"I never had a mother," Sam pointed out with a shrug.
"Goddamn it," Jensen mumbled, taking another bite of raw carrot.
Sam had to admit, watching Jensen eat -- or try to find something to eat -- at the diners where they stopped was almost as entertaining as watching Dean go orgasmic on bacon cheeseburgers. The actor asked endless questions of each harried waitress, getting her confirmation that his side orders of green beans, corn, baked potatoes without the sour cream and bacon, and green salad were not cooked in animal fat or prepared with any animal by-products like butter or cream. Jensen made Sam stop whenever he saw a farm stand so he could get fresh fruit, asking more questions about the way the food was grown before finally forking over Sam's money to the irritated farmers.
In fact, instead of being another difference between his brother and the actor, Jensen's obsession with food was actually something he had in common with Dean. Watching each dining scene unfold, Sam found it utterly amazing that the actor managed to eat at all, especially in the fried-food-only places they typically stopped at.
Sam was pretty damned impressed, actually.
"So you left for college because your brother told you he didn't love you anymore?"
They were in the car and it was the third day out of Vegas. Jensen was trying to piece the picture together in his mind, and Sam was helping as well as he could. He figured Jensen would do a better job if he understood what had really happened between Sam and Dean, all those years ago, so he was doing his best to be honest with the actor.
"Dean was being an idiot," Sam nodded. "He figured he could save me some pain and anguish if he pretended he didn't care about me anymore. I was young and in love and stupid enough to believe anything he said, so yeah. I bought it. It made a kind of sick sense at the time."
"So you figured out how you felt about him when you two were still teenagers," Jensen suggested.
"I can't remember a time before I was in love with Dean," he admitted simply. "When I hit puberty, it was like being run over by a train. I was horny and obsessive and stubborn. Poor guy didn't have a chance."
"Somehow I don't think he minded," Jensen gave a small smile.
"Oh, he minded," Sam rolled his eyes. "He fended me off for a good year or two. Gave me a lot of lectures about being brothers, yada yada yada. Like our lives were so moral and law-abiding in every other way. Made me mad as hell, of course, especially when it was pretty obvious he felt the same way."
"But eventually you got through to him," Jensen suggested.
"Wore him down, more like," Sam said a bit ruefully. "I was pretty persistent. Not good at taking no for an answer."
Jensen was silent for a minute, staring out at the landscape.
"So -- and just tell me if this is too private, Sam, I'm just curious because we don't play it this way in the show but I always suspected -- I mean the only reason it isn't explicit, in my mind, is because the show is rated PG-13. So it's always there, in the subtext, but it can't be obvious because it's incest and we're not on HBO."
Sam glanced at the actor, who was biting his lip and frowning a little.
Distracting as all hell, as usual.
"I don't mind talking about it," Sam said honestly. "It's kind of a relief, actually. I mean, sometimes we're on a job and somebody assumes we're a gay couple, and that's okay with me -- although it drives Dean insane. But the brother thing -- it's always been our secret."
"Did Bobby know?" Jensen asked hesitantly, and Sam felt himself cringe.
"Yeah, I think he did," he admitted. "I mean, it wasn't exactly something we talked about with him, obviously, but yeah. I think he knew."
"Probably," Sam shrugged. "Yeah, I would say she definitely knows."
"Jeff? Er -- John? Your dad? God, that feels weird," Jensen muttered. "Your dad was -- is -- a good friend. I mean the actor. The guy who played your dad."
Sam glanced over, read the confusion on Jensen's face and shook his head.
"You know what's weird?" he answered. "It's knowing our dad's doppelgänger is alive in another universe. I miss him almost as much as I miss Dean."
Jensen sucked in a breath.
"I'm sorry, man," he said softly. "Of course you do. I'm being an insensitive dick. Just tell me to shut up."
"Okay," Sam gave a short nod. "Shut up."
Jensen clamped his mouth shut and turned his face toward the window, giving Sam his profile again.
Sam clenched his jaw and refocused his attention on his driving. Despite the relief he felt at being able to share his personal life with Jensen, some things were just sacred. His dad definitely ranked high on that list, not only because he was dead, but because he had died for Dean -- for them. Sam could never repay that debt, the sacrifice his dad had made so that Sam could have his brother back; he remembered explicitly the night he expressed his gratitude and grief, holding Dean's warm, naked body against him as he cried.
Yeah, definitely not talking about that.
That night when Sam woke up Jensen was curled up against him, almost on top of him, and it took him a minute to untangle himself, pushing Jensen gently onto his back so he could get up to go to the bathroom.
Jensen whimpered a little in his sleep, and when Sam came back he was awake, lying still and watchful as Sam slipped back into the bed next to him, propping himself up on one elbow to look down into Jensen's beautiful face.
Jensen stared up as Sam brushed the backs of his fingers along Jensen's perfect jaw, studying the familiar-yet-different features.
"I thought you left," Jensen murmured. "I woke up and you were gone."
Sam shook his head and Jensen's lips parted; he was actually trembling, Sam realized. He bent his head and kissed Jensen's soft lips, letting his tongue slip between them and glide easily against Jensen's before lifting his head again, needing to watch his face.
Sam could look at this face for a very, very long time.
Jensen reached up and tucked his hair back behind his ear, and now Sam was sure.
"You love him," Sam said simply, mesmerized by Jensen's expressive face.
Jensen blushed, drew his hand back and lowered his eyes, shifting uncomfortably, clearly caught out and preparing to deny it.
But Sam had seen the look in Jensen's face. It was the way Dean looked at him sometimes when he wasn't thinking about it, when he thought Sam wouldn't notice.
"You should tell him," Sam said. "When you get back. You have to tell him, Jensen."
Jensen shook his head, still looking away, so Sam reached down and took his chin between his thumb and forefinger, tipping his face up to Sam's, waited patiently for Jensen to raise his eyes again.
When he finally did Sam nodded.
"He loves you, Jensen," Sam said. "Whatever happened between you to make this rift, he loves you. I can feel it."
Jensen was shaking his head.
"No, no," he mumbled. "He's not gay. When I -- I crossed the line one night, back when we were still living together -- I got drunk and came on pretty strong and he -- "
Jensen swallowed, fighting back tears, and Sam waited patiently again while Jensen collected his thoughts.
"He hit me," the actor admitted. "Called me a faggot and a fucked-up fruit-cake and an asshole fairy -- told me I was sick and to stay the hell away from him. Yeah, like that was possible with our jobs."
Sam shook his head.
"So he ran away," Sam suggested. "Emotionally. He was scared. But you two -- I'm telling you, you can't play us if you don't love each other. It's impossible. So he may say he doesn't care, he may tell you to fuck off, but you can bet underneath it all he's as crazy for you as you are for him. And now he's had time to think about it, to try other relationships -- I'm telling you, it's been eating him up inside this whole time."
Jensen was shaking his head, murmuring "no, no, no."
"You've got to try again, man," Sam insisted. "I know I'm right. Maybe you scared him before, maybe he never thought about it because he always assumed he was straight. But trust me, now that he's had time to think about it, and he still does these emotional scenes with you -- every goddamn time he does one of those scenes, he's thinking about it. I just know it. Even if you think it's just acting or whatever -- however unconsciously, he's hoping you'll make another move."
"No, no, no," Jensen's litany of denial wasn't quite so insistent anymore, and Sam was pretty sure he had the actor's attention. Maybe he was even getting through to him a little.
Sam stroked Jensen's chest gently, fingers feather soft over the tender skin where the tat was healing, over his heart.
"Well, it's your funeral," he tilted his head, gave a small shrug. "But I can tell you from experience, you keep that kind of thing inside like you're doing, eventually it'll kill you."
"I know," Jensen sighed.
They spent the rest of that fruitless week following every lead in Jensen's arsenal, driving to strip clubs, sleazy bars and motels, casinos and gambling parlors all over the southwest and midwest, all the places Jensen had read about in the t.v. scripts. They spent their nights in sleazy motels, fucking each other's brains out and trying not to think about the consequences.
Their last stops were in Seattle and Boise, where they interviewed random dudes with the names of writers from the other universe. Somehow that was even weirder for Jensen than the whole supernatural thing. He spent the entire half-hour interview with Jeremy Carver just staring with disbelief at what the top dog in his universe had been reduced to in this one.
"That guy is my boss," Jensen said as they got back into the car, Sam crossing Carver off the list in his head as yet another dead end.
Sam stared out at the comic-book shop, crammed into a corner of a dingy strip mall between a dollar store and a laundromat.
"We can't all be famous actors," he noted with a shrug.
"Or superhero monster-hunters," Jensen agreed.
He shook his head.
"At least he doesn't know," he said with a last glance at the dismal little shop as Sam pulled out of the parking lot. "He'll never know his life amounted to something somewhere else. How sad is that?"
"Maybe not as bad as being sci-fi porn film writers," Sam suggested, referring to their last stop in Seattle, where they'd learned a little too much about what the doppelgängers for SPN writers Robbie Thompson and Adam Glass were up to in this universe, so to speak.
Jensen had to agree with him there.
"So where to now?" he asked finally, as Sam pulled out onto the interstate, heading east.
"Now, we go home," he said, shrugging his shoulders and letting them sink as he hunched over the steering wheel, wishing he could just curl up in the passenger seat and pass out.
Jensen was watching him, observing. The actor had gotten pretty good at reading him over the past week or so. Sam had to admit he wasn't minding having him along as much as he thought he would.
"Pull over at the next rest stop," Jensen suggested. "I'll drive."
Sam shot a glance at him, saw Dean's frown, Dean's worried look.
Goddamn it. This was getting worse. The whole thing with Jensen was one major distraction, and Sam was letting himself fall for it.
He wondered -- not for the first time -- if Crowley had anything to do with Jensen's being here. Because giving Sam a substitute brother would be just the thing Crowley might come up with as a way to keep Sam occupied and compensated.
Because as a consolation prize, despite Jensen's flaws, Sam had to admit the actor was growing on him.
Which was so wrong in so many ways Sam didn't want to think about it too much.
Which was why they were headed back to the bunker. Because it was time for Jensen to leave. It was time to get him back where he belonged.
When they stopped for the night Sam was so tired and frustrated he let Jensen undress him, then take care of him with whispered reassurances and the best blow job he'd had all year. Looking down his body, watching Jensen's stupidly gorgeous mouth wrapped around his dick, Sam decided he was the world's biggest asshole because this was just about the most perfect thing and he couldn't pretend it wasn't.
And after coming with a gut-punched cry into that incredible mouth and Jensen just swallowing, goddamn it if the actor seemed to know exactly what Sam needed, going down on the aforementioned hole with such gusto it brought tears to Sam's eyes.
And when Jensen dragged a condom on and lubed himself well, then pushed into Sam's well-licked hole, Sam burst into tears, sobbing like a baby as Jensen fucked him, held him, whispered and kissed him until his body gave up another orgasm and Jensen cried out as he came shortly after.
Sam was only dimly aware as Jensen cleaned him up and tucked clean sheets around him, then climbed in next to him, pulling him in with arms and legs wrapped around his body, the way Dean used to do when he was little because it made him feel safe and it was the only way he could sleep.
When they got back to the bunker the next day, Sam got right down to the job of sending Jensen home. And once Sam set his mind to it -- really thought it out -- the solution came pretty quickly. Reversing the spell was stupidly simple, and so easy Sam was embarrassed to admit it to Jensen. Because the truth of the matter was, if Sam hadn't been so obsessed with finding Dean, he could have sent Jensen home the first day.
Luckily, Jensen didn't ask, just assumed that Sam had used his big brain and impressive research skills to figure something out.
And in that way he was a lot like Dean. Because Jensen trusted Sam and his seemingly super-human intelligence, and even if it made Sam feel a little guilty letting Jensen think he was a genius when the way home had been right there under his nose the whole time -- well, Sam was just enough of an asshole to let Jensen have his little delusion.
"And this is gonna work?" Jensen asked when the ingredients were mixed in the ancient blood-stained bowl and they were standing in the dungeon inside the huge sigil Sam had scrawled out on the floor.
Sam raised his eyes, gazing one last time into the actor's emerald green eyes, memorizing every difference.
"Pretty sure," he nodded, clearing his throat.
Because he wasn't getting choked up or anything. No sir.
"Okay, then," Jensen took a deep breath, swung his arms and shook them, bounced on the balls of his feet like this was a warm-up for a scene and he was shaking himself loose to get ready to go into character. "Let's do this thing."
Sam tilted his head skeptically and raised his eyebrows.
Jensen noticed the look and raised his own eyebrows questioningly.
"What?" he demanded.
Sam shook his head.
"Nothing," he breathed out. "Just -- good luck, is all."
Jensen stared at him, blinked.
Sam could see the minute it hit him -- the actor's expressive face crumbling, his gaze sliding away toward the corner of the room as he absorbed the fact that he was really leaving.
Then Jensen's eyes snapped back to Sam's and there was so much emotion there that Sam finally saw Dean -- it was as if he'd been there all along, and Jensen could just call him out at will and -- there he was.
The man was a seriously talented actor.
"You too, Sam," Jensen said, and there were tears filming his eyes now. "I know Winchester luck isn't the best, but I truly wish you everything good, Sam. You will get your brother back, I can promise you that. He can't stay away from you. It isn't in him."
Sam nodded, cleared his throat again.
"You remember what I said about that co-star of yours," Sam said. "You go get him. He's just waiting, I promise."
Jensen nodded and Sam watched as a single tear escaped his shining eyes and rolled down his perfect cheek.
"Goodbye, Sam," Jensen said.
Sam nodded once, then recited the spell.
It only took a minute, less than sixty seconds literally, and Jensen was gone.
And Sam was alone.
BACK TO MASTERPOST