A/N: And here we go, a second installment in the Sabbath'verse. The idea behind this fic grabbed me the first time I watched this episode and I've enjoyed re-examining the episode from the POV of my AU verse here. Hopefully you guys will like it too. It's not quite as fluffy as the first fic, but I wanted to try and stay in line with the episode itself, so yeah...beware, there is angst. Hopefully though, this is still more hopeful than the episode itself. I figure Sabbath is about 4 mnths old here. So he's getting bigger...but still a bundle of cuteness LOL

Thanks as always goes to Tara, who always backed me on this verse and kept me sane when my muse tried to rail against me. I owe you, mate. *HUGS*

I also have a short vid now up at both my Bam and YT accounts to promote this 'Verse. http://www(dot)youtube(dot)com/watch?v=PAXuWRh5XCc

And now...on with the show!!

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Sam was lying again. Only a few weeks after he had promised Dean that he wouldn't lie anymore, that he was done with Ruby…and now he was lying again. There'd been too many phone calls in secret. When Sam thought Dean was asleep, when he figured his brother couldn't hear him.

But Sam hadn't counted on one thing. Sabbath always woke Dean up when Sam slipped into the bathroom to make a call. Maybe it was simply a case of Sam's sudden absence stirring the pup and in turn, Dean. Or maybe Sabbath knew something was up himself? There was no denying the pup was smart.

Dean stared at the phone in front of him before he scooped it up and dialled the number in the call log that was bugging him. His heart sank, the moment he heard her voice.

"Hey, Sam."

So familiar. Apparently Sam's number was one she wasn't afraid to answer. Just how many times had he called her after telling Dean he was done with her?

"Sam? You there?"

Dean ended the call without saying a word and dropped the phone back on the table. The sharp thunk it made, caused Sabbath's head to snap up from the bed he'd been lying on. His deep brown eyes watching Dean carefully as he cocked his head to one side with a soft whine. Something was very wrong. Sabbath knew that now. He'd sensed it for the past couple of days, the tension growing inside his master. Inside both of the masters. Sometimes Sam would come in late at night, smelling strange, a scent that Sabbath didn't like.

But he was still Sam. He was kind and gentle with Sabbath, sharing food and watching late night tv with him and Dean.

The soft click of the door opening behind Sabbath had him turning his head to see Sam entering the room and immediately, the tension become thick again. Like a blanket. Sabbath's tail thumped on the bed as Sam passed him, running a hand over the puppy's head before launching into a tense discussion with Dean about the job they were on. Sabbath rested his head on his front paws, hoping that whatever was wrong, it would go away.

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"Alright we're taking my ride…no complaining about the tunes."

Sabbath was instantly awake when he heard Dean's voice approaching. It wasn't unusual for the boys to leave him in the Impala while they worked. Especially when not every cheap motel was so willing to turn a blind eye to a dog being snuck into the rooms.

Sabbath hadn't been asleep very long, but the first thing he was aware of beside Dean's voice, was the lack of Sam…and a stranger standing beside the car.

"No way - you drive an Impala?"

"Yeah," Dean's hand reached for the handle, opening his door as FBI Agent Nick Munro continued speaking, his voice clearly filled with awe at the sweet piece of machinery before him.

"It's a sixty seven, right? That's a three twenty seven, four barrel…"

"Yeah, actually…" Dean tried to hide his surprise at Nick's car knowledge. He was starting to like this guy. How many FBI stiff's out there actually knew their classic muscle cars? Nick was showing more appreciation in the last two minutes than Sammy had ever shown Dean's baby.

"It's a thing of beauty." Nick gave Dean a knowing look, reaching for his door handle.

"Thanks." Dean gave his car a quick once over, smiling to himself and feeling more at ease now that he was letting Nick into the Impala. Maybe it wouldn't be quite so bad hanging out with this guy after all, just for a little while until Sam had what they needed, anyway.

"How the hell did you talk the Bureau into letting you drive your own wheels?" Nick asked as he climbed into the Impala the same time as Dean. Before they had even closed the doors, a small low growl came from the backseat.

Nick shifted slowly, looking over his shoulder at the German Shepard pup sitting in the backseat, his lip curled, teeth bared. The growl was hardly even an echo of what he would be able to manage as a grown dog, but there was a clear warning there regardless. "The Bureau lets you travel with a dog too?"

Dean was going to kill Sabbath. How the hell was he supposed to explain this? Hell, he'd even forgotten the pup was in the car. They'd become accustomed to travelling with him now, never hearing from him unless he was desperate to take a leak. But this? Actually growling like that? Was something Dean hadn't seen before. "Oh him? Nearly ran him over on the way here. My partner was going to drop him off at the pound later on and I guess we forgot about him. "

Sabbath kept his gaze fixed on the stranger that had entered the Impala. Whoever he was, he smelt wrong. He didn't smell like Dean or Sam…didn't smell human. What was Dean doing with him? Where was Sam?

"Pound huh? Gee, that seems a shame, cute little guy like that." Nick reached over to scratch Sabbath behind the ears and suddenly yelped in pain, snatching his hand back and holding it close, showing several small holes in the back of his hand that were beginning to bleed. "He bit me!"

"What? Aw, dammit." Dean groaned. That was just perfect, great way to make Nick trust them and back off the case. "Look, sorry man. I'll drop the mutt off at my motel for now and we'll go to the strip club, huh? See if we can't get some answers amongst those hot chicks?" His eyebrow lifted as he gave Nick a grin.

"Sure…sounds good." Nick nodded, shooting a dagger filled glare back at Sabbath as the Impala roared into life and pulled away from the curb.

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Dean reached into the back of the Impala, grabbing Sabbath by the collar. The pup had just spent the last minute or so trying to stay out of his reach, souring Dean's mood faster and faster as he made him look like a completely incompetent douche bag in front of Nick. To his credit, the G-man wasn't exactly laughing about it…more just watching with quiet amusement.

It was enough to tick Dean off. He grabbed Sabbath harder than he had meant to, making the pup yelp as he latched onto the scruff of his neck along with the collar. Throwing an embarrassed smile at Nick, Dean backed out of the Impala with the pup. He used his hip to nudge the door shut and started marching towards his room with Sabbath in his arms. The pup was starting to get too big to carry, all gangly limbs like Sam had been in his teens. "What the hell's gotten into you? Huh? I appreciate you watching the car, buddy, but biting that guy? That was a bad idea…"

Sabbath whined and licked Dean under the chin, trying to both apologise and make Dean listen to him. Whatever that was in the Impala, it was bad news and it needed to be away from Dean. Why wasn't he picking up on that? Why couldn't he sense what Sabbath was sensing?

Dean opened the motel room door and carried Sabbath inside, dumping the pup down on the nearest bed. "Right…you wait here. I'll be back later, dude. Don't go chewing the furniture." He scrubbed a hand affectionately over Sabbath's head, trying to show that he wasn't angry with him.

Sabbath latched onto Dean's sleeve cuff and pulled his master up short as Dean tried to walk away.

"Sabbath? What the hell? Let go, dude." Dean snatched his sleeve back from Sabbath and headed for the door, scowling at the pup. Maybe he was just feeling left out? Dean would have to make a stop by a mini-mart on the way home from that strip club and get Sabbath a hot dog or something? It was becoming a favourite treat for him. That was bound to make up for leaving the little guy behind in the room. When he was older, he could go on hunts… be a real part of the team.

Sabbath leapt off the bed and rushed to the door as Dean closed it, a soft snicking sound indicating it was locked. A worried whine left Sabbath as he scratched at the door furiously, trying to get Dean's attention.

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It was several hours before Sabbath heard the sound of someone approaching the door at last. He was exhausted, the room door covered in deep grooves where he had continued scratching until his paws were sore, his nails wearing down. Dean hadn't come back and the pup was pining badly for his master, unable to shake the feeling that something was going to happen.

The door opened and Sabbath slowly lifted his head from his paws, tail already thumping on the bedspread, before he saw it was Sam. His tail slowed, then stopped, Sabbath dropping his head back to his paws dejectedly. It wasn't that he wasn't happy to see Sam. He was…but he was worried about Dean.

That worry didn't ease as he watched Sam talking into that small thing that made noise sometimes. Sabbath perked up at the mention of Dean's name, but the conversation Sam was having soon turned sour.

Sam dropped down on the bed, running his fingers into Sabbath's coat as he listened to Dean's accusations. "You think Cara's the siren?"

Sabbath lifted his head and watched Sam closely. He smelt different, scents that Sabbath couldn't recognise mixing with the familiar one of Sam himself, but it was still Sam. His fingers were massaging Sabbath's coat, the movements becoming a little more aggressive and jerky as his temper began to rise.

"Well maybe it was a heart attack?" Sam couldn't believe Dean was taking this line of questioning with him. Why the hell was he suddenly so ready to attack Cara for what was happening? She wasn't doing anything to have made Sam suspicious…but Dean was? Why? Because he was the older brother? Or was it something more?

Sabbath nudged Sam gently with his nose, disturbed by the shift in Sam's tone, sensing that he was getting more defensive. There was so much anger in Sam lately and Sabbath didn't understand why. Although he had a feeling the strange scent Sam came home with sometimes had to do with it.

"Look I just don't think it's her." Sam could hear Dean getting more worked up, like he had all the answers. Only problem was? They were the wrong ones.

Sabbath nudged Sam again, aware that his hand had stilled now, dropping into his lap instead of running through the pup's coat. A huge wet tongue washed over the back of Sam's hand as Sabbath tried again, futilely, to get his attention as the conversation went on. Sam was pretty much oblivious to his presence now and Sabbath shifted from the bed to the floor, sitting at his feet in an effort to get Sam to notice him.

"Dude, I'm not under her spell."

Sabbath let out a soft bark, pawing at Sam's foot when nothing happened. He waited patiently for a moment longer, before he gave up and slunk back to the bed, lying down again with a miserable huff of air. The pup was just starting to close his eyes again, when the bed shifted suddenly as Sam stood up, ending his call and pitching his phone across the room angrily.

Sabbath yelped quietly, frightened by the anger that was emanating from Sam now. Every muscle coiled, his jaw set, anger blazing in his eyes.

So he was screwing monsters huh? That was just great, Dean, great way to make Sam feel like he was one of the good guys. Everything was becoming so damn grey again lately. Blurring the lines too easily for his liking. All Sam wanted was a end to all this, a way to take Lilith down and stop the Apocalypse without it having to cost him his brother. But now it was looking like that was going to happen anyway. The man that had come back to Sam, was not the Dean Winchester who had left him. He was broken, weaker, unable to see this through…and that was because Sam had failed him. He'd failed to save Dean from the Pit and now it was up to him to protect his brother from further harm…anyway he could. Even if Dean wouldn't like it.

With a tired huff, Sam knew he had to go back out, had to find Dean and show him that he was fine, that Cara wasn't the Siren. He slipped his jacket off and threw it over a chair, pulling his shirt over his head a moment later, then grabbing a clean shirt from his duffel. The brown jacket was next, Sam feeling more at ease in his own casual clothes again now that he had shaken off the identity of Sam Stiles, FBI Agent.

Retrieving his phone, Sam slipped it into his pocket and headed for the door, only to find Sabbath waiting patiently beside him, his nose pressed to the scratched and torn wood, waiting to be let out.

"Sabbath…hey, come on. No, dude…you have to stay here." Sam gently locked his fingers around the pup's collar and dragged him back from the door.

Sabbath tried to rush forward again, intent on getting out. He'd been locked in once. Not again. Not when Dean was out there with that stranger. Sabbath wanted to find him!

"Sabbath, come on! Cut it out, boy!" Sam growled, pushing the pup back and slipping through the door, closing it behind him. Immediately, scratching and whining sounded through the door. Sam frowned, wondering what the hell was wrong with him? Soon as he found Dean, he'd come back and take Sabbath out for a run somewhere, make it up to him.

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As soon as Sam came back to the room, he realised something was wrong. It wasn't the fact Nick was sitting on the bed waiting for him without Dean anywhere to be seen…it was the fact Sabbath was apparently locked in the bathroom, barking, whining and scratching the door furiously.

Someone grabbed Sam from behind, dragging him back against the door, slamming it shut as a knife was pressed to his throat. Straining to see over his shoulder, Sam's heart sank as he saw the familiar face of his brother behind him. "Dean?"

It all became crystal clear in that moment. Sabbath's detainment, Nick's presence in the room. "I gotta tell ya, you're one butt ugly stripper."

"Maybe…" Nick was so damn smug as he held the Hyacinth flowers under his nose briefly. "But I got exactly what I wanted - I got Dean. And not even that stupid dog of yours was able to stop me. I could have asked Dean to skin it for me…and he would have, without hesitating."

"Dean. Urgggh! " Sam bit off as his brother tightened his grip around his throat again, the knife too closed for comfort. "Come on, man, this isn't you. You can fight this! Let me go. Look what he's got you doing…you'd seriously hurt Sabbath if he wanted you to?"

The furious scrabbling of claws continued from the bathroom. Sabbath had hoped that Sam's return had meant he would be freed, that Sam would make the bad man go away. But now he could hear the sounds of a struggle outside. Whatever the stranger was? He had done something to Dean. Sabbath had been dragged to the bathroom the moment Dean had returned to the room. There no kind words, nothing but a blank almost indifference to Sabbath that he couldn't understand. What was wrong with his master?

Unable to open the door, Sabbath had taken to making as much noise as he could, hoping to attract Sam's attention when he came home…but it wasn't working.

Nick was on the move now, stepping up to Sam and Dean, leaning in close to speak softly in Dean's ear. "Why don't you…cut him, just a little? On his neck right there." He tapped a finger lightly against his own throat as he spoke.

The knife bit into Sam's skin, blood welling up as Dean left a shallow slice on his skin. Sam grunted in pain, trying to remain calm despite the eerie silence from Dean. He continued to try and struggle, wishing Dean would just snap out of it, wondering how the hell Nick had managed to get Dean under his control in the first place. This was why Sam had wanted to meet Dean, why he had gone looking for him. Instead, it seemed Dean had gone straight into the freaking spider's lair, believing Sam was the threat.

"Dean's all mine."

"You poisoned him." Sam growled back at Nick, wishing he could wipe the smugness from that bastard's face.

"Nah, I gave him what he needed. And it wasn't some bitch in a G-string. It was you. A little brother who looked up to him. That he could trust…and now he loves me. "

"You want to talk about trust? You poison people to get what you want. Manipulate them!" Sam snarled, fighting against Dean still. If he could just get free, maybe he could do something, show Dean that he was wrong, that he could trust Sam. It hurt to hear that Dean thought Sam no longer looked up to him. It wasn't true. Sam still loved Dean as much as ever, as much as a younger brother ever could love their hero. But that didn't mean Sam couldn't see Dean's flaws, his weaknesses. They had been amplified by Dean's time in Hell. The Pit had torn Dean apart in more ways than one and now Sam just wanted to protect Dean the way he had always been protected himself in the past. Dean needed time to find himself again. Time they didn't have with the seals being broken.

The knife was pressed against his neck again as he grunted in pain, Sam wondering how much longer it would be before Dean finished the job? Cutting his throat on the false promise of getting a better little brother from the deal?

"He'd do anything for me…And I gotta tell you, Sam. That kind of devotion, like watching someone kill for you. Is the best feeling in the world." Nick smiled.

"Is that why you're slutting all over town?" Sam curled his lip in disgust at the Siren before him.

"Oooh…" Nick seemed almost amused by that comment, his tone becoming one of a parent needing to explain something to a child. "I get bored, like we all do. And I want to fall in love again. And again and again." His voice was so soft, silky smooth as he spoke. If it wasn't for the fact Nick was right in his face, Sam might have missed the words over the bedlam coming from the bathroom.

Sam wished he could get over there and open the door. Sabbath was only a young dog, only a few months old, but he was obviously aware of the danger in the room and Sam sure as hell needed back up of some kind right now. Just something to give him an upper hand at least. "You know what? I've fought some nasty sons of bitches, but you are one needy, pathetic loser."

"You won't feel that way in a minute."

Sam frowned slightly, wondering what the hell Nick meant by that. In the background, Sabbath's efforts to escape suddenly doubled as Sam's bottom jaw was grabbed by Nick in a vice-like grip. His mouth seemed to open, wider and wider…almost unhinging like a snake's jaw to expose an inhuman tongue that suddenly depressed and spat venom at Sam. The clear sticky liquid seeped into his mouth, despite Sam's attempts to spit it away, dragging his hand over his lips to try and remove it. Within seconds, everything seemed to shift and fade away until Sam didn't care about Dean or Sabbath or anything else but making Nick happy.

Nick reached out and gently pulled the knife in Dean's hand away from Sam's throat as Sam straightened up, eyes only for Nick now.

Nick backed up slowly then, signalling to the brothers to come towards him. "So I know you two have a lot you want to get off your chests. So why don't you, discuss it? And whoever survives? Can be with me…forever."

Sam turned slowly to see his brother standing near the door, a cold look on his face. As though he wanted to shift some weight from his shoulders. Weight that Sam had put there himself. "Well I don't know when it happened? Maybe when I was in Hell? Maybe when I was staring right at you? But the Sam I knew? He's gone."

"Is that so?" Sam demanded, feeling cold anger flowing through his veins. Why was he fighting so hard to protect a brother that didn't want him? This broken shell who no longer knew who he was, what he wanted. How was Sam supposed to save the world when he had to constantly watch out for Dean all the time?

"And it's not the demon blood or the psychic crap. It's the little stuff. The lies. The secrets." Dean's voice was a low growl. He didn't know Sam anymore. It was like a stranger was standing before him. What had he gone to Hell for? Maybe Yellow Eyes had gotten the last laugh after all? Maybe Dean had faced Hell for a monster in his brother's body?

"Yeah? What secrets?"

"The phone calls to Ruby for one. You looked me in the eye on my birthday…and told me you were done with her. You stood there and lied to me, Sam. On my birthday. That demon bitch means that much to you, that you would do that?" Dean demanded angrily.

"So I need your say so to make a phone call?" Sam asked coolly.

"That's not the point." Dean retorted.

"Then what is the point, Dean? Yeah, I've been in touch with Ruby again. Because she can still help us! She can help us stop the seals from being broken! But you don't want to trust her. Cause she's a demon. Funny how you won't trust me or Ruby, but you went running to Nick here when you thought I was the one screwing a siren!"

"You're hiding things from me!"

"You don't give me a choice, Dean! I'm just trying to end this for us but you seem to think I'm just crossing over to the damn dark side! They screwed you up so badly in the pit, you don't know who the hell to trust anymore!" Sam yelled back, his hands closing into fists.

"What else aren't you telling me?" Dean demanded. He wanted to believe his brother. God knows he wanted to be able to trust the kid again. But ever since he had returned, he hadn't been able to recognise Sam anymore. His brother had changed, hardened into something that scared the hell out of Dean now. The risks Sam was willing to take, the lines he would cross. It was going to get him killed…and Sam couldn't see it because he was letting his demon blood rule his head.

"None of your business." Sam's face was almost sneering now.

"See what I mean? We used to be in this together, we used to have each other's backs." Now Dean had more trust in a freaking dog, than in his own brother. It was all kinds of screwed up and Dean was going to make it stop. He was going to get a brother he could trust, that wouldn't lie to him.

"Okay fine, you want to know why I didn't tell you about Ruby? And how we're hunting down Lilith? Because you're too weak to go after her, Dean…"

Man, this was a good show. Nick was sat back, feeding off the emotions, loving every single minute of these two brothers tearing each other apart. Who knew he could score so well? It was a banquet compared to the others. Except the damn dog. It's constant barking was really starting to get on Nick's nerves now. Once the dust was settled and one of the brothers was left standing, he'd definitely get them to skin it for him before the poison wore off. It's fur would make a nice little memento…

"…You're holding me back. I'm a better hunter than you are. Stronger, smarter. I can take out demons you're too scared to go near." Sam was on a roll now, spitting out words more venomous than the poison he had ingested minutes before. Maybe one day soon, Dean would be back in the game, able to face up to his greatest fears. But with the clock ticking down so fast? Sam couldn't wait. He needed to do whatever it was going to take to end the Apocalypse. With or without his help if it meant Dean was safe.

"That's crap." Dean hissed, his gaze fixed on Sam. His brother had no idea of what Hell was like. None. It didn't matter how much Sam wanted Dean to explain it, to talk about it. It was never going to happen because even if Dean found the words to explain what he had suffered in the pit, Sam would still never understand. Only someone who had been through it could. So how would Sam know about Dean's fear? How could he know at all?

"You're too busy sitting around feeling sorry for yourself, watching late night tv with your dog and whining about all the souls you tortured in Hell. Boo hoo."

That was it. That was the moment Dean snapped, pitching the knife at Sam and then charging his brother as Sam dodged the missile.

Sabbath could hear the sound of fighting now. Flesh hitting flesh over and over again on the other side of the door. He paced back and forth, whining deeply, his fear for his masters growing to a state of complete frenzy within him now. He scratched again at the door, leaving bloody streaks now. His claws were torn and bleeding, splinters of wood sinking into the pads of his feet, stinging sharply. A towel was hanging on the door handle and as Sabbath heard the sound of crashing bodies and furniture breaking, he sank his teeth into the trailing end and began to pull on it, hoping that would work, that he could get loose and save his masters. The handle began to turn slowly, jerkily with each tug of the towel until the door suddenly clicked open.

Sabbath rushed out of the room, yelping in agony as his wounded paws protested being abused and forced to hold his weight at a run. He almost collapsed, hobbling across the floor in greater pain now, leaving bloody foot prints as he went towards the fight out in the hall.

The door to the motel room was gone now. Sam lying sprawled on his back on top of it. He was winded and stunned, wondering where the hell the freight train had come from that had seemingly hit him.

Dean stumbled to his feet and spied the fire axe a few feet away. He shattered the glass with his elbow, snatching the axe and returning to his brother, intent on killing him and winning this fight.

Sam needed to get up. He was prone here, open to Dean's attack and now his brother was armed with an axe while Sam was defenceless.

"Do it." Nick urged quietly, standing on the other side of Sam. "Do it for me, Dean."

Dean dragged his gaze from Nick back down to his little brother. The liar, the monster he had gone to Hell for. One quick swing and the axe would be planted in his chest. Dean would be free of the lies and the pain forever.

Sam looked up at Dean as Nick spoke, fear rushing through him as he realised he was in the losing position here. He was going to lose this fight. His brother was willing to kill him after all. Finally fulfilling what Dad had said to Dean that day in the hospital. Nick didn't want him. Dean didn't want him. Sam was as alone in that moment, as he had been the day Dean had gone to Hell.

Sabbath leapt over Sam, blocking Dean's aim with his own body, barking loudly and savagely at Dean, bearing his teeth, warning his master that he wouldn't let this happen. This was wrong. This wasn't Dean standing before him. Dean would never hurt Sam. Something was very wrong here and Sabbath needed to take on the biggest threat right now. He was young and not sure he was even very intimidating, bearing a mouth of a puppy teeth. But he had to try. Sam had saved his life. Sabbath owed him his loyalty.

Dean had the axe hefted to his shoulder, ready to bring it down when Sabbath's sudden interruption made him pause for a moment. He didn't want to hurt Sabbath, why the hell was the dog doing that? Was he turning on him too? Maybe Dean couldn't trust anyone in this world?

"Tell me again how weak I am, Sam…" The axe started to fall before it was blocked by Bobby's hand. Dean gasped in sudden shock and pain as a knife stabbed into his his shoulder.

Nick was on the move, realising that he was in mortal danger now. He stumbled over Sabbath, almost losing his balance as he tried to rush down the hall. Bobby was already turning, bringing up his knife smoothly, ready to throw.

"No! NO!" Sam couldn't let Bobby kill Nick. He needed him still, the desperate need to make the Siren happy still rushing through his veins.

Bobby threw the bronze knife at the Siren, watching with grim satisfaction as the knife sank into it's back all the way to the hilt. The creature buckled, falling against a wall as it stared at it's reflection in a hallway mirror, before it slid to the floor and died quietly.

Bobby went to retrieve his knife and take care of the body, leaving the boys to deal with their own mess for the time being. Whatever the Siren had done to them, they had to undo themselves. All Bobby could do, was make sure "Agent Nick Munro" was salted and burned to hide any evidence he had existed at all.

Dean was still clutching at his bleeding shoulder as he snapped out of the Siren's spell. Sickening realisation flooded through him at what he had said, how he had been so willing to plant that axe in Sam's body. He looked at Sam and saw the same horrified thoughts reflected in his brother's eyes. They had both torn into each other so easily and Dean wasn't sure how they were going to resolve it.

Sabbath hobbled on his injured paws, licking Sam's face furiously, sensing that Sam was finally himself again.

"Holy crap…Sabbath!" Dean's shoulder wound was all but forgotten as he saw the bloodied state of his pup's feet. He scooped Sabbath up in his arms, cradling the large puppy close to him as he held out another hand towards Sam.

Sam took the offered assistance, climbing up and following Dean back into the motel room. The lost door seemed a moot concern right now. As soon as they were patched up, they'd be leaving anyway.

"Sam, get me the first aid kit." Dean asked as he carefully sat down on the bed, making Sabbath stretch out on his side. "Come on, buddy, let me see what you've done." Assessing the damage, Dean wondered if he should take Sabbath to a Vet? But then, a Vet meant money they didn't have…

Sam retrieved the first aid kit from the bathroom, feeling his stomach clench into a cold ball of ice as he saw the state of the door, the scratch marks, the blood. He thought back to the earlier in the day when Sabbath had been so desperate to go with him now. It all made sense.

"Here, I'm going to go help Bobby with the Siren." Sam handed the first aid kit to Dean, uncomfortable at being around his brother after what he had said. Bruises were already starting to show on Dean's jaw, his cheekbone. Bruises that he had left with his own knuckles. He glanced down at his hands and saw the skin was torn and split. Good, it matched in with the ache in his back. Sam had no doubts that he would bruise up there himself after taking down that door. They had beaten the hell out of each other, no holding back, just swinging with all they had…for what? A creature that cared nothing for either of them.

Sam felt sick to his stomach as he left the room. Ruby, the angels…the siren. They were all using the brothers for their own ends, no matter the cost.

Dean ran his hand over Sabbath's soft coat, murmuring soothingly to the pup as he heard Sam leave the room behind him. How the hell had he let things get this bad again? How was he going to convince Sam that Ruby was bad news, when the kid was so damn intent on believing she was the one way he could keep Dean safe? The bitch sure knew how to play Sam, that was for sure.

Picking up Sabbath's front paw, he felt his stomach clench as the pup whined softly. "Easy, easy, boy. I've gotta take a look, okay? I've to get these splinters out." Dean opened the first aid kit and took out a set of small silver tweezers, using them to gently extract the small splinters of wood he found embedded in Sabbath's pads and between his toes. Sabbath yelped as a splinter was extracted from between his middle toes, trying to jerk his paw back and looking at Dean with pained eyes.

Dean tightened his hold slightly on the paw, reaching out to still the pup with his other hand. "Whoa, stay still, pal. I'm almost done here. Come on, where's that bad ass guard dog I saw earlier today huh?" His fingers sunk into the thick puppy coat and Dean felt his throat closing up, his voice becoming rough with emotion. "I guess this is what I get for not listening, huh? You tried warning me…"

Sabbath lifted his head off the bed and washed Dean's hand and arm with long wet strokes of his tongue as his paw was bandaged a moment later. The pain was bearable now and Sabbath need to show that he didn't blame Dean for what had happened. That man in the hallway hadn't been his Dean.

"Yeah…thanks, dude, but I'm not so sure it's so easily forgiven." Dean gave Sabbath another rub on his chest before he took on the task of tending to the other paw. He could have killed the pup earlier, not caring if the axe cleaved through him as long as it took Sam out. Intent on killing his brother because he was so sure that Sam was untrustworthy. But Sabbath had been willing to defend Sam. A puppy had stepped in and taken over Dean's place in that moment. It should have never come to that. Dean needed to lift his game. He needed his brother back. Things back the way they should be.

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Bobby could see that there was still tension between the boys as he took two bottles of soda out of his Chevelle. Sam hadn't been overly talkative during the salt and burn, but his regret over what had happened was radiating off the kid like freaking neon signage. Whatever they had said to each other, it had cut in deep, deeper than the physical wounds Bobby had watched both of them patch up with barely a word said. It made Bobby want to grab the pair and shake some damn sense into them. They didn't need to be at each others throats right now…the damn world around them was doing a damn fine job of driving a wedge in as it was.

He noted that Sabbath was sitting between the pair, his front paws wrapped in plastic to keep the pup's paws clean until they were healed. Bobby had a lot of respect for that pup. It was loyal as hell already and not just to Dean, but both of them. Maybe they oughta be following the dog's example?

Bobby handed both Dean and Sam a soda as they stood beside the Impala, looking grim and just broken down inside. Hiding wounds they thought Bobby couldn't see as plain as the bruises on their faces.

"Thanks," Sam said with a sigh.

Dean on the other hand, wasn't so keen on Bobby's choice of beverage. "Soda?"

"You boys are driving, ain't ya?" Bobby pointed out. Alcohol wasn't going to solve anything here, no matter what Dean might have thought and he was glad to see that neither boy was willing to argue with him as they all took a drink from their colas.

"Thanks, Bobby." Sam's gaze flitted from Bobby to the ground, back up to Bobby again as he fidgeted and shifted uncomfortably. "You know…if you hadn't shown up when you did…" Sam would be dead, Dean would be up for murder. It made Sam feel ill to think about it. They hadn't spoken about what had happened and Sam wasn't sure they would. Dean was doing his usual Joe Stoic act and closing Sam out again. But then, Sam hardly knew how to broach the subject himself after what he had said. Calling his brother weak, admitting he had been lying about Ruby again. How could he earn back Dean's trust again?

"You've done the same for me. More than once…" Bobby pointed out. When would these idjits realise that they really were family? That they didn't have to deal with everything alone, charging in headfirst as though it was solely their responsibility? Bobby might not have been on the front line with those boys all the time, but he was just as committed as they were to stopping the Apocalypse and keeping them alive as well. Bobby had buried too many people lately. He wasn't looking to add either of the boys to that list again. Dean's death was still a healing wound with the older hunter. "'Course you could have picked up the phone. Only took one call to figure out that Agent Nick Munro wasn't real."

Bobby let that sink in with the boys, watching as both Sam and Dean digested what he had said. They had no witty comeback, no excuse this time. They had dropped the ball and that was purely their fault. One call was all it took. It was time they started to work as a team again instead of letting their recent issues divide them more and more.

"You boys gonna be okay?" The question was spoke softly, but loaded with deeper meaning. This went well beyond the physical signs of their fight. Their wounds went soul deep and with the Winchesters? Well, Bobby knew how badly those boys held onto those wounds. He'd seen the first cracks starting to show when John died. Then Sam had gone down and it broke Dean in ways that Bobby never wanted to see in a man again, let alone a boy he thought of as a son. Watching Sam go through that same sense of grief and loss was almost the end of Bobby too. Driving him to drink when Sam had up and disappeared. If anyone understood why those boys were hurting so bad, why the Siren had been able to get to them so easily. It was Bobby.

It didn't take a rocket scientist to see that both Sam and Dean had latched onto the Siren's offer out of loneliness. Out of a desperate need to feel love, rather than loss. Dean wasn't the same man that had gone into his grave…but neither was Sam. They were both broken in their own ways and Bobby had no idea how to make them see that.

"Yeah, fine." Sam nodded, a little too readily.

"Yeah, good." Dean spoke up beside his brother. Shoulder to shoulder, but a canyon between them emotionally.

Bobby glanced down at Sabbath, noting the way the pup was sitting between the brothers, tipping his head back as each of them spoke. No judgement. No lies, no hiding behind anything. Tipping a finger towards the boys in salute, Bobby held their gaze for a moment longer before headed back to his car. "See ya…."

He turned back as he reached the Chevelle. "You know those Sirens are nasty things. They'd have got to you…that's no reason to feel bad. But you two chuckleheads might want to consider listening to that pup of yours next time. You've got one of the best damn supernatural warning systems there is, sitting right in front of you…" Bobby fixed both Sam and Dean with a pointed look before he got into his Chevelle and closed the door, leaving the Winchesters alone as he headed back to South Dakota.

Dean and Sam both looked down at Sabbath, both wishing now that they'd listen to him when the pup had tried to warn them. Dean hated himself for the fact he had locked Sabbath in not once, but twice and caused him to hurt himself trying to escape and come to Dean's aid.

"You gonna say goodbye to Cara?"

Sam considered that for a moment before he spoke honestly. "Nah. Not interested." It had been a moment of passion, a chance for Sam to feel something over than pain and doubt and fear of who he was, what he was becoming. There was nothing deeper there between them.

"Really? Why not?" Dean asked, feeling his hear sinking. He recalled Sam's words before he had gone to Hell, how Sam felt he had to become his brother to survive as a hunter.

"What's the point?" Sam shrugged. What was the point of opening up his heart again when everyone seemed to leave him? Or he got them killed. Why take a chance anymore when the cards were constantly dealt that way?

What's the point? Well if Sam was trying to be like Dean? The kid was doing a bang up job of pretending it didn't matter to him. Or maybe it really didn't? Dean finding it harder and harder to understand Sam lately. "Well look at you, love 'em and leave 'em."

Sam lowered his gaze then, hearing the underlying message in Dean's tone. He wasn't proud of the changes in Sam. That was fine. Sam wasn't either. But they had been necessary over the months that Dean was gone. Close off, shut down, don't let anyone in. Keep the shields up and carry on. Except Ruby had found a way through those shields, getting under Sam's skin when he was at his lowest point and now he wasn't sure how to break her hold when she was offering him what he needed. "Dean, look, you know I didn't mean anything I said, right? That it was just the Siren's spell talking?"

"Of course, me too." Dean fired back immediately, an automatic response that signalled his shields were engaging, emotions being locked down again.

"Okay, so…we're good?" Sam knew they were anything but. They wouldn't be until they spoke about the Ruby size wall between them.

"Yeah," Dean paused for a heartbeat or two, thinking of what had been said, the way Sam had turned, the fact Bobby had pointed out their mistakes so easily, before he nodded. "We're good." He turned and started around the front of the Impala, letting out a low whistle. "Sabbath, come on!"

Sabbath instantly went to obey, then paused and looked back at Sam, his deep brown eyes pleading with him before Sabbath hobbled carefully around the Impala and sat at Dean's feet. He nudged Dean's hand, whining softly.

Dean looked down at Sabbath, then opened the back door for him, lifting the pup inside the Impala and closing the door. Instead of climbing into the driver's seat, he leaned on the roof of the muscle car, meeting Sam's gaze as his brother turned to open the passenger side door. "You know, we've got a few hours before we get where we're headed. Plenty of time for you to explain to me about Ruby…if you wanted to?"

Sam was frozen in place for a moment, realising this was a lifeline Dean was offering here. A chance for them to clear the air. Sure, Sam didn't like the idea of admitting to Dean just how much he had been around Ruby after he had promised he was done with her. But if Dean was willing to listen? Sam was going to take that chance. "Sure…yeah, I…I can do that."

Dean nodded, the boys both climbing into the Impala at the same time. Sabbath was curled up in the back, nestled on one of Dean's t-shirts and a grey hoodie that Sam had left in there two days before. He cracked open an eye as the brothers entered the Impala, his tail thumping softly on the seat before allowed himself to relax and sleep.

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A/N#2: Yes, I am patching up things with the boys...slowly, slowly...but never fear, I'm far kinder than Kripke tends to be with them. LOL Hope you enjoyed!!