Sam had splurged, dipping into the cash Missouri had given him, and gotten them a room with a kitchenette and two full sized beds. Which was definitely a good thing, considering the mess they'd wound up making of the first bed that they'd fallen onto. They were going to have to use the other one for sleeping, since that was easier than switching rooms. Safer, too, since Sam had to keep in mind the fact that Dean only looked fourteen.
Speaking of which, Sam still needed to have that talk with his brother. But first, a shower. Then there was the phone call he'd promised Missouri, and they also needed food. Sam had a brainstorm of sorts and after running it by Dean -- who wasn't happy about it, but was amenable enough to go along -- he dialed up their friend in Kansas, gave Dean the phone, and while his brother was distracted that way, headed for the nearest grocery store.
Dean was still on the phone with Missouri when Sam got back fifteen minutes later, which was kind of the point. Sam felt triumphant; not only had he gotten them dinner, but he'd purchased a cooler and ice, the makings for sandwiches so that they didn't have to have fast food for lunch the following day, chips, snacks, juice, the makings for dinner tonight, and some pastries to have for breakfast. This hotel room had complimentary coffee, and so they'd be all set in the morning.
He'd also bought lube and condoms. Because if they were going to keep doing it, they should at least do it right. Missouri's pilfered lotion wasn't going to last forever and it was better Sam should get those particular "supplies" when Dean wasn't with him. For appearance sake, if nothing else.
Sam felt almost domestic as he moved about in the kitchen area, putting grocery items in the tiny mini-fridge or on the counter, dumping the pasta he'd gotten for dinner in a pot and setting it to heat, pouring some juice for Dean and opening a bottled water for himself. It was a far cry from his apartment in California, but Dean was sitting crosslegged on the bed they hadn't destroyed, the room was warm and beginning to smell of cheesy tomato sauce, and Sam was anticipating a nice quiet evening alone with his brother before they had to start out again tomorrow. It wasn't perfect but it was pleasant, and he was with Dean, and that made everything better.
As though summoned, Dean padded over on bare feet. Actually, he was bare all over, having declined to get dressed after their shower. Which was part of why Sam had turned the heat up a little. If Dean felt more comfortable naked, Sam wasn't going to force him to put on clothing. The curtains were closed, they weren't going anywhere, and he had to admit that he liked seeing Dean's slender young form without any clothes.
Maybe he should feel like a pervert, admiring the body of a fourteen year old -- that kind of did make him a pedophile, right? -- but it was Dean. Sam wasn't attracted to the barely pubescent normally. Hell, he wasn't attracted to males normally!
But Dean was beautiful, had always been beautiful, and it was just a thrill to see him, slim, soft but strong, whole.... He had a ways to go yet to reach a healthy weight, but a week and a half at Missouri's, eating good food three times a day, had definitely helped. He hovered on the verge of adulthood, no longer a child but not quite a man, his shoulders broadening, his hips narrowing. His limbs and chest were largely free of hair yet, but he had thickening pubes, and his genitals definitely proved that he was well on his way to manhood... and that was the point at which Sam averted his eyes. Because Dean was handing him the phone with Missouri on the other end, and even though he knew that Missouri was okay with all this, it still felt kind of weird. He didn't know if she was able to read thoughts at a distance or over the phone, but just in case, he didn't need to be ogling his brother -- or, more specifically, his brother's penis -- while talking to her.
"Hey, Missouri," he said, after taking a moment to bend and kiss Dean on the mouth. Dean's eyes were bright and he didn't look upset; if anything, his conversation with Missouri seemed to have calmed him. Or maybe he was still mellow from coming twice before Sam had called Missouri. Either way, he accepted the juice that Sam handed him, then hovered, not getting in the way, but staying near Sam as he puttered around the tiny kitchen area.
"Hello, Sam," she greeted in return, and he could admit that he missed her, missed being in her home, cooking in her kitchen. But this was okay too, because it was just him and Dean.
He tucked the phone between his ear and shoulder, stirring the pasta. It was only canned, but it was a name brand and he'd gotten fresh baked bread to go with it, as well as shredded parmesan and some hot sauce, because he'd remembered that Dean liked it that way. He thought that maybe he should have gotten salad too, but he doubted Dean would eat it without all the little extras that Missouri had put in hers.
"So, how's Dean doing?" he asked, stealing another kiss, juice-flavored this time. Dean grinned at him then set his drink on the tiny counter and wandered into the bathroom, palming Sam's ass on his way in something that wasn't quite a smack but was definitely possessive.
"How do you think he's doing?" Missouri prompted in response and Sam frowned faintly. He wanted answers, not questions that he had to answer.
"Good, I think," he replied slowly. He wasn't sure what Missouri was looking for, if she was leading him along or not. "I mean, he's still broken. He gets a little confused, like when he was talking to Bobby about something that happened more than five years ago as if it were still going on. But overall, he's doing good...."
"How is he around people?"
Sam grimaced. "That, maybe not so good. I hadn't been taking him anywhere public, really. He's still scared of men, and even girls make him uptight. I keep hoping that he'll get better, but...."
"Well, that's going to take time," Missouri soothed. "That or your father managing to get the mark removed; though don't make the mistake of thinking that will be a fix-all. Dean's frightened by men because of what was done to him for the last two years, and he's frightened by women because they remind him of the Melusine."
"Did he tell you that?" Sam asked curiously as Dean emerged from the bathroom. He'd heard the toilet flush, then he'd heard Dean washing his hands, which was good. However, "Dean, maybe you should put a shirt on while you eat," he called before Dean could cross the hotel room back to his side. "In case you spill or something."
Dean pulled a face, making his opinion of that known, but slipped into one of Sam's teeshirts obediently enough.
"He did," Missouri confirmed. "Along with some other things. We should probably talk about it some time soon, but there isn't anything that can't wait, since it sounds like you're ready to eat."
"Are you sure?" Sam asked anxiously. If Missouri had any new insights into Dean's head, he wanted in.
"Absolutely," she assured him. "Just keep doing what you've been doing -- and, yes, I mean that in every way that it sounds -- and you'll be fine. Call me in the morning, if you have time. And tonight, well, you boys enjoy yourselves, enjoy time spent with each other, and get some sleep."
"We can do that," Sam grinned, wrapping his free arm around Dean when his brother came up press up against him, locking slender arms around Sam's waist. "Thank you, Missouri."
They said their goodbyes and then Sam dished up the pasta for himself and Dean. The bread was already buttered and sliced, and they settled at the table by the curtained window. Sam briefly contemplated turning on the television, but there wasn't any programming he felt like they needed to see, and he preferred to bask in Dean's presence without any distractions or background noise.
"I used to make this for you, Sammy," Dean realized, carefully stirring the hot sauce into his pasta before sprinkling the cheese on top. He looked up at Sam and grinned widely, a reflection of the man he had been two years ago, the man he would be all over again in a few more years. "You always wanted Lucky Charms instead."
"And you always gave in," Sam recalled, his heart hurting a little even as it warmed at the memory.
"Just to keep you from whining," Dean informed him, wrinkling his nose at Sam... but the soft, tender expression on his face made it clear that he didn't really mean what he said. Well, not completely; Sam had been really good at being obnoxious even at a tender age. It was part of being a younger brother, after all.
Sam grinned widely, thrilled to see the snarky older brother that he had grown up with and not offended in the least by Dean's words. If Dean had meant what he'd said seriously, he wouldn't have said it.
"You spoiled me," he said fondly.
"I was really mean to you sometimes too, Sammy," Dean said, setting down his fork, his lower lip jutting, his eyes dark and sad behind his bangs. He peered at Sam mournfully.
"Hey." This was heading into territory Sam didn't feel like dredging up. Especially not when he'd been looking forward to a nice quiet meal. "We're brothers, Dean. We treated each other like shit sometimes. And Dad really did have you watching me too long sometimes, for how young you were. I'm not blaming him," he interrupted quickly when Dean opened his mouth, presumably to defend their father. "I'm just saying, okay? Mostly you took good care of me, and I appreciate that. And now it's my turn to take care of you."
Dean's mouth twisted, but his gaze was steady and thoughtful. Finally he nodded shortly. "Okay. But only until I get better, Sammy. Then I'll be taking care of you again."
Sam chuckled, grabbing a slice of bread. "Eat before it gets cold, Dean," he instructed. He wouldn't tell Dean but he really did feel like an older brother in this moment, and he kind of liked it. It would be impossible to break the habits and mind-sets created by twenty-one years of Dean being the older and Sam the younger brother... but there was no reason it couldn't be both ways now. Because, before, Dean had been four years older than Sam, but now he was around seven years younger than Sam; physically, if not mentally.
That gap reminded Sam again that he really needed to have that talk with Dean... but it could wait until they were done eating. The pasta wasn't really that great -- not compared to the spaghetti Missouri had made from scratch a few night before they'd left her home -- but it had been easy to grab, quick to make, and brought back good memories. Well, mostly good, anyway. And the bread had been baked that morning in the store, so it was still moist inside, crusty outside, and almost made this makeshift meal seem like a real dinner.
Of course, what made this a "real" dinner was the fact that Dean was sitting across from Sam at the tiny table. Never mind that his brother was a good ten-eleven years younger than he ought to be, or that he got easily confused, or that Sam knew that Dean was naked save for one over-sized teeshirt.... None of that mattered, because Dean was "home" as far as Sam's heart was concerned. And Sam was pretty sure that Dean felt the same way about him.
Dean didn't eat as much as he'd been eating at Missouri's, but Sam couldn't blame him for that, since the food wasn't as good, and he did eat enough that Sam didn't feel he could say anything.
"Did you get dessert, Sammy?" Dean asked once Sam had cleared off the table, dumping the bowls in the miniature sink, leaving them for the maid service the next morning, but making sure they and the pot were filled with water to soak, so that they wouldn't be too crusty.
Sam rolled his eyes, but he was grinning. "Of course I did, Dean," he replied, hooking a long arm around his brother and drawing him close. Dean melted against him and Sam almost felt guilty for what he was going to say next... but it was necessary. "We need to talk about something before we have dessert, though."
Dean stared up at him, disgruntled and faintly suspicious. "No take-backs, Sammy."
Momentarily speechless, Sam shook his head. "No take-backs," he assured Dean, though that reminded him of something else he sort of wanted to ask Dean. Namely, why his brother had decided they should enter into a sexual relationship. Sam was as responsible for that as Dean was -- if not more so, since he hadn't been attacked by a supernatural creature and damaged by horrible, unscrupulous men -- but Dean had initiated it. Sam wasn't complaining, but he still wondered why. That was a question Missouri had never answered, and Sam hadn't thought to ask while they'd still been at her house.
"C'mon," he said, hefting his brother -- and he really shouldn't be able to do that, even though he'd been bigger and taller than Dean since he'd been edging from sixteen into seventeen -- then carting him over to the clean bed.
Dean was silent as Sam got them both settled on the mattress, facing one another. Sam clasped Dean's hands in his own, and Dean looked downright panicked.
"No chick flick moments, Dean," Sam assured him, and he calmed a little but still looked anxious. Sam felt bad about that and hastened to let Dean know what they were there to discuss. "I just wanted to talk to you about our behavior in public."
Dean tilted his head, blinking those dangerously long, thick lashes. "Huh?"
"I have to watch myself too," Sam hastened to say, recalling that moment in the drive-thru line that morning, when he'd given Dean a kiss on the mouth without thinking. "It's not just you."
"What are you talking about, Sammy?" Dean questioned, a tiny frown line creasing the smooth skin between his brows.
"About... you know... kissing and... touching... in public. We can't, Dean." He forged onward in the face of Dean's blank expression. "Even if people don't know we're brothers, and even if they're okay with us both being guys -- and a lot of people aren't -- there's the fact that you look fourteen and I'm twenty-one and that's, you know, kind of illegal."
Dean's expression had shifted from blank to thoughtful and he slowly tipped his head the other direction, thumbs running over Sam's knuckles where their hands were still clasped. "Hmm...."
"Do you understand?" Sam pursued, leaning toward his brother, his hands tightening momentarily. "It's not because I don't want you to touch me, not because I don't want to touch you, but it won't be good if I get into trouble. No one but us -- well, and Dad and Missouri and Bobby, but none of them are here -- no one else knows that you're really twenty-five, Dean. To everyone else you look like a Junior High student. And I'd look like a pervert."
"You're not a pervert, Sammy!" Dean jumped to defend immediately. "Not like all those others...."
Sam swallowed tightly, setting that aside for later. Right now he had to convince Dean, for both their sakes. "But, Dean--"
"I know," Dean interrupted, squeezing Sam's hands. His eyes were wide and bright behind his thick bangs, his gaze fixed firmly on Sam's. He licked his lips, then frowned. "I understand, Sammy. I know why we have to only touch like brothers when people are around. I'm not stupid, I just forget sometimes."
"I do too, Dean," Sam said quickly. "I know you're not stupid, okay? I never thought you were. But after getting the stink-eye from those ladies outside the hotel this morning, I felt like we needed to have this talk."
Dean smirked, his plump lips curving. "If they thought we were banging, then they're the perverts, Sammy."
This astute observation startled a chuckle out of Sam. "Well, unless they heard us the night before," he felt compelled to point out.
Dean got a contemplative look, his gaze going distant, and Sam wondered where his thoughts had gone. He wondered what Dean and Missouri had talked about. And he wondered....
"Dean, I know you want, um," he squirmed. "You know, us. You've made that clear. But are you really okay with it? I mean, I almost feel like it makes me the same as those bastards who used and abused you--"
"NO!" Dean burst out, so violently that it made Sam jerk. His hands tightened around Sam's hard enough to hurt and he was glaring at Sam now, his chin jutting, his lips pressed together. "You're nothing like them, Sammy! Don't you even say anything like that!"
Sam tried to collect himself enough to apologize, but Dean just kept right on going, bulldozing through anything he might have been going to say.
"You're nothing like them! They wanted to hurt me. You would never hurt me. They hit me when I didn't do things right, they fucked me, and they made me fuck men who paid them even though it always felt bad and wrong. You don't make me do anything I don't want to, unless it's something good for me, and then you tell me why first. You don't fuck me, we just...."
"Make love?" Sam offered weakly.
Dean eyed him incredulously. "I'd just say we have sex, Sammy, because I'm not a complete woman. But I know you love me, and I love you."
Sam blinked rapidly, torn between laughing at Dean's bout with selective denial and weeping over what Dean had just said. He couldn't cry, though, because that would just validate Dean calling him a woman.
"All right," he said, clearing his throat. "All right."
"You're not anything like them, Sammy," Dean reiterated, his voice low and vibrating with intensity. "Don't you ever say that again."
"Okay," Sam said meekly, surprised to have hit such a hot button. "I'm sorry, Dean." He drew a breath and forged onward. "I'm sorry for everything. For getting you captured by the Melusine, for not finding you right away, for... for everything."
Dean was frowning at him. "Sammy." he said, sounding exasperated. "None of that was your fault. I don't remember a lot, but I know that none of that was your fault. So don't blame yourself."
Sam sighed heavily, because he didn't want to argue with Dean, but he still felt responsible. No matter what Dean said, no matter what Missouri had said, no matter what their Dad had said in the truck on the way to Kansas.... Logic could go to hell -- his brother had suffered in his place and he was never going to be able to let that go.
"Are we done yet?" Dean asked plaintively. He plumped his lower lip at Sam, peering through thick bangs. Lengthening limbs were curled on the mattress, his hands slim and delicate in Sam's larger paws, and Sam was suddenly struck by how young Dean looked. "That'd better be some really great dessert, to make up for having to talk about our feelings, Sammy."
Sam barely heard Dean's words. It struck him, like an icy bullet between the eyes, that Dean was fourteen now. That meant that he'd been twelve when those bastards had found him, broken and lost, and had trained him into a living sex toy. He'd appeared to be twelve when sick, perverted men had paid to rape him.
Sam wasn't sure whether it was better or worse that he'd enjoyed his dinner going down, once it was on its way back up. Really, he was just focused on puking, his stomach knotted, and trying to purge himself of the images that this most recent realization had filled his mind with.
"Sammy? Are you okay? Sammy?"
Dean's hand was warm on his shoulder, and with his face in the toilet bowl, Sam could almost pretend that it was his big brother crouching over him. But that frantic note had never been in Dean's voice before -- except for a few times when a Hunt had gone badly, John or Sam getting hurt -- and Sam couldn't worry Dean like that. Not with as shaky as Dean was at the best of times.
Dear God, Dean had been twelve, though! Physically, and he might as well have been twelve mentally, too, or younger, for how addled his time with the Melusine had left him. The thought hurt Sam, in ways he didn't understand, and he ached for the damaged boy -- his brother! -- that he hadn't been able to save or protect.
"I'm okay, Dean," he coughed, spitting into the bowl with a grimace and then standing. His stomach felt tender, his throat was raw, but he thought he'd be all right. When his Dad and Bobby had first told him what had happened to Dean, he'd had a similar reaction, he remembered. But it was so much worse, realizing how small and defenseless his brother had been when he'd been discovered and taken by those self-serving, abusive assholes. Who did that? Who found a lost, damaged twelve year old and decided to make him into a sex slave? How was that even considered a possibility? Why couldn't Dean have been found by some decent human beings, once he'd been freed of the Melusine's clutches?!
"Did I do something?" Dean asked in a small voice, clinging to Sam's side as he rinsed his mouth in the sink, then brushed his teeth for good measure.
"No, no," Sam assured him quickly through the toothpaste foam. "It wafn't you, Deam, it waf me." He spat and rinsed again, then turned and pulled Dean close. He didn't want to tell Dean the truth, but he couldn't lie to him. Dean deserved an explanation and he deserved the truth. "I was thinking about you, and how much those bastards hurt you, and it made me feel sick."
Dean rubbed soft circles on Sam's back, his cheek resting against Sam's chest, and what Sam could see of his face looked contemplative. "Don't waste your time thinking about them, Sammy," he said finally, speaking very quietly but with assurance. "They're gone, in the past, and it's not worth you feeling sick to think about them. You're my Now, and you'd never hurt me."
"Never," Sam vowed. Ever since he'd found out how much his leaving for college had really affected his brother, that traumatizing morning at Missouri's after Dean had come back to himself, Sam had resolved never to leave Dean again. He'd hurt Dean then, but he was going to do everything he could to avoid hurting him in the future.
"Can we still have dessert?" Dean asked, taking a step back and looking up at Sam. His eyes were dark and damp, his lower lip caught between his teeth, and Sam suspected that this question was meant as a distraction... but they both needed it, so he'd give it to Dean.
"Sure." He pressed a hand to his stomach, frowning. "I think I'll be okay having some dessert now. Chocolate is good for after you vomit, right?"
Dean's solemn expression lightened, and again Sam could see the impish big brother he'd grown up with. "I always thought so," Dean declared, grabbing Sam's hand and dragging him back into the hotel room. "What'd you get us, Sammy?"
"So, are there any trout in Troutdale?"
Rusty looked up from the protective glyph he was marking in chalk on the windowsill, staring at Danny but not replying.
"What?" Danny spread his hands and widened puppyish brown eyes. "It's a perfectly valid question."
With a small sigh and a tiny shake of his head, Rusty finished up his task, adding a sprinkle of salt for good measure. Danny wondered absently what the maid who had to clean this room would think... but he figured it probably wouldn't be the weirdest thing she'd ever seen.
"Any idea how long we're going to be here?" he asked, pondering whether to put his clothes in the dresser drawers and closet or just leave them in his suitcase. Rusty might not mind living out of a duffel bag, but Danny liked his wardrobe properly taken care of. Even if it was clothing that he would very likely wind up crawling belly-down through muck in.
"You're the one who found this Hunt," Rusty reminded him dryly, wiping his fingers on his thigh, leaving powdery streaks of chalk on the denim of his jeans. The practicality of his pants was offset by the bright pink and burgundy paisley of his shirt, not to mention the wide white belt he was wearing, and Danny wondered all over again why he consented to being seen in public with someone whose sense of fashion was so impaired.
"Hm." Deciding that it was unlikely that they'd have to leave in a hurry, and that this ghost hunt would probably take at least a couple of days of recon, Danny began unpacking. And even if they had to run, he'd abandoned clothes before. A wardrobe was easy enough to replace -- easier than weapons or reference materials. Those things they usually kept in the car.
"Why don't you tell me about the Hunt," Rusty prompted, flopping down onto one of the beds and lacing his hands behind his head. He needed a shave, but so did Danny. First, though, Danny was going to crash and sleep for a good ten hours. All that driving had exhausted him.
"It's a series of burnings in the forest around the Sandy River," he outlined, unbuttoning his shirt and yawning. "Never more than about thirty feet in any direction, and it doesn't spread. But it burns everything up, no matter how wet the wood. And even in the middle of a downpour in one case."
Rusty bobbed his head. "Okay. But is there anything to say that the fires aren't just arson? With the proper accelerants...."
"No accelerants," Danny negated, shucking off his pants. "No signs of arson. And there's reports of a ghostly figure that's been seen before or after the fires."
"Y'see?" Danny grabbed his grooming kit and carried it into the bathroom with him. He'd brush his teeth and then get to bed. There'd still be patches of forest burning in the morning and no one had died yet. "One of the witnesses is a construction foreman who swears that he saw the spirit clearly, and says he never believed in ghosts before. And it's not likely to be a scam, since he's losing money with every delay."
"Construction?" Rusty prompted from the other room.
"Yeah, there's some monument or something being built out in the woods." Danny finished up and wandered out of the bathroom. He was wearing boxers and a teeshirt; the area was a little cool, between two rivers, but he'd turned the heat up some when they'd first entered the hotel room and it was comfortable enough. "Wonder if it's a trout."
Rusty snorted, then rolled off the bed, heading for the bathroom. "Get some sleep. You'll need it."
Danny crawled between the covers and shot his departing partner a disgruntled look. "You know that? Or are you just surmising?"
Rusty didn't reply, but Danny hadn't really expected him to. Settling into the mattress, his head sinking into a surprisingly fluffy pillow, Danny closed his eyes and let himself tumble into slumber.
Because whatever the reason for his words, he knew that Rusty was right. Rusty was always right, damn his oily hide.
Sam lay awake, staring at the shadows playing over the ceiling. Dean was curled up warm beside him, breathing softly, head resting on Sam's shoulder, slender arm slung over his belly. Sam was glad that Dean was able to sleep so soundly, especially after their upsetting conversation after dinner. Sam couldn't help but feel he hadn't handled it quite right, but he'd done the best he could. It would have been difficult even if he'd known exactly the right thing to say, he supposed.
Now he couldn't sleep. Thoughts were spinning through his head; regrets, anger, sadness, fear.... Despite what everyone, and even Dean himself, had said Sam still blamed himself for what had happened to his brother. He wished that he could kill the monsters who had held and mistreated Dean all over again -- the supernatural and the human captors -- wished that there was some way to go back in time to destroy them before they ever laid a finger on his brother. He didn't want to rob Dean of even more, but he really wished that there was some way he could take away the memories of those two years that Dean had been held and maltreated. And he wondered what was going to happen to him and Dean now. What had John found in Oregon? What would it do to Dean? Would he be himself again, or different?
Well, like Missouri had said, he'd be different no matter what; his head filled with two years' worth of experience being mentally, emotionally, physically, and sexually abused. Dean was strong, but no one would be the same after that. Still, Sam held out hope; he knew he wouldn't get his big brother back, but if Dean felt safer, was more himself, had a chance to live through his teens again, it would be okay. And Sam was going to make sure that he got to be a kid this time around.
That brought up another anxiety, though. Sam had no idea what he was going to do after they finished in Oregon. Going back to Stanford was out. Even if he wanted to, becoming a lawyer would take too much of his time and attention -- he needed that time and energy focused on Dean. But diving right back into a life of Hunting wasn't an option either. Even if that was what Dean might want after he was "fixed"... Sam wasn't going to allow it. Dean had a new chance. He was fourteen; this time he could stick in one school until graduation, go to college, get a normal life....
Sam swallowed tightly, suddenly realizing that maybe once the mark was removed, Dean would want a normal life -- an actually normal normal life. Which wouldn't involve sleeping with his brother. Maybe Dean wouldn't want him anymore. After all, Sam still didn't know why he did want him. Dean hadn't explained why he wanted Sam sexually; the conversation had gotten derailed before he could. Missouri had never covered that part of it. What if, after they got the Melusine's mark removed from Dean's neck, he decided he'd made a mistake, that it was insane to be sleeping with his brother? Sam could totally see that happening--
"Sammy?" Dean mumbled, raising his head and scrubbing sleepily at his eyes. "What's wrong?"
Sam felt guilty. Just because he was having midnight anxieties and suffering an existential crisis, that didn't mean that he should wake Dean up too.
"Nothing," he said, before remembering that Dean had an extremely sensitive bullshit meter, and he wouldn't hesitate to call Sam on it. "Nothing important," he reiterated.
Dean squirmed until he was propped on Sam's chest, pointy cleft chin resting on his folded arms, blinking sleepily but steadily down at his brother. "Sammy, you gotta stop worrying about things," he said, sounding so reasonable that Sam was already mostly convinced.
After Sam's little bout of puking, they'd shared the chocolate cupcakes that Sam had brought back, watched a program about black bears on the Discovery channel while cuddling on the bed, then settled in to cuddle some more and sleep after brushing their teeth. Sex was kind of curtailed, since Sam's stomach was still unsettled and he was still sort of upset over his realizations and their conversation. Dean hadn't seemed to mind, curling close and wrapping himself around Sam as well as he was able when he was a couple of feet shorter and weighed a good hundred pounds less than his brother.
Dean had dropped off quickly, but Sam had found himself unable to sleep. At first he'd been focused on the positive, thinking how much better Dean was doing than he'd been when they'd been coming the other way, headed toward Missouri's. But then, as was usual with late night maundering, his thoughts had taken a turn for the negative. And there really was nothing to say that Dean would still want this after the Melusine's mark was removed. Sam still didn't understand why he wanted it now.
"Why, Dean?" he asked. They'd already had one distressing conversation tonight, but he felt like he just had to know. He'd never be able to set his mind at ease, unless he knew.
"Why stop worrying?" Dean looked at him quizzically.
"No, I mean...." Sam sighed, causing Dean to bob where he was settled atop Sam's chest, and rubbed at his own gritty eyes. Damn, he wished that he could fall asleep. He was going to have to do a lot more driving tomorrow, could almost feel the leather vibrating under his thighs and palms in anticipation -- or maybe that was just the echo of the driving he'd done today -- and it wasn't as though he could switch off with Dean. Even if Dean remembered how to drive, even if his brain could be trusted not to wander the wrong way, he was too young in most of the states they still had to pass through to have even his learner's permit. Maybe if they talked this over, if Sam got his answer, whatever it was, he'd be able to finally fall asleep.
"I mean... why this? Why us? Why... do you want to sleep together?" Sam pursued. It was the middle of the night, but there was a streetlight outside and the curtains weren't as thick as was usual in hotels, so he could see Dean's features fairly clearly. Dean's eyes were fixed on his, bright even in the darkness, and Sam took comfort in that steady gaze.
"You know why, Sammy," Dean replied, calmly, evenly. "You're thinking too hard and confusing yourself, but you know why."
"I don't--" It wasn't a denial, just a burst of frustration. "Can you explain it to me, Dean?"
"No." Dean looked a little regretful, but more determined, as he denied his brother's request. "It's not something to be explained, Sammy. It just is."
"What is?" Sam pursued, feeling as though -- like Dean had promised -- he was right on the verge of understanding, but not quite able to break on through and get it. "What are we.... Dean, what is it?"
"It's just right," Dean finally stated, freeing one hand to smooth over Sam's collarbone and shoulder. "It's just us, and it's just right."
"But why now?" Sam asked, accepting Dean's answer without argument, since he'd already given in. Both Missouri and Dean had told him it was the right thing, and his own heart had concurred, or else last night never would have happened. It was actually comforting, admitting that it was just "right", since otherwise having sex the night before would have been about Sam being selfish. That hadn't been it at all, though, and Sam knew it. Denial would only make him seem worse in his own eyes, wouldn't make him feel better.
Dean pursed his lips; those plump kissable lips, and hell if Sam wasn't just as deeply into this as Dean was, if not more so. Despite their serious conversation, he was already half hard and thinking about rolling Dean over into the mattress and kissing him breathless. "I can't answer that, Sammy. If you don't know, why would I know?"
Sam opened his mouth but didn't say anything. Because Dean was right.
"None of this makes me feel better," he finally said plaintively, after wracking his brain, trying to come up with the answer for the question of "why now?" Because there was still the niggling fear that this -- this thing, their feelings, this new direction in their relationship, which up until now had been strictly fraternal -- was somehow being caused by the mark set on the back of Dean's neck, and if that was so, then these feelings might go away when it was removed, and what they were doing now would irreparably damage the relationship between himself and Dean....
"I can make you feel better, Sammy," Dean was purring, and he palmed Sam's stiffening cock through the material of his pajama bottoms.
"I--" It wasn't that he didn't want it. Not that he didn't want the quick fix, to burn off some anxious energy, maybe exhaust himself enough that he'd be able to sleep. But they weren't quite done yet. Dean had assuaged one of his fears, even if the answer hadn't really been an answer at all, but there was something else that was niggling at Sam. "I'm afraid, Dean."
Dean responded immediately, removing his hand and straightening, letting in chill air under the covers as he sat up next to Sam. "What are you afraid of, Sammy?" he asked, sounding fierce and very much like the older brother that Sam remembered. Even if he looked like a pretty teenage boy with messy hair who wouldn't be able to hold his own against an irate kitten.
"I'm just..." he had to get it out before he chickened out. "I'm worried that once we get the mark removed, you won't want this anymore -- that you won't want me anymore -- that it'll wreck everything."
Dean stared at him for a long moment, and Sam couldn't read his expression, couldn't figure out what Dean was thinking. Then Dean's eyes narrowed, his lips thinned, and he hauled off and socked Sam in the shoulder as hard as he could.
"OW!" Sam yelped, shocked as much by the action as the pain. He jerked up and scooted back, leaning into the headboard and staring at Dean with his mouth open. "What was that for?!" he blurted, cradling his shoulder. Dean had actually put some force behind that punch, and it had hurt. He might not bruise, but he'd be feeling it tomorrow. So much for the kitten theory.
"For you being a stupid jerk!" Dean shot back, his eyes flashing, his bare chest heaving. He looked pissed and Sam swallowed, as much pleased to see that Dean could and would stick up for himself as he was concerned because he'd said something to upset his brother.
"Do you think I'm someone else right now?" Dean snapped, his voice low but hard. God, Sam couldn't remember the last time he'd seen Dean this angry; not since back when Sam and John had been fighting all the time before he'd left for college. "Is that what you think, Sammy?"
"I.... No?" He flinched, wishing he hadn't sounded so uncertain. "No, of course not, Dean," he managed with a little more assurance.
"I'm still me," Dean said, more softly, and Sam was horrified to see those beautiful eyes filling with tears. "I'm different now, but I'm not a different person," he continued, still glaring at Sam. Sam wanted to reach for Dean, but he was scared he'd be rebuffed. "Do you think I'm going to magically be the big brother that you remember once the mark's removed, Sammy?"
"No!" Sam denied quickly, and discovered as he spoke the word that it was true. "No, I know that you're you, Dean. I do! I just...." He fumbled for words, trying to find a way to make this right, and reached for Dean. Dean gave him a sulky, angry look, swiping at his eyes almost violently, but allowed Sam to tug him into his arms. "It's just that this is so weird and out-of-the-blue. I was afraid that the feelings between us were caused by the mark, by what was done to you, and that once it was gone, you wouldn't... want this anymore."
Dean was shaking his head as Sam faltered, his words trailing away. "Not going to happen," he stated firmly. He settled down, resting against the shoulder that he'd punched, and Sam ignored the faint ache. He'd deserved it, after all. He cuddled Dean close, hoping that he hadn't screwed things up too badly. "I'm still me right now, Sammy," Dean murmured, placing his palm over Sam's heart, his hand smaller but as familiar to Sam as his own. "Nothing's going to change that. I'm not going to suddenly be 'fixed', and I'm not going to stop wanting you."
"Okay." Sam was fine with that, really. And now that Dean had laid things out for him the way he had, Sam's midnight anxieties suddenly seemed insubstantial and foolish. "You're right, Dean. I was being unfair to you, and I'm sorry I hurt your feelings."
"I'm sorry I hit you, Sammy," Dean responded, shifting to crawl into Sam's lap, his expression contrite as he leaned forward to kiss Sam softly on the mouth. He wrapped his arms around Sam's neck, squirming down his thighs, and Sam's cock twitched, the interest that had flagged when Dean had been angry at him reawakening now that his brother was wriggling right on top of it.
"Still, I feel bad. I'll have to make it up to you," Sam murmured, running his palms up Dean's back, then down to cup his ass cheeks. The flesh was so soft and smooth, Dean was warm and breathing in his arms, and he kissed Dean so deeply that it seemed he'd never be able to find himself separate again. And that was just fine. "How can I do that?" he asked breathless when they finally broke for air.
"You can get inside of me," Dean purred, and for a moment Sam thought that Dean had been reading his thoughts while they'd been kissing... but then Dean wriggled in his lap and he realized that he had meant the statement more literally.
"I can do that," he rumbled, casting his mind to the lube sitting on the bedside table. He and Dean hadn't had full penetrative sex except for that one time. Not because they weren't inclined, but Sam was still a little new to that method of intercourse and it made him reluctant when he wasn't sure that he could be good at something. Besides, it was messy and blowjobs and handjobs were quicker....
But right now messy and involved sounded like just what he wanted.
"I can definitely do that."
Dean knew that sometimes Sammy was silly, but every time he caught him at it, it exasperated him all over again.
Discovering that Sammy blamed himself for what had happened shouldn't have surprised Dean, but it had a little. Finding out that Sammy had thought he'd change his mind once he was 'fixed', that he thought Dean wasn't in his right mind right now, had made him so angry and upset. Even though he knew that Sammy couldn't really think that way, because Sammy would never have sex with Dean if he didn't think that it was exactly what Dean wanted.... But Dean'd had to point that out to Sammy before he saw it. Because Sammy was silly like that.
Well, they'd had a small argument, it had ended in sex, and so everything was all right, as far as Dean was concerned. And Sammy had bought lube, which was way better than the lotion Dean had lifted from Missouri. It meant that Sammy was as into this as Dean was, and it also felt better, slicking Dean up so that Sammy's cock could slide in and fill him up, pressing against all the best places inside.
Sammy had insisted that they had sex facing each other again. Not that Dean minded; it was easier to remember that it was Sammy he was with when he could see his face. Not that he didn't know the scent of his brother, not that he couldn't feel the warmth of Sammy's body all the way into his bones. It wasn't that he was truly in danger of becoming lost in his memories. Having sex with Sammy actually clarified things for him, in a way that nothing else did. Sometimes things were blurry, sometimes Dean had trouble holding onto the passage of time, and he still got lost more often than he liked. Even though he was still him, he was crippled by the mark that had been set into his flesh, by what She had done to him. He wasn't disputing that; he just knew that he was still himself and that this confusion had nothing to do with his desire for his brother. He'd never been more clear on anything else in his entire life.
Having sex with Sammy was everything that was good in his life. It wasn't anything like it had been with all the other men before; wasn't even the same act, even though they were the same actions. When Sammy touched him, it was because he wanted to make Dean feel good. Not because he wanted to grab, claim, possess. Well, Sammy did want all those things... and Dean wanted to give them to him. But there was more to it than that, and they both knew it.
Dean knew that Sammy had been afraid that when he touched Dean in a sexual way, Dean might flash back to all the abuse that he'd received while being held by Engram and the others, but that had never been a real danger. Their coming together was nothing like the way that Dean had been used, beaten, fucked.... Already those memories were getting foggy, and even though strange men still scared and intimidated Dean, he knew that he was safe with Sammy. He'd never forget, but the past had no power to damage his present with Sammy, and he was sure of this and it made him happy.
They'd had sex, sweet and sloppy and sweaty, and now they were curled up together in the afterglow. And Dean figured that it had been worth talking about their feelings after all... though he really hoped that they wouldn't have to do that again for a good long while. The talking about their feelings, that was -- not the sexings, which he wanted to do as often as Sammy would let him get away with it.
"Sammy, we wrecked both the beds," he pointed out in a husky whisper. When his only response was a light snore, Dean grinned and snuggled into the warmth and comfort of Sammy's embrace. His brother was finally asleep and since it was Sammy who was lying on the wet spot, Dean was more than happy to follow his good example and sink into sleep as well.
As long as he had his Sammy, everything would be all right.