Word Count: 5,100
Characters: Sam, Dean
Summary: Dean's been hit in the head on a hunt (again) and finds he's suffering from memory loss that's a little, uh, selective.
Warning: Wincest, sibling incest
A/N: Written for smpc
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Pairing: Sam/Dean (not related)
Word Count: 6,500
Opera prompt: Samson & Delilah by Camille Saint-Saëns
Characters: Sam, Dean, Castiel
Summary: Dean is no ordinary priest in Gaza's Temple of Dagon. He's a seer, a visionary who has a gift for pre-cognition. It's a good job, one that's earned him a kind of celebrity status among his peers, and he's content to rake in the dough as Dagon's top oracle. Until the day he meets the gaze of Samson the Strong, hero of the Hebrews, and everything changes. Everything.
Warning: Major character deaths (not permanent, maybe?), unhappy ending (if you know the story, you know how unhappily it ends!), some graphic violence (due to previous warnings). M/M sexual situations.
A/N: Written for the 2015 spnopera Challenge. Samson et Delila is based on the Biblical tale of Samson and Delilah found in Chapter 16 of the Book of Judges in the Old Testament. This is my variation, featuring Sam & Dean as the tragic main characters. Apologies for any historical or Biblical inaccuracies. The opera contains one of the most beautiful arias for mezzo-saprano: "Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix" ("My Heart Opens to Your Voice") which can be enjoyed here
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And how am I supposed to keep up with this amazing show? The last two episodes have been swimming in feels, making my little wincestuous heart pound with glee! How I love watching the boys doing anything and everything for each other, throwing all moral high ground to the wind and destiny be damned! Although I'm still reeling from Sam's comment to Charlie that he loves hunting, but I'm taking that as he loves his life with Dean, which is pretty much what he says next about not wanting to do it without Dean, so that's my interpretation. LOVED this episode! All the mixing of bodily fluids! Creepy good!
Word Count: 55,458
Characters: Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester, John Winchester, Pastor Jim Murphy, Bobby Singer
Warnings: Underage. Sibling incest. Mentions of rape and torture. Spoilers up through 10.01.
Disclaimer: Nothing about Supernatural is mine, everything belongs to its rightful owner. I make no money from the show or this story.
A/N: Written for the 2015 SPN_Kink_Big_Bang. This story is inspired by The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. For her invaluable help and encouragement beta-ing this thing, many thanks to the wonderful smalltrolven
Summary: Dean's life is turned upside down the night his mother dies. But that's also the night a mysterious grown-up version of Dean's brother first appears in his life. While Dean grows up, "Old Sam" is often there, especially when Dean's father isn't, and as Dean learns what the future holds, he begins to question everything his father has taught him about who he is and what he is supposed to become. Can Dean find a way to save his little brother from his own future? This pre-series AU follows Dean from age four to eighteen.
Artwork Masterpost by the amazing winchesterchola here
PART ONE -- PART TWO -- PART THREE -- PART FOUR -- PART FIVE -- PART SIX
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Word Count: 27,799
Warnings: Established Wincest, not explicit
Summary: Sam and Dean find evidence they time-traveled to 1983 to rescue their younger selves and their father after their mother died. Many silly, cuddly moments ensue, and while they're at it, they find a way to fix things for their dad. Happy endings!
PART ONE - PART TWO - PART THREE - PART FOUR -
PART FIVE - PART SIX - PART SEVEN - PART EIGHT - PART NINE
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Nevertheless, Dean found himself on the phone with Other!Sam again a week later, pacing in the parking lot while Sam was inside searching the 'net for cases of demonic possession.
"Oh, and by the way. When were you gonna tell me about the demon blood, Sam? Huh? I had to hear it from Crowley."
"Oh God," Other!Sam breathed.
"No, not Him. Definitely not Him," Dean growled. He took a deep breath, wishing -- hoping -- this was nothing, but not quite daring to believe it.
"Sam, tell me it doesn't matter," he pushed. "Tell me my brother having demon blood in his veins is not going to make him turn dark-side."
The anguished, choked sound that burst out of Other!Sam sounded like a sob.
"Fuck," Dean breathed.
"I'm sorry, Dean," Other!Sam said again. "I didn't tell you about that because I was hoping it didn't matter in your world. Your dad killed Yellow-Eyes, and nothing happened after that the way it did here, so I was thinking maybe none of those things I went through would happen for you guys."
Dean scrubbed a hand over his face. Tired, tired, tired. He was so fucking tired.
"What things, Sam?" he asked. "What do I need to watch out for? Is my brother gonna grow horns? Start killing people with his mind?"
"No, no," Other!Sam responded quickly.
"So what then? What can happen?"
Other!Sam took a deep breath. "I started having visions," he said reluctantly, like it was causing him pain to have to remember. "A few days before Jess died. Death visions. I -- I saw her die."
Dean couldn't believe what he was hearing. He already knew about that. Relief flooded him suddenly like a punch in the gut. This might be something he could handle after all.
"Sam had those too," he said out-loud now. "For almost that whole first year after I picked him up from Stanford. But they stopped as soon as the demon was dead. We figured it was connected because Dad had found other kids with psychic powers, all born about the same time. Figured the demon had been creating some kind of army."
"That's right," Sam agreed. "Azazel bled into all of us."
"Dad never mentioned the blood," Dean said. "But he must have known."
"Yeah, he knew," Other!Sam said. "But it sounds like he decided not to tell you, once he could see that Azazel's death stopped the visions."
"Your dad told you," Dean clarified.
"No," Other!Sam said, his voice still and small. "He told Dean he might have to kill me. Then he died."
"Fuck," Dean breathed.
"Yeah," Other!Sam agreed.
Dean took a deep breath, closed his eyes.
"Ok, I gotta go."
"How's Sam doing?"
Dean scrubbed a hand over his face, shuffled his feet.
"Yeah -- no -- he's ok," he said. "Still pretty beat up about what happened, obviously. Thinks it's his fault for not figuring out what your brother was doing."
Other!Sam huffed out a breath. "It's not his fault," he said quietly.
"Yeah, tell him that," Dean groused. "And just so we're clear, Sam, if I ever have the chance, I will kill your brother."
"Yeah, I get that," Other!Sam sighed. "Right now, I'm pretty sure he deserves it."
Other!Sam called once a week for awhile. He seemed to need the contact, and Dean didn't have the heart to refuse it. Sam frowned his disapproval whenever he caught Dean talking to his doppelgänger, but he seemed to accept it when Dean assured him he drew the line at phone sex.
Until the night the poor bastard drunk-dialed him and Dean spent almost the whole night locked in the bathroom, talking Other!Sam down off the edge of some serious self-hatred.
Finally he told Other!Sam exactly what he should have told him from the beginning.
"You have to tell him, Sam. You have to tell him how you feel. This is never gonna get better otherwise."
"But I'm not -- Dean, I'm in love with you, not him," Other!Sam sobbed. "I want you."
"No, Sam, you're just confused," Dean insisted. "This was always about him. You and me -- that was just an excuse. Never would've happened if you weren't already in love with him. You know that, you stupid jackass. Now you need to man up and tell him."
"He doesn't love me like that," Other!Sam whined, sobbing softly. "He thinks it's sick. He told me so when he found out about you."
Dean felt his anger rising, clenched his jaw.
"Yeah, he would say that," he growled. "And let me tell you what's sick. Him going more than fifteen years not telling you he's in love with you because he thinks he can keep you normal somehow. Thinks he can save you from his own obsession. Thinks that even if you say you want him it's his fault for wanting you first. Thinks it makes him some kind of pedophile.
"But see the thing is, you're not a fifteen-year-old kid, Sam."
Dean was fierce, determined to get through to Other!Sam. Make him understand.
"You're a grown man who knows his own mind now. Your brother doesn't get to tell you how you feel, see. He doesn't get to control everything anymore. And let me tell you something."
Dean wasn't sure whether this would work, but he was sure gonna give it his best shot.
"He's had fifteen years to repress his feelings and it's not gonna be easy breaking through his -- dumbass Winchester stubbornness. You might have to sit on him. I mean it, Sam. SIT ON HIM. But if you do, if you really hang in there and force him to face it, you will get through to him.
"He just needs you to convince him that it's what YOU want. 'Cause in the long run, he can't say no to you. Your needs. He's programmed to give you what you want. He just has to be convinced it really is what you want. You get me?"
Other!Sam was silent, his sobbing reduced to quiet gasps and the occasional sniffle.
"Sam?" Dean used his most commanding voice. "You hear what I'm saying to you? 'Cause you gotta trust me on this. Sam?"
Sam let out a long sigh.
"I hear you," he said softly. "I'll try."
"Ok, good," Dean grunted, satisfied. "And Sam, I want you to promise me something, ok?"
Dean could sense Other!Sam's nod through the phone connection.
"You make this work, you don't call me again. OK? You've got everything you need right there. You don't need -- you don't call again after you get him to man up, ya got me?"
"Dean -- " Other!Sam's choked cry nearly broke Dean's heart.
"No," he insisted through clenched teeth. "I mean it, Sam. You get this done, you don't need me. You just gotta trust me on this, Sam. Don't let him wiggle out of this. You sit on him. Make him 'fess up. 'Cause he will, Sam. It's what he wants, ya gotta believe me. Don't give up, don't back down. He'll break, I promise you."
Other!Sam was panting, fighting back sobs again.
"You got me, Sam?" Dean pushed. "Do we have a deal?"
Other!Sam took a deep breath, let it out slowly. Dean waited, clenching his free fist and fighting with his own emotions.
Finally, Other!Sam let out a small breath, sniffed, then Dean could almost see another small nod.
"Yeah, ok. Deal."
Dean took a deep breath of his own.
"Alright then," he said. "Goodbye, Sam. Good luck."
Other!Sam said nothing, probably wouldn't, so Dean ended the call, stood holding the phone for a minute, steadying himself.
When he finally turned, Sam was standing in the doorway, arms folded, leaning against the frame, his eyes dark.
Dean flushed, looked away from that intense gaze, shuffled uncomfortably.
"It's over, Sam," Dean muttered finally, sensing that Sam wasn't about to budge, was waiting for him to make the first move.
"Yeah, I got that," Sam said, jaw working.
"He -- " Dean felt tears threatening at the back of his eyes. "He's gonna fix things with his brother."
Sam huffed out a breath. "About time," he muttered.
His voice sounded bitter, and Dean couldn't resist glancing up. "I'm gonna throw the phone away," he offered, and Sam nodded, not meeting his eyes.
"I don't know what you want me to do, Sam," Dean threw his arms wide in a gesture of helplessness.
Sam moved so fast then that Dean didn't have time to react. Suddenly Sam was just there, in his space, grabbing his shirt and pushing him up against the wall, crowding against him, in his face.
"I want you to be my brother," Sam growled, shaking him. "Mine. Nobody else's. Just mine."
Before Dean could recover, could answer, Sam's mouth crashed down on his, taking his breath away. Sam's kiss was bruising, possessive. His hands were everywhere, clutching, squeezing, claiming every inch of his body so that Dean could have no doubt as to his intention. When Sam finally tore his mouth away it was only to bury his face in Dean's neck, sucking and nipping there, claiming and marking almost brutally as his hands slipped into Dean's boxers to cup his bare ass. Dean's lips felt stung, swollen; he could taste blood. As Sam's fingers dug into the meat of his ass then slid into his crack Dean let out a deep moan, bucking up against Sam's erection as Sam's teeth sank into the crook of his neck. Dean's reaction seemed to enflame Sam; he lifted his head long enough to look at his brother's face, his eyes blown and dark, lips parted and slick, cheeks flushed -- then he attacked Dean's mouth with renewed hunger, fucking into him with his tongue, sliding a dry finger back and forth over his entrance, teasing, before pushing inside, making Dean wince. He was holding onto Sam's waist, sliding his hands under the waistband of his sweatpants to touch his warm, smooth skin, just holding on as Sam fucked him with his tongue and finger.
Then, just as suddenly as he was there, he wasn't. Dean's eyes fluttered open, missing his brother's touch instantly, blinking up at Sam, who was pulling his shirt off, reaching for Dean's. Sam's massive, muscled chest filled Dean's vision as Sam yanked his shirt up, then held his wrists against the wall over his head, still tangled in the shirt with one of Sam's huge hands holding them there as his other hand slipped down Dean's bare chest, squeezing his left pec, over his heart, sliding down over his stomach into his boxers. Sam leaned in as his hand wrapped around Dean's erection, then slipped down and cupped his balls.
"Mine," Sam whispered against Dean's mouth, squeezing gently, possessively. "Say it."
Dean shivered as Sam's clever fingers stroked the sensitive skin of his perineum, eyes slipping closed.
Sam drew back instantly, gave his balls another gentle squeeze.
"Say it!" he hissed, shaking Dean's wrists insistently.
"Yeah, ok, Sam," Dean choked out. "Yours."
"Look at me when you say it!" Sam squeezed and shook him again, and Dean's eyes flew open, stared up at his brother's dark, fierce expression, shivering uncontrollably.
"Yours, Sam," Dean agreed, voice rough with his own need. "Only yours."
Later, after Sam had made it abundantly clear that yeah, Dean was his alright, and they lay thoroughly fucked out across the bed, tangled and sweaty and almost in tears with exhaustion, Sam said,
"Tomorrow we get tattoos."
Dean was too tired to do more than grunt in response.
Sam's hand slid up over his chest, over his heart, pressed a little as he said,
"Here. Anti-possession tattoos."
And all Dean could do was nod and breathe out "Okay" before he slid into sleep.
Other!Sam didn't call again, although Dean found the phone on the floor of the bathroom the next morning and kept it, probably against his better judgment, but he just didn't give it much thought.
Which is pretty much the way he was functioning these days. As long as he could focus on the work -- on killing all the evil sons-of-bitches he'd let out into the world -- he could keep most of the nightmares away, control most of the grief.
It took them over a year to track down and kill the last of the demons. Without their king the demons were unorganized, stupid, and lazy. Easy pickings, really. Especially after Sam showed Dean where to find the special blade that could easily kill them, so that they didn't even need to rely on exorcisms anymore. Nevertheless, they got the matching anti-possession tattoos Sam demanded, and Sam made Dean promise he would never, ever let him be possessed again by anything, even if it meant saving his life.
And Dean agreed, since he couldn't imagine a situation where that might be necessary anyway.
After another year passed and they had found no more demons, Sam announced it was time to do a little nesting. He had done some research and found a place in Kansas, he said. Not far from their old hometown, but not too close to bring up unhappy memories either.
The Men of Letters bunker was a revelation to Dean. A home obviously designed for them, left to them by a secret society once run by their grandfather, though the man had died before they were born. Dean spent the first day just exploring the place, picking out and decorating his own room, washing out the kitchen and fixing their first meal there. Scoping out the garage and finding the perfect home for his baby.
Sam sat in the library the whole time, researching. When Dean asked him what he was doing, he admitted to looking up instances of travel between alternate universes, just to make sure what had happened to them wasn't likely to happen again.
It was a subject they rarely talked about, except the few times Sam mentioned out of the blue how he knew certain things because he had learned about them "over there." Like the bunker. The wound was still too fresh, even after two years, and except for the first few weeks of crying jags and nightmares, and those never-again-mentioned phone calls from Other!Sam, neither of them had ever brought up that night in Wyoming directly. They comforted each other when one of them needed it but never spoke about it or alluded to it much the rest of the time. Killing demons helped, and keeping their minds on their jobs and their heads in the game had always been the best antidote for grief for them, passed down from their father. And since they were pretty sure now that they had got the last of the bastards, Dean was starting to relax again, beginning to hope that things were getting back to normal. He liked to think they had started to put the whole thing behind them.
But lately Sam had been acting morbid again. The simple hunter's life had never been enough for Sam, and Dean had always worried that one day Sam would just leave, find something more satisfying. More meaningful than just chasing down monsters and ending them. Never mind the fact that they were getting older. They were both in their thirties now. Dean would be forty in just three more years. There would come a time when his reflexes just wouldn't be what they should be.
Which was what made the Men of Letters bunker so cool. With this place as a home-base the Winchesters were positioned for a second career as advisors and consultants to a whole new generation of hunters and monster-killers. It automatically put them in the position of elder-statesmen to the entire universe of supernatural-creature gankers. Like Bobby only better equipped.
And just like that, Dean's thoughts plummeted into grief again.
Funny how the littlest thought could set it off.
Bobby would've loved this place, he thought, unable to go down there once the door had been opened.
He wandered back into the library, put an open beer on the table next to his brother, who barely looked up from his books. Stood watching him for awhile, sipping his beer, till Sam finally glanced up, read his mood instantly, frowned.
"Hey," Sam said, gesturing to the chair across the table. "You're welcome to join me."
Dean shook his head.
"Nah, I think I'll just go check out the garage again," he rolled his shoulders and moved off toward the basement, determined to shake the melancholia from his bones.
He had a moment's panic as he took a shower and got ready for bed. What if Sam didn't come? What if now that they had all this space Sam would stay in his own room from now on? They would just stop co-sleeping, and gradually grow apart until they were like an old married couple that no longer shared more than a passing touch --
But just as he was about to turn out the light and slip under the covers on his side of the bed, the door opened and Sam stuck his head in.
"Hey," he said, only slightly hesitant. "My bed's a mess, so I figured -- "
Dean tried not to grin too wide. "Yeah, sure," he shrugged, patting the bed next to him. "Always welcome, Sammy."
The relief on Sam's face was classic, and Dean felt himself breathe easier, picked up a book so that he didn't embarrass Sam by staring as his brother undressed, then slid into bed next to him, pulling the blankets up around them.
Dean put the book down, reached up to turn out the light, pulled Sam into his arms, pressed his lips against his forehead as Sam snuggled into his chest, big body all warm and solid, limbs everywhere.
"Goodnight, Sam," he whispered into Sam's hair.
"Goodnight, Dean," his brother murmured against his chest.
And it may have been a long, long way from perfect, but for now, it was what they had. And it was better than a lot of things, better than it could've been.
As Dean drifted into sleep, the thought of Other!Sam and his life in that other world slid across his consciousness, and he hoped things really had worked out for his not-brother and Other!Dean, even if they didn't deserve it.
Because really, no matter how miserable things got, no matter how many stupid mistakes and choices led to death and destruction and everything fucked all-to-hell, when the Winchesters had each other there was something wild and wonderful in the world.
Even when they were too stubborn to see it.
It took several hours to build the pyre and burn the bodies. Luckily, they were so far from anywhere that the smoke wouldn't be a problem, and the physical labor kept them from thinking too much.
They called Ash, explained what had happened, listening to his stunned silence, waited to burn Ellen and Jo until he arrived, left their bodies for last until Ash was able to be there. While they watched and waited for the pyre to burn they made rough plans for hunting the escaped demons, focused on the job at hand. Anything to avoid the crushing grief that threatened to cripple them.
When the fire was nothing but smoking embers Sam finally changed his bloody shirts and climbed into the passenger seat of the Impala next to his brother. Ash offered to let them stay at the Roadhouse as long as they wanted, but they declined, preferring to hit the road and start hunting the things that were killing everyone they had ever loved. They didn't bother going back to Bobby's house either, probably wouldn't for a long time. Ash promised to bring some hunters down later to retrieve the cars and trucks parked along the old cemetery road.
Ash didn't hug them goodbye, and they could see by the hollowed-out look in his eyes that it would be a long time before he could stand to see them again. They understood, said their goodbyes, took off across Nebraska towards Kansas.
The next night they holed up in the crappiest, most flea-bitten rat-trap they could find -- the kind of place that suited their mood when they were feeling particularly penitent and in need of some excess self-flagellation. Having shared a bottle of Jack to ease the pain in their guts and hopefully stave off some nightmares (if they were drunk enough they might be able to forget ALL THEIR FRIENDS AND FAMILY JUST GOT KILLED IN FRONT OF THEM for a little while) they lay draped all over each other on the king-sized bed, and Dean knew he hadn't had enough to drink because he couldn't fall asleep, just kept seeing those bodies everywhere and the heavy feel of them in his arms as he lugged them up to the pyre, laying another body out gently on another blanket, rolling it up carefully, tying it up, covering another beloved face one last time --
His phone was buzzing on the bedside table, and Dean couldn't help himself. No one they cared about was still alive, so who the fuck --
Then he knew.
Gently untangling himself from Sam's sleep-heavy limbs, Dean climbed out of the bed, pulling his phone with him as he headed to the bathroom, shutting the door as softly as possible before lifting it to his ear.
"Yeah," he growled quietly into the phone.
The hitched breath on the other end of the call confirmed his guess, but he waited anyway.
Dean pinched the bridge of his nose and took a deep breath before answering.
"Yeah, Sam, it's me," he confirmed.
"You're ok?" Other!Sam's voice was shaking, and Dean could tell he was choking back tears.
Dean felt tired suddenly. Tired and on the verge of tears. Problem was, he was all cried out, and beyond exhausted. This was not supposed to happen. And now Other!Sam was not supposed to call this way and bring it all back. He was supposed to be long gone, back in his other life, with his other brother, doing his other things that did not involve cleaning up the bodies of everyone they had ever loved and burning them in an ancient cemetery in the middle of Nowhere, Wyoming.
"Define ok," Dean breathed finally. "If you mean am I still alive, no thanks to your fuck of a brother and his asshole King of Hell pal, then yeah, Sam. I'm ok."
"Is Sam -- ?"
"Yeah, Sam's fine too," Dean snapped. "Just peachy, as a matter of fact, for a guy who's been stabbed in the back after watching his demon-possessed body slaughter everyone he ever loved in front of his eyes. Sam's fine. Thanks for asking."
Another pause, then the inevitable next question just tumbled forth, as Dean knew it would
"Did Crowley -- "
"Dead," Dean punched out. "I shot him with my magic gun. Too late to save Dad's life, or Bobby's, or Ellen's or Jo's or Rufus's or Isaac's or that kid whose name I can't even remember or about half a dozen other good people, but yeah. I killed him. So you can tell your fuck of a brother his buddy's dead. My condolences."
He took a deep breath, pushing his anger down, but all he could see was red.
"He killed Sam too," Dean continued when he could hear Other!Sam's shaky breathing, knew he was fighting back tears or maybe crying, he didn't really care. "He made a demon-possessed hunter stab my little brother in the back. I held my dying brother in my arms and he made jokes like I was somebody else. Like I was your brother."
The line was silent for a moment, then Other!Sam drew a deep, shaky breath.
"I'm sorry, Dean," he said finally. "I know it doesn't make up for -- for any of it, but I am really sorry."
"Yeah, well sorry don't cut it, Sam, and you know that," Dean growled, anger cutting through his exhaustion. "And I've kinda got my hands full here now, so if you don't mind -- now that you've satisfied your morbid curiosity -- you can just lose this number, ok? 'Cause I'm not gonna pick up if you call again, you got me?"
He let his words sink in, heard the satisfying gasp of Other!Sam's voice as he lost it on the other end, let himself imagine the handsome face all contorted and smeared with tears and snot.
"I should go," Dean muttered.
But Other!Sam had one more question.
"Sam's ok," he said, his voice thick with tears. "You said Sam's ok. What happened? How did you bring him back? Dean, please don't tell me you -- "
"No!" Dean huffed. "Hell no. No deals. No -- possessions. Just your angel. The one from the highway. He said it was a clean deal, though. Said there wasn't a catch."
Dean felt a finger of cold dread then, had to push the point.
"Right, Sam?" he demanded. "No catch, he said. Tell me right now that's not a lie."
He could almost see Other!Sam shaking his shaggy head.
"He wasn't lying," he confirmed, and Dean let out his breath, realized he'd been holding it. "If Castiel healed Sam, he won't take it back. He won't make you pay. I told you, Castiel's one of the good guys."
"Well, good for him, 'cause at this point, my brother and I are just about as far from being the good guys as we can get. So I hope he has some friends somewhere, cause we sure as hell don't, thanks to you assholes."
Dean leaned his head against the cool tile of the bathroom wall and closed his eyes.
"I mean it, Sam," he said firmly. "Don't call again. You've done enough, now just leave us alone."
But he waited, listening to Other!Sam's breathing for another moment, the urge to comfort his little brother so ingrained he couldn't just hang up on him, which is what he knew he needed to do, especially since Other!Sam was still crying softly and couldn't seem to get it together enough to end the call.
Finally the call cut out on its own, as Dean knew it would do eventually when whatever link they had between their worlds was severed by the earth's rotation or whatever.
He finished in the bathroom and turned out the light, crossed back to the bed and slipped as quietly as he could under the covers, but he knew Sam was awake, on his side staring at him in the dark.
"You fucked him," he said softly when Dean turned his head to meet the gleaming hazel eyes in the gloom. Sam's eyes looked dark, unreadable
Dean closed his eyes, turned his head away.
"It's not what you think," he muttered lamely. "You were gone. I didn't know if I'd ever see you again."
Sam huffed out a breath. "How long was I gone before you started fucking him?"
Dean felt the heat rise in his cheeks, across his chest. He opened his eyes and glanced at his brother, who hadn't moved and was still staring at him, still with that dark, impenetrable look.
"How long, Dean?" Sam pressed, his voice still quiet, intense but not outright angry. Yet.
"Dean?" Fucker was not giving up.
"Almost twelve hours, ok?" he said in a rush. "It was still ten o'clock in the morning when you disappeared. We looked for you, then we went back to the motel for research, worked our asses off, man! OK? He's just like you. Very focused."
"So you got him drunk first," Sam clarified.
Dean stared at his brother for another moment, then turned away and sat up.
"I'm gonna sleep on the couch," he announced. He felt Sam's eyes on his back and made a show of throwing himself down on the small sofa, crossing his legs and arms and shifting around petulantly, trying to get comfortable. When he could finally lie still without something poking into his back and threatening to twist his head off he heard his brother shifting in the big bed, spreading himself out and then pulled the covers up. The stillness in the room had become almost deafening when Dean heard his brother mutter.
Dean felt his chest unclench then, felt his face relax, knowing that he might have to sleep alone for awhile, and Sam would keep the penance going even after they were sharing the bed again, but eventually he would let it go, like he always did.
Also because it was Dean's turn, since he hadn't transgressed in years (in fact, he could barely remember the last time he had even thought about somebody else, and that was just twisted) while Sam had gone off with Miss My-Dresses-Are-Upside-Down-And-You-Like-
So yeah, just like he had told Other!Sam when he started the thing between them, Sam would come around.
Probably sooner rather than later, judging by the little breathy noises he was making in his sleep.
Huh. Little shit got off on the idea of Dean fucking somebody else. Store that one up to use later, he thought caustically.
It took Sam less than twenty-four hours to cave.
When they were ready for bed the next night Sam yanked the blankets down and scooted over to make room.
"You sure?" Dean raised an eyebrow.
Sam huffed out a breath and turned over so his back was to Dean and said nothing, but the invitation was clear. Which was a good thing because this motel had no couch and Dean did not look forward to lying down on the dubious indoor-outdoor carpeting, although he had done worse things.
Once they were settled on the bed, both on their sides turned away from each other, carefully not touching, and Dean was finally feeling sleep creeping into his tired muscles (aching from last night's cramped doze on the lumpy couch) Sam said,
"Was he good?"
Aw damn. He had to ask.
"Sam -- " Dean warned, but Sam was turning over, facing him.
"Was he?" he insisted, and Dean rolled onto his back reluctantly, turned his head so he could face those slanted hazel eyes.
"You were gone, Sam," Dean said again. "I was worried sick about you."
"So you cheated," Sam accused.
Dean sighed. "We shouldn't be talking about this."
"We have to talk about this, Dean," Sam insisted. "You cheated on me. With my own doppelgänger. Do you even know how kinky that sounds?"
Dean took a deep breath. "I don't know what you want me to say, Sam."
"Just answer the question, Dean," Sam said through gritted teeth. "Was he good?"
Dean cleared his throat. "The sex was ok," he said finally. "Nothin' great. He cried a lot. Missed his brother. Dude's got some serious issues on that front."
Sam's eyes filmed over and lowered. He sucked in a breath, then turned onto his back, stared at the ceiling. Dean lay still, waiting, knowing Sam well enough to let him process quietly for awhile.
Finally, Sam gave a little nod, turned his head to look at his brother again, his face a little more relaxed now, less tense.
"Yeah, that brother of his is something, all right," Sam agreed. "Like you all Vader-ed out. Not quite dark side, but definitely going there. You know they don't -- "
"Yeah, I got that," Dean grunted. "I got the sense that's half the problem right there."
Sam frowned. "Dude's on a hair-trigger fuse. Doesn't even like to be touched. One time we rubbed shoulders accidentally and he almost whaled on me."
Dean grit his teeth, his chest flooding with impotent rage. The need to punish Other!Dean was overwhelming. And useless. It left him seething.
Sam was shaking his head. "I still can't get over you hitting on him. What was that?"
Dean couldn't answer. He didn't exactly understand it himself. He stared helplessly at Sam, who was still waiting for a response, so he finally said the only thing he could think of.
"He smelled like you, man. His hair, his skin. He felt like you when I touched him. Tasted like you."
Dean took a deep breath, looked away. "And he needed me. He was broken and hurting and -- he needed me. You, all needy and sad and in pain -- not something I can just walk away from. It ain't in me."
He looked up to see how Sam was taking it, found Sam gazing at him with an odd mixture of bemused revelation, like he understood but couldn't quite believe what he was hearing.
Dean shrugged. "He was you, Sam," he said. "Except you with a whole mess of misery inside. I had to do something. I just had to." He cleared his throat again, looked away. "When we -- you know. He seemed so -- so grateful. Pretty sad I guess."
Sam stared at him, wincing only briefly, searching his eyes in the gloom. When Sam's eyes dropped to his mouth, Dean looked away uncomfortably., feeling the heat creep into his cheeks. He didn't want to read the signals wrong, but when Sam looked at him like that it usually meant --
Dean felt the bed sink as Sam suddenly moved closer, right up against him, hovering over him. He looked up, startled, as Sam's huge, warm hand cupped his cheek. His lips parted as Sam slid his thumb over the bottom one, the look on his face soft and fond.
"You -- " Sam breathed. "You don't even know how amazing you are."
Dean looked away, embarrassed, shifting uncomfortably under Sam's weight, his fingers, his heated gaze.
"The other Dean, he's like something dark and empty and really, really sad," Sam said, shivering a little with the memory. "He loves his brother, but his love is like this obsession, this unhealthy addiction he can't shake. It's not even human."
Dean lifted his gaze to his brother's, drinking in the handsome face and beautiful, soulful eyes,
For the first time, he wondered if the way he loved Sam was a kind of sickness. Could have anything to do with the demon blood coursing through his veins.
And if Other!Dean had known about the blood from the beginning, would he have fought the feelings he had for Other!Sam? Would he have assumed he was bewitched or bedeviled by his brother? And if he had denied those feelings all these years, hated himself for them even though he blamed the demon blood for wanting his brother that way --
Yeah, Dean could see how years of that kind of repression and self-hatred could eat away at Other!Dean, make him literally sick inside.
Combined with forty years in Hell, of course. Powerful recipe for degradation if he ever heard one.
But Dean had not spent the past fifteen years loving his brother in secret. Sam knew exactly how he felt. Treasured and returned those feelings. And though they might have both worried about the morality of their relationship years ago, they had so long since come to terms with and accepted it, accepted each other without recrimination or regret or self-loathing -- it was woven into the very fabric of their beings. They had something special. People who observed it had even told them so, when they were sensitive enough to see it.
There was just no way this had anything to do with that demon blood thing.
In the morning Bobby sent them to town to gather supplies while he did some research and made some calls.
When they got back, Booby was on the phone, and it was pretty clear from his side of the conversation that Other!Dean was on the other end of the call.
"Kid's so sure he's got everything under control," he muttered to Dean when he finished the call. "I need to make some more calls."
The rumble of a monster pick-up truck in the yard caught their attention, and Bobby rolled his eyes.
"Great," he muttered. "It's a goddamn Winchester family reunion."
"Dad?" Other!Sam's face registered utter shock as he recognized the sound of the truck.
Dean shrugged, almost as surprised as Other!Sam. John Winchester didn't participate in group jobs. It just wasn't his style. And he never hunted with his sons anymore. It was like he'd left that part of himself behind as soon as he'd killed the thing that had killed their mother, and that was all there was to it. Once, when Sam had gone off on one of his self-discovery binges, and Dean had been so miserable he could barely stand up, Bobby had called John and insisted he do something, and John had actually reached out to Dean. Had taken him on a hunt again like he used to do when Dean was a kid.
But it hadn't been the same, and Dean had missed Sam so much he wasn't really on his game, and although he did the job, his heart wasn't in it and John had finally called Sam and ordered his younger son to "Get your ass over here and pick up your brother."
And Sam miraculously obeyed, for once in his life.
That was the last time Dean had seen his dad.
"We need the colt," Bobby said by way of explanation when Dean shot a questioning look at him.
"You called him?" Dean clarified, and Bobby shrugged. "Did you tell him about Sam?"
Bobby shrugged again. "Had to. He wanted to know what I needed the colt for. What was I gonna say? That I needed the antique gun that killed the thing that killed his wife for target practice?"
So Dean and Other!Sam barely had time to step out onto the porch to greet him before John was on them, pushing past Dean and grabbing Other!Sam by the lapels, throwing him against the wall of the house, then getting right up into his face and grabbing Other!Sam's jacket again, shaking him violently.
"Where's my son, you son-of-a-bitch?" he snarled, slamming Other!Sam against the house again.
"Whoa whoa -- hey, Dad, it's ok -- " Dean tried to push his way between them, and John took a step back, letting Other!Sam go.
"It's not your brother, Dean," John spat out. "That thing is some kind of freak."
Other!Sam was staring, open-mouthed, at John, and when he uttered the word "freak" Other!Sam visibly flinched.
"Hey, it's ok," Dean said again. "Sam's ok. We're getting him back. We do this thing right, we should have him back tonight. This one goes home. Good times."
John's eyes flicked to Dean for a moment, his jaw working. He gave a small nod to acknowledge Dean's words, then shifted awkwardly, fixing Other!Sam with another dark look.
"You stay the hell away from me," he snarled, his voice low and threatening, index finger raised like a pistol at Other!Sam's face.
Other!Sam raised his palms in a gesture of surrender. "No problem, man," he huffed out, finally recovered from his initial shock at seeing the man he had grieved for eight years. "I'm not your son. I get it."
"John," Bobby was in the doorway behind them, nodding at the elder Winchester, who nodded back at him in greeting.
Dean put his hand on Other!Sam's shoulder. "Come on, Sam," he murmured. "We got work to do."
"Where are we going?" Other!Sam asked as they hit the highway, the Impala's comforting rumble beneath them, the road stretching out ahead of them to the southwest.
Dean shrugged. "Thought you might like to visit some more of your ghosts," he said. "We've got a few hours to kill, and I'm pretty sure it's a good idea to get as far away from Dad as we can for a little while."
"Yeah," Other!Sam took a deep breath, let it out slowly. "That was -- Weird doesn't even begin to describe what that was."
Dean nodded. "Dad's gotten a little intense in his old age," he said.
"He and Bobby get along?" Other!Sam asked.
Dean shrugged again. "Well enough, I guess," he said. "Dad doesn't get along with many people. He keeps to himself, mostly."
"Same old same old," Other!Sam said, bitterness creeping into his tone again.
They were silent for a moment, staring out at the landscape.
Then Dean couldn't stand it, so he asked, "In your world, Dad's been gone awhile, right?"
Other!Sam nodded tightly, keeping his eyes on the fields rolling by outside.
"So how did it happen?" Dean squared his shoulders, determined but filled with anxiety. Why the fuck was he doing this to himself? "He must've gone down fighting, right?"
Other!Sam said nothing for a moment, and Dean started to worry he wouldn't tell him, but finally Other!Sam turned his head and Dean could feel him looking, just looking at his profile and thinking.
Dean waited, almost started to get uncomfortable under the gaze of his not-brother, when Other!Sam sighed and turned his head away again.
"It's complicated," Other!Sam said. "But if what you want to know is, did he die a hero? Then yes, he died a hero. He died saving you."
Dean felt his insides go cold, flooded with guilt and anger and the glimmer of something dark and self-destructive.
"So -- did that happen before you died?" Dean was starting to understand why Other!Dean was such an asshole.
"About a year before, yeah," Other!Sam confirmed.
"Wow," Dean took another deep breath, fighting the knot forming in his chest. "I'm starting to get a real sense for just how personally fucked up things are in your world. I mean, monsters and ghosts and fighting things -- I get all that. But losing your family -- man, I don't know. Sounds like your Dean could use a few years in the loony bin, the poor bastard."
He meant it lightly, but Other!Sam's face registered grim, grim, grim.
But he'd opened the can of worms now, and he couldn't help himself.
"But you came back," Dean pushed. "So something brought you back. How did that happen, exactly?"
"Dean -- " Other!Sam let out an exasperated sigh.
Dean knew that sigh. That was Sam saying "Don't ask, you're not gonna like the answer."
Only this time, after hearing Other!Sam talk to his brother in angry, hushed tones on the phone last night, after getting a pretty good sense for how bad things were in that other world -- this time Dean felt like he really needed to know. He was beginning to get the idea that the other Winchesters were somehow central to the messed up situation on the other side, and that meant he and Sam were important somehow too.
He'd never considered the idea of having a destiny. It was counter-intuitive to the way that he thought of himself. He was Dean Winchester, regular guy. Well, except for the fact that he hunted monsters and saved people. Sort of like a supernatural fireman, that was how he'd come to think of himself after all these years. Charging into danger to save someone from some kind of threatening creature was a lot like charging into a burning building to haul people out.
Because of course when it had happened to him he had been too small. Too small to save his mom.
But he had at least saved his baby brother, and he'd always taken some pride in that. It gave him the confidence to get the job done, to avoid the nagging pit of self-doubt and failure his father had ingrained in him from an early age. His father, whose guilt at not being able to save his own wife had triggered a life-long psychotic break.
So things could be worse, 'cause at least Dean had Sam.
And keeping Sam safe -- the prime directive -- was a helluva lot less psychically damaging than the kind of twisted need for revenge that had driven John Winchester all those years.
"I need to know, Sam," Dean said now, darting a warning glance at his not-brother. "You and your Dean seem to be at the center of things in your world, and I need to know how that is."
"The center of things," Other!Sam scoffed. "You make it sound like some sort of hero's destiny or something, when really it's more like a curse."
"Damn it, Sam, just tell me what happened," Dean was losing patience, feeling panic rising in his chest. Something was so not right here.
Sam took a deep breath, stared out the window for a minute without answering.
"Sam," Dean started again, "Either you tell me now or I'm putting the breaks on this thing. Right now."
"You wouldn't do that," Other!Sam breathed. "You wouldn't leave Sam over there."
"He's a big boy," Dean insisted. "He can take care of himself. He's done it before. And if I decide we're not doin' this, he'll understand. He'd get it. He gets me."
Other!Sam visibly flinched at that. His face scrunched into an agony of indecision, and Dean had to fight the urge to comfort him, to offer reassurance that everything was gonna be ok.
Because he was starting to think it wasn't gonna be ok. At all.
"What the hell happened, Sam?" Dean tried again. "I heard you on the phone last night. I need to know what's going on. You owe me that."
Other!Sam darted a glance at him, his eyes full of pain.
"I'm not him, ok?" Dean said. "I deserve to know what's going on."
Other!Sam let out a sigh.
"I know you do, Dean," he said finally, his voice sad, tired. "And I don't know why I think I can make it better by not telling you, or by sugar-coating it somehow. I just wish you didn't have to know, that's all. You and Sam have a life here. It's a good life. You may not see it that way, but from where I'm standing, it looks pretty good. Pretty straight-forward."
"For two monster-hunting incestuous bachelors, I guess we do ok," Dean agreed with a shrug. "Not exactly the life I had planned for Sam, but -- "
"But it's a life he chose," Other!Sam interrupted. "It's clearly what he wants. You're not holding him back, or hanging anything over his head to make him stay with you. He wants this life. He loves you."
Dean shrugged again, noncommittal.
"I hate the thought of spoiling that, Dean," Other!Sam continued. "I can't tell you how much I hate that. You two deserve to be happy, and you obviously are happy."
"Spit it out, Sam," Dean growled, anger replacing his earlier panic. "Whatever you have to say, I can handle it. We'll deal with it, like we always have."
Other!Sam's breath hitched, and Dean resisted the urge to glance at him, spoil the moment. He knew that sound -- Other!Sam was caught. He always went for Dean's confident "It's-us-againt-the-world" and "we can get the job done if we do it together" spiel, and Dean knew it.
It only took Other!Sam another moment to spill, and Dean could feel him close his eyes and square his shoulders, take a deep breath as he gave in to his brother/not-brother.
"Dean made a deal," Other!Sam said, his voice low and intense. "With a demon. My life for his. He got one year out of it, then he went to Hell. For forty years."
Dean sucked in a breath, controlled the urge to curse. Waited.
"After the first thirty years, he started torturing souls," Other!Sam continued. "Was pretty well on his way to becoming a demon."
"A demon?" Dean couldn't stop himself. What the hell?
Other!Sam nodded. "Demons used to be human. They're human souls gone bad long enough in hell."
"So what happened?" Dean pursued, his hands growing slick on the steering wheel as he broke out in a cold sweat.
Other!Sam hesitated for only a moment this time, then muttered, "Oh, what the hell. An angel pulled him out."
Dean choked. "An angel?" What the fuck! "Those are real?"
"In our world, yeah," Other!Sam nodded. "Pretty sure we covered that already."
Dean was speechless. The idea of spending forty years in Hell was bad enough -- he could almost get that, imagine the experience as a kind of penance for letting his dad make a deal to save him, for letting Sam get hurt in the first place, for not protecting his family.
But being saved from Hell by an angel?
"Why?" he demanded finally. "Why did an angel pull me out of Hell?"
Other!Sam huffed out a breath.
"Why do you think, Dean?" His voice dripped bitterness and frustration.
Dean knew then. Knew the answer. Understood this was another fuck job.
As if it could be anything else.
"So the angels needed me to do something for them," he guessed hotly. "They needed somebody who had spent forty years in Hell and learned to torture and kill without remorse. Somebody who was already half-demon."
"Somebody who would do anything for his brother," Other!Sam continued, not really correcting Dean, just adding to his litany. "Somebody who was so far gone he would destroy the world to save him."
Dean faltered then, frowning. What? How did Sam have anything to do with this?
"They wanted me to destroy the world?" he tried, hesitant.
"Yeah," Other!Sam huffed. "They wanted you to bring on the fuckin' apocalypse. You and me. Because of our Winchester bloodline. We're perfect vessels for archangels, Dean. It's in our fuckin' DNA."
Dean was silent for a moment, too shocked to speak. To think. And the sick thing was, it all sounded true. Sounded right. Made sense.
"So Bobby was right," he said finally, and his voice sounded funny to himself -- hoarse and gravelly and dark. "The Winchester brothers are important after all."
Other!Sam looked at him then -- Dean could feel him staring, glanced over and saw the look of startled horror and revelation on his not-brother's face, frowned.
"What?" he demanded. "I miss something?"
"It's not you, Dean," Other!Sam said, his voice sounding wounded, pleading. "This isn't your story. None of these things have happened to you. That's why I'm telling you all this, because you can change it. You don't have to go down that road. You and your Sam -- and your dad -- you're on a different path. A better one, the way I see it. It's all happened differently for you these past eight years, and it's gonna stay that way, if I have any say in the matter. If I can keep Dean from fucking it all up for you."
"This isn't all up to you, Sam," he said gruffly. "We're gonna do this together. It's a job, simple as that, ok? We do it right, we get our brothers back. None of the rest of it matters. None of it."
Dean could feel Other!Sam's eyes on him, glanced over to catch the doubtful, pinched look he knew would be on his not-brother's face.
"I need your head in the game here, Sam," he insisted. "We've got a job to do, and I need to know you've got my back. So do you have my back on this, Sam? Can I count on you?"
When Other!Sam didn't answer, Dean glanced over again, raising his eyebrows, and Other!Sam gave a tight nod, his face a mask of misery and self-doubt that made Dean want to pull over to the side of the road and show him exactly how to take his mind off his troubles.
Unfortunately, they were running short on time.
They went back to Klamath Falls the next day, just checking in.
But nothing had changed. The old schoolhouse was still there, and there were no signs of recent activity.
So they took another hunt, this time in Montana. Some deer hunters had run into a wendigo there, so the Winchesters found it and killed it, saving the hunters in the process. Another win.
Another vengeful spirit -- in Idaho this time -- took them away from Klamath again, and a week later they got a call from Bobby asking for their help with a nest of vampires in Wyoming.
By the end of the month they were in South Dakota, and when Dean suggested they check in on Bobby, Other!Sam got tears in his eyes and nodded vigorously.
Bobby was pleased to see them, but Other!Sam's reaction was heartbreaking. He grabbed the older man in an embrace that would've lasted till Tuesday if Dean hadn't finally pulled them apart.
"Hey, hey," he murmured to Other!Sam. "Come on, man. It's ok. It's just Bobby."
Other!Sam nodded, took a shaky breath, released the man who had meant so much to him in that other world, stood staring at him with tears streaming down his cheeks while Bobby stared back uncomfortably, seeing his own death in Other!Sam's eyes and feeling pretty spooked.
"So, in your world I'm dead, huh?" Bobby said finally.
Other!Sam nodded, wiping his messy face with the sleeve of his jacket, which only made it worse.
"Well, I hope it was a good death," Bobby muttered.
Other!Sam shook his head, waterworks starting again, and Dean reached out and rubbed his back, pulled him away toward the bathroom before he could blurt out "We killed you!" as it looked like he was about to.
"Come on, Sam, let's get you cleaned up," Dean murmured, shooting a warning glance at Bobby, who was still staring at Other!Sam with horrid fascination.
"So you guys sound like real bad-asses in your world," Bobby noted later, once Other!Sam had come out of his freak-out and had a beer in his hand.
They were sitting on Bobby's porch, watching the sun set over the salvage yard, and Dean was thinking how a whole month had gone by with Sam still trapped in that other place. He was on his third beer and was considering getting pretty drunk tonight.
Other!Sam was brooding again, his face dark with memories of his world. His frown deepened.
"We're seriously bad news, if that's what you mean," he said. "You mess with us, you end up dead, mostly, whether you deserve it or not. It's not a good thing."
"Killing evil sons-o-bitches is what we do, boy," Bobby reminded him. "Trust me, it's a good thing."
Other!Sam shook his head.
"It's a curse," he stated flatly. "Wherever we go, people die. Good people. And the sick thing is, whatever we do to try to stop it just keeps coming back and biting us in the ass. Dean and I, we're so tangled up in evil shit all we can do is die. Except every time we do, some asshole angel or monster brings us back and it starts all over again."
Other!Sam closed his eyes. "I'm tired, Bobby," he said. "Sometimes I just want it to stop. All of it."
Bobby listened, his face getting darker by the minute. Dean could see he was building up to a pissed-off-Bobby lecture, and he was just relieved not to be the target of it, for once.
"Well boo hoo, Sam," Bobby burst out finally. "You think just because you lose a few people you can just give up the fight? What does that mean for the people you lost? Huh? That they died for nothin'? Well, I can speak for myself when I say I don't want my death to be in vain, and if I died in your world fighting alongside you and Dean, you can bet I knew exactly what I was doin'. So don't you dare take that away from me, you little shit, or I will haunt your ass."
"You already did," Other!Sam sighed.
"Well, good!" Bobby exclaimed. "You obviously deserved it! Now you listen to me, Sam Winchester, and if you know me at all you know I don't mince words when it comes to you boys -- you're like my own sons, so you better listen to me like I was your father, that worthless son-of-a-bitch..."
"Bobby," Dean admonished gently.
"Just tellin' it like it is, Dean," Bobby insisted.
"Bobby, I know you mean well, but you don't know what it's like in our world," Other!Sam was shaking his head. "Dean and I may have started out doing a little good, saving a few people. But since the angels got involved -- fuck, even before that -- we've caused more destruction than good. Bobby, in our world, we are the monsters."
"Well, I don't believe that for a minute, son," Bobby said. "My guess is, you and your Dean are having a little fight right now, and once you get past that, things will start to make sense again."
"What -- " Other!Sam's look of shock was classic. "How did you -- "
"Like I said, I know you, Sam, and when you're this down on yourself it's 'cause you and Dean are having one of your stupid lover's spats, so just get past it and go back to being the idjits we all know and love to get mad at. Obviously, you two are supposed to save the world. 'Cause that's what I'm countin' on, and you know I ain't been wrong yet."
Other!Sam was still staring, open-mouthed, and when he lifted his eyes to Dean, his not-brother just shrugged, took a swig of beer, and smacked his lips.
And that was the moment that Dean's phone blared out Led Zeppelin and Dean stood up like a shot. Only one person had that ringtone.
"Sam?" he put the phone to his ear.
"Hey, Dean," the voice of his Sam -- his brother -- filled his head and his heart so fast he felt faint for a moment, had to grab the back of the chair for support. "Where are you?"
"We're at Bobby's," Dean grounded out, struggling to fight back the sudden lump in his throat. "Where the hell are you?"
"We're still here," Sam said. "We're in Klamath. In the schoolhouse."
"Wait there," Dean ordered. "I'm on my way."
"No, Dean, listen. We're on the other side. The other Klamath. We've been here the whole time -- well, except for taking a week to drive to Kansas to do research," Sam's voice was fading, and Dean felt panic rising in his chest. He raised his eyes automatically to meet Other!Sam's.
"Yeah, I'm still here," Sam's voice sounded clearer again. "Signal's being routed through a satellite that keeps drifting in and out of one of these portals in space. That's how we can talk to each other."
"Yeah?" Dean was so not interested in the details. "So can this satellite get you home?"
"Not unless we have a space shuttle with navigational control at our disposal," Sam huffed out a laugh.
"So what's the plan?"
"Dean has the plan," Sam said. "He has -- friends over here who have a pretty good understanding of this kind of thing. I think we need to trust him on this. I think you need to trust him."
"Like hell," Dean felt his hackles rise at the mention of his doppelgänger, and he realized he had serious issues with the dude who had wreaked such havoc with Other!Sam's life. He was damned if he would take orders from the bastard.
There was silence for a moment on the other end, then Dean could hear a deep voice rumbling in the background and realized Other!Dean was there too.
"Sam?" Dean raised his eyes, met Other!Sam's gaze, reading the anxiety there.
"We all have to get to someplace called Devil's Gate," Sam said. "It's in Wyoming. It's about a day's drive for us, same as you. so we can meet there tomorrow night."
"Devil's Gate?" Dean echoed. Other!Sam took a sharp breath; his face registered shock and more than a little fear. Dean frowned. "What's at Devil's Gate?" he said into the phone.
"Some serious power, according to Dean's friend," Sam answered. "It can open a portal so that Sam and I can cross over and go home."
The look on Other!Sam's face was raising all kinds of warning bells in Dean's mind, which made him mad as hell.
"Sam, you tell that son-of-a-bitch he's not giving the orders around here," he growled into the phone. "This is my universe and he's on my turf now. And I am not traipsing all over the country just because he says so -- "
"Dean," Sam's gentle voice cut in. "He wants to talk to Bobby."
"Well, fuck that! Asshat killed Bobby in his world. He lost his chance to talk to Bobby."
"Dean -- "
"No, Sam. You just tell him he can go fuck himself! In fact, put him on.I'll tell him myself."
"Dean, I don't think that's a good idea -- "
There was a shuffling sound and Sam's voice cut off, to be replaced by someone breathing into the phone -- someone who did not sound like Sam.
"This is Dean Winchester," the voice on the phone did not sound like his, but Dean realized that was just the weird reality of not being used to hearing his voice outside his own head. It was disconcerting, to say the least.
But it only took Dean a minute to recover. He was that mad.
"Listen, you son-of-a-bitch," Dean growled into the phone. "If you hurt my brother I swear to God I'll -- "
"Shut the fuck up," Other!Dean growled back at him. "I need to speak to Bobby."
"Not on your life, you dickwad douchebag asshat -- " Dean let fly a few more invectives before he felt Other!Sam's hand over his, gently pulling the phone away, laying his other hand on his chest, just over his heart.
Somehow the touch managed to soothe him, and he met Other!Sam's eyes as he let him take the phone away, press it to his own ear. Other!Sam was calm, his hazel eyes soft with compassion. Dean stared back and felt his anger and tension slough off his shoulders.
"Hello?" Other!Sam spoke into the phone, keeping his hand on Dean's chest for a moment more, until he was sure Dean was calmer. Then Other!Sam lowered his eyes so he could focus on talking to his brother, and Dean watched him, noting the tightening of his jaw, the short, sharp tone of his responses. "What's this about Devil's Gate?"
Other!Sam paused for so long Dean almost grabbed the phone back from him. He watched the emotions flicker across Other!Sam's face as he listened to his brother, and it just made him want to punch the guy, soothe the rigid lines in Other!Sam's forehead, kiss away the tension in his mouth and jaw.
Other!Sam's eyes flicked to him, as if he knew what Dean was thinking, and his face visibly relaxed for a moment before he turned his attention back to his brother.
But Dean had seen the soft look in his eyes -- it was sadness. Other!Sam was already giving in to whatever his brother was telling him, but he wasn't happy about it.
Other!Sam took a deep breath, spoke again into the phone. "Yeah. Right. OK. No, he'll be fine with it. Yeah, Dean. I got it."
Other!Sam listened for another minute, then glanced at Bobby. "He looks good. Like Bobby. No, like before. Yeah. No, I don't think you need to talk to him. Seriously, dude, just deal."
Other!Sam paused for several minutes, obviously listening to a tirade from the other side. Dean watched as his jaw clenched and unclenched, recognizing the stubborn Winchester will-power at work. He let himself feel a little amused at Other!Sam when he finally got a word in.
"OK, whatever, Dean," Other!Sam muttered. "I'm not putting him on."
And Other!Dean was clearly yelling again, because Other!Sam went silent for another stretch before he said, "OK. We'll see you tomorrow, then," ending the call and handing the phone back to Dean.
"What's Devil's Gate, Sam?" Dean demanded, and Other!Sam sighed.
"In our world it's a kind of door," he said, squaring his shoulders and shifting his feet. Dean had the distinct impression that the very idea of this "door" made Other!Sam nervous.
"What kind of door?" Dean pressed, exchanging glances with Bobby.
Other!Sam took a deep breath, raising his eyes to Dean's, then glancing at Bobby.
"It's a door into Hell," he answered grimly.
"Oh, that sounds peachy," Bobby exhaled sharply.
"There's a lot of power there," Other!Sam sighed. "Dean and your Sam think if they open it from their side it will pack enough punch to open a portal into this world."
His eyes met Dean's, and Dean read the doubt and uncertainty there.
"You don't think it will," Dean noted.
"I don't know, Dean," Other!Sam said. "In our world, that Gate got opened once and all Hell broke lose. Literally. I don't know what it will do to this world. Maybe nothing. But maybe it will loose hundreds of demons into this world, like it did in ours. That's not a risk I'm happy taking. We've spent the past six years trying to close the gates of Hell. I'm not excited about the idea of opening one."
"If it works, we get our brothers back," Dean said, determined to keep on track to the main point. "Sam thinks it will work."
Other!Sam huffed out a breath. "Your Sam hasn't lived in my world very long," he said grimly. "He doesn't see how fucked up things have been there since we opened that Gate."
"But if it works, Sam comes home," Dean insisted.
"Dean, that's not all that's at stake here," Other!Sam turned to Bobby. "You see that, at least, don't you?"
Bobby raised his eyebrows, glancing from one Winchester to the other before answering.
"I've seen you boys get yourselves in a mess o' trouble more times than I can count," he said. "And every single time it comes down to -- if one of you needs saving, the other one is willing to risk Heaven and Hell to save him. Doesn't seem to work any other way, so I quit having a say about anything involving you two idjits years ago. Never made a lick o' difference."
"Thanks, Bobby," Other!Sam frowned at him. "Real helpful."
Bobby shrugged. "Just sayin'," he grumbled.
The phone in Bobby's house rang then, and Bobby looked so relieved as he went in to get it Dean felt a little guilty.
Till he heard Bobby's voice say, "Dean?" into the phone and Dean realized that Other!Dean had called the old hunter directly.
"What the hell's he doing?" Dean demanded, and Other!Sam shrugged.
"He's Dean," Other!Sam said as if it was obvious, but when he saw the blank look on Dean's face he elaborated. "You know, control freak, bossy, has to do everything himself because he doesn't trust anyone else to do it right?" He lowered his eyes, adding, "Especially his brother" in a bitter tone that went straight to Dean's heart.
"You're everything to him, you stupid Sasquatch," Dean murmured fondly, and Other!Sam huffed out a bitter laugh. "Even if he's too stubborn to admit it."
"Yeah, well, that's a big part of the problem, isn't it?" Other!Sam said. "If I didn't loom so large in his life maybe he could see a little better."
"He'll never let you go, Sam," Dean said quietly. "It ain't in him."
Other!Sam looked up, staring. "But you and Sam -- you said you -- he had a girlfriend -- "
Dean shifted awkwardly, ran a hand over his face, glanced away, cleared his throat.
"I hated it," he said finally, his voice rough. "Every goddamn minute. When he's not here, I'm not -- myself. I'm not complete. That's just the way it is."
"But you -- you said -- "
"I know what I said," Dean nodded. "I'm just sayin', letting Sam go -- " He shook his head. "I do it, when he needs it, but it hurts like hell. It's never what I want. Never."
"But you do it, for him," Other!Sam clarified. "Because you love him, Dean. That's what you do when you love somebody. You put their needs before your own. Even if it means you have to let them go."
Other!Sam shook his head. "My Dean can't do that."
Dean's chest was aching with the need to gather the huge man into his arms, struggling at the same time with embarrassment at the turn of the conversation. Some things, he knew he just couldn't talk about. Loving his brother was high on that list, which made no sense, he knew, but was just the way it was. In his book, love was something you do, not something you talk about.
Fortunately, Bobby took that moment to interrupt them.
"Well, that was weird." Bobby was glaring at Dean. "Boy's bossier than you are, if that's even possible."
Other!Sam looked at him expectantly. Dean was still staring down at his beer, fighting to control his discomfort at being compared to that other Winchester.
Bobby seemed to sense the mood on the porch and frowned.
"OK, I'm changin' the channel," he announced gruffly. "Gonna start some grub. When you two are done with your little episode of Not So Young Anymore But Still Plenty Restless, feel free to join me."
He shuffled back inside the house, letting the screen door slam behind him.
Other!Sam and Dean stared at each other for a moment, then burst into giggles.
Which quickly became outright belly-wrenching laughter, the full-on kind that made your eyes water and your chest heave. Dean finally had to bend over with his hands on his knees to try to catch a breath, and Other!Sam put his hand on Dean's shoulder to keep from falling over.
It was a full minute before they could straighten up and look at each other again, then Bobby called "Are you done out there? 'Cuz I could use a hand in here," which was somehow the funniest thing they had ever heard and set them off again for another minute and a half.
After pork and beans and beer and some kind of green vegetable that Other!Sam managed to cut up into a sort of makeshift salad -- because Dean was so not letting Other!Sam eat the beans if they were gonna share a continent together (and he did not want to spend their last night sleeping alone in the Impala) -- they spent a little time going over the case. Other!Dean had said something about needing ingredients for a spell in order to open the portal from this side, had figured Bobby had those things, which he did for the most part. Whatever he didn't have he figured he could collect from a couple of fellow hunters and the pharmacy and hardware store in town. They needed to stop in Cold Oak to get some ghost-contaminated soil, which made Other!Sam visibly nervous.
"What's in Cold Oak?" Dean demanded.
"That's where it started, in my world," Other!Sam said, and he wouldn't meet Dean's eyes when he said it, so Dean had an idea whatever happened was pretty bad.
After Bobby went to bed ("Big day tomorrow, boys. This old man needs some serious shut-eye first.") Other!Sam started to spread blankets on the couch.
"I'll take the floor," he told Dean, who said nothing, just moved up behind Other!Sam and took his wrist, pulling him around to face him.
"We'll both take the floor," he said softly, reaching up to tangle his fingers in Other!Sam's hair, pulling his face down for a kiss.
Dean's chest was swelling with love and longing and wishing things could be different, so he kissed Other!Sam tenderly, almost chastely, letting his fingers play with the soft hair at the back of Other!Sam's neck, cupping Other!Sam's cheek and running his thumb along the angular line of his jaw.
He was already missing this same-yet-different not-brother, fully aware that if this thing they were planning to do tomorrow actually worked, he would never see Other!Sam again. And as much as he felt grateful that he would have his Sam back again, he sensed that there would always be a funny little hole in his heart where this one belonged.
As he pulled back from the kiss, savoring the taste of Other!Sam's soft bottom lip, he wondered idly how many Other!Sams were out there, and felt absolutely certain he could love them all.
"Wait -- does Bobby know?" Other!Sam asked as Dean released his mouth. He glanced nervously toward the hallway, toward the stairs to Bobby's bedroom.
Dean smiled. "Probably," he muttered. "It doesn't exactly come up in conversation, but yeah -- I think he knows."
Other!Sam stiffened as another thought hit him.
Dean pulled back a little, eyes wide. "Hell, no, Sam, are you crazy?"
Other!Sam relaxed. "Yeah," he breathed. "Dad always was pretty clueless."
Dean was still holding Other!Sam's face in his hands, rubbing his thumb along his jaw, caressing the stubbled chin and dimpled cheek.
"Last night on earth, Sammy," he breathed softly. "You wanna -- " He let his words trail off suggestively.
Other!Sam grinned adorably. "Can't believe you use the same line. You're so much like him, how can you be so different?"
"Hell if I know," Dean murmured, and Other!Sam's eyes filled with tears in the moment before his lips claimed Dean's.
Later, when they lay warm and sleepy and tangled together in Bobby's blankets on Bobby's floor, Dean asked, "What happened at Cold Oak?"
Other!Sam stiffened, and he was silent for so long Dean decided he wasn't going to tell him.
But finally he said, "I died. For the first time. It started a chain of events that hasn't really stopped. Probably never will."
"What, so now you're immortal?" Dean teased, but Other!Sam was so silent and serious Dean had to kiss him again, caress the tension out of his face and shoulders, fighting down his own sense of dread and foreboding at the thought of how seriously fucked-up things were in that other universe.
"How did it happen?" he asked when he thought Other!Sam was finally relaxed again.
"Dude stabbed me in the back," Other!Sam said. "You were there, saw the whole thing. Held me while I died."
"Fuck," Dean breathed. He hated to ask, but knew he needed to know. They were lying on their sides, facing each other, and when Dean slid his hand over Other!Sam's back, unconsciously feeling for the scar, Other!Sam squirmed a little under his hand, seemed to know what Dean was searching for.
"Not there now," he explained softly. "My body was all healed up when I got back from Hell. None of the old scars." He snorted a laugh, sounding bitter again. "Dean said he had been re-hymenated. Said it made him a virgin again."
Yeah, Dean really did not want to know this.
"So what do you think's gonna happen tomorrow?" he asked, mostly to change the subject so they did not have to mention Other!Dean's sex life again.
Other!Sam shrugged, but wouldn't meet Dean's gaze.
"If this Devil's Gate thing is as powerful in this world as it is in yours, we're gonna need all the help we can get," Dean noted. "It's a good thing Bobby called for backup."
Other!Sam nodded, still not meeting Dean's eyes.
"And you're gonna get your brother back," Dean finished. "That's a good thing, i'n't it?"
When Other!Sam didn't respond this time, Dean slipped his fingers under his chin, tipping his face up.
Other!Sam kept his eyes down stubbornly for another minute, but Dean persisted.
"Sam?" he coaxed, and the hazel eyes finally opened, met his. They were shining with tears.
"Gonna miss this," Other!Sam almost whispered, his voice broken. "Gonna miss you."
Dean felt his eyes crinkle in a smile. He stroked Other!Sam's cheek, ran his fingers through Other!Sam's hair.
"I'm awesome," he noted, tipping his lips up into a mocking grin.
"Yes, you are," Other!Sam agreed, his eyes lingering on Dean's lips for a moment before he leaned in to claim them.
In the night, Dean woke to find the place next to him empty. It was still dark, and for a moment he wasn't sure what had woken him.
Then he heard Other!Sam's whispered voice and realized that Other!Sam was behind him, in the kitchen, talking to someone on his phone, and from the tone of his side of the conversation, it was pretty clear to Dean who Other!Sam was talking to.
Dean lay still, listening to the urgency and anxiety in Other!Sam's voice as he berated his brother over the plan to open Devil's Gate, and when Other!Sam ended the call abruptly it was clear he had hung up on him.
After a minute, Other!Sam returned to him, slipping quietly under the blanket next to Dean and scooping him into his arms when he realized Dean was awake.
"You called him?" Dean clarified, and Other!Sam nodded, digging his chin into Dean's hair as Dean pushed his face into the warm muscled skin of Other!Sam's broad chest.
For a moment they lay still, breathing in the other's scent. Dean let his hand wander down Other!Sam's belly, rest at the waistband of his boxers as he slid his thigh more snugly between Other!Sam's legs, eliciting a small hitched breath.
"Who's Crowley?" Dean asked into Other!Sam's firm, over-heated skin.
He felt Other!Sam stiffen, his whole body going tense, and he was silent so long Dean thought he wouldn't answer.
Dean finally raised his head, looking up at Other!Sam, who was looking down at him with an expression of such anguish Dean gasped.
"What is it, Sam?" he demanded, pushing himself back so he could half-sit up next to Other!Sam, raising himself on his elbows, then reaching up to turn Other!Sam's face toward him.
"What's wrong?" Dean asked again, and Other!Sam let out a long, shuddering breath, his body shaking with sobs as the tears flowed out of his lovely eyes, down his handsome face.
Dean reached for his own discarded tee-shirt, let Other!Sam dry his eyes on it as he threaded his fingers gently through Other!Sam's soft hair.
"Come on, buddy," he murmured. "Pull it together. You're ok. I've got you."
The low rumble of Dean's voice and his comforting words pierced through Other!Sam's misery after a minute or so, then it took another minute for Other!Sam to gather his thoughts into a coherent response.
Dean waited patiently, stroking Other!Sam's hair until he was able to collect himself, look up at Dean with shining, red-rimmed eyes and flushed cheeks.
"My brother and I have been going through a tough time lately," he said finally. "Dean did something -- he let something really bad happen."
Other!Sam took a deep breath, looked away for a minute, gathering his thoughts again, before returning his gaze to Dean's.
"So he left for awhile," Other!Sam continued.
Dean raised his eyebrows at that.
"Wait, your brother -- he left you?" he clarified, unable to get his mind around the concept. "How could he do that?"
Other!Sam gave a nod.
"Yeah, he thinks he's poison. Figured I was better off without him," Other!Sam said.
Dean gaped, struggling to imagine the level of depraved self-loathing that kind of behavior would take.
"Dude is dangerous," he said finally. "His head's in a really bad place."
Other!Sam frowned at him. "How do you know?" he asked.
Dean shrugged. "I'm him," he said simply. "I get how he thinks. And if he's leaving you, thinking you're better off without him, deliberately staying away from you -- That's just fucked up, man."
Other!Sam was still frowning, considering.
"So who's Crowley?" Dean asked again.
Other!Sam raised his eyebrows, opened his mouth to answer, then frowned again.
"He's -- " Dean could see the flicker of anxiety in his eyes and suddenly knew that Other!Sam was about to lie to him.
"He's a hunting buddy of Dean's," Other!Sam answered. "Somebody Dean would never hunt with normally, but after he left -- "
"So this guy is bad news," Dean clarified.
Other!Sam wouldn't meet Dean's eyes, just flicked a short glance at him and nodded.
"Yeah, pretty much," Other!Sam agreed.
"And while your brother was awol he hung out with this -- Crowley," Dean stated the obvious.
Other!Sam gave another short nod.
"Jealousy's a bitch, Sam," Dean tried to lighten the mood. "Six-foot, green-eyed bitch."
Other!Sam lifted his eyes then, gaze startled, then softening as he saw the smile in Dean's eyes.
"You -- " Other!Sam breathed. "How do you just know this stuff?"
Dean shrugged. "Good instincts," he noted. "Sam says I've got good instincts."
"Yeah, you do," Other!Sam agreed, his gaze dropping to Dean's mouth.
Dean let his hand wander down Other!Sam's cheek, stroked his bottom lip with his thumb until Other!Sam's fingers closed around his wrist, pulled him down for a kiss, then rolled Dean onto his back and surged over him, slipping his leg between Dean's and grinding into him as he deepened the kiss.
And if Other!Sam's lovemaking was a little more intense and needy than usual, a little more purposeful, then Dean was letting that happen. Because it was so deeply ingrained in him to give Sam what he needed, even this broken, damaged Sam who was not his brother yet felt and tasted just like him.
They would deal with the rest of the world tomorrow.
Word Count: 31,335
Disclaimers: Don't own, don't make money from, just have a helluva lot of fun with.
Warnings: sibling incest, minor character deaths
Summary: What if John Winchester managed to kill Azazel in Season 1? Sam and Dean are just regular run-of-the-mill monster-hunting brothers, until the day they investigate an old abandoned schoolhouse where something supernatural is happening. When Sam switches places with an alternate Sam from a more canon universe, Dean realizes how very lucky he is, and Sam remembers how to trust his brother. This an AU with spoilers up through Season 9.
A/N: The latest in my attempt to import my stories from AO3.
CHAPTER ONE - CHAPTER TWO - CHAPTER THREE - CHAPTER FOUR - CHAPTER FIVE - CHAPTER SIX - CHAPTER SEVEN - CHAPTER EIGHT - CHAPTER NINE
READ IT ON AO3
Word Count: 23,846
Warnings: Wincest, Sibling Incest
Summary: Dean disappeared the night of his death. Sam's alone in the bunker, researching ways to bring Dean back, when a certain handsome devil shows up.
One - Two - Three - Four - Five - Six - Seven - Eight
READ IT ON AO3