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Regrets

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“Dean just listen to me-” Sam spluttered.

“No!” Dean yelled, suddenly spinning and turning on his brother, shoving him up against the Impala so hard Sam winced, “You listen to me. You’ve done nothing but get in the way. I should have never gotten you back in the first place. You just slow me down.”

“That’s not true,” Sam shook his head, “Dean you know that’s not true. Please-”

“I’ll go all the way back to the beginning,” Dean snarled, “You left us, Sammy! You left me!”

“Dad liked you!” Sam shot back, shoving his brother off him, “He despised me! I never got my crusts cut off by mom, or looked at like the way dad looked at you.”

“What so you think I had it fine all my life?” Dean laughed with no humor, “At least you got a goodnight! If I ever dared tell that man good night he’s say I was too old for goodnights, to suck it up, and go to bed. And you know what I said? Every time, I said yes sir. It was always yes sir. I never talked back like you. Ever.”

“Dean, I-” Sam faltered, knowing he had pushed too far, “I’m sorry.”

“A little late for that Sammy. Every since I pulled you from that fire, you became my responsibility. My burden.”

 

When I woke from the endless sea of black, I didn’t remember much, like how long I had been unconscious. I take it no one ever does. Unconsciousness seems like a nice state of mind to be in if you really think about it: calm and silent. Yet there’s an urge to wake back up, and a fear of not knowing what’s going on while you are helpless and vulnerable. Ultimately, that’s what woke me. I had been trying to reason with my conscious on whether or not I should stop fighting entirely and just die right there on the street. Maybe I could have. Probably not. But I like to congratulate myself that I hypothetically chose not to slip into a hypothetical coma and just be cool that it would be hypothetically the end of it. I don’t know how long it took for me to win that internal argument.

Looking back, part of me wished I had listened to it, because the pain I experienced when I awoke was unbearable; as if it had been bundled up for a lifetime. I felt the wave coming from a mile away, my eyelids fluttering, mouth in a tight line, hands balled into fists as I tried desperately to regain consciousness. The wave of agony acted as the catalyst as it rushed me, crashing into my chest and sending chills down my spine. In that instant, my five senses spiraled back to reality, fusing in a shattering crash.

The overload caused my brain to spin and my ears to ring as I blinked, all while still trying to breach the surface of suffocating darkness. I finally woke to a bright, flickering light that chased shadows, shedding a soft white glow on the quiet street. A scream of pain pulled at my throat, scratching the sides, and I painfully swallowed it back down. Never show weakness. I had lived by that rule, and centered myself around that mantra. I wasn’t exactly energized or motivated by the phrase. More like driven by it. It forced me to get through each day, building a stronger exterior, that would help me stand up against the awful things I had to do to keep this world safe. This phrase, and the actions that ensue, became an everyday routine for me, but I never thought my life would cause me this much pain, which by now, was dulled by the familiarity and repetition.

Despite my damaged state, I knew I needed to move. I could hear the unmistakable sound of sirens and shouts, getting closer. I had roughly 30 seconds to get out of sight. It had stopped raining a little while ago, but I could still hear the slow drips of runoff in the gutters nearby. I sucked in a breath and sat up, my head pounding. Water plastered my hair to my forehead. I grabbed my gun, tucking into the waistband and made sure none of my other possessions dropped out of my pocket.

20 seconds now...

Shivering, while painfully unclenching my cramped hands, I tried to regain control of my own limbs. Turning myself over on my side, and pushing my palms flat against the rough ground, I struggled to my hands and knees.

10 seconds…

I had already seen where I wanted to hide - an alleyway about 15 feet away, hidden by shadows- a spot where the gentle lamplight glow couldn’t reach. I tested my weight on my bad ankle and it surprisingly held.

1 second-

The police rounded the corner, guns raised, stopped, and angrily saw nothing; hearing only faint noises in the night that were as inconspicuous as a gust of wind. The thought that a wounded hunter in the shadows, with green eyes and a buzz cut, sneaking down the alleyway mere feet from them never crossed their minds.

I smirked to myself, my eyes adjusting to the darkness as I picked up my pace, looking over my shoulder every once in a while to make sure I wasn’t followed. The moon was the brightest source of light, until that too was swallowed up by a blanket of clouds. All that was left was a flickering lamp post. I frowned at it, mentally bashing the electrical system in this ghost town; this job had seriously taken me out of my comfort zone.

At the end of the alley, I came face to face with a rusty linked fence.

“Son of a- you’ve got to be kidding.”

Scowling and grumbling, I hooked my hand around the gate links and started climbing; my shoes slipping against the smooth, wet metal, trying to gain traction. Flopping miserably to the ground on the opposite side, I sighed and flipped down my collar, straightening my jacket as I emerged out of the shadows.

A man, in his late 70’s, with tired eyes and clouded breath from the brisk night air, caught sight of me from across the cobblestoned street. With a long broom in his hand, he stopped sweeping the dust away from his storefront that had surely already been carried away by the storm. The oddity didn’t phase me. I’d seen weirder. Far weirder. But it still made me give him a weird look and quicken my pace. I mimed tipping a hat sarcastically and gave him a quick cocky smile before I half ran to my Impala, fingering the keys in my hand and sliding into the familiar front seat. I shoved the key in the ignition and couldn’t help but look over at the empty passengers seat.

Shoving the thoughts and pain out of my mind I knew where I was headed next. It wasn’t that I couldn’t go in. It was a matter of if I wanted to. With what had happened tonight, I had to stay off the streets, and not bleed to death. Bobby’s was too risky, not this early. But here...it was possible, if anyone was following me, that they’d think I’d be here for a drink, not to patch up and call on a favor from an old...friend.

My hand twitched awkwardly as my bloodied knuckles made contact with the wood and I pushed. The door opened after an suspenseful minute and a voice said,

“We’re…” there was a pause as the girl with a flannel tied around her waist and her curly blonde hair falling loosely around her shoulders stood there, a bin of empty glasses in her hands. She finished her sentence in a low whisper. “...closed.”

She set the bin down and wiped her hands on her jeans, narrowing her eyes and stepping forward, silhouetted by the bar lights behind her. I looked slightly up, meeting eyes with her as she made her way over. She stopped right in front of me, chewing on lips as if debating what to do.

I wouldn’t have been surprised if she slammed the door in my face. Jo pursed her lips then, and did quite the opposite. She grabbed a fist full of my coat and yanked me inside, taking a quick look at the empty street, before slamming the door no more than a millimeter behind me. Then her hand came back and slapped me hard across the face. I had expected that, and I could have blocked it easily, but decided not to. Her eyes remained soft and caring, but I had yet to hear her voice.

"That's for not calling for a month," Jo said smugly, a smirk tugging at the corner of her mouth and similarly at mine.

Then, she hugged me... This WAS a surprise, and I awkwardly hugged her back, unsure at first, but it soon became natural. She sank into my embrace and for a second, I breathed normally as some of the pain started to ebb...at least before my mind asked me what the heck I was thinking. I couldn’t do that to her. She was like a sister to me. I pulled away immediately and I saw her jeans and tank top were now splotched with dirty water from my coat. She didn’t seem to mind.

Instead she looked me over, her eyes scanning every inch of my body. Her gaze lingered on a spot on my shoulder; the blood making a visible appearance, even mixed with the rain. Pondering what to do or say next, Jo took part in a nervous habit of hers: picking at the frays in the flannel lose around her waist.

“What’s the occasion?”

“A drink?” I said weakly. My leg slightly buckled and I grabbed the door frame for support but somehow found her shoulder instead.

“Dean,” she said realizing my condition and helping me cross the room. Her eyes flicked to my wounds and for a split second I saw fear ripple over her expression before she regained composure.

She crumpled her nose suddenly, looking up at me in annoyance, “You smell.”

“Oh really?” I raised my eyebrows and cleared my throat, trying to seem professional, “Well, I’ll just go home, shower, and come back in a tux.”

“You look like you had a fight with a cement block...and lost,” she said.

“Something like that,” I groaned as she pulled up a chair for me.

Jo resisted the smile that tugged at her lips, “I’m guessing bruised ribs too? You tensed when I hugged you. But that could have been just because it was such a shock. Or, does nothing shock the great Dean Winchester?”

“If I stick my hand in the outlet that should do the trick,” I grinned.

“That sounds like something dumb you’d do,” she said, pouring me a drink before she turned sharply, undoing the loose knot around her waist and draping the flannel on the chair before she went into the back room.

“I do a lot of dumb stuff,” I called after her, shoving the empty glass forward.

Jo emerged again with a first aid kit, “That’s an understatement. Anyway, you’re gonna have to take that jacket off unless you want me to sew it on permanently. I’ll give it back I promise,” she teased.

“Parting is such sweet sorrow,” I groaned as I peeled off my beloved utility jacket. She sucked in a quick breath when she saw the wound on my shoulder. Her state of shock came from either the severity of the wound or the fact that the rest of my shirt was covered in blood. I didn’t think it would help if I assured her it wasn’t all mine.

“I’m guessing you won’t believe me if I said I’m ok,” I said slowly.

“Good guess,” she said harshly. “What was the job?”

“Are you asking out of general interest or because you don’t have any pain meds for me?” I groaned.

“Genuine interest,” she grinned, “Morphine’s for the weak.”

“Uh huh. Well since you’re so eager to know, it was a shapeshifter. Saved 2 people,” I gritted my teeth as the needle made its first loop through my skin, “but I can bet you they’ll report me to the police and I’ll have another sketch of this handsome face.”

Jo shook her head and rolled her eyes. “Same old, same old.”

I took a deep breath, “I’m sure they’ll be in the paper tomorrow. 2 unexplained killings, and a nice picture of me.”

Jo smirks, “They never get your nose right.”

“They never get anything right,” I pointed out. “They don’t know the truth.”

“Well it’s not like you could tell them. They wouldn’t believe you,” she said, biting her lip. “But, you’d think they’d slowly catch onto the fact that when you kill a ‘person’ and it’s a shapeshifter, they assume it’s a twin. But there’s never any record of the people having twins.”

“Because they aren’t people,” I scoffed.

Jo made a small huff of agreement.

“I killed 2 of them actually. The town was marked in my father’s journal, and then he crossed it out. Which was the reason I went there in the first place because there had been more disturbances. Normally, supernatural beings don’t fall back to an old place where they get torched,” I shrugged, which was a mistake since my arm was being stitched up.

“Idiot. Sit still,” she sighed before continuing.

“I like how it’s normal for hunters like us to be a criminal for saving lives.”

“Oh definitely. I sleep great at night,” I slurred. Jo smiled at my sarcasm, narrowing her eyes as she threaded another stitch. I grit my teeth, and tightened up against the needle.

She winced, “Sorry, did that hurt?”

“I’ve been tortured by demons in hell, so nope. Felt wonderful,” I sarcastically remarked.

“Right,” she said, losing focus again and missing with the needle.

“For the love of God!” I jerked back, only making the pain worse as the thread tightened.

“You don’t learn do you?” Jo rolled her eyes and laughed lightly.

“Definitely not.” She finished up the last stitch and tied the knot with a slight smirk, before tossing me the first aid kit for my less severe wounds.

“Knock yourself out,” she said, looping around the counter and grabbed a wet rag to clean up the bar.

“How’s Ellen?" I asked.

"Still afraid of her?" Jo teased.

"No," I said unconvincingly, looking up to defend myself, "Hey, you know that look she gets and the way she narrows her eyes at you. That woman's scary- don't tell her I said that," I said quickly. I waved my hand to try and erase the past minute, "I see you’re working here again. Last time I heard, you ran away,” I grabbed the kit and started patching myself up.

Jo scowled, “I didn’t run away. I went hunting. Like an adult. Which is what I am. And she’s fine.”

I wanted to point out that she wasn’t an adult- at least not to me. I still saw her as a young woman, inexperienced and vulnerable, like a little sister. Yet I was suddenly distracted by the Hello Kitty band-aids laid out in the case. I had no choice but to use one for a medium cut on my hand. “I hate cats,” I grumbled, folding the comical pink strip around my thumb.

“Oh, did you want the normal ones?” she asked innocently, holding up another box and grinning sweetly.

I glared at her, before I remembered, “Oh and, and- there was a symbol on the stone by the sewer.”

Jo looked up, setting her elbows on the counter and leaning her chin on her hands, “What kind of symbol?”

“That’s what I need to find out,” I said.

“Well, where are you heading next?” she asked.

I shrugged; I hadn’t really thought of that. “Probably lay low for a few days. I know this job isn’t over. Not until I find out why they keep coming back. It’s like a hydra that town. Sam and I killed a ghoul and a ghost a couple years ago.” I smiled at the memory, chuckling slightly and turning to my shoulder where my brother would usually be, close and protective, with a smile on his face, recalling a hunt. The bar stool was empty and I lowered my head to scratch the back of my neck. I loudly cleared my throat, returning another empty glass.

“Anyway,” I said quickly. Jo had been watching me, and I knew she could tell I was in pain, a pain from memories, a pain from reminiscing.

Then she looks up at me and I can feel it coming. “Do you miss him?”

 

“Burden- Dean you don’t mean that,” Sam choked, shaking now as his brother closed in on him again.

“Darn right!” Dean yelled, “I’ve always had to look after you. My birthday, I was 18. You ran away. I got no happy birthday from dad, I got ‘son you better find him or you’re dead’. When I got home without you... “

Dean swore, shaking his head and doing his signature furious smile reserved for only when Dean was extremely pissed. It scared Sam and he backed up against the car, wincing as he brushed the spot on his back that had been slammed against the hood.

“I’ve always had to take care of you. Always. After everything you’ve put me through. And after everything I’ve done for you? I spent 40 years in hell to save you Sam, and what do you do? Sneak around behind my back with Ruby and then start the apocalypse, then go to hell and have no soul, scratch at the wall that I had to kill people for to put there... I’m constantly having to come save you- when does it stop? Will it? Because Sam I don’t know if I can do it anymore.”

“What do you mean?” Sam said, his lower lip trembling.

“I think we’re better off going our separate ways.”

 

I furrow my eyebrows and grabbed another drink from her, “Miss who?”

“Cut the crap Dean. Have you even called him? Talked to him? Made sure he was ok?” she said angrily.

I glared at her, “Don’t try and guilt trip me. This was his fault.”

“And your decision,” Jo shot back, crossing her arms, “He’s your brother.”

“Yeah I know that,” I snapped.

“Call him,” Jo demanded.

I raised an eyebrow, “What?”

Jo nodded, “Are you deaf? Call him you idiot.”

“Later,” I said dismissively.

“Yeah whatever Mr. I'm handling this fine. I know you Dean, and I know when you're faking it. I see right through this act of yours. You do miss him,” she decided, smiling a bit, “it’s not the same. It always used to be Sam and Dean. You need him by your side. You thought it would be easier, not having someone to look after but it’s harder. You need to look after him. It’s your responsibility. And you’re realizing you can’t run from it.”

“Yeah?” I mocked, “say you’re right. Sam doesn’t feel the same.”

Jo blinked, sighing, “Actually he does. Called me a week ago. Asked about you. I asked why he called and he didn’t seem to know. But you know how he sounded?”

“Better off without me,” I smiled with no happiness and sipped half of my drink down.

“Broken,” Jo said. “He needs you just as much as you need him.” I made a face of annoyance, nodding her off, but internally it was a different story. Jo decided her ‘set Dean straight’ talk was over and let out a sigh.

“Do you need anything else?”

“No,” I said quickly, “And no one can know I’m here ok, at least not for personal reasons.”

“This was personal?” Jo smiled, catching me up in my words.

“I mean other than stopping by for a drink,” I snapped, but it had no anger. I looked nervously at the windows, “I don’t think anyone or anything followed me-”

“Dean I’m a hunter same as you. It’s ok. I can handle myself.”

“You have no place in this mess,” I promised her, “I’ve made enemies. Including hunters. You’d think they’d be thrilled we started the apocalypse, but no, they just want to kill us,” I shrugged sarcastically, handing her another empty cup which she raised her eyebrows at and put in the sink to my annoyance.

“I know you’ve made enemies. It’s apart of the job. And I have every bit a place as you do,” she said fiercely.

“Yeah? Well there’s enough death in this world as it is. We’re just- I’m just trying to figure it out,” I said firmly, before getting to my feet, wincing at my slip up. I stood too quickly, but immediately, Jo was around the counter and at my side. She caught my good arm, steadying me as I wobbled.

“Im fine,” I lied, shaking my head to clear the dizziness.

“Yeah, right,” she muttered, straightening my soaked jacket.

I adjusted it with a smirk, sobered my expression, and then walked to the door. “I should...go.”

“What am I, a drive thru?” she joked, but there was a tinge of annoyance, “You could stay, you know.”

“We both know I can’t,” I said, already crossing the room, “If any hunter finds out I was here, just tell them I forced you to help me, ok? I’m kinda off the map currently, and like I said: enemies.” I said, faking a smile, reaching for the cold handle of the door.

“Dean?” she said softly. I froze at the sound of my first name being said alone, and with a certain compassion behind it. Something I hadn’t heard in months- frankly since Sam and I parted ways.

“The end of the world? Lucifer? All that crap you're going through right now?” Jo said, walking slowly over, wringing a towel between her hands, “I know it wasn’t your fault. They don’t know the truth. But, I do.”

“That’s what scares me,” I said, trying to smile and failing.

“Well it doesn’t scare me,” she convincingly shot back.

“It should!”

“Why?” She asked, her eyes flashing, grabbing a fistful of my jacket as I tried to put my hand on the door again.

“Why?” I spluttered, “because this- this is bigger, this is badder than anything we’ve faced. First it was the apocalypse. Now it's leviathans and whatever else I currently have on my plate. And now Sam- you know what, whatever, point is..." I took a breath, "It’s not a story anymore it’s reality. This all should scare you. Cause I sure as hell know it scares me! But ya know what scares me more?” I said, hating how my voice trembled, “I don’t know if we can fix this one Jo! We screwed up! We...we always screw up...”

I trailed off, hanging my head. She didn’t back up, loosen her grip on my jacket, or even flinch. I was slightly shocked at that. We locked eyes and glared in silence, but there was no anger behind our cold stares.

“If there’s anyone that I think could save the world again and again and again, it would be you,” she said calmly.

I stood there, breathing hard, but somehow calmed down. I nodded, and gave a small, “Thanks.”

She gave me a weak smile and nodded, her voice cracking in the slightest bit of emotion, “Just be careful, ok? I wish I could do more.”

“It’s fine. I don’t want you involved,” I said, gently pulling my coat from her grip.

“You can’t do this by yourself, Dean. When is this burden going to be heavy enough that you can’t lift it anymore? Even with Sam helping you could barely stand straight with the pressure,” she said.

Again I retorted to humor, “Are you saying I don’t lift? I kill monsters and demons for a living. I’ve got the muscle,” I joked, completely ignoring the Sam part, even though I knew she was right.

“I’m not kidding,” she frowned, “you’re not invincible.”

“Eh, I think I am,” I winked flashing my confident smile.

Jo gave a slight laugh. Instantly, there was an awful feeling in my chest, tight and painful, and I didn’t like it.

My mind said, I don’t get attached. I don’t have the luxury of feelings. The people around me die. Or leave. Just like Sam.

 

“Dean, no-” Sam pleaded.

“I’m done Sam,” Dean shook his head, “I’m done. I can’t.”

“So what, you’re just gonna give up on me? Just like everyone else?” Sam yelled, pushing Dean in the chest, making him stumble back.

“I am the one person who has never given up on you Sam!” Dean yelled back, completely furious, “Every time, I always come around. Always. And then you just screw up again!”

“Fine! I’m a screw up! I admit that! But Dean, I’m trying,” Sam snapped angrily.

Dean scoffed, “Yeah sure, you’re trying. Just how you tried to act like nothing was wrong when mom died, when dad died, when bobby died. It’s like none of it affected you!”

Sam stumbled back on his own accord, as if his brothers words smacked him in the face. He let out a weak whimper, “Dean-”

“It’s like you didn’t even care!” Dean yelled, “You left me for Stanford, then you left me for Ruby, and then you left me for Lucifer-”

“I was trying to save you!” Sam spluttered, tears coming to his eyes.

“After beating me to a pulp!” Dean nodded sarcastically, “Nice move.”

“That wasn’t me!” Sam protested, his throat dry, “Dean you know that wasn’t me.”

Dean’s eyes narrowed, “Well part of me think you enjoyed it.”

 

I blinked and shook my head to regain my concentration.

“Don’t be a stranger,” she said, giving me a small smile and gently pushing my chest.

“Yeah,” I said roughly, “I’ll call.”

“Will you?” she asked.

“I will,” I nodded, “I promise.”

She gave me a small smile and nodded.

“Dean?” 

I looked over my shoulder and locked eyes with her. I allowed myself one moment of happiness as I gazed at her before I nodded. Then I flipped the sign to closed, walked out, and closed the door firmly behind me. The cold wind blew through my jacket, and I instantly shivered. The clouds had parted above me, and the moon was visible once again. I knew I had to get out of this town, at least for a while. I would just hit the road.

And so I walked, my footsteps a steady rhythm, across the road to my car, spinning the keys along my thumb. My boots crunched in the gravel. I lowered my head further to hide my eyes as I opened the door. I was nothing more than a stranger in this world, ready for the next fight. One who never looked back.

I got in my car and turned the key in the ignition roughly, wincing as that movement jerked my shoulder. I gave a sigh, pulled out onto the main street, and put the town in my rear view mirror.

 

Sam choked visibly hurt, “Dean how could you say that-”

“Face it Sam!” Dean shrugged, “We were bound to fall apart eventually. Maybe this is it. Maybe we’re finally done.”

“Why don’t you trust us? After everything we’ve been through? We’re brothers Dean!” Sam shouted, his eyes flashing.

“Because I don’t trust you,” Dean said plainly.

Sam’s vision goes red, and without thinking, he punches Dean hard across the face. His brother stumbled back, before he snarled and came at Sam, hitting him once in the stomach and then evening it out with a punch across the face. Sam hit the ground and scrambled to his feet, stunned, clutching his side.

“Just go Sam. You’re better off without me and I’m better off without you,” Dean said, getting Sam’s backpack out of the trunk and dropping it on the gravel at his feet. Dean opened the door to the Impala and got in, slamming the door. The window was still down but Dean wouldn’t look at him.

“Dean-” Sam said weakly.

Dean closed the window and put the key in the ignition. He turned it roughly and revved the engine before he drove away, leaving Sam watching the beloved car that held so many memories leave him in it’s dust.

Chapter Text

“I’ll make this simple.” I snarled dragging the knife's sharp edge through the shirt's fabric, “This a big demon showdown? What the heck is the occasion?”

The man smiles, his eyes pure black, blood dripping from his mouth, courtesy of my sore elbow. He tried once again to squeeze his hands through the ropes around his wrists, but I had tied those- and they weren’t coming off. I walked carefully, stepping over my markings, as if to not mess up the devil’s trap.

“Why should I tell you?” he said mockingly, speaking each word slowly as if I needed to hear them one by one.

“Because I’m the only reason you’re still alive,” I snarled, “so I would stop smiling if I were you. I’ve killed too many demons to count. You’ll just add to the list.”

I see a flicker of fear in the man’s gaze and I smirk at it. “You’ve realized I’m not joking, which is good. Maybe you’re not dumber than you look,” I hissed.

He growled- soft and threatening. I smiled cockily and spoke in a voice dripping with sarcasm, “Is that supposed to scare me?” I sliced again with the knife, making him howl before I doused him with holy water. The I repeated the process, but not before I dipped the wet blade in salt, making another stab wound.

“I’ll...never...tell...you…” he gasped out, wincing in pain.

“Well I haven’t got plans tonight. I can do this all day,” I snarled, readying the salt and holy water.

“Wait wait wait!” he spluttered, jerking in the chair, “they’re after your brother.”

“My brother?” I did a double take.

“They’re going for him,” he breathed.

"Why?" I growled. Despite being extremely pissed at him, I would always be protective of Sam, "I said WHY?" My yell echoed throughout the deserted warehouse and my fights were tight. He must have seen me clench teh knife and move slightly forward because he quickly stumbled over his words in a hurry to talk.

"He's powerful. Crowley has something planned for him. We're building an army- to fight back against the angels..." he gasped.

I nodded, "That explains the wings at the sight. Go on?"

"That's all I know," he shook his head so violently I thought it would twist, "I swear. I don't get to know much, I've barely even seen the guy-"

I dumped the remainder of the holy water down his back. He screamed, arching his back and yanking the wrists that held him tight, "I told you everything I know! I swear! I told you what you wanted!” he screamed.

“I know,” I said firmly, before I hefted the salt gun and headed for the door.

“You’re just gonna leave me here?” He laughed then, and to any other person it might have been unsettling, but I was unphased. He spoke again, putting the last nail in his coffin, “Maybe you aren’t the Winchester everyone talks about.”

“Maybe,” I said thoughtfully. I pulled the fire alarm and the sprinklers turned on.

The demon howled as salted holy water rained down on him- a little trick I had learned from my dad. Then for extra measure, and without looking, I aimed the gun behind me, cocked it, and fired off 5 rounds as I stormed for the door, knowing the bullets had found their target; I never miss.

 

As I walked out of the building, I saw my hand was shaking, covered in blood. I quickly found the source- a cut on my upper arm that had dripped down and painted my forearm red. I wiped it as best I could and ripped a piece of my shirt to tie around the cut. Good enough.

Then I clenched my hand, digging my fingernails into my palm as I forced the pain down that was swelling up in my chest. Swallowing a lump in my throat I felt the familiar pang in my heart. I had killed another. A mixture of pride, relief, sadness and horror resonated through me and I cleared my throat and blinked once.

I grabbed my phone and flipped it open. A text from Jo had popped up.

5 words.

I said to call him.

I cursed. Why did Jo know me so well? Call him. Call him. I sighed and looked down at my phone as if that would help me make a decision. I rubbed my thumb along the smooth side- even got so far as to scroll down. I set my eyes on my brother's name.

Call him. What was I thinking?

I shoved the phone in my pocket and slid into the front seat of my car, shoving the key in the ignition.

Did I miss the person who used to always be in the passenger’s seat? Smiling, laughing, singing, shouting back at me, being a nerd with his weird references and short quips about my taste in music...my brother. My pain in the- Did I miss him?

Maybe.

 

I leaned heavily against the door of my motel room and tossed my keys onto the bed beside me, setting my bag down on the rack offered. I poured myself a drink, taking a deep breath and doing a firm run down of the place, before checking the windows to make sure I wasn’t followed and then bolting and locking the door.

I then sank down on the mattress on the right. Sam always had called the bed on the left so that he could be closer to the desk where he did his research. I had gotten a 2 bedroom room without thinking; it had become natural the way it rolled off my tongue whenever I had a case with Sam.

The room seemed clear and I stashed a nice pen I found away in my duffel bag. For the first time in a week, I could relax.

I called the local pizza place, taking off my pistol as I did so, keeping the phone firm between my shoulder and neck. Then I set it down and turned on the TV as I cleaned my guns, draping a towel on the bed so I wouldn’t get soot on the comforter.

My phone lay on the bed, tempting me. My hand itched to pick it up and dial the number but I just scratched at my palm and focused. After 5 episodes of Dr. Sexy M.D., 2 beers, a weird encounter with the pizza deliver guy, I had finished half the box and was starting to fall asleep. It was good to finally relax...to not worry about someone bursting through the door, or what was happening to Sam, or if he was safe or not, or if I was doing my job taking care of him…

At that thought, I turned off the TV and noticed where I was sitting on the bed. The far left, near the bedside, as close as I could to the bed next to me. That had become a habit since I was little, always sleeping as close as I could so that if anything happened to Sam I could get to him as fast as possible, ripping the gun out from under my pillow and murdering anyone who dared touch my little brother.

That's it, I thought, I’m calling him. Before I could change my mind, I pressed my hand to the bridge of my nose and dialed, bringing the phone up to my ear.

“Hello Dean,” came the response. In less than a millisecond I knew it wasn’t Sam.

I stood up, getting off the bed, tense and alert, “Who is this?”

“Your worst enemy,” he said.

I smiled fakely, “On my brother’s phone?”

“We were just about to call you actually,” he said cheerfully.

“Oh well I’m flattered. Who's we?” I said fearfully.

“Oh he’s here too. Sam, say hello.”

My heart dropped. Oh God no, please no-

“Dean-” That was Sam. That was Sammy. I gripped the phone in my hand so tight.

“Sammy?” I said softly, my voice breaking. It was so good to hear his voice but I could tell it was strangled by pain and fear.

Sam spoke shakily, “Dean- it’s a trap- don’t-”

A heard a sound like a punch and a second later my brother yells in pain. I winced, clenching my hands as I heard another identical sound of a punch.

“Sam!” I yelled into the phone, my vision turning red.

“That felt good. Anyway, Sam, could you give me a minute to talk to your brother?”

My hands started shaking and I forced the phone to my ear, “Who the heck are you?” I snarled into the phone.

“A demon who wants you dead,” came the response, “And I have something of yours. It would be a shame if I returned it...more...broken than it already is.”

Another yell of pain from Sam. I spoke through gritted teeth, getting a lock on Sam’s phone as I stalled, but meaning every word. “Look, I don’t know who the hell you are, but you listen to me you piece of crap. If he is not in one piece when I come for you, you will be in millions of pieces. I will find you, and I will kill you slowly and painfully, I promise. I am your worst enemy. I’m the one you should be afraid of.”

“But see, I’m not afraid. Because I have leverage. One flick to Sammy’s precious head and you’ll be doing whatever I say.”

I could practically hear the smirk in his words and I slammed my hand down on the side table; I couldn’t take it anymore. I dug my nails into my palms and swore, “You touch my brother and I’ll kill you. I’ll kill you all.” I slammed my hand down so hard on the bedside table that it toppled over, shattering on the floor. I was shaking in anger as I yelled, “I will kill you all!”

“Scary Dean,” the man laughed, but that sentence seemed to have more impact than my previous threats, probably from the pure anger in my voice. The confident tone was long gone.

He spoke away from the phone, “What are you smirking at?”

I almost smiled; I knew he was talking to Sam. I heard a slap and Sam tried to stifle a groan. I gripped the phone, “Let. My brother. Go.”

“Afraid you’ll have to persuade me,” he taunted.

“Oh, I will," I snarled, "With a bullet to the head. Hang in there Sammy, ok?” There was a pause and I heard Sam say something inaudible, no doubt in pain. The sound of his low whimper felt like a cold fist was punching me in the chest over and over. I had let this happen. This was my fault. God, I regretted everything.

“Enough threats-” the man said, trying to regain control of the blackmail call.

“Maybe I didn’t make myself clear,” I snapped, grabbing my bag and walking to the door with it over my shoulder. I unlocked the door and walked out, hanging the keys on the hook. I gripped the keys to my Impala firm in my hand and slid into the front seat, shoving my duffel behind me as I pulled out, my phone in front of me, showing me a lock on the location of Sam’s phone.

“I didn’t threaten. I promised. I’ll be standing behind you in less than 24 hours and the minute I lay eyes on you, I’m sending you back to hell, do you understand me? You’ll be dead before you hit the ground. I'm coming for you. Enjoy your last day on earth.”

Then I hung up.

 

I slowed the Impala to a stop and got out, tucking a pistol in my waistband, and clutching a salt gun in one hand, and bottle of holy water in the other. I switched the bottle out for my phone in my pocket of my utility coat and flipped it up. It was still tracking Sam, and it said I was 400 feet away.

I zeroed in on what looked to be a broken down house and narrowed my eyes. I briskly walked up the brick steps and and tried the handle quietly. Locked. Screw picking the lock; it looked like it was from 1960. A backed up a couple steps, lifted my leg and kicked the door down, snapping off as hinge and spraying dust up at every angle. I dove in, leveling my salt gun. As my eyes swept the place, shattered furniture and cobwebbed corners, my heart dropped. The lights were off and the house was silent.

At least until I heard a slight creak from upstairs.

I immediately snapped my head up, looking up at the ceiling and slowly, my eyes skimming the house. I made my way over to the stairs I had found, leading up to the 2nd level. Raising my gun, I listened for more noise. It was definitely from the last room. I walked silently over, wincing as my clumsy foot hit a weak spot in the floor and caused a disruption to the silence. The muffled sound came again from the room at the end of the hall and sprinted, slamming my shoulder into the door and barging in, gun raised, ready to murder everyone in that room. But as I looked around the emptiness, my eyes fell on a thing on the center of the floor.

Sam's phone lay open, it's screen a bright light amidst the darkness. I bent down to see a note under it and my hands started to tremble. I had assured myself that whatever those demons were doing to him, i'd be able to get him out today. To know that they were one step ahead of me was discomforting, and for fear of them hurting my brother, horrifying. With shaking hands I bent down and slipped the note out from under the phone. 

It simply read.

We're one step ahead of you. Dial first contact. We need to talk.

I grabbed my brother's phone and slammed my finger on the contact button and put the phone up to my ear.

"Oh well look who it is," a voice taunted on the other end, "hello Dean."

"Screw you," I growled lowly, "Where's my brother?"

"Oh he's right here," there was shuffling and then a loud cry of pain crackled through the phone. I jerked the phone back, clenching it hard and brought my fist to my mouth. I bit my cheek so hard I tasted blood.

"STOP IT!" I finally demanded, my voice breaking. The scream ceased and Sam let out a shaky breath, exhausted and in pain. I shook my head, surprised to find tears in my eyes from hearing my little brother in pain. 

"Sammy here was-" the demon started.

"Don't. Call me. Sammy," Sam said slowly, gasping for breath.

"Only Dean calls you that right?" The demon taunted, "Well he's not here right now."

"I'm going to enjoy it when Dean kills you," Sam muttered weakly.

"Darn right," I barked. 

"Well it's 24 hours Dean and," he paused, "you're not behind me."

I cursed and almost hung up the phone, vowing to track him down but his next sentence changed my mind.

"Don't hang up on me Dean. I'm one step ahead of you. Listen, I want you to come, I really do. So I can kill you in front of Sam. But you can't get here if I just keep bouncing you around the country. So how about, I give you my location, and we have a nice showdown. You get a chance to save your brother and I'll kill you."

"And why should I trust you?" I snarled.

"Because you've got everything to lose," he spoke simply back.

"You stay away from me-" I heard Sammy's broken and pleading whisper, "Don't- don't-"

"ALRIGHT! Just tell me where you are- please- please don't hurt him, don't..." I yelled, feeling a sob build up in my throat. I felt like I was going to throw up; there was a massive lump in my throat and a twisted knot in my chest that got tighter with every one of Sam's screams. It was exactly what the demon wanted to hear, I knew that. But I'd wound my pride and dignity a million times more if it meant Sam was ok. 

"See we're making progress Dean! You're negotiating. Alright so here's the plan. You wait one day. Do nothing," he said simply.

"What makes you think I'll-" I exploded.

"Because if you don't...well, I think it's safe to say that Sam may need both of his knee caps if he ever wants to run again," he said, sounding twistedly happy.

Sam let out a small strangled whimper on the other end and I grit my teeth but kept my mouth shut.

"Good Dean," the demon mocked, "Sammy, I think we found your brother's weakness."

"Oh well good for you," Sam shot back, "how'd you figure that one out?"

There was a rough slap and I flinched, almost dropping the phone.

"It's you," the demon said to my brother.

I heard Sam breathing hard and could picture him tied to a chair, bleeding, but still glaring with that look of defiance. 

"Screw you," Sam spat. 

"You both remind me so much like your father," the demon tisked.

"DON'T YOU SAY A WORD ABOUT MY FATHER!" Sam yelled.

"Sammy!" I screamed in the phone, "Sammy, you hear me? Stay calm. Sammy don't. I'm coming. I'm coming ok?"

"Aw, big brother gonna protect you Sammy?" the demon mocked.

"He's going to kill you," Sam swore.

I nodded violently, "My brother's right. You listen up you son of a-"

"I'd be careful what you say Dean. You don't want to piss me off when I can easily hurt the one thing u care about," he said threateningly, waiting for my response.

I curled my hand into my fist and nodded slowly, forcing my voice to remain level, "Where. Is. My brother."

"I'll call you in one day," he said simply, "say goodbye Sam."

"Dean-" Sam's voice was tinged with fear and he screamed my name, "DEAN!"

"Sammy!" I yelled into the phone but the demon had already hung up. 

I crumpled to the floor, with my back against the wall and put my head in my hands.

This was all my fault. 

 

16 HOURS LATER

 

Sam groaned in pain. He lifted his head just slightly, only to be smacked across the face again. He slumped in the chair, the ropes rubbing into his already burned and bloody arm. His wrists were a bloody mess from trying to get out of the ropes.

"You know your brother better than anyone," Lian smiled, his eyes pure black, "will he come for you or will he wait?"

Sam snarled, "And why would I tell you-"

The demon punched him across the face and Sam cried out, cursing and blinking sweat out of his eyes. "He'll wait," he lied breathlessly, "he knows you can hurt me. He won't take that chance."

Lian seemed satisfied and he nodded, dancing the tip of the blade along Sam's cheek, tracing his jaw, "Even if he is coming, we'll be ready for him."

"You don't know Dean," Sam laughed, moving his head away from the knife, "he won't just walk through the front door."

Lian pressed the knife against Sam's shoulder and pressed ever so gently until Sam grit his teeth and sucked in a breath through his nose.

"I'm counting on it Sammy," he whispered.

Sam bucked forward, heading him in the nose. Lian yelled and stumbled back, clutching his face, blood trickling down his hand.

"Don't," Sam said breathlessly, his head spinning, his vision blurring, "call me Sammy."

Lian punched Sam in the stomach before he dug his finger hard into Sam's already deep cut. Sam screamed in pain, arching his back and thrashing in the chair.

"How does that feel Sammy?" Lian asked, pressing harder.

Sam shook, jerking in the chair, still screaming until Lian finally let up.

"Screw...you..." Sam gasped out, blood tricking down his shoulder, staining his plaid shirt. 

Lian smiled, "When Dean comes, I'm going to tie him up in that chair. And make you watch as I kill him."

"Don't touch him!" Sam swore violently, "Don't you lay a hand on him or i swear to God-"

"What Sam? What are you going to do?"

"I'll kill you," Sam promised, tears coming to his eyes, "I will kill you dead. Don't you touch my brother."

"The threats are cute Sammy, but you're a little tied up at the moment," Lian joked, slapping Sam on the back of the head as he menacingly circled his chair, fingering the knife.

"You ever think of perusing a career in comedy?" Sam groaned in pain, shaking his head to clear the dizziness.

"No," Lian smiled.

"Good," Sam shot back, "you're not funny." Lian growled, smacking him across the face and Sam grinned, forcing back the pain. "Awww, did I huwt your feewings?"

"You know what? Screw Dean, I'll kill you now and make him look at your dead body."

Sam's eyes went wide. He hadn't planned on pissing Lian off to that point. But Lian wasn't kidding and he hissed with anger, getting a fist full of Sam's hair and yanking back hard. Sam cried out, whimpering as his head cracked back and his neck was exposed. Lian smiled above him.

"Wait- wait no-" Sam said hurriedly, trying to escape the grip but his hands were expertly tied behind him. He needed more time. He wasn't expecting Lian to crack and resort to an ultimatum, at least not this quickly. Sam was so used to stalling until Dean got here- but what did the demon have to lose, he realized. Was he ever going to tell Dean where he was in the first place? Probably not. And would Dean figure out the help Sam had left for him? Probably not. His brother was probably sitting at home with his head in his hands, wondering what to do, freaking out about his brother being hurt, being the overprotective person he was. Beating himself up to. No. Sam wouldn't fail him again.

"Lian listen to me," Sam started, determined to use his words to get himself out of yet another situation, like he always did. Dean used his fists, Sam used his words. That had been why he was so drawn to law; he was a quick thinker, could think of good comebacks, mislead people, manipulate, or just stall.

"Oh no Sammy. You don't get to talk yourself out of this one," Lian smiled sadly, whipping out a handkerchief, his hand still holding Sam's head back at a painful angle, his Adam's Apple bobbing up and down as Sam gulped down breaths, trying to think of what to do.

"No, wait, wait-" Before he could react the cloth was pulled tightly around his mouth and Lian pulled it tight, tying it in a rough knot that entwined Sam's hair as well. He winced as it dug into the sides of his mouth and caused him a massive headache.

Sam tried to yell and all that came out was a muffled groan. 

"Aw that's too bad Sammy. No getting out of this one, huh? Can't use your words?"

Sam was breathing hard through his nose, still struggling in the chair with all his might, blood dripping down his wrists from twisting in the ropes. Sam trembled, looking as far down at the blade that nicked his throat- his head pulled back again by Lian's firm grip on his hair. 

"This might hurt Sam," Lian grinned.

Sam felt the sharp part of the blade touch his throat and he winced as Lian pressed, small drops of blood beading up from the cut.

Then suddenly the door slammed open and Sam sucked in a sob.

"SAMMY!" someone yelled. Sam flinched as he heard one gunshot, and slowly the knife slid out if Lian's clenched hands and dropped to the floor, only nicking Sam's neck a bit. The fingers entwined in his hair loosened and released and Sam felt a whoosh of air as he looked down and Sam saw Lian on the floor, clutching his chest. 

Sam groaned, gasping for breath and raised his head ever so slightly, whimpering at the pain in his neck from it being yanked back. Someone ran past him and kicked Lian in the chest before he started chanting, "Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus, omnis satanica potestas, omnis-"

Lian growled and got to his feet and lunged at Dean- Dean! It was Dean! Lian shoved his hands out and Dean was thrown into the back wall.

"DEAN!" Sam let out a strangled yell through the gag as his brother crashed through shelves and lay in a tangeled heap. He began working on the cloth, trying to get it off his mouth and finally he succeeded, whipping his head up and feeling it fall to his neck with satisfactory.

"Omnis incursio infernalis adversarii," Sam stumbled over his words, blinking harshly, desperate to get the demons attention before it could hurt his brother again. Lian spun, his eyes black and he was by Sam's side in an instant, punching him across the face, and replacing the gag despite Sam's protest. With another punch, his head was sent slumping to his chest. 

Dean let out a yell through gritted teeth from across the room and readied his blade from his belt, continuing from where Sam left off, "omnis congregatio et sectra diabolica. Ergo, draco maledicte. Ecclesiam tuam securi tibi..."

Lian started for Dean but Sam scooted forward in his chair with all of his might, tripping him with the leg of his chair. Lian tumbled, clutching his head and he stayed down as Dean advanced, his voice getting louder and louder, fury in his eyes. 

"te rogamus, audi-" Dean shouted, stopping before he got to the last word.

"DO IT!" Lian pleaded, on his knees at Dean's feet.

"Nope," Dean hissed, "Hell's too nice for you." With that, he grabbed a handful of Lian's hair and yanked him to his own level, before he stabbed the blade into Lian's heart. The demon screamed, it's eyes and face lighting up orange, along with the spot where the blade had entered his body. 

"That's for touching my brother," Dean snarled, giving the blade a violent twist in Lian's stomach. The demon's mouth opened to let out a cry of pain that never surfaced. Dean pulled his knife out and the man fell to the floor, unmoving.

 

I was breathing hard as I let Lian fall, pulling the bloodied knife out of the demon's chest. My vision had been red ever since I had burst into that room and seen that demon gripping Sam's hair and yanking his head back to expose his neck. He had already cut a small nick on my brother's throat, indicating he was ready to make Sam suffer. I had lost it and screamed my brother's name, charging forward and shooting the man straight in the chest with a salt gun round. The demon dropped the knife and fell, and Sam recovered with a groan, dazed and in pain, blood trickling down his neck. 

I began chanting the Latin demon exorcism but the demon had recovered quicker than I thought, force throwing me across the room. My back still hurt from crashing into the shelves. I heard Sam scream my name, muffled because of the gag, as I crumpled. It made me angry to know that not only had the demon hurt my brother, but he had taken the one defense besides his fists that Sam had, away from him: his words. 

I thought of staying down, but then the demon went for my brother who had continued the exorcism where I had left off. I grit my teeth and clenched his hands as I got to my feet, cursing myself for not being faster; I was not able to stop the demon from punching Sam hard in the face, twice, and again yanking the gag too tight around Sam's mouth. My brother's head slumped forward in defeat and I automatically let out a low growl, advancing on the demon. My vision narrowed and I picked up the chant where Sam had stopped, my voice gradually rising in harsh yells. The demon, clearly in pain begged me to get it over with and send him to hell. That wasn't enough for me.

I took one look at my brother, staring at the demon that had hurt him in fear, gagged, beaten and bloodied and that was enough for me. I yanked the man up and sent the knife right through his heart without a second thought. 

When I finally dropped him, Sam and I finally made eye contact. I immediately ran over to my brother who was fading fast, and I cupped the side of his face as Sam's head slumped forward. I gently undid the gag that was tied tight around his head and Sam took a raspy breath, leaning into my hand that was supporting him as if he couldn't hold himself up on his own.

"Sammy," I said urgently, adjusting my footing so I could crouch by his side, "Sam?"

"You came," Sam mumbled.

"Of course I came," I grumbled, "what kind of stupid thing to say is that?"

"Sorry," Sam mumbled, his head dipping.

"It's good to see you Sammy," I said, a small smile tugging at my lips.

"It's Sam," Sam joked quietly, giving me a small smile in return, his bright eyes meeting mine, "I'm sorry Dean- I-" Sam's eyes rolled up in the back of his head suddenly and I panicked, adjusting to hold his weight and support my brother.

"Hey stay with me ok? I'm here Sammy, I'm here."

Sam blinked, trying to keep his eyes open, "Yeah...I- Dean-"

"Stay with me Sammy, you hear me?" I demanded, brushing my brother's hair from his face before I bent down to work on his ankles. I untied them, and then went around behind him to get his wrists which were expertly knotted of course. I gritted my teeth at his bloodied wrists, ropes digging into his skin. Sam flinched as I untied them and it took everything in me not to go back and stab that demon as many times as I could. When the ropes were off, Sam's hands fell at his sides and he slumped forward, falling out of the chair. In a flash I was there to catch him and pull him to his feet, gripping his jacket and arm to support him. 

"M ok," Sam slurred unconvincingly.

I held him at arms length, just staring at him. I hadn't seen him in months. My hands were shaking as I held him up and Sam looked at me guiltily. Even though he was taller, he was still my little brother. I cupped his cheek and gently turned his head, looking for any head injuries.

"Are you ok?" I asked, my voice trembling. I gripped his jacket hard, and had a firm look on my face, my gaze fierce, but Sam knew I wasn't angry.

"Yeah Dean," he nodded slowly, but he sounded weak and in pain.

I winced at his voice and pulled him forward, wrapping my arms around him. Sam seemed kind of surprised at first but then he returned the hug, letting me hold him up while we embraced. I closed my eyes and was surprised to feel a tear trickle down my cheek.

"Don't you ever do that again," I pointed at him, speaking through gritted teeth, "you hear me? Don't you ever..."

Sam nodded roughly, his face buried in my shoulder.

"Alright Sammy, no chic flic moments," I joked, wishing I could have hugged him longer. I clapped Sam on the back and cleared my throat, wiping my eye before Sam could notice.

"Let's get out of here ok?" I said softly, slinging his arm around my shoulder. I helped him limp out, glad to have my brother by my side. 

Chapter Text

I walked briskly with Sam down the hallway, my gun held out in front of me with one hand, my other firmly wrapped around my brother, supporting half of his weight.

“Dean…” Sam’s feet were stumbling, his arm slung around my shoulder. I was screwed if a demon or shapeshifter or anything came in; there was no way I could get off a round with one hand, and there was no way I was letting go of my brother unless 100% necessary, or if I was forced to.

Sam groaned, staggering with every step, determined to keep moving and I squeezed his shoulder, “You’re doing great Sammy, I’m gonna get you out of here-”

Movement suddenly came from my side and I turned too late. Something sprung out of the shadows and tackled me and my brother.

Great. I had jinxed us.

I hit the ground hard and immediately ignored the searing pain in my back, instead willing myself to bite back the pain and find my brother who had been ripped from my grasp. I looked up and found him struggling with someone, but it was hardly a fight in his state; it looked like a vamp had grabbed Sam and pulled him to the side, taking advantage of his weakness and shoving him into the ground. I lunged for my gun as the vamp pinned him down and pushed his head to the side to expose his neck.

“NO-” I roared, grabbed the butt of my gun, jerking it into my hand, spinning- and firing. I got off 4 rounds, from the floor, throwing the vampire into the wall as Sam scooted back towards me on his hands and knees.

I scrambled over and grabbed him and he grasped my arms, his head dipping to my chest, his breathing uneven.

“Come on Sammy, you’re ok-” I hauled him up, shoving him behind me, further down the hallway as another vamp came towards us, baring his teeth and snarling. The vampire lunged and I shot it straight in the chest before lodging one more bullet right between the eyes. When it still didn’t go down I tried sheer force: swinging with the gun, the butt of it hitting the man across the face and knocking him out. He wasn’t dead, but it would slow him down.

Then my expression slackened and I froze, my body stiffening; it was too quiet behind me for my liking. I could tell Sam wasn’t as close behind me as he usually was. I turned and my heart completely sank.

A man had Sam by the neck, squeezing my brother’s windpipe while Sam fought him weakly.

“Drop the gun,” he snarled, revealing a nice set of sharp teeth. Friggin vampires. How many were they? And why were they working with demons?

I locked eyes with Sam and saw how red he was, how he was growing sluggish, hitting weakly at the man depriving him from oxygen, his grip weakening on the man’s arms. He couldn’t hold out for much longer and I wouldn’t risk hurting my brother. I slowly knelt to one knee, laying the gun down on the floor before I rose slowly, eyes on Sam the whole time.

“Don’t you hurt my brother I swear to God,” I said firmly, raising my hands in surrender, but my glare fierce.

“We’ll see about that,” the man snarled, and seemingly pressed harder, clenching his fist around Sam’s throat. He choked, gasping for air and blinking hard, his hands slipping from where they had been scratching at the man’s arm.

“I put the gun down, now let him go,” I said slowly.

The man thought for a minute and I had to wait for an excruciating 10 seconds while my brother, choking, begging me to save him, stared at me in fear. The man narrowed his eyes and then shrugged, before he punched Sam hard in the head, knocking him out instantly. I watched as my brother fell to the man’s feet, lying in a motionless heap. Then I turned my gaze of absolute fury to the man.

“Oh you’re dead,” I snarled, storming forward. Suddenly arms grabbed me from behind, twisting my wrists at a painful angle. I let out a growl, kicking backward and trying to wrench my arms from the vampire’s grasp.

“I would stop struggling,” the man next to Sam said. He gently nudged Sam’s head with his foot and looked at me daringly.

“Don’t touch him,” I snarled. He seemed amused and stepped over the unconscious form of my brother and walked up to me. I took an angry breath and smiled, “Bite me- oh wait, you actually might-”

That earned me a knee in the stomach and I took it, glad he was further from Sam.

“You cause us any more trouble and your brother gets the beating,” he hissed.

I glared at him but slowly stopping thrashing at that threat. I nodded at him before smiling sarcastically, “Fine, but just know I’m killing you first you son-”

His hand lashed out and caught me in the head and everything went black.

 

Sam woke up earlier than I had thought he would. We were in a small room, 3 lefts, and 4 rights from where I had found Sam. As far as I could tell, we were waiting for someone...or something.

I had woken up while being dragged there, which was a shame because then I was forced to walk the rest of the way, my head spinning. I had kept my eyes on Sam the whole time, who was being dragged by the man that had knocked him out.

Right now he was on his knees, his hands tied behind him like mine, a demon holding his forearms, allowing him to slump forward. I’m guessing the vamp that hit him went to go get whoever was expecting us. I had tried to make small talk but that had only resulted in me being thrown against the walls like a human pinata.

Sam’s brown locks of hair hung in front of his face but at least I could tell he was breathing. I was relieved when he finally woke up. Sam tensed, letting out a small whimper as he controlled the pain he was in and then his eyes found me: held with my arms behind my back across the room from him. He started struggling immediately, only to be slugged in the stomach.

“Easy!” I yelled, jerking in the arms of the demon that held me.

“Dean,” Sam gasped, before he was punched awkwardly across the face, slumping in the man’s grasps. Blood dripped from his mouth and onto the floor. That did it for me.

“You touch my brother again and I swear to God I’ll kill you,” I snarled, making the man holding me pull back as hard as he can as I lunged to get in the face of the man that punched Sammy.

“I swear to God I will,” I swore, my gaze fierce, “You understand me?”

He wilted under my stance and anger and nodded slowly, clearly fearful.

“Hello boys,” said a voice behind us. I twisted in my captor’s gasp and threw up in my mouth, glaring behind me.

“Crowley,” I spit.

“Always a pleasure,” he smiled at me. He looked across the room at Sam who was being held up the demon, glaring just as I was at the King of Hell.

“You kidnapped Sam?” I roared, about to throw myself at the cocky piece of crap.

Crowley sighed and put up his hands, “Keep your shirt on Dean, he’s still breathing isn’t he?”

“Barely!” I yelled, “Dracula almost made sure that never happened again, and also what the heck Crowley? Working with vamps? Since when?”

“Since the angels waged war on us!” Crowley exclaimed, putting his hands in his pockets and walking further into the room. “Sammy, how good to see you,” he muttered, passing my brother and giving him a rub on the head, messing up his hair.

“Hello Moose.”

“Don’t touch me,” Sam snarled, ducking away with murder in his eyes.

“Don’t touch him,” I said at the exact same time with the exact gaze, giving a small jolt of defiance.

Crowley grinned, “I love it when you both talk in sync. Gives me the chills,” he rolled his eyes as he spoke with a sarcastic frown.

“What do you want Crowley?” Sam said weakly, coughing up blood. I flinched at the sound of pain he let out.

“Easy moose you’ll burst a lung,” Crowley said.

“Cut the crap,” I demanded, “let us go or tell us why you’ve got us here. And why you took Sam.”

“The angels and demons war of course,” Crowley sighed, “Dean, you are thick.”

He walked around the room, talking over his shoulder, “I need a vessel to go talk to the angels with. I can’t use my own because if they decide to rain down Holy Fire, I’m gonna need that one.”

“Aw, that’s sweet. You attached to it?” I mocked.

Crowley shot me an angry look, and then made a face of agreement, “I wouldn’t put it that way, but yes. I have grown fond of my meat suit, so much in fact that a bit of my power is stored inside of it. So yes, Dean, I’m attached to it,” he rolled his eyes.

“And where do Sam and I come in?” I snarled.

“Not necessarily Sam. You,” Crowley smiled.

“You used him to get to me,” I spit angrily, biting the inside of my cheek as I realized he had used my brother as bait to get me here. “You kidnapped and tortured my brother to get to me? You sick-”

Crowley laughed, shaking his head, "No, no, I didn’t. No, see, Lian did. I visited the poor man to see him before I came here, figured he be dead and I was right. I saw his brains were everywhere- kudos to overprotective Dean, I assume?” Crowley raised his eyebrows.

“Darn straight,” I growled. “You hurt my brother, you die. That’s the rule. Even you Crowley.”

“I’m not going to hurt Sam, relax,” he assured me, continuing his unsettling pacing around the room. I waited for the catch and then it soon came. “...unless necessary.”

“Enlighten me,” I smiled fakely, twisting my smile into a frown the minute I had finished my sentence.

“Here, I’ll give you an example. Let him go.” He motioned to the demon who was gripping my arms and I felt the ropes around my wrists being loosened. The second I got the chance I ripped my hands out of the bonds, elbowed the demon in the face, grabbed the knife from his belt and stabbed it into his chest. He fell to the ground and I went in for another stab before I was shoved up against the wall, the knife stolen from my grasp and now hovering in front of my own chest, it’s tip pricking my utility jacket.

“No! Crowley let him go I swear to God-” Sam yelled, struggling in the demon’s grip. He was knocked to the ground, pressed against the concrete, lifting his head so he could make eye contact with me as I was pinned.

I shoved my head up against the wall, vulnerable and helpless to stop my brother from being hurt.

“Now Dean, if you won’t play nice you won’t get anywhere,” Crowley tisked.

“You can’t kill me,” I smiled, snarling at Crowley, “you need me.”

Crowley seemed to consider that, “I could kill you, I just wouldn’t be as powerful so I’d really prefer not to-”

“No!” Sam yelled, thrashing in the demon’s grip, “No, Crowley, let him go. Let my brother go!”

“Sam, the adults are talking?” Crowley smiled behind him at Sam who made a strangled sound of anger at him.

“What do you want Crowley?” I snarled, wincing as my back rubbed against the harsh wall, pressed up against it from the all too familiar invisible force.

Crowley smiled and I was suddenly released, dropping to the floor. I stumbled before I grabbed the wall for support and looked suspiciously at him. He reached in his suit and pulled out a small pocket knife. He handed it to me and I eyed him carefully.

“What am I supposed to do with this? Stab you?” I asked, only half kidding.

“That would be funny. No, I want you to make a small cut on your hand,” he said simply.

“And why the heck would I-”

Suddenly Sam cried out in pain over Crowley’s shoulder and I saw the demon had him shoved up against the wall and punched him hard in the face. More than once too; blood was dripping down Sam’s nose. My brother cried out and struggled, locking eyes with me as the demon pulled back his fist. I cursed and flipped the knife open, nicking my hand with the blade. Crowley snapped and on cue, the demon let Sam drop and he leaned against the wall. Crowley held out his hand and I handed the knife back over.

He returned it to the pocket and smiled, “See? This is where Sam comes in. I’m guessing you won’t say yes to being my meat suit flat out, since we aren’t the best of friends-”

“That’s an understatement,” I growled.

Crowley ignored me, shrugging, “But maybe, if you had some proper motivation, I could convince you.”

Sam blanched at that and frankly, so did I. “Over my dead body,” I said firmly, “you’re not hurting Sam.”

“And Dean’s not going anywhere with you,” Sam said lowly.

Crowley laughed. “Moose protecting Squirrel, that’s a first.”

“I’m not doing it Crowley. That’s final,” I said angrily.

“Oh that’s right, I forgot. The Winchesters get out of everything. You’re thinking you’ll get out of this right Dean? Like you always do? Well this ends two ways. You and me making a deal, or Sam bleeding out in this floor. You chose,” Crowley hissed.

“Dean, no- you can’t-” Sam pleaded with me.

I locked eyes with him sadly. “No Dean,” Sam shook his head, gulping down a sob, “No, please no-”

“Maybe if we all got cleaned up and went somewhere more, private?” Crowley asked.

He snapped his fingers.

 

Sam gasped. He opened his eyes and was immediately tense, flinching at his bright surroundings.

They were outside, sitting at a table at a restaurant. He looked down and touched his nose, surprised to find both clean of blood. Dean was blinking, in the seat across from him, and his eyes flicked from Sam to someone next to him, immediately glaring. Sam looked to his right and winced; Crowley was seated by his side, a little too close for his liking.

“Oh don’t get all tense on me boys,” Crowley said lowly, clapping Sam on the shoulder. Sam flinched, locking eyes with his brother. Dean got up, almost knocking his chair over in an attempt to circle around and get to him but Crowley was already pressing a finger against Sam’s arm.

A huge burn appeared on his skin and Sam cried out, letting out a strangled yell of pain through gritted teeth.

"Sit," Crowley motioned to the seat, still not letting go of Sam's arm. Sam swallowed a scream, choking on it, his feet kicking beneath the table, his other hand pressing against the chair in a desperate attempt to pull away. Dean looked absolutely horrified, stumbled, sitting down in his seat immediately, his expression shocked and fearful. Sam was breathing hard through his nose and he glared at Crowley.

“Yeah, can we get 3 glasses of milk please?” Crowley asked a passing waitress, “Thank sweetheart.”

“Thanks for the change of scenery Crowley, can we leave now?” Dean snarled.

“You can, yes,” Crowley nodded. “You can get up and walk away. But Sammy here, I’ve got him on a tight leash.”

Dean’s gaze flicked to Sam in confusion, who looked up weakly and admitted, “I can’t move.” It was true. He couldn’t get up out of his seat no matter how hard he pushed up on the sides of is chair. Dean glared at Crowley.

“So what, I get incinerated as your meat suit? What are you gonna do, bring me back from the dead? Is that what’s in it for me?”

“I really didn’t have that in mind,” Crowley scratched his beard. “I was thinking, force you to give in by hurting Sam, and if you died, that would be unfortunate. End of story.”

Dean smirked, “Cute. Nice plan.”

“Oh I’m confident it will work,” Crowley smiled. He grabbed Sam’s hand and placed it flat on the table. Sam couldn’t move it even as he strained. He looked at Dean fearfully as Crowley pushed a thumb right on the top of it. Sam felt his hand shake on the table as it was practically lit on fire, and he crumpled onto the table, pulling back with all his might as Crowley burned his hand in front of his eyes, reminding him way too much of hell. Fear choked up his breath and Sam gasped, looking down at his hand, at Crowley, and Dean, his head whirling, moving back and forth as his body tried to register the pain.

“Stop it!” Dean hissed, “I said STOP!” He slammed his hand down hard on the table and one of the plates on the side fell off with a loud crash. A couple people looked at them and Crowley shrugged, releasing Sam who recoiled, bringing his trembling hand to his chest, breathing hard.

“Sammy…” Dean sounded broken. Sam met his gaze, determined not to show Dean the amount of pain he was in; he didn’t want his brother to hurt any more than he already did.

“3 milks,” the waitress said, setting down the drinks and giving Dean a wink. Any other day and his brother would be getting up to sweet talk her and get her number but Dean just gave her a blank expression and looked down miserably, his hands clenched on the table. Sam watched as Dean reached up to grab his glass of milk before Sam blinked and flinched suddenly; all the milks had moved to his place mat.

“Aren’t you thirsty Sam?” Crowley asked innocently.

“I-I’m lactose intolerant,” Sam stuttered. But Crowley already knew that, didn’t he?

“You sure you aren’t thirsty Sam?” Crowley asked again, narrowing his eyes. Sam looked down and saw himself already raising the glass to his lips.

“Wha-” Sam gasped.

“Sam,” Dean choked, “Sammy!”

“De-” Sam tried to call out to his brother but he was already gulping down the milk against his will. He choked, already retching.

“Sam! Sammy- Crowley stop it!” Dean said, rising out of his seat.

“Best to let him finish,” Crowley said.

“No!”

Sam remembered when he was 14 and he had gotten a milkshake at his friend’s birthday party. He had got home and all it took was one look at his brother for him to know something was wrong. Dean bounded up off the couch and grabbed him as he fell, pestering him with questions and then calling him an idiot when Sam revealed the reason. Idiot or not, Dean had stayed by his side the whole night, rubbing his back while Sam threw up till 6 in the morning, sobbing and retching as his stomach felt like it was being shredded.

That was one small milkshake. The thought of 3 full glasses made his stomach churn. He had finished the first one and Sam choked, milk spilling down his shirt.

“Sam! Sammy?” Dean cried, his knuckles white as his face crumpled into a look of hurt and fear, gazing at his brother sadly and worriedly. Sam gave him a small, painful nod.

“Screw you,” he hissed at Crowley, coughing and trying to breathe, already feeling the milk come up.

“Ready for another one Sam?” that was Crowley, with his hand on his back. Sam flinched, his body physically recoiling from the unwanted touch.

“Don’t you dare,” Dean growled.

"I can't," Sam half sobbed, squeezing his eyes shut.

“You want me to comfort you like your brother does? It’s gonna be ok Sammy. I’m gonna get you out of this. I’m so sorry,” Crowley mocked, rubbing Sam’s back. Sam squeezed his eyes shut. He heard his brother’s rough voice from across the table.

“Don’t touch him. You want me? You can have me. Just stop,” Dean said softly.

“Dean no-” Sam groaned, crying out in pain and gripping his stomach.

“Aw, little Sammy wants to be a hero. You know Sam…” Crowley’s voice was slowly tuned out as Sam looked up at Dean who’s expression had suddenly changed into a more calm and urgent one.

While Crowley was focused on mocking Sam, Dean’s lip curled up just slightly, to give a little smirk. Then he gave Sam a small, quick wink.

It was a wink of assurance, with Dean’s signature troublemaker smirk that would usually worry Sam, but right now it was just flat out comforting. Dean was up to something. Sam looked at him, confused, but just then Crowley turned to Dean who immediately cut the small grin and was back to glare full of rage.

“Do we need to go another round Dean? I think I’ve made my point,” Crowley asked, leaning against the table.

“You have,” Dean said softly. “And?” Crowley waited.

“And…” Dean trailed off, “Now, Cas.”

“What?” Crowley said angrily, jerking back at Dean’s response.

“I said now you idiot!” Dean shouted.

Sam whirled before Crowley did and saw Cas there, his hand outstretched. The angel looked blankly at Dean before nodding.

“Oh. Now.” He opened his palm to Crowley who shouted something inaudible before a huge fireball erupted to the right of Sam, knocking him to the floor.

“Sammy!” Dean yelled, getting up out of his seat and diving for him, shoving the flimsy table out of the way.

“Dean,” Sam winced, gritting his teeth. He let out a cry of pain, clutching his stomach. Suddenly there were screams from the other side of the restaurant and 4 men slammed the doors open pushing bystanders out of the way, they’re eyes turning black. The leader made eye contact with Dean, who gulped. They rushed forward and Dean grabbed Sam’s jacket and pulled him toward him, shielding him from the oncoming men.

“Cas, get us out of here now!” Dean yelled, gripping Sam tight. His brother closed his eyes, waiting to get hit or smacked into the wall to protect Sam, just like he had always done, and always would do.

But the angel nodded and then Sam blinked.

When he opened his eyes again he almost passed out from the angel travel. He crumpled into Dean’s chest, shaking and clutching his stomach- the ride not good for the whole glass of milk he had been forced to drink. Dean grasped his shoulders and steadied him, suddenly flinching and making a small inaudible sound that was a high enough pitch to be a whimper. Sam then realized why.

The pain had multiplied by 100, his old wounds inflicted by Lian, the other demons, vampire, and Crowley were all back. Sam collapsed against his brother, genuinely wanting the protectiveness Dean had over him; he knew he couldn’t defend himself in this state.

“Cas, can you fix him?” Dean pleaded. His brother’s hand was shaking as he pulled it away red with blood. Sam choked on his own blood, not able to breathe. He choked, coughing, gasping for breath, gripping Dean’s jacket in a tight fist.

“It’s not that bad,” Dean assured him, but his voice was trembling and he was shaking as he held Sam, giving him an encouraging smile that held back all his fear, “you’re gonna be fine Sammy. Just breathe ok? Look at me, I’ve gotcha. I’m gonna take care of you. I always do Sammy- Cas, please hurry-” Dean said urgently, his voice trailing off into a harsh whisper.

It looked like there were tears in his eyes. In the eyes that had seen everything and never been afraid, there was fear. Sam looked up weakly at Cas who had stumbled over, weak from all the teleporting he had done.

Sam gripped Dean harder, desperate for some sort of physical contact to assure him he was still grounded. He and Dean had always done that. Grasped for each other when they were alone and empty. Sam's hand found Dean's arm and he clutched it and Dean grabbed his, pulling him closer yet still giving him room. Sam gasped for air again, barely able to breathe yet feeling like he could suck in all the air in the world to throw up.

Cas bent down and pressed two fingers to Sam’s head. Sam's eyes shot wide open, his lungs gulping down oxygen, feeling the pain leave him and he coughed, buckling over to the side with Dean's arms still protectively shielding him.

“Easy Sammy,” Dean said, as he jolted upright, trying to sit up, "Can you stand?"

Sam nodded miserably, blinking back the pain as it faded away.

Dean helped him get to his feet and Sam gripped his jacket, stumbling against him, still feeling dizzy. He squeezed his eyes shut, breathing hard and clenching his fists, wrinkling Dean’s jacket. His brother didn’t seem to care, he just held Sam firmly by his forearms and made sure to hold him up in case his knees buckled.

After a minute, trying to calm his spinning head and drown out the ringing in his ears with a normal heartbeat, Sam finally took a deep breath and blinked, looking at Dean and nodding, “I’m- I’m ok.” Dean nodded before he finally set his mouth in a straight line and surged forward.

Sam flinched, waiting to the punch that he probably deserved. After all, the last time they had seen each other, Dean had left him on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. But when Sam opened his eyes he was surprised to feel Dean slamming into him with a hug, roughly pulled him forward with one arm around his back and the other arm tightly around his neck. Dean was shaking, and Sam slowly brought up his arms to hug him back after getting over his shock. Dean was never the 'huggy' type, unless it was with girls.

Sam smiled a bit, and he let himself believe that everything was ok, that Crowley wasn’t still out there, that none of the pain was still throbbing throughout his body, that he had never said the things he said, never failed his brother…

Every time Dean had trusted him, he had failed. Sam had failed the one thing he couldn’t live without. And when they had been separated, it was like a piece of him was missing. And now with him back...again not giving up on him, Sam was scared- scared he would again fail his brother. He held Dean tightly, and both brother’s wished the hug could take back what they said...what they did. It couldn’t, but it was as close as they were gonna get.

Dean hugged him tighter, whispering something that sounded like a tear choked 'God' (an expression Dean only used when he was either extremely relieved or scared), his hand going up to clutch Sam’s head, resting on the messy brown locks and cupping the back of his head like he used to do when they were little, bringing it closer to his shoulder.

“Dean, no chick flick mom-” Sam jokes.

“Shut up,” Dean growled angrily, but with humor. Sam buried his face into Dean's shoulder, biting back tears. Then Dean clapped him on the back, clearing his throat. His brother pulled, only to arms length though, before reaching up to grab Sam’s shoulder and inspect him. Sam didn’t have the heart to push him off and roll his eyes like he usually did, claiming he was fine, especially not after that long overdue hug.

He nodded and gave his brother a small smile, “I’m ok Dean.”

“Promise?” Dean said, his voice breaking.

“Promise,” Sam said softly.

Dean nodded and clapped him on the shoulder, wiping his nose nonchalantly as if he hadn't been tearing up before he turned to Cas, “We owe you.”

“It is no problem,” the angel nodded, a small smile appearing on his face, “it's good to be together again. About time,” the angel smirked.

“Yes,” Dean looked up at Sam, and nodded, giving him a smile with pride evident in his eyes, “yes it is.”

Chapter Text

Sam looked down in horror, his hands tied firmly behind him as he watched Lian drag a knife down his arm-

Wait...no, it was Crowley burn his hand, laughing while Dean sat there in equal pain from watching his brother in pain, his knuckles white from gripping the table. Sam screamed and then suddenly he was awake, thrust into reality, sunlight shining in his eyes, his feet tangled in sheets. Sam jerked up, bolting into a sitting position. In a panic he started kicking, scrambling to pull his legs to his chest and get up against the back wall, breathing hard.

Looking down he had another jerk of shock when he saw all his wounds were gone. He blinked and his eyes adjusted slowly as he took in his surroundings. Suddenly, there was a firm but gentle hand on his shoulder and Dean was there, for real this time, locking eyes with him. Judging from the chair scooted halfway across the kitchen floor and the hustle he heard, Dean had lept out of his seat and lunged, rushing to his brother's side. 

Sam couldn't stop himself and he reached out for his brother who caught him before he could fall forward and sprawl onto the cold floor. 

"Hey Sammy, hey, hey stay with me-" Dean said, easing him into a sitting position on the bed, his feet firm on the floor. Dean had a firm grip on his jacket, both of his arms grabbing him tightly.

Sam nodded and blinked some more, forcing himself to stop swaying, and Dean took a seat beside him, his left arm still awkwardly around Sam. He let it drop after he clapped him on the shoulder and shifted uncomfortably, unsure of what to say or do. 

Sam ran a hand through his hair and yawned, "So, what'd I miss?"

"Cas cleaned ya up," Dean told him, obviously pissed Sam was more concerned with what had happened after they escaped rather than before, but he grudgingly answered. "You passed out in the car for a bit, I let...Cas drive so I could sit back there with you for a bit." By his tone, Dean didn't seem too thrilled. 

"Wait, hold on. You let Cas drive? How long did that last?" Sam smirked.

Dean raised his eyebrows, "About 2 minutes. And I'm never letting him get the keys to baby again."

"Understood," Sam let out a small laugh. 

"Sammy, I'm sorry," Dean said suddenly. His voice was what snapped Sam out of his dozing. It sounded so broken, so guilt racked- and on top of that, Dean rarely apologized, and he meant really apologized. Sure, they said sorry all the time, but their egos were too high, their family feud was too much at stake, and they had enough brotherly dignity to not get all sappy and cry on each others shoulders. This kind of apology was reserved for the few times that everything had been at stake, like when Dean had gone to hell, or Sam had gone to hell, or Dean got put in purgatory and Sam didn't look for him. 

"Dean-" Sam said gently.

"Look, I'm not good with this feelings crap, but I'm going to try my best," Dean said, clasping his hands.

Sam raised his eyebrows, smirking a bit again, and he leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. Dean shot him a look.

"Don't get your popcorn just yet Sammy." Then Dean became serious and both brothers sobered their expressions.

"It's been my job," his brother said quietly, wringing his hands and finding a sudden obsession with the floor, "to take care of you. And I have done my best all my life, since that fire. The stuff I said those couple months ago...I didn't mean it- I don't know what I was thinking Sam. I had so much anger, so many things were just piling up and I broke. And I took it out on the one person that I can't go through life without. And that's you Sammy."

He looked up now, and Sam was shocked to see tears in his eyes. He shook his head and his gaze returned to the floor before Sam could catch it. "I tried to live life convincing myself that you didn't need me, that I didn't need to look out for you, and that we were better apart. I was wrong. As those douches have just proven, there will always be bad people trying to use us against each other, but we keep each other human, and I can't do this without you. So you and me Sammy ok? From now on. Come whatever."

There was silence for a bit. Sam had no clue what to say; his mouth was dry and he was still trying to take in all those words. Unfortunately Dean took silence as that of anger and he nodded slowly.

"I get it, you're mad. I said some awful things that I didn't mean. Heck, I hit you Sammy. Do you not remember? You have every right to clock me- you know what, take a swing, right now, come on-" Dean turned and nodded, his mouth set in a stern line. 

Instead, Sam smiled. 

Dean's frowned and his eyebrows knit, "What are you doing?"

"I'm not gonna hit you Dean," Sam laughed softly. "You saved my life."

"I was the reason your life needed saving. I left you alone, man, I even left you alone on the side of the road! Demons could have had you for the entirety of those months and I wouldn't have known. He...hurt you. And no one hurts you," Dean said angrily.

"It wasn't your fault Dean. Lian's dead now, you killed him saving me. And it wasn't months, it was days. I'm fine," Sam said gently, putting a hand on his brothers back, "I don't blame you for anything. I hope you know that."

"Yea," Dean mumbled, not convinced, "just...you're not a burden Sammy. Not to me. And I don't want to do any of this without you. And- and I wanted to call, I did, I just figured that you didn't- that you were maybe better off without me or that maybe you had found a life, a better one, that you had moved on. I just wish I had picked up the dang phone. It was too long man," Dean shook his head, "too long."

"Dean, the blame wasn't entirely on you. It was my fault- I went at you first! And I said some things I regret. I was out of line and I was selfish," Sam admitted, "but we're both here now, we're both okay. And no matter what you're still my brother Dean, and you'll always be my brother."

"Big," Dean grumbled lowly.

"What?"

"Big brother," Dean sighed, "I don't care how tall you get, you're still my little brother."

Sam smiled and nodded, "Uh huh."

Dean cracked a small smile and clasped Sam on the shoulder before he leaned on him to stand up, "Want a beer?"

"At 7 am?" Sam wrinkled his nose.

"It's 5 o'clock somewhere," Dean pointed out, getting a beer from the fridge, "and I need to wash off the chick flick goo. It took a lot for me to say all that you know. I rehearsed it for 3 hours," Dean winked. 

"Sure you did," Sam grinned, slowly getting up from his spot on the pull out bed, using his knees for support and slowly straightening his back while Dean watched, leaning on the fridge about 20 feet away, but still ready to jump forward. 

"I'm fine," Sam assured him, blinking to clear the dizziness and trying to focus on the objects of the kitchen so he didn't fall, narrowly avoiding a chair, the corner of the counter, and an open cabinet. He finally made it to the kitchen table and sat down, letting out a relieved sigh that he should have kept in.

Even with his fuzzy eyesight he knew Dean was giving him a look and Sam grinned sheepishly, knowing he probably looked stupid and anything but 'fine' stumbling around the kitchen, probably looking drunk. 

Then Dean's face lit up and he set down his beer, "Hold on. Don't move. I'll be right back. I've got something for you."

Sam nodded, raising an eyebrow, as he waited for his brother to return, drumming his fingers on the table to pass the time. When Dean came back, he was obviously hiding something behind him. When he got close enough, he grinned and brought it around to his front. Sam's eyes lit up. 

"My computer!" he said joyfully, taking it from his brother's grasp, "you kept it?"

"Of course I kept it," Dean said, watching as Sam happily opened it and put in his password, running his thumb on the side- a gesture Dean had missed, that he did whenever he was in deep thought while researching. 

"Thanks Dean," Sam said, giving him a smile. 

Dean was about to respond when they heard a harsh flap of a trench coat and Sam followed Dean's gaze. Cas stood in the center of the room, his hands at his sides. All 3 waited for the others to speak. 

"Hello," Cas said, smiling a bit. 

"Hey Cas," Dean said.

Sam gave him a nod, grinning.

"Sam, I see you're doing well," Cas said to him, his eyes brighter than usual. Sam knew he had a greater connection with Dean, pulling him out of hell and all, but it was still nice to know he cared about him.

"Thanks to you," Sam pointed out, "so...thanks."

"It was the least I could do. I'm sorry Sam, I- I should have known sooner. You just weren't exactly on my radar, with you being gone for as long as you were." Cas trailed off, looking at Dean to see if he had crossed a line, which he hadn't. 

"Well you came just in time," Dean smiled, before his face got serious, "so what the heck is with all this Crowley business?"

Cas winced, "Well as you know I am not...closely affiliated with my fellow angels, but I have heard that there is a war about to take place between my kind and demons. Crowley may have tried to steal something of ours and my peers didn't take it well."

"This is hardly the first time he's stolen- or almost stolen something though," Dean pointed out, "what makes this an aha moment for our feathered friends?"

"It was something...valuable," Cas said slowly. The brothers knew that he obviously didn't want to reveal anything else so they left it at that.

"Can they take on Crowley? Or can Crowley take on them?" Sam asked.

Cas made a face, "I do not know for certain. I do know that a lot of people will die if it's not prevented. Not only demon and angel, but innocent lives will definitely act as collateral damage."

"Well how do we stop it?" Sam asked.

Dean shot him a look. Sam shot him one back. The conversation was clear.

I'm fine Dean.

You just got back from being tortured and almost killed.

And?

And?! This isn't your problem.

What, so it's yours?

Don't push me Sammy.

I will push you.

I said don't.

And I said-

Sam I swear to God-

Cas cleared his throat and the brothers broke their angry staring contest.

"You two can stay here," Cas nodded, "First, I need to try and reason with whoever is leading the battle. Make them see that it's not worth the risk. It's better to stop the war before it begins because once it starts...I don't know how we can put an end to it."

"Great. Another apocalypse," Dean grumbled, taking another gulp of beer, "Joy. The first one was just so thrilling."

"I'll be in touch," Cas said, and with a flap of his trench coat, the next time they blinked he was gone.

"Friggin angels," Dean sighed. Then he glared at Sam and pointed a finger at him, "And you! You're benched. Don't fight me Sammy."

Sam bit his cheek and narrowed his eyes but didn't say anything as his brother nodded with content and then sat down in the chair across from him. They both sat there for a while, watching the sun come in through the window and glint off the glass cabinets in the kitchen. Quiet and simple. But it didn't matter; they needed simple for once. 

 

Getting awoke by a newspaper thrown at you is not the best way to get woken up. In the back of my head I heard my brother's voice, "Hey sleeping beauty, I found something."

Then came the newspaper, landing right on my back. I bolted awake, my face snapping out of the pillow where it had been buried, my hand grabbing the pistol I kept underneath it, and then let out a low growl as I twisted and aimed. I looked past the barrel and saw the newspaper, half under my leg, with a bolded headline barely visible from the crease I had made. 

I looked in the direction of a low laugh and Sam had his eyebrows raised. He grinned, "Stay calm. It can smell fear."

"Shut up," I sheepishly tucked the gun away, glaring at him before I inspected the 'threat', flattening out the page I had crumpled. Then I rubbed my head, "hey didn't I say you were benched?"

Sam shot me a look, and it was then I realized he was already almost in his suit, "Dean, you know you're never gonna win that battle."

I yawned, "Worth a shot. And someone's an early bird." I threw the paper back at him, still weary, but feeling better that he had the energy to get up early and get dressed. 

Sam made a face, "You read it!"

I glared, "I haven't had coffee. I had a newspaper thrown at me by my idiot brother which is not a very pleasant way to get up might I add. Read the dang page or so help me I-"

"Alright alright!" Sam laughed, setting the paper down on the nearest table and gave him a recap while tying his tie. "Women in Maryland, married 50 years to her husband, kills him out of the blue, found with the murder weapon actually in her hand yet she's still pleading innocent. A week later, man kills his fiance the day after they get married, in plain sight, runs home, and stays home. Both people plead innocent and get sent to mental asylums because of the 'trama'. Meaning they probably said something accurate that the police marked down as crazy." 

"So we've got ourselves a shifter," I yawned out, rubbing my eyes. 

"That's my best guess," Sam nodded. "So get dressed. We've got a 30 minute drive to the station. Asylum is 15 minutes from there. Time to find out what these people really know."

"You," I pointed at him, "can give me 20 minutes while I take a shower and wake up."

Sam rolled his eyes and nodded, sitting down his chair to go on his computer again. I swung my legs off the bed and stood, walking over to the bathroom. I was about to close the door but then I poked my head out.

"Hey, get some breakfast while you're waiting," I said.

Sam sighed and closed the lid on his computer, grabbing the Impala's keys.

"And see if they have any pie," I added.

"Dean-" Sam protested. 

"Get me some pie!" 

"Fine!" 

I nodded, satisfied, before I opened the door again, "Not one scratch on baby!"

"Yeah yeah yeah yeah," Sam muttered over his shoulder, giving me a grin. And then the door shut.

 

"I'm agent Barton, this is agent Ross, we're here on the Wilson and Kenear case?" I asked the receptionist at the police station, flashing my fake badge in perfect unison with Sam, "Can you tell us who's in charge here?"

"That would be me," a man walking by stopping and shook our hands, "Sheriff Dawson." He knit his eyebrows, "May I ask what are the feds doing investigating this case?" 

"We were bored," I remarked sarcastically.

Sam shot me a look and offered a smile, "What my partner means to say is that this obviously isn't just some homicide. Both victims in a perfect span of one week, roughly same time, each claiming to not have done it? That doesn't seem weird to you? Why wait 50 years, or why get married, and then kill your spouse?"

"Fair point," the man admitted slowly before he nodded, "Well, shoot. What do you need?"

"Anything you have on the victims and their spouses, security footage, all of it," I said.

"And if you can also tell us where the two are staying at the asylum? Great. Thanks," Sam added.

The sheriff nodded at me, then Sam, but his gaze didn't show off the same amnesty it then showed my brother, probably because of the comment. 

"Give me a minute. You can wait here," he said. 

Sam looked over at me, "So do you want me to go to the asylum, you stay and see what you can dig up here?"

"I go to the asylum. You don't get baby anymore today," I said firmly. 

"I came back without a scratch!" Sam laughed. 

"Yeah and without pie," I pointed out, "you stay here, I fly over the cookoo's nest." 

"Fine," Sam said, crossing his arms. 

"What are you 5?" I muttered, kicking him in the foot. "Quit pouting."

"I'm not pouting," he hissed at me, uncrossing his arms and giving me a glare. 

"Uh huh- oh by the way, your sock's untied," I called over my shoulder. 

Sam looked down and he must have shot me a glare but I didn't see it; I was too busy grinning and pushing the door open of the station.

 

"Mrs. Wilson?" I asked, gently touching the table of the woman who was reading a book by the window. When I had walked in, I had immediately spotted her before the man had even pointed me out. There were a lot of wackos in the room and she stood out by being the one relatively normal person. While some residents were playing chess by themselves and talking to the corners, she was reading a book by the window, seemingly 100% aware of her surroundings. She even saw me coming I think, even though her eyes never left the page.

"I would like to ask you some questions," I said, pulling out my badge, "my name is Agent Barton? I'm working the case covering you and your deceased husband. I heard this happened about 2 weeks ago is that right?"

"Yes," she nodded, lightly setting down her book after she slipped the bookmark inside her page. 

"Can you tell me what happened?" I asked firmly.

"Last time I told someone what happened, what I saw, the cops threw me in here and said I murdered my husband," she hissed, but there were tears in her eyes, "Ron was a good man. We- we were happy. I would never do anything like this, I- I loved him."

"Mrs. Wilson, do you see this badge? It means I'm FBI, not a cop. I chose this force on purpose. We show up when we feel cops can't do their jobs. Whatever story you tell me, I'll believe you. I may not guarantee you a pass out of here, but I will find whatever-" I stuttered on my words and quickly corrected myself, "whoever killed your husband," I promised.

"You were right the first time," she said lowly.

I knit my eyebrows, "Pardon?"

"It was a what. It was no person," she shuddered. 

 

15 minutes later I was thanking her for her time and calling up Sammy.

"Hey."

"It's a shifter," I confirmed, looking over my notes, "Grabbed her on her way home, tied her up in her own basement. Peeled in front of her, went upstairs and killed her husband, and then get this- when cops arrived after the shifter called 911, they found her unconscious and the knife that was used to stab him was actually in her hand."

"So we've got a shifter with what, a high IQ on our hands?"

"I guess so. But one thing's for sure. She didn't kill her husband. What did you find?" I said, sliding into the front seat of the Impala. 

"Well I saw the security tape for suspect number two, and yeah, eyes glowing and everything. They brushed it off as a wiring malfunction."

"Where was the security footage from?" I asked.

"Some grocery store, a little around 6 I want to say? I didn't get a good look at the time stamp-I'll get back to you on exacts. It was on a main road, Churchill street. One of those side shops."

"Huh," I scratched my chin, "What about the couples? Any marriage problems from Mr. Kenear?"

As far as I can tell, both were clean. I can't find any dirt on either of them and it seemed like everyone liked them so we can knock out demon possession and witches. So definitely a shifter."

"You need me to swing by and pick you up? I'll grab some lunch, crap it's already 3?" I asked, pulling out of the parking lot. 

"Yeah time flies," Sam sighed, "And no, I'm gonna stay here for a little while longer. Sheriff's getting me the files and pictures of the crime scene are being faxed in 6 minutes. Give me about a half an hour? Maybe less?"

"Maybe more. Mrs. Wilkon gave me a name... Anna Barkin? She says that she may know what killed her husband. I was hoping maybe she could give us some clues to where this guy is hiding," I said. 

"Okay. Keep me posted. And don't go in the sewers without me."

I grinned, "No promises."

"De-"

I hung up, giving a little chuckle, "Ahhh Sammy. You know me too well."

 

I put the Impala in park as I pulled into the driveway and squinted at the house in the sunlight. Shutting the car door I buttoned my suit and made my way up the walkway. I pressed the doorbell and waited, looking around a bit before my attention turned to the fiddling with the handle. A girl in about her 30s stood there, in jeans and a blouse with long blonde hair. 

"You must be Anna," I flashed a smile, and my badge, "Agent Barton, I was told you know Mrs. Wilson?"

"Yes. She was a family friend of mine," Anna said when he had sat down in her living room. "It's tragic what happened. I only heard about it from the news of course. I wasn't involved."

"She said you might know what killed her husband," I narrowed my eyes, watching her every move.

"Well the police say she did. The knife was found in her hand," Anna nodded, wringing her hands.

"But that's not what you know, is it Anna?" I asked gently, giving her a small smile, "Look, I'm her to help. I investigate every option. Anything you could tell me would be appreciated."

Anna looked around nervously, "I was walking home the other night, the same night that Ron was murdered and I passed this alleyway by Bronx street. This is going to sound crazy, but I could have sworn I saw an old man take a right into the alley. But when I passed...there was this thing, arching it's back with...skin peeling off it. When it turned around to look at me it wasn't the man anymore. It was...Mrs. Wilson and then I blinked and it was gone." Anna brushed a stand of hair behind her ear and shook her head, "I don't know what I saw, I'm sure it was nothing, but I called her and she was at home. Her house was 16 minutes away from where I had been standing."

"Bronx street you said?" I reiterated. 

Anna nodded.

"Anything else strange going on? Anything at all?" I asked.

Anna shook her head, "No. It's a quiet town. All this chaos has brought too much attention. Both of these couples were good people. I don't know why they would do such a thing."

 

"So at 6 o'clock the shape shifter went to a store? What was he doing, picking up groceries?"

"I don't know," I confessed, "but here's the problem, if Anna say the shifter turning into Mrs. Wilson so it could go kill her husband, there's no way it can go through 2 skins within a span of 5 minutes. You checked the time stamp right? Those streets were no where near each other."

"So, what? Two shifters in the same town? Since when has that happened?"

"Well it just did. It is happening," I said angrily.

"Okay, well the sheriff went out for a smoke a second ago. I'll wrap it up here and meet you out front?"

"Sounds good. See you soon," I said, snapping my phone shut and driving towards the station.

 

Sam looked up and smiled at the sheriff who had come back inside. He looked a little tense and Sam knit his eyebrows. 

"You ok sir?"

"Fine," he nodded, shaking his head as if to clear of dizziness. He winced in concentration and then smiled, "headache. Once you start you never stop," he laughed with no humor pointing to a pack of cigarettes.  

Sam smiled fakely to cover up his confusion with the sudden change of character and then held out his hand, "Thank you, sir, for everything. You've helped so much. We'll be in touch. My partner may need conformation on some things with you but for right now we're gonna go see what other dirt we can dig up."

"All good with me. Whatever I can do to help," the sheriff smiled.

 

I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel, singing along to some Kansas while I waited for Sam out front. 

5 minutes passed. I rolled his eyes and looked out the window, "Sam, you blabbermouth. Meet out front, yea right."

10 minutes. No I was getting suspicious.

I turned off the radio and got out of my car. He shut the door and walked into the station, flashing my badge. The security men let me through, recognizing me from the last time and I walked quickly down the hallway, hoping to see my talkative brother in the middle of the hallway, turn around with a stupid look and apologize for not calling. Call me overprotective but 10 minutes was not like Sam. Heck, he yelled at me for being late to Bobby's at one point and I was only 30 seconds over the arrival time.

Instead I was met with a hallway free of Sam's but I saw one familiar face. The sheriff was talking to his secretary with a vanilla folder in his hand. His back was mostly turned to him and I did a light jog up to him before he could walk away.

"Sheriff! Sheriff!" I called, asking, "Yeah, have you seen my partner? Last time I heard, he was with you. I came by to pick him up and he never came out front?"

"Barton?" the sheriff's eyebrows knit and he continued when I nodded, "he left. A while ago actually." He started to walk to his office, passing all of the interrogation rooms. I cursed and hurried to get in front of him and put a hand out.

"Did he say where he was going?" I asked worriedly.

"Something about digging. Then he mentioned something about sewers. How the water has traces of DNA? Some scientific excuse I don't know. But yeah, the sewers," the sheriff sighed.

I internally cursed again. Dangit Sam. He was going through the sewers without me. He's going to get himself killed! DANGIT Sam.

I heard faint yells from some of the interrogation cells and I looked around for its source out of instinct.

The sheriff sighed, "Is there anything else I can help you with?"

I barely heard him. I barely heard anything anymore. All I thought was, dangit Sam. "No...no. I'll be in touch."

"I hope you find Barton," he nodded.

"Thank you. Thank you," I said hurriedly, moving past the sheriff and backing down the hallway.

My brother- my idiot brother was in the sewers alone. One shapeshifter, maybe. But two? Sam's gonna get himself killed if I don't get there in time. I broke into a run and sprinted out of the sheriffs station.

 

Chapter Text

"This is just great," I scoffed. I jumped down from the ladder i had climbed down. Looking around i made my way forward through the sewer, barely getting one foot before i step into a puddle. I curse, lifting my wet foot. "For the love of God..."

If Sam wasn't hurt, he would be once I got to him. What was he thinking? 

I started forward, wondering how long this part of the sewer went. I had waited in that car too long, I thought miserably, Sam could be anywhere by now.

"Sam! Sammy?" I shouted, my voice echoing into nothingness. I shook my head, sighing, pulling out my gun as I started walking down the tunnel. The smell was horrendous and I scrunched up my nose. I hated shifters. The tunnel was silent except for a small drip- oh God it's probably piss- that's just great....

It got too dark a little ways down and so I pulled out my flashlight, clicking it on and resting my arm with the gun on top of it as he walked cautiously forward. 

'What was he thinking?' I thought, 'going off by himself?'

I felt something squish under my foot and i didn't even look down, i just stopped, flinched, and shuddered, cursing louder this time. I dragged my shoe a bit across the floor to get whatever had been smeared on there at least partly off. Shining my flashlight along the walls, I cursed again. I walked slowly, my gun ready to shoot whatever shifter son of a-

I moved the light so it shone at the corner of the tunnel and cursed for the 4th time. The beam lit up a pile of blood, skin, goo, and tatters of shirts, splattered against the wall. I plugged my nose, lowering my gun for a second.

"Great," I mumbled, carefully maneuvering around the pile and continuing my trek. That meant the shifter was in here with Sammy. I had to find the thing before it found my brother. Sam would definitely let his guard down when 'Dean' came in demanding what he was doing. I had to find him fast. 

I picked up my pace, my senses dialed to 11- every sound making me turn with my gun. I narrowed my eyes and kept walking, swiping the beam up and down and every once in a while hissing my brother's name. About 1 minute later the tunnel I was in ended, sprouting two more left and ride to make a T intersection. I bit my lip. Come on Dean. You know him better than anyone, I thought. Which way would he go? I looked left and right. Once. Twice.

"Dean?"

I spun with the gun, ready to shoot, but something told me not to; I knew that voice. Sam and I both had our pistols raised at one another. 

"Sammy? Sam!" I shouted in relief, holstering my gun and jogging forward. Sam lowered his pistol and his face slacked to a look of, oh crap.

I stormed forward, grabbing Sam by the front of his suit and glaring, "Don't you ever do that again, do you understand?"

"Dean I'm fine- I needed-" Sam stuttered.

I pulled him into a tight hug before my brother could say anything else. After a second, I clapped him on the back to make up for the sappy, but needed, hug and pulled away. My gaze fell on the blue undershirt my brother was wearing. I could have sworn he had been wearing a white one when I left him at the station. 

"Hey, you change shirts?"

"Yeah," Sam brushed it off, shining his flashlight down the hallway, "Spilled coffee on it. Borrowed one from the security supply closet."

"Ah," I nodded. Sam's hair was messy and so was his tie- rushed and off center.

"So did you find anything when you decided to take on the shifter by yourself?" I said angrily.

Sam winced, aware of the fact that I was still pissed as crap. He opened his mouth to respond but I cut in before he could.

"You could have been killed," I pointed out.

"I can take care of myself Dean. I think you've forgotten that. I don't need you anymore," Sam snapped, shoving my arm off him.

I knit my eyebrows, startled by the sudden outburst. Then Sam staggered, groaning in pain as he hit the opposite wall, sinking to the floor grabbing his temples.

"Sam? Sammy?" I grabbed Sam's coat and pulled him to his feet, leaning him against the wall for support, "Hey! Talk to me-"

"I'm fine," Sam mumbled, shaking his head.

"Yeah sure you are," I scoffed, "hey maybe we should go home, come back later?"

"Can we just find the dang thing," Sam hissed through gritted teeth.

I raised my hands in fake surrender, "Alright Mr. Incredible. Well it could be anyone now. It shed it's skin further back."

"Which could mean the victim could be in here too," Sam pointed out, eager to get off our previous subject.

"So how do we know the vicitim from the shifter?" I sighed, turning around to shine my light down the tunnel.

"We don't."

There was something about Sam's voice that made me turn around. And just as I did, my brother's fist went straight into my head. Pain flared up and I let out a strangled cry that got stuck in my throat as I stumbled back, hitting the far wall and sinking to the floor. My flashlight dropped to the ground and cracked as my head slumped to my chest and everything went black.

 

[36 minutes earlier]

The sheriff motioned to Agent Barton. "I'm gonna go for a quick smoke. You talk to Kathy if you need anything, ok?"

Agent Barton smiled and nodded, "Thanks." He returned his gaze to the vanilla folder he was skimming through. The sheriff pushed open the back exit and pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket. He took one out and lit it with his lighter, leaning against the wall of his station. He breathed out smoke and looked around, his eyes stopping on a man in the corner. 

The stranger was shaking, holding his stomach. It looked like there was blood seeping through his hands and the sheriff's eyes widened. The man's face was covered by his hood and he didn't look up as the sheriff shoved the pack in his pocket and hurried over, reaching his hand out to touch the man on his shoulder.

"Sir are you-"

Then the man looked up. 

...

The sheriff put his cell to his ear.

"Meet me at the interrogation room B in 3 minutes. Then head to the sewers. The older Winchester will find you there. I'll take care of the younger one."

Then he hung up. 

 ...

The shifter opened the door to come back inside, straightening the tie he had just put on. He smiled at passing coworkers and walked into the main office area. The younger Winchester was buried in a stack of pictures and he looked up and smiled at the sheriff. The shifter smiled wearily and tried to relieve himself from the tension he was feeling.

The Winchesters on their case...these 2 had a reputation. But as long as Sam didn't know, everything would go as planned. Everyone knew Sam could be used against Dean and vice versa. He obviously didn't hide his fear well enough; Sam knit his eyebrows. "You ok sir?"

"Fine," he nodded, shaking his head as if to clear of dizziness. A load of memories hit him full force and he smiled to cover up the smirk that would have shown. He winced in concentration as some of the worse memories seeped into his brain and then smiled, "headache. Once you start you never stop," he laughed with no humor pointing to a pack of cigarettes.

Sam smiled and then held out his hand, "Thank you, sir, for everything. You've helped so much. We'll be in touch. My partner may need conformation on some things with you but for right now we're gonna go see what other dirt we can dig up."

"All good with me. Whatever I can do to help," the sheriff smiled, "Your partner waiting outside?" 

"Yeah," Sam nodded, pushing the vanilla folder back onto his side of the desk.

"Can he wait a few more seconds? Someone in the morgue wanted you to see something. Would how the knife was handled and stabbed help you guys out?"

"Yeah," Sam nodded vigorously, "Yeah he can wait a few more minutes."

It may be a few more than that, he thought. He smiled. "Great."

He led Sam down the hallway and towards the back of the station, opening one of the interrogation doors. Sam walked in and looked around, his eyebrows knit in confusion.

"Is he meeting us in here, or..." Sam asked.

"No Sammy, he's not," the shifter smiled.

Sam turned around and before he could react, the sheriff kicked him straight in the chest. Sam went crashing into the back wall and immediately the shifter was on him, dragging him by the collar while he was dazed and clocking him once more over the head to make sure he stayed that way. The shifter grinned, glad he could take his prey down so easily, next dragging him into the chair as he cuffed his wrists. Sam jerked up a second later, but his hands were already locked. He yanked on them helplessly and looked up, a bruise forming on his cheekbone. 

The shifter stepped back, "Hello Sam Winchester."

 

Sam yanked again on the cuffs, already feeling the metal biting into his wrists, but not feeling the pain. "What did you do to the sheriff?" 

The shifter shrugged, "He would have died from the smoking anyway."

Sam snarled and grit his teeth, "You'll pay for that."

"Will I?" the shifter asked. Then he turned around and unlocked the door. A man came in and Sam blanched, recognizing him as one of the witnesses. The one found dead.

"So you aren't like other shifters. You hunt in 2s and you kill your victims, you don't leave them to rot in jail. And you cover your tracks. Not only do your victims die, but anyone who sees you," he inferred, still trying to slip his hands out of the cuffs. 

"Very good Sam. Now enough chatter. I'm going to need that suit of yours and tie, if you don't mind." The 2 men walked forward.

"Oh I do mind, but I'm guessing that's not going to change much," Sam snarled. 

The bigger man shoved his head onto the table and forced him to stay still as the sheriff unlocked one cuff at a time, gripping his wrist so hard Sam thought it would snap. They ripped the jacket off and yanked the tie over his head, giving him a burn on the back of his neck. Sam winced as the cuffs were clicked back into place and his gun was stolen from his side.

"Silver bullets?" the sheriff guessed. "I'd put one in you, but that would be no fun now would it Sam?" the shifter admitted.

"What are you gonna do to me?" Sam asked the sheriff, watching as the other man put on the suit and tie, facing the door.

"I'm going to go out there, tell your brother that you went to the sewers, where he's gonna meet you," the shifter said, an unsettling gleam in his eyes.

"What do you mean meet me-" Sam started, until the other man turned around.

Sam looked back at Sam. Sam gulped, looking at his double whose eyes were staring into his soul. "Using me against him?" Sam nodded, laughing a bit, "good play. It won't work. Dean knows me. And it's happened before."

"Maybe...but I'm giving it a shot. besides, you said it yourself. We're not like other shifters," the shifter smiled. The other Sam turned to go to the door but Sam shouted after him.

"Hey! Yeah, you," he snarled, "You hurt my brother and I'll kill you. You hear me? You're dead I swear to God you're dead."

"I know you better than you know yourself Sammy. I'm in your head," the other Sam said, walking over and grabbing Sam by the chin firmly, "You have no chance at stopping me and you now it. Empty threats. That's all you really are. Dean will die. Because I will kill him."

"No!" Sam made out as much as he could with the grip on his chin.

"And he will die knowing you hate him," Shifter Sam punched Sam across the face and his head snapped to the side. Sam groaned and looked up just in time for the shifter Sam to wink and exit quickly, leaving Sam alone with the sheriff. 

"Don't you touch my brother," Sam swore, his tone dangerous now that he knew he wasn't the only one being targeted. 

"I think you should be more worried about what I'm going to do to you Sammy," the sheriff said, walking over to Sam's side.

The Winchester stared defiantly up at him, "It's Sam. And bite me."

The shifter smiled and punched him in the face making the young Winchester cry out in pain as blood trickled down his nose from the amount of hits it had taken in the past couple minutes, "Maybe later. I've got to have a little chat with your brother first. He should be coming in right about now."

"You stay away from him!" Sam shouted, jerking on his cuffs in an attempt to get out of the chains.

"Bye Sammy," the sheriff smiled, and then he was gone, leaving Sam yelling at a closed door. 

 

The sheriff had his back turned, and he started to walk away when he heard a shout. He turned and saw Dean running towards him, panic written clear all over his face. The sheriff held back a smile. In the back of his mind he cursed himself for not gagging the younger Winchester. If Dean had been more alert and not focused on finding Sam, he would have realized that those were his brother's screams coming from the room mere 20 feet from him. 

 

Sam struggled, pulling at the cuffs. He groaned in pain, blood trickling down his palm as the unforgiving metal bit into his skin. He looked around, wondering how he was going to get out of this. The room was empty except for the table he was cuffed to and the chair he was sitting in. Sam felt his heartbeat speed up and he forced himself to take a deep breath.

'There's nothing you can do but wait Sam,' he thought. So wait he did. And wait. Wondering where the sheriff was, and what they were doing to Dean. Oh God...if they hurt his brother...

"Sammy!"

Sam's head snapped up and he frowned, blinking and craning his neck toward the door. 

"Sam!"

"Dean!" Sam yelled, "Dean?"

"Sam!" The voice got closer and closer, footsteps pounding on the hallway floor as Dean ran. The lock on his door giggled and then there was a pause before the door was completely kicked down. Dean set his foot down and his eyes landed on Sam who was looking up at him in shock and relief.

"Sammy," Dean said, running over and grabbing Sam by the shoulder, "Are you hurt?"

"No," Sam shook his head, "No, I'm fine. Dean how did you get away?"

"I'm amazing that's how. The second one is still out there, so we've got to move," he said urgently.

Sam motioned to his bound cuffs and Dean leaned over, pulling a pick out of his pocket. He started working on Sam's cuffs.

Just then, horror seeped into Sam's brain. He gulped and took a deep breath, "Hey Dean?"

"Yeah?" Dean said absentmindedly, fiddling away with the lock.

"You trying to pick it, or jam it?" Sam asked.

Dean froze and looked up, meeting Sam's eyes, "Sammy-"

"Don't call me that," Sam hissed, "you're not my brother."

Dean smiled, "Wow. You Winchesters really do know each other. What clued you in?"

Sam snarled, "Dean kicks down doors with his left. He picks with his right. The jacket you're wearing isn't his. His has a small hole on the side from a hunt we went on. And you don't have his eyes."

Sam couldn't explain that last one. Just any time Dean looked at him, there was a certain look of protectiveness and worry. Love. Their father and had called it a brothers thing, the same way they could always find each other when separated. The shifter glared at him coldly, before he sighed and stepped back from the table, starting to walk around the room.

"Where's. Dean," Sam said through gritted teeth.

 

 

 

I groaned and raised my head. I tried to move my arms before I realized they were tightly bound behind him. I was on the ground of the sewer, my back up against a pole. I looked around, focusing on my gun and everything I had in my pocket laying on the ground a couple feet away, by the other side of the tunnel. Dean swore quietly and strained against the ropes, groaning as he pulled as hard as he could to no avail. 

There were footsteps from farther down the tunnel and I held my breath as they got closer, craning my head to see. 

Sam walked in and I grinned for a second, "Sammy-" Then I stopped and memories flooded back to me with the help of the unsettling, taunting smile that came from my brother. "Not Sammy," I corrected, sighing and pulling on the ropes again.

"Very good Dean," Sam nodded. 

"Where's my brother?" I snarled.

"He's back at the station. You passed him you know. Cuffed to a table. You walked right by," the shifter said gleefully.

"You're lying," I smiled, my confidence wavering slightly.

The shifter laughed, "For once, I'm actually not. Let me tell you what else is a truth-"

"Save it," I snapped; that was a mental punch already, "What are you going to do to Sam?"

Sam sighed, crouching on his haunches in front of me, "I'll humor you Dean. And it's not what I'm gonna do. It's what you're gonna do. You weren't the only one tricked."

"So now what, kill one of us, frame the other?" I suggested cockily. 

The shifter laughed, "Sam caught on quicker than you did. We're not like other shifters. We don't feel the need to frame anyone. We just kill them."

My blood went cold, "Don't you touch Sam."

"Again," Sam winked, "you're going to. Not me. Oh and by the way, the sheriff you were talking to? He's the other one."

"And the actual sheriff?" I asked.

"Dead," Sam smiled. 

I swore, yanking on the ropes. The shifter laughed at my efforts, "Easy there tiger. You might dislocate something. That's my job."

I gave him a fake smile. 

The shifter then changed. He crumpled down into himself and when he looked up his gaze was different. It was filled with pain in hurt and I immediately tensed, seeing my brother in pain in front of me as he spoke quietly, "Why don't you trust me?"

I glared at him and wouldn't make eye contact, just shifting in my position and raising my eyebrows, "Oh we're getting right into it are we?"

"We need to talk Dean," Sam said. 

"Well then hey, you get the herbal tea and some tissues and we can-" I was silenced by the second hit of the day, again across the face. The shifter definitely knew his strength. He hit hard enough to hurt, but soft enough that I wouldn't black out. I shook my head to clear the dizziness and flexed my jaw. 

"Sam punches harder," I jabbed.

The shifter snarled and the result of my big mouth was another hit. I spit out blood, leaning my head against the wall. I closed my eyes and then opened one, looking at him, "There you go, that's better. Happy now?"

"Oh I'm just getting started," the shifter grinned."

 

About 5 minutes later, I wished I could plug my ears. My nose was bloody and there was a black eyes forming. My chest ached and I could feel my cheekbone starting to bruise.

"It's your fault ya know," Sam said quietly. "Dad. Ellen. Me. Bobby...Jo."

I seethed, "Shut up."

Sam looked hurt, "You care more about her than me don't you? I've died Dean, because of you. I've gotten hurt because of you. I was happy with you out of my life and then you had to go drag me back in, and ruin everything. As usual."

"You're not Sam," I said softly, to both myself and the double of my brother sitting mere feet away from him.

"Maybe not," the shifter admitted, "but I've still got his mind. And rest assured, Sam doesn't plan on dying for you. He wouldn't jump in front of a bullet to save you. Every brotherly moment you two have ever had is a bunch of crap. You don't care about him, he doesn't care about you."

I almost defended myself, yelled back that I would die for my brother anyway and that I knew Sammy would do the same, but that would just encourage the shifter so I kept my mouth shut.

"Everyone around you gets hurt. You have so much blood on your hands it's not even funny."

"Maybe I do," I shrug, "I can still sleep at night."

"You pathetic, egotistical, overconfident, worthless excuse for a brother, you, should still be in hell. I wish Cas had never gotten you out," Sam seethed.

"Shut up," I hissed, earning a kick to the stomach. I doubled over, groaning in pain.

"You'll never be like dad. Sometimes I don't even think you care he's gone. Or care they're all gone. Heck if I was gone too you probably wouldn't notice," Sam laughed with no humor.

"You're not my brother," I said through gritted teeth.

"Are you talking to me? Or reassuring yourself? By the way, your brother has got it far worse than you. Let's just say I'm mostly talk. My partner...he's more punch first, ask questions later. Sammy's probably screaming in pain right now."

I lunged, smacking my forehead against the shifter's nose and blocking out the dizziness with pure rage, "If my brother is so much as scratched I will rip you apart I swear."

The shifter started laughing, wiping a bit of blood away from my nose, "Oh he's gonna be hurt worse than that."

"I'll kill you. Both of you, I'll kill you," I swore.

"Good luck with that Dean," the shifter nodded encouragingly, "because you can't save him. You never can. I always need you, and you never seem to come through, do you? Couldn't stop me from getting stabbed, couldn't stop me from getting manipulated by Ruby, couldn't stop me from going to hell...you're just full of disappointment. You'll never be enough." 

Sam got to his feet and towered over me, smacking me across the face before grabbing my chin, "I hate you. Deep down I hate you."

I swore, trying to get out of the iron grip he had on my chin but Sam wouldn't let me. Then my gaze focused on something behind Sam and I grinned, "You huwt my feewlings. Get off me you son of a-"

There was an explosion of light and I closed my eyes, turning away as the hand fell from my chin and the shifter slumped to the side with a hole in his chest and his eyes burned out. Cas pulled the angel blade out of the shifters back and straightened, "Hello Dean."

"Hello to you too Cas," I grinned, "you're a God send."

Cas snapped and the ropes binding me fell before he frowned, "God did not send me. I saw you were in trouble and I simply came to-"

"It's an expression man," I staggered when I got to my feet.

Cas grabbed my arm, stabilizing him. The angel's gaze was full of concern, "Are you ok Dean?"

"I'm fine Cas, thanks," I assured before I picked up my gun and shoved my stuff in my pockets. Then I nodded at Cas, "Come on, we have to find Sam."

 

Chapter Text

Sam spit out blood, gasping for breath.

"Aw Sammy, did I hurt you?" Dean snarled, punching Sam in the stomach. 

Sam buckled over in pain, the cuffs digging into his wrists even more. The shifter had long kicked his chair over him so Sam was limp against the table, even falling to the ground with his hands being yanked above his head once or twice.

The shifter paced the room, "Did I mention I hate you?"

"Four times," Sam groaned, trying to get to his feet again. He looked up and his brother was there, his cold eyes gazing into Sam. Sam unintentionally flinched and shrank backward and Dean grabbed his collar and hauled him upright, tugging him against the cuffs.

"You're worse than the things we hunt," Dean hissed.

Sam shook his head, "You're not my brother."

"God Sam, you're messed up. And I mean really messed up. Brother or not I want to kill you. I know you don't care about me. Heck, you didn't look for me in Purgatory, why should I trust you?"

"I'm sorry," Sam found himself saying. He could never say it to Dean, "I wanted to- I just was scared. And alone-"

Dean cursed and shoved Sam against the table, a firm grip still on his collar, "You're pathetic. And weak."

"I'm not," Sam said softly, "you leave me alone!"

"You'd like that wouldn't you? After all the times you've let me down?"

Sam glared at the shifter.

"Over and over and over again, do you blame me for wanting to get away from you? I should have left you to die in the hands of the demon."

"Shut up," Sam seethed, shaking his head. 

The shifter grinned, sensing he hit a weak spot, which of course he did. 

"I knew you had been taken. I knew the day you got kidnapped. But I wanted you to suffer for once. I'd been taking all the blows lately," Dean shrugged.

Sam's brow creased and he groaned as he stood up to lean against the table, "No. You're lying. You- Dean would never do that." Sam cursed himself for slipping up. The shifter was getting to him. This wasn't his brother, he reminded himself, this wasn't Dean.

"Why would I lie? The truth hurts Sammy. You hadn't exactly stuck your neck out for me, you've just let me rot," the shifter snarled, his eyes flashing with enjoyment.

Sam turned away, curling his hands into fists. 

The shifter was on him in an instant, punching him across the face at his moment of weakness before slamming his heel into Sam's leg, bringing him to his knees, his hands yanked across his body. 

"You're a monster Sam."

Sam choked on a sob, "Don't you call me that. Don't you call me that," he pleaded.

Dean grinned and punched him across the face again before he kneed him in the ribs. The shifter grabbed a fistful of Sam's hair and yanked it up, shaking his head, "You know, most of the time I don't take this long to kill one of my victims. But you and your brother, the Winchesters...for being so tough you're so easy to take down. Your brother's already dead you know. He died knowing that you wouldn't die for him if you had the choice."

Sam struggled, breathing hard, his gaze full of fury, "No. You're lying. He's not-"

"He is Sam. I'm sorry for your loss," the shifter said before landing an uppercut under his chin, snapping his head back. Sam slammed into the metal table and went limp, his hands still cuffed above him.

"You're weak! The puny Sam Winchester. I expected more out of you," the shifter said.

"What, did I cry?" Sam spat, earning him another punch.

"I hope Dean screamed," the shifter said angrily, grabbing Sam's shoulder and pushing it the wrong way, "when my friend slit his throat."

"You sick piece of-" Sam hissed, crying out in pain as the shifter pushed harder.

"It's no wonder Dean hates you," Dean laughed, and Sam winced at the familiar chuckle he heard.

"You're not- my brother," he said, trying to control his breathing, pushing back against the shifter's hand trying to dislocate his shoulder.

"Maybe not. But I can promise you that he's done saving you. He's done watching you fail. He used to care, but now, it's like a broken record. You keep screwing up. How many times does he have to clean up your mess huh? Well he won't have to anymore. He's dead, and you'll be dead soon."

Sam was trembling, shoved up against the table, his shoulder screaming in pain, his hands desperately yanking on the cuffs.

"What do you have to say to that Sammy?" the shifter taunted.

Sam glared, groaning from pain and gritting his teeth, "Don't. Call me. Sammy." He headbutted the shifter in the face, making him stagger back.

"Aw did I hurt your feelings?" Sam hissed, breathing hard.

The shifter started forward, but then there was a shout from down the hall. 

"SAMMY!"

Sam's head snapped to the side. He and the other Dean made contact. The cold eyes glaring back at him dared him to do it. Sam smirked and yelled, "DEAN!"

The shifter crossed the room in 2 quick strides. He punched him across the mouth and Sam coughed up blood as he got kneed in the stomach twice. He sank to the ground gasping for air, a knee digging into his back, his hands being pulled by the cuffs at the table. The shifter ripped a strip of his white shirt apart and tied it around Sam's mouth while he was down, before he could even move. He tried to yell his brother's name again but it was muffled.

Then Dean got up, breaking Sam's cuffs easily, but giving him no time to adjust before both of his wrists were twisted behind his back at a painful angle. Sam yelped but with the cloth it was muffled. 

The shifter felt around his belt and found his knife, whipping it out and holding it to Sam's throat.

"Dean's back from the grave huh?" the shifter snarled, clearly pissed, "Don't worry, you both will be dead soon. I'll make sure he goes first.

Sam snorted and then squeezed his eyes shut as the blade sliced his cheek. 

"SAM! SAMMY!" 

The voice stopped by their door and Sam struggled, breathing hard. Please. Please.

The door was kicked down and Dean stormed in, looked around and locked eyes with him insta rly. In a flash the gun aimed at Sam's captor and Dean snarled in a low and threatening voice with murder on his face, "Let go of my brother."

 

"I can't go in," Cas said angrily.

I spun, "What do you mean you can't go in, I need you man!"

"It's warded against angels," Cas said seriously, scanning the building, before sighing deeply, "Go Dean, I will stay here and stop anyone that tries to enter." 

"Don't kill anyone," I said weakly, a little deflated I wouldn't have the angel for backup.

"If they are a monster, I can though, correct?" Cas asked.

"No Cas, you're going to let them kill you," I muttered.

"Why would I-" Cas knit his eyebrows, trailing off after I shot him a look. He nodded and gave me a weak smile, "Sarcasm. I am catching on. Go Dean, save Sam."

I nodded and pushed through the doors and walked quickly inside, readying my gun.

"SAMMY!" I yelled worriedly, running into the station. "Come on, come on," I muttered, spinning around, my eyes scanning the room. Everyone had left and it was dark except for the hallway that led to the cells. I started forward.

Then I heard his yell. "DEAN!" There was a cry of pain soon after and then silence. 

"SAM!" I yelled again, relieved to hear his voice, and know he was still alive and able to scream even though I could tell he was in pain and afraid. No one hurts my brother, I thought angrily.

"SAMMY?" I sprinted in the direction of his voice. I jogged down the hall, stopping to check each room. It had gotten quiet and my heartbeat sped up, fearing the worst, but then I heard some shuffling and a small muffled cry of pain from the last interrogation cell that looked like it's light was on.

I kicked the door down and sprinted into the room. My eyes fell on Sam immediately, and the shifter of me was holding him with a knife to his throat- a knife I- he had obviously just used; there was a fresh cut on Sam's cheek. That wasn't the worst though. My brother's arms were twisted behind his back and there was a messy but effective gag in his mouth. 

"Let go of my brother," I snarled. I immediately gripped the gun and glared; the shapeshifter was grinning, pressing the knife against Sam's throat so hard he winced.

"Sam..." I said weakly, my voice trailing off in horror.

Sam looked awful. The shifter that had me was right. Punch first, ask question later. Sam was bruised and bloodied; he even looked like he was having a hard time standing. Judging from his red eyes, I knew that the shifter was not only more experienced torturing physically, but mentally as well. Anger boiled in my blood as I thought of teh awful things the shifter could have told him, from my mouth, my eyes, my face...

Sam and I had a lot of problems and fights in our past. We had both made mistakes, and our enemies liked to bring those up to get to us. 

"Look Sammy. It's Dean, come to save the day. Again," he whispered in my brother's ear. 

"Hey!" I yelled, "Don't call him Sammy. Only I get to call him that. I'll give you 3 seconds to let my brother go," I swore.

The shifter me grinned, making one of my favorite expressions making me wince. I was already seeing double. There was a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach of how better he was at playing me than the other shifter was at acting as Sam. God Sammy, I'm so sorry, I thought.

"Or what?" the shifter sneered in my low voice, "Sorry Dean but Sammy could get hit."

Sam was breathing hard, still aware of the knife at his throat. I could see the pain and fear in his eyes. The shifter Dean was right; I could hit my brother, but I had to take him out before he hurt Sam.

"Let him go," I swore, adjusting my grip on the gun, "I'm gonna rip you limb from limb."

"See what I do for you? And what have you done for me?" the shifter whispered to Sam who seemed like was choking on a sob.

"Hey shut up!" I roared, "Sam listen to me, that's not me! I'm Dean. I'm-"

Sam suddenly cried out in pain, straining in the tight grip of the shifter as he dragged the blade down his collarbone, ripping his shirt and leaving a red line of blood.

"I'd be quiet Dean," he warned. "Don't ruin my fun."

I hated it, but I kept my mouth shut, the gun still trained on the man holding my brother.

"We had a nice chat Sammy and I, didn't we?" the shifter asked, ruffling Sam's hair. My brother tensed at the unwanted touch and jerked in the man's grip.

"Don't touch him," I snarled softly but firmly. 

"Oh I already did," the shifter laughed, flicking his eyes to all of Sam's cuts and bruises, "I did more than that. In fact, my fists are kinda sore. Maybe you could take over Dean?"

"You're a sick puppy," I said, narrowing my eyes. 

The shifter laughed again, winking at me, before he slid the knife lightly along Sam's neck, making my brother freeze, breathing hard through the gag. "What's it gonna be Dean? What's your play."

My mind whirled and I locked eyes with Sam. A memory hit me full force in the span of a blink.

 

I strained on the vamp's grip around my neck.

"DEAN! Let him go!" 15 year old Sam yelled, bursting through the treeline with a rifle in his hand, his bangs falling across his forehead. 

"Sammy, no!" I choked, thrashing even harder at the thought of my little brother getting hurt because of me. The vampire slugged me in the stomach and I groaned in pain. My dad flinched, but Sam let out the strangled yell.

"What's it gonna be John? What's your play?" the vamp snarled, completely ignoring Sam as if he wasn't a threat.

"Let go of my son," my dad snarled. 

I choked as the grip got tighter. 

"Hand over the girl," the vamp said calmly.

"Dad- don't do it-" I choked, letting out a cry of pain. 

"What a hero your son is. You really want to chose her over him?" The vampire asked, mocking the older Winchester.

"DAD!" Sam yelled, his voice breaking with fear. He looked at dad with disgust. His eyes said DO IT NOW! "Do something!"

John hesitated, holding the girl vampire with a gun to her head. 

"Dad," I choked, shaking my head as much as I could with an arm around my throat. 

There was a staring contest. I could see the wheels turning in his head. 

'If I shoot her, he'll slit Dean's throat before I get a chance to aim...if i push her and shoot, I could miss and hit Dean...'

(That was true. The vamp had Dean right in front of him, and he was only an inch taller, meaning his dad couldn't get a head shot)

'If I give him the girl, would he really give Dean back...and what the heck is Sam doing?!-----'

I turned and saw Sam, with fury in his eyes, creep around the side, take aim, close one eye and fire. 

I felt the bullet rip through the side of my shoulder and I cried out, but the vamp's arm loosened as his eyes went glossy and he collapsed behind me, releasing me completely. I understood what Sam did. I had felt the air I had left dwindling; I had had a couple seconds before I passed out and it was game over. Dad wasn't moving, so Sam acted for him, shooting the vamp through me, catching my shoulder in the process, but lodging a silver bullet in my captor's chest.

I gasped for air, stumbling and felt my arm, my hand going away bloody. I staggered and Sam, who had lunged forward in haste to get to me, was there to catch me as I fell. 

"I've got you Dean," Sam said firmly, pulling me away as I heard my dad shooting and slashing behind us. I tripped and fell my head spinning, desperately trying to keep my hand tight around my shoulder. Sam slid down to my side, ripping his shirt and tying it quickly around my wound.

"I'm sorry Dean, I'm so sorry-" His hands were shaking and he looked up with tears in his eyes,  "Dean I'm sorry- just dad wasn't moving, I knew where I was aiming- it was the only way- I mean i tried to make it a clean shot-" he stammered, ripping more of his shirt to press over the already red cloth.

"Sammy," I said weakly, grasping him by the top of his shoulder. My voice failed me but my eyes said it all. My little brother, Sammy, had just saved my life. Pride shone through my gaze. 

Sam grinned, "thanks."

Then my eyes widened and I shouted, "Sam!"

A vamp was running forward, headed for me and my brother. Sam, the reckless idiot he was, got to his hands and knees and headed TOWARDS the monster, reaching for the gun he had dropped when we had fallen. He got it and aimed but the vamp had closed him, and I let out a cry as the monster kicked him in the face. Sam went sprawling into my lap and he groaned, looking up and yelping as the vamp lunged for the both of us.

Sam scrambled around to face me and squeezed his eyes shut, shielding me with his body but I wasn't about to let that happen. I lunged up and caught him around the waist before I tucked him into my chest, yelling in pain as my bad arm hit the ground, but knowing the pain was worth it. My back was to the lunging vamp not his, and I had Sam pinned in a forced hug on the ground, his head buried in my chest, his hands grabbing my coat in fists. What a way to go out, I thought. How much will it hurt?

We both tensed and I squeezed my eyes shut, holding Sam tight to my chest and then heard-

SHHHHINK. Thud.

I groaned in pain and looked over my shoulder. Then I rolled onto my side, shoving Sam lightly away from where he was curled against my chest, "Get off me jerk."

He smiled weakly and we both turned to our father who was holding the knife that had just cut the vamp's head clean off. Sam and I were next to each other on the ground, leaning back on our elbows, breathing hard. 

Then dad stormed over to Sam. My brother's face went from relief to horror in a span of 1 second. My father grabbed Sam by the collar and hauled him to his feet, "What the hell are you thinking?"

Sam's feet buckled underneath him until my dad was practically holding him by his jacket. "I- I-" he stuttered. 

"You shot your brother!" Dad yelled. 

"He saved my life!" I yelled back, getting to my feet and ripping Sam from his grasp, "Which is more than I can say for you."

Dad looked at me furiously but then he shook his head, "You ok?"

"Fine," I said through gritted teeth.

"Good, let's go," he turned around and started walking back to the Impala. 

I turned around and saw Sam with his head hanging. "Hey what's with you sob story?" I asked.

"I shot you," Sam said, and I looked down and saw his hands were shaking, clenched into tight fists. 

I grabbed one of them instantly, uncurling his fingers with my good hand before shoving his arm away, "Hey. You saved my life Sammy."

"I shot you," Sam repeated, clearly horrified.

"You shot the vamp. I just got in the way," I smirked.

"But dad said-" Sam started miserably. 

"I don't care what dad said!" I shouted. I grabbed Sam by the shoulder, "If you hadn't done what you did, I might be dead. Sammy I'd do anything for you. And I know you'd do the same."

"I'd die for you Dean," Sam said, looking at me with his innocent brown eyes. 

"I know you would. So you made the right call today. Thank you. I'm- I'm proud of you Sammy," I said. Sam smiled a bit. I clapped him on the shoulder and then decided that wasn't good enough. 

"Come here," I said harshly, pulling him in with my good arm. I wrapped my arm tightly around him as we embraced. 

"I'm getting you back though, one day," I whispered, grinning as I held my little brother, remembering the way he jumped in front, ready to get killed instead of me, acting when Dad didn't. 

Sam laughed, "Ok Dean."

I blinked. Then I smirked. Sam was breathing hard through the gag and he shot me a look of fear and confusion.

"I told you I'd get you back Sammy. Well I'm getting you back," I said slowly. There was a hint of question in it. This was Sam's choice. 

Being my brother, he immediately understood what I was about to do and he nodded very subtly, biting into the gag and sucking in a breath.

I winked at him, and before the shifter could react I took aim and shot Sam right in the top of his shoulder. He screamed in pain through the gag, his eyes squeezing shut, his left side jerking back from the hit. I hated the sound of it, and the look on his face, but I sprinted forward as the shifter behind him choked once, and then fell, his eyes going blank. 

Sam collapsed and I caught him, dragging him as far away as I could from that shifter that had hurt him with my meatsuit. Sam started punching and kicking out of instinct and i caught both of his flying wrists, but that only made him yell through the gag. My heart stopped and shattered as I looked down and saw my hands clenched over his torn up wrists. 

"Crap, Sammy I'm sorry, hey it's ok, it's ok," I assured him, releasing him and putting my hands up in surrender. Sam scooted the last few feet backwards to the corner, pressing his back up against the wall, blinking and breathing hard as if he was trying to assure himself that this was the real me.

He locked eyes with me, scared and in pain and I made my way over to him, motioning to the gag that he looked like he had forgotten was still tied around his mouth, "I'm gonna take this off ok?"

Sam didn't say anything but he nodded and slowly and I reached forward and untied the piece of cloth that had been tightly knotted at back of his head.

Sam took a deep breath and then spoke shakily, "Thanks."

"It's me Sammy, it's me," I assured him.

"I know," he said, "I can see it in your eyes."

"Ok don't get sappy on me little brother," I grumbled, smirking a bit.

Sam cracked a smile, "I'm serious. Even when you're pissed at me you don't look at me the way he did." He tensed as he looked across the room at the dead shifter lying limp on the floor, his eyes staring at the opposite wall. 

I nodded before I clapped him on the shoulder, snapping him out of his daze, "You good?"

"I'll be fine," he said, wincing as I helped him get to his feet.

He staggered and I supported most of his weight, keeping him upright and muttering, "Woah, woah, hey there daredevil, take it easy."

"I'm fine," he said again, gently trying to shove me off but I didn't let him, instead, I ducked under his arm to help him walk.

I helped him limp out of the room and as we passed the shifter I shook my head, "Sam, how'd you even think he was me? I'm more handsome, obviously."

Sam cracked a smile and I grinned, slamming the door shut behind me. "How's the shoulder?"

"I'll live," Sam said with a strained voice.

"I told you I'd get you back," I said, tugging him closer to my side.

Sam allowed me to take his weight and he nodded, "Yes you did."

 

Chapter Text

I stifled a groan as Sam's knee buckled, but the cry of pain my brother let out made me grit my teeth and suck it up, supporting Sam's weight so I could keep him standing. "I got you Sammy," I said, my voice strained.

Sam's hands were shaking as they gripped my jacket in fists but even then, my hold on my brother was getting weaker. Sam finally let out a strangled jumbled gasp of words that I registered as, "Dean- wait- gah-" just before Sam collapsed to his knees, coughing up blood.

I lowered him slowly to the ground, and let him rest against the wall, gripping my brother's forearms and trying to lock eyes with him. "Sam! Sammy? Sam, wake up," I commanded, hitting my brother's cheek lightly as his soft brown eyes tried to focus on me, "Hey, hey! SAM!"

I cursed as Sam's gaze went blank and his face screwed up in pain, gasping and coughing up even more blood. I surveyed the damages, realizing how bad Sam was hurt and knowing that the reason why he was fading was probably internal bleeding. My brother's head lolls, falling to my chest and I curse again, moving forward on my knees to Sam's side as I cup his chin and raise it in a panic, looking into his eyes.

"Don't you quit on me Sammy. Cas is outside, come on I need to get you there, he'll heal you, I need you to stand," I pleaded. No response.

I curse again under my breath and brush hair from my brother's face, cupping it with both hands, "Sam stay with me ok? I got you little brother, I got you."

In shock, horror, and fear, I realize I'm losing him, as Sam's breathing starts to slow. Adrenaline kicks in. I won't let this happen. Sam will not die, especially not because of me. Sam falls against my shoulder as I try to move him forward. With a small choked back sob that is pushed down by anger and fear, I let his head rest against my chest until I can sling Sam's arm around my shoulder.

"Here we go Sammy, I'm gonna get you out of here ok?" I say, gritting my teeth as I slowly stand, in turn pulling my brother to his feet.

"You're gonna be just fine. I've got you. I'm gonna take care of you. That's my job right? Come on Sam, stay with me. Please...God, stay with me," My voice breaks. I stagger around the corner, looking up in relief as I make eye contact with Cas.

The angel's face goes slack and Cas gives me a grim nod, ready by the door. I kick the door open with my foot, almost falling backward in the process, but then he and are through the door and I'm falling forward, apologizing silently to Sam for giving him another bruise as we both topple to the pavement. Sam goes limp, staying right where he fell: on his back his chest still. I scramble over, collapsing by my brother's side.

"Cas!" I yell helplessly.

"I know Dean," the angel nods and places his hand on Sam's chest. He concentrates, his eyebrows knitting as he closes his eyes, his mouth a thin tight line, with a wince every couple of seconds. I'm breathing hard, tears filling my eyes and I grip Sam's arm. Don't take him. Not because of me. Please don't take him.

Cas opens his eyes and steps back and the glow in Sam's chest slowly fades.

"Sam?" I asked softly, hating how my voice broke. I cleared my throat and tried again, deeper this time, but choking back tears, "Sammy?"

Sam doesn't move. His eyes are closed. His chest remains still.

"Oh God..." I said running a hand through my hair in worry, "Sam?"

Again...nothing.

"SAM!"

Cas lowers his head and places a hand on his shoulder awkwardly, his eyes still resting on Sam's unmoving form.

"Oh, God..." I choke.

And then Sam's eyes fly open and he gasps, shooting up and instinctively grasping onto my jacket in tight fists, locking eyes with me. I keep him upright, one hand on his shoulder and one behind his back. He coughs, his head dipping for a bit before he winces and raises it, breathing hard. I stare at him for a second, and we lock eyes. Sam swallows painfully, coughing again, and then opens his mouth to speak.

"Hey-"

I pull him into a hug, my one arm getting tighter around his back, the other bringing his head to my shoulder, my hand disappearing into his messy hair that I wish I could cut. I held him tight, not caring that he probably couldn't breathe and that I might very well kill him again, just caring that he was safe, and here, and that I could protect him.

Sam hugged me back, breathing hard and wincing, clapping me twice on the back and gasping out, "Thanks."

I cup the back of his head, my other hand tight in a fist around his back to try and control the shaking. Sam seems to have finally come to his senses and he takes a shuddery breath before he I haven't hugged him that way since we were little.

 

Sam crossed his arms, "Dean I'm 13, I can take care of myself."

His brother snorted and Sam grumbled a retort. Dean flicked the back of his head, grinning. The two boys were eating side by side, sharing a can of Spaghettios. Sam finished his bowl and leaned back in his chair. His stomach grumbled quietly and he rubbed it with his hand, trying to muffle the sound, shooting a sideways look at Dean to see if he had heard it. Dean didn't seem like he did, taking another bite from his bowl and washing that down with half a can of soda.

Sam was glad he hadn't heard him; his brother was doing enough for him as it was, especially since their father was 4 days past the date he promised he'd be back.

Then Dean drummed the table and picked up his still half-full bowl, "Here."  He started spooning the rest of his dinner in Sam's bowl.

Sam shook his head, putting his hand out to stop his brother, "No, Dean-"

"Sammy, chill, I know I'm your big brother and all, but don't worry this isn’t because I’ve gone all soft or sappy. When was the last time I turned down food? I'm just not hungry, I promise," Dean assured him, raising his eyebrows, waiting for permission to scoop the rest of the bowl's contents out.

Sam narrows his eyes but slowly moves his hand away and Dean dramatically finishes scraping out the rest of the pasta before he messes up Sam's hair with the back of his hand.

"Thanks Dean," Sam says, sticking his spoon in the now almost full bowl and taking 3 large bites.

"Hey, I just wasn't hungry," Dean shrugged, putting his bowl in the tiny dishwasher in the motel. He settled down to watch TV while Sam finished his dinner, turning up the volume to annoy Sam and to make sure his little brother didn't hear his stomach rumble.

" Maybe dad's coming home tonight Dean," Sam said, turning to his brother about 2 hours later. They were sitting on opposite sides of the couch, every so often kicking one another.

"Yeah Sammy, maybe," Dean nodded. He was getting better at hiding the doubtful tone in his voice. Then he flicks his wrist to check his watch, huffs, and turns off the TV, "Woah, look at that. It's 10:45 Sammy, time for bed."

" Dean, I'm old enough to stay up past 11," Sam drawls, grabbing the remote and turning the TV back on.

"And I'm Santa Claus," Dean raises an eyebrow, "Time for bed. Geniuses need their sleep. Gotta crunch those numbers in the morning, nerd."

Sam crosses his arms and is about to shoot some retort back, but then there's a knock on the door. Dean stops, mid lunge to gain back possession of the remote. His head snaps up and he has a rather hopeful look on his face that Sam hasn't seen in a while. Sam climbs over the couch, dropping the TV remote, scrambling to his feet and rushing to the door, throwing open the lock and yanking the door open.

"Da-" It wasn’t his dad. It was a man, whose head was down, in a hoodie and jeans.

"So you're John Winchester's boys," a man says, raising his head, his eyes a shade of dark magenta. They gleam as he smiles.

Sam knows right away it's a werewolf; it's teeth gleam in the glow from the lone streetlight as he growls at the young Winchester. Sam's cry dies in his throat as it bats him aside like he's a piece of paper. Sam hits the wall a few feet away and crumples, the werewolf entering the room. "

SAM!" Dean roars, jumping over the couch with a blanket in his hand and murder on his face. He throws it over the werewolf's head and kicks it in the chest, sending it stumbling back a few feet. Dean slams the door shut and bolts it, rushing over to his little brother's side.

"Come on Sam, Sammy come on!" Dean grabs his dazed brother's arm and pulls, dragging him into the bedroom they were sharing. He shoved Sam down in the corner behind the bed and started feeling for the trunk they had stowed beneath the wooden frame. Dean pulls it out and yanks it open, grabbing the gun and shoving in silver bullets, his hands surprisingly steady. Sam starts to stand to peak over the bed and Dean shoves him down hard from his shoulders.

"Stay here," Dean commands, getting to a crouch and starting to creep around the bed.

"No- Dean I can help-" Sam pleads, reaching out to tug on the end of Dean's flannel.

"I said stay here Sammy! Get down!" Dean says in a harsh whisper, glaring at Sam to make him know he means business. Sam shrinks back into the corner and watches as Dean crosses the small span of the door that's open, pushing his back up against the wall, before he nudges it open with his foot and exits the room, gun raised.

Sam's breathing hard and he digs through the trunk to get the other gun, his hands nowhere near as steady as Dean's were as he loaded it with silver bullets. He holds the gun to his chest and sinks even lower into the corner, breathing hard and trying to listen for sounds of his brother.

Dean creeps forward, ‘looking with the gun’ as his dad explained it, looking over every inch of the room as he scanned the place. The front door was kicked off its hinges, the lock busted and Dean turned, scanning the room again.

Nothing...

Then a wet drop hits his arm and he looks down and screws up his face. It's spit. Dean slowly raises his gaze to see the werewolf drop from the ceiling and swipe as Dean fires off a shot. Dean yells and throws himself backward, the claw barely catching his chest. He hears a snap as the werewolf's hand curls around his collar and yanks, ripping his shirt. Dean gets to his feet and ducks around the table as it's tossed into the wall. He could have sworn he had hit the thing- at least once if not twice. Dean Winchester wasn't used to missing.

But as the werewolf gets up, Dean sees that the bullet did make contact with it's left shoulder. It seemed to only slow the werewolf down.

"John trained you well," the werewolf said, his appearance changing back and forth from normal to supernatural, tapping into his human side with effort in order to speak to the older Winchester.

"How do you know my father?" Dean snarled, ducking behind a wall as a chair was thrown at his head. It crashed into the wall and Dean brought the gun to his chest, pressing himself flat to take cover.

"Oh we've got history. He killed my son. So I figured I would get revenge and kill one of his," the werewolf said, crossing the room to where Dean was taking cover.

"Bite me," Dean snarled, "Oh no wait, you actually might."

"Doesn't have to be you," the wolf said tauntingly, baring its teeth.

"Yes it does," Dean said in a harsh whisper. There was no way he was letting this thing hurt Sammy. Dean grit his teeth and ducked out from behind the wall, shooting right between the werewolf's feet.

The man bared his teeth and Dean grinned. "What big ears you have. Come and get me you freak."

Then Dean turned on his heel and sprinted out of the room and into the rain outside. The werewolf, his vision shaded with anger, took the bait and bounded after Dean, crashing through the wall, the fridge tipping on it's side. A chair caught Dean in the leg and he let out a yell of pain and shot behind him blindly, purposefully missing, just trying to draw the werewolf away from the motel...away from Sammy. H e limped the rest of the way outside, drenched by the storm, and fell, aiming the gun from the ground as he scrambled backward.

Sam sat with his back firm against the corner, his knees curled up to his chest. His hands were tight around the gun, holding the grip so tight that his nails dug hard into his palm. He flinched at every sound his brother made, and with every shot that was set off. There was a huge crash and Sam jumped, shaking, and finally got to his feet, leveling the pistol. He slowly got to his feet, creeping to the door. Sam peeked out the door and stepped out cautiously, turning with the gun, his young eyes scanning the room nervously.

“Dean?” He hissed, glancing around the corner. The motel room was smashed to pieces- overturned tables, broken chairs, door off its hinges, and the fridge on it’s side. Sam took a shaky breath and kept walking. Then he spotted something on the floor. Sam scanned the room for threats and when he found none, thought it safe to fall to his knees beside his brother’s amulet. Sam touched it with trembling fingers and then cupped it in his hand.

A speck of blood smeared onto his hand and Sam sucked in a breath. A horrid replay ran through his mind...

Dean, trying to get a shot off. The werewolf’s claw slicing through his chest- Dean’s yell he had heard. The crash of his brother getting thrown across the room, the necklace he had never taken off, ripped and thrown to the ground by the werewolf who went in for the kill-

Sam gulped down a sob and took a deep breath, shoving the necklace around his own neck and starting forward. He stepped over and table and chair, picking up his pace as he walked outside. His eyes found the big looming figure, towering over Dean whom he held by the collar. His brother was unconscious, or maybe dead, limp in the werewolf’s grasp. The claw raised up in the moonlight, gleaming on the tips, ready to come down and slash Dean across the chest.

“DEAN!” Sam yelled his voice breaking. The werewolf turned at his yell and Sam snarled, taking aim, and firing, catching it in the right shoulder. The wolf yelped and dropped Dean who went limp, unmoving. Sam backed up against the wall of the motel, frozen in fear as the werewolf closed in.

“I thought I would just take one son, but I’ll have to make it 2,” the werewolf snarled.

Sam brought up his gun again but had it slapped away as he got punched in the face. Sam rolled with the hit, shaking out the pain and ducked under the next swipe, kicking out and slamming his heel into the werewolf’s knee. His moment of satisfaction was fleeting; the wolf grabbed his ankle and twisted it, flipping him and spraining it at the same time. Sam grabbed his ankle, hissing in pain and groaning, scrambling backward on his hands and knees.

“Dean!” Sam yelled helplessly, looking for his brother who was still face down and unmoving.

“He won’t be getting up. I killed him,” the werewolf snarled.

“No,” Sam shook his head, seething in anger, “No you didn’t. You’re lying.”

“Why would I lie?” the wolf snarled.

Sam held back a sob and continued to crawl backward, trying to think of what he could do, stealing glances at his brother who was still on his back on the pavement, unmoving. He couldn’t be dead. Not Dean…

“No…” he said in a low whisper. Through his tears, he pulled himself to his feet and limped backward. The werewolf was simply taunting him, walking slowly on purpose, as if giving him a chance to fight- to live. Is that what he had done to Dean?

Sam reached his motel room, the door kicked down and the wall around it splintering off. He ripped off a piece of the wood to defend himself and held it out in front of him.

“Get the hell away from me,” Sam threatened, his voice shaking.

“That is what I promised your brother. I said, you let me kill you, or I kill your brother. Threw the gun right down,” he said thoughtfully, waiting for the younger Winchester’s reaction.

“No.” Sam’s heart stopped and he shook his head, blinking tears away, “Shut up.”

In his moment of weakness the werewolf lunged and Sam caught it across the head, swinging his makeshift bat as hard as he could. They both fell and rolled, and Sam cried out as claws nicked his cheek and side, drawing blood and ripping his shirt. He pushed off of him, ripping his hands up as he clawed at the pavement to get away. A sharp kick to his side sent him flying and Sam groaned, flopping onto his back, the rain splattering his face as he tried to take a breath. He looked to his left, coughing up blood and seeing Dean’s unmoving form limp on the pavement, his head lolled to the side.

“Dean,” Sam sobbed quietly. The werewolf had a foot on his arm, putting enough pressure to keep him pinned and in pain and Sam looked up in fear, the monster silhouetted in the light of the streetlamp. He curled his fist trying to free his hand but it was no use. Sam bit his lip and let out a yell through gritted teeth, fighting back tears.

“Bye Sammy,” the werewolf snarled.

Sam put up his left hand to shield himself and closed his eyes.

Then there were 2 gunshots.

Sam opened one eye and peeked through his fingers. The werewolf looked down at the bullet holes perfectly symmetrical passing right in his heart, his fangs retracting and his eyes returning to normal.

Dean grabbed the werewolf’s arm, gripping him firmly, stepping in front of him and Sam, his foot in between Sam’s legs. Dean grabbed it’s collar and pulled the man forward.

“Don’t call him Sammy,” Dean snarled in its ear, before he shoved the werewolf backward. The monster fell, it’s foot lifting off Sam’s arm as it hit the ground hard, his eyes staring straight up. Sam was gulping down air and he looked up at Dean who was breathing hard, gun in his hand, the shaft slid back, the gun out of bullets.

“Dean?” Sam said quietly.

Dean bent down and put down his hand and Sam clasped it, letting Dean pull him to his feet. Blinded and distracted by the fact that Dean was alive, Sam forgot about his bad ankle and put weight on it. He let out a cry of pain and buckled in Dean’s grasp who kept him standing in his firm arms.

“I got ya Sammy, come on, let’s head inside. Let’s go, come on, I’ve got you,” Dean said softly, draping Sam's arm around his shoulders and helping him limp back into the motel. Dean and Sam both collapsed at the foot of the bed, breathing hard. Dean gripped his side, wincing in pain and Sam was gulping down air, his fist gripping Dean's amulet he still had around his neck. 

"Thanks," Sam said, looking over at his brother who cut the look of pain, shoving it down because he didn't want his little brother to see it.

"Anytime Sammy," Dean cracked a smile, and it was clearly fake and both of them new it.

"Every time," Sam says, "you save my life over and over, you sacrifice everything for me-"

"Because it's my job Sam," Dean said, turning so he could look Sam straight in the eyes, "and it will always be my job. So if something happens to you, that's on me. I have to keep you safe, I have to protect you. You're my little brother and if anything wants to get to you, well they've got to go through me. And they're not getting through me," Dean grinned, shoving Sam gently in the shoulder. 

Dean leaned back against the bad, sucking in a breath and releasing it in pure relief. Then he glanced down at Sam and his face broke into a true smile, "You found it?"

Sam followed his gaze to the amulet that he had around his neck and he sheepishly took it off and returned it to it's owner. Dean put on and grinned, "Back to normal."

Sam was the one to fake the smile this time, remembering when he had found it on the floor, smeared with blood. He shuddered to himself, before he flinched; Dean gently smacked his side and started to get to his feet muttering, "Let's ditch this place, I'll call dad-"

"He told me he killed you," Sam then said softly.

Dean stopped mid-rise and looked over his shoulder at his little brother who was sitting there suddenly looking so small. The brown eyes were filled with tears as he looked up at him in admiration and sadness. 

"He said that he had killed you Dean. I thought-" Sam shook his head, biting his lip and desperately trying to maintain his composure. Dean almost cursed. Sam hated himself for letting one tear drop- that was no way to grow up.

"Hey, hey Sammy? Look at me. I'm here, I'm ok. I saved your butt, you're welcome, but I'm here. It's gonna take a lot more to stop me I can tell you that," Dean grinned. 

Sam's head was against his chest and he shook his head, rubbing his face discretely with his fist. 

"Hey," Dean put his arm around his brother and rubbed his shoulder, before he gently tugged on Sam's jacket, pulling him toward him a bit. Sam turned and dove into the hug, wrapping his arms tight around him. Dean held him with a firm hand behind his back, gently cupping the back of his head with his other hand, his fingers running through his younger brother's hair in attempt to calm him down. Sam was shaking in an effort not to cry, burying his head in the slope of Dean's shoulder. 

"I've got you brother. I've got you Sam," Dean said in a shaky voice. Sam wasn't the only one who had had a scare. He almost lost his little brother. They had almost lost each other. Dean set his chin on the top of Sam's head and held him. They stayed like that for a bit, on the floor of their bedroom- the only place not demolished by the werewolf fight. This became one of the few moments of their childhood that Dean realized how much he needed Sam, and how much Sam needed Dean. They made a promise that day, without even realizing it, to always have each other's backs, come whatever.

Dean blinked rebellious tears away and cleared his throat, allowing himself a few more seconds holding Sam to his chest and protecting him, before he clapped his brother on the shoulder.

"How about we get out of this crappy motel, huh?"

 

I clap him on the back in return and pull away, taking a deep breath and clearing my throat. I discretely wipe the rebellious tears that somehow escaped my eyes. 

"Are you ok?" I said firmly.

"Yeah, Dean, I'm fine," Sam said, still a little out of it, his eyes slowly focusing. I nodded and grabbed his arm again, pulling to his feet and then helping him limp to the car. I got my brother settled in shotgun, and then I went around to the driver's seat.  

"Meet you at the bunker?" I asked Cas who was standing next to me.

Cas nodded, "Ok Dean." Then I grabbed his trench coat before he could walk away.

"Hey, thanks man. For ya know, saving Sam. You did good," I smiled at my friend. 

Cas smiled back and we hugged before I opened the driver's door and slid in, looking over at Sam who took a deep breath.

"Let's go home," I said contently.

Sam smiled, "Yeah."

 

I woke up in the middle of the night to hear Sam let out a yell. In a flash I was up, grabbing the gun that was under my pillow and throwing my door open. I burst into his room, gun raised, and saw Sam breathing hard, his back against the bedpost, his legs tangled in sheets. 

I holstered my gun and rushed to his side, grabbing his shoulder, "Hey, hey! What the hell was that?"

Sam was breathing hard and he flinched as I grabbed his arm. I recoiled and searched his gaze. The shifter. He was having nightmares. And I had just made it worse, hadn't I? I took a step back, the hurt look in my gaze overshadowed by understanding for my brother's sake. 

Sam reached out and grabbed my sleeve before I could step back any further. He ran both hands through his hair. "No, Dean, it's ok. I mean, it's you right?"

"Of course it's me. You don't know your own brother?" I said angrily.

Sam smiled, "Yeah, it's you."

I laughed a bit and cautiously sat on the edge of the bed. Sam untangled the sheets and put his legs over the side, joining me at the edge of the bed. 

"You ok?" I said after a minute of silence.

"Yeah," Sam said, immediately looking down afterward. Lie. 

"Sammy..." my voice trailed off and I looked my brother in the eye, "Whatever he said to you-"

"I know," Sam nodded, "It's fine."

"No, it's not fine," I said angrily, "When has anything in our life been fine?"

Sam raised his eyebrows and sighed, "Good point."

"What did he say to you?" I asked him, my voice firm, my mouth in a straight, set line. 

After a deep breath, Sam recounted the worst of the shifter interrogation, and when he was done we both sat there, basking in the realization of the horror of the world we were living in. 

"Sam I want you to know that-" I started but my brother cut me off. 

"You would never have said that stuff. Dean you sacrifice everything for me. You're always there for me, and... I don't know, I guess I just find myself agreeing with some of the stuff he said. I let you down so many times, I just- I don't know I guess there's a part of me that thinks that there's gonna be a time when you rightly go tired of that. I'm tired of letting you down."

"Sammy? Aside from the fact that that's the biggest load of bullcrap I've ever heard, you listen to me, and you listen good. I made you a promise in that church that it would be you and me. Remember that? No matter what. I'm your big brother Sam. It's my job to keep you safe and it will always be my job. So if something happens to you, that's on me. I have to keep you safe, I have to protect you. If anything wants to get to you, well they've got to go through me. And they're not getting through me," I said firmly. 

Sam remembered just like I had, the first time I had said that, and he, like I had just done, ran through the memory in his head, ending with a small smile.

"You let me drive that day. And I said dad would kill you if he found out. And you said 'let him try, who's gonna take care of you if I'm gone?'" Sam smiled at the memory.

I grinned, "Yeah, yeah I did. Almost ran us off the road."

"I did not!"

"The tree was a foot away Sammy," I laughed. 

"You know what?" Sam laughed as well and we smiled, reminiscing of better days. 

"After all we've been through, we're all we've got," Sam said then. I nodded and my brother looked over at me, "And I will always have your back. I would die for you Dean. In an instant, without hesitating."

"I wouldn't let you," I grinned, but he had no idea how much that had meant. Sam snorted, totally oblivious to the impact of his words. 

"Come on, do you want a beer?" I asked, clapping Sam on the back. 

"It's 2 in the morning Dean," Sam laughed, rubbing his eyes.

"5 o'clock somewhere. Come on Debbie," I raised my eyebrows. 

Sam laughed and got to his feet and I grinned and we walked down the hallway together.

"I'm glad you're ok Sammy," I said sincerely, grabbing us both a bottle. We clinked them and sat down and Sam nodded, giving me a small smile, "You too."

Sam was gonna hate me, but I wasn't planning on letting him out of my sight for the next couple weeks. 

 

Chapter Text

I woke up from a nightmare and blinked groggily, rolling over to look at my clock with slowly came into focus the more I concentrated. 7 am. I yawned and stretched, clenching and clenching my fists as I kicked off my covers. My arm cramped on my side and I rolled over again, my eyes shut, debating whether or not to go back to sleep. 

Then I heard a small flutter and the creek of the floor boards. My eyebrows knit, I opened my eyes.

Cussing loudly, I flung myself backward, falling off the bed and hitting the ground before my brain registered what I had seen and realzied the severity of the situatuon. Blood. Too much blood. I grabbed the bedspread, scrambling to my feet in shock. 

"Cas?"

 

"SAM!" I yelled, making my way around the bed to catch Cas as he fell, his trench coat drenched in blood, one hand clasped over his stomach, more blood seeping through his fingers.

"SAMMY!" I yelled again, hearing my brother's door burst open down the hall.

"I had nowhere else to go," Cas rasped.

"Dean!" Sam yelled from down the hall and he heard his brother running for his room. 

"You're fine Cas, you're fine," I assured him, looking over my shoulder to shout, "SA-" 

"Dean! Are you- wha-" Sam burst into the room; he had rammed the door open with his shoulder and his eyes fell on me first before he looked at who I was holding upright. Sam's eyes widened, standing there in shock, his hand going out dumbly to stop the door from hitting him in the face; it rebounded after he threw it open.

"Help me Sam," I said and Sam moved forward, snapping out of his trance, pulling Cas' arm over his shoulder. Cas groaned in pain at the jolt as we helped him limp out of my room. 

"Cas what the heck happened?" I said through gritted teeth. 

"The war...it's started," Cas said breathlessly, wincing in pain, his feet stumbling as Sam and I half-dragged him down the hall, "It's getting bad. Very bad. Ah-"

Cas' legs completely gave out and I cursed, Sam and I trying to keep him standing.

"The chair, Sammy, the chair-" I made out and Sam hooked his foot around it and dragged it forward and we slowly set Cas down. Sam pulled aside his trenchcoat and we both took a step back. Sam was the first one to take action.

"Dean. Supplies cabinet. Now. Ace bandages- we need to wrap this up, stop the bleeding," Sam stuttered.

"Yeah," I said swallowing at the sight of the bleeding wound, "Yeah. Hang in there buddy." I sprinted for our medical cabinet and grabbed everything I could, packing it all into my arms before I ran back and dumped it on the floor. Cas was pushing Sam's flannel he had been wearing over the cut, Sam's white shirt stained with blood. 

"Can you heal?" I said urgently.

"Not yet," Cas winced, "I'll be fine. Just, let me rest."

"We don't want you to slip Cas. Just let us help," Sam said angrily, "You're gonna have to deal with old school." 

"Now is not the time for a lesson Sam," Cas said through gritted teeth.

Sam paused, before he shook his head, "This might sting." He opened the bottle of alcohol and splashed it on Cas' wound. Then next thing I knew, Cas' fist flew out and Sam was on the ground. A looked up in shock as Sam sat up, rubbing his jaw.

"What the heck Cas?" he exclaimed.

The angel winced, "Sorry."

I motioned at the bottle, "Keep going Sam."

"Make sure he doesn't punch me again," Sam grumbled, continuing to pour alcohol over the wound. 

"Who did this to you Cas?" I asked, trying to distract him, but also wanting to know who would think they would get away with this.

"A demon," Cas said, letting out a snarl of pain, "the war is getting worse."

"Wait, the war already started? I thought you said you could stop it!" I said.

"I said I needed to stop it," Cas corrected, sighing as Sam finished, "but I couldn't."

Sam started sewing up the wound, "Angel blade?"

Cas nodded, "Originally, the feud was just between demons and angels, but knowing they were outnumbered, they went for backup. The demons are trying to unite all of the supernatural creatures to fight, and killing those who refuse."

"Who's leading it?" I asked.

"I'm not sure. I tried to talk sense into them Dean, I tried. But both sides turned on me. I had to come somewhere and this was the first place I thought of. I can leave-" Cas started to get up and Sam pushed his shoulder down firmly.

"You're staying here Cas," Sam said, "now stop moving, you're ripping the stitches."

Cas nodded and sank down into the seat, his knuckles white as he gripped the armrests and breathed a sigh of relief. 

I shook my head and then went to go grab Sam a clean shirt.

 

"What should we do Dean?" Sam said. Dean rubbed his chin, shaking his head. 

"I mean it's not like we can take on every demon. It's like a hydra. You chop off a head and 7 more are in it's place," he pointed out.

"Yeah but if we can find out who the leader is, maybe we can either convince him to stop, or kill him," Sam said. 

"Cas tried and look at him," Dean lowered his voice, "He's hurt bad Sammy."

"Yeah but Cas is an angel," Sam said, leaning against the table. 

"Exactly my point!" Dean hissed.

"I can hear you you know," Cas muttered, smiling fakely from the chair.

Dean ignored the angel, "I get that they noticed him because he's got the aura and power and whatever, but they would definitely spot the 2 of us sneaking past enemy lines- by the way, which side do you even plan we go talk to? It's not like the angels are gonna slap on their halos and give us a free pass," Dean said angrily. 

"Maybe not 2 of us. But one of us," Sam said, raising an eyebrow to Dean. 

Dean glared, shaking his head, "No. Absolutely not Sam, are you crazy?" 

"All our plans are," Sam shrugged.

"No. I won't let you," Dean said plainly. 

"Dean, someone needs to stay here with Cas. We need a negotiator, and no offense, but you're more the shoot first, ask questions later type. I'm the lawyer. I was gonna do this kind of stuff for a living you know," Sam pointed out, giving Dean an eyebrow raise.

His brother's face went slack and Sam prepared for the sarcasm, "Oh yeah. Being the angel versus demon diplomat? Is that really what they taught you at Stanford?"

Sam rolled his eyes, frustrated with how hard it was to reason with his brother. He got it, he was the younger one, but that didn't mean Dean had to baby him 24/7. "You have to let me try. We'll do no good just sitting here," Sam said. 

Dean shook his head, "It's a no Sam. Not gonna happen."

"Why?" Sam exclaimed, spreading his arms, his face screwing up with anger.

"Why?" Dean asked, almost mocking, his face overcome with fury as his voice began to raise, "You want to know why Sammy?"

Dean was about to snap and Sam knew it, but they both were passed the point of backing down and Sam yelled back, "Yeah! I want to know why you won't let me help, like I'm a toddler who needs to have their hand held every freaking second!"

"You're not a toddler! Dangit Sam! I know you can do this, and it's not that I don't trust you-"

"Then what. The heck. Is it?" Sam seethed.

This is usually where Dean lost it, but here he just seemed deflated. All the anger and fight went out of him and he took a shaky breath and looked up at Sam. Sam immediately lost all of his anger and frustration from the look his brother gave him.

Dean's voice was so quiet, but firm, "Because I've lost you twice in the past month and I'm not ready to lose you again."

There was silence. 

Dean rubbed his nose and then turned around, grabbing his keys and heading for the door.

"Dean," Sam said helplessly. 

"I'll be back with food and more supplies. Give me 40," is all Dean said, not even turning around. He jogged up the stairs and walked out, shutting the door behind him, leaving Sam leaning against the table. 

"He was telling the truth you know," Cas said, wincing and holding his side. 

"Yeah I know he was. I just didn't think about it that way," Sam said.

"How could you not think about it that way? Sam, would you die for your brother?" Cas asked.

"Yes," Sam said instantly. 

Cas nodded, as if he already knew the answer, "So if it had been your fault that you almost lost him twice-"

"It wasn't Dean's fault," Sam snapped angrily, glaring at the angel. 

"He thinks it was," Cas pointed out, defending his word choice, "and then he wants to go risk his life again, and leave you behind, I doubt you would be going along with that plan Sam."

Sam tried to think of something to say and found he couldn't. "Dangit Cas."

"Dean believes in you. He would die for you Sam, in fact he has died for you. And I know you would do the same. He trusts you, but he's not going to let you out of his sight or let you go off trying to stop a violent war by yourself, and do you know why?"

Sam was about to answer but Cas never let him as if the question had been rhetorical.

"The same reason he let Gadriel in to save you. Because he can't live without you and he can't live with himself if he lets you die. Because no matter how hard you try and convince him otherwise, Dean will always think it's his fault if anything happens to you." 

Sam blinked a tear away and swallowed down a lump in his throat, nodding at the angel. He cleared his throat but his voice still came out broken, "Thanks Cas."

"Anytime. Always happy to offer some words of wisdom from a dying angel," Cas said.

Sam's head snapped up, "What?"

Cas smiled slightly, "I am fine Sam. It is called a practical joke. It usually invokes-" 

"I know what a joke is Cas," Sam laughs, "but usually it's funny."

"I found it amusing," Cas grumbled. 

"Mkay," Sam says, pushing off the table and pointing, "you doing ok? I'm gonna grab a water."

"Yes. I shall try healing soon. These stitches are very good. How did you learn to do these so well?" Cas asked. 

Sam smiled sadly and quickly, "Lots of practice."

 

Sam and Dean were walking to the nearest store about a block away from the hotel. Dean kicked up dirt onto Sam's shoes and his brother grinned, kicking up dust back.

"Dad said water, beans, rice and what?" Dean asked his 12 year old brother, who usually remembered stuff more than he did. A grocery list wasn't necessarily top priority on Dean's mind.

"Protein bars and trail mix," Sam recalled.

"Gotcha," Dean nodded, opening the door to the store and letting Sam pass under his arm. If that kid got taller than him one day, Dean would be pissed. The bell sounded as Dean shut the door. Dean grinned and made a military gesture, motioning for Sam to split off and go laugh. His younger brother grinned and let out a laugh, rolling his eyes.

Dean whistled to himself, grabbing a couple packs of trail mix off the shelf and shoving them in the basket he had snagged by the front door. The door opens and a couple men walk by Dean. He keeps an eye on them warily until they go into the next isle and out of his sight.  

Dean opened the fridge and pulled a 6 pack of waters into the basket as well before he started to walk back to where Sam had gone. Then he heard a small buzz from his pocket and Dean stopped, trilling his lips as he pulled out his phone and flipped it up. Then he froze, his expression sobering. 

From: Sammy

FUnkrtown

Dean looked up at the circle mirror and saw the 3 men that had walked in were in the corner of the store, surrounding his little brother. Sam's hand was in his pocket where his phone was and Dean had to hand it to his brother. He would never again complain to his father about how learning how to operate their phones without looking. Dean crept forward, peeking out behind the isle and saw Sam was shoved up against the back wall, a man's hand on his collar, the other on his right with a gun in his side. 

Sam was incredibly calm but Dean could see the fear in his eyes. When he looked in the mirror again, Dean's expression sobered even more when the man's eyes turned back. Sam winced in pain as he was shoved harder against the shelves.

Dean slunk back and went 3 isles down, grabbing a bag of salt and ripping it open. He took a deep breath and then started walking forward, pretending to be shocked as his gaze fell on Sam. 

"Dean," Sam said, gritting his teeth and sucking in a breath through his nose.

"Hey, hey, take it easy boys, I've got all the money, not him-" Dean said. 

"No- Dean they're-" Sam tried to say, only to get punched in the stomach.

"Oh I know," Dean snarled, moving his coat aside and flinging the bag around. The salt sprayed over the 3 men and Sam and the one who had the gun on Sammy dropped the firearm, screaming. Sam was released and he staggered against the shelf before kneeing the man who had held him in the groin and stumbling out of the crowd of screaming demons. 

Dean grabbed Sam's coat in a fistful when he was close enough, yanking him into his chest. Sam gripped his forearms as Dean turned them around so he was in front. His arm instinctively went out over Sam's body, shielding him protectively as the demons recovered from their salt shock. 

"Come on get me," Dean snarled. Sam took his place at his brother's side, fists raised as the first demon closed in on the boys. Before he could use his 'force shock' Sam went for his legs, and Dean clocked him once across the face, pouring salt in his open mouth. 

"Sammy go!" Dean yelled, tackling the other one. 

"Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus, omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio infernalis adversari-" Sam chanted before he was thrown down an isle, skidding on the floor. Dean growled and punched the demon across the face that had just hurt his brother and ducked the other punch from the last one, flipping him on his back. 

"Omnis congregatio et sectra diabolica," Dean shouted, continuing where Sam left off. He need his brother to get up; he was rusty on the Latin exorcism. 

The first demon came at him with a knife and Dean yelped and anticipated his lunge, using his momentum to his advantage, pushing him forward. Dean circled him, forgetting about the other two that suddenly were behind him and grabbed both of his arms, pinning him against the wall. The demon that Dean had pushed into the opposite shelf got up and snarled, starting forward, flipping the knife in his hand. Dean struggled but the two demons slammed him against the wall, kneeing him in the gut before shoving his back up against the shelf. Dean cussed, squirming, but his efforts were futile. All 3 demons smiled.

Dean sucked in a breath and closed his eyes as the demon walked forward quickly and made a high arc with the knife, bringing the tip down towards the center of Dean's chest to finish the job.

Then, out of nowhere Sam came barreling from the side, yelling, "NO!" His little brother was a blur,  tackling the demon as the knife came down, throwing off his aim. The sharp edge sliced in the side of Dean's arm but it was better than his chest as his little brother and the demon went rolling. 

Dean threw up his arm, hitting the one demon in the face and slamming his heel down on the other's two. He threw his elbow out, catching the stomach on the one one his left and grabbed the collar of the right one, spinning him and slamming the demon into the other. Dean stumbled away and turn again, looking for Sam who was scrambling backward away from the demon, muttering the end of the chant. 

"Ecclesiam tuam securi tibi facias liberate servire-" Sam yelled, still trying to pedal backwards on his hands and heels, his elbows scraping against the ground as the demon closed in. 

The demon lunged for Sam before he could finish the chant, closing the 15 foot gap rather quickly. Dean sprinted faster and made a running slide, past the demon, crashing into his brother who yelped as Dean hit him, shielding him with his bigger frame.

"te rogamus, audi nos!" Sam yelled over his shoulder, before ducking into Dean's chest, his big brother's arms wrapped around him firmly. Dean couldn't see behind him, he just closed his eyes and hoped it work, holding his brother tight against his chest, determined to protect him. 

They heard 3 screams in unison and all the lights in the room shattered and Dean put a hand on Sam's head, curling over him as the ceiling exploded with sparks. A few bits of glass rained down around them and then 3 bodies hit the ground behind them, one a foot from them, making both brother's jump. 

Sam and Dean looked up, Dean removing his hand from where it was over his little brother's head. He uncurled himself around Sam and pulled him to his feet, looking around. 

"You ok Sammy?" Dean said breathlessly.

"Yeah," Sam nodded, straightening his coat. 

Dean nodded and looked around, his eyes falling on the cashier that was peeking over the counter. 

"You're welcome," Dean said, picking up a bunch of food from the ground and getting back the basket he had dropped before the fight. He and Sam walked over and Dean slammed a 20 down on the counter. He tapped it twice and nodded at the man who just nodded with wide eyes, staring mostly at the bodies lying on the ground. Then Dean put his arm around Sam and led him out of the store, the small bell signalling their exit. 

 

When they had gotten back home and explained what happened, John pursed his lips and nodded, asking if Sam was ok.

"I'm ok dad," Sam assured him, "Dean watched out for me."

"Yeah," their father was unconvinced, "get some sleep, both of you. Dean don't you ever let Sam out of your sight again."

"Dad I-" Dean tried.

John grabbed him by the shoulder, "I just gave you an order. Do you understand me?" He snapped, daring Dean to counter.

Dean straightened after he shot Sam a look to not say anything; he knew his little brother was about to. "Yes sir," he said firmly.

"Off to bed, both of you," John said, giving Dean one last look of disappointment. 

Sam curled his fist, but suddenly Dean had a hand on his shoulder and was gently pushing him down to their bedroom they shared. 

"I'm sorry Dean. If you want me to go tell him-" Sam offered, angry that his brother was getting yelled at for saving his life.

"It's fine Sammy," Dean assured him with a fake smile, "now get some sleep ok?"

Sam nodded and changed into his pj's and brushed his teeth, not bothering to brush his messy hair. He trudged back into the bedroom where Dean was sitting on the edge of the bed, prodding at his shoulder. 

"You ok Dean?" Sam asked, his eyebrows knit in concern. 

"I'm fine Sammy. Go to bed ok?" He ruffled Sam's hair and Sam swatted his hand away giving him a small smile. Dean grinned back, with a more geniune one this time and headed off the the bathroom. 

"Hey Dean?" Sam called, curling up under his covers.

His older brother turned around, "Yea?"

"Thanks," Sam said, before he fell asleep, pulling his covers up to his chin.

Some time later he awoke to a hand jostling his shoulder. Sam blinked groggily and widened his eyes to wake himself up. His older brother was standing over him, smiling sheepishly. 

"Dean? What time is it?" he muttered, sitting up and yawning.

"Dad finally went to bed. I need help with my arm...I thought I could stitch it up by myself but I can't."

"Your arm?" Sam asked.

Dean shrugged, "Nothing bad, just a cut. It's just at the worst angle possible so trying to angle the needle is a son of a-"

"When did you get cut?" Sam asked, awake now that he knew his brother was hurt. 

"That demon you tackled had a knife and instead of going into my chest it just grazed my arm a bit," Dean shrugged. "I never said thanks by the way. So...yea."

Sam nodded slowly and kicked his covers off, sliding off the bed and dropping to the floor where he followed Dean to the bathroom. The light was on and Sam blinked so his eyes could adjust and then Dean peeled off his shirt, wincing. Sam noticed was stained with blood and he scowled, a little nervous to see the cut, hoping his brother was ok and it wasn't serious.

Wasn't serious- what was he thinking? Of course it was. Why else would he have waited for Dad to go to sleep and asked for Sam's help? Dean rarely asked for Sam's help. Sam gulped and nodded. 

Dean turned slowly and looked at Sam warily, "See? Not that bad."

Sam almost fell over. "Not that bad?" he seethed, "Dean!"

The cut was deeper than Sam had expected. It was still bleeding, and the sides had a darker shade of green. Sam gulped and looked nervously at the sewing kit on the sink. Then he shook his head.

"Dean, I don't know if I can- maybe we should get dad, I've never done something this deep-"

Dean turned and shook his head violently, grabbing him by the shoulders, "Hey, I trust you. You can do this Sammy."

A minute later, Dean had explained how to sew up the cut, promising him that it wouldn't hurt that bad and that he would be fine. "I trust you Sammy," Dean promised him, handing him the already threaded needle.

Sam took a deep breath, standing behind his brother who was straddling the chair he had pulled into the bathroom. Sam forced his hands to stop shaking and slid the needle into Dean's skin, right underneath the cut. His brother flinched and Sam bit his lip as he saw Dean's knuckles white on the top of the chair. 

"Keep going Sammy, you're doing great."

Sam obeyed his brother, making sure the stitches were evenly spread and tight like Dean had said, flinching along with his brother every time he had to push the needle into Dean's skin. It felt like an hour later but he was done. 

"Pour this on it," Dean requested, leaning over the sink. Sam poured the bottle of alcohol over the wound and Dean hissed, his hand curled tight as he hit it against thigh and shook out his head. Then he grabbed a nearby towel and dabbed the cut, admiring the stitches in the mirror and ruffling Sam's hair.

"Not bad at all Sammy. Thanks," Dean grinned, grabbing a new shirt and changing, wincing at the movement his shoulder was forced to make. 

Sam's hands were shaking and he went over to the sink, gripping the sides, but not quite able to unclench his hands and turn on the water. Then Dean was there, with one hand on his back, rubbing it gently. 

"Come on Sammy, I've got ya," Dean said, turning on the water and helping Sam wrench his fingers from the side of the sink and pulling them under the hot water. 

Sam and Dean walked out of the bathroom and back into the bedroom that they shared, relieved that their father had not woken up. 

Sam tugged on his sweatshirt and got underneath the sheets, curling into a ball. Dean flopped down on top of the bed on his back, not bothering to take off his shoes. He stared up at the ceiling with his arms crossed and let out a sigh. 

Sam rolled over and looked up at his brother, "Dean?"

"Yea Sammy?" Dean said, his eyes still closed.

"I'm sorry," Sam said. 

Dean opened one eye and sat up, "For what?"

"A lot," Sam said, pulling the blankets up almost over his nose before Dean yanked them down. "I let you down today Dean," Sam said miserably.

Dean raised his eyebrows and sat at the way up. Then he cleared his throat and put his arm out, "Come here."

Sam moved over and Dean draped his arm around him, looking him in the eye, "Don't you ever say that. You never do. I promise Sam."

"Promise?" Sam asked.

Dean ruffled his hair again and gave him a sideways smile, "Promise. Don't you get all sappy on me Sam. You did good today. And you helped me fix up my arm."

"Yeah..." Sam said unconvinced. 

"I hear one more word about you letting me down and you're sleeping on the floor," Dean joked. 

Sam laughed and gave Dean a sideways hug. Dean chuckled too, wrapping his good arm around his brother before returning it to his side. 

"You want to watch TV?" Dean asked.

Sam looked up, smiling nervously, "Dad doesn't let us after 11."

"Well dad doesn't have to know," Dean smiled, and he turned on the TV. 

The brothers watched TV until Sam fell asleep on Dean's shoulder. The older Winchester smiled and turned off the TV with his bad arm so that he wouldn't jostle Sam. Dean stayed awake the rest of the night to make sure Sam didn't wake up with nightmares. 

 

Dean opened the door, sighing angrily and jogging down the steps. He tossed his keys to the counter and set the bags of food on the table, taking out a beer and popping it open. 

"Dean?" 

Dean turned around and Sam was there in the middle of the doorway. Dean sighed, putting his hands up in surrender. 

"Look man, I don't want to fight," Dean said, still frustrated with his younger brother. 

Sam ran a hand through his hair and nodded, pursing his lips, "Me neither." 

Dean took out a beer for Sam before he turned around and realized his brother had been walking forward. Sam closed in and Dean tensed, unsure if he was going to punch him or push past him or-

Sam hugged him. 

Dean slowly hugged him back, unsure of what to do. 

"I'm sorry Dean," Sam said. 

Dean's expression softened and he pulled his brother closer, clapping him on the back before holding him at arms length.

"What changed your mind?" Dean joked.

Sam smirked, "a certain 'dying' angel. Don't worry. Cas calls it a practical joke."

Dean didn't understand what that meant and he didn't care. 

Then Sam cleared his throat, "I'm sorry Dean. I understand now. Whatever has to get done, we do it together. Because you're all I've got. And I'm not about to let me down again."

"You've never let me down. Ever," Dean said firmly, "but us. No solo trips anymore?"

"None," Sam agreed. 

Dean nodded, clapping him on the shoulder, "Alright Sammy. Now I got food, but don't you touch my pie."

"I would never," Sam grinned. 

"I will disown you," Dean warned. 

Sam laughed, putting up his hands in surrender, "Noted! Noted."

Dean grinned and clinked his beer with Sam's. Then he hit him in the arm, "Wasn't there a pizza cutter in the supply closet? I got Boboli."

"Maybe," Sam shrugged, "I'll check the other cabinets."

"Hey remember that time when you were 9 and I was in my teens and..." Dean's voice faded off as they walked down the hallway. 

 

The two brothers disappeared down the hallway just as Cas walked into the room, smiling; he knew the Winchester's had settled their differences. He pressed his hand against his chest and concentrated. A blue light lit up his chest as Cas used his power, his eyes sparking.

Then sharp pain shot through his chest as his healing died instantly. Cas staggered into the counter, grabbing onto it for balance as he sank to his knees. This wound was taking longer to heal than normal. Cas steadied his breathing, raising himself to his feet and shaking ringing out of his ears. 

Suddenly, he felt hungry, like all of his strength had been drained. Cas blinked and steadied himself, sensing that his healing was working but would take a while. He searched through 4 drawers before he found the utensils.

The angel picked out a fork and opened one of the bags that Dean had set on the counter. Opening the carton by ripping the label he took a bite. Not bad. It was crunchy on the edges and a soft inside. Was that blueberry? Humans had good taste. 

Dean walked back in, with Sam by his side. The brother's looked up and Dean's expression sobered and he gasped, dropping the pizza cutter, almost taking off his foot. 

"CAS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!" 

Chapter Text

"I said hands off my pie!" Dean yelled, Sam holding him back before he tackled the angel.

Cas looked up with the fork in his mouth and knit his eyebrows, "Dean, since when have you been one to exclaim about God's love? I do not understand that statement-"

"Can I kill him?" Dean snarled.

Sam laughed, still holding his older brother back, "No." Then the younger Winchester frowned, "Cas, why'd you eat Dean's pie?"

"Oh don't try and be soft talking mediator here Sam- don't patronize me- this is a crime-"

"Dean, shut up for a second. Cas, why are you eating?" Sam asked. Realization set in on the other men's faces.

"Get off me," Dean grumbled under his breath, shoving Sam off him. Cas put down the carton and looked fondly at the fork. 

"I do not know exactly. I attempted to heal myself and then was forced to stop."

"Forced to? By what?" Dean asked, slowly snatching the carton back.

"Pain," Cas said simply, "There was a flash of blue as my power was stopped and I felt very weak and drained, and...hungry," he looked down at the pie that Dean was hovering over like a guard dog, "I am sorry Dean; you did not label this food."

"I told you labels were a good idea!" Dean hissed sideways to Sam who put his hands up in surrender. 

"Maybe it's the cut," Sam suggested, keeping them on track. 

"Cas what did you say you were stabbed with?" Dean asked.

Cas shrugged, "I thought it was an angel blade but-" he stopped mid sentence and frowned.

"What?" Sam asked, "Cas, what's wrong."

"I have to urinate," Cas said, and then walked down the hallway to the bathroom.

"I did not need to know that," Dean said, turning around to face Sam who displaying another expression.

"Angels don't...use the bathroom Dean," Sam pointed out, "or eat."

"What do you think the blade is doing something to him? Maybe taking his grace away?" Dean suggested.

Sam nodded, running a hand through his hair, "That would explain the flash of blue."

"Yeah well as far as we know, no blade can do that."

Sam raised an eyebrow, "As far as we know."

Dean scowled. 

"Cas said a demon stabbed him right?" Sam said slowly. 

Dean looked up and locked eyes with his brother. Then he growled, "No."

"He's our best shot."

"He let you get kidnapped Sam! And he tortured you!"

"Dean-" Sam sighed.

"I'm not letting him get anywhere near you Sammy! Absolutely not!"

"But-"

"No."

 

"Hello boys."

Dean leaned on the edge of the Impala, his hands in fists in his pockets, "Hey douchebag."

"Oo," Crowley sucked in a breath, "Harsh words."

"That's why I used them," Dean growled. 

"Love you too," Crowley smiled.

"Enough," Sam snapped, "Crowley, listen up-"

"Hey Sammy," Crowley said, adjusting his stance, "want some more milk?"

Sam blanched, his stomach churning.

"You lay a hand on him and you're dead, you understand me?" Dean shouted, storming forward only for his younger brother to hold him back for the second time that day.

"You can smart talk all you want, but I know you're scared," Sam snapped, shoving Dean backward. His older brother paced the side of the Impala, straightening his jacket.

"Scared isn't in my vocabulary," Crowley said cockily.

"Yes it is. In fact, it's all over it," Sam countered, "you're losing this war. Or should I say suicide mission? You've given up on the offense. You're playing d now. Forces are down...underestimated the angels didn't you? So you think, last resort, I go down swinging, and take the world with me. Is that it? That's not an attack Crowley, that's a plan of a coward. So yeah, you're scared," Sam said.

"And you Moose, are desperate. I mean, you came to me for help," Crowley laughed.

"That was a backhanded compliment to yourself you idiot," Dean called, still pacing to calm himself down. 

"Shut up squirrel," Crowley grumbled.

"We're not desperate. Can't be desperate if you haven't made a play," Sam pointed out, "we just want to know what kind of weapons you're using."

Crowley smirked, "And why would I tell you that?"

"Because you're not the only side who's been experimenting," Sam said. Dean watched his brother warily, surprised at how confident Sam was being. 

"What?" Crowley scoffed, trying to play off his interest. 

"I know about the blade your demons are using. To take away an angel's grace?" Sam said.

Crowley grinned, "Genius right?"

Dean blanched. So they were right. Oh God...Cas...

"Well they found a cure for it," Sam grinned, taking a step forward.

"it's not possible, only I have the reversal spell," Crowley blew him off.

Sam shrugged taking his hands out of his pockets, "Nevertheless, they've got something bigger. They're just waiting to use it when it's necessary. They're not even trying and they're taking you down like flies. You pull your card? They'll pull they're bigger one."

"It can't be anything that special," Crowley said, walking forward a step.

"How about a blade that kills the demon and transfers it's powers to the angel?" Sam shrugged.

Crowley's face fell just a bit and he smiled nervously, "Impossible."

"I saw it. With Cas. He has his sources," Sam sneered.

"Scared now?" Dean called, enjoying the look Crowley gave him. "I'd keep in touch with us if you want to stay alive."

Sam turned and walked back to Dean, getting in the passenger's seat. Dean slid in the front and revved the engine, before he pressed on the accelerator, leaving Crowley in the dust. 

 

 

"Well they found a cure for it," Sam grinned.

"It's not possible, only I have the reversal spell," Crowley said suspiciously.

Sam shrugged taking his hands out of his pockets and Crowley watched as a small folded piece of paper dropped to the ground. Sam and Dean didn't seem to notice as it landed in the dust.

Crowley looked up to watch their reactions carefully, but neither of their gazes had strayed. In fact, Sam was still talking, "Nevertheless, they've got something bigger. They're just waiting to use it when it's necessary. They're not even trying and they're taking you down like flies. You pull your card? They'll pull they're bigger one."

"It can't be anything that special," Crowley said, taking a step forward and placing his foot over the paper on the ground.

"How about a blade that kills the demon and transfers it's powers to the angel?" Sam shrugged.

Crowley face fell just a bit and he smiled nervously, disturbed by this news but determined not to show it, "Impossible."

"I saw it. With Cas. He has his sources," Sam sneered.

He knew that angel was always following the Winchesters like a puppy. And Crowley knew the boys hated the angels almost as much as he did so they wouldn't be lying for them. This wasn't a product of them conversing with the enemy. 

"Scared now?" Dean called, and Crowley glared daggers at him. "I'd keep in touch with us if you want to stay alive," Dean nodded at him. 

Then the two boys got into their car and Dean revved the engine. Crowley waited until their car was out of sight and then he lifted his foot, picking up the piece of paper and unfolding it. It was an address, time and date scribbled in thick letters. 

Crowley grinned down the road, "Sorry boys. I'll be crashing that party."

 

"Think he believed us?" Dean asked.

Sam sighed, "We'll see."

"Did you drop it?" 

"Yep," Sam nodded, "Let's see if he'll take the bait."

 

Dean and Sam walked down the steps of the bunker to find Cas asleep on the couch. Dean sighed and grabbed the blanket, laying it over the angel before shooting a worried look at Sam.

"He's getting worse," Sam said, opening a beer and offering one to Dean.

"Yeah, ya think?" Dean scoffed, taking the drink and leaning against the table next to Sam. 

"Crowley said he had a cure," Sam recalled, "so when he goes to that meeting place, what do we plan on doing? I mean do we even tell Cas that he's..."

"Losing his mojo? No," Dean shook his head, "that would just freak the guy out. We capture Crowley, force him to give us the cure, and then..." Dean trailed off.

"And then?" Sam prompted. 

Dean took another drink of beer and pursed his lips, "I'm working on it." 

Sam rolled his eyes. 

"Hey, unless you have a better plan?" Dean said, raising an eyebrow. 

"I'm working on it," Sam mocked, grinning. 

"I hate you," Dean chuckled, punching Sam lightly in the stomach. 

"Oh I know," Sam smiled, putting the beer bottle to his mouth and taking a sip. Then he looked over at his brother, "We can't fight this war Dean."

"I know Sammy," Dean nodded thoughtfully, "I know."

 

He wanted to destroy it. The Impala was right there and Crowley grinned at the thought of flat tires and cracked windows. But figuring that would make too much noise he deicded against it. Crowley heard voices and he pressed himself against the wall. 

Moose's voice rang out. 

"Dean, I didn't ask for your opinion. Cas, trust me on this one. I promise it-"

Dean and Cas huh? 

Crowley crept forward, trying to hear more. It was a cold night, pitch black except for the lamp that was shining on the gravel road. The voices were coming from around the corner in the old barn. He slipped through the crack in the door and ducked down. 

"Let's just go upstairs," Sam sighed from somewhere in the corner. Crowley crouched out of sight, hearing the pounding of footsteps up the stairs. Then silence. Crowley peaked out and saw the barn was empty. He saw the stairway that the boys must have gone up and he made sure the balcony was clear before he crossed over. Hay covered the floor of the barn and Crowley looked around to see if anyone was following him. Then he slammed into something. Crowley turned his head back and tried to walk forward but something stopped him. 

Cursing, he looked down and moved the hay away with the top of his foot. Sure enough there was a side of a circle peaking out underneath the yellow straw. 

"Heya Crowley."

"Squirrel," Crowley said without turning around, recognizing Dean's low voice. He turned and sure enough Dean was there. Sam walked down the stairs and took his place at his brother's side.

"Where's your feathered friend?" Crowley mocked.

"Cas, trust me on this one," Sam mocked, revealing that he had faked the fact that the angel was present. "Cas isn't here at the moment." 

"That piece of paper," Crowley guessed, raising an eyebrow.

"You were hoodwinked, live with it," Dean said, crossing his arms. 

Crowley rolled his eyes, "Thank you genius. So what could you boys possibly want?"

"The cure the angels found, they won't give it to Cas," Sam lied.

"Cas got stabbed?" Crowley grinned. 

"Wipe that smirk off your face or I swear to God I will cut it off," Dean snarled, stepping forward, unsheathing his knife. 

"So you want me to give you my cure that's in my possession?" Crowley guessed, pacing the circle. 

"That's the idea," Dean nodded.

Crowley sighed, "Why couldn't we have just talked about this?" 

"We are talking about it," Sam shot back, "right now. So either you give us the cure, or..." Sam trailed off. 

"Or what Moose?" Crowley challenged, "You'll kill me?"

"There's 2 options. Either we just leave you here-" Sam started.

"Or my personal favorite, I get to kill you," Dean said, raising his knife.

Crowley blanched at that. Rowena, that dirty hag. This wouldn't be the first time the boys worked with her. He pursed his lips.

"All this for Clarence?" Crowley questioned, "Why?"

"Because he's our friend, Crowley. But I doubt you know what those are," Dean snapped. 

Crowley grinned. He loved it when Dean got pissed. "Are we pulling out the 5th grade insults now?" 

"Crowley cut the crap. Are you gonna give us the cure or not?" Sam asked.

Crowley hesitated, "This is a turning point in the war you know. This is a huge asset. I can't just give this up."

Dean started forward with the knife but Sam put out his hand, narrowing his eyes. 

"You mean you can't give it up publicly. You want to back down from this don't you?" Sam asked.

Crowley laughed, "Nice try Moose."

"No it's not a try, it's the truth. You're worried about the demons and yourself. You'd back out but you're in past your knees. And," Sam said, starting to smile, "you're the leader so if you were somehow responsible for giving up the cards, the rest would turn against you."

"That's usually how wars work Sam," Crowley drawled, confused at what the younger Winchester was getting at.

"If you told us the location of the cure and then we told the angels what you did, they wouldn't target the demons anymore. Without that majority, the rest of the forces would back down would they not?" Sam asked.

"I suppose they would," Crowley admitted, "but why would I do that for you?"

"Because no matter what happens, there will be death, on both sides. Demons will run out of hosts because there will be collateral. This ends in a bloodbath and when it does end, and the angels win, which they will, they'll have a kill list to pick off the stragglers. Don't you think the King of Hell would be pretty far up there? They'll come for you."

Crowley would never admit it, but that bloody genius was right. He raised his head, looking down on the taller hunter from a distance, "And how do I know you won't double cross me and give up my betrayal?"

"Because we don't want people getting hurt," Dean said roughly, "simple as that."

"Come on Crowley, you're a business man. Let's do business," Sam challenged.

Silence filled the barn. The wind was louder than the standoff between the 3 men. Dean narrowed his eyes at Crowley before he glance over at his brother who was standing firm, waiting for the King of Hell's response.

Crowley weighed his options and finally sighed deciding to take the offer because after all, the ends justify the means. He raised his eyebrow and spoke articulately. "Heavily guarded warehouse. In a safe. Manning, Colorado."

"Guarded by demons?" Dean asked lowly.

Crowley grinned, "A variety of baddies- and don't ask which ones," he sighed before Dean could, "because that wasn't the deal and to be perfectly honest I have no idea. And it won't be easy. So, are we done here boys?"

Sam looked over at Dean who gave him a subtle nod and the younger Winchester walked over and scratched his foot across the devil's trap.

"Thank you Moose." Crowley stepped out the circle, smoothing his coat. He raised his eyebrows, "Sam? You would have made a good lawyer. Just know the consequences for stabbing me in the back is I don't stab you, I stab someone you love," Crowley said, sobering his tone and looking Sam dead in the eye, secretly pleased with the change in Sam's expression and the widen of his eyes, especially with his next sentence.

"Any funny business and I'll kill your brother."

The young Winchester snarled, instinctively stepping so that Crowley couldn't get to his older brother. Crowley smiled at Sam.

"You're not hurting Dean," Sam said threateningly, pulling out his own knife.

"Pleasure doing business with you boys," Crowley clasped his hands, "have fun dying."

And then he snapped. 

 

"Death comes driving down the highway, in it's Sunday best," Dean sang, drumming on the steering wheel while Sam cringed in the passengers seat, "A fire of unknown origin took my baby away- come on Sammy, fire of unknown origin, took my baby away." He hit the top of the wheel once more before he looked over at his brother and grinned, hitting him in the stomach. 

Sam smacked Dean across the shoulder and looked out the window. 

Dean sighed and turned off the radio, "Man, come on. Talk to me, what's up? Your dog die?"

Sam shot him a look.

"Come on Sammy, i think this is a win. I mean, all we gotta do is do what we do best! Hunt a few monsters, get the cure, save Cas, give it to the angels," then Dean made a face, "sadly tell them what Crowley did and stop this whole dang mess."

"Yeah I guess you're right," Sam nodded.

"Is this about what he said?" Dean asked after a minute of silence. 

Sam didn't answer. 

"Sammy, I've been threatened before."

"Yeah and you've died before. And it's been my fault every time."

Dean checked his rear view mirror to make sure no one was coming before he slammed his foot on the brake. Sam got held back by the seatbelt and he looked over at his brother and exclaimed, "What the heck was that for?"

Dean opened the door and stormed out to the front of the car, hearing his little brother curse and scramble to meet him.

"Your fault?" Dean hissed when they were face to face, "you're fault?"

"Yes, my fault," Sam repeated, "You sold your soul because of me and you went to hell. You died 111 times because of Gabriel and I couldn't stop him. Dick blew you into a million pieces and I just stood there. Metatron stabbed you because I couldn't get there fast enough-"

Dean's fist had been curling for a while and he finally just let it swing, catching Sam right across the jaw to shut him up. 

"Dean- what the he-" Sam groaned but Dean had already grabbed his collar and grabbed it tight, scaring the crap out of Sam with his glare. 

"You think it's been your fault? Just yours Sam? How about when I let you get stabbed in the back? Or when I couldn't stop you from jumping into the pit? Or when they shot you first instead of me in that hotel room? Or when Anna stabbed you through the stomach?"

"That's different," Sam says through gritted teeth.

Dean shoves Sam, "How? How is that different?"

"Because it's me! I don't care about me! I care that it's you I have to watch die and I can't or didn't do anything. I care because you always save me, it's become kind of your thing now and I can't repay you I just screw things up even more and I let you down over and over and over again Dean! Why can't you see that?" Sam yelled, pushing Dean off him. 

"Sammy, you've never let me down," Dean said.

"We both know that's not true," Sam snarled.

"How do you think I feel huh? Everything you just said? Me, flipped. Watching you die and not being able to save you. But worse, it's my job. It's my responsibility. You! You're my responsibility," Dean shoved his finger so hard into his own chest that even Sam winced, but Dean didn't feel the pain.

Both brothers stared at each other for a bit, their hands clenched, glaring with no hate.

"Sammy...you're all I've got," Dean said, clearing his throat to cover up the break in his voice. "And if you think some stuck up full metal douche is gonna stop me after everything we've been through?" Dean laughed with no humor, spreading his hands, "I mean I'm here aren't I? I'm still alive."

His brother rubbed his nose, looking up and meeting his eyes.

"I'm not losing you Sam," Dean promised, "And I'm not leaving. But you need to understand that none of that, none of it, past or future is your fault. You hear me?"

Sam looked away.

Dean took a step forward, "Sam."

"Yeah," Sam said softly, looking down at the gravel. 

Dean straightened Sam's jacket and clapped him on the shoulder, "It's not on you. Never is. Never will be. Understand?" His brother nodded and Dean sighed, realizing after years of experience that that was the farthest he was going to get with his younger brother as for right now. He nodded and clapped Sam on the shoulder, "Good. Now get it in car before I punch you again for saying something stupid."

Sam gave him a small smile and got in the passengers seat. Dean opened the drivers seat and slid in too, looking over at his brother once. Sam was rubbing his jaw with a pout on his face and he caught Dean shaking his head at him and crumpled up his nose. 

"What?" he said angrily. 

"You're impossible," Dean said before he turned the key in the ignition, pressed on the gas, and sped down the empty road back to the bunker. 

 

"Cas?" Dean called, letting Sam pass through before he shut it behind them and looked around. 

There was no answer from the angel as the two brothers walked down the steps of the bunker. Sam shrugged and motioned to the left. Dean nodded and went the opposite way of his younger brother, calling, "Cas? You have company or something?"

Dean checked the hallways and the kitchen in case the angel had gotten hungry again. Nothing. Dean was heading to the bedrooms when he heard his brother's faint yell. 

"Dean!"

He turned and jogged towards his brother's voice, finding Sam propping Cas up against the wall in the living room. 

"Cas, what the heck?" Dean demanded, dropping to Sam's side.

"It's been happening more often. I feel, weak, drained, like power is going out of me. My wound is still not healed. There must have been some poison on it," Cas gasped.

"I found him passed out. He's getting worse," Sam winced.

"Can you stand?" Dean asked.

The two brother's each grabbed one of Cas' arms and pulled him to his feet. Cas straightened and raised an eyebrow, "Sam you said I'm getting worse. Do you two know something I don't?"

"No," Sam stuttered, "of course not I'm simply pointing out that you, clearly, are fainting and eating, and not normal so you're-" Sam gulped, nodding, "getting worse."

"Are you only good at lying when you've got the fake FBI badge?" Dean rubbed his nose. 

Sam winced. 

"What are you up to?" Cas grumbled. "You know what's happening to me, don't you?"

"No," Dean shook his head, and then he sighed, "maybe."

"Dean," Cas warned. 

"You're losing your mojo. Look, we made a deal with Crowley, we're gonna find the cure, go give it to the rest of the angels after we cure you and convince them to back down and then the angels and demons and us, can all turn on the other baddies in the world and then we can all live happily ever after until the world screws itself up again a week later. Kapeesh?"

Cas knit his eyebrows, his voice an octave lower than it already had been, "No. Not...Kapeesh!"

"Great. Good talk. Let's go Sammy, we've gotta pack the car," Dean said but Cas grabbed his arm. Dean got pulled back and he sighed, "Not Kapeesh."

"You did what?" Cas said, raising his voice.

Sam stepped in at Dean's urging look and tried to sensible approach, "Crowley wants out of this war. He knows he's on the losing side. So we set him up and convinced him to tell us where the cure is, we'll get that and tell the angels what Crowley did and then hopefully, they'll-"

"My brothers and sisters will not back down this easily. Have you met them?" Cas spluttered.

"Yes we have," Dean nodded, "killed some too. Would love to do it again. That's Plan B."

"We didn't have a plan B," Sam said through gritted teeth. 

"We do now," Dean smiled. Sam shot him a look. 

"And what's your plan to get the cure? Surely Crowley wouldn't just let you go in and take it," Cas said. 

Dean nodded, "No it's guarded. Heavily. Which makes sense why Crowley wouldn't have any qualms about sending us there. It's kinda a suicide mission, but then again, when has our life been anything different?"

Sam hit Dean lightly on the arm before he crossed his, "Cas is right though Dean, are we really going to walk in guns blazing or do we have a plan?" 

 

"When you said," Sam huffed, reloading his gun with silver bullets, "that you had-" he fired off a shot, dropping a werewolf instantly, "a plan, I thought you meant an actual plan Dean!"

"I did!" Dean said, swinging his iron rod, taking out a ghost, "go in guns blazing!"

"That's not a plan!" Sam yelled back, decapitating a vampire that had sneaked up behind him. 

"We can agree to disagree," Dean grumbled running around the other side of the wall he had been taking cover behind. 

"Yeah. Big time," Sam yelled back, getting back to back with Dean. His brother glanced over his shoulder, locking eyes with him and Sam tensed. Something wasn't right...

"Sammy!" 

Sam spun and saw Dean 20 feet from him, emerging from behind a wall, immediately raising his gun with a look of murder on his face. Sam's head snapped to the left at Dean who aimed his gun at the other Dean. Oh God- which one- it was a shifter-

Sam froze. 

"Sammy it's me!" Dean yelled, walking closer as the Dean next to him brought up his gun.

Sam locked eyes with him, almost convinced and then his older brother put the nail in the coffin.

"Poughkeepski!" Dean roared to his brother, walking forward quickly.

Sam snapped out of his trance, kicking the gun of who he hoped was the shifter before he could raise it. He heard a shot and the Dean next to him hit the wall with a silver bullet in his chest, his head slumping downward. Dean lowered his gun breathing hard and Sam looked up at him in shock. His brother gave him a small smirk just before his eyes flicked to the left and his face went to fear and anger again, shouting threateningly, "Sammy duck!" 

Sam obeyed, falling flat on his back as Dean came sprinting, flinging his gun aside and whipping out a machete. He swung over Sam's head and decapitated a vamp that was about to pounce on his little brother. He grabbed Sam's collar and arm and pulled him to his feet, gripping his shoulders. 

"You ok?" Dean said urgently. 

Sam looked over Dean's shoulder and grabbed the machete from his hand and pulled Dean by the front of his coat, turning and slicing through another vamp. 

"Yeah," he gasped, "good."

"Go. We can lock them out," Dean said, motioning to the side door which had been their target from the start. They sprinted, shooting blindly over their shoulders to ensure chaos and dove through the door they broke down. Dean slammed it shut and Sam tipped over the nearest cabinet. He then clicked on his flashlight, shining it around the room. Light flickered and there was a slow drip from a burst pipe. 

"Follow the light?" Dean suggested, motioning down a hallway that had a yellowish glow at the end to the right. 

"Like moths," Sam muttered.

Dean shot him a look, "Great enthusiasm Sam I love it. Thank you."

"I'm just saying!" Sam protested.

"I'm just saying," Dean mocked, "shut up."

They walked down the hallway, Dean readying his machete and Sam lay his gun across his arm holding the flashlight. They came to a storage room with the door open. The light was on. 

The 2 brothers cautiously entered the room and looked around. No vamps. No demons. Nothing. Just a bunch of old shelves, books, and tables. 

"Is that it? That's way too easy," Dean scoffed, taking a cautious step forward. 

"Dude look," Sam pointed at a small glass of water with condensation dripping down the sides of it. 

"There's no way they left this unguarded," Dean said, staying by the door while Sam took a step in.

"They didn't." 

Dean barely had time to turn. Sam spun faster, raising the gun, his eyes widening with fear. 

"DEAN!" he yelled.

Dean felt a hand grasp his collar and yank him backward, throwing him to the floor as someone else brushed past him and started for his brother. Sam took 2 shots, ignoring the approaching men for the first one, instead aiming for the person who had tossed Dean to the floor. The shot sank into the shoulder of the man standing between him and his brother but didn't do much except make him flinch. Sam aimed to the left and took another shot, dropping one of the two monsters sprinting toward him. Dean guessed it was a vamp because the silver bullet decked it. But the last one closed too fast and Dean watched horrified as Sam couldn't get a shot off.

"Sammy!" Dean yelled, struggling to his feet only to get kicked in the chest on his way up. Sam let out a cry of pain as he was tackled to the ground and punched across the face.

"No!" Dean yelled through gritted teeth, only for a hand to grab him by the front of his shirt and pick him up off the ground. Frustrated with being manhandled, Dean let out a blind punch and kick, jerking in the iron grip on him. His wrist was grasped and Dean felt his hand almost snap. He yelled in pain and swung out his other arm to punch in an effort to get to his brother who desperately needed his hep, but received an uppercut so hard that he staggered, locked eyes with Sam apologetically, glared at his attacker as much as he could with the spinning and blurry room he was seeing- and then fell to the floor, everything going black.

 

Sam watched as his brother collapse and he screamed for him, cursing and flailing in the grip of the vamp that held his arms behind his back. 

"DEAN! No, you leave him alone!" Sam yelled, getting slammed into the wall. He gasped, his head being pressed against the concrete as that freak that had knocked out his brother rolled him onto his back with his foot. 

"Don't touch him," Sam snarled, his head getting smacked into the wall when the grip switched from the back of his neck to his hair. He let out a groan and tried to swallow down the dizziness and focus on Dean who was unconscious on the floor, blood trickling down his nose.

"Bring him here," the man said, standing over Dean, eyeing Sam warily. 

Sam was yanked off the wall and shuffled over, struggling, in front of his enemy. He squirmed, trying to keep his distance, pushing backward against the vamp using the floor. His wrists were twisted painfully behind his back and he was breathing hard, flicking gazes at his older brother who was still motionless and vulnerable. 

"Sammy-" the man started.

"Only he calls me that, It's Sam," Sam snapped. "How do you know me?"

"Who doesn't know you? You're a Winchester. I thought you and your brother would be...harder though. Maybe your reputation proceeds you."

"We'll see about that," Sam snarled.

The man smiled, "And maybe it fits you. I am hoping so. You've fought my brother before actually. But this time, I will succeed where he failed; your hunter grandpa won't be there to save you both," he snarled. 

Sam's face fell and he licked his lips, "You're a siren."

He remembered getting poisoned by it after being held hostage by none other than his brother Dean. Dean had held a knife to his throat, cut him even, all while under the spell. Then he had been poisoned which resulted in Dean and him going at each other, the fight escalating until it almost became deadly. Dean had smashed the axe off the wall and was about to bring it down- Bobby had been there to save them and kill the shifter. It had been Sam's fault. The siren had gotten to Dean by giving him what he really wanted...a brother. One that didn't let him down, one that he could trust...

"Bingo Sammy boy. Scared?" He said, grabbing Sam by the chin. 

"Don't touch my brother," Sam said, jerking his chin out of the siren's grasp with a snarl and glare. He raised his head, "are you gonna kill me?"

"That wouldn't be fun now would it?" the man asked, grinning slightly. 

"You can't beat us," Sam said cockily. "You can try, but you'll fail. Just like your brother." 

"I don't have to. You'll beat each other," he said smiling, "Care for a Round 2?"

"No- wait-" Sam grit his teeth, straining in the iron grip. The man bent down to Dean who was stirring.

His older brother's eyes focused on him first but his attention was soon averted to the siren who grinned at Sam, stepping on one of Dean's arms and holding the other one down as he crouched over him.

"No! Stop it! Leave him alone!" Sam yelled, hating to see his brother writhe in pain as his arm was crushed beneath the siren's foot.

Dean immediately yelled in pain, snapping completely awake. Dean thrashed on the ground, turning his head and his eyes found Sam again instantly who was looking at him with fear. And then the man blocked Sam's view of Dean and he saw his brother's shoulder tense. His brother flinched and then the man stepped back, letting Dean's arm off and moving backward. Sam struggled, yelling through gritted teeth. 

"Dean-" Sam gasped, still struggling. He willed his brother to get up from where he lay limp on the ground.

The man grinned as Dean opened his eyes and slowly got to his feet.

"Dean?" Sam whispered.

"And now the fun begins," the siren said, grinning at Sam who could only stare helplessly at his brother.

But that wasn't Dean. 

 

Chapter Text

Sam strained in the grip of the man holding him. He knew it was a vampire. He saw his gun on the floor a couple feet away and knew that he could drop him with the silver bullets inside. He had a small bronze dagger in his shoe to kill the siren; he and Dean had came prepared. But first off, he had to worry about Dean. He had been infected when the siren had leaned over him. Dean wasn't Dean anymore. 

The siren came up to his older brother and clapped him on the back, grinning at Sam, "Say hello Dean."

Sam locked eyes with his brother, hoping to find some flaw in the spell the siren had put on him. 

"Dean?" 

"Oh Dean's not Dean anymore Sammy," the siren said, his arm around his brother like they were best friends. 

"You get away from him," Sam snarled. 

"But see Sam, Dean doesn't want that. He wants to make me happy. He wants to please me. Don't you Deano?"

Sam winced, thrashing in the man's grip, "Don't call him that you son of-"

"Easy Sammy," the man interrupted, grinning and raising his hands in surrender, "Relax. I'm not gonna hurt Dean. I don't need to."

Sam knit his eyebrows, glaring at the man acting like his brother was a obedient dog. Snap out of it Dean, Sam thought.

"Let him go," the siren said to the man holding Sam. He released his quickly and stepped away before he could strike and Sam straightened his coat before he made a lunge for the siren that had control of his brother. Little did he know that his brother would be the person who stopped him. Dean's arm lashed out, wrapping around his chest, holding him backw and then his brother kicked his leg, twisting his knee. As Sam buckled with a cry of pain Dean went behind him and twisted his arms again, one around his throat, holding him firmly. 

"Dean, let me go. This isn't you," Sam winced as his brother only twisted his wrists. "DEAN!"

"Your brother won't listen to you Sam," the siren grinned. "He's devoted to me. He'll do whatever I say now, won't you Dean?" 

"Dean don't listen to him-" Sam gasped out only for Dean to twist his arm even harder making Sam arch his back and cry out in pain. 

"Let me show you an example. We 'monsters' know a lot about you Winchesters. Enough to know that Dean is very...protective of you. He kills anything that hurts you so, this might be a turn of the tables, since, well, he's going to let me hurt you, and then kill you himself." The siren pulled out a knife and made eye contact with Dean over Sam's shoulder.

"Hold him still Dean."

"No- wait-" Sam said, struggling, but the knife slit right through his shirt across his chest near the collar and Dean was holding him steady for the knife. The siren grinned, muttering words of encouragement to Dean as his brother maintained an iron grip, keeping Sam's arms from going in front of his chest. The siren made another cut, deeper this time, drawing blood immediately that stained his shirt. Sam grit his teeth letting out a yell of pain, going limp against his brother's grasp and it was then that he felt Dean's grip falter. 

The siren snapped, "Dean."

To Sam's dismay the grip was tightened again but from the he knew he had hope. Dean had reacted- loosened his grip at the sound of his brother in pain. Maybe there was a way to break the spell, a flaw...

Sam finally made his move then, determined to save Dean. He twisted, whispering an apology to his brother as he elbowed him in the stomach and tossed his head back, smacking Dean in the forehead. He kicked the siren in the chest and turned and tackled Dean who was still dazed from the hit across the head. Sam and he landed, thrown apart from the impact and Sam staggered to his feet, using the wall as he and his brother faced each other from across the room. 

"Dean, Dean it's me."

"Gutsy move Sammy," the siren said, motioning for Dean to stop advancing. He straightened his jacket and smiled, "I was going to infect you too...but that's the same mistake my brother made. So I'm gonna let Dean do the heavy lifting, and I'll just sit here and watch. Dean, be my guest. Tear your brother apart."

Sam looked back at Dean fearfully who had started advancing with a determined look in his eyes. Sam put his hands out, backing up slowly, trying to talk his way out of it. 

"Dean? Dean this isn't you. Come on man, fight it! You're stronger than that! DEAN!" Sam cursed when his brother lunged for him and he made up his mind that Dean would forgive him afterward. He sidestepped and pushed Dean in the back, using his adrenaline to his advantage. 

Dean bounced back off the wall and caught Sam round the waist this time, slamming him into his back and Sam yelled in pain. Dean's fist came back, slamming it across his face and Sam's head jerked to the side, his nose bleeding. He was hit again, sending his head snapping the other way. He caught Dean's next hit and wrapped a leg around his back, pushing to the side with all his might.

He flipped Dean and scrambled away, getting to his feet.

"Dean! It's me!" Sam raised his fists and advanced cautiously, his mind racing. For the first few hits, Sam pulled his punches. But when he realized that Dean wasn't holding back and that anger was making him stronger than he already was, and that meant he was losing, Sam decided against that. He reverted from defense to offense, lashing out and catching Dean across the head, wincing as his knuckles drove into Dean's temple. 

"Sorry," he winced.

His brother let out a groan and hit Sam in the chest in retaliation, sending him stumbling backward with a broken rib. Sam got 3 hard hits across his brother's face before he slammed Dean into a table. His brother crashed to the floor on the other side as Sam went limp against the nearest wall, breathing hard.

There was silence for a second and Sam got to his feet, limping over. He approached the table, peaking over the side- only to have a chair thrown straight at his chest. Sam couldn't move in time and he fell, his head smacking against the floor, barely able to breathe. he cursed inwardly at his brother's throwing strength; Dean was always very good at fast balls.

He groaned, trying to stay conscious as Dean circled the table, fortunately and unfortunately visibly stunned as well. Sam got to his feet and swung again, ducking am enraged from swipe Dean and jumping back behind a set of cabinets.

Dean was faster than he expected him to be and he clocked Sam over the head, doing a new move even Sam hadn't known. His older brother twisted around, taking out Sam's leg and giving him a nice uppercut to the chin. As Sam fell to his knees, Dean locked his hand around his throat and shoved him up against the cabinets. 

"Good Dean. Now kill him," the siren called from across the room. 

Sam choked, clawing at his brother's hand, a plan desperately forming in his head. 

"Dean- please-" he gasped, gripping Dean's shirt with his fist, looking up into his brother's cold eyes as Dean held him with a merciless grip around his throat. Sam's lungs burned and he choked, weakly hitting Dean's arm. His brother snarled and the grip got tighter but Sam allowed himself a tad bit of relief; that meant he was fighting it. Even with air running out, Sam's shaking fingers pulled at his brother's grip, locking pleading eyes with him. 

"Dean it's me. You'd never...you'd never hurt me. You always protect me. Dean it's- me- it's Sammy," he begged his older brother.

"Sa- Sam-" Dean said through gritted teeth, blinking as his eyes started to clear just slightly. "Sammy?"

"I'm sorry," Sam winced, yanking on the metal rod he had hooked around the cabinet behind Dean while he had been stalling. Dean looked over his shoulder only for the open drawer of the cabinet to fall out and smack him in the head, sending him collapsing onto Sam. Covering his brother's head with his hand as containers and books fell down on the both of them, Sam groaned and pulled them both out of the wreckage.

"Finish him, now!" the siren said, motioning to the vamp that was waiting for it's cue, it's teeth bared.

"Sorry Dean," Sam rasped, digging for the blade in his sock and quickly cutting Dean's arm. With shaking hands he hurriedly smeared the cut on of the knife with his brother's knife, guilt and horror building up in his throat.

"I'm so sorry Dean," Sam said softly, clapping his brother on the shoulder and looking up in pain of what he just had to do, but he knew he had to do it. Sam got to his feet, rubbing his throat where Dean had been gripping it and saw the vamp a couple feet from him, hands outstretched, ready to rip his throat out. 

Sam raised Dean's gun that he had grabbed off his belt when he had gone down and leveled it at the vamp that lunged for him with sharp teeth exposed in a snarl. He shot the bullet between the vamp's eyes. A loud bang echoed in the room as the vampire stopped in it's tracks instantly, and collapsed to the ground, a silver bullet embedded in his brain. Sam dropped the gun and picked up the knife instead before he started for the siren, his eyes full of anger, murder on his face.

If looks could kill the siren would be dead already. He started forward, gripping the knife as the man backed up from where he had been watching the fight. 

"Now Sammy, let's talk about this," he smiled, stumbling backward. 

"I don't think so," Sam snarled, stabbing with the knife. It was a move that Sam kicked himself for a second after. It was easily predictable and easy to defend from; the lung was straight and vulnerable, his arm outstretched and honestly, if the positions had been flipped, Sam would have done the same counter.

The siren dodged and hit the knife out of Sam's hand before punching him across the face. Sam retaliated, cursing himself for being so careless and wasting an opportunity and he threw his own punch, his fist catching the siren right in the face. The liquid that would have hit Sam in the mouth squirted to the side and Sam kicked him in the chest, sending him crashing to the floor. 

He scrambled for the knife but the siren was already there, kicking Sam in the ankle and then swinging whatever he had found on the floor into Sam's side. The young Winchester hit the ground hard and never had time to get up. The siren was on top of him, punching him in the face, once, twice. Sam's head hit both sides of the floor with each hit, focusing on keeping his vision clear while he fumbled for the knife. His fingers grasped it and slipped, the knife spinning on the floor, his fingers gripping empty floor. Sam groaned, straining to stretch his arm out and grasp the hilt, distracted by the hits he was taking.

Then the siren grabbed a piece of broken glass from the side and he and Sam locked eyes. Sam tensed in fear as the siren grinned raised it.

"DEAN!" Sam yelled, his voice breaking as the siren laughed, ready to stab it down into Sam's chest.

A gun shot went off and the siren looked up, confused. The shot didn't kill him but it did distract him and daze him for a second. Out of the corner of his eye Sam saw Dean drop the gun he had been holding with shaking hands and then fall back against the shelf, groaning and clutching his head. Sam grit his teeth, gripping the knife firmly in his hand and plunging it into the siren's side.

His eyes went wide and he choked, looking down at the knife sticking out between his ribs. 

"That's for what you did into my brother," Sam hissed, gripping the siren by the collar. "And it's Sam. Not Sammy."

He twisted the knife in the cut before he shoved the siren off him to the side, sitting up on his elbows and breathing hard. Dean lay motionless on his side where Sam had left him and he scrambled to his feet, sprinting across his room in haste to get to his older brother. 

Sam rolled him onto his back, cupping his neck and slapping his cheek, "Dean? Dean!" He grabbed Dean's collar and shirt in his fist, shaking him. 

Dean gasped, his eyes shooting open. He bolted up and scrambled to his hands and knees before he swayed and his eyes rolled into the back of his head for a split second. 

"Hey, Dean? Dean! Are you good- are you good?" Sam stuttered, grabbing Dean's jacket before he could face plant and easing him down into a sitting position, Dean falling against his chest. Sam wrapped his arm around the front of his shoulders, and clapped him on the shoulder, "I gotcha."

Sam let himself fall into a sitting position, breathing a long sigh of relief, resting his hand on Dean's head, just glad to have his brother back. 

Dean was breathing hard, blinking back the last of the fading spell, his hands clenching and unclenching Sam's coat, gasping for breath. It took Sam a minute but he realized Dean was shaking.

"I've got ya," Sam assured his brother, feeling comfort in the fact that Dean had gotten control on his breathing. It was a minute later when Dean finally spoke though. Sam had just been holding him firmly to his chest as the last of the curse worked it's way through, his hand resting atop Dean's spikey hair, his back limp against the cabinet he had thrown onto his brother.

"Sammy?" Dean coughed.

"Yeah Dean, it's me," Sam breathed another sigh of relief, "it's me. You're ok."

"I- I almost killed you," Dean said softly. 

"Almost. Jerk," Sam teased. 

It was soft and Dean broke into a coughing fit after he said it, but Sam heard the rough response. He grinned. 

"I did knock a cabinet on you, so I think we're even," Sam said lightly.

"Fair enough," Dean groaned, getting his voice back. Sam let him go cautiously as Dean helped himself up. Then he stuck out the hand for Sam. Always trying to be the big brother. Just to piss him off Sam used the nearby shelf to pull himself up, smirking at his older brother.

"You suck," Dean grumbled. 

"Yep," Sam nodded. 

"Now let's find this dang cure and get out of here," Dean said. 

"Yep," Sam said again. 

 

"He did it on purpose," Dean grumbled, turning right onto the highway with the Impala about 30 minutes later. Sam held the vial in his lap and shot him a look. 

"He did! It was in the toilet Sam. Why else would it be there?" Dean grumbled, taking out his phone.

"Dean what-"

"I'm calling him."

"You're not-"

"I am!"

"Dean put the phone-"

"It's ringing."

Sam sighed and sank back into his seat before he reached over to adjust the steering wheel.

Dean slapped his hand, hissing, "Back off."

"You're not even looking at the road!" he protested.

"Nice voice crack," Dean nodded, winking and putting the phone on speaker. 

"Shut up," Sam grumbled. 

"King of Hell."

"Crowley you evil son of-"

"We're alive," Sam said, cutting his brother off. 

"Thank you for that marvelous piece of information Samuel."

"I had to stick my hand in a toilet Crowley. If this was a set up I swear to God you're-"

"dead. Yes, I know. Love you too."

"Darn right," Dean grumbled. 

"Now it's time to hold up you're end of the bargain. I'm guessing you're heading home back to the clubhouse to nurse your feathery friend back to health?"

"Yes Crowley," Sam rolled his eyes. "We'll give the cure to Cas and then to the angels and we'll tell them of your courageous self righteous act, sound good?"

"Very good. If you want to elaborate, feel free-"

"Shut up," Sam and Dean said at the same time. 

"I love it when you two talk at the same time."

"I'm hanging up now," Dean sighed. 

"I love you-"

Dean made a throw up sound and hit the end call, returning his phone to his jacket pocket. Then he turned to Sam and gave a half-hearted laugh, "Our life is so screwed up."

"That's an understatement," Sam grinned. 

 

"Cas?" Dean walked in, "God, if he's passed out again..." 

He and Sam walked down the hall to the bedrooms. Sam's door was shut and the light was on. A muffled sound of the TV was on. 

"Get out of my room!" Sam yelled, pounding on the door.

"Dude, you sound five," Dean scoffed, knocking lightly. "Cas? Come on man."

Cas' voice came back, "I get how they are pretty and liars, but I would not call them little. The average height of a women is 5 feet 4 inches anyway. I do not understand."

"Pretty little li- Cas found Netflix."

"What season are you on?" Dean asked. 

"6."

"How is that even possible?" Sam whispered. 

Dean perked up, leaning into the crack of the door, "Oh have you gotten to the part where Hannah-" 

Sam raised his eyebrows in amusement, crossing his arms with a small smirk. 

Dean's face went slack and he cleared his throat, his voice an octave deeper while Sam laughed beside him, "Cas! Open up, now!"

The door opened but Cas was still staring at the TV. 

"For the love of-" Sam pushed by him and turned it off, pushing him out of his room and into the hallway.

"We've got the cure," Dean said, holding up the vial.

 

"Are you sure this is going to work?" Cas asked.

"Possibly," Sam said, drawing the symbol on the ground, a mirror of the one etched into the top of the silver cap. 

"Probably...not," Dean said slowly, leaning against the table. 

"That's comforting," Cas grumbled, "you never did tell me what's wrong with me. Or what was on that blade."

"That's a story for another time. After this works. If it works," Dean corrected. 

Cas slumped his shoulders. 

Sam finished up the last bit of the drawing and wiped his hands, "Ready?"

"No," Cas said, "but I guess that doesn't matter."

"That's the spirit," Dean grinned, pulling open the vial. "Almighty. Let's do this. Sam be my guest."

"Well it looks like it's an angel exorcism, just reversed," Sam said, tracing the lines in the book with his finger, "All the lines are just flipped. Whatever is said first is last, and last is first."

"So if this is done wrong, I could be expelled from my vessel?" Cas exclaims, glaring at the boys. 

"That's a possibility yeah," Dean nodded. 

"There's another one," Sam said, "but it's a rough translation. Word for word. very literal."

Dean looked over his shoulder and scoffed, "'restore the fire that burns within'? Who wrote this, a four year old?" Dean scoffed. 

"That's your problem with this?" Cas said angrily.

"Go, go, go, he's mad," Dean hissed. 

"Ok Cas, which one?"

"I don't like my options, but since the reverse exorcism seems more extreme, I think it's best to try that one," Cas grumbled. 

"You sure?" Dean asked. 

"Don't get all empathetic on me now Dean. I could have used it minutes ago," Cas rolled his eyes. 

"He's caught on to sarcasm," Sam whispered. 

"Uh huh," Dean nodded, crossing his arms. 

Cas clenched his fists and closed his eyes, "Go Sam."

Sam took a breath as Dean bent down and waited for him to start talking, "Ut deum ad empyreum remittat non. Domine expuet non. Domine expuet non."

Dean poured a drop from the vial and the symbol Cas was standing on cracked and turned fiery red.

Sam's eyes flicked up for a second and then he kept reading, "Hunc angelum omne obsequendum non. Ab orbe terra non."

Cas gripped his side, yelling in pain, almost falling to his knees. Dean started forward but Cas gasped out, "Keep going- i think- I think it's working."

"Go Sam go, finish it!" Dean said urgently.

"Omnipotentis Dei potestatem," Sam said fluently, the ground starting to shake. Cas got on one knee, gritting his teeth, his whole body starting to glow, all from the cut on his side.

"invoco non Omnipotentis Dei potestatem invoco-" Sam took a breath, "non."

At first, nothing happened. Sam lowered the book and he and Dean watched in silence. And then Cas started to tremble. Dean stepped back beside Sam, grabbing onto his jacket. 

"Sammy," Dean warned.

"Go!" Cas yelled, looking up at the boys with eyes that were glowing white. His whole body was almost too bright to look at. Dean and Sam raised their hands over their eyes, trying to look through their fingers.

"GO!" Cas screamed.

"Sam , go. Go, go, go, go. Sammy, go!" Dean pushed Sam and they ran for the edge of the hallway and dove to the right. The room exploded behind them in a flash of light and the two brothers tumbled to the ground, hands covering their heads. Debris clattered past them from the room that had exploded and for a second all Sam and Dean could hear was ringing, temporarily blinded by the massive light. 

Dean scrambled for Sam, crawling on the floor, his forearms sliding across the ground as he made his way to his brother. He felt the ground tremble again, a second blast coming and Dean grabbed Sam, pulling him to the wall. The trembling stopped for a split second and Dean pulled Sam to his chest, protectively shielding him away from the second blast that was almost as worse as the first. 

For at least a minute he couldn't see or hear anything, all he knew was that he would be taking the brunt of any blow that came their way, holding Sam against his chest tight, as tight as he could, his hand over Sam's head, gripping his brother's jacket in his fists. 

When the ringing in his ears got to a point that was bearable and so he let Sam go, bringing his hand down to his side from where it had been over Sam's head. 

"You ok?" he asked his little brother.

"Yeah," Sam said breathlessly. 

Dean pulled Sam to his feet, checking him for injuries.  He brushed him off and Sam grabbed his shoulder, nodding toward the main room. Dean pulled Sam behind him and slowly walked toward the main room. Sam's hand was hovering near his arm as he tried to get in front of him. Dean didn't let him and he peeked around the corner, before he stepped out behind the wall. 

"Cas?"

 

 

Chapter Text

Sam and Dean ran forward to Cas who was flat on his back, unmoving.

"Cas!" Dean yelled, sliding to his knees by the angel's side, "Cas?"

Silence. 

Then Cas' eyes opened and both Dean and Sam squinted; his eyes were just sockets of white light.

"Woah," Dean winced, leaning back on his haunches, putting a hand up to shield his eyes as Cas' body grew brighter.

The high pitch ringing started again and Sam grabbed the back of Dean's coat, pulling him away from Cas as the light silhouetting their friend shone even brighter. There was a huge flash and he and Sam winced, turning away and covering their ears. Dean finally felt it safe to look back and he peeked over his shoulder, returning his hands to his sides and blinking away white spots.

"Cas?" he questioned cautiously.

Cas stood there, his eyes still gleaming, shining bright. There was a small clap of thunder and the light that was on in the room exploded as Cas flashed, his shadow revealing a pair of ripped angel wings. 

The rumbling died down and Cas returned to normal, his eyes focusing on the brothers. 

"Did it work?" Sam asked. "Cas? How do you feel."

"Back to normal. Yes, Sam, I think..." Cas inspected himself rather happily, looking up with a cautious and lopsided smile, "I think it worked."

Sam and Dean helped each other up as Cas smoothed his trench coat and nodded at the boys. 

"Ok well now that we know it works," Dean looked around at their trashed living room and the exploded light bulb above him, "with some minor flaws...on for step 2."

"Giving the cure to the angels and stopping the war," Cas nodded.

"Stopping the war, yes. Giving it to the angels...maybe not so much," Dean said, pulling the vial out of his coat pocket. 

Cas knit his eyebrows, "I do not understand."

"We talked about it in the car," Sam said, "They need this cure, meaning we have leverage. We'll tell them about how Crowley is a double agent and then only give them the cure if they stop the war."

"And if they don't?"

"We break it," Dean said, "this is just normal glass. I'm a clumsy person."

"They could kill you," Cas warned. 

"They won't," Sam assured him. 

"And how do you plan to talk to the angels?" Cas asked.

"We're gonna summon them here. A bunch of them," Sam said plainly.

"This plan is idiotic. It won't work," Cas said.

Dean finished the holy oil circle that engulfed the whole room, "Thanks for your optimism Cas."

"It- it wasn't optimism," Cas started to say before he saw Sam mouth sarcasm. He stopped and trailed off, knitting his eyebrows. Dean shot him a look. 

 

Crowley sat on his throne, twiddling his thumbs. He let out a long sigh, waiting for his throne to ring. He started at it for a while before he sighed again, about to stand up and walk away when it starts ringing. 

He grins and answers it, "Hello Moose. How did it go?"

"They took the cure.  If you back off, the angels will."

Crowley held back a sigh of relief, "Well that's just swell. I'm going to hang up unless you want to get all mushy and talk about feelings."

"Listen up Crowley, you're not out of the woods yet. Guessing correctly, I'm sure not all of your black eyed friends will want to go along with this compromise. You take care of them and we can handle the rest of the baddies with the angels. And then we can put a stop to this thing."

Crowley sighed, "Well that's exhausting."

"Hey, we're cleaning up your mess!" Dean called from the background. 

"Do you want a thank you card?" Crowley drawled. 

"Just call us when you have things under control," Sam sighed. 

"He never has things under control," came a low grumble. 

"Was that Cas? Glad you're feeling better! Do I get a thank you for saving your life?" Crowley asked sweetly.

"No," Cas grumbled. 

"Typical," Crowley scoffed, drumming his fingers on the arm of his chair, "Well, you bore me."

"The rebels Crowley-" Sam reminded. 

"I'll take care of it. You're welcome." Crowley rolled his eyes and hung up on the boys. 

 

"Welp, now that's taken care of, we wait, and I'm getting some pie."

"Pie?" Sam raised his eyebrows, "Really?"

"We just saved the world again. Yeah, I deserve some pie," Dean said, grabbing his jacket. 

Sam laughed at his brother and waved him off, "Just be safe."

"Always am," Dean winked, walking up the steps. Sam scoffed after him and took out his laptop. 

"Sam, what should I do. This is far from over," Cas said, walking over. 

Sam started typing on his laptop, "Yeah, I know. I'm searching for cases. Once the supernatural realizes that the angels and demons have pulled out, either they'll go crazy and start killing non stop or they'll try and regroup."

"The angels will be able to sense a regroup of supernatural beings. As long as Crowley takes care of his rebels and we handle the stragglers, it should be ok."

 

"It should be ok!" Dean yelled, "That's what you said! It should be ok! This? If this was your definition of ok, we're screwed! You hear me you winged idiot?" Dean made a running slide to the fire alarm. He got to his feet and stabbed a demon in it's chest with the blade. It glowed orange and crackled before it's life flickered out and Dean pulled the blade out, kicking the lifeless demon in the chest. "Sam!" he yelled.

"Go!" his brother yelled back, before he came flying across the room, landing hard on his back and rolling to a stop. Dean whipped around, fury and fear in his gaze. 

"Son of a-" he hissed, ready to kill the thing that hurt his brother. 

"Dean, do it now!" Sam said through pain, sitting up on his elbows and groaning. 

Dean cursed and pulled the fire alarm. The sprinkler system turned on and all the demons screamed. Dean grinned before he grabbed a fistful of Sam's jacket and his arm and helped him to his feet, "You good?"

"Yeah," Sam nodded, stretching out his back. 

"Where's Cas?" Dean said.

"Don't know. We got separated. Let's work our way back to him," Sam said, kicking a demon in the chest. The man staggered and fell into a devil's trap they had set up, landing on 4 of his fellow demons. 

"Did Crowley say this was the last ones?" Dean asked, throwing the knife. The blade embedded itself in the center of the girl's chest and she dropped. Sam winced and Dean rolled his eyes. 

"Can't save everyone Sammy. We've got a good amount of meatsuits already dead anyway. These suckers are certifiably crazy." He knew Sam wanted to exorcise the demons instead of stabbing them. 

"Yeah, I know," Sam nodded. 

Then Cas appeared out of no where right in front of them, making the boys jump backwards. 

"Relax," Cas said lowly.

"Relax yourself. Don't do that," Dean grumbled. 

"Is that the last of them?" Cas asked.

"We think so. Let's finish the job," Sam said, walking towards the office of the warehouse they had been fighting in.

"And Crowley said he could do this?" Cas asked, his eyebrows knit in concern. "Get the exorcised souls back to Hell?"

"If not we just have to have this lovely party all over again," Dean said cheekily. 

Sam picked the lock and got inside, turning on the speaker system and clicking in the comms button. He pulled out his phone and scrolled to the right voice recording before shooting Dean a look, "Here goes nothing." 

Exorsizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus, omnis satanica potestas...

An exorcism started playing through the speakers and on cue the demons started screaming, smacking into the invisible barriers of the devil's trap circles Sam had spray painted on the floor. 

...libertate servire, te rogamus, audi nos.

20 demons opened their mouths and screamed, shooting the black smoke into the air. Every single one of them merged and headed for the vent and the boys tensed. Just before they reached in there was a huge flash of light and Sam and Dean covered their eyes, putting a hand out to block the brightness. When they looked back the smoke was gone and Cas, who had been watching the whole time, nodded. 

"They're gone," he said.

"Good job boys."

Sam jumped; Crowley was right next to him. 

"They're back in Hell. In...time out, for the moment," Crowley said, straightening. 

"Your welcome," Dean grumbled. 

"Oh don't be over dramatic squirrel, this was just another walk in the park for you," Crowley drawled. 

"Your walk," Dean corrected, "that we...walked...for you-" Dean trailed off, no idea where he had been going with that. Sam cracked a smile and his brother's awkward attempt at a come back. 

"Do you want to look like a freaking hostess?" he recalled, mocking Dean's voice, and earning a punch in the shoulder from his older brother. 

"Shut up," Dean demanded. Sam laughed again. 

"Well it seems you all have walked away from this ok? My job is done here, crisis averted. If you want to say thank you, maybe send a gift basket. Address is hell-"

"You don't get a thank you," Cas said firmly, "these demons were your responsibility and you couldn't keep them under control. You're welcome."

Dean whistled, raising his eyebrows at Crowley. 

Crowley rolled his eyes, "No manners. As usual. I'll see you boys around. Hopefully not."

Then he was gone. 

Sam put his phone back in his pocket and Dean sheathed his dagger. 

"Cas, can you take care of the survivors and meet us back at the bunker?" Dean asked.

"Yes. I can handle that. Give me 5 hours," Cas said, glancing at the people who had just started to stir, and sadly at those who still hadn't and would never move.

Dean, knowing that it took roughly 4 and a half to get back to their home, grinned, "Race ya."

 

"I consider this a win," Dean nodded, speeding down the empty highway. 

Sam nodded slowly, "We saved a lot of people."

"Can't save everyone Sammy," Dean reminded him, knowing his brother was still anxious about the people they didn't save. 

"I know," Sam said. 

Silence. 

"How about some music-" Dean grinned.

"Dean?" Sam asked. 

Something in his voice made Dean recoil the hand that was about to turn on the stereo and he looked over at his brother, "Yep?"

"I-" Sam looked up and then trailed off, tensing in his seat, "dude."

Dean squinted and saw a car speeding towards them on the wrong side of the road. 

"Probably some drunk," Dean said worriedly, his hands gripping the steering wheel and stick. He moved into the other lane, knowing there was no traffic ahead. The car did the same. Dean swerved and the car did the same movements. He cursed.

"He's not drunk," Sam said through gritted teeth. Then his gaze flickered and Sam grew even more alert, looking in the rear view, "Dean. Behind us."

A car had just pulled out of the side road and was gaining. 

"Hang on," Dean said, pushing down on the accelerator.

"What the heck are you doing?" Sam yelled.

"Trust me!" Dean yelled, back, driving even faster, blinking in the glare of the approaching headlights on the long strip of road. "There's two of them and it's not that big of a road. We're gonna have to crash, and if we do, I'm gonna do it right."

"Slide out and spin so they hit the other car?" Sam stuttered, catching onto his brother's thinking.

"Bingo," Dean said.

"My side," he said suddenly.

"No," Dean shook his head. 

"Dean, it will work better if you spin my way! Don't be stupid! You can't do a 360 on this small of a road."

"If this goes south then I'm not letting you get hit!" Dean yelled back, his hand clenching the stick.

"Dean!" Sam yelled, bracing as the car came barreling forward, "Do it!"

Dean cursed and swerved at the last second, clipping the front of the oncoming car before he let out a yell. Dean cursed again, muttering an apology to Sam who was gripping the seat. Dean yanked the wheel hard and the other car did the same, trying to spin Dean off the road but Dean put the Impala in drive and spun the wheel again, whipping the front around and slamming the passenger's side- Sam's side, into the back of the other car.

Sam cried out in pain and the window shattered, glass flying everywhere. Sam hit his head on the side of the Impala during the rebound from the impact, despite his strength in bracing and Dean's heart went in his throat as his brother's head dropped to his chest.

"Sammy!" Dean yelled, reaching for his brother, his foot on the gas, trying to get away from the collision that was about to happen. Dean checked his rear view and saw the hit. The car that had been behind him hit the other car full on, and Dean braced as it came barreling in their direction, rebounding into the Impala and sending it skidding into the ditch. Dean hit his head on the steering wheel and was knocked out immediately. Both boys were limp, the Impala's hood smoking. 

The 2 cars behind them were on fire, completely smashed. Nevertheless, a window shattered and one man climbed out, staggering from his wounds, blood dripping down his face. He looked at the smoking Impala that was tilted in the ditch and grinned, his eyes going black as he started forward. 

 

Sam groaned and woke up, breathing in a huge, deep breath before he almost screamed in pain. He looked down, his hands hovering shakily over his leg. It was broken. He knew that. Sam breathed through his nose and tried to move his hand to wipe blood from his forehead but his right shoulder shot up in pain. Dislocated. He could feel it. 

"Dean?" he choked out, looking over at his brother with tears pricking his eyes. His mind flashed back to the day that 18 wheeler had hit the Impala, wounding his whole family and killing Dean if it hadn't been for their dad trading his life. 

He remembered the blood sliding down his face, the pain, the fear. He had looked into the backseat, feeling so alone, his voice hoarse and scratchy as he yelled his brother's name, unable to move. Dean was slumped against the seat, seemingly not moving, blood covering his face and his chest ripped up from the glass windows that had shattered. The small pieces littered the backseat and Dean's arm was trapped underneath the bent in passengers door. 

Sam was breathing hard, gasping through pain and fear for his brother's life. He looked over at his dad and saw his head slumped against his chest, the steering wheel bloody, covered in gashes and blood. 

Sam strained, arching his back, gasping and choking in his own blood. He looked back at his brother again. 

"DEAN!" 

 

"DEAN!" Sam yelled, biting his lip at the old memory. His voice cracked and Sam forced himself to breathe. He needed to pop his shoulder back first. He leaned as far as he could in his seat, yelling in pain before he closed his eyes and grit his teeth, slamming himself backward against it. His shoulder hit the seat hard and moved slightly. Sam let out a yell of pain, cursing and leaning forward again. 

"Come on," he hissed, slamming his shoulder back again. It popped and Sam's eyes shot open. He was breathing hard, gasping. It had hurt but he could move his shoulder. 

"Ok Dean, you're gonna...be fine..." Sam glanced in the dangling rear view mirror, catching sight of someone staggering towards them, his coat on fire. Sam couldn't move his lower body without freeing his leg which was stuck, bent under the door. He pulled at the handle but it wouldn't budge. Sam cursed, shoving his bad shoulder against it harder, unable to free himself. 

The person was coming closer, on Dean's side and Sam's heart stopped. He reached out and grabbed Dean's jacket with one hand, shaking him, all while trying to free his leg.

"Dean, Dean wake up. Dean!" Sam pleaded, unable to reach any further than Dean's jacket because of his leg. "DEAN!"

"Dean's gone nighty night."

Sam jumped, flinching in his seat as he stared in fear at the man leaning into the driver's window, an inch from Dean's head. His eyes flashed black and Sam tensed, gulping, his grip tightening on Dean's jacket.

"You stay away from him," Sam said threateningly, "you stay away from my brother."

"I'm gonna take him with me if that's ok," the man said, yanking Dean's door open.

"No!" Sam yelled, throwing himself across the seat and crumpling the minute he moved his leg. "No- please. Take me, take me instead, let him go- get away from him!"

Sam tightened his grip on Dean's jacket, which was the only thing keeping his unconscious brother in the car. 

"Let him go Sammy," the demon taunted, his arm around Dean's waist under his arms, trying to tug him from the car.

"No," Sam snarled. The demon took out a knife and Sam trembled, gathering more of Dean's jacket in his fist. 

The demon watched Sam carefully, sliding the knife gently along Sam's trembling hand that was holding onto his brother's jacket. He pressed the knife down, dragging it across the top of his hand. Sam grit his teeth, crying out in pain but he wouldn't let go. The demon snarled and cut deeper and Sam cursed, a tear falling down his cheek. The demon yanked his brother's jacket out of his grip and pulled Dean's limp body out of the car. 

"No!" Sam yelled, recoiling his bloody hand in pain, crying out and then slamming his whole body into his door, filled with adrenaline. That demon had his brother. Sam let out a yell and slammed against the door and it opened. He tumbled out into the mud and gripped his bad leg in pain, gritting his teeth. He staggered to his feet, holding onto the Impala for support. 

He opened the trunk with a cry of pain and fumbled for the gun, shoving 3 bullets in with trembling fingers. 

"Let him go!" Sam roared, stumbling after the demon that was dragging his brother away. Sam aimed the gun and fired, clipping his shoulder. The bullet never went in. Sam cursed, blinking through the blurriness. 

Dean started to stir in his arms and the demon positioned himself behind his brother so he couldn't take another shot. Sam leaned against the car, his good leg shaking, gulping down air, the gun raised in his trembling arm. 

"Sammy-" Dean mumbled. 

 

"Wha-" Dean immediately tensed, blinking hard. The demon put him in a headlock and he fought it, seeing Sam limp with the worst expression on his face, leaning against their smoking car, his leg twisted and bleeding, the hand he was holding the gun with dripping blood. 

"Sammy..." he mumbled, choking from the hold the demon had on him. 

The past events flashed through his mind. 

 

"I consider this a win." Dean smiled, frowning when his brother didn't share his optimism.

"Can't save everyone Sammy," Dean pointed out. 

"How about some music-" Dean grinned, before he was stopped by his brother's urgent voice.

Headlights.

"Dean?" Sam asked. 

The copied swerve.

 

"He's not drunk."

Dean's knuckles went white as he gripped the steering wheel, his pulse getting faster and faster, his forehead beginning to sweat.

Spin, collide, crash, reverse-

 

"My side."

Not Sammy...

"Do it!"

Screeching tires, his stomach lost in the spin, accelerate- the sound of the stick switching to drive.

The car coming at Sam's passenger side full speed-

"Sammy!"

Dean hit his head on the steering wheel and passed out. 

"DEAN!" 

He felt Sam's hand gripping his jacket, then felt it release, Sam screaming in pain but he couldn't...he couldn't wake up. He felt arms pulling him from the car. Black eyes...

It wasn't Sam.

 

"Let him go!" Sam yelled. 

Dean blinked, his head spinning and then he straightened, taking in his surroundings as his 5 senses collided into one big flash in his head. His hands went up to grip the demon's arm that was wrapped around his throat.

"Sam- smy-" Dean choked, barely able to get his brother's name out.

"You're killing him!" Sam pleaded. 

"That's the point. Kill a Winchester?" the demon snarled, staggering further away from Sam who couldn't really follow them with his bad leg. Dean dug his heels into the ground in an attempt to slow them down; he wanted Sam to have a closer shot if he chose to take it. 

Sam looked conflicted and then he dropped the gun in the mud.

"Sam, what are you doing-" Dean choked out. 

"You said you wanted to kill a Winchester. I'm a Winchester. I won't struggle. Kill me instead," Sam said shakily. 

"Sam, no!" Dean yelled, the grip loosening on his throat. 

"Two Winchesters," the demon grinned, "even better."

Dean strained against the grip, trembling in anger, "You hurt my brother and I will kill you. I will rip you apart, you hear me?"

The demon grinned at the threats and dropped Dean to the ground. He sank into the mud, his head spinning. Dean gripped his throat, trying to crawl forward. 

The demon shoved his hand out, picking Sam up off the ground and slamming him into the Impala. 

"Dean- run!" Sam choked. 

"No! No Sam-" Dean coughed, crawling forward, eyes on the gun. 

"My name will be known as the demon that killed Sam and Dean Winchester. Won't that be great?" he snarled. Sam was shaking, gasping for air, writhing in pain, shoved up against the side of the Impala. 

"Let him go-" Dean said, getting to his feet. 

Sam caught his eye and stalled, "Is this what you want? Is this your glory? You know," he licked his cut lip, "we may kill your kind, but we also save the world. Next time there's an apocalypse, who's gonna stop it? You?" Sam mustered a laugh, wincing in pain. 

"I don't care that the world ends. Let it end. I don't care anymore. After 500 years of watching this world deteriorate, it has it coming anyway. Trust me," the demon said. 

Dean staggered closer, holding back the pain so he wouldn't make a noise.

"You're wrong," Sam snarled. 

"What do you know? You're a dead man walking," he hissed, raising his palm. Sam cried out in pain, screaming, scrunching his eyes up and curling his hands into fists.

"NO!" Dean lunged forward the rest of the way, tackling the demon to the ground. Sam crumpled, breathing hard. 

The demon quickly overpowered Dean, rolling him onto his back and punching him in the face before he gripped him by the throat. 

"I'm finishing you," the demon said, furiously choking the life out of the older Winchester, bruising his skin as well as gripping his windpipe with so much force Dean almost blacked out.

Then a shot rang out and the grip loosened but didn't release completely. Dean sucked in what little breath he could and looked sideways at Sam who was on the ground, the gun aimed right at the demon. 

The demon looked at him in confusion and shock and Sam grinned, "Devil's trap etched in the bullet."

"That won't kill me," the demon grinned. 

"No, but this will," Dean snarled hoarsely, catching the knife by the hilt that Sam tossed at him and stabbing it into the demon's chest. The demon screamed, it's mouth opening, orange streaks running through his veins. Dean shoved the demon off to the side with what little strength he had left, before he lay flat on his back, his arms at his sides, exhausted. 

"Dean?" Sam said weakly, limp on the empty road, the fire raging from the 2 crashed cars behind him. 

Dean groaned and rolled over, blinking and locking eyes with his brother. He gasped out, "You ok Sammy?" That's all that mattered.

Sam breathed a sigh of relief, wiping a cut on his head and gripping his chest, "Yeah."

Chapter Text

"Sammy," Dean coughed, crawling across the road to get to his brother. Sam was on his hands and knees, swaying as he tried to lean against the Impala. Dean got there first, staggering to his feet, stumbling across the road and collapsing behind his brother, pulling him to his chest.

"You're welcome," Sam grinned weakly. 

Dean clutched Sam's head and gave it a brotherly pat before he just settled on keeping it there, clutching Sam's head to his shoulder, breathing hard, his arm wrapped across his brother's shoulders. Sam, writhing in pain, went limp against him, his back hitting Dean in the chest as he caught him. 

"I've got ya Sammy," he assured him. 

Sam was gasping, his heartbeat rapid and jumpy, his whole body shaking in pain. Dean took one look at his leg and sucked in a breath.

"It's bad isn't it-" Sam lifted his head to look and Dean gently guided his head back to rest on his shoulder, not wanting him to see the bloody twisted mess his leg had turned into. 

"Cas will fix ya up. You'll be ok Sam. It's ok. I've got ya little brother, you're gonna be just fine, I promise," Dean assured him, rambling to assure himself as well. Sam was ok. They were going to be ok. 

"Only..." Sam made out, wincing from the slight movement he made to get up, "only if he heals you too-" Sam let out a cry of pain, his good leg straining, pushing against the mud they were sitting in, clenching and unclenching his fists around Dean's arm.

"Hey easy there daredevil. Try not to move for me, yeah?" Dean's arm clamped firmly on his brother's shoulder, his arm locking Sam against his chest. Sam was in shock, which was good because Dean knew if he felt the full amount of pain that injury would cause, he was sure his brother would black out. The knee was twisted at such an awful angle Dean swore his bone would-

Point was, he didn't want Sammy moving. At all.

"Cas?" he prayed, "Cas we need you buddy. Like, now. So put down your harp and get your feathery-" 

"Dean," Cas said, appearing right in front of him, "what happened?"

"Demons," Dean said, breathing a sigh of relief. "I guess we didn't get the last of them. Sam needs help- please..."

Cas crouched by Sam's side, his brother shaking in Dean's lap, his knuckles white as he gripped Dean's arm that was across his shoulders.

"Sam, this...this will hurt," Cas winced, looking sadly at the young Winchester that was covered in blood with a twisted leg.

Sam nodded through gritted teeth, "Yeah, I figured."

Cas nodded and Dean tightened his grip on his brother, his mouth a tight line. Cas pressed his hand down on Sam's knee and Dean winced as Sam let out a strangled yell, trying to keep his cry of pain behind clenched teeth. But when Dean heard the snap of the bone back in place, his legs straightening, Sam couldn't hold it back. His voice broke and he leaned hard into Dean's chest in a reflex to get away from Cas, burying his head in Dean's shoulder, his whole body tensing. 

"I've got you Sam. Hey, hey stay with me," Dean said, holding his brother tighter as Cas pulled his hand away and the light died. Sam was breathing hard and he went limp against Dean, his chest heaving. But he was better. His leg was straight, and although his shirt, pants and jacket were still stained with blood, his cuts were gone.

"You ok? You ok Sammy?" Dean asked, moving from behind Sam to sit on his knees in front of him, Cas stepping aside to let him be a big brother to the younger Winchester who was looking at him with such young eyes. Dean cupped Sam's face, pushing Sam's bangs away from his eyes. 

"Yeah...yeah I'm ok," Sam nodded, clapping his brother on the shoulder. 

Dean breathed a sigh of relief and pulled Sam into his shoulder, wrapping his arms around him. Sam hugged him back, and the brothers clapped each other on the back before they helped one another up. 

"Thank you Cas," Dean said, smiling at the angel sincerely.

"Let me," Cas nodded, reaching and touching 2 fingers against Dean's head. Dean blinked and felt the small amount of pain, that had been swallowed mostly by angst and worry, leave him. He smiled at Cas.

"Thanks buddy."

Sam sighed and turned to look at the Impala, misery on his face. 

Dean's grin fell as well and he walked forward, afraid to touch the crashed car, "Aw baby...I'm so sorry." 

"Let's...let's pull it out," Sam said grimly.

"That's what she said," Dean said miserably immediately moving on from his joke as he got a good look at Sam's passenger side. "Baby I- oh look at you."

"See if it runs..." Sam finished, making a face at Dean's immature joke. 

Dean nodded and dug the keys out of his pocket, got in the driver's seat and prayed as he shoved the key and turned it. The engine sputtered out and Dean muttered under his breath, hitting the steering wheel, "Come on baby, come on."

He tried the key again, tapping the accelerator to help coax it. The engine sputtered for a second. "Come on, come on, come on," Dean pleaded. The engine revved up and came to life. Dean laughed out loud, kissing his fingers and smacking his hand on the dash. He put the car in reverse and pushed down on the accelerator. With Sam and Cas pulling backwards they were able to get the Impala out of the ditch and back on the road. Cas put out the fire of the 2 cars. 

Sam yawned, exhausted. He leaned against the passengers side and checked his watch, wincing, "2 in the morning..."

Cas knit his eyebrows, "There is a motel an hour down the road."

Sam nodded, "We'll stop there for the night and head back to the bunker in the morning."

Cas nodded, clapping Dean on the shoulder, "Will you be ok?" 

"It's us Cas. Of course we will," Dean said, smiling at Sam. 

Cas nodded, "I'll reserve your room. If you need me, just call. I'll check in with Crowley and try and get you an apology note," Cas said. 

"That douche doesn't even know what one is, don't bother," Dean joked. Sam laughed.

"See you soon," Cas nodded, and then in a flutter of his trenchcoat he was gone. Dean fingered the key and walked to the driver's side, opening the door.

"Dean?" Sam asked.

"Yep?"

"Give me the keys."

"Heck no."

"Dean. You're exhausted. Let me drive. Cas said it was only an hour."

Dean glared, but finally gave up, knowing his brother was too stubborn to back down. He tossed the keys to Sam and looped around, flicking him in the head making Sam laugh and shove him off. 

"You were worried about me too. Maybe that's why your hair is so grey," Sam teased, leaning on the top of the Impala. 

"Yeah. You're a handful. Get in the car," Dean demanded. 

Sam grinned, got into the car and put it in drive. Then he gave Dean a look, "After getting into a car crash, a minute later you forget to put on your freaking seatbelt?"

"Shut up and drive."

 

"This can't be the hotel. This is a 4 star!" Dean marveled, looking out the window. 

"It's the address he sent me," Sam said, pointing to his phone that was leaning on the dash. He pulled into a parking space and looked around, stepping out of the car. He tossed Dean the keys blindly and Dean caught them without looking, grabbing his duffel.

Sam grabbed his own out of the backseat and started to change jackets, calling out to Dean who was already walking to the hotel door.

"Dude. We're covered in blood. Maybe switch jackets?"

Dean rolled his eyes but did what Sam suggested and together they walked into the hotel. 

The man at the front desk raised his pen, "Agents Baker and Marks?"

"Yes?" Dean guessed, drumming his fingers on the desk.

The man smiled, "Your partner told us you would be coming. You have rooms 410 and 411. They are already paid for, at least for tonight but if you would like to extend your stay just let me know." He handed them each a key and the 2 brothers headed to the elevator. 

Dean pulled out his phone, dialing Cas. The angel picked up.

"You got in ok?"

"Yeah, more than ok. 4 star hotel? You know they don't take monopoly money," Dean said suspiciously, earning a smirk from Sam.

"Haha very funny," Cas said in a low voice. "I haven't been twiddling my thumbs when you two do credit card scams."

"You scammed a credit card?" Dean said in disbelief, looking at Sam in astonishment. 

"I didn't win a Nobel Prize Dean. Yes, I did," Cas said.

"Good job," Dean nodded in approval. 

 

"2 different rooms?" Dean made a face, realizing it when Sam didn't stand behind him at his door but passed him to get to his. Ever since they were young they had shared a room. John would make sure of it- making sure Sam was never left alone, that Dean was always within lunging distance from him if anything tried to hurt the youngest Winchester. Back at the bunker was different; he knew Sam was safe and he felt safe there. But this was different, especially after what had just happened. Whenever they went on a case they shared a room, but not this time. 

"Hey, you've always said you wanted to get away from my nerdiness," Sam pointed out. 

Dean shrugged, "You are a nerd. But what if there's a monster under your bed and I have to come save your butt? Again? As usual."

"You know what? Screw you," Sam laughed, unlocking his door. 

Dean laughed, "Night Sammy."

"Night Dean."

 

"Dean?" Sam asked, tensing in his seat. Dean saw the car too, coming toward them on the long strip of road. 

He wouldn't shake.  

"He's not drunk," his brother said, gripping the sides of the seat.  Dean's knuckles went white as he gripped the steering wheel, his pulse getting faster and faster, his forehead beginning to sweat.

Now a car speeding up behind them...

 

Dean flinched in his sleep, his hands curling into fists around his covers, his legs twisted in the sheets.

 

Spin, collide, crash, reverse- he could do that. A 360 so his side was hit.

"My side," Sam said, telling him to exactly what he didn't want. 

Not Sammy...

"Do it!" Sam said through gritted teeth, nodding at Dean.

 

"No..." Dean mumbled in his sleep, his knuckles white.

 

Screeching tires, his stomach lost in the spin, accelerate- the sound of the stick switching to drive.

The car coming at Sam's passenger side full speed-

"Sammy!"

Dean hit his head on the steering wheel and passed out. 

"DEAN!" 

 

"Sammy... Sam- no!" Dean groaned, shaking his head, tossing in the bed. He watched as the demon dragged him further away from his brother who was bleeding and in pain, stumbling with a twisted leg, alone and vulnerable.

 

"You said you wanted to kill a Winchester. I'm a Winchester. I won't struggle."

"Sam, no!" 

The demon grinned, looking between the brothers, "even better."

Dean strained against the grip, trembling in anger as he glared daggers at the demon, "You hurt my brother and I will kill you. I will rip you apart, you hear me?"

"NO!"

 

Dean bolted straight up with a strangled scream, drenched in cold sweat, shaking hard. He threw off his covers and got out of bed, running a trembling hand over his face. He reached into his duffel bag and was about to grab his flask when there was a hurried knock on his door. Dean grabbed his pistol and walked slowly over, instantly forcing down the aftermath of the nightmare he had just had, his hand steady while holding the gun. 

He opened it and Sam stood there, breathing hard through his nose, his hands shaking at his sides, a fearful and scarred look in eyes that should never have seen what he's seen. 

"Sammy you ok?" Dean asked, putting his gun back in his jeans. 

Sam didn't say anything he just surged forward and hugged him. Dean raised his eyebrows at the surprise hug and slowly returned the hug, clapping Sam on the back. Sam pulled away after winding Dean and ran his hand over his face.

"I...I can't sleep," he said, walking into the room and sitting down at the desk, scratching the back of his head. Dean closed the door and turned on the light. 

Dean bent down and reached into the fridge where he had stashed some beer and grabbed 2, handing one to Sam who laughed.

"At 4 in the morning?" Sam asked.

"5 oclock is an hour."

"AM Dean. 5 AM is in an hour," Sam shook his head but he popped open the beer and took a sip. Dean did the same, sinking down into the seat next to him and putting his feet up in Sam's face who smacked them away with a smirk. Dean grinned and put them on the bed instead. 

"Nightmares?" Dean asked his brother.

Sam nodded slowly before he started to stand, "Sorry. I can go back- I just wanted to make sure you were- you're ok- I'll just-"

"Sam?"

"Yea?" Sam said, stumbling over his words and nearly knocking over his beer.

"Rambling."

"Yea," Sam nodded, returning to his seat.

"I couldn't sleep either Sam," Dean told him, taking another gulp of beer. 

Sam gave him a small smile. Dean then snapped, grinning and getting up, shuffling through his bag before he found out what he was looking for. He held up a pack of cards and shook them. 

"Go fish. Your favorite game," he teased in an attempt to make his brother feel better.

"That's a kid's game," Sam laughed.

"You're a kid," Dean nodded, dodging a kick from his younger brother. 

"Very funny. Besides, I hated that game," Sam grumbled.

"Yeah, because you could never beat me," Dean grinned, already shuffling the cards. He held up his hands, "You beat me and we'll do a game of poker or something."

"Deal," Sam grinned, moving aside Dean's duffel to maximize their playing space.

"Oh, oh, and check it out," Dean said, reaching into his jacket pocket that was hanging on the back of his chair. He dumped handfulls of choclates and mints in the center of the table, "Eh? Awesome, am I right?"

"Dude, you're 5," Sam laughed.

"Hey, and you're playing go fish with your 30 year old brother," Dean defended himself.

"Dean, you're almost 40," Sam corrected.

Dean shot him a look, throwing a mint at him and popping one in his mouth, "Shut up."

Sam caught the candy and raised his eyebrows, "Are these from the front desk?"

"Yep," Dean said proudly. 

Sam shook his head, laughing and rubbing his head, "You're impossible."

"Hey Sam?"

"Yea?"

Dean put 2 matches down immediately and wiggled his eyebrows, "Go fish."

 

"Well that was a pleasant stay," Dean said, grabbing another handful of mints from the tray as they walked out and shoving them in his pocket. Sam laughed, shaking his head. Neither brother had slept last night but it hadn't mattered. Relaxing, drinking beer, and playing cards with one another until 10 in the morning had been rest enough, and the two walked to the Impala and threw their duffels in the backseat. 

"Oh baby, I'll fix you up right when we get home ok?" Dean said, patting the hood of the car.

"Get a room you two," Sam muttered, laughing as he slid into the passenger's seat. 

"Don't listen to him baby," Dean whispered, rubbing the hood before he got into the car and shut the door in sync with Sam without even realizing it. 

"Let's go home," Dean said contently, about to put the car in drive when his phone rang. Dean dug it out of his pocket and flipped it open, "Yeeello?"

"Dean Winchester?"

"Yes?" Dean said, knitting his eyebrows and shaking his head at Sam when his brother mouthed who is it?

"This is Andrew Keith? I was a friend of Bobby Singer's." 

Dean put in on speaker and shrugged, "And what can I do for you Andrew?"

"There's been a kill in Colorado. I didn't know if you were close, but every single other hunter I've tried is more than a day's drive away and we really need someone on this. Are you guys close?"

Dean and Sam looked at each other, came to a consensus. 

"Yeah we're close. Address and details and we'll be there."

"Great," Andrew said, "Thank you boys."

Dean scribbled down the address and then Sam stepped out of the car to give Cas a call. 

"Alright Drew, hit me," Dean said, setting his elbow up on the side of the car, ready for the rundown.

"Katie Rice. 16 year old girl, all A's, lots of friends, committed suicide the day before she was supposed to reunite with her boyfriend after a month."

"Well that's not suspicious at all," Dean drawled.

"She was found dead in her room, with her phone in her hand. She had been talking to her friend when she did it. Ashley Cook. Pretty shaken up, said that Katie had been freaking out about hearing her dead brother on the phone, that he wanted her to 'come to him'. Then she hung up and called the police as soon as Katie...well."

Dean sucked in a breath, "I've heard that phrase before."

"So have I."

"Crocotta?" Dean asked.

"That's my guess."

"Alright. Thanks Andrew. We'll call you if we need anything."

"Thanks again Dean."

"Yep," Dean said, and the hung up. On cue, Sam slid into the passengers seat.

"Cas is cool with it. He's dusting off the last of the war and will meet us in the bunker when we're heading back. What's the case?"

"Crocotta," Dean said.

"Dementor," Sam said happily, shutting the door and putting on his seatbelt.

Dean looked at him blankly and Sam made a face, about to explain before Dean took a deep breath, cutting him off, "nerd. I don't care."

"Whatever. So what's the rundown?" Sam asked.

Dean locked the doors, putting the car into drive and pulling out of the parking lot, "tell you on the way."

 

"So, what do we know about Crocotta?" Dean asked, turning to the brains.

"Well," Sam recalled, "We worked a case with them a long time ago. They can appear human, they're some kind of scavenger. They have the ability to mimic a loved ones voice before they say their coined phrase-"

"Come to me," Dean nodded. 

Sam nodded, "before they swallow the person's soul. And last time, I killed...Clark? Clark. I killed him with a metal rod through his spine. That did the trick."

"Impalement," Dean said thoughtfully, before he frowned. "Wait, when did you kill him?"

"He knocked me out when I was talking to Stewie- that IT guy we thought was the Crocotta? Tied me up in the basement and ate Stewie's soul, then came for me. Took his time though, which gave me long enough to get out the ropes and shove him into the wall which had the metal sticking out of it." 

"Took his time?" Dean raised an eyebrow. 

"Played with the knife. Taunted me, ya know, the normal antagonist crap," Sam sighed.

"Did he hurt you?" Dean asked.

"Not bad. I'm fine- Dean this was like 10 years ago," Sam laughed.

"Yeah well, I don't like when you don't tell me that you got tied up and tortured by some monster," Dean simply said.

Sam raised an eyebrow, "I did tell you. You probably weren't listening."

"Well...then make sure I am," Dean said firmly.

Sam shook his head, laughing softly, "Anyway, they have electrokinesis, super strength, super speed...all that fun stuff."

"Well, the girl- Katie Ross, was a brilliant 16 year old with a great life. Brother went off to war in Iraq, never came back. His death was 2 years ago. She calls her best friend Ashley in a panic, claiming her brother was on the phone and wanted her to come to him. Katie was resisting the suicide demand but when she went quiet over the phone, Ashley hung up and called the police who found her in her room, dead."

"Gotcha. So we'll talk to the family, and the friend, and then track down the sucker," Sam nodded.

"Sounds good to me. We're about 2 hours out if you want to get some shut eye," Dean said. 

"Eh," Sam shrugged, turning on the radio, "how about some Bob Seger?"

Dean grinned, turning up the volume.

 

"Mrs. Cook?" Dean asked. 

The women nodded, "Yes?"

Sam smiled, holding up his badge in sync with Dean, "I'm Agent Grey, this is Agent Hale? We're here to ask your daughter a few questions? We're investigating the case of her good friend, Katie Ross?"

Mrs. Cook flinched, wringing her hands, "She's tired, I don't think it's a good-"

"Mom?" 

The woman looked behind her at the teenager who was walking down the steps. The young girl wiped her eyes and nodded at Sam, straightening.

"How can I help?"

"Come in," her mom motioned, shutting the door behind them. "I'll get you some coffee."

Sam and Dean took a seat on the couch, across from Ashley. 

"Hi, Ashley, I'm Agent Grey, this is my partner Agent Hale. If this is too overwhelming we completely understand-" Sam started gently.

Ashley shook her head, "Katie was my best friend. She had all A's. She wasn't depressed, even after her brother passed away. She had a boyfriend who loved her. They could have gotten married, I swear," Ashley smiled sadly, wiping her eyes again and curling her legs to her chest on the couch. "She had been waiting to see him for so long. Point is, this wasn't her. Whoever was on that phone made her do this. You need to find them."

Dean nodded, "That's why we're here. We wanted to ask you about the phone call you received from Katie?"

Ashley nodded, "She called me and she was freaking out. Like more than when she had gotten an F on her Chem test. She was almost to the point of crying and when I finally got her to calm down a bit, she said she had just gotten a phone call from her brother, saying that he wanted her to come to him. I tried to ask her what he said but then she was freaking out again, practically screaming. Then she said she couldn't stop it and that she was sorry. And..." Ashley took a moment to collect herself. "I called her name a couple times and then i called the police."

Mrs. Cook came in and handed both Sam and Dean a cup of coffee. They thanked her and she cupped her daughter's cheek, giving her an encouraging nod before she left the room again.

"Did she say anything else about the call?" Sam asked. "What time did she call you?"

"Um, it was 11:45 when she called me. She said that it had been literally 2 seconds before. She didn't say anything else." she said, wringing her hands.

Dean nodded slowly, "Was she alone at the time in her house? If she had screamed, wouldn't her parents have heard her?"

Ashley shook her head, "Her dad was working late that night and her mom was out with her friends. We had just face timed earlier, around 6 and she was perfectly fine. Getting some last minute studying for the final we had the next day." 

Sam nodded, adjusting his grip on the coffee mug, "One last question Ashley, thank you. Do you know any other friends that may have lost a loved one? Recently or in the past."

Ashley frowns, knitting her eyebrows and brushing a strand of hair behind her ear. She nods then, "Kelly Spryce? She lost her mom a year ago. But...that's the only one I know of, at least in my circle of friends, I'm sorry."

Sam stood, buttoning his suit, nodding at his brother. Dean smiled at her, "No need to apologize. I promise we'll find whoever did this. Thank you for your help."

Ashley nodded shyly and shook their hands. Sam raised his hand in acknowledgement to her mom who came in from the kitchen, "You have a brave daughter ma'am. Thank you for the coffee."

"Here's our card. If you have any information you forgot to mention or get in the next couple days, give us a call," Dean says gently. 

Ashley takes it and smiles, "I will. Thanks."

The 2 brother's walk out the door and head down the steps to the Impala.

"Should we start where we were last time? Phone services?" Sam suggested, walking around the front of the car to open the passenger door.

Dean shrugged, "It's worth a shot. Hey, why don't I drop you off at the Ross house and I'll go check out the nearest phone company?"

Sam nodded, "Sounds good."

 

VOICEMAIL 1

"Hey, so I talked to the Ross family and Ashley's story checks out. I called around and both parents have alibis, and I'm definite this was a Crocotta. This kid had such a future. I'm gonna walk around town for a bit, maybe head back to the hotel we checked in at and get my computer and do some more digging."

 

VOICEMAIL 2

"You better not be at a bar. Call me."

 

VOICEMAIL 3

"I'm gonna track your phone if you don't call me back in the next 20. Where the heck are you?"

 

VOICEMAIL 4

"I tracked your phone and it says you're still at the phone company. How long does it take to talk to an IT? Is it a women? Dean I swear to God-"

 

"Hey."

Sam jumped, his eyes going wide and he sucked in a breath, trailing off his previous sentence as the phone picked up. He pursed his lips, narrowing his eyes.

"Hey? I've called you 4 times and you say hey? Dean, what the heck are you doing?"

"I'm at the phone company Sam. Doing some digging." His brother chuckled softly, "My phone was off princess, take it easy. What, were you worried about me?"

"You...take it easy," Sam grumbled, rubbing his forehead, just happy his brother was ok. "Do you need help?"

"It's a big building but I'm a big boy. Give me an hour. So far though, nothing. No one can trace that call Sam, it's weird. I'm working on it. Hey look, I gotta catch this guy before he leaves."

Sam sighed, "Alright, well call me if you need anything ok? And be safe."

"Ok Sam." He could practically see Dean rolling his eyes, "Bye." 

"Bye," Sam sighed, and he hung up the phone.

 

Dean groaned, lifting his head. Alice grinned at him. 

"Look who's awake? Took you long enough. I didn't think i hit you that hard." 

Dean tensed, yanking his wrists that were tied tightly behind him. He grinned, "It's always the hot chick."

"Uh huh."

Dean looked around at the room. He was tied to a metal chair in the center of it, the door to his back and he was stripped of his possessions. He saw his guns, knives, lock pick, fake badge, phone, and a bunch of his other items lying on the counter. 

"This is cozy," he said, shivering mockingly, "where are we?"

"Basement of the phone company building. No one ever comes down here, we're alone," she assured him.

"Well good," Dean said. 

Alice smiled fakely and walked over, leaning on the table, "A hunter. Never thought you'd catch me this quickly. Usually I can eat a few people's souls before I ditch town. They never find me." She cocked her head and smiled at him, "but you...the minute you walked in I knew i had nip you at the bud."

"So you tied me up like a coward and are going to, what? Kill me? And then move on to the next town?" Dean asked.

"Pretty much yeah," she grinned. 

"Good luck with that," Dean smiled. Sammy was still out there. He'd get to him in time. He always had, just like Dean always did with him. 

"Oh, you think your brother will come and save you?" she grinned. 

Dean's cocky expression faltered a bit and he sucked in a breath, managing to keep a smirk on his face. 

"Oh, don't get me wrong, he was worried about you," she nodded, sticking out her bottom lip in mockery. She held up Dean's phone and went to voicemails. 

"Hey, so I talked to the Ross family and Ashley's story checks out. I called around and both parents have alibis-" She hit skip, staring at him triumphantly.

"You better not be at a bar. Call me."

"I'm gonna track your phone if you don't call me back in the next 20. Where the heck are you?"

"I tracked your phone and it says you're still at the phone company. How long does it take to talk to an IT? Is it a women? Dean I swear to God-"

 

Dean twisted his hands in the ropes trying to loosen them. 

"You hear where that cut off? I answered. You're doing fine, but you can't seem to track the number. You'll ask around for about an hour more and then head back home. And Sam will be sitting in the hotel with his computer doing research while I slit his older brother's throat," she said happily. 

"It's like a bad Brother's Grim story," Dean grumbled. "I'm sure you're proud of yourself." He tried to stall, working on the ropes as subtly as he could. 

"Oh I am." Alice nodded vigorously and then she grinned, walking over and running a hand through his hair before cupping his cheek, "tricking both of the Winchesters? That's hard to do."

Dean raised an eyebrow and sighed, "I thought we had a thing sweetheart?"

She made a face, brushing, "You're not my type."

"I'm everyone's type," Dean winked.

"You are a good kisser," Alice said thoughtfully, straightening. 

"I know," Dean smirked, wiggling his eyebrows. 

"But no matter. It meant nothing. I was going to kill you anyway," she said, going over to the table and getting a knife. 

Dean made a face, sucking in a breath, "Oooo harsh."

"You'll live. Or, no. You won't," Alice said, starting forward. 

Dean eyed the knife, still trying to work through the ropes, "before you kill me of course, quick question. Just wondering. Dead people. Why them?"

Alice raised an eyebrow, "Stalling, are we?"

"You're gonna kill me anyway, and like you said, my brother isn't coming. So what can you lose?" Dean said smiling. 

Alice shrugged and walked over with the knife, holding it loosely, showing she wasn't gonna kill him just yet. "It's easier. With the breakthrough of technology I can manipulate minds during a phone call. And I think you know the reason why it's someone who has passed." 

"Enlighten me," Dean grinned fakely. 

"You lost your father," she said softly. Dean tensed, not because of the knife that was tracing his collarbone but from her words. 

"You would do anything for him, do anything he said, wouldn't you Dean?" Alice asked quietly. 

Dean turned away but she turned his chin back with the flat of the blade and raised it so he looked into her eyes. 

"People always have a certain...I don't know the word," she tapped his chin with the tip of the knife thoughtfully. Then her eyes lit up, "connection. Connection with loved ones that have passed away. They want them to be back so bad, they want to believe, that it clouds their judgement. Tell me Dean, if your father was on your phone, wouldn't you do what he asked you to?"

"Screw you," Dean snarled. 

Alice grinned, dragging the knife gently along his throat and up his neck.

"And no. I wouldn't kill myself. My father's dead. What's dead stays dead," Dean snarled at her, ignoring the knife that was tracing his throat. He forced himself not to gulp or flinch against his will. He just glared with fury in his eyes.  

"That's just you," she said, "but a 16 year old girl thinks differently."

"You're a sick puppy," Dean decided. 

"I'm a monster Deano," she grinned, "what do you expect?" 

Dean gave her another cheesy extra smile, "At least you admit it?"

"Well, enough talk. You've stalled for long enough. I'm getting hungry," she pouted.

"Never argue with a hungry woman," Dean nodded.

Alice laughed lightly, "I'll feel slightly guilty about killing you."

"Then how about you don't?" he suggested, his heart falling as the knot he untied did nothing to loosen his hands. Now his heartbeat picked up. Oh crap.

"Sorry Dean, but that's not an option," she said sweetly, gripping the knife. She kissed him and Dean raised his eyebrows, thinking, what the heck. He kissed her back and Alice laughed, pulling away. 

"I couldn't help it," he flashed another smile.

"I know," she smiled back, before she readied the knife, "but it wasn't enough." She stepped back and pulled back her arm, aiming for his stomach. Dean tensed in his chair, breathing hard, arching his back in attempt to get as far away as possible from the knife. He was out of options. He yanked on the ropes tying his hands together and winced, his chest rising and falling abnormally fast. 

"Bye Dean," she said sweetly.

Just then the door burst open behind them and Dean looked over his shoulder. Sam burst in the room, leveling a gun and breathing hard and taking in the scene hurriedly. The 2 brothers locked eyes as Alice looked up and frowned, pouting.

"Why'd you have to ruin it?" she groaned. 

"Sammy," Dean warned, his eyes still on the knife. 

Alice snarled and stabbed forward and Sam took the shot, hitting her in the shoulder to jerk her back as Dean slid backwards as fast as he could in the chair across the floor. The knife slit his arm instead of stabbing him in the chest and Dean yelled in pain, cussing at Alice who had stumbled back and dropped the knife. 

Sam stepped forward in front of Dean with absolute murder on his face after he took one look at the cut on his older brother's arm. He shot her again, this one in the leg and Alice laughed.

"That can't kill me," she taunted, lunging forward and hitting Sam in the stomach and then across his face. Sam staggered, his nose bleeding and Dean cursed again, straining on his bonds. 

Alice laughed and grabbed Sam's collar, kicking the back of his leg to bring him to his knees in front of her.

"Sammy!" Dean roared, his heartbeat speeding up as she held his brother.

"With you in a second Dean," Alice called over her shoulder. "Let's look at you though..." She brushed Sam's hair away from his face, Sam still weak from her punch. It was that superhuman strength. Dean let out a low growl.

"Don't touch him," he snarled, swearing as he yanked on his bonds again to no prevail.

"Jealous Dean? My," she whistled, fingering Sam's collar, "you both are hot. It's a shame I have to eat your souls." Her expression darkened and she punched Sam in the face again, knocking him to the floor. As his younger brother tried to get up she kneed him in the chest, flipping him onto his back. Dean yelled in sync with Sam, swearing at Alice as she wiped her hands and picked up the knife she had dropped.

"I'll start with you Dean. And Sam, you'll be next right after I kill your brother," she assured him. 

A gun shot sounded and Alice didn't even turn around as it hit her side. She simply laughed, eyes on Dean, "I told you, those can't kill-"

Then a rod impaled her straight through her stomach, splattering the floor in front of her with blood. Sam grabbed her shoulder and gave it a ruthless twist, "I know. But this can."

She dropped the knife, choking and gasping as Sam let her fall backwards. She hit the ground and convulsed for a second before her movements went sluggish and she lay still. Sam turned, breathing hard to Dean who relaxed, unclenching his fists.

"You good?" he asked Sam as he walked over.

"Been better. You?" he asked as he clapped Dean on the shoulder. 

"Fantastic," Dean groaned, motioning to his tied hands.

"Perfect timing, am I right?" Sam chuckled.

Dean winced as Sam untied his wrists, "A little earlier would have been nice." Sam helped him up, and Dean clapped him on the shoulder, rubbing his wrists before he frowned, "Hey, I thought she said that she called you with my voice?"

Sam nodded, going over and handing Dean his gun and badge while Dean shoved the rest of the stuff in his pockets. "She did."

"Well she must have been convincing, what gave her away?" Dean asked, holstering his gun.

Sam's lip curled and he looked at Dean with a small smile, "A hunch."

Dean raised an eyebrow, "Meaning...?"

"The whole phone call, not once did she call me Sammy," he said simply to his older brother. Sam nodded contently, "And I was right. You would have called me Sammy."

"Wow."

"I know," Sam laughed.

Dean shook his head, hitting him on the shoulder, "Let's go Sammy."

"It's Sam."

"Whatever."

 

"Heyo!" Dean called, opening the door to the bunker. 

Cas immediately walked in the room, smiling up at the brothers coming down the stairs, "Sam, Dean. It's good to see you."

"Do you ever take that trench coat off?" Dean asked, patting Cas on the shoulder as he walked by.

Sam rolled his eyes and smiled at the angel, "It's good to see you too Cas." The angel smirked. "And thanks for that hotel, it was incredible."

"Yeah, that place? I stole like 50 shampoos and mints," Dean raised his eyebrows pointing at Cas, "You're awesome."

"Not on the-" Sam exclaimed, sighing as Dean set his duffel down that was covered in mud, "table," he finished. 

Dean shrugged, "I need a beer. Sam? Cas?"

"Although it does not do much for me, yes I will have a drink," Cas smiled proudly. 

"Alright," Dean said, walking to the kitchen.

Sam shook his head, smiling as he picked Dean's bag off the table and set it on the floor.

"He seems happy," Cas said gladly. 

"He is," Sam nodded contently.

Cas then frowned, "I only paid for one night, but you have been gone 2." His eyes lit up, "Do I get to scam another credit card?"

Sam laughed, taking off his jacket, "No Cas. Although I see we've rubbed off on you. We spent the next night in the Impala. Nothing against the hotel just-" Sam searched for his words. "That felt more...home. You know?"

Cas smiles and nods, "i understand."

"Drinks!" Dean bellowed, handing one to Cas and throwing Sam's to him. Sam caught it and sat down in his seat. 

"You moved my bag," Dean noticed.

Sam nodded vigorously, twisting off the cap of his beer, "Yes. To the floor. Where it should be." 

Dean made a face and leaned on the edge of the table. 

"So, how was the hunt?" Cas asked. 

Dean shrugged, "Inexperienced crocotta. Tried to kill me. Almost did. Hot though." Dean got a look in his eyes and he whistled before he shrugged and took another gulp of beer.

"I got there in time," Sam rolled his eyes. Cas nodded seriously.

"All because of me," Dean said proudly.

Sam laughed loudly, leaning back in surprise, "Really?"

Cas looked back and forth between the brothers before Dean nodded, "I call him Sammy." He tapped the table with his beer and pointed at Sam.

Cas nodded slowly. "I am so lost- I don't think I understand what- Sam?"

Sam waved him off, grinning, "Don't worry about it. How about you? Everything cleaned up?"

"Yes," Cas said in his low voice, before he jumped, digging into his pocket. "I actually did get...a thank you card from Crowley. He seemed very sincere, told me to give it to you and that he was sincerely sorry."

Cas handed over a pink envelope to Sam who raised an eyebrow at Dean who cautiously circled the table. 

"Carefully," Dean grumbled, "watch it be a bomb." He looked at Cas, "And you fell for this?" 

"Fell...fell for?" Cas was obviously clueless.

Sam rolled his eyes and opened the envelope. There was a sparkly happy birthday card inside and Sam opened it. Inside, the cursive HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 5 YEAR'S OLD! in the center was crossed out and written in it's place was a scribbled sentence. 

Sorry for almost killing you. Not really. 

Dean scoffed and lower it read, Grow up douches. You don't die anyway.

Sam laughed. Dean grumbled, stuttering for a comeback, "I'm not a douche he's...a...douche..."

"Hate you both, Crowley," Sam finished. 

"I thought it was heartfelt," Cas supplied.

"Definitely," Dean said, plucking the card from Sam's hand. "We'll put it on the mantle."

Cas brightened, "That's nice of you-"

Dean opened the trash can and shoved it inside, "Nope."

Sam grinned, shaking his head and taking another gulp of beer. Dean pulled up a chair beside his brother and sank into it, letting out a sigh. 

"Now what?" Sam asked, leaning back in the chair. 

Dean shrugged, "We drink. We hunt. We eat pie. And we make sure the world doesn't screw itself over again."

"And when it does?" Sam said, only half joking. 

"We save it," Cas said firmly, nodding. 

"Sounds like a plan," Dean agreed, finishing off his beer. 

Silence. 2 brothers and an angel just sat in happy silence, content with just being able to relax. 

Dean broke the silence, "I want pie."

"We just got pie on our way back!" Sam exclaimed, pointing at him angrily, "2 of them! And you ate mine!"

"It was just sitting there! You weren't gonna eat it," Dean protested. 

"How do you know I wasn't gonna eat it?" Sam asked, raising his eyebrow, "Huh? Exactly. You can't read my thoughts."

"If you were a lawyer, our world would be in more danger than it already is," Dean shook his head. 

"Shut up Dean," Sam said.

"Hang on, don't fight," Cas said urgently. "Don't move." And then he was gone. 

Sam scratched his nose and Dean pointed at him, "HA! You moved. I win."

"It was a figure of speech Dean."

"I won," Dean restated. 

Sam snorted.

"Maybe he's getting me pie," Dean shrugged, giving Sam a look, "He's nicer than you."

"Sure" Sam laughed. 

"Uh huh," Dean smirked, "I don't even like you. You're mean and annoying."

"Oh I know," Sam said, knowing his older brother was teasing him. He finished off his beer and Dean snorted, holding up his empty one. 

"Slow poke."

Cas was back, holding a plastic bag. "I got pie."

Dean jumped out of seat, clapping, "Told ya! Fork..." Dean ran off to get a fork and came back, snatching the bag from Cas diving into the pie. 

"Here, I'll translate. He says thank you," Sam says to Cas who nods, sitting down in his seat again. 

"You're welcome Dean. Sam, tell him I said you're welcome."

Sam laughs and looks at Dean who has whipped cream over his mouth, "Cas says you're welcome."

"Shut up Sammy," Dean says, pointing at him with the fork.

"It's Sam," Sam corrects absentmindedly. 

"Whatever."