The first time Sam sees him, he’s standing outside a little coffee shop in St Paul. Sam is sitting at one of the tables inside, catching up on research and waiting for Dean. Taking a sip from his mug, he looks out the plate glass window and sees his reflection. His hair’s getting long again and those sideburns need a trim. And then, as he’s reaching up to touch the hair by his ears, his reflection turns and walks away.
Sam freezes, hand in mid air. Realizing what’s happening he rushes to the sidewalk in front of the shop, frantically looking up and down the street. When Dean pulls up at the curb, Sam jumps in and asks him to drive around the blocks surrounding the shop but there’s no sign of, well, of himself.
"We're not after a shifter, Sam. You sure the poor guy didn't just look like you?"
Ever since Dean returned from Purgatory, he’s been distant, his words abrupt and cutting, his touches no longer affectionate. It’s understandable after all he went through, the blame he assigns to Sam. Sam gets it. So rather than fight whenever Dean gets irritated, Sam lets it go.
"Yeah, ok. Must’ve been a mistake."
The second time he sees him, it's in the occult stacks of a library in Des Moines. Their selection of books is thin and Sam is putting a few volumes back on the shelf when he feels a hand on his shoulder.
"He's lying to you, you know that don't you?" It’s his own voice but lower and smoother, more predatory, and he turns towards it. "Tell me you're not falling for it."
He looks up at the man - at himself - and his mouth opens to respond: ask questions, defend his brother, deny the evidence in front of him that somehow another Sam is standing here with him. But nothing comes out.
The doppelgänger shakes his head with a rueful smile. "Tell me that I'm not a useless loser in this world." Sam closes his mouth and pulls away. This version of him is bulked out, muscles ripped under the black v-neck he wears, and he seems so confident while Sam is flailing right now. Obviously alt-world Sam is a smug asshole.
"I'll be back when you figure it all out."
Sam is uncharacteristically quiet when he climbs in the Impala later that night. It's been two days since he's seen Dean and his brother has nothing to add to the conversation as always. After a few minutes, Sam twists in his seat to look at Dean.
"Is there something you want to tell me about where you've been the last two days?"
Dean shifts in his seat but turns an innocent face to his brother. "Sam, don't be such a pain in the ass. Just needed a little time off. We don't have to be together every minute of every day."
The third time Sam sees Sam, he’s seated at a bar stool in a Baton Rouge dive, drowning his sorrows in a bottle of Jack while Dean is somewhere with Benny. A vampire. Sam burns with anger, with self righteousness and jealousy.
When the doppelgänger sits down next to him, his anger boils over.
"Why are you here?"
"Actually, I don't really know. Where I'm from, I never got my soul back and Dean left. It didn’t feel right without him and he wouldn’t come back, so I bought a spell from a witch to bring him to me so we could make things right. Instead it brought me here to your world to this colossal fuck-up. How did the two of you mess things up so badly this time? Guess there aren’t any worlds out there where there is no brotherly drama."
Sam's brow crinkles up at the thought of all those other worlds and other Sams and other Deans and it makes his whisky-soaked brain hurt. He looks back at Other-Sam and wonders what it would have been like to stay soulless and alone all those years. Maybe that’s the kind of loneliness Sam has in store if he walks away from his brother now.
"Well, he's left me here, too." Dean called me a monster once and now he's left me for one, he thinks through an alcohol haze. He snorts and finishes off the two fingers left in the bottom of his glass.
Soulless pulls the whisky from his hand.
"He hasn't left you - yet - but he's an idiot for choosing Benny over you." He turns Sam’s bar stool to face him and places big warm palms on both of Sam’s thighs. "If you were mine, I would never leave you here alone. All these dirtbags want a chance with you but that won't happen, will it?"
Sam looks around him at the redneck bar patrons and then back at his own face which is calm and sure. He can’t stop staring at his pink lips in the dim bar light and tips impulsively forward to press his own against them.
Soulless doesn't even look surprised, the bastard. Instead, he grabs Sam’s bicep and pulls him off the stool, dragging him towards a dark corner by the back room of the bar. Sam’s uncoordinated and loose from all the whisky and just goes with it. If there’s one person in the world he can trust right now, it's himself.
Other-Sam pushes Sam up against the wall and holds him up by the throat, turning Sam’s jaw as he mouths along his collarbone and up to his Adam's apple. Soft lips sucking along his neck hits all of Sam's buttons but of course, Soulless would know this. Other-Sam snakes his arm behind, placing his palm on Sam’s lower back, pulling their hips together, and Sam tips his head back with a moan.
"Always noisy," Soulless says with a smirk against his cheek, pushing down on Sam’s cock with the heel of his hand and then running his palm back up against the denim. The hard pressure is what Sam craves. It’s exactly what he does to himself but the alien sensation of someone else’s hand on him making the same motion, with the exact right touch, is too much.
Sam realizes that despite the darkness of their corner, they can still be seen by the rest of the bar and he looks out to see who has noticed them. His eyes light on the bartender, gesturing in their direction to a very angry Dean Winchester.
Sam places his palms against Soulless's chest.
"Dean is here."
"I know. I called him. Maybe this will make things right and I can go back."
Soulless pulls away with a quick glance at Sam's big brother elbowing his way through the crowd and disappears out the back door. Sam slumps down into the corner.
"Sam, you okay? Look at me. Who was that asshole?" Dean grabs Sam’s chin to hold his head up but he leans back, his eyes angry and searching for the guy who was manhandling his drunk little brother.
Sam laughs and thinks, if only you knew.