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Blessings on Their Hands

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It was...weird. To be staring across a table at his face.

More than weird, Sam decided distantly after a couple of seconds. Disconcerting. Unmooring. Like somebody had taken a knife to the roots of everything he knew he was and was sawing busily away at them, snapping them off one by one. Hell, if he'd still been in the cosmic horror phase he'd gone through briefly as a teenager, he might have said that it was as close as he was ever going to get to some kind of eldritch madness, looking at a face that both was and wasn't his, that had his moles and his stubble but not his scars, wearing an expression he really hoped he hadn't ever made on his own. Almost hitting the uncanny valley because it was an angle of himself he wasn't used to seeing, not a mirror, not a photograph.

Honestly, Dean's double might have actually been worse. Maybe there wasn't that hidden, throbbing undercurrent of the grotesque, but. Seeing two of something that had always been a steady constant, a ragged flapping wound when it was missing, and one of them was so obviously not the other, comfortable over there in a sweater it would've taken ten people to wrestle Dean into -

Playing with the neck of his beer, trying to keep himself from looking directly at the guy he'd started calling Sam B in his head, (or Dean B, sitting right next to him), feeling his eyes sliding back to them over and over again like they were magnets, Sam cleared his throat. "So, uh. Back home, you're - you're hunters."

"We were hunters," Sam B corrected. He didn't seem nearly as bothered by Sam as Sam was by him.

"The family business," Dean B agreed easily. "But our world's probably gone. We made it out just before the explosion."

Sam glanced at Dean, saw his own confusion reflected. They really didn't seem all that upset.

"Yep." Dean took a long pull from his own beer. "That was God."

Dean B blinked slowly. "God?"

"Yeah." Sam smiled tightly. "You're gonna need another beer."

Dean B looked down at his bottle. He was holding it like he only had half an idea what to do with it. "You know, we actually don't drink much of this stuff. Back home."

"Dad won't keep it in the house," Sam B agreed. "He only likes his, ah…'private-label scotch.'" He smirked at Dean B. "He spoils us."

Sam glanced at Dean again. His jaw had clenched, almost unnoticeably. "W-wait. Your dad is. Still around?"

"And he 'spoils' you?" Dean asked flatly.

"Well. He did." Focused on his own beer, Sam B almost smiled again. "We don't know where he is now. We all went through the rift together but, uh. I guess we got separated."

"Mm," Dean B agreed. "To Dad."

He lifted his bottle. Sam B clinked his almost delicately against it. "Best guy ever."

"He...definitely puts up with a lot from us." Dean B took a sip of his beer, then wrestled down a very obvious gag.

"Yes." Sam realized it might actually be worse to see an expression he actually recognized on Sam B's face: a tight little smile. "He definitely does."

There was silence. It lasted just long enough to slide across the line into awkwardness. Sam didn't say anything, mostly because he somehow couldn't think of anything to ask that didn't have to do with their dad, and he didn't want answers to any of his questions. Next to him, Dean nursed his beer, and stared steadily across the table. Sam B was the first to break.

"So!" He looked around. "This is where you live."

"Yeah." Sam nodded. "Yeah."

"Ah. A fixer-upper. Not really my taste, but I can see the appeal." He glanced at Dean B, who nodded. "Moving in is awful, isn't it? Before you've had time to put everything that, you know, a person would need to - "

"We've lived here seven years," Dean interrupted. His voice was still flat.

"O-oh." A pause.

"'Bout time for utilitarianism to make a comeback," Dean B said diplomatically. "You guys are ahead of the curve."

"And it must be great," Sam B added, with what might have been actual admiration in his voice. "Having this whole place all to yourselves."

"Oh-for-two, buddy." Dean drained the rest of his beer. "We got a couple other long-term residents here. Number's variable, but...they're pretty permanent fixtures."

"Okay. I see." Sam B took a deep breath, and looked at Dean B. "But...still. Imagine the two of us having this much space." He spread his free hand flat on the table to indicate it. "I might even settle for half this much, if it was just us."

"Oh, yeah." Smiling, Dean B put his hand on the table, too. On top of Sam B's. "When Dad does turn up - "

"Hopefully he does," Sam B said, with a meaningful emphasis on "hopefully."

"Right. Hopefully. Anyway, might be a good time to bring that up again, us getting our own place."

"Fingers crossed." They knocked their bottles together again, then steeled themselves before taking tiny sips.

Sam's eyes were fixed on their hands, one on top of the other, perfectly casual. He could see at the very edge of his vision that Dean was staring too, and it wasn't long before the two of them exchanged a quick glance. He didn't have to read very deep into Dean's face to tell he was thinking the exact same thing Sam was: half What the fuck and half Oh my god I hope we're not this weird.

They could both probably be reasonably sure they weren't. After all, it wasn't like they walked around holding hands.

"And people think we're a couple," Dean muttered under his breath, barely loud enough for Sam to catch as he leaned back in his seat.

"What was that?" Dean B asked, smacking his lips and grimacing like he was trying to get rid of the taste of the beer.

"Nothing. Nothing." Dean pushed himself to his feet with a grunt, grabbing his empty and then Sam's a second later, after he hastily knocked back the last swallow in the bottle. "I'm gonna go grab a couple more of these, and then how 'bout you guys give us a rundown of stuff back in your world, huh? CliffNotes version."

Sam B and Dean B were only too happy to do so, surprised and intrigued by the differences between them. Sam didn't find himself quite as thrilled, didn't think Dean did either.

Turned out the list of their doubles' apparent advantages didn't end with expensive whiskey or a living father. There was a company. International work. An estate. Pilot teams, stock options, unlimited lines of credit - if either of them had ever slept in a seedy by-the-hour motel, Sam imagined they'd been too young to remember it. It made him half-glad, in a debased, petty way, that all of it was gone now...and of course he felt guilty about that every time one of them faltered slightly, something almost broken in their eyes, when they remembered that fact themselves. Looked like the reality of the loss was finally settling in.

The conversation turned fast to shop talk after that. Unsurprisingly, the two of them had a pretty different view on hunting. Techniques. Tools. Dress.

"W-wait." Startled, Sam B raised a hand to his head, and the bun Sam had decided to class generously as "eccentric." "You don't tie your hair up when you go out? But don't things, like. Grab onto it? It looks like it's even longer than mine."

"Uh, nope. Never had a problem." Sam shook his head, suddenly very aware of the weight and swish of his own hair.

"Hm." Sam B's mouth quirked, and he drank. He and Dean B were somehow still both on their first beers. "Guess that's the whole 'God's chosen' coming into play again."

Sam blinked, and then frowned.

"If either of them says the word 'bootstraps' at any point during this conversation," Dean warned, leaning over to talk directly to him, "I'm shooting 'em both."

There were a few things, at least, they actually could agree on. Dean B got fidgety when the topic of hunts going wrong came up, taking a deep breath, slotting his fingers through Sam B's and holding onto him. Sam B didn't stop him. Held back, in fact. One's hand had been on the others for the entire conversation, and nobody had brought it up.

"This is a really weird question," Dean B started, "but have either of you ever...died?"

Sam looked at Dean, who only glanced back at him after a long second. Sam swallowed.

"Yeah. We have." He looked across the table then, because they wouldn't have brought it up if they hadn't also been through it, he asked, "How'd it happen for you?"

"It's actually been a few times. For both of us." Sam B almost smiled. "Vampires, curses. Rusty piece of rebar, once." He laughed hollowly. "Kevlar and spells only do so much, right? Doesn't really matter how much money you throw at defense either, because at some point, the only thing left to do to be safer's to - "

"Not do the job," Dean finished for him.

"And that isn't an option," Dean B agreed. His eyes ticked back and forth between the two of them. "For you guys. When it happened. How'd you...get each other back?"

"Mostly? Did a lotta stuff we ain't proud of." Dean was playing with one of his empties, fingers on its mouth, balancing the amber glass of it on its studded rim.

"Would you do it again?" Sam B asked. "If you had to, I mean."

Sam answered this one. "In a heartbeat." Next to him, Dean gently lowered the bottle's whole base back to the table.

"Us, too." Sam B nodded, and squeezed Dean B's hand.

After that, the discussion more or less reached its natural conclusion. Sam B and Dean B still hadn't finished their first beers.

"Welp." Dean cleared his throat, straightening up from where he'd slouched in his chair. "Guess we're gonna have to find someplace to stick you two, huh? Let's go see if we can rustle up a couple roo - "

"Oh, we only need the one," Sam B assured, interrupting.

Sam blinked. "One room?"

Sam B laughed a little, Dean B joining him. "I mean, obviously. I know we're not alone here, but after everything we just went through - sorry. I don't know about you, but…" He glanced at Dean B, who shook his head.

"Nah," he replied, "definitely not up to sleeping alone. Besides, not like there are paparazzi around here, right?"

"God forbid." Sam B grimaced.

Sam looked at Dean, and found himself shrugging in near-perfect unison with him. Okay, they were...well, there was definitely something off about them, besides the obvious. But they had just narrowly escaped from the destruction of their entire world, spent hours trapped in the no man's land slivered between dimensions, and lost their dad. All told, it was pretty understandable they might not want to let each other out of their sight.

Beyond that, different as they were, they were still them on some level, and even though there was nothing financial anymore about sharing motel rooms, the thought of sleeping someplace unfamiliar without being able to see and feel Dean feet away from him sent something unpleasant creeping under Sam's skin.

"Yeah, okay," Dean agreed, "one room coming right up." He led the way out into the hall, towards the living quarters. Glancing over his shoulder at Sam B and Dean B, he warned, "Gotta tell you, though. These things are pretty small, and there's only the one bed in there."

Again, the two of them chuckled at that. For some reason. "Trust me. I think we'll manage."

Another glance shared between Sam and Dean, another instantaneous mutual decision not to comment on it.

Dean brought them to a room as far away from theirs as you could get, which was probably a good decision. He pushed open the door, switched on the light. It flickered slightly, buzzing, before evening out and holding steady.

"Yeah, so, like I said," Dean told Sam B and Dean B, matter-of-fact. "Small, one bed, but we got an air mattress and a sleeping bag you can have…"

There was a small, strangled sound from behind them, and he looked back. So did Sam.

Their counterparts had gone completely white, staring into the room with hollow, flat eyes. Sam B swayed slightly on his feet; Dean B looked like he was about to lose the half a beer he'd drunk all over the floor in front of him. Sam thought they might have been less shocked if they'd opened the door to a flayed corpse.

Actually, they were hunters. They definitely would have been.

Dean B was the first one to break the silence.

"Oh my god," he said quietly, as Sam B raised a hand to his mouth.

"Yeah, well. Sorry." Dean folded his arms across his chest, stared the two of them down. "Ain't exactly the Ritz."

"It's not even the Marriott," Dean B muttered, as Sam B walked slowly forward. Sam watched him, as he stopped in the room, then turned a slow circle to take it all in. He leaned over, put a hand on the bed, reared back in visible revulsion when a cloud of dust rose off it. He whirled to look at them.

"I-it looks like nobody's cleaned in here since the fifties!" he exclaimed.

"Oh, they haven't," Dean answered, and only dropped the grin that flashed across his face when Sam shot him a look.

"Is there running water?" Dean B asked. He was chewing on a knuckle, arm wrapped tightly across his stomach, eyes fixed on the room.

"Is there running - Christ," Dean snapped. "Yes, there's running water. Heat, too. Hell, we even got power, can you believe that?"

"You can't blame us for asking," Sam B said, sounding like he'd talked himself down from using a much harsher tone. "This place looks like a...a...I'm sorry, but it looks like a prison cell."

A laugh popped out of Sam before he could help it. Sam B and Dean B didn't laugh. He looked back and forth between the two of them before blinking.

"O-oh my god. You're serious." He paused. "Have you ever actually. Been to prison?"

"What?" Dean B asked blankly. "What the hell kind of a question even is that?"

"They've never even been to prison," Dean mumbled to Sam, leaning in to do so. Sam took a deep breath.

"Okay. Look." He glanced at his copy, and then Dean's. "I know that this isn't...what you guys are used to, but." He raised his arms, dropped them helplessly. "It's all we've got."

They both stared at him. Then Sam B held up a finger, shaking his head firmly as he pointed at Sam.

"No. No," he stated. "That can't be true. It's not. I refuse to accept that, I cannot sleep in these conditions, you need to - "

"Okay. Sam...Sammy." Dean B cut him off, hands held up placatingly as he stepped into the room. Sam B turned sharply away from him, shaking his head again as he stalked to the opposite side of the room, arms folded across his chest. It really only took him the one step.

Sam, who recognized Dean B's tone, squinted.

"We've had a real hard day," Dean B began patiently, standing behind Sam B, "and if you hadn't gone off I definitely would've, but it could be worse, right? I mean, we made it here, we were rescued..."

"Yeah," Sam B wearily agreed, "we were."

"And maybe the digs aren't...perfect," Dean B went on, careful, then paused. He glanced over at Sam and Dean. "Thanks for your, y'know, hospitality, by the way."

"Ooh, you're welcome," Dean answered sarcastically, apparently having picked up on the way his double had said "hospitality."

"Things might not be perfect," Dean B continued, "but we're alive, and we're together."

Sam B heaved a sigh, then turned around to look at Dean B, arms still folded, exhaustion written in the soft precursors to frown lines Sam recognized from his own face. Sam B's were lighter, barely shadows.

"So, are you guys gonna want that air mattress, or…" Sam started.

"No," Sam B replied, and glanced around the room. "I guess it's not. Well, it's pretty bad, but like you said. Could be worse."

"Y'know, if you squint," Dean B said encouragingly, "use your imagination, doesn't it look kinda like that little cottage we rented on the Riviera for your thirtieth? Y'know, the one that used to be part of a monastery?" Sam could only see a slice of his face, but he caught him bouncing his eyebrows hopefully in a way he knew. "Ah?"

Sam B laughed, stepping closer to Dean B, who put his hands on his biceps. "Yeah, that didn't exactly live up to the pictures, did it?"

"Nah, but we had a great time."

"Dad was pissed." Sam B grinned fondly. "Remember? He had the whole damn logistics department looking for us and they still couldn't figure out where we were 'til we got home."

"Nobody's gonna find us this time," Dean B pointed out. "Nothing to go home to, either."

Sam B smiled, and it was half-sad, half-fond. He rested his hands on Dean B's hips. "No. Not this time."

Sam looked over at Dean, and was gratified to see he was every bit as unnerved as he was. Maybe a little grossed out, too. It was just...strange in a way that Sam didn't think either of them had really encountered before. Sure, they'd had way more than their share of doubles over the years, leviathan, shapeshifters, magical clones, Sam had even seen security footage of his soulless body. Things who looked and talked like them doing things they'd never do. But these were people, not things, and none of the others had ever acted like. Well. Like this. Still looking softly at each other, smiling, holding on with a tenderness a lot of people would probably categorize as inappropriate.

They'd mentioned "Dad" multiple times, the family business, were obviously related. They were perfect copies in most respects. But if Sam hadn't known that for sure, he'd be forcing himself right now to stare down the uncomfortable possibility that these versions of Dean and himself, rather than being brothers, were actually a -

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Dean burst out, taking a step back with his hands flying up defensively. A noise Sam couldn't control popped out of him, and he turned halfway away before he could stop himself. They'd both practically flung their hands up in "stop" gestures.

Sam B and Dean B sprang back from the kiss they'd both just leaned into, less letting go of each other and more jumping away. Like they'd been stung by the other one's skin. Sam B even hit the wall.

Sam saw a soap opera's worth of emotions whip across their faces in a few seconds and in near-perfect unison. They were startled, then guilty, ashamed, then irritated, and then resigned. A second later, they were composed, or at least as much as they could get.

They looked like they understood something, all of a sudden. Something they hadn't known earlier. Something that hurt, but wasn't totally unexpected.

Sam might never have seen that expression on his own face before, but he'd felt it. On Dean B's face, it was so familiar he probably could have drawn it in his sleep, if he could have drawn to save his life.

The two of them cleared their throats. Dean B busily brushed himself off, Sam B folded his hands in front of him, looked anywhere but at his brother (because they were brothers, right?). Sam couldn't do anything but stare and, for a long second, neither could Dean.

"What the fuck was that?" Dean eventually asked.

"Yeah. Uh, sorry." Dean B rubbed at the back of his neck. "Just kind of figured you guys wouldn't have any problem with PDA, seeing as you're...well, us."

"Well, w-we've definitely got a problem with it!" Sam exclaimed, shock putting a stutter in his voice.

"What the hell's wrong with you?" Dean demanded. "You're brothers. I'm just gonna say that again, you're brothers."

Sam B and Dean B blinked in sync.

"Wait," Sam B said slowly. "You mean...you're not…?"

"No!" Dean practically exploded. "Jesus, no." He looked at Sam, and violently shuddered. "No!"

Sam B and Dean B turned to look at each other.

"Huh."

"Well, that sure explains a lot."

"Sucks though, doesn't it? Don't know about you, but I had my heart set on a foursome."

"Oh my god," Sam mumbled, turning away in numb, face-prickling shock as Dean gagged so forcefully he had to put a hand on the wall to keep himself upright. Sam B and Dean B kept talking.

"So home rules, then."

"Just like with Dad."

They faced them again, Sam B and Dean B, expressions neutral. Diplomatically, Sam B asked, "Would it make you guys more comfortable if we slept in separate rooms?"

"At this point, nothing is gonna make us comfortable ever again," Dean stated.

"Right." Dean B cleared his throat. "In that case, think we could get that, uh...what'd you call it?" He snapped his fingers. "Air mattress. Bed's pretty small for both - "

The only reason Sam managed to slam the door before Dean did was because his arms were longer.


Half an hour later, Sam and Dean sat in the kitchen, backs against the cabinets, a bottle of Johnny Walker between them, and glasses in their hands. They hadn't spoken yet, mostly just drinking and staring off at anything besides each other, but when it happened, it was definitely going to be more of a floor conversation than a table one.

Sam knew alcohol didn't have an antiseptic effect on memory. The amount you could drink to burn something out of your head was the same amount that would kill you. Dean was just as aware as he was; god knew they'd learned that lesson plenty of times before.

Of course, that didn't stop them from trying every time something catastrophically awful happened.

"What the fuck." It was a statement from Dean.

"I don't know," Sam answered.

"I mean, what the fuck."

"I don't know."

Dean was quiet for another few seconds, swirling dregs of whiskey around in his glass, then said, "I don't know about you, but I wasn't expecting that."

"Nope," Sam agreed, and knocked back the remains of his own drink. He dragged a hand back over his hair, smoothing it down and hissing at the burn in his chest before wearily repeating what Dean had said earlier: "And people think we're a couple."

"We don't act like that," Dean said immediately, so fast it practically blurred into one word. "At all."

"I know, I know. I'm just saying." Sam reached for the bottle, uncapping it and splashing more into his glass. They were drinking it warm, the way you usually did when it was for self-medication rather than pleasure. "They do."

Dean grunted. Then they were both quiet again for a long time, drinking, sitting next to each other. This time, Sam was the one to break the silence, after a thought he didn't really want to have got lodged in among all the others and worked its way up to where he couldn't ignore it.

"How does...something like that even happen?" he asked slowly, frowning.

Dean grimaced, raising a hand. "Dude."

"Think about it."

"That is the absolute last thing I want to do right now," Dean complained.

"No, I'm serious." And also, Sam realized, heading quickly towards a little drunk. Maybe he ought to cool it on the booze. "I'm just saying that...that doesn't usually happen unless something's really wrong - "

"No shit," Dean cut in. Sam powered past.

"I'm talking abuse, neglect, trauma. But look at these guys. If they weren't born with silver spoons in their mouths, they had 'em there pretty soon after, from the sound of it. Yeah, they're still hunters, I'm sure they've seen some shit, but I think we can probably assume they grew up in a nice house. Really nice. They probably stayed in one place, went to a good school o-or even had private tutors...they've still got their dad, and it sounds like he's awesome." Sam took another drink. Forget it, he needed it. "They had everything."

"What's your point here, Sam?" Dean asked flatly. "'Cause if it's to bum me out, it's working."

"My point's that it's weird these guys wound up - " Sam stumbled over it. "Th-the way they did. It's weird. With the lifestyle it sounds like they had, there's gotta be something we don't know about, 'cause it just doesn't make sense otherwise. Incest in a healthy environment's so rare, I mean, it would make more sense for me and you to - !"

Sam caught himself, wrestled the rest of the sentence back down into the depths it belonged in, but he already knew it was way too late. Dean turned to look at him, silent and completely still, holding his glass. It was a full ten seconds of him not blinking before he shook his head and asked, "What?"

Sam didn't see any choice but to keep going. He couldn't seem to figure out how to backtrack, a big, hazy, whiskey-colored wall behind him. Nowhere to go but through the rest of the conversation.

"The way we grew up," Sam started, just as slowly as he had earlier. "We were all each other had, right? We went through so much when we were younger, even when we got older, and there was just. Us. I told you you were my only constant, didn't I? The only thing?"

"Yeah…" Dean set his glass down, and just went ahead and picked up the bottle. "You did."

"We're each other's weak spots," Sam went on. "Aren't we? We've done all kinds of stupid crap for and with each other, we're all we've got left for the most part, hell, we even spend pretty much all our free time together. Our relationship's not what anybody would probably call 'healthy' even on our best day."

Dean didn't say anything. Just looked at Sam. He'd taken a mouthful of whiskey, was sieving it loudly back and forth between his teeth. It only took two times for the sound to start sawing at Sam's nerves. "What?"

Dean swallowed. "That really how you think of us?"

Sam thought again about backtracking. Instead, he tentatively asked, "...don't you?"

Dean took another drink, and looked away. "How the hell d'you know so much about this, anyway?"

"Oh. Uh." Embarrassed, Sam shrugged. "I...majored in Criminal Psych, remember? Took a bunch of classes about abnormal psychology, a lotta them had incest units. Kind of a big thing."

"Huh." Dean frowned. "Weren't you pre-law?"

"'Pre-law' isn't a major, I still had to choose something. Criminal Psych seemed useful."

"Sure, sure. Nerd." Dean coughed, and Sam took the whiskey from him, pulling a quick nip out of the bottle. After a lull that could've lasted anywhere from ten to thirty minutes, Dean took a deep breath. "Well. Only thing that matter's they turned out like that and we didn't, right? Thank god." He held his glass out, apparently switching back to that, and Sam poured him a finger. "No offense, but I don't wanna bone you."

"Oh. None taken." Sam poured himself just a little more, shaking his head. He'd meant to only barely coat the bottom of the glass, but it came out faster than he'd been expecting. Oh, well. "I don't wanna bone you, either."

"I don't even wanna think about it. But I am. 'S like pink elephants." Dean knocked his drink back. "And now I'm thinking about having sex with you and pink elephants."

"What, like - like one after the other, or all at once?" Sam tried to keep a handle on the near-hysterical laugh that built in his chest as he was talking, but it slipped free halfway through his sentence. "'Cause I'm not sure - I'm not sure I - "

Dean was laughing now too, and Sam realized that they were both way past "a little drunk" by now. But that was okay. They were in the warm, soft space where everything was awesome, each other's company was even better than normal, and thoughts stumbled hilariously into each other. Sam could hear the slur in his own voice, but obviously Dean could understand him enough, because every time one of them started to say something, it set them both off all over again, shoulder to shoulder and taking each other's weight as they tried to catch their breath.

"I...I...look, I just don't get it," Dean managed eventually, putting a hand on his chest and shaking his head. "I'm an awesome kisser and all, but kissing you just can't be all that special."

Sam scoffed. "Uh, excuse you. I am an awesome kisser."

"I've seen you kiss. You're all weird about it, you move your tongue too much."

"You don't move your tongue?" Laughing, Sam pointed out, "Dude. I've had tons of girlfriends."

"Yeah? Well, maybe none of 'em knew any better." Dean leaned in, squinting at Sam's lips. "See, not just your kissing, your mouth's weird, too. All small."

"If mine's small, yours is huge!" Sam leaned in too, raising a hand to Dean's face. He wound up with two fingers on his lower lip. It was soft, plump. "I'm not weird. You're weird."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah."

Sam wasn't totally sure how it happened. He and Dean were arguing one second, and the next, neither of them could say anything. Because they had their mouths on each other's. It was like he blinked and it was going on.

Dean tasted like half-decent whiskey, like the beer from earlier, with the warmth and slight sourness of another person's mouth under the grain and alcohol. It wasn't at all a bad thing, that he tasted alive. Familiar.

He probably could have moved his tongue more.

Dean looked as startled as Sam felt when they broke, a few seconds after they wound up together in the first place. Things must have been a lot wetter in there than Sam had realized, because there was a string of saliva running from him to Dean that only broke when Dean brought his hand up to wipe his mouth off. Sam did the same.

"That wasn't a kiss," Dean said immediately, as soon as his lips were dry.

"Right," Sam agreed. "Yeah, no, of course it wasn't."

"We don't kiss each other. Not like…"

"No. We're not like that."

"Definitely shouldn't do it again."

"Definitely not."

A second passed, and then they were not-kissing again. Too bad it wasn't a real kiss, because it would have been one of the better ones Sam had ever had. Dean really was an awesome kisser, so long as you ignored the tongue thing. Soft and warm and inviting, all affection and enthusiasm.

They pulled back again. This time, there was no discussion. Just the two of them staring at each other. Sam was the first to look away, so he could focus on unbuttoning his flannel.

He fumbled through the buttons, briefly considered just ripping it off himself, finally managed to shrug impatiently free of it. He didn't look at Dean once during the whole thing, and when he finally did glance at him, he was momentarily sure that he was going to ask him what the hell he was doing. Instead, Dean made an irritated little huffing noise as he reached forward to help drag Sam's T-shirt over his head.

"Don't know why you button the damn things - "

Dean shucked his own flannel, practically yanked his tee off as Sam leaned forward to attack his belt. They not-kissed again once Dean's face was free, and then Sam was back to helping him out of his jeans, the two of them getting unsteadily to their feet to continue undressing. Kicking off boots, peeling off socks. So long as Sam was moving, he didn't have to think, and so long as he wasn't thinking, who knew where this could go?

Dean touched his bare shoulders, his collarbones, sweeping out the shape of both with cupped hands. His calluses caught on scars, like the two of them were meant to mesh together. Sam put fingers to the hollow of Dean's throat, running down through the tuft of wiry off-blonde hair between his pecs, to the slight softness at his middle. Hipbones, ribs, biceps. Parts of each other they'd both seen a million times before, because that was what happened when you lived together in small spaces for years and treated each other's wounds no matter how embarrassing the area and took care of each other when you were sick, but Sam imagined that Dean was feeling the same way he was. That they'd never had permission, or a reason, to look like this before. To touch in this way.

Dean's freckles, they were mesmerizing. The dusting of them on face, shoulders, chest, arms. Sam had never noticed before he didn't have any on his stomach. Dean B, he remembered suddenly, had hardly had any, like he didn't spend all that much time in the sun. Of all the differences between them, that struck Sam as the strangest one.

They not-kissed again as they pulled each other's jeans and then boxers off, but maybe it was time to just admit that it was kissing. Because with the last of their clothes gone, it was easy to see that they were both hard. Sam wasn't fully sure when it had happened to him, and could only hope it had been while they were undressing each other, rather than when they were discussing the idea of Sam B and Dean B having sex.

Dean chuckled, sounding impressed as he stared down at Sam's cock, an almost casual hand finding its way around his own shaft. "Wow."

"Wow, what?" Kicking clothes out of the way, Sam had to fight a middle-school urge to cover himself up with both hands, suddenly shy about being seen.

Dean answered by practically lunging at him to lock him into another kiss, dick rutting unexpectedly into Sam's and prompting a drop of precome, hands finding their way to his ass. Dean backed him up through the stray socks and shirts, neither of them reacting when Sam's heel sent the empty whiskey bottle spinning away across the kitchen floor, until he hit the counter.

They were still exploring each other like a pair of teenagers, hands feeling out every inch. Sam wanted to memorize Dean, in a clumsy, drunken way, wished he'd done it years ago, before he started losing him over and over again. He hadn't even known what he was missing every time he was gone long enough for parts to start flaking off and fading in his memory. Parts he'd never even seen before had already been gone.

Echoing Dean, Sam's hands wound up on his ass, squeezing at the perfect shape of it, thumbs feeling out the dimples right above each cheek, and Dean honest-to-god fucking growled into his mouth. "Attaboy."

And that flipped a switch Sam hadn't even known he had, sent him hopping obediently up on the counter, shoulders and head against cabinets, lower back curved into wooden spoons and stacked cans, panting as sweat stood out cool on his skin.

Dean looked at him, eyes wide like he was a little startled, and then let out a laugh, deep and husky. And Sam should not already know that that was what he sounded like when he was horny.

"Oh, we are so talking about that later," he said, shaking his head, and Sam scowled.

Thank god he let it drop for now, getting distracted by Sam's pecs. Hand between them, he ran it down the curve of his torso, over where his position had the skin on his flat stomach folding, almost all the way to where his pubic hair started. Dean stopped right above Sam's navel, fingers on the dimpled scar from a bullet wound, and all the confidence was gone as he tentatively asked, "Can I - "

Sam didn't even bother cutting him off verbally, just grabbed his hand and put it right on his cock. He could growl too, and he let one out the second Dean's hot skin touched his.

Dean half-jumped, sucking in a gasping, shuddery little breath, and Sam was fully convinced for a second he'd fucked up. The apology was already on his lips when Dean stopped it with his own, hand starting to move up and down Sam's length in a rhythm so smooth it was like he'd practiced it.

Of course he had. This was probably how he jerked off. The pre that thought pulled out of Sam coated Dean's hand, he could feel it.

He was dripping like a damn seventeen-year-old. He couldn't remember the last time he'd been this excited for somebody.

"Just so you know," Sam said breathlessly between kisses, reaching for Dean's cock and finding it easily with how close he was, "being drunk doesn't give you an excuse to leave me hanging."

Dean snorted. "Sammy, you think Dean Winchester has ever, in his life, had whiskey dick? Remember who you're talking to here." The indignance only lasted a second, and then it had changed into something else. "I-I mean, sorry, I don't know if you actually want me to - "

"No, no," Sam assured instantly, "I want it. I - yeah. But only if - "

"Yeah. Yeah."

They stared at each other for a couple seconds too long, and then Sam started, "It's not like - "

"No. No. Not like that."

"We're not like that."

"No."

And ugh, it felt unclean in an almost spiritual way to know they were both thinking about their otherworld counterparts right now, in their single room, with their one bed. Sam had no idea how they could have avoided it, though.

"This isn't the same," Sam said again, and Dean must have agreed, because he went faster after that, harder, leaned in to rut into the space between Sam's thigh and his own hand.

Sam let go of him, used both hands to brace himself as he let his knees fall open, spreading himself as he folded further and rocked his hips back onto the counter. Brought his hole into the light as Dean crushed their mouths hungrily together, and Sam kissed back fiercely enough to knock front teeth.

"You ever - ?" Sam asked when he got a chance, and Dean grinned, cocky enough not to even need the rest of the question.

"Ain't my first rodeo. Don't worry."

He kissed Sam again. One of his hands was on Sam's cock. Sam was vaguely aware of the other wandering along the counter, like Dean was after something.

"Not gonna ask me?" Sam said eventually, and Dean grinned again, before leaning in even closer, cock sliding up Sam's stomach, so he could whisper in his ear.

"Not as sneaky as you think you are, Sammy."

Sam had been hot before. Now he was boiling with a blush, staring panting up at Dean as Dean pulled back and smirked down at him, and he felt young and small and it wasn't in a bad way, not by a long shot.

He wondered if Dean had ever watched him before. With any of the guys he'd worked so hard to hide from him. And this time, he managed to look down in time to see the pre blurt up out of him and spill over Dean's hand, and to catch Dean's next kiss in his hair.

He was just wondering when they were going to move into the next phase of this, if he needed to actually ask for it in so many words, when Dean finally found what he'd been looking for along the counter. Bringing a bottle of extra virgin olive oil into view, he spun the cap off with a drunken flourish, letting it pnk onto the floor. Sam felt his eyebrows draw together.

"Seriously?"

"You want me to go in dry?" Dean returned. "Trust me. Might be messy, but it works like a charm. Just so long as you're not wearing a condom. Which, uh - "

"No," Sam cut him off, and it had the distinct flavor in his mouth of a decision he'd be regretting soon as he sobered up, but he couldn't have cared less about that right now if he'd actively tried. "You're good."

Dean let go of Sam, upended the bottle, drenched one hand in peridot oil. It pooled on the counter, dripped viscous onto the floor. Sam found himself thinking distantly about the threat of both of them slipping in it and cracking their skulls wide open, but again, that seemed like something he didn't currently care about.

As Dean moved in, kissing him before he ever touched him, Sam reached up with one hand to tightly grab hold of a cabinet handle. The other, he put on Dean's shoulder, bracing himself. Good thing too, because he couldn't seem to hold back a jump when Dean started on his entrance.

The oil felt cool at room temperature, but Dean's fingers were hot. Thick, rough, nails cut close and practical to keep grime out from under them on the daily, and as he worked insistently at Sam's tight, fluttering hole, it was exactly how Sam had always imag -

Except no, it wasn't, because he'd never imagined this before. Nobody normal fantasized about their brother fucking them, and they were normal in at least that way. They weren't like Sam B and Dean B.

Sam felt himself relaxing, loosening, opening. Dean had kissed him through the whole thing, and now he roughly instructed, "Deep breath. On three. One, two - "

Considering the tried and true Winchester method for throwing loose joints back into socket, Sam probably should have expected Dean to go on two rather than three. He wasn't though, and Dean slid in smooth, even as Sam jolted and squeezed tight at both of his anchoring points, gasping and light-headed.

It had been so fucking long. And Dean's fingers were so fucking big. Sam felt himself twitch, easing open, welcoming Dean in.

"Fuck, Sammy, you're tight," Dean panted. "But just look how you open up for me...like you've been fuckin' waiting for me this whole time, huh?"

Sam groaned at that, and buried his face in Dean's neck. He tasted salt on his tongue before he realized he'd opened his mouth, teeth on Dean's skin. He sucked at his collarbone, planting a cluster of hickeys right over it and flowering onto Dean's right shoulder, and then risked a nip. Dean hissed through his teeth.

"You're a biter?" He paused. "Probably should've seen that one coming."

"Want me t'stop?" Sam panted raggedly against Dean's neck, and hoped he'd say no.

"Nah. Kinda like it rougher, if I'm being honest." And Sam was just about to ask about that when he realized he should've seen that coming himself. It was news, but not a surprise.

They knew each other. They knew everything about each other.

Dean eased in a second finger. He let Sam get used to that for a while, loosening him with touches feathered teasingly over his prostate when he crooked his fingers, then grabbed his chin with his free hand, pulling him away from his neck so he could look him in the eyes. Sam blinked down at him as Dean asked, "Ready?"

"Course," Sam answered, surprised Dean would even ask.

Dean pulled his fingers free. They came with a pop that had him growling out praise, Sam shuddering and blushing all over again with it. Precome dribbled along his stomach. Dean grabbed his hips with both hands, one greasy with olive oil and one not, and lined himself up. Sam squeezed his eyes shut, tipping his head back into the cabinets as he drew in breath after breath, chest heaving, mouth open. The head of Dean's cock rested hot against his ring for a couple careful seconds, and then he slid in easy as a bullet chambering in a fresh-cleaned gun. Bottomed out in one thrust.

They fit together perfectly. Like they'd been designed for it, grown into it, always been meant to.

The position was ideal, Sam's eyes popping open when Dean glided over his prostate on the way in. He looked down, and Dean was looking up at him, eye contact snapping into place. And they were drunk, and they were horny, but they both still knew exactly what they were doing, and there wasn't enough denial in the world to go back now.

Sam felt like if he so much as blinked in the wrong way, the thread everything was hanging by would snap, and it would all come crashing down on top of both of them. It was an uncomfortably and depressingly familiar feeling, and he didn't know what to do to keep things from going as bad as they possibly could. He didn't have an awesome track record in that department.

No thinking. Couldn't think about it. So long as he didn't let himself think, who knew what could happen?

"F-fuck me," Sam blurted then, operating on pure instinct, added, "Big brother."

Somehow, that seemed to have been the right thing to say. Dean began to move in him, back and forth, holding Sam steady where his ass was firmly planted on the counter. He built a rhythm, quick and steady, in seconds, and leaned up to kiss Sam even as he pistoned in and out of him.

"Feel so good for me," Dean panted against Sam's mouth when they pulled apart so they could both suck in air. "So - fuck. Like I imagined."

Every thrust juddered through Sam, force he could feel up in his chest, muscles Dean had built digging graves and hopping fences driving him into Sam's prostate and all his other deepest, most sensitive spots over and over and over again. Sam did his best to grind down on him, the position not perfect but working for them. The movement of Dean's cock was a pulsing wave of lightning that sparkled along every nerve he had, and as Dean pulled back further to look up at him, eyes bright and lips red and cheeks flushed, Sam spoke without thinking.

"Fuck, you're pretty," he said roughly. "I ever told you that before?"

Dean laughed in time with his thrusts. "Nope."

"Sorry. You are." Sam dipped his head, kissed Dean, tried not to knock their teeth together in his desperate enthusiasm. "You're so pretty. Can't believe you're my…"

The word stuck in his throat. Dean didn't seem to notice.

"Real lucky, aren't we?" he asked. "The two of us."

Sam squeezed his shoulder as his movements got faster. His face wound up back in Dean's neck, and it felt right to keep it there, feeling the thundering of his brother's pulse against his mouth, hearing his sharp, heaving breath roaring in his ears above the slap of flesh. His cock was practically tearing back and forth across Sam's prostate, pleasure so intense it almost hurt, but he wanted it, wanted more.

Dean wrapped a hand, the oily one, around Sam's cock again, and started to pump. Sam whined in the back of his throat, teeth in Dean's skin, tasting sweat, tasting soap, tasting their laundry detergent. It wasn't perfect, of course it wasn't, Dean didn't know how he liked it, but it was good because it was him doing it, and Sam wasn't about to take over. It felt better right now to be holding on with both hands.

When Dean swept a thumb over his slit, Sam threw his head back with a sharp gasp, hit the cabinet door behind him. The impact burst across the back of his skull, but nothing was really painful right now.

He was close, wildly hoped that Dean was too. He ought to wait for him. He did his best to think about unsexy things, but the only thing that he could think of was Sam B and Dean B having sex, and it wasn't nearly as not-hot as it should be. As he wanted it to be.

When Dean came, gushing hot inside him, Sam came, too. He wouldn't have made it a whole lot longer. Dean groaned, gasped out Sam's name, took them both through it with a series of increasingly-shaky thrusts.

Sam's orgasms had always been like firecrackers: short, bright, intense. They weren't ever great when he was drunk, tended to be more of a fizzle than a bang, but this one wasn't bad. He couldn't help wondering if it was because of who he was with, the glittering golden starburst of heat that started in his stomach and hit the top of his head, fuzzing his vision for a whole ten seconds.

They both came down slow, when they were done. Sam pried cramping fingers off the cabinet handle so that he could drape both arms around Dean's shoulders. Dean put one hand on the counter to hold himself up, the other on Sam's hip, loose and comfortable. He leaned on him, not even bothering to pull out yet, almost his whole weight. Sam could feel the tremble in his legs as he breathed through his aftershocks.

Olive oil had somehow migrated all the way up to Sam's chest, matting the sparse hair there, and he imagined Dean wasn't in much better shape. They both needed a shower. Maybe they could shower together. Honestly, they probably needed to, didn't want to pass out and break something.

Sam was tired. Exhausted. Good excuse, along with the alcohol, not to talk. Good excuse not to think.

Sam stretched. There was a rubbery burn in his back that he knew would translate into a serious reckoning tomorrow, probably segueing into days of light workouts and stretches and IcyHot, but right now, he didn't have to care about it. His eyes had fallen closed, and he blinked them stickily open, waiting a second for his vision to focus up.

When it did, he finally noticed Sam B and Dean B, standing casually in the kitchen doorway.

"Shit - " Sam jumped violently. Apparently, that was enough for the olive oil that Dean had spilled earlier to make it under his ass, because he slid to one side with zero friction, having to throw a hand out to catch himself. Dean ripped free of him, prompting matching yelps of pain from both of them, and then nearly faceplanted directly into the edge of the counter when his feet shot slickly out from under him in opposite directions. Only nearly dislocating Sam's hip with a hand latched onto his thigh helped him.

"What the fuck, Sam, what the hell's wrong - " Irritated, Dean glanced over his shoulder, and Sam could only see a slice of his face, but soon as he saw who was standing behind him, he went so pale the freckles looked like blood spatter. "...oh, son of a bitch."

Nobody spoke for a long, long time. Or moved. It felt agonizingly long, probably only lasted about a minute, then Sam B took a deep breath.

"You know, we were drunk, too," he said. "Our first real time. Remember?"

He smiled fondly at Dean B, who returned it.

"Of course I do." Stepping forward, Dean B bent down to pick up the empty whiskey bottle, eyebrows rising as he examined it. "Jesus. Can't believe you guys had this and gave us beer. I mean, it's bottom-shelf, or whatever you'd call lower than bottom-shelf, but - "

"What the fuck are you two doing in here?" Dean demanded harshly, voice a low growl. The shock was gone, replaced by anger, and Sam realized that he'd moved, putting as much of himself as he could between Sam and their counterparts.

It felt...not necessarily good, but familiar, predictable, and the fact their patterns remained intact after what had just happened was comforting.

Both Sam B and Dean B looked completely taken aback by the question. Sam B was the one who answered first.

"Well, w-we. We live here now, apparently." He glanced at Dean B, who shrugged.

"Not our fault you were so loud."

Dean looked at Sam, who stared back. He really hadn't thought they were that loud, and he really, really, really hoped nobody else had heard, but. There were other rooms a whole hell of a lot closer to the kitchen than the one they'd put Sam B and Dean B in.

Not thinking about it right now, not thinking about it right now. That was another thing he'd deal with later.

Dean stepped suddenly away from the counter and from Sam, still staring at him, the movement so fast and jerky it was almost puppetish. He slipped again, fell right into Sam's arms, squeezing shoulders and biceps with both hands and looking up at him with wide green eyes. Sam didn't let him go, and it didn't look like Dean really wanted to make more than one half-hearted effort to get away from him.

"W-we - " Sam started, even though he had less than a grain of an idea about how he could possibly explain what the two of them had walked in on.

How long had they been there? How much had they seen? Did it really matter, for something so painfully, sweatily obvious, even in the aftermath?

"Please." Sam B put up a hand. "You don't have to explain anything to us, of all people. Don't worry." He put a tender arm around Dean B's waist, and smiled tenderly down at him. "We understand."

"Yeah." Again, Dean B returned the smile, and put his own arm around Sam B, before looking at Sam and Dean. "And, for what it's worth...congratulations, you two. We're happy for you. Really."

"Oh, thanks," Dean said, like he didn't quite know what else to do. Sam huffed out a strangled little laugh for the same reason.

Dean's weight was hot and solid, and his bare skin against Sam's felt good, even with eyes on them. He still didn't want to let him go, and Dean still didn't move, and that was. In the middle of everything else, his ass stinging and his cock raw and the blush on his face and neck and chest so intense it throbbed, that was good.

Another minute of staring and silence and motionlessness passed. This time, it was Dean B who cleared his throat, taking his arm from around Sam B.

"So," he announced, briskly clapping his hands in front of him and rubbing them together. "About that foursome."