Summary: It's really the only time Dean ever sees Sam acknowledge the killer inside him.
Ratings: Mature Adult // Pairing: Sam/Dean // Warning: Incest //
Many, many thanks to Bone and Witch of the Dogs for their beta and editing assistance.
The characters and situations portrayed here are not mine, they belong to the WB. This is a fan authored work and no profit is being made. Please do not link to this story without appropriate warnings. Please do not archive this story without my permission.
Dean doesn't remember where Sam first got them or the name of the man who trained him to use them. He knows what they are and how his father had talked a metal smith he knew into customizing the grip to fit Sam's hands when he was seventeen. It had been a birthday present of sorts and Sam had said thank you but Dean had seen his face when he unwrapped the leather case for them. Beautiful and deadly, they were meant for close fighting but they weren't blessed or even inlaid with silver, they were just blades, curved and sharp, polished to mirror brightness.
Sam had been halfway to leaving them then, and being presented with yet another thing that spoke of the life they led rather than the one he wanted to live, had probably helped push him out the door that much faster. But he had thanked his father, tested the grips, and if their father noticed anything else behind Sam's solemn gaze, he never said anything to Dean.
Dean had given Sam a CD of some rock band he'd never heard of but was the talk of all Sam's classmates in school and Sam knew the words to most of the songs. Dean thought it was puke-rock, but it was a gift to give and not to receive and Sam had been all smiles and shining teeth and eyes and had listened to it non-stop for a couple of weeks.
Dean supposed it said something that Sam had taken both the blades and the CD with him when he left. He wasn't sure what it said -- but surely it meant something.
For months they've been sitting in the bottom of Sam's bag and Dean has only seen them when Sam unpacks and has watched him hone the edges just like Dad taught him, oil them, and put them back.
Then they go home. Or at least back to Kansas, to a home Sam doesn't remember and Dean wants to forget and the whole reason they were set on this course shows up like some kind of blessing or maybe a warning. Neither of them is sure which the ghost of their mother is supposed to be.
But the blades stay in Sam's bag until after they leave, and he never tells Dean if he decided between blessing or warning.
He has two, but the few times Sam has actually used them, he's only ever carried one, and he uses it left-handed which is odd but he's always done it that way. Dean knows it has as much to do with keeping his gun hand free as anything.
It's really the only time Dean ever sees Sam acknowledge the killer inside him, the one he shares with Dean, with their father. And it doesn't matter, he supposes, that the killer in all of them generally only targets the already dead, or the possessed, or things that are evil by their standards.
Because they set the standards. And sometimes people die -- people who trade whatever humanity they have for power. Sometimes what they hunt is close to human but not quite, like the shape shifter in St. Louis.
And he knows why Sam hesitated then, or at least partly why, and he's pretty sure he would have hesitated if he'd pointed a loaded gun at Sam's face rather than his own.
That Sam has picked the blades up again says something, too, and when he asks Dean to spar with him, Dean almost says no. Not because Sam's out of practice but because as much as he wanted this, for Sam to be with him 100%, this means Sam's given up something, some part of himself, because he can't have it both ways.
It's not like when they spar hand to hand, wrestle or use any of the other self-defense and assault techniques their father had taught them or seen them trained in. Dean is good with a blade, but he never quite got the knack of these.
So, they find an open field off a side road, where it looks like people sometimes dump their excess garbage. It's not really a dump, more like a washed out field, a few miles from their hotel, but it's not visible from the road and the ground is flat and they can see if anyone is coming.
They have to make their own pads of cast-off foam cushions from someone's dumped furniture, from wood and duct tape and sheet metal because the edge of those blades will slice through foam like a hot knife through butter. The padding is to protect Dean from bruising, to keep his actual flesh that much more out of reach.
They start with the pads but Sam's unarmed except for a flat piece of wood they tape to his hand to keep his fingers straight, to let him test his reach, to relearn and get used to the distance and force. Dean teases and taunts and pushes back, dodges and weaves. Sam has to move quickly because it would be easy for Dean to break a finger or even his hand if Sam doesn't move fast enough. After a half hour Sam's fingertips are rubbed raw, his hand is cramping from the unnatural position, his t-shirt sticks to him from sweat, and his hair is stringy. Dean's sweaty, too, and his arms are starting to feel the pull from the weight of the pads, and the fact that's he's mostly taking on a defensive position; block and parry, using his arms and body. He probably needs to spar more this way as well. He walks off the stiffness and rolls his shoulders to ease the weight of the makeshift armor, and waits for Sam.
Sam stretches his muscles and shakes his arm out, flexing his fingers before opening up the case and pulling one of the blades free and wiping the oil from the wood and metal. He fits his hand into the open handle and curves his fingers around the custom grip. The blade catches the light and flashes as Sam tests the weight and fit and Dean moves so the sun striking the blade won't blind him and they start the exercises all over again.
There's less teasing, and in less than a minute Sam has scored the metal plate and cut through the outer edge of the foam on Dean's left side. The goal becomes to slice through the duct tape that holds the plates in place and Sam is all focus and quick moves. His back stroke is stronger and more foam tears and the blade sings against the metal.
Dean fights a little dirtier, pushing Sam a bit by body slamming him, which forces Sam to protect himself better.
Dean can almost see the moment when Sam actually slides back into the rhythm and groove of how fighting like this feels, when the blade become less of a tool to be used and more a part of himself again. Dean body-checks him and Sam goes down and rolls only to come up with an arcing swipe that would have gutted Dean if Sam were one iota less in control of the blade or Dean one second slower to drop and protect.
One of the plates hits the ground with a dull metallic thwang, and Sam doesn't stop, using the reverse angle to go high and the second plate, while it doesn't fall, hangs down attached only by a single stubborn strip of tape and the cut open foam.
Sam goes still and stares and Dean looks down, admiring the actual angle of the cut, which wasn't easy. Unprotected, it would have sliced through him just under the pectorals, opening the upper part of his belly like ripe melon. It would have been a killing blow.
"Nice stroke, dude," Dean says, openly admiring.
Sam blinks and calls an end to the spar suddenly. Dean doesn't argue with him, though the match isn't really over until both plates hit the ground but he's glad to unstrap the heavy pads and even more grateful for the feel of cool air on his arms.
Sam's hands are swollen slightly and rubbed raw. He's lost the calluses he used to have on his palm.
They pick up the trash and stuff it into garbage bags, and Dean studies the foam, the criss-crossed slices that Sam has left in them, shredding them in places. The foam is not nearly as resistant as flesh or scales or anything else, but skin and muscle aren't as thick either and there are places where Sam actually scored the wood, he cut so deeply.
Sam cleans the blades during the drive back and manages to cut himself, alerting Dean with a small curse. His left hand is still swollen and it's making him fumble fingered.
"We'll ice it," Dean says and Sam nods, sliding the blade back into its case and staring out the window for the rest of the short drive back to the hotel.
Part of the reason Dean doesn't like these blades is because they're meant for close fighting. When they are hunting for something that either bullets or holy water or rock salt won't stop, it's usually something that's possessed or reanimated. They don't see more of that than anything else, but when they do, it's usually nasty and vicious and tends to have sharp claws and teeth and Dean doesn't like trusting his life, or Sam's, to something as small as an eight inch blade, no matter how good Sam is with them.
When they reach the room they flip for the shower and Dean wins the toss and pulls his shirt off. Sam does too, because it's hot, but he sits on the end of the bed and ices his hand while he finishes cleaning and sharpening the blade by swiping it back and forth on the flat, round whet stone with the other.
"You're still good with those," Dean comments. He doesn't like Sam's silence, and while Sam brooding isn't new, there's some other color to this mood than Dean is used to seeing.
Sam doesn't answer him, and there's something in the set of his jaw and his lowered gaze that sets off alarm bells in Dean's head. Sam's staring at the blade like he's never seen it before and Dean moves closer. "Hey, it's just a weapon, Sam."
"I know what it is," Sam says and lifts his head, and Dean's startled to see that this is more than a brood and way more than some bizarrely triggered memory. Sam's got that kind of deer in headlights look to him, like he gets sometimes when he sees something he doesn’t want to in the horror show of his nightmares. Only his eyes are wide open and he's not asleep.
Dean tips Sam's chin up and lets his fingers trace along the edge of his jaw, and he leans in, ready to offer reassurance or a slap to the head, whichever Sam needs most.
He feels the metal edge against his upper belly before he ever sees Sam's arm move, and Sam's eyes are locked on his.
The instinct to jerk back is strong, but he knows, knows, Sam isn't going to hurt him, even when he lets the blade slide over the curve of Dean's skin, feather light, barely grazing his flesh, and Dean can feel the slight beading of blood, like would rise from a paper cut, before Sam curls his hand back and the the sharp edge of the blade comes to rest just at the base of Sam's throat.
They say it's nearly impossible to slit your own throat, but with these blades it's not, and Dean finds himself holding his breath when his brother presses the blade to his own jugular.
"Sam….what's going on? Talk to me…" Dean says quietly, not moving anything but his thumb, which strokes lightly along Sam's tense jaw.
Sam's other hand comes up to trace the thin line of blood on Dean's skin, smearing it until his finger tips are red with it and shows it to Dean.
Dean can't breathe, is afraid to, when a thin line of blood descends along Sam's throat because he's pressing too hard and Dean doesn't know if it's deliberate or Sam just doesn’t realize it.
"It…they…opened her just like this," Sam says finally, his voice no more than a whisper and it takes Dean a moment to understand who Sam is talking about.
Jessica. Their mother. In the end, Dean supposes it doesn't matter and he's not exactly sure where the comparison is taking Sam, but he knows he needs to stop it.
"Not you." Dean moves his hand that fraction and that slowly to pull the blade back from Sam's neck.
"I'm not so sure." Sam's not talking about physically killing either of them.
"I am," Dean says more firmly, and he is. His hand encircles Sam's wrist, his thumb pressing to Sam's curled fingers, keeping them locked around the blade handle. His thumb strokes across Sam's lower lip. Sam seems almost shocked by the intimate caress only he's not, not really. He closes his eyes but Dean can feel his hand tighten around the handle of the blade, the tension builds in his arm but he doesn't pull away and Dean's not even sure what he's doing or why, just that Sam's getting lost in something -- grief or fate or inevitability and it seems wrong to joke with him now or tease him like he's done so many times before.
Because Sam needs a reason for nearly everything. For getting up, for going to sleep, for going on, or just not giving up. But vengeance and sorrow can only carry him so far, and he's hit the edge of it. If he's going to keep going he needs a reason.
And all Dean needs to keep going is Sam. It's true now and always has been. And maybe it's a little selfish and a lot twisted, but Sam's like a bow string under his hands and if Dean applies the wrong kind of pressure now, he's afraid Sam will snap.
Sam never saw the weapons their father gave him as rewards, as acknowledgment or recognition that he was old enough or responsible enough to be trusted with them. When his father gave Dean his first gun, Dean felt like he'd passed a test. When Sam got his first gun, he felt like he was being forced to take one.
Dean suddenly understands that feeling, only he isn't sure exactly how he'll know if he's passed or not. Like so many things, he goes with his gut, with his instinct. Sam is as much a weapon as the blade he holds or the gun lying disassembled on Dean's bed. Every weapon their father ever gave to Dean, he mastered, save one -- the one Sam is still clinging to.
He puts a little pressure on Sam's lower lip, just like he'd caress the trigger on a gun, and Sam's lips part just as easily, almost familiarly. When Dean bends his head, Sam's eyes open and for a long breathless minute they just stare, frozen, locked in a moment, in a forbidden thought, and then Sam lifts his chin fractionally and Dean closes the distance.
Once you pull the trigger, you can't call the bullet back.
Sam's mouth is both softer and harder than Dean expected, if he expected anything. It's not even strange to be kissing his brother, another man, it just feels almost inevitable. If Sam needs a reason, Dean will become it.
He moves his hand up behind Sam's head, digging his fingers into the long, dark hair. His other hand tightens on Sam's wrist until his fingers uncurl and Dean can slide the blade off his hand and replace the grip with one of his own.
The tension in Sam eases when Dean applies just enough pressure to make him lie back and he's almost too pliant until Dean lifts his head and Sam's other hand slides across his belly, fingers spreading across the now drying line of blood.
Sam's mouth follows his fingers and Dean shudders under the touch of Sam's tongue and lips to his flesh, the steady lick and kiss of Sam's mouth and the cool air that tightens his dampened skin. Sam's mouth moves away from the bloodline and up Dean's chest and he groans when Sam applies the same wet pattern of licking and sucking and brushing his lips over his left nipple. Dean isn't sure he even knew he liked that but it's driving him crazy now and his dick is hard, straining in his jeans and a heated glance shows him Sam's in the same condition.
He pulls Sam's head up and kisses him again, rolling to his side, and Sam follows, long legs tangling with Dean's and Dean can taste his own blood in Sam's mouth. He licks away a smear of it across Sam's lower lip, then presses his own lips to the shallow cut on Sam's throat.
There's something either blasphemous or divine in this exchange of blood, of saliva and sweat, like they weren't already so much a part of one another that this barrier should make a difference, but it does. They share the same blood, the same parentage, the same history, but they've always come at it differently and maybe that's been a weakness before because for all that they lost the same mother, Sam never knew her.
And Dean never knew Jessica.
The playing field is level now, and the only thing they have to lose is each other. Fumbling with Sam's belt, Dean very briefly thinks of their father, but he's lost too, willingly or unwillingly, and right now finding him is as much an impossible quest as anything else in their lives with no promise of finding him before they run out of time or luck or just the will to keep looking.
They don't even try to get more undressed than they are, jeans gaping open, and hot, hard skin pressed together. Sam is all angles and bones, sleek skin and shallow gasping. There's a spotty, Rorschach blotting of blood across his belly from where his sweat has picked up the dried blood on Dean's skin, and more smears of red along his throat and upper chest. His breathing stutters in his throat when he comes, spilling semen across Dean's groin and his belly, mixing with the smeared blood. His hand shakes when he reaches down and squeezes Dean's dick, stroking and watching him, then Sam ducks his head like he's going to suck Dean off and just the sight of his brother's head bent over his cock, and the thought of Sam's wet mouth wrapped around him is enough to spin Dean into his own release.
Sam tastes him anyway from his own fingers and then kisses his way up Dean's chest again so that by the time he's reached Dean's mouth, Dean can taste both of them and blood again on Sam's lips.
It's a communion of sorts.
He pulls Sam against him and Sam's fingers slide along Dean's outstretched arm toward his hand and Dean feels the cold touch of metal along the back of his knuckles.
He turns his head and Sam's gaze follows his to where the curved knife lies, the sharp blade facing them, and Sam reaches out to stroke along the shiny edge before slipping his hand through the grip. Sam shifts a little and eases the blade into the open case and closes the flap.
They were taught early on how to care for their weapons and how important it is that their knives stay honed and sharp, their guns clean and ready to be loaded.
Take care of your weapons. Take care of each other.
Dean realizes those things have become one and the same.
And he feels completely unarmed.
Author's notes: While I've modified the actual description of the blade for the story, the blade Sam packs in his bag in the pilot and that is shown in one of the earlier promo posters is called, I believe, Suan Ywe Gou - but that is a romanji version of the original
JapaneseChinese and I've been unable to find a picture to confirm. I do know that the pictured blade is not a glaive, nor is it a similar weapon called a tiger's claw. And to be fair, it looks kind of like a fancied up rocking pastry knife, or even a modified version of the knife designed for Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, which it very well could be.
At any rate, it obviously fascinates me as well as the idea that such a weapon is meant for close fighting.
6/8/06 Edited. Kitsune_kitana rightfully pointed out that the romanji indicates the word and blade is Chinese, not Japanese. Thank you!
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