When Sam was little, his whole world revolved around Dean.
A lot of people think that this crazy admiration for his brother started after their mom’s death, but Dean knows it was way before that. When Sam was just a few days old, and their eyes first locked together. Maybe it was even before that, when Sam was still in Mary’s belly, and Dean would lay next to her and spend hours talking to Sam.
Sam would look at Dean like he could pick the moon, and Dean would look at Sam like he would crash it for him.
Their relationship wasn’t perfect, and sometimes they’d fight. But at the end of the day, they were brothers, for better and for worse, and Dean wouldn’t dream of changing anything.
Yet, something changed.
He doesn’t know when it happened.
One day, Sam is his lovely, goofy little brother, the one that he would shove out of the way to get to the shower first. The next, Sam is… Sam IS.
He’s not his little brother anymore. He’s a boy that he could have meet at school. He’s the theatre kid. He’s the nerd that makes jokes that no one gets. He’s the cute boy with the dimples. Maybe he’s always been this boy, but it’s the first time Dean sees him this way, and he hates it.
He doesn’t know when it happened, but once it does, he can’t see anything else.
Suddenly, all the normal, daily things are wrong and dirty.
The sound Sam makes when he’s eating. The way he walks, with his long, long legs that seem to never end The way he lights up the room by doing nothing more than smiling. And the way Dean’s heart misses a beat every time Sam moves closer to him during a movie.
One day, they’re watching the news and they show the picture of a man who kidnapped of a boy and raped him. Sam kept watching at the screen, a blank expression on his face. The boy is fifteen, just like him, and he was just going home from school, like another day.
“Why would someone do that?” Sam asks, pushing his lunch away
“We live in a fucked-up world” Their dad says “We deal with real monsters so often that sometimes we forget that humans can be even worse”
“But he was just a child”
“I know” Dad replies “But sometimes… sometimes it doesn’t matter. I know it’s scary, Sam, but you know how to defend yourself, you don’t need to be scared”
“I’m not scared”
“You’re not?” Dad asks, a proud smile on his face. There’s a lot of things he’s done wrong in his life, and a lot of things he regrets, but his boys? His boys are what he’s most proud of, and there are times when he can see himself so clearly in Sam.
“No. Dean is here to protect me”
Sam turns toward him, his eyes shining with love and trust, and Dean feels the knot in his stomach growing even wider.
“Of course, Sammy”
His throat is tight as he says those words, and he can’t get Sam’s innocent smile out of his mind.
He’s no better than the monster on the news. He’s no better than any of the fucked-up people that are roasting in hell. He’s worse than them because Sam trusts him to defend him, while all Dean can think about is those awful things that he wishes he could do to him.
Most days, he can’t even look at himself in the mirror. He wonders if his mom can see him, from where she is. If she knows what he’s thinking. He told her he would protect Sam, he promised her the very first day he saw Sam, and he failed, miserably.
Will she understand? Will she forgive him? It’s not his fault. He doesn’t want to feel this way. He doesn’t want to hurt Sam.
He wishes he could tell her how disgusted he is with himself. How he hates himself, more than she could ever hate him. He would tell her how much he loves Sam and how sorry he is.
He tries to stay out of the motel room as long as possible, burying himself in alcohol and no-name girls. Even if it’s painful, even if he misses Sam. It works for a few weeks, until one night, he comes home to the motel room ans Sam is waiting for him, his eyes swollen from crying.
Sam, his poor Sam who didn’t ask any for of it. Who kept wondering what he did wrong, and why Dean doesn’t want to spend time with him anymore.
Because I’m a monster, he wants to say, because you deserve better than that.
“I’m sorry” He says “I’m so sorry Sammy”
He doesn’t say why he is sorry, but Sam doesn’t ask. Instead, he gets up from the bed and hugs Dean, promising him that it’s ok, that he’s not mad.
He enjoys Sam’s touch. The first in a long time, and it only makes things worse.
He promises to stay home with Sam. He can’t let his brother suffer because of him.
He won’t hurt Sam, ever. This sick feeling inside of him isn’t lust, it’s love, pure love, and even if it’s killing him, he knows that he loves Sam too much to hurt him.
“Wanna play truth or dare?” Sam asks, shutting the tv off
“Aren’t you too old?”
Sam rolls his eyes before climbing into Dean’s bed, sitting right in front of him.
“Ok, I’ll start. Truth or dare?”
“Dare” Dean says
“Uh… I dare you to… Finish your beer”
“You’re awful at this game” Dean laughs but does as Sam asked him. “Alright, truth or dare?”
Sam is too fast at answering, and that’s how Dean knows that something is going on. He frowns, trying to read Sam’s mind for the right question to ask.
“Do you have a girlfriend?”
“Kind of” Sam says, as if it was nothing, but Dean can see how big Sam’s smile is. How his eyes are shining with joy, and he clenches on his beer tighter.
“What do you mean, kind of?”
“It’s my turn” Sam says, “Truth or dare?”
“What does the perfect girl look like for you?”
Like you, is the first answer that crosses his mind. All the girls he’s hooked up with have brown hair and hazel eyes like Sam, though none of them are as beautiful as he is. If he’s lucky, he can sometimes find a girl that will let him call her “Sam” during sex. That only happened twice, but it was the two best fucks of his life.
“Blonde with big boobs”
“You’re so gross” Sam complains
“You don’t know what’s good” He says, taking another beer “Truth or dare?”
“What do you mean by kind of?”
This time, Sam doesn’t reply right away. He bites nervously on his bottom lip, and Dean can see how his body shifts from comfortable to awkward.
“Well… It’s not really a girl”
“What?” Dean says, his eyes widen. No. Sam can’t go out with a boy. It’s painful enough to see him with a girl, but a boy? He can’t take it. He can’t.
“It’s a boy” Sam finally admits “He’s name is Brandon, and he’s really sweet, he’s… I don’t know. I’m good when I’m with him. He makes me laugh”
A long time ago, Dean was the only one to make Sam laugh. Dad would try everything, from jokes to grimaces, but Sam would keep a stoic face, judging him silently. One word from Dean and he would burst into laughter.
Now, a guy name Brandon is the one making Sam laugh.
“Are you mad?” Sam asks, his voice shaking with fear.
Sam is asking for his big brother’s approval, the only opinion that matters, and Dean tries to push his pain away, to bury it with all the other things he never wants to deal with, because Sam needs him now.
“Of course, I’m not. I’m happy for you”
“Yeah?” Sam says, a smile reappearing on his face
Sometimes, Sam will look at him the same way he used to do when he was little. It’s beyond adoration, beyond love. In those moments Dean is able to forget everything else and focus on Sam and Sam alone
“Did you have sex?” He asks “Because I won’t be happy about that”
“Dean!” Sam yells, throwing a pillow at him “You’re a dick!”
“I’m just asking!”
“Well, no, we didn’t” Sam admits, and Dean can feel a weight coming off of his shoulders. He knows that it’s just a matter of time before Sam does it, but he doesn’t want to think about it. “I’m not ready”
“You’re too young, Sammy”
“How old were you the first time?”
“Really?” Sam frowns.
“Yeah. I guess I wasn’t ready before either”
Sam is quiet for a long time, but Dean knows better than to think that the conversation is over. He can see Sam’s mind working, his eyebrows frowning in concentration. He’s adorable, with the way his nose twists and Dean has to close his eyes to stop staring.
“What’s it like to be in love?”
The question is simple, and yet, Dean has no idea how to answer. He’s been in love with Sammy for almost a year now. But he didn’t feel in love with him, not like the other people do. He always loved Sam, more than anything, since before he was born, and he can’t even remember how it was before he was here. He never loved anyone else, but at the same time, he never not-loved Sam. Was he in love is whole life?
“I don’t know, Sammy. It’s… I think… It’s like looking at someone and seeing the other part of your soul, you know? Like someone that can complete you, make you feel whole. It’s not about being someones opposite or being identical. It’s… It’s something else. It doesn’t make you feel good, not all the time, but I think… I think it’s wanting the other person to be happy, even if it means that you’re not. Putting the other person’s well-being before yours”
Dean gives him a weak smile, and before he can react, Sam is in his arms, using his chest as a pillow. He’s not sure what is happening, but Sam is obviously upset. Maybe he loves Brandon, and maybe Brandon doesn’t love him back. Seeing Sam like this is more painful than the jealousy he was feeling earlier, and he can’t help but hug him tighter.
“Are you in love with Brandon?” He asks, rubbing Sam’s back
“No” Sam admits “I… It’s just for fun”
“Yeah” Sam says, “Were you… Were you ever in love?”
“It doesn’t matter” Dean says “She… She wasn’t meant for me”
Sam buries himself deeper in Dean’s neck, enjoying the feeling of his brother’s protective arms around him.
They stay in silence for a long moment, not a sound around them except for each other breathing. If Dean had to choose what heaven would look like, he would choose this: Sam and him, on a motel bed, in each other arms.
The next time he comes to get Sam from school, he spots him kissing another boy on the lips, the boy hands curled around Sam’s waist. Dean wants to scream, to throw something, because it should be him kissing Sam, instead of this guy who doesn’t even know how lucky he is.
Instead, he waits patiently and congratulates Sam when he’s close enough, ignoring the way Sam blushes furiously.
He doesn’t give a second glace to the boy. Otherwise, he would have noticed all the freckles on his face, how green his eyes were, and maybe, just maybe, he would have noticed that the boy wears a Led Zeppelin shirt, a brand-new leather jacket, and a pair of black boots that put on display his bowlegs. Just like he does.
Maybe he would have noticed, if he wasn’t so focused on trying to hide his feelings for Sammy