When Dean got home, Sam was already there, sitting on the couch and texting with a smile on his face that nearly screamed 'crazy in love'. Dean felt like slapping himself in the face and wondered how he could've possibly missed that. They were brothers, for God's sake.
For a couple of seconds, Dean just stood there on the threshold, without knowing what to say. He had so many things to say, or ask, or yell, but in the end it all came down to one thing.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
Sam looked up in surprise, not even so much as considering Dean might have found out about him and Lucifer. That would be impossible. And yet there was something about the calmness in Dean's voice, that worried him. What he saw in his brother's eyes was a mixture of hurt and maybe disappointment, and Sam had no idea what to think about it. "Tell you what?"
"That that's your boyfriend you're texting," Dean answered in a bit harsher tone.
Immediately his younger brother's eyes grew big, his jaw dropped and that was all the confirmation Dean needed.
"Ho- how did you-" Sam started but he was too shocked to finish his sentence. No one knows, so how can Dean...
"Does it matter?" Dean asked, his voice sounding way too calm.
Sam had expected a lot but not this. Dean acting like an asshole? Yes. Sam getting angry because he had to defend Lucifer? Yes. The two of them ending up even more pissed and torn apart? Yes. Anything but the feeling Dean was giving him now. Guilt.
"Sam, why didn't you tell me?"
"Because I knew you would get angry!" Sam called out desperately. Despite his brother's current calm demeanor, they both knew it was true. Sam thought Dean had no right to play the victim here.
That sentence finally seemed to flip Dean's switch though. "So what?! I am your brother! When something as big as this happens, I deserve to know!"
Did Dean realize he was being a bit of a hypocrite? Maybe. But then again, Michael and him had never actually taken any steps in their "relationship".
"Why?" Sam huffed. "I knew you wouldn't like it, I knew you would try to talk me out of it and I knew all of it would just result in another big fight and I am tired of fighting, Dean! I'm done with you and Michael conspiring against Lucifer while you don't even know the whole story!"
"Oh, I know everything about the story!" Dean yelled back at him. "And if you would've taken five seconds to tear your eyes away from Lucifer's ass and actually look around, you would know that Michael and I haven't talked in weeks, because of that stupid story, that the guy has turned his entire family against me and that I can't even talk to the one person that helped me through it in public!!!"
They both fell silent after that, equally surprised at the words that had come out of Dean's mouth. It took him a couple of seconds but eventually Sam was the first one to find his voice again.
"I was scared, okay?" he admitted in a soft voice.
Dean frowned and shook his head, not understanding what his little brother was trying to say. "What do you mean?"
"It's just... I thought... I was scared you'd be angry. Disappointed."
"Why?" Dean asked in confusion.
Sam shrugged. "Like I said, I knew you didn't like Lucifer. And also, I didn't know how you'd feel about... you know..." He made some vague gesture and then it hit Dean.
"Yeah, now that you mention it, since when is that a thing, by the way?" he asked curiously. He'd been wondering about that.
"I guess it always has been?" Sam just said, not knowing what else to add.
His brother looked at him with something of hurt in his eyes. "And you seriously thought I'd make a problem out of that?" he asked in disbelief.
"I don't know, Dean!" Sam let out. "I- I guess not but..."
This is the moment, Dean realized. He had to say it now or he didn't think he ever would. "Well, that really would make me kind of a hypocrite."
Sam frowned, no idea what Dean could mean by that. "What are you talking about?"
Dean took a deep breath. "Well..." he started. "When Michael and I were still friends, he uhm... kinda had a thing for me and... you know... turned out I may have had a little thing for him too."
His little brother stared at him. Then stared some more and realized Dean wasn't joking. Eventually, he opened his mouth to say something but couldn't figure out what, so he closed it again and just continued the staring.
Dean couldn't take it anymore. "I know, okay?" he snapped.
"You're bi?" Sam finally let out in disbelief, and the other Winchester immediately raised his hand.
"I'm not, okay? I'm... not labeling it," he decided on.
Sam huffed and shook his head. "And you didn't tell me. Pot/kettle much, don't you think?"
Immediately, Dean's finger was pointing at him. "Hey, nothing ever happened between us."
"Wait, but then what about Lisa?"
"Yeah, we uhm... took a little break..." Dean admitted.
"You broke up with Lisa?!"
"It's only temporarily," Dean defended himself. "Just to take some time off to figure... all of this out."
Now Sam understood why he hadn't seen Lisa around lately. Actually, he couldn't even remember how long it had been since he had... "When?"
"Couple of weeks ago."
Sam's jaw dropped. "But..."
"Yeah," Dean said, forcing up one corner of his mouth. "I know."
They exchanged a look, both of them knowing what Lisa had meant to Dean. To their family. First Jess, now Lisa... Nothing was right anymore.
Dean dropped down onto the couch, next to his brother.
"Are you? Angry?" Sam eventually asked.
"Sam, I-" Dean sighed and started over. "I'm just trying to look out for you, okay? If Lucifer hurt you-"
"Dean," his brother interrupted him. "You won't always be able to protect me."
"Doesn't mean I can't try."
Sam smiled a little. Yeah, he knew Dean would never stop trying. "So what happened with you and Michael?" he changed the subject.
"Well, he told me the story," Dean said. "Then I insulted his dad, and he wasn't too happy about that."
Sam's eyes grew big. "I knew it! I told you it wasn't Lucifer's fault!" he grinned.
Dean rolled his eyes. "Fine, alright? Michael and Chuck, they're to blame for what happened too. But just to be clear, that doesn't make Lucifer innocent."
"Sooo... you don't hate Lucifer?" Sam tried carefully.
Chewing his bottom lip, Dean thought about a way to answer that that he wasn't going to regret. "Look, you're right, okay?" he eventually acknowledged. "I don't know Lucifer. But what I've heard about him - and not just from Michael - isn't pretty. So," he sighed, "you can't blame me for doing everything in my power to warn you about him. And if you still like him after that, then that's fine by me. I can't tell you how to live your life. But just be careful, okay?"
Sam nodded understandingly. "Okay." Then he added, "Sorry I didn't tell you."
His older brother let out a little laugh. "Right back at ya."
"Still can't believe you're also into guys now."
"Still can't believe you're dating one," Dean retorted.
"Yeah, I guess that's fair," Sam laughed. "Do the others know? Charlie, Jo, Benny? Did you tell Lisa?"
Dean shrugged. "I didn't tell anyone, really. Didn't know how."
The expression on Sam's face turned to a worried shock instantly. "You went through all of that alone?" he gasped.
"Not really," Dean was quick to reassure him. "Cas helped me. A lot."
"Cas?" Sam questioned in surprise. "As in Castiel Shurley Cas?"
"Yeah, he was the one who told me Michael liked me in the first place, so he already knew. We kinda rolled with it from there, talked about it a lot," Dean explained.
"He's barely spoken three words in class all year so far."
A fond smile played at the corner of Dean's mouth. "Yeah, he can be a little weird."
Sam frowned. "Wait, didn't you just say Michael turned all the Shurleys against you?"
"He tried," Dean grumbled. "Hell, for a moment I even thought he actually succeeded."
"But he didn't?" his brother asked.
He shook his head, not just Cas but also Balthazar and Gabriel coming to mind. They too had gone directly against Michael's wishes to help Dean out, even if he still didn't understand why. "Turns out he can't control his family as well as he likes to think. Gotta say he's pretty damn good at it though. He'd already gotten to Cas before I talked to him and he changed his mind for me."
"He sounds like a good friend," Sam smiled and immediately noticed the change in Dean's eyes. He decided it would probably be better not to mention it though.
"He is," Dean told him softly. "Don't know why he's sticking around, I've put him through enough trouble as it is."
"Well, it sounds like he must really care about you," Sam noted.
Dean stared off into the distance, considering that. "Maybe."
Sam gave him a half smile and wondered sadly when along all of this, Dean had started losing that arrogant confidence of his. "For what it's worth," he said, "he's lucky to have you."