rating: PG-13 for subject matter and language.
genre&warnings: Non-graphic incestuous emotions that you can ignore if you prefer gen!fic. UST, fluff, slightly angsty goodness. Spoilers through 1.18 to be safe.
disclaimer: This is a derivative work; no claim to ownership of publicly identifiable characters is being made here.
notes: A twist on the stagesoflove challenge; a combination of stages of love and relationship through senses. I am not the official claimholder - darkhavens is and I highly recommend her submissions. The lyric quoted in intimacy//SOUND is from the Led Zeppelin song Kashmir, and the title is from Neruda's Soneta XVII, a line that translates to I love you like this because I don't know any other way.
authorly rambling: My!Dean is a little bit of a synæsthete; totally my fandom conceit. Sam doesn't learn from his mistakes, but we all love him anyways. The temporal structure's a little strange but it's not that strange. Most of these are from Sam's point of view, because although I am wholeheartedly a Dean fan, it's Sam that has to make the choice at the center of this. Also, Dean is inscrutable - I don't understand him quite all the way yet. Sam's easy. :)
soundtrack: Cat Power - I Found A Reason
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attraction//SIGHTDean's the one who always checks them in. Sam thinks it's because he's more confident passing the cards, but really it's because Dean likes having choices, even if every time he's given the option of single or double he goes with double.attraction//SOUND
The girl at the counter smiled charmingly, saying “Oh, you must be from the bible belt or somesuch. This is Canada, you don't have to hide.” Dean looked taken aback, but the girl grinned and he noticed the wedding photo behind her. When she lead him to their room Sam fell in behind them.
“C'mon, sweetheart.” Dean said.John's been away for a while, but he knows his sons and this isn't different. He's responsible for the fact that Sam won't have the normal life he aches for, responsible for Dean's heart patched back together, threadbare.attraction//TOUCH
He didn't intend for things to turn out this way, but each time he goes to check on his boys he sees them stumbling into motel rooms, arms carefully wrapped around each other, making sure neither falls beneath the weight of their injuries, making sure neither sees the fucking longing in their eyes or hears deep sighs masked as huge gasping breaths.The first time Sam saw Dean in four years, he was a fighting shadow in the dark. Sam relished the tactile nature of the violence, a feeling he didn't want to analyze too deeply because he wasn't sure if it was because he was fighting or because he was fighting Dean.attraction//SMELL
Now it was like that again, that weird fallfloat, looking over at Dean and noting the edges in his voice. “Dad's sent us some coordinates. It's a churel in Toronto.”
“Canada?” Sam asked, and Dean said, “No, California.” Sam seemed satisfied, but Dean rolled his eyes.
“Of course, Canada.”Border crossings weren't easy unless they were into Mexico, and Dean was always afraid he'd meet the one guard he couldn't charm. He'd prefer to sneak in, but that would take them days out of the way and the situation sounded urgent.attraction//TASTE
“John Paul Jones.” the guard noted, and there was a look in her eye that said I'm not fooled at all. “Pop the trunk, please.” she said, and when he did she took a minute to find the hidden compartment.
Sam caught Dean's eye and breathed; confused, relieved, taking in both diesel fumes and Dean's aftershave.“This places looks boring.” Dean said, but Sam shrugged and ordered a large coffee for Dean (triple-triple, please he snickered) and orange juice for himself. Dean took a sip, and leaned back. “Why don't they make coffee like this back home?” he sighed, pleasure and caffeine shooting through his veins.romance//SIGHT
“It can't be that good.” Sam said, but Dean raised an eyebrow eloquently and slid the coffee cup across the table.
Sam picked it up and drank; he could taste Dean on the edge of the cup and when he shivered he pretended it was because of the heat.Sam's starting to see a lot of things that he wishes he hadn't, all kinds of little things - like the way the setting sunlight glints off the Impala, or the way Dean's skin glistens after he's been caught in a rainstorm, or how the muscles beneath his own skin stretch and ache with this fucking longing that he can't name.romance//SOUND
He wishes he could look all he wanted, but he's not sure how to ask for it, how to say it out loud without wanting it to be anything but what it was. He settles for closing his eyes, dreaming.It's a big house, surrounded by leafy trees (maple, Sam says) and it's in a neighbourhood that seems nice, quiet, old. Dean considers that he might not have minded growing up here, but his fist is through the basement window and they're in.romance//TOUCH
There's a Victrola playing somewhere, and Sam feels it in every muscle. It's asking him to move I don't know what to I don't know where, swaying with every step. He doesn't have to ask Dean if he hears it, it's obvious by the way he's walking; dancing.
Sam's always found it hard to take the lead.They can't run from it so they've got to face it. The poltergeist is right there – right bloody in front of their faces – and Dean is frozen. It looks like he can't move and Sam reaches out for a second, a tactile dude? but Dean snaps out of it, pouring the lighter fluid over the old Victrola the ghost haunted and with a shiver, lit it on fire.romance//SMELL
Sam isn't sure what happened, not at all, and his hand still hovers an inch beside Dean's arm. He shifts to touch his brother anyways and Dean sighs with this fucking longing.Sam thinks back to his research. Churels, alternatively churails or chudails, are the Hindu ghosts of unhappy women who died during childbirth, seeking revenge on young men as the cause of their deaths.romance//TASTE
This would explain that but not this, and Sam considers that perhaps they're dealing with multiple hauntings and Dean just offed the wrong ghost and when it turned out Sam was right, he didn't stop to consider much of anything besides the fact he screwed up.
The last thing Sam thought after shoving Dean out of the way was his love smells like cut grass and lilacs.It took Sam a while to remember things about Dean that he'd forgotten, things like how Dean was tolerable - but only just - before he had coffee in the morning or if he had less than five hours' sleep. Things like how he used the words “bitch!” and “goddamn!” with parts fervor and parts frustration, or how he played Ozzy when he didn't know where he was going or what to do when he got there.passion//SIGHT
Sam didn't forget how Dean hid affection for wrapped chocolate mints and when it was over, Sam dug some out and handed them over wordlessly.“What the fuck is your problem!?” Dean hissed, and Sam's jaw dropped.passion//SOUND
“What! What?” Sam echoed, a little angry and a little turned on, the way he always was after. Dean didn't say anything, just stalked over to the driver's side of the Impala, and he turned to look at Sam over the roof of the car.
“Just...” he started, but Sam groaned and Dean's temper snapped. “Don't you remember anything?” Dean spat, and Sam could pinpoint the moment he screwed up but he wasn't about to acknowledge his mistake because he's pretty sure he saved Dean's life back there.Missouri wasn't above eavesdropping – not that listening in from miles away could properly be called eavesdropping. In any case, she knew what she was listening to, and the fighting she heard didn't feel rage and anger so much as scared and pissed off. She couldn't tell what they were fighting about, but she could hear the tears in their voices even as they wouldn't.passion//TOUCH
She'd figured they'd be clueless – those boys kind of always were – but she hoped they'd sort it out before somebody got killed and she sure hoped one of them had the sense to finally be honest.Dean breathed; that coaxing way you might breathe if there was someone who couldn't quite seem to get the rhythm of it just right. Sam coughed and sputtered, trying to get the hang of it again and when he did, it sounded to Dean like the chorus of every bad love song he'd ever heard.passion//SMELL
Sam's eyes were closed and Dean really couldn't help touching Sam's chest briefly, feeling the up and down of air in and out, in and out. It was the chorus of every bad love song he'd ever heard, and he was strangely OK with that.Dean tried taking a deep breath, but it didn't really help because all he took in was sick green air, something he knew was marrow-deep fear but right now it feels more like anger. Possibly rage.passion//TASTE
He could feel Sam shoving him out of the way, taking the brunt of whatever that was and he hates that he wasn't the one who took it. He heard Sam vaguely, saying things like wasn't going to let you die, you friggin' jerk and fucking love you, bitch but Dean didn't want to process that. He punched Sammy in the face instead.He wasn't quite expecting either of the responses he got; both the hard blow and soft apology didn't seem like something his brother would do. Sam wiped at the corner of his mouth, tasting the salt and iron on his lips, not bothering with retaliation because whatever Dean was doing to himself was so much worse.intimacy//SIGHT
Dean held himself stiffly, as if just waiting for it, but Sam cracked a wry grin instead. “You hit my good side.” Sam complained, and Dean's eyes went wide, relaxing, cocky bastard back in place.
“You have a good side?” he asked, perfectly innocent.Sam wasn't used to seeing his brother quite like this.intimacy//SOUND
Years of close quarters and shared spaces had stripped away every last vestige of modesty, and all manner of injuries and self-treatment meant they knew each others' bodies pretty well. It had been years, though, since either had a nightmare so bad that they needed to lay down beside the other just to remember they weren't alone. They've shared beds, but this time it's personal, as if no one else would do.
Sam looked at his brother, awkwardly stretched out beside him, and he wondered what it all meant.Waking up like this – languid and fluid, sprawled across the Impala's front seat, legs every which way and arms draped over the bench – leads to the discovery that he was happier than he could ever recall, all bone-deep comfort and ease. He was safe, the job was over and he could relax, let someone else do the driving, let Sammy take care of things for a little while.intimacy//TOUCH
His breath hitched in his throat abruptly as he listened to Sam softly singing along to the music - talk and song from tongues of lilting grace, whose sounds caress my ear.Sam eased into the passenger seat, sore and aching. He closed his eyes, not stirring when Dean threw his jacket over so he wouldn't shiver so damn much. When he woke, he could feel it wrapped around him like a blanket someone left in front of a fire so it would warm up. He relaxed in it, and when Dean asked for it back he wanted to refuse.intimacy//SMELL
Dean looked at him carefully, his eyes flickering between him and the road and when he muttered “Keep the damn jacket.” what he really meant to say was I know, me too.She thought about them once in a while; about the way they'd shown up one day and fixed everything as if that was what they were supposed to do. She doesn't know if she likes the idea; that whole destiny thing annoyed her.intimacy//TASTE
She was surprised to see them here, though, especially since she thought they only took care of American paranormal and she was was here briefly anyways. Coincidence. She wasn't going to get up and say hello because in the midst of everyday chaos they looked at home in their own world, and she knew she couldn't trespass.He hates this patching-up part; he's always thought of it as the first day back from holidays – the sudden realization that this is what's normal, this is how it is. One brother patching up another, hunt after hunt, bad guys and good guys alike. He's given Sam a split lip, not that the kid didn't deserve it, but he wonders what would have happened if...commitment//SIGHT
Sam is almost done taping the deep scratches on Dean's shoulder, and he moves to put the medical kit away. There's a spot of Dean's blood on his thumb; absently, he licks it off.Dean looked at his brother, really looked, and saw Sam earnest but there was something off about it. He considered that, and quietly noticed the weird fucking longing in Sam's eyes. “What's next?” Sam said, and Dean wasn't quite sure what to make of it. “Wondering if we've got leads?” Sam prompted, and Dean peered at him, suddenly trusting that Sam did want to be here, that this wasn't just a stop on the train back to Normalville.commitment//SOUND
“Maybe a barghest in Maine.” Dean said carefully, and Sam nodded, sliding across the driver's side to the passenger seat, with certainty.John checked on his sons, even though they finished whatever they started. It was habit with him, and sometimes he liked just being close.commitment//TOUCH
He sat in the booth three booths down and one across, hidden by memories of stale cigarette smoke in the air and their own certainty he was miles away. There was unfinished business with the poltergeist, and he knew his sons would tear themselves up if someone got hurt because they missed something. He sent them a note via the bartender – confirm the kill – and left.
He could hear their voices, already planning to go back.They aren't exactly sure who sent them the note (although they do have their suspicions) but neither is willing to risk anything and they might as well go back because it's sure not like they're booked solid.commitment//SMELL
As soon as they stepped into the house, Dean knew something was off – the air tasted bitter; green grey and Sam stepped forward to check it out but Dean held him back, like he always did.
Sam was sick of it, sick of always being put behind and put ahead, and as he moved he whispered stop trying to save me, you bastard.Knocked flat, Sam couldn't see anything but the bright blue sky and he couldn't feel anything except for the sharp pain of can't fucking breathe and for a moment, he was afraid, considering that if he died, his spirit would haunt Dean forever and wouldn't that be ironic?commitment//TASTE
Then he felt himself being pulled up against Dean's body, and he breathed in the familiar smell of worn leather and tried make out what Dean was saying, a frenetic don't ever leave me, Sammy and when Sam could, he breathed never with a weight behind his words that couldn't be miscomprehended.It's gone, whatever was here that wasn't supposed to be. It was a hard case, and Dean stands in front of the Impala, keeping an eye on the burning house and throwing sideways glances at his brother, standing beside him and thinking so hard he could hear it.
Sam can taste clean and satisfying in the air while Dean tastes the colour blue and the shade white, and when Dean closes his eyes and leans back against the Impala, all he can feel is the red sun on his skin and the bright yellow warmth of Sam's hand beneath his.