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Chapter One - Beautiful

Bad idea, Sam thinks, really bad idea. A handful of cheap Wal-mart make-up and Dean decides they're invisible; disguised enough to spend the night looking for the real blood-suckers among the wannabes because hey -- if you're immortal in LA of course you're going to hang in a fire-trap warehouse with a sound system they can hear in fucking Tahoe.

"Curt Wild."

Dean shouts it over the music, introducing himself to the blond guy in the open shirt who stares back like he isn't listening, and who the hell could hear anything over the bass line anyway? Sam rubs his eyes.

The whole place is just smoke and strobe lights and noise that's about to punch a hole through Sam's head, and now Dean is leaning closer to the guy who still isn't listening, though he's looking at Dean's mouth. Sam's not looking at Dean's mouth; he's been not looking at Dean's mouth since Dean stepped out of the bathroom in leather and denim and fucking L'oreal.

Some disguise, Sam thinks. Not invisible, never invisible; 8 bucks worth of eyeliner and now everyone everything in this place can see what Dean's spent his whole life trying to hide. Sam never understood before now that some curses you're born with, and Dean's is green-gold eyes and their mother's cheekbones so he uses metal bands and bravado to turn it into a dare.

go on, say it, just say it, give me a reason

The guy's talking now, and Dean is listening, ignoring the ones who stare but Sam can see them, feel them; all of them watching, wanting and as far as he's concerned the night creatures can have this place. He needs Dean out of here, away from circling darkness Sam can sense pressing up against his brother and taunting him with cold whispers Dean can't hear.

beautiful one

"What the fuck, Sammy?"

Dean's arm is hard muscle beneath Sam's fingers, but the tug caught him off guard and now Dean has to follow or he'll stumble. Almost to the door, almost there, but then Dean stops, angry tension pulsing under Sam's hand and there's a wall, a dark corner where maybe he can make Dean listen. Pushes Dean's back against the concrete so Sam can shield him, slide in close, and --

"What the hell are you doing?"

"Don't you feel them?" Sam hisses, lips almost touching Dean's cheek. "All around us?"

Dean looks over Sam's shoulder, wary and alarmed, but Sam knows that Dean doesn't see dead eyes in the darkness, can't feel them the way Sam does. Dean's hands on Sam's arms clench hard. Dean's never been afraid of bruising him and now he's angry, telling Sam they need to make their move.

"No, you need to leave. Now." Supposed to be firm, but it comes out pleading and Dean looks up with kohl-circled eyes and Sam is lost. He's shaking now with fear and worry and something else, something buried deep and secret that makes him want what they want.

"They're watching, Dean, oh god, they've been watching, and they don't want to let you go. Please," he whispers. Begs. Listen to me look at me touch me god and now Sam can't stop himself. The pad of his thumb is rough over the deep curve of Dean's lower lip, smearing the edge of color because nothing should be perfect, especially not here. He watches Dean's eyelids blink and stutter, finally staying closed as Sam rubs the sticky gloss into his lips.

"Sammy," whispered and broken through a mouth that's still too red and bruised-looking under cheap glittery lip gloss. Maybe Sam can suck away the sweetness, so he leans in, tastes fake peaches and the cigarette Dean smoked in the parking lot; uses his teeth and hears jealous whispers flutter against his mind.

want him want him

"Mine," he tells the ones watching, growling it in a low voice that makes Dean moan. He pushes his hips forward into Dean, rocking into him slow and even, just once, just enough to make his claim, but it's Dean who's lost now, one hand hard on Sam's hip and the other clenched tight in Sam's hair. And Dean just breaks, shoving their mouths together and it turns out the inside of Dean's mouth doesn't taste like peaches -- just slick vodka and lime and Sam wants to lick it all away while Dean shoves his thigh between Sam's legs.

So good, so good, perfect hard place to rock against, and Sam presses biting kisses over Dean's neck, knowing the glittery stuff will look beautiful on Dean's throat, too.

"Jesus, Sammy, fuck --" Words that go straight to his cock and no way he's going to last like this but he needs Dean over the edge with him. Hard ridge under Sam's hands and now Dean is swearing, praying maybe; leaving bruises on Sam's shoulders and moaning into his mouth before coming, hard and hot against his palm.

Then suddenly it's Dean's hand on Sam's body, surrounding him, just taking him and Dean doesn't let up until Sam is shaking with the aftershocks. At least Dean waits until Sam can see again before shoving him away.

Dean's hand is trembling, reaching up to swipe at his red-bitten lips. When he looks up Sam can see that the bruises have reached his eyes now. Anger and hurt and damage, probably, but Sam won't think about that now because the ones watching them are amused; maybe amused enough to let them go.

"Come on." Sam pushes Dean ahead of him through dark, silent laughter and out into the night. "Don't look back."


Chapter Two - Broken


Worst fucking idea ever. Dean's falling through the motel room door and hitting the lights almost before he can stand. Ordinarily, he'd have pushed Sam through the door ahead of him, but he can't touch Sam now; not after he reached back once and felt Sam's shoulders shaking under his jacket. If he closes his eyes he can still feel Sam shoving him out of the club, can feel Sam's hand between his shoulder-blades,

between his --

No. Just no.

He bolts the door after Sam stumbles through it; leans on the dresser and watches his brother sit on the edge of the bed, hunched forward with his hands clasped to keep them steady and looking at the ugly orange carpet like it might open up and swallow them. Who knows? Maybe that's next. Silent and still and Dean hates when Sam is like this; hates when Sam doesn't even try to use words to fix things and suddenly it's so easy to remember how angry he is.

"Sam-- what the hell-- " The words catch on his rage, but it isn't just anger rushing red behind his eyes and roaring so loud in his head that he almost misses Sam's voice.

"Wanted you." Words to make him stop short; make him sick and hopeless and needing all at the same time.

Deep breath. "What did you say?"

"Those things. At the club. Wanted to...keep you." Sam's talking to the floor, and for a minute Dean gets lost staring at the shadows hiding Sam's expression, the bruise at the corner of his mouth.

I know what he tastes like


"Why?" he asks at last, and his voice never sounds like this, so scared like this, so he clears his throat and says, "Why the fuck would they want to keep me, Sam?"

Harsh, knowing look from Sam then, from eyes made older and harder by dark pencil scrubbed beneath them, and his voice sounds older, too.

"To look at you. Touch you. And --"

Dean has to look away then, and ends up catching his own reflection in the mirror over the dresser. Unrecognizable under sticky glitter and smeared eyeliner and it doesn't make him look older -- it makes him look -- Sam's wrong but --

Vivid memory -- nine years old and learning to fire a gun; playing army with real weapons. It's too loud at the firing range, too cold, but he can play it tough, just like the big kids so dad will be proud. Then a man in flannel puts callused fingers hard beneath his chin and turns his face up to the weak sunlight.

Granite eyes and a dry voice, "You better teach this one to fight, John."

Laughter all around and Dean is embarrassed, not even realizing it's a prophecy for his whole god-damned life.

"We need to go back," he tells Sam. "Now that we know what we're up against."

Sam doesn't get up, though, just swallows hard. "We can't. There -- there are too many of them. They're too strong, and the voices -- God, Dean, look what happened." He looks up when Dean turns to face him and his voice changes, turns anxious. "Hey -- it was just the voices. That's why we -- It was the voices, that's all." Dean can hear the rest of the argument even when Sam stops talking. Not my fault. Not yours.

Dean wishes he could believe that. Wishes he could lie.

"No voices."

"No --"

"I didn't hear any fucking voices, Sam. You see dead people, not me."

"Then why did you...?" For the first time Sam looks confused, lost like Dean feels inside; just his little brother under the harsh make-up. He's looking at Dean for reassurance, just like he always does and Dean can see faint, dry lines threading down his cheeks, like earlier he'd been sweating, bleeding, crying? -- fuck.

"No voices." Just you.

Dean sees understanding hit and then Sam is moving, surging up off the bed toward him. Dean tenses, turns his head. They've already broken everything to pieces so there's no need to be careful; maybe if he lets Sam take a swing at him --

Hands cupping his face and Sam's mouth is harder than it was in the club; messy and raw and for just a second the weirdest thing about this is having to tilt his head up to be kissed.

be careful with your little brother

Well, Sam hasn't been little in years and suddenly Dean is on the bed, dizzy from the change in position. The whole world is Sam -- lean, hard body pressing him into the mattress, warm hands looking for skin and Sam's mouth -- oh jesus kissing him, just kissing him and just like that Dean is almost gone.

Can't do this. The reasons why are scattering away along with Dean's control but Dean knows they can't do this; not again, not if they want to come out whole on the other side. He turns his head so Sam's mouth scrapes over his jaw, his throat.

"Sam." Breathless against Sam's temple and he can't help it, has to press his lips against that soft skin, just for a second. "Sam, come on, we can't --"

Sam's body tightens over his and the words just seem to make Sam more urgent. He feels the scrape of Sam's teeth over his collarbone, the heat of Sam's breath on his neck.

"Please, Dean, just let me --" and the rough sound of Sam's voice would be enough to make him moan, even if Sam wasn't pushing his hands up beneath Dean's shirt, shoving it up so he can touch.

"Please," Sam says again, leaning down to lick, to bite softly, and Dean hasn't heard such grief in his brother's voice since the night Sam lost Jess and Dean got Sam back, and really, how fucked up is that?

But there's no stopping now, not when Sam needs him, is leaning up to kiss him again.

take care of your little brother

And that's something Dean knows he can do. He can push his fingers up into the softness of Sam's hair; he can gentle the kiss, deepen it until he feels Sam shudder. He can roll them both so Sam is under him, long body and slender muscles beneath his chest, his hips. Then he can move, rocking into the warmth between them, listening to the soft, broken sound Sam makes as he reaches up to hold Dean tight, tight.

"Hey -- it's okay, Sam," he whispers against Sam's mouth -- Sam's beautiful, soft mouth that's just waiting for him to taste and Dean needs this so badly. Wet and slow and so good that Dean could almost be satisfied just kissing like this, just making out on the bed but Sam's getting insistent, pushing at their clothes, trying to move enough leather and cotton out of the way so they can be skin to skin. Every new place he touches just makes Dean want more, as long as he doesn't have to stop kissing Sam.

Only one moment breaks the surreality; the moment Dean reaches down and feels the buttons of Sam's jeans beneath his fingertips, the hardness beneath. can't. can't do this he thinks, but Sam feels the jolt go through Dean's body and grabs Dean's hand, presses it flat so they are both rubbing Sam through his jeans. Way hotter than it should be, enough to fragment any control Dean has left and he almost tears the buttons open and shoves the jeans down Sam's thighs.

Somehow side by side, facing each other on the bed, hands tangling as they touch each other and everything is hot and slick and frantic. Doesn't know who comes first, just sinks his face into Sam's shoulder and shudders his way through it, waits for the world to reassemble itself.

Almost by agreement they move apart, breathing hard and not touching but Sam is close enough that Dean can feel the heat from his body in the cool air. His brother. His lover. Dean thinks that it might be possible to fuck things up even more, but he can't imagine how.

"We need to go back there," Sam says, and Dean doesn't even open his eyes.

"You changed your mind."

"No choice." Dean feels the ghost of a touch drift over his profile, brushing the bridge of his nose, his lips. He turns sharply to look at Sam, but it's like Sam never moved, lying there and staring at the ceiling.

"What do you mean?"

"What if they come after you?"


Chapter Three - Bound

Shouldn’t be here, Sam thinks, shouldn’t be here at all, parked near empty warehouses and dark alleys he wouldn’t want to walk though in the daytime. It would have been so easy to take off, just drive up the coast and put 500 miles between Dean and those things in the club before nightfall, but no, never the goddamned easy way out for them. Should have known he’d end up back outside the club with the sun going down behind him, sitting next to Dean in the front seat and feeling twitchy with exhaustion and fear.

The neon over the doorway across the street flickers into life.


"They're not even trying to hide it, are they?" Dean asks.

Sam pretends he doesn't hear and digs in the pocket of his long leather coat for the eyeliner. There's still enough light to see so he tips the rearview mirror toward his face as Dean turns away, shifting uncomfortably.

Dean can bitch all he wants about having to shred his vintage Black Sabbath t-shirt and put more of "that black shit" on his face, but if they’re really going to do this then Sam wants this part of it, too. Needs it. The things lurking in the shadows of the club scare him cold, but with the make-up on his face he looks older, tougher, like someone who absolutely should not be fucked with. Long leather coat and massive boots making him even taller, broader, and suddenly he can feel it... power. Just that, thudding though his veins in time with the bass line that pulses out of the club every time someone slips through the door.

He turns to hand Dean the kohl-pencil and finds that Dean still won't look at him, gaze skating away like it has all day. Dean snatches the pencil away carefully, so their fingers don't touch and Sam sighs and looks back at the doorway of the club.

“We’re going to go in, find out where they sleep during the day, and get out. That’s all,” Dean says.

Sam isn’t listening because Dean’s said it twice in the last half hour and all he can think about is that he should have crawled into bed with Dean last night. He should have gone straight from the shower to the bed where Dean was pretending to sleep; ignored the tense wall of Dean’s shoulders trying to shut him out and covered Dean’s skin with his body. Should have made Dean wake up this morning with his cock in Sam's mouth.

See how distant he could act then.


"Let's go," Dean says, finally meeting Sam's eyes for the first time all day. Sam blinks, and then suddenly he’s choking with laughter. For a second Dean looks murderous and then turns abruptly and opens his car door.

"Dean, wait," Sam says, not sure how to tell him that the kohl he's scrubbed under his eyes makes him look like some kind of deranged football player. Dean faces him, impatient and glaring, and Sam reaches out.

"Cut it out, Sam," Dean mutters, turning his face.

"Dude, you need to --" Sam says, trying again, but Dean knocks his hand away.

"Back off! What’s wrong with you?", and he sounds so much like their father that Sam wants to laugh but is afraid it'll come out a half-hysterical giggle.

"You just need to --"

"Need to what, already?"

"Blend, okay? Just let me fix it," Sam tells him, stifling his grin, and catches Dean's face in his hands. And holy shit, the planets must be aligned, because Dean stays still and lets Sam smear the lines and blur the edges, his skin warm and smooth beneath Sam's fingertips. Dean's face changes with the shadows, and he glares off somewhere over Sam's shoulder; angry, sullen --


-- and Sam wonders if Dean knows what he looks like, knows what it does to Sam. Then Dean meets his eyes and it's all there for Sam to read -- fear and embarrassment and ohgod, hurt -- cutting down so deep that Sam can't touch it. Yeah, Dean knows exactly what he looks like, exactly what Sam feels, and he hates it.

I'm sorry, Sam thinks, feeling numb, but the words stick in his throat and Dean pulls out of his grasp.

"Let's go."


He feels it as soon as they walk through the door; dark curiosity running fast and cool through the shadows. The huge space is just grinding music and strobing lights that do nothing to cut through the darkness surrounding them, so Sam stares into the shifting crowd, into the mass of writhing bodies on the dance floor where cold eyes meet his and disappear before he can see who - what - they belong to. He feels the weight of those eyes push against him and he shakes his head.

"What is it?" Dean shouts into his ear.

"They’ve noticed us," Sam tells him, distracted by the hiss of voices he can almost hear. Dean tenses beside him.

“That was fast,” Dean says, looking angry about it, and Sam can’t believe he didn’t know that they’d be waiting. For Dean.

"I think it's okay, though," Sam says, and turns his head to talk to his brother. “For now, anyway. They’re curious.” Sam’s lips brush against the edge of Dean’s ear and the hiss becomes a roar -- hunger -- washing over him, through him, centering on his brother beside him and he almost stumbles. “Interested,” he adds, through a throat gone suddenly dry.

“That’s great,” Dean is saying, from somewhere far away, while Sam watches his mouth form the words. “I’m sorry, but I don’t trust them.”

Shouldn’t trust me, either, Sam thinks; idle thought that scatters away when he looks at the torn places on Dean’s shirt where his skin shows through. Strange, wary look from Dean and then he’s turning, moving further into the club. Sam follows by rote, pushing past moving bodies that brush up against them, heat and skin and sweat. Dean’s ahead of him, weaving through the crowd almost faster than Sam can follow. He can still see Dean, though, and he can see the way they turn to look at him, the way they trail soft touches over his body as he passes. Elegant fingers drifting over his shoulders and his throat, sliding across the leather on his hips and why the hell can’t Dean tell that it’s deliberate?

“Hey, Dean –"

He reaches out to put a hand on Dean’s shoulder, stops his forward movement and oh -- warm skin beneath the cloth, an immediate jolt rushing through his body, from Dean, from them, and

touch him touch him touch him

and yes, that’s what he wants, has always wanted, so he steps up close against his brother, slips his arms around Dean’s waist, and drags him close. Dean’s back colliding with his chest, and god, who knew they’d fit together like this, so perfectly? When he bends his head his lips brush the skin behind Dean’s ear and he can feel the sharp point of Dean’s jaw against his mouth; has to lick a little, just to taste…

Dean flinches, tenses in his arms, and then Sam’s staring into Dean’s face, close and angry.

“What. The fuck. Are you doing?” Sam blinks at him, the outrage in Dean’s eyes breaking through the haze and he can barely answer.

“They like it when we touch each other,” Sam says, stuttering over the words.

Dean stares, and then suddenly he’s moving, turning in Sam’s arms to twist a hand into Sam’s hair so hard it hurts.

“Sam, you goddamn listen to me,” Dean says, lips practically touching Sam’s, eyes almost closed so that Sam can see the thick fringe of his eyelashes splayed across the shadow. “Get your head back in the game and go use the force or whatever the hell it is you do and find out what we need to know. Now.”

Except it isn’t anything like now because Dean’s pulling Sam’s head down until their mouths crush together, teeth and tongues and bruised lips, and Sam gets a taste of copper that seems to make the walls tremble. He wants to fall into this, right here, rightfuckingnow, but Dean’s already gone, pulling out of Sam’s arms and diving into the crowd, disappearing before Sam can even think.

He should be worried, probably, should be scared as fuck, but what he’s feeling doesn’t allow for it. It’s the power again, the excitement that whirls around and carries him with it, like Ex, maybe; like all the shit he never did, never tried, because Sam doesn’t do things like that, though right now he can’t think why. Hypnotic movements to grinding music all around him and he finds himself drawn out to the dance floor, moving to rhythms he hears in his head.

The leather coat slips from his shoulders to fall from his hands and the humid air feels cool on his arms, bare where he’s torn the sleeves off his black shirt. Cool fingers over his biceps, trailing under the hem of his shirt to brush his skin, skimming over the dark denim on his thighs. He could give in so easily.

It’s then he realizes that they know exactly what information he’s looking for, exactly why he wants it, and they will never let him have it.

So why the fuck is he still walking around and not a bloodstain in the parking lot? Why --

know what you are

Words clear as the daylight he probably won’t see again, words to make Sam freeze in place and let the crowd push him around.

What am I?

He forms the words before he can stop himself and disbelief comes back at him. Something else, too. Something that feels a lot like fear.

What am I, he asks again, desperate, because here, finally, he might find out why he dreams in prophecy and moves things with his mind and oh, yeah, can fucking talk to vampires in his head.

tell you

A taunting promise, and god, he can almost see hear touch the answer, held just out of reach…

Just give him to us.

Fuck. Dean.

“Where is he?” Spoken out loud as he turns in a circle, searching, and panic makes him shaky. “What did you do?”

Desire, hunger, crashing against his mind and Sam sees Dean as they see him, sees everything they want to do to him, and god, it makes Sam so hard. Fear and need he can taste and it draws him, makes him push through the crowd, feeling writhing bodies stumble to get out of his way.

He doesn’t know how he finds the room, hidden in the maze of hallways at the back where the music is muted to a low throb. Almost completely dark but he can see chain link fence lining the walls, crush of bodies in leather and chains, cuffs and masks, things he never knew to imagine, and there –- thank god, Dean -- leaning back against the wall, head bent and arms bound behind him and for Sam there might as well be no one else in the room.

Torn shirt framing his shoulders and soft leather falling off his hips, long line of perfect skin and muscle Sam wants to run his hands over and for one crazy second Sam wishes they had finished undressing him. God. What the fuck is wrong with him? He pushes the thought away and calls out Dean’s name into dead air, pushing though clinging hands and stroking fingers.

Maybe Dean can hear him because he raises his head, all mouth and cheekbones and dazed eyes. Even from across the room Sam can see his lips are swollen


like someone had just stopped kissing him, and in one cold-bright moment of rage Sam decides that these things are going to die tonight for touching him.

The thought alone seems to be enough to make them scatter, slender figures darting away as he rushes to his brother so by the time he gets to Dean there’s space around them. Sam steps close, leans their foreheads together, blocks out everything else so it’s just the two of them, just like always.

Breathless silence now, just waiting, where he’s gotten used to noise inside his mind.

“You hurt?” Whispered into the space between their lips. Dean’s eyes are closed again, black kohl making them looked bruised, and Dean makes a slight motion with his head.

“No.” Stops. “I don’t think so.”

Sam doesn’t believe him so he runs his hands over Dean’s arms, his chest; does it again because he’s wanted to do it forever, even if he only realized it just now. Smooth over hard and he loves

they love

the way his hands look on Dean’s skin. Dean makes a sound when Sam’s palms brush over his nipples, makes another when Sam uses his fingertips to make one hard.

“Oh, fuck. Sam.” Dean takes a breath that catches in his throat. “What are you doing?”

“Wanted to touch you all day,” Sam says softly, watching what his fingers can do to Dean’s body. He traces a perfect circle that makes Dean shiver, that makes him pull against the binding on his wrists. “And you wouldn’t let me. Why?”

“They’re doing this to you,” Dean says, trying to sound like dad giving orders, but it doesn’t work. “Come on, just get us out of here.”

“You wanted me to touch you, though,” Sam tells him, fascinated by the sight of his own fingers trailing down the smooth lines of Dean’s body, hard chest and muscled stomach. “You wanted to touch me, too. Kiss me.” Soft whisper in Dean’s ear. “Fuck me.”

Dean shakes his head, maybe at the words or at Sam’s hands tugging the leather lower on his hips. Sam runs the backs of his fingers over the taut skin he can see now, Dean’s eyes on Sam’s hands like he’s hypnotized. Follows them down, down, over the front of Dean’s pants and Sam can feel the shape of him through the soft leather. They both watch as Sam finds the tip of Dean’s cock and makes slow circles with his thumb.

“I want to put my mouth here,” he whispers.

“Jesus, Sam! Look,” Dean swallows, and his voice sounds used, a little desperate, “Okay, you’re right, I want that, too. Want you, just – just not here.”

Something there he should listen to but he can smell Dean’s skin; soap and sweet, clean sweat,


and rising musk that makes his mouth water. The hard points of Dean’s hips fit into his palms as he leans down, licks Dean’s lips until they open, and then ohgod, finally – kissing Dean, soft lips and teasing tongue and he knows just what to do to make Dean kiss him back. Soft sighs surround him, like they can feel how good this is, how much Sam wants him.

Dean is talking again; Sam can feel the vibration against his lips as he kisses down Dean’s throat, come on, sam, let me go, and you don’t want to do this, words that don’t make any sense the way Dean’s body is arching toward him so he bites along Dean’s collar-bone to make him gasp. Licking at Dean’s nipples makes him moan, biting them makes him squirm, makes him pull against the restraints until Sam worries he’s going to hurt himself so he puts his hands around Dean’s twisting wrists, stills Dean’s frantic hands. Feels leather wound around Dean’s wrists, too, pulled tight and threaded through a metal buckle and the cold chain-link behind them.

Dean’s belt. No question. Sam’s going to kill them all.


He drops down, and it’s so much easier to do this on his knees, soothe the raw skin around Dean’s wrists with his fingers, and whisper against Dean’s chest, heaving like this is a race.

“This will be so good, I promise,” he tells his brother, nuzzling the damp skin, touching his tongue to the flat curves of Dean’s navel, moaning when Dean makes a brief, aborted thrust. His hands drift from Dean’s wrists to his ass, soft leather warm as skin and Sam just slides his palms over, curls his fingers under the band and pulls, feeling the button give and the cloth slide down Dean’s skin.

“Oh, Jesus, Sam, this is so fucked up,” Dean says, dropping his head back against the metal fence. “Not like this, Sam, okay? Not like -- fuck.”

Dean hunches forward when Sam traces the low curve of muscle beneath his hipbone, follows the line of it with his tongue until he feels a slick slide against his cheek, musky scent where the leather’s pulled down low. When he turns his head he’s breathing over the wet, swollen tip of Dean’s cock, rising from the damp leather.

Dean’s begging him now, promising bed and darkness, just the two of them, “Anything, Sammy, anything you want, just don’t-” but Dean's voice shatters when he touches his lips to the tip, wets them with slick-salt liquid.

“Oh, god.” Something broken in Dean’s voice now. “Okay, Sam. Okay. Just – just let me touch you.”

Something breaks in Sam, too, and he reaches back, wrenching the buckle free. He doesn’t wait, just unzips and peels the leather down Dean’s thighs to the floor and God – Dean – flushed and hard, moisture beading at the tip that he needs to taste. Slick and salt and Dean’s helpless sounds and he can’t stop, just pulls Dean into him – full and hot and yes – Sam needs this. He grasps Dean’s hips like he might try to get away and feels Dean stagger, feels him hitch helplessly beneath his hands.


God, yes. Sam slides his hands around to cup hard muscle and take him deep, open mouth and stroking tongue and he didn’t know he could do this but it’s amazing – how it feels and what it does to Dean. No words now, just moans and movement that Sam stills with hands tight enough to mark.

Dean’s hands are in his hair, clumsily grasping for purchase and sliding free – maybe Sam would worry if he weren’t so hard he can’t think anymore -- nothing but pleasepleaseplease, over and over, willing Dean to lose control, years of control. Looking up he sees Dean staring down at him, wild and lost until the moment Sam swallows.

Sam gets just a glimpse of Dean’s throat when he arches and tilts his head back, and then Sam has to close his eyes and just take it. Ragged thrusts, fingers brutal on his neck and shoulders and then Dean frozen above him, movement stuttering to a stop as Dean pulses over and over in Sam’s mouth.

Licks and kisses as Dean comes down, and Sam has just enough brain function left to catch him when his knees buckle – sprawling across Sam’s lap with his forehead against Sam’s neck. Dean’s breath against his throat is a tease as powerful as the solid weight of Dean’s body on his aching cock, trapped between them beneath too many layers of cloth. Sam can’t help but push up into that weight and press his mouth to Dean’s damp temple, tasting the heat there.

Then suddenly Dean is staring at him, his expression torn open and dark with rage, and Sam has no time to wonder before Dean is kissing him, ruthless and hard as his hands scrabble between them, tearing at buttons and cloth. The first touch of Dean’s hand, bare and hot on his cock, makes him moan around Dean’s tongue, practically makes him sob.

“Can I do this to you? What you did to me?” Dean says against his jaw between biting kisses that stab shocks down into his dick, so all he can do is push up helplessly into Dean’s fist. “Make you crazy?” Dean whispers. “Make you come?”

The only answer to that is to shove his mouth against Dean’s, bruise him, crush him, and thrust hard until the world whites out and then somehow they’re on the floor, tangled in clothes and each other like they’ll never be able to move apart again.

Yes, the voices whisper. Yes.


The voices are gone.


Not gone. Silent. Drifting and aimless.


“Dean?" It’s like talking through a throat full of broken glass.

“Yeah, who else?” Weary voice, muffled by Sam’s shoulder.

Dean’s already shifting off of him, pulling back, but Sam isn’t ready to let him go and tightens his arms instinctively. “You okay?” he asks.

Dean lifts his face from Sam's shoulder, messy hair, bruised lips and smeared kohl, completely fuckable except for his eyes.

Oh, God.

There’s nothing in Dean’s cold stare that he can even begin to deal with, so he looks away and sees they aren’t the only ones on the floor. Bodies crumpled around them, arms stretched out toward them as if trying to touch. As he stares, one pale hand flexes.

“I think we better get the fuck out of here,” Dean says, evenly. “Don’t you?”

Yeah, leaving’s probably a really good idea.

He lets Dean go and stands somehow, makes his gaze skate away from Dean's body as Dean gets dressed. The rags of Dean’s shirt hit him in the side of the head and he grabs for it before it hits the floor.

“Clean yourself up,” Dean says in a quiet voice that's far worse than anger so Sam just does it, buttons up as he nervously watches the sprawled bodies around them begin to move. Dean grabs Sam's arm, bruising-hard, and pushes him toward the door.


Sam stumbles through the maze of hallways, following Dean until they’ve almost reached the main part of the club. Sam can see lights and movement up ahead and the music’s getting more intense, but Dean stops him at a fire door hidden in an alcove, and Sam wonders how Dean even found it.

Dean shoves the door open but Sam stops at the threshold, trying to clear his head, to remember why they came in here in the first place. "Wait.”

“What now?”

Something. Something important.

“We don't know where they sleep," Sam says, trying to break through Dean’s indifference.

"I do," Dean says.

That throws him for a second. “How…?”

“Does it matter? I know. We’re out of here.” Sam grabs his arms when he turns to go.

“Look, they know things. Things about me. What I can do.”

Sam watches Dean’s cold mask shatter.

“So you want to stay here and party? Tie me up again? Maybe fuck me for your new friends?”

Sam’s not sure which hurts more, the sarcasm or the pain in Dean’s voice. “I’m going to kill them all,” he whispers. “They’re going to die in pain and blood and fire, I swear it. But, Dean.” He has to make his brother understand. “This might be the only chance I have to get some answers.”

“Christ, Sam.” Dean looks away, and reaches up to rub a bruise on his neck that Sam doesn’t remember making. Then his face changes and he rubs harder. “What the hell did you do to me?” he asks.

“I didn’t –“ Sam starts, stepping closer to look.

I didn’t do that, Sam wants to say, but he can’t. Can’t speak, can’t move, can’t breathe – can only stare at the blood.

On Dean’s fingertips. And on the puncture wounds at the base of Dean’s neck.


Chapter Four -- Bitten

Not happening, Sam thinks. None of this is happening. He grabs Dean and drags him through the open fire door into the harsh light of the alley, watches his hands shake as he turns Dean’s face away and looks at the bruises all along the curve of Dean’s throat, kiss-bites he made with his teeth and his lips. The angry blue bruises make him sick and make him ache but that’s nothing, nothing compared to the clawing panic he feels at the sight of the two tiny punctures, freshly made, marring the base of Dean’s neck.

“Oh, shit,” Sam whispers, “Oh, shit, why didn’t you tell me?” Sam’s breath is coming shallow and harsh, making him dizzy, because there’s blood. Lots of blood, Dean’s blood, wet against his fingertips and sliding down in a thin trail over his shoulder to pool dark and shiny in the hollow of his collarbone. Sam just stares at it and feels his breath spiral out, wonders if he’ll be able to take another.

“What is it? What are you talking about?” Dean looks angry now, angry and scared and like he might hit Sam if he doesn’t stop digging his fingers into Dean’s shoulders.

“Those – one of those things bit you, and you didn’t say anything?”

Dean looks confused but Sam just grips harder and tries to remember the details in Dad’s book. Pages of notes on vampires, the ways they kill and the ways they die; whole paragraphs on venom and blood-poison and how they turn the ones they want but not one fucking word on what to do if you’re bitten that Sam can remember. He shakes Dean hard.

“Did you drink?” It’s the only thing Sam can think to ask, the only thing that matters at this point, because if Dean didn’t drink, there might be a chance.

“The bastards bit me?” Dean asks, still trying to catch up, and the shocked outrage on Dean’s face makes Sam want to laugh or scream or hit him so he bends closer and tries to make Dean meet his eyes.

“Dean, this is pretty fucking important – did you drink?”

Dean touches the wound on his neck, rubs at it with the heel of his hand and shakes his head like he’s trying to clear it.

“I think I had a beer…”

“Not – oh, for god’s sake, Dean, blood! Did you drink any blood?”

Sam watches Dean’s face go pale behind the dark kohl on his face, and he looks like he feels a little sick.

“I don’t – I don’t know…” he says.

“You don’t know? What the hell does that mean?”

Dean looks up at Sam, furious now and breaking Sam’s grip on his shoulders, not even wincing when Sam’s jagged nails drag over his skin, leaving more wounds that Sam can take credit for.

“It means what I said -- I don’t know. I don’t remember!” He swipes his hand over his lips, smearing them with blood and Sam can almost see him forcing the fear down so he can think. “Just – just give me a minute…”

Sam rubs his eyes and tries to think, too, but it’s impossible, not when he feels like this. He’s been here before, felt this before, right after Jess died, remembers standing there in the street just like he is now with his nerves strung out to the jittery edge where everything goes bright and brilliant. If he stays here any longer he might just ride on the vibrations until he shatters.

“I remember the crowd,” Dean says, finally. “I remember leaving you on the dance floor. Then – fuck, I don’t know, I guess the next thing I remember is you –" Dean stops, everything stops, and there it is, right there between them.

Me, Sam thinks. You remember me.

touching, teasing, sucking –

sam, let me go –


Sam is going to be sick. Dean looks away.

“I don’t know if I drank,” he says, and Sam can barely hear him. “Hell, I don’t even remember being bitten.” Subdued now, lost, like with the anger gone he’s got nothing to hold onto, and Sam feels something inside twist into knots.

It’s going to be okay, Sam starts to say, I’ll make it okay – he’s ready to lie to make Dean stop looking like this, but laughter behind him, low and speculative, closes his throat and sends a cold shiver across the nape of his neck.

When he turns there are three of them, slim gothlets in black and silver with studded lips and eyebrows, slipping out the door to stare at him, at Dean.

“Wannabes,” Sam says, just loud enough for Dean to hear.

“Acolytes,” Dean whispers, and Sam isn’t sure who Dean is talking to.

And maybe they are just kids playing dress-up, Sam thinks, but there’s threat in the way they stand, the way they stare, and he starts to think that maybe it’s a bad idea to be hanging out in the alley behind the club -- especially with Dean in nothing but leather pants and smeared eyeliner, looking like sex and secrets.

“What the fuck are you looking at?” Sam asks them, growling it out and ignoring Dean’s flinch. More laughter, and a girl with hair that looks almost purple in the light over the doorway reaches out to brush Dean’s shoulder.

“He doesn’t want to share,” she tells the others, giggling, and they all shift closer, the girl and one hulking boy almost as tall as Sam and another one, whip-slim with white-blonde hair. The blonde touches the blood on Dean’s chin, drifts a fingertip over Dean’s lips.

“So pretty,” he whispers. “You belong with us, now.” He leans forward, voice so low and intimate Sam can hardly hear him. “Don’t you want to play?”

Dean doesn’t move, just stands there looking sickly fascinated as the blonde boy touches him and the girl moves closer, leaning forward like she can’t resist Dean’s mouth, red and full from Sam’s rough kisses. Sam stares at painted nails stroking Dean’s skin and feels the blood rush behind his eyes. Mine, mine and he’s going to do something violent, needs to do something with the possessive rage that makes everything go red and he moves forward without thinking.

A rush of movement as Sam steps up and pulls Dean toward him, feeling cool, smooth skin beneath his fingers, his brother in his arms again, but the blond boy comes, too, arms wound around Dean’s neck. Somehow Sam’s holding both of them, too busy keeping them standing to react to large, rough hands on his waist as the big one moves behind him, harsh whisper against his ear, “Gonna fuck you, gorgeous, fuck you so hard…”.

“Get off me,” Sam says, shoving back hard but the hands on his waist are sliding forward, slipping under the waistband of his jeans, and the heavy weight of Dean in his arms is pushing him back against a hard chest and he’s starting to get the feeling that this could be really, really bad.

leave them

Sam hears it in his head, words like winter and they all freeze, somebody’s pornographic Halloween photo. Suddenly, weirdly, Sam is left holding Dean against his chest as the others back away, angry and excited. They are moving toward the mouth of the alley, toward dark figures fanned out beneath the streetlight fifty feet away, slim blades of black standing perfectly still, pale faces limned in shadow.

God, now what?, Sam wonders, until the one farthest away lifts his head slightly, dark hair falling back from glittering eyes and Sam jumps like he’s seen a sculpture move. A single voice this time, whispering like dry leaves.


Soft voice that Sam can feel, dragging across his mind with brutal, stunning power.

beautiful one

His heart stutters when he feels Dean step forward, starting to pull out of his arms and instinctively he tightens his grasp. No. He doesn’t even need to think about it, just shoves Dean behind him, feels him stumble but thank God, not move any closer.

“Get in the car,” he tells his brother. The dark head suddenly snaps up, sharp gaze burning into them from the end of the alley and there’s anger now, from all of them, but mostly from him, the only one who matters.

“Sam?” Dean’s voice sounds shaken, confused.

“They can’t have you,” he says, to Dean, to the still figures in the alley, to the dark one who radiates power and watches Dean so closely. “Get in the car.”

Dean doesn’t move so Sam turns and pushes his brother ahead of him. They have minutes. Maybe seconds. Rage like a rolling wave coming at them, threatening to pull them back with the undertow, too late too late too late and without thinking Sam simply… pushes back. A nudge with his mind and he feels the dark ones retreat in shock and fear – knows it isn’t going to last, but he and Dean are already moving and he’s starting the engine and throwing it into gear before Dean even has the door closed.

Only sound in the car is their harsh breathing over the strain of the engine, and after a few seconds he reaches into the back seat to grab a jacket, tossing it at his brother who’s shuddering with what Sam hopes to God is just cold.


Speed and darkness and it’s half an hour down the highway before he looks over at Dean, hunched into Sam’s old blue zip-up and leaning against the window, paper napkin pressed in a crumpled, sodden mass against his neck. All at once Sam is wildly, stupidly glad he grabbed his own jacket to give his brother. Pathetic and hopeless, probably, but god, if he can’t hold Dean, then wrapping him in Sam’s worn, overwashed cotton seems almost as good.

“What did you do back there?” Deans says, and Sam starts.

“Hey. I thought you were asleep.” He drives in silence for a second. “What do you mean?”

“You did something. They let us go.”

Sam shifts uncomfortably, remembering voices in his head and what he did to shut them up. “I’m not sure,” he says, not wanting to talk about it.

“They were afraid of you.”

Sam glances over. “How do you know?”

“I heard them,” Dean says softly, looking down at the floorboards. “In the alley. I heard him. Calling me.” Dean takes a breath. “Never could hear them before.”

Before the bite.

“Doesn’t mean anything,” Sam says, convincing himself. “That one – that one’s strong. Old, too. Really old, like centuries, I bet. He can probably make anyone hear him.”

Dean’s silence is worrying.

“I was going to go, Sam,” Dean says abruptly. “Go to him. I wanted to.”

Sam swallows. “But you didn’t. You’re here.” He looks over at Dean’s downcast profile. “Hey, it’s going to be –”

“Don’t fucking tell me everything’s going to be fine,” Dean says, suddenly harsh. “Remember who you’re talking to, here, okay? I know what these things do. They’re monsters, killers – and now maybe I’m going to be one of them –”

“Don’t over-react! We don’t know anything yet.” Sam can’t listen to this. Won’t.

Dean just looks out the window, passive the way Dean never is and that, more than anything else, makes Sam scared. “You okay?”

Dean stirs, pulls the sodden napkin from his neck and looks at it grimly. “Other than maybe bleeding to death? Or, you know… un-death?”

Sam glances over and sees blood well up where Dean’s pulled the paper away, tiny red tear-drops that swell before slipping down his neck. Sam reaches over and touches the skin below the wound like it’s fragile.

“That isn’t closing over,” he tells Dean softly. “Maybe I should stitch it.”

“It’s the venom,” Dean says, tiredly. “Makes the blood thin so they can drink easier. It’s not going to heal right away.” Sam feels Dean’s throat move as he swallows and then suddenly Dean laughs, short and harsh, and pushes Sam’s hand away. “I could probably use a band-aid, though.”

Sam ignores him and turns back to the road, runs a shaking hand through his hair and says, “Let’s think about this. We need to figure out what to do, Dean, because you know there’s nothing in Dad's god-damned book --” He stops, wipes his lips. “We’re on our own.”

“Yeah, why change things now,” Dean says, and Sam probably shouldn’t be surprised at how bitter it sounds. He glances at Dean.

“So. Um. Do you feel… different?”

Dean crosses his arms and looks away, silent for a moment.

“I don’t want to bite you, if that’s what you’re asking,” he says, finally.

“Okay, good,” Sam says, encouragingly. “That’s good. What about other stuff?”


“Like… the darkness – does it look any different?” He gets a raised brow at that, and he’s starting to get annoyed at Dean’s amused expression. “I don’t know, Dean! Can you smell colors, or hear the stars sing, or any of that other Anne Rice crap?”

Dean looks out the open window.

“No singing stars, but I’m pretty sure the streetlights are doing ‘Chain of Fools’.”

“Great. You’re a fucking riot, Dean. Glad you think this is funny.” Sam could shake him again but he can hear the fear behind the bravado, the sick terror that makes Dean’s eyes skate away and god, all he wants to do is take Dean somewhere safe and bright; spread him out on clean white sheets, kiss him until he comes.

But fuck. Like Dean will ever let Sam touch him again.

“They’ll pay,” Sam whispers brokenly. “I promise you.”

Dean seems really interested in the road ahead of them, staring hard at the dark pavement like he can see into the future, and Sam lets him think.

“Kill them all, you said,” Dean says, finally, voice way too quiet.

“Yeah. We will. I will. I swear it.”

Dean nods, like he didn’t expect anything less, and shifts to look at Sam with eyes dark and serious behind the smudged liner. “Good. Because if the Anne Rice crap starts… with me, you know what you need to do.”

Sam suddenly feels cold. “Dean –"

“No choice, Sammy,” Dean says, sounding way too calm even though Sam knows the pose has got to be total bullshit. “You know that just as much as I do.”

Sam is shaking his head, feels his jaw clenching.

“No. No way. Don’t you fucking ask me to do that, Dean!”

“You have to, Sam!” Raging back at him for just a second, and then his voice drops again. “You have to. I’m trusting you.” Dean’s voice is uneven and he’s not looking at Sam anymore so Sam barely catches the rest of what Dean says. “At least with this.”

The words hang there, painfully, and Dean looks away, like maybe he got lashed with that one, too, and Sam doesn’t think he can talk anymore.

No, he thinks.

Never. Never hurt you again.




Dean wakes up in a motel room with darkness that won’t last outside the windows. Face down on the bed where he’d fallen, shoes off, feet bare – Sam must have done that, and thrown the other blanket over him, too. Dean lifts his head and sees that Sam isn’t with him in the bed, isn’t in the other one, either, and until Dean hears the shower running he can’t think.

Didn’t leave, Sam wouldn’t leave – stupid, empty reassurances he gives himself as he surges up out of bed, because Dean doesn’t know what Sam won’t do anymore, so he pushes the door of the tiny bathroom open to see if Sam is still with him. Clothes all over the floor, mirror steamed over and the air heavy with heat Dean can almost breathe, and ohthankgod Sam – standing under the spray, arms folded against the tile and head buried against them. Relief and pain in equal portions so Dean lets himself look at Sam, all of him, instead of turning away like he would have two days ago.

So beautiful -- so strong and powerful now –- and he was so little, just little, Dean thinks, and wonders how he’ll ever make the two Sams come together in his mind. Sam’s hand against the tile is huge and for a second Dean can feel it closing over his hip, holding him still and he has to turn away.

“Dean?” Sam’s voice doesn’t sound right, rougher than usual. Dean doesn’t look at him, just reaches out to swipe a clean streak on the mirror and meet his own eyes, smeared with steam and cheap eye-shadow and he may as well be staring at a stranger. That can’t be him, that guy with blood on his throat and the marks from his brother’s teeth on his neck.

“Dean, please.” He turns at that broken sound to look at Sam; Sam who’s cleaned the dark make-up from his face and used the cheap, disposable razor to scrape his skin smooth and perfect again, hair water-slick and pushed back for once so Dean can see the clean lines of his face. He can also see misery to match the grief in his brother’s voice and has to wonder if his own eyes look as hollow. Sam’s pain held up like a broken toy between them and God damn it if the only thing Dean wants to do is fix it, just like always, but – you did this to us, Sammy, he thinks fiercely. To me.

“Too late,” he says, too quiet for Sam to hear, maybe, but maybe not because it does something to Sam; he’s moving, faster than Dean can react, and suddenly Dean is stumbling forward as Sam drags him into the shower.

“God damn it, Sam, you’re getting me all wet –" Sputtering a little under water that isn’t hot enough, like Sam carries around his own heat and doesn’t need the help. Sam’s sodden jacket on his shoulders weighs a ton now and he shrugs it off, Sam’s hand the one that flings it onto the floor.

Sam’s hands are shaking when he closes them around Dean’s bare shoulders, and Dean should push him away but he can’t. So he lets Sam stand there with his trembling hands under water that’s doing nothing to heat up the chill that’s settled into Dean's body, that makes him shiver even before Sam leans forward to put his face in Dean’s hair.

Soft words he can barely hear, can’t understand and he turns his head automatically, lips brushing Sam’s ear by mistake to ask, “What was that?”

Sam shakes his head slightly, broken movement and again, “…hate me, now.”

Dean exhales sharply, and drops his head, breathes against the slick skin of Sam’s shoulder. God. Hate Sam? Angry with him, maybe. Hurt, oh yeah, for sure, but hating Sam never even occurred to him, isn’t even possible. Dean shifts back to rest his forehead against Sam’s and now Dean can see water tears? beading on his brother’s cheeks. “Oh, shit, Sam.”

Sam opens his eyes and lifts his head, so desperate and hopeful, searching for something in Dean’s face that Dean isn’t sure he can give.

“Close your eyes,” Sam says hoarsely, and Dean doesn’t have anything left inside that could object. Sam’s hands cup his jaw, turn his face into the cascading water and then there are soft fingers on his skin and the scent of motel soap making his nose twitch. Sam’s hands, just touching him, gentle across his forehead, gliding over his cheekbones, eyelids, the line of his jaw and beneath the curve of his lips.

“Sam,” he murmurs, his voice catching on the word because the tenderness in Sam’s touch is going to break him, completely and finally. “What are you doing?”

“Just… just getting this junk off your face,” Sam says helplessly, rubbing his thumbs softly over Dean’s eyelids, so gently that Dean can feel how his hands tremble. Sam’s big palms over his cheeks, his jaw, down the sides of his neck, carefully avoiding the wound that Dean can feel burning through his skin; the only warm place on his body, it feels like, except where Sam is touching him.

Dean opens his eyes when Sam brushes his hands over his shoulders, but Sam isn’t looking at him, just watching his own hands intently, seriously. Soft and tender, that touch drifting over him, with no purpose beyond comfort and care, and Dean’s throat starts to ache. He watches Sam’s hands slip down his chest, achingly gentle, slicking over bruises left by Sam’s teeth, brushing at them like he can wash them away. Dean can feel his muscles relax beneath Sam’s hands, tension washing away with sweat and spit and semen off his skin.

“Oh, God, Sam…”

Sam slips to his knees without looking up, and tugs at the waist of Dean’s pants, now soaking and ruined, working at the buttons with difficulty.

“I’m just – I just want this gone, all of it gone,” Sam says, and God, how Dean wants that, too, ruined leather and smeared make-up and poison in his blood, wants to make it all go away. Before Dean can answer Sam closes his arms around Dean’s legs and buries his head against Dean’s stomach. Dean’s been in enough churches to know penance when he sees it.

just let me touch you

He couldn’t then, not at the club with Sam on his knees before him, not even when Sam released his bonds; hands too numb, wrists too painful, but there’s no belt binding him now. Sam’s right here, so Dean just does it, runs his fingers into Sam’s soaking hair, over his shoulders and the back of his neck.

come to me

Echoes of that voice in Dean’s head, a sickening pull, and he wonders what he would have done if it told him to do things to Sam. He makes Sam look up at him, makes himself look back, holds Sam’s face hard and God, he’s never been able to handle his brother’s pain.

“Hey, look at me. It’s okay,” he tells his brother, smiling weakly, whispering words he’s said a thousand times in a thousand different ways whenever Sam was hurt or afraid or sad and Sam just breaks, shatters, surges up to hold Dean close. The only thing Dean can do is hold him back, big, warm body in his arms and he doesn’t think anything can stop him from putting his lips on Sam’s throat, his jaw, his cheek.

“You want this? You and me… like this?” Sam pulls away just a little, just enough to lean his face into Dean’s so their lips almost brush. So hopeful, so afraid Dean’s going to push him away that Dean simply slides his hands into Sam’s hair and pulls him close enough to kiss.

“Yeah… yeah, Sam, want you… just kiss me, okay?”

Oh, God. Sam.

Sam’s mouth is desperate and sweet and hungry, tasting him, the tip of his tongue an unconscious tease when he licks over Dean’s lips, strokes inside Dean’s mouth. Dean hears himself moan, tries to chase down that tongue – God, he wants to suck on it, taste Sam back, but Sam’s turned his face away to touch his lips to Dean’s wrist.

Grief on Sam’s face as he kisses the deep, red marks ringing Dean’s arm, soft swipes of his tongue like he can heal them.

“Don’t, Sam. It’s okay,” Dean tells him again, because Sam’s bleak remorse hurts, and Dean pulls him closer to murmur mindless words of comfort against Sam’s temple, to whimper when Sam shifts restlessly and begins mouthing his neck. Nothing close to biting, nothing that could ever mark, just soft kisses over the places Sam’s hands have washed clean.

It’s sweet and drugging, turning him boneless, but Dean flinches when Sam nears the raw wound on his neck, now closing at last but still angry and throbbing, stealing all the heat in Dean’s body. If he thinks about it too much he’s afraid he can feel his blood beginning to freeze and that makes him shudder but Sam just holds him closer, skirting the bite to kiss over Dean’s collarbone, nuzzle into the other side of his neck with a soft whimper that makes Dean dizzy. Big hands molding his shoulder blades, sliding down his ribs and digging into muscle, sending waves of bliss up his spine.

“Yeah, Sam… God, that’s good…”

Dean needs this, doesn’t care the fuck why, or for how long he’s wanted it and never admitted it to himself, none of that matters – Sam matters, just Sam.

And Sam needs this, too, maybe -- impatient hands tugging at the buttons on Dean’s pants again, pulling hard and frustrated until Dean’s almost surprised when he feels the material part. Has to laugh, then, because those pants are never coming off, already tight and now soaking wet, they’re like part of Dean’s body.

“Had to pull me in before I could get undressed, huh?” Dean says; it makes Sam almost-grin, and Dean wonders how long it will be before he sees anything like a smile on Sam’s face again.

“Wouldn’t have come in here with me if I’d waited,” Sam mutters, and then he’s soaping his hands again and Dean snorts.

“Not going to work, Sam,” he says. “It’s not like I have a ring stuck on my… unnnhhh…” Forgets what he was going to say as slick hands slide down into the gap in his pants, slippery grope that’s way too brief before Sam’s soapy fingers are moving over his hips and beneath the leather, slipping down over his ass. Warm, strong hands cupping him, squeezing him, pulling him close to Sam’s hips. Sam’s cock.

“See? I can improvise,” Sam whispers. “When I’m motivated.”

“I take it back,” Dean gasps against Sam’s ear as Sam’s hands plunge lower, peeling the leather down his hips. “It’s a fucking great idea.”

“Got a lot of them,” Sam says, gliding a soapy hand between, from the sensitive skin behind his balls to the base of Dean’s back and Dean thinks he might be seeing stars. Tries to find Sam’s mouth to show him just what he thinks of Sam’s brilliant ideas but Sam’s sliding down to his knees again, turning Dean to brace his hands against the wall so Sam can pull the soaked leather the rest of the way off Dean’s legs. Oh, God, so good to get the sodden leather away from his skin, and when he’s finally free of the heavy material he gets Sam’s hands again, slick and gentle, smoothing over his calves and thighs, washing Dean’s abraded skin, and how can he be so hard just from Sam’s hands on his legs?

The press of Sam’s teeth on the curve of his ass makes him jump, makes him laugh and he’s about to say, “Watch it there, Sammy,” but then oh fuck, Sam’s mouth -- Sam’s mouth – melting heat, right at the center of him, tongue so fucking hot Dean’s going to dissolve right there, just melt down the drain, and he feels his knees start to give. Has to lean into the tile just to keep upright and fuck, Sam’s amazing at this, freaking gifted, finding a liquid rhythm that’s shorting out Dean’s brain.

“Sam… Sam, I’m gonna come…” And it’s true – he could, just from this, just from Sam’s tongue on him, and it’s embarrassing but it makes Sam moan, and then Dean feels Sam kiss the small of his back and heat from Sam’s tongue dragging slowly up his spine as Sam stands. He gets Sam’s strong arms around his waist, pulling him close and Sam’s smooth, wet chest against his back; Sam’s lips mouthing kisses into the nape of his neck and Sam’s hard, leaking cock pressed against his hip – completely surrounded by Sam and heat and falling water and Dean realizes that this is the first time they’ve ever been completely skin to skin, absolutely nothing between them. Closes his eyes and shakes his head, just feeling this.

“What is it?” Sam asks, voice shaky, teeth on Dean’s ear and small thrusts against Dean’s hip, rubbing the head of his cock lightly over Dean’s skin.

“We -- we fit,” Dean says, sounding surprised, and he feels Sam smile against his neck, kiss him some more. Sam’s hands smoothing down over his abdomen, not stopping until they’re slicking over his cock, closing around him and oh, yeah, Dean thinks he could happily spend eternity fucking Sam’s hands.

“Are you – oh, fuck, are you watching us?”

Breathless question and no way he can answer that, no way he can do anything but moan at this point, moan and try not to come like a cannon. Sam’s hands are too good, Sam is too good, squeezing and stroking, long, soapy fingers curling over him like the best porn Dean’s ever seen. Sam’s making noise, too, helpless gasps and he’s rubbing his own cock over Dean’s ass like he’s going to die if he can’t get more friction. Dean takes pity, reaches back and grabs at Sam’s narrow hips, pulling him up close and hard.

Smooth, slick slide against his skin and “Oh… Jesus, Dean –“ Orgasm taking Sam by surprise it seems, shuddering cock and hot spurts pumping over Dean’s back, Sam seizing against him beneath the pounding water, losing any kind of rhythm at all on Dean’s cock but that’s okay because Dean turns and pushes Sam into the tile.

Kisses him hungrily, touches him everywhere -- gorgeous mouth and gorgeous body and all his, his to touch and taste, hard muscle and smooth skin and blood rushing hot and sweet beneath. Gorgeous ass Dean can’t get enough of touching, Sam pliant and melting beneath his fingers, turning to the wall and just letting him, letting Dean sink deep inside, turning everything into heat and pulse and blinding pleasure, and if this kills him, burns him into nothing, it will be so fucking worth it.



Afterward, Sam barely gives him time to dry off. Rough towel over his skin and they’re both still damp when Sam drags him into bed, pulls him close so they can tangle together in cool, soap-scented sheets where everything is Sam and skin and shared breath. Sam holds him like Dean is going to slip away and that’s fine with Dean because he can hold on, too. Fuck, maybe this time it will work.

“We’ll sleep for a few hours,” Sam tells him. “Then head up toward Stanford.”

“Stanford?” Dean manages to ask, ends up mostly yawning instead.

Sam’s quiet for a second. “When I was at school I took a class on the occult. Easy A, you know?” Sam adds defensively when Dean raises his eyebrows. “But – I was surprised. We’re not the only ones who have experience with this stuff.”

Dean leans back to look at him, feels himself start to grin. “Did a little moonlighting up at college, Sam? And here I thought you wanted to get away from it all.”

Sam shifts, rubs his cheek against the pillow. “Look, Dad’s book’s for shit at this point. We need some outside help, and there’s someone at school who I think we can talk to about this.”

This. Meaning his brother.


Dean closes his eyes.

“Okay, Stanford, fine. Whatever. If I haven’t developed a sun allergy by then.” Because Dean can feel it coming -- dawn, pressing against the windows behind the thick curtains, against his eyelids.

“Yeah, well, then you can ride in the trunk.” Brittle laughter in Sam’s voice and Dean has to smile a little, too, has to lean into him a little more.

“This doesn’t fucking scare you?” Dean asks, quietly so he sounds calmer than he feels.

“Yeah, sure it does,” Sam says, sounding matter-of-fact. “When has that ever mattered? Still doesn’t.” Grown-up Sam voice Dean hasn’t heard before, and maybe now he can make Sam understand.

“Sam. I think we should come up with some kind of a plan – you know, just in case --.””

Sam isn’t fooled by his reasonable tone and cuts him off with a hard kiss.

“Don’t say it. Don’t ask me again. That’s never happening.”

Dean sighs and leans his forehead into Sam’s shoulder. He’s too God-damned tired to fight. Too tired to think about how wrong it is that they’ve already driven 300 miles away from the things they need to kill, that they’re planning to hide. To think about why neither of them has even once suggested calling Dad. Maybe for once he can be the kind of guy who doesn’t argue.

And who lets his brother kiss him until he falls asleep.


“This is so fucked up, Sammy.”

Soft lips on his, softer whisper right before he drops off to the slow beat of Sam’s heart.

“I don’t care.”



The smell of scrambled eggs cooking is going to make Dean sick. No place should serve breakfast at night, even if he did just wake up and the orange of the sky outside the diner windows could be dawn if he pretends. The light makes his eyes hurt.

“Completely useless crap,” Sam says, listlessly flipping through Dad’s book. He grabs his thick coffee mug and looks at Dean over the edge before he drinks. “You’re not eating. Aren’t you hungry?”

Dean looks down at his plate. “I don’t eat… waffles.”

“Okay, for the record? The vampire jokes are going to get old fast. And that movie sucked.” Sam stirs at his eggs. “Just eat something.”

“Coffee, hon?” Dean jumps, thinks he should probably answer the woman standing next to their table but he’s studying her hand instead, holding the coffee-pot out to him with the tendons in her arm distended, pale trace of veins on the inside of her wrist and if he listens close he thinks he can hear the soft rush of blood through them.

Oh, hell.

“You want coffee?” she asks again, then turns to Sam. “Is he okay?”

“Fine,” Sam says, trying out a smile. “He’s fine. Coffee would be great.”

Dean watches her fill their cups and walk away and feels Sam bump his leg beneath the table.

“What’s wrong with you?” Sam asks, and Dean can’t blame him for being irritated, blames himself for making Sam look so grim and worried, even before he knows about Dean’s new fascination with strangers’ circulatory systems. Dean decides not to share.

“Look, I’m sorry it was hard to wake me up, okay? I know you wanted to get on the road hours ago but we’ll just have to make up the time tonight.” Dean brushes his calf against Sam’s leg in apology. Wishes they were somewhere else so he could do more than that.

“Hard to wake you up?” Sam says, staring at him blankly. “I tried for four hours, Dean. I didn’t know what to do! It was like you were in a coma or --.”

“Dead?” Dean asks, remembering opening his eyes to see Sam, panicked and pale, slamming his cell phone shut and rushing toward the bed in relief, dropping to his knees and putting one hand in Dean’s hair. Dean can still feel Sam’s hand gripping tight, can still feel pressure in his chest slowly easing away with the sun’s descent behind the curtains.

“No.” Sam says, stubborn set to his mouth and moving his leg closer to Dean’s, an unconsciously protective gesture to match his words. “That stuff in your blood is making you tired. That’s all.”

“I was waiting for the freaking sun to set, you mean.”

Sam rubs his eyes with the heels of his hands. “Even if that’s true, you didn’t wake up trying to rip my throat out, either. I’m going to take that as a good sign.”

“I look different,” Dean says, feeling sullen, remembering the unfamiliar face in the mirror, turning away before he could really get a good look.

Sam looks up briefly, glimpse of dark eyes under the soft fringe of his hair and then his gaze skates away. “No, you don’t.”

“Everyone’s staring at me.”

“They’re not –“ Sam rubs his mouth and lowers his voice. “They’re not staring. Now will you eat something so we can get on the road before your fan club starts trying to track you down?”

Dean looks down at his plate and feels his stomach heave, once, horribly, and drops his fork onto the plate.

“Yeah, about that,” Dean says, trying to get his nausea under control, trying to ignore the thud of pain in his chest at what he’s about to say. “I’m thinking… maybe we should split up.”

Sam seems at a loss. “What the fuck are you talking about? Where would you go?”

“Away. Somewhere else.” Dean gestures at the window, vaguely indicating the rest of the country where Sam is not. “I can drop you at Stanford –.”

“Why?” Sam interrupts, and he’s starting to sound angry and frightened.

“Well, I don’t know, Sam, maybe because any second now I might turn into a blood-sucking monster?”

“Oh, for Christ’s sake, not this again –"

Dean puts up a hand. “We’ve already established that you’re not going to put a stake through my heart. Fine, you can’t kill me, I get that. But how do I know…” Has to get his voice under control before he can continue, “How do I know I’m not going to try to hurt you?” Worst thing Dean can imagine, nagging fear that grips his throat and he can’t even look at Sam when he says it.

“You won’t.” Stubborn glare.

“Really. You know this.”

“I know this,” Sam assures him. “You wouldn’t. You’d never hurt me.”

So unshakably certain and Dean rubs his hands over his face tiredly. “I really want to believe that, dude, but we don’t know what I’ll be capable of…”

Sam isn’t listening, shaking his head and stabbing at the eggs on his plate with recrimination.

“You and Dad, you’re both so god-damned –”

“Dad?” Dean says, looking up. “That’s who you were talking to earlier?” Sam immediately looks hunted.

“You wouldn’t wake up,” Sam says, sounding chagrined. “No matter what I did. I didn’t know what to do, so…”

“It’s okay,” Dean says, trying not to feel betrayed.

“No, Dean, I freaked out and –."

“Called Dad. I got that part.” He tries to take a sip of coffee – it’s a little better than the food, but not much. “We should have done it right away, probably.” He stares down into his mug. “So what did he say?”

Sam looks lost for a second, wounded, and Dean doesn't want to hear. "Not much more than we read in the book," Sam mutters. "It all depends on whether or not you have venom in your blood."

Dean counts seconds in time with the pulse in Sam's throat. "I'd say that's a yes."

come to me

Soft whisper, sense of empty arms waiting for him, and Dean shakes his head.

"Dad's going to contact some hunter in Ojai -- expert in vampire lore," Sam is saying. "Maybe between him and my professor we can get some answers." Sam doesn't sound too hopeful.

"What else did he say?" Dean still doesn't want to hear, but asks anyway.

Sam shakes his head, but he's always been a rotten liar where their father is concerned.

“He told you the same thing I did, didn’t he? He told you to get away from me.”

“And I told him the same thing I’m telling you -- that’s not fucking happening.” Sam’s looking murderous now, and Dean takes a breath.

"But he’s right. He’s afraid I’m going to hurt you.”

“He's wrong. You’d never hurt me,” Sam says again, grasping Dean’s hand hard, right across the table like they're not in the middle of a truck stop. Sam looks at him and there’s so much trust there, such earnest, unshaking faith that Dean has to swallow before he can talk.

“No,” he says softly, trying to ignore the feel of the pulse in Sam’s wrist. “I won't.” He makes it a promise, a vow to Sam and to himself and he lets himself hang onto Sam until the thought of holding hands with his brother in a diner outweighs his need for Sam’s reassurance.

“So we go to Stanford,” Sam says when Dean lets go, flipping Dad’s notebook closed and standing up. “I’ll go put some gas in the car.”

“Then what?” Dean asks. “After Stanford?”

And then Sam goes still and there’s silence all around, it seems.

It's just a flicker, a glimpse, but for a second it isn’t his brother Dean sees – there’s something more, something bright and blinding and not-Sam behind his brother’s face and all Dean can do is stare.

“They’re afraid of me,” Sam says quietly, carefully. “They should be.” He looks down at the check. “You got this?”

Dean just nods. Clears his throat. “I -- I'm going to hit the john. I’ll catch up.”

He gives a shaky smile that miraculously Sam buys, so Dean waits until Sam’s out the door before he stumbles to his feet, lurching toward the back of the diner. The bathroom is starkly bright, cheerfully mocking the stuttering pound of his heart as Dean leans over the sink to splash water on his face, looks up dripping water into his collar.

Just Sam, he tells himself, but he doesn't believe it. He saw something behind his brother's face, something Sam can't even see, and then he's almost laughing. It just keeps getting better and better -- Sam isn't Sam, or he's more than Sam, or some fucking thing, but Dean can't really talk because he's probably just one good hickey away from becoming one of the undead. He’s actually feeling shakily relieved to see his own reflection until he really gets a good look at himself.

What the fuck.

Dean tries to breathe. He’s gotten used to looking at his face in pieces; hair combed, teeth brushed, skin shaved close, but never at his whole face if he could help it. He stopped looking a long time ago, once he realized that his father watched him closer than he watched Sam, pushed him harder, protective and ashamed at the same time of his son who looked like an advertisement for sex. So much easier to cut his hair short so he could run one hand through it and be done, easier to shave in the shower and brush his teeth while keeping his eyes fixed on the water swirling down the sink.

waiting for you

But now he has to look, trying to recognize a face as pale as the white t-shirt he’s wearing, the bones beneath more defined, refined somehow, with the only color coming from eyes green and glittering in the fluorescent light and lips deep red like he’s wearing more of that stupid gloss.

And suddenly it’s as clear as that stranger's reflection in the mirror, clear as the beacon of light inside his brother and the voices inside his head; Dean can see where all this is going. Sam thinks it’s his fault; that he started this mess with that first kiss in the club but Dean knows better – they’ve been heading toward this ever since fate took everything else away and left them with only each other. Left him nothing but Sam -- his responsibility and his tormentor, his brother and his savior and the goddamned love of his life.

want you

There’s something other in Sam, yeah, but no denying it now, there’s something in him, too; something cold and growing that can hear the whispers of the night-creatures calling to him from hundreds of miles away, if he listens. Something that can see what they see when they look at Sam. He stares into the mirror.

beautiful one

And yeah, he’d stopped looking at himself, but that never once stopped him from using it, taking advantage of the things people wanted to do to him to make them do things for him instead. Drinks in bars when he was broke and safe places for him and Sam to sleep even when he wasn’t; cigarettes and gas money, a jump for the car battery. Using his looks got him fed and got him laid and he learned that no one ever questioned the false name on his credit cards when he smiled. He took care of himself and took care of Sam and he can still do that, will always do that, no matter what’s happening to him now.

Kill them all, Sam said. In pain and blood and fire. Dean grins fiercely at his reflection, runs his tongue over his teeth, careful not to cut himself.

It’s a place to start.

Too easy to slip out the back of the diner, stick to the shadows and avoid the brightly lit station where Sam is pumping gas. Stops to look at him one more time, look for that bright light hidden behind Sam's easy slouch. Stay safe, he thinks.

Easier still to find what he’s looking for, three girls on their way back to UCLA, stopped for bottled water and candy bars. He stops just outside their range of vision and just listens; laughter, conversation, music on the radio. Three separate heartbeats.

They go still when he walks up to them, instantly wary of strangers in parking lots, miles from home, but he hunches his shoulders, hands in his pockets, and stops a good six feet away.

“You need something?” The driver asks, too polite to tell him to fuck off. He turns his face up into the light and smiles.

“Actually… I could use a ride.”


Chapter Five -- Benediction

“Fuck, Sam. That last one almost killed me.”

Dean’s voice sounds hoarse and Sam knows what he’ll see when he opens his eyes; Dean digging through his duffle bag to find the aspirin he pops like tic-tacs, his sleep-squashed hair sticking out in a dozen different directions while he squints his eyes into the morning light. Whatever the last one was -- drink or fuck or hunt, and it’s weird that Sam can’t remember -- it will have left Dean’s face with the faint trace of lines beneath his stubble, shadows at his mouth and his eyes like a whisper of the old man he’s going to be someday.

If he lives that long.

“Bitch, bitch, bitch,” Sam mutters and puts his arm over his eyes. There's something really weird about this, but Sam feels too lethargic to think about it, wants Dean to shut the fuck up with his cheerful complaining. Let Sam sleep a little longer.

Not a chance.

“Rise and shine, princess – you’re wasting time we don’t have. Up.” Dean is insistent. “Whole hell of a lot to do. Gonna need to bring your A-game for this one.”

The conversation is definitely getting away from him. Sam scrubs at his eyes, yawns. “You’re not making sense. What game?”

"Hey, remember that game Dad took us to? What was it, '94? After we offed that poltergeist in Indiana?"

"Saved the entire town." Sam mumbles. "Got paid in football tickets."

"Hey. It was Notre Dame." Dean pauses. "Did you ever want to play?"


"Yeah, football. Of course,football; what are we talking about here?"

Sam honestly has no idea. He finally opens his eyes to sunshine, but Dean’s moved out of the light and Sam can’t see him. “You saying you wanted to play? Are you nuts? You would have gotten flattened.”

“Not college ball, moron. High school. Hell, peewee league, just… fall sunlight, crisp air… cheerleaders.” Sam can almost hear the grin. “Throwing that winning pass with no time left…”

Of course Dean would want to be the quarterback, throw one out right on the numbers, nothing less for his brother who never missed when he tried to hit something, but there's something wistful there that Dean doesn’t usually let show. Sam finds his voice enough to say, “Doesn’t happen like that for most kids. You know that, right?”

“Yeah, I know, whatever. But maybe. Could have been. I’d have liked to try.” Movement in the shadows that could be Dean miming a pass. “Just one shot at a miracle. One Hail Mary, flying across that big, blue sky.”

Sam's trying to figure out how to answer, but then Dean’s reaching forward like he’s going to mess up Sam’s hair. He’s laughing, clear and light, and Sam realizes with a hollow ache in his gut that this has to be just another god-damned dream, because in all his life he’s never heard his brother make a sound containing such bright, weightless joy.




There’s a buzz from his phone, scattering Sam’s dream and vibrating the plastic against the motel’s scuffed formica table. Like every time it’s rung for the past month Sam’s heart stops a little and he lunges out of bed to grab it, still more than half asleep.

“What?” He’d stopped answering the phone with Dean? about two weeks after his brother disappeared from the diner in Alameda and about five seconds after he accepted the fact that Dean wasn’t going to just call him to chat.

“Hey, a cheery fucking good day to you, too, Sam.”

He falls back onto the bed, rubs the ache between his eyes. “Hey, Ash.”

“Wow, my man. You sound like crap. Late night, huh?” Sam’s gotten used to Ash’s smirk over the phone.

“Couldn’t sleep.” Wide awake and aching. Wanting his brother in his bed. Sam sits up. “So. This just a social call, or you got another coven for me to take out?” Sam asks more to change the subject than anything else, but Ash’s hesitation wakes him up completely. “Ash? What is it?”

“I just want to preface this by saying I’m not sure, okay?”

“Tell me this is a lead.” He’s afraid to even say Dean’s name; the hope he’s got left is too fragile.

Ash hesitates. “Maybe. Look, don’t want you to get your hopes up. This could be another dead end.”

“Come on – whatever it is, tell me.” Sam’s knuckles are white.

“It’s definitely another coven. I’ve been tracking this one since before the nest you cleaned out in Wichita. There’s the same sudden spike in disappearances in an extremely short time-period – runaways and street-kids mostly, but a few of them have enough people looking for them to make the cops take notice. I did a cluster analysis and it presents the same pattern as the --.”

“Yeah, Ash, I got it; it’s math, okay? What’s different about this one?”

“I think this one might be your missing L.A. clan.”

Sam feels the words hit somewhere in his chest. He thinks he might go take out Ash if he’s wrong. “You can tell that from the – the cluster-fuck pattern, whatever it is?”

“Not exactly.” Ash sounds grimly amused. “I'm guessing based on the assumption that even blood-sucking monsters probably stick with what works. The center of this pattern is a nightclub, just opened up three weeks ago. Three guesses on the name.”

Sam’s heart begins to pump harder. “Venom.”

“Got it in one. Give the boy a prize.”

“Where?” Sam’s already tossing his laundry in his bag, opening his laptop.


Sam glances at the clock – 7 a.m.. “Fuck, I can be there before they close.” For the first time since Sam raced back to L.A. and found the club locked up and deserted he feels actual hope. “You got an address?”

“I’m sending it now. But, Sam --.”

Sam cuts him off. “Ash, this is the first solid lead we’ve had. I’m already out the door.”

“Dude, listen to me – I know you want to find him. I do, too. But maybe you should wait for back-up on this one.”

Sam talks around his toothbrush. “I didn’t need any back-up in Vegas, or Miami, or frickin’ Wichita.” He spits into the sink. “And I know which one sired the coven this time – Ash, I’ve seen him." Sam can see still see him, dark and motionless in the alley. "I just take him out and the others go up in flames.” Sam remembers smoke and fire and screams.

A few weeks hunting vampire covens cross-country has taught him a lot.

“What about Dean?” Ash’s quiet question interrupts his thoughts.

“What about him? I find him, I bring him back. That’s what.”

“And if he doesn’t want to go?” Ash cuts off Sam’s protest. “Dude, he left on his own. After a whole month – if he’s with them, you’ve got to at least think about the possibility that he wants to be there.”

“With the vampires,” Sam says. Without me, he thinks.

Ash is starting to sound a little pissed off now, too. “There’s a really good chance that he drank the kool-aid and they’ve turned him by now. Don’t tell me you haven’t thought about that.”

“He has to be willing.” Sam tells Ash the same thing he’s told himself a thousand times since Dean left him, clinging to it because sometimes it’s the only thing that gets him out of bed every day.

Ash has heard it just as many times. “Come on, Sam. You told me yourself that he was half-vamp when he left --.”

“From the venom,” Sam says. “That vampire expert my dad saw in Ojai, my professor at Stanford – they both said the same thing. The only way Dean will become one of them permanently is if he drinks a vampire’s blood willingly. Ash, it’s Dean we’re talking about. He won’t do it.”

Sam can hear his pulse pound in the brief silence on the other end of the phone.

“Then why would they keep him alive?” The pity in Ash’s voice makes Sam’s throat hurt.

“Because…” Sam remembers the creatures in the alley, remembers the weight of their power and their desire, focused on one thing only.

beautiful one

“… because they wanted him too much.”

Ash is silent for a second. “I hope to hell you’re right.” He doesn’t say anything else but Sam can finish the thought for him. If Sam’s wrong about this, Dean won’t survive it.

“Good luck,” Ash says finally.

Sam closes his eyes. “I’ll bring him back.”




Chicago is a thousand miles up US 57, fourteen hours north and east through the endless flat plain of farm fields and suburbs between Texas and Illinois. Sam hits the outskirts of the city with the sun setting red and bloody behind him, sending dying light across endless miles of low, crowded neighborhoods with only gothic spires and factory chimneys rising up over them to break up the horizon.

The address Ash gave him is in an industrial district, a massive warehouse surrounded by shattered buildings and dark, desolate alleyways; the battered steel fire-door lit by flickering neon while a muffled bass line shakes the walls. Sam pulls up across the narrow street and stares at the cold blue sign over the doorway.


It’s like he never left. Sam wonders if they brought the sign with them from L.A.

He sits up when he sees movement near the door. Slim razor-blades in black dart past the bouncer and into the club, swift and furtive and Sam can see that none of them are Dean, but it doesn’t matter. He knows, can feel it down deep like a warm hand against his chest, that Dean is somewhere inside that goddamn warehouse.

Sam could kill him.

He made it to Chicago on rage, it seemed, rage and hurt and worry, fueled by all the months of phone calls that his brother hadn’t picked up and an imagination that only shows him nightmares. It’s been 36 hours since he really slept, almost as long since he’s eaten, and he’s pretty sure that at this point there’s more coffee than blood in his veins.

That isn’t the only reason his insides are twisting into knots.

He can feel them. From the second he drove up, they’ve been there; cool spaces in the swirling chaos of the club, brushing up against his mind. If he reaches out a little, lets himself drift, he thinks he’ll be able to see them, too. See Dean.


Soft whisper in his head that might as well have been a shout and then suddenly everything shifts; tilts sickeningly and it’s like he’s inside the club, with the whole world turned to blinding strobes and pulsing music, writhing crowds and dark shadowed corners. Dean’s standing there as if Sam summoned him, unmoving and facing away but it doesn’t matter. Sam would know his brother anywhere. The set of his shoulders and the curve of his neck hollow Sam out with longing, and the only thing he wants is to put his arms around Dean’s waist and settle himself against Dean’s body.

look at me, he wills his brother, but Dean doesn’t even glance back, just starts to move through the crowd, so Sam has to chase him, slipping past dancers who are just obstacles of light and shadow, distorted faces leering in the dark. He starts to move faster, because Dean has almost reached them; dark, unmoving shapes somehow apart from the confusion, terrifyingly still and waiting.

no, no, no, useless litany in his head but maybe Dean hears because he turns. Too far away to touch but close enough for Sam to see the dark, clinging clothes and darker kohl around his eyes, exactly the way he looked the night everything went to hell. Grieving, solemn, beautiful, and Sam thinks if he just tries hard enough he’ll be able to make Dean hear him.


But then he’s there, the one with the 10,000 kilowatt eyes whose power makes Sam’s head ache; he’s moved up behind Dean, now, and he’s reaching out like Dean’s the fucking prodigal. Pale hands on Dean’s shoulders, possessive and tight, pulling him in, and Dean…

Turns away from Sam.

Sam feels a sense of loss like a fist to his stomach, high up under his ribs, with pain that only expands as the thing pulls Dean close and puts his lips against Dean’s forehead. Sam thinks he might go insane if he has to watch the bastard lean down to kiss Dean’s waiting mouth.

get out of here, Sam

A whisper in his head like a cool fingertip dragging over his skin and then the vision of the club shatters into splintering shards of light. Sam clenches his fingers around the steering wheel.


No fucking way.

Sam’s out of the car before he can think about it. He hits the pavement as the door to the club flies open like it’s exploding, dark-clothed figures spilling out and suddenly it’s a stand-off; it’s the OK corral in gothic black with six demon gun-fighters in skin-tight leather and silver studs hovering just outside the doorway, waiting for him to make his move.

Sam doesn't hesitate. It’s an easy jump onto the hood of the car and then one long stride to the roof, with his heavy leather boots making hollow thuds against the metal. He turns to face them, ready to shout a challenge, take all of them at once

come and get me

when a sudden rush of power from deep inside makes him stagger. Blinding, white energy, flaring out from inside him, bright as the sun and then gone before he can grasp it, but it makes the creatures fall back, arms thrown up in defense.

Sam stares at them in shock for a second before frantically trying to find the power again. It's still there, bright glow he can almost touch it, but it keeps slipping out of reach and the vampires near the doorway are gathering again. He reaches for the knife strapped to his leg -- and almost falls off the roof when his cell phone rings.

A text message. His brother’s number. Three lines.

4 am
chestnut & maple
go NOW

It’s only his imagination this time, but he thinks he can hear his brother add “dumb-shit” to the message. Then he’s laughing, loud and short and kind of crazy with the power beckoning him like a drug and he nods to the creatures in the doorway, stops just short of saluting. He jumps to the ground and practically falls into the car, peeling away before the fuckers ever have a chance to move.




The map shows a corner in the center of the city, just a few blocks off of glittering shops and restaurants on Michigan Ave., brightly lit and deserted. Sam's practically vibrating with the energy now, the power surging through him in waves he can almost ride as he stares up at the buildings through the windshield. He pictures high-rise vampires in a penthouse somewhere, wonders how he can do reconnaissance, unless...

“This better not be a freaking cemetery, Dean.” He mutters the words out loud but when he turns onto Chestnut he sees that the address Dean gave him isn’t a graveyard; it’s a church.

Or what used to be a church.

Now it’s just the bare bones of a cathedral in the middle of everything, surrounded by chainlink fence and hard-hat signs, broken bones splayed up against the night sky, made of some dirty white stone that still reflects back every scrap of light from the moon and the streetlamps so that the whole thing glows.

Sam parks the Impala crookedly on the street, stumbles up to the demolition site while staring up at the cross-beams high above, at the open walls enclosing nothing but churned earth. Neo-gothic, his mind supplies, remnants of an art elective junior year, and he wonders how Dean found this place. He's about to yell, just scream out Dean's name when he sees movement above, a flicker in the shadow of an empty arch high up on the remnants of the roof. Sam shoves the gate open.

It takes some time to find the stairway, and then he has to climb some scaffolding to get to the roof. He's breathing hard when he pulls himself up, looking around at stone peaks around the edges, spaced out so that between them the edge falls off into nothing. There’s plastic sheeting suspended from some of the stonework, moving gently in the breeze, so that he almost doesn’t see Dean at first, not until he takes a step away from a column. And then Dean doesn't move, just stands there at the edge of the roof as Sam moves toward him, ghostly in a pale, button-down shirt and worn jeans, far too still and silent.

Sam can’t help it; the open drop and the relief of Dean's presence are giving him vertigo so he slows, stops a dozen feet away.

“Dean?” His voice sounds small.

For a long time Dean doesn’t move, then Sam sees him exhale, lean his shoulder into the stone beside him in one liquid slide. “I swear to God, Sam." The voice is effortless. A careless drawl. "If you dented my car…”

Sam’s mind blanks. “Your car? You’re worried about the – you…" Sam’s hands are shaking and his breath is coming out ragged. "You left me.”

Dean looks away, turns his face into the shadows like he doesn’t even want to see Sam, and Sam tightens his fists in frustration. Waits for him to say something.


"What -- what's wrong with you? Dean --." Sam steps closer still and Dean steps back, just inches away from the edge. "Hey, be careful," Sam says, worried.

"You found me. I should have known, I guess. So fucking stupid..." Dean's talking to him, presumably, but peering over the edge at the street a hundred feet below.

Sam feels lost. Hurt. And wishes Dean would move away from the edge of the roof. "Of course, I found you... I've been looking, Dean. For weeks." Sam starts toward Dean again.

"Get away from me."

Dean's voice is cold and remote and it hits Sam in the gut. Dean's practically hovering on the edge, like maybe he's going to balance there but something about his stance says he isn't, and suddenly Sam doesn't care anymore. He's found Dean, finally found him, and there's no way Dean's leaving him alone again.

There are worse endings Sam can think of. He lunges forward, thinking he can at least get his hands on his brother one more time before they both tumble over the side.

Dean moves faster than Sam can see, rushing to meet him, grab him, and then Sam's back is crashing into the roof with the edge ten feet away and the the back of his head knocking sharply into the concrete. He's got Dean leaning heavily on top of him, mouth against his ear. "Idiot, idiot," Dean says, low and breaking, hands clutching at Sam's shoulders. "What are you doing, Sam?"

“God damn it, Dean.” Sam's angry and scared enough to shove him off but somehow ends up pushing his face up against Dean’s cheek, just touching him instead. Of all the angry questions he wants to spit at Dean only one seems to matter. “Are you okay?” he asks, his mouth moving against Dean’s skin. “I don’t – I’ve been out of my mind.”

“Yeah, I know, Sammy, I know.” Dean says softly. His head’s still turned away but he's clutching Sam’s shoulders, gripping him tight like he can’t help but touch, too.

“You know,” Sam repeats, finding it hard to breathe. "Then...why? Why the fuck did you leave me?"

There's a long silence where Dean just breathes into Sam's shoulder. Then Sam hears him whisper,“Jesus, Sam… look at me.”

Dean finally tilts his head up toward Sam and the eerie light turns his skin to winter, pale and perfect over a face honed sharp and flawless in the moonlight. And God, Sam can’t help but look. Stare. And feel. Hard body on top of his, thinner than he remembers; soft hair longer than he’s ever seen it, falling over Dean’s forehead…this is still his brother, still Dean, but defined somehow – like all the ragged edges have been polished bright. He stares in confusion at glittering eyes and pale skin, bitten lips, parted to take a breath, and –

Sam looks closer, touches Dean’s lips. “Dean… your mouth…”

Dean smiles then, fierce and beautiful and terrifying and it isn’t just shock that makes Sam let go when Dean rolls away to sit up and rub the back of his hand over his mouth.

“Yeah. Nice fangs, huh? Razor sharp, too – I bit my tongue yesterday and I thought I was gonna bleed to death.” Dean’s low laugh holds no humor at all.

“Just from the – you got like this just from the bite?”

Dean just shrugs. “Still think I could have stuck around to drive you up to Stanford?”

Sam sits up, too, trying to pull his fraying thoughts together. “I don't care. You didn't -- you shouldn't have left me.”

“Like I had a choice?” Dean asks, bitterly. “I could hear that – that goddamn voice inside my head.”

“What voice? Dean --.”

“His! The bastard who did this to me!" Dean presses his lips together. "I had his fucking poison in my blood, Sam, changing me – his voice in my head all the time and God – I just needed to make it stop.” Dean cuts off like he's forcing himself to stop talking.

Sam remembers the creature in the alley, in the club; long hair falling over sharp eyes and the sense of raw power, the pressure that pounded in his head. The way he looked at his brother.

“He tell you to leave me behind, too?” He wants to rage at Dean but the words come out sounding miserable and hurt instead.

Dean’s shoulders slump. He’s folded himself up, elbows propped on his bent knees, head turned to look at the ruins around them. “I would have hurt you if I’d stayed.”

“That is such bullshit, you’d never –.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Dean rubs a hand over his face. “You don’t know what it was like. There were these girls who gave me a ride and I wanted --. I almost --.” He takes a breath, visibly calming himself down. “So yeah. I left you. I went back to the club to take the vamps out.”

“Obviously, that worked out well,” Sam mutters.

“Such a fucking mess,” Dean says, shaking his head and looking up past the skyscrapers around them, focusing on the moon. “He knew I was coming, knew what I wanted to do, knew everything – they got the drop on me, Sam, before I ever got near the damn place. When I woke up I’d lost about a week and had no fucking clue where we were.”

Dean pauses and Sam waits for him to continue, even though he wants to shake the answers out of him. Even if it’s just to touch him again.

“And then he wanted me – to drink. From him.” Dean rubs his eyes.“So I’ll turn.I've tried to take him out but you have no idea, Sam... it's like he knows what I'm planning before I do. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get to him...”

“And that whole time you couldn’t get to a phone, either?” Sam asks unevenly.

Dean’s gaze snaps up, harder, suddenly. Cold. “Look, I’ve got a plan, now. A good one. And if you really want to know, you’re kinda fucking it up. You should just get the hell out of here and --.”

“Wait a minute, you want me to leave?”

“Yeah. Just – just let me take care of this. Then, I don't know, I’ll meet you somewhere…”

Sam stares at him because Dean’s always been the worst goddamn liar in the world, vampire poison or not. “Are you crazy? I’m not going anywhere. I can help you, you know that! And I can probably actually get the job done because I’ve spent the last month looking for your sorry ass and guess what -- killing vampires.” Silence, then, while Dean looks at him without accusation, from somewhere so far away Sam feels like he’d do anything to drag him back.

“Dean.” It comes out like a plea. “This can be over tonight. Just tell me what you know about this – this thing and we’ll figure out a way to kill him.”

“Aaron,” Dean says, and it’s a pebble dropped into water.

“What?” Sam asks softly.

“Aaron,” Dean repeats, getting to his knees. “His name’s Aaron.”

He feels time just spin out around him for a second, frozen until he leans forward and grabs Dean’s arm before his brother can stand. He bunches the sleeve of Dean’s shirt in his fingers, feels the softness of it. Linen rich as cream, thick and expensive, falling loose over Dean’s shoulders like it was made for someone bigger.

Someone else.

“This is his, isn’t it?” he asks, not really trusting his voice. Dean’s silence is answer enough, the way his eyes skate away. “This is why you stayed. For him.”

Dean looks back at him, surprised. “Sam, no…”

Sam isn’t listening, doesn’t really register Dean’s words at all because his vision’s graying out as everything suddenly makes horrible sense and all he can see is dark hair falling over Dean’s face. Over his hips. The back of his neck.

“What does he do to you?” The words tumble out, heart-broken and careless, fury swamping him like a wave until he gets his hands on Dean’s body. He drags Dean forward, coming up to his knees so they’re facing each other. “You let him touch you like this? Kiss you? Fuck you --?”

“Shut up.” Dean hands are urgent, gripping his shoulders and touching him back, voice uneven. “Don’t be stupid, Sam -- it’s you. Just you, for years now – no way you don’t know that.”

Words he’d wanted to hear forever, and they make things better and infinitely worse at the same time. With an impatient motion he shifts his hands from Dean’s shoulders to his face, his jaw, then shoves his fingers through Dean’s hair so he can press their foreheads together.

“Then tell me why. A whole month, Dean.” Harsh whisper into the small space between their mouths. “You couldn't fucking let me know? I thought you were dead. I still don’t understand this – why you’re here, now, why they even kept you alive.” He tries not to sound doubtful, but there are warning bells going off in his head, something Dean isn’t telling him and it’s making his nerves scream.

Sam can feel the tension beneath Dean’s skin, the way he’s almost vibrating with it, before Dean laughs like shattering glass. “You really want to know?”

And suddenly Sam isn’t sure.

Dean pulls back and Sam lets him go, watches him lift his hand to the collar of the white shirt. The cuff falls away from his arm when he does it, sliding down and Sam finds himself staring at dark marks ringing Dean’s wrist, biting deep into the pale skin. Sam makes a low sound of concern, reaches out to touch them. “Jesus, Dean, you’ve got bruises --.”

He breaks off when he catches sight of Dean’s neck.

The ruin of it.

“Oh, God…” Sam’s not sure the words actually come out.

“This is why.” Dean’s almost whispering. Telling some awful secret. Sam puts his fingers near the raw wounds, ragged skin still tinged with blood and thinks he might be sick.

“They've been doing this to you… for three months?” Sam's stomach turns over.

“Twice on Sundays. I’m pretty sure I’m their favorite.” Dean’s smile is a grim, twisted thing.


“And every time.” Dean swallows. “Every time they did it, they put more of that poison inside me. Like maybe it would have just worn off if they hadn't --.”

Dean stumbles over the end of the sentence but it doesn’t matter. Sam’s temples are pounding. The entire world has narrowed down to the ligature marks on Dean’s arms and the torn, bloody bites on his neck -- and the unending mental movie of his brother hurt and drugged and used running through Sam’s mind.

Sam wants to destroy them. Obliterate them, until there’s nothing left but dust.

“Let’s get out of here.” He listens to his voice shake, thinks his face might be wet. “Come with me right now and we’ll just go. We'll get you somewhere safe and then we’ll—we’ll figure something out --.”

Dean isn’t listening, talks over Sam like he’s talking to himself. “The venom makes me want to drink, too. The blood-suckers wait until I’m starving, until I’m half-dead, and then bring them to me – all these stupid club kids who think it’s a game.”

“Jesus, Dean…” Sam shakes his head, not wanting to hear. His stomach rolls at the thought.

More hollow laughter. “Yeah. I’m a monster. The only reason I didn’t try to put a bullet in my head is that the venom doesn't come unless I want to use it. I didn't really hurt them, but Jesus, Sam…they beg me to do it. Whisper to me like they’re in agony, like they’ll die if I don’t touch them.”

Dean looks up at him then, a faint gleam of something feral behind the grief and then he’s moving, sliding closer to Sam until he’s an immediate, overwhelming presence that makes Sam’s entire body react. Sam can hardly breathe and Dean is barely touching him; just leaning his face against Sam’s throat and touching his lips briefly to the pulse in Sam’s neck. Sam’s breathing hitches.

“I can feel it,” Dean whispers, his breath a gentle brush over Sam’s skin. “All that blood – there’s nothing like it, Sam. Better than any drug, any hunt, any fuck… I wish I could show you what it’s like. It’s all I think about. Right now, I want you so bad I could… ” He takes a deep, shuddering breath, then rests his head against Sam’s shoulder, as if he’s too tired to hold it upright anymore. “I could make you want me to do it, too. I could make you beg for it,” Dean whispers, sounding unbearably weary.

Sam can’t move. Repulsed and fascinated and scared, all at the same time, but more than anything else just aching -- he’s never heard his brother sound so close to defeat before, no matter what kind of hell they’d stumbled into. He turns his face into Dean’s hair.

“I would. I will. On my knees if you want.” He whispers it against Dean’s ear, lets his face rub up against Dean’s cheek and lets the want just rush over him. He can’t help it; he’s missed this, needed this so badly for way too long, so he reaches out to pull Dean closer.

Dean’s hands close around his shoulders hard, trying to keep Sam at a distance, and the expression on his face is fierce. “Aren’t you listening? How – how can you still want me?”

Sam stares at him. Like Dean isn’t the constant. Like he isn’t the most beautiful, necessary thing Sam’s ever known in his life; the one thing Sam will always need. Nothing in hell will ever change that. But there’s no explaining it if Dean doesn’t already get it, so Sam pulls until Dean almost falls into him, puts his lips against Dean’s cool mouth and tries to make him understand.

Oh, God.

He’d missed this so much. Missed Dean so much, until he was almost sick with it, like once they’d touched each other he’d starve to death without Dean’s hands on his skin to fill him up. He makes Dean open his mouth, makes Dean kiss him back until Dean’s gasping for breath, until maybe he’s as hungry as Sam is.

“You can’t leave me again,” Sam tells him. "You can't. I won't let you." Simple truth that doesn’t require an answer, and he rocks into the weight of Dean’s body like punctuation. Feels Dean start. Lean into him.

Finally. Careful, urgent kisses and his brother moves closer, starts to run his hands over Sam’s shoulders, his back. He can feel motion in Dean’s body now, too – slight rocking that makes Sam’s heart start to thud in his chest.

Sam shifts around, dropping down and taking Dean with him until he’s half-lying on the ground with his back propped against a crumbling wall and Dean’s thighs splayed over his hips. Sam closes his arms tight and protective around Dean’s back, dragging him in so their bodies touch. He bumps his face into Dean’s, nuzzles against his cheek.

“I want to do this naked,” Dean breathes.

That makes Sam move against him, thrust up sharply, once. “Fuck, Dean." He swallows hard, searches for control. "We -- we can't. We can't stay here.”

Dean shakes his head. Kisses Sam again. “Want to feel you. Sammy...please.”

Six words and Sam is lost. He gets his hands on the buttons of that damned shirt, wants to tear it to pieces but it’s too thick, material’s too strong so he pulls the buttons free and spreads it open, tugs at Dean until he kneels so Sam can get his mouth on Dean’s chest. And fucking hell, there are wounds here, too; some scarred over, some healing, some practically torn open, vicious marks marring Dean’s skin and Sam moans in pain like they’re his own.

“Don’t, Sam, come on… they don’t hurt…” Dean murmurs.

“Bullshit,” Sam says, rage and grief starting to close like hands around his throat, edged with the white heat of the power he’d felt outside the club. It's an effort to shove it away, push it down deep until he can do something about it. Instead of getting up and killing something he tries to soothe Dean’s skin with his tongue, tries to kiss away what they’ve done.

Then Dean’s kneeling over him, leaning on him heavily and reaching one hand down to open Sam’s pants, and Sam has to wonder briefly if this is just Dean’s way of distracting him from his wounds. The touch of Dean’s cool fingers against his cock, pulling him free of his jeans and his boxers makes him decide he doesn’t much fucking care, and he pushes up helplessly into Dean’s touch. Just rubs his face against Dean’s chest and then takes one hard, tiny nipple between his teeth.

Dean arches his body and makes a needy noise that drives Sam crazy, clutches Sam’s shoulder hard enough to mark. Sam jerks him forward, just pulls him in, sliding his hands down Dean’s back and grasping his hips through soft denim. The jeans are loose enough that Sam can pull them down over Dean’s hipbones, follow the lines of muscle with his shaking fingertips, wondering wildly if he’s ever felt this desperate before in his life.

Sam can barely concentrate but the buttons come open with only a little effort, the jeans falling open easily over Dean’s hips and sliding down his thighs when he briefly stands because, jesus – he isn’t wearing anything underneath and Sam just groans. It’s way too much – Dean kicking his jeans aside and sinking down onto his lap, staring down, gorgeous and still, with his body bare and that goddamn shirt framing his shoulders and Sam can only shake his head and reach out to touch.

“ -- so fucking beautiful --,” and then immediately Dean is dragging his mouth up and kissing him, hard and angry.

“Don’t say that,” he says. “Never -- never say that.”

“Okay,” Sam says, quick to reassure, worried in the face of Dean’s intensity. “Okay, never again. I promise.” He pulls Dean closer, buries his face against Dean’s chest and closes him in his arms because there’s something frightening here, something dark and twisted that Sam is afraid to think about too closely.

He puts soft, open kisses over Dean’s chest and ribs and belly until he can feel Dean’s hands clench in his hair; until he can feel Dean’s breathing start to speed up and the bone-deep shudder that goes through Dean’s body when Sam pushes him back a little, brushes his lips over the tip of his cock.

"Sam," Dean says, voice jagged with want and it makes Sam crazy, makes him run his hands up the back of Dean’s thighs and cup the hard muscle of Dean’s ass in both hands, the shirt-tails a soft fall of linen against Sam’s knuckles and it feels so good. He’s achingly hard, desperate suddenly, wanting everything now and Dean makes a noise that sounds like everything Sam’s feeling. It's like Sam can't help it, it's like the firm muscle he's rubbing is addictive, and without thinking he's dipping his fingers in between, soft brush that makes Dean clutch his shoulders harder.

"Fuck, yeah, Sam," he says, and then Sam's got Dean's fingers in his mouth, stroking his tongue, oddly cool but warming up right away as Sam sucks on them. Then Dean slips them free and and reaches back, pushing against Sam's fingers so that they're both there, opening Dean up.

"Wait -- wait, Dean, it'll hurt --."

Dean shakes his head, intent. "Don't care."

"I do. Just wait..." He jerks Dean down into his lap, pulls their hips together so everything between them is just slick heat and damp skin and he can get his hands on Dean's cock. He puts his hands all over both of them, deliberate strokes that make Dean's eyes close and his mouth go lax, stroking until they're both slippery and helpless and ready to come. Until they're leaking enough to coat Sam's fingers, enough to make Dean slick and open enough that Sam can push in a little when Dean moves over him.

“Better?” Sam asks through gritted teeth, feeling almost out of his mind and wanting to just move.

Dean’s breath is against his neck, a stuttering nod to go with that shallow pant, but then Dean drops his head back, his face twisted like keeping himself under control is painful and Sam can see a glint of moonlight on sharp fangs.

“Do it,” Sam says.

“Sam --.”

“No venom, right?”

Dean shifts, helpless, leans into him. “No venom. I’d never --.”

“Then do it.” And oh, fuck, he knows this is going to hurt them both, tear them up but he thinks that maybe this is the only way it can be. "Now, Dean, now, come on --." he begs, and like that's a signal, Sam thrusts up as Dean strikes down.

It's chaotic. It's pain and pleasure past any point he'd ever imagined, it's him inside Dean and Dean inside him and it's like it's always been this way, one way or another for all of his life. Dean's drinking deep, sucking almost in time with the liquid movement of his hips, pushing Sam toward some shattering edge where they're both going to fall, where coming's like dying and Sam can't seem to care. He slams himself up into Dean, over and over while Dean shudders against his neck, blood leaking down to streak his chest until finally Sam can't hold on anymore and lets himself freefall.

A dizzying rush. Like nothing he's ever felt before. So unbelievably good, even when it goes on too long.

Slowly, slowly, he becomes aware of Dean’s mouth like a stinging burn, licking through the euphoria that's making him weak.

"Dean, what are you --?" he starts, but the bruising pressure of Dean's mouth is putting shadows in front of his eyes, and then the darkness is everything.




“Dean…?” He can feel hands in his hair, gently stroking it back, but when he opens his eyes Dean seems very far away, clothed again and eerily still.

“You’re okay, Sammy, you’re fine,” Dean murmurs, the same way he’s said it for as long as Sam can remember; words of comfort and nonsense, whether he’d scraped his knees or had a demon slice open his ribs. “I took a lot of blood, but you’ll be okay. Don’t move.”

Sam can’t move, can hardly stay conscious. He feels a distant twinge of alarm. “What… what did you do to me?”

"It's blood loss, Sam, that's all. I'd never put venom in you, never. Just blood loss. You need to sleep it off." Dean leans in and squeezes Sam’s shoulders tight. His strange glittering eyes are wide and intense, like his voice in Sam’s ear. “You listen to me, okay? When you wake up, just get out of here. Fast as you can. There’s nothing you can do, anyway.”

“What… I don’t…”

Dean’s shaking his head, and when he speaks Sam isn’t sure who he’s explaining to. “They would have killed you, Sam, right there on the street in front of the club. I had to stop them. Had to prove to him that he could trust me. It was the only way he'd let me walk out of there.”

The first glimpse of comprehension makes Sam go cold. He shifts against the ground like he can get away from it. “No.”

“They’ll be here any second…” Dean’s looking up, scanning the sky, and Sam can feel Dean’s fear in the way he laughs. “He gave me an hour. I drank his blood and let him turn me into a monster forever, and he thought an hour with you was a fair exchange." He looks down at Sam. "I told him I could make you understand. He was probably hoping I’d kill you.”

Panic builds in Sam's chest. He tries to talk, to move, but all that he can manage is a wordless, wounded sound.

“Sam, don’t,” Dean says, touching him again, his face stricken. “It didn’t hurt. Nothing hurts, not anymore. And we had this, you know? I didn’t think we’d ever...” His bravado falters then, and he sits back on one heel, his other knee pulled up to his chest. When he drops his forehead onto his arms it’s like he’s kneeling before an altar. Or over a grave.

After a second he speaks again, voice low and bitter, and Sam can barely hear him. “And it’s not gonna be anything like forever. Now he trusts me. Now I can get close to him. Close enough. I’ll rip his fucking heart out.”

“You’ll die,” Sam whispers.

Dean raises his head and half-smiles, sorrowful and unreal; Sam’s very own grieving angel. “Fuck, Sam. He would never have let me go.”

Dean leans toward him and Sam can feel hands moving at his ankle, pulling the big hunting knife from the sheath wrapped around his calf. Sam feels something else, then; a distant rush of cold, coming closer and closer and focused on Dean beside him. It’s overwhelming, unstoppable; cold outside and in and Sam can’t keep his eyes open against it. He feels his tears spill over, marking hot trails down his cheeks while Dean’s lips press against his, cool and sweet.

“I love you,” Dean says. “And you can’t save me.”




Sam can hear them moving, hear the voices, even though he can’t move. Can’t see.

ours now

The cold they brought with them is everywhere, lurking in the dark that’s pressing against his eyes and wringing the heat from his body, but.

There’s more than that.

The power’s there, too. Pulsing in his blood. Singing through the center of him like a tiny wick of flame he wants to blow on, curl his hands around and urge to grow.




When Sam opens his eyes he realizes he can’t have been out for more than a minute or two, just long enough for Dean to have drawn them away. He can see Aaron and Dean and the six others fanning out behind them as they walk to the far edge of the roof, liquid shadows under the skyline.

Sam eases himself up, carefully silent, but they aren’t looking at him. Their focus is on Dean who moves like they do, now – quicksilver and light, sliding into the shelter of Aaron’s arm.

“Wait.” Sam's voice is wrecked and comes out scratched and broken. He shores it up with the power and tries again. "Wait."

The moving figures stop, go still as marble and Sam can feel that awful, terrible focus swing back toward him. Dean's the first to move, Sam can feel the sudden rage come off of him in waves but all he does is slip his arms around Aaron's waist, lift his head and whisper urgently.

"Wait or you're dead," Sam says and pushes out with his leashed energy, just a little, just enough to let them know he's there. He's getting closer now, walking upright by will alone and he doesn't stop until he's right outside the half-circle they've made, with Dean and Aaron in the center.

"Dean stays," Sam says, staring directly at Aaron.

Cold eyes -- detached, assessing -- meet his for less than a second and then the attack is immediate. It's the same cold rush Sam felt before but with a thousand times the force behind it; coming at him blunt and solid like it's going to slam into him and just keep going, shove him off the edge of the roof.

For a split-second he's sure it's all going to end like this, but then it’s like a rubber band snapping into place, a sudden rush of power drawn pure and tight that will tear the sky to ribbons when he lets it loose. It flows through him, over him, shattering and endless and Sam spreads his arms like he can hold it all in, the night, the power, Dean, and he shouts a challenge they can probably hear in Pilsen.

He raises his hands and blocks Aaron's blow so the energies meet with a shock Sam feels in his bones; immovable object and irresistible force and the collision knocks him back a few steps. Aaron staggers back a step, too, straining against the impact.

The roof shakes beneath Sam's feet, the sound of falling rock echoing deafeningly off the walls and he realizes it's more than just the ruins that will tumble down around them if they keep this up.

Like there's some unspoken signal they both stop, and Sam slumps his shoulders, breathing hard but never taking his eyes from Aaron's.

"He stays," Sam says again, Aaron's eyes on him, cold as frost.

"You can't kill me." Aaron says it like talking is this forgotten thing, something he hasn’t done in so long that he has to dredge up the memory of how it works and push his voice out through broken glass. "You won't." Sam watches the creature turn his face into Dean’s hair. “You won’t risk him.”

Dean is motionless beside him, staring down at the ground and letting himself be touched, distant and detached as the stars overhead, lost in the lights of the city.

“You’re right,” Sam says. “I won’t kill you.” He flicks his gaze over the ones standing behind Aaron, suddenly still and wary. "I'll kill them. Every one you’ve ever made. Every one you make from now on, over and over for as long as I live." He takes a step forward. "I swear to God, it will just be you and my brother, all alone, and he’ll hate you.”

Aaron stills at that, doesn’t move and for the first time Sam can feel him waiting, thinking. Sam can feel his own heartbeat in his throat.

“And all the others -- the innocents I’ll kill if I let you have him. Their lives for his?”

A bargaining chip. An offer. Sam looks at Dean, pale and remote and everything Sam has ever wanted in his life. “Yes,” he says.

“No,” Dean says.

It happens almost faster than Sam can see. Dean moves with Sam’s knife in his hand, turning toward Aaron in some awful pretense of an embrace, right before there are screams that take the air apart. Then Aaron’s falling, crumpling in on himself where the blade is sticking out of his chest, heart-shot because of course, Dean never misses.


Just one word, and Sam lets it tear out of his throat, his mind, lets it echo off the walls but it's already too late. Dean finally looks back at Sam for the first time since he said goodbye and Sam sees the determination there, along with forgiveness.


The bottom drops out of his stomach in a sick wave of rolling fear. He stumbles toward Dean, ignoring the cries around him. Where there was biting cold it’s just heat, now, a furious blaze growing hotter and hotter.

"Dean, oh, God, Dean," he says, practically choking, but Dean's backing away, staring at Sam with horror-stricken eyes.

"Don't -- don't come near me," he says, holding up his hands before looking down at the flames surrounding his body.

Sam stares at the flames, too and wants to scream, wants to lose his mind because Dean’s burning up, igniting like the fire's coming from inside of him. "Dean, no --."

"Sam --?" Dean says, in a young, terrified voice that makes Sam want to howl.

He feels the scream building in his throat and looks frantically around, trying to find something, anything to put out the fire. All he can see is barren stone and the other dying vampires, already twisting into ashes that curl on the ground.

Already burned.

Already gone.

A tiny, still-rational part of his brain asks why Dean isn't dead yet, why the flames are consuming him so slowly when the others are already dust. He latches onto that thought with desperation.

"You're not leaving me," he chokes out, ignoring the flames and Dean's agonized protest. He closes his hands around Dean's arms and the fire that immediately blisters his skin. He looks into Dean, using the white heat of the power as his eyes. He looks through every part of Dean until he finds it waiting there; his own blood in Dean's body, the part of him in Dean and Dean in him like it always had to be this way, and Sam reaches out, catches hold and cradles it tight before blinding white light surrounds them both.




Cold and dark and silence all around them. Dean's on his hands and knees with his fingers twisted into the crumbling stone, like he needs to hang on just to keep himself on the ground. Sam sits up and reaches out, but Dean coughs and clutches at his stomach, rolls away and curls in on himself like he’s in pain.

“Dean? Dean, talk to me.” Sam crawls toward him, gets his hands on Dean's legs, his chest, makes him turn so Sam can see. Dean's clothes are in rags, blackened and smoldering but when Sam looks at his hands, his body, the lines of his face, there are no burns; no wounds or bruises, either, just smooth, pale skin.

Dean's looking, too. "What did you do?" he whispers.

Sam shakes his head, lost. "I kept you here."

Dean sits up suddenly, reaches for Sam. He starts examining Sam's body with frantic fingers, touching him everywhere, looking for damage. "I saw you burning. I saw it, Sam. What...?"

What are you? Sam's glad Dean doesn't ask out loud. He doesn't have an answer that makes sense.

Sam tries to stand but relief makes him weak. His hands are shaking when he reaches out for Dean, pulls him up so they're standing there together.

"You did it," Dean says, his voice hoarse. "However the hell you did it, Sammy, you saved me."

"Yeah. Asshole."

The corner of Dean's mouth twitches. "Okay. My mistake." Then Dean bows his head.

"What is it?" Sam asks.

Dean's eyes are closed. "Dawn's coming -- I can feel it." There's a vacant, weary tone in his voice that makes Sam's chest ache.

Sam takes a breath.

“Need to get you out of the sun, then,” Sam tells him, soothing voice that doesn’t require an answer, that’s always been the same for skinned knees and demon attacks. Vampiric transformations, too. He slips out of his jacket, puts it around Dean’s shoulders. Just in case. “We'll find someplace where you can rest. Feed.” He imagines Dean’s mouth on his skin again and shivers. “Does that sound good?”

He watches Dean breathe in deep. Sees the glint of green visible beneath his downcast eyes, the gleam of white fangs against his bottom lip, right before finally, finally -- he smiles.

“Yeah, Sam,” Dean says. “Beautiful.”