sketchydean

smalltrolven

The Wanting Comes In Waves

All Sam/Dean, All The Time


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lions mane
smalltrolven

Fic: Lion's Mane (Sam/Dean, NC-17) - Chapter 5 of 6

Back to Chapter 4

~~~

Dean ends up falling asleep with his head on Sam’s bed, near his feet. The night nurses come in to roust him, but Sam asks that they let him rest.  For some reason, his puppy-dog eyes work on them. Or maybe it’s the ring of command in his voice. Either way, Sam gets to fall asleep, watching Dean, and for that he’s very grateful. There’s something about the peace and comfort of knowing his brother is there that helps him relax enough to fall into his own deep sleep.

~~~

In the morning, Dean is predictably grumpy about the crick in his neck from sleeping in that strange position. But Sam gestures at all the medical equipment he’s plugged into, so Dean shuts up pretty quickly.  Dean heads out to the cafeteria to get some coffee and comes back to the room as Dr. Venter is leaving.

“I’m releasing your brother this morning, he’s improved enough that I think he’ll do better recovering at home. Gladys will give you the release instructions, just concentrate on keeping him from doing anything too physical for at least a week, and keep an eye out for any seizures.”

“Got it. Thanks, Doc,” Dean says, shaking his hand, very grateful to hear that Sam’s going home. Another night in this hospital would not be okay on his back.

“You almost ready to go, Sam?” Dean asks, as he re-enters the room.  Sam doesn’t answer as he’s in the middle of getting dressed into his street clothes. Dean doesn’t say anything more, just watches his brother’s beautiful body disappear under all the usual layers. Sam finally gives him the stop-ogling-me look.

“Hey, looking’s not a crime, far as I know,” Dean teases, hoping that today’s going to be a little easier between them.

Sam hands him the discharge instruction paper that Gladys had left and stands up from the bed. He starts to teeter a little, and Dean’s at his side in an instant with one arm around his waist to steady him.  “Easy there, Gigantor, take it slow. Don’t forget you’ve been lying down for a few days,” Dean says.  Sam shrugs him off and slowly makes his way to the bathroom, holding onto furniture and the railings along the walls. He closes the door with a near slam.  Dean rolls his eyes. God help me I just want to make sure you don’t do it all over again.

Eventually they’re back on the road, and Dean stops at a McDonald’s drive through for breakfast and more coffee.  Sam still isn’t talking, but at least he eats the breakfast Dean hands him.  After all these years of fast-food breakfasts, at least Dean knows what he’d order without having to try to get him to talk.  Dean turns the local NPR station on the radio, since he knows Sam likes to catch the morning news.  Out of the corner of his eye, he catches a fleeting smile on Sam’s face so he knows that was a good move.

Once they’ve made it inside the bunker, Dean bustles around being a typical mother-hen getting Sam settled on his own bed. “No arguments, Sam. This bed is softer than that rock-hard mattress you’ve got in your room, plus it’s bigger in case you need me during the night. Okay? Just don’t even start.”  Sam rolls his eyes and gives in, snuggling down into the familiar smelling pillows and blankets that Dean heaps on top of him.  He falls asleep almost instantly, and Dean watches him for a very long time before finally stirring to go make them something good for lunch.

He returns a few hours later with a tray filled with steaming bowls of chicken noodle soup and toast. Sam actually smiles at him as he scoots up to sit against the headboard. That’s the best thing Dean’s seen in days so he smiles back and sits down on the bed facing Sam.  As they eat, Dean talks about making the soup, and how he hopes Sam likes the new spices he tried out in it. Sam nods through a mouthful, dipping bread in the soup and finishing every drop as his answer.  Dean goes to leave but Sam actually speaks. “Stay, Dean. Please.”

Dean’s never been able to say no to a request like that. And hearing Sam say his name without a scream of anger surrounding it makes the last few days’ upset disappear.  Dean moves the tray off the bed to his desk and turns to see Sam’s already pulled back the covers and is patting the bed beside him.  He takes his shoes, jeans, and over-shirt off before climbing in, trying not to smile like the happy fool he is.  Sam doesn’t speak again, like Dean was hoping, he just pulls Dean into his arms and nestles his nose into the top of Dean’s head.

“Just stay,” Sam murmurs as he falls asleep. And Dean does, not just because of the doctor’s orders, but because he knows being in each other’s arms all night will soothe things between them as it always has.

Several hours later, Dean wakes up, and he’s not sure why he’s so warm and why he feels like something is wrong.  Then he hears it, Sam’s muttering under his breath, panicked and almost unintelligible. Most of the words he can make out are his name, as well as, no, don’t go, need you. He rubs at Sam’s back, hoping to calm him out of it without waking him, but Sam wakes up at his touch and scoots away.

“You were having a nightmare or something, Sammy,” Dean says, barely awake himself. He realizes his mistake when he feels Sam’s full-body flinch.  “I’m sorry, force of habit. I’ve been trying not to say it.”

“I know, Dean, thanks,” Sam says.

“It’s because of Demon me, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Sorry.”

“Sorry that you were a demon?”

“Yeah. And that I was such a raging asshole and tried to kill you.”

“It wasn’t really you, Dean. You’re right, he was a real jerk. But it was better than having you dead.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, really. Thought you said you got it back at the hospital. This is what I mean, Dean. Yes, me trying to live without you is worse than having you back as a demon that’s saying hurtful stuff and trying to kill me.  I know that’s messed up, but that’s the way it is for me.”

“Me too. Guess I do get it.  I just don’t always assume that it’s true for you, too. Maybe I should though.”

“Yeah. I’d say you should.”

“Okay, I will. And I’ll try to not call you ‘that’,” Dean says.

“I want to work on that with you, when we’ve gotten rid of this,” Sam says, stroking his fingers over the red mark on Dean’s forearm. “Because I miss it…what it used to mean.”

Dean full-body shivers at the feeling of the simultaneous arousing touch of Sam’s fingers and the Mark stirring to wakefulness.

“You okay?” Sam asks.

“Yeah. It’s just, uh…it feels weird when you do that.”

“Do you want me to stop?” Sam asks, finger circling around the Mark in a slow dragging slide.

Dean grits his teeth at the feeling that Sam’s finger is raising in him, desire awakened along with the Mark. “Probably be better if you did,” he finally admits through clenched teeth.

“Is it doing something to the Mark?” Sam asks, finger finally blessedly stopping its movement.

“It wakes it up, like a dog hearing the can opener going; it thinks it’s gonna get fed,” Dean says.

“You don’t want it to feed on me, huh?” Sam says, lightly teasing.

Dean sits up out of Sam’s embrace and slings his legs out from under the covers. “Not fuckin’ funny, Sam,” he says, sounding angry.

“You’re right, not funny. But I didn’t know, Dean, you’ve never been straight with me about it,” Sam challenges.

Dean stands up and stretches, pulls his jeans and over-shirt back on, picks up the tray and heads back to the kitchen without a word. Sam may be talking finally, but he doesn’t want to talk about that. Not yet. Not ever if he can swing it.

Sam yells, loud enough so he can’t help but hear it, “You’re going to have to tell me at some point!”

For the next few weeks, they’re within arm’s reach of each other almost 24/7, Sam insisting that Dean sleep with him because he gets more rest that way. Which isn’t true, because Dean is waking up screaming or whimpering a few times a night from nightmares he tries not to remember in the morning, and refuses to talk about them.  Dean makes excuses to be near Sam during the day, pretending to research, or to actually help Sam research, insisting that Sam hang out in the kitchen while he cooks up a storm. It’s a strange domestic detente they’ve reached without talking about it specifically. The magic words still haven’t been said that will fix what’s been distorted and bent between them.

~~~

Sam keeps expecting Dean to quiz him more deeply on the powers he tapped into that allowed him to communicate telepathically. It’s been weeks now, and they haven’t talked about it except that one time in the hospital, and that was before Sam was even talking again. He’s not sure what to think about Dean’s studied disinterest on the topic. Maybe he’s just so used to me being a freak it doesn’t seem worth talking about, Sam finally concludes. And it doesn’t feel like something that would be good to just bring up, because he has no explanation for it, not that isn’t just a hunch or guess.

He realizes, though, that Dean’s up to something that he’s trying very hard to hide. He’s been erasing the search on his laptop, which he never does. Sam feels a momentary stab of indecision about hacking into Dean’s laptop, given how little privacy they have and all that. But he talks himself out of it when he remembers the last thing Dean lied to him about.

“I found it. Your search for jobs on the West Coast.  Definitely looked like a were of some kind. So, when are we going?” Sam asks.

“We’re not going anywhere. I am.”

“Not this again. I thought we decided; I’m better, I’ve healed up enough.”

“No, that’s not it. I’m…uh..I’m gonna go and not come back,” Dean says, not meeting Sam’s eyes.

“What? I don’t understand,” Sam asks, sounding like he’s already been missing Dean for ages.

“I have to go, Sam. I just do,” Dean says. The lump in his stomach has been there for these blissful weeks, the dread of making the break and actually leaving his brother like a gnawing cancer in his gut.

“No, you don’t have to go anywhere. You can’t, not without at least explaining yourself this time,” Sam says in a small, wounded voice.

“The night before I left, I had another nightmare. About killing you, and enjoying it. And I can’t stop hearing what he said to me,” Dean confesses.

“Who said what to you?” Sam asks.

“Uh…Cain. Before I killed him, he said I was living his life in reverse and that I was gonna kill Crowley, then Cas, then you, just like he killed his brother. That was when I killed him.”

“So, all this time, you were having nightmares about that? Why didn’t you tell me, Dean? I knew it was something bad, but you kept pushing me away, you wouldn’t let me help you.”

“That’s ‘cause there wasn’t anything you can do to help. You tried. We both did. And there’s nothing, we know that now.  So that’s why I’ve gotta go. It’s the only way you’ll be safe.”

“No,” Sam says, with a ring of power behind the simple word.

“You’ll be okay. Maybe not at first, but you’ll figure it out. How to have a life without me. It’s the only way, Sam,” Dean says, wary of the intensity of Sam’s disagreement.

“Remember back when you were telling me I’d be fine when you were going to be taken off to Hell. That I was stronger than you?  This is the same thing all over again. Do you really not see that?” Sam asks, desperately trying not to get angry, or let his powers fly free again.

“And look what it made you do this time, Sam. You had to use those powers we thought were gone.”

“So you were worried about them. I was wondering when you’d bring it up. No wonder you’re leaving,” Sam says.

“That’s not why, Sam! It’s not about you or your freaky demon powers. I’m worried I’m going to do something we can’t ever come back from. I don’t want to kill you.”

“Well, my freaky demon powers say you’re staying,” Sam says.

“What, you’re going to keep me tied up here or something?”

“Do I have to tie you up? Or can you just give me one day?  For one freakin’ day, don’t ask questions. Just one day, then you can go if you have to.”

Dean makes one of those over-the-top lascivious faces, complete with manic eyebrow waggling.  When he doesn’t get the smile from Sam he’s hoping for, he stops, sobering himself up and putting on a serious face. “Okay, you got it. One day, no questions. I definitely owe you at least that.”

“I’m not even going to answer something that stupid. I’m just not going to waste my time on it. I’ll never let you hear the end of it if you take off before my day is up. Got it?”

“Got it, Sam. Can I at least get a hint at what you’re gonna try during this day?”

“No,” Sam says with short finality.  Dean’s eyebrows go up at the harshness and he shakes his head a little.

“It better not be something I’d do,” Dean says with what he hopes is a warning in his voice.

“Oh that’s rich, coming from you. Mister you-wouldn’t-do-the-same-for-me-so-you-don’t-love-me-enough. Spare me. Just shut up and stay out of it. If it works you’ll know, if it doesn’t, you probably won’t even notice.”

“That’s reaaalll comforting,” Dean says sarcastically.

“Too bad. That’s not what I’m here for, not anymore,” Sam says.

Dean feels a little hurt at that statement, but he nods in agreement and goes back into his room, shutting the door behind him with a quiet snick. Not a slam. He paces for a while, the Mark thrumming from the argument with Sam; he scratches at it for a while and then pulls his shirt sleeve down to cover it. Finally he gives up the futile pursuit of figuring out what the hell Sam is playing at and goes back to packing.  At least this time, he’ll have all his stuff with him, not that there’s a whole lot.

He sorts through his small stack of photos of their friends, their parents, of he and Sam, and just Sam. I oughta put these in a book or something. Instead he takes good photos of them with his cellphone, and decides he’ll leave them for Sam, because he knows his brother has no photos of his own.  He decides to write Sam a letter to go with the photos and spends some time at his desk, writing about each one, and what was going on in it, in case Sam doesn’t know or remember. Who knows if he’ll even care. He might just want to try to forget everything.  At the end of the letter, Dean writes down the three things he’ll miss most about being with Sam.

So, if you don’t want these photos, that’s fine, you can toss them. I copied them with my cellphone.

I’m sorry that it’s ending like this, between you and me.  But I can’t go back on what my whole life has been about, keeping you safe. Even if it’s keeping you safe from me.

I’ve got to go and stay gone.

We both know it.

And I get it, that you’re going to miss me just as much as I’ll miss you.

I do, Sam. 

The top three things I’ll miss most about not being with you are:

You, the physical space you take up in my life, in my car, in my bed, the comfort it gives me to be able to lay eyes on you whenever I need to, being able to hear your voice even if it’s you bitchin’ at me or saying sappy things to me, to be able to hold you and smell you. I won’t be able to see all of your bitchfaces, or see you smile at me, or give me that take-me-to-bed look. That’ll be the hardest thing to get over, never getting to physically be with you again.

I won’t have my brother anymore, the only person who knows all of it, our history, the good and the bad of all the things I’ve done over this crazy life we’ve shared. There’s something about living with the one person in the whole damn world that knows your whole story. You might not know all of the stuff that’s happened inside of me, because I’m as you say “emotionally constipated," but you know a lot of it, and you’re smart enough to have worked out most of the rest.  The only secrets I’ve ever tried to keep from you about myself have been about me being scared, too scared to fail (to give you a life with me that you’d want to stick around for), scared to succeed (pretending that I was okay with us not being together because I thought it was best for you), or to not even have the guts to try (like waiting all those years for you to make the first move).  I’m a chicken-shit at heart, we both know it.

Your love and faith and trust in me…god I’m going to miss being able to count on all of that, so much.  It almost overwhelms me to even think about not having that. It’s meant everything to me, that you’ve never once given up on me. I’ll never understand why, no matter how many times you try to explain it, but it has kept me going all these years, when I wanted to just lay down and give up. I couldn’t, because I knew you were bettin’ on me, and I couldn’t ever let you down.  And me leaving now, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, harder than selling my damn soul. That was easy compared to this. Knowing that I’m leaving you alone like this, I can’t even put it into words how I feel like so much worse than a complete failure.

Bye, Sam,

I swear, I’ll keep on loving you,

until the day the Mark finally lets me die.

Dean finishes writing and is surprised to find his face wet with tears. He wipes them off with his shirt sleeve. The Mark pulses faintly when the tears soak through to his skin, hungry for any trace of emotion or pain it can possibly get.  He’s got the photos and the letter folded up and in a sealed envelope with Sam’s name on it, before he hears Castiel talking to Sam down the hall.  He sneaks to his door and opens it quietly, padding down the corridor until he’s just out of the main room.

“And that’ll just have to be what works. It’s my only hope, Cas, otherwise I’ll lose him forever,” Sam says, sounding like he’s holding back tears.

“I know, Sam, I know it is. And Dean does too, since he is listening,” Castiel says.

“Thanks a lot, Cas. What, not gonna read me the riot act for eavesdroppin’?” Dean says, smirking at Sam.

Sam just tilts his head and looks closely at Dean’s face. “You’ve been crying, are you all right?”

“What? No, just got some dust in my eyes from packing up in my room.”

Sam rolls his eyes and makes a scoffing noise. He turns back to Castiel. “Thanks for bringing me back there to get it. Can you keep him out of my hair until I’m done?”

“Why would Dean be in your hair, Sam?” Castiel asks, genuinely confused.

“He means he wants you to keep me away from him while he does whatever sneaky thing he’s up to. C’mon, Cas, you can help me finish packing,” Dean says, motioning Castiel to follow him to his room.  He notices the strange look of longing Sam gives him as they leave.

“Give me the skinny, dude. What’s he gonna try? Tell me it’s not some kinda dark magic. You wouldn’t help him with that, right?” Dean asks.

“No, Dean, I have promised Sam that I will not tell you. Please do not ask me to break that promise. But it is not dark magic, not the kind you are thinking of, at least.”

“Think it’ll work, whatever it is?” Dean asks.

“No. It is unlikely to effect much change at all.”

“So, you’re humoring him, just like I am.”

“No, Dean, I am supporting him, like a friend is supposed to.”

“Touchy, touchy. Okay, fine. Well, so tell me this. Do you think Sam would want the Impala if I left him the keys when I leave? We have so many cars in the garage here, I was thinking of taking that sweet red convertible,” Dean says.

“You have no conception of what your leaving will do to Sam. It is just as he says, you do not understand it. No car, not even the Impala, will make up for your absence in his life, Dean,” Castiel says, shaking his head in what looks like some level of disgust.

“All right, all right, I’ll take Baby myself then, if you think he won’t appreciate it. And by the way, I do get it, how hard it’ll be for him. But he’ll have you, right?” Dean asks, sounding too young and hopeful even to his own ears.

“Yes, Dean. I will attend to Sam. He has already tasked me with keeping track of you, and for that I will need to remove the sigils from your ribs. It will be much more painful than when I incised them originally,” Castiel says, raising his right palm towards Dean.

“Wait, I…what?” Dean collapses to his bed, yanking up the shirt sleeve that covers the Mark.  His arm is unblemished, except for a few of the usual hunting scars. Nothing showing that the Mark of Cain had ever been there.  “What the hell? Sam!” Dean yells, leaping up from the bed and bursting out through the door. “Sam, where are you? It’s gone!”


~~~~

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