Heart's Desire V: "Even As I Wander, I'm Keeping You In Sight"


The smell of food woke Sam up. There were sounds coming from somewhere close by -- muted clicks and the thump of wood on wood. He was in bed alone and the sheets beside him were cool. Sam opened his eyes and raised his head, trying to locate Dean.

"Hey, sleeping beauty," Dean called over. "You want breakfast?"

"Breakfast?" he echoed, still a little groggy, looking around.

Dean looked at him from the kitchen and held up a Del Taco bag. "Breakfast," he repeated, and from the tone of his voice he clearly was wondering whether Sam was really awake.

"Yeah, sure," Sam said around a yawn. His brain finally woke up just as he was sitting up, providing a memory of the night before. The shopping, the side trip to the sex shop, then coming back here and Dean fucking him with the dildo and then just... fucking him.

"I got two Macho Burritos, and two steak -- you want one of each?" Dean was asking, bringing the bag over to the bed along with a cup carrier with two cups in it.

Sam stared at Dean, trying to figure out... Dean looked normal, the same way he'd looked a hundred other mornings when he'd woken up first and gone and got them breakfast. Sam didn't know if that was a good or bad sign.

Dean stopped by the side of the bed and jangled the bag at him. "Sam? Sammy, you want a burrito?"

"Are you... okay?" Sam asked.

He watched as Dean's expression froze, then changed from one to another almost too fast to make out. Finally he just shook his head. "Do we have to talk about it? Can't we just have breakfast?"

"I... think I need to talk about it," Sam said slowly. It would drive him crazy wondering what was going on in Dean's head otherwise.

With a stifled sigh, Dean nodded and sat down, setting the bag and the cup carrier down in the middle of the bed, reaching over Sam's legs to do so. "Okay."

"Are you okay?" Sam asked again.

There wasn't anything in Dean's expression to tell Sam what his brother was feeling. Dean shrugged, and Sam could see that he was about to say he was fine.

"I need to know," Sam said, before Dean could. "Last night was..." He hesitated, trying to find a word that wouldn't freak Dean out with too much feeling, finally settling on, "...intense."

He got a sharp look from Dean at that. "Are you all right?" It wasn't just a deflection, though Sam knew Dean would be perfectly happy for it to serve as one.

"I'm fine," Sam said quickly, then smiled ruefully, "I might not want to sit on anything hard today, but last night was worth that."

There was a quick smile at that, and Sam could see a dozen snide and suggestive comments race through his brother's head.

That he took as a good sign, and he gave Dean the opening to say something lewd by asking, "What?"

But Dean just looked -- prim, for god's sake -- and shook his head as though he would never say such crude things. He leaned over and snagged one of the cups, and took a drink.

Sam sighed. "So we're really not going to talk about what we did last night."

"What do you want me to say?" Dean asked, sounding slightly exasperated. "I fucked you, you liked it, end of story. Except we have breakfast and my coffee sucks." He made a face at it, but took another swallow, anyhow.

"I want you to say if you liked it," Sam answered, keeping his voice as calm as he could. The last thing he wanted was for this to turn into some kind of crazy fight like the one they'd had two nights ago. "I want to know if you're freaking out about it and want to forget it happened. I want to know if it's going to happen again."

He didn't have any warning before Dean's hand was wrapped around the back of his neck, then Dean was kissing him. He tasted like coffee and faintly of toothpaste. Sam knew that this was probably just Dean's way of avoiding having to actually answer his questions, but as a distraction it was one that definitely worked on him. And, really, it was an answer in itself because if Dean had been freaking completely out, he wouldn't have done it.

After a moment, Dean let him go -- let his mouth go, but his hand stayed on Sam's neck and his face was still right there, close enough for Sam to kiss him again if he just tilted his head the tiniest bit. They stayed in that position and Sam could hear Dean breathing, feel him trying to say something. Whether the problem was figuring out what to say, or how to say it, Sam couldn't tell.

"I can't say I'm not freaking," Dean said suddenly, quietly. "But I can't.... I'm not letting you go. Neither of us is forgetting it and...." His voice dropped, and Dean closed his eyes, briefly. Then he pulled back and looked at Sam steadily, though his voice was still soft, and shaking ever so slightly. "I hope like hell it's going to happen again."

Sam leaned in and kissed Dean again, knowing that if he didn't, he'd be blurting out all kinds of emotional stuff that would send his brother running. So he put those feelings into the kiss, reaching up and holding Dean's face between his hands while he plundered his brother's mouth.

Dean didn't seem to be trying to get away -- not judging by the way he opened his mouth so willingly, and moaned softly as Sam kissed him.

When Sam finally let Dean's mouth go, he smiled and leaned his forehead against his brother's. "I think it's probably a safe bet that it will," he murmured, smiling, feeling the happiness and just the rightness of everything bubble up inside him.

"Great," Dean said, and the light-hearted tone didn't quite cover up the catch in his voice. "Can I eat now, or did you wanna talk about something else?"

"I seem to recall someone wanting to have all sorts of conversations at inappropriate times last night," Sam pointed out, grinning mischievously.

Dean threw him a confused look. "Inappropriate? What the hell are you talking about?" Dean reached over and grabbed the bag of burritos, and dug into it. "Have you seen the bathroom? I mean, seriously?"

Sam got his own burrito by the simple expedient of reaching over and plucking the first one Dean took out of the bag right out of his hand. "There's a time and place for every discussion," he said, unwrapping the burrito. "When you have your fingers up my ass is not the appropriate time for discussing painting the bathroom."

"I was--" Dean began, belligerently, then he cut himself off and pulled out another burrito. He held it for a moment as if waiting to see if Sam wanted that one as well.

Sam generously waved it off, taking a bite of the one he did have and waiting until Dean was about to do the same before asking, "You were what?"

Dean stopped, mouth open an inch away from his burrito. He glared at Sam without moving, then lowered his burrito and sighed. Looking away, he said, "I was trying... not to come too fast, all right?" He paused like he was going to continue, but didn't.

It made Sam smile, which he hid by taking another bite of burrito. Again, he waited until Dean was going to take a bite, then asked, "The idea of fucking me was really making you that hot?"

His brother stopped again, and gave Sam another dirty look, though this one was tempered by something darker. Dean put his burrito down and frowned at it, like he knew there was no way he was going to get to eat it anytime soon. "Yeah," he said, quietly. "I was trying to distract myself so I wouldn't."

Sam reached over and rested a hand on Dean's thigh. He waited until Dean glanced at him and then he said, putting as much conviction as he could into his voice, "I'm glad that the distractions didn't work and you did."

"I wanted--" Dean stopped, but seemed to be searching for the words to keep going, rather than fighting the need to speak at all. "I didn't--" He fell silent, words apparently escaping him. But he put his hand on Sam's, and rubbed his fingers lightly over Sam's wrist.

Sam shifted closer, and raised his other hand to rub gently at the back of Dean's neck, knowing it was one of the quickest ways of soothing him. "You didn't what?" he asked softly.

There was a brief -- too brief -- smile, and Dean gave a sort of laugh. "I was trying to take things slower than that. Let you... get used to... Man, if it were just about me getting off with my dick in your ass I'd have done it when you were sixteen." Dean closed his eyes, but tilted his head towards Sam.

Thinking of Dean taking him a couple of years ago sent shivers of arousal down Sam's spine. "If you'd taken things any slower, I think I probably would've gone crazy."

"Nah, you've been insane for a decade at least."

Sam chuckled. "Jerk," he said affectionately.

"Bitch," Dean returned, voice just above a whisper. He shifted towards Sam, then leaned in.

Sam shifted so that he could wrap his arms around him. "Really, Dean, bathroom painting aside, last night was... I couldn't have asked for a better first time. As far as I'm concerned, you did everything right."

As soon as Sam's arms tightened around him, his brother moved in closer, seeming to fall against him. He was silent for a moment then in a half-hitched, half-amused voice Dean said, "I guess that answers the question if you came or not."

Sam chuckled, surprised by the comment. "I came so hard I'm surprised my head didn't explode."

"Oh. Good." Dean spoke almost haltingly. Then, apologetically, "I kinda didn't notice."

"As long as it wasn't because you were too preoccupied thinking of colours to paint the bathroom..."


Sam whacked his arm.

"Not dark green," Dean protested. "Geez. Just a sort of a...cilantro green."

"As I was trying to say," Sam said, determined to get this out before Dean totally derailed the conversation, "You don't need to apologise for great sex. Really."

"Yeah, all right," Dean said, as though giving in. Sam could tell his brother was still freaking out about it, but not completely, and not so much that it would be impossible to get him to repeat last night's performance. Dean leaned back, untangling himself from Sam's embrace.

Sam let him, knowing if he made Dean talk about it much more right now, things would probably go downhill. Dean still wasn't looking at him, focusing instead on the burrito in his hand, the cup of coffee sitting in the carrier, the mattress, the wall, the unearthed miles inside his head -- he didn't seem ready to bolt, but that was only because he was giving off the distinct impression of being chained to the bed.

That thought brought a few vision flashes of Dean literally chained to a bed, which this was so not the time for. But Sam did make a note to try to remember them later. "Do you want me to go take a shower or something?" he asked Dean, offering to give him the space that his brother seemed to need.

"Nah." Dean shook his head, still not looking up. He lifted his burrito to his mouth -- and paused there, obviously waiting for Sam to say something.

Sam just grinned and took a bite of his own breakfast.

Dean gave him a glare, then quickly took a big bite of his burrito. He turned a highly suspicious look on Sam as he chewed, clearly daring him to ask another question. Which was reason enough to continue to eat silently, as far as Sam was concerned.

When Sam had just taken another bite of burrito, Dean asked, "So when do you want to get fucked again?"

Sam choked and started coughing.

Dean waggled his eyebrows and kept eating.


A week later, Sam was sitting on the couch going through the orientation packet he'd picked up at school. There was a lot of information there and even more forms. At least he'd gotten his brother to help -- by kicking Dean out of the apartment for a few hours so he wouldn't keep picking things up and moving them. He didn't particularly know where Dean had gone; his brother had already found three good bars with pool tables, and their cash flow had been taken care of for the next couple weeks.

Sam did worry some that Dean was going to be at loose ends when he was busy with school, especially once classes started and he had a full course load. But every time he tried to bring it up, Dean either changed the subject or did his best to distract him. So far they still hadn't actually talked about it.

But his brother didn't seem worried, and despite how much Sam knew Dean could act like he didn't care, he also knew that Dean would have to decide for himself whether or not to go stir crazy. Heck, maybe Dean was really looking forward to staying home and watching soaps.

The key at the lock warned him; a second later the door swung open and Dean stepped in. He caught Sam watching, and grinned. "Still at it?"

"Yeah, but it's probably time for a break," Sam said, putting the papers down and crossing over to his brother. He hadn't actually been concentrating on the papers for the last ten minutes or so anyway.

Dean moved past him and leaned over the back of the couch, and picked up one of the stacks of papers. "Huh. Hey, are you--"

Sam quickly took the papers from him and put them back where he'd had them. Carefully sorted.

"You know, this college thing has really brought out your anal side. Are you gonna be like this for four years? Because I might have to strangle you now and put myself out of your misery."

"You won't strangle me," Sam said, not the least bit phased. He slid his arms around Dean's waist. "And I'm not anal. I just need to know where everything is."

"Which is the definition of 'anal'," Dean replied, pressing his hands against Sam's, then hanging onto his arms, holding him in place. "Seriously, between you and Dad...." Dean shook his head.

Sam pulled back a little to look at him. "What do you mean between me and Dad? When have I ever been anything like Dad?" He ignored the memory flashes that brought up of his own voice telling their father that they weren’t different. Because that? Wasn't the same thing at all.

"Dude, are you kidding me?" Dean blinked at him, looking sincerely surprised. "Have you ever seen Dad when he's researching something? All his piles of newspaper articles, photocopies, everything underlined and notes and god help you if you breathe on something before he gets it into his journal?"

Okay, Dean might have a point. But... "I'm not that bad."

Dean narrowed his eyes. "Have you met yourself? Or Dad?"

"I'm not," Sam insisted.

Slowly, Dean leaned over and picked up one of the forms Sam had laid out. Sam gritted his teeth and didn't say anything. Dean carefully laid it upside-down on a stack of paperwork that was totally unrelated to the form itself.

Sam's hands twitched, but he didn't move. Dean moved his hand to a stack of papers sitting to one side, and poised his finger to flick the entire thing onto the floor.

"Don't-!" Sam blurted, reaching to grab Dean's hand before he could knock the papers over.

Laughing delightedly, Dean caught Sam's hand and spun them both around -- away from the paperwork. He gave Sam a smugger-than-hell look.

"Anyone would get upset about you knocking everything over like that," Sam protested weakly.

"Wouldn't bother me a bit," Dean retorted.

Sam raised an eyebrow. "Really? It wouldn't bother you at all if I came up when you're cleaning your guns and swiped all of the parts onto the floor?"

"Not really, no." Dean shrugged.

"Yeah, right."

"It wouldn't," Dean repeated. "You get the parts all over the floor which means I make you pick them all back up. If you lose a part, I find a gunsmith or I buy a new gun." He shrugged again. "Not really a big deal."

Which was probably the truth, damn it. "What about the car?" Sam asked.

Dean narrowed his eyes. "What about my car?" he asked, voice low and threatening.

Gotcha! Sam thought. "What if I, say, spilled coffee on the seat?" he asked, picking something at random.

"Then you clean it up," Dean countered, but his tone and his scowl both deepened.

Sam managed to hide his grin, but it wasn't easy. "And what if, say, I was driving the car and it got a scratch-"

"Then I get to be an only child again," Dean growled. "It'd be nice. Don't have to share my toys, no one stealing my cereal, no everyone cooing over the darling baby--"

"Dude, don't even try it," Sam said. "You know you love me."

"Of course I love you, I'm just saying I love my car more."

Sam grinned, happy whenever Dean told him that. Well, maybe happier when it wasn't immediately followed by a declaration of love for the Impala, but still. He took what he could get.

Dean had opened his mouth to say something, when he stopped and looked at Sam for a second. Then he half-smiled, and shook his head. "You look like a goofball," he said, fondly.

"I don't care," Sam replied, leaning in to kiss Dean.

Dean slipped his arms around Sam and smiled at him. "Jot de gari."

Sam just raised an eyebrow at him, but then decided he needed to kiss him again.

"Brat," Dean said, after the kiss was over.

"Jerk," Sam responded, then kissed him a third time.

Just because he was there.

"Geek." Dean paused, looking hopeful.

Sam chuckled. "You think I'm kissing you because you're calling me names?"

"It's working for me so far." Dean grinned, smug and happy.

"That wasn't why I was kissing you," Sam told him, but figured it wouldn't do much good. And besides, when Dean looked at him like that, he'd do pretty much anything for him, including kissing him for calling Sam names.

"So you don't mind if I call you a dickhead?"

"Would it stop you if I said yes?"

"Would you believe me if I said it would?" Dean countered.

Sam actually gave it some thought. "Probably not," he admitted.

"Then why are you asking?" Dean glanced towards the couch and the stacks of papers; his calculating look didn't seem quite evil enough to make Sam feel the need to protect his sense of order. "Hey, don't you still have time before you need all this crap? Classes don't start until Monday, do they?"

"Yeah," Sam said, not at all surprised that Dean knew his schedule as well as he did. "But I just want to be prepared."

"So, you're actually free for the next two or three days?" Dean glanced at him with a hopeful expression.

"I suppose so," Sam said, raising an eyebrow at Dean's look. "What do you have in mind?"

"Wanna drive up to Reno?"

"Why?" Sam asked, eyes narrowing in suspicion as he looked at his brother.

Dean responded with a wide-eyed expression of what was always intended to be innocence, but that was a look Sam had never really seen his brother successfully accomplish. "I suggest a friendly road-trip out to Nevada, and you look at me like I'm going to say something like 'let's skip the showgirls and concentrate on the possible haunted taxi'?"

Sam wondered if there was ever going to be a time Dean would just come out and say things instead of seeing if he could get Sam going first. "A case?"

"A friend of Dad's called and said since we're out here and Dad's down in Florida, we might check it out. Some weird stories about a taxi -- picks up fares, sometimes it drives them to where they wanna go, sometimes it dumps the bodies at a local cemetery. Same one each time."

"Definitely sounds like it could be our sort of thing," Sam mused, already mentally creating the checklist of what they'd have to do to investigate it.

"And afterwards, we can hit the casinos." Dean grinned, and stepped away, heading towards the closet. Already intent on packing and going, Sam realised.

Sam hesitated. "You sure we can be back by Monday?"

"Sure!" Dean didn't even look up from where he was rummaging -- though for what, Sam didn't know, because the duffel he was grabbing was packed, hadn't been unpacked since they'd moved in. His 'hunting kit,' Sam called it.

Sam suddenly realised how excited Dean was. Any lingering hesitation Sam might have been feeling melted under that realisation, and the whisper of guilt it brought with it. Dean loved hunting, which he didn't get to do much of staying here with Sam...

Shaking his head to get rid of that train of thought, Sam pasted on a determined smile. "So what are we waiting for? Let's hit Reno."


"I swear to god, Sammy, you touch it again and I will break your hand off at the shoulder."

Dean didn't take his eyes off the road to bother glaring at him. They'd been driving for only a couple hours but Dean had forced them to listen to Motorhead since they'd pulled away from the curb back home.

Sam sighed and said in a very clipped voice, "Dean, if I have to listen to this tape through one more time... I'll be forced to jump out of a moving car to get away from it."

"What are you talking about?" Dean shot him a confused look. "Ace of Spades is the best fucking album ever."

Knowing drastic measures would be needed here, Sam reached for the door handle.

"Dammit, Sammy," Dean snapped, but he jabbed at the radio's eject button. "If I break you, Dad's not gonna let me have another one." He glared over at Sam.

Sam smiled smugly and leaned back in the passenger seat now that he'd gotten his way. "Thank you," he said politely.

Dean flipped him off, then reached over blindly for the box of cassette tapes. Sam got there first, pulling it out of his brother's reach and searching through it himself. There was a soft whimpering sound from Dean.

"Did you say something?" Sam asked innocently.

"If you make me listen to Britney what's her face, I will never, ever forgive you. Or that.. emo grunge band."

"It's my turn to pick," Sam pointed out.

"Driver picks the music," Dean returned. "Shotgun shuts his cakehole unless he's offering a blowjob."

"I have the tapes," Sam again pointed out, using the same calm, reasonable tone.

"I'm still the one driving," Dean said, sternly. As though he hadn't refused to let Sam drive since he'd got the car last spring.

"Yes, you are," Sam agreed. "Which means you should be concentrating on the road and leave petty things like music choices to me."

"I'm the one who will drive us into oncoming traffic if my ears start to bleed." Dean reached over towards the box of tapes on Sam's lap.

Sam slapped at his hand and moved the box out of reach. "Your ears aren't going to bleed because I play Nirvana."

"They will too. It's a documented fact -- hell, Dad and I once hunted down an entire collection of albums that were making people's ears bleed." He paused, shuddering. "Peggy Lee. Frank Sinatra. I was never so glad to destroy a haunted jukebox in my entire life."

Sam nodded as if in agreement, then said, "Philistine."

Dean shot him a look. "Me or them?"

Sam answered that with an eloquent look of his own.

"Them," Dean said, nodding expansively. He turned his attention back to the road, drummed his thumbs on the wheel, then said, "I'm gonna sing if you don't put something in."

That actually stopped Sam from reaching for the tape he'd picked out. He liked Dean's singing voice. A lot. Not that his brother knew that -- there were some things you just didn't admit to if you didn't want to be teased about them forever. But Dean threatening to sing had to be one of the least threatening threats that he could've made. "You wouldn't," Sam said, sliding the box of tapes further away from Dean.

Without warning, Dean began singing. "Sam, Sam, the lavatory man, Chief inspector of the outhouse clan--"

Okay, maybe it wasn't that bad a threat after all. Sam had forgotten that his brother was, apparently, still five. With a muttered curse, he grabbed the BOC tape he'd picked out and put it in the player.

All he heard before the music kicked in was his brother chuckling. A few minutes later, Dean asked, "So, Sammy, what did you ever decide on, anyway, for your first semester?"

Sam glanced over at him. "What, you haven't looked through my papers and found out for yourself?" he teased.

His brother gave him a flat look. "I know you're taking English and biology, and Latin, though, seriously, what the hell do you still need classes in that for? And American Economic History which just makes me wish I could go, too." There was no mistaking the sarcasm in his brother's voice, there. Dean continued, "And something called Matrix Theory which I'm hoping means you don't have a crush on Keanu Reeves."

"Jealous?" Sam asked, smiling a little at how easily his brother had rattled off his courses.


Sam grinned. "Don't worry. Keanu isn't my type at all."

"Carrie Anne Moss?"

He chuckled. "That's your type."

"Hot chick with a gun? Oh, hell, yeah." Dean sighed, appreciatively.

"You're so easy," Sam said, amused.

"For a hot chick with a gun? That's not easy, Sam, that's called having a pulse." Dean paused, then added, "Though I've met ghosts who liked hot chicks with guns, as well. Kwan had a thing for Lucy Liu -- he made us watch Charlie's Angels a dozen times over."

"And I'm sure you were gritting your teeth having to sit through it every time," Sam teased. Inwardly he was pleased to hear his brother mentioning Kwan again; after the first time he'd told Sam about him had ended with Dean somehow thinking he'd let Sam down for daring to go off and do his own thing and have fun, he hadn't talked about it again. That he did so now Sam took as a good sign, although it wasn't one he was going to point out to his brother.

"Just through what's her name, the scrawny chick's scenes. Lucy Liu, though. Yeah. Mmm, yeah. But that doesn't answer my question," Dean said after his moment of reflection.

"What question?"

Dean looked at him like he was brain damaged -- an expression Sam had memorised by the time he was six. "School?"

"Sounds to me like you already know the answer," Sam pointed out.

"Then why am I asking?" Dean countered, sarcastically. Even though Sam knew he was right and Dean probably had his entire schedule memorised, down to the room assignments.

"Probably to annoy me."

Dean opened his mouth, stopped, then closed it. Sam just grinned smugly and went back to looking out the window. Got it in one.

"Maybe I was trying to make sure you knew your schedule," Dean said a minute later, far too late to convince either of them that had been his real reason.

"Uh huh."

"Shut up," Dean retorted. Then, "You do know your schedule, don't you?"

"Of course I do," Sam said, shooting his brother a 'don't be stupid' look.

There was a telling -- expectant -- silence. Rolling his eyes, Sam sighed and then rattled off his schedule hour by hour, day by day.

Dean gave him a proud grin, which was marred only by the fact he was trying not to smirk, and mostly failing. "You got your books?"

"Dude," Sam began with what he thought was an admirable amount of patience, "you were with me when I bought them."

"But there were two you couldn't find," Dean reminded him.

Sam rolled his eyes. "Sometimes I wonder which of us is the one going to school."

"So you didn't get the books?" Dean sighed, and Sam could practically hear him making a mental note to find them before Monday.

He resisted the urge to roll his eyes again. "The clerk at the campus bookstore said they'd have a new shipment in on Monday. I'll pick them up between classes. Really Dean, I can handle all this."

"How're your shoes?"

"Dean!" Sam finally snapped exasperation overwhelming patience.

"What?" Dean glanced over at him, surprised. "Hey, it's a new school year, you get new shoes."

Which was true; for any year they had got to start at an actual school, Sam had gotten a new pair of shoes, a pair of new jeans, and underwear. Everything else had always been hand-me-downs or Goodwill, but Dad -- or Dean -- had always taken him shopping before the first day of school.

"The shoes I have are fine, Dean," Sam told his brother with a small smile.

Dean shrugged. "Just making sure -- hard to tell if you've really stopped growing." He gave the top of Sam's head a disparaging look. "I told Dad we should just wrap you in newspapers and duct tape, the way you outgrew clothes every week."

Sam spread his hands. "Hey, I can't help it if I got the good genes and you got the stunty ones."

"That why you think I'm so hot?" Dean asked, giving him a flirtatious smile.

"Well, it's not because you want to wrap me in newspapers and duct tape," Sam shot back.

"You were twelve," Dean replied. "And ugly as a stick. Newspaper and duct tape would have been an improvement."

"You never thought I was ugly," Sam said with confidence.

Dean glanced at him with a raised eyebrow. "You've seen the photos, right?"

Sam smiled at him. "You never thought I was ugly," he repeated.

There was another telling silence from the other side of the car. Sam waited to see what Dean would finally say. It took a minute, but eventually Dean said, "You better not wake me up when you have class at eight a.m."

Sam ignored the comment and said instead, "I never thought you were ugly either."

"Dude, I was never ugly," Dean protested. "And I mean it about not waking me up. Don't expect breakfast at six in the morning unless I'm just getting in."

"Whatever," Sam said, knowing that it was more likely than not that breakfasts and rides to school would be forthcoming no matter how early his classes started. Or how much he protested he didn't need it, or how much Dean protested he wasn't going to provide same.

And it was just as likely that Dean knew it, too, and knew Sam knew. It never seemed to stop him from wasting breath to make the protests.

"What about your other stuff?" Dean suddenly asked, and he waved a hand like the gesture meant something.

Sam looked at him blankly. "What other stuff?"

"You know," and Dean actually sounded embarrassed. "Pencils, notebooks, whatever. Don't you need shit like that?"

"That's all taken care of," Sam assured him, wondering when Dean was going to stop acting like... like a mom.

"When?" Dean asked, sounding confused. As though it mattered, as long as Sam had what he needed?

"Back before we moved. Saw a sale in a bookstore on notebooks and pens when we were chasing down that poltergeist with the thing for ribbons? So I stocked up."

"Oh. Okay, good." Dean nodded, and looked thoughtful as he stared ahead at the highway.

When he opened his mouth again, Sam jumped in before he could say anything. "Dude. Chill. Everything's taken care of. I am actually capable of doing all this stuff myself, y'know."

Dean flinched, and after a moment said curtly, "Fine, whatever."

Great. Sam closed his eyes and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "That wasn't meant as some kind of personal insult," he said quietly.

"No, just tell me to piss off, I don't care." His voice had gone flat and inflectionless. He reached over and turned up the volume on the radio.

Sam immediately turned it back down again. "I didn't tell you to piss off."

Dean reached back over to turn the volume back up. When Sam intercepted his hand, Dean snapped, "It's fine, Sam. Got it. You can do this -- you don't need me nagging you."

"You're right. I don't need the nagging." He held onto Dean's hand, not letting him pull back. "But I do need you."

"You got me, Sam," Dean said, his voice still shuttered and slightly pissed off. "24/7 to keep the demons of the world at bay, but not make sure you have school supplies."

"I need you for more than just demon protection," Sam said, shivering slightly as the words brought up as they always did more micro flashes of horrific things he never wanted to look at any clearer. "A lot more. You know that..." He hesitated, suddenly unsure. "Don't you?"

Dean didn't answer right away, which made Sam think his answer, when it came, was honest -- if not totally complete. "Yeah," he said, finally.

"Why do I hear a 'but' after that?" he asked, keeping his voice calm and as far away from accusing as he could.

It took another long moment before Dean spoke again. There had been a time -- in his visions -- that Sam could remember Dean talking like this without Sam feeling like he was pulling every word out of him with both hands and a crowbar.

Hopefully it wouldn't take long before they got there, again.

Of course, when Dean did speak, it was to say, "It isn't your problem."

"If it's your problem, it's my problem," Sam shot back promptly.

"It's not a problem," Dean said, trying again.

Sam knew he just had to keep pushing until Dean ran out of excuses. "Tell me, then."

"It's nothing," Dean said, impatiently. "You don't want me nagging you, I won't nag."

"Well, I'm going to be nagging you if you don't tell me what's 'nothing'."

"It's stupid," Dean said, quietly. Like he really didn't want Sam to keep asking, because they both knew he would eventually give in.

"I've known you all my life," Sam pointed out. "It'll hardly be the first stupid thing I've heard you say."


"Like that," Sam said still keeping his voice casual. "Come on Dean, tell me."

His brother shrugged, and looked like he was all for dropping it and trying again to change the subject. But he whispered, "What else have I got to do?"

Sam swallowed hard, the words feeling like a punch in the gut. "Pull the car over," he said, his voice husky.

Dean did so almost immediately, pulling onto the shoulder and throwing the car into 'park'. "What's wrong?" he asked, turning to Sam, sounding concerned.

Sam immediately wrapped his arms Dean, hanging on tightly and burying his face in Dean's neck. This was what he'd been afraid of, since Dean first proposed he go with him so Sam could accept the scholarship and go to college -- that Dean was giving up too much of himself to give Sam what he wanted. Whenever he tried to ask about it, Dean had always assured him it wasn't a problem. But here they were, classes not even started yet and Dean was admitting...

Hugging Dean tighter, Sam said, "We don't have to do this."

"What? What? Sam, the fuck are you talking about?" Dean was honestly confused.

"This," Sam waved a hand around vaguely. "Me going to school, the settling down..."

"Sam, Sammy, no," Dean said, soothingly. "Hey, it's not... I told you this is ok. It's good -- hell, ever since you got accepted to college you've been bouncing around like we were going to Disneyland."

He felt Dean's hand in his hair, brushing it down. Dean's reassurance was just making it worse. "It's not fair to you."

There was an odd sort of choked laugh, at that. "Sam, my whole life hasn't been fair. I'm not--"

"This isn't what you want," Sam said interrupting him.

Dean put his hands on Sam's face and lifted up his head, staring into his eyes. "This is what I want," he said, clearly. "I want you to go to school. I want to be with you. I want you to be happy."

Sam smiled sadly. "But that's all about me. Not you."

"You think you being happy doesn't make me happy?" Dean countered. "How is me being with you not about me, anyway?" He smiled a little, and kissed Sam lightly.

It still wasn't right. "But Dean, you want-"

"I want you," Dean said, leaning in close enough to kiss, hands still on Sam's face. "I want you to do this, because it's where you belong. If you give this up for me you'll never be happy, and I'll never know if you won't end up leaving someday anyhow. I don't need anything I can't have, like this. I can go on hunts on the weekends, and when you have breaks, and I can hustle morons at pool and I can find myself a fucking hobby if I get bored, and you can go to school and get your degree and become a fancy-ass lawyer and I will be happy."

Sam was still worried, but Dean sounded so sure... He closed his eyes. "All right," he whispered, giving in.

"Sam, it's fine," Dean said, like he could hear inside Sam's head. "I just--" He laughed, though it sounded a little forced. "It's just hard to let go sometimes, you know?" He gave Sam another soft kiss. "I remember when you were in kindergarten and you kept coming to my class whenever you needed me to retie your shoes. Hell, I remember feeding you."

"You fed me this morning," Sam pointed out, though his voice was soft and a bit shaky.

"Never got out of the habit," Dean said with a laugh. "Though at least now you don't need me to hold your spoon."

"Yeah, I've had the mastery of silverware for a long time."

Dean sighed, quietly, and it felt like things were maybe okay. "So maybe now you've mastered buying textbooks and finding your way to class, too."

"Maybe," Sam acknowledged softly.

"I can still tie your shoes if you need me to." Dean grinned, and the tension had died out of his eyes entirely.

Sam rested his head on Dean's shoulder again, smiling. "Maybe every now and then," he said.

Dean's tone changed. "Walk you to class sometime?"

Sam's smile grew. "Whenever you want."

"Carry your books?" Dean gave him a shy grin that was completely unlike him.

"Sure," Sam said, feeling himself actually blush.

That made Dean chuckle, though he followed it up with a kiss. Then he laughed out loud. "Mind if I don't ask your dad if I can take you out?"

Sam wrapped his fingers in Dean's shirt and pulled him closer. "You've got my permission. That's all you need."

"Guess you're eighteen now, you're legal." Dean snickered. "You know. If I were a girl not related to you...." He gave Sam another kiss, then asked, "Wanna go to a movie sometime?"

Sam laughed. "Like a date?"

"Well, I don't know that staking out a cemetery would count as a proper first date," Dean replied. The first real hunt they'd gone on after they'd started sleeping together had involved three cold, annoying nights sitting outside a cemetery waiting for any sign of the spirit that had been rampaging through the area.

"We did kinda skip the whole dating part, didn't we?" Sam asked, reaching for Dean's hand and curling his fingers around it.

"Didn't really need to get to know each other," Dean replied. "You've known me all your life," he added, as though telling Sam one thing he didn't know. He rubbed his fingers lightly along Sam's, reminding Sam just how sensitive his fingers could be.

"Yeah," Sam said softly, looking down at their joined hands. "Dean?"


"I'm not going to leave. Doesn't matter what we do or don't do... I'm not leaving. Ever." He squeezed Dean's hand. "You're stuck with me."

His brother looked down at their hands, then he looked up -- something strange in his expression that made Sam's breath catch. Then Dean said, "I love you, too."

Feeling himself a lot closer to tears than he would ever admit, Sam leaned in and kissed his brother with everything in him. Dean held him, tightly, like he was afraid Sam might get away from him, despite everything Sam had said. Or maybe he just felt like Sam did -- that he wanted to press their bodies together until there was nothing at all between them.

The side of the highway was really not the place for this, but Sam didn't care. He wanted Dean -- needed him -- right now.

He felt Dean's hand slip under his shirt, touching his bare skin. Perversely, Dean then pushed his mouth away from Sam's and said, "We can't... not here, Sammy."

"I don't care," Sam said, trying to capture Dean's lips again.

"Sam, traffic," Dean said, insistently, but apologetically. He pulled himself away, but clearly looked like he hated doing so. Behind him, Sam could see the steady rush of cars going past.

Sam groaned and closed his eyes, leaning back against his seat. "Find us somewhere we can?" he asked.

Dean stared at him, long and hard, until Sam thought he would give in and say 'here, now.' Then he turned in his seat and fumbled for the ignition. "Fuck," he whispered. As the engine roared to life, Dean looked over at him again, hands stilling on the wheel. "There's gotta be an exit soon."

He pulled the Impala back into traffic with a minimum of trouble, and seemed to be very conscientiously ignoring Sam as he drove. Only his left leg gave him away -- bouncing fast and hard like he was in desperate need of a restroom.

Sam tried to remain as silent and still as he could because if he didn't, he'd be all over his brother and that would probably end in them crashing and dying, so, no. But he couldn't stop himself watching Dean.

After several miles, Dean glanced over and begged, "Look at something else, or I'm gonna pull over again and we'll get arrested by that highway patrol car that's a mile behind us."

Sam tried to look away, but found his eyes drifting back to his brother after a few minutes.

"Think about something else," Dean said, still in a begging tone that just made it all that much harder to not want to strip him down right there.

"I'm trying. It's not working."

"Think about Mrs. Duncan, naked."

Sam shuddered. "That's just cruel," he complained.

"Yeah, but is it working?"

"... Maybe."

"Picture her dancing. Naked."


"She has a mole on her leg," Dean continued, gesturing at a spot on his thigh. "Big one, too. And you know those dogs that are all wrinkles? Skin falling over itself?"

"Dean!" Sam yelled again, turning to look at him... which negated any effect Dean's words might have had because his brother was sitting there smirking and looking entirely too fuckable.

"What?" His brother glanced sideways with that smug, 'who me?' expression that never got him out of trouble.

"I think the only thing that will actually help -- short of you finding somewhere we can stop and not be arrested -- would be if you actually turned into Mrs. Duncan."

"Dude, that's just nasty." Dean wrinkled his nose at him, and dear god but every expression he made was making Sam want to kiss him more. "Why would you want to have sex with Mrs. Duncan?"

"I don't. That's kinda the point. Since you want me to stop looking at you like I want to have sex..." This conversation wasn't making things easier.

"But you'd have sex with me anyway, even if I turned into Mrs. Duncan?" Dean asked, sounding forlorn.

Sam actually gave it some thought. "Probably," he admitted. "It would still be you."

"Really? With wrinkles and baggy tits down to here?" Dean waved his hand near his stomach. "And she squeaks when she talks. Could you seriously fuck something that's all 'Come on, dear boy, let me have it.'" Dean's voice twisted high, as he squeaked, in a pretty good imitation of the old lady.

"If it was you."

"Huh," was all Dean said.

"Yeah," Sam said.

"Crap," Dean said, a moment later. Sam noticed he was glaring at a highway mileage sign, according to which Soda Springs was only three miles away.

"Drive faster?" Sam suggested.

"Reno's only 45 miles," Dean pointed out, quietly. "We should--" Then he made a frustrated noise. "I wanna have sex," he whined.

Sam debated with himself for a moment, but remembering the way Dean had looked at him when they'd been stopped tipped the balance. "Soda Springs sounds like a nice place," he said.

Dean gave him a relieved grin, but then frowned and said, "We should... I mean... we've got a job...."

"Are you going to be able to concentrate on the job if we don't stop?" Sam asked bluntly.

The frown gave way to an entirely delighted look. "You are so right. It would be dangerous and foolhardy to go into a job like this." He nodded, and the car sped up a tiny bit.

Sam grinned and went back to staring at his brother.

"Dude, two miles. Cut it out."

"Drive faster," he said again.

"Can't," Dean said, whining again. "Cop's still back there."

"Guess you better think clean and pure thoughts then for the next two miles," Sam said, though he didn't stop staring.

"I don't know any clean and pure thoughts," Dean returned. "One mile, thank god."

"You could try imagine having sex with Mrs. Duncan," Sam suggested helpfully. He even kept from smiling.

Dean just made a gagging noise.

They managed not to talk about it for the entire two minutes it took for them to reach the exit ramp and take it. Dean didn't drive far -- heading past the truck stops dotting the exit and making for a small road that seemed to lead into the mountains. There was a small turn around into which Dean pulled the car, and as soon as he threw the car into park, they were all over each other.

Half an hour later they were on the highway again, more relaxed and less desperate, and Dean was singing along with Motorhead.

Sam wasn't quite sure how that tape had ended up back in the player, but between the sex and Dean's singing, he was mellow enough not to complain.


Their first stop in Reno was a cheap motel near the outskirts of town. It didn't take them more than a few minutes to ward the room with salt and a few hastily sketched runes on the door -- the usual stuff they did without thinking. Then they headed for the bar where their dad's friend worked.

It was late afternoon so the place was still mostly empty. They went up to the bar and told the bartender that they were looking for Al.

Sam watched as Dean spun his seat around, casing the place without looking like he'd been doing that sort of thing since he was fourteen. He'd be noting the layout, the patrons, probably already deciding whether there was anyone worth talking to -- or hustling. His brother seemed ever so slightly wired -- not nervous or hyper the way Sam himself could get, but just... relaxed and happy and alive. Totally focused on what they were doing.

He was hunting already, and Sam could see it in every inch of his brother's body.

It brought another twinge of guilt for tying Dean down with school, despite the conversation they'd had on the drive here. Looking at Dean now, it was obvious this was what he was meant to be doing. Not babysitting his little brother at college.

Dean turned towards him, smile open and cheerful. As he looked at Sam, his expression turned even more delighted, and he gave Sam a wink. Before either brother could speak, a man walked up behind the bar.

"Dean, Sam, good of you boys to come."

Dean spun his chair around, holding his hand out. "Glad we could help out," he said, shaking hands with the man. Al was a tall, barrel-chested guy, long black hair and serious demeanour. The glasses perched on his nose seemed almost out of place on a man that looked like he'd be more at home sitting by a campfire in the middle of nowhere.

Sam took his own turn shaking Al's hand. "Jorge said you were having problems with taxis?"

"Hopefully not more than one," Al said, quietly. "From what I can tell -- it doesn't happen very often. I only noticed it myself, this last time." He looked around the bar, and apparently judged they wouldn't be overheard where they were. "Lady was found dead, last month. She'd been in here that night before her body was found. I remember her -- beautiful redhead, built like anything. Real nice, too. I called a taxi for her when she left and the next day the cops are all over the place, asking questions. She didn't leave with anyone," Al added, with certainty.

"So why think this is a...case we might be interested in?" Dean asked.

Al gave them both a level look. "I've been working this place for twenty years. I've seen a lot of things, had the cops knocking on my door more than once, waving photos in my face, asking me have I seen somebody. Folks turn up dead or missing all the time, a night after too much drinking." He waved his hand, encompassing the bar.

"As I was describing what I knew about this lady, I realised -- I'd said it all before. Not just same old story, but exactly. Same time of night. Always just one person catching a cab. Dead body always ends up at Morsen Cemetery."

Sam had pulled out a battered notebook and was writing down the information Al was telling them. "What makes you think it's not just a regular serial killer?"

"I don't," Al admitted. "But the taxi's an old Dodge. '60, '61." He gave them both a look. "I checked, there's no taxis that old in service in the city."

That didn't mean it still couldn't be a human killer with a fake cab, but Sam supposed that the cops could work that angle. His and Dean's job was to look at the options the police wouldn't. "What else can you tell us about the cab? Did you see the driver?"

Al shook his head. "Nope. All I know is, I call the Reno Taxi Express, ask for a taxi. Most of the time, taxi comes, gets whoever they're here for, and everything's fine. Once in a while, the person ends up dead." He stabbed the bar with his finger. "It comes here to my bar, and they end up dead and dumped at Morsen's. Seven or eight times over the last twenty years, and if the thing is from the sixties, who knows how many more?"

He paused, and his anger seemed to deflate just a little. "Maybe it's just coincidence, maybe it's some nutcase driving an old car. But... I helped Jorge clean out that old haunted cabin, ten years back. I saw ghosts -- and that feeling you get, right down deep at the base of your spine? I caught a glimpse of the taxi when it came to pick up that lady, and I felt that same damn thing."

That definitely was a big plus in the "it's a spirit" category. "You said it always comes at the same time?" Sam asked.

"I can't be sure of the exact time, but this last one was eleven fifteen. And the one before that was definitely sometime between eleven and midnight. I know the others were before midnight, and sometime after my ten thirty break."

"That's not necessarily a pattern," Dean put in, but it was clear to Sam he believed it probably was.

"Maybe the pattern's at the other end," Sam suggested. "We should see if we can find out the time of death."

Dean looked at him. "Sounds like a plan. We can go talk to the local cops; hey, you got any names of the other victims?" he asked Al.

"Sorry," Al shook his head. "I wrote down the dates, as best I could remember." He held out a slip of paper.

Sam took it, glancing at it. The dates were pretty specific; if they were accurate, they should be able to find out more details by searching old newspapers. "Thanks. This will help."

"Looks like a job for Research Boy," Dean said, grinning at him. When Sam was eight, Dean had made him a badge and given him his "superhero" hunter name.

"You know, you can stop calling me that any year now."

"No, I really can't," Dean shook his head. Then he asked Al, "Anything else you can tell us?"

Al just shook his head.

"All right," Sam said, putting the paper Al gave him in his notebook and closing it. They had a few places they could start from to try to figure out what was going on. "We'll let you know what we find out," he told Al.

"Thanks, boys. I'll let your dad know."

Dean and Sam stared at each other for a second, then Dean asked, "Let him know?"

Al looked confused for a second, then grinned. "He called this afternoon. Said you'd be here soon, and that if I hadn't seen you by tomorrow night I should call him."

Dean turned his gaping look on Sam. "He's checking up on us?"

"Looks like," Sam replied. Hoping that Dad wasn't checking up on them too closely.

"Relax," Al said, giving them a wink. "I won't mention if you happen to hit any strip clubs."

"Uh, thanks," Sam said.

"Hell, he'll probably think there's something wrong if we don't hit a few strip clubs," Dean said, as though he was willing to make that sacrifice. Often.

Al just laughed. "You boys give me a call if there's anything I can do."

"We will," Dean told him, and with that they headed out of the bar.

"Dad's checking up on us," Sam repeated as they were walking back to the car.

"He's calling," Dean said, as though correcting him. "It's not like he's driving to Palo Alto and sitting outside the apartment."

Sam looked at him alarmed. "You don't think he would-"

Dean stopped, and looked at him. He started to shake his head, but then he frowned, slowly. "We could get some blackout curtains?"

"Good idea."

They continued on to the car, and Dean offered to drop Sam off at the library while he hit up the police station.

"Sure. Shouldn't take us too long to get an end of a thread we can work from. You need any of the info?" Sam asked gesturing at his notebook.

"Nah, I just need times of death of all the bodies that've been dumped at Morsen's Cemetery for the last twenty or more years." Dean grinned. "How hard can that be to wrangle out of some local deputy?" He leaned over and grabbed a cigar box out of the glove compartment, and Sam watched him rifle through it until he found a Texas Ranger badge. He held it up and grinned. "I love being a Ranger."

Sam snorted. "You never outgrew playing dress up, did you?"

"At least I never wore my underwear on my head."

"Yes, but I was four. You're twenty-two."

Dean shot him a look. "Dude, I'm not wearing underwear on my head. I'm flashing a badge to get information to find a murdering spirit." He actually made it sound like he wasn't playing dress up.

"Yes, but you're enjoying it way too much," Sam pointed out with a smirk.

"I am not."

"You so are."

"What are you, still four?" Dean asked, as though he hadn't been the one to start it.

Sam ignored him. "Dean, you were all but bouncing when you took that badge out."

Dean gave him a skeptical look. "Dude, whatever," he said, in his 'Sam, you're insane' tone. He slipped the badge into his pocket and gave Sam another 'you're insane' look.

"You sure you don't want a uniform?" Sam asked as sweetly as he could.

"I don't need a uniform," Dean said, scowling hard. "Texas Rangers don't wear uniforms." He paused and looked thoughtful. "They do wear hats, though."

Sam couldn't keep from laughing.

Dean hit him in the chest. "What?"

"You're seriously thinking of going out and getting a hat, aren't you?" Sam asked between chuckles.

Scowling harder, Dean said, "No." He pulled out the cigar box and dumped the badge in, and pulled out a different ID. Sam didn't catch the words, but it looked like a reporter's press pass. Dean slipped it into his pocket and started the car.

Sam didn't say anything else, but did smirk every now and then when he looked at his brother.


Dean was already in the motel room by the time Sam got back.

"How did it go with the police?" Sam asked, closing the door behind him and flopping down on the bed.

"Great. Got the times of death of all the bodies found dumped at the cemetery." Dean walked over beside the bed and dropped a manilla folder onto Sam's stomach. "And guess what?"

"What?" Sam asked, picking up the folder.

"Out of fourteen bodies found there over the last thirty five years, twelve of them died at midnight." Dean looked pleased, then he shrugged. "Or as close as they can figure. You know, accuracy of 'science'," he said, mildly scoffing.

"Interesting," Sam said. "Fits with what I found out."

Dean waited, expectantly, still standing -- looming -- over him.

"I did a search for any violent crimes involving a '60 or '61 Dodge cab." He pulled out his notebook and flipped to the last page he'd written on and held it up to Dean. "Found something."

"Yeah?" Dean leaned down slightly to read.

"Turns out that back in 1964, Khalid bin Ashraf was found dead in his cab at -- get this -- Morsen's Cemetery. His throat was slashed. The police thought he picked up his killer down on Virginia Street sometime after 11 pm the night before. And the coroner estimated the time of death at around midnight," Sam recited, with a hint of satisfaction for his successful search.

"Looks like we've found our ghost," Dean said, nodding. "Reliving his own murder, acting it out, getting revenge," he listed the possible motivations, though he didn't sound like it really mattered what the ghost's reasons were. "So, we find out where Khalid is buried, salt and burn, and then we check out the strip joints." He grinned. "We have our choice, you know. Reno's a real party town."

Sam grinned up at him. "Strip joints?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Sure. There's the Mahamama, or the Que Sera, if we want girls. Or the Thunder From Down Under is performing at the 5501 if we wanna see guys strip."

"You are such a dog," Sam observed fondly.

Dean frowned. "You don't wanna go?"

"It wouldn't be my first choice for celebrating a successful hunt," Sam said, then gave an obviously played up martyred sigh. "But I suppose we can hit the strip clubs first."

Now Dean was practically pouting, then his face cleared and he grinned in a way that Sam knew meant trouble. "Sammy, you've never been to a strip club."

That tone was one Sam knew well. It was the one he always heard, hours or days before he heard some authority figure saying "What am I going to do with you two?"

Sam sighed in defeat, knowing when Dean got that look in his eye there wasn't any arguing with him. "One strip club," he said, giving in.

"That's the spirit. I'll even let you pick. Guys or girls." Then he walked over to the chair and picked up his jacket. "Come on, let's go find our dead cabbie and burn his ass." He gave Sam a leering grin. "Then we can go look at better ones."

"I'm already looking at a better one," Sam said when Dean was turned away from him.

"Flattery like that will get you a private show, later," Dean said, smoothly, all-business. "Right now, get your own ass up and let's go find our ghost."

Sam climbed off the bed. "You see, that was what my first choice for celebrating was," he said as they headed out of the motel room.

"I know, but we really need to expand your horizons. I'd be failing at my duty as your older brother if I didn't expose you to every seedy, questionably-legal activity there was." Dean shook his head. "I mean, I gave you your first beer, got you drunk off your ass, and was the first guy to fuck you. But there's a whole slew of things you're still missing."

"I dunno," Sam said, raising an eyebrow. "I think I just jumped a few steps of depravity to get to the grand prize -- you."

Dean gave him a mildly-annoyed look as he got in the car. "I'm not depraved." Then he looked thoughtful, mouthed something, looking like he was listing something off. "Huh. Okay, I'm depraved." He leered at Sam. "Which means I get to go to strip clubs."

"I said I'd go," Sam pointed out. "I would just rather watch you strip."

"You gonna shove dollar bills in my shorts?" Dean asked, waggling his eyebrows. The engine roared as they pulled out and Sam saw his brother stroke the dashboard, briefly. He wondered if Dean even knew he was still doing that.

"You gonna give me a lap dance?" Sam countered, grinning at him.

"If you have twenty bucks," Dean replied.

"Do you take payment out in trade?"

"Does that mean you'll finally wash my car?"

"Just how good is this lap dance going to be?" Sam said, giving Dean a skeptical look.

"Dude, twenty bucks! I'm not asking you to detail the car, just wash it. That's, like, ten bucks." Dean took a turn towards what looked like downtown Reno; the sun was setting and Sam realised that the Office of the County Recorder would be long since closed.

He said as much to Dean. "Looks like Khalid bin Ashraf will have to wait until tomorrow night."

"What are you talking about?" Dean gave him a sincerely confused look. "We'll just break in."

"Why?" Sam asked. "There's always been months or years between victims and since there was one just last month, there probably isn't going to be another tonight. If we wait for the morning, we can just walk right in like normal people."

Dean looked surprised, mouth opening and closing as he tried to form a response to what was clearly an unexpected method of getting information.

Sam continued with the biggest enticement, "Which would leave the rest of tonight for whatever else we wanted to do. Like strip clubs."

Two seconds later, Dean was taking a right hand turn. "So! You decide which you wanted?"

Sam smiled faintly at his brother's enthusiasm. "You're the expert. Which do you prefer?"

"If you want a lap dance, we have to get girls. Unless you want it in some seedy alley somewhere." Dean gave him a wink. "I'm perfectly willing to buy my brother a prostitute, in the interest of corrupting him."

Sam couldn't quite keep the expression of distaste off his face at that thought. "I think that would be a little more corrupting than I want. Let's stick with the girls, then."

"Hey, don't knock it," Dean said. "Some very lovely people are prostitutes. But you're right -- you really should have your first lap dance in the proper setting." He nodded to himself, as though he had Sam's evening of expanded horizons all planned out.

"Y'know, I really don't need-" Sam began, feeling a little uncomfortable at how eager Dean seemed to be to push strippers and prostitutes at him.

"Relax, Sammy. I wouldn't get you a hooker. You know, since there's no way in hell I'd let you follow through with one." There was a determined note in his brother's voice.

That settled Sam somewhat. "Good. Because I wouldn't want to... follow through."

Dean looked at him for a long moment while they were stopped at a light. "Sam. It's just for fun. All of it -- it doesn't mean...." He turned back to the road as the light turned green. "You wanna just go back to the motel?"

Sam thought about it before he answered, weighing his own discomfort against Dean's obvious enthusiasm and wants. And, when he thought about it that way, there really was no contest. "No," he finally said. He gave his brother a smile. "You want to go watch strippers, we'll go watch strippers."

Immediately, Dean's grin was back. "Great! You'll love it -- some of the moves these girls can do with the pole...." He shook his head with a sigh of appreciation. "How much cash do you have?"

"Actual cash? Maybe sixty..." Sam trailed off. "You're taking me to a strip club and making me pay for it?"

Dean made a face. "No! Not... all of it." He gave Sam a brief look that in other circumstances Sam might have considered Dean's 'cute' look. "I've only got a couple hundred on me. I just wanna make sure we've got enough."

That was... a lot more than Sam had anticipated they'd be needing... "Do I even want to know what you're planning on spending it on?"

"Sam! Drinks, tips, lap dance -- two hundred bucks is only two hours for both of us. Reminds me, dig out some ID that says you're old enough to do this." He nodded towards the glove compartment.

Sam automatically obeyed, opening the glove compartment and going through the box of false IDs to find one that would work for this. "Dean, are you sure..." he began, but stopped himself before he asked if it was worth the money. Dean wanted them to do this, therefore it was worth it.

"You've passed for 21 before," Dean said, confidently. "I mean... except for the time you got arrested. But I think that was because of the fire, and not because you looked seventeen."

"Which you started."

Dean gaped at him in shock. "I thought it was haunted!"

Sam snorted. "So you told Dad."

"And he believed me, which is the only thing that matters."

"You'll notice that I am not Dad," Sam pointed out. "So why did you decide you needed to burn down the caretaker's shed at school?"

There was a long pause, then Dean said, hesitantly, "I thought it was haunted?"

Sam shook his head. "No, you didn't. The EMF meter didn't make a peep."

"Maybe I was drunk."

Sam just raised an eyebrow and waited.

Dean drove in silence for a minute, then he sighed and said, "I was testing out some stuff that was supposed to be non-flammable."

Sam thought that over for a minute. "So you set the shed on fire to make sure you couldn't set the shed on fire?"

"No! I was trying to set some rags on fire. I mean, not set them...." Dean glared at him. "Do you want me to buy you a lap dance or not?" he threatened.

"Is that a trick question?"


Sam shook his head. "Never mind."

They drove for another moment, before Dean asked, quietly, "Would you rather go see the guys?"

"No," Sam said honestly. He gave Dean a faint smile. "You want to watch girl strippers, we'll go watch girl strippers."

Dean looked at him askance as he pulled into a parking lot. "You could show a little more enthusiasm for seeing naked girls. I thought you said you liked girls."

Sam could see a brightly lit sign that read 'Que Sera.' There were a few customers going in, well-dressed businessmen -- mostly in their forties. "I do," Sam said. "I just..."

"What?" Dean turned towards him, looking at him curiously. He seemed to be listening.

Sam shrugged, looked away, then back before finally blurting, "I just like you more."

There was a stunned look on his brother's face for a second, before he smiled. The smile grew wide, then practically foolish, as it reached all the way to his eyes. Sam found himself smiling back; it was impossible not to.

"I don't dance," Dean said, trying to sound stern and failing, hopelessly.

Sam tilted his head to the side, considering. "You've always moved pretty good with me," he said.

"I guess I do okay with a partner," Dean said, shrugging, still smiling, eyes still shining. "You'd rather go back to the motel?" It was half a question, and half an offer.

"I want to do whatever you want to do," Sam said, meaning it, thinking 'Whatever keeps you smiling like that.

Dean looked over at the club, considering. He stared at it for several long moments, before he glanced back at Sam. He opened his mouth, then frowned. He glanced at the club again.

"You can't decide, can you?"

Dean gave him a pitiful look. "I want to do both," he said.

Sam chuckled, leaned over and kissed him.

When Sam leaned back, Dean stared at him with slightly unfocused eyes. Then he said, "Motel."


The ride back to the motel passed mostly with them grinning at each other and the occasional grope or kiss when they were stopped at a light. Much better foreplay, Sam thought, than a strip club. Dean certainly didn't seem to mind, despite how enthusiastically he'd been shoving the idea at Sam before. But when they parked in front of their room and got out of the car, Dean growled, "Inside."

The sound of Dean's voice went straight to Sam's cock. He shivered and practically ran inside.

Dean was on his heels, almost but not quite pressing against him as Sam fumbled for the key. It was almost worse than if he'd touched him, teasing him with proximity without the payoff of contact. It was so distracting that it took Sam three tries to actually get the key in the door, but he managed it finally, opening the door and taking two steps inside before being overwhelmed by Dean.

The door slammed hard, echoing loudly in the small room, but Sam had no time or interest in mentioning the neighbors' comfort. Dean was holding him, hands already running up Sam's side, tugging at his shirt and sweater, fingers finding their way to his bare skin.

Sam grabbed onto Dean's jacket, pulling him even closer and devoured his mouth again, becoming frantic for whatever skin on skin contact he could get.

He heard Dean making noise, dismissing it as the same sort of 'need more, naked now' noises he was making, himself. But then Dean put his hands on either side of Sam's face and pulled back, and grinned at him.

"Seems to me somebody asked about a lap dance."

Sam stared at him wide eyed, arousal surging through him at the thought. He had to clear his throat before he could reply. "Somebody might have, yes."

His brother gave him a none-too-gentle push backwards, towards the bed. Dean only took a single step after him, raising a hand towards his jacket. Sam sank slowly onto the edge of the bed, his eyes never leaving his brother. Dean gave him a smirk that, given the situation, didn't seem nearly as smug as it might have. The glint in Dean's eyes did make Sam worry just what he was in store for.

With a slight hip sway, Dean pushed his jacket off his shoulders and let it fall, catching it in his hands and letting it dangle behind him. Despite his earlier words to the contrary, Dean had always had an innate grace in how he moved. Sam loved to watch him normally, but this was going beyond that. Sam couldn't have looked away if he tried.

There was another hip-bump, slow and easy, and Dean took another step forward. His jacket fell to the floor behind him, and Dean raised his hands to his waist, hands hovering over the waistband. Teasing. Sam found himself leaning forward, licking his lips in anticipation.

Dean chuckled, low and more arousing than frustrating. He brought his hands to either side of his waist and pulled his shirt off in one smooth motion. He held it forward and dropped it on the floor between them.

Which left him still clothed in a tight t-shirt. Sam suppressed a groan. The layers they both tended to dress in made getting to bare skin more frustrating.

"Patience, Sammy," Dean said, pitching his voice in a soft, sultry tone that made the idea of 'patience' almost a foreign one. He glanced down, looked confounded for just a moment, then he smiled and twisted around, standing in profile.

Then he bent over at the waist, and untied his shoe.

Oh god. Dean was trying to kill him.

Slowly Dean stood -- still bending from the waist, his ass out but not quite turned so Sam could get a really good look. Dean toed off the shoe he'd untied then twisted around slowly to the other side -- back to Sam for an all-too-brief moment. Then he was down again, for the other shoe.

Sam wasn't able to keep from groaning this time. "Dean," he began, but trailed off when Dean looked up to him.

His brother didn't answer, just pivoted again to face him. He stood for a moment, arms back slightly and hips doing... something that made it difficult to breathe. Forward, back, in a rhythm that Sam suddenly realised he could hear. Dean was humming to himself, something familiar.

Then Dean ran his hands up his stomach, and chest, all the way to his neck, where they stopped. Sam found himself holding his breath waiting, and leaning forward a little bit more. Then Dean's hands ran slowly back down, and he was moving forward -- not close enough to touch, but close enough to tease.

Dean reached his waist and slid his thumbs inside the waistband of his jeans. Sam stared as Dean brought his hands together...and popped the first button undone. Sam's fingers itched with the need to move and undo those buttons himself. He clutched his hands into the bedspread to keep himself in place.

After the first button was opened, Dean stopped, swaying his hips back and forth. Then he ran his fingers down, sharply, and pulled the fly completely open. As he moved his hands back along his hips, beneath his jeans, he turned around.

"Dean," Sam groaned. His own jeans were beginning to feel more than a little tight.

With his back to Sam, Dean pushed his jeans down. He kept moving his hips and legs in a slow shimmy that pulled his jeans down to his ankles. Sam hardly noticed that Dean was also pulling his t-shirt off. Then Dean turned back around, dressed only in a black pair of boxer briefs, still moving in time to the music Sam could barely hear. Then his brother moved forward -- finally. As his brother came within reach, Sam automatically reached out his hands to touch him.

Perversely, Dean moved back. "Ah ah, no touching."

He couldn't have heard that right. "What?"

"It's a lap dance, Sammy. Us working girls are dancers, not hookers. You don't get to touch. Just sit." Dean smiled, and it was impossible for Sam to tell if his brother was serious.

"You're joking," Sam said faintly.

"Look it up," Dean said, and he smiled, impossibly evil and seductive and honest at the same time. "You want me to keep going, or you wanna hit the library?" He swiveled his hips, leaning closer then away once more.

"You seriously expect me to sit here and not touch you while you..." Sam gestured at Dean's hips, "do that?"

"That's the idea." Dean grinned. "Unless you don't want your lap dance?" Dean hummed softly, swaying again, spreading his legs as though he were straddling Sam's lap.

Sam groaned again.

"Lap dance?" Dean said again, dipping his voice low and jutting his hips forward. "Library?" As though any option that involved leaving was even possible. "Break into the County Recorder's Office and go burn a corpse?"

How Dean could manage to say those words and still sound aroused, Sam had no fucking clue. And he was -- there was no mistaking just how aroused his brother was.

"We're not breaking into the County Recorder's Office," Sam managed to say, though he didn't sound nearly as forceful as he would usually.

"Then which," Dean asked, and he moved -- scooted? shimmied? teleported? -- closer. All Sam knew was his lap was suddenly full of Dean, gyrating. "Do you want?" Dean leaned in, mouth coming close then pulling back before any skin made contact.

"N-not the library," Sam said, not surprised that he stammered.

Dean smiled down at him, moved in again and moved away. "Then you'll sit there like a good boy and keep your hands to yourself?" He licked his lips and ran his hands across his chest. Still dancing, still torturing Sam with every move he made.

"I'll try," Sam finally said, all he could promise, unable to take his eyes off of his brother's movements.

"Good boy," Dean said, smiling with a hint of smugness and a whole lot of desire. He tilted his head down as if to kiss him, and stayed there while he continued to move his hips. Back and forth, holding himself above Sam's legs so that the contact was minimal, he occasionally pushed himself upward then lowered himself again in a motion that could only make Sam think of his brother riding his cock.

His hands twitched, but he managed to keep them at his sides. "You're-" Sam's voice cracked and he licked his lips and tried again. "You're good at that."

Dean winked. "That's why I get the good tips."

Sam swallowed. "What kind of tip do you want from me?"

Standing, Dean did another hip swivel, and spun around, stopping with his back to Sam. Dean winked at him again over his shoulder. "Whatever you wanna give me," he said in a seductive tone.

Sam opened his mouth to say something teasing back, but instead a heartfelt, "Everything," fell from his lips.

Dean stumbled, hip still half-cocked to one side as he caught his balance and stood still. Sam could see him try to grin it off, but the look in his eyes took over his entire expression.

It took Sam's breath away, the hope and happiness he saw there, still guarded, but... "I mean it," he said, just to keep that look there. "Everything."

Dean turned towards Sam, and he wrapped his arms around himself, taking a half step backwards then clearly forcing himself to stop. He didn't look like he was trying to run -- he simply looked shocked.

Sam wanted to go to him, but... "Dean?"

He could see Dean starting to calm down -- or shut down. It was too hard to tell just yet. But Dean let go of himself, letting his arms fall and he gave Sam a grin which didn't look at all real. It made Sam feel like he was the focus of one of Dean's hustles. Dean opened his mouth to speak, something sly and charming, but his voice was hoarse when he said, "Always wanted a sugar daddy."

His fists were closing, and opening, and Sam realised he was trying very hard not to run.

He was up and across the room to Dean before he'd fully formed the intent to do so, wrapping his arms around his brother tightly. "I want to give you everything," he repeated, because he wanted to make Dean hear him, believe him. "That's what you've been giving me for pretty much my entire life."

"Yeah, okay," Dean said, but his voice was still shaking, and he couldn't quite seem to get his arms wrapped around Sam. He felt Dean take a deep breath, and let it out, some of the tension seeming to vanish with it. "Sorry," Dean said, in a much more normal tone of voice. "You can't say shit like that without warning me." He tried to laugh.

Sam didn't let go; if anything he held on tighter. "It's not shit," he said mildly. "And I'll get you to believe it one of these days."

With a sort of choked laugh, Dean said, "Yeah, yeah." But he slipped his arms around Sam's waist and held on. After a moment he complained, "That was one of my best performances, too."

"We don't need to stop," Sam said. "Though I don't know if I can stop touching you."

He felt Dean take another deep breath. "Sam, would you--" he said in a rush, then stopped.

"Would I what?"

Dean turned his head, pressing his face into Sam's neck. Like he was hiding, still, but now he was hiding in Sam's arms. "You wanna fuck me?" he asked.

Sam's breath caught. They hadn't, not since that first time which had ended with Dean bolting and locking himself in the bathroom. "Hell, yeah," he said, husky voiced. "But only if you want me to."

"I want....I really want you to," Dean said quietly. "I--" He stopped again and gave another half-laugh. "I pretty much always want you to." He rubbed his hands down Sam's back, and leaned back enough to look at Sam. His eyes were clear as he looked at Sam, steadily.

"All right," Sam said, feeling his heart beat faster. He couldn't have looked away from Dean's eyes if he tried.

Dean held his gaze for another moment, then the corner of his mouth quirked. Sam smiled slightly in response and leaned in to kiss him.

"We gonna... head over there or do you wanna do it here?" There was a hint of a light tone in his brother's voice, still heavy with deeper -- and still darker -- emotions. But it was there. Sam noticed that Dean wasn't trying to move, though.

"Which would you prefer?" Sam asked, making a show of considering, and choosing his words very deliberately. "Me fucking you on the bed, or me fucking you up against the wall here?"

Dean's jaw fell and his brother stared back at him, eyes dilating with arousal.

Sam felt himself smiling just a little smugly. "Well?"

Dean made a strangled noise, and jerked his thumb. "Wa--?" he began, then swallowed and visibly tried to regain control of himself.

"You want me to fuck you up against the wall?" Sam asked, keeping his voice as level and casual as he could, which wasn't easy considering the subject.

The noise Dean made sounded a hell of a lot like the noise he made right before he came. His brother nodded, fast, giving Sam a pleading look.

"Okay," Sam said, with a cocky smile. It was a heady feeling knowing that he could do that to his brother with just words. He leaned in and kissed him hard.

Whimpering again, Dean pulled him into the kiss, tongue flicking into Sam's mouth and brushing against Sam's tongue. Tease, invitation, more begging -- Dean's hands were gripping his arms tightly, tugging at him. His erection, hard and hot through the thin fabric of his underwear, pressed against Sam's hip.

Still kissing him, Sam slid a hand between them, pushing Dean's underwear down enough that he could wrap a hand around his brother's cock. He wanted to make Dean frantic and out of his mind. The trick was going to be doing that without reducing himself to the same state.

From the reaction he got as his hand closed on Dean, his brother wasn't that far off from being right where Sam wanted him to be. Dean shoved his hips forward, trying to fuck himself in Sam's fist.

Sam held on tight, not giving Dean the friction he wanted, not just yet. "Wall," he murmured against Dean's lips, pushing him backwards towards it.

Stumbling, Dean went, quickly finding his balance and turning around to face the wall, palms flat and spreading his legs. And god didn't that sight alone make Sam almost lose it. "You're so hot like this," he murmured, kissing Dean between his shoulder blades as he pushed Dean's underwear down far enough for Dean to be able to kick them off. "I think I could almost come just by watching you."

"No, want you to fuck me," Dean said, the tease in his voice getting lost in the tone of utter need. He moved his hips forward, then back, reminiscent of the dance he'd done earlier.

Sam swallowed hard, reaching out to rest a hand on Dean's hip, feeling him move. "Yeah," he said thickly.

"Please, Sammy." Dean dropped his head forward against the wall. His hips were still moving, jerking back and forth as though Sam were already inside him. Then he moved his hip to the side, against Sam's hand. "Fuck," he begged.

That's when Sam realised that he didn't have any lube on him. "Damn," he muttered, letting go of Dean to go dig it out of their bag. "Don't move," he ordered before Dean could turn around. "I'll be right back."

"Wha--?" He saw Dean look over his shoulder -- otherwise not moving. As Sam walked away, he said, "I hate you right now."

"No, you don't," Sam countered mildly. He found the right bag and began pushing things aside looking for the lube. "Just need to get something here if I'm going to fuck you."

"Sam!" Dean protested, groaning. "Carry it on you!" The reprimand would have held more weight, if it were to hold any, if Dean hadn't sounded so desperate.

Sam's hand closed around the lube finally and he pulled it out. As he did so his hand brushed up against the black dildo that Dean had bought to use on him. The sudden mental picture of using it on Dean now was so strong it made him groan. Grabbing it as well with hands that were shaking slightly, he made his way back over to Dean.

"You got--" Dean stopped, and stared at the dildo. His jaw dropped again, then he said, "Fuck me, goddamnit."

Sam grinned at him. "That's the plan."

"Now!" Dean commanded, and his eyes flicked up to Sam's face, then back to the dildo, then Dean turned back around to face the wall.

"God, you're demanding." Sam quickly prepped his brother, trying to ignore the feel of Dean closing around his fingers. Then he took the dildo and pressed it against Dean, but not with enough pressure to push it inside. Yet.

Dean cried out and his forehead hit the wall with a thump. He tried pushing himself back, onto the dildo.

Sam moved it with him, keeping it pressed against him but not inside. "The last time we used this," he said in a low rough voice, close to Dean's ear, "was when you fucked me with it. And now I'm going to fuck you with it. Something that's been in my body is going to be in yours." He kept all his attention on Dean and his reactions, doing his best to ignore his own for now. He wanted to make this beyond good for Dean.

"Please, Sammy," Dean begged, and his hips jerked back, their movement arrested as though Dean knew Sam wouldn't let him fuck himself. "Come on, fuck me."

His voice was growing harsh and his fingers were curling against the wall, digging for something to hang onto. He pressed his hips forward and moaned; Sam realised Dean was rubbing his cock against the wall.

"Oh, no, you don't," Sam muttered, grabbing Dean's hips and pulling him back until he was far enough away from the wall that he couldn't touch it. It also had the added benefit of bending him over slightly, turning Dean into a walking invitation to be fucked.

It wasn't one Sam could resist. With a twist of the wrist, he slid the dildo into his brother.

The noise of protest that had started when Sam pulled him back broke into a sharp outcry. Dean started begging again, babbling Sam's name and the words please, and 'fuck me'. He was still trying to shove himself back on the dildo and his left hand slipped down the wall.

With the hand that wasn't holding the dildo, Sam reached out and grabbed Dean's left hand, pulling it back up to its original position. "Keep them there," he said, then began to move the dildo in and out. Slowly. He wanted to make this last as long as they both could stand.

"Oh god," Dean whispered, and Sam could see him squeeze his eyes shut, tightly. "Please, please, fuck me, fuck me." Dean was trembling, muscles in his back rippling as he tried to hold himself still. He rubbed his forehead against the wall, exactly the same way he'd tried to rub his cock. "Please, fuck, Sam."

Dean was so hot like this, hard and wanting and begging Sam, that suddenly the dildo wasn't enough. Not for Dean and not for Sam either. He pulled it out and dropped it, and quickly opened his fly and pulled his cock out to replace it with. Moving directly behind Dean, he grabbed onto his brother's hip with one hand to brace himself as he guided himself into place with the other. "Say it again."

"Fuck me, fuck me, dear god Sam please fuck me." Dean was panting now, voice twisted into something hard and thin and breaking.

"Yes," Sam growled, pushing into Dean in one long steady thrust.

"Oh god," Dean groaned, and the desperation seemed to fade as he took a deep breath and, perversely, seemed to relax for just a moment.

Buried to the hilt, Sam stilled, wrapping his arms around Dean and leaning his head onto Dean's shoulder. Aroused as he was there was a sort of peace in the moment, of being as close to his brother as he could physically get. He couldn't hold back the whispered, "Love you," as he tightened his grip.

Dean whimpered again, but it was impossible to tell if it was from the fucking, the words, or a mixture of both. But when Dean whispered, "Fuck me," he seemed perfectly content -- if still desperate for more.

Sam's body was definitely in agreement with that idea and he started to move. He could feel Dean trying to take a deeper breath as he slid into him; it came out as a wordless groan when Sam pulled back. Dean's hips were still jerking slightly, with no real rhythm. He slid one hand down Dean's body until it could close around his cock again.

Dean's head came back, resting on Sam's shoulder. Eyes still closed, mouth open, he looked completely debauched. "Please, Sam," he begged, softly.

"Yeah," Sam said, moving his hand in time with his thrusts. "I've got you."

Groaning, Dean's weight fell on Sam, hands still splayed on the wall. Dean's moans grew sharp with each movement of Sam's hand and each thrust of his cock. Sam could feel Dean's body coiling up with tension. The shaky movement of his hips grew sharper and his moans grew quieter. When he fell silent, Sam knew he was about to come.

Into that silence Sam whispered, "I've got you -- always."

Dean came, mouth open in a silent exhalation of breath, cock hard in Sam's hand and his entire body pressing back against Sam.

Sam groaned, becoming more aware of his own body's demands now that he wasn't so completely focused on Dean's. Grabbing Dean's hips in both hands, he pounded into him with all the desperation in him.

"Come on, Sammy," Dean whispered, encouraging him. He leaned forward again, bracing himself as Sam fucked him.

"God," Sam groaned as he moved. He needed this, needed it so much that it almost scared him. "Dean..."

"Fuck me," Dean said, and he moved his hips, slowly, another echo of dancing. "Harder, baby, fuck me."

Sam did, feeling his own climax getting close. Dean kept talking to him, encouraging him and whispering 'fuck me', though the tone had changed from desperate arousal to something else. Enticing, seductive, and he could feel Dean moving with him.

It became just enough, or too much as, with a cry that seemed to come from the bottom of his very soul, Sam came.

Dean held still, still whispering words Sam couldn't quite hear. His tone was soft and gentle, and that was all Sam really needed to know. When it was over, Sam didn't want to move. He leaned against Dean's back, unsure if his legs would hold him if he tried to pull away. Dean seemed perfectly willing to hold him up; he reached down with one hand and stroked Sam's arm, lightly. Then he turned his head, leaning back just enough to give Sam a kiss.

Sam kissed him back, slowly, gently, then sighed and rested his head against Dean's shoulder again. "You okay?" he whispered.

Dean laughed.

Sam's mouth curved up into an involuntary smile. "Is that a yes?"

Dean held his arms, pulling them tight in an embrace. "If you have to ask... yes, I'm good. I'm great, I'm fantastic, you're amazing and we can do this again whenever you want."

Sam chuckled, the last little bit of tension leaving his body. "Good." He paused. "You might need to give me a few minutes to recover..."

"Sure, Sammy," Dean said, indulgently. He patted Sam's arm as though his own legs weren't about to buckle. He did lean them both forward, resting on his arm against the wall.

"I think I'm beginning to see the disadvantage of wall over bed," Sam observed wryly, though he still didn't move more than he had to.

"No, no," Dean protested immediately. "Wall's good. Just hang onto me."

Sam chuckled again. "Okay."

Dean sighed contentedly. He gave Sam's arm another light rub, then he stilled. He grew quiet, and Sam could feel how relaxed his brother was. It was rather amazing that Dean could still stand, but perhaps that was due primarily to the wall.

"You know," Dean said, hesitantly. "I've been fucked against a lot of walls." He glanced back at Sam. "This is the first time-- I've been made love to." He looked away and fell silent again.

Sam tightened his arms around him, a fierce protective love overwhelming him at his brother's words. "Won't be the last," he promised.

"Good," Dean said, smirking. "'Cause I was kinda worried for a while."

"You never have to worry about how I feel about you."

"Not that," Dean said lightly. "Thought you didn't like fucking me." Then he pouted.

Sam laughed. "There's not much I like more than fucking you," he said. "I thought..."

"What?" Dean twisted around, then pulled himself just far enough free of Sam that he could turn around completely.

"I thought you didn't like it. Me fucking you, I mean," Sam couldn't quite bring himself to meet Dean's eyes. "After what happened last time..."

"I what?" Dean's eyes popped open, looking like he'd just been told Sam thought he didn't like Led Zeppelin. He frowned, thinking. Then his amusement vanished and he sighed. "No, that was...." Dean shook his head sharply and said determinedly, "I love being fucked, love you fucking me, do it whenever you want, every morning, noon, night if you think it won't fall off." He glanced down as if Sam might not know what 'it' was.

"It's pretty firmly attached," Sam said, mouth quirking up at the corners.

"Kinda short though," Dean said, tilting his head a little.

"Excuse me?"

"Oh, it's fine," Dean said, placating. "Don't worry about it." There was a pause, then he said, "You probably still have another growth spurt coming."

"I didn't hear any complaints a few minutes ago," Sam pointed out. "And it is bigger than yours."

"Have you never seen mine?" Dean asked. He held up his fingers, forming a circle.

Sam snorted. "It's very nice, Dean, but I can safely say you're a little delusional there."

"Do I need to get a tape measure?"

"Only if you want to be embarrassed and have to eat your words."

"Dude, I hate to break it to you, but my cock is much bigger around than yours. It's okay, though. I like yours." He managed to make his words sound thoroughly patronising.

"Considering you were practically begging for me to fuck you with it a few minutes ago..." Sam said, crossing his arms over his chest.

Dean nodded. "I was. I will, again. I'm not saying it isn't nice." He reached down and gave Sam a pat.

"Y'know, I just can't believe you sometimes."

Eyebrows up in a disbelieving expression, Dean shook his head. "What?"

"This is your idea of afterglow?" Sam asked disbelievingly. "Insulting the equipment?"

"Coming from a guy who always wants to fucking talk when I'm falling asleep after sex?"

"I've never talked smack though," Sam protested.

Dean goggled at him. "Talked smack?"

"Well, what do you call this?"

"Sammy, where the hell do you pick up your slang? I know I taught you better." Dean shook his head.

Sam shook his head and muttered under his breath as he moved away and began peeling off his clothes.

"You know, you can actually cuss, now. You're an adult," Dean said. Dean reached down and grabbed the t-shirt he'd left lying on the floor and began wiping himself off with it.

Sam paused in his undressing. "You want me to swear at you?"

"Not at me. I'm saying you can say things like 'talking shit.'" Dean glanced at the wall, then knelt down and began wiping it clean, as well.

"So you admit that's what you were doing."

"Dude, as if." Dean dropped the t-shirt and walked over to the bed. He flopped down, bouncing as he leaned up against the headboard. Sam finished getting undressed and crawled onto the bed beside him. It had to be love -- even when his brother was being an ass, Sam wanted to be near him.

Dean held his arm up, letting Sam settle against him, then wrapped his arm around Sam's shoulders. "Hey," Dean said, more seriously.

Sam looked up at him inquisitively.

Dean was looking at him calmly, emotions clear on his face that he so often kept hidden away. Dean gave his shoulders a squeeze, and said, "Mine really is bigger."

"Jerk," Sam replied, resting his head on Dean's shoulder. "Delusional jerk."

Dean just laughed.


Dean had been humming to himself off and on all day. Metallica, mostly, but with some AC/DC thrown in. At the moment he was humming Metallica's Low Man's Lyric -- the same song he'd sung to himself while stripping for Sam. That was, depending on how you looked at it, either a very good or a very bad thing. Sam liked listening to Dean, and he had the feeling that that particular song was always going to be a favourite now because of last night.

The downside of it reminding him of last night was that it was also making Sam hard.

He couldn't tell that Dean was having any such problems -- all day he'd been focused on the job, from the time they'd finally woken up and dragged themselves out of the motel room and hit the County Recorder's office until now. If it hadn't been for the way Dean kept sitting so carefully, Sam might have doubted his brother remembered last night at all. But he seemed happy. Fully immersed in the hunt as they'd been all day, Dean had seemed alive in a way that Sam hadn't seen in a while. Not since they'd moved to Palo Alto.

As they pulled up to the parking lot to the cemetery, Dean threw him a wide grin. "You know, most kids grew up being told not to play in the dirt and get horribly filthy."

"Somehow I think most kids when they play in the dirt aren't going and digging up graves of angry spirits," Sam pointed out, though he couldn't work much heat into the comment in the face of his brother's obvious happiness.

Dean frowned at him as he parked the car next to a huge old ash tree. "Don't you ever pretend we're digging a tunnel to China?"

Sam stared at him. "You pretend we're digging a tunnel to China?"

"Not anymore." Dean made a face. "But when I was little, sometimes. Yeah. Or I'd pretend I was digging an underground bunker to hide from the alien invaders."

"Your brain scares me sometimes."

"My brain? We're digging up corpses, and my brain is what scares you?" Dean gave him a dubious look as he climbed out of the car. He walked around to the trunk and popped it open, then pulled up the top panel, revealing an array of weapons.

"The digging up corpses I've got used to," Sam said, joining him at the trunk. "Your brain keeps surprising me."

Dean just shook his head sadly. "My brain," he repeated, and he passed his hand over a small collection of sawed-off shotguns to grab a shovel from the rear of the trunk. He handed it to Sam, then grabbed a large can of lighter fluid.

"Your brain," Sam confirmed.

"You know what would help you get over your unreasonable fear," Dean began, in a tone that made Sam absolutely certain that he was going to disagree with whatever Dean said next.

"I'm almost afraid to ask," he said dryly.

Dean gestured towards the graves. "You should dig him up by yourself. Pretend you're digging to China." He nodded, seriously. "So you'll see what I'm talking about."

Sam rolled his eyes. "You got everything?" he said with long suffering patience.

His brother held up the lighter fluid and a book of matches. "I got everything I need."


"Dude, I have to do everything?" Dean made no move to grab the can of salt from the trunk.

With another roll of his eyes, Sam shifted the shovels he was carrying and grabbed the salt.

"Great!" Dean closed the trunk and, with a grin, headed out to the cemetery. They didn't know exactly where Khalid was buried, so they were going to have to search the entire cemetery. Not unusual, and Sam was grateful they were looking for a marked grave and not an unlabeled one in the middle of nowhere.

"Just a romantic walk in the moonlight, huh?" Sam said, with sudden humour at the absurdity that was their lives.

Dean shot him a smile. "Nah. Romantic would be if we'd remembered to bring beer."

Sam snorted. "Yeah, you would say that."

"That's not romantic? Hey, you take that row," Dean said, gesturing to one row of graves, as he headed for the one in front of it. "So if beer isn't romantic, what is? Diet soda? Or did you want beer and pizza?"

Sam gave it some thought as he slowly made his way down the row, checking graves. "I'd just want you, I think."

"Pizza with extra pepperoni, onions, pineapple?" Dean asked, dubiously. "Good beer?"

"I don't need them for romantic," Sam said shaking his head. "Just you. Which probably says something about how scary my brain is..."

Dean looked at him like he thought Sam was insane. Then he shook his head. "I can see our anniversaries are gonna be easy--" Then he stopped and looked like he'd just swallowed his tongue.

Sam stopped and looked over at him. "Dean?" he asked concerned.

His brother shook his head, staring out across the gravestones. He looked stunned, like he was trying hard to reboot his brain. And failing. He rubbed a hand across his face and breathed out, "Wow. Okay. Um. Yeah."

Sam watched as Dean took another deep breath. "Are you okay?" Sam asked hesitantly.

"Yeah," he said easily, though Sam could tell it was a reflex. Dean started walking again, though, looking at the graves. After a moment he glanced up at Sam. "Sorry. I just...you know." He waved his hand in a circle. "Anniversaries." He still sounded stunned.

"Anniversaries bother you?" Sam asked carefully, scanning more tombstones as he walked.

"Don't know, never had any."

"Sure you have."

That brought Dean to a halt. "What anniversaries?"

"Anything can be an anniversary that's important enough," Sam said with a shrug. "For me, it's stuff like the first time I went hunting with you and Dad. Or..." he glanced sideways at his brother, "the first time I looked at you and knew I wanted you."

"Oh god, you're gonna be one of those," Dean said, grinning with mock-fear, but still looking and sounding stunned. "I'm gonna have to remember our first date, our first kiss, our first everything, aren't I?"

Sam raised an eyebrow at him. "You're telling me you don't?"

Dean teased him with a mildly disgusted look. "You're such a girl."

"Am not."

"When was the first time you jerked off, thinking about me?"

"When I was fifteen, just after I accidentally walked in on you and the sheriff's daughter having sex in the living room," Sam replied, not really having to think about it. It had been a... memorable evening to say the least.

Dean's grin was positively lecherous. "When was the first time you kissed a boy?"

That one required even less thought. "Three months, two weeks and four days ago."

Dean's grin faltered. "Excuse me?"

"Three months, two weeks and four days ago," Sam repeated. He glanced over at Dean. "You should know. You were there."

"You never even kissed a boy before me?" Dean looked honestly surprised.

Sam shrugged. "There wasn't another boy I wanted to."

"You have really lived a sheltered life," Dean said, shaking his head sadly. "But my point still stands -- you are a girl."

"When was the first time you jerked off, thinking about me?" Sam countered, half serious, half curious. "And don't tell me you don't remember because I won't believe you."

Dean turned his attention towards the gravestones, walking along as though he weren't having the conversation at all. After a moment he said, "Fine. Can we just find Khalid bin Ashraf?"

"We're looking," Sam told him, now more curious. "Dean? When was the first time?"

Dean glared at him, and began walking a bit faster. But after a moment he said, "We were in Michigan, looking for a ghost that was haunting a bookstore. Dad took you to stake out the store while I kept an eye on the guy's house, who owned it."

Sam frowned, trying to place the case; a lot of them started to blur together after a while. Although bookstore did sound vaguely familiar.

There was a sigh from Dean. "Four years ago, June."

Sam looked at him startled. "When I was fourteen," he said. He remembered now; Dean had been weird and strangely twitchy around him for a while after it.

"Yes," Dean said, and the disgust was unmistakable. "I was a perv, all right?" He started walking faster, staring down at the gravestones. When he reached the end of the row, he stormed around, past the aisle Sam was in, and began walking down the next, towards Sam.

"I don't think you were a perv," Sam said, turning this new piece of knowledge over in his head. He liked knowing Dean had wanted him that long and it also helped knowing that the reason Dean had tried to avoid him, as that had hurt more than he'd ever admit.

"Can we drop this?"

"You weren't," Sam insisted. "You... just had to wait for me to catch up."

"Whatever," Dean replied, sighing. He kept walking, his back now to Sam.

Sam sighed and moved to catch up. "What other firsts do you remember?"

"My first kill," Dean said immediately. "Ghost in Newark." He sounded proud, now.

"I remember that," Sam said with a smile. Dean had been practically vibrating with excitement. "What else?"

"First girl I kissed," Dean said, casually. "First boy."

Sam wasn't sure he wanted to know the details of that, especially Dean's first kiss with a boy. He knew he wasn't his brother's first, but that didn't mean he liked to imagine those that had come before him.

He saw Dean glance back at him, and there was an evil, taunting grin on his brother's face. "Christina, age 15. I was 13, and she kissed me on the mouth behind her house after I walked her home. Dustin Calloway, same year. He was 14, and a really bad kisser, honestly. But he had his hand down my--"

"I take it back. You were a perv."

"Hey! He's the one who put his hand in my shirt," Dean protested.

"Whatever," Sam said, really not wanting to think about it.

"Dorinda Lee," Dean continued. "I was fourteen, she was eighteen, maybe. Maybe not. First girl I ever fucked. Casper Winston, first boy I jerked off. I was fourteen, he jerked me off, too." He sent Sam another grin, as though he knew he was only pissing Sam off, more. "Danny, first guy who ever fucked me--"

Sam grabbed Dean's shoulder, spun him around and kissed him hard. Stopping that flow of words describing people not him touching Dean, as well as exerting his own claim on his brother now.

There was a sort of surprised noise from Dean, muffled by the kiss. But he kissed Sam back, eagerly. When he could talk, he said, "So, you get jealous, I get kissed?"

"Either that," Sam growled, kissing him briefly again, "or I kick your ass."

"Hmm," was all Dean said. Then he started walking down the line of graves again. "Ben Tyler, first blow job--"


"Some guy named Duke, first sex in a car. Can't tell you the name of the first blow job I gave, but the first woman I went down on--"

"What part of I don't want to hear this are you not getting?" Sam was getting awfully close to shoving Dean away in disgust. Which wasn't exactly fair, he knew, as his feelings weren't exactly fair, but Dean was just trying to wind him up now.

"You kissed me," Dean pointed out. "That isn't exactly punishment."

"Because it's the only way to get you to shut up!" The words come out with far more emphasis and almost anger than Sam had intended.

With a startled look, Dean snapped his mouth closed and walked away, head down and turned towards the gravestones.

Sam bit back an angry curse and followed him. "Dean, wait. That wasn't..."

"It's all right," Dean said, in a tone that said very clearly that it wasn't. He kept walking, quickly. "I won't talk about it anymore."

Sam sighed in frustration and ran the hand that wasn't carrying the shovels through his hair. "That's not... I didn't...." He took a deep breath and tried again to express his jumbled thoughts. "I want you to be able to talk about anything you want with me -- that's one of the things about what we have that I crave the most. No secrets. But..." He sighed again and admitted, "It's... hard to think about other people touching you."

"Then I won't tell you about it," Dean said, sounding almost gentle, apologetic. "Those aren't.. secrets you need to worry about, anyway. Come on, let's just find this guy's bones and burn them."

Sam nodded and reached out his free hand to touch Dean's back as the continued down the row. Needing to make that contact. He felt Dean flinch.

Dammit, this wasn't what he wanted. Frustrated and pretty sure that if he tried with words again, he'd fail just as miserably as he obviously already had, Sam went for actions instead, pulling Dean around and kissing him again.

He felt Dean's hands on his chest -- pushing him back. Not hard, but breaking the kiss. "Sam, what are you doing?" He didn't sound angry, or upset. Just sad.

Sam let out a breath and rested his head on Dean's shoulder. "I don't know," he admitted.

"You don't have to...apologise, or make this better. It's fine. I'm fine. You and me, we're good." The last, at least, sounded honest. And Dean wasn't trying to move away from him, content to stand close enough they could be kissing again.

"I don't know why I got so... over the idea of you being with other people in the past," Sam said, leaving his head on Dean's shoulder. "It shouldn't matter but... You're mine. Guess it's hard to be confronted with the fact that there was a time that wasn't entirely true."

He felt a kiss on the side of his head, and Dean rubbed his arm. "It's always been true. The things I did don't change that."

"I know." Sam did, really. "I guess... I'm just territorial." He lifted his head and managed a faint smile. "You're my territory."

There was a look in Dean's eyes that threatened to make Sam's heart stop beating. He nudged Sam's nose with his own, and said, his voice cracking, "Always."

Something in Sam's chest eased at that. "Don't you forget it," he told Dean, smile bigger now.

Dean gave him a smile, chucking a little. "It's been eighteen years, I doubt I could forget it now."

"There's an anniversary for you to remember then," Sam teased, feeling back on solid ground again.

With a serious expression, Dean looked him in the eye and said, "Never forgot your birthday. Not once." He leaned in and gave Sam a kiss.

Sam closed his eyes and kissed him back. He might not say the actual words very often, but Dean was always telling him he loved him. Sam just needed to remember to hear it. Just like now.

"So, we gonna find this guy, so we can get back to the motel and celebrate?"

The hunt. Right. The reason they were standing in the middle of the cemetery. "Yeah," Sam said, reluctantly pulling back. First they take care of business. Then...

Dean chuckled. "First we dig up a corpse. Then we can have sex."

"Y'know that's not something you hear too many people say," Sam observed as he pulled away and started resuming checking out the tombstones. "Ever."

Dean laughed, and he started walking along the row of graves. "I heard someone else say it, once. But it was a maharta, and it actually meant sex with the corpse."

"I could've gone all night without knowing that."

"I'm just trying to point out I'm not the only one." Dean grinned, as though not caring that he was comparing himself to a spirit that used necrophilia to bind its victims. "Hey! Here's our guy."

Sam walked over to join Dean, looking at the tombstone. "Yep, that's him." He handed one of the shovels to Dean.

Dean looked askance at it, then him. "Dude, China, remember?" He stepped backwards and gestured for that Sam could have the whole grave to himself.

Sam continued holding the shovel out to his brother.

Frowning, Dean still didn't take the shovel. "It's a lesson you need to learn, Sammy. Think of this as tough love."

"You just don't want to dig," Sam said.

"No, I want to see if I can make you dig him up by yourself."

"Well, you can't, so grab a shovel."

Dean laughed, as though he'd won, and took a shovel. Before he put the edge into the ground, he said, "Bet I can."

Sam rolled his eyes. "Do you want to get this over with so we can get to the sex, or not?"

"I want you to admit I could make you dig this all by yourself."

Sam shook his head slowly. "That's not going to happen."

Dean put his hand on the edge of his jacket and began humming.

"You can't be serious," Sam said disbelievingly, watching his brother with wide eyes.

"Watch me," Dean said, determinedly. "Better yet, dig." He nodded at the grave.

Sam gripped the shovel handle tighter but didn't move. "No."

"Really?" Dean pulled his jacket open, bumping his hip to one side.

"Really." Dean could strip to his skin; Sam wasn't going to shovel one shovel full of dirt. He might jump and fuck him, but he wasn't going to dig.

"Even if you get to fuck me after I strip?" Dean looked around them. "Here?"

"If you strip, it won't matter if I dig or not," Sam pointed out with complete confidence. "I'll fuck you."

"Huh." Dean nodded. "Good point." With that, he shoved the blade of the shovel into the dirt and began digging.

Sam grinned and went to join him, then paused. "Digging to China? Really?"

With a shrug, Dean said, "It got boring."

"Should I do something to entertain you?"

"Nah. I'm not a kid anymore. I can handle a few...thousand shovelfuls of dirt." He kept his head down, focusing on the dirt as he dug. He almost looked...like he was thinking about something else.

"I could... tell you a story," Sam offered.

"What kind of story?" Dean glanced at him, dubiously.

"A sex story?"

Dean's face lit up -- then he frowned again. "How is that gonna help us avoid having sex before we get this guy salted and burned?"

"Because I have self-control," Sam said smugly.

His brother just raised a disbelieving eyebrow at him.

"And because you're going to be too busy putting all that energy into digging," Sam continued.

"Uh-huh." Dean kept looking at him dubiously -- but he turned his attention back to the grave, and shoveled out another pile of dirt. He glanced up at Sam. "Is this sex story going to take place in China?"

"Do you want it to?"

Dean shrugged like it didn't matter, and he kept his head down over the grave. More shovelfuls of dirt piled up beside the grave. Then Dean said diffidently, "Well, if I'm digging to China, and all...."

Sam chuckled and leaned back on a conveniently placed tombstone. "I suppose I can manage China."

Shrugging again, Dean looked for all the world like it didn't matter in the slightest. But when he glanced up, as though wondering when Sam was going to begin, Sam could see the look of hopeful expectation hidden behind his eyes.

"So China," Sam said thoughtfully, already composing a story in his head. In a conversational tone, he asked, "Do you know there used to be Warlords in China?"

"Yeah," Dean said, glancing up again, clearly wondering if this was the opening to his story or if Sam was already off on a tangent.

"They used to make raids on villages," Sam continued. "Swoop in and take everything -- and everyone -- of value."

Dean grinned, and bent his head down to keep digging.

Sam paused in his storytelling. "Do you want a sex story with a girl?" he asked.

Startled, Dean looked at him. He looked thoughtful for a brief moment, then shook his head. "Guys work." He gave Sam a very shuttered smile. "You know. Tall brainiac meets handsome ditchdigger...."

"Who's completely delusional?" Sam finished. "I think I can do better than that."

He saw a frown cross Dean's face. "What am I delusional about now?" The next shovelful of dirt landed very near Sam's shoes.

"Where would I start? Do you want me to pick apart what you're saying or do you want me to tell you a dirty story?"

Dean gave him a glare, but then visibly snapped his jaw shut and lowered his head back down to dig. Sam waited a moment to make sure that Dean was going to continue working then finally started talking again. "So once there was this powerful Warlord who was sweeping across the countryside attacking villages as he went."

There was a short glance, but Dean kept quiet and kept digging.

"The Warlord had a son. He was very handsome and brave and one of the most skilled fighters among his father's people."

There was another glance; Dean was clearly wondering if he knew which of them was the Warlord's son.

Sam hid a smile as he continued, watching carefully for his brother's reaction. "But no matter how skilled or popular he was, Dong was unhappy."

Dean froze, shovel's spade half raised with dirt. Sam knew what was coming right before the pile of dirt cascaded over his feet.

"You're the one who wanted a story set in China," Sam reminded him.

Dean just scowled harder, then he put the shovel down and took off his outer shirt. When he picked up the shovel again, his t-shirt showed every muscle quite clearly. Which left Sam staring with his mouth open, forgetting what he'd about to say.

His brother had time to dig up two more shovelfuls of dirt before he paused and looked over. "Sammy?"

Sam shook himself. Story, right. "So Dong was unhappy and he didn't know why. Until the day they attacked this one village." He got another scowl at the use of Dong's name, but Dean just kept digging. Sam hid his smile at the scowl and kept going. "They rounded up all the villagers as they usually did and that's when Dong's life changed."

It seemed to be reflex, now - Sam said Dong's name, and Dean scowled at him. But he was still digging, and still listening quietly.

"There was this one villager... a young man named Song. He wasn't cowering like the others. He stood straight and tall and met his captors' eyes. And when he did so, it was the Warlord's men who looked away first. Until Dong."

"Song?" Dean interrupted, scoffing. "Why the hell do you get to be--"

Sam grinned. "Because it's my story."

The scowl was harder and much more enthusiastic this time. Dean shoveled some more, dumping two shovelfuls of dirt on Sam's shoes.

"Dude, you're trying to dig him up, not bury me," Sam pointed out, rolling his eyes.

"Oops?" Dean gave him a smile. The next shovelful hit the ground next to Sam's feet.


"Tong kumong."

Sam raised an eyebrow. "And that would mean...?"

Dean gave him a guileless look. "It means you're a smart, sexy person."

"Don't make me go look it up," Sam warned, crossing his arms over his chest.

Pausing with the shovel stuck into the dirt, Dean looked around them, clearly wondering where Sam could find a English-Korean dictionary in the middle of a cemetery.

"When we get back to the motel," Sam clarified. "I have a good memory. But it would put off any sex."

"For about two minutes," Dean replied. He was still digging, the hole growing noticeably lower. Dean stopped again, this time removing his t-shirt.

Sam looked away before he could start staring. "It would be longer depending on what I found out it meant."

"If you say so." Dean dug for a moment, then Sam heard him curse softly under his breath. Sam looked back and saw Dean standing there, shirtless, staring at his forefinger. As Sam watched, he brought his finger to his mouth and sucked on the tip.

"Wha-" His voice cracked, so he cleared his throat and tried again. "What are you doing?"

"Think I got a splinter," Dean mumbled as he slid his finger into his mouth.

Sam was caught between calling bullshit and being concerned. "Do you want me to look at it?" he finally asked.

His brother gave him a heavy-lidded look, gazing upwards at him as he slowly slid his finger out of his mouth. Wordlessly, he held his hand out to Sam. The expression on his face was a mixture of daring and blatant seduction. Equally slowly, Sam reached out and took his brother's hand, leaning over to get a better look at his finger.

There was absolutely no sign of any splinter. Not even a red spot on his brother's callused hands.

Sam looked up at Dean from under his bangs. "Splinter?"

"I feel something."

Sam snorted. "Somehow I don't think it's in your finger that you're feeling something."

Dean raised an eyebrow at him. Then he turned his hand, taking Sam's in his, and pulled it towards his mouth. As Sam watched, Dean pulled Sam's finger into his mouth and sucked, lightly. Then he let it slip free and asked, "You don't think it was in my finger?"

"I..." Sam began, then swallowed, finding it hard to concentrate when Dean was doing... that.

Then Dean dropped Sam's hand and stepped back, and picked up the shovel. "Think that got it," he said, and began digging again.

Sam stared at him. He really should be used to Dean pulling this kind of thing by now, but it still surprised him every time. Dean dug a few more shovelfuls, dumping the dirt in the pile safely on the other side of the grave from Sam's feet. Then Dean paused and looked at him.

"Sammy? Hello?" He waggled the shovel handle at Sam, though whether it meant 'grab the other one' or 'get on with the story', Sam couldn't tell.

"I really hate you sometimes."

His brother's wide, smug grin told him that Dean had just scored himself the winner. Sam told himself he'd get back at him when they got back to the motel.

"You need me to kick-start you?" his brother asked, and Sam knew he meant it literally.

"Just dig," Sam told him.

Dean pointed at the hole he was standing in, saying very clearly that he had been digging, was still digging, and it wasn't him that was falling down on the job.

Sam sighed and rolled his eyes. "Where was I?"

"You were getting off on calling me Dong."

"Hey, if the name fits..."

Dean scowled and suddenly tossed his shovel at Sam. "Dig."

Sam chuckled and picked up the shovel. "If you don't like my story, you tell one."

"I liked your story, you just stopped telling it." Dean bent down and grabbed the second shovel, moving to the far end of the grave. "Fine, you want me to tell you a story?" He sighed and resumed digging. Then, "Once there was a rabbit named Mister Winston."

Sam laughed out loud. "I don't think the story you used to read to me every night to get me to go to sleep counts, Dean."

"I was gonna make it a sex story," his brother said, innocently.

"That," Sam said, digging the shovel into the dirt over the grave, "might possibly turn me off sex for the next year. At least."

"You're eighteen," Dean said. "At most it'll turn you off sex for half an hour. And then only if I put my shirt back on." Dean continued digging at his end of the grave, looking and sounding all-business once more. Sam could see the outline of Dean's erection, though, pressing against his jeans.

He did his best to ignore that. "Just... don't pervert my childhood memories, okay?" Sam said. "I don't want to think of Mister Winston and sex at the same time."

Dean gave him a sad look. "Sam, you know Mister Winston had kids. They're in the story."

Sam dug a little harder. "Adoption."

There was a pause, then Dean's delighted laughter rang out, loud enough to wake the dead. He slammed the shovel into the dirt and leaned on it, laughing. Sam watched him, part of him eye rolling at how funny Dean apparently found that perfectly logical explanation, while the rest of him just revelled in a Dean so happy as to be able to laugh like that.

Finally Dean reached up and wiped his eyes. "Okay, Sammy. Adoption. Mister Winston never had sex." He grinned at Sam, still chuckling as he went back to digging.

Sam continued watching him for a moment before going back to digging himself. "See? My story would have been better than rabbit sex -- which never happened."

"At least I told you my story," Dean said. "About a billion times until I finally got you reading Hardy Boys."

"Yeah," Sam granted, remembering the feeling of warmsafedrowsyDean, of being small and tucked into bed with his big brother reading to him. He smiled at the memory. "You did."

Dean shot him a mildly confused but happy look, apparently catching Sam's tone and figuring out a moment later the apparent cause of it. "God, you refused to go to sleep for two years unless I told you that story." His accusation held no heat, only affection.

"You had a very soothing voice," Sam said.

"Here I thought it was the riveting tale of Mister Winston," Dean teased, but his eyes were still alight with warmth. He paused, mouth open, and hesitated.

"What is it?" Sam prodded when he didn't continue.

"Just wondering if I'd ever told you... Mom used to read it to me." He was still smiling, still happy; the usual pain or closed neutrality that his brother showed when speaking of their mom was, for once, absent.

Sam smiled softly. "No, you didn't," he said, feeling warmth spread through him. He may not have any memories of his mother, but it felt like Dean had just given him a piece of her. Or, really, been giving him pieces all along. "Thanks." It seemed an inadequate word for what he was trying to express.

"Well, it's a compelling story," Dean said, not really disparagingly. Then he looked guilty. "Though I usually made her skip over the part where he got lost for two pages."

Dean had done the same for him, Sam remembered. "I think I was eight before I realised there was even a part where he got lost," Sam chuckled.

"I didn't want you worrying about him," Dean said. "Lost, away from his wife and adopted kids -- he was scared and there wasn't anything I could do for him." Dean frowned, still digging into the murdered cab driver's grave.

"I never got lost," Sam remembered. Most kids did at one point or another, he knew, if only for a few minutes. But he hadn't. Dean had always been there when he turned around and looked for him.

"I learned from Mister Winston," Dean said. "Never gave you the chance." His words were light -- but Sam knew they weren't really talking about the book anymore.

"Still don't," Sam murmured, smiling at him fondly.

"The last time I let you out of my sight, you bought dishes with purple and yellow polka dots on them."

"They were on sale," Sam protested.

"Are you at all gay, or is this," he gestured from Sam to himself and back. "Just a Dean-thing? Because I am seriously beginning to doubt your ability to know what's hideously ugly and what isn't."

Sam actually gave the question some thought. "I don't really know. You're all I want, if that means anything."

"That doesn't tell me you have the ability to decorate," Dean said, for once not reacting visibly to Sam's declaration of love. "I went back and found the yellow striped ones sitting right next to the polka dot ones, and they were the exact same price." He paused, shovel in the dirt, and looked at Sam curiously. "Maybe you really are mostly straight."

Sam shrugged. It really didn't matter to him what he was beyond in love with Dean. That one point made the rest kind of moot. "Maybe I just like polka dots."

"Isn't that what I said?" Dean dug up half a shovelful of dirt, and dumped it on Sam's side of the hole they were in.

"We won't actually get this hole dug, if you keep dumping the dirt back in it," Sam pointed out.

Dean just chuckled.

They managed to dig uninterrupted for a while, with Dean actually dumping dirt outside the grave and Sam actually not staring at Dean, who still wasn't wearing his shirt. Sam caught Dean, once, frowning at the shovel and saying something under his breath about pagodas and fresh egg rolls.

Sam had chuckled under his breath and made plans to actually finish telling Dean his story -- maybe over Chinese food.

Finally they had to take turns, the hole deep enough it wasn't possible to dig without ramming the shovel into the other person. Dean was taking his turn, deep in the ground and grunting nearly silently with every shovelful, when his shovel hit something solid.

"Thank god," Dean said. "I was beginning to think I really would hit China."

"You are really getting fixated on this China thing," Sam observed, getting to his feet from where he'd been lounging by the side of the hole.

Dean looked up at him, frowning in what was almost a pout. "It's not my fault. I was a little obsessed with Bruce Lee, and...I was ten, and helping Dad dig up a grave. He told me to pretend I was digging to China."

Sam thought about that for a few moments. "You know, we really didn't have a normal childhood," he observed. Not that that was news, but sometimes it hit him all over again.

There was a long, silent pause as Dean stopped, completely, and stared at him. His mouth was open in surprise. Very slowly, he said, "Sam?" His tone very clearly said he was going to make no sudden moves that might startle the insane person. "I hate to say this -- but we didn't have a normal childhood."

Sam rolled his eyes but couldn't help grinning. "Idiot."

"Sam, do you remember when you were eleven and I told you about the Easter Bunny?" Dean was still frowning in that earnest way, like he was actually having a serious conversation.

"You told me that he was real, but was a monster that dipped children in boiling chocolate," Sam said with a snort at the memory.

"And when did you figure out I was lying?"

"You want to break open the coffin and I'll pour the salt?" Sam said, avoiding the question.

A delighted grin appeared on his brother's face. "Sammy? When did you figure out I was lying?" He bent over to break open the coffin, though. The wood broke with a loud crack, and Dean reached down to pull the lid up.

Sam wrinkled his nose at the odour drifted up from the open coffin. "The next Easter, when I asked Dad when he was going to hunt it down," he admitted grudgingly.

For the second time that night, the graveyard rung with the sound of Dean's laughter.


When Dean calmed down enough to speak, he pulled himself out of the grave. "Me being mean to you -- it's what big brothers do. It's normal." He smiled and shrugged.

Sam just stared at Dean for a long moment. "I don't know how you do that."

"Do what?" Dean looked honestly confused.

"Take something that I should be rightfully pissed off at you about and turn it into something that makes me want to kiss you instead."

"If you'd salt this sucker already, I could toast him and then we could do that," Dean said, sounding frustrated.

Sam smiled and did so, taking his brother's avoidance of the compliment in stride. He still knew Dean had heard him; that was enough. He watched as Dean poured the lighter fluid over the grave, then he set the can down, wiping his hands on his jeans. Dean stared down at the coffin as he took out a book of matches; for a moment he simply stood, doing nothing.

Then he took out a match, lit it, and let it drop. His brother smiled as the flames shot into the air.

"You're such a pyro," Sam observed affectionately.

The smile widened into a grin. "Burn, baby, burn," he sang as the flicker of light reflected in his eyes.

Sam shook his head, smiling. "Dork."

"Rob Zombie," Dean said, looking at him in shock. "How can Rob Zombie make me a dork?"

"If you could see yourself in the mirror, you wouldn't be asking that."

Dean actually looked down at himself. His jeans were covered in dirt and grime, the bare skin of his torso was coated in sweat and smears of dirt. All lit by the fire he couldn't seem to keep his eyes off for more than a moment. "What?"

"It's your eyes," Sam explained. "And possibly the shit eating grin."

The look Dean gave him was genuinely confused -- for a moment, then he glanced back at the fire and smiled.

"Yeah," Sam pointed out. "That look there."

"You don't like burning evil sons of bitches?"

"Not as much as you do," Sam said honestly. "I don't think even Dad likes it as much as you do."

Dean frowned almost too briefly for Sam to see. "Dad hates burning things. Reminds him--" Dean stared down at the fire, solemn. "Luckily for me, I love this part."

Sam slid an arm around Dean's waist as they watched. "I know you do," he said softly, his teasing falling away at the change in Dean's mood.

His brother didn't reply, just leaned into Sam. He stared at the flames as they grew -- they'd have to leave soon, before the cops and the fire department arrived. But Dean didn't seem ready to leave.

At least not until he grinned at Sam. "We should really remember to bring marshmallows."

Sam didn't try to hide what he felt about that suggestion. "Dude," he said, wrinkling his nose, "that's just gross."

"What's wrong with toasted marshmallows?" Dean glanced around, then moved away, crouching down to pick up one of the shovels and gather up his clothes. Even then, his eyes kept sliding back towards the flames.

"Nothing," Sam replied, helping to gather up their things. "But not cooked over a burning corpse."

"You've eaten worse."

Sam thought about it. "No, I don't think I have."

Dean straightened up and looked at him, the shit-eating grin back in full force. "You have." This coming from his older brother who, more often than not, had been the one to prepare Sam's meals when they were younger.

"Unless it was cooked over the flames of a burning rotting body, no, I haven't."

"You've had chitlings," Dean said. "And you ate about half a dozen grubs. And tripe, once, but I think you threw that up."

"Burning corpse," Sam emphasised.

"Sam, do you know what chitlins are? A burning corpse is clean, at least." He paused and looked down into the grave. "You know, once all the flesh has decomposed. Maybe not a new corpse."

Sam chuckled. "Not really helping your argument, Dean."

"But if we're just burning bones and wood, it's just like a campfire." Dean slung the shovel over his shoulder, and with a last look back, began walking towards the parking lot. "But if you don't want any, more for me."

"You're not bringing marshmallows to a graveyard," Sam told him firmly as he followed.

"Watch me."

"I'll tell Dad."

Dean stopped. He turned towards Sam, clearly fighting back laughter. "Tell Dad? What are you, five?"

Sam snorted. "Like you don't still listen to everything Dad says."

Dean looked like he'd been slapped. "Fuck you." His brother began walking again, striding quickly towards the car.

Wonderful. Sam half jogged to catch up with Dean. "That wasn't an insult," he said quietly when he did. Dean's only response was to walk faster. Sam reached out and grabbed his brother's arm. "Dean--"

Shaking him off hard, the shovel fell to the ground and Dean whirled on him. "I said fuck off."

"What the fuck is your problem?" Sam asked, his own temper fraying.

"Are you kidding me?" Dean stopped, eyes wide with anger and disbelief and something else. Pain? It was gone before Sam could identify it. "How many fucking years have I listened to you berate me for doing what Dad tells us--"

"What?" Sam said, staring at his brother in shock as sudden understanding came to him. "Dean," he said softly, "I wasn't berating you."


"Really," Sam said, catching and holding Dean's eyes. "I know I used to before, but that's because I didn't know why. I do now."

"You--" Dean's anger faded as he realised what Sam meant. "You said.. you saw it. In your vision." His voice cracked, and Sam could see, in the shadows on his brother's face, the nine year old boy he'd been.

It merged with the flash vision memories in his mind, of another time and place, and Dean haltingly confessing how he'd almost got a five year old Sam killed. "I did. I know, Dean. I do."

Dean gave a sort of half-shrug, and he looked away. "I didn't--" Sam could see the pain and fear, still there, and he knew that it had been there all along. All the times Dean had instantly obeyed their dad, refused to let Sam sway him, it had been this, driving him. "I'm sorry," Dean said in a small voice.

Wanting nothing more than to soothe that pain and fear away, Sam leaned in and kissed him. "I'm the one who owes you an apology."

"I'm sorry I made you eat grub worms," Dean said, quietly.

Sam chuckled. "That's okay," he said. "Part of your job of being annoying big brother."

Dean stepped in and wrapped his arms around Sam's waist. "And I'm sorry about the spider on your cupcake."

"That was you?"

He felt Dean tense. "Um. No. Er, who did you think it was?"

"The spider," Sam said wryly.

"Oh! Yeah, totally was," Dean said breezily, in a normal tone. He leaned back and smiled, hesitantly.

Sam couldn't keep from smiling even as he shook his head in exasperation. "Jerk."

"You took the last one," Dean said. "There were three, and you wouldn't let me cut it in half to share." Dean gave him a cute look.

Sam kissed him. "You're still a jerk."

"But I'm your jerk," Dean replied, and there was only the slightest hitch in his voice when he said it.

"Always," Sam said fiercely, punctuating the vow with another kiss.

Dean was smiling when he broke the kiss -- practically beaming. "Come on, we don't wanna get arrested when the fire department shows up." He gave Sam's shirt a tug.

"Right." Sam allowed himself to be dragged back towards the car. "I'm still going to tell Dad if you start bringing marshmallows to the graveyards."

Dean shot him a dirty look. "I wouldn't make you eat any. Hell, I won't let you."

"No. Marshmallows."

They reached the car, and Dean went around to the trunk. After he'd got the shovels stowed away, he put on his t-shirt, then the outer shirt and ran a hand through his hair. "Marshmallows, Sammy," he said with a note of finality. "Oo, or hot dogs!"



The next day they went back to the bar to tell Al the problem had been taken care of. They found Jorge, Dad's contact who originally referred the case to them, there visiting with Al. They'd ended up sitting and trading hunting stories over beers -- Al not even bothering to ask Sam for ID. A few hours of that and Sam needed to make a short trip to get rid of the beer he'd consumed. When he came back, he found Dean and Jorge with their heads together seeming to be discussing something serious.

He heard Dean ask, "You don't think it's a little late?"

Jorge shook his head. "It's never too late."

Before replying, Dean looked up and saw Sam approaching, a startled and thoughtful look on his face. "I'll think about it," he said, casually, as though they'd been discussing nothing important.

"What did I miss?" Sam said, taking his seat next to Dean again and looking inquiringly at his brother.

"Nothing, just shooting the shit," Dean said quickly. Jorge gave him a measuring look, but said nothing, just took another drink of his beer.

Sam was pretty sure it wasn't nothing, but wasn't going to push Dean on it here. He'd wait until later and then push him on it. Dean always caved faster in private.

For his part, Dean seemed relieved when Sam let it drop. His brother looked at Jorge and said, "So you can tell him we saw the girls at the Que Sera." He gave Sam a wink.

Jorge laughed.

Sam rolled his eyes, picking up his role. "Dean couldn't wait to go. Practically left skid marks in the parking lot getting there."

"Hey, I was just trying to expand my little brother's horizons." He gave Sam a grin which said he was thinking about just how he'd managed to do so.

"Yes, education, so important," Jorge said, still laughing -- and Dean shot him a quelling look, which Jorge seemed to ignore.

Sam made note of the look, though he didn't know its reason. Just another thing to ask Dean about later.

"Yeah, well, with the ghost taken care of, and nothing else pressing, I figured we'd go back tonight." Dean gave Jorge a wink. "Sammy wants another lap dance."

Sam, having just raised his beer to his mouth, choked at his brother's words.

Jorge gave him a wink that, weirdly enough, seemed almost fatherly. "Ah, a beautiful woman, dancing for you. There is nothing quite like it." He took a drink of his own beer, then said, "If Maria wasn't likely to tear off my cajones, I'd go with you."

"We'll send you a souvenir," Dean offered.

That almost sent Sam into another choking fit.

His brother gave him a concerned look. "Sam, are you sure you're old enough to be drinking that?"

"Not with you around, apparently," Sam said wryly, getting his coughing back under control.

Dean sighed, and clapped Sam on the shoulder. "Come on. We better go, so we can get you tucked into bed at a decent hour."

Sam nodded, finishing his beer quickly. "Nice to see you again, Jorge," he said, standing with Dean.

"You boys have fun," Jorge called after them. When Dean pulled out his wallet, Jorge waved him off. "Nah, it's on me. Consider it your payment for the job."

"Thanks, Jorge. When you talk to dad tell him not to call until after noon." He gave Jorge a knowing grin. Jorge just laughed again, and waved at them to go, already.

Sam waited until they were actually back in the car and pulling out of the parking lot before he asked, "So what were you and Jorge talking about?"

There was a pause, then Dean asked, "You wanna go to Que Sera?" From his tone it was clear that Dean didn't, nor did he expect Sam to say yes.

"You think we'd make it any further than we did the last time we tried to go?" Sam asked.

At that, Dean gave him a grin. "We made it all the way, last time." He waggled his eyebrows.

"Not to the strip club," Sam said, though he couldn't help but smile. "I say we skip the drive to the club and go back to the motel and just go for all the way right off the bat."

"Should I make a 'bat' joke, or just turn the radio on?"

"You... should tell me what you were talking with Jorge about," Sam said, glancing at Dean. Calm persistence Sam had found was the best way to actually get Dean to talk to him.

Dean sighed, and for a moment Sam knew it could go either way. Spill, or deflect. "Can it wait 'til we get back to the motel?" Dean finally asked.

Sam hesitated. "Before sex?"

With a laugh, Dean said, "Yes, Sam. I promise. Before sex." He leaned back in the driver's seat, ostensibly focusing his attention on the road. He glanced over. "Or after."

"Before," Sam said firmly. He knew full well that if it waited until after there wouldn't be a conversation until at least tomorrow.

"OK, OK. Before." Dean sighed again. Then he rested his hand on his thigh. Fingers just inches away -- and Sam remembered their first drive in the Impala, and the handjob Dean had given himself.

Sam let his mind wander through those very pleasant memories for a few moments before firmly pulling it back. "No fair trying to distract me."


"You're trying to distract me so I'll forget you're supposed to talk and just jump you."

"I'm driving," Dean retorted, and his hand very definitely did not move away from his crotch. But he looked over at Sam and sighed.

"Is whatever it is that bad?" Sam asked in a softer tone.

"No, I just...haven't thought about it yet. It might just be something stupid." He shrugged.

"Somehow," Sam said slowly, studying his brother's face, "I doubt it is something stupid."

"Nah," Dean said, suddenly acting like he'd already dismissed it. "It's nothing. Jorge thought I might.. do something, while you're in school. But I think I won't." He stared straight ahead, and Sam could see his jaw clench.

Sam knew that look all too well. It was Dean's talking himself out of something he wanted look. Sam was doing his best to banish it completely, but he was beginning to think that that just wasn't possible. All he could do was deal with it each time it made an appearance. "What did Jorge think you might do?" Sam asked gently, reaching over and taking Dean's hand in his own.

"He was talking bullshit," Dean replied. "I don't need -- if I need a fucking diploma I can forge one."

That was enough for Sam to piece together what the topic must've been. "You talked about going back to school?"

"Or getting a G.E.D." Dean shrugged. "Either way, it isn't like I'm gonna be applying for jobs or college or anything. What do I need it for?"

"You could," Sam said. "If you wanted to, you could apply to college." He looked at Dean, letting all his belief in his brother show on his face, in his voice. "You can do anything you wanted to, Dean."

Dean gave him a look. "I don't need to go to college. One scholar in the family's enough." Sam could see how tightly he was gripping the steering wheel -- as he watched, Dean loosened his grip, no doubt trying to act cool when he was clearly feeling anything but.

"Of course you don't need to," Sam agreed easily. "It's not about need, it's about want. What do you want to do?"

It took a long time for Dean to respond, and at first Sam wasn't sure his brother would admit to anything at all. But then, quietly and a little desperately, Dean said, "I just wanna finish. I--" He stopped, and Sam just waited. Dean's voice wavered when he finally said, "You're going to Stanford and I don't even have a fucking high school diploma."

Sam swallowed, aching for Dean and the emotion he heard in his brother's voice. "I'm only going to Stanford because of you," he said softly. "If you want to finish your diploma, then it's not a stupid idea to do it. If that's what you want to do, I'll help you however I can."

"I did not get you into Stanford," Dean said derisively. "You and your eggheaded brain did that." He shook his head. "Sam, I saw your S.A.T scores. I had nothing to do with that." He paused, then said, "I know I'm not as smart as you. But I want--"

"Bullshit," Sam said, not willing to let that go. "You're just as smart as I am -- maybe more in some things. And I got the S.A.T scores I did because I studied my butt off -- which I was only able to do because you made sure I could."

"It was important to you," Dean said simply, off-handedly dismissing the things he'd done to give Sam the time and space to study. But then he glanced at Sam and gave him a small smile. "You know I've never been good at not giving you what you wanted."

"That runs both ways now," Sam told him. "I want to give you what you want, too."

"I don't need anything," Dean said, and the words felt rote. Like maybe Dean had been saying them for so long he didn't even think past them anymore.

"Forget about whether you think you should need something," Sam told him firmly. "This isn't about need. What do you want, Dean?"

Again Dean didn't answer right away. He pulled the car into its parking spot at the motel, and killed the engine. His brother sat there, staring ahead, for a long time. Then he suddenly turned towards Sam, nearly diving across the benchseat and into Sam's arms. "I don't want to be a fucking dropout," he said, voice muffled against Sam's chest.

Sam wrapped his arms around his brother tightly. "Then we'll look into what you need to do to get your diploma when we get back," he said fiercely, emotion making his voice husky.

Neither of them moved for a long moment, then Dean sniffed, quietly, and shoved himself away. He wiped at his face and said, "God, I really am turning into the girl." He yanked the door handle and got out of the car. Sam could hear him taking a couple of deep breaths, regaining his composure.

Sam took his time getting out of the car, giving his brother the space he wanted. Just like he was going to do everything in his power to give Dean everything else he wanted as well. First it was giving himself to Dean, which had been as easy as breathing. The diploma might be a little harder, but Sam had no doubt that they'd make sure Dean got that too.

When Dean turned to him and smiled, it was the thin, easy smile he gave to strangers. Charming, and brimming with what those strangers always saw as full of life.

He wanted to touch Dean, break through that smile and get to the real one underneath, the one that he knew only he saw, but he couldn't, not out in the parking lot. "Come on," Sam said and went and unlocked the motel door quickly.

"Hey, we could order a pizza," Dean suggested, following Sam into the room.

Sam looked back over his shoulder at him. "Is that what you want?"

He saw Dean's smile and his step falter. "Whatever, Sam. I just thought you might be hungry."

Sam stood and studied him for a long minute, trying to figure out what he should say to make his brother happy and finally settled on the truth. "I am hungry. For you." He stepped closer, opening his arm to wrap around Dean.

"Good thing for you I'm on the menu. Cheap, too." Dean grinned. "And I come with fries."

Sam could see behind the mask he was still hanging onto and the rapid patter of jokes. A flicker of need that Dean was still fighting, even here in the privacy of their room.

"Lucky me," Sam said, meaning it, wrapping his arms around his brother tightly and nuzzling his neck. Breathing in the scent that had always been the only one that ever meant home to him.

He felt more than heard the soft moan, then Dean was turning his head and kissing him, hard and desperate. Sam let him, tasting the alcohol Dean had consumed as their tongues slid together. Part of him wanted to ask Dean what he wanted, needed, again, but he was sure that part of the answer would be not to have to talk about what he wanted, so Sam bit his tongue. Bit Dean's while he was at it, too.

There were other ways Dean and he communicated that didn't involve words at all. Right now it was pretty clear that one thing Dean wanted -- possibly needed -- was to have Sam, to touch him, be touched by him. Mouth, hands -- Dean's were working their way under Sam's shirts, not gently, not caressing but gripping and holding, roughly. Sam kissed Dean hard then leaned back briefly to pull his shirt over his head and drop it to the floor before wrapping himself around Dean again.

Dean was on him almost as soon as Sam touched him. Kissing him like they had little time left -- or like there was something to hide from, and the only way to escape was through Sam. Neither were options that Sam liked to think about Dean feeling, and he mentally renewed his vow to himself to give Dean all he wanted and make him believe that it wasn't all going to be taken away. But in the meantime he'd give Dean what he needed. Always.

"Sam." His brother's voice was low and breathless, then Dean was kissing his neck, sucking on the spot that always made Sam weak at the knees.

"I'm here," Sam said, breath catching and hands clutching at Dean's shoulders at the stimulation.

"Sam," he repeated, and Dean was moving against him, hands still gripping his sides hard. He pushed his hips into Sam, rubbing against him. Sam could feel his hardening erection through the denim of their jeans.

"Dean," Sam murmured back, catching his brother's lips in another hard kiss. When it broke, they were both panting hard. "Do you want to fuck me?"

He nodded, fast, and tugged Sam towards him -- though there was practically no space between them to begin with. He felt Dean take a step backwards, towards the bed, and stop again for another kiss. Dean was moaning in the back of his throat, harsh needy sounds as he clutched at Sam.

Sam got them moving again, over to the bed. Another searing kiss that had him moaning as much as Dean was, then Sam pushed him away. "Clothes off now," he said, suiting actions to words.

It took barely a moment for Dean to rip his shirt off, kick off his shoes and unzip his jeans. All the while he didn't take his eyes off Sam. It wasn't graceful, or arousing -- a stark contrast to the moves he'd made the night before. It was, though, just as hot, if not more so, and the second Dean was naked Sam wrapped himself around him again and tipped them down onto the bed.

Dean's arms and legs were tangled with his; almost like Dean was barely aware that they'd fallen over and were lying down. He attacked Sam's mouth again, kissing him fiercely and pushing his knee between Sam's legs.

Sam groaned and arched against him, starting to feel a little needy himself. "Want you," he murmured against Dean's mouth.

"Got me," Dean said. He rolled them over until Sam was on his back and Dean on top. He pushed again with his knee against Sam's thigh, to spread his legs. Sam instantly complied, heart beating faster as he stared up at his brother.

Dean caught his eye and smiled. It was nothing like the one outside -- this was pure Dean. Somewhat mischievous, but mostly full of desire. It was a smile Sam couldn't resist returning, both because of what it promised him and because this was Dean happy and without the masks. "Dean," he said softly, putting all his feelings into that one word.

"Yeah?" Dean's smile widened for a second into a smug grin -- as though all his blood wasn't somewhere south of his brain and he was somehow capable of talking like he didn't need to fuck Sam right then. But from the way his hips were moving, rubbing his cock alongside Sam's own hard length, Sam was pretty sure that any coherency on Dean's part was mostly faked.

Sam was pretty sure how to shatter that coherency. He gave his own version of Dean's cocky mischievous grin and said, "What are you waiting for? Fuck me."

The smug grin vanished and Dean groaned, diving down to kiss Sam, mouth open and crushing his lips against Sam's mouth and pressing his tongue inside. One hand found it's way underneath the small of his back, pulling Sam up.

Dean tore his mouth away. "Need.. fuck, Sam. Need...." He looked around, frantically.

It took Sam a second to get his own brain working enough to remember where... "Bedside table," he said, trying to reach for it, but couldn't from the angle he was at.

Dean muttered something under his breath as he lunged across Sam and grabbed for it. Sam took the opportunity to lean up and lick a long trail across Dean's skin.

"Oh god." Dean shivered, and didn't move. Still outstretched, hand around the lube he'd grabbed, half-off Sam and half still on.

Curling his hands around Dean's sides to hold him steady, Sam did it again.

The noise that came from his brother's throat was a strangled whimper, like pain was shooting into his skull. It trailed off into a breathy moan and Dean rubbed his whole body against Sam, writhing -- almost undulating against him. Sam loved knowing he could do this to his brother, to make him forget everything but what he was feeling. He smiled and shifted to be able to reach more of Dean's skin.

Dean slid around, offering him access to anything Sam wanted. And Sam wanted it all. Wanted to taste every inch of Dean's skin, to consume him head to toe, heart and soul.

It seemed that Dean was willing to let him; he rolled off Sam and onto the bed, arms out-spread. The lube in his hand was apparently forgotten as he arched into Sam's touch. Sam made the most of it, taking his time and indulging himself, wondering how long Dean would let him lick and stroke before he broke and took control back.

From the way Dean was groaning, his muscles trembling, it seemed like he might be willing to lie there for as long as Sam wanted to keep going. Certainly his cock was fully hard, pressed against his hip. His brother's breaths started coming in short, quick pants, and when Dean rolled his head to look at him his eyes were wide, pupils dilated with arousal.

Sam paused in what he was doing and just stared. His brother was so beautiful like this that it took his breath away. Dean stared back at him, and Sam could see when the arousal began to dim enough that Dean could refocus. The corner of his mouth quirked up and he asked, "You meant it, huh?"

"Meant what?" Sam asked softly.

"Hungry for me." Dean grinned. "You gonna eat me whole?"

Sam's mouth quirked up. "Do you want me to?"

"God, Sam, is this a trick question?" Dean's eyes went wide again like his higher brain functions clicked completely off from the mere idea.

"No trick. Just a simple yes or no." He got more serious, resting his head on folded hands propped on Dean's hip. "Tell me what you want, Dean."

"You do it I won't be able to fuck you." He paused, then said with a smirk, "For a few minutes at least." Then Dean lifted his head and kissed him. When he moved, he lowered his head a little, pressing his cheek against Sam's jaw. "I want...." He took a deep breath. "God, I just want to feel you touching me. Ho--" Dean cut himself off with a sharp exhalation.

Sam heard the words anyway: Holding me. He smiled and pressed himself closer, and wrapped himself around Dean. "I can do that," he murmured, kissing him again.

His brother melted into him, pressing against every part of Sam's body where they touched. It meant he didn't lie still -- rubbing against Sam's torso, then back against his hands, legs sliding along Sam's own. Slow, sensual, and if he hadn't been aroused before he surely would have become so, now. He seemed totally focused on Sam, but Sam knew Dean was soaking up the contact from him.

Contact that Sam was more than happy to give. He would've been happy to stay like this forever -- he didn't even need to come, just stay in this close contact with Dean, this slow burning arousal firing along his nerves and in his blood.

The slow way Dean kissed him again, the way his fingers started to trail up Sam's back, made it feel like Dean was happy to do so as well. The hungry desperation was fading from his touch, no longer trying to claim -- but soaking Sam up, absorbing him. Dean shifted again, pressing his face against Sam's neck, tasting with just the tip of his tongue. He could hear the slightest intake of breath and realised his brother was inhaling his scent.

That thought made Sam shiver with arousal, a soft moan rumbling up from his throat.

Dean's hand slipped between their bodies and his fingers brushed against Sam's cock. Dean pressed his mouth to Sam's neck, then sucked hard as he wrapped his hand around Sam's erection and pulled.

Sam gasped, bucking into Dean's grip, his simmering arousal beginning to rise to a boil. "Dean," he gasped.

"Yeah?" Dean's voice was nearly a whisper, nothing like how he'd teased Sam earlier. His hand kept moving, pulling Sam's cock as he lowered his mouth to lick a slow path up the line of Sam's jugular.

Oh god. Sam arched his head back, giving Dean better access. "More."

He felt Dean's chuckle, breath hot against his skin. But Dean moved his hand a little faster, tightened his grip a bit more. And he continued licking Sam's neck -- nibbling here and there, pressing his lips as though he was going to suck hard and never quite doing so.

It was Sam's turn to writhe and undulate under his brother's attention, small sounds not under his control coming from his throat. He whimpered, needing more, needing... "Fuck me."

"Hell, yeah." Dean brought his other hand in, the click of the cap opening seemed unnaturally loud. Soon enough Dean was pressing a slicked finger into Sam at the same time he bit down on Sam's neck.

Sam groaned loudly, his grip on Dean tightening. "Yes. More."

There was a dizzying moment, as Dean flipped them over again. Sam fell onto his back and Dean was between his legs, already lifting them up and scooting forward. How the hell he'd managed that...

Then Dean was sliding his finger back inside Sam and slicking up his own cock with his other hand. Sam arched up, wanting more than a finger, wanting Dean in him right now. Dean didn't seem in nearly enough of a hurry; he worked his finger in and out, added a second finger while still pulling on his own cock.

This was the part Sam hated -- and loved. Dean never moved fast when he was preparing him, always drawing it out until Sam was practically out of his mind, whimpering and shaking and babbling nonsense in his need.

There was a small smile on Dean's face as he continued moving his fingers, like he knew what was going through Sam's head. It wouldn't have surprised Sam in the slightest to learn that his brother enjoyed tormenting him this way. But then Dean added a third finger, and Sam knew he was close.

Dean twisted his fingers just right and Sam cried out, his eyes practically rolling back in his head. He didn't know what to call the sounds falling uncontrolled from his own lips now aside from desperate and needy. His hips moved as much as they could in this position, a mute plea for more.

Then Dean's fingers were gone. Hands gripped his thighs pulling his legs even further up, and Dean tucked his shoulders under Sam's knees. "God, you look so fucking ready for me," Dean said, then there was no other warning before Dean slid his cock inside him.

Sam caught his breath as Dean entered him and not just from the physical sensations, although those were intense enough all on their own. But every time Dean pushed inside him, Sam was overwhelmed with this feeling of right, that this was the most right thing he'd ever done, that the only thing better would have been if he could have had Dean inside him all the time, be this connected all the time.

"Yeah, Sammy," he heard Dean whisper, as his brother pushed slowly further in. He was grinning, the desire and happiness practically shining in his eyes. He pulled out halfway and pushed back in, still slow and gentle. "Love you."

It never surprised Sam that Dean could say those words when they were joined like this. It was just another part of the rightness. He gasped as Dean pushed back in, arching into it. "Love you too," he said breathlessly, holding Dean's eyes.

He saw his brother's expression shake, but he didn't slow his movements. Dean kept fucking him, stared down at him even as his eyes widened. Dean bit down on his lower lip, and Sam wondered what he was trying not to say.

Sam groaned as Dean kept up the slow steady pace. He was panting for breath by now, and each thrust of Dean's cock seemed to be attached to his feelings and to his mouth as words kept falling from his lips without his conscious thought. "God... more... need you... want you... Dean...." He shifted and arched as much as he could and the angle of Dean's thrusts suddenly changed and Sam cried out. "Yours," he panted. "Always..."

He felt his brother's hand close on his cock again, and as he began to jerk him off, he started fucking Sam harder. All words fled Sam then, along with all coherent thought. He was reduced to whimpers and gasps, to lying there as Dean fucked him, feeling the pressure and pleasure build to levels that were scarily high.

Dean knew exactly what he was doing -- bringing Sam higher and higher with every thrust, every pull of his hand. He felt a finger brush the head of his cock, rubbing a slow circle before Dean's hand pushed back down the length of his shaft. Sam was close, but he tried to hold back, didn't want to come, didn't want this to end. He never did.

Then Dean was saying, "Lemme see you, Sammy. Let me see you come." Dean thrust into him as deeply as it was possible for him to go and Sam came, shaking and silent as his climax crashed over him, pleasure rolling over him in waves so intense he thought he'd pass out.

Through it all he could still feel Dean inside him, thrusting more slowly, less intensely. His hands gripped Sam's thighs tightly, though, and his breathing was growing sharper and loud. As Sam's climax faded to less intense but still pleasant aftershocks, he was able to focus more on Dean and all the signs that told that his brother was close to following him over the edge. "Your turn," he said, squeezing his muscles deliberately.

"Nnng," was all Dean seemed able to say. He dropped his head forward and kept fucking Sam, and the harsh panting of his breath grew quiet until the only sound was the wet slap of skin as Dean slammed into him.

"Come on, Dean," Sam encouraged in a breathless voice, his blood still thrumming with the feel of it all. He squeezed again and kept doing so in a rhythm that matched Dean's thrusts.

He could see Dean's arms trembling as they held him up, and his face contorted, mouth dropping open though no sound at all came out. One last thrust, so hard it shook them both -- then Dean was coming, breathing fast and eyes screwed tightly shut.

Sam watched, Dean's climax sending a thrill through him that not even his own had. He reached out and ran a hand along Dean's cheek, wishing he could see his eyes. Dean pressed his cheek into Sam's hand, rubbing against his fingers as the last of his orgasm wrung out of him. His breath staggered, then he gasped audibly for air.

Sam left his hand where it was, caressing, almost petting, as he waited for Dean to come back down.

Almost without warning, Dean pulled out and collapsed forward, catching himself with his hands on the bed, and pushed himself to one side. Immediately Sam rolled to the side and wrapped himself around Dean, a contented sigh escaping him at the feel of skin against skin, no matter how sweaty and sticky they were. After a moment, he asked, "You going to open your eyes anytime soon?"

Dean gave a slight huff of a laugh, then he opened his eyes and smirked.

The smile he gave to strangers.

It wiped Sam's own smile off his face.

Dean frowned. "What... Sammy?"

"Don't do that," he said.

"Don't do what?"

"That," Sam said, gesturing vaguely. "Smile at me like I'm a stranger. Not here. Not like this."

Dean's smile froze, then he pulled back. "Sorry," he said quietly, and he tried to move away.

But Sam tightened his hold on him, pressing as close as he could. "No," he said. "I'm not letting you go."

"Sam," his brother protested, but there wasn't much heat in his voice.

"No," Sam repeated, squeezing Dean a little tighter as punctuation. He raised one hand to stroke lightly through his brother's hair, hoping that would help ease the tension he felt in Dean's every muscle.

He felt Dean tremble, but he stopped trying to move away. He turned his face away, though, eyes closing again. He opened his mouth and took a breath, and a hint of something bled through to his expression.

"I've got you," Sam said, not stopping the fingers moving through Dean's hair. He didn't know if it was the right thing to say, but it felt right. "I'm not going to let go."

All at once Dean blurted, "I hate it when you say that." His tone was thin and thready, like he was close to breaking.

"Why?" Sam asked, honestly confused.

"Not... not that. Not about not letting me go." Dean waved his hand, taking another deep breath. "That part I like." He rolled over, suddenly, facing Sam, and pressing himself closer into Sam's hold.

Sam hugged him tighter. "Good."

Dean lay still for a moment, then he wrapped a heavy arm around Sam's waist. "Sorry," he said after another moment, and the emotion seemed to have drained from his voice.

"You're doing it again," Sam said, not unkindly, emphasising his words with a poke in Dean's ribs. "Stop trying to shut down around me." He paused and asked, "What do you hate me saying?"

"Ow!" Dean complained, though there was no way he'd really felt pain from Sam's jab. Sam felt him tense up, still trying to get away. There was silence for a long time, and just as Sam thought Dean might not say anything, Dean said quickly, "When you say you love me."

Oh. Sam had known such declarations made Dean uncomfortable, had purposely tried avoiding making them because of that. But sometimes the feeling was so strong it just slipped out. Like when Dean was fucking him. He couldn't promise not to say it -- he didn't want to promise not to say it. "Why?" he asked finally.

Dean shook his head. "Just don't."

"But you can tell me you love me."

"That's easy," Dean said with a small laugh. "Loved you all your life."

"And you don't think I've loved you all my life?" Sam asked, the thought a strange one he couldn't quite wrap his mind around. Didn't Dean know he'd been the center of Sam's universe forever?

"I know you love me," Dean said, softly. "Hearing it just... fuck, don't. Makes me...feel shit. I can't...."

"You can't what?"

"Can't handle it."

"You can't handle what me saying I love you makes you feel."

"It's stupid," Dean whispered.

Sam ignored that. "What does it make you feel?" he asked.

"I don't know. I don't... let it."

Sam thought that over. "Maybe you should," he suggested.

"No." The protest was immediate, but Sam heard desperation in his brother's voice instead of outright refusal.

Sam tilted his head and regarded Dean, and thought about his options. "I love you," he said clearly.

"Shut up," Dean snapped. He still had his face pressed against Sam's chest, and Sam could see his eyes were still closed.

"I love you," he repeated softly, stroking the back of Dean's neck.

"Shut up."

"I love you."

"Goddammit," Dean raised his head and glared at Sam, eyes finally open and blazing with anger.

Sam met his brother's gaze unflinchingly. "I love you."

Dean twisted away from him suddenly, half sitting up and he raised his hand, punching into the mattress hard.

Sam moved with him, pressing against Dean's back. "I love you."

"Shut up shut up shut up," Dean said, nearly chanting it, but he was shaking, hard. Sam felt when he started to break, and the loud wordless cry wasn't really a surprise.

Sam hugged Dean tightly, holding him together even as he repeated the words again. "I love you."

Dean didn't say anything that time, curling up and clinging to Sam's arm. Sam could feel how hard he was crying now, even though Dean was barely making a sound.

"I love you," Sam murmured, in a quieter voice, wrapping himself around his brother, covering him as if he could shield him from the whole world with just his body and words. "I've got you, will always have you. I love you."

There was a soft noise, then Dean said, "No. No, no, no, no--" He pushed back against Sam, then rolled slightly forward -- rocking himself as he kept whispering. He turned his face into the pillow and Sam didn't quite hear what he said next.

"What was that, love?"

Dean voice was breaking, but he turned his face just enough Sam could hear him say, "Momma."

Even Dean's voice sounded like a scared little boy. It threatened to break Sam's heart. "What about Mom?" he asked, keeping his voice as steady and reassuring as he could.

Dean shook his head, not answering right away. He stayed silent, still crying and huddled in Sam's embrace. After a moment, though, Sam heard his brother say, "She... she said...."

"That she loved you?"

His brother just nodded.

Sam caught his breath as he had a sudden, blinding insight. "Dad... he says a lot, but he's never used the word 'love,' has he?" he thought out loud.

"Never said it after she died," Dean said, still crying. "You...never used to. Not out loud."

He hadn't, Sam realised, not until that first time he'd fucked Dean. "I'm sorry," he said softly. "I should have. It's always been true."

"I never said it either," Dean said, obviously trying to regain some control. "I just...." Then he broke again, as he said, "Haven't heard it since she died."

Sam dropped a kiss on Dean's shoulder, the closest bit of skin he could reach, without shifting them around. "You're going to be hearing it now."

"Sam," Dean said, asking for -- something.

"What, love?" Sam asked, choosing the endearment deliberately.

"Don't," he begged. But Sam knew he needed it as much as he might not want it. Or want to admit -- it was hard to tell just how mixed up this all was, in his brother's head.

Sam was quiet for a moment and then offered, "I bet Mom would want you to hear 'I love you' from the people who do."

He felt Dean shudder, then with a half-laugh, he said, "You don't fight fair."

Sam grinned. "I learned from the best."

At that, Dean weakly jabbed his elbow back, aiming blindly for whatever part of Sam he could reach. The contact was gentle enough to be a caress instead of a real objection.

Tightening his hold to keep elbows from jabbing, Sam nuzzled the side of Dean's neck. "I love you," he said again.

Dean whimpered, but the edge of desperation and grief was gone.

"I love you." More nuzzling, then Sam chuckled softly. "Think I should just start dropping that into random conversations. 'No Dean, I'm not going to detail your car and I love you.'"

There was a choked laugh that was as much a cry. "You do and I'll put Nair in your shampoo again." Whatever threat he'd intended it to be, the tone of his voice was all need.

"No, you won't. You like playing with my hair too much." He slid a hand up into Dean's hair again. "And even if you did, I'd still love you."

"You really don't fight fair." He sounded calmer, finally -- and as Sam played with his hair, he felt Dean beginning to relax.

"I fight to win," he replied with a smile. "Especially when what I'm fighting for is someone I love, like you."

Dean groaned in sleepy protest. His brother was growing boneless, now -- exhausted, no doubt, by the exertion and emotional release.

Sam kept stroking Dean's hair and occasionally dropping a kiss on his neck or shoulder. "Love you," he murmured again.

The grunt of protest was much less audible. Dean shifted a little, settling himself inside Sam's hold and pulling the pillow under his head. "Jot de gari," Dean said, softly.

"Go to sleep, love," Sam said equally softly. "I've got you."

His brother just made a quiet, sleepy noise, then he stilled. Sam lay there quietly, watching his brother sleep.


The tape player was blaring Scorpions and Dean was slouched back in the seat, one hand tapping lightly on his leg in time to the music. He wasn't singing, really, but sometimes when Sam glanced over he could see Dean's lips moving.

Sam turned back to the road, hands tightening on the steering wheel, trying not to grin. If Dean saw him looking, he'd stop, and he didn't want that.

"Remember, if you get a speeding ticket, you're paying it." Dean sounded half-awake, which didn't surprise Sam in the least. He'd been half-awake since they'd got up that morning, loose-limbed and lazy in the way that only came from really amazing sex -- or the sort of catharsis that wrung you out to dry.

Dean had insisted he was able to drive, but when Sam offered -- not really expecting anything -- Dean had given him a wide grin and had pointed out that Sam had a key, what was he asking for?

Sam had just grinned and slid behind the wheel when they got in the car to leave. He looked over at Dean again and decided it had been long enough since the last time he said it. "Dean?"

"Mmm?" Dean didn't even glance over; he seemed to be sinking a little more into the passenger seat. He was smiling, his head titled toward the window and sunshine lighting his face.

"Love you."

"Fuck you," Dean replied, still smiling.

"Not when I'm driving, thanks," Sam retorted with a grin. He paused. "Maybe when we get home."

Dean just flipped him off and closed his eyes, resting his head against the window. As the next song on the tape began to play, Sam saw Dean's lips beginning to move, again, mouthing the words.

"You can sing out loud, y'know," Sam finally told him. "I won't make fun."

"Huh?" Dean looked surprised. "Sorry, am I bugging you?" From his tone, Sam knew he was sincerely apologising. He still had no clue how Sam felt about his singing.

"You're not bugging me," Sam quickly assured him. "I'm just saying... you don't need to sing under your breath. Really. I don't mind."

His brother shot him a weird look. "I don't suck rocks, you know."

"I know you don't. I like your singing. I--"

"You what? When have you ever heard...." Dean trailed off, sounding thoughtful. "I mean, now that you're old enough to remember?" At that, he sounded vaguely embarrassed.

Oh well. The cat was well and truly out of the bag now. "You'd be surprised at what I can remember."

"You remember me singing you to sleep?" Dean sounded very surprised.

Sam nodded. "'Course I do."

He saw Dean narrow his eyes. "What'd I sing, then, moron?"

Falling silent for a moment, Sam stared out at the road and reached for the memory. Then, softly, hesitantly, he began to sing the song he remembered following him into dreams.

"Fuck me," Dean said, laughing. "You remember."

"Told you so."

"You were four when I stopped."

"I remember being four," Sam told him. Then added absently, "And that wasn't the last time. You sang to me when I was eight too, when I had that really bad fever."

"Yeah, well... you couldn't sleep," Dean said, embarrassed. Then, "Dude, you remember that, too?"

"Yeah," Sam said, glancing sideways at his brother. "I remember aching and feeling absolutely miserable. And you kept putting cold cloths on my forehead and you sang to me." More shyly, he added, "It made me feel better."

Dean's answering grin was positively delighted. "Yeah?"

Sam smiled a little. "Yeah."

"So you don't mind if I sing?" Dean asked, a little hesitantly.

"I don't mind if you sing," Sam repeated, then admitted, "I'd actually... kinda wish you would. You singing... it still makes me feel better."

The smile on Dean's face looked like it was going to split his face entirely in two. The song on the tape player changed, and, after a moment, Dean began to sing along.

the end