Series: One of a Thousand Arguments. Don't know if there will be a series.
Word Count: 3055
Rating: R for language. I'll do Wincest some day. How could I not?
Characters: Dean / Sam.
Disclaimers: Not with the owning. Insert standard disclaimer here about Supernatural and character therein not being mine.
Summary: Just another argument about what kind of life they should be leading. Post semi. No clear reference made to disposition of John.
One of a Thousand Arguments (427)
A Fed-ex box balanced precariously on the Impala’s front fender, wedged up against the spring of the open hood. All Sam could see of his brother was the lean angle of his legs, ass high in the air as Dean leaned into the engine, ratty jeans slung low on his bruised hip bones. A smear of black carbon traced the outline of Dean’s ribs, curving around to the too-lean ridge of his back. The hood latch gripped firmly around the hem of his older brother’s Kill ‘Em All t-shirt as if to tell Sam that even the car was unwilling to allow Dean to fall.
Bobby had the Impala towed to the barn behind his house, carefully maneuvering over the ruts in the dirt road, a watchful Dean leaning against a battered window frame of the main house. Sam had given his best arguments against his older brother dragging himself out of bed to watch the car being brought in but eventually, it was Sam himself who held Dean up, arms hooked under his brother’s ribs in case he fell.
The car’s shattered body keened from its place in the barn, her grille nearly hidden at times by the pounding rain but Dean still stared out at her, lost in his thoughts while his body healed. At the first sign that he could stand unaided, he hobbled out there, holding one hand tight to his side as he walked around and surveyed the damage. Soon, the fainter of the bruises faded, leaving pale yellow patches on Dean’s once tanned body and he took that as a sign to get back to work.
Baby food jars filled with fasteners hung under the wooden frame of the garage’s shelves, their lids nailed to the planks’ underside. A careful hand, one practiced at scribbling Latin phrases, labeled gauge widths and die types on white jarring labels, a wreath of innocuous cherries marred with grease from questing fingers in search of a screw. The pegboard on the far inner wall groaned with the weight of hand tools, black Magic marker lines outlining the long socket wrenches Dean pulled off to work with. Crates of lubricant stacked up against the smelting equipment Bobby resurrected from a torn down refinery. Sam glanced at the welding tanks, wondering if they weren’t just a bit precariously close to the waste oil barrel Bobby had nearly filled with runoff from his truck and tractors.
Long stretches of primer grey mottled the passenger side, patching the newer panels into the older steel. One of the mechanics tried to argue the merits of fiberglass and Bondo to a stubbornly deaf Dean, his words not only falling on unwelcome ears but twitching that nerve of anger Dean seemed to have boiling just beneath the surface of his skin. The Impala was undisturbed by the embroiling arguments she seemed to begin just by her sheer existence, resting quietly on a newly installed axle and suspension system. One of Bobby’s massive Rotties lay sprawled near the Impala’s rear quarter panel, his light snores sending minute dust storms against her detached trunk lid leaning against the wall.
Bobby’s borrowed tools sat lined up in surgical precision on a low table, Dean’s greased fingertips left on many of their orange rubber handles. The shipping box’s larger pieces were splayed out on the cement floor of the garage, a pad lifting the carburetor and manifold away from the oil drops and transmission fluids spills left by other vehicles.
“Come on, god damn it! Give it up.” Dean’s muffled curses echoed mutely on the hood’s baffled roof. “Daddy’s got a new carb and manifold for you. Edelbrock, baby…don’t you want an Edelbrock? Nice people…grunt… at Summit Racing shipped it out overnight. Don’t you want something that isn’t leaking gas every time I punch it into second?”
“You’re talking to your car now?” Sam’s sudden speech didn’t even make Dean flinch, although his older brother did glance his way. The bruises on Dean’s hips were matched by the fading streaks of painful welts and marbled flesh along his neck and jaw, the gash on the older Winchester’s full mouth nearly healed once Dean stopped licking at it with the tip of his tongue.
“Dude, when have I ever not talked to my car?” Dean reached back into the compartment, cranking his shoulder up against the hood to get leverage. “Just need one more bolt out…and she can start purring like she used to.”
“If you move over, I can help you get that off.” Sam stopped short at the sizzle in Dean’s glare.
“I don’t need your help. I’m fine.” Nothing seared hurt Sam’s body or soul as much as his brother’s hand shoving away at his shoulder.
Turning back, Dean gripped the handle and cranked hard, feeling his arm burn in protest. Sam’s warmth behind him was as much as an inferno as the anger in his gut, a fire along the back of his legs. The thin fabric of his jeans were soaked with the sweat of Dean’s efforts, heated by his brother’s silence. Dean ignored Sam, or tried to as much as he could but it was difficult… the scent and feel of his brother a continual presence on the edge of his mind.
It was more of a denial of his pain…of the trauma done to his body as well as to his heart. Dean’s shoulder clicked when he woke up, a roll of his arm working the ball back down into the socket when he thought Sam wasn’t watching. The younger Winchester couldn’t help but watch. He’d done nothing but watch since the morning he’d stumbled into the hospital room and stared down at his brother’s pale, drawn out face, barely recognizable amid the bruises and blood.
“Was it hard to get the carb for a 425?” Sam reached out with his long arms, snagging the box and peering inside.
“I swear, you do that just to piss me off.” Dean canted his head to stare at his brother. “How hard is it to remember 427? Not hard to remember, the 427 is an L-35 385 horsepower engine. The only thing remotely near the number of 425 is the horsepower of an L-25 which if I had… I’d sell your kidneys and what’s left of your balls to keep it up.”
Out of the side of his eye, he caught the smirk curling on Sam’s face and swore under his breath. “You are definitely trying to piss me off.”
“It’s good to see you focused on something else besides…” Sam trailed off, the ghost of their father hanging between them.
John’s absence ached, nearly a deep of a break on Dean’s bones as the impact of the Impala against his already torn body. Each tortured gasp from Dean’s lungs bubbling from his brother’s chest still echoed in Sam’s ears…through the hiss of respirators…the beeping of heart machines and then the strangled sobs Dean choked back when their father turned his back on them once again.
“So Summit had what you needed?” Sam rolled over the obstacle of their pain, its sharp edges ripping into their hearts. “Nice of Bobby to let you send it straight here.”
“Yeah, he’s a good guy.” Dean grunted harder and felt something give. “Fuck yeah, come to Papa.”
Knuckles scraped raw, he held up the recalcitrant bolt for Sam to see before tossing it into a battered drip pan. Easing out from under the hood, Dean stepped back and looked on with pride at the Impala’s engine. Catching up the rag he’d shoved into his back pocket, he blew on the backs of his hands, wincing at the sting of air. Wiping off the congealed grease, black tar smears spreading into the cuts. Sam looked away, not trying to imagine all of the germs Dean was introducing into his blood stream.
“We should be able to get back on the road in something other than a mini-van in a couple of weeks.” Dean jerked his chin towards the opened box. “It’ll fit right into the choke kit that’s already on her…”
“We’re going back out…so soon.” Sam crossed his arms over his chest, leaning his weight on one foot. The deep lilt of his voice was flat, testing the waters between them. His brother glanced up through his long lashes, a hazel storm folded in between golden shards of calm.
“Yeah. As soon as I’m done here.” Dean leaned to the left, taking in the stretches of grey matte scars dappling the Impala’s paint job. “Bobby…”
“I think we should stick around for a bit.” Sam said. “I mean we don’t even know if you’re healed up enough.”
“Healed up enough to take out that poltergeist at the nursing home.”
“Dean, that was the phantom of a guy in a wheelchair.” Sam reminded him. “It doesn’t count as a poltergeist if the only noise the ghost emanates is the squeak of his wheels.”
“Hey, there’s gonna come the day when that’s all the noise we’ll ever make.” Dean poked his brother in the chest, feeling the give of warm muscle under his finger. “Have some respect.”
“You think we’ll ever get around to that time in our lives when we’re sitting on some porch in wheelchairs?” Sam placed both of his hands on the car, trapping his brother’s hips between his strong arms. Dean’s chin lifted, jaw set at the intrusion into his space. His own anger flared, ruffled on the burr of his brother’s simmering ire. “See, I’m looking around at what we’ve got going on and I don’t think that’s ever going to be the case.”
“I don’t need you…” Dean pushed up, hands flat on Sam’s chest. The younger Winchester was immovable, ankle hooked around the tender line of Dean’s left leg. Shifting his foot forward, Sam pressed hard, keeping his older brother off balance, unable to get enough leverage to shove Sam away. Bent back into the curve of the Impala’s front line, Dean pressed in close to his brother’s face, nearly nose to nose with the taller man.
“You keep saying you don’t need this.. you don’t need me… you don’t need help.” Sam pushed harder, digging deep into his brother’s words. “The truth is, we’re going to die out here if we keep doing this. And I’ve already watched too many people die from this, I can’t do it again. Not with you.”
“Then don’t watch, Sammy.” Dean pressed in, breath hot on Sam’s face. The young Winchester smelled the clove gum Dean habitually chewed, a memento from when their father told him to stop smoking kreteks. He could also smell the faint hint of sex clinging to Dean’s skin, the musky allure of flesh rolled in danger. Swallowing hard, Sam cocked his head and smiled, a quirky taste of anger on his lips.
“I’ve been watching you for these past few months and now you want me to walk away? How the fuck am I supposed to do that?”
“Same way you did the last time, Sammy.” The nickname was smeared with betrayal and hurt. “It was real easy for you to do that before. How fucking hard can it be to do it again?”
“We don’t need to do this, Dean.” Sam insisted, soft words ruffling the hair curving down the nape of is brother’s neck. “We can have a normal life…”
“Normal life?” Dean raised his eyes, staring hard into the gentle brown warmth of his brother’s eyes. “How do you think that works? You think we just step out of this and what? Go find a ranch style house and knock up a couple of chicks? Raise some kids and bitch about the neighbour’s brown lawn?”
“How long do you think we’ll be able to do that? How far do you think we can get?” Dean shoves hard, shoving his brother away from him. Stepping on his sore ankle, he nearly loses his footing, recovering with a quick grab at the Impala’s grille. Chest heaving, Dean snarled at his brother. “We are so far from normal they haven’t even invented a word for how fucked up we are. We’re screwed, little brother. Nothing we do can change that.”
“It doesn’t have to be like that… Our lives don’t have to be like that.” Sam shook his head, rubbing at the tired in his face. Fatigue seemed to be resting there, a heavy stone lodged behind his eyes. “Other people do it. We were supposed to have that life before Mom died. Dad is the one who dragged us into it. Why do we have to continue living his life? Why can’t we have one of our own? One we’ve made? One that isn’t covered in our mother’s blood.”
“That too much to ask?” Sam continued, stepping closer, once more drawing in close to his brother’s sweaty body, taut and lean with tension. It hurt to see Dean in pain, hurt even more to find out how raw he was beneath the thin veneer of control. He wanted nothing more than to see his older brother safe and happy, in a life filled with more laughter and freedom.
“Yeah, I think it is.” Dean let the air out of his lungs, hot and burning. “Let me ask you this, Sammy…what makes you believe that you’ll be able to walk away from this? Even if you can go find that single story little gingerbread house. Even if you can find that perfect wife with those amazing kids that never do anything wrong.”
“You think you’ll be able to just pick up where you left off in that sunny happy world you left behind? And what happens the first time you hear a rattling up in the attic when your kids are playing in the back yard? And you hear what sounds like moaning through the trees when there’s no wind?”
“Tell me you’re not going to go grab that box of rock salt that your wife bought to make pickles from the fucking cucumbers she got from the Farmers’ market… you know the one, she never fucking opened the box because every time you go to get a coffee filter, it sits there mocking you in that damned red cardboard box.” Dean’s anguish flared on his pretty face, mouth pursed.
“And then you tell me how I’m supposed to walk away from the other people who have those kids? The ones who don’t hear the rattling in the attic and immediately think of things that go bump in the night.” Dean practically spit in his brother’s face. “You tell me how goddamn easy it is to go on to law school and turn your back on the people who are out there getting chewed on by things with larger teeth than you have legs… and not feel a fucking thing.”
“Don’t tell me that I don’t feel anything. I feel it. God, it hurts so damned much to feel it but I can’t save everyone.” Sam shook his head. Stumbling over his heart, his words caught in his throat. “I only want to save you.”
“You can’t save me, Sammy.” Dean sighed, his brother’s soft words rubbing his rage away. “We’re already lost. If you think sitting behind a desk pouring over books to help someone wiggle their way out of something they did is going to help the world go on, then go ahead. But don’t expect me to. I can’t.”
“I’m not some hero, Sammy.” Dean cupped his brother’s strong face, running a thumb down the length of Sam’s nose, finding the bump he’d put there when Sam was ten. “I am far from a fucking hero. But I can’t just…walk from this. It’s what I’m good at. And it’s what I do.”
“If you can walk, then go ahead.” Sam’s eyes salted with tears at Dean’s words, his throat closing up tight. “But I can’t Sammy. I think of all the people who lost pieces of their lives because they don’t know what’s out there. I know I can’t fit into that normal world. It doesn’t make any sense for me to try. So I’m out here, on the edges, trying to make sure that people in those damn houses we pass by in each town only think of unmade cucumber pickles every time they go look for a fucking coffee filter and find that box of rock salt.”
“I can’t do it, man.” Dean rested his forehead lightly on his brother’s temples, inhaling Sam’s coffee scented breath. “I don’t think you could either. No matter how good you get at lying to yourself. And man, you’re a real shitty liar.”
“I’m scared, Dean.” It was so soft, that whispery fear clenching up from Sam’s stomach and crawling on the glass shards of his raw throat. “I don’t want to lose you.”
“I don’t want to lose me either, bitch.” Dean’s hand reached up and smacked the back of Sam’s head, a light reproach. Sam’s shocked look made him laugh, spasming the muscles along his ribs. “What? You were expecting something else?”
“You’re supposed to say you don’t wanna lose me, too.” Sam sniffed, the tears jerked with laughter. “Sure know how to ruin a moment.”
“How the hell am I supposed to lose you when you’re always fucking standing behind me, taking up space and blocking my light? Moment my ass. I knew Dad shouldn’t have let you watch soap operas. It screws with your perception. You think everything’s gotta be roses and kittens.” Dean’s fingers gripped Sam’s shoulders one last time before letting him go.
Picking at the flap of the box, he dug out the new manifold’s bolts and tossed his brother the plastic bag. “Open that up and let’s get started on this. Light out here is shit at night and that dog starts passing gas at about five o’clock.”
“I meant what I said.” Sam whispered after a few moments of listening to the socket crank down. “Not losing you.”
“You’re not going to lose me Sammy. Any more than I’d lose you.” Dean stopped, not looking up at his brother. The socket began again, racheting a bolt down, a familiar sound barely loud enough to muffle Dean’s voice. “Now shut up.”
xposted to: supernaturalfic