Title: Curvature of the Earth
Character/Pairing/s: DeanxCas, SamxPainandSuffering
Warnings/Spoilers: Through Season 5 I suppose. Probably some questionable characterization but hey I'm learning.
Word Count: 2,705
Summary: The one where Dean doesn't have a gay crisis because Sam has it for him.
Dedication: This is a very late birthday fic for myxstorie. VERY LATE. I have been waffling over what to write you for a long ass time now. I hope this was not the wrong choice? The other option was BTR being haunted by possessed stuffy puppies. What.
A/N: IDEK, this is seriously the only thing I did today besides watch Vampires Suck.
Disclaimer: No harm or infringement intended.
It's Sam's fault.
Indirectly maybe, unintentionally maybe, but it's still his fault.
That's just how Sam rolls clearly, both in causing Apocalypses and in kicking Dean's strictly heterosexual lifestyle right in the face. He doesn't mean for it to happen, but it kind of just does.
Now that Sam thinks about it, he accidentally brings about the end of things that way a lot. It probably isn't healthy. He should probably try to stop.
This time what sets everything off is a grumpy, off-handed comment he makes upon finding Dean and Castiel eating breakfast together all comfy-like at a rundown Denny's in Ohio one morning, while they're waiting for him to join them in the land of the living.
"Took you long enough, Samantha," Dean says by way of greeting, speaking messily over a mouthful of greasy sausage and even greasier home fries as Sam groggily lumbers into the diner. Sam takes one look at the oil dribbling down the corner of Dean's mouth and decides that his brother is pure class. No wonder his livejournal community has so many more members than everyone else's except for Cas.
Dean keeps talking. There's sausage bits stuck in his front teeth. Sam counts four and decides not to tell him about them. "I was beginning to think you'd forgotten everything I ever taught you about stranger danger and you let some perv with a white van give you the candy he keeps in his pants for good little girls on special occasions. Was worried we'd have to stop the hunt and go downtown to put out an Amber Alert."
"Amber alert?" Castiel looks curiously at Dean while the angel automatically pushes the plate of fruit salad and multigrain pancakes he'd ordered for Sam towards him. Sam grunts in thanks because Castiel is awesome and could do so much better than Dean if only he could break this vicious cycle of codependency and breakfast foods.
"Kidnapping," Dean explains to Castiel in the meantime, with a circular motion of his fork in the air. "It's what we call them when they involve minors."
Castiel nods, Dean smiles back at him, and Sam answers, "Sorry to worry you like that, mom and dad, but golly, I just really wanted to let you two have some alone time on your big six month anniversary so that maybe you'd stop making doe eyes at each other the whole time I'm trying to eat."
Not his best, but not bad for before he's had his coffee. He drinks some coffee.
In the meantime, Castiel just blinks at him in confusion, and now that there is coffee in his system, Sam feels up to explaining. "Longing looks, Cas. There aren't actual deer eyes involved."
Castiel hmmms softly in the back of his throat, but seems to get it. He quietly sits back and drinks his coffee (because apparently he likes coffee), eyes still trained magnetically on Dean.
Sam digs into his fruit then, making a stink face at the chemical taste of under ripe cantaloupe when it hits his tongue and completely missing the weird look Dean gives him, for accidentally changing everything about Dean's world as he knows it.
In Sam's defense, it had been an accident.
"He does kind of make doe eyes at me, doesn't he?" Dean asks out of the blue six days later, as they tromp around the Smiths' musty-smelling basement in search of a pair of dead Parkers.
Sam pauses very briefly to blink at his brother, because in a life that already doesn't make a whole lot of sense, that is definitely one of the more random things he's ever heard come out of Dean's mouth. And if Sam knows nothing else, he knows that when something is weird for them, it is always something they have to be instantly concerned about. "What? Who?" He shines his flashlight at Dean.
Dean blinks and waves it off with a glare; Sam shines his flashlight into a corner instead. "Cas. I'm talking about Cas."
"What?" Sam repeats, because this train of thought has clearly jumped the tracks long before he got on board. "What about Cas?"
Dean is the one who looks irritated first, which Sam doesn't think is fair, because he started it and continues to insist on not making any sense. "You know," Dean pushes. "What you said about us last week. I've been thinking."
"That can't be good," Sam answers, on instinct.
Dean scowls. "Just hear me out, man. I've been paying attention since then, you know? I think you're right. Cas likes me." Pause. "I mean, you think he likes me? I'm not imagining it, right?"
Sam blinks. "Seriously? We're going to do this right now?" He does that thing with his eyebrows that might be Morse code for why is this my life if anyone cared enough to decode it.
Dean just looks at him, and that means seriously, they are going to do this right now.
Sam sighs. "Yes, Dean," he admits eventually, sounding tired. "I think he likes you at least as much as you like him. We can celebrate with hugs and puppies and flowers later. For now, can we please just concentrate?" The request is punctuated with more of Samuel Winchester's Famous Eyebrow Olympics.
None of which Dean notices, because he's too busy pursing his lips in thought, like that wasn't exactly the answer he'd been expecting to get because clearly it was not, "Yes, Dean, Cas loves you a whole lot because you are awesome and nobody blames him for it. I mean, look at you. A+, man, A+."
To Sam's horror, Dean actually looks like he's starting to think some more.
As such, he decides that he should probably put a stop to it before things explode inside his brother's brain. He moves to clarify what he meant just now with the whole "What I mean was, yes, you and Cas are BFFs and I'm really genuinely happy you have each other despite my sarcastic remarks on the issue just now," treatment, but before he can, he gets picked up and launched against the basement's far wall like a rock out of a sling. Said wall conveniently collapses under the force of Sam's gigantor body being slammed into it extra hard.
"Oh hey, found the Parker twins," Sam croaks from somewhere inside the wall, while Dean swings his crowbar around and makes worried mother hen noises in Sam's general direction.
Sam concentrates on salting and burning the corpses while Dean keeps the ghosts busy and in the ensuing chaos, the younger Winchester completely forgets about the extra weird conversation he and his brother just had about Castiel.
Five days after that, Dean makes another announcement.
It also has the words "I've been thinking," in it, and Sam braces himself for more bad strange things and/or small pops that means his brother's mind has finally overloaded and decided to crackle itself out of existence.
"Have you?" he answers, carefully. He bites into his club sandwich without taking his eyes off of Dean. He looks for signs of possession.
Dean dips a couple of fries into his mayonnaise (grossest thing ever) and nods. "And I think Cas is kind of hot."
Sam snorts alfalfa up his nose.
"Oh god it burns," he wheezes, while Dean looks at him like he's a special kind of retard.
"What?" Dean asks, sounding strangely nonchalant as he swirls another fry into his cup of tangy cholesterol. "He is, right?"
"Don't make me answer that," Sam mutters. "Why would you make me answer that?"
Dean flicks a fry at him. With mayonnaise on it. Sam makes more violated noises in response and his nose burns.
"Anyway. You were right. I think I like him too."
"I was…what? What?" Sam is still in the middle of dealing with the writhing indignation he feels at the mayonnaise on his sleeve and the fact that there is probably a loose strand of alfalfa stuck somewhere in his nasal cavity. He is torn between using his napkin to clean his shirt or using it to blow his nose in because Denny's only gives you one and if you ask for more he is pretty sure the waitresses spit in your refills. Dean is an asshole.
To prove it, Dean just grins to himself, like he doesn't really need Sam there to talk to anyway; Sam is just his convenient sounding board as well as his backboard for gross mayonnaise covered French fries. He has very clearly already made his decision and because he is an asshole, decided not to wait until Sam had swallowed the first bite of his sandwich to share. Now his sandwich is 98% still there and no longer tasty to him.
That said, Dean knocks his fist against the tabletop decisively and smiles. "So. I'm gonna hit that. Wish me luck." He is a man with a purpose.
Sam chokes again at the mental image of Dean hitting Cas like Dean means (new grossest thing ever), but luckily there is no innocent plant life involved in his pain this time; this time it is purely him gagging on his own spit and his own air.
His work here clearly done, Dean leaves the restaurant with a visible spring in his step while Sam just kind of sits there with a nose full of alfalfa and the bill for both their lunches.
"Girls, Dean!" Sam says in the car once they're on the road again. He'd held himself back for an admirable two hours, but now he just feels kind of explodey and strange. "I thought you liked girls."
Dean gives him a look like he's a deficient puppy who went poopy on the rug again. "Yeah, I do. And?"
Sam makes motions with his hands that are box-like, but in fact symbolize man-shaped things in Samuel Winchester's Dictionary of Gestures. "Cas is a guy." Pause. "Guy shaped."
Dean continues to give him that look. It is growing slightly more concerned now.
Sam does more strange things with his hands, like he is no longer in control of them himself. "Shouldn't you be having some sort of gay crisis, or something? People don't just flip a switch and decide they're okay with this, Dean! You're way too okay with this for me to think it's normal."
Dean's brow furrows. "Wait, are you saying you're not okay with this?" He shakes his head in disappointment and suddenly looks kind of self-conscious for the first time since this whole fiasco began. He snorts. "So much for that liberal Californian education, huh?" he mutters, more to himself than to his brother.
It makes Sam wonder how he became the villain in this story (again). "It's not… I… whatever you want… I'm fine with this. I just… what's wrong with you? This isn't like you, Dean."
Dean eyes him.
Sam puts his hands up. "No really, man. I'm fine with it."
Dean looks relieved to hear that.
Sam coughs and adds, "I just, didn't expect you to be so…cool with it, is all. It's surprising."
From there, the expression on Dean's face turns into something that makes Sam think that maybe his brother is laughing at him now. Like Dean thinks Sam's pain and confusion is a particularly delicious kind of pie covered in ice cream with a dollop of more pain on top and that the sheer amount of deliciousness involved is going to make Dean a Fatty McFatterson by the time they get to Florida.
Sam doesn't think this is funny or tasty. Dean Winchester is a man crammed full of issues. There is nothing that happens in his life that does not involve one of these issues. If things are too easy for them chances are it means something is wrong. Nothing is supposed to be easy or simple or straightforward for them because there is no room for that amidst the cramming of issues that is them. Sam flails his arms some more in an attempt to articulate this, because the words aren't really coming out in sentences so much as occasional bursts of strangled speech diarrhea.
Dean finally takes pity on him and reaches out to put a hand on Sam's shoulder. When he does, Sam expects him to burst out laughing and say, "Gotcha!"or reveal that he personally knows Aston Kutcher and this is all an elaborate prank for TV involving characters people thought were fictional but who are actually real. Those livejournal communities are going to have to change all of their warnings to RPF (or RPS more likely) after this episode airs.
But Dean just squeezes Sam's shoulder indulgently and says, "I'm through with complicated. Everything's too damn complicated. I'm getting too old for it."
Sam stares, wondering if a year of retirement from hunting is really enough to erase thirty plus years of wading through chest-deep emotional issues. Part of him dares to hope, while a bigger part of him wants to bury his face in his hands and blame himself for being the one to start this whole fiasco (however accidental). Instead he takes a deep, shaky breath and says, "So you're just…making a decision on this? Just like that? No…issues involved? Really?"
A nod. "I am living complicated free."
And when he stops to look, Sam supposes that Dean actually does seem kind of peaceful about the whole thing.
Sam takes another deep breath and tries to think. He stares down the long stretch of open highway ahead of them and realizes that there's nothing in the way out here to block his view. He can see all the way to the horizon in the distance, an endless, deceptively flat, deceptively straight line in front of him.
Something inside him mentions—not without humor— that no matter how straight it looks, everyone knows the earth's surface is actually curved.
He runs a hand through his hair. Clears his throat. "So… how are you even going to go about doing this?" Pause. "Do you need uh… help, or anything?"
Dean grins, and gets that totally gross look on his face he usually gets when he sees a girl-shaped thing at a bar that he appreciates and would like to investigate further. "C'mon, Sammy, look at me. I think I can manage."
Sam makes gagging faces, Dean winks, and they drive south together in as uncomplicated a manner as they can.
It's kind of nice.
It doesn't stay that way.
That's just how the Winchester luck rolls.
Because as it turns out, Sam discovers no less than twelve hours later that Castiel doesn't like things to be overly complicated anymore either.
This discovery is made as Sam stands in the doorway of his and Dean's motel room, gaping with a breathless, disbelieving kind of horror at the shenanigans currently happening on the double bed closest to the bathroom.
"Hello, Sam," Castiel says in that creeper voice of his, somehow managing to look and sound as collected as ever despite currently wearing nothing but a slightly wild-eyed look and his creeper trenchcoat. This is the guy currently in charge of the heavenly host for Christsake.
Down on the mattress, Dean just pushes his face into his pillow and laughs and laughs. It's not really helpful to anything and Dean is an ass.
"I'll be in the car," Sam manages weakly, once he remembers how to get air in and out of his lungs again. And then he backs away slowly, shuts the door behind him (hard), and stops momentarily to debate whether trying to brain himself on the pillar sitting just outside their room might be enough to induce selective anterograde amnesia.
With his luck (Winchester luck!), probably not. He grudgingly trudges back out to the car.
The Impala is hot and humid and miserable as it sits in the empty parking lot of a cheap two-story motel in Panama City, and every time the streetlights nearby flicker throughout the course of the night, Sam is the only one who knows exactly what the cause of all those rhythmic power surges is.
The worst part is he has no one to blame but himself.