Dean was still reeling from the information Sam had shared when he heard the door to his motel room open. He didn't look up, afraid it might be Sam and not ready to face his little brother.
"Dean get your ass off the Impala and wake up Ralph, we're having a meeting right now!" Bobby's voice was in full command mode, not unlike Dean's father's when they were on a hunt in the past.
Dean was about to launch a protest when the door to the motel room slammed shut.
The last thing Dean wanted to do right now was talk but he was also not ready to have it out with Bobby so he slowly lowered himself to the ground and headed for Ralph's room.
Bobby closed the door and moved towards the bed containing Sam. The kid looked worse than he had when they first found him after Kira has sucked the life force from him. All the progress they had made seemed to have been tossed out the window when the kid's memory came back.
He plopped down in the chair next to Sam's bed and gave the kid a reassuring smile. "We'll get this all worked out."
Sam hand palmed his face and wiped away the moisture that had gathered in his eyes. "I should just leave, it would be ..."
Bobby frowned. "You are gonna be quiet and listen. We are a family, me, you and Dean, like it or not and family isn't supposed to be easy. Mistakes have been made but we can move past it and if you and Dean don't try, I'll kick your asses."
Sam's mouth quirked into almost a smile. "Thanks."
"No need for that Sam, you're stuck with me and the sooner you and that pig headed brother of yours realizes it the better." Bobby was about to continue when the motel room door opened revealing a disgruntled Dean followed by a disheveled Ralph.
"I got him up." Dean grunted out. "So let's get this over with so I can go back to my lookout position."
Dean's statement made Sam shuffle in bed a bit. "Are we in danger?"
Dean rolled his eyes as he plopped down on the bed next to Sam's. "Well Sam, you see you were being played by a big time demon and now that she is dead... so, we have a feeling that her friends might come for you."
Ralph pulled a chair from the kitchenette table and sat it down close to Bobby's chair. "Bobby, what did I miss? One minute we were gonna sleep and then move out to make sure there was no danger and the next Dean was yanking me out of bed, in a pissy mood."
Sam sat up straight and hissed in pain. "I-If we need to move I can go, that is, if you want me with you? I might put you all in danger."
Bobby huffed. "All right everyone just shut the hell up! I'm about to address all of our issues and I don't want to be interrupted until I'm finished. So here goes. Ralph, our plans have changed a bit. Sam's memory came back and he remembered the part of the rescue involving Ruby and he decided to finally come clean about his involvement with Ruby."
Dean started to get up. "I don't..."
Bobby glared at him and snapped his fingers. "Sit your ass down before I kick it, you understand me boy?"
Dean sighed as he sat back down. "Yes sir."
Ralph shifted in his seat. "Care to fill me in on Sam's big reveal, or can I go back to bed?"
Bobby shifted his glare to the older hunter. "If you would shut up, I would be happy to continue. Sam, while he was left alone by us I might add, made a big mistake and before I go into what he did, I would like to remind us all about some facts. First, when Dean died, I fell apart and while I tried to be there for Sam … I know that I failed big time. I left him by himself and open to the threat that Ruby presented. And Ralph, you called me all worried about the kid but again you didn't go hunt him down, if we had made more of an effort then Sam would have not been alone."
Bobby looked around the room. He could see that Sam was squirming and was ill at ease with the statements being made but at least was keeping his mouth shut. Dean was acting impatient and ready to leave but seemed to be listening. Ralph looked like he had been slapped.
"I was there for Sam. I told him so, but I'm not a psychologist. I didn't know how..." Ralph was about to spew more excuses when Bobby interrupted.
"And you think I am? I'm not talking about counseling the boy. I'm talking about being there for him. So just shut it. Now if I can continue... Sam was alone and Ruby played him. She played him well, and gave him a reason to live. Revenge. The perfect lure, it's revenge that got me hunting and we all know that John Winchester fell for it. And Sam well Sam is human and it was revenge that brought him back from the brink and to be honest probably saved his life." Bobby paused, waiting to be challenged.
Sam swallowed hard. "Bobby there is no excuse for what I did."
Dean huffed in agreement.
Bobby was about to cut into both boys when Ralph spoke up. "I still don't get it. So Sam fell for the demon's lies we've all made mistakes in life. I've made some big ones."
Dean smirked. "Yeah Bobby, tell Ralph here just what Ruby talked my brother into after I begged him to not use his powers while I was ..."
"Dead?" Bobby spat the words out. "Words of crap. You took the easy way out when Sam died and then get mad when Sam makes a mistake when you die?"
Dean started to stand. "I'm not gonna..."
Bobby stood. "Sit down now."
He was relieved when Dean obeyed. "So the big reveal Ralph, is that Ruby not only got Sam to tap into his powers but she helped him power them up with her blood."
Ralph frowned in confusion. "Are you saying the kid was drinking her blood?"
Bobby shook his head. "No, I'm saying that while Dean was dead, Ruby got Sam to drink her blood to hype up his powers but the kid has been clean since Dean returned to us."
Ralph body relaxed a bit. "Is that true Sam?"
Sam nodded. "I haven't ...not since Dean came back."
Dean shifted on the bed. "Yeah but tell him what you told me Sam."
Sam eyes filled with moisture. "I-I told Dean that I wasn't sure how much longer that I would have stayed clean. The blood always made me feel so much stronger and I was able to pull demons without hurting the host it felt good. L-Lately I've felt so helpless and Ruby was always there when I was having a bad day... tempting me. I'm pretty sure that I would have succumbed eventually."
Bobby could see that Ralph and Dean were about to jump on Sam for his confession so he spoke first.
"The way I see it, Sam was tempted because he felt alone again. Dean, you've been distant since you came back from hell."
Dean groaned. "Really? This is my fault huh? That's just fucking great. So I'm not the caring and sharing guy so sue me. It doesn't give Sam a right to go dark side just because I'm not talking to him."
Bobby ran his hand down his face in frustration. "I just calling it the way I see it. Together we work well against our enemy and when we keep each other at arm's length... we only give the advantage to the demons. I'm not saying that we all need to hug and forgive. I'm just saying we need to move past this. I forgive Sam. I do. Just like I forgave you Dean, for making the damn deal in the first place, and I forgave Ralph for kidnapping and hurting Sam."
Bobby paused and when he wasn't challenged he continued. "And Sam forgave you Ralph when you hurt him so bad, not only did he forgive you but he made you a friend. So in my book you need to be half as kind as Sam was to you and forgive him."
Ralph looked at his hands, his face red from what Bobby guessed was embarrassment. He slowly looked up and nodded at Bobby and then looked at Sam.
"Sam, uh, Bobby is right. I have no right to judge you. You certainly didn't pass judgment on me when I kidnapped and took your hearing. I feel honored to know you and to be your friend. Consider this business with Ruby forgotten, I say we start a new chapter." Ralph gave Sam a reassuring smile.
Sam looked away and wiped at his face before turning around to face Ralph. His voice was shaky as he replied. "T-Thanks Ralph, I don't know that I deserve that but thanks."
Bobby then turned his attention to Dean who looked ready to bolt. "And Dean, you just spent the last few days torturing Sam. I know you were under the influence of the spell but Sam he sacrificed a lot to keep you both safe. If he hadn't kept his head about him and got hints to me... well we may have lost both of you. Sam immediately forgave you and I think the least you can do is to start forgiving Sam over his mistake with Ruby."
Dean sighed and looked at Sam. "Sam, you know me. This hit me hard and I just need to work it out of my system. I'm mad as hell right now and not all the anger is aimed at you. I promise to try and work through this, but at the moment that's all I can do."
Sam nodded. "It's more than I expected or deserve."
Bobby finally felt the tension leave his body a bit. "Okay so now that we are all at an understanding, we have bigger fish to fry. We need to make some plans."
Bobby looked at Sam. "Sam, we won't sugar coat this. With Ruby dead, there is a good chance that demons are gonna be gunning for you. In order for Lucifer to rise they need you and now that you're not under her thumb, well, they might resort to kidnapping you. In your current state, you are very vulnerable."
Sam nodded. "I can travel. I get that you guys were waiting for me to get stronger but Ruby might be missed by now. We need to get a move on it. I've traveled when I've been hurt worse."
Ralph sighed. "Hate it but the kid is right, we need to move. My question is, I'd like to come along for the ride if that is cool with the three of you?"
Bobby and Dean nodded.
Sam shifted. "I'd hate for you to get hurt on my account...but if you want to come, you are welcome to."
Ralph smiled. "I'm always up for kicking demon ass."
Bobby took off his hat and scratched his head. "So we head to my house, the panic room will be the best place to hide Sam while he heals. Now, about those Angel friends of yours ..."
Dean broke in. "I don't trust them either Bobby. Seems everyone has their own agenda. I say we keep Sam away from them too."
Bobby nodded. "Yeah, sounds like a plan. So we hit the road to redemption then?"
Ralph chuckled. "Or the road to hell, we'll just have to see where this road takes us."
Sam shifted in bed. "Well, as long as we are together in the end that's all that matters."
Dean cleared his throat. "Ditto Sam, ditto."
A/N: So that is it for now. It seemed like a good place to stop but I really would like to tell more of this story. Is Sam's powers gone? How will he react to being sidelined in the battle against Lilith? How will the Angels react to Sam being pulled by Dean from the fight?
So if you guys are up for more, I would be happy to continue this adventure after the holidays!
Thanks so much for reading and especially those of you who reviewed. Your feedback has been awesome and such a motivator for me.
A big thanks to BlueEyedDemonLiz and Sendintheclowns for all their beta work on this. They're both so awesome. This story is dedicated to Sendintheclowns, it was supposed to be finished for her birthday but the length of the story got away from me! I would also like to thank Bayre and Floralia for being part of my support.