I blame Solo, who liked the idea too much. She also betaed, which was the least she could do after encouraging me!

Notes: This story is not set in the same universe as "Last Truce", and so is not a real sequel to it. Rather, it is an AU crackfic pseudo-sequel – and as such, it does contain massive spoilers for and several allusions to that story.

Achieving Indigo

by Sylvia


They start out at eight seconds.

Eight seconds. Long enough to break someone's neck, or stab them, or push them off a cliff or down the stairs. Long enough to kill in a hundred different ways.

Nowhere near long enough.

But Dean has always been a quick study, and he picks this up just as swiftly as he did shooting with a crossbow and doing that stupid fancy high kick thing (that Sam still can't do right even now and that Dad seemed to think was so important, which is ridiculous because it's not as though you can't just shoot or punch or stab anything coming at you slowly enough to be run at and kicked).

Anyway, the second time they try, it's twice as long, easy. The third time is the first time that Sam dares to hope that Dean has the hang of it now, that they'll be able to do this.

The sixth time, Sam loses count around the three minute mark because Dean does that thing with his tongue, and if his mouth is cold and Sam's sixth sense is tingling along with the rest, somehow that doesn't make much of a difference to the burn in Sam's gut. They kiss almost desperately and Sam touches and strokes and thinks he could come from this alone, from just being able to touch Dean again (but he won't think of that now because Dean is still here and that's all that matters and this is real). Dean's teeth unerringly find the spot on Sam's collarbone that makes him arch up and moan, and Sam rolls them over and pushes Dean into the mattress and slides a leg between his thighs and buries a hand in his hair (wintry cool and the texture is wrong but he doesn't care, doesn't think about it, won't acknowledge it) and leans forward to capture Dean's mouth, and Dean gasps soundlessly beneath him and there is a zing of something and Sam falls face-first into the pillow, his body thudding down onto the bed with all the grace of a sexually frustrated sack of potatoes.

His breath puffs out in a visible cloud as he turns onto his back, his skin rising into goosebumps.

This can't be healthy. Nothing that feels like this can be healthy.

Sam can't see Dean anymore, but there is a sense of lingering presence, a slight weight of attention pressing on Sam's awareness. Absurdly, he has to suppress an irrational pang of worry, even now.

He sighs as he flops back on the bed. His body is tingling with expectation, every inch of skin yearning mindlessly for a touch that won't come, and he has to swallow past the sudden, unexpected constriction in his throat.

He's being ridiculous. It's just sex; it doesn't really matter. He can see Dean, talk to him, be with him, and he's still the same obnoxious swaggering too-pretty smart-ass he always was. So what if he turns into a cloud of frigid air when Sam tries to touch him.

After a moment of believing this as hard as he can, Sam slides his own hand down his chest and into his boxers. When Sam closes his eyes, he can almost imagine that this is a game, and that Dean is over on the next bed, watching him with hot eyes, hand on his own cock.

The lamp directly overhead buzzes and flickers; Sam's eyes fly open, startled. He's too far gone to stop, but he wishes he'd been able to keep his eyes closed. He didn't want to see the empty room when he came.


Sometimes, Sam thinks about calling
Missouri, because she's the closest thing there is to an expert on the spirits of the dead. He could come up with some reason to ask what he wants to know that doesn't have to do with the fact that he is trying to find an effective way to fuck his dead brother.

"Spirits can gain strength from physical proximity to and direct attention by the living, can't they – especially if it's the ones they're connected to. You know, the ones they're haunting?" he could ask, because that would explain why Dean has been gaining strength so quickly, and maybe Sam can accelerate the process by intentionally funnelling energy to Dean somehow. Maybe she could tell him...

"Boy, what the friggin hell do you think you are playing at," she would answer. Or: "You don't have the sense God gave to snails, and I have a mind to come over there and whack you with an entire drawer full of silverware."

Or, worst of all: "Boy, you know this just ain't right. He'll stay because he's a good boy, and he cares about you, and he's just stupid like that. But you should know better. You know you're going to have to let him go."

So he doesn't call.


Sam is still damp from the shower, and the whisper of Dean's lips across his skin makes him shiver, breath hitching in his throat. He leans back on his elbows, stretching a little and arching his neck – enticingly, he hopes.

He feels self-conscious for the space of one heartbeat. Fortunately, Dean doesn't play hard to get; it's only a moment before he accepts the invitation. His teeth close on the sensitive skin at the base of Sam's throat, and Sam shuts his eyes to concentrate on the sensation of a cool tongue licking across his pulse, of Dean slowly nibbling up the column of his throat, pausing to linger at the spot behind Sam's ear that makes him sigh with pleasure.

Long before Sam is ready for him to stop, Dean stops. Sam swallows the protest that wants to escape and waits. This is the way they're going to have to do it – he'll get to touch Dean soon enough.

"What d'you want, Sam?"

Dean's voice is low and dark; there's the slightest hint of a catch in it. Sam actually shivers a little, and he's not at all sure it's due to the sudden drop in temperature.

After a moment Sam raises one knee and opens his legs a little. Not too much. The towel loosens and slips; the minute weight of fabric against his cock feels like a touch, and he lifts his hips up into it once, twice. He doesn't answer, not in words.

Dean laughs, rough and throaty. "Yeah... that's what I thought."

Sam slips an arm behind his head so he can watch Dean. He's stepped back from the bed and is over by the window now, shrouded in shadow. Sam can feel his eyes on him, though, can feel his gaze sweeping over Sam's body. His skin is singing with it. It feels like he is waking up, finally waking up bit by bit after being caught in a nightmare.

"You just gonna stand there?" Sam asks softly.

He's just teasing, of course, because he knows that's what Dean will have to do, for now. Even so there's a breathless moment when Dean takes a single, slow step forward.

After a moment, Dean hooks his thumbs into his pockets and shifts his stance, raising his chin a bit as he rocks back onto his heels. There's a flash of the smug, toothy smile that's so typically Dean, and Sam knows the exact expression in Dean's eyes even if he can't see it. "Maybe I will. The view's pretty spectacular."

Sam is too old to blush – he's not that nervous, and neither is he a kid getting his first awkward compliment. Besides, it would be stupid. It's just Dean. So he doesn't blush. He just takes a deep breath and lies back on the bed, wriggling until he can see Dean when he turns his head to the side.

He smoothes a hand slowly across his chest. His nipples are already hard, from the cold or from Dean's eyes on him or both, and he shivers as he circles light fingertips around one. Dean is a motionless shadow, strangely insubstantial, then outlined in surrealistically sharp relief for a moment as a car's headlights sweep by beyond the threadbare barrier of the curtains.

A shadow, and an overwhelming weight on Sam's senses.

He rubs the nub of skin harder and imagines Dean's touch – his mouth on him, his hands, his body. If it were Dean's tongue circling his nipple, Dean giving him just a hint of teeth, a quick bite, Sam would already be gasping for breath and grabbing at him, trying to push his head down.

"Dean," he says, and refuses to be embarrassed by the emotion, the hint of pleading in his voice.

Dean's shadow moves, stills. Sam can't understand what he mutters at first, but then Dean shifts again and speaks up, almost reluctantly, as though the words are being dragged from him. "You're so fucking beautiful."

And Sam's never had cause to question that he's attractive, but he's not beautiful, either. Dean's the beautiful one. But he knows that Dean is completely sincere, and a spark of sheer yearning want races through him, burning in his gut and making him catch his breath.

"I want to watch you," Dean says roughly. "Let me watch you touch yourself."

Sam's getting the feeling Dean hasn't done this kind of thing too often. That's not a bad thing, because neither has Sam. The plain truth is that Sam is pretty vanilla.

Well. Except maybe for this thing where he's trying to fuck his brother even beyond the grave.

He stares at Dean as he slides his hand lower on his own body, caressing his abs, following the edge of the towel lying low across his hips. He dips his fingers beneath the fabric, just a little, and draws back again. Dean makes an inarticulate little noise, and Sam teases himself, stroking leisurely across his stomach before following down the line of hair beginning beneath his navel.

He exhales shakily as he stops just shy of his erection, sharp thrills of arousal racing downwards to glow in his stomach and fill his cock further.

The towel is still hanging on, though it's been a while since it's concealed anything. He's been hard since Dean licked his neck.

"You're so fucking hot," Dean murmurs. "Yeah, Sam, come on – come on, do it, touch yourself for me like you want me to touch you..."

Sam puts back his head, laying his hand across the base of his throat. The heat of the touch startles him for a second; he draws his hand slowly down the length of his body, lifting into the touch a little for Dean's benefit. When he reaches the towel he doesn't stop, cupping himself through the rough fabric, pushing down, arching up into his palm.

"Oh fuck yes, like that. You're so hard... come on, rub yourself a little, gently, like that, yeah. You know what I'd do? I'd touch you just a little, stroke up right from your balls to your cockhead – I'd lick you, with just the tip of my tongue. Watch you writhe and moan –"

Sam shoves the towel aside hastily to run his fingertips up the underside of his erection oh so slowly, imagining Dean's fingers on him, Dean's tongue. And again. The writhing and moaning isn't on purpose, it just happens. He watches Dean and imagines that it's his hand wrapping around the base of Sam's erection, Dean's hand he is pushing up into, Dean's fingers tightening almost to the point of pain, relaxing, tightening again, drawing a sound from Sam that might have embarrassed him if he had any brain capacity left to worry about that kind of thing.

"I want to kiss you." He sounds strangled, and he had no idea he was going to say that, but as soon as he has it's like he can't stand to not be kissing Dean for another second. "I need to kiss you. God, Dean, please –"

Sam doesn't see him move, but suddenly he's by the bed, just like that. Sam surges up and seizes his jacket with both hands, and then Dean has a hand and a knee on the bed and Dean's tongue is in Sam's mouth, tangling with his own, and Sam kisses him hard and fast and demanding like he wants to devour him. Someone is making desperate little whining noises and it might just be Sam himself. Dean kisses like he means it, like he was made for nothing else, throwing himself into it headlong with lips and teeth and tongue and everything he is, and Sam can't believe how perfectly Dean that is, and how much it makes him want to throw Dean down and make him scream.

"God damn it," Sam gasps when Dean breaks away. His lips are tingling, the taste of Dean is on his tongue, and it's all he can do to let go when Dean steps back, retreating back to his old spot by the window. He wants to kiss Dean until he trembles, wants to stroke and lick and bite and claim every inch of him, hear the choked-off, quiet moans he makes when he's being fucked deep and slow and just right. He wants to see the vulnerable hollow of Dean's throat when he throws his head back and gasps for breath, wants to see Dean laid out for Sam, all golden skin and sleek muscle and wild green eyes and he wants it now, damn it. "Fuck."

"Oh yeah," Dean murmurs, velvet dark. "But not yet, babe. Soon... but not yet."

Yeah. So Sam breathes once, twice, and finds that he can be patient for a little while longer, because it will only make it better in the end, and because he has to.

"What're you thinking about, Sam?" Low, heated, full of carnal promise – delivering a jolt of arousal to Sam's system all by itself, and yeah, Dean's really getting the hang of this now.

Sam inhales slowly, calling up the memory of Dean sinking to his knees before him, nibbling down Sam's stomach, looking up at him almost coyly before sticking out his tongue and giving him a couple of teasing licks. Not that many though, because Sam knows how to ask so Dean can't refuse, and so it wasn't long at all until Dean flattened his tongue and slicked it over the flared head of Sam's erection, just once, before going down on him. No hesitation, and no way at all to mistake the fact that he'd done this before, and most of all Sam remembers his dull surprise at the skill of the tongue fluttering against the underside of his cock as Dean pulled back to sink down again with a little sideways twist... the burn of something a whole lot like rage seeping through his arousal.

"Your mouth," he answers, only partially truthful.

"You like my mouth on you, Sam? Like it when I take you as deep as you will go, all the way to the root, and swallow around you so you whimper, you clutch my hair and thrust into my throat even though you try not to. I know you love it when I pull back to suck at just the head on your cock, nice and slow. When I run my hands up those long, long beautiful legs of yours..."

Sam spreads his legs as far as they will go and lifts his knees, and when he runs a teasing touch along the soft skin of his inner thighs, his cock jumps against his stomach, tip glistening wetly.

"I love the way you feel in my mouth, Sam. I know you love it, too... I can tell when you sort of whimper when I suck on your cockhead just once before pulling off. Licking down, teasing and sucking all the way down the length of your cock. Then I take you in my hand and just hold you while I lap at your balls, taking one into my mouth, real gentle, and then sucking..."

Somehow Sam's hands have ended up wrapped around his erection, his hips pushing up of their own accord, driving his erection into the slick tunnel of his fists. He reaches down to palm his balls and moans at the throbbing ache, at the tension mounting inside him, tingling along every nerve and pooling in his groin.

"Yeah, come on, do it, touch yourself..."

Dean murmurs encouragement Sam only half hears, and Sam arches a little, the weight of Dean's rapt attention searing his skin, filling his senses. He twists and moans to the touch of his own hands like a porn star, and it's not faked at all.

"I want to be inside you," Dean rasps. "D'you want that, Sam?"

God, yes. Dean inside him, him inside Dean, Sam doesn't care – just as long as it involves Dean touching him.

"How d'you want me to take you? You want to be on your hands and knees? Get on your hand and knees, Sammy. Let me see you spread for me."

Sam moans but doesn't comply. He doesn't want to stop touching himself, and he's trying not to speed up the rhythm of his hand on his cock, but he isn't sure he's succeeding.

Dean keeps talking, voice a dark, low rasp, and Sam is so turned on he can't really concentrate on the meaning of the words washing against him anymore, the rough, dark voice drowning out the last bit of reason he might still be able to lay claim to.

"What do you want?"

That one makes it through, and Sam's answer is out before he even knows what it will be.

"Want to fuck you," he snarls, and some corner of his mind that is still thinking is startled at the aggression, because he sounds as though he could just toss Dean down and tear his clothes off and take him, take him hard and fast and again and again until he can't sit down for a week, take him until he screams Sam's name and comes into his hand, until he collapses bonelessly against Sam, all satin skin and sweat and heat and open, wide-eyed smiles and murmured Sammys. Until he falls asleep in the circle of Sam's arms, too fucked out to worry about his tendency to snuggle and cling to Sam in his sleep. "Now, Dean – need to have you –"

And Dean is there, right there, eyes hot, and Sam grabs his hips and pulls him down on top of him, lithe and solid and Dean along the entire length of Sam's body.

This is going to work. Dean is everywhere, filling his arms and senses, rubbing himself against Sam lewdly, rough fabric against sensitized skin, grinding down, panting into Sam's ear and biting and scrambling back to sit on his haunches grinning like a loon. So fucking beautiful, and Sam's, still here, for him, all his... God, he's going to have Dean in a second, just as soon as –

He pushes up to catch Dean's mouth in an almost brutal kiss as his fingers scrabble at Dean's leather jacket, frantic to push it off his shoulders and get it out of the way. He can't find purchase; Dean is fumbling with his jeans, and Sam reaches down to help, slaps Dean's hands away because he's getting nowhere. Sam tugs but the button won't come free, and after another moment he breaks the kiss to look down as he hooks his fingers into Dean's waistband and pulls his jeans open.

Or rather, as he tries to hook his fingers into Dean's waistband. Because Dean's waistband seems to be fused with – no, part of –

"Fucking hell."


"Oh, this is just – man. I can't believe this. I cannot fucking believe this."

Dean's anger fills the room in a new way these days. It's a strange feeling – like a thunderstorm gathering. Not that Sam's ever been able to feel thunderstorms gathering, but he imagines this would be what they would feel like if he could: gathering energy, and tension, and a strange, diffuse sense of imminence, of nature holding its breath.

The feeling is doing nothing at all to abate Sam's arousal. He wants nothing more than to come – right now it doesn't feel like much of an exaggeration that he might die of frustration if he doesn't (and why the fuck can't Dean do it, he could still do this just as well even fully clothed! why does he have to pick now of all times to be a fucking drama queen?). But instead he just breathes, a bit unsteadily but slowly and carefully, and lies with his hands fisted in the sheets tangled beneath him, trying to gather his wits enough to think.

Because he knows that tone in Dean's voice. Dean is freaking out. He doesn't do it often, but when he does, it's never good, and Sam needs to keep his wits about him. Can't afford to come now because he would inevitably fall asleep, he knows he would, no matter how determined he was to stay awake. Can't leave Dean alone to brood and agonize and turn it all into some horrible personal failure or shit like that, because by the time Sam woke up Dean would have locked it all away like some creeping poison and hidden it behind his fucking artificial smile and stupid "shallow grunt" routine.

Sam swallows twice before he can find his voice; he wants to curse, or maybe just break down into slightly hysterical laughter, because it is funny, in a way. But Dean is all the way across the room and not meeting his eyes, and the streetlamp in front of the window is flickering. "Dean," he forces out at last. "It's alri-"

"Not one word, Sam. Not one fucking word."

Not so irrelevantly, Sam hopes that Dean doesn't hear the dog beginning to howl somewhere outside. Dean blusters and struts, leers and shrugs and lifts sardonic eyebrows and somehow, unbelievably, seems to think that's enough – that that alone will make people buy into his uncaring-tough-guy act. And now... he doesn't have this thing entirely under control yet, and sometimes, like now, he leaks. That makes it even more obvious what's going on with him. He must really hate that.

"Seriously. It's only been –"

"Words are coming out of your mouth again. What part of not one word do you not understand? This is just fucking typical! You sulk and you pout and you give the world the silent treatment for days when you get your panties in a twist over some shit, but God forbid I tell you to just leave it for once, then of course you can't fucking shut up –"

There's a weird kind of overlay to Dean's voice, like a second voice in the background, shouting at a whisper, repeating the same sentence over and over again. Sam strains to understand the words, but can't.

Maybe there's a grain of truth to Dean's ranting, because before Sam knows it, thoughts are again jumping unstoppably from his brain to his tongue. "Cool it, man, you'll get the hang of this." He tries a small, hopeful grin. "And it's – come on, you of all people not being able to get your clothes off –"

A short burst of static and sound from the TV makes Sam jerk sideways reflexively. The lamp on the bedside table goes out with a sharp pop, leaving the room almost entirely dark.

The uncertain light filtering in through the curtains provides the only illumination as Sam leans over to joggle the bulb and flip the switch a couple of times. The lamp doesn't turn back on, and when Sam gives up and turns back to the window, Dean is gone.


Irritation spikes through him sharp as steel. This is so damn childish, and so fucking unnecessary, and Sam opens his mouth to snap something about Dean's sense of humor evidently having died more thoroughly than Dean himself. The words stick in Sam's throat, though, and feel as though they may rip it apart from the inside if he forces them out. So, he doesn't. Anyway, he knows that Dean is just being a bastard because Sam needs this, and Dean wants to give it to him and can't, and is beating himself up over it in that usual moronic way of his.

It's not as if this stupid clothing thing is a real issue. After Dean has become so corporeal so quickly, this shouldn't give him trouble for long; in fact, Sam is certain that it's basically the same thing. Sam hasn't found too many useful sources in his research, but he's developed his own theories from what little there is.

The aspect and attributes of manifestations are determined by a range of different factors that include self-image, intent, and will. In some cases, certain aspects are determined by the underlying laws of the haunting, essential and immutable components – but not in this case. What Dean's wearing now, the jeans and boots and t-shirt and battered leather jacket – the amulet, even the carefully styled hair – must be some kind of subconscious choice on Dean's part. The way he pictures himself. Because when – in the hospital, and later – Dean hadn't looked like he did now. He'd been wearing a shapeless, off-white smock tied at the nape of his neck; it had made him look even paler, absurdly fragile, the smudges underneath his eyes dark blue like ink, like bruises.

Sam's breath hitches, and he gets up just to move. He walks around the room for a minute, crossing to his duffel and fingering the straps desultorily. Then he decides to take a shower and go to sleep. Dawn is hours away, but his circadian rhythm is shot to hell, anyway.

They're both still raw from what happened. It's not just Sam who's scared and needy and desperate, and he should maybe try to remember that.

It will be okay, though. Dean is still here, and he'll come around. Dean will forgive him. He always does.

Sam doesn't jerk off in the shower. He's not in the mood anymore.

Some time after he crawls back into bed, the mattress dips. A cool hand smoothes over his hip, up his side, rests on his shoulder for a moment before brushing lightly through his hair. Sam relaxes and finally closes his eyes, and is asleep soon after.


Flagstaff, Arizona, just before the crack of dawn, a little girl starts crying when Dean follows Sam into the donut shop. Dean is gone so fast he practically leaves ectoplasm skid marks. Sam has a hard time not snapping at the kid; instead, he gives her mother Missouri's number and tells her to call if her daughter ever becomes confused, depressed or troubled. He gives her his best sincere expression, but in all likelihood she thinks he's a crackpot, or worse, and will throw the number away as soon as he is safely out of sight.

It's just lucky the girl is already four or five years old. He thinks of asking the mother if she's adopted, just to be sure, but the child is still sobbing, looking at the door, and the look on the mother's face doesn't invite further conversation, and so he just leaves with his donuts.

Back in the car ("you call this a car, Sam?"), Sam discovers that he's bought vanilla cream donuts and double chocolate donuts with sprinkles in addition to the jelly ones he likes. He stares at them for a full minute before he can bring himself to toss them into the trash can on the curb.


Sex has never been so fucking complicated in the history of the world. Sam has empirical proof of this: If it had, the human race would be long extinct. Because, yeah, so Sam is right about the non-permanent nature of the clothes hurdle. And so he's right about the non-permanent nature of the prolonged solidity hurdle, too. Too bad none of all that wonderful and gratifying rightness makes a flying fuck of a difference.

It's like some kind of kismet, if Sam believed in that sort of thing. Which he doesn't. But if he did, he'd really be wondering if bad undead sex karma was delivered to everyone who messed about with – who tried to keep someone they loved with them.

Just another thing that he will never ask

Some of it is just Dean being unreasonable, though, because now that they could finally be getting somewhere, Dean is balking.

"No, Sam." Arms crossed, chin down, brows drawn into the patented 'full sulky glower'.

"Dean –"

"No means no, haven't you heard?"

Sam huffs in exasperation, and he knows by the way Dean looks at him sideways and rolls his eyes that Dean thinks Sam's being childish, or that he's sulking or something equally ridiculous. In reality, it's Dean who's being stupid. Sam's been a ghost hunter for most of his life, for fuck's sake. He's not going to run scared of a freaking cold spot.

"Now get your ass the hell off that bed and into a hot shower right the fuck now, or I swear..."

No more point in trying to get some tonight; Sam knows that pissy tone. Dean's not going to be reasonable about this at all, and it's up to Sam to be the bigger man. So Sam surrenders to the inevitable and gets up, and if he's a little stiff and dizzy and his limbs feel a bit heavier than they typically do, then that's not exactly surprising. His balls must be heading for a new world record of indigo by now.

He stumbles on the way to the bathroom, but that's because he trips over a sock or his jeans or something, and if he clutches at the doorframe a bit to keep his balance then all that means is that he should really learn to pick up after himself one of these days.

"Your lips are blue, asshole," Dean snaps from the doorway. His glare is pure accusation, but his eyes are wide and dark. Worried.

Oh yeah? You're rotting in your grave, Sam thinks, but doesn't say. As a comeback, it lacks that certain something, and he doesn't know why he keeps thinking this kind of shit, anyway.

"You do realize that if you kill yourself over this, I'll be way too embarrassed to hang with you anymore."

Yeah, yeah. Emptiest threat ever, and Sam grunts derisively as he climbs into the shower. Which turns out to be a rather more protracted and less graceful maneuver than he had anticipated; he's uncoordinated and his vision is swimming and he really wishes Dean would go away, because few things look less attractive than Sam being a klutz.

He pulls the shower curtain closed demonstratively. Unfortunately, it's made of clear plastic, so it's no more than a symbolic gesture which Dean duly ignores.

The first stream of water all but scalds Sam's skin and he shies back, dislodging the curtain. It tucks itself back in solicitously.

Sam waits a minute for his body to adjust and then reaches out to mix some warm water into the cold.

So maybe Dean isn't entirely off the mark on this. He's still being a cock-teasing bitch.

"Idiot," Dean mutters. "Freezing yourself like some kind of ice-maiden fodder. You might have bought a clue when you lost your hard-on because you were too fucking cold. Might have been a hint that maybe, just maybe, it was time to wrap it up and call it a day –"

"Sex is not merely about erections for everyone, Dean," Sam says loftily.

Dean gives him a long, disbelieving stare and then snorts. "Yeah, but you don't look like a lesbian to me."

Sam has to laugh because that's a ridiculously Dean thing to say, but he rallies in the next moment. "Seriously. I just want to touch you, and – you know. Be with you. It doesn't matter if I get off in the end –"

"Oh, please. Don't feed me that line of modern man crap, Sam! You were just too damn stubborn to stop."

Sam opens his mouth to retort, but no argument comes immediately to mind, and while he's thinking up something suitably pithy and scathing he notices that he's shivering and his teeth are chattering and he's really fucking cold.

"You know," Dean says slowly, "You're an idiot, but it's still kinda cool that you're so secure in your masculinity. Most guys wouldn't want their dicks to be seen in sub-zero temperatures."

Sam doesn't dignify that with an answer; he turns into the spray and only sneaks a glance down when he's sure Dean can't see him do it from where he's standing.

Damn it. It's just another ploy Dean's thought up because he thinks Sam is going to die of a little cold. But the hell of it is... Dean's right.

Dean laughs, and Sam rips back the shower curtain to send a spray of water his way. It passes through him harmlessly and soaks a tangle on the floor that Sam suspects is his last clean pair of jeans.

Maybe he should rethink his disbelief in karma.


Dean's cell phone rings when Sam's dream is just beginning to take the familiar turn into antiseptic smells and the monotonous whine of heart monitors, and for exactly five seconds, he is relieved to be woken – until he answers the phone.

"Son, there's not much time. Write this down –"

Sam has imagined this conversation dozens of times, and not once did it go anywhere good.

"Dad," he says, his voice flat. An instant later, his chest seizes up with a riptide of emotions so absolute that for a moment, he can't breathe, or think, or begin to untangle the mass of rage and grief and longing.


He breathes.

"Yeah," he rasps at last, and then falls silent. He isn't sure how he managed to force that one word out, and there's nothing else he can say, or wants to.

His father throws coordinates at him and orders him to write them down with increasing impatience; Sam clutches the cell phone so hard he's afraid it might break, and concentrates on breathing.

"I don't have time for this now," his father says at last, voice terse with anger, as usual. "Let me talk to Dean."

Sam chokes on something that might have been a laugh, if his throat hadn't been closed painfully tight. "Sorry," he grates after another frozen moment of forcing air into his lungs. "Dean can't come to the phone."

He takes the phone from his ear and looks down at it for a long moment before flipping it shut. He has no idea what he's feeling, except that he wishes like hell Dean were here. Why is Dean not here, anyway, when it's already dark out and his goddamned hero was on the phone asking for him? Finally asking for him now, because there was a case he wanted Dean to take care of – some stranger needing to be saved – when he couldn't be bothered to lift a fucking receiver when his devoted son, his perfect warrior, lay dying with tubes up his nose and a ventilator pumping behind his bed and his hand limp and cold and clammy in Sam's desperate grip.

Something shatters, and Sam looks up just in time to see the other window blow out, curtains whipping out through the newly empty frame as though torn by hurricane-strength winds.

It's probably a good thing his father called instead of just turning up in person, because Sam really doesn't have this telekinesis thing figured out yet.

It takes his father half an hour to call back. Sam lets the call go to voicemail. His father doesn't say anything; he just breathes, the sound heavy and strangely labored. Then there's the click of a recording device, and Sam's own voice distorted and slowed, and a whisper that Sam knows too well.

"I'm sorry, Dad," Dean says. "I'm sorry."


The thing about digging up a corpse and then salting and dousing it in butane is, you can't watch your back while you're doing it, and holding a shotgun loaded with rock salt in one hand while trying to work with the other will slow you down way too much. You need a partner for this kind of work, at least if you want to come out of it in one piece.

Good thing this kid wasn't buried in sanctified ground.

Sam knows that something is happening behind him. He can feel it like a silent explosion against his back, a continuous, violent collision between force and counterforce... a vertiginous maelstrom making him more than slightly nauseous.

This spirit is old. If it hadn't been murdered and bound by a witch, its body would have been dust by now; if Sam hadn't dreamed of the grove where its bones lay, tangled in the roots of an ancient cherry tree, they never would have found it. It's old, and it's strong, and it's angry.

Not good. Not good at all, and in his haste Sam fumbles the container of salt and drops it onto the small bones gleaming in the freshly dug pit. He leaves it and pours lighter fluid after it quickly, soaking the entire bottom of the pit.

The first match goes out too soon, and Sam curses, his voice thin in the utter silence.

Thank God – the second match burns steady. Butane ignites with the characteristic whooshing murmur, and Sam finally, finally whips around, just in time to see a long-dead girl solidify in the middle of the clearing.

She is small and delicate, long black hair falling over her shoulders like water, eyes dark, serene and deep. Her hands are curled into claws, hooked into something – someone – Sam can't see. She looks up and smiles at him, knowingly, victoriously, and opens her mouth to speak, and that is the moment when she erupts into flames and burns to nothingness. Her soundless shriek echoes in Sam's skull and makes him clap his hands to his ears.

Eternal moments pass before Dean flickers into view, standing where she was, his back to Sam. He is translucent and strangely blurred for the space of several heartbeats; Sam even imagines he can see him sway on his feet slightly, though that's probably just Sam's imagination.

It takes far too long, but at last he comes into focus and steadies, his manifestation filling in with color and detail, the dark outlines of the trees behind him giving way to leather and denim. When he turns around, his most annoying smirk is firmly in place, and the eyebrow he cocks at Sam dares him to comment.

Sam exhales slowly and shakily; his knees are weak with relief. He stumbles forward even though he knows he can't touch Dean now – Dean has expended too much energy in a battle against an adversary he was no match for. Sam reaches out anyway, all of his senses raw and open.

He can feel the chill of Dean's incorporeal presence when Sam leans close to the space he occupies, when he holds out an arm in a half-hug that looks far more real than it feels. He can see him, down to the hint of stubble on his cheeks, the irregularity in the bridge of his nose where he broke it when he was 15, the fine lines at the corners of his eyes when he squints at Sam. And he can feel him – his closeness, his attention and something more, something elusive, indefinable... inestimably Dean.

Dean watches him, wearing his half-puzzled, half-concerned frown. After a beat, his brow clears and – infuriatingly – his mouth curves into what he thinks is his reassuring grin. He's visibly searching for the right words to comfort his scared little brother. Sam doesn't want them; he closes his eyes and steps forward.

He steps into Dean and the world drops away.

It's wrenching, scalding, a shock that makes him gasp and jerk like a fish on the line, body and mind erupting into sudden incandescence. For the fraction of a second Sam interprets the sudden overload of every nerve, every sense as pain. But it's not. It's not. It's not that at all. It's –


Dean is everywhere. He can feel Dean everywhere, all over, and it's like burying himself balls-deep in Dean's beautiful body and tasting his lips and his throat and his sex and watching his face as he comes moaning Sam's name and running his hands everywhere, over every delectable inch, kissing touching licking him, kissing his mouth catching his hot little whimpers on his tongue while he takes him, rough and slow and frantic and sweet, Dean's hands and mouth and teeth and tongue on Sam all over, Dean's cock pushing into Sam so slowly and deeply, Dean's heat enveloping him Dean's teeth catching his lip Dean's tongue on his balls Dean's fingers, Dean, everywhere, the pure unbearable delight of it raging through Sam like wildfire.

Dean's amazement and wonder mesh with Sam's and a trace of wry humor winds through the passion they share, and

somewhere, his hands and knees hit the ground, but he can't feel the impact. Every nerve in his body is pulsing with rapture, blazing to the tune of Dean Dean Dean singing in everything Sam is, the world filled with the essence of Dean. Sam can't even begin to understand, but he can feel, and he knows, this is what Dean is, and Dean burns so brightly that it's like a pile-driver to the stomach, so true and strong and passionate, and the darkness and anger and violence woven through just make it more Dean, more incredible, more magnificent. Sam is there too, Sam is at the center of it and Sam always knew it and Dean's so fucking beautiful and Sam always knew that, too, but this, knowing, feeling it like this is –

It builds and builds and all that exists is Dean and the raging need to get closer still and the excruciating pleasure rushing through Sam, racing along every fiber of his being until it saturates him completely

and then it shatters, and he shatters with it.

When it finally releases him he is shaking and soaked in sweat and gasping for breath, lying fully clothed in the middle of a forest clearing with the salty bones of an ancient human sacrifice smoldering several feet away. He can feel Dean close by; there are stars sparking in his vision, and when he swallows, his throat is raw. Maybe he's been screaming.

Wouldn't surprise him. Christ.

Eventually, spurred onwards by the fact his wet clothes are growing uncomfortably cold in the night air, he flops around on the ground until he manages to push himself into a sitting position. He pauses to take stock, and wow, his muscles are limper than over-cooked noodles, his head is spinning, and there is so much come in his boxers that he'll squelch when he walks.

His face hurts because he's grinning so hard. He has kicked karma's butt from here to Mars, and damn, it feels great.

It takes him a couple more minutes to pick himself up off the ground. Dean is nowhere in sight, so Sam wobbles over to the pit to collect his scattered stuff – matches and lighter, butane canister, shovel, pick-axe and shotgun, check – and then makes his unsteady, squelchy way back through the woods.


Dean is leaning against the car when Sam gets back to the road. His clothing is rumpled and disarrayed, his hair mussed and flattened on one side as though someone has been running their fingers through it, gripping it, pushing Dean's head into a pillow while nuzzling his ear. Sam can see his collarbone where his t-shirt's collar is stretched out and tugged to the side. There are teeth marks on his neck, a huge hicky adorns his throat, and there's a dopey, slightly dazed smile on his face. In short, he looks thoroughly well-fucked.

Insanely sexy dead brother, check.

"Dude," Dean breathes reverently. There is such amazed delight in his voice that Sam feels his grin widening even further, a feat he'd previously thought physically impossible.

Dean's answering grin is blinding. "Sammy, I felt that – and it felt amazing. I'm dead and I just had the most amazing sex in my life! Fuck, it was better than that time with the twins and the whirlpool! It was even better than when –"

And he rambles on, but Sam isn't listening anymore, because the way Dean phrased that just then is bothering him. "You felt that?"

Dean rolls his eyes at him, indicating that Sam's being an idiot. "Hell yeah. Couldn't you tell?"

"No, I mean, you sounded like this was the first time you – weren't you feeling anything when –"

Dean never was as inscrutable as he liked to think. With that wide-eyed expression on his face, he might as well take out an ad announcing he's been caught out and is trying not to let on.

Clearly, Dean hadn't meant for Sam to know this. Hadn't thought it something Sam would want to know. And he'd been right.

"Aw, man." Sam drops his armful of equipment to the ground and sags against the car next to Dean. His body is still humming with content pleasure; there is a vague, fading imprint of Dean echoing in his mind, like the lingering ache of teeth or clutching fingers, but so much more real, so much more substantial.

He feels lower than the lowest slug.

Why has he never thought this through? He should have known. If he'd ever thought about it at all, he would have known. This wasn't Dean's body, it was merely a representation shaped by Dean's will. It didn't interact with physical reality as a human body would. Of course it didn't feel, didn't react to physical stimuli as a living body would, didn't feel sexual excitement – not in the physical sense...

"It's all good, Sam," Dean says. "I enjoyed –"

"You enjoyed it because I liked it," Sam interrupts. Dean shrugs, clearly not seeing the problem, and Sam sighs and runs a hand through his hair, pushing it out of his eyes. It's a new feeling for him, being an inconsiderate asshole. He doesn't like it. When did he turn into the guy who was too busy getting his rocks off to pay any attention to his lover?

God, he's the kind of guy they write dating manuals about, counselling girls – and boys – that they should say what they want and what they don't, and if they don't really want to they shouldn't agree to cavort in a tub of jello or hang upside down from the light fixtures or –

"Jeez, Sam. I can hear you angsting from here, you big dork."

"I just – you should have told me."

Dean's disgusted stare is eloquent, and Sam flushes and hangs his head a little. "Yeah, and I shouldn't have been a thoughtless ass."

"Dude!" Dean staggers back dramatically, hands raised in front of his chest. "I'm a guy! Don't get all sensitive and in touch with your inner woman around me!"

Sam snorts a little, amused in spite of himself. "Sorry. I can spit on the ground and grab my crotch if that makes it better."

That bags him villanously waggling eyebrows and a leer. "I got it covered, princess, especially the last bit. Just get the gear into that lump of junk you call a car and get us out of here."

So Sam collects his equipment again, tosses it in the back seat, and drives them back to the motel. Dean provides the soundtrack, blathering on about human sacrifice and various traditions of witchcraft and how Starbucks doesn't serve real coffee, and the really bad TV he was forced to watch last night because someone wouldn't change the channel.

In front of the motel room, Dean stops and turns to fix Sam with a baleful stare. "I hope you don't expect a goodnight kiss. Because yeah, you drove me home, and I had fun tonight and everything, but you still shouldn't have done that to my car, you fucker."




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