Dean startled awake – confused and disoriented – unsure what had woken him. Sneaking a glance out Bobby's front window, he saw that it was way too early for him to normally be awake; the horizon still partly grey, the sun not expected to rise for at least another hour. Bobby was slumped over his desk, mostly empty bottle of cheap whiskey by his elbow. They'd been up well into the night; researching anything and everything they could find about the Mother of All. Dean had pushed Sam to go to bed early; kid was in a freaking coma for ten fucking days but still looked like he was exhausted and ready to drop at a moment's notice.

Sam, of course being Sam, grumbled and bitched but he finally gave in. That was only a few hours ago. Dean must have passed out on the couch, exhausted and overwhelmed himself. Dean didn't really know how he knew, he just … sensed … that something was off, not quite right. And he'd learned over the years not to doubt his internal radar. His Protect Sammy senses were tingling, forcing his body to move before his still slightly sleep – addled brain registered the movement.

That knife – edge between worry and panic became sharper when he didn't find Sam in the spare room they used to share when things were different. He methodically searched room to room, from top to bottom, all with the same result – no Sam. By the time he was standing in the panic room, chest heaving slightly, heart pounding like a jack hammer against his ribs, Dean was in full-on panic mode.

He tore out of the house, frantically searching the twisted metal carcasses of the cars that littered Bobby's yard. His deepest, darkest fear was that the wall had fallen already; that Sam was out here somewhere, alone and terrified, slowly unraveling at the seams. Every turned corner, every scrap of metal that he looked under or behind, he held his breath; waiting to find Sam curled in on himself, breaking in ways that Dean wasn't sure he was strong enough to fix anymore.

He slowly but steadily increased the search area. The sun was starting to rise, sky giving way from grey to blue, by the time he reached the outer edge of the lot. Dean growled low in his throat, frustrated and terrified like he hadn't felt since he watched Sam fall into the devil's cage. "Damn it, Sammy," he ground out between gritted teeth.

Turning in a slow circle, considering for the first time going in and waking Bobby up to help him, Dean spotted the woods behind Bobby's house. Years of memories hit him like a freight train; searching those woods for hours for his little brother the first time he'd gone missing at Bobby's house, finding him curled up against the trunk of a tree; his still slightly chubby cheeks streaked with dirt and blood and definitive tear-tracks tracing down the soft baby fat that he hadn't quite lost all of yet.

The grip of panic slowly eased its vice around Dean's heart as he made his way toward the edge of Bobby's property and into the heavily wooded area just beyond. He knew exactly where to go even though his feet hadn't walked this path in more than a decade. Dried leaves crunched beneath his boots as he tugged at the collar of his flannel shirt, quietly cursing the fact that he hadn't thought to grab a jacket before heading out.

It was always like this when it came to Sam though – instinct and love always winning out over logical thought – like everything Dad taught him went straight out the window the minute his brother was in trouble. Dean folded his arms across his chest in a futile attempt to warm up but stubbornly continued walking. He stepped carefully over a fallen tree, avoiding the web of branches reaching up at him like an old witch's gnarled fingers. It was dark and eerily quiet out, but more safe and comforting, more like home, than it had any right to be.

Dean dreamed of this place even years later, years after they both grew up, trying desperately to pretend everything that happened between them simply didn't. In the dreams, Sam was always a kid again, rosy-cheeked and innocent; when all it took was a hug from his big brother to make everything all right. Part of him yearned for those simpler times, and yet all they'd been through together – everything that had broken and fixed them again and again – had in many ways left them stronger than ever before. Maybe the old saying was true: that bones are stronger after they break and heal than if they were never broken at all.

Dean found his brother crouched on a log beside the creek, looking smaller and younger than he had in a long time. Uncertainty gripped hard at him all of a sudden and he had to pause for a moment, unsure of what he could possibly say to mend what could quite possibly be an unfixable fracture along the edges of his brother's soul.

"Hey, Dean," Sam said quietly. He glanced over his shoulder and gave Dean a tiny, apologetic smile. "Didn't think you'd be up so early."

Dean huffed out a breath, equal parts frustration, anger, and longing. He wanted more than anything to just throw his arms around his brother and tell him everything would be okay, but he knew he'd be lying through his teeth if he did so. Instead he shuffled across the soft mat of dried leaves and twigs and quietly settled down beside his brother.

For a long time, he didn't say anything, and Sam just sniffed a few times quietly and stared into the slowly trickling stream of clear water like if he concentrated hard enough if would give him answers. Dean studied him carefully out of the corner of his eye, gaze sharp and calculating like the thousands of other times he'd given his little brother the once-over, but other than looking utterly miserable Sam seemed unharmed. Dean let himself breathe a tiny sigh of relief – at least he could cool all that white-hot fear that the wall had come tumbling down and he'd find Sam in a pile on the ground somewhere, trapped inside the horrors in his own head.

"So what're you doin' out here?" Dean asked slowly, even though they were both aware that he already knew the answer.

But Sam just shrugged and played along. "Couldn't sleep."

Dean drew his bottom lip between his teeth and chewed at it for another minute. Irrationally, he'd been hoping that once Sam's soul was back in place things would just snap immediately back to how they'd been before – that all the strain and months and miles between them would fade into the grey of things they don't talk about and Sam would just become his little brother again. Clearly, it wasn't going to be that simple. The tension radiating back and forth between them was so thick Dean was pretty sure if he inhaled too quickly he'd choke on it. It was like walking on eggshells – worse, it was like walking on newborn kittens – one wrong move and everything could fall apart again and Dean hated feeling so helpless. For the first time in a long, longtime, he had no idea what to say to Sam.

"But you didn't, remember … something, right?" he asked cautiously. Regardless of everything else, Dean was still the big brother; he still had to make sure.

Sam glanced over, smiling sadly again. "You're worried about me, huh?"

Dean laughed softly in spite of himself. "Maybe a little. Can't exactly blame me."

"I guess not." Sam nodded thoughtfully. "M'fine, though. Just …"

"Couldn't sleep," Dean finished, and Sam hummed in agreement. "So this is about what Cas told you, then."

"It's not about anything. I just needed some time to think, okay? Today was … it's just a lot to take in all at once. That's all." Sam sighed and looked away, shoving his hands into his pockets.

"So talk to me about it."

"Oh, now you wanna talk?" Sam snapped. "Last time I tried you pretty much told me to shut up and forget it. Shove it down and pretend it never happened, right? And then drown it in booze, isn't that what Winchesters do? Well y'know what, Dean, that doesn't work for me! I – damn it." Pushing his hair off his forehead, Sam stood up and took a few steps away. "Look, just … just go back to the house, you don't want Bobby to wake up and freak out that we're both gone. I'll be there in a minute."

Dean swallowed over the lump forming in his throat. He eyed Sam's back warily for a few moments, watching his broad shoulders tense and release like it was causing him pain to keep calm. Dean's insides felt scratchy and stretched way too thin – still aching with the need to wrap Sam up and soothe him, pet his hair and promise that everything would be fine, but it had been years since that was a promise Dean could keep.

"I don't know what to do here, Sam," Dean admitted, almost shamefully. "You're out here all sad and wanting to talk about things, and I get why, I really do. But Death … he said if you go poking at the wall …"

"Yeah, I know what he said, I heard you the first twenty times," Sam cut in, voice rumbling like a faint echo through the trees. "But you know what? He can say whatever the hell he wants to, doesn't change the fact that if you hadn't got there in time Bobby would be deadright now and it'd be my fault." He turned slightly so he could fix Dean with a slanted, miserable grimace. "How'm I supposed to live with that?"

"Because it wasn't – "

"I swear to God, if you say it wasn't me one more time I'm gonna fuckin' punch you," Sam muttered darkly.

"It's the truth!" Dean exploded, jumping up and spreading his arms wide. "You gotta wrap your head around that! I know you feel bad, and I'm not saying you shouldn't! But please, you gotta just plead insanity on this one and let it go! You have to, Sammy, your god-damn life depends on it and I'm not losing you again, do you hear me? I won't. I can't." He drew in an unsteady breath, the woods around him spinning like a carousel at the thought of Sam being taken away again so soon after he'd come back.

"I …" Sam took a deep breath and his expression softened slightly, but that haunted look still glistened behind his eyes. "How can you even lookat me right now after what I did to you?"

Dean opened his mouth to protest, but then caught himself at the last second and paused. The last thing he wanted to do was make everything worse by assuming Sam knew things he didn't. "What you … what exactly did Cas tell you?"

All the color drained from Sam's cheeks, turning them instantly a sickly pale green. "Oh god, don't tell me there's more."

"More than what? You lost me."

"The whole, vampire … thing," Sam clarified, still staring at Dean with this panicked look all over his face. "Shit, that's bad enough! What – what else did I do to you?"

"Oh. Nothing, you – nothing." Dean shook his head to clear it. "I just wasn't sure if Cas told you about that."

Sam pressed his lips together, brow furrowed and eyes shining like he was close to tears. "Yeah. He did. And I … god, I could never tell you how sorry I am, Dean. You could've died, you could've hurt Ben. And you – Cas didn't seem to know all the details, but Lisa … she broke up with you, right? Because of that, because of … me."

"Sammy," Dean started gently, taking a step or two toward his slightly trembling brother, but Sam flinched and turned away again.

"Don't," he whispered harshly. "Just cause I don't remember it doesn't mean it's not my fault. It is, all of it."

Dean reached a hand out tentatively, but then thought the better of it and let his arm drop limply to his side. In his mind it was simple – the person who did all those things wasn't Sam, it just wasn't. But sometimes Sam didn't see things as black-and-white as Dean did.

"I don't blame you," Dean said softly, trying and failing to mask the painful waver in his own voice. He couldn't help it – this hurt. He'd lived his whole life in the mindset that being the older brother meant he should have some kind of ability to just make things better. Like the words 'It's okay, Sammy' should be enough to make it come true. More and more in the last few years, Dean had been forced to realize he possessed no such power, and he hatedthat more than he'd ever hated anything. He hated seeing Sam look so small, so miserable, and not being able to fix it.

"You should," Sam argued, the little brother in him coming out in spades with the defiance in his voice.

"Well, I don't," Dean insisted firmly. "I knowyou, you wouldn't ever do something like that."

Sam laughed humorlessly; a cold, harsh sound that was like sandpaper to Dean's ears.

"Except I diddo it," he said flatly. "You can make excuses for me all you want, but you can't change the fact that it happened. So maybe you don't know me as well as you think."

"I knew to look for you out here, didn't I?" Dean challenged, refusing to accept Sam's words as the truth. He didknow Sam, knew him better than anyone else in the world.

Sam didn't say anything for a few minutes. He shrugged one shoulder pitifully, and kicked at a pile of leaves with the toe of his boot. Then he stepped around Dean and made his way slowly back to the log, sitting down and dragging the back of his fist across his mouth.

"You remembered I used to come here," he mumbled, more of a statement than a question. He still sounded upset but there was a tiny smile on his face.

"Yeah. You … you used to hide here, when you were pissed at Dad. Or at me." Dean looked around, for the first time shifting his focus off Sam and taking in his surroundings. It was a beautiful spot, always had been. Birch trees encircled them, white bark gleaming in the blueish early morning light. The creek was small but the stream was steady, and the gentle sound of it tripping over the rocks was oddly soothing.

Sam nodded shortly, leaning forward enough to rest his elbows on his knees and clasp his fingers together. He looked uncharacteristically small again, and so vulnerable it was like he was stripped completely bare; every nasty emotion out in the open for Dean to see. He'd always been that way, even as a little boy – he never quite mastered the stoicism that Dean used on a daily basis as a defence; a way of keeping people out. But not Sam; Sam gave freely every inch of himself as easily as lending someone change for a soda. It was a quality Dean had always liked in his brother, but it did tend to make it that much easier for the world to take advantage of him; to use him and toss him out like trash over and over again until he was nothing more than the broken shell of a man crouched on a log in the middle of a scraggly forest – internally beating himself up for something he had no control over.

Dean took the few steps back to his brother and settled back down beside him.

"I always liked this spot," Sam commented, so quietly that Dean barely heard the breath of words over the light breeze. "Always felt like … I don't know, like I was safe here. Like if I just stayed here long enough, maybe when I went back all my problems would've just gone away."

"Did it ever work?" Dean asked.

Sam chuckled wistfully. "Never."

The silence stretched between them for countless minutes, only broken by the soft breeze rustling through the bare trees and the steady babbling of the stream. There was still so much Dean wanted to say, so much he wanted to do. He wanted to take Sam into his arms like he would've a little over a year ago; soothe all the hurt and ache away. Tell Sam with the soft press of his lips or the slow drag of his fingers over warm flesh all the things that he couldn't put into words. Touches and caresses that would remind Sam that he was Dean's whole world, that he loved him more than life itself, that nothing meant a damn thing if Sam was gone.

But he didn't know how to cross that line anymore. Wasn't even really sure if that was what Sam would need. And that hurt. Dean could still vividly remember a time when his touch was all it would take to soothe and calm Sam like nothing else; take the fragile, broken pieces and glue them back together. But this wasn't a hunt gone bad, or a fight with Dad, or Sam's constant struggle between craving to be normal and loving his big brother too much to ever really walk away completely. Dean didn't know how to fix this one, had no clue where to even start.

And it hurt.

He was so very tired of hurting. So tired of the life that neither of them wanted but found themselves in nonetheless. Tired of fighting and losing, only to have to fight again. Tired of watching the world crumble around their feet. Tired of losing friends and allies and innocents. Tired of the fact that if he had been just a little bit stronger, had been able to just let Sam go when he tried to get away the first time, all of this may not have happened. Tired of knowing that his own selfish desire to have Sam back in his life – in whatever capacity – six years ago caused him to drag his beautiful, precious little brother back into the fray. Tired of knowing that he took Sam's coveted normalaway, long before he dragged him away from Stanford and Jess.

He was just so very tired.

He jerked, startled when he felt Sam's shoulder brush his own. He turned his head just enough to look at his brother out of the corner of his eye. Sam was still looking down through the water, gaze far away and unseeing. But he leaned ever so slightly against Dean's side, whole body still held rigid. With a slight roll of his eyes, Dean reached out and wrapped his arm around Sam's broad shoulders; pulled him more snug against his side. Sam's body relaxed marginally, seemingly one muscle at a time, until he was slumped against him – Dean's body the only thing holding him up.

"I know you think I shouldn't be, but 'm still sorry," Sam damn-near whispered. "'m sorry that I screwed up. And 'm sorry that you lost Lisa because of it. Because of me."

Dean frowned, one hand absentmindedly rubbing up and down Sam's arm. Sam's head was tucked under his chin and it was second nature to turn and press a kiss against his hair.

"Sammy," Dean sighed, shifting a bit so that both arms were wrapped around his brother. "Lisa, she, uh, when she ended things, she told me that she knew the minute you were back, that it was over anyway. And she was right." Sam inhaled as if to ready himself to protest, but Dean tightened his hold. "No. She was right, Sammy. You gotta know by now that nothing holds a candle to you, kiddo," Dean said softly.

Sam chuckled wetly, sniffling slightly as he turned his face into Dean's neck. "Careful, Dean. Gettin' awful close to a chick-flick moment here."

Dean laughed softly despite himself. He knew what Sam was doing. He was giving him an out, a way to stop all the caring and sharing that he knew made Dean uncomfortable. But he also knew that it was Sam's way of saying that he didn't agree with Dean, didn't feel worthy of being Dean's whole world. And that was Dean's fault too. All the macho bullshit, the no chick-flick moments, the 'Winchesters don't talk about their feelings' crap that he'd unloaded on his brother since the kid was old enough to understand. Dean had thought he was doing right by Sam, trying to toughen him up because he wore his heart on his sleeve and Dean never wanted anyone to be able to take advantage of that. He admired his brother for his ability to show his feelings as much as he hated it. It left Sam vulnerable, wide-open for heartbreak.

"I'm sorry too," Dean whispered, his words barely a soft exhale of breath against Sam's hair.

He was sure Sam didn't even hear him until his brother pulled away slightly and asked, "For what?" At Dean's resolute silence, Sam repeated, "Dean. For what?"

"For everything, Sammy," Dean finally said. He shook his head and smiled sadly, unconsciously tightening his grip around his brother's shoulder to pull him closer.

Dean reached up with his free hand to pinch the bridge of his nose for a moment in a last-ditch attempt to quell the emotion squeezing tight around his heart. He jumped and swallowed a startled gasp at the sensation of Sam's lips pressed warm against his own. A jolt of static electricity raced down his spine, sending a rush of hot blood to settle heavily between his legs. The guilt that followed close behind smacked him so hard that he had to push Sam away with an abrupt inhale of breath.

"Don't," said Dean sharply. He cringed at the hurt that flickered across Sam's features, darkening those beautiful eyes even further. "You just – Sam, you barely know up from down right now. Trust me, this isn't what you – "

"No," Sam cut in with a decisive shake of his head.

"Excuse me?" Dean's body stiffened instinctively.

"I said 'no'," Sam repeated. There was something different behind his eyes now – something that resembled the impetuous little brother glint that Dean had both loved and loathed his entire life. It was the same look that meant Sam always got exactly what he wanted, that Dean didn't stand a chance no matter how hard he tried to resist. He missed it so much more than he'd realized.

Far beyond the canopy of trees surrounding them, the early morning clouds shuffled across the sky to let the warm, hazy glow of sunrise through. For a moment, it was almost as though the weight of the world didn't rest on Dean's shoulders anymore, and the relief was overwhelming; indescribable. It didn't exactly make sense, but something about this place – and the random snapshots from their childhood that came along with it – was more comforting than it had any right to be. He felt a grin tugging at the corners of his mouth as Sam closed the space between them and kissed him again, lips pressing warm and steady against his own.

Being with Sam again – all of him – reminded him that the year he'd spent without his brother was like someone had gouged out a piece of his heart and the hollow, aching emptiness left behind was something that no one but Sam could fill. Dean growled low in his throat and pressed forward, cupping his brother's face against his palm and deepening the kiss, finally giving in to what Sam needed, to what Dean himself needed more than he'd ever admit.

Dean slid his hands lower, resting them upon Sam's shoulders for a moment before dropping them down to the belted waist of his brother's jeans. He slid his hands under the hem of Sam's button-down and t-shirt, tentatively letting his fingertips explore the hard muscle and smooth skin hidden beneath. He shoved at the material, palms pressing greedily against each inch as it was revealed, wanting not only to feel, but to remember.

Dean brushed his thumb across the hard peak of Sam's nipple, grinning at the muffled gasp he got in response. "Tell me what you need," Dean panted against the seam of Sam's lips. "Tell me."

"Your – " Sam groaned and let his head fall back as Dean caught his nipple between his thumb and forefinger and squeezed gently. "Dean – you. Just need you …"

Dean drew back and circled one leg over the log they were sitting on so that he could brace his weight more evenly as he moved closer. He reached up to thread his … fingers through the too-long hair on the back of his brother's head as their mouths met again. With his other hand, he unbuckled Sam's belt and carefully tugged at his button and zipper to work his jeans open. After another very thorough kiss, Dean pulled away slightly and dropped his gaze down between them. Sam's eyes quickly followed suit, and Dean couldn't help the quiet gasp from escaping his lips.

No matter how many times he saw Sam like this, he never grew tired of seeing his brother swollen and leaking, flesh stiffening in anticipation more and more with each second that passed. Dean curled his fist tight around the shaft and squeezed, bringing his thumb up and around to tease along the leaking slit. Sam's eyes widened and his lips parted, but he remained silent as Dean shifted again until he was kneeling between Sam's slightly-spread legs on the soft, dry mat of leaves and dirt.

Without warning, Dean dropped his head and sucked Sam's cock into his mouth, humming with contentment at the familiar burst of salty-sweet as he swirled his tongue around the swollen tip. Glancing up at his brother, he was surprised to find Sam watching him closely, hazel eyes shining bright, more content than Dean had seen him in years. It seemed stupidly simple that this was all it took to make that haunted look dissipate from behind Sam's eyes, at least temporarily, but at the same time it made all the sense in the world. Sometimes everything spun so quickly out of control that Dean felt like he was barely hanging on – always one wrong move away from slipping off the perpetual whirling dervish that is his life – but one touch from Sam had the unexplainable ability to make everything right again. Or, at least, it usedto, and Dean missed that more than he could say. So really, it only made sense that Sam would feel that way too, even if technically he didn't remember the last year of his life.

Dean fixed his lips around the leaking head of his brother's cock and sucked hard, pushing the tip of his tongue into the slit as he swallowed around a mouthful of Sam, and Sam sighed happily and cupped a big hand around Dean's cheek. He gently rubbed the pad of his thumb along the corner of Dean's mouth, brushing against his own skin and Dean's where they were connected. Dean glanced up, raising his eyebrows so he could see Sam's face above him – Sam's eyelids were half closed and his lips were still parted, quick breaths coming out misty in the chilly air.

"God, so … shit, Dean," he moaned quietly, shoulders sagging and head dropping forward as he laughed shakily, "so good. I think my body missed you."

Dean hummed in agreement, the vibration of it sending shivers down his spine and probably Sam's too – given the way he sort of shuddered and sighed again. Dean could talk for hours about every little thing he missed about Sam, and exactly how much. How much he missed Sam's scent all over his car's leather seat; Sam's laugh, Sam's smile, god, Dean couldn't remember ever actually seeing soulless-Sam smile. He missed Sam's bitch face and his terrible taste in music. He missed Sam's hot skin pressed up against him at night; the way Sam's muscular form felt under his hands; the way Sam tasted– warm and heady and so perfect it made Dean's head spin. But Dean couldn't actually voice any of those thoughts because if he did he'd probably start crying or yelling or something equally ridiculous, so instead he greedily drew Sam further into his mouth, relaxing enough to let Sam's pulsing length slip into his throat. He pushed down far enough that his nose was buried in the wiry curls between Sam's legs, the smell and the heat and his mouthful making it nearly impossible to breathe properly so Dean could let himself get completely lost in it.

Dean bobbed his head, slowly at first and then gaining momentum, rubbing the flat of his tongue over the vein on the underside. Sam moaned again, breathlessly, and Dean quickened his pace and reached one hand out to roll Sam's heavy sac in his palm. The slick slide of Sam's heated flesh between Dean's lips, the way Sam's knees closed on either side of Dean's shoulders so he was completely surrounded by his little brother, the soft little whimpers Sam let slip every time Dean squeezed his balls just so – it was all so maddening that Dean had to press the heel of his other hand against his own straining erection to keep from coming in his jeans like a teenager. God, he'd missed this so damn much. Lisa had been good, great really, and he'd always care for her but there was just nothing like Sam. Nothing even came close.

"Dean," Sam breathed, grunting and trying his best to tug and the short hairs on the back of Dean's neck. "You gotta … m'close, can't …"

He half-heartedly tried to push Dean off, but Dean didn't let him. He just sucked harder, licking at every bit of Sam his tongue could reach and not caring that the sloppy mixture of spit and pre-come was dripping down his chin. He wanted this, he wanted to drink Sam down; suck every drop of come from him until he was lax and drained and satisfied in a way that only Dean could give him – not Ruby, not that stupid hippie chick, not any of those awful women Sam had been with while they were apart. But it was about more than that, more than Dean being jealous or hurt or so freakin' happy to have his Sam back. It was about Sam, like it always was – about soothing the sting of all the things he'd done without his soul – about licking away all the pain and the sorrow he'd seen in Sam's eyes earlier. Dean wasn't any good with words, never had been, so if thiswas how he could fix things then he wasn't going to stop until everything was okay again.

"Jesus, so fuckin' … m'gonna," Sam groaned, the soft flesh of his balls tightening in Dean's hand.

The first pulse of come hitting the back of Dean's throat was like coming home after a lifetime of being lost. Salty and bitter, but sweet and creamy in a way that was so definitively Samit was nearly enough to make Dean weep in uncontrollable happiness. He backed off enough to catch the spurts on his tongue, moaning wantonly at the flavor and bringing his free hand up to curl his fingers around Sam's spit-tacky shaft, stroking him through the shudders. Dean swallowed down everything Sam had to give and then let the flesh slip from his mouth, gasping raggedly and drawing in breaths of cold air so harsh they were like gravel in his abused throat. When he looked up, Sam looked about as wrecked as Dean felt. They stared at each other for a few long minutes, breathing heavily and soaking up the moment, and then Sam sort of collapsed in on himself and slipped off the log; landing hard on the ground in front of Dean's knees.

"Ow, shit," he hissed, arching away from the wood and then huffing a reluctant laugh. "Thing's fuckin' sharp," he muttered, reaching around himself to pat at the middle of his back.

Dean blinked stupidly for a moment before his brain caught up and realized Sam's skin had probably scrapped against a knot on the log as he slid down it.

"You okay?" Dean asked, the words coming out in a rasp that didn't sound like his voice.

"Yeah." Sam looked back towards Dean and grinned sheepishly. "Sorry, kinda killed the moment, didn't I? That was … wow. C'mere."

Dean's legs were starting to go numb from being tucked under his body for too long but he scooted forward anyway, pressing up against Sam's chest and kissing him deeply. Sam shifted forward, long arms wrapping around Dean's neck, tongue wet and slick and insistent against his own. Dean's cock, hard enough to pound nails, pressed firmly against Sam's hip and Dean moaned, unable to stop from grinding just a bit into the delicious pressure. Sam trailed one large hand down his side, snaking between their hips, palm cupping the uncomfortable bulge in Dean's pants and squeezing gently.

Dean pulled away panting, forehead resting against Sam's as his hips bucked forward uncontrollably into the touch. "Sammy. Don't have to," he mumbled, eyes sliding closed, friction from his boxer briefs against his sensitive cockhead almost too much. This was supposed to be about Sam; Dean felt almost guilty about wanting to get off too. Like he was being selfish, somehow.

"Shh, Dean. Want to," Sam said softly, dipping down again to press their lips together.

He pulled back just enough to get Dean's jeans unbuttoned and unzipped, thrusting his hand down into the open V of material, fingertips teasing over the wash-worn cotton. The heat of Sam's hand seeped through Dean's shorts, pulling another moan from deep in his chest; memories invading his brain of a thousand nights hiding from the reality of their world in each other's arms.

Sam's fingers played just under the waistband of his boxers – feather-light touch bordering on ticklish – before slipping under the material. Long, slender fingers wrapped around Dean's shaft, squeezing just briefly before sliding up, thumb flicking across the slit to gather the pre-come leaking steadily out. Sam set a sinfully slow pace, wrist twisting on the upstroke, tightening just under the head. No one's touch had ever been able to drive Dean as crazy as Sam's; his little brother knowing exactly how to touch him to push him over the edge. It was good, great even, but so not even close to enough; as it always was with Sam. Dean wanted more, but had just enough brain power to register the fact that they were in the woods, and going all the way back to Bobby's was out of the question. Besides, there was really nothing to say that Sam would even want more. Sure, he was sitting there jerking Dean off seemingly of his own volition, but even through the haze of pleasure from Sam's amazing hands, Dean still couldn't rid himself of the nagging feeling that this was all too fast, too soon– that Sam couldn't possibly be ready for this yet after everything he'd been through.

But Sam, apparently, had other ideas. He licked and kissed and nipped his way across Dean's jaw, down his neck, back up to his ear. "Fuck, Dean. Want you so much," he growled – as if reading Dean's mind – lips dragging against his skin.

"Can't," Dean panted, groaning when Sam picked up the pace.

"Why?"

If Dean's eyes didn't feel like they were permanently stuck in the back of his head, he'd have rolled them. Always the petulant little brother, questioning every damn word that came out of Dean's mouth. "Don't got anything with me."

Sam pawed impatiently at the waistband of his jeans with the hand not still working up and down his cock – slowly driving Dean fucking crazy. "Don't care. Improvise," Sam ground out between gritted teeth; sheer stubbornness mixed with the need and want intense in his hazel eyes.

Grabbing both of Sam's hands in his own, Dean pulled them away from his body, trapping them against his chest. "Hey, relax," he soothed gently. "We don't have to just jump right into this, okay?"

"Don't you want to?" Sam asked, kiss-swollen lips turned down into a weird mix of a pout and a frown. His tone was soft and hesitant, a little wounded maybe and so very Sam – his little brother was the only person he knew that could get away with the kicked-puppy look when his half-hard cock was still hanging obscenely out of his open fly.

Sam sounded so insecure – 'don't you want me?' coming through loud and clear, regardless of the words he actually said, and it made Dean's heart ache a little. "'course I do, baby boy. Always want to. Just not the best place to … it's been a long time, y'know?"

Sam shuffled forward on his knees until their chests were pressed together again, lips so close they were sharing the same air. "Want this, Dean. Need this. I know I don't remember the last year, but – " Sam paused, inhaling deeply. He wrapped a hand around the back of Dean's neck and pulled until their foreheads were pressed together. "I missed it. Missed you, missed us, so god damn much. I can't remember it, but I can feel it." Then came the icing on the freakin' cake: puppy dog eyes slightly misting as Sam quietly concluded, "Please, Dean."

Dean had never possessed the capacity to deny Sam anything; adding in the puppy eyes of doom and the quivery voice, and he was doubly screwed. "Alright, alright," Dean muttered as he slipped off his over-shirt; faint sun shining through the canopy of trees chasing away the nip that was in the air when Dean first set out looking for his brother. He slid Sam's flannel off as well, laying both shirts out on the leaf-covered ground as an attempt to shield his brother from the hard earth as much as he could.

Getting with the program – finally – Sam started helping; pulling off his own t-shirt then Dean's, pushing his jeans and boxer briefs down just above his knees. Dean chewed on his bottom lip, momentarily distracted by the first sight of all that tan, muscular flesh in well over a year. Fuck, Sam was gorgeous. Soft, baby-smooth skin over hard-as-steel muscle, a true contradiction much like Sam himself. Dean snapped back to attention when he felt Sam's hands return to his hips, pushing his jeans and boxers down like he had his own. Warm, calloused fingers wrapped around his cock again, flagging erection hardening again under Sam's skillful touch.

"Turn around. Lean over," Dean commanded softly, chin jutting toward the log they'd been sitting on. For once, Sam actually listened without question or hesitation, turning his back to Dean and bending at the waist, forearms resting on the wood. Dean closed his eyes, hand gripping the base of his own cock to keep from coming at the sight alone.

Scooting forward between Sam's spread legs, Dean placed one hand flat on the small of Sam's back, the other grabbing a handful of the sinful, meaty curve of his brother's ass. Leaning forward, Dean pressed a kiss at the base of Sam's spine, tongue licking briefly over the sweat-salty skin. Sliding both hands toward the cleft of Sam's ass, Dean pulled his cheeks apart, moaning deep in his chest at the sight of Sam's pretty little pink hole. Sam wiggled his hips, impatient and embarrassed grunt falling from his lips.

"Dean," he half-whined, half-groaned.

Dean chuckled fondly before leaning forward; licking a long, broad stripe over Sam's hole with the flat of his tongue – the musky, heady taste and smell of Sam stronger there, making Dean's head spin. He gently lapped at the rim, increasing the pressure until he felt the first bit of resistance give; just able to get the pointed tip of his tongue inside. Sam squirmed slightly, trying to push back against Dean's face, silently begging for more.

He pressed just the tip of his index finger in beside his tongue, licking and stretching the rim until he was able to push all the way into the knuckle easily. Seeking out his brother's prostate immediately, Dean pressed against the sensitive bundle of nerves, constant pressure as he rubbed against it; gently slipping his middle finger in as well. Sam moaned, long and low, writhing and jerking back into the steady thrust of Dean's fingers and tongue. Dean twisted and scissored his fingers, licking around and between them; getting Sam as wet as he could.

"Dean," Sam gasped. "C'mon. Do it."

Dean pulled his tongue away, open mouth kiss pressed against the curve of Sam's ass. "One more, little brother," Dean murmured even as he pushed a third finger in. "Don't wanna hurt you."

Fingers pumping in and out of Sam, twisting and turning and scissoring, Dean's resolve finally snapped. He still wasn't totally sold on the idea of doing this dry, but Sam was rocking back against Dean's hand and making these beautiful, broken little noises and Dean wasn't anywhere near strong enough to hold back anymore. Pulling his fingers free, other hand soothing over Sam's hip, Dean spit into his palm twice, slicking up his own cock. It was crude and really not nearly enough, but there was no way he could back out now.

Gently easing Sam upright with a hand on his bicep, Dean leaned forward and let his cock come to rest along the cleft of his brother's ass. He pressed forth even further until he could feel the warmth from Sam's back radiating against his own chest, drawing him in like a magnet. Dropping his arm around his brother's waist to pull him closer, Dean let out a quiet gasp when his wrist brushed against the stiff, sticky length of Sam's cock.

"God damn it," Dean murmured against the soft skin behind Sam's ear.

"What is it?" Sam asked quietly. He sounded like he was holding his breath waiting for an answer.

"Sorry," Dean chuckled nervously. "I um – this is gonna be over too damn fast. I mean, I …" he trailed off quietly. It sounded ridiculous, even before he said it out loud – that he wanted their first time together after over a year apart to be special, to be perfect; that he didn't want to disappoint Sam or let him down in any way. Quick and dirty was great sometimes, but Dean couldn't shake the feeling that this should be more.

Sam laughed then, not mocking or anything even close to it though, just so carefree and happy and relaxed that it was music to Dean's ears. "I don't care," Sam said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. "This is … perfect. Really. But if you don't do something soon, I'm gonna start to take it personally," he added.

Dean grinned and nodded, drawing in a deep breath to calm himself down. Too many emotions and sensations were tugging at him from too many different directions. He closed his eyes for a moment and let everything else slowly fade away – the nerves, the fear and insecurity, the pain of losing his brother, again– until the only thing left was him and Sam in their safe little tucked-away corner of the world.

"You ready?" Dean murmured. At Sam's answering nod, Dean shifted his hips a bit and carefully slid the spit-slicked tip of his cock against his brother's opening. "Relax," he urged, dropping one hand to rub soothing circles against Sam's hip.

In the same breath, he pushed forward until the thickest part of his cock slipped past the tight ring of muscle. Sam flinched slightly but he was obviously trying hard to keep from tensing up, muscles pulsing and fluttering as he adjusted to the sudden intrusion. Dean sucked in a surprised gasp when Sam leaned forward suddenly, essentially forcing Dean's length all the way into his bruise-tight heat. He was bracing himself hard, hands splayed against the rough bark of the fallen tree in front of them. Dean was so turned on he was out of his mind, but he managed to hold himself still while the line of Sam's back was still clenched.

"Sammy?" Dean asked, unable to hide the quiver from his voice. "You alright?" His head was swimming already, waves of pleasure flaring hot under every inch of his skin. Every bone in his body was fighting hard against the primal instinct to push forward and take what he suddenly needed more than the air in his lungs. An even stronger instinct though – one that had guided his actions nearly his entire life – reminded him that he would rather die than hurt Sam even the slightest bit.

"C'mon, Dean," Sam ground out. "Do it. Fuck me." He was nearly breathless, voice barely more than a growl as he uttered the words.

Dean drew his hips back slowly, groaning at the not-quite-wet-enough drag of friction along his swollen length. Grabbing a hold of Sam's hips to steady himself, he thrust back in, loving the way his brother's warmth slowly engulfed him. Sam whimpered – honest to God whimpered– as Dean carefully repeated the motion once more. He felt the grin tugging at his lips before he even realized it. "Hang on, Sam," he chided as he slowly picked up the pace.

They quickly settled into a steady rhythm with Sam rocking back to meet each of Dean's thrusts. It was suddenly as though all of those horrible months that had torn him to pieces didn't matter anymore, like everything between them that always seemed so damn complicated really wasn't. Dean spit into his palm again and wrapped his arm around Sam's waist, closing his fist tight around his erection to stroke it in time with rhythm of his hips. True to his word, Dean knew he wouldn't be able to last very long; the tell-tale tremor of pleasure was already blooming low in his stomach, sparks of pleasure zipping up and down his spine.

"Sammy," he moaned, voice taut with anticipation. "I – "

Sam cried out, startling him momentarily until Dean felt his brother's body jerk and still beneath him. A warm burst of moisture followed close behind, erupting over his fist and dribbling down his hand, and it was all suddenly too much. With one last thrust, Dean buried himself to the hilt in his brother's ass and came hard, finally giving in to the pleasure that had been pooling deep within him since the moment Sam's lips pressed against his own.

They stayed that way for a few moments, their ragged breathing the only sound aside from the quiet rustle of the wind in the trees. Dean carefully pulled away, letting his softening cock slip out as he sat back on his heels. Sam followed suit, lazily tugging at his jeans and boxers to pull them on halfway. With a quiet, content sigh, he flopped down on the ground and draped his arms over the log to rest heavily against it. After a moment, he folded one arm and turned his head to rest it against the crux of his elbow. Dean grinned and pulled his own pants back on before sitting down beside his brother. Wordlessly, he reached up and brushed a hand lightly over Sam's hair, pushing it back away from his face.

"Hey," Sam said reluctantly. "Maybe we should get back to the house, huh? Before Bobby wakes up?" He glanced at Dean, eyes betraying the contradiction behind his words. He clearly didn't want to leave any more than Dean did.

"Few more minutes," Dean replied, more statement than question.

He acknowledged Sam's nod with a smile and then took a moment to let his eyes sweep over his brother's face. He'd probably never bring it up, but Sam just lookeddifferent during those couple of months they spent together before he got his soul back. It wasn't any single thing in particular; more of a combination of a few wrongs that just made him not quite right. There hadn't been any light behind his eyes, no happiness in his laugh or compassion softening his face.

He was so damn beautiful now – warm morning sunlight gleaming off of those golden-brown strands, casting a soft, faint halo around his head. Seeing him like this, being here with him again, was like being thrust back into their childhood, when everything was so much simpler; when a quiet morning together in the woods was all it took to make everything okay. Unexplainably, in so many ways Dean still felt like that, even now. The rest of the world and all of the chaos that came along with it still lay just beyond the circle of trees surrounding them, but for now they were safe and protected, alone – but together, like it should be – in a place only he and Sam would ever know.