Title: An Uneven Fit
Author: Dhvana
Series: 1) The Monster Under the Bed, 2) A Little Help From Bob, 3) The Temptation of Dean, 4) Questions Without Answers, 5) Don't Lose Your Head, 6) Retribution and Remorse, 7) The Return of an Old Fiend, 8) Undulating Dynamics, 9) Personal Weirdness, 10) On the Road Again, 11) Doubletalk, 12) The Golden Agenda, 13) The Rescue of Dean, 14) Alone, 15) A Learning Experience, 16) A New Life, 17) Two Words, 18) Beyond Good and Evil, 19) Security Deposit
Rating: R
Pairing: Sam/Dean
Summary: The return to the road brings new trials for the boys.


The growl of the Impala's engine was the only sound that accompanied their drive as they headed towards San Antonio. There was no talking, no music, and half the time Dean was afraid to breathe too loudly and break the silence. Once they reached San Antonio, they picked up I-10 and traveled east, Sam giving directions and Dean barely offering up a grunt in reply. He didn't know why things were so awkward between them—all right, so he did know—but some small delusional part of him had hoped they would fall back into old habits as soon as they hit the road. It was only after the Impala's doors had shut and the tires began rolling across the asphalt that Dean remembered their old habits had fallen apart long before his abandonment in Fredericksburg. Things between them had been off for going on a year, though even when he was completely caught up in the monster, they were never this bad. Now he didn't know what to do or how to act and he was beginning to wonder how long he could keep this up before bailing.

"You want to listen to some music?" Sam asked, clearly as unnerved by their unnatural quiet as he was.

Dean grunted an affirmative.

"Anything in particular?"

Dean grunted a negative.

Something like annoyance flickered across Sam's face and he switched on the radio, flipping around the channels before deliberately stopping on a soft rock station. He waited for Dean to react. Dean ignored them both.

Sam's face was definitely showing annoyance now and Dean didn't have to wait long before his little brother launched an attack. Taking a deep breath, Sam began singing along to the radio. Badly.

"But I don't know how to leave you," he crooned, off-key and out of tempo in a way that would make howler monkeys envious as he swayed to the music, "and I'll never let you fall, and I don't know how you do it--making love out of nothing at all."

"Oh my god, would you please shut the fuck up!" Dean shouted as he finally broke, giving the tuner on the radio a vicious twist before turning it off. "What the hell are you doing?"

"Trying to get you to stop acting like an idiot and talk to me. Or not even talk to me, I don't care. I just want you to stop sitting there looking like you want nothing more than to turn this car around and go back to Fredericksburg. Or shove me out the door, depending on whichever urge strikes you first."

"Cut me some slack, all right?" he growled. "I can't help it if I'm not comfortable with this."

"Comfortable with what? We've gone on hundreds of hunts before. We grew up going on hunts together—our childhood, our adolescence, our early adulthood—all spent doing this very thing. This car is more home to us than any motel room or Jim's place or even Bobby's spare bed. What we're doing now? It's nothing. It should be nothing. Hell, Dean," he said, his body seeming to deflate as he ran out of steam, "I thought this would be the easy part."

And Dean knew he was right. He'd thought the same thing before starting out. "But it's not, Sammy. I just..." He took a deep breath and forced the words out of his mouth. "I don't remember how to do this anymore. I don't remember how to make us fit."

Sam clenched his fists together, clearly not in anger but almost as if he wanted to keep himself from reaching out to touch him. He turned his head away to look out the side window, hiding from them both. "It'll happen, Dean," he said, and even though Dean couldn't see his brother's face, he could plainly hear the disappointment in his brother's voice. "It'll come back to us. It might take a while to find out where we meet up again, but we will fit back together. I promise."

Dean didn't have a response to that, none he wanted to voice out loud. Instead, he grunted; in his opinion, a perfectly acceptable noncommittal answer, and the drive continued in silence. This time, though, he was the first to compromise and switched on the radio, settling on a station that played a combination of both his and Sam's music. Sam recognized the effort for what it was and turned his face away from the window and back towards the road. As the miles started to add up, Dean began working out how long he would have to drive before he could pull into a gas station without looking like he was pulling in just to get away from Sam. This attempt to return to their old lifestyle was going to take serious amounts of caffeine and junk food and he was itching to stock up on his warzone supplies as soon as possible.

Thanks to clearing out the last of the crap from Dean's apartment and his prolonged good-byes to Fran and Shelley and the others at the restaurant, they only made it as far as the far side of Houston on their first day. And they only made it that far because Dean didn't want to have to deal with rush hour traffic first thing in the morning.

"I hate this fucking city," he grumbled as he shoved the motel door open with his foot. "Too many goddamn people. Too many goddamn people driving cars. Too many goddamn people who don't know how to drive their fucking cars on the road thinking they know how to drive their fucking cars."

"Yes, Dean," Sam said with a roll of his eyes, dropping his gear on the bed furthest from the door. "You hate them, they hate you, I think you're even."

Dean threw himself on his designated bed for the night, his body continuing to vibrate as if he were still in the car. "We won't be even until everyone on the road realizes their mistake and turns in their licenses in horror."

"Because that'll happen," Sam muttered under his breath before continuing in a normal tone. "You're just not used to all this driving anymore. In a few days, you'll be getting the bird from all the little old ladies you cut off just like you used to."

"Gee thanks, Sammy," Dean said with a scowl. "You always know just what to say."

"It's a talent. Come on," he said, slapping one of Dean's feet. "Let's go get something to eat. I'm starving and could use a steak."

His eyes lit up. "Mmm...steak." In spite of his peevishness and zero desire to get back into the car, Dean had to admit the thought of a nice thick juicy ribeye sounded pretty good. Of course, now that he was no longer earning legitimate money and would soon have to rely on fake credit cards and hustling pool and shady games of poker for ready cash, he was a little reluctant to waste their funds on something as luxurious as a steak dinner.

And when the hell did he start worrying about legitimate versus illegitimate money? He'd never cared before, but of course 'before' meant before his months living a normal life, before he got an up close and personal look into how illegitimate funds could hurt a small business. Not to mention, it'd been so long since he'd played pool with any other purpose than to just play and have fun, he wasn't sure he could even hustle Sammy, much less a real player.

"Dean? You coming?"

He sighed, easing himself up off the cheap mattress. He'd worry about their funds another night. Right now, he felt he deserved a treat for making it this far without doing humanity a favor and running asshole drivers off the road. "Yeah, I'm coming."

"Hey, if you'd rather stay here, light some candles, take a hot bath, do your nails, I'll be happy to bring you something back."

"Fuck you."

"Oh, is that back on the table?" Sam smirked, then ducked out the door before the roll of socks Dean grabbed could hit him.

Following Sam outside, Dean carefully avoided his brother's gaze. He should have known his little brother was not going to be content to just ignore the gigantic ball of tension between them. He'd have been perfectly happy with it, but not Sam. Course, he wasn't aware of just how far Sam was going to take it until after they returned from dinner.

Financial worries aside, Dean had to admit the steak had really hit the spot. He was so satisfied, he'd even polished off the green beans that had been served with it and then rewarded himself with dessert. Sam, on the other hand, had chewed his steak with the same enthusiasm as if he'd been gnawing on roadkill and had grown increasing more foul-tempered as the meal wore on. By the time they'd returned to the room, Dean was fully refreshed and Sam was acting like he was ready to start hitting someone, and since there was only one other someone in the room, Dean figured Sam's mood had something to do with him. As usual, he had no idea why.

"You know," Sam snarled, yanking off his clothes as he got ready for bed, "I thought you'd been using these past few months to grow smarter."

Okay, so it was going to be like that, Dean thought with no small amount of irritation in the face of his brother's anger as he felt the relaxation of the evening flow right out of his shoulder. "No, I used the past few months to recover from my near-death experience and to catch up on my reading. None of which helps me identify the type of bug that crawled up your ass."

"Look, Dean, I get it, all right? You don't want to have sex with me. Fine. Whatever. I don't like it, but I'm agreeing with it. However, you don't have to keep driving it home by propositioning everything that moves."

Dean's expression went from confusion to understanding to confusion again. "What?"

Sam, bare-chested with the fly of his jeans undone and looking like the very definition of temptation, marched up to him and grabbed him by the front of his shirt. "You set your ground rules—here's mine. You don't have to fuck me, but you're damn sure not going to fuck anyone else. Understand?"

"Let go of me," he spat through gritted teeth, his irritation growing when he realized Sam's caveman act was inciting quite a few sparks between his legs, but Sam shook his head.

"I'm not letting go until you agree."

"I don't know what the fuck's going through your head, but in case you haven't noticed, there's only two of us in this room and neither of us are getting laid."

"Yeah, but if you could have, you'd have brought that waitress right back here and had her laid out on the bed before she knew what hit her."

And finally, with the proverbial light bulb going off above Dean's head, he understood.

Sam was jealous.

Dean started to laugh.

"You're such an idiot," he said, shoving his brother away and reaching for his duffel bag.

"Dean, I'm serious. I want you to promise me you're not going to have sex with anyone else."

"Including myself?" he asked with an arched eyebrow and Sam flushed, going a deeper red than Dean had expected and he knew—he just knew—Sam was getting turned on picturing him jerking off. "Sam, you know me. You know I flirt with anyone on two legs, especially if it'll work to my advantage. Like tonight, when I got us a couple slices of free cake. But just because I wanted to have my cake, doesn't mean I was going to eat it, too."

Sam shuddered, the corners of his lips twitching with the urge to smile. "That was awful."

"Shut up. My point is, just because I flirt, doesn't automatically mean I'm going to fuck."

"It used to."

"Things change."

"Yes," Sam said, looking him over, "I guess they do."

"Good. Can I get ready for bed now?"

His demeanor hardened. "Not until I get my promise."

"Sam," he sighed, his shoulders slumping beneath the weight of his brother's demand, "is this necessary?"

"Yes. It's not that I don't trust you, Dean, it's just that..."

Dean's eyes narrowed. "You don't trust me."

"No, that's not it at all. It's just that I want to know you're mine, and I need to know that you know you're mine."

He couldn't resist the shiver that passed through his body in the face of Sam's possessiveness. It wasn't entirely an unpleasant feeling, but it was a little disturbing to have that possessiveness directed at him. Hell, he'd only felt that way about his car. His guns. His family. But never had he felt that strongly about someone else in the way Sam clearly felt about him.

"Promise me."

Dean was still too busy trying to analyze the feelings running through him to pay attention to Sam, and so he didn't answer.

"Dean, promise me!"

The snapping of Sam's voice woke him from his reverie and he waved an impatient hand at his brother. "All right, all right, I promise. Okay? Happy now?"

"No," he answered, but then his eyes softened and he smiled. "And yes. Thank you."

"Yeah, whatever," Dean muttered and began digging through his bag for his toothbrush.

"Dean..." Sam's voice stopped him before he could escape into the bathroom. "I know it doesn't matter to you, but you're it for me, too. I'm not having sex without you. Well, except for when being around you drives me so insane that I either have to fuck my hand or explode from constant frustration. But other than that, it's just you and me."

He took a moment to think on that, to decide how it made him feel. Actually, it felt pretty good. But still, no use letting Sam know that, not yet. "Do I get to choose whether or not you explode?"



Sam grinned in a way that was probably meant to be suggestive, but ended up looking like something that belonged on the face of an escapee circus clown from a Stephen King novel. "But you do get to choose when to end my frustration."

Dean turned his laugh into an incredulous snort and shut the bathroom door. Yeah, because that was going to happen any time soon. Though, catching sight of his reflection in the bathroom mirror, he noticed an unusual amount of color to his cheeks which he knew had everything to do with Sam's return of his promise and nothing to do with the waitress from dinner.

"Cut it out, asshole," he scolded himself. "You are not lusting after your brother. He stole your car, ditched you in the middle of nowhere, and didn't bother to even pick up a phone to see if you were still alive. You will not lust after someone who can do that to you."

"Yes, you will!" Sam called through the door.

"You shut the hell up!" Dean yelled back, then returned to his reflection. "And no, you will not! Got that? Good."

With an encouraging nod, he squeezed some toothpaste on his toothbrush and began brushing furiously, using the sound to block out the snickering from the other room.

"Asshole," he muttered sending tiny dots of toothpaste spraying across the mirror.

"Get over it, bitch. You know you love me."

Dean sighed and spat into the sink. Yeah, he did. But he still couldn't reconcile the laughing devoted man in the other room with the brother who'd abandoned him, and until that happened, nothing else would.


Next story in series - A Bright New Day.