“Man, there was pie everywhere!”
“Dean, calm down. I was just there, remember? I saw it too,” Sam said, sliding into the front seat of the Impala.
“But…the pie, it was tragic, man,” Dean said, shaking his head dramatically. He opened up the lid of a pie tin and dug in his suit jacket, producing a plastic fork with a flourish.
“I agree, the waste of all those pies was an Epic American Tragedy that will have songs written about it someday. But, you know what else was a tragedy, Dean?The whole staff of the bakery being cursed to bake them until they died.”
“Yeah, that was pretty bad too. What set this witch off do you think?” Dean asked, eating the last of the coconut cream pie he’d taken when the cops hadn’t been looking.
“You’d be the expert on that, having pissed off the most witches over the years,” Sam said, wincing at the sight of Dean chewing up the pie crust and filling with his mouth open as per usual. He knew Dean did it on purpose to gross him out, he still took his big-brother duties very seriously. But it was hard not to react as a little-brother would. Lately though, he’d come to realize, he didn’t want to be just a little brother to Dean.
“Probably turned her advances down at a bar. Or said the wrong thing at the wrong time. Witches, in addition to being completely skeevy and unhygienic are super touchy. Especially around “that time of the month.”
Sam just shook his head, not knowing where to start with his brother’s over-the-top statements. These days he tried to ignore most of it, because Dean mostly said that kind of stuff to get a rise out of him. He didn’t want to give Dean the satisfaction of knowing he’d gotten to him—again.
“So are we going to warn the next pie shop on your list, since this was the third one?” Sam asked.
“Seems like we ought to, don’t want to endanger any more of America’s Best pie-makers. They’re a national treasure, brain-trust, whatever, you know what I mean.”
“I do, having tried and failed at it myself now a couple of times, I will concede pie-making is a culinary art.”
“Aww, c’mon, Sammy, they weren’t all that bad. I ate ‘em didn’t I?” Dean asked while he crumpled up the pie tin and wrapped it in a plastic bag. He tossed it into the back seat next to their old green cooler.
“This is not a point in favor of your case, it might actually count more for the con side.”
“Don’t give up so easily, dude, you just need more practice is all,” Dean said with a consoling pat on the shoulder.
Sam raised an eyebrow at his brother. “I think you just want an excuse to eat more pie.”
“Uh, duh, genius,” Dean said, hitting Sam’s chest with the back of his hand and grinning that zillion-watt smile that never failed to charm Sam back into submission.
Dean unfolded his copy of the USA Today article that had started them off on this journey and looked up the phone number for the next pie-shop they had to worry about. While he made the call, Sam flipped through the stack of recipes and notes he’d made over their several week pie-odyssey. He was keeping them all in a three-ring binder which Dean kept doodling on when he wasn’t the one driving. The doodles were amusing and sometimes worth keeping just for how well they captured the essence of what he loved most about his brother.
Sam wrote out a few things in the blank pages he kept at the back of the binder, ideas for pies to try to make, based on the loudness of the pornographic food noises Dean had been making at each pie shop on their tour. It had been impossible to forget about, Dean making all those dead-sexy noises, licking at all those forks, perfect pink tongue swiping at the crumbs on his perfectly kissable lips.
“Hey, navigator, wouldja quit writing Mrs. Dean Winchester or whatever in your journal? Pay attention,” Dean interrupted.
Sam’s head jerked up at Dean’s words, stomach icing over with dread certainty. It had taken longer than he’d thought it would, but his brother had finally figured it out. “I can explain,” were the only words Sam could manage to produce.
“Dude, I just need to know which way I’m goin’ up at the highway junction,” Dean pointed up the road at the fast-approaching intersection.
“Uh…right, turn right,” Sam stammered out in a rush, relief flowing through his body, pretending to concentrate on the map lying on the seat between them.
“Okay, get back to writing, your signature has to look right on our wedding day.”
“Who says I’m the one taking your name?” Sam asked, desperate to play along convincingly enough with his brother’s joke. (It was a joke, right?)
“Oh you’ll be takin’ it all right, Sammy,” Dean drawled with his trademark half-grin the one that had dropped panties across all the diners of the US
Sam felt his cheeks flush, hot and red at what Dean had said. It had to be a joke taken too far, because…he couldn’t bring himself to consider the alternatives. What in the world was he supposed to say in response? A lightbulb went off, that was not how he’d always pictured it going between them, not at all. “What makes you think I’d be the one ‘taking it?’ Pretty sure that’s more your style than mine,” Sam said, using the finger quotes just to make sure Dean got it.
To Sam’s amazement, Dean had no comeback, instead it was his turn to blush, and even better he shifted in his seat several times, adjusting himself under cover of switching hands on the steering wheel. Sam couldn’t help smirking, feeling more in control of the situation than he had in quite a while, maybe ever. Dean wouldn’t be blushing and squirming like that unless Sam had hit somewhere close to the truth.
They didn’t talk for the next few hours of driving, Dean kept the music turned up pretty high, not quite up to I’m-ignoring-you levels, but close. Sam tried to corral his spiraling thoughts, weighing the pros and cons of saying something now versus after they’d stopped for the night. Pros of broaching the subject straight out while in the car were that Dean couldn’t hit him, or ditch him immediately, and Dean was always more open and talkative when he was behind the wheel of his baby. The potential con of ruining all that was good between them was what stopped him, he’d pined for years, he could hold on a little longer until Dean made himself clearer on the subject.
Deciding not to say anything made Sam feel like he should at least do something, just to test Dean. He knew Dean was likely to respond better to actions than words anyway. Sam buried himself in his notebook as they drove, sneaking peeks at his brother’s profile as frequently as he could get away with them. He caught Dean staring a few times with a look that could only be described as longing and instead of ignoring it, he smiled, putting as much of the same longing into it as he could manage. Dean’s eyes widened and he turned his attention back to the road.
Before Sam had even had a chance to suggest stopping for the night, Dean was pulling them over onto a side road off the busy highway, he stopped the car in a turn-out and turned the engine off, but left the radio on. Dean turned down the music, cleared his throat a few times, and clenched his hands on the steering wheel.
“Why’d we stop?” Sam asked.
“I…uh, I’m sorry for…uh, joking like that before,” Dean said, halting and stumbling through his words.
“I’m not, and I wasn’t,” Sam said as slowly and clearly as he could manage, because what-the-hell, Dean?
“Huh?” Dean asked with a confused shake of his head.
“I’m not sorry that you said what you did, and I was not joking when I answered you,” Sam said, his heart leaping with joy at the same time as he stomach filled back up with dread. This could all go so wrong so fast if he was misunderstanding his brother.
“Sammy, it’s not…” Dean hedged, looking away and rubbing at the back of his neck with one hand.
“It’s not what? Possible, moral, what you want? All of the above?” Sam snorted, crossing his arms as if they could provide him any defense at this point.
Bohemian Rhapsody blared into the silence between them, the part when they usually flipped their hair like Wayne’s World passed them by, Dean turned it off. “None of the above,” Dean said quietly, finally meeting Sam’s eyes, that look of pure longing back on his face.
Sam reflected the look back to his brother and waited for him to say what he meant, because that could mean all sorts of things. He waited with bated breath, heart in his throat, stomach clenched with fear, all of those cliches. Just when he thought it was pointless and he might as well just grab his backpack and hit the road, Dean un-clicked his seatbelt and shifted closer on the seat.
“What I mean is, it’s not just me is it? There’s something here—between us, right?” Dean asked, that hopeful look turning to worried.
Sam smiled wider and wider until Dean smiled back. “Yeah, Dean, hell yeah there is. I’ve been trying to hide it as well as I could, for a long time now, but I guess I slipped.”
“Me too, it’s something about this trip I think. It’s made me realize how much being on the road like this with you is all I’ve ever wanted. These last few months with Mom in and out of our lives, and all the stuff with Amara and the Brits, it’s put it into perspective for me. Sammy, you’re what matters to me.”
“Same here, we’ve gone through all this crazy stuff, and we’re still here together, that’s all I’ve ever wanted. You and me, together.”
“Sounds good, sounds real good,” Dean said, eyes dropping to Sam’s mouth. He leaned in slowly as if Sam still needed time to decide. Sam closed the distance quickly, impatient to finally feel his brother’s lips.
They fell into each other so easily, Sam thought it was like they’d both been practicing for this moment all their lives. But it was better than he had ever dared to imagine. Sam felt lighter as every last one of the hesitations he’d held onto disappeared the longer he kept kissing Dean.
Dean’s phone buzzed with a message, lighting up the dark car with the words on the screen. He broke away from Sam and looked at it quickly. “Good, Alicia says she and Max are on their way to Dewitt up in Michigan. So we are off the hook on the pie case for the moment.”
“Which means…?” Sam purred in Dean’s ear, loving Dean’s all-over shivering response.
“Means we can head to the next place on the list in Missouri and enjoy their pie, but maybe stay somewhere nice tonight?”
Sam kissed Dean instead of answering with words, he seemed to get the message with no problem.
Waiting for Dean to get out of the hotel office was as agonizing as the short drive there had been. Sam didn’t know if there would be a pause in what was happening between them, should they take it slow or what? After so many years of burning for Dean and being this close to having him he wasn’t sure he could wait.
“Sam, hey, Earth to Sam,” Dean was waving the keys at him from the open trunk of the Impala.
Sam shook his head to clear his thoughts and joined Dean in grabbing their bags. When Dean grabbed his ass on the way into the hotel lobby he shouldn’t have been surprised. But when his hand landed on the small of his back, steering him in the right direction, it wasn’t a surprise. It felt right, having Dean’s hands on him like this was how it was supposed to be.
The elevator ride up was probably a free show for whoever happened to be looking at the security camera feed. But Sam didn’t care at that point, he just wanted to get to their room. Once they had the door shut, Sam pinned Dean against it, continuing the passionate kissing from the elevator.
Dean didn’t exactly hesitate, but he slowed things down, over and over again until Sam finally got the message. It made him glow with a happiness that he’d forgotten was even possible. Dean wanted him, he really truly did, but he wanted to take things slow, be careful, romantic even. He realized his brother probably wanted to wait to take things further until they were back home.
“When we get home, I’m going to make you the best pie,” Sam promised. “I’m going to feed it to you while we’re in our own bed together for the first time.”
Dean startled in his arms, looking at him with wide eyes. “How the hell do you always do that, Sammy?”
“What did I do?” Sam asked, unsure if he’d assumed too much, maybe he’d screwed it at all up here at the start of things.
“You’re always reading my mind like that,” Dean answered with a slow smile, tucking Sam’s hair behind his ear and stroking the side of his face. “I pictured that exact thing, pie and all, tucked in my bed with you. Which will now be our bed, because I’m not sleepin’ on that lumpy mattress of yours.”
“Good, less laundry for me, more time for me to perfect my pie recipe,” Sam said, holding Dean close just because he could do that now.
They undressed each other slowly, touching and caressing, tumbling into the giant bed and wrapping themselves up in a knot that would never be undone. Sam didn’t want to go to sleep and miss out on a second of getting to hold Dean and be held, like he’d always wanted to.
“Dude, you gotta go to sleep, I can’t unless you do.”
“I don’t want to miss any of it,” Sam said, “this is the first night of the rest of our lives.”
Dean kissed him, soft and thorough, “Exactly, so we go to sleep together, good night, Sammy.”
“Night, Dean,” Sam whispered against Dean’s lips. He buried his nose in the top of Dean’s head, breathed him in and silently thanked the pie gods of the universe for sending them on this trip. He drifted off to the familiar sounds of his brother’s breathing which were even more soothing this close to his heart.