Pairing: Sam/Dean (Slash)
Rating: PG-13 (language)
Summary: Losing the past and losing themselves…
Author's Note: Thanks to ivy_x3 for language assistance on the Chinese spirit name. :)
x-x-x-x-x Chapter 2, Sam: And All This Was Mine x-x-x-x-x
He’d been so happy to see Dean open his eyes at last. After three days of waiting by the bed, worrying and hoping, he could hardly believe he wasn’t dreaming when Dean finally looked at him.
And then… the worry was replaced by a slow-burning fear of another sort entirely. Dean—his Dean—still hadn’t woken up.
Now Sam sat on a motel-room bed watching Dean sleep, unable to even touch him. He wanted to be in that bed, wrapped around Dean. He wanted to hold him close and feel the slow beat of Dean’s heart under his hand.
Instead, he was more alone than ever. Instead of bringing his brother back from the hospital, Sam brought back someone who didn’t even know him—and maybe didn’t want to. Everything was still unfinished and unresolved—with no guarantees of ever getting better.
Sam slid down on the bed, lying on his side where he could look at Dean and think. After all it had taken to make them what they’d finally become to each other, was he ready to give that up? He had to admit the possibility that even if Dean remembered who he was, he might not like the choices he’d made before. And those choices very much included his relationship with Sam. Could he go back to just being Dean’s brother, if it came to that? Or would he follow the same slow path to ruin that Dean had been on before everything had changed?
Sam pulled the other pillow out from behind him, clutching it to his stomach. The place at his front felt so empty, so exposed. He fell asleep with the image of Dean’s still face before him, floating in his thoughts like an impossible, distant dream.
It had been a long and uncomfortable night, and Sam was still half asleep when he awoke to an empty room the next morning. His thoughts settled quickly when he heard sounds from the bathroom, and realized Dean hadn’t fled during the night.
Sam got up slowly and stumbled in on Dean shaving over the bathroom sink. His brother’s skin was pale next to the stubble that still remained.
“I borrowed your razor—hope you don’t mind,” Dean said.
“It’s actually yours,” Sam said. “So go ahead. But if that’s soap-lather, you’re going to be sorry. Use the shaving cream.”
“Uh—okay, if you say so. Tomorrow.”
“Whatever,” Sam shrugged. “It’s your face.” He reached for a towel and washcloth and laid them on top of the toilet tank.
“And a mighty fine-looking one it is, too. This whole package is pretty damn hot.” Dean postured for himself in the mirror, smiling with too many teeth while he turned this way and that and admired his arms.
“Glad to see your ego’s still intact,” Sam muttered. “Some things never change.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing.” Sam turned the shower on and started removing his clothes.
“Hey, hey!” Dean protested. “Can’t this wait ‘til I’m done?”
This… This from the man who was usually all over him before he’d even gotten his shirt off. Sam’s eyes stung, but he just turned his back, finished undressing and stepped into the shower wordlessly.
“Guess not,” he heard Dean say over the rushing water.
Sam bowed his head under the rush of water, under the weight of Dean’s casual, careless rejection. Which would hurt more—Dean’s disinterest, or his discomfort? Sam had the uneasy feeling he’d be finding out the answer to that soon. And probably a few other questions he hadn’t thought to ask.
The booth in the diner down the street was quiet. Dean sat across from Sam, his eyes taking in the ubiquitous wooden paneling, the cigarette scars on the formica tabletop. Dean’s attention soon wandered onto other things, his head swiveling each time the waitress went by.
Sam felt a pang of worry. “Dean!” he hissed.
“What?” Dean asked.
“Could you dial it down before your head falls off your neck?”
Dean was puzzled by Sam’s reaction. “What, I’m not allowed to look?”
“Normally, maybe, but right now I’m not sure how far you’ll carry it.”
Dean laughed. “You must have me on a pretty short leash most of the time.”
“It’s not like that,” Sam muttered sourly.
“Yeah? Well what’s it like then?”
“You just… you never do that anymore. I mean you look, but it’s never serious.”
“Really. How can you be sure? I mean, what keeps me from just sneaking off to the bathroom with one of those girls?”
Sam’s expression turned fierce. “The fear that I’ll walk out on you again if you try it.”
Dean froze. “What?”
Sam exhaled loudly. “Never mind.”
“No, I think I need to hear this one,” Dean said. “Keep going.”
Sam relented. “I went away to college for four years, and… it was really hard on you. Part of you is always afraid I might leave you again.”
Dean stared. “You hold that over me all the time? You seduced me, and then you dangle that over me to keep me here?”
“No!” Sam scowled. “And anyway, you’re the one that wanted me.”
“Right, I just got bored one night and went after you in a motel. Because it would be impossible for a guy who looks like me to find anyone interested in sleeping with him.”
“It wasn’t anything like that.”
“Well then how was it exactly? How did we wind up doing this?”
“We just… we were hunting this xionghen spirit, and it knocked me halfway across the room before it left. I passed out, and you thought it had gotten me for good. When I came to, you were leaning over me and begging me not to leave you. You were so worried…” Sam looked up at Dean through hesitant, half-searching eyes. “You were holding me the way you never let me hold you—even when you’re half-dead—and I reached up and put my hand against your face and just kept it there. And you let me.” Sam swallowed and paused. “The expression on your face was just… you were so close to losing it, so desperate. I just couldn’t stand it. I pulled you down and kissed you.”
Dean’s eyes were huge and stunned.
“And then… you just let go. Everything. It was like the floodgates were opening. You just couldn’t stop kissing me, holding me so tight I couldn’t breathe. Like you would die if you ever let me go.”
“And then we went at it like bunnies, and haven’t stopped since?”
“Keep your voice down!” Sam whispered. “You make it sound all sordid. That first time was actually very gentle. Kind of sweet.”
“That doesn’t even sound like me, not that I’d remember anyway. You make it sound like I was some sort of virgin.”
“Maybe you were,” Sam said softly. “I think that might have been the first time anyone loved you back.” Sam looked over at Dean, his voice thoughtful and quiet. “You were there for me, growing up, but you never had anyone that loved you the way you loved me. You always wanted more than Dad could give. I don’t know why, because you did everything he wanted you to. But it’s like he only noticed when you strayed off the path.”
“Somebody must have loved me before that one time.” Dean’s voice lacked conviction.
“We never stayed in one place for long, and besides—you never let them. I was the only person you ever let in.”
“This makes me sound like some kind of pathetic loser.”
Sam sighed. “It’s not pathetic, Dean. It’s just who you are—you’re cautious with your heart. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be loved.”
Dean chewed his lip, thinking in silence. “When I look at women, does it hurt your feelings?”
“Pretty much, yes,” Sam said.
“Even though you know I don’t remember?”
“Especially then,” Sam answered. Because then there was no hesitation, no thoughts about what it did to Sam. It marked how far away Dean had gone, and Sam knew there was a chance Dean might not make it back.
He never even saw this heartache coming. Just a week ago, everything had been okay. They’d driven through Yellowstone. Sam had pleaded with Dean to do it, even for just an afternoon. We’ve traveled across the entire country all our lives, and never seen half the parts that matter!
They had timed their visit to Old Faithful perfectly— it went off close to schedule, and it was very impressive. Even Dean admitted that it was remarkable.
They’d visited the boiling mudpots, which went far less well. Dean had turned on his heel and headed back to the car at the first hint of sulfur in the air.
What are you doing? Sam had hissed.
Getting holy water, a gun, and some knives, Dean had answered.
It’s not a demon, Dean. It’s a natural phenomenon. Back off already.
That’s what everyone says at first, but once somebody vanishes or gets mutilated then the fun and games are over.
Dean never took any of the supplies out of his pockets, but he persisted in rocking on his heels behind Sam and eyeing everything and everyone suspiciously. The embarrassment had finally driven Sam to call it quits, and he muttered to himself all the way back to the car in accompaniment to Dean’s overconfident, macho stride.
Remembering it now, it all seemed so far away. To be annoyed with Dean—over all the things he did that were so very, insistently him—was suddenly a luxury Sam wondered if he’d ever have again.
They left the diner around 10 o’clock. Sam had eaten almost nothing. After their initial talk, Dean had not seemed particularly interested in finding out anything more about himself or the family history. Instead, he ate in silence. He looked everywhere but at Sam, as if his past was a mistake that might disappear if he just ignored it. Dean’s behavior filled Sam’s stomach with uneasiness, until he pushed his plate away in an admission of defeat.
They talked about what to do next. Dean suggested driving home, to see if their house could trigger any memories. Sam explained patiently about the hunting and roaming lifestyle, and that they’d never really had a home at all. Dean looked perturbed again, and Sam wavered in the surrealism of him being the one to explain their lives to Dean, of him having to persuade Dean that this was a reasonable and desirable way to live. This is it, the definition of irony right here, Sam thought. But there was no-one to share the joke with anymore.