[fanfic] SPN "Do Dandelions Roar" Chpt 18 Title: Do Dandelions Roar: Chapter Eighteen Author:kuwamiko Pairings/Characters: Sam/Dean, Missouri, Bobby, Jess, Becky, OMCx2 Rating: R-NC17 Spoilers: nothing major (set in pre-series AU) Summary: Two years ago Dean disappeared. Now John and Sam have gotten him back. But how will the three of them deal with the unexpected changes his trials in the time between have effected? And what does a goddess have to do with the whole thing? Warnings: Nongraphic references to non-con sex and underage prostitution. Violence. Language. Incest (duh). Author's Note: This is AU, utter self indulgence, and has massive Dean!whumpage. Contains Wincest. Set about a year before the pilot, with some major differences. [chpt 1] [chpt 2] [chpt 3] [chpt 4] [chpt 5] [chpt 6] [chpt 7] [chpt 8] [chpt 9] [chpt 10] [chpt 11] [chpt 12] [chpt 13] [chpt 14] [chpt 15] [chpt 16] [chpt 17] [chpt 18] [chpt 19] [chpt 20] [chpt 21] [chpt 22] [chpt 23] [chpt 24] [chpt 25] [chpt 26] [chpt 27] [chpt 28] [chpt 29] [chpt 30] [chpt 31]
"Do Dandelions Roar"
- Chapter Eighteen - by KnM
In Des Moines it was red licorice; a family size bag that was empty in well under twenty-four hours. They stopped for the night in Denver and he picked up a couple of bags of baked cheddar and sour cream chips on the way out the next morning. Those were gone by the time they reached Salt Lake City, so a third bag was in order, along with a pack of trail mix that lasted almost into Idaho. A gas stop in Boise yielded teriyaki beef jerky and chocolate-dipped pretzels. By the time they reached the Oregon border he was working on his second of two jumbo bags of vanilla yogurt-covered raisins.
"Really, I'm a little surprised that you're not bouncing off the windows by this point," Danny commented dryly, glancing over from where he was slouched in the driver's seat, taking his turn driving.
Rusty ignored this observation, since Danny ought to know him well enough by now to know that what he ate didn't have much effect on him.
"You know, I thought once we got to Oregon it'd be greener," Danny continued, not bothered in the least by his partner's silence. "Where's the rain everyone's always talking about?"
Rusty stared out the passenger window. Things were indeed dry. To their right as they sped along the highway the water was wide and deep, reflecting the sky silver even though it was a vibrant blue overhead. Across the Columbia River, in Washington state, the hills looked as though they were forcing their way up from the bedrock, and the terrain to the left of the highway, on the Oregon side, wasn't much different.
Rusty popped a couple more raisins in his mouth, chasing them with a sip of lukewarm cola, then pulled a face. They were going to have to stop at the next town for more drinks, and maybe some nachos. Of course they were almost to their destination, so Danny might insist on just driving the rest of the way without any more pit stops; it had happened before.
"We've been to northwest Oregon before," Rusty reminded Danny mildly, "But we flew in to Portland. It's a big state and here in the east it's dry. It'll get greener the further west we go."
"Huh." Danny bobbed his head, no doubt contemplating Rusty's words. Rusty offered him some raisins but he waved them away. "Well, all right then," Danny finally decided, and that was the end of that exchange.
They drove in comfortable silence for a good half an hour. True to Rusty's promise the landscape on both sides of the river softened from bare, jagged bones to rolling slopes that grew steadily more foliage-thick. The hills surged higher, covered in rich greenery, and the road wound through them as though it had all the time in the world. A raptor with a wide wing-span soared overhead. Probably looking for road kill, Rusty thought, but appearing no less majestic for that.
"It's a little boring, isn't it?" Danny finally commented, craning his neck to peer at the hills to his left. "Just trees and more trees."
Rusty didn't bother stifling his sigh. "You want me to drive, the next rest stop we hit?" he offered.
"Naw, I'm good."
Sometimes, Rusty pondered, Danny could be truly infuriating. But he was also one of the most brilliant Hunters Rusty had ever met. Not to mention a genuinely good guy with the proverbial heart of gold, despite the fact that his morals were a little skewed at the best of times. But then, Rusty would've had to say the same thing about himself. Which was why they got along so well, had been partners for almost ten years now, and would be for the rest of their lives to come, so far as Rusty could see. And while he didn't advertise the fact, Rusty could see a lot further than most people could.
Contrary to Danny's blithe observation, Rusty didn't find the scenery to be boring. Sure, there was little to see other than trees, conifers dominating the heavily forested area to the point of excluding any other foliage, but he thought that it was beautiful, filled with life, and he always liked getting into areas where nature still held more sway over the Earth than mankind. Danny was more of a "bright lights, big city" kind of guy, and Rusty agreed that there was always a lot of fun to be had in metropolises like New York, Las Vegas, and their ilk. But there was something peaceful about thinly populated places. Less teeming minds to shield out. Less danger of random human violence. And generally speaking there was still as much to Hunt -- just beings of a different nature. More flesh and blood monsters and less restless spirits, which was actually preferable; it might be inelegant, but Rusty would take a shotgun over a shovel most days. Or a spear gun with a consecrated silver tip....
"Hey, remember that kappa we found in the Japanese Garden up by Portland?" Danny came out with, proving yet again -- not that proof was needed -- that he and Rusty were so much in sync that they might almost just as well be sharing one mind. Danny chuckled, the sound warm and amused. "Talk about irony."
Rusty grinned. It was true; the fact that the kappa had settled down in what had been carefully crafted into a Japanese-style garden in Northwest America had been a complete coincidence. Hell, the nasty had been born and bred exclusively on U.S. soil. Had died there too, he and Danny had seen to that.
Fortunately there hadn't been any deaths; just some terrified tourists pulled off the arching bridge at the garden's center into murky water. They'd all managed to struggle free without even a bite-mark, none of them sure what had happened. Of course, the garden had lost quite a few of their lovely koi. The kappa hadn't graduated to eating human flesh yet, but it had done its damage to the carp population.
What had most irked Danny though, was the fact that they'd had to pay the entrance fee to get into the park.
"Paying to see a garden!" Danny snorted again, causing Rusty to smirk. Danny was never going to let go of that one. "I can understand a zoo, where there are animals to see, that need to be fed. But those were just plants and trees." He waved a hand toward the window. "Hey, look, plants! Trees! And we can see them all for free!"
"Thought you said they were boring," Rusty goaded, finishing his flat soda and tossing the empty into the small trashcan behind the driver's seat that they kept in the back for just that purpose.
"Well, they are," Danny defended, flicking a glance at Rusty, to check and see if he was being contrary just to annoy. "Trees and plants are boring. They just sit there and grow. Veeeeery slooooowly. Why would anyone pay to see that?"
Rusty rolled his eyes. He could argue with Danny. Point out that, designing, planting, nurturing, and shaping a garden was just as much a work of art as an old oil painting, and actually more difficult, since the medium was harder to manipulate and more unpredictable.... But Danny was reluctant to pay to get into an art museum as well. It wasn't that Danny didn't appreciate art, Rusty knew. It was just that he didn't see any difference between looking at pictures in a book, reproductions of masterpieces, and standing before the paintings themselves. And since Rusty didn't really disagree --though he himself preferred the real thing -- he didn't bother to try and explain the distinction.
"Well, the Japanese Garden was nice, I guess," Danny grunted grudgingly. Proving yet again that he wasn't beyond all hope. Rusty's grin widened and he shook his head. That was Danny. Opinionated and bullheaded, but generally willing to see all sides of any issue, so long as he got his own point across first.
Glossy dark pines paraded down the hills in unbroken ranks, all the way to the edge of the highway. Rusty thought that they looked a little like the folds of a deep green blanket draped over the uneven landscape. As always when they were in remote areas, he thought of the early explorers, of the sheer balls on those guys; forging paths without maps, climbing down cliffs, fording rivers.... He wondered sometimes, if he'd been born back then would he have been right here with them? Or would he have been one of the blue-blooded gentlemen back on the east coast, staying safe and sane and growing richer off of his intelligence and the sweat and blood of others? Sometimes he thought one way, sometimes others.
Or maybe he would have been what he was now; a Hunter who liked his luxuries, but who could rough it if it meant saving innocent lives. That seemed the most likely scenario, all things considered.
"This is kinda pretty," Danny eventually said, as they worked their way deeper into the Pacific Northwest, rocky hills covered in trees to their left, the wide river mostly screened by more trees on their right. "In a boring kind of way."
Rusty laughed. That was Danny, cutting right to the heart of the matter in that easy, irreverent way of his. And there wasn't anyone else that Rusty would rather be driving through this lush, verdant countryside with.
But that was a given. If he didn't want to be with Danny, he wouldn't be, simple as that.
Rusty finished off the last of his yogurt-covered raisins and waited for his first glimpse of the waterfalls his dreams had promised. Before they left Troutdale, Oregon, everything that they knew was going to be turned upside-down, that much he was sure of. So it wasn't a bad thing to enjoy the little things now, to live in the moment.
"Hey, look, a train!" Danny pointed out enthusiastically.
Rusty smiled. It was always best to live in the moment, because the moment was all anyone ever had. The future would come as it came, given time and continued life, of course. That was the way of things.
When they'd been younger, Dean had used to wake Sam by whipping the covers off of him, stealing his pillows, or even tugging the bottom sheet until Sam hit the floor if he was being particularly stubborn.
His freshman year of college, Sam'd had a roommate who routinely woke him by dumping a glass of tap water on his head -- at least he had until Sam, lashing out in instinct, had given him a serious black eye. Sam had apologized, but things had never been quite the same between them after that.
Sam had woken abruptly to his father shaking him, woken slowly and easily to the scent of coffee when Dean was feeling magnanimous. He'd once been jerked out of a sound sleep by a rat-size puppy jumping on his groin, when a different roommate's girlfriend had brought her pet along for a morning booty-call and let it roam free in their apartment.
But Sam had never once, not even in his wildest dreams, thought that he'd wake up to a slow, hot, deliberate, exquisite blowjob. Especially not one given him by his older-younger, beautiful, broken brother.
"Oh, holy--! Dean!" he groaned, but that was about as articulate as he managed to get, sinking back into the sheets and the scent of arousal, one hand spread over his brother's bony shoulderblades, fingers of the other hand tangling carefully into Dean's silky hair. Dean was curled up under the covers and Sam hoped that he was able to breathe down there, completely submerged, his mouth and throat full of Sam's erection, but there just wasn't enough coherency in his mind to make sure he did anything about it. Really, all Sam was able to do was to hold on and ride this through to completion and his climax. And it was one hell of an orgasm, leaving him limp and breathless, wondering vaguely if his brains had melted into goo or if it only felt that way.
Dean wriggled up from under the sheets, kissing Sam with what felt like a smug smile curving his come-smeared lips and grinding a heated, pulsing hard-on against his brother's hip. "Now you can't freak out, Sammy," he whispered hoarsely.
Sam thought that Dean was a manipulative little sneak, but he had to admit that he was also right. And maybe he wasn't quite up to blowing Dean first thing in the morning, but he was perfectly able and willing to give his brother a vigorous handjob in return. In fact, it only took a few strokes before Dean was getting off, and they relaxed together in the afterglow, Sam holding Dean close, warm and breathing and alive.
It was still a miracle, having his brother back. It wasn't that Sam had given up hope in those two years that Dean had gone missing... but he'd come damned close to it, over and over again. Being able to hold Dean in his arms, Dean's arms locked around him in return, was the most amazing thing ever.
"I didn't have any bad dreams, Sammy," Dean announced finally, sounding sleepy and contented, but a little surprised by this revelation.
"That's great," Sam responded, dipping his head to kiss Dean's lips lightly. He had a vague memory of waking from a nightmare of his own, but the feeling of drowning was fading fast in the light of day. The morning sun slotted bright through the blinds and they really ought to be going, headed for the Pacific Northwest and their father... but it couldn't hurt anything to lay here and cuddle for just a few minutes longer, could it?
Really, the thing that surprised Sam was that he didn't feel guilty. Not at all.
Not about letting Dean suck him, not about having sex with his brother, not even for being pleased to have Dean all to himself away from Dad, Missouri, Bobby.... Maybe he should feel guilty for all of the above -- he'd slept with his broken, victimized, very much underage brother -- but it had been what Dean had wanted, needed, and actually demanded. Dean had left absolutely no room for doubt, Missouri had confirmed it, and Sam was honest enough to admit that there hadn't been anything he himself had wanted more by the time it had finally happened.
So, yeah, maybe he ought to be freaking out, feeling like a horrible person, a molester, or even just a selfish younger brother... but he didn't. It would have been worse for Dean if Sam hadn't touched him last night. He was as certain of that as he was of anything. And, hey, it wasn't just him; Missouri had told him so in as many words.
"We should shower and get going," he finally mumbled reluctantly into Dean's hair, despite his words tightening his embrace and nuzzling Dean's temple through the soft curls. A glance at the clock on the bedside table told him that it was already a quarter after nine and Dad would be pissed if he knew they were getting this late a start.
Well, never mind the fact that their father would probably have some sort of aneurysm if he found out what they'd done the night before and then again this morning! It would kill John... if he didn't find a way to kill Sam first. Sam sat up with a sigh. That thought had chased away most of his remaining afterglow. He still didn't feel guilty, really, but even the hypothetical possibility of their Dad ever finding out made him too uncomfortable to continue lounging in bed.
Fortunately, Dean didn't seem to mind Sam ousting them from their warm nest. He sat up also and yawned widely. "Is there coffee?"
Sam stared at his brother for a long moment then let out a choked laugh. Everything was different, so different that he couldn't even catalog all the ways, but there were some things that never changed. Dean would always be Dean, no matter the face and body he wore, no matter how damaged he was.
Like the expression on his face right now, looking at Sam as though he was crazy. That was the Dean that Sam had grown up with. Suddenly he felt all of ten years old again, and it wasn't exactly a bad feeling.
It couldn't last, though. He was in charge of this trip, in charge of taking care of Dean, and all too aware of that fact.
"No, we'll have to get coffee on our way out," he replied. The cheap-ass motel they were staying in didn't have a complimentary pot, so it was going to be Starbucks or McDonald's. Sam was more inclined toward the latter, because even though the coffee was worse, McDonald's had a drive-thru and hash browns. Both of which would be good for Dean this morning. Dean was doing better, but Sam wasn't going to forget that public places weren't the best idea yet.
"Well, hurry up, then, Sammy."
Sam got them packed quickly while Dean chose both their clothes for the day, and then they repaired to the bathroom. They'd showered the night before, of course, but they'd both gotten off twice since then, and even though full-on penetrative sex hadn't been involved, they could both use a little freshening. Especially since they weren't going to be able to wash again until they stopped for the next night.
Dean didn't seem inclined to try for another tryst, but his hands were all over, everywhere on Sam, running over him with a flattering, slightly embarrassing sort of fascination.
"You got so big, Sammy," Dean breathed, pressing an open-mouthed kiss to the water streaked muscles of Sam's chest. His hands were on Sam's waist, and they held the promise of the size that he would reach -- again -- in a few years, but he was still a lot smaller than Sam.
Sam didn't know what to say in response to that wondering statement, so he settled for simply touching Dean in return. Daring, he curled his fingers around the nape of Dean's neck, where the mark was set into his flesh. He worried slightly about his brother's response, was afraid it would hurt him or make him feel uncomfortable.... But Dean only sighed gustily and lifted his chin, his lips parted, his eyes fluttering closed, and Sam took the hint, pressing a gentle kiss to his brother's mouth.
"We really need to get going," he said reluctantly, pulling away and turning off the water. They were both clean and any further lingering would only make them that much later reaching their father.
"We need coffee," Dean declared, nodding decisively. Proving that he had his priorities well in order.
Sam grinned, stealing another kiss as he toweled Dean dry. Oh, sure, Dean could do that himself, but Sam liked rubbing him all over, even though it wasn't a flesh on flesh touch.
He watched Dean get dressed as he dried off himself. Dean's hair was wet and tousled from the brisk rub Sam had given it. His cheeks were flushed and his eyes were bright. He looked cheerful and far more healthy than he'd seemed yet, since they'd gotten him back. Still skinny, and he needed some sun, but he looked great, with the promise of better yet to come before him.
Sam wondered for a moment if maybe they should have started fooling around sooner, seeing as Dean felt so much the better for it... but no. They'd been staying with a mind reader, not to mention that their father and Bobby had been around, and besides, they hadn't both been in the right place, mentally and emotionally, Sam didn't think. Not until everything had come together the evening before. Dean had wanted it before he had been ready for it and, of course, it had taken Sam quite a while to get comfortable with the entire "incest" thing.
He still found it bizarre that he was able to let that aspect of this go, but looking again at how happy Dean was and recalling all the things Missouri had said to him... well, it was weird, but here they were, and somehow Sam was okay with that.
"Hurry up, Sammy," Dean urged, all ready to go while Sam was still naked. "I need my coffee!"
With a broad grin, Sam shook himself free of introspection, dressing quickly and grabbing their luggage. Hopefully there would be a McDonald's on the way out of town, because they really needed to get going but they also needed their caffeine and some breakfast.
Sam felt a little conflicted. He didn't want to push too hard, travel too long or fast, drag Dean through more public areas than his brother could deal with so soon. But on the other hand, their Dad had said to hurry, and Sam wanted to get Dean fixed as quickly as possible. There had to be a happy medium that he could maintain... if he could just figure out what that was.
Well, either way, Sam wasn't so distracted that he didn't think to precede Dean out the hotel room door. He glanced around to make sure that there weren't any strange men in the area who would send his brother into a panic. No males; just a couple of middle-aged women who looked like they might be sisters, loading their own luggage into a rented sedan two spots down from them.
Sam figured that would be okay, that they wouldn't menace Dean too much, so he shouldered their duffels and guided Dean to the Impala, a heavy hand curled around the nape of Dean's neck. Dean seemed more calm whenever Sam was touching him, and Sam had to admit that he found it comforting, himself, keeping Dean close and making sure that he was there. He was so focused on protecting Dean from anything that might traumatize him, that he almost missed the glances they were getting from their neighbors.
The women had their eyes narrowed at Sam and Dean, then they were whispering, and Sam felt his heart thump in his chest. Praying that the women hadn't heard anything too explicit last night, that they wouldn't write down the Impala's license number and contact the authorities, he said loudly as he opened the passenger door for Dean, "All right, let's go and meet Dad."
It might have been wishful thinking, but some of the tension seemed to leave the women. Sam's heart was still pounding as he climbed into the car and pulled carefully but quickly out of the hotel lot. Those suspicious looks lingered in his mind's-eye as he hunted down the nearest fast food restaurant and joined the drive-thru queue. They needed to get their breakfast then get on the freeway. Sam felt the overwhelming desire to drive a hundred miles from this place as quickly as possible.
Wow, that had been weird, unexpected, and very unpleasant; being taken for a possible pedophile. Sam gnawed on his lower lip. Even when he'd been thinking of this thing with Dean as being wrong, he'd been more focused on the "brother" issue than the age issue. Probably because he'd been thinking of Dean as an adult, had forgotten that to anyone outside their small circle, Dean appeared to be barely in his teens, certainly not the young man in his twenties that he ought to be.
Hell, Sam couldn't fault those women for taking him as a sexual deviant, and Dean as his victim. Dean might be able to pass for fifteen, maybe, at a stretch, but there was no way he was physically any older than that, and he was much more likely to be thirteen or fourteen. He was still skinny, pale, and just looked vulnerable. He'd spent the last two years being violated, beaten, and damaged in every way possible, after all, and even though he was worlds better now than he'd been when they'd rescued him, it still showed.
Sam grimaced. He didn't regret what he and Dean had done the night before, and then this morning, but they were definitely going to have to be more discrete in the future. Dean might be an adult mentally -- a broken, confused, shattered adult -- but he didn't look it. Wouldn't for another four or five years. Then, he would be a fine figure of a young man, as Sam knew from seeing his brother before the Melusine had taken him, but that was a long ways off yet.
Sam resolved to have a talk with his brother about this matter, and the sooner the better. They were away from the safety of Missouri's house now, out in the wide world, and they were going to have to be careful. If anyone tried to nail Sam's ass for inappropriate attentions to a minor, it would hardly help his case to point out that he and Dean were brothers. In public, at least, they were going to have to behave like siblings and nothing more.
"What's wrong, Sammy?" Dean asked in a small voice, curling up against Sam's larger body on the bench seat of the Impala. They did need to talk, but not until Sam had gotten his morning coffee.
"Don't worry about it, Dean," he responded, dipping his head to kiss his brother. Then he caught himself with an internal curse, looking around quickly. No one seemed to have noticed -- they were three cars back from the restaurant window and no one was walking past at this hour -- but he was really going to have to watch himself. How could he ask Dean to behave in a more fraternal manner when he couldn't even maintain that himself?
He was still a little on edge, anxious about how he and Dean looked to outsiders as he pulled up to the drive-thru window. But the dark-haired young woman who was wearing too much make-up and seemed either sleepy or hung-over, didn't give them a second glance. She kept up a drawling conversation with someone inside the restaurant while taking their money, giving Sam his change, and handing over their drinks and food. For the first time ever, Sam was grateful for this rude behavior. Beside him Dean was tense, vibrating like a plucked wire, and Sam wished that he didn't have to force this, drag Dean into the real world so quickly... but hiding at Missouri's hadn't been doing any good, and sometimes immersion was the only way to go.
That didn't mean that Sam didn't want to protect Dean. That didn't mean that he wasn't going to try. But he couldn't shelter his brother from everything, and they were just lucky that their cashier had been female, not a guy.
Sam got Dean settled in with his coffee and the bag of food in his lap, then headed for the freeway. Time and beyond time to be on their way. Dad was going to be pissed if they were too late reaching him. And this whole "reintroducing Dean to reality" thing would be a lot easier if they could get the mark removed from his flesh and get him fixed first.
Sam just had to keep that in mind, make sure that he kept that goal ahead of him. Because right now there was nothing more important than taking care of Dean and getting him healed. Physically, mentally, and emotionally.
"You want your biscuit sandwich, Sammy?" Dean asked, holding out the greasy wrapped breakfast item in a hand that trembled faintly though his voice was steady enough.
"Sure, Dean," Sam smiled, even though he really didn't. "Thanks." Couldn't save his brother on an empty stomach, after all. Even though the fast food was a far cry from Missouri's bacon and pancakes. And, damn, but he missed her fresh brewed coffee and real cream every time he took a sip from his paper cup.
But he was with Dean and his brother was doing better, and that was all that really mattered.
He was on his way. She'd lost her chance at him once -- not lost, her chance had been stolen away and that was something she would not forget or forgive and would one day get vengeance for -- but now he was on his way, and this time he was hers. Her sigil was still on his flesh, he was marked as hers, now she only needed him in her hands once again in order to claim him.
She had waited so long for the perfect vessel. Then she had found it, only to have it torn from her grasp. It was infuriating, maddening, and the fact that it had taken so long for her to recover, only to find that her vessel was far removed, away from her influence, out of her reach, had only made her more angry.
But now, now he was coming. After all the waiting and the frustration and the raging, he was on his way. And this time nothing was going to stop her.
He would be hers. As it was and as it should be.
Sam meant to speak to Dean about the whole "incest" issue, really he did. But it would have helped if his phone had stopped ringing. Once they were done with their coffee and hash browns, well on their way through Nebraska, Sam had opened his mouth, ready to broach the subject, knowing that he shouldn't put it off any longer no matter how reluctant he felt... and then Bobby had called.
"Oh, hey, Bobby!" he greeted cheerfully, knowing that he shouldn't be glad for the interruption, but feeling relieved nonetheless. "What's up?"
"Was gonna ask you that," Bobby replied in his familiar dry-toned drawl. "Sounds like you're in the Impala?"
"Yeah," Sam responded to the implicit question. "We're -- Well, see -- Well, Missouri decided that she'd done as much as she could for Dean, and we thought that it would be a good idea to take a road trip. So I was going to drive to the Grand Canyon, but then Dad called and now we're headed back to Northwest Oregon."
Bobby was silent for a long moment in the wake of this rush of information. Then, "Huh," he said. Then after another weighty pause, "Are you sure that's a good idea?"
"Not really," Sam answered truthfully. "But Dad says he found something. And he said to get there as quickly as possible."
"So how's that going for you?" Bobby asked. He didn't sound as though he approved or disapproved, but he did sound like he cared.
"We're just coming into Wyoming now," Sam supplied, glancing down as Dean settled with his head on Sam's thigh. Dean blinked up at him sleepily, then smiled sweetly. Evidently he didn't mind being talked about over his head -- literally. "I don't want to push too hard. Dad said to come as quick as we could, but Dean's still recovering."
"How's he doing?" Bobby asked, his voice warm and concerned at the same time.
Sam looked down at Dean again. He'd turned inward, small enough now that he could fit that way on the Impala's bench seat, his knees curled up against the back of the seat, his face nearly in Sam's crotch. Sam felt his own face heat up, even though there was no way Bobby could know what they'd done the night before and that morning, no way Bobby could know how they were positioned in the car right now.
"He's doing good," he answered, trying to keep his voice light, even. He thought he did a decent job, and if any tension bled through, hopefully Bobby would write it off to being over the entire situation. "You want to talk to him?"
He cursed himself as soon as the words left his lips, but it was too late and Bobby answered in the affirmative. Hopefully Dean would have the good sense not to say anything incriminating, like his announcement to Missouri the night before. Sam didn't like the thought of ending up on Bobby's shit-list. Sure, Bobby'd walked in on them kissing several times back at Missouri's, but that was one thing. Having sex with his now-fourteen year old brother, who was still broken and in need of some serious fixing... well, Missouri could tell Sam that it was the right thing to do, had told him so repeatedly, and it might feel like the right thing to do, but no way would Bobby see it that way!
"Hi, Uncle Bobby," Dean said into the phone, reverting as he did sometimes to childhood nicknames. "Did you get home okay?"
Sam ran his free hand through Dean's soft hair as his brother conversed with Bobby. Dean asked about Rumsfeld, asked about the Chevelle that Bobby had bought in Kansas, then slid backward and queried about a Hunt that Bobby had been on at least two years before Sam had left for college. Sam bit back a grimace and let Bobby deal with that one. Dean was doing better, but that didn't mean that he didn't still get lost sometimes.
Missouri had once compared Dean's memories to a puzzle, and had said that someone had upended the box. That was a bit fanciful, but Sam got the gist of it. Dean had all the memories -- except for those he was hiding away behind walls, the period of time between being taken by the Melusine and being found by those bastards who'd ended up hurting and selling him -- but they sometimes didn't fit together right in his head.
"Are you going to meet us in Oregon, Bobby?" Dean asked, sounding more curious than anxious or vulnerable, though from where he sat Sam thought his brother looked both.
Sam couldn't hear Bobby's reply, but it was probably along the lines of, "your father hasn't called and asked me to come," because Dean followed it up with a completely reasonable;
"But what if Sammy and I ask you?"
"Dean," Sam chided gently. "I miss Bobby too, but we can't keep dragging him away from his own life."
Dean pouted up at him, but nodded, either to Sam or to whatever Bobby was saying, his skull hard and yet feeling somehow fragile against Sam's thigh.
"Okay. Okay, Bobby. We will. You be careful too."
Sam took the phone that Dean handed back up to him.
"You boys call me if you need me," Bobby gruffed in his ear. "I'm on a Hunt right now, but I don't trust yer Dad and his stubborn pride to let me know if he needs backup."
"We will, Bobby," Sam promised. Despite his words to Dean, if John were getting them in too deep, there was no one Sam trusted to bail them out more than Bobby Singer. Though he still held out the hope that Dad knew what he was doing and would fix things -- fix Dean -- quickly and easily.
"Well, I'd better go," Bobby said. "Just wanted to check up on you boys. You take care'a yer brother, Sam. And let him take care'a you -- it'll be good for him."
"Already done and doing," Sam replied lightly, because it was true even if he had no intention of going into details. "And I'll keep in touch."
"You do that," Bobby grunted. "I wanna know what exactly yer Dad found out that has him draggin' you back to the Northwest so soon. It'd better be something real."
"I know, I know." Bobby sighed in Sam's ear. "I jest worry; about you and about Dean."
"You don't need to," Sam protested. "We've got each other."
Bobby chuckled and they said their good-byes. Sam glanced down at Dean, and his brother was yawning widely, his eyelids drooping, thick lashes fluttering against his cheeks. Sam was struck all over again with how young Dean looked and he fixed his gaze back on the road ahead of them.
Dammit, he didn't like feeling like a pervert.
His phone went off again and, distracted, he answered without glancing at the caller I.D.
"Sam Winchester! Where are you?!"
"Wyoming," he answered honestly, automatically. Then his brain caught up and processed the feminine voice on the other end of the line. "Becky?"
"Is it true?" his spunky blonde friend from Stanford bulldozed ahead, her tone incredulous and slightly aggressive. "You're not coming back? That's bullshit, Sam!"
Sam glanced down. Dean was drowsing, mostly asleep, and had that slightly disconnected expression that Sam was learning to recognize and hate. Right now it would work in his favor, though; he could speak frankly to Becky about Dean and it was probable that his brother wouldn't hear him. Hopefully Dean would fall asleep entirely soon.
"Hang on and let me switch to my hands-free," Sam requested, without waiting for an answer in the affirmative. After he had it all settled he reached down and ran his fingers gently through Dean's hair. Dean curled more toward him, his face practically in Sam's crotch, mumbling something unintelligible. He hooked one hand in Sam's waistband, but then slumped bonelessly, seeming to fall asleep quickly. Sam was glad, thinking back on how wary and always on alert Dean had been after they'd first gotten him back.
"You still there, Becks?"
"Don't call me that," she snapped, sounding far more put out than the nickname warranted. But then, Sam didn't make the mistake of thinking that was the real issue. "What the hell are you doing, Sam?"
"Taking care of my brother," he answered defensively. Dean's shoulder was bony and solid under his palm, Dean's body heat radiating through the material of his teeshirt. Sam soaked it in. "Didn't Jess tell you?"
"I-- yeah. She did," Becky sounded more hesitant now. "But she didn't know all the details. What's going on, Sam? And why can't you come back to school?"
Sam drew in a deep breath, reminding himself that Becky had no idea of the hell Dean had gone through for the last two years, didn't understand the circumstances at all, and it wasn't as though he had really filled Jess in, so his friends back in California had only a few of the facts.
Not that he could afford to get much more specific than that.
"Look, it's complicated," he said, wincing at the way his voice trembled slightly. He wasn't mad at Becky; he was just upset with the whole fucked up situation. He'd come to grips with the knowledge that he'd given up school and that life for Dean, and Dean was worth it, but talking to his friends on the phone reminded him of how much he'd really had to leave behind.
"Jess said... your brother was hurt?" Becky prompted, a lot more gently. "What exactly happened, Sam? Was it a car accident?"
"No, not an accident." Sam weighed how much to tell Becky. He didn't want to go into too many details, but it was better not to make up too many lies. He wanted her to understand, didn't want her sympathy, but needed her approbation.
While he was still thinking, she spoke tentatively. "I... I didn't know that you had a brother, Sam."
Sam grimaced. "I didn't tell anyone because it hurt too much," he said, deciding to mostly go for half-truths. He wasn't going to spin a complete lie, but he was going to have to twist the truth into something that someone with no idea of the supernatural could understand. "He went missing just a little after I started school, before I met you and Zach. He was... sort of kidnapped, we're not sure."
"Oh my God, Sam," Becky gasped, horrified. "Why didn't you tell us?!"
"Like I said, it hurt too much," he repeated, feeling the remembered agony. Dean was in his lap, beneath his hand, he was warm and breathing and alive and here Sam reassured himself. It was still an ache in the center of his chest, though. "Two years of not knowing whether he was dead or alive," he choked, not trying to hide his distress. "Not knowing... and then when our Dad found him--"
"What, Sam?" Becky prompted, and all accusation was gone from her tone; now she was speaking carefully, almost fearfully. Well, she'd stepped into an emotional minefield without realizing, and now had to try to tiptoe her way out.
"They hurt him so much," Sam shuddered, glad that Dean really was asleep and not listening in on this conversation. It made it a little easier. "The men who had him. I'm not even going to-- God, I can't even--"
Becky made a little sound of distress but seemed to be unable to comment. Sam drew a deep breath and continued. He wasn't going to tell her what had been done to Dean. That wasn't anyone's business but family -- well, and Bobby and Missouri, of course.
"It wasn't just physical," he said, calming himself through sheer force of will. Now it was time for the one outright lie that he was going to tell, since Becky wouldn't understand about the Melusine, so that creature couldn't factor into his story. "I don't know what happened. But something-- there's something-- Well, I don't know what happened, but there's something wrong with his head... his mind. He's not brain damaged, really. He's going to get better. But he can't hold onto knowledge like he should, he gets lost in the past, and he's scared of almost everything, everyone."
"Oh my God, Sam, I had no idea!" Becky blurted. "Jess said it was bad, but I didn't know--"
"I haven't told her everything," Sam admitted. "I mean, I'm going to. But I didn't want to dump everything on her all at once."
"That's so awful." Becky sounded like she was on the verge of crying and Sam knew that it was the sister in her as much as it was the kind-hearted girl that she was. "Is there anything I can do?"
"Um, well, just don't give me shit about not coming back to college?" Sam requested with a weak chuckle.
"Sam!" Becky sounded appalled, and Sam knew that if she'd been in the car with him, she'd have smacked his arm hard enough to bruise.
"Sorry," he apologized. "Really, though. There's not much anyone can do. Our Dad took off and it's just me and my brother. So coming back to school is definitely out. He needs me to take care of him, to be focused only on him."
Becky was silent. "He's your younger brother?"
"He is." Sam silently added the "now" to complete that sentence, because Becky would never believe the truth.
"I'd... I'd just die if something like that happened to Zach," Becky said bleakly. Then she added fiercely, "Or kill someone!"
Sam swallowed thickly. He had. Killed someone. His Dad had shot two of the men. Bobby had shot the other. But Sam had taken one down; a stocky middle-aged guy with dark hair and a gold and ruby ring on his finger. And he still didn't feel bad. He ought to feel guilty. He probably ought to be having nightmares about it or something. But he didn't and he hadn't and he didn't. That bastard had been selling Dean for sex, and Sam was pretty sure that he'd beaten Dean, raped, him, or both. And that was unforgivable. Sam didn't have a single qualm about having taken that man's life; it had been forfeit the first time the bastard had laid a hand on Dean.
Maybe this darkness inside of his heart ought to scare Sam. But for Dean he could do anything. Would do anything. Had done a lot of things that he never would have thought in a million years he was capable of. And he didn't regret a single one of them.
"So am I forgiven?" Sam asked, forcing a note of false cheer into his voice. It was better than crying. And it was important to him that the people he was leaving behind in California understood.
"Oh, Sam!" Becky choked, and he assumed that was a 'yes'.
"It's okay, Beck," he said softly, stroking Dean's curls as much to soothe himself as anything else. "I've got my brother back. I'll miss all you guys a lot, but he needs me."
"I'm sorry I--" Becky began, but Sam interrupted.
"Hey, don't apologize, okay? This came out of left field, and you didn't know any of the details. Hell, I only found out most of them a couple weeks ago myself."
"What do you want me to...? Zach will want to know what happened. And everyone else is asking...."
Sam pursed his lips. "You can tell Zach. I don't know.... Just say whatever you want to whoever asks, Becky. I'm not ashamed of anything that's happened. And I'm probably not going to be back--"
"Well, I probably won't." Sam wasn't going to sugar-coat it. "Once my brother is better, I might bring him to meet Jess, to meet all of my friends. But he might not get better any time soon. And you're all going to go back to your homes or wherever after school is over. I'm going to miss all of you, but right now my first priority is my brother."
Becky was silent so long that Sam almost thought they'd gotten cut off. "You take care, Sam," she said softly, her voice shaking a little. This wasn't quite as bad as breaking up with Jess had been, but Sam still felt a sharp ache lodged in his throat and had to swallow several times. He wished that things could have been different, but this was the way they had gone.
"You guys take care too," he said. "And ask Zach to call me, would you? I need to figure out what to do with all the stuff in my apartment and I think he has a spare key."
"Yeah, I think he does," Becky said with something that sounded suspiciously like a sniffle. Sam didn't comment on it. "From that one time you got drunk and locked yourself out. I'll tell him."
"Thanks." Sam bit at his lower lip, glanced down at the boy slumbering in his lap, and ran his hand through Dean's hair gently. "I'm not saying you won't ever see me again, Beck. I still have things in my apartment I want to get. But I won't be coming back to school, and I don't know when I might make it out to visit. It depends on my brother."
"What's his name?" Becky asked, and now Sam was certain that she was crying.
"Dean," he replied. It couldn't hurt anything to tell her. "Dean Winchester."
"I'm glad you have him back, Sam," Becky told him firmly. "And I'll miss you, we'll miss you, but family comes first. You take care of him, take care of yourself, and you come and visit us. And I really hope he gets better quickly."
"Me too," Sam breathed, hand cupping Dean's skull, fingers tangled in his silky hair. "Me too, and thank you for understanding."
His phone beeped at him and he glanced at the screen. "Becky, I've got another call. I better go."
"You'll keep in touch?"
"Yeah, I promised Jess I would. E-mail me, okay? That's better than calling on my phone. And have Zach contact me."
"I will. 'Bye, Sam. Sorry I called to bitch you out."
"Hey, it just proves you care," Sam grinned. His eyes were damp, but the conversation hadn't been as painful as it could've been. "Goodbye, Beck." He punched the button. "Hello, Missouri."
"I'm worried about your father, Sam," she informed him without preamble.
"What? Why?" Sam asked, feeling his stomach twist. If Missouri was calling because she was concerned about John Winchester, that couldn't be good.
"I can't really say. More a feeling than anything else." She sounded unhappy, her small, breathy voice clearly conveying her frustration. "I wish that he hadn't asked you boys to go back to the Northwest so soon. It just doesn't feel safe."
Sam couldn't help agreeing with her, but he didn't have anything concrete to go on. No more than she did, by the sound of it.
"I haven't heard from him," he offered, slowing for lunch hour traffic outside Cheyenne. "But he said to call him once we hit Oregon. Usually when he says something like that he means that he doesn't want to hear from me until then."
"And since when have you done what your Daddy tells you?" Missouri asked in a snippy tone that would have gotten Sam's back up if it'd been anyone else. It was Missouri, though, and she had a point.
"Well, I don't want to try calling him if he's in the middle of something dangerous," Sam replied, stroking the pad of his thumb over Dean's smooth brow. His brother was really out of it, his plump lips parted, hot breaths gusting through the material of Sam's jeans, sound asleep. "A distraction could be deadly."
"Or maybe you don't want to call him because of what happened between you and Dean last night," Missouri suggested, and Sam's eyes rounded, his pulse thudding in his temples. That possibility hadn't occurred to him, but now that Missouri had said it, it sounded very plausible.
"I think I'll stick with my reason," he got out, his voice a little strangled. Dean shifted, his fingers clenching in the waistband of Sam's jeans, his cheek rubbing against his thigh.
"All right, Sam," Missouri said, somehow managing not to sound as though she was humoring him. "I just wondered if you'd heard from your father."
"How is Dean doing?" Missouri asked, seeming ready to change the subject.
"Sleeping," Sam glanced down, meeting hooded green eyes that blinked slowly into focus. He grinned, feeling his heart warm, and corrected himself. "Waking up. You want to talk to him?"
"This evening," Missouri decided. "Right now I have to get back to my clients, but I want to speak to your brother tonight, after you've stopped. Call me then?"
"Sure thing." Sam didn't like the idea of his brother being completely cut adrift, without Missouri's support, with only Sam to depend on for his mental well being. "I'll do it first thing."
"Well, Dean might have something to say to that," Missouri said dryly, even as Dean sat up and yawned widely. His hair was flattened on one side, his cheek red and indented from the denim of Sam's jeans, and Sam wasn't sure if Dean looked more adorable or sexy. Definitely both, and it might be Sam who had something to say about whether he called Missouri first thing that evening, after all. "Tell him 'hi' for me, and I'll talk to you both tonight."
"All right. Later, Missouri," Sam said, then grinned at Dean, who was rubbing his eyes like a sleepy little boy. "Missouri says 'hi', Dean," he related as instructed. Then he asked, "Are you ready for lunch?"
Dean nodded, yawning again, then cuddling close to Sam. It was about a quarter after one in the afternoon and all the drive-thru restaurants were packed, but Sam wanted to pick something up while they were in a fair-sized town, since he didn't know when the next chance would be. That breakfast sandwich and a few hash browns hadn't stuck by him very well.
Dean remained silent as they waited their turn, while Sam ordered, then while Sam paid for their lunch. The cashier was another female, which was a relief, even though Sam knew that this luck couldn't last. Dean was quiet, holding still and huddling close, but he didn't seem too terrified, which Sam took as a good sign.
There was a rest stop a couple of miles outside of Cheyenne, where Sam parked. There were other people there, so they didn't get out of the Impala to eat, but they did make a quick trip to the restroom, and Sam appreciated the chance to stretch his legs. Dean remained by his side, a silent little shadow, but that was actually all right, Sam thought, because he still hadn't had a chance to talk to Dean about them behaving exclusively like brothers in public.
Then it was back on the road, heading toward the Northwest. Sam put on some AC/DC, and Dean's tension dissolved as though it hadn't been an issue at all. He melted against Sam, slumping lower and lower, until he was finally resting, on his other side this time, facing outward, his head once again pillowed on Sam's thigh. Sam was certain that his brother was the only person in the world who was soothed by blaring rock music.
Sam let Dean sleep, figuring that this was his brother's way of coping with the stress of being on the road, out in public. It was all right, and, well, if it got too bad, he'd talk to Missouri about it later.
He did take the opportunity to turn the music off, though. He'd sacrificed a lot for Dean, but even he had his limits.
After a couple of hours of boring highway driving, his phone rang; it was the school calling and so he didn't answer it. The traffic around Laramie was a royal bitch and they could leave a message. When it went off again four minutes later he almost ignored it, but was glad he hadn't when he realized it was Jessica's number.
"You said you were going to call me!" she informed him, forcefully but not angrily. "It's been over a week, Sam! I know you're busy with your brother; really I do. But I'm worried and it's been ten days, and I know you talked to Becky this morning!"
Sam grimaced. "Sorry! I'm sorry! Time got away from me, Jess, I swear. If I'd realized so much time had passed, I'd have called!"
"Well, it's okay." Jess sounded mollified. "I'm not mad. I'm just concerned. And Becky said something about what happened to your brother, but you didn't tell me...?"
"I was going to," Sam hastened to assure her, hoping that she wasn't too upset. "Like I said to her, I just didn't want to throw everything at you all at once. But I didn't mean to leave you out of things, and I completely lost track of how much time had passed since the last time we talked, honest."
"It's all right, Sam" she said again, her tone amazingly gentle and caring. "You don't owe me anything, okay? I just... well, I'll admit that I want to know. And if you're at the point now that you can talk to your friends about things... well, I'm one of your friends, and I hope that you're willing to tell me."
"Of course!" And because he still cared about Jess and definitely considered her to be one of his closest friends, Sam told her everything he had told Becky. He even went into a little more detail; not because he thought that Jess wanted to hear it, but because Dean was sound asleep and Sam suddenly realized that it was cathartic to speak to someone who wasn't his Dad, Bobby, or even Missouri about the things that had been done to his brother. He told Jess about the rape, about the way Dean hadn't recognized him at first, and maybe it wasn't safe to be driving while he was crying, but both he and Jess were in tears before he was done.
"Oh my God, Sam," Jess choked out, and Sam could sense her desire to hug and hold him clearly over the phone. It felt good not to have to be the strong one for a few moments, and he was glad that he'd told her, even though it hadn't been doing her any favors. "That's so horrible!"
"It is. But he's doing better. So much better now, Jess, you wouldn't believe. He's so strong."
And that was true, not just wishful thinking, but that didn't mean that the telling hadn't still hurt. Sam sniffed, wiped his nose on his sleeve, then plastered his right hand over Dean's chest, feeling his brother's heart beating steady under his palm, feeling Dean's breathing and his warmth.
It helped. And talking to Jess about what had happened to Dean had broken up a great clot of bad feelings that had been weighing him down without his even realizing it. He hadn't even noticed until he felt its absence. There wasn't really anything she could do, but just having been able to talk about it.... John Winchester didn't discuss his feelings and he'd been dealing with his own pain over what had happened to his son. Bobby cared about them all, but had been too close to everything and yet too distant. Missouri had experienced some of the awful things that had happened to Dean, while helping him get his head sorted. Sam hadn't really had anyone that he felt he could unreservedly speak about the whole thing with. But Jess listened and sympathized and was as appalled as any normal human being would be, and Sam had needed that without even knowing he needed it.
Dean roused close to the end of their conversation, disturbed by Sam's tears, reaching up to touch them with trembling fingertips. Sam assured Dean that he was fine, assured Jess that he'd call her again, and hopefully in less than ten days though he made no promises, then they said their good-byes, and Sam had to pull over to the side of the road because Dean clambered into his lap, tucking his head up under Sam's jaw and clinging tightly.
He didn't begrudge the time he had to spend soothing Dean but he did have to draw the line at allowing Dean to give him another blowjob while they were parked. Once Dean had been calmed and cajoled back into his spot next to Sam and they were back on the road, Dean seemed determined to make up for his silence earlier in the day. First he told Sam about everything he and Bobby had discussed in the phone call earlier. Then he laid out the plot of a cartoon that Sam could barely remember them watching when they'd been kids, beginning to end.
Then Zach called, as his sister had directed. Dean squirmed but kept quiet, staring out the window at the passing countryside. They were making good time and Sam thought that they would probably hit the Oregon border around noon the following day, provided things went smoothly.
Once Sam got off the phone with Zach, after listing the items he wanted from his apartment and telling Zach what to do with the rest, Dean started right back in. Only this time he was detailing what he was going to do to Sam and what he wanted Sam to do to him as soon as they stopped for the night.
It would have taken a man made of sterner stuff than Sam to remain unmoved by the lust that colored Dean's voice, to ignore the slender hand that dipped between his thighs and massaged the hardness swelling there. It might only be six in the evening, but Sam stopped at the next hotel they passed. He was able to rationalize it as being as much for Dean as for himself, but he knew that was only half the truth. And Missouri was definitely going to have to wait on that phone call.
Sam was glad he had a good minutes plan on his cell. He'd spent a hell of a lot of time on his phone today, and the day wasn't even done yet.
One person hadn't called, though. And Sam wondered about Missouri's bad feeling. Maybe he ought to call John... but he just couldn't quite bring himself to do it. Especially not once they were in the hotel room and he had Dean pinned between his own body and the mattress.
He hoped that their Dad was okay, that he wasn't taking any foolish chances, but he knew John Winchester. And that was what made him nervous.