summary: Sam didn't mean to kiss Dean, or to avoid talking about it. That was Dean's schtick. And it in no way related to them being stuck in Colorado.
title: 14 days, 12 hours, and 26 minutes after the fact
"Hey, Sammy," Dean pointed out the window. "World's Largest Prairie Dog. Think we should stop and check it out?"
Sam groaned. Just because one time as a kid he'd thought there was a possessed animal at one of these roadside museums…Well, Dean never let him forget it. Even though it turned out the llama did have rabies, so he hadn't been completely off the mark.
Other than how rabies was a disease and didn't actually have anything to do with demons, ghosts, zombies, vampires, or their other work.
Dean grinned every time they passed a sign leading to it, like he knew Sam knew he thought this was funny and that was the fun part. When they reached the turn off, he faked the turn, a quick jerk to the right, only to correct it before actually exiting.
Sam glared at him, pushed his shoulder. "Damnit, Dean, can't a guy ever live something down?" He began plotting to find a Sandi Patty tape, or maybe even The Lollywinks, just to make sure his brother knew what he'd do if this kept coming up.
"Hey, I'm not the guy afraid of petting zoos."
"Or what?" Dean was grinning like a madman, that damn grin, a little too cocky, and there was only one way Sam knew that he'd always seen make him shut up.
Sam's body was on alert before his eyes even opened. He cracked them open slowly, but all he heard was Dean, so he sat up. "What is it?"
He wasn't awake enough yet to notice how Dean had barely put on jeans, the belt hanging open still.
"Notice anything interesting about where we are?"
"Um…Dean, it's a motel room."
"Wrong. Well, yes, but no." He flicked on the radio.
"…and with a low risk of wildfires, it's another beautiful day on the edge of the Rocky Mountains."
He turned it off again and stared at Sam. "Rocky Mountains."
"I thought we were in Arkansas."
"We were. Checked into a motel there, fought over the shower, all that jazz." He didn't mention how Sam had kissed him and Sam didn't bring it up either.
Dean fiddled with the EMF detector, twitchy like he usually wasn't.
Already, it was clear Dean was getting restless. Might not have been if they were staying deliberately, but they weren't.
He'd driven south the night before, driven until after midnight, but in the morning Colorado was still outside their window.
Sam watched the emotions cross his face. Dean hated not having control unless it was their father with the power and even then, Sam thought maybe it was just that he didn't want to see things could be another way.
Dean had quit speaking to him for the most part. Actually, that wasn't quite true; Sam just wished he'd either shut up or help research what could be causing this.
They both knew there wasn't anything in the journal, but he squinted at every page, because it was easier than admitting this might be hopeless.
For every page of the leather-bound book he skimmed, Dean passed another roadsign. Sam knew he had never really learned to stay put. Job done, time to move on. He could almost hear that thought resonating through Dean, feel it in the way he pressed his foot to the gas pedal.
The ocean was dark, not quite angry. It had been too long since he'd seen it instead of just knowing the town they were in was just off the coast.
His shoes were next to him as he sat there watching the water, arms around his knees and toes curling into the ground.
Sometimes… Sometimes it felt like there was more wrong with him than the rest of the family put together. Like he really was the unstable one. The restless one. The distant one.
Because for all the times Dean went uncommunicative, maybe Sam was the one who always pushed people away. Leave for Harvard, kiss his brother when it seems like they're just about getting along again.
Getting back in the car felt like coming home some days, the road humming a lullaby in his ear.
"Dean, it's not like we're in a video game. There's no race, no savepoint if we go far enough. We've been ending up back in Sterling for a week now. During that week, I'd swear to God you've driven in every direction you can think of. It's gotta be something else from that first day."
"What, you think it's something we ate?" Sam could only wish it was that easy.
It was hard not to bring out threats that would drive him away when Dean was being so stubborn.
Sam sighed, feet planted just as obstinately. "I don't want you to go without me and I'm pretty sure you wouldn't want to leave me. But we have to try researching. Your way isn't working."
With a scowl, Dean nodded. "Fine. Do the internet thing. I'll be outside if you find anything."
Sam walked out the door reluctantly. At first he didn't see Dean, but the Impala's rear doors were open, legs hanging out on one side.
"Just thought I'd clean her up." Neither of them gave any indication they realized the same wrappers and cups would be on the floor the next day.
That was the main problem with having known someone forever in tight spaces; bickering became fighting, and every fight could escalate and become serious with that much past to draw from – even then most things were left unsaid.
Which was probably a good thing, since it wouldn't exactly be fun to spend every day fighting about how Sam left. Even if sometimes it felt like that was what all their fights really were.
Sam looked at Dean out of the corner of his eye, leaning against the door so close he could hear the road rumbling under them, more real than Dean's music. He was glad he'd left, glad he'd known something else. Hard to miss what a person already has.
Dean's been watching him. He could feel it, felt that it was Dean's eyes, not anyone else in the diner.
There weren't many people – a small family that kept looking out at a pop-up camper, vacationers; a pair of tired old men with huge cups of coffee.
"Nothin'." Dean focused on his food outwardly, but Sam knew that he was still thinking about him or thinking about looking.
They must have taken a wrong turn, because now they were lost in the desert and Dean wouldn't admit he had no idea where he was trying to go.
Sam wanted to run. Not drive, just run, on foot, until his legs shook and his lungs felt like they'd melted.
He settled into his seat, dug sunglasses out of the glovebox, and didn't say anything.
"Sam." Dean was using his serious tone.
He was pretty sure he didn't want to have this conversation.
"So we should try calling dad's contacts, see if we can find someone who-"
"Sam." That glare meant he better not interrupt again. "Don't you think there's something we should discuss?"
And really, no. No, Sam didn't. If they made it almost 2 weeks without talking about it, they could go longer. Hopefully long enough Dean would just forget.
This time Sam drove. He wasn't even sure how he managed to buy a tape adapter without Dean noticing, but the important thing was that after more Metallica than any sane person can stand, he'd finally found an out. He changed tracks on his I-Pod just to make Dean cringe.
"Easy listening? Sammy, this music makes you sterile." He smirked. "Of course, that might not be so bad. At least there won't be more people listening to this crap then."
Just for that the volume went louder and Sam started singing along, loudly, off-key. "Don't you remember you told me you loved me ba-ay-bee, you said you'd be coming back this way again bay-ay-bee."
Dean smacked him in the chest, but he didn't even notice, he was thinking so hard.
"Wait, Dean, I think that might be it."
Dean gave him the 'are you fucking nuts?' look. "What might it be? The song that made you realize how very uncool you are and will always be?"
"Sure. Or something from the first day. Do you remember anything strange?"
"You," Dean teased. "As I recall, you were there too, Mr. Analyze This. Same car, same roads, same tunes. Do we have to keep talking about this?"
"I just had an epiphany. We'll check it out tomorrow."
"So this is the world's largest prairie dog." Dean stared up at the stone monstrosity. "Uh, Sam, this doesn't look like a demon."
"Hmm, uh, no, it doesn't." Sam scowled. "But this was the only thing, it had to be. Maybe it's channeling someone's power."
"Human or demon?"
Sam's face twisted with thought. "Well, it shouldn't make much difference, right? Blow the bad art and there's no catalyst. It shouldn't hurt anybody."
Which would just piss a demon off."
"Like that's ever stopped us before." And that decided it.
Dean had smirked at Sam when he asked how Dean knew it would work. "Because I've used it before. Throw in a little camp fuel and it works even better."
Sam knew he was being baited, so he got out of the car and walked into the Wal-mart. The lights were dimmed; they must have been trying to save electricity, but skylights were less effective.
The store looked bleak, not that he noticed. The recipe was crumpling, he held it so tight, almost running from aisle to aisle. It helped that every Wal-mart in the country had the same layout.
The sun was riding low on the horizon as they both used their hands to dig shallow holes around the base, filling them with homemade explosives from an internet recipe.
"Go, Sam." Dean pointed, using a voice that allowed no argument.
He ran what felt like a safe distance, turning to watch Dean. His brother was caught in the orange glow of sunset, one hand cupped over his eyes, the other trying to wave Sam further. He shook his head and Dean shrugged before pulling out a lighter.
They'd been on the road for almost 12 hours, both of them quiet again. Sam thought it possible that Dean was trying for Canada. "You're legally dead. Maybe crossing the border isn't the smartest idea."
Dean grinned. "Hey, it's not like it'll matter if I get us arrested." A valid point, and Sam wasn't in the mood to argue.
"Driver fills the tank-"
"Shotgun washes the windows." Dean's rules were easy, and fair, but he'd never figured out how Dean always managed to be driving when they stopped for gas.
The bugs were really caked on, so Dean had the tank full and paid up before he finished.
"Sammy," he began, a smile in his tone, "All these years and you still haven't figured out how to do this? It's all in the wrist."
Dean demonstrated, leaning over the car to reach more windshield. "Hmm."
"Now you try." Dean was being weird, but to humor him Sam took the squeegee and finished the windshield, some smudges still across the middle.
Dean laid a hand over his, pressing close to guide it better. "See?" he growled in Sam's ear.
Sam turned towards the voice, a basic instinct, but this time a mouth, Dean's mouth, was pressing against his, Dean's tongue skirting along his lips a short moment.
"Can we talk now?" Dean was grinning, like maybe he'd been planning this for days, but it was also a question. Like if Sam answered right, then he'd really smile.
"Sure, talk." Sam slipped an arm around Dean's waist and kissed him again, harder, tongue in Dean's mouth. It was black out, almost midnight.
Dean cocked an eyebrow., smile turning ten kinds of inappropriate. "I like that kind of talking too."
If Sam thought he'd been driving fast the past couple weeks, that was nothing to now. The first motel wasn't as cheap and rundown as most they scoped out, but it was closest, so neither cared.
Sam shrugged off one shirt, yanked the other over his head. Dean had kicked off his shoes, slid his jeans down. There was just one bed and that was beyond okay.
Dean's breath was hot against his neck as one hand curled around Dean's shirt. He felt like he was supposed to say something, but he didn't know what, so he tugged the shirt off and tried not to squirm as fingers brushed along his belly before grasping his belt, unbuckling it for him.
The bed shrieked as he sank onto it too heavy, Dean sitting next to him. There would be words later, he hoped.
For now, he slid one hand into Dean's boxers. "Gonna prove you know how to use that wrist properly?"
Sam smiled, almost sheepish. It was…good that Dean was still Dean. He wasn't sure what he'd expected, but this was good. Good enough that his hand tightened and Dean groaned at the back of his throat.
Neither one of them lasted long. Sam started dozing off, but Dean nudged him. "Hey, Canadian tv!" They really had gotten close to the border.
It was a marathon of some weird show that did manage to capture his attention. "Wait, that teddy bear is a nympho?"
"Yep. Can't believe they screwed up Bill's background so much though. We burned that damn dummy. Canadians don't prosecute puppets." It was hard to tell if Dean was serious or not. "Hey, didn't you use to have a doll named Cuddles?"
"He was not a doll. He was- Just shut up!" Sam chuckled. This would work.
It was dawn before the marathon ended and they finally went to sleep.
His eyes cracked open, then opened wider. "Hey, know where we are?"
"North Dakota?" Sam yawned the words so Dean hardly understood what he was saying, other than it was Sam and they always understood each other even when they didn't want to.
"We're not in Colorado, that's for damn sure." He grinned, sitting up and stealing Sam's covers in the process.
Yeah, this would work.