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The Wanting Comes In Waves

All Sam/Dean, All The Time

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fic: Doesn't Matter What I Remember (Dean/Sam, R) Chapter 1 of 3

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It all started while he was sitting in the Cherokee, Kansas laundromat, listening to the suckiest-ever muzak version of “Moonlight Serenade.” Dean had stuck right where Sam had parked him after the hunt so he could go off to the antiquarian bookstore down the block by himself. As Dean listened to the tinkling notes of the song being murtalized, he realized that this was probably close to the tenth time in a year that one of them had died or come one step away from dying. The horrible music swelled towards its crescendo and he picked up one of the tattered magazines from the small table next to him. So sue him, he liked the real deal when it came to Glenn Miller, now that he knew the difference thanks to the stash of vintage vinyl the Men of Letters had left behind in the bunker.

Dean opened the magazine up and tried his best to ignore both the music and his horrible thoughts of either of them dying again, scanning for good recipes to try out. Usually he would just look stuff up on the internet while he was in the kitchen cooking, but they were probably stopping for groceries on the way home tonight, and it’d be good to have a new recipe in mind to try out. Sam had been looking too thin again, what with all the stress with Lucifer on the loose and being in a secret Super-Max prison; oh and Dean just almost losing his whole damn mind. One of those was probably a reason if not the reason.

In the future, Dean could never quite be sure why he had read the article in the first place, it was very wordy, and usually he skipped stuff like that in women’s magazines, too depressing to contemplate the mundane lives so many people lived. But there had been something about the font size and shape that had caught his eye, and then the words, well the words, they had made his heart skip several beats.

“I love being horribly straightforward.

I love sending reckless text messages

(because how reckless can a form of digitized communication be?)

and telling people I love them and telling people they are absolutely magical humans and I cannot believe they really exist.

I love saying, Kiss me harder, and You’re a good person, and, You brighten my day.

I live my life as straight-forward as possible.

Because one day, I might get hit by a bus.

Maybe it’s weird.

Maybe it’s scary.

Maybe it seems downright impossible to just be—to just let people know you want them, need them, feel like, in this very moment, you will die if you do not see them, hold them, touch them in some way whether its your feet on their thighs on the couch or your tongue in their mouth or your heart in their hands.

But there is nothing more beautiful than being desperate.

And there is nothing more risky than pretending not to care.

We are young and we are human and we are beautiful and we are not as in control as we think we are.

We never know who needs us back.

We never know the magic that can arise between ourselves and other humans.

We never know when the bus is coming.

Tell the People you Love You Love Them (Rachel C Lewis)

Dean had never recognized himself more in someone else’s writing since the last time he’d re-read Vonnegut. He felt tears coming to his eyes and quickly wiped at them, not wanting any of the old ladies lurking around the laundromat to come over and do something horrible like offer him comfort.

He had his cellphone out and the texting app open without even thinking about it, all the possible horrible consequences, the reasons he never did this sort of thing didn’t matter anymore. The words he’d just read echoed and sang through his heart, leaving behind a clearly marked path between all the walls and traps he’d left for himself. It was well past time that he needed to say this. Sam deserved it, especially after this last week taking care of his big brother as he’d slowly lost his mind. His self just disappearing into tattered remnants of something barely recognizable, slipping through his fingers. The only thing left worth remembering had been Sam, only Sam.


I didn’t tell you this before when we were with Rowena.

You were the only thing I could remember at the end.

I heard you scream over the phone and I still knew you, Sammy.

That’s how deep you are inside of me, the very core of me is about you.

Always has been, always will be.

Before he sent the text, he read the article over again, and it resonated in the same powerful way, it was still what he needed to do. He pressed his thumb down onto the send text button just as Sam walked in through the door; the old brass bell jingling merrily to announce his brother’s entrance. Dean could hear the French horn sound that Sam had always had set as his text message alert as he walked a few steps closer. But thankfully Sam didn’t pull out his phone, so he didn’t read the message Dean had just sent.

Oh holy shit, thank god, not right here, not right now. Dean’s heart sank as he felt a hot flush of familiar regret pass through him. This could not go down in a goddamn laundromat of all places, whatever was going to happen, not here, please.

“We almost done here?” Sam asked, flopping into one of the rickety plastic yellow chairs next to him, banging the back of his head softly against the window.

“We?” Dean asked with the mocking tone Sam would expect. “Yeah, almost, it’ll be five minutes maybe a little more. Thought it was time to finally wash the car blankets. Figured it’d be better using one of these big machines instead of the smaller one at home,” Dean said.


Sam grunted and closed his eyes, settling back into a position that resembled his usual stance in the passenger seat, but now he was able to stretch out those long legs of his. Dean ran his eyes over his brother, from the top of his dirty boots all the way up to the top of his shiny hair. It was glowing so bright around the edges as the setting sun’s light poured through the window.

“What are you looking at me like that for?” Sam asked without opening his eyes.

How does he do that? Dean thought as he elbowed Sam to distract from what felt like his own noticeably red face. “Just checking you’re still all in one piece.”

“My pieces are doing fine, thanks,” Sam said, crossing his hands over his middle and hugging himself, big hands wrapping around his own elbows.

Their last dryer finally stopped tumbling and Dean pushed himself up to standing, his back still sore from the fight with the witches, not great but he could probably tough it out. Then something twinged sharp and sudden in his lower back making him stumble.

“You okay, Dean?” Sam asked, his eyes suddenly open wide with concern.

Dean realized he must have groaned loudly enough for Sam to comment on. He shrugged and tried to walk it off, but he had to grab onto the nearby handles of the dryers just to stay vertical. Sam was at his side in a flash, holding him up with a warm and solid arm around his waist. He turned them back towards the chairs and helped Dean sit back down.

“Let me do the rest, okay? Just tell me which ones are ours?” Sam asked.

Dean pointed out the three dryers he’d been using and tried to deep breathe through the back spasm. God this shit hurt, he hated getting old. Well no, that wasn’t exactly true, he was kind of amazed that he was getting a chance to do it. Especially with Sam alongside him going gray way before he did.

His eyes landed on the glossy magazine, page still open to the essay or poem or whatever you would call the thing. He slowly ripped that one page out, then folded it up neatly, slipping it into his back pocket. He took his phone out again and sent Sam another text, expanding on his earlier confessions, just because why the hell not?


I hate that I’m getting old and achy like this.

It seems so damn lame.

But it’s pretty amazing that I’m this old at all.

I’m glad I’ve gotten the chance to make it to this advanced age with you alongside me.

That makes it all better.

That and that you’re going gray before me.

He watched his brother’s small reaction as the French horn text alert sounded again. Again, Sam didn’t bother to pull his phone out, just kept stuffing the folded laundry into the duffel bag.

Dean watched him then, while he had the free chance to. His brother was objectively a very beautiful person, someone who didn’t even know Sam would have to agree. Sam was gorgeous, and Dean did know him. Well, he knew most of him, at least the part Sam shared with him. And that was kind of the point of the essay thing wasn’t it? Taking that risk to let the other person know you wanted that, to know everything about them? He felt his stomach flutter with something he was not going to call butterflies because, just…no. Maybe more like pixies, those little fuckers could pack a punch.

Sam would read his messages while they were in the car. That was Dean’s bet here. And that meant he wouldn’t be able to bail out at freeway speeds. Dean was counting on that. He’d at least want his half of the laundry that was now stuffed into the bulging duffel bag Sam was hefting off the sorting table. He admired Sam’s long legs one more time and put his phone away. Sam stopped in front of him and offered him an arm to pull himself up with.

Dean growled because he was supposed to, but he was supremely grateful that Sam just got it, without him having to beg for help. Sam already knew, because they’d both been here before, way too many times. And how many more would there be? The metaphorical ‘being hit by a bus’ had happened to both of them too many times to keep track of at this point in their lives. He reminded himself that was why he’d taken the risk of sending those two tweets.

Sam helped him through the door and down the small flight of stairs to the parking lot, the spring twilight smelled good mixed with the homey smell of the laundromat. He leaned a bit more heavily on Sam than was strictly necessary and paused as they neared the trunk of the car, starting to head around to the driver’s side as usual.

Sam tugged at his arm and stopped him. “Nu-uh, dude, I’m driving us the rest of the way home, you need to stretch out in the back or something, take one of those Aleve things, they work pretty well.”

“I don’t…” Dean protested, giving up when he saw Sam’s serious-business face. He dug the keys out of his pocket and handed them over with a shrug to hide his gratefulness.

Sam opened the trunk to stow the duffel, but first he pulled out the newly washed car blankets. “I don’t want to put up with your bitching for the next week. Five hours sitting up driving is not going to help things, you know that, right?” Sam unlocked the car and opened the back door, folding up one of the blankets for a pillow and laying the other one down on the seat.

“No playing your history podcasts though, only music,” Dean insisted, gingerly laying down in the Impala’s back seat. The warmth from the just-dried blanket soaked up into his body and he almost cried with relief at how good it felt.

Sam just slammed the door as he climbed in, laughed and handed him the bottle of Aleve from the glovebox along with one of the water bottles over the back seat. “Here, drink up.”

Dean let his fingers linger for a second and a half longer than usual, feeling the warmth of Sam’s big hand soaking into his own, as he grabbed the water bottle. Sam was always so much warmer, big guy, big heat, whatever, why the hell was he practically holding his brother’s hand?

“You’re really acting weird, it’s not your memory again, right?” Sam asked, voice gone quiet with real worry.

Dean grabbed at Sam’s hand since it was still there and squeezed it briefly, meeting Sam’s worried eyes. “I’m okay, just hurts a lot, thanks for makin' me lie down, Sammy.”

Sam squeezed his hand back and rubbed his thumb in a little circle on the back of Dean’s hand that made Dean’s insides turn over in the worst and best possible way. His giant of a brother was so damn gentle, the best combination in the world really.

Sam’s eyes widened in surprise. Dean felt his heart sink, knowing he’d let too much of what he was feeling show through. Those words he’d read were really doing a number on his self-control. Well, it wasn’t going to matter when Sam finally read his text messages, just the thought of that made Dean’s heart bounce back up again, with the tiniest bit of hope. God he was pathetic.

Sam finally let go of Dean’s hand so Dean laid down the rest of the way, squirming around to get comfortable. The car hadn’t started up yet, so he watched Sam fiddle around, readjusting the mirrors and plugging his iPod jack into the stereo. His brother’s hair curled up in the most perfect way and he imagined it had to be tickling against the back of Sam’s neck. Dean wished he could just brush his fingertips against that soft skin, or maybe his lips. He looked up again and saw Sam looking at him in the rear-view mirror with the strangest glint in his eyes.

Sam shrugged out of his jacket in a flurry of long arms and grunts, flying hair, then he was turning, leaning over into the backseat and covering Dean with the coat. Dean felt warmed from below and above, with the additional bonus of having the intoxicating and comforting scent of his brother filling his senses from the jacket tucked up under his chin. Sam smiled down at him and patted him in the center of his chest, his hand pressing him into the seat like he was telling him to stay down.

“Get some rest,” Sam said, turning back to the steering wheel. He started the engine and tore out of the parking lot. At least that’s what it felt like getting slung around in the back seat.

“Hey, slow it down, Andretti!” Dean squawked, bracing himself against the back of the front bench seat.

Sam downshifted and sped up, getting up to freeway speed quickly. Dean could hear him chuckling, but at least there wouldn’t be any sharp corners on the freeway. The playlist of songs Sam started up weren’t too bad, Dean laid there watching the night sky pass by, a cloudy moon winking in and out of view, listening to the lyrics and wondering again about those words he’d read today.

His hands were on his phone before he had really thought about it, he typed out a quick message and sent it to Sam.

Dean: Just in case something happens before we make it home since you’re driving. I’m kidding, I’m glad you are, thanks for making me lie down back here.

You know I always resist you taking care of me, but I appreciate it.

Anyways the thing I need to tell you just in case something happens to me again:

I’m glad we have a place to call home.

I hope you’re happy there, with me.

It’s what I’ve always wanted, us somewhere safe together, still fighting the fight side by side.

And I feel lucky, Sammy, so damn lucky that you’re still with me.

I love you more than I can ever say, so like the jackass I am, I never do say it.

Once he’d heard the French horn sound, muffled but nearby, he sent a different one to Mom, because why not? She was someone he wanted to make sure knew how he felt, just in case. Then that meant Jody got one, and Cas too, god knew you had to spell things out with him to get anything across. He drew the line at Crowley and Rowena, because he didn’t think they’d get what he was trying to do, and he didn’t have Rowena’s number.

Dean put his phone away and cuddled up a little more with Sam’s jacket, breathing the smell of his brother in a little deeper, letting his body relax as the Aleve kicked in. That was when he felt the heavy rectangular lump that was Sam’s phone digging into his side. He dug around and pulled it out of Sam’s jacket pocket and ran his fingers over the whole thing, trying to decide.

The messages that he’d sent were in here, on this device, and he could delete them now. They’d disappear, Sam would never know about them, the risk would be averted like that. It would be the chicken-shit thing to do of course, but if Sam read those messages, it would change everything. The chance he’d taken in sending them was huge. He could maybe lose Sam over it, that was a real possibility if Sam figured out what he was really trying to say.

He thumbed in his own birthday month and year to unlock Sam’s phone, smiling a little to himself that it was still the passcode that Sam used. The lock screen picture of Jody and Donna smiling and toasting with wine glasses disappeared. The background of Sam’s phone screen looked familiar, he felt like he ought to know what was in the picture behind all the app icons. He turned the phone sideways and then gave up and went into the settings to the place where you changed your background screen. He pulled up the picture that Sam had chosen and his jaw dropped open. It was the green plastic army man, the one stuck in the armrest ashtray right behind his head.

He reached back and felt around until he could touch the shape of the little plastic thing, wedged into the ashtray all these years. He’d always left it in there, all the times he’d had to re-do his baby, not ever thinking about it. The thing was just was part of the car, like the dome light and the turn signal stem. Hell, even Sam’s iPod jack fell into that category now.  Why would that be the background picture Sam chose though?

Dean couldn’t come up with a good explanation for the army man picture. He knew it was probably a good memory of childhood or something. He laid down Sam’s phone and grabbed his own, thumbing out a quick question.

Dean: What’s the deal with the army man picture? Just a good childhood memory for you or what? I’ve always left the little guy stuck in there because he’s part of the car at this point, just like the Legos that rattle in the dashboard, the sticky turn signal and even your iPod jack. Just curious.

After hearing the French horn alert sound, he couldn’t manage to stop himself from going into Sam’s messages. He pulled up all the ones he’d just sent today. He read them over a couple times, and closed the whole thing down, tucking it back into Sam’s jacket pocket where it belonged. He’d laid his cards on the table, now it was time to see what sort of reaction Sam would have once they got home and his brother read them himself.

Dean fell asleep and dreamed of tumbling in a dryer as big as the car, blankets and jackets and phones, Sam’s hair in his eyes, in his mouth. No, it really was Sam’s hair falling in his mouth. “Dude, your damn hair!”

Sam backed out of the position he’d been crouched in over Dean. “Sorry, I was trying to figure out how to get you out without waking you up, we’re home.” He blinked a few times, waiting to hear what Dean would say.

Dean lifted a hand up and Sam grabbed it, pulled him out of the car gently and helped him stand, he kept an arm firmly around Dean’s waist as they walked into the bunker. It was always good to get home, he thought as he hit his bed face first. He vaguely felt Sam undoing his boots and pulling off his jacket, and then he was back in the car-sized dryer, tumbling through the air, trying to catch Sam as he cartwheeled past.


When he woke up in the morning at first he couldn’t figure out why his lower back was so warm. He laid there, face pressed into the pillow, enjoying the feeling of the heat soaking into where he’d been hurting. It didn’t hurt nearly as much, he could tell by moving his legs. He reached back and felt the heating pad, Sam must have put it on him when they got in last night. Finally he got himself up, sitting for a second on the edge of the bed, his phone hit the floor, tumbling out of his pocket. Then he remembered—oh damn…the messages.

Shit—would Sam still be here in the bunker? Or would he be long gone over the horizon?

He checked to see if he had any messages, Jody and Mom had both answered his texts from last night. He was really touched to see their confused yet sweet responses. Cas hadn’t replied which wasn’t surprising, he tended to answer texts in person in the midst of other conversations. But there weren’t any replies from Sam. His heart sank and he wondered again if Sam was even still around.

He realized that taking the advice of an article in Ladies’ Home Journal had probably been a bad idea. And sending Sam a bunch of reckless text messages without any warning or explanation was not going to have a predictable outcome. He wasn’t sure what he had expected Sam to do.

The day before, when he’d been sitting there in that laundromat, with the stupid magazine in his hands, stupid damn tears in his eyes, it had all seemed so obvious. Not just like he needed to do it, more like he didn’t have an alternative. The advice to take the chance because who knew when the bus was coming to hit you? That was what had really gotten him. Because he’d actually seen someone hit by a bus, and he knew if it happened to him right now, he wouldn’t want Sam to be left alone without knowing how Dean had really felt. Especially after that ‘So?’ from Sam in the church a few years ago, as well as everything else that had gone on between them since then.

He took another couple Aleve tablets with a finger full of whiskey and climbed back into bed. Flicking through the pictures he had of Sam on his phone made his heart start aching. At least he would still have those to remember Sam by if he’d really left. He almost dropped his phone when the screaming guitar crescendo sounded off telling him that a new text had arrived. He hesitated a few minutes, almost chickening out, flicking through more pictures. But finally he opened up the messaging app and pulled up Sam’s replies. There were a whole lot of them. A lot more than one answer for each of the messages he’d sent yesterday.


Chapter 2