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A Walk in Space

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The things about himself Dean took pride in could easily be counted on the fingers of one hand: his deftness with weapons, his prowess in bed, and his love for Sam.

Yet after he slaughtered a house full of civilians (didn’t matter they were grade-A douchebags trying to rape a teenage girl), knowing his way around any kind of weapon no longer seemed quite so fantastarastic.

And his confidence in the other two items on the list wavered almost as soon as he began to confuse the terms lover and brother like a bad poet desperate for a rhyme.

Though of course that occurred to him only after the act, er, fact.

“You’re amazing,” Sam mumbled as Dean rolled off him, and snuggled into his side to mouth his neck.

With a lazy grunt Dean turned his head to grant him better access and let his limbs melt into the familiar comfort of his memory foam.

He couldn’t’ve agreed more. The last hour deserved to go down in the annals of Winchester history, not too far behind the unforgettable weekend he’d spent with Lisa at age nineteen.

After Sam had woken him up with a phenomenal blowjob and then proceeded to fuck him into the mattress, topping that seemed the only possible reaction, pun intended.

Dean had grown up with the notion that being an awesome big brother meant keeping your little brother fed and making sure you could always kick his ass. If you went running, you’d better outpace him, if you practiced fighting, you’d better beat him, and if he started the day by fucking you like there was no tomorrow—well, then you had to retaliate with some even more vigorous chitty chitty bang bang, drawing it out as long as you could, showing off all your moves, until he writhed beneath you, swearing and begging for release.

Of course, like all the patterns of behavior Dean had adopted in his childhood, this one soon came back to bite him in the ass.

Or, in this case, in the neck.

Sam ran his tongue over the skin his teeth had worried, and patted Dean’s hipbone. “I could do this all day.”

“Big talk, baby brother, don’t y—” Dean broke off when Sam snickered against his skin. He risked a glance at his brother’s groin and let his head fall back on his pillow with a thunk. “You gotta be kidding me.”

His giant freak of a little brother was getting hard again.

“Why?” Sam asked, a sly twist to his mouth, and stroked a hand over his already half-hard cock. “Did I wear you out, cowboy?”

Dean made an undignified noise of protest and hit Sam with his pillow. When Sam merely responded with an appreciative groan, Dean prompted, stretching his limbs in a prelude to getting out of bed, “Don’t you have research to do? Deep, geeky stuff, y’know?”

Why shouldn’t Sam take his boner to the library? He always got off on dusty old books.

In one swift move Sam slid between his legs. His eyes were riveted on Dean’s groin with the piercing stare he normally dedicated to casefiles on freaky deaths. A thrill ran down Dean’s spine.

“No, unless by deep stuff you mean this.” Sam pushed a finger inside Dean’s hole, still loose and slick with lube and come.

“Sam,” Dean whined, squirming.

Not that he wasn’t proud of Sam’s stamina, in a twisted big brother sort of way, but in trying to outdo Sam he’d already shot his whole wad. They’d fooled around plenty yesterday too, and the day before, and the day before that, ‘cause ever since they started fucking again, Sam—who’d lived like a friggin’ monk for years—acted like a witch had put her nasty mojo on him and his entrails were gonna shrivel if he didn’t get his giant paws all over Dean’s skin. Which was great in itself, and led to great sex, which was even better, but Dean might have broken his dick somewhere along the road.

Sam slithered closer, a man on a mission. (A mission that hopefully wasn’t Make-Sure-My-Big-Brother’s-Dick-Never-Works-Again.)

Fingernails grazed the jut of Dean’s hipbones. Strands of hair tickled the inside of his thighs. Every sensuous detail laid bare Sam’s intentions.

Yet Dean still squeaked at the first flick of his brother’s tongue.

Sam laughed. “You’re such a baby.” His warm breath hit Dean’s skin and wafted inside him, as intimate as the touch of a tongue or a finger.

“Am not.”

In direct contradiction to this protest, Dean’s hips pistoned forward when Sam’s tongue entered him again, and he bit down on his lip, hard.

One large hand pressing down on Dean’s stomach to keep him in place, Sam licked and sucked his way inside with light, playful swipes of his tongue.

After a minute, he drew back a couple inches to ask, “Why did you buy strawberry-flavored K-Y?”

“You sure it’s not your sperm that’s strawberry-flavored, dude? Wouldn’t be a surprise with all that girly shit you put in your latt—”

Before Dean could finish, Sam climbed back over him, bracketed his face and mashed their mouths together. Dean tried hard not to think of where Sam’s tongue had been a moment earlier—gross, dude—as he tasted himself on Sam’s tongue, and Sam, and something vaguely fruity. Unfazed, Sam roamed his mouth, sultry and coercive, his erection digging into Dean’s hip, and soon all tastes and thoughts but Sam – Sam – Sam dispersed.

When they broke apart, Dean commented, a little too breathless to pass as cocky, “I think it’s cherry.”

Sam let out a surprised, delighted laugh and gazed down at his face like Dean was the most precious thing he’d ever seen.

The sight sent a stab of anxiety through Dean’s gut.

Thing was, Dean thought it would stop. The look. This look. It got under his skin, how Sam kept staring at him the past few months, much the same as a starved puppy fixated on a juicy piece of steak. Or as little Sammy had gawked at the world at large out of his wet nickel eyes, a world where other kids had parents, and blue ice-cream, and shiny new sneakers, and birthday parties, and Sammy only ever had Dean. These days, Sam still only had Dean; though he no longer dreamed of a different life, he’d somehow persuaded himself he was in love with Dean and pined for more of him. Well, he got that at least, didn’t he? There was no longer any need for Sam to look at him like that.

And yet Sam kept staring.

Staring in a way that was designed for a grander screen, not the pathetic C-grade story of Dean’s life.

Dean would have run, if running had been an option. But he’d never had the luxury of turning his back on whatever scared him most, not since he’d carried a small, crying bundle out of a burning house and Dad gave him a .45.

He straightened the wings of his shoulder blades against his trustworthy memory foam and grunted, “You gonna shove your dick into me sometime, or do you plan to pussy around all day?”

Something dark and hungry flared up behind Sam’s eyes.

“If that’s how you want it,” he hissed against Dean’s neck and braced himself on his arms. Without further warning he pushed inside, a single blunt shove that had Dean curling his toes into the sheets.

Giving Dean no time to accommodate him, Sam withdrew again, slammed right back in, and set up a murderous pace.

His teeth grazed the patch of skin on Dean’s neck they’d worried earlier.

Dean jerked his head away. It fucking stung. “Possessive… b-bastard,” he panted.

Sam chortled, low and triumphant. “Pussying out on me, Dean, really?”

Dean swore under his breath and snuck his right leg towards Sam’s ankle, ready to spin them and show his baby brother who the real pussy was, when Sam’s hand gripped his oversensitive dick.

“Sam-ngh, I can’t,” he gasped as his cock made a painful attempt to fill again, his leg flopping back onto the mattress.

“You can.” Sam’s dark eyes bored into him, insistent. All teasing rivalry had been wiped from his features, replaced by the tenderest devotion, scorching in its intensity, intimate and absolute, and the hurt migrated from Dean’s groin straight to his chest. “I want you to. Please, Dean, for me.”

And that right there was the one thing Dean had never been able to refuse.

He dug his nails into Sam’s shoulders and threw back his head, abandoning himself to the ministrations of Sam’s hand on his dick, the rough glide of Sam’s mouth over his throat, the slap of Sam’s hips against his ass. But his stupid traitor of a dick only gave a pitiful twitch, and eventually Sam let his hand fall away. Then Sam pulsed inside him and collapsed on his chest with a hoarse cry, and that was it.

He ran his hands through Sam’s sweat-streaked hair until Sam pulled out and rolled off him.

“Wow. Best morning ever.” With a quick kiss to his temple Sam levered himself into a sitting position.

Dean blinked up at him, feeling cold even though Sam was beaming with the electrical intensity he usually reserved for visits to the Lebanon library.

He tugged at the sheets. “You better bring me breakfast, bitch.”

“Anyone ever tell you you’re high maintenance?”

Sam trailed a thumb across Dean’s cheekbone and swung himself out of bed.

Dean watched his brother’s sweaty, muscular back disappear through the doorway and rubbed his neck. His fingers were trembling.

The morning had started off fan-damn-tastic. Waking up wrapped inside Sam’s sturdy arms, Sam’s fingers idly tracing a devil’s trap into his shoulder. It had made him feel safe. Loved. Then two spectacular orgasms had followed. And then—

He’d never had any illusions he could compete with Sam in any way that mattered. Sam was a good person and a genius, and Dean was neither. But not even managing to keep up in the most basic ways? Not in a million years had he considered that.

Sure, Sam outgrew him at fifteen—so what? Dean trained twice as hard and never lost a fight, no matter at how much of a disadvantage his little brother’s four extra inches put him.

Sure, Sam had longer legs and could outpace him with practically no effort—so what? Dean clenched his jaw and ran faster, always the first to cross the invisible finish line during their training sessions.

Play past the pain. Survive on sheer willpower alone. That’s how he’d always pulled through.

But his stupid dick had to have a mind of its own.

Sam had asked him to come and Dean had failed him. It left the same bitter taste in his mouth as the time he’d failed to get eight-year-old Sammy that Luke Skywalker action figure, or the time he’d failed to dissuade Dad from moving towns when Sam was twelve and in the middle of his favorite new science project.

He slumped back against the pillow and fell into an uneasy doze.

***

There was a haunting in Fosston, Minnesota. A standard salt-and-burn, except for how Sam grabbed him above the blazing grave of their murderous ex-stripper slash ghost, and captured his lips in a fierce kiss.

“I can’t believe you said ecdysiast!” he exclaimed as he stepped back, grinning like a little kid. “That’s so adorable.”

“Hey, no need to diss me ’cause I happen to know a ten-dollar word you don’t.” Dean flipped him off and tried to suppress a shiver.

The look was back on Sam’s face.

The intensity of his gaze, smoldering against the backdrop of the fire-bright grave, rooted Dean to the spot and—paradoxically—chilled him. He wasn’t sure anymore if it was the look itself that made him uncomfortable. No, maybe what really scared him was the prospect that one day he would look up and it would be gone. Gone like Mom, gone like Dad, gone like so many other good things in his life.

He shuffled forward and warmed his hands over the crackling grave.

An arm came to rest around his shoulders. Dean couldn’t come up with a manly excuse to lean into his brother and did it nonetheless.

“I can’t believe you’re wearing like fifty layers and still feel cold,” Sam said and kissed the crown of his head. Probably just to show off his extra four inches.

Freaking little brother complex. If Dean didn’t have first-hand—plus first-mouth, plus first-ass—experience that Sam was… proportional, to say the least, he’d have accused him of overcompensation.

“Fifty layers? That’s rich coming from you, dontcha think?”

The hand on Dean’s arm tightened, but Sam didn’t rise to the bait. He sighed, shifted on his feet. A strand of his hair brushed against Dean’s temple. “Penny for your thoughts?”

“I’m thinking you should make an appointment with an obgyn about these hot flashes of yours,” Dean answered automatically, and if he still soaked up the warmth Sam radiated, sue him.

“Hilarious, Dean. And really?”

“Really, dude?” Dean twisted his head to gape at him. “Now we can’t even gank a random ghost without talking about our feelings? Could you be any more gay?”

Sam glanced pointedly down at his hand on Dean’s arm. Dean huffed out a laugh, touché.

They stood there together and debated the merits of The Grand Illusion until the flames died out over the remains of Sandra Smith aka Elsa the Pole-Queen.

His earlier anxiety only returned when they made a pit stop on the drive back and he fucked Sam against the door of the toilet stall at the gas station.

The whole place looked like it could do with a good scrub. Dean made a show of wrapping his hand into his jacket before touching the knob, ignoring Sam’s cackle behind him, and instead of bracing his hands on the wall he simply curled them into Sam’s strong shoulders. These healthy precautions taken, he almost welcomed the fetid smell of urine, sweat and mildew that assaulted his nose, truth be told. It was something real, something he understood, something that grounded him as he threatened to lose himself in the tight heat of Sam’s ass.

It’s kind of like being chained to a comet, Jimmy had described Cas’s presence inside him. Well, then being together with Sam was like a walk in space without protective suit or oxygen tank. More often than not, Dean felt like he was drifting among the stars, weightless, breathless, completely out of his element. Waiting for Wedge Antilles to save him maybe.

He brushed the long bangs out of Sam’s face and shifted his weight to change the angle, searching for better friction, rocking deeper inside his brother, the sharp edge of Sam’s knee and the metal end of Sam’s belt digging into his side.

Sam’s mouth fell open in a hoarse grunt. His eyelids fluttered with the rhythm of Dean’s thrusts. When Dean nibbled on his earlobe, Sam twisted his head to the side in a wanton plea for more.

A militant vegan sticker appeared on the door right next to his flushed face.

Dean barely resisted the urge to roll his eyes. If you had to post inspirational messages in grimy public toilets, you really needed a life. And possibly some meat, fast.

Further down Dean spotted the scrawled quote: Everyone needs a place. It shouldn’t be inside of someone else.

Freaking public restroom poets.

The breath hitched in his throat with the quiet force of an imploding star and he came. Sam followed him a moment later, opening glazed eyes at him while Dean blinked the whiteness from his vision.

“What was that?” Sam frowned at him.

Dean pointed at the vegan sign next to Sam’s head, grateful his finger didn’t shake. Sam turned his head and snorted. “If you make a single joke about hiding the sausage, I’m gonna kill you.”

“Nah, I’m not wasting my awesome wit on you, Mr. Wet Blanket,” Dean quipped back, zipping his jeans and pushing out of the stall with the easy confidence he always put on like a second jacket.

***

Sam’s hand came down on his cheek in a sharp slap.

Kinky, Sam. Dean blinked his eyes open, wondering if he’d fallen asleep during sex.

“Whasatfor?” he slurred out. Everything was blurry.

“I told you to stay awake.” Sam sounded pissed, and … terrified? An instant later he came into sharp focus, crouched above Dean on the motel bed, shirt and hands covered in blood, and his face pale, fuck, so terribly pale.

“S’my… y’okay?”

Sam’s laugh carried a hysterical edge. “Am I…” He glanced at his hands. “Not mine.”

Propofol-thick relief spread through Dean’s veins; morphed into a new wave of vertigo.

Another slap. “Stay with me, Dean!”

“’m not in the mood,” Dean mumbled. His cheek tingled. Heaviness pervaded his arms, weighed on his eyelids—

Slap number three, accompanied by a pitch-perfect imitation of Dad’s commando voice. “Don’t close your eyes!”

Dutifully, Dean fixed his eyes on his brother. “Stop hittin’ me!”

“Don’t be such a wuss!” This time the sting pierced his abdomen.

“What’re ya doin’?”

“You had a nasty run-in with a black dog, there’s a huge gash on your stomach, you’ve lost a lot of blood and now I’m trying to patch your sorry ass back together,” Sam explained in a rush, his hands busy with whatever painful torture party he had going on with Dean’s stomach.

Stitches, it dawned on Dean. Followed by the witty comeback, Just helping you train your reflexes, Sammy. Can’t afford you to get all complacent. Which he kept to himself, because Sam had a sharp needle in his hand and Dean wasn’t actually suicidal.

He made an attempt to peer down at his stomach. At the edge of his vision, blurring into nothingness, he spotted blood and pink—

“Dude,” he protested, roused by the sight, his voice too faint to carry much bite. “You’re not stitchin’ me up with that!”

“Why not?”

“’s pink,” Dean explained. That shoulda been obvious.

“We don’t have any other thread right now,” Sam hissed, “so shut up and take it like a man. And don’t fall asleep!”

Dean did as he was told. The stitches hurt like—well, not quite like Hell, Dean could compare—as did the whiskey Sam poured over the wound. Dean gritted his teeth and examined the weird pattern of stains on the motel ceiling.

A bottle of water materialized in front of his face. He woulda preferred the whiskey, but he drank the water instead, and the liquid sloshed down his throat, cool and soothing.

Once Sam finished cleaning his wound, Dean risked another glance at his stomach, and felt a jolt of pride: even from his odd angle the stitches looked fabulously neat, Sam’s steady hands at their finest; almost neat enough to forget they were… pink.

Sam then bandaged the wound and dabbed the other minor lacerations which Dean had failed to notice so far with a cotton ball.

His head felt light, almost blissfully empty, and his body relaxed under the nimble movements of Sam’s hands, sometimes gentle, sometimes stinging, always comforting, always safe.

It became more and more difficult not to give in to the wish to let go and sleep and leave Sam to take care of the rest, so Dean babbled whatever came to his mind, from wild speculations on what had caused the dark stains on the ceiling to fervent declarations of love for Sam’s strong, capable hands, until his throat ran dry.

Sam’s breath hitched a couple times, and he said Shut up, though never like he meant it.

Eventually, Sam reached a fine cut just below Dean’s left elbow. Dean expected the touch of cotton again, but instead damp skin caressed his, harsh gusts of breath and a tickling wisp of hair.

He shifted his head a fraction. Sam’s head was pressed against his arm, and a fine tremor ran through the line of his shoulders.

Sam was crying.

He longed to reach out, to offer comfort, but all he managed was a weak “Sammy” and a slight wiggle of his elbow.

Sam didn’t react. He clutched at Dean’s arm and bathed it in tearful breaths, the mattress shaking with his misery.

If it hadn’t been for the memory of the black dog bolting straight at Sam, baring its ugly fangs, Dean mighta regretted getting hurt and upsetting Sam. But an alive Sam, no matter how upset, was always better than the alternative. And Sam was—

Christ, Sam was very much alive.

Sam’s breathing had changed. Sped up, like the fast, erratic throb of Dean’s pulse.

Teeth grazed Dean’s skin. Spit drizzled onto his arm. Lips closed around him. A hint of tongue. More teeth.

Dean gazed down in horrified curiosity.

Like an infant at the breast of his mother, Sam was suckling on the cut on his forearm. His head bobbed up and down in a rhythmic motion which undulated through his whole body and then the mattress, and one of his hands, God, one of his hands was fisted into his pants—no trace of infancy there.

Instead: Sam drinking his blood. And jerking off to it.

Sam sucked sharply on his arm and Dean whimpered. He was gonna pass out for real this time.

In a wild flash he remembered blood trickling down his thigh, that first time. Sam lapped it up, almost like an—no, not as an apology, because that would mean Sam had something to apologize for. A speck of blood glistened on the corner of his mouth when Sam stared at him afterwards, face twisted as though he’d murdered Dean. So Dean made a stupid joke along the lines of I get it. You’re a big boy now and tugged Sam towards his bedroom for a second round. It was either that or punch Sam and run, and he couldn’t do that, not with Cain’s prophecy still roaring in his ears and the Mark itching on his forearm, avid for another brother sacrifice. Sam had chuckled and wiped a hand across his mouth, the speckle of blood and that godawful expression both mercifully gone, and Dean hated Sam for bringing the memory back to him.

In its wake followed Sam’s hoarse cries echoing outside Bobby’s panic room. Sam standing over a dead demon’s body, his face dripping with blood like the fugly mug of a vamp who’d just feasted. Sam’s hands around his throat, a rubble of glass; Sam walking out on him, face more cutting than anything Dean had experienced in Hell. Sam and Ruby. Ruby.

Hot, angry tears filled his eyes at how Sam had gone and tainted this thing between them. He crunched his eyes shut to keep them from falling.

Enveloped in the obscurity behind his lids, he concentrated on the rise and fall of his ribcage—breathe: in, out, in, out—and blocked out the slurps, pants and swats further below.

In, out. In, out.

A numb sensation had settled around the wound on his stomach. It crept down his legs and up his chest.

In… out… in…

By the time Sam bucked and stilled, Dean could no longer feel his limbs.

Good thing too, ‘cause otherwise he woulda knocked Sam unconscious—more unconscious than Dean was at this point, make no mistake. Much more.

After what mighta been hours or days of stillness Sam crawled up to bury his wet face in Dean’s neck.

“You had me so scared,” he whispered, sounding like the frightened six-year-old who’d asked Is Dad coming back? and not at all like the—the monster who’d licked blood from the cut on Dean’s arm.

With a huge effort, Dean raised his hand and patted his brother’s cheek.

“’S okay,” he said softly. “I’m okay.”

His thumb traced a devil’s trap over his brother’s cheekbone, and he felt Sam smile against his fingers.

***

The next morning Dean stumbled into the bathroom on woozy feet and had a minor meltdown under the shower.

Once he’d dried off and put on fresh clothes, he felt a good deal calmer and decided nothing had happened.

Sam tended to show extreme reactions in situations of great stress—the latest example was making Lester sell his soul, back when he was searching for Dean and Crowley. The thought still made Dean’s skin crawl and they hadn’t talked about it since.

But Dean exhibited his own fair share of extreme behavior. After what had happened at Randy’s, he was a fine one to talk.

Besides, there was nothing to talk about.

Sam had sucked a little on a cut on his arm and jacked off to release the tension—something Dean had frequently encouraged him to do during their claustrophobic motel room youth. The latter part anyway. If Dean had a nickel every time he’d jerked off to relieve stress, he’d out-Gates Bill Gates.

As for the sucking—it might not be standard medical procedure, so what? There was no trace of demon blood inside Dean, not anymore. It wasn’t gonna trigger a relapse. And anyway, it had been a shallow cut. No harm, no foul.

By the time he’d chugged down a couple Tylenols and polished off a pyramid of pancakes swimming in maple syrup at the diner across the street, he was the Buddha master of zen, convinced it woulda been surprising, hell worrying even, if Sam had acted in any other way.

He looked up from his cleared plate to find Sam watching him over the rim of his coffee, a canny expression on his face.

With studied nonchalance, Sam said, “Have you ever thought about a safe word?”

Dean started and glanced around the diner. At this early hour it was empty, thank God. “What?”

“A safe word. Something you use during sex so—”

Sam looked ready to give Dean a two-hour lecture on the topic, complete with drawing convoluted charts on their napkins and using their cute waitress as a stand-in anatomical model, so Dean hastily interrupted him, “I know what a safe word is, dude.”

“Then pick one.”

Dean gaped at his brother in horror. This was about last night. Sam had gotten off on it. So—Sam enjoyed it. The bloodsucking had only been the first step. Sam was getting bored and craved some freakishly kinky action—

“Freak,” he proposed, just to say something. And no, he wasn’t freaked. Not at all. He’d never been shy about experimenting. It was just—he preferred his dependable Baby with her smoothly purring engine to a flashy Prius any day. Take that as you will.

Sam rolled his eyes. “Dean, you call me a freak all the time. It has to be something you wouldn’t normally say. Something like Opisthoproctus.”

This ridiculous suggestion sounded so much like the nerdish kid he’d raised that Dean immediately felt lighter inside. “Dude, I’m never gonna remember that!” he protested, and followed it up with a few digs at Sam’s weird hobby.

Annoyance at Dean’s disrespect for the deep-sea fauna radiated off Sam like that bioluminescence shit he never shut up about, but sadly he wouldn’t be distracted from the topic in general.

When the waitress came to refill their coffee, Dean had to suppress the urge to ask her with a suggestive wink if she woulda guessed that the mild-mannered giant sitting opposite him got his rocks off on bloodplay, crazy, huh, sweetheart?

Except Sam was glaring daggers at the poor girl. Right then she would probably have believed him capable of anything, even triple homicide.

Dean kicked Sam’s shin and gave her an extra nice smile. With an impatient noise at the back of his throat Sam captured his foot between his legs.

Which did not send a thrill of pleasure straight to Dean’s dick.

Okay, it did.

In his defense, Sam had very nice calves, all strength and solid muscle, like the rest of him.

As soon as the waitress was out of earshot, Sam leaned across the table, eyes black as their coffee. “Stop staring at her rack unless you want your safe word to be slut.” His tongue darted out to wet his lips.

“Nah, you’re putting in a mighty good word for caveman right now,” Dean shot back and sighed as Sam’s legs squeezed his foot. Then they released him.

Dean did not feel disappointed. Not one bit.

“I mean it.” Sam settled back into his seat. The hyper-possessive Neanderthal attitude bled out of his frame. “What if I do something you don’t like?” A note of honest, not the stupid-jealous kind of upset crept into his voice, and Dean’s heart clenched in answer.

He ran through all the options that came to mind. First he discarded the words he didn’t wanna use—such as food items, because he loved his food, okay. Next he dismissed the expressions he woulda loved to use if they weren’t already in use, i.e. code words—though watching Sam scramble away without his pants if Dean said Poughkeepsie during sex would be one hell of a show. Reluctantly he also bypassed the terms he woulda picked if he hadn’t been afraid of hurting Sam’s feelings—dog made the very top of the list.

“Okay,” Dean said eventually, “what about jellyfish?”

Sam wrinkled his nose as though he found the choice distasteful. Then he nodded in assent. “Jellyfish it is, then.”

***

A couple weeks passed without Dean’s newfound safe word coming into action, Sam seemingly content to carry on as before.

Life was uneventful, by Winchester standards at least. They fucked, they hunted, they fucked some more; they hustled pool, shot beer cans, bitched at the TV, and got into a major fight—about Dean’s hair gel preferences.

Like everything, it started with a hunt. It involved a coven of witches dead-set on reminding Dean why he hated witches with a passion. Before they could off them all, one laid a curse on Dean. She still got kebabed of course, but the curse was vicious enough that Dean might have tracked her into the afterlife if Sam hadn’t saved him from puking his guts out with a spell he’d found in one of the Men of Letters lore books.

Wicked, man.

Or not so much.

Said spell happened to have unforeseen repercussions—putting Dean in touch with his feminine side. (The fine print once Sam bothered to read it contained some general shit about heightened emotional urges, but that was obviously crap.)

Suddenly Dean hankered to cook 24/7 and scrub every corner of the bunker clean. And when Sam was talking a million words per minute about a new exorcism he’d come across in his research, his whole nerd face shining, Dean couldn’t tear his eyes away and listened with what was without doubt a ridiculously dopey expression. (He might also have smothered Sam’s face in kisses.)

None of this woulda troubled him too much, but Sam didn’t even realize anything was wrong! Not until Dean tore off one of his shirt buttons when they made out in the library, and instead of running his hands over Sam’s bare chest he ducked under the table to retrieve the button and hastened to find needle and thread to sew it back on. (And fainted when Sam tried to take the shirt away from him and get him interested in the main action again. But he was gonna deny that bit to the end of his days.)

Needless to say, he couldn’t admit how much that pissed him off, so he snapped at Sam for buying him the wrong brand of hair gel at the next opportunity.

Sam retaliated with gibes about Dean’s fifty-dollar hair gel, and then it was a lot of silent glaring and sleeping in separate rooms, until Dean, like the awesome big brother he was, made it up to Sam by letting him pick the aliases on their next hunt.

The sullen wrinkles on Sam’s forehead had barely smoothed out and the memory foam had hardly welcomed them back in her loving embrace, when Cas dropped by one night, bearing a sixpack of El Sol in each hand and plenty of news about life on Cloud Nine.

“You look happy,” said Cas in his endearingly straightforward fashion while Sam went to store the beer in the fridge. “So does Sam.”

Dean shrugged awkwardly. The last time he’d spoken to Cas he hid away in his room, frustrated and lonely, wishing his brother back, while Sam slunk through the bunker as though someone had kicked a puppy in front of him. “Yeah, well. Life’s good.”

“I’m glad. You both deserve to be happy,” Cas declared, brows knitted in a solemn squint, and sat down in front of the TV.

Together they watched a couple episodes of Game of Thrones. Transfixed, Cas stared at the screen, while Dean tried to grill him for details about his relationship with Hannah. On Cas’s other side sat Sam. His glare transmitted exactly what he thought about Dean’s unsubtle questioning—which still proved too subtle for Cas to react, dammit. Honestly, though, Sam’s choice of conversation topics wasn’t very Oscar Wilde either—when Dean came back into the room with a refill of popcorn, he found them talking about ducks, for Christ’s sake.

Later they played poker in the library. Of course it ended with Cas and Sam both getting soaked; Dean was just that good. Cas had the advantage of the perfect poker face, and plenty of enthusiasm to boot, but he’d never quite gotten the hang of the game. As for Sam, he was good, real good, but he’d learnt all his tricks from Dean.

Since Sam recognized his inferiority at the card table, he did his best to distract Dean under it. Which was why Dean suddenly felt a foot press against his groin, rubbing teasing circles over his denim-clad length.

Across the table Sam watched him with a wicked twinkle in his eyes.

Dean spread his legs wider and grinned at his brother in an open challenge.

Had Sam been able to use his hand, it woulda been a different matter entirely; his foot didn’t have the strong grip necessary to render Dean incoherent. If anything, the pleasant pressure against his dick heightened Dean’s shark-dead focus on every move his fellow players made, kinda like Magic Fingers, with the difference that Dean rapidly gained quarters instead of spending them.

With every round Dean won, Sam’s breathing became more labored and the flush on his face deepened, until Cas asked, “Are you alright, Sam? You look like you’re running a fever.”

Dean leered at his brother with mock-concern. “Yeah, Sam, everything okay over there?”

“Yeah,” Sam gritted out between his teeth. His foot moved more insistently over the inseam of Dean’s jeans. At this rate he was gonna give himself a cramp pretty soon. Served him right.

Half an hour later, and Sam had given up any pretense of following the game—he made the sort of silly mistakes even his ten-year-old self woulda cringed at and let Dean bleed him white.

Taking in the beads of sweat on his brother’s crimson forehead, Dean tossed his cards onto the table at the end of the last game, triumphant.

Cas squinted at the cards in confusion, but Dean only had eyes for his brother.

For a moment, Sam stared at him, the searing darkness of his eyes enough to make the breath catch in the back of Dean’s throat. Then Sam jolted to his feet, kicked back his chair. “Cas, you need to leave NOW!”

Surprise etched into every feature and every fold of his trenchcoat, Cas complied.

“Smooth, Sam,” Dean gloated at his brother across the empty space Cas had left behind. “You’re lucky he got his wings b—”

The rest of his sentence was lost in a wild moan as Sam pushed him back over the table, cards and coins scattering everywhere. Knees and elbows flew, hands roamed, noses bumped, all hunger, no finesse, until Sam’s teeth found and grazed Dean’s bottom lip, then sucked, wet and messy. Dean arched up against him and tugged at Sam’s hair, a soundless whine tumbling from Sam’s mouth into his, while he worked down a hand to where Sam was hard against his hip.

“Why, you’re all eager.” His laugh turned into a hiss when Sam’s teeth closed over his lip.

They made short work of their clothes. Hot, insistent fingers jostled every interfering item out of the way—and finally every touch was sweat-slick skin on skin.

Random poker chips jabbed into his back, as well as the hard edge of the table, but Dean ignored them in favor of nuzzling Sam’s jaw, relishing the hint of stubble and aftershave, the smell as homey as the Impala’s interior. He dragged a heel across Sam’s glutes, felt them flex under his touch, and fondled Sam’s erection. With the other hand he groped around blindly on the wooden surface behind him and snatched up a card which he bent in half and used to pinch one of Sam’s nipples.

The cardboard crackled when it touched his skin and Sam moaned. Dean did it again, then sent the card flying down Sam’s chest with a long, humid breath, and Sam’s hands stuttered on his biceps in response. The card continued its downstream voyage, now dictated by gravity, and whizzed over Sam’s dick before it flopped to the ground, unseen.

“Fuck,” Sam groaned. His full-body shudder filled Dean with smug pride.

Thighs shaking between Dean’s outspread knees, Sam sagged into the chair behind him, pulling Dean into his naked lap.

Dean snaked a hand between their bodies and jacked their cocks together, his forehead slotted against Sam’s. For once he could touch every stray thought in that ginormous sweet brain, and every thought was LoveyouwantyouDeanDeanDean. Sam mumbled nonsense and squeezed his quads.

Two of Sam’s fingers prodded his mouth and Dean parted his lips to suck on them. Once they were shiny and dripping with spit, Sam shoved them into Dean’s hole, and Dean whimpered around the burn, hand faltering on their joint dicks.

As soon as Sam withdrew his fingers, Dean sank down on the tip of his cock, then slid almost off again. With a growl of protest Sam reached for his hips, but Dean batted his hands away and taunted him with further shallow thrusts that didn’t give him enough friction. The armrests of the chair dug into his thighs as he bounced up and down, but the discomfort was totally worth it for the indignant glower on his little brother’s face.

“Awww, baby brother, I don’t think you came out on top tonight.” He licked a teasing stripe across Sam’s ear shell. “But if you ask nicely, maybe I’ll make an exception…”

“How nicely?” Sam’s hand snuck out to squeeze Dean’s dick, his grip less shaky than his voice.

Dean surged against him and nipped on his earlobe. “I think you know,” he whispered.

The tip of Sam’s dick twitched inside him.

“Please, Dean, let me come, let me come all inside your pretty ass,” Sam panted and stripped Dean’s cock in earnest.

“It is pretty,” Dean agreed with a smirk. He pulled off his brother’s dick entirely. “Go on.”

“Let me fuck you, so I can taste every inch of how awesome you are,” Sam ground out accompanied by hard, fast tugs of his hand, “and worship your massive ego—”

“Attitude!” Dean smacked him and came, shooting all over Sam’s chest.

Aftershocks thrummed through his cock, but Dean didn’t ride them out, didn’t melt into Sam’s lap, boneless, blissed-out. This rodeo wasn’t over yet.

He pinned Sam’s wrists to the armrests and rocked his hips just enough to brush against Sam’s dick. His thighs were aching and pooled in sweat, but he kept it up, invincible, on top of the world, until the chair creaked and shook with every motion, and Sam writhed beneath him and whined, breathless, frantic, “Please, Dean, I want, I need. Please.

Something in Dean had always responded to his little brother’s begging, but now his entire chest cracked open in answer and cosmic tenderness flooded the narrow space between Sam’s gleaming pecs and Dean’s heaving chest in waves that Dean thought he would drown—drown in the triumphant sensation that he had brought Sam to this desperate high.

He took Sam’s hands and placed them on his hips. Fingers entwined, they guided him down on Sam’s erect cock.

On edge from Dean’s tantalizing half-touches, it took Sam only a handful of deep thrusts to hit his orgasm, sighing into Dean’s mouth.

The taste of victory and affection on his tongue, Dean crushed one sloppy kiss after the other to the slack curve of Sam’s lips.

An ominous cracking noise broke through the messy communion of their mouths.

Then the chair gave way beneath them—

Next thing he knew, Dean was down on the floor, Sam’s face cradled against his chest, his temple throbbing where he’d hit it on one of the table legs, one of his feet twisted in Sam’s discarded shirt, several cards sticking to his naked skin.

Dean tried to push Sam off. Freaking colossus squished his ribs.

Sam didn’t budge. His back shook under Dean’s arms.

For a moment, Dean feared something was wrong. Something on the I-accidentally-castrated-my-little-brother-with-a-chair scale of wrong. (Could you castrate someone with a chair? He really didn’t wanna know.)

Sam lifted his head a little. He was laughing. The fucker.

“Smooth, Dean…” he mimicked Dean’s earlier teasing.

Dean rubbed his temple. “I hurt my head on the table, you dick!”

Sam was still laughing at him. His warm breath tickled Dean’s skin. “Awww, want me to kiss it better?”

“Shut it.” Dean flung a poker chip in his general direction and tried to shed the cards clinging to his sweat-drenched skin with a manly shrug. With moderate success. “And for the record: I’m velvety smooth, man.”

“Like a kitten.”

“You’re the kitten… kitten.”

Sam snorted, face hysterically distorted, as giddy and exhilarated as Dean had ever seen him since before Stanford.

Peeling the ace of hearts off his forearm to flick it at his brother, Dean thought it was worth it, all of it, and kissed him, and kissed him.

***

‘Course his euphoria didn’t last long. There was a universal conspiracy to teach Dean Winchester the joys of kinky incestuous intercourse. Or perhaps it was just the prank of a cupid gone rogue.

Oblivious to the mess they plonked Dean into by proxy (not that those sons of bitches would have cared anyhow) a werewolf and a skinwalker guzzled their way through Delafield, Wisconsin. When Sam and Dean arrived at the crime scene, the local police wouldn’t cooperate, likewise playing their part in the emerging Fifty Shades of Winchester Fuck-up 2 blockbuster.

It soon became obvious that if they wanted to solve this case, they needed to break into the latest murder victim’s apartment and steal their diary. Like the prissy princess he was, Sam threw a bitchfit, although, honestly, Dean was pretty sure B&E rocked Sam’s world. Sure enough, dimples danced all over Sam’s face when he returned to the motel room, carrying not only the diary in question but also what looked like the dead guy’s stash of porn, which he waved in Dean’s face with the air of a dog expecting a treat.

A sweet gesture, Dean figured, until he sat down to watch it (you couldn’t let perfectly good porn go to waste) and discovered it was actually pretty hardcore. He’d all but forgotten their talk about safe words and everything prior to that, but now it came crashing back with a cataclysmic force.

Maybe this was Sam’s subtle way of giving Dean a hint?

In that case, screw him, ‘cause Dean was not a subtle guy. He did what he did best: ignore the whole thing. No way Sam could tell that Dean had watched the DVDs, and they never talked about porn anyway.

A whiz-bang tactic—if only Sam hadn’t taken to watching him with an expectant half-smile. You know you can tell me anything, right, the corners of his mouth promised, and demanded, Talk to me.

It made Dean restless.

The last time Sam had looked at him like that, Dean blocked off all his attempts to discuss the Mark. It ended with five brutally sliced corpses, Sam’s hands cradling his face and a horrified plea of Tell me you had to this.

Going by this, Dean would mess up big time real soon.

He wished he could have talked to someone, someone who wasn’t Sam—not in a million years would he ever admit to his geeky little brother that his own preferences were possibly a tad more vanilla.

He would have given anything to be able to call Lisa and say, Hey, Lis, remember what you said about me and Sam having an unhealthy, crazy, tangled-up thing? Well, we do. And it’s getting more crazy and tangled up by the minute. But Lisa didn’t even remember he existed.

He could have contacted Jody. Sheriff, you told me you make a mean bowl of chowder. Let me take you up on that. See, me and Sam…

Or he could have texted Charlie. You can have ScarJo all to yourself, kiddo. Yeah, I’m batting for the other team now. No, not the whole team. Just—just Sam. And now it looks like there’s gonna be more batting involved, know what I mean?

But they didn’t have many friends left. Dean would rather have his ass whipped six ways from Sunday than scare off one of the few people they could still trust with the whole incest thing.

Cas might not have balked at the issue, but mooting edgy sexual practices with him seemed about as constructive as interviewing a six-year-old on the topic. Far as Dean could tell, angels were sexless glowing lights, and Cas’s sex-ed consisted of the Pizza Man and April the reaper (and maybe Hannah—Cas hadn’t satisfied his curiosity on that one).

No, the only person who could have helped was Suzy, even if the hot blonde with the castanets in the second tacos scene probably hadn’t been her real-life sister. But Sam would be beyond pissed if Dean got in touch with her again—both because the former Casa Erotica star had starred in numerous of Dean’s masturbation fantasies and because the reality of meeting her had more than measured up to the fantasy, something Sam was well aware of, since Dean had bragged about it in obnoxious detail.

So all Dean could do was keep calm and ride it out. Sometimes literally.

Only Sam wouldn’t let him.

Or Dean might not have been quite as calm as he’d imagined.

Sensing maybe that his super subtle porn scheme had fallen flat, Sam geared up and countered every innocent remark Dean made about showing his little brother the ropes with a flirtatious, “Do it, baby, you know you wanna.”

Falling back on saucy jokes whenever his fists and courage failed him was kinda Dean’s specialty—so using it against him, dick move, Sam.

Unless it didn’t mean anything and Dean was getting paranoid.

Actually, yeah, maybe he kinda was.

After they returned from a minor haunting in Philipsburg a couple weeks later, Sam plopped down on the edge of Dean’s bed, a grimace of pain on his face—the result of having gotten himself tied up by their ghost, a sad girl with long, flowing hair who dreamed of being united in death with him or some crap like that—Dean blasted her full of rocksalt before she got round to explaining her weirdo-emo masterplan.

Dean winced in sympathy when he saw Sam roll his shoulders, and resolved to give him a nice, relaxing massage. Once he’d poked a little fun at him.

“Third hunt in a row you’ve been bound to a pillar, dude. Are you sure you don’t have a secret S&M kink?” he said as he draped his guns back over his bed—and froze as soon as the words had left his mouth. Shit. He really didn’t want Sam to answer that.

“Lie down,” he barked before Sam could say anything.

“Wha—why?” Sam blinked at him in evident apprehension like Dean had gone off deep end. (Finally? Again?)

When Dean glimpsed himself in the broken mirror over his dresser, he had to concede Sam kinda had a point. His eyes were wide and bloodshot. A vein protruded on his forehead among beads of sweat. He looked unhinged.

Who wouldn’t be, though, Dr. Freud, when his subconscious was apparently crazy obsessed with this shit?

He took a deep breath. He’d faced Yellow Eyes and Lucifer and about every nasty, vile thing on the planet, he wasn’t gonna freak out now because of a couple X-rated fantasies. He wasn’t. He was A-okay. Totally.

“On your stomach, come on, man. And shirt off.”

With a half-pained, half-puzzled expression Sam obeyed.

After he’d checked that Sam’s face was pressed into the pillows, Dean opened one of the drawers and took out the bottle of hand cream he kept there—too much potential mocking material for Sam to see. He sprinkled a generous amount into his palm, seated himself on Sam’s hip and smoothed his hands over Sam’s back in firm glides and circles until he’d worked all the kinks out of his shoulders.

Some of Sam’s kinks he could deal with just fine.

“So good for me,” Sam sighed, relaxed and pliant under his hands.

“Damn right, bitch,” Dean grunted, taking great care that the warm burst of pride in his chest didn’t blend into his voice.

Molten-limbed even though he hadn’t been on the receiving end of the massage, he sprawled out on the bed beside his brother.

Sam wriggled onto his side to face him. The sappy smile he wore seemed to belie that he stole hardcore porn for Dean or desired anything more than a couple of sweet PG-rated kisses. He took both of Dean’s hands and pressed his lips to each palm.

“Smells nice,” he said, and kissed Dean’s mouth, too. “You smell nice.”

“And that right there is why all the weepy girl ghosts always have the hots for you, Sammy. Basically you’re soulmates.”

We’re soulmates, you know that, right? Doesn’t that make you a weepy girl too?”

“Does not.”

“Does too.”

During the ensuing pillow fight, Dean established with his amazing reflexes and general awesomeness that, no, he definitely wasn’t the weepy girl in this gig. As he stared down at Sam, red-faced, ticklish, pinned underneath him, he figured they might just get through this without one or both of them losing their mind.

***

Not all problems could be solved with a gun and a knife; Dean had learnt that the hard way. And massages didn’t always do the trick either.

Their next hunt involved a vamp nest near Impact, Texas. The world of the supernatural had become quiet, thanks to Hannah—if Cas was to be believed—running things super-smoothly upstairs, and Crowley keeping his demons in check. It was one of the most exciting cases they’d worked in months.

After eighteen adrenaline-filled hours, Dean lowered the machete, heart hammering a triumphal march against his ribcage, and ran a hand over his face. It came away sticky with sweat and blood. He grinned. He hadn’t felt this good in ages.

Then he caught sight of Sam in the doorway. Sam gaped at the six dead vamps strewn around Dean’s feet with wild, disappointed eyes—which, to Dean’s horror, flicked to his forearm, as if expecting—hoping—to find the Mark still there.

Throughout their drive back home he kept silent and didn’t even berate Dean for staking out the vamps’ cabin on his own. Dean sang along to Jailbreak and pretended everything was just peachy.

Once they were back home, Sam joined him in that pretense. Against his better judgement Dean let himself be lulled into a false sense of security—maybe Sam had decided to go down the sensible route, the Dean-route: draw a veil over the incident.

A week later he approached Dean with a suggestion which made it glaringly obvious that wasn’t gonna happen.

“Look, Dean.” Sam actually blushed. “If you ever wanna, you know, try something…”

Dean gawked at him until he figured out what his brother was asking. “Um… uh… no.”

This was about the other day, the hunt, it had to be. For some reason the thrill decapitation gave Dean worried Sam, and now he’d decided the best way to handle it was to cure Dean with kinky sex. God, the idea woulda been laughable if it hadn’t been so scary.

“Oh. Okay.” Sam shifted from one foot to the other, his expression half eager professor, half kicked puppy. As if he was waiting. But for what? For Dean to admit he had an unhealthy addiction to violence? Then it hit him: Sam Winchester was the master of efficiency. Two birds, one stone. He now expected Dean to offer the same thing.

God no.

But relationships were all about that reciprocity shit, right? Lisa had tried to explain the concept to him, like a broken Zep record.

“What about you? You, uh, wanna try anything?”

“No. No,” Sam replied, a little too emphatically, and where Dean shoulda felt relieved, he was hyper-alarmed now. It was clear as day Sam wanted to, but wouldn’t say so, because he was still Dean’s impossible kid brother, expecting Dean to take the lead.

He could take Sam at his word, pretend this conversation had never happened and move on, easy as pie. But that meant letting Sam walk away dissatisfied, and then, before you knew it, letting Sam walk away, full stop, because it wasn’t like Dean had ever had all that much to offer in the first place.

Dean should never have let Sam stick his dick into him if he wasn’t ready to give anything to make this work.

If he wanted Sam to get what he wanted, Dean needed to take matters into his own hands, literally.

Added perks: That gave him a modicum of control where they were going with this. Hopefully, Sam would be satisfied with something which didn’t include spilling—and licking up—Dean’s blood. Preferably no involvement of food, either. One of his hookups in high school had slobbered Kool-Aid mix out of his navel once. Ugh. Not even her amazing tits made up for it.

He settled on bondage. They’d been tied up countless times, Sam as recently as last month. No harm doing it once in a while without any monsters around, right?

Besides, any screenshot of Princess Leia in her bikini with a massive chain dangling down her neck excited him as much as the next guy—even if he’d never quite considered he might end up as Princess Leia in that scenario.

And maybe once Sam had him cuffed to the headboard, he’d stop fretting about how much Dean liked to kill.

Win-win.

Dean put a hand on Sam’s arm. “Can you…” He swallowed. “Can you tie me up?”

A smile broke out on Sam’s face and he knew he’d made the right move.

Two hours later Dean’s naked limbs were secured to the iron frame of a bed in one of the small storage rooms next to the dungeon, perfect for bondage purposes in a way his more comfortable bed wasn’t. The dank air and sallow lighting did nothing to create a romantic atmosphere, but Dean had fucked in worse places.

He tested Sam’s knots, they didn’t budge. ‘Course not, Sam had learnt from the best.

“Okay?” Sam asked above him, almost nervous.

“Awesome.”

When Sam settled over him and placed a hand on his collarbone, it felt like someone dunked him into an icy ocean, and he came back up to the surface with splitting lungs and a deafening roar in his ears. Sam was there, and yet Dean couldn’t grasp him, couldn’t smell him, couldn’t feel the heat radiating off his brother’s body. The musty chill of the room alone assaulted his senses, relentless, overpowering him with the outer-space emptiness he knew from his nightmares of Hell. He wanted to say something, wanted to scream, anything to stop this, stop this; but he couldn’t breathe, couldn’t remember the words, his mind wiped blank save for Sam’s name. “Sam—Sam—”

He had no idea how long it took until Sam got the message and released him—and Dean could finally breathe again.

Sam hovered over him. “God, Dean.” His face was white and scared.

Cold concrete hit his back before Dean even realized he was scrambling away from Sam.

“Dean. Talk to me. Please.”

“Sam.” He cowered against the wall, his breath still coming fast and shallow. He needed to explain, needed to apologize, but he had no clue how to unravel the mess he’d created. Helplessly, he stared at his chafed wrists and repeated his brother’s name. “Sam.”

Sam didn’t try to touch him again, poised on the edge of the bed with the piteous air of an albatross palsied by his giant, drooping wings. “Dean,” he said gently, “are you okay?”

Dean nodded. “I don’t know what—” He gulped. Fuck, why were his cheeks wet?

“I think I do.” Sam sounded resigned—and already miles away. He bent forward to press a chaste kiss to Dean’s forehead. “I’m sorry.”

Dean ached to pull him down into a proper kiss, reclaim Sam, show him Dean could be whatever he wanted. Rubbed raw inside and out, his movements were too sluggish, and Sam already rose to his feet and stepped out of reach, like he couldn’t get away from Dean fast enough.

I’m supposed to crack a joke, Dean thought, but nothing came to mind, and Sam disappeared down the hallway. Ice settled inside Dean’s chest and he buried his face in his knees.

***

The following week was a blur of quick hunts, three-word conversations and lonely nights, a picture-perfect replication of how things had been before they broke up for the first time, right down to the small but vital detail that Sam wouldn’t pony up and start one of those horribly mature couple talks.

So Dean steeled himself and set out in search of his brother. He found Sam in the Men of Letters’ archives, filing.

“Hey,” he said, and hated how shy the word came out. “Can I… can we talk?”

“Sure.”

Dean tilted his head in what he hoped was an encouraging manner.

“I love you, man,” Sam began after a moment, in a tone which reminded Dean so viscerally of Lisa saying, You know, I… I can’t. Ask for something. I know what I want. But I can’t have itnot how you live, that he wanted to crawl under one of the shelves and die.

Unable to look his brother straight in the eye, he traced a thumb across the surface of the nearest file box, painting a devil’s trap into dust.

“And I get it if you need… that, I do, I’m not judging…” Sam was fumbling over his words now. Words which didn’t make any sense to Dean beyond the pallid truth that Sam was trying to let him down gently.

He rubbed his thumb and digit together, grinding specks of dust between them, and willed himself to look up into Sam’s kind, earnest face.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t give you that.”

“Okay.” Dean nodded, his throat tight. He turned away.

“Hey.” Sam’s warm hand clamped over his shoulder, holding him in place. “Don’t just… I don’t wanna hurt you.”

His eyes prickled and Dean huffed out a bitter laugh. He bit his tongue to keep from saying, You already have.

I don’t wanna hurt you, he’d thought after his confrontation with Cain, panicked and hopeless. In answerSam had cried, kissed, scratched, bitten and fucked You won’t hurt me, into his skin—a fair trade.

He flashed a quick smile at Sam. “’S okay, I get it.”

Tentative dimples sprouted on Sam’s cheeks. He leaned forward, half-lidded eyes fastened on Dean’s mouth with unmistakable intent, and Dean flinched away like he’d been slapped. Because Sam could take him or leave him, but toying with him—way outta line, dude.

“Dean, what?” Sam asked with wide eyes.

“What the fuck?” Dean snarled at the same time.

Sam’s hand was back on his shoulder, insistent. “Seriously, what? I thought—Do you even want this anymore? Us?”

“Since when does it matter what I want?”

Faster than light Sam’s face shuttered and his hand dropped away. “You’re such an asshole sometimes.” He moved as though to leave, then halted. “For what it’s worth,” he added, shoulders drooping, “this has always been about your choice, and yours alone.”

I never had a choice, Dean thought involuntarily, because there’d never been any middle ground for him between I never wanted any part of this and I want it all.

It didn’t seem a good answer.

“Bullshit,” he said instead. “Fuck me or don’t fuck me, but don’t fuck around with me.”

Astonishment flashed over Sam’s face. “What the hell do you think we’re talking about?” His features sharpened the way they did when he detected a trail on a case. “You think I’m breaking it off?”

“Jackp—” Dean paused. Now it was his turn to be confused. He replayed Sam’s words in his head. I don’t wanna hurt you. After a moment it all clicked into place: Sam hadn’t enjoyed tying Dean up any more than Dean had, awesome, let’s get a beer together and move on.

Except—son of a bitch.

Sam had also figured something out now, and whatever it was, he didn’t like it one bit.

His mouth did a funny little dance. For a millisecond he looked ready to cry. Then he squared his shoulders, reminiscent enough of Dad when he was upset that Dean fought the impulse to scramble off in order to fetch him a beer and greet the next thing that came out of Sam’s mouth with a meek Yes, sir.

“I can’t believe you pull this shit again,” Sam said, his voice heavy with frustration, hurt and an emotion Dean couldn’t name.

Dean frowned at him. This wasn’t the reaction he’d expected. Hell, he didn’t even know what reaction this was.

“What’s this about?”

If they kept misunderstanding each other they’d be stuck in this room until a thick layer of dust covered them like the files in the shelves to their left and right, and they’d both grown pussies from all the chick-flick drama.

Sam’s fists clenched at his sides. He sucked in a harsh breath. “It’s about trust. It’s about shutting me out. It’s about you making decisions for me, again. It’s about you thinking you know what I want and what’s best for me. It’s about your stupid martyr complex…” He broke off and shook his head, as though he’d already lost patience with Dean.

That gesture Dean recognized only too well from months and months of Sam refusing to be brothers. He froze. His gaze fell to his forearm, and he imagined he saw a shadow of the Mark that had been there.

“I thought we were in this together,” Sam said quietly.

Just like that Dean understood for the first time why Sam had been so mad at him then. And it wasn’t ’cause Dean hadn’t been omniscient enough to see through Gadreel’s lies. As for now—

Sam’s next words were almost inaudible, but final enough that they roused Dean from his stupor. “Dick move, even for you.”

“Come on, Sammy, this thing between us can’t play out without a couple of dick moves,” Dean quipped back, flexing his hips, because he needed to get a foot in before Sam shut the proverbial door in his face.

Sam didn’t even roll his eyes.

So much for getting a foot in the door—Dean had ripped off the fucking handle.

Sam simply stated, cold and hard, “This thing between us, Dean? It was a relationship for me,” and turned away without another word.

***

Sam was as distant as he’d ever been since the whole Gadreel fiasco.

After moping for a week in his room where he mulled over Sam’s words, it dawned on Dean what he had to do to make Sam see that Dean was in this with him all the way.

You’re my brother. That’s more important than anything else, he’d told Sam in a previous attempt to salvage their relationship, stupidly insisting on a distinction that no longer existed: lover, brother, ain’t just one or the other…

Dean couldn’t take back anything that had happened. But he could always give more.

It’s about trust, Sam had said.

There were many things Sam didn’t know. Such as that Dean still spoke to Crowley, now and then. That he missed women. That he’d felt bereft the first time he pushed Sam’s face into his armpit during a tussle and Sam wasn’t grossed out at all, his tongue travelling across Dean’s sweaty skin in the company of pleased little moans that made Dean weak in the knees. That Dean wasn’t as comfortable with this new gay incestuous side in him and could’ve died a happy man never knowing anything about the logistics of anal sex, or the taste of Sam’s jizz. (There was something disturbingly patricidal? fratricidal? something-cidal? about the thought he was swallowing his potential nephews and nieces.) And that for Dean their second attempt at a … relationship—yes, Sam—felt no different than the first, except for the fear of fucking them up again which now lurked in his heart like an evil spirit, and the abundancy of bite marks he spotted on his neck when he glanced into the mirror in the morning.

He’d been raised in the belief that protecting Sam and keeping secrets from him went hand in hand, and no matter how often he’d experienced the contrary, part of him still thought that what Sam didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him.

Dean was too old to turn into Mother Theresa, but the least he could do was show Sam he was willing to open up more. Preferably in a way that woulda made the real Mother Theresa blush deep scarlet.

Now he only needed to put his brilliant plan into action. That Sam never came to his room and barely looked at him these days posed a minor difficulty, but former Marine Corporal John Winchester hadn’t trained Dean in fighting tactics since the early days of his childhood for nothing.

Study your opponent, Dad drilled into him. Find his weakness.

Sam, bless his soul, was a creature of habit. On more than one occasion Dean had given him shit for it since it made him an easy target. Well, case in point. Dean was gonna exploit that to the fullest now.

Every morning Sam went out for a run and coming back, he always headed to the shower room first before padding into the kitchen for breakfast.

This morning, Dean was ready and waiting in the shower room when Sam barged in dripping with sweat, his hair clinging to his forehead, his muscle shirt sticking to his stomach, accentuating his abs.

“Morning, princess,” Dean greeted him with the cockiest smile he could manage.

Sam started and gasped. His eyes trailed down Dean’s near-nude body and up to his face again, wide with arousal and a timid flicker of hope. It was the first time he’d properly looked at Dean in days.

“Dean.”

A self-conscious blush spread over Dean’s cheeks as he shambled towards his brother, Sam’s eyes hot on his skin. Dean swallowed and ran a hand through his hair, glad for the touch of gel he’d applied earlier in preparation. When he came to a halt in front of Sam, lingering on the fringes of his personal space, whatever little speech he’d prepared was stuck in his throat somewhere deep below his furiously beating heart.

Screw it. Show, don’t tell had always been his strong suit anyway.

He extended a nervous hand, grabbed one of his brother’s freaking huge hands and pressed it against the pink satin lace covering his crotch.

’Cause this was what it was all about. Pink satin panties.

Hot pink, to be exact—a stark contrast even to Dean’s flushed skin. A signal color. Dean prayed fervently that Sam could read the signal he was sending.

Fresh from the exercise outside, Sam’s warm hand exuded the earthy scent of sweat, road dust and dewy grass. The soft fabric rustled under his touch, leaving a trail of goosebumps on Dean’s skin.

He took it as a win that Sam made no attempt to pull away.

“Dean,” Sam panted, as though he’d run ten miles in the last minute, “tell me. You have to tell me.”

Dean found it even more difficult to talk than usual – could you blame him? His skin tingled with the combined sensual onslaught of the panties and Sam, each lace-stalled fingertip a fevered whisper of Missed you, a firm promise of I’m here now.

“Rhonda Hurley,” he gasped out. The color rose high in his cheeks. “I was nineteen. She, ah—” He moaned when Sam’s hand cupped his dick. “—she made me, ah, try on h-her panties. Sam.”

“Go on.” Sam’s voice was high and breathless.

“They were p-pink and, oh God, satiny.”

“Like these?”

“Y-yeah.”

The pressure of Sam’s hand increased. “And?”

Dean rubbed his burning face and forced himself to look straight into his brother’s stunned, dark eyes. “I liked it, Sammy, I liked it a lot.” The words tore themselves from his throat like a sob.

Like thunder chasing lightning, a hundred emotions ripped across Sam’s sweat-damp features. He dropped to his knees, pressed his face into Dean’s groin, inhaled deeply.

“Tell me what she did,” he said, needy, desperate, his breath wet and hot against the sheer fabric of the panties.

“She c-caressed me through the panties, my hips, ah, my ass, ah, my dick—”

Sam imitated the actions Dean had relived in countless dreams, and the same rich, silken buzz of pleasure speared him—spiked to infinity, ‘cause he was nearly twice the age now, had traversed every kind of hell, and, most importantly, this wasn’t one of the myriad chicks he’d ditched almost before learning their names, but the one person he’d always come back to, the one person who always came back to him.

Gathering together every bit of martial discipline and competitive fraternal instincts he’d inherited, he plowed on through the flurry bewitching his senses. “She nuzzled my crotch. She, uh, licked down my dick, twirled her tongue at the head, yeah, like that. Fuck, Sammy.”

His thighs shook, and precome soaked the front of his panties.

“She scraped a finger between my ass cheeks, s-slow at first, then harder, harder, God, Sam, I could feel the satin drag across my hole, so soft, it was good, so good, and then, ah, she took me into her mouth, her hot wet mouth, satin and—Sam!”

Every particle of his body trembled with the intensity of the experience and he clutched wildly at the strands of Sam’s hair. He’d let Sam fuck him over every surface in the bunker, had fucked Sam over more than a few himself, but nothing had ever been this intimate.

He was giving Sam everything, turning himself inside out, shaking out every shady corner of his soul for Sam’s pleasure and perusal, and Sam was lapping it up, steady, loyal, worshipful, making Dean feel safe and whole even as he was breaking him apart.

He didn’t last long, spilling into soaked hot silk inside his brother’s mouth with a wail he would deny to his dying day. His fingers scrabbled over the tiles for purchase, his knees buckled, and he crashed onto the bathroom floor.

Sam gathered him in his arms and peppered his face with kisses. Murmured, “Shh, I’ve got you,” and “Christ. Thank you, Dean, thank you.”

When the tremors faded and his brain kicked back in, Dean snuck a hand towards Sam’s crotch—and felt soft flesh and sticky gym shorts.

“You came?”

Sam nodded, looking as dazed as Dean felt, his shiny red lips still open in a silent O.

“You came in your pants?” Dean asked, again, because he couldn’t say Was it good for you too, not yet.

“Yes,” Sam affirmed, breathless still, and squeezed his ass. Dean yelped as the sodden fabric of the panties rubbed over his skin. “Now stop being such a dick about it and get off me so I can shower.”

“What?” Dean pouted. “No cuddling?”

“No.” Sam kissed him, sweet and thorough, and rose to his feet, dragging Dean with him. “My idea of romance doesn’t really involve cold bathroom floors.”

“Anyone tell you your idea of romance is kinda screwed?”

Sam raised two eloquent eyebrows to convey, My idea of romance is to fuck my brother, doesn’t get more screwed than that, right?

Dean laughed. “Whatever works for you, little brother.”

Sam turned on one of the showers and hauled Dean under the stream with him. The water muffled the answer Sam whispered against his temple, but Dean still caught the words.

“This does. This really, really does.”

Stepping out of his panties and tossing them away with a heel, Dean said, “Love you too, Sammy.” and flicked a jet of water straight at his brother’s wonderful ridiculous face.