Summary: Fourteen years ago, two brothers were split up. Demons took one to raise. Now he’s looking for the brother he never forgot. He’s got plans. Like the original story, this is hookerfic, with some voluntary bloodletting.
Pairing: Sam Winchester/Dean Winchester
Original story: In My Brother’s Keeping, by poisontaster.
Thanks to giandujakiss and thuviaptarth for beta!
Finders Keepers (Sin Crouching at the Door Extended Remix) part 2 of 2
After the next round, Sam let Dean recover without the aid of orgasms, which was probably smart overall—Dean was too young for a heart attack, but he didn’t much want to test the proposition. Still, it left room for Sam to ask all sorts of questions about Azazel, what Dean knew, what he’d seen.
“These aren’t fun memories, you know,” Dean said when Sam wanted details.
“I trusted you enough to cut myself open,” Sam pointed out. “I think I’ve earned some information. Some trust from you.”
There wasn’t anything Dean could say to that, so he just fought back the scowl and made himself talk, like he was giving a report on someone else. “He’s a demon. He likes pain.”
“He doesn’t—he hasn’t--?” Sam’s hand slid over the curve of Dean’s ass, and Dean understood what he was being asked.
“No,” pure truth. Azazel had never used Dad’s body as that kind of weapon, maybe because Dean could have tuned that out, at least after a while. Or maybe it was because of something Azazel had said to him once when he was eighteen and fresh off an attempt at defiance—self-hypnosis, Dean guessed was the best word for it—that had left him screaming on Azazel’s worktable for hours, possibly days. The words had been weird enough that Dean had paid attention through the haze of agony: You don’t get to enjoy it, boy. Not yet. Dean still didn’t like to think about what that might mean.
But Sam was waiting, his expression indicating that he wanted to hear a lot more than a single denial. “He likes me to fight. Sends me up against ghosts, vampires. Last month it was a werewolf, nearly took my arm off. He’ll heal me up after,” he explained, off Sam’s curious inspection of his naked and mostly scar-free skin.
“So demon powers can be used for healing,” Sam said speculatively.
Dean bit his lip. “Even so, it comes from nowhere good.”
Sam made a humming noise, as if he was marking the topic for later investigation. “If you’re not one of these special kids, how come he’s interested in you?”
“Not anything I haven’t asked myself,” Dean admitted. “Azazel took my family away when I was a kid. The things he did to me—” He could feel his lips trembling and hear the thickness in his own voice, so he shut his mouth before it could get worse. He cleared his throat and turned his head away from Sam. Azazel liked seeing his tears; but then again, Azazel liked seeing him struggle against them, so it was lose-lose either way.
None of that explained why Dean was so interesting, though. Initially, he’d had no theory at all about why Azazel had made him keep up the weapons training and learn basic magic. The first time Azazel had given him the details of a hunt and told him he could do it if he begged, maybe save a whole family, Dean hadn’t believed a word. Except for the begging, anyway. But it wasn’t a chance he could afford to lose, so he’d swallowed his pride (it had tasted like blood) and abased himself.
The ultimate purpose of Azazel’s errands definitely was not to rid the world of monsters. Now, his best guess was that Azazel was going to use him as the final exam, some sort of mechanical rabbit for his ‘children’ when it came time to collect and groom them: Beat the human who knew what was coming for him, prove you’re worthy to survive.
That was a detail he could give Sam later.
“I think it’s more fun for him to work on someone who knows what’s coming,” he said, because that was true too.
“I’m sorry,” Sam told him, which was so wrong that it made Dean’s throat close up.
Sometimes, when Dean had been near rock bottom, he’d pretended that he and Sam had gotten taken together, that they were living in a big mansion with foster parents who loved them and bought them everything they wanted and let them eat ice cream for breakfast. It had never been quite right, because there was always Dad and Mom hovering in memory, but he’d still imagined Sam happy. Seeing him now, Dean knew it hadn’t been like that—he’d always known, really, but the last shreds of fantasy were gone. It didn’t seem fair that Sam had avoided Azazel but still ended up fighting for scraps; but then, fair was for other people.
Dean realized that he had no clue whether Sam was living with anyone, dating. Anything like that would offer Azazel a hostage—and, he had to admit, would make him pretty goddamned jealous. “What about you? You have a girlfriend, family, someone at home?”
Sam jerked. After a moment, he said carefully, “I don’t know if I have a family.”
“What do you mean?” Dean asked, because that answer was begging for clarification.
“When I was eight years old, Georgia CPS came and took me out of the shithole my father had us stashed in. I never saw him again.”
“Us?” Dean prodded.
Sam stared at the far wall. “I had a brother.”
Dean rubbed his hand over his mouth. “Yeah? What about him?”
Sam shrugged; the motion looked fake, mechanical. “He was out when CPS came. I don’t—I don’t know if they ever found him. He—I was pretty mad, and it’s hard to place an eight-year-old boy, even harder to place a twelve-year-old, even if they’re well-behaved which we weren’t. So they never tried to reunite us.” His mouth sealed shut, lips pressed tight.
“What was he like?” Dean hadn’t meant to ask, and then he hadn’t been able to help himself.
Sam sneered, not at Dean but more generally. “No,” he said. “I can’t--that’s not for you.”
Dean was warmed by that, and when Sam looked over to make sure that he hadn’t pissed Dean off, Dean just shrugged, like he was confident Sam would tell him if and when he’d earned Sam’s trust.
“Ask me something else,” Sam suggested, looking up through his bangs.
Dean thought it over before complying. “Do you mind it?” He waved his hand around.
Sam understood him, because Sam’s brain was even more overdeveloped than his arms. He shook his head. “It’s just—it’s useful, you know? I don’t pick anybody really disgusting, and—I don’t like when they want to negotiate, like we’re friends or they’re hot or whatever so they ought to get a discount. But mostly, it’s just something I do to get by.”
Dean nodded, relieved. He didn’t think Sam was lying. Sam seemed tough, and while he would have liked it better if Sam had never needed to decide between eating and going to his knees, Sam was going to need that solid metal core to survive Azazel, that willingness to make his mind and his body do what was required.
“Bet this was not how you expected this night to end,” Dean said, and smiled.
Sam grinned back, all white teeth and mischief. “Actually, even with all the ominous warnings, it’s not so bad. I mean, better I know a demon’s after me than just have him show up on the doorstep. And better to face it with you.”
Dean felt his skin heat, and that just cut the dimples deeper into Sam’s cheeks. “Go again?” Dean suggested, before he could say something stupid like ‘please don’t hate me for bringing this into your life.’
Sam nodded and patted the bed next to him. “On your stomach,” he said. “Let’s start working on your back.”
Dean came to with the washcloth on the back of his neck, cool water seeping onto him and drawing out some of the nausea and pain. “Thanks,” he said, and Sam replaced the washcloth with his hand, rubbing gently at the tensed muscles until Dean whimpered a little.
“Look,” Sam said, pointing to the mirror across from the bed.
Dean clenched his teeth and forced himself up on his elbows, craning his head over his shoulder. He was familiar with the symbols on his back; had to be, planning to erase them. But now there were shocking bare patches, one on the back of each shoulder, in the shape of Sam’s hands. They looked like wings.
“I never had anything that couldn’t just be taken away,” Sam said. “Even the scholarship— But you. You’re gonna be mine, right?”
Dean knew a lot better than to nod. Anything could be taken away, anytime. That was life, whether or not you were lucky enough not to know it, and the last thing they were was lucky.
He nodded anyway.
Sam growled and pushed him back down, straddling his hips and pressing his swelling cock into the crack of Dean’s ass. It didn’t take long until they were sweat-slippery and Sam was riding him hard, hands clenched around Dean’s shoulders just above where Sam’s blood had washed Dean clean. He bit the back of Dean’s neck, then licked the stinging marks. The agony of the ritual seemed very far away. Dean thrust his ass up, trying to match Sam’s rhythm. The slip-slide of Sam’s dick was aggravating, teasing, as his own hips worked, grinding down into the bed.
Sam put all his weight on one hand, shoving Dean into the mattress, and lifted up so that he could jack himself, his knuckles sliding over Dean’s back, rubbing hard against the knobs of his spine. Dean bit at the pillow, eyes closed, pulsing his hips and trying to work a hand under the combined weight of their bodies so that he could take care of himself.
“So pretty,” Sam mumbled, “that skin, nobody’s seen it but me—fuck, you’ll let me—”
Sam gasped and spurted hot over Dean’s back, stroking himself through the final spasms and then rubbing his fingers through the mess, smearing it up and down as if it were blood for the ritual. “Wanna try?” Sam asked, with that eerie synchronicity of thought, and Dean bucked up and came, untouched.
“Gonna fuckin’ break me,” he mumbled into the pillow a couple of minutes later. He was four years older, after all, and he kind of wanted about eight hours of sleep before going again. But even though Azazel couldn’t sense the binding breaking any more than he could have sensed Dean’s cellphone breaking, eventually—soon—he was going to try to get hold of Dean, and then events would get a lot more uncontrolled.
Sam leaned over and nuzzled at the line of Dean’s shoulder. “I haven’t even gotten started,” he promised.
After the next round ended with Dean coming back to consciousness with Sam’s mouth on his, the heels of Sam’s hands pressed bruisingly hard into his sternum, Sam refused to use any larger amounts of blood. “If I didn’t know CPR, you’d be dead,” he snarled, lips peeled back from his teeth. Dean wasn’t sure that was true, but Sam was the one with the knife. Plus they were both exhausted, that late-night heaviness in the brain mixing with the residual pain until Dean was just glad that Sam was willing to continue at all.
They took longer breaks, dozing side by side on the bed until one of them prodded the other back to consciousness. Dean dreamed once, something with Dad in it. He never forgot the difference between Dad and Azazel, any more than he forgot Sam; even in sleep, he always knew whether he was having a dream or a nightmare, no matter how human Azazel made his eyes look.
Mostly they were awake enough to chat, random snippets Dean prodded out of Sam (who finally admitted to having a Harvard degree and a plan to go to law school, which was going to be a huge fucking problem but one Dean was prepared to put off for later). Sam could probably tell that Dean was mostly evading personal questions, but Sam had enough to learn about the supernatural that Dean could still hold his own in the rambling conversation.
“At school I never met anybody who really understood,” Sam said at one point, his hands resting loosely on his stomach. “The things most of them took for granted—new shoes whenever, trips home, grabbing dinner in the Square if they stayed too late at the library and the dining hall was closed. I could’ve—I made some friends, but mostly I just took classes and tried not to fuck up. You know, when I told my last set of foster parents I got into Harvard, the woman—she really liked me, she told me so and I believe her—she sat me down and told me, real serious, that I’d never make it and I’d just get hurt, and wouldn’t it be better to try community college? And she was sincere, she was trying to do the right thing. Nobody there believed in me and nobody at school knew me.”
“She should’ve known better,” Dean said when he could speak. His chest hurt, thinking of what Sam had accomplished, all on his own. “You—you’re special.”
“So you’ve told me.” Sam’s mouth was twisted wryly as he canted his head towards Dean, their foreheads nearly touching, sharing the same pillow.
“No, not the demon blood. You. And once Azazel’s dead, you can show the whole world.”
Sam stopped, his eyes flicking from side to side as he thought something through. “The demon blood—is that why I’m—” He flushed, but Dean could see the things he wanted to say. Smarter. Faster. Stronger. Better than other people.
“Nah,” Dean dismissed. “I’ve checked up on some of the others for him. They weren’t anything like you.”
Sam frowned. “Why’d you pick me, then, if I wasn’t the first? Or have you been trying this with the others?” His fingers clenched on Dean’s hip.
Dean could have offered the difficulty of finding someone willing to bleed on him—Sam’s initial professional willingness was the first thing that had gone right for him in years, really—but Sam needed to know the truth, or at least a part of it.
“You’re strong enough to fight him. The others—they’ll use their powers, all right. But when he starts making promises about ruling the world on one side and suffering on the other, they’re gonna jump the wrong way.”
“And you think I won’t.” Sam was rubbing his thumb over Dean’s hipbone now, tracing the curve and moving down to the crease of his thigh. “How could you know that?”
Dean shrugged, as best he could while lying down. “Anybody tries to sell you some story about how easy it would be to be in charge, how you’d make the right decisions and all it would cost is somebody else’s suffering, you’re gonna tell ‘em to fuck off. Plain as the ginormous nose on your face.” Sam’s scowl flipped into a smile in about five seconds, and it made Dean feel a little better. He should have been there to say it every day of Sam’s life.
Later, Dean paid a ridiculous surcharge for middle-of-the-night room service and watched Sam answer the door in his boxers. Sam said he wasn’t feeling the blood loss, and he didn’t look shaky when he was carrying the tray or inhaling the steak and fries.
When Sam was finished, they returned to the bed. Dean hoped that they could finish after a few more rounds, because he felt like a chicken getting chopped up, like every iteration was cutting him down to the bone.
Sam cleared his throat and Dean shifted onto his side to face him.
“What you said, before. About getting angry and having someone get hurt.”
He put his hand on Sam’s wrist, not squeezing, just resting there. Sam’s skin was a little cooler than his own, but it felt just right.
Sam’s eyes were unfocused; he wasn’t seeing anything in this room. “The first time it happened was when I—when I lost my family. I was furious at my dad for leaving us, and then Dean left. He was only looking for food, we needed food, but I was so mad. I hated them both. I wanted them to stay gone. And then the cops came and took me away.”
Dean had to drop his eyes and swallow a couple of times before he could speak. “That wasn’t you. You didn’t do that.”
“You said—” Sam’s voice was rising and Dean had to cut it off.
“The powers only start up at puberty, and unless you were this freakishly large before you were ten, I’m thinking what happened was that somebody left an eight-year-old kid alone for two weeks and somebody else noticed.”
Sam’s eyes were still sad, brows mashed down in distress, but he relaxed a little. “But I can learn to control it, right? Now that I know it’s real.”
Dean nodded. “Wouldn’t be much good to Azazel if you couldn’t.” Azazel didn’t expect all the kids to be able to ride their demon blood instead of getting ridden, but Sam had been a stubborn little fuck at eight and now he was a stubborn big fuck, so Dean didn’t foresee any difficulty controlling the powers.
“Can you help me?” Sam had his head turned away now, so he didn’t have to ask to Dean’s face. Sam must’ve spent most of his life looking for help he rarely got, Dean thought—God only knew how much worse it had been after Dean had lost him.
“Of course,” he said. “I mean, I know the theory anyway. You’re gonna have to do the hard stuff.”
Unexpectedly, Sam sniggered, and Dean’s brain caught up with what he’d said. “Ah, fuck you,” he complained. Sam just laughed harder, and then it was time to keep going.
The last mark to go was the first put on, right over Dean’s heart. It looked like a tangle of worms, and it was one of the symbols Dean had never translated. Going on, it had felt like a three-dimensional object, a spiked globe embedding itself into his flesh.
Dean didn’t like to think about those first weeks, back when he’d kept thinking ‘this can’t get worse,’ half prayer and half certainty, and all ignored and disproved.
“You ready?” Sam asked, raising the knife. Dean had a moment of wishing that he didn’t need to hurt Sam to get himself free, but reminded himself that Sam was in for a lot worse in the alternative, and Dad had never let Sam avoid pain when it was necessary, like when they had to move for a hunt.
Sam reached down and drew a delicate line across his thigh. He looked like a real mess, psych ward stuff for sure if anyone else saw. He’d been careful, though—Dean didn’t think a single one of the cuts would leave a scar.
Sam collected the blood on his fingers and started to paint it over the symbol, tracing each line. “Go clockwise,” Dean warned him. “I dunno what it means, but widdershins is never your friend. At least not if you’re not evil.”
That earned him a smile, a little twisted, a shared ‘how-weird-is-this?’ that got Dean smiling back, even though he was so wound up that he felt like his skin might tear like cobwebs, burst open like an overripe fruit.
The blood was already cool by the time it touched his skin, drying tacky. Sam was a little aggressive with the coverage, tracing over every line twice, and Dean was selfish enough not to ask whether he was using too much. Tomorrow, Dean would feed him juice and burgers until his strength was back up. Tomorrow, when he was free.
At last, Sam finished, and tilted his head up so that they were staring into each other’s eyes. Sam’s face was tight with fatigue (and maybe bloodloss), skin still golden but with a tinge of gray underneath, stubble now heavy enough to sting if Dean had given in to the impulse to rub against it like a cat.
“Here goes nothing,” Dean said and began the ritual invocation. Sam’s voice joined him—quick learner.
As if the binding knew that it was nearly frayed to breaking, the pain began before he finished, like being pushed into a pile of hot coals, burning across every inch of his skin that had already been cleansed and then a spike into his chest. Dean struggled to complete the chant, hanging on to Sam’s voice when he’d forgotten the meaning, stumbling towards the finish. Distantly, he felt Sam’s arm wrap around him, pulling him into Sam’s chest so that the final words tumbled out onto Sam’s skin. Sam continued on after Dean had stopped, meaningless noise now. Dean tasted salt and metal, and then his head filled with light, the pain booming and pounding inside him like thunder, too great for his skull to contain.
His vision cleared slowly. He still felt like something had pulled his ribs out through his skin, then dipped them back in to puncture his heart, but the pain was starting to fade or at least the nerves were burning out. Sam was stroking him, starting at the nape of his neck and pushing all the way down to the curve of his ass, murmuring nonsense. Sam’s skin was wet where Dean’s face was pressed against him, sweat and tears and, unfortunately, snot; Dean felt himself flush even through the rest of the discomfort.
He snuffled, wiping his face as best he could. Sam froze, then put his fingers on Dean’s chin to tilt his face up. Dean struggled, but not for long.
“It’s done,” Sam said, almost breathless.
Dean didn’t need to look down, because Sam had told him. He didn’t think, just closed his eyes and reached up, grabbing Sam’s face and pulling him down into a kiss. Messy and tear-salted and free, like he was flying, like a foretaste of what killing Azazel was going to be like, his blood pounding so hard in his veins that it was like going over Niagara Falls, but he was never going to crash.
Sam kissed back like he’d invented it, pushing Dean down until he was flat on the bed, smoothing his hands down Dean’s chest and over his arms, squeezing like he needed to make sure Dean wasn’t going to melt away.
When Sam broke away for air, he was smiling so wide Dean stopped chasing his lips and grinned back. He felt like his insides had been replaced by helium, Sam’s weight the only thing keeping him from floating away.
“You gonna let me fuck you now?” Sam growled.
“Yeah,” he breathed.
“Stay there,” Sam ordered, slapping his hand down on the center of Dean’s chest—Dean’s unmarked, untouched chest—before he rolled off to go rummage through his discarded clothing, coming up with a packet of lube and a condom. Dean snorted when he saw the condom—he’d been covered with pints of Sam’s blood and it seemed a little, well, hypertechnical to worry about a teaspoon of come at this point. But it was Sam’s party.
Sam followed his gaze to the little square and raised one eyebrow, then chucked it over his shoulder. “Kind of freaky that I totally know what you’re thinking,” he said, smiling, as he approached.
Dean bounced his head against the pillows a couple of times, just because he could. “Kind of freaky that that’s what you think is kind of freaky.”
“Shut up,” Sam suggested, grabbing another pillow and shoving it under Dean’s hips, which turned out to require a lot of Sam’s hands all over Dean’s legs, stroking and pushing until Dean was in just the right position.
Sam’s hard-on kept poking Dean, so he didn’t expect Sam to take much time with prep. Except that Sam apparently had a thing for delayed gratification, because he settled between Dean’s legs like he was preparing to do a detailed survey, mouthing at Dean’s balls as he worked one thick finger inside, experimenting until he found the exact angle and pressure that made Dean arch up so hard he nearly brained himself on the headboard. He clenched his fingers in the bedspread and drummed his heels on Sam’s shoulders, and all Sam did was run his tongue up the seam of Dean’s sac and slide another finger in.
“Okay, fine,” Dean panted, squirming to try to screw himself further down on Sam’s hand. “You’re a sex god, now fuck me.”
Sam pulled off with a wet smack that had Dean clenching his jaw against the whimper that wanted out. “Is that any way to talk to the guy who saved you?”
Dean curled his upper body upright as best he could, looking down at his stiff dick bobbing next to Sam’s face. “Yeah, if the guy who saved me just did it so he could tease the fuck out of me.”
Sam twisted his fingers up and spread them a little. Dean bit his lip hard as his eyes rolled and his head snapped back. Sam made a sound suspiciously close to a giggle, but then, blessedly, he used his free hand to get hold of Dean’s hip and haul himself up Dean’s body, pressing Dean back down into the mattress.
Dean’s knees hooked over Sam’s shoulders as Sam pulled his fingers out and finished slicking himself. He pushed up against Dean, resting for a second so that Dean could feel him, and Jesus fuck he was huge, and Dean had never really liked this part anyway, and this was Sam and no matter how much Dean wanted to make Sam happy this was so far from smart—
They groaned in tandem as Sam pressed inside, long slow slide that seemed like it was going to split Dean apart. Dean’s hamstrings complained as Sam moved inexorably down, folding him nearly in half. Dean made himself breathe, turned his head so that he could close his eyes and get through it.
Then Sam’s hand curled around his cock just as Sam shimmied his hips, setting off fireworks in Dean’s brain. Sam was so big he could bend down and kiss Dean like this, jerking Dean off as he slammed into Dean and his tongue invaded Dean’s mouth. Dean was owned, possessed, but he wanted it, wanted Sam to put his hands on every inch of skin, would have been happy if Sam had made him bleed like Sam had been bleeding for him.
Dean shot so hard that he whited out, head filled with lightning and cotton-candy bliss. When he checked back in after however long, his face was wet and Sam had both hands pinning his shoulders, pounding into him like Sam was hoping to make the bed collapse around them.
Dean’s overstrained legs slipped down and he squirmed until they were bracketing Sam’s hips. Sam barely seemed to notice the new angle except to brace his knees more firmly and lengthen his strokes. Dean’s whole body was still ringing from his orgasm. He felt hollowed and light as bird bones, floating on the tide, Sam crashing over him, groaning into Dean’s mouth as his hips snapped hard once, twice, three times and went still.
Sam weighed about two thousand pounds, so hot and sweaty that Dean’s exposed skin felt chilled by comparison, Sam’s chin digging not-so-comfortably into Dean’s shoulder. Dean was never planning to move.
Eventually, though, Sam peeled himself off, just enough that he could look down at Dean, his pupils still blown wide, his nostrils flaring so that his nose looked, improbably, even larger. Dean kind of wanted to grab him by the ears and do some sort of sappy victory dance with their foreheads pressed together, except that there was no way he was getting vertical any time soon even if he’d been uncool enough for that.
After a minute of pure staring at each other, grinning fools the both of them, Sam reached down and ran his fingers through the slick on Dean’s belly, then raised them to his mouth and licked. “I could get used to this,” he said. “Hey, now that you’re free from the evil overlord, you gonna tell me your name?”
Dean couldn’t help the shudder. “You might not want to hear it,” he warned, the pleasure draining out of him, replaced with rising dread.
“What, ‘cause the rest of what you’ve told me is so comforting?” Sam scoffed. But he eased himself out of Dean and rolled over, so at least he wasn’t staring into Dean’s eyes any more. There was silence, and when Dean snuck a glance at him Sam’s face was nearly blank. Sam was processing, putting together what he already knew. A drum beat in Dean’s chest, too fast.
“Two weeks,” Sam said. “How’d you know my dad had been gone for two weeks when the police came?”
“You know how I know,” Dean said, his voice almost broken. “A week after that, Azazel came for me.”
“No,” Sam said, putting his hands up to cover his face.
“My name is Dean Winchester,” Dean said, for the first time in fourteen years.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Sam didn’t sound angry so much as confused, and Dean breathed a little easier.
“I couldn’t,” Dean admitted. “Not with his marks still on me.”
“And after?” Sam was still talking through his fingers, but he hadn’t gotten out of the bed, so Dean hoped that he hadn’t made matters any worse than they would have been already.
“I—I wanted you to,” he said. It came out almost inaudible. “You—and you feel so—I just wanted to feel good.”
Sam was silent a long time.
When he spoke again, each word came out edged in sharpened steel. “If you lie to me again, explicitly or by omission, I’m gone. I’d rather do this alone than not be able to trust you.”
Dean nodded quickly. Sam inspected him, and Dean had spent so long trying to hide his emotions that he almost wept with the desire to make Sam see how he’d do anything to get Sam’s trust.
“You weren’t trying to play me,” Sam said, like he was testing the words. “You really couldn’t tell me your name?”
“I swear,” Dean said immediately. “I wouldn’t—it’s my job to take care of you, and I know I fucked up, but there’s still so much you need to know—”
“Okay,” Sam soothed, putting his hand on Dean’s chest. “Okay then. There’s something I have to tell you, too.”
Dean fought to push himself up, suddenly terrified. “What?”
“I’ve been having these dreams,” Sam said, staring at the ceiling. “He said that if I did something for him, I’d get a reward. I didn’t believe it of course, but I looked up the news reports anyway, and the deaths were exactly what he’d said in my dream. So I went to Saginaw and I followed that kid around. I saw.”
Max is dead, Dean remembered.
“Somebody needed to do something!” Sam insisted, like Dean was arguing with him instead of staring like a crash test dummy. “The police, they’d never believe it. So I used my gifts—” and the worst part was, he said ‘gifts’ like he meant it—“and I took care of him.”
Dean felt like he’d fallen through the surface of a frozen lake. The world was better off without Max, no question. And if Azazel had offered Dean the option—but Sam, Sam wasn’t supposed to have to make those choices. Worse than that, Sam was listening to Azazel. If there was anything Dean had tried to buy with his obedience—God, he’d crawled on his hands and knees, and thanked Azazel for the privilege—it was the chance to keep Sam away from that poison. “Demons lie,” Dean whispered, too broken to speak more loudly.
Sam smiled, a terrible grin, like Azazel’s. “Yeah, that I got. If he wanted me to trust him, he shouldn’t have worn Dad’s face in my dream. But he was telling the truth about how dangerous Max was, and about the powers. And then you showed up. Once I saw the tattoos, I figured you were my reward. I didn’t think—he didn’t tell me who you were.”
Dean shook his head, trying to deny everything.
Sam reached over and pulled him into a hug. Dean couldn’t fight—no, he didn’t want to fight. Sam felt too much like home. “It’s okay.”
Dean hitched a laugh.
“No.” Sam’s voice was tender, his arms so tight that Dean could barely breathe. “I’ve got you now. He’s not going to hurt you any more. He didn’t know about the blood ritual, you fooled him, and now we’re together.”
And even with Sam’s confession, even knowing that Sam had been expecting an emissary—fuck, he kept talking about ownership, like he was just taking title from Azazel—even with all that, Dean couldn’t help but lean into him, because the faint pulse of hope was more than he’d had in years.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered into Sam’s shoulder. “I’m so sorry.”
Sam’s hand cupped the back of his neck, cradling him as Sam threw his leg over Dean’s hip, bringing them even closer together. “Don’t, Dean. You were a kid, there was nothing you could do.”
But Dean had to confess. If Sam didn’t know, he was going to keep thinking he could handle Azazel. “It’s not just your dream.”
“Dad,” Dean began, and then had to push everything he was feeling into the darkest corner of his mind. “Azazel possessed him.” His eyes stung. He’d thought that he had no tears left after the ritual, but apparently that was another thing he’d gotten wrong. “I don’t know—I don’t even know if he’s still in there.” Sometimes he couldn’t help himself and imagined what it had to be like, his father’s suffering, his disappointment that Dean hadn’t found a way to give him peace.
Sam made a noise, not quite skeptical. Maybe he wasn’t mad at Dean for abandoning him, but apparently he was holding a grudge against Dad.
“You don’t understand,” Dean tried. “He’s possessed,” like that would mean anything to Sam. “Worse than what Azazel did to me. He killed Mom, he possessed Dad, and now he’s trying to make you into something—”
“Okay,” Sam said. “Then that’s part of going after the demon. If there’s a way to save him, we will. Dean,” like his name meant something, like Sam had never forgotten. “I dream about a gun. It’s got symbols on it, like it’s special. Maybe—maybe that’s what we need to find.”
The funny thing was, hearing about Sam’s dream actually made him feel better. Azazel had plans; therefore those plans could be defeated, if they could only figure out how. Sam was strong enough to resist Azazel’s seductions. He had to be.
“Sam. Sammy.” It felt like the only word he knew, and he’d been mute for years.
Sam ran his hand down Dean’s back, comforting and unsettling all at once. “Dean. Look at me.”
He had to try twice before he could manage. Sam’s eyes were hot but still somehow calculating.
“We’re fucked up, I get that. But you don’t care, do you?”
Dean shook his head. Sam had been all he’d dreamed of for so long, distant and huge as the moon. Having him now—no, Dean didn’t have any lines to cross when it came to Sam.
Sam smiled, just a tiny bit, his lips still soft pink even as the hours had brought out the dark stubble surrounding them. He looked like what someone who’d never met a demon would call devilish. “I don’t either. Not enough, anyway. You found me, and we’re gonna make Azazel, and any other asshole who thinks he can fuck with us, sorry. You always told me the Winchesters were badass, you remember?”
Dean thought maybe he did. Even if he hadn’t, he still would have nodded.
“So we’re gonna get some rest, and then when we wake up I’m gonna fuck you ‘til you scream—” he paused to enjoy Dean’s shudder—“and then we’re gonna get to work. You with me?”
Dean took a breath, the smell of Sam, of them, heavy and thick. “To Hell and back, Sammy,” he said. “To Hell and back.”