They knew the storm was coming. It’d been announced on the radio on their drive into town, before their dad had dropped them off at the motel and headed out for his next hunt. It was supposed to be a big one, thunder and lightning lasting for a couple of hours at least, but what did the weather people know? Still, Sam, who was “definitely not still scared of thunderstorms, thank you very much”, suggested that they pass the time by setting up a blanket fort like they used to when they were kids, only for nostalgia’s sake.
Dean had always made the most amazing forts, cobbled together from whatever the meager motel room offered plus whatever he could swipe from passing maid service carts, and he had somehow always managed to set it up so they could still see the busted up TV and all three-and-a-half channels that it would pick up.
It seemed as though he hadn’t lost the knack for it in the intervening years, though they had to slide the beds a little farther apart in order for both of them to fit inside it now. So they lay inside their cozy hideaway, alternately wrestling and tickle attacking each other to gain the upper hand as much as the limited room would allow, just like they had in years long gone, laughing and enjoying being together. That was until the sky suddenly opened up and the predicted downpour started.
At the first distant roll of thunder, Sam’s entire body stiffened where Dean held him in a partial headlock while trying to simultaneously reach around to tickle his most vulnerable spot, his armpit. Dean noticed his brother’s sudden stillness and immediately knew what was wrong.
“Hey. You okay?” He asked as he loosened his hold and leaned back so he could see Sam’s face.
“Yeah, m’fine. I’m not a little kid anymore, I can handle it.” Sam mumbled, hating that he couldn’t control his reaction and that his brother could still read him so well.
Lightning flashed outside the window and the wind kicked up enough to hear it clearly inside. The power in the room dimmed for a second, causing Sam’s body to lock up again. It was an irrational fear that Sam couldn’t seem to shake no matter how hard he’d tried, something about thunderstorms just got to him on a primal level.
Dean unconsciously started carding his fingers through Sam’s shaggy hair, a gesture that had been purposefully buried and was pulled to the forefront by the nostalgia of the setting. He’d used it to calm Sam when he was upset or scared before Sam had gotten older and started pulling away when Dean reached out for him.
“I know you’re not, and you can handle anything. Proven that enough times.” Dean said softly, finally noticing what his hand had been doing without his knowledge and pulling it away.
Thunder rolled again, loud enough to rattle the windows this time, and the power went out completely. Sam jumped forward, latching onto Dean and burying his face in Dean’s neck before he even realized he had moved. Dean’s arm automatically closed around his huddling brother, pulling him closer against his chest, while he used the other to turn on the small camping lantern he had set out just in case they needed it. With another flash of lightning, Sam’s body started to tremble and Dean’s free hand returned to Sam’s hair, trying to soothe him again.
When the thunder died down once more Sam realized what he had done, where he was, and started trying to wiggle free of Dean’s hold. Dean tightened the arm around him and slid his hand from Sam’s hair down to the nape of his neck, effectively holding him in place. Dean hadn’t felt like this, like he could actually be something, some one , his brother needed for a few years, ever since Sam had reached his teens.
“S’alright. You’re alright. I’ve got you.” Dean murmured.
Sam’s trembling slowly died down and he let himself lean into Dean’s body, seeking, just for a second, the comfort and reassurance he’d desperately missed. The touch he’d longed for ever since he’d been told he needed to rely on himself more and his brother less. He’d listened, refusing comfort from Dean when he was hurt or scared, pushing away when his brother got close, trying to be a good son and follow this new rule even when it felt like it was killing him and he could see it was hurting Dean.
Sam forced himself as far away as Dean would let him move so he could look up at his brother’s face, intending to tell him again that he wasn’t a kid and didn’t need to be babied anymore, like he was supposed to. Instead he caught Dean’s gaze in the light of the lantern, seeing the love and concern projected there, and did something he didn’t expect. He leaned up and kissed Dean.
Dean was shocked still as his brother’s lips barely touched his. It was a chaste, fleeting peck, but Sam pulled back with wide eyes and started struggling to break free before Dean could even process what had happened, let alone start to kiss him back as he’d wanted to for so long. Dean held on, gentle but unmoving, until Sam finally gave up and slumped back forward with his head buried as hard into Dean’s collarbone as he could get it.
“Sam?” Dean spoke softly, shock still evident in his voice.
Sam’s response was muffled by Dean’s shirt and followed by him trying to press his face even harder into Dean.
“Sam. Sammy. C’mon and look at me.” Dean coaxed, leaning Sam away slightly and pulling his head up with a knuckle under his chin. Sam still avoided looking at Dean, so he ducked his head down to Sam’s eye line.
“Hey. Just relax for a second, okay? I’m not mad, you just surprised me is all.” At that Sam finally looked up to meet his brother’s gaze, his confusion and worry plain on his face.
“What? What d’you mean you aren’t mad?” Sam asked as he leaned even farther back and looked at Dean like he was the one who’d lost his mind.
“Are you sure?” Dean asked, ignoring Sam’s questions.
“What? Am I sure of what?” Sam’s confusion, and volume, were growing with every word.
“Are you sure this is what you want? You’re 16 and more mature than most adults, but you are only 16 and I need you to be absolutely sure.” Dean continued to look into Sam’s eyes, searching there for the truth of his answer as well as listening.
“What? I…yeah? I mean, yes. Yes, I’m sure this is what I want. You are what I want. You have been for…well, it feels like forever. For as long as I can remember.” Sam rambled nervously, but matched Dean’s gaze and tried to put all of his feelings there for Dean to see.
“Good.” Dean nodded slightly, eyes still locked with Sam’s as he leaned forward and caught Sam’s lips with his own.
The rest of the storm passed by unnoticed as the brothers stayed lazily kissing and wrapped up in each other, hidden away in their own little oasis.