This is a birthday present for my best friend, Twinchester Angel.

"Hey, pass me a – " Sam stops short as a blur of terry-cotton hits him square in the face " – towel." He pulls the material away from his face and glares at Dean. "Thanks."

"You're welcome," Dean deadpans, stepping out of the shower as he wraps another towel around his own waist and smiles cheekily at Sam.

Sam shakes his head in exasperation, but smiles back. "So I get twenty minutes of nice-Dean and now you're back to being my annoying big brother, huh?"

"Aw, m'sorry baby," Dean coos fakely, sliding his arms around Sam's neck and running his fingers through Sam's damp curls. "Want me to buy you some flowers? Rub your feet? Tell you you're beautiful and special like a snowflake?"

"Hilarious." Sam rolls his eyes but leans down and kisses Dean softly anyway. "Y'know, the point of me showering was so I could actually get clean, not so you could waste all the hot water blowing me and then come all over my stomach."

Dean laughs. "Are you actually complaining about getting free head?"

"Not exactly." Sam resists the urge to stick his tongue out at Dean. "I'm complaining about being sticky."

"Alright fine, next time you can shower alone." Dean pulls away, pretending to be offended, and moves toward the door. "Nobody but your right hand for company."

Sam grins and wraps his arms around Dean's waist from behind, pulling Dean back into his own bare chest. He sucks at a spot on Dean's neck, pulling blood to the surface with his lips and then smoothing the flat of his tongue over the heated skin. "You love my right hand," he murmurs into Dean's ear.

Dean hums in agreement. "Parts of me do."

Sam chuckles quietly, keeping himself up against Dean's back as he opens the door and they walk together toward their bedroom.

"We gotta get dressed, Bobby's gonna be home soon," Dean says, ignoring his own words and pausing halfway down the hallway to spin in Sam's arms and kiss him deeply.

Sam kisses back, pulling Dean in close and letting Dean's tongue work into his mouth. Dean is the best kisser Sam's ever had; he's rough but gentle at the same time, passionate but sweet; gripping Sam's hair and angling Sam's head the way he wants it so he can devour his mouth with equal parts ferocity and a surprising tenderness that Dean's probably not capable of showing to anyone but Sam. It's soft and warm and perfect, until –

"Bobby got home five minutes ago."

Sam's heart stops. Time spins to a halt for a few terrifying seconds as his brain struggles to comprehend what it means that the familiar gruff voice just sounded from across the hall. For a long, agonizingly slow minute, he can't figure it out – that voice and the feeling of Dean's mostly-naked body against his are two things that have never existed in the same moment before and Sam's pretty sure it means something really bad but his sluggish mind can't catch up. But then it hits him, fast and dirty like a punch to the gut, and Sam whole body goes tense and hot with dread. Dean has totally frozen in Sam's arms, but then he jumps away from him as if scalded and Sam turns slowly, his heart in his throat, toward the shorter, stout man. Bobby's eyes are wide and his mouth has gone slack; a shocked, revolted look all over his face. But it's nothing compared to Dean's – when Sam chances a quick glance over at his brother, Dean looks downright horrified. They've gone up against every kind of spirit and demon and creature imaginable in their lives and Sam's honestly never seen Dean look so scared.

"Wh-what … why … did you …" Bobby splutters, eyes darting back and forth between Sam and Dean like he's praying one of them will throw their arms up and yell 'surprise!' and explain that this is all some elaborate joke.

Sam wishes they could. They've been so careful, for years, trying to avoid this exact moment, and now they're half naked and wet from the shower, and they just came out of the bathroom together and they were kissing and Bobby saw it … oh god. Sam's got that awful panicky feeling buzzing over every limb, but Dean looks struck dumb and one of them should say something.

"Okay … look, Bobby, this – this isn't …" Sam begins, his voice wavering.

"Isn't what?" Bobby asks quietly. "Isn't what it looks like? Cause it looks like you two just … did you shower together?"

"Son of a bitch," Dean chews out, scrubbing a hand over his mouth and turning away.

"We …" Sam can't bring himself to say it. Thiscan'tbehappening. "Okay, we … yes. But – it's not – " he trails off, words cracking and dying in his throat because, yeah – it is. It's exactly what it looks like, and they all know it. Denying it now would be completely pointless.

"I don't … for the love of …" Bobby swallows loudly; he's starting to turn green. "Are you two –?"

Sam sort of half shrugs and doesn't say anything, but it's clear he doesn't need to. Bobby already knows. Sam thinks he's gonna be sick.

"How long has this been …?" Bobby trails off and shakes his head in disbelief.

Sam closes his eyes as they start to sting. "You probably don't wanna know that," he mumbles.

Bobby gapes at them. "I – Christ. I need to sit down."

Sam's stomach churns like he's in a freefall. Dean's muttering something under his breath, digging the palms of his hands into his eyes and shaking his head back and forth, over and over again like he thinks if he wishes hard enough this'll all just go away. Ifonly. Sam would give just about anything for the ability to rewind time about five minutes.

"We … we should get dressed. We'll be downstairs in a minute okay? We'll just … yeah," Sam says, switching onto autopilot because if he doesn't there's no way he's going to get through this. He's so embarrassed and anxious and mortified that he wants to just sink down into the floor and die and never have to look Bobby in the eye ever again, but he can't and the fact that Dean still hasn't moved or spoken or even opened his eyes is freaking Sam out just enough that his protective instincts are kicking in and taking over – mercifully allowing him to temporarily put aside his own dread and discomfort so he can deal with Dean's. He turns away from Bobby and grabs Dean's arm, dragging his shell-shocked brother into the spare bedroom that's always been theirs. Sam does his best not to dwell on how many times they've had sex in there, biting their lips or their fists or a chunk of the quilt in an effort to keep quiet, and the fact that now Bobby knows about it. Dean doesn't fight him at all, he lets Sam pull him around like a rag doll, and Sam tugs him through the doorway and shuts it behind him, careful not to make eye-contact with the man still in the hallway – gripping the banister at the top of the stairs like if he'll collapse if he doesn't.

It makes Sam's gut twist uncomfortably to know they've caused the man who's basically their surrogate father so much distress, but he can't even think about that right now. Dean is what's important; Sam doesn't have the capacity to worry about Bobby too. Not yet, anyway. His brother is standing in the middle of the room where Sam's left him, staring straight ahead at the wall in front of him as if in a trance. The towel is slipping down his waist a little and he's dripping all over the carpet but he doesn't seem to notice at all; he just breathes shallowly through his slightly parted lips and sways on his feet like it's taking every ounce of strength he has not to crumble. It makes Sam's heart hurt – he wants to go to him, wrap his arms around him and promise it's all going to be okay but even he knows that isn't a promise he has any right to make.

Instead, he uses his own towel to dry himself off quickly – oh god, he'd thrown the towel over his shoulder instead of wrapping it around his waist before they came out of the bathroom! How did he totally not notice he was standing there in front of Bobby completely naked? – and grabs the jeans and t-shirt he'd tossed onto the bed before and pulls them on over his still-damp skin. The shirt is sweat-moist and wrinkled and the denim has oil smudges on it from when he was helping Dean with the Impala earlier, but Sam doesn't think this is a good moment to spend the time looking for clean clothes. He rubs the towel over his wet hair, and then he turns to Dean, reaching out tentatively and putting a hand on Dean's shoulder; Dean jumps like Sam's palm is made of sizzling-hot steel.

"Sorry," Sam says softly, cringing.

Dean stares at him, slack-jawed, for just a moment and then he snaps out of it; his eyebrows scrunch into a deep frown and he presses the back of his hand to his mouth. "Oh god," he breathes against his own skin.

"I … I know," Sam sighs. Does he ever. "Just … we'll work it out, okay?"

"How?" Dean croaks. "He's not going to understand this! He's never gonna wanna speak to us again!"

Sam would love nothing more than to be able to tell Dean that isn't true, but he can't. For all he knows, Dean's right. "Just get dressed," he says heavily. "One thing at a time." It's such a useless idiom, he knows that it in no way reassures Dean, but Sam's at a total loss and it's the best he can come up with.

"We're so screwed." Dean's voice is cracked and peppered with hopelessness, but he does what Sam asked him to anyway.

He rummages through his bag for a minute, slipping on a pair of boxers and his old jeans and a grey, long-sleeved t-shirt. He runs his hand through his mussed-up hair when he's done, exhaling deeply and glancing over at Sam with a tired, worn down expression on his face. Sam tries to smile encouragingly but he's sure it comes off as a grimace. Dean's probably right – if the way Bobby stared at them in shock and horror is any indication, they are probably very, very screwed.

Once Dean's fully clothed and looking at least a little less pale and like he's about to hurl, Sam manages to actually give him a tiny half-smile as he reaches his hand out towards his brother. Dean eyes it but doesn't take it; instead he takes another deep breath, sets his jaw determinedly and walks passed Sam and out the door. Even though Sam sort of wanted that small bit of contact he doesn't take it as an insult because he knows it isn't, at all. He understands the feeling of having to dive into this horrible situation headfirst or running the risk of not being able to handle it at all, so he trails after Dean; matching his measured strides along the hallway and down the stairs. Dean's shoulders are tense, more tense then Sam's ever seen them, even through the fabric of his shirt – he doesn't stop, though, he marches almost boldly down the stairs like he's planning on bursting onto the main floor and unloading an earful on Bobby. Sam's caught completely off-guard by Dean's sudden burst of confidence, but then at the bottom of the staircase Dean stops short and Sam runs into his back like a Three Stooges routine.

"Dean?" Sam whispers, taking a quick look around to make sure Bobby's not somewhere within sight. He isn't, Sam can hear him moving around in the kitchen, so he steps around his brother and leans down to look at Dean's face.

Dean's expression has turned frantic again, his eyes glazed over a little as he stares intently at the door-frame that leads to the kitchen. "Shit," he mumbles. "He's gonna hate me. Closest thing I've got to a father, and he's gonna hate me."

Again, Sam feels gutted with how much he wishes like hell he could contradict his deeply upset brother (friend, partner, lover, everything), but once again, he can't. Because for all he knows Dean's heart-breaking statement is completely accurate. Sam brings his hand up to cup the back of Dean's neck for just a moment, pleased at least that this time Dean lets him. He even leans into Sam's touch and Sam almost cries with how small and scared his usually strong big brother looks right now.

"C'mon," he whispers. He'd give anything to be able to give Dean some real comfort, and himself too, but really the only thing he can do is face the music. Bobby's either going to hate them or he isn't – either way there isn't much either of them can do about it.

Sam walks into the kitchen slowly, cautiously, and Dean follows closely behind him like a lost puppy; even after Sam stops moving he can feel Dean's heat up against his back – if he didn't know any better, he'd say Dean was hiding behind Sam's larger frame. Bobby has his back to them; he's bent over the sink pretending to be examining a dirty plate but his movements are entirely too measured and meticulous to be anything close to genuine, and his whole body tightens when he hears them enter the room. Dean fidgets a little in the palpable tension and tries to step out from behind Sam, but Sam shoots an arm out and holds him back; he can't explain it but he's got this uncontrollable need to protect Dean right now – maybe because he knows that no matter how this all goes down, because Dean's the older one he'll more than likely end up getting blamed. Dean huffs in irritation and Sam can feel him rolling his eyes, but thankfully he stays where he is so Sam lets his arm drop.

For a long moment nobody moves a muscle – like neither Bobby or Dean wants to be the first one to speak any more than Sam does. But out of the three of them, Sam's pretty confident that he's the most stubborn, so he holds his breath, keeps his brother tucked behind his back and waits for Bobby to make the first move. It feels like an eternity passes before he does, but finally he heaves a sigh and puts the dish back into the sink, dropping a wet washcloth down on top of it and running a hand over his face. He waves a thick hand toward the table where they've all shared countless meals and laughs and arguments and long nights filled with horrible coffee and endless research and half-baked plans. Just like the rest of this house, the old wooden table is as familiar to Sam as the back of his hand, but right now he can hardly bring himself to even look at it, knowing full well what's going to happen once he sits down. But then Bobby shoots a no-nonsense frown at them over his shoulder and Sam swallows thickly and somehow manages to force his lead-filled limbs to move; pulling out a rickety chair and sitting down precariously; Dean does the same beside him.

Bobby turns around slowly, his eyes darting around the room and looking anywhere but at Sam or Dean. Another thick, black forever goes by, the ticking of the clock on the wall obscenely loud and slow as molasses, before Bobby finally inhales shakily and speaks in a quiet, wrecked voice. "How long?"

Sam cocks his head in momentary confusion but Bobby gestures awkwardly between him and Dean, and then he gets it. He opens his mouth to insist again that Bobby really doesn't want to know that, but the older man gives him a sharp look so Sam swallows his objections. It's disturbingly similar to the looks he used to get from his dad, those glares that just screamed 'don't you dare lie to me, boy'. Sam was never nearly as conditioned to obey orders as Dean was, but even still that look always managed to stop him in his tracks.

"Um … the first time, I was … sixteen." He shifts uncomfortably in his seat and lets his gaze fall to where his hands are balled into fists on his thighs.

Out of the corner of his eye, Sam watches Bobby drop his head down into his hands. "Jesus. That – I really don't know if that makes it better or so much worse," he groans.

Sam doesn't have a faint clue what he's supposed to say to that, so he doesn't say anything. He chances a quick glance over at Dean – his face has clouded over completely and he's staring straight ahead with vacant, un-seeing eyes. He's hardly moving at all except for the shallow lifts and falls of his chest as he breathes; if it weren't for the slight muscle-twitch around his jaw, Sam would think Dean actually had fallen into a trance this time. It doesn't exactly feel nice to see Dean so blank and empty, but Sam isn't at all surprised. Sam's always been better at handling things like this than Dean is – when the emotion gets too strong, any emotion, Dean just shuts down. He's always been that way, and this time is no different.

"Do you have anything to say for yourselves?" Bobby asks.

"We're sorry," Sam offers softly.

"You're sorry," Bobby repeats, laughing humorlessly. "Sorry about what you did or sorry you got caught doin' it?"

Sam bristles at being scolded like a child, but he swallows the angry retort that bubbles up in his throat and keeps his lips pressed together. There are a lot of things he'd like to say, but doesn't think any of them would do anything but piss Bobby off more. And Bobby right, actually. Sam's sorry they've hurt him and he hates the burning feeling in his chest at disappointing someone, but he isn't for one second sorry about being with Dean. He can't be sorry about that. Dean's the best thing in Sam's life, always has been. He needs Dean, just like Dean needs him – that's just the way it is and Sam's long passed the point of even bothering to question it. He feels like shit about the whole situation and he wants more than anything to be able to call do-over and keep Bobby from ever seeing them together, but the one thing he can't do is apologize for their relationship. He'd just be lying if he did. He brings his arms up to rest his elbows on the table, leaning on them but keeping his gaze turned downward even as he feels Bobby's eyes darting between him and Dean.

"You know, I've been a hunter for over thirty years. I've seen a whole lot'a things in my life, things even most other hunters couldn't imagine. And I gotta say, I thought I was well beyond the days when somethin' could shock me like this," Bobby says, exhaling heavily and shaking his head. "But this … you two are like family to me, and I am trying to understand how this could happen but I … I got no idea what the hell to do here, boys. You … you're brothers."

"You think we don't know that?" Dean snaps loudly, abruptly breaking his silence.

"Dean," Sam warns.

"No – fuck!" Dean explodes, jumping up so quickly he sends his chair scooting backwards, screeching as it slides along the tile floor. "You really think that thought's never crossed our minds? You think we don't know how messed up this is, you think we aren't brutally aware that this is fucked six ways from Sunday?"

"Well then what the hell?" Bobby shouts. "If you know how wrong it is, how could you – Jesus fuckin' Christ, I can't even say it!"

"Sex!" Dean fires back, eyes wild. "The word is sex. That's what we do. With each other. A fuckin' lot."

"Dean, enough," Sam pleads desperately, reaching out and tugging on the hem of Dean's t-shirt, but he pushes Sam's hand away roughly. Sam's mind is racing; this is just going to make everything worse and he wants it to stop, god he just wants it to stop, but Dean's completely lost it. Dean's usually fairly level-headed, he doesn't get this worked up very often and it's always downright frightening when he does.

"No! He wanted to know!" Dean's expression is thunderous and he gestures animatedly with his hands as he yells. "He asked! So there it is! And guess what, we don't just take showers together, either! Sam and I are brothers and we fuck! We've been doing it since we were teenagers and we're sure as shit not planning on stoppin' any time soon, so there you go! Are you happy now?"

"Oh, happy is not exactly the word I'd use!" Bobby cries.

For almost a full minute they both just stand there, shoulders squared and staring at each other intensely like they're both daring the other to back down. The tension is so thick it's sucking all the of oxygen out of the room and Sam's breathing just as heavily as the other two even though he's the only one who hasn't been shouting. He flicks his gaze quickly back and forth between them, his heart beating into his throat.

"Let me guess, disturbed? Nauseous?" Dean offers finally, his voice dripping in cruel sarcasm. "So disgusted you can't even look at us?"

"You're gettin' warmer!" Bobby growls menacingly. "And don't you dare sass me, you ungrateful little shit, this is my house! The house I shared with my wife, the house we were going to raise our children in! I have beautiful, wonderful memories in this place and you've just erased them all! You two are just like your father, you know that? Arrogant, insolent, you damn Winchesters think the entire planet revolves around you and your problems, you think you're so freakin' special that the rules don't apply to you! Well they do!"

"Bobby, please," Sam implores. "Look, we're sorry, we didn't – "

"We were talking about startin' a family before she was possessed!" Bobby interrupts, spitting in anger. "And that room? The one where you – that was going to be the nursery! I won't even be able to go in there anymore knowing what you did! And you're sorry? You think that even begins to make up for this? For the last twenty years I have treated the two of you like sons! I was always there when you needed me, I opened my home to you, and this is how you repay me? By defiling it?"

Sam can't hold back a sharp gasp; he knows Bobby's upset and he certainly doesn't blame him, but he can't deny how much it stings to hear what he has with Dean described in such horrible terms. Sam's logical side knows their relationship is unconventional, wrong, immoral even, but his emotional side has never really been able to see what he knows other people would when they look at him and Dean. To Sam, their love is beautiful, no matter how unusual it is, and it really hurts to have it thrown back in their faces. Dean doesn't respond, either; the look on his face is still furious but there are definite undertones of shock now too. Sam wants to apologize again, to beg for forgiveness if necessary, but he knows it wouldn't do any good. Again, Bobby is achingly, devastatingly right – Sam's still not sorry for the way he feels about Dean but they shouldn't have ever done anything here. It never really crossed Sam's mind before how entirely inappropriate it was. Now that it has, he can barely think about anything else.

"Get out," Bobby says quietly, so quietly Sam's not totally sure he heard him right. Or maybe he just wishes he didn't.

"W-what?" he stutters.

"You heard me," Bobby chews out, turning away from them again and leaning heavily on his hands on the countertop. "You're not welcome here anymore. All this time, I thought we were friends, I thought we were kin. But you clearly never had an inch of respect for me, so just get out."

Sam gapes at him, his heart still thundering in his chest as he blinks back tears. He knew Bobby wasn't going to be happy about this but he never thought the man would kick them out. He looks up at Dean helplessly, a tear or two slipping down his cheek as he hopes against hope his brother will say something – anything – to change Bobby's mind, to make this right, but Dean doesn't. He glares at the back of Bobby's head for another few moments like he's trying to burn holes in it with his eyes, and then suddenly he jolts into action.

"Fine," he snarls, grabbing the chair he'd been sitting in before and shoving it roughly back into place. The sharp thunk of wood on wood is loud in the deathly quiet room; it makes Sam jump a little even though he knew it was coming. Every inch of his skin is buzzing again, this time in shame and sadness and regret and a bunch of other emotions he doesn't even have words for. Dean grabs him by the sleeve of his t-shirt, and even though Sam protests quietly Dean still drags him up off his chair.

"He doesn't want us here, so let's go," Dean grumbles bitterly, and whatever arguments Sam had die before they have a chance to leave his mouth. It's awful, it's heart-breaking, but Dean's right, so Sam lets himself be tugged into the other room. Dean takes the stairs two at a time, returning a minute later with both their messily pack bags, and then he curls his fingers around Sam's elbow and pulls Sam's shell-shocked body out the door.

After having the rug pulled out from under him, after having nearly everything Sam thought he knew turned inside out and upside down, every cell in his body feels so helter-skelter that even his reserved-for-life seat in the Impala feels cold and unfamiliar. The dashboard that Sam knows every inch of, every nick in the plastic and every smudge on the silver trimming, looks like a stranger staring back at him with horribly judging eyes. The rumble of the motor is usually gentle and soothing but right now it feels too jostling; although, in actuality that could be Dean's aggressive driving – uncharacteristically so, even for him, which definitely means he's a lot more upset about everything than he's letting on. Sam can't even think about it. Even the smooth, black leather doesn't smell like home anymore. It's awful – Sam feels lost and off center and out of place in his own skin. Not to mention the fact that when he tried to put a hand comfortingly on Dean's thigh, his brother pushed him away.

It's been less than twenty minutes since they left Bobby's place but even in that short amount of time the events of the last hour have managed to warp and twist and mutate; all smearing themselves together in Sam's mind until he isn't even sure what actually happened anymore. All he knows is that one minute everything was fine and the next his entire life was crashing down around him. All he knows is that there's only ever been one place in the world other than the Impala that Sam could even loosely call 'home', and now it's gone. The look on Bobby's face … he wasn't kidding. They are not allowed back there, ever again, and Sam could just break down into incoherent, uncontrollable sobs with how sad that makes him. He likes to think that all he needs in the world is Dean, they've got this 'us against the world' mentality going on that's always really worked for Sam, but he's never really realized until right now how much that isn't true. He needs Bobby too, they both do.

He's more than just their friend and sort-of-uncle; he's their stand-in parental figure, he's the voice of reason when they spin out of control, he's the one who cuffs them over the heads and calls them idiots when they are being idiots, he's their encyclopedia of all things supernatural when they hit a dead end, he's the one who answers the phone when someone wants to make sure their fed credits are legit, he's the one they turn to when they're in trouble, when they have no where else to go. Sam doesn't even want to think about what hunting's going to be like when they don't have Bobby just a phone-call away when things go south. But even more then that, he provides the stability that Sam's never known anywhere else. Everything else changes at warp-speed sometimes, but Bobby's always been the same – his slightly run-down house, his yard filled with tires and sheet-metal and the shells of cars, his gruff but gentle nature, his old blue baseball cap, his endless stacks of books that are so much like the man himself; frayed around the edges but still useful and completely irreplaceable – and Sam took more comfort in all that than he ever realized. And now it's gone.

After another few minutes, Dean finally breaks the firm silence he's been maintaining and pulls over to the side of the road without warning, sending Sam sliding across the seat and colliding painfully into the door. He doesn't say anything, though, he just waits. Dean hasn't said a single word since they drove away, and Sam hasn't wanted to push. Mostly because he has no idea what he would say even if he did feel like talking about this. Really, there isn't anything he could come up with to make this better. And Sam has a bad tendency in situations like this to say the wrong thing and make everything worse. So he keeps his mouth shut, eyeing Dean warily out of the corner of his eye, stomach twisting uncomfortably as he waits. Eventually, Dean just sort of crumbles like every muscle in his body gives up all at once; crossing his arms over the top of the steering wheel and letting his head drop down to rest his forehead on them.

"Son of a bitch," he mumbles weakly.

And yep, that pretty much sums it up. Sam doesn't respond because he doesn't need to – Dean's muttered curse really does say it all. They are fucked with a capitol F this time. There's no two ways around it. Sam feels queasy again.

"I said 'Sam and I are brothers and we fuck', to Bobby," Dean continues, his voice cracking somewhere in the middle. "Oh god. We … damn it. There's no coming back from that, is there?"

Sam sighs. "I … no, not really."

"Shit," Dean hisses, banging his forehead against his crossed arms a few times and then sitting up and shooting a completely miserable look over at Sam. "This wasn't supposed to happen."

"I know," Sam says quietly. "I hate it."

Dean exhales heavily, letting his head fall back against the top of the bench seat and squeezing his eyes closed like he hopes when he opens them they'll be back in the bathroom, coming out of the shower, and he can make them hurry into their bedroom so Bobby doesn't catch them and none of this will have ever happened. Sam wants that too, so damn much it's giving him chest pains.

"Alright, let's … god, I don't even know," Dean says heavily, lifting his head up and rubbing his eyes hard with his fists. "Find somewhere to crash for the night I guess."

"You think we should call him?" Sam asks tentatively. "Try to work this out?"

Dean looks at him again, face twisting into an apologetic grimace and shaking his head. "I don't think we could. Think we dug our own graves on this one."

Sam really, really wishes it weren't true, but he knows Dean's right. So he just nods and slouches down a little further in his seat, staring absently out the window as Dean pulls back onto the highway at the endless fields and occasional patches of small, prairie trees – trying desperately not to dwell on how much it reminds him of the view out of Bobby's second floor windows and of everything they've just lost.

The room Dean finds them just outside of Adrian is pretty standard, clean enough and just slightly out of date and simply furnished like they all are, but Sam barely notices. He shuffles in from the car, his vision blurred and hardly aware of any of his surroundings, tossing his canvas bag onto one of the beds. Two beds, he realizes dimly; Dean must've been feeling guilty. Sam's head feels fuzzy and his whole body still feels off; his skin doesn't even feel like his anymore, more like a transplant his body's rejecting. But as bad as he is, Dean's worse. In the car Dean had seemed to come around just a bit, he looked decidedly more human while he drove the last ten minutes down the I-90 and found them a motel just off the park, but now that they're settled again he looks even worse than he did before. His face has fallen back to that blank, vacant place again, his jaw slack and his eyes unfocused as he stands awkwardly in the middle of the room and just stares straight ahead at nothing at all, his hands curled loosely into fists and twitching at his sides, his lips moving ever so slightly in words Sam can't hear but gets the gist of anyway.

Dean's just as freaked out as Sam is about all this – probably more, actually, because similar to how it was with their Dad, Dean's always been closer to Bobby than Sam has. Dean would never, ever, in a million years admit it, but Sam knows his brother needs the presence of someone older and wiser and more experienced around from time to time, he needs that relief of not always having to be the one in charge, the one who makes all the difficult decisions. And he needs the approval of someone like a parent; he needs to be reassured every now and then that he's doing the right thing, that he's making the right calls and that he's doing a good job taking care of his little brother. He'd never admit that either, but he doesn't need to. Sam can read him like a book and he's heartbroken about that more than anything – that Dean won't have that extra bit of support anymore.

He sort of hovers in the corner for a few minutes, watching Dean warily and really having no idea what do to about it if Dean doesn't snap out of this on his own, and after a while Sam can't hold back anymore. He doesn't have any answers, he can't make this go away, but his brother is hurting, damn it, and Sam's been trained his entire life to hurt when Dean does. Even when he was a thousand miles away in Palo Alto, there were times Sam swore he could tell when Dean had been injured on a hunt or was scared or upset. It used to make him just ache inside that he couldn't do anything about it from so far away, but now he's right here and he can do something, and he'll be damned if he's just going to stand there and let Dean drown all on his own.

Sam moves up slowly behind Dean, letting his hands settle low on Dean's waist and then licking his lips and pressing them to the back of Dean's neck. Dean's reaction is delayed, like it takes him a minute to figure out what's going on, and then when he does he tenses in Sam's arms.


"Dean?" Sam asks, completely confused.

"No, we've got a real problem on our hands here! You can't just distract me from it by dangling sex in my face! I'm not that easy to manipulate, Sam, I'm not a dog that you can train!" he grinds out between gritted teeth, jerking abruptly away from Sam's hands. "Don't touch me."

If possible, Sam's insides actually twist around each other even more than they were before, Dean's harsh words squeezing vice-tight around Sam's heart. They've had fights before, hundreds of them, but he doesn't think Dean's ever said that to him before. He's never told Sam not to touch him.

"I … I'm sorry," he whispers, turning away so Dean can't see the hurt on his face or the bloom of tears in his eyes. It's stupid, he knows Dean's just upset and he can't blame him, but after loosing the only other person they called family Sam just really thought they could both use to take a little comfort from each other. He never expected Dean to push him away.

"Wait, I – shit. I'm sorry," Dean mutters, sighing heavily.

Sam turns back and Dean looks absolutely crestfallen, his forehead scrunched into a frown and his eyes wide and sad.

"I'm sorry," he says again, quietly and repentantly and Sam can tell he really means it. "This isn't your fault. I just …"

"I know," Sam cuts in gently; he really, really does.

"This fuckin' sucks." Dean takes a few steps away from Sam and leans back against the wall, sliding slowly down it until his ass hits the carpet. He brings his arms up to rest on his bent knees and rubs a hand over his face. "What the hell are we gonna do?" he asks brokenly.

At this point, Sam would give up anything, everything he has if it meant finding a good answer to that question. But he doesn't have one and he probably never will. He moves over to his brother, slipping down the wall and mirroring his position on the floor. "I have no idea."

Dean shakes his head, huffing in disbelief or annoyance or maybe just with the enormity of the situation and how horrible it is that they can't do anything about it. Dean hates feeling hand-cuffed like this even more than Sam does. Sam's not entirely keen on the good possibility that it's going to get him yelled at again, but Dean looks so small and so sad and Sam can't keep his hands to himself any longer. He needs to be touching his brother just as much as Dean needs it, even if the stubborn bastard won't admit it, so Sam tentatively lifts the arm closest to Dean and puts it around his shoulders. Thankfully, this time Dean lets him; shifting slightly so he can lean into Sam's body and let his head fall down onto Sam's shoulder. Sam smiles just a little, pulling Dean in close and resting his forehead on Dean's soft hair.

"You think he's ever gonna forgive us?" Dean asks in a tiny voice.

"Would you?" Sam reasons heavily.

Dean doesn't answer, he just sighs again and leans a little more into Sam's chest.

"Hey, listen, about before," Sam starts cautiously. "I wasn't trying to distract you with sex, I – "

"Sam, it's fine," Dean cuts in.

"No, wait, just let me finish," Sam insists. "I just … when I'm worried or upset or whatever, being with you … it makes me feel better. It's comforting, feeling you close to me. I just thought maybe it might be the same with you, that's all."

"Don't have to be such a girl about it, Sammy. It's just sex," Dean admonishes fondly; Sam can hear him rolling his eyes but he can also hear the softer, second meaning in Dean's words. Sam's always been able to detect the poorly hidden under-currents of love and genuine affection whenever Dean teases him like that.

"Yeah," he grins. "But, I mean, it isn't, though."

"Isn't what?"

"Just sex," Sam clarifies, swallowing over a lump of emotion forming in his throat. Dean'll probably make fun of him again, but he still has to say it. He wants Dean to know. "It's not just anything. With you it's more, it's … everything."

Dean pulls back just enough so he can look up at Sam's face with an odd mixture of concern and sadness and hopefulness on his face. There's something else, too, something Sam can't quite place.

"So you're … not wantin' to call this off then?" he asks quietly.

Sam frowns. "Call what off?"

"This, you and me." Dean gestures between them and then lets his hand fall onto Sam's chest, brushing his thumb back and forth over the material of Sam's shirt and tracking its movements with his eyes like he can't quite bring himself to meet Sam's gaze.

Sam gapes at him. "Are you nuts? Of course not! God, I mean today was awful but it'd take a lot more than that to pull me away from you."

"Yeah?" Dean asks, smiling shyly and blinking up at Sam from under long, sandy-colored eyelashes.

"Hell yeah," Sam grins back, shaking his head at how dense Dean can be sometimes. "I love you, dumbass."

The faintest flush of pink colors the apples of Dean's cheeks and he swallows thickly, but he still slides his hand up to cup Sam's cheek and pulls his face down so their foreheads can press together. "I … me too. So much."

"You better," Sam threatens jokingly, nudging Dean's nose with his own and then kissing him softly.

Sam meant it to be gentle and sweet and reassuring, but Dean surges up and deepens it instantly, pushing his lips so hard into Sam's that Sam's teeth dig imprints into the thin flesh inside his mouth. Dean slides his mouth over Sam's in quick, insistent passes, barely bothering with any pretense at all before his tongue pokes out and rubs over the seam of Sam's lips. He opens up on instinct, conditioned from the day he was born to respond almost mindlessly to Dean's touch, and Dean delves in, licking almost franticly over Sam's tongue and teeth and the insides of his cheeks. It's not quite what Sam was expecting; he hadn't even really meant for it to go any further than just a kiss or two when he initiated this. He didn't think Dean was exactly in the mood for this considering everything that's happened today and the fact that this was what got them caught in the first place – the fact that they can't seem to ever leave it at just one kiss, always chasing after more even when they know they shouldn't. But Sam's definitely not complaining; he can feel the desperate edge taking over his brother and if Dean needs this right now then Sam is more than happy to give it to him. He loves kissing Dean, anyway, almost more than he loves doing anything else.

Dean gets his hand up into Sam's hair, fingers tangled around the strands, and tugs at it just enough to send little pinpricks down Sam's spine and straight to his cock. Dean knows Sam likes just a bit of pain with his pleasure and he knows what it does to Sam when he plays with his hair. Sam can't hold back a soft moan so he doesn't bother trying – he hums into Dean's mouth and Dean echoes it, swirling his tongue in sensual circles around Sam's and sending sparks of desire zinging over Sam's whole body. Dean's hardly even kissing him anymore, more like devouring him, and Sam's dizzy and completely consumed with the sudden, unrelenting need for more. Suddenly Sam needs it as much as he needs the giant gulps of oxygen he's sucking right out of Dean's mouth, and he opens his lips a little wider to give Dean better access. Dean takes full advantage, letting his tongue delve in just a little deeper and then pulling it back with a flick over the roof of Sam's mouth; Sam shivers at the pleasant, ticklish sensation. Everything that had been swirling around in his mind before; all the worry and embarrassment and cold dread and that horrible, black tar hopelessness; it's all gone, replaced by Dean's lips slick against his and Dean's hands and Dean's heat, drowning Sam and wrapping him up tight and reminding him exactly why it'll all be worth it even if Bobby never does speak to them again.

Sam chases after Dean's lips, pecking a few small, nearly insignificant kisses to them. Dean lets him have control for just a moment, and then he grips the back of Sam's neck and takes over again, licking along Sam's bottom lip and sucking it into his mouth. Then he dips down to nip at Sam's jaw-line, dragging his teeth along the skin leading to Sam's ear, but where just a second ago he was fervent and ravenous, now his movements seem half hearted. Sam isn't going to ask, he's not going to say anything because he understands the feeling of being somewhat all over the place emotionally, but then Dean just stops moving altogether, dropping his forehead down to rest against Sam's neck and drawing in shaky breaths that wrack his whole chest. Sam's so turned on he's dizzy and hot all over so it takes him a minute to even realize anything's wrong, but then the fog lifts a little and he's instantly confused.

"Dean?" he asks quietly, unsure of what he should do with his hands; whether Dean wants him to stay where he is or move away.

Dean doesn't answer, but he sniffs a little and presses in as close to Sam's chest as he can, like he's trying to climb into Sam's skin. Sam frowns, something deep and instinctual clinching in his chest like it always does when Dean's upset. He slides his arms around Dean's back, holding him as tightly as he can in their awkward position on the floor and kissing the soft skin behind his ear.

"I'm okay," Dean mumbles, shaking his head so that his nose rubs against Sam's collarbone. He looks up and there's so many emotions swirling in his liquid-green eyes that Sam doesn't have a hope of deciphering them all. "Just – need you," he pleads in a barely-there whisper.

Sam nods and kisses him, slow and warm and deep, pouring as much love into it as he possibly can. "You got me," he assures breathlessly. "Forever, okay?"

Dean kisses back soundly, smearing his broken words into Sam's lips. "I know. Need you to show me, though. Please."

He sounds more vulnerable and helpless than Sam thinks he's ever heard his normally strong big brother sound. Dean doesn't do vulnerability very often – he doesn't do needing other people, at least not on the surface – but right now he's crumbled and small and begging Sam to show him all those things that they've always had trouble putting into words; that Sam's always going to be there, that Sam needs him just as much, that Sam loves him. And Sam can't refuse him that simple request any more than he could refuse his lungs oxygen. Even after everything they've been through together, Sam knows there's still a tiny spot in Dean's brain that's always waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for Sam to change his mind about being with him; waiting for Sam to realize Dean isn't actually what he wants and leave. And as much as Sam's tried, he's never been able to erase that little whisper of doubt that plagues Dean's worst fears from time to time. It doesn't happen often, but every now and then Dean's abandonment issues and insecurities rear their ugly head, and it always breaks Sam's heart a little when they do.

He presses a series of soft, reassuring kisses to Dean's forehead, his nose, the corner of his mouth. "Doesn't matter what anyone else says, you and me are forever," he murmurs, mouthing his way along Dean's cheekbone and speaking slowing and poignantly so Dean hears him and gets what he's trying to say. "Even if no one in the world understands it, I don't care. I'm not giving you up, not for anything."

Dean nods, his slightly stubbled cheek prickling against Sam's lips, trailing his hand down Sam's chest and pressing firmly over his heart. He doesn't say anything else, but when he kisses Sam again it's maybe just a bit less desperate than it was before so Sam thinks his brother got the message. He sucks at Dean's lips, swirling his tongue in slow, wet laves over the bottom one and dipping it inside again, greedily probing as much of Dean's mouth as he can. Sam's so hard in his jeans he can barely even think straight – thoroughly turned on by that still-frantic edge to Dean's whole demeanor right now and the way he's still gripping Sam's hair like he's afraid to let go. Sam's a little achy inside like he always is whenever Dean's this bothered about something, but he can't deny how much he loves the rare moments when Dean needs him this much. Dean's sole purpose for living sometimes revolves completely around taking care of Sam, and Sam's humbled by his devotion but he likes getting the chance to take care of Dean for a change.

"C'mon," he whispers against Dean's spit-slick flesh.

He pushes himself onto his feet and pulls Dean with him; it's awkward but Sam manages to get them both vertical without detaching their lips, and the second they're off the floor Dean launches his assault again, throwing his arms around Sam's neck and attacking his mouth, licking his way in and devouring Sam from the inside out. He grabs the hem of his shirt and yanks it over his head, pulling Sam's off in turn and sends them both to the floor in a rumpled heap. He curls his hands over Sam's biceps and walks them backwards to the bed; the second the backs of Sam's knees hit the mattress Dean shoves him down onto it and collapses on top of him so hard it takes Sam's breath away for a second but he doesn't stop. He almost brutally smashes his lips against Sam's – Sam tastes the faint, coppery tang of blood mixing in with the warm, sweet taste of Dean's tongue. Dean gets his hips slotted against Sam's and then grinds down; the hot, solid bulge in his pants pressing deliciously into Sam's; rolling his hips in purposeful thrusts that have Sam seeing stars. He lets Dean plunder his mouth and rock against him for another few minutes until they're both sweaty and panting and Sam's a million percent positive if they just kept at it they'd both be coming in their shorts like teenagers within minutes. But that's not what Sam wants this time, so he draws one leg up to plant his foot flat on the mattress and uses the leverage to roll them over so Dean's underneath him.

Dean immediately pushes up onto his elbows and kisses Sam hard again, but Sam whispers "Shh," against his lips, gently guiding Dean down onto his back. Dean frowns and crooks his head slightly to the side – somethingwrong? he asks with his eyes. Sam smiles warmly and shakes his head, dragging his lips softly up Dean's jaw and then nips at his ear.

"Let me," he murmurs.

Dean whines deep in his throat, but for a while he really does try to let Sam drive. He lies still and Sam ravishes him, licks down his neck and bites gently at his collarbone and sucks wet kisses to every spot on his perfect, lightly freckled chest that Sam knows drives him crazy. Dean's indescribably beautiful like this; want shining in his darkened emerald eyes, hair mussed up, lips shiny-wet and skin exploding in goose-bumps whenever Sam touches him. But he doesn't last long in the passenger's seat, even though he's curled his hands into fists in an effort to stay still – after a few minutes he snakes his arms around Sam's back and pulls Sam down into a passionate, bruising kiss. He tangles his fingers into Sam's hair again, holding Sam close as he practically feeds from Sam's mouth, pouring every leftover emotion from earlier into it. For another minute, Sam just lets him, because he doesn't have the heart to push Dean away when he's like this.

When Dean's movements start to border on frenzied, Sam pulls back and shushes him again, brushing his lips barely-there back and forth across Dean's and smoothing his palm down Dean's side; cupping Dean's ribcage easily in his palm. Dean sort of whimpers and bucks up into Sam's hips. To anyone else it might seem like he's just impatient and horny and ready to get the show on the road, but Sam knows better. He knows Dean's clinging to whatever bits of contact he can because deep down, he feels like he'll fall apart if he doesn't. Sam can feel desperation seeping out of Dean's every pore, he can tell how much Dean needs this – needs to touch and taste and reconnect, needs to hold on to Sam as tightly as he can because at moments like this, Dean's walls fall down and he gets terrified that if he lets go Sam will disappear. He's never said all that out loud and he probably never will but Sam knows it anyway, knows it like he knows every freckle on his brother's face. Sometimes Dean says the most when he doesn't say anything at all.

"It's okay," Sam soothes, resting his forehead against Dean's and still rocking against him just a little, just enough that Dean can feel him. "M'right here, Dean. Not going anywhere."

Dean's fingertips dig into Sam's back and his breath comes out hot and shaky against Sam's cheek. "Sammy," he breathes, and Sam's struck once again, like he always is, at how many things Dean can put into just that one quiet word. Just Sam's name, his nickname that's only ever belonged to Dean – barely a whisper of breath and Sam can hear everything; everything Dean's feeling and everything he's afraid to feel and everything he wishes he could put into words but can't. It doesn't matter anyway, Sam doesn't need him to.

"What do you want?" Sam sucks Dean's bottom lip into his mouth and sinks his teeth into it lightly. He's still determined to be the one running the show tonight – he knows they both need it that way – but more than anything Sam doesn't want what happened this afternoon to make Dean think for one second he's changed his mind about them being together.

"You, just want you," Dean rasps, following Sam's mouth and letting their tongues play together for a moment. "Need you, Sammy. Please?"

The fact that he thinks he even has to ask just about breaks Sam's heart right in two. He doesn't waste time, suddenly as frantic as Dean is as he strips his brother of his jeans and boxer-briefs, leaving him gloriously naked for Sam to eye hungrily as he steps onto the floor and pushes off his own remaining clothes. He grabs the little bottle of lube out of the front pocket of Dean's bag, and then he climbs back onto the bed, knee-walking up the mattress until he can lie down on top of Dean again. When their bare cocks brush together for the first time Sam moans, dropping his head down onto Dean's shoulder and grinding into him a few times, chasing that delicious friction that sends sparks of pleasure up and down his spine. Dean echoes the noise, humming deeply right in Sam's ear and sliding his hands down to palm the cheeks of Sam's ass, pulling him down harder and arching up against him. The sensitive head of Sam's cock catches and rubs against Dean's, drops of pre-come blurting from his slit and slicking the way for them to rut against each other. Again, Sam's sure he could come almost effortlessly just from doing this, but it's about so much more than just the release right now so he slows his movements and presses the plastic bottle into Dean's hand.

Dean tries to roll them over but Sam stops him, lifting his head enough to meet Dean's eyes. "Like this," he says, pushing up to his hands and knees and kissing the corner of Dean's mouth. "Wanna ride you."

Dean groans, eyes rolling back in his head for a moment, and then he shudders a little but Sam feels him relax just slightly; feels the moment when Dean surrenders control and lets Sam take over. Sam reaches over and takes Dean's hand where the bottle of lube is still laying loosely between his fingers, and he brings it up to his lips and kisses Dean's knuckles. Dean gets the message and fumbles the cap open, squeezing a generous helping of the clear gel onto his fingers and coating them as evenly as he can with his hands shaking in anticipation. He reaches around Sam's body and pets gently at Sam's opening with a fingertip, his other hand gripping one of Sam's ass cheeks and spreading them apart so he has room to work. Sam lets his head fall to rest on Dean's shoulder again, pushing his face into Dean's neck and drawing in deep breaths of Dean-scented air so his body will relax quickly. It always tenses a little at first no matter how many times they've done this, but today Sam doesn't have the patience to take this slow. He needs to be connected to Dean and he needs it now.

Just the tip of Dean's finger slips past Sam's rim and he moans. "C'mon, more," he mumbles, rocking back against Dean's hand and moaning again as Dean's finger gets sucked into his body. Dean's breathing has gone shallow and quick like he's concentrating, and he slowly pushes his finger in all the way to the webbing.

Sam hums and sighs happily – the stretch is so good, even just one finger is like heaven, rubbing over all those spots inside him that make his head spin. Dean drags it out and pushes it back in a few times, still slowly but steadily and Sam gets lost in it; barely even notices when Dean adds a second finger except for the fact that the full feeling gets even better. It burns just a bit, always does, but Sam likes it; likes feeling his muscles clench and flutter around Dean's fingers as his body opens up. Dean crooks his fingers just right and passes over that spot inside Sam and stars explode behind his eyelids. His whole body tingles in pure pleasure and he dimly hears himself whimpering into Dean's neck.

Dean laughs shakily, his voice awed and breathy when he murmurs, "So fucking gorgeous, Sammy. So god damn beautiful like this. Want you so much."

"M'ready," Sam slurs against Dean's skin, nosing at his hairline. He isn't, not quite, but he doesn't care. He wants to feel it, wants to know Dean's there with him, splitting him open and loving him and pushing him over the edge.

"'kay," Dean answers, pulling his fingers out with a soft squelching noise and wiping them on the bedspread.

Sam knows that Dean knows two fingers isn't enough, but thankfully Dean doesn't protest. When Sam lifts himself up off Dean's chest enough to look at his brother's face, Dean's eyes are swimming again with more emotions than Sam would've thought it'd be possible to feel all at once. He hates it, sometimes, how much weight Dean carries around with him and that he usually refuses to let Sam bear some of the load. But he can give Dean this; he can make Dean feel good, he can make Dean feel loved, at least for a little while. He takes the lube from Dean and pours a bit into his palm, reaching behind himself to slick Dean's granite-hard cock up enough to make the slide easier. Dean hisses at the contact, looking up at Sam with so much intensity in his eyes it would be almost intimidating if Sam couldn't see the sheer, unabashed love shining through passed everything else.

He gives Dean a small smile, leaning down to peck a quick kiss to his lips, and then he positions Dean's head at his entrance and lowers himself onto it. The rounded crown burns like hell as it slips passed his rim, but Sam doesn't stop and it's only a few seconds before the pain dulls into a pleasant twinge. He slides further down the shaft, not stopping until he's seated flush against Dean's hips, the swell of Dean's balls resting gently against the curve of his ass. It's so good, Dean's erection is scorching hot where it's splitting him in two, throbbing and full and it makes Sam achy in all the right ways. When he looks back down at Dean, the expression on his brother's face is one of pure bliss, all the lines of worry completely erased and leaving nothing but smooth, flushed skin and eyes wide and glassy and blackened with lust. Dean reaches for him, and Sam drops himself down to rest on his elbows and kisses him, deep and fervent and thorough.

"Sam," Dean breathes into Sam's lips. "I …"

"Shh, I know," Sam whispers. And he does; he knows everything. He doesn't need Dean to say a word.

Dean nods, sweaty forehead rubbing against Sam's, and Sam wordlessly starts to move, rocking his hips back so Dean's cock slides in and out of him steadily. It massages along his inner muscles and Sam's mouth falls open in a silent moan while Dean grunts and bucks up into him. Sam changes the angle a little and when Dean thrusts up again he hits Sam's prostate dead-on, and Sam cries out softly. His skin feels stretched too thin and buzzing all over; he's light-headed and he's happy Dean's got his arms wrapped around his back and is holding on tightly; otherwise Sam would be worried he might spin right out of control, but as long as he's wrapped around Dean he's grounded in this moment where everything is amazing and perfect. He gets a good rhythm going and Dean matches it, rolling his hips up into Sam's when Sam rocks back and hitting that spot inside Sam almost every time. Sam looses track of how long they move together, it could be a few minutes or it could be an hour, all Sam knows is that nothing ever feels as incredible as this does and he never, ever wants it to be over; even though he knows it will be, all too soon. Someone's moaning and he doesn't know if it's him or Dean but either way it doesn't matter. There's never been much difference anyway.

"So close, Sammy," Dean chokes out eventually, gripping Sam's face and pulling it down for a brutal kiss. "Gonna come for me, baby boy?"

A bead of sweat drips down from Sam's damp bangs, it lands on Dean's upper lip and he licks it up, eyelids fluttering closed like it's the best thing he's ever tasted. Sam nearly looses it from just the sight alone, and he quickens his pace, going for broke and bouncing on Dean's cock. Dean groans brokenly, slipping his hand between their sweat-drenches bellies and wrapping his fingers around Sam's aching, dripping cock. Sam could drown in how good it feels, Dean knows just the right way to flick his wrist to wind Sam up dangerously quickly, and Sam's already been teetering on that edge for such a long time all it takes is a few good strokes to throw him over. He comes with a hoarse shout, burying his face into the crook of Dean's neck and pulsing streams of hot come over Dean's fist and onto his stomach. Pleasure blooms along every vein, it's so all-consuming that Sam hardly notices when Dean cries out softly and coats the inside of Sam's body with slippery heat.

He comes down slowly, everything stays thick and hazy and too-warm for longer than it usually does, and Sam just lies bonelessly on Dean's chest and soaks it up. At some point he's vaguely aware of Dean shifting his hips enough for his softening cock to slip free from Sam's sticky, overworked hole. There's a tiny flare of pain when the thickest part passes Sam's sensitive rim, but it's gone as quickly as it came. Shortly after – or maybe a long time after, Sam really isn't sure – Dean's arms slide around him, one securely around the middle of his back and the other bending up so his hand cups the back of Sam's head. Even in Sam's foggy state, it doesn't escape him what Dean's doing; he's locking Sam's body down, holding him exactly where he is so Sam won't even think of rolling off him or moving away. He's not going to say anything, probably couldn't right now even if he wanted to, but it warms his heart to know Dean wants to keep him close. Sam sighs happily, snuggling in a little closer to his brother as Dean slowly pets through his messy hair.

Right before Sam drifts off to sleep, he thinks he hears Dean whisper, "My Sammy." And a voice that sounds a whole lot like his own whispers back, "Always yours."

The next few weeks are some of the longest and most difficult in Sam's life.

He tries to carry on like nothing's different, they both do, but everything is different and Sam's never been any good at pretending when it comes to something as life-altering as this is. He lies to himself until he's dizzy; he repeats allyouneedisDean over and over to himself like a mantra, his inner-monologue turning into a sad parody of a Beatles song, but it doesn't work. On paper, him and Dean are completely self-sufficient and have been for years. They make their own money, they keep each other company, they satisfy each other's base needs for sexual and emotional release, they hunt in a perfect collaboration so seamless it's almost choreographed, they talk and joke and fight, drinking until they pass out or laughing until there are tears on their faces or screaming at each other until they're hoarse. Anything and everything they need, they have in each other. On paper, anyway. But in practice, they need Bobby. They just do.

As much as Sam tries his damnedest to put the older man and everything that happened out of his mind, he can't. Because it keeps happening, again and again like the universe is mocking them with how helpless they really are. "It's got to be some kind of water demon, but I've never heard of one traveling through bottled water," Dean will sigh in frustration, "I'll call Bobby, maybe he'll …" And then his face will fall and his eyes will cloud over and the clamp around Sam's heart will tighten just enough to be painful and incorrigible. "We need a stake made from a type of Sequoia that only grows in China," Sam will deadpan, hating when the specific kryptonite they need seems impossible to come by. "Where the hell are we gonna get something like that?" Dean will groan. Sam will shrug and suggest, "Maybe Bobby's got – ", trailing off lamely at the stormy expression on his brother's face and slumping down into his chair. He'll make some stupid suggestion that maybe there's another hunter they can call, and Dean will mutter something like "Fat fuckin' chance," and then they won't speak for the rest of the evening.

Sam wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing was giving him an ulcer, but he has no idea what do to about it. It's not like they have a case to make even if they could get Bobby to sit down and hear them out. There isn't anything he could say that would have a hope of making Bobby feel better. Sam regularly commits incest (unholy sin, felony, whatever) with his older brother – when it comes down to it, that's the cold hard truth and it's inescapable. Sam is in a practically-lifelong, sexual, monogamous relationship with his brother, and really, there isn't a thing in the world either of them could say to make that alright even on the off-chance that Bobby were willing to listen. Which, Sam's pretty damn sure he isn't.

And then there's Dean. He's been almost intolerable. He had let himself be needy and broken down that first night, he'd let Sam take care of him, but as soon as the sun was up the next morning that was over. He went right back to being the same moody, snarly, annoyed-but-won't-talk-about-it Dean that always surfaces whenever there's a problem he doesn't want to deal with. Honestly, Sam can't say he wasn't expecting that, it's what Dean does. He usually lets himself be upset about something immediately after it happens, but after a few hours, after he's gotten over the initial shock, it's like he restarts and does his level best to convince himself that everything's exactly the same, even when it's painfully obvious that it isn't. It drives Sam insane; not just because he's the kind of person who likes to talk things out, but because Dean's little system-override never quite manages to change how he feels about whatever went wrong – so for the next indeterminable length of time, Sam gets stuck with a full-time room-mate who's constantly pissed off about something he refuses to admit even happened. It's infuriating.

Almost an entire month of tension and arguments and explosive emotions and miserably failed hunts goes by before Dean bursts into the motel room like a mad-man one morning, practically sprinting over to where Sam's sitting at the small, rickety table and waving his cell-phone around in Sam's face.

"Look!" he cries, eyes wide and unblinking.

"What?" Sam asks.

"Look!" Dean insists, pushing the little black phone even more obnoxiously into Sam's personal space.

"Dude, I can't, stop moving it!" Sam snaps, grabbing the vibrating device out of Dean's hand and squinting down at the name on the incoming caller ID.

Bobby (Home)

Sam's heart skips a few beats. And then it skips a few more. He glances back up at his brother and Dean gestures animatedly into the air with both hands – Iknow! Sam blinks a few times to make sure he's not seeing things.

"Why's he calling you? Did you call him first?" Sam sputters.

"No! I was pulling into the parking lot and my phone rang and it was him!" Dean's eyes are still almost comically wide and he's gaping like a cartoon fish; he looks as stunned and completely baffled as Sam feels. "What … should we answer? What the hell do we do?"

Sam shakes his head slowly, more in disbelief than as an outright no, but there's a part of him that really, really wants to let the call just go to voicemail and then delete the message without ever listening to it. It's been weeks since they've had any contact with Bobby at all and now he's just calling them out of the blue? Sam doesn't know what to make of it. In all likelihood, this is happening because this time Bobby's the one who's run into some sort of trouble on a hunt and now he needs help – the thought alone makes Sam's whole body flush in anger. Up until this point, Sam's been sympathetic and understanding about Bobby reacting the way he did when he found out about everything, but if that's what's happening? If Bobby's finally breaking his silence just because now he needs something from them? Sam's not going to be responsible for what comes out of his mouth.

Making a snap decision that will probably end up biting him in the ass somewhere down the line, Sam roughly presses the little green 'talk' button and brings the cell up to his ear. "Yeah?" he says instead of 'hello', as calmly as he can possibly manage.

There's a long pause on the other end, broken up only by a slight crackling as Bobby breathes into the mouthpiece, before he answers heavily. "Sam."

"You were expecting Dean?" It's not really a question; it's kind of obvious, actually, since this is Dean's phone. But Sam can't shake the little twinge of hurt that Bobby actually sounds disappointed to have gotten him on the line instead of his brother.

"I – well, yes," Bobby mutters. "Doesn't matter, though. How … are you boys alright?"

Sam practically sees red. "Are we alright? What, like you care now?"

"That isn't fair," Bobby protests quietly, and he's got a point. Sam's being an ass, he knows he is and he knows Bobby doesn't deserve it, but he can't really control it. He's the one who's had to deal with how hurt Dean's been by all this, he's the one who saw the look on Dean's face when Bobby said they weren't welcome in his home anymore.

"What's he saying?" Dean asks quietly, but Sam ignores him.

"What do you want, Bobby?" he says flatly.

"Where are you?" Bobby asks.

"Outside Madison," Sam answers, while Dean narrows his eyes.

Bobby pauses again and sighs before he speaks. "Okay, look, I … we need to straighten some things out. Are you working a job? Can you swing by?"

"Can we swing by?" Sam repeats icily. Honestly, he's not entirely sure where all this aggression is coming from. He hadn't been angry at all until he saw Bobby's name on the caller ID, and now it's pouring out of him so intensely it's like he can't stop it. "We're not exactly in the neighborhood. We're not gonna drive three hundred miles out of our way just so you can yell at us again."

"Sam!" Dean demands. "Gimme the phone."

"Sam, please," Bobby says quietly. "I don't blame you for bein' pissed at me, but think about things from my point'a view! What would you have done?"

"I wouldn't have kicked us out! I would've tried to understand, I wouldn't have just thrown us to the wolves!" Sam snaps, but then Dean elbows him unexpectedly in the ribs and takes advantage of his surprise, grabbing the phone from his hand.

"For fuck's sake," he mutters, rolling his eyes at Sam and bring his cell to his hear. "Hi Bobby."

Sam rubs his abdomen and glares at his brother, but Dean ignores him, listening with a slight frown on his face for a minute and then speaking slowly. "Yeah, we … okay. We just finished up here, we'll be there in a couple of hours, alright? Yeah. See you soon."

"What the hell, Dean?" Sam cries when Dean puts his cell back in his pocket.

"What the hell yourself!" Dean shoots back. "He wants to talk, he wants to figure this out! What's wrong with you?"

"He told us to leave, he didn't want anything to do with us! It's been a month since we've heard from him and now he wants to talk and you're just okay with that?"

"I – no, it isn't …" Dean rubs the back of his palm over his forehead and sighs. "Look, I get it, okay? You're pissed. I am too, but this is Bobby, Sam. It's Uncle Bobby, the guy who's always been there for us when Dad wasn't, the guy who's got us out of so many jams I've lost count!"

"What's your point?" Sam asks shortly.

"That we can't just cut him out of our lives because we had a fight! He's family, that's not what you do when you're a family."

"He said we were disgusting!" Sam protests loudly. "He said we weren't welcome in his home anymore! That's not what you do when you're a family either!"

"I know," Dean answers heavily. "But come on, it's not like you and I have never had our own freak-outs about this, about being an us. God, do you remember what a mess we were as teenagers? It took us a really long time to be okay with all this, it's not like we can expect Bobby to be fine with it overnight. It's a lot to swallow at first, you know that. I know what he said hurt, it hurt me too, I just … don't you think he deserves another chance?" His eyes are soft and pleading and all of Sam's anger just kind of fades away. It's Dean's version of what he calls Sam's puppy-eyes, and Sam's pretty damn helpless to it.

"Okay," he says slowly. "We'll go, we'll hear him out."

Dean nods. "Good. Thank you."

Sam shrugs. "Not doin' it just for you. I want him back too."

Sam doesn't think a road has ever seemed so endless in his whole life. The minutes crawl by like hours, he quickly looses track of how long they've been driving but he knows it feels like at least twice as long as it has been. It's a clear, warm morning; the sky is blue and cloudless and the sun is almost mocking them with how obnoxiously brightly it's shining, but even still the never-ending stretches of prairie have never looked so ugly and uninviting. Sam is really, really dreading this. Everything seems so uncertain and too much like anything could happen – Sam feels a little bit like they're driving to their doom, even though he can tell even in his own head that he's being over-dramatic. Dean hasn't said a word since they left Madison, but he's only driving a little bit over the speed-limit, and even though the radio's on some generic classic rock station, it's not too loud like it would be if he was pissed off. He doesn't look angry or worried or anything, he seems completely fine actually, but there's a tiny muscle twitching in his temple so Sam knows his brother isn't quite as calm as he's pretending to be.

As if that first conversation with Bobby wasn't horrible enough, Sam can't exactly imagine a second one will go any better and he'd really rather be heading anywhere but where they are right now. But it's a small comfort, at least, knowing that Dean's just as freaked out as Sam is about all of this. The last few weeks have felt so surreal, vague and fuzzy like it wasn't even really happening, like any day Sam was going to wake up in their bed at Bobby's house again and find out it was just a long, incredibly detailed nightmare. He'd even imagined how the conversation with Dean would go in his head; telling him all about the dream and how awful it was to not have Bobby in their lives. In his head, Dean laughed and told Sam he was being paranoid, and then he'd kiss Sam and make him forget all about it. But now, as they cross the border into South Dakota, it all snaps into focus and suddenly it seems very real. Sam's painfully aware of how much is riding on whether or not things go well once they get to Sioux Falls. It is a good sign that Bobby wants to try to work things out, but Sam's not holding his breath. Things could just as easily go south and this time it really could be the end of their relationship with him. This could be it, forever. The thought makes Sam unbearably sad.

A couple minutes away from the turn to Singer Salvage, Dean pulls the Impala over to the side of the road and puts it into park, turning toward Sam and tucking one leg up onto the leather seat so he can face him. Sam shoots him a questioning look, but Dean just says "C'mere," and holds his hand out, so Sam takes it and lets Dean drag him along the bench seat until they're close enough to touch. Dean cups Sam's cheek in one hand and with the other he reaches up and pushes the hair out of Sam's eyes. Then he leans in and kisses him, slow and soft, just a few gentle brushes of his lips and half a second of his tongue flicking against Sam's bottom lip before he pulls back.

"What was that for?" Sam asks.

"Because I know what's goin' on in that skull of yours," Dean answers, smiling fondly and rapping his knuckles lightly on the top of Sam's head. "Why you got all aggressive on the phone and why you've been sitting over there brooding for the last few hours. S'not like you, usually I'm the one with the chip on my shoulder. But you have nothing to worry about, okay? Whatever happens with Bobby, you and me are walking out of there the same way we walked in – together."

Sam swallows over a lump of emotion that forms in his throat. To be honest, he wasn't even sure himself what had put him in such a shitty mood today, but now that Dean says it, Sam realizes he's completely right. More than anything, he's been dreading how Dean's going to react if their visit to Bobby's doesn't end well.

"We are stronger than anything he could throw at us," Dean murmurs, stroking his fingertips along Sam's cheek in a rare display of affection that's unrelated to sex. "I don't know how this is all gonna go down but nothing is taking me away from you, got it?"

Sam's caught completely off guard by Dean being so willingly open; it has him blinking back tears and dropping his head down to rest his forehead against Dean's. Dean grips the back of Sam's neck and pets through his hair and it's all Sam can do not to break down entirely.

"How the hell did you know that's what I was worried about?" he asks thickly.

Dean chuckles warmly. "Cause I know you. Better than anyone in the whole world, kiddo."

"I love you. So god damn much," Sam whispers, and Dean bumps his nose against Sam's.

"There's the Sammy I know," he whispers back, his voice soft and teasing. "You big sap. Now c'mon, let's get this over with."

Dean straightens himself out in his seat and pulls the Impala back onto the road, and Sam reluctantly slides back to his spot in the passenger's seat. But Dean keeps one hand on Sam's thigh, rubbing his thumb in a slow arc over the denim, and when he glances over at Sam, he can see the 'I love you too' shining in Dean's eyes. Dean doesn't say it out loud all that often but Sam never needs him to. He always hears it, as loud and clear as if Dean shouted it through a megaphone. He reaches down and takes Dean's hand, lacing their fingers together and watches out of the corner of his eye as Dean's mouth curves into a small smile.

Bobby's waiting for them on the front porch when Dean pulls the Impala into the scrap yard. He slows it to a stop and puts it into park still a good ways from the house; Sam can feel the anxiety emanating off his brother in waves of heat as he squints through the windshield and has another silent showdown with the older man. Again, Sam watches with bated breath, waiting to see who'll move first. Just like before, Bobby is the one who cracks, getting up out of his chair and waving them towards him before disappearing into the house. Dean takes a deep, slightly shaky breath and Sam finds himself doing the same – the fresh supply of oxygen calms his frantically beating heart a little bit, but he's still nervous. Dean looks worse, though, so Sam takes his hand again and squeezes it.

"Together," he reminds him, smiling as confidently as he can even though his pulse is racing.

Dean nods shortly. "Yeah. Alright, let's … yeah. Okay. Come on."

He takes another breath and squares his jaw like he's trying to convince himself to actually get out of the car and walk the short distance into the house, so Sam does it first. Dean follows behind him reluctantly, brushing his fingers over Sam's lower back with every few steps like he needs physical contact to keep himself grounded. Dean's always been that way, touches have always spoken louder to him than words do, and Sam wishes he could put his arm around him or something. But he's got a feeling Bobby's watching them through the kitchen windows, so Sam keeps his hands to himself. Even if Bobby does by some miracle decide he's okay with everything, Sam's still pretty sure the man won't want to actually see it.

When they get to the house, Bobby's in the library, half-seated on the desk with his arms crossed protectively over his chest and his gaze focused intensely on the floor in front of him. He hears them come in, Sam can tell, but for another minute or two he doesn't say anything. Sam's really starting to hate these little standoffs; it just makes everything even more uncomfortable than it already is and even though so far it's always been Bobby who caves and speaks first, Sam still doesn't feel like he and Dean are winning anything by outlasting him. But there's even more tension in the room than there was last time, and the last thing Sam wants to do is say the wrong thing and have Bobby change his mind about giving them the chance to explain themselves. So he waits.

"Do you … can I get you anything?" Bobby asks finally, breaking the thick silence that's swallowing all the air in the room, but still not looking anywhere but at his own feet. "A beer or something?"

"We're fine," Dean says quietly, answering for both of them.

"Alright." Bobby exhales noisily and scrubs a hand over his beard. "Alright well … sit, I guess."

Sam glances warily at Dean and Dean shoots him a sort-of grimace in return, shrugging and making his way over to the couch. Sam follows him wordlessly, sitting down beside his brother but careful to keep a good amount of distance between them. Dean fidgets uncomfortably and Sam knows exactly how he feels. He's itchy and hot all over; he feels like a little kid in the principal's office, about to be told exactly how much trouble he's in.

"I … we should just dive right in, I guess." Bobby clears his throat. "Shit, I don't even know where to start. How … how did this even happen?"

Sam chews at his bottom lip for a minute before answering. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he's suspected Bobby might ask that question. "We never had anyone else," he starts. "I've been a hunter since I was a baby. And even when Dad was still alive, it's not like he was actually around all that much. We've barely ever been in one place long enough to learn anyone else's name. Our whole existence is transient, I mean all either of us ever had is a car, some guns, the clothes on our back and each other."

Bobby doesn't respond; he pinches the bridge of his nose like he's getting a headache. A glance over at his brother tells Sam he's probably going to have to do most of the talking – Dean looks like he's shutting down again even though they just got here. Sam's not entirely surprised. Dean's always had a hell of a time talking about their relationship even to Sam, even when it's just the two of them alone in a motel room, so Sam wasn't really expecting Dean to be gung-ho about discussing it with Bobby.

"We're not under any delusions about this, we know it isn't normal, alright? But we're not normal. We never will be. Believe me, I've tried," Sam offers quietly. "We really are sorry you … had to find out, like that."

Bobby laughs colorlessly. "So am I. Can't exactly say it wasn't a shock. But I … well."

"You what?" Sam asks tentatively, but Bobby shakes his head.

"Nothin'. I'm goin' about this the wrong way, let me just …" He heaves a huge sigh and shakes himself a little. Then he grabs the chair from behind the desk and drags it over to the middle of the room so he can sit facing the couch. "Okay, look. Your Daddy and I … we had a pretty bad falling out. You knew that already. We were both stupid and stubborn and we both said things I wish we could take back. And I never made things right with him, I never even saw him again before he died."

Sam nods. He did know Bobby didn't speak to their Dad anymore while he was still alive, although he never knew why. Neither of them would ever talk about it.

"That just … it never sat right with me," Bobby continues heavily. "And I don't want that to happen with you two. Hell, part'a the reason I look out for you like I do is 'cause I feel like I owe it to John to keep an eye on his boys since he can't do it himself. That man was a pretty damn long way from perfect, but he loved the hell outta you two."

"We know," Dean says softly.

"I can't …I'm still gonna need some time." Bobby leans back in his chair and squints up at the ceiling. "It might take a while for me to wrap my head around all this. I honestly don't know if I'm ever gonna be okay with it, with you … doing whatever it is that you do. But I'm gonna try, alright? I can't promise anything for sure, but I will try."

"Really?" Sam asks cautiously, not wanting to get his hopes up too high but still relieved to hear Bobby say that.

"I doubt I'm ever gonna love the idea, you two … but it's a lonely life, being a hunter. That, I do understand, and I figure we ought'a hang on to the people we got. Besides, you're grown men, I can't … I'm not sure I'll ever think this is okay. But what you two do on your own time ain't none of my business. It ain't down to me to tell you who to be." Bobby shudders just slightly and closes his eyes for just a moment. When he opens them again, he looks directly at Sam for the first time and Sam can tell how uncomfortable the older man is but he can also tell how hard he's trying not to be. It's not perfect, but it's a start.

He manages a small smile, even though when he speaks his voice is shaky and uneven. "Thanks, Bobby."

Bobby shrugs. "No need to thank me. Like I said, don't be expectin' miracles. I'd like it if we could just put this behind us. Just … would ya mind not doing – whatever – in my house anymore?"

Sam's cheeks explode in a blush, and beside him Dean groans quietly. "Yeah, of course we won't," Sam promises. "We shouldn't have in the first place, we're really sorry."

Bobby nods slowly. "Good. Alright, you can get going now. No point in us sittin' around pretending like this isn't awkward as hell."

Sam lets out a little burst of nervous laughter; his heart's still going so fast he can barely hear anything other then the pounding in his own ears, but he definitely doesn't need to be told twice. Neither does Dean, apparently, he's off the couch like a shot, giving Bobby a tense little nod and then disappearing out the door before Sam has a chance to say anything. Sam shakes his head exasperatedly, but follows him. In his mind, things went better than he had any right to hope for, so Sam's not going to stick around any longer than he has to and risk saying something stupid and blowing the whole thing up again. He's halfway down the porch steps when Bobby calls his name and stops him. Sam turns around, internally cringing, but Bobby doesn't look angry. He's leaning against the door-frame looking at his hands, but he seems a lot more composed than he did a few minutes ago.

"Is he gonna be okay?" he asks, nodding towards where Dean's already sitting in the car.

"Yeah." Sam smiles a little. "He just … he hates feeling like he's let someone down."

Bobby huffs. "He's got your Daddy to thank for that," he says gruffly. "John really did a number on that boy."

Sam nods, his chest clenching a little in sadness for his brother.

"Can I ask you something?" Bobby says slowly.

"Okay," Sam answers hesitantly.

"What, uh … what is this thing with Dean? I mean, is it just easier? Than pickin' up a girl in a bar?"

"No," Sam says honestly. "It's … well. We don't exactly have a word for it. But it's real."

"Oh." Bobby frowns a little, but he still doesn't look mad. Just a bit preoccupied, like there are a lot of thoughts swirling around in his head and he hasn't figured out how to make heads or tails of them yet.

"Does that make it any better?" Sam asks with a grimace.

Bobby pauses for a moment, but then he actually manages a tiny smile when he nods. "Maybe a little."

"Do we need to talk about it?" Dean asks.

"Definitely not," Sam answers decisively, smiling to himself when Dean sighs a little in what Sam assumes is relief.

They've been driving for maybe half an hour in what Sam's going to call contemplative silence. It hasn't exactly been tense, at least not nearly as tense as the ride to Bobby's was, but it's not quite comfortable either. He figures they've both had a lot to think about, so he wasn't going to say anything. Sometimes it isn't necessary to talk everything to death. Sometimes even Sam thinks it's better to just let things be. It's like an avalanche – one simple shout is all it takes for the whole mountain to come tumbling down. For the first time, Sam actually thinks Dean's ridiculous policy of inflexibly pretending something never happened is the best way to go this time.

"I say we put this one in the spam folder and go find something good to hunt," he continues. "Something that'll die nice and bloody."

Dean whoops and laughs. "Hell yeah. There might be hope for you yet, Sammy-boy! One of these days I might even turn you into a man."

Sam snorts. "Hilarious."

Dean grins at him, wide and bright, and it lights up his whole face. "C'mere, bitch," he says, grabbing a handful of Sam's sleeve and tugging him across the seat. He wraps his arm around Sam's shoulder and pulls Sam in close against his side.

Sam snickers as he leans his head down on Dean's shoulder and gets comfy, throwing an arm around Dean's middle. "So we're cuddlers now?"

"Shut up, we're not cuddling!" Dean cries indignantly.

"Well then what would you call it?" Sam chuckles, poking Dean playfully in the ribs.

Dean actually thinks about it for a minute, and then he scowls and rolls his eyes. "Alright fine, it's cuddling. But it's very, very manly cuddling."

"Oh, absolutely. Just dripping in testosterone," Sam jokes, smiling so much it's starting to hurt his cheeks. "We really might as well be chopping down trees and grunting and getting hard over power-tools."

"Shut up," Dean repeats, cuffing Sam on the side of the head. "One more crack and you're riding in the backseat."

Sam scoffs, pushing his face into Dean's neck and letting the cheerful feeling fill him up. It pushes away all that leftover discomfort, replacing the memories of how crappy the last month has been and leaving him nothing but content – wrapped around Dean again, comfortable and happy and exactly where he belongs.

"You'd never put me in the backseat unless you were coming with me."

"Says you," Dean retorts immaturely, and Sam laughs again, dragging his lips along Dean's warm skin.

"I love you too, jerk."