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Moments of Gold

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He walked home most nights, content to meander the two miles down the highway and take the dirt path that led to his small rented cabin. It wasn't much but he'd made it his. A fresh coat of paint, some used but sturdy furniture, a couple of houseplants and homemade ivory curtains above the sink (courtesy of Elizabeth) and the place was slowly but surely morphing into something akin to homey.

Benny had to admit it felt downright nice to put down some roots, to sleep in a bed instead of on the ground or in the back of his truck. To be in such close proximity to his only living relative. He'd intended to keep an eye on her from a distance after his initial visit to the diner, but Elizabeth had drawn him in with her natural charm and had yet to let him go. She'd offered him a job, helped him find a place and seemed genuinely interested in his wellbeing. All alone in the world herself, it was almost as if she sensed their shared kinship. Maybe she did. People were drawn to each other for all kinds of crazy reasons. Benny wasn't about to look that particular gift horse in the mouth.

Speaking of people drawn together for crazy reasons...Benny's steps paused and a grin stretched across his face as he caught sight of the Impala parked in front of his cabin. He never knew when Dean was going to stop by. Sometimes he got a text ahead of time and sometimes he just showed up out of nowhere. It made no difference to him. Dean was good company, even when he wasn't, as far as Benny was concerned.

The lights were off as he entered. At home in the darkness he made his way with just enough noise to alert Dean of his presence, dropping his keys and wallet in a small dish at the end of the counter and letting the screen door bounce and bump once against the wooden jamb.

His surprise houseguest was passed out on the sofa with arms and ankles crossed, features softened in sleep, skin a pale moonlit blue.

"Well," Benny drawled quiet and reverent. "Hello there, Sleeping Beauty."

Dean was attractive to him in ways that far exceeded the aesthetic, but he could and did appreciate the packaging as much as the next guy. Especially in rare unguarded moments such as these.

Benny stood stock still for a long moment, long enough to realize something wasn't quite right. Dean hadn't stirred once since he'd entered and there was a full bottle of beer gone warm on the coffee table. Benny inhaled deeply through his nose and then frowned. Dean's scent was...off. Subtle, but unmistakable.

"Dean," he called softly, kneeling next to the hunter.

Relieved by the faint flutter of those pretty lashes, Benny touched the back of his fingers to Dean's forehead. The skin was warm to the touch, body temperature slightly elevated. He'd barely registered the fact when Dean startled awake, surging up from the sofa. Benny grabbed both wrists gently before the man could lash out physically.

"Easy there darlin'," he soothed. "It's just me."

"Benny?" Eyes wide, pulse racing, Dean blinked at him for a few seconds before slowly relaxing and glancing around the dark room. "What time 's'it?"

"Just shy of eleven," he replied. "What time did you get in?"

"Around six. I was gonna text you..." Dean groped around for his phone and found it tucked between the cushions. "...I must have fallen asleep. Sorry."

Benny shrugs off the apology.

"You're welcome here anytime, Brother. You know that. Besides, looks like you could use the rest."

Dean scrubbed a hand over his face and fought off a yawn.

"Feeling alright?" Benny asked outright. "You look a little peaked. Barely touched your brew." The vampire fingered the full bottle on the table.

"Eh," Dean said dismissively. "It tasted funny. I think I picked up a virus or something. Feel like shit. Can't seem to shake it."

The yawn he'd been trying to smother broke through. Dean turned away and brought his fist to his mouth, eyes watering slightly.

"Sammy's starting to show signs of it too," he continued groggily. "Figured it was a good idea to take a break, give him a day or two to fight it off."

"Sounds like a mighty fine plan," Benny agreed. Tactfully ignoring the fact that Dean would stop and rest for Sam but not for himself.

Despite an almost five hour impromptu nap, Dean still looked utterly exhausted.

"I could use some shut eye myself," Benny lied. "Why don't we move this party someplace a little more comfortable."

He stood, offering Dean his hand. It was a measure of how tired his guest was that he let Benny haul him to his feet and keep their fingers tangled all the way to the bedroom.

Benny was half undressed before he realized Dean was just sort of swaying sleepily in the middle of the room, not really focused on anything.

"Need some help there, Sugar?"

Dean blinked at Benny's voice and looked down at himself as if he'd forgotten what he was supposed to be doing.

Shucking off his jeans Benny watched as Dean gripped the hem of his t-shirt and pulled it up over his head, struggling with it sluggishly before pulling it free. When he went to toe off his sneakers, the tired hunter overbalanced, staggering slightly.

Benny gripped his hips, chest pressed close to Dean's back to steady him.

"I've got it," Dean snipped in exasperation.

Benny kissed a freckled shoulder, patience personified. "Well get on with it then why don'tcha."

Dean huffed but did as he was told, tucking his footwear under the bed so they wouldn't trip him up in the morning. Then, in perhaps some misguided attempt at an apology he leaned back against Benny, letting the vampire support his weight. There was the slightest of hesitations as Dean turned his head to seek Benny's lips in a soft melding kiss.

Bold and undeniably confident when seeking sexual contact of any kind, Dean was infinitely more careful with intimacy borne of comfort and affection. Like he was never quite certain how it would be received.

Benny let him set the pace, take what he needed - content to trade slow, sleepy kisses for as long as Dean would allow it.

It didn't last long, Dean pulling away just enough to divest himself of his jeans, kicking them off before bending to remove his socks. Benny's grip on Dean's hips tightened as the hunter wobbled slightly. He wasn't sure if it was the virus or the exhaustion affecting Dean's balance but he figured it was a good idea that the brother's had stopped to rest for a couple of days. He had no way of knowing about Sam, but Dean sure looked like he could use the break.

They crawled into the bed in their boxer briefs. Dean turned to him automatically and Benny pulled him in close, tucking him beneath his chin and tangling their legs together. He couldn't help but huff out a laugh as Dean's lips found his throat and his body rolled in a slow, sinuous wave against him.

"You sure you wanna be startin' something you can't finish there, Darlin'," Benny said, amused.

"Who says I can't f..fin..." Dean's voice was already heavy, slurred at the edges.

He dropped off just like that, body going lax before his voice completely faded.

"Yeah," Benny kissed the top of his head affectionately. "That's what I thought."

He was far from tired but more than content to just hold Dean for the night. It had been almost a month since the last time they'd shared a bed. Once the thing with Sam and Amelia had bit the dust for good, their regular encounters had taken a more unpredictable turn. Sam more focused on the hunt and Dean less willing to leave him alone for a night or two.

Benny and Sam had an unspoken agreement. Well, they didn't really speak to each other at all, unless absolutely necessary. The occasional clandestine text in regards to Dean's health or safety was about as civil as they got. He knew that Sam wasn't too far away, likely camped out in a motel the next town over. Benny's place in the natural order of things had always been predetermined but he held no grudges. It had been clear even in the earliest days of Purgatory that Sam was never far from Dean's thoughts. Finding Castiel and a way out of that place had been the urgent need, but getting back to Sam was Dean's first and ultimate priority.

The relationship that had developed between the hunter and the vampire had been a necessary byproduct of their common goal to escape. Somewhere along the way it had turned into something more, but Benny wasn't foolish enough to think that what they had actually mattered in the grand scheme of things. It could be gone in the blink of an eye. He wasn't about to waste time with regret or wishing for something that Dean couldn't give. He'd made peace with the way things were.

Dean safe, sound and in his arms at that moment was more than he'd dared hope for.

Apparently he was more tired than he thought. Benny didn't remember drifting off and only realized he had when he woke up just before dawn. The room was dim and gray, the world outside still a soft hush of sound.

Dean had shifted slightly during the night to his back, one arm over his head and disappearing beneath the pillow. The strong line of his jaw dusted with early morning stubble, the human breathed slow and even, sleep lighter and more natural than the deep exhaustion that had claimed him the previous night.

Feeling a bit frisky after a few hours’ sleep himself, Benny decided Dean was well rested enough to appreciate an early morning wakeup call. He slid slowly down the length of Dean's torso, trailing faint kisses, but avoiding zones that would have Dean waking before he reached his goal.

Benny paused at the flat, vulnerable flesh of Dean's stomach, laving gently at the treasure trail beneath his navel. In the spirit of taking his time and enjoying the warmth of the body in his bed, Benny rested his head at the juncture of Dean's hip and just breathed in his scent. Again he was hit with that sense of wrongness that something was just slightly off. He attributed it to the illness the hunter had been unable to shake and was about to move on down when something else caught his notice.

Benny froze in shocked surprise as a small; barely there echo reached supernaturally enhanced hearing. Fluttering faint, but strong was the unmistakable beat of another heart.

Such a conflicting morass of feelings rose up inside of him that Benny could do nothing but remain where he was and breathe through it. It was no secret to him that Dean was a carrier. He'd smelled it in his blood the first time they'd met. It wasn't something they'd ever discussed or needed to at the time. And once they were topside, Benny had never brought it up because, well, it wasn't like he shot off live seed anyways. Chances of him impregnating anyone were nil.

Dean was responsible and Benny had spied the small compact of birth control pills in his toiletry bag on more than one occasion. He may have even once, early on, counted them to make sure Dean hadn't missed any doses.

However, if there was anything that was going to screw with someone's cycle, it was a yearlong stint in Purgatory.

Fuck.

Benny wasn't naïve enough to assume that what he and Dean had was exclusive. Hell, he'd been known to indulge in a one night stand or two himself from time to time. If his chosen partner just so happened to share a trait or two that reminded him of a certain green-eyed hunter, no matter how minor, then no one but him was the wiser.

He'd never brought anyone back to his place though. Benny couldn't imagine sharing his bed or his home with anyone other than Dean.

The body beneath him stirred with a sigh, stretching and flexing, hand reaching absently for Benny's side of the bed. Blinking sleep from his eyes, dark lashes fluttering against pale skin, Dean looked down at him with a small groggy smile.

“Hey,” a soft crackle in his voice as he spoke.

He must have still been tired because he didn't blink twice or make any lewd comments in regards to Benny’s proximity to his dick.

Benny wasn't sure what Dean saw in his expression or interpreted from his silence but the rare, open expression on the young man's face turned quickly to confusion and then concern.

"Everything okay?" he asked, subtly tensing.

He'd suspected, but it wasn't until that very moment that Benny understood that Dean had absolutely no idea. He'd thought he'd picked up a virus or something. It eased an ache inside of Benny that he wasn't even aware of until that moment. He dropped a kiss to the flat plane of Dean's tummy and crawled back up the length of his body until they were face to face.

"Everything's fine, Sweetheart," Benny looked deep into Dean's eyes, saw the unease there and with deliberate tenderness whispered. “Everything's just fine."

And it was. Nothing about his feelings for Dean had changed.

He captured Dean's lips, licking into his mouth with gentle insistence; tongue soft and sweeping as he carefully maneuvered a muscled thigh between the hunter's legs. Balancing most of his weight on his elbow, Benny draped his body alongside Dean's and hummed from deep in his chest as Dean turned slightly, slotting them together like pieces of a puzzle.

They traded kisses, content to rock against one another in a lazy rhythm of slow building pleasure. Wrapped in a cocoon of warmth Dean was pliant beneath him, unguarded and so very vulnerable in that space between sleep and waking. At any given time the hunter was as deadly as he was beautiful, but here in this moment Benny could not help but be reminded of human frailty. His protective instincts rose to the forefront and he didn’t even attempt to mute the low, possessive growl that filled the air between them.

Dean met it with a moan, head falling back to expose the pale column of his throat - a display of trust that never ceased to amaze Benny. It was a gift each and every time. He licked and laved the skin above Dean’s pulse point and felt it quicken as the sharp tang of the hunter’s arousal filled his senses. In their earliest days together it had been as much a challenge as an adrenaline rush - holding Dean’s life in his hands, knowing that it was well within his power, his very nature, to rip through vulnerable flesh and feed on the warm, vibrant blood beneath.

But things had changed. It wasn’t a game anymore. Benny would sooner die than betray that trust. They never talked about it, never acknowledged it, but they both knew it.

And they both got off on it. Just a little.

The vampire trailed lower, savoring each expanse of skin, adjusting the fit of their bodies as he moved. Dean’s sleep softened nipples had perked to stiff peaks, all but begging for attention. Tongue swirling around the delicately aroused nub Benny took it into his mouth and gave it a firm tug.

Gasping loudly Dean bucked against him, the hard line of his cock suddenly more noticeable as he writhed beneath Benny’s weight. Pausing but not releasing his prize Benny shifted slightly, looking upward to meet Dean’s startled gaze.

Adorably sleep rumpled and aroused the young man radiated what the fuck? as he stared down at the vampire. Dean’s nipples had always been on the sensitive side, something both of them enjoyed immensely, but never had he been so deliciously responsive before. Benny knew without a doubt that the additional sensitivity was due to the undiscovered pregnancy.

He gave the nub another tentative suckle and watched as Dean’s eyes rolled, head dropping back against the pillow with a groan, hips jerking and stuttering as if each pull of his nipple was tied directly to his cock.

“Jesus,” Dean whispered breathlessly, arching his back, hands framing Benny’s head to keep him right where he was in a silent demand for more. It was encouragement the vampire didn’t need.

Benny hummed around the stiff bud, the sound muffled against Dean’s chest as he suckled and teased aroused flesh. He tested the waters with a faint impression of teeth, a barely there and gone nip that had his hunter arching with a hitch of breath.

“Fuck,” Dean whimpered, “oh, fuck, yeah.”

Benny kissed his way to the other nipple and gave it the same treatment, sucking and licking and hinting at a nibble until both nubs were wet and dark, furls tight and straining as an eager tongue flicked and tormented. Dean rocked against him, small desperate jerks of his hips beneath the vampire’s weight. Benny had a distant thought that he could easily do this for hours, taste and tease and draw forth delicious noises of pleasure but that all changed when Dean let loose a small naked sound of pure need that shot fire straight through Benny’s veins.

Grabbing Dean’s wrists he surged upward, pinning both above the hunters head and holding them in place with one hand. Cradling Dean’s jaw with the other, thumb resting just under his chin, Benny tilted his face upward to meet his gaze. Dean didn’t always like to be restrained, but Benny had learned the hunter’s tells while still in the wilds of Purgatory. He tightened his grip at the instinctual tug and heard the staccato beat of Dean’s heart as it began to race, green eyes darkening with heat and desire. It was all the reassurance he needed.

He took careful possession of the pouty mouth, thrusting deep and fluid as Dean opened to him, both adjusting the snug fit of their bodies so that Dean could continue to ride the thick muscle of his thigh. It wasn’t until Dean was well and truly distracted by the kiss and the glorious friction Benny provided that the vampire gently grasped a swollen, tender nipple between his fingertips.

Benny swallowed the helpless mewl that erupted before Dean wrenched his mouth away with a gasp, teeth sinking into his lower lip with a whimper.

“Now, don’t be shy, Sugar,” Benny’s voice low and lustful as he manipulated the aroused flesh. “Let me hear those pretty noises.”

Kiss swollen lips parted with an involuntary keen as Benny twisted and pulled with infinite care. Dean’s arms were loose and relaxed over his head, back subtly arched as dark, curved lashes swept low in obvious submission. It was a site to behold.

So fucking beautiful.

Benny had no idea if he’d said that out loud or not, but he found himself suddenly lost in the depths of Dean’s desperate and searching gaze. The young man blinked at him, eyes falling tellingly to the vampire’s lips as his body trembled with need.

Please.

The unspoken plea filled the space between them. Dean tilting his chin upward, seeking contact, so very close to the edge.

From the beginning, there was little that Benny had ever really been able to deny Dean. He lowered himself to Dean’s lips, rolling a perked bud between thumb and index finger, as he did so. He swallowed the delicious sounds that followed, plundering the sweet depths of a mouth gone lax in complete and utter surrender. When he began to pull and tug on the nub, milking it like a small teat, Dean bucked and went completely silent as his body began to seize.

So hard and ready himself, all it took was the feel of Dean’s hips hitching beneath him and his cock twitching against Benny’s thigh for the vampire to come with an inelegant grunt as they thrust against each other until they were sweaty, spent and sated. Benny allowed himself a controlled collapse, easing his weight down along Dean’s side as he caught his breath.

“Mmmmm,” Dean said sleepily as he turned his head in Benny’s direction, eyes still closed. “That was a good one.”

Dean glowed with a fine sheen perspiration and quiet contentment.

“Yeah,” Benny propped himself up on an elbow and looked down at the hunter. “It was,” he agreed. Dean had always been responsive in ways that spoke to Benny on a near primal level.

It brought to mind any number of things that were better left unsaid. He wasn’t about to rock the boat now, not knowing what he did and having come to the decision that it wasn’t his place to spill the beans on the pregnancy. Dean would figure it out on his own eventually and that was likely the best way to let it happen.

On impulse Benny pressed his lips to Dean’s brow before pushing back the covers. Dean opened one eye, glancing at him curiously as he abandoned the warmth of the bed and made for the bathroom. Stepping out of his boxers Benny dropped them in the hamper and gave his groin a good rinse before splashing his face with some cool water. He let the warm water run nice and hot before wetting a clean hand towel and making his way back to Dean.

The hunter hadn’t moved, arms still over his head and legs comfortably sprawled. He barely acknowledged the vampire as Benny stripped him of his messy boxers and tossed them in the general direction of the bathroom. The towel was just the right side of warm by the time he got to cleaning Dean up and Benny smiled as Dean opened his legs with a small, pleasant sound of surprise.

Dean turned, hugging Benny’s pillow to his chest even as the other swaddled the comforter back into place and curled around him on top of the blankets. Benny kissed the back of Dean’s neck, loving the velvety feel of the short hairs at his nape.

“I told Elizabeth I’d be in early to help with prep work,” he said. Dean drowsily acknowledged him. “Just be gone a couple of hours.” Another kiss, softer this time. “Go back to sleep.”

 

TBC

Chapter Text

By the time Benny was done getting dressed, Dean was out again, breathing slow and even with his mouth open. The vampire paused at the door, a small smile gracing his features at the site. Early morning sun streamed through the curtains hitting Dean’s shoulder and bathing the room in muted gold. The image stayed with Benny long after his departure.

He whistled all the way to work and was oblivious to the small, genuine smile that graced his features all morning until Elizabeth commented on it.

“And what’s got you in such a good mood today?” she asked over his shoulder as he chopped veggies for an omelet. The diner was quietly bustling with the early bird crowd, most of them regulars.

Benny was a pleasant, easy going fella on most days, but he realized that he was grinning like an idiot and had been for some time. His smile changed a little when he glanced over at Elizabeth, still bright, still genuine but with a more paternal inflection.

“It’s a beautiful day and I’ve got a lot to be grateful for,” he said truthfully. “Can’t ask for more than that.”

“Mmm, hmmm,” she smiled back, pleased but obviously suspecting there was more to it. She didn’t push though, she never did. Elizabeth just continued to smile at him as she went on her way with the order for table number five.

An hour or so later Benny was making a detour to the market for some supplies on his way home. He could have easily brought Dean some takeout from the diner for breakfast, but he enjoyed cooking and wanted the food to be fresh and hot when he served it to the hunter. The bed was empty and tousled when he peeked in, the shower running behind the closed door of the bathroom.

Humming, Benny set about making breakfast. He’d learned early on to maintain appearances. The first time Elizabeth had stopped in unannounced she was noticeably distressed by the lack of food and amenities. Along with the curtains she’d made, she had picked him up a yard sale toaster and a coffee pot and he’d eventually purchased a microwave as well, more for Dean’s benefit than his own. He made sure to keep his fridge and cupboards at least partially stocked and rotated the contents often for those times she dropped by. Most of what he did have on hand were things that he knew Dean enjoyed.

He’d just finished scrambling up some eggs when Dean appeared with damp, spiked hair and wearing nothing but faded, comfortable denim. The hunter stopped short at the amount and variety of food Benny was in the process of presenting him with.

“Expecting company?” he asked warily.

“Nope,” Benny transferred the eggs to a plate that already contained crisp bacon and a two pieces of buttered and golden toast. Two large fresh cinnamon buns he’d made that morning at the diner sat nearby and there were half a dozen blueberry pancakes currently setting on the griddle and a bottle of maple syrup already within reach on the table. “This is all for you.”

Benny chuckled at the slightly alarmed look on Dean’s face.

“I didn’t know what you’d be in the mood for so I made a little of everything. Just eat what you want, brother, and don’t worry about the rest.”

Dean relaxed slightly and took the seat that was obviously meant for him. He was already looking in the direction of the coffee pot when Benny produced an oversized mug with one cream and two sugars and pressed it into his hand. Dean’s grateful but curious gaze followed him back to the stove as he flipped the pancakes before they could scorch.

 

He’d done this a time or two so it wasn’t entirely out of the ordinary but normally Dean was content with a bagel or a bowl of cereal. It wasn’t often that Benny cooked a full course breakfast meal for his guest.

“This looks great,” Dean said as Benny tended the griddle. “I just, uh, haven’t had much of an appetite lately. Not sure how much I’ll be able to eat.”

“Well,” Benny said casually. “You’ll never know unless you give it a try now will ya.”

He didn’t turn around and pretended to not be paying attention but he heard the fork scrape against the plate and couldn’t help but smile as Dean took a bite of his eggs. Once the pancakes were done he stacked them on a plate and set them within reach before remembering the bowl of fruit salad he’d placed in the refrigerator to keep chilled. He popped the plastic lid and slid it across the table to Dean as he took the seat opposite.

Dean eyed Benny and then the fruit suspiciously, chewing his food with careful deliberation and the vampire had to wonder how much of Dean’s diet stayed put once digested these days and if morning sickness truly only occurred in the morning. He was pleased when the hunter stabbed a strawberry with his fork and ate it while snagging a blueberry pancake to fill the empty space on his plate where his eggs had been.

For Benny, it was nice to not have to pretend. At the diner he often ate at least one meal a day to appease Elizabeth and sipped a cup of coffee whenever he took a break to maintain appearances. Food held no nutritional value for him and it tasted like ash but it seemed to make her happy. There was no need for such pretense with Dean. They sat in comfortable silence, Benny taking quiet pleasure in each bite the hunter took and Dean not the least bit self-conscious to be the only one eating.

When all was said and done Dean hadn’t really eaten that much. A little taste of just about everything, probably to show his appreciation more than anything, but it was enough to put something in his tank to start the day. Benny did notice however that he’d eaten more fruit than expected and made a note to grab more on his way back to the diner later.

They cleaned up together, navigating their way around each other with effortless and familiar ease in the small kitchen. The mundane tasks and domestic chores of life that Benny had once taken for granted, before decades of hyper-vigilance in purgatory, were now considered a precious gift - even more so when Dean was present.

The rest of the morning and into early afternoon was spent planting shrubs, landscaping for flowerbeds and a small herb garden and adding to the unfinished pathway with the stepping stones Benny had been collecting over the last several weeks. The appearance of one’s home should always reflect proper southern decorum no matter how much, or how little, one had to work with. Or so his grandmother always said. At the very least it gave him something to do during his downtime.

Dean had little experience with planting and gardening but he took instruction well and was instrumental in getting a fair amount of the stone walkway done. The straightforward, physical labor was a visible balm to the hunter and Benny couldn’t help but smile as Dean shed the last bit of restless energy that came from having his own stint of downtime. His hair and skin was sun kissed, flushed warm with heat and exertion, t-shirt damp with sweat as it clung to him. Dark soil covered his hands and jeans, a ghost of a smudge high on his cheek. He looked vibrant and content. Beautiful. Always so fucking beautiful.

They were about four hours in when Dean’s energy peaked. Benny noticed only because he’d been watching for it. The hunter moved a little slower, the steady stream of banter and commentary had tapered off and there was a telling pull at the corner of eyes that hinted a limit had been reached. Benny knew Dean well enough to know the man could and would push the limit and end up exhausted if allowed to continue. There was no need for that here. They’d gotten a fair amount of work done and tomorrow was another day.

The small cabin was blessedly cool as they stepped inside, air conditioner a steady hum in the background as they shed shoes and shirts at the door.

“Go on and take the first shower,” Benny said, already turning away to grab some fresh clothing when Dean grabbed his hand.

“You, ah…wanna join me?” he asked. The slight smirk and the glint in the hunter’s eyes tired but true.

“Well, now,” Benny changed directions and gave Dean the lead. “I’d be a fool to turn down an invitation like that now wouldn’t I?”

“Damn straight,” Dean agreed with a grin as he tugged the vampire along.

Like the kitchen, both the bathroom and the shower were on the small side, geared towards a single occupant, but they’d found ways to make it work. They took care of business first while the water was hot, washing themselves and the other clean of the sweat and grime from working in the heat. And when Dean went to his knees, part of Benny knew that a favor was being returned from this morning when he’d gotten the hunter off. Not that Dean didn’t enjoy what he was doing…the boy was too damn good with his mouth to not derive any pleasure out of it at all, but it was all part of a check and balance system that Benny wasn’t even sure Dean was consciously aware of. It didn’t bother him none either way.

They spent the next hour and change at the laundromat in quiet, easy companionship, the repetitive hum of the machines steady and peaceful as they washed their respective attire and the bedding, not bothering to separate what belonged to whom. Back at his cabin Dean reached for the remainder of the fruit without prompting and nibbled at it while Benny put his clothes away and remade the bed.

By the time he made his way back to the living room Dean’s lids and limbs were heavy. Benny held up the book he’d started reading a few visits back, brows raised in question. He didn’t have a television and he really didn’t have a mind for the laptop either. Occasionally he’d pull up the Netflix site Dean had set up for him but books had always been more his style. Dean had laughed a little when he’d started reading aloud to him those few months ago but it had only taken a few pages for the both of them to get into the story and now it had become habit, reading a chapter or two whenever Dean could stop by. He had several books he read as he pleased but this particular book they’d started together and he saved it for when Dean visited.

Dean gave a nod. “Where’d we leave off last time?”

“The shotgun wedding,” Benny recalled easily. “And the spanking.”

Barking out a laugh as Benny took a seat on the end of the sofa, Dean was already stretching out with his head in the vampire’s lap.

“Oh, yeah,” he chuckled as he got comfortable. “Feel free to read that part again.”

He always backtracked a bit just to refresh their memories. He opened the book, holding it with one hand as the other stretched along the arm of the sofa.

He’d chosen Outlander more for the fact that it was a period piece that took place in 1754 Scotland but quickly discovered there was a rather compelling love story interwoven with the historical aspect. Claire, a married combat nurse from 1945, vacationing with her husband to Scotland after the war had ended. It was the honeymoon they’d never had and the chance to reconnect. Then she visits a mysterious circle of stones and is transported back in time to meet the young and dashing Jamie Frasier under less than ideal circumstances.

There was just enough historical information intertwined with the developing relationship to keep them both interested, but Benny had to admit that he was rather invested now in how things turned out. Would Claire make it back to Frank in 1945 or would she remain with the young scot, who was slowly staking his own claim on her heart.

He’d only been reading for approximately ten minutes when he felt Dean’s head ease to the right on his thigh as he began to drift. Gently, with the next turn of the page, Benny’s hand settled on the crown of Dean’s head, thumb lightly stroking over soft, clean spikes of hair. The hunter roused, but only barely, with the faintest hint of sound before succumbing to the nap that his body so desperately desired.

Benny continued to read, the sound of his voice lulling Dean deeper with the safe and familiar cadence of his voice. At this point it would take them forever to actually finish the book, but Benny found that he didn’t quite care or mind. He read for another hour, knowing that he’d have to re-read each and every word again…but also knowing that he would do so gladly.

The evening found him back at the diner for his regular shift, Dean tucked away in a corner booth with his laptop and phone, alternating between research for a new case and texting with someone Benny could only assume was Sam. Those two really were as co-dependent as they came, but Benny couldn’t seem to bring himself to mind. He understood the value of family, having only one living relative left to claim as his own.

“So that’s why you were in such a good mood this morning,” Elizabeth chided as she sidled up next to Benny, holding a full coffee pot and a generous slice of blueberry pie, both gazing in Dean’s direction.

Benny didn’t say as much but the smile he shot Elizabeth was confirmation enough. She left him to peel his potatoes and made her way to Dean with the pie and coffee. As soon as she was far enough away Benny took out his phone and sent Sam a text.

We need to talk.

The response was immediate.

We really don’t.

Benny ignored the antagonistic response. He didn’t have the patience for it this time. They both knew there was only one reason he’d be contacting Sam.

It’s important.

Diner. 7 am.

Pocketing the phone he rinsed the potatoes and had them in a pot on the stove in record time before pouring a nice cold glass of milk and making his way towards his two favorite people. Elizabeth was insisting that the pie was on the house while at the same time asking Dean if he felt okay because he hadn’t so much as touched his coffee. Benny had noticed that earlier that morning Dean had only taken a few sips of the mug he’d poured.

“Now everyone knows that milk is the way to go with homemade pie,” Benny said as he took the bench seat opposite Dean and slid the glass in his direction.

“That does sound pretty good actually,” Dean said eyeing the milk with the same glint usually reserved for his favorite beer.

“Okay, then. Milk it is. And blueberry pie,” she said as she set the dish within reach and retrieved the full mug of coffee to take back to the sink.

“Mmmmm, my favorite,” Dean said, already reaching for a bite with his fork.

“You know,” Elizabeth pointed out, “you say that about every kind of pie I bring you. Apple, strawberry, peach…even custard and mince.”

“And it’s true every time,” Dean took a bite and smiled around his fork before chewing and swallowing. “Never met a pie I didn’t like.”

Elizabeth shook her head fondly and headed back to the kitchen.

Once Dean started on the pie there was no stopping him. Benny watched him devour the slice and chug down every ounce of the milk with a small pleased smile that grew broader as Dean wiped the back of his hand over his mouth as he finished it off.

“What?” Dean asked looking suddenly self-conscious as he caught Benny’s gaze.

“Nothing,” Benny said smoothly changing the subject. “How’s Sam feeling? Any better?”

“Said he could use another day,” Dean informed. “It’s all good. Still not sure if this thing in Maine is up our alley or not. I’ve got to call the local PD and get their take on it.”

Benny nodded, happy that Dean would be around another day or two.

~*~*~*wWw*~*~*~

It was just as hard to leave a warm, sleepy Dean the next morning but Benny knew this talk with Sam was necessary. While he’d made the decision not to tell the hunter of the life he was carrying, he knew that someone had to be aware in order to keep the man from taking any unnecessary risks.

Sam was there, leaning against a borrowed Stratus outside the diner as Benny made his way on foot from the cabin. Sam watched him approach, his expression one of resignation, which was the norm for the two of them when forced to socialize. It was a step up, if barely, from the hostile aggression and disgust he had initially faced from the younger Winchester.

“Sam,” Benny acknowledged.

“Benny,” Sam returned suspiciously as the vampire came to a halt next to him. “What’s up with the clandestine meeting? Keeping things from Dean already?”

Benny ignored the jibe with an internal sigh. There was no way to ease into this news so he just put it right out there.

“Sam…your brother is…” Benny hesitated only slightly, looking for the right word, “expecting.”

Sam just kept looking at him as if anticipating more to that sentence, his impatience growing.

“Expecting what?” he snapped.

Benny lowered his head slightly and just looked at him, subtly questioning if he was truly that dense.

It took a few seconds but Sam suddenly paled, face morphing into genuine shock as he gaped openly at the vampire.

“What…when..?” Sam stuttered to a stop and brought a hand to his face as he began to contemplate the complexity of the situation. “Fuck.”

Benny gave him time to adjust to the surprising news but it didn’t take long for Sam’s gaze to find his again.

“Wait,” he said. “Why are you telling me this? Why isn’t Dean…”

Benny could practically see the gears turning as Sam stared at him.

“He doesn’t know,” Sam guessed correctly.

Benny shook his head. “I thought it would be best if he discovered it on his own, had time to realize the symptom he’s been having is not a virus.”

“How do you know it isn’t?” Sam asked somewhat hopefully.

Benny looked Sam over carefully, remembering the reason Dean had stopped for a visit was because he’d said Sam was sick also.

“Dean said you weren’t feeling well yourself. It’s the only reason he holed up for a few days was to give you time to rest.” Benny reminded the other hunter.

Sam didn’t even bother to look guilty. “I’m fine. It was the only way to get Dean to take a break.”

Benny suspected as much. Of course that would only reinforce the opinion that it was a virus if his brother was exhibiting the same symptoms. It was no wonder Dean had no clue it was anything else.

“It doesn’t mean anything. It could still be something he picked up…”

“I heard the heartbeat, Sam,” Benny interrupted, putting a halt to any pretense that it was anything other than what it was. “Strong, steady and persistent. Just like her daddy.”

Sam’s mouth snapped shut at that. It was pretty irrefutable.

“Her?” he asked softly and Benny may have blushed just a little.

“I don’t know that for certain, but it feels right,” he said.

Sam gazed off into the distance, mind racing with the news but ultimately accepting it as a reality. Eventually though he sought Benny out again, eyes narrowing slightly.

“And how do you feel about it?” Sam asked in obvious challenge. “We both know she’s not yours.”

Benny didn’t think Sam even realized that he’d already gender identified his unborn niece on nothing but Benny’s intuition. The dig rankled a bit but Benny knew how much Sam meant to Dean so he’d never considered responding in kind, even when it was well within his rights to do so. Besides, this was as good a time as any to inform Sam of one very important detail.

“I love your brother, Sam,” Benny wore his heart on his sleeve as he spoke, his voice, his eyes, his very being conveying the sincerity of his statement. “This changes nothing. Not for me.”

There was a flicker of surprise, perhaps even respect in Sam’s gaze before it hardened once again.

“We’ll see.”

“I guess we will,” Benny agreed.

Sam made his way around the car to the driver’s side, opening the door and glancing at Benny over the roof, voice curious as he asked, “Why tell me if you’re leaving Dean to find out for himself?”

Benny couldn’t stop the genuine grin that stretched across his face at that, more because it was at Sam’s expense than anything.

“Someone’s got to keep him out of trouble until he figures out his delicate condition,” he huffed as his hand reached for the handle to open the diner door.

He saw Sam grimace and for a moment could only sympathize with the young hunter because God help any man who dared attempt such a feat! Benny was all too glad to leave that particular responsibility to Sam.

 

TBC...