“I could tell you,” the guy—Sam—said, and he sounded like the story was about to come spilling out of him whether Dean (cool name, at least) wanted him to talk or not.
But Dean kinda had a bad feeling about that, Sam’s eagerness alone setting off some alarms deep in the back of his brain. “Hold on,” he said, raising a hand as he struggled to sit up on the bed. The room was windowless, which seemed weird in itself—maybe he’d forgotten a lot, but he still thought he should have found himself in a hospital room, maybe flowers on the bedside table and nurses just outside the door, not this place with its—Jesus fuck, was that a sword?
“This is … my room?” he asked, for confirmation.
Sam nodded eagerly. “We’ve lived here for four years, on and off,” he said.
“Fighting monsters,” Dean said, and he’d meant it to come out dubious, but it felt oddly correct. Fighting monsters—who does that? Well, him and Sam, apparently.
“Yeah,” Sam agreed, relieved probably that Dean didn’t sound completely skeptical.
“And I got whammied by a memory-sucking Lamborghini?”
Sam’s face scrunched up as if in pain. “Laghathti,” he said, with the air of someone who’d already said it more than once. “It’s a monster supposedly birthed from the river Styx. It feeds on a person’s memories.”
“You know, there’re probably people who’d pay good money for that,” Dean mused.
Something flashed across Sam’s face, quicksilver. “I didn’t get to you in time,” he said, and for the first time in this very crazy conversation Dean thought that Sam might not be telling him the whole truth.
“Sam,” he said, careful. “Did I try to get caught by this thing?”
Sam ran his hands through his hair, pushing it away from his eyes and not-so-coincidentally hiding them from Dean. Damn, Sam was big. And built—his shoulders weren’t twice as wide as his waist, but it was a near thing. “I’m not sure,” Sam said at last. “We’re not… Things with us are okay, were okay, but a lot of shit has happened to you, to us.” He took a deep breath. “We promised to be honest with each other. And what I think happened is, maybe, you weren’t trying to get caught, but you weren’t trying to get away either.”
Dean chewed that over while he tested his legs to see if they’d hold him. They would, so he got to his feet. Hunh, he felt like he should be taller than Sam, but Sam had at least three inches on him. A quick glance confirmed that Sam was in socks, which meant he couldn’t chalk it up to thick boots either. “Okay, so what now?”
Sam nodded and turned towards the table, where a bunch of large, old, musty books were piled. “I’ve been researching while you were out. The fact that you remember how to talk and stand is a good sign. It means the memories weren’t completely ripped away from you. There’s a ritual. It’s not going to be fun to get the ingredients or go through the procedure, but there’s a good chance we can get you back to where you were.”
“Is that really a good idea?” he asked. “I mean, I get that this sucks for you, man, and I’m sorry about that. But if I didn’t want my memories before, why should I want them back?”
Sam froze; Dean wasn’t even sure he was breathing. “You’re right,” he said at last. “Dean—my Dean, I mean—if this was what he chose, I can’t. I can’t take it back.”
Dean felt a twinge at the thought that he wasn’t Sam’s Dean. He wasn’t anyone’s Dean. And apparently he’d wanted it that way.
“Tell me what happened to make me want this,” he said.
Sam snorted, not a happy laugh. “How much time do you have?”
Dean shrugged, holding up his empty hands. “Looks like, all the time in the world.”
“I’m gonna need to get drunk for this,” Sam said, his shoulders slumping.
“Lead the way,” Dean said, because he’d seen no evidence that there was a bottle in this bedroom, though why he’d almost suspected there should be one at hand was a mystery. Well, maybe not for long.
Much, much later, Dean guided Sam to the kid’s own bedroom, shoved him gently onto the bed, and covered him with a blanket. And then came back to put a glass of water on the bedside table and move the trashcan next to the bed, since it seemed like Sam wasn’t an expert at drunken binges.
Sam having his own bedroom made more sense now. Dean couldn’t say exactly what had made him so surprised about the “brothers” thing—other than his objective reaction to the hotness that was Sam—but frankly a lot of the decisions Sam had described seemed a lot more than brotherly.
Also, Dean had been an enormous ass, more than once; Sam had soft-pedaled a couple of those times, but even he hadn’t been able to make “stuffed an angel in your brother and then went and got the most demonic mark in existence to make up for your lies, which by the way it not only didn’t do but also nearly triggered yet another apocalypse which we just now stopped, and by we I mean mostly Sam, since you had a weird bond with the Darkness you released” sound acceptable. No wonder that, even if Sam had forgiven him, Dean hadn’t wanted to be himself. Dean didn’t want to be that guy now, hearing about him.
Other than that, the life sounded pretty cool. Saving people, hunting things, living in a secret bunker like Batman—he could get used to all that pretty quickly. Especially if, as Sam had suggested, most of his physical memories would have survived, just like his knowledge of English and of how to pound shots had. Tomorrow, after Sam had puked himself back to the land of the living, he’d get Sam to spar with him and see. In the meantime, Sam had said something about a firing range…
If Dean Winchester hadn’t so profoundly fucked up his first dozen chances at life, Dean thought, he’d have been pretty awesome. Good-looking, handy with a wrench, heroic, all that jazz.
They saved their first terrified victim five days after Dean woke up, because they knew how to figure out which baddie was tormenting him—okay, Sam did, but Dean was a quick study and it turned out that Sam was a good teacher. Both of them were highly motivated, what with the rash of deaths they came to stop. Plus Sam found them a couple of great restaurants on Yelp during the drive.
Sam made it sound like earlier days had involved a lot more running out on the bills and scrounging for cash, but now that didn’t seem to be an issue. Dean might’ve wanted a quieter life, the kind of life where you built something and knew your neighbors and maybe even raised kids. But, from what Sam told him, the Winchesters had a certain kind of fame, making Dean too likely to get pulled back into the hunting life, leaving normal bleeding out on the ground behind him. He could deal; it wasn’t like he actually had any memories of normal to go back to, just a vague sense of longing. Anyway, he liked the Bunker, he liked the car, he liked swinging a machete to decapitate a vamp probably more than he should have.
Bigger problem: he also liked Sam probably more than he should have.
Hey, he hadn’t raised the guy. He just had to live in daily proximity to those shoulders, and that quick wit and compassion for victims, and that smile—that smile, always flickering for just a second when Sam remembered who Dean wasn’t, then back with the same determination Sam showed to get through every challenge. Sam had given his life to helping other people in a way the world would never know about, and he wasn’t bitter about the secrecy, the way Dean could see himself getting. Instead, he spent his spare time improving the records so that the rest of the hidden world of hunters could benefit from the Men of Letters’ knowledge. Even if Dean had remembered the rest of his life, he couldn’t imagine ever having met a better person than Sam.
So, yeah, Dean got why Dean 1.0 had done whacked-out shit for Sam. Except, if he really did get it, that implied that 1.0 had similar not-exactly-brotherly feelings for Sam, which Sam had never even hinted at. On Sam’s telling, 1.0 hadn’t been shy about anything, though incestuous longing could’ve been an exception.
It was a puzzle. That, and his increasingly bluer balls, kept him finding hunts to keep them busy, except hunts meant sharing a room instead of living apart, so it was a vicious cycle. And motel towels were very small, as a rule.
Five months in, Dean broke. They’d finished up a ghoul hunt with minimal fuss, but they hadn’t been able to save everyone, and there’d been a too-small body that Dean wasn’t going to be able to drink out of his mind any time soon. Sam was able to fold away the hurt and move on to the next task, but Dean wasn’t there yet, and he had the suspicion that his choices were feeling this low every time or feeling nothing at all, because he wasn’t as flexible as Sam.
So he was fucked up, and there was no way they were driving back that night; among other things, the car needed to be cleaned of ghoul drippings before he’d drive her eight hours in the sun. It was Friday night, and there was a bar across the road from the motel that, from the length of the skirts on the girls going in, looked like it’d welcome a pretty face with low standards.
“’m gonna grab a drink,” he told Sam, trying to sound non-inviting without being mean about it.
“Okay,” Sam said, reaching for his jacket, which meant that his awesome plan had already failed.
He straightened up, because he was a man, dammit, and a man has needs. “I’m hoping to get lucky,” he said, looking over Sam’s shoulder. “So, if you see a sock on the door handle …”
Either Sam froze for a few seconds or Dean’s own senses locked up; then Sam’s hand tightened on his jacket and he said, “Yeah, I’ll sleep in the car,” sounding amused.
But then in the bar itself, when Dean got them a booth, Sam came back from a short conversation with the bartender and pushed himself in on Dean’s side instead of sitting across. Not only did this move press their legs together in a way that was not helping little Dean’s agitations for some relief, it also had the effect of blocking Dean from easy mark-hunting when he spotted a likely prospect. Dean downed his first two beers, which Sam had kindly provided, in record time (so far as he remembered). Sam had his forearms on the table (they took up a lot of table, Dean couldn’t help noticing) and his head bowed, like he was trying to curl up inside himself while still impeding Dean’s goal.
“Hey,” Dean said, distracted from his horniness. “Somethin’ wrong?”
“I never said it,” Sam said into the table.
Sam took a couple of ragged breaths. “We said we’d be honest with each other, but I figured, we couldn’t have meant this. All the bad secrets, they were things other people knew.”
Dean still had no earthly idea what Sam was on about. He examined Sam’s slumped form, but the red plaid of Sam’s shirt had no answers for him.
“I’m jealous,” Sam said, and simultaneously scooted away from Dean on the bench seat, so now Dean’s thigh was uncomfortably cold and he was still confused. He hadn’t even pulled a girl yet, so what was there to be—
“Oh,” he said, and stopped there. So, it went both ways. He closed his eyes, because he could ask this, but not while looking at Sam. “How long?”
“Long time,” Sam said, barely audible over the background noise of the bar. “Fifteen. It went away after I went away to Stanford, or I thought it did. Then we were on the road and it came back, and then it went away after Lucifer. I thought I was over it for good, but I guess not. And then it hit me just now, that you’d never know. And I know how sick it is, I know it’s not the same for you—”
No, it wasn’t, because Dean didn’t have half a lifetime of secretly wanting Sam to confess, or the grief of things unsaid until too late that was driving Sam. He put his hand on Sam’s forearm, feeling the flex of tendons and the warmth radiating through the flannel. “Sam. Sammy.” Sam froze in place, trembling a little. “You don’t need to be jealous,” he said, and Sam jerked his head up, those tip-tilted eyes meeting his, Dean already leaning in so close that their mouths were mere inches apart.
Sam’s eyes were wide, his lips parted. “I can’t ask you for this,” he breathed.
“Then give it to me instead,” Dean said, and ran his hand up the line of Sam’s arm, over the solid muscle, squeezing to let Sam know he was serious.
Sam examined him like he was a monster’s footprint, searching for the smallest detail. Dean almost asked if Sam trusted him, but that wasn’t playing fair; Sam had made that promise to someone else. Sam saw what he needed to, anyway, because his eyes dilated and he nodded—a promise that was all for Dean, right now.
Dean followed Sam back across the road to their motel room, watching him all the way, and not just ogling his ass. He’d wanted this, really, from the moment he’d opened his eyes and seen Sam. Whether Dean’s desire was residue from 1.0 or not, Sam was in this because of 1.0, and Dean was the beneficiary tonight.
Sam fumbled with the motel key, and Dean would’ve made fun of his shaky hands if not for the fact that his own stomach was jumping around like the world had turned into a rollercoaster around him.
Dean had no sooner closed the door behind him than Sam slammed him up against it. Dean couldn’t remember appreciating the possibilities of the bear hug as a sex move, but he was willing to experiment, and anyway his brain had started to melt out of his ears as soon as Sam pressed up against him. Sam’s mouth was hot on his neck, sucking and biting, and Dean’s thighs slid apart without his conscious control. Sam bent his knees a little and, as if he’d been ordered to, Dean wrapped his legs around Sam’s just as Sam’s huge hands slid down and cupped his ass.
Sam carried him over to the closest bed with no apparent effort and pressed him down into it, covering him like a blanket. Sex-dazed, all Dean could do for a bit was pant for breath and stare up into his face. Sam groaned—Dean realized that he was doing something; his hands were roving over Sam’s back, slipping down his sides and under his waistband to tug his T-shirt free and access all that hot, smooth skin.
“Dean, Dean,” Sam kept repeating, sounding almost pained. He pulled free of Dean’s clutching hands and shrugged off his overshirt, then tore his T-shirt off. The light coming in from the parking lot turned Sam’s skin even more golden. The shadows of his pelvic cut as it narrowed into his jeans made Dean want to taste him everywhere.
He was a man of action, and before Sam could do anything further, he got to his knees and pulled Sam in, opening his mouth onto Sam’s taut stomach, licking up a day’s worth of sweat and Sam. He could feel the thick line of Sam’s cock pressed up against his collarbone. Sam clamped a huge hand down on Dean’s head, fingers threading through Dean’s hair as he groaned in pleasure. His other hand kneaded Dean’s shoulder, then tugged at Dean’s own shirts, demanding.
With the same synchronicity they had while hunting, Dean pulled back to strip his shirts while Sam scrabbled with his belt and zipper, pushing his jeans and shorts down hastily. His cock sprang free with a vigor Dean would’ve mocked mercilessly if his mouth hadn’t been watering for it. Sam barely had time to get out his first “Please—” before Dean had started swallowing him down.
Or trying, anyway; Sam was not messing around, size-wise, and even though Dean had a strong sense that this wasn’t his first rodeo, there were limits to what experience could help with. What the hell, he had spit and a good pair of hands, and he wasn’t embarrassed by a little drool. And fuck, it was good, Sam’s taste even stronger here and Sam’s hands stroking over his back like Dean was the most amazing and precious thing he’d ever touched. Dean closed his eyes and worked his way down Sam’s cock until he was all but choking.
Too quickly, Sam’s hands clenched in warning. Dean pulled back and looked up at Sam, whose dick seemed even bigger at this angle. He knew how he himself must look, mouth wet and swollen, hair mussed from Sam’s tugging hands—and all Sam’s.
Sam didn’t even have to speak; Dean dropped back and kicked off his boots, then got his own jeans and boxers down while Sam finished getting naked. “In the bathroom,” he said, turning over and getting on his hands and knees.
Sam choked off a groan, and a few seconds later Dean heard the sound of toothbrushes and other items being knocked to the tile floor as Sam scrabbled in Dean’s kit. Sam was a man on a mission, and Dean loved that even more because not ten seconds passed before Sam was kneeling on the bed behind him, sloppy fingers pressing inside him inexorably. Dean panted through the pleasure-pain of the stretch, only the faintest scraps of sense keeping him from demanding that Sam get inside him now now now.
“I got you,” Sam said, and Dean realized that he must’ve been whining his need, which was almost embarrassing enough to make him stop. His hands were clenched up on the coverlet as Sam pulled his fingers out; he could feel Sam fisting his own cock behind him, using more lube, and next time he wanted to be the one who got Sam ready like that; it was unfair for Sam to deny him that extra touch.
Dean nearly screamed when Sam brushed up against him, not quite at the right angle at first. He pushed back shamelessly. Sam cursed and shifted and the wide head of his cock pressed in, hesitantly at first and then with a steady power that shook Dean in every cell of his body. He was splitting Dean apart; he was claiming every part of Dean. The noises Dean was making were somewhere between demands for more and sobs of pleasure, until Sam bottomed out and his broad chest tucked tight against Dean’s back and Dean lost any semblance of words altogether.
Sam fucked him relentlessly, slamming his hips into Dean as if he knew exactly how much force would keep Dean dazed with sex, unable to close his mouth or open his eyes. Then he wrapped one arm around Dean’s waist and pulled Dean back onto his lap, forcing Dean’s legs painfully wide around his own solid thighs, and it was even better. Gravity pushed him impossibly further onto Sam’s cock. Sam’s hand roved up to pinch at Dean’s nipple experimentally, and that was it: he came like a Fourth of July’s worth of fireworks set off at once, shaking him until it was all he could do to sag back against Sam’s shoulder.
Sam was chanting Dean’s name, and God’s, and even before Dean was done coming Sam was pressing upwards, every muscle tight as his dick pulsed inside Dean, making himself even more room.
It was quiet, except for their harsh and ragged breaths. Sam’s cock twitched inside him, and Dean managed to slide forward and off in a way that only overstretched his legs a little. He made sure to grab at Sam’s arm so Sam wouldn’t think he was being left, tugging them both over onto their sides until he was snuggled back up against Sam, lying down this time.
Behind him, Sam was crying. Silently, but his body was shaking with it, and anyway Dean didn’t need to see Sam to know what he was doing, or why.
Dean didn’t deserve this, and that went for the both of them, but he knew what he had to do.
“We’ve gotta do the ritual to get my memories back,” he said, loud in the silent, sex-fogged room.
Sam went rigid behind him. “Dean—”
Sam already had an argument formulated, Dean knew, so he talked fast. “That wasn’t for me, Sam. You want him back, and I—I want you to have what you want. And don’t tell me it was his choice, okay? He didn’t have all the information, and I do. I know what it’s like for you, seeing me every day, seeing him but not really. I know he’d come back if he knew how much you wanted him to.” And yeah, it hurt, knowing that he wasn’t enough. Knowing that even if he remembered this, after the ritual, it’d be someone different doing the remembering. But Sam deserved better than some guy dropped down into the middle of his story. And if Dean disagreed, well, he’d just have to fucking live with it.
Sam breathed behind him, wet and uneven. “You’re so much like him,” he said, and kindly didn’t add, but not quite right.
“Then you better listen to me on this one,” Dean said. He patted Sam’s hand where it was snaked around his waist. “’sides, no way can we play Never Have I Ever until I get my memories back. It’s straight-up unfair, the way I am.”
Sam snuffled into the back of his neck, half-laughing, already relaxing. Already relieved. Dean might not know everything, but he knew enough, and Sam’s reactions told him more. Even if the sex thing turned into a clusterfuck when Dean was restored to his memories, Sam would still be better off.
Dean closed his eyes. Before, Dean Winchester had given up his life for his little brother, not knowing how that would plunge them both into disaster. This time was going to be different, though.
This time, Sam wouldn’t want to get him back.