Title: Understanding
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, 20) An Uneven Fit, 21) A Bright New Day
Rating: R
Pairing: Sam/Dean
Summary: Sam reveals a little about what he's been up to while he was away.


Sam woke to the feeling of warm breath on his neck, an arm wrapped snug around his waist, a knee tucked tight against his groin, and his entire body alight with want. He wondered if it would be worth the price to give in to this aching need, to press himself further against the hardness digging into his back and send his own hand down between his legs. Anticipating Dean's reaction to their compromising position when he woke up, imagining how much worse it would be if Dean found him getting off on it, Sam decided it wasn't worth the fight and just lay still. From the light seeping in around the curtains, he could tell it was already morning, so it wouldn't be long now before Dean woke up. Thirty minutes, tops. He hoped he could last.

Two minutes ticked by and Sam was in agony. There was no way he was going to last. He tried to inch his way out from his brother's grasp, but it didn't work. Dean just held on tighter, pulling Sam closer against him as he murmured a protest in his sleep. Faced with his sleeping brother's stubbornness, Sam figured he had two options. He could either force himself out of Dean's arms, possibly waking him up and then face his early morning pre-coffee wrath, or he could stay there and enjoy it until Dean woke up, and then face his early morning pre-coffee 'you manipulated me into this, I know you did' wrath. Seeing as how he didn't want Dean any more pissed off at him than he already was, he reluctantly pulled himself up out of his brother's arms.

Dean was instantly awake. "Sammy?"

"Just getting up. Go back to sleep if you want."

"Nah, that's all right," he said, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "We should probably get moving, see what we can find on the vrykolakas."

Sam stared at him for a moment, surprised at the lack of the blow-up he'd anticipated. Maybe Dean's good mood from the morning before had carried over. "How's your head?"

Dean made as if to touch the scraped skin from last night then flinched his hand away. "Sore. But a couple of aspirin and I'll forget all about it."

"What about your back? Want me to take a look?"

Dean rolled his shoulders and then shook away the night's stiffness. "I won't be doing any chin-ups any time soon, but it's all right."

"So we're good?" Sam asked, and his brother looked on him with knowing eyes.

"Yeah, Sammy, we're good."

He breathed a sigh of relief and smiled, quickly moving on to the next subject. "I was thinking should check out the local scene, see if anyone's acting weird, grab some breakfast, maybe pick up some Greek coffee..." he trailed, seeing if his brother took the bait. He did.

"Greek coffee?" Dean asked, tilting his head with interest.

"You'll love it," Sam grinned. "It's one of the closest things you can get to a direct caffeine injection into your veins. I think even you won't need more than a cup."

"That good, huh? I'm sold," Dean said, jumping out of the bed and rummaging through his bag for some clean clothes. "Any idea what we might need for the day?"

"I figured we'd blend in with the tourists at first, do some research, see if we need to dig deeper or if we can figure out what's going on without having to concern any of the natives."

"Better to get in and get out without any fuss?"

"Right," he said, searching through his own bag. He could feel Dean's eyes on him, his skin crawling beneath the unspoken words in his gaze. "What is it, Dean?"

"I know why I want to wrap this job up quickly—"

"Beer and boobs," Sam interjected and Dean smirked.

"Well, yeah, but what's your hurry? Why the desire keep things low-key?"

Sam did his best to hide the heat rising on his face. "No reason."


For a second, he longed for the days when they'd first left Stanford and Dean was still remembering how to read him, when Dean would take his words at face value because he didn't know any better. Right after he thought this, Sam immediately felt guilty. Those days had their advantages, but the disadvantages were much worse. Better to have Dean read him like a book than have anything hidden between them. "You're just going to pick at this, aren't you?"

"Of course."

He sighed. He'd managed to avoid getting bitched out once that morning—should have known it wasn't going to hold. "About two months ago, we sort of had a bit of a run-in with the authorities up in Oregon—"

"Which authorities?" Dean interrupted.

"The federal kind."


"Yeah. So, I'm trying to keep under the radar for a little while, at least until I'm not longer at the front of their minds."

"At the front? You couldn't even keep it to the middle? What the fuck did you do?"

"Our case coincided with one of theirs and things got a little hairy, that's all." He shrugged. "It wasn't a big deal."

"The hell it wasn't if they're actively keeping an eye out for you. Jesus, Sam—"

"Dean, I know," he snapped, mentally cringing against the disappointment in his brother's voice. He could disappoint their dad left and right without ever giving a flying fuck, but to hear that tone coming from Dean never failed to make him feel like he was four years old and had just dumped a carton of grape juice all over the carpet. He hated that feeling. It made him angry in ways he hadn't been in years, the kind of fruitless anger that longed to lash out and prove he wasn't a kid anymore, and in lashing out proving he wasn't an adult either. He did his best to swallow his anger. "I'm handling it."

"How? How, exactly, are you handling it?"

"By doing the right thing and keeping out of sight. It didn't have to be this way, you know," he said, carefully watching his brother out of the corner of his eye. "I could have just messed with their memories, gone inside their heads, made them forget they even saw me. I could have manipulated their minds so that they wandered off into the woods and were never seen again. I could have, but I didn't and so now I'm doing what I have to do to stay out of their way."

He raised his head, meeting his brother's gaze full on. Dean's face had gone pale beneath his tan and he was looking at him with something that wasn't quite fear, wasn't quite horror, but something in between.

"You...you can do all that?" Dean asked softly, and Sam nodded.

"That, and more."

The color returned to Dean's face, but the fear was still there. "Then what separates you from the things we hunt?" he demanded. "What's the difference between you and a demon?"

"I would never use my powers like that. I would never do anything to hurt anyone. I will only use my powers to help people, and if ever looks like I'm tempted to walk that other path, well, that's what I have you for."

"That's my job here, then? To keep you in line? Is that what a warrior is supposed to do?"

He heard the uncertainty underlining Dean's voice and knew what his brother was really asking. He wondered if Dean would ever understand he was more than just a tool, if there would ever be a way he could explain to Dean that he would always love him and nothing would ever change that. He wondered if Dean would ever believe he was never going to leave him again, or if his brother was going to spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder to make sure he was there.

"That's part of a warrior's job, yeah, but that's not why I want you with me. I want you here because you're my brother and I love you. We're good together, Dean. We know each other inside and out. I know you've got my back, no matter what, and in spite of what you may think, I've got yours. I know you'll give me a kick in the ass when I need one, and I'll gladly do the same for you. We may give each other shit, fight like an old married couple, piss each other off like no one else, but the main reason I want you here is because I've tried living without you and I can't do it. I need you, Dean, and I will never stop needing you. Do you understand?"

Sam stood there in that eyesore of a motel room staring at his brother, willing him to comprehend that not only was Dean a part of him, but he was a part of Dean, and none of his abilities—the ones Dean knew about, the ones he'd yet to show him, the ones neither of them had discovered—none of it would ever change what Dean was to him. They were brothers, above all else, and the blood they shared was more important than whatever was in their blood that made them different.

"What if I asked you to?"

Sam frowned, confused by the unexpected question. "Asked me to what?"

"Use your powers." There was a peculiar gleam in Dean's eyes that had Sam worried, like he was almost challenging him. "I'm not an idiot, Sam. I can see the benefit of having certain people forget they ever saw us. What if I ask you to use your Jedi mind trick on a cop who pulls us over for speeding? Or to give a doubtful coroner the little push he needs to convince him that we really are federal agents? Or to make a motel clerk believe we've already paid him when we're low on cash? What if I asked you to use your powers? Would you do it?"

"Yes," Sam answered without hesitation, then added, "within reason. If it would benefit us without hurting someone else, and you asked me to, I'd do it."

"Have you done it before?"

This time, Sam did hesitate before nodding. "Yes, a couple of times."

"But not on the federal agents?"

"There were too many people involved. There's no way we could have kept them from remembering without wiping the memories of an entire town."

"Would you do it to me?"

Sam felt like he'd been slapped as he realized this was the point of Dean's questioning all along. "What? No, never!"

"C'mon, Sammy," his brother wheedled, a false smile on his face. "It'd make life a helluva lot easier for you, make it easier for both of us. All you'd have to do is make me forget everything having to do with that demon. Hell, you could even make me a little more inclined to want you and to not want anyone else. Just a little twist of your mind and we could be fucking right now."

"Dean, stop it," he growled, ignoring the heat that flashed through his body at his brother's words. "I'd never do that to you."

"You might want to."

"Oh, I don't doubt it," Sam said with a harsh, guttural laugh as he raked a hand through his hair, giving it a particularly vicious tug when it got caught in his fingers. "There've been many times when I wished I could knock some sense into you, just snap my fingers and have you give in without a fight, and now I can."

Sam made sure Dean was looking at him and held his gaze. He didn't want there to be any misinterpretation over what he was about to say. He needed to know Dean understood.

"But I won't. The second I start messing with your mind, you'd no longer be you, and I'd never be able to live with myself. I told you, Dean. I want you. I want you any way I can get you, even if it means you being the miserable pain in the ass brother that you can be. I'm willing to put up with a lot of shit from you because that's who you are and I wouldn't have you any other way."

Dean stared at him a moment, not saying a thing, then rolled his eyes as some of the tension eased from his shoulders. "Christ, Sammy, what'd you do? Decide to earn extra cash by moonlighting as a walking Hallmark card? I get it, all right? I get how you feel about me. I'm just trying to understand everything else."

"Fuck you," Sam snapped, not sure whether Dean was attempting to lighten the mood or if he was just being an ass. "At least I'm making an effort to talk about this—"

"And talk and talk and talk," Dean said, dismissing him with a wave of his hand. "Yeah, I noticed. What you apparently didn't notice about me is I don't talk about this shit. That's not how I work things out."

"Believe me, I'm aware," he muttered, and Dean's face darkened.

"Then stop fucking pushing me. I told you before, it'll take time."

"For god's sake, Dean, I'm not trying to push you! I'm just trying to make sure you don't get the wrong idea about you and me."

"Yeah, that part I got. I know what it is you want for us, Sam. You want happily ever after. Even if everything else goes literally straight to hell, you want to make sure we have our fairytale ending. And you know what, Sammy, part of me wants that, too, but there's still a huge chunk of me that sees you as the evil stepmother trying to slip me a poison apple. Until you turn into Prince Charming, you're just going to have to lay off the relationship crap, understand? And in the meantime, let's just deal with the psychic boy bullshit."

He stared at Dean, jaw slack with complete befuddlement, then shook his head. "What??? Did you just...I mean...seriously? You know what," he said, holding up his hands in surrender, "I'm going to leave this one alone. In fact, let's forget this entire conversation ever happened and go focus on the case. That okay with you, Snow White?"

Dean huffed with annoyance. "Whatever. Should have known you wouldn't get it. And don't call me 'Snow White'," he snapped grabbing his keys and wallet.

"If I'm Prince Charming, that makes you Snow White," Sam said, figuring he should win at least one part of this argument. Like he would ever let his brother forget he'd just compared himself to a Disney princess.

"Fuck you. You totally missed the point of all that."

"I don't think I did. In fact, maybe you should pick up breakfast. Wouldn't want me to slip any poison into your coffee."

"Would you quit it? For fuck's sake, it was an analogy!"

"Sure it was, Grumpy."

"Go to hell, Sammy," Dean said, stomping out the door. "Just go straight to hell."

Chuckling, Sam locked up the motel room and followed his brother out to the car. Funny thing was, he actually did get what Dean was talking about. Yeah, he wanted a happy ending. He wanted to know that even if everything else blew up in their faces, at least they'd have each other, but all Dean's analogy did was confirm that he was still waiting for Sam to trick him somehow, and he didn't know how to change that. He'd just have to be patient and try to earn back Dean's trust.