Summary: Maybe it's not fair to have this conversation now when Dean can't even get up by himself, but Sam doesn't care.
Characters: Sam, Dean
Length: ~1100 words
Title, Author and URL of original story: Rest Stop - Near Leland, Mississippi by merryish
Notes: Commentary is available here.
They'd had to kill the old lady. Sam isn't happy about that, but what can you do? As Dean is quick to point out, it looked like the demon possessing her'd kept her alive long past her sell-by date.
Still, it's the easiest job they've had in months, pretty much in and out. Right up until a little girl comes flying out of the kitchen, knife in hand, and practically guts Dean before Sam can pull her off him.
"Lemme go!" she screeches, kicking and flailing. Sam's still got all his fingers when he finally gets the knife from her, but it's a close thing. "You better not hurt Brady!"
"What the fuck are you talking about?" Dean pants from the floor. He's got his hand pressed down over his chest, blood seeping out from under it, but he doesn't seem to be in imminent danger of bleeding to death.
The girl's glare falters, her gaze flickering to something behind Sam. He turns to look and she yells "Run, Brady!" at a wide-eyed boy standing in the kitchen doorway. The boy - presumably Brady - just shrinks back a bit.
"Hey," Sam says gently, "we're not gonna hurt you."
"Like hell we're not!"
"Shut up, Dean." Sam turns back to the girl. "Don't listen to him."
Once she's calmed down, it doesn't actually take long to convince her they're not murderers or kidnappers or demon-possessed themselves, and then it's just a matter of waiting for the kids' dad to get home and explaining to him why the babysitter's dead.
Dean's mostly stopped bleeding by the time they leave, but he's in no shape to drive, so Sam slides behind the wheel while Dean mutters to himself about bloodthirsty brats. Sam grins and shakes his head, and Dean snaps, "What?"
"She wasn't that bad," Sam says, turning the key in the ignition.
"She tried to kill me!"
"Maybe I just have a soft spot for overprotective big sisters."
And Dean just reaches over, turns up the stereo, and that's the end of that.
Sam watches him out of the corner of his eye. His mouth is tight, his shoulders tense and hunched, and there's a sharpness, like you'd cut yourself if you tried to touch him. What he looks like is Nadine, which is something Sam's never actually thought before.
They drive in silence, or as silent as you can get with the stereo blaring Metallica. When Sam pulls into a gas station and says, "I'm gonna get some bandages and stuff," Dean doesn't answer. He comes back with a couple of Red Bulls, a handful of candy bars, and some gauze and peroxide.
Dean makes a quip about the candy bars being older than Sam (quite possible from the looks of them), cracks open one of the Red Bulls and says, "What, not even a beer to dull the pain?" and it's like the whole thing never happened. Just like how Sam's supposed to forget he ever had a sister.
"You've got your flask," Sam says absently.
The highway's nearly empty for the next twenty miles, no one passing through middle-of-nowhere Mississippi unless they have to. They're both of them quiet, though it's a comfortable silence this time. Sam wishes Dean would say something, puts in Nirvana just to hear Dean's bitching, but it doesn't keep his mind from wandering.
He pulls off at a rest area that's even more deserted than the highway. He helps Dean to one of the picnic benches, lets him take a couple swigs of whiskey and then gets him laid out on the table. He takes his pocket knife and slices Dean's shirt open, slices through the tight sports bra thing underneath. He'd ask how Dean can stand that in the summer like this, but Dean won't look at him. This'll just be another thing that never happened.
The gash goes diagonally from his collarbone down across the curve of one breast. It's a surprise. Somehow he'd always thought Dean had managed to get surgery somewhere, wherever he got the hormones, maybe.
"She coulda done me a favor and cut 'em off."
Sam doesn't know what to say to that except "yeah". He pours peroxide over the cut and wipes it clean with one of the tattered edges of Dean's shirt, then starts sewing him up. A weird, detached part of his brain notes that he has no trouble thinking of Dean as him, even when he's up close and personal with his breasts.
But then thinking of Dean as his brother has never been a problem. A drunken phone call near the start of his sophomore year had given him plenty of time to get used to the thought and the internet had given him an idea of what to expect. He never saw the in-between. He just went away to college and then four years later, instead of a diploma, he had a brother.
"Looks all right," he murmurs, dabbing some more peroxide over the wound. He sets the bottle down on the bench next to the gauze and the little sewing kit they keep in the glove compartment, then motions for Dean to scoot over a little.
He stretches out next to Dean, legs hanging over the edge, and they lie there in the sticky heat, slapping at mosquitoes. Dean's arm is pressed against his, hairy and sweaty and definitely a guy's arm.
It's probably a bad idea, but Sam says, "You're my brother."
"No, I mean-"
"That's enough, Sammy." Dean's voice is low, dangerous. Sam can feel him tense up.
"Just let me talk! I'm trying to fucking apologize!"
Sam pushes himself up and slides off the table. Behind him, he can hear Dean struggle to sit up, can hear him swear and stop trying, and maybe it's not fair to have this conversation now when Dean can't even get up by himself, but Sam doesn't care.
"What I said earlier. I'm sorry. I didn't mean..." He kicks a rock and watches it skitter across the pavement. "You're my brother, all right, but I can't just do a search and replace in my memories. I can't just erase eighteen years of my life..."
There's no answer but the sound of Dean slapping away another mosquito. Eventually Sam gives up on ever getting one. He turns around, picks up the gauze, and helps Dean sit up. He pulls off the ruined shirt and sports bra thing - binder, he remembers now - and Dean silently holds up his arms as Sam starts wrapping the gauze around his chest.
Sam pulls off his own shirt and hands it to him, and Dean pulls it on with a grimace. He sways a little when he stands and Sam slides an arm around him, shoves the sewing kit in his pocket, and helps his brother to the car.