On the hundred and forty-eighth Tuesday, Sam rolled out of bed and headed straight for the nearest liquor store. He bought as much beer as he could carry and took it all back to the motel, ignoring Dean's objections.
He drank steadily for three hours, and managed to get himself to the point where his brain became so numb and hazy that it didn't really register when Dean, mid-rant about how irresponsible Sam was being, somehow tripped up and fell on an empty beer bottle, driving shattered shards of glass through his chest.
A moment later, Sam woke up completely sober with Asia playing and without even the trace of a hangover. He threw the alarm clock at the nearest wall, and resolved to buy spirits this time. Maybe he'd manage to pass out by the time Dean died.
After that, he spent every Tuesday drunk. Dean got worked up about it every time, especially on the days when Sam didn't bother explaining the time loop thing, but as he said and did the same things, in the same order, Sam found it increasingly easy to ignore his concern.
"You're jus' a broken record," he slurred at Dean the fifth time he said, with desperation, that alcohol had never solved any of Dad's problems, and it wouldn't solve Sam's. "An' soon you'll be prop'ly broken, and I'll skip back to the beginning." He waved his hand like the stylus on a record player. "Zzzzip. An' the song begins again."
Dean stared at him as if he were insane, which Sam thought he might be. He certainly wasn't a hundred percent sane anymore. "Zzzzip!" he said again, because it had been fun the first time, and Dean took a shaky step backwards. His back hit the wall with just enough force to knock the wall-light above his head down, and he crumpled to the floor beneath its weight, blood flowing down his forehead.
"Zzzzip," said Sam again, tiredly, and then Asia was playing again.
On the hundred and sixty-seventh Tuesday, Dean tried to match him drink-for-drink and died of alcohol poisoning. Sam decided that tequila really was never a good idea, and went back to drinking whisky, even though it made Dean more likely to bring Dad up in his attempts to stop Sam from drinking.
"It doesn't matter what you say or do," Sam told him four Tuesdays later, "cos you're just going to die. You're just an echo, really, like a spirit. Jus' like a spirit - you're walkin' around, and talkin', but you're already dead. You jus' don't know it yet."
Dean looked stricken, almost exactly the same expression he'd had when Sam had shot him on Tuesday eighty-five. He blinked at Sam in silence for a couple of moments, then stumbled out of the motel room.
He didn't come back, but about half an hour later there was a loud explosion from somewhere on the other side of town, and Sam woke up.
Sam lost count of the days, in the end. They all started to blur together in a haze of Asia, alcohol and Dean's confusion and impotent anger at Sam's behaviour, followed by his inevitable death.
"There's nothin' else I can do," he told Dean, on a day when Dean's desperate need to know why Sam had suddenly taken it into his head to get ridiculously drunk broke through the haze surrounding his brain far enough to draw an honest answer out of him. "I don' know what else to do." He felt emotion well up inside him - all the grief and pain that he was drinking to avoid - so he looked away from Dean and concentrated on the bottle instead.
"I thought we were going to fight this," said Dean, frustration barely covering his fear. "You said we'd find a way out."
"This isn't about the deal," said Sam tiredly, and took another swig of whisky. He desperately wanting to get to the stage when he lost all focus, and Dean's voice just became part of the background.
"Then what is it?" asked Dean. "Yesterday you were all set on hunting down this missing guy, and today you've turned into Lindsay Lohan."
Sam sighed, unwilling to explain again, and drank some more. Dean pursed his lips with annoyance, and made an abortive gesture towards the bottle, as if he was going to snatch it away.
"That wasn't yesterday," said Sam, trying to distract Dean. Whenever he did try and take the bottle away, it ended with a wrestling match, and Dean died, and Sam just wasn't drunk enough to cope with that again yet.
"What?" said Dean. "Of course that was yesterday!"
"Wasn't," refuted Sam. "Yesterday was like today, and so was the day before, and the day before, and the day before..." Dean's frown deepened as Sam let his voice trail off. "You jus' don't remember."
"What the hell are you talking about, Sam?" asked Dean tersely.
Sam waved a hand. "Doesn' matter," he said again. "You won't remember. Just let me get drunk."
Dean's nostrils flared with anger, and he darted forward quicker than Sam could react to and pulled the bottle away from him.
"Hey!" protested Sam, sitting up from his slump against the headboard. "That's mine!"
"Now it's mine," said Dean, and he took a long drink. "You gonna tell me what's going on, Sammy?"
"Only if you give it back," said Sam, knowing he sounded like a grumpy kid but not bothered.
Dean took a couple of steps further back. "You talk first, then I'll think about it."
"Fine," huffed Sam. "We're stuck in a time loop. One where you end up dying, and I end up waking up again, right back at this morning. And there's nothin' I can do to break it, and you never remember, and I jus' want to get drunk and forget about it." He held his hand out for the bottle.
Dean didn't move to hand it over. "A time loop?" he repeated, dumbly.
"Yeah," said Sam, and got up enough to snag the bottle out of Dean's unresisting grip. "And I'm gonna get good and drunk before you die and it all starts over again." He took a long drink.
Dean's eyes narrowed, and he stole the bottle back as soon as Sam lowered it from his mouth. "You're that sure you can't stop it?" he asked.
"Yeah, yeah, nothing to do but get drunk," said Sam, impatiently. "Gimme the bottle."
Instead of handing it back, Dean took another long drink. "Time loop," he repeated. "Don't you think that's a little crazy, even for us?"
Sam rolled his eyes. "Dingoes ate my baby crazy."
Dean blinked, looking a little freaked out. "What?"
"That's what you were gonna say. Dingoes ate my baby crazy. We've had this conversation way too many times." He held out his hand for the bottle. "Give it back, or I'll just go and buy another one."
Dean took another slug, then reluctantly handed it back. "And you said you've tried stuff to fix it?" His voice sounded slightly unsteady, and Sam noted to himself that he'd passed from 'humouring Sam' to 'dubious belief.'
"We tried everything," Sam confirmed. "Nothing left to do but drink." He swigged from the bottle again.
"There's always a way, Sammy," said Dean. Sam snorted his disbelief, but didn't stop drinking. "Well, have you tried..."
"Yes," interrupted Sam, not needing to hear it. "Whatever you're gonna say, we tried it. Tried to keep you alive, tore the Mystery Spot apart, tried doing things different every time, tried solving Hasselbach's disappearance...nothin'."
"Huh," said Dean, and was silent for a minute. Sam shut his eyes, and kept drinking. "What did Bill Murray do in Groundhog Day?"
Sam snorted. "He slept with Andie MacDowell." He opened his eyes, and said, as seriously as he could. "You're my brother, and I'd die for you, but I'm not gonna sleep with Andie MacDowell, not even to save your life."
Dean made a face. "Fair enough."
Sam shut his eyes again, and leant back against the bed, still clutching the bottle. Dean seemed to be lost in thought, and he took advantage of the pause to get more of the whisky inside him. He was beginning to feel like the room was spinning, and he knew that it wouldn't take much more for him to reach the stage where everything was just numb, and then he could just crash out until Dean found some way to die, and Sam woke up again.
"Maybe you're not the one that needs to sleep with Andie MacDowell," said Dean quietly, almost as if he was talking to himself.
Sam opened one eye. "What?"
Dean looked up at him, slightly maniacally. "All the times you've lived through this day, I ever do this?" he asked, then knelt on the bed and kissed Sam.
It was sloppy and desperate and Dean's hands were sticky with whisky where they grasped at Sam's face. Sam couldn't stop his gasp of shock, opening his mouth beneath Dean's, and Dean took immediate advantage of that, plunging his tongue inside. Sam knew he should pull back, that he should put a stop to this craziness, but then Dean’s tongue licked around his mouth and slid against his own. Dean’s fingers rubbed into his hair, sending tingles through his skin, and Sam couldn't seem to coordinate himself enough to pull away.
After a few breathless moments, Dean pulled back, leaving Sam gaping in surprise. He didn't say anything, just stared at Sam tensely, waiting for a reaction.
It took Sam a while to gather his mind together enough to come out with a response. "If that was meant to imply I look like Andie MacDowell, I'm gonna..." his alcohol-and-kiss-fuddled brain ran out of power before he could think of a threat, and he ended up saying, slightly lamely, "do something nasty to you."
Dean relaxed slightly, and smirked. "Maybe I'm hoping you'll do something nasty to me," he said, his voice heavy with innuendo, but Sam could still feel tension vibrating through him.
"What was that, Dean?" he asked, trying to be serious.
Dean shrugged, and knelt further back. "Make sure you've explored every possibility before giving up, right?" he said, repeating one of Dad's adages.
Sam frowned at him, his brain still working it through. "You think kissing me is gonna break the loop?"
"Worked in Groundhog Day, right?" said Dean. "Worth a try."
"Yeah," said Sam, slowly, as he remembered, "but in Groundhog Day, he fell in love with..." his voice trailed away as he noticed the way Dean was suddenly unable to meet his eyes. "Huh."
Dean suddenly jumped back off the bed. "Like I said, worth a try." He was suddenly moving, striding over to the door. "I'm gonna go, uh, get more alcohol." He was gone from the room before Sam could gather his thoughts together.
Sam followed him as fast as he could, and got outside just in time to watch a car plough into Dean, running him into a wall and trapping him there as he bled out onto the hood.
When Sam woke up, for the first time in a long time he didn't immediately head for a liquor store. Instead, he sat up in bed and tried to spot some sign that Dean might want to kiss him, but all he saw was exactly what he always saw - Dean going through his familiar morning routine, happy and slightly bouncy.
Eventually Dean got tired of waiting for Sam to get up, and yanked the covers off the bed. "Come on, Sammy, time for breakfast. I'm starving."
Sam blinked at him, then found himself focussing on Dean's lips, remembering exactly how they'd felt pressed against his. "Uh," he said, "You go. I'm not feeling too good." Dean frowned, and Sam could see his concerned big brother act clicking into place. "It's probably nothing," he said quickly. "I'm just gonna stay in bed for a bit. You go and eat, I'm sure I'll feel better by the time you're done."
Dean's frown didn't fade, but after a few more reassurances, Sam eventually managed to get him out of the room, then collapsed back onto the bed with a sigh. He needed time to think.
Dean had kissed him. Dean had kissed him, as if it was something he'd always wanted to do, and he seemed to want to have sex with him. Sam found it hard to move beyond that, until he found himself wondering if it was some other part of the whole weird time loop thing. Maybe if we do have sex, it'll be over.
The idea didn't horrify him, and that sent his mind into another whirl. He'd not been disgusted by the kiss either, in fact, he'd liked it, and that raised a whole new lot of questions he wasn't sure he had answers to.
It was less than an hour later that he heard Dean's distinctive footsteps climbing up the stairs, ringing just loud enough to be audible over the squeak of the maid's cart down the landing. Sam took a deep breath, pulled himself out of bed and opened the door just as Dean reached it.
Dean blinked with surprise, then grinned. "Feeling better, Sammy?" he asked, but Sam wasn't listening. He fisted his hand in Dean's shirt and slammed their mouths together, muffling Dean’s squawk of surprise. Dean’s hands came up and pressed against Sam’s chest as if he was going to push him away, but instead he let them slide down to rest on Sam’s hips.
Now that Sam was actually giving himself to the kiss and letting himself enjoy it, he took the time to explore Dean’s mouth, coaxing Dean into a response. It was so close to the kiss from the night before in reverse that he wanted to laugh out loud, but he was too intent on Dean’s mouth, biting down on Dean’s lower lip. He pushed Dean against the door frame and shoved their hips together, surprised to find Dean half hard against him. Dean really did want this, fucked up though it was.
When he drew back, Dean's eyes were wide, and his breathing was ragged. "Sam..." he said slowly, examining Sam's face intently. Sam had no idea what he saw there, but whatever it was was enough to make him pull Sam forward again for another kiss, this time slow and sweet, hands exploring as much as their tongues.
There was a warning cry, and the sound of wheels running too fast. Sam pulled away from Dean as Dean stepped backwards, and he glanced around in time to see the maid's heavy cleaning trolley, out of control and heading straight for Dean. Dean was still staring at Sam with shock and something that looked like wonder, and didn't even start to move before the trolley knocked into him, sending him flying down the stairs to their right. His arms waved wildly through the air as he fell, and Sam shut his eyes against the sight of his brother's body lying broken on the parking lot.
When he woke up, he lay staring straight up at the ceiling for a while, then turned slowly to look at Dean. His brother, who he'd kissed three times now, and who hadn't freaked out at all. Who had only seemed to want more. Suddenly, Sam really wanted a drink.
Dean grinned at him. "Come on, you know you love Asia, Sammy," he said. For the first time in too many Tuesdays, Sam smiled back.
"Yeah," he agreed, "Like a hole in the head." And then he winced, because his mind chose to use that as a sign to show him a vivid mental picture of Dean with a bullet hole in his temple like he'd had on the sixty-third Tuesday, back before Sam had stopped counting.
And with that, he wasn't thinking about getting a drink anymore. He wasn't even thinking about kissing Dean again, well, not seriously, because that wasn't going to stop him dying, and Sam really didn't want to find out all the ways that Dean could find to die during sex. "We're skipping breakfast," he said firmly, cutting through Dean's mimed singing.
Dean dropped his hand and frowned. "I need coffee. And bacon," he said.
Sam got out of bed and headed for the bathroom. "No bacon. We're going straight to the library. I want to read everything I can about this Hasselbach guy. We can pick up coffee on the way."
Dean gave him a funny look. "You're pretty eager today."
Sam shrugged at him, then smirked. "The sooner we solve this case, the faster we can have sex."
The look on Dean's face was priceless, and Sam's smirk grew into a grin. He pulled out the toothpaste and ignored the wide-eyed gape that Dean was directing at him. "And after the sex, we're going to buy toothpaste that isn't bubblegum flavoured. I'm sick of this stuff."
It was both months later, and only three days before Sam kissed Dean again, depending on which version of reality you'd experienced. Sam spent most of Wednesday - his second Wednesday - watching out for anything that might be able to kill Dean. When Thursday rolled around, and Dean was still alive, although a little annoyed with Sam's 'god-damned mother-hen act,' Sam spent most of the day in a daze, watching his brother's every move. Dean was alive and there and he would be for...Sam shut that thought away as quickly as it had occurred. If he could get out of the time loop, and then get Dean back after he'd been dead for months, he could break the deal. A demon had nothing on a god, right?
On Friday, Dean drove them through three states to get to their next case, and Sam leant back against the passenger-side door and watched him, overwhelmingly relieved to be back in his familiar place, even if it wasn't so familiar anymore after such a long time when he was the only one in the car. He'd learn to fit there again, given time.
Dean grew increasingly tense under Sam's scrutiny. Every so often, he'd glance over, twitch and open his mouth as if to say something. Inevitably, he'd chicken out at the last minute and just turn the radio up instead. By the time they got to Kansas, Black Sabbath was blasting loud enough to wake the cows as they drove past. Sam didn't bitch about damaged eardrums like he would have before, and he knew that was making Dean even more nervous, but he just couldn't bring himself to care, not when Dean was being so completely Dean, and was close enough to touch.
They stopped for dinner in a roadhouse steakhouse that looked nothing like the diner they'd had breakfast in every Tuesday. Sam ordered a burger, and told Dean he wasn't allowed anything with bacon.
"I'm perfectly capable of making my own choices," snarked Dean, but when he ordered, Sam noticed it didn't contain any pig products. He smiled and sat back in his chair.
"Okay," said Dean, "I get that you're happy it's not Tuesday anymore, but you're kinda creeping me out now."
"I haven't seen you dead in three days," Sam pointed out. Dean grimaced at the reminder. "And," added Sam, "whatever we do today, you'll remember tomorrow."
Dean scoffed. "Only if it's worth remembering."
Sam felt his grin grow, and he couldn't stop himself from just leaning over the table and kissing Dean softly, almost chastely, on the lips. "That worth remembering?" he asked, sitting back again.
Dean was staring at him with exactly the same look of shock that he'd given Sam the other time he'd kissed him. One hand came up and hovered for a moment over his lips before he pulled himself together enough to drop a mask over his reaction. "What the hell was that?" he hissed.
Sam shrugged, suddenly less sure of himself. What if it had just been a fucked up time loop thing? What if the trickster had been playing with him with that, as well as with everything else? "Just a kiss," he said, trying to keep his tone light.
"Just a..." repeated Dean numbly, before breaking off abruptly. His jaw clenched and he glanced around the restaurant for a few long moments, looking at everything except Sam.
The waitress put their food down in front of them, and gave Sam the kind of black look that reminded him that kissing a guy in public in the middle of the Kansas countryside was probably not a good idea.
Dean stared at his food for a long time before picking up his cutlery, but looked at Sam before he'd taken a bite. "What exactly happened on all those Tuesdays?" he asked, suspiciously.
Sam shrugged, and started on his fries. "Lots of stuff. It was a long time - I told you I lost count of the days." Dean's eyes narrowed, and it was clear he wasn't going to take that for an answer. Sam sighed. "We may have kissed a couple of times," he admitted.
Dean's jaw clenched and he put his cutlery back down. "We what?" he gritted out.
"Kissed," said Sam, trying to act casual while his heart was starting to thump in his chest. "No need to get up tight about it - it didn't go beyond that." He added, quietly, "Mainly because you kept dying," and was rewarded by a flinch from Dean.
"Jesus, Sam, were you ever going to tell me?" he growled.
"I'm telling you now," pointed out Sam. He shrugged. "Lots of stuff happened, Dean, it was...it was a really long time." He winced internally as his voice broke slightly on the end of his sentence, and looked back down at his plate, as if he was concentrating on his food rather than reliving the horror of all those Tuesdays, and the worse horror of all the days after them, when he thought he'd lost everything and would never get it back.
Dean wasn't fooled, if the long stare he gave Sam was anything to go by, but after a moment he picked up his cutlery and started eating. It was several minutes before he spoke.
"I'd have thought that kissing your brother would be slightly more memorable than most of the other shit we did," he said. Sam just shrugged, not sure how to say what he wanted to, that kissing Dean had been the only part of the whole experience that he didn't want to block out, and that he'd spent several very lonely months thinking about it far too often, until all he wanted to do when he saw Dean alive again was pin him against the wall and taste every part of him.
If this was Dean's reaction, he was glad he hadn't, that he'd managed to turn his beeline for Dean into a hug instead. In the time loop, Dean had kissed him back as if he meant it, and it had all seemed too easy. Sam hadn't been prepared for Dean being pissed about it, even if he maybe should have expected it. Who wanted to be told that they'd kissed their brother, after all?
They ate in silence after that, and Sam became increasingly unnerved by the hard looks Dean occasionally threw his way before returning his gaze to his plate. Sam began to worry that he'd got his brother back only to lose him again, only this time it would be because however much Dean was prepared to sacrifice for him, even he didn't want to hang around with a family member that wanted to kiss him.
Dean settled the bill without asking Sam if he wanted dessert, and then strode out of the restaurant as if he was trying to run away from what Sam had told him. Sam followed him miserably, wondering if Dean would at least let him spend the night in the motel before he made him leave.
The parking lot was dark, and deserted except for a family arguing about who got to ride shotgun on the way home. Dean stopped by the Impala, but he didn't move to open it, or even to get out his keys. Instead, he watched the family until the mother put her foot down and made both children get in the back.
"Dean," said Sam, uncertainly.
"You can't just tell me shit like that, Sammy," said Dean distantly, his eyes still on the family as the mother started the engine. "And you really can't just come out with it in a steakhouse, like you're talking about the weather."
"Sorry," offered Sam. Dean snorted and followed the path of the family's car as they left the parking lot and head out onto the highway. They were now the only people anywhere around, and he turned back to Sam with a feral look on his face.
"I've been wanting to do this the whole damn meal," he said, and started forward. Sam braced himself for the blow he probably deserved, but instead Dean grabbed his neck and pulled him down into a fierce kiss. Sam froze in shock for a moment, then kissed him back just as hard, clinging onto Dean with everything he had. Dean pushed him back against the Impala and buried his hands underneath Sam's clothes, his touch running all over Sam's skin as if Dean couldn't decide what he wanted to feel first.
Sam had a sudden flash of this is when he dies and couldn't stop himself from pulling away and glancing around the parking lot. Dean followed his gaze for a moment, looking puzzled, then his expression cleared.
"I'm not gonna die," he said. Sam couldn't hold in his snort. "Not until I've fucked you, anyway," he amended, and Sam couldn't resist a shiver of lust.
"Fuck," he said, and kissed Dean again, pulling their hips together and grinding his thigh up into Dean's erection.
"Yeah," gasped Dean, "God."
"We need to get to a motel," said Sam, breathlessly. "Before we give anyone a show they're not going to appreciate."
"Yeah," agreed Dean, then kissed Sam again, sudden and hard, before pulling completely away. "Jesus. Get in the car."
Sam grinned at him and obeyed, although he couldn't help glancing around the parking lot again, looking for danger. It seemed too strange still for Dean to be alive at the end of the day, especially when Sam was so close to getting something he wanted so much.
Dean didn't say anything about it, but he shot Sam a faint, concerned frown, then drove to the nearest motel slightly slower than Sam knew he wanted to, obeying stop signs. Sam just settled back and watched him, anticipation fizzing in his stomach.
On Tuesday, Sam woke up with Dean's arm draped over him, without any music playing. He stretched, then wriggled back against Dean's half-hard cock, making Dean grunt with appreciation. They had slow, lazy sex, as if they had all the time in the world, and Dean didn't order bacon with his pancakes at breakfast, before Sam even asked him not to.
They spent the day in the library, where none of the bookcases collapsed and crushed Dean, even when he pushed Sam against them and kissed him as if he seriously thought Sam was going to fuck him right there, when they could hear children's storytime only a few shelves away. The photocopiers didn't electrocute him when he got a copy of their suspected spirit's death certificate and a passing librarian didn't trip and stab him with a pair of scissors. When they left, Sam gave the girl at the counter a huge grin. Every hour that passed without Dean dying still felt a victory to him.
They dug up the spirit's corpse that evening and Sam let Dean set it on fire, although he kept a tense grip on Dean's arm in case he decided to topple headfirst into the burning grave. Afterwards, Dean sang along to The Ace Of Spades as they headed back to the motel, happiness radiating out of him. I'm gonna keep him just like this thought Sam fiercely. Happy and by my side - no demon's going to get in our way.
"Hey," said Dean, slowing as they passed a liquor store, "You want to get some beer in? Celebrate another Winchester success?"
Sam shook his head. "I'm not really drinking anymore," he said. Dean blinked and then frowned at him, no doubt about to accuse Sam of becoming a pussy, so Sam added, "Besides, I kinda just want to go back to the motel and fuck like bunnies."
Dean's pupils dilated, and he pressed his foot down on the gas. "Hell, yeah," he said. "Now there's a plan I can get behind."