Dean doesn’t know how much time has passed since his brother’s been gone, and if he’s perfectly honest with himself, he doesn’t actually care. It feels almost like time’s stopped completely, in fact, and if it weren’t for the damn clock that won’t stop ticking on this motel’s wall, he’d have been able to appreciate the feeling in silence the way he’s been doing recently.
He doesn’t really register the time between picking up his knife and throwing it across the room, but the clock isn’t ticking anymore and that’s what matters.
He goes back to staring at the ceiling, counting cracks and trying not to let himself think. Trying not to let himself remember Sam’s face, or his voice, or his laugh. Trying not to imagine how it felt when his big brother held him close, ruffled his hair, called him his baby boy.
It’s occurred to him more than once that he could just end it. That it would be so simple to turn his favourite handgun on himself, that it wouldn’t even last a second. Pull the trigger, and he doesn’t have to think about this any more. Doesn’t have to imagine how Sam didn’t get that chance, not with the way the hellhounds tore his apart.
Dean’s not sure when he started crying, but it happens so often these days that it doesn’t really register.
He doesn’t know how to function without his brother, how to exist. How to go about day-to-day life. Sometimes, for a few seconds, he’ll hate Sam for doing this, for making this decision for him, for removing himself from Dean’s life in an effort to save it. But then he’ll remember the smiles or the hugs or the I love yous whispered against bare skin and all he can really feel is an aching, bone-deep sense of loss.
It’s been four months since he lost Sam, and Dean’s wondering if it’s worth going out somewhere to drink himself stupid when someone knocks on the door.
For a moment, he contemplates not answering it. It’s not like he’s got anyone left who’ll see fit to hunt him down- he shook Bobby off a few weeks ago, and the older hunter’s been leaving him alone since then- and if anything, it’s the motel’s manager and he’s not up for dealing with that right now.
But something drives him to get up, still in the sweatpants he yanked on an indeterminate number of hours or days ago and nothing else, and he heads to the door, takes the extra moment to grab his knife where it’s sticking out of the clock.
Dean opens the door slowly, like he’s been taught, and when he sees who’s on the other side, he wonders if maybe he really did go through with killing himself and just erased it, because this doesn’t feel like real life anymore.
Sam’s got some cuts on his arms, some sweat and dirt on his skin, and he looks desperate, crazed, lost.
When his eyes meet Dean’s, he looks a little bit like he’s seeing the sun for the first time.
Dean knows he should be skeptical. He knows he should be fighting, or demanding explanations, or attacking because this has to be an imposter, but God help him, all he can do is let out a half-formed sob and collapse in his brother’s arms. He’s so fucking tired.
Sam catches him, just like he always has, holds him up as easily as when he was no more than three feet tall, and walks him back into the room, kicks the door shut behind himself carelessly. Dean wonders who’s responsible for the nonsense babbling he can hear, and it takes a long moment to realize it’s coming from him.
"Sam, you- you- I… Sammy.” It’s the best he can manage right now, looking up at Sam with big eyes and hope and sorrow and need warring in his chest, and the big question hanging over everything: how?
But it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters right now, except for Sam’s big hands holding him up, laying him down so gently on the bed, crawling up after him. Dean realizes his brother hasn’t even spoken yet, but when he does, it’s a whisper, a plea. A prayer.
And maybe Dean doesn’t believe in God after all the shit that’s happened to them, but he sure as hell believes in his big brother.
Time stops for a split second when Sam’s lips crash against his, but then everything speeds up and Dean aches.
He feels like he can’t move his hands fast enough, through Sam’s hair, down his sides, hiking his shirt up to smooth over bare skin. Up his chest to reaffirm that Sam’s okay, he’s whole and he’s alive and he’s here.
Sam seems to be doing the same, because Dean can feel his brother’s hands everywhere, smoothing down his sides, shoving clothes out of the way. They manage to coordinate enough to get each other naked, barely separating their lips throughout, and then for a moment they slow down as Sam just pulls him close, crushes him to his chest.
"God, Dean," he whispers, just presses their foreheads together for a moment. His voice is rough, and Dean finds himself reaching up, brushing his fingertips over his brother’s throat gently. Sam makes a soft, pained sound, takes a deep breath before he continues. "Missed you. Didn’t think I was ever gonna see you again."
Dean decides not to mention how he’d already been resigned to living a short, painful life, completely alone. He decides not to mention how often he’s wondered what the barrel of his Colt 911 would taste like.
Instead of thinking about any of these things, he leans up again, presses his bare chest against Sam’s and kisses him hard.
His brother seems to be all too happy to join in, presses Dean down against the bed and goes back to re-memorizing the curve of each of his ribs, the jut of his hip bones. Dean preens under his touch, makes needy little sounds that he doesn’t have the ambition to be ashamed of right now.
He almost can’t bring himself to stop touching Sam long enough to reach over to his bedside table, but he manages, if only briefly. He grabs the bottle of lube he’s got, still handy, a habit from the years they’ve been together, and presses it into Sam’s hand.
"Please," is all he says, and he knows it’s enough. No one has ever understood him the way that Sam does.
Dean doesn’t need to be told to pull his legs up to his chest, just spreads and exposes himself without prompting. There’s something in Sam’s eyes that makes him shiver, makes him almost feel self-conscious as his brother ducks down, rests his cheek on Dean’s thigh for a moment.
"God, I missed you," Sam whispers. He sounds pained, and it suddenly occurs to Dean that he was literally in Hell, and he’s probably got some issues that have grown over the last few months.
It doesn’t seem to affect this, though, doesn’t seem to change the fact that Sam wants this, wants him. Dean doesn’t see Sam get his fingers slicked up so much as he hears it, feels it when his brother’s fingertip brushes over his rim, shivers. He doesn’t pull away, though, just focuses on relaxing so Sam can do this, because he knows they both need it right now.
"They tried to make me forget you." Sam’s voice is soft, and Dean almost misses the words entirely. His brother doesn’t seem to care one way or the other, just continues speaking. "What you looked like. How you felt in my arms, or the sound of your voice." Dean can see the smile, tiny and broken but there, genuine, and his heart stutters while Sam works his first finger in. "They took so much, Dean. Fuck, they tried to take everything. But fuck if I was gonna let them take you.”
Dean thinks he might start crying again, can still feel the dried tear tracks on his cheeks. He doesn’t know exactly what happened to Sam downstairs, but he’s got one hell of an imagination (ha, ha). He wonders, somewhere in the back of his mind, if his brother ever intends to tell him.
Most of his rational thought goes out the window altogether when Sam finds his prostate, and he stops worrying as much. It’s easier to focus on the drag of Sam’s finger inside him, the stretch and burn that come with Sam going a little too fast when he slips another one in. Dean can’t find it in himself to care, though, can only think about how real it is, that Sam is here.
Sam adjusts him gently, moves Dean’s legs out of the way until they can kiss again, and Dean can taste the desperation. He can relate, knows the flavour of his own mouth. If they could become one whole instead of two individuals, he’d do it in a heartbeat, combine two souls into one, heal whatever the pit fractured in Sam with everything he has left to give. This is as close as they can get, though, so Dean settles for the slow grind, the stretch of Sam’s fingers and the demanding press of his lips.
Two fingers blurs together into three between the heat of their bodies and the need that’s looping between them, a broken record stuck playing the same song, and Dean’s rolling his hips down onto Sam’s fingers and he needs. He needs this, aches for it, wants to be as close to Sam as it’s possible for a human being to get.
(He thinks, distantly, that if Sam had come back as a demon, then they’d at least have been able to share a body. A morbid thought, but one he can’t quite shake.)
Sam knows, like he always does. He pulls his fingers out slow and gentle, lubes himself up before he’s picking Dean up, cradling him close. Dean doesn’t understand for a moment, but then Sam’s gently setting him upright, straddling Sam’s lap, and Dean becomes an active participant because yes. This is what he needs.
As soon as he’s got himself lined up properly, Dean’s sinking down onto his brother’s cock, a low whimper stifled when Sam captures his lips again. He wraps his arms around Sam’s neck and clings tight, hides his head in his big brother’s shoulder and feels kind of like the little kid who’d been afraid of the monster under his bed.
But Dean isn’t afraid now, because Sam’s here, arms snaking around him and holding on tight. They’ve done it like this before, but it’s different now, more of a steady grinding motion than the usual up-and-down associated with the position. Dean decides he likes this better, because all he wants right now is to feel Sam as completely as he can.
"I’ve got you," Sam whispers, reaches up to brush his fingertips over Dean’s cheek. They come away wet, and Dean realizes he must be crying again. He’s been doing that a lot lately, but when he parts his lips to let Sam’s fingers into his mouth, these tears don’t taste bitter. "I’ve got you, baby boy, and I’m never letting you go."
It’s a comfort thing, Dean knows, and maybe a bit of an oral fixation, but it helps, and Sam knows him, and Sam’s here. Sam’s back, and Dean just sucks hard on his brother’s fingers, tries to blink away the tears clinging to his eyelashes.
"You’re so pretty," Sam whispers, finally pulls his fingers away just so he can lean in and kiss Dean instead. "Never forgot," he mumbles into it. "Didn’t forget you, Dean. Never."
Dean thinks about his brother in Hell, thinks about how of everything he could’ve held onto- Mom, Jessica, Stanford, something good and pure and untainted- he’d chosen to hang onto Dean. The thought had him stifling a sob, and he takes a deep breath, rolls his hips down hard. He needs this, needs the distraction, or else he’s not sure he’ll be able to put himself back together.
They don’t last long after that. Dean knows when Sam’s getting close because his brother grips him tight, just short of bruising- he knows Sam wouldn’t hurt him, especially not now- and sucks Dean’s lower lip into his mouth, rolls it between his teeth. Dean can feel the heat pooling low in his own stomach so he just focuses on the movement of his hips, tight little figure-eights that have Sam moaning and him letting out breathy gasps when Sam’s cock brushes him just the right way.
Sam finishes first, barely gets a hand on Dean’s dick before he comes, too. They ride it out together, and Sam’s talking the whole time, whispering under his breath. “I’m here, Dean, it’s okay, baby, I’ve got you. You’re okay. We’re okay. I love you.”
That’s the one that hits Dean the hardest, because they don’t do this. It occurs to him how close they came to losing each other for good, one way or another, and he just clings to Sam tighter, squeezes his eyes shut while his big brother lowers them down onto the bed, pulls the covers back over them.
"Yeah," Dean manages, voice cracked and broken. "Me, too."
Because they have each other right now, and Sam’s alive, and it doesn’t once occur to Dean before he drifts off to ask about the raised hand print on his brother’s arm.