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Good Lord, I have such fic posting angst. How is it done these days! Does anyone still read on LJ? Is crossposting still a thing? Where does AO3 fit in? I have been pondering these things for days. So fuck it. Here is a fic. I have written it precisely 70 or 80 times before, but who cares. This is not the day where I am over all the speech-making and declaring of 8x23.


Title: The Direct Approach
Pairing: Sam/Dean
Rating: PG
Word count: 1,840
Summary: All the things Sam's done, and this, right here, might be the scariest.

Notes: For [personal profile] mollyamory, who is always wrong about everything. Hopefully, this will be some small consolation.

The Direct Approach

The first time Dean kisses Sam, he’s just set his hair on fire.

It happens like this. There’s a ghost-an honest-to-god vengeful spirit, thank fucking Christ and all previously holy angels--camped out in an old factory just north of New Port. Nobody’s died yet, but there’s a couple of guys who aren’t going to be counting past nine on their fingers anymore, at least one who won’t be doing any counting at all on more than one hand.

“You wanna check it out?” Dean asks. Breakfast time in the Batcave, obituaries and weather patterns on the table next to the coffee cups and the plates of pancakes. Dean keeps hidden behind his mug; just in case his face is going behind his back and revealing anything stupid.

“Sure,” Sam says, no hesitation, and Dean’s whole body relaxes in relief. Two weeks Sam’s been back on his feet. They’ve ganked a hellhound, taken down one righteously pissed-off angel and had their asses handed to them by another, and apparently set up some sort of self-help group for Crowley and Cas. Restful isn’t how Dean would describe it. Exhausting. Dangerous. Those are descriptors he can get behind.

To cover his smile, he makes a show of taking the dishes to the sink. “I’ll pack the car. You crimp your hair or whatever the fuck.”

Sam flips him off as he stands. “I want sandwiches,” he says. “To eat on the road. You should make that happen.”

“Your campaign against potentially deadly roadside diner food is so unreasonable,” Dean tells his back, but there’s chicken and bacon and cheese in the fridge, mustard and onion and pickles to go along with it. And maybe a new fancy coolbag he bought the other day. Dean loads it into the car after their duffels and the weapons bag, but he’s not conceding anything.

“Can I drive?” Sam asks, once Dean’s done all the hard work.

“Are you getting sick again??” Dean’s been trying to be nice; really he has. The last thing he wants is Sam getting emo and running off to try to save the world again. But really. There’s nice and then there’s expecting miracles.

“If I were, would you let me drive?”

“Do I let you drive when you’re at your best?” Sam grins and shakes his head, and Dean claps him on the shoulder. He doesn’t take his hand away as quickly as he should, but neither of them mentions it, so it’s totally like it isn’t happening. “I’ll let you fill her up later, maybe.”

“Living the dream,” Sam says. “This is totally why I didn’t get myself purified.”

He gets in the car after that, and his arm stretched out along the seat, fingers curled around Dean’s neck, is another thing they don’t talk about. They don’t talk about Kevin, either, or Cas, or the host of fallen angels very possibly hatching plots of hitherto unreached levels of dickishness. There’s nothing they can do about any of it right now, and this is better, anyway. Sam announcing he’s going to buy a smoothie maker for the kitchen, which is way less cool than their plans to buy a pooltable (for practice,” Sam says, “For the greater good,” adds Dean), or to build another colt.

“I think we know how. Not just a colt, but, like--”

Dean’s already nodding, though Sam’s probably about to suggest something boring. “A supernatural douche destroying samurai sword. I’d look awesome with one of those.”

“And so inconspicuous,” Sam says. “You’re relationship with practicality needs work, Dean.”.

“Like you’re in any position to talk, with that hair.”

It’s reflex, a remark tossed out while he’s passing the soccer mom obeying the speed limits. Three hours later, he is totally vindicated. And no way is it his fault. The bones have been unearthed, lighter fluid and matches have been produced. It is a smooth, professional operation, like something they’d show in hunter school. Apparently their ghost doesn’t want them to be hunter school celebrities, though, because without warning he’s there, dragging Sam down, and pinning him to the ground beside the bones. Creepy ghost fingers curl around his neck, and Sam’s breath goes shallow and stuttery.

“The more things change,” Dean says, and he’s not panicking, just because Sam’s down. That would be stupid, and Dean is way better than that. He’s awesome, is what he is, and he gets a shot off almost at the same time as he throws the match. The ghost shrieks, and disappears, and reappears, and then fades completely. It’s all over in seconds, no time at all for Dean to notice that Sam’s hairs in mortal peril.

“Sam,” he says, once he has. He keeps his voice steady, soothing. “Your hair is--”

“Dude, am I on fire?” Sam makes the ghostly shrieking earlier sound well put together and contemplative. “Did you set me on fire?”

He flails around a bit, like someone with no training for dangerous situations whatsoever. “Settle the fuck down,” Dean says and beats the flames out with a bit of holy water, his jacket, and his general day-saving prowess. There’s an acrid burning smell when he’s finished, but Dean chooses to believe that’s the bones.

Sam doesn’t seem to care for the distinction. He rises to his feet, bruises round his neck and one side of his head a hilarious mess of singed fuzz. Dean still takes a step back, hands held up in futile supplication.

“In the first place,” he says, “I just saved you from being strangled to death. In the second, I just saved you from being burnt to death. Be nice, dude. And if you can’t be nice, be reasonable.”

“You,” Sam says. Reasonable and nice look like they’re a long way off. “You set my hair on fire.”

“To save you, Sammy.” To his horror, Dean can feel himself starting to smile. “You know, sometimes sacrifices have to be made. Before, the gates of hell. Now your hair. You can’t hold onto these things. Accept and move on, that’s the key. And--maybe wear a hat for a while.”

Sam has been advancing on him, murder in his eyes, but he pulls up short. For a second, his face goes totally blank, like maybe his hair has been the thing powering him all along. Then it shifts. His eyes go wide, and his mouth goes slack. It’s not a good look for him, and that’s saying something at the moment.

“Are you having a stroke?” Dean asks. “Did you survive 180 years of Hell but losing your hair is going to destroy you?”

If he can get Sam to laugh, everything will be fine. This is pretty much Dean’s life principle. And Sam does laugh, even if he tries to pretend it’s a cough. Dean saw his eyes, though; he knows.

“Whatever else I’ve done,” Sam says, moving again, right into Dean’s path, “I haven’t ever set you on fire. I want that written down somewhere.”

And he probably does, the freak. Wants it in Dad's journal and in the new one they've started, expects it engraved on holy tablets somewhere, preserved for all eternity. Dean plans to say that out loud, but he never gets there, emphatically sidetracked as he is. Because Sam's still coming at him, is still here to be unappreciative and unreasonable and a general pain in Dean's ass. And looking at him, Dean has a moment of conviction, of something that is almost certainly hope.

Maybe it’s because his hair has finally reached a zenith of ridiculous, or maybe it’s because Dean’s been telling him for years it would get him killed and finally, finally he’s been proved right, or maybe it’s just that Sam’s been making fun of him all day, like he’s really sure of Dean. Really sure of them. Dean doesn’t know. But for the first time, he feels like all Sammy’s talk of light and getting to it might actually mean something.

All the things Sam’s done, and this, right here, might be the scariest. Which would be just like him, too, staging stealth attacks without even meaning to. Dean smiles at him, his heart tripping over itself in his chest. “You have never done that, no. Do you think we could call it even?”

It wasn’t meant to come out like that. Obviously. Dean’s not Sam; he doesn’t need to ruin perfectly good moments with talking and feelings every chance he gets. But it comes out serious without his permission, and he looks back at Sam, doesn’t bother to hide the hope he thinks might show on his face now.

Sam looks at him, really looks at him, cautious in a way Dean doesn't want to see. Then he nods. “I think we could do that,” he says, and Dean didn’t need to hide anything, because Sam’s so open, happiness and affection and disbelief all trying to decide which won of them his face should settle on.

“Cool,” Dean says. Sam rolls his eyes, like he was expecting a speech

That’s Sam’s department. Dean prefers the direct approach. He'd been planning to reinstate the serious hugging rules, relaxed temporarily on account of Sam coughing up blood and terrifying Dean on a regular basis. But he’s trying to be nice. It’s an ongoing project. And besides, he wants Sam, desperately and fiercely, in a way he hasn’t let himself since purgatory, or maybe before. So he steps forward, closes whatever space still lay between them. Sam comes to him like he’s been waiting years for it, wraps his arms around Dean’s shoulders and clings. Dean’s got no room for mockery, though; Sam might have bruises where Dean’s hands are pressing him, keeping him close.

“New rules,” he says into Sam’s hair -- the untouched side--breathing him in while a lunatic certainty keeps growing that everything he wants is his to have. But it's still Sam; Sam, who’s always got to push farthest; it's him who tilts his head down and kisses him. Exactly like Dean would have expected him to kiss, if he’d ever thought about it, which, yeah, maybe he had. Exactly like and not at all. Tongue and teeth and grabby hands, tugging on Dean’s hair, demanding and insistent. All that he would have expected, on account of having met Sam before. But the way his fingers stroke over Dean's neck, the way it’s not just hot but sweet, those things Dean had never planned on. Like Dean is a promise he’s planning to keep. Dean is scared shitless by it, lit up and undone, and all he can do is kiss him back, ask for things he’s never had any right to.

“New rules,” Sam says, when talking is an option again, only it’s a question, doubt sneaking in around its edges. Dean kisses it out of him,. Because he can do that now. Same answer it’s always been; different delivery method, that’s all.

Mood:: 'aggravated' aggravated
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