Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters. They all belong to Eric Kripke and his show, Supernatural.

Summary: This story picks up right where "The Rapture" ended. Dean is desperate to keep Sam from going dark-side. How far is he really willing to go?

SPOILER ALERT: 4.21 "When the Levee Breaks"

A.N.: Wow, thank you guys so much for all the support so far! I hope this chapter doesn't disappoint and I am sooooo sorry for the huge delay in updating! I promise I didn't forget. I got distracted with my other story, but thanks for sticking around for those of you still reading this one!

Screaming. Filled with pain, fear, and desperation. Pleading for his big brother to come back downstairs and make everything alright again. To make it all go away.

Dean dropped his head into his hands, rocking back and forth on the couch in Bobby's study and fighting the urge to block his ears.

"Jesus, Bobby. It sounds like he's bein' tortured down there. How long is this gonna go on?"

"Here, let me look it up in my demon detox manual… Oh wait, no one ever wrote one." Bobby paused just long enough for Dean to roll his eyes, then elaborated as the boy stood and began pacing the floor for the hundredth time, unable to sit still any longer. "No tellin' how long it'll take. Hell, or if Sam'll even live through it."

Bobby froze, surprised that he had spoken his mind out loud.

Dean paused mid-step and whirled to face him, anger and fear in his eyes.

Bobby didn't mean to worry Dean like that, but it was only right the kid knew what they were getting into, and Sam's death was a very possible outcome. He sighed. No reason to sugar coat things now.

"The point is… I don't think we can just wait around much longer. Seals are breakin' fast."

"How many are left?"

"Who knows? Can't be many. Where in the hell are your angel pals?"

"You tell me." Dean began his pacing again, trying to out-walk all the thoughts running through his mind.

Bobby took a second to plan how to broach the elephant in the room. He knew Dean was teetering on a precipice and what he had to say next just might push the elder Winchester over the edge.

"I'm just wondering…"

Dean stopped again, hoping against hope that the other man had some miraculous idea that could solve all of their problems. "What?"

"The apocalypse, being Nye and all… is now really the right time to be havin' this little domestic drama of ours?"

Dean frowned. "What do you mean?"

"I don't like this anymore than you do, but Sam can kill demons. He's got a shot at stoppin' Armageddon."

Dean couldn't believe what he was hearing. He took a step towards Bobby, then another, slowly closing the gap between them and increasing the electricity in the air with each step. "So… what? Sacrifice Sam's life, his soul, for the greater good? Is that what you're sayin'? Times are bad, so let's use Sam as a nuclear warhead?!" He stopped about two feet away from the family friend.

"Look, I know you hate me for suggesting it. I hate me for suggesting it. I love that boy like a son. All I'm sayin' is maybe he's here right now, instead of on the battlefield, because we love him too much."

"He's my brother, Bobby. I can't just throw him to the wolves, even if he's the only one who can save this freakin' world. And that's a big if."

"I know how close you boys are…"

"Do you? I mean, do you really? Bobby, if he doesn't make it through this… I can't lose him again. I won't." He turned sharply without another word and headed for the front door.

"Dean? Where're you goin'?" Bobby called after his retreating back.

"To get some damn answers." He slammed the door behind him.

Dean made his way through the salvage lot until he was a ways away from Bobby's home.

"Cas! Get your haloed ass down here!" He waited a beat, looking around to see if the angel would show himself. When his shouting received no response, he continued. "Damn it, Cas! After the shit you've been pullin' lately, you owe me some answers! What the hell am I supposed to do now, huh?! What's God's excuse for lettin' Armageddon happen right under his damn nose?! If you people don't give a shit about the end of the world, then why should I?! CAS!!"

He continued to roam the desolate salvation yard, screaming his anger and frustration to the heavens for what seemed like half the night. Bobby could hear him from inside the house and his fatherly instincts were to go out and wrap the boy up in a tight hug, but he knew Dean needed to vent or he would explode so he let him continue screaming until he was practically hoarse. Combined with Sam's screams of agony downstairs, Bobby was on the verge of screaming himself.

Dean had just about given up on any word or help from Heaven when he caught sight of a figure out of the corner of his eye. Cas had finally appeared, standing directly beneath one of the few lights in the yard.

"Well it's about time," Dean stated gruffly. "I've been screamin' myself hoarse out here for about two and a half hours now."

"What do you want?" The angel sounded far from friendly as he made his way through the dark towards Dean.

"You can start with what the hell happened in Illinois."

"What do you mean?"

"Cut the crap. You were gonna tell me somethin'."

"Dean, I can't." Castiel's eyes flashed with a warning, then turned to regret. "I'm sorry." He walked off a few yards into the night, unable to look Dean in the eye anymore. "Get to the reason you really called me. It's about Sam, right?"

Dean finally asked the question that had been haunting him for weeks. "Can he do it? Kill Lilith… Stop the apocalypse?"

"Possibly, yes." He turned back to face Dean to make sure he got his point across. "But as you know, he'd have to take certain steps."

"Crank up the hell blood regiment." Dean sounded defeated.

Castiel nodded. "Consuming the amount of blood it would take to kill Lilith would change your brother forever. Most likely, he would become the next creature that you would feel compelled to kill. There's no reason this would have to come to pass, Dean. We believe it's you, Dean, not your brother. The only question for us is whether you're willing to accept it. Stand up and accept your role. You are the one who will stop it."

"If I do this, Sammy doesn't have to?"

"If it gives you comfort to see it that way."

Dean scoffed and shook his head. "God, you're a dick these days." He took a moment to himself, considering the choices he had in front of him and their consequences. It was no contest. He knew what he had to do. "Fine, I'm in."

"You give yourself over wholly to the service of God and his angels?"

Dean closed his eyes, seeing no other way out. "Yeah, exactly."

"Say it."

Dean turned and looked Castiel straight in the eyes. "I give myself over wholly to serve God and 'you guys.'"

"You swear to follow his word and his will as swiftly and obediently as you did your own fathers?"

Dean looked as though Cas had stabbed him in the back, but he was resigned non-the-less. "Yes, I swear. Now what?"

Cas nodded, acknowledging the betrayal he saw in the other man's eyes. "Now you wait, and we call on you when it's time."

They kept their eyes locked with each others, daring the other to break contact first. The weight of the situation landed heavily on Dean's shoulders and he finally dropped his gaze. When he looked back up, the angel was gone.

TBC

Please review! I'm trying to juggle two completely different stories along with my job, so I apologize again for the long wait and I'll try to keep both stories updated as often as I can if you guys believe this one is worth continuing.