Knocking loudly on the door of Room 118, Dean hopes that his brother really is in there. He’s dreading it, actually seeing Sam and having to talk to him after their last fight. Swearing to himself that this is the last time he’s trying, that he’s not going to chase after Sam like some love-sick rhino. But no one is answering. He’s about to give up, turn around and get back in the Impala and drive to, well honestly he has no idea where. He manages to stop himself from running, all he wants to do is find Sam, talk to him, and somehow make it right between them again. After a little more knocking, finally he hears some shuffling and a quiet “Who’s there?”
“It’s me, Dean.” He says through the door.
No answer. Dean waits for a while, hoping to hear more, but when all he hears is a crashing thud, he decides to chance it, that if that’s Sam in there, he probably needs help. He tries the doorknob, but the deadbolt is locked. He shuffles back a few steps and then leaps at the door, crashing through the cheap, insubstantial wood into a small table in the entry way. As soon as he’s back on his feet he’s searching the dark room, beginning to panic at the thought of Sam being hurt in here somewhere. He turns on a light and sees his brother flopped on the bed, covering his eyes with his arm against the sudden brightness, a broken lamp on the floor in pieces.
Dean’s sitting next to him on the bed in a flash, palm on his sweaty forehead testing his temperature because he can see he’s sweating through his worn, white t-shirt, “Sammy, you okay? You’re burnin’ up dude.”
“Dean, izzat you?” Sam slurs, slowly moving his arm away from his too-pale face; trying but not able to completely focus on Dean’s face.
“Yeah it’s me, course it is, who else would it be?” Dean says, instantly regretting it, because there is now always the possibility of Sam expecting this Amelia woman, especially here in Kermit.
Sam grabs at his hand, gripping it tightly, “Sorry, ‘m so sorry. I did everything I could, but it took so long.” Sam whispers in a voice that sounds more broken than tired, more filled with sorrow than actually pained.
“What did you do? When? What took so long?” Dean asks in a useless rush, confused at what Sam’s talking about, trying to get his brother’s eyes to stay focused so he can see his face.
“When you were gone. In Purgatory. I looked and looked. Couldn’t find you anywhere. So there wasn’t any other choice. Had to save you.” Sam gasps out finally, going distressingly limp against his pillow.
Dean finally clues in that Sam is possibly hallucinating or delirious, maybe both, but definitely dehydrated from this fever. “I’ll be right back Sammy, getting you water.”
He reluctantly leaves Sam’s side and returns quickly with a glass of water, pulling him up against the headboard and holding the glass steady as Sam drinks, trying to keep him talking even though it doesn’t make any sense. Maybe he can find out how he got so sick in less than a day apart. After hearing a little more mumbling from Sam, it sounds like he’s finally talking about what happened while he was gone for that long year.
Dean can barely think straight now, hearing what Sam’s mumbling about. Back at Rufus’ cabin when they first met up, Sam had said that he didn’t look for him when he disappeared, just drove until he ended up with Amelia. All this time he’s been so angry at Sam for that, they’ve been growing further and further apart because of it. Sam’s guilt and Dean’s anger two powerful opposing forces pushing against each other until they come to blows or send text messages they know they really shouldn’t.
Sam interrupts these thoughts by thrashing around wildly on the bed, striking out with his fists, kicking his feet jerkily, almost like a seizure, but more rhythmic. Dean straddles him on the bed, trapping his arms and legs and holding him still. He says Sam’s name over and over in as calm a voice as he can manage, “Sam, Sammy, you’re gonna be alright. I’m here, I’m taking care of you. Don’t worry Sammy you’re gonna be okay. Relax Sammy.” He’s relieved to feel Sam’s body relax under his after maybe the longest two minutes of his life.
After Sam is calmed down and breathing fairly normally again, Dean finally lets himself ask, because maybe this is the only way Sam will ever tell him what he’s been hiding all this time, and yeah it isn’t fair so sue him if you must, but he’s gotta know, especially if it has anything to do with this fever, “You didn’t tell me you tried to find me, why didn’t you say anything Sam? What choice did you make?”
Sam tries to talk, but only hurt cracked noises come out, he gestures at the water glass. Dean gets up to refill it, coming back as quickly as possible. He helps Sam sit up enough to drink until he pushes the near empty glass away weakly. Dean keeps the glass in case he needs some more and stays there next to Sam, just holding him around the shoulders, propped up against him.
After a while, Sam scrubs his hands over his face and looks into the worry and hurt filling Dean’s eyes. The hurt he’s caused and couldn’t do anything to alleviate all this time that Dean’s been back, “Couldn’t. Couldn’t tell. Part of the deal. The deal I had to make for you.” Sam coughs because of his dried-up throat and reaches for the glass. Dean hands it to him and helps him raise it up enough to drain it.
Letting go of Sam so that he’s left leaning up against the headboard, he takes the water glass away and sets it on the bedside table, Dean turns away, unable to keep looking at Sam, not while he asks this, “Alla this time though, I thought you hadn’t even looked for me. Why’d you let me think that?”
Sam slumps back down from the headboard, tosses his head back and forth on the pillow, almost like he’s fighting against something, something he needs to say, finally subsiding weakly, “I couldn’t, had to promise him.”
“Promise who Sam?” Dean asks, stomach sinking as he worries that Sam’s hallucinating Lucifer again. Because if he is, he doesn’t know what there is to be done this time. Without anyone left to turn to for help, who knows what would happen to Sam.
Seeing that all-too familiar worry fill Dean’s eyes, Sam tries harder to focus on his brother, to show him that he knows who he’s talking to and about, “Had to promise him, the alpha-vamp.” As soon as he gets the words out though, Sam’s body starts flailing again, another seizure. Dean gets back on top of him, pinning his arms and legs and repeating his name until he calms again.
“Sammy, Sam, c’mon, relax, you don’t have to say anything else.”
The seizure keeps going for a few very long minutes, Sam’s body arching and writhing under Dean. He’d swear that the fever is getting even hotter, the sweat is just pouring off of Sam now, soaking through his clothes and into Dean’s. Feeling like he’s riding a bucking bronco that’s getting slipperier and hotter as the seconds go by, he’s not sure what to try next. Why is Sam talking about the alpha-vamp of all people? Is it just the fever talking or did Sam make some kind of deal with him?
Dean’s worried that he’s going to have to call 911 or somehow bustle Sam into the Impala and drive him to the emergency room, a fever this high is not good for the brain. And if there’s one thing he knows, it’s that Sam would kill him if he didn’t take care of this in time, Sam likes being smart. Dean likes him being smart too, but he’d never say that out loud to Sam. The seizure isn’t letting up and Dean’s not sure what to do, nothing’s helping this time, he’s getting desperate for ideas on what to try next. He holds on tightly to his brother’s rigid body for dear life and begs him to cooperate.
“Sammy, please, stop thrashing, I gotta go get some ice to cool you down. You don’t have to talk about anything else. Just please, stop, come on, I need for you to be okay.”
As if the words are a cool, healing balm, Sam’s body relaxes completely, the thrashing stops, he’s not writhing or moaning and Dean would swear that his skin is cooling down already. He watches his brother’s face to see if there will be a response this time.
“Please Sam, you’re okay now, you don’t have to tell me anything more.”
“No, it’s alright, times up, it’s allowed now.” Sam whispers, finally opening his eyes. He searches around and smiles weakly when his eyes meet Dean’s. “I can say it now.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about dude, just rest wouldja.” Dean presses his body into Sam’s abnormally hot one to hold him down. Sam told him before, back when he was hallucinating Lucifer all the time, that it helped for Dean to hold him down on the bed like this. He said it made him feel safe, contained, anchored to reality. Dean’s hands reach up to card through Sam’s hair, damp with fever sweat. He can see how salty Sam’s drying skin is from all the sweat left behind from the broken fever. It’s an awful time to think this but Dean can’t help himself, feeling guilty that he’s noticing how perfect and good this feels, all this contact with Sam, “this is the closest we’ve been to each other since we hugged when I first got back from Purgatory.”
“Can’t rest, uh, I can’t, not yet.” Sam struggles under Dean, until he reluctantly moves off of Sam, still lying along one side of him, Dean’s hand on the middle of his chest.
They lay there together for a while, communicating without words like they’ve always done, both relieved just to be in the other’s space. Dean’s very presence in the room, and in his bed is telling Sam, that he’s apologizing for their fight and the text that sent him away. Sam not telling him to get out says that he’s accepting the apology. Sam smiles with relief when he realizes that Dean finally knows what he did, to help him get out, that he did everything to get him back. Dean returns the smile, relieved to finally know that his brother didn’t give up on him.
Worried that he’s pushed Sam into breaking a deal with possible nasty consequences, Dean asks, “You said you made a deal, with the alpha-vamp. What’ll happen since you’ve told me?”
“Nothing, the year was up last night. That’s what the fever was about, when I made the deal with him, I had to drink some of his blood. He said it would burn out when the time of our agreement was done. But I didn’t know it meant a literal fever.” Sam can’t meet Dean’s eyes once he has to admit to drinking blood, he just can’t do it.
“Drinking blood again huh?” Dean asks, just joking, until he sees Sam’s face fall under a load of guilt and regret. Then he feels guilty for teasing him about something that’s such a bitter memory from such a dark time. It’s not funny and it’ll never be funny. He wishes he could take the words back but it’s too late, Sam’s already accepted them as his due judgment. The penance will never be paid in full as far as Sam’s concerned.
Sam kinda grimaces, accepting the jibe, but throwing one back out in return, just because he has some ammunition for once, “Yeah, whatever dude, go ahead give me crap about drinking blood again. Saved your ass! But you’re the one carrying vampires around in your arm.” He laughs when he sees Dean’s face go as white as the sheets and his jaw drop open in amazement.
“How the hell do you know about that?” Dean asks, surprised and embarrassed that Sam knows about this detail he never wanted to share with, well, anyone, ever.
“The alpha told me when I pushed him about how exactly you’d be able to get out, what it would take. Was wondering if you’d ever tell me.” Sam teases, knowing that he sounds like the little brother he’ll always be. Pushing down the hurt feelings that Dean wasn’t honest with him at all about Benny, from the very start.
“Wasn’t planning on it.” Dean admits, knowing that this is exactly the sort of thing Sam’s always telling him they need to share with each other.
“Well, I wasn’t going to tell you about the deal and the blood even after the deal was up.” Sam offers, as a way of telling Dean that he gets it, that Dean’s reticence to share the details is not only expected but understood. He reaches up to hold Dean’s hand steady there on his chest, pulling it up closer to his heart, wanting to keep Dean close, feeling better already just in these few minutes of contact.
“You were just going to let me think that you’d given up on me for what, the rest of our lives?” Dean asks, a little in shock that Sam would choose to keep that from him. Didn’t Sam know what thinking Sam had completely abandoned him had done to him? What it had done to them? All these months of believing Sam just didn’t care enough to bother and instead he’d done the opposite. What they usually do for the other, anything and everything that’s possible until the other one is safe and returned to them.
Sam shrugs a bit, letting go of Dean’s hand, letting it fall to the bed between them. “Yeah, pretty much. I mean how would you have reacted Dean? Me making another deal, drinking blood again, feeling guilty that I did that for you. It wasn’t worth the risk.”
“What? You thought it would be worse than what’s happened by not telling?”
“I did, yeah. I mean I knew you didn’t really trust me again after Ruby and the Apocalypse even though you said you did.” Sam tries not to let the anger show through, remembering how a possessed Dean had spilled all that ugly truth out, things he’d always suspected but never wanted to know for sure.
“But hold on!” Dean protests, sitting up quickly and turning away from Sam’s angry stare.
Sam sits up too, balling his hands into fists, trying to control his urge to just get angry and start swinging, he puts a hand on Dean’s shoulder and pulls at him until he turns back, so he can look him in the eye, demanding, “No you listen first, after hearing what you’ve said the last few months, with the coin, and the whole Martin thing. You really don’t trust me, not like you did before. Be honest.”
Taking a few deep breaths to calm down, Dean uses the time to decide he will, he’s going to be honest, Sam deserves it after all this, it’s the least he can do, and maybe it can save things between them somehow, “It’s not true though, I did trust you, I mean I do Sam. But yeah, since you’re forcing my hand here, honestly, it is different than before Ruby and all that. I don’t know why. I wish it wasn’t like that. Because you’ve proven yourself over and over to me after that.”
Sam’s quiet for a little while, absorbing this hard truth, feeling Dean’s worried eyes on him, “Thanks for being honest at least. But now do you see why I didn’t want to ever tell you about the deal?”
“Yeah, you got me there. But now that I know about it, and I realize that you’re the reason why I’m even sitting here right now. It’s kinda like a reset. Seems like the least I can do you know?” Dean offers, knowing that it’s probably cold comfort to Sam at this point, there’s not a lot else he can do though.
“Thought you said we already had one of those, after Rufus.” Sam says, not disguising the sadness and hurt he’s been carrying.
Dean thinks about it, what he’d said at Rufus’ graveside, that everyone had a clean slate as far as he was concerned, but deep down knowing that things weren’t ever going to be the same with Sam, but this is different somehow. That Sam risked it all just for him, even drinking blood again, and making yet another deal. But this time, not for the whole world, but just for him, “I know, but I really mean it this time.”
“I believe you.” Sam says instantly. Knowing without a doubt that Dean finally understands what he did for him, what it meant for him to make that deal, drink that blood, keep that silence, that he did it all for him. He knows that this has got to make them even now.
“You do?” Dean asks, surprised at Sam’s quick acceptance.
“Yeah, I do. I’m not just choosing to, like I did last time, I really do believe you Dean.”
“Okay cool.” Dean gets up and crosses the room for more water and to gather his thoughts. He comes back and sits down, hands Sam the glass of water and indicates he better finish it all. Sam dutifully drinks it all down and hands the empty glass back to Dean.
“So what was it like having a vampire in your arm?” Sam asks, stretching his arms up and back as far as he can go, hitting the headboard with a loud thunk.
Dean whacks him in his unprotected stomach, “Probably about as awesome as drinking alpha-vamp blood.”
Sam just growls at him in answer, which turns into a laugh that he can’t stop for a little while.
Hearing Sam’s angry growl and laugh makes Dean laugh a little himself, but then he remembers that he came here for a reason, “Hey Sam, I’m sorry about the text thing.”
Sam’s amused face darkens suddenly as if a big storm-front has moved in, “It was really bad Dean, I had to see her back with her husband in our place, and then she came after me in a bar. She was worried I was trying to get her back or something. And then there was all the stuff with you and Martin and Benny. Let’s just say it’s been the worst week I’ve had in a long time.”
“I didn’t know Sam, I swear I never would have done it, if I’d known the whole story with her, you never even told me she was married.” Dean says, full of apology and verging on desperate to have Sam accept it.
Sam lies back down with a big flop, speaking to the ceiling, “You never even asked, just like you didn’t say anything to me Dean. About how you got out, about Benny, none of it. Goes both ways though I guess. I didn’t ask you about Purgatory too much.” And that’s as far as Sam can go now, because the hurt of that still runs too deep, and he’s not sure he can ever really explain it to Dean.
Dean lays down next to Sam again and they turn towards each other on their sides at almost the same time. Not touching, just practicing being together again, close up in the same space with all the emotional baggage they lug around between them.
They lie there in silence for a while, thinking about the hurts and betrayals, the utter futility of trying to make it up to each other, much less try to live without the other. The whole time they’re lying there, facing each other, watching their brother’s fondly familiar face go through the thought processes of compartmentalizing the pain and regret, stowing away the hope at their reunion so it can be hidden well just in case it’s not enough.
“You know he’s how Benny knew where the portal was.” Sam says when they’re finally done with the silence, “The alpha-vamp sent him the message on their psychic link.”
“Benny never said anything to me about it, I didn’t know. Never even thought to ask him. I was just so glad that there was someone with a plan at that point. It was all pretty jumbled and ferocious up until then.”
“He probably figured you wouldn’t like it too much.” Sam offers, showing that he’s thought about this more than he should have.
“Yeah I guess.” Dean says faintly, realizing that the trust that he’d placed in Benny was not such a great investment, just as Sam had said. But Sam hadn’t been able to explain the why of it to Dean because he was still under the strictures of the deal.
Sam could say a big ol’ ‘I Told You So’, but there’s no point, he can see by Dean’s face that he’s figured it out already. “Dean, I’m just glad it worked. That you got out.”
“Me too, uh, thanks.”
“You’re welcome, anytime.” Sam answers, grinning almost like the old Sam, but weaker somehow, knowing that it isn’t funny to contemplate something like that ever happening again to either of them.
Dean thinks maybe they’re thankfully done talking for now, but no, there’s the biggest thing left between them, and Sam can’t let that go without saying something about it.
“Maybe Benny really was a better brother than me. I’m glad you had him there in Purgatory.” Sam says, knowing that he sounds like a jealous bitch trying to make the best of a bad situation, which is pretty much exactly what he is on the subject of Benny.
“C’mon Sam, you know I didn’t really mean that.” Dean protests.
“What, you were just trying to make me mad?” Sam teases, even though he’s honestly still pretty upset about it, hearing those words almost killed him, thinking he could be so easily replaced in his brother’s affections and judgment of worthiness.
“Stupid, I know.” Dean admits, wishing he could really apologize, because he knows how much it would hurt him if Sam said something like that to him. Dean can’t even imagine how jealous and pissed he’d be.
“Stupid that it worked.” Sam grumpily acknowledges the half-assed apology, knowing that’s all he’s going to ever get out of Dean.
They lie there for a little while longer in a new silence, that doesn’t have so many sharp edges and doesn’t feel so heavy. Both of their expressions change into something that’s relaxed into being together again, the patterns so ingrained after all their years co-existing through all the drama and destiny.
Dean breaks the silent impasse by feeling Sam’s forehead with one cool palm, “Are you feeling better at all? Seems like you’re not as hot now.” Dean asks, ducking his head with a grin he can’t really hide, getting up off the bed because there isn’t a good enough reason for lying next to Sam like this if he’s not sick.
Sam gets up too and heads slowly towards the bathroom, “Gonna take a shower, I’m all gross and sweaty.”
Dean turns and watches him walk away, noticing that Sam doesn’t close the door, which is their old tried and true signal. If the door’s open, then they can join each other in the shower. It’s a clear sign that Sam probably wants him in there, he can’t miss this chance, can he? Before he knows it, he’s stripped down and pulling back the shower curtain and jostling for position under the spray with Sam.
“Was hopin’ you’d come in here.” Sam says smiling that irresistible one-sided grin.
“Well, you got me all sweaty when I was holdin’ you down.” Dean returns the grin and reaches for the soap.
“Oh this is an all-business shower then?” Sam teases, twitching his hips a little to catch Dean’s eye.
Dean looks him up and down slowly, his eyes tracing a path that feels hotter to Sam than the shower water, “Yep, just saving water.”
“So you won’t mind if I?” Sam puts his hand on his own cock, that’s been steadily growing harder the more he’s been rubbing up against Dean’s slick skin, and looking at the beautiful curves of Dean’s naked ass.
“Go ahead, I’ll be done soon.” Dean shrugs, trying to ignore his own cock paying a whole lot of attention to Sam’s hand moving quickly up and down that gorgeous cock of his. He tries to be nonchalant and goes about scrubbing himself pink with the washcloth and soap.
Sam’s breaths are coming shorter and heavier, he’s getting closer. He’s crashed up against the wall, still looking a little weak, his hand moving swiftly up and down, twisting sometimes, it’s absolutely mesmerizing. Sam’s got his eyes closed and he’s moaning softly. His eyes fly open when he feels Dean’s hand join his, with the grip doubled it only takes a few more strokes before Sam’s coming all over himself and their joined hands. He slumps a little more and Dean hoists him up, slippery skin against skin, but firm strength holding him up underneath it all.
“You now Dean, before the hot water runs out.” Sam reaches out for Dean’s completely erect cock, jutting up and out, pointing right at Sam, ready to go. He grasps Dean and starts up a good familiar rhythm that he knows Dean likes, or at least he always did before. “This good?” he asks.
“Yeah, you always know how to get me going Sammy.”
Sam just smiles and leans down to kiss Dean, getting them both under the spray of the shower head. The water is cooling and it feels wonderful, he still feels so feverish inside. And Dean is more than hot, he’s scorching under his lips, something about it makes him want to keep Dean just like this for as long as he can, forever if possible. Just like this, open and wanting and breathing hot and heavy in his ear. Sam speeds up his strokes, wanting to feel Dean lose it for him, before he starts bitching about the water getting cold. He puts in a few surprise twists just like he does on himself, it never fails with Dean who comes with a sudden surprised strangled, “Sammy!”
They melt into each other as the water runs to freezing and Sam reaches over to flick it off. Dean’s still kissing him, both of them standing there starting to shiver in the quickly cooling air. Finally Sam drags himself away from Dean’s mouth, shaking a little, “Hand me a towel.”
Dean gets out and throws Sam a towel and they dry off together. Dean loves watching Sam towel dry his hair, how he flips over at the waist and shimmies the towel back and forth, all those gorgeous back muscles flexing, his ass pointed out right towards him. He reaches out and strokes him gently, and Sam startles. Dean turns it into a lighter caress. “Still looking good Sammy.”
Sam pushes back into Dean’s hand, loving the feeling of that familiar palm and fingers caressing him. He straightens up and pulls Dean into a hug so that he can feel all the muscles in Dean’s beautiful back and ass. “You too Dean.”
Dean looks up at him and sees how tired and drawn he is after fighting such a high fever and high level of drama. “Alright, back to bed with you.” You finish up in here, I’m gonna go change the sheets.”
Sam brushes his teeth and watches himself in the mirror. This is the boy who thought he’d lost it all, had given it away, and had broken it all beyond repair. And now, just like that. They’re back. It’s almost too good to be true. He shrugs at himself in the mirror and tries to push away the lingering pessimism.
When he comes back out into the bedroom, he sees that Dean’s already in bed, lying on his side watching him, the covers pulled up to his waist. He’s absolutely beautiful. And back in Sam’s bed again, thank god, finally.
Dean pats the open space in the bed, trying to interrupt Sam from putting on any clothes to sleep in, “c’mon bedtime.”
Sam goes along with it, why not, maybe this is all just a fever dream after all. Getting Dean back this easily seems impossible to his hurt and hardened heart. These past months being with Dean but not With Dean, have been so incredibly hard. Not a day went by where he wanted to scream at Dean, “How could you think I wouldn’t look for you?”
The emotion must show on his face, because Dean says, “I’m sorry Sammy, I should have known. Shouldn’t have believed your story about not lookin’ for me. ‘Cause I know you.”
Dean’s words relax Sam immediately, and he gladly climbs into bed with his brother without a word. They tangle themselves together like always, like nothing’s changed, Dean on his stomach, head on Sam’s chest, arm over his waist, and Sam’s arms around Dean. Neither of them can think of what to say to mark this occasion, it just doesn’t seem right to be silent, but they never say the stuff out loud that really needs to be said, I love you, I’m so glad you’re here and alive and in my bed again, etc... So they just look at each other for a long moment, searching each other’s eyes until they read what they need to. Sam leans down a little, and Dean stretches up, and they share a small kiss that’s three parts thankfulness, five parts apology and two parts regret.
“You leaving the light on? Dean mumbles into Sam’s chest.
“Yeah.” Sam grumbles back.
Dean knows it’s so Sam can see who’s in bed with him when he wakes up in the dark, but he doesn’t say anything about it. It’s just what Sam needs now, and it’s okay with him, means he can watch Sam more closely tonight in case the fever comes back.
Soon they’re both asleep, working out more of the angst and heartache in their subconscious, but at least doing it while resting in each other’s arms. Sam’s need to save Dean finally expressed and confessed. Dean’s need to be saved by Sam finally acknowledged and fulfilled.