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i am never without it

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Okay, so maybe keeping the creepy clown doll even after Sam beheaded it and left it lying on the pavement was kind of an asshole move. Still, it's worth it to see Sam jump back like a startled lemur when he finds it lying on his bed, trip over some invisible part of the motel carpet and narrowly miss keeling right over, arms pinwheeling madly. Dean winces a bit when he hears the loud thump as six feet five inches of little brother collides hard with the wall. Sam leaves a cloud of rainbow-coloured glitter in his wake.

"Very funny, jerk," Sam huffs, picking himself up and making a futile attempt to brush himself off.

"Dude, that is a lost cause. You're just gonna get glitter everywhere. Shove those in a garbage bag," Dean motions to his clothes, "and I'll let you burn 'em later."

Sam pulls a pretty epic bitchface at him. "You're just trying to get me out of my clothes," he grumbles, and, okay, he might not be far off the mark. Dean waggles his eyebrows suggestively, and Sam heaves a put-upon sigh.

"I just got the living crap beaten out of me by evil killer clowns. All I want right now is a shower and my bed. You're not getting laid."

"Don't be like that, Sammy," Dean picks up the doll and shakes it a bit. Its head pops off the broken neck and lolls crazily to one side, and Sam closes his eyes briefly. Dean's thumb pokes through one of the torn seams and comes into contact with something hard and plasticky-feeling. "Hey, cool," he pulls out a tiny plastic heart. "Check it out, Sammy. Be my Valentine?" he tosses it at Sam, who catches it easily one-handed by sheer reflex.

Sam snorts when he sees what he's holding, but this time Dean can't help but think his heart isn't in it. Heh. Pun unintended. Sometimes Dean cracks himself up. Sam just shrugs, glances away in what would be a classic emo-Sam pose if it weren't for all the glitter in his hair, but his expression is shuttered, like he's thought of about eight different things to say that Dean wouldn't want to hear.

"I'm taking a shower," he says instead, and the next thing Dean knows he's disappeared with a spray of glitter and a sharp slam of the door, leaving Dean behind to wonder what just happened, here, exactly.

Maybe it was nothing, he reasons. Sam's a moody bitch at the best of times, and it's sort of understandable that getting smacked around by his childhood nightmares would get his shorts in a twist. And certainly Sam's assertion that he wasn't getting laid tonight has the lie put to it in short order when Dean catches him coming out of the bathroom, shoves the cheap, scratchy motel towel out of the way so he can pull Sam as close to him as possible to make damn well sure he's still alive and whole under there, then shoves him face first onto the bed and climbs up after him, shucking his own jeans and t-shirt as he goes. He drops a little too much lube over his fingers, but he figures that in the long run it won't really matter, is rewarded with a shudder from Sam as he slips in one, then two fingers, works him open with quick, efficient strokes. He can see the muscles standing out on Sam's arms, quivering a little as he works to keep himself up off the bed, breathing coming in ragged gasps, can see the bruises blossoming where the goddamned fucking nightmare clowns tried to reduce his insides to pulp. Fuckers.

For all that Sam is the one who's better with words, Dean is the one who talks more when they fuck. Not that he'll admit it even under torture, but he enjoys seeing the effect his words have on Sam. The way a single "God, Sam, so fucking hot—" makes Sam's whole body flush momentarily, the way Sam times his own thrusts with Dean's words, the rhythm of his speech, gives him a rush that nothing else does. Sam's obviously hurting after the day's events, so Dean makes sure to go a little slower than usual, puts both hands on Sam's hips rather than trying to wrap an arm around his waist in case his ribs are too tender, listens for the tell-tale noises that mean he's hitting the right spot to make sure his brother is getting just as much out of this as he is. It's been a while –Dean tries to err on the side of caution when it comes to Sam these days, never entirely sure when that other shoe is going to finally drop—but it's easy enough to settle back into their usual rhythm, to lose himself a little in the sound of his brother's panting breaths and tight heat, aware only of the beginnings of his orgasm coiling in his gut. He's a little surprised to find Sam little more than half-hard at best when he slides a hand down to wrap around his cock, is even more surprised when Sam shifts under him and gently pulls his hand away, thrusting back in a move clearly meant to encourage him to keep going. Well, fuck that, Dean thinks.

"You okay?" Dean is pretty sure he is a goddamned superhero for stopping now, but Sam just nods.

"Fine. I'm fine, Dean, c'mon..." Sam shifts and thrusts back again, clenching around him until Dean's eyes slam shut in spite of himself, because Christ, Sam has always known exactly the right ways to make Dean come apart too.

It doesn't take long for him to come after that, biting his bottom lip so hard he almost draws blood. He pulls out slowly, carefully, but even so he feels Sam flinch a little under him, and he reaches out to run a hand over one hip, as if his brother was a skittish horse that needed calming.

"Did I hurt you?"

Sam shakes his head. "No, I'm just sore. Ribs hurt. It's fine, nothing a little ice and more Advil won't fix."

"You want me to—" Dean doesn't finish, because Sam's already tugging the bed sheet over himself.

"It's fine," Sam repeats. "I'm just tired, okay? Leave it."

Dean makes a face at that, but there's really no arguing with Sam when he gets like this. He doesn't really want to argue with him anyway, not after what happened today. He stays seated on the bed for a couple more minutes until he starts to feel a little stupid, staring at his brother while he's still stark naked, on top of feeling weirdly guilty because he got off and Sam didn't and he doesn't like it when the sex isn't enjoyed by all parties. It's a thing, okay? Dean likes to think of himself as a pretty decent guy when it comes to sex, and he gets off on the other person getting off just as much as anything else, especially when said other person is Sam. So now it's just all weird, and it makes Dean want to go out and find the nearest clown and beat the living shit out of it, just so he'll feel like he's done something, at least, even if it's not actually productive or useful.

Finally he tugs his boxers back on, goes to the bathroom and fetches water and Advil and a chemical cold pack for Sam's ribs. Because that, at least, he can do. Sam swallows the pills, thanks him for the ice pack, and rolls over and shuts his eyes. He's not sleeping —Dean has always been able to tell when he's faking— but it's definitely not the time to call him on it. Besides, sometimes fake sleep leads to real sleep, which is something neither one of them is getting a lot of these days anyway. Dean deliberately doesn't get into Sam's bed, just slides under the cold sheets of his own bed and shivers a little, waiting for them to warm up a little. Even then, he doesn't fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning, listening to the regular, hushed rhythm of Sam's breathing.

After a night filled with nightmares and little sleep, Sam's a mess in the morning. Dean can see him wince and bite the insides of his cheeks as he tries to sit up, then winces himself in sympathy when he sees the array of black and blue bruises mottling his whole torso, front and back. He can't see Sam's legs, but by the way his brother's moving he bets they're in not much better shape. No wonder Sam wasn't into anything but sleeping last night, he thinks with another twinge of guilt.

"I ain't a doctor, but I'm prescribing bed rest for you today," he comments mildly, fiddling with the coffee pot provided by the motel.

Sam groans under his breath. "Yeah, no argument here. I think my bruises have bruises. You want the first shower?"

"Nah," Dean shakes his head. "I'll go grab us some breakfast. You take a shower, it'll loosen you up a bit before I get back."

"Yeah, okay."

By the time he gets back with breakfast —coffee and a box of doughnuts with red-and-white sprinkles in honour of Valentine's Day— Sam's dressed and sitting on his bed with his tablet, busily researching, or maybe playing Angry Birds, it's kind of hard to tell from his expression. Dean hands him a heart-shaped doughnut, which gets him a weird look but not much more before Sam takes one of the cups off coffee and bites into the doughnut without saying a word.

Dean stretches back out on his own bed, adds a finger of whiskey to his coffee, and flips on the television. He spends the morning catching up on his newfound favourite south-American soap opera and trying not to hover anxiously while Sam dutifully takes his Advil and takes it easy and only gets up when he needs to take a leak, limping badly on muscles that have gone painfully stiff. Dean goes out to get them sandwiches for lunch, but by the time the evening rolls around he can feel himself starting to get more than a little restless.

"You know," Sam remarks mildly from where he's fiddling with the power cord to the tablet, "normal people go to bars on their days off and not during working hours."

Dean squints at him. "What?"

"I'm just saying, if you wanted to go out, today would be a good day for that. We're not on a case, and you're starting to drive me a little crazy with your caged tiger act."

"I will have you know that I have not been acting in the slightest like a caged tiger!" Dean sputters indignantly. He totally hasn't been, either. He's been a model of restraint.

Sam rolls his eyes. "Sure, you haven't. It's Valentine's Day, though. Don't you still celebrate that? Go trolling for single women? Unattached Drifter Christmas, or whatever?"

Dean shrugs. "It sort of lost its lustre after Famine fucked it up for everyone. I keep thinking of that couple who literally ate each other out, and... yeah. I dunno, it's sort of gross."

His brother actually looks surprised at that. "Huh. I didn't think anything could put you off sex."

"Shut up," Dean tosses a pillow at Sam, then immediately feels guilty when Sam catches it and promptly doubles over in pain. "Shit, sorry."

Sam just waves him off. "'s fine."

Still, if Sam wants space, then Dean can give him that, at least. They do spend a lot of time cooped up together, and even if Dean's more than okay with that, well, he can sort of get why Sam might not want to be around him every second of the day. Besides, it's not like Sam's going to get very far in his condition. Not that that keeps Dean from reminding him fifteen times to call him on his cell if there's anything ("Anything at all, you hear me?") until Sam orders him out of the room.

Dean grins and winks on his way out. "Don't wait up, Sammy!"

"I never do."

After that, things mostly go back to normal. Dean doesn't find anyone he's really willing to go to bed with or who's willing to go to bed with him —and frankly, that last little adventure with the Amazons killed what little enthusiasm he had left for the pursuit of loose women. His heart hasn't been in it for a while, anyway, even if it's a little weird for him to admit to himself that maybe casual sex isn't what he's looking for anymore. Not after he got a taste of what stability might be like and realized he kind of enjoyed it.

Sam recovers slowly, but after a couple of days he's able to get around without being hunched over like an old man, and the next day they're finally able to blow out of town and get back to the routine of hunting evil shit and killing it while still getting absolutely squat about Dick Roman from any of their rapidly-dwindling sources. Sam's still a little squirrelly, wakes up a couple of times drenched in sweat from nightmares he refuses to talk about, but apart from worrying at the scar on his palm until Dean's sure he's going to wear right through the skin, he seems to be dealing okay with things. Well, everything except Dean, that is. Dean's not an idiot, he can tell when things aren't okay with Sam, when Sam's pulling away, but he'll be damned if he can figure out just what the hell is going on inside his brother's freaky head. It's nothing he can really put his finger on, is the problem. Sam isn't sulking, isn't giving him the cold shoulder, nothing quite so obvious. He's just —he seems sad, if Dean had to find a word that fits. But it doesn't make any sense, because it's not like there's anything specific to be sad about right now. Yes, pretty much everyone they love except each other is dead, and the world is probably going to end, again, but that's not new, so it's not like Sam should suddenly be sadder than before, right?

So, okay, Dean's a little out of his depth, but what's new? The only way out is through, so he just ducks his head, lets Sam find them a new hunt, and tries very hard not to get killed, because that's what Sam asked him to do. It's not as hard as it might seem, for once, because Sam seems determined to be the one getting killed instead, and gets tossed a really impressive distance by the spirit of an investment banker, of all things, and goes flying down several flights of stairs. Dean hears a sharp crack as his head impacts with the marble floor, winces in sympathy and hurries to get the last of the remains —a collection of fingernail clippings the guy kept in a jar because he was apparently seriously OCD, which is just gross— properly salted and burned. Sam's still out but beginning to stir by the time he sprints down the steps to check on him.

"Hey, Sammy, you good?"

Sam groans and presses a hand to the knot on the side of his head. "Oh God, two of you... one was hard enough to live with," he jokes weakly, which is a very good sign.

"Okay, concussion we can deal with. And hey, at least the ghost didn't get that pretty face of yours. It's not like your winning personality is going to get you the chicks, am I right?"

Sam's expression turns shuttered at that, but he nods. "Sure, whatever. Help me up?"

He holds out his hand, and Dean hauls him to his feet, pats him down just in case there's a compound fracture he hasn't told him about, but he seems otherwise fine. The spirit is toast, and for once they're not covered in slime or mud or entrails, so Dean's calling it a win. He generously lets Sam have the first shower, even though technically it's his turn since Sam got first shower on the last hunt too, and congratulates himself on a job well-done. Sam's already asleep by the time he's finished with his own shower, though how he can sleep when his head must be ringing like a church bell is beyond Dean. He's definitely out for the count, though, frowning a little in his sleep, a far cry from the kid who used to sleep with his mouth hanging open and drooling onto his pillow, relaxed and innocent-looking.

Dean glances at the clock, debating his options. He's still wired from the hunt, but the idea of going out to a bar is just freaking tiring at this point. There's a 24-hour laundromat a couple of blocks away. He looks over at where Sam has folded his clothes and left them on the chair by the bed, because that's just the kind of OCD freak he is —and not the kind of freak that keeps his fingernail clippings, for which Dean is totally grateful— and that cinches it for him. Yeah, technically it's Sam's turn for laundry duty too, but he's had the crap kicked out of him on two consecutive hunts, three if you count the Amazons, and Dean figures it won't hurt anyone if he does his kid brother a favour. Besides, it's always good to have ammunition in your guilt arsenal when dealing with Sam. So he grabs both their duffels and Sam's perfectly-folded clothes and heads out, leaving a note on the table between the beds just in case Sam wakes up and freaks out because he's not there, or something.

It would take a lot for Dean to admit this —probably one of the lesser forms of torture he can name from his little tour in Hell— but he actually kind of likes doing laundry. It's one of those things that has a definable goal, something that's easy to accomplish, and if you don't do it one hundred percent right, well, nobody dies because you made a mistake. A low-stress activity, one of the few he has, and when he gets a laundromat all to himself he likes to take advantage of it to chill out. He doesn't have a joint with him this time, but he has his flask, and he dumps his own clothes in a washing machine and starts it up before beginning to sort Sam's clothes into whites, darks and jeans. He goes through the pockets quickly —he's only ever shredded one bill in his life, and that was one too many— then stops in surprise when his hand closes around something hard and cold and small.

"What the fuck?"

He blinks at the tiny clown heart nestled in the palm of his hand. Sam must have kept it, he thinks, except that these aren't the jeans he was wearing that day —those are the ones that are in a plastic bag because they're still covered in glitter. So that means Sam's been switching the heart from pocket to pocket for the past few days, just like... just like it was a real Valentine's.

Shit. It feels like a bucket of ice water has been dumped over his head. He juggles the little piece of plastic in his hand for a couple of seconds, then shoves it in his own pocket while he waits. When the laundry's done, he carefully slips it back into the pocket of the same jeans he found it in, and considers his options. There is no way in Hell that he is going to talk about this with Sam. Talking never leads to anything good with them, anyway. Still, he has to do something about this, because it's obvious that Sam's got all the wrong idea about all of it, as usual. Well, Dean Winchester is nothing if not resourceful. Hell, resourceful is practically his middle name. So he folds all the clean laundry, brings it back to the motel room and makes a big show of what an awesome brother he is. He also pretends not to notice when Sam furtively checks the pockets of his jeans to make sure the heart is still there, because Dean is a goddamned ninja.

Still, that leaves him with the perplexing dilemma of what, exactly, he's supposed to do now. What the Hell kind of present says 'Happy Valentine's' or whatever to your brother whom you also happen to be fucking, but you're not technically dating? It's a goddamned quandary, is what it is, and that's how, not even twenty-four hours later, Dean finds himself staring morosely at a bunch of very generic-looking cards in the middle of a department store. None of them quite covers 'incestuous soulmates,' he thinks sourly.

"Girl troubles?"

He turns in time to see a pretty girl with blonde ringlets wearing a flattering-yet-preppy little grey skirt, navy blue tights and a matching argyle sweater with pale blue accents. Any other day, and he'd probably already have her phone number. This is all Sam's fault.

"Sort of."

"Guy trouble?" she cocks her head with a suddenly knowing look, and he shrugs. "Hah. So... how bad is it? Like, said-the-wrong-thing bad, oh-God-take-me-back bad, or I'm-over-a-week-late-for-Valentine's bad?"

He shrugs again. "Uh, something in-between. Though I guess I am a week late. It's just... I didn't know he was expecting anything, you know?" God, he's talking to some random chick about his love life. Pathetic. Sam would laugh if he was here.

She wrinkles her nose a bit. It looks really cute. "So, this is more like a please-be-my-boyfriend-I-didn't-realize-I-had-feelings thing?"

Oh, Christ. "I guess."

She nods. "You're going to need more than a Hallmark card. I mean, obviously you're guy's not a girl, so it'll depend a bit on what he's like, but you should get him something nice. Something he'd like and use. Like, I dunno, a watch or something. And, you know, take him out somewhere. Do you guys go out at all?"

"Not really."

"Then you definitely need to do that. Okay, I gotta get going. Good luck!" she pats him once on the arm and disappears in a blur of blonde and blue, leaving him to scowl some more at the card display.

Screw it. He and Sam have never been greeting-card types anyway, and maybe that girl was onto something. He's got a bit of cash left over, he can afford to take Sam somewhere —okay, maybe not nice, but better than a diner, anyway. There's a Biggerson's in town, but he'd rather not chance it. Too many gross things happen in Biggerson's on a regular basis for him to really trust the place anymore. So he heads back to the motel room and ducks into the shower, shaves carefully, and breaks out the cologne he usually only wears when he's going out.

Sam's watching him out of the corner of his eye, clearly noting the clean shirt and slacks he's putting on, and Dean flashes him a grin. "Shake a leg, Sammy. Get cleaned up or I'm going without you!"

Sam's face scrunches up. "What?"

"Dinner. Now go shower, you're rank."

Dean grins, pulls up one of the motel chairs and straddles it, waiting patiently while Sam gives him one more bemused look, then obediently goes off to shower. He even puts on his nice clothes without being prompted, gets in the car without saying a word, though Dean can feel his eyes on him the whole time. When they get to the restaurant, he sees Sam's eyebrows shoot up to his hairline.

"Outback Steakhouse?"

Dean reaches into the back seat and pulls out the Stetson he saved after their trip back in time, enjoying the way Sam automatically cringes when he puts it on. "That's right, mate. We're eatin' out tonight!"

"Your Australian accent is terrible."

"Don't be a wet blanket, Sammy. Come on!"

The food is surprisingly good, and there's a blossoming onion that's practically the size of Dean's head, which is awesome. Sam blushes and ducks his head every time Dean tries to talk with an Australian accent, but that's all part of the fun, because all the waiters have equally bad accents and nobody really seems to care. He makes Sam order the biggest steak on the menu, then helps himself to half of it and grins even more broadly when Sam kicks him under the table. It's nice, though. Dean can't for the life of him figure out why they haven't done this before. He orders a beer and Sam doesn't even make a face, just orders one for himself and lets Dean clink the necks of their bottles together. They don't talk shop, either, practically of a common accord, and instead go back down memory lane and talk about places they went when they were kids, the best swimming holes they ever found, and Sam even tells a story about a date he and Jess went on once which ended up with them stranded in the middle of nowhere for two hours waiting for a tow truck because her piece-of-shit car broke down so badly even Sam couldn't fix it. It's something, this, because Sam never talks about Stanford, hasn't talked about Jess in... God, six years. Not except in passing, when he couldn't help it, like when that douchebag Brady showed up. So Dean returns the favour, tells him all about this concert he went to with Cassie, some indie band whose name he can't remember now, and enjoys the incredulous smile Sam gets on his face at the thought of his brother voluntarily listening to anything other than classic rock.

By the time they make it back to the hotel they both have three beers in them and are stuffed to the gills with steak and cheesecake —it looked good enough even for Dean to pass up on his beloved pie for once— and Sam is looking relaxed and even kind of happy, for once, if still a little uncertain. He looks like he's waiting for something bad to happen, for the other shoe to drop, and the whole thing kind of breaks Dean's heart a little, that their lives suck so hard now that Sam doesn't trust anything good that happens to him not to turn to shit at the drop of a hat. He fishes in his duffel, pulls out the little present he got for Sam, and hands it over.

"Got you something."

Sam narrows his eyes a bit. "Why?"

Dean rolls his eyes. "Just because. What, I can't give you a present?"

"It's not Christmas and it's not my birthday. In fact, it's not any special kind of day at all. Is it booby-trapped?"

"No, it's not booby-trapped."

"Does it have clowns on it? Because that shit is really last week, Dean."

"No, it doesn't have clowns —Jesus, Sam, just open it. I promise it's nice, okay? Next time I won't get you anything if you're going to be like this."

"Okay, sorry."

Sam holds up both hands palm outward in a gesture of apology, then sets about unwrapping the present, carefully unwrapping the paper and easing off the Scotch tape one piece at a time. On the plus side, Dean is now wise to his brother's OCD ways, and has totally mastered the art of wrapping presents using only two pieces of Scotch tape (sometimes less, and one of these days he's going to learn that tapeless method of wrapping if it kills him), so it only takes a few seconds before Sam has a brand new iPod player in his lap.

"I got you one with plenty of room on it so you can get audiobooks and whatever, so you don't just have to listen to music on your runs," Dean points out. "And, you know, movies and whatever, for when there's no TV and you're bored or something. When I'm not around to entertain you, of course," he forces a grin, wipes his hands on his pants because his palms have suddenly gone clammy. Sam's looking down at the thing like it might bite him. "But, uh, you know. If you don't like it—"

"No, I do. It's great," Sam looks up at him, and Dean can see the corners of his mouth tugging upward into the beginnings of a smile. "Thanks."

Okay, this isn't quite the way Dean envisioned this going. He's not really sure how it's meant to go, exactly, but somewhere in his mind there would be enthusiastic and maybe slightly drunken thank-you sex. Instead, this feels a little awkward. Sam's already fiddling with the present, though, and that's something. Dean slides over from his bed to Sam's, ostensibly to look over his shoulder at what he's doing, and shoves himself into Sam's personal space, pressing their legs together. Sometimes a little subtlety is called for, after all. Sam seems to get it, though, because he puts the gadget aside and lets Dean nudge him back onto the bed, already reaching for the buttons on Dean's shirt.

Dressing up for this was a bad idea, Dean decides thirty seconds later. There are way too many buttons between himself and Sam, and definitely way too many layers. The only thing keeping him from simply ripping Sam's shirt right off him is the surefire knowledge that Sam will bitch at him endlessly for destroying his best shirt, and maybe a little rightfully so, even if it's for a good cause. After all, finding good shirts that fit his brother at a price they can afford is a little bit like trying to find naturally-occurring ice cubes in the desert.

Still, it's more than a little frustrating, and it seems like Sam agrees with him, because he lets out an impatient-sounding little groan as he fumbles at Dean's belt and shoves his pants down past his hips, letting Dean do the rest of the work to get them all the way off. It's a little tricky while he's still working on the buttons on Sam's shirt, but he manages well enough anyway, then settles the matter of his own shirt by simply pulling it up over his own head and tossing it aside, figuring that if he did rip a button or two, it's nothing they can't handle later.

"C'mon, off," he tugs at Sam's jeans —the only good pair he owns, which still aren't as nice as Dean's dress pants, but he's not going to hold that agains him now— and has to press the heel of his palm hard against his dick through his boxers at the sight of Sam wriggling right out of his jeans, commando and already half-hard. "Jesus, Sammy."

Sam grins up at him. "Hey, you took me on a date. I figured you'd at least expect me to put out."

"It wasn't a —fuck it," Dean shakes his head incredulously, then turns his attention to the task at hand, which is far, far more important and enjoyable than arguing with his brother about whether or not taking him to a steakhouse for dinner constitutes a date.

Sam bucks a little when Dean takes him in hand, head rolling back a little to expose the long line of his neck, and for a second Dean is torn between moving up along all that skin in order to bite at it, to leave it marked up so tomorrow there'll be no mistaking what happened, or to stick with his original plan of making Sam come right apart with his mouth. He decides to stick with Plan A, already teasing Sam with his fingers, watching pre-come beading at the head of Sam's cock which is rapidly filling, looking more inviting by the second.

"God, Sam, you should see yourself," he says, raking his eyes up and down Sam's body, taking in what feels like miles of tanned skin and beautifully-defined muscle. "I could keep you here all night."

Sam makes another frustrated noise, hips moving in spite of himself. "God, I hope not," he manages tightly, and Dean laughs.

They've been doing this long enough that Dean knows exactly what Sam likes, and his own dick gives an appreciative twitch at the moan Sam lets out when he settles between his legs and applies his tongue to the head of Sam's dick, swirling it around and lapping ever-so-gently at the slit, the taste of pre-come bitter and familiar against his taste buds. Sam's hands are already clenching around the sheets, his little brother always so considerate about not grabbing him behind the head the way he clearly wants to.

"Fuck, Dean..."

The only problem with blow jobs is that it's pretty much impossible to talk. So instead of telling Sam just how fucking awesome he feels, Dean sets about trying to show him exactly that with his fingers and tongue and lips, until Sam is panting and gasping under him and desperately trying to keep himself still, even though Dean frankly wouldn't give a damn if he did choose to move. He moves easily up and down, jaw relaxed, works his tongue against the vein on the underside of Sam's cock, smiles to himself when he feels Sam bring up one leg, his heel sliding against the bed in a futile attempt to gain a little more purchase there, then bobs up and down a little more, until he can feel the tension in his brother's body change. He pulls up then, the wet popping sound all but drowned out by Sam's mewl of distress at the loss of contact, and he pets his flank reassuringly.

"Easy, Sammy. I got you, don't worry. I'll take care of you."

Sam raises his head, eyes heavy-lidded, pupils blown so wide that there isn't even a speck of hazel left to see, but he doesn't say anything, his chest heaving. Dean reaches for the lube in the top drawer of the night stand —carefully stashed there, just in case— and coats his fingers in it, acutely aware of Sam's eyes on him, watching every gesture hungrily. Dean leans in to kiss him, feels Sam's tongue work against his, tasting himself in Dean's tongue, and it's hotter than it has any right to be.

For a moment Dean almost doesn't want to break off the kiss, just linger here for the whole fucking night, as stupid as it probably sounds. But then Sam moves against him, one hand running over the smooth plane of his back, and it serves to remind him forcefully that there are other things he needs to be doing right now. He pulls away slowly, settles back between his brother's legs and pushing at Sam until he lies back again, goes back to the very important business of applying his tongue to Sam's cock, and smiles a little to himself as Sam makes a choked-off sound and nearly comes off the bed when Dean pushes one lube-coated finger inside him.

There's no rushing this time. This isn't the desperate make-sure-we're-both-still-alive sex that is the norm after a rough hunt, Sam face-down on the bed and bracing himself for Dean. They don't usually do it this way, Sam spread out for Dean to enjoy at his leisure, trembling a little and writhing as Dean works him open ever so slowly. Sam is making the most awesome noises, for which Dean is going to mock him for the rest of their lives if he remembers to do it, tiny whimpers that he's trying unsuccessfully to keep quiet, hips moving in small, contained circles as Dean licks and sucks delicately all along the length of his cock. He's not too far gone yet, but it's only a matter of time, Dean thinks, and adds a second finger, crooking both in order to get at the spot he knows will make Sam utterly lose his mind. He's rewarded a second later when Sam jerks violently and thrusts up toward him with a broken moan, caught between wanting to shove further into Dean's mouth and to thrust harder against his fingers. Dean pulls off, rubs at Sam's prostate again.

"That's it, Sammy. So good," he murmurs encouragingly as Sam curses and twists a little, his entire body begging for more contact. "That's it, come on."

"Oh God..." Sam's head whips back and forth on the pillow, eyes screwed shut. "Fuck, Dean, please!"

"You're doing so good," Dean licks at the head of his cock, delicately, knowing it won't be enough, does it again when Sam swears and moans and bucks, adds a third finger because he knows it'll drive Sam crazy.

"Dean!" Sam's perilously close to yelling, now, which is just how Dean likes it. "Oh, fuck, shit, Dean, please, please! Fuck, God, please..."

It only takes Dean wrapping his mouth over Sam's cock, swallowing once, before Sam comes hard, coming close to making Dean choke before he's able to swallow most of it, the rest dribbling a bit down his chin. Sam has gone boneless under him, breathing raggedly, but he pushes himself up on his elbows with an effort, gives Dean an easy smile.

"Come on. You going to keep me waiting all night?"

Dean grins. "You think you can take it, after all that?"

Sam rolls his eyes, but the smile doesn't leave his face. He settles back, legs spread in invitation, and Dean doesn't need more than that. He nudges Sam until he cants his hips, pulls his brother's legs up until Sam gets the message and locks his ankles behind him, pushes in slowly, letting Sam adjust to him. Sam's head is thrown back, his whole body perfectly still as he holds his breath for a second, then exhales as Dean pushes in a little further, timing himself with Sam's breaths. Dean stays poised for a minute that feels like an hour, until Sam nods to tell him he's ready. He loses himself in the rhythm, the feeling of hot and good and Sam, Sam all around him. The steady rhythm of Sam's breathing, the sound of Sam's voice, murmuring encouragement to him, the feel of Sam moving under him, urging him on, Sam getting hard again, dick trapped between them. He can feel a familiar heat rising in the pit of his belly, reaches between them to wrap a hand around Sam's cock, pulling and twisting a little roughly, leans in to capture Sam's mouth with his own, and feels Sam jerk and come only a few seconds before his own orgasm crashes over him like a freaking wave, carrying him away until all he sees is darkness.

When he opens his eyes again he's lying next to Sam, and doesn't really remember pulling out or moving over, except that he must have at some point, because, well, here they are. Sam's got his hands laced behind his head, looking sated and pleased, like a cat that's glutted itself on a whole pitcher of cream. Dean props himself up on one elbow and nudges him in the ribs.

"You good?"

"Better than. Why the sudden solicitousness?" Sam turns to him and arches an eyebrow.

Dean snorts and rolls his eyes. "What, I can't want you to have a good time too?" Sam just looks bemused, until Dean shrugs and moves to settle back down on the bed. "Fine, next time I won't ask."

At that Sam sits up, yanking at the sheet —a futile attempt since it's thoroughly tangled at the foot of the bed. "Okay, seriously, what is going on with you? I mean, don't get me wrong, this is great, but... what the hell?"

Dean rescues the sheet for him with a well-placed foot. "No idea what you're talking about. It's nice to know, though, that I totally blew your mind to the point where you're incoherent." He's trying for nonchalant, but he's not entirely sure it's working.

"Dean." Sam sounds stern, but it's pretty hard to take him seriously when he's carefully avoiding the wet spot in the bed and only half-covered with a sheet and his hair is sticking out in all different directions.

"Sam."

"No, seriously. You take me out to dinner, you buy me a present... what are you playing at?"

"Oh my God," Dean makes a show of burying his face in his pillow. "Can't you just go to sleep after sex like a normal guy?"

"That's my point," Sam says, a little nonsensically, and Dean could swear by now there's a slightly hysterical edge to his voice. "You're still here. You're... cuddling."

"Am not. We could be, but you insist on sitting up."

"But you don't... I..." Sam flaps a hand at the other bed, words apparently failing him.

Dean heaves a put-upon sigh. "You're going to make me talk about this, aren't you? After all the trouble I went to so that I wouldn't have to."

"You're making my head hurt."

There's no getting out of it, it seems. "I sort of found the heart. You know, when I was doing laundry. It's not like I was snooping, or anything," Dean sits up against the headboard and finds himself wishing really hard that they weren't doing this while still naked and less than six inches from each other. "But, you know, it was there."

Sam stiffens at that, turns his head and picks at the sheet. "Uh..."

"No, it's..." In for a penny, in for a pound, Dean tells himself, even though he's pretty sure he'd rather be facing off against killer clowns than this. "I didn't want you to get the wrong idea."

The sheet appears to hold endless fascination. "No, I get it, it's fine," Sam says quietly, a flush creeping up his cheeks. "It was stupid to keep it. I know you don't mean it, even if you do it all the time. I know I'm stupid to hope otherwise."

Dean blinks a little at that. "You lost me. What do I do all the time?"

"The Valentine thing. You do it every year. I don't even think you know you're doing it, do you?"

"What Valentine thing?" Dean is really starting to wish that, just once, a conversation would go the way he was expecting today. "No," he says when it looks like Sam is going to try to brush him off. "Seriously, tell me. What Valentine thing?"

Sam shrugs and still won't meet his eyes. "Every year you find a heart and you hand it over and ask me to be your Valentine. You seriously don't remember? Last year with the creepy mannequin, and the year before that there was the really gross human heart in a box. And before that there was that corpse with the heart tattoo, and let's not forget the kelpie heart in a jar."

Dean chuckles at the memory. "That was a classic."

Sam just nods, then swings his legs off the bed. "I'm gonna go clean up."

"No, hey, wait," Dean lunges and catches him by the wrist to keep him in place. "Why did you say I don't mean it?"

Sam huffs and tugs a little half-heartedly to try to free himself from Dean's grip. "Because you don't, okay? It's fine, I get it, can we let this go, please?"

"Sam..." Dean stops, gropes for the right words. "Look, the Valentine's things, they were a gag, sure. I mean, a little plastic heart, it's pretty lame as presents go, right? You think that's all this... shit, this is why I hate talking about feelings." He takes a breath. "You mean more to me than that, okay?"

For the first time in what feels like forever, Sam looks up at that. "What?"

Dean rolls his eyes. "You're an idiot. I don't do Valentines, or whatever, because it's lame and it doesn't mean anything. I mean, the whole holiday thing is a joke. But that doesn't mean that, you know, this," he gestures vaguely, "doesn't mean anything."

Sam looks away again. "But you... you know. With women. I thought, um," he starts to fiddle with the sheet again with his free hand, but he's not trying to get loose from Dean's grip anymore, which is a step in the right direction. "I thought it was just, you know, when you couldn't find anything better."

"Yeah, well, you thought wrong. Now come back here," Dean pulls at him until Sam obeys, albeit a little reluctantly, then shuffles over a little awkwardly until he's behind Sam, not quite holding him.

"So... why do you? Sleep with other people, I mean." Sam's poking at this doggedly, like he's picking at an old wound.

"I won't do it anymore, how's that?" he offers, but Sam shakes his head, ruining his shot at maybe not having to explain himself. He blows out a breath, and feels Sam shiver a little as the warm air gusts across his skin. "Okay, fine. But we're not talking about this ever again, you got me? I sort of... I thought you wanted to keep it casual. You know, like, until maybe you found your feet properly again. You've always wanted a normal life, right? Can't really be normal if you're fucking your brother."

"Technically you do most of the fucking," Sam points out, but his voice is shaking, like he wants to say something completely different.

"We good now?"

Sam nods, but he twists a little in Dean's arms until their lips are almost touching, his eyes so close Dean can see his own reflection in them, a pinprick image of himself staring back at him. "I don't want normal, I want you."

Dean just hauls him back onto the bed, manoeuvring them away from the now-cold wet spot. "You're such a girl."

"Says the guy who bought me heart-shaped doughnuts." Sam settles back against him, apparently totally fine with being the little spoon in this relationship, which is all to the good as far as Dean is concerned. If there's going to be any cuddling happening, he wants to be the one in control of it.

"They came that way. I bought you a very cool, undeniably manly iPod. I can always get you a pink case for it if you insist, Samantha. Now shut up and go to sleep before you make me regret all of this."

Sam huffs a laugh at that. "Yeah, okay. Love you too."

Trust Sam to one-up him by saying in three words what Dean's been trying to say for the past twenty minutes. So Dean jabs him a little in the ribs for good measure, presses up even closer than before, and lets the sound of Sam's breathing lull him to sleep.