oschun (oschun) wrote,
oschun
oschun

I Think Therefore I Am 7/7



Sex and Violence

They eat and then his dad brings out a bottle of whiskey, and not some home-brewed stuff, the real deal. Dean makes an obscene noise of pure pleasure when he takes his first swallow of the warming amber in his cup. The smoky heat runs down his throat like silk. “Jesus, where did you get this from?”

His dad smiles. “I have my sources.”

Castiel looks serious. “I have never understood this desire for inebriation.” He turns to Dean’s dad, “I worry about my original. He’s very self-indulgent when it comes to drugs and alcohol.”

Cas was right about Castiel. He’s only had a single shot of whiskey and he’s already maudlin.

“These are hard times,” Dean’s dad replies. “We do what we can to keep going.”

Suddenly there’s a loud whoop and the sound of commotion towards the bottom end of the camp. Dean looks around and realizes they are alone amongst the empty tables. “What’s going on?”

His dad grins and stands up. “That’d be the evening’s entertainment, gentlemen. Come with me.” Dean and Castiel get up and follow him.

As they come around the side of the building they’d been in earlier, they see a makeshift boxing ring: a flattened area of ground marked out by four wooden posts with a low-hanging rope between them. A whooping crowd surrounds it and two guys are beating the shit out of each other in the center. Gas lanterns hang from the trees, creating flickering shadows. Sweat gleams on the fighters. They are bare-foot and stripped to the waist, wearing battered, old-fashioned boxing gloves. One of them is Sam.

A hot shiver runs up Dean’s back and his breathing shallows. Sam always had that latent potential for strength and height when he was younger, but Jesus, he’s something else now: sharply delineated muscle and sinew under smooth, shining skin, his hair dark with sweat and clinging to his neck, and his expression focused and calculating. Dean swallows hard.

Sam’s attention wavers when he catches Dean’s gaze. His opponent takes advantage of his lack of concentration and lands a hard right hook on his cheek. Sam’s head and body twist sideways with the force of it. Dean flinches in sympathy. Sam recovers and shakes his head to clear it, refocuses and lashes out with a punishing left, again and again. The other guy staggers back and Sam follows him, kneeing him in the flank. He falls and Sam goes down with him, gloved hand on his neck and knee in his side, holding him down until the guy taps the ground in a signal of surrender. The crowd around the ring whoops and hollers.

Sam reaches down and helps the guy up. He sways on his feet so Sam holds onto him until he steadies. Lowering his head, he talks quietly in the guy’s ear until he grins, pushes Sam away and lands a light punch on his shoulder. Another guy comes over and helps Sam’s opponent remove his gloves. He staggers out of the ring, past Dean, saying, “Jesus Christ, he’s fucking machine, man,” to the guy next to him, who is holding his arm and offering him a plastic cup.

Sam looks over at Dean and raises his eyebrows.

Scarface is standing in front of Dean. He turns around with a smirk. “You’re up, pretty boy. Don’t make the mistake of thinking he’s been slowed down by one round. He’s just warming up.”

Dean breathes in a deep lungful of air. Fuck it, this is what he wanted, right? He strips off his shirt and flexes his shoulders, rolls his neck from side to side to loosen up. He leans over and unlaces his boots, toes them off when he straightens again.

“Here,” his dad says and offers him a shot of whiskey. Dean nods and drains it. His dad grins. “Watch out for that long reach of his. Go low for the kidneys. And he’s got a big bruise on his left thigh from a couple of days ago. Go for that, it might slow him up a bit.”

“Thanks, Dad,” he says, surprised.

His dad grins again. “Don’t thank me. You need all the help you can get. Sam is formidable in the ring.”

Dean’s heart sinks. What has he let himself in for?

“Fight well, Dean.” Castiel pats him encouragingly on the shoulder. “You are fast, strong and astute. As long as you don’t allow emotion to cloud your thinking, he won’t stand a chance.”

Dean nods, flexes his hands and pops his knuckles. Right, no emotion, just focus and control. No problem.

A short, thickset guy helps Dean put on the gloves. “Watch out for his left hook. It comes out of fucking nowhere at you.”

Dean’s getting really tired of all this well-meaning advice.

He steps over the rope and into the ring. The ground is cool under his bare feet and a light evening breeze caresses his skin. Sam watches him, head slightly lowered and eyes hooded. They circle each other, fists up. The noise and movement outside the ring drowns and blurs. It’s just him and Sam, just this patch of ground, everything else drops away.

Sam comes at him first, leading with his right. Dean ducks and punches him hard in the midriff, hears the jolted oof of air that comes out of his lungs. They step back from each other. Sam’s mouth is open and his chest heaves as he tries to catch his breath. Dean goes straight in again, trying to catch him off guard, but Sam’s expecting it and the next punch connects with Dean’s jaw. Dean rolls with it, comes back low again and manages to get in two quick, under-the-arm jabs to Sam’s kidney area.

Sam staggers back. “Not bad, Dean,” he says with grimaced admiration.

“Think of it as a down-payment. I owe you more than that.”

They circle each other warily, looking for weak spots. “Oh, you’re right about that. The way you just left me to go to your brother like I didn’t count for anything. You owe me plenty.” Sam’s left hook really does come out of nowhere. Dean’s cheek explodes with pain and blood fills his mouth. He chokes, leans over and lets it run out, spits the last of it out and checks his teeth with his tongue. Still there.

He straightens up again. “I didn’t fucking know they were going to come for you. I thought we had time.” He takes advantage of the moment Sam needs to process that by landing a straight, solid punch to his face that snaps his head back. Blood runs out of Sam’s nose when he lowers his head. He wipes it away with the back of his glove, smearing it across his cheek.

They glare at each other, breathing heavily. “I needed to see him just that one time. I came back for you, but you were gone. They caught me trying to trace you on Brian’s computer and just handed me over to Geneticore.”

Sam takes a couple of paces backwards, his eyes hard and disbelieving.

“I was locked up when the first co-ordinated strike happened. That’s how I got out. I’ve been looking for you ever since. And what about you, huh, Sam? Where the fuck have you been for the last four years?” Dean puts his head down, rushes forward and tackles Sam to the ground.

They roll over in a messy tangle until they hit one of the wooden posts and Sam uses his height and weight advantage to wrench Dean underneath him, legs locked over his, big hands pinning Dean’s arms to the ground. “So how did they know to find me at the tree house? I knew they were coming, Dean. I went there to wait for you. Why did you tell them? Were you that ashamed?”

Furious that Sam could even consider him capable of such a betrayal, Dean jerks his head forward and head-butts him. Sam rolls off and curls over, hands cradling his face, groaning with pain. Dean stands over him, fight instinct and anger encouraging him to kick Sam in the ribs. It might even be worth the damage it will do to his bare foot. “How could you think I would do that? It was probably your tracker chip, you idiot.”

Sam turns his head, “I disabled my tracker chip a long time before that, Dean.” He gets up, rubbing his nose with a pained expression. It doesn’t look broken to Dean. Sam drops his hand to his side. “Your mother was there. She told me it was you. She told me how disgusted you were that I was your brother’s clone, how you’d run away to find him.”

Dean slams Sam up against the wooden post. “And you believed her? I would have done anything for you, Sam. How could you even think I would do that?”

There’s so much anger and confusion in Sam’s expression. He isn’t hiding anything. His eyes dart around Dean’s face, linger on his mouth and another emotion flickers into life: desire. An expression of raw, exposed longing. Dean’s breath catches in his throat.

“Uh, Dean.” A tentative hand taps him on the shoulder. Dean whips around and Castiel holds his hands up to pacify him. “This is not really the place for what’s going on here.”

They look around them. A lot of the rebels have dispersed. The few that remain regard them with curiosity. There’s no sign of Dean’s dad.

“Your father has gone to bed,” Castiel informs him.

“He’s right,” Sam says, holding his hands out for Castiel to remove the gloves, “This is not the place.” He rips off the gloves after Castiel has loosened them before grabbing Dean’s wrists and doing the same for him. “C’mon.” He takes Dean’s arm and pulls him through a knot of men who watch them leave with smirking expressions. A couple of low whistles and catcalls follow them.

Sam lets go of Dean’s arm. He strides towards the tents and Dean follows him, watching the moonlight and shadow playing across his broad back.

Sam leads him to a tent. It’s slightly smaller than some of the others. There’s a single military cot, a table covered in books and something that looks like radio equipment. Sam goes over to a bucket on the floor next to the table, kneels and dunks his head in it. He stands up, water running down his shoulders and chest. He’s beautiful.

Dean starts to harden. He tries to surreptitiously adjust himself, but Sam’s eyes drop to watch the movement of his hand anyway. They remain on Dean’s crotch after he takes his hand away. Dean stands there, uncomfortable and turned on, arms hanging loosely at his sides. Sam’s eyes track upwards until he meets Dean’s gaze.

Dean watches a rivulet of water, pink with blood from Sam’s nose, run down his chest. He takes a deep breath. “I still want you, Sam. I don’t care if it’s wrong. I literally thought I was going to fucking die when I couldn’t find you.”

Two long strides and Sam is grabbing hold of him, big hands wrapped around Dean’s head, hard fingers on his jaw, angling his face so Sam can crush their mouths together. His tongue probes past Dean’s lips and ravages the inside of his mouth. Dean groans deep in his throat and wraps his arms around Sam’s waist, pulling them flush together. They still fit perfectly.

Sam pulls back, skin flushed and eyes bright. “I thought you hated me for what I was—your brother’s clone—and for what I wasn’t, that I would never actually be him. I thought you were disgusted and ashamed, that you blamed me. Then I heard you were with someone and I tried to be happy for you. I did. But I wasn’t, Dean, I really wasn’t.”

“Jesus, Sam. I could never hate you.” Dean lifts his hand and wipes the end of Sam’s nose. “Your nose is bleeding again.”

Sam turns away, goes to the entrance of the tent and snorts the blood out of his nose, one nostril at a time, holding the other nostril closed with his finger. He picks up a threadbare towel hanging over the back of a chair at the table and wipes his face, briefly scrubs his wet hair and wipes his armpits. “You should know, I don’t consider breaking my nose foreplay, Dean.”

Dean grins. “I’m just glad to still have a full set of teeth, asshole. And don’t be such a baby, it’s not broken. When did you turn into…” He gestures with his hand to encompass Sam’s height and bulk.

“That first year in a labor camp started it.”

Dean goes cold. “I thought the labor camps were for hardcore dissidents.”

“They are.”

“Jesus, Sam. I’ve met guys from the camps.”

Sam nods. “Yeah, so you’ve heard what they were like. It’s where I met your dad. I wouldn’t be alive if he hadn’t looked out for me.”

It was fate then that Sam met his dad and was protected by him. It was fate that led Dean here and brought them together again. Dean lifts his hand and cups Sam’s cheek. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you had to go through that. I’m sorry I took you to my house that day. It was such a stupid, selfish, arrogant thing to do. I’m just—I’m so sorry for everything. If you’d never met me in the first place—”

Sam places his hand over Dean’s. “It wasn’t your fault. None of it was.” He takes Dean’s hand and presses a kiss to the center of his palm, then lets go quickly, like he didn’t mean to indulge himself in something that sentimental, his eyes darting to Dean’s face as he laughs self-consciously.

“Careful there, Sam. Somebody might think you’re going soft.”

Smirking, Sam takes Dean’s hand and presses it against his crotch. “Not soft, Dean.”

And he really isn’t. He’s not all the way hard though, either, so Dean remedies that by rubbing his hand over the bulge of his dick. Sam groans and pulls him in close, trapping Dean’s hand between their bodies. His mouth is hot. “You don’t know how many times I’ve thought about your mouth, about kissing you like this,” he mumbles against Dean’s lips.

Dean frees his hand and grips Sam’s hip, pulling him closer before inching his hand around and palming Sam’s ass. Their dicks rub against each other and both of them groan. “I want to fuck you,” Dean says, both his hands on Sam’s ass, kneading and squeezing, the friction against his erection making him breathless with want. “I want to forget everything else but you.”

“God, yes.” Sam frantically starts to undo the button of Dean’s pants. He rips down the zip and drops to his knees, wrenching the material down Dean’s legs so he can step out of them. Sam throws them aside and buries his face in Dean’s crotch, starts mouthing at his shaft, his breath hot and moist against Dean’s skin.

Dean shudders and makes a choked-off noise. He threads his fingers through Sam’s hair. Sam needs a haircut, he thinks idly. It’s not good having anything an enemy can grab hold of in close combat. It’s surprisingly soft, and Dean remembers thinking the same thing that first time he touched Sam’s hair all those years ago when he gave him a haircut. Sam’s scalp is warm against his fingers. Dean gives a quick tug and Sam opens his lips, taking Dean into his mouth. It’s hot and wet and soft, his tongue sliding against Dean’s flesh, and Dean thinks he might pass out from too much pleasure. His legs are shaking. Sam takes him all the way in and sucks hard. Dean throws his head back, eyes closed and lost in sensation, his hands in Sam’s hair and gently rocking his hips so his dick slides in and out of Sam’s mouth.

He’s getting close, the need for release cresting inside him. One more shallow thrust of his hips into all that delicious wet warmth and then he tries to pull away. Sam’s fingers tighten on his hips, holding him in place.

“Sam, you need to stop.”

But Sam doesn’t. The soft suction on Dean’s dick just gets harder and tighter.

“Sam, I’m going to—I can’t—”

Sam just holds on tighter, and Dean realizes Sam wants him to come in his mouth. That sort of short-circuits his brain briefly. He watches Sam’s face, his lowered lashes and the flush over the bridge of his nose and along his cheekbones, the taut stretch of his mouth around Dean’s dick.

“God, Sam, I’m so close. Fuck—” He digs his fingers into Sam’s shoulder, struggles to stay standing as his orgasm rushes through him, half curled over Sam, both hands gripping the hard muscle of his shoulders, his vision blurring and a long groan escaping his mouth.

Coming back to himself, Dean blinks and looks down. Sam is sitting back on his haunches, his hair drying in unruly tangles around his face. He wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and surges to his feet.

Hauling Dean in close and hungrily kissing him, Sam starts backing them up until Dean feels the edge of the table against his thighs. He’s dizzy with the salty smell and taste of his own release. Sam leans behind him and sweeps everything off the table in one quick, impatient gesture. Dean laughs and allows Sam to manhandle him onto the table, widening his legs to allow him to fit between them. Sam kisses him roughly, wet and messy, thrusting his tongue deep in Dean’s mouth, biting his lip too hard, then mouthing across his cheek to bite and suck at his earlobe, down his neck, his teeth sharp on the tendon there, lower, to suck hard on his pulse.

Dean’s head is thrown back, cradled in the palm of Sam’s hand, and he knows he’s moaning too loudly, but he just can’t care. He’s thought about this for such a long time that it feels surreal, like it can’t really be true. He can feel how hard Sam is through his pants. “You’re wearing too many clothes,” he grumbles, fiddling with the button of Sam’s pants. Sam bats his hand away and quickly strips the pants off. His thick cock curves up towards his stomach, hard and flushed. He stands close, his hands on Dean’s thighs, and Dean rubs his thumb over the head, through the sticky fluid at the end, lifts his hand to his mouth and tastes it, tongue flicking out and circling the pad of his thumb. Sam’s eyes darken and his nostrils flare as he breathes in deeply.

“What do you want me to do?” Dean asks, his voice low and rough. “Do you want my hand?” he wraps his hand around Sam’s dick and gives it a firm stroke. Sam groans and thrusts forward. Dean starts jerking him off, both of them watching him do it until Dean pauses and says, “Or do you want my mouth?” Sam looks up and Dean licks his lips in blatant invitation. Sam’s hands tighten on Dean’s thighs, fingers digging hard into the muscle. “Or do you want my ass, huh, Sam? Is that why you wanted me to come so quickly? So you could fuck me?”

Sam stares at him intently, his gaze so focused and filled with heat that it makes Dean shiver. “Yeah, that’s what I want. I want to bend you over this table so I can fuck you.”

Dean shivers again. “Is that because of what I said to you earlier about being more of a receiver? Trying to prove you can give it to me hard? You think I can’t take it?”

Sam suddenly pulls him off the table and flips him so he’s bent over it, his ass exposed. Sam has one hand on the back of his neck, holding him down and the other grips Dean’s hip. He leans forward and drapes himself over Dean’s back. “I don’t remember you being this talkative before,” he whispers in Dean’s ear.

Dean cranes over his shoulder. “You’re right. Less talking and more fucking. C’mon, Sam.”

Sam laughs. “But I do remember you being so impatient and bossy.” He presses a kiss to the side of Dean’s neck, one at the base of his skull, another halfway down his spine and another in the small of Dean’s back. Dean curls his fingers over the edge of the table and holds on tightly, waiting.

He didn’t think he could get hard again, but he does, slowly, when he feels Sam’s tongue at his entrance, circular licks and little, sharp thrusts into Dean’s body.

“Fuck,” Dean groans. Lights and colors swirl and flash behind his eyelids when he closes them. He digs his nails into the table.

“Stay there,” Sam instructs, getting to his feet and moving to the other side of the tent. Dean can hear him rummaging around for something. Then he’s back, something cold and wet on his fingers as he opens Dean up, kneeling behind him. He crooks his fingers and Dean jerks when he rubs against his prostate, clenching the edge of the table so hard he thinks he might break it.

Dean turns his head to the side. “I want to come with you inside me, and if you don’t get up here, that’s not going to happen.”

Sam laughs and gets to his feet. He grips Dean’s hips. “We’re going to have to work on your stamina.”

Dean’s response gets lost somewhere between his brain and his mouth when Sam starts inching his dick inside him. A low moan escapes Dean’s lips instead. It feels so good, so intense. Sweat breaks out across his skin. He’s hot and shivery and there’s an edge of pain and discomfort that makes the pleasure even sweeter. He can’t stop the broken, breathy sounds tumbling out of his mouth.

Sam leans forward and bites his shoulder. “Do you want the entire camp to know that I’m fucking you?”

“Don’t—don’t—care,” Dean chokes out and moans loudly when Sam reaches forward and takes hold of his dick. His brain can’t cope with rational thought and the avalanche of pleasure from the dual stimulation of Sam’s hand on him and Sam’s cock in his ass. Sam bites his shoulder again and thrusts harder and faster, his breath loud and harsh in Dean’s ear.

Dean’s orgasm racks through his body, leaving him limp and exhausted. Sam holds his hips tightly and thrusts into him once more before letting out a deep groan and pulsing inside him.

They lie like that, collapsed on the table for a couple of minutes, Sam pretty much crushing the breath from Dean’s lungs, before he lifts up and tentatively pulls out. Dean’s about to work up the energy to sit up when he feels Sam cleaning him up with the towel, wiping down the insides of his thighs, his balls and ass. Sam strokes a gentle hand down Dean’s back. “You okay?”

Dean lifts up and sits on the table, grimacing at the discomfort that causes. He grins when Sam raises his eyebrows and frowns in concern. “Yeah, Sam, I’m good.” Sam steps into the vee of Dean’s thighs and places his hands on Dean’s jaw, lifts his head so he can press slow, careful kisses to his mouth. Dean smiles into the kisses, and Sam’s lips curve in response.

Sam steps back. “I’m going to get some water.” He wraps the towel around his waist and picks up a bottle from the floor, giving Dean a small smile that heartbreakingly reminds Dean of his brother as he’d walked away from him that time.

Dean collapses on the folding military cot and sighs. He’s tired and satisfied and happy. It feels good.

Sam comes back and offers Dean the bottle of water. It’s cold and delicious. Dean didn’t realize how thirsty he was. Sam turns off the lamp hanging from the center of the tent and eases himself onto the cot next to Dean. It groans with their combined weight. “We’re going to have to sleep on the ground,” Dean says.

Sam makes a non-committal “mm-hmm” sound and lifts Dean’s arm so he can rest his head on Dean’s bicep. He’s on his side, leg flung over Dean’s and his arm over Dean’s chest. It’s warm and comforting and Dean sighs with contentment. Sam makes a similarly happy sighing sound. They lie in the dark, listening to the silence.

“What was he like?”

Dean doesn’t need to ask Sam who he’s talking about. “He was happy.”

Sam waits a few seconds before saying. “Good. That’s good.”

“He seemed kind, generous, sort of—I don’t know how to put it—I guess uncomplicated, maybe. And really smart, you know? He got into the training center in the capital.”

“Did you feel…”

Sam doesn’t need to finish that sentence either. “No, I didn’t feel the same way about him. I didn’t want him. It wasn’t there at all. And I really worried about it, you know?”

Sam nods against his shoulder.

“I wanted to tell him that I was his brother, but it seemed like such a selfish thing to do, like I’d only be doing it for my own sake. I didn’t want to ruin his happiness. He seemed to have his life all planned out. But, maybe if I’d told him, things would’ve been different and maybe he wouldn’t have been killed.”

Sam lifts his head. “You can’t think like that.”

“I know.”

Sam puts his head back down on Dean’s arm, and Dean pulls him in closer. “Do you remember that first time in the tree house when you tried to seduce me with that story about the alien chick with the forked tongue giving the intrepid hero a blowjob?”

Sam laughs, warm breath on Dean’s neck. “Technically, that wasn’t the first time. The first time, you tried to shoot me with an arrow as foreplay, ran me down in the forest, and then we wrestled until we both came in our pants.”

“That’s because you were driving me fucking nuts ignoring me all the time. I was just trying to get your attention.”

“I told you, Dean, you always had my attention.”

“Okay, but it’s not like you used to show it, Sam.”

There’s a long silence and Sam is still and stiff next to him. “It’s hard sometimes. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be feeling or how I’m supposed to react. Originals have all these expectations and I don’t always know how to meet them. I see your dad looking at me sometimes, the same way you used to, as if he expects me to say or do something, but I don’t know what it is. Luckily, I’m a good soldier, and this is a time and a place where it’s better not to feel too strongly.”

Dean lies there thinking about why this person next to him is it for him, probably always will be. Maybe it’s some kind of enduring perversity in his own nature, a desire for the impossible.

“It’s not like I don’t feel, though.”

“I know that. Of course you do.”

“And I know how I feel about you.”

Before Dean can respond to that, Sam continues, “Do you believe there’s something after this, when we die?”

A big white moth has found its way into the tent. It flutters and beats itself against the fabric of the roof. Scattered fragments of light break through the tiny pinprick holes in the tent and illuminate its aimless desire to escape. Dean watches its struggles. “I don’t know. My mom pretty much turned me off religion for good. I don’t think about it anymore.”

“What happened to her?”

“I don’t know.”

“I wonder about what happens afterwards. A lot. I wonder why I was given all these thoughts and feelings if I’m supposed to just function, you know? Just serve some kind of practical purpose. And then I’m just going to die, and what then?”

Dean snorts. “It’s called existential angst, Sam. It’s part of the human condition.”

Sam shifts and places his hand over Dean’s heart. “But am I human? In the way that you are? If there is something after this, after we die, what happens to the clones? If we don’t have souls, then is that just it.”

Dean makes a sound of irritation. “Oh come on, Sam. You don’t believe that bullshit about clones not having souls, do you? It’s a pile of crap.”

“We used to have to repeat this mantra every morning and every night at the institution.” Sam’s voice takes on an incantatory quality, “Help me to be obedient, to know my place, to serve my purpose without ego. I am a mirror reflection of my original. I do not exist for my own sake. I exist only to serve.”

“Jesus, it’s mind control, right? You know that. They needed the clones to be submissive, to not be individuals. But you’re your own person, Sam. Nobody will ever exist who is exactly like you.”

Sam laughs. “That’s very deep, Dean.”

“Don’t sound so surprised. I’m not just a pretty face.”

Sam laughs again and tweaks Dean’s nipple. “And humble too.”

Dean puts his hand over Sam’s and absently rubs the top of it. “Tell me about the institution. What was it like?”

Sam describes the routines, the constant fear, the punishments, the abuse from the guards and the supervisors. It breaks Dean’s heart, makes him angry and sad, and doubly committed to the fight to create a new world.

They talk until late into the night, catching up on each other’s lives.

The next morning Dean wakes to find Sam staring at him. He smiles and rubs his eyes. “It’s rude to stare at a person when they’re sleeping, Sam.”

“Can’t help it. I just can’t believe that you’re here with me.”

Dean ruffles Sam’s hair. It’s nice to be able to touch him so casually. “Well, get used to it, because I’m not going anywhere.” His stomach rumbles loudly. “I’m starving. You totally depleted my energy reserves last night, and I’m hurting everywhere.”

Sam gets up and starts dressing. “You’ll get used to it,” he says with a smirk and throws Dean’s clothes at him. “C’mon, we’d better hurry up if we’re going to get any breakfast.”

They dress and walk up to the cooking area of the camp. It’s hot and sunny, and the sky is clear and endlessly blue.

Reece, Castiel and Dean’s dad are sitting together at one of the tables. They watch them approach, all three of them wearing faint smiles.

“So I see you managed to deal with your issues last night,” his dad says when they sit down.

Reece laughs dirtily and looks unrepentant when Dean’s dad gives him an arched-eyebrow look. He downs the dregs of coffee in his enamel mug. “I hear you made quite an impression,” he says to Dean, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. “There are very few men who can take Sam in the ring.”

“He didn’t take me at all,” Sam says dryly.

Feeling magnanimous, Dean responds, “We’re pretty evenly matched.”

Reece laughs. “Matched, yeah, that’s what I heard.”

“Stop that, Reece.” Dean’s dad gives Reece an irritated look, then looks at the two of them, eyes switching between them. “What if I have a problem with this?”

“It doesn’t matter,” Sam says instantly. “We don’t need anyone’s approval.”

Dean glances sideways at Sam. He’s looking straight across the table, not belligerent, just adamant and unblinking. Warmth and pride flood through Dean.

“You saying you’d abandon all this for him?”

“Yeah,” Sam responds, “that’s what I’m saying.”

Dean’s dad stands up and looks down at them. “I thought so. Get some breakfast in you. Both of you. We’ve got work to do.” He walks away towards the building with the satellite dish on the roof.

Reece stands up and grins at them. “Welcome to the family, Dean. We’re pretty dysfunctional and fucked-up, so I think you’ll fit right in. See you in the war room, boys.” He nods at Castiel, then turns and follows Dean’s dad.

Sam smiles at Dean. “Was that okay?”

Dean returns the smile. “Yeah, Sam, that was okay.”

“I’ll get you some breakfast.” Sam gets up and walks over to where a couple of guys are cooking on camping stoves.

Dean looks at Castiel. “You going to stay?”He asks the question even though he already knows the answer.

“I can’t, Dean. My place is with my original.”

Dean nods his head. “Yeah, I know. Thought I’d try, though. Who’s going to keep my ass out of trouble if you’re not around?”

“I believe your ass will be well taken care of by Sam, Dean.”

He says it so deadpan that it takes Dean a couple of seconds to get the innuendo. He snorts with laughter and smacks Castiel on the shoulder. “I don’t believe it. Cas’ sense of humor has finally rubbed off on you.”

“It is an unfortunate by-product of spending time with him.” Castiel looks at Sam talking to the guys cooking breakfast. He meets Dean’s eyes. “They are good men. Both of them. You’ve always hungered for something. I hope you will find it here.”

“Yeah, me too.”

The sun beats down. Wild and natural smells of freshly soaked earth and trees mix with the scents of breakfast. Castiel raises his head, eyes closed, briefly soaking up the sunshine.

Dean smiles at the simple physical pleasure on Castiel’s face. “I never thanked you for pulling me out of that hell-hole.”

Castiel lowers his head and starts shaking it, trying to negate the necessity of what Dean wants to say.

Dean continues anyway. “I’d given up. Thought it was over, that I was going to bleed to death in a muddy trench, just another body in a pile of them. And then there you were.”

“And I’ve never thanked you for all the times you saved my life. Nor have I thanked you for restoring my faith in original humanity. It doesn’t need to be said, Dean.”

“But it feels good, though, right? To actually say it.”

“Yes, I suppose it does.”

Dean nods and watches an ant crawling over his arm before flicking it away. “So you’re going to hitch a ride with the convoy leaving later today?”

“Yes, the camp is on their route.”

They stand and Castiel extends a hand towards Dean. Dean smiles at the formality of the gesture and at Castiel’s serious expression. Shaking Castiel’s hand, he says, “I’m going to miss you, Castiel.”

“Thank you, Dean.”

“This is where you say I’ll miss you too, Dean.”

“Oh. I’ll miss you too, Dean.”

Dean pulls Castiel into a hard hug. Grinning, he steps back and pats Castiel on the shoulder. “Don’t ever change.”

Castiel smiles and says, “I have no intention of it. I’ll see you again soon, Dean.” He walks away towards the tents without looking back.

Dean watches him, amused, sad and grateful that he got to know Castiel. It’s a chapter closing in his life. He looks over at Sam walking towards him with two plates in his hands. And the opening of a new one.

The End: epilogue

A civil war is a devastating chapter in the history of a society. Members of a single community, neighbors, turning on each other, changing into enemies can create long-lasting scars that take generations to heal. The civil war that raged for two years throughout the North American continent destroyed much of the social and organizational fabric. It was the purging of a corrupt system, and nothing would ever be the same again afterwards. A new age dawned with its own complications and challenges. For the men and women who fought for a new, fairer society, the sacrifices were worth it in the end.

THE END


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