When Other!Sam got back, it was getting late, but he seemed in a little better mood. He nodded "hey," at Dean as he made his way into the bathroom to shower, and when he came out he seemed more relaxed, or at least a little less uptight, which Dean decided was maybe all he could hope for with this obviously more high-strung model of his brother.
They went over the case together, agreeing that things did not look good. Dean assured Other!Sam that his Sam might be having more luck on his side of this thing, and Other!Sam agreed reluctantly, especially after Dean mentioned that he'd checked with Bobby to be sure the old hunter hadn't unearthed anything like this "other universe portal" thing in his vast experience. He hadn't, but Other!Sam was impressed.
"Bobby's alive over here?" he blurted, making Dean wince.
It had occurred to Dean that Other!Sam's world might have a lot of differences, not least of which might be the relationship between the brothers. Not that he was looking for it, exactly, but he had already sensed a definite coolness in the way Other!Sam treated him. Irritation, annoyance -- those responses from Sam were familiar, but the total lack of any overt signs of physical affection, that was -- just off somehow. Dean was used to sparring with his brother -- friendly teasing and wrestling, both verbal and physical, were a normal part of their interaction with each other, the latter most often ending in the relieving of some sexual tension, thank god. 'Cause they sure didn't hold back when it came to that aspect of their relationship. No need to. It had been a normal part of their partnership for so long it had become a permanent part of who they were together. It was so easy and comfortable between them that they had pretty much forgotten a time when they wondered if there was something wrong with them for loving each other that way.
It was just the Winchester Way.
But not, apparently, the Other!Winchester way.
Which made Dean curious to find out what other differences there were between their lives and the lives of these weirdly repressed doppelgängers.
But when he suggested to Other!Sam that they hit a local bar and just hang out together for an evening, Other!Sam seemed genuinely surprised.
"You want me to go out to a bar with you?" he repeated, like it was the craziest thing he'd ever heard.
"Yeah," Dean nodded. "Is that so strange?"
"Yes, Dean, actually, it is," Other!Sam said, his jaw tightening and eyes pinching like he expected to be the butt of a joke.
"Well, I don't know what to tell you, Sam," Dean flung his arms out helplessly. "My Sam and I go out to bars together all the time. Best way to pick up chicks, right?"
"Yeah, I guess," Other!Sam agreed, but seemed extremely hesitant, unsure.
"Come on, Sammy," Dean coaxed. "We've been at this for hours and we've got bupkis. Definitely time for a break. I'm buyin'."
Other!Sam still seemed reluctant, but also maybe a little pleased. At least Dean imagined he saw that in the kid's face.
And after they were settled at a table in the bar with their beers Dean asked,
"So, your Dean never takes you to bars, huh?"
Other!Sam lowered his eyes, grinning bashfully, playing with the label on his bottle.
"He says I'm awkward with girls," Other!Sam said, and Dean shrugged.
"Yeah, so?" he prompted. "Awkward is cute. Girls like the shy, sensitive type. Presents a challenge."
Other!Sam peered up at Dean from under his hair, which was just about the cutest thing ever.
"He says I'm a liability," Other!Sam insisted. "He says I'm a buzz kill."
Dean frowned. "Your brother sounds like kind of an asshole," he noted, and Other!Sam grinned and lowered his eyes again.
"Nah, he's alright," Other!Sam said loyally. "He's my brother, ya know?"
Dean let out a long breath. "Yeah, I do," he agreed, taking a long swig of his beer, missing Sam suddenly.
"So what's your brother like?" Other!Sam asked. "Your Sam?"
Dean shrugged. "Obsessive, driven, loyal, brave, bad-ass." Gorgeous, hung like a horse, incredible in bed...
Other!Sam was looking at him like a drowning man, like he couldn't believe what he was hearing but couldn't get enough.
"Don't get me wrong," Dean said with a little smirk. "Kid's also sweaty, whiny, bitchy sometimes, especially when he's not getting what he needs. I have to make him eat, 'cause he forgets when he's working and then he gets really cranky. And when he's deep into something he doesn't sleep, so I gotta help him with that too." Don't say it. Don't.
Other!Sam raised his eyebrows. "You get him drunk?"
Dean gave a small laugh. "No, no. Drunk Sammy is Silly Sammy. Totally ridiculous. To be avoided at all costs."
"So -- you hit him?" Other!Sam suggested hesitantly.
Dean stared. "What? No! Just to knock him out? What are you talking about?"
Other!Sam flinched, looked down at his beer, and Dean felt his eyes widen, then narrow into a frown.
"Are you saying he hits you?" he asked, feeling anger coiling in his stomach. "Your brother hits you?"
Other!Sam shrugged. "I hit him too," he said. "We fight a lot. Relieves the tension, I guess."
Sex is healthier, Dean thought. Fewer concussions. Usually.
"Doesn't sound very brotherly," he noted grimly, liking his doppelgänger less and less.
Other!Sam shrugged again. "He's Dean," he said simply. "He likes to be in control. The boss. Big brother."
Dean felt himself blush involuntarily. If Other!Sam only knew what lay under that macho veneer...
Suddenly Dean felt an overwhelming urge to show him. Give Other!Sam a peek behind the curtain, so to speak.
Ha! What a surprise Other!Dean would get! Suddenly his Sammy could know all kinds of things he never suspected about himself. Dean could teach Other!Sam to push buttons Other!Dean didn't even know he had.
Yeah, and just how was he gonna do that? By cheating on Sam?
Yeah, not so good.
He shook his head, trying to clear it. Took another swig of beer. Other!Sam was peering at him curiously, and Dean had to hope the flush in his cheeks could be accounted for by the beer. He heard Sam's voice in his head telling him how hot he looked when he blushed, and it made him even more self-conscious.
Dean set the beer bottle down and cleared his throat.
"Yeah, don't be so sure," he said. "The whole macho thing is a little over-rated. Sometimes it's kind of a cover for something."
Other!Sam huffed a breath that almost sounded like relief. "Yeah, that's what I told him," he said. "He overcompensates. That's why everybody thinks we're gay."
Dean choked. "What?"
Other!Sam shrugged. "Nobody ever believes we're brothers," he said, shaking his head, then looking up at Dean with an expression of disbelief. "What, that doesn't happen to you guys?"
Dean shook his head.
"Never," he lied. Truth was, it just didn't matter anymore, if it ever had. "We've adopted more of a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy, I guess. We don't exactly go around broadcasting that we're brothers. Simplifies things."
"Ah," Other!Sam nodded, then frowned. "But then -- So you're okay with that? With the whole gay thing, I mean."
Dean shrugged, took another sip of beer. "I figure it doesn't really apply to us," he said. "Me and Sam, we've got our own deal. Not really anybody else's business."
"Huh," Other!Sam was still frowning. "I guess I never thought of it that way."
The kid looked so lost, so overwhelmed by Dean's attention, it broke Dean's heart.
Ah, fuck it. Sam would totally understand. Will totally forgive him. This just cannot be allowed to continue.
Dean pulled a couple of bills from his pocket, threw them on the table as he stood up.
"Let's get outta here," he said.
Other!Sam rose to go too, obviously used to taking orders, and they moved together toward the door. Dean noticed Other!Sam shoot an apologetic glance at the waitress, who had been eyeing them since they came in, obviously hoping for a little attention of her own from Dean, disappointed when he clearly had eyes only for his brother.
When they reached the dark parking lot Dean didn't hesitate. Crowding Other!Sam up against the passenger side of the Impala, he only let Other!Sam take a minute to register what was happening before he grabbed the lapels of his jacket and pulled him in -- and down -- so that he could press his mouth against that open-mouthed, stupid expression on Other!Sam's lips.
Other!Sam gave a surprised grunt, his whole body tensing and going still, and Dean only held the kiss for a minute, enough to let Other!Sam feel Dean's intention pressed against his gargantuan thigh, before he let go, stepping back so he could return Other!Sam's startled gaze with a wink and a smirk.
Then he left the poor bastard to think through what the hell had just happened -- because he knew Sam, and this version of Sam would be processing, processing -- as Dean moved around to the driver's door, got in, started the car.
"You coming?" he called to Other!Sam, who was still standing next to the car with his fingers pressed to his lips.
And then Other!Sam was getting into the car, folding his long legs against the dash, deliberately not looking at Dean but sneaking glances once the car started moving, silent and thinking, thinking, thinking. Dean could practically hear the gears shifting in his Not-brother's head as he drove them the short distance to the motel, parked, got out, locked the car, threw a glance at Other!Sam across the hood, lifting his eyebrows in a look that always got his Sam going because he knew exactly what was coming.
This Sam, though, just looked wide-eyed back at him like he couldn't believe this was happening. And when they entered the motel and Other!Sam suddenly understood why there was only one bed in the room -- yeah, Sam, that's right, we always take the room with the king, get it now? -- well. that was just priceless.
And totally hot.
And really, the boy was smart, as Dean knew he would be, and it didn't take much to get him going because really, he was so on board with this he couldn't get his clothes off fast enough, ripping that pretty green shirt in the process and losing buttons all over the place. And Dean barely had time to reach for him before Other!Sam was all over him, biting and grunting and tearing off Dean's clothes. They stumbled onto the bed, arms and legs and clothes and mouths all tangled together, and it was rough and quick and they were only half-undressed before Other!Sam was grinding against him and sinking his teeth into Dean's neck and bellowing as he came in his jeans while Dean held him, just held him as he shook out his orgasm, gave a few more thrusts as he came down, then collapsed in a big, sweaty heap on top of Dean, breathing hard into his neck.
For several minutes they lay still, Dean stroking small circles across Other!Sam's bare back, until his breathing slowed and evened out and his upstairs brain came back on line. Then Other!Sam's lips pressed a gentle kiss against Dean's neck, where Dean could feel the bruise already forming, and his big hands moved down the silky skin of Dean's sides where they had rucked his tee up to his armpits in Other!Sam's desperate need to find bare skin, and Other!Sam rolled to the side, then onto his back, staring up at the ceiling with a look of bliss and shock and awe on his face that Dean knew well.
"You okay?" Dean asked.
Other!Sam barked out a shallow laugh.
"Yeah," he huffed out, then turned his head to meet Dean's gaze. "How long? You and Sam -- how long?"
Dean shrugged. "Since forever, I guess," he said. "Since you were old enough to figure out how hot I am."
Sam frowned. "I didn't go to Stanford?"
"Oh, you went," Dean nodded. "You left. Fucker."
"But I came back," Sam nodded. "I couldn't stay away. And this -- "
"Started up again, yeah," Dean nodded. "Ever since. You and me. Well, him and me."
"Fuck." Other!Sam stared up at the ceiling, processing.
"Pretty much, yeah," Dean agreed.
Other!Sam turned his head and stared at him again, drinking in Dean's features like a starving man, and Dean grinned back at him.
"He's gonna hate you for this," Other!Sam whispered. "For cheating on him. With me."
Dean pushed himself up on his elbows, then sat all the way up and pulled his tee-shirt off over his head, turning toward Other!Sam, whose eyes were growing dark again as he watched Dean undress.
"He'll get over it," Dean murmured as he leaned down to press his lips to Other!Sam's. "He'd figure we did it anyway, even if we didn't. He knows me, and I ain't very good at fasting."
"Fuck," Other!Sam murmured into Dean's mouth.
And they were off again.
Later -- much later, after they had worn each other out and showered together and gone at it again and finally fallen asleep wrapped around each other, warm and naked and exhausted -- Other!Sam tracing lazy circles on Dean's chest and belly as he spooned him, pressing his lips into the tiny hairs on the back of Dean's neck until Dean laced his fingers through Other!Sam's and hugged his arm against his chest, stilling it -- Other!Sam whispered The Words, and Dean smiled.
"No, you don't, Sam," he rumbled softly. "You love him. There's a difference. I'm not him."
Other!Sam's lips pressed against Dean's neck again.
"Fuck," he whispered. "I am so fucked."
Yes, you are, Sammy, Dean thought smugly. Yes, you are.