Dean had always known he was going to die young, it was a part of the gig. You hunted, you killed some evil sons of bitches, and you took as many of them with you as you could when you went down. That was how it went.
What Dean didn’t expect, what he and Sam couldn’t brace for, was a heart attack; a drawn-out illness with a definitive end. In a fight, even when it looks bad, real bad, it’s still them or you; you could still get away. Dying bloody at least gave you something to fight, gave you a chance.
Wasn’t much fighting you could do against your own heart.
“You’re dying, Mr. Harris,” the doctor had said bluntly, hanging Dean’s chart at the end of his bed. “The electric current was too much for your heart, and the damage to the pulmonary valve and artery is too great to repair. We can try to get you on the transplant list as you have no other obvious health issues, but I have to be honest: it will be a miracle if you live more than a week or two, and the waiting list is over a year long.”
There was a pause as the doctor sighed, as Dean tried to absorb everything the man was so casually saying.
“I’d get your affairs in order, Mr. Harris. We’ll keep you as comfortable as we can.”
Out in the shadows of the dingy hallway, under the flickering florescent light, Sam chocked back a dry sob. Dean couldn’t die, not like this, not right now.
The doctor came out of the room and almost ran into Sam. “Ah, the other Mr. Harris. I need-“
“I know. I heard,” Sam murmured mechanically. He didn’t want to hear it again. He wished he had never heard it at all.
The doctor nodded sadly. “I understand. We’ll keep him comfortable.” The man clapped Sam on the shoulder and walked away, just walked down that grimy hallway like he hadn’t just put a period on Sam’s reason for existence.
Even when Sam has been at Stanford, even when he’d been playing house with Jess, Sam had always known Dean was out there, had always known that if he called the right number Sam would be able to hear Dean’s voice again.
Sam straightened his shoulders and took a deep breath to clear the lump from his throat. The only thing Dean would hate more than dying would be dying while Sam cried all over him.
Sam walked into the shabby hospital room and past the empty bed, the grey-white sheets folded tightly onto the mattress. There, in the bed by the window, was Dean. He was pale, so pale, his usually plush lips chapped and devoid of color.
“Dean,” Sam said, sitting on the edge of the bed, taking in the way every little freckle stood out in stark relief.
“Hey Sammy. Daytime TV really is the shits; and man, someone needs to gank that creepy laundry bear.”
“Dean, c’mon,” said Sam softly, reproachfully.
Dean turned his eyes, so bright above his slightly hollowed cheeks, on Sam. “Wha’d’ya want me to say, Sammy?”
He held the eye contact before turning his face to the window, the watery sunlight washing over his features.
“You know where the keys are, Sam. You treat baby right, or I swear to god I will haunt your ass.”
“I’m gonna get you help, Dean; I’m going to get you fixed up.”
‘You aren’t going to let me die in peace, are you?”
Sam grinned a little, a brittle smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “I’m not going to let you die at all.”
Sam spent the next 36 hours calling every name Dad’s journal, scouring every website on healing or miracles or any kind of million-to-one shot. He found absolutely nothing. At about 7:30 that night there was a knock at the door and Sam opened it on reflex, thinking it might be the maid, and there stood Dean.
“Dean? What are you doing?”
“Checked myself out, man, I couldn’t take it anymore. You know what they were trying to feed me?”
Sam helped his brother into a chair, shaking his head at his brother’s stubborn stupidity.
Dinner that night was one of the most jarring experiences of Sam’s life thus far. His brother ordered a pizza, which wasn’t unusual, but slowly ate two and a half pieces before shoving the box away from him.
Dean had once eaten nine slices before taking out a vampire couple. The fact that he only ate two now was terrifying.
That night Dean fell asleep early, propped up on a pile of pillows while watching Jeopardy on the grainy TV. Sam moved to the bed to try and get Dean a little more horizontal- better blood flow to his heart that way. He tugged one pillow out when Dean’s paper-thin eyelids flickered open.
“Sammy,” he rasped, voice rough with sleep and sickness. “Stay, Sam.”
Sam methodically kept pulling pillows out from under his brother. “Okay, I’ll stay,” he said, amazed his voice didn’t crack. They’d been dancing around this tension, this magnetic pull, since Dean found Sam at Stanford. That attraction, that wrongness and lust was part of the reason Sam moved across the country in the first place- there had been too many lingering glances, too many moments with limbs pressed close, too many pauses with words unsaid.
Dean knew it was wrong, knew it was unfair to Sam to ask for this, but he wanted his last night- whenever that was, today or tomorrow or the next day- to be with Sam. He wanted to be warm again. It was odd, he was tired and sore and he got that, but he hadn’t expected to be cold.
Sam shucked down to his boxers and slid into the bed beside Dean, making sure there was a little bit of space left between them- and then Dean shoved his ice-block feet up against Sam’s legs.
Sam jumped. “Jesus, Dean!”
“Share the warmth, Sammy,” Dean mumbled, rolling up against his lanky brother.
Sam was immersed in the smell and feel of Dean: leather and salty sweat and pine-scented deodorant, hard muscle and calloused skin and smooth planes of bone and muscle and sinew. Dean’s blunt fingers traced over Sam’s collarbone, his ribcage, his hip.
“So warm, Sam,” Dean whispered, breath blowing over Sam’s neck. “Thought about this while you were away, while you were at school.”
Sam stared up at the ceiling, trying not to lust after his dying brother. “Yeah, I did too.”
Dean’s hand moved to Sam’s and dragged his fingers to Dean’s side. It was a non-verbal plea for touch, for comfort, and it was as close to talking about something as Dean would get.
Sam ran his hand over Dean’s side, up to his shoulder, and then back down, hoping Dean would relax and go to sleep. Instead, Dean pinched his nipple.
Sam slid his fingers down to the curve of his brother’s ass over his briefs, one finger sneaking between his cheeks. “Really, Dean?” he questioned wryly.
Dean huffed. “Well, we already know you’re the bitch, but I ain’t exactly feeling up to it. Decided to yet you do all the work tonight,” he bluffed.
Sam rolled his eyes, scooting down under the covers. “Jerk.”
He worked his brother’s briefs down and off, tossed them over the side of the bed. Sam pushed Dean over onto his back, rolling him gently, making sure that he was still covered by the sheet. He sucked Dean’s half-hard cock into his mouth and felt Dean’s fingers winnow into his hair, gripping his scalp.
Sam twisted his head, trying the thing he’d always liked- and yes, Dean’s shallow breath hissed through his teeth.
Sam scrambled out from under the covers and over to his duffel, grabbing out a thing of lube. He put a pillow in the middle of the bed and rolled Dean onto it, his pelvis against the pillow. Sam was placing little kisses and nips over Dean’s face and neck and back the whole time, trying to love each and every freckle.
Sam pushed Dean’s legs apart and settled between them. Lubing a finger he slid it between the cheeks of Dean’s ass (freckles there too, he noted) and teased his little puckered asshole.
“C’mon Sam, get on with it,” Dean rasped, and then he jumped with Sam slid the tips of two fingers in. It didn’t hurt, not really, and it wasn’t a burn like the girl’s he’d butt-fucked had said. It was pressure and stretching, and while definitely not pleasurable, it didn’t really hurt. Dean decided to relax and just enjoy the closeness and warmth.
And then Sam’s questing fingers hit his prostate and it felt like electricity zinging though his failing veins. “Sam!” he gasped, grip tightening on the sheets.
“Feels good right? I let Jess try this once.” Sam tugged his fingers out, lubed up again, worked in a third finger, questing for Dean’s prostate the whole time.
“Aw, fuck, Sammy,” Dean breathed, and suddenly Sam was completely and totally consumed with a need to get inside his brother, the only person who had stubbornly called him Sammy for as long as Sam could remember.
He slicked up his dick and worked the head past the first ring of muscle, Dean wiggling just a little beneath him, rutting against the pillow. “Oh god, Dean, so tight,” Sam groaned, shimmying his hips to seat himself more deeply in his brother.
He pulled almost all the way out and then thrust back in, beginning a rhythm that was slow and deep, the head of his cock scraping repeatedly over that sensitive, raised patch inside Dean’s passage. Dean was moaning into the mattress, his hips thrusting into the pillow beneath him, his knuckles white-tight on the bunched up sheets.
“Jesus, Sam,” Dean whimpered, and then he came, muscles shuddering, breath quick, curses falling from his chapped lips.
Sam followed almost immediately- his brother shuddering and flushed, smelling like home and sweat and sex; it was too much to bear.
They cleaned up in the quiet of the room, Dean wrapped up in Sam’s sweatshirt and old sweats. Sam bundled his brother back into bed quick, curling around Dean’s body. He had one arm wrapped around his brother, hand on his heart.
Sam laid awake that night, breaking into a sick panic every time he felt Dean’s pulse stutter, every time he couldn’t immediately feel the rise and fall of Dean’s chest. In the morning he’d hear of a faith healer, and the next day they’d hit the road, and ultimately Dean would be okay.
But that night, curled around his brother’s suddenly frail, suddenly oh-so-mortal frame, Sam wept silently into his pillow.