Disclaimer: Yeah, not mine. Kripke and I don't see the same things when we look at his characters.
Summary: A story of Samuel Winchester’s Gay Sexual History, and how Dean, a minor but important character, became a hero in the final chapter.
Pairing: Wincest, Sam/MCFW (by which I mean Male Characters From other Works)
Acknowledgements: Thank you to nomelon for dutifully setting me straight when I was going off course, and also to balefully for making sure that this story was worth reading. Thanks also goes to everybody who participated on the poll to see who Sam should sleep with. I guess you'll just have to read it to see what I did with the results.
Your Breath is Ticking through My Lungs, Like a Clock
The shit hit the fan in Astoria, Oregon and Sam found himself alone, on a mountainside in an abandoned ski lodge. He’d worried about Dean, blindly panicking and calling his brother’s name, but he’d given up after his fingers stopped hurting from the cold and his eyelashes felt like they were going to break off. He had to worry for himself instead and he could only hope that Dean was okay.
He wasn’t sure how everything had gone so totally wrong. Sam always seemed to have the misfortune ending up exactly where he didn’t want to be.
It was the most low-pressure case they’d had in a long time. One minute everything was stellar, destroying stone runes left by the fey folk, the next he was up to his knees in sleet. He supposed they should have gone in with more care, because the runes were causing some weird shit to happen. People wandering in the wild, up and vanishing, that sort of thing. Dean had thought drug ring maybe, but Sam doubted any drug cartels found Astoria much of a market. Sam was freezing his nuts off well enough to know that if this was drugs, he was on one seriously bad trip. Dean was going to kick his ass. If Sam ever got down off the mountain.
He’d been there for a day already, surviving on snow melt and that chocolate he’d swiped from Dean’s bag. It wasn’t much. He’d gotten a fire going in the lodge, managed to pile three rotting and musty mattresses on top of each other, so at least he wouldn’t die of cold.
He went out the second day, lungs burning from the cold air, fingers shoved up in his thin jacket and he only managed five feet before he saw the shadow out of the corner of his eye. He froze.
It was a man, around Dean’s height, standing in snow up to his shins, all in black with his hands clasped behind his back. Sam took one more step, his boot crunching through the snow, and the man turned, gun on him.
“Whoa,” Sam said and raised his hands.
The man raised one dark eyebrow. “You have two weapons, one at your hip and the other at the small of your back. Take them out.”
“I’m not going to shoot you,” Sam protested, as he chucked the two guns out into the snow.
The man didn’t respond to his comment. “Where are we?”
Sam sighed, looked around at the white snow, and painfully blue sky, and shrugged. “I don’t know.”
The man lowered his weapon and Sam finally took in the weird cut of his outfit, the leather gloves, and the slicked back hair. He climbed up the incline toward Sam. “You aren’t much in the way of a threat, if they think they’re going to neutralize me.”
Sam furrowed his brow. “Pardon?”
“I am John Preston, bodyguard of Councilman Jurgen, and you are?” His voice was almost inflectionless.
“Uh, Sam Winchester?”
Preston made a face at Sam. “Have I been kidnapped?”
“Not by me, certainly,” Sam told him, backing away slowly.
“It was night when I left,” Preston sucked in a breath and cast his eyes at the sky. “What’s the date?”
“Um, March 15th, 2006.”
“What?” Preston scoffed and wrinkled his nose. “It’s nearly 2336! Did you get addled when you came off the dose?”
“You think I’m crazy?” Sam stopped. He supposed he had no way of knowing if this was still 2006. Maybe wherever they were it was 1845 or 1916 or 20,642. The refuse in the ski lodge didn’t leave much in the way of evidence. The rusted steel bed-frames could’ve been made at any point in the last century or two. “Look, um, Preston, I might have an explanation, but it's going to sound crazy.”
Preston crossed his arms in front of his chest and waited.
“There was this fairy ring that was sending travelers awry, I think you might be one of them.”
“Fairy ring?” Preston’s lip curled. “You sound like my daughter.”
Sam threw up his hands. “I don’t have time for this, I need to go find food.” He stomped past the other man towards the line of trees. Daughter? Really? Preston looked barely older than Dean.
Preston’s deep voice gave him pause. “It appears that you believe this very strongly.”
Sam looked over his shoulder, voice softening. “Because it’s true.”
Preston breathed in deep and then nodded. “All right.” He ran his eyes over Sam’s form deprecatingly. “But I’m foraging for food.”
Sam was reading through a musty copy of Robinson Crusoe (the 1964 reprinted edition, and that made him feel better) that was lying next to the fireplace when Preston came back. He dumped three plump rabbits in front of the fire and quickly began skinning them. Sam winced and looked away.
“The monastery taught us to survive,” Preston told him at Sam’s questioning glance.
“The tetragrammaton? Father’s arm?” The same look he’d been wearing earlier was back on the Preston’s face.
“Listen, I’m really not crazy! I’m not addled because I came off any dose! I have never taken a dose!”
Preston made a face and nodded. Sam could practically hear the ‘Okay, Crazyface.’
After a dinner of tough rabbit that Sam would not have enjoyed even if it had been braised in wine sauce with a touch of rosemary rather than cooked over an open fire with nothing but its own blood for seasoning, Sam tossed Robinson Crusoe aside. Preston had shucked out of his strange coat, set the tight leather gloves aside, and stoically began making his own mattress out of cushions. They hadn’t spoken a single word over dinner, but Preston’s hazel eyes had been sharp on him the entire time.
Sam sighed. He could use some physical exertion to take his mind of things, comvince himself that Dean hadn’t been sent to the bottom of the Marianas Trench, and was still walking around just fine, a girl on each arm. He stripped off his thin jacket and started doing push-ups in the cleared space behind the sagging sofa. Preston lay on the ground, staring at the ceiling. His complete lack of engagement was driving Sam nuts.
He moved through a series of stretches and as the room and lingering thoughts of Dean slid away from him, started the routine his Dad had taught them both nearly two decades ago. Punch-block-feint-punch. He punched his fist through the air and was startled when a firm grip around his wrist brought him to a halt.
“You’ll get more out of it, if you do this,” Preston whispered, pressed up against his back. Sam hadn’t even seen him move.
Preston moved around to face him, lips shaped into the barest hint of a smile. He gestured for Sam to come at him. Sam had barely moved a step before he was flat on his back. He pushed himself to his feet and tried again, only to have his legs kicked out from under him. Sam couldn’t get a single strike past Preston’s guard, and he was almost completely on the defensive. Preston’s fighting style was more effortless even than Dean’s. There was certainly more art to it. He dumped Sam on the floor or knocked him breathless several times, before eventually giving in and laughing.
“You’re tall, one of the tallest I’ve ever seen,” he told Sam as he pulled him up off the floor, bare hands roughened by gun calluses. “But your height is both a help and a hindrance.”
Sam gasped in air and nodded, looking at Preston from beneath sweat-damp hair.
Preston stepped in close, palms bracketing Sam’s hips. “You have a much longer reach, but your center of gravity is higher.” His hands skated upwards. “Here.”
“Well, I can’t shorten my legs,” Sam replied, breathing in deep.
Preston cocked his head. “No, but you can bring yourself lower to the ground, guard more of yourself.”
They sparred for an hour, Preston’s suggestions gradually sinking into his skin so Sam wasn’t being tossed around like a rag doll. It was the first time he’d received instruction from anybody who wasn’t his father or brother, both of whom were competent street fighters.
“What are you, some kind of warrior monk?” Sam finally asked when they sat down to take a break.
Preston opened his mouth to protest and then shut it. “I suppose I was, before the fall of Father.”
Sam looked at him, expression dutifully blank.
Preston paused before continuing. “I was a tetragrammaton cleric.”
“Tetragrammaton,” Sam turned it over in his mouth. “The Greek word for the name of God.”
Preston jerked and looked up at him. He made no indication that he was surprised at the knowledge, but he changed the subject. “So if I came through the fairy ring, how did you get here?”
Sam could hear the mocking in his voice. He lunged and tackled Preston, the element of surprise giving Sam just enough edge to overwhelm him. All the air flew from Preston’s lungs as Sam’s weight came crashing down on him. “I was in Astoria with my brother, at a country club, looking at a fairy ring,” he thumped Preston’s chest for emphasis, “and then I was here, next to a ski lodge.”
Preston grunted and flipped them over. “I had a brother,” he told Sam as he balanced his chin on Sam’s sternum. Sweat-slick skin sticking together.
“What happened?” Sam asked. Preston was warm and his skin was smooth and the last thing he should be doing was perving on some dude who thought he was completely underpants-on-his-head insane.
Preston bit his lip. “He was older than me. I went to the Monastery and he went to the mines. I never saw him again.”
“Er, I'm sorry.” Sam's breathing was getting a little labored now.
Preston shrugged, but he didn’t roll off Sam. “My daughter will know her brother, things have changed.”
Preston went to raise himself off of Sam, but Sam stopped him with a hand on his bicep. He looked down at Sam questioningly, like he didn’t know what it meant. Sam ran his hand up Preston’s arm, over his shoulder and to his neck to draw him in for a kiss. It was just the barest press of lips, and then Preston was pulling back, fingertips following Sam’s lips’ path.
“Have you never done that before?” Sam asked, wonderingly. Preston shook his head. “But I thought—you have children.”
Preston laughed without humor and levered himself up off of Sam, resting his forearms on his knees. “My wife was assigned to me, we had sexual intercourse twice, it was joyless, uncomfortable, and completely without note.”
Sam stared at him.
“When we interrupted the dose and—and things like that,” he gestured at Sam with his hand, “became legal again, I just never had the time.”
Sam furrowed his brow. “What about your wife?”
“She was executed, long before the dose ended.” He looked over at Sam and made a harsh noise in the back of his throat. “You look at me with those eyes and that flush on your cheeks and all I want—” he choked and cut himself off.
Sam looked down at his hands, flexing his fingers and made a decision. He got to his knees, and crawled over to him, tilting Preston’s chin up. “It’s all right.”
“I can’t—” Sam interrupted him with his mouth, palms flat on his chest. They slumped back on the floor, Preston drawing Sam’s weight between his thighs. It was cold and they rolled clumsily towards the fire, exploring each other with numb fingertips.
Sam reached inside Preston’s military-issue pants, and eliciting a hiss from Preston. “We weren’t allowed to feel, and I—still some of us must forgo that luxury so that others may have it.”
Sam bent and pressed a kiss to the raised white line scoring Preston’s neck on his right side. “It’s not true.” Preston’s eyelids fluttered closed. Sam sunk his teeth into Preston’s lip and then his edge was lost. For someone with no experience of love, Preston seemed to know exactly what he wanted. Sam’s arms got pinned up in his shirt when he attempted to take it off, and Preston held him down with one palm and he bit at Sam’s nipples.
And then they rolled across the floor, struggling against each other, disturbing both hastily constructed beds and sending a rickety shelf to the floor. They pushed and pulled at each other, and Sam ended up on top, arm across Preston’s hips as he sucked the head of his cock into his mouth. Preston bucked and fought and his pupils were bleeding slowly into the blue of his irises.
And it was like fighting again, only this time Sam had the art and the grace and the inspiration. “You’re allowed to be happy,” he told Preston with two fingers sunk into him and the point of his tongue jabbing at the slit of Preston’s dick. Preston groaned, head lolling back on his neck. It was messy and hard and Preston spoke with his eyes. Harder, like this, I want— and Sam gave.
As Preston struggled against him for release, lungs pumping air in and out, hand tight around Sam’s, there was a message. A lesson to be learned. Sam thrust inside him, once, twice, grinding up against that spot inside Preston. Preston’s lips parted, and he left bruises on Sam’s skin. Bruises that Dean would see when Sam stripped off his clothes. Two more thrusts and he was there, hips locked tight against Preston’s, hand on his dick, stroking him off in time.
Preston came in silence, eyes wide, and expression frozen still. He buried his hand in Sam’s hair and held his gaze as the aftershocks wore through. And there had only been two people in the world to look at Sam and see beyond the skin and bone and muscle to what was inside. One was dead, the other was taboo. The other had forgotten how.
Preston stared him through it, down and back to himself, disengaging their arms and legs, to bank the fire and remake the mess of a bed. He rubbed his mouth, and the back of his hand came away bloody. He jabbed at the gash with the tongue, as Sam tried to clean off the smudges of dirt and grime from the floor. He was still tingling and dizzy from his orgasm.
Preston brushed his palm across a mark he’d left on Sam’s chest and looked amazed. His eyebrows creased like he needed to say something, but he turned away, presenting Sam with his back. Sam accepted the silence. It was the first time in a long time Sam hadn’t thought about all he lost, all he’d compromised.
They were just pulling their clothes on out of necessity when the floor fell out from under Sam and he slammed down onto Dean’s bed as Dean shouted hysterically at someone on the phone.
He stared open-mouthed at Sam. “Caleb, never mind. I have to call you back.”
“Um, hi,” Sam said, scratching the back of his head sheepishly.
Dean looked him up and down, face incredulous, taking in Sam’s half-dressed body. “You disappeared through a fairy ring for thirty-six hours and you managed to get lucky? With what? A wall?”
Sam laughed, winced at the bruising on his hips and knees, and rolled off the bed. “I had company.”
“Jesus, I can see that.” Dean glared at him. “She must have been a beast.”
Sam flicked him off and made his way to the shower.
“Hey! I’m still pissed at you!” Dean cried, tossing a book at Sam’s retreating back.
If You’ve Lost Your Faith, You Can Have Mine
It was two jobs since Chicago that carried them all the way to the New Jersey Turnpike. Two jobs away from Dad. Two jobs since, two silly simple jobs, and Dean was collapsing, dizzy and pale and so thirsty.
They thought it was blood poisoning at first. Sam got Dean to the nearest ER as quick as possible, his brother moaning and lolling in the passenger seat. He thought about calling their father, but he remembered what had happened the last time Dean had been taken to the hospital. And he was still bitter.
He had to half carry Dean into the emergency room, and the nurses had barely laid eyes on him before they were clearing a space for Dean and shoving forms and paperwork at Sam. He camped out with his laptop checking and rechecking everything the doctors said. Blood poisoning made sense. Dean had gotten spiked by a rusty poker earlier in the week, and stubbornly denied it needed stitching. It was stupid, so stupid.
Sam promised himself he’d make Dean bathe in rubbing alcohol after every hunt if only Dean got through it. The doctors hadn’t been worried, they’d jocularly pointed out that no one had died of septicemia in a long while. Sam picked at his cuticles and sat at Dean’s bedside. There was nothing he could do but watch his O2 sats like a hawk, and make absolutely sure that Dean was aware of the crazy poker game he’d been playing with his life. But the doctors got worried when Dean’s condition didn’t improve. Dean wasn’t responding to the antibiotics, and they shuffled him up two floors out of the ER to his own room. Sam didn’t think this was a good sign.
A team of doctors stormed in barely seconds after he had been wheeled in to grill Dean about everywhere he’d been and everything he’d eaten and all the substances he’d come into contact with. After taking a short and mostly edited patient history from Sam, they freaked him out by telling him it was surely gastrointestinal bleeding caused by stomach cancer. And then they marched right out again, leaving Sam to sink slowly back into his chair.
Dean was wan and pale, and damn it, Sam had had to deal with this far too often. There was no way he could fight against cancer, and he couldn’t just find another faith healer, they weren’t advertising in the telephone book. Dean was so delirious at that point that he was muttering about past hunts and calling out to Sam, exhorting him not to worry. What he was saying would’ve sounded perfectly reasonable to any hunter, heart-wrenching but reasonable, and yet from the look on the female doctor’s face, it was perfectly appalling to normal people.
The three doctors came back with foreheads creased from worry.
“It’s not cancer,” Dr. Foreman told him. Sam was relieved enough to hear it that he didn’t even get mad at the wasted painful tests they’d put Dean through. He felt like his heart got lighter, but Dean was vomiting regularly and twitching erratically and Sam stood outside his room as the nurses fussed over him. Dean didn’t have the energy or lucidity to even flirt. They were back to square one. Sam couldn’t get up the courage to leave, afraid of what might happen if he so much as blinked.
He saw Dr. Chase’s reflection in the window to Dean’s room before he heard him walk up. “You and your brother are very close?” Sam turned to the blond doctor who was sipping on a cup of coffee, rings underneath his eyes.
Sam looked back at Dean, felt his heart being yanked up through his throat. “Yes,” he replied tightly. “It was just him and me growing up, my dad wasn’t really—he wasn’t really…”
Chase didn’t press him. “I don’t have any siblings, I always wanted one.”
“I haven’t always.” Sam laughed. “He’s a pain in the ass.”
Chase touched his shoulder. “We’re going to figure out what’s wrong with him.”
Dean started shouting, cutting their conversation off, and Sam rushed back inside. The doctors all shoved past him, shouting at each other and pulling equipment out of drawers. Blood seeped out over Dean’s lips. He thrased so hard he yanked the IV out. They sedated him and cuffed him to the metal bed frame. Sam had to turn away and cover his face so that they didn’t see the sudden shine of tears. He felt Chase’s hands on him, pulling him away.
“It’s better if you don’t see this,” the doctor whispered, fingertips gentle on his back.
Chase let him back in after Dean had settled down again. He had fallen asleep at Dean’s bedside in a stiff-backed chair when a man wielding a cane came bursting in. Sam started upright in his chair.
“Your brother has had an allergic reaction to the medication we were giving him. At this point, the damage done to his stomach can only be solved by immediate surgery.”
Dr. Cameron stuck her head around the newest doctor’s shoulder. “It’s a very invasive surgery, there’s a high chance that your brother’s immune system would be compromised, leaving him without the defenses to fight off the infection.”
“Listen, whatever your brother’s going through is causing irreversible brain damage,” the doctor rebutted, sweeping his cane like he could herd the other doctors back. Sam’s mouth dropped open. The man with the cane plowed on, “We haven’t found any signs of cancer or neurological upset in the brain. But your brother’s stomach acids are leaking into his blood stream. It’s causing hypoxemia— the blood can’t carry oxygen, without oxygen, little bits of the brain die.”
“You can’t know that’s what’s happening!” Dr. Foreman protested. “Look, Dr. House is oversimplifying—”
Dr. House cut him off. “Just look at him, he’s completely non compos mentis,” he nodded at Dean, “with the way he’s going on about demons and iron and car tires we're lucky if there's anything but mush left. That is, if he doesn't have a history of mental illness?”
The three other doctors winced. Chase watched Sam carefully, waiting for an outburst of some kind. Sam started laughing, and the three doctors looked taken aback. “You think my brother’s mentally ill?” Sam cracked up again.
“I’m starting to think it's genetic.” Dr. House jerked his head at Cameron. “Can’t you put them both on haloperidol or something, they're traumatizing the sane people.”
Sam laughed harder when Foreman glared and crossed his arms. The team of doctors watched him with worry. He held up his hands when Cameron asked if he needed anything. “No, no, it’s just—I’m aware of how this must look, but really, when he gets better I’m saving that one.”
“Not to interrupt what promises to be a disgustingly epic family moment, but I need you to sign off on this surgery.”
Sam stared him down for a long moment. Dean was sweating and moaning in his hospital bed, arms splayed out. Sam sighed. “If the surgery raises his chances then we do it.”
“But we haven’t explored all the options—” Cameron spluttered.
Sam sighed and went to stand next to his brother. “You think I haven’t been going nuts on WebMd? That I haven’t been looking up every differential you come to me with? I know that you have to do the surgery at some point, and now is better than later.” He brushed his thumb across Dean’s knuckles, watching as Dean’s fingers fluttered under his touch.
Dr. House stared at him for a long moment and then swept out of the room again. “That’s Dean’s attending?” Sam asked as he penned his name on the sheet of paper. Cameron nodded, looking ready to apologize for the House’s behavior. Sam handed her back the paper and pen. “I’m glad.”
“Look, you should know that—” Cameron started, brushing her hair over one ear. Chase whispered something into her ear and pulled her away. Sam wasn’t sorry.
He watched in the operating theater for as long as he could handle it before going to get coffee down in the cafeteria. Chase found him down there.
“You didn’t threaten him with violence or question his sanity.”
“What?” Sam looked up from where he was ripping an empty sugar packet to shreds.
“Most of Dr. House’s patients loathe him.” Dr. Chase sat down in the remaining empty seat. “He isn’t a doctor because he wants to make people well—they can tell he’s not doing it for the right reasons.”
“Does he love it?” Sam asked, pushing the wreckage of the sugar packets aside.
“I—yes,” Chase answered, leaning back in his seat.
“Then he’s doing it for the right reasons.”
He could feel Chase watching him over the next few hours as they did their best to stabilize Dean.
“Do you ordinarily stay with the patient's relatives,” Sam asked, after he went down for his fifth coffee.
Chase started to say something and then stopped. “No, I—usually that’s Cameron.”
“Then why?” Sam took a big a bitter scalding gulp of the hospital coffee.
Chase blinked and brushed a blond wing of hair back over his ear. “Do you want me to go?”
“No,” Sam shook his head. “I just wondered.”
Dean came out of the surgery okay, but they still didn’t know what had caused the bleed in the first place. They were throwing out increasingly unlikely illnesses—legionella, malaria, a bizarre strain of the flu. Sam dutifully looked up every single one. He felt completely impotent. Dean was in a battle that Sam couldn’t help him fight.
Dean’s rare moments of clarity only made it worse. “Let me die, Sam.”
“We haven’t exhausted all options yet,” Sam told him, knuckles tight on Dean’s bedrail. “I’m not willing to give up.”
He looked up and Dr. House and stood outside the window, leaning on his cane, watching them. Chase was next to him. Sam flushed and dropped his gaze.
Dean started vomiting again, and the nurses pushed inside the room to get him in the recovery position. Dean’s hospital gown parted over his back, and the nurses’ team gasped.
“Doctor, you’re going to wanna see this!” a nurse in flowered scrubs called to House.
The skin on Dean’s back was mottled and purple, but there was a clear outline of a goat-headed man inside a pentagram. Sam could feel his blood pressure drop. The hospital staff looked at him with wide-eyes. There was judgment written all over Dr. House’s face. The remaining members of his team stumbled through the doorway, mouths dropping at the almost artful bruising on Dean’s back.
“What?” Dean coughed and demanded. “Tell me!”
Dean was curled in a fetal position. Sam bent over him, whispering in his ear. “We have a hunt.”
“Listen, we need to take a look at the bruising—”a nurse tried to interject.
Dean gripped Sam’s hand. “Don’t do it by yourself.”
The nurses hustled Sam out of the room. He scooped up his bag and sucked in a breath. There was no one else. Dean would have to forgive him.
“Sam?” Chase’s crisp accent cut through the parade of other voices. “Wait!”
Sam looked back over his shoulder, Chase pushed through the crowd. Sam blew out a breath and raised his eyebrows.
“They’re debating if it’s self-inflicted in there, or if you—” the doctor cut himself off. He craned his neck to look back at the team standing around Dean’s bed.
“But?” Sam pushed him, when Chase merely worried his lip and didn’t answer, Sam answered for him. “But you don’t think that’s what happened.”
“I—that was the sign of—of Baphomet, the Star of Mendes.” Sam took a step back, but Chase’s eyes were far away. “We learned about it in seminary,” he said softly.
“Doctor, you were—”
Chase interrupted him, “Does that mean—is it real?”
Sam looked at him for a long moment. He reached out and grabbed Chase by the wrist, pulling him back into the stairwell. “What exactly are you asking me?”
“Demons, the occult, are they real?” Chase whispered like he was afraid to say it out loud. Sam nodded. Chase leaned back against the wall, like his feet wouldn’t support him. “But Baphomet—Malcolm Barber said in his second book that it was all a silly superstition, a corruption of the name Mohammed.”
Sam shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. People believed in it, it was enough.” Chase looked like his entire world had come crashing down. Sam didn’t have time to sit and walk him through it. “Listen, you said you were in seminary—do you remember any of it?”
“Like, can I remember De Exorcismis et Supplicationibus Quibusdam off the top of my head?” Chase muttered.
“He’s not possessed!” Sam sighed. “Listen, I’m wasting time, just say some Hail Marys over him.” He leaped down the steps, leaving an almost comatose Chase behind him. It wasn’t hard to break into the Princeton main library, despite their laughable idea of security. The resources they had weren’t as good as Sam would’ve liked, not much in the way of ecclesiastical or occult texts, but it was better than what he usually had to work with.
He got back to the hospital just as Cameron was injecting something into Dean’s IV.
“Do you know where Dr. Chase is?”
She jumped and nearly dropped the needle. “Sam, you startled me.” She pressed a hand over her heart. “Dr. Chase? I’m fully capable of answering any questions you might have.”
“It isn’t about that,” Sam told her, frustrated. “Listen, can you just page him for me?”
Cameron made a face and complied, breezing out of the room. Chase showed up a few minutes later.
“He looks better,” Sam said simply, clutching tight to a few things he’d picked up before he’d returned to the hospital, it had been a bitch of a time trying to get it through security.
“I said half the gospel of Matthew, and Hail Mary, and at least eight Pater Nosters over him,” Chase replied, looking a little wild around the edges. “I wasn’t—I wasn’t sure if it worked.”
“Thank you, you bought me some time.”
“Not enough time to go into everything,” Sam interrupted. “Listen, can you get Dean into a quiet room where we won’t be disturbed so I can break the curse?”
Chase ran a hand through his hair and thought for a moment. He looked at Dean’s life signs and set his jaw. “I suppose I can.”
It took some time for Chase to secure them a room without glass or personnel bustling about constantly, but they dollied Dean off as quickly as possible. Sam quickly set up the candles at five points around the room and Chase fiddled with the cuffs on his lab coat.
“I’m not really sure I want to be seeing this,” he whispered and plunked himself down in the only chair.
Sam shrugged and shut off the lights, leaving them in the flickering warm glow of the candles. Chase crossed and recrossed his legs. Sam stood on a table and disabled the smoke detectors, aware of how time was quickly slipping away, and how Dean looked worse and worse with every passing second. He breathed deep, shot one last look at Chase, and climbed down, hoping he’d looked up the right words. With a flick of Dean’s lighter, he lit a small sachet of vervaine he’d set in a bowl. The smoke curled thick and blue, making the room hazy.
He could feel Chase’s eyes on him as he recited the words written down on a torn sheet of binder paper. Chase had had more than he could quite handle, Sam was just waiting for him to get up and run out of the room screaming. He supposed he should feel bad for peeling the blinders away from Chase’s eyes, but he couldn’t quite manage it.
“How did this happen?” Chase asked, as he broke off to pass the bowl over Dean’s body. “How do you run into a curse?”
Sam shrugged. “It happens in our line of work, more often then not. They either fade or they’re broken.”
Chase blinked. “It all seems so ridiculous, I never—I stopped…” he trailed off and let Sam continue with his recitation.
“I’ll have another Pater Noster, Father Chase,” Sam said, when he’d finished the last verse.
“What?” Chase startled. “Oh, right uh— Pater noster, qui es in caelis: sanctificetur Nomen Tuum; adveniat Regnum Tuum; fiat voluntas Tua, sicut in caelo, et in terra. Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie; et dimitte nobis debita nostra, Sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris; et ne nos inducas in tentationem; sed libera nos a Malo”
“Um…do you need the doxology too?” Chase ventured.
Sam held up a hand. “Just wait—” There was a shattering sound and a mild concussion, tossing Sam into Chase. They fell to the floor, just barely missing the chair. Chase coughed and curled inward on himself, but Sam ignored him and leapt to his feet to check on Dean. His brother’s eyes were closed and his breathing was regular, a normal color had returned to his cheeks.
“He’s okay...he's okay,” Sam said unsteadily, hand tight on Dean’s wrist.
Chase raced over, stethoscope and penlight out to examine Dean.
“Based on this, I’d say he was one hundred percent normal, but I don’t understand! How is that possi—” Sam cut him off by grabbing his chin and pressing a swift kiss to his mouth.
Chase made a small noise in the back of his throat, and Sam pulled away. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Chase ran his finger over the swell of his lower lip. “I’m completely losing it,” he whispered.
“Sorry,” Sam turned back to his brother, brushed a hand down over Dean’s chest, feeling it rise and fall without a hitch. Sam suddenly had to pinch the bridge of his nose to keep from crying.
Chase’s fingers curled around his wrist, and Sam felt himself get whirled around. Was this the part where Chase smacked him?
Chase pressed into him, nearly on tip toes to reach Sam’s mouth. They kissed again, Sam shoved back against Dean’s hospital bed, while his brother slept on unaware. It sent a frisson of guilty pleasure up Sam’s spine. He could wake up—he could see them—he could—
Chase stepped back again, looking startled at himself. “We should get him back.” He was breathing hard, and Sam had to hide a smile.
They kept Dean overnight—the different doctors arguing that there had to be something wrong with him. House demanded a full array of tests, and only a snappy doctor in a low-cut top managed to convince him not to waste money on numerous CT scans.
Sam finally picked up his stuff to head back to their hotel room. He hadn’t slept in nearly 72 hours other than small uncomfortable naps in the stiff-backed chair. He was just leaving when Chase stopped him.
“Can we talk?” Chase asked, lab coat forgotten for a camel sports coat and fitted jeans. He looked slender, younger, in the preppy clothing, even though Sam knew that he was at least five years older. Sam looked at the parking garage.
“Where you headed?”
It was easy to go back to Chase’s house, he was out of his mind with exhaustion.
Chase boggled at the contents of the Impala’s trunk—guns, ammo, salt canister, more guns, med kit, knives, a few reference texts, and more guns. He reached in and opened the med kit. There was a neat pile of sterile suture cases, gauze, four syringes filled with local anesthetic, a row of pills bottles. Chase laughed in surprise.
“Dean can stitch almost as neat as a plastic surgeon.”
Sam took Chase’s bag and laid it on top of the books, and Chase shut the kit. “Why would he need to? You don’t always go to the hospital?”
“Too many questions, hard to defend—my father has a whole list of reasons.”
When they arrived at Chase’s loft apartment, Sam was surprised. He wasn’t sure what he was expecting—a rack of boomerangs, a didgeridoo, a poster of the Australian outback. Something more ascetic, surely, than the early 20th century antique elegance and vintage French advertisements for umbrellas and wine.
“So, how do we do this?” Chase asked. He poured Sam a scotch and then stared down at his own glass like it was something alien.
“Sex?” Sam sat on over-stuffed arm of a shiny brown leather couch.
Chase narrowed his eyes, and tossed back the scotch. “I don’t know why I’m doing this.”
Sam looked away from him, shoulders collapsing. Chase set the glass aside, and it hit the table with a hard hollow thunk. Sam imagined his brother lying alone amid the beeping machine city, Dr. House manically puzzling over the repaired network of veins and tissue—the steady resonance of his lungs and heart.
Chase stood in front of him, hip cocked. He was unsteady, rocked by all he’d learned. He grimaced and pressed a hand to his chest, pressing down sharply. Sam knew Chase had hoped home would refill the hollow pit left just behind his heart, gaping ever wider with every shrug of his shoulders.
He wrapped an arm around Chase’s waist, twirled them across the hardwood into the bedroom, rubber scuff marks from the soles of their shoes betrayed their path. Chase held him, dexterous hands tight on the caps of his shoulders. They fall in his bed, disrupt the perfect world he’s created with his pillows, and his heavy eiderdown.
Chase seemed baffled by his arousal. He drew in a heavy breath when Sam gripped the shaft and started jerking him off, head slumped against his shoulder, and mouth gaping.
“I didn’t—” he started, but Sam thumbed the head of his dick, knuckle pressing in just under the crown.
Chase flew apart easy. He shoved Sam off of him, carded an ungentle hand threw his dirty blond hair, and eyed the lavender and periwinkle striped tie that he’d been wearing like he wanted to tie Sam to the bed with it. Sam waited, arm propped up on his on his knee.
“I’m not sure—what comes next,” he said, eying the bulge in Sam’s jeans.
Sam unbuttoned them and pushed them off, his shirt had been lost in the mad tussle to get to the bed. Chase reached up Sam’s thigh, fingertips creeping forward, until Sam placed his palm over Chase’s hand, and guided it to his dick.
They jerked him off together, Sam’s hand wrapped tight around Chase’s fist. When Sam fell back against the pillows, Chase came with him, stroking him until he came.
Sam was nearly drifting off to sleep when he felt Chase’s gentle hand skate down over the dip of his spine. He cracked an eye open.
“Sorry.” Chase looked sheepish. “I’ve never been with a man before—if you couldn’t tell.”
Sam blinked and turned on his side. “Okay.” He waited a beat. “Did you leave seminary to become a doctor?”
Chase shook his head, and wavered for a moment, like he wasn’t sure he should say anything. “I lost my faith.”
Sam stayed silent, watching him.
“But now…” his voice broke, “But now you show me—and I—I failed.”
“No, you didn’t fail,” Sam protested. “You’ve got it all wrong.”
Chase shook his head like the matter was closed. Sam bit his lip. And like always, there was so much that needed to be said that would never stand to be heard. Chase looked away from him and Sam resettled himself for sleep. When he woke up Chase was gone and there was a small square of white paper on his pillow.
Sam picked it up and read, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” –Ephesians 6:12
Be careful, Sam
He was unsure of what to make of it. When he went back to collect Dean, his brother was full of abuses. The team trundled him out the front door in a wheelchair, trying not to laugh as Dean called Sam an idiot in several different colorful ways. Chase hung back. Sam smiled at him as Dean nearly leapt out of the chair to walk to the Impala.
“I told you not to do it alone,” Dean said once they were out of earshot.
Sam pursed his lips. “It was only a simple curse.”
“You know how the backlash on curses can kill people. I can’t believe you were so stupid,” he unlocked the car.
“I had help, Dean,” Sam shot back. “Dr. Chase was there every step of the way.”
“Dr. Chase?” Dean asked, brows raised. “The foofy blond one?”
Dean shot him a disgusted look, before rooting around in the grocery bag sitting on the drivers seat for something to drink. “Are you kidding me? Him too?”
“Oh, just leave it,” Sam grunted and changed the subject, “He said something to me, quoted the bible, Ephesians 6.12.”
“And?” Dean replied, in between gulps of the ginger ale Sam had bought him.
Sam got into the car stiffly. “It’s commonly associated with Baphomet—one hand to control white magic, and one hand to control black, to ‘take up the whole armor of God.’”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Dean backed out of the space and started muttering about the parking rates.
“Dean, what if the curse was some kind of a message or prophecy?”
“Way to kill the messenger.” Dean made a face and then asked with resigned patience, “About what, Sam?”
“I don’t know, Dean!” He threw up his hands. “I just—be evil to save the whole world? That seems like a rationale, and surely they didn’t mean…you.”
“You’re totally reaching.” Dean swung into traffic. “Ask Dad about this whole Baphomet thing if you’re so worried.”
Sam made a face. He wished he could put the crumpled note in his pocket out of his mind. But like his phantom father, it raised too many questions with errant answers. He felt slightly sick.
Sam watched Dean adjust his posture in the bucket seat, rolling his shoulders. Sam remembered the ugly mottled pattern stamped over his spine and the blades of his shoulder. He could hear Pastor Jim’s voice in the back of his head from long ago rainy day sermons, “The devil laughed in scorn of honor, and in his envy, left no work of god unspoilt.”
Later, when the narrative was all laid out so that the plot clicked into place, Sam wished he’d read the signs closer.