What it's not
Because being mauled by a bear is a metaphor for so many things.
Incest, adult, 1256 words
My thanks to Meg and Cee for the beta.
It's not the blood, it's not the fear. Itís not the bruises or the adrenaline crash. It's not the isolation or the need to hold onto everything that's his because he has so little and wants so much. It's not the willingness or the lack of denial, the lack of reasonable argument, or even unreasonable argument.
It's not the screams of "Stupid!" or "AlmostÖ!" or "Jesus-God, no, damn you, no," that play over and over in his head in silent film text messages or the utter and profound relief when Sam opens his eyes and blinks.
It's not the replay of how Sam moved, controlled and deadly and how it still wasn't enough. It's not the gun jamming or the inhuman howling that rattled the glass and the foundation. It's not the thump and weight of the hairy, foul, stinking carcass that left smears of black blood on their jeans, on Sam's skin.
It's not the near loss or the near miss or the nearer my God to thee moment of snapping jaws and reddened eyes. It's not the sigh and swallow and weariness when they were done and back in the car and Sam putting his head back, exposing his throat to Dean like he didn't to the maddened, rabid, were-bear, care-bear, whatever-the-fuck DEAD bear they left burning like last year's yard trash in a house that was just waiting for lightning to strike and burn it to the ground anyway.
It's not the way Sam clutched his arm or tested the rent in his sleeve before swearing and tearing the cloth to look at the six-inch long gouge in Dean's arm from claws or jaws or Sam's own blades possibly -- Dean was too freaked out to notice he'd been cut, much less to notice by what.
It isn't anger or relief or the need to stop, stopÖwe have to stop now and clean the wounds and strip off the filthy, bloody, sweat-laden, oh my God, I'm never wearing that shirt again, nastiness of having what they do splatter all over them like rotten food in a cheap garbage bag.
It's not the clean, sweet, generic soap and shampoo smell of Sam when he comes out of the shower, because Dean can still smell the blood and guts and even his own sweat even though he's scrubbed himself raw.
It's none of those things at all. Though in the past Dean's tried to use them, separately and together, as reasons for it, any of it. He's tried using Sam's selfishness and his desire to move on, move out of this life. He's tried to use it as leverage, as blackmail, as carrot and stick. All of them, any of them, give me a reason, make up one lie about it, anything but admitting what it really is and how wrong it should be is no match for how right it is.
He's tried pop-psychology, co-dependent, un-healthy sibling power struggles, and even the damn phase of the moon to find some other reason to explain it or deny it or do both at the same time.
But when the adrenaline rush is over, when the endorphins have dropped to a level where he's just tired instead of ready to fucking crash; when the job is done and it's quiet, even with the TV in the next motel room over leaving a low level murmur and hum in the background, he's left with no excuses, no reasons, no other explanation whatsoever.
When his fingers curl around Sam's arm and Sam turns to him -- no doubt, no argument, no nothing but the smile that curves his lips and makes his eyes darken -- he can't call it something else. When Sam bends his head down and Dean lifts his face up and mouth and tongues and breath and rough skin and soft lips all crash and press and explore together, it's not relief or reassurance that they are alive still that causes it. Itís not a curse or a spell or a hex, or fate or whimsy or even loneliness that drives them to the bed, to each other.
It's not hope or God or heaven or hell that puts his name on Sam's lips when Dean touches him, strokes along all that long, lean, tea-and-milk colored, muscled skin. Itís not judgment or pity or surrogacy or anything but want and need and desire and maybe a little faith that puts Sam's hands on him, tracing his ribs and along his hips, chuckling when his hands stroke the fine hairs on Dean's thighs the wrong way, then smoothes them back down. Itís not patience that makes Dean draw out those kisses until they are liquid and hot and slow and deep, until Sam's taste on his tongue makes him hunger for more. It's not impatience that lets him press and rock and rub along his brother's body until they are both gasping and clutching and finally tangling together with arms and legs that seem to know where to go in the dark, in the light, like reassembling a gun that only fits one way and that's all together.
It's not gratitude that lets Sam open his body to Dean's and not "you owe me this" that makes Dean feel like he has a right to fit there.
It is lust and pleasure and knowing that in this much at least, they belong together. It is muscles and rhythm and panting and gasping and maybe a little cursing or possibly a little praying. It is tight and hot and easy and familiar and something that they don't share with anyone else, and Deanís not sure they could or have, even if they wanted to give this to anyone else, although they've both tried and lost in different ways. But that's something else they share.
It is Sam's long arms and long legs wrapped around him and his teeth in Sam's skin and his dick in Sam's ass and his name on Sam's lips when he comes hard, shuddering and wet and covering them both without Dean touching him except to thrust harder and deeper and try to remember to breathe.
It is everything that's good that requires no thinking at all and the laughter he gets out of Sam when he says "fuck you," every damn time Sam does that thing with his hips and the muscles of his back that drives Dean insane and rocks him to his soul. It is the gasp on Sam's lips when he won't let Dean close his eyes for any of it, or look away from the truth staring him in the face and being wrenched out of his body.
It's not anything but what it is and it's not home and it's not safe and it's maybe not forever but right here, right now, every time, it's everything and the only thing.
Sam can say it easily, in every way it can be meant, because Dean's his brother, because Dean's his friend, because Dean's his family, and for reasons that have nothing to do with any of that.
Dean never says it. He knows all the things it isn't, has crossed them off the list over and over and over again and he's always left with just one thing. And anymore it's just come down to Sam and so it's all one thing in the end. So he doesn't say it.
But he can say, "Sam."
He's been saying it his whole life and it's always meant the same thing.