John announces that he's taking them to the Grand Canyon on a family vacation, and it takes all of Dean's will and attention not to refuse. Part of him understands his father's need to make up for how harsh he's been, but most of him is still hurting and angry that his dad put them through that, almost got Sammy killed. He's still reeling from the revelation that his mom wasn't quite human, and neither is his sweet, perfect little brother, and it haunts his thoughts and dreams so that he can't think straight. It feels like his world has been completely turned on its head.
Because the truth is, Dean was just fine with Old Sam being his protector, his friend, this grown-up supernatural time-traveler who jumps into his life to take care of him and Sammy. It's another thing completely, facing the idea that Sammy will turn into that someday. It completely freaks him out, in fact.
Dean decides it's time to get some more answers.
They're curled up on the couch at a Doubletree Inn in Utah, watching re-runs of "Family Ties" and eating pizza while their dad sleeps in the bedroom, when Dean realizes Old Sam is there, just sitting quietly in the armchair in the corner, watching with them.
"Can I talk to you?" Dean asks, untangling himself from his little brother and heading toward the door, grabbing his coat from the back of the couch.
He doesn't glance back because he knows Old Sam heard him. Dean's already more comfortable than he probably should be with this older version of his little brother, and despite his dad's revelations, he doesn't think of Old Sam as a monster, or a freak. He's just Old Sam, his trusted friend.
Outside, the air is cold and crisp; early fall desert air. Dean heads toward the diner down the street and Old Sam falls into step beside him, giving Dean the distinct impression that this is something very familiar to Old Sam. He glances up at the tall man, notices how young he looks today compared to other times, wonders "when" he came from. Realizes for the first time how weird that is. Thinks about the fact that Old Sam is like an imaginary friend, somebody who comes and goes when he needs him but nobody else can see him.
Except Sammy, of course, who takes Old Sam so much for granted he doesn't even notice him.
It suddenly strikes Dean as weird that none of the adults seem to see Old Sam, including his dad. But that's because Old Sam only appears when Dean's alone. Or if he shows up in a public place, it's always in the background, like across the playground or parking lot or on the other side of the schoolyard.
"How come grown-ups never see you?" Dean asks. "Are you invisible?"
Old Sam smiles, shakes his head.
"No, Dean. I guess it's because they don't notice me."
"You're huge," Dean protests. "How do they not notice you?"
Old Sam shrugs.
"When they do notice me, I move on. You don't see me when that happens, I think. Or I go back. I'm here just for you."
"Yeah," Dean nods. "How does that work exactly? Cuz I don't remember calling for you, or praying for you. You just show up. How do you know to come when you do?"
Old Sam shrugs again.
"I don't know, Dean, it's kind of a mystery to me too."
Dean leads them into the diner, sits down at a booth and lets Old Sam order him a hot chocolate and coffee for himself before he speaks again.
"Where you came from today – am I there? All grown up?"
Old Sam nods.
"And when you go back – do you always go back to the same place you came from?"
Old Sam nods again, takes a sip of his coffee, puts it down.
"I must hate it when you go," Dean speculates. "Old me, I mean. Do I yell at you when you come back?"
Old Sam smiles, ducks his head.
"Sometimes," he agrees. "You hate time travel."
"Do you ever see the future?" Dean asks. "I mean, do you ever go forward in time?"
Old Sam lifts his eyebrows, nods.
"At first," he says. "When it first started, I only went forward. I kept ending up with Old Dean. That's what I call you when I see you in the future."
"Huh," Dean huffs out a breath. "Same here. I always think of you as Old Sam."
Old Sam smiles. "I know," he murmurs.
"So the first time it happened, were you – did it freak you out?" Dean asks. "Did it seem like something – I don't know – like something scary?"
Old Sam shakes his head.
"Not really," he says. "You were there. It felt normal."
"But I must've been surprised to see you all young again," Dean suggests. "I mean, I guess I recognized you – I must've remembered what you looked like when you were little."
"You did," Sam nods. "And you weren't surprised. You seemed a little irritated, but you were doing your best to be patient, I think."
Dean thinks about that for a minute, sips his hot chocolate, smirks a little at the idea of himself as an old guy, still feeling exasperated by his little brother's crazy antics.
"How old was I?" he asks.
"Pretty old, I think," Old Sam says. "Maybe forty or fifty. You didn't seem young at all."
"Yuck," Dean screws up his nose in distaste. "I don't wanna be THAT old. That's older than Dad!"
Old Sam ducks his head again, grinning.
"You're not that bad," he protests softly.
Dean shakes his head, having trouble imagining being old, ever. Of course, he's seen Old Sam when he was old like that – Dean remembers back to the first time Old Sam appeared in his room at Pastor Jim's, how ragged and weary and ancient he seemed.
"Do you ever go back before I was born?" he asks, thinking he knows the answer to that question, and is completely thrown when Old Sam nods.
"Once," Old Sam admits. ""One time I ended up in our old house in Lawrence. With Mom."
Dean stares, shaken to the core. Old Sam met Mom.
"So I – I wasn't there?" Dean asks, struggling to fight back his sudden homesickness. His grief.
"Oh, you were there," Old Sam nods. "You just weren't born yet."
Dean takes that in, frowning, then blushes a little when understanding finally dawns.
"So – how did she seem?" Dean can't help the instant tears that form at the back of his eyes, choke the back of his throat.
"She was good," Old Sam says softly. "Once she got over freaking out that I was there. I had to tell her who I was, and she believed me right away, which was not what I was expecting. Then she told me she was a traveler too. She helped me a lot. Explained things."
Old Sam reaches across the table, squeezes Dean's arm gently.
"She was incredibly excited about you," he says. "Asked me all sorts of questions; what were you like, what did you look like, what were you good at, what kinds of things you liked."
Dean thinks about that for a minute, then pulls his arm away, sudden anxiety gripping his heart in a vise.
"You didn't tell her," he accuses darkly. "You didn't tell her what was going to happen to her."
Old Sam's mouth opens, then closes again as he looks away, shaking his head a little.
"I did, actually," he says, huffing out a breath. "I broke the rule and I told her." He looks up at Dean and his eyes are shining with tears. "How could I not? She was sitting there, in her flowing maternity dress with you in her belly, so beautiful and alive and – how could I not, Dean?"
Dean stares, frowning now. "But then – why did she – I don't understand," he murmurs, half to himself. "Why didn't she stop herself? Why did she go into your nursery that night? Why, Sam?"
Old Sam shakes his head. "I don't know, Dean," he answers, his voice breaking with feeling. "I just know she did it anyway, even after I told her."
Dean's head is spinning with the effort to understand what he's hearing, but it doesn't help. He still can't get his mind around the idea that his time-traveling mother went willingly to her own death. Left him. Died trying to save her baby. Succeeded at that, obviously, since the proof is sitting across the table from him right now, as well as lying on a couch watching TV back in the motel.
It takes Dean a solid minute, but he finally gets it. Or thinks he does.
"So she didn't have her powers anymore," he suggests. "She wasn't able to do what you do anymore."
Old Sam shakes his head. "I think it stopped for her when she became pregnant," he says. "She kind of explained it – having something to do with displacing two souls in time – I guess because you were there too, her body wouldn't do it anymore. Nature or whatever made her that way – whatever made us this way – it wouldn't let her travel after that. Even after you were born. Babies need their mothers, constantly, without having them suddenly disappear in time – or something like that."
Both brothers sit silently for a minute, sipping their drinks, lost in thoughts about their mother and her sacrifice. Dean can't stop the tears rolling down his cheeks, wiping angrily at them with his sleeve. It's all Sam's fault, his brain screams. If Sammy hadn't been born –
If Sammy wasn't in his life Dean would have no life. Somehow, he knows that with every fiber of his being. Not a life he would want to live, anyway.
Dean takes a deep breath, raises his eyes to Old Sam's, sees the sorrow and despair there, and that's all it takes.
"Not your fault," he says brusquely. "She loved you. You were her baby. You're my brother. End of story."
"Okay," Old Sam says in a soft, small voice, like he's a little boy taking the word of his big brother, following his lead on this thing like he always does.
"So – " Dean struggles to get back on track, get the answers he came for. "So you can't tell me what's gonna happen? That's some kind of time traveler's rule or something, right?"
Old Sam's eyes drop to his coffee cup, he tilts his head a little, sets his jaw, and Dean knows he's right.
"Cuz if you tell me about something that hasn't happened yet, I might do something to change it, right?" Dean suggests, recalling the Edith Keeler episode of Star Trek, which seems wildly inappropriate for this moment somehow, since it's a love story, for crap's sake.
Old Sam raises his eyebrows, squirms a little on his bench, then looks up and meets Dean's eyes, his gaze steady and full of compassion.
"You know that's true, Dean," he says quietly. "You're the one who said it to me, the first time I traveled to you in the future."
"I did?" Dean stares. "What did I say exactly?"
Old Sam licks his lips, looks away like he's trying to remember the exact words, and Dean can see that for Old Sam, it's been a few years now since that first time.
"You made me promise," Old Sam says. "You said, 'Sam, you have to promise me, no matter how I beg you, you can't tell me about the future. Promise me, Sam!'"
Old Sam looks up, meets Dean's eyes with a slight smile.
"So I did," he says. "I promised."
"That's why you didn't tell me about the shtriga," Dean says. He shakes his head. "I was so mad at you!"
Old Sam nods. "I know. I'm sorry, Dean. I really wish I could've told you about that so you didn't have to go through it again. When you first told me after we grew up I felt terrible, cuz I knew I could've stopped it – Could've prevented all that suffering – "
He dips his head, his cheeks flush, and Dean realizes he's fighting back strong emotions. Dean watches, fascinated, as Old Sam's eyelashes grow wet against his cheeks, watches as Old Sam struggles to regain his composure.
Dean is hit with the sudden thought that Old Sam is really beautiful. The idea shocks him, makes his cheeks hot and the blood flow hot and low in his belly, and he flicks his eyes away, suddenly uncomfortable and deeply confused. Girls are beautiful, he scolds himself. Mom was beautiful. Boys can't be beautiful. This is my brother.
"Okay, let me get this straight," Dean clenches his jaw, fights back the weird feelings he can't seem to control. "You're a time traveler, but your only usefulness is traveling around in time to visit me. You obviously grew up – I guess I did my job there, keeping you safe and taking care of you so you could grow up, right? Don't answer that, it's obvious."
He's says the last bit because Old Sam is frowning, looking pained, like he knows he's going to be asked questions he can't – or won't – answer. And it makes Dean mad, 'cause he needs the answers, damn it.
"So you travel around, helping me when I might otherwise get myself killed, is that it?" he tries again.
Old Sam hesitates, looks worried, so Dean shakes his head.
"Never mind. That's obvious, too," he says firmly. "The thing I don't understand is, why? Why waste your time travel skills on me?"
Old Sam stares. "You're my brother, Dean," he says, like it means a lot more than that. "We protect each other. I always figured it was this reciprocal thing, you know? Like you raising me, keeping me safe, then me returning the favor."
"But every time you do it, you're changing things," Dean protests, frowning. "I mean, every time you travel back in time to save me from getting hurt or killed, you're changing the past. Changing the outcome. You're breaking your own rules."
"They're your rules, Dean," Old Sam reminds him. "I'd gladly jump in and save you every damn time you're in danger, but that's not how it works. You have to call me first. Or whatever you do that gets me here. You're the one in charge, not me."
"That just doesn't make any sense," Dean insists. "I don't call you. Half the time when you show up it's a complete surprise."
Old Sam stares, frowning a little, and his eyes flick back and forth, like he's thinking and trying to figure things out, before they meet Dean's again, sending a shiver down Dean's spine and across his middle, settling in his belly again.
"Then it's subconscious," Old Sam suggests. "It's something you do without realizing you're doing it."
"Then I'm not in control," Dean shrugs. "It might as well not be me in charge of it at all. Maybe it's all you after all."
Old Sam shakes his head vehemently. "No way," he says. "I've tried. I – there's stuff I can't tell you, but there've been times – there will be times – and I wish I could've been there, and I try to make myself go there, but I just can't. It's all you, Dean. That's all I can say."
Dean's mind spins with the thought of all the future moments when he'll need Old Sam and he won't be there...
But he will be there, if Dean wants him. That's what Old Sam has just explained to him.
"So it's all a big stupid circle," Dean breathes. "Like the chicken and the egg. I keep Sammy safe so he can grow up and travel around protecting me when I'm little."
Old Sam is nodding, looking down at his coffee cup, and Dean realizes he has one last question, the thing that's been nagging him since they started this conversation.
"But here's the thing I don't understand," he says, waiting for Old Sam to meet his eyes again. "Why me? How come I get a time-traveling brother for a guardian? How come you're the supernatural creature in my world? The only one I can't kill?"
Old Sam grins broadly at that, shakes his head. "I don't know, Dean," he chuckles. "Just lucky, I guess."
Dean scoffs, raising his hot chocolate to his lips, letting his eyes slide away out the window, back toward the motel where the younger version of his brother lies sleeping.
"Yeah, I guess," he agrees, huffing out a laugh.
When he looks back, Old Sam is gone.
Later, Dean marks that visit as the first time he realizes he's in love with his brother.
By the time he's twelve he knows he's in trouble. It's confusing and damned uncomfortable. He thinks about Old Sam all the time, about how he looked in the diner with his eyes downcast and tears on his lashes, about the flush in his cheeks and the way his bangs fell across his forehead. When Dean wakes up in a wet spot, fleeting visions of those eyes looking down at him, Sammy's little-boy body asleep and oblivious next to him, he knows things have changed. It's confusing because Sammy's right there in the bed with him when Dean has sex dreams about his older self, and that is so messed up Dean can't even think straight. There is no way in hell Dean's gonna poison his little brother's childhood with his pervy, lustful thoughts, which he can't control, especially when he's sleeping.
As far as he can tell, there's only one thing to do. Dean begins to demand that they sleep separately, that Sam stop holding his hand all the time, that they stop touching so much. Sam's still only seven, and it makes him hurt and angry. Dean pushes Sam away, physically hurts him one night because Sam is crying and needs comfort and Dean will not let him come into his bed.
"But why, Dean?" Sam implores, tears streaming down his cheeks.
"Because you're a big kid now. You need to sleep in your own bed."
"But I wanna sleep with you!" Sam sobs. "I can't sleep if you're not there!"
"Sure you can," Dean insists. "You just gotta give it a try for awhile. It won't happen overnight, but you'll get used to it eventually."
"So I can't ever sleep with you?" Sam gasps. Apparently it hadn't occurred to him until this moment that the separate bed thing might be more than temporary. His eyes grow round as saucers, shock and horror overwhelming his former misery. His small body is shaking now, and he starts hiccuping, taking huge gasping sobs of air. Dean can see he's on the verge of a full-blown panic attack, and that's just it. No way can Dean be responsible for making his little brother have some kind of hyperventilating seizure.
"Oh for Chrissakes, Sammy," Dean spews his exasperation, using one of the swears he's heard in the schoolyard at his middle school. "Never mind. We don't have to start tonight, okay? Move over."
And just like that, the crisis is past and Dean is back in Sam's bed, spooning his small body and pulling up the covers over both of them as Sammy wipes his tears, struggles to stop crying.
"Shhh, it's okay, Sam. It's okay," Dean soothes, rubbing his brother's arms where he's got them crossed in front of him, pulling Sam against his chest and fitting his knees behind his brother's knees like always. And it feels so right, so perfect, as it always does. But there's definitely something new there too, and it makes Dean blush and shift back just enough so that he's not pressing into Sam's little bottom because it just isn't right and he can't explain it to Sam because Sam won't understand, but Dean knows he can't keep sleeping with his brother and that's all there is to it.
He waits, tense and wakeful, until Sam's breathing slows and evens, until his little body is relaxed and deeply asleep. Then Dean untangles himself as carefully as he can, tucks the blankets securely around his brother, and slinks off to his own cold little bed. He gets up ahead of Sam in the morning, so Sam never knows unless he wakes up with a nightmare, and Dean's right there when that happens anyway, just a few inches separating their beds. On the rare nights that John is sleeping in the other bed, the boys still sleep all night together, but Dean gets up early, takes care of his morning wood in the bathroom before either his brother or his father wakes up, and it's all good.
One morning John is awake when Dean comes out of the bathroom. John's lying still in his bed, watching Dean, who can't control the flush that rises in his cheeks. He looks away awkwardly, reaches for his clothes and occupies himself getting dressed, and John says nothing, just gets up and heads into the bathroom for his turn.
But that evening in the car, after Sam has fallen asleep in the backseat, John glances at Dean, who rides almost exclusively in the front passenger seat now.
"You're becoming a man, Dean," John says, his voice low and rumbly. "You know all about that, right?"
Dean feels the flush rising in his cheeks, spreading down his neck and across his chest. He nods shortly, unable to meet John's eyes.
"Yes, sir," he says, the automatic response saving him, for once, from his overwhelming desire to sink through the seat and ooze out through the floorboards.
"A man has needs, Dean. I'm not gonna lie to you; it ain't easy in our line of work, moving around all the time like we do. There's never gonna be enough time for much where girls are concerned. You can't ever get too attached."
"Yes, sir," Dean nods because he's already figured that part out.
"They teach you about being safe? In school, I mean. They teach that stuff in health class like they did when I was in school?" John asks, and the determined set of his jaw is enough to tell Dean that he means business, that he expects Dean to understand exactly what he's talking about without spelling it out.
"Yes, sir," Dean nods again, relieved because it's looking like John's not going to be very explicit after all, and that's just fine with Dean.
"Good," John's nodding too. "I expect you to be responsible and careful, Dean. That's the Winchester Way. Are we clear?"
And just like that, it's over. No lecture about sleeping or not sleeping with Sam, which relieves Dean to no end because it worried him that John could see how close they'd become, that John would force the issue of separate beds. But he doesn't, either because he can't see it for what it is (and Dean isn't exactly sure what it is yet, so he's not sure what he's worried his dad might see) or because he's too busy and distracted to think about it, even if he does see it.
Which is when Old Sam shows up and explains it all to him in no uncertain terms.
"We're soul-mated, Dean," Old Sam says with a little smile that makes his dimples show.
Dean can't stop staring at Old Sam's face because – it's not like he's never seen him before or anything, but suddenly Old Sam looks different. He's younger than Dean has ever seen him, not much older than Dean, really. His face is smooth except for a little acne across his cheeks and chin, and his body is slim and loose-limbed, without all the hard bulking muscle he has when he's older. His hair is shorter than Dean's ever seen it – not even quite making it to the collar of his hoodie, and he looks tan and healthy, like he's been spending time in the sun.
He looks good. Happy.
"Huh?" Dean isn't sure he's heard Old Sam, but he sure as hell wants to see those dimples again.
How did his dweeby little brother grow into something like this – this incredible grown-up boy with long fingers and soft lips and those eyes...
Dean shakes himself, lowers his eyes because Old Sam is full-on grinning at him now, can obviously see how star-struck Dean is, and he suddenly feels like a complete idiot.
"The way you're feeling now?" Old Sam is saying, and damn it his eyes are actually sparkling. "This attraction – it's all perfectly normal. It's who we are. It's what we are to each other."
Dean shifts his feet, shoves his hands deep into the pockets of his jeans, hunches into himself a little, still not looking up.
"I don't know what you're talking about," he mutters.
But he does.
The next few times Old Sam visits he's this young man, no more than a teenager. He keeps laughing because he can see the effect he has on Dean and it's obviously really funny to him. Yeah, Dean thinks, it's freakin' hilarious. Dean can't even look at him because every time he does it makes his heart pound and his palms sweat. He stops eating (which is good, because Dad's gone again and there's not much food left in the cupboards). He has trouble sleeping, tosses and turns and finally jerks off in his own bed to visions of dimples and long fingers and sparkling hazel eyes.
Then Katie Shawnessey corners him in the hall outside the boys' locker room and lays one on him.
She's two years older than he is – fourteen – and she's on the cheer team. She's got long strawberry blond hair and blue eyes and legs and breasts and she just pushes him up against the wall and kisses him, full on the mouth, like she's been thinking about it for a while, like she planned it. She doesn't say anything, and when it's done she grins at him and damn it, she's got dimples.
Then she just flounces away, leaving him stunned and pleased and pretty damn hard.
After that, Dean starts getting more attention from Katie's friends, and suddenly it's like he's the new cheer team mascot. They invite him along when they go out for ice-cream, but he has to look after Sammy so he declines. Then they offer to let him bring Sammy along to Katie's house after school so they can practice their cheers and do their homework together. But Dean's the only boy and pretty soon the girls have decided it's more fun to play spin-the-bottle and practice kissing. Dean's lips are sore by the end of it, and he's learned that watching two girls kiss can be pretty hot, but he breathes a sigh of relief when Sammy interrupts, demanding they get home for dinner even though they both know their dad is off on a hunt again.
As they walk home Sammy bumps his shoulder into Dean's arm and Dean pushes him back, then slings an arm around him and pulls him close, nuzzling into his hair and leaving a smacking kiss on the top of his head with his sore lips.
"You'll always be the only girl for me, Sammy," Dean teases, because he can feel his brother's jealousy and knows he saw Dean kissing those girls.
And Sammy grins up at him, not even offended at being called a girl, just pleased to have Dean's full attention again, all to himself.
They're in a new school and a new town the next month, but Dean is now fully-armed with the knowledge of his own charm and good looks, so it doesn't surprise him when the older girls keep looking over their shoulders at him, flicking their hair and whispering together, then when they glance back and stare again until one of them gets bold enough to approach him.
Within the week he's charging for kisses behind the coke shack in the baseball field, making enough to take Sammy to the movies that weekend, buy him popcorn and candy and one of those blue slushy things he likes so much.
John keeps them moving every month that spring, so that later on it's a total blur when Dean thinks back. But in each school he gets a fresh start, gets to take advantage of the natural fascination that new kids bring to a boring small town where nothing new ever happens. He gets good at making an entrance, hanging out an extra minute or two after the bell rings so he can walk into class with the assurance that every eye is on him. He deliberately draws every ounce of attention as he moves casually and easily down the aisle to the first available seat, letting his eyes wander over the prettiest girls in the room, letting them feel the full force of his gaze and getting the same response every damn time.
He may be only twelve, but Dean Winchester already knows how to work a room.
None of it matters, of course, which is good in a way, because it's easier. He can practice his style, use his charisma, learn what works and what doesn't, without the pressure of figuring out how to fit in. He starts spending more time in front of the bathroom mirror, practicing his facial expressions, checking out his attributes. When he looks at himself, all he sees is a geeky-looking kid with freckles and pale skin and eyes that are too big for his face. His lips are puffy and his nose is too narrow, but his teeth are straight, and when he smiles his eyes sparkle. One of the smart girls with glasses told him he looks like a young James Dean, and once he's watched Giant and Rebel Without a Cause he decides he can live with that. Dude's pretty cool, with the hair and the leather jacket and the name.
Dean practices the actor's swagger, the way he stands and moves, then he tries out the attitude in the schoolyard and just about gets himself killed. Sure, the girls think he's pretty cute, but the other boys are not amused. He holds his own pretty well for the first few minutes as the gang of boys circles him, looking for a weakness, then awkwardly swing at him, missing every time. He uses his boxing moves, uses his wrestling moves, ducks away and lands a couple of solid punches, sends two boys yelping backwards with their hands over their noses, blood spurting out between their fingers.
But there are too many of them, and eventually they start landing blows, then they manage to tackle him and hold him down while the others can kick and punch viciously. He curls in on himself, tries to protect his face, wonders where the hell Old Sam is when he needs him. In the end it's the teachers who break up the fight, send him home with a seriously pissed-off John, who decides it's time for school to be out anyway and sends the boys on another survival mission, this time in the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon. It's easier this time, and they make it without injury or serious mishap, walking out of the wilderness to the logging road where John picks them up. They're hot, tired, and dehydrated, but otherwise in good shape.
Which is when John announces it's time for Dean to start hunting. They drop Sammy off at Bobby's and head out to Litchfield, Connecticut, where a poltergeist is threatening tourists in an old seventeenth-century tavern which has recently been renovated and turned into a bed-and-breakfast.
The job is easier than Dean imagined. They check into the B&B as guests – father and son road-tripping together for the summer is such an obvious cover that Dean is surprised when the bell-boy looks skeptical, lets his eyes linger on Dean's lips a little too long. Which is the first time Dean realizes his looks work on both sexes.
A little research at the local public library gives them an idea of what they're hunting, and it's not hard to find the grave of the little girl whose ghost is causing such trouble for the nice, respectable people who just want a quiet place to get away from the city for a weekend. The kind of people Dean can't help despising for their nice, comfortable lives and their assumptions that everything is perfectly normal all the time. It almost makes him feel sorry for the little ghost, who's had two hundred years to roam the earth and is pretty damned pissed off and insane as a result.
Dean's hands are bleeding by the time they finally dig up the grave, salt and burn what's left of the body, then cover the grave again and head back to their room to shower and sleep. John uses the first-aid kit to clean and bandage Dean's palms, assuring him that he'll grow callouses there and it'll get easier.
They find two more hunts that summer, all within a hundred-mile radius of the first one, all involving unhappy spirits or poltergeists. Dean suspects the ghost-hunting is deliberate on John's part. He's easing Dean into hunting, letting him get acclimated and used to the job before they go after anything too corporeal, anything that bleeds and would leave a messy corpse. Not to mention anything that could be twice Dean's size and weight and at least as strong and powerful as a full-grown man. Plenty of time for monster-hunting, John tells him one night when he complains that he'd rather be killing things with guts and gore, something to really sink a blade into.
When they get back to Bobby's place, Sam runs all the way across the salvage yard and straight into his brother, knocking him flat and driving the air out of him.
"Whoa! Hey! Hold on, there, Sam!" Dean fends off the blows that start as soon as Sam is sitting up, straddling Dean's hips so he can pummel him, landing blow after blow.
"You never called!" he's screaming. "You didn't call me! I thought you were dead!"
Dean stops trying to fend off the blows, grabs Sam's wrists and flips him easily so he's under Dean, on his back, struggling and spitting and yelling like a wild animal.
"I'm right here," Dean laughs at Sam's passion, his red face and flashing eyes. Dean laughs because he's embarrassed, because he knows he should've called, because he knew Sam would be going out of his mind worrying about him. But he didn't call. He didn't call because he was with Dad and they were doing the awesome work Dean's being trained for and he was too wrapped up, too focused on the job, to think about how Sam must be feeling, being away from him for the first time in his eight short years of life.
I'm a jerk, Dean thinks. I'm turning into a real bastard.
The crazy thing is, Dean thought about Sam every damn minute they were gone, had wanted to call just to hear his voice, had missed him so much it hurt. But Dad never mentioned Sammy once. Dad never seemed to miss anybody or think about anything else when he was on a hunt, and Dean wants to be like that. Dean wants to be just like his dad so much he can taste it. But being like Dad means not thinking about the effect of your work on the people you love because you're only thinking about the task at hand, not letting thoughts of loved ones get in the way, even though you tell yourself that's what you're doing it for in the first place.
And for Dean, not thinking about Sammy is never a possibility.
"Nothin' to worry about, Sam," he grins as he holds Sam's wrists, keeps him securely pinned. "I'm fine, see? Dad and I are fine."
Sam stops struggling, pants up at Dean, his eyes full of tears, his wrists feeling small and delicate in Dean's grasp.
"Don't ever do that again," Sam says, his voice low and hoarse from screaming. "Never. I mean it, Dean. Don't ever go away like that and not call."
"Oh, what are you, my wife?" Dean taunts, and that's the last straw. Tears overflow Sam's eyes, cascade down his cheeks and into his ears. He's as miserable as Dean's ever seen him, shaking his head and straining to break free, not looking at Dean, turning his head to try to hide the evidence of his suffering.
And Dean just breaks, letting Sam's wrists go so he can gather him up, pull him to sitting so he can wrap his arms around him, fighting back his own tears as Sammy sags against him, wraps him up in his arms and holds on for dear life, sobs stifled in Dean's shirt front.
"God, so emotional, Sam," Dean murmurs into his brother's hair, running his hands up and down his back as he holds him, soothing. "It's okay. It's really okay."
"I hate you! I hate you!" Sam sobs brokenly into Dean's chest, and Dean shushes him, holding him tighter as Sam clings, clenching and unclenching his fists in the back of Dean's shirt.
Dean feels the familiar shimmering of air that heralds the arrival of Old Sam, and Dean looks up over Sammy's shoulder at the tall, gorgeous young man who stands across the yard, watching them. He's not sure what makes him do it, but with Old Sam watching him – those old-soul eyes of his full of sadness and compassion and knowledge of things Dean can only guess at – he's not sure why, but he's suddenly pushing Sammy back, looking into his eyes, making sure Sammy really hears him when Dean says what suddenly seems like the right thing to say.
"I'm sorry, Sam," he says, all sarcasm and bravado gone, replaced by utter sincerity. "I'm really sorry. I should've called. I let you worry, and that was wrong. I promise, I won't do that again. I promise, okay? Never leaving you again."
Sammy nods, sniffles, wipes his nose with the back of his hand, so that Dean has to use his shirt-sleeve to wipe the tears and snot away, gently and patiently because it's Sam and he's hurting and this is so very important.
"Okay," Sam sniffles, raising his eyes to Dean's again, nodding. "Okay. Yeah. Okay, Dean."
Dean looks up, over Sammy's shoulder, but Old Sam is gone.
They stay with Bobby until school's about to start, then they're off to Nebraska again for the first part of the school year. A week before Christmas John takes off, and when he's not back on Christmas Eve, Sam's starts asking the hard questions. Only this time, he's read John's journal. He knows.
Not that Dean's done such a bang-up job of hiding things from him. Sam knew something dangerous was happening when John and Dean took off last summer; he got enough out of Bobby to get the idea into his head that his dad's some kind of spy, or maybe a terrorist. Either way, Bobby was only able to shut Sam up by giving him a special protection amulet for Sam to give to his dad.
Only Dad isn't there, and when Dean tries to make it up to Sam for ruining his childhood, for letting him in on the family secrets, by stealing a Christmas tree and presents from a nice house down the block...
"Here, take this," Sam says, handing Dean the wrapped amulet. "I want you to have it."
And Dean is more moved than he will ever admit, opening the newspaper-wrapped little pendant and slipping it over his head, letting it rest where it will for almost twenty years, pretty darn close to his heart.
Old Sam's visits have been few and far between since Dean's twelfth birthday, and the next year passes pretty much the same. Old Sam appears at a distance once in awhile, watching, but he rarely shows up in private anymore, so that Dean can talk to him. Not that he would if he could. Dean's in the throes of early adolescence, so oversexed and full of want he can barely function. He jerks off all the time, takes up running as a way to ease the constant throb in his groin, gropes and kisses his way through endless after-school adventures with dozens of girls.
John keeps up his training, and he's getting some muscle, finally, his body beginning to fill out and lengthen, so that by the time he's fourteen, Dean is beginning to get noticed for his athleticism as much as his charisma. He makes the wrestling team, the swim team, even the baseball team in the spring, before John moves them and it all goes to hell again. Sammy comes to Dean's practices, tags along on his dates, pretty much never leaves Dean's side. Dean keeps that promise, at least. Sam brings his homework, writes his stories, tries out for the school play, surprising exactly no one when he lands a role as the only grade-school kid in the high school play.
That summer, John takes Dean on some hunts, but this time Dean convinces John to bring Sammy, leaving him in the car while John and Dean go after ghosts, evil spirits, even a black dog. For Dean, the defining moment is taking out a rugaru in Louisiana, plunging his silver blade deep inside the creature's body, giving it a satisfying twist, getting covered in blood and gore in the process. It's not everything it's cracked up to be, this hand-to-hand combat business, Dean decides as he's puking his guts out on the ground next to the Impala while John salts and burns the body. Sammy's comforting hand on his back almost breaks him; he feels raw and torn inside out. He keeps reliving the knife going in, the look of shock on the monster's face, followed by a kind of resigned blankness as death comes, terrible and surreal and miserable.
Dean could swear he heard wings, had a desperate moment when he worried there was another monster at hand, then silence as the rugaru slumped against him, covering him with blood and gore and the smell of death. He doesn't say much on the way back to the motel, and John leaves him alone after the initial compliment, the grunted assent that, "You did good." Dean takes the longest shower of his life, scrubbing and soaping himself until his skin is raw and pink, but he still smells it – the death, the blood, all of the thing's life just pouring out of it all over him.
When he comes out of the bathroom, wrapped in a towel, Sammy is already asleep in one of the beds, and John is gone, his jacket and keys missing. Old Sam stands leaning against the doorframe, young and healthy, just watching him. He's younger than Dean's ever seen him, probably only a couple of years older than Dean.
"Haven't seen you for a while," Dean comments as he turns his back on his older little brother, rummaging in his duffel for clean underwear.
"I'm right here, Dean," Old Sam reminds him, nodding at the ten-year-old in the bed.
"Yeah, well you never come anymore," Dean pouts, keeping his back turned as he lets the towel fall, steps into his boxers.
The little sound Old Sam makes is something between a gasp and a whimper, cut off mid-stream. Dean glances back over his shoulder and sure enough, Old Sam's face is a delicious shade of red, his hands shoved into the pockets of his jeans as he hunches in on himself, looking deliberately away from Dean's ass. It's so comical it actually makes Dean smirk, manages to take the edge off the horror of the last few hours, watching his brother squirm and blush.
"Like what you see, Sammy?" Dean goes for cocky because it feels so much better than anything else he's been feeling recently.
Old Sam bites his bottom lip, still deliberately not looking at him, glancing around the room to get his bearings.
"This is that night in Louisiana," he says. "The night you killed that rugaru."
Old Sam lifts his eyes then, watches Dean as he pulls on his tee-shirt, stalks over to the other bed.
"Yeah," Dean agrees. "That's the one. And unless you're gonna come over here and take my mind off my first kill, I think I'll just try to get some sleep now."
Old Sam's blush deepens and he shakes his head. "You know I can't do that," he says softly.
"Yeah, I figured," Dean nods. "Might mess with the timeline or somethin'. Wouldn't want that."
"It's not that, Dean," Old Sam looks up, fixes his gaze on his brother. "I – I already have someone. I'm in a relationship. With you, Dean. Older you."
"Good to know I waited till you grew up," Dean says dryly. "You're what – sixteen?"
"Yeah," Old Sam breathes. "How did you guess?"
"Cuz you used to come all the time when you were about eighteen, nineteen, and you were taller," Dean says. "More sure of yourself."
Sexier, Dean almost adds, but Old Sam is already blushing harder than he's ever seen him, so he figures he probably shouldn't push it.
"Dad's out getting whiskey," Old Sam changes the subject, licking his lips. "Gonna let you get drunk so you can sleep."
"I know a better way," Dean waggles his eyebrows and Old Sam's face breaks wide open, all his dimples and sparkling eyes just doing their thing.
"You're impossible, you know that?" Old Sam grins, and it's beautiful, just like it always is. "And you're what – fourteen?"
"And a half," Dean confirms, deepening his smirk, delighted by the effect he's having on this gorgeous boy. "Old enough for sin."
"Oh my God, shut up!" Old Sam is laughing now, shifting his feet and rolling his eyes, still blushing furiously.
"You know you want it, Sam," Dean can't help himself. This is too much fun. "Older me may have qualms about seducing his baby brother, but you ain't him, and I ain't your big brother, so..."
"I have to get out of here," Old Sam's eyes are wide, his expression caught between amused disbelief and sheer terror as he fumbles for the door, scrambles out into the night.
But not before Dean catches a glimpse of the bulge in his jeans.
Dean gets drunk enough to pass out that night, just like Old Sam promised. The next day he's in bed with his first hang-over, much to John's disgust.
"It wasn't that much, Dean," he keeps saying. "I didn't let you drink that much. Jesus."
He finally leaves, declaring he's got a lead on something and the boys can just stay here for a few days so Dean can recover.
Later, once life has stopped hitting him so hard between the eyes that his head's spinning, Dean thinks back on those days when he and Sammy were holed up in the motel in Louisiana, just being together, as among the happiest days of his life. The motel has a pool, and they swim the days away, then lay out in the sun and swim some more. Sammy turns a beautiful shade of golden brown, but Dean burns, has to take a day out of the sun to recover, then slathers himself in sunscreen before he hits the pool deck again. Eventually, his skin turns reddish-brown, and Sammy laughs with sparkling, star-struck eyes as he watches Dean dive into the pool and come out dripping.
Old Sam is there, too, hovering on the periphery, looking old enough to be their father one day, then close to Dean's age the next. On the third day when he shows up they're playing Yahtzee on a table in the motel lobby, where they spend a lot of time because it's got a big air conditioner and the one in their room is so crappy. Dean waves him over, invites him to join their game, which becomes instantly competitive and intense. Nevertheless, and despite the fact that Old Sam has a good ten years on him, Dean manages to win by the skin of his teeth, owing at least partly to the fact that he had a slight head-start before Old Sam joined the game.
They celebrate by heading out to the diner, where Old Sam pays, and Dean talks him into buying them a six-pack of beer on the way back to the motel, then they sit together on the ratty couch and watch Terminator 2: Judgement Day on HBO. Dean sits between his little brother and Old Sam, sipping his beer and trying not to be too aware of Old Sam's thigh against his, their shoulders pressed together. Old Sam doesn't pull away, and Dean has the distinct impression this is good for him, that he needs this closeness with the younger version of his brother, and it makes him wonder what's going on in Old Sam's time that he should be feeling so needy.
Dean's just tipsy enough (and always horny enough these days) to take a chance and let his hand slip onto Old Sam's thigh, just above his knee, and for a moment or two Old Sam lets him leave it there. But as soon as Dean feels bold enough to finger at the inseam of Old Sam's jeans he feels Old Sam's hand on his, lacing their fingers together and firmly moving Dean's hand back to his own leg, leaving it there with a little pat, all without exchanging a single glance. He tries twice more before the movie ends, and each time Old Sam returns his hand, gently but firmly. The third time Dean can't help the smirk that cracks across his face, turns his head to face Old Sam, who is so close he can see the fine hairs at the end of his eyebrow, imagines leaning up and planting a kiss there, just to see what Old Sam will do.
Old Sam feels Dean looking at him, glances over and realizes how close they are and shakes his head.
"Nope," he says, his voice soft and low. "Uh-uh, Dean. Not happening."
"Oh, come on, Sam," Dean teases, leaning closer, so his lips are almost touching Old Sam's jaw. "Just one kiss. Come on."
"Shhhh!" Sammy hisses from Dean's other side, elbowing him irritably. "Watch the movie!"
Old Sam turns his head just enough to raise an eyebrow at Dean.
"Yeah, Dean, watch the movie," he echoes. He shifts away from Dean a little, and Dean huffs out a sigh and takes another swig of his beer.
"Your loss," he murmurs with a shrug, attempting nonchalance, trying to refocus on the movie. He can feel it the minute Old Sam relaxes against him again, knows with every instinct in his body that Old Sam needs this physical contact like he needs air and water to live. Dean wonders again what's happening in that other time, where Old Sam is from.
When the movie ends Sammy gets ready for bed, and Old Sam is still there, sipping his beer and flipping through John's journal.
"What's up, Sam?" Dean asks finally. "What's going on? Why are you still here?"
Old Sam looks up, his eyes tired and sad, and Dean wants to cuddle him, just take his clothes off and pull him into bed with him like he's a three-year-old again. But of course other things might get in the way of cuddling if they tried that, so Dean can't resist.
"You need a little comfort, little brother? Something happen in your time you wanna tell me about?"
"What?" Old Sam looks surprised, then confused, and he shakes his head, frowning a little. "No. No. Everything's fine."
"Bullshit, Sam," Dean presses, sure now that something is seriously wrong. "Hey, I may still be just a kid, but I'm your brother, and I know you. You got something that's bothering you, you tell me, y'hear?"
Old Sam shakes his head. "Dean, I can't. I – I just can't. It's nothing you can do anything about anyway."
"What is it? Goddamn it, what's going on?"
Which is when Sammy comes back in from the bathroom, and Old Sam turns away, taking a long pull on his beer. Dean glances at his little brother, then at his older little brother. This is so weird, he thinks, but it's a kind of weird he's gotten used to, so he pretty much takes it in stride, which is probably the weirdest thing of all.
"Hey, uh, Sammy?" Dean turns to his little brother, who's crawling into bed with his book – some geeky novel that's probably way too old for him, like Lord of the Rings. Yeah, definitely Lord of the Rings. One of them, anyway.
Sammy looks up expectantly.
"Yeah, uh, Sam and me are just gonna take a little walk," Dean says. "You salt the door after we leave, okay? We'll be back in about an hour."
"Okay," Sammy agrees, and Dean nods at Old Sam, resisting the urge to grab his arm, pull him up, just to make sure he'll come.
But it turns out Old Sam doesn't need any coaxing. He's on his feet and out the door with Dean without hesitating, follows Dean down to the end of the block of rooms and around the corner, where Dean uses all his strength to grab the tall man and push him back up against the wall, managing to knock the air out of him by using the only advantage he's got – the element of surprise.
Old Sam blinks down at him, clearly shaken. Wasn't expecting that, Dean thinks smugly as he tightens his handfuls of Old Sam's shirts and shifts his stance a little so he's right up against the older man, one leg wedged between Old Sam's, holding him there.
"Now you listen to me, Sam Winchester," Dean begins, determined to get what he wants this time. "You saw that movie. The future can change. Things don't have to go down the way you think they do. You hear me? So if something's happened in your time, something bad, you gotta tell me, so we can change it. So I can fix it."
Old Sam is shaking his head, his eyes filling with tears now, his jaw trembling.
"No, no," he gasps. "You can't change it. It already happened. I screwed up. I'm sorry, Dean. I messed up."
He's crying now, tears streaming down his cheeks, and now Dean knows it's the worst thing possible.
"It's Dad, isn't it?" he shakes Old Sam a little, his own voice breaking as the shock and grief hit him. He's so sure he's right suddenly, has a sudden flash of his father's dead body, covered in blood. "Dad's – he's – "
Old Sam shakes his head fiercely.
"No," he chokes out. "Not Dad. Oh God, Dean, I'm so sorry – "
It takes Dean a minute – a full minute – to understand what the hell Old Sam is saying, but when he does, his relief is palpable.
Not Dad. But not Dean either. Nobody dies, cuz Dean's seen the future. Old Sam's been there.
"No way, Sam," he pushes back, releasing Old Sam, who slumps against the wall like he wants to melt into it and disappear. Forever. "No way, man. I've seen you – old you, older than you are now, I'm pretty sure, and you already told me about seeing me when I'm old. I'm there. I get old. You already told me, remember?"
Old Sam nods, swallows, wipes his tears on his sleeve.
"Yeah," he agrees. "I remember. I mean, I don't remember telling you, but I remember seeing you when you're old."
"There, see?" Dean nods, flashing a cocky grin. "I survived. So whatever it is you think just happened to me in your time, I came through all right."
"You definitely died, Dean," Old Sam is saying, hysteria making his voice rise. "You were ripped apart by Hell hounds in front of my eyes."
Dean raises his eyebrows, stares in shock for a moment, then winces.
"Sounds fun," he says, going for sarcasm but hearing his own voice tremble faintly. "Thanks for the heads up. Staying away from Hell hounds when I'm about – how old are you? Twenty-five? Jesus. I don't even make it to thirty, huh?"
"Oh my God, I'm so sorry, Dean!" Old Sam is sobbing again. "Oh fuck!"
"Yeah, nice job having my back there, little brother," Dean snarks, pacing away as he fights down the fear tingling through his veins. Death by Hell hounds does not sound like an easy way to go.
"Oh my God!" Old Sam sinks down the wall till he's sitting on the ground, head in his hands as he lets the tears fall, his massive shoulders shaking with grief.
Dean watches him, arms crossed, still reeling from the idea that in some future twice his life-span away he's going to die a horrible death and Old Sam didn't save him. What does that even mean?
But it's not important now, he tells himself. Now Old Sam is grieving and full of guilt and Dean can help. He takes a deep breath, lets it out slowly, then moves closer to Old Sam so he can touch his head, run his fingers into his soft, shaggy hair.
"It's okay, Sam," he says softly. "I'm here now. It's okay."
Old Sam shifts, turning blindly toward him, wraps his long arms around Dean's knees, and lays his huge head against Dean's thigh, nuzzling into his leg as he sobs. It's awkward and unbalancing, so Dean drops both hands to Old Sam's head, kneading his scalp gently in an effort to comfort the giant man. Of course all he manages is a raging hard-on, the damp warmth of Old Sam's tears seeping through his jeans and turning him on like he's never been turned on before, and the sight of that gorgeous long body curled awkwardly around his legs, all that dark hair almost touching his--
"Hey, Sammy, it's okay," he murmurs, and then adds because he can't help himself, "If you wanna make it up to me with a blow job, I'm right here."
That gets a huffed laugh out of Old Sam, who hugs him tighter for a minute, so he thinks he really will lose his balance, then he raises his head and looks up at Dean, his face streaked with tears and snot, wet strands of dark hair sticking up and stuck to his temples and cheeks, hazel eyes glistening. He's so gorgeous it makes Dean's heart stop, literally stop, so that all he can do is stare, breathless, devastated and undone by the vision of his brother looking up at him with a look of such love and grief it makes him start to shake.
"Come 'ere," Old Sam begs, tugging on Dean's hips to pull him down.
And Dean goes, sliding onto the cold ground next to Old Sam, where he's smaller again, where they're sitting side by side with Old Sam's arms still around him, their bodies turned toward each other.
Dean freezes as Old Sam's big hand cups his face, long thumb smoothing along his cheekbone.
"This is it," he thinks as Old Sam gazes at him silently, and Dean's eyes drop to Old Sam's lips, licking his own absently in anticipation. His heart is pounding now, literally threatening to jump out of his chest, and Old Sam's hand moves down his neck, down to his chest, presses flat over his heart as if he knows – he knows how hard it's beating.
"You're so young, Dean," Old Sam says, his voice soft and reverent. "I barely remember you like this. To me, you were always bigger than me. Stronger. Tougher. Invincible. I was just this little kid, y'know? I always felt small. So helpless and useless. You and Dad had it all together. You guys knew how to do everything. To me, you and Dad were superheroes. I was just some stupid tag-along third wheel."
Dean is so mesmerized by Old Sam's eyes, his lips, his breath on his skin, that he barely registers Old Sam's words, barely hears him because he's rubbing his hand over Dean's chest, like he's feeling for wounds, like he expects Dean's chest to be shredded to the bone and Old Sam's beyond relieved to find it whole and solid beneath his questing hand.
All Dean can think about is Old Sam's hand on his dick.
Okay, he's shallow. Old Sam is clearly suffering, obviously trying to make sense of the past ten years of his life and Dean's moved, he really is, but he just wishes Old Sam would –
To hell with it. Nothin' ventured, as they say...
Dean leans in so fast Old Sam never has a chance. Dean figures it's the right thing to do, because if he didn't initiate this thing between them, well, Old Sam's making it clear he sees himself as a little kid, always looking up to his big brother, following his lead, even when his big brother is a fourteen-year-old kid with a raging hard-on and the kissing experience of someone much, much older. Which is why Dean makes the first move. It's only logical, he figures as he's pressing his lips to Old Sam's – and damn, they feel good, like molten perfection all covered with salty tears and snot and the homey sweat-and-spice scent of brother – soft and firm at the same time, responding of their own accord to Dean's kiss, like they had no other choice, like they would always respond as they were compelled to do.
Dean pulls his brother's firm, fleshy lower lip into his mouth, between his teeth, sucks and worries it for a moment before pulling back to attack the upper lip, softer and with a rough scrape of scruff. He slips his tongue along the seam, parting Old Sam's lips so he can push inside, eliciting a low moan and a huge warm hand cradling the back of his head, Old Sam's slick tongue sliding against Dean's like an old friend.
He's done this before, Dean thinks. For Old Sam, this is familiar. The thought makes Dean crazy with lust, pushes some button that totally short-circuits his brain, and the next thing he knows he's straddling Old Sam's lap, just sitting on him, pushing his hands under his shirt to feel him up like he knows how to do with a girl.
This is nothing like a girl. Old Sam is built. He's hard and firm and angular where a girl is soft and curvy. He's got hair on his face and his chest and he's – he's –
Dean can feel Old Sam's hard-on pressed against him, and it's huge. The man is seriously hung, like a fuckin' horse! And Old Sam's dick is rubbing against Dean's through their jeans and the friction is un-fuckin-believable and he can't help rutting against it frantically, his hands clenching and unclenching in Old Sam's shirt, their mouths moving together but not even really kissing anymore, just breathing hard and hot and Dean's tee-shirt rides up so their bellies press together and the slide of sweaty bare skin and the thought of that huge dick between his legs sends Dean over the edge and he's coming, that white-hot flash behind his eyes the only thing his brain registers as his balls pull tight and he's just done, destroyed, over.
He's vaguely aware that he's thrown his head back, his mouth open on a long silent moan, and Old Sam's mouth is pressed against his throat, gently kissing and licking, one huge hand still on the back of his head, the other holding him upright so he doesn't just collapse into a boneless puddle all over Old Sam's lap. As he comes back to himself Dean sags forward, riding out his aftershocks in a hazy, sweaty glow, face tucked under Old Sam's chin where he can still taste his skin.
Dean could fall asleep here, cuddled against this huge, familiar body that smells like his brother and feels like his hottest wet dream. But Old Sam is nudging him, pushing him away a little so he can get his arms around him and push to his feet at the same time, then he's carrying Dean like he's a little kid, like he's just a sleepy six-year-old and Old Sam is taking him home to bed.
"Come on, Dean, let's get you inside," Old Sam murmurs against his hair, and Dean only protests a little because it feels good to be carried. It's been forever since anybody did, and held like this with his head on Old Sam's shoulder he can almost forget the mess in his jeans, almost imagines he is a six-year-old again.
The room is dark when they get inside, the only sound the low hum of the air-conditioner and Sammy's deep breathing, telling Dean his little brother is soundly sleeping, which is good. Old Sam lays Dean down on the other bed, helps him undress, then disappears into the bathroom and comes back soon with a warm, wet washcloth. It feels so good, just letting Old Sam clean him off, leaving his soiled clothes on the floor, but of course it makes him hard again, and he's naked now and Old Sam is touching him – well, okay, not directly, but the washcloth isn't enough of a barrier for his brain to stop screaming "He's touching my dick!" and that's pretty much all it takes.
"Dean," Old Sam breathes, shaking his head a little at the result of his ministrations. In the dim light from the bathroom Dean can see the little smile turning up the edges of Old Sam's mouth, sees his eyes glitter. Old Sam took the time to wash his face while he was in the bathroom, while Dean was passed out on the bed, and now his hair is wet and slicked back, making the angles of his face seem sharper, stronger. Old Sam looks even less like Dean's baby-faced little brother; he seems almost alien, exotic, and it sends a thrill of fear and anticipation through him.
Dean grabs Old Sam's wrist as he starts to pull away, forces his hand to stay where it is, fisting Dean's dick through the washcloth as Dean stares up into Old Sam's face, mesmerized and trembling with need again. Old Sam seems caught too, unable to pull or look away, and as Dean's lips part, as his breath quickens, as he lets his tongue slip out between them as he works Old Sam's hand on his dick, controlling the pace and the friction, Dean is suddenly struck by the view he's giving Old Sam – the sight of his young, nubile body all naked and flushed and spread out on the bed, shaking with need – staring up at the man he trusts and loves with everything he's got –
And that's all it takes. Again.
"Jesus, Dean," Old Sam breathes as Dean comes all over his hand, Old Sam's hand, all over his belly and chest. Dean's eyes slide closed and he lets his hand fall off Old Sam's onto the bed, feeling soft and sleepy again and barely aware as Old Sam goes back to the bathroom for another washcloth, washes him more carefully this time, avoiding his dick and balls. But when he pulls the covers up over Dean and starts to move away Dean grabs his wrist, opens his eyes to look up at his brother. His lover.
"Stay," he commands softly, and Old Sam hesitates only a minute before giving a deep sigh, pulling back the covers and sliding under them, up against Dean's back where he spoons Dean's body, presses his lips against the nape of Dean's neck.
"Go to sleep, Dean," Old Sam murmurs, breathing against Dean's neck, making his skin tingle. Dean pulls Old Sam's tree-trunk-sized arm around him, tangles their fingers together, scoots back so his bare ass is pushed snug against Old Sam's jean-clad crotch, eliciting a satisfying little gasp from Old Sam who, as far as Dean can tell, hasn't let himself come once.
He wonders about that as he drifts off to sleep, decides it must have something to do with Old Sam's code of ethics on matters involving the seduction of fourteen-year-old brothers, and it makes him smile to imagine Old Sam reasoning to himself that he hasn't really had sex with this young kid if he didn't let himself come.
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