Warnings: Eventual Sam/Dean, Non Con, Rape, Prostitution, Angst,
Sam and Dean aren't brothers in this …*blinks*…that's a first for me!
Summary: Dean hunts the Supernatural, Sam survives on the street...then their worlds collide.
Sam methodically pulled the thin grey sweat pants up over his slim hips before he pressed a towel against the gap between the door and tiles and turned the dim bathroom light on. He sat down on the tiles then, back against the cold porcelain of the bath and knees bent as he let his head roll back briefly onto his shoulders.
He had needed the light on. Not only to chase away the shadows that still threatened to spill over from his nightmare but so he could see the blood. This was about both feeling the pain take away his guilt and watching as it seeped out of his skin.
The small knife felt like an extension of his hand and his eyes traced over the worn name on its hilt, the letters of his brother's name always managing to bring the image back crystal clear of the day he had been given his own pocketknife just like the one he now held. His tenth birthday – the day his family has died.
A lifetime ago.
Almost without thinking Sam slid the blade through the smooth flesh on the inside of his bicep, drawing a deep straight line down the skin. The blood spilled dark red and quickly, following the movement of the knife and then running past the metal to pool in the crease of his elbow before dripping down his arm.
A soft groan escaped him as the raw ache of the cut began to dig in and pound with his heartbeat but not nearly as much as he needed. He moved the knife further underneath his arm and cut almost blindly, parallel to the first, both the knife and his hand now slicked with red.
Better that was better. It was like the grief in his head had become the throb in his arm and he needed to make sure he didn't let it pass too easily because that would be wrong. That would be like saying it didn't mean as much as it should if the pain was too easy to bear.
Sam was panting through the pain now and he let it take up his whole mind for minutes before it began draining away. His thoughts wandered back to when Michael had last cut him and he felt ashamed at how much he had needed it then and still needed it now as his fingers traced the healing scar on his chest.
He hated this, hated himself for needing this even though at the same time he knew he should stop. Sam couldn't really understand how Dean could want to be with him to start with but knew the older boy would leave him in disgust if he found out about this side of him that needed to be hurt.
As he stared at the unbroken flesh below the crease of his elbow, Sam decided this would be the last time. He would make the pain and confusion in his head go away and he wouldn't have to do this again.
Steeling himself he plunged the knife edge into the soft flesh without a further thought and gritted his teeth at the feel of metal eating and biting and tearing. Another line was drawn quickly because there always had to be two, side by side and even Sam didn't know why, just knew it had to be like that. It felt right.
His red slickened fingers slipped on the knife hilt as he finished the cut and the blade skittered to the side before clattering to the tiles. A spray of blood fell across his chest and pumped again before the spurt died away to a steady flow.
Sweat stung the cuts and they hurt so bad this time as his hand closed over the damaged skin pushing down, sliding through the blood and feeling the warmth trickle through his fingers. He sighed in relief as he watched the red and felt a calmness begin to seep into his mind.
Sam opened his eyes, not exactly sure when he had squeezed them closed, and everything seemed hazy. As he looked down, he inhaled sharply at the amount of blood covering his body, shocked by the endless red and wondering how it had happened so fast.
So much blood.
He panicked for a minute then, the cruel memory of Emmett's blood on him tormenting his already anguished heart before he came to his senses. It was his blood and he had done this to himself because he didn't deserve to be happy.
Everything had a price.
As sob escaped his lips and he shuddered as he wept for everything he had and everything he had lost. It was so much to deal with and he concentrated on the heavy ache that was running through his left arm, spiking clean and harsh when he clenched his hand into a fist, needing the intensity to clear away his thoughts.
It took another fifteen minutes before he was calm enough to think rationally again and by that stage Sam's body was shaking as a feeling of lethargy began to settle over him. Frowning in concentration as he folded the pocketknife and slipped it into the pocket of his bloodied sweat pants, Sam tried to move but his limbs had turned to lead.
He grunted in frustration as he half turned and used the edge of the bathtub to get his knees underneath him, a wave of dizziness making him stop and close his eyes. Sam winced as shockwaves of agony pulsed through his arm as it moved and blood rushed to the cuts. He had done it and it was over and now he just had to get cleaned up before Dean found him.
Sam took a breath and planted one foot on the floor and then pushed up off the bath with his right arm, trying to ignore the way his body shook with the effort. He had almost made it upright, had just lifted his knee to place his other foot on the ground when his first foot slid to the side on the blood wet tiles as his weight shifted.
Sam hardly reacted, his body already sluggish from blood loss, and he went down on his injured arm, head glancing the side of the bath as he fell.
Dean woke up cold and moved across the bed instinctively seeking the heat that he knew he would find. Except he didn't.
He stretched instead and lazily opened one eye and then the second when the dim light of early morning proved it was bearable.
The room was quiet and still and he realised with growing alarm that except for where he lay the bed was cold, not how it would feel if someone had only recently left its covers. He sighed at the closed bathroom door and strained to hear any sounds, stilling for nearly half a minute before he couldn't wait any longer.
Grabbing his boxer shorts along the way he slid them on before knocking softly on the door. "Hey Sam you okay? "Sam?"
Dean wasn't waiting any longer and went to open the door but it only moved half an inch before it stuck. The small gap that appeared briefly was enough to make Dean's heart stop and he shouldered the door then kicked it twice, the bath towel on the floor in the end no match for brute force.
It took Dean seconds before he stepped forward and dropped to his knees beside Sam's prone and motionless body. There was blood everywhere.
Almost afraid to find out, Dean's hand hovered over the side of the younger boy's neck before feeling along the clammy skin. He didn't realise he had been holding his breath until he let out a sob of relief when he felt a pulse under his fingertips.
Dean's brain kick started before he had even finished processing the how and why as he gently turned Sam onto his back, trying to find the source of the bleeding.
There was a small gash and an egg sized bump on Sam's forehead just below his hairline that was already bruised and purple. Dean's eyes were then drawn to Sam's left arm which had been hidden beneath him but now lay in plain sight and obviously the source of the blood.
"Oh fuck Sam what have you done?"
Dean's pleading whisper went unanswered as he grabbed a towel off the rack behind him and wrapped it around Sam's arm and pressed into the still seeping cuts. Holding the towel with one hand he checked Sam's pulse again just to make sure because he wouldn't let this boy slip away now. Not without one hell of a fight.
He brushed his hand across the younger boy's forehead, moving the unruly brown strands off his face and waiting, wanting to see those dark hazel eyes look at him again.
"C'mon Sam, you need to wake up kiddo or I'm gonna have to get you to a hospital."
The threat was real enough, it was a waiting game now. Dean knew there would be too many questions, Sam was under eighteen and had obviously self injured himself which meant shrinks and possibly cops. Dean didn't want to put him through that if he didn't have to but unless Sam started to improve he would have no choice because it wasn't worth risking Sam's life.
He could stitch the cuts, treat the probable concussion but he couldn't fix severe blood loss and shock and right now he knew they were close to that line.
Dean looked around again at the blood and suddenly he had to move, get Sam out of here. He folded Sam's injured arm across the boy's body, careful to make sure the towel stay firmly wrapped before he bent down and scooped Sam into this arms. His own injury made itself known with the exertion but he didn't care and Sam was far too light, far too thin anyway.
Placing the younger boy gently on the bed, he quickly folded the cover back over the still body to try and maintain some body heat. He felt for a pulse again before he sat down on the bed to wait, carefully pulling Sam against him as he pressed against the towel again.
"C'mon Sammy, I need you here." Dean bent and pressed his lips to the side of Sam's forehead, careful of his injury. "Please."
Dean was on the verge of packing Sam in the Impala and driving him to the hospital. Sam had warmed up a little and the blood flow had stopped but he was worried there was something else wrong and his fingers hadn't left Sam's heart in over twenty minutes.
He had closed his eyes, the war raging in his head about what to do was taking all his concentration which was why he missed the first flutter of eyelids. It was the small groan and movement against his body that snapped him back to the room and the boy within his arms.
"Sam…oh thank God."
Sam began to breathe hard and struggle as his eyes opened, still heavy lidded and dazed. "Wh...Dn…Dean?"
"Yeah s'okay, you're okay."
He watched as the younger boy squinted at him, wincing in pain when his hand touched the bump on his head. "What…?" Sam paused then, eyes widening as he frowned and then looked down at himself before he seemed to withdraw, looking down and away and then struggling to move from within Dean's arms.
Dean held on until Sam whimpered as though in pain and then he let his hands slide from around the younger boy, not wanting to panic him more than he seemed to be already.
"Hey it's alright Sam. I've got you, it's okay. I just…I want you to…I need…"
I need you to tell me why you tried to kill yourself Sam. I need to know why you couldn't talk to me and let me help you. I need to know how the fuck to help you because I've got nothing right now. The thoughts and questions swirled in his mind but Dean couldn't say them out loud as he watched Sam shift away across the bed, curling in on himself like he could make himself disappear.
"There's nothing to be sorry about Sam. I'm just…let me check your arm okay?"
Dean got up and fetched a dampened cloth and then gauze, tape and a clean bandage before walking around and sitting beside Sam. The younger boy stared into nothing and didn't react as Dean placed a hand on his shoulder.
"C'mon sit up a bit for me. Let me help you."
Sam didn't reply but complied slowly with Dean's request, letting the older boy steady him as he slid back to lean against the headrest. Dean began unwinding the towel from Sam's arm, wincing in sympathy as it stuck a little to the gore underneath.
"I'm gonna clean this up and bandage it properly in a minute. Looks like the bleeding's nearly stopped but I think I'm gonna have to stitch a couple of these cuts."
Dean frowned at the tremble in Sam's arm as he held it, kicking himself for not thinking of how much it must be hurting. "Prop your arm on here for a minute." He gently laid the injured limb onto a pillow making sure the exposed cuts weren't touching anything before he walked over to the med kit once more then moved on to his duffel bag cursing quietly.
"Sam I'm no doctor but I really don't want to give you Ibuprofen after you've lost so much blood…plus I need you to stay awake for a bit okay. I know it hurts and I can't find any Tylenol which would probably be okay but..." Dean knew he was rambling. "...this is all I got."
Sam stared at the whiskey before he reached out and grasped the neck of the bottle and tipped it to his lips, grateful the older boy didn't release his hold. He grimaced as the liquid burnt hot and bitter down his throat and closed his eyes as the warmth began to spread out through his system. He took another two gulps only opening his eyes when Dean gently pulled the bottle away and placed it on the nightstand.
Dean hesitated then not because of the wound, he had dealt with far worse and although the younger boy was weak from blood loss and concussion he seemed to be out of danger.
It was more the sense of déjà vu that whispered into his consciousness at how many times he had done this over the years and it was beginning to feel like it would never stop. The blood would never run dry.
"Just do it."
Sam's voice, low and lifeless brought Dean's focus back and he ran the back of his hand along Sam's cheek, grateful to hear the younger boy speak but saddened at the raw, hard edge in his voice.
As much as he needed to care for the physical wound that was laid open and bloodied before him, Dean also knew the need was just as important to get Sam to open up. He knew that unless Sam could talk to him, the younger boy would just retreat again emotionally. Dean could already see it start to happen and he was reminded of how bad Sam had been when he had first found him.
The progress Sam had made in the week Dean had known him was a big deal. He had dealt with so much in that small space of time and had trusted Dean with so much and the older boy took none of that for granted. However it would be naïve of him to think that a week could really heal the emotional scars and wounds that Sam carried from years of neglect and abuse.
Dean knew only too well how hard it was to deal with grief and not let yourself just shut down. All things considered, he was an expert on the subject of what not to do.
"Why did you do this Sam? I need you to tell me, I want to understand." He spoke softly, hating to ask this now but knowing he had to get Sam talking.
Sam tightened his jaw, eyes fixed down but not really focused on anything. He could hear Dean, feel the older boy's touch but the shame of what he had done seemed too big to bear and Sam didn't have a clue where to start even if a part of him did want to explain.
Dean cleaned the cuts and then stitched in three places where the skin was sliced deep. His fingers were firm and gentle as he worked, cleaning, stitching and then finally bandaging the wounds after wiping the fresh blood off with a whiskey soaked cloth. He began to wonder what Sam had used to hurt himself.
Sam had remained mostly silent throughout the procedure except for the involuntary gasps of pain which were bitten back as soon as they hit the air. It had taken all of Dean's strength to keep going and by the end he felt desperate to fix this, fix Sam.
"Don't do this Sam. Don't shut me out now."
Dean placed his hand gently on Sam's uninjured arm and slid his fingers down to grasp the younger boy's hand in his own.
"When I started hunting again on my own after...after Dad and Jared were killed...I was angry and it hurt too much to think about them. I was careless, reckless about getting hurt because I didn't care, all I had was a choice between one kind of pain or another. I chose the physical pain and the certainty that one day it would get me killed."
Dean swallowed and exhaled slowly. "It's weird y'know, I couldn't take my own life because... hell I don't even know why I didn't... but death by demon or spirit or whatever I came up against was fine by me. So don't think I won't understand Sam but don't think I'll just sit by and watch you kill yourself either."
"I wasn't trying." Sam's voice was whisper soft.
Dean leaned back against the headboard alongside Sam, still grasping his hand and waiting, hoping he would continue.
"I...I...it's not right. I just wanna make it right...but I can't...it's not enough."
"What's not enough Sam?"
It was minutes before Sam spoke and Dean had started thinking he wasn't going to get an answer but then he felt the fingers he held within his own, move and curl around his hand as though Sam needed something to hold onto.
And Dean suddenly understood, he remembered what it felt like when the crushing agony of grief was blessedly overwhelmed and pushed aside briefly by the screaming of his own injured body. The peace that only came when the pain was so bad he shook from the shock of it.
"You don't deserve the pain Sam, you don't need to make amends. You've been through enough."
"You don't understand." Sam's voice was wrecked, a hollow whisper.
"Yes I do. Nothing you do is gonna bring Emmett back and this guilt you have because you're here and he's not...it's not what he would've wanted for you. He wanted you to be happy Sam."
"Don't you tell me what he would've wanted, you don't..." Sam began to pull away, shaking with emotion until Dean spoke.
"He told me."
Sam went still so Dean continued.
"He wanted you to go with him when he left for Seattle but he knew you wouldn't, he asked me to make sure you were okay." Dean grinned sadly. "He thought of you like a big brother Sam."
"Emm...he trusted me and I watched him die in my arms…he never got to go home. Why should I be allowed to move on?" Sam's eyes finally turned upwards and Dean met and held his gaze.
"Because...because sometimes you find something along the way that makes it hurt a bit less and makes you feel like you want to live so their memory doesn't die. Sometimes you find someone that makes you want to reach out again even though you're scared as hell and don't think you deserve to be happy."
Sam knew Dean was talking about himself and he couldn't stop the sob escape his lips when he remembered how much Dean had lost as well. Tears streaming down his face, Sam leant into the warm body next to him and buried his face in Dean's chest thankful when he felt strong arms wrap around him.
"Don't let go."
"I won't Sam."
Dean tilted his head back slightly and rolled his shoulders as much as he could with his hands melded to the steering wheel and a bandage still encasing his upper arm. He could feel the tension and worry slipping away much like the dusty road left in the wake of the Impala's wheels.
He had been driving now for three days and he had forgotten how much it soothed his soul.
He glanced to the passenger seat and smiled, still surprised and a little incredulous every time he saw Sam sitting there. The younger boy was somehow folded almost sideways in sleep, long legs twisted and body curled so his head rested into the seat facing Dean.
Unable to help himself, he ran the back of his knuckles down the side of Sam's face and was rewarded with a blink of dark eyes and a sleepy smile.
"Hey we there yet?" Sam voice was sleep rough as he untangled himself and sat around his seat, squinting through the windscreen into the late afternoon sun.
"Are we there yet? How old are you Sam?" Dean laughed and shook his head. "Nearly, maybe another hour. Thought we'd better stop off and eat first, I'm pretty sure there's no corner store where we're headed.
Sam nods, his face turning serious. "Thanks for doing this…it means a lot to me."
"Yeah, it kinda means a lot to me too Sam."
An hour and forty minutes later Dean parked the car to the side of a sandy track that led up to a cliff face overlooking the ocean. They sat for a minute in the fading light before Dean reached across and drew the younger boy against him and kissed him lightly on the lips.
"You okay, you ready for this?"
Sam nodded. "Yeah…I…it's just I know he's gone Dean but…but this is hard."
"Yeah it is and I know it hurts but he's always gonna be here with you." Dean placed his hand over Sam's heart.
A single tear slid down Sam's face but he smiled and laced his fingers into Dean's hand before he pressed his lips against the older boy's mouth.
Dean let himself be drawn in and he felt Sam sigh against him as the younger boy's hands tenderly cupped his face in a gesture that made his heart swell. He deepened the kiss briefly as his passion flared bright in that instant but he pulled back, knowing this wasn't the time.
They had to finish this and hopefully then, Sam would find some peace.
Three days earlier.
They had finally been leaving the motel and Dean hadn't realised how stir crazy he was until he slid behind the wheel of the Impala and keyed the ignition. He was glad to be leaving this place, he needed to be gone and on the road and just fucking moving again, glad that Sam was with him.
The younger boy was still unsteady and unsure, his grief still strong and far from managed but at least they had each other. At least Sam was reaching out and letting Dean help him stumble a little further out of the darkness each time he sank down into it.
Dean was eager to get gone and he soaked up the rumble of the engine, let it course through him like adrenaline. He opened his eyes after half a minute when the passenger door didn't open as he expected, frowning as Sam hesitated on the curb beside the car. Dean's heart sank a little as he turned the engine off, worried that Sam had suddenly changed his mind about coming with him, staying with him.
He got out and moved around behind the younger boy, sliding his arms around Sam's hips and clasping his hands, resting his chin gently on Sam's shoulder and leaning his head into the soft brown strands.
"Talk to me."
"I don't want to leave him there…"
"I know I never got him home but…Dean I can't just leave him there. I can't…"
Dean closed his eyes and tightened his embrace, it hurt him each and every time Sam sounded so lost.
"S'okay Sam, we won't leave him there."
Dean had checked up on the case over the last few days in the motel as they had both healed and wrapped themselves around each other. It was standard operating procedure as a hunter to make sure he had left nothing behind that would have the cops on his tail or waiting in ambush when he pulled over in the next town. It was more a priority this time to make sure that Sam had not been seen or implicated in any way that would tag him as a suspect in a triple murder investigation.
His heart was heavy when he read the coroner's report indicating cause of death on the young John Doe had been a fatal stab wound that had punctured the heart. Dean had kept the details to himself until Sam had asked one night what would happen to Emmett's body.
Sam deserved the truth and Dean had tried to be gentle, reminding the younger boy that it wasn't really Emmett anymore but it had sounded lame even to his own ears and he had cried along with Sam at the wrongness of it. Dean had made a call the next day and anonymously provided Emmett's real name but in the end he knew no one would come forward which meant that a state cremation would take place and there would be no one there to grieve.
Sam had somehow managed to draw enough strength to speak to Emmett's relatives and told them the news but they had asked him not to identify them. Taking Emmett into their home was apparently one thing but becoming involved in the murder of a related prostitute was something entirely different. Sam had nodded and ended the call and hadn't been able to talk to Dean for hours.
That had been a bad night. Dean still remembered prying the pocketknife from Sam's shaking hands and sitting for hours on the floor of the bathroom as Sam had begged Dean to understand. Pleaded to be cut just a little, just enough to make the pain go away for a while.
Dean didn't have the heart to tell Sam it probably never would entirely so he just held him tighter and kissed him hard like he could take some of the hurt away by sheer will and determination.
When Sam finally broke down, sorrow and anger and self loathing flooding his senses, Dean had been there to pick up the pieces. When Sam had shook with grief and want and needed Dean's mouth and body on him, in him, Dean had marked Sam's skin with his lips and rocked inside him until they were both too exhausted to feel anything.
It made Dean realise he would willingly do anything, be anything Sam needed.
It hadn't been difficult. A suit, a badge and an easy smile pretty much worked in most situations and this was no different.
Except it seemed a hell of a lot different when he walked back to the car and carefully handed Sam the small silver urn that held Emmett's ashes. It felt like he'd been sucker punched.
Dean drove for forty eight minutes before the road blurred and his jaw ached from biting back on his own guilt so Sam wouldn't have to see it. He finally pulled over and sat staring out the windscreen, gulping in air like he hadn't taken a breath in weeks.
"Dean? Dean its okay…you did it. Thank you."
Sam placed the urn on the dashboard and moved across the seat, watching the older boy try and regain control.
"It's gonna be okay." Sam hand slid around the nape of Dean's neck.
"Fuck Sam if I…if I had done my job he'd still be alive. I screwed up…"
Dean slammed his hand against the steering wheel once, twice and then again until Sam's fingers wrapped around his wrist and held on, pulling Dean against him, almost thankful that for once he could give comfort instead of being the one always taking, always needing.
"No, you saved his soul Dean and you saved me…" Sam laughed bitterly. "….you're still saving me."
The sun was almost kissing the horizon and red orange light streamed out through the gaps in the scattered clouds as they walked up the track and finally stood at the top overlooking the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean.
The wind was gusty and Sam shivered in his t-shirt even though he didn't really feel the cold. He clutched the metal urn against his body with one hand, the other hand held in Dean's almost vice like grip.
Sam stared out across the white flecked water watching the whitecaps of the waves as they continually formed then disappeared on the whim of the wind and current.
The warmth of Dean's hand sliding across his back, then down to curl around his hip gave him strength and grounded him.
"I know…I know you never saw the ocean like you wanted to Emm…" Sam smiled as his vision blurred and hot tears began to slide from his eyes. "…you never saw Disneyland either but…but I thought you'd prefer the peace." Sam swallowed against the ache in his throat. "I wish you'd got the chance to grow up and have a home and family and friends and…I'm sorry…and God Emm I miss you so much…I…I can't…"
Dean felt Sam shake with sobs against him and he took a breath for Sam and looked out towards the horizon as he began to speak quietly. "I didn't know you for long Emmett but you were awesome kiddo. There aren't many people around that can rise above their circumstances and still keep their heart and humour intact but somehow you did. I know I let you down…let you both down… and if I could do anything to change that… change things back, I would."
Dean closed his eyes briefly as he felt Sam straighten beside him. "I want to thank you for looking out for Sam…we both know he's a stubborn ass but he does kinda grow on you. I want you to know that I'll look after him…I want you to know that …that I love him and both of you are always gonna have a place in my heart."
Dean turned to face Sam and gave him a small smile.
"I…I guess this is where we…" Sam's voice faltered as he looked down at the urn, his hand frozen on the smooth lid.
"This is where we let Emmett's spirit be at peace out there and in here." He placed his hand over Sam's heart briefly.
Sam nodded and pressed down on the lid as he turned it. Gently tipping the urn forward and down they silently watched as the ashes were taken by the wind out and over the edge where they stood, quickly disappearing in the waning light.
Leaning into the older boy Sam touched their foreheads together. "Thank you. I think…I think he would've…I think…"
"Yeah, he would've been happy with this."
"Is it okay if I meet you on the beach. I just want to walk down and…and I just need a minute."
Sam could see the worry in the green eyes and he knew what Dean was thinking.
"No. No it's not that…I'm not gonna do anything…I just need…I just want to say a few more things before we go."
"Yeah Sammy…I didn't mean to…"
"It's okay." Sam kissed Dean's lips and had to pull away before he got lost in the warmth.
"I'll drive back down and meet you on the beach." Dean glanced up at the setting sun. "Be careful."
Sam nodded and began walking over to one of the sandy trails that wound down to the small rocky beach. As he walked along stepping over the overgrown grass and weeds that twisted beneath his feet, his mind wandered.
He knew this was it. This was the start of something new and fresh and the end of a part of his life that he had thought he would be lost in forever. All he had ever been was a child then a prostitute and he couldn't find anything else that defined who he was between those words.
This was the start of something new but he was still who he was…what he was. The words that Dean had spoken to Emmett moments ago replayed over and over in his head as he tried to see who he was in Dean's eyes and came up short.
A brand new life.
The words made his stomach twist and turn with bitter memories of broken trust and false hope and Sam stopped and looked back up the path at the way he had come. It wouldn't take him too long to retrace his steps back to the cliff top and just step off into oblivion where the fear couldn't follow him anymore.
Except that would mean leaving Dean behind.
Almost afraid of his own thoughts, Sam turned and stumbled forwards.
"Emm, I want to stay with him but I'm scared." Sam reached the beach and sank down in the crusty sand just above the water line. He sat and watched the waves crash on the sand and then slide along, foam and water reaching out like fingers until they sank back defeated by gravity and momentum. An endless cycle of roll and tumble that was beautiful in its clarity.
"He's a good person, you saw that too, but what if I fuck this up? What if he leaves me too…I couldn't…I can't go back…I'd rather die."
"Shhh Sammy don't say that. I'm never gonna leave you baby."
Sam heard Dean's voice seconds before he felt familiar strong arms wrap around his shoulders as Dean sat down behind him, as Dean wrapped him up in his warmth and safety.
"I know. I get it." Dean took a deep breath and then kissed the side of the younger boy's neck. "God Sam I get it. I know you're scared…I know it's hard to trust someone with everything you are but I'll wait okay…I'll wait till you're ready and then I'll prove to you that I'm for real."
Sam folded his arms over Dean's and leaned back into the solid warmth that felt safe and strong and secure.
"Thank you for this…even just this, you holding me, makes me feel…I want to be with you, it's all I do want but…but I don't understand…Dean why do you want me to stay with you?"
Dean laughed, warm and low. "You don't see it do you? You don't see your own strength and goodness and light and…fuck Sammy when you smile…I can feel my heart beating. I feel like I want to live and I meant what I said before…I didn't even know until it was out of my mouth but I sure as hell know now…I love you." Dean laughed again. "I don't know how you got into my heart, I don't know how the hell you got past all my defences but yeah Sammy…I love you."
Sam shook his head, tears now streaming because Dean had just given him something priceless with those three words. "Dean I don't even know who I am, and the things I've done…all I know is that since I've met you, I feel real…not…not like some piece of dirt that doesn't matter. I feel like I belong with you…I…"
Sam felt it, he even knew it but he couldn't say it out loud. He knew he wanted to but it was too raw and too much to lay himself bare, nerves and skin and beating heart…just in case…because there was still that doubt… that piece of him that was terrified of what might happen if he uttered those three words back…it had been such a long time.
"Sam, what you had to do to survive doesn't matter to me. I can see your heart. Emmett knew, he knew who you were inside and I do too. Don't define yourself by the things you've done, look forward and I'm gonna be there every step Sammy. "
Sam laughed then and he felt like the weight of the world suddenly lifted off his shoulders. "So is that the speech you dust off for every pathetic loser you say you love?"
"Nah…only the stubborn ass ones."
"Well…I…I guess I'm really starting to believe you don't mind my stubborn ass." Sam's voice softened.
Dean's hand turned Sam's head around enough to he could press his lips against Sam's tear streaked face.
Sam closed his eyes then as he felt Dean's mouth skim over his cheek then eyelids and then along his jaw before brushing against his lips. Sam opened his mouth hungrily, moaning deep in his throat as Dean's tongue lapped inside his mouth.
They kissed passionately for minutes before parting on gasped breaths and small moans and Sam was pliant as Dean's sure hands moved him sideways a little so he still rested between the older boy's thighs but was now turned into Dean's chest.
"Yeah, your stubborn ass is mine Sammy. Don't you forget that."
Yeah…I'm good with that." Sam laughed softly against Dean's neck as his fingers traced down Dean's stubble rough jaw. "But what piece of you do I get?"
"Any piece of me you want Sam…I'm all yours."
Dean's whispered words made Sam's hands tighten his grasp on the older boy in reply and they sat listening to the sounds of the ocean, tasting the salt spray on their lips and sharing each other's warmth. Sharing each other's fears and strengths without uttering a word.
"Can we stay here tonight…just us…just this."
"Yeah, I'd like that." Dean grinned. "Except maybe a bit more of this…"
Dean nuzzled Sam's neck as he slid to the side and slowly lowered them both down on the sand, one arm still wrapped under the younger boy as his hand slid up under Sam's thin t-shirt.
Sam moaned at the sensations as Dean's hand moved over a peaked nipple and then began rubbing and twisting it between his fingers. Sam lowered his head until he found Dean's mouth and gently bit the older boys lips between his teeth before sucking them and sliding his tongue past them into the hot, wet heat.
Dean broke the kiss when he realised Sam was crying silently, tears trickling from his long lashes and falling across their kiss swollen lips.
"I want to say it back Dean I do…but I just…I'm just…I…I'm sorry."
"Shhhh, hey it's okay. I didn't say it to make you feel like you had to…it's just…I needed to tell you. I needed to tell you because I didn't want to miss that chance...it's too easy to miss the chance and then…then it's too late. I never got to tell…I left it too late. M'not doing that again."
Sam felt himself pulled in tightly against Dean's body and a hundred thoughts seem to rush through his mind, colliding and jumbling inside his head of what they had both been through. He remembered feeling like this, he could still remember this feeling of being loved before…when everything had been good and safe and not hard…before his world had shattered into a million pieces.
He could feel his mom's hand on his face brushing the hair away and see the way his dad had smiled at him so proud and then he also remembered the way Emmett had made him feel like family. His mind replayed the way Dean had touched him and kissed him and made love to him. The way Dean just held him when he was lost and scared and bloodied.
Sam suddenly realised it was Dean that was pushing back the darkness and letting the light shine on the good things in his life and it burned through his veins and lit up his heart.
Dean had lost so much and he was scared as well but he was willing to take that leap of faith for Sam. Dean was willing to risk letting Sam into his life, into his heart with open arms and tender kisses.
Sam struggled against the fierce embrace, pushing against the older boy until he had enough space to search Dean's eyes in the waning sunset. He smiled shyly at Dean's look of surprise and worry and placed a quick kiss against his lips.
His name on Dean's lips, whisper soft and full of love sounded so much like home.
"Dean…I…I love you."
a/n: I hope you enjoyed the journey and I thank you for reading. The wonderful comments and PM's along the way were very inspiring and I appreciate them all. I thank those people now that I didn't reply to because their message settings would not allow me to including Sarah, Andrea, Cathartes, Emma... and I've really enjoyed the wonderful PM conversations I have had with many of you.