“Jesus, Sammy,” says Dean, “did that shrink in the wash?” It wouldn’t be the first time. Laundromats are always a slightly unstable quantity. Dean’s lost all kinds of beloved clothing over the years. (The Stanford T-shirt Sam mailed him during his first semester at college. A vintage Iron Maiden tour T-shirt he’d picked up for cents at a Goodwill in Philly. Shreds of pink satin, six months after Rhonda Hurley, pulled and pocketed surreptitious from a malfunctioning machine outside Cleveland.)
Sam looks down at his chest, at the logo straining tight across the taut-pulled fabric. “No-oo?” he says. Dean raises an eyebrow.
Two patches of pink blossom rosy over Sam’s cheekbones. “I went shopping,” he says, “the other weekend. In Kansas City. When I went to see that film.”
“Yeah,” says Dean, carefully neutral.
“Well,” says Sam. “The sales assistant. Uh. I did think it was a little tight but.” He rubs a hand over the back of his neck. The movement tugs the T-shirt even tighter, emphasising the curved lines of Sam’s pecs, the rounded swell of his bicep. “Threw it in half-price,” he mumbles. “Said it would be a shame.”
Dean’s amused, mostly. Sammy’s taste in clothes is… idiosyncratic. He can’t imagine his brother in the kind of boutique that might sell him something like this. He tries to picture her, the salesgirl, heart-eyed over this big scruffy scarecrow. She was probably tiny, tiny and glamorous and young.
“Lady-killer,” he says.
Sam turns pinker, looks up to meet Dean’s eye. Aw, Sammy, Dean wants to say. He doesn’t quite understand how Sam can still be so clueless around women, so surprised every time he gets hit on. And it doesn’t sound like this chick was trying too hard to be subtle. Half-price.
Then, “Who says it was a lady?” Sam says, and Dean’s world tilts a little bit sideways. The tiny blonde saleswoman in his head dissolves, resolving into a hard-bodied, chisel-chinned dude, a guy looking Sam up and down as he twists in the mirror. This isn’t. Dean doesn’t.
He blinks at his brother, open-mouthed, but Sam’s already shrugging, looking away. “Yeah, I don’t know. You’re right, it’s… I’ll go take it off.”
“Hey, no,” Dean says without thinking, his own cheeks heated now, tingling-flush with an indefinable anxiety. “Leave it, Sam. It looks good.”
Sam wrinkles his nose.
“Really,” Dean says. His eyes skitter again over Sam’s chest, the breadth of his shoulders, the veins that twist down his arms. “You look good,” he says.