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The Wanting Comes In Waves

All Sam/Dean, All The Time

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lions mane

Fic: Lion's Mane (Sam/Dean, NC-17) - Chapter 3 of 6

Back to Chapter 2


He realizes he’s lying on the dungeon floor, crumpled in a heap, his head cradled in Sam’s lap.  He blinks his eyes open warily. “So, uh, I guess I’m back. Anything change?”

Sam smiles down at him a little sadly and shakes his head. “No, not that I know of, nothing feels different, but I haven’t left the room. You weren’t gone very long, you just kinda crumpled up and I caught you. So, what happened?”

“It didn’t work. He wouldn’t let me,” Dean starts, and then stops himself.

“Cain wouldn’t let you what? Not take the Mark?” Sam asks, running his fingers through Dean’s short hair near the back of his neck in a sort of worried gesture.

“No, uh, it wasn’t Cain. I, uh, went back to talk to you,” Dean says, enjoying the unconscious touch of Sam’s hands on his head, the delicious feeling of Sam’s fingernails gently scratching his scalp as he thinks through Dean’s deceptions.

“Wait a second, you said you were going back there, to the past, to not take on the Mark. Why would you be talking to me? I wasn’t even there. I don’t get it, Dean,” Sam says, his hands stopping the gentle scratching and turning into a vise so that Dean can’t look away. Dean closes his eyes against Sam’s intensity. “What aren’t you telling me?”

“I went back to do more than just not take on the Mark. I was trying to fix things with you, Sammy,” Dean says, eyes opening when he feels his brother’s full body flinch. Sam lets go of his head and pushes him roughly into a seated position and scrambles up to standing like he needs to get away from him, fast. Dean decides to stay on the ground, farther away from the anger building in Sam’s face.

“You thought you could just go back and what? Clean everything up? Make it like it never even happened? Do you not get how fucked-up that is?” Sam yells. “This is as bad as you mind-wiping Lisa and Ben!”

It’s Dean’s turn to flinch at the blast of righteous fury sailing down at him from his brother. He gives himself the time to stand up and face Sam. “That’s not what I was trying to do. Not at all.”

“Then what? What could possibly have been so damn important you’d skip over the whole Cain thing?” Sam asks, just short of yelling, gesturing angrily with his hands.

Dean steps back and leans against the cool dampness of the dungeon’s wall. “I wanted to make sure you knew that Gadreel was in you. But he wouldn’t let me tell you. I couldn’t change it, Sammy, I couldn’t make it right,” Dean says, heart sinking when he sees Sam’s flinch when he calls him Sammy.

That’s what you think I wanted? No. God, Dean, I understood all that and why you did it. Of course I did. I was just stuck on forgiving you for leaving me,” Sam admits.

“When the hell did I ever leave you?” Dean asks in genuine confusion.

“Don’t you remember? We had that argument, after the whole Crowley in my head thing, Gadreel was finally gone after I kicked him out.  You left me, Dean,”

“I didn’t think you were safe around me. Because of what I’d done to you,” Dean says, knowing that he’s lying to himself even more than he is to Sam.

Sam’s eyes flare up in anger. “Bullshit. You were scared. You ran away because you thought I’d be too mad to forgive you. You didn’t even give me the chance though, did you? You just left without a look back to see if I was all right. I’d just had fucking needles in my brain, a demon, an angel, a friend dead at my hands. All of that. You left me, Dean. Right when I needed you most.”

That’s what you couldn’t forgive me for?”

“Yeah,” Sam answers in a flat voice that sounds angry and tired and just about done. “You never even apologized for leaving me like that. It was like it didn’t even matter to you.”

Dean thinks about it for a long moment and then hits himself in the forehead. “That’s what I should have gone back and tried to change. I went back too far.”

“Wait, hold on. Too far? How far back did you go?” Sam asks.

“I, uh, I went back to that first day you were out of the hospital after the Trials. We were at a rest stop talking about how Crowley was in the Impala’s trunk. And right then, I wanted so bad to tell you the truth. But Gadreel had just told me I shouldn’t, that you’d kick him out, and you’d instantly die because you were so weak. So I’d stopped myself. I went back there, and I tried to tell you. But he didn’t let me even get two words out. He just did the blue eye flashy thing and you were gone. He told me to go back to my time and let things go according to how they’d already occurred.”

“I don’t understand. Why did you go there? Wasn’t this time traveling thing mostly about the Mark? When were you going to try and deal with that?” Sam asks, in a machine gun question style that means he’s going to want every question answered. And now.

“It was and it wasn’t. It was mostly about you. And I thought that if I was honest with you, right from the start, that it would fix things with you.”

Sam interrupts his silence, “And then you wouldn’t have left and gotten mixed up with Crowley? Taken on the Mark?”

Dean drops his head and nods. “Yeah, something like that.”

“Wait, Dean. Was that what you felt guiltiest about? Is that why you went there instead of to Cain?”

Dean nods and remains silent for a few long moments. “I really had wanted to go back to that night in the church, when I stopped you doing the third trial. But Cas said it would change too much stuff with the angels falling and all.”

“Yeah, he was probably right about that. But, why would you have wanted to go there?” Sam asks.

“To do it differently. To tell you what would happen. To give you the choice,” Dean answers.

“You thought I’d have rather died closing the gates of Hell?”

“I really didn’t know what you’d pick, Sam. I just wanted you to have all the information when you decided. It wasn’t fair of me to just waltz in there and order you to stop like I did. I mean, we both knew when you started the Trials what the end game was gonna be.”

“Yeah, that’s why you wanted to be the one to do them in the first place, remember?”

“I do. I remember your whole light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel speech and everything, dude. Sammy, I just wanted you to have the choice, that’s all,” Dean says.

Sam can’t seem to speak or respond, for a long moment Dean is sure his brother is about to burst out in bawling, messy tears. Finally, Sam visibly calms himself, takes a deep breath and fixes Dean with slightly watery eyes.

“Thank you,” Sam finally manages to say, wrapping Dean up in those octopus arms (and one leg) of his. The hug goes on much longer than usual, unless that is someone is dying of course.

“It just seemed like the right thing to do, the only thing I could do, at this point,” Dean says into Sam’s chest, the words coming out muffled and slightly crumpled on the edges.  He can feel the hug get even tighter though, so they must have been the right words to say.  Half the time these days, he’s had no idea how to even talk to Sam any more. They’re most of the way back to being brothers again, but there’s still so much submerged debris they have to avoid triggering another collapse.  It’s been exhausting.

“I wanted to be able to call you Sammy again, and not have you flinch,” Dean says, a little quieter, the words muffled by his hesitation before they even reach the flannel of Sam’s shirt on his lips.

Sam pulls out of the hug abruptly, but doesn’t let go of Dean, his hands  are clamped tightly on Dean’s shoulders, his face wide and open like he hasn’t seen it in ages. “No more flinching, I swear, I’ll try, I really will.  Not after this,” Sam says through a smile that widens more and more until both dimples are showing. Dean wants to photograph Sam’s face and save it forever. There’s nothing like the face of the beloved, loving you back.

“You are way too easy, my brother,” Dean says with a grin that he feels down to the soles of his feet. He can practically hear his skin crinkling near his eyes. How long has it been since he’s smiled this much? He must look like a lunatic.

Sam’s hand comes off of Dean’s shoulder and he feels the brush of Sam’s fingertips near the corner of one eye. “I’ve really missed these,” Sam says, looking entranced and muddled.

“Missed what?” Dean asks, although of course he knows.

Sam leans down and kisses the path his fingertips have left tingling on Dean’s skin. The tingling turns to burning as he kisses each and every eye crinkle.

“What a weird thing to miss, Sammy,” Dean murmurs into Sam’s ear that is so close he can see every curve and whorl, the small hairs, the scar where the basilisk bit him that time in Washington. Since Sam is kissing on his face, he figures it’s okay if he returns the favor and leans forward enough to brush his lips over the skin behind Sam’s ear. The spot that always makes Sam shiver and oh…there it is…moan.

“Dean, we need to,” Sam says breathlessly, like the moan has knocked the wind out of him.

Dean pulls him in closer, nuzzles into Sam’s neck and says, “Hell yeah, we do.”

“We do, yes. I mean definitely. But first. Dean, c’mon, stop. We need to talk first.”

Dean groans in answer and lets go of his brother, stepping back with his hands raised in dramatic surrender.

“Don’t be such a drama queen, you know we need to,” Sam chides, bumping Dean’s shoulder with his own on the way out of the dungeon. Dean follows him, because what else can he do? Sam doesn’t say anything, just walks back to the smaller library room off the main room. He sinks down into one of the cushy library chairs and leans back. He looks up at Dean, standing there in the doorway unmoving. He pulls the chair next to him as close as possible, and taps the arm of it, indicating that’s where he wants Dean to sit.

Dean’s heart sinks, because he thought that he was going to get away without a big discussion. A big dissection of all his failures over the last year. He knows what he did, what he caused, and he doesn’t want to talk about it, because what’s talking ever done for them?  He tries his best not to scowl outwardly and sits down in the chair like the good Dean that Sam’s expecting him to be. Who knows, maybe he deserves that at least? No probably he does.

“Thank you. I..uh..I’m sorry to interrupt things, but we’ve been putting this off too long, and I feel like if we don’t talk about this stuff right now, we never will. We’ve got to try and do things differently,” Sam says, putting his heartfelt apologetic puppy eyes on full display.

“All right, I get it. The stack of stuff we’ve shoved under the rug is getting too big to ignore. Lay it on me,” Dean admits, leaning back in his chair in preparation for being read the riot act.

“First of all, I’m pissed that you lied to me about why you went back in time. I don’t get why you had to lie about this on top of everything else. Can you try to explain it?”

“I..uh..Cas told me that I oughta just fess up, lay it all out for you. But I thought you’d try to stop me. And I really thought it’d work out,” Dean says.

“Well, Cas was right. But I don’t think I would’ve stopped you; the most I would have done was made you talk to me about it. And that’s so awful right? That it’s worth risking yourself on a spell and time traveling. You just don’t get it, do you?”

“Get what?” Dean asks, genuinely confused.

“What it does to me, when you’re just gone like that,” Sam says with a deep sadness that twists a knife Dean’s been carrying in his heart for quite a while.

“You know a thing or two about leaving,” Dean says.

“Yeah, I do. And you know what? I get how hard it is on the person left behind. Do you still not understand that it’s just as hard for me as it is for you?”

“You do just fine without me, you always have,” Dean says a little too flippantly…he’s thinking about Sam’s happiness with Jess, his liaison with Ruby or his domestic paradises with Amelia, but not wanting to bring up that still quite sore subject with him right now.

“I don’t even know what to say to that,” Sam says, really looking at a loss for words.

Dean waits for Sam to come up with something to say and gives up. “I mean, you always find someone to be with, soon as I’m gone. I’m sure you’re sad and stuff, but I’m not irreplaceable for you,” Dean says, trying to fill the silence, unclear at why Sam’s so stuck on this issue.

“Wow. That’s. That is really something. Do you know what I did? When you were gone this last time? Did you ever even bother asking what I did while you were off being a demon? You have no fucking clue what it means to me when you’re dead or gone. None,” Sam says, standing up, and beginning to walk out.

“Hey, c’mon, don’t walk out like this. You said you wanted to get it all out there.  There’s gotta be more, I know there is. If we’re lancing this boil, let’s get it all,” Dean says, knowing that will gross Sam out and short-circuit the mad dash he’s making out the door.

Sam stops, and his shoulders sag. “I’m not sure what the point is, Dean. You never listen. Even when you do ask, you don’t really hear what I say.”  Sam’s voice is so quiet and so full of hurt that Dean has to catch his breath and make himself stay seated. All he wants to do is fold his brother into his arms and make it all stop hurting.

“Sam, all I want to do, is make everything right with you. I’m willing to sit here and talk, long as we need to, to really get back on the same page. I feel like we’re reading different books these days.”

Sam sighs, one of those deep get-everything-out sighs that make it possible to keep going when you know you really shouldn’t.  He turns around slowly and steps back to sit in his chair. He doesn’t meet Dean’s eyes, or say anything. Just holds himself still and contained.

“So, now you’re not talking, huh? Well, this isn’t going to work if it’s just me blabbin’ now, is it? Get it out there, so we can deal. That was the idea, right?”

“I will, I’m just not sure where to start, especially given what you were saying before.”

“Look, let’s break it down, like a case. First, we both want this to work, right?”

“Yeah, of course,” Sam answers.

“Everything we’ve got, it’s all right here, you and me, that’s what’s most important to me, how about you?”

“You know it is,” Sam says.

“Well, I do now,” Dean says with a grin.

“Do you believe it though?” Sam asks.

“Yeah, yeah I do.  So what’s holding us back from being okay together? I heard you saying before, when we were down in the dungeon, that you were hurt and mad that I’d left you right after we got rid of Gadreel. You said that was where things were stuck for you, right?” Dean asks.

“Uh huh, that’s what I said. But things aren’t just stuck there and only there, Dean, it’s everything before that too, and what got piled on top of it all,” Sam says, sounding a little overwhelmed.

“Before that, when do you mean?”

“The stuff after you came back from Purgatory mostly. I mean, I know you said that none of it meant anything to you, when you were trying to get me to stop the last Trial. But you would have said anything at that point to get me to stop. I’m not sure whether to really believe it. I want to though, if that helps.”

“The stuff after Purgatory, you mean the Benny thing?”

“Yeah, the Benny thing, Dean. I get that he was your friend or whatever in Purgatory, but why didn’t you tell me about him, right at the start? I mean, I told you about Amelia,” Sam said, cutting himself off at that and not adding more.

“I didn’t tell you, because I was messed up about it. Me, having been friends with a vampire. And I thought I’d left Cas behind in Purgatory. I didn’t think you’d understand, why I needed Benny, and I thought you’d be mad that I was friends with a monster after I killed your friend Amy,” Dean admits.

Sam nods in understanding. “Why were you so mad about Amelia, though? You did that whole thing with the fake emergency text. It wasn’t like you, it really hurt having to see her again,” Sam says.

“I’m sorry. I was just doing what I thought I had to, to get Benny out of there. You were gonna kill him,” Dean says.

“Yeah, I probably would have,” Sam says, “It would have been the right thing to do, given what we knew about the case.”

“But it wasn’t him doing those murders. I believed him, just like you believed Amy. And I was wrong to kill Amy, I know I was, and I’m sorry that I killed your friend,” Dean says.

“I’m sorry that you had to kill Benny, and I’m glad you had a friend in Purgatory. I just wish you’d let me in on the big secret,” Sam says.

“I wish I had. You woulda liked the guy.  And you know, for the record, I’m glad you had Amelia. You deserve to be happy, no matter who you’re with,” Dean says.

“You do too, Dean, even if you’ll never admit it to yourself,” Sam says. “And you probably would have liked Amelia. She was as messed up as we are.”

“Still think you made the right choice?” Dean asks, recalling the agonizing few days when he wasn’t sure who Sam was going to pick to stick with.

“I can’t believe you’re asking me that. But since you did, yes, I know I made the right choice. It wasn’t really a terribly hard choice to make though. You and me? That’s what I’ll always go with, because I need it, just as much as you do.”

“So is that all, the stuff after Purgatory, or is there more?” Dean asks, a little hesitant, in case there’s something even bigger to deal with.

“Yeah, the whole thing about me checking into going back to finish college, and how you reacted.”

Dean plays dumb, as if he doesn’t remember how his heart had sunk, convinced that Sam had never let go of that long-held dream.

“I was checking those colleges out, because Amelia was going back to her husband, who wasn’t dead all of a sudden. So I needed something to do. Since you were dead and gone as far as I knew. That’s the reason. It’s not a thing that I want or need now, though. It was to help me make it through.”

“Make it through?” Dean asks, perplexed at Sam’s vagueness.

Sam sighs and focuses on a spot between his bare feet on the floor. “You being dead again, Dean. See, I never told you this. And you never asked. But since you don’t get it, here goes,” Sam says, turning to look away at one of the corners of the library, like he’s unable to acknowledge saying this out loud. “I lost it after you disappeared. Big time. Much worse than before. Maybe because of the whole Hell trauma thing, who knows? But I had no one that time. No Bobby calling and checking on me. So I gave in to it. I pretty much gave up.”

“When you say that you gave up, does that mean that…?” Dean asks, not really wanting to hear the answer that he knows Sam is going to give.

“Yeah, I was going to…you know…end it. That was when I hit my dog, Riot, and…well…you pretty much know the rest,” Sam finishes, voice fading towards the end as his head tips towards his chest.

Dean sees his brother pulling back into himself at this admission, and he can’t help himself. He’s kneeling in front of Sam, between his legs, grabbing him into a bear hug and breathing like he’s just run a sprint. “I almost lost you. You were…Oh god, Sammy,” Dean says, voice muffled in the front of Sam’s flannel shirt.

Sam doesn’t say anything, just flinches at the nickname and lets himself be held, leans a little more into Dean’s embrace.

“I’m sorry I never asked. I should have,” Dean says, holding the side of Sam’s face and looking into his eyes.

Sam’s eyes crinkle with amusement. “You were a little busy having post-Purgatory PTSD. It’s okay, Dean.”

“No, it’s really not. I never thought.  Well, I never thought that you’d…”

“Miss you like that?” Sam asks, searching Dean’s eyes intensely.

Dean thinks about it for a long moment and then answers with a small shrug, “Yeah, I guess.”

Sam yanks himself away from Dean’s touch and flops back into his chair. He sighs and looks at Dean for a long moment.  “Dean. Do you see why that’s a problem? It keeps coming up.  And I can’t figure out whether this is about your low self-esteem, or you not trusting me or what. But, man, if you can’t accept that I need you just as much as you say you need me, then I’m not sure what we’re even doing trying to stay together.”

“Sammy,” Dean says in a voice full of pain and need, because it’s the only word he can think of, the only one that means anything anymore.

Sam’s flinch is a long, drawn-out, exaggerated affair this time. Unmistakeable for anything but what it is: A reaction of fear and revulsion to his own nickname, from Dean’s lips.

“What’s the flinching really about? When I call you Sammy?” Dean asks, before he can stop himself. He knows he should answer about the other thing. That’s much more important. Probably. But this is Sam’s name. He thought it meant something to him when he called him Sammy.

Sam makes a disgusted, scoffing noise, gets up abruptly and pushes past Dean without a word. He’s out the door and the door is slamming to his room down the hall before Dean’s even stood up completely. Dean spins around in a circle, clutching at his mouth, wishing he could put the words back inside. He stands there, shoulders slumped, breathing into his hands just to feel the warmth. He feels cold all over, inside and out. Except the Mark, of course, that’s always there, and always hot. It pulses faintly, like it’s feeling out whether it’s going to be fed anytime soon.  Dean scratches at it a few times and pulls his sleeve down over it.

Much later…

Dean’s done drinking. At least he thinks he is. For now. The bottle’s empty, at least. So’s the glass. At least he thinks it is. He tips it back and sucks at the last few drops that hit his lips. He sets the glass on his bedside table, and realizes his aim was off when he hears the crash of the glass falling to the tile floor. Vague thoughts of getting up and sweeping up the glass come to him, and pass through on the way to the welcome blackness of the oblivion he was hoping for.


Sam hears a glass breaking in his brother’s room as he’s passing by in the hallway to the kitchen. He’d been on the way to make some tea and maybe toast to settle his stomach after all the upset and crying. When he doesn’t hear anything else he goes to the utility closet, gets out the broom and dustpan and knocks gently at Dean’s door.  When there’s no answer, he pushes it open slowly, peeking around into the dimness. Only the desk lamp is on, and all the pictures Dean has of Sam are laid out in a neat grid.  The whisky bottle is empty, and lying on its side, almost under the bed, so it’s the glass that he’s broken this time.

Sam glances briefly at his brother, stretched out, completely oblivious to any of the brokenness or hurt that he’s caused tonight. Which was probably the point of getting so drunk. With a sigh, Sam sweeps up all the glass he can find, empties it into Dean’s trashcan with a satisfying crash. He’s about to leave when he hears a noise from the bed.   He turns and sees Dean’s body go rigid, fists clenched, neck straining, his head tossing from side to side. Dean’s back arches like he’s having a seizure and he yells at the top of his lungs, “Saaaaammmm!”

Sam sets the dustpan and broom down and steps towards the bed, where Dean is continuing to thrash, although he’s gone silent, except for quick, panting breaths. Sam sits next to him and holds one of his clenched fists. Dean’s murmuring something so he leans closer to hear the words.


“No. No. No. I won’t. I won’t do it. Not him. No, not Sammy! I can’t. Please. No. No. No!” Dean murmurs in a low tone that rise to a whisper scream by the last ‘no’.  Sam can’t stand it anymore and puts his hands on Dean’s shoulders, squeezing gently.

“Dean, hey, Dean, wake up, dude. You’re having a nightmare,” Sam says in what he hopes is a soothing tone. It seems close to the one that Dean usually pulls out for his nightmares.

Dean freezes, all his movement ceases, his words stop abruptly.  His muscles remain tense though, so hard and bunched that Sam knows he’s going to be really sore and achy tomorrow. Great, more shit to be grumpy about.

“Hey, you okay?” Sam asks in the same moderate, even tone.

Dean finally opens his eyes and stares up at Sam in what can only be termed wonder. Like he can’t believe what he’s seeing. Whether it’s that Sam’s on his bed, touching him, or alive, or what…who knows what Dean was dreaming about?

“Yeah, uh, yeah, ‘m fine,” Dean mumbles, sitting up and scooting away from Sam as far as he can on the small bed.  “Sorry if I woke ya.”

“No, you didn’t, I was just coming down to the kitchen. You want something? I was going to make tea,” Sam offers, even though he knows that Dean will refuse, because he’ll be embarrassed about the whole nightmare thing.

“Sam, I’m sorry. For before, for what I said.  I wish…” Dean says, getting tangled up in the words he obviously wants to say. But Sam can see that he’s still quite drunk, the awareness from the nightmare fading fast.

“You just go back to sleep, okay? We’ll talk more tomorrow if you want to,” Sam says, hoping that’ll be enough for Dean. The last thing he wants to attempt is reasoning with a drunk brother who maybe won’t remember tomorrow anyway.

Dean nods a little more slowly than normal and scoots back down under the covers, curling on his side around where Sam’s sitting on the bed. “Stay? Jus’ ’til ‘m sleepin’?” Dean mumbles.

“Of course,” Sam says with a sad smile. It seems like the least he can do. How is it that he can end up feeling so damn guilty after that conversation earlier? He shakes his head at himself. He doesn’t know, but he does. He feels bad for making Dean so upset that he’d drink like this. His hand is in Dean’s hair, stroking through the longer-than-usual strands, fingers rubbing in gentle circles on his scalp.  Dean’s head leans into his grip and then his body relaxes into sleep.

“I wish too, Dean. I wish we could just make it all work somehow. But there’s too much to get through, too many times we’ve hurt each other. All I want is for you to be happy, or as happy as you can be, that’s all I care about anymore. But I don’t know what to do,” Sam whispers, hoping that it’ll sink into the sleeping and drunk brain of his stubborn-ass brother who he loves beyond all reason.

The only thing that ever makes him feel better when things are this bad, is the feeling of Dean in his arms. It’s the only way he knows to help now, when words only seem to hurt, and all the whisky’s gone.  Sam crawls into bed behind Dean, and wraps himself around his brother, arms and legs both. He falls asleep with the taste of Dean’s skin on his lips where they rest on the back of his neck.


Chapter 4