Back to Chapter Four
Sam hears Dean's voice before he sees him. He's using that wheedling, flirty tone he uses on law enforcement when he’s trying to talk them around to letting him have his own way. He can't make out what Dean's saying and he figures that if Dean does manage to get past whichever nurse is in charge right now, then he'll open his eyes, and see just why Dean's gotten here so damn early. For the moment, he's really tired and everything hurts, so he's going to keep his eyes closed and keep wishing he could go back to sleep.
Sam opens his eyes. The sun's behind Dean so Sam can't make out the expression on his face very well, but he knows he's looking pleased with himself. Bucking authority or circumventing the rules or just generally getting his own way always makes Dean look pleased with himself.
"They let me in to see you for five minutes," Dean says. "How you doing, man?"
Sam shrugs, then regrets it. It hurts. Everything hurts. It makes no sense because the operation was only supposed to be in one area, and yet everything hurts.
Dean sits down, his face coming into focus, and Sam sees that Dean doesn't look good. He also doesn't smell so good, and he's wearing the same clothes as yesterday.
"Jesus, did you sleep in the car?" His voice sounds a little scratchy and his mouth is as dry as dust.
Dean looks sheepish. He passes his hand over his chin. "Uh, yeah, actually. Didn't want to go back."
The "without you" is left unsaid, but they both know it's there. Dean and his inability to be alone, Dean and his debilitating dependency issues. Sam knows it all, he doesn't know why he expected anything different.
"Can you pass the water?"
"Oh, yeah, yeah," Dean says, jerking to his feet and moving to pour the water. He plonks a straw inside the plastic glass and holds it out to Sam. "Got you a straw. Don't want you dribbling."
Sam gives him an unimpressed look and Dean smirks, equanimity back once he can tease Sam again. Sam takes a long sip of the water. It's blissful. He half-closes his eyes and opens them again. Dean's watching him closely, and when their eyes meet, Dean smiles, sheepish once more.
"Look, sorry for rocking up here early and annoying everyone. Just, couldn't sleep, you know? Wanted to make sure you were okay."
"They won't let me go until the afternoon," Sam says. "They said that last night. I have to have a scan and check-up, make sure everything's all put back in place and stitched up right."
"Of course, that's good," Dean says.
"So you may as well go home. Get changed, have a shower." He puts an emphasis on the last few words. "And bring me some clean clothes."
"Oh right, yeah, yeah. Forgot about that. Sorry." Dean makes a face, and Sam feels the absurd urge to laugh. He takes another sip of his water instead and looks at his brother pointedly over the rim of the glass. "You mean now?" Dean says.
Sam lowers the glass. "Yeah. There's no point waiting around. Get cleaned up. Please."
"Ungrateful bitch," Dean mutters, and this time Sam does laugh, except... ouch, not good. The pain creaks through his abdomen, stealing his breath. Instantly, Dean's leaning over him, concern on his face and one hand on his shoulder. It feels kinda nice, so Sam doesn't shake him off. "You okay?" Dean says.
Sam sucks in a breath and nods at him. Seriously, he's fine. This is chicken shit compared to some of the torture he's gone through. It's not even in the same library, never mind on the same page as some of Lucifer's favorite pastimes. Dean slides his hand up Sam's shoulder to hold the side of his face, fingers tangling in the ends of his hair. It still feels nice, it feels like how Dean used to touch him when they were kids, and despite everything, that's still comforting.
"I'll be back in a few hours," Dean says.
One of the nursing techs arrives about an hour after Dean leaves to take him down to imaging. She introduces herself as Nora and talks to him as she helps him into the wheelchair. Whatever he was given is wearing off and his abdomen hurts with rhythmical deep throbs that feel like being punched in the gut over and over again.
"Well, you're a big one," she exclaims as he leans on her shoulder.
He gives her a weak smile of acknowledgement. He does feel huge next to her. Her head barely makes it to his chest. She must be about five one or five two at the most. His legs are too long for the chair, the thin hospital gown too short for him, and his knees poke out. He looks completely ridiculous; Dean would have a field day if he could see him right now.
She wheels him to the imaging room. It's busy so she parks him by a couple of chairs and takes a seat next to him. "I'll wait with you, honey," she says.
"Thanks," he says.
"Your partner's very charming," she says with a bright smile, and Sam resists the urge to snort. "He was so determined to see you this morning."
"Dean can be very persuasive," he says.
"It's nice," she says. "To be so devoted. I felt bad for him, he was really worried about you."
"Yes, well, I'm fine. I told him that."
"Of course, honey," she says soothingly.
He glances down at his lap. His fingers have tensed into a fist without him realizing it. He exhales a long breath and unclenches them.
"You make a very handsome couple," she continues. "Have you been together a long time? I hope you don't mind me asking."
He can't remember what they said about his and Dean's relationship, though it's evidently a safe assumption that they didn't go with the brothers thing. So many people have assumed that he and Dean were a couple over the years that most of the time they don't bother correcting them. Besides, he guesses that it's kind of the truth. Or at least, it used to be.
"Sixteen years," he says automatically.
She's probably counting back, trying to figure out how old he was when he and Dean got together, so he continues. "We were in high school." It's true for him, though not for Dean. Dean had dropped out a couple of years before then. He can still remember that first time so clearly, hear the theme music from Raiders of the Lost Ark, smell the popcorn in the air, and remember how Dean had tasted: beer and popcorn and garlic from the pizza. Even now, the smell of popcorn makes him hard.
"Oh," she says. She makes a face, it's a little self-conscious, maybe even self-deprecating. "My first husband was my high school sweetheart. I remember how that is."
"Your first?" he prompts.
"Yes. We were together five years before he decided he wanted to be elsewhere. Still, I wouldn't trade that time for anything. My eldest son is from that marriage." She gives him a soft smile. "He's a chimera, too."
"Oh," Sam says. "And he's... he's okay with it?"
She shrugs with an expression that is a little wistful. "I hope so. He's seventeen, so he doesn't say much about it. He wants to go to college. He's so smart, and I'm not just saying that because I'm his mother. He likes astronomy, stars and planets and space, all that kind of stuff. He wants to study that."
"It's a fascinating subject, just thinking about what's up there," Sam says. He gives a self-conscious shrug when he notices her looking at him.
"Yes," she says, "it is."
They smile at each other, and Sam feels overwhelmed for a second because she's not judging him. She's not judging him for being a chimera, or having a boyfriend, or even for this - for the (say it, Sam, you went through with it so you can say it) for the abortion. She's not judging him because he's nothing special here. He's just one unlucky chimera among many, just another statistic, just another patient. She probably sees dozens of guys like him every year going through the same thing. She's not surprised by it, she's not judgmental. She's nice and kind, and for some stupid reason, mainly because this sort of human kindness and acceptance is so far from the kind of world he and Dean live in, he didn't expect it and he's not sure how to deal with it.
I'm not special here, he thinks, and it's such a huge relief, it's such a monumentally wonderful thing that he kind of wants to cry. He wants to take her hand and say thank you for thinking Dean's my high school sweetheart, thank you for not seeing everything underneath - the corruption and lies and incest - thank you for being so fucking nice about everything.
The exam room door opens, and a teenage guy walks out, eyes downcast and expression troubled. Sam tears his gaze away from him and looks at Nora.
"I guess that means it's my turn."
"It is," she says. She gets to her feet and wheels him into the room.
The scan is relatively quick and painless. The tech doesn't say much when it's done, just tells him that the results will be passed to Dr Abelard who performed the surgery and he'll be by to see Sam later that afternoon.
Nora returns to wheel Sam back to his room and helps him get settled in bed.
"It will get better soon," she says with a bright smile before she leaves him.
He's not sure what she's talking about, but the certainty in her voice makes him feel better.
Dr Abelard stops by a couple of hours later. He pulls up a chair by Sam's bed and opens Sam's file.
"So, the scans look good," he says. He glances up at Sam. "Sore?"
Sam nods. "Yeah."
"That's completely normal. If it gets really bad, I can up your dosage a little."
"It's fine, I can handle it," Sam says.
The doctor nods. "Okay, well, just let one of the nurses know if it does exceed your pain tolerance. We'll be sending you home with Percocet of course, but the pain should go down in a few days. I noticed you already have a few scars..." He raises his eyebrows.
"Yeah, we're quite outdoorsy. Me and my partner, we like extreme sports, hunting and uh, paragliding, that sort of thing," he says.
"Right," the doctor says, though he doesn't look convinced. He doesn't say anything else thank God. "Okay then, let's take a look at the scar."
Sam braces himself as the doctor gets to his feet and leans over to push up Sam's gown, exposing his junk to the cold room. The doctor peels aside the dressing carefully and frowns as he surveys his handiwork.
Sam glances down at himself. The new scar looks sore, red and surprisingly long. It's in the same position as a female c-section scar, a few inches below his belly button. The last time with the miscarriage the scar was above his belly button and was not so neat. He can remembering telling Dean he got it in a bar fight when Dean noticed, and when Dean scoffed, "You? In a bar fight?" he explained about the job he had tending bar at a roadside dive where he did indeed break up bar fights as part of his job. In the end, he only worked there three weeks. Jess insisted he quit, saying she was worried about him getting hurt. When Jess asked about the c-section scar, he made up a story about emergency chimera surgery, which was close enough to the truth not to make him feel bad about lying to her again. At least he won't have to lie about where he got the new scar.
"Well, that looks fine," the doctor says, replacing the dressing. "One of the nurses will redress you before you're checked out, but you should be okay to go without dressings after a couple of days. We'll send you home with some supplies. Do you have someone who can help you with the redressing at home?"
Sam nods. "Yeah, my partner can do it."
"Good." The doctor sits back down and opens Sam's file again.
"Is it... does it look...okay?" Sam asks.
The doctor glances at him, and nods. "Yes. I think it's all satisfactory."
"So, it's gone," he says, and he's not sure if it's a question or a statement.
"Yes," the doctor says.
Sam inhales sharply. He swallows over the lump in his throat before he says, "Was it... could you tell what it was?"
The doctor looks at him for what feels like a long time. "Do you really want to know that, Sam?"
"Yes, yes I do."
"At ten weeks, it's hard to tell without a full pathology report, but my best guess is that it was male. Babies born of chimeras are male in 90% of cases."
"Yes, I know that. And was there..." he pauses, trying to fish for the right words. "Was there anything wrong? With... it?"
"There was nothing wrong with the fetus for its stage of development. There is no reason, medically speaking, why you couldn't get pregnant again. If that was something you wanted.”
Sam hesitates before speaking again, pushing the words out slowly. “And if it was something that I didn’t want? Didn’t ever want. What about a more permanent solution than birth control pills?”
“For sexual chimeras, you know that this means a full hysterectomy. Tying the fallopian tubes isn’t usually an option.”
“I know that.”
The doctor nods slowly. “It’s a big decision, Sam.”
“Of course you do,” he adds smoothly. “But it’s not something I generally recommend. Birth control—“
“Has failed twice,” Sam interrupts. He swallows, glances down at his fingers knotted in his lap. When he looks up again, his expression is set. “I can’t go through this again, doctor. And I can’t—I can’t have a baby. It’s not an option.”
The doctor looks at him then nods slowly. “Okay. Of course many sexual chimeras do elect to have hysterectomies because they’re uncomfortable with their sexuality—“
“I’m not uncomfortable with my sexuality, I never have been,” Sam insists. “I just can’t have a baby.”
“Okay, but please think about it. I have some literature for you to take away with you. This is a major surgical procedure and like all major surgery, it carries risks. The recovery time can take months. We provide an excellent counseling service here of course, which can support you through the procedure.”
“I don’t need to see a counselor,” Sam says.
The doctor sighs and stands. He hesitates by the door, tucking Sam's file under his arm. “You should take some time to think about it, to talk about it with your partner. Once it’s done, it can’t be reversed.”
Sam nods to himself, bowing his head again. When he raises it once more, the doctor is watching him. “Thank you,” Sam says, clearing his throat.
He's actually kind of relieved when Dean shows up again, this time toting a duffle with a clean change of clothes. Dean helps him out of the bed and into sweat pants and a baggy t-shirt. He guesses he has to give his brother credit for picking clothes that weren't going to be difficult to put on or weren't going to rub.
Dean exhales when he sees the dressing and lifts frightened eyes to him. "Jesus, Sam, is that..."
"It's where they went in," Sam says.
“Can I look?”
Sam nods shortly and sucks in his stomach as Dean gently peels the dressing away. Sam’s stomach muscles flutter under his brother’s scrutiny and he’s starting to feel really self-conscious. It’s just a future scar, one of many that cover his body. It’s not even the first C-section scar he’s had.
“Dean,” he prompts.
Dean seems to shake awake and finally he puts the dressing back, gently smoothing down the edges. He lets the t-shirt fall back in place.
"Lisa had a c-section scar," he says. "It's how she had Ben. She told me that she didn't want to, she wanted to have him naturally, but it'd been going on thirty six hours. You couldn't tell, not when she was wearing panties."
"Well, I'm not gonna wear panties."
"Shut up," Sam says. He catches Dean’s eye and Dean smiles faintly at him, looking freaked but amused. “We both know that’s your thing, Dean.”
The smile broadens, and Sam feels a weight lift off his chest as Dean pats his arm and reaches for the sweatpants. He drops to his knees to help Sam step into the sweatpants, and tilts his head back to look up at him, and it's having an effect on his stupid cock. Despite the aches and pains and hospital atmosphere, it's having an effect, because Dean's on his knees in front of him, and he was just talking about wearing panties, and Sam's stupid dick is hard-wired to his brother and all the stupid crap Dean comes out with.
"Dude," Dean says as he gets to his feet, pulling the sweatpants up as he does. His knuckles graze over Sam's half-hard cock deliberately, and Sam shudders, his cock twitching. "Save it till we get home."
Sam just sighs, and Dean chuckles, the expression brightening his face for one short, sharp moment. He looks tired and he hasn't bothered shaving and Sam can still smell the alcohol fumes, but thank the lord, he’s changed clothes and showered.
"You need help with these?" Dean takes Sam's running shoes and socks out of the duffle and waggles them at him.
"Yes, please," he says, because he's not ready to do any kind of bending over just yet, whatever his hopeful and stupid dick might think.
Dean gets to his knees again and Sam stares at the top of his head, at his damp hair, at his broad shoulders filling out one of his favorite flannel shirts, at the tip of his nose and the dark spidery spread of his lashes. He drops his hand to the top of Dean's head and feels Dean still, his fingers pausing on Sam's laces. He hears Dean's breath hitch and watches him tip his head back to look up at him.
Dean's eyes are very wide and very green as he stares up into Sam's face. Sam feels his throat tighten again, because goddammit, he loves him. He loves him to a stupid degree, and it's always been the problem, because Dean is Dean, and he's infuriating and suffocating and damaged, and he's broken Sam in so many ways because he can't let go, and Sam is so fucking angry with him for it. He's not going to forgive him, not this time, not for the angel and Kevin, he can't forgive him for that, but he loves him, and he can't just choose to stop loving him because Dean's a damaged, fucked-up human-being. He'd like to, because it might be the only way they'll ever survive each other, but he can't. In that respect, he's just as fucked-up and damaged as Dean. But at least... at least now with what he just did, and at least with what he plans to do, he knows that only the two of them will suffer. Too many innocents have died around them; Sam refuses to ever bring another person into their mess.
His hand slides around to cup Dean's cheek. He watches Dean close his eyes, shuddering as he exhales, his breath warm against the edge of Sam's hand.
He watches Dean's lips trace his name, the two syllables, not spoken aloud, but Sam knows how his name looks on his brother's lips. He pats Dean's cheek and removes his hand.
"You ready to go?" he says.
Dean clears his throat and opens his eyes. "Fuck, yeah."
"Sam, is there anyone we can call?"
Sam blinks his eyes open and stares at the kindly face of the woman leaning over him.
He keeps staring at her and she smiles awkwardly and pats his arm. "Do you know what happened? Did the doctor explain it to you?"
He swallows; his throat feels sore and dry. He'd kill for a glass of water. He feels hazy and insubstantial and he's aware that his stomach hurts. He can remember that part clearly. His stomach was hurting all day, all through class and then his shift at the hardware store. He felt sick and the pain was just too much, even for him to handle, and so he called a cab and went straight to the hospital. He thought it was appendicitis, but there was a part of him that knew that it wasn’t.
"I had a miscarriage," he says at last. His voice comes out croaky and dry, and he licks his lips. "Are you a nurse? Could I get some water?"
"I'm not a nurse," she says, "but I can definitely get you a glass of water."
She disappears and he takes the moment to look around. He's still in hospital. The curtains are drawn around his bed for privacy. He has a nightstand with a small cupboard, it's one of those portable metal ones and the top of it is depressingly bare. Then again, no one knows he's here, so he'd hardly expect flowers or a card. He hopes his clothes are in the cupboard. There's a chair by the bed and he wonders if the woman was sitting there while he was asleep.
He pushes the cover aside and peers down at himself. He's in a hospital gown and his stomach aches. He remembers being taken into the exam room, the doctor putting his hand on his stomach, his eyebrows narrowing together as he scanned the form Sam had filled in.
"You're a sexual chimera?" he asked, and Sam nodded, gritting his teeth through the pain.
"Are you pregnant?" the doctor asked.
"No, no, of course not.”
The doctor kept looking at him, grim-faced. "Might you be pregnant?"
Sam blinked at him, opened and closed his mouth. "No, I can't, I take birth control, I..."
"When was the last time you were sexually active?"
Dean, he thought, just before I left...
"About six or seven weeks ago I think," he said.
The doctor sighed through his teeth, a hissing sound that reverberated up and down Sam's spine. "We need to run some tests immediately."
He pulls the covers back over his stomach and stares at the shapes on the thin pink curtains. He sees the woman’s shadow through the curtain before she whips it aside and enters, holding a jug of water and a glass. She places them on the nightstand and goes back to pull the curtains back into place.
She pours a glass and his mouth waters at the sound. She holds it out to him. "Can you hold it? Would you like a straw?"
He shakes his head because he can manage fine. He plans to be out of here just as soon as she leaves. He doesn't know how long the fake insurance card Dean had given him before he left is going to hold out.
She doesn't leave, though, she just takes a seat and watches him drink. He puts down the glass when he's done and she smiles at him again, an understanding sympathetic sort of smile.
"Sam, I'm Wanda, the hospital's chimerism counselor," she says.
Of course, he should've known. He holds the glass tight and nods to himself. "Right."
"You came here by yourself on Tuesday night," she starts to say.
He interrupts, "What day is it today?"
"Thursday," she says.
Shit. That's five classes, one shift at the store. Stan's going to be bitching him out for missing work and not calling.
"You're a Stanford student?" she says.
"Do you have the name of your advisor? I could call them and let them know why you've missed school, if you'd like?"
"No, it's fine. Thank you."
She folds her hands in her lap and fixes him with a look. "Look, Sam, Dr Kendrick explained to me that you thought it was appendicitis when you were brought in and that you didn't know you were pregnant."
He doesn't say anything, waiting for her to continue.
"It's not an unusual situation. I’ve had patients who have gone to full term and delivered babies, not realizing that they’re pregnant. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about chimera physiology.” Another soothing, understanding smile, and she leans forward. “I can arrange for you to speak to someone about what you’ve been through.”
“A therapist,” Sam says blankly. “You think I should see a therapist.”
“I’d like for you to have the option if you want to. What you’ve just been through… it can be overwhelming. Stanford has a great counseling service. Many of the counselors there are personal friends and they have great experience with sexual chimeras. I could arrange a referral for you.”
“No thanks,” Sam says. She opens her mouth to speak again, but this time he doesn’t let her, interrupting, “When can I check myself out?”
She looks a little taken aback by the abruptness but she recovers smoothly. “The doctor will want to see you again before you leave. But if everything’s fine then there’s no reason for you to stay.”
“Good. Thanks,” he says. “And thanks for talking to me. I’ll think about what you said.”
She doesn’t look convinced but she does leave at last. Sam collapses into the pillows and closes his eyes. He slides his hand under the covers, and spreads his fingers over his tender abdomen. There was a baby in there – no, not a baby, not yet, a fetus – but there was something real and alive, something that he and Dean created together.
What would he have done if it had lived? He’d have figured it out eventually and then what? Would he have gone through with a termination without telling Dean? If Dean knew then he’d want to keep it. He’d want to be a part of it, but what about Dad and hunting? And what about him and his life? He’d be dragged back into the family business with a baby in tow.
No, this is probably the best outcome all round. This way he doesn’t have to tell Dean, and Dean doesn’t get to mourn something that didn’t even exist. Dean doesn’t get to be sad and he won’t feel guilty for breaking his brother’s heart all over again. He can keep this secret. It’s for Dean’s own good anyway, he’d just want to come out here and beat himself up about it and figure out some way of taking the blame, and Sam can’t deal with that. He can’t deal with Dean’s guilt on top of all this…
He unclenches his hand, spreads his fingers over his abdomen and opens his eyes. That card he used had a fake name, they don’t know who he is, except for him being a Stanford student. He can leave right now if he can get out of bed.
He pushes the covers aside and winces as he slowly slides his legs off the edge of the bed. He pauses for a moment, letting the shiver of pain rock through him, then he gingerly steps onto the floor. He crouches down and opens the nightstand and breathes a sigh of relief when he sees his clothes.
"Hey, I made some beef stew," Dean says. He looks slightly embarrassed, running his hand through his hair and not meeting Sam's eyes. "It's nutritious."
Sam chokes back a laugh. "Nutritious?"
"Yeah, that's what the website said. I put vegetables in it."
Sam fixes him with a look. "What kind of vegetables?"
"I don't know, man. Like potatoes and carrots and spinach and um, eggplant."
"Eggplant? You cooked with eggplant? Do you even know what an eggplant is, Dean?"
"Course I know," Dean says, looking offended. "They're big and purple and I put them in the stew for you. 'Cause you like that kinda crap."
"I like eggplants?" Sam says.
"Yeah, sure you do. C'mon, have a bowl. It's delicious."
"Yeah, okay. Can't be that bad."
"Dude, I told you, it's fucking awesome.”
He leaves as Sam gets out of bed and puts on his robe and slippers. He's been back three days and he's feeling much better. The pain's gone down and the incision doesn't look infected. He still feels weak and kinda useless and Dean's being ridiculous about not letting him out of bed. Yesterday Sam threw a book at him because the nurse act was wearing seriously thin. Dean seemed to have gotten the message though, as he's been keeping to himself all day today so far. Evidently that was because he was working on his stew.
He pads down the draughty corridor, pulling the robe closer around him and feeling about seventy years old. Dean's singing lustily to himself in the kitchen, his back to Sam as he does something over the stove. Sam hovers in the doorway listening to his brother and smiling when he recognizes the lyrics.
Danny knew this white trash girl, we each threw in a ten
She took us to this cheap motel, and turned us into men...
Blood on blood, one on one...
"Dude, are you singing Bon Jovi?" Sam says.
Dean spins around and flushes. He licks his lips and flounders for a second before answering, "Yeah, so?"
Sam shrugs and grins delightedly to himself. "Nothing. Carry on. You sound great, Dean."
Dean scowls at him. "Shut up."
Sam laughs, and ouch... yeah, that's not got much better. Immediately, Dean's expression flashes to the typical concerned look and he makes an aborted move forward before Sam motions him away.
"I'm okay, seriously. What about this stew then?"
He lowers himself down onto one of the kitchen chairs and waits for Dean to ladle him a bowlful of his gourmet masterpiece. There are crusty rolls on the table that still feel warm and Sam briefly wonders if Dean has taken the nurturer thing too far and gone and baked his own bread. He spreads butter on a roll and takes a bite. He's actually really hungry and he savors the bready-buttery taste as Dean plonks the bowl of stew down in front of him with a flourish.
"Go on, tuck in," Dean says.
Dean's eyes are wide and enthusiastic and he's making that five year old face, so Sam sighs and gives in. He can definitely see recognizable vegetables among the gravy and lumps of meat, so he spears a carrot and takes a bite. It's... it's actually okay. In fact, he swallows the carrot and goes for one of the lumps of meat, it's really tasty.
"See? See?" Dean says, grinning and looking ridiculously smug. "Good, right? I did tell you."
"Yeah, it's incredible, Dean, it's the best thing I've ever put in my mouth," he says.
Dean raises his eyebrows. "Well, I wouldn't go that far." He leers at Sam, and Sam rolls his eyes.
He doesn't really know where they're at now with their sex life. Their relationship's still screwed up but Dean's really trying. He's not going to change, Sam knows that. Dean's still fundamentally the same person who said all he wanted was to keep his family together all those years ago in Chicago the night Dad showed. And Sam's still the same person who didn't want that, who wanted to get out and get back to what he thought of as his normal life at Stanford. He knows now how naive he was back then and just how much of a lie that normal life had been, but it still didn’t stop him from trying to create something real and different and unrelated to hunting when he thought Dean was gone. He still wants to get out, and he still wants Dean to get out, but he recognizes that both of those things are a work in progress.
The one good thing he can say about where they are now is that he has no illusions anymore. He knows all the horrible bad shit Dean has done – has done to him – and still, he hasn’t left. He’s thought about it plenty. In those first weeks after he found out about Gadreel and Kevin he had a duffle packed, intending to go at any moment. And yet, he didn’t. He procrastinated and delayed and made excuses about hunts and angel and demon wars, and still he didn’t leave. He told Dean he wasn’t his brother, he told Dean they were only going to be hunting partners, but still he didn’t leave. Instead of doing the right and healthy thing, when Dean looked at him that way, like his misery and his debilitating inability to be on his own was Sam’s fault, Sam reacted by slamming him against the wall and grabbing his cock. That really didn’t help the “we’re only going to be hunting partners from now on” thing. And then he ended up pregnant, so yes, that really was some fucked-up fallout.
He doesn’t know what happens next, but just the fact that he’s planning to go through with a full hysterectomy makes him think that there’s some real part of him that wants to keep having sex with Dean. Therefore, logically speaking, that must mean that he’s equally unprepared to leave Dean.
The thing is Sam knows that Dean can be on his own; he survived well enough when Sam was at Stanford and they didn’t talk for two years. But Dad was alive then, and that’s the difference. Dad is family and Sam is family and Dean needs family. He’s tried replacement families, Lisa and Ben, or Benny, his so-called vampire “brother”, but all those experiments ended disastrously, and Sam knows that they would never have even gotten off the ground if the two of them hadn’t been dimensionally separated. Sam knows that Dean could manage with them apart if he knew Sam were alive and happy, he’s said so at least twice in the past, but death is not an option for him. Dean would just keep figuring out a way to bring him back. Dean’s never going to be cured of his pathological need to take care of his family.
He watches Dean fetch his own bowl of stew and take the seat opposite. He picks up a spoon and hesitates, feeling Sam looking at him.
“What?” He gestures at Sam’s bowl. “Eat your stew.”
Sam puts his spoon down and folds his hands under his chin, regarding his brother closely.
“Oh God, what now?” Dean groans.
“We should talk,” Sam says.
Dean makes a face. “Really? How about we don’t do that.”
“No, Sam.” Dean says and he puts down his own spoon and jabs his finger on the table. “No, ‘cause I know what you’re gonna say. You want to leave or you want me to leave or you want us to stop being brothers, or whatever the hell we are, and I don’t want to hear it. I can’t hear it right now. I’m sorry about…” he waves a hand, “you know. I’m sorry you had to go through that, and if you like then we’ll stop. For good. No more sex, no more fucking or hand-jobs or blow-jobs, whatever. The best way to avoid getting knocked-up is abstinence, right?”
“Dean, shut up.” Dean’s mouth falls closed and Sam shakes his head. “I don’t want that.”
“But you said about us not being brothers anymore?”
“Yeah, and I meant that at the time. But the sex – I still want that.”
“So, you want to fuck me, but you don’t want to be related to me?”
“I don’t know,” he says. “I don’t blame you for the abortion, Dean.” He doesn’t miss Dean’s flinch at that word, but he ignores it, clearing his throat before he continues, “It was just one of those things. And it’s over now.”
“But you still don’t want to be brothers,” Dean says. “So what does that make us then? Hunting partners with benefits?” His tone’s gotten belligerent. No, not belligerent, defensive. He’s hurt and upset and he’s doing what Dean does when he’s hurt and upset which is lashing out.
“No, we’re more than that, you know that,” he says wearily. He lowers his gaze to his stew. He’s not feeling hungry now and it’s a shame because the stew was really good.
Dean goes quiet. He’s not eating either. Finally, Sam raises his head. “I’m going to have a hysterectomy,” he says.
Dean’s mouth falls open in shock, he looks numb. “Dude that’s some change of subject.”
Sam shrugs. “I guess.”
“Are you serious?”
Dean pushes out a breath and shakes his head. “No, c’mon, you don’t have to do that.”
“Yeah, I do.”
“But if they remove all of that stuff then you won’t be a chimera anymore. And I know you’ve always been a little…” he pauses, searching for the word, “unenthusiastic about it, but Sam, c’mon, think about this.”
“I have been thinking about it. And you’re wrong; I’m still going to be a chimera. That’s never going to change. You wouldn’t tell a woman who had a hysterectomy that she wasn’t a woman anymore, would you?”
Dean open and closes his mouth. “No, but…”
“But exactly, Dean! It’s who I am. And I’m cool with that. But I can’t go through this again. I can’t have a baby, you know that, and you know the reasons why not.”
Dean says nothing for a while, and Sam keeps staring over his brother’s shoulder, not meeting his gaze.
“Sam. Sammy,” Dean says.
Sam cringes inwardly at the nickname, but he slowly brings his gaze to rest on Dean’s face. Dean’s using that pleading expression, his eyes wide and guileless. “Don’t do this.”
“You don’t get to tell me what to do with my body. Not after what you did,” Sam says, feeling his teeth grind together.
Dean flinches, his face pales as his mouth twists in pain. “Yeah, okay,” he says, and his voice sounds scratchy. “But just think about it, please. You said that you want a future, away from hunting, you want a real life. And, Sam, if we do close the gates of hell, if we figure out what’s going on in Heaven and Cas wins, then you could have that. You could get out and you could have that happy ever after. I get that you don’t want to have kids with me, and I’m okay with that, you’re right about it being fucking stupid. But if you do this to yourself, then it’s permanent. You can’t ever have your own kids.”
“I know,” Sam says quietly. “And I’m okay with that. And Dean…” he flicks a look at his brother, a stone settling in his gut at the distraught look on Dean’s face, “with you or not with you, it makes no difference. The baby would still be a Winchester, which means it would be cursed, and I can’t live with that responsibility. I can’t do that that to an innocent kid. So, yeah, I’m going to have that operation. There’s nothing you can say to change my mind.”
Dean turns his head and Sam can see the glint of tears in his brother’s eyes. He watches Dean stumble to his feet, chair falling with a crash as he strides out of the room.
Sam keeps sitting at the kitchen table, bowl of stew getting cold in front of him. Eventually, he gets to his feet and starts to clear the table.
He doesn’t sleep. The pain’s back because he hasn’t taken anything in five hours. His abdomen is doing that dull throb thing again. He pulls up his t-shirt and puts his hand gingerly over his belly, his fingers skimming the dressing that’s still covering his scar. It will be okay, it will just be like going back to the days before he knew he was a chimera. He was fine then, he was happy enough. Nothing’s really going to change, except he won’t have to take birth control anymore, which is a good thing he guesses.
He snatches his hand away and hastily tugs down his shirt as the door opens. Dean’s standing in the doorway, holding a bowl of popcorn and carrying a plastic bag.
“Hey,” he says.
“Hey,” Sam says.
“So, I, uh. I thought you might want to watch a movie,” Dean says. He shuffles the popcorn under his arm like it’s a football and pulls a DVD out of the bag. It’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. His expression is tentative as he hesitates in the doorway. “Thought you might want to see it again,” he says at last.
“’Cause I’ve only seen it a hundred times before?” Sam says.
“This’ll be the hundred and first then. It’s still awesome.”
“Yeah, okay then. Come in.”
“Awesome,” Dean says, closing the door behind him. The tentative look has morphed into a full-wattage special, and Sam would feel embarrassed for him, except there’s that stupid ridiculous part of him that can never get enough of Dean smiling like that.
He shuffles across the mattress, leaving enough space for Dean to drop down beside him. Dean pulls a six-pack of beer out of the bag and balances it on the nightstand before he makes himself comfortable on Sam’s bed.
“Quit moving around,” Sam says, reaching for a handful of popcorn.
“But this mattress…”
“Is much better than the weird thing on your bed. Put the movie on.”
Dean gets up, grumbling under his breath as he bends to slide the DVD into the player. Sam takes the remote and turns on the TV.
“Quit hogging the popcorn,” Dean says, crawling back onto the bed. His knees sink into the mattress as he leans over to snatch a fistful of popcorn, kernels spilling all over Sam and the sheets.
Sam sighs and shoves the bowl at him. “Quit messing my bed.”
“Bitch, bitch,” Dean mutters.
“Shut up,” Sam says.
Dean shuffles back to the spot beside him, relaxing against the wall and stretching out his legs. He balances the popcorn on his lap and grabs a couple of beers from the six-pack he dumped on the nightstand. He twists the caps and offers one to Sam. Sam takes it and they clink the necks together before Dean takes a long chug. He settles back into the pillows and snaps off the light, plunging the room into darkness save for the light from the TV.
The movie starts and they watch Indy make his way through the jungle with Satipo.
Dean chugs his beer and wets his lips. Sam glances at him and sees that Dean’s already watching him. Dean’s mouth twists sadly. “You’re not going to change your mind, are you?” he says.
Sam doesn’t need to ask what he means.
“No. It’s the right thing to do. I’m never gonna have a kid and I’m okay with that. I might not have chosen it, but it’s better than the alternative. Everyone who gets mixed up with us dies. Look what happened to Adam, and he was our blood.”
“Yeah, I guess. But what you’re talking about – it’s so permanent.”
“That’s kinda the point.” He sips his beer, rests the bottle between his thighs. “It won’t change anything, not really.”
“That’s crap,” Dean says.
Sam snorts. He’s remembering them having exactly this conversation years earlier when he found out he was a chimera. Except then it was Dean insisting that nothing would change. He’s still not sure which of them was right.
He goes back to watching the movie. He’s tired, but he’s not aching so much now. Maybe it’s the beer. He doesn’t think he should be drinking with his meds, but he’s never let that sort of thing stop him before. He rests his head against the wall and lets his eyes fall half-closed. The music is swelling and he knows that it’s gotten to the action sequence of Indy running from the boulders and the holvos tribesmen. Dean’s hand slides onto his thigh, and he opens his eyes, rolling his head against the wall to look at his brother.
Dean’s watching him, the white light from the TV playing across his face and making his eyes shine. Sam stares back at him, thinking about how different, how ethereal and unreal and vulnerable Dean looks in this light. Dean’s face is more familiar to him than his own. It inspires reactions in him that no one else’s face ever has. Looking at Dean has always made him feel so much, and when he was younger he used to resent Dean for it. He still resents him for it, for making him feel so much with just his stupid perfect face, but he’s resigned to it now, and in a way, it’s comforting. It makes him feel powerful, because he knows that other people don’t have this. Other people don’t have brothers who would kill or die for them, who would betray them and commit the kind of crimes Dean has. Dean’s love for him and Dean’s need for him is a terrible, awful thing and Sam was so done with it, so over it, and yet, he keeps coming back to the same thing: he’s still here.
Dean bites his lip, opens his mouth as if he’s about to say something, but Sam’s too quick for him. He leans in and presses a kiss to his brother’s lips.
Instantly, Dean’s hands are in his hair, pulling him into the kiss, his mouth hungry on Sam’s. He tastes of popcorn and beer and the sense memory of those tastes and the Indiana Jones theme tune and the smell of popcorn and Dean’s skin is overwhelming for a moment. Sam pulls away, trembling as he turns his face away from Dean. For some stupid reason, he feels like crying. He hasn’t cried, not through any of this, but he can feel the sting behind his eyes and the ache in his throat.
“Sammy?” Dean says, his voice a little unsteady. “You okay, man?”
He nods his head, keeping his face turned from Dean.
“I, um.” He hears Dean swallow and clear his throat. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have…”
“It’s okay,” Sam says.
Dean’s hand is still resting on Sam’s thigh, like he’s forgotten to remove it, and Sam puts his own hand over it, sliding his fingers into the grooves between Dean’s knuckles and lacing their fingers together. He hears Dean exhale as he squeezes his hand. He feels Dean lean in and rest his temple against his shoulder. Dean nuzzles under the short sleeve of his tee and presses his lips to his bicep. He can feel the hot flutter of Dean’s breath on his skin and it makes him tingle.
“I’m sorry,” Dean says, whispering into Sam’s skin.
Sam reaches across his body to pet Dean, sliding his fingers into his short hair and cupping his skull. “I know,” he says.
Dean is sorry, he knows that. But Dean also said that he wouldn’t change anything. Given the choice he would still have let the angel into Sam’s body. Dean still loves him in a completely destructive, unhealthy way and it’s stifling and terrible and Sam’s still not going to leave. They’re in a very dark tunnel right now, but at least with the decisions he’s made it’s only ever going to be the two of them. Sam knows that it’s going to take a long time before he can fully trust Dean again, but he’s so tired of being angry at him. He wants to enjoy his company again, he wants to fuck him without feeling guilty, and he wants to stop feeling like he shouldn’t love him like he does – because he knows that’s not going to work. He’s always going to love Dean and he wants to feel good about it. He’s so over feeling bitter and betrayed. It’s about time they both found their way out of the freaking tunnel.
He tugs lightly on Dean’s hair, and Dean pulls away, tilts his head back so he can look at Sam. Sam cups his brother’s face and kisses him, letting his mouth linger. Dean exhales happily when they’re done. Sam draws back and pats his cheek.
“Watch the movie,” he says.
Dean rolls his eyes. “Bite me.”
“Maybe later,” Sam says.
Sam stares at the device in his hand. He reads the instructions again. He glances at the two other test sticks sitting on the edge of the sink. Statistically speaking, all three can't be wrong; therefore the only logical explanation left is that all three tests are giving him the right answer. He has to accept it. He's pregnant.
He grits his teeth and stands up. He chucks all three tests in the trash and washes his hands. He stares down at the tell-tale cardboard boxes and plastic sticks and considers getting rid of them, hiding the evidence. But who's he hiding it from? Dean? He's going to tell Dean, it's half his fault anyway.
One time, one fucking time. They hadn't done it in months, and he regretted it immediately afterward, seeing the hope in Dean's eyes and knowing that for him things were so far from good and one desperate fuck wasn't going to fix anything. It hadn't even been about them and their sorry relationship but about sex, about biological urges and resentment and desperation and the undisputable fact that Dean was there and Dean was convenient and having sex with Dean was better than pretending everything was okay.
But for Christ's sake... one fucking time. He’s on birth control for fuck’s sake. What the hell has Dean been putting on his Wheaties? Who knew that a diet of Jim Beam and hamburgers made for prize fighting swimmers.
Then again, maybe it's not Dean, maybe it's something else. Who knows what kind of a mess the angel left behind when Crowley finally evicted it from his body. Maybe this is some big fucking cosmic joke, a punch line courtesy of Heaven and Hell. Or maybe it's something worse, something nefarious and insidious and they're trying to breed him, trying to get the next generation of Winchesters to use for their fucked-up purposes.
Whatever it is, he really has no choice here.
Dean's cooking dinner at the stove, fried steaks by the looks. The smell makes him feel nauseous, though everything seems to make him feel nauseous recently. At least he knows now why that is.
He doesn't sugarcoat it. There's no point. He watches his brother for a second before he steps into the kitchen, footsteps announcing his presence. Dean doesn't look up from the steaks, but his shoulders hunch as if he's expecting a fight. He's probably going to get one.
"I'm pregnant," he says.
Dean turns around and blinks at him, confusion written all over his face. "Come again?”
“I’m pregnant,” Sam says again.
“Yeah, that’s what I thought you said," Dean says. He pushes the spitting pan off the heat and Sam stares at the bloody and greasy meat. His stomach flips over, and he pushes down the roll of nausea. Dean stands with his back to the stove and watches him warily. Sam folds his arms and crosses the room. He pulls out a chair and takes a seat at the big wood table. He sits down and tips his head back to meet Dean's gaze.
“It’s yours, by the way. In case you were wondering," Sam says.
“I. Yeah. I know. I mean, you haven’t… With anyone else. Have you?” His eyes widen, that face he sometimes pulls that makes him look about five years old. He looks confused and lost, and for a brief moment, Sam feels sorry for him.
“No,” Sam says.
“Right.” Dean raises his hand and passes it over his face, and Sam can hear the slight scrape of bristles against skin, a sound that even now reminds him of their father. Dean drops his hand and when he looks at Sam again, he looks more confident, like Sam's big brother again.
“So," he says, "what’re we gonna do about it?”