went a little high at the end, verging into hysterical, and Sam's teeth flashed into a cruel smile, a shark smelling blood.

"Oh, trust me, I know," Sam said in that same filthy tone. "I remember everything. Like how often Sam thought about your lips, your ass, those gun-calloused hands of yours… How guilty he felt whenever he jerked off and the thought of you would just pop into his head. Do you ever think about me, Dean?"

He placed one of his big paws against the wall next to Dean's head, looming over him and caging him in, every inch of Sam oozing invitation.

"What do you say, Dean? Want to take me for a ride?"

"Back the fuck up before I make you." Dean slid his gun out of the back of his jeans, holding it at his side as he glared up at Sam. He didn't think Robo Sam would hurt him, but he wasn't confident enough to bet on it, especially not with that feral gleam in Sam's eyes. "I get that not having a soul makes you horny enough to screw anything, brothers included, but that ain't happening."

"If you say so. You're the one who wanted me to stop pretending." Sam backed off easily with an unconcerned shrug, like he wasn't particularly bothered that he'd just come on to his brother and been shot down. He still had that smug smirk on his mouth, his eyes alight with amusement before he sat down in one of the chairs by the window and opened his laptop.

It only served to stoke Dean's fury higher, his insides a boiling mess of confusion and fear and something else he was blatantly ignoring. How dare this asshole fuck with him like that and then go back to his computer like nothing had happened.

"Yeah, well, I also said I was gonna be your conscience and this right here, not fucking okay, man. I don't care how bored you get, fuck with me like that again and I'll shoot you, brother or not. We are going to get your soul back and Sammy's gonna be freaked out enough by all the messed up shit you did, we're not adding incest to the list. This isn't Sam."

"If it makes it easier for you to continue to pretend I'm not your brother, or at least part of your brother, then go right ahead." He met Dean's gaze head-on, his empty eyes sending a pang of loss through Dean that cut right through the anger. "I couldn't care less."

Dean couldn't stop watching Sam.

Mostly because it was Sam, his Sammy, freshly re-souled and getting his messy empathetic emotions all over the place. Fuck, it was good to have him back.

The past year plus had been a living nightmare. First, watching his brother jump willingly into the pit, knowing not only that Dean would never see him again, not even in their shared heaven, but that he was trapped in hell with two pissed off angels who had nothing but time on their hands to take out their rage on Sam. Then by some miracle Sam had been back, and at first Dean had felt nothing but bone-deep relief until it had quickly become clear that something was very, very wrong with his brother. It had almost been worse than watching Sam die, thinking that this soulless, emotionless shell was all that was left of the person Dean loved most in the world, that the part that made him Sammy was gone for good.

Until Death came through in a major fucking way.

So now Dean had Sam back, and a giddy lightness in his chest that not even the mixed-up feelings over Lisa and Ben could quash, and he couldn't stop staring. And wondering.

Dean would like nothing more than to scrub every last interaction with Not-Sam out of his brain for good, but some memories in particular just kept finding their way out of that box where Dean kept all the shit he didn't want to deal with. He remembered the flex of muscle as soulless Sam fucked into that nameless dude on top of Dean's hotel bed, Sam's claims that his sudden heteroflexibility wasn't all that sudden, his taunts that he would be more than happy to show Dean a good time…

It wasn't real, wasn't Sam, not truly, despite his Sam's repeated claims that the soulless version of him was still him, enough so that Sam felt responsible for every terrible thing his body had done while his soul was being tortured in the cage. Dean wondered if Sam'd say the same thing if he actually remembered those terrible things. Dean was really fucking glad Sam didn't.

Dean wished he didn't, because then maybe he'd stop obsessing, could stop wondering what was fact and what was fiction.

He never so much as suspected that his baby brother might like dick as well as pussy. Sure, when in possession of his soul the dude was either living like a monk or screwing literal demons, but even when they were evil, they were still women. Or, at least possessing female vessels. Whatever. And yeah, maybe Dean hadn't been scrutinizing every person that made Sam do a double-take, but it wasn't like Dean himself hadn't been known to find his eyes drawn to a particularly attractive man every once in a while.

He'd never acted on it, didn't plan to either, but he'd long since admitted, to himself anyway, that his occasional appreciation for the male form wasn't just a passing recognition of a dude's objective hotness. But ever since soulless Sam opened that can of worms in Tulsa, Dean was having a really fucking hard time not noticing that his baby brother's male form was… really very attractive.

But that was neither here nor there. So Sammy was hot, big deal. Dean was no slouch himself; they had good genes, even if Sam had apparently got the big and tall ones. The point was, if Sam did like dick, Dean could maybe understand why he'd have kept it to himself, even if he hated the thought of Sam keeping something like that—keeping anything—from him. What was worse, though, was the not knowing. The wondering if Robo-Sam had been lying just to fuck with him, or if he had just been carelessly forthcoming with Sammy's secrets.

And if he was telling the truth about Sam being attracted to guys… what else had he been honest about?

They were flying high (heh, no pun intended) after taking on the dragons—dragons—and living to tell the tale, even if they were both a bit concerned about the one that got away. Not to mention the creepy books they'd confiscated from their lair. They'd stopped for some grub on their way back to Sioux Falls, and Dean ducked out while they waited for their food to give Bobby an update.

"Alright, kid, what's eating ya? Is something wrong with Sam?"

"What? No, he's fine. I was just letting you know we're about four hours out. What makes you think something's up?"

"Because I know you, Dean, and you already told me you were heading back. No reason to call to tell me something I already know unless that isn't why you're calling."

Dean laughed a little nervously.

"Yeah, alright, I do have a question for you. About Sam."

Bobby harrumphed. "Of course it's about Sam. Well, what is it? You planning on telling him he was walking around without a soul for a year?"

"Look, Bobby, if I could tell him without worrying about it breaking the wall in his mind and turning him into a potato I would, okay?"

A long silence before Bobby reluctantly admitted, "Yeah, I know. So what's the question, then?

"It's actually about that other Sam. You know, before we got his soul back."

"I remember," Bobby said dryly.

"Yeah, well, I was wondering…" Dean leaned back against the brick wall of the IHOP and looked out over the parking lot. "Do you think he would have lied. You know, like a demon?"

"He wasn't a demon, just an asshole. A psychotic, murderous asshole, but a human one. But humans lie too, Dean. The whole reason you confirmed there was something wrong with him in the first place was because he lied to that damn truth goddess, right?"

"Yeah, right, I know. I just mean… obviously he lied when it benefitted him, but do you think he would've lied just for the fun of it? You know, to screw with people."

"Why, what did he say?" Bobby asked warily.

"Nothing, not important. He just said some stuff, some personal stuff, about Sam. And I don't know if he was making shit up to be a dick, or if he was like, reading me Sam's diary." Dean lightly tapped the back of his head against the bricks, the faint edge of pain grounding him. "It's weird, and Sam doesn't remember any of it, and I'd ask him but"—Bobby snorted incredulously, which Dean manfully ignored—"but I don't want to risk the wall."

"Then it sounds like you better get comfortable with the unknown, Dean. Does it really matter if whatever the hell soulless Sam told you was true or not?"

Dean hesitated for only a moment. "No, of course not."

"Well then there you go. If it's true, maybe Sam will tell you himself someday. Though, for what it's worth, I didn't get the impression that that Sam was the type to toy with people. He was brutally efficient, and he'd have lied his ass off if it got him what he wanted, but up until he went off the deep end and tried to off me, you guys were partners. Fucking with you and throwing you off your game wouldn't have been smart when he needed you to have his back."

Sam, his Sam, chose that moment to shoulder open the door of the IHOP, scanning the area until he caught sight of Dean.

"Food ready?" Dean asked.

"Yeah. Everything alright with Bobby?"

Dean nodded, and took that as his cue to sign off.

"Yeah, okay, thanks Bobby. Just getting some food now and we'll head on over after we finish."

"See you soon, Dean."

Dean hung up and followed Sam inside.

It wasn't like Dean made up the case or anything. It was totally legit. And yeah, maybe the deaths happening in a small town a few states over seemed more obviously up their alley, but that didn't mean something weird wasn't happening in Boston, too. Four men, all of whom were regulars at the same gay bar, had violently killed their partners out of the blue, which had Siren written all over it. And if, in the course of their investigation, it meant him and Sam would need to spend time at said gay bar where Dean would have a chance to see how Sam interacted with the locals, well… that was just a bonus. Serendipity.

Dean fidgeted as they walked towards the bar, pissed that the lack of city parking meant they had to leave his baby at the hotel. He tugged at his too-tight shirt and wrapped his leather jacket more firmly around himself, pretending it was just because he was cold and not because he felt ridiculously exposed without his several layers of plaid.

"You going to be alright in there?" Sam asked, his tone and expression pure amusement.

Dean huffed, straightened. "I'll be fine, Sammy. You worry about your own sweet ass."

Sam raised his eyebrows and smirked a little, but didn't reply. He certainly seemed more comfortable than Dean, even though the skin-tight shirt and jeans combo was just as out of character for him. Sam also didn't seem phased by the blatant ogling by the other men loitering outside the bar, but he probably didn't even realize they were interested. He'd always been oblivious to that kind of thing.

They made a beeline for the bar when they got inside, and the pretty, slender bartender lost no time at all giving them both a slow once over, his eyes lingering particularly long on Sam. Dean tried not to bristle.

"Hellooo, gorgeous," he said, blinking up at Sam flirtatiously. "What can I get for you tonight?" His tone made it clear he was on the menu, and Sam seemed more amused and flattered than shocked and uncomfortable. Dean cleared his throat.

"Two beers, and two shots of whiskey," Dean said, his eyes narrowing at the speculative look the bartender shot his way.

"Sure thing, sugar. Coming right up."

Sam turned towards Dean. "All right, so we're looking for… what, exactly?"

"Well, Siren's are whatever their target wants them to be, yeah? Whatever they want most? So here it'll probably look like Dr. Sexy or whatever." Sam snorted and raised his eyebrows and Dean felt himself flush self-consciously. "What? I'm man enough to acknowledge he's an attractive dude."

Sam rolled his eyes and looked out at the packed dance floor. "Well attractive dudes aren't exactly in short supply here, Dean."

No, they certainty weren't. It was a regular sausage fest, which Dean knew was kind of the point, but he really wasn't used to being surrounded by so many men dressed in so little clothing. Sam scanned the bar and Dean watched Sam, noticing the way Sam's eyes occasionally dipped to check out a dude's ass, how they'd linger on the bulge of a bicep in a tight t-shirt. Dean could pretend Sam was just being thorough in his search for the Siren, but there was more than just a predator's assessment in his gaze—there was interest. It looked like Fake-Sam might not have been lying about Sammy's attraction to men after all.


The question was, had he been lying about the other thing? Dean slammed back his shot.

"The other four men the Siren targeted weren't exactly Brad Pitt. Look for a ten batting way below his league," Dean said, gesturing towards the floor. "You take that half, I'll take this one."

Sam nodded and Dean slipped away, needing to put some space between himself and Sam while he tried to sort through the mess in his head. Six months with soulless Sam had been bad enough and somehow the fucker was still messing with him. He just needed to focus on the case.

Dean's ability to scope out the scene, though, was surprisingly hindered, as he couldn't seem to go five seconds without somebody coming up to him and interrupting his scan. It wasn't until the third time he absent-mindedly brushed somebody off that Dean realized he was being hit on, that these random men that kept coming up to him thought he was hot. Frankly it was a bit of an ego-boost, so he didn't immediately send away the next guy who worked up the courage to approach him, a tall blond with a tight little runner's body who reminded him a lot of Sam back before he bulked up. Dean wasn't gonna let it go anywhere, but this mess with Sammy had him curious, so when Jason asked for his name and started chatting him up, Dean flashed him his panty-dropping smile, pleased to see it seemed just as effective on the non-panty-wearing sex.

Jason was objectively good-looking, attractive enough that Dean was flattered at the attention, right up until he said something about Dean's cock-sucking lips. It was a comment Dean had been getting for years from skeevy truck drivers when he was taking a leak at a rest stop or drunken repressed hillbilly's itching for a fight after he'd hustled them at pool—the "compliment" didn't exactly have a positive association for Dean and damn wasn't Jason coming on a little strong two minutes into a conversation? Before he could voice his objections, Sam had appeared next to him, his expression stormy as he stared Jason down.

Jason looked up at him, his quick flash of appreciation quickly replaced by a look of fear that shouldn't have made Dean feel so proud of his baby bro.

"Woah, man, take it easy! I didn't know he was taken."

"Just go," Sam growled, and the dude scampered. Dean hit Sam's arm.

"What the fuck, dude? I'm not some damsel in distress." It had actually been kind of nice, letting Sam ride in to the rescue, but a man had his pride.

Sam rolled his eyes. "You do realize he was trying to get into your pants, right?"

Dean made a face, reminded of how much tighter this pair was compared to his usual comfortable Levi's.

"Well there's barely enough room for me in these things right now." Sam raised his eyebrows and Dean flushed, realizing how that might sound. "Not like that! I just mean these jeans are like two sizes too small. Fucking gay bars."

"You're the one who wanted to blend in. You can't really blame the men in here for thinking you're hot and available."

Despite his words, Sam's pissed-off glare said that he could and did blame these men for thinking Dean was hot and available. Dean shivered at the disgruntled and slightly possessive look on Sam's face as he flashed a scowl at a doe-eyed guy a few feet away who'd been looking in Dean's direction.

"Don't worry, Sam," Dean said with false bravado. "I'm sure at least a couple of them are looking at you. Some people have to be into the whole… yeti thing."

Sam rolled his eyes. "Can you try and focus, please. Case? Siren? Ring any bells?"

"Yeah, yeah, I'm on it."

Dean forced himself to focus on the case and put everything else out of his mind, but a few days later, after they'd found and killed the Siren and were on their way back to Bobby's, it all came rushing back. Dean had wanted answers, and he was pretty sure he'd got them.

Soulless Sam hadn't been lying. About any of it.

The only remaining question was: what did that mean for Dean?

He knew Sam was attracted to men and, more importantly, that there was some part of Sam that was apparently attracted to Dean. But Sam had no idea that Dean knew, and Dean had no idea how he felt about any of it. The only thing he did know was that he was, shockingly, not horrified or disgusted. Honestly, at this point Dean couldn't think of anything that Sam could do or want that would make Dean abandon his brother. Even if Sam did, someday, tell Dean about his sexual preferences, Dean was pretty sure Sam would never, ever act on his feelings for Dean.

Dean was perfectly safe.

So why did he feel so disappointed?

The wall in Sam's mind was beginning to splinter, fracture, sending fragments of memory sliding through the fissures. Dean was terrified of the consequences, had begged Sam to stop scratching at the damned thing, but he couldn't really blame Sam; he knew how hard it would be for him if the roles were reversed. He was grateful the memories weren't of hell, of Lucifer and the cage, but every flash Sam got of his time being soulless made Dean's heart race with anxiety. Dean's reasons were mostly altruistic; they needed the wall intact for the sake of Sam's sanity, and he didn't want Sam to have to remember the sociopathic shit he'd done without a soul. But there was that one selfish reason, too. Because Dean really didn't want to face the fallout if Sam remembered how casually he'd come out to Dean, if he realized that he'd told Dean about his very unbrotherly feelings.

Sam might be a lot less emphatic about how soulless Sam was him if he knew everything he'd said and done.

The way their luck went, Dean figured there was no way Sam was making it a lifetime with that wall intact. Something would happen, probably sooner rather than later, and they'd be forced to deal with the consequences. Dean had to believe that whatever happened, Sam could make it through, could beat back the insanity lurking behind that wall. If anybody could, it was Sammy, but either way, Dean would put money down that somewhere down the line Sam was going to remember every single thing that had happened during that year when he was soulless. The wall wasn't a permanent fix, it was merely a stay of execution.

The smart thing to do, the Sam thing to do, would be to face the awkwardness head-on. Sit down with Sam now and come clean about the things Robo-Sam had revealed, do his best to control the narrative before Sam remembered on his own and started to spin out. That big-ass brain of his was bound to jump to all sorts of conclusions Dean wasn't sure he wanted Sam jumping to. If Dean was smart, he'd try and get ahead of it.

But facing things head-on had never really been Dean's bag. Sure, when it came to the monster of the week or the apocalypse or facing down demons Dean was right there with a gun in one hand and a knife in the other, but when it came to feelings, well… Dean was more of a bury it under booze and babes kind of guy. All that touchy-feely crap was much more Sam's speed, and even if Dean knew it would probably be better to lay his cards out on the table now, he couldn't bring himself to mention what had happened in Tulsa, not when he'd finally got Sammy, his Sammy, back after thinking he'd lost him forever.

Besides, what the hell would Dean even say? How did he bring up the things Sam had told him when he was soulless, things Sam had absolutely no memory of, things he might never have any memory of. Dean would just have to hope what was past would stay dead and buried.

Now if only Dean could stop staring, then he'd be all set.

"Dude, what is your problem?" Sam asked, looking over at Dean from the passenger seat and glaring, face lit up in the darkness by a passing streetlamp.

"What? Nothing!" Dean winced and focused back on the road, hoping Sam would drop it.

Sam, of course, did not.

"Don't nothing me. You've been giving me these weird looks for days now. What the hell's going on?"

Dean scoffed, hoping Sam couldn't tell how red his cheeks were in the darkness of the car. "I don't know what you're talking about, Sam. We sort of spend all of our time together, which means sometimes I have to look at your ugly mug. I don't like it either, but—"

Sam sighed. "This is about my wall, isn't it? I told you I'm leaving it alone. I haven't had any more flashbacks. I'm fine."

Yes, the wall, that was exactly it. "I know you are. I can't help it if I'm worried. You didn't hear Death going on about it, man. When does our luck ever hold?"

Sam shrugged, his expression resigned. "I don't know. Yeah, we've been dealt some crappy hands, but it always works out in the end, right? I didn't ever expect to make it out of the cage and yet here I am."

"Yeah, after a year spent walking around up here without your soul."

Sam grimaced. "Is that what this is about?" He bit his lip and looked out the window before turning back towards Dean, his gaze earnest. "I get that it might be difficult, being around me, after the things he, I, did. If you… if you need space, like Bobby did, I get it."

"What? What things? What are you talking about?" A surge of panic shot through Dean as he wondered if one of the memories that had leaked into Sam's brain had been that one shocking conversation in Tulsa.

"Um, letting you get turned into a vampire for a start?"

Oh, right. "No, come on, dude, we already talked about this. I know you're all convinced that soulless Sam was still you, but trust me, he was not. I know you, man. I'm not worried about you having my back, not as long as you've got a soul."

Sam smiled at him, relieved and grateful, and Dean's stupid heart skipped a beat. God fucking dammit. He looked back at the road, trying to calm his racing heart and get his jumbled thoughts back under control. Stupid soulless Sam and his stupid confessions, worming their way into Dean's mind and making him think about things he had no business thinking about. Like how big Sam had gotten, how warm his body had been when he'd pressed Dean up against that hotel room wall. At the time, Dean had looked into Sam's cold, calculating eyes and had fucking ached with how badly he missed his brother, how desperately he'd wanted his Sam back.

And now he had him, whole and healthy and good. Dean had Sam's warm empathy and his fervent need to make up for wrongs that weren't his and his sweet, sincere smile that made Dean's stomach flutter in a whole new way. Dean couldn't stop staring, no matter how hard he tried, noticing for the first time just how large Sam's hands were, with long, dexterous fingers capable of wielding most any weapon, capable of killing and kindness. It was amazing, having Sam at his side again, knowing his brother was at his back, feeling like they could take on anything as long as they were together.

Sam was the one with a ticking time bomb in his head, but somehow Dean felt like his brain was the one that was all jumbled. That soulless thing wearing his brother had messed Dean up, planting ideas in his head just to fuck with him, revealing things that were better left hidden. It wasn't Dean's fault he was fixating, and he sure as hell wasn't ever going to act on these newfound urges, but it didn't make them any less distracting.

But Dean had made it through worse and stranger things before and he wasn't going to be brought down by a few stray incestuous thoughts. With enough time and alcohol, Dean would suppress this the way he had all the other shit he didn't want to deal with. This was his problem, and as long as Sam never got his memories back, it would stay Dean's and Dean's alone.

He just had to make sure that wall in Sam's mind stayed firmly in place.

It took Dean weeks to fully notice the awkward tension and realize the likely cause.

To be fair, Castiel shattering the wall in Sam's mind was pretty much just the beginning of a whole string of shit for Dean to be preoccupied with. There was Sam's gut-wrenching coma, their failure to stop Castiel from unleashing the Leviathans, Sam hallucinating Lucifer, Castiel's death… Well, it had been a lot, and if Sam had been acting a little weird, Dean had figured it was probably hallucination-related.

With everything else going on, and with Sam's memories of the cage clearly taking precedence in his deteriorating mental state, it took Dean an embarrassingly long time to remember that it wasn't just Sam's memories of hell that had been restored.

Sam remembered the year and a half he was soulless, too.

Which meant those frequent, speculative glances, the even-more-awkward-than-before reactions whenever anything related to sex came up, the sudden refusal to change his clothes in the same room as Dean… yeah, that might not actually have anything to do with hell.


Given Sam's penchant for heart-to-hearts, Dean was a little surprised that he hadn't said anything about what he remembered, but then again, given how many times in the past week Dean had watched from the corner of his eye as Sam opened his mouth to say something, turned red-faced, then shut his mouth, maybe he was trying to. For his part, Dean fervently hoped Sam would never work up the courage. They just needed to white-knuckle it through the knowledge that Sam knew that Dean knew that Sam liked dudes in general and Dean in particular. With enough time and bourbon, it would fade into the background, a distant memory. But only if Sam kept his trap shut and didn't make them face this thing between them, the thing that shouldn't exist in the first place.

Unfortunately, ignore and repress had never really been Sam's style.

They were lying low, holed up in Rufus's cabin while Bobby worked a case halfway across the country and being stuck, once again, in this god-forsaken cabin meant it hadn't been the best of weeks. Sam hadn't been all that talkative, which wasn't exactly normal for him, so Dean should have known it wouldn't bode well once Sam finally figured out what he wanted to say and opened his trap.

"So you know, then."

Dean was sprawled out on the sofa watching the first Hatchet Man movie (not as good as number four, but still decent) and steadily working his way through a six-pack of beer. Sam hadn't said a word to him since they'd finished eating dinner a couple hours back, and the best murder scene in the movie was about to start so Dean muttered a vague, "What?" to Sam, but he wasn't really paying attention, his eyes glued to the screen. It wasn't until the cheerleader had been sliced and diced—so, so bloody—that Dean realized Sam had never replied. When he looked over, Sam was staring, his gaze so focused and intent it sent a shiver down Dean's spine. Something in Sam's eyes told Dean not to push, to let the conversation drop and go back to watching his movie. But it was too late; Sam already had his attention.

"You know," Sam said again, and this time there was no distraction to let Dean pretend he didn't understand exactly what Sam was talking about. He pretended anyway.

"Know what? That Hatchet Man totally deserves a sixth sequel? Because—"


Dean stopped talking, just stared at Sam in anxious, anticipatory silence. Sam's face was impossible to read, and until he knew what Sam was thinking, Dean didn't know how to play this. His instinct was to keep talking, to bluff and bluster his way through, but that technique had never worked as well on Sam as it did on everybody else.

"You know I remember everything," Sam finally replied, his tone heavy. "From when I was soulless. I remember that night in Tulsa."

"Yeah, well." Dean looked away and took a deep breath, ran a hand along the back of his head as his cheeks grew warm. "It's not a big deal, Sammy. Like I've been saying, he wasn't you, not really. Honestly, without a soul you're kind of a dick. You were just fucking with me."

It was an out, one last chance for them to pretend none of it had happened and put it all to bed once and for all. He silently begged Sam to take it, and for a moment it seemed like he would, something like relief flickering across Sam's face before his trademark stubbornness took hold and he set his jaw. God dammit.

"And I've told you," Sam said, his expression mulish, "that just because I didn't have a soul, it doesn't mean I wasn't still me. I wasn't possessed, Dean."

Dean swallowed and wiped his sweaty palms against his sweatpants. "What are you saying, Sammy?"

"You know what I'm saying," Sam murmured, his voice low and almost apologetic.

"You know," Dean began as he forced a broad smile, giving Sam one last out as he continued, "You know I don't care that you're, uh, into guys. I mean, you could have told me, man."

Sam stared at him for a long moment. "Yeah, I know. It just… I guess it never really came up. But it's not because I thought you'd hate me for it." A long pause, and Dean should have known Sam was too committed to coming clean to let sleeping dogs lie. "Not for that."

"Sam, c'mon, just drop it, okay? We're good. There's no need—"

"Yeah, Dean, actually there is!" Sam snapped. "You weren't entirely wrong when you said that soulless me wanted to fuck with you. I mean, he wasn't lying, and a part of him was hoping to get laid, but mostly he knew it would freak you out and he wanted to see you squirm. But how many times have our secrets come back to bite us in the ass? I'm not exactly happy about this either, I never would have fucking said a word, but the cat's out of the bag and I might as well lay all my cards out on the table and that way some angel or demon or fucking god can't use this secret against us, because you'll already know."

Dean knew his brother well enough to know when his mind was made up. It seemed Sam was committed to sending them down this road, consequences be damned. Dean's heart raced, a thrill of something a lot like excitement rushing through his veins. He'd never admit it, but something about Sam when he was so focused and determined had always got to Dean, lit him up inside.

If Sam wanted to go there, then they'd fucking well go there.

"Yeah, Sammy? And what is it that I know?"

Sam took a deep, steadying breath, then looked Dean dead in the eyes. "That I'm in love with you."

If Dean hadn't already been sitting he would have staggered under the weight of those words, said so boldly. He knew Sam loved him, and he knew Sam was attracted to him, but somehow Dean hadn't quite connected the dots between those two points. Sam had always been the brave one, the one who went after what he wanted even if it was off the beaten path. And this was way the fuck off the beaten path.

As much as he'd hoped otherwise, Dean had known deep down that this conversation was coming, but somehow he hadn't managed to quite prepare himself for it. He found himself speechless beneath Sam's steady gaze, watching as Sam's entire body braced as if preparing himself for Dean's rage, his disgust. But Dean didn't have that in him.

Sam was his little brother, even if he wasn't quite so little anymore, and there wasn't anything he could do that would make Dean permanently turn away from him. It would hurt Dean just as much as Sam, losing the one person who'd really always been there for him, the one person he could really be himself with. He'd never stop wanting, needing, to protect Sam, but most of the time he trusted Sam to be able to handle himself and any of the creepy-crawlies they might come across. As unconventional as it was, he and Sam had a life together. They were partners, equals. Dean had already had his fill of a life without Sam in it, and it sucked.

It had been months since soulless Sam let that secret slip, and Dean'd had time to get himself used to the idea. And the more he got used to it, the more he realized he wasn't as freaked out by it as he probably should be. The thing was, it was already too late for him and Sam. They were in this life too deep, knew too much, were too fucked-up to ever make something normal work out. After everything they'd seen and done, all the true evil they'd faced down… it was hard to work up the outrage over it. They were both adults, and if he and Sam both wanted it, and they weren't hurting anybody, was it really that bad, that wrong? Especially when Dean thought about how much Sam meant to him, how much they meant to each other. Was it worse than using the demon blade to kill a demon, even though it would kill the human they were possessing, too? Was it worse than torturing souls in hell and liking it, or unleashing Lucifer on the earth, or any of the other fucked-up shit they'd done with the best of intentions?

They'd never talked about it, but Dean hadn't been so pissed off during their little jaunt upstairs two years ago that he'd completely missed the implication of him and Sam sharing a heaven, something that, according to Ash, was reserved for soulmates. The few times he'd let himself think about it, he'd told himself that soulmates didn't have to be romantic or sexual, and he still believed that to be true. Dean just wasn't sure if he still believed that was true for him and Sam.

Sam had been brave, had put it all out on the line, though he was clearly terrified of how Dean would react. And Dean knew he should be equally honest, even if things weren't quite so crystal-clear in his mind, even if he was still trying to come to terms with the way he felt. But he wasn't sure he was ready to say it. Hell, he hadn't even worked his way up to fully admitting it to himself, had been dancing around the growing want inside him for months now, pretending he didn't know what it meant. How he felt about Sam had always been too big, though, too vast and all-encompassing to ignore or deny. He just didn't know what to say. How to break through the last of the voices in the back of his mind, growing fainter every day, that reminded him that Sammy was his little brother and that wanting him like this was wrong.

Dean had forgotten, though, that Sam knew him just as well as he knew Sam. Dean might not have the words to explain how he felt, but he didn't need them, not with Sam's expression sliding from anxious trepidation to dawning realization. Sam's eyes blazed hot with a hope that made Dean's stomach flutter in response, pleased to be the one who made his brother so happy. There was a part of Dean that wanted to run away, that was terrified of facing this monumental shift in their relationship, but Sam was there, closing in, and Dean let that part of him go. It was Sam, and Dean didn't want to run from him, not anymore, not ever again. They'd face this like they'd faced everything else that had come their way. Together.

Sam kneeled up over him on the couch, one massive hand cradling Dean's jaw as he tilted his head up and looked him intently in the eyes, as if searching for confirmation in Dean's gaze.

"You want this, Dean?"

Dean opened his mouth uselessly, struggling to find words with Sam's hand burning up his skin like a brand. Sam's expression grew serious.

"I won't make you say it, but I do need you to say yes. I can't—I can't if you don't tell me yes."

Dean nodded. He understood, and he could give Sam that much, could give him the word he'd denied the last being who'd asked for it.

"Yeah, Sammy. Yes."

And then Sam leaned in those last few inches, and kissed him.

It should have been awkward, kissing a man, kissing his brother, but instead it somehow felt like the most natural thing in the world, as easy as breathing. Sam's hands cradled Dean's face like he was something precious, valuable, and instead of making Dean want to punch something it made his insides go hot and melty. Sam wasn't coddling him, didn't think he was weak or fragile. He just loved Dean. And Dean knew exactly how that felt, loving somebody so much that every cell in your body yearned to do whatever it took to make them happy, to make them feel safe and cherished. Dean knew he wasn't always great at that part, hadn't ever really learned how to show emotion without breaking out in hives, but he'd always tried his best to make sure Sam knew how much he meant to Dean. He hadn't ever expected it to lead to this, but right now, with Sam's lips against his own and his familiar body pressed against Dean in unfamiliar ways, Dean couldn't bring himself to care.

"God, Dean," Sam moaned against Dean's lips, his voice this low, sexy vibrato that apparently really, really did it for Dean seeing as how his dick chubbed right up in his sweatpants. Sam had started sort of grinding down against him, the friction nice but a bit awkward given Rufus's shitty old couch was definitely not built for two fully grown men to be getting busy on.

Dean pulled away, blinking up at Sam in somewhat of a daze as Sam stared down at him, his brow beginning to furrow.

"Are you freaking out? You're freaking out, aren't you? I knew this—"

Dean had been feeling the beginning glimmers of a freak-out, some of his common sense seeming to return once Sam's lips weren't mashed against his own. But seeing Sam panic made them disappear like an iron crowbar slashed through a ghost. Dean's lips twitched into an amused smile.

"Calm down, Sammy. I was just gonna suggest we maybe relocate to the slightly-more-sturdy bed before Bobby gets back and we have to explain to him how we broke Rufus's couch."

"Oh." Sam's eyes went wide with surprise for a moment before his pupils expanded so fast Dean half-expected them to turn demon-black. Which should have been an instant boner-killer, but apparently Dean was learning all kinds of things today about the fucked-up shit he could get into. "Yeah, let's do that."

Sam scrambled off Dean's lap and tugged Dean up with an abundance of eagerness, causing Dean to stumble into his chest, which Dean was pretty sure had been intentional. Dean's big brother pride couldn't let that go unaccounted for, so he leaned into it, sliding his hands through Sam's ridiculously pretty hair and pulling him down into a deep, hungry kiss. He arched himself against Sam, feeling exactly how hot and bothered he was, getting him all worked up until…

In a flash Dean slipped away, dancing backwards towards the bedroom and smirking at Sam when he blinked at Dean in bereft confusion. He was always adorable when he was confused, and Dean tossed him a wink as he continued backing up towards the room they'd been sharing.

"Bed, remember?"

Sam growled which was both kind of hilarious and pretty fucking hot, before all but tackling Dean back onto the mattress. There was only one full bed, which they each got on alternate nights while the other took the couch—Bobby's room was off-limits, even when he wasn't there. Frankly, even a full bed was barely big enough to fit one of them (at least when that one of them was Sam), let alone them both, but it would work well enough for their current purposes.

The current purposes being sex. With each other.

Dean knew he should be freaking out, fully expected to be freaking out tomorrow morning at the very least, but there just wasn't any room for that right now with all the want lighting him up inside. Sam was above him, grinning down at Dean like he was the best thing Sam had ever seen, his eyes dark with desire. It was the easiest thing in the world to slide his hands beneath Sam's shirt and run his fingers over Sam's insanely defined abs until Sam got the picture and sat up so he could remove his shirt. Dean's gaze caught on the anti-possession tattoo, identical to the one over Dean's own heart. He knew it was silly to feel sentimental over something so practical, but there had been no reason why they had to get them over their hearts, no reason they had to each get them in the same exact spot. It meant something. Maybe it had even meant this, a manifestation of the want Sam had been pushing down and Dean had apparently been repressing so hard he'd never properly been aware of it until Fake-Sam shoved it in his face.

"Yeah," Sam murmured, his expression soft. "I like seeing yours, too."

Dean took that for the request he was pretty sure it was and arched off the bed to tear off his own shirt, belly shivering at the way Sam's gaze went hot and intense as he looked him over. Unlike Sam, who'd spent his year of sleepless soullessness working out until his body was chiseled to perfection, Dean had never seen a need for exercise outside the strenuous physical demands that were par for the course when hunting monsters. He didn't have a problem with how he looked, and had certainly never had any complaints, but right now he felt strangely exposed and vulnerable. Living out of one another's pockets as they had for the last seven odd years meant they'd both seen one another in various states of undress, but they'd never actually looked, certainly not so boldly, and not with such sexual intent. It was new, having Sam's eyes on him like this, as was Sam's obvious appreciation for what he saw.

"Fuck, Dean, you're so—"

But Dean didn't get to find out what he was because Sam couldn't seem to go another minute without kissing him, swooping down and pressing their bare chests together as their lips met once more. Dean had always loved kissing, loved the build and the promise of it, how he could use just the press of his lips to say so much. Sam seemed equally as into it, and Dean wondered if it was a genetic thing, or if maybe it was because most of what Sam had learned about sex he'd learned from Dean, from his morning-after tales and from years of watching Dean work his magic.

"What do you want, Sam?" Dean asked between kisses as he hands explored the broad contours of Sam's back. "Wanna give you what you want."

Sam pulled back just far enough to look Dean in the eyes, his gaze seeming to penetrate to the very core of Dean. "And what about what you want, Dean? I don't want to do this if it's only for me. I don't—I can't have you being my self-sacrificing big brother here, not with this."

Dean nodded slowly. "Alright, that's fair. But you gotta cut me a bit of slack, man. Taking care of you is pretty fucking foundational for me."

"Yeah." Sam sounded fond, which Dean thought was a good sign. "Just as long as you let me take care of you, too."

Dean swallowed hard. "Is that what you want? To take care of me?"

Sam's eyes blazed with heat and Dean felt Sam's fingertips sliding down Dean's sides and toying with his waistband. "Yeah, that's what I want."

"Well." Dean cleared his throat and flashed Sam a smile that was only a little shaky. "Have at it then."

Sam's grin was bright enough to rival the sun. He didn't smile nearly enough for Dean's liking, he never had, but Sam had given Dean more than his fair share of those sunshine smiles over the years and they never failed to make Dean giddy with pleasure. The feeling wasn't quite so pure and innocent as it had been when they were kids, bolstered now with an undercurrent of filthy promise as Sam tugged at Dean's sweatpants. Dean obligingly arched his ass off the mattress and Sam shoved the pants down and off onto the floor, leaving Dean naked beneath his baby brother's massive body. Sam stared down at him and Dean stared right back, his stomach a riot of nerves; he had no idea what happened next, and there was something thrilling in the unknown of it all, in the boundless possibility.

He could practically see the wheels of Sammy's big brain turning as he decided on a course of action. Dean knew him well enough to tell just by the faintest shift in expression when he'd made his decision, so he had a fair half-second warning before Sam leaned down and pressed a hot kiss against his breastbone. It was hardly an erogenous zone, so Dean wasn't quite sure why the touch made him gasp out loud. Maybe it was the hot look in Sam's gaze, never wavering from Dean's as he began to slowly kiss his way down, lips skimming over Dean's skin and leaving lines of fire in their wake.

It was kind of hard to miss where Sam's downward trek was leading, and yet somehow Dean still managed to be surprised when Sam's chin brushed against the wet tip of his dick. He'd been hard for what felt like ages now, and that one glancing touch was enough to let Dean know that whatever Sam had planned, Dean was probably going to blow his wad embarrassingly quickly. Dean just had to hope Sam was similarly keyed up, because he wasn't sure his pride could survive otherwise.

Sam paused, his face hovering over Dean's dick while he sucked on two of his own fingers; Dean's asshole clenched right up at the implication. Sam noticed, of course he did, and he pulled his fingers out of his mouth long enough to ask, "Have you never…?"

Dean cheeks prickled with heat. "Kinda? A couple of girls got adventurous a time or two during a blowjob, but never more than a finger, and it's been a long damn while."

Sam nodded like that was exactly what he'd expected to hear and began to pet his damp fingers against the skin of Dean's asshole.

"You like it?" Sam asked, his voice rough like backroad asphalt and his gaze intent and knowing, like he was already aware Dean had damn well liked it and just wanted to hear him confirm it. The big brother part of Dean that hated giving Sam ammunition wanted to lie, scoff his way out of it. It would hardly be the first time Dean had let his pride convince him that cutting off his nose to spite his face was the right call, but Sam would see right through him anyway, and that's not how he wanted things to be between them, at least not when they were like this.

"Yeah," Dean said, naked heat infusing his words. "I like it."


Sam had barely finished the word before he was opening his mouth around Dean's cock and swallowing him down, all while one of his spit-slick fingertips began to work its way into Dean's asshole.

Dean swore and gripped the sheets to keep from shaking apart, and he was pretty sure Sam was laughing at him, the bastard, because his mouth was vibrating around Dean's dick and it felt amazing. He'd known that this was hardly Sam's first rodeo, but knowing and experiencing it firsthand were two different things, and though this wasn't the most skilled blowjob Dean had ever had, it ranked pretty fucking high.

Dean wasn't exactly pornstar big but he'd never had cause to complain about what he was packing, and he was more than a little impressed—not that he'd ever tell Sam that—with how Sam managed to take him all the way in, Sam's tongue dancing along the shaft in a way that had Dean's toes curling. Sam was relentless, of course he was, throwing himself into getting Dean off the way he always committed to anything he decided to do. And while his head continued to bob in a mind-melting rhythm, his finger continued to prod and play with Dean's ass, keeping things slow, clearly mindful of the fact that he was only using spit to ease the way. Dean had always had a sensitive ass and the stimulation around his rim was pleasurable enough, but once Sam found his prostate, curling his fingers with practiced accuracy, it was game over for Dean.

"Oh, fuck, Sam. Fuck, I'm gonna—"

He'd meant it as a warning, doing the gentlemanly thing so that Sam had time to pull off before Dean shot down his throat. But either Sam didn't realize or, more likely, he just chose to ignore it, because he kept right on sucking and fingering Dean, looking up at Dean with fuck-me eyes that pushed Dean right over the edge.

He screwed his eyes shut as he came, completely overwhelmed by the waves of bliss washing over him as Sam swallowed his load. Orgasm always made Dean loose-limbed and relaxed in a way that little else could these days, and he lazily opened his eyes to look down at Sam as Sam slowly pulled off his cock. He looked ridiculously smug for somebody who still had a bit of come at the corner of his mouth, and Dean opened his mouth to say so. But Sam must have realized from his expression that he was about to tease him, because he crooked the finger still lodged up Dean's arse as he pulled it out, causing it to glance against Dean's over-sensitive prostate. Dean let out an extremely undignified yelp and Sam grinned.

"Whoops, sorry about that," Sam said, not even trying to sound like he meant it.

"You're an asshole," Dean grumbled, though he was quickly distracted by Sam kneeling up between Dean's spread legs and shoving down his pajama pants to take his erection in hand.

Dean's first thought was that he couldn't remember the last time he'd seen something so hot. His second thought was to wonder if Sam's dick seemed like it might be bigger than his. It was a possibility too against the natural order of things to contemplate, so Dean quickly moved on to his third thought, which was that he really, really wanted to see Sam come.

"Jesus, Sammy, you gonna jerk off over me? Gonna mark me up with your come?"

Sam's eyes went wide and he moaned and moved his fist faster.

"Yeah," he breathed, his gaze roving over Dean's naked body before settling on his face and meeting Dean's stare. There weren't words to describe what they were to one another, the depth of feeling between Dean and Sam, but it was all there in Sam's gaze, his love and want and devotion. It was enough that Dean's dick made a valiant, if doomed, effort to chub back up as Sam worked himself closer and closer to climax.

"Then do it, Sam. Come all over me."

Sam gasped and several strokes later he was coming, shooting all over Dean's dick and stomach. It should have been gross, and it probably would be once his come started cooling and drying, but right now it was just really fucking hot. Sam barely finished milking himself before he was leaning down, getting all up in Dean's space as he pressed a sloppy, desperate kiss to Dean's lips. Dean slowly took control, gentling the kiss into something indolent and more appropriate for a post-orgasm smooch. Sam didn't fight him on it, letting himself be led into an easy, languorous kiss as he came down from his climactic high.

"Alright, man," Dean finally said after what felt like an eternity. "This is nice and all, but all this muscle of yours weighs a fuck-ton so I'm gonna need you to get off me."

"Shit, yeah," Sam replied as he rolled off Dean and sat up. He looked down at the come smeared all over his stomach and made a face. "I'm gonna get a wet rag and wash off. You want one, or are you thinking of taking a shower?"

Dean should probably shower—he'd taken the bulk of the splooge-fest and things were starting to stick, but he wasn't sure he had the energy to get up out of bed right now.

"Rag's fine."

Sam disappeared for a moment before tossing Dean a damp rag from the doorway and vanishing back into the bathroom. Dean's mind was surprisingly blank as he wiped himself down. Sex was always great for shutting Dean's brain down, at least for awhile, but he hadn't expected it to work quite so well with Sam, especially not with things so new and unsettled between them.

"I know it's technically my turn," Sam said from the doorway. "But why don't you take the bed for the night. You look pretty settled in."

Sam had put on his pajama pants again, his t-shirt dangling from one hand.

"You sure, man? You're not, uh, planning on joining me?"

Sam snorted. "I kinda thought sharing a bed would freak you out more than the sex did, to be honest. But mostly that bed is way too fucking small for the both of us. I'll take my chances with the couch."

"Yeah, fair enough." Dean felt a strange mixture of relief and disappointment. "And what about us? We good?"

Sam smiled. "Yeah, Dean, we're good. We're gonna have to talk about this at some point, figure things out and make sure we're on the same page but… we got this. I'm not worried."

Dean blinked at him, surprised to realize that he wasn't worried, either, not about this. Sam was right. They'd figure it out. Together.

"You know what, Sam. Neither am I."