Fic: Supernatural, Plan for Nothing But Sunlight (Sam/Dean, PG) Title: Plan for Nothing But Sunlight Pairing: Sam/Dean Rating: PG Word count: 4,442 Summary: Sam's gotten pretty good at catching him these days.
Notes: Title from Joshua Ware. Beta thanks to musesfool, who also puts in more hand holding than can reasonably be quantified, and to merryish, who is awesome and still bravely crusading against the run on sentence.
Plan for Nothing But Sunlight
Dean comes back to the room when it's dark enough that even the maglight he keeps for emergencies has stopped being useful. He knows every line of his girl--well enough to put her together in no light at all, maybe, her pieces still slotting into place smooth as they ever did, no matter how wrong everything else is--but there's still the chance he'd do something stupid, end up taking off one of his own hands in something as mundane as a mechanical accident. Still, he sits for a long time with the hood up, occasionally fiddling with something, just to touch, and he only moves when the cold bite in the air gets to be too much to ignore.
It takes thirty seconds to get back to the motel, thirty more to unlock the door, because the key jams in the lock. Dean's preparing all the while for whatever Sam wants to throw at him, but by the time he convinces the key to do its stupid job and gets the door open, he's already talking, filling the silence before he can feel its weight.
"Good places give you those goddamn electronic keycards now," he says. "We should try that some time."
"I'll add it to the list," Sam says, fingers still flashing over the keyboard, as if that's exactly what he's doing. He's showered since Dean left, hair mussed and curling around his ears while he sits by the window with the laptop, not even bothering to look guilty for researching shit he probably shouldn't be. His t-shirt's still damp around the collar, and he's in sweatpants, which, God help him, are too fucking small. There's a pale strip of hairy ankle peeking through, and Dean focuses on it when Sam finally looks up, says his name, wrapping it up with purpose, the way only Sam has ever been able to.
"Seriously," Dean says, ignoring him, insofar as forces of nature can ever be ignored, "somewhere with lights that really work. And maybe better carpet." He grimaces at the orange and green crap on the floor, heads to the bathroom to wash the grease off his hands without giving Sam a chance to say anything. The door's barely on hinges at all, though, and Dean couldn't shut Sam out if he wanted to follow him. Sam doesn't, and Dean cuts him a grin as he comes out, feels it stretching across his face like a bruise.
"If that thing falls on my fucking head, I'm going to sue. What d'you think? Get us enough to set us up somewhere nice? Like a pension plan, huh?"
"Dean." Sam's standing now, too many feet of coiled tension, his arms crossed over his chest. In the weak light of the room, he looks exhausted, ragged as Dean feels. There's a hurt, unhappy line to the set of his mouth, and Dean wants to reach out and touch, rub it away like it's ketchup or syrup, nothing that could stand up to Dean's big brother skills. "You said you'd stop doing this."
Dean almost offers the denial, might be worth it to make Sam look pissed again instead of beaten, because he didn't say anything, not really. He did more, stopped shutting Sam out there and then, even with Gordon chasing them and fear for Sam outrunning everything, a promise all the louder for being sealed later, with the press of fingers against Sam's skin and the scent of motor oil in the air.
"Christ." He drops his jacket on the bed. The one nearest the door, just like always, just like for a little while longer, and goddammit, he'd maybe like it if every little thing didn't blindside him. He reaches for Sam. Just for a second, he curls his fingers around his shoulders, strong and solid, like Dean could stand on them and never fall.
He pushes Sam onto his own bed, and Sam is all protests, wants to talk and analyze, as if Dean slamming out the door with angry words might be some kind of essay question. He only stops when Dean sits down beside him, hip to arm and close enough that Sam can get his fingers in his shirt.
"I know you can't resist this luxury thread count, Sammy." Sam tries to sit up, and Dean presses his hand in the center of his chest, strength and muscle and heartbeat beneath his fingers. "Go to sleep," he says, glancing at the table beside the bed, "or I will beat you over the head with this freakishly ugly lamp."
Sam looks at where Dean's gaze is, and laughs a little. "You're gonna, too, right?"
"Beat you? Sure."
"Sleep, moron." Like he's five again, refusing to sleep until Dean went, too. Used to make Dean crazy, and Dad crazier.
"You've always been such a pain in my ass," Dean says, but Sam keeps staring at him, steady and stubborn. "Yes," he says. "Yes, I'm gonna sleep."
Sam tugs on his wrist, already yawning. "C'mon," he says. "I won't kick."
Dean's exhausted, and it's tempting: curl up with Sam like nothing's wrong, like the world outside doesn't exist, but he slides to the end of the bed, as if he doesn't want it at all. "For one of the most wanted people in America, you're a fucking awful liar," he says. "Lemme go."
It's not just that Dean's dreams aren't all puppies and sunshine anymore, though if Sam doesn't already know that, Dean's not about to prove it with an up close and personal display. And it's not just that he remembers what happened last time they tumbled into bed together: the taste of laughter and eggnog on his tongue no match for the taste of Sam, rocketing through him like he'd be drunk forever, always giddy because that's just what fucking happens when your brother decides to turn the world upside down. It's about both those things and neither of them, about holding on when he shouldn't, being so terrified to let go, it's like everything else has already been stripped away.
Sam looks like he might argue, but he sighs and drops his hand, brief stroke of his thumb over Dean's wrist before he does. Dean steps away, busies himself rooting through their bags, heading to the bathroom, pretending to follow the usual routine before bed. When he gets back, Sam's sleeping, breaths deep and even. Dean stands for a moment by his bed, watches the way he sprawls, helpless and easy, arms flung out and legs stretched everywhere, like there isn't a thing in the world that could hurt him, nothing but the light to touch him.
"Fuck, Sammy," he whispers, touches his fingers to Sam's hair, as if Sam's the one who needs comforting. Sam mumbles Dean's name, and Dean wants to laugh, because this is every horrific romantic cliché ever, but it lodges in his throat, like the poison apple in that stupid fairytale, and Dean's heading for the door before he's even made up his mind he's leaving.
He breaks the habit of months and lets the Colt lie on the nightstand, like some fucked up love letter, didn't go off and shoot myself. Still damned. He doesn't want the weight of it in his jeans, offering a solution that isn't one at all. He isn't completely stupid, though; he texts Sam with hands steady on the keypad, promises he's gonna play a little pool so they can get a room with keycards, and signs it with three smiley faces and a kiss for extra obnoxiousness. He doesn't pour whisky down his throat like he wants to, either. He owes Sam better, and can't take the questions or the hurt look he'll get if he comes back so trashed he can't remember his own name.
Forgetting's probably the last thing he should be aiming for, anyway. He settles for ordering a beer, and there's maybe a look in his eyes, the kind he's seen in a hundred bars, from a hundred people who aren't him, because the woman serving him says, "You look like you could use a friend more." She smiles like she means it, like she'd really listen if he wanted to. She reminds him of Ellen, though she's taller, red hair and softer eyes, but like her in all the ways that count, and he feels them, the words crowding his mouth like bugs, better spat out before they go back down.
"Thanks," he says, pulling the trigger on his best smile. "I'm just here for a drink." He glances at the pool table, takes in the three tough guys with ripped jeans and greasy hair. "Maybe a little pool."
"Knock yourself out," she says. "But they ain't the kind of boys you fuck around with, you get me?"
"Yes, ma'am," he says, grin slipping around the words, a little more genuine this time, because this game he knows, spent a life winning at it. It's in his blood more than the alcohol he hasn't drunk, and Sam calls it cocky, but Dean knows there's hardly anyone who can beat him on his best day. There's nothing easier than lining up the shot, spinning through the angles and aiming true. No trick he can't pull or corner he can't get out of.
As it is, tonight it's sweet and simple, like taking candy from a baby, if babies were four times stupider and more annoying. There's no victory in it at all, and even as showy as he ends up, signing his name all over the table in impossible shots and curve balls, there's nothing to take the edge off the terror, no thrill running through him like there normally is.
He takes five hundred dollars, slips it into his jeans and shoots a million watt grin at them, all teeth and fucked you over bullshit.
When they follow him out, he's okay, knows they've got size and the confidence of getting what they want, but he's got years of training and fighting nightmares they couldn't dream up.
He says, "Want me to beat you at something else?" though for a moment, he thinks of taking it, of letting the shit be kicked out of him just cause. He grins a little, imagining what Sam would say to that, psychology crap that doesn't change anything. But he's a Winchester, and if giving up was ever part of the deal, it was trained out of him long ago. The first punch lands right below his eye, meaty fist that's not exactly unimpressive, and by the time the second guy's laid one on his ribs, he's pissed enough to have stopped smiling. He's all business as he puts an elbow into one guy's kidneys and gets another with a kick to the kneecap. The last one he pins against the wall, arm across his throat.
"I will break your fucking neck," he says, and maybe it's the look on his face, or the looming presence that's turned up right at his back, like the miracle it always is, but the guy nods his head, all eager to please as a puppy.
"He would, too," Sam says, and distantly, an echo of a conversation he's been trying to forget, Dean wonders if Sam believes that.
Sam hauls one of the other guys up, and Dean says, "Get the fuck out of here," all bitten off rage, as if he isn't about to start shaking any minute.
Sam comes to stand by him, and Dean waits until they disappear before he slides to the ground, back against the wall, so fucking tired and worn out by trying to pretend he's not.
"Hey," Sam says, crouching in front of him, all concern. Dean just doesn't know what to do with that, because Sam should be mad, at him and not just the world, should want to lay into Dean for how badly he's fucked them over.
"Thought you were sleeping."
Sam's mouth quirks, tiny flicker of brightness that disappears in an instant. "Look who's talking." He reaches out, cups his hand around Dean's face, thumb rubbing gently under the eye that isn't already throbbing like a fucker. "Hey," he says again, as if it means something, and Dean feels like he's not even real, a picture someone's painted dissolving in the rain.
"Can we just--" he says. "Can we just get out of here?"
"I dunno," Sam says, his hand still there, like it could hold onto Dean when Dean can't hold onto anything. "There's a real nice ambiance in this alleyway."
"Punk," Dean says, and Sam pulls him up, pulls him in to him, as if he needs to, as if there's a chance in the world that's not right where Dean would go, no matter what his choices were. "I'm sorry," Dean says. He doesn't know where all his defenses went, only knows he's walking around full of bullet holes, spilling all of him out with nothing to soak it up. Except there's Sam, who keeps staying, who stands open and ready for everything Dean'll give him. "Yeah, yeah," he says, still holding Dean like Dean'll fall over without him. "Less apologizing, more letting me drive." Dean rolls his eyes, and Sam smacks his shoulder with his fist. "Shut the fuck up. I waited out here for half an hour. In subzero temperatures. The least you can do is let me drive."
Dean doesn't ask why he didn't come in, just leans into him a little more, instead. "I think the responsible argument involves something about cops and driving under the influence," he says, and he makes himself pull away and toss Sam the keys.
"I think the responsible argument got tired of slamming into a brick wall," Sam says. The touch on Dean's back to turn him to the passenger side isn't a shove at all, more like all the heat in the night is trapped under Sam's spread hand. "Be nice to me or I'm not stopping for ice on the way."
Dean isn't. He half-heartedly bitches Sam out for cornering too sharp and driving too slow, but he can't make it funny. He can't think about Sam driving while he isn't there to ride shotgun, to demand to take over right the hell now because Sam doesn't appreciate his baby like he should (which isn't really true at all, or Dean really would have disowned him long ago).
"You totally don't deserve my awesomeness," Sam says when they're in the motel. Dean goes to take the ice from him, but Sam just pushes him into the bathroom, as if it had actually been designed for two grown men to maneuver around in easily.
"I think I've got it covered," Dean says. Sam just glares at him, tilting his face up into the light. He pushes Dean back against the counter while he pulls out the first aid kit, squeezing Dean's shoulder, louder than the apology he murmurs, when he wipes away the blood and Dean hisses in pain.
"You're such an idiot," Sam says, but the tone is warm, even under the irritation, so much affection scrawled through it in neon letters, it makes Dean's chest ache. He clenches his fists to try and hide the way they're shaking, is so busy doing that he doesn't react when Sam tugs on his shirt. "Arms, genius," Sam says, and Dean raises them automatically.
Sam touches his thumb to the already-spreading bruise on Dean's ribs, and Dean says, "It's fine. Nothing's broken."
Sam nods, curls his fingers on Dean's chest. They're still a little cold from carrying the ice, and Dean shivers as Sam cups his other hand under Dean's jaw. He's always touching these days, and Dean knows it's mostly about reassurance, has spent his life doing the same thing, the world only ever lined up right when Sam was in hand's easy reach. Knowing that doesn't make it any better, not when Dean's whole body sings with the contact, like it's been woken up by some dangerous magic only Sam could spin.
He still can't shake Sam off, doesn't want to, doesn't know how, and Sam doesn't appear to be going of his own accord.
He stays close, even as he says, "Okay, I think you'll--" live hangs in the air, and Dean says, "Yeah, but will I still be the prettiest girl in town?" casual as he can, even as Sam's face falls, and he's obviously decided the fun part of the evening's over.
"You can tell me," he says, as if it's not a tangent at all.
Dean's heart does this stupid thing, beating hard and fast, like it's suddenly decided to make up for all the time it won't be able to later, or like it's worried Dean's brain might forget without the warning that he can't tell him, can't not protect him from this. "Yes, Sam, I do wear women's underwear on occasion. What of it?"
Sam doesn't even blink. "Whatever works for you," he says. He moves his hand from Dean's face, fits it around the back of Dean's head, cradling it because he really is that fucking huge. "Now you can tell me the other thing."
Dean can't miss the way Sam's arm is rock steady when he turns his head, the way he's like a goddamn brick wall in front of him. He shouldn't be surprised that time's screwing with him now, not when it turned his baby brother into someone who could get himself killed, could tower over Dean and take everything from him. Now, the sand isn't so much trickling as staging an all-out escape. Dean might as well not be hanging on at all, the way it keeps pouring through his fingers.
"Tell you what?" His voice isn't steady, and he doesn't care. Sam has enough to deal with, doesn't need to know there's worse than being left alone, than Dean spending eternity in torment and fire, whatever the hell else Sam's spent his nights reading about until he can probably recite it, word perfect like the exorcisms they spent their days learning in the car.
"Whatever it is," Sam says, his fingers so gentle while they rub Dean's neck, it hurts, "that's got you all fucked up again."
Dean is surprised into genuine laughter, watches as the strands of Sam's hair flutter in its wake. "There has to be more?"
Sam doesn't smile. "With you, there almost always is." He draws Dean in tighter, And Dean's hand just ends up trapped between them, soaking up the heat of Sam's skin, when he tries to push Sam away. "I'll tell you if you want. Ruby sold her soul; Ruby's a demon. I was never as good at math as you, but I can do that one."
Dean shakes his head against Sam's palm. "Bullshit," he says. "She was a witch. Probably into all kinds of black magic freakiness. It doesn't mean a thing."
Sam leans his forehead against Dean's, and his breath is warm on Deans face when he says, "Dean, it's okay. You can tell me."
"I can't," Dean says, break in his voice he doesn't even try to hide. "I can't--" Sam squeezes his neck, and Dean says, "You gotta stop doing this."
Sam goes right on ignoring him, his hands and his voice digging too deep, as if they can afford that when the only solid ground Dean's got is bullshit and misdirection. He already feels it crumbling, wants to yell and scream at the sky the way he did when he lost Sam. He closes his eyes against the panic, the flood of it in his chest, and when Sam says, "I've got you. It's okay," he falls into Sam, because that's where he always goes.
Sam's gotten pretty good at catching him. "Dean," he says, a little broken, too, and Dean's breath hitches, fingers curling in Sam's shirt while Sam kisses him on the exhale--or maybe Dean kisses him, instead. Dean can't really tell. He can't tell much of anything, because this still feels exactly like falling apart, like casting all his pieces into the wind. But Sam kisses back, as ruthlessly as he does everything else these days, like there's no part of Dean he won't take, won't hold up to the light and examine until he knows exactly where it goes and how it fits.
He's walking Dean backwards as he does it, the fucking multi-tasking freak, in between murmuring right into Dean's mouth, "It's okay," Dean's name over and over, like it's the only word his mouth knows how to hold, was ever made for.
He pushes Dean onto the bed, crawls over him, fingers reaching for every inch of him, like Dean's skin is the answer Sam's spent all this time looking for. When Dean looks at him, he's all wonder and wide-eyed awe, like the world's just opened up for him, all the good in it falling into his hands.
Dean wants to say no, says, "Sam, I don't--it's gonna be hard enough." He should have more than that, words like brother and save, the ones that are still the most important thing in his life, but Sam crowds almost everything out, fear and grief pushed aside by the hitch of his breath in Dean's ear, the way he catches the corner of Dean's mouth with his own.
Sam sprawls out on top of him, hard angles that shouldn't fit and do. "Unless you don't want this," he says, his chin digging into Dean's shoulder, designed to hurt because Sam's fucking bones just do, a weapon he's been using since Dean was stupid enough to let it show, "then shut up."
Dean should keep talking, but hell's a nightmare he won't ever get away from, and Sam's right there, all the horizon Dean's ever run for. When Sam says, "I'm right here," proves it with his hands and his stupidly talented mouth, the one that's been pulling and prodding at all Dean's secrets in one way or another for as long as Dean's been keeping any, Dean's own fingers have to touch, have to know everything before it's all gone.
"Come here," Sam says afterwards, already moving towards him, and Dean's too wrung out to refuse. Sam wraps him up, arms and legs around him, like Sam could protect him. The most fucked up thing is that Dean would let him now, would cling to it if there were a way.
As if he can read his mind, Sam says, "Let me look," his mouth moving against Dean's hair. Dean snorts, and Sam splays his fingers out on his back, five points of a promise Dean wants to believe. "Fine. Stop making me hide that I'm looking. Stop making it more fucking difficult than it has to be."
"No weaseling out of it, remember? I think one of us with already certain death hanging over us is enough," Dean says. It's maybe a little ironic that he spent so much time telling Sam he couldn't become a monster, and now, he's the one with his destiny all sewn up. He thinks about telling Sam that, too, killing off any trust he might have in Ruby, a search for answers that won't ever yield any. The words won't come, and he doesn't know if it's because he doesn't believe them, or because if Sam doesn't, then Dean can still let Sam build a different truth, held together by faith and the kind of determination Sam could move the world with. "Oh, and you remember the part where the crossroads demon told you it was unbreakable, right?"
Sam's unstoppable as a fucking freight train, anyway. "And of course, she'd tell us if there happened to be a way." He kicks Dean on the back of the knee, his hand soft over Dean's hip. His voice, though, is all steel and certainty. "If I can't stop you going in," he says. "I'll fucking pull you back out."
"Sammy," Dean says. He presses his face in against Sam's neck, like if he presses the words into Sam's skin, they'll do a better job of getting into his head. "Don't, okay? I appreciate the sentiment, but--"
"You really think if they have you, I'm not gonna come after you?" He tugs on Dean's hair until Dean has to look at him, though he can't see much of anything--the shadow of Sam's jaw, set and defiant, the flash of his eyes, daring the world to contradict him. "You'll go for me, but I won't for you? That's what you think?"
Dean knows he's part being played, a trick to keep him talking Sam learned at little brother school, but there's a tremor running through his voice, fine as a tripwire and detectable only to Dean, so Dean doesn't smartass him.
"You know it's not. What I did was just more in the realm of possibility."
Dean can feel Sam's smile when Sam ducks his head and presses his mouth to dean's. "And now we don't deal with the impossible. I missed a memo in the last couple of days, huh?" He's all Sam-smug now, the certainty of getting what he wants running through him the way it always has, sure he can get Dean out of hell the way he used to talk him out of the last cookie. "Guess you're not really Batman after all, either. Kind of disappointing for me."
Dean opens his mouth to object, but Sam kisses him quiet, soft and easy, like he plans to do it forever. "Dean," he says, "Shut up. I'm gonna find a way, and right now, you're gonna go to sleep."
"You're not the boss of me," Dean mumbles, half-heartedly pushing Sam's hands away when they tug him down to his shoulder.
"You're not gonna be saying that when I save your ass." He's got Dean wrapped so close and so tight it almost hurts, and it's still the easiest Dean's breathed in days. "You're gonna be all, 'Sam, can I get you more coffee?' and 'Sam, whatever you want to listen to is fine with me.'"
"I hate you so much," Dean says.
But Sam's hope is just like Sam: huge and unshakeable and the one thing Dean has no resistance to. It's stupid and dangerous, and tomorrow, Dean'll push it away, but now, he lets himself be lulled. He breathes Sam in, falls asleep while Sam talks about the ways he'll make Dean pay and pay, the things they'll do in a life Sam will save for him.