This is yet another tag to the episode "Sex and Violence" (It's not quite what I wanted but it is out of my head)

No copyright infringement is intended.

What Kind of Brother?

They drove all evening and into the night--not talking. After what they had said under the siren's influence there didn't seem a lot to add.

Despite what Dean had told Sam, they weren't all right.

They drove until emotional exhaustion and the bruises that they had inflicted on each other forced them to stop at a cheap non-descript motel for a cheap non-descript room. They carried in their duffels and dropped fully clothed on the beds. Neither could sleep.

Dean sat up slowly; rubbing his face then sat slumped, elbows on knees. "I know that you meant what you said, Sam," he said slowly, voice rough and low. "I know you meant what you said because I meant what I said."

Sam sat and turned to his brother, mirroring his position. "Dean, it's not like that, not really."

Dean shook his head. "You're lying to me again. It's exactly like that. And you're right. I am afraid. I am holding you back. You are a better hunter. You've always been better than me, Sam; always been special. Castiel should have just left me in Hell, it would have been easier. I can't do this anymore and I won't force you to … I'm leaving in the morning."

Sam sighed. "You don't need to go."

Dean barked a short laugh. "Yeah, well maybe if you'd said that you didn't want me to go I wouldn't but that's not what you said."

"Maybe that's what I meant."

"Sam, be honest with yourself even if you can't seem to be honest with me anymore. What you meant was what you said."

Dean waited a few seconds. There were no denials.

"Where will you go?" Sam asked quietly.

"Don't know yet. I'm leaving the Impala for you though. I gave it to you once already, it's still yours. You took good care of her.

"Sam, I'm sorry. I'm sorry I couldn't be stronger for you, that I came back from Hell broken. I'm sorry that I had to leave you and you turned to a damn demon. But I went to Hell so you could live, have a chance at the life that you deserved. Even knowing what I know now, how bad Hell was…is…I wouldn't change it."

"Dean, I'm sorry man. I'm sorry I can't be your little brother anymore. Too much has changed. I've changed. I wish I hadn't."

"You know what? No sense me waiting until tomorrow, that would just be ripping the band-aid off slow." Dean stood and leaned over to grab his duffle. "Be safe little brother."

The door to the room abruptly blew open. Both Winchesters turned toward it, hands going for their weapons.

Castiel stood for a second, back lit from the lights in the parking lot. He strode into the room as if it were his, door closing of its own accord behind him.

Dean shot a glance at his brother then looked back at the angel. "I thought you would wait. You couldn't wait a freaking few hours?"

Castiel walked up to him and placed two fingers to Dean's forehead. "Sleep."

Dean collapsed to the floor.

This released Sam from his paralysis. "Dean! What did you do to him?" He demanded, kneeling down to check his brother's pulse and breathing. He was relieved to find both normal.

"I need to talk to you Sam. You need to understand."

"Understand?"

"What you are discarding. Where your brother was going. Why."

"What are you talking about?" Sam settled on his bed, curious now that he knew Dean was fine.

"You died about a year and a half ago. Your soul went neither to Heaven nor Hell but was in limbo, waiting."

"I don't remember anything about that time. I remember the pain and Dean catching me and then waking up. Nothing in between. Why was I in limbo?"

"Because it was uncertain what choice your brother would make. It would have been unfair to tear you out of Heaven and too difficult to lift you up from Hell. So we waited and he made a deal and you went to neither afterlife but were returned.

"You found out about your brother's deal and for a year spent your anger at his selflessness in trying to find a way to keep him from the Pit. Did you succeed?" The angel waited patiently for a response.

"You know I didn't," Sam replied bitterly. "I tried everything but I couldn't find a way. You brought him out but you waited too long. He told me a little about what was done to him, about what he did. You know he doesn't think he deserved to be rescued."

"I am aware," Castiel said, "but he persevered through torture of the spirit more agonizing than even the most foul and profane must endure. He lasted thirty years before he allowed himself some surcease from the pain.

"How long did you last, Samuel, before you disavowed his sacrifice and disregarded his last request? A month, two?

"I wanted to raise him sooner but he had to be ready, had to understand what Hell on earth would truly mean and had to know of what he was capable. I was bid to lift him from Perdition because our Father had work for him to do.

"In part, that work was you, Sam."

Sam stood and walked up to the angel, attempting to intimidate him with his height. "You told him to stop me or you would. Dean told me about that. How could you ask that of him? Knowing what he had been through, how could you do that to him? Are you here to stop me? Turn me to dust?"

"I am not here for you but for your brother. As for the rest, was it any less than your father and then you ask of him; to save you and if he could not, then to kill you? You are his brother and you begged him that if you were to ever become something other than yourself, that he stop you. You are becoming something other than yourself. You have to be stopped before it goes too far.

"I told him again to stop you. He refused, even after he knew that you where lying to him, had lied to him from the beginning. He passionately argued that if given time you would do the right thing because you were a good person, better than him. And for a time it seemed he was correct. You did stop, except when it suited you not to. You started again and he was given a choice.

"Your brother was brought back to perform a task and told the consequences of not doing as he was told. He refused to perform it. He knew that he might be cast back into the Pit but he cares more about you than about himself. You are safe, for now. He has bought your life, again, at a cost to himself. You will be left alone and alive, for now. He will return to Hell."

"Is that why he was leaving? Is that where he was going? Back to Hell? Is that why you're here? To send him back? I can't let you do that. I won't. He doesn't deserve to go to Hell, he never did." Sam ran his hand through his hair and began pacing rapidly, trying to think how he could stop an angel.

"I agree."

"But you're going to take him anyway aren't you."

"He'll be out of your way. He won't be holding you back anymore. His weakness won't hinder you or cause you to despise him or yourself. Are you certain that you don't want him to go back? Are you certain that you don't want him to be out of your way, forever this time, so that his presence will not prick your conscience and cast your consorting with a demon in a light that you can not defend?" Castiel goaded Sam.

"Of course I don't want him to go back to Hell? What kind of brother do you think I am? What kind of person?" Sam shouted.

"That is the question, isn't it?" Castiel said calmly, blue eyes staring at Sam's face as if looking for the answer. "You could not save him before but you have it in your power to save him now."

"What do you want?" Sam pleaded. "Do you want me to go in his place? I will. I tried to make that deal before but no crossroad's demon would do it."

"Despite what you believe, neither I nor our Father want your life. We do not want you in Hell. We want only one thing."

"Anything," Sam said desperately.

"We want you to stop. That is all. Never use the power bestowed by Azazel again. Do not trust or consort with Azazel's protégé again."

"But that's the only advantage I have to find and stop Lilith."

Castiel sighed. "So you would give anything but that to save your brother from Hell." He turned to look down at Dean where he lay on the floor.

"Wait, wait, I didn't say that…I just need a little time to think."

"He gave his life for you. He did not hesitate. I do not even ask for your life. I think you have answered the question as to what kind of brother you are.

"He didn't want you to know that his damnation would be laid at your feet. He sought to slip away and not give you more guilt. However, I believe there was another reason he did not want me to offer you this deal. After all that he has borne, he did not think he could bear the heartache of knowing of a surety that you would condemn him to eternal torment for the sake of vengeance and power.

"I think in some ways, perhaps, he is wiser than I. I am not certain that I can bear it either." Castiel began to stoop, his hands reaching out to grip Dean on the shoulder.

Sam rushed forward and grabbed Castiel's hands. "Stop! Just stop! I'll do it. I'll make the deal."

The angel searched Sam's eyes. Sam felt his sincerity was being judged. In that minute, he meant what he said. He just wasn't certain that he could keep the promise. He hadn't been able to do so in the past.

"You are not certain that you will be able to refrain. Knowing that your brother's life would be forfeit, you still wonder if it would be worth the risk." Castiel's voice was infinitely sad.

Sam felt tears in his eyes. "Please, I promise. I won't use them ever again. I won't. Just don't take him. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

"On your brother's eternal life, you pledge this?"

"Yes."

"You will get no further warnings, Sam, no other chances."

Sam nodded. "I understand. Please, don't tell Dean that I hesitated."

"I won't." Castiel watched him. "I will be watching closely. Repent, Sam. Be his brother again. Together you are stronger than either of you are apart. Do not let him leave. Do not deny him again."

Sam didn't actually see the angel leave. One minute he was standing in the room, the next there was a wind and the sound of fluttering feathers. He knelt beside his brother. "Wake up." He shook Dean's shoulder gentle. "Wake up."

Dean slowly opened his eyes. "Sam?" He shrugged off his brother's hand and sat up. He looked around the room.

"He's gone. You're not."

Dean stood and looked everywhere but at Sam. "He told you, didn't he?"

"Yeah. Why didn't you say anything?"

"What should I have said? I'm sorry I screwed your life up. Hope it's better without me dragging you down?"

"You should have told me that you had made another deal."

Dean shrugged.

"I'm sorry, Dean. I'm sorry I changed. I'm sorry I lied to you. I'm sorry I disregarded your dying wish and got involved with Ruby. I'm sorry for not being the brother that you needed. I'm sorry for being selfish, again.

"Please, don't go. I don't want you too."

"You don't want me here, Sam, and I don't want or need your pity. You're only saying these things because Cass made you feel guilty."

"I'm saying these things because I've been wrong about just about everything, Dean. It just took a good figurative smack upside my head to make me realize it. I'm done with Ruby. I'm done with using the power. I'm done with it all and I mean it this time.

"Before you died you told me to remember what Dad taught me, what you taught me. Well, I only remember what Dad taught me—revenge comes before anything. I forgot what you taught me—family comes before anything. I'm remembering now. I'm sorry it took me so long.

"You were right, I've changed. I thought it was for the better but I was wrong about that too.

"Let me try to be your brother again. Please."

Dean's face looked so hopeful that it almost broke Sam's heart.

"Truth is, Sammy, I'm not so good at being by myself. If I didn't have you to look after, I don't know what I'd do with all my time. All I ever wanted was my family and you may not be much but you're all I've got. So if you want me to stay, I'm staying but I'm taking the Impala back. You forgot to change her oil and you stuck that Ipod thing in her."

"Hey, I changed the oil and the brake fluid. As for the Ipod, welcome to the twenty-first century." Sam defended himself with a smile.

"Bitch."

"Jerk." Sam glanced nervously at Dean's face. "Are we going to be all right?"

"We're getting there," Dean said.

end