Title: First Hunt
By: nancy
Pairing: Sam/Dean
Rating: R
Series: 1) First Tooth 2) First Six Months, 3) First Word, 4) First Steps, 5) First Accident
Warnings: INCEST, angst, violence, series spoilers, language, Future!fic, MPREG
Summary: Dean decides that it's time to get back into the game...without telling Sam.

Dean looked down at Sam’s sleeping face and hesitated, but ultimately put the note down on his pillow and walked silently out of their bedroom. He stopped in John’s room on his way down the hall and found the baby just as sound asleep as his father. Dean smiled at the peaceful sight and left that room, too.

He walked downstairs to the kitchen where he grabbed a muffin and drank some juice, consuming both quickly so he could get on the road. The temperature had cooled off overnight, but it would get pretty toasty by the end of the day. In the eighteen months since John’s birth, they’d done everything a new family could: buy a new house and move in it, get to know their neighbors, figure out John, at least a little, and somehow managed not to kill each other in the resulting stress.

Dean loved Sam. He wore their father’s wedding ring in a token to just how much he loved Sam, flying in the face of too many laws to count. He’d gone to Hell for Sam and borne his son.

If he had to spend one more day looking at Sam’s face, Dean was going to punch it in.

So Dean found a simple haunting nearby and did research on the sly. He could get there, take care of business, and be done by lunch. He wasn’t even planning on stopping for a beer on the way home.

The house was three towns over; an old farmhouse where the new owners had been driven out by an angry woman’s spirit. Dean’s research had turned up the spirit’s history as a suicide ten years ago. The house had languished for seven years in probate and lawsuits between equally as angry grown children and then taken two more years to sell. The good news was that the woman had been buried on the family plot on the farm, so there wouldn’t be anyone around to see him dig up a grave during the day.

Dawn was breaking as he drove up the farm’s long dirt driveway. The house was completely dark and without cars, confirming the owners had fled to a hotel until they could resell it. He parked by the tiny cemetery and got the shovel out of the trunk, spending the next hour digging.

When he finally struck wood, Dean climbed out of the hole and walked to the Impala, already sore. He grimaced at how out of shape he was, but knew he didn’t have anyone to blame but himself. Sam had pretty much wrapped him in cotton the first few months after the birth and, granted, it had taken longer than it should to get over the surgery. It wasn’t like he’d gone out of his way to get fat, because he wasn’t; he just wasn’t in fighting prime like he’d been before.

Dean took out the rock salt, oil, and turned back only to find a pissed looking ghost hovering over the grave.

“Oh crap.”

That was all he had time to say before flying through the air to crash into a tree painfully hard and crumple to the ground. He lost the salt bag and oil mid-flight and groaned as he pushed shakily onto hands and knees. The force of an invisible kick to his stomach flipped him onto his back. Naturally, the ghost decided to choke him to death right about then. He struggled in vain to get loose, his breathing stopped and his vision going dark around the edges.

Dean heard the familiar report of a shotgun and saw her vanish with a shriek that set his teeth on edge. He coughed violently, sucking in air to his deprived lungs, and looks up to find a pissed Sam standing over him. Dean held up a hand and, for a second, thought Sam would ignore it.

Sam did take his hand and haul Dean to his feet and only said, “Sloppy, Dean. I had to load the shotgun.”

Dean winced at both the clipped reprimand and the pain echoing through his body.

“Torch her,” Sam ordered, shotgun at the ready.

Dean limped over to the grave, picking up the oil and salt on the way. Sam had to shoot her three more times before it was all done, telling Dean just how badly he’d fucked up. He’d be dead for sure if Sam hadn’t shown up. When the ghost gave a last wail of rage and vanished, Dean looked warily at his brother.

Sam continued to watch the flames for a few minutes and then just turned and silently walked over to the Nova.

Dean called out uncertainly, “Sam?”

Sam stopped with his hand on the door and glanced over his shoulder to say, “Clean up here. I’ll see you at home.”

Which was, and wasn’t, reassuring.

By the time Dean finished filling in the grave, he was in serious pain all over, but especially his back and stomach. He put away his tools and then eased slowly into the driver’s side, groaning and leaning his head against the headrest for a few minutes. The drive home seemed to take forever and walking into the house was hell.

Sam waited for him on the stairs, the tension on his face clearing slightly when Dean came in. “We need to talk, but hop in the tub for now.”

Dean nodded, grateful for the reprieve. He hissed in renewed pain at climbing the steps, but Sam made no move to help. Dean didn’t know if he was too pissed or what, but a part of him was glad for it. He paused at John’s room, but it was empty. Frowning, he shouted, “Where’s John?”

“Sally has him,” Sam shouted back.

That was good enough for Dean. He continued on to the bathroom and walked into a wall of steam. Sam had already drawn the water, which meant it was probably just cool enough not to sting and filled with “healing” stuff that Dean never bothered with. He stripped and sank carefully into the still hot water and groaned again, this time in pleasure as the heat seeped into his aching body.

Sam let him stew for almost twenty minutes before coming in to lean against the sink and say, without accusation, “You could have died today.”

Dean sighed and agreed, “I know. I underestimated her and overestimated me. Been too long out of the game, I guess.”

“It’s been three years, give or take,” Sam confirmed, still neutral. “Did you really want to go on a hunt, or did you just want to get away from me?”

Dean’s eyes widened in shock at the accurate guess.

Sam nodded slowly. “That’s what I thought. Look, Dean, we don’t have to be joined at the hip 24/7. When you need a break, just tell me. We talked about this before, you just never…anyway. Just tell me, okay? I’ll take John and you can go do whatever. If you even just want to spend time on the Impala for the afternoon, or see a movie, or take a nap. You don’t have to invent reasons to leave home.”

There didn’t seem to be any hurt feelings on Sam’s part, which made Dean immediately suspicious. He frowned and commented, “You don’t seem to need a break.”

Sam shrugged and said, “No, but I’ve wanted this my whole life. I won’t say I dreamed about changing stinky diapers and mowing the lawn, but I spent a lot of time thinking about it. You’ve never been about this and it’s not your be-all. Besides. I have a job that I’m at forty to fifty hours a week and you’re stuck home with John all day, every day.”

“I love him,” Dean felt compelled to say.

Crouching by the tub, Sam took his hand and told him earnestly, “It’s not about how much you love either of us, Dean, I know that. Maybe better than you do. Just…don’t scare me like that okay? Don’t just…disappear…even with a note.”

Dean glanced away and whispered, “I’m sorry.”

Sam squeezed his hand and said, “It’s okay. I just don’t want a marriage like Ellen had, with you going off to hunt and me at home wondering if you’re alive. If you want to hunt, tell me and we’ll find someone to look after John while we go together.”

That eased something inside Dean and he let out a slow breath, offering a weary smile to his brother. “Thanks, Sam.”

Sam shrugged it off. “So. Any broken ribs? I saw her fling you around when I was driving up.”

“Don’t think so, but she cracked a few,” Dean replied, relieved things seemed to be okay. “And my back is killing me.”

Sam half-smiled and said, “I bet. You stay in here a while and I’ll call Amanda to come and check you out, just in case.”

Dean asked, “What about John? How long does Sally have him?”

Winking, Sam stood and told him, “All night. So let’s hope you’re fine by tonight.”

Dean grinned and called after him, “You always were an optimist, Sammy.”

The door closed on Sam’s snort and Dean sank deeper into the soothing water.

*  *  *  *

Sam leaned against the wall a few feet away from the bathroom and combed a shaky hand through his hair. Those five minutes seeing Dean fly through the air and then getting choked had panicked him more than he liked to admit. Now that he was home and Dean was safe, all he could hear was Ellen’s voice when she was talking about how Dean wouldn’t be happy with this kind of life.

Pushing off the wall, he made a vow to himself to make sure that Dean wasn’t just happy with this life, but that it was all he could ever want and more. Whatever Sam had to do to make that happen, he would.