The Brothers Winchester had started taking separate showers just as soon as Dean had realized that Sammy really didn't intend on having sex with him.
Dean respected Sammy's resolve. He knew that if he hadn't been able to shield, the way that Sammy couldn't, he wouldn't want Missouri to share in his arousal and climaxes. He felt sorry for Sammy, and he was doing the best he could to teach himself how to shield for Sammy. It couldn't be so hard. If he concentrated, he could feel Sammy wherever he was and sense some of what he was feeling. It must only take a little more concentration to reach the point where he could wrap his shields around Sammy's mind as well as his own, so that they could have sex without disturbing Missouri... right?
Well, so far he hadn't been successful. He touched Sammy's mind with his own often enough. And he'd seen Missouri giving him some queer looks when she caught him doing it -- he did it almost involuntarily sometimes now, like flexing his fingers, only they were the fingers of his mind -- but he had yet to sense that he'd accomplished his true goal. He would know when he did.
And so these solitary showers had become a necessity. Dean wanted Sammy to sex him so badly, and he was hard more than half the time when they were touching -- in bed or out of it -- but Sammy wouldn't and couldn't, so Dean had to take things into his own hands... literally.
Dean hadn't liked it when men had fucked him while he'd been in the clutches of Engram and the others, but it had gotten his body used to regular physical release. He wasn't working right, so he wasn't sure whether his constant horniness was because of that, or just because he wanted Sammy to sex him so much. He thought sometimes that it was one, sometimes the other. Mostly he thought it was both, but probably more because of how hot Sammy was.
Sammy had grown up. There were plenty of times when Dean, lost in his yesterdays, looked at his brother and expected to see the Sammy who had left for college, or a teenage Sammy, or sometimes even a toddler. But Sammy was an adult now, with broad shoulders, strong arms, long powerful legs, and huge hands. Dean just wanted to rub him all over, feel those rippling muscles under smooth flesh, soak in Sammy's heat and lick him, taste the salt and sweat and semen....
He couldn't, though. They kissed, full-on make out sessions with tongues twining and the swapping of spit, and, boy, was that good. It filled Dean with tingles down to his toes, made him feel as though Sammy really loved and valued him, but it never went much further than that. Once or twice Sammy had gotten so involved in kissing that he'd let Dean massage the impressive bulge between his thighs through the rough denim of his jeans, but the moment an anguish groan wrenched its way out of Sammy's throat he would realize what was happening and then he'd make them stop kissing.
Even though he respected Sammy's choice and didn't want to make Missouri feel uncomfortable in her own house, Dean still held out the hope that one of these times he'd get Sammy so heated up that he'd forget everything and just strip off Dean's clothes, and roll him into the mattress and... well, yeah.
He licked his lips, turning his face up into the hot water pouring out the shower head, tightening his right hand around his stiff cock. That was why these solitary showers had become vital. Because if he didn't get himself off in here, in the privacy of the falling water and the warm steam and inside the shields around his head, he'd burst. Dean might be broken and confused, but he was pretty damned sure that Sammy would be unhappy if Dean ended up dry-humping his leg until he creamed his pants. And if he didn't jerk off in the shower, that was exactly what was going to wind up happening, he was certain of it.
Dean wanked himself slowly, visualizing Sammy's huge hands, the long graceful fingers, those broad palms. He wanted Sammy to caress him with those hands so badly.... Sammy did rub his back, and sometimes he even brushed Dean's thigh, causing the muscles of his leg to tense and his cock to jump in his jeans. But what Dean wanted was for Sammy to grip his cock and stroke it, cradle his balls, run his palm over the head, like Dean was doing right now. What he wanted was for Sammy to massage his ass, dig his hands into the taut swell, then slip a finger or three inside of him, get him slicked and stretched for that amazing cock that Sammy hid inside his baggy jeans, the cock that would fill Dean up and make him ache and burn and scream his brother's name....
Biting his lip to capture a low whimper, Dean reached for the conditioner and used it as lubricant to get his own fingers inside himself. It was an awkward angle, but he'd done it plenty of times before -- when Royce had been in a hurry he'd ordered Dean to get himself ready for being fucked, but Dean wasn't going to remember that right now, right now he was only thinking about his Sammy -- and once he had them in there he leaned back against the shower wall, gripping his cock with a firmer fist, this hand also smeared with conditioner so that he could jerk harder, get himself off faster.
He wondered absently if Sammy was going to notice that he was going through the conditioner faster than the shampoo, but the smell of Sammy's hair was all around him and his fingers were buried to the third knuckles and he was pumping his cock hard and fast, stripping his orgasm up out of himself so quickly and violently that it almost hurt. He stifled a small cry, then slumped, ejaculate drizzling over his knuckles before the shower stream washed his hand clean, his knees weak, his muscles trembling, panting softly as he shifted his fingers in his ass. There was a soft, fuzzy feeling in his head and a wash of warmth swept through his entire body. That would have been so much better if he'd been in the shower with Sammy, if it had been Sammy dragging his climax out of him, but it had still been pretty damned satisfying.
The water ran down his face, his wet hair tickling his cheeks, but Dean didn't raise a hand to brush it away. He still had one hand wrapped around his cock and the other caressing the heat inside... and he knew that if he was gentle to start with and stimulated himself carefully, he'd be able to get off again before he started to run out of hot water.
Sammy never asked why Dean took so long in the shower. He probably had a good idea and didn't want his guess confirmed. Dean wondered if Sammy masturbated in his own showers and his flagging erection jolted in his hand. He drew in a shuddery breath, resting his head back against the cool, water-beaded wall, and fondled his cock softly, squeezing more than rubbing, because it was still very sensitive.
Probably Sammy didn't jerk off in the shower, since he was so afraid of Missouri sensing his thoughts and feelings... but it made Dean feel burning hot and squirmy in a good way to visualize it.
"Sammy," he breathed, sliding his fingers in and out, imagining that it was his brother doing it to him. It was a faint, sad substitution, but it was the best he had right now.
Well, it was only for now. They were going to be leaving soon, Sammy had said. And once they weren't staying with Missouri anymore, Sammy was going to be out of excuses.
Dean moaned softly, knowing even with his shields up that his brother was downstairs in the den. Once they were away from Missouri's, Sammy was as good as pounced. And Dean was going to make sure that his brother didn't want to say "no".
Because he was already pretty sure that even though Sammy said it all the time right now, he didn't really mean it. Now it was just a matter of getting Sammy to recognize that fact.
"Sam, honey, we need to talk."
No good conversation had ever started with that sentence. Sam felt that he was justified in being a little reluctant to follow Missouri into her reading room. He'd been goofing around online while Dean took one of his marathon showers upstairs when their hostess had entered the den and ambushed him. He'd already figured out their route to Arizona, and it wasn't yet time to begin packing. Maybe later, after dinner. Sam figured that they'd be heading out around mid-morning or maybe after lunch the next day, but that still gave them plenty of time.
"What is it, Missouri?" he asked politely, as he fidgeted just inside the door.
"Sit," she commanded, indicating the sofa as she settled herself on the chair, her face stern but her eyes kind. He didn't want to, but it wasn't as though he could refuse.
He perched awkwardly. This was where Dean usually sat, when he and Missouri were working together. Sam felt a tug. He was really going to miss this place. He'd miss the shelter that it provided. He'd miss the easy comfort that Missouri gave them, the feeling of warmth and love. He'd miss the good food, that was for sure. And yet there was another part of him, maybe the Winchester gene, that itched to get back on the road. He'd been born in Lawrence, but it wasn't his home anymore. It was just another town. His home was in Dean's heart, and so his home was wherever Dean was.
"That's what I wanted to talk to you about, actually," Missouri said, startling Sam out of his thoughts. He blinked at her. "Well, not precisely. But there's a few things I need to say to you before you and your brother leave my home."
Sam nodded, remaining silent because he couldn't think what to say. The ball was in Missouri's court, so to speak, and he was out of his depth. To mix metaphors, and that actually kind of sounded stupid even in his own head, and he flushed as Missouri smiled softly at him, because she was a mind reader and she knew how dumb he was being.
"Relax, Sam," she urged, reaching forward and patting his hand where it was clenched over his knee. "No need to get so riled up."
Sam grimaced, but tried to calm himself as commanded. "What is it, then?" he asked, clearing his throat and gripping his knees tightly.
"Sam, you need to stop pushing your brother away," Missouri told him, her baby-voice soft and even. "You need to start doing what comes naturally. And that means physically as well as emotionally."
The skin of his face felt stretched too tight, and his eyes were wide and dry. He could feel the slow burn start in the apples of his cheeks then work its way outward until he was flushed to the top of his head, his scalp prickling beneath his hair, and down to his collarbones and below. She couldn't have meant what it sounded like she meant... could she?!
"I mean that exactly," she said firmly, meeting his eyes without faltering.
Sam gaped. "Are... are you telling me that I should enter into an incestuous relationship with my brother?"
Missouri set her lips together primly. "No, Sam. What I'm telling you is to listen to your heart, not your head. You're already in a relationship with Dean. So, yes, the fact that you're brothers makes it incestuous. But that doesn't make it wrong."
"Just because I love my brother doesn't mean I love my brother!" he protested.
"But you do," Missouri said firmly. "Don't you?"
Sam worked his jaw for a moment before he could get any words out. "Not like that!" he blurted.
"Like what?" Missouri pressed, not giving him any reprieve, any chance to collect his thoughts under her barrage, to put together a logical objection. "You love Dean more than anyone or anything else. You'd do anything for him, have already given up everything for him. He feels the same and has done the same for you. That alone is grounds for a solid, life-long relationship."
"But--" Sam began, and Missouri raised a hand.
"I'm not done yet. You were about to say that it's not 'that kind' of relationship. That you can be brothers and nothing more. Do you really think that that's what Dean wants? That that's going to make him happy? What about you, Sam? You feel just as much desire for Dean as he feels for you -- you're just ignoring and squashing it. Denial isn't just a river in Egypt."
Sam pulled a face at this trite adage, and Missouri grimaced as well.
"It's still true," she pursued. "You're muddy with it, Sam. You're beginning to damage your relationship with Dean because you're always holding a part of yourself back. It isn't healthy, for either of you boys."
Sam shifted. He had the uncomfortable feeling that this was actually the truth. But he didn't want to see it that way, didn't want to confront the reality of the situation.
Missouri shook her head. "Well, let me put it to you this way, then. Do you think that someday you're going to fall in love with someone who isn't Dean or that sweet girl in California?"
"NO!" Sam burst out before he even stopped to think. Not that thinking would have changed his answer. He'd already met the two people that he cared for most in the world; Dean and Jess. He wouldn't find anyone else, he was as sure of that as he was of anything.
"So are you going to spend the rest of your life abstaining from sex? Or having sex with strangers who mean nothing to you?"
Sam squirmed. He couldn't believe that they were sitting here talking about his sex life! Or, rather, at this moment, the lack thereof. Missouri was like... well, Sam had never had a mother, so he didn't know whether she was motherly, but she was like an aunt or something, even though he'd only met her a little over a week ago. And you didn't talk about sex with an aunt, right? Especially not when the subject under discussion was whether or not to have sex with your brother.
"And what about Dean?" Missouri pressed, her words causing Sam to jump under his skin. "He's been conditioned to expect regular sex, even though it was the wrongest kind it could be. And from what I've heard and caught in his shattered memories, the boy was something of a tomcat before the Melusine stole him away, am I wrong?"
Sam didn't reply, but his silence was answer enough in itself.
"Your Dean will never love anyone as much as he loves you," Missouri pressed onward intractably. "Never, Sam, trust me in this. Do you expect him to spend the rest of his life celibate? Because I can guarantee you that Dean is never going to want to sleep with someone that he doesn't trust, ever. And that limits his options down to exactly one person."
"But--! But, you can't be condoning this!" Sam expostulated. He hadn't thought of things from the angle Missouri was presenting -- mainly because he'd been trying so hard not to think of Dean and sex at the same time -- but he had the chilling feeling that she was right. And that was just... for Dean that was....
"At first I wouldn't have," Missouri replied calmly, her round face placid, her expression thoughtful. It was as though they were discussing something mundane and harmless, like what to have for dinner, and that just didn't seem fair to Sam, the way that his own head was reeling. "When you boys first came here, Dean, he was a mess. It would have been wrong, even though he wanted it even then."
"Nothing's changed--" Sam began, but again Missouri cut him off.
"Everything has changed." She fixed him with a stern stare. "The sooner you recognize that, the better. Yes, he's still broken. Yes, he gets lost in time and inside his head sometimes. And he'll never be quite right until your father finds a way to remove that mark on his skin, I realize that now. But none of that means that your Dean isn't himself. He's gotten so much better in the last week. You've seen that."
"He's still not--"
"No, he's not. But he knows what he wants, and you ought to do him the honor of believing that."
"He's been trained--"
"That doesn't signify," Missouri told him vehemently. "That's all behind him. Sam, do you really think that after being used for sex by strangers and abusers, Dean would want it from you if he didn't truly want it from you? You've been telling yourself that he's been responding to you sexually because of what he's been through, but it's time to take off the blinders and realize that that's wrong."
Sam slumped back into the sofa cushions. He wasn't done arguing, but he'd temporarily run out of steam. And he wanted to give Missouri's words some serious consideration. He didn't feel that she was infallible; just because she could read minds didn't mean that she was always right. And Dean was hiding things from her, whether incidentally or deliberately, she'd said so herself. So she wasn't the be-all and know-all--
"I never claimed to be, Sam," she inserted, not interrupting his thoughts, but speaking up for herself. Which was fair enough. "I've been wrong in the past and I'm sure I will be again. But I'm telling you here and now that I'm certain that I'm not wrong about this."
She probably wasn't wrong. Sam could feel it somewhere deep inside, that she was speaking the truth; he just didn't want it to be the truth. Not because he didn't want Dean "that" way... but because he shouldn't want Dean "that" way.
But that in itself begged questions. How much of his knee-jerk reaction was because of his own emotions and desires, and how much of it was simply what he'd been taught was right and wrong? Should he start listening to his heart, as Missouri was urging? And why shouldn't he?
But it was such a huge thing, such an important decision....
Sam scrubbed his hands over his face. Already he was half convinced by Missouri's argument, which ought to please her. But he still had some burning questions. And now that he'd sort of partially accepted that it might be okay to give in to the physical desire between himself and Dean, he began to wonder exactly where that desire had come from. Because it certainly hadn't been there before.
And if it was new, didn't that mean that it had something to do with all the things that had been done to Dean since he had been taken by the Melusine? Caused by the Melusine or by Dean's training and conditioning at the hands of those men...? Either way, that made it potentially that much more wrong, all over again, for different reasons.
And why the hell was Sam feeling that way about his brother? He hadn't been touched by the Melusine, not past that initial meeting, and he'd been safely at Stanford while Dean had been being treated like a sex slave. He had no excuses!
"But why would he...? Why would I...?" Sam floundered. He knew what he wanted to ask, and they ought to be past the point of embarrassment here, but the words were hard to string together in complete sentences. "I never, while we were growing up, I never felt that way about Dean. So why do I now? Isn't that bad? Isn't it some outside influence?"
Missouri was smiling at him in a gentle, understanding way that made him want to bristle. He didn't, though. He was hoping too hard that she had answers for him.
"It's definitely not an outside influence," she assured him softly, patting his hand again. "Don't you fret yourself about that."
"But then why?" Sam begged, spreading his hands in entreaty. "Going to college didn't make me that open-minded!"
This surprised a laugh out of Missouri, and after a moment Sam grinned reluctantly and hung his head, huffing a little half-laugh. But the question still stood, and was as seriously meant as any he had ever asked.
"I can only read your mind, Sam," Missouri told him gently. "I don't have access to every deep-seated emotion, or repressed memory, or things that you've hidden even from yourself. Not without going into your mind and digging around, and I don't think I'd be willing to do that even if I had your permission."
Sam nodded. "All right. Fair enough. I was hoping that you could tell me..." he sighed heavily, letting go of that hope. "Okay, but what about Dean, then?"
Missouri tilted her head to one side, fixing him with a bright eye. "Well, that's a little more complicated."
Sam blinked. "Did he... was Dean...?"
"Oh, no, honey," Missouri hastened to assure him, shaking her head. "No, Dean never thought of you that way while you two were growing up, He did know that he was bisexual and he'd experimented with men before the Bad Things happened--"
"Oh, God, I don't need to know that!" Sam cried, sinking his head in his hands, fighting the urge to plaster his hands over his ears.
"Actually, you do," Missouri informed him sternly. Sam looked up and met her gaze miserably, but she didn't flinch or look away. "I'm sorry if it's hard for you to hear, Sam, but you need to know this, because it affects the decision that you're ultimately going to need to make."
Sam felt cold and flushed at the same time, embarrassed, and he wasn't sure if he was more embarrassed for himself or for the man that Dean had used to be, who clearly hadn't wanted to be out-ed, since Sam had never had a clue that his older brother had slept with guys as well as girls.
"Okay," he managed to get out through numb lips. They were sitting here talking about whether Sam should have sex with Dean, with his brother, and it was the fact that said brother had been with men in the past that was making Sam squirm. He didn't want to stop and analyze this reaction, but he had a strong suspicion, as the embarrassment faded and a strange muted anger grew to take its place, that he was feeling more than a little jealous. Also, there was a sense of betrayal -- why didn't Dean tell me? -- even though he knew that before he'd gone away to college, he might not have reacted very well. Hell, he wasn't reacting well now! Thank goodness Dean was upstairs and had no idea what his Sammy and Missouri were talking about down here!
"It's important," Missouri reiterated, folding her hands in her lap and looking so calm about the whole thing. Sam was torn between feeling resentful and being comforted by her matter-of-fact-ness. "Because you have to know that this isn't something that Dean has been driven to because of the abuse that he's been through."
Sam drew in a long shaky breath. That made sense to him. He didn't much like it, but he didn't have to. "Okay," he husked again, more certainly this time. "Okay, so Dean was bi, but he wasn't attracted to me. So where is that coming from now?"
Missouri eyed him oddly. "I never said that Dean wasn't attracted to you."
"But you said--"
"I said that he never thought of you sexually while you two were growing up," Missouri said, and Sam thought that he was justified in feeling confused. "Just before you left for college and when he went to visit you, Dean did find himself physically attracted to you, but he tried to deny and ignore it, the same way you're treating your attraction to him now."
"Oh." Sam sat there for a long moment, just digesting this. "Huh."
Missouri was unflappable, despite the subject under discussion. "I found all this out while I was helping sort his memories that first day," she informed Sam. "He's blocking me away from all memories of the Melusine, of everything up to the moment that those awful men found him naked and wet in a field, with no memories at all and few thoughts of his own." She shuddered violently, hard enough almost to rattle her teeth in her skull, and Sam shivered in sympathy, his eyes filling with tears as he pictured his brother in that situation. Oh, Dean....
"At any rate," Missouri continued, shaking herself free of those horrible thoughts. "I can't tell you exactly why your brother has come to need you physically as well as mentally and emotionally, but I can assure you that the seeds were there before he was broken and beaten and raped. He probably never would have acted on those feelings. I'm inclined to think that he would have eventually sublimated them to the point that he believed they had never existed, but they were there. They didn't come into being as a twisted codependency in response to his captivity and abuse."
Sam sat silently, still except for his breathing and the occasional blink. That was a lot of information to process, but... it helped. It helped immensely. He still wasn't sure that giving in to Dean's obvious sexual desire was the right thing to do. He still wasn't convinced that Dean's desire or his own were completely natural. But knowing that Dean had felt even a little bit of sexual attraction to him "before"... knowing that Dean was bisexual and had been aware of it... knowing that Dean had had consensual sexual contact with males before being raped... it all helped. A lot. More than he would have thought. The subject had traumatized him, and he was having trouble wrapping his head around all the truths that Missouri had heaped on him, but... it helped. It really did.
"Dean loves you, Sam," Missouri spoke softly, as though reluctant to interrupt his thoughts but unable to remain quiet. "In a pure, simple, entirely selfless way. The way he's always loved you."
Sam sat forward, staring at the floor between his feet. He was wearing socks and there was a hole in one toe. He'd have to toss this pair before they started out.
"Okay, so, just so we're clear, here," Sam said, his voice coming out thick and slow. He looked up, fixing Missouri with a steady stare; one that she met calmly. "You are telling me to have sex with my brother."
"Not in so many words, Sam, honey," Missouri demurred. "What I'm telling you that you should do what comes naturally. What you feel in your heart."
Sam uttered an exasperated noise and Missouri shook her head at him.
"I'm telling you that if you do what both you and Dean want, you won't be hurting him." She fixed him with an earnest look. "I'm not trying to force anything on you, Sam. I'm just trying to make you realize some hard truths, and I'm also letting you know that you'll do Dean more harm than good if you continue to deny him. If you take anything away from this conversation, I hope it's that. You. Aren't. Going. To. Hurt. Him. Not by saying 'yes'. You may hurt him if you continue to say 'no'. But it needs to be your decision. Please don't feel as though I'm emotionally blackmailing you, because that's not my intent at all. I just want to help you open your eyes."
Sam swallowed tightly and nodded. Okay. That sounded fair. She was leaving everything up to him, but it was up to him, wasn't it? No one else could make this decision for him. Dean had already made his desires known. Missouri had given him advice. Dad and Bobby had shown that they knew what was going on and indicated a tacit sort of acceptance -- not approval, of course, but possible acceptance -- by leaving, because they wouldn't have to tell Sam and Dean "no" if they weren't there to see things happening. That was as close as Sam would get to approbation, he was sure, and that was fine with him, since he still wasn't sure what he was going to do.
Dean padded into the room, barefoot and bare-legged under one of Sam's shirts, his hair curling wet around his flushed cheeks, his eyes bright.
"Hey, Dean," he greeted, smiling despite the confusion swirling around his head until he could almost hear the buzz. Dammit, why did Dean have to look so... sexy?! Pretty was an understatement, and for some reason seeing him in Sam's shirt made his pulse throb in his temples, chest, and, yes, his crotch. Sam flushed, hoping that Missouri wasn't sensing that, despite the fact that it would validate all the things she'd just said to him. Because it was just plain embarrassing.
"I'm going to go and make us lunch," Missouri said smoothly, rising to her feet as Dean padded over to Sam and crawled into his lap, and thank God he was wearing boxers under the teeshirt, because there was only so much Sam could handle coming at him all at once, and he was already feeling overwhelmed. "Come and join me when you're ready, boys."
No sooner had the door closed behind her than Dean's mouth was plastered to Sam's, his tongue wriggling its way determinedly between his lips. Sam could swear that he tasted come on his brother's mouth, and his cock jumped under Dean's weight. He wondered if he was turning gay, or if he was only gay for Dean, and there was a question he'd forgotten to ask Missouri, but it was too late now, because there was no way he'd be able to broach the subject without feeling like a freak.
He was pretty sure it was only Dean, anyway. The memory of Jess' curves still made him hot, even though it also made him sad. And Dean's slim young body squirming in his lap was giving him a hard-on that felt fit to bust the seam of his jeans, wetness leaking to mark the material of his fly, slicking his underwear, causing his face to flush and his skin to tingle. But the thought of guys, even a youthful Harrison Ford -- who Zach had once gotten Sam to name, when he was falling-down-drunk, as being the one man he'd fuck even though he was straight -- did pretty much nothing for him.
Okay, so it was definitely only Dean. That was good, right? That meant that Missouri was partially right, and this was meant to be... or something.
Only, there was still the fact that Dean was his brother. His older-younger, broken brother. And the flavor of Dean's own come on his lips, and the knowledge that this meant Dean had been jerking off in the shower and then licking his fingers... that shouldn't have made Sam feel so turned on that he was almost ready to pop off in his own jeans.
"Shit," he groaned, pushing Dean away and breaking their kiss with a moist sound that made his erection jump again. "Oh, fuck, Dean, stop."
Dean huffed a disgruntled sound at him and ground down into Sam's lap. Sam gasped, caught between the automatic response of shoving Dean off his thighs and the equally instinctive urge to grab Dean and pull him further into his aching arousal. Dean solved this dilemma by hopping up off of Sam's lap.
"Come on, Sammy. Time for lunch," he said cheerfully, his cheeks even more flushed, his lips bruised with pressure and gleaming red under their mingled saliva.
Sam gulped down an unmanly whimper as Dean followed Missouri, shooting one last sultry glance over his shoulder, from under thick lashes. Sam's face was burning and he was afraid to move, sure that he was going to come in his jeans if he so much as twitched now.
Maybe Missouri had a point after all.
He was certainly willing to give her words further consideration anyway.
It was harder to say good-bye to Missouri than Sam had expected. Not only had her home become a safe haven, but the woman herself had come to mean so much to them both. Sam knew that this was true, because Dean was crying a lot harder than he had when Bobby had left.
"It's okay, Dean, honey," Missouri soothed, holding Dean close and rubbing his back in comforting spirals. "You'll be all right. It'll be you and your Sammy on the road, riding in your Impala. Doesn't that sound good?"
Dean pulled away, snuffling, scrubbing at his eyes, but already looking a little appeased. "Yes," he hiccuped, and he shouldn't look so cute with a reddened nose and puffy eyes, but he did. "But that doesn't mean I'm not sad to leave."
"Well, and that's only fair," Missouri replied, pulling Dean in close again and holding him tight. "And I'm sad to see you go too, baby. I'm going to miss you and your brother mightily. But you'll be out there having fun, so that makes me feel better."
When it came Sam's turn to hug Missouri good-bye, he folded her in tightly and had trouble letting go. He couldn't think of anything to say, but he hoped that she would read his gratitude, and his love, and his sadness at leaving. He was sure she could.
"You take care of your brother," Missouri told Sam firmly as they finally stepped away from each other. Her dark eyes were gleaming with tears but she was willfully maintaining control. "You call me if you think either of you needs any help, all right? I can't do as much for Dean from a distance as I can here, but I'm not completely useless."
"Of course," Sam husked, then cleared his throat. "Th-thank you, Missouri. For everything."
"Don't you fret," Missouri chided, and when she held out one hand, Sam raised his own in response. He blinked down at the wad of cash she placed on his palm.
"Missouri! I can't take this!" he objected, folding his fingers around it and shoving it back at her with an anxious glance around. They were standing beside the Impala, and while there was no one nearby, there had to be several hundred dollars in the bundle she had pressed on him. More, if it was all twenties.
"Oh yes, you will," she shot back, her eyes flashing. "It's not my life-savings or anything, Sam. It's money I've been putting aside for a rainy day. And, well, it's been raining an awful lot ever since you boys arrived. I figure you need it more than I do."
"We'll be okay," Sam said uncomfortably, but he reluctantly pocketed the cash, because it was going to help. He'd just paid his credit card bill before leaving Palo Alto, so he could use it for a while yet, and he had a little money in the bank that he could use to pay off the minimum balance online for a month or two longer, but he didn't want to max it out too quickly. Bobby had left him another credit card, with instructions to use it in an emergency -- "and don't get all fool-headed and stubborn like yer father!" -- but Sam didn't want to use it unless it was an emergency. He didn't want to be reduced to running credit card scams like their father, and this money from Missouri would be a big help.
Eventually he was going to have to start thinking about the future. But not until after he and Dean had seen the Grand Canyon.
Missouri smiled at him, and patted his arm. "Don't you go confusing pride with dignity or vice versa," she told him. "Don't feel bad about taking that money, Sam. I want you and Dean to have it. It would hurt my feelings if you didn't take it."
"All right," he said meekly, and bent to kiss one plump cheek, because there was too much emotion in him and he couldn't express it any other way. "You've helped us so much already, though."
"I've been glad to do it," Missouri smiled, a little sad but loving. "I only wish I could have done more."
Sam didn't think she could have done much more, especially since, as she'd said, there wasn't any more that could be done with the Melusine's mark still on Dean's nape, but he knew better than to try to argue the point.
"Thank you," he said again, the words not enough, but he knew that she could read his gratitude. "Thank you so much."
There wasn't really anything more to say after that, and so Sam and Dean climbed into the Impala. It was weird to think that they were leaving and not coming back -- to the peach-toned bedroom and the shower that they'd shared and the good home cooking and Missouri's care and affection -- but there was a strange sense of anticipation as well, and a sudden gladness that Sam was going to have Dean entirely to himself surged strong and fierce in his chest. It might be selfish of him, but he wasn't going to try to deny it.
The day was tumbling over from afternoon to evening, the western horizon growing fiery with the impending sunset, and the Winchester boys were about to get back on the road.
Sam made sure that Dean buckled up before he even put the key in the ignition. Dean waved vigorously to Missouri as Sam pulled carefully out onto the street and turned toward the road out of Lawrence.
Missouri waved in response, until she was out of sight; a plump black woman, wise beyond her years but looking young for her age, who had made a huge difference in their lives, but who had to be left behind and they all knew it.
Sam felt a final wrench, almost a physical pain in his chest, and then he had to concentrate on merging into rush hour traffic. By the time he was up to sixty on the highway, the feeling of being deprived of something had faded and he was only aware of the rush of asphalt under the tires, the roar of wind through their open windows, the growl of the engine, and Dean's warmth on the bench seat beside him.
"We need music," Dean declared, straining to reach the shoebox under his feet. Sam hauled it out with one long arm and handed it to his brother. "Thanks, Sammy."
He grinned back at Dean, knowing that they were both feeling the same sense of exhilaration. And when Dean popped in his Metallica Black Album and "Wherever I May Roam" came blasting out of the Impala's speakers....
Well, it was like coming home again for the first time in a long, long time.
Keeping Dean buckled lasted all of half an hour, and then he was curled up against Sam's side, his head on Sam's shoulder, one hand resting on Sam's thigh so close that the heel of his palm was actually lying alongside the half-hard erection snaking down one pant leg.
Sam felt as though he'd been hard for weeks -- and, actually, this evening, around ten-thirty or so, it would be exactly two weeks since they'd gotten Dean back, rescued him from those bastards, burned the church down -- and he was beginning to wonder if a man could die of blue balls. He knew that if he pulled the Impala over now, Dean would be more than willing, he'd be eager to give Sam a quick blow job, and it was more the fact of how tempting that was that stopped Sam from trying it than any idea of how "wrong" it was. Because Missouri had given him quite an earful on that subject, hadn't she?
"Sammy," Dean murmured blissfully as Sam accelerated to pass a semi, the Metallica tape running through its paces, and Dean's hand flexed on Sam's thigh like a contented cat kneading. Sam flushed, but Dean sounded so happy that he couldn't bear to protest.
"Ready for dinner?" Sam asked softly, since it was already coming up on seven. He wanted to get a little further tonight before stopping, but didn't intend to push them too hard their first day out. "We can get McDonald's at the next town we hit...."
"Yuck." Dean unabashedly expressed his distaste for that idea.
"Well, if you'd rather, we can find a hotel and order pizza to be delivered," Sam suggested mildly, since he didn't have much of a taste for fast food burgers himself. Not after having been spoiled at Missouri's with real food for a week and a half. "Are you hungry yet?"
"Not yet, Sammy," Dean replied, turning his head and pressing a kiss to Sam's bicep, where it was exposed by the teeshirt he was wearing. It was a strange, random action, but it was so entirely Dean, and it made tingles of sensual pleasure skitter through Sam's body. Dammit, he was driving here!
"Ready for a new tape yet?" Sam prompted, when "One" started up for the third time. He didn't mind the cuddling, really he didn't, but Dean's nearness and the warm smell of arousal that was radiating from him were a little distracting.
"Okay," Dean said easily enough.
After another minute and several verses had passed, Sam nudged his brother. "New tape?" he prompted.
Dean let out a gusty sigh, but pried himself away from Sam long enough to choose a new cassette from the shoebox. He ejected the Metallica tape, but before he could shove the AC/DC album in the slot, Sam's phone began to vibrate against his leg.
"Hang on a sec, Dean," Sam instructed, digging his phone out. He half expected it to be Missouri, checking up on them, and he was ready to chuckle and tell her that he'd been planning to call her once they'd stopped for the night and before they went to bed, but the small screen said [DAD], and so Sam answered quickly and a little breathlessly.
"Sammy!" And Sam tensed, because unlike Dean -- well, Dean as he had been "before" -- John was pretty good about remembering to call him Sam, unless he was concerned, excited, or distracted. "I need you to bring your brother back to the Northwest!"
"Wait, what?" Sam stuttered, gripping his phone in a sweaty hand. Dean gazed at him, wide-eyed, barefoot and cross-legged on the bench seat, the heavy metal tape still held delicately in one hand. Unless he'd called Missouri first, their Dad couldn't even know they were on the road. And why would Sam want to bring Dean back to the place where so many terrible things had happened to him?!
"Come to Oregon," John clarified. "The Multnomah Falls area. I'm staying in Corbett. I need you to bring your brother as quickly as you can."
Sam blinked. "You've found something out?"
"Do you think it's just because I miss you boys?" John asked caustically. Sam was speechless for a moment, his mouth hanging open. "I'm sorry." Sam could see his father scrubbing at his eyes wearily in his mind's eye. "I'm sorry, that was uncalled for, Sam. I do miss you both, but I wouldn't ask you to bring Dean back here if it wasn't for a good reason. You know that, right?"
"Yeah." Sam cleared his throat. "Yeah, okay, Dad, we'll come. Do you," he hesitated. "Do you wanna talk to Dean?" He shot his silent brother a glance and then frowned at the strange, unreadable expression on Dean's face.
"No time," John said gruffly, and Sam wondered if their father was really in such a hurry or he just didn't want to talk to Dean. He knew he should give the man the benefit of the doubt... but he'd grown up with John, so he suspected his motivation. "I have to go. If what I found is correct...."
John trailed off, mumbling to himself, and Sam revised his opinion, slightly. He knew this scenario; John was caught up in the Hunt, was in pursuit, was a hunter first and a father only a faint second. Sam understood, even though he didn't approve.
"Get on the road as quickly as you can," John instructed, crisp and curt. "And call me once you hit Oregon."
"But, Dad--" Sam blurted, but it was too late, John had already hung up. "Dammit!" He shot Dean a rueful look. "I'm sorry, Dean. Dad was in a hurry, and--"
"It's okay, Sammy," Dean said softly, reaching forward and sliding the tape into the stereo. "Daddy's busy right now, trying to fix me. I don't mind. Not so long as I have you."
Sam nodded, pressing his lips together to keep in the things he wanted to say; things that wouldn't be complimentary to their father, things that would only stress Dean out. Dean curled up against him again and Sam let the familiar licks of Angus Young's guitar work sweep over him, fill in the silence. He'd keep an eye out for a hotel and plot out their new route while they waited for pizza. So much for the Grand Canyon....
As he let go of his resentment, Sam felt a careful, muted swell of hope rise in his heart. If Dad was so excited and rushed, that meant he really was on to something. They might be able to get Dean healed yet!
So... why did this thought fill him with a strange and sudden sense of foreboding?
Sam frowned, maneuvering around an Oldsmobile going thirty-five in the fast lane. He ought to be happy, not filled with anxiety....
Well, time enough to worry tomorrow. Tonight, their first night on the road, was all about Dean and making this a good experience for him.
And maybe it was a little naive of him, but Sam didn't really stop to think about what exactly this resolve might entail.