Conflict of Interest
NC-17; Sam/Dean; dubious consent
For avidrosette: SPN x Angel, Sam/Dean, what if Sam finished law school (instead of leaving to hunt with Dean) and was recruited into the firm of Wolfram & Hart?
Beta by giandujakiss.
Or read at the AO3.
“The thing is, Mr. Winchester,” the partner – Sam hadn’t quite caught his name – said, “There’s a little problem with your contract. Apparently there’s someone with a prior claim on your services.”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t understand. I did have offers from my 1L and 2L summers, but I turned them down—I’m really not sure what you mean,” Sam said almost before the man stopped speaking. Wolfram & Hart was his hope of freedom and a fresh start all in one: unbeatable money and a shining glass tower that was a world away from Stanford, and the rest of his past.
The partner nodded and folded his hands on the desk, looking smooth and well-off and everything Sam had gone to law school to be. “We’re aware of that, which is what gives us some confidence that we aren’t risking a breach of promise action by taking you on. Nonetheless, it does present certain … difficulties. You’re a promising young attorney, Sam—I can call you Sam?” He didn’t wait for a response. “The question is whether that promise justifies the attendant risks.”
“Give me a chance,” Sam said, leaning forward. “I’ll prove it.”
“Hmm,” the partner said. His eyes flicked over Sam like knives: the suit whose tailoring Sam couldn’t afford; the tie Jess had given him before—well, his favorite tie; the hair slicked back because he still refused to get it cut. “I think you’ll find you made the right choice, joining Wolfram and Hart. Given your alternatives. Welcome to the firm, Sam.”
He rose and extended his hand across the desk.
And for the next five years, Sam didn’t worry at all about what the hiring partner had suggested about ‘other claims’ and ‘alternatives.’ He was too busy worrying about his clients.
Sam wiped the blood off of his sword with a handkerchief he’d brought along in anticipation of the possible need. And in case he got the sniffles, but he’d considered violence much more likely. “Is anyone else unsatisfied with my ruling?” he asked.
There was a brief pause. “No, Arbitrator,” the Gzzhoar leader said, and then the Pleax demons were nodding as one (unsurprisingly, for group telepaths). “We thank you for your services.”
Sam sheathed the sword. “You can wire the payment to Wolfram and Hart’s account. And if anyone else needs the resolution of the dispute explained, feel free to refer them to me.” A couple of the secretaries were already moving to deal with the body and its newly detached head.
This had been a good job. He’d get a bonus for sure for working out the complicated deal he’d offered both sides. And it was a good deal too, especially with the most obstreperous Gzzhoar out of the way. Demons weren’t that different from people; at least the ones who came to Wolfram & Hart weren’t. Sometimes they just needed problems solved, and if the problems happened to have a pulse, well, they weren’t exactly people, either.
A janitor, shoulders hunched in the way of many new employees, came in with a wheeled trash can big enough for the body. His cap was pulled low over his eyes, again not uncommon.
Wait a second—
The janitor let go of the trash can, pulled two guns out of his coverall, and started firing at the Pleax and Gzzhoar. Glass exploded and gunshots and screams seared Sam’s ears as he dove for cover.
Dean, Sam felt more than thought, and realized that it would be fifteen seconds or less before Security burst in and cut him to bits.
Dean was still focusing on the demons, ignoring the human secretaries and Sam himself, so Sam took the risk, charging at him low and from the side. Wolfram & Hart encouraged its lawyers to maintain peak performance in all capacities including the physical, and he knocked Dean over easily. His arm was around Dean’s waist and his backup knife was at Dean’s throat before Dean could do more than try to bring up his guns.
There was no time to let himself feel anything, even though it had been years since he’d known if Dean was even alive, because Dean wouldn’t be for much longer if Sam didn’t maintain complete control. “Drop them,” he said in Dean’s ear, letting the blade break the skin.
Like this, Dean couldn’t see who was holding him, but he felt Dean freeze at the sound of Sam’s voice. Dean smelled the same, hot metal and sharp sweat, his muscles tensed against Sam’s body. There was no time—“They’ll kill you if you’re holding a weapon. Drop them and I’ll get you out, I promise.”
Slowly, his whole body shaking with an emotion Sam wasn’t ready to name, Dean put the guns on the floor. Sam was just pulling him to his feet—not letting go of the knife, because even if they hadn’t parted badly so many years ago he didn’t trust Dean not to make a run for it—when Security belatedly broke down the door.
“It’s over! Don’t shoot!” Sam yelled, and thankfully they were well-trained enough to obey any lawyer, even one who wasn’t quite a partner yet.
He managed to have Dean trussed and deposited in his office, under guard, by virtue of acting like he knew what he was doing. (Dean, blasting out of the past, all Sam’s sins remembered; Dean, who’d first made Sam recognize his own corruption so that when W&H came knocking Sam had figured that he was perfectly suited for the job. It felt almost like symmetry to have Dean here, except for the mortal terror.) Then there were the demons to placate, which required assuring the Gzzhoar that Wolfram & Hart’s insurance carrier would compensate them for their additional dead and assuring the Pleax that more Gzzhoar had died than Pleax, so overall it was a win for them. That took long enough to sort out that he was completely exhausted by the time he headed back to his office (new and bigger than his old one, and he’d be lucky if he was only busted back to sharing with some snot-nosed brat for this disaster). He’d concoct some story and allow Dean to ‘escape,’ maybe. He could probably survive that, given everything else he’d pulled off for the partners; they hated to waste an asset.
But Nathan Reed was waiting for him, sitting across from Dean, who’d had a gag stuffed in his mouth in addition to his bindings. That, Sam could hardly blame Nathan for—Sam loved Dean helplessly, and he didn’t want to hear Dean half the time. He kept himself from looking more than glancingly at Dean; the firm already knew too much about what Sam valued. At least Nathan had dismissed the guards.
Nathan didn’t say anything, a tactic as crude as it was effective. Sam made himself straighten his shoulders and move into the room. There was a high chance he’d be fighting for his life in a few minutes and he didn’t need the barrier created by sitting down, so instead he perched on the edge of the desk, within easy reach of Dean.
“You know, Sam,” Nathan said after a minute of Dean’s volcanic glares directed at them both, “this doesn’t have to be a career-killer. We understand, you can’t choose your relatives. And given the profanity-laced questions Mr. Winchester shouted at me before I got tired of it, I take it that you were both surprised to find yourselves together again.”
“Dean and I lost touch,” Sam allowed, carefully.
“As it happens, we have a ritual coming up that requires, let’s say, some profanation of a family bond.”
Dean made a squawking noise. Sam was sure that he meant ‘even my asshole brother who pals around with demons now wouldn’t kill me for you.’ Pretty sure.
Okay, so fighting his way out was looking more and more likely. Almost worse, even if he survived, he was going to miss the spring bonus, and Dean was going to be insufferable. But maybe—“Define profanation.”
Nathan smiled. “There’s a fair amount of flexibility. The traditional method is of course death, but … your brother’s extremely good-looking, as I’m sure you’re aware.”
“You want me to let someone fuck Dean,” Sam said, because clarity was really important here.
Nathan shook his head, a little disappointed now. “That wouldn’t be enough for this ritual. No, Sam, we want you to fuck him. Or kill him; we’re not picky.”
Even Dean was shocked into silence. Sam elected not to look at him.
The idea was like a great cliff seen from a speeding car: he knew it was there, and knew he was going to go over. But it still seemed unreal.
That was what the firm did, take the worst parts of a person and make them even more twisted. Temptation with a poison center. Beyond what it was going to do to Dean, Sam knew, this was about controlling him too. After he’d given them such a fantastic hostage (he had no doubt they’d be able to track Dean even if they set him free), the firm wasn’t going to give him as much leeway in the future. Even if he kept steering clients to safer, more ethical solutions, some clients wouldn’t be steered. Still, he didn’t have any choice here. “If I do this, you let him walk away?”
“Obviously, if he tries to take his revenge, all bets are off. But yes, we’ll close the books on this little incident.”
“How soon?” Sam asked, over Dean’s outraged grunts.
Nathan checked his watch. “Tonight’s free. Say, nine?”
“Fine,” Sam said.
“I’ll just let the two of you catch up, then. See you on subbasement five—make it 8:45 so we have some time to set up.”
Nathan left without a backwards glance. Dean had stopped making noise, but Sam could still feel his scrutiny. “I’m not going to untie you,” Sam said. “But I’ll take the gag out. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t try to bite me.”
When Sam dared to approach, Dean’s expression said exactly what Sam had expected: who the fuck are you and what happened to my baby brother? His lake-green eyes were exactly the same, darkened with fury and helpless incomprehension, as if being part of W&H was no worse a folly than going to college. He still had the freckles, but there were smile lines at the corners of his eyes now, and somehow he was more gorgeous than ever.
Sam spared a moment from his petty obsessions to be grateful that Dean was even alive, after Sam’s private detective had failed to find him or Dad three years running and had stopped taking Sam’s calls.
“They would have killed you, Dean,” Sam said as he tugged at the knot—whatever minion Nathan had gotten to do it (because a senior partner did not stoop to physical labor) had been vicious. “Believe it or not, I was trying to save your life.”
Dean didn’t make a sound in response.
“Did you know I was here?” Sam asked, once the gag was off. It hurt some to think that Dean and Dad cared so little that they wouldn’t even follow his career, but he guessed that’s what being cut off really meant.
Dean looked like he was thinking about pretending that Sam didn’t even exist, but then he shook his head. His lips were red and a little swollen where the gag had pressed most cruelly. His mouth was as lush and inviting as Sam remembered, but his face harder at the edges, the jaw firmer. “We couldn’t find you after you graduated. I thought you must’ve changed your name.”
“Alumni office says it doesn’t have any contact information. And I got that from a girl who was really pleased to cooperate with Homeland Security. Top of the class, and they still lost track of you; she was real embarrassed.”
Come to think of it, Sam wasn’t sure Wolfram & Hart’s website even listed the associates. And he lived in firm housing, with a company credit card. It made sense that the firm would swallow its employees whole information-wise, given how often it did so literally.
“Oh,” Sam said numbly. All this time he’d thought—not that it mattered now.
“You look good. Like a corporate tool, but I guess you want that, and I can’t believe you still get away with that hair. But, you know, good. And you still got the moves. You took me down fair and square.” Dean was speaking fast, and Sam felt a little lightheaded himself; Dean’s backwards compliments had rarely been so effusive. Then Dean, typically, took it all back: “Dad’s fine, by the way.” He waited, but Sam wasn’t going to be drawn into that fight, not with so little time remaining for him to see Dean, know he was safe. Dean cleared his throat and continued. “He got his hands on a weapon a few years back that he thinks can kill the demon.”
Like Sherlock Holmes, for John Winchester, there would always be only the demon. “That’s good,” Sam said, trying to convey his sincerity. Dean looked less impressed than the average judge. And then Sam really let himself think about his father. “What was Dad thinking, letting you come into a stronghold like Wolfram & Hart without any backup?”
“I’m a grown man, Sam, he didn’t fucking let me do anything!” Dean protested. Then he coughed. “He’s, uh, not answering his phone. Been like that a couple of weeks. I was looking for him when I caught wind of those bat-demons and figured I’d take care of them. I didn’t know this place was the freaking Noah’s Arc for evil things! Hell, I thought I was gonna save a bunch of people.”
“That’s because you never do your research,” Sam said, as if the years apart had dissolved. Though that was a little bit unfair: W&H did its best to keep a low profile.
“What are you doing, Sammy?” Dean asked, honestly bewildered. “Working for monsters.”
“Mostly I just write contracts,” Sam said.
Dean looked skeptical, and given the scene he’d interrupted today, Sam couldn’t blame him. “Sometimes you have to do things that are culturally appropriate even if they seem unusual or even immoral to us—”
“The only immoral thing is that you weren’t killing them all!” Dean snapped, tugging reflexively against the ropes tying him to the chair.
“Some demons just want to live and let live,” Sam argued. “Yes, not all of them, but there’s no reason to exclude an entire group of sentient beings from the law just because—”
“Because they’re monsters,” Dean repeated.
Dean wasn’t right. Sam had seen enough ordinary people with unusual bodily configurations to know that. But he wasn’t all wrong, at least not about Wolfram & Hart’s clientele.
“Look, none of that matters now. I’m going to get you out of here.”
“Before or after you make me your bitch?”
Sam bit his lip. It didn’t matter—he’d already lived years thinking that Dean hated him. Making that real wouldn’t be a change. “I’m sorry, Dean.”
That was when the security team arrived to take Dean and ‘prepare’ him. Sam thought about fighting back, or demanding to go with him, but both of those were likely to end bloody, and if there really was a ritual then Dean would be kept relatively safe for it. And Sam had something he needed to look up before he rejoined them.
Dean’s expression, when Sam found him trussed to the altar in the white room the partners used for important rituals, was not so much murderous as genocidal. Sam kept his own face neutral—all those hours of mediating between warring clans were good for something—and just observed that, while Dean was wearing a short white robe that looked straight out of a B movie, his clothes were neatly folded next to the altar. So either they were really planning to let him go after, or making a good show of planning to do so. With Wolfram & Hart, it could be hard to tell.
Dean’s arms were bound over his head, highlighting his biceps and the smooth sweep of his forearms. His legs were free, dangling over the edge of the altar, the terrycloth robe just hitting the tops of his thighs so that the only indecency was in the binding itself.
Sam checked the observation area. Ten associates were waiting to watch. He made sure to look at each one individually before he spoke. “Anyone who sticks around for this had better hope I don’t make partner.”
Eight skedaddled immediately. Joan, who Sam might’ve liked if she hadn’t been his best competition, didn’t move, and Sunil always took his cues from Joan. “What if I have instructions from a senior partner to take notes on your performance?”
Sam grinned at her. “Then you’d still better hope I don’t make partner.”
She snorted and picked up her purse, and Sunil followed her out.
There was no getting away from the other observers, and Dean wouldn’t thank him for driving the number down to anything over zero, but he’d done his best.
Incense was burning, smoky-sweet, and one of the executive assistants was carefully stencilling mystic symbols in a circle around the altar, using what seemed to be a spray can filled with blood. The circle was almost complete when Sam approached.
“What’s this little ritual do, Sammy?” Dean asked, no preamble, eyes locked on Sam’s face.
“Right now? It saves your life.” It was almost reassuring that Dean still thought Sam was reachable, morally.
Nathan emerged from one of the alcoves surrounding the main ritual area. “The preliminaries have already been finished, so you can get started any time.” He glanced at Sam’s crotch, and Sam couldn’t help the anger that heated every inch of his skin. “Your window’s about an hour, just so you know. And, here,” he held out a small tube of Liquid Silk. Sam’s skin crawled, but he took it.
He stepped carefully over the still-drying symbols, checked to make sure the assistant was gone, and got just close enough to Dean to be out of kicking range. “Dean, I need to know if you’re going to fight me.” In some of his long-ago daydreams, Dean had fought—Sam had found it difficult to imagine otherwise, sick as he was, sick enough to need to flee, sick enough to be perfect for the world’s most evil law firm. Back when he was just a kid, imagining Dean fighting had been reassuring: it was a fantasy, since Sam had been too scrawny to make Dean do anything to which Dean objected. Now struggle wouldn’t change the outcome.
Dean sneered. Sam took that as a no, trusting Dean’s pride to keep him from a futile resistance. Dean didn’t say a word when Sam pushed his knees apart, leaning over him to keep anyone else from getting a good view. His eyes widened plenty when Sam put a slick hand on his cock, though.
“I don’t want to hurt you,” Sam told him, and if it wasn’t all the way true it was true enough. “Close your eyes.” Let Dean imagine it was someone else, someone who didn’t miss him every day, someone who hadn’t seen him bleeding and shooting and driving until he was the only measure of Sam’s world and Sam was crazy with it. Sam closed his own eyes so he wouldn’t have to see.
Dean’s cock jumped against his hand, fattening as Sam worked it. He had to pause to lubricate the fingers of his other hand, but Dean’s erection hardly flagged when he pushed the first inside. Dean was breathing in harsh pants now. When Sam dared a look, Dean’s head was turned to the side, tendons of his neck standing out, sweat gleaming in the hollow of his throat and at his temple.
Another finger. Dean was so tight around him. Sam stroked experimentally until he found the spot that made Dean’s hips jerk and his breath catch. He couldn’t see his hand, only the bulge it made with Dean’s cock under the robe, but the moving shapes were obscene enough to make him shake with wanting. He hadn’t meant to say anything, had meant to allow Dean whatever illusions he could keep, but Dean’s hot dick in his hand, Dean’s sweet body clenching against Sam’s fingers—it was all too much. “Please,” he said, fumbling to get a third finger inside, to get Dean ready, “please, Dean, Dean.”
Dean’s entire body strained, his jaw clenched, and then he was coming. Sam could feel every pulse against his fingers, soaking into the fabric of the robe still clinging to Dean’s stomach. He wanted to rub off against Dean’s thigh, easier than anything else, but some shred of caution reminded him of why they were here. He worked his fingers free from Dean’s ass even as his other hand couldn’t help smoothing the mess over Dean’s skin.
He didn’t remember opening his pants or getting more lube, only the way Dean’s body trembled as he pressed the head of his cock against Dean’s hole. He couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think, could only push until he was slamming all the way in, skin slapping against Dean’s wet thighs, feeling his pants and his belt chafe against him because they were just hanging off his hips. It was uncomfortable and terrible and amazing, gripping Dean’s wrists as if Dean could somehow get away, biting his lip to keep from making noises that would betray him even worse than he’d already done.
Through the haze of pleasure, he became aware of Dean’s voice: Dean, whispering, voice wrecked. “’Sokay, Sam,” he was repeating. Forgiving, because that was what Dean did.
Sam pressed his forehead to Dean’s shoulder as the orgasm seized him, lighting up his spine and melting every nerve.
When Sam’s brain rebooted, he nearly fell on his ass pulling back—ignoring Dean’s hiss—and shoving himself back into his pants. He was disgusting, in every way, but Dean still needed him. His backup knife made short work of the rope binding Dean’s right wrist, and then he slapped the blade into Dean’s fingers so Dean could get himself the rest of the way free, without Sam touching him and with the comfort of a weapon of his own.
There were noises coming from the partners’ alcove, and Sam turned. His back was to Dean, but if Dean was going to punish him for this it wouldn’t be by sneak attack, so he didn’t worry.
“It didn’t work!” Nathan practically yelled as he stampeded into the circle, uncaringly smearing the bloody symbols on the floor.
“Oh, it worked,” Dean snarked in Sam’s peripheral vision, even as he snatched up his clothes.
Sam was more concerned with the probability that murder was still on the menu. “I did exactly what you told me!”
“And apparently, one or both of you doesn’t see it as a betrayal.”
Dean’s motions hitched for just a second, and then he finished fastening his jeans.
Sam was going to set that piece of information aside in the interests of greater Winchester survival. Time to take the offensive. “I’m leaving,” Sam said, looking Nathan in the eye.
“The employment contract you signed—”
For the first time in years, Sam didn’t worry about interrupting a partner. “I believe if you’ll check section three, you’ll see that the firm inserted a special rider in my case, dealing with the possibility of a superior claim to my services.”
Nathan’s face was getting red. “That was specifically intended to cover Azazel, not any human claim!”
Sam absolutely could not be distracted by the question, which Dean was now loudly voicing, of who the fuck Azazel was. “The holder of such a claim was left undefined. My brother has several pending charges in at least six jurisdictions, not to mention the more general claim to my family loyalties, which you’ve just acknowledged exists. So I am giving you my notice, which under the contract is effective immediately, and I am leaving.”
“You’ll regret this!” Nathan shouted at Sam’s retreating back. “You think some hunters can keep you safe from Azazel?”
Dean made as if to stop and go back to beat answers out of Nathan, but Sam grabbed his arm and dragged him along. “Not here,” he said. “There’s too many of them and—” you’re in no condition to fight, he didn’t finish, but Dean didn’t look like he needed a full explanation. Wordlessly, he followed Sam to the elevators.
“Azazel,” Dean said, when they were staring at the doors taking them to the surface.
“The yellow-eyed demon?” Sam had never encountered one of those at Wolfram & Hart, but he had a bad feeling that he was going to.
“Don’t know. Never had a name for it.”
“At least we’ve got somewhere to start,” Sam suggested. He’d swing by his apartment, pack some clothes, and then—
“We?” In Dean’s question Sam heard every snippy teenage thing he’d ever said to Dean, back when he thought that his intelligence might allow him to reason his way out of wanting Dean in all the wrong ways. He’d convinced Dean that Sam didn’t want to be around his brother, but he’d never convinced himself, and he didn’t know how to explain what he felt in a way Dean would hear, even setting aside the whole incestuous lust thing.
The elevator doors dinged and opened. Dean stepped off, his stride only a little stiff, and after a moment Sam followed. “Dean, I’m so—”
“Thought you made it pretty clear you were done with this family,” Dean continued, his jaw so tight Sam was amazed he could even speak. “Even if the monsters kicked you out, doesn’t mean you can’t be a fancy lawyer somewhere else.”
Yeah, Sam was sure his reference from W&H would be glowing. On fire, anyway. But that wasn’t really the point. Dean was talking like Sam was the one with a choice to make, like he’d meant it mid-fuck when he’d told Sam it was okay. “Dean,” he said again, as they emerged into the LA night, mild and glittering. Dean wasn’t looking at him, and maybe that was a good sign; Sam would take denial and awkwardness over abandonment. “I understand if you don’t want—if you can’t forgive me. But I need to find out why even Wolfram & Hart was so afraid of this Azazel that they’d let me go. And if you can stand it, I could really use your help.”
“It’s not the standing I’m worried about,” Dean grumbled, then looked like he regretted opening his mouth. For his part, Sam didn’t know whether that was a classic inappropriate Dean joke or … something even more confusing.
Dean ducked his head, and Sam knew he’d won even before Dean started to speak. “Okay, Sammy. Just don’t get any funny ideas about driving my car.”