Title: Three Doors Closer
Word Count: 3,900
Warnings: Spoilers for episode 12.03 “The Foundry”
Author’s Note: Not my characters only my words.
Summary: Episode Coda for 12.03, “The Foundry.” After she leaves, furniture gets moved and the laundry schedule gets delayed.
Read it over on AO3 right here.
After the echo of the door slamming in Mary’s wake had stopped reverberating through the metal staircase and the high ceiling, not to be too dramatic: the shattered remnants of his heart, Dean finally let himself look at Sam. His brother was standing there frozen where Mary had just been hugging him, still tall and strong, but somehow smaller, drawn in on himself. He stepped forward to go to Sam, to hug him close like he knew he should, but he stopped himself. Sam wouldn’t meet his eye, and didn't speak.
Dean tried to pause, wanting to make sure that Sam would welcome any comfort, he knew he couldn’t stand to be rejected twice in one day. He couldn’t wait any longer and finally closed the distance, those last few steps harder to make than they normally would be for him. Maybe it was his own prickly hurt, or his projection of how devastated Sam would be. Regardless of either of those, he gathered Sam into his arms the best he could, pulling him down to fold him into his body. That one protective gesture caused Sam to seek the comfort of Dean’s thin skin on the side of his neck. Sam’s lips and nose cold against him, his warm breath soothing.
Neither of them were crying actual tears, thank god, but it was a close thing. Dean felt a sob or something building up in the deepest part of his chest, but he took pains to shove it down, save it for later, when he was alone. Sam clung to him like that desperate toddler he’d always be in some part of Dean’s brain. That innate strength of a monkey baby holding onto its mother for survival.
He groaned internally: Mother, fuck don’t remind me.
Sam’s still silent hug, that went on and on and on, said so much, ‘Don’t worry dude, I’m not ever leaving you’ or ‘I’m sorry this happened’ or even just ‘This really sucks.’ Neither of them needed to say those things, it was all clear in the way they clung to each other. At least it was clear to Dean and he hoped it was to Sam too. This hug reminded him that he hadn’t even once hugged Sam since he’d said that awful too-familiar goodbye forever in that cemetery, when he was off to bomb Amara.
Thinking about how long it had been and all that happened in those short weeks made him realize that having Mom around had changed all that was physical between them, neither brother seemed to know what or how to act with each other. Not having any privacy or time to discuss it in their own ham-fisted manner (i.e. never saying anything until it was a disaster of epic proportions).
God, he’d missed this, the physical comfort of his arms filled with Sam, as we'll as being held by him, those orangutan arms wrapped around him what felt like at least two or three times. This was what he’d wanted and needed for several weeks now. He relaxed into Sam and felt his brother’s surprise at the extra weight. Sam adjusted and held him up and seemed to wait, expectant or maybe worried that Dean would be grieving or upset. He checked within himself and found only a dull, kind of unsurprised anger.
Of course she left, they all leave eventually his own worst voice oh-so-helpfully reminded him. Anger at that reminder made him push back from Sam, taking a step away, arms at his side. Awkward with it, because he knew that it was almost guaranteed that Sam knew. He mumbled something about needing some time alone and scurried off to his room to escape. Dean didn’t want to put his needy bullshit on Sam’s shoulders, dealing with his abandonment issues wasn’t somewhere he wanted to go right now. Because that always brought up Sam’s leaving for Stanford, and that discussion never ended up with them anywhere better off.
Shutting the door behind himself, cutting himself off from his brother, just for now seemed selfish. And it was, he knew it was. But he needed to deal with this before he could help Sam. Put your own oxygen mask on first, kid. Bobby had told him once when he’d been worried about Dean not taking enough time for himself and only worrying about Sam. They would be okay he repeated in his head, washing it down with a shot of whiskey for every time the other voice spoke up to remind him about how everyone left him. Eventually there were no more voices, only a restless, dank sleep that felt lonelier than it should have been. But that was his fault too of course, for shutting Sam out.
In the morning, well, let’s call it early afternoon, Dean finally woke up, muzzy and only mildly hungover for once since he’d let himself sleep in. He laid in bed, listening for noises of activity, and only got up when he heard the reverberation of a car engine starting down in the garage. He slipped into his robe and hustled down the steps to the door that led into the garage, just in time to glimpse one of the vintage trucks taking off. He guessed Sam was headed out on an errand of some kind. He wasn’t up to wondering or worrying about it until he’d finished the pot of coffee Sam had left warming for him. Sam hadn’t left a note or anything either, and usually he did. Dean did the dishes slowly, trying to take up the time. Careful to put away the third cup and plate that his mother had used so that it wouldn’t be a reminder to either of them. He started to wonder where she’d gone, but stopped himself, she wasn’t his to worry about. Never really had been.
Dean was in the shower when he heard a lot of crashing around, but it sounded like moving furniture instead of an emergency so he made himself stay and finish. After he’d gotten dried off and dressed, it had all gone quiet again. Hopefully Sam wasn’t breaking furniture, not like there was a shortage of it in this place, but that wouldn’t mean good things if Sam was that angry to actually bust stuff up, that was usually his M.O.
Dean knocked on Sam’s door, he wanted to check in, not to apologize or anything, but it seemed strange for them to just orbit around each other without a word. Sam didn’t answer him though, and there weren’t any noises that sounded like he was in there. Dean shrugged and went back to his own room, fiddled with some case file papers he’d been sorting, but lost interest quickly. Out of sheer boredom he gathered up his dirty laundry and headed off to the laundry room. At least he didn’t have to go out to a laundromat, that was something he still appreciated about living in this place.
On the way down the hall he knocked again at Sam’s door, this time adding, “Sam, I’m doing a load of laundry, want me to throw some of yours in?” But again, no answer was forthcoming. Maybe Sam had his headphones on? That was something he did himself, probably too much when he needed to tune out and pretend he wasn’t in the world, so he eased the door open just a bit, a small worry for Sam’s state of mind kindling deep in his gut. The room light was off and as he pushed the door further, the light from the hall landed on an empty room. One that didn’t look like Sam lived in it any more. Dean’s stomach dropped down past his toes.
Sam hadn’t left too, right?
The laundry basket was abandoned as he strode down the hall, listening intently for any sound of Sam, searching for any signs of broken furniture, but all the common rooms were empty, he finally headed down the remaining un-searched hallway that led to the garage. There were several more unused bedrooms that they hadn’t done much with, but one of them had light coming out from the bottom door grating. The cheery lit-up shapes made Dean’s stomach come back into the right place and settled his nerves. He knocked at that door and mentally crossed his fingers.
Sam opened it abruptly and stood in the doorway, blocking Dean’s view into the room.
“Hey, found you. I was gonna do a load of laundry, you got any you want to add?” Dean asked, even though he wanted to ask what the hell was going on and why Sam’s room had looked like he’d moved out. At least Sam was still here in the bunker, and that’s what counted. If Dean had needed space after the wrenching upheaval of last night, maybe Sam still needed some for himself.
Sam nodded and ducked back into the room clicking the door closed right in Dean’s face.
Dean’s hand was on the door handle turning it, when Sam was back with a basket only half-filled with clothes from the hunt. The ones he’d come back from the British Bitch’s clutches had been tossed out already, neither of them wanting the reminder of her days of torture. “Thanks,” Sam said, stepping into the hall and shutting the door behind him and pushing his basket into Dean’s hands.
Dean was about to just take the laundry and go, but something about the lost look on Sam’s face made him stop. “Sammy, what’s going on?”
Sam looked down at his boots, Dean could hear him sigh and saw his brother’s wide shoulders expand with a deep breath. It was something bad if Sam was doing his yogic deep breathing routine.
“I moved rooms,” Sam told his boots in a monotone.
Dean set the basket down and stepped into Sam’s space, forcing Sam to have to look at him. “So that’s what all the banging around I heard while I was in the shower. You need help moving anything else?” Dean asked, which was the tip of the iceberg of course. There was something big behind this sudden move and Sam’s shifting from foot to foot, showing not just nervousness but a real anxiety.
“No, I’m all done,” Sam said, finality in his voice which meant he wanted Dean to drop the subject.
“How did the truck do, the shifter I replaced working okay?” Dean asked, to hold him there just a little longer so he could crack him open and get the answer to the real question.
“If you’re asking why I took the truck out, I went and bought myself a bed.”
Dean raised his eyebrows in surprise. “Finally! Well, c’mon let me see it,” Dean said, pushing past Sam to open the door. Sam tried to stop him, but wasn’t quite fast enough.
Dean stopped in the doorway, trying to put his thoughts in order and make his face work right. He wanted to smile and cry and laugh all at once at what he was looking at, Sam had made himself an actual comfortable bedroom in here. There was a rich red Persian wool rug on the floor and at least four of the beautiful glass Tiffany table lamps. He’d hung several pieces of artwork up that they’d found in one of the storage rooms (not haunted or cursed, they’d checked them out), one had a bucolic view of a green river valley. Over that he’d hung some kind of drapery so it almost looked like a window to the outdoors.
Dean turned to look at the rest of the room and saw the floor to ceiling bookcase filled with neatly arranged books, none looking like they were from the Men of Letters’ library, either classic or new fiction, a shelf full of his true-crime serial killer non-fiction and several things that looked like photo albums. Next to the bookcase was one of the spare comfy reading chairs from the library with a footstool pulled up in front of it. On Sam’s desk there was a framed photo of the two of them, Bobby had taken it way back when they’d first started hunting together again, in it Dean was smiling at Sam with this grin that he recognized as the one he only flashed at Sam when he knew Sam wasn’t looking.
The best thing was the new bed though, it was enormous, extra-long and wide. It was at least a king-sized one, but maybe bigger. Sam had chosen a quilt that had all different shades of green pieced in looping circles that intertwined. There were four pillows with new, crisp white pillow cases that made him want to lie down right there and never leave.
“This is awesome, Sammy,” Dean finally said.
“Try it, I know you want to,” Sam offered, pushing Dean gently towards the bed.
Dean toed off his shoes and laid down on top of the quilt, sinking into the bed just perfectly. “Ahh, it’s a memory foam one, like mine! And you sprung for the matching pillows too, these are so great, I kept meaning to go get some. Man, I’m never leaving, you can just bring me dinner in here, Sammy,” Dean joked with his eyes closed, enjoying the soft supportive comfort of the new bed. God it smelled good in here too, was it incense or one of those room sprays? Then he heard a gulped back gasp or sob from across the room. His eyes flew open to land on Sam leaning against the closed door, hands covering his face.
“Sammy?” Dean asked, trying to make his voice comforting, propping himself up on his elbows. “C’mere, little brother,” he said, patting the bed beside him. Sam always liked to sleep on the right side of the bed so he wriggled himself over onto the left. When Sam had told him that was because it was like they sat in the Impala so he was used to it, Dean hadn’t known whether to laugh or cry. “C’mon, lots of room in your big new bed with me.”
Sam wiped at his face and bent down to unlace his boots. He sank into the bed, facing away from Dean, but holding himself so that Dean knew it was okay to touch him. Dean slung an arm around Sam’s waist and pulled their bodies together so he could spoon Sam from behind. “You can talk to me, you know, whatever this is about.”
“It’s too much on top of everything else, I’m okay, later maybe.”
“Not too much, I can take it,” Dean said, pulling at Sam until he flopped onto his back.
“It’s not knowing if this still real a lot of the time, and uh…Lucifer,” Sam finally said, sounding like just saying the name cut his mouth to pieces.
“You’re seeing him again?” Dean asked, his heart contracting at the pain of Sam going through that again.
“No, god nothing like that, it’s stupid, it’s just a room.”
“It’s perfect in here, so why’re you sad?” Dean asked.
“Not sad, embarrassed maybe? I don’t know. I couldn’t sleep well, since he…you know, stayed in my old room when he was here,” Sam answered, voice sounding so much like when he’d been young and scared.
Dean thought about it, back to those strange days where they’d had God and Lucifer as houseguests. How hard it must have been for Sam to have Lucifer (in their friend) taking over his room. “It didn’t feel safe or something?”
“Yeah, something like that,” Sam said in a relieved rush.
Dean could see Sam didn’t want to talk about Lucifer any longer, and neither did he, so he ticked off the pluses of Sam’s new room. “Well, this is much better in here, it’s bigger, you’re a few doors closer to my room, and you finally have an awesome bed. Plus it looks like you’re planning to stay a while.”
Sam looked over at Dean with an assessing stare, at first intense and searching, then turning soft and mushy. “As long as you’re here, I am,” Sam said.
“Whither thou goest and all that, huh?” Dean asked, unable to keep what he knew was that goofy, love-struck smile from his face, the one he tried to hide from Sam, the same one in the picture over on his desk.
“Damn straight, Baby Ruth,” Sam said with a laugh, gathering Dean into his arms.
“Baby Ruth?” Dean asked, lips against the familiar skin of Sam’s neck.
“Whither thou goest, from the book of Ruth, you know, in the Bible,” Sam answered, fingers scritch-scratching through Dean’s hair in a slow, gentle pattern.
“Huh, I didn’t know I knew the Bible that well, but I shouldn’t be surprised you know that,” Dean tightened his hold on Sam and nestled his nose into the warm hollow of his throat.
“I shouldn’t be surprised you just correctly used the word thou, but you did.”
They fell silent then, just holding each other on Sam’s new bed. Dean inhaled the scent of Sam, re-memorizing how the beat of his heart warmed the skin here, making the smell even more intoxicating.
“You want to talk about her leaving?” Sam asked.
“Naw, if she comes back, we’ll deal,” Dean sighed and let go of Sam, rolling away from him. He didn’t want to talk about their mom or her ditching them, but Sam probably had to.
“I gave her Dad’s journal to read, I think she took it with her,” Sam said, following Dean’s roll and spooning him from behind.
Dean squirmed until he got comfortable in Sam’s embrace. “Good, I hope it answers stuff for her. But I hope we get it back at some point.”
“She’ll come back, Dean, I know she will, don’t worry, okay?” Sam squeezed him tight for a long moment in a lying-down full-body hug.
“I don’t want her to come back, Sammy. It was…it was too hard to have her living here with us. I realized I didn’t even hug you until today, after everything you went through. And, that’s not right, that’s not how we’re supposed to be.”
Dean heard Sam take in a hitching breath, an almost-sob, and turned in Sam’s arms to check on him. Sam’s eyes swum with unshed tears, filled with joy though, not sadness like Dean had expected. “I didn’t want to ask you to choose between having Mom here and being with me, I wasn’t going to. But you…”
“Yeah, I do, I choose you, Sammy. Of course I do,” Dean said.
Sam’s face changed when he heard Dean’s words, going from joy to unbridled desire in a few moments. Dean gasped when Sam attacked his mouth with biting kisses and pinned his hands over his head. Sam ground his pelvis down into Dean’s, shocking both of them into a groan. Dean thrust up against the hardness of his brother, the friction too much, not enough. Sam’s hand tightened around Dean’s wrists, the signal for Dean to leave them there.
Sam trailed kisses and bites down Dean’s throat, sucking hard at that spot on the side where there was usually a mark left behind. But this time it was smooth and unblemished, and seeing the blankness there made Sam growl, replacing it with a vivd red, clear outline of his teeth. He sat back on his heels and looked at his work, smirking with satisfaction. Dean lay under him, debauched and strung out, hands twisted together over his head, eyes heavy-lidded and dark, mouth spit-shiny and puffy with their bruising kisses. Sam unbuttoned Dean’s shirts, slowly undressing him, until Dean lay naked on his new bed.
Dean wriggled a little, squirming with embarrassment being devoured by his brother’s eyes like this. “C’mon, Sammy, don’t just…” Dean begged.
“Let me look, Dean, you’re so beautiful, baby,” Sam said, smiling as he said the endearment that always made Dean blush. “All mine.”
Dean felt the red-hot flush at being called baby, it never failed and they both loved it. He sighed and waited for Sam to do something, anything.
Sam undid his jeans and pushed them down along with his briefs, stepping out of them he reached into the side table and came up with a near-empty tube of their favorite lube.
“What do you want, baby?” Sam asked, throwing the tube to Dean and taking his own shirts off. He crawled onto the foot of the bed between Dean’s feet and waited for his answer.
“You, Sammy, always want you,” Dean answered, breathless at being asked.
“Show me,” Sam said, eyes flicking to Dean’s hand that held the lube.
Dean flicked the lid up and poured some over two of his fingers, he spread his legs wider and pushed his ass up, reaching through and pressing into himself. He fingered himself open too quickly, gasping at the feeling of being stretched so wide. The whole time Sam watched him, eyes flicking between the dark place between his legs where his fingers worked and Dean’s face. Finally Dean sat up and reached for Sam, hand covered in lube working up and down Sam’s shaft slowly, gently pulling him closer. Sam groaned and closed his eyes, hips tilting towards Dean, breath going short and fast.
“Please,” Dean said, not caring one bit that he was begging again because right then he needed Sam inside of him then more than anything else.
Sam smiled and moved over Dean, pressing him down into the softness of the new bed, entering him smoothly and without much of a pause began to thrust. Dean wrapped his legs around Sam’s hips and tried to thrust back as much as he could under Sam’s weight. He held onto Sam’s shoulders, pulling his face closer so their lips could connect. They moaned into each other’s mouths as they found their rhythm, the one that beat faster than their hearts, was deeper than their feelings could ever be expressed. They held onto each other and rolled and tumbled through the current of it, finally reaching the crest together.
Dean didn’t let go of Sam afterwards, even when they shifted onto their sides, he held on tight with his entire body melded around his brother. He finally felt whole again, Sam inside him in that space that was only his to fill. He felt Sam’s breathing evening out and slowing and thought his brother was falling asleep.
“I choose you too, Dean,” Sam murmured against Dean’s lips, kissing him softly.
Dean’s heart felt full again, the spiky feelings he’d swallowed down from their mother’s abrupt departure soothed over and calmed with Sam’s words. He held onto Sam tighter, clenching down on him to keep him inside longer, loving the chuckle that brought out of Sam, how it moved through his body. He knew it was unwise to fall asleep without cleaning up first, but Sam’s quilt was over them now, and the new pillows were under their heads. And Sam was still there, he hadn’t left and wasn’t going to. The voice telling him everyone eventually left was silenced, replaced by the beautiful echo of Sam’s words.
The bed didn’t move, it held them, it memorized them. They slept on a small part of it, wrapped up in each other, used to so many years of sharing twin beds. The two motherless-again boys held each other and made their world keep turning even in her absence.