Another Day in the Life
The minute Sam walked through the door, a tall, blonde woman in her thirties stumbled against him, clutching his arm for balance as her considerable cleavage pressed against his chest. He rolled his eyes and helped steady her again. Fucking Dean, always picking bars just this side of respectable.
"Sorry, sugar. Haven't broken in my new shoes yet," she said in a surprisingly husky voice, and Sam's gaze flitted from her broad shoulders to her bare, muscled arms and back to her face.
"No problem," he said.
She smiled at him, then, and said, "So, what's a sweet little thing like you doing out here on a school night?"
Sam snorted. "I'm graduated," he said--Hell, it was almost true; six more credits and he could collect his degree, "and I'm just looking for my brother."
"Is he as tall and pretty as you?"
"Not as tall, almost as pretty," Sam managed without even blushing. Too much. "Is there a pool table in here somewhere?"
"Back room," she said, pointing one manicured finger at a doorway on the left, and he nodded his thanks. "Or..."
Sam turned around and waited for her to finish the sentence.
"--if he's not in there, you could try the other back room." She pointed to another doorway, on the right this time. "But I suggest trying the first one...well, first."
"Thanks," Sam said, his stomach clenching a little, and he skirted a wide path around that side of the bar.
Dean was in the first room, bent over the pool table and lining up his cue, and something in Sam eased at the sight. His brother was hustling pool, just another day in the life, and so what if the guy he was playing with had his eyes all over Dean's ass? It didn't mean anything; not to Dean--who couldn't even see him, for Christ's sake--and definitely not to him.
But then the guy stepped closer, and suddenly that was the friendliest game of pool Sam had ever seen someone play with his brother. He held his breath, waiting for Dean to forcibly remove the guy's hand from his ass, ready to step in if it got too violent.
"Trying to throw off my concentration?" Dean asked, his voice carrying even in the din of the bar. The cue smacked against the ball, and it bounced off a wall once, twice, and hit the black ball into the pocket.
"Trying," the guy repeated wryly, and tugged on Dean's beltloop.
Dean straightened up and turned to face him. "Pay up," he said, grinning, hand upturned.
The guy smiled back and dug for his wallet, counted out two bills that he pressed into Dean's hand, and, still smiling, kissed Dean on the mouth.
Dean leaned into the kiss, lips parting for the other guy's tongue, and then his eyes--open; sometimes Sam was surprised that Dean closed his eyes to sleep--flicked to the right and he caught sight of Sam standing slack-jawed by the doorway.
Sam tried to school his expression into normality, even as Dean pushed the guy kissing him away with surprisingly gentle hands. "Sorry," Dean said. "I've got to go."
The guy turned his head to see Sam standing frozen in the doorway and nodded at him. Sam's face felt frozen, but he tried to smile back. And then Dean was stalking silently past him, and Sam had to hurry to catch up.
Sam slid into the passenger seat without argument; their hotel was only six blocks away, but God forbid that Dean actually walk when driving was an option. He opened his mouth to say something, only to be circumvented by a blast of Zeppelin. Dean could be a lot more passive-aggressive than he liked to admit. Sam just sighed and leaned his head back against the seat.
The silent treatment lasted all the way into their hotel room, but at least there was no radio there, and Sam confiscated the remote before Dean could click the TV on.
"So, you're gay," he said conversationally.
Dean's stormy face tightened further. "Stay out of it, Sam," he said like a warning.
"No, you don't get to shut me down without talking about this. In case you hadn't noticed, I'm mad at you."
"What is this shit?" Dean demanded, half-bewildered and half-as angry as Sam had ever seen him. "I thought college students were supposed to be more tolerant than this."
"I'm not a homophobe, you asshole. That's not what this is about. You know, all those girls who you led on, I could almost not even care about them. It's not like you were going to have any meaningful relationships with them, even if you were straight."
"Shut the fuck up, you don't know anything about it."
"I know that we're brothers. I know that out of all the things you might do that could make me hate you, this doesn't come close. And I know that I'm pissed as hell that you've been lying to me for years."
Dean's glare eased into something less furious but no more comforting. "Okay, you want to know how it really went down?" Sam nodded, but Dean was already talking. "You remember Chris Butler, he was my best friend in Lafayette the year you were in seventh grade?"
Sam shook his head, and Dean shrugged. "I didn't think you would. He was my first boyfriend. So one night I decide to come clean and I tell Dad all about Chris and how I want to invite him over for dinner to meet the family. And you have to give Dad credit, because he took it like it was no big deal, and he said, sure, I should bring Chris over sometime, and he was glad that I was comfortable enough to share this with him, and he still loved me and was proud to have me as his son, and then he said, 'Don't tell your brother.'"
Sam blinked, waiting for more, but Dean was apparently finished. "Why would he say something like that?"
"I don't know." Dean pursed his mouth in an expression like a facial shrug. "I figure it's because you were only thirteen and just starting to notice girls, and he didn't want you to get confused."
"What, like knowing you were gay might make me gay, too?" Sam said skeptically. "Dean, you know it doesn't work that way."
"Yeah, well, nobody knew how it worked back then. It wasn't like today, with gay people on TV shows and gay-straight alliances in every other high school. Dad was just trying to protect you."
"Whatever, that still doesn't explain why you never told me since then. It's been, what, ten years? I don't think you need to protect me from your sexual preferences anymore, Dean."
Dean's mouth twisted bitterly, and Sam cocked his head to the side. "What is it?"
"Nothing," Dean said, his voice hard.
"Drop it, Sam. I've spilled my guts enough for one evening. I'm gay; you're still straight; story over. Any other problems you have, you can get over them on your own time."
Sam almost let it go, but they'd aired a lot of issues that he'd never imagined existed, and leaving things unsaid might only lead to bigger problems down the road. "Dean..."
"I swear to God, I'm gonna--"
"No, no," Sam said. "It's just the 'I'm still straight' bit."
"What about it?" Dean asked, his voice annoyed. Suddenly he sat straighter. "Oh, you have got to be kidding me. After giving me all that shit for keeping one fucking secret, now you're trying to tell me you're gay?"
"Bisexual," Sam corrected, "and I never told you about it because there was nothing to tell."
"Okay, I don't even know what that means," Dean said impatiently.
"It means I've thought about guys, but I've never actually done anything. Jess was the first person I ever had sex with," he confessed, and Dean's eyes widened before he nodded slowly.
When he spoke again, his voice was hushed; trading secrets, the way they'd always done when they were younger. "After I told Dad, he used to watch us more carefully, like I might do something to you. I mean, Jesus, Sam, you were fucking thirteen years old!"
"It was right around then that we started getting hotel rooms with sofabeds for you to sleep in," Sam remembered, and Dean nodded.
"Not that that was all bad--you used to kick something awful, dude--but the idea that I'd even think of something like that..."
"I know you never would," Sam said firmly, "and so does Dad."
"Maybe he just thought it was the right thing to do. I mean, if one of us was a girl, we wouldn't've shared a bed, either."
"Maybe," Dean said. "It's just... I get that Dad has to give us orders to follow sometimes. I just never thought that 'Don't molest your little brother' was anything I needed to be taught, you know?"
Sam shrugged and took a deep breath. "I thought about it," he said, his heart hammering painfully in his chest.
"You what?" Dean blinked at him.
"When I was twelve or thirteen, I used to imagine what would happen if I rolled over one night and put my arms around you, or if I...kissed you."
Dean stared, his mouth dropping open, and Sam essayed a shaky smile. "You mind saying something?" he asked, and Dean snapped out of whatever fugue state he'd fallen into.
"We're still cool," he said, and Sam started breathing again. "We're still...Jesus, I had no idea."
Sam nodded, waiting for the inevitable next question.
"And then what, you just...outgrew it?"
"Something like that," he said, his voice strangled.
Dean looked at him shrewdly, recognizing the lie for what it was, and moved on. "You never even hinted," he said, genuinely wondering, and Sam barked out a laugh.
"Well, you know, it's not exactly normal."
"Fuck normal," Dean said.
"Yeah." Sam held his breath, but that seemed to be all Dean had to say on that subject. The ball was in his court. His brother looked back at him with wide eyes, and suddenly it was all unbelievably easy. "Hey," Sam said gently, reaching out to cup Dean's face in his hands--way past indecision, and leaving even fear in the dust--and when he leaned forward, Dean met his kiss halfway.