Dean inhales dust for the third time. When the coughing fit has passed and his eyes have stopped watering, he throws down his clipboard. "I'm done," he says. "We either get a vacuum cleaner in here, or..." he gestures around the room, lined with shelves and covered with decades worth of dust. "Or a leaf-blower or something. I'm done, Sammy. Done."
Sam gives a delicate cough into his elbow. "I'm kinda with you, to be honest. Okay. We'll pick back up in the morning."
They leave their clipboards on a shelf, and shut the room back up.
It's late, but they both end up in the kitchen. Dean's staring into the fridge when he hears Sam's voice.
"I'd love a burger right now."
"A burger sounds good, if you don't mind waiting," Dean replies, and starts gathering the essentials.
"God," Sam says. "You read my mind."
Dean snorts. "Yeah, okay. Hey Sammy? After we eat, how 'bout you get some sleep, huh?"
Sam's halfway through his burger, his mouth full and making all the yummy noises Dean loves to hear, when over it all, clear as a bell, he hears Sam's voice again.
"—so fucking good, I don't know how he does it."
Dean's looking down at his own meal, though, so maybe he's the one that needs sleep. He flicks his eyes up, and Sam's still chewing. "Didn't I teach you not to talk with your mouth full?"
He's not crazy. Okay, so maybe he's crazy, but he's not wrong. Sam lifts a questioning eyebrow but continues chewing. Still, Dean hears him. Dean hears Sam.
You didn't teach me shit. You talk with your mouth full all the time. I learned not to on my own.
"What the fuck," Dean says. He pushes away from the table, nearly tips the bench onto the floor. "What the fuck was that, Sam?"
Sam puts his burger down, almost chokes as he tries to swallow. "What was what, Dean?" Has he lost his mind?
Has he? Maybe. He's hearing Sam's words, but Sam's lips aren't moving. Except for when they are, but not all the time. It's like—
It's like he can read Sam's thoughts. "Holy shit," he says. "Holy shit."
Is he having an aneurysm? Sam's face gets panicked, and he moves out from behind the table, gets his hands on Dean, holds his head, looks into his eyes. "Dean, talk to me." Drops one hand, fumbles for his phone. Who the fuck do you call for an aneurysm? 911? An ambulance?
"Don't call 911," Dean says. "Sam, I'm good. Um. tired. Too much dust." He fakes a cough. "And, like, all those lists make Dean a dull boy and all that crap. I'm good, I swear."
"You're sure?" Sam's phone hand slowly drops. I don't know what I'd do, can't lose Dean, I— "You're sure you're okay?"
"Yeah." Dean shrugs. "Brief moment of insanity, that's all." He should tell him. He should tell Sam that he's reading his mind. But what if he is crazy? That's just gonna worry Sam more.
It's probably something he touched when they were in that dusty old room, cataloging all that dusty old crap.
"I'll sleep it off," he says. If he is crazy, then hopefully it'll wear off. If he touched a cursed object, maybe it'll wear off—
Okay, so that never happens.
I love you, I can't lose you.
Aww. And being able to read Sam's mind doesn't completely suck.
I love you, so much.
Yeah, okay, that's enough. "Yeah, I'm just gonna hit the hay, Sammy. Don't worry about me. I'm totally good. Okay?"
Sam nods. "Okay, Dean." He still looks terrified, more so as he looks down at Dean's half-eaten burger.
Dean grabs it, stuffs it into his mouth. "For the road," he mumbles, around bread and meat.
Sam looks happier then, even gives him a smile. "You're the one who eats with his mouth full, jerk."
"Shut up, bitch," Dean says, and disappears.
There seems to be a distance limit involved with this new gift of Dean's. From his own room, all he can hear is a low murmur, any words too indistinct to make out.
It seems that the mind reading comes with pictures, sometimes, too. Maybe Sam's thinking of Dean as he cooks, Dean walking down the hall, Dean holding...something? A clipboard? The images that appear in his mind are too transparent, too blurry to make out.
The bathrooms seem far enough away to be similarly out of range. Good. Dean does not need to see and hear Sam in the shower he's gotten into the habit of taking, right before bed.
Dean's a man, he knows what that means.
Dean already knows to expect it when there's a knock on his door. Sam's thoughts became more and more clear the closer he got, and they were entirely Sam trying to justify peeking in just to assure himself that Dean was alive and kicking.
"Come in," Dean says.
As the door opens, it's less words and pictures and more a solid wave of emotion that he gets from Sam. It's relief, pure and powerful.
"See?" Dean says. "I'm good."
"Good," Sam says, with a small smile, but that relief is still pouring off of him. "Goodnight, Dean."
I love you. Sam closes the door.
Dean chuckles to himself. When this is all out in the open—of course he's going to tell Sam, but not before he's had some fun with it—he's going to give Sam hell over being such a sap.
While the kitchen and the bathroom are both out of range of Dean's new mind-reading abilities, his brother's bedroom is not. Dean's just drifting off to sleep when it hits him what a terrible idea not telling Sam really is.
Because maybe Sam's late night showers aren't actually for 'personal time' at all, not if the words and pictures and feelings he's currently being bombarded with have anything to say about the matter.
Dean leaps out of bed so fast he almost brains himself as his legs get tangled in the sheets. He barely saves himself from tripping headfirst into the floor.
Then he's out into the hall and banging hard on Sam's door.
The arousal and the pictures being broadcast into Dean's head stop immediately. They switch to urgency and low key panic as Sam hides the stuff on his bedside table and wipes his hand on the sheet and what's wrong what's wrong
"Dean?" Sam calls through the door. "Uh, come in? Are you okay?"
"I'm really not," Dean says. He doesn't open the door. "I should have told you, I know. I'm an idiot, I thought it was kinda cool, but then... I don't need to see what's in your head—"
Sam's hurriedly pulling on his boxers as he slides out of bed, and Dean's treated to an awkward view of his brother's still-erect cock as Sam worries about how to hide the evidence, but he can't, because his boxers are tented and don't come in please don't open the door this isn't happening
So he doesn't. "I can read your mind," Dean says. "I can't shut it off, either. Everything you think—everything you're thinking right now—I'm seeing it. Hearing it. I'm sorry, Sammy. I should have said something."
Panic. Pure and painful and like a freight train speeding through Dean's skull. It brings him to his knees as he cradles his head in his hands. he knows he knows HE KNOWS EVERYTHING
"Stop," Dean begs, though he knows, peripherally, that asking someone to stop thinking about something is tantamount to forcing them to think it. "Please stop."
But Sam's on the other side of the door, also on his knees, also with his head in his hands, because everything Dean feels, hears, knows, is happening to Sam.
Somehow, Dean has to talk him down. "So you were jerking it, no big deal. Told you the same thing when you were twelve, remember?"
he didn't know what I was thinking then "I remember," Sam grits out. "But you didn't know. Now you know." I love him, love him, love him
"What's that got to do with jerking it—?"
Images invade his mind, a montage of frames, like short clips from a movie intended to show the accelerated passage of time. And they're all of Dean...
A cocky teenager, laughing as he twists out of Sam's reach. A young man, flat on his back with Sam on top of him. Blood on his lips. Warm in Sam's arms. Tears on his face.
Interspersed with it all, things Dean doesn't remember, because they never happened.
Dean on his knees, lips stretched around Sam's cock.
Dean on his back, legs drawn up as Sam sinks into a vice-tight warmth.
Dean above him, riding him, mouth open, pink, pretty, back arched and beautiful, pink flush of skin spreading down his chest, shimmering—
"How long?" Dean asks. His tongue feels thick, numb, and the words come out choked.
my whole life, loved you my whole life "Dean." Sam's voice is anguished, the purest pain. "I'm so sorry." sorry sorry sorry please don't leave
"I'm not going anywhere," Dean says. He pulls himself to his feet, tries the door. "Move, Sammy. I'm coming in."
He finds Sam, back to the wall, long legs drawn up and wrapped in his arms. He looks like, sounds like, feels like his world has ended.
Dean crouches in front of his brother. "It's okay," he says. "I must'a touched something in that room, but we'll find it, and this'll all be over, right Sam?"
you'll always know
"So we'll put it away. File it under all the fucked up shit that's happened to us over the years and we've gotten past. We'll get past this."
but you know, I'm sick, disgusting, broken, twisted, impure
"No. You're not. You're none of those things, Sam. Not to me."
something wrong with you if you're not repulsed
He doesn't know if it's because he's in Sam's head, but he's not repulsed. He's not disgusted, disturbed, any of those things. When he thought he was intruding on Sam's private time, sure. Because that shit is private.
But seeing himself in his brother's fantasies? For some reason, it barely even surprises him. "We'll get it sorted," he says. "Find whatever cursed object I touched and destroy it. Then you can tell me how you feel on your own terms, okay?"
Sam lifts his head. His face is tracked with tears but he looks Dean square in the eyes. I want to kiss you. It's all I want. It's all I've ever wanted.
For the first time, it feels like Sam actually meant for Dean to hear that thought. He has to stop himself from giving Sam exactly what he wants. "I'm in your head right now, Sam," he says. "We break this spell and you tell me that again, okay? You say it out loud. When I know my thoughts are my own, yeah?"
Sam nods. "Yeah," he says. "Okay, Dean."
It's a crystal ball. Because of course it is. A tiny footnote in the inventory mentioned the effects, and it wasn't touching it that did it, either.
It was the fact that Dean picked it up, stared into it, eyes focusing on the tiny flaw at the center.
They don't even have to smash it. He repeats the process, and then the ability to read minds just kinda fades away.
"Think something," Dean says.
Sam stares intently. There's something, like a whisper, and then nothing.
Dean shakes his head. "That's it then. It's gone. Wanna make sure that thing gets a big old warning label?"
"You don't want to destroy it?"
Dean shrugs. "Kinda? But it wasn't malevolent. Not like a proper cursed object. Like I don't think it's even a curse. Just a spell. It might come in handy some day. You never know."
Sam wraps it in a scrap of cloth and packs it carefully into a small wooden chest. "We need to be more careful," he says. "It could have been so much worse."
"An hour ago it felt to me like you thought this was the end of the world."
Sam keeps his head down. "You were never meant to know."
"Well, I do. Sammy, the world didn't end."
"I—" Sam swallows hard. "I think I need to get some sleep."
"Yeah. Let's get outta here before I catch asthma or something."
Dean follows Sam out the door, locks up behind them. By the time he's done, Sam is already gone.
Despite the hour, despite the body deep exhaustion, Dean can't sleep.
The ability to read his brothers thoughts is gone, but what he got while he had it, it's still all there. All that stuff that came from Sam's head, it's not going away.
Sammy kept those feelings locked away all these years. Dean can only imagine what it must have been like to hide something like that for decades, but he knows how painful and terrifying it was to have it suddenly revealed.
Maybe this sort of thing happens more than you hear about. Unrequited incestuous love probably not something there's a support group for. People don't gather round over coffee and cake and say "Hi, my name's Sam Winchester, and I wanna bang my brother".
One of Sam's fantasies replays in Dean's head. Has he really got that many freckles on his back? Does Sam catalog that stuff when he sees Dean shirtless, or does he make up some of those details?
There's nothing softcore about Sam's fantasies. He imagined everything. He's sure never seen Dean's ass from that angle so Dean wonders whose ass it is. Is it some idealized perfect imaginary ass? Does it belong to some hot gay porn star?
Or has Sam had sex with other men, and Dean's imaginary ass belongs to someone Sam's known, literally, in the flesh?
For some reason, Dean doesn't like that idea.
Why isn't he grossed out? He's never wanted to sleep with men, let alone his brother. Now he's wondering what it would be like.
What would it feel like, to have Sam inside him like that?
They're not normal. Neither of them are normal. Winchester's don't get normal. All they get is each other.
Dean gives up on sleeping. He climbs out of bed, heads down the hall. Knocks on Sam's door.
It's ajar, and it swings open. "You awake, Sammy?"
"Yeah," Sam says, his voice coming out of the darkness. He lifts his head, and his face is illuminated in the light from the hall. "What's wrong? You okay?" His voice shifts from concern, then, to fear. "Are you still—"
"No more mindreading, I swear," Dean says, in a hurry to reassure him. "Just can't sleep. You?"
Sam pulls himself into a sitting position, and he switches on the light beside the bed. "Yeah. No. Too much going on up here—" He points the finger and thumb of his right hand at his forehead. "—you know?"
Dean sits on the edge of the bed, and he chuckles. "Oh yeah. I know. You okay, though?"
Sam tries to smile, but he ends up shaking his head. "I keep waiting for the shit to hit the fan. You should be freaked out, Dean. You should be pissed. Why are you acting like this is no big deal?"
Dean can't do anything else but shrug. "It doesn't feel like a big deal. I know it should, but it doesn't."
They sit in silence for long moments. Dean's the one to finally break it.
"So," he says. "Do you want to put it away? File it, pretend like this whole night never happened? Cos if that's what you want, Sam, I'll do it."
"It's what you should want."
Dean shrugs again. "I'll pretend like it never happened. I won't make it awkward. Time'll pass and we'll be normal again. But I can't lie to you, Sam. Not when you were laid fucking bare to me just a couple hours ago. So I'm gonna tell you the truth. It's as close to even as we can get without you picking up that ball same as I did."
Sam's face is pinched, wary. "Okay," he says, and nods. "Okay, Dean."
"Okay," Dean says. "So here it is." It's hard. It's really fucking difficult to say out loud. Sam never had to. All Sam had to do was think and Dean knew everything. For a moment, he wishes Sam had picked up that ball. Just to even the score, if nothing else.
It sure would've made this so much easier.
"Here it is," he repeats. "I'm never gonna forget some of the stuff I saw in your head—"
Sam's eyes well up, and a tear falls.
"I wanna know what it's like," Dean forces out, because this is hell on Sam. "Stop torturing yourself. I just told you I want to try it. You. Me." He lifts his eyebrows. "You know."
Tears fall freely down Sam's face. "You've lost your mind. You can't want that."
"If you don't believe me, go get the fucking ball, Sam."
Sam gives his head an aborted shake. His eyes go everywhere, like he's trying to make sense of Dean's words. "Why?"
"You're really gonna make me say it? Fine. Cos I love you, too, you goddamn idiot. You're my whole world, Sammy. Why the fuck would I want anyone else?"
Sam's face is still a mask of disbelief. "How can you be sure—"
Dean rolls his eyes. "I know my own mind now you're not in here cluttering the place up. Speaking of, you said something to me earlier. You know—" he points at his temple. "—in your head. In my head. Whatever. I told you to say it back to me. Out loud. Tell me now, Sam. I need to hear it."
I want to kiss you. It's all I want. It's all I've ever wanted.
Sam's mouth drops open. His lips move, like he's trying to speak, but the words won't come.
"For fucks sake," Dean says, impatient. He leans forward, reaches out to wrap his hand around the back of Sam's neck and pulls him in.
The last thing he sees before their lips meet are Sam's eyes, wide in shock.
For all that it's chaste, no tongue or spit or nothing, and that Sam is frozen in what might be fear and might be shock and might be something else entirely, the kiss moves something buried deep inside Dean.
Something he maybe should have figured out before, whether years ago, or just hours ago, when he first saw those images in Sam's head and wasn't freaked out.
Why the fuck would he ever want anyone else? Anything else? As he tightens his grip and shuffles closer and parts his lips, sighing against his brother's mouth, it feels as though he's been released. "Sammy," he mumbles, combing his fingers through Sam's hair as he cradles the back of his head.
Finally, finally, Sam kisses him back.
With Sam, it's like the floodgates have been opened. Like he's gone from frozen in disbelief to utterly convinced in one brief, shining instant of clarity.
He doesn't waste time or energy in waiting for Dean to catch up. The next thing Dean knows, he's flat on his back on Sam's bed and Sam is on top of him, and he can taste Sam's tongue and it's like he's been missing a part of himself his whole life and only just found it.
There's too much fabric between them. The blankets that had been gathered in Sam's lap. The t-shirts and sleep pants they're both wearing. There's something bunched against Dean's thigh—
That's Sam's cock, Dean realizes. His brother's hard cock, long and thick, against his thigh, but there's too much between them and he can't feel the warmth of it and he wants to feel the warmth of it.
"Get rid of these fucking blankets," Dean says, breaking the kiss to speak, shoving at his brother's shoulders.
Sam moves, rolls off the bed and strips the bedclothes out from under his brother, throwing them aside carelessly. "You okay?" he says, concern in his voice but fucked if Dean knows what his face is doing, cos Dean's eyes are on the tented front of Sam's pants. "Is this okay?"
"Get the fuck back down here," Dean says, reaching for his brother. "Get the fuck outta those pants and get your ass back on top of me, jesus."
Dean sees when Sam bites his lower lip, hard, and then peels off his t-shirt, dropping it to the floor beside him. Bites his lip harder as he tucks his thumbs into the elastic waist of his pants.
"I wanna see you," Dean says. "Please, Sammy. I need to see you."
It's not like Dean hasn't seen Sam's dick before. They lived in close quarters most of their lives, and it's impossible to avoid.
He's never looked at it like this before.
Sam's built like a fucking Greek god, of course. Part lucky genes, part infusion of demon blood in infancy, part hard work. His cock is something else entirely.
Dean's treated to it inch by inch. He doesn't know if Sam's drawing it out to tease, or if he's genuinely nervous, either way, it's working on Dean like the former, and he gets to enjoy the sight piece by piece.
The tip is glistening with precome. The head is shiny, skin stretched tight over swollen flesh. And the shaft, thick and veiny and longer erect than Dean could have imagined.
He swallows hard as he recalls one of Sam's fantasies, where he watched it sink deep into Dean's body.
"You done this before?" Dean asks. "With other guys, I mean?"
Sam's pants hit the floor. "That doesn't matter," Sam says, crawling up and over Dean again. The weight of him drops down onto Dean's body, at once arousing and reassuring.
"No, it does," Dean says, arching as Sam mouths at his shoulder and nips at the junction of his neck. "Don't know if you noticed, Sammy, but your dick is huge. Gotta know if I'm gonna be able to walk in the morning."
Sam stills, and he drops his head to Dean's shoulder. He's breathing hard. "I never injured anyone, if that's what you're getting at," he mutters.
"All I need to know," Dean says, and he wriggles so he can feel Sam's dick against his thigh again, can feel the warmth of it, and even the dampness as precome seeps through his pants.
He pushes away the realization that Sam has fucked other men, and puts himself firmly back in the picture that's still swimming in his head. "Wanna feel you, Sammy," he says. "Wanna feel you moving inside me. I want you to fuck me."
There's a tiny part of him screaming. There's plenty of time, he doesn't have to have it all right now. He's never been fucked before.
Hell, he's never even entertained the idea.
Sam seems to be having trouble with it, too. He's breathing hard, panting, gasping for air. "Is this real," he rasps. "I keep expecting the punchline."
Dean pulls him up, holds his brothers face in his hands, forcing Sam to look him in the eye. "Yeah, it's all pretty fast." That's the understatement of the century. "I'll shut up. But I'm here, Sammy. I want this. Why don't you show me what you want. Tell me what you need."
Sam lets a breath out. He shudders, a tremor moving through him. "Need you naked," he breathes. He pushes himself up with his hands, the corded muscles in his arms twitching as he gives Dean the space he needs to peel off his shirt.
And then, he rolls back onto his hands and knees, eyes tracking down Dean's bare chest, to the waist of his pants.
Dean's been hard for ages. The front of his sleep pants are damp and sticky. His cock pushes against the false fly, lifting the elastic just a little.
Dean reaches for his pants. Sam bat's his hand away, and he tucks his fingers into the waist.
Dean feels on show. On display. If it's possible that a guy can feel objectified and appreciated at the same time, Dean thinks this is it.
He's aching. "Please touch me, Sammy," he begs. Please, God. Touch me."
"I need to see," Sam says, as he slowly, ever so slowly, draws down the waist of Dean's pants.
Cool air hits the head of Dean's cock and he shivers, but it's not the cold. It's the moan, desperate and primal, that Sam emits, even as he lowers his body, as though he needs to get closer.
Sam's shaking, like he's holding back. His eyes flick up to Dean's face, pleading.
"Whatever you need," Dean says. He can barely catch a breath. His hands are cramping and his fingertips have gone numb. "Anything. I'm fucking yours, Sam, I— oh fuck shit"
Sam yanks Dean's waistband down far enough to expose his entire cock and licks a stripe from the base to the tip, and then just sucks Dean into his mouth. There's no teasing, there's no show. This isn't for Dean. Sam takes what he wants, and his eyes are closed and there's a look on his face that Dean can only describe as beatific, but the sounds he's making...
He groans, rumbles, purrs. And he chokes, as he takes the head of Dean's cock so far into his throat that there's no way he can breathe.
All Dean can do—all he wants to do—is thread his fingers through Sam's hair and hold on as Sam brings him to a swift and violent orgasm. He cries out, a sound that must echo through the bunker, as he comes in his baby brother's mouth.
And he tastes himself when Sam crawls up and kisses him.
Dean wraps his hand around Sam's cock, still hot and hard and dripping. "Whatever you need, Sammy," he repeats. "Just tell me how you wanna come."
"Inside you," Sam groans. "But I can't wait." He thrusts into Dean's hand, and then, seemingly out of frustration, pushes Dean's hand away. "Like this." He spreads his legs, pinning Dean's knees together, and he maneuvers his cock into the apex of Dean's thighs.
On sweat and precome, Sam slides between Dean's thighs.
Sam links his hands with Dean's, pins Dean's arms to the mattress behind his head. His eyes are open, wide and staring, like he still can't believe this is real, and his mouth is open, like he cannot get enough air.
He grunts as he begins to thrust, his fat cockhead dragging against Dean's hole, and all Dean can think is that a slight change of angle and Sam could damn near plunge right in.
Dean's come, but he gets hard again. Sam's abdomen is like a fucking washboard against his dick. "Do it," Dean says. "Do it do it do it."
Sam's thrusts accelerate, lose rhythm and go erratic. His moans sound like anguish, like the desperate culmination of a battle finally won.
When he comes, he grips Dean's hands so tightly the bones grind together.
Sam's cock pulses between Dean's thighs, come spreading, warm and thick, between the cheeks of Dean's ass. Then he collapses, heavy, against Dean's body. Shaking, his body is wracked with sobs as the smell of salt fills the air.
"It's okay," Dean says, holding his brother tightly in his arms like he did when Sam was young. "I've got you, Sammy."
It's going to be a while before Sam doesn't need reassurance, Dean knows. And if it remains difficult for him, well.
There's always the crystal ball.