Flicker pt 2/?
SPN Spoilers ahead!
Dean kisses Sam until Sam feels boneless and docile and agreeable, with Dean murmuring things into the skin at the corners of Samâ€™s mouth, his smile sun sweet and burning like citrus against Samâ€™s tongue. Sam feels like a cat, purring, and when Dean finally does pull away, itâ€™s to say â€œYou okay?â€ and â€œIâ€™m here, babe,â€ and â€œMorninâ€™, sunshine.â€ And so Sam lets Dean lead him by the hand down the hallway, into a sun-drenched living room with still more books, letâ€™s Dean sit him down at a blond wood kitchen table and give him coffee, to brush a fond hand over the crown of Samâ€™s head.
It feels like Sunday mornings: slow, sunken in honey.
â€œWhatâ€™s going on, Sam?â€ Dean says, tugging out a carton of eggs and peering at Sam over the top of his glasses. â€œYouâ€™re acting weird.â€
Everythings wrong, Sam thinks. â€œIâ€™m not acting weird,â€ he says.
Dean gives him The Look. â€œYou called meâ€”from the bedroom.â€
Sam squares his shoulders, leans back in the kitchen chair. Thereâ€™re a row of cookbooks on a shelf over the sink, and a dying basil plant by the window; this looks like a room Sam always wanted to have, and maybe he can have it now.
â€œI didnâ€™t know where you were,â€ Sam says, too carefully, because he could still be wrong.
â€œI was a whole 100 yards down the hall getting coffee,â€ Dean shoots back, frowningâ€”he comes closer, poking Sam in the chest with the long end of a spatula. â€œYou sure youâ€™re not having nightmares again?â€ he asks.
â€œNo,â€ Sam retorts, picking up his steaming mug and taking a sip. Itâ€™s terrible, and Sam thinks, only Dean could make coffee this bad. â€œAnd Iâ€™m not drunk either.â€
â€œYeah, drink your joe,â€ Dean says, and cracks eggs into a bowl, searches round for a fork. Sam has seen the line of Deanâ€™s back almost every day of his entire life, and he knowsâ€”the way he knows the edges of his own bodyâ€”how Deanâ€™s shoulders look when he beats an egg, when he wakes up, when Dean looks away, out a window, as theyâ€™re cruising down a rural highway in the middle of nowhere. Sam knows Dean.
He takes another sip of coffee and watches Dean scramble eggs, watches Dean make toast and microwave bacon and casually flick on the TV, humming something by God damn Kansas under his breath as the morning news announcer chirps, â€œItâ€™s another beautiful Saturday in Bostonâ€”and we can anticipate highs in the lower 50s today and plenty of sun.â€
Somewhere between eggs and bacon and coffee and lunch, Sam tells Dean that he dreamed he was being attacked by a djinn, which as stupid as it sounds is better than telling Dean he was attacked by a djinn.
â€œIn no way do I want you to interpret this as me discouraging you from fawning over my stuff,â€ Dean says through a mouthful of toast, â€œbut maybe you should quit reading my books right before bed.â€
Sam forces himself to snap his jaw shut, so he doesnâ€™t ask anything stupid like, â€œYou write?â€ and â€œBooks? You write books?â€ and thinks to himself, â€œDamn genies.â€
â€œYeah, maybe,â€ Sam finally manages, forcing down another mouthful of Deanâ€™s coffee until the taste hits him full in the face like a semi and he snaps the mug down and says, â€œOkay, Deanâ€”you are never allowed to make coffee again.â€
Scowling, Dean snaps, â€œThereâ€™s nothing wrong with my coffee.â€
â€œPeople in prison get better coffee than this,â€ Sam argues. They do. He knows for a fact.
â€œPeople in prison also get ass-shanked in the shower,â€ Dean ripostes.
Sam looks at him for a long time, torn. â€œI donâ€™t even know what that is,â€ he admits finally. â€œIs that a threat? I donâ€™t even know what that was supposed to mean.â€
Dean gulps down the rest of his mug, as if to prove some sort of point. Samâ€™s seen Dean eat sandwiches heâ€™s found in motels and chicken cordon bleu from roadside diners, so it doesnâ€™t prove anything other than the fact that Deanâ€™s stomach acids should be studied by the CDC for possible medicinal properties.
â€œThat means Iâ€™m going to be late for my meeting with my editor, and that you,â€ Dean says, pushing himself up from the table and leaning closeâ€”close enough to press an absent kiss to the corner of Samâ€™s mouth, and it makes Sam murmur a little, babble quietly in tongues to feel that: the chapped skin of Deanâ€™s mouth with intent, â€œare a bitch.â€
â€œJerk,â€ Sam answers, reflexive, but even before horror can sink in, Deanâ€™s wandering down the hall back to the bedroomâ€”to their bedroom, calling over his shoulder:
â€œYou love it. Donâ€™t lie.â€
Sam stares into his coffee cup, thumbs on the rims. â€œYeah,â€ he admits. â€œI guess I do.â€
Dean disappears from the apartment in a clatter of footsteps and yelling, â€œIâ€™ll be back by seven at the latest, so I better see dinner on the table,â€ and when Sam yells back, knee-jerk, â€œMake yourself dinner, ass,â€ he says, horrified, â€œOh my God, weâ€™re married.â€ He waits just long enough to see Dean heading down the street from the living room window before he runs back into the bedroomâ€”starts rifling around the desk, the dresser.
He needs details, explanations, he wants to know how any of this ever happened and why and why are they in Boston and since when does Dean write books. But instead of a wallet or a neatly-summarized list provided by his friendly neighborhood djinn, Sam finds a book on what he guesses is his side of the bedâ€”opened and face-down on pages 57 and 58â€”by Dean Winchester titled Carnival.
He flips back to the beginningâ€”before all the dog-eared pages and after the Library of Congress informationâ€”and creases down page oneâ€”realizes it was already folded before. When I read it the first time, Sam thinks crazily.
It was six hundred degrees in the metal box of the Impala and the leather upholstery was starting to feel like sexual harassment. Even the wind blowing in the opened windows felt like a wall of steam, and outside on either side of the highway only half-abandoned farm shacks interrupted the land, cracked in heat. Jake ran one sweaty palm over his forehead, his upper lip, prickly from a day without shaving.
â€œIt is too God damned hot,â€ he said, mostly to himself.
So of course Sam answered, â€œWhich could be fixed if we got a new car.â€
â€œWe are not getting a new car,â€ Jake answered. He glared across the front seat. â€œThis car is a classic. She and I have an understanding.â€
Sam made Jakeâ€™s least favorite Bitch Face (TM). â€œDo you,â€ she said. â€œThen could you be good enough to pass a message to her and tell her to make the fucking AC work?â€
Jake stroked a hand over the steering wheel comfortingly. â€œDonâ€™t listen to her, baby,â€ he cooed. â€œSheâ€™s just jealous you got better curves than her.â€
Sam turns the page with extreme prejudice. â€œHer,â€ he snarls. â€œIâ€™ll kill him.â€
Jake Winston and Samantha Holloway are driving away from a harrowing experience with faith healers when they come across a haunted carnival, and Sam spends most of the first 40 pages of the book cussing and freaking out because Dean is writing their God damned lives. Their other livesâ€”in glowing technicolor, with sexual tension so deliberate and obvious it sparks neon off of the pages.
Itâ€™s the kind of airport paperback Sam used to read in between state-mandated sets of textbooks, between schools, curled up in the backseat of the Impala when he and his dad werenâ€™t speaking to one another. Itâ€™s fast and furiously-paced and Dean obviously thinks the car is nearly as sexy as Samantha Holloway, and Sam canâ€™t help but feel a little irrationally wronged about thatâ€”but in the grand scheme of things itâ€™s so low on his list of things to worry about it barely registers.
Samâ€™s still readingâ€”Jake and Samantha are having a fight Sam knows he and Dean had in Iowa once and also that he sounded nowhere near as gay as Dean has portrayed himâ€”when he feels somebody drop a hand to the back of his neck.
â€œI thought I told you to stop reading that,â€ Dean murmurs.
When Sam blinks he realizes itâ€™s late, that shadows have cast over the pages of the book and heâ€™s reading by the light of the street lamps outside, faint orangeâ€”that the noise of cars and people drifting through the cracked-open window has harshened, the way sound at night gets sharper around the edges, echoing and jagged in the dark.
â€œWhat time is it,â€ Sam asks. He puts down the bookâ€”opened now at page 94â€”rubs his eyes.
â€œItâ€™s like, 6:30, babe,â€ Dean says, fond, and runs his fingers through Samâ€™s hair, reaches over to flick on a lamp with his free hand. â€œYou been reading all afternoon?â€
If this were homeâ€”if this were the other them, Dean would ruffle his hair: irritating, affectionate, too many sharing bathrooms and hand-me-downs on the hot, unforgiving highways. Sam closes his eyes hard against that thought, because it was impossible there, but not hereâ€”Sam canâ€™t help but think there arenâ€™t impossibilities here.
â€œI guess,â€ Sam admits, and leans into Deanâ€™s touchâ€”his fingers kneading the tense muscles in Samâ€™s shoulders. â€œI got sucked in.â€
â€œItâ€™s because Iâ€™m a genius,â€ Dean assures him, laughing, and steps away, touch gone but still close, and Sam finds himself following like heâ€™s trapped in Deanâ€™s gravitational fieldâ€”like heâ€™s always been trapped in Deanâ€™s orbit, helplessly drawn even when there was a continent between them.
â€œHow was your meeting,â€ Sam asks, and he watches Dean make a grab for a cordless phone.
â€œIt was good,â€ Dean says, glancing at Sam over his shoulder. â€œIâ€™m ordering inâ€”what are you in the mood for?â€
Sam shrugs, leans against a counter. â€œIâ€™m fine with anything.â€
Dean leans over to dial in a number from a magnet on the fridgeâ€”and then pulls the door open to snatch a beer. He puts the phone between his shoulder and his ear and pops the top on a counter, and Sam wants to scold him for that, but he doesnâ€™t know if he does that hereâ€”if thatâ€™s a brother thing or a whatever the hell this is thing, but Dean just gives Sam a preemptive donâ€™t shit bricks about it look Sam would know from any version of Dean.