He can't quite work up the nerve to confirm what his gut is already telling him must be true about how he slipped the noose of his visions, and if Rob drops in more often, uses those hands and mouth to strip Sam clean and broken, then it's no more than he deserves.
It feels like he keeps coming to that same conclusion, only to have his thought processes interrupted by Rob's appearances. Rob's taking the stairs two at a time today, quick rather than deliberate, laughing when he opens the door. "Breakthrough, Saintly," he croons as his hand comes up, holding Sam's skull tenderly, pinky stroking lightly at the back of his neck. "I'm getting awfully close." His mouth is pink and pretty, thin flexible lips hiding strong white teeth, the color surprising against his pale skin, the green cast of his jaw. His mouth is hot and inviting, skillful tongue sweeping everywhere, and Sam's head falls back automatically, welcoming him, opening his mouth for plundering.
Rob's hand is twisting in his hair, not painful, just a tease, a hint of playfulness, and Sam's arms come up to lock around his neck, dimly but unmistakably recognizing his own surrender as the greatest self-indulgence he's ever committed.
"You were right," Sam tells Rob while he watches the water boil for pasta. Jo buys ingredients and not frozen dinners now; Sam's still under house arrest after Henrickson made a surprise second visit to the bar. "About waiting for Midsummer, I mean." He'd agonized over Missouri's words, pulled them apart and tried to make them fit in some other way, but what she'd described had been unmistakably summer, Dean with summer flowers and summer sunshine poured over him, still lost in that silent slumber.
Rob lifts one eyebrow at him. "Starting to trust me?"
Sam shakes his head stubbornly, turning his back to pour the spaghetti into the bubbling water.
Rob's quiet but Sam pretends to be absorbed in stirring the pasta. "Do you at least believe we want the same thing?" Rob's voice is quiet and sincere and Sam is pathetically grateful that they're not close enough to touch; his mind is still his own.
He pivots sharply and Rob spreads his hands as if to say you got me, but Sam's looking past the gestures and the expression on Rob's face, trying to find some kernel of truth somewhere in the man in front of him. "Not exactly, but I think we're in the same ballpark," he concedes.
He's surprised when what looks very much like hurt flashes across Rob's face. "Will you believe me when I promise you something?" He doesn't wait for any acknowledgment before barreling on. "I promise on anything you like - on Jo's life - that I'll do everything in my power to get you to your brother, and to get you both out of the fae's realm."
Sam scrambles to press his unexpected advantage. "I'll hold you to that," he says curtly, turning back to the stove.
Rob's hand steals up his shirt and pulls him back into the warmth of Rob's warm body. "I promise, I promise," Rob says as his heavy mouth works along the column of Sam's neck.
Sam's fingering the marks Rob left on his throat in front of the bathroom mirror, watching stray droplets of water left over from his shower trickle past them, make them shine and glitter like bruises never should, when he thinks that what he really needs is to know more about Rob.
He boots up Jo's cranky computer, waiting for the homepage to load. He searches for "Sean Connor" - it hadn't hit him until now that Sean's mother must have been either oblivious or a huge fan - and narrows the search geographically. Once he finds the right Sean Connor, he clicks the link to the New York Times article on the hostage situation at Red Apple Bank. Sean gets the same amount of space as all of the other victims, only a few short lines: Sean Connor, 31, owner of Hell's Kitchen bar Mary Kelly's, was the first to be gunned down. Connor leaves behind a wife, Joanna Connor; his mother, Mary Kelly Connor, died a few hours after her son, of an apparent heart attack.
The bar wasn't named for a victim of Jack the Ripper, Sam notes absently. He clicks back to the page of search results and clicks on article after article, trying to find one that mentions the guy who claimed to be the next best thing Sean had to a brother. Finally, one appears, a long, two-column write-up in a tiny free newspaper that focuses on the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood. The accompanying photograph shows Sean's coffin on the strong shoulders of the pallbearers; Sam squints and enlarges the picture, but he can't be sure if that is Rob at the back left. The article details the widow Mary Kelly's determination to turn the bar she'd inherited from her husband into a profitable enterprise and how eagerly Sean followed in her footsteps. Jo's not really part of the story, and as he skims he nearly skips over just what he's looking for. The second column is full of quotes from one Rex Robson, son of the twin sister of Sean's mother, who describes himself as Sean's "big brother" and rhapsodizes about Sean's love of the neighborhood and plans for the future.
Now that he's got a full name for Rob, he plugs it into the search engine. Even using every trick he ever developed in probing for anything shady, Rob comes up with no red flags. Just an ordinary, rather mediocre progress through the public school system, no college degree, and a few years of minor-league baseball under his belt. The pictures confirm it's him, but Sam sits back in frustration, knowing there has to be more to the story.
Rob has him flat on his back on Jo's lumpy couch, spread out over the towel that's still damp from his morning shower, laid out like a feast. The glittering blue of Rob's gaze is too much to take, so Sam closes his eyes, but that only seems to intensify the sensation of his nipples being pinched and licked, his hips smoothed and caressed, his cock stroked and savored. He can feel himself getting heavy, limbs going lax, and he doesn't even think of resisting when Rob pulls him up, sweeps a thumb across the jut of his cheekbone, and gets him into position.
Rob's cock is long, somehow completely foreign and yet familiar, like a weapon seen but not yet wielded. It's heavy in Sam's mouth, weighing down his jaw like a rock, constricting his throat like poison. He will ache after this, will realize anew that all this is real from the soreness, and he opens his mouth willingly, lavishing saliva and suction and attention on it, hearing with satisfaction the noises of pleasure that Rob makes.
When Rob pulls himself free, cutting off the movements that have become rhythmic, have nearly become automatic, Sam shakes the hair out of his eyes and blinks dazedly up at Rob. Strong hands at his waist coax him into turning over, rewarding him for prompt obedience with a lingering caress of his side and a few moments' tender consideration for his dick. He's pulled easily up to his hands and knees and he trembles as air hits all the saliva-slick patches of his skin, as he waits blindly for Rob to show him how to move. There's a cold wetness being pushed between his legs; his back bows sharply, immediately, and sounds start tumbling out of his throat. Behind the coldness is a hot spear that breaches him, and he realizes it's Rob's finger only when he feels strong teeth surrounding his shoulder. He concentrates and spreads his legs a little wider, as far as the couch will allow. He breathes heavily and waits for more.
Rob pushes in slowly, and Sam feels every last inch of the agonizing slide in and the excruciating retreat. He can't seem to catch up and make time stand still, so there's no chance of adjusting before the position changes; he shudders and arches his back, seeking other contact. Rob's hand finds his dick, that perfect sly grip that only gets better with friction, and Sam can hear himself mewling, whimpering, but can't bring himself to stop. Everything is heat and fullness and a beautiful burn and in that last, long moment he believes every word that Rob has ever said to him.
The only rest he's getting is what he finds with Rob next to him, draped over him, touching him. The rest of the time, he can't escape the bitter knowledge of his own folly, or the even worse realization that he still sees no other alternative for what he did.
Jo's started leaving a bottle of aspirin by the coffeemaker in the mornings and biting her lip anxiously at night before she heads off to her bed, leaving him alone. He can see for himself that he looks like shit, eyes ringed with dark circles, an unhealthy look of not enough - or any - fresh air hanging over him.
It's not like he really believes that confession is good for the soul. Not after everything he's seen, every secret he's had to keep, and Dean's utter lack of faith in anything except family. But he does believe in punishment, in abasement as a way to forge a new beginning and he smiles to himself as he dials Bobby's number.
"Singer Salvage," Bobby says into the phone when he picks up after a dozen rings. His voice is tired and raspy.
"Did Dean get my visions?" There's no point beating about the bush, not with Bobby, not with the person Dean trusted with his pain.
Bobby grunts, a sound of surprise rather than affirmation or negation.
"I know you promised him you wouldn't say anything. But you can tell me yes or no. When I did that spell to unite our souls and give half to Dean and half to me, it backfired, right? Because even after his year was up and the spell was supposed to reverse itself, it didn't, not completely, right? So he got stuck with my visions." He swallows, hard. "How could he keep it from me all that time? I know what those headaches were like." He shakes his head in frustration. "So he got that piece of my soul along with all of his own back, and, what? I'm walking around with not quite a complete soul?"
"You got some of his to keep," Bobby says, voice rich with anger. "You a better hunter since you broke your brother's crossroads deal, Sam? Dean said something about it, he was so proud of you, the way you'd stepped up and become a world-class hunter. Wasn't till he said it out loud that he realized that you'd kept that part of him that seemed like it was born to live this life. Made me swear not to give you a piece of my mind."
That's why. That's why he could take the kill-shots, why the Impala seemed to fit him better, why Dean had been so weary and aching and hurt; he'd taken away something that Dean needed to live, swapped it for something he would gladly have been rid of, breaking Dean's hellish bargain by making another that hurt Dean just the same. "I didn't know what else to do, Bobby," he pleads.
"Dean asked you not to do anything," Bobby says, implacable. "The minute I suspected you were attempting a spell that dangerous, I tried to stop you. You drugged us, Sam! And don't tell me there wasn't another way!"
"Was - was there?" He holds his breath even though what he really wants is to plug his ears.
"I'd been doing research too. I'd found something that would've put Dean out of that demon bitch's way long enough to invalidate the contract."
"No." The denial is instinctive.
"Bobby -" Sam says, begging for mercy. "Please help me get him back. I'll figure out something to make things right, I swear, but I need him back first."
There is only a long silence on the other end. Then he hears Bobby ask, "Sammy, you okay?"
He can't choke back his sob in time. "Come on now, son," Bobby says. "You ain't in no condition to be taking on any fae like that."
"I need him," he says. "And I've been doing the best I can with what I've got. All I know is that we're going after the fae at Midsummer, and that Dean's in some kind of deep sleep or hibernation or something and he's not hurt or being hurt."
"This guy Rob, some kind of expert on fae; Jo said he was the one to talk to."
"Never heard of him. But I've been reading up too. Went through all my books again, started translating them myself in case the English versions missed anything."
"Nothing yet, but I got a stack taller'n you still to get through."
"Bobby, thank -"
"That boy is like my own," Bobby interrupts before hanging up the phone, and Sam recognizes the love and justice wrapped up in that one little statement and smiles again as he clicks his phone shut.