Baby sailed down the driveway and hit the road like a queen. She sounded happy, he knew she looked sharp; bright and shiny as a treasure hoard. He spun the wheel and turned her nose towards the end of the cul de sac; he’d be at Shel’s front door in a few minutes, and sure, he could have walked it, but Baby needed a little air—and he wasn’t above showing her off.
Dean messed with the cassette controls, fishing blindly into his box of tapes. Something felt off, something was prickling him and keeping him from enjoying the mild afternoon and the purr of the car on the road. He glanced towards the passenger side and it hit him-- "Fuuu-uck.’’
Going off to visit with someone he used to have sex with was kind of unsettling, like getting unwanted echoes of a long-ago life. It felt like a lifetime gone past, what with all the shit they’d been hit with between the day they’d left here, and now that they were back. His thoughts skittered around like beads of water on hot skillet—the little anticipation he felt at the thought of seeing Shel again fought with the feeling he should be home working on his unresolved, six foot-five issues.
Baby growled to a stop outside of a neat, two-story house. Shelly was already outside when he pulled up, sitting on the porch and sporting a smile almost as fresh and bright as his baby. Had to admit, it she was a sight to see. Hot as hell, togged out in a tight t-shirt and a killer pair of shorts—it was hard to forget how good she filled out a pair of shorts, fucking legs forever and an ass like a peach.
She rolled her eyes at his over-the-top, lecherous grin. When he opened the car door, she planted her hands on her hips and shouted, "You can roll that tongue up and put it right back where it belongs!″
"That’s my girl!″ he laughed. "Lookin’ good, Sugar!″ Holding his arms wide, he caught her up in a hug when she leaped at him. He swung her off her feet and in a half circle before letting her go with a quick squeeze.
She punched his shoulder, laughing, then tipped her head back to kiss his cheek. "You never change, Dean. Still ridiculously good looking.″
"Yeah, I don't see how,″ he snorted, rubbing the back of his neck, feeling his cheeks go warm. "You, though, you don’t look like a minute’s passed since last I saw you, Gorgeous. How’s things—good, I hope?″
"Oh, absolutely. I’m gainfully employed—little law firm downtown, but I’m moving on soon, bigger and better things—oh, and Ralph picked up his family and moved the next town over, which is why I left your house—I'm renting-to-own his house. Loving it, too.″
"Wow. Lot of changes, lady, but damn, I'm glad for you. Thanks for the great job takin’ care of the house for me and Sam. We appreciate it.″
"How is that long, tall drink of hotness anyway? You guys...″ Shelly stumbled to a stop, and swept Dean up and down with a narrow-eyed gaze before hitting him in the chest with a surprisingly hard fist. "What the fuck did you do, Anderson? How'd you fuck up the best relationship ever?″
"What?″ It took Dean a few seconds to register Anderson—sloppy, sloppy, he thought. And then it also registered that she just called him a fuck-up and how did she know? "What makes you think I screwed up? I mean, screwed up what?″
"Oh please.″ She rolled her eyes again, and shook her head. "Like I can’t read you like a tawdry romance novel. Get your ass inside. I see we have some talking to do.″
″Jesus,″ Dean grumbled, following her up the porch step and into the house. "Where you always so damn bossy? I don’t remember you being this bossy. You and Sam are practically fuckin’ twins when it comes to that, damn...″
He stopped in her tidy little living room, eyeing the tall cups, steaming gently, already on the table and an open bag of store brand sugar cookies—his favorite. He sat when she waved at the couch, sighing as he sank down into it a little. She leaned back, crossing her arms, and fixed him with a glare. She was ready to hear a story. "So! Where’s good ol’ Fi?″ he asked brightly, and she snorted, looking down her nose at him.
"Fi’s visiting his grandpa and is probably eating sirloin off a porcelain plate as we speak—we’ll get to him in a second. He’s just fine. Fidus, I mean. Donnie’s doing okay too. Now, tell me what happened, you doofus with your crappy attempt at distracting me.″
"Okay,″ Dean began. "There's a chance—″
She coughed, not even half as subtle as she thought she was, and Dean started over. "Okay, so yeah, I might have...well, no, I definitely messed up. But I had a good reason for it.
See, when we left here, it was like leaving a fairy-tale, like we’d been living in some magic bubble that burst when we were back...ah, back where we started. I had a lot of time to think about Sam and me, like, how much better Sam could do than me, and I realized how I was holding him back. I was hiding him, hiding what we had. I was so wrapped up in not wanting people to know...there are folks who’ve known us all our lives and that was never who we were before, and I didn’t, I couldn't reveal myself or Sam like that. I-I thought it was best for Sam, too but he just...″
Dean stopped, took a deep breath, and thought about what had happened and why and muttered, mostly to himself, "Fuck, he just withered, didn't he?″
Shelly shook her head. "I can see you haven't changed much. You're an idiot, Dean. I told you that back then, and I'm telling you again. You're an idiot. and the only one who can’t see that Sam would do anything for you, hell, throw himself into a lake of fire to save your ass.″
Dean winced. "No, yeah...he would. That’s something I know without a doubt, actually.″
She gave him an odd look before going on. "Sam will forgive you, because that’s what he does. He’s not capable of doing anything else, I think. Poor fuck.″
"I don’t know...″ Dean grabbed the cup and gulped the coffee. He jerked, let out a low, "Whoooaa,″ and coughed. "Dude, I think I detect a little coffee in your booze.″
"Damn, I knew I was going light on the whiskey. So when you get home, grovel. Fucking get past yourself. It’s not going to be that hard to do.″
"You’d be surprised.″ Dean shook his head. "No, I know you’re right. It’s just...″ He sighed. "Really, I do hold Sam back. He really could do better.″
"Has he said that? Has he told you he doesn't want you?″
Dean shook his head. "No. Not in so many words. But...I’ve done things, said things...you don't know what I've done to him, Shel.″
"I can't imagine you doing anything he couldn't forgive—" She stopped, her face a mask of growing horror—"Fuck, did you...cheat on him?″
"Shelly! Of course not!″ Dean yelped. "I would never!″ Not since he’d made a decision, and made a commitment. Sam was it, until he told Dean in plain English that they were done. Suspecting Sam was done with him wasn’t enough for Dean to break his personal vows.
"Then forgiveness is there, Dean. You might have to work a bit, but you can do it. Right? Right?″
Dean scrubbed at his face irritably, then looked at her between his fingers. Sighing, he said, "Yeah, maybe...I just want it to be easier, y’know? Just wanna click my fingers and – and have everything be okay, without me having to talk and probably fuck it up even worse. Ugh. Why can’t it be like it was?″ Before all the stupidity and shitstorms and failures...
"Well, you guys aren't the same, are you? People change, all the time, big changes or little changes; get older, in some cases, get smarter...but I firmly believe that love is love is love. Get your man, Dean.″ She stopped, took a breath and Dean noticed her cheeks go pink. "I did,″ she said.
"You did? Fantastic!″ He narrowed his eyes at her, taking in her overly-casual expression, that pink tinge on her cheeks that went darker as he stared. ″Wait a damn minute...did you…″ She grinned weakly, and Dean cursed. "Howard? But he’s—you guys are—it didn’t work the first—and he’s way older than you too!″
"First of all, you massive dick, he's not that much older than me, and secondly, you got a nerve, Buddy. You're not exactly a spring chicken, yourself.″
"What’dyamean, ain’t me staring at the shaky side of forty.″
Shel silently eyed him, lips pursed slightly as she looked him up and down.
"Okay!″ Dean he his hands up. "Whatever! Congratulations! You happy?″
"Fucking very happy.″
"’M only 35,″ Dean muttered as he peered around the living room, like he was expecting the man in question to leap out of the woodwork any second. "He live here?″
"Not yet. But when I own it, he's gonna be with me. And fucking get over that he tried to pick Sam up. It was a long time ago, deal with it, you jealous goober.″
"Okay, okay,″ Dean sighed. "I know I don’t have any business feelin’ any kind of way about you and him, or giving advice. Just make sure it’s on your terms.″
"What do you think?″ she laughed, and Dean laughed right along with her.
"I know. Well good for you, babe. He’s not a bad guy, and I’m glad you’re happy.″
"And you will be, too. Talk to him, Dean. It’s gonna be worlds easier than you imagine.″
Sam, she meant. He thought maybe there was some possibility of fixing things...at least getting Sam to listen. He’d been pretty easy to convince about sharing beds, smiling about it even—but that wasn’t really out of the norm for them, and it didn’t mean...it might mean nothing. But it might mean something. He’d take it up again after dinner...or maybe before they went to sleep. Or at breakfast tomorrow.
He took a cautious sip of the now lukewarm coffee-flavored whiskey. "So, what’s happening in the neighborhood?″
About an hour later, Dean was back home, looking thoughtful. He crossed the kitchen, grabbed a chair from the table and swung it around, straddling the seat and resting his arms on the back. ″Shelly just broke everything down for me,″ he said. ″Donnie’s leaving the neighborhood, moving into one of those senior places. Already there, actually, just taking time about moving stuff out of the house since it’s not on the market yet.″
″Ah man,really? ″ Sam turned from the cabinet they’d stacked the canned goods in, said, " I’d rather live in the car than one of those places.″
″Right?″ Dean said, a grimace of disgust twisting his face. ″Anyway, the good news about that is, she’s had Fi, has had him for a while, even though he’s at Donnie’s at the moment. She’d planned on keeping him, but if we want him, she’s not standing in our way. Bad news, ol’ Panda’s gone. I kinda liked that big, pudgy, walkin’ haystack.″
″Oh, Buddy must’ve been devastated.″ Sam set a couple of cans of soup on the counter, then grabbed a loaf of bread from the box. Dean sighed inside. Grilled cheese sandwiches and soup...he really was going to have to teach Sam to cook.
″Her nephew? Yeah, he loved that mutt. Speaking of Buddy, the little shit’s a freshman in high school now. Can’t believe it...we weren’t even gone that long really, but so much changed.″
Sam scraped at a sticky spot on the counter. ″Yeah. Lot’s changed.″ He didn’t meet Dean’s eyes, and Dean didn’t say anything. He stood, flipped the chair back to the table, and patted Sam's shoulder. He opened his mouth, shut it, opened...he left the room, feeling Sam's eyes on his back. Tomorrow. Swear to gawd, tomorrow.
The next day, they took the patio furniture Shel had stashed in the garage and set it back on the porch. It looked good. Slowly but surely, the house was looking more like home. Dean eyed the bushes now nearly overgrowing the sides of the porch. Time to trim them back, and clean out Sam’s garden beds, and...fuck. He guessed there was a lot of time to do all that.
He walked around the rear of the house, to where Baby sat parked in the garage. She had some stuff in the trunk that should come out: some simple supplies—a few jars of herbs, salt of course, and accelerants—and a box Sam had shoved in before they left. Dean also took out the locked box of what few weapons he figured they’d need, along with some things he just couldn’t left go: his Colt, Sam’s Taurus, Ruby’s knife, an angel blade which had become an all purpose kind of weapon to them, a scimitar and a sword from the bunker, both certified non-magical, along with some odds and ends that were.
He flipped open the lid on Sam’s box and found a few research books, but nowhere as many as he figured Sam would bring, underneath those were a few novels, probably some favorites of Sam’s. He wondered when the kid had even had time the last few years to collect any non-magical books...he looked closer. Hunh. There were also few time-worn journals stuck in-between the books as well, hunters journals, some looking older than their grandfather’s time. He wondered why Sam grabbed them but, ″Such a nerd,″ he muttered out loud. Of course he’d be interested. He shut the box back up and carried it to the house.
He managed to talk Sam into heading into town, telling him they’d pick up supplies for their soon-to-be-recovered dog, and check out what had changed over the last two years. Sam argued that not much could have changed, but with a huge air of humoring his weirdo brother, he agreed to go. Dean tried to keep upbeat chatter going as they walked, but he could see that Sam was quiet—a bit too quiet. He kept giving Dean side-eyes, and opening his mouth like he was about to speak—but no. Just a lot of soft throat clearing, some jittering, an aborted hand wave or two.
Dean knew what Sam was waffling about, and he was sure that they were in the same page, waffle-wise. Dean was certain—like ninety per cent sure—that fixing them might be easier than he’d originally thought. It just needed him opening his mouth and asking. But...what if he was wrong? If he was wrong, where did they go from there?
Sam couldn’t remember the last time they’d walked together for no other reason than to walk. It was nice—no hurry, just him and Dean comfortable together. The sunlight reflecting from cars on the street was a bit of a bother, making Sam wince. But the sun was also chasing the chill from the air, and it felt good. He was warm, felt like for the first time in a long time. He sucked in a deep breath, glad he could do that without feeling like the air was clawing its way down his throat, that he could take Fidus jumping into his lap and not wanting to scream. The Trials had slipped their talons out of him, and Cas had finished what Gadreel had started. Sam was good. Better than good. He glanced over at Dean, watched the way the sun lit his hair, and his eyes and smoothed out the little lines in his face, and god damn the sun loved his brother, wrapped itself around him the way Sam wanted to and made him glow.
Sam pulled his attention away from his brother to look around his neighborhood. He was surprised to note the cul de sac had undergone quite a few changes since they’d left.
A 'for sale’ sign with a red 'sold’ banner pasted across it sat in the middle of George and Minnie's front yard; a silver van was parked in the drive, and a couple of little kids were running in screaming circles around the property. Dean frowned, shook his head, probably mourning George's roses for him because they sure as hell were going to be flattened under that lot.
According to the neighborhood news—or Shelly—they were in a nice place somewhere, some retirement place, maybe the same one Donnie was moving into. Maybe George would still have roses to care for there. Sam hoped so.
"Charlie, get the heck out of there!"
Some little kid—Charlie, he guessed, came barreling out of the shrubbery like he’d been shot from a canon. Freckles, blonde hair standing up all over, leaves stuck to him here and there like he’d just come back from the fae’s court.
"Man, dude—" Sam elbowed Dean. "There's a mini-version of you."
"Shut the fuck up. I hope they don't fuck up George's gardens," Dean groused, but Sam shook his head and laughed.
"I doubt they'd mind. Minnie would have loved having a rambunctious little kid around."
"Hummpf." Dena eyeballed the little family suspiciously as they passed, getting the stink-eye right back from Charlie and his tribe.
The day was so nice, and neither of them were in any kind of a hurry to get back to Dean’s endless projects, so they ended up walking both ends of the road out of nostalgia, and eventually headed into the little town and stopped at the cafe, snagging coffee and donuts before walking on. They saw that old Herman's place had become someone else’s too, from the looks of it, had been someone else’s for a while. Fresh paint and a hopeful garden announced that fact.
Nice, Sam thought, not feeling any particular way about the evidence that Herman was gone. The man had never socialized with the neighborhood. Sam had always had the feeling that the street was a little too...colorful for the old guy. He knew that Margie and Frankie, and their gorgeous kids, never had much to do with him and he’d been absent at Donnie and Ford’s Annual Thanksgiving dessert-a-thon.
A voice called out, "No it’s not! Oh my god, yes it is! Sam Smith, Dean Anderson—″ Speaking of Margie, she was on Sam before he knew what was happening. She’d have made a good supernatural, for sure, fast and quiet. Sam sputtered out surprised laughter as she gripped him in a shockingly strong arms—almost cracked his ribs greeting him.
She was still gorgeous: cocoa-brown skin, eyes nearly as green as Dean’s, and brick-red hair making her a knock-out, and though he'd never, ever let on in the slightest to Dean, he'd always felt a little prick of jealousy whenever Dean talked to her. She was just Dean’s flavor—one of his flavors, anyway.
The kids hung back as their mother made a fuss over two tall guys who were strangers to them, not really remembering them, well, except the oldest, a boy about ten, who hesitantly asked Sam if he was the giant that had flung them around the yard that one fourth of July.
"Yeah,″ Sam said. "That was me.″
The boy beamed. "Oh, I always remembered that 'cause we had so much fun. Maybe we can do it again?″
Margie went to shush him, but Dean held up his hand, breaking in to the conversation. "Count on it, dude. Hot dogs and chips and watermelon and crazy, giant yetis tossing you all around the yard.″
The boy, Chris, grinned even wider, and the other boys all stared open-mouthed, impressed beyond belief that their brother was friends with a giant.
If Margie’s greeting had been an ego-boost, Frank’s went one better. The man appeared to be besides himself with joy when he caught sight of Dean.
"Dean-fucking-Anderson!" He threw his arms around Dean and pulled him off his feet, like he weighed nothing. Frank, pale, blue-eyed, heavy with muscle and fireplug shaped, probably could have swung Dean around with one hand while drinking a beer with the other. Sam laughed at the shocked, semi-horrified look on Dean’s face. He knew himself—Dean was definitely not a light-weight.
Margie reached past Dean and smacked Frank’s head, "Language 'round the kids."
"Ow,″ Frank grumbled, rubbing his head and eyeing his kids. "Why’re you worried about language when they see ya abusin’ their old man? 'Sides, they wouldn't dare curse."
The boys all shook their heads emphatically, glancing at their mother. "Hell, no," Chris muttered under his breath.
Dean bit his lip, trying hard not to laugh, and Sam palmed his mouth, pretending to scratch his lip so Margie wouldn't catch him smiling either.
It was great that they were still there in the cul de sac. Margie promised to bring them a pie soon, and some neighborhood gossip, both of which appealed to Dean. They herded the boys into the van, and while Frank and Dean were making some elaborate plans for a guys’ night out, Margie grabbed Sam’s elbow.
"Sam, darlin’, are you guys back to stay?" she asked and Sam hesitated. He glanced towards Dean, deep in conversation with Frank, took in his relaxed body language, the way his eyes sparkled as he laughed—really laughed—and shrugged.
"I hope so,″ he said quietly, eyes still locked on Dean.
The worried look Margie sported softened. She patted him on the arm. "Shelly might have mentioned sort of vaguely, in passing, that you and Dean...Sam, you okay?"
Sam's traitorous eyes welled up. "I'm good...better, Margie. I'm a lot better now."
She didn't ask, she didn't offer pointless words of advice. She just squeezed his hand, and called for her husband. Right before they drove off, she leaned out the window and said, "Anytime, Sam," she said and he nodded, understood what she meant. Dean watched the whole little exchange—Sam could feel it.
He turned to his brother and said, "Don't worry. It's good. We’re good.″ Dean just nodded and they walked on.
After dinner that night, they washed up and played cards for a bit, a game that ended when Dean threw all the cards at Sam, and claimed it was part of the game.
″Only babies play 52 pick-up, Dean,″ Sam snarled, scooting the cards back into a pile, hunting down the ones that had flown off due to the energetic throw.
"And that's a damn shame,″ Dean said, "because there's nothing like the look on you face to make a body feel good.″
Sam turned from his idiotic brother, bending over to get a card that had slid under a cabinet, and felt...he just knew Dean was staring at his ass, he was sure of it. A warm ripple went up his back, and he took his time about getting back up. When he turned back to the table, Dean was flushed, and staring at the TV.
″Here,″ Sam said and dropped the deck in front of him. ″I’m going to bed. We getting Fidus together tomorrow?″
″Of course, he’ll be lookig for the both of us. I'll be up in a minute.″
Dean came up and went straight into their bathroom. Sam lay in bed and listened to the creak of the pipes as Dean turned the shower on. He knew his brother’s routine exactly—turn on the shower, obsess over his teeth, frown at himself, poke at wrinkles and lines, and then get in the shower—he was almost asleep before Dean came out again and lay down with him.
Sam was drifting comfortably in the place near sleep, but floated to the surface when he felt fingers, Dean’s fingers, combing through his hair. It wasn’t a dream, thank god. This was a perfect moment to make a move, so he took a chance, snuggled back against Dean. He held his breath, as first Dean’s hand, and then Dean’s arm, slowly crept around his waist. A little spark of anger flashed through the warmth that filled him, anger that Dean didn't have the guts to do this when Sam was awake. Small steps, he reminded himself, small steps...he let himself fall deeper, enjoying touch that he’d missed so much.
Dean’s thumb moved gently, non-stop; he rubbed soft swirls and circles against Sam’s skin, over his belly where his t-shirt rode up. Slow, thoughtful, strokes that sent shivers tumbling through him, goosebumps racing over his skin. Dean’s breath on the nape of his neck warmed him, ruffled his hair. He felt Dean inch closer, closer, than finally, he felt the soft, barely-there kiss Dean pressed into the back of his neck. Drifting in the feel of that gentle touch, Sam felt his spirit soar.
Dean was almost home again. Sam drifted deeper, into dreams of Dean and Fidus and a happy home.
Shelly was out the door the moment the moment the doors on the car closed, streaked across the porch and didn’t even hesitate before launching herself at Dean, nearly knocking him over. He caught her, the momentum swinging them both around so that she was facing Sam, grinning at him over Dean's shoulder. The grin she gave Sam was so full of joy that Sam was startled for second, before grinning back.
She looked great, and it really was good to see her. He did his best to ignore the little pang that shot through him at the sight of her resting on Dean, and also resisted timing how long the hug went on. Finally, Dean peeled her off and set her down.
″Shel. How’s your day been?″
″Good, Dean, but so much better now that you two are here.″ She reached out to Sam, "It’s so damn good to see you again, Sam. Come in, you guys, come in!″
″Thanks,″ Sam echoed Dean, but let his brother drive the conversation. Dean looped his arm over her shoulder and steered her back up the porch. ″So, Miz Shelly Miner, how’s being a homeowner working for you?″
″Well, Mr. Dean Anderson, it’s fantastic, and it’s a pain in the ass. So much work, but you know that! Ralph—you remember my brother—he’s been a big help with making it my own place, you know, plus explaining the mystery that is plumbing, and oh my fucking god, electricity, it’s like some arcane, killer spell work, and—″
Dean turned to Sam and flashed him a grin and a wink. Shelly caught it and blushed. ″Shut up. Yeah, I’m still a Babylonian. You love that I am, though,″ she laughed and Dean laughed with her.
″Yeah, true, Shel, true.″
Sam fought an urge to pinch himself. He had no reason for the slightest tinge of jealousy, none at all. He knew Shelly and Dean were a relationship that had actually never been. In fact, Shelly had been the one to get Dean to realize where his heart lay. If anything, he owed Shelly a lot. So it was ridiculous to want to shove her out of the way and lay a claim all over Dean. Dean was already his. It was just...taking a little longer for the idiot to get that there was no one else he’d rather be with. Patience he told himself again. Closer and closer all the time. He glanced at Dean. Idiot.
″So, where’s the hunky guy supposed to be moving in with you here?″
Sam could practically feel his ears swivel towards Dean. He glanced up at Shelly and his brother practically skipping hand in hand up the porch stairs.
″Shut up.″ She shoved him, hard enough to stagger him., and Sam bit down a laugh at Dean’s outraged bleat. ″Howard was a big help to me, and he’s the one who convinced me to finish school, y’know.″
″Howard’s no fool,″ Dean said, jumping out of reach. "Now he’s gonna get all his legal help for free.″
Sam stopped, mouth dropped. ″Howard? Howard, who owns the lawn mower repair place? Howard, who hit on me, that one?″
Dean turned to Sam, a little frown line creasing his forehead. ″Yeah...that one. Why?″
"Oh, no reason, just...ah. Settling down. You and him, together. That’s just...y’know, surprising because he’s...″ practically a ringer for Dean, Sam was smart enough not to say. "He’s...a nice guy. Congratulations? I’m glad for you,″ he finished a little weakly.
Shelly tilted her head, giving Sam a long, thorough look before cracking a sideways smile. "Un-hunh. I just bet you are. Thanks. Anyway, I got someone who's going to be happy to see you.″
Shelly led them inside; they slowed to a stop when a big, Shepard-mutt mix stuck his head out around the corner at the end of the hall.
Dean dropped to one knee, held out his hand, and softly called out for the dog. ″Hey, Fi, good old Fi, hey Fidus..how ya doin’, buddy?″
The dog padded out from around the corner, tail held out and swishing once or twice politely before jerking to a stop. Did a canine version of a double-take. His big-eared head swiveled from Dean to Sam as if in disbelief, and he began to whine. Sam felt his eyes fill, remembering this big, fluffy dog as an abandoned little puppy, covered in dirt, and crawling with bugs, the way his ribs had looked like a washboard. He dropped to his knees besides Dean, and held his hands out as well.
″C’mon, Fidus, c’mon, little boy...″
Fidus launched himself down the hallway, bowling Dean over, whining and barking, his tail going a mile a minute. Then he leaped over Dean to throw himself on Sam, crawling up his body until Sam had an armful of over-grown puppy, licking frantically at his face, stopping only to take a breath and bark in excitement. It was one of the best moments Sam could remember having.
Dean looked at them from his place on the floor, flat on his back, and his eyes looking suspiciously wet. Sam noticed how green they were, how clear... ″Missed us, hunh, boy?″
Shelly plopped down next to them as Fi finally released Sam. He gave her a quick, friendly lick and a shimmy as well, before pinning Dean under his body and enthusiastically slurping away at his face, his neck, his hair—anything he could get his tongue on.
Shelly was laughing, a full-body laugh that rang in the air. ″I’m so glad you guys are back. It’s not that Fidus was pining—well, maybe he was—I've never seen him this happy.″
″Yeah,″ Dean murmured, rubbing Fi’s ears and patting him back to calm again. ″Yeah, it’s nice,″ he said, and looked up at Sam. ″Now he can come home again.″
Sam nodded, afraid to speak because it was...well, it was what he’d wanted for a long time and now it was happening he could barely trust in it. The cracked pieces of his life were falling into place; if he opened his mouth, he was afraid he’d ruin it.
When Dean opened the car door and Fi flew in, jumping right into the back seat, it felt like another piece of the puzzle dropping into place.
Sam lay on his back, staring up at the furniture store's pocked and stained drop ceiling and wondering if they ever changed the tiles in these places. The ones above his head were positively repellent. He frowned and Dean rolled to his side. "Don’t like this one?″
"Nah, I actually do like this one. Very comfy.″ He lifted his arms and dropped them at his sides, kicked his legs a little. "Kind of weird, the way it molds to you...″
Dean shrugged, best he could lying on his back against the resilient mattress. "It’s not as good as the bunker’s mattress—what?″ he said, narrowing his eyes suspiciously at Sam’s sudden snort. "Did you pee on my bed or something?″
Sam let out a startled laugh. "No! I was just...thinking. About your mattress. And how it loved you,″ he said.
"It did, didn't it?″ Dean mused, a fond little smile on his face, and god, Sam would rather jump naked into a pit of thistles before telling Dean that yeah, it was kind of possible that his bed really had loved him, what with its little magical assist.
"So, shall we let them off the hook and buy this one? They’re about to explode with wanting to tell the giant pansies to get the fuck out of their store.″
They both rolled until they were on their stomachs, chins resting on their hands as they watched sales clerks and most of the shoppers side-eyeing them. Dean winked at an old lady who winked right back, and laughed when she did. "Eh, not our fault if they're too pussy to stand up for their bigoted beliefs,″ he said. With that, Dean rolled off the mattress, his grin was blinding and he was absolutely beautiful, a feeling Sam saw was shared by the old lady, who shot Sam an impressed look.
"Okay—" Dean reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. "Thanks to the genius of our good friend, Frank Devereaux, let’s dip into our very healthy account to pay for this.″
Sam smiled. He hoped that wherever Frank was now, he was happy, safe, and living the good life. Between the tidy little account they’d found Bobby had left for them, and money their dad had somehow managed to squirrel away for them, and the monies Frank had...well, he hated to say embezzled for them, but call a spade a spade...they were doing much better than okay for the moment..
Still, he knew they’d have to do something, start thinking towards their future. If this was the end of the line right here, well...it was time to live a life, including getting jobs.
Dean broke his train of thought, letting out a warble of triumph right into Sam’s ear. He threw an arm around Sam's shoulder and pulled him close. "Guess what?″ he grinned. Turned out he’d somehow managed to secure delivery of the mattress this very day—a minor miracle that he’d no doubt arranged through his own charming brand of flattery and intimidation. Sam had been on the receiving end of that combination enough times to know it was deadly effective. Good for Dean—hell, for the both of them. They’d be reclining on their own king mattress, sheets, blankets, brand new pillows and all tonight.
Sam shivered; the thought of being wrapped around Dean in a bed that actually fit them thrilled him. He wondered if it made sense to stick to his plan of Slow, Careful, Seduction. King bed, fresh sheets, hot skin and the prettiest dick he’d ever seen in his life...fuck. He subtly adjusted himself, feeling his cheeks flush.
Of course, he’d have to let Dean think Slow, Careful, Seduction was his idea.
Maybe it was time to put some wheels on it.
That evening, lounging on the porch as a reward for setting up the bed—full glasses in their hands and faithful dog under their feet—Dean brought up the idea that since they pretty much got the bedroom situation set, what with their fabulous new king mattress and all, maybe it was time to do a bit of a remodel on the kitchen. The original cabinets were adequate when they’d first moved in and knew how temporary a situation it was. But now, Dean said, he had no plans of snatching sharp objects and shoelaces out of the world’s hands anytime soon.
Sam was shocked that Dean was actually saying, out loud, that he was done. Sam had no idea how to respond to that. They’d both done more than anyone should be called on to do. Would keep doing it if asked. But was he going to try and talk Dean out of retiring, argue for them to keep jumping between the world and whatever Big Bad arose in the future? Hell no. Dean was offering what their dad had wanted for them—a real life—and he’d be damned before he turned him down. Sam was so fucking on-board with seeing where this was going to go. If it started with godawful boring trips to the fucking Church of Rehab Now again, than so be it. He could take an hour of so hanging out at the home store. He’d learned gobs and gobs of patience in the last couple of years. Tons of patience. No problem there.
Fidus huffed from his place under Dean’s chair, eyeing Sam in a skeptical way.
″So, what—you got psychic while we were gone?″ he asked the dog.
″Whut?″ Dean muttered, barely taking his eyes off his newest issue of Home Porn or whatever it was called.
″Nothing.″ Sam fake-smiled. Might was well get in practice, he had the feeling he’d be doing it a lot. Sam huffed a little laugh at himself. Really, he needed to stop, home remodeling stuff really wasn’t as bad as he pretended. It was just a little...he raised his glass and tilted it at Dean, who tilted his glass back with a smile. Yeah, it was….
God, so boring. An hour into their first lap the fucking store, Sam was ready to die of boredom or kill someone, namely some tall, green-eyed, hot asshole to alleviate the god-awful boredom. He was slouched against a shelf load of varnishes and paint strippers, clutching a handful of kitchen booklets just to keep from transferring that grip to his brother's throat.
Dean stopped caressing a cabinet door to turn to Sam, his eyes warm and his mouth doing that thing where it looked impossibly softer, said, ″Thanks, Sammy. I know you hate doing this, but...I do appreciate that you’re doing it for me.″ His voice was deep, quiet, so that Sam had to lean a little closer to him to hear. Dean reached up and squeezed Sam’s shoulder and the smile he gave Sam made his insides turn into indulgent goo.
″Oh, I don't mind, it's really not that—oh, you manipulative fucker, he snapped as Dean started snickering. ″You think I'm that easy? I know you just need someone to help carry stu--″
″Hey Anderson! When’d you get back in town?″ A big booming voice was accompanied by a big, blocky guy with a huge smile and a thick beard.
″Bear!″ The guy mock-punched Dean, who mocked a couple of punches back at the guy, which sent Sam’s eyebrows flying high. Macho play-fighting was not a thing Dean and he did...yeah, but apparently it was something Dean Anderson did. Dean and the Bear guy slammed each other on the back, once-twice, and jumped back from each other.
Straight boy hug, Sam thought sarcastically. He did remember the guy now, he’d seen him once or twice from before.
″I'm glad you’re back. So, grab a vest, and get to work, we’ll fill out the particulars later,″ Bear grinned.
Dean laughed, stopped when Bear didn't laugh along. ″You're serious?″
"Hell yeah. This is my store now, so yeah. Well, okay, paperwork, we can do that first. And you’ll have to do the little corporate dance, but after that, we’ll talk about giving you Paint. We just got rid of the last idiot so this is like the answer to my prayers.″
″Well...well,″ Dean said, "We’ll talk.″
"Good. I’ll be glad to have you back; it’ll be great working with someone I won’t have to babysit,″ he said, bulldozing right over Dean’s protests. "And Sam, good to see you again.″ He winked at them before walking off.
"Hunh. Guess I have a job,″ Dean said, staring down the aisle at Bear. "That’s...interesting.″ He turned to Sam and shrugged, barely managing to rein in a grin.
"Promotion, too. Mr. Manager Guy.″ Sam chuckled."Not bad for one afternoon.″
Being back to work meant he was working days and rehabbing mostly nights and weekends—he’d told Bear he’d only accept the offer if he got weekends off; Bear had wrangled him into being okay with every other weekend, which Dean knew was the kind of a miracle that he was not looking in the mouth. All in all, he had to admit he didn’t mind being back that much. It was an okay job to have while he thought about what it was he wanted to do with the rest of his life. Dean shuddered.
Rest of his life. There was a freaky concept.
It was one of his Saturdays off. He’d gotten up early to celebrate with pancakes, coffee and a plan to gut the kitchen. He leaned over the sink, staring out at the backyard, bathed in bright, acid sunlight—no snow, thank goodness, but the air was chilled and he really enjoyed the heat from his cup of coffee, waiting for the heat to kick on.
He was drinking his second cup when Sam came into the room, dressed like they were about to hit the road on a hunt, and clutching a sledge hammer he must have found in the garage. "Okay, let’s get started!
Dean slowly set his cup down on the table and asked, "What the hell are you doing?″
"We’re taking out the old cabinets today, right?″
Dean raised an eyebrow and leaned to his side, he came back up from the floor holding a cordless drill and held it out to Sam. "Yes. We are going to unscrew the cabinets from the wall, and then take them out. This way I can reuse them in the garage. And save our drywall. Sledgehammer.″ He scoffed. "Set your Thor-ass down and stop watching those home shows—they’re complete bullshit.″
Sam pouted, leaning the hammer in the corner and taking a seat. "I knew this wasn't going to be any fun,″ he muttered. "It’s never any fun.″
Dean took a sip of coffee, then said,″How bout this; I'll give you a blowjob after, how’s that for fun?″
He really expected Sam to laugh or throw something at him; Dean sure didn’t expect him to kick his chair back and snap, ″Fuck you, Dean. Fuck you.″
Sam’s eyes were narrowed, his lips pulled into a tight frown. He looked furious, but his body told Dean a different story...Sam was pulled in on himself, arms folded across his midsection and shoulders curved in. He’d gone all pale—except for slashes of red across his cheekbones and the tip of his nose. He looked like he’d been kneed in the crotch. Kneed in the crotch and then laughed at.
Sam muttered, "Fucker,″ one last time before storming out of the room. Dean wanted to punch himself in the face. God, if he could only take back the last few minutes….
Why the fuck was he always, always the one to screw things up?
When they’d left here, he’d been so sure that he’d never mess up what they’d gained. That he’d keep Sam safe, and close. So sure that being back on the road wouldn’t change a thing between them.
But of course he’d screwed up, slowly, surely, bit by bit, Dean had chipped away at the bond of them; he’d lost faith in himself, in what they were to each other. He’d waffled between not trusting himself to not wanting to drag Sam down with him, like some self-sacrificing martyr.
And always, the little voice in the back of his head, happily feeding the belief he wasn’t worthy—sometimes loud, sometimes a whisper, but always there.
One morning he’d woken up, alone for the hundredth day in a row, and he’d realized that what they’d had was done. Being here, though—being home—had him thinking that maybe he could fix what he’d broken. But here he was, barely a month gone by, and he was fucking up again.
After an uncomfortable wait while guzzling another coupla cups of coffee, Sam walked back into the kitchen, hair damp, eyes a little raw, and his face pink from scrubbing.
″Ready to start taking the cabinets out,″ he said. He sounded normal, even cheerful, but his expression was carefully blank and not fooling Dean in the least, not the way his eyes barely met Dean’s as he looked around the kitchen.
″Yeah, unh...we need to move the fridge out, and disconnect the stove...take-out for a few days.″
″Oh, right, forgot about that,″ Sam said, and then stood silently until Dean coughed, and pointed him towards the cabinets by the windows.
"Those small ones you can take out while I move the fridge.″
It was not the fun day Dean had hoped for. They worked mostly in silence, Sam moving efficiently and somehow managing to avoid touching Dean in a kitchen that was not all that big when things were in order, much less in the chaos of demolition. Dean just kept plugging away, not knowing how to reach out to Sam, not over something this huge.
He was so fucking grateful for the end of the day, and that relief lasted until bedtime. He stood in the hallway, unsure where to move, but Sam of course, knew exactly what to do. He came out of the bedroom clutching one of the extra blankets and a pillow. ″Gonna bunk downstairs tonight,″ he said with a small, soft smile. He padded past Dean, followed by Fi, who gave Dean a guilty look but kept on Sam’s heels.
Dean stood in the hall a while longer, staring at the walls, until finally exhaustion shoved him through the bedroom door and onto the bed. He lay there on his stomach without moving until around dawn he finally fell asleep.
Morning came, and Dean practically tip-toed down the stairs, his bare feet making no noise. He crossed the living room, coming to stand quietly in front of the couch. He watched Sam sleep like he’d done a million times before in a million motel rooms, from Sam's toddlerhood to becoming a grown man; making sure he was breathing, making sure he slept unchallenged by dream monsters.
Dean padded closer, listening to Sam's even, deep breathing. Almost unconsciously, Dean ended up on his knees in front of the couch. Sam’s hair was sleep-mussed, strands curling across his face, framing his cheeks. Leaning towards Sam, he Dean quietly reached for him, wanting to card his fingers through Sam's hair the way he’d done nearly every day of pre-puberty Sammy’s childhood. Dean let out a most unmanly yelp when Sam suddenly grabbed his hand.
"What are you doing?″
"Nothing, I swear,″ Dean said, pulling against Sam’s grip, embarrassed to be caught in a moment of emotion that didn’t involve pushing for sex.
Sam dropped Dean’s hand. Rolling his eyes, he shoved Dean away, his lip curling in a snarl.
"Fucking hell, Dean, you piss me off so much. Maybe I should just go out and kill someone we know so we can fucking have sex again this decade.″
"Sam!″ Dean was honestly shocked, in fact, kind of horrified at Sam’s outburst. By the way Sam closed his eyes and silently cursed, Dean was pretty sure Sam had shocked himself with what he’d said.
"Jesus...I didn’t mean that—I can’t believe I said that.″ He looked up at Dean, his eyes a swirl of green and blue and amber. "The killing someone part, I don’t know where the fuck that came from. Just...God, Dean! Don't make me beg. It’ll only piss me off and screw us up even more.″
"But, but Sam, you don't want—"
Sam slapped his hand over Dean’s mouth, maybe a little harder than he had to to make a point. Dean’s eyes watered a little, but he stared into Sam’s defiantly. Sam cursed, said, "So help me god, you don’t want to finish that, because if you do, I'm gonna have to kick your ass all over the house. You know I can.″
Sam sat up, swinging his legs over the couch edge to bracket Dean with his knees. He bent slightly, and took Dean’s face in his hands. "Dean. Please. I’m not begging you. I’m asking you. I forgave you; why can’t you forgive me?″
"Fuck, Sammy, what am I supposed to forgive you for? I’m the one screwed everything up. I want you, 'course I want you, you have to know that. I'm just...afraid of hurting you. I want you to have everything you deserve, Sam, everything, and what am I? Nothing.″
Sam’s fierce expression softened, and his grip shifted. He gripped Dean's collar, twisting his hand up in the fabric and yanking Dean so close, all he could see was Sam’s eyes. "I’m...I'm really reaching deep inside me, Dean, to find the strength not to punch the stupid out of you. Now, look at my mouth. Listen to me. Hear me. I. Want. You. No one else. I don't have the room in me to give a shit about anyone not you.″
Dean’s eyes filled and he let them spill over. "Sammy….″
"I don’t give a fuck about anyone else, because you know why? Who knows me better? Who gets all my lumps and scars and broken bits? All my missing pieces? I’m border-line crazy and a fuckin’ ex- junkie. Who’s going to be able to handle that the way you can? Who’s ever going to understand me better than you?″
"Yeah, well, but look what you’re stuck with. I’m a border-line alcoholic and an ex-torturer who kind of, sort of...misses it? In a way I can’t explain. Just...sometimes...″ he whispered. "But you know that about me and you don’t judge. You get all my scars and shattered bits and the cracked pieces that don’t—won’t ever—match up again. Who knows me better?″ He laid his cheek against the inside of Sam's thigh. "I missed you, Sammy,″ he murmured. "I missed this. Can I…?″
He inched closer to Sam's dick, feeling the heat radiating from his skin, the way Sam just managed to swallow a groan, and whispered in a voice gone hoarse. "Yeah...if you want, if you’re sure—″
"Shut up, Sam. We both want this. No questions, No waffling. Right?″ He licked over the cloth-covered head of Sam’s dick, enjoying the sound Sam made in response, and the way his dick jerked, filled, sliding down Sam’s leg until the flushed head of his dick peeked out the bottom edge of his boxers. Dean kissed the tip, rubbing his lips against the silky-smooth skin. He lipped at it until a bead of slick bubbled up, leaked out to soak the fabric edge along with Dean’s saliva. He closed his mouth around just the tip, the very tip, and teased the slit with the pointed tip of his tongue, drawing out more slick, enjoying the slightly salty taste.
Sam shuddered, moaned, and more of his long, slim dick slid out the loose leg of the boxers. Dean admired the way it looked, fucking hot as hell, flushed rosy-red, the way his slit was already pouting, glistening. He rucked up the leg of the baggy boxers, exposing more of Sam’s dick, showing a glimpse of his balls...Dean traced the seam of them with his thumb, slowly stroking over them, pulling at the skin—just this side of rough, the way Sam liked.
He rocked back on his heels, taking deep breaths, trying to calm himself before leaning forward again, sucking at the loose skin, laving over Sam’s sac, just sucking and licking and nuzzling at Sam until the fabric of his boxers were soaked, so wet they were almost translucent. The sight was fucking hot as hell, but now those boxers were blocking him from what he wanted—more of Sam, more skin, more scent, more of everything.
Sam immediately lifted his hips at Dean’s touch to his knee. Dean yanked the boxers down, let them puddle on the floor, urged Sam to lift his feet out of them.
"Fucking hot, Sammy. So fucking hot.″ He walked his fingers down the long curve of Sam’s dick, watched it jerk and thicken, veins standing out along the length, the head of his dick begging for his tongue—he wanted to take it right into his throat—something he must have said out loud, because Sam groaned, long, loud, cursed as his dick surged up and slapped wetly against his thigh, strings of precome dangling and smearing between Dean’s fingers and Sam.
Dean shoved a hand down into his sweats, gripped himself, shuddering as his dick swelled and jumped in his fist.
Fuck. Closing his eyes, he breathed deeply when his brother’s big hands wrapped around his head. Sam pulled him in, kissing him, sucking on his tongue, gasping and talking 'cause Sam loved to talk, had to talk; telling Dean all the things he was going to do to him, what he wanted Dean to do to him.
"Yes, yes, yes...″ Dean kissed it into Sam’s mouth, and groaned it into his skin, and hoped he wasn't going to come too quickly—it’d been a fucking long, long time. He took Sam in his mouth and froze, overwhelmed with the way Sam's dick felt on his tongue, loving the way it filled his mouth, made him drool; Dean swallowed, trying to keep the mouthful of spit and precome from choking him.
Sam shuddered, opened his eyes, stared down at Dean. Shoving his hips forward so his dick sank into Dean's mouth and hit the back of his throat, Sam left Dean working frantically to take him in, to breathe, not to gag. He wanted it all, the entire long, slim, hot length of him. Wanted it crowding out everything—space, air, everything. He wanted to choke on Sam's fucking dick, die on it, fucking—Dean swallowed jerkily, drool and precome mixing, bubbling out of the corners of his mouth. It’d been a while, and he was having a hard time adjusting, but it didn't matter. Sam's harsh breaths and deep moans suddenly morphed into a low, deep scream; he grabbed Dean’s head and ground into his face, coming so hard Dean couldn't keep it all in. Strings of spit and come laced his chin, dripping to the floor.
He fell forward when Sam pulled back carefully, hissing as he slipped past Dean’s lips. That was it for Dean—he was gasping for breath, shooting into his own fist and gnawing at the abused skin of Sam’s thigh until he got pushed away. Felt like hours before he dragged himself off the floor, wiped them up a bit using Sam’s boxers, and crawled up on the couch next to him, smirking when Sam complained. "No room for me, and your fat ass too.″
"You love my fat ass,″ Dean grumbled, elbowing Sam until he turned.
on to part 3