Closer Than Brothers
Spoilers/Warnings: One line of dialogue is taken from the pilot.
Summary: Relationships can change over time.
Notes: Written for stagesoflove 2006, round one, Five Stages of Love.
#1 - Attraction
Dean shoved him back against the rail support and leaned in close, incandescent fury in his eyes. That was all it took to get Sam hard.
In that split second, four years of urgent blowjobs in seedy nightclub washrooms, fumbling handjobs tucked away in shadowed dance floor corners and anonymous sex in rubbish-strewn alleys flashed through Sam's mind. And every slightly shorter, stocky, cocky, smart-mouthed pickup was suddenly overlaid with Dean's face.
It was an epiphany. Possibly the most inconveniently timed epiphany in the history of epiphanies, but it was his, and he embraced it.
Since leaving home, Sam had spent the whole time trying to find a new Dean, hunting him in shady dives and lowlife pool hall joints. Anywhere that looked the kind of place where Dean would go to hustle, Sam had jotted down the name to hit the next time he felt lost. He felt lost often.
He loved Jess, he knew that, it was written on his soul. She'd helped him put himself together once the rush burned off - the rush of freedom, independence, out here on my own exuberance. It had been a most spectacular crash, and Jess had been there ready with a smile, a gentle touch, a warm soft body wrapped around his own to keep the ghosts away.
Yeah, Sam loved Jess, but he needed Dean. He hungered for the touch of callused hands and scarred familiar skin, the closeness they had shared as boys, refocused, viewed through some obscene kaleidoscope of shattered, coloured mirrors.
How could he choose?
"Don’t talk about her like that."
Dean let go, stepped back and turned away and the world closed in on Sam, cold and cruel, leaving him vertiginous and shaky.
He was so screwed.
He was disconcerted by the sudden rush of lust and fear in Sam's eyes as he collided with the bridge support, but Dean refused to be distracted.
Plenty of time later to think back on this and wonder if the heat against his thigh, for that brief second, was caused by him or simply one of the side effects of being on a hunt again.
Plenty of time to lie awake and wonder, to marvel at the man who wore his baby brother's skin and sweet smile.
Plenty of time to decide it was safer to blame it on adrenaline.
#2 - Romance
The stock was beechwood, warm and smooth as silk to the touch. Polished to an oil sheen by a thousand hours in caring, careful hands. It fit Sam's grip as though it had been made for him. The tiny nicks and scratches, sanded out and filled, told him that the crossbow had seen action.
"Happy birthday, Sammy."
The laser sight was still so new it smelled of paint and plastic, carefully installed by one who knew his craft. Sam doubted Dean had let the bow out of his sight. It had quite obviously been very well cared for.
"You never did learn how to aim too good. Figured you'd need whatever help you could get." A shrug. "It's not like it cost me, dude. I won it in a game."
The track was flawless, true with not a trace of old wax. There wasn't a speck of dust to throw the bolt off-course. Sam knew Dean took the maintenance of his weapons very seriously, but this was special, a labour of love.
"It belonged to Dad. He planned to give it to you on your twenty-first but, well, shit happens, right? You weren't here, he wasn't talking, I was on the road - it was sitting on the bed when I got back so I took care of it. It's a little late, but it's yours now. I figure it's time you took your turn cleaning some of this crap anyhow."
The crossbow bounced a little as it hit the lurid floral throw, but neither of them noticed.
Sam batted Dean's outstretched defending hands away and wrapped his brother in a fierce hug. Dean froze, his arms held out useless for a moment, before he looped them hard around Sam's waist.
The hug, wordless and intense, went on and on… and on and on and on until the awkwardness got just too much for both of them to bear and then they pulled apart.
#3 - Passion
When Dean emerges victorious from a battle, bruised and sometimes bleeding, slightly giddy from adrenaline, Sam's hands tremble as he cleans and tapes the wounds.
The warm, tanned skin beneath his fingers makes his heartbeat race, his pulse so loud he hardly hears Dean crowing out his victory.
The curve of neck and sweep of sharply angled shoulder blade invites the touch of tongue and lips and teeth. Sam resists.
The freckled knobs of spine that march from nape to waistband beg to feel the kiss and claw of nails along their route. Sam resists.
The fading scar across the arc of Dean's left hipbone, made by some unholy spirit's lash once meant for Sam, requests that homage should be paid with tears of gratitude, preferably from Sammy on his knees. Sam resists.
And then one night Dean isn't quite so victorious - he leaves a pint or so of blood behind him when he's done. The spirit's gone and the bones are turned to ash and dust, but Sam thinks he'll be seeing her for many years to come.
They can't afford another visit to a hospital - cash is running low and the plastic's all maxed out. Dean's already sent another bunch of applications in, but for now, they're on their own.
By the time they reach their shitty little motel room the bleeding's gone from terrifying gush to sluggish trickle… until Dean's jeans come off. At which point Sam is on his knees, helping ease the slashed up fabric over equally slashed up skin and trying not to notice Dean's cock a bare three inches from his nose.
Of course, at that, the blood starts flowing once again - slow and steady, sliding over razor-parted lips of flesh to paint a sinuous trail around Dean's knee and calf and ankle. It's obscenely beautiful in ways that Sam cannot accept and he bites his cheek until he tastes his own spilled blood.
Sam takes the last clean(ish) towel from the bathroom and then resorts to tearing up a sheet to staunch the flow of blood. It's dirty work, and he's smeared with it, hand and brow, the slightest trace of not mine on his lip before he licks it off to mingle with the traces of - Dean in me! - his own.
Then stitches, tiny, neat and perfect, closing the mouth that screamed for Sammy's touch so loud it deafened him to other thoughts.
Dean is motionless, zoned out on the pain, and the pain pills and the half a glass of whisky he's tossed back. He doesn't twitch when Sam ties the final knot in place and plants a dry kiss on the sculpture of his knee. He doesn't question Sam when he slides between his thighs and rests his head against Dean's smooth, toned belly.
But he does wonder at the damp sounds of tears and the brush of wetness slick across the scar on his hip. He knows he must remember this when he's awake.
#4 - Intimacy
Sam was nothing if not persistent, he always had been, but now Dean was the sole focus of the beam of his intent. And Dad's old trick of stashing a new (to Sam) book or a candy bar beneath the car's seat didn't work now he was grown.
He wanted answers, and he didn't let Dean dissuade him. Not that Dean fought so very hard to keep his silence. Every time he tried to argue, to refuse, the scar that traced the curve of his left hipbone seemed to burn and throb, felt warm and damp beneath his jeans, and he smelled tears. He thought perhaps he should remember why.
For every scar and broken bone that he'd not witnessed, Sam insisted Dean tell the tale - he hung on every word. He pulled out details, probed the corners of Dean's memory, insisting on a clear, complete retelling of events.
He marked the pages of the journal to remind him which demon, ghost or beast had harmed his kin. Tiny pinprick spots of Sam's own blood smeared in the corner - penance and payment - a promise for the future.
The bench seat in the Impala appeared to shrink with every journey, bringing elbows, knees and thighs together much too much. Neither brother ever mentioned it or moved away.
The motel rooms seemed to grow ever smaller, twin beds forced closer to leave room for all their gear. A yard apart and then a foot, and then an inch was wasteful. Soon they took to renting doubles where they could.
The bathroom doors no longer closed the way they used to - warped by steam and years of misuse, they surmised. It wasn't worth their time to register complaints. They made the best of it.
The hot water for their showers grew ever scarcer and it seemed unfair to make one finish up his wash with cold. With a tilt of eyebrow and a small, crooked grin, they made a pact to share.
Dean woke sometimes, in the fullness of the night, and listened as Sam whispered soft apologies. Fingers, feather-light and worshipful, traced the scars and bumps of broken bones he'd learned the truths of. And Dean smelled tears.
Dean caught his inner cheek between his teeth and bit down hard, holding back the sinful secrets he had still to share. His tongue traced the line of scar tissue the trick had brought him, and he smiled.
#5 - Commitment
Finally coming together was like sliding naked into a heated pool - slick, all-embracing with a marked lack of resistance. A huge weight lifted off shoulders hunched so long it had become an almost natural posture. It was like flying.
It was like coming home. For the first time ever.
Dean, surprising them both, had been the one to break the conspiratorial silence that surrounded their growing closeness, their stolen intimacy. And he'd done it in bed, as the faintest early dawn light filtered in around the frayed motel curtains.
"We have to be sure, Sammy. Once we do this, there's no way we can go back. If it goes wrong, we can't just split and never see each other again. I think that might kill Dad. I know it'd kill me."
Sam lifted his head from Dean's shoulder and blinked until his brother's face shimmered into focus. He studied Dean's serious expression for a moment and then snorted, shook his head and let it drop back down.
"Dean, we passed the point of no return a long time ago. It's too late to second-guess this now. Is that why you haven't…?"
Dean twisted, pushing himself over onto his side to face Sam, and tugged his brother flush against his chest and thighs.
"We can't do this if you're going to walk away. I won't wave you off to Stanford with a smile and I can't go with you. I guess I need to hear you say…"
Sam spoke up quickly before Dean could lay himself any more open than he already was. He couldn't bear to see his brother so vulnerable, not when it was so very easily preventable.
"I'm not going, Dean. I don't think I ever was, not really. I just needed - space, you know? I wanted you to back off and let me make my own decisions. Took you long enough."
"Dean, I'm staying. I choose you, okay? I can't walk away from you again."
The kiss was messy, hungry, full of vows and promises they still couldn't speak aloud. But they understood.
The next town they came to, Dean got an extra key made for the Impala and presented it to Sam. Sam said it was as close as Dean would ever come to getting down on one knee. He also said yes.