So Much Left to Learn (no one left to fight) by bloodwrites

Chapters: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Chapter 1

"I don't think he's coming back, Sammy."

There might have been a time Sam would have cried when Dean said that. There might have been a time he would have reacted at all.

But while Dean's heart feels like it's going to explode, and he's having to blink back tears, Sam just nods. Shrugs. "So he's dead," he says, and it's not even a question. "Dad's dead."

Three weeks since he answered his phone, gone a month when he said he'd be back in a week. "Probably," Dean says, and he hopes Sam can't hear the way his voice falls to pieces at the end of the word. "We have to assume—"

"Yeah." Sam lifts his head, pushes himself up, hands on his knees as he sits on the edge of a sagging motel bed. "So what do we do?"

Dean sucks air in through his nose, puts his hands on his knees, unconsciously mimicking Sam's posture, and then he lets his breath out slow. "Get out of this shit hole, for a start. Move on."

Finally, Sam has an expression. There's almost panic in his eyes, a crease of worry between his brows. "Why?"

"It's what we do, Sammy. I'm bored out of my mind. I still can't believe Dad made me stay behind."

Sam lifts his chin, and stares at Dean, wide eyed. "Maybe he knew he wasn't coming back, you ever think that?"

"You think he abandoned us, Sammy?"

Sam shakes his head. "No. But maybe it was too dangerous. Maybe he was protecting us. Keeping us alive."

Dean drops his eyes to the floor, shakes his head. "Nah. He was protecting you. Making sure I was still around to watch out for you."

"I'm not a baby any more, Dean."

"You're fifteen, Sammy. I'm not just gonna leave you behind."

"Then stay." Sam drops back down onto his elbows, scrubs his hands over his face and then lifts his head. "We'll get a place, stop living in crappy motels. You could get a real job, I could finish school here, then—"

"You mean stop hunting?"

"Why not? Who says we have to hunt for the rest of our lives?"

Dean lifts his eyes to the ceiling, fights the manic laughter that threatens to burst forth. "We know what's out there, Sam. We can't just ignore it."

"I can."

Dean stares him down. "I can't."

Sam sighs. "Fine, then. Hunt. But can't you do it local and have a normal life as well? Can't we stay?" He drops his head back. "Never mind. I could go stay with Uncle Bobby. Finish school in Sioux Falls."

"No." Dean shakes his head, because something about that smacks of wrong. "You're my responsibility, Sam. You're staying with me."

Sam lifts his head, looks right at Dean and smiles. There's something cunning about it. "Then we stay here."

Dean can't say that this version of normal isn't working for him, at least on some level. The crappy two bedroom house they rent in the crappy part of town isn't much of a step up from the seedy motels they grew up in, and it takes a while to start calling it home, but he only needs to see Sam's face when he gets in the door to make it all worth while.

It's not like he's going to start mowing lawns or erecting white picket fences or anything, but he can live with the lack of stress lines on the kid's face.

Today he comes in, just like every other day, dumps his books on the kitchen table and heads for the fridge. Dean cringes.

Sam slams the fridge door shut. There's no point pulling anything out, because it's empty. "I thought you were going to the store."

Dean's always been shit with money. Sam was twelve when their dad started giving it to him instead of Dean when he had to go away on a job, but now Dean's getting a legitimate wage and there's no one to take it off him. "Shit, Sammy. About that."

Sam slumps down onto a chair, across the table from where Dean's sitting with his feet up. "What did you do?"

"You know how the Impala's been making that funny noise? I figured out that she needs a part, and then I was gonna go play some pool to get the money I needed and—"

"You got hustled." Sam groans and drops his head onto the table. "Jesus, Dean."

Dean reaches into his pocket, pulls out about eight bucks in change and dumps it onto the table. "Go get yourself a burger, Sammy. I'll figure something out. Maybe pawn one of the guns, or something."

Sam lifts his head and stares at the coins on the table. Then he scoops them up. "Okay, Dean. Nothing illegal, okay? We've gotta live here, now. We can't just pack up and run with the cops on our ass."

There's no way Dean's pawning any of the guns. Dad didn't leave them with much, and when Dean looks at the guns they do have, a sawed off shotgun, and a couple of handguns, he decides he's not going to pawn any of them. They need them all, more, if Dean's going to keep hunting, even local. It'll set a precedent, and they'll end up with nothing.

So he goes out again, finds a different bar, and he looks longingly at the tables while he figures out what on earth he can do to make some quick cash. He's got ten bucks in his pocket, and he's slapped less down before, but he's always had something to follow it up with. He'll have to go in to win, the first game, and then this place will be no good to him anymore. Not for this, anyway. Small town bars tend to remember the winners, and no one will put down the kind of cash he needs if they expect to lose.

But at least he can double it. Walk away from here with twenty bucks, and get enough at the store to feed his kid brother until the next time he gets paid.

So he watches for a while, and then, when he sees an opening, a guy looking for an opponent that Dean has been watching and is sure he can beat, he goes for it.

About half way through the game, he realizes the guy is watching him right back. He's not too careful about letting Dean see him do it, either, letting his eyes linger just a split second too long as Dean takes his shots.

Dean's being hustled again, but it doesn't matter, because ten bucks is chump change, and this guy is playing to lose.

So with twenty bucks in his pocket, he walks away.

The guy catches up with him before he gets out the door. "You're not even gonna give me a chance to redeem myself?" he asks. "Come on, kid. Give me a break."

Dean turns, walks backward with a smile on his face. "Sorry, man." He stops, and puts his hands in his pockets. "I know what you're doing. But I need this money."

The guy is taller than Dean, older. Maybe thirty. He looks Dean up and down again, but this time it's more curiosity than evaluation. "I'm Ethan," he says.

Getting beaten in the last bar still stings. "Dean," he says. "But I can't risk you kicking my ass."

Ethan tips his head to the side and studies Dean through narrow eyes. "No risk, then. Give me another game, and if you win, double your money. If I win?" He grins, maybe even blushes a little. "You keep your twenty bucks."

"What? Why the hell would you do that?"

The guy shrugs, a slow, fluid movement as he shoves his hands deep in his pockets. His eyes drift away, over the noise and movement of the crowded bar. "You gonna let me play with myself?"

It doesn't make any sense. The table they were on is already occupied. There's plenty of other people this guy could play pool with, if that's all he's after.

"Come on, Dean. It's easy money, the way you play."

That, at least, if the guy isn't playing him for a sucker, is the truth. "Table's gone," he says.

Ethan grins and grabs Dean by the elbow. "Come on. We'll have a beer while we wait for it to free up."

Dean's too surprised to say no.

Ethan gets them both a beer, passes a fifty over the bar before Dean has a chance to protest, and drags him back to the pool tables. Mostly, they just run commentary on the game that's happening on their table, Ethan doesn't ask him anything about himself, and Dean doesn't offer.

Ethan's eyes are on Dean more often than they are on the game, though. It feels a little like being face to face with something that wants to eat him, and Dean's instincts kick up a notch. There's no way this guy is innocent, no way he just wants to play pool.

There's something else going on here, and Dean's going to figure it out. He watches Ethan right back.

He looks pretty normal, but looks can be deceiving. The guy has dark hair, almost black, a hint of a curl. His eyes seem to always hold a kind of guarded expression, like he doesn't trust easy.

When Ethan goes back to the bar, Dean doesn't take his eyes off his second beer from when the bartender pops the cap off until it's in his hands.

The game itself is just like the last. Ethan watches him, and Dean watches Ethan, and again, it's like the guy is playing to lose.

So when it's over, and Dean stuffs the offered twenty right down deep into his pocket, Dean throws the dregs of his beer down his throat and holds his hand up, palm flat over the mouth of the bottle when Ethan takes the empty off him. "Nah, man. Thanks, but I gotta go."

Ethan's face falls, like Dean killed his puppy or something. Dean wants to laugh, but he keeps it in. He can't hold back a smile, though, as he looks toward the door.

"Yeah," Ethan says, and there's something in his voice. A quiet and curious realization, perhaps, and Dean has no clue what it means. "I should probably call it a night, too." He schools his features blank, and he nods at the bartender, and he heads for the door.

Dean's immediately alert and on his guard. He takes a good look at the bartender, a pretty blonde, and she stares right back at him. Then he turns his attention back to Ethan, and he follows him out of the bar.

There's a knife in his boot, but he left the gun at home. He can take this guy, though, if he tries anything. He's no monster, and Dean doesn't know what he's planning, whether he thinks Dean's bluffing and has more than forty bucks on him or something else. But Dean can take him.

Ethan's waiting for him, right on the edge of the shadows outside the bar. He lifts his head, makes eye contact, and then he fades into the darkness.

Dean could walk away. Hell, he could call the cops. He doesn't do either of those things. His curiosity is killing him, so he follows.

There's an alley between the bar and the next building, wide enough to get a delivery truck down the back. There's a couple cars parked in here now, and Dean slips between someone's shiny new Toyota and the brick wall. He hasn't gone for his knife, because Ethan's not a monster, and Dean can get off a punch if he needs to.

His heart is pounding, but he keeps his breath under control. He's careful, silent, waits for his eyes to adjust to the darkness before rushing in.

Slowly, the outline of a man appears. He's not gone far, and he's leaning up against the door of the Toyota. He's relaxed, shoulders back, hips jutting out. And he's watching Dean.

Dean stops, frozen. One of Ethan's hands is pressed flat to the car door. In the other...

A set of keys. Something churns deep down in Dean's stomach as Ethan presses a button, and the lights come on in the car as the doors unlock.

"Shall we get out of here?" Ethan asks. All the uncertainty is gone from his voice. It's lowered an octave, gone sure and a little husky.

"Oh, crap," Dean breathes. He's stunned, shocked still. Like a deer in headlights. Right before it becomes roadkill.

"God," Ethan says, "You're beautiful." He pushes away from the car, steps right up to Dean before he can move, reaching out. His hand comes down on Dean's cheek, and Dean backs up against the wall, still so surprised he doesn't know what to do. And then he leans down, brings his face really close to Dean's.

Dean can smell him, a kind of warm, clean masculinity that he doesn't find in the least abhorrent. "Wait," he stammers, and it's ridiculous. Dean came down here ready to knock the guy out. He's a hunter. He can defend himself against ghosts, werewolves, anything. "Stop."

Ethan stops. He doesn't pull his hand away, doesn't step back. He just freezes, looks down at Dean with a question in his eyes.

Dean turns his head away. "I'm... Oh god." He shakes it off, slides out from between Ethan and the wall. "Sorry, man. You got it all wrong. I'm not..." He looks back, just a glance, and Ethan's face is expressive, like everything he's feeling is right there on the surface, and the horror, the shock, and maybe a little fear, is showing. "I don't know how I didn't..." The way Ethan was watching him all night, his eyes on Dean when he bent over the table, Ethan practically begging Dean for another game, buying him drinks. "I'm really sorry."

Dean starts to walk away.

"You've been watching me since the moment you walked in tonight," Ethan says, calling out after him. "You approached me."

Dean stops, but he doesn't turn around. His fingers play at the seam of the hood of Ethan's car, his eyes noting the pale blue shimmer of the silver paint at the edge of the overhead lights, before it's blocked by the corner of the building. It's almost exactly the same blue as Ethan's eyes, and how does Dean even know that? "I figured I could beat you. I really needed the money." Dean's never going to be able to come back to this bar. He's horrified.

"What for?" Ethan asks. "What do you need the money for?"

Dean turns his head enough to look over his shoulder. "I'm a screw up," he says, and then turns fully to face Ethan. "I got a kid brother at home and no food in the house because I'm a goddamn idiot and lost all the food money and I don't even know you so I don't know why I'm telling you." He drops his eyes to the pavement, shakes his head. "And I read you wrong. I'm sorry."

He turns to go again, rolls his eyes at the footsteps behind him, and he expects the hand that grabs at his arm, so he doesn't lash out. "What?"

Ethan turns Dean to face him, then he drops his grip, and he reaches for something.

Dean reaches for the gun that's not tucked into the back of his jeans, stops when Ethan pulls his wallet out of his pocket.

"How much do you need?" Ethan says, as he opens his wallet.

Dean lifts his hands, palms forward. "No way, man."

Ethan shrugs, and he peels off three twenties, folds them deftly with his fingers, and he tries to hand them to Dean.

Dean takes a step back. "I can't just take your money."

Ethan's quicker this time, moves around into the light, and Dean turns to face him, but only succeeds in letting himself get crowded up against the hood of Ethan's car, and he feels very exposed, and his hands are still up, so he can't stop Ethan when he shoves the roll of bills into his front jeans pocket.

"I read you wrong, too, Dean. I'm sorry about that. But I had a good time with you. And I want to help. Call it a loan if you want. Pay me back when you can. I'm here most nights."

Dean left the house with ten bucks in his pocket, and he's going back with a hundred. Sam eats a lot, he's growing like a weed, and now Dean won't have to watch him eke tiny meals out until Dean gets paid again. Dean won't have to go hungry just so Sam can eat.

A rush of emotion sweeps over him, chokes him up. He wants to say thank you, but the words won't come. He doesn't see what he's going to do until he does it, reaching up on his toes, pressing his lips to Ethan's mouth, and he pours all his gratitude into it, lingering past the moment he realizes he's kissing a dude under the lights of a parking lot outside a bar in a small, conservative town.

He's gasping when he pulls back. Stops just long enough to say "thanks, I will," and then he practically runs across the lot to the car.

As he pulls out, he looks back. Ethan is still standing there under the lights, watching Dean go.

Sam's doing homework on the kitchen table when Dean gets in. He dumps the carrier bags down beside the fridge, fishes the few bills out of his pocket that was left over, and gives it straight to Sam. "It won't happen again," he says, and then, "You okay out here? I'm thinking about hitting the hay."

"Yeah, sure," Sam says, looking up at him, then down at the bags, a crease between his brows. "I'll put that away, you get some sleep."

Dean smiles gratefully, and heads for his room.

He needs to think.

Chapter 2

It's three weeks before Dean goes back to the bar.

When Sam looks after their money, even the shitty wages Dean makes as a kid with no experience sweeping the floor at the local mechanics shop, stretches to fit their needs. The Impala is still making a funny noise, and she still needs that part, but she's running okay for now. It still takes him a couple weeks to scrape together the money Ethan gave him.

The money isn't the only reason he goes back.

Dean's not stupid. It's curiosity, plain and simple. He kissed a guy, and he's never even considered doing anything like that before. Okay, so he was sort of overcome with gratitude and wasn't thinking, but he thinks it's kind of telling that his subconscious responded with a kiss rather than, for example, shaking the man's hand to say thank you.

Then there's the fact that he liked it.

He's admitted that, at least to himself. It's been hard not to when he's spent every single night since lying awake in the dark with his fingers pressed to his lips, still feeling the ghost of Ethan's full, warm mouth.

He walks into the bar, and he's got enough on him to play a little pool, or maybe get a couple beers if the bartender doesn't ID him.

He spots Ethan straight away. He stands by the door and stares at the man across the room.

Ethan has blue eyes, and long lashes, but that isn't evident from this distance, so Dean must remember, he must have noticed. He's tall, long-limbed and slender, but with muscle that seems to be natural. It's not the kind of muscle that comes from long hours in the gym, and it doesn't come from fighting, either.

Jesus Christ. He's hot. Dean's never thought of a guy as hot before, but this guy? Definitely hot.

Ethan looks up, like he can feel Dean watching him, beams when he sees Dean, pushes through the scattered groups of people to reach him. "Dean," he says. "Hi." He's a little breathless, like he ran further than just across the room.

Dean looks up, schools his face blank. Then he puts his hand in his pocket, and he pulls out a roll of twenties, hands it over. "There's eighty there," he says. "I figure I won the first ten fair and square. But thanks. You really saved my ass."

"You're welcome." Ethan looks down at the money in his hands, then he peels one of the twenties off, tries to hand it back. "But you won this, too."

Dean shakes his head. "That bet wasn't fair." He shoves his hands deep in his pockets."

Ethan slowly grins, and he shakes his head slowly from side to side. "Okay. But let me buy you a drink." He jerks his head toward an unoccupied pool table. "A game, maybe? Friendly. No stakes."

Dean lets out a breath he's been holding since he walked in the door. He nods. "Okay."

Dean wipes the floor with him every time. "Stop letting me win, asshole," Dean says, as he drains his fourth beer.

Ethan laughs, shakes his head. "I'm not, I swear. You're really good. Who taught you to play?"

Dean feels like he's been punched in the gut. He coughs, and puts the empty bottle down on the table behind him. "My dad," he says, and then shakes his head, drops his eyes. The message is, don't ask, I don't want to talk about it, and it gets through, because Ethan's face falls.

Dean uses that as an excuse. He glances at his watch, and Sam is probably still up doing homework, and he's pretty sure no high school kid actually gets as much homework as Sam does, but hey, whatever makes the kid happy. "I should get going," he says. "My brother."

Ethan nods, and puts his half empty beer down. "You need a lift? I hope you're not driving. I'm sorry, I should have checked."

Dean shakes his head. "I walked. And I'm good. It's not far and I can take care of myself."

"I don't doubt it." The way Ethan looks at him almost hurts, it's so intense. Like hunger, but something softer. "At least let me walk you out."

Dean nods, and heads for the door.

The air is cool and fresh, clears Dean's head of the slight spin that is all four beers gives him these days. It's replaced with a kind of giddy nerves, as the quiet of outside makes him even more aware of the man walking next to him.

They reach the edge of the parking lot, and Dean stops right before he steps over the grass verge and onto the pavement. He doesn't say anything, doesn't even look up. His heart is pounding, and his palms are slick with sweat, and he came here for a reason but he can't make himself say it out loud.

"You sure you're okay?" Ethan asks.

Dean takes a deep breath, lets it out real slow and noisy. He starts to shake his head, and then stops, just lifts his eyes. Something twists, deep down low in his belly.

Ethan smiles. "Tell me what you're thinking, Dean."

Dean swallows hard, shakes his head. "I am way out of my depth, man."

"Do you need help, Dean?"

"What?" Dean narrows his eyes, shakes his head. "What?"

"Where are your parents?"

Dean lifts an eyebrow, feels his hackles rise. "They're gone. But I am plenty old enough to look out for my brother, and no one, not you, not anyone, is gonna take that kid away from—"

"Okay," Ethan says, holding his hands out in front of him, palms forward. "So this isn't about that. I just had to make sure. I don't know if I trust my own instincts about you, after the other night." Ethan comes a little closer, lowers his voice. "So I'm just gonna ask. Is it me?"

Dean can smell him again. Can feel the heat of his body. He could reach out and touch, if he wanted, and he can't breathe because he doesn't know what he's supposed to do about it. "Yeah," he says, and his voice comes out barely louder than a whisper.

"Talk to me, Dean," Ethan says.

"Uh." Dean turns away, scuffs the toe of his boot against the grass growing over the curb. It doesn't work, because even when he's not looking he can still feel Ethan's presence. "This is crazy," he mutters. "Absolutely fucking batshit."

"Why? Because you're not gay?"

Dean whirls around, locks his eyes to Ethan's face. "Uh, yeah?" He gets up close, leans forward and drops his voice. "Definitely not gay, but... I kissed you. And I stuck around tonight, even though I should have left after paying you back. I'm still trying to figure out what the hell that means."

Ethan lifts an eyebrow, bites his lip and swallows hard. He doesn't say anything, just waits.

Dean lets his breath out in a huff. "I liked it. It felt good." He falls back, walks into someone's car, leans on it. "Jesus."

"Dean." Ethan takes a step forward, and then stops. "I liked it, too. I like you."

Dean looks up. He trusts this guy. Dean doesn't trust anyone, except Sam. Truthfully, doesn't even trust his father, should he still be alive, by some slim chance. But he trusts Ethan. "I want you to kiss me," he says, and his heart pounds hard enough he can hear it.

Ethan takes another step forward. Another. One at a time, until he's standing over Dean, and he's close enough that his breath warms Dean's face. "Are you sure?"

Still slumped against the car, Dean looks up, tugs on his lower lip with his teeth. "Fuck yeah," he says.

The first thing Dean realizes, is that Ethan's giving him plenty of time to change his mind. He comes in so slow that Dean actually lifts an eyebrow at him, as if to say 'hurry the fuck up, I'm not getting any younger here'.

Ethan grins, and then he comes the rest of the way.

He brushes his lips over Dean's at first, feather soft and then gone again. Dean can't help the little grunt of frustration at having it taken away again so soon, and Ethan grins, sucks his lower lip into his mouth, before coming back in.

That's more like it. It's just a kiss, nothing too dramatic about a kiss, Dean's had plenty of kisses. What he's not expecting is how different it would be.

For a start, he's used to being the one doing the kissing, and here he is, being passive, standing in the middle of a parking lot after dark and letting a man kiss him. And girls are soft, smooth. Ethan's lips are soft, but they're rough, and there's the rasp of stubble—Ethan's against Dean's, and Dean can hear it, and feel it, and it sends a tingle of excitement through him that shocks him with the direction it's taking.

He's not sure where to put his hands at first, settles on palms flat against Ethan's chest. There's hard muscle beneath his shirt, the rasp of a hairy chest. And this is so far from anything Dean's ever wanted before, ever thought about, but he tips his chin up and he opens his mouth, and goddammit, he kisses back.

Alright, that rush of excitement is just adrenaline, it's gotta be, like the middle of a fight, and the way his fingers claw at the front of Ethan's shirt is some kind of instinct related to that and the tiny moan he lets out is like when he grunts right before he punches a monster right in the face.

He ignores the way his dick twitches in his jeans, because sometimes that just happens, okay, and he tries not to think about it too much.

Dean had every intent and expectation of being the one to end this kiss. That intent flies out the window, gets lost, and doesn't come back to him until Ethan pulls away, holding Dean's face in his hands and peppering his lips with soft, quick pecks.

"You didn't hate that," Ethan says, as he takes a step back, putting space between them.

Dean's face burns. He drops his eyes away, tries to get his breathing under control, and shakes his head. "Nope."

"So. What now?"

But Dean's not done. It's hard to breathe, and his jeans are too tight, but if he walks away, he's not sure he's going to have the balls to come back. So he looks up, and he knows this, knows how to make this work. He smiles, lets it reach his eyes, and he lifts an eyebrow, and he scrapes his teeth over his lower lip.

Ethan closes the space between them, holds Dean's face in his hands again, but when he's barely an inch from Dean's lips, he pulls up short. "Am I reading this right?" he asks. "You want more?"

Dean just nods, as much as he can with Ethan's hands holding his face almost immobile.

And it's like Ethan has exhausted his limit of restraint when he comes in fast, holding Dean's face in his hands, kissing him hard. It's more like what Dean's used to, albeit on the other side, but he can identify with this, the raw, masculine desire that drives you to devour, to press your body against your partner's and push. Dean's pinned to a stranger's car door, can feel the panel give under their combined weight, and he doesn't care. His dick is hard, almost to the point of aching, and as much as he can, he presses back against Ethan's hard muscled thigh.

He gasps for lack of air when Ethan finally pulls back, but the euphoria doesn't fade.

"Come home with me," Ethan whispers.

Dean almost says yes. Almost. "Gotta get home," he says. "Kid brother."

Ethan lets out a breath, long and slow, then he steps back. "Right," he says. "But tell me I'll get to see you again."

"Definitely." Dean nods, emphatic. "But give me your number. I don't want to traumatize the kid." His face heats. "Not yet, anyway. Not until I've had a chance to break it to him gently." He drops his head down onto Ethan's shoulder, breathes out in a huff. "'Cause this is crazy."

"It's not so crazy, Dean." He pulls a scrap of paper out of his back pocket, a pen, scrawls his number. "But you go home. Look out for your brother." He steps back.

Dean nods, smiles up at him, and he starts to walk away. He's got to step around his dick, trapped uncomfortably inside his jeans.

Dean leaves it, like, a day, before he calls. Waits till Sam is out of the house, gone to the library.

It feels weird. Like he's on the other end of this, on the other side. Girls rarely got Dean's number. The phones were for jobs, for contact with their dad, with each other. They almost never had a fixed land line. Dean liked it that way. That way, he could just not call, and more often than not, he didn't.

To give up your phone number makes you the one who wants the contact more. Dean needs that kind of control right now. Needs that reassurance. Needs to know that when he calls Ethan, there won't be an awkward brush off on the other end of the line.

"Hey," he says, when Ethan's voice, deep and warm, comes on the line. "It's me."

Even more reassurance comes, when Ethan says, "Dean," his voice even warmer, his pleasure evident. "I'm glad you called." There's a pause, a moment where he might be biting his lip, choosing his words carefully. "I was afraid you wouldn't."

"Hey, man. I have no idea what I'm doing, but I can't stop—" He stops, because he's running his mouth off, but the quick beat in his chest, the nervous energy it heralds, has his brain to mouth filter hobbled.

"Thinking about me?"

Dean swallows, hard. "Yeah."

"Me, too, Dean," Ethan says. "Me, too."

Chapter 3

"A hunt? What hunt, Dean? You never told me there was a job."

Dean's a crappy liar. Actor? Sure. But lie to his family? To Sam? He sucks. "Nothing big," he says, sweat beading on his brow. "Recon, more than anything. Could be ghosts, could be rats. I'll let you know if it's something I need help with, I swear."

Sam moves to stand, closes a text book, pushes it away.

"Nah, Sammy. You keep at the books, kid. That's why we're here, so you can focus on school. Let me take care of this."

He feels foolish taking his bag of weapons to the car, and he hopes Sam doesn't notice that he's wearing his newest jeans, his tidiest shirt, his cleanest boots.

Dean's had dinner cooked for him before. Not often, the girls he goes out with don't usually bother, they know that's not why he's there.

He's not actually hungry. He ate with Sam, because anything else would have made Sam suspicious. Still, it's reassuring when Ethan heads back to the kitchen after he lets Dean in the door, serves up some fancy food. Reassuring because it makes Dean feel a little less like he's not here for the food. Which he's not, but whatever.

He's been thinking about sex a lot in the last few weeks. A lot more than usual, which means pretty much all the time. There's a lot more to think about, for a start. Sex with men isn't something he's ever spent a whole lot of time considering. A little, yes, okay, he's curious, always has been, but never like this. He's never met anyone before that he wanted to insert into his thoughts of sex between two men.

It's the dynamics that feature in his head that he finds most interesting—and disturbing. His eyes keep straying toward the bedroom. The door is cracked open and through the narrow space he can see Ethan's bed. There's dark wood and black and white bedding, and the cover is slightly rumpled. A scene keeps playing over in his head where his face is pressed down against those covers and his ass is in the air and there's a warm body pressed against his back and he probably shouldn't have flicked through that gay porn mag at the convenience store when he was in there today.

"Not hungry?" Ethan asks, glancing down at Dean's plate.

Dean follows his gaze. "Not really." Nerves twist his stomach into knots, but also, he really isn't. "Had to make sure the kid ate something before I went out, told him I had to go out for work." He looks up from the meal of steak and potatoes and a green salad which is the only thing on his plate he hasn't touched. "It's good. Don't get me wrong. Just kinda full."

"It's okay," Ethan says, and smiles like it really is. He pushes his plate away, gets up from the table and heads to the kitchen. Opens the fridge, pulls out two beers. He offers one to Dean. "Are you driving tonight?"

Dean follows him, takes the offered beer with a snort of suppressed laughter through his nose. "You didn't hear my girl in your driveway?"

"Maybe I'm looking for an excuse not to get you drunk," Ethan says, and he grows serious. "I want you clear headed, Dean. You want something, I need you to tell me. Ask for it. I don't want you to feel pressured in any way. I know this is new to you—"

"It's not to you?" Dean cracks the beer, takes a long draw on the neck of it.

"No." Ethan shakes his head. "I'm gay. I like men. Does that make you uncomfortable?"

Dean shakes his head. "Someone should know what they're doing."

Ethan laughs, and puts a hand on Dean's shoulder, guides him toward the couch. When they're both settled, sitting close enough that their knees just brush when they turn, he speaks. "I wanted you to come here so we could talk. Get to know each other a little better. Is that okay?"

Dean wants more kissing. "Sure," he says. "What do you want to know?"

"What do you do?"

Back in the old days, Dean would probably make something up, whatever suited the job they were on. But for the first time in his life, he has a legit job. "I work at the garage in town."

"You're a mechanic?"

Dean shakes his head. "Mostly I sweep floors, make coffee, take phone calls. All the shit work. But it's an in, you know? I gotta prove I actually do know what I'm doing first."

Ethan tips his head to the side, studies Dean closely, then glances down at the beer in his hand. "How old are you, Dean?"

Dean smirks, pulls his beer into his chest. "I just turned twenty. Don't you dare try to take this from me, man. I will fight you for it."

Ethan smiles like he might have been thinking it. "I get the feeling you had to grow up, fast. How long have you been taking care of your brother?" He looks a little uncomfortable, stares down at the bottle in his hands. "What happened to your parents?"

Something lodges in Dean's throat. "Mom died when he was just a baby. Dad had to work, so he was gone a lot. I've always looked out for him." Dean twists his hands around the neck of the bottle, closes his eyes so tears don't fall. "I'm all he's got, now, and goddamn if I'm not gonna keep looking out for him."

Dean opens his eyes when Ethan takes the bottle out of his hands. He let's him take it, put it on the coffee table with his own.

"That's a lot of responsibility for someone so young."

Dean shakes his head. "Like you said. I grew up fast. And I don't resent him. He's my brother."

"You should be proud of yourself."

Dean looks up. Something warms inside him, starts in his belly, a tiny twist of heat that builds and spreads throughout his body. A tear falls, just a remnant of those he held back before he opened his eyes, and he wipes it away with the back of his hand. He smiles, only a little embarrassed.

Ethan follows with a gentle swipe of his thumb beneath Dean's eye. He doesn't take his hand away after, cupping Dean's cheek. Staring down into Dean's eyes.

And fuck, Dean just stares back up at him, waiting for the inevitable kiss that doesn't come.

Then he huffs out a laugh. "I want you to kiss me," he says, a note of impatience in his voice. "Can I just give you blanket permission for kisses? Kisses are totally cool and I will always kiss back because—"

Ethan kisses him. Soft, slow, so sweet it's almost painful. His hand on Dean's cheek flexes, gripping tighter, pulling closer, and he moans, right before he pulls away. "Dean," he says, and his eyes are still closed, his breath is coming fast. "Jesus, Dean."

"What?" Dean leans forward, brushes his lips over Ethan's mouth. "God, what."

Ethan opens his eyes. His pupils are big and black, almost eclipsing the iris. There's just a thin line of blue around the edge, and it's pretty, a kind of shocking contrast. "You're too good to be true."

Dean blinks. "Hey, man. I'm here." He turns into Ethan's hand, drags his lips over the fleshy part beneath his thumb. "I don't understand what you mean."

"You're young," Ethan says. "And beautiful. And you're here with me. But I'm going to mess this up." He pulls back, eyes skimming over Dean's body. He's breathing hard, little gasps every few breaths. "I'm going to say the wrong thing."

Dean huffs out a breath. "You think you're gonna scare me away."

Ethan's eyes flick up. "Yes."

Dean shakes his head. "Nah, man." He lets his own eyes travel downward. "I'm not gay, and I don't know what this means, because I've never looked at a guy like this before, never kissed a guy before, never thought about a guy the way I think about you, but I'm not scared." He looks up, into Ethan's eyes, and he presses his palm to Ethan's chest. "Just say what you're thinking. Because I trust you. I trust that you're not gonna freak out if I tell you no."

"I swear I won't. I told myself I wouldn't ask, I'd wait for you. But god, Dean. I want to touch you." He drags his finger around the collar of Dean's shirt, slides it down to the first fastened button. "I want to take off your clothes, feel you against me." His eyes, roaming again, flick up to Dean's face. "But I will back off. You tell me no, and I won't."

Dean can't get enough air. His breath rasps in his throat as he tries to inflate his lungs. "I won't say no. Might say I'm not ready, but I'm not saying that now. Been thinking about having your hands on me. Can't stop thinking about it. About touching you, too." His eyes flick toward the bedroom, back to Ethan. He drops his eyes, can't bear the intensity of Ethan's gaze. He drops his voice to a whisper. "Do you want to fuck me?"

Ethan stiffens. "What are you asking me?"

Dean forces himself to lift his eyes. "If you think about it."

"Do you?"

"Yeah." The air is too thick, too warm.

"Are you ready for that?"

Dean shakes his head. "No. But I think about it."

Ethan drags his thumb across Dean's lower lip, follows it with a kiss, and it's just as soft and chaste as before. "Yeah," he whispers. "I think about it, Dean."

Dean's heart threatens to beat out of his chest, and his dick is so hard that it hurts. "Holy shit."

Ethan laughs, drops his head to Dean's forehead. "Not freaking out on me, are you?"

"Little bit," Dean says. "Not leaving." His hands go to the buttons of Ethan's shirt, tremble as he tries to open them. "A little fear never hurt anyone."

Ethan's hands come up and stop Dean. "How does it make you feel, when you think about us doing that? Afraid?"

"Yeah," Dean says. "Nervous. It's new." He twists his hand in Ethan's grip, wraps his fingers around Ethan's wrist. "But also..." He drags Ethan's hand down his body, his grip loose so he can feel any resistance. There is none. "I'm thinking about it now, and..." He moves Ethan's hand, so the backs of Ethan's knuckles graze over the length of Dean's cock, hard, straining against the fly of his jeans.

Ethan sucks in a rapid breath, and his eyes flick down. "Can I—?" he asks, as he thumbs the button of Dean's jeans.

Dean lifts his hips, shifts them forward. "Yeah."

Ethan flicks his eyes up, gives Dean a small smile, and then looks back down again, watches himself open Dean's jeans.

The pressure release when his fly comes down makes Dean sigh out loud. He watches Ethan's face, his lips twitching as he smiles, eyes still locked to Dean's crotch. There's a wet patch on his underwear, right where the head of his cock strains against the fabric.

Then Ethan shifts, slides off the couch and onto his knees between Dean's thighs.

"Oh, fuck," Dean gasps.

Ethan looks up at him, hands still pressing Dean's jeans open. "You okay?"

"Yes. Hell yes. Jesus, please."

Ethan's mouth turns up at the corner, and, bright blue eyes still on Dean's face, he drops his head. His lips come down at the lower end of the zip, near the base of Dean's cock. They brush, feather light over fabric, drag up the length, stop at the underside of the head, and there, he forms a kiss. His eyes close, and he inhales. "You smell so good, Dean."

Dean can barely breathe. Every muscle in his body is taut, and he fights to keep from thrusting his hips into Ethan's face. "I am hanging on by a thread," he rasps. "This is going to be over really fucking soon." He grips the seat of the couch, knuckles turning white. "God. Sorry."

Ethan shakes his head, lips brushing side to side over one of the most sensitive parts of Dean's dick. "Don't be," he says. "But hold on for me. Just a little longer. Can you do that?"

Dean drops his head back. Stares at the ceiling. "Yeah."

"Look at me, Dean."

Dean looks. Ethan breathes over the head of his dick, still caught inside damp cloth, and Dean shudders, whines. Ethan hooks his fingers into the waistband of Dean's underwear, and too fucking slowly, tugs it down. And he never breaks Dean's gaze, not even when he sucks Dean into his mouth, moans around his cock like it's the best thing he's ever tasted.

Dean hasn't had a lot of blowjobs. He's twenty, barely, didn't get his first kiss until he was sixteen, and rarely stayed in one place long enough to get this far with a girl. But he's had a few, and at the time he thought they were awesome. Even the sloppiest, most unsophisticated blowjob was a good one.

All of them fade into insignificance with the slow slide of Ethan's lips over Dean's length. With the gentle stroke of Ethan's tongue, and the sharp, blue gaze of Ethan's eyes. He seems intent on going slow, soft, there's none of the frantic hurry to get Dean off that he's used to. Slowly, Dean regains control, and his fingers unclench from the fabric of the couch.

He's still breathing hard, though, still keeping his ass on the couch by force of will alone. Ethan's hands are on his thighs, fingers gripping tight, and Dean covers them with his own. "Feels so good," he whispers.

Ethan closes his eyes, smiles around Dean's dick, then slides his hand out from under Dean's to grip the base of his cock. He opens his eyes as he slides off, licks at the head as more precome bubbles out. "You taste amazing, Dean." He licks again, sweeping the moisture from the tip of Dean's cock, smearing the next flood all over his lips, and then licking them clean. "I could do this all night."

Dean shudders as Ethan takes him in all the way again. "Won't last that long." He moans, and his hips jerk, as Ethan starts a steady rhythm of slides, up and down the length with his lips in a firm 'o'. "Wish I could." He puts one hand on the side of Ethan's head, no interest in guiding him, because what Ethan is doing is perfect, but he wants to feel Ethan's hair between his fingers, wants to stroke his cheek with his thumb, wants to... Touch. There's an inherent affection in the contact, one Dean notices because of the difference. It's been a long time since he's felt this kind of affection for someone who wasn't his flesh and blood. "Oh god," he whispers, because this isn't about curiosity anymore, it's not about the thrill of a kind of sex he's never had. "Oh god."

There's a question in Ethan's eyes, concern.

Dean gives his head a small shake, drags his thumb over the corner of Ethan's mouth. "I'm good. So good. Everything's so fucking good, please don't stop." His hips jerk as his guts twist up and sparks shoot up his spine. "Oh god, I'm gonna come." He arches his back, tries to push Ethan off him.

But Ethan grins around his mouthful of cock, holds tight to Dean, and he does something with his tongue that makes Dean gasp. He never takes his eyes off Dean's face, and he manages to nuzzle into Dean's hand even as he works Dean's cock with his mouth.

"Oh, oh, fuck," Dean spits, as the pressure builds to breaking, and then overflows as he arches up, involuntarily pushing Ethan's head down into his lap. And the fire in the blue eyes staring up at him, determination, desire, makes him cry out, a new wave of pleasure crashing down on him, over him, and he's certain he's never come so hard in his life.

Ethan's throat contracts in rhythmic swallows. Dean shakes with aftershocks, his balls tightening, and then it's too much. He pushes Ethan off, watches as Ethan wipes a tiny dribble of come from his lips. "Oh god," Dean says. "Oh, my god. Come up here."

Ethan slides up Dean's body, still with that hungry look in his eyes. He brushes his closed lips over Dean's mouth, just enough hesitance there for Dean to notice.

"Fuck that," Dean says, clamps his hand over the back of Ethan's head, and pulls him into a kiss. Dean opens up for him, slides his tongue in, searching for his own taste. He finds it, a kind of salty bitterness on the back of Ethan's tongue, and it makes him groan simply for the proof of the fact that Ethan let him come in his mouth, wanted him to come in his mouth. "God, you're so hot," Dean mutters, while reaching for Ethan's fly, not even hesitating, not even a question in his mind as to whether he's ready to touch another guy's dick. He's ready, and he wants it.

He stops, only to peel off his shirt, to drop it off the edge of the couch, and then back to take Ethan's dick in his hand, and it's awkward, at first, opposite to the way he'd hold his own, stroke his own, but then he stops thinking about it, focused only on the way Ethan's kisses stop and start, on the way Ethan moans and pants and gasps against Dean's lips, on the way he arches back, eyes wide, full lips held open in a soft, breathless 'o' as he starts to come.

Hot stripes streak up Dean's chest, paint lines of wet heat that dribble down to puddle on his belly. Dean drags his fingers through the mess as Ethan gasps, breathless, against his cheek.

Dean scribbles his number down on a scrap of paper, watches as Ethan magnets it to the fridge. "I'm gonna tell my brother," he says, drops his head, huffs out a laugh. "As soon as I get home. So you can call."

"Will he be okay?" Ethan asks, concern drawing a crease between his brows.

Dean shakes his head. "Oh, he'll be weirded out, no question, but he won't freak."

Ethan smiles, and walks with Dean to the door. He kisses Dean, long, slow, lingering in the doorway. "I'll call you," he says. "Good luck with the talk."

The house is dark, shut up, when Dean gets home. Sam's books are in a tidy pile on the kitchen table, his school bag propped against the chair leg. Dean turns on the lights, can't stop grinning as he pushes open Sam's bedroom door. "You awake, Sammy?"

There's a grunt from the darkness, and the bundle of limbs under the blankets shifts as Sam rolls over. "Am now."

"Good." Dean crosses the room, sits down heavy on the edge of Sam's bed. "I need to talk to you."

Sam rubs his eyes and pushes himself up to a sitting position. "Ghosts, then? Do we gotta go now? 'Cause I have school, you have work in the morning." He presses a button on his watch, and the screen lights. "Jesus, Dean. In, like, five hours. Can't it wait?"

"Oh," Dean says. "No, no, we don't have to go. Um, Sam? I have to tell you something."

Sam's just a little more alert. He reaches over, switches on the light. "What. What happened, Dean?" His eyes travel over Dean's body, and Sam's observant, he probably sees Dean's creased shirt and thinks he's been in a fight.

"I lied about where I was going tonight, Sammy. There was no ghost, no job."

Sam just looks at him, waiting.

"I met someone. Tonight was, kind of...a date."

Sam groans and collapses back into the pillow. "I can't believe you woke me up to tell me you got lucky with some girl. Dean, you suck." He pulls the covers up over his head.

"Not a girl, Sammy." Dean's voice is shaky when he speaks.

The blanket flicks back, and Sam looks up. "Demon?"

Dean snorts and shakes his head. "Seriously, Sam? That's the first place your head goes? No. No demon. Jesus." He takes a deep breath, lets it out slow. "I was with a guy."

Sam's eyes go wide and his jaw drops. "Say that again?"

Dean's heart pounds. "I had a date with a dude, Sam."

Sam sits up, slow. "Whoa, Dean. Whoa."

"I know, right?"

"Why the hell didn't you just tell me?"

"I don't know." Dean shakes his head. "It was something I needed to figure out on my own first, you know?"

Sam narrows his eyes. "Is this something you've always wanted? Like, you couldn't date guys before because Dad wouldn't have approved? Is that what this is?"

Dean shakes his head emphatically. "No, Sam. No. I'm not a closet case, okay? It's just this guy. He's... He's just... I like him." Dean drops his eyes as his face heats. "I really like him. And it feels like it could be something serious, and I've never really had that option before, you know?"

Sam smiles, beams, even. "I know, Dean. I'm happy for you." He pulls his knees up, wraps his arms around them, gets comfortable. "So, tell me about him. What's his name? What does he do?"

"His name's Ethan," Dean says. "And I have no clue what he does because we were kind of busy, okay?" He blinks. "I should let you sleep."

Sam stares. "Oh my god, Dean. You had gay sex."

"I did not." Dean shoves away from the bed. "Hang on. Do blowjobs count?"

Sam laughs in glee. "Oh my god. You blew him?"

Dean's jaw drops. "No. He—" His face burns and he's thankful for the gloom. "I should probably take a shower."

Chapter 4

The phone starts ringing the moment Dean walks in the door after work. Dean sees the look in Sam's eye from across the room, and he launches himself across the room before Sam can get to it first.



Dean waves at Sam, arm flailing, looks daggers at him to clear him out of the room. He told him about Ethan, sure, but it doesn't mean he wants to deal with the look on Sam's face while Dean tries to speak to him. "Ethan," he breathes, as Sam gathers up his books, rolls his eyes, and slams the door to his bedroom after him. "Hey."

"Do you have plans tonight?"

It's Friday, and once, if they had some kind of base of operations and they weren't actively on a job, Friday nights Dean would take every opportunity to go out, get drunk, hopefully pick up a girl. It hasn't happened since Dad disappeared, though, and it definitely hasn't happened since Dean met Ethan. Every Friday night Dean's wanted to go out, but he was trying to get the money together just to pay Ethan back before he went looking for him again.

"Nope," Dean says, a little breathless. "No plans. Unless you count having dinner with my brother and then staring at the TV alone for the rest of the night."

"I'd like to see you again," Ethan says.

Dean grins, staring off into space.


"What? Oh. Yeah. Good. Me too." Dean shakes his head, laughing at himself. It's weird. He never got like this over a girl. Most times he'd forgotten all about them as soon as he left town. "I wanna do that, too. See you. Not me. Cos I do that every day." Dean closes his eyes and drops his head in horror. "Oh my god. I'm gonna shut up now."

But Ethan's laughing down the phone line, and it sounds really really nice. "Okay. Why don't you come here after you've had dinner, and we'll go from there?"

There's nothing behind the words, no implication in Ethan's tone, but Dean's mind still goes to the taste of Ethan's lips and the feeling of Ethan's cock, pulsing in his hand, and he has to suppress a groan. "Yeah. Okay. See you then. Bye."

Dean hangs up the phone, has to hold back the urge to pump his fist in the air and whoop. Be cool, he tells himself, even though he's already failing miserably.

Sam's on the couch, TV remote in his hand, when Dean emerges from the bathroom after dinner. He looks Dean up and down, raises his eyebrows. "I won't wait up," he says.

Dean looks down at himself, wonders what Sam saw that he can't. He's wearing a new shirt, and it feels crisp and uncomfortable. A pair of jeans that've seen more hunts than Dean would like. His boots are clean, even if his socks are due to be replaced. "What."

Sam shrugs. "If I'm not here when you do the walk of shame, I'll be at the library."

"I won't be doing the walk of shame," Dean growls.

Sam turns back to the TV. "You and Dad left me alone when you went out of state enough times. I can manage one night when you're in the same town. I'm just saying. You deserve this, Dean. Don't come home just because of me."

Dean watches as Sam flicks the channels. "You salt the doors and windows when I'm gone."

"You know I will."

Dean takes a deep breath and lets it out slow. "Okay. Thanks, Sam."

Sam turns around and looks at Dean over the back of the couch. "What for?"

"For being so cool about this."

Feigned confusion spreads over Sam's face, and he shakes his head. "I don't know what you mean." He can't stop the slight smile, though.

Dean turns away. "Right." He's smiling too. "No keggers."

Sam laughs out loud as Dean disappears through the door.

Ethan's got the front door of his house open before Dean even gets out of the car. She's better than a door bell in that way, but he still cringes at the knocking as he pulls up.

"You look fantastic," Ethan says, stepping back to let Dean in, closing the door behind him.

Dean turns around, and he's blushing, his face burning, and he drops his eyes to the floor.

He feels a little overdressed, he always will in a shirt that isn't made of flannel. He's chilly, too, the cold night air hitting him as soon as he got out of the car, because he left Dad's jacket on the front seat. "You look good, too," he says, as he lets his eyes slide back up.

Ethan's wearing pants, not jeans, but instead of looking like a dork, like Dean would, if he was wearing pants like that, he just looks...

"Hot." Dean chokes, horrified, because, yep, he said that out loud. He turns away before he can blush even more, looks around at the same room he was in last night, the same couch where Ethan got down on his knees and sucked Dean off. "Whoa, I mean. It's warm in here."

"Too warm?" Ethan asks. "I can turn it down."

A little more composed, Dean turns back. "No. It's fine. It's good to be warm. Cos it's cold outside."

"It is." Ethan's hands are in his pockets when he takes a step forward, and his teeth are pressed into his lower lip. His own eyes rake over Dean, all the way up to his face, where they linger on his mouth. "I've been thinking about you all day."

Dean sucks in a deep breath of warm air, but it doesn't help. His heart is pounding, and it's a struggle to breathe. "Yeah. Me too." He zoned out a few times while sweeping the floor at work. Stopped dead and earned a clip to the back of the head from Jimmy to snap him out of it. "About you, I mean. God. You must think I'm an idiot."

Ethan smiles, takes another step toward Dean. "I think you're amazing."

As Ethan gets closer, there's a little something in the back of Dean's mind that urges him to back away. It's an ingrained sense of space, of needing to be able to move, hunter's reflexes or something. His heart, though, it wants him to stay right where he is, wait for Ethan to close the space, and his hands, well, they just want to reach out and touch.

He glances behind him, then he backs himself up against the kitchen island, and despite the lingering warmth in his face, in his ears, the flush he feels spreading down over his chest, he pulls an intensity into his expression. "Come here," he says, sucking in great gulps of air. His jeans are already uncomfortably tight, and he needs the counter behind him so he won't back away, because he wants Ethan pressed up against him.

Dean reaches out, slips his fingers into Ethan's hand, fingertips resting, barely touching, in the center of Ethan's palm. He draws Ethan close, like that, light and slow. Ethan stares down at him, and his pupils are big and black, rimmed with a narrow ring of blue, and their bodies are pressed together from knee to chest, and it's just so different.

Dean hasn't been this excited or nervous since his first awkward fumblings with a girl. He doesn't know what this means. "I've figured it out," he whispers, lips brushing the edge of Ethan's jaw. The rough rasp of stubble is delicious, thrilling.

Ethan drops his chin, catches Dean's mouth in a light, barely there kiss, just a brush of lips against lips. "What've you figured out?"

Dean lets out a soft moan and rolls his hips, and his head falls back, exposing his throat. "You're a witch. Gotta be. No other explanation." He watches Ethan from beneath his eyelashes, waits for his reaction, because he might be as high as a kite on the mere promise of sex, but he's still a hunter, and it's his ability to read people—and other things—that he's relying on right now. "I never wanted to have sex with a dude before."

Ethan's only reaction is a vague look of confusion that quickly passes. "Are you calling me a woman?"

It's interesting, Dean thinks, that he's pleased, relieved, that Ethan doesn't show any indication of guilt, or even that he knows what Dean is talking about. Magic would have been a logical explanation, and Dean would have known what to do about it, but apparently he prefers this. "Just called you a dude." He shifts his hips again, rising up on his toes this time, pushing against the hard length beneath Ethan's pants. "Yep. Definitely a dude."

Ethan's eyes roll back in his head, and his fingers interlock with Dean's, and he grips tight and presses them back onto the counter. "Called me a witch."

"Calling you a wizard would just be stupid." Dean's basically pinned by his hips and his hands, and he can hardly breathe, every word coming with a harsh pant. There's a half-dozen ways he could throw Ethan off of him, but there's no way in hell he's gonna do it.

Ethan lifts an eyebrow, and then grinds Dean into the island. "You think I put a spell on you." His lips twitch in amusement. "You kissed me first."

"Exactly," Dean says, staring at Ethan's lips. "That's weird."

Ethan goes still, suddenly, and he looks down at Dean with a serious expression on his face and a crease between his brows. He doesn't pull away, though, his hands gripping even tighter to Dean's, and Dean's still locked to the island by Ethan's hips. "Do you want to take it back?"

It's worry, on Ethan's face. It's fear. It takes a lot to scare Dean, monsters don't do it anymore. But he's seen that look on Sam's face enough times when Dean and his father left on a hunt, that he knows what it is. It's the fear of loss, of losing someone you care about. And how is it even possible? They barely know each other.

Regardless, Dean's heart swells in his chest and he chokes on his words. "No," he manages. "No fucking way."

The fear on Ethan's face crumples, dissolves into something so open and honest, a relief that would have Dean in tears if he was the one feeling it.

Ethan stares, for long moments, that same look of relief on his face. He's breathing hard, chest rising and falling like he's just run a marathon. His fingers flex in Dean's hands, squeeze, and release, and then he leans in and he captures Dean's lips.

There's a barely controlled passion in his kiss that Dean responds to. It's like they've been teetering on the brink of this since Dean walked through the door, and now the dam is broke. Dean whines, moans into Ethan's mouth, and he fights the grip Ethan has on his hands.

Ethan releases him, and Dean immediately puts his arms around Ethan's neck, the better to pull him closer, the better to twist his body and rub against him.

Dean gasps into the kiss as Ethan wraps his arms around Dean's waist and jerks him up off the floor and onto the counter without breaking the kiss. It's weird, but he parts his knees almost instinctively to let Ethan back in.

Their height difference has been reversed, Dean now the one who's half a head taller.

Ethan's fingers are at the collar of Dean's shirt, and he feels the buttons fall away, the two edges of his shirt front parting easy beneath Ethan's fingers. Ethan pushes it back, over Dean's shoulders, and he's forced to put his arms behind him as the sleeves slide down to his elbows.

"Is this okay?" Ethan huffs, breathless, as he breaks the kiss.

Dean stares down at him with his arms locked behind his back.

He's been breaking out of handcuffs since he was seventeen. This is just a bit of crisp shirt fabric, and he doesn't want to move at all. He swallows hard, rolls his shoulders back. "Anything," he says, and his voice is low and rough. It locks up, then, his voice, his throat, a lump forming as he realizes that he means it, that he trusts Ethan like he doesn't trust anyone else except maybe Sam. He coughs to dislodge it, turns his head and yanks his sleeves off, drops his shirt to the floor.

Then he lifts his head, and his hands go to his belt.

Ethan's eyes are on his hands as Dean unbuckles it, and it's not until Dean pops the button that his eyes flick up. He starts to back away. "Don't say that."

Dean clenches his jaw, then launches himself off the counter. He lands perfect, three feet from the island, right in front of Ethan, who flinches, eyes wide. "Why not?" Dean takes a step to match every one of Ethan's as he backs off. "It's true." He reaches out, takes a handful of Ethan's shirt, and he stops walking. So does Ethan. Dean releases the fist, spreads his palm out over Ethan's belly, smiles at the slight softness there. "God, it's true."


Dean looks up. "I'm not freaking out. I trust you."

"You barely know me."

"I'm a good judge of people. And you helped me out when I needed it. I've got every reason to trust you."

Ethan shakes his head. "Still. Don't say that, Dean. Don't give me a free pass." He swallows, hard. "I might take advantage of it. I don't want you to feel like you have to—"

Dean's lips twitch into a smile. "You think I can't look after myself?" The smile turns into a grin, because Ethan's just a man. And while Dean might, maybe, like the idea of being pressed down into a mattress under his weight, there's very little he could do to force Dean to do anything he didn't want to do.

He wants to prove it, but throwing Ethan to the ground and pinning him there might just scare Ethan away, so he resists. He shakes his head, but he can't shift the smile on his face. "I can look after myself." He drops his chin, looks up at Ethan from beneath his eyelashes, smiles wider when Ethan's lips part on a sigh. "And I think we both want the same thing."

Ethan's head shakes, almost imperceptibly, and he swallows again. "You're so young. You've never been with a man before. You've got no idea—"

"I know how it works."

"I didn't mean—" Ethan snaps his jaw shut, and he grunts in frustration, and he pushes his fingers through his hair. "That's not what I meant."

"I know."

"Dean." Ethan almost turns away, stops mid-turn, and then he comes at Dean, grabs him by the wrists, and he tries to push him backward.

Dean doesn't move. He lifts an eyebrow when Ethan bares his teeth in frustration. "You're trying to scare me away," he realizes. "I told you last night, it's not gonna happen."

"Last night you told me there were things you weren't ready for."

With a flick of his wrists, Dean frees himself from Ethan's grip, takes hold of Ethan's wrists, and he pushes.

Ethan hits the wall behind him, the wall right next to the bedroom door. It punches a breath out of him, and he gapes down at Dean as Dean lets go of him and steps back.

"And I'm capable of telling you if you're doing something I don't like." He sighs and turns around, spots his shirt on the floor. Maybe he should be putting it back on, maybe he should be leaving. Just the thought of walking out now makes his heart hurt in a way he barely recognizes.

"I want to be inside you."

It's barely a whisper, but Ethan's words are clear. Dean's head jerks around, and he stares. Ethan's eyes are wide, and he looks afraid, and Dean can't figure out why. Dean tries to speak, but there's a lump in his throat he can't shift. So he nods. Just nods his head, and walks, slow, back toward Ethan.

He tries to speak again, but this time he doesn't know what to say. Sure, there's a part of him that's afraid, uncertain, wary of the ultimate unfamiliar territory. There's a part of him that can't process the fact that he wants it, too. But that trust, the pure and perfect belief that Ethan's not out to hurt him, he's not running away. There's nothing to run from.

The part of him that's hungry for new experience, hungry to connect, to feel part of something else, that part of him wants it now, before it all gets torn away.

Long years of leaving things behind, enjoy it now, because tomorrow we'll be back on the road and it won't fit in the car, years of brief personal connections, of phone numbers left behind in motels, because they were never in the same place long enough for anything more to come of it.

Do it now, or you won't get the chance to do it at all.

Dean's whole life was ephemeral, the only constants were the road and Sam and Dad.

Then Dad didn't come back.

Dean forces back the lump in his throat, and he lifts his chin, and he kisses Ethan, eyes shut tight so tears don't fall, and he shouldn't be fucking thinking about his father while he's doing this, has to tell himself that if Dad wasn't gone, he wouldn't be here now, he wouldn't be with Ethan, and he's got to completely block his father from his mind because Dean isn't sure he'd give this up just to have his father back, and that, that's the only thing that scares him right now.

Ethan grabs Dean by the shoulders, pushes him away, stares down into his eyes. Fuck knows what he sees there, but then, without looking away from Dean's face, Ethan gets the bedroom door open, and he pulls them both through it.

Ethan's putting a more weight behind it as he pushes Dean around this time. Also, Dean lets him.

Ethan guides him toward the bed. The edge of it hits the back of Dean's knees, and he goes down, slow, controlled. He lies back, propped up on his elbows, stares up at Ethan as he takes a couple steps back.

Ethan peels off his t-shirt, drops it to the floor.

Dean stares, because he's seen Ethan's dick, but that's all. He wants to get his hands on Ethan's skin, feel the hair on his chest, clamp his lips around a nipple and suck. His belly twists up as the urge to rise up on his knees and pull Ethan down becomes overwhelming.

He resists. He drops his eyes, looks down at himself, at his jeans, straining over his cock. He unzips them, bites his lip as he wriggles out of them and kicks them to the floor.

He's exposed. Naked, and spread out on another man's bed. He's hard, dribbling precome onto his belly.

He lifts his eyes, sucks in a harsh breath at the expression on Ethan's face.

It's hungry, almost predatory. But Dean knows predators, knows how to deal with predators. "Come on," he whispers. "Come and get it."

Ethan's eyes flick up to Dean's face. His lips are parted and he's breathing hard. He looks like he's about to speak, but the words die in his throat, and his eyes, his hands, fall to his belt.

He takes his pants off slow, almost reluctant. It's a tease, every inch of his skin exposed a bit at a time. Dean drinks it all in, still surprised at how much Ethan affects him, because he's looked at men before, he knows what looks good, but he's never ever wanted to be in this situation before.

All of him is beautiful, but there's one part of Ethan's body Dean focuses in on, and it's not even a part that was hidden from him before. His hands.

They're large, long-fingered and strong, but clean and soft and perfect. Entirely unmarred by the scars and callouses and ingrained grease and oil of Dean's hands.

They're the hands of a man that sits at a desk, the worst injury he could expect is a paper cut. And Dean, who's been raised to respect a good hunter, to read scars like a trophy shelf, it's different, and maybe that's part of what he wants. "Please," he says, as Ethan steps out of his pants and looks back up at him. "Touch me. I want your hands on me."

Ethan still moves slow, but with a new confidence. He kneels on the edge of the bed, and he puts his hands on Dean's thighs, just above his knees.

Dean lets out a breath, as fire spreads over his skin from where Ethan touches him, and he lets out a soft grunt as his thighs part, as if on their own.

His brain might not be totally convinced, but his body is completely on board, and, with his eyes on Ethan's long, thick fingers, he imagines them inside him.

Because if Ethan fucks him, it'll be those fingers inside him first. "Oh, god."

Dean's head falls back, and he closes his eyes. The bed shifts beneath him as Ethan moves up, and then there are kisses, soft lips, on the inside of his knee. Dean moans and spreads his thighs further apart. "Yeah," he gasps, as Ethan's mouth moves up the inside of his thigh. "Oh, fuck yeah."

Stubble rasps the soft skin of Dean's inner thigh as Ethan's tongue dips into the crease. Dean shakes as Ethan laps at his balls, and spreads his legs further with his hands. He drops his shoulders to the mattress, slides his feet up the bed, lets his knees fall apart, and he gets his fingers into Ethan's hair.

He wants to guide him to his cock, cups the back of Ethan's head, tries to pull him up.

But Ethan twists away, skips Dean's cock entirely, and licks a long stripe up Dean's belly. Dean arches up when he finds a nipple and sucks it into his mouth, cries out in a long, low moan as Ethan draws on it, swirls his tongue.

Then he pulls Ethan's head up, wraps his thighs around Ethan's waist, and he thrusts upward.

Ethan gasps as he feels the strength in Dean's thighs, grabs him behind the knees, and peels them away, pushes them into Dean's chest, almost folding him in half. "Dammit, Dean. Do you want me to fuck you?"

"Yes." Dean grabs Ethan by the back of the neck, pulls him down, kisses him hard. Then he frees his legs, and he rolls them both, comes down straddling Ethan's hips. "I know you're not gonna hurt me." He looks down at their cocks, both still hard, and pressed together. Dean rocks his hips, slides his cock against Ethan's, throws his head back and groans at the feeling.

Ethan moans and writhes. "I don't think I could hurt you if I tried," he croaks. His hands go to Dean's waist, try to guide him. "Jesus, Dean."

Dean's grin fades off his face as he thrusts against Ethan's cock again. "Now do you believe I can look out for myself?" He wraps his hand around the both of them, thrusts into his fist and groans. "Oh, my god, this feels good. How come no one tells you about this?"

Dean can feel Ethan relax beneath him, hadn't even realized that the man was so tense. He smiles a little, but it fades quick. "'Cause most men, especially in a town like this, would punch you in the face if you suggested it."

"Right." Dean's thrusts have gone long and slow, and it's so good, a simmering pleasure that makes him shudder. "Small towns. Spent most of my life in small towns." He lets his eyes roam over Ethan's face, his upper body. "Might have been different if I'd spent some time in the city." He looks down, shivers as the head of his cock emerges from his fist. "Might have figured out some stuff about myself sooner."

Ethan puts his hand on Dean's cheek, traces his lower lip with his thumb. "Perhaps it's not as obvious if you like women, too. I wouldn't know."

Dean turns his head, opens his mouth, closes his eyes. He might have a thing for Ethan's hands, because he sucks Ethan's thumb into his mouth, wraps his tongue around it.

It's soft and smooth, and Dean can't feel any scars, and it tastes like salt and soap. His hips jerk forward, because sucking Ethan's thumb turns him on.

With his free hand, he grabs Ethan's wrist, pulls his thumb out of his mouth, replaces it with his middle and index fingers. He moans around them, shocked by how much it turns him on to do this.

Ethan's cock twitches in Dean's other hand, so Dean figures he likes it, too.

He locks eyes with Ethan, and he spits out Ethan's fingers, lets go of their cocks, and he moves down the bed, crawling backward on his hands and knees. "I wanna suck your dick," he says, looking up for permission.

Ethan just stares at him, wide-eyed, and he nods. "I'll warn you." He's short of breath again. "Before I come."

Dean chews his lip and gives him a one-shouldered shrug, then he drops his head, and he presses his lips, experimentally, to the base of Ethan's cock.

His hum turns into a moan as he inhales, the smell of cock immediately recognizable, and intoxicating. He opens his mouth without conscious thought, drags his tongue up the length of it, holds the base with one hand, and sucks the head into his mouth.

The taste of Ethan explodes on his tongue, and he moans, slides down further. There's a thought on the edge of his awareness, that he should try to make this good, that he should know how to make this good, because he knows what he likes, where to lick to make Ethan arch up off the bed and cry out, how much suction to apply and when to change things up and keep it interesting.

Dean ignores it. It's selfish, maybe, but Dean's doing this for himself. His eyes flick up at Ethan's face as he pushes down on his cock, taking the head right to the back of his throat, till his lips hit the finger and thumb of his own, closed, fist.

Dean finds his limits quickly as he locks eyes with Ethan, as Ethan looks down at him with wide eyes and lips parted. The tickle at the back of his throat that's the warning he's about to trigger his gag reflex, and he pulls back up, lets Ethan's cock slip from between his lips so he can speak. "Taste so good," he moans, then pulls Ethan back into his mouth, all the way down to the back of his tongue, and off again. "You feel so good in my mouth, Ethan."

That's all he's gonna say, as he sucks Ethan back in, starts to learn the shape of Ethan's dick with his lips and tongue, and Ethan moans and writhes beneath him. Ethan puts his hand on the back of Dean's head, and there's pressure behind it, but not enough to bother him. In fact, it just arouses Dean more, along with the sounds Ethan's making and the taste of precome on his tongue.

Dean gets his knees beneath him, holds himself up with his one free hand, and he can move better like this, and he should feel something about having his ass in the air like this, exposed and on display, but when he glances up at Ethan's face again, and Ethan's not looking at what he's doing with his mouth anymore, he's looking up, at Dean's ass in the air, and Dean just feels powerful.

Ethan's fingers tighten in his hair, and he starts to guide Dean more forcefully. Dean sucks air in through his nose as the head of Ethan's cock nudges the back of his throat. Ethan's hips start to twitch, and he starts to thrust into Dean's mouth. His moans turn to grunts and strangled sobs.

Dean reaches for his own cock, starts to stroke it quickly, spreading the precome that dribbles out the length. His eyes start to water as Ethan fucks his mouth, and his balls draw up, and then he's coming, groaning and dribbling around the cock in his mouth.

"Fuck," Ethan growls, pulling Dean's mouth onto his cock as he stiffens. His cock jerks, and Dean's throat fills with come, thick and hot and bitter, and Dean tries to swallow, but it's coming too fast, and it spills out over his lips and down his chin.

He's still shuddering with the aftershocks of his own orgasm when Ethan pushes him off, and Dean swallowed some, but it feels like Ethan's just come all over his mouth and chin, there's so much of it, and his hand is sticky with his own come and there's a mess on the bed beneath him.

Dean collapses, falls sideways, eyes closed and a smile on his face.

The bed moves beneath him, Ethan's long limbs shifting against his skin. Then Dean's being kissed, covered in come, but Ethan's kissing him, and Dean opens up and lets Ethan in as his tongue dips into Dean's mouth.

Dean reaches up, holds Ethan by the back of his neck, smearing his own come through Ethan's hair as he rolls onto his back. Ethan licks at Dean's face, cleaning up all the come, dipping down to lap at his throat.

"Thanks for the warning, asshole." Dean grins, and he opens his eyes.

Ethan looks suitably contrite as he lifts his head. "I got carried away."

"Yeah. So did I." Dean pushes Ethan off of him, and he lifts himself up on his elbows, looks down at the mess, their bodies, the bed. He glances up at Ethan's face. "I really like sucking cock," he says. "Who'd have thought?"

"Thank you," Ethan says, very serious.

Dean shakes his head. "It's nothing. Like I said, it was my pleasure."

Ethan's lips twitch into a smile. "No, I mean..." The smile fades again. "I feel very privileged. That you're here with me." He touches Dean's face, fingertips tracing his cheekbone, thumb at the corner of his lips. "You're remarkable." His eyes slide from Dean's face, down the length of his naked body. "You're a beautiful man. You could be with anyone right now."

"I want to be with you." Dean says it without thinking, and he feels immediately vulnerable once it's out of his mouth. His face burns, and a lump forms in his throat when he realizes it's true. He coughs, but the thickness won't clear.

Ethan smiles, and then he takes Dean's hand. "Come on. I think we both need a shower."

Chapter 5

Ethan sends Dean home after a shower. He doesn't complain. He's exhausted, after a long week of work and building up to go back to the bar, of late nights and sweeping, sudden shifts in his own world-view...

The shower only solidifies his new feelings. Wet, soapy and slick, light-headed from the hot water, pressed against the cold tile as Ethan jerks him off from behind. Dean begged for it.

Ethan's cock was hard, slid between his thighs. Ethan thrust against his balls as he jerked Dean's cock, his body a heavy weight pressing in.

"Fuck me," Dean begged. "Please, need you to fuck me." He'd never felt so helpless, so out of control. Spread his legs, inviting, but Ethan just kicked them back together and fucked the apex of his thighs.

"I'm going to," Ethan said. "I'm going to fuck you, Dean. Lick you open then fill you with my cock. Gonna do it slow, and when I'm finally inside you, oh god, Dean. I'm gonna want to stay there forever, gonna be so hot and so tight and—"

Dean came all over the cold tile wall, Ethan wasn't far behind, then Dean's thighs were slick and sticky with Ethan's semen, and his knees would have gone out from under him if Ethan hadn't held him up.

Dean can't shake it, keeps replaying it in his head as he sits behind the wheel of the Impala, the engine still ticking as it cools. The lights are off inside, and it's 3am, and Sam's sleeping, but Dean's waiting before he goes in.

As if another minute will allow him to compile and process all the new information. Like he can look at his own feelings, reactions, and make sense of it.

How could he not know he was bisexual, for a start. He doesn't care that he is, he's not trying to deny it or suppress it. He just can't figure out how he didn't have any indication he'd get off on sucking cock, how he'd beg to be fucked.

Ethan's promise replays in his mind again.

gonna lick you open and fill you with my cock

There's no way Dean's going to be able to sleep.

"So it's parent teacher night the week after next," Sam says, through a mouthful of cereal. "You know how Dad always used to blow those off?"

Dean snorts. "Yeah. That was always fine with me." He drops his spoon into his bowl and looks up. "You want me to come, Sammy?"

Sam blinks. "Actually, I was gonna tell them Dad had to work." He shakes his head. "I haven't told the school he's not around anymore."

"Well, you tell them, Sammy. And you tell them I'll be there." He picks his spoon up again, slurps milk off of it. "What are you up to today?"

Sam crunches his breakfast, swallows. "It's Saturday, Dean. I always go to the library. You know that."

"Yeah, you really need some friends, kid. Or a girlfriend. You're doing teenager wrong." He grins when Sam sticks out his tongue. "I'm gonna call Ethan." His face gets warm. "See if he wants to do something. You'll be okay on your own tonight?"

"Yep. Just keep your details to yourself." He smirks. "Do I have to give you the safe sex speech?" He narrows his eyes. "Or is it already too late for that?"

"Bite me," Dean says, hiding his face to cover up the blush.

Ethan opens the door, pulls Dean inside, and he kisses him before either of them say a word. It's soft and slow and almost chaste, but Ethan's hand is warm and possessive on the back of Dean's neck, and he likes it.

He really, really likes it.

Ethan pulls away first. "Just let me tidy up, and I'm all yours. There's beer in the fridge if you want it."

Dean stands at the kitchen island, watches as Ethan scoops the scattered papers off the coffee table into a pile, knocks the bottom edge of the pile on the table to line them up, and tucks them into a briefcase. "Working on the weekend?"

Ethan grins up at him and shrugs. "It never ends."

Dean doesn't say anything else about it. He's woefully ignorant of any kind of job that takes place behind a desk and consists of shuffling paper from one place to another, and he's happy to keep that ignorance to himself.

Ethan slides the briefcase beneath the couch, then he joins Dean in the kitchen. "I'm all yours," he says, and takes the beer out of Dean's hand, holds it to his own lips and drinks.

"You remember when I said I'd fight you for that beer?"

Ethan's eyes sparkle. "I want you sober."

Dean snorts. "One beer isn't going to—"

Ethan puts the beer down on the counter, and he takes Dean's face in his hands, shuts him up with another kiss.

It starts like the last one, gentle, almost innocent, then Ethan's tongue traces the seam of Dean's lips. He opens on a sigh, and then, the beer all but forgotten, presses his hands to Ethan's chest.

As Ethan's tongue explores the inside of Dean's mouth, Dean can't stop thinking about what might—what Dean hopes will—happen tonight. Ethan's desperate, lust-fueled words last night in the shower felt like a promise, and he 'wants Dean sober'.

In the shower before he came here, Dean got his fingers slippery with soap, managed to get two inside himself up to the second knuckle before he came into his other hand.

It was a revelation.

In bars and roadhouses across the country, Dean's heard guys joke about and disparage men who 'take it up the ass'. He's grown up with it, it was normal. Those men were supposed to be weak, they were supposed to be cowards, but Dean can't imagine a weak man trusting someone enough to be that vulnerable with them.

Dean's strong. He knows he is. Sometimes he's afraid, but he's no coward.

He breaks the kiss, rests his forehead on Ethan's shoulder, pants as he catches his breath.

Ethan's hands slide over his back, up the back of his neck, fingers threading through his hair. "You okay?"

Dean turns his head, looks up, and he smiles. "Yeah." He pauses, takes a breath, and he lets it out slow. "What's it like?"

Ethan's brows draw down in confusion and he shakes his head.

Dean's heart is pounding, but it's excitement, not fear. "Having someone inside you," he breathes. "How does it feel?"

Ethan's face shifts to concern. "Dean. We don't have to—"

"I'm not scared," Dean says. "I want it. But I want to know what to expect." He grins. "I don't like surprises."

Ethan smiles. "It's good." He smiles wider at Dean's eye-roll. "It can be intense," he says. "Especially your first time." He pauses for a breath. "And it can hurt, at first, but it passes. Then it's just—" The sound he makes sends a twist to Dean's belly, makes Dean's cock jerk in his jeans. "It's better if you're with someone you care about." Ethan blinks, and his cheeks color, and he looks away. "I think so, anyway."

"Good," Dean says, his fingers twisting into the back of Ethan's shirt. His throat locks up, and he's got to hide his own face, and he feels vulnerable.

Ethan drops kisses into his hair. "Sometimes," he says, "you can't think. Can't talk. Can't even breathe. Coming while you're being fucked can be amazing." His hand on Dean's head, guides him to lift it, to look up. "Have you ever—" He lifts his eyebrows in question. "Have you ever used your fingers?"

Dean almost chokes on his tongue. "Not before today," he rasps.

Ethan makes that sound again, and then he kisses Dean, hard. "You did that today?" He kisses him again, deep and passionate. "And?"

Dean grunts, and he unconsciously spreads his feet apart. "Came so hard I'm pretty sure I went blind for a second." He moans and wraps his arms around Ethan's shoulders, tips his chin up for another kiss.

Ethan's hands slide down his back, over his ass. Large hands spread, squeeze, pulling Dean close, bringing their hard cocks together through their pants.

Then Ethan moves, unfastens Dean's jeans at the front, but he doesn't grab his cock, instead he puts both hands down the back of Dean's jeans, beneath his boxers, warm hands over bare skin, and Dean spreads his feet further, groans into Ethan's mouth as he grinds against him.

Then Ethan's hands are spreading him open, fingers in the crack of his ass, fingertip sliding over his hole, pressure without breaching.

Dean grunts and jerks, like his body wants to thrust forward and push back all at once. "Now," he growls. "I want you to do it. Now."

Ethan pulls back, hands sliding out of Dean's jeans, and he looks down at Dean, breathing hard. Then he nods, once. "Yeah. Get your ass into the bedroom."

Dean doesn't even make it through the door before Ethan's tugging at his clothes, peeling off his shirt, grabbing him, kissing him again.

Dean has to shove him off. He crashes through the bedroom door, and he stands and drops everything. Shirt. Jeans. Boots. Socks. Boxers.

He stands there naked, and then he lifts an eyebrow. "I can't do this on my own, man."

Ethan was staring. His shirt's half unbuttoned, and he's got one shoe kicked off. He goes back into action, shaking his head, and he strips quickly.

He crosses the space between them with two long strides, backs Dean up against the bed. "Turn around," he says, and then lifts his own eyebrow.

There's just a tiny tickle of apprehension as Dean turns to face the bed. "We gotta use a rubber," he says.

"In the drawer."

Dean's eyes flick to the bedside table, and he's about to move, about to drop and crawl across the bed to find the stuff they need, but Ethan wraps his arms around Dean's chest and won't let him go.

"Not yet," he says. Then he drops to his knees.

Ethan's lips pressed against one butt cheek punches a breath out of Dean, and Ethan's hands on the inside of his thighs, pressing them apart, and then Ethan's thumbs spreading him open.

Ethan licks into the crease and over Dean's hole and Dean cries out, a sound that's more surprise than anything else.

Ethan slides a hand up Dean's back, puts a little pressure behind it, and Dean folds, puts his hands on the mattress, inches his feet apart.

"That's it," Ethan says, his breath warm over Dean's hole. "That's good, Dean." He licks again, wet and firm. He does it again, and again, a little firmer each time.

Then he points his tongue and wriggles it, like he's trying to get in.

Dean gasps for air, finds himself pushing back against Ethan's face, encouraging him. "Yeah," he chants. "Fuck, yeah."

Ethan's fingers play around his probing tongue, and Dean can't see what's going on, doesn't know what's what or what's where, thinks it's a fingertip that breaches him first, followed by Ethan's tongue and a hum of triumph that vibrates into him, into his balls, makes them twitch up and his cock jerk.

It all becomes a blur, and Dean fists the sheets in his hands and moans and curses while Ethan's tongue slides in, out, fucks Dean's ass all soft and wet. Saliva drips down over his balls, down the inside of his thighs, a brief thought that it's making him wet like a girl, like there's method to what Ethan's doing to him past the fact that it feels amazing.

Ethan proves it when he plunges two fingers deep into Dean, and they go in slick and easy, deeper than Dean could ever reach on his own. "Hold on," Ethan grunts, slowly fucking Dean with his fingers, moving inside, searching. "Hold on, Dean."

Dean drops his shoulders to the mattress. Prostate, he thinks, when Ethan finds it, and everything goes white and he's on fire without burning, and he could just have this, that would be fine, just keep doing it don't stop "don't stop don't stop please"

Then it's gone, and Ethan's tongue is back up his ass, thrusting hard, fucking in, and Ethan's groaning while he's doing it, and Dean catches his breath, sucks in, comforter filling his mouth, puffing out.

Ethan stops, stands up, grabs Dean by the waist and pushes him up onto the bed. Dean crawls, finds a place, hands and knees. Ethan leans past him, opens the drawer.

A foil wrapped condom and a bottle of lube hits the mattress. "Still want this?"

Dean nods, breathing hard. "Fuck, yeah." Ethan's hands slide over his ass, hard cock slides into the crack, over his hole, and Dean shivers. Then it's gone, crack of the bottle cap, squelch of the lube, and then Dean's got two fingers buried in him again, slicker this time, much slicker. Sounds filthy.

Fuck thought, it's all gone. A third finger in him, stretch, burn. Cries out till it fades, spreads his thighs further. His ass is in the air, and he doesn't care.

Rip, and foil flutters to the floor. Dean turns his head to watch as Ethan rolls the rubber down his cock. It's thicker than three fingers. It's gonna burn. Dean wants it.

He's open, empty. He pushes his ass further into the air, spreads his thighs a little wider.

Ethan grunts, like he's in pain, presses the spongy head of his cock against Dean's slick, loose hole. "Gonna be the death of me, kid," he says, and then pushes.

A sudden fullness as Dean's body gives, a burn that fades quick. Ethan's making noise, groaning Dean's name.

Dean looks back, looks up. Finds Ethan's eyes and reaches back to grab his thigh, pull him in, because it's not enough, he's gotta go deeper, go all the way. "Make me feel it," he croaks. "Fuck me."

It doesn't hurt, not yet. The burn isn't pain, just proof that Dean's body is working to let Ethan in. He wants to feel it, the burn alongside the fullness, and he wants Ethan deeper, right up inside him.

"Tell me to stop," Ethan says, as he pushes forward. His hands on Dean's hips, pulling him onto his cock. "It's too much, you tell me to stop."

Dean's groan is a protest, no fucking way is he gonna say it, presses back, meets Ethan in the middle, and inch by inch, Dean's opening inside, there's a reason Ethan's going so slow, Dean's body fights, his insides tensing, and he can feel it, deep in his belly, and then Ethan's hips meet his ass, one more rough pull to make sure he's as deep as he can go.

The sounds Dean makes are like a dying animal, like the wounded werewolf they took down a few months ago, but he can't stop, the vocalization the only way he can deal with the feeling of being pressed open from the inside, like he should be in pain, but he's not, there's just this overwhelming pressure and a kind of twisted pleasure that roils inside him. "Do it, fuck, fuck me." He's raving like a lunatic, twisting and writhing, pumping his hips, back, back.

Ethan covers him, bends down over his back, holds his face and kisses him. "Shhh. You're okay. You feel good, Dean." More kisses Dean can't return. "You're so tight, feel so good."

Slowly, Dean calms. The pressure not so intense, he can form a thought, and his first thought is: how am I ever going to be able to go without this? Now that I know what it's like, how will I ever be able to put it behind me and never feel it again?

He breathes, slow and even. He kisses Ethan back. "Please."

Ethan rights himself, slides his hands back down to Dean's hips, thrusts slow, almost experimental. "Oh, yeah."

Pleasure spreads from deep inside Dean's body, flashes through him like fire. He moans, moves, twisting, pushing back. "More." His throat is hurting, his voice is a rasp. "Fuck me."

Ethan growls, tightens his grip on Dean's hips, pulls out, slow, almost all the way. The head of his cock catches on Dean's rim, then he thrusts back inside. He does it again, a little quicker this time, and again. "You like that?"

Dean grunts on every thrust. "Fuck," he moans. "Yeah. Fuck me."

Ethan's thrusts get quicker, faster. Almost violent.

Then he stops. Pulls out, and Dean cries out with the sudden emptiness. Ethan flips him onto his back, gets his hands behind Dean's knees and pushes them into his chest, and he slides his cock back into Dean easy, but it's all that intensity all over again, and Dean arches up.

Ethan comes down, kisses him again, tiny movements of his hips, thrusts not going as deep, not as hard. "So beautiful, Dean. Feel so good."

Dean just gapes as he rights himself again, and with arms wrapped around Dean's thighs, starts to thrust. Slow and easy this time, almost careful, like he's working for some kind of result, and his face is determined and intent.

Dean realizes why, as Ethan's cock hits him in that place again, the head scraping over Dean's prostate on each thrust.

Dean can't stop moaning, the pleasure that flashes through him, starts inside and spreads over his skin, sparks to the tips of his toes and the tips of his fingers, it never has a chance to truly fade before it starts over again. "Gonna make me come," he cries, as his cock twitches on his belly and he's not even touching it. "Gonna fucking come, I'm gonna come."

Ethan wraps his hand around Dean's cock, and a couple of firm strokes is all it takes, then Dean's coming, hot streaks spurting up his chest as he empties his balls, and his body clamps down on the cock inside him, like he can feel the shape of it in him, and Ethan moans and his hips jerk.

Then there's one hand on his hip, another sliding up his chest, through the mess, and Ethan's thrusts go jerky. "So fucking tight," Ethan grunts. "Your ass feels so good."

Dean can feel it too, his body so tight around Ethan's dick, and it's too much, like when he keeps pulling on his cock for too long after he's come, oversensitive, his body trying to force Ethan out, and he grits his teeth against it.

Then Ethan stills, and it's okay again, and he can feel Ethan coming, feel him twitching, jerking, jumping with every spurt as Ethan's fingers twist the flesh of his chest and dig into the skin over his hip and Ethan lets out a long, drawn out groan.

Then falls forward, still inside, and he kisses him, and it's wet and messy. "So good," Ethan murmurs, and then he pulls out.

He does it slow, fingers clamped to the base of his cock to hold the condom in place. It still makes Dean curl up and moan with something like pain, like something's missing, like losing a limb. "Oh, god," he whimpers, looks up at Ethan like pleading, like a cry for help, like he doesn't understand and Ethan can save him.

Ethan holds Dean's face in his hands, kisses him so gently. "I know," he whispers. "I know, baby. But you're so good. So good."

Dean wakes up slow, warm and comfortable. There's an ache, a throbbing, dull pain, but nothing he hasn't woken up to before.

Except for the location. The acute awareness that he got fucked in the ass last night reminds him that he's not bruised from a hunt, and he opens his eyes to Ethan's bedroom instead of a crappy motel or their own crappy little house.

"Morning." Ethan's lips hit the back of Dean's neck, just a quick kiss. "Want coffee? Breakfast? Name it."

"Mmm." Dean squirms onto his back, winces a little as his ass hits the mattress. "Coffee? And breakfast? Sounds good. But first..." He reaches up, pulls Ethan down for a kiss, morning breath and all. "Last night, man. Holy shit."

Ethan closes his eyes and moans, and Dean becomes aware that Ethan's hard against his thigh. He's got his own morning wood to deal with, but Ethan pushes his hips against Dean, like he wants to do something with it. "I knew you were amazing, Dean, but I had no idea. God."

It's all still a bit of a blur to Dean. All still a bit much to process. He knows one thing, though. "I liked it," he says. "Holy shit, man. I loved it."

The grin that spreads over Ethan's face lights up the room. "Yeah?" He dips his head, and he kisses Dean, and it's all tongue and spit. "So did I. You've ruined me for other men, Dean. You're unbelievable."

Dean snorts. "You've ruined me for all women."

Ethan flops onto his back, and he pulls Dean over on top of him. "Good," he says. "I want you all to myself."

It should be a joke. Dean could have read it like that. But the look on Ethan's face is deadly serious, and it makes Dean's heart twist up inside him. He pushes back on Ethan's chest, sits up straddling his hips, and the sheets fall down around him.

They're both still naked from the night before. They're both hard, and Dean looks down, watches as he moves his hips, drags his cock along Ethan's. They both moan, and Dean's head drops back.

Ethan puts his hands on Dean's hips, encourages him, guides him. "Sit on my dick," he murmurs, voice gone thick and husky. "Ride me with those strong legs, Dean." His hands stroke down Dean's thighs, squeeze the tight muscle.

Dean stares down at him for a few moments as he considers it. He's sore, his ass and insides still aching and used. But if he does this, he'll still be able to feel it at work tomorrow, and the idea appeals to him in an oddly perverse way.

And it'll give him a chance to be in control. He felt so out of control last night, so wanton and lost, and he's not used to it. Maybe he can get a little of that back. "Yeah," he says, and lunges for the drawer where Ethan keeps the condoms.

His heart starts pounding, harder and faster, as he rolls the rubber down onto Ethan's dick, gets a handful of lube and slicks it up. Then he bites his lip and reaches back to prepare himself.

He's still got no idea what he's doing, does enough to make sure he's not going to hurt himself too much, and then he lifts himself, slowly sinks down onto Ethan's cock.

See, the beauty of this position, is Dean's in control. His legs are burning, feet planted flat on the mattress, and he's taking a little of his own weight as he presses his hands flat on Ethan's chest, but he can go as slow as he likes.

And he goes slow. Fuck, he aches, right up inside him, but it's a good ache, somehow satisfying. It's going to be all that much stronger tomorrow, when he's sweeping dust out of the corners of the garage and counting inventory.

"Dean." Ethan's hips are jerking, like he wants to thrust right up into Dean, and his voice is strained and strangled. His hands make fists against Dean's belly, and his eyes roll back in his head.

Dean sinks down a bit further, pushes back up again, and he lets himself sink down all the way. "Holy fuck," he groans, because this is deeper than before, than last night, he's sure, and he looks down at his belly, like he should be able to see the outline of Ethan's cock through it. "Just give me a minute."

"Mmmm," Ethan groans, low and guttural. His forehead is all scrunched up, and his eyes are squeezed closed. "Can't even look at you, Jesus."

Dean lets out a short, sharp bark of laughter. "What?"

Ethan slides his hands up Dean's chest, slow, like he's mapping every inch to memory. "So beautiful. It hurts." His voice almost breaks on 'hurts', and he puts his hand over his heart. "Right here."

His voice has dropped to a whisper, and his eyes are still closed.

Dean feels it, like Ethan's just stabbed him in the heart. He gets all choked up, and it's so the wrong time for this, while Ethan's dick is stuffed up his ass.

He deals with it the only way he can. He gets his knees beneath him, and he leans forward, Ethan still deep inside him, and he pushes his mouth to Ethan's, moans into a clumsy kiss as he slowly starts to rock his hips.

That's all he does. Slowly rocks, breathes Ethan's breath, slow, surreal, the laziest sex he's ever had, but it feels right.

He doesn't stop until he starts to come, then he collapses forward onto Ethan's chest and simply clings while Ethan thrusts up into him until he's finished, too.

Chapter 6

Dean's ass hurts like a bitch even in the Impala's soft leather seats, but he still can't wipe the smile off his face.

"You scare me sometimes, Dean," Sam says, as Dean pulls up outside the school. "Who are you and what have you done with my brother?"

"Shut up, Sammy." Dean's still grinning.

Sam pops the door open. "Dean's in luuuurve. Awww, it's adorable." Sometimes Sam really is just a normal teenager.

Dean lunges for him, but his ass twinges and he winces, and Sam dances away, anyway.

"Jesus, Dean. What'd he do to you?" Sam pulls a face. "Don't answer that. I don't want to know."

"You really don't. Now, get lost, before I start honking the horn and embarrass you in front of all your little friends."

Sam glares. "You wouldn't dare."

Dean's hand hovers over the center of the steering wheel.

"Jerk." Sam starts backing away.

Dean reaches over, pulls the passenger door closed, and through the open window, calls out "bitch." Then he revs the engine, tries to ignore the ticking, and he peels out of the lot, leaving Sam staring after him with a sour look on his face.

Dean hits the horn, just for good measure, laughs as he tears off down the road.

Dean's going to have to do something about being so distracted at work. Not getting fucked Sunday morning might be a plan in future, because the stiffness doesn't help. He wears Jimmy's slap to the back of his head several times as he zones out, the worst being when he's sitting in the office-slash-breakroom and staring at the phone while it's ringing, and Jimmy comes in to see why he isn't answering it.

He's thankful at the end of the day, heads home looking forward to speaking to Ethan, even just hearing his voice, because he promised he'd call.

He drifts through dinner, can't even be bothered snarking back at Sam, because he's still pissed about his stunt that morning. Registers something Sam's saying about Parent Teacher night, but doesn't pay much attention.

Then he can't even concentrate on the television, so focused on the phone, and making sure he's the one that answers it.

Sam heads off to bed, and Ethan still hasn't rung.

The clock ticks toward midnight, and Dean's got to admit, it's not going to happen. It hurts, but maybe Ethan got tied up at work. Maybe he got busy. Maybe he forgot.

Dean spends Tuesday obsessing. He's going to call Ethan as soon as he gets in.

His ass feels better, and he's actually kind of disappointed about that fact, but when he closes his eyes, he can almost feel Ethan inside him.

He gets a slap to the back of his head because he's doing it leaning up against a broom when he's supposed to be sweeping.

Ethan isn't home when Dean calls, and he either doesn't have an answer phone, or its been turned off, because it just rings and rings and rings. Dean tries three times over the course of the evening, and that sick feeling inside just gets worse and worse.

When Sam asks, Dean lies.

"He said he might be working late most of the week." Fakes it good for a change, says it like it's nothing.

But there's an uneasiness in the pit of his stomach, a sickening twist of nausea that he almost can't bear.

He tries again on Wednesday. Picks up the phone when Sam's in the shower. It rings and rings.

Dean reaches for what that might have meant in his old life. Someone you care about doesn't answer the phone, it means they're in danger, maybe kidnapped, maybe dead. But this isn't his old life. Ethan isn't a hunter, he isn't being haunted or stalked or hexed. And he's not Dad.

Still, it feels like a better option. Dean can do something about that. He knows how to handle it. Fight. Hunt. Salt the bones and burn them. The alternative is something he doesn't have the skills to work with.

So he clings to the first. He worries. And he keeps calling.

Then, when Sam's gone to bed, early night because he's got school in the morning, Dean gathers his weapons, and he heads around there.

The Impala gives a shudder when he pulls up outside. The lights are on in Ethan's apartment. A curtain twitches, then goes still.

Dean tucks a handgun into the back of his jeans, there's a knife in his boot, and he heads up the path.

Something stops him from simply kicking in the door. He knocks, and waits. Long moments pass, then it opens a crack.

"Ethan." It's a breath more than a word, one Dean's been holding for hours. "You're here."

"You shouldn't have come, Dean," Ethan says.

Dean's heart freezes solid. "You didn't answer the phone," he accuses. "What was I supposed to do?"

Ethan swallows hard, won't meet Dean's eyes. "Take the hint."

"Hint? What fucking hint?" It's there, right there, but Dean can't accept it. There's a block in his mind and he's got to exhaust the other possibility, first. "Is there someone here?" he hisses, low enough to mask it from anyone inside.

Ethan looks at him then, and his face is cold and closed off. "No."

Dean shifts, peers over Ethan's shoulder. The coffee table is a mess, empty whiskey bottles and glasses, and he looks close at Ethan. His hair is mussed, his eyes bloodshot. There's a faint scent of alcohol clinging to him. "No." He shakes his head, because it's too much to comprehend, and none of it makes sense.

Ethan rolls his eyes, then steps back, let's the door bang open. "Search the place if you like. There's no one here."

Dean looks up at him, narrowed eyes. "What am I looking for?" His fingers itch to reach for his gun, but he waits. "Why didn't you answer the goddamn phone?"

"Because I made a mistake."

Dean takes a step back. "What?"

"I'm sorry." Ethan turns away, just walks away, grabs a bottle by the neck and pours the tiny trickle of amber liquid in the bottom into a grimy glass, throws it back. "You're too young." He throws his head back and laughs. "And you have a kid. A fucking teenager."

"He's my brother," Dean says, barely a whisper. "You knew I had a brother."

Ethan whirls around, bottle swinging in his hand. He shakes his head. "I'm not going to be your fucking experiment."

Dean's jaw drops. "You're not. Ethan, you're not. You're drunk." He reaches out, about to cross the threshold, to go after Ethan.

"Get out," Ethan says, crossing the room. He puts his hand on the door, tries to close it in Dean's face. "Don't come here again, and stop calling me. We're done."

Dean stares at the door as it slams shut. Stares in disbelief.

Then he turns, and one foot in front of the other, he gets back to the car. He closes the door, turns the key so the engine roars to life. A couple of fat tears roll down his cheeks as his chest contracts in a violent sob.

Chapter 7

Dean spends the week in a daze. He fucks up at work, barely speaks a word to Sam when he's home.

He allows himself Friday, just one night, to go out and get blind drunk.

He avoids the place he thinks of as 'Ethan's bar', walks out to the biker place at the edge of town, drinks until there's no cash left in his pocket, and starts a bar fight.

He limps home, bruised and bleeding, collapses on the couch as soon as he gets in the door.

Sam shakes him awake in the morning.

"What the hell happened to you?" Sam says. "You look like hell, Dean."

"Ugh." Dean sits up, and his head spins, and there's something crusted at the corner of his lips, and it hurts when he touches it. Dried blood flakes away on his fingertips. "Bar fight," he slurs. "Painkillers?"

Sam hands him a couple pills from their dwindling supply of the good stuff, and a glass of water. "How'd you get in a bar fight? I assumed you were with—"

Dean cuts him off, doesn't even want to hear the name, because it all rises up in his chest, pain, heartbreak, and he can't breathe. "Bar fight, Sammy. Leave it the fuck alone." He takes the pills, drinks the whole glass, then pushes Sam out of the way as he rises to his feet and heads for his own bedroom. He's gonna sleep, because otherwise he'll think too much.

It's either that or keep drinking.

He sleeps most of the day, and when he doesn't sleep, he lies awake, sun glowing through the closed curtains, tries to block his thoughts, but he can't.

Stops trying, because he deserves this. How many times has he told a girl he'd call after a weekend of pretty words, how many times has he talked his way past a girl's defenses to get into her panties, and then skipped town?

He can't even blame Ethan for it, because Dean's got what was coming to him.

Dean scours the morning paper while he bolts hot coffee. Finds a marker pen in the cup above the sink, draws a circle around the weirdest thing he can find, then tears out the page, folds it carefully and tucks it into the pocket of his overalls.

"Hey Dean."

Dean looks up. Throws back the dregs of his coffee, burns his throat. "I'm done. What've you got?"

"Weird guy," Jimmy says. "Asks if I had a kid called Dean working for me, then when I told him yeah, says he wants a full service, and wants you to do it."

"Me?" He's barely touched a car since he started working for Jimmy, spends most of his time sweeping floors and checking inventory. Jimmy's a nice guy, but business is slow. It doesn't give Dean much of a chance to prove that he knows what he's doing.

Jimmy shrugs. "Told him you had no training, didn't seem to care." He grins. "Swears he won't sue if you fuck up his car."

Dean gets up, rinses his coffee cup, and sets it on the counter to drain. "What's his name?"

Jimmy shrugs again. "Left cash."

"Tall dude? Dark hair, blue eyes?"

"I don't know what color his goddamn eyes are, Dean."

Dean turns around. "I don't want it. The guy's an asshole. I don't know what the hell he's up to, but I don't need any fucking favors from him."

Jimmy narrows his eyes. "Don't shoot yourself in the foot, kid. Don't wanna do it for him? Do it for me. Show me what you got."

Dean grinds his teeth and fingers the folded sheet of newspaper in his pocket. There's a part of him that wants to walk out now, lose himself in a fight. But Sammy's counting on him, trusting him to be there, to provide. He needs a release, something to take his anger out on, but not at Sam's expense. "Fine," he says. "But I don't want anything to do with him, okay? When I'm done, you call him after I'm gone, get him to pick up when I'm not around."

"Deal." Jimmy turns away.

When he's alone again, Dean pulls the paper out of his pocket, looks it over. It's a werewolf, he's sure of it. He's never hunted one on his own, Dad was always there with him, but he can do it. He's got to. He's going to kill it, and he's going to remember what he's good at.

It's a fucking Toyota. He should feel smug, go figure an asshole should have a crap car, but instead, Dean just feels insulted. They never talked about cars, but the cocksucker—Dean almost chokes on that thought—must have heard the Impala pull up outside, both times Dean went there.

Insulted, and kind of pissed off, because Toyota or not, it's practically brand new, almost certainly still under warranty, which is probably why the service when there's nothing wrong with it. Dean stares down at the pristine engine and only just resists the urge to take a crow bar to it.

"He left a tip," Jimmy says. "Big goddamn tip, Dean."

"I don't want his money."

"Enough to get you that part you need."

Dean swears.

"You been asking for overtime I can't give you, and you won't take it? What he do to you, anyway? Screw your girlfriend?"

He broke Dean's heart. "Something like that, yeah." Made him feel dirty and used.

"Take his money. He must feel guilty. Take it, kid."

"It's not guilt," Dean says, reaching for tools. "It's leave-me-the-fuck-alone money."

Jimmy laughs. "It's money. Take it."

Dean lies to Sam again about where he's going at night. Before, he concocted a fake hunt to cover up a date, now, it's the other way around.

He doesn't actually say 'date'. Doesn't mention Ethan at all. Sam assumes, though, with a kind of happy smile on his face that makes Dean feel sick inside. He should have told Sam by now, but he's a fool, more of a fool because he's done it dozens of times himself (though he'll swear on his father's non-existent grave that he was never so cruel), and he can't bear to say it out loud yet.

He smuggles a handgun out to the Impala, loaded up with silver bullets.

It occurs to him as he's dodging the werewolf's savage maw that if he dies, Sam will never know for sure why he didn't come home. At least with Dad, they knew he was on a hunt, a hunt dangerous enough that he left them both behind. The possibility was always there, and as the weeks passed with no contact, it just became more and more likely that hunting had finally killed him.

It wasn't a surprise. Heartbreaking, yeah, but surprise, definitely not.

If Dean dies tonight, he just won't come home. Sam's expecting him home tonight, or maybe in the morning. Sam will never know what happened to him. He'll figure eventually that Dean was hunting, but he won't know where to look, won't be able to find his remains, give him a proper hunter's funeral.

Just like they couldn't with Dad. Dad didn't tell them where he'd be going, knowing Dean would follow him if he was gone too long. And now Dean's flat on his back, barely holding the werewolf off.

His heart still hurts, a deep, dull ache that's there all the time now. He barely even knew the guy, not really, but what Ethan did cut him deep, perhaps deeper than Dad not coming home, and he feels like it's because he wasn't good enough.

Maybe he's not good enough to hold off this werewolf, either. It snaps at his throat, strings of saliva splattering over his skin, teeth grazing his jugular. One more like that and Dean's gone.

Then Sam will be alone. He'll end up in foster care, because the Winchesters barely exist on paper, and Bobby Singer is no relation, isn't named as a guardian anywhere.

With a roar and a last burst of effort, Dean throws the werewolf off him. He scrambles sideways, grabs the gun from where it fell to the ground, and he fires as the werewolf leaps at him again.

It falls back on top of him, but it's still. It's dead. Dean lies there beneath it, hot blood soaking into his clothes, until he catches his breath.

Dean's not lucky enough that Sam's in bed when he gets home. It's 1am, and Sam's still sitting at the kitchen table, books spread out in front of him. Dean tries to sneak into the bathroom, but the front door bangs.

"Dean?" Sam's chair scrapes across the linoleum, and his footsteps ring on the floor. "How'd it go, Dean?"

Dean gives up, slumps against the wall as Sam rounds the corner into the hall. He knows what he must look like.

Sam's eyes go wide. "What happened?"

Dean doesn't even have the energy to lie. "Werewolf," he says.

Sam comes at him, reaching out to touch his cheek. "You're scratched, Dean."

Dean shakes his head. The cuts on his face still sting. "Branch caught me in the woods. I'm fine, Sammy."

Sam breathes a sigh of relief, takes a step back and leans against the wall opposite. "Werewolf crashed your date?"

Dean turns his head away, stares at the ugly hallway carpet. "There was no date, Sammy. I lied to you."

"Again. What's going on, Dean?"

"Hunting was part of the deal, Sam. I found a job close by, and I needed to get something out of my system." He looks up, tries to swallow past the lump in his throat. "I won't be seeing him again. It was a mistake."

All the color drains out of Sam's face, and he straightens up. "What happened?"

Dean shrugs, and his mouth twists as he tries to fight the cold lodged in his heart. "He told me to get lost." His voice breaks on a sob. He swallows it back, takes a few deep breaths to gain control. Then he straightens up, lifts his chin. "I'm okay," he says. "I'm fine, Sammy. I'm good."

Sam's eyes study his face. "I'm sorry, Dean."

"I'm fine."

Sam's eyes flick down over Dean's body. "If you're hunting, Dean, I need to know, okay? What if you don't come back?"

Something tightens in Dean's chest, makes it hard to breathe.

Chapter 8

Dean's feeling better than he has in days. He's in a goddamn high school, and he feels good, and that's something he never thought he'd see.

He's surrounded by parents, teachers, the odd student. There's an atmosphere of fear and anxiety, but Dean just feels pride. He's got one more teacher to see, another that's bound to tell him that Sam's their best student.

Dean looks at his schedule, looks up at the number on the classroom in front of him. He pushes on the door and goes in.

Then his heart stops cold, because it's not some middle-aged teacher behind the desk. It's Ethan.

It's not in Dean's nature to run away, but he starts backing up immediately.

Ethan gets to his feet, his chair scraping loud on the floor. "Dean, wait."

Dean stops, halfway out the door. "What the hell are you doing here?"

"Come in," Ethan says. He looks like shit, dark circles underneath his eyes, and his hair is mussed. "Shut the door."

It hurts just to look at him, to remember how Ethan made him feel, both before and after. It hurts to remember what they did together, and to remember how it ended. "What is this?"

"The door, Dean."

Dean closes it, stands with his back to it as Ethan sinks back down into his seat. "You're not Sam's math teacher."

"I am." Ethan glances at the chair in front of the desk. "Sit down."

Dean doesn't move. "I'll stand."

Ethan looks down at the file folder open in front of him, sighs, and then pushes himself back to his feet. His eyes are on Dean as he crosses the classroom, and he stops just a foot away. "Now do you understand why?"

Dean swallows past the lump in his throat and shakes his head. His heart is beating hard and fast and he can almost feel the heat coming off Ethan's body. He looks away, because it isn't fair. He shouldn't still want to reach out and touch.

"I'm not out at school, Dean," Ethan says. "It's not right, but some people are still assholes. I could lose my job."

That Dean understands, but it still doesn't tell him why Ethan did what he did. He shouldn't care anymore, wishes he didn't. "You think I'd tell someone?"

"Not you," Ethan says. His eyes linger on Dean's face, stray to the cuts, the bruises that are still there after werewolf job. "Sam."

Dean almost chokes. "Sam doesn't know, and if he did, you think he'd spread it round like some juicy piece of gossip?"

Ethan grimaces and turns away. "Sam's a great kid, Dean. Academically, he's any teacher's dream. But he's still just a kid, and kids talk."

"You don't know my brother," Dean hisses.

Ethan turns back. "I couldn't risk it. My job is too important to me."

Dean looks him straight in the eye. "You're an asshole."

"I know," Ethan says, and drops his eyes. "I panicked. I'm sorry. I should have talked to you."

Dean turns away, grabs the door handle and pulls at it. The door creaks open, and he's about to step out, because he's got to get away, before his heart implodes.


Dean looks up.

Ethan's hand goes to his face, to his cheek and temple. "You're hurt. Are you okay?"

Dean shrugs. "You should see the other guy," he says, and then walks out the door.

He should be coming home full of pride, ready to give Sam the expected good news. Instead, he can't even look at Sam when he walks through the door.

"What?" Sam says, as he follows him to the fridge. "Oh my god, Dean. What?"

Dean pulls out a beer, screws off the cap, downs half the bottle in one go. "You're good," he rasps. "Everyone loves you." He lifts the bottle, empties it.

Sam steps back. "Then why the sudden alcoholism?"

Dean grabs another bottle, sits down heavy at the kitchen table. He sighs, and looks up at his brother. "What's your math teachers name, Sam?"

Sam frowns. "Mr Jones?" His frown deepens, and his eyes focus on something far away. "Ethan Jones—" His eyes snap back to Dean's face. "No way."

Dean tips his bottle at Sam, makes a clicking sound with his tongue. "Bingo, Sammy. They all said you were smart. Including the asshole that br—" He cuts himself off, screws off the bottle cap and tosses it at the garbage. It misses, hits the floor and spins there for a few seconds.

"That broke your heart," Sam finishes for him. "God, Dean. I'm so sorry."

Dean stares down at the tabletop. "I'm fine, Sam."

"Right." Sam sits on the edge of the table. "I know you're not, Dean." He makes an exasperated noise. "I don't know how he could look me in the eye. What a dick."

Dean's eyes snap up. "You can't say anything, Sam. Not to him, not to anyone else. You understand?"

Sam stares back at him, his face impassive. "Sure, Dean. I get it. But you know this is my fault, right?"

"What? Sam, no."

"I told him," Sam says. "I told him my brother, Dean, would be coming to parent teacher night, because Dad wasn't in the picture anymore."

Dean steps back from the open hood of the Impala, wipes his hands on his overalls. He managed to lose himself in Baby's inner workings for a while, and now he's done, he realizes he's got a smile on his face.

It feels good, for a change. Life doesn't exactly suck, but smiling, feeling good, has been sort of elusive lately. He pushes aside the thought that if it wasn't for Ethan, if it wasn't for Ethan's guilt money, he wouldn't have had the part he needed.

He's reaching up to close the hood when there's a sound behind him, the soft scuff of rubber soles on cement. It's almost nothing, but it's a Saturday. The garage is closed, there shouldn't be anyone here. Dean's immediately alert. He leaves the hood up and reaches for the wrench sitting on top of the engine, and then he turns around.

Then he sighs, and slides the wrench into his back pocket. "You just come here to ruin my day, or is there something you want?"

Ethan looks good. There are still dark smudges under his eyes, but his shirt is clean and pressed, his hair is combed, and he'd shaved that morning. Dean turns his back on him, bangs the hood closed, pulls a rag out of his pocket and wipes the grease off his hands.

"I called your place," Ethan says. "Sam said you were here."

"Sam's supposed to be at the library." Dean slides into the driver's seat. He turns the key in the ignition, and the Impala roars to life. He lifts his eyes, just a quick glance through the windscreen at Ethan standing in the open workshop door, then looks away, tipping his head to the side as he listens to the engine.

"Good girl." He pats the dash, and can't help smiling, even though his heart is pounding. He looks up again, and the smile melts off his face. He turns off the engine, drops his head. He can't look at Ethan as he approaches.

"This is a beautiful car," Ethan says. He stands on the outside of the open door, trails a finger down the hood. "Is it yours?"

"She was my dad's." Dean shakes his head before he lifts it. "What do you want?"

Ethan's eyes are clear, the whites are bright and his pupils are dilated. "I made a mistake, Dean."

"Yeah, you said that already." Dean gets out of the car, shuts the door behind him. "Don't worry, I got the hint, you don't have to track me down and hammer it in." Dean drops the wrench back in the toolbox, crosses the room and lifts it onto the shelf. "So why are you still here?"

"You weren't my mistake."

It's just a whisper, but right behind him. Ethan being here throws him off, distracts him. Dean turns around, backs up half a step to put more distance between them. "Your mistake was coming here."

Ethan shakes his head. "When I quit on you like that. It might be the stupidest thing I've ever done. I hurt you, and I'm sorry."

"Don't be." Dean pushes past and walks away. He stops in the center of the room, because he's got no where else to go. "I'm fine."

"I'm not."

Dean's lungs tighten. It gets hard to breathe. "Is that all? Because I'm done here, but I can't lock up until you're gone."

"I want to see you again."

Dean's heart stops for a second. "What?"

Ethan's shoes scuff across the cement floor again, and Dean can feel him before he reaches out. He brushes his fingertips down Dean's arm, and it raises goosebumps. "I haven't been able to get you out of my head since the moment I laid eyes on you, Dean. Meeting you, kissing you, everything we did? None of that was a mistake. Ending it? Even if I had done it properly. That was the worst mistake I've ever made." His fingers wrap around Dean's wrist, and he tries to pull Dean to face him. "I like you, Dean. A lot."

Dean turns, grabs Ethan's wrist, pulls it off and drops it. "Fool me once," he says. He walks to the roller door and pulls it up. "Now get out. I gotta get home to my brother."

"Sam doesn't like me much right now, does he?"

"Yeah, well," Dean says, as he opens the car door and slides into the drivers seat. "Neither do I." He starts the engine, pops in the first tape that comes to hand and dials up the volume. A song starts halfway through, pounds right into Dean's chest. He shoves the Impala into reverse, puts his foot down and squeals out of the workshop. He'll have to explain the tire marks to Jimmy on Monday, but right now he doesn't care.

He leaves the engine running when he gets out to lock up the shop. "Get out or I'll call the cops," he says, bluffing, but Ethan doesn't need to know that. "We're done."

Ethan was right there, practically down on his knees, and it would have been so easy to take him back. Dean wanted it. Wanted to give in, to cave, but he couldn't.

He knows what's going on. He knows why Ethan broke up with him. He's never had to deal with that kind of prejudice himself, but it exists, and as a teacher, Ethan's vulnerable.

Sam's told him Ethan's a good teacher. One of the best. Approachable, attentive. He takes teaching seriously. There are no rumors about him, he doesn't look too long at the male students or anything. Sam tells him half the female student body are in love with him, and that doesn't surprise Dean in the slightest, because Ethan is beautiful. He's all the things that Dean can't get out of his head.

Sam swears he's given up on giving Ethan a hard time at school. Dean's pride wouldn't let him forgive Ethan when he came for forgiveness, but he's done it now. He doesn't want Ethan to suffer, and he doesn't blame him anymore.

Dean knows that Ethan was scared. He knows that he sought to protect himself and he knows that he probably didn't think he'd be hurting Dean, because Dean wasn't gay. He was just trying something new, and he wasn't falling in love or anything.

Except that he was.

Time is supposed to fix pain like that, but it's not getting any better.

There's a girl working at the diner where Dean gets his lunch sometimes. She's cute, and she flirts with Dean. He flirts back out of habit, but he hasn't asked her out yet. Deep down, he's hoping Ethan will come back, but he knows that ship has sailed. This time, Dean's the one who made it clear that they were over, and Ethan won't come back.

Jimmy takes days off sometimes, leaves Dean to run the workshop. Skips out on a Thursday night, says he's going to get a head start on some fishing. He's never said as much, but it means he trusts Dean. Gave him a pay rise a month back. Not much, but enough to put a smile on Sam's face.

Weirdly, Dean doesn't miss hunting full time. He'd be doing it alone now, or he'd be dragging around an increasingly belligerent teenager. Dean's never seen Sam so happy.

That makes Dean happy. But there's still something missing. It's not hunting, but that's what Dean tries to fix it with. That's why Sam comes to him one Sunday afternoon, with an old newspaper from two towns over in his hand, opens it up and jabs his finger at the article Dean circled.

"You didn't bump your head on a muffler, did you, Dean?"

Without thinking, Dean lifts his hand to touch the fading bruise from the poltergeist job a week back. He looks up at Sam, still tapping at the paper, and snatches it off him. "Leave it, Sammy."

"How many more?" Sam demands. "How many other hunts have you been on? You're not working on the weekends, are you?"

"I'm working," Dean says. "Just not at the garage. What does it matter? We're still here, you're still at school. What else am I supposed to do at the weekends? What else am I supposed to do to keep my mind off—"

"Ethan," Sam says, and sighs. He drops onto the couch beside Dean. "Why don't you just call him?"

Dean pulls a face. He wants to get angry, because even Ethan's name makes his heart hurt. Hell, seeing Sam doing his math homework makes his heart hurt. "Fuck Ethan," Dean says. "Maybe I need to take my mind off Dad. Dad's dead, Sam, and you don't even seem to care."

Sam's face closes off. "Dad died hunting. He left us, Dean, and he didn't come back, and we didn't even know where to look for him. So fuck Dad, okay?"

Dean opens his mouth to argue, but snaps his jaw shut at the look Sam gives him.

"No, Dean. Dad had a mission, I get that. But he left us with nothing. The mission was more important to him than we were, so I'm not going to torture myself over him being gone."

"Sammy, you're wrong. Dad knew I'd look out for you—"

"Then why the hell are you trying to kill yourself?" Sam's lip starts to quiver. "That's got nothing to do with Dad, and you know it."

Dean stops when he sees the emotion on Sam's face. "Sam," he whispers. "I'm not. You think I want to leave you? No. I just can't—" The words stick in his throat, he chokes on them. "I don't know what to do. I don't know how to deal with—" He hunches over, and his hand goes to his chest, and he fights tears. He shakes his head. "I can't. But when there's something to fight? Something I can hit or shoot or set on fire? I can forget for a while, you know?"

"It's not even Dad, is it?"

Dean stares at Sam for a while. Long moments pass. Then he shakes his head. "I had my whole life to get my head around the fact that one day, Dad wasn't going to come back. When we were younger, when you were too young to understand, he'd tell me what to do when it happened. A couple years back, he stopped reminding me."

"I can't do that," Sam says. "I won't be okay if you don't come back."

Dean drops his head. His vision blurs until all he sees is the black circle around the article in the paper. The brick the poltergeist hurled at him knocked him out for a good half hour. It could have finished him off, could have brought the whole crumbling house down on top of him. Dean got lucky. "You want me to quit hunting."

"Yeah, Dean," Sam says. "Really quit this time. I don't want you to leave me, too. You're all I've got."

Dean looks up. "Okay, Sammy. I promise. For real, this time." This time he means it. He can't stop the tear that rolls down his cheek when he wonders just how he's going to quiet the hurt in his chest next time it gets to be too much to bear, but he's not going to risk leaving Sam all alone.

Sam reaches out, wipes it away with the pad of his thumb. "Call him, Dean. He misses you, too. I can tell."

Dean turns his head away. "He doesn't even know me."

"He knows enough. And so do you. Call him."

Dean snorts, but it's not funny. "I can't. If he didn't answer, it would be the same thing all over again, and I don't think I could stand it. I can't go to his place for the same reason." He looks at Sam. "I'm fucked, Sam, and he's not gonna come back to me, I made it clear the last time that he wasn't welcome."


This OMC's name was originally Jack. It still hurts me that I had to change it, but I didn't want there to be any confusion.

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I'm bloodwrites, and I've been knocking around the fandom internets since the early 2000s. I write fic, almost exclusively slash. I like Dean Winchester, vampires, pirates, and CSS. Some people know me as vamp.

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Updated: 30 Jan 2023

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