Genre: slash, S2 casefic, hurt/comfort
Pairing: Sam/Dean (Dean POV)
Word Count: 3000
Summary: Ghost hunt, black dogs, desert winter, and undernegotiated kink.
That’s why Sam says, Wait. It must be the wrong move, after all. If it’s something Sam wants, then it must be wrong.
You didn’t mean for him to ever feel like that.
There’s no story here, or none that anyone could tell. That’s how it is sometimes with ghosts. You’d be disappointed, but maybe that’s not your business. Your business is to deal with whatever you get.
Your silence is a habit, not a tactic. A ghost always knows where you are, because you are more to it than a sound. Even if sound is often all you know of a ghost.
These floors are laminate over concrete, pleasantly southwestern in ways the old Victorians back east just aren’t. You used to be a fan—honest-to-god haunted houses—but you’ve been pulled through too many floors now. Basements are a pain in the ass. (Or maybe you’ve just seen too many of those house shows on TV, all original hardwood and granite countertops. Double sinks or bust. Stupid motherfuckers.)
Do you hear that? Sam asks, but you don’t, all you hear is his breathing, the floors not creaking.
Dude, he says, and shoves you in the back with his shotgun. You resist the urge to turn around and smack him with it. Or kiss him, all teeth. See how much he’s paying attention then.
He’s right, though. There’s no such thing as a routine ghost hunt. You need to focus.
All you hear is Sam’s breathing.
You know you’ll never find her bones. Salt-and-burn sounds simple enough, but most ghosts don’t have stories, or follow rituals. They require improvisation.
So you burn sage by the bushel, or as much as you can find. It’s stupid that a goddamn town this close to Burning Man isn’t just growing sage along with the hash, but as Sam points out, it’s a pre-fab community. These people aren’t exactly the type.
You have no idea what he means.
What you end up with is this: Sage in an herb jar from a WinCo way back in Henderson. Sage in a plastic container from Safeway—a salad garnish. Sage tea. Cheese and sage-encrusted brioche from a health food store you think was basically just called Food. They cost $8.99 for a damn four-pack.
These are actually perfect, you say of the sage tea, scattering little bags in every corner and lighting them tag first. As the flames follow the string, they remind you of quiet, miniature sticks of dynamite.
Well, these burn like shit, says Sam of the salad greens.
Then eat them, you say.
The glare he shoots you is a fire hazard in itself.
In that moment, the salad sage catches real fire, and it smokes so much you lose Sam for a moment, on the other side of a bank of acrid black.
Then Sam pushes through it, a torso with nothing but smoke for feet.
You and Sam split a brioche.
You can hear him.
For one terrible moment, everything falls to shit and you lose track of the ghost, of your brother, of the directions of the earth and sky. You’re sliding right off the edge of reality, and it’s a jerk and a drop like a cliffside, or a hanging. Your awareness splinters along with your bones, and you lose everything.
Then you find him, Sam, there he is, hazy with the white sage smoke between you, a crumple on the floor. You’re clear across the room. Then you hear him. He sucks in air sharp and cold and hard, air that jolts through bone in winter.
Those are your teeth, you realize. Wiped clean(ish). You don’t realize until new blood wells up and your teeth go warm again.
Sam’s fine. You hear him gape like a fish for a few seconds, lungs flattened by the force of his body versus haunt, versus house, and then he’s scrambling through the cotton candy plumes that separate you. The cotton candy of insulation, not where it’s supposed to be. You breathe in, and feel the fiberglass at your gums, the tip of your tongue. There’s particleboard everywhere, torn like cardboard wherever your bodies encountered it, pink glass wool puffing out like entrails. Cheap-ass house. But at least that shit’s not flammable.
You close your eyes and instantly regret it. You never want to open them again. You remind yourself not to rub. There’s insulation glass—itchy, hairy, and worm-like—everywhere.
You try to call Sam’s name, but all you hear is more Sam breathing, Sam’s boots dragging. Your heart beats in your teeth. So you try and fail to say the only reasonable thing.
Yeah, she did, Sam agrees. She did break it. Can you breathe?
Then Sam touches your jaw, but there’s no pressure, no knowing realignment of bone. He’s neither assessing nor helping. Just touching. His fingers are shaking, but you don’t want him to stop. He does.
He asks, Can you stand?
Your legs are not your jawbone, so you go for it. Your feet are smoke. But Sam pulls you up, and you might have stayed that way if you hadn’t had to reach down to grab your gun. Sam pulls you up again. You focus on the straight line that leads from here to the door.
I think it worked, says Sam, breathless. He’s in front of you now. He wasn’t before. Now you can see he’s limping. He sounds relieved, but not victorious.
You’d forgotten that if it hadn’t worked—the sage, wholesale purification—you would have had to stay. Finish the job. There wouldn’t have been any walking out that door, limp or no limp, jaw or no jaw, if you hadn’t finished the job.
You still have to finish the job. This night isn’t over.
She’s out there somewhere. Banished from her shitty particleboard house, roaming free in the desert.
Sam scratches his head and the silvery glass of the insulation catches the moonlight. He coughs, and look, more of the same. Your eyes burn, but mostly you can’t feel anything south of your throat or north of your ears. Your pain’s working overtime elsewhere.
And here you are, sitting in the car, in the desert, in winter, because she’s still out there. And if you don’t catch her, then there’s plenty others waiting to recruit. The world doesn’t need any more hellhounds, black dogs, whatever else you’re calling them these days. So here’s to part-fucking-two, no pit stops.
Sam swears he heard her howl. Before. A while ago. Maybe.
You lean forward, scrawl S A G E ? into the condensation that fogs the windshield.
You think? Sam replies. He says, I feel like you let plenty of blood out there. And we’re nowhere near the house.
He sniffs at his shirt and sneezes. More fiberglass fuzz.
You let yourself zone out, watching your bonfire smolder, a red burst just visible from the car. Not a summoning spell as much as it is a honeypot—your blood, and fire, and earth. (A whole desert and only two of you, so if you’re ever gonna catch her, you have to make her come.)
We should wait, Sam decides.
He says it a second time.
We should wait.
If he finds his one-sided conversation weird, he doesn’t let on. You wonder if this is just what Sam would do all day if you weren’t here. Talk to himself. Sam itches at his head again.
If you take a breather, shower away the sage, the insulation, you’d be less miserable. Or Sam would, anyway. You’re pretty sure your misery is inescapable at this point. You almost wouldn’t mind an ER, though summoning black dogs anywhere near a hospital, the AYCE of the longpig world, is probably frowned upon. So here you are, in the desert.
We should wait, Sam repeats a third time.
You know Sam wants that shower, and that’s why he says Wait. It must be the wrong move, after all. If it’s something Sam wants, then it must be wrong.
You didn’t mean for him to ever feel like that.
You listen to him breathe again, unwillfully steady. It sounds nothing like Sam alert, Sam hunting. Or Sam studiously and strenuously existing, which is always how he’s felt to you.
Then he’s awake, and you think, Thank God, because people asleep aren’t that interesting. You think, My shift’s not up yet. Sammy, go back to sleep.
You okay? You ask. Which is fine and then stupid, because the last syllable hurts like hell. You sound like you’ve been screaming for years and years.
Yeah, Sam answers. He says, She did something to my hip. Fuck--
Between you and him, the Impala’s basically a geriatric ward on wheels. All this, for a ghost that no one knows and a house that no one lives in.
You know you’re not allowed to blame her for your pain. Not even for the liquid diet you know you’ve got coming. (You can’t even name a liquid for every day of the week. If you just don’t eat, maybe you can stave off this despair.) She is no one. She has no story, no vengeance. She’s just not that kind of ghost. You want to blame her anyway.
I can’t sleep, Sam announces. Drop your pants.
There’s literally killer ghost out there, you reply.
You can’t quite muster surprise, but maybe it would have been appropriate. Sam’s order doesn’t sound abrupt to you, though—it’s only what Sam’s been saying with his lungs and eyes and fingers, and even his bum hip, all this time. Another thing he wants and think it’s wrong to have. You ask, just to test him, to give him one last out, You sure your hip’s ready for this, grandma?
Sam says, Stop talking.
Honestly, it’s good advice. Your jaw is throbbing.
But then Sam’s turning down the waistband of your jeans, and your zipper curls down. Your ass chafes warm as Sam tugs and you scoot and the denim inches down you. You weren’t expecting him to be that quick. You’re so fucking tired.
Fucking— you growl, as you attempt to hold yourself above the seat as Sam pulls. Every muscle in your back knots and burns.
Don’t talk, Sam hisses, and his neck bends toward your dick as he jerks your boxers down your thighs. The elastic snaps back up under your balls, which feels stupid, but Sam leaves it. You feel the fringe of his hair and then his lips, dry and hot. His tongue is wet.
You and him have never done this before.
For a split second, you consider grabbing the door handle, tumbling outward headfirst into the desert. It’d be an honest mistake.
You should clarify: You’ve fucked each other before. Whatever. But you’ve never done it this way.
Sam works his tongue around your dick, sending dizzying sensations up your spine, in your ears, hot as your blood rushes forth. You’d grit your teeth, but you can’t. Tense your throat, but you can’t.
You’d grab him, dig your nails in like grappling hooks and draw blood, but you won’t.
You’re not sure if you’re into this. You were half out of your mind to start with, pain hacking away at your sense of control, and that never puts you in a good mood. With whatever Sam’s doing, you’re losing your mind completely and it’s fucking good but you’re not sure if you’re not sure if you’re not sure if you’re ready you’re not sure if Sam is ready.
You’ve watched him skulk out of the bathroom, smelling so clean he could shit soap, refusing to look at you. You’re never sure if he regrets you, or if he wishes he did.
You hate seeing him down there. It’s not that you’re against blowjobs--hell no—but it varies by chick, and it sure as hell varies by Sam. And with Sam, nothing ever feels totally right.
Are you okay with this? Sam asks suddenly. Probably because he was getting somewhere, and then he wasn’t.
You tell him Yes.
He kisses the tip of your dick, big and sloppy and more like the way your lips feel right now than you know Sam’s normal kisses do. Then he stripes your dick with his tongue, up and down and up again, and oh, he gets somewhere.
Before you come and your mind wipes clean, the fucking thought you have is, Where is Sam?
Where is he even putting his body?
It doesn’t seem physically possible, him down there and them in the car. Unless he doesn’t have legs.
You remember him in the cloud of sage, nothing but torso and smoke.
You remember old stories.
Look for the feet. If it doesn’t have them, then you know what it is. And you know what to do.
Get up, you bark, because you can’t do it anymore. You just can’t.
Sam’s head pops up, says, What?
He looks hurt, a little embarrassed.
This is not a performance issue, you assure him, though you’re not sure how to explain that alongside the speed at which you’re putting on your jeans. He's fine, you tell him. You say: You’re good. You’re really good. Sam—
It’s just—him, down there, below you. Your baby brother. You can’t fucking do it. Even though it was his own idea, and you definitely weren’t driving that bus. You’d wanted to hold his head, brush your fingers through his hair. But it had felt too much like holding him there. Pushing his mouth to your dick and holding. You just— You can’t.
Get up, you tell him again.
I can’t, he says. Uh, help.
You see where the rest of him went now—under the steering wheel, up against the brakes, all curled in on himself like a perished spider. Speaking from personal experience, you can vouch that it had probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
This is how you end up circling the car, jeans slung low around your hips, belt wherever Sam goddamn tossed it, your zipper a little too much to handle in this moment.
You tug Sam out, mindful of his jacked hip, and he pushes. The strength you draw on, because you don’t have anything else left, is anger. Resentment, really. Or suspicion. Because why’d he do it? His mouth on your— Why right now? When you obviously can’t reciprocate. Not tit for tat.
What’s that big brain of his up to?
I think it’s just a bone bruise, Sam says as he works his hip. It looks like he’s trying to tread air. He doesn’t look like a criminal sexual mastermind. He doesn’t look like he’s playing you at all. He’s just Sam, stiff and sore and standing in the middle of the desert, in the middle of the night.
He says, Man, she really got you good. We should really—
Still breathing, you counter. Still breathing and not bleeding.
Speaking of, you say, and reach for your knife. It’s not there, it’s probably at the bottom of the car somewhere, but Sam’s got you covered.
Bigger fire? He suggests.
Bigger fire. This is always the answer.
Here is her story as you know it: This ghost is a goddamn horny son of a bitch.
You probably dropped a good pint of blood in that fire, before. And you’re on your way to another, maybe more—you’re starting to feel a little like shit—when she shows up, all sound. Claws against red rock sand, bulk shaking down the tufts of brush. You hear the vibration of her jaw in yours, and the feel of her teeth rattles all down your throat. Like change in a gumball machine.
The thing is, you haven’t even lit the goddamn fire. She shouldn’t even care yet—the trap’s not set. Sam’s explanation, after the fact, is that she was attracted to the smell of sex. Fuck blood when you can have semen.
You repeat: Goddamn horny son of a bitch.
In the moment, you keep still, blood still running down your arm and sinking dark into the sand with all the rest. Sam takes his first shot with you still on the ground like that, and like an idiot you breathe in all the sand the shot kicks up when it hits earth. You roll, coughing and bleeding, out of the way. You hear her yelp.
Good, good, you tell yourself. You replace your earlier chant: Goddamn, goddamn goddamn.
It’s not that you don’t trust Sam’s aim, but goddamn.
No, good. Good, because you hear her whine again; she cries, but doesn’t disappear.
You’re not sure why tearing a ghost from its house makes it real—realish—the way it does, and you’re not sure why in Arizona it’s always black dogs. Maybe one day these will be important philosophical questions, but right now your brother’s armed and you’re in his lines, and so is a dog, and she’s pissed.
Dean! Sam warns.
Ribs shoulder groin—three points of impact and the sound of her breath, long invisible tongue. You, staring up at the sky straight through her. You shoot her point blank, and she falls into you. Not onto, but in.
You feel her heaviness.
You miss the interregnum, between adrenaline’s rule and Sam’s, but this is about when Sam brings up his horny ghost theory. You’re not sure if he’s serious—if this is honestly what he has the space of mind to be working through right now—or if he wants to make you laugh. If he thinks he’s losing you, and knows he can’t carry you.
You’re fine. The weight of your ghost sinks to the pit of your stomach, slides well-practiced to the place where you keep such things. She meets that image that you have, of Sam below you, Sam with your dick down his throat. This is where you keep such things.
You wonder, when Sam finally gets his shower, how much he’ll need to wash away.
You let your hand linger in his when he helps you up. His fingers fall away sticky with your blood.
Together, you stagger home.
You’d tell him, you’re pretty sure. How much you love him. How hard that is. But it’s nothing Sam doesn’t already know. There’s no story to tell. You know who you are.
A few weeks later, your jaw still wired shut, you listen to the clipped, neat huffs of Sam’s breaths as you jerk him off.
You stroke faster.