erda: (erda)
[personal profile] erda
Title: A Dogs Tale
Fandom: Supernatural
Author: erda
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Sam/Dean
Word Count: ~15,000
Warning: See pairing. Consensual incest.
Summary: Post Season 5, Lucifer is back in his cage, Sam and Dean are back on the road, and they adopt a bunch of dogs. First time wincest.
[personal profile] lisztful made the adorable banner and all the ills. She also listened to me talk endlessly about this, read over it repeatedly as it came together, and used her killer cheerleading skills to get me to finish writing it.
Thanks to my wonderful beta [personal profile] giandujakiss for suggestions which made this a better story, and incidentally gave me food for thought on improving any future stories I write.

dogs tale

The chinks in Dean's macho armor are numerous. Sam has spent years cataloging them, arguing over them, mocking them, and finally accepting them, because he obviously can't win. Dean always has an answer, a justification, a rationalization, and no matter how lame the excuse, Dean himself is always so convinced by his own ridiculous bullshit that Sam is the one left feeling like an idiot.

So when Sam loses track of Dean at the mall, he knows right away that Dean has slipped off to visit his favorite store, which, though Dean lies shamelessly about it, is not the food court. No, Dean's favorite store is Claire's, that shiny, glitzy little costume jewelry and accessory shop that teenagers frequent, and which Dean insisted -the one and only time Sam tried to ridicule him about it- he only went into to follow a hot girl. Which led to an argument about ogling underage girls that Sam only later realized was deliberately designed to distract him from his attempt at mockery.

Sam finishes his own shopping. Their last job had placed them in the middle of a feud between a pair of rival black magic gangs (and really, when had they started organizing, anyway?), the bloody fallout costing him his second to last decent shirt. Even though Dean had called him prissy ("How many shirts does your prissy self need?"), he had insisted they make a quick stop in case the next job ruined his last one, as he did not want to be forced to go shopping in a torn, bloody, or otherwise horrifying shirt. The fact that Dean always had way more clothing than he did, and that he thought about it enough to choose colors that brought out the green in his eyes, didn't, of course, mitigate Dean's unceasing mock, mock, mockery.

Sam doesn't say a word when Dean ducks guiltily out of Claire's, nor when he sees the shiny gold links of a new bracelet Dean certainly hadn't paid for swinging loosely from his wrist when he reaches out to open the mall door, gesturing absurdly for Sam to pass through it first. He knows he can't win in the mockery battle, and he consoles himself with the thought that it's all fueled by Dean's mammoth inferiority complex, anyway.

It's when they get back to the car that they first see Jeb, only he isn’t named Jeb yet, doesn’t have a name at all as far as they know.

He's sitting placidly near the car and Dean reaches his hand out and pats him idly on the head as he walks by. Sam doesn’t bother explaining to him why petting a strange dog might be a bad idea, but he can’t completely repress the shudder that comes over him at the memory of that other dog Dean had casually touched, back in the bad old Tuesday loop he's never completely recovered from.

dogs tale
He's sitting placidly near the car.

This dog doesn’t attack. He doesn’t do anything, just sits watching them until Dean opens the back door of the Impala to throw his jacket inside. Then the dog stands up and brushes past Dean, leaping into the back seat and curling up on his jacket with a certain savior faire that Sam can’t help admiring. Dean slams the door shut like some dull-witted dog chauffeur and then stands blinking stupidly at Sam. "Why the hell is there a dog in my car?" he asks Sam in an aggrieved voice.

There is no way Sam is going to let Dean make this his fault. "You’re the one who patted him and opened the door for him."

"Well," Dean says, swallowing his pique with an obvious effort and switching to faux logical, "We can’t just leave him abandoned at the side of the road."

Okay, whatever, that almost sounds reasonable. "I suppose we could find the local pound and drop him off," Sam says. "His owner will probably look for him there."

"Fine." Dean huffs out the word the way he does when he is pretending to give in after a long, frustrating argument. "Except it’s after seven" -yep not really giving in, Sam notes- "so it probably isn’t open." He gets into the car and slams his door, leaving Sam no choice but to follow suit. "We can take him to the pound first thing in the morning."

"Fine," Sam says. It comes out sounding more resentful than it had in his head, like almost everything he says to Dean these days, but it's Dean's own damn fault for acting so weird.

Once they get back to their room, the dog stomps all over Dean’s crumpled duffle bag, which he had carelessly tossed into the corner when they’d checked in earlier, before lying down on it, looking for all the world as if he’d always been there.

Sam retrieves the soccer ball from where he'd thrown it onto the bathroom floor on his way into the shower the day before. He holds it out toward Dean. "Are you ready to be trounced some more?" he asks.

Dean flops back onto his bed, smirking at Sam. "I busted your ass yesterday" he claims, which is a complete and utter lie. Since Dean got the idea that they should keep in shape between jobs by playing soccer, he has never once managed to score a goal. True, often they don't play on a real field, and don't bother gathering stuff to mark out goals, but when they have goals, Dean never gets past Sam without cheating. "I'm not in the mood, anyway," Dean says. "Why don't you take the dog?" It's the first time Dean has cried off since they started playing, and he's a lot more disappointed than he wants to let on. Spending time with Dean, and sharing a laugh, is something he'd never gotten enough of, even as a child. Just the two of them, kicking a ball around, relaxed and enjoying being together, makes him happy. Okay, he definitely doesn't want Dean to know how important their evening soccer game is to him.

The dog is prancing around looking like he wants to play, and Sam figures if he wanted to run off he'd have done so already, so he takes him out into a field that runs behind the motel, and kicks the ball around with him. The dog doesn't seem to grasp the rules any better than Dean does, but he has a hell of a lot of fun jumping and running around barking little excited yips. Dean likes to turn the game into something more like tackle football than soccer, barreling into Sam headfirst and sending them both to the ground when he can't score, and Sam always protests his cheating because it would be weird not to, but he's secretly over the moon any time he gets to roll around on the ground with Dean. It gives him a reason to touch and be touched that never goes very far, but he's resigned himself that that is as much as he's going to ever get from Dean physically. He knows Dean isn't interested in him the way he's interested in Dean, in looking and touching and a lot more, and he's accepted that. Still, he'll take what he can get and enjoy it.

He likes to think the whole playing soccer thing is more about Dean coming to terms with the idea that there are a few things he missed out on growing up, and feeling comfortable reclaiming them, rather than some perceived need for regular exercise. He knows Dean picked soccer because he thought Sam would like it, and he does. He really does.

The dog takes a leap and lands on his chest, surprising him out of his wool gathering, and he goes down hard in the lumpy grass. It knocks the wind, as well as his incestuous longings, out of him, but it doesn't take more than a couple of seconds to recover. The dog has all four feet planted firmly on his chest, and is panting down at him, tongue lolling out of the side of his mouth, looking pleased and victorious. He pushes him off and gathers up the ball. The dog follows him obediently back to the room.

Dean’s whispering wakes Sam up the next morning. The dog is curled up on the bed with Dean, and Dean is stroking his hand through its thick fur gently, murmuring "good boy" and something that sounds a lot like "baby" to it, but Sam doesn't quite trust his ears on that one. Dean's forehead is pressed against the dog’s ear, his arms wrapped around the dog’s chest in a way that gives Sam a not entirely comfortable feeling in his own chest. He’s never noticed Dean being particularly interested in dogs before.

Nothing else is said about taking the dog to the pound. Dean makes a run for coffee and doughnuts, and shares his with the dog over Sam’s protest, then takes the dog outside to relieve himself. They still don’t have a leash, but the dog seems disinclined to leave them, savvy enough to recognize a good deal when he sees it. Probably his previous owners had fed him dog food or something.

The day is already shaping up to be a scorcher, and Dean comes back with a small chipped bowl he’d dug up somewhere, filling it with water for the dog, who gulps it almost dry before Dean refills it.

"We need to get a move on," Sam reminds him. They have an appointment to talk with a detective about a missing child, a child whose father claims was abducted by, to Dean's delight, some sort of swamp creature.

"Sure," Dean says. He twists his empty coffee container into a tube and lobs it at Sam, hitting him squarely between the eyes.

Sam winces in surprise. "You've spent way too much time in bars playing darts, Dude," he says, which sounded like an insult in his head, but it makes Dean look smug.

When the dog tries to squeeze out the door with them and Dean makes no attempt to stop him, Sam has to put his foot down. "Dean, that dog cannot come with us." He steps in and nudges the dog back away from the door.

"What? Why not?"

Dean and the dog seem to be having a soulful moment together, gazing into each others' eyes in a way that is beyond creepy. "Dean," Sam says. "What is going on with you and the dog?"

"What do you mean?" Dean asks. Dean always thinks he can fool people, but hardly anyone ever falls for his who me act, least of all Sam, who has been watching Dean try to use it on people all his life. "We can’t leave him all alone in a motel room. Besides, he might be able to help us."

"He would just be in the way," Sam says impatiently. He grabs Dean’s arm and pulls him through the door, slamming it in the dog’s pouty face without mercy. "Could you try to stop worrying about the dog for a few minutes and concentrate on the job?"

Dean turns back and speaks mournfully to the closed door. "Bye, Jeb. We’ll be back soon. Just, uh, watch some TV or something, okay?" He shoots Sam a poisonous look.

dogs tale
He’s never noticed Dean being particularly interested in dogs before.

"Oh my god," Sam mutters, grabbing Dean by the collar of his shirt and yanking him over to the car. "Jeb?"

"That’s his name," Dean says. He gets into the driver's seat stiffly, and they drive to the local police station in strained silence, but Sam isn't too worried about it. He's too busy eating the Snickers bar he found on his seat when he opened the car door. Dean's been putting them in his seat almost every time they go anywhere since shortly after they put Lucifer back in his cage. It's adorable. Sam mentioned once, years ago, that Snickers are his favorite, and Dean remembered it. Sometimes he gets a little tired of always having the same candy, but he eats them anyway.

The police detective is female, so Dean uses one of his over-friendly fake smiles, and pauses to give her time to grovel, but she isn't impressed, just continues rifling through a huge pile of junk on her desk. She eventually straightens up triumphantly with a wad of paper napkins, which she uses to wipe a yellow smear from one corner of her mouth. Tossing the napkins into a styrofoam box containing a mostly eaten burger and a few limp fries covered with a small blob of congealed gravy, which is perching precariously atop one of the piles of folders and papers that covers every inch of the desk, she finally looks up, her gaze sliding over Dean and landing on Sam. She gives him a frank appraisal and apparently likes what she sees.

Sam is always taken by surprise on the rare occasions that someone prefers him to Dean. In honesty, his pleasure is more about watching Dean's smug come-ons fall flat than being interested in the girl for himself, but he isn't above using the attraction to gain information, so he returns her warm smile with one of his own.

She barely glances at their FBI IDs before gesturing to him to sit in the single worn chair beside her desk, leaving Dean to grab a chair from the neighboring desk in order to join them. "How can I help you?" she asks.

"Just checking what you've done so far, Detective," he says. He notices Dean noticing a second styrofoam container laying open on the desk, this one holding a large, untouched piece of cherry pie, Dean's favorite. Dean loses interest in the detective at that point, and Sam can see him thinking way too hard about the pie. It's too big for him to palm, and Sam hopes he isn't stupid enough to try to steal it right out from under a police detective.

"We searched all through the clearing behind the development," the detective says. She brushes the back of her hand ineffectually over a yellow spot on her uniform. "There's no way anyone or anything could be hidden there. The father was hysterical, all worked up by that flaky book the whole town's been reading. We even took a couple of dogs with us, went all over the area with them, mostly to convince the man we were taking him seriously. Didn't find a thing."

Sam nods. "Have you spoken to Mr. Parker? Not that we give any credence to his tales of swamp monsters-" Sam smiles, inviting her to assume they are united in skepticism. "But his knowledge of the area and the stories he's collected about it seem a bit suspicious. Seems like this kidnapping can't help but be good publicity for his book."

She gives him a sharp look. "Yes, we thought of that all by ourselves," she says. "Parker has an airtight alibi. He was giving a talk at the library about his book at the exact time the family claim a monster grabbed their son right out from under them. Tell you the truth, we'd be about half convinced the family killed him themselves, except that they surely could have come up with a better story than this swamp monster thing to explain the disappearance."

Sam can see Dean fidgeting out of the corner of his eye, obviously wanting to leave. A quick glance back at the desk at least confirms that the pie is still there, untouched.

Sam stands up, thanking the detective for her time. She smiles and seems about to say something else, but then brushes aside a pile of papers and snatches up a folder from the mess. "I've been looking for this!" she mutters. She leans back and opens the folder, forgetting all about them.

Dean seems to be in a godawful hurry to get out of the police station. He grabs Sam's arm and urges him outside. "What are you getting so worked up about?" Sam asks. "Can't stand that she was able to resist you? Or are you just that obsessed with pie?"

The sun is high and merciless when they step back outside. "What?" Dean asks. He looks even more confused than normal. "No. Jeez. It's just..." He smooths one hand down the front of his jacket and shifts his feet. "Jeb's been alone for a long time. I mean, what if he has to go out or something?" Dean starts for the car at a near jog, but then stops so suddenly Sam almost barrels into him. He tilts his head as if listening, turning around slowly, and finally heading off behind a small row of houses where he clambers over a low, rusted fence and into a tiny unkempt yard.

Sam follows him, mimicking his surreptitious movements instinctively. He hears a soft whining noise. There is no grass or anything growing in the yard, just hard packed dry dirt. A filthy wading pool lays abandoned next to a pole that my have once been used to secure a clothesline, but is now bare. Behind a pile of rusty garden tools thrown loose on the ground two little pug dogs are lying close together on the dry cracked ground. They're lying in direct sunlight, and there is no shelter around to provide any relief from the heat. A dented tin dog food bowl has a line of ants crawling down one side into a thin layer of cheap looking dry food on the bottom of the bowl. A second bowl, apparently used for water, is empty.

dogs tale
They're lying in direct sunlight, and there is no shelter around to provide any relief from the heat.

Dean picks up the little dogs –they are both rather incredibly overweight, and he grunts a little at their surprising bulk. He tucks one under each arm, and heads back the way they had come. "Dean," Sam hisses. "You cannot go around stealing dogs."

"Watch me," Dean says. His voice has that hard quality that means he will brook no debate, the one Sam is never intimidated by, no matter how many times Dean pulls it out of his bag of tricks. Dean doesn’t seem to know that he sucks at manipulating people.

Dean struggles back over the fence, clutching the stolen dogs like they are some sort of precious treasure, leaving Sam to follow after. Things are getting stranger and stranger.

Dean puts the pugs between them on the front seat, and peels out of there the second Sam closes the passenger door. The squat little dogs lie sprawled out like miniature bear rugs, looking barely alive, in contrast to Dean, who can't seem to sit still, shifting around like he has itching powder in his shorts.

They barely get the door of their motel room unlocked before Jeb streaks out, running right between Sam's legs in his haste. "Not on the path," Dean yells to the dog, but Jeb has already rushed into a small stand of trees and is lifting his leg against one of them.

Back in the room the little dogs make themselves at home on Dean’s duffle bag. Jeb pads over and sits next to Sam, resting his head on Sam’s knee until Sam gives in and scratches his ears, at which point Jeb tries to climb into his lap. "Dean, your dog is getting in my way here," he complains.

Dean doesn’t look up from where he is sitting on the floor petting the fat little pugs. "Maybe he likes you," he says. "No accounting for taste."

Sam pushes the dog away. "Fine, he can like me," he says. "But he’s too big to sit in my lap. Have you thought about what we’re going to do with them when we leave?"

Dean continues to pet the plump little dogs, one hand on each of them, scratching their ears until they roll their heads back in doggy joy. He gives them each a small piece of doughnut left over from breakfast. "Saw a store down the street," he finally says. "I’m gonna go check it out."

He watches Dean leave, back stiff, clearly making a careful effort not to slam the door.  Sam feels an unpleasant combination of guilty and coldhearted.

When he turns back to his desk, all three dogs are staring at him accusingly. "What?" he asks them. "You think you’ll be happy eating doughnuts and riding around in the back seat of a car going from town to town and never having any permanent home?" Apparently they do.

Dean comes back after only a few minutes, carrying a paper bag from the store and acting as if everything is settled, his usual strategy when they disagree about anything. Sam feels sorry for anyone that would marry Dean Winchester. He never fights fair.

Dean twists open a bottle of water and fills the little bowl for the dogs before sprawling out on one bed with a box of mixed berry breakfast bars. The pugs totter over on their stubby little legs and Dean lifts them up onto the bed beside him. Jeb stays sitting with Sam as Dean and the pugs eat. After a few bites Dean unwraps another bar and tosses it to Jeb, who catches it neatly and gulps it down.

"Since when do you eat breakfast bars?" Sam asks.

Dean shrugs. "I like breakfast bars," he says sulkily.

The little dogs press up against Dean, and he puts both arms around them, hugging them close to his chest. "Dude, do you need to get another room so you can be alone with the dogs?"

Dean snorts. "Don’t pay any attention to him," he whispers to the pugs. Jeb tries to slide his head up under Sam’s arm, but he shrugs the dog off and stands up. Once upright he can’t decide where to go, so he takes a turn around the small room and stops behind Dean, then puts his arm out slowly, feeling like he is moving through molasses, and rests his hand tentatively on Dean’s shoulder. Dean immediately shrugs him off, scowling. Sam studies the wall, which is quite unremarkable, and waits, a beat, two, three, then puts his hand back on Dean’s shoulder, more firmly this time. He can feel Dean holding himself still and stiff, but at least he doesn’t pull away again, and after a moment he relaxes his hold on the pugs a little.

Sam kneads the tense muscles under his hand. "I think it's time to go see Mr. Parker," he says. His voice comes out softer and less businesslike than he'd intended.

Dean turns his head slightly, not dislodging Sam’s hand on his shoulder. "Okay," he says, matching Sam’s tone exactly. He doesn't protest leaving the dogs behind this time, though he stands in the doorway lecturing them briefly about getting into stuff while they are out, and again suggests in a serious sounding way that they watch TV if they get bored. He ignores Sam's impatient huff to assure them that they won't be gone long, then finally follows Sam out.

Sam folds himself into the car, runs his hand along the seat, but there's no candy bar this time. Which is okay really, he's had enough for a while.

The author of "The Swamp Monster is Real" the detective's Richard Parker, lives close to the area where the boy was taken. It's not really a swamp, more of an industrial wasteland surrounded by tress and brush, and the houses that border the area are run down, many of them boarded up.

Dean pushes through the gate in the fence which encloses a small, grassless, front yard dominated by two ancient horse chestnut trees which had covered the ground with prickly green casings, nonchalantly ignoring the large "Beware of Dogs" sign secured with a single s hook through the chain link of the fence. The gate bangs ominously when he swings it open. A large, fierce looking dog crashes around the corner of the building, sliding to a stop inches from knocking into Dean. Sam's warning shout dies in his throat as Dean and the dog stare each other down, then Dean steps past the dog and calmly approaches the front door, which swings open almost as he knocks. The dog follows Dean meekly, and so does Sam.

dogs tale
A large, fierce looking dog crashes around the corner of the building, sliding to a stop inches from knocking into Dean.

The man that opens the door is old, so old and wizened Sam is afraid to breathe normally around him lest he knock the frail body over with the force of an exhale. He seems more surprised to see the dog than he is to see Sam and Dean, but after a moment he lets her follow them inside. The room he motions them to enter after Dean flashes his ID is small and cramped, the furniture looking as old and frail and slightly unclean as Mr. Parker. The walls are completely covered with weavings of different shapes and sizes ranging from napkin to tablecloth, made from what appear to be rags, the colors chaotic and random. It is hideous and oppressive, adding to the room's cramped, musty, overheated atmosphere. From behind the house they can hear more dogs barking, deep low pit bull sounding barks.

Mr. Parker motions them to sit down, and Sam perches on the edge of the sofa, trying not to look repulsed. Dean plunks down into a rickety looking armchair, making Sam wince. Mr. Parker stands over them crookedly. "Like some tea?" he asks. His voice is faint, with a rattle like dry, dead leaves.

"No," Sam says. It comes out sounding a little more forceful than he’d meant it to. "Uh, no thanks, Mr. Parker. We’re a little pressed for time. If you could just tell us what you know about what’s been happening with the swamp monster."

Mr. Parker nods, apparently not offended at the rejection of his hospitality. "Used to be more than one of them, you know," he says. "Been keeping track of them for a long time, and they never caused any trouble before this."

"Is there anything you can tell us about it that could help us, to, um," Sam fumbles a bit.

"Hunt it down?" Mr. Parker asks.

"Bingo," Dean says, sounding a little muffled. His chair is soft with age, and he's sunk down in it so that his ass is nearly on the ground, knees almost on a level with his ears, looking utterly ridiculous. The dog has stretched out on the floor beside Dean's chair. 

"Any suggestions?" Sam asks.

The old man grins at him, startlingly white teeth that have to be dentures barely covered by his sickly looking thin, dry lips. "Got a few ideas," he says. Sam leans forward, forgetting the oppressive room, and listens.

"Got to keep in mind," the old man says, "these creatures are magic. Can conjure things right out of the air. Makes 'em hard to fight. They can make themselves invisible too, make anything invisible. But it takes effort for them to stay that way. They can only keep it up so long. Far as killing 'em? Not possible to my knowledge, but might be you can scare them off, make them uncomfortable enough they just up and leave." Parker turns aside and yells "Shut up!" in a surprisingly assertive tone, and the barking, which has been going on all this time, abruptly ceases.

"You raise pit bulls?" Dean asks, nodding at the dog lying by his feet.

Parker scowls. "That there is a true American Bulldog," he says. He looks at Dean suspiciously. "Funny how she likes you. Never seen her take to anybody like that before. Never tried to come in the house by herself before, neither. I mostly keep 'em outside less they're having pups. Got me three acres out back for 'em to roam on."

"Yeah," Dean says. He tries to shift in his chair, which only makes him sink deeper. "There must be something these swamp creatures don't like."

"Well," the old man says. "They don't much like the sunlight. Tend to be out more in the dark. But the thing they're mortally terrified of is dogs." He looks down at the dog again. "Bella here is usually mighty protective of my property. Not what you'd call a friendly critter." The dogs have started barking again outside, but Parker doesn't seem to notice.

"You said there used to be more than one creature?" Dean asks. "And that changed?"

"Seems to only be one of them out there anymore." The old man lets Dean change the subject again, but he is obviously still studying Dean and the dog. "Anyway, if you keep after them enough, they might just move on." He sneers when Dean, reaching down to pat the dog's head, reveals the gold bracelet on his arm. "Mighty pretty bauble for a man to wear," he mutters. Dean flushes and pulls his sleeve down over the bracelet.

With that, Sam gets up. It's clear the old man doesn't know how to kill the creature, and letting it move on to new territory and new victims isn't in the game plan. He watches Dean flail around in the chair for a beat before offering him a hand up. Dean knows he's doing it on purpose and tries to give him a dirty look, but that's one of the things Sam has always been better at, so Sam just smirks at him. The dog follows them to the door. Dean's hand trails down along its back as they walk, stepping in sync with the dog's gait.

"Don't have no use for the bitch any more," the old man says. "Never threw any good pups for me. Wouldn't mind finding a home for her."

Sam can see how much Dean likes that idea. "Dean," he says. "You can't just keep bringing home dogs, especially ones this big. There isn't enough room on the back seat."

Dean ducks his head, hand reaching to cup the dog's big face, his fingers sliding under its jaw. "Just one more," he says. He sounds like he's making a huge effort to sound casual, like it isn't important to him.

Sam feels a hard spike of resentment even as his resistance crumbles. He's never known Dean to care so much about anything that isn't directly connected to himself before. He turns away from them, leaving Dean to thank Mr. Parker for his time, and for the dog. Sam huffs out a huge breath into the close, hot sky when he gets outside, pushing the stale air from the cramped little house out of his lungs. He feels like he needs a shower.

Dean hustles through the gate and whips open the back door for the dog, who jumps in quickly, as if they both fear Sam will change his mind.

Back at the hotel, the new dog is accepted into the growing pack as if they've all known each other in a previous life, which, given their luck, might be true. Something strange is definitely  going on with Dean and the dogs, and Sam would ask him what the deal is, except, yeah, that never works very well if Dean isn't in a sharing mood, and Dean is pretty much never in a sharing mood.

At least Dean's preoccupation with the dogs seems to make him agreeable, so that he goes along quietly with Sam's suggestion that they get something to eat, and that Sam should drive, and even that they should stop and buy some actual real dog food for the dogs. Dean insists on going down every single aisle in the pet shop, even the one with fish tanks, and, after careful inspection and a lot of dithering, he buys food bowls for each dog, and a big water bowl for them to share, though he scoffs at Sam's suggestion of leashes and collars. He stands in the food aisle reading the ingredients in all the foods, taking far more care over the dogs' food than he ever has over his own. He's clearly tempted by Chef Michael's Porterhouse Steak but he finally settles on a lamb and rice dry food.

dogs tale
Dean insists on going down every single aisle in the pet shop, even the one with fish tanks.

When Dean follows Sam into an actual restaurant without a word of protest about the diner he passed by, Sam seriously considers the possibility that Dean has been body swapped.

Sam orders a bowl of minestrone and a salad. Instead of rolling his eyes and sharing a laugh over Sam's order, Dean turns his head away, mumbling his own order to the waitress so softly Sam can't hear what he says. He then makes a clattering production out of separating his napkin from his utensils, laying everything out fussily like he never does. Sam stares at him for a while, but Dean doesn't look up or make a smart remark, so that after a bit he feels confused himself, like he's contracted Dean's uneasiness.

When the waitress returns it looks like she has doubled Sam's order of soup and salad, but before he can point out her mistake, Dean meekly takes one of the bowls and salad plates. Sam waits for the woman to leave, watching Dean fall on his food with slightly less than his customary gleeful manner. "Since when do you eat normal food?" Sam demands so suddenly that Dean drops his soup spoon into his bowl with a loud clatter, splattering some of it out onto the table.  The red broth soaks into the tablecloth, spreading out toward Sam in fine rivelets that look to him like accusing fingers.

"You're acting really weird," he says. He reaches across the table and swipes at Dean's black shirt,which is covered with blondish hairs, dog hair, he realizes. None of it brushes off. "Does this have something to do with those dogs?"  Dean's guilty flush would be funny if it weren't so perplexing.

"Look, they need to lose some weight," Dean mutters. He grabs his spoon and starts sucking down his soup again.

"How does what you eat for lunch have anything to do with their weight, Dean?" Sam asks. His patience with Dean is one of his most awesome qualities, and he needs all of it here.

"If I get a cheeseburger, they'll smell it on me when we get back." Dean's voice goes up high when he says this, his mouth twisted as if his soup is lemon flavored.

Sam wants to laugh, but hasn't he been after Dean for years to clean up his diet and take better care of himself? If worrying about upsetting the dogs is what it takes, he should let it go and be happy to see Dean putting some decent fuel into his body. Okay, that is all true, but he isn't capable of that much self restraint, so he laughs. A huge, belly clutching, super mocking laugh that makes Dean slump down in his seat, though he doesn't stop spooning soup into his mouth.

It's late when they get back to the hotel. Dean takes the dogs outside to relieve themselves, still without any leashes, then gets ready for bed. He sits on the floor and watches the dogs eat with an innocent pleasure Sam hasn't seen in him for years. After they finish eating, he pulls a little squeaky toy out of his pocket-it wasn't among their purchases, and damn Dean for never thinking how stupid it would be to get arrested for shoplifting from the pet depot- and throws it at Sam. It bounces off his arm with a loud squeak, and Jeb launches himself from the floor up onto Sam's bed to grab the toy. He pushes it against Sam's leg over and over, each time producing a loud squeak, until Sam relents and grabs onto it.

As soon as Sam touches the toy, Jeb bows his front end and starts tugging, making a playful little growling noise, his back end wiggling gleefully. It's stupid, but Sam can see Dean watching him out of the corner of his eye, and he looks so innocently happy, as if by playing with Dean's dog he is almost playing with Dean. Sam rolls over onto his stomach and starts shaking the toy back and forth in the dog's mouth, urging him on, saying "Come on, Jeb, get it boy." Jeb goes crazy with doggy silliness, shaking his whole head to shake the toy and revving up his growling. Sam finally manages to wrench the toy out of Jeb's mouth and he tosses it at Dean. It hits his chest and bounces off, but Jeb is on it so fast it barely hits the floor. Jeb dances round the room, squeaking the toy frantically, then jumps onto the bed and spreads out next to Sam, still squeaking away.

The pugs have been watching all of this with their little faces twisted up with disdain, though actually that is the only expression they seem to have. When Jeb finally stops, they both get up and pad over to Sam's bed, staring up beseechingly until he lifts them up. They climb up on him, the female lying down on his chest and the smaller male higher up almost on his throat, and start snoring softly almost immediately. The pit bull, or American Bulldog -he hears Parker's voice snidely reminding him in his head- lies down on the floor next to his bed.

Usually in the evening they watch a little TV together, but Dean has spent the evening surfing the net. It's always Dean that decides when they will watch, patting the empty space on the bed and inviting Sam to sit next to him, though he lets Sam pick the show. It's Sam's favorite time of the evening. Dean lets him sit close, their legs almost touching, not moving away like he does during the day, but Sam is careful not to get too close. He's aware that he likes it too much. Being close to Dean is the high point of his day, and he's tried to be content with what he has. He knows he's never going to be with Dean the way he wants, but he still craves whatever closeness he can get. Tonight he only has the pugs to sit with.

Dean doesn't seem bothered by the disloyalty of the dogs. He even gives Sam a small smile before going into the bathroom to brush his teeth. Sam pulls the sheet up over himself and the pugs, who don't seem to have any claustrophobia problem, and falls asleep while Dean is still in the bathroom.

The next morning he wakes up alone. Dean and the dogs are gone, as is the Impala. It's early, and Dean is rarely first up, but perhaps the dogs woke him to go out. Still, it's puzzling why he took them in the Impala. Sam is just about to head out on foot to search for coffee when he hears the familiar growl of the car returning. The dogs rush past Dean and into the room, almost knocking the styrofoam container out of his hands in their eagerness to greet Sam. Bella, in particular, seems to feel the need to sniff all over him, as if looking for signs of injury, before curling up on Dean's jacket in the corner of the room, her large brown eyes following Sam's every move protectively.

He takes a container of coffee from Dean with a grateful nod. "Where were you?" he asks, once he has swallowed enough to attempt conversation.

"At the dog park." Jeb and the pugs join Bella in their corner and curl up together, Dean's gaze following them fondly.

"What the hell is a dog park?" Sam asks.

"It's a place where people go to let their dogs run around and play. And where dog people can meet other dog people and, you know, talk dogs."

"And that's what you were doing?" Sam asks dubiously, "talking dogs?"

"Yeah. So what?”

“So nothing," Sam says. "I've just never noticed you joining any local social groups before."

Dean shrugs.

"You took them out without leashes or anything to control them?"

"I've been training them." Dean pours out food for the dogs' breakfast, and they all go straight to their assigned bowls to eat again. Sam wonders when Dean did all this training and how the hell he knew anything about training dogs to begin with. It just doesn't make sense. "Anyway," Dean says. "We're invited to a picnic. I figure it wouldn't hurt to talk to some of the locals about the case. And it'll be nice for the dogs to get out with other dogs."

Dean tosses his empty coffee container at the waste can, but it bounces off the rim and rolls off under the bed. After a moment Jeb goes over and squeezes his head under to retrieve it, giving it a shake before carrying it over and presenting it proudly to Sam.

All the dogs clamber obediently into the back seat of the Impala at lunch time. Sam is starting to miss his candy bars now, but Dean doesn't seem pissed off at him, just distracted by the dogs maybe. When they get to the picnic, the dogs follow Dean, or maybe Sam-it's hard to tell- up the drive to a large, white clapboard house with expansive windows and a wrap-around porch with a swing hung to the right of the door.  They bypass this and head around back,  into a large yard full of people and dogs.

The dog people are friendly enough, but something about them makes Sam uneasy, something besides the way they are insanely obsessed with their pets, dressing them up, giving them chairs to sit on, and generally treating them like little people. Dean is all buddy buddy with a slim older man he introduces as Raymond, the owner of the house and their host, who is apparently the guy he had gotten friendly with at the dog park. "This is Sam," he says to Raymond, and Raymond smiles as though he's already heard a lot about him, and shakes his hand. Raymond has a tiny, fragile little dog in a red sweater under his arm, and Dean introduces him to the dog, too. Her name is Anais, and Sam has to hear all about her bloodlines. When he asks what kind of dog she is, the man literally sniffs at him with disdain, which, okay, points for being able to carry that off. "Anais is an Italian Greyhound," Dean interjects, acting as if Sam has committed some appalling faux pas. He rolls his eyes at Raymond, and then slips an arm casually around Sam and steers him over to the buffet table.

Sam finally realizes what is odd about the gathering. There are no women at all, and several of the guys are obviously coupled up. Dean has gotten them invited to a gay picnic. What's more, Dean seems quite aware of it, and his arm stays around Sam's waist as he surveys the food. Dean hasn't once played the gay chicken game with Sam since getting out of hell, in fact, he hasn't heard Dean make any little digs about gay people for a long time. He'd kind of hoped that Dean had matured enough to realize how stupid it was, but apparently not.

"Pumpkin cheesecake," Dean points and Sam grabs a plate. He has a weakness for cheesecake, as Dean well knows, the dirty cheater. "Aren't you eating?" he asks Dean.

"Sure I am," Dean says, but he keeps standing there, arm still around Sam, watching. "Hard to know where to begin," he says, but before Sam can ask him what is up he gets a plate and starts slowly filling it.

Balancing the plate on one hand, he leads the way over to a picnic table, struggling to slide his legs under it without letting go of Sam. With a mischievous look, he swipes one finger through the cheesecake and holds it out. “Here, taste it,” he orders, and Sam thinks, what the hell, two can play this game.

Sam leans forward and sucks Dean's finger into his mouth, swirling his tongue around viciously and making as pornographic a moan of pleasure as he thinks he can get away with. He'll be damned if he'll let Dean score off him, but he isn't prepared for the way Dean's breath catches, and his eyes darken, and he lets go of Dean's finger with a spit slicked pop. They've never gone anywhere near this far in this little game of theirs, and Sam isn't sure when or how it got away from him. It's Dean who finally looks away. "Pel wants up," he says, gesturing to the ground where the female pug is trying to climb into Sam's lap.

"Pel?" Sam asks. "You named her Pel?" And when Dean doesn't respond, "What's the other Pug's name?"

"Quark," Dean answers absently. He has picked up his plastic fork and is toying with his food.

 "What?" he says, and for lack of anything better to do, picks the dog up.  Of course, then Quark insists on being up too, so that he has to balance them awkwardly on his lap while he eats, both dogs actively trying to snatch the food off his plate like they think he put it there just for them. Bella has curled up at his feet, while Jeb is occupied catching tiny bits of food Dean tosses to him. Dean always used to scoff at him when he sat up at night watching Star Trek reruns on fuzzy hotel room tv's.  He doesn't think Dean ever stayed in the room for more than a second of it, much less long enough to pick up on the names.  It's odd, really odd, but he doesn't know what to make of it, so instead he moves his chips out of reach of Pel, who looks disappointed enough that he gives her one anyway.

There's a decent sized swimming pool on the grounds, with a small building apparently used as a changing room beside it, and after they eat, Raymond invites them to go swimming, telling them there are swimming trunks they can use in the pool house. Apparently Raymond entertains a lot of guys who don't bring their own swimming gear, because there are quite a few pairs of trunks to choose from. Dean goes straight for a pair so tight that they look more like boxer briefs than swimwear, and hide a great deal less than your average pair of underwear, too,  stripping quickly and pulling them on, and straight probably wasn't the best word for this, because if swim trunks could have an orientation, then these are gay. Dean makes them more gay by posing and posturing absurdly once he gets them on. The dogs look on patiently while Sam changes into a much more modest pair of trunks, then follow them back out to the pool.

Sam fully expects Dean to march out to the high dive and do some crazy attention grabbing stunt while he quietly slips into the water, but instead Dean follows him to the shallow end, and they ease into the water together.

They wade out to the rope that marks the drop off into deep water, and Dean gives him a nod as they dive under the rope and come up on the slope on the other side. Sam flings his hair out of his eyes and returns Dean's wet smile. He has to force himself to look away from the fat, glistening drops of water beading up on the ends of Dean's hair. A little girl, wearing the kind of tiny bikini that Sam always thinks looks ridiculous on a child, is sitting on the edge of the pool near them, her feet dangling in the water. Dean turns his smile to her, and she gives him a big gap toothed grin back. "Hi," she says expansively. She leans forward and slips into the water, bobbing up beside them and grabbing onto Dean's shoulders. "I saw you before."

"Yeah?" Dean says.

"At Mr. Parker's," she says. "You took Bella away." She pushes off from him, but stays close, treading water. "You're trying to find Mark."

"You know Mark?" Sam asks.

"He's my friend," the girl says. "I told him not to go after the swamp monster, but he didn't listen. Are you going to rescue him?" She snatches up a ball floating by and lobs it to Dean, but he seems lost in thought, and the ball bounces off him unnoticed. The little girl looks so disappointed that Sam swims over to retrieve it and toss it back to her. She squeals with delight as she leaps to catch it, but when she throws it to Dean, he misses it again. "What's the matter with him?" she asks Sam, but Sam doesn't have an answer. Dean keeps bumping into him, swimming too close, which is another oddity. It makes him realize how careful Dean usually is not to touch, or even brush against him, something he hadn't been consciously aware of. Dean doesn't seem to be doing it on purpose, though being Dean, it's hard to be sure. It seems more as if he's just forgotten his own obsession with personal space.

"What else do you know about this?" Dean asks.

The little girl isn't cowed by Dean's charming lack of child skills, and the smile she gives him is downright condescending. "I know a lot of things," she says, wrapping her small hands across the top of his wrists and tugging so that Dean drifts toward her. They stare at each other briefly before the girl pushes away from Dean, arching backward with her whole body going stiff as she clutches her head in a way that is all too familiar to Sam. He grabs onto her before she can slip under the water and holds her up until it passes.

"What did you see?" he asks.

The little girl's eyes widen. "How did you know?" she asks.

"He's a fellow freak," Dean says.

The little girl frowns sternly at Dean, still holding onto Sam. "I'm not a freak," she says. "Uncle Raymond says I'm special. Awesome special, not freaky special, because I know things. I can help you look for Mark."

"Just tell us what you saw," Dean demands.

"I won't," she says. She slips out of Sam's arms and dives under, emerging at the side of the pool and pulling herself out of the water while Sam glares at Dean, who always thinks he knows how to handle kids. They pursue her around the side of the house, but they're hampered by not wanting anyone to notice they're chasing a little girl in a bikini, and she loses them around behind the house. The dogs are sticking close, but thankfully they haven't tried to join the chase, seeming content just to follow along. It isn't worth it to scare her with the whole pack at her heels, at least not in front of all the other guests.

It's after they've changed out of their wet suits and are leaving the pool house that the next strange thing happens. Sam hears a rustling noise and turns around the corner of the building to see what it is, almost stepping on a large dog lying on the ground, who rears up with a snarl and tries to take a chunk out of his arm. His momentum would have carried him right into the dog's teeth, except for Bella, who throws her body in front of him with a roar of rage that sets the other dog back on his hind legs in his hurry to get away. Bella lands square on her four stocky legs and stands bristling as Sam half falls against her. Sam backs up and twists his head around to see what Dean is doing, and he is doing... well, nothing. He's just standing there like Sam almost getting mauled by a vicious dog is nothing to him. "Uh, a little help," Sam says, not angrily, because he's more puzzled than anything else.

Dean gives a little shrug and a weak smile. "Bella's right there, man. She not gonna let anything bad happen to you."

Dean steps up then, and slips an arm around him again, which feels deliberate, Dean jerking his cord, trying to see how far Sam will let him go. He's still determined not to let Dean win, so he pulls away slightly and then slides his hand down and grabs onto Dean's hand before Dean has time to see what he intends. Sam gives him a smirk as he squeezes his hand, but Dean can never let Sam embarrass him, or at least let Sam see that he's embarrassed. Dean squeezes his hand back, giving him a fake smile and swinging their arms as they walk. So they rejoin the picnic, holding hands for all the world to see, and Sam tries not to think about how happy that makes him feel, as it's just going to hurt more when the mockery starts.

They ask around after Raymond's niece, whose name they are told is Wanda, but nobody seems to know where she has gone. Apparently she wanders off on her own a lot.

Dean seems inclined to hang around at this picnic for a couple of hours, ostensibly looking for Wanda but really just making small talk, and playing out the farce of couplehood, so that by the time they leave, Sam has fallen into a mood where he can almost make himself believe they are a couple, except for the way that is a crazy dangerous state to be in. Dean holds his hand all the way back to the car, and then, still in sight of some of the other guests, he follows Sam right around to the passenger side of the car and presses him up against it before he can open his door.

Sam can tell Dean is going to kiss him, but he has no idea why, whether it is some elaborate undercover kind of thing, racking up gay cred for some unknown reason which Dean hasn't bothered to explain. So it's important that Sam not be taken in by Dean's mouth pressing the taste of fresh squeezed lemonade gently but insistently to his, his lips sliding sensuously into place as if they were made to fit into Sam's mouth, which falls open helplessly. Sam is immediately, blindingly aroused, and it takes every ounce of his self control not to press his erection into Dean's hip, which is temptingly close, almost touching him. He can't help pushing into the kiss just for a minute, and Dean goes shockingly soft and pliant against him, letting his own mouth fall open under the pressure of Sam's lips, welcoming him in.

Things have clearly moved into the realm of something bizarre, but it still takes Sam a while to pull away from the kiss. Dean looks wild, and terrified, and something else Sam can't quite get, but he doesn't look possessed or evil, which is always a plus. "Dean," he says helplessly. Bella is pressed up against his leg staring at Dean and growling softly.

Dean opens his mouth as if to speak, but then closes it again without saying anything. Sam stops him with a hand on his arm when he tries to move away. Dean drops his gaze and won't meet Sam's eye as the silence stretches out between them.

"Something's wrong," Sam finally says, even though he doesn't want to, doesn't want to say it, doesn't want it to be true.

Dean breaks his heart then, standing so close, his hand still wrapped up in Sam's, his lips wet and inviting as he holds Sam's gaze and says, "...yeah."

Sam puts his free hand to his mouth and rubs it gently, because the feeling of that kiss is already fading, and there isn't ever going to be another one. "Tell me," he says.

Dean lifts his own free hand, as if to mimic Sam's gesture but instead he holds it out to Sam. "Maybe it has something to do with this?" he says tentatively, and Sam looks at the bracelet, the one that has been visible on Dean's arm all day. He hasn't noticed Dean eating more than usual. If anything, it seems to him Dean has been eating a lot less than normal, and yet the bracelet, which swung loose on his wrist the last time Sam had noticed it, is tight, so tight it's almost digging into the skin of his wrist.

"What the hell?" he says. He finally lets go of Dean's other hand in order to grab his wrist and examine the bracelet more closely. It isn't some cheap shiny bauble Dean lifted from Claire's. It's old, not shiny at all, and there are tiny symbols, which look like runes, carved into it that mean magic, black magic. "Jesus, Dean," he says. "Take it off. Now."

Dean gives him a sickly smile. "Um, it won't come off." He twirls his wrist, but the bracelet is so tight it clings to him, not moving at all. "I've been trying, but it's stuck on pretty good."

Dean seems content to stand there, blinking indecisively while Sam tries to figure out what to do. "Okay," he finally says. "We need to stay focused on the case for now, get out and see if we can find any sign of Mark. Meanwhile I'll try to figure out how we're going to get this thing off you." Dean nods agreeably, too agreeably, Sam realizes, and now it's all starting to click, Dean's weird agreeableness.  It's like he can't make any decisions.  "Let's go," Sam says, and Dean follows him, hands over the keys at a gesture and lets Sam drive again.

When they get back to the clearing, Dean continues to follow Sam's lead. It's what Sam has been wanting for a long time, Dean deferring to him, accepting his right to make some of the decisions, but it's not at all the way he'd imagined it. The dogs follow meekly behind them, perfectly useless. Sam is about to give up when he sees Wanda, the little girl from the picnic, standing about ten feet away, stretching an arm out toward them beseechingly. She opens her mouth and seems to speak, but there is no sound. A sudden unnatural wind blows up around them, and the dogs notice her, ephemeral though she appears, and rush ahead barking, but she fades away before they can get to her. Not surprisingly, she leaves behind no footprints or any other sign of physical presence. They waste a lot of daylight searching, but see no other sign of anything unusual.

Three hours later, Dean is lying, pale and clearly exhausted, on the motel bed, and Sam has tried everything short of shooting the bracelet off of him, which Dean wouldn't let him do, even, as Dean put it, if he were the crack shot he thinks he is. The thing appears to be sapping Dean's energy from him, judging by the way he seems content to lie listlessly on the bed while Sam figures out what to do next. Sam is appalled at how long it took him to confront Dean, when he's sensed something was wrong almost from the moment Dean put the damn bracelet on.

Dean confesses everything after Sam tries to exorcise the bracelet off with a spell Bobby dug up and read to him over the phone, which works no better than anything else he's tried.

"I took it off one of those witches from the last case," he says. He winces when Sam jerks on the bracelet with barely suppressed rage.

"What the hell, Dean?"

"She was using it to fight. It seemed, like, cool."

Sam would love to strangle Dean with the bracelet on hearing this, if he could only get it off his wrist. As it is, he gives the thing a vicious twist, and Dean yelps. He sits back and runs his hands over his face in defeat. Just once, he would like to be able to get Dean out of trouble, but it never works for him. The few times it seemed that he was going to finally be the rescuer instead of the rescued have always turned grim reaper sour-ish in the end. "Using it to fight, how exactly?" he asks. He can tell Dean doesn't want to answer him by the way he fidgets with the bracelet, which is so tight he can't slide it around at all, and he tries to intimidate him with a glare. "Now is so not the time to hold anything back, Dean."

"Okay," Dean says. There's a little bit of Dean's normal aggravation in the answer, but not enough to stop Sam's heart from pounding in terror for him. "But you're not going to like it."

"Yeah, and I like all the rest of this so much," Sam spits out. "Especially the part where you are a fucking idiot."

Dean winces at his contemptuous tone, which doesn't make Sam feel the least bit guilty. "She had these dogs," Dean says, his voice getting softer with every word. Sam can feel his face filling with the blood of a level of rage that only Dean ever excites. "They were fighting for her, like, she could control them. It was awesome," he trails off sheepishly, his gaze turning to the dogs, who are crowded around their feet.

Sam looks at them, too, putting it all together, Quark and Pel curled up against his leg affectionately, Jeb chewing a bone he'd gotten at the picnic, Bella lying off to the side, watching over them all protectively. "You're not controlling them, Dean," he says slowly.

"I'm not?" Dean asks. At least he finally looks like he's taking this seriously.

Sam shakes his head. He has a sudden need for a drink, and he reaches under Dean's bed to pull out the bottle of whiskey Dean thinks is hidden from him. He takes a drink straight from the bottle, letting it burn down his throat as if it might tamp down the words he doesn't want to say. Dean tries to reach for the bottle but he pulls it back out of reach, staring at Dean the whole time. "Don't you get it, Dean?" he asks. "They're becoming you."

Dean scowls. "What are you smoking, Sam?" He gives a weak laugh, but Sam can see that he knows it's true.

"They're taking parts of you," he says.

Dean pulls himself upright with an obvious effort. "You don't know that," he says as Sam takes another drink. He pulls out the paper towels Sam had wrapped around his wrist when he was trying to saw off the bracelet, wads them up and tosses them toward the waste basket. They fall far short, and he stares at them in dismay. "Oh, fuck," he says.

It makes Sam blindingly angry to hear that so familiar note of resignation in Dean's voice. "Get up," he growls, hauling Dean to his feet. "We need to go back and search the house where you got the bracelet."

"Sam," Dean says. "The witch I took it from didn't live there. There isn't gonna be anything there." Dean's phone goes off, and he snatches at it with more energy than he's shown since they left the picnic, no doubt spurred on by a desire to avoid any further discussion. He turns away from Sam, listening intently for a minute and then speaking so softly Sam can't make it out. He get up as he disconnects. "That was Raymond," he explains. "No one has seen Wanda since we left the picnic, and he just found a note in her room saying she was going out to find Mark. He's afraid whatever took Mark may have gotten her, too."

"We need to do something about the bracelet before you'll be in any shape to help anyone else, Dean," Sam says, but he doesn't really mean it. If Dean was his normal self he would never agree to a delay to deal with this that could result in losing another kid. They have to try to save Wanda. "We should leave the dogs here," he says. "They might be scaring the monster into hiding."

Dean grimaces. "Good thinking," he says. "Except I don't think I can go without them."

"Why not?"

"I don't know." Dean looks like the glare Sam is giving him is crushing him. "It's hard to explain," he says. "It kind of feels funny when they get too far away. And it's been getting worse."

Sam slams his fist down on the table by the bed hard enough to make Dean flinch. "Why would you not tell me that was happening?"

"I'm telling you, Sam, it's not like I've ever been taken over by a pack of dogs before. It's kind of a new experience."

"Fine," Sam says. "We'll bring the dogs along. We can just leave them in the car."

Dean follows him out to the car. "They don't need to be locked up," he says. "They stay wherever I want them to stay."

"We're leaving them in the car while we look for Wanda," he says, and Dean doesn't argue anymore, which right there is proof that Dean is not in his right mind.

When they get back to the clearing, Dean wants to leave the windows all the way down. "They can't take this heat, Sam. They can hardly breathe." Dean himself looks short of breath, reminding Sam that the dogs' comfort and safety is as important as Dean's as long as they are linked by the bracelet.

Sam finally settles for tying the dogs to a tree near the car. Dean had the foresight to bring their water bowl along, and he empties a bottle of water into it and sets it down for them. It's come on full dark now, and they have to take flashlights out of the trunk before heading in through the stand of trees that borders the clearing. Jeb is quiet, no doubt sulking because they wouldn't let him bring his toy, and the pugs curl up together and fall to instant snoring, but Bella strains at the end of the rope with a soft whine of protest at being left behind. When Sam looks to make sure she is securely tied, her face is scrunched up in a worried expression and her eyes for just a moment look shockingly green in the beam of the flashlight, but when he looks again they are brown, and he isn't sure if his imagination is playing tricks on him.

Dean keeps stumbling, even though the ground is perfectly level, and Sam tries to persuade him to sit down and wait while Sam searches alone, but Dean won't listen, even though he is just slowing Sam down. He doesn't even bother wasting time trying to reason with Dean about maybe putting aside the search in favor of worrying about his own problem. Finally he falls to his knees, reaching out an arm for Sam to help him back up, but Sam steps back away from him. "You're in no shape to help fight anything, Dean," he says. "I can go faster on my own. Let me take care of this, and then I'll get you to Bobby. He's bound to have some ideas how to deal with this." Dean slumps down prone, which Sam figures is as close to agreement as he's going to get, and he goes on alone, trying to hurry in the dark.

The ground is damp and muddy. The whole area reeks of something unwholesome and rotting, as if something has died here and sunk into the ground which seems to clutch at his shoes as he walks, slowing him down when he needs to hurry, find the kids and get back to Dean. He hasn't gone very far when he sees Wanda, kneeling over something on the ground, but by the time he gets to her she has vanished again. The bundle of clothes on the ground turns out to be a sleepy, disoriented but unharmed Mark, who tells him the swamp monster has awesome toys, and he wanted to stay and play longer, but Wanda made him come home.

Sam shines the light around, but there is no sign of the swamp monster. Despite the setting sun, it is still hot and muggy, and the only thing the flashlight picks up are an occasional swarm of gnatlike insects."Wanda?" he yells. He desperately wants to check on Dean, but Dean will just tell him to find the girl. He picks up the boy and continues on, yelling for Wanda every few minutes.

He hears a rustling noise close by and spins to his right. There's a flash of something luminous, and a low, inhuman moaning sound, but when he awkwardly raises the flashlight it vanishes. Everything is quiet again. He puts the boy down, motioning him to stay close, which frees up his arms. They walk in circles, gradually widening the diameter. There's a moaning sound that starts like wind through old trees, but increases and deepens into a threatening growl. He keeps spinning and flashing the light around, but he never catches clear sight of the monster, who seems to be following him without trying to close in.

He finally stops and stands silently, trying to figure out where the sound is coming from, but it seems to surround him. A sudden unnatural breeze blows up, raising the hair on the back of his neck. He turns deliberately, keeping the flashlight low. There's a dark, hulking, man shaped figure standing about ten feet behind him, long thick arms hanging down gorilla like, still emitting a low growling moan that goes on and on, as if the creature has no need to breathe. Sam raises the flashlight slowly and trains it on the creature.

It's the swamp monster, arms raised threateningly, and when the light hits him he roars, but he doesn't approach. He's big and hairy, but his fur is green, and he's not really all that scary looking. In fact he looks a bit ridiculous. When Sam doesn't react to his roaring he quiets down and drops his hairy green arms, looking sheepish.

Sam lifts his gun in warning. "Don't shoot my friend, " Mark says.

"Where's Wanda?" Sam asks the general air. The swamp monster wrinkles his brow in thought, but he doesn't say anything, and then Wanda appears beside him, looking outraged.

"He wasn't trying to hurt anyone," she says.

"He's a monster," Sam points out in his most reasonable tone.

"He just got lonely and wanted somebody to play with."

"He's a monster," Sam repeats, a little more forcefully.

"He promises not to bother anybody if I just come and play with him sometimes," Wanda says.

"Sorry, Wanda," Sam says, raising his gun.

"He can help Dean," Wanda says. She smiles just like a regular prepubescent little girl.

Sam hadn't really wanted to shoot the furry green Jim Hensen knock off monster thing, anyway. "How?" he asks, because he isn't just going to take her word for it. This thing is going down unless he's given some substantial proof that it can help Dean. He's not that easy to trick.

"Better hurry," Wanda says. "Dean isn't going to last much longer."

Sam gives up trying to pretend there's any choice here, and drops his arm. "Come on," Wanda says. The swamp monster can run pretty fast on his thick stubby legs, but Sam still makes it back to Dean first. He's lying where Sam left him, and Sam slides to a stop on his knees, grabbing his wrist to check for a pulse, which he can just barely detect. He shakes Dean's limp arm uselessly. "Please," he says, as Wanda and the swamp monster catch up.

The swamp monster stops and tries to kneel down, almost falling over onto his side awkwardly, but Wanda catches hold of one green arm and helps lower him to his knees carefully. She stares into his eyes intently for a moment, apparently communicating with him somehow. "Okay," she says. "There's a spell we can use. But we all have to help." She holds a hand out to Sam and he takes it, but when the swamp thing holds out a hairy paw he balks. At that point Mark catches up to them-Sam had forgotten all about him- but he isn't invited to help with the spell.

Wanda rolls her eyes at Sam. "Well, if you don't want to help..." she says, and Sam gives in and takes the monster's paw. It feels moist and sticky, and Sam kind of feels like throwing up, but he usually feels like throwing up when Dean gets hurt, so he isn't going to let a little swamp yuck push him over the edge.

They form a little circle around Dean, and Sam tries to concentrate, even though he doesn't know what he is supposed to be doing. He closes his eyes and tries to picture Dean healthy and happy. He pictures him tossing Jeb's toy around, and playing tug of war with Bella. He pictures him cuddling the little pugs.

"These ties that bind around and round," Wanda intones dramatically. She shrugs when he opens one eye. "Let them go into the ground." She glares at him until he closes both eyes again.

"Now I will count, and when I reach three. All that are bound shall be set free."

She falls silent, and when Sam opens his eyes she has hers squeezed tightly shut.

"One," she says. Sam glances at Dean but there is no change.

"Two." Still no change, and Sam closes his eyes just in case it will help.

"Three." Wanda lets loose a blood curdling scream and falls onto Dean. It takes a few seconds for Sam to work out that she is wrestling Dean for control of the shotgun. The swamp monster is screaming, big paws covering up his ridiculous face as Dean tries to hold Wanda off without hurting her so he can shoot it.

"Dean, stop," Sam says, and Dean, who is apparently back to normal, throws him an incredulous look and doesn't listen. Sam joins Wanda in grappling for the shotgun. "Would you listen a second? This thing just saved your life."

"Huh," Dean says, trying to jerk the shotgun out of Sam's grasp. "Peachy, now we can shoot it."

"Dean," Sam yells. It's amazing how fast he has passed through relief that Dean seems to be himself again and landed right back at exasperated. "It's harmless." He points to where Mark is standing watching them. "It hasn't hurt anyone."

Dean lets his mouth drop open in disbelief, but he lets Sam take the shotgun. The swamp monster's yells have turned into whimpers, and he peeks out through his hairy hands at them.

"See," Sam says. "Harmless." Wanda picks up the bracelet, which is lying, clasp open, on the ground, and gives it to the swamp monster, who takes it with a shy smile.

Dean's eyes follow the bracelet. The swamp monster tries to wrap it around his own wrist, but it is much too small to fit. Dean clears his throat. "Uh, thanks there, buddy," he says reluctantly.

The swamp monster turns a darker shade of green and nods, but he doesn't speak. He shuffles his hairy green feet in the mud. They head back to the car to return the kids to their families, leaving the monster waving sadly after them. Dean finally seems to get it. "How do you feel?" Sam asks.

"I'm fine," Dean says in his not fine at all voice.

"The dogs?"

Dean waves a hand in front of his face dismissively. "They're gone," he says. "Not in my head anymore. Can't feel 'em at all." He looks like he can't even be bothered trying to fake feeling happy about it. But then his expression lightens. "Wait? We can keep 'em, right? As pets? Without the bracelet they should be regular old dogs again."

Sam feels he should give Dean a hard time just on principle, but he looks so happy about dragging a pack of dogs from town to town with him, that he wants to cave immediately. "They have to have leashes," he says.

"Sure, sure."

"And you have to take them to the vet and get them shots and stuff."

"Right." The spring is back in Dean's step, and his grin is more genuine than Sam has seen it in a long time.

"We have to stop somewhere long enough to enroll them in a training class and train them for real this time."

"Sounds good to me," Dean says. "We'll go down the road a bit so no one recognizes the pugs, and then find a class for them. Hey, maybe Bella can get some police dog training. Running down suspects for us." Dean's face lights up even more at this thought.

If the pugs lose a bit more weight, they would fit in a small backpack and could go along on jobs sometimes. They could be useful for getting into and out of small places. Even though he knows it's crazy, it still sounds kinda awesome. He smiles back at Dean and concedes. "It could work."

When they get back to the car the dogs are gone. The ropes Sam had secured them with have vanished, too. Sam might wonder if they were ever there at all, but then he sees the water dish Dean had left for them, tipped over upside down, and a confused bunch of doggy footprints in the mud formed by the spilled water. They follow the muddy prints, which quickly grow fainter, out to the road, but there is no further sign, no way to tell what direction they've gone in. Dean yells himself hoarse, but there is no response. Sam feels guilty for every time he ever yelled at them as he watches Dean's face get harder and sadder.

They stop to return the kids to their grateful families, keeping it short so they can get back to looking for the dogs. They retrace their steps, returning to every place they've been, and everywhere in between. They stop at Mr. Parker's house and ask if he's seen them. He hasn't, and he's outraged that they lost Bella, calling them damn fools who shouldn't be allowed to have a dog at all.

Dean gets sadder and sadder. They return to the hotel, and Sam calls the pound, leaving a request that they be contacted if any of the dogs turn up. Dean is all for packing up and moving on immediately, but Sam insists they wait around at least a couple of days. They've searched the same places two or three times over, and he's sick of looking, but there is still a chance that they will turn up at the pound.

Sam stretches out on his back on one of the beds and watches Dean fidget around, clipping his fingernails fussily and unnecessarily. "We could get a new dog," he suggests.

Dean glares at him. "No."

"Why not?"

Dean goes back to clipping his nails and the silence stretches resentfully between them. "Maybe I could get a new brother, too," Dean finally says.

"Okay, way to be childish," Sam snaps. "Why did you kiss me anyway?"

Dean jerks his head back as if he's been punched. Sam doesn't really expect an answer, but Dean says, "It's complicated" so softly Sam barely hears it.

Dean's on his feet before he finishes speaking but Sam is faster, and gets between Dean and the door. Dean doesn't try to push past him. "So explain it to me," Sam says.

Dean shakes his head. "I don't know," he says.

Sam can tell he's lying through his teeth. "What did the dogs have to do with you and me, Dean?" He casts back over what happened, trying to figure it out. The kiss was right after Bella saved him from the strange dog tied up near the pool, right after Dean had failed to protect him, and there's something to that, but he can't quite work it out. "What is it you're so determined to protect me from?" Dean jerks his head up, wide green eyes focusing on him, telling him he's struck a nerve, and he gets it now. He crowds Dean back into the corner of the room. "You have to protect me from everything I want from you?" He shakes his head at Dean. "You're really dumb sometimes, you know that?"

He can't quite read what's going through Dean's mind, but he's determined not to let this go. He's wild with the possibility that Dean want this, too, wants him, and he needs to make Dean understand that it's okay, that this won't hurt him, because if there's anything he knows about Dean, it's that he can't bear to see Sam hurt.

For just a moment when he kisses Dean it's everything he's wanted. Dean lets him in, and he sweeps his tongue possessively over Dean's. . But then Dean surges up, taking control of the kiss, biting and sucking at Sam's mouth as he grabs at Sam's arms and tries to turn him around against the bed. Sam resists, putting his own hands higher up on Dean's arms so that they end up rocking from side to side, wrestling for control. Sam can't quite get the leverage he needs, so he sweeps one of his longer legs around and takes Dean to the floor, pinning him there. Dean still won't give, but when Sam presses his full weight down on him he feels Dean's erection pressed between them, and he rocks his body roughly over it, making Dean gasp. "You're getting off on this," he says accusingly.

"Yeah, like you're not," Dean says. He squeezes his hand down between them and presses against Sam's cock.

"You don't have to protect me from this," Sam says.

"Yeah, I'm getting that," Dean says. He shifts under Sam until his cock is against Sam's thigh, and then starts rutting against him shamelessly until Sam pulls his leg away.

"It's not going to go like that," he says.

"You don't get to decide how it goes," Dean says. He squirms around deliciously under Sam in an attempt to get some more friction.

"I seem to be on top," Sam points out, not trying to conceal how smug he feels about that.

He lets go of one of Dean's arms and starts working Dean's fly open, at which point Dean decides to be helpful, lifting his ass so Sam can slide his jeans and underwear down together even as he says, "I wouldn't read over much into that, Sammy."

Once Sam gets Dean's pants down over the important parts, he doesn't hesitate, letting go of Dean's arm and sliding down to get his mouth on Dean's cock. Dean huffs out a curse in a way that Sam is far gone enough to admit sends a thrill down his spine and straight to his own cock.

He draws back slightly, letting his mouth fill with saliva so that when he moves back down his lips slide wetly along the length of Dean's now rock hard cock. He knows it's pushing his luck, but he slips a finger into his mouth, wetting it, and then slides it behind Dean's balls and back. Dean spreads his legs in clear invitation that Sam doesn't hesitate to take advantage of, sliding his finger right up into Dean, who arches up into his mouth and then down onto his finger.

It feels unreal, having Dean under him like he's imagined so many times, and he pulls back so that he can get Dean's pants completely off. Dean apparently wants to be naked as much as Sam wants him to, because he sits up just enough to pull his shirt off and toss in onto the floor. Sam, still fully clothed, slides up Dean's flushed body, and Dean lets his legs fall further apart so that Sam can settle snugly between them and get their mouths together aggressively. Dean cups Sam's face in his hands as they kiss, surprising Sam with his gentleness, slowing him down. He breaks off the kiss and slides his mouth under Dean's ear, pushing his face into Dean's neck. "I want-" he says. He doesn't know how to finish his sentence without sounding ridiculous.

Dean's hands are on his chest, undoing the buttons on his shirt with quick sure flicks of his wrist, and then pushing the shirt down over his shoulders and tugging at his t-shirt. Sam pulls back to take his shirt off. Dean doesn't try to stop him when he stands up, but he looks so worried that Sam leans down and kisses him softly. "Be right back," he says. He makes a beeline for the bathroom, jerking the little cabinet above the sink open -it's empty- and then pulling aside the shower curtain looking for something, anything, he can use, because he's going to fuck Dean now, and Dean's going to let him, Dean has to let him now. There's actually a small bottle of lotion in the shower, which he snatches up triumphantly, peeling off the rest of his clothing on his way back to Dean, who hasn't moved. Dean's eyes, already glazed with lust, go straight to Sam's cock, and he shivers, raising his eyes to Sam's with all the respect Sam has been craving from him for years.

Sam grabs hold of Dean and rolls him over, pulling him up onto his knees. He spreads the lotion down into the crack of Deans ass and slides his finger back in easily. It occurs to him to ask if Dean has ever done this before.

He can feel Dean tense up. "Sort of," he answers hoarsely.

Sam pulls his finger out of the slick warmth of Dean and lays his hand on Deans hip, because he has no idea what Dean means. "Dean, you've either gotten fucked before or you haven't."

Dean groans, and drops his head down onto the bed, cradling it in him arms. "So not the time for this discussion, Sam, please."

Sam rolls Dean over onto his back again. "Tell me what you mean," he demands.

Dean grimaces. "You want this, I want this. Why can't we just let it go at that?"

"You must know if you've done this before or not, Dean? Why can't you answer me?"

"Okay," Dean says. "I've never really done this before."

Sam recognizes the shadow in Dean's expression, it's the one he gets whenever they have to talk about his time in hell, and Dean was right that this is so not the time for that kind of discussion. But he's not going to rush Dean into anything either. Sam puts his mouth back down onto Dean's cock, which goes hard again immediately, and then, since Dean clearly was enjoying it, he slides his finger back into Dean's hole, adds a second one, and works them carefully in. Dean loses it, comes so hard he makes the bed rattle under them. Just the thought that he is going to get to fuck Dean at some point in the future is enough for Sam to get off by rubbing his cock against Dean's thigh, and Dean helps him through it by stroking his back and kissing him.

Dean seems content to lie in the mess they've made after, looking more relaxed than Sam has seen him in a long time. Once again he didn't get Dean out of trouble, and to add insult to injury, he had to watch a little girl and a green hairy monster do what he couldn't, but at least he has wiped out the sadness that had been lingering at the corners of Dean's mouth since they lost the dogs.

Dean doesn't slide back into sarcasm, and he seems to assume they're going to share the bed. They hang around town a couple more days, feeling their way into a new kind of relationship, and Dean even agrees to think about maybe getting a puppy at some point, one they can train up to be a hunter's helper. "Four dogs would've been awfully crowded in the back seat, anyway," Sam points out, and Dean agrees.

They look for the dogs every day, but find no sign of them, and Sam can feel Dean getting restless. He wakes before Dean a few days later, brings coffee back to the room, watches the way Dean clutches it tensely. "It's time to move on," Dean says. Sam takes a sip of his lukewarm coffee, swallows it quickly to escape the bitter taste, and nods.

They pack up their bags silently while still downing their coffee, and head out to the car. Dean has the keys again, and he throws his duffle bag into the back seat just as Sam turns around to toss his back there, too, in an attempt to make it look less empty. As he's pulling his leg into the passenger seat he sees a blur out of the corner of his eye, and turns instinctively to block the blow before it hits him, a flying ball of wiggling, wagging fur that resolves into Jeb's goofy panting, licking ecstatic, silly self. Dean lets out a whoop of pure joy and about leaps over the car to snatch up the pugs. Mark lets go of the Pug's leashes as Wanda lets go of the two bigger dogs. Bella is too dignified to join the fuss, but she gives a slow wag of her tail when Sam meets her warm brown eyes. It feels like she is laughing at them all, but fondly.

"How did you find them?" Dean asks around the pugs' squirming bodies. They are licking madly at everything they can reach, Dean, each other, the general air. "You used your freaky mind powers, didn't you?"

"Only a little," Wanda says. "They've been hiding out on Mr. Parker's land. He leaves food and water out all the time, and he has a lot of dogs hanging around. I would have found them quicker, but he never even knew they were out there."

"I bet you took your buddies there to keep them safe," Dean says to Bella. He puts the pugs down so he can kneel and give Bella a hug. "You're gonna be the best protection dog in the class," he says. "All those other dogs are gonna be scared of your badass self."

Sam opens the back door of the car and Jeb jumps in. Dean laughs at the awkward way he has to crawl in to get their duffle bags out from under the dog, who doesn't want to get off of them. Dean holds the door for Bella to step carefully up onto the the other side of the back seat, and then pours the pugs in while Sam puts their bags into the trunk where they belong. The dogs look more cozy than crowded, all curled up together, the pugs already propping their chins on Bella, obviously ready to nap the road away under their quizzical little faces.

"Have to stop for dog food," Dean says, returning a wave to Wanda and Mark as he slams his door, turns the key, and pulls away.

Sam leans back in the passenger seat, reaches one arm across, and rests his fingers in the fine hairs on the back of Dean's neck, smiling when he feels Dean shiver. "We can do that," he says.


dogs tale

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-30 10:50 pm (UTC)
giandujakiss: (Default)
From: [personal profile] giandujakiss
Yay, you posted it! It really is an adorable story - such a fun read!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-01 12:10 am (UTC)
landshark: My dog trying to distroy a kong. (Lucy)
From: [personal profile] landshark

I've been going through dog-withdrawal since my dog passed away in March D:, and I was grinning like an idiot the whole time I was reading this.


(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-01 01:03 am (UTC)
ellia: dean and sam winchester from supernatural (supernatural sam dean)
From: [personal profile] ellia
This is just wonderful, Dean and those adorable dogs, and his shiny power bracelet. I love all the little details, like him buying Sam his candy bars, really made this come alive. I'm so glad they got to keep the puppies. Lovely story, i really enjoyed how you had Sam figuring Dean out, and finally making his move.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-01 05:42 pm (UTC)
lisztful: Made by <lj user=keywee-icons"> (Default)
From: [personal profile] lisztful
Yay, I'm so happy to see this up! You already know this, but I think this is roll on the floor hysterical, and also totally sweet! So glad you found a home for that last pic, too!


Date: 2010-10-19 01:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I loved this. Loved that there was more to it than just dogs. Loved the kids. Loved the chinks in Deans armor and the candy bars. Oh and loved that Sam ended up taking control! Wait I'm not done!! LOVED that, although it wasn't the main focus, Deans time in hell was still mentioned. Cause you do no just get over that, contrary to what season 6 Sam wants to believe.

Re: ahhhhh

Date: 2010-10-19 07:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
He's BETTER just be trying to convince himself as well as Dean that hell was no big deal. Because if not the lack of an emotion about it is an even worse reaction.
You mentioned the Campells in another reply and I just wanted to say I'm pretty sure they are gonna be a big part of this season. At least Grandpa, b/c in one epi he was talking to SOMEONE on the phone. About not getting the skinwalker maybe?
Oh and just b/c I'm apparently all over the place, the one Campbell who kept making fun of Dean what was that all about. The loser. *grumble grumble*


erda: (Default)

April 2014

2021222324 2526

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags