The Long and Winding Road (amypond45) wrote,
The Long and Winding Road
amypond45

Should You Ever Leave - Chapter 2

They drove in silence for almost three hours, Sam so furious with confusion and desperation he couldn't think straight. He didn't know (and really didn't care) why Jensen was quiet. The man was a total pain in his ass. Helpless, useless, destined to get in the way and to be a complete liability, maybe even get both of them killed if they run up against anything nasty. Which they couldn't help doing, of course, this being Sam's life. It was pure stupidity to bring him along, and Sam was just done with wondering why he decided to do it.

Not to mention spending two days in the car with the jerkwad.

Of course, flying had been out of the question, since Sam needed his weapons. At least Jensen had the tact not to complain about the car -- an old beat-up Ford Taurus Sam had hot-wired in Omaha just after Dean disappeared. The classic cars in the bunker's garage were simply off-limits if they wanted to stay under the radar, and of course Dean had the Impala.

So now here Sam was, road-tripping with a t.v. actor from another universe, sneaking quick glances at the familiar profile, slumped down in the passenger seat with his eyes closed, arms crossed over his chest and knees splayed as Sam drove.

Of course, in sleep he looked even more like Dean, and Sam had to physically catch himself before he slipped a hand across the seat and onto the actor's knee, just to give himself the illusion --

Not Dean.

Damn it.

And the sick thing was, this asshole wasn't even a monster. It wasn't like those times when fake Dean was a shapeshifter, or a leviathan, or one of Lucifer's mind-warping illusions. Something he could kill.

Nope. This was a human being.

It felt like a special kind of punishment, a head-fucking cocktail prepared just for Sam, having this happen. If he didn't know better, he would blame Gabriel for it. In fact, it was just like something Gabriel would do. Kick him when he's down, when he's most desperate and hungry and missing his brother most intensely -- just fuck with him by giving him this dickwad not-brother to cart around, daring him not to protect and take care of this asshat fake Dean, just to test his bond with his real brother. Just to see how deep the bond goes.

Because temptation in the form of this vulnerable human who can't be killed was just so insidious. Worse than any forth-right, all-out, monster-under-the-bed style evil.

Because this dude didn't even know he was evil.

Because he was only evil to Sam. He was Sam's worst nightmare. Having Dean but not having him. All the reminders, none of the reality.

When they stopped for gas Jensen woke up, looking around blearily for a moment before catching Sam's eye, frowning.

"Gotta take a leak," Sam said. "Stay here."

When he got back Jensen was filling the gas tank, and it made Sam's heart stop for a minute to see him standing there, bowlegs wide in Dean's familiar stance, filling the tank one-handed while the other hand was shoved into the pocket of his jeans.

He turned his head and lifted an eyebrow as Sam approached.

"Found the fake credit card in the glove box," he noted dryly. "This one's on Don Johnson."

Sam shrugged, tossed a bag of chips at Jensen, who caught it easily with one hand.

"Lunch," Sam noted, crossing around to the driver's door, slipped inside, opening his plastic bottle of diet Coke and taking a long pull. He watched Jensen finish filling the tank, shake out the nozzle and return it to the handle, then open the passenger door and slip smoothly into the seat.

Sam handed him his bottle of green tea and ginseng, noted Jensen's surprise.

"Thanks, man," he smiled, a genuine look of pleasure that crinkled the edges of his eyes and made his teeth shine.

Nothing like Dean.

"But I can't eat these," Jensen added, tossing the chips into Sam's lap.

Sam shrugged.

"Your loss," he noted. "Three more hours till our next stop."

Jensen's eyes widened for a minute, making him look young and ridiculously cute, also nothing like Dean.

"Okay," he agreed in a small voice. "You're the boss."

Sam shot him a skeptical look, but Jensen was already looking out at the landscape, face open and relaxed and trusting, without a glimmer of sarcasm.

Nothing like Dean, Sam reminded himself again, shaking his head to hide the little shiver that ran up his spine.

*

When they stopped outside Denver it was because Jensen found a restaurant with good food on his phone which, however impossibly, he'd managed to bring with him from his universe. It made Sam crazy to waste the time stopping for a meal, but when he saw how just the idea of a bowl of fresh vegetables and tufu with a tall glass of iced green tea seemed to make Jensen positively orgasmic with anticipation, he couldn't resist. It was just too good an opportunity to miss, getting to watch Jensen's obscenely beautiful mouth gorging itself on something healthy.

So Sam ordered his own southwest chicken salad with a beer and watched.

Jensen used chopsticks, of course. His hands were more delicate, if no less dexterous, than Dean's. Not a working man's hands, like his brother's. Someone whose job did not involve changing tires, cleaning guns, and digging graves.

Halfway through his bowl of health food Jensen finally looked up, noticed Sam watching him, and smirked.

Damn it. The bastard was used to being watched, that was clear. Of course, anyone who looked like Dean would be used to being watched. People watch men who look like Dean.

Sam shook his head, lowered his eyes to his own plate, hoping Jensen didn't notice the flush that rose in his neck and cheeks.

But of course he did.

"Not hungry, Sam?" Jensen asked, noting Sam's barely-touched plate.

"Just anxious to get back on the road," Sam sulked. "Can't believe we're wasting time like this."

"Eating well is not wasting time," Jensen insisted. "The body is a temple. We need to worship it. Sacrifice on its altar. Keep it clean and healthy."

Sam raised his eyes, staring in blunt amazement.

"You really are a douche, you realize that, right?"

Jensen colored prettily and Sam shook his head.

"Actors," he muttered, pushing the food around his plate grumpily.

"Yeah? What would you know about it?" Jensen challenged. "You think it's easy doing what I do?"

"Oh, I know it is," Sam huffed, looking away out the window, wishing for the hundredth time that day that he hadn't brought this distracting little civilian along in the first place.

Jensen was silent so long that Sam turned back to look at him curiously, only to find those mesmerizing green eyes watching him this time.

"What?" Sam snapped, more irritated than he needed to be, but unwilling to hide it.

Jensen lowered his eyes, pushed his empty plate away, took a long pull on his iced tea, then shook his head.

"Nothin,'" he said finally. "Just -- I still can't believe you're real. I keep thinking you're gonna snap out of character any minute and admit to playing the biggest practical joke of all time. On me."

Sam smiled a little at that.

"So, the guy who plays me, he's a pretty good actor, huh?"

Jensen winced.

"He thinks so," he said. "He thinks he's just about the greatest thing since sliced bread. Period. He's nothing like you."

Sam considered this for a minute, then shook his head.

"I can't see how an actor could play a character he has absolutely nothing in common with," he argued. "I mean, isn't that what actors do? You find the motivation for the character's choices, then you draw on your own life experience and use that emotion to make the scene feel real?"

"Sometimes," Jensen agreed. "But with a character like Dean -- or Sam, for that matter -- there's a lot of imagination involved. I can't say I know what it's like to watch my brother die in my arms, for example. Thank God. But I have a brother. I can imagine how I'd feel if I lost him. And I have lost people in my life, so I use that. I think about how that felt when I play Dean grieving for Sam. Or his dad. Or Bobby or Kevin or -- "

"Okay," Sam put up his hands. "Stop. I get it. All I'm saying is, whoever that actor is that plays me, he can't be that different. He can't be a total dick."

"Oh, he can be," Jensen nodded grimly. "He definitely can be."

Sam shook his head.

"No, I mean, he can't play me convincingly if he doesn't care about you. Me and Dean are so close -- you can't play that closeness unless you really feel it on some level. It just wouldn't come off."

"That's why it's called acting, Sam," Jensen smirked, finishing his ice tea and wiping his mouth with his napkin.

Sam was still shaking his head.

"Well, I don't believe it," he insisted. He pushed his chair back so he could stand up and pull his wallet out, counted out three bills and left them on the table.

He didn't notice Jensen's speculative look as he turned to lead the way out of the restaurant, didn't notice Jensen's eyes narrowing on Sam's broad back as he followed him out to the parking lot.

*

"So -- I know pretty much everything there is to know about your life," Jensen said in the car after they were on the road again.

Sam glanced at him, frowned a little, but didn't answer.

"So -- don't you want to know anything about me?" the actor tried again.

"Not really," Sam shrugged a little, not even trying to hide his irritation.

"'Cause I can tell you, this show has basically taken over my life," Jensen went on, as if he didn't notice Sam's lack of interest. "And because it's just got two leads, and I'm in practically every damn scene, I don't get a lot of down time."

Sam kept his eyes on the road, although he could feel Jensen looking at him, studying him.

"When we first started, Jared and I found an apartment together. We hung out after work, during breaks. We were close, like you and Dean."

Sam felt his jaw clench. He really, really didn't want to hear this.

"So what happened?" he asked, hating himself for his own curiosity.

"Jared started seeing someone," Jensen shrugged.

"Fake Ruby?" Sam suggested.

"No, this was before," Jensen shook his head. "It didn't last. But then Gen came along and that was it for him. Well, until she finally figured out what an asshole he is and bailed on him."

Sam raised his eyebrows, glanced over.

"What about you?" he asked, again wondering why the hell he cared. "You find someone?"

"Nah," Jensen shook his head, staring fixedly out the window. "I'm a confirmed bachelor. King of the Road. Nobody can stand me for more than five minutes, once they get to know me."

"No long-term relationships at all?" Sam was more interested than he wanted to be. "Ever?"

Jensen turned his head and Sam could feel his eyes on Sam's profile, studying him silently for a minute before he answered.

"Nope," Jensen said finally, turning back to stare out the window. "Never."

Sam nodded.

"Just like Dean," he commented dryly.

Jensen shook his head.

"Dean's got you," he said quietly. "And -- he made a go of it with Lisa for a year, so he's capable of settling down if he has to. Of course, whenever you're around that's not exactly possible. It's kind of a catch-22. And now he doesn't even want that anymore."

Sam shifted in his seat, suddenly uncomfortable with the direction of the conversation. This was private territory Jensen was treading on, and although Sam knew that the actor was aware of the intimate details of his life with Dean, it was beyond embarrassing to hear him talk about it.

"What does he want?"

The question was on the tip of Sam's tongue, but he couldn't ask it. It was too personal, and he was afraid the actor would give him an answer he really, really didn't want to hear.

So Sam bit the inside of his cheek and said nothing. Better to leave that question for later, when he was face to face with Dean and could ask him directly.

*

Sam was all for driving all night and going straight through to Vegas without stopping, but Jensen was adamant that they needed to stop, he needed to go for a run and do his yoga exercises and basically refuel and he was hungry.

So Sam found a tiny out-of-the-way motel in Green River with the perfectly creepy-sounding name of Sleepy Hollow and Jensen just stared.

"You're kidding, right?" he said, looking from the 1950s-era sign to the long low line of shabby rooms, each with its own parking space in front. "These places really exist?"

Sam rolled his eyes as he got out to check in, then came back with the key and drove the car to the end of the block of rooms, furthest away from the office.

"All they had was a king," Sam grumbled as he parked. "I'll take the side nearest the door."

Jensen's eyes were wide as saucers.

"We -- we're going to share a bed?" he choked out, but Sam was already out of the car, yanking bags out of the trunk, muttering to himself about how stupid this was, that stopping for the night was a total waste of time.

Jensen followed Sam into the room, then stood staring while Sam checked the bathroom and closet, then pulled out the salt and goofer dust and started laying lines along the windows and door.

Green River catered mostly to truckers passing through, so the choice of restaurants was predictably limited and heavy on the fried foods Jensen couldn't eat, so Sam had stopped at Subway on the way into town and got them veggie subs for dinner. They sat together at the small table and watched the Salt Lake City news as they ate, the motel's cable service as predictably limited as everything else in town.

Jensen refused the beer Sam offered, taking a chance on the shower instead. When he came out Sam had his laptop out and was surfing for demon activity in and around Las Vegas. He glanced up at Jensen, who was clad only in a towel as he rifled through Sam's duffle for clean boxers.

"We need to get you an anti-possession tattoo."

The words slipped out automatically, making Jensen's eyes widen as he finally found what he was looking for.

"Yeah, I should've thought of that before," Sam continued. "We're headed straight into Demon Territory tomorrow and you're not protected."

"Are you?" Jensen raised his eyebrows, and Sam looked up at him. He was definitely a sight for sore eyes, standing there in a towel with wet hair and a pair of underwear clutched in his fist, and Sam had to look away before he could answer.

"Demons won't bother me," he said with more confidence than he felt. "Dean won't let them."

"Oh, you think Dean will protect you? You think he cares?"

Sam looked up again, grateful to find Jensen clad in the boxers and pulling a tee-shirt over his head to cover up all that naked skin.

His arms and legs were still bare, though, and suddenly the thought of being in bed with that was starting to worry Sam.

"He's my brother," Sam said darkly. "Whatever else he's become, he's still my brother."

Jensen shook his head.

"That's what you always say," he noted. "Like it's code for something completely different."

He reached down and pulled the covers off the bed, wrinkling his nose at the slightly grimy feel of the bedspread.

"There are semen and blood stains all over this room," Jensen explained helpfully. "Especially on this mattress. Infra-red would show them. They can't be scrubbed or washed out."

"Thanks for the visual, Sherlock," Sam snapped, rolling his eyes. "Maybe you can sleep in the bathtub."

"It's germy there too," Jensen complained, staring down at the bleached white sheets as a huge yawn overtook his whole body, turning into a giant stretch that caused the teeshirt to ride up and expose his belly.

Sam tried not to watch as Jensen lowered his arms again, shrugged, muttered, "Too tired to think about it," and slipped into the bed, smiling a little as he pulled the covers up and snuggled into the pillow.

Sam tried not to watch, tried to keep his eyes on his work, hacking security cameras for footage of demons working and playing in casinos, discovering as he did that the whole city was literally crawling with the evil sons-o-bitches.

They were so screwed.

They? No way. No way could he take this defenseless civilian into the middle of that.

Sam glanced over at the bed. Jensen was already out, as far as he could tell, curled up on his side facing Sam, hugging the pillow. In sleep he seemed even more vulnerable, and Sam cursed himself again for being talked into bringing the actor along. This was not going well. Would not go well tomorrow when they got to Vegas and the demons got a look at the delicious piece of meat Sam was bringing to the party.

Damn.

What was he thinking?

Obviously, there was only one thing he could do.

*

An hour later Sam was on the road to Vegas, trying not to think about how freaked out Jensen would be when he woke up and found Sam's note.

"Gone to do the job. Back in 24 hours. Stay put! Do not leave this room! In an emergency only, call me."

He'd underlined the word "emergency" and left his cell on just in case, but he'd only been gone a few hours when it rang.

"Fuck you, Sam Winchester!" The voice was so much like Dean's it made Sam suck in a breath, steady himself against the steering wheel. "You left me! You fuckin' left me in the middle of bum-fuck Utah!"

Sam took a deep breath, clenched his jaw.

"You'll be fine, Jensen," he soothed. "Just relax. I'll be back before you know it. Just -- don't leave the room, okay?"

"Fuck -- fuck!" Jensen's voice was rising, bordering on hysteria. "You left! You left me!"

"Jensen -- "

"It's like -- fuck, it's like Jurassic Park and you're that douchebag lawyer! Who does that? Who leaves two defenseless kids alone in a car when there's a goddamn t-rex attacking?"

Sam bit down on his cheek, fought down the guilt welling up in his chest.

"You're gonna be fine, Jensen," Sam said again. "I promise. Nothing can get you as long as you stay in that room inside the salt lines. Okay? Just stay there."

"I hate you," Jensen was nearly sobbing now. "You hear me, Jay? I fuckin' hate you!"

Sam frowned. "I'm not -- who's Jay?"

Jensen was silent, although Sam could swear he heard the actor suck in a breath.

"Jensen?"

"Never mind," Jensen breathed out. "Just get back here, okay? Please?"

"I'll be back as soon as I can," Sam answered firmly, ending the call before Jensen started screaming again.

The phone rang again almost immediately, so Sam shut it off. He'd said all he could say, and felt pretty sure Jensen understood how important it was to stay in the room, so he just had to believe he'd be fine.

Because the alternative was more than he could deal with right now, and was the reason he'd left Jensen in that motel room to begin with.

*

It was getting light as Sam pulled into Las Vegas, but the city was ablaze with activity as always. Electronic signs flashed their endless come-ons, hotels competed for splashiest displays and brightest allures. The streets were crowded with cars and people, music poured out of every doorway and open window.

Sam could tell he looked down-and-out by the way the valet treated him when he pulled up to the Hotel --- . He couldn't be certain the man was a demon, so he tipped him after tossing him the keys. He'd already decided to leave the weapons in the motel with Jensen -- maybe his acting experience included loading and shooting a sawed-off or at least a Glock if he needed to. For Sam's purposes, the demon blade tucked into the waistband of his jeans and a small flask of holy water in his pocket were all the defense he carried. Hopefully all he needed. With the hotel's security systems, handguns were too risky, and his heart pounded as he strode into the lobby, anticipation making his blood run cold and his palms sweat.

As he crossed the casino floor he was aware of eyes on him, mostly indifferent, but some openly hostile. He tried to avoid eye contact, gaze sweeping the room for the familiar form he knew better than his own. It only took him a minute to find him, all the way across the room, leaning on the black-jack table, drink in one hand, blond bombshell in the other, raising his eyes to meet Sam's with a look that was heated and direct, no guilt, no smirk, maybe just a hint of warning.

Dean.

Without even thinking about what he was doing Sam was crossing the room, eyes pinned only on his brother, jostling people and darting around bodies in his single-minded goal.

Get to Dean.

He was about half-way there when Dean turned away from him, then seemed to disappear into the crowd behind him, so that by the time Sam reached the place he had been standing, Dean was all the way across the room again, moving fast, his back to Sam, the girl still hanging on his arm, moving with him. The crowd -- how could it be so crowded here at 7:00 in the morning?! -- closed up behind Dean so that he was already in the elevator, turning around to face Sam as the doors slid closed, before Sam could even get half-way there.

In the last second before the elevator doors closed Dean caught his eye, warning clear this time.

Stay away. Leave me alone. Don't follow me.

It couldn't be clearer if Dean had spoken the words, but Sam wasn't listening. He pushed his way to the bank of elevators, punched the button to call a car to go up, to follow Dean, then stood back and watched the lights for the floors blink one by one until the number six lit up and stayed lit for several seconds.

"He doesn't want to see you."

The familiar voice snarked at him from his left and Sam threw a furious glance at the King of Hell before hitting the call button for the elevator again.

"He's happy now," Crowley went on, gazing at him with something like sympathy but not quite. "He's who he always thought he was, deep down. He's free."

"Leave me alone, Crowley," Sam growled threateningly. "Stay out of my way."

"Or you'll what, Moose? Or you'll kill me? Your brother might take issue with that, you know. He and I are besties now. He needs me."

"I sincerely doubt that," Sam snapped. "Dean doesn't need you."

"Face the new reality, Sam," Crowley huffed. "You're out, I'm in. You told Dean you didn't want to be his brother anymore, and look what happened! He's got his priorities straight at last. No stupid floppy-haired little bro holding him back anymore. He's a new man."

The elevator door finally slid open and Sam charged in, slamming his fingers onto the six and the close door buttons at the same time.

"I'm telling you, Sam, you'd better be prepared," Crowley warned as the doors slid closed against his smarmy English face.

Goddamn Crowley. Fuck him.

Sam knew he didn't really have a plan. The plan was to get to Dean. The plan was to convince Dean to come back to him, to let Sam fix him. The plan was to get to Dean and fix everything between them, make them okay again. Because after spending the last few weeks apart, not knowing what had happened or where Dean had gone, Sam just wanted his brother back. However he could get him.

When the doors opened on the sixth floor it only took Sam a minute to figure out which room was Dean's. Because of course he would embrace this new thing he had become, just go the whole nine yards with it.

Sam stopped in front of Room 666 for only as long as it took him to jimmy the lock, then slowly opened the door.

The suite contained an empty sitting room with a closed door on the opposite wall, leading into the bedroom, from which emanated the all-too familiar sounds of Dean having sex. He was obviously making it a quickie -- the moans and banging sounds as the bed hit the wall hard and fast were already pretty close to orgasmic, and Sam stood stock still, hesitating to walk in on what he knew would only take another minute anyway.

Sure enough, there was the little hitch as Dean bit off a moan and held his breath as he came, going still and holding himself rigid in the moment before, then the slower rocking sounds as he came down off the high, a little low laugh as he pulled himself out and off the bed, the girl's higher-pitched disappointment when it was obvious Dean wasn't delivering the goods, just taking his own pleasure and walking away.

Then the door flung open and there was Dean, wrapping himself in a hotel bathrobe, obviously naked underneath, skin flushed and hair mussed and so, so alive Sam gasped, his eyes filling with tears against his will.

"Dean -- "

The word slipped out before Sam could stop it, caught on a sob.

Dean's gaze swept up and down Sam's body, taking him in with a raised eyebrow.

"You look like shit, Sam," he commented dryly, as if he'd just left Sam a minute ago, not a whole two months.

Sam watched helplessly as Dean crossed to the table by the couch, poured himself a whisky and slammed it back in a single gulp. After all the searching, all the interviews and research, the past couple of days with Jensen -- after all that, to finally see Dean again and have him be so nonchalant, so obviously not excited to see him --

Okay, he could live with that. Probably deserved it after the cold shoulder he'd given Dean, after all the hurtful things he'd said, knowing he was hurting Dean, doing it anyway.

Yeah, Sam definitely deserved this non-reunion.

"What are you doing here, Sam?"

Dean had turned, was looking at him expectantly, coolly, not a shred of emotion in his huge green eyes.

"You're alive, Dean," Sam found his voice, wished it didn't sound so choked and shaken. "You were dead. I held you while you died. I left you on your bed and you were dead, Dean. What -- what happened to you? Why didn't you tell me? Why did you just leave and not tell me where you were, or even that you were alive? I've spent the past two months looking for you. Been using everything I could think of to track you down -- "

"Yeah, I heard about your little boyfriend," Dean nodded, tiny smirk tugging at the corners of his mouth. He poured himself another glass of whiskey, knocked it down.

"You -- what?" Sam was taken off guard, and Dean grinned, lowered his eyes.

"It's okay, Sammy, I don't mind," he said. "You can have your little fling. It's probably a good thing. A little weird, maybe, but that's you."

"We're not -- he's not -- "

"I guess I should feel flattered, or relieved or something," Dean went on. "But you know what? I just don't care."

He raised his eyes to Sam again, and the look he gave his brother was so dark, so unreadable, it sent shivers up Sam's spine. For the first time Sam could see the alien consciousness there, the dark, twisted thing that had taken root in Dean's soul.

"You shouldn't have come here, Sam," Dean said with a little shake of his head.

"I had to see you -- " Sam started, fighting back the urge to grab onto Dean, to pull his body in and never let go.

"I know," Dean nodded. "I know you did, and now you have. And now you need to leave."

"Dean, whatever's happened to you, we can fix it," Sam tried again, desperation beginning to claw its way out of his chest. "Just come home with me, Dean. Come back to the bunker and let's figure this out. Together."

Dean was shaking his head, lowering his eyes again, muttering, "No, no, no.

"Sam, you don't get it," he said when he looked up again. "I don't want to be fixed. This is me now. I'm finally myself. I'm who I was always meant to be."

"You don't mean that," Sam insisted. "Dean, this isn't you -- "

"Yeah, Sammy, it is," Dean snapped, finally showing some emotion. "Now I don't want to hurt you, but if you don't leave me alone, if you can't let me go, I'll do what I have to. It's over, Sam. You and me -- that thing between us -- it's done. I'm free. You're free. Just go live your life. Forget about me. Cuz that's what I'm doing, and until you showed up it was all going fine."

Dean's words were making no sense, but they were heightening Sam's desperation beyond all reasonable limits, threatening to split him open and rip his insides into tiny shreds.

"You don't mean that -- " Sam gasped.

"Yeah, Sam, I do," Dean insisted, voice low and dark. "This is what I want. Now are you gonna respect that or are you gonna need a little convincing?"

The threat was obvious, and it sent a shockwave of adrenaline through Sam's system. Dean knew Sam, knew what he was capable of, and he was ready. Sam, on the other hand, had only a peripheral understanding of Dean's new demon strength, could only guess at the extent of his power. Sam knew he was at a disadvantage, had hoped that he could get through to Dean if he just had a chance to talk to him.

But now he could see the resolve in Dean's face, the set of his jaw and the steely gaze, ripe with the promise of hair-trigger violence.

Which is when the bedroom door opened behind Dean and the blond woman poked her head out, pulling the lapels of her bathrobe up around her neck.

"Are you coming back to bed -- Oh!" she exclaimed when she saw Sam. "I didn't know you had company!" She ran her eyes up and down Sam's tall frame and smirked, apparently liking what she saw. "Who's your friend?"

"I'm his brother," Sam announced adamantly, clenching his fists almost unconsciously, daring Dean to deny it.

"He was just leaving," Dean lowered his chin and lifted his eyebrows warningly. "Right, Sam?"

"Oh, what a shame," the woman cooed, sliding her arm up the door and striking a pose, one slim leg exposed provocatively. "We like company. Don't we, Deany?"

Both Winchesters ignored her, gazes locked on each other, both on alert for a moment's advantage. Sam knew that Dean would wait for Sam to make the first move, and Sam knew his only chance was to catch Dean off-guard, which Dean was prepared for, so they were at an impasse and Sam was feeling more desperate by the second, wondering how long he would last if he just took a running lunge head-on (not long, he was pretty sure).

Then he got his chance.

Someone was yelling, out in the hall, then throwing themselves against the door, yelling, and in the split second it took Dean to raise his eyes questioningly at the door, Sam took a flying leap at his brother.

Things happened fast after that. Sam was so focused on slapping the other end of his devil's trap handcuffs on his brother's wrist he barely heard the blond woman scream as the door flew open and several demons tumbled into the room, scrambling to grab ahold of the man who was yelling -- the man with Dean's voice, Dean's face --

Jensen.

"Sam! Sam! Help!"

Jensen had been screaming his name the whole time, Sam realized vaguely, but now that he had Dean, now that he had knocked him down with the sheer force of his body and Dean was on the floor and Sam was on top of him, holding him down with his weight as he held his wrists in a death grip --

Time slowed down, the room fell away, and for an eternity that lasted only a moment, Sam and Dean were pressed together, their bodies fitting perfectly as they always had, even when Sam was the smaller one. Sam took a deep breath, breathing in the familiar smell of his brother, behind the overwhelming scent of sulfur and sex, as he buried his face in Dean's neck, knowing as he did it that Dean was allowing this -- he could easily have turned his head and bitten Sam's ear off -- but he was lying still, taking his brother's weight, letting him press his body along the length of Dean's, letting him snap the handcuff onto his wrist --

Sam felt the exact moment Dean's body tensed, felt his leg come up and wrap around Sam's in a movement that was at once intimate and masterful, felt the moment Dean's wrists yanked out of his grasp and he found himself heaved off and thrown down in one smooth, powerful movement, so that now Dean was on top, smiling down at Sam as he held him in place, letting him feel how much stronger Dean was now.

"You're gonna have to do better than that, Sammy," Dean murmured, barely winded, while Sam was panting and sweating like a horse. "Didn't you do your homework? These things can't hold me."

Holding Sam down with one forearm, Dean pulled their joined wrists between them until he could reach the cuff with his other hand, then easily crushed the steel chain in his fist, yanking it loose as if it were made of string, gazing into Sam's eyes while he did it, so that the display of strength held a kind of erotic charge that sent a stab of lust through Sam's entire body.

"Holy water, devil's traps -- none of it works on me, Sam," Dean spoke quietly, only to Sam, and the intimacy was like an offering, an intense reminder of the emotional bond between them and no one else.

Sam was so hard he was afraid to move, fearing that any little friction could set him off. He closed his eyes and swallowed, fighting for control over his own body.

But Dean could feel it, knew exactly what Sam was feeling. When Sam dared to open his eyes again Dean was smirking, and when he was sure Sam was watching, blackness flowed into his eyes until they were a solid shell of glistening obsidian, and Sam could see himself reflected in them.

Sam gasped reflexively, every instinct telling him to flee, to fight -- his hunter's training screaming at him to kill the monster -- while his body reacted as it always did to having his brother's body pressed against his, thrusting up painfully so that he was almost cross-eyed with need.

"You wanna fuck me, Sam?" Dean's voice was low, husky with lust. "You want mindless sex without any emotional strings attached, brother? Cuz I can do that now, even with you. That what you want? Like you did with me before you got your soul back, remember? I could mess with you, Sam. Like you did to me."

An anguished sob tore from Sam's throat as Dean's words brought back memories that were more painful for Sam than anything he could recall -- wished with all his soul he couldn't remember. His beautiful brother vulnerable and desperate, needing Sam and missing him and Sam without his soul just taking advantage of that --

"This isn't you," Sam hissed. "You would never do that to me."

Dean's eyes had gone back to their normal color, and he was still smiling, but the smile didn't quite reach his eyes; in fact, it lacked any warmth at all.

"You wanna test that theory, little brother? 'Cuz I'm pretty sure I could, if that's what you want."

And part of Sam wanted -- definitely wanted -- would take Dean anyway he could get him, even if it meant this loveless, twisted creature holding him down and rubbing slowly against him. Sam was still enough of a monster himself to know he deserved Dean this way, unable to love him, more than willing to abuse him and take advantage of his desperation and longing.

And Sam couldn't help it; he wanted to be used like that, was convinced deep down that he was damaged goods and all he was good for was more abuse, more of what Lucifer had done to him in the cage -- Sam was sure he could take that from Dean, that right now it was exactly what he needed; it was exactly the punishment designed uniquely for him after what he did to make Dean this way in the first place.

Giving in to demon!Dean was his special atonement.

But when he lifted his eyes to Dean's, knowing he was surrendering his soul to this demon which was his brother now, ready to say yes forever if that's what it took -- something happened. Dean read the look in Sam's eyes, read the surrender and acquiescence and resignation of a true martyr in Sam's expression -- and it was like a switch was flipped in his head. Dean's expressive eyes flashed with pain and -- something almost human -- but it was so fast Sam couldn't be certain, wasn't sure if he just imagined it or if he really saw the look of self-doubt there that was almost familiar.

Then Dean was off him, yanking him to his feet and pushing away from him, and Sam was confused for a moment, intent on catching Dean's eyes again although Dean was looking away and seemed determined not to look at Sam again.

Sam was vaguely aware of Jensen and the demons who were holding him, standing to the side well away from the brothers but watching them intently. He was aware of the woman huddled behind the bedroom door, peeking out and watching them with a look of trepidation and dread, if not out-right fear.

But mostly Sam was aware of Dean, of the fact that Dean was not following through on his threat, was withdrawing from his almost-promise to -- well, it couldn't be called rape if Sam was consenting, but Sam couldn't really let Dean do that to him anyway, he realized suddenly. Not because Sam didn't deserve it, but because the Dean that Sam knew and loved would be irreparably damaged if he did that to his little brother, and Sam just couldn't let that happen.

And whatever moment of clarity Sam had just seen in Dean's eyes -- whatever had prevented him from following through with his threat and taking what he wanted from Sam without regard for Sam as a person -- just like he had done with the nameless blond woman a few minutes before -- Sam held onto that, wanted to see it again, clung to the belief that somehow the Dean he knew was still here.

"Dean -- "

Sam needed his brother's eyes again, needed him to look up and prove to him that he was really there after all, because Sam would move heaven and earth to get him back if he could just --

Sam would move heaven and earth for Dean anyway, no matter what he had become.

Hell too.

It was that look of total determination on Sam's face that Dean saw when he finally looked up.

And the blow that came immediately was so sudden Sam didn't have a chance, wasn't even awake long enough to register the fact that Dean punched him, hard on the side of the head, and Sam was out cold before he could form another thought.

NEXT CHAPTER - BACK TO MASTERPOST
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