A few days later, they’ve finally found themselves a case to concentrate on: Wendigos in Wabeno, Wisconsin of all things. The whole alliteration thing has been cracking Dean up the entire time they’ve been working it. It’s been driving Sam crazy, so he uses the excuse of needing to more research in the town library to find out more about the past victims that have gone missing over the years.
When Dean drops him off in front of the library, Sam hesitates when he’s about to get out of the car. “What’re you going to do while I’m in here?”
“Probably go hustle some pool, maybe try to find out if anyone knows the last guy that went missing.”
Sam leans over and pulls the red ribbon where it was hiding under Dean’s t-shirt. “You got your red thread bundle too?”
Dean pats his back pocket. “You need to check?” Dean asks, waggling his eyebrows.
Sam rolls his eyes at that and kisses his brother to shut him up. Every time he gets to do this, it makes something swoop in his belly, there’s just something about being able to lean over and kiss Dean whenever he wants to now. Their kiss lingers, turning even more intense as Dean grips at Sam’s biceps. Sam finally pulls back, cradles Dean’s face between his hands and marvels again at the unreal beauty of his brother when he’s just been kissed breathless.
“I gotta go, okay? Love you,” Sam says in a rush, because they don’t just casually say that, not yet, it slipped out or something. He closes the car door behind him before Dean can protest. The Impala roars away and Sam watches it disappear around the corner. He thinks about how much better it is this way, getting to show his love to Dean instead of hiding it. Hopefully someday soon, Dean will get used to it.
When Sam returns from researching all day in the town library, he expects Dean to be there, with dinner as they’d agreed via text just a few minutes ago. Instead the room is empty and cold, like no one has been there all day. Given what had happened not that long ago with him being taken by the fairies, Sam assumes that’s what it has to be again. They don’t have a kitchen in this motel room, so the boxes of Lucky Charms that fill the bathtub from tub floor to ceiling make it all too clear who has taken Dean and where. It’s the why that’s the question.
He’s momentarily delayed as he casts about for a way to get into Fairy, the summoning spell isn’t enough juice on its own to get him there. He needs something that came from Fairy. The two buttons from the leprechaun that they’ve used have been rattling around in the Impala’s ashtray for weeks and as far as he knows they’re exhausted. Already used-up getting them into Fairy the last two times.
Sam makes himself calm down, sitting at the motel table and doing some deep breathing exercises in the quiet. It’s too quiet, that’s the problem. Dean’s not here, crashing around, being annoying, breathing, telling Sam all the things he’s gonna do to him in bed. It brings Sam into a state where he can retrace the fairy-related conversations and events since the time he first called on the leprechaun to reinstall his soul. After going through it all, he comes up with the thought that there are three, there are three buttons, right?
He goes out to the Impala and gets the now-tarnished buttons out of the ashtray, returning to their empty room. Sam hold the two buttons in his palm, trying to remember where they’d gotten them? The first time, when they’d gone to retrieve Ben, Dean had found one of them in Ben’s room. It had been left behind when the leprechaun had taken Ben from Lisa’s house. The second one that Dean used to come into Fairy after Sam, was it the one Dean had taken from the leprechaun as he fixed Sam’s soul? He remembers finally, there was another one, that Ben had stolen himself when he was in Fairy. Dean had shown it to him in the car when they’d taken off after that awful fight where he’d nearly ruined things between them forever. No wonder he’d forgotten the details. It was one of the used-up ones in the Impala’s ashtray.
Sam’s relieved that means there is another unused button somewhere, but it is a very small thing to find when he doesn’t know where the hell Dean stashed the thing. He digs through all the usual hiding places in the Impala coming up with nothing except a lot of trash that needs to be thrown out. He tears apart Dean’s duffel to finally find the other leprechaun button buried in the bottom, wrapped up in a blood-stained kerchief that has a few other small mementoes that Dean’s chosen to keep. An engraved silver lighter that Sam had given him when he was seventeen; their mother’s wedding ring on its golden chain that Dad had always worn around his neck; a matchbook from the last hotel they’d stayed at on their way to Detroit last year before he’d jumped in the Cage.
Sam holds all of it in his hand for a moment, thinking about how his brother who’s emotionally constipated, no-chick-flick moments facade is actually hiding one of the sappiest, sweetest people he’s ever known. Their lives have so little goodness in them, and that Dean’s fits in the palm of his hand makes Sam sad and then fiercely resolved to get him back so he can fill it up to overflowing with whatever Dean wants for the rest of their lives. ‘And who’s getting sappy now?’ he chides himself as he gets himself ready to travel to Fairy hopefully for the last time.
He holds the button in his fist and chants the words, intensely thinking of Dean and their future together. The trip through the Veil is easier this time, maybe his body is getting used to it? Which doesn’t seem like a good thing at all, now that he thinks about it. The carved wooden door is before him and his hand is turning the knob when he hears a voice his in his ear. “Dirty dirty boy, you’re here for him aren’t you? Oberon never should have soiled himself with allowing your foulness to stain his court.”
He turns in surprise to see the messenger fairy hovering in front of his face, looming dark against the torchlight.
“Give it up, you’re nothing compared to what I’ve seen in Hell,” Sam scoffs.
The fairy flares with anger, increasing in size almost instantaneously, her dark scowl dripping with venom and sharp teeth, leathery bat-wings pushing the earthy air of the tunnel towards him.
“Still not scaring me, sorry," Sam says, turning the door handle and stepping through.
The messenger fairy transforms herself into her usual colorful, innocuous form and she accompanies Sam into the throne room. The dreamy music that’s playing continues and hardly any of the eyes are on him, it’s as if they’ve become used to humans invading their space. But something seems different here compared to the last two times he’s been in this room.
“Samuel! What an utter delight to see you again,” Oberon says, waving a hand at the space on the couch closest to him.
Sam sits down and turns to speak to Oberon, but he sees he’s altered, maybe high or drunk, it’s hard to tell at first. There are three or four small fairies moving around in his lap, Sam averts his eyes, not wanting to really see what they’re doing.
“I’m sorry to interrupt, Oberon, but I’ve come to see you—“ Sam says.
Oberon interrupts with a slurred, “I know, I know already, your brother-lover, he’s around here somewhere.” He flicks his hand lazily to one of the corners of the room.
Sam’s alarm bells go off then, as he’s been wondering again about what Dean had left out about his time here in the fairy court. He was left imagining Dean in an opium-like drugged hazy state, fairies covering his naked body, bringing him unimaginable pleasure at Oberon’s command. “Where is Dean?” Sam asks in a firm tone that makes the fairies all pay attention.
“He’s here, with me,” Uaine says from across the room where he’s lying on a green couch with Dean cuddled up in his arms.
“Dean!” Sam calls out in a panic, hurrying over quickly because he can see how muddled Dean’s eyes look. He reaches the couch and pulls Dean up and into his arms as he crouches next to the couch. The leprechaun just laughs at him, showing all the needle sharp teeth that he usually hides.
“He’s all mine now, Sam, you owed me a boon, remember?” Uaine asks, hands still wrapped around Dean’s waist.
“Oberon, will you allow your subject to violate our agreement?” Sam asks, standing and turning to face the throne. He holds Dean up against his hip, not wanting to let him go all the way back into Uaine’s embrace.
Oberon struggles to sit up a little straighter dislodging the fairies from his lap. They all scurry off with musical giggles while Oberon rearranges his robes to cover himself. “Uaine, what is it you have done this time?” Oberon asks.
Uaine glares at Sam and struggles up from his comfortable recline on the couch. He ambles over at a snail’s pace following Sam as he holds a spaghetti-legged Dean upright against him.
“Oberon, can you clear the glamour or whatever it is from Dean, please?” Sam begs, not caring that he’s begging, because he needs to know Dean’s okay.
Oberon shrugs and waves a hand at Dean who stumbles and puts even more weight onto Sam. “S’mmy, that you?” he asks, sleepy and still muddled.
Sam holds him close and whispers urgently in his ear, “Yes it’s me, and I’m here to take you home, so wake the fuck up and help me.”
Dean rouses himself then and rearranges his clothing to cover himself, going red as he realizes what’s likely been happening.
“Sire, the boon I collected from Samuel Winchester was Dean Winchester,” Uaine says.
“But he is not a parent or a child, we’ve already established that, Uaine, you try my patience,” Oberon says with a frown clouding his perfect features.
“Sire, please wait and listen to my explanation. You will recall that there is a sub-clause of the definition of boon, that is to say: what or who the disputant loves the most,” Uaine explains.
“What? I’ve never heard that part of the definition, not in any of the hundreds of articles I read on the subject. You are making this up, Uaine,” Sam said, anger making him seethe and turn red in the face.
“That is quite a scandalous charge to be making here, Samuel, be careful,” Oberon warns.
“You should have asked for the complete definition of boon when we made our arrangement, Samuel. I would have been most happy to have provided one just like this,” Uaine says whipping out a small parchment scroll that he tosses to Sam.
Sam unrolls it and sure enough, there is indeed a sub-clause in the definition of boon that Sam hadn’t examined closely enough when he’d first reviewed the historical fairy contracts. What Sam needs or loves most is forfeit, which of course means Dean. He’d never even thought to ask for something written down for his own deal to check over. His soulless self had been so convinced of his research prowess and also hadn’t cared for the ramifications of anyone being harmed at a future point in time. Soulless him really hadn’t cared whether Dean was there with him forever, because he wasn’t capable of it. A flaw in his careful planning and consideration shouldn’t be a surprise, but he’d been so methodical and mechanical over that year he’d forgotten not to assume.
“You thought you had gotten something for nothing here. You thought you had escaped paying the price you owed but that isn't how it ever works with fairies, you should have known that from all your research,” Uaine says giving him an evil smile.
“Would you give me a brief moment to discuss this development with Dean before we proceed?” Sam asks Oberon.
“No need for the formal court talk in here, Samuel,” the king says, laughing with that musical tinkle and setting about finding the fairies that were on his lap when he was interrupted.
“So what are we doing now, Sam? Gonna fight our way out?” Dean asks in a low whisper against Sam’s ear. “Are you going to throw your shoe at him?”
Sam turns his head to whisper in Dean’s, “I’ve got it covered, just play along with me, okay? Remember, they already know about our relationship, so just go with whatever I do.”
Dean nods and kisses Sam’s neck in a soft brush as he settles against him again.
“Oberon, I am ready to begin again,” Sam says, standing up as straight as he can while still supporting Dean against his side.
Oberon looks up from the food table where he was browsing and nods.
“I challenge the taking of Dean Winchester in payment of my debt to Uaine, he cannot be a boon in payment as his soul is already another’s for eternity.”
“And pray tell, who might this very lucky soul be?” Oberon asks in surprise.
“That very lucky soul would be me. Dean Winchester is my soul-mate and I am his. As we were joined in this way by God for all of eternity, I submit that it would be improper to claim Dean as a boon to pay my debt.”
Sam hopes his small amount of legal training has been put to use again with this argument. He has no idea if it will work here in the fairy court because he doesn’t have much else besides this to offer.
Oberon considers Sam’s statement with a solemn nod. “Uaine, what say you?”
“I would ask Samuel Winchester to submit some proof of his claim that they are soul-mates,” Uaine says with a threatening growl.
“You have already read Dean’s heart, but if it would help in your decision, you may read mine,” Sam says.
Oberon gestures him closer and Sam stands before the throne. He submits to Oberon unbuttoning his shirt and placing a hand on his chest right over his tattoo. Those long nails seeming to delve deep into his skin without any pain. Oberon’s face changes into something softer the longer he’s in contact with Sam’s skin. Finally he pulls back with a sound of surprise, he almost laughs, a beginning of the musical tinkle dies out.
“I’ve never…I’m not sure what I was looking at inside you, Samuel, it shines so bright,” Oberon says in this awed, astonished voice.
“It is leftover traces from Lucifer’s presence, sire. I felt it when I retrieved Sam’s soul. I repaired it the best I was able to when I bargained with Dean,” Uaine says.
“Samuel, the soul within you is unlike any other human soul I’ve touched. The energy of it is brighter and higher, much more than is usual. I can’t tell though if you are soul-mates or if your soul has been transformed by its close contact with an angel.”
“Is it something that needs to be fixed? We have a friend that’s an angel and he checked Sam over for me, he said he was okay,” Dean asks.
“You say you know an angel, he is your friend? Could he somehow testify to your soul-mate claim?” Oberon asks instead of answering their questions.
“Would the word of a representative of Heaven be sufficient?” Sam asks, praying fervently to Castiel to get his feathery ass into Fairy somehow. He elbows Dean to do the same, Dean squinches his eyes closed and his lips move, his version of praying is Sam’s best guess.
“Do you mean an angel, coming here?” Oberon asks.
“Why, is that a problem?” Dean challenges, eyes flashing now that he’s woken up all the way.
“There may be, it depends entirely upon the angel,” Oberon answers, frustratingly vague.
“Castiel, I call upon you to appear here in Oberon’s court,” Sam says loudly, hoping that it works pretty quickly.
“While we wait, Samuel, I will attempt to fix this last damage to your soul that I was able to locate,” Oberon offers.
“Is there a price I will have to pay?” Sam asks.
“Will it hurt him?” Dean asks a moment later.
“No and no,” Oberon answers, smiling at both of them. He gestures Sam forward and places his hand back in its place on Sam’s chest. A warm tingling sensation begins where Oberon’s fingernails have painlessly entered his skin. Sam can feel threads of something dark and spiky being drawn out, they disappear into the darker blue of Oberon’s nails as they exit his body. He feels lighter inside, but there’s still something left, something missing. Oberon makes a few quick motions with his other hand and nearly invisible strands of sparkling light appear, diving through the holes where the darkness had emerged. Oberon removes his hand and strokes Sam’s skin, patting him gently.
“There, now you are healed,” Oberon says.
Sam bows his head in gratitude and feels around inside himself. There’s not much left that’s jagged and hurting like before, just the usual pains and torments he’s carried around his whole life. “I can’t begin to thank you, Oberon. You don’t know how hard it’s been to—“
A knock sounds at the door and the messenger fairy sprints over, enlarging herself to cover the door. “Open it, Ráth, let the angel pass,” Oberon commands.
“Dean, Sam, I came as soon as I heard your prayers,” Castiel says as he walks into the room preceded by Ráth floating through the air changed back into her smaller, more colorful guise.
“Thank you for joining us, Castiel, angel of Heaven,” Oberon says serious as the proverbial heart-attack. “The question we have before us regards the status of the Winchester brothers’ souls. They claim to be soul-mates, as chosen and created by your God, is this true to the best of your knowledge? Your life will be forfeit if you do not answer truthfully before me.”
“They are indeed, soul-mates. I myself have spoken to the cupid who ensured it several human generations ago. It was long a crucial component of God’s plans for them to be soul-mates for the final confrontation, which you can see they both, improbably survived. There is none living nor dead in any plane that can ever separate them. The Devil himself, along with the demons of Hell as well as the Host of Heaven could not and believe me they have all tried.”
Sam hugs Dean around the waist a little tighter, and Dean puts his hand over Sam’s heart. It’s really something hearing their story explained like that, so plain and true. But it feels good to both of them to hear the words, whether or not it convinces Oberon is another matter entirely. Castiel walks over and stands in between them and Oberon’s throne as if he can protect them even in here.
“Thanks, Cas, we knew you’d come through,” Sam says. Cas doesn’t say anything but he nods.
“Uaine, what say you now after you have heard this proof given by the angel?” Oberon asks.
“A fairy boon is based upon the idea of us taking something important from the person making the deal. Something that they do not want to part with. I do not see how this claim of soul-mates makes a difference. Their god is not ours, after all,” Uaine says, sniffing with haughtiness towards where Cas is standing next to the brothers.
“Soul-mates do not have a choice in this matter as this is how they were created in this manner. It is a permanent part of their physical and ethereal beings to be intertwined. There is no way of separating them as you propose, it is not something they could choose to give up in order to pay a boon,” Cas says in a voice that rings true, even there in the strangeness of Oberon’s court.
“That is also my understanding,” Oberon says, a small smile beginning to twinkle in his eyes.
Uaine bows deeply before the throne. “I did not understand that. I must apologize again, sire. It seems my errors have only compounded with these brothers. I withdraw my claim of boon.”
“You are selling yourself far too short, Uaine. Your punishment will be to make no bargains for an eon, and to apologize to these men in the usual manner. Neither Dean nor Samuel Winchester owe you a boon, their debts are hereby expunged,” Oberon says with a ringing finality.
“I apologize on behalf of my entire court, you have been wronged here and we are all very sorry,” Oberon says to the brothers.
“I am not sorry!” Ráth screams, growing to the largest size they’ve seen yet, her wings almost touching the ceiling. “Usurpers, despoilers of our Court! You shall not receive our apologies or our treasure!” She flies straight at them, claws and teeth first, propelled forward by her giant wings.
The brothers and Cas duck and cover themselves from the raging sudden attack but Oberon calmly waves a hand and she is instantly miniaturized and captured in a glass globe. He holds the glass vessel out to Sam, who stands up and takes it from him.
“Ráth is yours now, do with her what you will, Samuel, her life is no longer any concern of mine,” Oberon says, releasing his hold on the globe.
Dean leans up and whispers in Sam’s ear. Sam doesn’t answer, but digs around in his pocket and pulls something out, fist closed around whatever it is until he hands it over to Dean.
Dean holds his hand out to Uaine, two of the tarnished buttons on his palm. “I’d like to give these back to you, Uaine, to show there’s no hard feelings, to thank you for fixing my brother. Sorry that they’re not all shiny like they’re supposed to be.”
Sam adds the one he’s holding to make it three. “Thank you, Uaine, for retrieving my soul.”
Uaine steps forward, a look of pure astonishment on his face and takes the three buttons from Dean, they go shiny and pure again and with a wave of his hand they’re back in place on the front of his coat. All the buttons tinkle as if they’re happy to be back together again. Uaine bows deeply to the brothers. “My favor, such as it is, will always be upon you.”
“Are you not forgetting something, Uaine?” Oberon prompts.
Uaine looks up at him in surprise, then produces the heaviest velvet bag yet from that undefined Faery Hoard somewhere. “I’m sorry, sire, of course. Thank you, Dean and Sam, you are unlike any other humans I’ve ever had the pleasure to bargain with. Take this with my gratitude, you have taught me much about humans.”
Dean takes the bag from Uaine and looks shocked to feel how heavy it is.
“We thank you for your testimony, angel. You may leave now with your friends, I hope we shall not meet again,” Oberon says, flicking his hand towards them and pushing them out through the Veil for the last time.
The three of them land with an oof on Sam and Dean’s very messy motel-room bed. Both of them leap up and pull Cas with them to standing, hoping he hasn’t happened to notice anything strange.
“Thanks for coming when we called, Cas. I know you’re busy these days,” Sam says.
“I will always come, sometimes it just takes me longer,” Cas says. “Can I see it?”
Dean holds out the heavy velvet bag, but Cas shakes his head and looks at what Sam is holding.
Sam hands over the glass globe containing Ráth. “What am I supposed to do with her?” he asks Cas.
“She could be of use in the war I’m fighting in Heaven,” Cas says holding the globe up to the light. The fairy batters herself against the glass, her screams silenced by the thin barrier.
“Would you really be able to control her power?” Dean asks, sounding skeptical.
“I believe so, yes,” Cas answers turning the globe upside down as the fairy flaps and tumbles within.
“She’s all yours then. I wouldn’t know where to even keep something like her safe,” Sam says.
“Really, Sam? You would give her to me, a gift from the King of Fairy himself?” Cas asks.
“Yeah, we owe you for coming there, they could have trapped you or hurt you or something,” Sam says.
“Thanks, buddy for bailing us out,” Dean says, clapping Cas on the shoulder.
“I will take her and use her to defeat Raphael in the upcoming battle,” Cas says, winking out of their space in a ruffle of feathers and no words of farewell as per usual.
“Someday I’ll get used to that, but this is not that day,” Dean says, his hand falling abruptly when Cas disappears.
“You okay, Dean?” Sam asks, stepping forward to bring Dean into his arms.
“I think so. I mean…what I remember of it wasn’t too bad this time,” Dean says, leaning his full weight on Sam which tells him it maybe was pretty bad.
“You’re not hurt or anything, right?” Sam asks, leaving it wide open so that Dean can maybe talk about it this time.
“Nah, ‘m good,” Dean says, “so we still got a wendigo to gank or what?” He rips the red ribbon off his neck and tosses it in the trash.
Sam notices his brother changing the subject abruptly, which means he’s hiding something bad. It’ll come out eventually if he gives Dean some space on the subject.
Several hours later Sam has his answer. It turns out killing not one, but two wendigos does wonders for his brother’s state of mind. They’re driving across the Wisconsin/Illinois border in the middle of the night, when Dean finally opens up.
“Listen, I know you’re wondering about it, so I’m just gonna say it,” Dean says, sounding like he’s rushing to say the words before he shuts himself up. “This time they hadn’t gotten around to doing anything…um sexual with me. Just kept me stoned or whatever. I’m pretty sure the leprechaun was trying to get me used to being there. He was just petting me and shit like that.”
“But Oberon didn’t—“ Sam asks, surprised into silence when Dean interrupts.
“No, not this time, he hadn’t gotten around to me quite yet. So…uh, thanks for coming so quickly. I wouldn’t have wanted to do that again.”
Sam aches to hold his brother then, cuddle him, tell him it’s going to be okay, that it changes nothing between them. But he knows how much Dean would hate that. So instead he knows he’s got to ask for what Dean can’t quite ask for yet. “Dean, can you pull over somewhere dark so I can pee?”
“Already? Fine, I oughta be used to you and your pea-sized bladder,” Dean says, looking relieved that they’ve stopped talking about anything fairy related. He pulls the Impala over into a turn-out that is blocked from road view by a line of dense trees.
Sam jumps out of the car and steps away into the trees. He wonders how long it will take before Dean joins him. He’s counted to one hundred a couple times when the Impala’s door creaks open and slams.
“Sam, you get lost out here in the dark or what?”
“Just waiting for you to get with the program,” Sam says, pushing Dean up against a tree. He drops to his knees and starts fumbling with Dean’s belt buckle.
“Whoa-whoa, what program?” Dean asks in a breathless rush.
“I can stop if you really want me to,” Sam says, looking up at Dean with what he hopes is equal parts of lust and hope in his eyes.
Dean seems to get the message, he leans back against the tree with a groan and puts a hand on the back of Sam’s head, pulling him towards his crotch.
Sam goes with it, licking and teasing Dean until his hips have started moving in little thrusts that Sam wants to feel in his throat. He sucks Dean into his mouth and swirls his tongue around, moaning at the taste of his brother. He’s already starting to get addicted to this, and his heart thrills at the thought that he gets this with Dean forever now. Maybe just maybe this is something he can and should actually say to Dean out loud.
“Gonna be doing this forever now, anytime, anywhere, Dean,” Sam says, his lips moving on the tip of Dean’s cock.
Dean’s hand tightens in Sam’s hair and he pulls him in closer, hips thrusting harder and faster. Sam opens his throat up and swallows several times, bringing Dean all the way inside. Then Dean’s muttering all kinds of filthy words about what he’s going to do to Sam next time and letting himself go; pouring himself into Sam where he belongs now.
After a few moments of Dean panting against the tree, he’s pulling Sam up and palming his hardness through his jeans. A few quick squeezes and Sam’s embarrassed to come hard just at his brother’s touch. Dean supports him through it and chuckles into Sam’s neck, kissing the warm skin gently.
“I think I like this program,” Dean says.
Sam kisses him then, deep and searching, sharing Dean’s own taste between them. It’s a filthy sweet kiss, one that says everything Sam knows he can’t say, not quite yet. He knows Dean wants this forever too, and that’s all that matters now. They’re free of the debt they owed the fairies, Sam’s got his soul back and fixed, whatever else that comes at them, they’ll deal with it together. Like Cas said, nothing in creation can ever separate them, now Sam really believes that.Chapter 7