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Dreams Are Not Enough

Title: Dreams Are Not Enough
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating/Pairing: Sam/Dean, Rish
Summary: Dean doesn't sleep. Takes place immediately after "What Is, And What Should Never Be". Written for the 2007 Con*Strict zine.

Dean doesn't sleep.

It's not that he can't, though; it's that he doesn't want to. When Sam nudges him about it (voice far too casual, a worried glance when he thinks Dean's not looking), what he says is, "I was asleep for how long, in there?", but that isn't anything close to the reason, and he knows Sam knows it. What he was doing in that warehouse wasn't sleep. He's exhausted, aching, half dead, drained in every way possible--

--and terrified beyond words that if he closes his eyes, he'll slip back into the dream.

The one where their lives didn't get fucked up seven ways to Sunday. The one where the demon didn't touch them at all, where their mom was alive and their dad had died peacefully. The one where Sam was in law school, was normal and engaged and happy.

The one where Dean didn't matter.

But it's not falling back into the dream that worries him, really. It's the fact that he doesn't think he can fight his way out of it. Not again. The djinn may be dead, but he can still feel its poison in his blood, in the sluggishness of his thoughts. Doesn't matter how good a swimmer you are; if the current's strong enough, you don't have a chance.

And the only way to keep from drowning is to stay out of the water. So Dean stays awake, even though he knows it's a battle he's going to lose eventually, and instead just watches Sam sleep. He'd tried to stay up with Dean, claiming that he wasn't tired, but that hadn't lasted.

Somewhere around midnight, he's watching this Sam -- the one who'd been able to tell Dean that it was worth it, all of it, what they did, what they'd lost -- and can't help thinking about the other Sam, in the djinn's reality. The Sam who barely tolerated Dean, and hadn't had any reason to spend time with him. The Sam who hadn't been saved, hadn't needed saving.

Dean would give almost anything to see Sam as happy as the djinn's Sam had been; but all things considered, he would rather have this Sam than that one. It might be selfish of him, but he prefers his Sam, the real Sam. It's part of why he'd had to claw his way out of the dream, part of why he doesn't dare let himself slip back in.

But somewhere around midnight, it occurs to him:

Maybe he hasn't actually left.

Maybe this is still part of the djinn's world. Maybe the djinn got smart, realized Dean wasn't going to accept the reality he was given, and changed it so that it felt more real. He hasn't had any of the same kind of unbalancing what-the-hell moments that he got in the dreamworld, but that could just be because it's closer to what he expects.

Maybe the djinn gave him a second wish -- that of getting free, of killing the thing trapping him there, of saving someone -- but only as an illusion. Maybe none of this is real.

Maybe the whole thing about djinn giving three wishes isn't so far off.


Dean rubs his face hard and looks over at Sam, sprawled on the bed, still dressed. /I wish--/ he think, savagely, and then clamps down on that before he can go farther with it.


Sam knows, without opening his eyes, that Dean won't be in his bed where he should be. He cracks one eye open, squinting against the muted daylight of the hotel room. Sure enough, Dean's standing by the window, staring out at nothing, brooding. "Did you even try to sleep?" he asks, drowsily.

Dean startles, and flicks a glance in his direction, but says nothing. Sam hadn't expected him to. He stands up and crosses the room to where Dean is. Comes up behinds him, folds him into a hug, and it's a sign of how thoroughly exhauted Dean is that he doesn't even try to pull away.

"Dean. Talk to me."

There's silence for a long stretch. Both of them know that Dean doen't want to say a word about what's going on, and both of them know that Sam's fully capable of persisting until he does. Dean finally lets out a quiet defeated-sounding sigh, drops his head to his chest, and mumbles something.

"Dean, what--" But even if he didn't hear the exact words, Sam still half knows what he'd said, more or less. "It's the djinn thing, isn't it."

Dean turns around and looks at him; there's a disturbing hollowness to his eyes. "I just... I don't know what's real, any more," he says, a little dully.

"This is real. I'm real."

"Yeah, that's what you said before," Dean says. (It takes Sam a moment to realize what he means -- not him, but the other him, the dream him.) "I just--" He stops, and his jaw clenches.

There's nothing that Sam can think of to say that will convince him; but some things don't need words.

He leans forward, closing the last bit of space separating them, and bring their mouths together. Lets the long deep kiss say everything that he can't actually put into words. And then he pulls back, but not far; his hands cradle Dean's face, and he's not letting go, and he wants Dean to know that. "I'm real," he promises.

Dean looks at him for a long moment, frozen, hesitating long enough that a sliver of doubt works its way under Sam's skin. Because, sure, he knows he's real enough, but that doesn't stop the crazy what-if voice in the back of his head that wonders if maybe Dean's right.

But then Dean makes a low broken sort of noise and is kissing him back, a thousand kinds of desperate, and the doubt vanishes. Sam bites at Dean's lip, and his fingers curl into the waistband of Dean's jeans, and he swallows the low groan that wrenches out of Dean.


There are some things that they don't talk about, and this is one of them.

It started back when Sam started developing an interest in sex. It was summer, which meant they were going on too many hunts, travelling around too much, to allow any real sort of relationship; and while Dean had been perfectly willing to find girls that were just as happy as he was with a single night's fling, Sam hadn't been. He'd always wanted more. Wanted to know the people he was having sex with, to have some sort of connection with them that wasn't just physical.

Somewhere in there, in between the too-rare girls, they found each other.

The first time could have been called an accident. The second time, and beyond, couldn't.

It's something that both of them know they maybe shouldn't be doing, and that's part of why they don't talk about it. Neither one of them wants to be the one to say no, because neither of them wants to stop, but neither of them can say yes, and so they do it and they don't talk about it.

There are other things they don't talk about, too. It's kind of a habit with them.


They end up against the wall, because it's closer than the bed. Dean holds on to Sam like a drowning man, and Sam lets him. He needs this almost as much as Dean does; if he thinks about it and closes his eyes, he can still see Dean in the djinn's lair, trussed up and not moving and half-dead, and he's never going to tell Dean how much that scared him.

He needs this. They both do.

Sam's trembling with the sort of blindly desperate want that can get your ass killed on a hunt; but they aren't hunting, the djinn's dead, and so he gives into it, taking his time, tasting Dean and rocking against him, making promises by touch like some strange kind of braille: /I'm safe, you're safe, we're okay/ in fluttery kisses along Dean's jaw and cheekbone and closed eyelids, /I'm here, I'll always be here/ in the way his fingertips dig bluntly into the tenseness of Dean's back, /I'll protect you/ in a light scrape of teeth against skin, /I'll never leave/ in the almost possessive curl of fingers around Dean's cock.

(Never and always are words that John taught them, early on, not to use. Can't guarantee always, can't guarantee never. Right now, Sam doesn't care.)

"Sam," Dean mutters. His eyes are wide and dark and wild, and Sam can feel the faint shudders that vibrate through his body. He's usually about as quiet as a banshee at this point, but this time he bites his lip hard and is sharply, painfully silent.

"'s'ok," Sam says, and he bites gently at the corner of Dean's jaw, licks the spot, stubble rough against his tongue. "Dean, hey, come for me, man?"

Something that isn't quite a sob wrenches out of Dean as he obeys, arching up into Sam's touch. The tight expression on his face is similar to how he looks when he gets injured on a hunt and doesn't want to admit it; it makes Sam ache in sympathy. He knows it's not just this one thing, though, not just the djinn. Something's been building for weeks, in Dean and in Sam and crackling all around them, like there's one hell of a thunderstorm climbing its way towards them. This isn't the end of the storm.

Dean buries his face in Sam's neck, and for a moment they are still. Dean's breath comes hot and fast against Sam's skin, and Sam can feel the wild thrum of his heartbeat where his hand is pressed flat against Dean's back.

The moment passes. Sam bends his head to whisper in his ear, detailing what he wants to do to him. He can feel himself blushing hard, because he's never been all that good at talking dirty, but Dean likes it.

But Dean doesn't react quite like he expects. His fingers tighten on Sam's hips, and he pulls back, looks into Sam's eyes; his eyes are bright, expression a little turned on and a lot lost, and Sam stutters to a halt. "If-- if you want?" he finishes, lamely.

Dean, after a moment, smiles. It's a little too tight at the edges to completely banish Sam's worry, but it takes the edge off. "Do you even have to ask?" His voice is low, teasing, almost normal.


"Yeah, Dean," Sam says. "I do."

Dean kisses him, which isn't really an answer; tugs them towards one of the beds, which sort of is; and says Sam's name in the tone of voice that means /God, yes,/ which definitely is.


Afterwards, Sam lies half on top of Dean, face up against the back Dean's neck, one arm draped across Dean's chest. It's not cuddling, not really; but Dean, half asleep, mumbles, "You're such a girl."

Sam grins and licks at the sweat-salty skin in front of him, and doesn't deny it.


The djinn is mostly gone from Dean's thoughts, except for once, when he realizes that he still doesn't know whether he's still trapped in the djinn's dreamworld. But it doesn't quite matter. If he drowns, he drowns, but he can't fight it. Doesn't want to fight it.

If he gets a third wish, he thinks drowsily, it'd be to not ever know whether or not this is real.

Dean sleeps, and if he dreams, he doesn't remember it later.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 20th, 2007 01:12 am (UTC)

I really loved it :)

[i'm so happy to be almost all caught up to date with episodes so i can read fic now without being spoiled...yay!]

Oct. 21st, 2007 10:19 am (UTC)
That was beautiful.. I loved it..
Oct. 21st, 2007 09:24 pm (UTC)
Very nice. I liked Dean's uncertainty and Sam's desire to help.

"Dean, hey, come for me, man?"

This struck me as such a Sam thing -- not demanding but coaxing (with the 'for me').

If he gets a third wish, he thinks drowsily, it'd be to not ever know whether or not this is real.

Oh, Dean. I hope it's real but at least he gets his Sam.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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