Link Part Two
Sam assumes that Dean’s lurking around somewhere upstairs, cooling off, but when he goes up to use the bathroom in the early morning, he can’t hear anything. He tries to tell himself that Dean’s sleeping, but when he finds all the rooms empty, he has to concede that Dean’s stormed off.
All the anger Sam’s been holding onto vanishes into panic, choking him. He grabs a gun and rips the front door open, convinced that he’s about to see Dean eviscerated on the front porch, but there’s nothing there. The road is eerily empty, and Sam takes that as a bad omen. Even though it’s still dark, the sun still hours from rising, Sam takes just enough time to grab an oversized jacket and fill his pockets with ammo before he runs outside. Lucifer calls out a mocking warning, but Sam just ignores him. It’s easier to pretend that he knows what he’s doing.
Sam knows he’s being reckless, and there’s a million places Dean could be. Squatting in a neighboring house or foraging in a grocery store or dead on the side of the road, so he just takes the same path they’ve followed for the past week looking for a trace of the Leviathans.
It’s fruitless. By noon Sam’s almost died three separate times, is running low on bullets and there’s no sign that Dean even came this way. He’s shaking with desperation, but the zombies are thickening, and he’s not suicidal enough to think he can get any further. It takes twice as long to backtrack to the house, what with his lack of a serviceable long-range weapon, and by the time he gets back to it, he’s dizzy with overexertion. Dean’s still not returned. Sam takes the time to get two more guns, more shells, and spends ten minutes of dry-heaving into the toilet before he heads out again.
Dean doesn’t come back for five days, and by then Sam’s run himself into the ground looking for him. Lucifer’s been enjoying himself taunting Sam, and the pictures he paints make Sam continually sick to his stomach. He’s beginning to completely lose hope that Dean’s even alive, and then on the sixth morning alone, he wakes from a fitful sleep, and Dean’s there, looking at him. He’s gruff, scruffy, and Sam grabs at him without even fully realizing what’s happened, desperate to make sure Dean’s not a ghost. He’s solid beneath Sam’s palm, thank God, but he flinches away almost as soon as Sam makes contact.
“Where have you been?” Sam asks. He can’t manage anger, just solid relief.
“Out,” Dean says shortly.
“I’ve been going crazy trying to find you,” Sam says, struggling to sit up.
“Really?” Dean asks. “I’m surprised. Thought you were better off without me. You shoulda been happy.”
“Don’t,” Sam says desperately.
“You’re the one who said it, Sam,” Dean points out.
“I didn’t mean...” Sam starts but the words stick in his throat.
“Sounded like it to me,” says Dean bitterly. “Don’t hold back, Sammy. Tell me what you really think about me.”
“Stop,” Sam pleads. He reaches for Dean, but Dean jerks back violently.
“I’ll do it for you then,” Dean says. “You’re a fuck-up, Dean. An idiot. Not good enough for the perfect Sam.”
“That’s not fucking fair,” Sam protests. “I’d never say that.”
“You screwed me up, Dean. What, you thought I actually gave a shit? We’re only fucking because you’re the last possible option.”
Emotion is twisting in Sam’s throat, and he thinks he’s going to vomit on the sour taste of it. The words coming out of Dean’s mouth are perfectly crafted barbs, and they’re hitting home. Before he knows it, he’s pushing Dean back violently, a cry wrenched from his chest. From the look on Dean’s face, Sam just barely escapes retaliation as he pulls himself back up into a sitting position.
“You know I don’t think that,” Sam says. “You know what you are to me. Don’t turn this into a pity party.”
“Like the one you’ve been having since you found out?” Dean asks gesturing to Sam’s stomach.
“That’s different,” Sam protests. “I’m allowed to be upset about finding out that I have something growing in me.”
“Tell me straight,” Dean demands. “Do you blame me for it?”
The suggestion is so ludicrous that Sam can’t help but stare at Dean dumbly for a second. The thought had never really crossed his mind. Blame demons, angels, their crazy, fucked up lives? Sure. But never Dean.
“I mean, I’m the one who started the whole goddamn more-than-brothers thing,” Dean says.
“I never said no,” Sam says stupidly.
“Did you even want to do it in the first place?” Dean prods.
“Yes,” responds Sam without thinking. Dean looks shocked at that response, like it wasn’t something that he was expecting. “I always did.”
“Why?” Dean asks.
“You’re mine,” Sam says. He doesn’t have a better answer than that. “You’ve always been mine.”
Dean doesn’t respond, and they sit in silence for several minutes. Sam can’t think of anything to say. He’s used up all of his energy saying even this much.
Sam’s dozing off when Dean pipes up. “You gotta stop with the risks, Sam. I’m not gonna watch you die. I’ve filled my quota on that shit.”
Sam mulls it over in his head and then says, “I’m not sitting here and doing nothing while you’re out there.”
“I’ll stay in here,” Dean says quietly. “We don’t have to find the Leviathans. I mean, seriously, what are we even gonna do if we get rid of them? The world’s fucked anyways.”
“I’m going with you when you forage,” Sam says.
“Deal,” Dean agrees. “At least until you start waddling even more than you are now.”
“Fuck off,” Sam says, and then he yawns hugely.
“Lie down, you big lummox,” Dean says. “You’re gonna fall over. And shove over. I’m not sleeping on that shitty couch.”
There’s a perfectly serviceable air mattress on the other side of the room, a spoil of past rummaging, but Sam doesn’t point it out. He wants that contact, at least tonight.
He’s about to pass out again, his back pressed against Dean’s, when Dean says, “You gotta accept this baby, Sam. It’s not going away.”
Sam doesn’t have an answer for that, and Dean’s snoring before he can say anything in response.
It turns out that life is fucking boring when the only thing to do is watch movies and eat. Dean keeps up with his promise of not leaving, but it’s pretty clear that he’s going crazy. He keeps cleaning the guns, even though they’re not hurting for supplies. Conversely, Sam yearns for the internet, but he’s leery of signing on in case something is monitoring the connections.
“Is this what we’re going to do for the rest of our lives?” Sam asks. He’s tried not to be contrary over the past couple of weeks, but he’s stagnating here. Getting bigger and bigger and going stir-crazy.
“If it means that you won’t get eaten, then yes,” Dean grumbles.
“Honestly, I think I’d rather die than live like this,” Sam complains.
“It’s not like we have much else to do,” Dean points out. “I’d let you go target shoot from the attic, but I don’t exactly want a horde of zombies banging the door down.”
“You could cut this thing out of me early,” Sam suggests, and Dean gives him an evil eye.
“Yeah, no,” Dean says. “Amateur surgery isn’t really my thing anymore.”
Dean turns his attention back to whatever he’s put on the TV--some lame sitcom. They’ve watched three entire seasons, and Sam’s about ready to put his foot through the set.
Sam squirms in his seat and looks over at Dean. Things have been less strained between them, and he wants. There’s no way he can actively seduce his brother without feeling like an idiot, but he’s tempted to do it anyway. He shifts again, trying to ignore the pool of arousal in his gut.
Fucking hormones. Fucking parasite.
Dean slants him a sideways look. “You’re twitchy today.”
“I’m bored,” Sam corrects.
“Find a book then, geek-boy,” Dean suggests. “You’re distracting me.”
“This shit is awful,” Sam says. “Don’t even try to pretend you like it. You just don’t have anything else to do.”
Dean shrugs half-heartedly, the light from the television playing across his face. “You have another idea, princess?”
Sam’s throat is suddenly dry, though from nerves or heat, he can’t determine. “Maybe?” he offers, and Jesus, he sounds like a fifteen-year old virgin.
That gets Dean’s full attention, and he turns fully. “Gonna share with the class?” he asks.
Sam doesn’t have an answer to that, isn’t even going to try and put it into words. Instead he leans over and presses a kiss to Dean’s mouth. It’s oddly intimate, and Sam’s rounded belly presses between them, an unwelcome separation.
Dean’s surprised, jerks back seconds after Sam makes contact. “What the hell was that?” he splutters, and Sam immediately turns bright red.
“It’s not like we haven’t done it before,” Sam says weakly.
“Not like that,” Dean says. “And anyways, I thought you were done with this kinda thing.” Sam feels that hit right in his chest, and he curls in on himself slightly from the rejection, hugging the edge of the couch.
“I never said that,” he says stiffly.
“What, all the insults about our incest baby were just jokes?” Dean scoffs.
“You can’t deny that this is fucked up,” Sam offers, and Dean laughs humorlessly.
“Yeah, Sam, I know. So that’s why I figured we were just not gonna do it anymore.”
“When’s that ever stopped us?” Sam asks. “I don’t regret starting this, Dean.”
“Maybe I do,” Dean snaps. “You ever think that?”
“But you don’t,” Sam points out. “And if we’re both on-board the incest train, we might as well not get off. You’re the only thing I have left, Dean. And I don’t care enough to be upset about that.”
Dean doesn’t respond, but when Sam kisses him again, he doesn’t pull away. He’s responsive, curling his hands around Sam’s biceps, not flinching as Sam frames his face with his hands. Dean tastes like stale coffee and the crappy canned pasta they had for dinner, and Sam should find it gross. He should, but he doesn’t, and he shivers as he pushes to make the kiss deeper, licking his way into Dean’s mouth.
Dean is pressing back now, pushing Sam further against the arm of the couch. Sam can tell he’s trying to be careful, to not put too much pressure against Sam’s stomach, but Sam wants this. He needs the weight of it, needs Dean to pin him down. Letting one of his legs slip to the floor, he pulls Dean closer. It’s awkward though, the couch much too small, and Dean breaks away with a curse as he almost topples off.
“You know, there’s a perfectly good air mattress like ten feet away,” Dean says, slightly breathless, and Sam nods in agreement. It kind of breaks the moment when Dean has to pull Sam up to compensate for Sam’s lack of leverage, but Dean finds the whole situation funny enough to laugh and kiss Sam firmly.
“Fuck off,” Sam mumbles, but it’s easier to press close like this, easier to make-up for his oddly shaped body. Dean’s mouth is curved against Sam’s, a rare smile that makes Sam’s stomach churn pleasantly. They stand there for a while, lazily kissing, Dean’s hands tangled in Sam’s hair. It feels almost indulgent to be able to take their time like this, to be able to ignore everything else that’s going on and just feel. Sam lets Dean take the lead, doesn’t want the responsibility, and Dean just keeps kissing him, slow passes of his tongue that Sam responds eagerly to.
Dean’s gentler than he usually is, eventually guiding Sam towards the bed and pushing him down onto it, never breaking apart for long. A part of Sam wants to demand something faster, rougher, but he doesn’t quite make the effort. The way Dean is holding him is making something ache deep within his chest, and he isn’t ready to let it go, not yet. When Dean nudges him back so he’s lying down, spread out on the mattress, and starts kissing his jaw, Sam wants to say something. The words stick in his throat.
Dean takes his time, mapping Sam’s skin with his mouth. Sam keeps thinking that it should be weird--this feels more meaningful than anything he’s shared with Dean--but it doesn’t. It’s making him shudder, and the realization that he likes it, likes them like this, is staggering.
When Dean uncovers Sam’s stomach, he backs away a little, just looking at it. Ever since the parasite had physically made his presence known, Sam had been careful to keep his belly hidden under clothing, so Dean’s staring makes him twist away.
“Don’t,” Dean says gently. He puts his hands on the swell, cocking his head, and Sam hates it and loves it and the conflict is making him stupid with it. Dean drops a kiss on the roundest part, and Sam can’t help but arch into it. The parasite shifts inside of him, almost as if it can sense Dean’s presence, and from the jerk of Dean’s hands, Dean notices.
“Jesus,” Dean breathes, and he spreads his fingers out wider, trying to catch more.
“Don’t,” Sam says uncomfortably.
“My kid too, Sammy,” Dean rebukes gently, but he sounds epically weirded out. Sam doesn’t have a response for that, just turns his head so he’s staring at the wall. Dean gets the hint and moves his fingers to Sam’s side instead of resting them on his belly, and continues his exploration. He sucks a hickey into the curve of Sam’s hip, unbuttoning Sam’s jeans and slowly working them down.
Sam’s hard, his cock straining against his boxers, the head poking wetly out of the flap, but Dean ignores it. He throws Sam’s jeans somewhere off into the corner and turns his attention back to the jut of Sam’s pelvic bone, teeth nipping at the skin pulled tight there. Sam’s making these little whimper-moans under his breath, can’t help it, and he keeps pulling at Dean’s head.
“Pushy,” Dean mouths, but he doesn’t make Sam beg, instead pushing Sam’s underwear down, nuzzling at Sam’s dick as he does so. The head of Sam’s cock smears wetly against Dean’s mouth, and Sam groans loudly as Dean parts his lips and pushes the tip of his tongue into the slit.
“Fuck,” Sam hisses, a drawn out sound. Dean’s not really great at this--never had the practice--but it’s been so long. It’s wet suction, making Sam writhe, and he drops his head back against the mattress so he doesn’t have to watch. All he can hear is the panting of his breaths, hard and harsh in his ears, and all of this concentration is centered on his dick, on Dean sucking his cock. It feels more intense than he remembers, a coiling rush centered deep in his belly.
Dean pulls off without warning, sitting up on his haunches and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. He’s grinning, feral and predatory.
“What the fuck?” Sam complains breathlessly.
“Some of us have needs too,” Dean comments, his voice pleasure-rough.
“What are you gonna do about it?” Sam challenges, watching as Dean struggles out of his clothes. He’s half-expecting Dean to try and wet his fingers, work Sam open, but Dean just makes his way back up Sam’s body, tracing the same trails he’d covered previously. When he kisses Sam fully, Sam can taste himself on Dean’s tongue, the bitter tang of precome. Sam’s so involved in the kiss that he doesn’t notice Dean maneuvering him, pushing at Sam’s leg, moving him onto his side, until they’ve settled into a position that lets Dean push his own hard cock against Sam’s.
Sam gasps into Dean’s mouth, and Dean doesn’t hesitate before he wraps his hand awkwardly around the both of them. Sam can’t help it, bucks into the touch, the rough slip-slide of his dick against Dean’s, the callused feel of Dean’s fingers catching against the sensitive skin there. Dean is panting into his mouth, and it’s more erotic than it has any right to be, and Sam tips over the edge much sooner than he expects. As Sam shudders against him, Dean groans lowly, capturing Sam’s mouth in a bruising kiss. Sam’s too overtaken by the aftershocks of his orgasm to notice when Dean comes, but when his senses filter back, he knows from the slackness of Dean’s grip, how the kiss has turned into nothing more than the touch of Dean’s mouth against his own.
Dean is the first to pull away, slumps against the mattress in a more comfortable position, still pressed tight against Sam. The only sound in the room is the perfect counterpoint of their breathing, and Sam shifts sleepily. His orgasm took more out of him than he thought, and even though he’s sticky and gross, he can’t manage the energy to get up and clean off. Instead, he lets himself fall asleep, taking comfort in the warm press of Dean’s body.
Dean’s already awake when Sam blinks his eyes open the next morning. He isn’t doing anything weird, isn’t outright staring at Sam, but Sam can still feel the tension in the air.
“What?” Sam asks, his voice deep and gravelly from sleep.
“Are we doing this then?” Dean responds, oddly emotionless.
“Doing what?” Sam says stupidly, knuckling at his eye.
Dean makes a little disbelieving noise in the back of his throat, but he still doesn’t look at Sam. It’s almost as if he’s embarrassed. “This. You. Me. Incest relationship.”
“So articulate,” Sam mutters. “Careful, Dean. This is turning into a chick flick moment."
“Shaddup,” Dean says, but he’s stiff, like he’s still waiting for Sam’s response.
“Yeah, Dean,” Sam replies, something catching in his throat. “I guess we are. Unless you want to stop.”
“Do you?” Dean challenges.
Sam swallows thickly. “No.”
After a pause, Dean clears his throat, and says, “Me neither. This is really fucked up, y’know?”
“Not a surprise there,” Sam placates. He feels like this revelation should feel more powerful than it does. Instead, it just seems inevitable. Like it’s always been there, waiting to be uncovered.
Dean’s quiet for a minute, and then continues. “You gotta promise me something.”
“What?” Sam asks warily.
“If that thing that you have,” Dean begins awkwardly, “in your stomach, if it’s a demon or some other creature, I’ll be right there with you smothering it. But if it’s a baby. If it’s a normal baby, you gotta promise not to hate it. ‘Cause it’s your kid, Sam. Don’t do that to it.”
“It’s not normal,” Sam says.
“But if it is,” replies Dean harshly.
“If it is,” Sam agrees, “then I’ll try to feel something for it.”
“You’d better,” Dean responds fiercely.
For two people who spend their days doing the same thing, it’s weird how different things are after that. Before they’d just been messing around when they’d been lonely or stressed or horny; it had been almost impersonal. But now, adding Sam’s parasite into the mix, and the fact that Dean was the only person Sam had seen for about five months, their relationship is...different. Dean is still Dean, still Sam’s fucking annoying older brother, but he can’t deny that there’s something more now.
It’s a mind-fuck to say the least.
Sam slowly eases up about letting Dean go out without him, even though he hates it, feels fucking useless when Dean leaves to forage. The parasite is making him a liability, fat and swollen and slow, and even Sam isn’t stubborn enough not to see that Dean is safer alone than he is trying to protect Sam from the elements. Still, whenever Dean ventures out, Sam stations himself in the attic and sharp-shoots as many of the fuckers as he can. It makes him feel better.
They’ve just managed to settle into a routine when things go and fuck up again. Sam supposes he should’ve expected it; they’ve never had smooth sailing. It’s early evening, the light dim in the sky, and Sam and Dean are once again stationed in the basement, Sam involved in a book Dean got from a supermarket three miles away, Lucifer providing lewd commentary on said book, and Dean avoiding Sam because, in his words, Sam is acting like a cranky bitch.
When something crashes upstairs, he and Dean immediately jump into action. They have a stockpile of weapons sitting on one of the old sewing tables, but Sam just pulls his Glock from where he’s stationed it in between the couch cushions and clicks the safety off. Dean goes for the more dramatic option, hefting the shotgun into one hand.
“No good for close range, idiot,” Sam hisses, but Dean just gives him a sharp look and holds one finger to his mouth. It’s gone eerily quiet upstairs, and Sam doesn’t know what to think. Zombies generally crash around, lacking in hand-eye coordination and the absence of noise makes him think that something else is up there. Which isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Dean’s climbing the stairs first, but it’s more due to the fact that it took Sam a couple of tries to get himself up off the couch than anything else. Still, he scowls, creeping up behind Dean into the living room. There’s still enough ambient light to see the dark figure standing there, and Dean raises the shotgun, ready to blow a hole in its head when it talks.
“Wait, don’t shoot! Jesus,” the thing cries, only it’s not a thing. Sam knows that voice.
Dean lowers the shotgun slightly so it’s not aimed at the thing’s head and then says, “Chuck?”
“Has anyone ever told you that you’re too trigger happy?” Chuck asks, stepping into the light. It’s been years since they’d last seen him, since before Sam went to hell, and he looks different. Gaunter, maybe, and pale, his face covered by a patchy beard.
“What the fuck are you doing here?” Sam asks incredulously, stepping out from behind Dean. He only belatedly realizes that his stomach is a dead giveaway to the whole pregnant hunter thing.
“Dreamt about it,” Chuck says. “What else?”
“Jesus Christ,” Dean mutters, scrubbing his free hand over his face.
“Yeah, tell me about it,” Chuck mutters. “You think I like having a direct download of you two in my brain? My nightmares are giving me nightmares.”
“How did you even get here?” Sam asks, desperate to steer the conversation away from the whole incest baby discussion. “You live like a thousand miles away.”
“Drove,” Chuck supplies, shrugging.
“Through the zombies,” Dean says skeptically. “And you’re still alive?”
“Yeah,” Chuck says, “arch-angel’s still following me around. You wouldn’t believe how many things it had to smoke so I didn’t die getting here.”
“Well that’s convenient,” Dean admits.
“If you have your own angel bodyguard, why did you need to come find us?” Sam asks.
“It’s not like you have a working cell anymore,” Chuck points out. “And I kinda had something I wanted to warn you about. You know. Prophet thing.” He points to his head, and Sam groans.
“What now?” Dean asks angrily. “We’re never gonna catch a goddamn break.”
“Leviathans,” Chuck responds simply. “Congregating here. I don’t know what they want, but it’s not good.”
Chuck tells them all he knows, which is pretty much jack shit, and after three hours of discussion that gets them absolutely nowhere, they decide that it’s probably best to try and lay low. They don’t have nearly enough Borax to deal with an infestation this size, and considering Dick Roman’s immune to the stuff anyways, they’re pretty much fucked in a fight.
It messes with their dynamic, Chuck being there. Sam’s not used to having to account for another person in their space, and even though Chuck obviously knows what’s going on between them, Sam’s not doing anything in front of his face.
Somehow it’s even more frustrating to be stuck inside with Chuck underfoot, and it makes Sam itch for something resembling an adventure. There’s only so many awkward poker games he can live through, and Chuck is twitchy, always looking at Sam’s distended stomach. He’s also managed to smuggle what looks like an entire liquor store worth of inventory in his car, and whenever he brings more of the stuff in, Dean won’t let Sam drink it. Sam gets his revenge with laxative powder he finds in the upstairs bedroom, but the overprotective routine for the parasite still smarts.
Sam’s on edge every time Chuck and Dean leave to scope out the neighborhood. Statistically, Dean should be safe, what with the angel protection detail, but something about it turns Sam’s stomach. He keeps an eye out from the window in the attic, scowling until they come back, armed to the teeth with everything he can drag upstairs.
Of course, one day, barely an hour after they’ve left, ten Leviathans show up on the block out of the blue, obvious by their lackadaisical movements and lack of weaponry. Sam ducks away from the window, his heart going triple-time. One or two he could take care of on his own, but if they find him, there’s no way this isn’t ending in a blood bath. Red, human blood, not the black kind the Leviathans are made of. Sam awkwardly fits himself into a position where he can spy on them without being seen, and it becomes clear that they’re searching each house, quickly, methodically. Sam spends three minutes desperately trying to think of a way to escape, to go out the back and run to another safe house, but there’s no way. He’s too fucking slow, and there are plenty of zombies, milling around and paying the Leviathans no mind. It’s pretty clear that Sam doesn’t have an escape there.
When they creep up the walk, Sam immediately makes himself still, the weed-sprayer full of Borax held tightly against his side. He has a machete in his other hand, ready to behead as many of the motherfuckers as he can before they eat him alive.
It’s quick. They must have super-sensory hearing, because they find him, snarling and open-mouthed as they descend upon him. Sam is quick with the chemicals, with his knife, but he’s only able to dispatch of two or three before they converge on him, all of them drawn by the commotion.
Sam doesn’t have time for a last thought before he blacks out.
When Sam wakes up, his head is throbbing, his stomach roiling, and Dick Roman is staring at him, predatory grin on his face. He pulls at his hands, but they’re bound to a chair with thick rope, no slack.
“I wouldn’t,” Dick says smoothly, crossing one leg over the other. He’s dressed in a crisp suit, looking everything like the mogul he’d been before the world ended. “You don’t want to bloody up those pretty hands of yours.”
“Fuck you,” Sam spits. It’s hard to think through his headache, to reason above cataloguing his various aches and pains, the wet slide of something on his neck.
“Touchy,” Dick coos. “And after I had my pets keep you alive. You’re not very appreciative, Sam Winchester.”
“I’ll live,” Sam says shortly.
Dick shrugs nonchalantly, examining his fingernails. “For now, I suppose. But once we get Dean here, I’m going to have fun letting my top soldiers eat you up.”
“Really intimidated here,” Sam says dryly. “What, you want me to start begging? Kill me then. And don’t bother with the monologue. I don’t care.”
“Not even a thought for your little genetic mishap there?” Dick asks, gesturing at Sam’s belly.
Sam’s heart jump-skips in his chest. It may be a parasite, but it’s his parasite, goddammit. Roman doesn’t get to eat it as an appetizer. Unfortunately, Sam doesn’t have a plan, so he continues with the whole impassive routine.
“Eat it first,” Sam says dully. “I don’t give a shit.”
“How uncharacteristically callous,” Dick comments. “I wonder if your brother feels the same way. I mean, it’s his progeny, isn’t it? According to the humans we eviscerated from that little hold-down earlier this month, it is.”
Sam doesn’t answer, just stares blankly ahead. Dick just shrugs again and continues, “Guess we’ll know soon enough. Dean is in for a nasty surprise once he returns to that hovel you’ve been squatting in.”
“What an ingenious plan,” Sam says. “I’m so impressed.”
Dick’s smile sours, but he doesn’t move from his chair, just fists his hands around the armrests. “You know, you Winchesters have been a pain in my ass since I was resurrected. I’m going to be happy to take you down a peg.”
“So we’re back to the whole you’re gonna kill me thing,” Sam says, rolling his eyes. “Not like that hasn’t happened before.”
“Maybe you don’t care, but I bet your brother will,” Dick says lightly. “Watching you and his spawn die at the same time? Might be a bit damaging to his will, don’t you think? Maybe he’ll make another deal.”
Something constricts tightly in Sam’s chest at the suggestion, but he forces his face to stay calm. “Dean’s a big boy,” Sam says. “It’s been a long time since then. He’ll survive.”
“Well, we’ll see within the hour, I suppose,” Dick responds, standing up and brushing imaginary dirt from his pants. “I’m excited. This is turning out to be a better afternoon than I anticipated.”
It actually takes more than two hours for the Leviathans to corral Dean and Chuck into their hideaway, and by then, Sam’s rubbed his wrists raw escaping from his restraints while Lucifer laughs from the corner. The Leviathans aren’t too concerned with keeping an eye on him, but he has no weapons, no Borax, and when they come to get him, it’s pitiful how short the fight lasts before they’re frog-marching him to another room. Dean’s already there, looking pale and determined, and Chuck mainly looks like he’s about to vomit.
“Sam, you okay?” Dean calls, sounding for all the world like he’s bored and disinterested.
“Never better,” Sam responds, and Dean relaxes just the tiniest bit at that, his shoulders slumping a fraction of an inch. Dick strides into the room, looking like the world’s biggest asshole, and the surrounding Leviathans stand at attention.
“Dean,” he says warmly. “How good to see you again.”
“I’m jumping with glee,” Dean says. “I’d ask what you want, but I think I already know. You’re really fuckin’ predictable, you know that?”
“That wounds me, Dean,” Dick says, clicking his tongue. He gestures with his right hand, and a beefy Leviathan advances on Sam, who immediately tries to wrench free from the two guards holding his arms. Their grips partially loosen and Sam manages one good uppercut before he’s held tightly again, a bruised cheekbone for the trouble.
“You’re right, Dean,” Dick says. “Why drag this out? You know my motives, I know your weakness, and I have better things to do with my time.” He snaps his fingers, and the meathead Leviathan throws his head up and unleashes his fangs, snapping wildly at nothing.
“You fuckin’ asshole, kill me first,” Dean swears, and Sam can hear the sounds of a struggle, but those teeth are perilously close to his throat and all Sam can think about is how he’s about to be bled like a pig. He manages a few swift kicks to the Leviathan’s lower body, but it hardly deters him.
And then someone’s voice rings out, loud and clear and laced with something powerful. It says something in a language Sam doesn’t recognize and then follows it up with, “Stop.”
The Leviathan’s teeth snap together so quickly that Sam is sure for an instant that his jugular’s just been severed. When he glances up, however, his would-be assailant is just standing there, looking wholly confused and fully human. He steps back, shuffling quicker with every step he takes, but before he can return to his post, he disintegrates into a pile of black dust. Sam’s immediately free as well, surrounded by a ring of ash, and when he looks at Dean, Dean’s just as flabbergasted as Sam feels.
“What are you doing here, old man?” Dick asks, but his tone’s gone oily, sibilant. He seems almost...scared.
Sam’s still trying to take measure of the situation when Chuck steps forward. He’s changed, radiating calm, his eyes hard, and Sam’s instantly intimidated by him, by the way he’s holding himself as he approaches Dick.
“I am the Creator,” Chuck says. “I tire of watching you destroy my world.”
“You are supposed to be dead,” Dick spits. “The angel that let me out thought he was you. Because you’d disappeared.”
“Just because I wasn’t around, doesn’t mean I wasn’t watching,” Chuck says calmly. “And really? An apocalypse? After I’d spent so much energy to divert the original one?”
“You’re weak,” Dick says, his mouth curling. “You can’t do anything to me. Not now.”
“What the fuck is going on?” Dean exclaims. No one pays any attention.
“That attitude and your dirty bloodlust is what put you in Purgatory in the first place,” Chuck says, still advancing. “I will not hesitate to do it again.”
“I will kill you,” Dick promises. “And I will take this earth and own it and bend your creatures to my will.”
“I will not tolerate such an abomination,” Chuck says, and he strikes suddenly, pulling his arm through the air as though he’s encountering a great resistance. Dick responds in turn, and the ensuing clash of light is bright enough that Sam has to shield his eyes from it. When it’s dimmed, Sam’s ears are ringing and Chuck is the only one in the center of the room, his head tilted as he examines the scorched floor.
“Will somebody please tell me what the fuck just happened?” Dean asks weakly. It’s a testament to how shocked he is that he isn’t immediately at Sam’s side taking inventory of any potential injury.
“I hated that thing,” Chuck says, rolling his shoulders. “I’m glad it finally gave me a reason to kill it for good.”
Sam finally unsticks his throat enough to speak. “Chuck...are you God?”
Chuck’s gaze is piercing, and Sam feels an odd calm settle over him. “I have been called that before,” he concedes.
Dean recovers before Sam does, and what comes out of his mouth is practically sacrilegious. “Where the fuck have you been?” he demands, bypassing skepticism and barreling straight into anger. Sam supposes he can sense the same thing as Dean, because he can’t muster up doubt while looking at Chuck. At God.
“I have always been here,” Chuck says calmly. (No, no matter what, Sam can’t call him God. Not yet. Not here).
“Not from what I’ve seen,” Dean snarls.
“Dean, stop,” Sam says weakly. He wonders if he’s about to see his brother smeared across the floor, much like Dick.
“Call it an experiment,” Chuck says. “I gave you free will, no destiny, for a reason. I did not want to intervene again. I promised Noah as such many years ago.”
“Great experiment there,” Dean snarls. “You really hit the nail on this one.”
“I will not apologize to you,” Chuck says, an undercurrent of anger in his voice. “You have shaped your life through your decisions. I do not hold a hand in the mundane trappings of human existence. I control you, but I do not dictate.”
“Why now?” Sam butts in. “The world’s gone to hell before. Why are you stepping in now?”
“I felt it was time,” Chuck says. “You will not see me again, Sam, Dean. I have rectified this evil. I will return to my post.”
“Don’t talk to us like you care,” Dean says. “Don’t.”
“You are my children, Dean,” Chuck says. “I care. I have fashioned you into vessels for my angels. I have saved you both from damnation. And I will allow you to live your lives now as you see fit.”
He flickers into being right next to Sam, presses a kiss to Sam’s forehead, and something snaps in Sam’s head. Lucifer, who had been surveying things with a black look on his face from the side of the room, vanishes. Sam knows that it’s for good this time.
Chuck’s gone, not another word, not a noise. Sam feels a sudden weight settle back down on his shoulders but it’s lighter somehow. Not as strangling. He feels his legs buckle, and he stumbles, getting his equilibrium back somehow. Dean is by his side in an instant, supporting his weight.
“Are you okay?” Dean asks urgently.
“I’m fine,” Sam reassures him. “Dean. I think. I think he fixed my head. I think he took Lucifer away.”
It takes some time for them to find their way out, hampered by the way Dean keeps his knife in combat position as they round every corner and still reeling with the full reappearance of Sam’s sanity. Sam braces himself for zombies when Dean kicks the final door open, but as his eyes adjust to the light, Sam immediately knows that the world is different.
He can hear cars, the low hum of city life, and the air doesn’t smell like death anymore, only smog. Dean’s grip is heavy on his shoulder, and Sam looks up to see a plane snake its way across the sky.
“The motherfucker changed it back,” Dean breathes.
“You’re going to get struck by lightning,” Sam admonishes, but he’s feeling shell-shocked as well.
“Jesus Christ,” Dean whispers, and then, “Just as we were getting used to post-apocalyptic survival. God fucking dammit.”
“Dean. Lightning,” Sam warns.
“C’mon, Sam,” Dean says, his mouth alight with a smile. “Let’s go find my baby.”
Sam half-expects the Impala to be gone once they locate the tiny, abandoned garage they’d left it in, but it’s perfectly intact. Dean spends five minutes stroking its exterior as Sam rolls his eyes, but even Sam can’t deny that sliding into the passenger seat is like coming home. It still smells the same, even after all this time, still smells like Sam and Dean and the hunt. It relaxes Sam, and he settles back in his seat feeling better than he has in a while.
They hit up a PO box, one that Dean swears he’d had fake credit cards forwarded to before the whole zombie apocalypse mess, and lo and behold, they’re there. They gorge themselves on honest-to-god cooked food and Dean rents them a room in a swanky hotel, high above their pay-grade, just because he catches an advert that promises high-pressure showers and plasma-screen televisions. Sam doesn’t care about that shit, but he groans when he collapses on the bed and immediately sinks into the softness of it. The persistent ache in his lower back is dissipating just from this alone.
After almost thirty-six hours of traveling, Sam’s exhausted, drifts off to the sound of Dean talking to someone on his prepaid phone and startles awake what feels like seconds later to Dean’s hand shaking him.
“Let’s get a move on, princess,” Dean prods. “We gotta be in Missouri by seven.”
“Time ‘s it?” Sam slurs, rubbing at his eyes. All he really wants to do is roll over and fall back asleep.
“Almost noon,” Dean supplies. “Dude, you’ve been asleep for fourteen hours. Snoring, too. I was ready to smother your ass.”
It’s weird to be driving again, no zombies to kill or Leviathans to look out for. The only nagging worry Sam has left to think about is the parasite that’s still growing in his stomach, but he can’t find the words to voice it aloud. Somehow it doesn’t seem as important or all-encompassing anymore. When they hit Missouri, Dean coasts into a motel parking lot, rents another room, and leaves Sam alone to “get some shit done.” Sam’s so tired that he doesn’t even question where his brother’s off to, just dozes in and out of consciousness until Dean jimmies the door open and steps inside.
“It’s so fuckin’ weird to not be in Texas anymore,” Dean says in lieu of a greeting. “It’s almost like I need to wear a jacket everywhere.”
“Pussy,” Sam says, pulling himself into a seated position. “Where have you been?”
“Getting these,” responds Dean, throwing a little envelope on the bed along with a fluttering piece of paper. Sam picks up the paper first, reading through it once perfunctorily and then once in detail. He can feel the blood draining from his face when he slips the envelope open and out slide two silver wedding bands.
“Dean,” Sam says, sounding strangled. “Why do you have a marriage certificate here with both of our names on it?”
“Gotta sell it,” Dean says, shrugging. “If people think you’re my fertile, they’ll be less suspicious. It’s easier this way when we get you in to see a doctor to make sure you just don’t have a really big tumor growing in you.”
“I’m not your anything,” Sam says hotly. “And I’m not going to a doctor.”
“You’re my brother,” Dean counters. “And fuck yes we’re going to see a doctor. You have something growing in your stomach and the last time anyone qualified looked at you was six months ago. This isn’t up for debate, Sam. I’m sorry that you’re chicken-shit, but you’re gonna go to the hospital if I have to drag you there myself.”
Dean is using his it’s-futile-to-argue-with-me-so-don’t-ev
“Got some guy in town who’ll do it, no questions asked. Fed him some shit about you wanting to symbolize the struggle of fertiles everywhere.”
“Fuck you, Dean,” Sam says tiredly.
“Can we not do this?” Dean asks, sounding equally exhausted. “We finally got the world back. There’s nothing hunting us or on our tails, and like it or not, that thing in your stomach is coming. And it’s probably a baby, and we have to deal with it, Sam. C’mon, dude, you’re supposed to be the rational one.”
“I can’t take care of a baby,” Sam says. “Especially not this one. We should give it up.”
“And wait ten years for some witch or demon or shapeshifter to find it and use it against us?” Dean asks. “No. That baby’s a Winchester. It’s ours.”
“This is going to end like everything else in our lives does,” Sam says. “In disaster.”
“Least we’re prepared,” replies Dean.
The dirty tattooist, the only one in town, inks Sam’s wrist in under half an hour. He and Dean lay low until it heals, until the little leaf looks like it’s always been there, and then Dean makes an appointment for Sam in the next big city and, true to his word, forces Sam to go when Sam tries to welch. It’s surreal to be sitting in a waiting room, surrounded by expectant mothers and one young-faced boy, pressed close to his brother, feeling ill. Time stretches on for an eternity, and by the time Sam’s name is called, his heart’s practically in his throat.
The nurse takes all of Sam’s vitals, starkly opposite in character to Julia, smiling and bubbly. She asks him when his last appointment was, and when he admits that he hasn’t seen a doctor yet, she hides her judgment. Sam still doesn’t like her on principle and tells Dean as much when she steps outside to get the doctor.
The doctor, a stern-faced man, is much more vocal in his disapproval, clucking when Sam tells him that he hasn’t been following a balanced diet, hasn’t been sleeping well. He stays in the room as the ultrasound technician preps Sam, and Sam makes himself look at the screen when they locate the parasite. It’s a baby-shaped alien blob, and no one exclaims in disgust or starts bustling around as though something’s wrong. That almost unnerves Sam more than if it had happened as such.
“Judging from your measurements and this scan,” the doctor says, “I’d put you around seven months. We can extrapolate a due date from there, but I’m a little concerned about your weight and blood pressure.”
“Lay it on me, doc,” Sam says. The doctor doesn’t seem to catch on to Sam’s disinterest, just plies him with information about bed rest and proper food that Sam promptly ignores. He and Dean bypass the front desk when they leave even though they’ve been given strict instructions to make another appointment two weeks in the future.
“I’m not staying here for two months,” Sam says baldly as they ride the elevator down.
In the end, they settle in South Dakota. It may hold bad memories, but it’s probably the only physical place where they’ve ever felt like home. It’s easy to find a place in Sioux Falls, settle into an apartment. Jodie helps Dean find a job in construction, tactfully doesn’t mention Sam’s situation.
None of this does anything to quell Sam’s trepidation. He almost wishes for the zombies back.
“What are we doing here, Dean?” Sam asks one night. He’s been bored out of his skull all day, reading while Dean pounded nails at some housing project across town.
“Fuck if I know, Sam,” Dean says. “Surviving? We both know what happened the last time I tried this.”
“So why the effort now?” Sam demands.
“‘Cause you’re gonna pop, and I’m not getting birthing fluids all over the Impala because you’re a stubborn pain in the ass.”
“We can’t live like this, Dean,” Sam says.
“You wanted to, once,” Dean says.
“That was a long time ago,” Sam points out.
“So what? You wanna start hunting? Do the same thing with this kid that Dad did with us? Is that the master plan here?”
“I don’t know,” admits Sam, looking down at his lap.
“Figure it out,” Dean retorts. It’s easier advice to give than to take.
Like before, they settle into a rhythm. There’s less ammunition now, more casseroles, more doctor’s appointments that Sam dreads going to. Jodie talks the local library into letting Sam volunteer at the help desk three times a week, and even though it drives Dean crazy, Sam relishes the ability to get out of the house and actually do something.
It’s three weeks before his projected due date when Sam wakes up to a radiating pain in the middle of the night. He doesn’t let Dean know until he’s practically paced a hole in the floor trying to alleviate it, and Dean is surprisingly calm as they drive to the hospital.
It’s a rush after that. The doctors had previously determined that Sam’s narrow hips would be a hindrance to natural birth and they prep him for a c-section pretty much the second after he’s examined. Dean looks funny in scrubs, like a caricature of himself, but Sam’s too loopy on whatever drugs they’ve given him to notice much. Time slips away, hazy under the harsh glow of the surgical lights, and then a piercing wail sounds in the air, making Dean visibly jump. Sam doesn’t much care about anything at the moment.
“It’s a girl,” pronounces the doctor, a surprise since neither of them had ever bothered to find out. Dean leaves Sam’s side and Sam lolls in nowhere-land for a while without the connection.
“She’s human,” Dean says, low enough that no one but Sam can hear. “Far as I can tell. Normal. We’ll need to get her home before I can do all the tests, but...Sam, there’s nothing wrong with her.”
“Whatever,” Sam says. A nurse comes over, shows Sam the parasite (his daughter) and Sam doesn’t remember much after that.
“She’s not gonna stab you, Sam,” Dean comments dryly, leaning back in his chair. It’s great that he finds this whole thing amusing, because Sam is, quite frankly, terrified.
“Take her back,” Sam demands. “I’m gonna drop it and it’s gonna die.”
“Dude, you’re sitting in a bed. Even you can’t fuck this one up. And it’s not an it. It’s your daughter. Dumbass.”
“It was growing inside me,” Sam argues.
“That’s what babies tend to do,” Dean remarks.
“This isn’t a baby,” Sam says. “It’s a spawn of Satan.”
“Passed the tests, Sam,” says Dean lightly. “Admit it. You’re just afraid that you’ll fall in love with her. Fuckin’ pussy.”
Sam swallows once, his saliva catching in his too-dry throat. She’s fussing a little in his arms, looking up at him with blank blue eyes, and he can’t identify how he feels about her. It’s unnerving. “She’s just gonna die,” Sam says. “Everyone close to us always dies, Dean. It’s like a law of the universe.”
Dean’s face goes fierce at that. “She’s not, ‘cause we’re gonna protect her. Nothing’s happening to her.”
“That’s what we tried to do with Jo, Bobby, Dad,” Sam points out. “It would be easier if we just gave her up now.”
“We’ve been over this, Sam. We let her go, she’ll probably get targeted anyway. She’s safest with us.”
Sam knows Dean has a point, but it’s hard to concede; he just doesn’t know how to do this. He stays quiet, the closest to an acquiescence that Dean is gonna get, and it’s ten minutes before Dean speaks again.
“What’re we gonna call her?” Dean asks.
“I don’t care, Dean,” Sam says tiredly.
“You’re shaping up to be a pretty crappy dad,” Dean comments, but it lacks censure. Sam doesn’t care enough to take offense.
“Don’t name her after someone who died,” Sam says. “I’ll feel like Harry fucking Potter.”
“I don’t even get that reference,” Dean says, “but point taken.”
“No stripper names either. Or naming her after one of your conquests.”
“Sounds like you do care after all,” Dean quips.
“Apparently it’s gonna be around for a while,” Sam responds. “I’m the one who has to live with your shitty judgment.”
“Reagan,” Dean says. “I like that name. Never knew a Reagan.”
“You’re gonna name our kid after the possessed girl from the Exorcist?” Sam asks flatly. “What is wrong with you?”
“Thought you didn’t care,” Dean remarks with a smile. “And she’s our kid now? Not it?”
“You’re feeding her the peas when she’s old enough,” Sam says. “I’m not going near that with a ten-foot pole. And Jesus, Dean, Reagan? You watch too much entertainment television. That’s like a celebrity baby name.”
“Fuck off,” Dean says, pushing at Sam’s shoulder. “You know you love it.”
Once Sam has healed, he refuses to be the one to stay home with the baby. She cries all the time and Sam’s no good with her, can never get her to settle down. She thinks Dean is the second coming, though, and it’s driving Sam crazy. Sam takes over Dean’s job in construction at first; it’s wildly boring, but it’s something to do, and leaves Dean with the kid. Dean is perfectly happy with it, content to sit on his ass at home and babysit.
It’s fucking weird.
Eventually, Sam is able to take over one of the full-time positions at the library even though he never went to school for it; there’s something to be said about charming all the old ladies who work there. Dean manages to convince Sam to allow him to work weekends, and they settle down like that. They don’t see each other much, which is fucking weird, but they’re surviving.
And then Reagan gets sick on Sam’s watch and Dean won’t answer his fucking cellphone.
Sam still doesn’t know what to do with her, even after three months. She’s warm, too warm, and she’s stopped crying, eerily quiet. Dean would know what to do, but he isn’t here, so Sam takes her to the ER.
He’s surprised to discover that he’s scared.
Dean has the car, and Sam only resists hotwiring one because they live here now. Instead, he gets the old lady downstairs to give him a ride, holding Reagan in a way that’s incredibly unsafe the entire way to the hospital because they only have one car-seat that Dean’s rigged to fit in the Impala. She gives him a kind, sympathetic look as she drops him off at the front door of the emergency room, and after he declines her offer of company, she tells him, “Don’t worry. Babies are resilient.”
It takes nearly two hours before they get in to see a doctor, and that’s only because Dean shows up halfway through and pulls his tough-guy act with the receptionist. They spend exactly fifteen minutes in the exam room where a tired-faced woman tells them that Reagan has what looks to be a viral infection.
“Baby tylenol will keep the fever down,” she says. “There’s not really anything else. Come back in if the fever gets worse or if she displays any other symptoms.”
“That’s it?” Dean demands.
She gives him a small smile as she stands up. “All first-time parents go through this,” she says. “Your baby will get sick from time to time. It’s normal, and most of the time, it’s harmless. She’ll be back to normal in a few days. You’ll see.”
Dean finds the whole thing amusing when Reagan is well again. “Looks like you do love her after all, you big worrywart,” he teases Sam, as if he hadn’t stormed into the ER looking lost and scared.
There are days when Sam wakes up and he’s back in zombie-land, still in that basement, swollen round and hating the thing inside of him, and then he remembers that, for once in his life, the fix has been easy. He and Dean have as normal a life as they can have being brothers who happen to have a kid together. It’s a mindfuck, but...in a good way. He doesn’t have to worry about making sure his gun’s always loaded, that he’s not about to get swept away by a ghost. Lucifer’s not talking anymore. It’s like someone went and turned his life over.
It’s not hard to start to like it.
And when he catches Dean’s eyes across the table, when Reagan looks up at him and he remembers that he has a connection with her, that she’s his, Sam begins to think that all the struggle’s been worth it. That it’s all been building to this point. That this is the life he was searching for when he was eighteen and scared out of his wits.
And even though it takes a while, eventually Sam knows that if this is it, if this is what Chuck’s gonna give him, he’s gonna take it.
And maybe, when Reagan’s old enough, a hunt on the side.
Hey, he is a Winchester, after all.
Link Back to the Master Post