Dean Winchester had never wanted the Iron Throne. He hadn’t wanted to rebel against the old king, had never meant to send the entire realm in violent war that would claim so many lives and cost him so many friends.
But he was a Winchester, and a Winchester does not stand idly by after his Lord Father is brutally executed before the whole court of King’s Landing, in the middle of a packed courtroom, on the whim of a cruel, mad king. A Winchester always pays his debts.
When Dean had called the banners at Casterly Rock, he had not risen alone. The Campbells of Riverrun were bound to the Winchesters by blood, and alongside them came the Harvelles of the Vale, and Lord Singer of Winterfell with all the swords of the North. But even as the leader of the rebellion, Dean had held onto the hope that, when the time came, someone else would step up and claim the Iron Throne in his stead. Hells, he had begged Robert Singer to take it, but the stubborn old man had refused him. He had all but shoved the crown on Dean’s head himself. It’s got to be you, boy. It can’t be anyone else. You’re the only one who can sort this mess out.
Dean Winchester, ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. What a joke.
The worst part of ruling the realm was the tedium. Dean emerged from the Small Council meeting with the beginning of a headache, a tight knot of pain right between his eyes.
He had been forced to listen to Lords Crowley and Zachariah argue over the minutiae of taxation for well over an hour, and he’d had enough of their oily obsequiousness for the day. What he wanted now was to have a drink with someone whose smile he could trust.
There was a White Cloak standing at the door of his chambers, but Dean could tell even from a distance that it wasn’t the one he was looking for. “Ser Michael. Where’s my brother?”
“I believe he is with Maester Castiel, Your Grace. Last I saw him, they were discussing an ancient Valyrian tome that your brother was keen to see.”
“A book. It figures.”
At age eleven, Sam had run away from home with the intent of becoming a maester. He’d hidden in an apple cart headed south towards Oldtown, but he’d never made it as far as the Citadel. He hadn’t even made it to Crakehall before their father’s men had brought him back, kicking and screaming. They had both been punished severely: Sam for disobeying direct orders, Dean for letting his little brother out of his sight. Sam had long ago abandoned that dream, but he had never lost his appetite for knowledge or his bizarre enthusiasm for dusty old books.
“Shall I send someone for him, Your Grace?”
Once in his chambers, Dean poured himself a tankard of ale and stripped off his doublet and his silks. They still made him feel uncomfortably exposed, these clothes, even after a year of peace. He had half a mind to send for his squire and request his armor, so he could spar in the yard for a while. It had been some time since he’d gotten the chance to swing a sword and he couldn’t allow himself to become soft. His father used to tell him that a great lord should be as skilled with a blade as the best of his knights, and Dean thought that the same rule probably applied to kings.
There was a knock on the door and Dean hastily covered himself in a robe. “Come in.”
It was Sam, armored and cloaked, carrying his helm in one hand and his Dornish spear in the other.
Dean remembered it well, the day Sam had joined the siege of King’s Landing with all the might of Dorne at his back. He had brought Dean the army that would turn the tide of the war, the army that gave them their victory. He was flying the crimson and gold banners of House Winchester but he was dressed in true Dornish fashion: he carried a spear and a small rounded shield, and his light armor of shiny metal disks was only partly visible under the brightly colored flowing robes of the desert riders. He was no longer the reedy youth that Dean remembered, the one who had sailed off four years ago without so much as a glance over his shoulder. This Sam was broad and tall, and his smile was blinding in his nut brown face when he dismounted to pull his brother in a bone-crushing hug. We’re here to save your sorry behinds, brother, he’d said. I’ve not forgotten you.
Now, a year later, Sam was clad in the pristine white armor of a knight of the Kingsguard, as he had been since the day of Dean’s coronation. By rights Casterly Rock and its lordship should have passed to Sam now that Dean was king, but Sam had wanted nothing to do with it. A king needs his brother at his side, he had said. I’m not leaving you again. So Sam had taken his vows and wore the white cloak, but still he had kept his Dornish spear, favoring it over the swords carried by his brothers in arms. Dean had seen firsthand how deadly he was with it, but it made the courtiers whisper behind their hands, as though he was breaching unwritten laws.
“I don’t see what’s wrong with a sword,” Dean said by way of greeting. It was an old argument but Sam indulged him with a half-smile.
“Dornishmen are fine weaponsmiths, Your Grace.”
Your Grace. That was an old argument, too. Dean was sure that Sam kept using the honorific, even in private, because he knew exactly how uncomfortable it made his brother.
“But you’re not Dornish. You were born in Casterly Rock same as I was, you little brat.”
Sam ignored him. He leaned his spear against the wall by the door, removed his gauntlets, then moved to pour himself a glass of wine without waiting for an invitation. At least his stubborn insistence at using titles didn’t extend to observing protocol. “You know, they say that the Dornish are also adept at producing queens.” He said it lightly, but he was glancing at Dean from the corners of his eyes.
Dean sighed. “I will honor my promise, Sam. We owe Dorne a debt and...”
“A Winchester always pays his debts. I know. I’ve heard that phrase from Father as often as you have.”
“Dorne wants a Dornish queen and they will get one. The Small Council is already making arrangements for the wedding. Lord Crowley says that I have been unwed for too long, that the smallfolk are starting to talk.”
Sam took a sip of wine and stepped closer. “I got to know Lady Lisa well during my stay in Sunspear.” He was trying to be encouraging, that much was obvious in his tone. “You’ll like her. She’s spirited, not at all like all these fragile ladies that flock in your courtroom and bat their eyelashes at you. In Dorne, the women are as hot-blooded as the men.”
Dean felt a wave of irritation, as he always did when Sam talked so fondly of his years in the south. It was childish, he knew, especially considering that Sam’s ties with Dorne had won them the war. But he still couldn’t help but remember how glad Sam had been to put thousands of miles between himself and his family.
“Who will squire for me, with you gone?”
Sam shrugged and didn’t even look up. He was packing his belongings with far too much enthusiasm for Dean’s liking. “I’m too old to squire for anyone anymore, Dean. You can find some other boy to fetch your sword for you.”
“I don’t want some other boy, Sammy. I want my brother.”
“This is what Father wants,” Sam said easily, as though that meant anything, as though Sam had ever given a damn about what their father wanted.
That was the first and last time that his father and his brother had ever agreed on anything for as long as Dean could remember. Sam became a ward of the Braedens of Sunspear, allegedly to strengthen the bonds between the two houses. Anyone who had spent time in Casterly Rock had known better - it was because Lord Winchester and his youngest son could no longer stand to breathe the same air.
Dean gritted his teeth, pushed the memory away. He turned his back on his brother and emptied his tankard in one long swallow. Then he said, “If you like the Braeden girl so much, perhaps you should wed her.”
Dean heard Sam put his wine glass down and felt him move closer, until he was standing less than an inch away. When he spoke, his voice was warm against the back of Dean’s neck. “I’ve already made my vows, remember?” His arms reached around Dean’s waist and untied the belt holding his robe closed. Dean didn’t resist. Sam’s hands moved back up and pushed the robe off until it crumpled to the floor. Sam’s breastplate was cool against Dean’s bare shoulderblades and it made him shiver. “Sworn to serve and protect my king,” Sam said, pressing a kiss at the back of Dean’s neck.
“The door?” Dean’s voice sounded rough even to his own ears.
“It’s locked, Your Grace.”
Dean smirked, still didn’t move when Sam’s hands slid from his shoulders, down his arms and then onto his bare hips, his thumbs rubbing circles over his hipbones. “Presumptuous of you, Ser.”
“Why else would you summon me to your chambers in the middle of the day?” Sam said, and Dean felt him smile against his skin. Dean turned around in his arms, eyebrow raised.
“Maybe I just wanted to share a drink with my little brother,” he said. And that had been the plan, initially. But as he was talking he reached up to unclasp the fastenings of Sam’s cloak. It slid down and pooled at their feet with a whisper. Sam made to reach forward and grab him, but Dean stopped him with a firm hand to his chest. “Stay still,” he said quietly. “Your king commands you.”
Sam let his arms fall back to his sides and waited. King or not, it was clear by the glint in his eyes that he was just humoring Dean.
The armor of a knight of the Kingsguard was beautiful and intricate, white enameled scales with fastenings made of silver. Dean let his fingers glide over the cool metal as he walked around his brother, careful not to step on the cloak at his feet. When he came back around he glanced up and saw that Sam was looking at him curiously, but still he did not speak or move. Dean reached behind Sam’s forearm and with practiced fingers unclasped one vambrace, then the other. He carefully set each piece on the floor, careful not to scuff them. Then he kneeled, ignoring Sam’s sharp intake of breath, and slowly, slowly, removed boots and greaves. Pushed himself up on his knees and leaned closer to loosen the plates of steel covering his brother’s thighs, slid them off and put down with the rest.
He could see the outline of Sam’s cock, thick and heavy through the light trousers he wore underneath his armor. He ached to taste it, wanted to let it spring free and press his tongue right where moisture was collecting at the tip, leaking slick against the linen. He hesitated for a moment and above him Sam made a choked noise as though he could read Dean’s mind, his fingers twitching at his sides. Dean looked up, ran his hands up and down Sam’s clothed thighs, then pushed himself back to his feet. Sam swore under his breath and it made Dean smile even though he could feel his own heartbeat loud and fast, thundering at his temples and making him slightly dizzy.
“Stay still,” Dean repeated, even though Sam hadn’t moved. He stepped back around Sam and unclasped his pauldrons, and finally his gorget and his breastplate, handling each piece as reverently as if it were made of crystal. This suit of armor, it was a symbol of Sam’s vows. He had sworn his life to Dean, and Dean could not let himself forget what it meant.
By the time he was done they were both breathing heavily and Sam had his eyes screwed tightly shut. He raised his arm obediently when Dean grabbed the hem of his undershirt and pulled it off, but kept his eyes closed, even when Dean loosened the drawstrings of his trousers and pushed them down past his hips, leaving him as naked as Dean had been throughout.
Dean allowed himself a moment to drink in the sight of Sam’s long golden limbs, his flushed, straining cock, his wide chest and the breadth of his shoulders, then reached up to wrap his hand at the back of Sam’s neck.
“Sammy,” he whispered. Sam opened his eyes and Dean pulled him down and kissed him.
Sam came alive then, his hands flying up to touch like he meant to make up for lost time. One of his hands landed on Dean’s ass and hauled him close so he was straddling Sam’s thigh. They stumbled towards the massive feather bed, a luxury that Dean grudgingly loved, especially when he could shove Sam down in the middle of it and crawl on top of him. He wanted to get close, closer, to feel Sam warm and alive and his against every inch of his skin.
“Sworn to protect and serve,” he growled, feeling drunk with greed. Sam, who had grown up wild and rebellious, who had never learned to bite his tongue around their father, no matter how severe the punishment. Sam who had left them the first chance he got. Now Sam would never leave him again. If the cost was being forced to rule an entire kingdom, Dean would take it. “Your life, bound to mine.”
“Yes, Your Grace,” Sam groaned, tilting his head back when Dean’s lips found his pulse, teeth closing on the skin of his neck.
“You vowed to keep all my secrets.” He pressed whole-bodied against Sam, unable to stop his hips from rocking reflexively, grinding his cock, slick and leaking, into the soft skin of Sam’s stomach. “To obey all my commands.”
Sam’s eyes flashed. He closed his hands over Dean’s shoulders, pushing up and rolling them over, but Dean didn’t resist. This was what he wanted.
He didn’t resist either when Sam slid down his body, dragging his stubble all along Dean’s chest from his sternum to his navel. He stared down and watched as Sam swallowed him whole, swirling his tongue around the length of Dean’s cock, and he willingly spread his thighs when Sam groped blindly for the small vial of oil Dean kept between his pillows and curled two long clever fingers inside him. “Sammy,” he cried, “Sam, Sam, Sam,” like a chant or a prayer, until Sam’s slid his lips up and down on Dean’s cock and began sucking him in earnest.
He kept Dean pinned down with one arm and sucked and stroked and Dean felt himself unravelling in no time at all, alternatively petting and pulling at Sam’s long hair until he came with a shout, jerking and and shivering. Sam kept on sucking him gently through the aftershocks and stayed there, lapping at his cock and his over-sensitive balls until Dean hissed and took hold of Sam’s upper arm to drag him back up the bed, sealing theirs mouths together. Sam moaned into the kiss, his cock burning hot in the crease of Dean’s thigh.
“Dean,” Sam said, his voice wrecked, pupils blown wide, honorifics long forgotten. “Dean, let me, I need to-”
“Do it, Sammy,” Dean whispered against his mouth, hiking his legs up. It was almost better this way. Still buzzing with the afterglow, Dean felt warm all over, possessive and pliant and loose-limbed as Sam rocked into him with long, sure strokes. He was able to slide his hands all along Sam’s flanks, murmur encouragements, and focus on Sam’s face, on how his brow furrowed as though in concentration, on how his mouth dropped open when the thrust of his hips sped up and became erratic, and on how his face twisted when he stilled after pushing in, hard, one last time.
“Sammy,” he murmured again, touching his brother’s face, stroking his thumbs over his bristly cheeks, and then pulled him down for a kiss. He let his legs fall back down and wound his fingers in Sam's hair and kissed him for a long time.
After the kiss gently broke off, Sam slid off of Dean and rolled onto his side, his face pressed in the crook of Dean's neck. His hand stroked Dean's stomach and his voice was teasing when he murmured, “Have I served you well, Your Grace?”
Dean closed his eyes and groaned. “You have to stop calling me that when we’re like this. It’s all I can think of when you address me in public.”
“Maybe that’s the intent,” Sam said, biting him on the shoulder.
After they’d cleaned up, Dean lounged back against the feather pillows and watched Sam dress. He felt good, decadent almost, a feeling he rarely allowed himself. One year of peace hadn’t been enough to allow him to forget the price he’d paid for it. He watched the afternoon sun play across the muscles of Sam’s back, counted the pale scars that he knew as well as his own. When Sam stood and slid back into his linen undershirt, Dean stood with him and helped him clasp his plate and his cloak back into place. Neither of them spoke.
“Join me for dinner tonight?” Dean said finally, when Sam stood tall and armored again, looking every inch like the white knights of songs and legends. Sam nodded, kissed him almost chastely before making for the door. “Oh, and have my squire sent in, will you?”
Sam turned on his heel. “What for? So he can help you back into your silks?” He sounded genuinely puzzled, but his eyes glittered with challenge.
“Watch it, boy. Have my squire sent in with my armor,” Dean growled. “Then meet me in the courtyard, little brother. I’ll show you that a good old-fashioned sword is more than a match for your spear.”
“As you wish. Your Grace.”