A/N: Written for swan_song21 for the 2018 spnspringfling.
READ ON A03 or below the cut.
The room only has one bed.
It’s never been a problem before. They’ve shared lots of beds in lots of motels over the years.
At least it’s a king, not a queen. Just the thought of sharing a queen makes Dean squirm, especially after the case they just left in Wisconsin. The whole shtriga thing brought up Dean’s worst nightmare. Keeping Sam safe and not letting his dad down had been his two most important jobs, and that night in Wisconsin all those years ago he’d failed at both.
Not gonna fail again.
“I’ll sleep in the car,” he tells Sam.
“Don’t be an idiot. It’s a king. Plenty of room for both of us.”
Oh, now Sam’s reading his mind.
“I call first shower.” Sam drops his duffel and sprints into the bathroom, shutting the door a little too firmly behind him.
At least, that’s what it seems like to Dean.
Dean forces himself not to think about the last time he and Sam shared a bed. He toes off his boots, grabs a beer from the six-pack, flops down on the left-side of the bed and turns on the TV. He flips through the channels, ignoring the little flutter in his belly that tells him his body well remembers that last time, can’t help hoping for a repeat.
Of course, that was before.
Dean doesn’t let himself dwell on the memories of that sweet, sun-filled summer before Sam left for Stanford. Not anymore. Not like he did during the long, lonely years while Sam was gone. Now that Sam’s back and they’re learning to be brothers again, Dean shoves those memories aside like so much dirty laundry. He knows that’s the way Sam wants it, and that’s good enough for Dean. He’ll never do anything to make Sam leave again.
By the time Sam comes out of the bathroom, towel wrapped around his waist, Dean’s ready for him. He steals a quick glance at Sam’s gleaming chest and broad shoulders, at his long fingers clutching the towel and his strong, muscular calves below the hem, then he looks away, feigning disinterest by flipping channels again. He admires Sam’s backside as his brother rummages through his duffel for the sweatpants and t-shirt he usually sleeps in, ignoring the stab of lust that shoots through him when Sam drops the towel.
“Dude, I am not sleeping in that bed with your grave dirt and smelly feet,” Sam announces as he turns around, lip curled in disgust.
“You love it,” Dean smirks, but he takes the hint, swings his legs off the bed and heads into the bathroom for his own shower.
“And don’t leave your socks in the sink!” Sam calls as Dean shuts the door.
Sam’s left his pile of dirty clothes on the floor, so Dean does the same, leaving his socks in the sink, of course. Sam’s already used up most of the tiny bar of motel soap, but the water’s still hot. Dean takes his time, soaping up all over as he lets the hot water pour over his tired muscles. He empties the little bottle of shampoo into one hand and scrubs his head, then reaches between his legs as he tips his head back into the spray. His dick is already half-hard, and the shampoo provides just the right amount of lubricant to stroke himself to full hardness. He uses the bottle of conditioner to finish the job, jerking off in record time to his favorite go-to fantasy featuring floppy hair and hazel eyes gazing up at him, trusting and lust-blown. Long, slender fingers work their way into his butt-crack, skimming over his hole as his dick slides smoothly between soft, pink lips, and that’s all it takes. Dean comes hard, striping the tile walls with thick, white ropes that easily wash away, hiding the evidence of Dean’s sick, perverted thoughts.
As if not giving his fantasy a name makes it any less disgusting.
When he leaves the bathroom, Sam’s already asleep. He’s lying flat on his stomach on his side of the bed, as far over as he can be without falling off. His arms are folded under the pillow, blanket pulled up to his waist. One bare foot sticks out, hanging over the edge of the bed, and Dean’s reminded again of how freaky-tall his little brother has grown. He hasn't seen them standing next to each other since the day Sam left, but he’s fairly sure Sam’s taller than their dad now.
A pang of loss in his chest reminds Dean how much he misses his dad. He’ll never tell Sam this, but their dad spent more time away while Sam was in college than he ever did while they were growing up. It was if, once Sam was gone, he’d decided he didn’t need to be a dad anymore.
And Dean understands. He really does. As he’s told Sam more than once, he’s old enough to hunt on his own now. He’s been hunting alone since shortly after Sam left, although never intentionally. He can’t help wanting his dad and Sam by his side, the way it used to be. He wishes he wasn’t so needy, but that’s how it is. He just hopes he can control it so he doesn’t drive Sam away. Again.
Dean pads across the carpeted floor, pulls on his sleeping shorts and t-shirt, slips under the blankets on his own side of the bed. Despite his promise to himself, he can’t help taking another quick look at Sam’s sleeping face before he reaches up to turn out the light. In sleep his little brother seems younger, softer despite the day-old scruff growing on his cheeks and chin. Dean wants to reach across and brush the hair back from Sam’s face, but he knows he doesn’t dare. He doesn’t have the right. It’s not a gesture Sam would welcome, and although he might never know, Dean can’t bear the thought of Sam’s rejection if he did. Dean imagines Sam’s scorn and annoyance and feels bile rise up in his throat.
He drifts into sleep almost immediately, comforted by the mere presence of Sam in the room with him, the weight and surety of his body on the other side of the bed.
Dean wakes to Sam having another nightmare. It happens all the time, maybe less frequently in the past few weeks, but it’s always intense. Dean usually has to do something to get Sam to settle down to sleep again. Only this time, instead of having to reach across the space between their beds or get up in order to shake Sam out of it, all Dean has to do is roll over.
Which is how he ends up with his face smooshed into Sam’s armpit.
Dean blinks but there’s nothing to see. It’s too dark. Sam shifts, mumbling to himself incomprehensibly, and Dean thinks the worst is already over. Sam usually quiets down when he senses Dean’s near, when Dean touches him gently, when Dean says, “It’s okay, Sammy. You’re okay.”
Sam lets out a long, heavy sigh. He rolls toward Dean, shifting his body so that now Dean’s completely wrapped up in Sam’s arms, face pressed into the hollow of Sam’s throat. Sweat and motel soap and Sam’s unique spicy scent fill Dean’s senses, and the weird thing is, it’s not even a little awkward. It’s actually a little nice.
Sam starts breathing deep again, obviously so comfortable he’s fallen back to sleep. Technically, Dean’s work is done. He should gently untangle himself and roll back over to his side of the bed, go back to sleep.
But it’s warm and comforting in Sam’s arms, and though he’d never admit it in a million years if they were fully conscious and it was daytime, Dean kind of likes being held by someone bigger. It gives him sense memories of being held by his dad when he was little and helpless and his dad’s arms were the safest place in the world. Sam even smells like their dad, and Dean’s missing the hell out of the old man, so who can blame him if he just lies here for a couple of minutes?
It’s hours later, and Dean’s been sleeping hard. Sam’s pushing on his shoulder, and it takes Dean a minute to realize he fell asleep in Sam’s arms. He may even have been drooling.
‘What the hell, man?” Sam rolls away from him, and Dean follows so that he’s face down in the warm space where Sam’s body lay a moment before. He’s not ready for this.
“You were dreaming,” he slurs, unable to move, much less open his eyes. “Another nightmare about your girlfriend.”
“Oh,” Sam breathes. He lies still for another minute, probably staring at the ceiling, but Dean’s already falling back to sleep. It’s too early to deal with this crap, especially without coffee.
Plus, he’s just had his best night’s sleep in months, if not years. He feels great. He just wishes it would last a few more minutes.
Dean’s vaguely aware when Sam gets up, goes into the bathroom and closes the door. He must’ve fallen asleep again, because the next thing he’s aware of is Sam in the bed with him again, shifting around to get comfortable. He cracks an eye open and Sam’s right there, lying on his side facing Dean, just a few inches between them. In the early morning light his eyes are gray, a dark ring around the edge of the iris.
Dean’s eye slides closed. Maybe Sam will go away if he thinks Dean’s gone back to sleep.
He should be so lucky.
“I never thought about how you were always there for me, when we were kids,” Sam says. “I took it for granted. Dad was gone a lot, but you were always there.”
“Not always,” Dean mutters, keeping his eyes closed so he doesn’t have to see Sam’s expression when he thinks about the shtriga.
Sam sucks in a breath. “I don’t even remember that,” he insists. “But I’m starting to think that was the only time.”
“Only takes one,” Dean grumbles. “I almost got you killed.”
“But you didn’t,” Sam says. “I’m still here. I never realized how much I owe that to you, but I do now. I do.”
“You’re welcome,” Dean grumbles. “Now go get me some coffee.”
The sheets rustle and Sam sighs, so Dean cracks an eye again. Sam’s just lying there on his back, staring at the ceiling. Damn it.
“I’m sorry I was such a demanding teenager,” Sam says, his voice so quiet and small it’s almost a whisper. “I never should’ve forced myself on you, that last summer.”
Crap. Dean had really started to hope Sam would never bring it up, that Dean could just live the rest of his life keeping his twisted, sick desires buried under a mountain of denial and self-loathing.
Leave it to Sam to ruin a perfectly decent run of unacknowledged brother-lust.
“You didn’t force me to do anything, Sam,” Dean growls. Now he’s awake. Now he’s getting fucking up, because this has just got to stop. Now. Pillow-talking with your brother when you haven’t even had sex is just wrong, damn it. He should’ve slept in the car.
He rolls out of bed and grabs his jeans, aggressively dressing in front of Sam, angrily showing Sam that he’s in control. There’s nothing to talk about here. Everything’s fine. “Gonna get coffee.”
“Dean.” Sam’s sitting up on the bed, cross-legged, and he looks so much like the little boy Dean used to love so much it makes his chest ache. “I know I’m sick. I know there’s something wrong with me. What happened to Jess, the visions...I’m sick, man. I can feel it.” He takes a deep breath, misery and anguish hanging around him like a thick cloud. “There’s something really wrong with me.”
No, there isn’t, Dean’s brain screams. You’re perfect. Always were, always will be. I’m the monster here, not you.
Dean shakes his head, can’t meet Sam’s eyes for shit. “You’re okay, Sammy. We’ll figure this out...”
“Bullshit, Dean!” Sam springs from the bed and paces the floor, stalking closer to Dean with every step. “I am not okay, and you know it!” He stops pacing barely six inches in front of Dean, gaze skimming everywhere but Dean’s face. “Dad knows it.” He spits out finally, shaking with emotion.
Dean stares, confused. What the hell?
“Dad?” He repeats, mind skittering over that last summer because Sam’s words don’t make sense. “Dad doesn’t know, Sam. There’s no way. He was gone the whole summer...”
“Not that,” Sam scoffs. “I think he knows about me. About my visions.”
Dean starts to argue, then realizes Sam might be on to something. John always did have an uncanny ability to see right through the surface of things. He has his reasons for staying away from them now, sending them coordinates for hunts, letting them find the clues he’s left for them, like he knows where they are all the time.
Which means he knows about Jessica.
Dean knows for a fact that John stalked his youngest son while he was at school. Why not now?
“Doesn’t matter,” Dean says firmly. “You’re fine.”
“I am not fine!” Sam’s up in his face, grabbing Dean’s t-shirt, shoving Dean up against the door none-too-gently. “I have death visions and nosebleeds and I want...” you to fill me up, drive out the sickness, make me feel safe again. Sam doesn’t say it, but Dean knows. Dean can almost hear the words.
Dean blinks up into Sam’s eyes, letting himself enjoy the heat of Sam’s body as his brother crowds in against him, infusing his senses with the smells and sights of everything he loves. Of home. In the face of Sam’s suffering, Dean’s fears fall away like so much empty space. He’ll always put Sam’s needs first. Whatever Sam wants, Dean gives, even this. Especially this, since by some twisted miracle or disastrous coincidence, it’s everything Dean never dared to wish for.
“Me too, Sam.” He lets the words slip out naturally, not even sure what he means. Only when he sees the relief in Sam’s face does he realize he’s said the right thing. “Me too.”
Warm lips taste like summer, like tan skin glistening in the sun, like promise and possibility and the desperation born of the constant threat of injury and death.
They taste like hope.