Title: Bear the Weight
Pairing: Sam/Dean, established
Author’s Note: Not my characters, only my words. Coda to episode 13.11 “Breakdown”
Summary: Dean can’t keep driving after what Sam just said, even though they’re only a few hours from home.
Read it over on AO3 right here.
He only makes it two hours east through Nebraska, before he can’t take it anymore. His mind whirling from what Sam had said before he fell asleep. Usually anywhere that’s less than five hours from home, they don’t bother to stop. And it had only taken them four and half to get to Osh Kosh the other day. But the weight of Sam’s words are too much to bear on the dark unlit road for another two hours where all he has for company are his own chaotic thoughts. And if they did make it home tonight, Sam would probably shut himself up in his room again.
That decides it for him, he pulls off the highway into the one of motel that has a vacancy sign still lit up. He notices that it’s one of the nicer motels, hopefully it’ll have free wifi and is maybe somewhat cleaner than the motel rooms they usually get. Sam doesn’t wake up when Dean shuts off the Impala, or he’s still pretending to sleep, at this point, it doesn’t matter to Dean which it is. They both need what he’s stopping for, right now, not in two hours.
The night clerk in the motel office is barely awake, and just as Dean signs the charge slip with a flourish, Mike Rutherford, (yes, Genesis) he changes his mind. “Hey, uh, can you make the room a king please, instead of two queens?”
The sleepy teenager shrugs and puts his hand out for Dean’s credit card and runs through the whole process again without a word. Dean gets it, the less conversation you try to make, the easier you can go back to sleep, night shift jobs are the worst. Dean signs with a second flourish and grins at the clerk, “Thanks, man, hope you can go get some more sleep.”
The clerk tries to smile but it’s more of a grimace and waves as Dean slips through the door, bell jingling loudly after his passage.
Sam’s standing outside of the car, arms wrapped around himself practically twice, and he’s stamping his feet in the cold, kicking at the bits of ice at the edge of the parking lot. Dean unlocks the trunk and hauls out their duffel bags, handing Sam’s to him. He shuts the trunk as quietly as possible, it is one in the morning and there are a lot of cars in the lot.
“Why’d we stop, aren’t we pretty close to home?” Sam asks as they walk to the room.
“I was falling asleep, and it was starting to get icy, seemed like a bad idea to push through,” Dean says, his attention is all on hiding his true intentions from Sam so it takes several tries to open up the door with the electronic key.
“I could have driven,” Sam says with a sleepy pout.
“Seemed like you were too tired, the way you were sleeping for two hours,” Dean says heading into the room and immediately moving to bump up the thermostat.
Sam stops in the doorway for a moment, looking at the one bed and then at Dean. He doesn’t say anything, just shuts and locks the door behind him. Sam takes his coat off and the bloodstains from that awful place show up even more against the starkness of his shirt.
It’s even worse than he’d thought in the car, the blankness on Sam’s face is terrifying. Dean knows there isn’t much that will help after something so horrific like what his brother just went through, but there are a few things that might work. He finds his bathroom kit bag and tugs at Sam’s hand to pull him inside the small space.
“Dean, I just want to get some sleep,” Sam says with a hint of a whine that teases at something buried deep in Dean’s memories. He unwraps one of the glasses and fills it at the sink, drinking it down in one long gulp.
Dean looks at Sam’s reflection in the mirror over the sink, sees the tiredness, but also sees the blood from the crazy asshole who’d almost taken his brother away…again. They’d missed a bunch of it in Sam’s hair when they’d quickly cleaned up while Donna had taken care of her niece. Dean feels his heart clench with fear at the memory of how close it had been.
“I need this, Sammy,” Dean says in a voice that trembles with emotion he thought he could keep hidden. He had kept it together back in Osh Kosh, not wanting to break down in front of Donna and Doug, but after what Sam said in the car, it’s all he can think about. It was too close of a call, too much to just push down and move past without trying to do something to help his brother.
Sam’s eyes flick up to meet his in the mirror and they go wide when they see whatever it is that always gives Dean away. Sam nods and starts disrobing, starting the shower to warm up the cold room. Dean shuts the door to keep the steam in, and removes his own clothes as quickly as he can and grabs the shampoo out of his kit bag.
They don’t have as much room as the showers at home, but that just means it’s easier to be close right away. Sam stands under the water and tips his head back, wetting his hair since he knows what Dean meant. He turns his back to Dean and waits for what he knows will come next.
Dean watches the dark red run out of Sam’s hair and trickle slowly down his back. He grabs a washcloth and vigorously scrubs at Sam’s skin, angry and harsh. That fucker’s blood needs to be gone—now. Sam hums a questioning sound, probably wondering why Dean is scrubbing at him. Dean leans down and kisses at the red marks he’s left on his brother’s skin.
“Sorry,” he mumbles into Sam’s wet skin.
One of Sam’s giant hands reaches back and touches him softly on his arm. Dean hears the silent it’s okay in Sam’s touch.
Dean pops the cap of the shampoo and pours out the huge amount it takes to wash his brother’s hair. The familiar scent of Sam’s expensive sandalwood shampoo filling the air between them. He scrubs his hands together to get a lather going and then stretches up to reach the top of Sam’s head. Sam tips it back a bit more towards him, and Dean begins massaging the shampoo in regular circles. Sam turns in his arms and rinses it out, tries to smile down at him, but Dean can see the shadows are still there in his eyes. He leans up to kiss Sam’s dimples, and goes up on tiptoes to kiss the mole near his nose, the corners of his eyes where the tears continue to mix with the shower water.
The soapy washcloth follows the familiar curves of his brother’s body as Dean washes him, checking that he’s still all there, no hidden injuries, no pieces gone mis…. Dean cuts himself off abruptly, shaking his head at himself, he’s not going there, he’s not thinking that, he can’t do it now.
Sam wraps his arms around Dean, reassuring him that he’s really all in one piece, really there and safe. Dean melts against him, letting his own tears wash away against Sam’s skin, hidden in the shower’s spray.
The towels are soft, and Dean spends a lot of time drying both of them off, especially Sam’s hair, checking to make sure the bad guy’s blood is really gone this time.
“Thanks, I guess I needed that too,” Sam says as Dean pulls the covers up to Sam’s chin tucking him into the big bed.
Dean gets under the covers on his side and curls up against Sam’s back, throwing an arm around his chest to hold him tight. “I pulled over and stopped here because I couldn’t let you stay there for the rest of the drive without knowing,” Dean says, stopping himself because he doesn’t know if he can say it out loud.
“Couldn’t let me stay where, without knowing what, Dean?” Sam asks, pushing at the edges of Dean’s vagueness.
“Couldn’t let you stay in the place where he had you—“ Dean feels it then, welling up inside, the terror and panic he’d pushed away in the frantic moments he’d been searching for Sam. It overwhelms him now, even though Sam is safe and in his arms.
Sam turns over and pulls Dean into his chest. “You got me out though, I’m right here, Dean. You saved me, like I knew you would.”
“I know…I know, but he was going to sell you, I heard what he was saying—he was selling your damn heart, Sammy,” Dean barely finishes the words before the tears come, he tries to hold them back but it just comes out anyway in a noisy sob.
“No one can buy that though, it’s not for sale,” Sam says, holding Dean while he breaks down. “Already belongs to someone else.”
Dean smiles wide against the salty-wet skin of Sam’s chest, the hair plastered against his lips moving with tiny prickles. He kisses his way through the trail of his tears over to Sam’s tattoo, and rests his lips there. “Mine,” he whispers into the skin over Sam’s heart.
“Yeah, yours,” Sam says, one big hand holding the back of Dean’s head, the weight of it warm and comforting. “Was that all you wanted me to know?”
Dean lifts his head up and meets Sam’s eyes. “No, I wanted to tell you that you’re right, that what we do, hunting and saving people, yeah it does put the people we care for in danger, of course it does. But we do it anyway, because we have to.”
“I know we do, but sometimes I wish we didn’t,” Sam confesses.
“Me too, Sammy, me too, but I was thinking about it a little more. Chuck told me that we were the firewall between darkness and light on Earth, that he was okay with leaving it in our hands. Billie said that we—you and me-we’re important to the world. That’s kind of changed how I look at what we do and why we do it.”
“Wish I’d heard that from them myself,” Sam says.
“Me too, but they both emphasized that it was the two of us—together that was the important thing. So are you still with me?” Dean asks, searching his brother’s face for the layers of the answer he hopes he’ll hear.
“Yeah, of course I am, it’s just hard after something like what just happened to me to encourage someone else to jump in and start hunting,” Sam says.
“I get it, after tonight I want to just drive in the opposite direction and hide you away from everything that could ever hurt you ever again. But I can’t, all I can do is this, and it’s not enough, not ever enough,” Dean says, turning over in Sam’s arms and staring out at the sliver of moon he can see through the break in the curtains.
“It is though, Dean, it always is,” Sam says, pulling at Dean’s shoulder until he’s on his back and Sam is crawling up, covering him with his whole body.
Dean stares up into his brother’s face and sees Sam’s determination to give him back what he needs, the weight of him holding him down in the here and now and not in the horrible what-could-have-happened. He wraps his arms around Sam’s strong, wide back and holds him close, so warm and heavy, making it hard to get a breath with all that weight on his chest. But somehow he doesn’t care, it makes him focus, breathing in and out as Sam’s ribcage expands with each breath. The rhythm of their hearts syncing up, their hips moving and pressing together as they each fill and harden.
Sam leans down and kisses Dean, deep and searching, endless and powerful, undeniable, and why would Dean ever want to deny him a thing? Not when it feels this good. His brother’s strength and tenderness is on display as he holds himself up a bit to hmmm a question he doesn’t ever really need to ask.
Spreading his legs wide is how Dean answers, slotting them together perfectly, thrilling at Sam’s dark chuckle, how it vibrates through both of them. Sam thrusts against him, speeding up so that they both groan and gasp together. Dean holds onto the globes of his brother’s amazing ass, flexing and bunching powerfully as he thrusts, sliding them together, as it gets wet and hot between their bodies. Sam’s teeth are on Dean’s neck, biting down in the place he knows always does it for both of them, leaving that visible mark. Dean leans up to do the same, biting down as they come together in a sigh of their names mingled together, lips against each other’s skin soothing the darkening marks.
Sam rolls off of him slowly, and Dean tries not to whine when he misses his warm weight. But then Sam’s cleaning him up with the damp towel from their earlier shower, gentle and careful, the tenderness almost too much after what almost happened tonight.
Before he lets himself fall asleep, Dean turns to look into Sam’s sleepy eyes. “You’re probably right, maybe it does end bad for us at some point, who knows? But what I do know, is this right here, is the opposite of bad. It’s the best thing, the only thing that keeps me going, knowing you’re in it with me.”
Sam smiles and holds him even closer as they wrap themselves up together, warm and safe under the covers, at least for now.