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Winchesters - The Teenage Years

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‘Dean?’ Sam said in a small voice as he entered the bathroom.

Damnit. Dean quickly removed his hand from where it had been. It definitely should not be there as his 15-year-old brother’s voice entered his mind and filled his head with dirty images. Every time Sammy walked into the bathroom while Dean had his hand around himself his mind quickly replaced the very innocent images of women with ones of his brother. And that was not how he was supposed to think of his baby brother.

He had thought about shutting the door while he was in the shower. It had been a long time since it was necessary to keep an eye on Sammy in the motel rooms or to remove any barriers for him when he was still just a baby. But even still, he enjoyed it when his little brother would come into the bathroom to talk. They did their most serious discussions while Dean was in the shower; like the time Sammy had asked what happened to their mother, or any time Dad left Sam would come in and ask where he’d gone, stuff like that. Closing the door felt like he was shutting his brother out of a part of his life. And it wasn’t as if Sammy always interrupted Dean’s “alone” time.

Dean definitely did not anticipate this serious a talk. ‘What is it Sammy?’ he asked as he heard his little brother slam the toilet seat down so he could sit.

‘Do you think Dad would let me go to college?’ Sam asked, hesitantly.

Dean whipped his head out from behind the curtain, careful not to let any of the shampoo suds fall into his eyes. ‘What are you talking about Sammy?’

‘I want to go to college,’ Sam said. ‘When I’m older, after high school. It’s just, we move around a lot. Do you think Dad would let me stay on my own?’

‘Sammy you don’t want to be on your own,’ Dean said, but quickly regretting saying that at the look of loss on his brother’s face. ‘I can’t protect you if you’re off to college.’

‘I don’t need you to protect me all the time. I’ll be an adult. I’m sure I can manage collage on my own,’ Sam said.

‘That’s my job Sammy. To protect my pain in the ass little brother. It doesn’t matter how old you get,’ Dean said. He returned to his shower and rinsed the shampoo out of his hair. ‘Besides, you know Dad.’

‘Can’t you talk to him?’ Sam asked. ‘He leaves us here with only you to protect us. You’re the same age I’ll be when I go off to college. If you can protect the both of us, I can protect just myself, can’t I?’

‘Doesn’t work that way, kiddo,’ Dean said. He had always known Sammy was more interested in school than hunting and it was only a matter of time before he brought up the idea of going to college. Dean knew his Dad would never go for it, though. And, truth be told, he wasn’t itching to let Sam go, either.

‘This isn’t fair,’ Sam said, slamming his hand down on the counter for emphasis.

‘Life’s not fair Sammy. Come on. You know that,’ Dean said.

‘Dean,’ he said, and Dean heard the plea in his voice. ‘Can’t you just lie to me for a little bit? Tell me everything is going to be all right and I can do anything I want when I grow up? Isn’t that apart of protecting me?’

Dean turned the shower off. ‘I’m supposed to protect you from monsters and demons, not feelings,’ Dean said. ‘Pass me a towel.’

After a few moments and the distinct sounds of his brother’s footsteps, a hand reached past the curtain holding a fluffy blue towel.

Dean quickly grabbed it and dried off a bit before opening the curtain. Sammy quickly turned around at the site of his brother wrapped in the towel.

‘It would just be nice, Dean. For once not to have to worry about all this supernatural crap,’ Sam said.

‘Preaching to the choir, kid,’ Dean said, walking past and ruffling up his brother’s hair.

‘But it’s easier for you. You enjoy this stuff,’ Sam said following his brother out of the bathroom and sitting on one of the beds.

‘You think I enjoy having to sleep with one eye open? Worrying sick that Dad’s not gunna come home. That you’re going to be ok? I don’t. All I want is for us to be together. For you to be safe. I can’t do that if you’re not here for me to look out for you!’

‘You don’t have to do that Dean, is what I’m saying,’ Sam shouted back. ‘Besides, lots of people go off to college and they’re all fine.’

‘Yeah, and lots of people die Sammy. Horrible deaths that we have to clean up after,’ Dean yelled. ‘I’m sorry Sammy, but no. And why are you bringing this up even? You’re fifteen goddamn years old. You shouldn’t be worrying about this crap, yet. Just keep your geeky little nose in those books and shut up.’

‘I’m sorry I don’t want to end up like you when I’m nineteen,’ Sam shouted, flopping down on the bed. Dean took that opportunity to throw some clothes on without his brother looking.

That hurt, though. This wasn’t the life that Dean would have chosen. He probably would have done the same thing as his dad and just got married, have a couple kids, work on cars. But he was raised a military life, a hunter’s life. Since he was four years old, that’s all he knew. Sammy at least had the luxury of being spared the reality most of his childhood. It would have been a lot longer if Dean was better able to keep a secret from his little brother.

Dean had accepted that he was a hunter when he was sixteen. This was what he was good at. And he enjoyed helping people, that he couldn’t lie about. But how Sammy said it: end up. That hurt. He hadn’t ended up anywhere he didn’t want to be. Or, at least, that’s what he kept telling himself.

‘Just … You have lots of time to not worry about crap like that, Sammy,’ Dean said. ‘Be a kid, okay?’

‘Like you were a kid?’ Sam accused.

‘Ouch, Sammy,’ Dean said as he sat on the other bed and flicked on the T.V. ‘Wanna watch some porn?’

Chapter Text

Dean was halfway through his shower when he heard the door open and shut. It was so quiet that Dean almost didn’t hear. But he had trained himself to be on the alert to protect Sammy, even when he was in the shower.

‘Sammy?’ Dean called sticking his head out and waiting only a second. When he didn’t get a reply he quickly got out of the shower and ran into the main room, disregarding a towel. No one was there.

‘Sammy!’ he shouted, looking helplessly around the room. He picked up a pair of boxers along with a cellphone before heading outside.

He dialed Dad’s number. ‘Sammy!’ he continued to call as it rang. He searched the parking lot and around the motel room. Empty.

‘Dean?’ John’s voice came out of the phone, concern in his voice. Dean hadn’t even realized that he had picked up.

‘Dad. God, dad. I was in the shower and …,’ Dean tried to explain. His heart was racing and tears were beginning to swell in his eyes. Sammy was gone.

‘Dean, calm down. Tell me what happened,’ John said.

‘Dad, I was in the shower and I heard … Sammy’s missing,’ he managed to squeak. He had lost Sammy, sure, but his dad was also going to be furious. How could he have lost Sammy?

‘What? Look for him, I’ll be there in an hour,’ John said, anger already in his voice. He hung up before Dean had a chance to say anything else.

Dean searched everywhere. There wasn’t even a trail of his little brother. Either he really had been paying attention all those times Dean tried to teach him tracking or something had taken him. Well, of course he had been paying attention – like it or not, that kid was smart. But it was too fast. There would have been a sign. Dean would have caught up with him. Something had him. Something had his little brother and it was all his fault. He had to get him back.

***

When John got back to the motel room, he found Dean outside in the woods calling his brother’s name.

‘Dean!’ John said as he caught up.

Dean turned around. He was done crying. Done feeling sorry for himself, but his eyes were still bloodshot. ‘Dad, I’m trying. I’m trying to get him back.’

Dean’s eyes focused and found John’s, there was only anger in them. Dean looked down, ashamed.

‘What did I tell you? What was the one thing I told you to do?’ John shouted.

‘Watch out for Sammy,’ Dean said. ‘I was–’

‘No, you had one job. If you would have done it Sam would still be here!’ John shouted. ‘One job, Dean. I don’t bring you out on hunts; I don’t take you away from your brother for that one reason. I’m out there risking my life for you boys. I could use your help, but I don’t. Because somebody needs to watch out for Sam. He’s only fifteen.’

And he went on shouting about what a disappointment Dean was and how much he had lost his trust. Dean wished he would just hit him, get it over with. But he never did.

Finally he turned and walked away, calling Sam’s name. Dean turned the other way and continued his own search.

***

They didn’t talk much for the two weeks it took them to find Sammy.

Dean was sitting at the kitchen table, a glass of whiskey in front of him. His dad had told him to stay behind, just in case Sammy came back. That was hard. Not being out there looking for his baby brother, just sitting there feeling useless. Which, he figured, he probably was after all this.

‘Look who I found,’ John said. Dean looked up to find his dad leading in a guilty looking Sam. Dean smiled weakly until he looked up at his dad. He was smiling alright, but his eyes held the same contempt for Dean they had shown since Sam disappeared.

‘Sammy,’ Dean said weakly, too afraid of his father to listen to his reflexes and reach out and hug his brother – which was all he wanted to do at that moment, hold his brother, make sure he was solid and honest to god actually there.

‘Hey Dean,’ Sam said, his voice almost as weak as his brother’s.

‘Turns out he was keeping himself in a trailer outside of Flagstaff,’ John said. ‘Little scamp just needed a camping trip.’

‘Yeah, yeah. Did you have fun Sammy?’ Dean asked.

‘Look you can all stop pretending. I know you two are mad at me for taking off,’ Sammy said, pulling away from his dad’s hand on his shoulder and sitting on the bed. ‘I’m sorry, okay? I just needed to get away.’

‘We’re not mad at you Sammy. We were just worried about you is all,’ John said, taking the glass of whiskey off Dean and sitting at the table next to him.

‘Yeah, Sammy. You gave us quite a scare,’ Dean said, putting on his winning smile for his brother’s sake.

***

Since their dad was staying in the motel that night, Dean had to share his bed with Sammy. Which, he honestly didn’t mind. After being without him for two weeks it was nice to feel his little brother lying next to him.

Dean stayed awake for longer than he had thought he would. The whiskey was stirring in his brain and he couldn’t help himself but let tears fall down his cheeks. He had almost lost his brother. That feeling. He never wanted to feel that again.

He reached over and touched his brother’s back with the tips of his fingers. He hadn’t gotten to hug his brother since he got back two hours earlier and he couldn’t help but to sigh in relief that his brother was actually back.

His hand fell around his brother’s waist and he pulled them together. He could smell the cheap hand soap his brother had used as shampoo and he smiled.

‘Dean?’ Sammy whispered.

‘I thought you were asleep,’ Dean whispered back. ‘Go back to sleep Sammy.’

‘I’m sorry I scared you, Dean,’ Sam said.

Dean nodded and they were so close that he knew Sam could feel it. He expected his brother to pull away, but instead he just laced his fingers through his own and squeezed.

***

It had been three weeks since Sammy got back and their dad still hadn’t left to go on another hunt. Hell, Dean was sure he never finished the hunt he was on when this whole thing got started.

‘You can leave,’ Dean said, fed up with his dad always hovering. ‘He ran away. It wasn’t my fault.’ He didn’t believe that. He couldn’t believe that. Sure, Sammy would have tried to take off all on his own, but if Dean were quicker or had a better eye out, or anticipated what his brother was going to do … if he was paying closer attention, he would have been able to stop Sam.

‘He was on your watch, Dean,’ John said firmly. ‘You were supposed to watch him. Where were you?’

‘I was in the shower. What was I supposed to do?’ Dean asked.

‘I don’t know, drag him in there if you have to,’ John nearly shouted. ‘Don’t let him out of your sight.’

Sammy came out of the bathroom and they both turned as they heard the door. ‘I’m not going to run away again Dad. You don’t have to stay to keep an eye out anymore,’ Sam said.

‘I’m just worried,’ John said.

‘I know, Dad. Dean can watch out for me, ok? There are people who need your help. And besides, I have school next week.’

‘He’s right, y’know. Since when does our Sammy skip out on education?’ Dean said.

John looked between his boys. ‘Fine. I have a job a few counties away anyway. Dean can I talk to you outside for a sec?’

‘Sure Dad,’ Dean said, standing up.

His dad packed his stuff quickly and he followed him out to the Impala. ‘You keep your eye on him. Don’t let him out of your sight.’

‘Yes sir,’ Dean said obediently.

‘Don’t just say that. I mean it Dean,’ John said.

‘Yeah, Dad, I got it,’ Dean said.

John got into the car and drove off. Dean slowly walked into the motel room.

‘All right, Sammy. You and me are gunna have a little talk,’ Dean said, ignoring his brother’s look and pulling two beers out of the fridge.

‘Those are Dad’s,’ Sammy protested.

‘Grown up talk deserves a grown up drink. C’mon Sammy,’ Dean said, placing a beer by his brother and sitting down at the table himself.

‘Sam.’

‘What?’

‘If we’re going to have a grown up talk I should be Sam, shouldn’t I? Sammy’s a fat twelve year old,’ Sam said. He took a tentative sip of the beer and turned his nose up.

Dean nearly spit out his own drink at his brother’s face. ‘Time you got a taste for it. I was thirteen when Dad let me sip his beer,’ he said.

‘This stuff’s awful. Why would anyone drink it?’ Sam asked.

Dean laughed. ‘Stop trying to change the subject Sammy,’ he said, putting his arms on the table and looking seriously at his brother.

‘Sam,’ Sammy said. He managed to swallow a few more tiny sips of beer.

‘Why’d you do it?’ Dean asked.

‘Do what?’

‘Don’t you play dumb, Sammy. Why’d you go to Flagstaff?’

Sam put the beer on the table and started fiddling with his fingers. ‘I was thinking … I was hoping that if I spent some time on my own I could show you.’

‘Show me what?’

‘Show you that I could handle it; that I could be on my own. So that I could be a normal kid, go off to college,’ Sam said. ‘I didn’t think you’d call Dad.’

‘Why the hell wouldn’t I call Dad? We thought you were kidnapped. God Sammy, we were so scared that we wouldn’t get you back … I was so scared that I had lost you,’ Dean said. He said it quietly. He didn’t want to say that, didn’t want to lay his crap on Sammy, but he was still scared that Sam would run off again and that was the only way he could see to make his brother understand.

‘Dean, I want to go to college, not jump off the face of the Earth,’ Sam said, taking another sip of the beer. Dean thought he only continued drinking so he could show Dean he could.

‘Yeah, Sammy, I know,’ Dean replied. He knew that sending his brother off to college wasn’t the end of the world. That most of the reason wasn’t even some noble high road of wanting to protect his brother. If he was being honest, he just didn’t want to lose his brother. Sammy would get out, would stop hunting, would go off and live a semi-freakin-normal life. And Dean definitely couldn’t be apart of that.

‘Dean, what aren’t you telling me?’ Sam asked.

‘Nothing, Sammy,’ Dean said, taking a big gulp of his beer. ‘Want some pizza for dinner?’

He was already dialing when Sam walked over and pulled the phone out of his hand, hanging it up.

‘Grown up talk, remember?’ Sam said, staring down at Dean.

Dean drank more of his beer so he wouldn’t have to talk. ‘Sam, really. I’m fine. I’m dealing. Now pizza?’

Sam nodded slowly, like he wanted to agree with his brother but he really didn’t. He picked up the phone and dialed the pizza place again. He put the phone to his ear and sat sideways on Dean’s lap.

Sam didn’t seem to realize what he had just done, but Dean’s heart rate quickened and he tried to keep his hands firmly to his sides. But, that didn’t work because as soon as Sam started talking to the pizza man he started to fall. Dean closed his eyes, trying to get his body under control as he wrapped an arm around his brother and pulled him closer.

Ok, yeah. All that wanking in the shower with Sam walking in had put thoughts in his head, sure. But he never thought about Sammy first. He just popped up when his voice drifted into the room. And yeah, that maybe had an affect on Dean’s body. It now associated Sammy with those things. But that’s all it was, right? Some kind of conditioning. Yes.

‘Said it’ll be here in 40 minutes or less,’ Sammy said, snapping Dean out of his thoughts. He put his arm around Dean’s neck to keep him from falling, too. ‘I hope they’re late. I’ve always wanted free pizza.’

‘Happened once,’ Dean said. ‘You were little. Wouldn’t remember. Dad had ordered it and he sat there for an hour and a half before they finally got there.’

‘Why’d they take so long?’ Sam asked.

‘Got jumped by a shifter out for Dad,’ Dean said like it was a common occurrence. ‘Not not only did he kick some serious ass, but we got free pizza.’

‘But the pizza man died,’ Sammy pointed out.

Dean shrugged and adjusted his legs, making Sam laugh as he bounced about. ‘Small detail Sammy. We stopped him from killing any more people,’ he said. He downed the rest of his beer.

‘Here,’ Sam said. He reached over and grabbed his own beer and shoved it into Dean’s hand. ‘I’m not going to drink any more.’

‘Wanna try some whiskey?’ Dean said, smiling playfully.

‘Are you trying to get me drunk?’ Sammy asked.

‘Could be fun seeing my normally very reserved, very geeky baby brother a bit drunk, yeah,’ Dean said.

Sam smiled. ‘I think you’re just doing it to take advantage of me,’ he said.

Dean froze. No, no, that was definitely not what he was trying to do.

Sam laughed. ‘Jeez Dean. I was joking,’ he said. ‘If I didn’t know any better, though.’ He raised his eyebrows at Dean.

Dean forced a laugh before downing the rest of Sammy’s beer.

Sammy got up, landed on the couch, and flipped on the television. ‘That beer definitely made me hungry. I hope pizza doesn’t take too long.’

‘Yeah, Sammy,’ Dean agreed, absent-mindedly.

Chapter Text

It took a month or so, but eventually their Dad started letting Sam out on his own. He kind of had to since he was in school and Dean no longer was. Even so, he made Dean promise to be on the high school campus whenever Sam was for the longest time.

But, they were in Lincoln, Nebraska and their dad needed Dean’s help with a creature. They weren’t sure what it was, but their dad had a few descriptors and that’s why they had left Sammy at the local library to find out while they tried to track it down.

Dean was riding shotgun in the Impala on the phone with Sammy. ‘Yeah, so from what I can tell it’s something called a Kitsune,’ Sammy said.

‘Okay, so what do we know about them?’ Dean asked.

‘Not much. They look human … until they sprout out claws and stab you behind the ear to get to your brain,’ Sammy answered.

‘Well, that’s great. How do we kill it?’

‘I-I don’t know yet.’

‘That’s kind of the important part, don’t you think?’ Dean said, stopping himself from shouting.

‘Yes, Dean. I realize killing them’s important. Maybe if Uncle Bobby sent us a book in English?’ Sammy said and Dean could hear the frustration in his voice.

‘Figure it out, Sammy!’

‘I am!’

‘Dad wants to talk,’ Dean said, looking over to his dad’s outstretched hand.

‘No, no-,’ but it was too late. Dean had already handed the phone over.

‘Sammy, we don’t have time to play games. This is important. People are dying,’ John said. ‘Look online. There has to be more there, in English.’ He paused. ‘Good. Call us back when you know something.’

He hung up and tossed the phone onto Dean’s lap. ‘We haven’t even caught up with the damned thing, Dad. Sammy’ll figure it out by then,’ Dean said, trying to reassure himself as much as his dad.

‘He just needs to work faster,’ John said.

‘He is a good substitute for Uncle Bobby, though,’ Dean said, smiling proudly at his genius of a brother.

‘Bobby would have figured this out by now,’ John growled.

‘Well it’s not as if we can ask him, so Sammy’ll have to do,’ Dean said. It hurt him that John never appreciated Sammy. Sam didn’t want to do this. He always complained about wanted a normal life, sure, but he always did his job and helped on the hunts, and got straight As. How many other kids could juggle school and hunting? Dean didn’t even try.

***

Sam had already informed them that the Kitsune weren’t going after the full brain, just the pituitary glands, which he seemed to find interesting. Dean didn’t really care either way. He just wanted to know how to kill the damned things and where to find them.

‘There was just another attack outside of Aurora at Springer Federal Waterfowl Production Area ’ Dean told Sammy as he and his dad stopped outside a gas station on I-80 for some food.

‘Hang on. Slow down!’ Sammy said frustrated.

‘Springer. Federal. Waterfowl. Production. Area,’ Dean said slowly. He heard his brother sigh.

‘So the victims are located in parks just off the highway,’ Sammy said.

‘Yeah we know that Sammy. Anything else you can tell us?’ Dean asked.

‘Just one per town,’ Sammy observed. ‘That’s something!’

He could hear the strain in Sam’s voice. ‘You don’t sound too hot. What’s wrong?’ Dean asked.

‘What?’ Sam asked and sighed again.

‘What’s wrong, Sammy?’

‘Nothing. I’m just tired. I’ve been looking at this for like eight years,’ Sam said.

‘C’mon, Sammy, it hasn’t been that long,’ Dean said, trying to add as much cheer into his voice as he could manage. Truth was, he was just as tired as his brother and wished they were both back in the motel room in bed.

‘Wait, hold on,’ Sam said, he sounded like he was on to something. ‘I’ll call you right back.’

Dean dropped the phone from his ear when he heard the click.

‘What did he say?’ John asked, coming back from the store.

‘Not much,’ Dean admitted. ‘He said he’d call me right back. I think he might have something.’

John just shook his head as they got back into the car.

***

They were driving down I-80, Sammy having told them the anticipated next spot, and he was again on the phone with his baby brother, but he couldn’t hear him.

‘Sammy, you’re whispering. What did you say?’ Dean asked.

‘Stab it,’ Sammy said.

‘Where?’ Dean asked.

‘The heart!’

‘Sammy speak up, I can’t hear what you’re saying at all,’ Dean said.

‘I said you stab it in the heart,’ Sammy practically shouted.

‘All right, all right. No need to shout,’ Dean said.

‘Okay, are you guys cool?’ Sammy asked and Dean could hear annoyance. ‘Can I have a normal life for five minutes now?’

‘Yeah, yeah, Sammy. Get back to reading your books,’ Dean said, smiling to himself.

‘Oh, Dean!’

‘Yeah Sammy?’ Dean asked.

‘Quick question,’ Sammy said and Dean didn’t interrupt the silence, but let his brother slowly ask. ‘How do you talk to girls?’

Dean laughed. He was proud that his brother wanted to know, was showing an interest. But, again if he was being perfectly honest, he was enjoying having his brother all to himself.

‘Just remember they’re people, okay?’ Dean finally said.

‘Okay,’ Sam said. Dean was about to hang up. ‘And Dean? Thanks for being a cool big brother.’

Dean hung up before saying anything else.

‘Who’re people?’ his dad asked, as Dean pressed his forehead up against the glass.

‘Nothing. Just brother stuff. Nothing to do with the hunt,’ Dean said.

John didn’t say anything else.

***

They caught up with the Kitsune at the Mormon Island State Recreation Area, but she got away.

‘Damnit!’ John shouted as they stood outside the Impala. Dean was sporting a nasty scratch from his left ear down his neck. He was lucky it didn’t hit anything major.

‘She went back toward Lincoln,’ Dean observed, looking down the highway. ‘You think she lives there?’

‘Best guess we got. Get in,’ John said.

Dean sat in the passenger seat and held up his hand to stop the bleeding. He made a hurt noise.

‘You’re fine. Stop whining. We’re not done yet,’ John said.

Dean looked at him in wonder. If it were Sammy in this position, Dad would be all doting and concern.

‘Yeah, I’m fine,’ Dean grumbled.

***

They got back to town and eventually found the body of the Kitsune. It was already stabbed and left in a ditch. That was unusual for a hunter to do, but hey, their work was done.

They went back to the motel to find Sammy sitting on the couch, a beer in his hand.

‘You’re getting him to drink beer?’ John asked.

‘No, we had one once,’ Dean said, shrugging. It was true. Their grown up talk was the only time Dean had offered his little brother beer. He was put off by what Sammy had said about wanted to take advantage.

But John didn’t believe him. ‘Dad it’s fine. I just had a long day. You guys drink beer to unwind,’ Sammy said, jumping in to defend his brother.

‘Fine,’ John said, he was already packing up his things. ‘I got a job in Fremont. Bobby asked when I was done with the Kitsune thing.’

‘When did you talk to Bobby?’ Dean asked.

‘When you were passed out in the car,’ John said. Dean hung his head. He had passed out from lack of blood, but that didn’t seem to be an excuse to his dad.

‘So you’re just leaving? Dad. We just finished a job,’ Dean protested.

‘Sammy patch up your brother. I’ll see you boys in a few days and then we can get out of here,’ he said. He ruffled Sam’s hair before he left.

Dean flopped down on the couch beside his brother.

‘Dean! You’re bleeding!’ Sam exclaimed looking over.

‘Yeah, it’s pretty much stopped now. Nothing a Band-Aid won’t fix,’ Dean joked. The blood had, actually, started to dry while they ran around Lincoln trying to find the Kitsune.

Sam got up and brought over the first aid kit. He quickly got to work cleaning Dean up. Blood was still all over his hand, though.

‘Talk to that girl?’ Dean asked, eager to talk about anything besides the damn hunt, even if it was about something he really didn’t want to talk about. But, by rights as an older brother – which was what he was, goddamnit – he had to ask.

‘What?’ Sammy asked, still patching up the scratches.

‘The girl. You asked how you talk to girls. I assume it wasn’t just a general question,’ Dean said, jerking away at the disinfectant.

‘Stop being a baby,’ Sammy said. He reached over and held his brother’s head steady. ‘Yeah. I don’t want to talk about it, though.’

‘Aw, c’mon Sammy. I’ve been running around all freaking day, just give me some juicy details,’ Dean pleaded, playing the big brother act.

Sam smiled weakly. ‘I don’t know how juicy fifteen year olds can get,’ he said.

‘Hey, I lost mine at fourteen,’ Dean said with his signature grin.

‘What?’ Sam asked, stopping what he was doing. The hand that was holding Dean’s head in place slid down to the spot between his neck and shoulder.

‘What?’ Dean asked, looking concerned.

‘I just … I thought you were older, is all,’ Sammy said.

‘What, because I didn’t come home and brag about it to you? Sammy, c’mon. You were ten. I don’t think you even knew what sex was back then,’ Dean said. His brother looked down, like he was genuinely upset.

‘What is it Sammy?’ Dean asked.

Sam shook his hand and put the stitch tape on his neck before putting on a large Band-Aid on. He sat back.

‘What? I mean, you did know I wasn’t still a virgin, right?’ Dean asked, smiling.

‘Yeah, I kinda figured what with all the girls you seem to make-out with,’ Sam said, packing up the first aid kit.

Dean, despite his better judgment, reached out and pulled Sam’s hands away from the kit on the table and pulled his brother in.

‘Don’t worry, Sammy. I’ll always love you best,’ Dean said, ruffing up his brother’s hair to make his conversation seem more playful and less creepily incestuous.

‘Yeah, Dean, I know,’ Sammy said, trying to shove his brother off him. Dean could tell it was only half-hearted.

‘Are you going to tell me the juicy details then?’ Dean asked. ‘I promise not to get jealous, like you.’

‘I wasn’t … I’m not jealous!’ Sam said, straightening up. Dean’s hand still rested on his brother’s knee and he quickly pulled it back.

Dean raised an eyebrow and gave him a serious look. It was all for play, though.

Sam smiled. ‘We kissed,’ he admitted, looking down.

‘Why Sammy, I didn’t believe you had it in you. Honestly, I was started to suspect if you had any interest in girls at all,’ Dean joked. ‘How was it?’

‘Dean!’ Sammy protested.

‘Aw, Sammy. I haven’t had anything in weeks,’ Dean whined. He had wanted to hope that it was because of that reason and his brother was right there that his mind was wandering, but even when he was getting busy with the local girls, he couldn’t stop himself from wanted to reach out to his brother.

‘It was just a kiss, Dean,’ Sammy said.

‘But it was your first, wasn’t it?’ Dean asked.

‘Yeah,’ Sammy admitted. ‘Yeah. It was different than how I imagined. Soft. I didn’t really know what I was doing.’

Dean laughed. ‘Takes practice. I, of course, was a natural,’ he said.

Sam smiled weakly. ‘I don’t think I’ll have many opportunities to practice,’ he said. ‘Always being on the road. Most people think I’m a freak.’

‘You are a freak, Sammy. But I’m right there with you and look how much action I get,’ Dean said. He stood up. ‘I’m hitting the sack. Long day. You coming?’

He slipped his jacket off and started unbuttoning his jeans.

‘Which bed is mine?’ Sammy asked.

Dean’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion before he realized that, because their dad had been with them for a few days, they had shared the bed. Dean’s face fell. He would miss having his brother beside him.

‘Either. Doesn’t matter Sammy,’ Dean said.

‘Okay, I’ll take the one we had,’ Sammy said, climbing into bed after taking off his own jeans.

Damn. That bed smelt like Sammy, too.

Dean was about to crawl into their dad’s bed before Sam added, ‘Unless you still want to share?’

‘What?’ Dean said, turning to his brother. He was almost too tired to protest.

‘I know I’m not a girl or anything, but it might make you feel less lonely if you had someone in the bed with you. Make you feel like maybe you did score earlier?’ Sammy said. Dean stared at him in confusion. Sam’s face broke out into a wide smile. ‘Unless you don’t want to. That’s ok. Sleep in a cold bed all by yourself.’

‘It’s a small bed, is all,’ Dean said.

‘That’s okay. We’ve done good so far cuddling,’ Sam said, he held open the covers.

Dean slipped in and kept his back turned to his brother as he closed his eyes.

He felt Sammy nestle up close and cling onto the back of his shirt. He smiled. ‘Night Sammy.’

‘Night big bro,’ Sam said and they both drifted to sleep.

Chapter Text

Five days. Five days on his own with the Impala while his dad and Sammy were in Orlando finishing up on a banshee hunt. Dean didn’t know how he managed to get his dad to agree – Christmas spirit maybe? – but he had and he wasn’t about to complain. He needed time alone. Time away from his baby brother. To think.
His plan, though, was screwed all to hell when he reached Cicero, Indiana. He had wanted to visit a Midwestern state each day, but when he got to Cicero, he met Lisa Braeden and spent the whole weekend in her loft. She was a yoga teacher. It was the bendiest weekend of his life.

It helped to get his mind off his brother. To know that he still enjoyed – very much enjoyed – being in the company of women.

There was still one problem. He couldn’t help himself from thinking of Sammy while he had Lisa bent over a counter, or on her hands and knees in front of him. She even let him take her like that, which he had never done before. Partially because no one he had been with would let him, but part of him was always reluctant to ask, seeing as how he just knew it would make him think of his brother.

But this time … this time she had suggested it. Had told him she was interested and that she trusted him. And they had done it.
And it was wonderful. He almost accidently slipped out his brother’s name a few times while doing it, too.

***

They met back up in Springfield, Tennessee where Sammy had been enrolled in school and their dad had a gig in Nashville.

‘Hey Sammy,’ Dean said, getting out of the Impala after the long drive from Cicero and seeing his brother eagerly sitting on the curb in front of their motel door. He reached down and messed up his little brother’s hair, resisting the urge to pull him up into a long embrace. He had to play it cool. Like being away from his brother for near a week hadn’t been torture.

‘Did you have fun? See anything cool?’ Sam asked.

‘The ceiling of every room in Lisa Braeden’s loft,’ Dean said with a charming smile.

Sam chanced a glare. ‘You get five days off and you spend it with a girl?’ he asked.

‘Oh, not just any girl, Sammy. The things she could do with those legs,’ he said, thinking back and getting dazed. He didn’t get back to reality until he felt his brother punch him.

‘I got to hunt with Dad,’ Sammy said. He sounded excited.

‘I thought you didn’t like hunting,’ Dean said. ‘Thought you were all about books and learning. We turning you into a Winchester yet?’

Sam smiled, which made Dean smile. He was glad Sammy was finally getting into it. It would be nice having the three of them hunting together, not having to worry about babysitting.

‘I don’t know,’ Sam said. ‘It was just nice being there with Dad. Having him trust me, y’know?’

Dean didn’t let his feelings show. No. He didn’t know what it was like. Maybe once he did, when he was little. But after the Shtriga and Flagstaff and countless other little accidents with his baby brother under his watch, he knew his dad would never come to trust him. Leaving Sammy in his care was only done out of necessity.

‘Yeah, Sammy. Maybe we can all go out on a hunt soon,’ he said, messing up Sam’s hair again. ‘Where is Dad anyway?’

Sammy shrugged. ‘Nashville. I think. Something going on down there,’ he said.

‘And he left you here alone?’

‘Well, he only left like an hour ago,’ Sammy said. ‘I guess he figures I can handle it after the banshee.’

‘Yeah,’ Dean said absent-mindedly and walked into the motel room. He checked the fridge and sure enough there was a case of beer. There was also a half-eaten box of pizza sitting on the counter and he grabbed a slice.

‘Any idea how long we’re stuck here?’

Sammy shrugged again and sat beside his brother on the couch. ‘Dad’s already enrolled me in school. So at least a week,’ he answered. He took the beer from Dean and took a sip.

‘Being a hunter with Dad suddenly turning you into a big boy Sammy?’ Dean asked, swallowing the last bite of pizza.

‘Something like that,’ Sam said, handing the beer back, nose turned up just for Dean’s benefit.

Sam grabbed the remote and snuggled in close to Dean. Dean let his arm be wrapped around his little brother.

‘I missed you Dean,’ Sam said as the television came on.

‘Missed you too, kid,’ Dean said, ruffling up his brother’s hair.

‘No, seriously. We’ve never been apart for that long,’ Sammy said.

‘Flagstaff,’ Dean reminded.

‘Doesn’t count,’ Sammy said. His fingers curled around the front of Dean’s shirt as Sam tried to pull them closer together. ‘I just missed us, okay?’

‘Yeah,’ Dean agreed, and, against his better judgment he placed a small kiss on top of his brother’s head and wrapped his arms tightly around him.

Chapter Text

January 24th, 1999. The day started like any other. Dean woke with his arm wrapped around his brother. He had let himself get that close. Just cuddling. They’ve been doing that forever. Innocent. On the other hand, the goodnight kisses weren’t so innocent Dean had to remind himself. Not that they were sexual. How could they be when they were only on his brother’s hair, or forehead, or, when he dared after a rather beer-filled night when Dean lost some self-control, on his cheek. Sammy never kissed him back. Just smiled or giggled and said goodnight, shoving his hand into Dean and bringing his big brother’s arm tightly around him.

It was always under the blankets and Dean was sure that their dad never noticed those nights when he slept in the motel room with them. Hell, half the time he fell asleep on the couch anyway, making their sharing a bed pointless. Not that Sammy would let them sleep in separate beds even while alone, though.
Sammy stirred in his hands and turned onto his back, his eyes blinking open. ‘Morning,’ Sammy said.

‘Morning,’ Dean replied, placing a soft good morning kiss on his brother’s eyebrow. Sam closed his eyes as he did so.

Dean gave him a moment to wake up before getting anxious that his little brother had forgotten that Dean was the big two-oh today.

But he never said Happy Birthday, just rolled off the bed and went into the bathroom to brush his teeth. He expected this treatment from his dad – who had left last night for a hunt and told them not to expect him for a couple days, not even giving a second thought to Dean’s birthday – but not Sammy!

Dean sighed, resolved to spend the day like any other Sunday. Sam rushed out of the bathroom and quickly threw on some clothes.

‘I need twenty bucks,’ Sammy said. ‘Wait, wait. No, thirty. I need thirty.’

‘What for?’ Dean asked. Sammy didn’t ask him for money often, usually their dad. ‘Why didn’t you ask Dad yesterday?’

‘I did. He said to ask you,’ Sam said, pulling down his shirt, covering up his already developing stomach. He held out his hand.

‘Thirty bucks is a lot of money, Sammy. I’m not some money tree,’ Dean said, but he was already pulling out his wallet from the jeans he was wearing the night before.

‘I’m sure if you go down to the pub tonight you’ll win it all back, my very talented con-artist of a brother,’ Sammy said, smiling.

‘Flattery will get you nowhere,’ Dean said.

‘Seems to be getting me thirty dollars,’ Sam said, trying to snatch the money from Dean’s hands, but he pulled back at the last moment.

‘Don’t buy anything stupid, okay?’ Dean said.

‘Okay,’ Sam replied.

‘Promise?’

‘I promise!’

Dean handed the cash over. He now only had twenty dollars. He hoped he could win some money tonight. That would be a good birthday present for him.

***

They ate a late lunch and Sammy ran out around 4, saying he had things to do. Dean hung around the motel room for an hour or so before taking Sammy’s advice and going to the pub.

Where he did manage to hustle the patrons out of a hundred and fifty bucks at pool.

He even picked up the bartender and went back to her place, where he proceeded to lose himself in her. Fine. This was going to be a goddamned good birthday, even if he had to do all the work himself.

He thanked the girl – who was a bit adventurous and had let him take her from behind, yeah okay, he purposefully did that to think of what it would be like with his brother. It was his goddamned birthday and they all seemed to have forgotten, so he was going to do whatever the hell he pleased, even thinking about his fifteen-year-old brother underneath him. And he left.

It was around ten when he got back to the motel. As he was fiddling with the lock, he heard shuffling in the room. The lights were all on and the curtains were drawn – but that’s what he had told Sammy to do, so he knew his brother was back.

What he did not expect was to see his brother standing a few feet into the room, decked out in cowboy gear – god that hat made him look hot – and carrying a pie with a candle in it in one hand and a bottle of beer in the other.

‘Happy Birthday!’ Sam shouted as Dean walked in. He quickly shut the door. ‘You thought I had forgotten, didn’t you?’

‘I …,’ Dean was at a loss for words. This was Sammy’s big plan with the 30 bucks he had asked. Surprise him. Okay. But the cowboy outfit? Was he trying to turn him on?

‘I also rented a couple of Clint Eastwood movies, even Every Which Way But Loose!’ Sammy said excitedly.

‘You do know you made me buy my own birthday, right?’ Dean said, at a loss for anything better to say.

Sam looked down. ‘I asked Dad. Said it was for you. He said you had your own money ….’

Dean smiled. Screw dad. ‘Thanks Sammy,’ he said and took the pie and beer off his brother. He blew out the candle and took a swig of the beer. He wanted to say something about the outfit, but couldn’t without sounding … pervy?

‘Come on. Let’s sit and eat and watch that stupid monkey,’ Sammy said and jumped over onto the couch.

‘Clyde,’ Dean said, offended at the use of stupid and that Sammy never could remember its name. He came around and sat down beside his brother, who was already holding two forks.

He grabbed one and took a bite – raspberry. Special. His brother pressed play and the film started as they ate the pie and drank beer – Sammy had a glass of water.

Dean kept glancing over at his brother. That outfit. He coughed and adjusted himself in his seat. It’s like Sammy wanted to do this to him. But that was silly. Of course he didn’t. He just knew Dean liked cowboys and wanted to dress the part. It was fun playing dress up.

About halfway into the film, pie mostly eaten and forgotten about on the coffee table, Sammy turned to him and said, ‘do you want to wear the hat?’

‘What?’ Dean asked.

‘You keep looking over,’ Sammy said. ‘Do you want to wear the hat?’

Dean smiled. Yes. Sam’s intentions were entirely pure. The smile faded. That shouldn’t make him sad. He should want Sammy to be pure in this. This wasn’t … this couldn’t happen. And Sammy should have no part in it.

Before he could answer, Sam took the hat off and placed it on his brother’s head. ‘Don’t you look handsome,’ he said smiling.

Dean smiled back, unsure how to take that.

‘Did you, um …,’ Sammy started. ‘Did you have a good day?’

‘Made a buck fifty,’ Dean said. ‘More than made up for the thirty you stole.’ He was smiling.

Sammy smiled back. ‘Told you my oh so talented brother could make it back,’ he said. He looked away. ‘Did you … What else did you do?’

Dean shrugged. He usually didn’t keep his conquests from his brother, but this did seem an awful lot like Sammy was asking him that specifically without actually asking. Which was … less than innocent.

‘You didn’t …,’ he mumbled something under his breath.

‘Didn’t what Sammy?’ Dean asked. He wasn’t going to be the one to say it.

‘Well, it is your birthday,’ Sammy said. ‘You didn’t, um, like … y’know … have any birthday … sex?’ Sam couldn’t even look at his brother.

‘You offering?’ Dean joked. What?! Why had he even said that? Why was Sammy even asking?

‘I don’t think it would be a present if I offered,’ Sammy said. He looked up and Dean knew he was playing along with the joke. ‘What with my limited knowledge. It would be more of a punishment, if anything.’

‘I don’t know. There has to be something to the whole desirable virgin thing,’ Dean said, resisting his urge to say “care to find out?” He couldn’t say that. Couldn’t actively come on to his own baby brother! That was just wrong on so many levels. One: boy. Two: brother. Three: fifteen! Four: baby goddamned brother.

‘I heard it’s all messy and fumbly and just not fun at all,’ Sammy said.

Dean shrugged. ‘If you both are, then yeah. But if you’re with a guy with … experience, I don’t see why both parties can’t have a good time,’ he said. And goddamnit he had done it. He had come on to his baby goddamned brother. But … Sammy was coming back just as strong right?

That shouldn’t matter. If Dean was really thinking about this – which he hadn’t really allowed himself to do – it shouldn’t matter that Sammy was doing it back. It was Dean’s job to protect Sammy. To keep him safe. He was the adult. He had to say no.

‘Happy Birthday Dean,’ Sammy said and leaned forward.

Dean wanted nothing more than for their lips to touch, for him to give into Sammy’s advances, but he couldn’t. He had to be firm about this. He held his hand up and pushed back on Sam’s chest. Then he stood.

‘Stop it Sammy,’ Dean said, turning to face his brother.

He looked hurt. Confused, even. His hands were brought together and his thumbs were twirling.

God. He just wanted to hold him and apologize. But he couldn’t. Instead he took off the cowboy hat and let it fall to the floor.

‘Stop what Dean?’ Sam asked in a weak voice.

‘Stop this,’ Dean shouted, gesturing with his hand around the room. ‘Stop flirting. Stop trying to … whatever it is you’re trying to do.’

‘But I thought … you were flirting back,’ Sammy said. ‘I thought you wanted this.’

‘I flirt with everyone, Sammy. You know that,’ he said.

‘And the kisses? You kiss me all the time,’ Sammy countered.

‘You’re my brother, Sam. I’m your big brother. I’m here to protect you. To make you feel safe,’ Dean said. ‘That’s all there is, Sammy. I’m sorry if you got the wrong idea.’

‘Oh,’ Sammy said simply. He quickly glanced up before returning his eyes down to the floor. ‘I’m sorry. I wouldn’t if … I’m sorry.’

Dean sat back down and put his arm around his little brother’s shoulders. He pulled him in and kissed his temple, but he didn’t pull back. ‘No, Sammy I’m sorry,’ he said. ‘Everything’s going to be all right, okay, baby boy?’ He didn’t know why he had called him that. It was a quiet little petname he had reserved for the very back of his mind.

Dean felt his brother nod, felt the brush of hair against his lips. ‘Do you want to finish the movie?’ Sammy asked.

‘Yeah,’ Dean said softly.

Sam nodded again before burying his head in Dean’s shoulder. ‘I’m sorry Dean. Can we just forget about this part?’

‘It’s been the perfect birthday, Sammy,’ he said and ruffled up his brother’s hair again.

They slept in separate beds that night.

Chapter Text

It was August. Sammy was sixteen and about to start his junior year. Dad still hadn’t let him touch the Impala, though. It did take Dean til he was 18 to get behind the wheel, but Sammy was special. He was sure their dad would have let him by now. It had been months.

‘Dean?’ Sammy called coming into the bathroom.

Goddamnit, what was that kid trying to do to him? Dean stopped pumping his fist. He never denied his thoughts to wander to Sammy anymore, but he sure as hell wasn’t going to wank when his brother was in the room.

‘What’s up kiddo?’ Dean asked.

‘I don’t think I have a shot at going to college,’ Sammy said.

Dean popped his head out. Serious talk. Great. ‘What? College is ages away. I thought I told you not to worry about that stuff,’ he said.

Sam sat down on the toilet and looked up at his brother. Long, serious talk, okay.

‘They’re looking for well rounded people. People involved in the school and the community and who do volunteer stuff,’ Sam said.

‘I thought they were just out for the geniuses of the world. Isn’t that what “academia” is all about?’ Dean asked, tucking his head back in and rinsing his hair. He had finally taken his hand off himself.

‘It doesn’t take a genius to get good marks, Dean,’ Sam said. ‘They want more.’

‘Well, do some stuff then,’ Dean said, soaping his body.

‘I can’t really. Not when we’re moving around so much,’ Sam said. ‘I was hoping … I was wondering ….;

‘Spit it out Sammy,’ Dean snapped. His baby brother’s voice – as pouty as it was at the moment – was not helping his erection and he just wanted him out so he could finish what he was doing.

‘Jeez, forget it. I’ll ask when you’re done wanking in the shower,’ Sam said angrily, leaving the room and slamming the door shut.

Nevermind, Sammy’s voice definitely was starting to have a negative affect on his shower activities. Dean quickly rinsed himself and hopped out of the shower. He wrapped the towel around his waist and went out into the room.

‘What is-,’ Dean started, but stopped abruptly when his eyes couldn’t locate his brother.

‘Goddamnit, Sammy!’ Dean shouted and, without hesitation, hurried to the door. ‘Sam!’ he shouted.

Sam was sitting beside the door, his back pressed up against the wall. ‘Little revealing, don’t you think? Especially in this weather,’ he said. He couldn’t help but to smile at Dean.

‘What?’ Dean asked. He followed Sam’s gaze to the towel. ‘Oh …,’ he sighed and went back inside, slamming the door shut behind him.
He sat on the bed and let his heart stop racing. He had thought Sammy had run away again.

When his brother appeared not to be coming back in, he put on his boxers and threw the towel on the ground before getting fully dressed.

‘I’m sorry,’ Sam said quietly as he entered the motel room.

‘For what?’ Dean asked. He got a beer. He deserved that, after the painful memories that he had just managed to force out.

‘For freaking you out,’ Sam said.

‘You didn’t freak me out, Sammy,’ Dean replied, sitting on the couch. Sammy climbed over the back and sat beside his brother.

‘I totally did. You thought I had left again. Like Flagstaff,’ he said, reaching over and grabbing his brother’s beer. Dean let him have it.

‘I didn’t,’ Dean protested. He had to stop showing vulnerability around his brother, forchristsakes!

‘You just happen to shout my name while you’re in a towel? C’mon,’ Sammy said.

‘Well you didn’t take off, so you didn’t freak me out. Let it go already,’ Dean replied, taking the bottle back from his brother.

‘I am sorry though. For Flagstaff,’ Sammy said weakly.

‘It was a long time ago, Sammy. You’re a big boy now,’ Dean said, trying to convince himself more than to reassure his brother.

‘Yeah,’ Sammy said. ‘Can we talk now, then, without you snapping at me?’

‘Only if you don’t take so long asking the questions,’ Dean replied.

‘Oh, please. You were just anxious to get back to touching yourself,’ Sam replied.

Oh god. It wasn’t just an off-hand joke Sammy had made in anger. ‘Well, if you knew what I was doing, why the hell did you walk in in the first place?’ Dean nearly shouted.

Sammy shrugged. ‘If you had a problem with me interrupting, don’t you think you’d’ve closed the door by now?’

Dean … Dean didn’t have a reply to that. He could barely admit it to himself that he secretly hoped that Sammy would walk in and heighten the experience, as it were, never mind come up with some excuse for his brother.

‘God, Dean, seriously?’ Sam said.

‘What?’ Dean asked innocently.

‘You can’t even come up with one lie for me?’ Sam asked.

‘What?’ Dean asked, and Sammy just looked at him expectantly. ‘What?’ he said more loudly, standing up. ‘What do you want me to say? Do you want me to tell you that, hey yeah, I leave the door open, hoping that my sixteen year old baby brother will walk in and what? Stroke it for me? Is that what you want to hear?’

‘It would be a start,’ Sammy replied. His voice was cooly defiant, but he looked terrified. Probably because without realizing it Dean had started shouting.

‘Sammy come on. Did you not just hear how ridiculous that sounded?’ he said, trying to relieve the fear in his brother’s face.

‘Why is it so ridiculous? Because I’m a boy? Or because I’m sixteen? Because you’re not that much older than-’

‘Because you’re my baby brother! Do you not get that?’ Dean said.

Sammy looked down, and for a minute Dean thought he finally got through to him. But, Sammy stood up – they were almost of a height Sam was so tall – reached out to touch him. Dean meant to flinch, but his body just froze, letting Sammy’s hands rest on his chest.

‘I get that you’re scared, Dean. But I don’t need you to protect me. Not from this,’ Sam said, almost at a whisper.

Dean pulled away finally. ‘That’s exactly why I need to be the big brother here. You’re confused or something, Sammy.’

‘Fine. Be a hypocritical jerk. But when you finally grow up, I’ll be here waiting,’ Sammy spat and sat down on the couch, arms crossed.

One day his brother would thank him. When it didn’t seem like it was just them against the world. When he finally did go off to college and had that white-picket fence life, and had a girl. Who would want to have the history of fucking your brother into that mix?

Dean would have been fine though. It was just them against the world, to him. It always has been and Dean was certain it always would be.

‘What did you want, anyway?’ Dean asked.

‘Hypothetically speaking, or is this you finally realizing there’s-’

‘When you came in the bathroom,’ Dean quickly said, before Sammy had a chance to finish his thought. ‘You were talking about school.’

‘Oh,’ Sam replied, disappointed. ‘I was hoping you could talk to dad … about us staying somewhere.’

Dean sat back down beside his little brother. He was turned, easily facing his little brother. Despite the change in subject, Sammy still had his arms crossed angrily.

‘Like permanently?’ Dean asked.

‘Just for awhile,’ Sammy replied. ‘So I could work on my college applications. I could even stay at Bobby’s,’ he said excitedly. ‘That way you could still help Dad out with hunts when he needs you and I wouldn’t be left by my defenseless self.’

Dean squinted at his brother, taking in all the information. It would be nice to stay somewhere that wasn’t a dingy motel for awhile, but there was no way he could part with his brother for so long if he was left with Uncle Bobby.

‘I’ll talk to Dad,’ he finally said.

‘You will?’ Sammy asked, sitting up excitedly. His arms had finally come undone and he wrapped them around his big brother. ‘I thought after the last few conversations about college you would turn me down,’ he said into his Dean’s ear.

Dean shivered at the sensation of his little brother’s warm breath on him. He quickly grabbed Sammy’s wrists and pulled him away. ‘I’m not promising anything.’
Sammy just smiled and Dean couldn’t help but smile with him.

***

When their dad came back from his trip a few counties over – something to do with a particularly aggressive shifter – Dean took him to the best dive bar in town, leaving Sammy alone at the motel. It took a bit of convincing but their dad finally relented after the promise of cold beer and hot wings after a tiring hunt.

Once they sat down at a booth and got their beers, Dean took a deep breath. Best way was to just dive in. ‘I don’t think being on the road this much is best for Sammy.’

His dad leant back in his seat and mock considered what Dean had said. It was the same gesture he used whenever Dean asked for something ridiculous – like borrowing the Impala.

‘We don’t have a choice,’ he finally said like that settled the matter.

‘I don’t think it is. I know you need me on the hunts, but you don’t really need Sammy; at least not for much other than research. You still think it’s too dangerous for him,’ Dean pointed out.

‘Exactly. I need you with me. How are we supposed to hunt if you think Sammy doesn’t need to be on the road?’ He said it in such a way to suggest there wasn’t a possible solution and he had stumped Dean.’

‘He could stay somewhere. Like Uncle Bobby’s. He doesn’t do much hunting anymore and when he does it’s never far from home,’ Dean replied. It was true. Bobby preferred to stay home as a sort of “home base” for hunters, offering cover stories by phone or providing research with his years of collecting rare and detailed books on the occult.

‘That’s a lot to ask Bobby,’ his dad pointed out.

‘I’m sure he’d be happy for the company. And Sammy’s easy. All he does is read and go to school. He could even help Bobby with research. Maybe be his apprentice,’ Dean said with a smirk.

‘And you’d be okay with this?’ his dad asked, which surprised Dean. When had Dad ever cared for what he wanted?

‘What do you mean?’

‘Well I get Sammy wanting to stay somewhere, with school and everything. But you? The longest you two have ever been apart was Flagstaff. And what about when I don’t need you on a hunt? You’re going to get into a lot of trouble without your little brother around keeping you in check,’ his dad said

Dean shrugged it off, like his dad wasn’t making an excellent point at all. ‘I’m twenty years old. I don’t need my pain in the ass little brother tagging along with me,’ Dean said. ‘Besides, this way you can take me on more hunts.’

‘I’ll talk to Bobby,’ he said. ‘Don’t be so surprised, maybe having another Bobby would be beneficial.’
Dean sighed. Of course it was more about getting Sammy into hunting than actually letting him succeed in school.

***

A few days had passed and their dad had left them in Iowa for a hunt. The proximity to Bobby in Sioux Falls was not lost on Dean.

‘So Dad’s actually considering it?’ Sammy asked when Dean pointed out how close they were to Bobby.

‘I guess so. He hasn’t said anything about talking with Uncle Bobby yet,’ Dean answered. The smile on his little brother’s face was infectious but despite how hard Dean tried to persuade his dad of the idea Dean wasn’t in favour of it at all. But he tried to convince himself that it would be the best thing for them. The distance would help him get over his little brother.

‘Thanks Dean,’ Sammy said. ‘I know you don’t want this.’

‘Who said that?’ Dean said, looking at his brother in surprise.

‘Oh please. You can’t last more than five minutes without me,’ Sammy replied.
Dean rolled his eyes. ‘Can too!’

‘Maybe, but you definitely don’t want to,’ Sammy said. Before Dean could protest, Sammy got off the couch and took off his shirt.

Dean quickly closed his gaping jaw before he thought Sammy noticed and looked away. ‘What are you doing?”

‘I’m going to bed. It’s late,’ Sammy replied. ‘Come on. You too.’ Sammy reached down and grabbed his brother’s hand.

Dean wasn’t at all tired but he allowed himself to be pulled off the couch and into bed beside his brother.

Sammy usually turned away from him before grabbing his hand and laying it across his waist. But tonight he continued to face his brother while he interlaced their hands.

‘Me leaving for a few months isn’t going to change anything,’ Sammy said defiantly.

‘Of course not,’ Dean replied, mock innocent to what Sammy really meant. ‘You’re always going to be my pain in the ass little brother.’

Sammy groaned annoyed and turned around, not bothering to bring Dean’s hand with him.

Shit. Should he put his arm around Sammy anyway? How was he supposed to sleep without the usual level of intimacy?

‘Sammy …,’ he whispered desperately.

‘Unless you have something useful to say I don’t want to hear it. Just go to bed Dean,’ Sammy said angrily.

What Dean really wanted to do was reach out grab Sammy and tell him that he loved him. But instead he climbed out of their bed and into the empty one on the other side of the room.

‘Good night Bitch,’ Dean said in his best annoying big brother voice.

Sammy didn’t even bother replying.

Chapter Text

It was a few days of sleeping in separate bed when Sammy got a call on his cell. It was still early and Dean was trying not to wake up, which was impossible as he had barely slept the last few nights.

Sammy was already up and making breakfast – eggs and toast by the smell of it, Dean really wish there was bacon in the motel – when the phone rang.

Sammy quickly answered it.

‘Hello?’ he asked tentatively.

‘Oh! Hi Uncle Bobby!’ he answered excitedly. ‘We’re hold up in Iowa; Dad’s hunting a Phantom in Des Moines.’

‘Are you serious?’ Sammy’s voice got high and excited. Crap. ‘He’s still asleep, but I’m sure I could wake him!’

Dean heard the familiar sounds of Sammy quickly padding across the floor to his bed. Instead of shaking him awake like he thought, Sammy jumped on him and straddled his waist with his legs.

‘Wake up! Uncle Bobby wants to talk to you,’ Sammy shouted, holding out the phone to him.

Dean shifted so he was on his back, wanting very much to push Sammy off of him but refrained, starving for any sort of contact.

‘Hey Uncle Bobby,’ Dean said, his voice hoarse from not using it all night. It was always hoarse in the mornings.

‘Hey Dean-o. I just told Sammy the good news. I’m sure you know he wants to stay with me for a few months,’ Bobby said.

‘Yeah, I know,’ Dean said trying, and probably failing, to hide his disappointment.

‘Anyway, I talked to your dad last night and he said that the hunt was going to take longer than he thought. I suggested you boys get in a car and drive out here now. No point in waiting around at a motel,’ Bobby said.

Dean thought it over. A couple days, or even a week, at Bobby’s would be nice. Sammy would be able to settle in and it would give him a few days with him instead of just dropping him off and leaving with Dad for a hunt like he thought was going to happened.

‘Sounds great. We’re only a couple of hours away, should be there before dinner,’ Dean replied.

‘Good,’ Bobby said, the happiness in his voice not lost on Dean. ‘Oh and Dean, be careful about getting a car.’

Dean just laughed. ‘I haven’t been caught yet,’ he said. ‘See you in a bit.’

‘Tell Sammy I said bye, too,’ Bobby said.

‘Will do,’ Dean replied and hung up the phone. He held it out to Sammy who grabbed it eagerly and held it up to his chest.

‘This is great! There’s two weeks until school and hopefully Dad’s still hunting by then. It’ll be like a mini-vacation for us,’ Sammy said, his lips curling into a wide grin.

‘Yeah, Sammy, it’ll be fun,’ Dean said, again failing to hid his disappointment.

Sammy rolled his eyes. He leant forward and pressed their foreheads together. ‘Don’t sound so happy for me Dean,’ he said sarcastically.

Dean thought that sleeping in separate beds was a mutual decision – Sammy because he was mad at Dean for not … not what? Not allowing them to do something that Sammy would regret later? Later being in a few weeks when Sammy would actually have a “semi-normal freaking life.” And Dean because he was trying to get used to not being able to be intimate with his brother like he wanted – but the way Sammy was pressing against him made him think that Sammy’s emotions had only lasted that one night.

‘I am happy for you Sammy. I know you want this,’ he said. His hands twitched by his sides, itching to rest them on his brother’s thighs.

‘It’s just you’ll miss me,’ Sammy said, filling in his words for him. ‘More than you think you should, I’d imagine.’

‘Don’t,’ Dean warned.

‘Not even if we’re on vacation?’ Sammy asked smiling. Dean could feel the smile against his forehead since his brother’s mouth was, thankfully, not in his eyesight. ‘You’re allowed to do things on vacation you wouldn’t normally do.’

‘This isn’t like cheating on a diet,’ Dean pointed out.

‘Sort of is,’ Sammy said laughing.

Dean couldn’t believe the dirty mind of his baby brother. His instincts were telling him to flirt back, but instead he just shoved Sammy onto the other side of the bed.

‘Oof!’ Sammy exclaimed cartoonishly. ‘You’re no fun.’ He propped himself onto his elbow close to Dean’s face. The proximity wasn’t any better. ‘What if I get you drunk? Then can I take advantage of you?’

Dean closed his eyes and covered his face with his hands. He couldn’t take this anymore. ‘Sammy, I said no, okay? Just let it be.’

Sammy was quiet for a long time. After awhile he finally he got back on top of Dean and pried his hands away from his face, pinning them against the pillow.

‘We aren’t going to see each other. For a long time Dean. Why don’t you get that?’

‘I get it,’ Dean said loudly. ‘I get it. And I don’t like it. You don’t like it. But you’re doing it anyway. And we’ll be better off for it. You’ll finally understand what I’m trying to get into that thick skull of yours.’

Sammy pulled back slightly confused. ‘And what’s that?’

Dean sighed. Did he really have to explain? Sammy just sat there staring. He guessed he had to. ‘You’re going off to school. It wont be just me and you. You’ll finally make friends. Meet a girl, probably. God knows you’ll be able to if you just try ….’ Dean paused, closing his eyes. ‘It wont be like this for you forever.’

Dean was too busy internally freaking out that he had actually said the things that he barely admitting to himself out loud to notice Sammy leaning forward. He didn’t snap back to reality until their lips were touching. It wasn’t even lightly, Sammy had smashed their lips together forcefully.

Dean was tempted to give in, to press his lips back. But he couldn’t. He couldn’t! Instead, he flipped over pinned Sammy to the bed, grabbing hold of his wrists in the confusion.

‘What part of what I just said did you not understand?’ Dean yelled.

Sammy glared. ‘I understand perfectly, Dean. I just don’t agree.’

‘And this is the part which I point out that I am the older and the wiser brother,’ Dean said.

Sammy sighed. ‘Maybe I grow up, go to college, meet a girl, fall in love. Sure. But why should that stop us? Plenty of people have ex’s.’

Dean groaned. The word “ex” bothered him, that Sammy would or could ever think of him as that. To Dean it wouldn’t be like dating his brother. It would just be them, being brothers. Even if they stopped being intimate, they wouldn’t be exes. They’d probably just be more well-adjusted brothers. Instead of trying to convey those feelings he just said, ‘but I wouldn’t just be another ex. I’m your brother.’

‘So what?’ Sammy said. ‘Love doesn’t care about that sort of thing!’

Dean sat back surprised, allowing Sammy to sit up, too. At first Sammy raised his eyebrows in confusing at Dean’s surprised face, but then he smiled. ‘What? You didn’t think I’m in love with you?’

Dean didn’t know what to say. He had tried so hard to just put his feelings for Sammy into a little box of “Lust” that those thoughts never even occurred to him. And, of course, he tried to rationalize Sammy’s feelings as confusion and teenage hormones.

‘You really are an idiot, aren’t you?’ Sammy said, filling in the silence.

Dean shook himself out of it. ‘Well of course you love me Sammy. I’m your brother,’ he said, trying to rationalize Sammy’s feelings again.

‘Did you mishear me? I did say in love. There’s a difference.’

‘Yeah, Sammy, I know there’s a difference,’ Dean said angrily. ‘But you can’t be in love with you own brother.’

Sammy reached up with one hand and set it against Dean’s chest. ‘So you’re not in love with me?’

‘Of course not!’ Dean spat.

Sammy tilted his head and thought for a moment. ‘But you want to have sex with me?’ He said, his fingers curling around Dean’s collar.

‘No,’ Dean said, getting as little emotion into those words as he could muster.

‘You’re lying,’ Sammy said, getting closer to Dean. ‘You’re lying about both.’

‘You’re my baby brother,’ Dean said, more like a plea.

‘And I’m saying yes,’ Sammy answered, so close that their mouths brushed against each other.

Dean wanted to give in, to close the distance between them, whatever little was left. But he couldn’t. It was his baby brother and no matter what Sammy was saying, he was still a kid and didn’t know what he wanted.

Dean pulled Sammy’s hand away from his collar and pulled his leg around to sit on the edge of the bed. ‘Sammy, stop. Please.’

Dean felt Sammy’s hand on his shoulder and before he could stop him, Sammy placed a kiss on his cheek. ‘Fine. But if these two weeks go by without you believing we can do this, I’m going to be pissed.’

‘Then you better prepare yourself,’ Dean said determined. He got up and walked over to the kitchen area where Sammy had forgotten his breakfast on the place. He started eating. It was cold, but was a welcomed distraction.

‘Hey, that’s my breakfast,’ Sammy said.

‘Big brother,’ Dean pointed out.

‘You’re a jerk,’ Sammy said.

‘You’re a bitch,’ Dean replied with a smile. It surprised him how fast they could go from being like how they were to normal brotherly bickering.

‘Fine. Finish the breakfast while I pack, like always, but then I get to hotwire the care and drive.’

‘Dude, please. Like I’d let you hotwire your first car.’

‘I have to learn sometime,’ Sammy said.

‘Fine. But I’m driving!’