A/N: SO sorry for the wait, I've been incredibly busy with my return to non-holiday schedule and all. Another huge round of applause to all who reviewed, it means a lot!
Warnings: Slash, but it's so slow and light you can probably only see it if you squint. Vampires, violence, blood, foul language and booze.
"OW! FUCK…son of a…agh…"
Dean immediately jerked away, reeling, hands flying to the side of his head. Sam blinked. His hands, suspended in mid-air in front of him and grasping two fractured shards of china (RIP lamp), shook ever so slightly.
He stared as, in the half light, Dean drew his hand away from his head, wincing, a perfectly straight cut stretching from his temple to his left eye. Crimson welled and spilled over the torn skin, and what he had just done was suddenly driven home to him with resounding clarity.
"Oh my God, I am so sorry!" He blurted, flinging his long legs over the edge of the bed and standing, the better to see the wound "You're not bleeding are you?" Dumb question, his mind sniped at him, and was ignored "Can you see? Oh God…"
What if he had blinded the guy or something? Shit. Okay, so he had broken in and invaded Sam's personal space, but that was no reason to act like a freaking maniac! In fact, he was surprised at himself. He was usually better in situations like this. Hell, he'd dealt with them his whole life, why did he lose it now?
Because, a little voice whispered in his ear, because he's like nothing you've ever come across before; because you're afraid, of this place and of this life and of him. Sam felt the hair on the back of his neck stand on end, goose bumps rising up his bare arms. He shivered.
Meanwhile, Dean was busy nursing his bruised ego (not to mention head) blissfully unaware of Sam's inner crisis. As far as he was concerned, he had politely greeted a fellow tenant in his unique (in other words, downright vulgar) manner, and was rewarded with a lamp to the head.
Understandably, he was not a happy chappy at this precise moment in time.
"I think you broke my freakin' skull!" He groused, pouting, and Sam tore his eyes away from the cut to look at his feet, wringing his hands in front of him nervously. Despite all the weight the world had placed on him, in his heart of hearts he was a gentle soul; he never would want to hurt anyone.
That didn't mean to say he hadn't, though. Nor that he wouldn't ever again.
"I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me…you just…and I…" He trailed off, shoulders slumping, eyes averted. Dean blinked, raised an eyebrow, and looked his would-be assailant over with the aid of the moonlight spilling through the curtainless window.
The kid was…he frowned, surprised to find difficulty to express this stranger in words. Quite tall. Thin, a little on the gangly side, but with a good build on the whole. His dark brown hair, tousled from sleep, seemed to spill itself artistically around the boy's head like it had a life of its own. A symmetrical face; awesome cheekbones, cute nose.
"Do you greet everyone you meet like this?" Dean asked, tone dripping with attitude, mouth on autopilot as he continued to study the kid intently "Cause I gotta say, you must be mighty unpopular with the general public if you do…"
Had it not been for the eyes, Dean would have dismissed the boy as your average, everyday jailbait material. Deep brown; projecting guilt and sorrow and something inescapably complex. Guarded. Broken, yet sturdy. He seemed all at once to be both chaos and order drawn together in a confused tangle.
And Dean couldn't read him. He didn't understand this boy at all. Catching Dean in the head precisely where it would hurt the most like a pro, then going all jittery over it? It was like the kid himself didn't know who he was.
Slowly, his lips rose in a lopsided smile. Interesting. Very interesting.
Sam's attention, meanwhile, had drifted elsewhere. Staring down at the mess of china on the floor, his face fell. Fuck it. Fuck it ALL. Why did nothing in his life ever stay whole for long?
"That was the only lamp, too…" He said, sadly, feeling disturbingly cut up about this loss. He would have to manage in semi-darkness for a while unless he could find some kind of furniture shop, and pronto.
"Hey! Oi!" Snapping fingers appeared before his downcast eyes, and he blinked, wrinkling his nose as his mourning was abruptly interrupted "'Scuse me? Focusing back on the dude you nearly CONCUSSED here!"
Dean was clearly affronted that his new playmate had decided the immediate death of a lamp he had met mere hours before was more important than HIM…than DEAN, the one, the only, the almighty!
"I'm sorry…" Sam repeated, gazing at the blood trickling down Dean's face with an oddly mesmerised expression. Feeling suddenly self-conscious, Dean reached over and patted the traumatised kid on the cheek, grinning so widely it lit up the room.
For some reason…he didn't want to see that look in the kid's eyes.
He couldn't do this again. Fuck. Fuck, fuck, FUCK. No, no, no, no, NO. He had made this mistake before; shit, he had watched the corpse being taken away just this morning. He'd only just got back from dulling the pain with lust and alcohol. No. He wouldn't do this again. Keep cold. Keep a distance. Don't get attached.
"Geez, if your face droops any more it'll fall right off. And that'd be a downright shame." The kid blinked, confusion filling his kind face, making it shine. How the hell did he end up here? "Brighten up, cheeks, I'll live."
Sam was thoroughly bemused by this guy; what was he, some kind of retired actor, or something? He slid with ease from wounded, to smug, to encouraging to snide to…well, he couldn't list them all. The dude was like some kind of chameleon. Smoke and mirrors, party tricks.
He didn't know what he was thinking; standing here, having something close to a conversation with a guy who had pentagrams carved into his front door. He felt a cold slither of fear pierce his gut, and rubbed his arm absently.
"Oh." He muttered, at a sudden loss for words "Good. That's good." And it was. He was genuinely glad this guy was okay. But now, he wanted him to get the hell out of his apartment. He needed time to gather his thoughts, collect himself back up from the mess he had made in the panic of the past few minutes. It had been years since he had felt so powerless.
"Um…what are you doing in my apartment?"
Dean shrugged, rolling his shoulders slowly, the exposed skin of his collarbone deepening into two twin hollows and then stretching again. Sam shook his head. He felt light-headed, dizzy. Sleepy. The air was filled with a sweet yet sharp smell which was filling his senses, lulling them sensually and automatically relaxing his fraught nerves. It felt good; his brain felt dull. He wanted to sleep for a month, maybe more.
"Like I said, kiddet, I was curious. That ain't illegal."
Arrogant prick the little voice muttered grumpily, but Sam ignored it, running a still shaky hand over his forehead, then pinching the bridge of his nose and letting out a long, slow breath.
"No, but breaking and entering is. How on earth did you get in here?"
There was a long pause; Dean tilted his head to the side, his spiky hair casting needle-like shadows across his carved features.
"I could ask you the same question."
"Huh?" He said, thickly, his tongue feeling heavy and clumsy in his mouth. Maybe he was sick. Coming down with something. The room was cold, yet heat seemed to radiate from Dean like the heart of a fire.
"Never mind. So. You my new upsie?" Dean enquired, rubbing his hands together and glancing excitedly around the apartment like a little kid on Christmas morning. Sam frowned.
"Upsie?" He repeated, quietly, wondering why he was even going along with this less than ordinary conversation. Dean rolled his eyes as though Sam was stupid, and gestured with his fingers as he explained.
"Person in here is upsie," He jerked a forefinger up, stabbing the air "and that dry git below me is downsie." He jerked his other forefinger down, towards the floor "Savvy?"
"You're weird." Sam said suddenly, then sniffed the air, catching the scent of alcohol and copper and that sweet scent again "And you smell like crap. Have you been drinking?"
Dean laughed raucously at the accusation, retrieved a small, engraved metal flask from the inside of his jacket and toasted Sam before chugging enthusiastically.
"Can't remember a time when I haven't, to be honest, cheeks. So…"
He tucked the flask away, then without warning vaulted over the metal railing of the bed and threw himself down onto the creaking mattress. Stunned, Sam could only stare as Dean wriggled and placed his hands behind his head, sighed contentedly, then looked expectantly up at him.
"What are you even doing here, little white picket fence? You look like you'd belong in some uptown fancy college or something."
Wrong, Sam thought darkly.
"I don't." He snapped, folding his arms defensively across his chest. Dean looked hard at him, his grin faltering just slightly.
"Don't what?" He asked. Sam turned away, closing his eyes, welcoming the blessed solitude the darkness behind his eyelids brought.
"I don't belong there." He muttered, softly, tone impassive. For what felt like hours, there was nothing but darkness and silence, before Dean's expressive voice cut the quiet like a knife.
"Then where do you belong?"
There was something hidden in that question. Some small hint of…understanding? No. Nobody understood. Nobody could possibly understand him. Ever. And he didn't need some egoistic psycho to pity him.
"Don't know. Hopefully here, but that's-"
He felt a wave of unexpected anger, and whirled on his intruder, hands balling into fists at his side.
"Wait, why am I even talking to you? That woman – I mean Jill, said…ugh. Well. Anyway, kindly get out."
Dean didn't even blink.
"No." He said idly, simply, eying the nails of his left hand with disdain. Sam deflated, opened his mouth, closed it, then spluttered out:
Dean leapt from the bed, stretched languidly like a cat, and looked around the apartment, eyes falling on the suitcase partly concealed beneath the bed.
"I figured I'd have a poke around, then leave you to your basking. You got any clothes or bits and bobs or anything?"
Sam stood still for a few minutes while Dean 'poked around', eying the bloodstain on the carpet and the broken lamp and the jacket Sam had left hanging over the back of the couch. Disturbingly, Dean seemed to be sniffing the place, but Sam was already almost accepting towards his fellow tenant's oddities.
"The landlady said you had something to do with the last tenant. Henry."
Dean froze rigid. All warmth seemed to drain from the air, and Sam found it suddenly difficult to draw breath. He realised, too late, that he had said the wrong thing. His lungs burned, the dizzy spell returning, cold flooding his veins like ice. He swayed, grabbed the iron bed knob to keep himself from falling.
"That bitch whore. Shit. Should'a known…man." Dean whispered, the words sounding hazy to Sam "This sucks outta hell."
Suddenly, Dean's face was right in front of his own, so close Sam could feel the skin of his face prickle and burn from the sting of his breath. The intensity of Dean's presence was overbearing, claustrophobic. The pressure increased in his chest.
"Oh, cheeks?" Dean said softly, too softly, menace filling his tone "Don't ever mention him again. Ever. Or you'll wake up the next morning with your tonsils rammed down your throat. Clear?"
Dark spots were filling his vision, his eyes drooping, his nose and mouth filled with that sickly sweet smell. Dean's face slid in and out of focus, the malice in them suddenly fading to vague concern.
Sam wasn't aware his legs had given way until two strong hands gripped his arms, holding him upright. His head lolled forward.
Coarse fingers grabbed his chin, forced him to look up, and he gasped as a sharp pain in his head sent his senses reeling. The pressure was slowly dwindling as he clung to the reality of Dean's golden-green eyes. Pretty. A pretty colour, he thought, then groaned. He must be going mad.
"Hey, spacey! Wakey wakey time. C'mon, I wasn't serious. Well…maybe a bit." There was a pause, as Sam drew deep, cool, gulping breaths "Cheeks?"
"Sam." He gasped out through gritted teeth, gathering strength in his legs and leaning against the wall, pulling his arms away from Dean's grip.
"Huh?" Dean blinked in confusion, an odd reversal of roles, and Sam pushed him away as he stood unsteadily.
"Sam. It's Sam."
Dean looked him over, as though committing what had transpired to memory in order to peruse it later. His eyes had darkened, not suspicious, just curious.
"Sam…?" He asked, inquiringly, clearly expecting the courtesy of a surname to boot. Sam snorted derisively.
Dean folded his arms and shifted his weight lopsidedly, that grin flaring back to life with an intensity that was practically blinding. Sam was horrified to find that he had almost missed it.
"Well 'Just Sam', I am the almighty, the infamous, the bombastic Dean. And you'd better get used to me."
Sam rolled his eyes. This whole place was crazy. Completely, utterly, loony-bin crazy. And worst of all, he liked it. He felt more at home than ever before.
"Like that'll happen anytime soon." He muttered, then looked Dean over suspiciously "So you're not a serial killer."
Dean grinned all the wider at his bluntness.
"Nope!" He said, cheerfully, rocking back and forth on his heels.
"Or a rapist?"
"Hell no, I have standards."
Not sure whether he had been insulted or not, Sam decided to let that comment pass "Could've fooled me. And I am not going to be strangled in my bed?"
Dean shoved his hands into his pockets, shifting his weight again.
"Not unless you piss me off, cheeks." He said, as though addressing the state of the weather. Strangely, Sam did not feel at all threatened by him. Confused, yes. Wary, hell yes. But he knew, somehow, Dean wasn't going to hurt him.
"Is that likely?" He asked, and Dean laughed, as though Sam had said something silly.
"Not really. You're not the kind of person who could piss me off. Ever. I doubt you could intimidate a lethargic, constipated snail."
Now absolutely positive that he had been insulted, Sam considered objecting when a wave of exhaustion overtook him. Fuck, but he was tired. All this confrontation was wearing him thin.
"Can I go back to sleep now?" He said, rubbing his eyes, and something softened in Dean's face.
"Sure thing, cheeks. I'll see ya bright and early and chipper."
He turned energetically on his heel and strode to the door, humming a quiet tune as he went. Dumbfounded by his intruder's sudden obedience, Sam felt more than a little put out. Then, what Dean had said registered. I'll see ya?
"Wait…what?" He said, dreading the explanation to come. Dean leant against the doorway, regarding Sam with an unreadable look, that damned smirk still firmly in place.
"I like you. You're interesting." He said, more to himself than to Sam "I'll take ya on a tour of the town tomorrow, all expenses paid! I'll be here at nine."
"But-" Sam protested, but Dean had already whirled out of the door and almost out of sight, a single hand waving a gratingly exuberant farewell.
"Sayanara, cheek-chan!" He called, before his footsteps faded from the hallway and Sam heard Dean leaping down the stairs. A door slammed below him. Silence.
"What the hell just happened?"
Sam exclaimed to the room at large, but received no answer. Groaning, he flopped back onto the bed, head pounding and his entire body aching with fatigue which ran deeper than physical pain. But somehow, he felt elated. Even optimistic.
With Dean around, life in this place wouldn't ever be boring, of that he was certain. Not in the slightest. Despite himself, the guy intrigued him. More than anyone had ever done so in his whole life. He supposed that was a good thing. All things considered, it might turn out all right in the end. God, he hoped so.
A/N: 'Sayanara' means 'goodbye' in Japanese, and the honorific 'chan' is used in Japan as an expression of endearment. Naughty Dean!
Sorry again for the wait. Thanks for reading! Please review, feedback makes the world go round.