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[personal profile] delanach_dw
Fic title: I Built My Dreams Around You
Characters: Dean/Sam, Castiel
Rating: NC-17
Word count: 7298
Beta: [ profile] seleneheart
Warnings:Off screen death of a supporting character (Bobby). AU from just before the end of season five.
Notes: Follows on from an AU ending to season five where Sam doesn’t end up in the cage. A gift for [ profile] standing_fic as part of the [ profile] spn_j2_xmas exchange.

Dear [ profile] standing_fic,
I used the idea of one of your prompts as a starting point, and touched on another.
Anything post 5x22 where Sam/Dean have found peace
I hope it works for you!
Wishing you Happy Holidays and best wishes for the New Year!!

Summary: After the apocalypse was averted, the survivors dusted themselves off and moved on. Five years after Lucifer was defeated and order was restored in Heaven, Sam wonders if the life he made for himself in California is really what he wanted after all.

After Lucifer had been dealt with, after Sam had harnessed the latent power within him and used it all to tear the fallen angel into shreds and burn him into less than ashes, Sam had retreated into himself.

It wasn’t uncommon after going through the amount of stress Sam had suffered, Doctor Robert informed Dean. With the object of his pain gone, it had left a void in Sam's life and he'd fallen into it. He suggested Dean see about getting professional help for Sam, said he could recommend a place that would take care of him, but Dean wasn’t interested in giving his brother to strangers to look after.

He asked Castiel to heal Sam, but the angel shook his head.

“Some things cannot be forced, Dean.”

So Dean took care of him. He moved them into Bobby’s place, grieving for the hunter who’s death he’d felt as acutely as he had his own father’s. The house and scrap yard were now theirs, a legacy from the man Dean still talked to even though he knew not even his spirit remained. He’d given him a hunter’s send off himself, letting tears fall as Sam stood blankly by his side, outwardly unmoved by the ritual.

Dean met with a lawyer who was knowledgeable about the world of hunting and had understood when Bobby had left everything he had to a couple of brothers, both officially dead. As part of Bobby’s will, he gave Dean a new identity so he could access the accounts set up for him, and take legal possession of the house and business.

At Dean’s request, he also began looking into officially resurrecting Sam and clearing him of any involvement in his brother’s crimes that he may have been accused of.

Then Dean began work on the house. He needed it to be somewhere safe for Sam until he got better, until he came back from wherever it was his mind had gone. Dean was sure that one day, Sam would be back and there were so many memories tied up in the place that leaving it as it was would have been too hard to bear. Dean remembered what the place had looked like when he was inside Bobby’s dreams and set to work. Not to restore it to how it had been then, but to make it into a home. A home for both of them.

His knee ached sometimes. Castiel had mended the shattered bones of his leg after the last battle, but he still got twinges of pain when he pushed himself. Even if Sam had been okay, Dean wouldn’t have been able to hunt as often as they had.

Dean talked to Sam as if there was nothing wrong. As if Sam didn’t sit and stare blankly at the walls, never acknowledging a word. As he bathed and dressed him, fed him and made sure he was warm and safe, he often wondered if his brother heard a word he said, but he kept talking anyway.

Slowly, Sam began to rebuild himself, holding on to Dean’s words like a lifeline and eventually following them out of the fortress he’d constructed inside his mind. Slowly, he began looking outwards again.

One morning, Dean stood in front of him, pulling his shirt up his arms.

“It’s gonna be a warm day, Sammy. You can sit on the porch and keep me company, yeah? Gonna have to pick up supplies tomorrow, we’re almost out of that juice you like and …”

Sam blinked his eyes and focused on Dean.

Dean paused. His eyes, which had been flitting between Sam’s face and the buttons he was about to fasten, widened and he stared at his brother.


Sam blinked again, and really looked at Dean.

“Dean?” His throat felt dry and dusty.

He saw Dean tear up, and blink the drops away before they fell. He watched Dean’s throat move as he swallowed back the thick emotion threatening to choke him.

“Yeah, Sammy, it’s me. Do you feel okay?”

Sam nodded, feeling stiff and rusty, and looked around.


“Yeah, but it’s ours now, Sammy. It’s home.”

Sam remembered. Memories came crashing back, and he staggered under the weight of them, blindly reaching out for Dean.

“Bobby’s dead.” It wasn’t a question, but Dean confirmed it anyway with a tight nod, and helped Sam over to the bed and sat him down.

“How long?”

“Nearly three months.” Sam stared ahead, and Dean thought that maybe he’d lost him again, but then he looked up at Dean with eyes full of sadness. Dean took his hand and squeezed it tight. “You hungry? I was gonna make us breakfast.”

“Yeah, a little.”

“A little? Gotta get some meat back on your bones, bro. C’mon.” Dean led him downstairs. Sam looked around, noting the differences in the place.

“You’ve been busy.”

Dean shrugged and pulled food out of the fridge. It wasn’t like he could have taken a catatonic Sam hunting, and he’d needed to change things enough to make it theirs. As he’d worked, he’d understood that preserving what had been Bobby’s would have encouraged him to live in the past, and he didn’t want to do that anymore. Both he and Sam had lived their lives under the shadow of the death of their Mom and everything that followed. Now, there really was an open road in front of them. They were free to make their own decisions.

Dean was already putting down roots, making the house into even more of a home for them than it had been already. He only hoped Sam would want to stay.

Sam recovered quickly. He helped Dean work on the house and was enthusiastic about Dean’s idea to follow in John’s footsteps and offer mechanics services as well as running the scrap yard. Yet he felt restless, as if there were something else he should be doing.

So they went hunting. They bundled their stuff into the Impala, just like the old days, because even though they'd cut the head off the snake, that hadn't mean the end of spirits and werewolves and the like. They researched a couple of cases, salted and burned the bones of a spirit and took out a poltergeist. The motels they stayed at were run down and the diner food was greasy. When they pointed the Impala back towards South Dakota, Dean felt something he’d not experienced before. A longing for home.

But it wasn’t the same for Sam. Along the way, the familiarity of hunting helped Sam come to a decision. It was never the life he'd wanted, but he didn’t feel as if he fit in South Dakota. He needed to follow his own path again.

This time, he kept nothing from Dean. He applied to colleges in California to finish his undergrad degree, including Stanford, and contacted two of his old teachers about the possibility of getting in to law school the year after.

He was more determined than excited, but it was Dean who anxiously waited for the mail each day, wondering when the letter would arrive that would take Sam away from him again. Dean would never have tried to stop Sam, but he wished they could have had more time together before he left.

One night they were watching a movie with a couple of beers, and after it ended, Sam told Dean what his plans were once he got out there, how he would support himself.

Dean listened, wondering if Sam knew how much it would hurt to let him go. He watched Sam’s lips move, speaking words Dean didn’t want to hear. Impulsively, he leaned forward and pressed his lips against Sam’s, stopping him mid sentence. It wasn’t the first time they’d kissed, wasn’t the first time Dean had pushed Sam back to lie on the couch, sprawling over the top of him as Sam’s hands dug under his shirt seeking bare skin. It had been a while. They hadn’t touched each other like that since the night before Dean’s deal was due and Dean felt the same sense of desperation he had then. Only this time, Sam was about to leave him alone.

He ground down against Sam, wanting to crawl into his skin and never leave. Sam spread his legs, pulling Dean closer as Dean kissed him harder, moaning into Dean’s mouth and thrusting up against him. Dean pawed at Sam’s shirt until Sam squirmed out of it, pulling it off over his head. The break in contact gave Dean the chance to do the same. Naked from the waist up, he sat back and unfastened Sam’s jeans, pulling them and his boxers down his long legs.

Sam lay watching him, his chest flushed, his breathing ragged. Dean’s own jeans joined Sam’s in a pile on the floor and he was on him again, groaning as skin met skin, sliding his body along Sam’s until they were kissing again. Dean dug his fingers into Sam’s hair and pulled his head back so his neck was bared for Dean to maul. His teeth scraped over Sam’s throat, nipping and licking a path over his jugular to the soft skin covering the muscle of his shoulder. Dean bit down and Sam shuddered, hands pressing against Dean’s back, running down his spine to grab his ass and pull him forward.

Dean shifted, straddling Sam’s hips, gazing down to where Sam had taken their cocks in one hand. Moisture leaking from both slits slicked Sam’s fingers. They slid up and down the hard flesh, his thumb slipping over the heads with each stroke.

“Sammy.” Dean breathed out, finding Sam’s mouth again, tongue thrusting between his lips as Sam worked them both together.

Sam’s free hand cradled the back of Dean’s head, fingertips playing over his scalp. Dean writhed in Sam’s grasp, thrusting his hips in time with Sam’s, pushing up into his brother’s fist, feeling the throb of Sam’s dick against his own.

Without warning, Sam wrenched his lips from Dean’s, throwing his head back, body rigid as he came. Hot spurts hit Dean’s stomach, as Sam’s cock pulsed and jerked. Sam milked himself, come smearing up and down Dean’s length as he did so, and with a cry, Dean followed him, pumping his release over Sam’s belly, hips stuttering erratically. Sam didn’t let go of Dean’s now over sensitive dick until Dean whimpered against his neck.

They settled on the couch, using Dean’s shirt to clean themselves up. Not a word was said as Sam curled against Dean’s chest. Dean held him tightly, closing his eyes and resting his face against Sam’s hair. He wanted to make him understand, make him see that he belonged there, belonged with Dean, but if Sam didn’t want to stay, Dean wasn’t going to stand in his way.

They didn’t touch each other again before Sam left. With eyes full of sorrow, Dean hugged him goodbye on Bobby's porch, holding onto him for too long.

Then Sam was gone.

Dean walked back indoors, closing the door behind him. He stood there in the hallway, head hanging down. Letting Sam go had been the hardest thing he’d ever done. He could have gone with him, or he could have guilted Sam into staying, but he knew that it was something Sam needed to do and do alone.

Dean went on a three day bender, drinking everything he had in the house, passing out on the couch and throwing up on the floor. When he finally began to sober up, he dragged himself into the shower, and stood under the spray until the water washed away the stink of the last few days. He reached for the soap and scrubbed his skin.

He had two choices. He could crawl back into a bottle, and give up, or he could make a life for himself. It wasn’t an option he’d ever had before, he’d always had someone else to look out for, always had Sam to look out for. But with Sam determined to forge his own way in the world, Dean had the opportunity to do the same. For the first time, he felt attached to a place. It was the nearest thing they’d had to a home growing up, and now it was his. He’d begun to make it into a home. He wasn’t a drifter anymore, he was already putting down roots, and he liked the feeling.

By the time he stepped out of the shower, he was already thinking of ways to build on the business, put his own mark on it. It would be a challenge, but he was determined to make it work.

The first Christmas without Sam was hard. They’d never celebrated it much, but in the months since Sam had taken off, Dean had gradually begun to settle not only into the house, but into the community too. He’d managed to bypass Thanksgiving, but now the stores in town were decked out with lights and Christmas was becoming hard to ignore.

On night in the middle of December, Castiel arrived without warning. Dean was sitting watching TV with a beer in his hand when the angel appeared right in the center of the room.

“Dammit Cas!” Dean started and almost dropped the bottle.

“Hello Dean.”

Castiel looked around the room. His eyes narrowed at the sight of Dean’s lone Christmas card sitting forlornly on a book case. He picked it up and examined it. There was a picture of a large Santa on the front, and inside it was signed by Chuck.

“Did you send Sam a Christmas card?”

“No.” Dean replied warily. “He didn’t send me one either.”

Castiel nodded seriously.

“These cards are sent as a sign of affection. You are the older family member so would it not be fitting to send Sam a card, whether he sent you one or not?”

“Well, I, er, suppose I could send him one.” Dean was still settling in to the idea of having a home, but the social niceties of the season weren’t something he was used to. He wondered what the protocol was with angels and cards, not that he thought Castiel had anywhere to keep one. “Do you want a card, Cas?”

“No, thank you. I have nowhere to put it.”

“Oh, right.”

Castiel left as abruptly as he’d arrived, leaving Dean wondering if he’d really only visited to remind him to send Sam a card. The next day, he drove into town and picked one out, scrawling a message inside it and posting it before he changed his mind.

The next time Cas angeled in, Dean also had a card waiting for him.

“You can leave it here.” Dean explained, handing Cas a glass of eggnog.

“Thank you.” Cas took the glass and sat down beside Dean on the couch, becoming fascinated with the movie Dean was watching. It was a tale of a large elf called Buddy, wandering round a city that was strange to him, looking for his father. In a way, Castiel could relate, so he relaxed as the alcohol seeped into his system. He stayed and watched the movie through to the end, occasionally glancing at his Christmas card standing on the bookshelf, and watching Dean as he laughed at Buddy’s misfortunes.

By the time Christmas rolled round again, Dean had gotten to know the neighbors well enough that Della and Clark insisted he join them for dinner on Christmas Day.

When Castiel arrived the night before Christmas, he noted that Dean was happier than he had been the year before. He pulled Castiel into a hug before he gave him his card, and handed him a glass. This time, the movie they watched was about an unfortunate family called the Griswalds, although they seemed to bring most of their misfortune on themselves.

Dean creased up with laughter halfway through at the antics of a squirrel, and Castiel couldn’t help the smile that quirked around his lips. Not at the movie, but at seeing Dean happy. That was all he wanted for both the Winchesters, that they live the rest of their lives without the burdens they had carried for so long. The thing that puzzled him was that they’d chosen to do it apart.

Time passed and out in California, Sam did what he went there to do. It took years, but he became a lawyer and joined a firm that specialized in helping those who were less able to help themselves. He made a life for himself on the edge of the city. He liked the noise. It helped to fill the quiet gaps in his life that Dean had once occupied.

He stayed in touch with his brother, but only sporadically. Something held him back from doing more than sending the occasional email or text. He didn’t think on why he held back, he just went on with the life he’d made for himself.

Then one sunny winter’s afternoon in December, Castiel appeared, full of questions.

“Are you happy here, Sam?”

“Yeah, I am.” Sam answered straight away. He was happy, as happy as he thought he could be. He’d done what he set out to do. He had a life that he’d built for himself and if he occasionally wondered why he’d never let himself get close enough to anyone to settle down, start a family, he didn’t question it too much.

Castiel, however, did.

“Your work makes you happy?”

“I get to help people, so yes, it does. Why the sudden interest in my happiness, Cas?”

“Christmas intrigues me. It is a time of celebration, even though not everyone remembers what they are celebrating. And it’s a time when families go to great lengths to be together, much like Thanksgiving.” It was obviously something that Castiel had thought about a lot, but didn’t answer Sam’s question.

“So …”

“So why do you stay here alone at Christmas when your family misses you.”

“Cas, don’t, okay?”

“Dean misses you.” Castiel emphasized the point he was trying to make.

“I sent him a card.” Sam squirmed under Castiel’s intense gaze.

“Cards and presents aren’t the answer. They don’t always bring happiness.” Castiel continued. “Often a gesture is what’s required.”

Sam gave up trying to make sense of the angelic ramblings. He grabbed another beer for himself out of the fridge, and one for Castiel too.

He took it, staring at the bottle, wondering why Sam didn’t drink eggnog at this time of year. Sam slumped back onto the couch and turned the sound up on the TV, obviously not wanting to continue their conversation. On the small screen, a man was waking up, leaning out of a window and shouting down to a boy in the street.

“You boy! What day is it?”

“Christmas Day!”

“I’ve seen this story before.” Castiel observed. “But it was told by puppets.”

Sam sat up straight.

“You watched the Muppet Christmas Carol?”

“Yes, two nights ago with Dean. Usually, the movies he watches make him laugh, but he seemed sad after it finished. I think the tale of Scrooge affected him deeply.” The angel observed.

Sam picked at the label on his now empty beer bottle. It had been their tradition, whichever motel they were holed up in at Christmas, and whether John had been with them or not. They’d curl up on the couch and watch the movie together.

Sam stood up, not wanting to think on that too much, needing to distract Castiel.

“Are you hungry? I’m gonna make a sandwich.”

Castiel shook his head. “I must go.” He paused and reached out to touch Sam’s arm. “It’s not too late for you Sam.”

“I, er …what?” But Castiel was gone with a flutter of wings, leaving Sam alone.

That night, he couldn’t sleep. He tossed and turned, slipping into shallow dreams that felt so real he wondered if Castiel was back and messing with his head, but his room was empty when he opened his eyes.

He got up and cracked open his laptop. He opened a folder that sat on his desktop, and flicked through the pictures inside it.

He smiled at the first one. Dean frowned back at him, annoyed at having been woken up so early one morning long before they discovered how entwined their destinies were with forces they couldn’t then have even imagined.

He flicked to the next file, a picture of Dean asleep on a motel bed. He was sprawled on his stomach, a newly stitched cut running the visible length of his forearm. Sam knew exactly when it had been taken, could remember holding Dean close all through the night, how he woke up with his nose buried in Dean’s neck. Sam closed his eyes. He could remember what it felt like to wake up immersed in Dean’s scent.

Sam picked up his cell, and scrolled down to Dean’s number. His finger hovered over it, but he put the phone down again without making the call.

Sam thought about his life. He'd made a few friends there, sure, but no-one close, no-one that he would let in. He’d lost so many people during his relatively short life. His Mom, then Jess, his Dad. He’d lost Dean over and over, so many times while he’d been stuck in Broward County, and then he’d had to watch as Dean had been torn apart by hell hounds. Jo, Ellen, and Bobby, all meant so much to him, and all gone.

He knew deep down that he’d left partly because he couldn’t stand to lose Dean again. He’d made his choice to leave so Dean couldn’t be taken away from him but he’d been an idiot. Somewhere down the line, one of them would lose the other. No-one lived forever, but until then, Dean was alive, living and breathing and missing him. When he thought about Dean he felt the familiar tug on his heartstrings. It had always been there, he finally acknowledged, and it was time to go home.

Sam handed his notice in at work the next day, and found someone to take over the lease on his apartment. He sorted through his things, decided what he wanted to keep, what he could get rid of. With only a couple of days left before Christmas, he pointed the SUV east and drove. He left behind the warm winter sun of California and headed towards the white blanketed wilds of South Dakota. He only hoped that he hadn't left it too late. The snow was crisp when Sam pulled up outside the familiar house.

The front door opened and Dean stepped out, dressed for the winter in heavy boots and heavy layers. His eyes crinkled into a smile when he saw Sam and Sam's heart raced in his chest.

"Hey, what's a big shot lawyer like you doing out in the boonies on Christmas Eve?" Dean teased. "Forget to send my card?"

Sam swallowed nervously.

"I want to come home."

Dean's smile fell away and he looked over at the truck. He took in the boxes of books piled into the passenger seat. He swallowed and looked back at Sam.

"For good?"

"For good."

The silence stretched between them for what couldn't have been more than a heartbeat or two but it felt like a lifetime to Sam.

"Did you bring pie?" Dean asked seriously.

"Yeah, I did." A small smile curved the corners of Sam's lips.

"From the little deli on the corner of 8th and Main?"

"From Stefano's, yeah, but how did you ..."

"Didn't think I'd let you live out there on your own and not check up on you, did you?" Dean grinned, almost sheepishly.

"You came? But why didn't you come to see me?"

"You wanted to do your own thing." Dean shrugged. "So I stayed out of the way."

Sam stood rooted to the spot, still coming to terms with Dean driving all the way to California to make sure he was okay. He didn’t even notice Dean walking towards him until he was standing in front of him, reaching out to squeeze Sam’s shoulder.

“Sammy?” There was concern in Dean’s voice.

“Yeah, I’m fine just … it was a long drive.” He grinned, covering up how shaken he was.

“Let’s get your stuff inside.” Dean suggested.

Sam nodded, opening the passenger side door to grab his laptop as Dean walked round to the back of the SUV and pulled out one of the bigger boxes. Sam followed him, knocking the snow off his boots before he went in.

Inside, the house was warm, a fire burning in the grate. Sam looked around and did a double take at the large tree, decked with lights and glass balls. The bag still in his hand, he walked towards it, grinning at what sat at the very top. Not an angel with fluffy wings or a sparkly star, but what looked like an action man in a long coat lashed to the top branch.

“None of the angels in Wal-Mart looked right.” Sam could hear the smirk in Dean’s voice.

“Has Cas seen it?”

“Yeah, he frowned at it the first year, but I think he likes it.” Dean grinned. “He arrives every December, stays to shoot the breeze and watch movies, then I don’t see him for another year. I swear he’s checking up on me. Either that or he’s addicted to eggnog. Have you seen him?”

“He stops by once a year, around Christmas. I saw him a couple of weeks back.”

Dean put the boxes he was carrying down, and turned to look at Sam.

“Is that why you’re here? Because of Cas?” Dean’s voice was even, not accusing, but definitely curious.

“He gave me some things to think about.” Sam needed Dean to know that it wasn’t guilt that had brought him home.

Dean’s shoulders relaxed just a little, and Sam realized that it didn’t matter how long they were apart, he could still read Dean, still understand him without the need for words. He wondered if it worked the other way round.

They went back out for the rest of Sam’s bags and boxes, then Dean shut the door firmly behind them and took off his coat.

“Eggnog?” He asked as he walked through to the kitchen.

Sam followed him, eyes widening at the food in the kitchen. There was a pile of fresh vegetables sitting next to a heavy chopping block and the hint of spices on the air intensified as he walked in.

“Since when do you do the whole Christmas thing?”

“Since we survived.” Dean answered without a trace of irritation. “Since I realized that there was more to life than hunting. You weren’t the only one who needed something different,” Dean teased.

Sam’s heart clenched. All this time, he’d thought Dean would be the same cynical hunter that he’d left behind.

He’d been surprised by the first Christmas card Dean had sent him his first year back in California, when he’d still been thinking that he’d made the wrong move, that trying to finish what he’d started had been a bad idea. But then a card had arrived, with a smiling snowman on the front, and Dean’s familiar scrawl inside.

Happy Christmas, Sammy.

Dean x

PS I’m proud of you for doing this Sam. Still miss ya, Bitch.

PPS Would it kill you to mail me occasionally?

Sam had cried his eyes out, glad Dean wasn’t around to see it. He’d cleaned himself up and walked to Stefano’s to pick up an apple pie. When he got back, he emailed Dean a picture of two cats facing off at one another with the captions “bitch” and “jerk” along the top.

It was a few days before Dean replied, and from then on, they’d kept in touch sporadically. Dean never suggested that he visit, and Sam never suggested that he go back to South Dakota.

And now he was back, he understood that he’d needed to leave, to follow his own path, and to come to his own realization that home was, as the saying went, where the heart was. Dean had given him the space he’d needed, and Sam was grateful for that. He watched his brother move around the kitchen, fixing them drinks.

Dean was different. He was softer around the edges, more at ease than Sam ever remembered him being. He’d settled, and made a home for himself.

“You missed one hell of a party last night.” Dean shook his head as he handed Sam a glass. “All the neighbors called in. I don’t know what Della put in the punch she made, but damn, it had a kick.”

“Do you have plans for tomorrow?” Sam suddenly felt guilty for crashing back into Dean’s life without warning. “Sorry, I should have called, I didn’t think … are you seeing someone?” Sam hadn’t even stopped to think that Dean might have been involved with someone. He’d taken it for granted that when Castiel had said Dean missed him, that Dean was alone.

“No, not seeing anyone, dude, and even if I did have plans, I would have dragged you along. You’re family, you’re my brother. Della and Clark have gone to stay with family this year, otherwise we’d all be having lunch together. Including you.” Dean sat down at the table, and pushed a chair out for Sam. “Anyway, they’ll all want to meet you once they know you’re back. I’ve told them all about the smart one of the family, practicing law in the big city. Peter and Min are having their annual New Year’s party, so I can show you off then. They’re Scottish, and it’s a big tradition for them.”

Sam marveled at how easily Dean accepted him into the life he’d obviously built for himself. He listened to Dean talk, gradually joining in the rambling conversation that got easier for Sam as the evening went on. Dean made a pile of awesome sandwiches when Sam got hungry, and after they’d eaten, the days of travelling caught up with Sam and he fell asleep on the comfortable couch.

He woke to Dean’s hand on his arm, shaking him gently.

“C’mon Sasquatch, time for bed.”

Sam nodded sleepily.

“Your bags are in our old room.”

“’kay.” Sam yawned and headed upstairs.

“I’m glad you’re home, Sammy.”

“It’s good to be home.” Sam smiled and dragged himself to bed. He was fast asleep when Dean checked on him later on his way to bed.

Dean reached down and brushed the bangs back from his face, smiling as Sam snuffled in his sleep. He wondered what would happen if he climbed into bed with Sam, curled around him and fell asleep right there, as if years hadn’t passed since they’d last been together. But he stepped back, not sure of how Sam would take it. Sam was home, that was the important thing.

Sam woke up a few hours later. He lay awake, remembering how Dean had taken care of him when he’d been unable to take care of himself. He could remember gentle touches on his skin as Dean bathed him, dressed him and fed him. Touches he’d been unable to acknowledge until he’d woken up, slowly, from the fog that had clouded his mind and left him vulnerable.

He remembered other touches too, from earlier times, remembered the intensity of bodies slamming together after hunts left adrenaline pumping through their veins. Remembered rough kisses and fingers digging hard enough to bruise into skin as they fucked.

Sam slipped from his bed and padded across the wooden floor, across the corridor into Dean’s room. It was dark, but he could just make out the double bed, and slid under the covers before he could change his mind.

“Sammy?” Dean’s voice was sleep rough as Sam burrowed his way under Dean’s arm just has he had when he was a kid.

“I’m sorry.”

“Why? What did you do?” Dean put his arm around Sam’s shoulder, pulling him closer. “Have you changed your mind about staying?” There was an edge of fear in Dean’s voice that made Sam feel ashamed.

“No, I want to stay, want to stay with you. I’m sorry I left after everything you did for me, sorry … for everything.” Sam trembled.

“Sammy, dude, you’ve got nothing to be sorry for.”

“But I left you alone. You gave me everything. You brought me up, and you put me back together again when I broke. And all I did was hurt you and leave you.”

Dean carded his fingers through Sam’s hair, liking that he’d kept it long.

“Sam, you’ve gotta let it go, the guilt and the way you blame yourself. You had to go your own way for a while. I hoped someday you’d find your way home and you have. That’s all that matters, what’s here and now.” Dean kissed his forehead and tilted his face up. “After everything we lived through, cut yourself some slack, bro.”

Sam let out a ragged breath. He pressed a kiss to Dean’s mouth, soft at first, until the hunger for Dean that he’d been denying caught hold of him. He pushed Dean onto his back, groaning as Dean reached for him, kissing him again, rough and needy.

Sam’s hands slid along Dean’s arms, catching hold of his wrists and holding him down. Dean arched up, pressing against Sam, the length of his rapidly hardening cock nudging against Sam’s hip. He spread his legs, the invitation clear as Sam lay between them.

“You got lube?” Sam muttered against his neck as he kissed it.

“No, but it’s okay, want you.”

Sam nipped Dean’s shoulder.

“Later. I’m not going anywhere, I swear.” No way was he fucking Dean dry, there were other things he’d missed too. Sam let go of Dean’s wrists and licked his way down Dean’s body, sucking and biting his nipples until Dean was whimpering, his hands clawing in Sam’s hair. His tongue painted wet stripes down over Dean’s belly. He nuzzled at his prize, his mouth watering as he drank in Dean’s still familiar scent. Little cat licks to the head had Dean thrashing, grabbing at Sam’s hair again.

“Jesus, this is gonna be over real soon.” Dean groaned.

Sam smiled at the apology, and opened his mouth, wrapping his lips around Dean’s cock and sucking him down.

“Oh God!” Dean tensed as Sam pushed his legs further apart and ran a wet finger down between his cheeks. He pushed at Dean’s hole, rubbing the moisture around it and pushing at it again. The thought of how tight Dean would be when he did fuck him almost took him over the edge, but he wanted Dean to come first. His finger slipped inside, enveloped by intense silky heat, and Sam began to work his mouth up and down Dean’s dick as he finger fucked him. Sam watched as Dean came, keening, thrusting up into Sam’s mouth, squirming back onto his finger, wanton and beautiful and his.

Sam drank him down, every salty spurt that hit the back of his throat, sucking and demanding until Dean’s body went limp against the sheets, his legs splayed wide. Sam pulled off and placed a kiss on Dean’s spent balls, drawing a huffed breath from his brother.

Sam got to his knees, took his cock in hand, and jerked off over Dean’s thighs, stroking his come into the soft skin where it splattered. Dean reached for Sam as Sam cleaned them up.

He kissed Sam and stared at him, brushing the hair back from his face.

“I can’t let you go again.”

“This is where I belong. It took a while to get that.”

“Okay. Glad we got that sorted out.” Dean smiled.

Sam relaxed, safe in Dean’s arms. He was asleep in minutes.

Sam woke up alone the next morning. Alone, but in Dean’s bed with a mug of hot, steaming coffee on the nightstand. He propped himself up on the pillows and sipped it, groaning with bliss at the sweet creamy taste.

There was music coming from downstairs, and the smell of pancakes or waffles cooking. Sam sat for another few minutes, savoring his coffee, but the smell, and a deep curiosity to see what his brother was up to in the kitchen drove him out of bed. He grabbed clothes from the other room and padded downstairs where found Dean in the kitchen, wearing an apron, stuffing a turkey and singing along to the radio.

“They got cars big as bars, they got rivers of gold, but the wind goes right through you, it's no place for the old. When you first took my hand on a cold Christmas Eve, you promised me Broadway was waiting for me. You were handsome, you were pretty … Sammy! Happy Christmas, bro!”

Dean pulled his hand out of the turkey and quickly washed the gunk off. Then he was hugging Sam, a warm, lingering embrace that Sam returned, and when he pulled back, he kissed Sam on the lips and smiled at him. Sam slipped an arm around his waist and held him there, kissing him again, deeper, with a hunger that he didn’t want to hide.

“Happy Christmas.” Sam’s voice was still sleep husky.

Dean grinned and pulled away.

“There’s waffles in the basket. They should still be warm.” Dean pointed to the table where two places were set. One that had been used, and one waiting for Sam.

Sam sat down and pulled the cloth in the basket open to reveal four golden homemade waffles. There was syrup on the table, maple and strawberry, and butter and the fixings for more coffee. Dean topped Sam’s mug up from the pot, poured himself one and went back to work, humming.

“You make a good Martha Stewart.” Sam teased in between waffles.

Dean snorted. “I’d rather be Nigella Lawson. The British chick?” He thought about it for a moment then added. “Nah, I’d rather do Nigella Lawson.” Dean grinned lewdly, waggled his eyebrows and finished preparing the turkey.

Sam pushed his chair back from the table, more stuffed full of food than he could ever remember being. The dishes on the table still weren’t empty, although his brother was trying his best to clean them out by eating the contents. Even Dean had limits, though, and he eyed the stuffing ball he’d picked up with his fingers and dipped in the gravy before groaning and setting it down on his plate, utterly defeated. Castiel had picked at each dish, more interested in the different tastes than filling himself up. He hadn’t been able to stay away once he knew that Sam would be with Dean for Christmas, and once he’d arrived, Dean had insisted he stay and eat.

“We haven’t had pudding yet.” Dean sighed.

“We could have it later?” Sam looked pleadingly at his brother, convinced he’d explode if he ate another mouthful.

Dean glanced at him, a grin breaking out on his face.

“Wafer thin mint?” They both said at exactly the same time, and both burst into fits of giggles.

Castiel watched them, looking from one to the other as they laughed. Dean wiped the tears from his eyes, unable to stop, and Sam’s sides ached. They both glanced at him as their laughter subsided, leaving wide grins behind.

“We should introduce him to Monty Python.” Dean stood up and surveyed the table. “I’ll clear up later. I think we all need some couch time.”

“Eggnog?” Castiel asked, hopefully.

“Sure, why not.” Dean grinned. “Sam? Find us something to watch?”

Sam wandered through and switched on the TV. That was another new thing for Dean. Paying for his cable. His brother had become downright respectable while Sam had been in California. Sam grinned as he found a suitable movie for a lazy Christmas afternoon.

“Okay, Clarence. Get your ass in here.” Sam yelled through to the kitchen.

“There is no-one called Clarence here.” Castiel looked perplexed.

“He means you Cas. It’s a movie reference. You’ve never seen It’s A Wonderful Life?”

“No.” Castiel shook his head.

“Well, I think you’re about to.”

Sam and Dean sat on the couch while Castiel occupied one of the large armchairs. He watched the screen with rapt attention as the story played out, intrigued at the way the angel, Clarence, was portrayed.

As the credits rolled, he looked over at the couch, where Dean and Sam had slowly gravitated towards each other until they had fallen asleep, Sam sprawled over Dean, and Dean resting his head on Sam’s. It was almost dark in the room, the sun having dipped below the horizon an hour ago. Castiel smiled. They were happiest together, and he was glad that finally, Sam understood that.

He added wood to the fire, made sure it was burning before he switched on a lamp in the corner of the room.

Sam woke up to find Castiel looking down at them.

“Cas? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing is wrong, Sam, not anymore.”

“The movie finished?”

“Yes, Clarence got his wings. It’s time I was going.”

Sam sat up, and Dean snuffled towards wakefulness with a mumbled “Dude? What’s goin’ on?”

“When will we see you again?” Sam asked.

“Next Christmas, unless you need me sooner. But I don’t think you will. You are almost whole now you are together again.”

Sam blushed deeply and watched Castiel walk towards the window.

“You can stay, watch another movie?” Dean tempted.

In the dull light, Sam could see a look of contentment on Castiel’s face. As he stared, he could also see, for the first time, a faint glow around the angel’s head and shadowed wings sprouting from his shoulders.

Dean scrambled off the couch, and pulled Castiel into a bear hug.

“Take care of yourself, okay?”

“I will, Dean.” He patted the human he had grown so fond of on the back and nodded over at Sam.

There was the faint sound of wings on the air, and he was gone. Sam pulled Dean back down to the couch. His brother curled against him, and Sam wrapped his arms around his shoulders. From outside, there was the noise that sounded for all the world like a bell ringing, and Dean shot up, and looked at Sam.

“Did you hear that?”

Sam nodded, and Dean grinned, rolling onto his back and yelling “Happy Christmas, Clarence!”

Sam stared at him, then pounced, tickling his ribs until he squirmed and giggled and launched an attack of his own.

Their laughter carried out over the salvage yard, and an angel ascending into heaven heard the sound and smiled.

They said there'll be snow at Christmas
They said there'll be peace on Earth
But instead it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the Virgin's birth
I remember one Christmas morning
A winters light and a distant choir
And the peal of a bell and that Christmas Tree smell
And their eyes full of tinsel and fire
They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a Silent Night
And they told me a fairy story
'Till I believed in the Israelite
And I believed in Father Christmas
And I looked at the sky with excited eyes
'Till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise
I wish you a hopeful Christmas
I wish you a brave New Year
All anguish pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear
They said there'll be snow at Christmas
They said there'll be peace on Earth
Hallelujah Noel be it Heaven or Hell
The Christmas you get you deserve.

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January 2011

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