fragmentedwhole: (Dean bloodied)
[personal profile] fragmentedwhole
Title: For the End of my Broken Heart
Chapter: Five
Author: [ profile] bloodkisses
Pairing: Dean/Sam
Rating: NC-17/Adult
Warnings: Angst. The usual drill. Slash
Spoilers: Devil's Trap (seriously, is there *anyone* who would be spoiled by this?)
Summary: Dad's disappeared and Sam's left to pick up the pieces of his broken brother.
Disclaimer: They're not mine, sadly, no matter how much I pleaded.
A/N: My first plot!fic. I have sweated blood and tears on this thing. I need to thank *everyone* who supported, cajoled, bullied, hand-held and babied me through this. I especially need to thank my betas, [ profile] sosoru and [ profile] wenchpixie. Special thanks and much love go to [ profile] sosoru, because without her belief in me and her endless patience, this thing would never have got this far. Love you darling.

Despite the premonition, Sam feels lighter and more carefree than he has for a long time. He showers and dresses quickly, wanting to be on the road. Now that he's got Dean to agree to the tattoos, he wants to get them done as soon as possible, wants Dean to be protected and them to be bound together. Once upon a time, the idea of being bound to Dean would have horrified him - not because of Dean himself, but because of what Dean represented to the child Sam still was. Now, Sam barely recognizes his younger self, and he hates the ignorance, and arrogance of youth that caused him to wound Dean so deeply, and so often.

They load up the car, and start driving. Sam drives for eight hours straight, and would have driven through the night, but for the fact that Dean threatens to shoot him if he doesn't stop for a rest. It's been a full nine hours on the road by the time Sam finally pulls into the parking lot of a motel. Dean goes to get them a room, while Sam eases himself out of the car, ostensibly to stretch his legs, although in reality, he wants to keep an eye on Dean. The dream has left him unwilling to take his eyes off Dean, at least until they've got the tattoos and he has some way to find Dean, no matter where he is.

Dean returns with the room key, and they make their way over to the burger bar next door, where Sam barely tastes the burger Dean makes him eat. He's too busy watching Dean. Now that he's seeing his brother through the eyes of a lover, he can finally see and appreciate the beauty in front of him, and he can't help but think of the way Dean looks when he's caught in the throes of passion. He shifts, feeling the stir of arousal, despite the fact he's had more sex over the last few days than he had for over a year before that.

"Sam, you're doing the staring thing again. Would you just cut it out?"

Dean's not looking at him, and Sam would swear that there's the faintest hint of color across those cheekbones. The thought that Dean might actually be just a little bit shy about Sam looking at him gives Sam the nerve to lean forward and whisper.

"I was just thinking about going to our room, and bending you over the furniture. Or maybe I'll just pin you against the car and let you fuck my mouth." He knows he's blushing slightly too, hoping Dean doesn't laugh at him. The shiver that Dean clearly can't quite suppress boosts Sam's confidence no end, and has him more than half hard.

He watches Dean swallow, then slowly his brother lifts his head and heavily dilated eyes meet his. Dear God, that look has Sam wanting to do things he's not sure he could even put a name to.

"Then why are we still here?" Jesus, Dean's voice is rough and deep and Sam swears it's the sexiest thing he's heard in a long time.

They walk back to the room and when Dean unlocks the door, Sam follows him in. His pulse jumps when he realizes that there's only one large bed in the room. He knows from the lack of cars in the parking lot that the motel is virtually empty, which means that Dean specifically requested a double, rather than two singles. The fact that they are clearly on the same page, for once in their lives, makes Sam ridiculously, idiotically happy.

He reaches out and catches Dean's arm, feeling the muscles beneath his hand tense, then relax, as Dean resists the fight or flight instinct. Sam feels a moment of anger at Dad for instilling that in Dean, in them both. He forgets to be mad though, when Dean turns round to face him, and shrugs off his jacket. Such a simple action, now imbued with so many layers of meaning.

Sam tugs his brother closer, and steps forward himself. They meet halfway, chest to chest, groin to groin, Dean tipping his head back slightly as Sam bends his forward, lips meeting and tongues tangling. Of all the things they've done, this seems the strangest, to be standing in the middle of a motel room, kissing his brother with the definite intention of taking him to bed.

Between them they manage to strip each others shirts off without breaking the kiss for more than a few seconds. Sam has to pull back though, when Dean slides a hand down the front of his jeans, fingers stroking and teasing through the cotton of Sam's boxers. Sam can't help thrusting into the touch, but eventually he gathers what's left of his wits, and grabs Dean's wrist. He pulls his brother's hand out of his pants, feeling the sudden tension in the body against his. Dean tries to pull back, and Sam wonders if they'll ever be able to erase Dean's deep seated fear of rejection.

"Dean, let me. Trust me."

Dean's answer is a shaky breath, and a nod.

Sam lets go of Dean's wrist, and wraps a hand around Dean's neck, pulling his brother in for another kiss, slow and wet and so good Sam can feel it all the way to his toes. He pulls away, and slides to his knees. His hands are almost trembling when he opens Dean's fly and tugs his jeans and boxers down to his knees.

"Sammy..." Sam had thought he'd heard every way Dean's voice could sound broken, but he guesses he was wrong, because fuck, the way he sounds when he says his name then makes Sam’s heart pound just that little bit harder.

Sam wants to take this slow, wants to make Dean feel as loved and wanted and protected as Dean’s so often made him feel. He slides his mouth down over Dean’s cock, feeling his brother tremble against him. There's a sense of power in knowing he can make his big brother shake, just from his hands on Dean's skin, from the heat of his mouth, dragging over the soft skin of Dean's cock.

"Jesus, Sammy. Oh God..."

The temptation to pull Dean to the floor and crawl up his brother's body and fuck him until they can't move is so strong, but Sam wants to do this right, wants to give Dean this, to prove that they're in this together, as equals.

He works Dean until his jaw starts to ache, until Dean's shuddering and clearly fighting not to thrust into Sam's mouth. Finally, Sam pulls back, closing his eyes as Dean lets out something close to a whimper at the loss of stimulation. Sam stands and walks Dean backwards towards the bed, flashes behind his eyes of the first time he did this, the night on the bridge.

He strips Dean, then himself, amused by the way Dean is apparently unable to form a coherent thought; the way he's so pliant and obedient. There have been many times over the years when Sam would have killed to have been able to reduce Dean to such submissiveness. Sam wonders if this will ever get old, wanting Dean like this. He wonders if he'll ever be able to keep his hands away from his brother, now that he's tasted this.

It's not until he's pressed Dean down onto the bed, and crawled up his body that he realizes that he's left the lube in their bags, which are still in the car. He drops his forehead to rest against Dean's, trying to ignore the way his brother's body arches into his, one leg hooked around Sam's hip. He's certain he can summon up the willpower to go get the lube, providing he can ignore the way Dean's cock brushes against his, and the way Dean's making quiet noises, whimpers and pants and little 'oh' sounds that would be amusing if Sam weren't so painfully aroused.



"Lube's in the car."

Dean shivers and Sam can't help but thrust back against him. It's a poor imitation of what he wants, but it's still good.

"Christ, Sammy..."

"I know."

Dean fucking writhes under Sam, and it makes Sam hiss and dig his nails into his brother’s skin. The thought that Dean’s going to be wearing those marks tomorrow is doing nothing to help Sam’s frustration.

"You could get it." Dean's mouthing at Sam's neck now, and there's just no way Sam is going to be able to leave the bed, let alone find some clothes, get dressed and go out to the car. He snorts, and he feels Dean's body ripple as his brother laughs, softly, breathlessly, warm breath tickling his ear.

"I don't think so..." he tells Dean.

Another laugh, and Sam has to grin. It feels wonderful to be lying there with Dean and sharing the amusement. Lately, everything has been intense and strained and despite their frustrated arousal, it's liberating and soothing to feel so in tune with his brother again.

"Got an idea. Get off me, freak."

Dean wriggles beneath him, and that's really not encouraging Sam to move much. He presses his hips down, trapping Dean between his body and the bed.

"I said off." Dean heaves, and suddenly Sam's on his back, Dean stretched out over him, smirking. He stands, and offers Sam a hand up, then drags Sam towards what Sam assumes is the bathroom.

"Dean, what the hell...?"

Dean shoves him into the bathroom, and into the shower, then he crowds in behind Sam, his chest against Sam's back, before reaching around and turning the shower on. Sam yelps at the first spray of water because it's cold, and Dean snickers, until Sam jabs him in the ribs with his elbow. Dean moves behind him, and then his hand snakes around Sam's waist again, and he catches Sam's cock in a soap slick hand, and strokes, firm and steady, neither fast nor slow, and Sam rocks onto tiptoes, caught by surprise.

Dean's grip is knowing, confident and Sam feels a small surge of jealousy about the thought that Dean's touched someone else like this. But he can't concentrate on anything but the way Dean's handling him, his other hand also reaching around, and rolling his balls in a warm, gentle hand. Dean's cock presses against him, sliding between the cheeks of his ass for a few strokes then slipping down and riding slickly between his thighs, the tip just brushing the back of Sam's balls when Dean presses forward.

Sam shudders, and squeezes his thighs more tightly together, loving the gasp and hard thrust that provokes. It's not the same as fucking his brother, but it's good. The various sensations blend until Sam can barely separate them in his mind. Dean's hot breath fans across the back of his neck, and every so often, his brother drags his teeth over the ridges of Sam's spine.

The orgasm, when it finally hits, matches the rhythm of Dean's hand, slow and languid, the sensation washing over him until he's drained and has to brace his hands against the cold tiles. Dean lets go of Sam's cock and balls, and digs his fingers into his hips instead, and the thought that they’ll be wearing matching bruises tomorrow is a damned sight hotter than Sam thinks it should be. He lets Dean drive against him, despite the fact that his legs are shaking, and the inside of his thighs are starting to burn from the friction. When Dean finally comes, he's almost silent, and he sinks his teeth into Sam's shoulder, not quite hard enough to bruise.

Sam turns under the lukewarm water, and slides a hand into Dean's hair, then angles their heads for a kiss. There's something so intimate, so fundamental somehow about the way they kiss. Kissing Jess when they were sated and weak kneed was electrifying, like lightening during a thunder storm. It felt like a promise of things to come. Kissing Dean is like warm sunny afternoons and the smell of autumn. Like coming home to a place you know you'll always be welcome, where they’ll always have a space for you no matter what.

When he pulls back, Dean licks his lips and grins at Sam. It's all Sam can do not to kiss him again. But instead he shakes his head, and shoves his brother until he gets out of the shower. Sam follows him, and they fight over the towels briefly, as they used to when they were kids. Eventually they dry off, and Dean slips a t-shirt and his jeans and boots on and goes to bring their bags in.

Sam watches him go through the usual routine of checking windows and doors, then Dean strips once again and slides a knife under the pillow, despite Sam's glare, and climbs into the bed.

It still feels a little odd, to share a bed with Dean like this, as lovers. But there's also something comforting about knowing that Dean's right there, close enough for Sam to reach out and touch. Sam closes his eyes, and listens as Dean drifts slowly to sleep, then he rolls onto his side, and rests a hand on Dean's chest, feeling the steady beat of his heart. He fights sleep for as long as he can, fearing more nightmares, but eventually, he succumbs and follows his brother into sleep.


When Sam wakes the next morning, he's wrapped around his brother again, and for once, he's slept past dawn. He doesn't remember dreaming at all, let alone nightmares. He doesn't know whether to be relieved, or concerned.

He untangles himself from Dean, and heads for the bathroom to brush his teeth and shave. Dean's still asleep when he returns, and loathe as Sam is to wake him, he's itching to be back on the move again. If they make good time, they should reach the tattooist by lunchtime, and Sam still won't feel truly comfortable until they've got the tattoos done.

After he's woken Dean, and they've dressed and grabbed breakfast, they set off again. Dean sprawls in the passenger seat, dozing while Sam drives.

They reach the tattoo parlor by early afternoon, and Sam finds it hard to hide his relief, and anticipation. He's tried to deny it to himself, but there is a part of him that views the tattoos as a way of leaving a permanent, indelible sign on his brother that links them to each other, that marks Dean as forever being Sam's.

The tattooist is waiting for them, and the shop is empty but for the three of them. Dean is clearly uneasy, and Sam has to admit that he's a little nervous too. He makes Dean go first, and the furious look that Dean throws his way makes Sam grin. He knows he'll pay for this later, but these days, that threat just makes his breath catch, and his cock twitch.

He lets Dean choose where the tattoo will go, and he picks the small of the back. Sam agrees, loving the idea of that relatively simple mark at the base of that well defined back.

The tattooist takes a drop of blood from each of them, then settles Dean so he's comfortable. Sam sits close by, and as the tattooist begins, the buzz of the tattoo gun loud in the otherwise quiet room, Sam begins the recitation of the spell, trying to imbue it with as much of his will as he can.


Slugs and snails and puppy dog tails. Witches blood and unicorn horn and werewolf fur.

That's what people think spells are. Dean knows better. He knows that spells are not revolting ingredients, but words and intent. Because even the words can be worthless if the person saying them doesn't mean them. The only ingredient that some spells, older and more powerful, darker spells require is blood. So when he discovered that not only is a drop of Sam's blood going into the ink for his tattoo, and vice versa, but that Sam'd be reciting the spell while it's etched into Dean's skin, and vice versa, he knows that whatever this spell is, it's damned powerful.

It's surreal, the buzz of the tattoo gun almost drowns out Sam's voice, as he recites the spell, his lips almost brushing Dean's ear as he does. Dean closes his eyes, and grips Sam's hand tighter and tries to quell the faint sense of fear at the tingle that he can feel, even through the sting and burn of the tattoo; a tingle that tells him the spell is working, that it's sinking into his flesh and blood and soul, and marking him forever. A permanent bond between them that will last for the rest of their lives, and quite possibly beyond.

It feels as if he sits there forever, and Sam's voice is nearly hoarse by the time the tattoo is finished. Dean can feel his body protesting when he finally stands up, stretching muscles cramped from sitting in the same position for too long. He turns to the long mirror in the shop, and twists so he can see the tattoo. But it's Sam's face, reflected in the glass, and unaware of Dean's scrutiny that makes him pause. His brother's expression is a mix of pleasure, relief and possessiveness. It's so unlike Sam that it stuns Dean for a minute. But then the tattooist is carefully stroking lotion and taping gauze over the tattoo.

Sam takes his place in the chair. He's chosen to have his tattoo between his shoulder blades. Dean sits by him, and Sam grabs his hand, holding as tightly as Dean did, and Dean sets aside his worries and curiosity and concentrates on reciting the spell properly, on putting every emotion he feels for Sam into the words. It seems to take even longer this time, and when the tattooist finally finishes, Dean's throat is dry and sore. But when he sees that tattoo on Sam's back, he understands exactly what Sam felt. It's a visible, tangible sign of every thing they mean to each other, of the bond, the tie between them.

Once it's all done, and they've paid, and the tattooist has closed the door behind them they get gingerly into the car. Sam voices the exact thought that's running through Dean's head.

"I think we might have to take a few days off, let these heal before we think about hunting."

"Yeah. Be a shame to go through all this only to ruin the damned things."

To be honest, Dean doesn't mind. The tattoo is starting to burn and ache now, and honestly, he thinks he's almost ready to start hunting again. So the idea of a few days of doing nothing with Sam before finding their next gig sounds like a really good idea. He reckons they'll need six or seven days, maybe eight max before the tattoos are healed sufficiently.

He settles down in the car, slides is sunglasses on and closes his eyes.

“Sam, wake me up when we get to where ever the hell it is we’re going.”

When Sam laughs, Dean cracks an eye open, and the sight of Sam laughing, happy again makes him think that whatever his own misgivings about the tattoos, the effect they’ve had on Sam is worth it, as far as Dean is concerned.


It's been ten days since they got the tattoos. Days that Dean would have resented before the change in their relationship, hating the enforced break from hunting and chafing at the inactivity.

Ten days of the same motel room, of Sam insisting they eat three proper meals a day, of watching daytime TV and surfing the net, of sleeping late, waking wrapped around each other. But it's not the days that have dulled Dean's normal reaction to spending too long in one place, it's the nights.

Ten nights spent in a sweaty tangle of limbs and sheets, the smell of sex heavy in the air. Dean can barely remember what they did to pass the days, the time has blurred in his memory, but every single second of the nights is crystal clear, permanently etched in his memory. Nights where he's memorised the way Sam sounds, and feels, and tastes; the things that make Sam writhe, that make him shudder, that make him gasp and beg and say Dean's name over and over again until his voice is hoarse and Dean no longer knows why they shouldn't be doing this.

He still can't quite shake the feeling that this is dangerous, that he's not only leaving himself open to being broken if, when Sam leaves, but that he's somehow corrupting Sam, tainting him with some of the darkness that Dean fears will consume him one day.

But he can't stop, can't refuse Sam anything, not even this, and God help him, but he needs it too. Needs the connection to Sam, needs the hope, however desperate.

The tattoos have finally healed, more or less and when they're together in bed, moonlight leaking through the flimsy curtains, neither of them are able to stop touching the marks. Sam likes to curl up against Dean, face to face and drape an arm over Dean's waist and run his fingers gently over the tattoo at the base of Dean's spine. It makes Dean shiver, arouses him and makes him feel connected to Sam in a way that really would be scary if he could actually think straight when Sam does it. It's almost as though every time Sam touches the tattoo, it strengthens the bond.

There's still the fear that Sam's going to leave, but when Sam's wrapped around him, when they're as close as they can be, skin against skin and they're lost in each other, he can't feel it. No matter what happens, this bond will never die. And that scares Dean a little, because he knows what that kind of shit can do; knows that if one of them dies, there's a chance the other one won't survive the loss. Or worse, if they survive, that they'll be driven to do something stupid.

He's also pretty certain that if Dad ever finds any of this out, he'll go crazy. Which will leave Dean back where he's always been, stuck between Sam and Dad and knowing that whatever he says or does is going to be wrong somehow. Except that this time, there's a fairly good chance Dad will actually kill him.

He figures he should be terrified that not even the thought of Dad finding out can make him even contemplate giving this up, giving Sammy up, again. There's certainly a small part of his mind that has been screaming for the last few weeks, but Dean's gotten used to ignoring it now.

He glances over at Sam, watching his brother concentrate on the road. They're finally moving again, and though Dean's glad to be back on the road, a part of him misses the lazy sensuality of the last few days. He can't deny that he feels stronger, calmer and more like his old self. Whether it's the result of the break, of having Sam with him, of having Sam, or the tattoos, he can't tell, and it really doesn't matter much. He can feel the hope he's learnt to keep locked away threatening to escape, and he's almost ready to let it drown him.

They're together, and they're hunting. It's not exactly his most cherished dream, but it's so damned close it might as well be. And despite the hope, that still scares him more than any monster they've ever hunted.


Sam can feel Dean watching him. Hell, he can feel Dean, like a gentle buzz in the back of his mind. It's been getting stronger every day since they had the tattoos done. The tattoos and the last week and a half have gone a long way to easing some of his fears. He hasn't had the nightmare since, but he doesn't for an instant believe that means that they're safe. This new connection with Dean helps. At least now he knows that if anything does happen to his brother, he'll be able to find him. Already he can tell roughly where Dean is when they're apart, over longer and longer distances.

Every so often, he'll also get a flash of something else. It's always brief, a split second of feeling whatever emotion Dean's feeling, there and gone again before he even realizes it. He suspects that somehow his abilities are boosting the bond. The unexpected side effect is good as far as Sam is concerned, but there's no way he's going to mention it to Dean. He knows his brother well enough to know that he'd be very uneasy if he thought Sam could tell what he was feeling, however random and short those glimpses were.

He can't deny that the thought of Dean wearing a permanent reminder of their bond gives him a possessive thrill as well. The fact that Dean agreed so easily to the idea warms Sam in ways he can't quite name.

They don't have a destination in mind. Sam would have been happy to have stayed longer, but he could tell that Dean was starting to get restless. So they packed up the car, picked a direction and Sam's been driving ever since.

When Dean turns away, watching the road, fingers tapping in time to the Black Sabbath tape he bought in the last gas station they stopped at, Sam turns his head so he can see Dean out of the corner of his eye. Dean looks rested, healthier than he has since before the crash. He seems more relaxed, more like his old, cocky self, and while Sam isn't sure he wants every aspect of that Dean back, he's glad that his brother seems to be healing, slowly. He'd hated seeing Dean so broken, so lost and vulnerable, so drained and empty. What they're doing might be wrong, but nothing has felt as right to Sam as the last ten days, spent wrapped in a world that consisted of just him and Dean.

He wonders if they've been heading for this since the day Dean came to find him at Stanford, maybe even since the day the demon killed Mom. He wonders too what Dean thinks about the change in their relationship, but getting Dean to talk about his feelings is difficult at the best of times, and Sam's too relieved to see his brother starting to heal to risk pushing him too hard yet. He doesn't really need the words anyway. He knows how Dean feels; he sees it in his brother's eyes every day, feels it when they touch, hears it when Dean whispers his name.

Sometimes he catches Dean looking at him when he thinks Sam isn't aware of it. The look on his brother's face is a mixture of fear, surprise, awe and hope, and it somehow manages to make Sam feel humbled and ten feet tall, all at the same time. Sam thinks, hopes, that every day he stays the fear withers a little more, and the hope grows. That's Sam's goal now. Not finding Dad, not even finding the demon anymore. He still wants the bastard dead for what it did to mom, to Jess, for what it almost did to Dean, for what it's done to all of them; Dad, Dean and himself, but not at the cost of their lives. Not if the price is risking his brother's life again.

It's late afternoon when they pull into the first motel they've seen in hours. It's a relief to get out of the car and stretch his legs, but Sam forgets the dull ache of spending too long driving when he glances over and sees Dean stretching too. The almost too tight gray t-shirt rides up, exposing an inch or so of tanned skin that Sam knows is soft and smooth and he's pretty much ready to forgo dinner and just get a room. A small, detached part of his mind is amused by the fact that now he's unlocked the physical attraction to his brother, even the smallest, seemingly innocent things are enough to make his hard, make him wish for a bed and hours of uninterrupted peace. It's still so new, the lust Dean can inspire that it catches him by surprise, almost every time, despite the fact that they've moved so smoothly from brothers to lovers.

Dean is completely oblivious to Sam's scrutiny as he finishes stretching and tugs his shirt and jacket back down. Not seeing the strip of skin helps, a little, though Sam knows exactly how it feels to run his hands and his tongue over it. Knows how it feels and tastes and knows too the hot, helpless noises Dean makes when he does just that.

He watches Dean walk to the motel lobby, feeling the now familiar sense of anticipation in the pit of his stomach. They've spent two weeks as lovers, fucking each other in every conceivable position and it's still not enough. Sam's afraid it may never be enough. He hopes it's never enough.

The part of his mind that isn't consumed with watching the way Dean walks and remembering the way his body flexes when Sam takes him is amused by the way that becoming lovers has left him far more aware of Dean, of his physical presence. Things that he's never consciously been aware of before are brought sharply into focus now. The way Dean walks, the way his lips look after he's licked them. Now Sam watches, and overlaying these normal things are the memories of the way Dean's hips roll and his back arches when Sam drives into him, the flex of his shoulders when he's taking Sam, teeth biting his lip and frowning with concentration.

When Dean returns, room key dangling from his fingers, they unload the car and Sam can't help standing just a little closer than he would normally. Close enough that their arms and shoulders, and occasionally their hips brush, sparking small tingles of desire rippling over his skin. It's so strange to feel the constant attraction that all new lovers have towards his brother, but Sam can't deny the strangeness doesn't seem to be dimming the desire any.

He's tempted to skip dinner and spend the evening feasting on Dean instead, but he's hungry and they'll have time later to try out the bed. And the chair. And the table. And if Sam doesn't stop thinking like this, they won't make it out of the room.

Dean's smirk when Sam turns to him tells Sam that his brother knows exactly what Sam was thinking. He gets the feeling that Dean wouldn't refuse if Sam suggested staying in, and sometimes it worries him, how much Dean has always been prepared to give up for the sake of his family, for Sam and Dad. It's entirely possible that there is nothing Dean won't do for those he loves, even at the expense of what Dean himself wants or needs. Sam's sure Dean wants this as much as he does, but he can't shake that small doubt that maybe this is just another sacrifice for Dean.

It shames Sam slightly that there's a large part of him that doesn't care, that justifies that careless disregard of his brother's needs by promising to treat Dean as well as he deserves, or better. Dean's called him selfish more than once, and at times like this, Sam understands why. But it's not enough to make him give this up. Not now, maybe not ever. And maybe that makes him as bad as Dad, relying on Dean's unswerving, unflinching loyalty, but it would take a stronger man than Sam to walk away from this. He remembers Dean's words at the cabin "For you or Dad, the things I’m willin’ to do or kill, it just….it scares me sometimes.". It scares Sam too, and saddens him that Dean's been forced to kill, been forced too often to be the one to take care of Sam, of the family, forced to grow up so fast. Too often left with the responsibility and too seldom given praise for it.

Sam shakes off the maudlin thoughts, and catches Dean looking at him with a concerned look. He shakes his head and grins at his brother, jerking his head towards the door. Dean reads his meaning easily, falling back into the unspoken code they've used since they were kids, and they walk to the diner down the street in comfortable silence.


Dean knows that Sam watches him when he thinks Dean isn't looking; Dean's spent too many years hunting not to know when someone is watching him. He catches Sam's expression sometimes, out of the corner of his eye, or reflected in a window. Sometimes his brother looks concerned, which makes Dean nervous that they're heading for another of Sam's endless attempts at a heart to heart conversation. Other times, it's lust, pure and simple and that Dean does know how to deal with. Hell, he's spent most of his teen and adult years being on the receiving end of those kind of looks.

When they get to the diner and settle down to study the menu, Dean gets the chance to see a new look. The waitress is young, perky in all senses of the word, blonde and pretty. Dean grins at her, though he has no intention of flirting with her at all, and the expression that flows over Sam's face is all too clear. Jealousy. Baby brother is actually jealous of a bubble-headed waitress from the back of beyond. He considers flirting with her, just to yank Sam's chain a little, but the flash of hurt that Sam isn't quick enough to hide stops him.

Instead, he tones the smile down, and deliberately sticks to being polite, but uninterested, despite her attempts to flirt with him. He can sense Sam's annoyance and it's both amusing and perversely arousing to see a hint of the possessive streak that he'd thought Sam had outgrown. Sam was never good with sharing things he cared about and though at one time that included his big brother, Dean never expected to be reinstated to that list after Sam had grown out of his childish hero worship for Dean.

While they're waiting for their food, Sam snags a local paper that's been left on the table next to them, and Dean tries to ignore the waitress who's still throwing longing looks in his direction. He leans back in the seat, listening to the way the cheap plastic crinkles beneath him. The bottle of ketchup has a crust around the cap that Dean suspects is almost as old as he is, and there's no salt in the salt shaker. They've been in a thousand almost identical restaurants, and despite what Sam thinks, Dean's hated them almost as much as Sam has.

He loves the hunting, needs to know he's helping people and he knows that Sam would say it's because he's trying to make up for the fact that he couldn't save Mom, by trying to stop it happening to anyone else. Maybe Sam's right, and maybe he isn't, all Dean knows is that he can't imagine a life without hunting. It's all he's ever done and he can't sit back and do nothing when he knows what's out there, in the dark. It's the one thing he's never understood about Sam leaving, how his brother could carry on with a normal life when he knew what the world was really like, when he knew about the evil that walks amongst the unsuspecting general population.

He's so lost in his thoughts that Sam's voice actually makes him jump a little.

"Hey, I think I found something in our line of work." He ignores the smirk on Sam's face that means Sam noticed Dean's reaction.

"A hunt?"


"Well, what is it?"

"Looks like there's been a recent spate of graves being disturbed in the local cemetery."

Dean's just about to ask a question when the waitress comes over with their meal. Dean watches Sam glare at her, although the girl's oblivious to the looks. Dean just nods and waits until she's gone.

"Sam." He waits until Sam's looking at him "Stop glaring at the locals. I'm not going home with anyone but you, so knock off the jilted lover act, ok?" Sam's expression is a mixture of indignation, happiness, shock and shame, and Dean couldn't say which element amuses him more. He grabs his silverware, and points to the paper with them before attacking his dinner.

"So, were any bodies in those graves disturbed?"

Sam just stares at him for a moment, then shakes his head, grins a little ruefully and picks up his own knife and fork, giving the ketchup bottle a considering look before obviously coming to the same conclusion as Dean and doing without.

"Ok, I can't believe we're having this conversation over dinner..." Dean gives him his best 'are you kidding' look and Sam sighs "..fine, I can. Anyway, the newspaper report says that the bodies in the graves were disturbed. Doesn't say anything about them being eaten, but that doesn't mean they weren't."

"Worth looking into though. Could be a ghoul or something."

"Yeah, that's what I thought. You want to check out the cemetery after we're done here?"

Dean looks out of the window. There are a few hours of daylight left, and after the last hunt, he wants all the advantages he can get on this one, wants to make sure it goes down right and he doesn't screw up again. He can still feel the cold knot of fear in his stomach, but hunting is all he's got apart from Sammy, and he needs to get back into the swing. Besides, he hates ghouls.

"Definitely. We'll see if we can make sure it is a ghoul and where's its lair is, then we can come back after sunset and waste the sick fuck."


Sam really hates ghouls. They are evil, aggressive, repulsive things, and they have a really nasty tendency to explode when shot.

Confirming that the cemetery was being plagued by a ghoul was easy, as was finding it's lair. Tracking it was harder, and the damned thing gets the drop on them first.

They'd split up when they got to the cemetery and found the thing was already out prowling around the graves. Sam's heading back towards his brother when he feels a wave of pain. It's muted and he knows instantly it's not his pain but Dean's. He's on the edge of panic, but he forces himself to concentrate and block out the fear, trying to feel for the bond, needing the connection to be able to find Dean. It feels like an age before he finally gets a hold of himself, but when he does, he gets a flash of the scene through Dean's eyes. He's running before he can see through his own eyes again, the image of the ghoul advancing on a stunned Dean, murderous claws drawing back to open Dean's guts so the ghoul can feed on them giving him extra speed.

He reaches them just as the ghoul slashes at Dean, who's still groggy, but quick enough to avoid being disemboweled. Sam doesn't hesitate and he's not sure who is the more surprised when he pumps two shots into the thing; Dean, the ghoul, or Sam himself.

The ghoul disintegrates. Unfortunately, Dean’s right in the way when the thing does blow, and he ends up covered in dripping, stinking goo from head to foot. Sam would be amused by the expression of disgusted outrage, if he wasn't still sick with fear at how close the thing came to killing Dean. As it is, he has to fight down the hysterical giggles that threaten to break loose.

"Man, I fucking hate these sons of bitches." Dean tries to wipe the mess off his face and glares at the smoking pile of gunge in indignation. For a moment, Sam thinks his brother is going to kick what's left of the ghoul, but he doesn't. Sam takes a deep breath and though it helps him get himself under control, he wishes he hadn't, because the thing smells bad.

"Damn, I need a shower."

Dean's walking away, back towards the car, and Sam has to hurry after him.

"You hurt?"

"I'm fine."

"Dean, stop a second, I know that thing got you with it's claws. We should clean them up, that crap can't be healthy."

"We can do that back at the motel. Wait, you saw the thing get me? Why didn't you shoot it? What the hell were you waiting for?" Dean's stopped and he's staring at Sam in confusion and anger.

"I... I didn't see it. It was a vision, of a kind."

"Of a kind? You want to be a little more specific here, Sam?"

"The tattoos, they created a bond."

"Yeah, I know that."

"Well, I guess my...powers are, I don't know, boosting it, because if I concentrate I can tell where you are, and when I tried earlier, I got a sudden image of the ghoul attacking you. I got there as fast as I could Dean."

Dean just looks at him for a long moment, his expression unreadable.

"Did you know this would happen when you suggested the tattoos?"

"No, not exactly. And it's not like you didn't know what the tattoos and the rituals meant when I told you about them Dean. You agreed."

For a second Sam thinks he's gone too far, but Dean's acting like Sam's tricked him into something and he can't help the annoyance in his voice.

"I know, but I didn't expect...this. It's just odd, you know."

Sam wants to laugh. All the things Dean's seen and hunted and killed, and he thinks this is odd?

"It'll just take a little getting used to." Dean grins and Sam relaxes again. "But you think next time you can fine tune it so you turn up before the bad guy gets to take a pop at me?"

He turns to carry on walking towards the car and Sam follows him.

"Dean, wait, I still need to check you out."

Dean laughs, low and dirty and he realizes his words can be taken an entirely different way.

"Later Sam. Let's just get back to the motel."

"Damnit Dean, would you just let me take a look?" Sometimes Dean can be such an jerk that Sam wants to shake him. He catches his brother up and falls into step beside him.

"It's fine Sam. Just a scratch."

"Yeah, well, you're so determined to be a hero that your arm could be hanging half off and you'd still just be saying it was a scratch."

"Sammy, it's nothing, ok? You can play doctor at the motel and kiss me better then, if that's what gets you hard."

Sam ignores the suggestive tone and the mock leer, though his body doesn't.

"Dean, just let me take a look. Please?"

They reach the car and he opens the trunk as Dean strips off his jacket and over shirt before dumping them into the trunk.

"Sam. It's the middle of the night and I'm covered in ghoul guts. I just want to get back to the motel, get out of these clothes, into the shower, and then into you. Alright?"

There's something about the way Dean says it, so casually, as if they've been lovers for years, that makes Sam's guts clench, and his cock twitch. It's only slightly spoilt by the knowing smirk on Dean's face. If Sam thought being lovers was going to change Dean into a less annoying person, he was wrong. On the other hand, knowing how well Dean could use that mouth makes it a damned sight easier to deal with the less amusing aspects of his brother's personality.

"Christ Sammy, from concerned nursemaid to horny in 0.3 seconds? I'm proud of you man."

Sam rolls his eyes. The temptation to just press Dean up against the car and kiss him until they're both dizzy is strong, but Dean's right. He's covered in reeking goo and as much as the idea of sliding into his brother while the adrenaline from the hunt is still buzzing in their veins hits him hard, he knows that if they go back to the motel and get cleaned up they can spend the rest of the night between clean sheets.

"Fine, have it your way. But you're going to let me make sure you're ok when we get back to the room."

"Yeah, whatever."

Sam rolls his eyes. He watches Dean as his brother walks around the car, and stretches out his hand, trailing his fingers lightly over the paintwork. He holds his breath, aroused at the sensual way Dean touches the car, and hopeful. Dean turns slightly towards Sam, and holds the hand that isn't on the car out. For a brief second, he thinks Dean wants him to take his hand, but then he realizes that Dean's asking for the keys. A surge of relief and happiness rushes through Sam and he feels almost giddy. He'd almost given up hope of Dean ever wanting to drive this car.

He puts the keys in Dean's hand, but closes his own over the keys and Dean's fingers, and pulls his brother in for a kiss. He doesn't care that Dean's covered in slime, but he's mindful of the fact that Dean's hurt when he steps closer. It's tempting to go with his earlier thought of pressing Dean into the back seat again, but he really does want to make sure Dean's alright. He pulls back and grins at Dean.

Dean clears his throat, opens his eyes and grins back at Sam. He steps back and Dean nods, then opens the driver's doors and slides in. Sam walks around the car and climbs in the passenger side. He watches as Dean caresses the wheel, then starts the engine, puts the car in drive, and pulls away as if everything were right with the world. Sam just hopes he's right.


By the time they reach the motel, Sam's given in to temptation, and his hand is resting on Dean's thigh, fingers stroking up and down the inside seam. He can feel the muscles in Dean's leg flex under his hand, and it makes his mouth dry and his cock twitch.

He has to force himself to walk, not run back to their room and he's all too aware of Dean following him. But he forgets all the fantasies when he opens the door and some sixth sense tells him that there's someone already inside. He draws a gun and knows that Dean's doing the same, then he throws the door open and he and Dean burst into the room, only to stop in surprise when they both realize who the intruder is.

He hears the same surprise and fear that he's feeling in Dean's voice.


Chapter Six
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January 2007

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