Title: I’m Still Standing, (You Can’t Take This Joy Away)
Pairing: Sam/Dean, Established Relationship
Characters: Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester
Word Count: 7,100
Warnings: Spoilers for up to end of season 7, as well as including many of the spoilers that have been released so far about upcoming season 8.
Summary: Sam and Dean re-negotiate everything when Dean gets back from a year in Purgatory.
Author’s Note: I only own these little ol’ words, nothing else. Written for the Heart of SPN Winchester Summer Love Fest. Title from Monica, “Still Standing”, not that I like the song, just liked the words for a title.
Link to fic on AO3 is right here.
Sam is putting yet another floor board into place, reaching down for the nail gun when he hears it.
He looks up knowing that just because it sounded exactly like how he remembers his brother used to say his name it can’t be, expecting to see Luis or maybe Julio checking in on him. But no. He is wrong. It is Dean. Or something that looks exactly like Dean. After all this time Dean is just standing there looking down at him with a hopeful look on his tired, still familiar, still beautiful face. Sam jumps up and into fighting stance prepared for anything.
Dean puts his hands up in the universal no-threat signal, “Dude it’s me. Just me.”
Sam can’t relax, not one bit, but he manages to ask, “How?”
“Long story. C’mere.” Dean puts his arms out wide and makes a come-here gesture with his hands, smiling as calmly as he can manage, holding in all the emotion he feels at finally seeing his brother again.
Sam feels himself fall into Dean’s outstretched arms, clinging to his brother to stay upright. He knows he should stop himself, make Dean drink some holy water, cut him with silver, all the usual drill, but it has been too long, and he can’t help himself. He’ll take the consequences if it’s a shifter or whatever; just to have this moment to feel Dean in his arms again.
“Sam, you okay?” Dean asks, sounding worried and out of breath from being squeezed so hard.
“Yeah, uh, just surprised. Sorry man.” Sam steps back reluctantly, brushing his work dirty hands off on his jeans, hungry eyes never leaving Dean’s face.
“No problem, just, I want to look at you.” Dean reaches up and strokes Sam’s cheek gently. “Been so long.”
“Yeah, no kidding.” Sam answers leaning into Dean’s touch greedily.
Dean lets loose with a laugh, pulling Sam back into a hug, “How’ve you been?”
“Depends on what you mean.” Sam answers into Dean’s neck, breathing him in finally, knowing that this is his brother, really here.
Dean pulls back still holding Sam by the shoulders, looking up with concern into Sam’s confused face, “Are you okay?”
Sam shrugs off Dean’s hands and steps away, looking down, “You mean am I okay without you, well you know the answer to that, no. But yeah I survived. I’m still here aren’t I?”
“C’mon Sam. Don’t be like that.” Dean reaches out to hold Sam’s arm at least, but Sam again shrugs him off.
“Like what?” Sam looks up with anger and frustration naked on his face.
Dean steps back in surprise at the look on Sam’s face, “It’s just, I’m glad to see you, you know? And I thought…”
“What Dean? That you’re back and everything’s all okay now? Figures.”
“Hey, if I’m bugging you too much, I can go. I just wanted to see you. Will you at least give me your new cell phone number?”
“No, I don’t want you to go, you’re not bugging me, I swear, it’s just. God, Dean I never expected this.”
“What? Me coming back?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Well, I’m here. When do you get done with work?”
“Couple of hours.”
“I’m gonna go get something to eat and I’ll come back, okay?”
“No! I mean. Okay, see you in a while.”
“Sammy. This is me. I’m back. Really. I’ll see you in a few.”
The hardest thing is to let Dean just turn and walk away out of his sight. No the hardest thing is to not burst into tears the second he can’t see him anymore. But he’s gotten stronger over this long year and harder, more in control. So he shoves it down, and goes back to work nailing the floor boards into place one after the other. The work flowing over his fingertips until he can barely feel them anymore, unable to stop thinking that Dean was here, Dean was back, Dean was really alive. He’s never let himself think that Dean was dead, thought he’d just know somehow. But still, that was honestly always there in the back of his mind. That Dean was dead already, without him in Heaven or somewhere else he couldn’t get to.
He’s finished for the day, putting away the tools, getting his day’s cash from Luis, thanking him for the work, agreeing to come tomorrow early in the morning, and finishing gathering up his stuff to go. Walking off the jobsite back to his car he notices the early afternoon breeze starting up, blowing the construction debris up into small whirlwinds. Feeling the air blow around him, he feels ready now, ready to see Dean again. Ready to see if Dean is real this time.
Dean is sitting on the hood of Sam’s car. Well, their car really. Used to be Dean’s car. Was always their home though.
“Nice to see her, looks like you’ve kept her in great shape for me.”
“Dean, she’s mine now.”
“Just, she was all I had when. When you were gone. So she’s mine now.” Sam meets Dean’s eyes with a challenge to just try and disagree.
Dean sees the fire in Sam’s eyes and decides to give in, no matter how hard it is, “Okay Sammy.”
Sam relaxes at hearing Dean’s acceptance of his ownership of the Impala, “So, want to come home with me?”
“Sure, thought you’d never ask.”
Dean jumps down and goes to get in on the driver’s side and realizes his mistake when Sam crowds up behind him rattling the keys in his pocket. “I’m driving, just go get in Dean.”
“What? Oh, okay, whatever.”
The silence is broken when the Impala roars to life and the radio comes on, the afternoon news on NPR nice and loud, just like Sam likes to listen to on his way home every day. Dean looks over with a raised eyebrow, but Sam didn’t say a thing in response.
“How long you been living here in Sedona?” Dean asks, trying to get a normal conversation going.
“About three months now. I was in Flagstaff before for a little over six months.”
“Flagstaff huh? What about before that?”
“Oh, I was all over. When I was trying to find a way to get you out.”
“So what kept you in Flagstaff for six months?”
“Uh, had an accident, had to stick around for awhile, clear things up.”
“That it? Or you wanna elaborate?”
“Let’s just get back to my place first, ‘kay?” Sam asks, sounding exhausted. Dean nods knowing that there’s more to Flagstaff than Sam’s said, and sits back, looking out the window at the neighborhoods rolling by, the houses getting further apart in the red hills, and less well-kept. Finally Sam pulls them off the road and into a gravelly driveway and up to a small house with a neat cactus and rock landscaped front yard.
“This is the place.” Sam announces, a little proudly as he gets out and slams the door. Dean winces and refrains from giving him the usual reminder not to slam his baby’s doors like that.
“Looks real nice Sam, you squatting or renting?”
“Nope, bought it, just last month.”
Dean whistles, impressed and walks in, looking around in an assessing sort of way, slapping Sam’s shoulder congratulating him, “Looks like you found a good one for us Sammy.”
“Yeah, us. Isn’t that why you bought this place?”
Sam swallows, suddenly not wanting to tell Dean the truth, not at all. That he’s bought this place for himself, with no thought of Dean ever crossing the threshold, much less living here with him. This wasn’t some sort of wish he’d had, to have a home and hearth waiting for Dean’s return. This was his place that he’s made for himself, without Dean in mind at all. Because Dean was gone. It was a big part of getting along without Dean, which was what he’d finally figured out how to do.
“Dean, let me go get you something to drink, then we’ll sit down and talk about everything.”
Dean reaches out and grabs at Sam’s arm as he tries to get past him down the short hallway, “No hold on wait. Why’d you buy this place Sam?”
Sam turns around slowly, meeting Dean’s eyes with that fierce don’t-question-it look again, “I bought it so I’d have somewhere to live Dean, to have as my own home. Someplace that I owned. That’s all.”
“You didn’t buy it so we’d have somewhere to live though?”
Sam turns and leaves Dean in the small hallway and disappears into the kitchen. Dean startles himself out of his confused frozen stance and follows the clinking sound of beer bottles.
“Here you go.” Sam turns from closing the fridge door and hands him an opened bottle of some dark micro brew that Dean would never choose in a million years. Of course Dean takes it, because Sam’s at least offering something, even if it’s not explanations. They move into the small, tidy living room and settle awkwardly on opposite ends of the obviously second-hand couch.
“So…” Dean tries to re-start the conversation.
Sam interrupts, blurting out, “This is really a surprise. That you’re here. Everything I found, everyone I talked to said there was no way in or out.”
“I know you tried Sam.” Dean looks at Sam closely, seeing the pain evident on his brother’s face.
“Yeah, I did. I did try. For months. I even talked to Death. But I couldn’t do it Dean; I couldn’t get you out, just like I couldn’t stop you going to Hell.” Sam’s whispering at this point, unable to express the depth of his despair.
“Sam. Hey, I’m here now. That’s what’s important, right?”
“No, I should have been able to…should have been strong enough to…” Sam turns away, not wanting Dean to see the sudden tears in his eyes. Dean puts his beer down on the table and scoots down the couch closer to Sam, putting an arm around his shoulders and pulling him in.
“Sammy I’m here now. And you’re still here, that’s what counts for me.”
Sam resists melting into his brother’s embrace, holding himself apart as much as he can manage, “But Dean, I gave up. I had to. And I mourned you and I moved on. And now you’re here all of a sudden and I can’t…”
“Of course you can. You’re glad to see me right? We’ll figure this out, you know we will, we always do.”
“But I’m different now Dean, it’s not gonna be like it was before.”
“I get it, I can tell, I mean, you own a house for god’s sake! Don’t worry though, ‘m not going anywhere. Not ever again.”
“That’s what you said before.”
“I know Sam, I know, but like you said things are different now, and I’m with you ‘til the end.”
“Says me.” Dean pronounces, like that’s the final word on the subject. So Sam doesn’t answer, because he knows it isn’t up to them, never has been. He just keeps looking at Dean, eyes roaming all over him, drinking him in as if he’s memorizing him, or comparing him to his year-old memories.
Dean gets unnerved by Sam’s staring but doesn’t want to call him on it, so instead he circles back to the subject he knows he hasn’t heard the whole story on quite yet, “So who was she?”
Dean asks as nonchalantly as possible, “The one that kept you in Flagstaff for six months?”
“Uh, Amelia. She was the vet that saved the dog that I hit. We lived together for a while. She was good for me; she’d seen her own share of stuff, so it worked for a while. It was what I needed to get through, get over losing you again.”
“Why aren’t you still there with her?”
“Didn’t want her to die like everyone else.”
“Sam.” Dean tries to put all of his big-brother disapproval into his voice.
“I mean it. Everyone around me dies. You more than a few times yourself. I just couldn’t take it. Now I see why you did what you did with Lisa and Ben.”
“Does that mean you don’t want me around because you think I’ll die on you again? Newsflash Sam, at some point I am really going to die for good, you too by the way. No one gets out of this alive remember?”
“I didn’t say I don’t want you around Dean, when did I say that? I’m just…how do I explain this? I finally have somewhere that I was calling home, and I made it for myself. I was expecting that I’d be here ‘til the end. And now all of a sudden you’re here. And I guess I gotta ask for some time to adjust or something. I’m sorry.”
Dean shakes his head and stands up, starts walking towards the front door, “Okay, I get it, I’ll just go get a motel room and you can call me when you want to get together, maybe tomorrow or the weekend. How about that?”
“Dean don’t be an idiot. That’s not what I meant. How could you even think…aw I give up! If you don’t know by now then you’ll never get it. If you wanna go, go, but I’d rather you stay.”
“Thought you needed time to adjust.”
“Yeah, I do.”
“Thought that meant you’d want to do that without me around, that’s all.”
“No, I want you here Dean, with me. That’s the whole point isn’t it? I just have to make room for you, and I never thought I’d get to do that again. Don’t you get it? Never thought I’d see you again.”
“Sorry, didn’t think it would be so bad.”
“What? You didn’t think you disappearing on me like that would be a tough thing to get over? Are you serious with this shit Dean?” Sam yells across the yawning distance that's suddenly between them.
“All I thought about, the whole time I was in Purgatory was how to get back here, to you, and I don’t know, I guess I thought you’d do the same thing. But you didn’t. And I’m glad because you made yourself a life anyways, better than I was ever able to without you. So if you don’t need me around that’s cool I get it I guess, I just thought you’d want to know I was back, that’s all.”
Sam stands up coming closer to Dean, worried he's actually going to walk out the door, “Oh Dean, no c’mon stop it, you’re not hearing me. Of course I need you, I never stopped needing you. And I can’t even say what it means that you’re back, but Dean, you were gone for a whole year. A whole damn year, and I had to do it without you.”
“What did you have to do?”
“And you did Sammy, you did it. I’m fucking glad that you did. I didn’t know for sure that you’d even still be here to come back to. I had no idea how long I was really gone for, all I knew was I wanted to be with you again. That’s all I wanted.”
“Dean.” This time it’s Sam who opens his arms wide so that Dean can fall into his brother and be immersed in the real Sam-hug that he’s been waiting for. And they stay like that for a long time, the shadows getting longer in the living room. Just holding each other and breathing each other in.
“Will you stay with me tonight?” Sam finally asks.
Dean gives him a look that says ‘just tonight?’, but he nods in answer.
“I’ll fix us something to eat, you want to have a shower before we eat?”
“Yeah that’d be good Sam, thanks.”
“Just down the hall, there’s towels in there. I’ll bring you some clothes to change into.”
And just like that Dean feels like a guest in his brother’s home. A fucking guest. He tries not to stomp down the hall to the bathroom and barely succeeds. After what he went through to get back to Sam, its infuriating is what it is. He tries to calm down in the shower, using up more of the fruity fresh shampoo and body wash that Sam’s always been partial than he really needs to, just for some stupid snit fit.
The anger turns into sadness as he stands there under the hot spray. How’s he going to get his brother back? Should he have stepped in and messed up his life again? Maybe he should have just left him alone. The guilt he bore after getting Sam from Stanford was bad enough, but this might be even worse. But then he thinks about how he felt when Sam left him alone for a year with Lisa even though he was back. Yeah he was soulless and didn’t know any better, but he remembers the shock of realizing that Sam just hadn’t told him he was back, didn’t let him decide what he wanted. This was the right decision, he can feel guilty about it, but it wouldn’t have been fair to not tell Sam that he was back.
With the water shut off, he can hear Sam singing in the kitchen. So maybe he’s happy after all? Hard to know, he’s been all over the map. Dean smiles when he saw his old Metallica t-shirt and sleep pants folded up on the toilet lid. So at least Sam kept his stuff. That’s gotta mean something right? Dean looks at himself in the mirror to see if he’s changed as much on the outside as he has inside. Nope. A little tired maybe, but not too damn bad for a year spent on the run in another dimension.
He almost runs into Sam at the corner into the kitchen, Sam jumping back surprised with a sharp intake of breath, and that stare is back. No, this time it’s different, it’s one he recognizes as he sees the heat crackle in Sam’s eyes.
“Damn I forgot what you look like right after a shower.” Sam reaches out and traces the trickle of a water drop from behind Dean’s ear down the side of his neck. Dean can’t help but shiver just like he always does in response to Sam’s hands. Sam pulls him in tight and close, not like a welcome back hug this time. This is a feel your body as close to mine in as many places as possible kind of hug. And Dean doesn’t mind one bit. He’d been hoping that Sam would still want this, but after all the weirdness today he wasn’t so sure.
Sam looks down at him, and his face descends slowly, carefully, giving Dean time to back away if he wants until the moment their lips touch. And then it’s over for both of them and it’s all they can do to stay standing together. The year’s worth of unmet desire for the other practically another person in the hallway with them. Their hands are greedy, grasping, not gentle, mouths devouring, taking, giving back a level of pleasure they’d forgotten or tried to forget.
Sam finally pulls away from their desperate embrace, panting quickly, “Dean, want to skip dinner for now?”
“Yeah, uh huh.” Dean answers, completely dazed.
“’kay, c’mere then.” So Sam pulls him into the bedroom across the hall. They undress each other quickly and Sam pulls back the covers on his bed, lying down, legs spread, stroking himself.
“Come here Dean.” Dean pauses just for a moment to take him in, his beautiful amazing brother , who’s survived and thrived in his absence, all spread out for him, like he’s been dreaming of for a year. Sam’s hand moving back and forth on his cock which is so ready for him, and all Dean wants to do right then is taste him. So he does, he crawls up the bed until he’s settled between Sam’s legs, running his hands up and down his inner thighs, cradling his balls and folding his hand over Sam’s to add more pressure to the constant stroking rhythm.
Sam groans and throws his head back, pushing his hips up and Dean knocks both their hands away, replacing the contact instantly with his tongue. Sam rocks up and down rubbing his cock on Dean’s outstretched tongue until Dean takes the head into his mouth swirling around and licking into the slit to get his first taste. Sam tastes just like he remembers, and he groans as he takes as much of Sam in as he can, trying to recall how to open his throat up. Dean’s hand slips down to the base of Sam’s cock and fists him in rhythm with the speed of his mouth moving up and down. Sucking as hard as possible and teasing with his tongue at the same time. Sam’s under him, barely holding back from thrusting up into his mouth.
Dean pulls off and looks up into Sam’s wrecked, undone face, “Go ahead, want you to Sammy.” So Sam does. He holds onto Dean’s head, and pushes up and in and down Dean’s throat, over and over, fucking up into his mouth so quickly Dean barely has time to breathe before he’s back in there stopping up the air flow. Sam starts to thrash and so Dean knows he’s close so he begins stroking Sam’s balls and just below them, dancing his finger around Sam’s hole and finally pushing all the way in. That was all Sam needs and he’s coming hard, practically folding himself in half and exhaling, “Dean oh god, Dean.” Dean drinks it all down, relishing the taste that he’s missed and licks his brother clean.
Sam twitches a little, trying to get it back up again, but Dean just crawls up and covers his brother’s body with his own, cradling Sam’s head in his hands, and taking his mouth once again. Sam moans at the taste of himself in his brother’s mouth, remembering how much he’d missed this while they were apart, how he’d cried himself to sleep so many nights just wishing he could have Dean there with him, holding him again. And now he’s here, and he’s on top of him, and he’s hard, rubbing up against Sam’s hipbone in an insistent rhythm that he doesn’t ever want to really stop.
“You with anyone but this Amelia, Sam?” Dean growls in his low, ruined voice.
“No Dean, no one, just her.”
“No guys either?”
“Okay if we do this without?” Dean asks. And Sam knows that means that Dean went without sex for a whole year because he wouldn’t risk hurting him.
“Yeah.” And that’s all Sam wants at this point. To have Dean inside him, bare, nothing between them as they reconnect, being marked inside once again, so he can feel Dean inside and out. He reaches over into his bedside table drawer and grabs a bottle of lube, handing it to Dean with an impatient look.
“You still really want this Sammy?” Dean asks because of how weird their reunion has been so far. How unsure Sam seemed to be of his even being there, not wanting to make it worse instead of better, but needing to be inside his brother after all this time to put things right in the best way he knows how to.
Sam sees the hesitation in Dean’s eyes, hears it in his question, and answers with a wiggle and thrust of his hips that makes Dean gasp, “Don’t just want it, need it, come on already.”
Dean slowly smiles at hearing his brother’s words and reaches down to start opening him up, “Okay then.” He says, using still skillful fingers and lots of the slippery cold lube. And it hits him all of a sudden that this is a lot like their first time, way back in those months after their Dad had died, crashing into each other under the weight of their joint grief and their years of buried feelings. It feels the same because of a similar uncertainty he’d felt back then and felt now. Is it really his right to take away Sam’s chance at normal? There was no way he’s asking now, not while his fingers are moving in and out of Sam’s slippery sucking hole and he’s writhing around making those delicious insistent, impatient noises.
Once again he’s asked himself the most important question much too late to answer anything other than what his heart and soul tell him. It might not be the right thing, or the best thing. But it is the only thing, the only choice he could make. Sam wouldn’t open up for him like this if he didn’t want it. He’d hold himself closed off, not be letting himself go completely loose and wanton under Dean’s hands.
Sam had a chance to say no or stop things back in the hall way, this doesn’t feel like a pity fuck for old time’s sake or anything like that. It feels real, like them, finding their way back to each other one more time. God hopefully the last time he thinks fervently, looking up at Sam, head thrown back, body thrusting and moving, so open and inviting. Enough thinking, this is where he’ll see if it’s right or not. Pulling his fingers out slowly leaves Sam opened and him gasping, begging “Hurry Dean, please”
Dean slicks himself up with his messy right hand and kneels in closer to Sam’s spread legs. Positioning himself at Sam’s ready entrance he hesitates one last time, looking into Sam’s eyes, and all he sees is need and want and lust and love, no hesitation or question or this is the last time before we say goodbye, only what’s supposed to be there when it’s time to be in his Sam. Taking him slowly, wanting to feel and re-memorize how each part of Sam feels all the way in, until he’s buried, they’re as joined as they can get, two bodies made one for awhile. Or for as long as he can manage.
Dean collapses down over Sam, just holding himself up a little so he can kiss him slowly and thoroughly. Starting up a slow rhythm, a how’ve you been, nice to be back inside you kind of rhythm. Sam laughs into Dean’s mouth at Dean being all tender and slow like this, knowing that his brother is probably thinking all the same old shit about normal and questioning the wisdom of brother-fucking and getting back into it with him once again. But this is what he wants, what he’s wanted for a year, this is where he feels most himself, when Dean is in him, taking him apart, filling him up, working out their hello and the awkwardness of their reunion with their bodies instead of their words. It’s so much easier to say it that way, and Sam knows if he said any of the things crossing his mind out loud right now Dean would probably pull out and sock him.
So Sam laughs again and speeds up his thrusts so that Dean has to match him or get bucked off, and then there, that’s it, Sam can feel it, Dean surrendering to it, to the need that’s always there between them. Undeniable, unstoppable and thankfully completely unquenchable. All these years, wanting each other like this, through everything, and to be apart all that time, sure he’d never have this again, it hits Sam once more, with the percussive force of that nail gun he uses at work, Dean’s really here. All that time without him, and he’s just back and it’s so good, better than ever feeling him like this, slamming in and out, their bodies slick and tight and moving in sync as if no time had passed, like it was the first time all over again.
All Dean’s doubts and hesitations have fled as he’s given himself over to Sam’s rhythm. He’s not worried that this is the wrong thing anymore, because Sam is already hard again between their bellies. And this doesn’t feel even close to goodbye, it feels like hello and welcome home. He loses himself in Sam, meeting Sam’s quick thrusts with his own, kissing him as much as he can manage, finally losing the brake on his words. They come streaming out as he’s about to go over the edge. He doesn’t care if Sam hears him; Sam already knows that they’re always there inside him. Words and phrases like love you Sammy, missed you, home, mine and never leave you again.
Sam’s gasping out similar things which Dean’s body absorbs for him since his brain is offline. Things like love you too Dean, welcome back, our home, don’t you ever leave me again. Dean finally comes with a shout, his brother’s name of course, with extra syllables and just hearing it like that. Dean’s voice shouting his name in ecstasy is enough to pull Sam over the edge with him.
They hold each other, panting like they’ve been running miles for Dad back in the day, not wanting to move or speak, just staying within the boundary they’ve created with their bodies, everything’s been put right again here. No discussion necessary, no weirdness, or getting used to each other again. Just them, like it’s supposed to be. Dean doesn’t want to stop kissing Sam, he really doesn’t. But he needs to see Sam’s face, so he pulls back just a bit. Sam’s eyes are closed, lips chasing after his. He sees how relaxed Sam’s face is now, that pinched look around his eyes gone, so are the worry lines on his forehead. He caresses his brother’s face with the fingertips of one hand, softly tracing the eyebrows until Sam shivers, down the long nose, over the soft lips which part so invitingly, under the chin, along his jaw, teasing the whorls of his ear.
Finally he can’t help himself, “Now that was a welcome home.”
Sam laughs, and Dean’s forgotten how good that feels, to still be inside Sam when he’s laughing, the vibrations and contractions on the inside matching the joy that he can hear and see on Sam’s face.
“Yeah Dean, welcome home.” Sam wiggles his hips and laughs again. Dean joins him because he’s irresistible like this, it’s contagious or something, being happy. But he figures he deserves it and so does Sam, they made it through their separation, and now they’re put back together. At least he hopes so.
“So I am welcome here then?” Dean chooses right then to pull out and busies himself with wiping himself clean on the edge of the sheet, not able or wanting to meet Sam’s eyes.
Sam sees him pulling away and punches him in the bicep, hard, “Yeah, of course you are, I was just trying to tell you…”
Dean still can’t look at him, just knowing it’s going to be something he doesn’t want to hear, “Tell me what Sam?”
With a hand to turn Dean’s face towards him, waiting until their eyes meet, Sam says firmly, “That things were going to have to be different.”
“Okay.” And that’s relief that floods Dean, relief that it’s not go-away-leave-me-alone, but instead I-want-something-different. Different he can deal with, no problem. Sam asking him to leave, not so much.
Eyebrows raised in surprise, Sam asks, “Okay? Just like that?”
It’s Dean’s turn to punch Sam, hard in the bicep closest to him, “Yeah, of course. Sam, I get it. You made a life without me, because you had to. And I don’t want you to have to change everything just because I’m back.”
“I want you to stay here with me.” Sam knows that’s the biggest change that he’s going to be asking for right there. Them having a home, being stuck in one place like this, is going to be the hardest thing for Dean.
Dean looks at Sam intently, and then says, “Good, cause I don’t wanna go anywhere.”
“Really? You’re okay with not getting back on the road?”
“Yeah, I’ve been running for a year solid, I could use a break. Least for a while anyways.”
“I don’t know Sam. Start hunting again I guess.”
“Not sure if I’m up for that or not.”
Dean flops down on his usual side of the bed, hoping this is almost over, “We’ll figure it out when we need to.”
“I wish I had your confidence in our ability to communicate and come to a joint decision Dean.”
“We’ve done it before, for the important stuff.” Dean’s thinking of that conversation they’d had outside at Bobby’s place before Sam had decided to make the big jump. He’s thinking of the conversation they’d had when they got back together after Sam had found out that he’d killed Amy. Those count don’t they?
“Okay, I’ll trust you on this one. But there’s other stuff to work out.”
Dean closes his eyes as if he’s getting ready to sleep, “Do we have to do it all in one day Sam? I just got here.”
“If I tell you it’s important to me, would you?” Sam asks quietly.
“Yeah, of course, long as you’re feeding me at some point tonight. Lay it on me I guess.”
“I want us to decide something and I’m not sure how to ask you without you getting mad.”
“I won’t get mad, go ahead already.” Now Dean’s worried, really worried, because Sam never asks questions like this, prepping him ahead of time.
“Okay, I’m just going to say it then. I want to know why you think we’re together and if you think we still should be.”
“Oh that’s all. god sakes Sam! I just got back after a year in Purgatory and you want to have a fucking relationship heart-to-heart! You could warn a guy.”
“I thought I did. And you said you weren’t going to get mad.”
“Alright, ‘m not mad. But I guarantee you’re not going to like my answer”
Sam just nods, wanting to hear it, not able to stop him from saying anything.
“I think we’re together because we need each other, life doesn’t feel right unless I’m with you. I can’t imagine it being worthwhile to keep going on without you.”
Sam leans over and kisses Dean hard and sudden, pulling back to whisper, “Why would you think I wouldn’t I like that answer?”
“Not mushy enough for you.”
“Already did, thanks.” Dean can’t help himself, smirking for all he’s worth.
“Would you cut it out? I’m just trying to be clear that this is what you really want, for the right reasons, because I can’t do it again.”
“Try to make a life without you. I really suck at it.”
“Yeah Sammy, I know. I’m even worse at it than you remember? I only lasted a couple days the first time you died, you lasted a whole year.”
“You still haven’t answered the question.”
Dean sighs deeply, knowing that he’s got to answer, Sam wouldn’t be asking if it wasn’t important to him to hear this said out loud, he knows how much it costs Dean to say stuff like this, “Yeah it’s what I want, to be with you, course it is, never wanted anything else.”
“Okay, good, me too. And last thing. We’re equal partners, right? Not just big brother little brother? ‘cause I can’t go back to that.”
“Yeah, you and me Sam, even steven. And what about dinner?”
“Just couldn’t help yourself huh?”
“Yeah you know me.”
“I do. C’mon, get your ass up, I’m not bringing you dinner in bed.”
“But honey.” Dean whines as sarcastically as possible, standing up and stretching. They both pull on boxers and t-shirts and head into the kitchen. Sam feeds the gaping maw that is Dean and still can’t believe he’s actually there, across the small table. He’d never thought Dean would ever sit here in the somewhat rickety wood chair. Drinking beer, scarfing down the now lukewarm pasta and sauce, talking with his mouth full as if nothing’s changed. He can’t help looking at Dean for longer than he knows he should, that Dean’s going to notice soon and call him on it. But all Dean does is meet his gaze and smile, because of course he knows what Sam’s thinking.
“I can’t believe I’m sitting here either Sam.”
Sam just smiles back and shakes his head, eyes shinier with moisture than they were a moment ago. He looks down at his almost empty plate, not wanting to cry in front of his brother. Dean offers to do the dishes since Sam cooked, and so Sam gets to sit and watch him at the sink. Broad shoulders shifting under the worn grey t-shirt, strong calves flexing as he moves between sink and dish drainer. Sam finds himself marveling at how whole his brother seems, physically unaffected by whatever happened to him in their year apart. He’s gotten his own muscles back after losing so much when Lucifer was his constant companion, but Dean hasn’t seemed to have noticed yet.
Dean turns when he’s finished the last of the pots and smiles a question over at Sam, noticing how intently Sam is examining him. Sam stands up and is suddenly in his space, pushing him up against the wet edge of the kitchen counter, one hand on either side of his hips. Sam leans in and takes over his brother’s mouth once again, Dean’s hands coming up to clench and pull at Sam’s biceps. “You’re big again Sammy.” Dean murmurs into Sam’s mouth.
“Huh, you noticed.” Sam answers, not really stopping kissing Dean, just biting and licking his way along his jaw.
“Hard not to dude. You’re almost as big as you were before.” Dean trails off, not wanting to complete that thought, mentally slapping at himself for even thinking it. Before meaning when Sam jumped into the Pit.
Sam doesn’t answer him, just kisses him so he’ll stop talking because he doesn’t want to remember that either. Thankfully for both of them it works. He pulls away before they get too into it, reluctant, “Guess it’s time to go back to bed. For sleeping this time.”
Nodding, Dean lets go of Sam’s biceps and takes a step towards the bedroom. Sam reaches out with one of his orangutan arms and pulls him in to his side. “I’ve gotta be at work early, what are you gonna do tomorrow?”
“Thought I’d go look for work somewhere, but I’ll need to borrow your car.” With the emphasis on your, because Dean’s trying to honor the changes that Sam’s asked for today.
Sam smiles at hearing that emphasis, but loving it with everything that still makes him a little-brother that he gets to order his big brother around about this, “Fine, you just have to drop me off at the site first.”
“How early are we talking?”
“Seven.” Sam grins up at Dean as he slips himself under the covers, sliding over far enough so that there’s an obvious space made for Dean, in his bed. Which he knows he’ll think of their bed soon enough, probably by tomorrow.
“Arrggh. This is why I never wanted a normal life. It starts so damn early.” Dean sincerely grumbles, sliding into the spot Sam’s created for him.
Sam thumps him on the chest several times, “You’ll get used to it eventually. I did.”
Grasping Sam’s hand and holding it there, Dean risks a glance up at Sam, to see if he catches the many layers in his answer, “I guess I better get used to it too then.”
They fold themselves back into their usual get to sleep position, Dean’s head on Sam’s shoulder, Sam’s other arm around Dean’s waist, Dean’s hand on Sam’s heart, and the other on his waist. Sam asks quietly into Dean’s hair, “You ever gonna tell me about Purgatory?”
Dean tenses up briefly, then answers honestly, showing the true tiredness in his voice, “Not today, done enough talking already Sammy.”
“Alright fine, but you’re not getting out of it tomorrow.” Sam promises, squeezing Dean close so he knows he means it.
“’kay, whatever, can we sleep now?” Dean burrows in deeper, settling himself into the familiar comfort of Sam’s arms, head now pillowed over his heart, hearing the steady shushing beat he found he could hardly sleep without.
Sam lets himself drift off easily for the first time in a year, not worried about gut-clenching nightmares, or waking up alone. He pulls his brother in even closer, kissing him one last time on the top of his head. He’s finally feeling happy or something close enough. He’s got Dean’s answers to his questions to hold onto as well as Dean himself.Dean’s exhaustion from his travels and the angst of talking everything out with Sam makes it easier for him to just relax and let go for the first time in a year, knowing he’s where’s he’s supposed to be, wrapped up tightly in Sam’s arms. No worries remain about making their future together be anything in particular, as long as it’s them, together.