Chapter 1: Brotherly Bonding
“Where’s Sam?” Dean demands, his gun leveled at the shifter in front of him.
“What are you talking about, Dean? I’m right here.” Shifter Sam is smiling, all dimples and gleaming eyes right up until the bullet from Dean’s gun burrows deep between those eyes.
“Fuck,” Dean breathes and runs through the dilapidated house, tripping over loose floorboards and wrinkled carpet as he searches room after room. “Sam! Sammy!”
Dean’s standing in the backyard now, out of breath and panicked. He hears a creaking behind him and turns, sees nothing at first, then shaggy hair sticking out under the stairs down from the back porch. Sam is knocked-out cold, but he’s breathing and Dean hoists him up to drag him to the Impala.
Sam wakes up in the bunker, Rowena mixing unidentified things in metal bowls on the war table. Sam goes to move, to stop her, but then hands settle on his shoulders, pressing firmly down and Dean’s “easy, Sammy” makes him relax.
“What’s going on?” Sam asks, craning his neck to see Dean.
“Well, your brothers asked me to do a wee spell on ye, and it’s almost ready. Been a while since I dabbled in magic as strong as this,” Rowena squeals, quite pleased with herself.
“Dean, what’s she talking about?” Sam asks, turned half around in his chair, his hand over Dean’s on his shoulder.
“I couldn’t find you,” Dean says, his voice cracking a little. He scrubs his hand over his face and walks around Sam’s chair. “It’s a binding spell. We’ll be able to know where the other is in case something happens, that’s all. It’s not a big deal.”
“What? Dean, you did find me. We don’t need some creepy ass tracking spell.”
“Yeah, we do, Sam. Because I found you this time, but what about next time? This shit happens all the time, man. We’re always getting separated, and this solves that problem. Yeah, it’s a little invasive, but--”
“A little invasive? We won’t have any privacy! You can’t just do this.”
“And we have so much privacy as it is.” The sarcasm drips from Dean’s tongue. He squats down in front of Sam, looks his brother in the eye. “We need to do this. We’ll immediately know if the other is panicked or…” Dean swallows, “or dead. How many times has one of our phones died or a monster surprised us? This is just a precaution. It’ll make us safer, Sammy. How is that bad?” Sam looked into Dean’s eyes as he deliberates before finally sighing and looking over to Rowena.
“How exactly does this work?”
“Oh, just some odds and ends ingredients, some herbs, some angel grace, a bit of your blood--”
“Where did you get angel grace, Rowena?”
“Don’t you worry about that, Samuel, no angels were killed in the making of this spell.” Rowena flashes her dazzling smile. “I mix it all up, draw some sigils on your chests, chant up some hocus-pocus, and voila! Your souls are bound.”
“Our souls are...Dean,” Sam looks over at his brother, but Dean gazes steadily back at him. “Fine,” Sam agrees, taking a knife and adding his own blood to the metal bowl.
“Very good! Now, off with your shirts,” Rowena orders, her lips curving up. Both brothers roll their eyes and comply. Rowena draws the sigils, arranges the men to stand facing each other, and begins her chanting. It’s not a language Sam recognizes. There’s a red glow from the sigils as they dissolve into their skin, and Sam’s whole body feels warm as a ribbon of red light wraps around Dean and him. The light around them fades, and Sam feels goosebumps raise over his skin as the warmth dissipates.
“Did it work?” Dean asks, looking down at his chest.
“You tell me,” Rowena says, “You should be able to feel a light pulling.” Sam walks across the room, and they both feel it, a gentle tugging, like a string wrapped around their ribs is being tested.
“Yeah,” Sam says, astounded by the sensation, moving toward and away from Dean to test it. “What happens if we’re too far from each other?” Sam asks.
“Well, I assume it would be unpleasant, but it won’t hurt you. Though, extended time apart, of say, years, might cause damage to your soul or weaken the bond, hard to say. It’s different for everyone.” Rowena shrugs. “I’ll be going now.” Her heels click over the hard floor as she heads for the stairs.
“Rowena,” Sam says, staring her down, “the book.”
“Oh! You’re no fun, Samuel!” she stomps her foot, but eventual huffs and hands over the thick tome. Then she stomps out, throwing a “Goodbye, boys” over her shoulder before the door clangs shut.
“Well,” Sam says, sighing.
“Yeah,” Dean agrees, walking to the library.
Half a day later, they’re on the road together, moving toward a hunt. Something’s stealing people from their cars in West Virginia’s backwoods, and Dean has bet Sam twenty bucks that it’s the Mothman. The hunt lasts a week, and Dean gets nabbed by the Wendigo that is most definitely not the Mothman, but thanks to their new bond, Sam is able to find his brother within an hour. Dean’s covered in some pretty gross slime, but otherwise unhurt. They set the motherfucker on fire, and wind their way out of the dark mountain roads toward Virginia.
They pull into a motel parking lot just outside of Winchester because Dean can’t handle the tingling in his fingertips and the itch at the back of his throat. He’s not sure what that freak did to knock him out and encase him, but he needs another shower thinking about it.
“So,” Sam begins as Dean is patting his hair dry with a towel, “I guess you were right about the spell.”
“Of course I was,” Dean says, “I’m always right. You should know that by now, little brother.”
Sam rolls his eyes. They don’t talk about it any more than that and it’s fine. It takes them three weeks to make it back to bunker. There’s a rugaru in Oklahoma, a necromancer in Illinois, and three restless spirits haunting a halfway house in Kentucky. Sam has to admit that it feels good, though. They haven’t been able to hunt run-of-the-mill monsters in a while, and he feels a little like a badass. They haven’t been seriously injured, and now that he can tell whether Dean is alive or dead all the time, Sam feels more relaxed than he has in years. In fact, Sam doesn’t think he’s been this content since before the cage when the world hadn’t tried to end itself yet and hunting was still just a job he had a choice about.
Things change when they get back to the bunker. He and Dean have been within five feet of each other consistently for almost a month, sleeping in motel rooms and sitting long hours in the Impala. It’s different when they’re home, and Sam spends the first night just staring at the ceiling, his heart feeling like it’s double beating, a beat for himself and a half beat later, one for Dean. He feels better the next morning when Dean finally emerges and starts making omelets.
Over the next week, they spend more and more time in the library together, cataloging the most useful lore. Dean is still stuck on the Mothman. He wants to drive back to West Virginia and set up shop for a few days just to see what they can come up with. Sam knows the lore well enough to know that the Mothman doesn’t just hang out, he’s an omen of catastrophes, and Sam tries to explain that to Dean, but his brother isn’t hearing it. It’s going normal, which is good. It’s nice.
Except every day ends with Dean getting up and going to bed and Sam staring at his ceiling fan with a cold, unsteady chest and a nagging feeling that something is wrong.
It takes two more weeks before Sam breaks down. It’s 2 am when he knocks on Dean’s door, a pillow and blanket stuffed under his arm.
“Yeah?” Dean’s voice cracks a little, and Sam hears him clear his throat before trying again, “yeah?”
“It’s, uh, it’s me,” Sam says, pushing the door open a little. Dean has the side lamp on, headphones on his lap. “I, um, I haven’t really been able to sleep for weeks.” He nervously fingers the edge of his blanket. “Can I sleep on your floor?”
“Come on,” Dean says, making room on the bed, “you’re not gonna be able to get any sleep on the hard floor.” Sam gratefully climbs onto the bed and is out within minutes.
Sam wakes up in a dark room, Dean’s heavy chest on top of his. When Sam shifts, he notices a soft red glow emanating from under Dean and his t-shirts. “Dean?” He softly nudges his brother awake.
“Dean, we’re...glowing. Wake up.”
“What? Okay, okay, I’m awake. Wha--Whoa. What is that?”
“I-I don’t know. It must be from the spell.”
“Is it supposed to do that?”
“I don’t know.”
Chapter 2: Rowena
The boys call up Rowena to figure out what the hell is going on.
“What the hell, Rowena?” Dean has the phone on speaker, trying to figure out what’s going on. Their chests are still glowing, the skin hot, and Sam feels like his heart is beating regularly for the first time in weeks.
“Look,” comes the high-pitched lyric of Rowena’s accent, “You’re brothers, so the spell should work as a homing beacon. It shouldn’t be causing you any discomfort.”
“Then why the hell are we glowing?”
“You’re...glowing? Oh my, that’s not quite right.”
“Yeah, no shit. So what did you do to us?” Dean’s angry, and Sam realizes that his brother is probably also feeling guilty. This was Dean’s idea; he talked Sam into it.
“Well, the spell I used is a curse of sorts. It’s usually put on lovers by scorned exes.”
“Oh, that’s just awesome.”
“But it shouldn’t be affecting you that way! It’s cast on lovers as a way to make them inseparable. A type of just desserts if you will. They are drawn to each other, unable to stay away, until their souls literally attempt to mesh through their bodies.”
“So, Sam and I’s souls are going to what, exactly? Try to leave our bodies?”
“No, not quite. Your bodies will start by heating up, and you’ll feel the need to touch constantly until it’s painful to be apart. Then, you’ll, well, you’ll try to get closer, in very, uhm, adult ways. And death will occur sometime after that.”
“I’m going to murder you,” Dean says, his voice low and dangerous.
“I think you’ll be a bit too busy. But I don’t understand why the spell is taking so long to take effect. Are you and Sam touching now?”
“No. We’re just glowing like we swallowed fucking Christmas lights.”
“But there’s no...drive to touch?” Dean glances over at Sam.
“We, uh, Sam slept in my room because he hasn’t been able to sleep, and we woke up touching, but we’re fine right now.”
“It just doesn’t make sense. You’re brothers. The spell shouldn’t affect you like it would lovers, but even if it did, you’d both be dead by now. Is there anything you aren’t telling me? Have your souls been merged before?”
“What? No, I don’t think. Sammy’s lost his soul, mine’s been corrupted, but...the angels fucked around with us for a bit years ago. Does that matter?”
“Yeah, they sent us to Heaven. Ash said it was because we were...Does it matter that we’re soulmates?” There’s silence at the other end for a minute. And then Rowena’s shrieking comes loud through the speaker.
“Yes, it bloody matters that you’re soulmates!”
“Easy,” Dean says, holding the phone away from his face. “How was I supposed to know that?”
“Dean, if you’re soulmates, you already share a soul. That’s literally what being soulmates means. It’s right there in the word!”
“Alright, alright. What does that mean?”
“Well, first it means you’re not going to die. Second, it explains why the spell is moving so slowly. Since your souls are the same, there’s no need for them to merge. Your need to be close will probably grow a bit stronger, but it’ll be controllable.”
“So, we’re just gonna glow for the rest of our lives?”
“Well, I could remove the spell if you want. It’ll be fairly painful, but it won’t damage you.” Dean looked at Sam, who nodded, his lips pressed into a thin line.
“Okay, good. When can you get here?”
“I’m out of the country right now, but I’ll be back in a week.”
“A week? Damnit, Rowena!”
“My life does not revolve around you Winchesters, you know. A girl has things to attend to. Oh, and Dean, not that this will be a problem, per se, but if you and Sam...consummate the spell, I won’t be able to reverse it. Bye, bye boys.” There’s a click and Dean stares angrily at the phone.
“I’m sorry, Sammy. I should have known better. This sort of thing never works out for us.”
“No, it, it was nice, knowing that you weren’t dead.” Sam sighs, and pats Dean’s thigh, lets his hand sit there for now. Finally, Sam gets up and goes to find another hunt.
Chapter 3: Itchy Palms
Sam doesn't want to get rid of the spell, but how is Dean supposed to keep his secret then?
There’s nothing. No ghosts, no shifters, no witches or demons. Everything is unpleasantly silent.
Okay, that isn’t entirely true. There are still monsters, but other hunters are taking care of them. Sam admits defeat when Dean brings his dinner into the library. They eat mostly in silence and then watch one of Dean’s dumb cowboy movies. It’s pretty par for the course, except that when the credits roll, Sam stays in Dean’s bed.
Rowena had said they should be able to control it, but Sam just wants. He keeps tossing and turning and inching closer to Dean, trying not to wake or touch his brother. Of course, Dean isn’t actually asleep, and Sam knows that.
“Quit it, Sam,” Dean whispers finally.
“Sorry, I just,” Sam sighs. It’s going to be a long week.
“I know,” Dean says.
“Yeah, my skin is crawling, too. You’re not the only one cursed here.”
“We could just…” Sam trails off. It’s one thing to end up wrapped around your brother when you’re asleep and an entirely different thing to make the conscious decision to do it. “Why doesn’t it bother you?” he asks.
“What are you talking about, of course it’s bothering me. I’m gonna wring Rowena’s neck.”
“No, I mean, how come you’re not tossing and squirming and uncomfortable? Why is it so easy for you?” Dean doesn’t say that it’s because he’s had a lifetime of practice, though he thinks it.
“I don’t know, Sammy. It must just affect us differently,” he says instead. Sam squirms again. “Would you feel better if we held hands, Samantha?” Dean tries to laugh as he says it, meaning it to be a joke, but the laugh sticks awkwardly in his throat. Sam huffs.
“Yeah,” he says finally, extending his arm out flat on the mattress. Dean’s hand settles on top of his. It’s smaller, cradled in Sam’s palm and for some reason, it surprises Sam, even though he knows, logically, that Dean is smaller than him. They lay in silence for a long time until Sam falls asleep.
He wakes up wrapped around Dean, his hand shoved under Dean’s t-shirt and his palm flat over Dean’s heart where the red glow makes him warmest. Dean’s snoring still, and Sam slowly slides his hand from his brother’s chest. Dean makes a hiccuping sound, his snores faltering, and then he mumbles a quiet “Sammy?” turning half over to find him.
“Right here,” Sam says, placing a hand on Dean’s shoulder. Dean takes Sam’s hand, settles onto his back, and places the hand back over his chest. It’s an awkward position, and Sam needs to pee, so he pulls away from Dean’s grasp. “I’ll be right back,” he says when Dean groans.
Dean isn’t in the room when Sam gets back, but he finds him in the kitchen making pancakes.
“How many do you want?” Dean asks.
“Dean, we need to talk.”
“We really don’t. There’s nothing to talk about. We get through this week and everything goes back to normal. End of story.”
“I just, I’m not sure we should get Rowena to reverse the spell.” There, he said it.
“What?” Dean looks utterly shocked. “Why the hell not?”
“Just think about it. She said it’s not going to kill us. It helps on hunts. We can find each other, just think what kind of advantage that would give us over the bad guys. They couldn’t use us against each other anymore.” Sam’s eyes plead.
“And what are we supposed to do about the whole glowing thing? Just live with it?”
“Look, it’s not that bad. It’s only bright when we’re touching. Otherwise, it’ll be mostly hidden by our shirts.”
“And what if I wanna get laid? I’m just gonna have to leave my shirt on?” Dean’s grasping at straws, and he knows it. But this morning had just been proof that he can’t control himself around Sam with this spell in place. He needs to keep it together. Now Sam is giving him the bitch face. Damnit. “What happens if one of us ends up in the hospital? Doctors are gonna have a lot of questions.”
“I can’t live not knowing that you’re alive. I can’t do it again, Dean, I won’t.” Sam turns and leaves, leaves his breakfast on the counter, leaves Dean standing there, open-mouthed. He walks to his own room, shuts the door, and sprawls out on the too small bed.
Dean finds Sam there two hours later, after the itching in his palms won’t let him sit in the library any longer.
“I brought you lunch,” Dean says, handing Sam the turkey sandwich.
“Thanks,” Sam says, sitting up and taking the plate. “Dean, I--”
“Sam, it’s fine. You’re right, it is safer. I just,” Dean shifts awkwardly. “I just don’t know if I can get any work done when all I can think about is touching you. It’s freaking me out, man. I can’t...focus or let my guard down. It’s bad enough to be like this for a week, but for the rest of our lives, while hunting? I don’t know if I can do it, Sam. I’m gonna get distracted and you’re going to get hurt.”
“I don’t think you would ever let me get hurt,” Sam says, setting his food on the bedside table.
“It’s happened before.” Dean can see his brother on his knees in the mud at Cold Oak, see him tossed into walls by demons, see him stolen out of a full diner in the middle of the night. Dean can picture every time he’s let his brother down.
“Only because you had no control over it. You couldn’t find me, or we were ambushed, or something went wrong. This spell helps with that. And even if we do get hurt and separated, you’ll know I’m not dead and you’ll be able to find me. How is that not better?”
Dean’s only answer to that is the wanting, amplified by this spell, is going to driving him insane, and since he can’t explain why that is to his brother, he doesn’t say anything at all.
“Look, we might have to have a few more chick flick moments but--”
“Nope, absolutely not,” Dean says. “No chick flick moments.”
“Dean, will you just shut up and hold my hand?”
Chapter 4: Giving In
The boys need to make a decision.
Rowena had said that the spell wouldn’t kill them, but Sam’s pretty sure she’s wrong. It’s been getting much more, uh, intense. Holding hands with your brother all day is weird and inconvenient, but it’s doable and it’s not that invasive. But that only works for a couple of days.
Now, they need to be pressed skin to skin, and Sam’s dick hurts because Dean had put his foot down. It was fine to lay in bed in your underwear wrapped around your baby brother, but it was most definitely not fine to lay in bed nude wrapped around your baby brother. Turns out even Dean has boundaries. And when one of them needs to get up to piss or make food, Sam swears he can feel the hives break out all over his skin, even if he can’t see them.
Dean isn’t faring much better. He keeps biting his lips and then pressing them back against Sam’s shoulder. They’ve both been hard for hours, but they can’t separate long enough to do anything about it, and they’re both covered in sweat.
They have showered. Awkwardly. In cold water with their backs pressed together.
“Enough,” Dean says, his hot breath puffing against Sam’s neck, “get the phone. I’m calling Rowena.” Sam groans, but stretches out, reaching blindly for the nightstand, finds the phone and chucks it at Dean. It rings dully as they wait for her to answer.
“Boys, what’s this about? Thought we had already made plans?”
“Shuddup, Rowena. We’re dying. Get yer ass back here now.” Dean's voice is hoarse, and he can’t seem to catch his breath.
“What now? What did you do?”
“We didn’t do anything, Rowena,” Sam says to the phone lying on the pillow beside Dean and him. “The spell has gotten worse. We can’t not touch. What’s wrong with us? You said it wouldn’t hurt us.”
“Well, I didn’t think it would. Why would the spell start treating you like lovers now? Has anything changed?”
“What? No!” Dean’s barely keeping it together, barely keeping his hips from rocking forward, barely keeping his lips off Sam’s.
“Why would it matter?” Sam asks, wishing Dean would move his hip just a little or else stop panting directly into Sam’s ear.
“If the two people cursed are in love, the spell has no choice but to treat them as lovers.”
“What?” Dean wheezes. Oh no, he’s damned Sam. He’s not going to be able to hide it anymore, Sam knows now, and he’s going to hate Dean and then he’s going to die, painfully, and it’ll be all Dean’s fault.
Luckily, Sam isn’t as far gone as Dean. Which makes sense because, yeah Sam loves his brother, but Dean’s whole personality is loving Sam.
“What about the lovers who are soulmates?” Sam says because surely that’s happened before.
“They’re able to stabilize, absorb the power of the spell when they give into it.”
“Give in?” both brothers ask at the same time, horror cracking their voices.
“My plane just landed, but I’m still halfway across the country. You should make it until I get there in a few hours, but if you want the spell removed, you cannot give into it, do you hear me?”
“Yeah, yeah,” Sam answers, pushing back his sweat-soaked hair. “Thanks, Rowena.”
Dean can’t help it any longer; he starts squirming.
“Fuck, Sammy, I can’t,” he cries. “I’m not gonna make it until Rowena gets here.”
“Okay, okay, look, what if we--” Sam licks his lips, “--what if we get off, maybe that’ll help, yeah?”
“No!” Dean whines. “That’s giving into the spell.”
“No, we won’t get each other off, we’ll just--”
“What, hold hands?” Dean argues back.
“Look, we just won’t look at each other. We’ll just do it, not look, pretend it didn’t happen, and then it won’t count.” Dean’s like 90% sure that isn’t going to work, but he’s too needy to argue anymore.
“Fine,” he huffs, pulling himself out of his boxers. He keeps his hand carefully between Sam’s hip and his dick, and it feels like it’s working. If Sam’s grunts and matching maneuver are helping, then he’ll just pretend that isn’t happening, and then it won’t count either.
Dean comes hard, splashing up Sam’s side, and he falls, muscles limp against Sam.
“Fuck, Dean,” Sam groans, and then Dean can feel the hot, sticky proof of his brother’s orgasm against his stomach. And for a few minutes, he feels at peace. He’s too blissed out to be worried about the lasting repercussions of this decision, and Sam is lying quietly, too, just breathing.
Until Dean notices that he’s hard again. And going by the pressure against his hip so is Sam. He just groans and rolls over, regretting it instantly as his skin scorches from the lack of contact with Sam. He rolls back onto his brother, realizes too late that their dicks are touching, trapped between their stomachs, and shivers.
“Dean,” Sam moans, wrapping his arms around Dean and arching up against his stomach.
“Sam, no. We have to wait until Rowena gets here.”
“No,” Sam shakes his head. “No, she’s just gonna undo the spell, and I told you I don’t want the spell undone.”
“Sammy, I’m not seeing another option here. We’re gonna die.”
“No, we’re not. We just have to consummate the spell. Then we’ll be fine.”
“Uh uh, no way. You’re not thinking straight. Stop it,” Dean argues, trying to squirm away.
“Relax, it’ll be fine. It’ll feel good, Dean, your skin won’t feel like it’s burning off anymore, and afterward, we can just go back to normal, and we’ll have all the benefits of the spell.” Dean’s brain is too fuzzy to parse through his brother’s logic, so instead, he just keeps shaking his head.
“Sammy, we can’t.”
“Dean, please. We have to.” Sam’s eyes look like he’s about to cry; Dean can’t handle it. Sam’s right, it’ll be fine. They’ve gotten through everything else, they can get through this. Sam’s gonna hate him after, though. Dean knows that. He nods slowly in acquiesce anyway.
“Lube,” Sam says, reaching toward the nightstand, “we need lube.”
Dean leans up enough to grab it out of the drawer, and Sam snatches it from his hand, pulls Dean back down on top of him, and pours the cold lube down Dean’s asscrack with one hand while he spreads Dean’s cheeks with the other.
“Hey!” Dean yells, jumping, “what the hell?” Sam’s holding him firm though, and he can’t wriggle away.
“If you have an actual problem with this,” Sam grunts, “you better speak up right now.” Dean doesn’t say anything, just presses his flushed face against Sam’s chest. Sam fingers Dean openly quickly, worried about the size of his fingers, about the size of other things, but Dean’s been turned on for days now, and he’s hot and slick, and once Sam finds his prostate, paired with a grinding up of his hips, Dean opens up easy. “Okay,” Sam pants, “you ready?”
“Just hurry up,” Dean growls, and hisses as Sam pushes his way inside. He clutches Dean tight against him, chest to chest, Dean’s legs pressed to Sam’s sides, his arms around Sam’s neck, Sam’s feet flat on the mattress, letting him rock into Dean. Dean groans and clings, lets Sam do all the work, too caught up by the way his dick drags between both their stomach with each thrust.
It’s hard and dirty and quick. Dean comes first, and his voice is wrecked when he moans brokenly. Sam can feel it as Dean tightens around his dick, but he can feel it in his chest, too, like an irritant has been removed, a splinter plucked out, and he comes without warning.
Sam’s pretty sure he passed out, probably from dehydration and low blood sugar, because Dean is patting his face when he comes to.
“Sammy? Sammy, you okay?”
“Huh? Yeah, yeah, I’m fine, quit it.” He looks up into Dean’s worried face. “Are we cured?”
“Yeah, I think so.”
“We should probably call Rowena.”