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The Consequence

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Sam rockets up in bed, gasping, heart pounding in his throat as he tries to get his bearings. He holds up his hands so he can see the clear skin, free of those awful black lines. He takes a deep breath of clear air, and no, he’s not in the fog anymore. Try telling his panicking body that.

“You’re home,” Sam whispers to himself, running his fingers up and down his mattress, trying to slow down his pounding heart rate. “You’re home. You’re safe. Dean’s safe. We made it out.”

After a couple minutes of deep breaths, Sam reaches for his phone on the nightstand. 2:06AM, and he’s suddenly wide awake. Sam knows the way his subconscious works by now, when it comes to dreaming. He knows that if he goes back to sleep again this quickly, he’ll trudge himself right back into that nightmare. Huffing, he throws off the covers and swings his legs over to the side of his bed, wincing at the cold floor on his toes. He stuffs his feet into the pair of house shoes Dean had picked him up at Goodwill about a month ago (“they’re Sasquatch-sized, Sam! I had to get them!”), a size 13 and still a little on the small side, but better than cold stone floors.

Dean had shooed Sam off to bed hours ago, after feeding them a meal of spaghetti and meatballs, something he’d whipped up real quick after they’d trudged tiredly back into the Bunker. It had made Sam smile when Dean told him to grab a shower, that he’d scare up dinner-- he was expecting takeout from the many years of the whole Dean + getting food = fast food, but no, these days, Dean Winchester was all about home cooked meals (when they had the time). Dean had cooked for them when they were younger, when Sam was still in high school, and Sam had thought Dean just did it out of obligation, because if he didn’t, they wouldn’t eat. But now, Sam thinks Dean does it just because he likes it. Because it’s another thing he can do with his hands, something physical, tangible, something else he can present to Sam that says, “see, I care about you. I made you this.”

Anyway. Sam hadn’t appreciated being told to go to bed like an eight-year-old, but he was too tired to argue. He figured it was Dean avoiding The Talk they had to have about Sam being pathetic enough to hold on to the amulet all these years. Or, at least, Dean had wanted to put it off until he could process it. Or think of some way to let Sam down easy.

Once, that amulet had meant everything, had meant almost ownership in Sam’s mind. No matter what, no matter how stripped down his brother was, he had never taken the thing off. They’d had to replace the cord a few times over the years from the shower water wearing the leather down because Dean refused to part from it. It had torn Sam up to watch Dean hand it off to Cas, even if it was a valuable, God-finding thing. He’d had a lot of issues when it came to his brother’s relationship with the angel back then, thinking Dean was looking to replace Sam because he'd felt replaced by Ruby. Sam had felt disgusting relief, watching Cas throw it back to Dean, announcing it ‘useless,’ because maybe it was useless to Cas, to heaven, but never to Sam. Never to Dean, or so he had thought. And then Dean had. He’d. Well.

It’s been six years since Dean tossed it away, and Sam’s wanted to bring it up to him, but they haven’t really been them until pretty recently.

Sam thinks to himself, again, as he does often, every time Dean smiles for him, the small, private one where every single one of his eye crinkles shows, every time Dean rests a wide hand on Sam’s lower back to guide him, every time Dean shuffles sleepily into the library, grumpy at seven AM, with insane bedhead and a coffee cup glued to his mouth-- he thinks about how he really would doom the world again and again, if it meant keeping this, keeping Dean, how the rest of the world rises and falls with their togetherness, their happiness, their pain.

Before he realizes he's heading that way, he ends up in the library. Dean is sitting on the other end of it, a couple lamps on. There’s an almost empty glass of scotch next to his elbow, and he’s holding the amulet between his thumb and forefinger, spinning it around in the light.

Sam clears his throat before walking in, giving Dean time to school his expression, or drop the amulet, whatever he needs to do. But he doesn’t do any of those things. He looks up at Sam with the same gentle eyes he was using to search every inch of the necklace, and Sam smiles at him, can’t help it. They’ve been a unit for almost three decades, save the years Sam was in college, and the fact that Dean can still look at him like that, like he’s the only motion in a still world, the only color in monochrome-- it gets to Sam.

But that’s no surprise. Dean has always gotten to Sam, always gotten up under his skin. He practically lives in Sam’s immediate bubble, and Sam can only think, closer. Please, closer.

“Sam,” Dean greets, standing to move over to the liquor cart. He refills his drink, then pours one for Sam, like Dean can just tell he needs a drink. And he does. Badly. “Can’t sleep?”

Sam shakes his head, hair flying. Running his fingers through the bed head he’s sure to have, he moves toward the table, aiming to sit across from Dean. But Dean sits first, then pushes out the chair right next to him with his bare foot. Sam watches the way his toes curl around the bar on the bottom of the chair, and that flash of skin makes his throat tighten. Dean Winchester never goes barefoot-- most of the time, he sleeps in his boots, ankles crossed neatly. Always a warrior, always ready to jump up and fight, fight to win. Even here, in the Bunker, a lot of the time, Dean will fall asleep with a movie playing on Sam’s laptop, arms crossed over his chest.

When that happens, Sam has to resist the urge to go into Dean’s room, get gentle fingers around Dean’s ankles to pull off the boots, the socks, then tuck his brother’s bowed legs up under the covers. After all this, after everything Dean has done for this world, Sam thinks he deserves to have a comfortable night of sleep.

But Sam doesn’t. He stays out of Dean’s room for the most part, because he knows if he hangs out in there with his brother, he’s not gonna want to leave. It’s gonna start to feel natural, like the years of sharing motel rooms, moving around each other, waking up in the middle of the night, then listening to the other breathe to soothe themselves back to sleep. Hell, he knew Dean’s jacking off schedule (Sunday night, Wednesday morning, and anytime after 4pm on Friday), just one of those quirky things one learns about a person when they live in each others’ pockets.

He wonders a lot more than he should if Dean’s schedule is the same. Wonders what would happen if Sam “accidentally” walked in, “accidentally” offered his hand (mouth, or anything else) to help.

Shit. He both really needs this drink, and really, really doesn’t. Sam takes a big swallow as he sits down next to his brother, and their glasses thump on the table in tandem, identical “ah!”’s leaving their burning throats after the liquor warms their bellies.

“Nightmare?” Dean asks, voice deep and low, and it settles down Sam’s spine like a warm finger is tracing it.

Dean sits back in his seat, bowed legs spread wide. Sam’s always wondered, in this really desperate, perverted way, just how big Dean’s dick is. He’s seen shy, guilty glimpses of it throughout the years (like he said before, just one of those quirky things), but. The size of his dick is the one thing Dean has never boasted about, or joked about; in fact, he’s never even really brought it up at all, and it makes Sam so curious. He doesn’t know if Dean doesn't talk about it because it’s not that big and he’s embarrassed, or what. It would explain all the posturing of his youth (Dean, these days, is actually pretty down-to-earth and real; getting older has done wonders for his brother). Or if it’s that-- that thing people say, that guys with big dicks don’t need to talk about how big their dick is because they just know it’s huge, and they don’t need to prove anything.

Like, for instance. Sam is pretty well-endowed, but he doesn’t think he’s ever told anyone that. In fact, he blushes every time a partner of his says something about it. So, there’s that.

Dean just has to spread his legs so wide to unhinge his junk from the trap of his jeans. Sam watches as Dean adjusts himself, pulling at the fabric over his crotch until he sighs, wiggling a little in his seat. Sam has to look away because there is something pressing softly against Dean’s leg, a little less than midway down the inner thigh.

“Sam?” Dean inquires gently, and Sam flushes. Oh god, he’s gotta stop. Sam is both making himself hard and making himself feel guilty as hell, sitting here practically burning a hole through Dean’s denim-covered crotch.

“Sorry,” Sam says, shaking his head. “Yeah, nightmare. I’m a little out of it.”

Dean nods, seems to accept that answer just fine. It says a lot about Sam’s life that he knows his brother is being easy with him because Sam almost died. Again.

“Crazy day,” Dean mumbles, smiling a little. “I still-- man, I can’t believe it. I thought that town was toast. And I thought-- well, you know. That’s the second time this month I thought you were dead. It’s getting a little redundant, honestly.”

That triggers something that’s been eating at Sam since the whole "Revenant" thing (as Dean has started calling it) went down. “I knew it,” he snaps. “I knew you thought Corbin had killed me. What did you do, Dean? Tell me the truth this time.”

Dean looks caught out, eyes downcast. Sam knows he feels bad for lying. “Me and my big fuckin’ mouth,” Dean sighs.

Sam sighs, too, and he puts a soft hand on Dean’s knee. On the actual knee, not the thigh, not anywhere that doesn’t say brotherly. “Look, I’m not gonna rail you, okay? Just… just give me a little credit. You’ve been so much better about telling me stuff, like. Like when we worked Bobby’s old case with that house, you actually told me what you saw in the nest. You have never, ever been honest with me like that. You wanted to, I don’t know, not share the burden. I get that, as infuriating as it is. But, you know, I keep telling you that you’ve got someone right here, someone who loves you,” he feels Dean’s leg twitch when he says the ‘L’ word, but fuck it, just because Dean can’t say it doesn’t mean Sam can’t, “who knows everything about you. Who’s never gonna judge you. You can tell me anything, and I. I want you to.”

Sam looks down at his hand, the way his thumb is running over the bumps and ridges on the flat of Dean’s knee. “We’ve just been, I don’t know. Disconnected. For a really, really long time. Probably ever since you got back from Hell. Which isn’t your fault,” he quickly adds, “I-- I know I was to blame for that. For, you know. Ruby, and-- and the demon blood. I’ll never not be sorry. I’ll never forgive myself for it, so.”

“Sam,” Dean murmurs, dropping a warm hand on top of Sam’s, where it’s fidgeting against Dean’s knee. “It’s just like the Purgatory thing. You need to forgive yourself, because I have. A million times over. I know I liked to bring it up when we were, uh, disagreeing on stuff. And that was wrong. I just said it to hurt you, because I’ve been over it for a long time. You were just… with the demon blood, look, I know my death fucked you up. How could it not? I was ripped to shreds after the hellhounds. Bobby, uh, he told me what I looked like. That you cleaned me up, dressed the wounds, dressed me. He said he realized then you weren’t gonna burn me.”

Sam hasn’t really thought about that stuff in a while, but the memory of it-- watching Dean being brutally murdered by something invisible, something he couldn’t see, after a year of absolute panic, trying to stop it from happening. Then after, trying to live with the fact that he had failed, and his failure had cost him everything: his big brother. Sam doesn’t realize how tight he’s started to cling to Dean’s fingers until Dean squeezes them back.

“Anyway, uh. I know it messed you up, Sammy. Shit, I couldn’t do two days of you being gone without making crazy decisions that I will still defend to this day. I know you wanted to get revenge, but I also know who you are, Sam. I know you really thought you were making the best out of a bad situation. Trying to take this thing inside you and make it okay, make it so you could deal with it. I get that. It took me a lot of growing up, a lot of losing you, but I get it. And it’s okay, little brother. Just. Just know I forgive you for all of it, okay? So. So, you shouldn’t carry around burdens you don’t have to, either.”

Sam has been waiting almost eight years to hear Dean say that, and the part of Sam (a big part, if he’s honest) that’s a little brother just trying to make his big brother proud, the part that doesn’t want Dean to stop calling him Sammy, that huge part of who he is just glows and glows until he feels all hot inside, pressure building in his throat, behind his eyes.

“Thanks, Dean,” he chokes out, and maybe it’s not exactly what he wanted to say, but he means it so much, means it with everything he has. His brother’s benediction is better than any comfort he found in praying to a silent God. “Thank you. Really, I-- just. Thank you.”

Dean just shakes his head at him, smiling, like you’re such a little bitch, but it’s so, so fond. Dean picks his drink back up, and Sam lets go of his other hand, but Dean only scoots it back a couple inches. He doesn’t try to throw Sam’s hand off, either, which has crawled up a little to where Dean’s knee blends into his thigh, just resting. His fingers are shaking a little.

“Anyway,” Sam breathes, laughing a little, blinking away his tears. “Like I was saying. You don’t have to come to me, Dean, and I get why you don’t, or… why you used to not. But you’re all I have. We’re all each other has at the end of the day, and if you can’t come to me, who can you go to? I just-- I don’t know about you, but I think you and I have a really good thing, and I… I’m okay with this being my life. I really am, Dean. I’m happy with hunting, and I’m good at it-- you’d be dead without me, without the stuff I know, and you know it.”

Dean grins at him, but doesn’t dispute it.

Sam continues, after smacking Dean’s leg with a smile. “But I never want to do this alone, Dean. I can’t do this without you, and not in that ‘I just need a partner because hunting is always at least a two-person job’ way. In the way that I can’t do it without you. Just you. I could live without anyone else, I do live without anyone else, for the most part. Without, uh, without Jess. As much as it killed me. Without Dad, without Cas, without Bobby. But never without you. And I want it to be that way even if we stop hunting one day, and we really do find a place to retire.

“I don’t want there to be any cracks in us, okay? No flimsy, vulnerable place a bad guy can squeeze through. I don’t want them to be able to use us against each other, or turn us against each other, and they won’t be able to if we already know everything. I’ve had enough of that crap for a lifetime or two. I just, I want us. I want to be close to you. I don’t want any space, not anymore. I haven't for a long time, and I hope you know that. That I’m not gonna leave you, ever, either.”

Dean is looking at him carefully, eyebrows together, cheeks slightly sunken in where Sam knows he’s chewing at the insides nervously. Sam is hit, suddenly, with the man Dean has become, who still has pieces of the vulnerable boy who showed up at his apartment in the middle of the night over ten years ago, to whisk him away in his loyal black steed. Sam remembers being a little embarrassed by Dean sometimes back then, with his brash, womanizing, devil-may-care attitude. But these days, he's nothing but proud to be Dean’s brother, to have the full attention of a man like him, to be loved fiercely, with singular focus, by someone who deserves everything, and all he asks for is Sam.

Dean shifts suddenly, carefully picking up the amulet Sam had all but forgotten about lying on the table. He drops it into the open palm of his other hand, and they both stare down at it for a second. Sam feels hot behind his ears.

“So,” Dean starts, giving Sam a gentle smile. “I never thought I'd see this again.”

Sam tries to smile back, but he thinks it comes out as more of a grimace. Especially when Dean’s grin stretches.

“Don’t look like that, Sammy,” Dean chuckles. “In all honesty, I. I considered it fair, missing it so much after I’d thrown it away to begin with. I deserved to never get to see it again. Man, it tortured me, thinking about it in some landfill.”

Sam slowly draws his hand back, looking down to where he rests it in his lap. He’d wanted to show it to Dean, give him the option of having it back, since it was his to begin with. But for the past six years, things have been a little strained between them. God, even before Dean threw it away, things had been rough. This is the first year they’ve had in eight where Sam is Sam and Dean is Dean and no one is flying down a one-way road towards death or damnation, or both.

He’d almost taken the amulet last year, along with the pictures of Mom, to meet Dean and Death (though he hadn’t known about that part at the time). He wasn’t sure why he took them, something probably to do with the fact Dean venerated Mary above all else. If Dean ever prayed to anything, anyone, it would be their mom. So, he thought maybe if Dean was reminded why he hunts, why he saves lives, why he’s the best man Sam’s ever known, he might change his mind.

Up until that point, the last time he'd seen his brother was at Charlie's funeral, before the Styne murders, so he hadn't known how far off the edge Dean had fallen, and how completely. No part of Dean that day, standing in his blood red shirt, coldly resigned to Sam's death, no part had resembled his big brother. Even his beautiful, animated face was still and cold, like stone, staring down at him as he held Death’s scythe in the hands that had patched Sam up with unbelievable gentleness all his life. The Dean staring down at the amulet as he turns it through his fingers, the Dean of right now, is so hard to reconcile with the twisted version the Mark had created.

But anyway, he hadn’t taken the amulet because only days before Dean had stood at Charlie’s pyre and told Sam that it should have been Sam who was butchered, Sam’s body burning up there. He can barely breathe around that memory, but it’s okay, because he knows, he knows the Dean of right now, with his knee pressing into Sam’s thigh would forsake all others, the entire world to keep Sam by his side. He just hadn’t thought the amulet would be effective, is the point, and maybe a part of Sam had been terrified of Dean looking at it blankly and asking, “what’s that?”

Dean clears his throat softly, and Sam snaps back into the present. “God, sorry. I keep spacing out.”

“Wanna go to bed?” Dean asks, nodding his head toward the hallway.

“With you?” Sam asks, incredulous, heart speeding up, and then he realizes what Dean meant. “Ohhh my god.”

Dean is smiling, a little smug, the asshole. “I, uh. I meant, are you too tired to talk right now, you wanna go back to bed?”

“No, I know, of course--”

“But, uh,” Dean continues, not smiling so smugly now, but in this almost self-deprecating way, like he knows the answer to whatever he’s about to ask is gonna be the opposite of what he wants, and he thinks he deserves that. “That, uh. We could do that. You know. You could. You could be, you know, close, and that way I’ll know no one has slipped into your room to murder you, because it’s been that kind of month.”

Sam laughs despite himself, despite the heat rising in his stomach, through his chest. “Really?”

“You gonna make me ask again? ‘Cause it was really awkward the first time.”

“Oh, so you’re asking,” Sam grins, teasing him.

“Yeah, Sammy. I am,” Dean answers quietly, no trace of laughter on his face, but he still looks kind and gentle and wide-open, and Sam really believes that if he said no, Dean would let it go.

“Okay,” he breathes, “yeah, yes, I’d. That would be really, um, nice,” Sam stammers, trying not to flush. “But not yet. May I?” He holds out his hand for the amulet, so Dean drops it into his open palm.

Sam unfurls the black leather cord, stretching it out between his fingers. “I couldn’t just leave it there, Dean. I know you lost faith in me, in us. I think I did, too, you know? Lose faith in us, I mean. We didn’t really get along back then, not if you think about it. I remember thinking how miserable I was, how fucking sick I was of being yanked around by Heaven and Hell, sick of fighting with you, just, just sick. Like, heartsick, I guess. And I was so angry because I knew I wasn’t gonna walk away, I knew I was gonna just sit right there next to you in the car, in the awkward silence as we tried to be civil but couldn’t think of anything to say. I knew I was gonna sit there and be miserable, because I knew you were miserable, too, and somehow that made it easier to deal with.

"But I didn’t lose faith in you. I never really have, not completely. I picked this up, thinking that I could make it better. Thinking that I could make you proud of me again, make you proud to wear something I gave you again, some day. Maybe by throwing myself into the Cage with Lucifer to save the world. Maybe by trying to right the wrongs of the Soulless me you couldn’t stand. Maybe by trying to show zero signs of centuries in the Cage flooding back when you needed me to be okay. Or taking on the Trials. Or letting you walk away after the Gadreel mess because you needed to, when all I wanted was for you to stay, for you to care for the person you started all this mess for, the person you saved. For not ripping into you for taking on the Mark of Cain. For looking for you, finding you and curing you of being a demon. For taking the Mark away. For curing myself of the black veins, the first time. For standing up to Lucifer, again. For something, Dean, I don’t know, but I knew one day you would be proud of me again, that you’d love me the way you used to, with everything you had. That’s what I was waiting for.”

Dean regards him quietly, calmly, his jaw flexing as he clenches his teeth, thinking. Then, Dean shifts forward on his chair, resting his elbows on his knees, hands out to wrap around Sam’s forearms.

“Sam, listen to me. I am always proud of you, you understand me? And. And lovin’ you? If you were looking for a sign, I’m sorry that I didn’t give you one. I’m sorry I don’t always know what to say, or, or how to say it, so I say nothing. I just. I can’t believe you ever thought for a second I don’t worship the ground you walk on, Sammy. I mean,” he shrugs, running his thumbs down the big blue vein under Sam’s wrists, and the light touch is making Sam crazy. “Everyone else knows it, I think. I don’t try to hide that you’re everything to me, just. Fucking everything. Cas knows that, Jody knows that, hell, I’m sure her girls do, too. Charlie knew that, Bobby for sure knew that. So did dad. I don’t know what you’ve been lookin’ for, Sam, and I’m sorry you haven’t found it, I really am. I should talk more, tell you more, because I know words are your thing, but I’ve been singularly devoted to you since you were six months old. You’re all I’ve ever known, and I’ve never wanted or needed more than that, more than you. So. Can I have it back, little brother? Can I, baby?”

Being called ‘little brother’ and ‘baby’ in the same breath shouldn’t make Sam feel like he’s getting everything he’s ever wanted, but it does. Sam looks to Dean, meeting his eyes, almost all pupil in the dim light. He feels strange, almost jittery, like this is a night anything could happen, and he’s almost daring to hope things he hasn’t allowed himself to hope for in almost ten years.

Sam sucks on his bottom lip. “Can I come to bed with you now?”

Dean looks away, looks down, smiling a little bitterly at his lap. Sam knows Dean thinks he’s being let down easy, or that Sam’s gonna avoid it. Whatever, Sam will never be able to change the mile-wide storm of insecurity in his brother, but he can prove him wrong.

“Sure, Sammy,” Dean answers, smacking Sam on the thigh as he raises up out of the chair. He throws back the last of his scotch, picks up Sam’s empty glass to put them in the sink. “I’ll be there in just a sec.”

Sam stops to pee on the way, and he stands in front of the mirror, after, washing his hands. He’s glad he looks calm and collected on the outside, because his insides are trying to either melt or freeze, maybe both. For the first time in his adult life, Dean is willingly sharing a bed with him. Not only willingly, but wantingly. It’s the headiest feeling in the world.

He grabs a spare pillow from one of the many supply closets lining the halls, rounds the last corner, and nearly smacks right into Dean.

“Steady now,” Dean grins, holding his biceps. “Ready for bed?”

It should be awkward that he can remember Dean asking him that in a much sterner tone all throughout his childhood, even into Sam’s teenage years. It should be awkward, the brother reminder, but it’s not. The really fucked up thing about all of this, about how Sam feels, is that he’s never once wished Dean wasn’t his brother. He's never wished Dean was some normal guy he could pursue. The way he feels is all wrapped up in family and loyalty and honor and love and love and love, and he could never separate that. He would never want to.

Sam nods at Dean to lead the way, so Dean cracks open the door to his dimly lit, chilly bedroom, and they both step inside. Sam refuses to let it get weird, because he can feel Dean sizing up the bed and how exactly they’re both gonna fit on his queen mattress (very carefully), but he doesn’t care. He throws his pillow on the side he knows Dean likes to sleep, calling, “shotgun.”

Dean snorts. “That’s my side.”

“You sleep alone. There are no sides.”

Dean looks put out by this logic. Sam laughs at the pout on his face, and he works up the courage, finally, to wrap Dean up in a hug, one of those tender, far too short moments between them when they’re pressed from chest to knee, something he hasn’t felt in a long time. Too long, really, for Sam, whose main source of intimacy comes from the man relaxing against him, hugging him back tightly.

“You sure I can’t have that side?” Sam asks quietly into his brother’s soft hair.

Dean grunts into Sam’s shoulder. “Might as well have it,” he mumbles. “You’ve got everything else of mine, anyway.”

Sam releases Dean from their hug by shoving him backwards onto his bed. It’s worth it, just for Dean’s face, the wide eyes, the way he makes an abortive move like he’s about to crab-crawl backwards, but holds himself still, watching the way Sam crawls onto the bed. Dean’s eyes get wider and wider the closer Sam gets, and he almost gets the courage to crawl on top of Dean, straddle his legs and demand… affection, or something, or anything. But he doesn’t.

He collapses onto his side next to Dean, propping his head up against Dean’s shoulder. Sam wants to move closer, tuck his nose into Dean’s neck for a little while, then move down to rest against his brother’s broad, strong chest, but he doesn’t do that either, because he doesn’t have to. Dean sighs, wrapping an arm over Sam’s shoulders, pulling him in closer, closer, until the only way Sam can keep moving into Dean is if he burrows under his skin, and if someone found a way for Sam to do it, he thinks he would.

Sam blows out a long breath, muffled against Dean’s warm skin. They shuffle and squirm until they’re both comfortable, and then they both kind of drop like puppets with cut strings, melting into Dean’s mattress.

“This shouldn’t be so comfortable,” Sam groans, but it is, they fit together like they are only pieces of a bigger picture, coming back together once more. Dean hums his contented agreement.

“Hey, Dean,” Sam whispers into the dark a couple minutes later, knowing he has to do this before he falls asleep, and he's just shy of doing so. Dean’s heartbeat in his ear is the most comforting lullaby he’s ever experienced.

“Hmm, Sammy,” Dean murmurs, turning his head towards Sam, causing his lips to brush against Sam’s temple. He keeps it up, back and forth, rubbing his mouth against Sam’s skin, and Sam’s completely distracted for a minute.

With a groan, Sam sits up a little, turning to his stomach, propping himself up on his elbows. Dean blinks sleepily at him, smiling a little vaguely, like he doesn’t know what’s happening but he’s glad Sam is here. Sam opens his palm, and the amulet drops out, catches on Sam’s finger, swinging back and forth in front of Dean’s face. Dean eyes it, then looks up at Sam. He almost looks bashful.

“Yeah?” Dean asks, thumbing the charm softly.

“Yeah,” Sam whispers back. He opens the leather cord into a big circle, getting up on his knees so he can put it around his brother’s neck. Dean lets him, ducking his head forward so it comes off the pillow. Sam holds on to the amulet for one last second, then he puts it down against Dean’s chest, and just like that, six years of torturing himself has come to an end.

“Come here,” Dean murmurs, reaching to pull Sam close again. “C’mere, baby brother.”

Sam settles back down against his brother’s chest, laying a hand over Dean’s, where it’s covering the amulet, like he’s protecting it. “Night, Dean.”

He can feel Dean’s lips in his hair, hears him inhale deeply. “Night, Sammy.”

Sam wakes up again, a couple hours later, because he’s stunningly hard, and there’s a warm body right up against his back. Hot breath and feather soft lips trail down from under his ear, into the sweaty line of his hair, and along his neck in this maddeningly slow pattern that has him groaning low in his throat the second he realizes what’s going on.

Dean’s body stiffens against his momentarily, lips right against the curve of Sam’s shoulder. He can feel Dean’s breath bleeding dampness through his t-shirt. Sam swallows, and it’s loud enough that it makes him flush with adrenaline.

“Sammy,” Dean asks, words buried into the spot up under Sam’s ear, “this okay?”

“Fuck you, you know it is,” Sam breathes, his lower body making abortive little movements as Dean trails a rough, life worn hand over his bare hip, where Sam’s shirt has ridden up. “You have any idea how long I--”

Dean presses his mouth hard against Sam’s shoulder blade, breathing this happy little laugh/groan, pressings his hips (and the hard, thick line of him) deeply, but quickly, against Sam's ass. Then he shuffles away, causing Sam to fall on his back. Dean grabs his opposite hip, pulling him up, into his chest, running a wide hand up Sam’s spine to rake up into Sam’s hair, holding gently at the strands on his nape. Dean's anchoring him, bringing Sam close, just like he said he wanted to do.

“I do, Sam,” Dean murmurs, moving his body back up close to Sam’s, so close he can feel Dean’s amulet pressing into his forearm. “I do know how long.”

Sam makes a frustrated noise, trying to pull away from Dean’s grip keeping him immobile. Dean makes this soft little cooing noise back, like he’s trying to soothe a wild animal, and it would piss Sam off like crazy, but Dean kisses him.

Sam feels his body melt at his spine, his chest and hips and knees all pressing forward, completely weightless. Dean doesn’t kiss like Sam thought he would, with hard teeth and slick, probing tongues. He kisses with his whole mouth, his lips just as important as anything else, and he works them against Sam’s, slightly parts them to run the wet tip of his tongue against Sam’s bottom lip, and when Sam opens, Dean changes the angle so he can lick inside, taste all of Sam's mouth in a way that makes his toes curl, before it becomes all lips again. It’s driving Sam fucking crazy.

Sam’s fingers find the amulet, and he wraps the black leather cord around them, around his fist and pulls, forcing Dean into a harder, deeper kiss. Dean makes a surprised little noise in the back of his throat, the first sound he’s made. It makes Sam kiss him even harder, cradling Dean’s face between his palms as he takes it over, causes Dean to make all these confused, almost humiliated little sounds as Sam systematically takes him apart. His teeth bite Dean’s lip cruelly, before sucking on it sharply, making it absolutely swollen with blood. Tracing Dean’s mouth with his tongue over and over as Dean makes a frustrated noise, because all Sam will give him is the very tip, and that makes him think about other things.

Sam starts taking off Dean's sweats, and his brother doesn't notice until they’re being pulled down his shins by Sam’s toes. “Oh, shit,” Dean pants, biting his swollen, obscene mouth as he looks over at Sam. “Are you sure?”

Sam nods absently, eyes on the thick line pressing against Dean’s grey boxer briefs, and when Dean shifts his hips, the head becomes uncaught from the tangle of his underwear, and it sways against the fabric before parting it from his body, the fat purple tip peeking over the elastic band.

“Off,” Sam demands, curling his fingers into Dean’s waistband, rolling Dean on his back as he tugs the briefs off. “Holy shit, Dean.”

Dean laughs, not meanly, palming himself absently. “Oh yeah?”

“Shut up,” Sam demands, breathless. “It’s. It might be bigger than mine.”

Dean’s eyebrows fly into his hair. “You sound surprised. You gotta big dick, too, Sammy? Hmmm? Lemme see. Let big brother see, c’mon.”

All this little-brother big-brother talk should not be turning Sam’s crank so good, but like he said, he’s never once wanted to be anything but Dean’s little brother. And yeah, he’s really, really getting off on it.

Sam strips his own boxer briefs quickly, straddling Dean so their cocks are pressed right up against each other. Dean gasps, and Sam groans, rolling his hips again for some friction. Dean suddenly takes a hold of them, his fingers nowhere near able to close all the way, but it makes Sam fall forward a little with another groan, bracing himself on his outstretched palms.

“Christ, Dean.”

“Look,” Dean demands, squeezing a little harder. “Tell me who’s bigger, hmmm? Gonna be a close call. Look at that Winchester dick you got between those pretty legs.”

Sam can barely breathe (because that particular brand of Dean's filthy mouth hit about fifty buttons Sam didn't know he had), let alone think, but he rises up again, looking down at them pushed together in Dean’s palm. Sam is long and smooth, flesh-colored with a pink tip, less girth than Dean, but it’s hard to tell whose is longer. But Dean’s is definitely bigger because he’s at least three-something inches around at the widest point, and the head is dark purple, and there are a few thick veins pressing through the thin skin. Sam thinks wildly, that's a porn star dick.

“You are,” Sam groans, so fucking turned on, “you are, Dean.”

“Hmmm.” Dean’s unoccupied arm comes up around his waist, pressing forward until Sam falls, fumbling to brace on his forearms over his big brother. Dean’s hand immediately starts moving, slowly, tightly, a long pull that has Sam shivering a moan into Dean’s mouth.

“Gimme a hand,” Dean rasps, so Sam scoots up a little to get his one crooked arm up over Dean’s head, so the other can lace through the fingers of Dean's sweaty, hot hand, right where their cocks are choked together, leaking down the sides. Making such a mess.

Sam thrusts down, fucking into Dean’s fist, and it makes him drop down all the way, lips pressed against Dean’s sweaty neck. It just feels so fucking good, in a way that takes him apart, strips him to his fundamentals way too fast. He's thirty-three years old, and he's probably had a hundred handjobs in his lifetime, but nothing has ever felt like this, not even the kinkiest sex his soulless self could dream up, not the tenderness and belonging he felt with the few women he's cared for. Dean just eggs him on, whispering filth that makes Sam flush and pound his hips harder, makes him curse into his brother’s neck, trying to hold on to the last few moments before he comes. Already. This quick. Dean must be part incubus, or something.

“That’s it, c’mon,” Dean gentles in a supportive, big-brother voice that goes a long way for Sam, “so good, Sam, so beautiful, look at you, baby--”

Sam straight-up moans when he comes, a noise so steep with contented pleasure, Dean sighs in relief with him, even though Sam can still feel that Dean’s hard as a rock, twitching with the desire to release.

“God, came so fuckin’ good for me, Sam,” Dean is mumbling, pressing absent kisses on his face, his lips, stroking a hand down Sam’s sweaty back. “So good, Sam. So good, baby.”

When Sam comes back to himself, he realizes a couple things: Dean is about to come, with his eyes scrunched so tight all the lines in the corners stand out in sharp relief, mouth dropped so wide Sam can see the fillings in his molars. He’s panting harshly, driving his hips up, and that’s when Sam registers the second thing: the amulet is pressing a deep imprint into Sam’s chest from where their bodies are pressed tightly together, and it really fucking hurts but he can’t move, doesn’t wanna miss this miracle happening in front of him: Dean coming for Sam, because of Sam.

Dean groans low, and Sam can feel the heat and wet pooling against where his own come has already started to dry against their lower bellies.

Sam raises up, feels the amulet unstick from his chest. He palms Dean’s face, the beautiful, otherworldly face of his brother, which is still slack in pleasure, but his eyes blink heavily open. He smiles sleepily and just a little smugly at Sam, from where Sam’s all but got him pinned to the bed, body wrapped all around him, mouth inches from his own, and Sam hopes it’ll never, ever stop amazing him that Dean is smiling like this because Sam is so close to him.

He just has to kiss that sloppy-sweet look right off Dean's face.

“That was unexpected,” Dean finally comments after Sam lets his lips go (not before they’re almost sore to the touch), voice low and a little rough. He pats Sam’s ass, and Sam instinctively rolls off. Dean fumbles around in the dark for a dirty t-shirt, and when his hand connects with one, he makes a triumphant noise.

“You don’t wanna shower?” Sam asks skeptically, because a good portion of Dean’s stomach is absolutely covered in their come.

“Nah,” Dean grunts. “Sleep.”

“Hedonist,” Sam accuses, watching as Dean cleans himself up as thoroughly as he can.

Dean catches his eye as he opens his arms, clearly demanding Sam to get over here. Sam grins into Dean’s chest. He fucking knew Dean was a cuddler.

“You okay, Sam?” Dean asks him a moment later, trailing soft fingers up Sam’s bare arm.

“Yes,” Sam says firmly, because holy shit, is he ever. “This is just. This is crazy, Dean. This whole day has been… I never thought that, uh. Well, I just never thought.”

“You ain’t the only one who’s been waiting a long, long time for us to get on the same page again,” Dean tells him softly, after a pause. “Wanted this forever, Sammy, Jesus. For way too long. Then you went to college. Then you were back, but grieving Jess. Then the visions, Azazel’s children. Your death. My deal. And on and on and on. Never seemed to be the right time, and before I knew it, it’d be another year gone with this secret I was pretty sure you were keeping, too. But, fuck it, Sam. Fuck it. We’re too damn old, seen too damned much not to let ourselves have this.” Dean cuts off suddenly, and Sam cranes his neck so he can see his jawline and the curve of his cheek, and it’s a little red. “Uh, in my opinion at least.”

Sam just curls up to him tighter, feeling this hard to describe thing, this pride-affection-devotion-passion thing he always feels when he thinks about his brother, thinks about all the ways Dean has saved him, even if he couldn’t understand wanting to be saved at the time. He’s glad for it, because he has this, and he would have never gotten this, this lifelong wish he was too afraid to look closely at, had he given up, had Dean given up on him. “I understand why you didn’t tell me. Hell, I didn’t tell you either. But there’s always gonna be bad stuff happening in our lives, so I think this, us, between us, is something we can find comfort in, something that will keep us, you know, close. I think it’s gonna make things better.”

“Yeah,” Dean breathes. “Roll over, Sammy, hmm?”

Sam does, shuffling sleepily until he’s on his side, with Dean pressed tight to his back. They tangle their feet together, and Dean slips a strong arm over Sam’s stomach, pulling him back into Dean’s chest, his groin, even tighter. Sam feels so fucking safe like this, his world holding him close, holding him together.

“It could make it so much worse, though,” Dean whispers a couple seconds later. “You know what I mean, Sam. If we were, uh, not so enthusiastic over the thought of each other dyin’ before, how do you think it’s gonna be now? How much farther will we go to save each other now? How much more are we gonna fuck up lives of other people because we won’t let each other go? Because now, I mean. You really are everything to me, ‘cause you don’t just own my heart anymore, you had to snatch up my dick, too.”

“Dean,” Sam complains, trying not to laugh.

“I’m serious,” Dean continues softly. “I’m in this a hundred percent, because I’m willing to face the consequences. You just can’t go dyin’ on me anymore,” Dean says lightly, like it’s a joke, but Sam feels the desperation, and suddenly, he truly understands what Dean is saying.

“Dean, you can’t either,” he demands. “You can’t die either. I fucking mean it.”

Dean shushes him, but everything Sam has been able to forget for the last day is rolling back in: God, waiting in the wings. Amara, trying to take his brother, now his-- his partner, forever. Billie, and the Empty. Lucifer, and how he’s around all the time, how that makes Sam feel like he’s crawling out of his skin.

This, between them, has allowed Sam to forget about all the uncertainty facing him outside these walls. And despite the sick feeling rolling around in his gut at the thought of Dean leaving him, leaving this world, this plane, so far away from him, in a place called The Empty he knows nothing about-- despite that, Sam agrees with Dean, that it’s worth it. This? This is worth not only the consequences...

This is worth everything.