grianchloch: (Sam Love by janglyjewels)
[personal profile] grianchloch
Title: Laundry Day
Characters: Dean/Sam
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 2316
Beta: [ profile] seleneheart
Disclaimer: Sadly, they aren't mine, I'm just playing with them for a while.
Notes: Set early in season one, not long after Phantom Traveler. Witten for [ profile] smallworld_inc as part of the [ profile] spnspringfling fic exchange. The prompt I wrote for was, aptly, "laundry day". Originally posted here

Summary: Back on the road with Dean, Sam always ends up doing their laundry which leads to some interesting revelations.

Sam sighed as he gathered his laundry up and stuffed it into a bag. He’d only been back on the road with Dean for a few months and already his brother was happy to fall back into familiar patterns and always managed to find a way to get Sam to do the laundry.

“Dean!” Sam yelled through the open door to where his brother was rummaging around in the trunk of the Impala. “If you want me to …”

A bag hit him in the chest and Dean followed it into the room, grinning.

“You gonna pick pizza up on the way back?” Dean asked hopefully.

“No, you can pick pizza up. I’m not your slave, Dean,” Sam grumbled. “What’s your excuse for not doing laundry this time? Oh right, weapons cleaning.”

“Gotta keep them in good shape, Sammy,” Dean smirked.

“Yeah, whatever.” Sam tucked his wallet into his jacket and gathered up the laundry bags. “No pepperoni on mine,” he instructed, knowing that Dean would probably forget anyway.

The laundry was just around the corner from the motel, and was thankfully quiet. An older woman smiled at him as he walked in, and a bored, or stoned, kid sat halfway down the row of dryers watching his clothes go around as if it was the most fascinating thing he had ever seen.

Sam picked a free machine and emptied his bag into it. He’d already sorted his clothes before he left. He eyed Dean’s bag, then tipped it out into a basket. Last time, he’d trusted that Dean was sorting through his laundry too, but whatever Dean had left in his pocket had disintegrated and covered their clothes with annoying white bits.

“You should have checked my pockets,” was Dean’s reaction to being yelled at.

Sam decided that it was better to be safe than sorry, and went through Dean’s laundry one item at a time. Up until then, he’d done their laundry on autopilot, not taking any notice of what he was shoving in the machines or folding after it was all out of the dryer. It was a mundane task he could lose himself in, but this time, he was more invested in making sure nothing screwed up his efforts, so he paid attention.

He pulled out a pair of jeans first, and patted them down. The jeans are old, worn enough to be soft in places, with tears across one knee. Sam checked the pockets and threw them into the machine. The next pair were in a similar state, but the rips are sewn up and Sam recognized Dean’s neat stitching. He ran his thumb over the worn threads.

“Hold still, Sammy, I’ll get it done as fast as I can,” Dean fussed as he took the small needle and pushed it through the skin on either side of the small wound on Sam’s shoulder.

Sam gasped as the needle pierced his skin, and looked at Dean’s face as he worked, focusing on the green of his eyes to try and keep his mind away from the pain and the blood. Dean’s face was a mask of concentration and he was close enough that Sam could feel the heat from his body.

“Almost done, bro.” Dean glanced up at Sam, and went straight back to work.

Two more stitches and Dean bent close to sever the thread with his teeth, and his breath ghosted across Sam’s shoulder. He picked up the bottle of whiskey sitting on the table, poured a little over his work, and patted it dry with a clean cloth.

“There ya go.”

Dean fetched pain pills for Sam to take and water to wash them down. Once Sam was done, Dean settled him on the bed, keeping his damaged arm out as he tucked the covers around him. Sam was dozing by the time Dean’s cleaned himself up and climbed onto the bed too, pressing up against Sam’s back and slipping an arm around his waist.

“I gotcha, Sammy.”

Sam jerked back to the present and threw the jeans into the washer.

He picked up each of Dean’s shirts, realizing as he did so that he recognized each and every one of them. The blue one Dean had been wearing the night Sam announced that he was leaving for Stanford, the forest green plaid that Dean had on the day he drove Sam to the bus station. Sam held that one for a little longer than the others, remembering Dean’s eyes full of sorrow as Sam had gone through with his plan and left.

Almost reluctantly, Sam threw it in with the rest of the laundry, then picked up a softly worn hoodie. The fabric was faded, the cuffs were starting to fray, but Sam gripped it tightly. It was his, a favorite that he’d accidentally left behind four years earlier. It wasn’t Dean’s style, he usually stuck to tees and shirts, but the hoodie had obviously been worn frequently. Sam smoothed his hand over the cotton, then he added it to the machine, wondering why Dean kept it.

Dean’s tees and boxers showed the same wear, and most of his socks had patches that had been darned. John always insisted they know how to repair everything they owned so it didn’t surprise Sam that Dean took care of his clothes as diligently as he took care of the weapons. What did surprise him was that from what he was seeing, Dean hasn’t picked up any new clothes in the four years Sam had been gone.

Sam finished off the laundry, and wandered back to the motel room, deep in thought. He’d not forgotten what it had been like to grow up with so little money, but while he’d been at Stanford, he’d stepped back from that “make do” edge of life. He’d worked two jobs, wrapping them around his studies and earning enough to move in with Jess when she suggested it. He’d never squandered the money he made, but when he bought himself clothes that didn’t come from thrift or dollar stores, it had felt like another step into a normal life..

Sam suddenly felt guilty that he’d made fun of Dean’s home-made EMF meter. It wasn’t like Dean could pick one up at Best Buy. He’d put it together himself using a Walkman and who knew what other cannibalized electronic parts. It’s what Dean did. He made do, and apparently never bought clothes.

Sam flipped his cell open and called his brother. “Did you get pizza?”

“No, I thought you were picking it up.”

“Yeah, okay. There’d better be a cold beer waiting for me, dude.”

Sam ended the call, cutting off Dean’s laughter. He picked up pizza and took it back to their room where Dean was lounging on the couch, a beer already in hand. Sam dumped the laundry bags down by their beds, and grabbed a beer from the cooler as Dean tucked into the pizza.

“Thanks, man.” Dean smiled around a mouthful. “There’s a Babylon 5 marathon on TV, thought you might wanna watch it.”

Sam flopped down on the couch next to Dean and grabbed a slice of pizza. On screen, the doc examined an alien with a handheld device.

“Looks like your EMF meter,” Sam observed, not failing to pick up on the slight tension that radiated from the other end of the couch. “It’s cool, that you made it yourself.”

Sam felt Dean relax, and chanced a glance at him. Dean was smiling softly, and Sam settled a little closer as they watched an epic space drama unfold.


Sam didn’t have a lot of money left in his account, but it was enough for what he had in mind. The next time he did their laundry, he called by the local Wal Mart too, and picked up multi packs of shorts, tees and socks to replace Dean’s worn ones. His jeans still have wear in them, but Sam picked up a new pair anyway.

The next morning, Dean’s brow furrowed as he rummaged in his bag looking for underwear and came up with a new pair of black boxer briefs. Sam watched him mentally pondering over how they had gotten there.

“Where did these come from?” Dean finally asked.

“Your old ones fell apart in the wash, so I replaced them.”

Dean grunted, and picked out a matching tee. He pulled them both on, and wandered towards the bathroom. Sam had to bite back a smirk as Dean paused halfway and admired himself in the long mirror on the wall opposite the twin beds.

As the weeks went by, Sam did the same thing with the most worn of Dean’s shirts, raiding a thrift store and picking out three plaid shirts that even had the tags still on so they were the next best thing to new. He bartered with the woman behind the counter and got them at a reduced price.

But this time, he didn’t get away with it quite as easily as before.

“Sam? Where’s my green shirt?” Dean had all of this clothes tossed onto the bed, and was searching through them.

“It had a rip in the sleeve, Dean, it came apart last time it was washed. I picked you up a new one.”

Dean picked one of the new shirts up and examined it. He pulled it on, then wriggled and tugged at the collar.

“It doesn’t feel the same. Did you keep the old one? I could probably fix it.”

Dean sounded so hopeful, but Sam shook his head. “Sorry, I didn’t think there was any point in keeping it.”

“Where are you doing our laundry, Sam? Are the dryers possessed or something?” Dean grumbled.

“I just thought you could do with some newer clothes,” Sam sighed, deciding to come clean.

“Wait. You threw my clothes away on purpose?” Dean rounded on him.

“Dude, I remember everything in your pack from before I left for Stanford. They were old and worn and you needed new clothes.”

“Sam, I don’t need anyone to dress me. When I need new stuff, I’ll get it myself.” Dean began stuffing clothes back in his bag.

“But you haven’t been,” Sam pressed his point home.

“Look, I’ve been living without you for years. How come you think that you can come back and take over?” Dean held Sam’s old hoodie in his hands as he yelled.

“See, this is my point. This,” Sam grabbed the hoodie, “was mine. Now the cuffs are unraveling and the hem is almost worn through.” It suddenly occurred to Sam that he hadn’t seen Dean wearing the hoodie. “Why keep it around?”

Dean took hold of and tried to wrest it from Sam’s grasp. He stepped right into Sam’s personal space, eyes flashing.

“Because you weren’t!” Dean snarled.

When Sam let go of the hoodie, surprised by the vehemence on Dean’s face, Dean clutched it tight against his chest, and away from Sam as if Sam might try to take it away from him again.

“You were gone, and all I had left was this stupid thing.” It was as if once the floodgates opened, Dean couldn’t stop.

Sam swallowed as he began to understand.

“It smelt of you at first, and I wore it so I could get to sleep. You ran off to find another life for yourself, Sam, but you left me behind.” Dean glared at him. “This was all I had left.”

Sam took a step closer, hating himself for not even thinking that it might matter that much to Dean. Dean looked up at Sam, then without warning, kissed him. Soft and chaste, it was a surprising press of lips against his mouth. Sam stood stock still, until Dean realized what he’d done. He took a step back, but Sam reached out and pulled him back, pulled him close and wrapped his arms around him.

Once, months before Sam left, he’d done the same thing. He’d kissed Dean, then backed up, scared of what Dean would do to him, how he’d react, but Dean had pulled him close and held him until he’d stopped shaking. So Sam did the same. He held Dean until the tension began to seep out of him.

Dean took a shaky breath, then pulled away. He ran a hand through his short cropped hair, and glanced at Sam out if the corner of his eye before turning away and clearing his throat as he psyched himself up to say something.

Sam waited. Last time, it had been ignored, the implications pushed down and buried, but this time, there was only the two of them, and Sam wasn’t planning to leave.

“So,” Dean started, but what came next, Sam hadn’t expected. Perhaps he should have, given his brother’s ability to move past anything remotely emotional at the speed of light. “We’ve got an early start tomorrow. Think I’ll grab a shower.” He still had the hoodie clutched in one hand and Sam was reminded of Linus and his blanket.

“Dean …,” Sam began, but Dean ignored him.

“You wanna order pizza? Or we could eat at the diner?” Dean took a couple of steps towards the bathroom, trying his best to look casual, but it wasn’t working.

“Dean!” It came out sharper than Sam intended, but Dean stopped in his tracks. Sam took hold of his shoulders. “Are you gonna try and pretend that didn’t happen?”

“Well … yeah,” Dean stuttered, his face flushing pink.

“What if I don’t want to?” Sam lowered his mouth to Dean’s, and this time, it wasn’t an innocent kiss. It was firmer, demanding, and Dean’s lips parted, letting Sam in. Sam groaned as Dean’s fingers dug into his hair and he pulled Dean closer, kissing him until they had to break apart to breathe. Sam rested his forehead on Dean’s and smiled.

“I missed you too.”

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