Sam's plucking at his sleeve, quick, vicious little tugs that leave creases. He's saying, come on, something I've gotta tell you and the glossy vowels of his privileged life drag and snag, his voice uneven with excitement.
Dean's watching the school parking lot, where an old Austin Princess is pulling out. The driver waves casually at a passing student; Dean's hands clench, a gritty taste in his mouth like old coins. He watches until the car draws parallel with them, and continues on after a near-unnoticeable hesitation.
Sam notices nothing. "Well?" He's walked a little way down the sidewalk, expecting Dean to follow. He doesn't seem surprised to see Dean still frozen in place. His cheeks are flushed, his eyes burning. He looks hot to the touch, as if running a fever. He looks as if he could burn, could scorch, by the merest graze of a fingertip. Dean looks at him, considering.
"Let's go," he says, and Sam doesn't light up like he usually does, just nods violently and all but runs down the pavement.
This time, Dean follows.
"I have something to tell you," Sam says. He's chewing on his lower lip, eyes still fever-bright and worried. His hair hangs in his eyes, looking messed around with.
Dean shrugs, sitting down on the carpet of leaves underfoot. He doesn't know why they're in the forest, and wonders whether he really wants to.
"Remember how Ellen was really cryptic when she heard your name?" Sam asks, dragging a hand through his hair once more. "Well, she talked to me about it yesterday. I tried to get a hold of you, but you were in detention."
Dean looks down briefly, but there's nothing accusatory in Sam's voice. "Yeah, Sam?" he prompts, watching his shoes as they burrowed into the soil with indifference.
"Well," Sam inhales, and Dean looks up at him sharply. He's still standing, and seems impossibly tall from this vantage. Sam's nothing if not almost annoyingly articulate, and the speechlessness doesn't suit him at all. "I, I think there's a good chance we're brothers."
Dean blinks at him, and he goes redder in his haste to explain."Half-brothers, I mean. My mother -my real mother, I mean, not Ellen, my real mother's dead- was supposed to be crazy for your dad, but he was in love with your mother. After your mother died, she supposedly put the moves on your dad, and married my dad when she realized she was pregnant. Of course, it's all rumors, and my dad denies the whole thing, but..." Sam trails off.
For the first time, Dean identifies the expression on Sam's face: tangled with worry and fear, it's not disgust, or shock. Sam's overjoyed. Dean stares up at him in silence, feeling his throat go dry.
"What?" he asks, weakly.
Sam kneels in front of him, eyes shining, face aglow. "Brothers, Dean. We're brothers." He says the word reverently, like a piece of exquisite china, so fragile it breaks at the slightest of touches.
"Brothers," Dean echoes, his tone flat.
Sam's face changes, mouth crimping. "You...you're not-" and then his expression changes once more, and Dean has a sudden unwanted glimpse at his thoughts, and he wants to yell no Sammy, it's not like that, but his voice has faded too ash at the fire of Sam's joy.
"Dean," he says, like a prayer. "Dean, that doesn't change anything." He gathers both Dean's hands in his. He leans forward, and Dean's too shell-shocked to move back. He lets Sam kiss his cheekbones, his jaw, his eyelids, then, finally, his mouth.
A long, desperate kiss that goes on and on and Dean's floating, barely registering the big hands sneaking under the waistband of his trousers. In his mind, a young voice repeats, over and over, brothers, Dean. We're brothers.
Then his thoughts focused, pinpointing on a man with his green eyes and Sam Campbell's way of carrying himself, all shoulders and chest. He thought, without doubt, or hesitation: John, you son of a bitch.
"The best part is, he's had the gall to blame me for Mother's death." Dean smiles, and his smile, like the scotch, tastes metallic and bloody. "Internal bleeding and millions of doctors crawling all over the place, and he blames the newborn."
Novak's blue eyes seem luminous, his expression one of relaxed concern. "And where is he now?"
Dean shrugs his shoulders. "Fuck if I know. Balanced relationship that we have, he just takes off on his fucking private jet and tells the cook not to let me die."
Castiel chuckles quietly and with no real humor. He's sprawled on the chair, legs spread wide and careless, and his neck at an uncomfortable angle to look at Dean sitting opposite. There's no way he misses the way Dean's starring openly at his lips.
Dean's done with his two weeks of detention, and Castiel was as stunned as he was when Novak agreed to break into the Deputy's drinks cabinet. Dean's heart rate kicks up and stumbles drunkenly at the possibility that he's finally broken Castiel down, after a full two weeks of relentless attempts.
"Does he want to meet him?" Castiel moves his wrist in a graceful, circular motion that makes the scotch wash up against the walls of his glass like an amber sea under a dome. "The boy, I mean. Meet your father."
"I-" Dean shakes his head, confused. Truthfully, Sam's only reaction to the revelation seemed to be an overwhelming excitement at being Dean's half-brother. Which makes absolutely no sense to Dean. "I'm not sure. He- he's kind of different."
Castiel leans forward from his boneless sprawl. Dean's breath hitches as he ventures into his personal space, the old-fashioned lantern in the Deputy's office lending him an unearthly glow.
"It must be hereditary, this difference, then," Castiel says in a soft voice, his mouth so close to Dean's that he actually forgets what he's talking about. "How fascinating."
It's a window if he ever saw one. Dean reaches out, curves a hand around Castiel's cheek, and catalogues the rough feel of stubble against his palm. Castiel watches him like he's the subject of a test on Monday.
When Dean kisses him, there's no sense of unreality. Just a small sigh from Castiel, as if at the face of something inevitable.
They spray-paint general insults on the walls of the locker rooms and gym, and the cans roll around, empty and appeased, on the the floor of Sam's room as they sit on the floor eating ice cream.
Sam leans over, kisses Dean, tasting of coffee flavored ice cream. He's smiling, has been for hours now. The ice cream melts and drips as Sam pushes Dean on the floor gently and crawls over his body. He touches the corner of Dean's eye with the tip of his thumb.
"That one about Singer," he says, licking a sticky terrain up Dean's cheek and Dean twists a hand in his hair, drags shim up for a proper kiss. He means the hit at Singer that they'd painted diagonally near the basketballs hoops. "Sheer genius, that was."
"All you, baby," Dean drawls lazily, just to watch the flush rise on Sam's face.
Sam laughs breathlessly as Dean slides the T-shirt off him, hands fumbling. "And Superhero Novak, I swear."
Dean touches his smooth chest, lets his hand wander to the graceful curve of Sam's spine. It drifts downward, slow and deliberate, and Sam's eyes widen.
"Really?" He sounds hopeful, shivering badly when Dean's fingers draw slow circles under his jeans.
Dean cocks an eyebrow. "What do you mean, Sammy?" he asks, all innocence.
Sam groans, shudders with his entire body. Dean shushes him with a finger in his mouth, which he sucks diligently.
"Fuck me, Dean," Sam whispers raggedly, hissing and arching as one of Dean's saliva-slickened fingers slips into him with no warning. He makes a keening moan as Dean's finger moves. "Please. You did it for him. Do it for me."
Dean's hand stills. "What?"
Sam groans, loud, desperate. He pushes back against Dean's fingers -two for now- but Dean pulls them out. "Novak," Sam hisses. "I know you're fucking him. I saw you."
Sam kisses him then, rough, teeth clashing and Dean's struggling. He tastes blood on Sims's tongue.
Sam draws back, alarmed. "Dean? Are you bleeding? Fuck, Dean, I'm sorry, I'm so-"
Dean touches Sam's lip gently with his fingertips. "No, little brother," he says, quiet, gentle. His fingers come away bloody, and he shows Sam. "You are."
His name's Colin Kincaid and he happens to them somewhere late in March. The hallways are suddenly thick with speculation as to his murder, the golden boy who hurt no one. The pictures at assembly showed him as a sixteen-year old with big green eyes and masses of golden hair cut close to his head. Despite that, there was nothing feminine in the square jaw, the clear-eyed gaze.
Dean mentally labels him a fag and regrets not knowing him while alive, but otherwise ignores the tremor of fear and excitement that shakes the whole school.
He's spending more and more time sneaking off with Novak, so that how he knows Castiel best is with his lips moaning Dean's name and his lust-drunk eyes scanning the horizon for witnesses. Once he tied himself to the bedpost of Castiel's bachelor flat and Castiel had been arguing with him even as he took Dream's cock in his mouth.
They walk into a classroom between periods, laughing, Dean's hand around Castiel's waist, and Sam is there.
They all freeze, and Sam drops his pen. It bleeds ink on the floor, ignored and petulant.
"I'll, um," Sam stammers, and Dean stares at the floor, his spine going awkwardly stiff. "I-"
"You do your work, Campbell. Winchester and I were on our way to mark assignments."
"Really." Sam's voice echoes flatly.
Dean winces. How can Castiel be oblivious to the blinding edge of friction between him and Sam, the one that chokes all the air in the room?
Finally, he looks up, straight at Sam. Their eyes meet in a near-audible clash, and Dean realizes how long it's been since he's seen Sam last.
Sam's here now, his eyes strange and dark. He looks at Dean like he hates Dean completely.
"I'll just go," he says quietly, and he does. On the way, he stops just parallel to Dean, and they stare at each other for over ten seconds, and then Sam's eyes flicker over, for the briefest moment, to Castiel.
Then he leaves.
Two days later, Castiel Novak is arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and sexual liaisons with minors.
Dean's still with rage, his hands clenched into stones at his sides. Sam's eye is swelling shut even as he watches, a shocking dark bloom in his pale face.
"Why'd you do it, Sam?"
There are tears of pain and rage on Sam's long eyelashes. The starlight picks them out like diamonds.
The sky's crammed full of stars, little judging glimmers of light. Look at them for too long and you could drown in them.
Dean feels like he's drowning himself, the rafters of the roof treacherously liquid under his feet. He feels helpless, struck down with disbelief, because Sam, Sam did this.
Sam's bleeding now, the tear tracks turning a muted pink. "Dean, no, it's not like that!" he cries.
Dean grabs his collar, leaving bloody thumbprints. "You ratted him out. If it isn't like that, what's it like, then, you little shit?"
Sam cries, "I did it for you, Dean! He would have ratted you out!"
Dean freezes, his grip on Sam slackening. Sam takes the opportunity to scramble too his feet.
They're on the roof of the bell tower- highest point of the whole school. Just hours before, officers in blue uniform had stormed in like a swarm of flies ad marched Castiel out.
Sam keeps talking, young and desperate. "He knew what you were like, Dean. He'd have told that you killed him-that Kincaid kid."
"What?" Dean feels like he's on a loop here; running and running and coming back to the same place.
"This way we can be together, just you and me, just the way we want. We can leave, Dean, and be whatever we want. Brothers, lovers, whatever. You and me, Dean. Free."
For the length of a second, Dean's stuck by the hilarity of it all: kids dying and police officers everywhere and fourteen year olds proposing marriage. And then he's just baffled. "You thought I killed Kincaid?"
Sam's face scrunches in confused defiance. "Yeah, I did. I've seen him around, the guy looked just like you but so fucking perfect, I knew you-"
"No, you didn't, Sammy," and Sam flinches at his tone: gentle, understanding. Castiel's tone. "You're not that dumb. You just wanted Cas out of the way."
Sam takes a small step back, his expression wrenched. "He wasn't the saint you make him out to be," he hisses, and Dean begins laughing helplessly. "What he was doing was wrong, you're-"
"Over sixteen," Dean interjects. "Legally, it's not a crime. The worst he faced was getting fired, not the death penalty."
Sam opens his mouth, but Dean's shaking his head, still laughing. "Anyway, the best part is that none of it makes a difference anyway. Don't you see, Sam? You're just a kid. You're not my brother and I'm sure as hell not in love with you."
For a split second, the world sighs quietly, and stops moving and focuses all its energy on the two figures on the rooftop. Silence descends.
Then, one of them reaches out and grabs the other's shirt. At a distance, it looks like he's about to pull him in for a kiss. Instead, he pushes.
The fall is long, slow. In slow motion, the boy's feet leave the rafters and hit thin air and he falls, falls, falls. Captivatingly beautiful, he flies.
The minute his body hits ground is inconsequential. It's his sleight that makes him immortal.
On the roof, the other boy stands frozen. Then he falls to his knees .
The renovations begin in late August, when school has let out. The series of tragedies that struck the school -the deaths of two promising students in quick succession, the arrest of a beloved teacher- seem to warrant a change of atmosphere and school governors leap to the task with fervor.
The buildings are knocked down, and a boy transfers out of school for the coming year. He moves to France with his family.
The boy fits in perfectly in his new French school.
He's bright, well-spoken and the teachers instantly take to him. Good-looking, but tall enough to seem threatening when necessary.
He calls himself Sam Winchester.