This is my first Supernatural fic, though I'm not exactly new to the fandom.
I don't even ship Wincest but my friend Karla does (it occupies her mind like 92% of the time and then 3% is dedicated to crying over the Samulet) and this is written for her.
It's pre-slash because of the previous sentence and because I don't know how to write kissing because I don't know how to do kissing. Yeah.
Comments and such on what can be improved are always greatly appreciated, and feedback is always a good thing.
Sam watched, reluctantly enthralled, as the couple on the screen defiled the elevator. The man was desperately scrambling for something to hold onto on the elevator wall—why he didn't just grab onto the woman he was pressing into said wall, Sam didn't know—while the woman was gasping and panting so loudly and desperately, Sam felt kind of embarrassed for her. His gaze was transfixed on her face, oddly fascinated by the movements her eyebrows were making. (Sam didn't even know eyebrows could do that.) Because of this, he missed when the women tore off her lover's white coat and dark blue scrubs shirt. He caught when the man immediately started groping her chest under her shirt, though, and Sam gaped at the screen. That had to hurt, he thought, absently patting his non-existent breasts.
He could sort of see why his brother liked this show. "Doctor Sexy, M.D." was as cheesy as it sounded, with acting even worse than he remembered from their temporary stint in TV-Land, and yet he found himself on the edge of his seat, waiting to see whether Doctor Sexy and Doctor Piccolo would get over themselves and admit their undying love for each other, whether Nurse Wang would let go do her arrogance and attitude for the sake of her patients and therefore her job, whether Doctor Lucero would ever be cured from her paranoia and hallucinations now that all the employees at the hospital knew about her visions of Johnny Drake's ghost.
Watching this frankly ridiculous show was like therapy. It was a way to both forget about his own issues, and find some sort of internal closure with them. Especially now that Dean was clearly hiding something from Sam again, having a vice as innocent as a hospital drama was exactly what Sam needed. It sort of helped that through watching one of the older sibling's favorite shows, Sam felt somehow closer to his brother. Like he was getting a more personal look into that stubborn, inexplicable mind. Sam was alone in the motel room (which was becoming a recurring theme) and he had no idea where Dean was. When he'd asked, Dean had just said, "Out," and abruptly left. It was like that every time. Sam didn't know why he even tried, or why he was surprised that, once more, they were keeping secrets from each other. Sam just hoped Dean wasn't doing something stupid, such as sacrificing himself for Sam again.
Seriously. That was already old after the first time.
When Dean entered the motel room, Sam flailed around to change the channel before Dean could see what he was watching. The older man paused inside the door as he witnessed his younger brother's antics, and narrowed his eyes.
"What'cha doing, Sammy?"
"Nothing!" Sam answered a bit too loudly and quickly, raising Dean's suspicions. "I mean, um, just, uh—" he checked the screen for what he'd landed on when he'd pressed random buttons on the remote. "—the mating habits of the Australian platypus." He tilted his head, squinting at the program. What were the animals even doing—oh. Wow. Okay.
"It's really interesting," he tried when he saw Dean looking at the screen with a humorous combination of horror and fascination.
"Okay," Dean said when he finally managed to tear his eyes away from the screen, dragging out the 'o' in the word okay. "I'll just leave you to that, I guess. I'm gonna take a shower."
As Dean walked past where Sam was sitting on one of the beds, Sam noticed that Dean's hands were absolutely filthy. There was dirt, and dust, and even a small cut on his finger. Sam was positively burning with curiosity, and it took everything in him not to ask Dean what he had been doing. He didn't want the disappointment when Dean ultimately didn't answer.
As soon as Dean locked himself in the bathroom, though, Sam started thinking over a plan. He needed to know what Dean was up to, if only for the sake of the older man's safety. If Dean really was making some sort of deal, or going on a dangerous quest for some special weapon all on his own, Sam had to stop him. Dean seemed to think he was alone in the fight, that he was the one who had to carry the world. He didn't understand that Sam would happily carry it right along with him, share the burden, and keep him company underneath the crushing weight.
The next day, Dean didn't come back. Sam didn't hear from him until it Dean called Sam around midnight, and Sam had been about to leave the room to go look for him. Dean said he was picking up some supplies—what for, Sam didn't know, and he'd as good as given up on trying to figure his brother out—and that he probably wouldn't return till late the day after. That night, Sam had nightmares for the first time in almost six months.
He didn't dare leave the motel in case Dean came back while he was out, even if that meant exchanging diner breakfast, lunch, and dinner with whatever he could scrounge from the vending machines.
The moment Dean finally came back from God-knew-where two days later, Sam cornered him. Literally. He backed Dean into the corner of the room and, ignoring the questionable stains on the wall next to Dean's head, put his face close enough to Dean's for their noses to brush. Dean was spluttering, his hands up in the air on instinct, staring at Sam incredulously.
"Dude, what the hell, man?" he exclaimed, and Sam just kept staring at him intently. Castiel would be proud, he fleetingly thought.
"Dean," Sam said lowly. "Where were you?"
"Out, I was—I was out," he faltered in his speech when Sam's eyes narrowed dangerously. "I was just out running some errands—"
"What errands, Dean?" He saw Dean's eyelids flutter as the younger man's breath fanned over his face. "Since when do we have to run errands? It's not like we need to go shopping for groceries, and even if we did," he gestures wildly at Dean's empty soot-covered hands, "I don't see any!"
When Dean didn't answer, Sam continued. "Two days, Dean. Two days! I was worried sick, I was out of my fucking mind, you can't just, you can't just do that!" He was horrified to hear his voice break, to make the extent of his fear for Dean's safety so obvious.
Dean rubbed his hand over his face, swearing under his breath. "Jesus, Sammy. I didn't mean to scare you like that—"
Sam stepped back just enough to throw up his arms in frustration, his face portraying his utter disbelief at his brother's words. "Then what were you trying to do, Dean?" He didn't mean to make it sound like an accusation, but he was too keyed up to pause and rephrase. "Why the hell were you gone for so long? What were you doing? Who were you with? Why did you leave me?"
Sam really hated these impromptu introductions to insecurities he didn't know he had.
His words had struck something in Dean, he could tell. The older man seemed as shocked by the recently uncovered information as Sam himself. For a while, neither Winchester spoke a word. Sam wouldn't look Dean in the eyes, but he knew Dean was looking at him. He didn't want to know what the other was seeing in the man who at that moment, despite his physical size, felt so very small.
"Sammy," Dean said softly, and Sam's breath hitched without his permission. "I didn't mean to hurt you, Sammy, you gotta know that. I mean, I didn't think you—you'd feel this way about it." Sam didn't think Dean even knew what 'it' was. Neither of them had known for years. "And yeah, maybe I should've told you—" Dean pauses at the dirty look Sam sends him. "—okay, I definitely should have told you, no need to sic the bitchface on me." The corners of his mouth lifted into a hesitant smile, one softer than the trademark smirk he wore like armor. "But I wanted to keep it a surprise. That, and I was stalling, but. Yeah. Mostly, the surprise thing."
Sam had been going through all the possible ways this could go since that morning, and yet he was thrown off guard by this shift in direction. He'd expected more yelling, for one, instead of this almost shy and nervous-looking Dean Winchester; a man so foreign compared to the person he usually tried to be. "What? What surprise?" Sam prompted when Dean didn't volunteer to elaborate upon his statement.
Dean started fidgeting then—actually openly fidgeting, not even trying to hide it when he realized that he was being obvious—and he did that thing with his neck when he was trying to figure out how to word something that might cause a heavy emotional reaction. Dread gathered low in Sam's gut, pooling and churning because the last time Dean looked like this, the outcome was not pretty.
"Remember that amulet you gave me for Christmas? When we were kids?"
It felt like Sam's brain instantly short-circuited. "What? I mean, yeah, yes, yes I do. Of course I do." They had been kids, camping out in a motel while John was off hunting, and Dean had tried everything to give Sam the Christmas he'd thought he'd wanted—a tree, albeit shabby and probably picked up off the side of the road; presents, though they turned out to be girly gifts Dean had stolen from a house down the block; a made up tale of how their father had brought the tree and presents and Sam hadn't seen because he was sleeping too soundly—and Sam had given Dean the amulet he'd originally kept for their dad. Dean had said he'd loved it. And then Dean was dead, down in hell, and Sam had held onto it, wearing it as if by doing so he could hold onto Dean. When Dean was back, Sam gave it back to his brother in what the latter would describe as a chick flick moment. And then the shit-storm of angels and God and Bobby's injuries happened, and Dean, in a fit of anger and other emotions he would never admit to, dropped the amulet in the trash. Neither of them mentioned it. Sam sometimes found himself looking at where it used to hang around Dean's neck and down his chest. He still sometimes startled when he saw the older man without it, because the image he had of his brother in his head was one with the amulet. "What about it?"
Dean didn't answer, instead reaching for the duffel he'd dropped in the corner when Sam had shoved him up against the wall. He opened it, sticking his hand in and going still when he apparently found what he was looking for. He took his eyes off the contents of the bag in favor of looking at Sam, and what Sam found on Dean's face made him stop breathing for a second.
Dean looked vulnerable, and Sam was so distracted by it that he missed when Dean lifted the object in his palm. It wasn't until Dean came closer and the light reflected off the small golden pendant that Sam saw it, and he reared back as if he'd received a blow to the stomach. He said his brother's name, and his voice cracked, and Dean took another step in his direction.
"I've been searching. I realize the original is probably destroyed, so I went looking for other things instead—the leather, for one, and a piece of gold, and what I would need to carve out the detail right and then make sure the gold doesn't dent so easily. I carved it from memory. I'm not sure I got it all right, but." He took the leather chord in between two fingers from his other hand and held it up, the small golden face dangling from it, horns and swirls and all. "I think it turned out all right." His voice was soft, and that was what finally broke Sam out of the trance he'd been in while staring at the all too familiar pendant.
"You, you made it?" He watched as Dean slowly and almost carefully, reverently, put his head through the chord and let the weight of the pendant rest on his sternum. "You just—when did you decide to do this?"
Dean's head ducked down, whether in embarrassment or humble acceptance of Sam's obvious awe, Sam couldn't tell. "Well, last week, it was Christmas, and we were doing our standard holiday celebration."
"Way too strong eggnog and convenience store presents," Sam chipped in with undoubted fondness.
Dean grinned and continued, "Your presents were wrapped in news paper like they always are, and one of the pages had a comic on it. It reminded me of the comic book page you'd wrapped this in." His reaches for the pendant, fingering it absently as he told the rest of the story. "And I automatically grabbed for it, but it wasn't there, and I just. I felt this emptiness. It's stupid, but I really did, because since the day you gave me this I hadn't taken it off, not until it turned out to have special God-finding powers that didn't help at all and I threw it away. I, I threw it away, and you didn't even get angry." Suddenly, Sam was the focus of the conversation, and he swallowed audibly.
"You were upset, I wasn't going to add to that by guilt-tripping you," he admitted. "I was upset too, but it was such a small and trivial thing compared to the bigger picture—"
"—No, Sammy, it wasn't. That's the thing, it wasn't trivial. This amulet meant so much more, means so much more, and I didn't even realize it until—until it was gone and I had no hope of finding it again." And there it was, Sam thought faintly, there was the Dean he knew, the one filled with self-loathing, the one always taking the blame when he didn't have the right to do so. The one who was convinced he was worthless, a failure, when the opposite was true. Because Sam wouldn't be here without Dean, wouldn't be here if Dean had truly failed like he thought he had. Not that Dean would ever believe Sam if he told him as much.
"But you did, Dean. You did find it again, you made it again. If anything, it means even more than before," Sam assured his brother. He slowly made his way closer, till their shoes were almost touching. He put his hand over the one Dean still had on the pendant, and squeezed. He imagined the carvings leaving faint marks on the skin of Dean's palm, and something about the thought made him feel breathless. "Dean," he whispered, because anything louder felt wrong. "Thank you."
It was like all the energy just drained from Dean's body, because one second he was standing up straight, and the next his face was in the curve of Sam's neck and the fist not wrapped around the amulet was twisted into the back of Sam's shirt. Sam's free arm instinctively went around Dean's shoulders and he squeezed his eyes shut against the tears threatening to escape. It should have been awkward, what with the hands holding the amulet being crushed between their bodies, but the opposite was true. It felt right, so damn right, and Sam didn't want to think about it ending. Didn't want to think about Dean's inevitable relapse into that man who avoided moments like these. Because right now, this moment, this was theirs, this was his, dammit, and he wasn't going to waste it thinking about how it wouldn't last.
From the corner of his eyes, he could see the TV flickering. The news program he'd been absentmindedly watching while waiting for Dean to come back was wrapping up and making way for a rerun of the mid-season finale of Doctor Sexy M.D.'s fifth year.
He wondered whether Dean would watch it with him.