But after an hour of showing off his new ID and getting half-hearted congratulations from bartenders and waitresses, Dean finds himself heading home, back to the only person he really wants to celebrate this particular milestone with.
“You’re home early,” Sam comments with a wary frown. Sam’s used to Dean being out most of the night, coming home smelling like perfume and sex. Dean’s not really sure why he didn’t even call that girl he hooked up with the other night, why he didn’t even tell her that tonight was his birthday.
“Yeah, well, I figured I’d spread my celebrating around. Share some good cheer with my pain-in-the-ass little brother.” Dean raises the bag with the whisky he bought on the way home and watches Sam’s look of surprise light up his face.
“Yeah, why not?” Dean shrugs. “You’re sixteen. I had my first real drink when I was about your age. How about we watch a movie and get a little tanked?”
Sam’s so eager and happy-looking it makes Dean’s heart clench. He feels guilty for leaving Sam alone so many nights over the past month. It can’t be fun, being left home to study while Dean’s making out with some girl or getting laid if he’s lucky. Dean recalls some of Sam’s sulky looks when Dean came home earlier this month and he’s glad he decided to come home tonight.
They find a James Bond marathon on TV and settle in, Dean on the couch and Sam on the floor next to him, almost but not quite touching Dean’s leg. Sam opens a bag of Funyuns and they share the bottle of whisky. After Sam’s first sip he coughs and sputters and Dean laughs delightedly and pounds him on the back.
“That’s my boy.”
Sam scrambles to his feet and heads to the kitchen for water, and Dean gets a glimpse of Sam’s red-tipped nose and cheeks, Sam’s watering eyes. When he comes back with a glass of water Dean’s already had another sip of the whisky, tasting the salty onion flavor from Sam’s mouth.
Sam refuses Dean’s second and third offer from the bottle but manages a sip after Dean’s fourth drink, gulping his water afterwards.
“I could water it down for you, Sammy,” Dean offers. “Just put some ice cubes in a glass and mix it with water.”
Sam shakes his head. He’s too tough, too determined to keep up with his big brother, which he cannot do in the drinking department, as Dean’s sure he knows.
Dean grins at the top of Sam’s head and takes another swig from the bottle. He’s warm and loose, and it feels good. He lets his free hand rest on the couch, right behind Sam’s shoulder blades. He feels the urge to touch Sam’s head, to card the soft strands of hair through his fingers. From this angle he can watch Sam watching the movie, and it’s fascinating. Dean rarely lets himself look so closely at Sam, but with the kid absorbed in the TV, Dean can look all he wants.
Sam’s growing up, and it hurts a little. Dean remembers the little snot-nosed kid who used to tag along everywhere Dean went, constantly needing his shoes tied and his nose wiped. Dean remembers Sam’s sweaty little arms clinging to his neck when Dean carried him home after falling off the monkey-bars in the playground, Sam’s hot tears dampening Dean’s shirt as he cried onto Dean’s shoulder. Dean remembers Sam’s little hand finding his under the covers of their shared bed, threading their fingers together for reassurance after a nightmare.
Sam never sleeps with him anymore, except for the rare times when they’re staying in a motel and Dad comes home late, kicking Dean out of the bed nearest the door so the boys are forced to share. Since he hit puberty, Sam’s been keeping to himself.
Dean leans back and lets his legs open wider, one foot comfortably resting on the other, his right knee falling easily against Sam’s shoulder. Sam’s too absorbed in the movie to notice, so Dean feels emboldened. He lifts his hand and strokes Sam’s neck lightly with the back of his fingers. Sam shivers but doesn’t move, so Dean does it again, stroking Sam’s neck all the way up and under his hair to his scalp. Sam’s hair is just as soft as Dean remembers, and it smells clean from Sam’s shower. Dean cards his fingers through the thick strands, letting them slide easily all the way to his palm, then does it again.
Sam’s sitting almost too still, so Dean grins as he runs his fingers through Sam’s hair a third time.
“Getting so long, Sammy,” he murmurs. His words comes out low and rough, and Sam shivers again. “Could be a real liability in a hunt.”
Sam doesn’t take the bait, doesn’t pull away or protest in that whiney, pouting teenage voice Dean’s used to. Instead, he leans into Dean’s touch, letting out a long, slow breath that’s almost a sigh. He tips his head back so that Dean has a view of his throat, long and lean like the rest of him.
Dean sucks in a quick breath, scoots down in his seat to accommodate his hardening dick. He keeps his hand in Sam’s hair as he takes another sip of whiskey, and that’s when it hits him.
He’s in love with his brother.