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The Wanting Comes In Waves

All Sam/Dean, All The Time

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Fic: Not Even Close (Sam/Dean, PG)

Title: Not Even Close

Author: smalltrolven
Rating:  PG

Pairing: Sam/Dean

Word Count: 3,100

Author’s Notes: Not my characters, only my words. Second in the Diagonal Falling series, read Texas Barbecue first so that this makes more sense. For the sixth round of the hc_bingo for the spot on my card of Food Poisoning. This is just fiction, I’m absolutely not implying anything about the potato salad at the actual restaurant in Texas.

Summary: Dean gets food poisoning after the barbecue he consumed before they get out of Texas. Sam has to get them to a motel because there’s no way they can drive all the way back to the bunker. That gives Sam way too much time to overthink their confessions made in the incinerator.

Read it over on AO3 right here.


Black’s Barbecue has been in the rear-view for about two hours, they’re just past Waco, shooting back towards home with the loud music taking the place of conversation when Dean pulls over to the side of the highway so suddenly that he almost hits a signpost. That’s Sam’s first clue that something’s really wrong.

“Dean! Dean, what’s happening?” Sam asks, as his brother lurches out of the car.  He hears Dean vomiting near the trunk and fumbles around under his seat for a water bottle. Getting out of the car on the side of a major interstate is always unnerving. It’s so overwhelmingly noisy and there’s too much constant movement and there’s the very real possibility of being creamed before you’d even see it coming.  “Hey, Dean? You okay?”

Dean’s answer is another round of vomiting, but then he’s trying to stand up and go back to the driver’s side, the side nearest the speeding traffic. Sam lunges toward him, grabbing him back safely to the other side of the car. He leans Dean up against the Impala’s fender and hands him the uncapped water bottle. “Here, maybe this will help.”

Dean nods and takes the bottle, upending it briefly, he swishes the water around and spits it out away from them. The whoosh of the traffic pushes some of the water droplets back onto the legs of his jeans. Sam can see he has beads of sweat on his forehead and his skin looks grayish-green.

“You’re really not looking good, want to lie down in the back while I drive for a while?”

Dean opens his mouth to answer and then grabs at his mid-section with a pained groan; bends over practically in half and vomits again; just missing the toes of his boots and Sam’s. Luckily none of that splashes back onto either of them.

“Shit, this is bad news. Think you’re done yet?” Sam hands him the water bottle again. “Maybe we shouldn’t drive anymore tonight. I’ll find us a motel.”

Sam pulls out his cellphone and searches for the nearest motel. According to google, it should be about five miles up the freeway in Elm Mott. Dean’s leaning against both the car and Sam, breathing heavily like he’s just been sprinting.

“Think you can be in the car for a little bit? It’s only like five miles. I’ll get a plastic bag just in case. Stay here.”  He pats Dean’s shoulders in what he hopes is a somewhat reassuring gesture and digs around in the backseat for a plastic shopping bag. One without any holes in it would be ideal. Several layers down underneath the trip debris he finds two which he double bags together just in case. He clears the passenger foot well out, moving his computer bag and current paperback, also just in case, throwing them in the back where they should be safe from any stray vomit.

“Okay, let’s get you in here.” He gets an arm around Dean’s waist and guides him the few steps over to the open doorway. Dean has gone limp and unresisting which is unsettling, usually he’d be bitching about too much mother-henning. Sam helps him get in and get situated with the seatbelt and the plastic bag. He’s just about to close the door when Dean waves frantically at him to get out of the way. Then Dean’s leaning out of the car, spewing even more until he finally stops.

“Wow, this is some kinda bad food poisoning I guess. Let’s just try get to the motel, okay?”

Dean nods weakly and doesn’t say anything. Sam closes the door and quickly runs around to the driver’s side, carefully avoiding the splashes of vomit on the ground. He doesn’t want to barf himself by bringing the smell of it into the car with them. Plus he’d never hear the end of such a transgression from Dean. The car is already running, so Sam signals and waits for a break in traffic. Even with the raw power of the Impala it’s still hard to get going fast enough.

In the few minutes it takes to reach the Knight’s Bridge Inn, Dean only throws up a little bit, all of it successfully contained in the bag. Sam jumps out and hurries to the motel office, tapping both his foot and fingers impatiently as the clerk takes way too long to check them in. By the time he makes it back to their car, Dean’s collapsed over to his side on the front seat, moaning piteously, clutching at the plastic bag. It takes a while to pile Dean into their room, get him situated on the bed closest to the bathroom and bring all their stuff in. By the time Sam’s got the salt line down at the door, Dean’s in the bathroom, already using the toilet. By the sounds of it, the rest of what he ate at the barbecue place is making a quick exit out the other end of him.

Sam knocks on the closed door and listens for any response. “Dean, I’m going to go get some Gatorade and supplies, okay? I’ll just be a second, don’t die or anything.”

“Just go,” Dean moans, cut off by the noise of the toilet flushing again.

Sam takes off and runs towards the Quick-Mart that’s next door to the motel, thank god it’s so close. He scoops up Gatorade, some crackers, ginger ale, pepto-bismol and a microwave dinner for himself. At the last second he gets a can of air freshener that will hopefully help with the smell in the room. The clerk wants to make small talk, she might even be trying to pick him up, but he’s so consumed with worrying about leaving Dean alone that he barely responds. She huffs in annoyance and practically throws his change at him. He leaves the coins on the counter, scoops up the bills and hustles out of the store without a single look back in her direction.

As he runs back to the room, the phrase ‘for better or for worse’ keeps going through Sam’s mind for some reason. It’s not like they’re married or anything, obviously, they’re brothers. But what they’d confessed to each other just a few hours ago felt kind of major and life-long, like a marriage would be. Thinking about Dean that way changes how he touches him when he finds him sprawled out on his back on the bed. He touches Dean much more gently, with more feeling since he doesn’t have to hide it anymore. Dean even seems to notice, although he isn’t able to say anything beyond smiling weakly.

Sam wets a washcloth and wipes at Dean’s sweaty forehead. He sets the trashcan next to the bed and sits down next to Dean’s hip. Dean’s fists are clenched on his stomach and he’s panting again through another bad stomach cramp. “You’ve got to be almost done by now, huh? Hang in there, Dean. I’m not goin’ anywhere,” Sam says, brushing his hand gently down Dean’s arm.

Dean shivers at the touch and smiles. “Thanks, Sammy,” Dean whispers, hoarse already from the damage to his throat. He sounds like he’s been screaming for hours.

Sam doesn’t say anything, just smiles back and wipes at Dean’s forehead again with the washcloth. Dean lifts his hand slowly and grasps at Sam’s wrist, he tugs weakly at Sam and scoots over on the bed making a little more room. Sam gets the idea and lays down next to Dean, curling on his side, molding himself to fit along Dean without touching his stomach.

They lie there quietly, except for the ominous noises continuing to come from Dean’s mid-section. Sam feels like he’s holding his breath at what could possibly come next. He knows he’s overthinking it and should just let things happen between them. But he wants, oh he wants to follow through on what they’d confessed to each other in that awful trash incinerator. But he doesn’t want to do it while Dean is so ill. He’s sure that Dean was telling the truth, he knows it so deeply it almost hurts at how true it feels. It hurts to have to wait to say or do anything more. It’s not even close to what he really wants to do.

Dean moves his head so that he can see Sam’s eyes. He pats at his chest over his heart. Without a word, Sam scootches down the bed and lays his head down over his brother’s heart.  It beats steady and strong, the rhythm of his life, now more than ever.

Sam can tell Dean’s fallen asleep because his breathing changes, going deep and steady. He gives himself a little extra time to lie there and soak up the warm feeling he has just to be curled up with Dean like this. It’s been so long and he’s missed it more than he’d realized. He wishes that Dean wasn’t so ill, so they could talk or rather, carry on talking about what’s changed between them. But maybe it’s like he’d been thinking in the car, it’s not that big of a change between them.

He gets up slowly, trying hard not to disturb Dean. Thankfully he seems to sleep through it. Sam takes a moment to heat up his microwave dinner and settles down with his laptop to figure out what could have caused this sudden illness. He thinks about the stuff they’d eaten in the last day or so, just about all of it the same. Convenience store packaged snacks before they’d gone into the incinerator, then the barbecue. But Dean had the potato salad and Sam had the coleslaw. Maybe that was the culprit. Sam’s research into the evils of potato salad going bad convinces him that it was likely to be Staphylococcus aureus, which means Dean mainly needs to rehydrate (obviously) and rest. Hopefully they’ll be able to get back on the road home tomorrow morning.

Sam does his usual night time routine, checking on Dean one more time before he settles into his own bed. It feels so far away though, and he wants to take care of Dean. Make sure he knows that Sam’s there if he needs any help in the night. He feels like a ridiculous five year old climbing back into his brother’s bed, but when Dean makes a sleepy pleased sound and curls up into his side, he knows it was the right thing to do. He worms an arm under Dean’s pillow and pulls him into the circle of his arms, holding him lightly, Dean’s head comes to rest on his chest over his heart. Hopefully that will help him sleep.

In the night, Dean wakes up several times for a few more rounds in the bathroom. He doesn’t complain about Sam being in his bed or even remark on it. Sam figures he’s probably too out of it, but he takes it as a good sign that Dean doesn’t object or kick him out immediately. Each time Dean comes back and curls back into the same position, in Sam’s arms, head on his chest. It feels normal even though it’s brand-new, it feels like it’s how it’s supposed to be.

Sam is more rested than he’d expected to be in the morning with all the sleep interruptions. He does regret having slept through a whole night of getting to hold Dean in his arms. Maybe his body will remember it for him somehow. He goes out for coffee and take-out breakfast, slipping back into the room to see Dean just in the early stages of waking up.

Dean’s hair is sticking up like a messed-up bird’s nest and he’s rubbing at his eyes with the heels of his hands. He’s beyond adorable and Sam can’t help grinning at the sight. Dean scowls at his expression and makes grabby hands for the cup of coffee Sam’s holding, but he hands Dean a juice instead.

“You need to rehydrate first, so drink up. Then you get the coffee, okay?”

Dean rolls his eyes and gulps down the apple juice. He tips the cup upside down to show he’s done and Sam hands him the coffee. The happy approaching-sexual noises Dean makes at tasting the coffee make Sam wonder if Dean is trying to tease him, but no, it’s just his usual response to the first cup of coffee after a hard night.

“You up for eating anything yet? I got some crackers last night, and there’s gatorade too,” Sam offers. “I ate mine walking back from the diner, figured you wouldn’t want to smell breakfast burrito after all that last night.”

“Good call on that, thanks. Just the thought of it…just no. I can’t eat or even think about eating anything yet. I just want a shower and to get out of here, wherever the hell here is,” Dean says standing up slowly, holding on to the wall for balance.

“We’re still in Texas, just north of Waco. So it’s still about nine hours to get back home. You up for all that time in the car already? We can stay another day if you need to,”

“I think I’m better. I’m sure as hell emptied out,” Dean says, stepping out of his jeans and stripping off his t-shirt. He tosses them towards the duffle bag and heads into the bathroom, leaving the door cracked open.

Sam sits there, stunned at the sight of Dean, nearly naked, which he’s been used to seeing his whole life. But this is the first time, well, the first time after.  And he’s embarrassed to be so aroused just by Dean’s bare skin that wasn’t shown to him in any sexual sort of way. And the door to the bathroom being open, it’s just what they always do, in case there’s an emergency. It’s not an invitation to join him in the shower.  Is it?  Sam sits there dithering and then decides to chance it. He strips all his clothes off, except for his boxers and slides into the now-steamy bathroom.

Dean shuts off the water and reaches a hand out from behind the curtain, groping for a towel. Sam hands him one and backs up so that Dean can exit. Their bare bodies brush as Dean passes by and Sam shivers, unable to control himself. Dean notices but doesn’t comment. Which is better than the teasing Sam anticipated. Or maybe not, maybe it bothered Dean. Sam lets himself worry as he washes his hair. But when he turns off the shower, Dean’s there holding a towel out for him, toothbrush hanging out of his mouth. Their bodies brush again in the small room, and Dean smiles at him in the mirror, through a mouthful of toothpaste foam. Sam decides to try and stop worrying about it, let it happen as naturally as it can between them. Forcing an instant change in absolutely everything won’t work.

When Sam’s done brushing his teeth, Dean’s still there, next to him at the mirror, jostling elbows while he shaves. He watches his brother’s face reappear as the razor swipes through the shaving cream, mesmerized by the curves and planes like they’re something new and beautifully fascinating. Dean quirks an eyebrow at him in the mirror and rinses off quickly. Then he’s got Sam pinned to the bathroom counter, hands pulling him down into a kiss before Sam even realizes he’s moved.

Dean kisses him long and slow, drawing it out with a sweet little moan at the end. “Was just waiting for you to brush your teeth, Sammy.”

Sam laughs in relief, holding Dean close against him. “So you’re against morning breath, huh?”

“Not always, just wanted it to be good. So you’d remember it,” Dean says, holding the back of his neck and ducking his head, that classic gesture giving him away.

Sam brings Dean’s hand away from his neck, gently holding it for a moment, giving it a small squeeze and waiting for Dean to meet his eyes.  “Not like I’d ever forget something like this, Dean.” He leans down to kiss Dean again, falling into his brother’s mouth like it’s should be familiar but it’s not, it’s a cannonball into a dark pool with no visible bottom. The pit of his stomach swooping and diving with surprise and delight at how good it feels. How right, how finallyfinallyfinally this-is-it the kiss feels.

Dean breaks the kiss finally, staring up at Sam, lips open and wet, gone puffy and red already. He searches Sam’s face until he’s satisfied that it’s all put right between them. “I wish I felt better, Sammy. I’d take you to bed right now.”

“I know, it’s okay though. I wanted it to be at home. You know, uh…our first time, together,” Sam says, and now it’s his turn to be embarrassed by saying something so plainly.  He cringes a little internally at how high-school-girlish he sounds, but is relieved when he doesn’t hear any immediate teasing from Dean.

“Sounds like you’ve been making some big plans while I’ve been puking my guts out,” Dean says in a lightly teasing voice.

“You have no idea, Dean,” Sam answers, teasing him right back.

Dean grins and then his stomach gurgles and grumbles loudly between them. “Uh…where’d you put the pepto?”

Sam rustles around in the plastic bag from the store last night and finds the package, hands a couple of the pink tablets over to Dean. “Just keep re-hydrating okay?” He watches Dean chew up the pills and rinse them down with most of a gatorade bottle while he packs up their stuff.  He’s got the car packed and them checked out by the time Dean’s out at the car, leaning up against the passenger door blinking in the early morning brightness.

“You sure you don’t want to crash out in the back seat?” Sam asks, unlocking the door for Dean.

Dean swings into the unfamiliar passenger seat and tries to get comfy. “Nah, I think I want to stay upright for a while first.”

Sam shrugs and walks around the car, sliding into the driver’s seat and firing up the Impala. They’re back on the highway in a few minutes, heading north, the rumble of the car a familiar comfort to both of them. Sam isn’t sure if Dean wants to talk or listen to music or what, just as he’s about to ask, he hears the thunk of Dean’s head hitting the window. Then there’s no movement or noise, Dean’s fast asleep once again.

It’s going to be a long drive home, but at least this time, Sam’s got something good to think about on the way there.

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That's just lovely, the way it slowly heads to the inevitable, perfect, happy ending.

Thank you ms roxy! stay tuned for more on that happy ending...

Just so you know, I'm saving up all your newest fics for a binge at some point in the very near future!
Pssttt, did you get my email hun?

Oh good! I hope you enjoy some (or all of 'em). And yes, I did see your email with all the luscious art and replied today...

I found the reply, sorry hun, my brain's been flash fried by the nights this week!
And I have a slot for your fics on Sunday afternoon, before In start creating V-Day dinner for my fella :D

Oh I love this so much! Even barfing Dean! Sam taking care of him but being so insecure about it, like it's not right somehow, him being the one taking care of Dean for once! Love how Dean allows Sam to cuddle him in bed even though Sam's not sure he'll let him, and the whole bathroom scene the next morning is just ADORABLE! Oh boys!

Looking forward to more of this!

Thank you so much, I'm glad you liked all the barfing and cuddling. What a thing to have to write about, bleah. I tried to not get too descriptive...
I hope you enjoy the rest of the stories (there's three more coming in the series)

How wonderful to have a sequel to this! And I gather it's even going to be a series? That's awesome, I'm looking forward to it!

I love the somewhat slow pace here, when it comes to the changes in their relationship. I also love it when they're taking care of each other, and it was great to see the differences in how Sam can allow himself to take care of Dean now. Poor Dean, though, he was so looking forward to that Barbecue, and then this. ;) The bathroom scene in the end was so adorable, too!

Lovely fic, hon, thank you!

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