Title: Wherever This Road May Lead Us - sequel to Memories of Me
Author: Gillian Middleton
Characters/Pairing: Sam/Dean
Rating: R - NC17
Total word count:
16 700
Warning: Wincest.
Author's Note: Please read the first story, Memories of Me, before this sequel.
Summary: Struggling to cope with the events that occurred during his memory loss, Dean tries his hardest to bring his relationship with his brother back on an even keel.

Wherever This Road May Lead Us

Part One

Dean watched his clothes go around in the spin dryer, mesmerized by the circular motion and regular dull clunk of something metallic hitting the drum. His mind was a perfect, relaxing blank and he could feel his eyes begin to drift closed as the weariness of a long night without sleep caught up with him.

A door slammed shut behind him and he jumped, eyes flying open and focusing.

"Sorry," Sam said, grinning widely as he opened the metal door again and began to pull his tangle of clothes from the dryer. "Drifting off there, old fella?"

"Ha ha," Dean said sourly, rubbing his face wearily. "I was the one driving all night. At least you managed to catch some z's."

"Yeah, cos me and my legs in the front seat of that car equal a peaceful night's rest." Sam shook out a pair of jeans and folded them lengthways before rolling them into a ball and stuffing them in his duffel bag. Both the boys had graduated from the Winchester school of packing, which basically consisted of making the clothes as small as possible to fit the maximum amount of them in one bag.

Dean tilted his head from side to side to work some kinks out. "It was better than nothing." If Sam's clothes were dry then his must be too and he popped the lid on the dryer and started dragging out his stuff. As he folded and shook he reflected on the various items of clothing he'd washed, which was actually just about everything he owned. Black T shirts. Gray shorts. Flannel shirts, dark checked pattern.

"Do I own anything that isn't black?"

Dean paused, frowning at the memory. It had never really occurred to him before, the clothes he wore. He favored jeans and steel capped work boots, and shirts that fit him just right. But that was more for comfort and practicality than anything else. But now it occurred to him - no, he remembered it occurring to him - that the stuff he wore was all so... dark. So lacking in color.

It was the weirdest feeling, remembering something like that. Questioning something he'd always taken for granted. Examining the reasons from a completely different perspective and finding them lacking.

"No offense to the way we grew up, dude, but that is a jacked up reason to buy clothes."

Huh. If only his fashion sense was the only thing he had to question now.

Dean slanted a glance over at Sam who was turning the inside-out sleeves on a long sleeved sweat shirt the right way. He looked up and smiled at him again and Dean just shook his head and returned to his own laundry.

"You still mad at me?" Sam said conversationally.

"I'm not mad," Dean returned shortly, taking out his irritation on his jeans, rolling them into a ruthlessly tight ball and jamming them in his bag.

"I said I was sorry. I was just trying to lighten the mood."

Dean jammed an unfortunate T shirt into his bag and turned to face his brother. "What mood?" he demanded. "There wasn't any mood until you said that."

Sam's cheeks colored a little. "I just said you were cute."

"Yeah, and a week ago would you have said that?"

"No," Sam admitted. "I might have thought it."

Dean just looked at him.

"Okay, maybe I wouldn't have thought it either," Sam said defensively. "But it isn't a week ago, Dean. It's today."

"Yeah, and yesterday we agreed we were gonna put this behind us," Dean pointed out. Sam set his jaw in that stubborn way he had but Dean wasn't backing down on this one. "Didn't we?"

Sam faced him down for a few moments longer then shrugged wide shoulders and went back to folding his laundry. "You're making too big a deal of it," he said mildly.

"Gee, sorry," Dean said as sarcastically as he could manage while untangling his socks and jockey shorts. Why did they always tangle up? "I guess I don't find it all as hilarious as you do."

As expected Sam looked contrite and guilty. His head jerked up and he bit his lip. "I don't find it funny," he said sincerely and Dean felt a prickle of guilt himself.

"Okay, okay," he muttered, gratefully jamming the last of his clean laundry away. "You done? I need to get my head down."

"Yeah." Sam shouldered his duffel bag and followed Dean out of the laundry onto the quiet street. Dean stopped as Sam laid a big hand on his arm and applied gentle pressure.

"Dean?" he said softly.

Dean flicked him a glance.

"I wasn't laughing at you. Honest."

Dean really wanted to be the one laughing now. He lined up a some pithy comments, Don't be such a wuss, Sam. Are we done with the guilt trip, Sam? Get in the damn car, Sam.

Somehow none of them seemed to trip off his tongue. Sam looked so sincere standing there, his too-long hair flopping over his brow, dark eyes so shiny and serious. Something lurched in Dean's chest.

"Yeah, okay," was all he could manage. Sam gave him a tentative smile, dimple sliding in and out and the ache in Dean's chest grew. "Can we go?" he appealed, ruthlessly stomping on that ache, mashing it back down inside him.

Sam nodded and led the way and Dean took a deep breath and then another. This really sucked.

-666-

The shower was running hard in the bathroom and Dean leaned back against the padded headboard of his bed with a sigh. It was such a relief to be able to relax his guard without Sam watching every damn move he made. If only he knew what his inscrutable little brother was really thinking. What was going on behind those eyes?

An image appeared in Dean's head, like a slide slotting into place before a lens.

Sam's eyes, wide and shiny with love, tears welling and trickling down his temples. The touch and taste of lovingly licking that moisture from taut young skin, salt tears tasting like blood in his mouth.

With a muffled curse Dean clenched his fist and banged it down hard on the pillow next to him. And he could live without the Technicolor replay, thank you very much.

"Breathe, Dean, breathe," he counseled himself under his breath. It was perfectly understandable that he would be haunted by all these memories. After all, he had been through a traumatic experience. Losing his memory, going all Stockholm Syndrome on Sam, getting his memory back and having to deal with the fallout.

Anyone would be stressed after that.

A little help from his brother would have been nice. But no, Mr I'd-do-anything-for-you wasn't being helpful in the least. He was all sideways glances and inappropriate blushes and flashing that damn dimple in his direction instead of looking suitably ashamed and chastened about what he'd done.

Dean would have given anything at that moment to wipe the last few days out of his mind. Out of Sam's mind. To just go back to the way things were between them without all these awkward memories and this damn feeling in his chest that wouldn't go away.

Sam chose that moment to emerge from the bathroom in a cloud of steam and a hotel towel and nothing else. He was drying his hair with the other towel as he walked in, water still glistening on his shoulders and upper arms. He stopped short as Dean glared over at him, hand dropping from his head, hair-drying towel dangling from his fingers.

"What?" he said defensively.

Dean set his jaw, shaking his head in disbelief.

"Hey, you're the one who wanted things to get back to normal," Sam said defensively. "This is what I normally do after a shower."

Dean picked up his kit and his towel and stalked past his brother, not even dignifying that with a response.

"Dean," Sam said in exasperation as Dean stepped past him into the bathroom. "In a million motel rooms after a million showers this is what-"

Dean pointedly shut the door in his brother's face, cutting off the complaining rant.

"Yeah, Sammy," he muttered, twisting the faucets viciously until hot steamy water poured into the shower stall. "But in all those million motel rooms and all those million showers you weren't washing my cum off your stomach!"

Dean ripped his shirt off and unbuckled his jeans, dropping them belt, wallet, keys and all onto the tile and stepping out of them and his boxers. He kept up the rambling monologue under his breath, listing his complaints as he kicked his clothes away and stepped under the pelting spray.

"Let's draw a line under it I said. What part of that don't you get? We agreed to put it behind us, Sam, but you just can't let it go, can you? Never can let anything go, got to pick at it and question it and pull it all apart!"

"Did you say something?" Sam called from outside the door and Dean bit his lip as he realized his low complaint had turned to a loud diatribe.

"Leave me the hell alone!" he shouted back, not in the mood to play nice. With a groan he pushed his face under the spray, holding his breath as the too hot water strafed his skin, washed away the day's sweat and grime and that taste on his lips that he couldn't get out of his mind.

"Jesus, Sammy," he whispered, leaning forward out of the spray, resting his forehead against the cool tiles, water streaming down his face, from his hair, out of the corners of his eyes. "Please just let it go."

-666-

Dean shaved carefully in front of the mirror, towel around his waist, feeling the welcome heat of the steamy room wrap around his body and relax his tense muscles. He had a good two days growth to plow through -

"Do I need to shave?"

- and he went through the motions by rote, allowing the practiced ritual to calm him down. His hands were steady as he slid the razor down his jaw, scraping underneath his chin and carefully tracing the cleft he'd inherited from his Dad.

That he and Sam had both inherited from their Dad.

Soberly Dean met his own eyes in the mirror, shame prickling down his spine. He'd been taking this out on Sam, but he knew that he was being unfair. Yeah, maybe Sam could have showed some better sense while Dean's memory was on vacation, but Dean couldn't blame him for the whole thing.

Because he remembered, all too well, what it had been like. The intensity, the power of that bond between them. He had felt, long before Sam had been pulled into it, the strength of that force. The intimacy of it.

Closing his eyes Dean could recall with absolute clarity how it had felt to look upon Sam and not know him. And yet to have been so drawn to him, so entranced by his smile, attracted to his body, captured by his kindness. How it had felt to gaze into Sam's eyes and see the complete love and devotion there.

It didn't take a genius to figure that out, of course. Dean knew himself somewhat lacking in the love department, he had felt it his entire life. His whole world had consisted of his father and his brother and nobody else had registered. Not the various people Dad left them with while he hunted, or boarded with between hunts. Not the school teachers or the come-and-go friends or the parade of women who'd warmed his bed.

Not even the one woman he'd ever felt like he could really love. None of them made it into that place wholly and solely taken up by his family.

His heart.

So when everything else was gone and Dean had opened his eyes to find himself completely lost in the world, well, it didn't take a genius to figure out why he'd be drawn to Sam. Even the sex part wasn't that great a stretch, He'd gone through a stage in his teens when he'd been quite aware that the male form could turn him on just as hard as the female, in the right circumstances.

In fact he'd quite consciously turned his back on that side of his sexuality, closed and locked that door. He'd told himself it had been for convenience sake - it was hard enough fitting into some of the places they had to go, without any extra baggage tagging along to confuse things.

But the truth was, of course, that he'd just repressed it because of his Dad. Because he didn't think his father had anything in particular against queers, but Dean just couldn't believe he would welcome that information about his oldest son.

And it hadn't been that great a hardship, as it might have been if he'd been completely gay. Women answered all the needs of his body and everything else came from his family and the hunt.

Dean opened his eyes again, gazing at his image with wry humor this time. Sammy had been right about that, he was a dog. The minute he had a chance to combine the three great loves of his life he'd jumped on it.

Literally.

They just had to get past this, him and Sam. Get through the memories and the awkward silences and Sam's complete and total inability to process his thoughts in his head instead of out loud.

If they could get through the next days and weeks then things would stabilize between them and they could truly put it in the past.

Hell, maybe one day they'd sit around with a few beers and laugh about it...

Dean raised one brow at his image.

Nah. probably not.

-666-

Sam was sitting up in his bed reading the local paper they'd picked up checking-in to the motel. He looked up a little nervously as Dean exited the bathroom and tossed his shaving kit and wallet onto the table.

"Uh, Dean," he began uncertainly.

"Sorry I snapped at you before," Dean said, striving for a light tone.

"You are?" Sam said, looking perplexed. He lowered the paper.

"Yeah." Dean draped his clothes over a chair back and checked the front door, tweaking the chain and making sure it was firmly locked. Then he checked the window, twitching the curtain back into place as morning sunlight lanced into the dim room. "I'm just tired, man."

"Yeah," Sam agreed. "Me too."

Dean pulled the covers back on his bed and sat down, studying his brother sitting cross legged on the covers. "Dude, we're on the same page here, right?" he said carefully.

Sam blinked at him, eyes thoughtful.

"I mean," Dean continued. "We both want the same thing here, don't we? To get things back to the way they were before all that happened?"

"Dean," Sam said carefully. "Man, I don't think things can ever be just the same as they were before."

Dean absorbed this. "Okay," he agreed, turning it over in his head. "But you know, right, that they can never be the way they were during. Right?"

And dammit if Sam wasn't looking away again, swallowing hard, clenching his hands around the paper. Come on, Sammy, Dean coaxed in his head. I know what you want, dude, but it's not gonna happen. Just let it go, Sam, just let it go.

"Yeah." Sam's agreement when it came was whisper soft, but there was a sincerity behind it that was like a shot of pure relief to Dean.

"Well, okay then," he said, much more cheerfully. "We can't go back but we can go forward. We just have to get through all this and out the other side. And like you said, we've gotten through worse, right?"

Sam frowned for a second or two longer and then relaxed into a lopsided smile. "Right."

"Right," Dean agreed. "Now I hafta sleep, man, my eyes will hardly stay open. You gonna catch some z's?"

"Yeah, I'll just finish the paper first," Sam said huskily, shaking it back out. "See if I can find us a new gig."

"Outstanding," Dean enthused, laying down and rolling onto his side. He knew he was being too enthusiastic, even knew he was being a bit cruel...

But...

But he also knew what Sam wanted, his little brother just wasn't that good at keeping things a secret from his big brother. He knew why Sam had allowed himself to be seduced even while thinking he was the one doing the seducing.

And he knew what Sam craved, because he craved exactly the same thing.

Dean had fallen in love with his brother while he had no memory, and it was fair to say that Sam had fallen hard right back.

Dean knew himself as a man who had lacked love his whole life. And he knew his brother as a man who had found love and lost it. And if he had not been in his right mind when he offered love to his brother, then Sam had certainly not been in his right mind when he offered his heart right back. Shattered by loneliness, trapped in a life he had rejected and yet could not seem to escape.

Isolated from everything normal and safe, what did he have to cling to but Dean?

It had been way too easy for both of them to cross that line.

It would be way too easy to give into this again.

But Dean was back in his right mind now, and as usual he was the one who had to be in charge. To see with his head, not just his heart.

It was his turn to do the right thing, to get them through this fire without it burning them up completely. Without it searing away everything that was special and important between them and leaving them nothing but ashes.

And Dean knew he was up to the job.

So he ignored the quiet sounds of Sam getting ready for bed, and clicking off the reading lamp, and settling down with a sigh. He ignored the ache in his chest and that damn taste still lingering in his mouth.

And he got on with the business of being a big brother.

-666-

"I think I found our next gig," Sam said, sipping on his coffee as if it were seven in the morning instead of nine at night.

Dean yawned until his jaw cracked, resting his head on his hand, elbow on the Formica table.

"Man, we gotta get back into that whole sleep when it's dark thing."

"Not any time soon, if I'm right about this." Sam spun the laptop around and Dean squinted at the page.

"Bear attacks plague Southeastern Wisconsin. Third time this year."

"Yeah, but check out the dates," Sam said, spinning the computer back so Dean couldn't even if his eyes had been completely focused. "We have a definite lunar cycle here."

Dean paused with the coffee cup half way to his lips. "Werewolf?"

Sam shrugged. "Could be."

"Cool."

-666-

The Impala was making good time down the interstate, Dean at the wheel while Sam studied a map they'd picked up at the last gas station, checking co-ordinates and marking them in pen.

Dean shot him a quick look. "You really think it's a werewolf?"

Sam took the pencil thin flashlight from his mouth and clicked it off. "Pattern fits."

"Remember your first?" Dean slanted him a grin and Sam laughed out loud.

"Do I. Twelve years old and my knees were knocking together."

"Dad left us to 'guard the car' while he tracked it." Dean made a disgusted face.

"Which meant: 'Dean, guard your little brother while I track it'," Sam decoded. "You were pissed off."

"I just wanted to be in on the hunt."

"Then the damn thing doubled back and Dad was behind it bellowing to us to get in the car and drive."

"And I was trying to drag you to the car and you were yelling that you weren't gonna leave Dad behind."

"Like he couldn't take care of himself," Sam chuckled. "And then the damn thing broke cover and you just drew right on it."

"Ugly sucker it was too," Dean recalled.

"And it's coming towards us and Dad's still yelling from the trees and you just waited and waited, man," Sam said, shaking his head. "I swear I could smell the stink of its breath. And then bam!"

"Right between its eyes," Dean said in satisfaction.

"And then Dad was there and he was yelling. And you had this big shit-eating grin on your face."

"And you were on the ground puking up your dinner all over the front wheel of the car," Dean reminded him with a big brother's keen memory.

Sam shook his head with a sigh. "Man, Dad was angry. But you remember, when we got back to the cabin?"

Dean's grin softened into a smile. "Yeah."

"He gave you your first beer."

Dean chuckled wickedly.

"Okay, what he thought was your first beer."

Dean still laughed, tongue out, evil personified.

"Okay," Sam laughed. "What he pretended to think was your first beer."

"My first official beer," Dean clarified.

"And he said you'd joined the select ranks. Those who've slain a werewolf. Said there were few who walked the earth."

Dean heaved a sigh and shook his head. "Man, good times."

Sam nodded agreement. "There were some good times," he granted.

"Back before you hit your terrible teens."

"You're just pissed about that growth spurt, dude."

"Freak."

"Shorty."

-666-

Sam took a sip of his beer and pointed at the map. "Here, this thing has killed three times within a four mile radius in the last three months. And always during a night of the full moon."

"I don't know, Sam," Dean said, frowning at the shaded area. "Wisconsin's full of werewolf stories. What if it's just some nutjob playing monsters?"

"Well, the beauty of a silver bullet is that it kills just as well as a regular bullet."

Dean raised his brows. "Sammy, Sammy, Sammy. You actually suggesting we end a person?"

Sam opened his laptop and clicked a link. A black and white picture of a smiling little girl, chubby brown cheeks creased in a brilliant smile, her hair in pigtails tied with huge bows.

"The second victim," Sam said grimly. "Laura Benton. Aged 9."

Dean studied the happy little face, jaw tightening. "Point taken."

Sam sighed and clicked the laptop closed. "Sometimes a monster is a monster."

"Yeah."

They sat in silence for a few minutes as life in the bar went on around them. A song ended on the juke box and another began and on cue both brothers turned to each other and groaned.

"Oh no." Dean rolled his eyes. "If I never hear this song again I will die a happy man."

"Dad wore this album out," Sam agreed. "I swear to god I heard it in my sleep for months afterwards. To this day I can't hear The Eagles without thinking about laying in the back seat of the Chevy, staring up at the stars as we drove through the night."

A long legged redhead strolled by and gave him a wink and Dean's attention was caught as she headed for the bar.

"I've always wondered what there was about this song," Sam mused, oblivious to his brother's wandering attention. "That had Dad so hooked on it. Maybe some good memory..."

"Hmm," Dean managed, eyes following the redhead's progress as she leaned back against the bar. She shot him a quick look from under her lashes and he grinned. Gotcha.

Sam's silence caught his attention and he turned back to face him, but Sam wasn't looking at him. He was staring down at the bottle he held in both hands, studying the label as if there was going to be a test on it tomorrow. His cheeks were pale as bone.

Dean flicked another look over at the redhead who was now staring at him blatantly, running one finger around the rim of her glass.

Dean huffed a sigh. She was a stunner and he was probably onto a sure thing. Any other night of his life he would be over there already, laying on the charm and the lies with a shovel.

But it wasn't any other night - it was tonight. And Sam was sitting opposite him looking as if his dog had been run over.

"Hey," Dean said, kicking him casually under the table.

"Ouch," said Sam, glaring up at him.

Dean nodded to the pool tables over in the corner. "Wanna play?"

Sam frowned quizzically, looking from Dean to the bar and then back again. "What? You and me?"

"No, me and the Wisconsin Werewolf," Dean quipped. "Come on, Sam, you can't be completely rusty."

"I can still play you under the table," Sam said, a slow grin dawning.

"Ooh hoo, them's fighting words," Dean drawled, draining his bottle. "You go see if you can get us a table, I'll go get us another couple of beers."

Sam stood, darting an uneasy glance at the bar but Dean just grinned and headed over, dodging customers as he deposited the empties and signaled the bartender for two more.

"Thought you'd never get here," the redhead said, her strong perfume hitting him before her words did. He took a deep breath and turned a lascivious grin on her.

"So it's true what they say. Wisconsin girls are the most beautiful in the US of A."

"That line work for you often?" she smirked and Dean blinked innocently at her, enjoying the interplay, as familiar to him as breathing. His beers arrived and he handed over a bill, waving away the change.

"Sweetheart, a girl like you must have heard every line I have," he said regretfully, collecting his bottles off the bar. "And believe me I'd like nothing more than to try each and every one on you."

"But?" she drawled.

He shrugged and pushed away from the bar. "But tonight I'm on a mission of mercy. Gotta take care of my little brother, he's in a bad way." Dean nodded vaguely to the pool tables. Sam was racking up, long lanky body leaning over the table, shooting glances over at the bar.

Redhead made a moue of disappointment. "Somebody broke his heart?"

Dean tilted his head. "You know what? Someone did. A real looker too. But, between you and me, not nearly good enough for him. Ciao."

"Maybe another time," she called and he winked over his shoulder.

"Count on it."

"Took you long enough," Sam greeted him, holding out his hand for his beer.

"You're welcome," Dean said pointedly. "Now, wanna toss to see who breaks?"

-666-

Sam was out of practice but it all came back to him pretty quickly, by the last game in the best out of three Dean was struggling to win. He gained a round of applause when he sunk his last ball and mugged for the crowd, sensing a couple of suckers were eager to lay their money down. Two hours later the Winchester boys were over three hundred dollars ahead and looking to call it a night.

"Bout time you earned your keep," Dean joked as they walked the two blocks back to the motel.

"It all came back to me pretty quickly," Sam mused. "I used to play a game or two for spare change when I first got to college. Then I picked up some part time work in a book store."

He trailed off, reticent as ever about those years and Dean didn't push. Truth was he really didn't want to know.

It was a fine night, the moon only a day away from full provided plenty of illumination and a warm breeze blew stray papers up the street ahead of them. Dean took a deep breath and stopped, idly leaning back against a tree, enjoying the dappled patterns the moonlight made on his skin, ephemeral tattoos, shifting and squirming as he flexed his fingers.

He had to push things a little now and he wasn't looking forward to it.

"You know, Sammy. We should talk."

Sam's huff of laughter had an uneasy edge to it. "That'd make a change. I'm usually the one who wants to talk and you're telling me to clam up."

"Believe me, I'd rather avoid this conversation," Dean said fervently.

"Sounds ominous." Sam leaned back against a street sign, all long legs and arms. It still took Dean by surprise sometimes, the adult masculine grace that Sam had grown into. At eighteen his brother had been all movement and energy, sharp young bones, smooth skin stretched over them.

The intervening years had banished the boy forever but Dean sometimes still looked up and expected to see him.

"I think I need some sort of timetable here, Sam," Dean said, trying for lightness. "I need to know where I stand."

"What do you mean?" Sam's voice was low.

"You know what I mean," Dean said relentlessly. He bit his lip for a moment, torn between letting this go or pushing that bit harder. He shook his head and pushed it. "I need to know, man. When I can look a pretty girl without you breaking your heart over it."

"Screw you," Sam burst out, pushing himself away from the lamp post.

"When I can flirt with a pretty girl without you looking like I'm cheating on you, Sam." Dean tensed as Sam stepped towards him, fists clenched. Adolescence had taught him that Sam wasn't above firing off a mean punch when pushed too far.

"When I can take some pretty girl home without you-"

"Shut the fuck up!" Sam bellowed and Dean shut up. He'd pushed far enough for now. "Is that what this is about, Dean?" Sam demanded, voice hoarse. "Another one night stand? Another notch in your bed post? Well, what the hell are you waiting for? Don't let me stop you."

"Maybe I won't," Dean shot back, feeling his own temper fray. Jesus, you think he'd get a little credit here for trying to do the right thing.

Sam took another step forward but Dean held his ground, chin lifting to stare into his brother's fierce face. One big hand lifted but all Sam did was hold his hand out.

"Keys?"

Dean clenched his jaw, feeling a pulse of anger beating in his brow. "Don't wait up," he gritted out, digging in his jacket for the keys and slapping them into Sam's hand. A moment's fleeting contact with chilled skin and Sam was stepping back, out of the dappled shadows into the darkness, the moon's light bleaching his skin to ash.

And just for a moment the anger in his eyes died and his jaw clenched and his mouth quivered, and Dean thought that maybe he'd pushed a little too far.

But Sam just spun on his heel and continued on down the street without another word.

-666-

Dean didn't go back to the bar they'd just left, his feet were too restless to sit and he walked instead, passing another brightly lit pub before spotting a small dive further down the block. It was quieter inside, less raucous music and laughing people, more serious drinkers set for the business of getting plastered before stumbling home to whatever awaited them.

And all he had waiting for him was six foot four of glowering brother, Dean thought morosely, throwing back his drink and signaling for another. Had he just been marveling at how much Sam had grown up? Well, scratch all that, he was the same little brat he'd always been. All his life he'd been the baby, the favorite, the cosseted one. All his life he'd been happy to let Dean take care of him, cover for him, wipe his snot nose and button his stupid coat.

And now here his big brother was, trying to do the right thing, trying to fix the mess that Sam had blithely let them waltz into, and what thanks did he get? Insults. A complete lack of understanding.

If it was up to Sam they'd be back in that motel room right now, playing smoochy kissy face. Never mind tomorrow, damn the long term consequences to them as brothers. They'd be back there in that cozy little room. Kissing. Touching.

Dean lowered the drink he was lifting to his lips as memory took him.

Rolling over on the bed, leaning over Sam. Kissing his lips at last, stroking those shoulders, that long supple throat, down the muscled strength of those arms. Sam underneath him, moaning, squirming, and who would ever have guessed he'd light up so fast? Move just exactly the right way? Fit against his big brother so damn well.

Liquid spilled over his fingers and Dean looked down at his shaking hand, expensive whiskey dripping down the side of the glass onto the scarred bar.

Damn. That was still all too real and too damn close. He should have just ignored Sam and taken that redhead up on her offer. He could be hip deep into her right now, savoring all that pale flesh. Purging himself of this pulsing need.

But he couldn't find the desire to make his way back to the bar, and besides, she was probably well and truly hooked up by now.

And... he couldn't really work up the desire for her either, right now. It wasn't soft feminine flesh he was craving, but the bruising touch of large strong hands, sliding down his rib cage, holding his hips, bucking up into his stroke.

And it wasn't just any masculine hands either. Dammit, Sam. Why does it have to be you I want?

Except he knew why, didn't he? Just because he wasn't giving in to this ache didn't make it any less real. All that love that should have been washed away when being Sam's brother had rushed back in. It was all still there. And it hurt like hell.

Quiet sounds in the corner caught his attention and he tilted his head and watched four men sitting around a table, one shuffling a deck of cards expertly, then rapidly dealing them.

"Looking for a game?" the dealer called over, seeing Dean's eye on them.

Dean looked down at his spilled drink then shot them another glance. "I warn you. I'm not in a losing mood."

-666-

Two in the morning and Dean closed and locked the motel door behind him. The room was dark and still, but he knew instantly that Sam was awake. Years of sharing a room and he knew his brother's breathing patterns intimately. Dean stripped to his boxers and t-shirt before climbing into bed with a sigh.

He should just go to sleep. He knew it.

Silence echoed against the ticking of a wall clock, and still Sam's breathing didn't change. Dean closed his eyes and willed himself to sleep.

Dammit.

"I won four hundred bucks," he said quietly, to the room.

Silence.

"Playing poker."

Silence.

Dammit.

"That's all I was doing. Just playing poker."

A rustle of bed linens as Sam turned, and Dean's eyes, adjusted to the dark, saw his brother's eyes were open, a dark crystal glimmer. Looking across at him over the space between their beds.

Dean sighed. "Go to sleep, Sam," he said, before turning over and facing away.

End of Part One.