Title: Schrodinger’s Cat
By: elfin
Pairing: Sam/Dean
Rating: NC-17
Warning: incest
Rating: NC-17
Spoilers: ***spoilers for everything up to 5.16***


He’s a pleasant enough man and they’ve at least come to a broad-minded town in an open-thinking state.  They’ve tried not to let Zachariah’s words get to them, but after a week of not talking about it, another week of trying to persuade each other that it isn’t an issue, and a third week of almost tearing one another apart, they need to know the truth.

Dean leans forward.  “Please, Doc.”

And the doctor – possibly close to retirement but by no means disillusioned or tired of the job – looks at them through his silver rimmed specs and strokes his big grey beard thoughtfully.

“A DNA test?”  Both Dean and Sam nod quickly.  “To find out if you’re actually brothers?”  More nods.  “Why?”

Dean answers first, “We just... we need to know, okay?”

“Those tests are very expensive.  This is a small practice in a small town.  Why don’t you just ask your parents?”

“They’re dead.”

“His are dead,” Sam corrects quickly as he slides to the edge of his seat before Dean can say another word.  “Listen.  Here’s the thing.  We hooked up in college.  We’ve been together two years.  Last week I took him home to meet the folks and my mother... she almost had a heart attack right in front of us.  She kept saying we couldn’t – you know – and after a long few hours and a lot of Jack Daniels she told us that Dean here is the spitting image a man she had an affair with thirty years ago.  She had the child but had given it up for adoption because her parents would have killed her for getting pregnant outside wedlock.  So you know... we need to be certain.”

The Doctor nods slowly, because hell – no one would have made that up.  Dean’s trying not to stare at the crazy man sitting beside him because he can’t believe Sam just made that up.

But it works.  “Okay.  I’ll get a nurse to draw the bloods.  It’ll take three days for the results to come back.”

“Thank you,” comes from both of them, and from both of them it’s heartfelt.


Outside the surgery, Dean stops picking at the small sticking plaster over the tiny puncture hole at his elbow when he remembers to be angry with Sam.

“Where the hell did that story come from, Dude?!”

“I had to tell him something.  What does it matter?  Three days and we’ll know for certain.”

“I know for certain now,” Dean grouches but there’s no strength behind it.  Sam glances at him with empathy in his eyes and nudges his shoulder.  There’s a candy coloured diner across the street and he offers to buy Dean a slice of pie with ice cream on the side.  Even at thirty there’s a childlike glee that shines in his eyes whenever pie is on offer, but today his interest is negligible until they step inside and the aroma of warm cherries hits them so hard they can taste it.  That at least brings a small smile to his face and Sam’s relieved. 

Zachariah – who really is a bastard angel – has put this idea in their minds and however sure they are that it’s bullshit they can’t shake this terrible, deep down fear that it’s just possibly true, that they aren’t blood brothers.  It’s the basis of everything, the connection between them, what holds them together, binds them and keeps them going through the hell.  It’s why Dean gave his life for Sam.  It’s why Sam would die for Dean.  It’s who they are and now who they are might not be real.

They eat in silence.  The pie’s good – great in fact – but Sam isn’t really hungry and Dean pushes his plate away from him after a couple of bites.

“It’ll be okay, Dean,” Sam says with forced conviction and Dean nods but his head’s bowed and when he lifts it Sam sees the start of tears in his eyes.  “Okay, let’s get out of here.”  He drops a couple of bills on the table and stands, touching Dean’s shoulder, sliding his hand between taut shoulder blades as he slides out from behind the table.

Their motel is just around the corner, the Impala still in the parking lot just in front of their room.  Sam unlocks the door and lets it swing open, watches Dean walk inside, shoulders slumped and just wants to make it all stop.  It’s bad enough that they’re facing off the ultimate bad guy and apparently the good guys too, to lose one another, to not be what they thought they were, to have their whole lives torn out from under them would be unbearable.

Sam glances back at their car – their Dad’s car – and as he does he hears a crash and breaking glass and he knows instinctively what’s happened.  With a deep breath in and out he steps into the room and closes the door, stepping over the broken glass, sitting on the bed next to where Dean is looking utterly defeated.

“It’s a lie,” he murmurs, “we both know it.  He’s screwing with us again, messing with our minds.  They want us to say yes and for us to do that they need us to want it to stop.”

“Maybe it’s more.” 

Sam looks at the mess on the floor, two drinking glasses Dean swept from the small table next to the door out of pure frustration.  “Maybe what’s more?”

“If we’re not brothers, it’s easier for one of us to kill the other.”

He hates this.  And it’s through a lack of anything better to do that he puts his arm around Dean’s shoulders, feeling just slightly awkward and a lot pathetic that he’s run out of ways of comforting him. 

“I’m not killing you, Dean.  And you’re not killing me.  It doesn’t matter if you’re not my brother –“

Dean lifts his hand to his face.  “Oh God, don’t say that, Sammy....”

“- it doesn’t matter,” he states it, a matter of fact; a promise.  “You and I have been there for one another all our lives.  You looked after me, took care of me, died for me.  And I love you.  That isn’t gonna change, not ever.”  Running his palm hard over his face, Dean shakes his head.  “We’ll be okay.”

He feels heavy shoulders lift and fall, knows his brother’s crying and it pulls at already frayed heart strings.  Twisting his body he lets his head fall against Dean’s, mouth against his ear, feeling a little like crying himself.  More than anything he wants to rip Zachariah’s wings off and shove them up his ass for doing this to Dean – he’s been through enough, they’ve both been through way more than enough.

To his surprise he feels Dean’s arm come up across his back, fingers clutch at his shirt, and then Dean’s crying for real, sobbing, body shaking with it.  It’s more like shock and it freezes him for a second.  All this time he’s never known his brother lose it like this, not in front of him.  It hurts like hell to hear it and he lets his hand fall, curls his fingers into Dean’s waist, brings his other arm up and holds on, hugs him, and when he can’t listen to anymore he asks, pleads with him to stop.

When he doesn’t, it destroys the last of any defences Sam has and he dissolves.

It’s dusky outside when he opens his eyes.  They’re lying on the narrow bed, clutching at one another, eyes sticky with dried tears, wrung out, exhausted.  Sam carefully unwraps himself from Dean, asking him quietly if he’s okay and getting a nod in reply before he slips off the bed and closes himself off in the bathroom to take a piss and wash his face with cold water.  He stares at himself in the mirror and stares back, seeing like he always does a Winchester, through and through, Dean’s blood brother.  There’s no reason for it not to be the truth, a million reasons for Zachariah to lie, yet there’s still that niggling doubt and the growing anxiety of what the results will say when they’re back on Friday.

“Sam?”  Dean’s voice comes from just the other side of the door and he opens it, looking into the wiped out face that meets him. 

“You okay?”

“Yeah.  Just checking.  I need to pee.”

Smiling, Sam lets him have the bathroom and he has his coat on when he comes out. 

“Going somewhere?”

He hands Dean his battered leather biker’s jacket and nods.  “We’re going to a bar and we’re going to get blind drunk.”

A grin forces its way on to Dean’s face and he’s the first out of the room.


No one interrupts them all night, no one tries to chat either of them up.  It’s almost unheard of for nights when they’re not covered in something else’s bodily fluids or smelling like rotting corpses, but at one point Sam stretches from where he’s sitting hunched over the bar and realises how close he’s sitting to Dean, how closed off they are tonight.  No wonder anyone’s bothering them – the way they’re sitting, the way they’re so focused on one another - he can imagine what people are thinking and he can’t help thinking it himself.

If they’re not brothers, what the hell are they?  If this is a friendship it’d be one of the strongest, fiercest friendships... he has no comparison.  What kind of friends died for one another?  Sacrifice themselves over and over?  The pain of losing Dean when he went to hell is forever etched on his heart, on his soul and in his stomach – when he thinks about it, he wants to throw up.  If Dean isn’t his brother, what is he?

The barman delivers the next round of drinks – beers and Jack chasers – and Sam hunches back over, shoulder rubbing against Dean’s, back into their huddle, their own private world, where he feels strangely safe and loved tonight even if the conversation seems to be going somewhere weird.

“Whose cat died?”

“What?”  Dean shakes his head.  “No one’s cat died.  Who do we even know with a cat?”

“No one.  That’s why I asked because I have no idea what you’re talking about.”



“The guy with the cat in the box!”

“Dean, I have no idea.....Oh!  Schrodinger!  You mean Schrodinger’s Cat!  Not dead, but not alive.”

“Yes!  We’re like the cat.”

Sam throws back the Jack Daniels in one and picks up his beer.  “Why are we like the cat?”

“Because we’re... brothers but not brothers.  Until those results come back, we’re neither.”

Earlier, without the cushioning of the alcohol, this might have upset Sam somewhat, but for now he’s numb.  “You’re my brother, Dean,” he reiterates, “you always will be.”

“Dude... I know,” he says seriously and nods.  “But... what if we aren’t?  What would that make us?”  And it’s strange to hear his own thoughts echoed back at him, given voice.  “I mean... we’re just so damn close and... and I love you too, Sam, like crazy.  It’s just... if we’re not brothers we’d be kinda weird, don’cha think?”

He turns his head at the same time as Dean does and ends up somehow staring at his brother’s mouth.  Something passes between them, something that makes the hairs at the back of Sam’s neck stand up, but he shakes his head and breathes deeply, lifting his beer.  “We are brothers, whatever the results say.”


When Dean wakes it’s light outside, his head feels like he’s been hit with a car sometime in the night and his stomach’s rolling.  He goes to the bathroom and when he comes out Sam’s still snoring on the second bed, his back to Dean.  So he changes his clothes and heads out to find coffee and possibly something vaguely nutritious for breakfast and ends up coming back with hot waffles covered in maple syrup.  Sam’s already awake and showered, and he eats most of the waffles while Dean drinks his coffee and enjoys the sight. 

They could leave town and come back on Friday but neither of them wants to work with this hanging over them because they’re too distracted so they opt to stay.  Sam predictably finds the library and tells Dean he wants to get in some reading in the peaceful quiet.  So Dean leaves him to it and walks all over town, hustles a few games of pool, meets a girl in one of the bars and expends a little bit of energy rehashing his old chat up lines until they taste stale even to him and he leaves without giving her his cell number.

He finds Sam in the library; he’s not reading he’s staring out of the window down into the road, watching the lights change and the cars stop and start.  Dean squeezes his shoulder and moves to rub the back of his neck before offering to sneak a couple of the books out for him under his jacket like he used to when they were kids.  Sam laughs and insists they put them all back in their correct places before they leave.  They eat burgers in the candy pink diner then hit the same bar they did the night before.  Sam wins a few games of pool – straight, no hustling – before they get a table at the back of the room.  They take it slow tonight, not drinking to get drunk, and Dean’s been thinking that it’s actually been a nice day, all things considered, and he’s managed not to dwell every single minute on the DNA test they’ve taken. 

But now he’s with Sam again, just the two of them like it always is at the end of every day, and that worry kicks back in.  After his third beer he finds himself looking at the floppy hair (and why can’t Sam get it cut once in a while when Dean manages to find time to stop in at a barbers en route?) and suddenly it feels like he’s about to lose his brother all over again and it makes him feel sick.  The weird thing is, he’ll still be here, whatever the Doc says Sam won’t just vanish.  He’ll still be here, just like Dean will, it’s just that everything might change and apart from 27 years of shared history it feels like there won’t be anything tangible between them, anything for Dean to hold on to for dear life like he’s held on to Sam for the last five years.

There was a point he was trying to make last night, bringing up that ridiculous cat thing, but in the end he hadn’t been able to make it.  Maybe he can try again.

“Sam....  If we’d never been brothers....”  Sam’s reaction was predictable enough; the sigh, the roll of his eyes, the fake bravado.  “Just go with me on this one.  If we’d never been brothers, but we’d been... childhood friends.  And my parents had died and Dad – your Dad – had taken me in, brought me up alongside you just like he did.”


“Stop whining and just....”  He lifts his eyebrows, puts his hands flat on the table and starts again.  “Say he had.  D’ya think things might have worked out... differently, between us?”

Sam’s looking at him, clearly confused, brow furrowed.  “Differently, how?”

“You know.”  He raises his beer and drinks half of it, hoping Sam will nod and get it before he has to clarify the question, before he loses his nerve.

“No, I don’t know.  What are you talking about?”

With a heavy sigh, Dean closes his eyes.  “Do you think you and I...” he contemplates something a final time before finishing, “would have stayed friends?”  It evidently isn’t what he wants to ask.

“What?”  An amazed smile crosses Sam’s face, not quite reaching his eyes.  “God, Dean, of course not!”  It isn’t quite what he expected to hear and he’s not sure if Sam’s being serious or not.  “You seriously think we’d have put up with each other all this time?” 

Dean experiences an uncomfortable flashback to Rock Ridge, Colorado, hallucinating Sam telling him he’s going to hell and there’s nothing they can do to stop it.  He tries not to look hurt and isn’t sure if he succeeds.  “Dude....”

“Sorry, Dean, but it’s true.”  And Sam’s actually chuckling.  “Having to share a bed every night as kids?  The way you followed me round a hundred different schools skulking and scaring off anyone who might wanted to have been my friend.....”

“I was looking out for you!  That’s what big brothers do.”

Sam puts down his beer and spreads his hands.  “Figuring out what my dick was for while you were a foot away on the next bed?   Using the bathroom at the same time?  Listening to the same music over and over for twenty years?”  He shakes his head and Dean can’t believe, can’t stomach what he’s hearing.  “No way.  No-“

It’s all he can take.  He pushes back his chair and makes for the door, embarrassed about the emotion welling up inside him.  He hates this!  He hates that Sam’s only with him because they’re brothers, hates that after everything they’ve been through it’s just blood that connects them; however strong that connection is, it isn’t voluntary.  Sam doesn’t want to be with him, doesn’t want to be here.

He makes it across the street to the motel, stops out in the parking lot close to his car, his back to the harsh neon lights, his hands on his thighs, leaning forward, breathing deep, trying to get a hold on these tears which are always so damned close to the surface these days. 


He can hear Sam running over, can hear the apology in his voice and something else, something that probably means Sam wasn’t being serious but he can’t deal with this anymore.  His life sucks. 

“Dean!  Man, I was joking!”  Sam’s close enough he hears him breathing.  “Dude, I’m sorry... I didn’t mean....”  It’s too much; the same apologies, the same crap.  He straightens and spins, grabs Sam and throws him up bodily against the side of the Impala.  There’s no actual thought process involved, he just presses himself against his brother’s freakishly tall frame, not knowing if he wants to hurt him, not knowing what he’s doing when he kisses him. 


Sam watches Dean leave the bar, incredulous, and as his mouth drops open he catches sight of a couple at a table close by who are scowling at him like he’s just dumped his boyfriend and sent him sobbing out of the room.  He rolls his eyes, feeling slightly sick.  He was joking, or at least he thinks he was.  Sometimes he just wants to lay into Dean and he doesn’t know why, he doesn’t know where it comes from, but there’s a well of anger inside him, usually buried under memory and fierce loyalty that’s been uncovered by Zachariah’s suggestion that his loyalty is based on lies. 

He leaves his half-finished beer and follows Dean out, catches sight of him stopping in the parking lot of their motel and calls out his name.  He crosses the road, calls out again, tells him he was joking as he closes in and suddenly he’s being grabbed, thrown up against their car and before he has a chance to prepare for the fight, Dean’s mouth is on his, fierce and demanding. 


They both freeze for a single thudded heartbeat, then whatever tattered morals and shredded appreciation for other people’s laws still exist within them are wiped away and they fall into one another, Sam’s mouth opening under Dean’s, arms grabbing him, caging him, pulling him as close and as tight as he can get.  Dean’s fingers tangle in Sam’s hair, restless, urgent.

Sam isn’t sure what the hell he’s thinking when he pulls his head back.  “Fuck, Dean....”

But his brother’s eyes are focused on his mouth and he just says, “Room,” like it’s an order.

Sam shakes his head and Dean looks at him, the words, ‘Now is not the time...’ on his lips.  Sam isn’t sure about much in life but he’s sure about this.  “First time, back seat.”  He sees Dean’s eyes widen, glance to the side, sees the amusement on his face, tempered with caution, and clarifies with dark humour, “Not here, idiot.”

They don’t go far.  They’re too drunk to be driving, but the town ends sharply in a forest road and they find privacy easily.  That first ignition of lust hasn’t tempered with the short journey and the moment Dean kills the engine Sam’s crawling over him, finding his mouth, letting loose something that’s been inside him for most of his life. 

“We shouldn’t,” Dean breathes, half holding Sam off, half pulling him forward.  “We’re brothers, Sam.”

Sam shakes his head, mouth finding Dean’s again.  “We’re cats in a box,” he mutters, and kisses him.

They clamber into the back seat and Sam remembers watching Dean fuck Anna that night when they were hiding out in the forest.  He remembers wanting it, deep down in his soul and he pulls Dean on top of him.  They push clothing out of the way, desperate to get to one another, to touch, and now that the line’s been crossed and permission’s been given, Sam wants to touch every part of him.  He kisses Dean like he’s trying to crawl inside him.  To be close to him is all he’s ever wanted even when they’ve been pushing and pulling against each other and wherever this has come from, whatever has opened the flood gates, they’re open now. 

They get bare flesh touching bare flesh, Dean’s hand digging into Sam’s jeans, fingers curling around his dick.  He hears a groan lifted from his own throat and fumbles for Dean’s fly, getting his hand down his boxers, stroking his thumb along the length of his cock, stroking fingertips over his balls.  Dean’s pushing his jeans down from his hips and he does the same with Dean’s, dicks sliding together.  Sam growls, settles his mouth on Dean’s throat as their fingers knit together and they jerk off together.  It’s messy and quick, mouths open against one another as they climb and fall together.  And afterwards they lie like that, Dean heavy on Sam’s chest, until Sam tries to move and Dean rolls them Sam’s back is against his chest, his back against the vinyl seat, jeans still low on their thighs, evidence of what they’ve done wiped on shirt hems.

They wake with the sunrise and Dean drives them back into town.  Sam waits for him to shower, tempted to join him but in the warm sunshine when everything’s more real and decent people are out and about, it doesn’t feel right.  He goes in afterwards, when Dean’s stolen all the hot water and gone out for coffee, and stands under the cold spray until he hears the door open and close and his brother’s voice call out to ask if he’s drowned in there.

They spend the day in the motel room, the beds pushed together; drinking beer, eating Pringles, watching daytime television and not talking about the night before. 

Sam doesn’t think it matters.  Their lives are so fucked up already - the things they’ve seen, the things they’ve done – that having sex doesn’t feel like a big deal.  He knows it should be, hell, he should probably be feeling sick with guilt and shame.  But other people’s reactions aren’t theirs, and if Dean’s not freaking out, he’s okay with not freaking out either.

Sometime during the afternoon the three day wait starts to feel more like a looming deadline and Sam rolls over to stare at the peeling, yellowing paint on the ceiling.  He can feel Dean’s eyes climbing his body, and, okay, that feels a little weird but it’s a good weird, not a bad one, something he thinks he could get used to.  He doesn’t mention it though, and when he turns his head Dean meets his eyes like he hasn’t been checking him out.

“I love you,” Sam tells him, during the advert break between Murder, She Wrote and The Agatha Christie Hour, for no better reason than he needs to hear it back.  Losing Dean is impossible... utterly impossible.  But losing his brother would be cutting away a part of his soul and he knew that before Zachariah, before Michael and Lucifer, before Lillith and Bella.  He’s known it all his life. 

Dean grins and calls him a girl, but Sam holds his eyes and he gets serious, saying, “Love you too, Sam,” like it’s something he’s surprised needs saying, like it’s the most obvious thing in the world. 

Sam thinks about Schrodinger’s Cat, and wonders if Dean’s wrong, because he doesn’t think they’re trapped inside, he doesn’t think the lid of the box has ever been closed.


They go out to the same bar again late that night, sit close together at the bar and shut out everyone else again with just their body language.  Dean wants to stay up all night, to be at the doctor’s surgery first thing when it opens, but Sam drags him back to the motel in the early hours of the morning and they fall asleep curled into one another, Sam’s face against Dean’s neck, Dean’s face in Sam’s hair, legs tangled, hands seeking skin, arms possessive. 

When they wake, neither of them is in a hurry to get to the surgery.  They get breakfast at the diner across the street but they’re not really hungry and just drink coffee until it feels like an oil slick in Sam’s stomach.  Then they cross the road and sit in the waiting room until the doctor has a break in his appointments an hour later and they find themselves sitting in front of him again, the wide desk between them.  Sam wants to hold Dean’s hand as the doctor finds their slim file in his “in” tray but he doesn’t, just lets his arms fall over the sides of the chair and feels his heart pounding like he’s half-way through a hunt. 

As the Doctor opens the file, lifts out the white envelope and opens it, unfolding the letter inside and reading it, Sam’s stomach rolls and suddenly there’s a warmth around his fingers.  He glances down and sees that Dean’s bridged the space between them, is holding on to his fingers between their chairs, hidden from the doctor’s sight as he looks at them.

“I’m sorry,” he says, and Sam wants to cry, “these results clearly show you share both parents.”

It takes a moment to process what he’s heard.  “We are brothers?”

“Yes.  The results are positive.  I’m sorry.”  Sam takes a deep, deep breath, relief flooding through him, wondering why the hell he should be sorry. 

“That’s... that great!”

The doctor looks at him through his steel rims and says, “I thought it would be bad news for you boys.”

It’s Dean who saves them.  “It is,” he says, leaning forward, sounding genuine.  “I’ve lost a lover.  But ya know, Doc, I’ve gained an honest-to-God brother, so it’s not all bad.”


They leave town that afternoon, heading nowhere in particular until Dean pulls the Impala up on the side of an empty road.  They sit in silence for a while, staring out of the windshield until finally Sam opens his mouth with no idea what he’s going to say and hears Dean beat him to it.

“It doesn’t matter, Sammy,” he says quietly, “that we’re brothers.  We knew deep down anyway, so it doesn’t matter.”

Sam shakes his head, stunned.  “Of course it matters!  It matters more than anything.”  He turns in his seat.  “That we’re brothers... it’s the most important thing in the world.”

Dean’s with him, reaching for Sam’s hand, fingers curling into his palm.  “I meant... this, us, what we did....  I don’t care that we did it.  I know I should but I don’t.”  He drops his head back against the seat and drops his hand from Sam’s.  For a second they’re separate, then Dean smiles like the sun and adds, “Makes it kinda hot, don’t ya think?”

Sam’s eyes widen.  “That’s gotta be wrong.”  But he holds a hand against Dean’s face and stares at his brother as Dean stares back.  “Still no chick flick moments?”

Dean rolls his eyes.  “Dude, we’ve been drowning in chick flick moments!”

That’s not something he can deny.  He closes the gap and settles his mouth against Dean’s, sliding his tongue inside, and it doesn’t taste like kissing his brother, he can just taste Dean; coffee and sugar and too much red meat.  But it feels like the first time, and in a way it is.  They know for sure now and they’re not going to stop.  If you do six illegal things before breakfast....  Sam smiles to himself and Dean asks, “What?” without breaking contact.

Sam does though, sits back and says, “I was thinking about what you said in the bar that night, about what would have happened if we’d just been childhood friends.”

Dean’s face darkens slightly.  “And?”

“And I think this might have happened a long, long time ago.”

“Jeez, Sammy, that’s what I wanted to hear!”

Sam shrugs.  “You only had to ask.”

“Yeah, like that wouldn’t have been weird.”  He reaches to pull Sam back to him and Sam goes easily into his big brother’s arms.