AN: this is a sequel to Without You I Can't Breathe in which Dean is cursed to love Sam in a totally unbrotherly way more and more intensely. In this fic they are dealing with the aftermath so I highly suggest reading that one first :) gahhh I hope you guys like this! :D

Chapter One

Dean

He sits inside the Impala. He doesn't think about anything.

It's been a month.

He knows from a thousand other fights and exchanges that a month is barely even enough time for the dust to settle. It's not enough time to forgive Sam for leaving or for Ruby or for dying or for the apocalypse or for coming back in pieces. And if it's not enough for any of those little things then its sure as hell not enough time to forget The Curse. Its not enough to forget the feeling of being inside of Sam, his muscles clenching around his cock...

His stomach twists, nausea rising in him again.

How is he ever supposed to push all this down and forget?

The door opens and Dean jumps, his heart slamming into his ribs because the appearance of Sammy always does that to him now.

Sam doesn't say anything but the look of silent understanding on his face is enough.

He's just back from his jog, t-shirt clinging to his chest, his hair hanging thick and damp. Dean realizes that its probably long enough to tie it up in a ponytail and he opens his mouth, about to bark something about Sam growing handlebars and how he's a real woman now but his mouth goes so dry that he can't speak until he swallows loudly.

"Hurry up with your shower," he says instead.

Dean doesn't look up until the door shuts behind Sam and he can hear the shower start.

He packs their bags quickly, pretty much on auto pilot since packing and unpacking their worn, faded belongings is about as automatic as breathing now, and then waits outside.

There's the hint of a fall chill in the morning air, the crispness that means that winter is coming and they'll be chasing down monsters with frozen toes and stabbing demons with frost-bitten fingers. Today though is sunny and mostly warm and Dean shuts his eyes, leaning back against the cool metal of the Impala's closed door, his face turned up toward the sun.

The door opens and finally Dean opens his eyes, blinking away the spot of light clouding his sight and catching Sam, standing by the door watching him.

He looks away, shifting his bag over a shoulder as soon as their eyes meet and Dean suppresses the urge to roll his eyes.

Sam is the most obvious person in the world.

Ever since they'd been young his face was was so easy to read that it was at times embarrassing. It's no wonder that he's always been so protective of Sam. Most people hid when they were feeling scared or confused or annoyed or embarrassed.

Now though, what was once endearing is so irritating that Dean finally does roll his eyes, pausing on his way into the drivers seat to straighten and look at his brother who is still standing awkwardly at their room door as though awaiting an invitation.

"Are you friggen coming or what?"

Sam jumps into action, dropping into the seat next to Dean as though he is relieved.

Incredibly tense, granted, but still relieved.

Dean grits his teeth and starts the car.

Three hours later and Dean is finally starting to relax. The open road is about as close to a home as he has and it always has a calming effect on him. The road, the Impala and Sam...

Grudgingly, Dean allows himself to look at his brother. He is sitting there, his bag still in his lap, his shoulders tense although he probably doesn't even notice any of that. He is completely lost in thought, a soft frown on his face. If Dean is honest with himself, Sam has looked lost from the moment he'd first seen him after The Curse.

He remembers it so vividly, Sam sitting in Bobby's run down arm chair, completely still, completely at a loss, his eyes wide and regretful and scared.

Every now and then he still looks like that and Dean has no goddamn clue what to do.

He thought he would ignore it at first but ignoring the issue has turned into ignoring Sam altogether and he's not sure how long they can carry on living together in each others space while being completely apart.

Half of him thinks it would be better if they finally call all of this quits. The hunting, the road... They can settle down... Maybe eventually they can be normal brothers.

He swallows down the lump forming in his throat at the thought and pulls over into town for some gas and a bite to eat.

Sam glances at him as he pulls into a parking spot in front of Town and Country Dining reading his actions, guessing what he's doing.

Its annoying.

"Dude, I'm not going to abandon you on the side of the road, okay? Would you relax?"

"That's not-"

Dean doesn't wait for the rest of his sentence because Sam is flushed red from Dean's words and yes, it totally is.

He's inside and at a table already when Sam finally walks in. Dean's pretty sure that he's deflated to about the height of their waitress as he walks over. He slumps into the seat opposite Dean without looking at him and Dean has to look away.

This is not Sam. He's lost all of the spunk and all of the fight and suddenly Dean's eyes are burning.

Jesus. Apparently shoving your cock into your brother's ass can break him. Dean wants to laugh because yeah, like its news that rape fucks with people.

The waitress puts down a couple menus in front of them and starts speaking about the specials but Dean can't hear her. Actually, he's not even hungry. He doesn't think he can ever eat again in fact and remembers each meal he's had since The Curse with wonder.

He's seeing spots again. It happens every time he thinks too hard about it. Apparently he's traumatized. His body keeps trying to tell him that he is, but a little nausea and dizziness is bearable considering what Sam had to put up with.

"I'm sorry."

The words shoot through Dean and he looks up, finding Sam watching him with earnest eyes.

He doesn't say anything else and for a while they watch each other as the words process and Sam waits for a response.

"Excuse me?"

This spurs Sam into action, straightening in his seat, his voice breathy and insistent and getting that concentrated look he gets whenever he's trying to convince someone of something important.

"I didn't know what to do," he says. "I know that's no excuse, believe me, I do. It should never have happened. I should have tied you up or something and gone to fix it myself. I should have called Bobby sooner. I should have-"

"Sam," Dean interrupts. "What are you talking about?"

His head is reeling. He thinks that he knows what Sam is saying but it doesn't make any sense. Also, its only been a month. The thought of Sam tying him up and leaving him somewhere sends a genuine thread of fear through Dean's gut because that would have killed him. Actually, genuinely-

He can't breathe and takes a long deep breath reminding himself that his lungs do in fact work but it doesn't help. He suddenly wants to grab Sam by the collar and force him to promise never to leave him. Anywhere. Ever.

"I should have apologized sooner," Sam says.

Everything all at once clicks into place and Dean is suddenly overwhelmed by the desire to empty the scarce contents of his stomach.

He's out of his seat and outside so fast that he doesn't know how he got there but the sudden jarring brightness of sunlight hitting him doesn't help and he bends over double breathing in cool, fresh air.

A shadow settles over him and Dean fixes his eyes on Sam's shoes and waits until he feels a little more steady before looking up at Sam. The anguish on his face kind of makes Dean want to punch him because only Sam would get things so wrong. And they've left this for a month. A whole long month.

"It's not like that Sam," he says finally. His voice sounds pathetically shaken.

He should know by now that talking sooner is better than later when it comes to the two of them because they are goddamn masters of getting all of their wires crossed. Despite how close they are, completely misunderstanding each other has become their personal art form.

Sam is looking at him with that lost expression again and Dean shuts his eyes.

"I remember it Sam. Jesus, are you going to make me say it?"

He takes another long breath and it still doesn't help and Sam doesn't fill the silence.

"You didn't want it," he finally says. "Not any step of the way. I forced-"

He can't finish the sentence, can't open his eyes until a hand gently touches his arm.

Dean shivers at the touch and his eyes shoot open, fixing on Sam and his stupid, sweet, expressive face and he doesn't want to see the heart warming understanding that is suddenly there.

"Dean-" he says, and his hand drops down to Dean's hand, long fingers entwining with his and Dean remembers those fingers tangling effortlessly with his own multiple times, the feeling of them gently skating down his back without Sam's notice, the way his body seemed to automatically turn to physical affection once he stopped guarding it, his hot palm pressing into Dean's skin, Sam hard against him, moving with him, eyes squeezed tight in pain, wrists bound tightly, hands kept where they couldn't push him away-

Dean jerks so hard out of Sam's gentle grip that he nearly trips backwards.

"Don't touch me," he spits and is marching off before he can even process what is happening.