He remembers his time in the Cage, how Lucifer bent and falsified reality, how he got into Sam's memories and replaced them with false ones. Sam remembers the false memories like they're stories he was told as a child, like photographs of himself as a baby or a toddler that make him think he remembers because he's looked at them so often.
It's been years now, and Sam's not sure anymore if he's still really there, or if he's sleeping and having nightmares. He remembers growing old, pacing the halls of the bunker with only Cas for occasional company, when the angel doesn't have something better to do. Dean's been gone for years, and Sam's reflexes are fading, but he's still got a good brain for facts and details. He can still figure things out. He can still be useful.
Sam remembers the torture, how Lucifer morphed into Dean, into John, into Bobby, how he led Sam through long, labyrinthian realities that were full of false memories. But Sam lived them all as if they were real, multiple lifetimes experienced in sequence, or sometimes out of order, replacing Sam's real memories of events until he couldn't be sure what was real and what wasn't anymore.
Sam remembers times in the Cage when Lucifer got sick of playing memory games, when Sam found himself naked and bleeding from a million tiny razor-blade cuts, Lucifer resorting to the least creative means of torture possible out of sheer boredom and frustration.
Now Sam's tired. He's eighty-seven years old, last time he checked, and he spends a lot of his days resting, dozing off in his chair while trying to study. He's decided long ago that it doesn't really matter if he never made it out of the cage-that-wasn't-really-the-Cage that time, or even if he ever made it out of the real Cage, the time before that. It doesn't really change the way he's lived his life these past fifty-some years. He's still doing what he always did, trying to make sense of the world, trying to help a few people. It's a simple life, really. Nothing too flashy. He left the heroism and the swashbuckling to younger hunters long ago, and now he's basically Bobby, the guy they call when they need some research done, some cover verified. He's the most experienced and knowledgeable hunter on the planet, but that's all. That's all he is now.
Sam shuffles his way into the kitchen, puts the kettle on to boil for a cup of green tea. He's not too fond of the stuff, but it keeps indigestion at bay, helps him sleep without jerking awake every hour or two.
He's reaching for one of the chipped mugs on the side-board when he feels the old familiar tingle on the back of his neck.
He turns, and there, in the doorway, wearing his soft old Henley and with his hands in the pockets of his jeans, is Dean.
He's looking good, scrubbed and clean and healthy, and not a day over thirty-five, if that. He's got that open, vulnerable expression that makes him look even younger, and he's looking at Sam like he hasn't seen him in a very long time.
Which, yeah, he hasn't.
Sam's so glad to see him he doesn't hesitate, just crosses the room and hauls Dean into a hug, wrapping his arms around him and pressing his cheek against Dean's ear, collapsing into him like always.
"Missed you," Sam gasps into Dean's hair, taking a deep breath of his brother's familiar scent. Leather and Old Spice and faint traces of gunpowder, just like always.
"Me, too," Dean rumbles back, burying his face in Sam's shoulder. There's a little hitch in his voice, and Sam feels the tears spill out of his eyes in response, closing them tight as the tears run down his cheeks. "It's okay. It's all okay now, Sam. I promise."
Sam finally pulls back, looks back over his shoulder, expecting to see his own body crumpled on the floor by the sink, where he was standing the moment he felt Dean in the room.
But there's nothing there.
"So, I'm dead?" he suggests, turning back to gaze into Dean's huge green eyes again. "This is it?"
Dean slides his hand along Sam's cheek, pushing his hair back tenderly, gazing up at Sam with a film of tears over his eyes. He's almost too beautiful to look at. Sam's forgotten how beautiful Dean was. Photographs never do him justice.
"Like looking into the sun," Dean deadpans, and Sam barks out a laugh, then realizes Dean means him. Sam. Dean's looking at Sam.
"I'm old," Sam feels himself blushing under Dean's intense gaze, feels the years fall away so he's young and full of rebellious energy again, desperately in love with the love of his life, an infuriating, complicated, devastating love that consumes his days and nights and makes him crazy with need.
"Not to me," Dean rumbles, fingers curling around the back of Sam's neck, tugging his face down so their mouths can meet.
The kiss is slow and tender and excruciatingly familiar; Sam feels waves of grief wash over him, memories of other kisses, years of missing this and living with the loss almost more than he can bear. Tears flow freely down his cheeks, and Dean thumbs at them, releases Sam's lips so he can kiss the apples of his cheeks, the tip of his nose.
"Shhh," he soothes. "Don't cry, Sammy. There's no reason to cry. You're all right now."
"Love you so much," Sam chokes out. "I never told you. I never told you before you – and then it was too late – " He's sobbing openly now, chest heaving, great hiccuping gasps making tears and snot just run all over everywhere.
"Hey, shh," Dean pulls a tissue out of the box on the counter, hands it to Sam. "You never have to tell me that, Sam. You know that. That's not how it is between us. Not how it was. Ever."
"I know," Sam nods, wiping at his cheeks and nose, discarding the used tissue in the trash basket next to the table as Dean hands him a fresh one. "I know, Dean. I just missed you so much!"
"Missed you, too, baby boy," Dean murmurs, stepping in for another hug. "Missed you, too."
Sam slumps into his brother, hooks his chin over Dean's shoulder as fresh tears leak down his cheeks, soaking Dean's shirt, and Dean rubs Sam's back, making slow, strong strokes with his powerful hands, soothing the aches out of Sam's tired muscles.
"Come on," Dean says after a good, long hug, when Sam's feeling cried out and relaxed, maybe even a little exhausted from releasing so much pent-up grief. "Let's get you to bed."
Sam feels a flush of embarrassment – maybe even lust – at the idea of Dean seeing his body this way. It's silly. Dean's the one who wiped his butt when he was a baby, who cleaned up his puke and wrestled him naked into the bathtub as a toddler and preschooler, who fucked around with him when they were both horny teenagers, when Sam's body was still small and undeveloped and skinny as a rail, when Sam's face was spotted with acne and he felt so ugly he couldn't understand Dean's attention, couldn't get it into his head how beautiful he was to Dean. Wouldn't believe it.
In Sam's bedroom, Dean undresses him, spreads him out on the bed, then removes his own clothes as Sam watches.
"Dean, I'm not sure I can – " Sam starts to say as Dean crawls onto the bed next to him, lays a warm hand on his belly, possessive and sure.
"Shh," Dean soothes, running his hand up over Sam's chest, burying his face in the crook of Sam's neck. "We'll go slow."
He kisses a trail down Sam's jaw, angles in for his mouth. Dean strokes Sam's face as he kisses his lips, pushing his tongue into Sam's mouth to explore, to claim, sliding his hand around to the back of Sam's neck so he can hold his head while he plunders Sam's mouth.
Sam's forgotten how good it felt to kiss someone, how intimate it feels. Dean was always good at this, could always take his time so Sam never felt pushed, never rushed. There was a time when Sam was too eager for Dean's kisses, wanted more too soon. When Sam was young he was a wild combination of restless energy and self-doubt, needing Dean to confirm his self-worth, demanding validation for his dreams and desires. And Dean always complied, sometimes submerging his own needs in his effort to give Sam what he wanted. It took Sam a while to understand how out-of-balance the dynamic was between them; Sam had to learn to hold himself in check a little so that Dean could express his own needs. But once Sam understood this, he learned to pull those needs out of a deep, private place inside Dean, make Dean face them. Sometimes Sam had to force Dean to recognize how deep his need for Sam went, just so they could be real with each other.
Now it's Sam's turn to take it slow, to lay back and let Dean show him how much he wants Sam, how much he's always wanted Sam, no matter how old or young they are, no matter what or who comes between them. Dean will always choose Sam, and Sam long ago reconciled himself to his own lack of choice where Dean's concerned. Dean's a part of him, always, and the life they built together and lived together was one that Sam chose freely, would choose again if he had the chance.
Now Dean's hands, his mouth, the slow thrusting of his hips against Sam's, all of this is so familiar yet so long-lost, so much missed, and Sam finds tears slipping unbidden down his cheeks again. Dean's tongue laps at them, his lips pressing kisses against the corner of Sam's eye, like he could stop up the geyser, like he could seal Sam's tear-ducts with a kiss.
"Always such a cry-baby," Dean murmurs fondly, and Sam can feel his mouth turning up in a smile as Dean kisses down Sam's cheek, chasing the tears with his tongue, sipping at them.
"Shut up," Sam blushes, feeling himself grinning wide, feeling something long-clenched giving way in his chest, something tightly wound finally slipping free.
"You know, we could always just – you know – " Dean lifts an eyebrow, pulls back enough to look Sam in the eye. He's blushing a little, and Sam thinks he understands. Knows he does.
"You're asking if I wanna just cuddle," Sam suggests, and Dean shrugs.
"I mean, if it's too much for you or whatever. I'm fine with that," Dean assures him.
"No, you're not," Sam chides. "You're always ready for sex. And I'm in good shape, for an old guy." He thrusts his hips up against Dean's thigh, gets a nice jolt as the friction makes his dick throb. "Besides, it's been years."
"Oh god," Dean moans, rubbing his thigh against Sam's dick as he thrusts his own erection into Sam's hip. "I feel like I'm in a scene from Harold & Maude."
"Just without the bubbles," Sam chuckles.
"Definitely without the bubbles," Dean agrees. "Too sticky."
"You keep doin' that, I'll show you sticky," Sam responds, thrusting up against Dean's warm thigh.
Dean barks out a laugh, gazes down at Sam with a look of sheer delight, face spread in a wide, toothy grin, eyes sparkling. Beautiful.
"When did you learn to lighten up, Sammy? Huh?" Dean pushes the hair back from Sam's cheek. "I like it, little brother. You got funny in your old age."
"Somebody had to fill in for you," Sam murmurs, slipping his hands behind Dean's neck, tugging him down for another deep kiss.
They don't talk much after that, relearning each other's bodies, pulling little sighs and gasps from each other in ways only they know. Dean kisses down Sam's body with careful reverence, making Sam feel loved and cared for as only Dean can do for him. Sam arches up when Dean's mouth closes over the head of his dick, and he loses himself in Dean's wet heat, surrenders completely to Dean's talented mouth. He opens his eyes after a few moments to watch Dean working on him, and when Dean looks up, kneeling between Sam's legs with his mouth full of Sam's dick, Sam just loses it. It's been too long, and Dean's been gone too long, and having him here now makes Sam feel young again, like he can do anything.
Dean swallows him down like a pro, working Sam's softening dick until he's drunk every last drop. When he's done, he releases Sam's dick and leaves it soft and wrung out in the groove of his hip, kisses Sam's inner thigh.
Sam's suddenly so sleepy he can hardly keep his eyes open. His body is languid and relaxed; he doesn't even notice the faint twinges of soreness in his back, the usual ache in his joints. Dean stretches out beside him again, kisses his cheek and runs his hand through Sam's hair.
"Good?" Dean murmurs against his ear, and Sam smiles. He can't help it. Dean always makes him smile.
"Yeah," Sam sighs, and his eyelids are so heavy he can't even open his eyes.
"Good," Dean presses a kiss against his cheekbone, the corner of his closed eye. "That's good, Sammy. You sleep now."
"But – "
"It's okay," Dean assures him. "You can make it up later. Not going anywhere."
"Promise?" Sam's vaguely aware that he should figure this out, wonders again if he's dead, or dying, if Dean is just some vivid hallucination of his dying brain.
"Yeah, Sammy, I promise." Dean's lips press against his cheek, against the corner of his mouth, warm and comforting and smelling like sex.
He falls asleep with Dean's arms around him, with Dean's head on his chest.
When he wakes up, Dean's gone.
But he's not alone.
"Hey, sport," Lucifer snarks from the chair at the foot of the bed. Sam's veins flood with ice water and his heart pounds. Sweat breaks out on his skin. "Thought I lost you there for a minute, and you know we can't have that. Can't have you dying on me, Sam Winchester."
Sam tries to sit up, realizes his arms and legs are bound to the bed. He's still naked, still in his bedroom in the bunker, but he's changed. The hair falling in his eyes when he turns his head is dark and thick, his body smooth and muscled, lacking the wrinkles and sinewy toughness of the body he's used to.
He's grown young again.
Sam glares down the length of his own powerful frame at the figure sitting on the desk chair, fully dressed, with his legs crossed. Lucifer gazes up Sam's body with that ironic, speculative look Sam knows too well because it's designed to intimidate, to make Sam feel small and helpless.
"How did you get in here?" Sam demands. This can't be real. Lucifer is in the Cage. Sam put him there. This, he knows with utmost certainty. Everything else is starting to seem a little unclear, but he's absolutely sure of that one thing.
Lucifer looks around, puts his hands up and shrugs his shoulders. "I'm in your head, Sam," he says. "You put us in here. You obviously thought you could hide from me here. Keep me out." He wags his finger at Sam, dips his head to give Sam a salacious wink. "I gotta say, your imagination is one powerful muscle. You had yourself living out a long lifetime here, then checking out on a massive stroke. Very clever."
Sam feels the floor drop beneath him as Lucifer's words sink in, and just like that he knows it's true. As real as it felt, the years and years of memories suddenly fade in Sam's mind and he's back in the past, at the moment when he followed Crowley and Rowena into the special place in Hell where Sam could talk to Lucifer, where Sam could try to convince Lucifer to help lock up the Darkness again. Except something went wrong, and now he's stuck in the cage-that's-not-really-The-Cage with the Lord of the Flies, who has always taken particular pleasure in fucking with Sam's mind.
"Dean's on his way," Sam says for what feels like the two-hundredth time, most of those times inside his own head, not to Lucifer, but this time he wants the bastard to hear it. Living eighty-seven years will do that to a man. Makes him pretty sure there's not much can hurt him anymore, not much he should hold back. "He'll figure out a way to get me out."
Hell, Sam could figure it out for himself if he could just get to the Bunker's library. Except, of course, they aren't really there. And now Lucifer's the one in charge of this particular Hellucination, apparently.
"Dean, Dean, Dean," Lucifer shakes his head, rises to his feet and starts pacing, clearly agitated and more than slightly annoyed. "Nine hundred years in here and you still won't stop talking about Dean." He pauses at the edge of the bed, crosses one arm across his chest and rests the other elbow on it, tapping his lips with his index finger thoughtfully. "You do realize he isn't real, right?"
Sam's been testing his bindings, trying not to think about how exposed he is, focusing on coming up with a way to distract Lucifer, maybe get him to leave the "room."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Sam breathes out when he realizes Lucifer is watching him, waiting for a response.
Lucifer nods, shrewd smile turning up the edges of his mouth. "That's right. Dean's not real, and you just don't want to face it. You always did have an amazing capacity for self-delusion, Sam."
"He's lying, Sam," Dean's voice from the opposite corner of the room makes Sam head whip around. Dean's right there, wearing the same Henley and jeans he was wearing when he appeared to Sam in the Bunker's kitchen. "He's the Father of Lies, remember? Don't listen to him!"
Sam looks back at Lucifer, and the angel frowns at him, then follows Sam's gaze, obviously seeing nothing there.
"Is he here? Is he talking to you?" Lucifer asks, raising his eyebrows. "I can fix that, you know. Take away all your memories of him. It's not hard to do."
"No!" Sam bellows, fighting the panic rising in his chest, struggling against his bindings with all his strength. His gaze whips back to the corner where Dean was standing, but it's empty now.
"Wouldn't be the first time," Lucifer goes on. "I've rebuilt your life for you, replaced your memories so many times, it's frankly surprising you remember Dean at all."
And just like that, Sam's memories of Dean begin to fade, replaced by memories of an imaginary friend, someone he invented as a child because he was lonely and miserable and needed a buddy. Everyone else he knew had a brother or a sister or a mother, and all he had was his possessive, obsessive drill-sergeant father, who left him with babysitters and moved them around a lot. Then later, Dean was his lover, his partner, his back-up on hunts, always there, his reliable imaginary companion. Sam could conjure Dean whenever he needed him; Dean was more real to Sam than most of the shadowy, temporary friends he made and lost throughout his life.
In his heart Sam knows the truth. Dean never really existed; he was all in Sam's head.
But that can't be right! Sam's mind screams in protest. Images of Dean claw their way to the surface, and there are too many, they're too vivid. There's no way he made Dean up. He's too real.
Sam closes his eyes and Dean's right there, next to him, breath hot against his cheek, body pressed alongside Sam's.
"Dean's real! He's my brother!" The words bubble up from deep in his chest, spill forth on a wave of despair, a final protest.
"Aw, see, that's the touching thing about this, really," Lucifer moves closer, lets the tips of his fingers brush Sam's thigh from his knee to his groin while Sam flinches away and breaks out in a cold sweat of fear and revulsion. "You invented a big brother so you could be more like me. The central delusion you created to keep me out, to protect yourself from me, is really the thing that most closely bonds us. See? Yet another way we're meant to be together, Sam. And I think you know it, in your heart of hearts."
"There is nothing between us!" Sam snarls, shaking his head. "Nothing! I am nothing like you!"
"I disagree," Lucifer says. "We have so much in common. Favorite son, falls out of favor, tries to make it up by saving the world...Oh, Sammy, we are so much alike it's not even funny."
"No," Sam shakes his head, but he's less sure now, uncertainty biting at the inside of his skull like ants.
"You know where I was while you were hiding?" Lucifer goes on. "I was with Michael. I was trying to get my big brother to see how well I did, despite everything. I need to make Michael see I didn't let him down. Not really. Dad was my hero, see. I wanted to be just like him. But when he wasn't around, it was Michael I looked up to. He was so good, so just, so perfect. I wanted to be like that. I followed him around, trying to learn to be like him. But it wasn't enough. Dad left us both. He abandoned us for his new family. For you, his new children."
Sam feels Lucifer's bitterness like a knife against his skin; it bites into his flesh and makes him bleed. Sam can feel rivulets of blood seeping down his chest, over his heart. Then he feels little slices all over, his forehead, his cheeks, his abdomen. It starts out slow, sluggish, but then the blood flow takes up speed, slides into his eyes, across his wrists and ankles, making his skin slippery, slicking the ropes holding him. Silk, he thinks, which is why they're so strong but don't damage his flesh unless he fights them.
The word slips out of Sam like a prayer, like a plea, like a final attempt to conjure something he never believed in anyway because he knows now he's not worthy. No one would ever love him as Dean loved him. No one would ever put him first, above all else. No one would ever die for Sam, go to Hell for him, sacrifice his own childhood and his own future to raise Sam, to be Sam's partner, to care for him when he was sick or injured. No one would always have his back like that, even when he flung himself into Hell, even when he walked back into Hell to get Lucifer to lock up the Darkness.
Not even Dad would do these things. How could Sam imagine a brother who would? How could Sam have the audacity to invent his own savior? A fantasy who was at once brother, best friend, lover, partner, and the one person in the whole world who would always put Sam first?
What a fool! Sam thinks as he closes his eyes against the blood trickling into them. What a stupid fool he was for making up and believing in something so impossibly selfless. For making up a hero who was all about saving Sam, protecting Sam, being everything for Sam.
Of course Dean wasn't real.
"I could give him back to you," Lucifer hisses, and his voice is right in Sam's ear, breath cold and sharp, like another knife slicing into his skin. "I could replace your memories again, only this time Dean will be real. This time, you'll remember every shared Christmas, every kissed skinned knee. I can make it all real for you, Sam. If you want."
Sam moans, strains weakly against his bonds, slippery with his blood. He knows he's lost a lot of blood, knows it's weakening him. Isn't sure how much fight he's got left in him. Can't remember exactly what it is he's supposed to be fighting for.
"No," Sam protests, the sound coming out more like a moan than a word from his cracked, dry throat. He feels Lucifer's hand moving down his chest, curling around his cock, giving it a couple of slow jerks before releasing it and sliding down to cup his balls.
"Come on, Sam," Lucifer purrs in his ear, hand slipping down behind his halls, fingers sliding easily through Sam's blood till they find the entrance to Sam's body. "Let me in, little buddy. Say yes, and Dean's yours. All yours. For real. I promise."
"No," Sam chokes, blood sliding down his throat, making him cough. His strength is fading, his mind slipping away on a warm, tired sea of half-remembered, half-imagined moments, no longer sure he can tell the difference, not sure he cares.
Dean would never want this. Dean would rather die. Dean has died, at least twice that Sam can remember, to save Sam. At this point, it doesn't even matter to Sam if those memories are real or not. Doesn't matter if Dean is some ideal hero, some perfect brother Sam's made up in his damaged brain. Dean's part of him. He's the good part, the part that keeps him fighting for good and resisting evil, the part that Sam trusts with everything he is.
"Say yes, and I'll give you the brother you always wanted," Lucifer whispers. "I'll bring him to life for you."
No. Lucifer can't do that, Sam's muzzy brain insists. He can't conjure something that's already there. Nothing Lucifer does to him can ever take that away. Dean is Sam's soul.
"He's already in me," Sam gasps. "Whether he's real or not, he's a part of me. You can't come in because he's already here."
Unconsciousness takes him then, blessedly muffling the sounds of Lucifer's angry retort, his frustrated attempts to convince Sam to do what he wants, to drown Sam in his own blood and more false memories.
Sam's so far gone he doesn't even hear Dean calling his name. Sam slips away on a wave of stubborn defiance and endurance that knows no bounds, that has had hundreds of years to grow and strengthen.
He won't let Lucifer in.
The Bunker, Present Day
He wakes up screaming.
It takes him a moment to gauge his surroundings. He's in his room in the bunker, alone, fully clothed, and it's dark except for the hall light shining through the slats in the door. His heart is pounding, and the blood rushing in his ears almost drowns out the sound of footsteps in the hall. He's just starting to reach under his pillow for his knife, hoping it's still there in this reality, when the door opens.
"Hey, you okay?" Dean's familiar silhouette fills the doorway, and for a moment Sam just stares at him, although he can't see his face with the light behind him.
"Dean?" Sam sits up on the bed, running his hands through his hair, trying to clear his sleepy, clouded mind. "What happened?"
"Uh, I think you had another nightmare," Dean says.
"What are you doing here?" As soon as he says it, it doesn't make sense, like Sam's memories are all jumbled again.
Dean doesn't seem too fazed, though. He's probably heard it before.
"I live here," he says easily, like he's talking to a child, and now Sam's sure he's heard it before. "This is our home, remember?"
Sam looks down at himself, recognizes the clothes he's wearing, remembers falling asleep last night. It's been three nights since he was in the cage-that's-not-really-The-Cage with Lucifer. It's been hard to sleep, and when he does he's right back there again, living what feels like several lifetimes as Lucifer rearranges his memories, messes with his sense of reality. He's not dealing with it very well, he knows that. Dean's had to force him to go to bed twice, both times after falling asleep on the table in the library over a pile of books, researching the Darkness with his usual single-minded focus, trying to stave off his Hell-memories. Last night Dean woke him up enough to walk him down the hall, collapse on his bed. Dean must've taken his shoes off for him. Dean lay down with him to get him to fall asleep again, and his brother getting up to go sleep in his own bed is probably what triggered Sam's nightmare.
"Yeah, sorry," Sam scrubs a hand over his face. "I remember. Didn't mean to wake you. You should go back to bed."
Dean knows, and Sam's grateful that he knows, what Lucifer did to Sam's sex drive. It's something they never talk about, but Sam's pretty sure Alastair did things to Dean that he'll never talk about either. It's probably unhealthy as all hell, and they've probably both earned a few years in the loony bin with endless therapy, but they're Winchesters, so they deal. They bottle it up and keep going.
Sam knows he's being treated with kid gloves right now, though. He can tell when Dean's worried about his state of mind. Sam's let slip enough of what happened, of all the years of false memories, of believing that Dean wasn't real, or that he died a long time ago, and he knows that Dean's a little wary of him right now. He's being a little too careful.
"Right," Dean says with a hesitant little wave. "I'll see you in the morning."
"Dean, wait," Sam calls after him as Dean turns to go, suddenly panicked at the thought of being left alone in the setting of so many bad memories, no matter whether they're real or imagined. "Can I – can we sleep in your room tonight?"
Dean tilts his head, and Sam can almost see the little smile turning up the corners of his mouth. "Yeah, Sammy, o' course we can."
Sam nods gratefully, gets up to brush his teeth while Dean watches, so Dean can see he's making an effort. Dean steps back, lets Sam go first down the hall to Dean's room, keeps a hand on his shoulder to let Sam know he's there.
In Dean's room the bedside light is on, the bed rumpled and slept in. It smells like Dean in here. It's neat and tidy, with everything in its place, and that in itself is comforting to Sam.
Dean shuts the door behind them and Sam turns, notices for the first time that Dean's wearing a tee-shirt and boxers, his usual sleeping uniform. He's heart-breakingly beautiful, and Sam's suddenly as hard as he's ever been. He unbuttons his flannel and takes it off, then pulls his tee-shirt off over his head and drops it on the bed as well. He watches Dean's eyes darken, and it's all the invitation he needs. He takes the long step to bring their bodies together, gathering Dean's face in his hands, drinking in his familiar features with his eyes the moment before his lips touch Dean's.
The kiss is long and deep and restorative; Sam lets Dean's face go to wrap one arm around his waist, slipping his hand down over Dean's ass possessively. Dean slides his fingers into Sam's hair, cradles the back of Sam's head with a little more pressure than usual, like he's willing Sam's brain to fix itself, like he's pushing his memories back into place with sheer brute force. He's got his other hand splayed across Sam's back, kneading the muscles, making them ripple and clench under his touch. When Sam squeezes the perfect globe of Dean's ass, Dean digs his blunt nails into Sam's skin. Sam gasps into Dean's mouth, bends him backwards so he can grind his erection into Dean's stomach. Dean growls and bites Sam's lower lip and Sam feels the sound deep in Dean's throat, feels the rumble in his chest. He walks Dean backwards until he hits the bed, then pushes him away so Dean falls backwards on the bed, blinking up at Sam with that dark, debauched look Sam loves so much.
Sam keeps his eyes locked on Dean's as he unbuttons his jeans, pushes them and his boxers down, letting his cock bob free. Dean's eyes follow the movement, and his tongue flicks out to lick along his lower lip. He lifts his eyes to Sam's again as he pulls the lip between his teeth, pushes up on his elbows so he can scoot backwards on the bed as Sam climbs on top of him, legs bracketing Dean's hips.
Sam lowers his mouth to Dean's, pulls Dean's lower lip into his mouth, worries it where Dean's teeth were a moment before as Dean slides his hands down Sam's back, over his ribs, careful where bruises linger, where Sam's still sore from the beating he barely remembers. Sam kisses down Dean's jaw, down the bruises on Dean's neck where Lucifer tried to choke the life out of him, down over his clothed chest. Sam mouths and sucks at Dean's nipple through the fabric, pulling a low rumbling moan from deep inside him, making him squirm and arch his body up. Sam sucks both nipples to hardened peaks through the tee-shirt before sliding his hands under it to push the shirt up and off, exposing Dean's broad chest, scattered with freckles, bruises already yellowing just like Sam's.
Sam kisses down Dean's sternum, over the hint of a scar that's left from Metatron's blade, knows it matches the one on his back from Cold Oak. He kisses down Dean's belly, dips his tongue in Dean's belly button, eliciting a sharp gasp. He kisses across Dean's hip bone, pulls the waistband of the boxers down and takes Dean's hard length in his hand as he shifts to one side, pushing the boxers down so that Dean can kick them off as he carefully licks the head of Dean's erect cock before sucking it into his mouth.
It's the first word spoken between them since they came into the room, punched out of Dean as an uncontrollable reaction to Sam's mouth, and it makes Sam smile. Dean slides his hands into Sam's hair, caressing rather than urging him on, but there's urgency there too. There's an edge to the way Dean jerks his hips up, forcing more of his cock into Sam's mouth, and when he hits Sam's gag reflex Sam has a flashback of Lucifer stuffing himself down Sam's throat, using Dean's body to do it. He almost chokes, and Dean feels it, backs down immediately.
"You okay?" he asks, voice hoarse and wrecked, like he's the one who's had a cock in his throat. "Wanna stop?"
Sam glances up at him and shakes his head. "Nah, I'm good," he assures Dean, taking Dean's cock into his mouth again, holding the base and relaxing his throat muscles. Dean gives a tentative thrust but he's worried now, Sam can feel it. He knows. Dean knows exactly what Sam went through, from the moment he asked the crucial question in the car as they drove away.
"How long were you in there, Hell-time?"
"Felt like about a hundred-and-fifty years," Sam answered, and Dean clenched his jaw and looked angry for awhile.
Sam doubles his efforts, determined to make Dean enjoy the blowjob, to make him stop worrying, and he can sense it the moment Dean just surrenders and goes with it, forgets to be careful and snaps his hips up, making those tight little gasps that Sam loves so much. Sam pulls off at the last minute, though, when he can feel Dean's balls tighten, lifts his spit-sloppy face to Dean.
"Want you in me," he growls, hearing the gravelly quality in his voice, knows what he must look like from the half-lidded, slack-mouthed way Dean gazes down at him.
"You sure?" Dean pants, clearly making an effort to hold himself in check.
"Yeah," Sam smiles a little, lets Dean see how pleased he is with Dean's debauchery, with himself for being the cause of it.
It takes a while to get Sam prepped enough for Dean to allow him to take what he wants. Dean returns the favor of the blowjob, of course, and Sam can't imagine how he could have ever wanted anything more than to watch Dean's mouth on him while his lube-slick fingers work him open. When Dean's finally satisfied that he won't cause undo pain or another flashback, he lets Sam roll him onto his back so that Sam can climb on top again, so that he can guide Dean's lube-slick cock to the entrance to his body while Dean holds onto his hips. Sam locks his gaze with Dean's as he lowers himself, pushing past the ring of muscle with two short puffs of breath, then impaling himself to the hilt with one long moan, eyes sliding closed against the burn. When Sam opens his eyes again, he's momentarily surprised to see Dean gazing up at him, green eyes sparkling with a film of tears, and he smiles a little, nods.
"It's good," he assures Dean, leaning down to kiss him as he starts to move, circling his hips around Dean's cock, adjusting to the fullness. Dean slides his hand down Sam's back, over his ass, finds the place where their bodies are joined, leaves his hand there as Sam rises up, then sinks back down again. After a couple of experimental moves, Sam finds a rhythm, finds the balance between pleasure and burn that he needs. Then Dean thrusts up, hits Sam's prostate, and Sam squeezes his eyes shut against the rush of sparks up his spine, against the stars in his vision. Dean does it again, then again, and Sam starts to lose it, starts to black out.
When he comes, it's on a wave of words. He's babbling, gasping out Dean's name and an endless stream of swears and vows, vaguely aware that Dean's coming too, silently, as Sam finishes his mindless muttering.
"You, you, you," Sam chants. "Always you. Even when you're not real, it's still you."
It's a verbal negation of Lucifer's insistent "me, me, me," of Lucifer's attempt to become Sam's everything, to replace Dean in Sam, to remove Dean from Sam permanently.
No one and nothing could ever do that, Sam knows now. Dean's more than just flesh-and-blood, more than just his lover, his brother, his partner. Dean's an idea in Sam's mind, the love in his heart, the faith in his soul.
They lie tangled together for some time afterwards, ignoring the cooling mess on their bellies and chests, and Sam's careful to shift onto his side after a while to avoid crushing his brother. It's the quiet between storms for them, like always; Sam doesn't doubt for a moment there will be powerful battles ahead for them yet. But for now it's good to rest. It's good to feel Dean's heartbeat against his cheek, to feel Dean's chest rise and fall under his arm, to feel the ache in his ass and know Dean put it there.
Tomorrow they'll get up and get to work again. Tomorrow there'll still be bruises and flashbacks and issues between them because they're brothers first, and Sam's just spent a few decades in Hell.
But tonight, it's good, and Sam takes that as a win.
Definitely a win.
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