Summary: Because Sam was his fire, one that didn't kill and burn away life, but instead gave him reason and strength to live.
Beta: Kaija West
Author's Note: This is a birthday fic for my very good friend amcw177.
Life was about metaphors, about coincidences that felt too much like purpose and the darkness that was out to get you. That was what Dean believed in and every time he stared into a fire fuelled by the latest evil thing he had put down, he knew he was right. It was the very fact that what once had been a tool in his mother's death, in the continuing destruction of his family, was so often now his own weapon for getting revenge piece by piece; revenge by substitute until they caught the bastard who really was responsible for the damage to their family.
He stared into the fire, watched the flames eat away at the ghoul that had haunted the little cemetery of River Grove, IL, and Dean felt no fear, he got no nightmarish visions of women suspended on ceilings, with their bellies slashed open, bleeding and veiled by a hellish blaze. A small part of him counted his blessings that he hadn't actually seen his mother's last moments, or that he had only gotten a glimpse of Jess before he had focused all his attention on Sammy and the task of getting him out of the burning house, to safety. He had enough stuff for nightmares at it was, Dean really didn't needed those images to add to the growing pile.
No, what Dean got instead, while watching the play of flames, was the feeling of rightness. With the heat seeping into his bones, touching him at his core he knew that he was on the right path. You fight fire with fire. The demon might have taken his mother, his father even in some way, and also Sam's girlfriend and future with the woman he had wanted to marry, but every time a Winchester killed a creature of the night the monsters' reign of terror grew a bit weaker. For every monster they stopped humans kept living, children got a chance to grow up and fears kept away. Small victories that counted and added up with time and for Dean it meant strength and the needed proof that he was doing the right thing, that it wasn't for nothing.
The soft crunch of dry leaves breaking under heavy footsteps alerted him to a presence coming up behind him. But Dean didn't need to turn around to know that it was Sam being intentionally obvious so not to tick his older brother off so soon after a hunt when traces of adrenaline were still coursing through both their blood. You don't just drop your guard only because the visible enemy was taken care off; John had taught them never to expect anything to be easy or over before a job was done and you were back at the motel, behind salt lines and protective runes, and even then a piece of you had to stay alert.
Sam and Dean had a weird teamwork down pat of who would sleep and shut down for a spell and who would only rest superficially while listening for any sounds that didn't belong. It also extended to a deep awareness of each other, their presence, their moods and their level of exhaustion. They might lie to each other with words but only because both would know the truth without having to say it out loud. For them it was about keeping up pretences and not giving power to things by spelling it out. It made for one fucked up relationship between them but it also worked and that was what really counted; nothing wrong with a good fight now and then to let go of built up tension or with silence stretching between them when words were just not necessary.
When Sam had reached him the fire was already dying down and nothing recognizable was left of the ghoul. Dean pushed dirt over with his feet to exhaust the last flames and to cover the remains, not wanting to leave too obvious a sign that something out of the ordinary had been going on.
"Let's go." Sparing his brother only a fleeting glance, Dean started towards the Impala. He was dirty, he smelled and all he cared for now was a hot shower, something to eat and maybe a blow job from Sam if his brother felt gracious enough. If not, a hand job under the shower would do, too, maybe not as nice and lasting but not to be frowned upon either, Dean was easy to please after all.
Music coming from the Impala's cassette tape – Dean enjoyed the subliminal feeling that came from playing George Thorogood on low volume - filled the quiet in the car as both brothers were occupied with their own thoughts, neither one quite feeling up to holding a conversation no matter how mundane. It was a short trip since this was a small town with not much of a selection of possible accommodations for the brothers. But the motel was decent enough, their room the last of the row, as they preferred it and even with room next door being unoccupied.
When he slipped out of the car Dean noticed how Sam grabbed for something lying on the backseat but he didn't think twice about it, instead he headed straight for their room and the hot shower he could already picture in his mind. Through the door, a quick glance over the shoulder to make sure Sam was following, jacket downed, shoes left by the bed and Dean was in the bathroom already turning on the water, giving it time to warm up as he got rid of the rest of his clothes. Having spent most of his life on the road, Dean had early on learned to enjoy the small pleasures life had to offer and when the hot water cascaded down on him he didn't even try to suppress a moan at the almost orgasmic sensation when tense muscles started to relax.
Still he kept the shower short, not wanting to use up all the hot water because, despite popular belief, he wasn't that much of an asshole, not tonight. When he stepped out of the bathroom with only a towel draped around his hips, Dean found his brother sitting cross-legged on the left bed with an unfamiliar bottle in one hand and a glass in the other. Dean didn't say anything just raised an eyebrow in question and demand of an answer.
"You know, Mrs. Jenkins…"
"The old lady who was beating quite firmly on a ghoul with her umbrella when we arrived at the cemetery? The same one you offered to drive home while I took care of the ghoul's remains?"
"Yes, as I was saying, Mrs Jenkins" and Sam hesitated again, which wasn't at all like him, Dean thought, "she insisted on giving us a thank you of sorts. I plain out refused any money!" Dean refrained from pointing out that they could use some money, really, it wasn't like Sam didn't know that already. "But then she came up with this bottle of chocolate cream and she looked so grateful for us having helped her and I really didn't want to disappoint her then by saying no again." Now Sam looked like a kicked puppy himself and Dean wanted to tell him to can the act but, damn, he fell for those big eyes every time, it was embarrassing.
"Sammy, didn't you listen when Dad, and I, told you not to take candy from strangers?" Dean said mockingly.
"Hm, maybe later. But really, Sam, chocolate cream?" Dean looked up from where he was ruffling through his duffle bag in search of clean clothes, to smirk at Sam.
"Better than candy. Dean, this is rich Belgian chocolate mixed with vodka. Don't tell me you could have said no to that offer."
"Yes, I could have. Now if she had offered me a bottle pure Smirnoff instead…"
"Oh, don't dismiss it, you haven't tried it."
"Dude, what is it with you being so demanding, did you get hooked to the stuff already? You sure she hasn't mixed anything wicked into it?" While it was meant as a joke, Dean couldn't keep a hint of real concern from creeping into his voice. They had encountered too much weird shit already to not at least see it as a possibility.
Instead of giving a reply, Sam grabbed the bottle around the neck and took a swig from it before he got up. In two long strides Sam was by his brother's side, grabbing Dean's chin with two fingers and a thumb, turning his face towards him before diving in for a slow and deep kiss.
Dean knew that Sam loved kissing him because his full lips were made for kissing like many girls' weren't necessarily, or so he had been told. That Dean knew how to kiss wasn't bad either. There had been moments in time spent lying in bed next to each other just kissing, alternating between styles and tempo, exploring and marking their territories.
Now Sam coaxed Dean to part his lips with slow licks at them, at the crack between them, adding light pressure to the obvious demand.
Dean was happy to oblige, opening himself to Sam, letting the tongue in and greeting it with his own. Taste was exploding in his mouth, the heavy sweetness of rich chocolate, the slight burning of vodka and what was uniquely Sam, a taste Dean couldn't pin down to just one or two flavours but a myriad of impressions which would always add up to 'Sam' in Dean's mind. If only they could bottle that – Dean would spend his last cent on it, as he was already addicted worse than any heroine junky could be.
He had to admit, served like this he could come to enjoy chocolate cream, could begin to love it even. But just as easily, he could just get drunk on Sammy's kisses alone. Sam, who had his right hand buried in Dean's hair by now, keeping him in place as if Dean had any intentions of going anywhere – but maybe down on his knees.
There was fire in this, too. Because Sam did everything with a burning determination behind his actions, no matter if he fought, fucked or just kissed. Because Dean could feel something spark deep inside him whenever he and Sam touched, he could feel his own flame of life feed on Sam's closeness, growing stronger, ready to withstand any storm coming at them.
While only moments ago Dean had been too beaten to do anything but the basic tasks – or get Sammy to do them – he now felt fully energized and ready for more than just a some kissing, much more in fact.
Taking a step forward he forced Sam to back up towards the bed again until his knees hit the edge and all it took was a light shove from Dean – and willingness on Sam's part – to topple them over onto the covers.
He stopped himself from crushing his little brother with his own body by putting a hand on either side of Sam's head and paused for a moment just to look at him. Of course he had plenty of time every day to watch his brother, his every move even. But there was something different about the way Sammy looked in moments like this. Hair tussled, eyes glowing with a mix of mischief and passion, lips slightly parted to allow himself to suck in the much needed cool air and blow his hot breath – sweetened with the smell of chocolate and alcohol – against Dean's face, Adam's apple bobbing up and down with every deep swallow and sweat glistering on his upper lip and hairline. Dean couldn't resist leaning in to lick away the moisture , just teasing with the tip of his tongue along the soft skin and slight stubble.
Shifting his weight, his left forearm pressed into the covers, Dean freed one hand to explore the features of Sammy's face with his fingertips. This was like a religious ritual to him, memorizing every part of the man he loved by any means possible. He would stroke along the check bones, the height of his forehead, down his noise and the valley leading to those delicious lips.
And he let his own lips follow where is fingertips had been before, the same trail down until his mouth reached Sam's.
When they kissed it always felt like the first time to Dean, no sign of routine or old familiarity even starting to set in. There was always that flutter in the pit of his stomach, the need to take as much of it in as he could, the wish that he could stop time and make this moment last forever, where no problems and no dangers existed, only the two of them and the rightness of the kiss they shared.
Dean didn't know if Sam felt the same way, because this wasn't something you talk about. This wasn't anything Dean could talk about. But he had Sam, had him here and now, beneath him, in his arms, in easy reach, always in his sight and that was enough for him.
That had always been enough for him – to have Sam. Because Sam was his fire, one that didn't kill and burn away life, but instead gave him reason and strength to live.
Even if Dean wasn't aware of it, couldn't dare to believe it, it was the same for Sam. Dean hadn't just carried him away from the burning flames two times, saving his life. Dean had saved his sanity, had glued him back together whenever Sam had broken down, had held him when Sam had been torn apart by guilt and shame and sadness. Dean had warmed him when Sam had felt so cold and lonely. Sam touched Dean and he could feel their connection growing to something almost tangible.
Once he had run from this. When it had been too much and Sam too young to understand, let alone to deal with what he was feeling and experiencing with his older brother. It had scared him half to death with its intensity. But time had taught him many lessons and the most important for him had been that nothing in the world meant more to him than Dean. There was nothing that could compare to the relationship he had with Dean.
There were still things they didn't talk about, issues that hadn't been worked out yet. They weren't perfect and there was no sense in trying to be. But they dealt with it, they lived and fought and survived and together they were strong. Stronger than faith.
Definitely stronger than the darkness that was trying to consume them.