Title: Doubletalk
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
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Sam/Dean, but the Wincest is implied and unrequited (so far)
Summary: As they head off to South Dakota, Dean and Sam leave behind a friend in Sleepy Hollow, but pick up a new one along the way.


After an exhausting couple of hours pretending to ignore the chattering from the two newfound bestest friends in the whole wide world, Dean was more than ready to switch out of the driver's seat with his brother. His decision was in no small part aided by the fact that in spite of the large cup of coffee he'd imbibed earlier, he could barely keep his eyes open. With Don able to play navigator and Sam behind the wheel, he felt safe to curl up in the back seat and was out cold before Sam had even pulled out of the rest stop. He slept so deeply, he didn't stir once until Sam pulled into a McDonald's for lunch three hours later and had to shake him awake.

"Are you okay?" his brother asked quietly, trying to keep the question private from Don as the three of them crossed the busy parking lot to the fast food joint.

"Yeah, sure," Dean shrugged, narrowed eyes focused on the back of Bob the Second. Was it his imagination, or had the man grown more smug while he'd been asleep?


Heaving an irritable sigh, he turned his narrowed eyes on his brother. "I'm fine," he snapped.

"Okay," Sam said, holding up his hands as a sign of peace and Dean thought that was the end of the subject. Considering his brother's mile-long worry streak, he should have known better.

"It's just that--" Sam began, and Dean's jaw clenched, "--you've been looking really tired lately. I can barely get you up in the mornings--"

"Not a morning person, remember?"

"--and you actually slept in the car. Dean, you've never been able to sleep in the car, especially while I'm driving."

"What can I say?" he said, flashing his quicksilver grin. "You're a better driver than you used to be."

"That's bullshit, and you know it."

Dean arched an eyebrow and Sam flushed, pulling him to a halt before they entered the restaurant.

"That's not what I meant. I could be the world's safest driver and you'd still be kept awake by your obsessive worry over your precious car."

"Can't a man just be tired? Not to mention," he began, holding up his hand and counting off each of his excuses on his fingers as he continued, "I'm still carrying around a set of cracked ribs that keep me up at night, I'm used to sleeping during the day, and maybe--just maybe--I'm learning to trust you with my precious car. Did you ever consider that?"

"No," Sam answered without hesitation, though the suspicion faded a little from his gaze. "Your ribs are really bothering you that much?"

He shrugged, avoiding his brother's eyes. As long as he kept them tightly wrapped up, he generally forgot his ribs were even injured. It was most likely due to his late night sessions with the monster and Sam's incessant nightmares that made him feel so tired, but he wasn't about to tell his brother that. Knowing Sam, he'd probably try using sleeping aids to keep the nightmares away, and those things clouded the mind and made the body drag too much. He needed his brother alert just in case--always just in case.

And as for the monster, if it was the cause of his exhaustion, well, that was his problem to deal with.

"I'll manage," he said, trying to sound reasonable and not defensive--no need to make his brother feel any worse. "I'm more worried about all the driving aggravating your stitches. Are you holding up okay?"

Sam gave a shrug with his good shoulder. "I'm fine. It aches a little, but it's nothing I can't ignore. Though, if you're really worried, you can always let Don drive."

Knowing Sam was teasing, his fist didn't hit his brother's arm quite as hard as it normally would when Sam came up with a generally stupid suggestion.

"That'll happen the day I start listening to Barry Manilow without my ears bleeding."

Sam grinned, opening the glass door and just narrowly hitting Dean in the face--on purpose, of course. "I'll start trolling the gas stations for Barry Manilow tapes, just to be prepared."

Dean held the door open for his brother, then followed him inside, deliberately stepping on Sam's heels and making him trip.

"Asshole," Sam growled, coming to an abrupt halt so that Dean ran into him.

"Bitch," Dean chuckled, pushing him forward. Sam leaned back, refusing to walk, so Dean has to keep pushing him until his resistant steps reached the counter.

Don rolled his eyes at their antics, but the brothers were grinning from ear to ear as they constantly nudged each other with their shoulders while ordering, Sam occasionally managing to squeeze in an 'oh Mandy' and he growl at him to shut up while trying not to laugh. It had been too long since they'd let themselves act like a couple of children around each other, and it was nice being able to do so without being told to cut it out by a father who'd had little patience for rambunctious kids.

Their food received, the three sat down at an empty table, Dean and Sam on one side, Don on the other. Don dug into his burger immediately while the Winchesters each held up a French fry and stared with disgust at the shining imitation potato product.

"I miss Judy," Dean sighed, and Sam nodded mournfully.

"I was just thinking the same thing. I'm going to miss real food."

"Fresh food."

"Food that doesn't need the grease wrung out of it before you eat it."

"Yeah, especially that," Dean said, wrinkling his nose with disgust as he let the fry fall back onto the tray.

Don just shook his head. "You two you should be thankful. Amanda's a strict vegan. This right here," he said, brandishing his burger, "is the best thing I've tasted in four months."

Dean's eyes widened. "You've gone without meat for four months?"

"If I want anything to eat that once bled, I have to sneak off to find it. Then I have to hide all the evidence that I ever ate anything which hasn't been grown in the ground, including flossing and brushing my teeth. If she suspects I've been contaminated, she won't kiss me for a week."

"And she doesn't mind that you'll be eating meat on this little excursion?" Sam asked.

"As far as she knows, I won't be," he said, and at the brothers' surprised looks, he shrugged. "Ignorance prevents arguments."

"That's surprisingly sneaky of you," Dean said, and Don shook his head.

"I prefer to think of it as self-preservation."

Sam chuckled. "Sounds like a plausible excuse to me."

"Sounds dishonest to me," Dean said, earning him a pointed stare from Don.

"And you've never kept anything from Sam out of a sense of self-preservation?"

That shut him up and was enough to keep him subdued for the rest of the meal, though he would sneak in an evil look towards Don every once in a while.

Sam immediately noticed the disappearance of Dean's light-hearted mood, which made his own spirits sink. He hated seeing the brother he knew and loved mysteriously vanish back in hiding, again replaced by the silent and brooding man he was unfortunately growing accustomed to. He longed to ask what was going on, but he decided this wasn't the place to question him about it. He just continued to make conversation with Don about various eating habits and let Dean brood, hoping he'd reemerge before long.

Dean didn't know whether to be relived or resentful that Sam left him alone, but he was positive all his anger deserved to be taken out on Don. The man knew something, but did he know everything? He wasn't sure. He had no doubt Bob knew everything--and there was a conversation he would get his wisdom teeth pulled to avoid--but whether or not he'd seen fit to bestow the entirety of that knowledge on his protégé, Dean was never able to tell for sure. It unnerved and irritated him that Don was in the loop enough to hold it over his head, hinting at his superiority over Dean as well as at Dean's inferiority to take care of his brother. Or, at least, that was how he chose to interpret the placid look on the man's face.

How angry would Sam be, he wondered, if he just happened to accidentally leave Don on the side of the road and, despite this supposed accident, refused to return for him?

He didn't suppose Sam would believe it was for their own good. Maybe he'd buy, "Bob told me to."

Dean snorted into his Coke, resulting in a nose full of caffeinated liquid sugar that burned like hell and made him sneeze for twenty seconds straight.

"You okay?" Sam asked, handing him a couple napkins.

"Yeah. Swallowed wrong," he said, Bob the Second looking at him as if he knew exactly what had been going through Dean's mind at the moment his body tried to force liquid out the wrong orifice.

"Then if you're finished," Sam said, still looking concerned, "we should probably get moving. You up for driving, or do you want me to keep going?"

"I'll drive," he said, taking the keys from his brother's outstretched fingers.

"And I'll sleep," Sam nodded.

Great, Dean groaned inside his head as the three of them rose from the table, carrying the trays laden with the greasy wrappings over to the waste bin. That would mean he would be stuck up front with Don. The day just kept getting better.

He pushed open the door to the outside and was immediately met with a gust of bitterly cold wind--an appropriate accompaniment to his impending guest in the front seat. He could only begin to imagine the enlightening and fun filled conversations the two of them were bound to have.

Maybe the Impala would suddenly become a sentient being and sensing its loving owner's displeasure with the man, fling Don out the passenger door, leaving him rolling in the asphalt to only narrowly miss being flattened by an eighteen-wheeler.

Nice thought, but then he'd have to exorcise his car, and he really didn't want to do that. He might ruin the paint job.

But, oh, did the image bring a huge grin to his face, which earned him suspicious looks from his passengers, but he didn't care. He kept the Bob Jr. version of Frogger going in his head for the next twenty miles, until the man in question broke the silence between them. Don at least had the courtesy to wait until the soft snores from Sam alerted them that his brother was asleep before trying to verbally ream him. If he ever had to give the man credit for anything, it would be that.

Well, that, and the almost eerie way his hair managed to blow in perfectly spaced strands around his face no matter how strong the wind. It made him look like some sort of Indian warrior right out of a lurid romance novel--proud, unconquerable, perfectly coiffed. The most Dean could ever hope for was looking like some sort of college athlete making just enough of a statement to say he was a rebel--but without ever going far enough to piss off the coach.

Don opened their conversation with a typically elusive and profound statement, one of those that instantly caused Dean's teeth to grind.

"You're walking a dangerous path, Dean Winchester."

"Really? Whatever gave you that idea? Wouldn't be the trunk full of crosses and guns and holy water, would it?"

"I am not referring to your ability as a warrior," Don said, and Dean rolled his eyes.

"No shit. Don't they teach sarcasm at Harvard?"

"Harvard prefers irony," Don instantly countered. "It tends to go over the heads of those who use sarcasm."

"Glad to hear it because, you know, that and two bucks will buy you a beer."

His fellow warrior looked over at him, brow wrinkling with confusion. "What?"

"Just commenting on how useful irony is," Dean said, grinning victoriously. Score one for the man with a GED.

"And what does sarcasm get you?"

"In the right crowd, a laugh, and a laugh can mean life or death, in the right crowd."

"Then perhaps you're not dealing with the right crowd."

"Every crowd is the right crowd, if you know what you're doing."

"And do you know what you're doing?" he asked.

Dean knew enough to know that the detour had ended and they were now back on the main road.

"For the most part, but sometimes you just have to play it by ear."

"Then you must be deaf," the man said flatly, and Dean glared at him.

"I may miss a note here or there, but you can bet your ass I know the song."

"You're just making up the words as you go along."

"Improvisation is the key to staying alive."

"There's improvising, and then there's just bullshitting your way through the music hoping no one notices you're singing rock when they're expecting gospel."

"Like gospel, rock is a matter of belief."

"And you're the snake-charmer convincing them they're praising god when they're really worshipping the devil."

"It's all a matter of perspective. Sometimes you have to get a little dirty with the devil in order to find the truth."

"And is that what you're doing? Looking for the truth?"


"When you think you've found the truth, how do you know the devil isn't lying to you?"

"You don't. That's why you never trust anything the devil has to say."

"Then why do it?"

"The devil's not perfect. Sometimes he lets a grain of truth escape. You have to understand, he likes to play games, and sometimes he likes to be honest just to trip you up. All you have to do is make sure you're paying attention, or you might miss it."

"What if you're so busy paying attention that the truth slips by you unnoticed?"

"Never gonna happen," Dean said, his entire body reflecting the confidence in his voice. "I know what I'm doing."

"Pride is a sin, Dean," Don said softly, and Dean shook his head.

"I don't have the luxury of worrying about what is or is not a sin, not in this world, not in this lifetime. I have a job to do, and that job is my only concern."

"So what you feel for Sam and what he feels for you--those are luxuries?"

"Those are none of your goddamn business!" Dean snapped, his hands tightening on the steering wheel. He'd had enough of this little game. It was time to make sure Don knew his place. "You want to invite yourself into our lives for the purpose of kicking the shit out of me, that's fine. I don't have a problem with that because, in the end, I know I can take you, but you leave Sam the fuck out of this or I'm warning you now, I won't wait until the end to drag your ass across the concrete."

"Very well," Don said, flickers of amusement lurking in his brown eyes, "I'll leave Sam out of it--for now. But the second your actions put him in even a hint of danger, I won't need to fight you to get him to leave. He'll already be gone."

"Sam will never leave me," Dean said, dismissing the idea without a second thought.

"You'd better hope that's true."

"I know it."

But Sam wasn't so sure.

He'd been awake long enough to be spun in circles by Dean's and Don's doubletalk, but he'd understood enough of it to realize his brother was walking on the razor-thin edge of a cliff, and he was coming close to falling. His brother was up to something, that much was obvious, and if Bob felt it was necessary to send another warrior to intervene, that something probably wasn't anything good. Even his momentary elation at Dean's defense of their feelings for each other hadn't been enough to counter his growing dread that he was at risk of losing Dean in more ways than one.

Sam suddenly wished he had agreed not to let Don along for the ride. He wanted nothing more than to sit his brother down and find out what was going on, but that would have to wait until they settled down for the night.

He did, however, attempt to show his solidarity by making sure he sat up front with Dean after he 'woke up' in time for their next rest stop. Don didn't seem to think anything by it, but Dean gave him a look that said he had his suspicions about what Sam might have overheard. His brother's constant squirming told him he had mixed feelings about Sam sitting so close to him, even if the actual proximity between them was pretty much the same no matter where he sat in the car. Dean kept glancing at Sam as if expecting to him to start yelling at any second, but he had more sense than that. He wasn't going to start a scene in the car in front of a stranger.

Once they reached the hotel room, though, all bets were off.

They were all relieved to finally cross the state line into South Dakota, the upcoming confrontation with the skin-walkers a welcome distraction from the tension in the car, if a short-lived one. By the time they reached Kadoka, it was too late to go into the reservation or even to do research around the area. The only options remaining were to grab a bite to eat and go to sleep in the motel where necessity alone forced Dean and Sam to share a bed that night. There had been only two rooms left, both singles, and one had gone to Don, the other to the brothers. Don looked fairly pleased by the inconvenience and was almost happy by the time he wished them good night. Neither Winchester looked thrilled by the idea, but there was nothing they could do.

As they got ready to bunk down for the night, Sam finished setting up the wards around the bed while Dean finished up in the shower. When his brother returned to the room, they didn't speak or even look at each other. They were both as nervous as a couple of virgin newlyweds as they perched awkwardly on opposite edges of the mattress, waiting to see who would make the first move. Sam knew he had to say something to Dean about what was going on, and Dean was expecting Sam to say something, but neither wanted to begin the conversation.

"Dean," he finally said, "just tell me you know what you're doing."

"Sammy," his brother began with that cocky grin, and Sam immediately cut him off before he could continue with the inevitable snarky comeback.

"Right now, it's Sam," he said coldly. "Tell me you know what you're doing."

The grin faded from Dean's face and for the first time since leaving Stanford, Sam came to the terrifying conclusion that maybe he didn't know his brother after all. That, in fact, he'd spent all these months with a complete stranger.

"Dean," he whispered, "what have you done?"

"It's all for the best, Sammy. Trust me. I'm just trying to protect you."

"You're scaring me," Sam said as he stood, years of growing up around danger having taught him that he never wanted to be caught sitting down when something bad happened.

"I'd never do anything to hurt you. You know that. I would die before ever letting anything happen to you. Well," he amended with a grin, "anything beyond the normal wear and tear."

"This isn't the time for jokes, Dean. I know you may believe you're trying to help, but think about it. If everything was all right, what would Don be doing here?"

His brother's eyes narrowed. "Putting his nose where it doesn't belong," he growled, rising to his feet.

Sam wished he could put more space between them, not wanting to be this close to Dean when his brother was about to crack. Dean must have recognized his fear and his eyes softened, his voice taking on a pleading tone.

"Just look at him, Sam. He and Bob, they do things their way, we do things ours. We've always done things our way, and it's worked for us so far. They may not understand us, but we understand us, and that's what matters. Not the two of them, not the rest of the world, just you and me." Dean looked at him. "Are you with me, Sammy?"

Sam looked into his brother's face, saw the desperation there, the terrible need, and he wanted nothing more than to say yes, but he couldn't. He couldn't lie to Dean like that--he'd never be able to convince his brother it was the truth. He didn't understand, not any of it, and of everything that had happened to them, that scared him most of all.

He walked over to the bed and threw back the covers, removing his pillow. "I'm going to stay with Don tonight," he said, shoving his feet into his shoes, unable to look in his brother's face.

"Like hell," Dean snapped, quickly crossing the room and grabbing onto his arm hard enough to bruise. "You're not going anywhere, especially not with him."

"Let go of me," Sam said, his voice hard as he tried to shake Dean off. "We're not going anywhere. I just don't want to be in here with you right now. You need to think about just how certain you are that whatever it is you're doing truly is the right thing, and how much of it is a lie you're telling yourself so you can look in the mirror every day--or so you can look at me."

"Sammy," his brother said, loosening the grip on his arm and placing his hand on his chest instead, "don't do this. I can't lose you. You're all I have."

"And if you want to keep me," Sam said, fist tightening in the soft material of the pillow as he longed to throw off the warmth of his brother's hand, "then you need to do what's right--truly right. That's all I ask."

"Sam," Dean began, then stopped, seeing this was one situation he wouldn't be able to talk his way out of. Instead, he took a deep breath, twisted his hand in his brother's shirt, and pulled him forward into a passionate but awkward kiss.

Sam responded the only way he could. He let himself forget for a moment this was an act of desperation long enough to enjoy the feel of Dean's lips against his. And then he slugged him. The second Dean pulled away, eyes filled with the mistake hope that he'd just solved everything, Sam swung his arm back and nailed him across the nose.

His brother cried out in surprise and pain, stumbling backwards onto the bed, his hands cupping his profusely bleeding nose. In a state of complete shock, he stared up at Sam, whose fists were clenched at his sides, his body trembling with the effort not to beat him into a pulp.

"Do not ever--ever!--kiss me again because you think it's what I want. When you kiss me, I want you to mean it, because it's what you want!" He stared at his brother as he tried to find the words to describe how he was feeling, then shook his head in disgust. He wasn't going to waste any more of his time on this. "I'll be in Don's room. You take one step towards us, and I swear, I will leave you here, and I won't look back."

Without even giving Dean one last look, he left his brother to his stupidity, slamming the door shut behind him, and stomped down the sidewalk to Don's room.

To the man's credit, Don didn't look surprised to find the youngest Winchester on his doorstep, Sam clearly upset and unwilling to talk about it. He just let him inside, offered him half the bed, then stretched out on his own half and went to sleep.

Sam was not so fortunate. He spent hours lying awake on the verge of tears, trying to find a way not to hate his brother. He almost ran outside when he heard the familiar sound of the Impala starting up, but he forced himself to lay still. If Dean's leaving had anything to do with what he was hiding from him, then his brother would have to do it on his own. At the risk of his heart, and possibly his life, he could no longer afford to get involved.


Next story in series - The Golden Agenda.