Watching Over.

This story contains incest, my darlings. If you don't like the idea of two brothers doing sticky sex things with each other, click the back button now.

And for whoever left the flame on the last one? I don't have a brother. So his nonexistant self is safe from my grasping, slutty claws. Don't worry- he doesn't need your protection.

Sam is used to Dean watching him. Sometimes watching out for him, taking care of him, but mostly just watching him. Dean has done it since they were kids, and it never bothered Sam. Even when Sam started growing up and realized that so much about his life was just not normal, Dean's ever-present gaze resting on him like a warm weight was never one of the things that he questioned. It was a comfort during the worst of times, a crutch he leaned on unconsciously. It was just there.

Then Sam turned fourteen and started high school. He had fought with his father tooth and nail to get them to settle down in one place long enough for Sam to actually attend, and John had acquiesced but hadn't stopped hunting. And where John Winchester went, Dean inevitably followed. Sam got used to an echoing, empty apartment, and found himself playing Dean's music at all hours, even though he hated it, just so that he could feel like his brother was with him again.

But even though Dean and John could be gone for several days, or a week or two weeks, they would always come back, and Sam would always walk out of the front doors of the high school to feel that gaze on him. And he'd look up, and there would be the Impala, standing out like a sore thumb in the midst of all the parent's minivans and the student's economy cars, with Dean leaning against the hood and grinning at him. And when Sam went to bed that night, he could feel Dean watching him, and he slept safe because he knew that Dean was watching over him.

Then came The Fight, which absolutely deserved capital letters, and then Sam went away to Stanford, and they didn't see each other for years. Or, more accurately, Sam didn't see Dean- he knew, knew all the way to his bones, that Dean was watching him. He could feel that gaze on him, a few days out of every year, and he knew that Dean was stopping by Stanford every time he was in the area to check on Sam, to make sure that he was safe and happy and okay. And Sam always made sure to smile at Dean, even though he could never see exactly where Dean was hiding, because he knew that Dean could see him, and he wanted Dean to know that he was happy.

But then everything went to shit, and so here he is, in crappy hotel room after crappy hotel room, waking up from nightmare after nightmare to feel Dean's eyes on him. Just like they've always been.

"Hey," Dean says, his voice neutral. "Sleep okay?" He doesn't ask about the nightmares anymore, not directly. Of course, sometimes they're not nightmares. Which means that Dean has to ask somehow.

"Slept fine," Sam lies, but Dean knows he is lying, and he isn't really asking about how well Sam slept. Sam's dreams were as frightening as ever, but they didn't mean anything. He's learned to tell the difference by now, between psychic and the products of his own terrified psyche.

"Good to know," Dean says, and he looks back down at the book he was reading. The moment Sam gets up and turns his back, however, he feels Dean's gaze on him again, and it makes him blush as he strips to go take a shower. Maybe he should grab a towel to cover himself, but- No. Dean has seen it before, many times. He has nothing to hide from his brother. It doesn't mean anything that Dean's gaze doesn't turn away even when he's naked.

He tells himself this even as he works his hand over his soap-slick cock in the shower, and ignores the familiar shame as the pounding hot water washes his come down the drain. Self-disgust is common, familiar, guilt he carries like a weight on his shoulders at all times, and this particular sin is still his oldest. His sin, that Dean's gaze always means something more to him than just his brother watching out for him.

He's used to it, and sometimes, this and his brother's gaze is all he has to hold onto when his own thoughts threaten to drive him insane.

They are in the car again, and Sam is pretending to be asleep. He can't tell if Dean knows he's faking or not- he's gotten better at it, with enough practice. He can feel Dean glancing over at him frequently as he drives, and that almost lulls him into real sleep, but not quite. Nightmares hover at the edges of consciousness, and he refuses to slip over the edge and let them torment him.

They are just nightmares, he knows. He can tell the difference. Dean is not in danger of dying as Jessica died, as their mother died. But every time he falls asleep, it is Dean on the ceiling, burning. It's his own fear that makes this so, but he can't escape it, and so he doesn't sleep. Not if he can help it. Instead, he lies awake at night, watching Dean sleep on the other bed, knowing that as long as he can see Dean then Dean is not dying, not burning, and that as soon as his eyes close he will drift off and the nightmare will hit, so he tries to hang on just a little longer. But eventually exhaustion wins out, and his eyelids droop further closed, and then he's gone into a world of dark and pain and terror, a place where his heart breaks over and over because he keeps losing the person who's most important to him, the person who's closest to his heart.

"Sam, are you okay?" Dean asks, his voice very serious. He isn't looking at Sam except out of the corner of his eye, but Sam can feel his gaze anyway.

"Peachy," he says, his voice scratchy from dryness and lack of use. Dean sighs, but it's pretty much the answer they both knew Sam would give, so he doesn't press.

Sam wonders why Dean bothers to keep asking. They both know that Sam isn't fine, but Dean knows that he's not going to suddenly decide to spill his guts, so asking is pointless. Sam can't tell him- not just won't tell him but can't, can't even entertain the thought of opening his mouth and telling Dean that he wants him. God, if Dean did nothing but throw him out of the car he'd be the luckiest guy alive.

"Alright then," Dean says. "If you're sure." And then he turns his attention back to the road, and Sam feels the loss of his gaze like a chill settling over his skin.

Sometimes he wonders if he'd be able to live without his brother.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. The clock on the wall mocks him, taunts him, tells him that his mother is a hamster and his father smelt of elderberries. It's almost three in the morning, and he's still lying awake on his narrow bed, staring at the ceiling, counting sheep. Or rather, seconds, as he listens to the ticking of the clock.

If he rolls over onto his side he could probably go to sleep. He can never sleep on his back, and he knows this. It's why he's currently staring at the ceiling, cracked and covered with cobwebs and yet the source of his nightmares- the nightmares he wishes to avoid. He probably could go to sleep. He just doesn't want to.

The bedsprings beside him squeak and rustle, and he knows that Dean is rolling over. Dean's breathing changes a moment later, and Sam knows that he is awake.

"Sammy," Dean says, and for once Sam doesn't correct him.


"Turn that fucking head of yours off and get some rest, would you?"

Sam snorts. "Can't." Dean knows this. Why, why, why does he keep trying?

A heavy sigh reaches his ears, and then the bedsprings make more noise as Dean heaves himself off the bed. "Scoot over."

"What?" Sam supposes that he should be more articulate, but this wasn't anywhere on his mental list of Things That Are Possible To Happen.

"I said, scoot over. You deaf or something?"

"Just wondering why you need me to move over," Sam says. "Why, you planning on crawling in with me?"

"Exactly," Dean says, and uses the advantage of Sam's moment of shock to shove him over, precariously close to the edge of the bed. A second later there is another body in his bed, pressed distressingly close against his back and radiating heat like a motherfucker. Dean has always had an overactive metabolism. It's why he eats so much.

"Dean, what are you doing?" Sam says, and is proud of the way he keeps his voice from wavering. He doesn't do well with sudden changes, not anymore.

Another sigh feathers against the tiny hairs on the nape of his neck. "You used to sleep better when someone was with you. Now I'm thinking that maybe those dreams weren't just nightmares, and having someone in bed with you keeps them away. If it works, great. If not, we'll forget this ever happened. But for now, please shut the fuck up and go to sleep."

"Jess didn't stop the dreams from coming," Sam points out, with what he thinks is an admirable amount of logic. Dean just frees one arm to smack him on the shoulder.

"Tough. I'm comfy now. You'll just have to deal."

Sam thinks that his brother curled up in bed with him is something that he shouldn't have to deal with in any universe, much less this one, but Dean apparently doesn't care because he seems to be asleep already. Sam sighs, wriggles his body a little further away from the overwhelming heat and presence of Dean's, and prepares himself to stare blankly at the yellowing wall several inches from his nose.

He falls instantly asleep.

Dean is watching him when he wakes up, cleanly, no jerk and gasp from nightmares. Sam can feel the weight of his gaze, so familiar, and it eases him into consciousness.

No nightmares. It is the first time since Jess' death that he has slept dreamlessly, and it proves Dean's theory rather too well for Sam's taste. Except Sam was telling the truth, that Jess's body sleeping trustingly next to his never stopped the dreams, which means that Dean is the key. And that is something that Sam definitely doesn't want to think about.

He opens his eyes and meets Dean's gaze, expecting to see a gloating expression- or at the very least, smugly superior. But Dean's face is expressionless, and though Sam braces himself for some smartass comment, all Dean says about it is, "Told you," before moving on to another, in his mind clearly more important topic.

He points to the laptop, which has some news article showing in the browser window. Sam squints, but can't quite see the headline.

"What is it?"

"It's our new case, Sam," Dean says, and Sam sighs, rolls his eyes, and resigns himself to more hard work, bruises, and uncomfortable emotional revelations when he says, "Tell me about it."

Dean helps him through the door of their motel room, cursing under his breath. Sam doesn't blame him for the curses, because if he could spare the extra oxygen he'd be doing the same. Hard to get his breath, though, when the wind was knocked out of him. Twice.

"Motherfucking ghosts," Dean growls, mostly to himself, as he maneuvers Sam onto the bed. "They always have to take vengeance, and it's never on the right people. What the hell is up with that?"

"I dunno," Sam manages, through the elephant that's sitting on his chest, because Dean seems to expect an answer. Dean just turns his glare on Sam for answering, though, which means that Dean was clearly not actually talking to him.

"Can you hold up while I get the kit?" Dean asks, and Sam does a quick inventory before answering, just to make sure. Gashes on his chest- incredibly painful, but shallow, and the bleeding is slowing down. Dislocated shoulder- also incredibly painful, but Dean popped it back into place already, and it's in a sling. Lungs- slowly starting to work again. He'll deal.

"Yes," he says, and Dean nods before vanishing into the bathroom. He reappears moments later, first aid kit in hand, and Sam braces himself for a blast of pain when Dean settles onto the bed next to him and reaches out to treat his wounds.

Dean has an astonishingly gentle touch, however, and Sam watches his face from beneath lowered lashes as he ignores the negligible increase in pain. Dean's face is set, concentrating like all get-out, and Sam remembers, all in a rush, that Dean spent a good three months in high school learning first aid techniques from a former EMT. Sam was just a kid then, eleven or twelve, and he thought that Dean was wasting his time because they hadn't let him go on any really dangerous hunts and he hadn't yet learned how torn up you could get. He learned to be grateful for it later on, and even tried to learn from Dean once or twice, but he never did get his brother's gentle touch.

He can't believe he forgot this, though thinking about it, it's not so surprising- despite minor cuts and scrapes and some fairly impressive bruising, before tonight they had escaped all previous encounters with the supernatural unscathed. Then again, tonight is pretty much directly Sam's fault, something that he knows Dean won't let him forget.

Sure enough, as if his thoughts are enough to summon it, Dean's previous anger with Sam returns and spills out. "I can't fucking believe you, Sammy. What the hell did you think you were doing back there, shoving me out of the way like that? I had the gun aimed at the bastard and had a clean shot, and then there you were, jumping in the way and getting all cut up for your trouble. What the fuck is up with that?"

Despite the angry tirade, Dean's touch remains gentle and his face is intent on the task at hand. His eyes are half-closed in concentration, and the tip of his tongue is caught between his teeth. Sam wants to catch Dean's tongue between his teeth.

He closes his eyes. He knows he can't explain.

"Never try and sacrifice yourself for me, Sammy," Dean says, his voice quieter now but no less intense. "Do you think I could stand it if you got yourself killed for me? Do you think I could live, knowing you're gone?"

Sam doesn't really think he should say what he's thinking, but he says it anyway. "I'm never going to stand by while you get hurt," he says. "I love you too much."

Dean doesn't say anything for the next few minutes while he finishes taping Sam up, but his brows are drown down heavily in a thunderous frown, and Sam has no idea what he's thinking. He doesn't return the "I love you," not even casually, which is pretty much all that Sam needed to know, and it sends him into a despondent silence.

Finally Dean finishes dealing with Sam's wounds, and packs up the first aid kit again before taking it back into the bathroom. Sam just sits on the bed, one hand pressed lightly against the cut on his stomach, and quietly despairs.

Dean's back in a minute, but instead of going to his own bed and forgetting that this conversation ever happened, like Sam expects him to, he comes over and sits on Sam's bed. Sam doesn't look up at him, because he doesn't want to see what expression is on his brother's face. He knows that whatever this is about, it won't end well.

"Sam, this can't go on and we both know it," Dean said, touching his shoulder. Just three fingertips, but they might as well be brands against Sam's skin, and he has to fight the urge to twitch away.

"I don't know what you're talking about," he lies.

"Yeah, you do," Dean says, calm, not angry like Sam hoped. If he can get Dean angry, Dean will throw a fit and then storm off and later they can pretend this never happened.

"No, I don't," he insists, stubbornly. As if that ever did any good.

"Well then, let me refresh your memory," Dean says pleasantly. Sam winces, but Dean starts enumerating exactly what he's talking about, still in that overly calm voice, like wants to explode with some incendiary emotion but is keeping a tight grip on himself. Sam just wishes that he can get ahold of the detonator before this gets outright painful.

"I'm talking about the way you get barely a couple hours' sleep a night unless I crawl into bed with you," Dean says. "I'm talking about the way you insist on separate beds anyway. I'm talking about the way you don't eat enough and can't sleep on your back and throw yourself in front of ghosts even when it's pretty fucking obvious that I don't need to be saved. I'm talking about the way you can't look at me, but a couple of minutes ago you told me that you loved me. Do you know what I'm talking about now, Sam?"

Sam doesn't say anything.

Dean sighs, and his careful, fingertips-only touch moves into a heavy hand weighing down Sam's shoulder blade. Sam slumps instinctively under the pressure, then arches in startled pleasure as Dean's hand strokes warmly down his spine and rests in the small of his back, radiating heat.

"I've been waiting for so long," Dean whispers, leaning in close to Sam's ear. His hot breath tickles Sam's neck. "I thought that you'd eventually figure it out and do something about it. But you keep going around in circles and tearing yourself up a little more each time, so I figured that it was about time I made a couple things clear."

"What-" Sam swallows as his voice breaks. "What sort of things?"

"I want you," Dean says bluntly. "I want to have sex with you. I've wanted it since you were fifteen and finally grew into those long legs of yours. I want to see you naked, want to suck your cock, want to fall asleep with you and have sex in the morning when we wake up. And I know you want it too, so it's fucking stupid that we're stuck in this holding pattern because you can't get a clue."

Sam has no words. Instead he just swallows convulsively, once, again, and turns frightened eyes to Dean, whose face is inches from his. He wants Dean to not be so close. He wants Dean to take it back. He wants his big brother to make everything all better again, and that's probably the most fucked up thing here.

"Dean," he says. It's all he can say, and he knows that there's fear in his voice that makes him sound much, much younger. Dean's hard-lined, familiar face with his gray-green eyes and shadowed jaw and tiny, almost invisible cut on his forehead relaxes, and the hand on Sam's back starts to pull him inexorably closer. Sam isn't sure how to resist, and so he ends up in Dean's arms.

Which is, if he's being totally honest with himself, where he always wanted to be, so it's no surprise that he has no defense against this.

"Hey, Sammy, it's okay," Dean says, chin pressed against the top of Sam's disordered hair. "It's okay, I promise."

The last time Dean held him like this was when Sam was almost killed by the poltergeist in Lawrence. He banished the thing, then ripped the cord free from Sam's throat and Sam just fell into his arms, and Dean held him up till Sam was okay again. Now Sam never wants Dean to let him go, if only because he doesn't think he'll ever be okay, ever again.

"I didn't think you know," Sam finds the courage to whisper into his shirt collar. "I didn't think anyone knew."

"I always knew, Sammy, always," Dean says. "Nobody else, though. Nobody but me. I know everything about you, haven't you gotten that by now?"

Sam chokes on a weak laugh and presses his lips in a chaste, if damp, kiss to the side of Dean's throat, just under the jaw where it's stubbled because Dean never can be bothered to shave properly. "Because you watch me so much," he says.

"Right," Dean says, sounding pleased that Sam's getting it. "Because I watch you so much."

Sam doesn't say anything. He just lifts his head and kisses Dean again, on the lips this time, because if Dean knows and wants him back then he just doesn't have enough willpower to say no.

Dean moans into his mouth and kisses him back, hard, and after that time stretches like elastic, like taffy on a summer day, sticky sweet in Sam's mind and heart and burned like a brand on his skin. All that exists for him is Dean's mouth on his, and Dean's skin, bronzed and leathered and scarred and perfect, perfect rubbing against his. The only thing that means anything is Dean's cock in his mouth as he sucks, tonguing the head with focused enthusiasm, Dean coming in his mouth and then Dean's hand on his cock, returning the favor in the very best way, Dean, Dean, always Dean.

He falls asleep afterwards, dozes off naked in his brother's arms, for how long he doesn't know but he doesn't dream. When he wakes again, Dean is holding him, wide-awake and watching him, studying the curves and angles of his face with the same intent burn that Dean has always had when looking at him. Sam understands better now what this look means. He's a little surprised that he didn't figure it out before, but not that surprised. Psychic or not, he can be astonishingly clueless when faced with something personally important. He's much better at saving the lives of strangers.

"Hey," Dean says, his voice a little rusty. "Nightmares?"

Dean is no longer dancing around the questions, and Sam finds that he doesn't mind. "Nope," he says, smiling a little at his brother. "You really do make them go away."

Dean smiles back at him, a little goofily. "Cool," he says. A minute later Sam wriggles down a little, trying to rest his head on Dean's chest, and Dean obliges him by scooting up the headboard. Sam presses his ear to Dean's chest and listens to his heart beat, slow and steady and real, and Dean works his fingers into Sam's tangled hair and just holds on.

There are a million things that Sam wants to say right now, and a million more that he should say. But it's late, and he's tired, and he thinks that he can fall asleep in a minute if he just lets himself. But once again he's holding onto consciousness with both hands, only now it's because he wants to be awake, rather than just avoiding sleep. He wants this moment to go on forever.

"I'm glad you said something," he says finally, because the things he wants to say and the things he should say just won't reach his tongue. His own, fumbling words will have to do. "I never- I don't think I ever would have done anything."

"I think I figured that out, bro," Dean says, his voice wry. "You were tearing yourself up like crazy. Anyone could tell. After tonight I realized that if I didn't do something to change things, you were gonna get yourself killed."

Sam frowns into Dean's skin. "You realized that I'm not gonna stop trying to save your ass," he mutters. "I meant it. I'm not gonna just let you die. Because I love you too much." The words have a strange weight on his tongue, because this time he knows that Dean understands what he is really saying.

"I will kill anything that touches you," Dean says fiercely, his hand tightening almost to the point of pain in Sam's hair. "Because I love you that much."

Sam smiles at that, stretches up and presses a kiss to Dean's throat because his mouth is too far away but he definitely deserves a kiss for that. Dean smiles back, lets his grip slacken, and strokes his fingers against Sam's scalp. Sam arches his neck and makes a pleased rumbling sound in the back of his throat, and for a long time they are both silent.

Finally, though, Sam speaks. "I thought I hid it so well, you know."

"You did," Dean says, sounding surprised. "Sam, man, you're like the biggest puzzle ever. Most of the time it's hard to tell what you're thinking, much less the stuff you're actively trying to keep anyone from noticing."

"So how'd you figure me out?" Sam mumbles sleepily into Dean's chest. He can feel Dean smiling down at him, a force as powerful as any of Dean's watchful gazes have ever been.

"Dude," Dean says, and Sam looks up at him because Dean is laughing and he doesn't want to miss it. "What did you think all that watching you was about?"

Sam laughs too, for a long time, and their shared laughter feels wonderful. He's still smiling minutes later when he falls asleep, his brother watching over him.

He doesn't dream.