Jan. 26th, 2008 12:50 pm
Characters: Bobby/Dean, Dean/Sam
Warnings: Wincest, slash, language, violence, etc.
Disclaimer: Not mine!
Sequel to: Lost Highway
Summary: Dean becomes aware that they're leaning over him, one on either side of his bed. Sam's fingers are pressed against his hip, Bobby's got a hand resting on his chest. He wishes they'd stop arguing, wishes that Bobby was rubbing his head again and that Sam was rubbing his back. Selfish.
Author's Note: Title from Save Me by Dave Matthew's Band. Chapter title from Torn to Shreds by Def Leppard. So, this would be the sequel to Lost Highway. It actually picks up directly before the end of that story. And yes, it is also Bobby/Dean. Original plot bunny from realpestilence, though at this point I don't know who to blame.
Also, this is not a completed story. I doubt I'll ever complete it, however mangokulfi pointed out that I could at least post what I'd written before me and Sam and Dean had our ugly break-up. So. I am. It's un-beta'd. It's messy. It's doomed to perpetual unfinished-ness. It's been sitting on my computer for months and no, I don't think I'm ever going to write Supernatural fic again (unless hell freezes over. And not on the show.)
I'm saying that to say this: Expectations? You should not have them for this. Seriously. You don't want to read this. And I'm only inflicting it on my flist. Sorry, ya'll. There's nothing to see here.
Dean's head feels like it's going to explode. Like there's too much inside to fit, he can feel it bleeding out his ears and eyes and mouth. He can't see beyond the flashes of light, razor sharp cutting into his retinas, can't scream around the terrible pressure in his throat.
There are things in his arms, needle sharp pinpricks, and he thrashes against it all. One of his hands is restrained and he tugs desperately trying to free it, rips at the things hooked to his body with his free hand. His arms are on fire and there's something in his mouth, oh God, something down his throat, fed down into his chest and he yanks at it, ignoring the flash of white hot pain.
He can hear people screaming, but it all blends together into indecipherable soup in his skull. Hands, holding him down, and the thing in his throat is gone and he screams because he thinks he might be dying. Behind his eyes there's Sam, looking at him with such hurt written over his body that Dean just wants to make it better, and he can hear his own voice, "Get out. Get out. Don't come back."
He twists, and his arms are free, and he throws punches at the faceless people looming over him. His memory flexes and clashes and bangs around inside his head. Bobby, smiling down at him, Sam holding him so tightly it almost hurts, and he just wants to make it all stop.
There's blood on his knuckles, and then there's free space to his left and he rolls. The drop is a surprise, the impact with the ground jarring up through his body and he tries to hold his head together. Wraps his arms around his skull and tries to stop the scream that's tearing his throat apart. Sam, kissing him so sweetly, rubbing his knuckles over Dean's ribs, murmuring, "I told you. I told you it would work." Bobby, holding him, breath a comforting rhythm on the back of his neck.
And then there's warmth all around him, a big familiar body curling around his and he could almost cry with relief. Because Sam is here, Sam is okay, Sam is wrapping him up and holding him and he pushes his face against his brother's chest and bites down on the scream still swelling in his chest. He's got to be strong for Sam.
Sam, who he had sent away. Oh, God. Sam, who he had hit. Sam, who he had accused of terrible things.
He tries to breathe around the pain, the shock that's making him shake all over, huge swallows of air that smell like Sam that sour in his gut. He can feel Sam's big hands on his back, rubbing soothing circles and tries to choke out an apology. He manages, "I remember. Oh, God. I remember. I remember."
He does. Everything. It's electricity inside his brain, everything all at once, too much for him to take and not enough to make any sense of anything. Sam leaving him outside of Bobby's place to keep him safe. Bobby. Bobby. Bobby.
It's something deeper than instinct that makes him struggle against Sam's hold. It's knowing, knowing bone deep that Bobby makes everything alright. And that he really, really needs everything to be alright now.
He barely registers Sam's startled curse, barely realizes he's moving until he's cocooned himself against Bobby. It hurts to speak, it hurts to think. He rasps, "I remember everything, Bobby," because he doesn't want him to think he could forget. Bobby smells like oil and Old Spice and their dogs and home and Dean makes himself as small as possible and clings to him.
Unconsciousness reaches up and takes him, and he goes willingly.
The first thing he sees when he opens his eyes is the smooth expanse of white ceiling above him. For a second his mind is wonderfully, perfectly empty, and he flexes his fingers and toes, habit to make sure they're all still there. Everything works, and he smiles, and blinks, and everything rushes in to fill his mind up.
He jerks, feels his stomach cramp and rolls onto his side, aware that he's dry heaving and that there are hands on his shoulders and smoothing through his hair, but only vaguely. Mostly there's nothing beyond the clash in his skull, memories jostling and pushing at each other, trying to shove themselves into their rightful places and there's just too many of them that don't fit and are trying to push themselves in irregardless.
He reaches out, desperate for something to ground himself on, and his fingers close around warm skin. He holds on for dear life, knowing his grip is tight enough he has to be hurting the other person, but there's no complaint, at least none that he registers.
There's a soft, soothing voice somewhere above him, "Shhh, Dean, it's okay. It's okay." Warm hands stroking across his back and side, rough fingers smoothing gentle caresses over his face and he tries really hard to believe them.
He wants Bobby to wrap around him and shield him from the rest of the world. He wants to shove this pain away and be strong because he has to be, he has to be, Sam is here somewhere. He wants to open his eyes and for this all to have been some really, really, bad dream. God knows he has enough experience with bad dreams.
It hurts to focus his eyes, like it's a strain to look outside of his own head with so much going on in there. He's glad he did, anyway. Bobby's face swims into focus, worn and tired and he tries to smile around the pain to wipe the worry out of Bobby's eyes. Tries to get his voice above a croak, "Hey."
Bobby smiles back, and Dean becomes aware that it's Bobby running his fingers through Dean's hair. Rubbing little soothing circles over his skull and easing the pain with his touch. Bobby's voice is a low, comforting rumble, so achingly familiar that Dean has to close his eyes around the emotion that wells in his chest, "You had us worried there for awhile."
Dean smiles wider, it feels like it's breaking his face is half, keeps his eyes pressed closed, "You know me. Drama queen."
The fingers on his hip curl, tense, and it startles Dean into opening his eyes again. Because there's no way that's Bobby's hand. It's too big, and its twin is resting between Dean's shoulder blades, knuckles rubbing against his spine.
He rolls his head, even though that causes a cacophony of pain and pressure behind his eyes. For a moment everything swims out of focus, and he grits his teeth around the fresh wave of nausea and makes himself focus.
Sam is leaning over him, too long hair falling around his face, nose just slightly reddened, eyes sharp and focused on Dean like he's the only thing in the room. Dean pushes back against Sam's hand on his back, the best he can do as far as movement without wanting to die, says, "I'm so sorry," and hates the way his voice breaks.
Sam's eyes go wide, and he opens his mouth before closing it, making a choking sound. Bobby's hand through his hair has stilled, and Dean absently nudges against it because the press of his fingers had been comforting, had been keeping the worst of the pain away. There's more he wants to say, but he's so tired and he hears Sam's voice, soft and desperate, "Dean-" right before he slips back into the merciful blankness of dreams.
Next time he drifts back to consciousness, Bobby and Sam are arguing. He realizes this slowly, like he's swimming through molasses to collect his thoughts, scattered to the wind as they are. Sam's voice is quiet, sharp, "He hates hospitals, I'd have thought you'd know that by now." There's a barb there, and Dean doesn't understand.
Bobby apparently does, calm and every bit as vicious, "Don't take that tone with me, boy. I know damn well how he feels about it, but what do you suggest? They don't even know why he keeps passing out. And I'm not willing to play fast and loose with him fucking brain."
Dean becomes aware that they're leaning over him, one on either side of his bed. Sam's fingers are pressed against his hip, Bobby's got a hand resting on his chest. He wishes they'd stop arguing, wishes that Bobby was rubbing his head again and that Sam was rubbing his back. Selfish.
Sam growls, "You played fast and loose enough with fucking the rest of him."
And that's just, just not right. Dean slaps at Sam's hand on the blanket, sharp enough to get his attention and then opens his eyes to make sure he's waving his finger in Sam's general direction. He rumbles, and his throat burns, his chest aches, "Don't. Don't go there. You don't know."
Sam looks chagrined, reaches up and takes Dean's hand in his, holding on so tight that Dean feels his knuckles shift against each other. Starts, "I just-"
"How are you feeling?" Bobby's voice, soft and careful, gentle as his touch. Dean smiles, relaxes involuntarily, reaches for Bobby with his free hand and ends up with a handful of shirt. Bobby's fingers wrap around his wrist, not trying to move him, just easy affection.
"Like I got hit by a truck." Memory slams forward, a quick sharp knife twist in his gut. He grits his teeth around the whimper in his throat, continues in a voice so gravely be barely recognizes it as his own, "Again."
Bobby leans forward, drops a quick kiss on his brow, says, "I'm going to go find your doctor while you're awake. Be right back." And then he's gone, and Dean can still feel the press of his lips, comfort and love, seeping down into his skin.
Sam's voice is a croak, "Do you-Dean, do you still want me to leave?"
The shock of the suggestion is like physical pain. Dean jerks, arms shoving himself up into a sitting position. He shakes his head against the vertigo that swims up his throat and behind his eyes, gets a hand in Sam's hair and tugs. He kisses him, hard, till he feels Sam give against him, relax and open his mouth to Dean's tongue and teeth.
Dean growls against his mouth, "Don't you go fucking anywhere, please. I'm so sorry for what I said before, I should have, I should have known better. I should have went and found you, I should have, I should have done a lot of things. I'm so sorry that I wasn't there to take care of you, man."
He is. So terribly sorry, and sick with himself. A year, a year Sam was out there fighting without him to watch his back. A year that he'd completely shirked his responsibilities, and he can't do that, ever again.
Sam is looking at him with wide eyes, emotion naked across his face. Surprise and pain and guilt and hunger, such hunger as Dean isn't sure he's ever seen on his brother's face before. Sam kisses him again, needy and desperate, and Dean only pulls back at the sudden stab of guilt through his chest.
He's seeing Bobby behind his eyes, and blinks fast, feeling his stomach roll. Sam doesn't seem to notice, babbling against his ear, "Dean. Dean. I missed you. I missed you so much. I thought, I thought I'd lost you. I thought-it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. God. I'm so sorry. It was all my fault. Not your fault, man. My stupid fault."
Dean doesn't feel like arguing right now that of course it's not Sam's fault. There'll be time for that later. God knows Sam will probably still be bringing this whole thing up years from now. Dean just wants to make everything right again, and tries to ignore the way the bottom of his stomach just drops out when he realizes he doesn't know how.
And then the doctors and nurses flood into the room, and he's spared having to think about it anymore.
It takes almost a week for him to be able to move without feeling like he's trying to split himself to pieces. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because the burns and broken ribs from the building falling on him need the time to heal anyway. However, it gives him far too much time to think, laying in the hospital bed and wondering what the hell he's going to do.
He thinks that it would be easier if Bobby and Sam gave him an occasional moment to himself, but neither of them seem inclined to let him out of their sight. He can't send Sam away and he won't send Bobby away, and he assumes the headache building in the back of his neck might be from irritation instead of jumbled memories this time.
The thing is that the memories settled oddly. He'd assumed, briefly, that when all was said and done everything would end up spread out, that'd he'd remember the relief of Sam fucking him in celebration for getting out of the demon's deal, and then the year he'd spent with Bobby.
What he got was the year with Bobby superimposed over all his other memories, from childhood on. It feels like he's lived two lives, and they've been slammed together haphazardly. He's spent his entire life loving Sam. He's spent his entire life loving Bobby.
It's impossible and he doesn't know how to make this work, even in his own head.
They're releasing him today, and he's relieved, because at least he can go insane where other people won't be watching, now. There's no question that they're going back to Bobby's, because Bobby's is home and Dean wants to sleep in his bed and play with his dogs and just pretend for a day or two that this isn't happening.
There's no question that Sam's coming with them, either. Bobby had been surly about that, had scowled and opened his mouth to protest and Dean had kissed him to shut him up. Bobby had sighed against his mouth, hand coming up to cup the back of Dean's head and Dean had curved towards him, reveling in the comfort of it.
Sam had cleared his throat pointedly, had been glaring when Dean had let the kiss slip away. But under the anger he'd seen the hurt in his brother's eyes, and hated himself for putting it there. But Bobby had agreed to let Sam stay at their place for a while, and if Sam hadn't said a word the rest of the day then Dean was willing to take the blame for that, as well.
He can't touch either of them without feeling like shit, and he can't seem to stop himself. It's natural to curl his hand around the back of Sam's neck and kiss him like their lives depend on it. It's natural to butt his head against Bobby's shoulder and melt against his side, enjoying the weight of the other man's arm around his waist.
He hates it, and it's relief, powerful and overwhelming, sliding into the Impala by himself. Sam and Bobby had both driven their own cars to the hospital, and for a long moment Dean just sits and reacquaints himself with silence.
The Impala is a constant, at least, in the mess in his head. She's always been there, his and his alone and he doesn't have to worry about her getting jealous because she's the only woman in his life. He lets his head loll back on the seat and just breathes in the smell of leather and smoke that he never could get out of the upholstery.
He drives slow all the way back to Bobby's, soaking up the quiet, calm perfection of his car. He thinks it's kind of cowardly, but it's the first time in a week that he hasn't felt torn in a dozen directions. Bobby and Sam are both waiting for him when he finally parks, standing awkwardly on opposite sides of the porch, like they can only bear to be around each other with as much space as possible between them.
Dean contemplates kicking the engine into gear and just going, but doesn't. That's not who he is, and that's not who he's ever been. His life might be fucking him over, but he's never run from it. That's always been Dad and Sam's thing.
He feels guilty the moment the thought forms, pushes and shoves it away. They've always had their reasons. He hesitates a moment longer before sliding out of the car, watching the way both Sammy and Bobby start for him, then pause to glare at each other.
The dogs swarm him immediately from all sides, and at least they still act the same.
It's weird, sleeping in his bedroom at Bobby's. He can't even remember the last time he slept in this bed, knows that it was months ago. The sheets smell kind of dusty and the overhead light is blown and his bed feels empty without Sam or Bobby in it.
Guilt had kept him out of Bobby's bed earlier. The beaten puppy look on Sam's face had made him lock himself into his old room. God, but he misses. Hates the empty space in his chest, the way he keeps tracing the cold sheets beside him no matter how many times he tells himself to stop it.
It's two in the morning when he loses the fight with himself, and pads through the familiar hallways. Bobby's door is unlocked, his bedside lamp on when Dean eases his way into the room. For a long second Dean shifts, uncomfortable while Bobby stares.
And then Bobby puts aside the book he'd been reading, slides out of bed and then he's there. Dean pushes his face against the crook of Bobby's neck, gets his arms around him and holds on with a desperation he hadn't known he was feeling.
Bobby's walking him over to the bed, whispering soothing nonsense into his hair, hands big and familiar, rough skin tracing gentle patterns. He's saying, "It's okay, Dean, I got you. I got you. C'mon, you need some sleep, everything will be better in the morning."
He knows that's a lie, but Bobby says it so earnestly it tastes like it could be true. But sleep has never been his friend, never made him feel better. He can remember nightmares, every night, he can remember worrying that he'd wake up without his memory again. He doesn't want the helplessness that comes with sleep. Not right now.
He wraps himself around Bobby, pulls the man down for a kiss, teeth catching desperately, hearing the whimper in the back of his own throat and trying to cover it with a groan. And Bobby whispers, "Sh. I got you," right into his mouth, and he believes.
Bobby's beard scratches across the skin of his neck, and Dean gasps and pulls him closer with a hand around the back of his head. Bobby's hair is smooth against his fingers, Bobby's skin heated under his palm. He tips his head farther back, throwing himself into the touches because they make everything else fade away.
The sheets are cotton, are rough against his back, are warm and familiar. He can feel his thighs fall farther apart, the steady comforting weight of Bobby's hips between his legs sending fire down his spine. He runs his hand down Bobby's back, grabbing and tugging and trying to get him closer, closer, closer.
He can hear himself, his voice still raw and jagged, "Need you, need you so much. Please, need you to fuck me Bobby, please-" and more, pouring out of his lips like a prayer. Bobby slides his mouth, kisses him and swallows Dean's pleas and Dean tugs and clings and pulls.
He hates feeling like this, like he's coming apart at the seams, like he's being held to the world by his fingernails instead of gravity. He needs touch and reassurance and Bobby inside him, holding him down, keeping him here.
There's a furnace in Bobby's skin, searing his fingers where he grips at the other man's shoulders. He rocks up against the heat of him, barely aware that his other hand is skimming down, that his fingers are wrestling with Bobby's jeans and what the hell had Bobby even been wearing jeans for, this time of night?
It doesn't really matter. He wants, there's so much need inside him that he can feel it bleeding out the edges, beading on his skin like sweat. He wonders if Bobby can taste it, dragging his mouth down the column of Dean's throat again, mouthing wet sloppy kisses across Dean's collarbone, his chest.
Dean wrestles with Bobby jeans, gets them shoved over his hips, and Bobby's smacking at his hands. Saying, "God, Dean, slow down. It's okay. Slow down."
He doesn't want to slow down. He wants this now, right now. Needs the weight of Bobby on top of him, inside of him, is shaking with it. He grinds up against Bobby, trying to make him understand, trying to say what he can't force out of his mouth. Drags Bobby up for another kiss and nips at his mouth, hard and desperate.
Bobby's voice is considerably less controlled when he gasps out, "Damnit, damnit, I-" And then he kisses back, wild enough to match Dean's roiling need for the first time. Dean arches up against him, needing wanting craving more. Bobby's nipping at his jaw, Dean throws his head back and digs his fingers into Bobby's shoulders.
His voice sounds wrung out, unfamiliar, "Just like-oh God-please, Bobby, more, need-"
Bobby bites at his throat, the skin stings and burns with it and Dean arches into the pressure. Bobby's hands are dancing down his stomach, finally, finally. Dean holds him, dragging his fingers, leaving bruises behind and marveling in them. Gasping up to the ceiling, to the room in general, to Bobby, "Need you, need you, need you-"
His jeans get torn off, his boxers flung to some far corner of the room. He takes the opportunity to get his legs wrapped around Bobby, to pull him close and tight and dig his heels into the other man's back. Bobby's squirming out of his own pants and Dean's rocking in time with the movements, trembling and rambling though he can barely hear himself. "Fuck, fuck, you gotta, you gotta, please-"
He spits in his own hand, aware of how dry his mouth is from breathing heavy. Doesn't matter. Bobby's hard and there's still something like a small miracle about that, every time. Bobby thrusts into his hand, hips jerking like he can't stop them and Dean's twisting and squirming on the bed because Bobby's just moving too slow and if he can get his hips canted right he can-
Bobby growls into his skin, teeth worrying at his shoulder, "Goddamnit, stop, you're going to hurt yourself."
He moans, because pain he can deal with, pain is part of being alive and sane and he wants that, too. He tightens his legs around Bobby, trying to pull him down, trying to force himself up, and Bobby rumbles again.
Bobby's grip on his wrist is tight enough that he can't break it, not even when Bobby grabs his other hand and pins his arms above his head. Dean can feel his own heart, pounding so hard it feels like it's going to beat right through his ribs, strains against Bobby's hold because God, he needs, so bad it hurts. Pleads, "Please, please, Bobby, please, I need you to do it, I need-"
Bobby kisses him hard, pulls back far enough to growl, "I ain't gonna hurt you, Jesus Christ, and I ain't gonna let you hurt yourself, either."
"Please!" And he doesn't even know what he's asking for, anymore, just knows that he needs it so much that nothing else matters. Bobby's eyes darken, even more, and Dean concentrates on that, on making him understand, on pleading if that's what he has to do, "Please. Please."
Bobby bows his head, just for a second. Dean can see a muscle in his jaw working, and then Bobby's hungry mouth is over his again. Bobby's weight suddenly crushing him into the bed, Bobby's grip tight enough on his wrist to hurt and bruise, Bobby's other hand sliding under him and there's nothing gentle about the finger in his ass. He gasps, Bobby's teeth around his bottom lip, "Just fuck me, just fuck me, please."
Bobby grunts, face tight with concentration, working another finger in and twisting and stretching and Dean's voice isn't his own, "Please, please, please, please, please-"
And then Bobby's pulling back, just a little, shifting his weight sliding his hips lower. Dean arches off the mattress, trying to follow his warmth, and Bobby growls. His hand disappears off Dean's wrist, and Dean reaches for him on instinct and then there's big hands on his should and waist, flipping him neatly onto his stomach.
Bobby leans forward, across his back, weight pushing him into the mattress, his voice a low wet growl in Dean's ear, "Stay still, and I'll fuck you." And Dean freezes, because he needs, curls his fingers into the sheets and holds on to keep himself from reaching for skin and muscle and arms and shoulders.
He hears Bobby spit, and battles with his self control to keep still, to not shove his hips back and up. And then Bobby's there, one hand heavy on Dean's hip, sliding into Dean so slowly that Dean loses his hold on himself and starts to push back.
Bobby rumbles, tightens his hold and Dean can feel the bruises forming on his hip and doesn't care, because then Bobby's settling against him. He can feel the other man's chest pressed against his back, feel Bobby panting against the back of his neck. He shifts forward, tries to push himself back, needing, wanting, craving.
And Bobby bites him, teeth over his spine, tongue flattening against skin as he sucks and Dean knows if he's not bleeding then he will be in a second. It makes his hips jerk involuntarily, down into the bed and he slams back, pushing himself onto Bobby's cock and the burn of it is fire and he revels in the burn.
Bobby moves his own hips then, back and then forward hard, driving Dean into the mattress and it startles the breath out of Dean's lungs. Bobby growls, "I said, stay still, you're gonna hurt yourself." His hand is back around Dean's wrists, and Dean's tugs and Bobby makes a deep sound and licks at the bite on the back of Dean's neck. He's still for so long that Dean starts to despair of ever getting fucked, he can hear himself begging.
And then Bobby starts moving, slow and steady and Dean whines around the pressure in his chest. He tries to shift, but Bobby's got him thoroughly pinned. It doesn't stop him from trying, from shifting his hips, from trying to get his legs twisted for better leverage.
It feels like Bobby fucks him for an eternity, feels like stars could be being born and dying while Bobby holds him and pushes into him, over and over and over again. The pressure builds and builds in his chest, fills up his limbs and curls his toes and he's whimpering but there aren't words anymore. Just wordless cries, wrung from his throat, as Bobby sucks bruises into his shoulders and murmurs encouragement and Dean gives in.
The orgasm tears him apart, white hot inside his skull, emptying out everything he has. And Bobby, still fucking him through it, holding him warm and safe and Dean twists his head back over his shoulder even though it pulls almost painfully and captures Bobby's mouth with his own.
Bobby groans into his mouth, and Dean feels him come, feels Bobby's grip on his wrists tighten, and then loosen as he sags down on top of Dean. Bobby pulls him close with big, stumbling hands, cradles him and Dean doesn't really care that somehow he ended up laying in the wet spot.
He sleeps like the dead, Bobby wrapped around him like a shield against the rest of the world.
They don't wake up till late. Dean can feel the warmth of the sun creeping in the window. It's nothing compared to the heat of Bobby's skin, all around him. He sinks back against the other man, contemplates just going back to sleep, but Bobby's slow rumble gives him a better idea, "C'mon, I'll make you breakfast."
Dean doesn't say no to breakfast. Ever.
The day is beautiful and bright and sunny right up to the point he steps into the kitchen. Because Sam is slouched at the kitchen table, big hands wrapped around his coffee cup, staring blankly at the refrigerator like it holds all the answers he's looking for.
Dean can feel guilt, curling up low in his gut. Knows what he looks like, Bobby's shirt hanging too big on his shoulders. Knows that his neck is purpling with bruises, that the bruises stretch down below the neckline of the shirt like a poorly kept secret. He knows he still smells like sex.
Sam looks at him, so sadly that it cuts Dean to shreds inside. Dean wishes he had long sleeves, suddenly, to cover the bruises on his wrists. But he doesn't, and he can't erase what Sam's already seen. Bobby steps around him, ignoring Sam this morning, pulls open the fridge and starts poking around inside.
Sam closes his eyes, color draining out of his face, jaw clenching and unclenching. And Dean doesn't think about anything but making it better. He steps into Sam's space, squeezes his shoulder and drops a kiss onto the top of his head.
He barely leans back far enough to avoid being bashed in the face when Sam jerks his head up. Sam stares at him, eyes wide and searching and Dean tries to smile. Sam reaches up, wraps his hand around Dean's arm and rubs circles into Dean's skin with his thumb. Says, "Dean?" and looks for the first time this morning like he's not about to start crying or throwing punches.
Bobby's voice is flat, "Can I get you anything, Sam?" It's carefully courteous, but Dean would have to be deaf and stupid not to hear the irritation below the surface. Sam's hand around his arm tightens, his eyes narrow and Dean wills them to not start fighting right now.
"There's one thing you could give me."
Bobby slams the fridge closed, which Dean hadn't even known was possible. He opens his mouth and Dean flashes him a desperate look. Bobby shuts his mouth again with a audible snap, turns back to the eggs and country ham he has spread out on the counter. Dean tries to key his voice towards reconciliatory, "He likes scrambled eggs, Bobby, please?"
The please might have come out a little breathy, because the back of Bobby's neck flushes. And there's the guilt again, curling low and uncomfortable in his gut. He can't do this to them, and he doesn't know how to stop himself.
It's all he remembers.
Sam stares for a long moment, and then tugs Dean down into the seat beside him. His voice is low and gruff, "Guess I don't have to ask how you slept last night."
Dean flounders, unsure how to make this better, or what he did to piss off God that he even has to worry about making this better. There's no words for it, in any case. He grabs Sam's hand, threads their fingers together and squeezes. Strong. Strong for Sammy, while he figures out what the hell he's supposed to do with the mess he's been handed.
Breakfast is predictably tense. Bobby sits on his other side, keeps one hand on his knee all through breakfast, and Dean feels guilty all over again for enjoying the comfort the gesture gives him. Even more guilty because Sam's got their feet tangled together under the table, is rubbing his toe against Dean's ankle and it's so terribly familiar.
He eats his eggs, and his ham, and ignores the fact that Bobby and Sam are glaring at each other over his head. He keeps wanting to rub a hand over the back of his neck, wishes for the first time that his hair was longer to cover the marks there. The marks that Sammy drops his eyes to every few minutes before casting a particularly dark look Bobby's way.
And he hates it, because uncomfortable as this is, it's the best that he thinks he can hope for in this situation. He can't loose Sam, can't let him just walk out into the mess that the world's become. Not without backup. He can't leave Bobby, and there's a part of him that thinks if he went after Sam, Bobby wouldn't come with him.
He ignores the bitter taste in the back of his throat, the icy chill up his spine.
Sam says, so softly Dean barely hears him, "It's so weird."
Dean spits the toothpaste in his mouth out, rinses the minty aftertaste away and turns off the sink before meeting Sam's eyes in the mirror. He raises an eyebrow, silent query, and Sam continues, "You have stuff here. I mean. Like. You have things you bought. For a house. It's weird."
It doesn't seem weird to Dean, except that sometimes it does. Every other blink he doesn't understand why his possessions aren't all crammed into a duffle bag. Every other breath he doesn't remember why his stuff is under the sink, mingled with Bobby's like it belongs there. Because it does.
He shrugs, watches Sam watch the movement of his shoulders and back. Sam's close, in his space, a warm familiar body at his back. Dean can see the moment Sam's eyes catch on the bite at his neck, the sudden darkness in his eyes, the twist in his lips.
Sam's voice is even softer, "We could have had this, if you wanted. I would have-" he cuts himself off, turns and walks out of the bathroom.
Dean leans over the sink, lets his forehead rest against the cool mirror, lets it drag the heat out of his skin and ease the ache in his head. When he pulls back his reflection is blurry in the fogged up mirror, and he runs his hand through it, disgusted, before following Sam out.
Sam's waiting for him in the hallway, leaning against the wall, staring up at the ceiling and letting his jaw work. Dean's not sure what he hates more, the anger dancing right under the surface of Sam's skin, or the bone deep pain he can see in each movement his brother makes.
They're both his fault.
He says, when it becomes obvious that Sam isn't going to reopen conversation, "When you came back. For me. I shouldn't have sent you away." They've been avoiding that issue, every time he's brought it up Sam's went silent and closed off. But Dean needs absolution from that particular guilt, can't take carrying it around in his chest for much longer.
"God, Dean, yes you should have, I-" Sam's off the wall, leaning into him, hands wrapped around his upper arms, squeezing. "I left you. You had every right." But his eyes say that the pain is still there, big and crushing and Dean doesn't believe.
Dean reaches out, slow, rests a hand on Sam's hip and can't miss the way his brother's eyes flutter shut, the way he leans all his weight into the touch. Sam's babbling, like the brush of Dean's fingers broke some floodgate inside him, "And you thought I hurt you, I, I never would have done that, I never would have."
There's a sharp jag of almost fear in Dean's chest, and he swallows around it. Because he remembers, in his gut, remembers knowing that his brother had hurt him, even if he didn't understand how. Remembers the feeling of betrayal and hurt that had swam through him every time he thought about Sam, those long months without memory. Remembers the nightmares, the dark brutal honesty of his life without any of the soft points that made it worth living.
Some of the unease must show on his face, because Sam curses, drops his hands and backpedals. "Jesus! Do you still? Do you still think I did?" He sounds panicked, more than angry.
"No! Sam, no. No. I just-the nightmares. They were really bad. That's all. They mixed things all up." Did they ever. It's funny, how situations that he'd never thought twice about while living them could be twisted into something so ugly.
He can still remember the tight panic building in his throat, waking from a dream where the man Bobby called his brother had been pinning him to the wall while he begged for him to not do this, to-
The thoughts aren't going anywhere good, and he cuts them off, watches Sam reach for him again, slowly and carefully. Like Dean's a scared animal, like he might jerk away at any second. Dean grits his teeth, and doesn't protest, though he wants to. A delicate flower, he is not.
Sam's carefully avoiding the subject, "You remembered some stuff, then? Through the nightmares?" Dean hums, quiet affirmation, and Sam winds their fingers together, tugging him closer, "And now you remember, what? Exactly?"
Leave it to Sam to focus on the specifics. Dean shrugs, watching Sam shift even closer to him, so close he can feel the heat of Sam's body all along his side, "Everything. I told you. My whole life." He does not say lives, even though he has a feeling that would be closer to the truth.
"Why'd the demon give you your memory back?"
Dean's pretty sure that a better question is why the demon took it in the first place, but whatever. He flicks his eyes up to Sam's, but Sam isn't looking at his eyes, is staring at his mouth. He licks his lips, subconsciously, tries to ignore the way Sam's eyes tighten in the corners, "Who knows why they do anything?"
"I really thought-" Sam does not say: That I had gotten you out of the deal. Dean hears it anyway. He remembers, lying in bed the morning after he was supposed to have died, curling towards Sam, mouth open under his brother's. Sam's hands, shaking and desperate and Sam had fucked him which was rare enough in and of itself and the blackness had reached out and taken him.
One breath he'd been groaning Sam's name. The next he hadn't even remembered his own.
Sam hadn't been able to tell him, at the time, what he had done to negate the deal. Dean's not sure he wants to know, now. He doesn't want to find out that the demon is out there, waiting to find him and call in what she's owed.
Instead he just lets Sam draw him slowly closer. Till he's pressed into the circle of his brother's arms, head tucked under Sam's chin as Sam slowly sways back and forth. He doesn't comment on the sobs he can feel rattling around Sam's chest, or the tears that drip down onto his neck.
He just wraps his arms around Sam's back, rubs big soothing circles and mutters nonsense and calls him a girl until everything is better again. It's his job, and he's always been good at doing his job.
They're sprawled out across the couch, hours later, still talking about random things. Bobby keeps popping in every few minutes, concerned and jealous if Dean knows how to read him at all. Which he does. Bobby is every bit as much of an open book as Sam is, now.
Dean wishes he could do something to reassure Bobby, but he needs, deep down, to get reacquainted with Sam. To find out what he did in his missing year. To convince himself that Sam is okay, that because of Dean's neglect nothing too horrible happened to him.
They're laughing, softly, about a fight that Sam had with a possessed mannequin, and how it had tried to strangle him with a thong. Sam's got one big hand on his knee, fingers digging into his leg just a little too tightly. Dean feels like he should say something, but doesn't know what, and besides, it feels as natural as breathing.
Sam sobers suddenly, raises a hand to his neck and starts fidgeting with the necklace under his collar. His voice is shaky, as he pulls it out, playing with the ring on the end of the chain, "I-I kept this. I'm sorry."
Dean's finger isn't even pale anymore, a year without the ring has smoothed his hand to an even color. He can remember the weight of it though, steady and comforting, plain heavy silver that he'd worn for years.
Sam's opening the necklace, handling the chain awkwardly, small in his big hands. He catches the ring in one palm, bounces it a few times before offering it over to Dean. "You should have it back. Now. It's yours, I shouldn't have taken it in the first place."
"No." He doesn't want to know why Sam kept it, doesn't think he could take it with the tightness in his chest. Reaches out carefully and folds Sam's fingers closed around it, squeezes. "You keep it." He doesn't want to know why he's letting Sam keep it. Just knows that he wants to.
Bobby interrupts with a plate of sandwiches and a dirty look at Sam's hand on Dean's knee. He settles on Dean's other side, slides the sandwiches onto Dean's lap and an arm around Dean's shoulders. Dean's sure that they're glaring at each other over his head again, and feels his appetite vanish.
The dogs don't like Sam either, and Dean isn't sure what to make of that. He's never seen Benny dislike anyone, but from the minute they step out onto the porch the dogs are in a circle around Dean, sending Sam dirty looks.
Sam blinks, and Dean knows that his brother has never been particularly fond of animals in the first place. Dean smiles, even though it really isn't funny, the way Henry and Violet in particular have their hackles raised and their teeth bared.
It's nothing compared to the low, displeased sound they all make when Sam makes an aborted move towards Dean. Their tails are straight and flat, their ears folded down tight, and their big broad chests vibrating with the force of their growls. They're all at least sixty pounds, though Henry's got to be closer to seventy.
Dean catches Sam's eyes, shakes his head, not smiling anymore, "I think that you might wanna give them some time to get used to you. Over there."
Sam retreats to the other side of the porch, and the dogs settle around Dean's feet. He's perversely grateful for their bad temper, because it's the first time all day that he's had a chance to breath free air, been able to move without bumping into another body.
Dean knows that he could just go back inside, but he's gotten used to staring at the stars every night. It's become habit and tradition, and he likes the warmth of the coffee in his hands contrasted with the cool expanse of the heavens above him. He closes his eyes and leans his face towards the sky and when Bobby steps up by his elbow he smiles.
He locks himself in his room again, when night falls heavy and his body protests its exhaustion. He sneaks out at two in the morning again, as well, but his feet take him past Bobby's door, past Sam's. He needs to think, needs to clear his head and at every time in his life there's only been one sure fire way to do that.
He can't run, really, his ribs burn like the fires of hell are blazing in his lungs if he tries. But he can jog. Kind of. It still hurts, and he's vaguely aware that he shouldn't be doing it, not if he wants to heal. Taking care of himself has never been particularly high on his list of priorities.
He just goes, not concentrating on anything but the burn of strain in his legs, the ache in his chest, the dull pound in the base of his spine flirting towards a killer headache. He likes the way his skin is soaked with sweat when he comes back to himself, the way his mouth is dry and the way the sky is staining pink and gold on the horizon.
By the time he makes it back home the world is the uniform gray that heralds the break of day. The air is surprisingly thick and humid for this early in the year, he can see dew collected on the sparse grass of the lawn, feel it mingling with his sweat and running across his skin.
Bobby is leaning against the porch, a cup of still steaming coffee in his hands.
Dean's smiling when he walks up, tired from lack of sleep, but still floating on endorphins and adrenaline. He leans into Bobby's warmth, takes a drink of the coffee and wrinkles up his nose at the hot liquid flooding his mouth. Burning hot coffee is good for many things, but not for cooling down after physical activity.
Bobby laughs, softly, takes the cup back from him and says, "How were the cows?"
"Sleeping." He keeps his tone soft to match Bobby's, to match the thickness of the air, the stillness around them. It's easy and natural to melt against Bobby, to rest his chin on the other man's shoulder and just breathe out the tension that's gathered in his body since yesterday morning.
"And why aren't you sleeping? Been awhile since you decided to spend your night running all over God's green earth."
Dean shrugs, lets his eyes slip closed, because he is tired now. Tired and content and warm with Bobby's company. He gets a hand tucked into Bobby's pocket and cracks an eye open to watch the flush creep up the side of Bobby's neck. The man's voice is low and thick, "Dean?"
And Dean starts to shift forward when the front door opens and closes. Sam shuffles his feet across the porch, shoulders hunched in, eyes dark shadows in his pale face. His voice is sharp, "I interrupting something? Cause I can..." he makes a vague waving motion, and Dean can feel Bobby tense up, can almost taste the sudden crackle of anger stretching in the air between them.
For a half second Dean wishes he hadn't come back. That he had just kept his jog-walk-jog rhythm up until he couldn't go anymore. He could have probably made it a good distance, made it to a bus stop or a train station, somewhere that he could have escaped from. From this mess that's been made of his life.
But it's his life, and his mess, and if he doesn't clean it up no one else is going to.
He lifts his head off Bobby's shoulder, reluctantly. Says, "How about I make everyone breakfast?" He already knows what they both want. Eggs over easy for Bobby, scrambled for Sam, bacon all around. Maybe grits, if they've got any left, because he's finally convinced Bobby that they taste delicious with the right mix of butter and jelly.
Bobby and Sam are glaring hard at each other, and Dean pinches Bobby's arm, and slaps Sam hard in the shoulder. Points towards the front door with a scowl and waits for them to march inside. Running away is looking better and better.
Dean wakes up to angry whispers.
He's vaguely aware, mind still thick with sleep, that he's most definitely not on the couch he fell asleep on anymore. He swings a leg absently into the air, feels the arms supporting him under his knees and behind his shoulders tighten. He can smell Sam's aftershave, and so he knows who's holding him before he ever opens his eyes.
Sam is whispering, and Dean's pretty sure he taught Sam better than that. Whispers carry better than almost anything else. It doesn't matter right now, Dean focuses on the words, "I'm taking him to bed, he can't be comfortable sleeping there."
And because Sam is certainly not arguing about this with himself, Bobby's voice, "Just making sure you're taking him to his bed, is all."
Dean can feel Sam tense up, feels him shift and knows that Sam's spreading his feet, straightening his shoulders, making himself as big as possible. Sam hisses, "I'm not trying to take advantage, if that's what you're implying."
"What, cause that's so unbelievable?" Bobby, and Dean can hear the floor creak as he steps closer. Dean sighs, because he'd actually been sleeping well, for once, and starts to open his mouth to protest the absurdity of this argument. Sam talks over him, not whispering anymore.
"You don't want to get me started on taking advantage. I've kept my mouth shut for Dean's sake but-"
"But what? You got a problem with me, boy?"
Dean snarls, twists in Sam's arms and Sam startles like he'd forgotten he was even there. He's surprised when instead of setting him down Sam just tightens his hold, and Dean blinks furiously at the sleep in his eyes, because goddamnit he will not just be hauled around like some kind of-
"Yeah, Yeah, you know what? I do. You sneer at me and look at me like I'm some kind of monster, and what about yourself? How long did you leave him be before you started fucking him, Bobby? A few months? A few weeks? Days?"
Bobby's voice is gone cold and hard, "I never, never, hurt him."
Sam snorts, and Dean twists again, because he'd really prefer to get out of this without hitting Sam, but Sam isn't giving him a lot of choice at this point. Stubborn bastard. Sam's voice is every bit as cold as Bobby's, sing song soft and harsh, "I saw the bruises you put on him, remember? He just got out of the goddamn hospital and you-"
And then it's just the two of them screaming at each other, and Dean can't make out any of the individual accusations. He doesn't need to, the theme is clear enough. He hits Sam in the shoulder hard enough to startle him, and Sam releases him on instinct.
Dean manages to half catch himself before the floor rushes up to meet him. Ends up on one knee, and glares up at the two men standing over him. They're not screaming anymore, jaws tense, hands clenched into fists at their sides.
He knows he should say something, some balm to their tempers, but he's tired and frustrated and he can't think of the words anyway. Instead he marches upstairs, and throws himself into his bed, where he stares at the ceiling and doesn't get back to sleep in any case.
If he's honest with himself, then he's only really surprised that the fragile peace lasted a week outside of the hospital. They could have been going for each other's throats immediately.
A/N: And that's it. That's all she wrote.
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