Author: Das Mervin and Mrs. Hyde
Betas: gehayi and kermit_thefrog
Genre: Hurt/Comfort, Family
Word Count: 5,260
Rating: R for language, themes, and sexuality (SLASH)
Spoilers: Through the SPN Season 6 finale
Summary: The writing was on the wall. And now Dean just had to understand it. Set vaguely post-Season 7.
Author’s Notes: First chapter from Dean’s POV now. Yes, he’s still being a bitch.
Disclaimer: “Supernatural” is the property of Kripke Enterprises and Warner Bros. Television, and no profit is being made from this work and no copyright infringement is intended.
PART III: DAZED AND CONFUSED
The sun was up, but the light was a pale, watery grey as it filtered through the overcast sky Dean could see out of the window from where he sat. Heaving a sigh, he reached forward, took another swig from the glass next to him, and then set it back right next to the mostly-empty bottle before returning to his list.
Oh yeah, he remembered her. He’d been twenty-four and had given the poltergeist in her house a very firm and permanent eviction. She’d been very grateful and had thanked him for it in all kinds of interesting ways. The most interesting one had definitely been that thing she did with her tongue.
He closed his eyes for a moment. Judith Masterson and her friend Susan Dyers. Jesus Christ, he was gonna get hard just thinkin’ about that one. They’d told him to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride and had he ever.
Theresa Webber. Mile-long legs and all black leather and teasing—given his line of work, he wasn’t one for being tied up, but even without restraints she’d shown him all new forms of domination that he’d never even imagined. Definitely a winner.
He drew in a breath through his nose, his hand gripping the glass tighter. He took another drink, and then steeled himself.
Dean’s head jerked involuntarily to the side when his mind immediately and (goddammit) eagerly jumped to—to then, and there was that damn prickly warm feeling in his gut and that quick thump in his chest—
He wished he wasn’t half-drunk now, because the whiskey didn’t burn as much anymore going down, and that sharp sensation would’ve snapped him back to reality and maybe some sense.
That was the fifth time. Fifth. Every single time, that happened. He—he didn’t even know how many women he’d been with, even though he remembered pretty much every one of them. And he’d been remembering them all night, and he’d been enjoying it! He’d even considered thinking about the ones that hurt the most—the ones that he’d not wanted to leave—just to see if the same thing would happen. But he didn’t, because not only did he not want to feel the familiar ache he always got when he thought too much about those few women, but he didn’t know what he’d do if…
He took another drink. The second bottle was still closed and on the table next to the first one, but if he kept this up, he’d probably be cracking it open shortly. He was frankly impressed he’d managed to draw the first one out all night. He supposed all of his pacing he’d done had had something to do with that.
It didn’t make any sense. Not one bit of this made any sense at all. Seventeen years of satisfying sex under his belt, and he’d not once wanted to—to go chase a guy. But more importantly, he still didn’t want to! He hadn’t just been thinking of women all night, oh no—he’d halfheartedly tried thinking about a few men that he knew chicks thought were sexy these days, and just the idea of getting it on with them was enough to make him shrivel up like a spider on a hot stove. He’d even tried imagining men that he’d admitted in the past to having a man-crush on: Robert Plant, young and in his prime, on stage singing “Travelin’ Riverside Blues” and working the crowd, and—nope. Not happening. Not even then. He’d kiss his feet, sure, but no way in hell he’d kiss his mouth, ‘cause he was a friggin’ dude.
And all of that added up to him doing what he’d done upstairs how?
He got up, agitated and jittery, and started pacing again. He supposed he should be tired—he hadn’t slept at all that he knew of, not really, aside from the couple of times at the kitchen table that he’d dozed off for ten or twenty minutes at a stretch. But he didn’t want to sleep—not until things started to make sense again, until he got himself back to that point where he knew what he liked and things were normal and it didn’t involve making out with that fucking angel!
Winchester, do not put those two words that close to each other in the same damn sentence, his brain snarled at him.
Dean spun on his heel after just a few circles of the library before returning to the kitchen and the bottle. He glared down at his empty glass before snatching it and pouring another shot of whiskey into it. But this time he went back to sipping at it, like he had been for most of the night. Keep it slow, Winchester. He didn’t want to be really drunk. He didn’t want to be drunk because he sometimes did crazy things when he was drunk, and so it was a really bad idea to be drunk within five-hundred yards of—
No. Dean refused to finish the thought.
Heaving a sigh, he leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees, his hands clasped together.
Okay. So he didn’t want to be drunk, and he didn’t want…dudes. So what did he want?
Oh, he knew what he wanted—he wanted to go upstairs and kick Cas’s ass in about ten ways from Sunday, because this was all his fucking fault.
He’d grabbed and tipped back the glass before he even realized it, drinking every bit of what was left in one go. He filled it up again but didn’t drink it immediately; instead, he just sat it down on the table in front of him, regarding it sullenly.
“Bit early, isn’t it?”
The string of obscenities that nearly escaped him was quite impressive, if he did say so himself, to the point that Dean was almost sorry he hadn’t let them loose. He glared over his shoulder at Sam, and he was on the verge of telling the bastard to stop sneaking up on him like that when he looked at him—really looked, and Sam just looked back.
Oh, fuck me.
He’d forgotten. Sam had seen. They’d both seen. And they knew.
He’d spent so much time thinking about women all night, he’d forgotten to think about Sam and Bobby.
Dean despised the heat he felt crawling up out of his collar, made worse because he knew Sam could see it, so he just glared hard at the fridge. Sam was moving to sit right across from him (sat right across from him and smirked at him, the bitch), but Dean refused to look at him, and he certainly wasn’t going to talk. No, he wasn’t going to give Sam that pleasure. He could stare at him all he wanted—
“So,” Sam said casually, “how is he?”
Oh, you little prick, I should break this bottle over your fucking head! Of course he’d just start right in on it, and in that patented passhole-aggresshole Sam Winchester fashion. He tried to give him a shut-up-if-you-don’t-want-your-face-brok
“He’s—” I am going to kill you, Sam, and I’m gonna do it slow. “Uh, he’s fine.” Well, maybe that was too strong a word for it. “Ish,” he added. “I guess.” And what the hell did Sam care, anyway? What, did he think he didn’t take care of him last night?
No, that nasty voice in his head sneered, he thinks you took real good care of him.
And almost as if Sam read his mind, he spoke again. “This going to be permanent?”
Dean’s head shot up, and that was it—he was going to let that asshole have it—
“This de-powered thing?” Sam added that on fast, but it was hardly reassuring. Just the opposite, actually—so he was gonna play with him, this was all a game. Oh, wasn’t that just his speed—ask a whole lot of misleading questions without ever asking what he really wanted to know and just waiting for Dean to blurt it out himself, and then Sam and Bobby would go off and laugh at him.
But Sam wasn’t finished—he was still talking. “He’s just gonna be one of us for good now?” he asked, his fingers drumming lightly against the table.
“How the hell should I know?” Dean snarled in return. What, did Sam figure that, because he and Cas were obviously all—that he just knew all about what was going on? Why did everyone always look at him when it came to Cas?!
Sam just kept feigning nonchalance. “You were the one who faced him down—” You dick! “I just thought you might know something we didn’t.”
Oh, I’ll bet you did. Jesus Christ, he’d had all night to dream up all kinds of shit about him…
“Yeah, well,” Dean growled, “I don’t!” They were always asking him. They needed to put in a call to Cas? He’s the one who had to do it. Cas got hurt? They ask Dean if he’s gonna be okay. Cas started making deals with fucking devils? They ask Dean what to do about it. Cas went nuts and tried to destroy the world? They asked Dean to go fix it. And now they were asking again, only this time it was different because it was worse—
“Quit staring at me!” he shouted. He could see Sam out of the corner of his eye, just sitting there and looking at him, thinking God knew what—why wouldn’t people stop fucking looking at him?!—so he abruptly swung his head around so that the little prick could just look him in the eye like a man just in time to see Sam’s eyebrows go up as he blinked at him, and Dean had to go back to staring at the tabletop.
There was a pause. “I’m not?” Sam said, acting all innocent, the liar—was he actually going to try that, as if Dean hadn’t felt his beady little eyes on him this whole time?
Sam didn’t say anything else, which left nothing but that horrible, tense silence between them and Dean couldn’t stand it—he couldn’t stand just having Sam sit there making all kinds of sick assumptions and looking at him and—
“Well, then don’t just sit there!” he barked. “Say something, dammit!” He glared at Sam full-on as he said it, and just seeing his face was enough to get him on his feet, all but kicking his chair back and turning away to fume helplessly out the window, because he really didn’t want to hear anything Sam had to say about him, but he couldn’t stand the judgy silence, either!
Dean was so preoccupied thinking of all the ways to tell the world at large that it could go to hell that he almost didn’t hear when Sam started talking again. “What do you want me to say, Dean?” he said, with that stupid patronizing patience, and Dean had a good mind to start whaling on him for it.
He kept staring out the window. Oh, I don’t know, he thought snidely to himself. How about anything but that? Maybe Sam could say how awesome he was for saving the goddamn world last night, or maybe say how nice it was that they were all alive, but no, he just wanted to talk about gay, but he knew Dean would throw him out the window if he was the one to bring it up, so he waited around for Dean to do it, the little shit.
So he skipped all of that and settled for just telling Sam to stop with his stupid fucking needling. “I want you to quit pretending like—” The words caught in his throat, but he swallowed and sucked in a breath. “Like you—like you didn’t see that,” he snarled, “last night.”
There. Happy now? he growled internally. The little pissant never would just come out and say what he wanted it, no, Sam always had to pick and tease and hint until Dean finally just did it for him, so now—
“I’m not pretending anything,” Sam shrugged. “I saw.”
Dean’s jaw tightened, his fists clenching. “And?” he ground out. Jesus, for once can’t you just say it, Sammy? Why does it always have to be me?!
“And…” Dean sucked in a breath at Sam’s voice, barely aware that he was even holding it, waiting for what he knew was coming.
He heard Sam shift in his seat. “Nothing,” he finished simply.
Fury exploded in Dean’s midsection. That rotten bastard sat there and stared at him and made him say all of that and then that was all he had to say?!
“No!” he bellowed, whipping around only to see Sam with that exact same patient expression plastered all over his face. “It’s not nothing! I’m—”
But he couldn’t even say what he was, because he didn’t know what he was, didn’t know what any of this was, so he couldn’t even properly give Sam what for for assuming whatever he was assuming about it.
“Son of a bitch!” he shouted, going back to staring out the window, because anything was better than having to look his brother in the eye.
This was obscene. This was ridiculous, it was infuriating, it was embarrassing, and he just—he didn’t know what he wanted (except to kill Cas—and Sam too, while he was at it). All he wanted was sense and reason, but nope, he couldn’t have that, because he was Dean Winchester, and Dean Winchester couldn’t have fucking anything!
They were both still silent, the only noise in the kitchen coming from the dripping sink. Dean just glowered out at the overcast sky and did his best to ignore the eyes he could feel on him.
“Dean,” Sam finally sighed, and Dean’s back went rigid because he knew that tone, “I really don’t see what the problem is.”
Dean whirled back around fast; he wasn’t gonna let Sam get away with that one, ‘cause now he was just being an idiot. “Really?” Dean demanded sardonically. “You don’t see the problem?” Sam just minutely shrugged at him, obviously about to talk again, so Dean spoke over him. “Well, I do,” he snarled. He struggled for a moment, and then everything that was wrong with the whole world right now just burst out of him with: “I like pussy, goddammit!”
It didn’t really matter that even he thought that sounded pretty stupid; what mattered is that he saw that—he saw the way Sam’s face went wooden and overly-serious like it always did when he was holding back laughter. He hoped Sam was thanking his lucky stars right now because if he had actually laughed, Dean would have relocated his pointy nose to the other side of his head. As it was, he was considering doing it anyway just on general principle.
They sat for a few moments, Sam staying quiet and composed while Dean quivered with outrage until finally, Sam nodded a few times at him, his eyes on the table. “Okay, that’s fine,” he said deliberately. “That’s great. You like pussy.” Sam looked up, and for one long second, they stared at each other, Sam holding his gaze like no one else could, making him look at him. “And you like Cas.”
Thinking back on it later, Dean still wasn’t all that sure which part had stunned him more—the fact that Sam had just come out and said that…or the fact that he was right.
He just stood there, frozen in blank confusion. Part of him was royally pissed, because that was not something Sam could just say—that was not something anyone could say out loud. But the other part was just completely flabbergasted.
You like pussy. And you like Cas.
He didn’t like dudes. He liked women. He still liked women. He hadn’t spontaneously decided to start batting for the other team.
How did that even work? Was it even possible?
Well, clearly, came the immediate response in his head. Because he loved sex with beautiful women—and he—he liked Cas. Just like Sam had said.
It didn’t make sense, except for how it did, and Dean hated it. He stared out the window without seeing anything outside before turning back to Sam. “And—what?” he growled, tossing a hand up in irritation. “That’s it?” he demanded. Because there was no way that could be it. It was impossible for that to be it. He glowered at his brother. “That’s all you have to say?”
Sam was looking exasperated. “Dean,” he sighed, “I don’t know what you want me to say.”
Well, I didn’t want you to say what you did say, Dean thought irritably.
Sam was still talking. “You want me to try and talk you out of it?” he asked dryly. Before Dean could say that perhaps that might be a good idea, he kept going. “To give you some Chick Tracts? Or—” He flapped a hand, obviously casting about, and of all things he finally decided on: “Or light some candles so we can pray to the Mother Goddess?”
Dean could not believe his brother had just said that, and he knew his face made his feelings quite clear on it. Oh, I think we know who’s the queermo, here, Sammy. Sam clearly saw his reaction, but he just flapped at him again. “It sounds like you’re the one having trouble, Dean,” he said.
The words about how no shit he was having trouble were in his throat when Sam spoke again. “I’m fine with it,” he shrugged. “Really.”
Dean worked his jaw for a moment. “How in the hell are you just ‘fine with it’, Sammy?” he ground out. This was not something to be fine with! It was weird and it was all wrong and it didn’t make any fucking sense and—and goddammit, it was Cas!
But that little punk just rolled his eyes and drawled, “Dean, did you forget that I went to college in Stanford? In San Francisco, California? America’s Bowl of Granola? The Pride Lands?” Dean knew exactly where he was going with this and was already bristling when he continued. “Dude, half the population of that place was so flamingly gay that they made Liberace look subtle.”
Dean was halfway through the step that would get him well on his way to his fist making contact with Sammy’s face for using that word, but Sam completely ignored him and just kept talking, which kept him in his spot. “After living there for four years,” he said, “believe me, I’m not going to be bothered by what you do on your own time with one guy.” Dean flailed a little, trying to figure out some way to refute that accusation, because dammit, they didn’t do anything—except they kinda had, but—dammit!
Sam was still going on. “Who, if you think about it,” he mused, in what was obviously supposed to be a reassuring tone, “since he was an angel? May not technically be a ‘guy’ anyway.”
Dean threw a scornful look at Sam. “The hell he’s not—” he sneered derisively, because what kind of a comfort was that supposed to be—
—and then he realized exactly what he’d just said and what it sounded like and Sam was looking all grossed out and Dean felt his face go hot and he couldn’t look at him again.
“Okay,” Sam said delicately as Dean flumped back into his chair and tried to will the blood to leak back out of his face. “See? Now that was too much information, Dean.”
Fuck you, he thought sullenly to himself. He saw Sam messing around on the table and with his whiskey out of the corner of his eye, but didn’t pay much attention to him because he was far too busy trying to figure out how things had been so very uncomplicated twelve hours ago—and that wasn’t fair because twelve hours ago he’d been marching forward with the sole intention to kill Cas or die trying.
Of course, when had things ever been simple with that little twerp? But did he have to drag him into all of his ridiculous complications?!
Movement across from him made him look up again; Sam had a glass of whiskey and was pointing it at him. “Seriously, though, whatever you want to do is your business,” he said simply, raising his drink to his lips. “Just so long as you keep it your business.” Sam smirked at him over the rim of his glass. “For a change.”
Dean eyed him sourly. “And what is that supposed to mean?”
Sam stared at him like he was an idiot. “Uh, maybe that you’re an exhibitionist along with being a voyeur?”
Dean spluttered indignantly, which only made Sam’s bitchy little smirk get wider. “Don’t try to deny it,” he said smugly. “I’ve seen more of you than I have ever wanted to, and in positions that still haunt my dreams. Sometimes, I think I’ve seen more of your sex life than my own.”
The only reason for that was because Sam didn’t have a sex life, and Dean was gonna tell him so, right after he defended his own honor. “That’s bullshit. Name one time you’ve seen me,” he demanded.
Sam just laughed in his face. “One?” he crowed. “Is that all?”
Dean was rather irritated to learn that was apparently not quite as circumspect in his dalliances as he’d thought (and that his brother was a peeping tom). He was at least somewhat vindicated to find out that Jenn Morris’s rat-faced little brother had in fact needed to be whacked upside the head a few times, but was now very sorry he hadn’t given into his urge to do so back when he’d had the chance. But really, at this point, all he wanted to do was whack his own rat-faced little brother upside the head a few times, if for no other reason than to wipe that smug grin off his face—because his ass was not pasty, thank you very much.
He tensed a little when Sam’s expression suddenly softened a little and he leaned forward, setting his empty glass down deliberately in front of them. “Dean, we’ve seen what the end of the world is like,” he said. He paused, smiling a bit. “And this isn’t it.”
Easy for you to say, you’re not the one who—Dean dropped his gaze, his face heating up again, and looked down at his hands clasped between his knees. Sam didn’t continue, just sat there rattling his empty glass on the tabletop, which left Dean with nothing to do but ponder his situation.
Situation indeed. He was angry, frustrated, grossed out, embarrassed, confused, and still wanted to kick Cas’s ass for all this. He hated that Bobby and Sam knew, had seen that…last night (the one time Dean most emphatically wished he had not been caught, of course). And he still wasn’t sure how it worked, that he could go for all of his life enjoying the company of women and enjoying the bodies of women and even having a few serious relationships with women, and yet somehow wind up…liking…Cas.
But Sam was right.
Either way, he did…like Cas.
And…it wasn’t the end of the world.
He managed to look back up at his brother, who was regarding him with steady patience, who hadn’t laughed at him once. “Then…” He licked his lips. “That’s it?”
“Don’t see why not,” Sam shrugged, and Dean couldn’t quite understand how he could see it that way, but all he could do was try. Sam’s mouth twisted a little. “It’s…kinda weird, maybe,” he added.
Weird does not even begin to describe this, Sammy, Dean thought wryly, considering having another drink just from thinking too much about it. He glanced up when Sam spoke again. “But it’s not gonna send me screaming into the night or anything.” Sam stared at him, that look he always got when he wanted Dean to listen to him—to really listen. “You’re still my brother.”
It really was quite frustrating (and very awkward—and embarrassing) that Dean only just now realized how much he had been afraid of his brother’s mockery and condemnation until he went and said something like that. Damn that little squirt, anyway.
“Besides,” Sam suddenly said, “not to, ah…belittle your accomplishment or anything—” Dean scowled horribly at the tabletop, “—but I think I’ve got you beat.” When he looked back up at Sammy, he was smirking again. “I’ve shacked up with much, much worse than you ever have.”
Okay, that got him. He snorted once, and then gave in and reached over for the last of his drink. After draining it, he went back to staring out the window.
All he’d wanted were sense and reason—he hadn’t really gotten either, but he supposed what he did have was close enough.
He could live with that.
Glancing furtively over at Sammy, he saw his little brother just sitting across from him looking completely at ease with everything, as if everything they’d just talked over was the most normal thing on the planet, and so said the only thing he could: “Thanks, Sammy.”
And his brother just smiled at him, said, “No problem,” and left it at that.
The moment broke when Bobby suddenly appeared out of nowhere, as he usually did, the sneaky bastard. He just nodded at Sam, but then gave Dean a speculative look that he didn’t like one bit.
“You two lovebirds finally get yourselves sorted out?” he said bluntly, and Dean nearly choked while Sam just laughed at him before inviting Bobby over for a drink. He glared ineffectually at the old turd, doubly furious that he couldn’t think of any kind of snappy retort.
Unfortunately, it only got worse when he declined Sam’s offer, saying he’d already gotten a head start on his liver-pickling in the basement.
“Oh—I thought you were still asleep,” Sam replied.
Bobby just rolled his eyes and jerked his head at Dean. “Are you kidding?” he scoffed, and Dean knew what he was going to say one second before he said it but even knowing couldn’t prepare him for it: “Ain’t nobody sleeping on that side of the house tonight.”
And then Sam just encouraged him, laughing and adding his two cents worth, and Dean was just frozen, his face burning so hot he thought it might’ve caught on fire, because that wasn’t fucking funny! He couldn’t decide if he wanted to start shouting at them or start throwing punches or maybe just run away—and he wasn’t above running away, either, ‘cause if he punched them, the two sorry sons of bitches would just take it as confirmation, but he couldn’t yell at them and deny it, either, because they hadn’t been just talking, oh no, because Cas had gotten all touchy-feely and—
“Oh,” Sam said quietly. “Hey, Cas.”
Oh, shit. Now the funhouse of horror was complete. Dean felt his spine go rigid the same time his stomach clenched, and even though he so didn’t want to, he couldn’t help it—he looked, just like the other two did.
And there he was. Bobby must’ve done laundry in the night, because Cas was dressed in his dorky suit and trench coat again, and they were no longer splattered with mud and blood even though they were ragged and torn now. He didn’t have the angelic dry-cleaning and instant repair services anymore, after all, and apparently taking a cosmic plunger to him and uncorking all those souls had been a lot rougher on him than just banishing himself to Louisiana. Some dim part of Dean’s brain knew they’d eventually have to get Cas some new clothes at some point, and that same part of him adamantly refused to be the one to do it.
“Hello,” Cas mumbled, staring pitifully at the floor between the occasional timid glances up at everyone there.
“Come have a seat?” Sam said, and Dean could tell he was forcing his voice to sound casual, and he didn’t know if he should be grateful on Cas’s behalf or pissed on his own.
Dean looked away but still listened to Cas come shuffling into the room; Dean was now very thankful that Bobby had decided to sit next to him, because that meant that Cas couldn’t. He stared very studiously into his glass at the few dregs of whiskey in the bottom as Cas pulled out a chair with a loud scrape and sat down, saying nothing. Dean didn’t know what Cas was doing in the uncomfortable silence, and he really didn’t care so long as he wasn’t looking at him again.
“You okay, kid?” That was Bobby; his voice was rough and cautious and still a bit closed, but the words were friendly enough all the same.
“I—” Dean stared even harder at his glass when Cas finally spoke, sounding tired and small. There was silence for a moment, and then he finally finished his sentence. “I am…getting by.”
He wasn’t kidding—he was gonna kill Cas.
He ignored Sam’s reassurances to the ex-angel, just kept staring forcefully at the table because the table didn’t have any feelings for him. The table didn’t sigh soppily at him and think he was the most wonderful thing in the world. The table didn’t hang all over him and try to cuddle with him. The table didn’t kiss him.
The table wasn’t staring at him.
He knew he was. He knew Cas was staring at him, and this wasn’t a figment of his imagination because he could feel it—really feel it this time. He could always feel Cas’s gaze, because it made him itch and made him edgy. And he could tell it was that gaze, the one he’d given him all night last night, and goddammit, where did he get off doing that in front of Sammy and Bobby?! They’d already gotten enough ideas; Cas didn’t need to go give them more!
Sucking in a breath, he steeled himself and glanced up—and looked right at Cas, meeting his eyes immediately. Yep, he was doing it again, and it was awful and obvious and everyone could see it and for the love of God, why did his gut have to twist like that?
“Breakfast?” Bobby suddenly said, nearly making Dean leap out of his seat. But at least it gave him an excuse to stop looking at Cas—not that it mattered; Cas glanced furtively over at Bobby the moment he spoke.
“Sounds good,” Sam agreed. He nudged Cas with his elbow. “You’re probably starving.”
Dean didn’t wait around for Cas’s answer, instead rising to his feet and coughing uncomfortably. “I’m not,” he said a little too loudly. “I, uh—I’m gonna go out. Work on the car.”
He felt like an idiot, but didn’t bother waiting for anybody to talk to him and just went charging out of the kitchen, keeping his head down and his gaze away from everyone else—and quickening his pace at the prickling feeling between his shoulder blades that could only be the pressure of an intense stare on his back as he left.
Seriously. Kill him a lot.
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