Title: Security Deposit
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
Rating: R
Pairing: Sam/Dean
Summary: Sam works on making amends.


Sam woke around eleven in the morning and rolled over to find the other half of the bed empty. While he knew it was unreasonable to hope Dean would just put everything aside and hold him until he woke, he was still a little disappointed that Dean hadn't at least stayed around the apartment. Trying not to feel like a big girl, he made himself get up and tried not to spend every second wondering when Dean was going to get home. He scrounged up some breakfast, wandered around the small rooms checking all the wards, then crawled back into his brother's bed and fell back asleep.

He hadn't had a good night's sleep since leaving Dean alone in that barren hospital room, his emotions fluctuating between guilt and frustration, anger and want, sadness and an honest belief that what he'd done, what he was doing had been right. His nightmares never left him for long, and when he wasn't dreaming of blood and flames, he dreamt of Dean's warm lean body, of his eyes and hands and mouth, of his lips and his cock. For a while there, he couldn't figure out which was worse, waking up to dreams of death or waking up to a hard-on from which he'd never find any relief. In the end, he decided they were both equally disturbing and he would have given up on sleep altogether if it hadn't been for Amanda's homemade teas.

Now, though, surrounded by the scent of Dean, by his brother's things, by the wards he'd set and the security of his home, Sam slept like he didn't have a care in the world. A lie, he knew, but considering he was actually inside Dean's apartment—a feat he'd planned on not achieving for at least another two weeks—he decided the rest of his cares probably stood a decent chance. It gave him hope that Dean hadn't kicked him out yet, but then, he probably shouldn't have been surprised. Dean faithfully adhered to their teachings of family first while he himself tended to focus on the bigger picture. Course, lately that picture had faded into the background, swallowed by the only thing he'd ever really believed in—his love for Dean. He could fight it, deny it, run from it, but in the end, he'd always return to that one basic truth—they belonged together. All he had to do was convince his brother of that, and nothing else would stand in their way.

He tried not to think about what would happen if Dean agreed with him, but chose not to join him. He could hang around Fredericksburg for a while, he supposed, let Dean get used to the idea that he wasn't leaving, get used to them again, and hope Dean would feel that itch to get back on the road and start hunting. If he didn't, though, well, Sam would just have to go on little hunts on his own, hunts that wouldn't take him far from Fredericksburg and would allow him to return to Dean as quickly as possible as soon as the hunt was over. And maybe then Dean would start feeling the itch. Sam knew it was still in there. They were Winchesters. It was ingrained in their souls, the need to grab a gun or a knife and a spell and go out there and bring down the evil in the world, but Dean was a stubborn son of a bitch, and he was intent on punishing Sam, so it was going to take a lot to get him back on the road. In the end, if all else failed, he'd just have to prove Dean right and leave him behind because as much as he loved his brother, Sam couldn't let the evil win.

But he prayed it wouldn't come to that. He prayed he could make Dean see things through his eyes—or, at the very least, just let the past drop—and then his brother would decide to go with him without putting up a fight, willingly, ready to be them again.

When Sam woke up a second time, it was mid afternoon. He went for a run, showered, surveyed the contents of the fridge to decide what to make for dinner, and called the restaurant to discreetly inquire as to when his brother would be getting off work. He'd liked seeing the expression on Dean's face when he walked in to see him cooking, liked watching Dean eat something he'd made, and actually enjoy it. It made him happy to know he'd finally done something right and that he could please his brother in small ways even when Dean was mad at him. He wanted to do it again, bring his brother that little bit of joy. All his plans came to a sudden stop, however, when Fran quietly told him Dean had quit his job. His body felt like it turned to stone and Sam had to lean against the wall for support. He barely eked out a thank you and good-bye, then stared at the phone as if he couldn't figure out what it was doing in his hand.

Dean quit his job.

Dean quit his job and he wasn't at home. His things... Sam stumbled to the bedroom and threw open the doors to the closet, pawing through Dean's clothes, his weapons. Everything was there, nothing was missing—at least, as far as he knew. Dean had to have a secret stash somewhere, a bag he could grab and run without looking back, just in case...just in case...

"Fuck!" Sam slammed the closet door shut, then turned around and nearly punched a hole through the drywall. He should have known, he thought wildly, clutching his bruised hand. This was Dean, his brother, his other half. He should have known! Dean wasn't just going to stand around and let someone he hated take over his life. No, Dean was going to run, get as far away from Sam as he could.

He punched the wall again, with less force this time, trying to fight off the cold realization that spread across his body. Dean was never going to love or want him as much as he loved and wanted Dean.

That was the bare truth of it all. Sam had tried to force Dean to see otherwise and now Dean was gone, had been gone for hours, had a head start that would already put him days ahead of Sam, assuming Sam decided to track him. Which he would.

"Fuck," he repeated, sliding against the wall onto the floor. It just hurt so much. He'd finally given in, admitted he couldn't live without his brother, and now it was all over faster than it had begun and it was all his fault.

He hadn't even realized he was banging the back of his head against the wall until a voice said dryly, "Keep doing that and you're going to throw away my security deposit."

Sam's eyes flew open and he stared at the figure standing in front of him, drinking him in, afraid to blink or he might disappear.

Dean frowned, glancing down at himself. "What? Got something on my shirt?"

He barely had the words out before Sam launched himself at his brother, taking Dean in his arms and holding him tight. "I thought you'd left! I called the restaurant and they said you'd quit and I thought you'd left!"

"Hey, Sammy," Dean said, patting him awkwardly on the back. "I'm not going anywhere. I just had to tie up some loose ends, that's all. I'm here. See? Now would you stop trying to squeeze me to death?"

Sam abruptly let him go and stepped back, his face flushing. "Sorry."

"Whatever, Fezzik," he said with a roll of his eyes, manfully brushing aside Sam's outburst as he turned around. "Come on, help me clear this place out. I was serious about that security deposit and this apartment needs to be spotless before we leave. Or as close to spotless as we can get it."

Sam followed him into the living room, his eyes never leaving Dean, and just sort of stood there as his brother began sorting through his things. It was odd, watching Dean look through possessions he'd never had a chance to collect in their other life. He could see emotions flit across his brother's face as he sorted books and movies and various knickknacks into piles of save versus trash. So many went reluctantly into the trash pile that Sam's heart ached for his brother.

"You don't have to do this."

"What? Of course I do," Dean frowned. "There's not enough room in the Impala for all this crap. Which looks good," he added gruffly.

"No, I meant—wait, you found the Impala?"

Dean smirked. "It's a small town. She wasn't that hard to find." The smirk disappeared behind a glare. "Though I might have to hurt you later for using the backseat as a trash bin. Did you stop at every McDonald's between here and..." he trailed off, and Sam realized Dean had no idea where he'd been. They hadn't really gotten around to that part of the story.

"Oregon. And no, just half. The other half was Wendy's."

"Whatever," he snorted and went back to sorting through his things. "Just clean her out. But first, grab a couple trash bags and help me with all this."

Sam pulled out the box of trash bags from under the sink and set it down next to his brother. "Dean, what I meant when I said you didn't have to do this, you..." Sam swallowed hard past the lump in his throat and forced himself to continue. "You don't have to leave. Stay here. You have a chance at a normal life. You should take it. I'll just...I'll call and stop by and that'll be enough, right?"

"Sammy," he growled, fingers tightening around the trash bag in his hand, "I was never going to do this forever. I got the break I needed and now it's time to get back on the road."

"But Dean—"

"Sam, enough!" he barked and Sam flinched, trying not to back away. Dean took a deep breath and slowly let it out before looking Sam in the eyes. There was still so much anger there, so much hurt, and Sam knew he was far from forgiven. "This isn't easy for me and I don't need you fighting with me on it because that just makes it even harder. So just shut up, and clean. Okay?"

Sam took a second, then nodded. Opening up a trash bag, he began picking things off the shelf, holding them up for Dean's judgment. He still felt like maybe this was a mistake, but Dean wasn't going to budge, and though he refused to acknowledge it, a tiny voice in the back of his head crowed with triumph that he was getting his brother back.

Two full trash bags later, Sam offered to carry them out to the cans on the curb. Dean just grunted his approval, his attention focused on which vintage rock tee-shirts to keep, and which ones were better off as rags. As soon as Sam opened the front door, he spotted the Impala parked on the street. Feeling a rush of guilt, he grabbed an empty bag and, after depositing the full bags in their rightful place, began cleaning up the car.

"I'm real sorry about this, girl," he said, shoving empty Big Gulp cups and hamburger wrappers into the bag. "I was just in too big a hurry to get home to him, but you know that, don't you? You missed him too, and I tried to do right by you, you know I did, but you're his, and I understand that." The seats emptied of trash, he stood up and gave the car an affectionate pat on the roof. "Thanks for looking after me. I appreciate it."

Sam lifted the bag over his shoulder and looked up to see Dean watching him—watching them—a fond smile on his face. He arched an eyebrow and Dean shrugged, his smile turning self-conscious at Sam's scrutiny.

"I've never seen you talk to her like..." Like I do. "...like that."

Sam shrugged, trying to keep the blush off his cheeks at getting caught. "Yeah, well, we had a lot of time to get to know each other better. Plus, she's been my only companion on some long drives. It's good to have someone to talk to." Even if that someone was just a car, Sam added to himself, though he knew it was more than that. The Impala was an extension of Dean, so when he was talking to her, it was almost like he was talking to him.

"Don't I know it," Dean said, running his hand over the hood as his expression softened over memories of his times in the car. "There are days when I feel like we've seen it all, and I know it sounds a little nuts, but there are times when it feels like she's actually listening to me."

"Doesn't sound nuts at all," Sam smiled. "I honestly believe she was only putting up with me because she felt you'd want her to. The second we turned towards Fredericksburg, she perked right up. Her engine never sounded better than when we were heading back to you."

"That's my girl," Dean grinned. "She's a Winchester through and through."

Sam knew what his brother was implying and he let the words sting like they were meant to, but he didn't try to argue with him. He just accepted the accusation, swallowed back his protests, and moved on. "How much more do we have to go through?"

Dean shrugged. "Not a lot. I figure we can take a few loads over to Goodwill, and then all we'll have to do is clean the place and we'll be good to go."

"All right, then. I'll just go make dinner, you finish what you have to do, and then we can clean and be ready to leave in the morning. If that's all right with you," Sam quickly added, not wanting to sound like he was trying to rush Dean into leaving, but Dean just nodded.

"Sounds good," he said, then turned and went back into the apartment. Sam sighed with relief, letting his forehead rest on the Impala. Though he knew it was necessary, he hated the thought that he was going to have to walk on tiptoes around his brother for a while. The last thing he wanted to do was risk setting Dean off.

Beneath his skin, he could almost feel the Impala humming in agreement.

"Don't worry, girl," Sam whispered before leaving the car to go back inside. "We're not letting him get away, not now, not ever. No matter what it takes, I'll keep him safe, I promise."

It was after dinner when they were getting started on cleaning the apartment that Dean let the ball drop. Sam had convinced himself that things were going to be fine, that soon all the strangeness between them would be forgotten, and then Dean turned to him and said, "Since we're going to be doing this, I need to set some ground rules."

Seeing the conflicting expressions on Sam's face, Dean quickly clarified, "Hunting. Since we're going to be hunting and traveling together and having to be in the same room and the same car together, there's a few things I want to set straight."

Sam gave a shaky nod and sat down on the sofa, his fingers clenched around a roll of paper towels and a bottle of glass cleaner. He'd lulled himself into a false sense of security and now Dean was going to let him have it, he just knew it.

Dean sighed and sat down in a chair across from him, taking a few minutes to find the courage to speak. "I already told you this was going to be hard for me," he said, avoiding Sam's eyes. "I think it's going to be hard for the both of us. I can't...what happened last night...Sammy, you can't do that. If anything like that is going to happen between us, it needs to be me who's..." He stopped to shake off the shiver that ran through his body, one Sam thought might have been brought on by desire, but he couldn't be sure. "Look, the thing is...I need time. And you have to accept that it might never happen. I might never want—" He shook his head. "No, that's not it, but Sam, see, you're my brother, and we...what we do..."

"Dean," he said softly.

Dean looked up at him, a breath of relief at being interrupted passing through his lips. "What?"

"I won't do anything without your permission, I promise. I love you, and yeah, I admit it, I want you. Those feelings aren't going to change, but I'm not going to do anything you don't want to do. You're right—last night was a mistake, but seeing you—just seeing you again and talking to you and being near you, and god, you're so beautiful, I just had to touch you, but I shouldn't have, and I'm sorry. I can't promise you not to think about it, but I won't do anything unless you want me to. All right?"

"And you'll be okay with that?" Dean said, looking faintly worried that he'd have to keep Sam hogtied across the room at night and Sam was torn between punching him in the face and storming out of the room so Dean wouldn't see how much his words had hurt him. Instead, he tried for a grin.

"I'm not going to molest you in your sleep if that's what you're worried about. Jerk."

Though the silence lasted a little longer than it should have, Dean eventually gave in, a ghost of a smile on his lips. "Bitch."

And with that, the conversation was over. They finished cleaning the apartment and, all promises aside, when it came time for bed, Dean waited without saying a word while Sam crawled into the space next to the wall. As soon as he was settled, Dean just curled up next to him and they slept through the night with their backs to each other. They didn't touch, but it was a small concession, something to build on, and Sam knew it would have to be enough for now.


Next story in series - An Uneven Fit.