Thank you TraSan for your wonderful suggestion , unbeta'd only because I wanted to get this posted before I lost my nerve. But thank you to Red anyways, 'cause she always puts up with my neurotic rambling
And no, I don't own the boys. If I did, Dean would have never gone to hell. Sam would have saved him. But since I don't, this is the best I could do.
Set after 'Heaven and Hell'. Spoilers for everything up to and including this episode.
From Hell, with Love
Sam summoned Castiel that very night.
"Make him forget." He begged, his eyes red, his cheeks baptized in tears tainted with profane blood. "Make Dean forget about hell."
The angel watched Sam like he found the hurting young man interesting but Sam wasn't fooled. Castiel wouldn't find him interesting unless he was told to. "I can't--"
He cut the immortal off before he could even finish.
"Fine." Sam was desperate. Forty years. How was Dean even sane? "Then go back in time, get him a puppy instead of a little brother!"
Castiel raised an eyebrow as if in consideration.
"Why the hell not? My family would have been a lot better off."
"This isn't on you." The angel's voice lacked inflection and Sam looked at him in disbelief.
"Are you kidding me? What? D'you only get the Cliff notes on my life?" he snarled, then took a deep breath and tried again. "Make my brother forget…" he forced himself to hold Castiel's damning gaze. "Please…"
"He needs to remember," the other being stated.
"Why?" Sam demanded. "How can he need that?"
"You wouldn't understand."
"Yeah," the hunter was frustrated and couldn't keep the irritation out of his voice. "I get that a lot."
"Okay," Castiel surprised him, "then how about 'you're not meant to understand?'"
Sam stared at him. "What I understand," he started, his voice low, "is that my brother went to hell because I couldn't kill a man… and for that he's being punished? Where is the fairness and compassion in that? If I had killed Jake, like Azazel wanted me to, than Dean wouldn't have – wouldn't be… so… broken," the last word was a gasp. "You're right, Castiel, I don't understand! I don't understand at all!" Sam's conviction strengthened. This was important. Desperation and love for his brother heated his words even as his vision blurred. "Make him forget or get him a puppy."
"Why the hell would I want another puppy?" Dean's voice behind him made Sam flinch. He couldn't turn to look at his brother, his shoulders sagged with defeat. Figures the angel had gotten Dean. "One is quite enough."
"Dean," the word was a sigh as Sam slowly turned to face his brother. Dean was still pale and exhausted looking but his eyes – the windows to his depthless soul – were bright, a jagged jade that could have cut ice.
"Sam," he greeted amicably, if not coolly, "You want to tell me what you're doing here?" a quick glance at the immortal, "talking with my angel?" Dean continually moved until he was between Sam and Castiel, speaking over his shoulder to the angel, "Don't you need to be somewhere else?"
It was Dean's turn to interrupt the angel. He turned towards the other man, his eyes impossibly harder, his voice bitter. "I don't have anything to say to you... and you don't have anything to say that I want to hear." Sam shivered at the coldness in his brother's voice grateful that it wasn't directed at him. This time. And just like that, Castiel was gone.
Sam had just blinked. No more angel.
"Angels," Dean rolled his eyes and then turned tiredly back to Sam. "Now, you want to tell me why you're so insistent on me getting a new pet? I can hardly afford the one I've got." The smirk was forced and Sam swallowed hard and looked away.
"Nothing," he mumbled, suddenly feeling much older than his years. "Let's just go."
"Sam," of course Dean wasn't going to let this go. "I don't have the energy to go a couple of rounds right now so do us both a favor and just spit it out… Why'd you summon Castiel? Looking for him to smite your sorry ass?" The words might have been said in jest but as soon as Sam glanced away, he knew his brother would know. "Sam?" And by the hardness in his voice, Sam was right. Dean knew. "What the fuck?"
"I just wanted you to forget, okay?" Sam blurted out, he started to pace, desperately needing to move. To do something. "Figured your angel could help."
Dean stared at him for a long moment, Sam felt his eyes tracking each movement, and then shrugged. "Probably could," he admitted and added, "But I wouldn't want him to."
Sam whirled around, aghast. His brother chuckled, mirthlessly, "Surprised you, huh? Yeah, well it scares the crap out of me… but I think I need to remember, you know?"
"No," Sam shook his head, appalled and terrified for his brother, "I don't."
Dean exhaled loudly and then scrubbed a shaking hand across his face. Sam waited as long as he could and then pressed, softly, desperately, "Dean?"
"'Cause it's going to save you…"
Now Sam was really confused. How could this save him? And was it worth the cost?
"I gotta admit, bro, when I see what you can do – yanking freakin' demons out of a person? It's, wow, impressive… Makes me proud, dude. That's my little brother doing that. Exorcising with the power of his mind." A smile flickered, brief but sincere.
Sam just continued to stare at Dean, now wondering if he was dreaming this. Quickly he glanced down to make sure he wasn't in his underwear. He wasn't.
Dean snorted softly, "But it's wrong. These things you can do? If I forgot, for even one moment, where they come from, let my guard down at all, become okay with them? Start encouraging you to use them? Than that Yellow eyed sonnovabitch wins… and we lose. Lose you." He took a breath. "These… powers… they're just not right." All the blood drained from Sam's face but his brother held up his hand, asking Sam to just hear him out, "So I need to remember. To remember what I have to keep you safe from… I'd go to hell a thousand times to keep you out of the pit, Sam." Sam swallowed hard, he didn't want that. He couldn't live with that. His brother's eyes were bright as he continued, "Yeah, it's shitty… but so's your deal. You got demon blood in you, bro, and you didn't even get a toy with that Happy Meal. So I figure, in the end, it kinda evens out. We both got our own demons out of this... But as long as neither one of us forgets, as long as we don't lose each other again, we're going to kick. Hell's. Ass..." he cast a significant glance at his brother, "and anyone else's that need to be kicked. We ain't done yet, Brother. Not. Yet."
Sam choked back a sob. Oh God, this was the Dean he'd missed so much those many months...
"But," apparently Dean wasn't finished, "if I ever find out you're trying to make a deal with anyone again, I don't care who it's with, Sam, I am going to kick your ass so hard, you'll need a proctologist just to clean the shit out of your ears. Am I understood?"
Sam just stared at him.
"Sammy?" The growl demanded an answer.
Dean narrowed his eyes, "Sam?"
"I get it, okay? I don't like it," and he didn't, "But I get it." And he did but only because Dean's warped logic was the reason of Sam's youth, rationale with a Winchester twist. "I just wish…" his words tapered off. What did it matter what he wished anymore? He got his brother back from hell, damaged and with a whole new parcel of ghosts, forty years worth for Cripes sake, but it was still Dean, his big brother and best friend… as for everything else? They'd deal… just not like that. Anymore.
"You just what?"
Sam shrugged. "I just think you would have done better with a puppy."
He saw the swat coming but didn't duck, just closed his eyes and thanked God for his brother.
And unbeknownst to him, as Dean's smack on the back of Sam's head mussed the kid's hair and lingered, brief but with affection, Dean was thinking the exact same thing.
Thank God for his brother…
Additional note - check my favorites for 'Night of the Living Dean', the next in a series of Round Robins that myself, Yum, K Hanna Korossy, Tyranusfan and Geminigirl worked together on.