Swings and Roundabouts
Spoilers/Warnings: Reference to a character in 'Home'.
Summary: Series of seven connected ficlets, each based on the interpretation of one sin and one virtue.
Notes: Written for stagesoflove 2006, Round 3, 'Seven Deadly Sins' and 'Seven Heavenly Virtues'.
Pride // Faith
Everything's going great - until the second black dog appears out of nowhere.
With one swipe of a paw the size of a dinner plate, it knocks Dean into the corner of a badly crumbling crypt.
Dean feels a wrenching pop as his arm is tugged free of its socket. His shotgun, still fully loaded with rock salt, falls to the ground from suddenly slack, nerveless fingers.
"Dean! Stay down!"
And Dean does. He doesn't even think about disobeying that voice, for all that Sam's only been doing this on a regular basis again for a few short months.
"I can do it, Dean!"
Sam is adamant - not that Dean is arguing, but Sam's still relearning how to trust himself in situations like this - and if the gun wobbles, it's only for an instant. Then it's steady as a rock again, cocked and ready, aimed square between the glowing eyes of the fast approaching hound.
Dean cradles his dislocated arm to his chest and watches the massive beast bound ever closer to his brother.
He sees the hours - the years - of regular practice in Sam's almost perfect stance. Remembers tapping knees and elbows into position with his father's training stick; tugging shoulders back and down until Sammy stopped curling himself around the weapon of the moment, setting himself up to suffer the bone-deep bruises of uncontrolled recoil. Happy times.
The sound of a second shot merges with the first, so close together they almost sound like one. But the dog jerks twice before it drops like a stone, just one short stride away from Dean's own earlier kill.
Dean feels the warm glow of pride for a job well done, though he's unsure whether it's for the death of the dogs or the extra hours he spent on Sam's training after Dad threw up his hands in disgust.
He decides it's both.
"Dude, nice shooting! I knew you could do it. Hell, you were trained by the best."
And if Sam isn't quite as gentle as he might have been, helping to put Dean's shoulder back into place, Dean doesn't mention it. He's still revelling in the heated look he'd got for his teasing, and the muttered threats of retribution Sam is tossing his way as he salts and burns the twin bloated canine corpses.
It sounds to Dean like corporal punishment is on this evening's playtime agenda. He can live with that.
Gluttony // Temperance
Dean's fingers clamp down hard on Sam's hips to stop him pushing himself back onto Dean's cock. Sam groans.
"Dean - please!"
"Sammy, Sammy, Sammy. I never would have taken you for such a cock-hungry little bitch, but, I gotta say, it's a good look on you."
"Dammit, Dean! Move already!"
A second attempt by Sam to force a deeper penetration is thwarted, and then punished by a sharp slap to his ass. His internal muscles react, clenching tight, dragging a heartfelt groan from his evil-minded brother. So he does it again.
"Oh, man, you really are a greedy little slut. Twice last night and then again this morning and now here we are - it's barely noon and you are begging for it."
Dean eases back until the only points of contact between his body and Sam's are his hands on Sam's hips and the very tip of his cock.
Sam whines in frustration and moves to transfer his weight to his left elbow, freeing up a hand to palm his cock. He barely gets in one full stroke before Dean is there, dragging his hand back up to beside his head and pinning it roughly to the mattress.
"Nuhuh. Not yet, Sammy boy. For that, you get to wait some more."
Ignoring Sam's pleas and entreaties - and a not inconsiderable smatter of curses and highly inventive obscenities - Dean restarts the long, slow strokes that had already brought Sam so close to the edge.
Sam is reduced to a mindless chant of 'More, now. Please, Dean. More dammit, now!' before Dean acquiesces and slides in, hard and deep.
"All good things come to those who wait, brother mine."
Sam howls as Dean layers himself, belly to spine, over Sam's back, and begins to move with dark intent. His cock is in almost constant contact with Sam's prostate now and Sam begins to shake apart from over-stimulation.
It only takes a single fingernail, dragged the length of his cock from base to tip, to push Sam over the edge, and he takes Dean with him, twitching muscles pulling aftershocks from both of them, until they collapse in a sated heap.
The word is mumbled into the base of Sam's neck, and he's too wiped to react. Dean is persistent.
"I know you can't get enough of me, but you gotta admit that going slow and holding back is hotter than hell!"
Sam gives a full body shrug and repeats it until Dean gets the hint and slides off sideways, coming to rest along Sam's left side. Sam rolls his head to take in Dean's cocky grin.
"Am I right or am I right?"
Sam snorts and buries his face in the pillow.
"Sleep now, gloat later, okay? Then we can go again."
Envy // Justice
Dean tosses the spoon end over end and watches it bounce off the multi-layered covering of Sam's chest. Sam doesn't even flinch, just keeps on reading.
"Dude, you should be working it, not trying to pretend it doesn't exist!"
Sam continues to ignore him.
"I don't believe you, Sammy! You've been given a gift, a goddamn weapon uniquely suited to the job we're doing here, and you are wasting it! You should - I don't know - train for the day you need to use it. If it was me, I'd be…"
Sam slams his book down on the table and twists in his chair to glare at Dean, as he lies stretched out on their bed.
"You'd be what, Dean? Halfway to Vegas?"
A flicker of eyelashes is Dean's only reaction to having his earlier, tension-easing joke thrown back in his face. Surely Sam knew he hadn't been serious, right?
Sam doesn't pause to let him answer.
"You'd make a killing, Dean. No more penny ante pool hustling or backroom poker games. You could make that roulette ball dance the tango if you wanted. Yeah, I know exactly what you'd do with this gift if you had it."
Sam lifts shaking hands to massage his temples, and the ball of indignant rage in Dean's chest crumbles into dust and drifts away on his sigh.
"If I could cut this out and hand it to you, Dean, I…" Sam's shoulders slump in defeat. "I wouldn't. I'm not that cruel. Do you have any real idea what it's like? I watched you die, man. Max put a bullet between your eyes and your brains were splattered across the wall like cherry Jell-O. How do you think that made me feel?"
Dean's hand hovers in the empty space between them, offering apology, comfort and understanding. Sam studies it dispassionately.
"I know I have to figure this out, Dean. Hitting out in anger's not the answer. I want to learn how to control it, I really do, but when I think about Max and what it did to him…"
Sam's moving as he's talking, and by the time his voice fades into nothing he's standing next to the bed, fingers tangled tightly with Dean's. Dean gives a tug and hauls him down to lie beside him on the bleach-stained bedspread.
"You're an idiot, you know that?"
Dean catches Sam's other hand as he tries to land a swat on Dean's uppermost thigh.
"It wasn't his gift that made Max what he was, that was down to his fucked up family. You were raised up to know right from wrong - to only use force against the enemy. Jesus, Sammy, you were going off to law school. Justice, impartiality, equity. This ringing any bells for you, dude? Once you've got a handle on this thing, do you seriously think you'd ever use it to hit out in anger? That's not you."
Sam allows Dean to tangle them into their accustomed sleeping knot, and then closes his eyes.
"We'll call Missouri in the morning, okay, Sam?"
Sam's agreeable hum fades into a quiet, peaceful snore. Dean lies awake and worries.
Anger // Prudence
They've been staying at Missouri's for almost three weeks when Sam finally loses his temper. It's been a long time coming.
Dean isn't too happy being the tool Missouri's using to prod his brother, but she wields a mean spoon and she claims to know what she's doing. Dean hopes she's right. To that end, he's been obnoxious much more often than not, getting in Sam's way all day and hogging the covers all night. It's a hard job, but one he's eminently qualified for. He's had years of practice.
Sam's explosion, in the end, is quite magnificent, sending up a fountain of razor sharp cellulose-coated Tarot cards to form a mini tornado just below the ceiling.
Missouri lets it whip around the room for a minute or two, to take the edge off, and then smacks Sam across the back of his head with her open hand.
"Boy, you break anything and you're in trouble, hear me? I'm not doing this for my health!"
The expression on Sam's face is priceless as the cards rain down, assisted only by gravity now that his wave of rage has gone. He's stunned.
"Did I really…?"
"Wow." He studies the cards scattered randomly at his feet and tries to pick up just one with the power of his freaky mind. It doesn't move. Frustrated, he stretches out a long bare toe and flicks it away and then slumps, dejected, back into the sofa.
"Why can't I do this unless I'm angry? I want to get a handle on this - I need to - but it's just not happening. Nothing I do makes any difference and we're just wasting time going over and over the same old lessons."
Missouri nods in complete agreement, and smiles serenely.
"You need focus, Sam. You need to narrow your world down to just one thing - one perfect thing - and let everything else just slip away. Once you've got that, and you can keep it going, even if the world tries to intrude, you can use it. You'll be able to reach out with your mind and pick up anything you need - a feeling, a thought, energy, or one of these cards. But you need that perfect thing, Sam, that one moment when the world no longer exists outside that tight, focussed beam of concentration."
She stands, scoops up the tea tray and motions to the scattered cards decorating her carpet.
"Tidy that mess and then get your skinny ass upstairs. Your brother's wishing you were in his shower. Maybe once you stop holding back and getting all frustrated out of misplaced discretion - you do recall I'm a psychic? - you might be able to find that focus you've been missing."
Lust // Hope
Sam almost trips on his way up the stairs - on his way to Dean. Dean, in the shower, hot, wet and wanting him. Missouri says it and he knows it's true because every moment he's away from Dean he wants him too.
That first wave of frantic lust carries him up the rest of the stairs and along the hall to where the bathroom door waits, closed but not locked. The handle turns easily beneath his fingers and then he stills, frozen by the reality of what's just happened. Someone knows. Missouri knows. Knows and - what? Understands? Accepts? Does she has she will she see them together if he opens this door and does what he urgently, ardently wants to?
He knows the thought of someone watching this should make him step back, step down and back away, but it doesn't. It spurs him on. For the first time in forever this isn't a dirty little secret, something to hide from friends and family, from prying outside eyes. This time they have a witness. It makes him harder. And to think he's always accusing Dean of being the kinky one. Maybe it's in the blood.
The door handle turns and slips away from his loose grasp and suddenly they're face to face.
The towel around Dean's hips is small and frayed and barely gives a glancing nod towards propriety. It comes off easily under Sam's hands and a vivid spark of understanding flashes to life in Dean's eye.
"Sammy? I didn't hear Missouri go out."
The words are absently spoken; Sam's focussed entirely on Dean's wet skin. Whole acres of skin - naked, wet and begging for the touch of his fingers, lips, tongue, teeth and cock.
The immediate twitch of Dean's cock has Sam grinning and tugging him back towards the bedroom.
"She sent me up here. Missouri knows, Dean. She thinks this will help me focus, will help me do what I need to do."
Sam makes sure the bedroom door is securely closed behind them then turns back, breathlessly eager. Dean is standing at the foot of the bed, one hip and head cocked, a sultry pout emphasising his already full lips. Sam falls a little further in love.
"So… What?" Dean's eyebrow lifts in enquiry. "I'm just a means to an end? You only want me to get your mojo working?"
Sam grabs a double handful of fabric and tugs up, dragging multiple layers of clothing over his head in one go. Once he's down to a plain white wifebeater, he stops.
"I'm sorry, Dean. You're right; I'm just using you. I'll go down to the bar and find some other guy to fuck my brains out. Don't wait up."
A split second later he's plastered face first against the door, hands pinned to the wood on either side of his head. His hips tilt automatically, grinding back into the hot, hard column of flesh that Dean is sporting.
"You're so fucking predictable, man." Sam squirms as Dean mouths the tendon in his neck. "You gotta know I'd never step out on you."
Dean bites down and pushes Sam even harder against the door.
"You know I'd kick your preppy ass if you tried."
He steps back and licks his lips as Sam turns.
"Now get naked."
Greed // Charity
"Aw, c'mon, Sam, you know it makes sense!"
Sam pointedly ignores his brother and focuses on shovelling the snow off the driveway. He seems to revel in the routine domesticity that Missouri has allowed him to adopt as his own, no matter how temporary it might be.
Dean has let Sam indulge his need for normalcy for months now, sitting on hands that twitch to wield guns and bows and flourish crucifixes. His ass has been itching to settle down behind the wheel and feel the Impala rock and roll and roar at his command. He wants to watch the miles roll by, but he's been patient and understanding - until now.
"You know we have to move on eventually. There are jobs out there which need that special Winchester touch."
His own personal project, a pale manila folder stuffed with newspaper clippings and smeared, crumpled photocopies, lies hidden beneath their mattress, but Dean still sees its gruesome contents everywhere he looks. He needs to act.
"I'm only asking for the one weekend in Vegas, just enough to cover us for the basics for the next few months. Hell, think of it as Freaky Finals if it makes you feel better - a chance to use all your new tricks in a working environment without the usual danger of beheading, possession or evisceration. Make the little white ball land in the sweet spot on the wheel sixteen times in a row and watch the croupier freak; make the dice dance jigs the length of the table."
He doesn't let up for a week.
For what seems like the hundredth time in the last five minutes, Dean lifts a neat bundle of notes and riffles through it with his thumb, breathing in the scent of more cash than he's ever held before.
"Fifteen thousand dollars, Sammy. This is great! I don’t even care that they barred us from every casino on the strip for the rest of our lives. That was so much fun! The looks on those guys' faces when it just kept landing on red? Priceless."
The smile Sam's wearing looks plastic, but Dean's too buzzed to notice. He doesn't realise anything's wrong until his brother grabs the small leather holdall stuffed with cash and then swipes his favourite bundle too.
He's still standing, open-mouthed and flat-footed, when his brain finally registers what his eyes are actually seeing. It's like some hideous nightmare.
By the time he moves, it's too late.
Almost fifteen thousand dollars of his - theirs - the casino's - money is nestled at the bottom of a Goodwill charity bucket, and Sam is clutching a measly handful of notes.
"This will see us through to New Year. It should even get us back up to Iowa for that 'Children of the Corn' pagan sacrifice thing you figured out last week."
Dean is still staring at the bucket.
"Sammy… Are you insane?"
Sam lets himself be manhandled over to and up against the closest wall and gazes solemnly at Dean as he rants for a while. When Dean pauses for breath, he finally speaks.
"It felt wrong, okay? Dirty, somehow. Like… Like turning tricks, whoring. The money felt wrong, Dean. Greasy and unclean and… Even this-" Sam shoves his handful of notes into Dean's jeans pocket. "I don't even want to touch it. Just… Look after it. Tell me when it's gone so I can feel clean again."
"They need it way more than we do, Dean. We always get by together somehow."
Sloth // Fortitude
Dean knows Sam has said they can use the remaining 'dirty' dollars to finance their trip north to Iowa in January, but he also saw the look on Sam's face when he said it. His little brother won't relax until the money's gone.
Dean blows the lot on what might be the last hotel room in Vegas.
The bed is huge, half-hidden under mounds of pillows, and draped in the softest cotton sheets Dean's ever seen. It sits in the centre of - just for a change - a not horrendously decorated room that could easily contain the fifth floor walk-up that was the largest place he ever remembers them staying when they were kids. Dean doesn't think he could ever get used to having so much space between the walls of any one room. It's too open, too strange.
He's sprawled out naked in the centre of the bed, hands tucked up behind his head and one knee bent for best effect. The stark whiteness of the sheets highlights his multi-toned skin. He almost glows.
Sam finally emerges from the bathroom, scrubbing wildly at his hair with a plush cream towel.
"Dude, we've got to share that tub before we go. It's got water jets and everything!"
Then he sees what's waiting for him and he immediately drops the towel, shrugs off the complimentary robe and panther crawls the length of the bed to layer himself over Dean.
"You look so damn hot."
He drops his head and licks a stripe up Dean's neck, from his clavicle to just behind his ear.
"You taste amazing."
He paints a string of fleeting kisses along Dean's freshly shaven jaw, and then sinks his teeth into that lush pout. He nibbles, licks and sucks those lips until they're slick and hot and swollen, and then nudges his way inside.
Dean just lies there and lets him.
After a while, Sam realises he's doing all the work, and he reluctantly pulls back to see Dean's face.
"Dean? Did- did I do something wrong?"
He can't see the way that Dean's fingers are knotted behind Dean's head, or the way Dean's toes are digging furrows into the sheets in an attempt to keep his body perfectly still.
"You gave away fifteen thousand dollars, Sammy. I figure you owe me."
Sam's first instinct is to flinch at the mention of the misbegotten money, but the subtle twitch of Dean's lips pulls him up short.
"I owe you? Dude, I was the one who won that money. I told you it didn't feel right."
Dean's shrug ripples the length of both their bodies, bringing very interested parts into close contact. He licks his lips.
"Oh, you owe me big, little brother. I've been keeping our asses out of the poorhouse by hustling pool and playing backroom poker with cousin Cletus and his good ol' boys. Then you earn fifteen grand in under three hours and drop the lot into a goddamned charity bucket? Damn right, you owe me, and I'm collecting."
Sam's expression is priceless but Dean's not quite done.
"I figure I'll just lie here and let you work it off, dollar by dollar. You're a good-looking boy, Sammy, fit and healthy, and I bet you know a few more tricks than you've let on so far. Be extra nice to me and I might even leave you a tip."
Despite the 'Hell no!' gleam in Sam's eye, his cock is standing to attention and painting stripes on both their bellies as it twitches uncontrollably between them.
"Dollar by d- You're crazy, you know that? I'm not letting you turn me into a-"
"Hooker. Rent boy. A good little whore who'll fuck himself on my cock until I let him come?"
Each word is accompanied by another twitch of Sam's heavy erection, and they both know it. Dean grins and artlessly tilts his pelvis in a slow, sensual grind against Sam's.
"Oh, yeah. I hope those all night sessions at college taught you a thing or two about stamina, Sammy. This might take a while."