||[May. 25th, 2008|10:20 pm]
Disclaimer: Written for entertainment purposes only. No money, no sue.
Summary: Prompt fic - Sometimes Dean forgets, he loves Sam, has always loved him, but sometimes he forgets that he genuinely likes him, too.
Dean watched Sam’s back, a rigid angry line, disappearing into the bathroom. The door slammed after him.
“C’mon, Sammy,” he called, moving to the door and tapping on it with the heel of his hand. “Tomorrow you’re gonna see the funny side.”
“Screw you!” He heard from the other side and figured that maybe it would take a few days.
Dean headed back out to the Impala and the trash can in the motel’s parking lot. He dug down, nearly having to tip half his body into it because the fucker was deep and finally snagged the sodden handles of Sam’s duffle. He yanked it back out and it hit the concrete by his feet with a wet slap.
Sam had tossed the thing, as well as a few well-chosen expletives, as soon as they’d gotten back.
So okay, maybe Dean had been a tad hasty hurling the bag at the swamp thing or whatever the hell it had been. For chrissakes, it was the first thing he’d put his hands on and he hadn’t really had time to dig around for something better. If it had been his duffle he would’ve done the same and really, in a way, it was Sam’s fault. He was the one that had put his duffle in the trunk on top of the weapons cache that Dean was actually going for.
The eight books in the bastard had also meant that the bag was heavy enough for Dean to think what the hell and toss it at the nine foot slime-covered freight train heading his way anyway.
Dean had spotted a Laundromat on their way into town and while the books and whatever electronic crap Sam had ferreted away would be goners, at least he could maybe save some clothes. Sam had trouble finding shirts and pants that fit him, being a giant and all, and that above all else would be the source of Sam’s ire for days. Dean wasn’t looking forward to the mother of all bitchfaces every time Sam tried on a shirt and his wrists stuck out all forlorn and uncovered.
Dean opened the bag and dumped the contents onto the ground under one of the motel’s security lights. The MP3 player was a goner and so was Sam’s phone, both expelling a tide of foul smelling water when he held them up to the light. There was a couple of hoodies and two pairs of jeans that might be salvageable if he got them into a machine soon enough and what looked like a girly mag that Dean tossed aside because…
He glanced at the magazine again and realized that it wasn’t a skin mag at all. The colors on the cover had caught his eye, all garish and bright. He reached out and snagged the magazine. Plastic crinkled under his fingers. When he spread it out a little, one corner still tucked under, he could see - PERMAN written across the top in red.
It was a comic book.
Dean snorted to himself because Sam had never been into comics. Sam had always been more of a bookworm, going to the extreme of questioning Dean’s intelligence that even at fourteen he would need pictures to go along with what he was reading. Dean spread the comic more carefully; able to make out the cover only barely because despite the plastic, the swamp ooze had gotten through, when he paused.
Dean recognized this particular issue.
It was one of the older books, still brandishing the Action Comics header right under the Superman title. It was the very book Caleb had given Dean on his tenth birthday that had traveled with him through four years and countless states. The very book that Sam had destroyed when they’d been stuck in the car too long over too many miles with only the heat and each other for company.
Sam had been sorry he’d done it straight after, even at ten recognizing that he had stepped over a line but the damage had been done. Dean had not spoken to Sam until three weeks later when Sam took a headfirst tumble off the top bunk at Bobby’s place and blood had gushed from his nose, scaring him badly. At the sight of his tears and pale face, Dean hadn’t remembered what he’d been mad at his little brother about. He’d just hugged him and cleaned him up and they’d watched a trashy movie.
Dean had tucked Sam in, bottom bunk forever after that, tight as a bug.
This, the drenched thing he now held in his hands, was the reason behind Sam’s overuse of Ebay for the last two months. Dean had caught him at it a couple of times, accusing Sam of bidding on a German blow-up doll against other like-minded perverts and getting annoyed when Sam had worn a strange little smile every time Dean had tried to come up with more outlandish things that his brother could possibly be bidding on.
Sneaky little bugger.
This was why Sam was so mad. Dean’s birthday was in three days and he’d managed to wreck his own present in glorious fashion. Sam, the geeky string bean, had probably been visualizing the reveal for weeks. He’d always loved giving presents more than receiving them, something about a person’s face when they were truly surprised by their gift. Dean’s hand trailed to his necklace when he thought about it, clutching it briefly.
“What are you doing out here?” Sam’s voice echoed, unnaturally loud in the still night, across the parking lot. Dean edged the comic book under the pile of clothes he was planning to try and resuscitate and stood with them held against his chest.
“These just need a wash,” Dean said, voice gravelly. “We can’t afford to buy you a new wardrobe, Paris. Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
“Fine, whatever,” Sam sighed and even though his face was shadowed, Dean could hear the eye roll without having to see it.
“There’s a twenty-four hour place back in town. I’ll take ‘em now and they’ll probably be okay.”
“You don’t have to do it now,” Sam said, leaning against the doorway and rubbing a hand absently over the back of his freshly washed hair. “You’re tired.”
Dean paused, having taken a few steps back towards the room. He clutched the clothing tighter to himself, ignoring the way his own shirt was soaking through. “I’m okay,” Dean said, shrugging a little.
“You sure? I can just wear yours.”
“You stretch everything out,” Dean huffed and Sam made a noise, a grunt of what sounded like fond exasperation.
“Do what you want. I’ve gotta crash.”
“Hey, Sammy?” Sam turned and there was an expectant look on his face. There were a million things Dean wanted to say right then, so many that they all stuck in his throat.
I’m glad you’re my brother.
I’m glad you’re here.
I’m glad I don’t have to do this alone.
“There was a diner next door to the Laundromat. I’ll pick us up some cheeseburgers.”
“Sure,” Sam said. “Sure, Dean. That’d be good.”